I can't believe how busy I've been and how long it's been since I've had a chance to catch up.
The aerobars are great. Pics are coming soon. The aerobars were fitted to my bike (while I was on it) at a great local bike shop so I'm able to use it as a road bike and also enjoy the aero position at the same time. In addition, I upgraded my clipless pedals (Look) and swapped out my triple chain ring for compact cranks. I also got the whole thing tuned up, including cleaning, lube, new brake pads, and a new chain. I got new race tires a few months ago. Can we say pimped out? It's awesome. I'm lovin' it.
The thyroid medication has been working. I've leaped back into workouts at full throttle. Part of me wants to get back into shape (and lose the muffin top I've gained), and the other part (the main part), is just having a blast. I logged in 11 hours the week before and 8 hours last week, which is more than I've done all year! It seems like a lot but it feels right. I'm eating better, sleeping better, and sticking to a routine more consistently.
Last week, Tammy from Seattle visited and joined us for an ocean swim at La Jolla Shores. It was such a pleasure to meet another fellow blogger! I can't wait to do it again. My sister, Erin from UC Davis, visited for a long weekend last week, and we had a blast. The two of us went snorkeling at the Shores and saw tons of leopard sharks (harmless). It was awesome. They flock here to breed every fall. We were surrounded by them (up to 7-8 at a time), and they were very docile. Each one had slightly different leopard spots, colors, and patterns. Some of them were huge (~7 feet long)! The surf was really rough though, and we were buffeted about pretty badly. Thank God for buoyant wetsuits! I've never seen it that choppy off the Shores. We could see whitecaps all the way out to sea.
Saturday, Jason and I participated in the tri club's Pine Valley Duathlon. Basically, we drove up to this little town east of San Diego at 4000 feet and then biked up this mountain. We biked 17 miles up to Mt. Laguna in the Cleveland National Forest, reaching 6000 feet.
I know this doesn't sound like much for most of you who don't live at sea level but, believe me, my lungs felt it. Big time. Imagine biking straight up a mountain on windy switchback roads with no shoulder and a cliff to the right of you with speedy little sports cars doing their weekend joy rides to the left of you. Oh, and add hurricane-like gusts of wind coming down the mountain and sudden gusts coming at you from the sides, making a deafening squealing sound for the first 8 miles. It was like biking up a mountain in a wind tunnel.
It sounds like I'm exaggerating. Like I'm an old granddaddy telling his grandkids they have it easy, and when he was a kid, he had to walk uphill through the snow to school for 5 miles--both ways. And he had to eat nails for lunch. And he liked it! No, but seriously, that's what's so incredible. It's not an exaggeration. It was crazy. My upper body was sore from gripping the handlebars like grim death to keep the bike upright. I was scared, no terrified, a few times that I was going to be blown over.
And then my lungs started screaming. And my throat was burning. The air was so thin and dry, and the wind was bone-chilling. My eyes were watering and my nose was running, and my head was pounding from the lack of oxygen. A few times, the grade was so steep, I had a hard time turning the pedals over. 6 mph, the whole way up, in my lowest gear. We were afraid to stop because if we did, we weren't sure we could get enough momentum to get going again.
But then it started leveling off, and we realized we could clearly see the Anza-Borreogo Desert below us (a lot of dirt), and we were surrounded by pine trees and cows. I also saw a few turkey vultures, struggling to fly through the wind. I was just hoping they weren't waiting for us to keel over. At the top, the club had arranged a kick-ass picnic with chicken fajitas, sweet strawberries, all sorts of soda, Gatorade, fruit juice, and muffins, brownies, etc. Good thing too, because I had been hallucinating waffles and bacon just a few miles back. Giddy with the feeling of accomplishment for making it up the mountain (and lack of oxygen), we ate and chatted (I, on very wobbly legs).
Then, we turned around and biked back down. It was awesome. Like a well-earned treat. I didn't pedal for 10 miles. No, I had to use my brand-spankin' new brake pads. I had to brake to 40 mph. I just didn't feel comfortable flying around the switchbacks (no shoulder) at a faster pace. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
My legs, needless to say, were toast. Jason and I, stupidy, tried to do a 12 mile run in the Penasquitos Canyon on Sunday but we ended up walking a lot. It was hot, dusty, and my legs were very mad at me.
Earlier this week (Thursday), I did the club Aquathlon at the Shores (1000 meter swim/3 mile run), which was great. I passed a guy at the end who wasn't too happy about it, and he rallied with me almost to the end (don't worry; I kicked his butt).
Last weekend, I also had the chance to try out my new aerobars, which I love. I feel stronger and more efficient in them. I feel like I can go forever. It's amazing. I ended up going 37 miles and had only planned on going 20. Note to self: do not add Gu to your water unless you don't want to drink the rest of the way home. Bleck! It was very scenic--gorgeous horses that made my heart ache, hot air ballons, hanggliders, surfers, the ocean, pelicans swooping down the coast for the evening dinner patrol, a gorgeous sunset--doesn't get much better than that.