Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Just bike commuting to work was difficult this morning. And I rode Bluebell, who normally is very zippy. I'm supposed to go on a ride after lab today but I'm sort of dreading it b/c of my legs. I want to make it nice and easy and not worry about pace so I can go for a ride and do the workout and not skip it. Ugh. Guess that week off erased more fitness than I thought it would. Hope it comes back fast. Live and learn. Why is biking so hard for me?
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The weather is perfect here. Dry and low 70s. I heard someone complain that it was too "hot" to run. Hmph. I don't empathize. In St. Louis, it's so humid, you can't breathe and you sweat lying down, no matter what the temp. You want to puke after every run. It sucks. Period. Even at night. Stifling. The weather here is just unbelievable.
However, I was surprised this evening to see a mosquito, hovering quite close to its target--my leg. Damn mosquitos. A'la Rachel has always been a delicacy for them. I have the scars from all the battle wounds I survived in St. Louis. Damn Chernobyl mosquitos. They're huge there. The bugs in St. Louis are unreal. Out of a Stephen King book or something. The first year we lived there, a cicada landed on our window one evening and began chirping. They are about the length of your thumb and 2 thumbs' width and they fly and land in your hair when you go out in the evening. They're disgusting. Anyway, Jason had never heard one before (they love the humidity of the south) having lived in Wisconsin. The whole building was vibrating from this thing. He looks out the window and asks, "What kind of bird is that?" I just cracked up. Anyway, there are very few bugs in San Diego since it's so dry, and the weather is always perfect. So I was surprised to have to swat away a few mosquitos tonight since they clearly don't belong here in magical, happy land.
But I digress...It feels good to run again. And have it feel like I remember. Gliding, effortless, floating. That's why I love running. Now if I could just get stronger on the bike...
I have decided to commit more to bike commuting. No more excuses. I bought the stupid bike. Now I'm going to use it. I'm going to try and use it for errands around town too. I'm excited about attempting this. For the next month, I'm going to see how obsolete I can make the car. Today, even though I was running late, I rode Ghostrider into lab. It took me 20 minutes as opposed to 15. Worth the extra 5 minutes? Definitely.
Crazy lady kept us up all night. Again. Yelling, "Is anyone out there?" at 1 in the morning. Drunk or crazy or both, I'm not sure. In response to someone telling her to shut up (very effective and tactful, by the way; such a helpful neighbor), she screamed, "What time is it?" By the way, it was 3. We had our windows closed. I was sleeping. She woke me up. Jason called security and reported it (back at 1 when we couldn't sleep). Security never showed up. Oh, she yells in the morning too. Cursing at the top of her lungs. So nice to wake up to. The other day it was: "Don't call me a g@d$#! whore! I'm not a whore, you f#@*&n a**hole." This morning, it was: "Where are my g@d$"n cigarettes? I need my g@d$@n cigarettes! I need them, RIGHT NOW!" Needless to say, I reported it to management. I haven't been the only one complaining about her, thankfully. I'm afraid she's going to go ballistic and take a machine gun and start offing people from the balcony. Very pleasant.
Saw some movies this weekend. X-Men was pretty entertaining. I've decided I want to have a superpower. I want to stop time. That would be so cool. I don't want to go back in time; that might really mess things up. The whole space-time continuim thing. But to stop time? That would be awesome. I just want to relax! Oh, I'd like to be able to fly too. And maybe move things with my mind. The flying thing would be so cool. I think one of the reasons I like triathlon is it makes me feel a little (just a little) like a superhero. I'm doing things I didn't think my body could do. I'm gaining speed and muscle and power so it's kind of like a superpower. For me anyway. Hey, whatever motivates me, right? What superpower do you wish you had?
I have to say, I was a junk food addict last week. I am actually craving a salad. That's how bad I was. Ate some Red Vines (among other things). Some peanut M&M's. Hey! Who's the marketing genius who came up with single-colored M&M's? At the movies, every single one of my M&M's was yellow! How awful is that? It's some new thing they're doing. I want reds and yellows and blues and greens! I don't want only one color. I want to live in a world where we have M&M's of all colors! I don't want some neo-nazi M&M's. Besides, they've done studies and people eat more when there's more variety. Give people 1 color and they eat less. Wouldn't the M&M people want us to eat more M&M's so we have to go out and buy more? Duh!
The bunnies have been very happy beacause I've spent a lot of time petting them lately. I also clipped their nails which they didn't like so much (they all got treats aftewards though). I've been reading Oscar stories too. He runs to me when I call him and lays down beside me for petting. Babs nips my toenails (she knows it doesn't hurt! smart girl!) when I'm on the phone and "ignoring" her. Ah, kids.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I haven't done this in awhile, but I was watching interviews of Danica Patrick on t.v. (given that the Indy 500 was this weekend), and she just hooked me. I don't even like car racing! And she may have only finished 8th ("only") but she could still kick my ass! She is just so cool! What a role model! I love how she can be tough and play with the boys but also dress up and be a woman simultaneously. She just exudes strength, maturity and confidence. I'm sure she has had to go through a lot to get to where she is in such a male-dominated field. Girls in triathlon (or science, or much of the world) know what it's like to have to play with the big boys. Even if she's not "technically" an athlete (I'm not sure if car racing counts; however, she does weight-train, run, and do Yoga; plus, she visualizes her race on the track much like we triathletes visualize our race course as well), she's still awesome, in my opinion. I'll certainly be cheering for her in her next race (and maybe, gasp, watching race car driving).
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Not triathlon related, but I just had to post about it. We were watching CNN Headline News yesterday, and who do we see but Baton Bob! Those of you in St. Louis may remember this guy--very well-muscled black guy who dressed from head-to-toy in ornate costumes--a St. Louis Cardinal, wedding dress, very risque Easter Bunny, you name it. Every time of the year, every occassion, he had a costume. He would march down the street, blowing his whistle, whirling his baton, and putting smiles on all of us trudging the daily, boring route to work. Just for a moment, we would forget the day's tedious drudgery, look up, and laugh, which was exactly why he did it.
After 9/11 James Jamerson (Baton Bob), felt a calling. He realized how much tragedy and destruction was going on in the world around him and set out to change it, one step (and baton twirl) at a time. We all loved him. I cheered him on many a time as he marched in the Central West End, near Washington University's Medical School as I paused to grab a latte. Sometimes, I would see him working out along the trail in Forest Park. He became a local fixture of the community. Something that made living in St. Louis special. Unique. Something I felt proud to be a part of.
Unfortunately, some of St. Louis' conservative community did not support the baton-twirling, black man in drag, and prevented him from marching in several parades, as well as fueling many senesless arrests. I witnessed his arrest at a John Kerry rally in downtown St. Louis in October, 2004. He was also barred from marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade. Fed up with the conservative red-tape, Jamerson moved to Atlanta a few years ago, where he could be more accepted. It was good to hear he's still marching to the beat of his own drummer, bringing smiles and laughter to those all around him.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Bay to Breakers race was fabulous. My family and I drove up Saturday and stayed the night. They got a hotel room right next to the start. That was so awesome. I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of a loud, scratchy speaker outside, "Testing, 1, 2, 3, 4...." It started the adrenaline pumping right away. The hotel had a pre-race breakfast prepared in the lobby. I changed several times--it was a lot warmer than I had thought it was going to be! Warm, partly sunny after a morning rain, high 60s. My dad and sister and I lined up in the "blue" zone. It was crazy. Everyone was in costume (we didn't dress up this year; next time!), and people were starting to throw tortillas. They were flying around like alien frisbees. We had to watch our step b/c they made the road verrry slippery. We found a spot that wasn't a heavy tortilla zone and waited, avoiding the tortillas. One hit me in the ear; that hurt! Then the beach balls began flying! I got a pic of my dad and sister being hit by a beach ball. We're still trying to figure out how to upload them off my dad's camera fun. Those will be posted soon though.
Then, the naked people started showing up. My sister started freaking out and pointing, and I gave her a quizzical look, trying to figure out what the big deal was. I turned and looked (unfortunately) and saw a guy wearing nothing but a shirt. At first, I thought it was a costume. "Is that real?" my dad asked. I thought it might be a strap-on. It wasn't. It was so gross. For one thing, it was hard. And he was waving it around like he was real proud of it. Obviously, there was no one around him. All I can say is, Ewwwwww!
The horn went off, and we waited. Nothing happened. I guess with 50,000 people, it takes awhile to get moving. It didn't take us too long though. I had decided to warm up with my dad and sister and walk with them for a bit before taking off and running. I could then meet up with them later. It was cool. We saw the most awesome costumes. Smurfs, Elvises, penguins, Fandango puppets, a Mini cooper, a giant Chipotle burrito wrapped in tin foil, centipedes, superheros, Star Wars storm troopers, etc., etc. There was definitely a quorom of naked people--all very unattractive. Wrinkled, fat, and wearing nothing but fanny packs. And, yes, there was obvious chafing. The sharks were funny. They all followed each other, circling random people, policemen, firemen, the naked people. They were great. I loved the salmon swimming upstream (running the route in the opposite direction). That was just awesome. My favorite was the group of people wearing nude shirts and shorts with picket signs that read, "Nudists on Strike". That's just awesome.
I took off around Hayes street, just before mile 2. Hayes Hill is the famous, 11.5% 0.5 or so mile hill. It's awesome. Because it was near the beginning, and I had been walking, I felt very fresh. I took off, darting in and out of people. Somewhere near the bottom of the hill on the other side, I found a spot and fell into a nice pace. The miles flew by. I felt fantastic. I had never been so entertained. Plus, the adrenaline was pumping. I was running fast the whole time without any effort. It was the best runner's high ever. I had so much to look at. The costumes, the bands (playing awesome music--I loved the one dressed up as Hassidic Jews playing Yiddish music in a real upbeat, rockin' way), the very spirited (and drunk) onlookers, etc. After the Hayes Street Hill, the entire route is a luxurious, gentle descent through gorgeous Golden Gate Park. It was gorgeous. Very green and moist after the morning's rain; it smelled like wet grass and dirt. There were flowers, streams, waterfalls, trees, and best of all, a pasture of protected buffalo. Who would have thought? All of a sudden, I had reached mile 7. Already? I wanted more! I've never felt so good at the end. Then, I saw the waves crashing on the beach. It was a fantastic sight. I flew past the finish.
This was the first race where I didn't care about the time. There was no pressure. It was the most fun I'd ever had. Because I'd walked the first 2 miles, I didn't overdo it. My foot and knee felt fantastic the whole way. I finished in 1:34. Without the walk, I finished the final 5.5 miles in about 50 minutes. Not too bad. It was a great workout too. I got my "long" run in, spent time with my family, and had a great time.
The worst part was the organization of the after-party (Footstock). It was a mile from the finish, and there was no water beforehand. Plus, the bus that took you back to the start was at Footstock so you had no choice but to walk the extra mile, which was exhausting b/c it was unexpected. I had to pay an astronomical $7.50 (normal bus fare, $1.50) to be bused back to the start (in addition to the entry fee). The bus took forever--the line to get on, the ride (it went on a ridiculous, circuitous route; I think the race was shorter!), and, it didn't even drop us back at the start. It dropped me about 4 blocks away. I then had to navigate my way back to the hotel. What the f*#%? The race directors definitely have their work cut out for them. They really blew it. However, despite this, I still had an awesome time.
The good? The race and all the people.
The bad? The post-race events and organization.
The ugly? The naked people!
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Needless to say, I've felt kind of frazzled. My mom and I made an emergency run to the food store to load up on ice cream and chocolate. Hey, it's my carbo-loading, okay? She mentioned that people would think we had a bad case of the munchies. Ha ha.
This morning, my dad took me to his gym so I could use the pool. It was a short, crowded pool but I got my laps in, and it felt good to swim. I worked on swimming long as practice for the upcoming International Triathlon in June.
We're about to drive up to San Fran for the Bay to Breakers tomorrow. I'm psyched. My foot and knee are feeling great. I might actually break away from my dad and my sister when the crowd thins out and run a bit to practice my long run for the International Tri. It's 7.5 miles so that'll be perfect. I can't wait to see all the crazy costumes! Should be an interesting race report.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Yesterday, I was planning on attending the tri club's Aquathlon at La Jolla Shores after work. I've been feeling frazzled at lab since I have to present at lab meeting next week and get everything organized. Plus, I'm going out of town this weekend to visit my folks in Nor Cal (and do Bay to Breakers in San Fran while I'm up there). In addition, all the tri club workouts have left me feeling worn out. I was really looking forward to the open water swim, and the run afterwards would be good medicine for me. But by the time 5:00 p.m. rolled around, I was frazzled and could barely keep my eyes open. I decided to scrap the workout and head home. I could feel that my body was just too exhausted and sore to contemplate doing it well and putting the effort into it. So I went home and took a nice, long nap.
I felt guilty about missing the Aquathlon, but I know deep down, it was the right thing to do. It's frustrating to have to hold back when you're read to go, go, go. Anyway, I felt very refreshed when I woke up and calmer. I packed for the weekend and cleaned up the apartment so I felt less distracted. Jason was home, and we both hadn't worked out yet so I suggested we go down to the gym and go for a run. We headed down but it was closed for repair. Undaunted (I was reallly in the mood for a run!), I suggested we go outside. Jason was reluctant; it was dark and 10:30 at night. In St. Louis, this would have never been an option because of safety issues. But UTC is so safe--sidewalks, street lamps, lots of people around all the time. In addition, I felt very safe with Jason. Plus, we hadn't been running together since January, we barely see each other because he's always at school and I'm always at lab, and he's my favorite training partner! I begged him, and he finally gave in.
We set out for a 4-mile round trip out-and-back run to the UCSD campus and back. The night was crisp and smelled of sweet flowers. People were out walking their dogs, couples walking, students, studying late, returning home for the evening. I felt so comfortable. I fell into a pace and had no trouble keeping up with Jason (which is amazing; he's fast!). I felt very zippy. I did lots of fartleks (every time a good song came on my shuffle, which was often), and before I knew it, the run was over, and I felt completely revitalized.
Since I had skipped the swim earlier, I felt I could do some light weight lifting. I followed the run with a good 30 minutes of weights. I did lots of oblique, upper and lower ab stuff, push-ups for my chest, triceps, shoulders, and rows for my upper back. I finished it off with some work on my hip abductors (my weak spot). The only thing I didn't do was quads since they're pretty sore already. (I never do calves or hamstrings b/c they're too tight anyway). Then, I stretched for about 15 minutes (felt great) before grabbing a bowl of cereal and hitting the hay.
This morning, before lab, I got up and hooked up the bike to the trainer. I had a great aerobic, but recovery ride on the bike for about 45 minutes. Enough to get my heart pumping and flush the lactic acid out of my legs. I feel like I'm going full speed.
This evening, I'm looking foward to seeing my family in Nor Cal. Sunday is Bay to Breakers!!! I'm excited b/c I've been running so well. NO FOOT OR KNEE PAIN!!! I can't believe how happy I am just to be able to work out pain-free.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
We took off, and I felt totally disoriented. I already felt like I had been racing to get there so I was kind of frazzled. Plus, I didn't quite know what the gameplan was since I had missed most of the pre-ride talk. Also, no warm-up. Also, everyone else was super-fast...faster than me anyway so I went from 0 to sprint right away. 3 miles later, I was huffing and puffing and my legs were screaming. I let the group pull ahead and just settled into my own pace, deciding I could figure it out. Again, worst-case scenario, I would fudge the ride and figure out something. As long as I knew how to get back, it would be fine.
Mentally, I started to settle down but my body had a hard time since I had been going, going, going. In addition, I felt tired. My legs were sore, and I had no power. I knew it was from lack of recovery since I had a long, hard bike on Sunday and a hilly, hard bike on Tuesday. Now, Wednesday, I'm back on the bike, sprinting. Despite all these setbacks, I didn't mind. I accepted where I was and just focused on having a good workout.
The group was super-nice. I missed the first turn, and they all made sure I knew where it was as they passed me going back. I turned back and got back on track. The coach stayed behind at the second turn and waited for me so he could make sure I knew where to go. I didn't expect that at all. Very, very considerate.
I made it back to the car/transition area, changed into my running shoes, and the coach gave me course directions for a 5K run. I had been looking forward to the run all week. My foot has been feeling better, and I've been aching to run more since it's my favorite activity. My legs had the familiar heavy, dead feeling you get when running off the bike. However, I noticed it went away much faster than previous bricks. Only 3 minutes into my run, I found a very comfortable pace. I went into a zone and floated down the street. My form felt smooth and easy. I relaxed and started to really settle down. I had a lot of fun looking at all the shops I passed around town. After the first loop, I checked my watch and realized I needed a 2nd loop for 3 miles. This would have been an easy time to quit; I could see the car. Normally, I would have to push myself. This time, I didn't want to stop. I wanted to keep going. It was awesome. The second loop was even better than the first. I came back to the car, feeling fresher than when I had started. I even felt like I could go farther but I didn't want to push it. Best thing? No foot pain!!! Unbelievable. Also, I didn't have any knee pain on the bike. Yea!!!
The coach asked how I felt and was surprised when I told him I felt better after the run than the bike. He also was surprised when I told him I had done two loops. Guess he figured after my performance on the bike that I would be a slow runner. He was very nice though and never made me feel bad about being sapped on the bike. I think I probably just needed more recovery from biking but since I hadn't been running in a few days, was fresh for running.
Ending on a good note was a great thing. I also met some new, friendly people. I am so sore today. Good sore. I stretched a lot last night. It felt great. Obviously, I chose to sleep in this morning rather than weight lift. Sore, tired muscles don't make for good weight lifting. I feel I'm training smart and hard so I'm happy. However, I haven't been able to make room for weight training, which is important for me since I lack strength and power. Normally, I do it twice a week. It's not that I don't have the time, my body just can't handle it this week. I'm training as hard as my body can safely handle right now, and there's just no more room for anything else. How do you reconcile this?
Question of the Day:
How do you balance weight training with running, swimming, and biking plus recovery time when the triathlon stuff tires your body out?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I hopped on the trainer at the shop for the bike fitting. The guy was so great. He's one of the "original" Ironmen. He used to be pro and raced THE Ironman in 1981, the first time it was held on "the big island," as he called it (I'm guessing this was Kona). But he was totally laid-back and nice. I was totally intimidated but he put me at ease. He made a few small, conservative adjustments that definitely made a big difference and a lot of sense to me. More comfortable in the hoods, more comfortable pedaling position, more comfortable seat height position. All small adjustments. My knee didn't hurt all today while biking!
He gave me really great advice on clip-on aero bars on road bikes. He advised sticking with the road bike geometry and using shorter clip on bars in order to maintain the road bike position, yet begin to transition to aero. That way, you can choose to go back and forth to whichever position without really changing the bike. Obviously, to really go aero, I'll need a tri bike but that will be in the distant future. He didn't think I needed aero bars yet. He wanted me to keep building my base and get comfortable with the adjustments he made first. I can't believe this guy works at a bike shop and was telling me not to buy stuff!
In addition, he gave me a mini bike pedaling technique lesson. He was very nice and encouraging so I didn't feel stupid or torn apart. He was very careful to include compliments on the positives I was doing and then show me how to correct some weaknesses. Basically, I need to think "heels down" to have a more neutral position and not point my toes down when I pedal. It's kind of like an Achilles stretch while pedaling. This takes the pressure off the back of the legs and focuses it on the front while engaging the core. In addition, he showed me how to pull up at the back of the pedal stroke and focus less on the pushing down. If I effectively "pull up," then the momentum carries it around and back down. I really got the feel of it, and my pedal stroke felt smoother and faster. It was very informative.
Afterwards, I biked the 10 miles back to lab. I was sore and a little fatigued at this point after my short, but intense, trainer session. I was dreading the Torrey Pines hill. However, I need to work on my strength and power, and hills are key. This hill used to kill me. Today, even though I was already tired when I started at the bottom, I felt like I was flying up it! I just didn't feel as tired going up, and I got up a lot faster than I usually do. Plus, I caught a guy in front of me and passed him, which is always a rush.
I grabbed my stuff at lab, and then biked the final 3.5 miles back home. All in all, I ended up going about 25 miles for a total of 1:50 biking time. Even though it was broken up, it was intense and hilly when I rode. I feel sore and tired. I got a great workout in.
Epiphany of the Day:
I was planning on doing a run and/or weights this evening but I'm beat. I decided to rest instead. I'm very proud of myself. I've been cutting out extra workouts, as needed, when I feel tired or sore from other workouts. This is a huge step forward for me. I usually plan 2 workouts each day. One of them is the "key" workout, and the other is more of a "maintenance" workout. I focus on my key workout so that I can give it my all. If that takes it all out of me, and I have to scrap the second workout, I do it now, guilt-free. I'd rather have 1 awesome workout a day than 2 that I half-ass. I think my body will thank me later.
Lab was crazy and hectic. I'm busy, all of a sudden, and felt like I couldn't get enough done. I'm not used to working with mice. It's planning, planning, and more planning for weeks. Then, waiting, waiting, waiting for months. Then, everything is ready at once. That's how it goes. I'm getting used to being my own boss, and it's hard because I want to push myself to the max all the time. I realized today that if I used a similar approach to working in lab that I do to training for triathlon, I would probably be more productive and have a lot more fun. Instead of forcing myself all the time, I need to accept when things are slow and pace myself when things get hectic. It's like an Ironman; I need to pace myself to avoid burnout. It's a good philosophy, I think. I just have to put it into practice. Once I realized that, I got excited again. I'm excited about my work. That's a good thing. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and get into lab. I haven't felt that way in awhile, and it's great to have that again.
More like a "note to self"
Do NOT get a deep tissue massage and then rush to a master's swim workout. I got a deliciously painful massage and felt like rubber; afterwhich, I derilously jump into the 50m pool at the JCC (purified by ozone, not chlorine--how luxurious) for my first (yes, first) master's swim workout with the tri club AND my first master's swim workout in about 2 years. Oops.
I got off to a bad start with the swim workout. After our warm-up, we were instructed to swim 100 repeats with 10 seconds rest. I looked around for the clock since I had taken off my watch.
Innocently, I ask, "Where's the clock?"
The instructor looks at me questioningly, and replies, "You don't need a clock."
I look at her, confused, and reply, "How are we supposed to rest for 10 seconds?"
Sarcastically, she snaps, "I think you can manage to count to 10."
Argh! What a bitch! That was my first instinct. As I began my laps, it was all I could do to not let it bother me. I realized I had gone 50m, the whole time thinking,
"That was totally uncalled for. How dare she talk to me that way. I'm new. I don't know. I was just asking a question. What a bitch. I hate her. This sucks. I guess this is not for me. I'm never coming back. I'll have to look for another Master's class. That really sucks because this one is so tri specific...." And so on. The 2nd 50m I tried to take control.
This time I was thinking,
"You're getting distracted. Think about your stroke. It doesn't matter. You're letting it get to you. Put it out of your head." That took a LOT of effort. About the 3rd 100m, I got a lot better. This time I thought,
"Maybe it was a bad first impression. That happens all the time. Maybe she was kidding and it came out wrong. Maybe I should just give her a chance. Just focus on the workout. Even if she is a bitch, I can just pretend it came out wrong, and I'll never know the difference."
Even if I had been focusing on the wrong thing, at least I can work things out in my head while I swim! The lesson? Don't let people get in the way of your workout, especially if it's little things, and even if it's the instructor. Let it roll off your shoulders (like a duck). Best of all? Pretend like they didn't mean it. Maybe they didn't! Haven't you had days where you snapped and said something that came out all wrong? Thinking like that totally diffused the bomb of rage inside me. Yes, I know I'm moody and emotional and easily set off. The trick is how to control it.
(related to #2)
I began the main workout, which was a set of sprints that changed every 25 meters with very little rest. Very quickly, I was exhausted. At a rest, I tried to start up a conversation with another girl in my lane, who was also resting:
"Whew! I'm not used to these sprints. They're pretty tough."
"Hope you don't do sprints (triathlons) then."
"Yeah, but for sprints you swim like 500 meters. That's a lot longer then 50 meters."
She shrugged and replied, "I guess. But still..."
I felt completely deflated. Like I just couldn't do the workout. Plus, I realized it was 4x as long as I had originally thought. After a pregnant pause I looked at her and said, "Of course I do sprints. I'm still a beginner." For some reason, that completely diffused the situation. I made it clear I wasn't going to compete with her. I demonstrated that I was confident in where I was and enjoyed being a beginner. If she swam on a swim team and was a great swimmer, good for her. I wasn't going to let her opinion matter. I am where I am.
(also related to 2 & 3).
However, at this point, I was feeling pretty crappy. I was tired and hurting, and my muscles weren't cooperating, feeling like rubber after my massage. Psychologically, I felt this small (holding fingers close together). I wanted to throw in the towel and call it a night. Then, this older, very nice girl, who had been observing the whole thing, spoke up and made my whole day:
"Just do what you can. Don't worry about it. Set your own pace."
This was the epiphany. It gave me back control. Of course! Set my own pace. Do what I can. That was my mantra the rest of the workout. My arms felt like spaghetti, and I had to slow down considerably. But I was floating on air. Plus, I finally found a pace I could sustain in order to complete the seemingly impossible workout. No one else mattered. Only me. This is for me. I've never had so much fun. I felt like I could go all night.
After that, I ended up meeting a few really nice people, some of who I've seen at previous workouts. They all asked me what other workouts I was planning on doing this week so we could all coordinate. So cool! Workout buddies! The girl who gave me such encouraging words congratulated me on doing such a good job on my swim workout. I was so grateful. Plus, she offered to be my swim buddy at future open water swims!!!
Overall Take-Home Message:
I guess I learned that there are always going to be people who make you feel bad and people who make you feel good everywhere you go. That gives me a choice. I choose not to avoid the people who make me feel crappy and surround myself with the people who make me feel good. Seems simple in theory, huh?
At the end, I had to jump from the pool and race home to catch the season finale of Gray's Anatomy. That show is SO awesome. (I cried when the dog died.)
Summary of Swim Workout:
Warm-Up 500m Free
4x100m with 10 s rest
4x400 of the following:
25 m sprint free head up (like you do at the beginning of an open-water swim race)
25 m race pace
25 m sprint head down
25 m race pace
rest 20 s each 400
(modification for normal people like me to make it easier--rest 30 s after each 100; P.S. I only did 3x400 before I ran out of time)
50m sprint relays (2 teams of 2)
race 25 m--tag teammate (or rest 30 sec)
Total Distance: about 2600m
Time: about 1.5h
Monday, May 15, 2006
Note: Pics are not my own. Left is pic of Penasquitos Canyon (example of what I saw yesterday) and right is Lake Miramar. Jut to give you an idea of the sights from my ride.
2nd Opinion on Feet:
I was rather displeased with the 1st podiatrist's diagnosis last week, which was basically, "I don't know what's wrong. Just ice it and see if it gets better." So I went to a place that made custom orthotics. The owner used to run marathons and he was recommended to me by a friend so I thought I'd check it out. I am so happy I went. He evaluated my biomechanics and foot structure as well as my shoes. Turns out, my foot is narrow with high arches, and extremely flexible, which is a bad thing, because I don't have any support when I land. This makes me overpronate and supinate; ever heard of that? Great. I do both. Figures. I have weird feet. I'm sticking with my Brooks Adrenaline. However, since they're stability shoes for overpronators, he's making a custom orthotic for the supination as well as giving me arch and metatarsal support. Plus, the left foot will be different from the right--each orthotic is made for the foot. I'm so excited; I can't wait. I pick them up next week.
Awesome Sunday Bike Ride:
Yesterday, I finally gave up trying to get Jason to go on a ride with me and resolved to be brave and go it alone. I mapped the course out, wrote it down, and stuck it in my jersey so as not to get lost (brilliant, I know; however, it's taken a few wrong turns for me to figure out this strategy). I took off and rode past the Pensaquitos Canyon, which was gorgeous, and then headed up and around Lake Miramar before heading back. There were just enough hills to give me a challenge, and the roads were fast and smooth. It was so relaxing. (See pics above).
- Riding on the shoulder of the interstate to get to Sorrento Valley Rd. Yes it IS allowed on that section of I-5 but it's a little freaky. Plus, there was a ton of glass in one section, which royally sucked.
- I saw a gorgeous royal blue and gold Macaw parrot riding on a lady's shoulders as she walked around the lake. I said, "What a beautiful bird!" She said, "Thank you!" He said, "Hello!" It was a precious moment.
- Somehow, on the way back, I got turned around and ended up going 12 miles out of the way in the wrong direction, up very steep hills (both ways). It sucked but I did discover a) a gorgeous little golf course and driving range and b) a pet cemetary (creepy).
- By the time it was all said and done, I had gone 38 miles (2:40) and was exhausted and starved. I met Jason on campus, and we ran to Islands and brought home cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and fries--great post-recovery meal. I then nursed my sore legs while watching the most awesome episodes of Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy--yes, I'm addicted.
URL for this route is: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=183506.
Salvaging a Not-So "Perfect" Plan: On my last post, I was pretty upset about not working out according to my "plan." Many of you had very helpful comments. I think I was pretty tired after last week's race, and my body simply needed more rest. I still had a productive week; I just took more days off than intended. But it's all about listening to your body, right? I have such an all-or-nothing attitude that when I take an unintended day off, or even miss a morning workout b/c I slept in, I feel like my whole week is ruined. I get depressed and feel hopeless. Then I don't want to do any workouts b/c what's the point? Then I skip more workouts and feel even more guilty. It's a vicious cycle. My instinct is to double up on workouts to make up for the ones I missed, which you ARE NOT supposed to do. Then, I get overwhelmed with all the workouts I'm supposed to do. Again, I end up doing none of them b/c I don't even know where to start or where to begin. The moral? When I skip a day, skip it, and be done with it. Then, move on. Begin from the next day's workout. It's not productive to ask your body to do double the workouts in half the time. After I had an awesome swim and run on Friday and very good bike on Sunday, I began to feel a lot better. Then I realized how silly I had been. I guess the moral is--stop dwelling and planning and just get out there and do something! From now on, I'm going to try and practice what I preach--when I miss a workout, I'll move on from there.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Oops. About posting on the perfect week not too long ago. This week has been anything but. I've taken several days off and have been completely wiped. I have been going to bed at 10:30 only to turn off my alarm when it goes off in the morning and waking up at 8:30. Today, I was going to get up and go for a bike ride with the tri-club and ended up going back to bed instead. I have slept literally ALL day. I'm just starting to get up but I can't shake this overwhelming feeling of guilt. I hate when this happens. I like following my plan and having enough energy to do so. I feel like a failure when I can't follow through. What is wrong with me?
On a more positive note, I had a great day on Friday. Despite missing my morning workout (again), I brought my running clothes to work and snuck in an awesome 4-miler in the afternoon. I felt fast and light. My knee feels great. Still some pain in my hip (that's normal) and an achy foot that demanded ice and ibuprofen afterwards. (I'm seeing podiatrist #2 on Monday for a 2nd opinion. I'm going to be more assertive about getting a custom orthotic. Podiatrist #1 said, "Yup. Your high arches are the culprit," but then refused to give me an orthotic. What the f...?)
I then rushed over to the La Jolla Cove and met a group from the tri-club for an open water swim. Swimming in the ocean is still new to me. The cove is pretty protected, but still has a current and waves. The biggest issue for me is seasicknesses. Yup. Seasickness. I can't help it but it makes me feel like such a wimp. I'm fine when I'm moving but when I stop for a breather, it's all over. Especially when the swells start rocking. Which is a lot. When I used to scuba dive, I had to take non-drowsy Dramamine for the boat ride before and after, and bobbing up and down in the water before we went under. Since I had no problems then, I figured it would be releatively safe to take it for this. It definitely helped. I only took 1, however, and I still felt like I was fighting the dizziness and nasuea. I'll probably take 2 next time. I'd rather take it and have a nice swim than be puking my brains out (shark bait!).
A really nice girl I've seen a few times before offered to stick with me and be my swim buddy. We waded into the water and started swimming. I was expecting the water to be freezing but, with my wetsuit, I hardly noticed the chill. I think it was about 63. I focused on taking deep breaths, and we started swimming. The water was calm and amazingly clear. I could see seaweed growing up from the bottom, dancing back and forth with the water. Fish were everywhere! Mostly little to medium sized ones. Blue ones, shiny ones, silver ones, bright orange ones--I hardly wanted to take a breath; I was having so much fun staring at the fish. A sea lion drifted close to us and then dove underneath. We could hear sea lion noises under the water! I felt like I was snorkeling.
It was very nice having a buddy to swim with. I didn't feel scared at all. Actually, I was much more comfortable looking under the water then looking out of the water. Underneath, you can see how you are definitely not alone. But whenever I would look up, sometimes the open sea just looks vast and ominous. Plus, you can really see how big the swells are; whereas, if you just keep your head down and keep swimming, you just go through them, and they don't seem that bad. Sighting was probably the hardest simply because of the dizziness factor. I was fine looking down or to the side to breathe but lifting my head up to find the buoy was hard because I would get vertigo every time. Maybe I need to wear ear plugs? I've heard some other people have this problem sometimes. I'd be curious to hear what people do to conquer this. I never had this problem in a lake!
The buoys marked the way and were placed every 1/4 mile. We swam out to the 1/2 mile point and took a little breather while my buddy fixed her cap and goggles. We debated going all the way out to a mile, which would be a total round trip of 2. I felt all for it...until a swell came up underneath as we were resting, and then I started to feel naseous. It was my first time out afterall. I decided to be conservative. "Let's head back this time," I suggested. "Okay. Next time," she said. Plus, the current worked against us going back, and we didn't know how hard it would be to fight it. It wasn't too bad, but you never know. The swim back was great. The whole thing was verrry relaxing. Unfortunately, on the way back, I swam headfirst into a large dead bird, a cormorant, I think, big black bird the size of a pelican. It was really gross but I didn't want to stop and think about it for fear my seasickness would get the better of me. I focused on the sandy shores and kept on swimming. But, for real......ewwwwww. Afterwards, I had a feast from all the food people had brought for a potluck. Grilled burgers and chicken, salad, pasta, desserts...it was delicious. Plus, there were tons of people to meet and talk to. I had a blast.
So I'm pretty bummed today about being so exhausted and bailing on everything. But yesterday was great so the whole week hasn't been a waste at least.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
This brings me to question #2) When is a novice no longer a novice? I feel like a beginner because I have so much to learn, and so many goals to complete. I really am just starting out. When I see other triathletes, I am nowhere near as experienced as they are. However, I've done some triathlons, I have the equipment, and this is my 3rd season. I think I've proven that I'm committed and that this is something I love to do, but other than that, I'm still a newbie getting my feet wet. When does a person become "experienced"? After a race season? An Ironman? Is it the aerobars? The mileage? When can you say you're "seasoned"?
Just curious on your thoughts...
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I'm not sure exactly what's changed. However, I'm a big believer in lists. My weeks go from Monday to Sunday. Every Sunday, I sit down and plan out my week. I fit my training, errands, and work all into one calendar. That way, I can balance workouts, groceries, and lab time in the best way. I've learned to only put things on the list that are a priority. I have a "B" priority list that I keep in my calendar book to keep track of other things that I need to get done, but not immediately. When I have time, I move two or three things at a time off the "B" list to the "A" list. It all eventually gets done.
I've started getting up in the morning to do my first workout. I've started bringing lunch to lab, and planning out healthy snacks throughout the day. I do a second workout immediately after lab, followed by whatever chores I still need to do. The rest of the night, I relax, wind down, and get ready for bed. Then, I go to bed early. It's not perfect but, unbelievably, it's been falling into place. I set two alarms (one's a sound soother, the other a radio so as not to jerk me awake but to rouse me gently), away from the bed. That's key. Once I get out of bed in the morning, my whole day seems to fall into place.
Since I've been doing this, I feel more on top of things. I have more energy, have been taking less naps, and drinking less caffeine. It just has been clicking. I AM LOVING it! I'm trying to get things done as quickly as they arise so as not to get overwhelmed.
I was able to move around my schedule and get in to see the podiatrist this morning (instead of Friday). He x-rayed my foot and prodded it a lot. It's not a stress fracture, thank God. It's been healing so he had a hard time pinpointing exactly what it is but it seems to be some tendonitis of the first metatarsal. Ice and ibuprofen 3x/day for 1-2 weeks. Massage. He also said active recovery would help. He told me to resume my normal training but not to up the mileage for 1 week. If it gets worse, I'll call him. I was so glad I could start running again! It did feel better after I warmed up into the run this weekend. I'm stoked. We'll see what happens. Meanwhile, this morning, before my appointment, I got on the elliptical for 30 minutes, followed by a weights session.
My right knee on the outside has been bugging me when I bike lately. I think it's from a tight IT band and/or narrow cleat position. I called the local tri bike shop and am setting up a custom fitting. The guy is supposed to be a tri expert. I'm very excited. He's going to get me all set up. I think it's a good idea. I had the bike fitted to me when I bought it 2 years ago but I was such a raw beginner then, I hadn't developed my "style" or form. I remember that it was recommended I get a second fitting after I had been biking awhile to make adjustments. That's what I'm going to do. I'm also going to see about aero bars. Afterall, every time I ride Bluebell, it's for tri training. It seems to make sense to see if I can do clip-ons for now and graduate to the next level. Then, I'll be set until I can afford to invest in a specific tri-bike.
Anyway, yesterday I sat down and drew up a very detailed training plan between now and the San Diego International Triathlon on June 25th. The podiatrist said everything was a go, and the bike fitting will also be an immense help. Sounds like I might actually have a shot at doing it! I can't wait. 1K swim in the bay, 23 hilly bike, and 10k flat run. I think I can, I think I can. I'm pretty excited (if you can't tell).
Monday, May 08, 2006
Question of the Day:
Should I invest in clip-on aerobars for my road bike?
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I couldn't believe it when the alarm went off at 4. At least I had slept soundly. When I get up for a race, I just can't imagine what I will be doing in a few hours. I didn't want to eat anything but I did manage to eat a chewy granola bar that was actually quite good. We got to the transition area 10 minutes before it opened (5:35). This has never happened before. I got to pick a primo spot, get body-marked, set up my transition area, and RELAX. This actually made me quite nervous. However, I did recognize some people I've seen at some of the tri-club workouts so it was very nice talking with them.
Jason took off for the duathlon, and I finished putting on my wetsuit and headed down to the water. I had been freezing all morning and was dreading getting in the water. Once my wetsuit was on, I was actually comfortable (out of the water). Once I got in the water, my teeth instantly started chattering. I swam out and back to the warm-up buoy several times but I just couldn't get warmed up. I finally figured out the answer--peeing in the wetsuit. Gross, but I was fine after that. Then, I just did some gentle water aerobics, not caring about how silly I looked, to keep warm until my wave started.
The horn blew, and our wave started. Everyone was super nice and friendly, which made everything so much more comfortable. The swim was fantastic. Since I was warmed-up, I was ready and revved to go. I relaxed and settled into a pace. I even saw some little fishies! I actually was sad to be done with the swim so quickly (only 1/4 mi).
I didn't have too much of a problem getting the wetsuit off and jumping on the bike. I felt wet and salty but other than that, okay. The bike was flat and fast--10 miles total; 2 loops around Fiesta Island. I was expecting lots of wind but it was early in the morning, and very calm. It was very enjoyable and pretty uneventful. Took me about 35 minutes, which is good for me.
I've noticed that I'm starting to get a sore lower back from the bike. The other thing is that my right knee hurts on the outside when I try to push a larger gear. It's gotta be something about my biomechanics. I think I'm going to need to see a physcial therapist about and/or get a customized bike fitting. I don't need another injury.
The run started, and instantly, my foot was aching. I knew this was going to happen. I twisted my ankle walking out to the car on Thursday, and landed funny on my vulnerable foot. Up until then, it had been getting better. I can't WAIT to see the podiatrist this Friday. Anyway, I was getting ready to walk, when I hit the trail. My legs started feeling better, I found a pace, and my foot pain evaporated. I felt invigorated. I started passing people. I just love running, and it will always be my strong point. At the end, in the chute, people were cheering me on, and I picked it up even more. Then one guy sprinted past me, and something primal took over. I kicked it into high gear and sprinted over the finish. Why did I do that? Duh. I had to walk it off for the next 5 minutes so as not to puke. Anyway, I ran sub-10 minute miles, which is great, considering how limited my running has been.
All in all it was a great race. I had a lot of fun. Not only that, but I finished in about 1:15, which I'm very happy with, even though I know that's slow for many.
I came home, showered, and promptly took a 4 hour nap. Haven't really been hungry all day. Just nibbling on toast and drinking tea. Why is it that after any race, I lose my appetite? Certainly I need to replenish my body. Weird. Anyway, my foot is definitely sore but feels a million times better this afternoon with ice and ibuprofen. I'm taking it easy the rest of the week.
I'm also just going to focus on healing and training for the International Triathlon at the end of June, which I'm terrified about. I've never done that distance. I have to get more used to open water (at least it will be in the bay so the water will be calm), which is doable. I have to get used to a 23 mile bike, which, again, is doable (gotta get my knee-thing fixed). The thing I'm not sure about is my foot for the run. Number 1--can it heal in time? Number 2--will I be able to get used to 6 miles again that quickly after the swim and bike? Ugh. Nervous, nervous. This race will be all about finishing and experience, not time. However, I need to savor the victory of today's race a little more before worrying about the next one!
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Based on this new information, I've decided to go ahead and race conservatively this weekend. It'll be a "C" priority race. I need it for experience. I know I can be disciplined enough to take it easy on the run (I did at the Carlsbad 5000) as long as I have the mindset that I'm going to go slow purposefully before I start. Worst comes to worst, I can always walk. I'm not running at all between now and Sunday, which hopefully, will also give it more time to heal.
Other news? I have a new strategy for balancing life and triathlon. It seems so easy, simple, and apparent, but I've actually started doing it. What is it, you wonder? Wake up early! I'm a night owl by nature so this has been extremely difficult. There are a couple of reasons that motivated me to wake up earlier.
1) I'm sick of feeling guilty all the time for getting into lab late.
2) I feel rushed all day when I wake up late.
3) I miss all the tri club workouts in the pm (all at 6 pm).
4) I feel pressured to do 2 back-to-back workouts at night, which is hard at the end of the day.
I started by setting 2 alarms: 1 is a gentle sound soother to lull me awake; the other is a radio alarm that goes off 10 minutes later--loud enough that I can't fall back asleep, but not so loud as to startle me awake. It worked! I woke up early enough today and yesterday to do a morning workout. Then, I can get into lab at a decent time, feel productive without being hurried (hopefully), and leave in time to join the tri club for workout number 2 by 6. I'm home by 8, and do chores, get ready for the next day (key), eat dinner, and then relax (play with bunnies, stretch, watch t.v.). By 10, I'm sleepy so I get into bed and read for a bit before turning out the lights by 10:45 and being asleep by 11! This is HUGE for me. That means I can get up by 7! Eventually I'll get it even earlier but for right now, this is HUGE. I'm so excited!
This week has been superb so far.
Monday: massage (which I really needed); bike (trainer); weights
Tuesday: swim (went swimmingly; hee hee)
Wednesday: run treadmill 3 mi (am); tri club workout Fiesta Island time trial (12 miles; 5 laps) (pm)
Note--I loved meeting some of the other club members; this was my first club workout; there are some very nice people there!
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I found a highly recommended podiatrist and made an appointment. The earliest he could see me was next Friday, which will be after the Spring Sprint Tri this weekend. I just hope he can get me back on track for the International Tri at the end of June. I can handle 3 miles (sort of) right now but, unfortunately not 6 (ack!). I've already signed up for both triathlons so I feel kind of pressured (they're expensive!). Question #1 of the day: What should I do about the triathlon this weekend? I really hate to blow all that money. I'm kind of leaning towards doing it and being very conservative on the run, using my new insoles. If it hurts too much, I can walk, or (gulp) not do the run and do the other 2 phases. It'll be good practice, and I'll use that approach. It's a 1/4 mile swim in the bay (I just got a new wetsuit), 9 mile bike, and 3 mile run. Only thing is--I don't want to injure myself more and take myself out of the running for the International Tri, which is a bigger race. Sigh.