Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our seventh anniversary. He had a work dinner last night but we were able to go out Sunday night. The funny thing was that all of our top restaurant choices were jam packed due to so many people in town for the Tour. After driving around for a bit for finally settled on Chilli's. Certainly not the most romantic dinner faire, but obviously being together was the important thing. Those of you with kids know how rare adult dinners can be, so it was a treat. Speaking of treats, my husband ate the Chocolate Molten Cake all by himself while I watched. I was tempted to justify digging in, but was good. Don't worry, I had a piece of apple pie when I got home, so it wasn't as if I didn't indulge at all.

Since my husband is the most amazingly supportive person in the universe, we spent most of the meal talking about triathlons. -Keep in mind my husband has no desire to ever do one himself, but he makes an awesome support crew. We talked about my new bike, other gear I needed and my race schedule. We have pretty much decided that IMAZ is the way to go. Although I wish it were later in the season (not during the summer though!), the location makes it perfect. We will be able to drive to the race, and my family in Tucson will be able to be there as well. So, now we are trying to figure out when my off season should be. I consulted Iron Benny because he is going for IMAZ this year. He said his off season was September through most of November. That seems like a good option to me, except I want to try for the NYC marathon lottery and the Tour of Tucson, both of which would be in November. If I do those events that wouldn't really give me much of an off season. I don't know if I need a coach, or a really complicated spreadsheet, to figure this all out. -Advice from the peanut gallery (aka my readers) is always welcome.

Anyway, back to the anniversary... When my husband got home last night he told me that he ordered my gift: a gift certificate for a sports massage at Burke Williams. I need to decide the best time to get my massage. Should I do it before a big event or after? Here is a description of the treatment: A more technical and sometimes more aggressive style that "really gets in there". This massage is for any person, athlete or not, who senses their body is closing in on them. We suggest a full session for the upper body only or a deluxe session for the full body. Appointments are subject to the availability of our deep tissue therapists.

Besides marking our married years together, our anniversary is significant because it marks my intro into the world of triathlons and endurance events. Shortly after we married I decided I needed to find some sort of races to challenge myself to get in shape. Although I wanted to run long distances, I have had knee problems since high school and was scared to push myself to run long. So, I decided to train for a Sprint Distance triathlon. I didn't train too hard (just a few times a week, with lots of off days and no bricks), but I really enjoyed it. Back in those 'younger days' it also didn't take much to get in shape. After about six months, I kid you not, I completed my first sprint distance triathlon. After taking an incredibly long off season, I did two more the next summer. Then I realized my knees were holding up pretty well and I decided to train for a marathon. After my first marathon the kids were born and it was too hard to get in the swimming and biking with newborn twins. After eight marathons I am finally back to triathlons. Now I know how much I love the longer events and I am so excited to be back to triathlons. I am also excited and relieved that I have a partner who supports and encourages me through all my crazy endeavors.

On a different note I would like to welcome my Mom to the world of blogging! Have fun!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tour of California

I just have to say that living in the final city of the Tour of California completely rocked! it was really everything I expected and more. All last week I watched the race on tv and eagerly anticipated the day the tour would end in my city. Well, to be fair I should say "tried to watch," because every night I tried to watch the broadcast at 10 p.m., but I always ended up sleeping through half of it. I thought the race was very entertaining but I was just too tired from training to stay awake for all of it.

So race morning came and my household was very ready for it. My sister and nieces were in town but unfortunately had to drive back to AZ before the race (poor priorities IMHO), so we said goodbye to them before heading to the race. Being the eager fans the boys dressed in their cycling shorts and we were out the door by 9:45. Since it was so early we took our time walking down to the expo and prepped the kids on what to expect. ("Whatever you do, don't step in the street for any reason. Cheer loudly when they come by. Don't expect to see the riders for more than a couple seconds at a time.")

The expo was pretty good, especially for a first time event. Most teams had booths set up and were giving away some sort of free thing. The boys got orange feed bags which they liked wearing and they kept picking up flyers to put in them. They also managed to get a few cliff bar samples, some stickers, and a few water bottles. We also all got free t-shirts from a Community Wellness project. Of course we also managed to get 8 noise makers so we were well stocked on that front.

At the Cervelo booth we got to see David Zabriskie's TT bike from the TDF.



The only souvenir I bought was a t-shirt to commemorate his fastest TT time. It's a great shirt!

Cliff bar had the "green jersey" on hand. Although those segments during the race coverage were beyond cheesy, I just had to take a pic:

After wandering around the expo we decided to head to the spot where we would watch the race. On the way out we walked through the area where the team vans and buses would park. One or two teams were already there and I was struck by how accessible they were. Granted they weren't necessarily the top teams, but these were still some of the best riders anywhere and they were just walking around, riding their bikes, and hanging out. After a bit, more and more teams began to arrive and we decided to stick around and see who we could see. I was the official photographer so I ran around checking things out while my husband stayed in one area off to the side playing with the kids. Some of the teams were trying to get promotional pics taken, so I got some pics of teams posing. Here is part of the Kodak squad:

Also the Credit Agricole Team:


Nice to see those guys could also joke around a bit:
After awhile I headed back to my family where I found the boys proudly wearing Kodak Team hats. Apparently while I was gone, this guy (Jackson Stewart)

was riding around testing his bike. He stopped near my family to adjust something and when he looked up my husband said 'hi' (since they were standing right next to where he stopped). The rider then looked over, said hello and asked if they would like hats. Of course my boys eagerly responded "Yes" so he told them to wait right there while he went back to the team car. He quickly came back with hats for all of them. I thought that was just the coolest thing!

After waiting around a bit for the CSC guys to come out of their bus I started to feel like a groupie. So I abandoned my effort for pics of the team and we headed to our race viewing location. The course was a loop and we picked a spot where we could see them twice on each loop. Since there was a long breakaway this meant we didn't have to wait too long for riders to come by. Of course it was very hard to take pictures since they went buy quickly and we have an older digital camera, but here were some of the better ones:



(notice the clearing action on the right!)

The breakaway:
Not the best pic, but notice how we could see both the breakaway and the peloton at the same time:
Anyway, as a huge cycling fan it was great to be able to see this inaugural event in person. I really hope they hold it in this area next year as well so we can make it a tradition. Either way, I will definitely be watching it on tv. We taped yesterday's stage as well because I wanted to see them ride the whole course. I haven't watched it yet, but from what I read they went up a hill I struggle up at about 34 mph.

Swimming in the Wide Open Ocean

Saturday morning my tri camp had our first ocean swim. Although I was dreading the cold, I was also excited about being in the open water. I did three sprint triathlons years (and years) ago and had pretty fond memories of the ocean swims, despite bad waves at one race. I have never been a fast swimmer, but in the last 6 weeks I have already trained more than I did total for those three races, so I expected to feel some improvements on this ocean swim.

When I arrived at the beach I was happy to see very tiny waves and the sun out shining. I rubbed body glide all over my legs, put on my new wet suit, cap and goggles and was ready to go. The swim coaches prepped us on the fundamentals of ocean entries and exits and gave us tips for the open water. We did a brief warm up on the beach and then went down to the water. Our first mission was just to find out where the sand dropped, get a little wet, and return to the beach. At this point my toes were already numb from the cold sand so the water didn't feel too bad. However, when the water crept up to my back it was bitingly cold. Brrr....

Our second task was to get out and swim in it. We organized ourselves in three waves and I put myself in the middle one. We were only swimming about 15 yards out and then we turned at a buoy and came back. However, I felt awful out there. I could hardly breath and every stroke seemed to require so much work. Although the ocean was about as calm as it ever gets, I still felt like I was working so hard to get anywhere. I then did the worse possible thing and that was to allow my negative thoughts to creep to other events like: how can I possible swim 1.2 miles in open water? What about an ironman? I will never be able to do that. By the end I was so uncomfortable in the water that I was actually swimming with my head entirely above water, just like a dog! The coaches kept telling me to put my head in and swim but I just couldn't do it.

I finally got back to the beach feeling out and breath and dejected. I started feeling a bit better though when I talked to the other campers and the other newbies felt the same way. We were all amazed at how hard it was and most of us were breathing pretty hard. Luckily I am not shy and I talked to one of the coaches about my feelings. She was great and gave me some terrific tips on how to relax and was very encouraging.

On the last entry we had the option to swim to a further buoy, about 80 yards away. I put myself with the third group so I would feel even less pressure to swim fast. When we reached the first turn around spot I hard one of the coaches, who was on a kayak, tell me that was where the third group was turning. But I looked up and said that I thought we were going to the further spot. The he said, "Oh Bridget, it's you and of course you look strong so keep going. Nice job."

I know it sounds silly to be excited about going 80 yards off shore, but on Saturday this was truly a big accomplishment for me. I am so thankful that I had this camp to help me with the baby steps. This coming up Saturday will be an ocean endurance swim. I now know I can't take this swim for granted and need to spend the week mentally and physically preparing for it. Also, one of the coaches mentioned doing weekly a.m. ocean swims so I am going to see if he will start doing that. I know those would really help me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Computrainer Ride

Yesterday I had just about the coolest indoor bike experience ever. I went to the Triathlon Lab (LTS) where they hooked me up to ride on their computrainer. I only had time for a fifty minute ride because I had to pick the boys up from school, but it was super cool. Before I began, they inputted my facts (like weight, hr, etc) into the computer. The computer then calculated a pacer who I was supposed to be able to ride with. Unfortunately I am apparently not up to my cycling potential because I lost my pacer after a mile. Anyway, the program was just unbelievable. It automatically adjusted the trainer's tension according to the terrain on the course. On the tv I could see myself and a replica of the Wildflower course. Anyway, it was just a totally great experience and I am going to try to go back and ride more and more of the course each week. I was surprised at how tough the first hill was, but the rollers after that helped me build up speed. Granted I only did 10 miles, but I do think it helped in the confidence department. If computrainers weren't so darn expensive, I would consider buying one. It was just so neat to be able to simulate the course, without the weather conditions of course.

Based on my experience yesterday, I have decided to get almost all of my components from the store. The guys there were just incredible. They set everything up for me, and my camp friend who joined me, and even brought us drinks and snacks while we were riding. I felt like I had my own domestiques (sp). I think in my next life I will be a superb cyclist and ride the Tour de France. I really like having people there to help me out. lol

Today it was back to the pool for lots of kicking. My quads ache now. Later today I will be going for a ride with people from my camp. Tomorrow my sister and I will be running. It will be our first run together over a couple of miles so I am really looking forward to it. I hope she goes easy on me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bike Update!!

It's the moment you have all been waiting for... I bought a bike! Well, technically I only have the frame, but it's a start. My husband found a good deal on a titanium tri bike, so we ordered it last night. It is a 2004 Quintana Roo Santo. They don't make the bike anymore, but it is a new frame and since it is ti, I am not worried about it being old anyway. Here are some pics:


Now I have some parts decisions to make. I think I am going to get Ultegra and I already have some wheels in mind. My big decision is if I should go for drop bars with STI shifting and clip on aero bars (probably a good choice for Wildflower), or do I go all tri and get the bar end shifting? Please vote!

Also, of course I will need a name. I was something super-hero-ish. I was thinking Rogue, but my husband said she steals people's powers and that's not nice. So, I guess I need a nice super hero name.

I am super, super excited about my new bike! We are estimating that it should be built within the next two to fifty two weeks.


Monday, February 20, 2006

I Need More Sleep!

That's what my body was screaming to me last night. I had just finished watching the prologue of the Tour of California and I was laying out my clothes for an early morning run. Despite my drive to not miss workouts, I knew sleep was very important. So, I shuffled things around in my schedule and managed to sleep in and then run at the YMCA. Yes, it was a very boring one hour on the treadmill, but the extra sleep sure was nice. Actually, the treadmills at the Y are pretty snazzy and they all have individual tvs. I amused myself by watching 'Gilmore Girls.' I also got in most of my weight routine before I had to pick up the boys for some park time. Although they love the play area at the Y, I know they also need some fresh air so I am glad I was able to work it so they had both.

Speaking of the Tour of California, I will be watching each stage the next day from now on. I just cannot stay up that late and still workout, be a mommy, and not be a grump. So, please don't spoil what happens!

I almost forgot to mention the crazy thing I did this morning. After I woke up, I was feeling rather stiff and sore so can you guess what I did? YOGA! Can you believe it? I actually did yoga all on my own. I am sure I rushed through it too fast, but I did feel much better afterwards. I am amazed at how much I am really starting to enjoy it. I guess I needed all my workouts to make me appreciate relaxing a bit.

I am posting my week-long plans very soon. Saturday is a big day at the triathlon camp because we are practicing our entry and exits in the ocean. OMG, I just know it is going to be freezing. I am sure all you mid-west folks will be thrilled to have me so cold for a day. Brrr...

Btw, IMAZ is fast approaching which means soon registration will be opening for 2007. Is anyone else contemplating that race?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Feeling Good

I am feeling super happy tonight because I had a great training weekend. It all started at my triathlon camp Saturday. As expected we did some drill work on the track and ended with an 8 minute time trial. We were supposed to see how far we could run in eight minutes. I was happy because I did just over a mile. Not my normal pace by any means, so a good distance for me. After that we rode about 15 miles on a hilly circuit. The hills were much easier than the ones I had been doing so I felt very comfortable on this ride. In fact, I managed to ride with some of the faster males in the camp, and was the fastest overall female. I know it sounds silly, but given that I am a middle of the packer for the run, it felt good to be near the front on something. Also, as I have said before I am normally I fairly slow cyclist, so this ride provided a nice confidence booster.

Today was my big test because I was determined to ride more than thirty miles, and was hoping to get in three hours. I managed to ride forty miles on a very hilly course! I was exhausted afterwards, and had a very sore tushie, but I am so happy I am making progress. I finished up the ride with a three mile run (average speed about 10:45, nice and easy). I am totally beat tonight! The only downside came when I calculated my pace and I am still just so slow. I am trying not to focus on the negative, but I really hope I can make the bike cutoff at Wildflower. It will just be so sad to spend all this time training and then DNF.

As far as the new bike update, well there really isn't one. I finally broke down and took my current bike to the LTS after today's ride. I figured that if I am going to keep riding it, I might as well get it cleaned, get a chain that isn't rusted, and spring for some new tape. Still looking for a name for the current bike. It's a blue Cannondale R600. Maybe Rusty would be appropriate? I am actually leaning away from a new Carbon Fiber bike and towards a ti. I know that's not as trendy, but I worry about CF on my bike rack and with my tendency to not always take the best care of stuff (hence "Rusty.") I know I can't leave a ti bike in the rain either, I just mean it would be more durable overall. Any opinions on the new ti idea?

Friday, February 17, 2006

TGIF

Yippy it's Friday! Does everyone have fun weekend plans? I have triathlon camp tomorrow. We are planning to work on running skills at a local high school track and then we have a bike workout on hills. Afterwards more people are planning to go to lunch. I really enjoyed that last week, so I am looking forward to it. Saturday night the hubby and I are having a date night (ooo-la-la) and I need to get a long ride in Sunday. I also plan to make a bike decision sometime this weekend (yeah-right). My latest thoughts are maybe I was being too crazy by wanting all carbon fiber or ti. I mean, our budget just isn't that big. Maybe I should consider something with carbon fiber seat stays and carbon fork. What do you all think?

I made it to Yoga yesterday, and I hate to admit it but I am actually starting to like it. I was feeling very stiff before hand but felt so much better afterwards. I am still a competitive yoga person, but at least I am starting to really appreciate the benefits. I am going to continue trying to make it there at least once a week. Twice would be better, but we all know how sometimes something has to give.

Last night I set my trainer up in front of our tv in our living room and watch the Olympics while I rode for 70 minutes. At first they were showing skating so I tried to do my pick-ups during the routines, and I would spin during the recap parts. That worked out pretty well. By the time that I was all done I was very tired from the long day. It definitely gets hard to do early morning and late night workouts. Especially since I spent the time in between chasing my kids and their friends around.

Don't forget Sunday is the start of the Tour of California. Coverage will be on ESPN2, and although the hours are awful, you can always tape it (or TIVO it for everyone who was able to convince their SO it would be worth the money). I am very excited about it, especially since the final stage is right near my house so we can actually walk there and watch it in person.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back in the Pool

After 10 days out of the pool due to my cold, yesterday I finally returned to the over-chlorinated waters at my local YMCA. During my whole time away from the water, I had actually begun to feel cocky about the swim. I was thinking maybe I should switch to only two days a week and devote my time to other things, like much needed bike time, or just sleeping. Yesterday was my rude and much needed awakening that I cannot take anything for granted in my pursuit of my triathlon goals.

This is an off week for my YMCA swim group, so I decided to use workouts for the Beginner Triathlete schedule. Yesterday I opted for the 1000 yard time trial. I know a lot of bloggers have done this lately and some have commented that they were happy with their times while others expressed disappointment. Well for me, it is what it is. I did it in 22:30, and although I could have done more it was not easy. My arms were killing me and it was so hard to get a good rhythm. I assume at least part of that could be attributed to being out of the pool. Still, I feel like while I am a slow swimmer, if all goes well I probably won't be DL. I just need to keep training, and that means three swims most weeks.

After studying my schedule for the week, I decided to shift things a bit in an attempt to make Friday a true rest day. So, today I headed back to the pool for the "long" swim workout. (Remember, "long" is relative, so go easy on me, I'm a newbie). Here was the workout:
Wu: 4X150 yards swim, kick, pull, swim
Main: 1650 Ladder: start with 275, then 250, 225...25
Cd: 200 Easy

Let’s just say this workout kicked my tired tushy. It was so hard for me. After just a few sets from the main set I felt nauseous and dizzy. I actually thought I was in danger of passing out. I guess I need more breakfast. Anyway, I soldiered on and managed to finish the main set, which left me exceedingly proud. I did bag part of the cool down and just kicked for 50 yards. I was DONE by that point and just wanted to go home!

Later in the day I was feeling much better and was able to go for my run. I ran for 1:28 and did around 8.2 miles. It was a slow pace, but that was to be expected since I was just trying to keep my HR low. (I still don’t have my HRM back, so I just had to listen to my body).

I tried to post the above last night but the system was down. So, for today I have already done my swim which was:
Wu: 400 continuous (last 50 in each 100 kick)
Main: 9x100 EBEH (Easy, Build, Easy Hard)
CD: 6x25

I had originally planned to do one of the harder workouts but woke up very tired and sore and knew I should cut back some.

Later today I will be going to yoga and also spending some time on the trainer.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Moonlight Run

This morning I had the most awesome run. I got up super early, which initially I wasn't so happy about, because a contractor was coming out to talk about our kitchen repairs. Little Bub had a nightmare around 3:30 and I couldn't fall back asleep until, I swear, thirty minutes before my alarm went off. When I heard the music I briefly debated going back to bed, but instead went for my run like the good little triathlete I want to become.

Once I got down to the beach I was so thankful I got out there. The moon was incredibly bright and right above the water creating an awesome reflection. It was a truly beautiful site which I wish I could share with you all. I was just in awe as I ran next to the water. I ran on the sand again, just like I did last week. Although I am obviously slower on the sand I really enjoyed it. I sort of play of game of running on different lifeguard truck tracks and try to run on ones where I am the first person to do so.

As I have the last three Mondays, I listened to the Get Your Geek On podcast during the run and was thoroughly entertained. They do a nice job putting that together.

After the boys woke up this morning they said they were proud of me for already going for my run. I guess they are just relieved to know their Mommy is back on track!

Public Service Announcement:
As you know I have given up chocolate, and I know Wylee has given up candy. Now, I wouldn't want to tempt anyone to do something "bad," which is why I feel good about the following announcement compliments of Marie Callender's:


Go for a fruit variety or the pumpkin and I am pretty sure you can count that as a fruit and veggie serving for the day.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weekend Update

I am officially back! The great news is that I am now working out again and having a blast. The only bad news is that I can no longer take Nyquil which means I won't be falling asleep in 1.2 seconds anymore. ::sigh::

Saturday was my triathlon camp, and as expected we cycled and ran. Our cycling exercise consisted of completing a 3 mile loop as many times as we could in 45 minutes. Despite a Master's Degree in Math, I somehow lost count so I am not sure how many loops I did. I am pretty sure I did 5 and it ended up taking me about 50 minutes. It was a nice flat course with only a few minor inclines, so we practiced staying in our aerobars the whole time. One poor newbie crashed the first time he got in the aero position. I guess I am not the only one who wobbles in the aero position. Our run was thirty minutes out and back. I am not sure how far we went but I ran with the same person as last week who really pushed me. After camp, a group of us went to lunch and had a blast. It was so much fun to be talking about triathlons with others that share my passion. A few of the people had even done Wildflower, so I got to grill them for information on it. Plus the woman I ran with signed up for the Olympic Distance so I will know more people there.

Today was my long bike day. I headed to Palos Verdes with the intent to do my normal course with the switchbacks and also add a second really long hill (3.5 miles with 800 foot incline). The course also has rollers in between so it keeps things interesting. Anyway, I had sort of been dreading that second really long hill, but after my dear husband rode it on his 200 lb mountain bike last weekend, I knew it was time. But, I am proud to say that I did it and it wasn't as bad as it could have been. My big problem is that no matter how hard I try I am still so darn slow. After Saturday's ride where I was the fastest girl, I was thinking maybe I was getting faster. But, alas, my time in PV shows that I am slow and it is all relative. Dear husband and the bubs ended up driving my course and provided some cheering as I worked on the last hill. I ended up finishing at a park so I could play with them for a bit. I rode 2.5 hours, but probably only did 28 miles. (See, I'm slow) Next weekend I really need to be out there for 3 hours. My HIM is quickly approaching!

Since I missed all my swims last week, I definitely need to get back to the pool this week. I also plan to do the aforementioned long ride and need a run around 90+ minutes. Fun for me!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Health Update

Well I was feeling pretty sick again last night so I didn't end up biking and I skipped my swim this morning. However, today I am feeling tons better and I am looking forward to getting active again this weekend. Probably a good thing I took it so easy. Hopefully I can still get in a long ride Sunday and then I will have my long run and ride accomplished for the week. Not bad given my cooties.

So folks, by Sunday hopefully I will be back in full tri swing, and maybe just maybe I will even be able to write about my new bike. (Only kidding, we all doubt I will actually make a decision by then!)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Newbie Questions

Well for all of you just dying to impart your expert knowledge on a newbie, now is your chance. If you can help me answer any of the questions below, I would really appreciate it:

1. In long distance triathlons, what are the aid stations on the bike like? Do you get off your bike to refill your water/gatorade bottles? I assume I need more than I can just carry on my bike, right?

2. Everything keeps telling me how important it is to get some protein after a workout, but I don't want to rely just on bars. Can anyone recommend good protein sources that are portable since I am often coming from the gym and need to go to another place.

3. I would love to read people's favorite pre-race meals. I am thinking oatmeal since my stomach can handle that.

4. If you have been to Wildflower, and camped, what did you do for your meals the day before? Did you reply solely on the food there or bring your own?

5. Before a half-ironman, what would you recommend as your longest brick workout? Thus far I have been running up to thirty minutes after my long rides. Is that enough? Should I eventually do more? I know not all programs recommend brick workouts, but I think I really need them.

6. Is it ridiculous to register for an IM before completing my first half? I am leaning towards IMAZ for next year, but would have to register in April which is before Wildflower.

7. Now for the all important dress code question: I have tri-specific bottoms and bra top, but for the bike and run section do most people also wear a shirt? I am thinking I might feel a little exposed with the aforementioned garb.

8. I am still looking for opinions on your favorite bike computer. Come on, I know you all use one. Which do you love?

I appreciate everyone's help getting me to the starting, and finishing lines!

Trying to Recover

Well I am still pretty congested here so I skipped my second swim workout for the week. Ugh, I HATE skipping workouts! Plus my swim group meets for six week cycles with one week off in between and this was the last week. I will have to train on my own next week which will be a little harder.

I did manage to get in part of my run yesterday. I was supposed to run for ninety minutes, but given the fact that I couldn't breath I knew I wouldn't get the whole run in. I was lucky enough to be able to run during the day up in Palos Verdes. The hardest part of the run was the it was so HOT. You have to understand that while I was raised in Tucson, I am now officially a SCW (So Cal Wimp), which means I only have a five degree range of temperature comfort (67-72). Lucky for me, it is pretty rare that I have to train outside that range. However, yesterday it was positively blazing. Really! It was almost 85 degrees! Believe me I am grateful that the day was so beautiful but it was a bit warm to run in. I stayed on mostly trails, and although my legs felt very fatigued (due to my cold I assume) it was still a good run. I think I ran for eighty minutes, which is my longest run since I got a stress fracture in November so I am happy about it. I enountered a couple of pretty good hills so it was probably a good training run as far as temperature and terrain are concerned.

Today I am going to try to spin on my bike for about an hour. I don't want to do anything hard but I think my legs would really appreciate a little spinning time.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday Ramblings

The good news is that I am doing much better today. I still have some congestion but not a lot of achiness. I plan to skip my weights today but I am going to try to get my run in. I am running 90 minutes at a super easy pace, so I think it will be a safe workout. I plan to do a mainly out and back course so if I am tired I will just turn back sooner.

It's a good thing I am getting a workout in today. Yesterday's breakfast conversation proved to me that I am definitely expected to be exercising around here. Keep in mind, my kids just turned four, but man they can put the pressure on. The talk went like this:

Big Bub: Mommy, how was your swim this morning? (+2 pts for good conversation skills)
Me: Oh, thanks for asking but I didn't swim because I was feeling sick.
Little Bub: So did you go running instead? (+2 pts for trying to converse, but -1 for not picking up on me being sick)
Me: Um, no I was sick. I didn't do anything.
Big Bub: Does that mean you didn't ride either? (They are really catching on now!)
Me: Yep, I just slept in this morning
Little Bub: So, mommy. You just woke up and then sat in bed all morning?

Yep, I am really expected to workout around here. In my defense, they came in our room at 7 a.m., so while that is sleeping in by all accounts, I really didn't just sit around in bed all morning!

Obligatory Bike Update: If you read my post Monday, then you know I was supposed to make a bike decision by that night. Of course, if you know me at all then you know that didn't happen. Here's the deal: I am just really struggling with spending this much money and not making a bad choice. Thanks to lots of suggestions around here, I really looked into the Felt F4C. By all accounts this bike is the smart choice. I want carbon fiber and if I splurged just a bit more then even the ultegra group is relatively affordable. So, I have tried hard to make myself love this bike, but I just can't. You see, it is all about the paint job. I just don't know why they would completely paint a carbon fiber bike. I mean they should at least let some of the CF show through since that's what looks so darn cool. Basically, the paint job for the $2000+ bike looks the exact same as the $700 one. That's just not cool.

So, the bikes that I really like are the Kuota K-Factor which is a tri bike, or the Orbea Onix which is a road bike. Not familiar with the Orbea? Well check it out:




I am fairly certain the pricing would work out to within one or two hundred dollars of eachother, although frankly they are both more than I should spend. The pluses for the kuota are: I would get it from my LTS who are working hard to make it affordable for me. They might even be able to throw in new aero bars (I am getting STI shifters since I will be doing lots of hills). I think they might be a little insulted if I go elsewhere for a bike. The Orbea is from my LBS and I don't know them as well so there are no hard feelings. However, the Orbea is a road bike so if I stop doing tris (you know, after I eventually start), I will still have a good all around riding option.

My husband and I keep joking that I will save money and just get a new chain for my old, slightly rusty Canondale. Of course, if I keep piddling around, then that's what will eventually happen!

Need further proof of my indecisiveness?

  • My kitchen flooded in October. I still have no flooring or dishwasher because I just can't decide what I want
  • I save checks for months because I can't decide the perfect place to deposit them. Of course they eventually end up in a regular 'ole savings account
  • God gave me twins so I wouldn't have to figure out when to have a second child.

Most recent impulse decision: Registering for Wildflower Long Course after thinking about doing triathlons for exactly five days. Umm, yeah, that was a good decision, afterall how hard can it be?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ugh, I'm Sick

Well last night I started to feel sick and today I realize I definitely have something. I have swollen glands, lots of congestion and general achiness. Thanks to these symptoms I decided it would be best to skip my morning swim and now I am re-evaluating my schedule for the week. This was supposed to be an increase week for both running and biking, but I know I need to balance training with getting better. It is just so frustrating to be sick when everything was going so well.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I am currently taking pre-requisite classes so I can go to nursing school when the boys are in school. Although I am in college graduate, and in fact I have a Master's in Applied Mathematics, there are still certain classes that I never took that are required for the nursing program. So, this semester I am taking Intro to Psychology, but I am taking it online. Yesterday I downloaded the syllabus and it looks like we will only have three exams, which is very nice. However, the timing for those exams couldn't be worse. The first is the Monday after Strawberry Fields, the second is the Monday after Wildflower and the third is after the RNR Marathon. UGH. I guess that will guarantee no last minute cramming!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Running Naked

This morning I was slated to run for one hour at a low heart rate. I woke up early, as planned, and decided to head to the beach. In fact, I decided to try something new and run on the sand. Now, you are probably wondering about the title of the post at this point. No, I didn't forget my clothes; I had my shirt, bra-top, shorts, socks, shoes, hat and even running gloves. What was missing was my sophisticated gear. I only had a regular 'ole stopwatch and thus felt naked.

For years I ran with this device:



That baby did everything from speed to HR. Although it wasn't GPS, it was very accurate. If I forgot to turn it on for a run, I used to say that the run didn't count and I had to go back and do it again. I was only half kidding. Well, after serving me faithfully for 2 years, my fitsense was on its last legs. The HRM hadn't worked consistently for about a year and the distance was going through batteries faster that I can down a milkshake. I searched for a replacement but wasn't really happy with what was out there. I didn't trust the garmin reliability since some of my runs are covered by trees or tall buildings, and I read sketchy things about their HR technology. So, after much debate I decided to scale back, and for my birthday I received this:
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this new HRM. The technology was very accurate and I liked running according to my zones. I even used it for swims and bike rides and was very pleased with it. However, last week my four month old device DIED! I was so bummed. Luckily, thanks to the good people at Road Runner Sports I will be receiving a new one soon, but for today I was stuck with a regular old stopwatch.


It was so weird running with just that. I actually had to listen to my body, slow down when my breathing seemed difficult, and just enjoy the run. It was a weird run that I actually enjoyed. In fact it was somewhat liberating. That said, I'm counting the days until I can have my normal tracking back. I am just too much of a numbers geek to be able to run in such a carefree manner.

Btw, check out my schedule for the week. Things are definitely heating up around here!

Obligatory Bike Update: Well, its the start of the week so I am sure you are all wondering "Has Bridget made a bike decision yet?" Umm, the answer to that is 'no.' But I am very, very close. In fact, my husband has asked me to decide by tonight. I guess he is done with all of my debating. I will post as soon as something is purchased. In the meantime, I am soliciting advice for a bike computer. What does everyone out there have? Does anyone have one of the polar models? The only thing I know right now is that I must have cadence. Thanks!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Making Sacrifices

Lately I have been feeling a little guilty about my triathlon ambitions. I have been declining offers to go out with friends, making expensive tri purchases and planning more, and basically I am so obssessed its all I want to talk about. In fact, I am not so much feeling guilty because I am not going out "with the girls," but rather I feel guilty over the fact that I am perfectly happy staying home and either working out or getting to bed early for the next workout.

Well, yesterday the guilt-factor hit an all time high. You see, my family has been promising other members of our extended family that we would visit them in Colorado this winter to go skiing. My husband's work prevented us from going in the early part of the season, so we finally agreed to go at the end of March. However, the more I thought about this ski trip the more I dreaded it. For one thing I didn't want to miss out on training time and I was also worried about getting injured or being too sore (thus preventing further training upon my return). So, yesterday I finally decided that we would all cancel the trip. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who says he fully supports my decision. The kids won't be too disspointed since they have never been skiing and thus don't know what they are missing. Also if I promise them a trip to the La Brea tar pits they forget about just about everything else. So, no one in the family is making me feel guilty, but of course I am doing it to myself. Is it okay to make everyone else's lives revolve around my triathlons?

All that being said, I sure would like to register for the Strawberry Fields Tri. I guess you can teach a money to swim, bike and run, but, well, its still a monkey.

Friday, February 03, 2006

TGIF

This morning was our endurance swim day with the group and I could tell by my dreams last night I was geared up for it. I kept dreaming that I was doing an ocean swim and funny things were happening, like I was using seaweed to run in the water so I wouldn't have to swim as far. However, the real kicker was when I followed a baby whale into the water and found it playing with an Baby hippopotamus and its mother. Lol

So, for our endurance test we had to swim thirty minutes straight. I know eventually that won't be much of an endurance test, and honestly even today I knew I could have gone longer. -Although I was still happy enough to stop! Anyway, I swam 1400 yards. By my calculations that means I could swim 1.2 miles in 45 minutes which is my "super secret" goal time for the Half-IM. The coach (Ivan the Great today) was very pleased with my performance. He said I had a few slow laps in the middle, but my fastest were at the end. He was happy I went as far as I did and was able to finish with an comfortably aerobic heart rate. Yippy!

After that I was ready to celebrate and thought about just injecting some fat into my veins. But that really didn't sound too tasty, so instead I stopped at Krispy Kreme and picked up donuts. Same end effect but much more fun to eat. My kids were so excited when I told them I picked up donuts! Later a friend called and invited us to the park to celebrate her twins' birthday with pizza and cupcakes. Ugh, perhaps the donuts weren't such a good idea afterall. Not to mention the fact they have a birthday party Saturday and another Sunday. Hopefully all parties will serve chocolate cake, because I am now confident in my abilities to resist it. That's right, I am Master of my Chocolate Cake Domain.

I am looking forward to my run tomorrow and hopefully a brick workout Sunday. Not sure how I am going to be able to squeeze it all in, but maybe it will all just work itself out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

End of the Week

I love this part of the week. I have done all my weight lifting, and only have one big event for each activity left. My swim coach promised me that tomorrow we will be working on endurance. I am really looking forward to that. This morning we did a lot of sprints and my arms just ached from Tuesday's IM action. The rest of tomorrow should be nice and easy since I don't have anything else planned. I am sure the kids and I will go to at least one park for some 'Active recovery' for me and 'wear them out' time for them!

Last night I bumped into a friend of mine who will also be doing the Wildflower Long Course. Neither of us were aware the other did triathlons, but I guess she did the Olympic last year. Anyway, she reiterated that I am nuts for attempting this with so little background. Oh well, I like to be different and I am sure I wouldn't enjoy the training if the task ahead didn't seem so daunting. And despite my tired eyes, I really do like the training. I like that I am exercising almost everyday, and many days I am working out twice. I like that it has only been five weeks and I can see changes in my body already. I also really do like the fact that when I tell people, at least "those in the know", what I am training for, many of them think its a little bonkers. However, one day I am going to wear my Wildflower shirt with pride and, while I will still be bonkers, I will also be a success story.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Swim Lessons

Yesterday morning's swim practice was incredibly hard, both mentally and physically. Practice starts off with a wacky warm-up in which we did breast-stroke kicks, but butterfly arms. It pretty much went down hills from there... As it turned out, yesterday's practice was all about the individual medley. So, our first main set was 10x50, with half the first length butterfly, then flip to back, then start the second length breast and finally switch to freestyle. Later we progressed to longer sets with 5x100 IM, and then 2X200 IM with some freestyle 100's between the main sets.

As I have mentioned before, I am in the fast lane, but my lane-mates can all lap me if we do long sets of just about anything. Yesterday it was particularly bad because I was on the seventh fifty when they were done. I was so sad and embarrassed. I felt like such a loser for being lapped so many times and even questioned whether I belonged in the pool at all. While I rested before number eight, the coach said I could just stop, since clearly my lane-mates didn't want to wait for me to finish up. Instead I took a deep breath and said I should just finish them in the slower lane. So, I sulked over to the slower lane and tried to cheer myself up by giving kudos for at least wanted to do the whole workout.

When I was in the slow lane I realized something important. Just as I feel like crap when the fast people blow by me, suddenly I was the fast person to other swimmers. One women looked so sad to have me there and kept talking about how I was too fast for that lane. I guess everything is relative. While I am a sea anemone in the fast lane, I am a shark in the slow one. If only there could be a middle lane! (Our group is pretty small and they need the other lanes for regular lap swimmers)

So, of course I am going to keep going to swim group. Somedays maybe I will be lapped by a lot, but maybe the day will come when I can close the gap some. Most of the fast swimmers have swum their whole lives, while I have been doing it for about 6 weeks.

Today, however, everything hurts. My shoulders ache, my arms scream and even my legs are tender in certain places. However, I am proud of just getting out there. While I may be smack dab in the middle of my swim group, I am way ahead of all those people who never even get to the pool. That's always a good lesson.