Sunday, April 26, 2009

the rest of the weekend (& la jolla half marathon rr)

after the long hang-on-for-dear life ride on saturday, i knew recovery was key before the la jolla half marathon. so i ate some frozen yogurt, showered, threw on my zoot recovery tights and headed with james to the green flash brewery!

seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing james excited and i have almost never seen him as amped as he was in that brewery. i had a tiny sip of each beer, but let james to the lion's sharing of the drinking work- i stuck to the tasting pretzels that you were supposed to eat in between beers to clear the palette. well, i went buffet-style and cleared them out of pretzels- they must have loved me!'s my artsy shot of him at one of the big silver beer tanks.

after Green Flash, we headed home to chill. james had a date with the growler he bought at the brewery (that's like a big 60 oz bottle of beer), and i had a date with an early bedtime (after james made me awesome fish tacos)

on to the race....La Jolla Half Marathon Race Report:
my body is so random. i feel WAY less wrecked after today's half marathon than i did after yesterday's ride.

i woke up today with my typical migrain/tension headache from spending 4 hours more or less in the aerobars yesterday racing antonio (he didn't know i was racing). lots and lots of coffee and 3 excedrin definintely helped clear the fog.

james again, pulled through for me sherpa'ing big time. he got us out the door and dropped me off by the start of my point-to-point race (seriously, i pick races that are so logistically annoying and james is always more than a champ about it.) so i was dropped off and started on my 3 mile warm up. i felt pretty okay and did a few strides before heading to the race start. i began chatting it up with kerri and we made our way to the port-0-potty line about 30 minutes to race start. at 3 minutes to the start we were still 10 people to go! UH OH. nowhere to go in a huge open space. i ran off towards the start and made a last minute sketchy decision to squeeze in the tiny space behind the port-o-potties and pee there. super classy. but a great decision, i must say. only one guy saw and he just stared in disbelief.

i had less than two minutes and thousands of people to dig through in the corrals to get a little closer to the front. this was not easy, and i ended up starting in about the 20th row. not good. people dodging was in full effect for the first mile. the tough people to get past are the ones running together or in a team-like (re:barricade) fashion. anyhow, i moved on through and i felt pretty good. that first mile is always fun, huh?

the first few miles i ran under 6:30. i knew the first 5 were easiest and decided to just go with what i had. around mile two, i finally figured out why there was a motorcycle and bicycle next to me. i heard them calling in my pace and race number on a cell phone and had a "holy crap i'm in first place" moment.

long story short, i held the lead until mile 5 when a tiny little speedster passed me just before the BIG HILL. Torrey Pines is infamous for hill repeats (bike and run) in san diego. essentially, you climb fairly steep for a mile and then climb less steep for another mile. my mile up Torrey was 8:30. ouch. but that's what this race is all about! other than Torrey Pines, there are a few significant climbs and the course is anything but flat. lucky for me, for every uphill there is a down and i am a champ on the downhills. being good on the downhills seems like cheating, but i often pass most who passed me on the uphills.

my "how many excuses can i come up with to quit/drop out" part of the run came miles 7-9. i realized there was a lot more to go and i was tired! i thought there was no way i'd hang on to 2nd place. but, then i started seeing all my awesome motivators...james and katya were on their bikes cheering and kept me going. i also popped a few cola powerbar gel blasts for some sugar and caffeine (yes i am aware of my caffeine problem). normally, i may not take in calories during a half, but i decied to eat like i was racing honu. so instead of breakfast, i had half a powerbar 10 minutes pre-start (like i was eating at the end of the bike) and then 5 gel blasts at mile 8.5. it worked pretty well! on another side note, i also wore my silver zoot ultra race 2.0s WITHOUT socks- again, this race was prep for honu so i wanted to make sure i could run well/no blisters. and you know what. nothing! not even a raw spot-perfection...can't wait to race in them in hawaii.

ok. back to the race: mile 12 was fun becuase the lululemon cheering squad made sure i didn't slack after that sneaky hill at mile 11! how can you go slow when these ladies are cheering you on?

i crossed the line in 1:28:38 which i was SOOOOOO happy about on this course. i thought i would be a little over 1:30 considering the terrain and the rep for being a "non-PR" course.

i finished 2nd overall, 1st in my age group. looking at the results, there were 595 people in my age group and 5,400 finishers- so i'm really happy. the woman who won. she crushed me on the big hill and i couldn't catch back up.

but first loser isn't so bad, when you get to rest on this after the finish! i've already won, right? (so cheesy! but i love my chicken!)
and kirsten came to chill as well...

so overall, i had a nice surprise in my race today and mostly am happy about a big weekend "in the bank" and feel more confident that i can run well on tired legs- 5 weeks to go until honu 70.3!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

bike fit and weekend updates...

so about two weeks ago now, i got my bike refit by dean the mean bike fitting machine at pedpowerperformlab. to say it was a process would be kind of an understatement. when all was said and done, dean spent i think 10 hours with me...and a few hours on his own basically rewiring my bike and doing some other things that needed to be done. so we did this whole huge bike fit process with the Retul bike fititng system....basically, he hooks you up to a bunch of wire sensor things that take moving measurements and compare it to ideal and then you work with your fitter to make everything perfect.

i love wires!

i think this picture is of me afterwards....

but the actual bike fit was the end of a whole other process entirely. first, dean took all kinds of measurements of my body and asked me lots of questions to help inform the whole process. i kind of felt like i was at the doctor's office! i even lay on the table for him to check my leg lengths and such (turns out i have a long right femur).

after this, we did some pedal stroke analysis. dean has an amazing pedal stroke analysis system and a bunch of tools that help riders become more efficient pedalers. what i took away from this the most is that i have A LONG WAY TO GO before i am an efficient pedaler. you see these numbers on a screen . dean tells me that someone off the street is a "45" and an elite cyclist like lance is like an "85". i was a freaking 52! for real? i'm like a smidge better than someone who's never sat their arse on a bike before! so dean gave me a bunch of secret tips to improve and i've been working on it a lot.

there are probably a million other things to say about the fitting process, but i was barely smart enough to process all the documents of scientific info he sent me. basically- i know what i need to do to pedal more efficiently and my bike fits me MUCH better. i finally feel like it is MY bike. awesome.

so if you are in need of such services. call dean at pedpowerperformlab and he'll hook you up. and i promise he won't give up until its PERFECT (good thing i was on spring break!). and he'll give you a discount if you tell him i sent you. right dean? ha ha. but really, i bet he will!

other than that, today i got myself in over my head (again!). i had to go to la jolla to pick up my half marathon race packet for tomorrow's race, so i decided to join the Breakaway Training crew beforehand on their 60 mile saturday ride since they start in La Jo. turns out i didn't get the memo that they were doing the 70mile 7000ft of climbing loop and only the fastest (or dumbest (me!)) show up on this day. so i roll up to this

not sure what it looks like to you, but to me, i'm thinking, "where are the girls? where are the not uber-cyclist folks?" and "good thing i brought my ipod...wonder how long until i get dropped?". the first hour was scary easy. the calm before the storm. i knew it was coming but i didn't know when. turns out "when" is when you take a right onto highland valley and then hammer like there is no tomorrow. right before we turn onto highland valley, felipe starts brazilian speaking to antonio. shortly after he says, "beth...antonio ride with you!" which is code for...time to get dropped!!!! can i just say thank heavens for antonio? what an AWESOME guy. i insisted i was fine. i had my two "i"s (iphone and ipod) and both fully charged so i was in no danger. drop away! but antonio stayed with me the whole way and i got to get to know him (and his portuguese accent- yeah!) . we met up with the group briefly in ramona, but then took a right at drop town a few miles later. riding with antonio was awesome and i got in about 3 hours at race effort just chasing him (not pace- damn wind heading back west! ick).
so. i made it back to the car and off to the race expo wondering why i thought this would be a good idea. rip-your-legs-off saturday then very hilly half marathon sunday (if you've heard of torrey pines- we climb it in the race!) . hmmmm. jury's out, but for some reason, even though i can barely move my legs- i'm excited for tomorrow morning!
after the ride, james and i headed to the Green Flash Brewery (another great pre-race idea, right?) and it made my day to see james sooooooo excited. like a kid in a candy store he could not stop smiling. it was awesome. he loves beer!
then, a quick pre-race manicure and finally home. james made me an amazing dinner and has made sure i stayed off my feet for the night....and now, time for bed.
oh, and i promise to be a better blog updater for sure. these every-10-days updates get too much crammed in!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

busy betty

spring break passed all too quickly. i tried to put in some big volume in both the life department and the training department.

on the life goals front, i readied some job applications, took the car in to the shop, went to the doctor, did final projects for grad school, headed to dan for some Active Release Therapy (working on those tension headaches/migraines!), got a 10-hour bike fit/pedal stroke analysis (which will be its own big old post very soon and i'm not kidding about the ten hours thing), and did a thousand wedding planning things. you know that "i love wedding planning and living out my little girl dreams" gene? i did NOT get it.

training was both big and fun. last week i ended up over 23 hours and this week will be similar. working on my weaknesses is necessary, but tough!

i swam masters monday-friday each week. TEN times. my masters swim coaches hux and colleen have been most excellent (and patient!) with my swim stroke and have helped me big time.

i also got myself involved in any type of tough bike workout i could and took any chance to ride with friends- 15minute TTs with (that's a loose term) katya, torrey pines hill repeats with colleen (again, loose, colleen is the hill and wind master!) in 30 mph winds, a "recovery" ride with molly and caroline which wasn't recovery for me, a few rides with james, Great Western Loop group ride, and some random stuff in between. D doesn't want me to talk about the squirrel i ran over on my bike ride with katya, so i won't. sorry, squirrel. i wish you an afterlife of endless acorns.

i didn't run very much, because i really wanted to focus on my weaknesses. i squeezed in 4 runs each week (w/ one accidental 18-miler-meant to do 16) but didn't get too specific with the run training, mostly aerobic running. the lack of focus on running was kind of scary for me considering i am running a half marathon next weekend and am not quite "dialed in" to half marathon pace, but i need to remind myself that it's about my best at Honu 70.3 and part of that preparation is next weekend's half marathon. next weekend is key training for me- i'll be doing the alpine challenge the day before, so we'll see how the legs race 13.1 miles the day after a 72-mile 7,000 feet of climbing bike ride.

of course, the thing i should be MOST excited about regarding my training gear is the amazing bike fit and how much more comfortable and powerful I am on my TT bike (and i got new pedals/tri shoes). but, i can't help but be so freaking excited about my cute new one-of-a-kind race top from bettydesigns. the betty brains (kristin) put together this lovely-ness that is SO me and nicely highlights some of my biggest supporters. i literally cannot wait to race in this thing. the actual top is bathing suit material (with a shelf bra) and has two pockets in back for yer gu and crap! kind of like a tri tankini. i tried on a sample and the fit is super cute and flattering. there will be hot pink straps (similar to bathing suit straps)..the colors will be a little different on fabric- we even matched it to the "true" breakaway orange.

i know custom design can seem a little intimidating or extravagant, but if you're going to buy a tri top, if you gather a few friends together and get one designed as a group, i think the price would be not too different than something off the rack- its really reasonable. you'd be surprised...give me or bettydesigns a holler if you have questions!

on tap for the weekend

1) missing james (he's up racing in northern california at sea otter- i was dying to go, but am sitting in grad school seminars for 8 hours today. c'est la vie!) he's doing a road race today, i can't wait to hear how it goes! since james was unavailable for his weekly "james + the ladies" pic, we substituted south african mike-the-bike last night at happy hour on mike's deck
(mike, kerri, kristin, me, kirsten)

2) my first climb up palomar mountain! we're doing a 76 mile route that follows part of the Tour of California.

3) back to the ranch for the sunday group run and then a recovery ride with bethany and mary (who are brave and racing devil's punchbowl bike race this weekend!) . go girls! can't wait for stories on sunday!

4) lots of frozen yogurt and cereal for dinner (see #1)

Monday, April 6, 2009

pinch me!

i CANNOT complain. since friday afternoon, i have been LOVING every second of my spring break/training camp. this past weekend, san diego turned into triathlon headquarters for california 70.3 and so many fun people came out to play. each day has been sooooo awesome as far as training and playing go that i think i'll go with a daily recap to not skip anything.

training: 15.5 mile run along the coast. beautiful morning for a progression run. on days like this when i run alone, i am super thankful for lucho's awesome coaching through my marathon last year. instead of aimlessly trotting for a couple of hours, i started out with one mile at 8 minutes and then ran the next 6 miles from 7:50-7:30 pace, gradually getting faster without noticeably increasing the effort. i ran miles 8-12 around 7:20s and settled into 6:45-7:00 for the final few miles, channeling my half marathon pace. and the whole run felt GREAT. i never really looked at the watch until after the run and it was just as i intended.

other fun: after my run, i showered fast and headed to oceanside to watch the california 70.3...sooo many great friends out there and i had a blast cheering on the run course. i was so proud and excited for everyone and it was an AMAZING day. the breakway-training crew was in full effect- orange all over the course- love it!
i was sad i wasn't racing and at the same time felt lucky i didn't have to face such crazy competition (and impressed that all my friends showed up for the challenge!)- the winner of my age group went 4:36! she biked 56 miles in 2:26..huh? i'm not even in that time zone.

i had my first real-life encounter with rachel ross on the run course. she pinched my butt and i almost spilled my americano on her. it was pretty awesome. as you can see, spectating in so cal is a tough job.

training: what a day. another fabulous weather day and i met up with 7 friends for 70 hilly miles. i have NEVER seen it that windy on the route we rode and i was proud of us for staying positive and not letting the totally freaking relentless wind get to us. mary said it was like the wizard of oz. i had a blast because we had an awesome group. katya (who has a new blog on that link by the way) even joined us (which scared the crap out of me- sometimes i can fake keeping up with her on the run but biking is a different story). but, having katya was such a treat and made me really work hard. here's k and liam starting up one of the last big hills. this was the closest i was to them on a hill all day. when we got to the top, we waited a couple minutes for the rest of the crew, and those two crazies decided to go down and do most of the hill again.
after the ride, i made a 4 minute transition and set out on my transition run mission. my goal was to see how it felt after a hard ride. here i am pre-run. i look like i mean business in this picture. hello, terminator. i think its the lighting. (can someone push my visor down please?)
anyway, i had to put on my hot pink (revealing if you had something to reveal) lululemon sports bra for the t-run because i was charging the "no trespassing" golf course behind our house. if i didn't run the golf course, it would be straight up or straight down (we live on a big hill) so i really wanted to run something rolly where i could get in a rhythm. besides, the honu 70.3 run is on a golf course so this is of course perfect for envisioning the race. so i had to try to look cute and dumb for my trespassing- every time i passed golf carts i'd smile and wave like i was supposed to be there. is that so wrong?
right away, i felt great and wished i had my garmin becuase i was cruising and it felt perfect- i LOVE to run off the bike. james would say i killed it :) 30 minute run down, and coconut water right after. ahhhhhh....
after the big day, it was time for some big fun. we met up with kirsten (lululemon babe and soon to hit the shelves in a certain triathlon mag swimsuit edition (sorry for outing you kir! hope it wasn't a surprise :) ), rachel ross (our first real date!), and katya. james came along to hang with the ladies. tough job. rachel ross was everything i dreamed she would be :).

kirsten, katya, some happy dude, rachel, me: (the girls even sat to make him look tall!)

i had 1 and a half captain morgan's and diet coke's which is 1 more than my nonexistant tolerance can handle. somehow, i pulled a carton of blackberries out of my purse. kirsten was nice enough to feed me.

look at the birdie!

training: recovery type easy day-
masters swim (3500), easy ride on the coast (20 miles), hot yoga with kirsten at haute yoga. i love the heat after a big weekend, i feel like that type of yoga really wrings out all the toxins and junk from the weekend. there are a lot of twisty poses and i envision myself as a towel being wringed out.
not training: it was my first work-day off of spring break. the most beautiful day you can imagine. i even hit the beach for a quick moment of zen. which was promptly ended by sand gnats (or whatever they are) and too much wind. oh well, it sounded like a good idea.

training: tuesday already oh man, living the life will be over before you know it. this morning i pretended i was a pro triathlete for a few miles and hopped on the wheels of katya and lisa mensink (who was in the olympics! and she placed 6th overall at Oceanside in her first half ironman in 4:32- she swam 24 minutes and ran a 1:21. WOW.) and she was nice as can be. katya and lisa chatted away, spinning along, while i worked just to remain in the same zip code. i may have freaked lisa out by taking her picture and we just met, but i can't believe how many neat things have been happening lately and its not everyday you get to suck olympian wheel!

i biked with katya a little longer and then turned around to get in some intervals (yes! i have done REAL bike intervals twice since my poor bike split race 10 days ago. i WILL work on this). after the ride that ripped my legs off, i ate some cheerios and mangoes and went to meet colleen for an easy trail run along the coast. then we went to masters swim. i nearly drowned, but made it through 3200 yds.

other than that, i'm filling in the free moments catching up on life (doctors appointments, get car fixed, taxes, apply for jobs for next year, plan wedding, do homework for grad school, and million other things i'd love to put off until never :) and have had a great time hanging out with james and not feeling like i'm perpetually rushing. it's lovely. tonight i'm making scallops with mango salsa and i think we'll have some kale too. we have enough vegetables in the house to run a CSA right now so we better get to mowing them down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Superseal Olympic Triathlon race report

my first triathlon of the season was not exactly as fun as i imagined. i have this image in my head of sunshine and sweat and smiles and instead ended up wet, cold and feeling hopeless in general.

i had plenty of time for warming up, setting up and all that business. here's my transition area....breaking out the disc! i'm pretty lucky that before james met me he bought lots of fancy bike toys , like the disc, to keep himself busy and manly before he found his true love :). and he's kind enough to share.

when i was setting up, i realized that i had forgotten my goggles (and my race belt and a silicone cap but those were minor). who forgets the goggles? so i chatted around and found a pair from crystal- she saved the day!
i did a run warm up and felt alright on my 25 minute run. i was pretty bummed that i was freezing. i warmed up in some sweats and a wool hat and still was cold. i was dreading the water like none other. i only swam about 10 strokes before my wave started. i had been late getting down to the actual water and wasn't interested in an extensive warm up- just wanted to make sure the goggles worked.

the gun went off and it was soon quite clear that my 25 yd goggle test drive was not enough. throughout the 1500 meter swim, i had a slow leak and the foggs like none other. i couldn't see anything. i stopped 4 or 5 times total to defog/drain. nothing too major and i don't think there was a huge impact on my swim.

the run to T1 was long. i blew it and took off my cap and goggles before my wetsuit which left me with only 1 hand. then i dropped my goggles in this long dark tunnel (goes from the bay under the highway to the transition area) and since they were borrowed, i thought it would be nice to go back and get them...

i hopped on my bike in T1 and i was off. i had no idea where i was at this point- there were a couple waves ahead of my wave (which was huge! men and women 25-29) so i waited until close to the turnaround to try to spot the girls in the lead. the course was 2 circular laps where you can see people headed the other way the whole time. its a flat course, but very windy. so fast and not fast at the same time. seeing the girls ahead of me made me feel a little futile- i was about 6 minutes back after the swim and their lead seemed to be growing. i stuck with it, but i did not have happy thoughts on the bike. i've gotta fix that. but it was dreary and cold and a boring arse course- not my style. and being so far behind didn't help :)

off the bike and onto the run. i was about 7-8 minutes back from the leader of my age group. i knew i could make up time but not THAT much time. the first mile was soft sand. ick. then things improved and i got rolling, but nothing blazing- just making forward progress. i moved by several girls in my age group and passed one girl in the last 50 yds. i sprinted past her and didn't look back. then, there was one dude (who i didn't even see because i was only thinking about this girl i had just passed and wondering if she was with me) this guy DID NOT want to get chicked. he elbowed me out over the mat. i totally let him becuase it was hilarious and i wasn't racing him in my mind.
all in all, i was happy that i stuck with it and did my thing on the run and ran into 3rd place. it was really hard to catch the last girl and i owe that to mary for giving me the motivation. mary crushed us all and led the swim, then she rode a good 4 minutes faster than me...i barely barely caught up to her on the run and when i did, she said "3rd place is right up there....go get her!" at that point, there was less than a mile left and i couldn't even see this girl, but i took off and was so happy mary gave me something to push for her. bloody mary is the best and she had a great race as amazes me how fast she can swim.

i can't say i was totally happy with my race. i was bummed- mostly becuase the girl who won my age group beat me by about 6 minutes. this would be fine if she was some random superhuman...but we actually raced together last year 2 times and i was able to catch and pass her on the run in both races. so she's getting mega fast or i am not improving.

i was stoked for her that she won, she was always super friendly and kind the other times we raced together, so that was a plus. at least i could be happy for courtney even if i was a little disappointed in myself.
the good things i take away from the race are that i did average 20.5mph on the bike, which i think is up from last year for me at any distance. and my run split was good- 41 minutes on a course with a mile+ sand. my swim was behind the leaders, but good for me (1:22/100yd average) so i can't be too upset with where I am and compare myself to a standard that i am not close to reaching right now.
overall, i can see, though, that i NEED to keep working on the bike (last night at dinner james said to me, "let's be honest, your bike sucked compared to those other girls"- he is TOTALLY right)....i need real bike workouts and plan a bike build towards honu. i don't do intervals, hills or anything and i am promising myself to get it together before honu....with james' help...PLEASE JAMES, HELP ME! there, i said it. i know you think i'm uncoachable, but please please a little bike help for the love of your life!
i also need to spend some time in the aero position. it KILLED those places in between my hamstrings and glutes, felt like huge knots the whole bike ride. this was my biggest limiter in the race, i could not go faster, not because of my lungs, but because these knots would not loosen up and let me go. well, that and power. as you see, i was still focused on this butt area after the race...owee. please ignore the tragic cycling tan. my other vow besides working on bike power is to get a perfect tan before honu. i am still in my base period, but plan to peak big time in the tan training.james flexing as usual. he had an awesome half marathon in the half ironman relay. 1:20 on a super sandy beach course. again, owee.