Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a weekend at the races

the solana beach triathlon came and went faster than i can eat a pound of frozen yogurt. well, that's not true. but it was a blur! it's a pretty short sprint that you spend way more time preparing for than actually racing.
one of my buds from Vanderbilt (heather) flew in to race the triathlon (and have some san diego good times) so we spent the weekend seeing san diego by bike, eating at all the delicious cali-fresh spots, and attending a couple racing events

Day at the Races #1- the horse races at the del mar racetrack- friday night!
right after heather got in town, we suited up for an endurance evening at the race track and met up with a bunch of my triathlon friends.
okay, this is not necessary, but it's my blog- so - it bugs me sometimes that guys give "triathlon" girls a bad rap...saying we're manly or not hot. well, looking at my "tri" friends in this picture from the races on friday- i'm pretty sure they're not all dogs here in san diego. fast and cute to boot!

(heather, katya, colleen, me, cory, molly, christine)
i also love how my girl friends can get out and have a good time (as we most certainly did at the races) and then wake up and kick pretty much any guy's butt. at least 3 of those girls can swim 25 minutes or less in a half ironman.

okay, back to the weekend. saturday morning after the fun times at the race track, heather and i dragged ourselves out of bed to see the san diego coast by bike. we did a little more riding than i'd usually do before a race, but we were just having a good time and the race was just a by-product of our girls weekend.

heather- loving it! apparently the weather here is better than the rainy chicago summer she's been having. apparently the weather is also too good as she got the MEGA burn wearing this top. it looks like she is still wearing it after she takes it off.

after the ride, we headed home for a quick t-run. then we grabbed james and headed down to the race expo and to do a quick swim at the beach where sunday's race was to be held (Solana Beach). we had heard the surf was big, so i wanted to build my wave entry confidence. well, that didn't happen. the waves were double overhead- a huge swell for san diego and i got TOSSED. i lost my goggles and was just not a happy camper in general. but heather didn't seem too disturbed so i thought i best just suck it up. if the chicago-an could handle our cali waves, i had to not be so scrrrd.

before our "swim"... Day at the Races #2- Solana Beach Triathlon
the waves were kickin', but not nearly as bad as the day prior. still some solid surf and currents though.

i was happy that my swim coach, colleen was racing with me. even though we're in the same age group, shes till was nice enough to give me some good tips (and calm me down). there were 150+ girls in our 29 and under wave. colleen and i started a good 15 yards north of everyone else. we were encouraged to start farther south due to currents, but colleen and i knew we could fight the current and picked a straighter line to the buoy. i think it was a good call and i got to avoid the combination of fighting legs, arms and waves and just had to fight the waves.

me and colleen in our matching zoot wetsuits...uh- where's my cap? i think i wore one. the swim wasn't too bad, except i blew it coming back in to shore. i wasted a lOT of time looking over my shoulder every stroke, afraid the "big one" would come to get me.

after the swim, the rest was just fun. i felt fine on the bike (it was so short!) and the legs ran ok for my current run shape. i ended up 2nd/99 in my age group and 5th overall. a good day at the races.
the BEST part of the day was watching Heather, my sandbagger friend, get 2nd place in her age group!!! yeah yeah! i was so pumped for her- she is getting strong and fast and becoming super motivated for the sport.

after the race, it was my lucky day. heather and i were treated to massages at la costa resort and spa.....we sat by the pool and enjoyed the spa life. i am the dork that get so excited about the little things at the spa (water and tea with citrus floating, fluffy robes, free apples, all the fun products in the bathroom.. love it!) .

by the dipping pool..

monday i squeezed in a mid-day pool session with the girls. my only question for the girls was, "how many triathletes does it take to put up an umbrella?"

Friday, July 24, 2009

race, what race?

the past couple of weeks travelling have been a blast, but i'm happy to be back home in san diego, enjoying the best place for summer in the world. every day is a perfect day to run or ride and then you can top it off with the beach, the horse races at the del mar racetrack, and outdoor concert or a sunset picnic.

backing up two weeks:
i didn't fully report on the good times from back east and my mom sent over some more fun pictures. back in new hampshire, james got back on the wakeboard for the first time in a long time.
he spent more time like this....

than he did like this...waterskiing and wakeboarding both use arm and back muscles that we aren't used to using and we both woke up the next day feeling like we got in a car accident. i was ready for round two out on the water, but james said he was going to pass. well, i just happened to school his ass on the wakeboard so he felt macho-ly obligated to get back in for round 2. luckily for his manhood, he did much better on the second day.
the explosive power required to waterski was a little too much for us endurance wimps after a couple rounds of the lake, so we preferred the foot powered kayak.
i get a little lazy when actual kayaking and my upper body is not so strong, so this thing was the ticket! AND, hands free of course to hold the beer! (actually, that was like the only beer i had- even though i love that james loves beer, to me, it's just not that delicious.)

ok, fast forward to the next weekend. up in sonoma, california- wine country turned beer country!...pre race we were lucky to carbo load with the corbins... linsey's husband, chris, is part of the Big Sky Brewing Company operation, so james easily found a new best friend. the girls tried to get some words in, but the talk was beer, beer beer! they love it!

dinner was awesome and i had such fun with linsey. i might just be replacing rachel ross with a new girl crush. just kidding, rach!!! no one can replace my first love.

after the race, i kept the world's best sherpa happy with a visit to another brewery- the Russian River Brewing Company..and we got to meet up with sarah and kristin for some great times.

ok, i'll get back to triathlon-ish things soon. tomorrow is a local sprint race and the surf is HUGE. i'm petrified. should be interesting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

vineman 70.3 race report

somehow i seem to pick "destination" events....whether its a race or a wedding, i figure, if you're going to travel- make it somewhere your tri sherpas won't resent you for! i guess it also shows "where i'm at" with racing. serious enough to travel, yet not serious enough to make it all about the race. in the end, triathlon is a hobby and should be about fun, not just about, say, breaking 5 hours in a half ironman. but its a little about that too. so this entry is about the race. the next one will be about the good stuff...pre-race and post-race good times!

so vineman 70.3 was my second go at the half ironman distance. last year i finished vineman 70.3 in 5hrs 11 minutes. i had planned to take on the 5hr barrier at honu 70.3 this year, but unable to run, i don't count that as my second half ironman. because it was really 2/3 of a half (which is one-third for you mathematicians).

i knew i could be running by vineman 70.3, but i failed to consider what my running shape would be like heading into the race. i figured that running is the thing i am best at so it would be fine...in the 12 weeks leading up to the race, coming off injury, i had run 1 hard 10k in a race, 2 one-hour runs, and a smattering of runs 30 minutes or less. but i was sure i could fake a half marathon. or at least run as well as i did last year on that course (1:33) as i didn't feel like i pushed my limists in 2008 and ran comfortable.

my main race goal for 2009 was to have improved bike and swim times from last year, maintain on the run, and with all that combined, hopefully break 5 hours.

here's how it went:

the swim- 1.2 miles 31:xx minutes
i had a poor swim at San Diego International just a few weeks ago, so i promised myself to totally go for it on the swim and not just sit in in my comfort zone. during my pre-race swim in the river, i think i finally discovered how to hold/pull water in my wetsuit (which i somehow could not figure out) and i tried to remember that feeling and mimic it in the race swim. my zoot zenith felt awesome and definintely gave me some speed.

my wave start. thanks for the pictures, tawnee!

swim course:

as the gun went off, i put my head down and went hard for the first 50meters. when i finally came up for air, i saw a small pack a few yards ahead of me and went for it to catch them. i also needed to shake off the girls swimming directly to my right and left that kept swatting me. the vineman swim is quite claustrophobic becuase it is in a narrow river channel that doesn't give a group much chance to spread out. i pushed hard throughout the swim and felt good. the swim felt long, so it was nice to pop up at the turnaround buoy for a quick look around before diving back on the feet i was chasing. the water is less than 2ft deep for much of the swim so your fingertips practically graze the bottom. overall, the swim was warm and crowded, but i really pushed myself and swam about 2 minutes faster than last year. not sure exactly becuase they lumped our swim and T1 times together this year, so swim plus T1 was 33:30. but, i glanced at my watch when i came out and it was 31something. a PR for me!

T1: T1 was pretty solid. i think about 2 minutes. my wetsuit came off much easier this time, as i used PAM cooking spray all over my legs. i've heard that PAM can disintegrate or corrode the wetsuit rubber, but i've also heard it really works. i tried it for the first time and i'm a big fan. i figure if i only use it in races, not for training swims, the suit should remain intact. we shall see! i had a long run to the bike out, and was please i had remembered to put it in the easiest geal for the steep hill out of T1 where i saw lots of people walking or slow speed crashing. i spun up the hill and was on to the course.

bike: 2:49:30
i stayed in my aero bars for 90% of the ride (a definite first) and rode 11 minutes faster than last year. this was a big win for me. i made a saddle change about a month ago (LOVE the new ISM racing saddle) that has made all the difference. i was never in aero before becuase i could NOT sit on my saddle for more than 5 minutes. i didn't realize that wasn't normal. the saddle changed my life.
i settled into the ride, reminding myself to push and focus and not try to chat up everyone that came my way. i focused on drinking and went over my nutrition plan in my head. my plan on the bike was 2 bottles of Hammer Perpetuem-orange vanilla (one scoop each, so a total of 260 calories) and one Hammer Espresso gel (90 cal) plus one additional bottle of water. my bike total for calories was planned around 350. well, plan out the window as i reached around for the gel right around 2 hrs and it wasn't there! i did NOT want to take gatorade as it has made me sloshy and barfy in the past. i rolled through the last aid station and tried to call for a gel, but they had no gel. the last guy in the line threw me a mini peanut butter powerbar and i grabbed it SCORE! i yelled to him that i loved him and he made my day! the last hour of the ride, i ate my tasty bar and drank a bottle of water. back on track!
during the whole ride, i did get passed by about 5 women on the bike, but i passed a few myself too. one girl passed me and i kept with her (legally) for almost 20 miles, switching places at times...she eventually dropped me, but at least i didn't just sit in and watch her go by. the last 5 miles seemed to take forever, and i was happy to get off my bike. i thought i was ready to run!

heading into dismount in T2....not blowing it!

T2: i was in and out. my zoot's slipped on easily and i threw on my visor to block some of the 100 degree blazing sunshine. my only mistake was that i had a baggie full of crap that i needed to sort through once i was on the run.

run: out of T2, i realized i had 1:35 to break 5 hours. DONE! i could totally do that. last year's 1:33 on that course wasn't even that hard, i was chatting, making new friends and having way too much fun, so i knew i could just plow through and reach my goal. counting chickens, counting chickens.
well, this is where the magic DIDN'T happen. first, the baggie. the baggie had 3 clif blocks (margarita! 2x the sodium is great for a HOT day) one powergel caffe latte, a packet of suncreen and various assorted white pills. the white pills included salt tabs, tylenol cold, and caffeine pills. they were all different sizes, but being delirious as i was, i couldn't tell them apart. soooo...i popped one pill (caffeine maybe?) and just tossed the rest! that baggie was a ball of stress and i just wanted to unload it. i also thew away the powergel, figuring that if the pill i popped was caffeine, i definitely did not want anymore. but, i kept the shot blocks and began to eat them the first couple miles. i noticed my run legs didn't show up for the party, but thought they'd come around after a mile or two. WRONG! chris berg, a breakaway teammate showed up and i tried to run with him for a bit, but was eventually dropped on the big uphill. i ran and jogged alone. my legs had NO juice. i just could feel the complete lack of running fitness taking over my body. my quads ached like nothing ever before and clearly my body wasn't used to this. but, the hip was a total non-issue. all better. i wanted to walk, i wanted to stop, i wanted to quit, i wanted to cry. the run was not fun and nothing short of a disaster. i kept moving, but at an uncomfortably slow pace for me. and i didn't really care i just wanted to see the finish line and lie down. the second half of the run, i tried some coke to revive me, but no luck. a few girls even ran by me. i've only once been passed once the run before this (by that huge swimmer girl who out sprinted me at imperial beach last year), so i was bummed.

during the last few miles, i started to laugh at myself for acutally thinking that i could just go out and run a half marathon around 1:30-1:35 without training. guess that run showed me!!! i eneded up running 1:39 and crossed the finish at 5:04. not what i had envisioned, but i was happy to have improved big time on my swim and bike. i took 13 minutes off the swim/bike combined from last year and can still see room for getting better.

i ended up 9th in my AG and 27th female out of 769. i didn't reach my sub-5 goal, but i think i have another race in store for that before the season is over. a spot to Clearwater (the 70.3 World Championships) rolled down to me, but that's not in the cards this year. just too much going on at the end of the year (like our wedding!) and that race isn't one i'm dying to do.

so anyway, i stumbled across the finish and james was there to catch me. he told me later i was "pretty out of it". he was pretty much the best race sherpa ever (always) so i made sure we hit lots of breweries pre and post race to keep my sherpa happy. i wish he loved me as much as he loves beer. kidding.

i'm going to do another post on vineman later with all the other great performances and fun times up there- we got to hang out with a lot of new and old friends and it was ridiculously fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

it is what it is!

we're enjoying our time up in sonoma and i'm ready for the race tomorrow. the race wheels are
on, fro yo has been eaten (did you know there is a golden spoon in windsor, ca?) , transition bags are packed and all that business. yesterday, we arrived in guerneville and i chilled by the river on the classy gravel beach in a fancy rubber innertube while james rode his bicycle. i took a quick run and swim, but mostly focused on relaxing and channeling wellness. and watching river folk do their river things. quite the sights!

unfortunately i'm having a bit of a groundhog day from last year's vineman 70.3 experience and i came down with quite a bugger of a cold. the biggest similarity between both years is that i flew on an airplane the week prior to the race both years. which is pretty much immune system suicide. oh well, it is what it is! i'm all fired up with thera flu, afrin, tylenol cold, zinc, and some hoo-ey waaaay too expensive elderberry concentrate that just may cure me by tomorrow :). ...
chugging (well sipping one tablespoon an hour) elderberry potions...

everyone on facebook has been so nice to give me tips to make the bugger go away, and i'm trying them all! just got out of my nice steam shower, (thanks steph!).

but, the best advice of all came from jason (via FB, of course). i was about to throw in the mental towel and just race "for fun" again, but i did that last year! jason wrote, "you don't have to feel great to have a great race." TRUE DAT. i need to just suck it up.

in closing :), i feel sorry for any fools who try to draft off me because they'll probably get some snot in the face.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


hmmmm....i could post about the big race (vineman 70.3) in 2 days, but nah. we're waking up at 3AM to hit the road in the morning, so i'll just post the fun stuff.

i mentioned in my last post that james and i kind of abused the photo booth at the vermont wedding. well, turns out they post all the pictures online..which turned out quit embarassing for some!
here's what a couple of nunus do while waiting for dinner...we took turns shouting out a different command before each shot...

"ACT LIKE...."
you just won a stage of the Tour de France:

you have a secret...
you're on a rollercoaster...
put on your RACE FACE...zone 5!...
you're a pirate.....
you're muslim....

see if you can pick out the following...
At a Padres game...(hint: james loves padres, beth snoozes)
Have broccoli in your teeth...
I'M ON A BOAT.....

the other three are just bad.

Dear rebecca and jimmy. sorry we monopolized the photo booth. we had a blast. xoxo, beth and james

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

when life takes over...good times!

our east coast mini-vacation was jam packed with everything east coast. lakes, lobster boils, preppy men in khakis, hiking....you could practically smell the Patagonia, L.L. Bean, and Vera Bradley from the plane.
Thursday, we arrived in new hampshire and headed to Perkins Pond where my mom lives. james and i took a little kayak cruise to get the lay of the land. luckily, the kayaks could be powered with your feet, so hands were free to hold beverages...

you could practically hear the pond neighbors whispering wondering and who the california adults dressed like kids were...
james loves it. I'M ON A BOAT!the kayaks proved to be not only good fun, but great swimming escorts! seeing as how i have a half ironman this weekend, i felt obligated to swim around the lake a few times. mom was happy to escort..thanks, mom!
we also did our fair share of waterskiing and wakeboarding on the pond. i showed james how it's done. and my mom and gary showed us both how it's done.

later it was time for bonfires, an awesome dinner, and a sunset cruise around the lake. not bad for day 1!

friday we headed up to Stowe, VT for one of my Vanderbilt friend and yes, sorority sister's, wedding...we settled in and i got to hang out with my buddies and they finally got to meet james ( i think they approve!). after a fun rehersal dinner, we stayed out way past bedtime...
somehow, we managed to get up in time for a bike hike up Mt. Mansfield, one of VT's highest peaks...here's the little cali-hiker:

that trail was aptly named as you found yourself wondering, "Why the F did we go this way?" it was rocky and steep!some bozo at the top "took" our picture, but when we got home, we realized she had no skills and didn't take the summit pics. oh well, i got one of james just starting down...

we barely made it back in time to get ready for the 5:00 service...look at my chicken- all dressed up! i was a reader in the wedding, and public speaking is NOT good for me, but i totally nailed it! actually not true, chicken said i talked really fast. but, i made good eye contact with the bride and she was tearing up, so i felt like i did a nice job. after the wedding, the monsoons began. it was ridiculous pouring, pelting sheets of rain for a couple hours. luckily the reception was fully tented and part was in a converted barn, so we were dry, but you could tell the bride and her mom were a little less than pleased. finally the rain stopped, and everyone ran outside, grabbed umbrellas and stared in awe...

the rainbow was a FULL arch, lucky charms style and lit up the sky. the whole thing made for some great pictures...
after the rainbow lifted everyone's spirits, we got to business...
care for a dirty martini? or two?

i swear i was just holding the second one for martha.
after another late night, we got some sleep, woke up for a run along the river, and headed over to the hangover helper BBQ..... the BBQ was great, except they also served leftover wedding cake. so that brought my cake total to 3 pieces, not to mention the ben & jerry's (it WAS vermont after all). maybe not so smart race week. but i LOVE wedding cake. clearly.
a last meetup with the college friends (me, janine, martha)
after the BBQ we headed back to the Pond for another day of waterskiing, swimming, running, eating, and pond cruising with my mom..
the vay-ca was awesome thanks to mom and gary and the happy couple...
this one says it all... i've never seen two people so in love, but i'll tell you, she's got her hands full!

Monday, July 6, 2009

the good, the bad, the ugly

well, there has been a lot of the good going on. june gloom is gone from san diego and the days and nights have been really spectacular. 4th of july weekend, we got in a ton of riding and my second mountainbike race (part of the "racers and chasers summer shootout series") out in temecula. i only rode my mountain bike once since the last race, so i was a little rusty.
but, racers and chasers is super laid back and a great way to get more comfortable on my bike in a smaller race environment. it was also a great chance to spend time with james doing something he loves, and our friends ryan & sarah (team tall).

we pre-rode the course and it wasn't that hard or scary but it was super sandy and loose and lots of twisty tight turns. it was really hard to get going, stay going, and keep a rhythm. it was also really easy to wash out in the sand and tumble into a bush, which i did, oh, about 10 times during the race. BUT, it earned me this, so that's cool...

i do have bruises emerging all over my arms/backside this week so my tumbles may have been a little harder than i thought.

...but here is proof i have actually ridden my bike in the proper upright position..
race photos from chan photography.

this picture is from thomas maranda
and for my efforts, i got to share the podium with sarah. now before you go calling me sandbagger or acting like i'm actually a decent mountain biker, you should know that only 5 women entered this race. total. call me a cherry picker, but don't call me a sandbagger :)
ryan ended up 2nd in his group, and james came up and vogued for 4th place. i think they just called him up becuase they'd knew he'd have on something that would be more appropriate for a woman to wear. like annette's vest. cute belly shirt, james.

the racing was a blast and team tall and after, team small hit up stone brewery and the pool.. ryan was REALLY racing to the brew that day. he also won the race to the passout couch soon after :)

also "the good", james got an email from AVIA's shawn this week....he let us know i was in the July issue of Triathlete...neat... funny how it's in "On the Run" and i am sooooo not on the run...

not much of the bad going on here, but if we're digging for something- my running still isn't back in action. i took some recovery after san diego international and mostly ran just 20 minutes at physical therapy and one slow 30 minute t-run. today (8 days after the race), i tried my first real run and it went okay, but super slow. i still have weird niggles in the hip and the best way to describe it is it feels like i have a wooden leg. the leg just doesn't want to cooperate and i end up all awkward and loping. so, my hopes of getting back into running shape by vineman 70.3 (in 10 days) were a little premature :). oh well. i'm still really excited to go up there...

ok. get ready for a good good laugh at my expense. it's not all triathlete magazine and podiums around here :) . so after saturday's mountain bike race, we stuck around for awards and eventually piled back in ryan's truck. we stopped for some beverages at 7-11 and that point i still had my sunglasses on from the race...

well, inside the store, i took them off and was walking around (probably for far too long). i came up on james, and asked him a question and he burst out into hysterical laughter. he called ryan and sarah over and they all pointed and laughed hysterically. he told me i looked exactly like eddie munster...

i had a very special dirt unibrow from the race. pretty sweet, huh? .....that's hot.