Monday, August 31, 2009

blame it on the chain...yeah yeah

first, our friend, Mark, who rides for Celo Pacific had the best facebook status updates last week. i don't think he reads my blog, but if he does, i hope he doesn't think i'm too odd for re-posting these because i don't know him all that well. facebook "friend" can mean so many things, eh? anyway, I can't wait until james is as cool of a dad as Mark is.

Mark's facebook status update #1: "First week of elementary school & I'm stoked every child in the neighborhood knows I'm rolling out with 3 of my kids on bikes at 7:05 (just like last year) for the 2 mile journey. Our mini-peloton 9 strong today all waved at the grumpy... school bus driver as we rolled by noting her near empty it cruel to want to put her out of a job?! Same time tomorrow...bring a friend!"

Mark's status update #2:"Caught my son Drew sneaking out after dinner last night with his helmet. "I'm just gonna get some more miles" he said. A couple weeks ago I put odometers on the kid's bikes and offered a special prize when they get to 100 miles.... Drew's got over 30; MJ's around 40. Guess I better figure out what that "prize" is going to be...!!???"

pretty cool. makes you happy there is still some good old clean fun out there, and some great dads.

okay. back to me:)
last weekend's mountain bike race: Rim Nordic, Cat 2.

do you ever race and while you're racing (usually if things aren't going so well) you actually spend time writing your blog entry in your head or thinking up a title for it. well, about halfway through the Rim Nordic mountain bike cross country race on sunday, i couldn't get milli vanilli out of my head, substituting the "r" for a "ch"...bame it on the chain, yeah, yeah.

good times good times when your chain falls off both the front and read derailleur multiple times going uphill and your bike doesn't want to stick in the gears you need to wasn't total mayhem, but enough for me to stop worrying about racing and just have fun and get to the finish.

the race itself was just some more mountain bike practice for me- mostly we drove up there so james could finish out the series and get in some hard racing. i had already raced up at Rim Nordic one time about a month ago and did the Cat 3 race. which was fun, but pretty short (about 45 minutes). when i raced Cat 3, i managed to crush the women's field :). but let's be honest. the "field" consisted 4 of us. one girl had panniers and a kickstand and another one had a cotton shirt and no bike the competition wasn't too rough.

this time, james and i decided i would step it up and race Cat 2. the girls would have a lot more experience than me, but to get in enough practice and a solid workout, Cat 2 was the best decision even though i was a little tired. i had a rough ride/run brick the day before the Rim Nordic race (saturday). saturday, i cruised out to the celo pacific ride with james and his friends and worked pretty hard but still got dropped (i joked that i was "saving" my legs for sunday's race, but there was definitely no saving going on, i had some bad positioning on the climb and was population 1 before i could blink). since the ride was an out and back up the coast and onto the military base, Camp Pendleton, I got in some good solid aero miles after slipping off the back and then rejoined the group at the turn around. when we got home after a solid 3.5 hour ride, i headed straight out for a 30 minute run....

sunday morning, i did not feel awesome. i had a killer migraine overnight and into the morning that made everything foggy and i was able to get just a couple hours sleep. i decided to not sign up for the race until after i had done a warm-up to see how i felt. i ended up feeling okay and signed up a few minutes before the start. the race was fun, hot and had tons of climbing and technical descending which is perfect for me, just what i need to work on.

on lap one, i started out pretty well and was 3rd (of about 8) woman up the climbs for the first 3/4 of the way up the mountain. then, i tried to use one of my most useful climbing gears and got nothing but chain rub, clanking and ghost shifting. i spent a lot of time trying to shift out of the gears that were not working, eventually lost rhythm, and had to hop off the bike and let the girls pass. i ended up dead last after this and began working my way back up. by the time we reached the summit, i had re-passed all the women except two that were still ahead. after the summit, there is a lot of fire road, technical descending with rocky/sandy switchbacks, fast bumpy fireroad descents and a couple last climbs out of a little valley. on these last climbs, my real problems started happening. again, i couldn't "grab gears" in the easier gears and after clanking around, my chain fell off. i got off and had nervous hands trying to get it back on. got passed by one or two girls here. this turned out to be just the beginning, and when we hit lap 2, i spent the whole time climbing to the summit fumbling between gears that wouldn't stick and my chain fell off both the back and the front derailleurs. i almost gave up and turned around becuase my bike was just not all together working, but realized that once i made it to the top, i wouldn't need all the gears giving me problems, so i kept going. i had to hike-a-bike a section i would normally ride, but eventually made it. i had been passed by most of the other women, but not all, so decided to just give it my best to the finish and keep my position.

it was a tough one, but i was happy to have finished and had the experience to deal with some bike maddness and not get too frustrated. its important to deal with stuff like this in smaller races because then you know a little bit more about how to handle hiccups when the important races come. but then again, "important" is even funny because after all, its just a race! and, the difference between my time and the Cat 2 winner was just about 4 minutes- not that much considering what i was dealing with, so i know that if i get everything dialed in, i can be competitive!

after the race, i played water girl for james....who won his series title- so excited!

for now, my bike is at B&L getting some TLC from Gordon...he is swapping parts from some of james' old bikes and he's already dropped 5 POUNDS with more to go! i can't wait to ride it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

looking ahead

i tried to plan a loose training schedule leading up to my last two big races of the year: Orange County International Triathlon (9/27) and SOMA Half Iron (10/25 in Arizona). SOMA is not an iron-branded race, but lots of local san diego folks make the easy 5-hour drive to AZ.
after vineman 70.3 earlier this summer, i thought about sticking around for the roll-down slots to qualify for 70.3 Worlds (they did roll down), but for me this year, the race is too far (florida!), too late in the season (late november- gotta start training for IM St. George in early December), and too close to our wedding (which would make it a tough thing to set aside money for as well.)i'm bummed to miss a championship race, but i know i made the right call. so, SOMA it is and i'm actually REALLY excited. we have some great friends out there to stay with (some of james' training buddies so he's stoked to ride in AZ). also, the course might be 5-hour friendly for me(doesn't appear to be a monster) and my goal is going to be to beat that 5 hours on the time clock.

so, as i was saying, according to the loose training schedule i had planned, this past week was a rest and recovery week. i "plan" my training with the pretty standard 3 week build up in volume and intensity and then one week to let it all soak in. this last rest week coincided nicely with my first full week of work so i was able to ease back into real life. i made sure to rest up and enjoy a monday-funday beach/happy hour afternoon with lots of friends and get some quality ART (active release therapy) with the man, dan selstad. over the years (and the injuries), dan has become so much more than "just" my ART man and i definitely consider him one of my most important supporters and friend.

its a good thing training wasn't full force because work definitely was and i also was able to make time to attend a lululemon design team meeting. one of my favorite parts about being involved with lululemon is the opportunity to be really involved with the company and offer direct product feedback and ideas straight to the designers. on wednesday night, i got to meet with the CEO/founder of lululemon and a head designer to give feedback (and eat sushi!) with a few other lululemon ambassadors and athletes. its amazing how much they truly value customer input and i think a few ideas we had might make it to the shelves! i REALLY want to see a little waterproof pocket built into my run/cycle wear to store my phone or ipod or dollah dollah beels y'all while i sweat. so i packed lots of life and fun stuff into the rest week which was nice.

starting next week, i have two more 4-week training blocks, each with 3 weeks of building up and one week of recovery. both the OC triathlon and SOMA fall at the end of my next two recovery weeks, so the timing is perfect. there are definitely other races scattered in between (mountain biking races, cross country running races, and a sprint tri) but they are all truly just in fun. becuase i love to race. speaking of, i'm off to a race in the morning...Rim Nordic mountain bike race with james...he's looking to take the series title and i'm going for my first try in the Sport category, stepping up from beginner.
have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

races and such

hi! things have been the usual busy-crazy-funaround here. no complaints. i'll be the first to admit that life is pretty good....too good? sometimes i get nervous it's so waiting for something to go wrong. besides beginning my new full-time school psychologist position (which i love- my school is wonderful!) i've been packing in the eating, playing and racing.

james has been his usual grill-master extraordinaire self and cooking up tasty ahi, shrimp, grilled veggies and brown rice. and he's been updating "our" food blog VO2maxxed and picking up my slack. thanks, babe! james' plate at a typical dinner...
we've also been hitting some local good eats out and had fun on our two-year anniversary...eating oysters by the ocean
and sampling sake
in between all the eating, i've been mountain biking about once a week which i am reaaallly starting to love. i keep thinking about Xterra next year- i can't wait!...last week, on anniversary day, james took the day off work to spend time with his wife-to-be and we headed to the trails at lake hodges...
other than hitting the trails, i've been on a little bit of a racing bender lately. nothing long or super intense, just a lot of fun local stuff that's helping me get back into some type of running shape....2 weeks ago was a mountain bike race that i missed blogging about, probably while i was packing for the next race or recovering from spending an hour at my max heart rate becuase that's the only way i can describe mountain bike racing.

then, last thursday, i did the Tri Club San Diego August Aqauthlon (1000m swim and 5k run). it was loads of fun as always...i put an aquathlon picture of katya here instead of me, becuase she looks so darn good running and it looks like she is doing a little toe tap/line dance over the timing mat as she heads out for lap #2..

the aquathlon was a blast and maybe the 200+ racers show up on a thursday night for the workout, but i think it's the free food waiting :)
in addition to the billions of pizzas, there were tons of salads, pasta things, and an ice cream sundae bar....almost makes you wish the aquathlon was longer to earn some more dessert! my actual "race" at the aquathlon was fine- i really used some self-restraint (not sure where i found it) because i had two more races coming up over the weekend so i wanted to "save it" a little (typically nearly impossible for me) and i think i really did! i just went out and had fun.

saturday was the first Dirt Dog cross country race of the season. i'm lucky to be running for the BSK/Running Center women's team and having a blast so far. the race was a pretty challenging course and had lots of rolling hills.

here's a picure of morgan chugging away, looking nice in our team half-shirt. (the photos of me in the team belly-shirt on the other hand made me realize that i might have a little work to do in the "nutrition" category before my next big race...) so i give you pretty svelte morgan...
i did okay in the race and was the 3rd runner for our team and 13th woman overall.. i ran in the 19's (minutes), but some of the top 5 girls were in the 17s and i'm just not there especially on dirt and hills. with all the racing, i had to try to squeeze in half-ironman training here and there. so before the XC race, i warmed up 45 minutes and after cooled down for an additional 45 minutes, making it a long run "sandwich" with some speed (the 5k race) in the middle, making it almost an 1:50 "run".

after the race slash long run, i iced my legs, prepped for the next day's sprint tri, and headed to the Brewfest with james and company. check out his blog for the full description- basically it was a beer tasting festival. nothing like standing in the 90 degree hot sun for 3 hours the afternoon before a race! the brewfest was like Christmas for james, and i was happy to be designated driver and sample just a couple sips and obsevere him in his element. i was the most popular kid on the block as i gave away all my tastings....

photo of the tasting crew

james loves beer, i love...PIZZA! ( i guess i hadn't seen those cross country pics yet!)
james looks a little forlorn when the tasting is over :

after the fest, we went home and i got ready for the Surf Town Triathlon. again, i was stoked to race with my breakaway-training crew and also to race in my brand new Zoot racers that i'm testing for the 2010 line. look ma, no laces! they feel like slippers, but could they be race-able?

i really only had one main goal for this race- i was determined NOT to let what happened to me last year at this very race happen 2008, i got owned by the big swimmer chick at the finish line...definitely my favorite triathlon memory because it was hilarious how off guard i was, mosey-ing on to the finish until i got worked...
anyhow, that was the past, i'm moving on...but if you're interested in the 2008 race report click here...a snap of what went down in 2008:

okay....back to 2009- Surf Town (Imperial Beach) Triathlon.
we started with a large wave of pink-capped ladies...the surf was small but the current was nasty nasty

the swim was over in a flash and i was on my bike in 3rd place. there must have been some ladies taking a poo in transition or something because i was only 8th or 9th out of the water.. yeah yeah for transitioning fast in a sprint triathlon!
the bike was uneventful.... i got passed by one girl and didn't pass any women. she passed me near the end, i kept her in sight, and then ran by her right out of T2.

the run felt GREAT! james told me i was a minute or so back from first (which was not totally true as he missed the girl that was really in first), so i just began running as fast as i could without blowing up. i felt good, which was a surprise after the 5k cross country race slash 15mile run the day before. i'm pretty sure it was the zoot shoes. they were awesome and not a blister or chafe or anything. like butter. i can't wait to wear them again...

anyhow, i ran my way up to the front by the time the race was over

and crossed the finish with a big smile...happy to see james, my most excellent race sherpa future husband.since then, its been more of the same this week with the addition of the new job...and guess what's on tap for the weekend- more racing!!! another mountain bike race (just for fun and practice), but i'm moving up to the "sport" category, which means more competition and longer race courses. bring it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

please don't leave me...part 2

first, i want to give a shout out to GZ, who is going to kill it at the pikes peak marathon this weekend. all his biggest fans know that he is fully capabable and ready to be top 10, but he'd never admit it. no pressure, GZ, no pressure!

ok. back to Part 2. SURF MONKEY!
Surf Monkey is a local race with a small town feel, but lots of folks come out to play, and try to get the coveted surf monkey trophies (there is one for the winner of each event).
there are lots of events to choose from- standalone 5k run, swim/run, standalone swim, and 2 paddleboard races. you can race once, or you can race all three swim/run/paddle (Queen/King monkey), anything goes!
i ran the 5k for team lululemon. after this year's race, michellie jones walked away with a monkey (swim/run), kate major scored one too (5k) and luke bell took home two (swim/run and 5k)! freaking australians :). maybe one day, i can bring home one of these...

my race was pretty darn fun. james came down to surf and give me some pre race love!

the race was really really rocky. and when it wasn't rocky, it was soft sand, or hard sand. i was really glad i wore my zoot shoes becuase they're designed to get wet and sandy far better than traditional running shoes.

or running up the ramp to the pier....looking serious...

or running by the lululemon cheering squad...not so serious...
the best part of the day was our ridiculous cheering squad from the lovely ladies of lululemon. they literally lit up the beach!
after my race, i hit the beach to watch my lululemon relay teammate, colleen take off for her 1-mile this pic w/ the dude CHECKING her out...

She did an awesome job and with our fabulous paddler, Kate, we ended up 3rd relay team.
post-race we did a lot of hanging out at the reeeeaaaalllly awesome race expo.

(i'm the short one...why are they all so tall? lululemon's got legs!)

and i definitely hung around for awards. even though i was on a relay, i was eligible for awards for the standalone 5k.... as 3rd place lady, i won a Nixon watch.. and lots of other cool stuff... Morgan, the superstud 2nd overall female, won a pair of Maui jim is a funny/greedy podium moment where we both realize we want to trade prizes :)

(thanks for the picture, Dave)

I got to pick any pair pf maui jim's I wanted - so i got friend julia had them in honu this year and i was dying to copycat her, but not about to spend $300 on exactly what i don't need...another pair of shades...
okay, so its not all about the prizes, but i'll definitely be doing this race again next year :).....
we all had such a blast and it was agreed that surf monkey would become an annual thing. good times all around...

and....this just in... I GOT THE JOB!!! I'm the newest school psychologist at an amazing elementary school in north county san diego. dream job. i feel really really lucky and grateful that the planets aligned to give me this opportunity. guess the funemployment is over in 2 weeks! time to train and relax like a pro while i can. ok, i'm off for a nap :)

please don't leave me....part 1

please don't leave me. i haven't updated this blog in about two weeks and i'm hoping both my readers (hi james! hi mom!) don't stop reading. i've also been really behind on reading other blogs these past couple weeks, so can i get a little blog amnesty? i'm making a comeback this week.
i have my recap of all fun things in the works, but i'm thinking of 3 installments because i don't want to turn off anyone kind enough to read with a mega-long post.

so. Part 1.
there has been a lot going on....we had some more guests in town, i had 2 job interviews (fingers crossed haven't heard yet), and i studied my brains out for the Certified Strength and Conditionaling Specialist exam last week.. (a 4 hour test- i'll get the results in 6 weeks). i even read this whole text book cover to cover. 600 pages. oooooch. the test/certification is no joke. i learned a TON and am continuing to go back through all the areas i wansn't sure about.

in between all the serious stuff (like shopping for the perfect job interview outfit and practicing plyometric drills by myself for the CSCS exam)- there was plenty of room for fun.

last weekend james and i headed to ride El Moro on the mountain bikes with ryan and sarah. we set out for a 3-hour ride, by far my longest on the mountain bike so far. i think i was dying after the first climb. sweating way too hard for climbing probably 100 feet.

over the course of the day, we charged some big hills, and the climbing was soooo darn hard for me. sarah was spinning up like it was not so bad, so i had no choice. i usually somehow made it up to the top, but wheezing in heart rate zone 1,000. the downs were fun, nice relief, and we got some good descending practice.
after a while, we actually descended some twisty single track all the way to Emerald Bay, a private beach community in Laguna Beach with insane houses.

ryan, our tour guide, showed us the way to sneak in past the tennis courts (he was a champ, by the way on the whole ride, and carried my extra water and made sure the girls were okay while james (aka wants-to-be-a-schleck) dropped the hammer all over the place).

the place was nuts. its all gated and gorgeous and the residents cruise around on golf carts all day...i stopped in one of the park bathrooms and it was like they had gold toilets. immaculate. i was surprised there wasn't a bathroom butler. gate crashers....
we eventually made the longs climbs back to the car and i was WORKED. the only things that kept me going were 1) chasing sarah and her sexy long legs - seriously- how small does she make me look? ok, there is a little bit of a slope

2) zoning out listening to ryan and james make ridculous bets about anything and everything. you can pretty much count on the fact that on any occasion, those two will heckle eachother incessantly, and make some stupid bet about beer and bikes. at El Moro, Ryan bet James he couldn't middle ring-it up a steep climb. james accepted and spun up the hill like it was nothing. bet it helps that he weighs like 5 pounds.....

at the end of the ride, we discovered that once again, i had improved upon my ability to acquire a FANTASTIC dirt unibrow. damn, i'm getting good at this! seriously?
ok. part two coming up....SURF MONKEY! the best swim/run race with the best cheering squad ever...