Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010!

Time to say goodbye to the decade. As this blog is "california training", on the training/triathlon front, it was a great year.
missions were accomplished. i had a few goals this past year.

1) Complete my first Ironman
2) Qualify for Ironman World Championships
3) Have the top amateur run split in Kona
...check! (is this check thing getting annoying?)
4) Not get dropped on every ride and not be a "liability"
....working on it. not a total check, not at all.
5) run a sub 3-hour marathon (okay, this wasn't a 2010 goal until october, but it was a general "bucket list" goal
5) Top 10 age group finish in Kona

Well, that now becomes goal #1 for next year. Actually that is goal #2.
Goal #1 for next year is to take 15-20 minutes off of my Ironman bike split (so I want to get in the 5:30 range). WHOA. Scary. Even scarier if you've been on a ride with me lately and understand the State of the Union over here. Goal #3 is to share the 30-34 podium with my husband at Ironman Texas (and maybe some halfs...) but he's got to hold up his end of the deal there and not blow up, so it's only 50% within my control.

Team Walsh is on our way. We finished out the year with Team running hill repeats today ...and saw Kerri at the top of Torrey Pines - she had her new Christmas camera with her!

Oh yes, and resolutions... I do have a couple. I resolve to...
1) save more energy for the husband. sometimes i tend to leave it all in the work day & workouts and am not very wifely when i finally get home.

2) dress cuter at work. really. i workout before work and tend to get ready in 10 minutes. i pull the hair back in a bun and do the makeup in the car. so, by having a cute outfit, i can actually look halfway professional without going big on the actual prep. today i SHOPPED. and holy sales, i bought all this for just about $400. i kill it! that will be my only shopping of the year for that type of stuff. i hate shopping for work clothes.

3) stop saying i'm going to stop eating the snacks in the teachers lounge and eating after dinner unless I really am going to do it. james will really appreciate this.

4) update all the links and such on the side of my blog. half of the blog roll probably isn't even in existence. i also resolve to actually comment on more of the blogs i read. i LOVE reading blogs- and i read every blog in my feed. but half the people i read probably don't even realize it! i think my lack of comments sometimes is due to the annoying "word verification". i hate that crap. thats why i don't have it on my blog. and guess what? in 3 years, i have only ever gotten like 3 spam comments. just sayin'.

5) blog more. i love it! i'm just lazy.

that's about it. Peace!
I leave you with pictures from the Beer Mile....Kerri won best dressed. I agree!

GO KRISTEN! Take it down!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life on the Other Coast

Christmas in Philadelphia was full of things we never do. It was like living opposite life for 6 days.

1) james and I slept past 8am EVERY day [don't think we slept past 8 all year at home]
2) We stayed up past midnight EVERY night [made it to midnight maybe once prior this year]
3) Watched 3 movies (Inception, Temple Grandin, Knight & Day) [I think we saw maybe 2 movies all year prior to this. I have movie narcolepsy and pass out about 20 minutes into every movie. The only one I passed out in in Philly was Inception]
4) Enjoyed a blizzard
5) No bikes were ridden
6) We ran in the cold, wind, & snow
7) Went shopping for real (not lycra) clothes
8) We took extra time to not rush, enjoy, and just hang. Like sitting in the coffee shop and drinking from the "real" mugs.

The best part of opposite coast life was sharing the time with my family and not worrying about work, training, if the laundry was done, and how many bags I needed to pack for the next day. Good, no... Great times were had by all: 2 "parents", 4 grown children, and 3 significant others are quite the party. no drama, all easy-going, flexible, and fun. This was most properly demonstrated on Christmas night when the 9 of us left the house after 10pm to go Karaoke for a few hours in Chinatown. Why not?

Oh, and Christmas is not about the presents, but there were a couple sporty fun ones I wanted to share...Really no reason to enumerate my gifts, but if any men with sporty wives are reading, they may get some future ideas. So this is basically a PSA.

mini computer from James! (this is sporty because it enables blogging, virtual stalking of my favorite athletes, etc)

lululemon cape! this covers my bum so I can wear it with leggings only underneath and not look all POW POW POW....honey's got a booty like WOW oh WOW.

Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS & Heart Rate watch (I have the 310XT & just wasn't my thing. this is simple and will work better for me for racing. And its much cuter...also hoping to get a Garmin 500 for my bike and at some point, a powermeter, but I digress

Custom Betty Designs ISM saddle that matches all my gear (LOVE!!!) and goes perfectly on my Black/White Colnago Flight TT

And, a bag and bottle emblazoned with my #2 Ironman motto. (#1 is Make it Work). I know I borrowed this motto from someone but can't remember who...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feeling that holiday cheer

'Tis the season to ride the trainer before dawn by the light of the christmas tree. That's "The Sing Off" in the background. It's one of the two shows I currently watch (the other one being Top Chef). Nothing too taxing on the trainer lately- plenty of time for that once the new year begins. 'Tis also the season for Christmas cards. I LOVE getting cards from friends and family far and wide, and for the first time, I got my act together and ordered my own...Now if I could just finish those addresses and actually send them all off!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If it Ain't Broke....

2010 has been pretty awesome. . I feel like I've learned and grown a lot in triathlon, but even more so in the life department. My first year of married life is almost complete and I must admit that its actually getting easier. The first few months, James and I both realized that we would be living forever as a couple with two people who are both always right. Maybe a bump or two in the road. But, I think we've settled in nicely, as we're both learning to let things go a little more.

In triathlon, I trained and raced with the Nytro Women's triathlon team, a group of 9 ambitious amateur women supported by some incredible sponsors.

Our first year was a success and I'm lucky to have the opportunity to continue with the team next year. I briefly considered branching out with James to do our own little team Walsh as we'll be racing together almost 100% next year. One day, I do want to race as a team with James. But, he knows how important the social aspect of training is to me, and how much motivation I get from my inspiring team members. And, James couldn't promise me this....

After all, it's all about the outfits! Also, three of my favorite training partners- Julie, Tatiana, and Molly are joining the team next year. It truly is an amazing thing Kristin & Nytro have put together and I am so lucky to be a part of it.

We'll be kicking off 2011 with a team training weekend in February in Palm Springs, CA which will kick off my race season...
which looks like this so far:
2.12.2011 Tour de Palm Springs (Century)
2.13.2011 Palm Springs Half Marathon
4.2.2011 California 70.3
5.21.2011 Ironman Texas
6.26.2011 San Diego International Tri
7.17.2011 Vineman 70.3
8.21.2011 Timberman 70.3 (this is a maybe...not sure if my bank account will agree with this one, but it is on my "to do" list and my mom may be racing it!)

After these races, there are some big question marks...If James and I qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas (9.11.11) or the Ironman World Championships (10.8.2011), there is no question that we will be there. We might need to get a couple of roommates or have some bake sales or something, but we'll make it work!

So, lots of racing to be had in 2011 and no better person to prepare me than the one and only Dirkinator. Again, if it ain't broke.....I learned SO much from working with Dirk last year and I know there are leaps and bounds of improvements to be made. I trust him. I believe in his style. I love laughing at his German-isms and I especially love it when he reads my emails literally and takes them seriously when they are not. And I know that with his guidance, this will be the year that all those bike miles finally kick in!

So yeah. All is good around here....Except for the fact that it is Tuesday but all day I thought it was Thursday. LONGEST WEEK EVER!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Las Vegas Marathon 2010

Bust need not apply!!! (in more ways than one)- Sorry to disappoint, D! I know an epic blowup would have made better blog material, but no such luck for you.

I went into this marathon with one goal- give it my best shot at a sub-3 hour time. It may not have helped that i took 2 weeks off 6 weeks out from the race, but I think that is compensated by the months and months of ironman base I convinced myself I could pull from.

Race morning was awesome in that since our hotel was near the start/finish and the race started at 7am, we didn't wake up until 5, which is a race-day treat!

We headed to our pre-race meetup with barbie escorts rachel & katherine. I was blinded by the joy of matching outfits and can't remember much else from pre-race. Or, maybe I was blinded by the lululemon logos on our skull caps.

We lined up in the first corral and came up with the race plan- 6:45s all the way. The gun fired and we were off. I got a bit ahead of the girls after the first half mile, but looked down and saw that the pace was right on target, so I kept it moving and prayed they'd shimmy up through the crowd and yoyo back to me. Soon enough, Rachel was by my side, and Katherine was right behind. We clicked off our 6:45s (which soon turned to 6:50s) and kept ourselves entertained with conversation (mostly Rachel who was feeling fab). I think she was trying to distract me so that I stopped breathing super loud. She was worried about me. Sadly, that is just my normal running.

So we kept trotting along out and back down the Las Vegas strip with 28,000 of our closest friends for the first half of the marathon (which is shared with the half marathon course). At mile 5, we saw James bolting back towards town (he ran a 1:15!) and cheered for him. I must admit I felt less than awesome. By mile 7 I realized this was going to be a lot harder than planned. My heartrate was already in the mid 170s (even in Kona- my HR for the marathon was a 155 average and never hit 170) and every little grade felt like it took way more out of me than it should.

Rachel and I hit the half right around 1:30 and I may have dropped an F-bomb and said, "crap- we are going to have to negative split this." Right around that point, things got plain old hard. The course had changed since I ran it in 2008 and it turns out that now the back half includes 4 bridge overpasses, tons of turns, and lots of other stuff that makes you want to crawl back to the VIP tent and grab a glass of champagne and sit your but down.

But no, onward we went. Just before mile 14, heading up a hill, Rachel told me her quads were barking. I told her to take a minute and I would keep the pace. I thought for sure that she would trot back up to me a minute later, but the next thing I heard was a bunch of dudes running up on me on a significant hill. The 3:00 pace group engulfed me and as they swallowed me up (ok, there were only like 5 of them so swallowed may be a bit of an exaggeration) I realized I had to make a decision. My heart rate was about 180 and I felt like I was completely at my limit. But, I knew that if I let them pass and drop me, that the shot at sub-3 was gone. I was in NO shape to make up lost time, so I thought of Monique, and decided to "Suck it Up, Buttercup!" I was running 5k effort to stick with the group, but got a little break when we crested the hill and went down.

I psyched myself up a bit and tucked into the group for the next mile or so. Somewhere around mile 16 I fell back about 20 yards from the group. Dire straits. I thought I was done. But then, I looked over and there was a guy there. A guy on a bike. A guy with a walkie talkie on a bike and official race-looking stuff. Oh no you didn't! He looks at me and says, 2nd place just dropped, you're in 3rd. And magically my pace improved by 20 seconds per mile.

I was talking (or typing) with Rachel before the race and told her that I do believe strongly in a little race day magic. But usually it comes from within. However, I'm not afraid to admit that on Sunday I was a little externally motivated :). I hadn't considered that I'd be near the front of this race, but I was happy to accept the new reality. The good part was, I got another wind. The bad part was, that wind died a couple miles later (18-20-ish?) and I was struggling. I had passed the 3-hour pace group, but they were pretty much right behind me. I looked back and saw that they had picked up a girl. CRAP! Soon enough, the 3-hour pacer, who I had luckily befriended, bridged the gap to me and said, "You got this. She's breathing heavy and sweating like a pig." I found this hilarious at the time. Especially because she was this tiny little thing that certainly didn't look like a sweaty pig, but I didn't argue. At this point, I could see the second place woman ahead of me. For some reason, in my painful haze, the thought of trying to catch #2 never really crossed my mind. All I could think about was holding off #4, but she was closing the gap and just sitting there 10-20 yards behind me for MILES. I knew she was going to catch me, I just wasn't sure when.

The last few miles were pure survival. The cyclist escort kept telling me the gap to 2nd (15-20 seconds) but stopped mentioning the girl in 4th right behind me, I think because he thought she was plotting her attack and was surely going to chew me up. My heartrate hit 188 (the highest number I've EVER seen was 183 in a 5k a few years ago) but I knew that I could break 3 hours if I didn't stop and I kept sight of that goal regardless of my placing. I kind of resolved that #4 was going to pass me. But she didn't. We hit mile 25. Then we hit mile 26 and were 1/4 mile from the finish and she made her move. I have no idea how long she had been on my shoulder because I had stopped looking back. At this point, we were speeding up but not sprinting. I turned to her, smiled wide, and said, "Nice race, great work." I let her think she had me. She didn't respond to me, stayed stone faced and passed me. I think maybe English not her first lanaguge. Anyhow, in my mind, I Macca'd her. I let her think I was done. I faded back a step and rounded the corner a couple steps behind her. 25 meters from the finish, I turned on the kick and sprinted like I never had before. I got quite the gap on her by the time we crossed the line and the clock read 2:59:00. Looking at the video, I'm realizing that if I had kicked just a bit earlier, I might have nipped #2 (pink shorts)...not quite, but I saved 3rd, broke 3, and got on the podium at a big marathon. Who knew that 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall would come down to less than 2 seconds in a marathon. OUCH.
Its hard to see exactly how it played out, but the video gives an idea. The best part is 20 seconds after the finish where you see that I could not speak or move, but I can still smile :)

Minutes later, Rachel (3:03!) & Katherine (3:07!) were there to join me and PR hugs were had by all. James and Bryan, fresh off the half and a couple shots of Patron were also good finish-line entertainment.

I love this caption contest waiting to happen photo of skipper (me) & the runner barbies (rachel & katherine) at the finish...we may look like a what-not-to-wear tragedy, but I say you can wear whatever you want when you are 3 of the top ten overall women in a marathon...

I'm not usually a sucker for awards, but this time was different. I was on a huge stage with male winner Josh Cox, female winner Dorota Gruce (who, sadly, is hidden completely behind me in the picture below. It's not that I'm that big- she is that tiny! You can kind of see her yellow jacket behind me. By the way, she killed it and ran 15 minutes faster than any of the rest of us). Ok, back to the podium. Flowers, plaques, a chunk of change AND there were like 10,000 people in the crowd cheering and watching the awards. Oh wait, they might have been there to see Bret Michaels who played a free show directly after us :). Ok, fine. But it was still pretty cool. And they were TOTALLY there just to see me.

So that was the race, but of course, in Vegas, it's all about the afterparty...more to come. CHEERS!

Thank you to everyone for your support and for following along. As always, thanks to Nytro Women, Betty Designs, and Zoot sports. I'm proud to say my Zoot Ultra Tempo 3.0+s carried me to sub 3. And of course, our matching Kona edition Zoot compression socks helped with all the PRs. And- huge special thank you to Rehab United for the brutal but necessary strength training that I know was HANDS DOWN the reason I kicked #4 to the curb. Thank god all those squats are good for something- finish line power!