Monday, February 27, 2012

Ranch, Dude!

When in Rome....Or at the Ranch! 
I need a vacation from my vacation!
You know those getaways that are so relaxing yet so not relaxing at the same time? Yeah...well, check! We cruised out to Palm Springs, CA on Friday after noon tanning sesh swim and settled into the Smoke Tree Ranch for a weekend of festivities celebrating the wedding of Molly & Scott. Molly & Scott are triathlete friends who share love & sweat just like James & I. 
The gate to the Ranch. You'd never know you're downtown Palm Springs
Upon arrival, we checked out the grounds of the Smoke Tree, with a 7 mile run, of course. The place was awesome- it reeks of dude ranch slash exclusive country club and you can totally tell its where billionaires come to "rough it".
The Ranch House
The Ranch has lots of funky traditions and I loved seeing guests in cowboy attire and out lawn bowling (yes, really). Property owners at the Ranch are called "colonists" and the rest of us plebs are "guests". You need to carry your bar code ID everywhere or you'll be kicked to the curb. It is a funny, yet totally awesome place. Our cottage had a HUGE bed with fluffy white linens and was completely rustic luxe. When I buy my dream home, I am officially requesting "rustic luxe". Anywho...I know you're not here for the HGTV...moving on. 

Post run, we made a quick change and met up with local friends Ben & Becky for an awesome dinner at The Amigo Room - a speakeasy type bar at the Ace Hotel. Such a good chill spot with a great beer selection which pleased James immensely. Loved the Ace as well, much more kitschy mid-century modern...

Pool at ACE
Post-dinner, we cozied up to the fire back at the ranch for some S'mores and cocktails. I definitely had more than one (of each!) 

the later it gets, the worse the ihpone photos! 

Julia, Garrett, Steph by the fire
Me & my hot date
After the bonfire, we tucked ourselves in to get some good sleep before a marathon Saturday. Saturday was basically a race to fit in the workouts in time to prep for the 3pm wedding. James & I met up with Ben, Becky, & The Jessup brothers for a serious ride out to Pioneertown.
Ready to ride....Ben says headed "that way"
When I asked Ben if we pass through any cool spots on the way to Pioneertown he responded, "Yeah! If you like meth..." Gotcha... Anyway, I was too focused on the wheels in front of me as we climbed and climbed out there that it was all the same to me.
Heading out to climb...Windmills!
Pioneertown, CA ....Beyond Yucca Valley somewhere in Morongo Basin
80 miles and 5000+ ft of climbing later, it was time for my hour t-run back at the Ranch. I had to giddy up because it was getting late (and hot and windy) and I REALLY wanted to lay on the bed like this since I was so smashed: 
But alas, only one of us soiled the sheets with sweaty chamois. I had bigger fish to fry...myself! 

So, I bucked up &  knocked out a super solid run 8+ miles and showered up in time for the raison d'etre in the dez this weekend. The wedding! For once, I was glad to be a lady, sitting in the 90 degree sunshine in my little dress while james cooked & dripped sweat in his suit. 

It was one of those weddings that was the perfect day. The perfect couple, the perfect weather, the perfect amount/combo of guests (plenty to get a crowd on the dancefloor, but not so many it lost the intimacy). All in all, we declared this the best wedding we've been to in a long time!
Sunshine, golf course, mountains, palm trees, and LOVE in the air
First dance
Considering I went straight from a nearly 6 hour training day to the wedding, I'm sure you're not surprised my first drink packed a punch. FUN BOBBY!!!!!
Kerri, me, & my first okay second bev
I settled down a bit after eating my dinner and one, two, three slices of cake (They were small! I swear!) and hit the dance floor. My best athletic feat of the day was balancing (successfully!) on 4 inch heels into the evening. 

After our partying was done, James & I headed back to our cottage and settled onto the floor with a picnic of snacks (go 4th meal!) and passed out hardcore.

Sunday, I had to get back to San Diego for an important event, so I kissed James goodbye and wished him luck at his bike races (2 criteriums in Ontario, CA). I hitched a ride back to San Diego (after an awesome long trail run up the Lyken Trail) with Becky, Christine, and Mario (well, we didn't run "with" Mario as he is gunning for a sub 2:28 at the LA Marathon in 3 weeks)

We showered, brunched, and hit the road back to San Diego before hearing about this: 

Worse than it looks... And his butt cheeks are the WORST part, but that's NSFW

Poor James crashed in the crit, but Mr. determined-to-upgrade-from-Cat-5 hopped back on and finished the race. He's all banged up and got 4 stitches in his lip, but he's okay and already excited about next weekend's races - you can read his take on the day here..

Today it was back to school, back to school. Work is crazy busy these days, so I'll catch you this weekend! Oh, did I mention it's RACE WEEK? Palm Springs International triathlon on 3/4 so guess what...Back to the dez next weekend! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Week of "work"

Now that I'm officially working two jobs, I don't have to say I'm on "vacation" when I have time off of my school psychology job. I'm simply prioritizing job #2 - professional triathlete. Kind of like double majoring in college. (Not shockingly, I DID double major in college- French & Organizational Psychology withaminorinceramics . Yesreallyaminorinceramics.) I guess I have a history of what can be called either a) not making up my mind or b) trying to do it all. I'm kind of the living breathing Jack(ie)-of-all-trades-master-of-none. After all, I am a triathlete.

Moving on. This week I prioritized my second job. In 2011, I smashed myself good over February break. This years plan was a bit different. It didn't mean a whole heckuva lot more volume than normal, but it did mean time to focus on the things I feel I neglect when trying to focus on both jobs full time: recovery! On the recovery front,  I spent 30 minutes with my feet up after any hard workout, had an amazing sports massage with Simone, some much-needed A.R.T. with Dan, and even threw some yoga in there for good measure. With all this, I'm feeling like new today and ready for a fun weekend.

Of course I did train quite a bit this week. I spent plenty of time on the bike, surprised myself in some runs, and went to noon masters every day to swim in the sunshine.

Couser Canyon Ride - proof I'm not always off the back- I'm up there on the right!

Ramona ride. James + 3 ladies = Mr. Fix It! Mechanical #1 - Donna's chain suck situation. 
I enjoyed the view on Del Dios Highway while the above chain suck situation was going on 
Ramona ride mechanical #2- My flat. Thanks, babe :) 

Reovery Spin to Oceanside harbor with James- swimming here in 37 days for Oceanside 70.3! Holy moly. 
 Other than that, we enjoyed some team cooking. Ok, not so much team as James, but I did peel the beets and sprinkle the cheese!
Arugula salad with extra lean grass fed burger, roasted butternut squash & beets, avocado, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. 
And a few fun outings, including drinking bowling for coach Pete's birthday. I'm so terrible I think that my score was less than his age! 

The week has been awesome, but I wouldn't categorize it as relaxing. There is absolutely more fun in store this weekend! I'm off for a couple workouts, then am going to pack my bags and we're set to hit the dez again. I hear wedding bells! Time to mix "business" with pleasure. What are you up to this weekend? Mixing training with normal people fun?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Anyone Home?

My favorite time to blog is the weekend (because I actually have time), however, it seems many folks disappear from the blogiverse until Monday mornings when they are back at their desk.
Anybody home?

Anyway, not much to report other than that my school is on February break next week! (Way to hook you in with a real audience killer. eh? "not much to report..." ) Last year, this meant a 500 mile bike week. This year, it means train hard, not too long, and recover well. Since I gave up logging my workouts, I won't have any freakouts that I'm "not doing enough" or "not tired/haggard enough". I need to remind myself that I am not Ironman training right now, so the volume should feel a little different. Funny, now that I'm not decimating myself every week, my T-runs are 7 minute pace rather than 8 minute pace without killing myself. Progress? We shall see on race day!

Not sure what I will do with my extra "free time" next week. We have a second bedroom that is really just James' "office", an ancient crappy ikea bed, and his chest of drawers that is literally falling apart and busted open at the seams. So, operation 2nd bedroom? My problem (do you have this problem?) is that when we like to spend our money on racing and travel, it's hard to justify the extra expenses to invest in a nice new room. I declare my 30s the time to move (mostly) on from IKEA, and this is the last IKEA room standing. Time to go down! I'm off to take a "before" picture, maybe that will motivate me.

Ok, before we move on to next week, it's time to finish this one off. It's been good so far....

A 3-hour ride with the "enemy"..Thanks for the lead out B & L boys  Keith & Jose, but I'm still a Nytro girl as long as they put up with me!  
Testing out the 2012 Zoot gear. LOVING their Ultra Team Cycle Apparel (by "Team" they mean everyone...get yours!) 
Great minds....Kristin and I showed up to Rehab United strength sesh in matching Zoots (her: TT 5.0, me Tempo 5.0 ) & purple tights & black tops... Geeks squared!

That's all I got, friends! Enjoy the weekend! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Decisions Decisions (& a bonus 5k, wah?)

Warming up on the Slice for the Time Trial! 
Okay, so if you're keeping up...I spent the weekend at the Valley of the Sun stage race in Arizona with my husband and my husband's husband.
Pete & Re-Pete

When we left off, I was 8 seconds ahead in the GC after the Time Trial and the Road Race for the Cat 4 women. With only the 25-minute crit race left, I was torn between A) finishing off the race/trying to maintain my position and win the stage race overall and B) getting in my long run as I am a triathlete (d'uh!)

 I spent some quality pool time contemplating my options :)

Several people suggested I just brick it and do the run right after the crit. GREAT idea except for that we needed to hit the road to get home and the boys would not want to wait.

I ended up (BORING ALERT) sticking with my intended plan and going for a long run on the trails with Tom. Given the risks in a crit, my inexperience, and my desire to re-build my running base (I took TWELVE full weeks off running due to hip injury from October 8 to Jan 2) I knew this was the best decision.  I need to prioritize running- Stella gotta get 'er groove back! Before I get into the rest, I do want to congratulate the girls that DID finish out the race weekend. They were awesome competitors and I certainly didn't have the race in the bag with just an 8-second lead. With my "bike skills", who knows, I could have been spit out the back of the crit. We'll never know!

Back to the groove-getting! Over the weekend, I ended up not only working on bike fitness, but getting some spark back into my run. I did one speedy brick after the time trial on Friday, a BONUS 5K on Saturday and the Sunday long run.

What was that about bonus 5k? Oh yes. On Friday night, I saw on twitter that the Skirt Chaser 5k was being held in Tempe at 2pm on Saturday. Right away, I asked James and Pete if they could drop me there, and the answer was a resounding "NO!!!!!" Remember, this weekend was not about me, this was their big race weekend, so I shut up and said ok.

As my luck would have it, when I finished the road race on Saturday, the boys decided they didn't want to sit around doing nothing while I ran my brick run. So, I fished my wish! The agreement was simple: I run the Skirt Chaser 5k and drive the truck home, and they go and have a few beers and lunch in Tempe...DEAL!

The 5k was AWESOME! It started and finished in Tempe Beach Park (where Ironman Arizona is!) and was pretty well attended with about 1800 runners. The premise is that the girls get a 3 minute head start on the men and the first person who crosses the finish line is declared the winner! Sally Meyerhoff, an amazing runner & triathlete who passed away last year, won the Skirt Chaser a few times, and the race was held to raise money for her foundation. There was a moment of silence for Sally at the start which was really touching and it was great to be able to run for Sally.

Anyhow, this was my very first speed workout since October. All I have to say is IT HURT! The course was hillier than I expected and I barely squeaked by in 4th place overall just under 19 minutes. I was happy for where I'm at in the season. Most importantly, I was one of only 4 women to NOT get caught by the men's leader (Lewis Elliott) ....and I barely made it- he crossed just a few seconds behind. PHEW!

James surprised me and actually showed up at the finish (ok I may have lured them with free drink tickets) and then I went to replenish my salt stores and "re-fueled" after the long grueling 5k which must have totally depleted my glycogen stores. Massive amounts of Mexi food & bev to the rescue!
"Recovery" [I only drank half, remember, I was driving...part of the deal!) 
So, with the Time Trial & brick run, Road Race & 5 k, then the 90 minute trail run, I'd say I got a nice dose of training/racing over my 3-day weekend. 

Even though these races were not a huge focus, I want to thank Cannondale, Zoot, Studeo DNA, ISM saddles, and my other supporters for setting me up for success and giving me huge confidence. My Slice and my SuperSix were perfection in the bike races and I felt like a real roadie. Studeo DNA set me up with a seriously excellent TT position and it's freaking amazing what a difference I feel (and see in the results!) with a perfect bike and position and of course my trusty and comfy Adamo racing saddle. 
And, Zoot, my Ultra Tempo 5.0s made a solid debut in the 5k. (and the Cadet Hat never left my head the whole trip- perfect podium chapeau to cover some helmet hair!)  Thanks again everyone for the support- I can feel it is shaping up to be a great season! 

P.S. Congratulations to my husband (my Valentine!) who won the GC for the Cat 5 men and is hoping for an upgrade to cat 4!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cyclist or Triathlete?

This weekend in Arizona has been awesome. Well, except for the fact that I feel like I'm 3rd wheel on the Pete and James man-date. And let me tell you, it's not going well! They bicker like two little old ladies and someone even almost got left at the truck stop. I've been enjoying it however, because I get to smooth things over, sit back and laugh, and also get to have both coach & husband along for the ride. It's been a rough road, but through it all, they still love each other. Especially when they found the truck with Pitbull on it. They've got some heavy International Love going on!

We love Pitbull! Especially after a drink or few!
One of many moments of love...Pinning on race number

The weekend was about James & Pete and I was along for the ride (And to ride...and run). They train for this stuff (this stuff being Valley of the Sun stage race) and it's important to them. James is really eager to move up a category (In bicycle racing there is cat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 for men and 1, 2, 3, 4 for women and everyone starts as a 4. Once you have a certain amount of race starts (or wins/points), you can apply to move up a category. They also make it confusing and add in a bunch of Juniors and masters categories and of course, the pro race. )Anyway, point being, James is working on moving up from a Category 5 so that he can race with his friends. I, on the other hand, am a Women's cat 4, but moving up is "whatever", and am really just racing for fun, but most importantly, trying to be a professional in triathlon.

Moving on....Day 1 is the time trial. Day 2 is the road race (46 miles for both James & I). Day 3 is the Criterium. The team agreed that I would do days 1 & 2 with the boys and then be a good triathlete and do my long run on Day 3 while they race so we could hit the road back to Cali in a timely manner. I loved this plan because I have visions of a crash you hear about in these crits and is it really worth it for me to risk my triathlon season on a bike race? I'm not diminishing the importance of a bike race for those that train for them (the fitness I witnessed this weekend was amazing!), but for me, my goal is triathlon. And anything that is in the way of that goal should be reconsidered. For my training, getting in my 90 minute run (instead of  a 25 minute crit) before a 7 hour car drive is the best thing for my training. The boys gave me one caveat: If I was in the lead for the Cat 4 women going into the crit, I would have to toe the line in the leaders jersey. I said we'd cross that bridge if it came up.....And dismissed it.

More tonigh (or tomorrow) on the races and the outcome... I know, I'm not a foreshadowing genius...Any guesses on what went down? I will tell you I ended up 2nd in the Time Trial, 4th in the Road Race, and that placed me 1st in the General Classification (GC) "going into" the crit. I had an 8-second lead on the field...

You think I did the crit? Or did I stick with my 90 minute run like a good triathlete?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

being 32

My birthday was last week but I'm really not into birthdays (especially when they fall on a Monday!) Being the exciting chick that I am, I requested my favorite egg/veggie scrambles for dinner and an 8pm bedtime. I know, super cool interesting & fun, right?

The most exciting part of the b-day were my new birthday suits from betty designs. All new 2012 inventory at Betty Designs, I'll let you know when it's all up on her website.
Daily decision: White tattoo or Blue Starfish? 

My first week of my 32nd year was filled with the usual "ho-hum" of this lucky life.....Early morning masters swims, super busy days at work, rides with the "team", sunset runs, and good eats by my epic chef...
Roasting brussels sprouts, onions, broccoli, yam, parsnips in his new roasting pan

Another James special - Pumping Iron- we like to have red meat once every week or two

Found a new favorite training shoe- LOVING the Zoot Kapilani 2.0. How did I not try these before?
After work jog through Del Mar

Recognize this bridge?

My birthday week made me realize that there is nothing more special to me than living my regular old typical daily grind.