Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tuesday Training, post race

Did a painful ~5.5 mile run/walk today. My calves (which were the only tight muscles post-tri) were still painfully tight for about 2/3 of today's run/walk. Ouch.

Swimming class starts tonight!

Dave and I are planning on biking the Strand tomorrow morning. We'll start at RAT beach (Right After Torrance) and bike north through Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica, to Pacific Palisades and return. Makes me tired to type it.

Breath of Life Triathlon Pics

Here's my page with pics!

Monday, June 27, 2005

#679, You Are Now a Triathlete

Woo Hoo!

I did it! Granted, very slowly, but I finished (and thankfully wasn't last). I don't even know my times -- I didn't check afterwards on the printout and it's not yet posted on line. Trust me, I've lots of room for improvement. (NOTE: I started writing this June 27th but am finishing up June 28th -- our times are now posted. I was slower than I thought on the bike and a little faster than I actually thought I was going on the run (still plenty slow, though). And we won't even mention the swim time. They don't have transition times posted yet. I don't know if those are just included in the times posted or need to be added in.)

I picked up my packet (bright orange cap, last wave), timing chip, goody bag, and bib and bike numbers Saturday afternoon. Dave put up with me as I nervously paced around, checked out the maps, and decided against doing the swim clinic (a bystander mentioned she'd done one and she was sore the next day -- I decided I prefered to be rested).

I slept poorly Saturday night, getting up multiple times (I'd been working on hydration) and dreaming of having missed the swim, lost my bike, etc.

I'd set my watch (at Dave's insistence) for 5:30 a.m. I'm one of those morning people who can basically tell themselves to wake up at a certain time and be able to do so. When I got up for the last time & checked my watch, sure enough, it was 5:28 a.m.

I'd set everything up the night before (number on bike, all my stuff in a bag, bib attached to race belt, water bottle filled) so it was just a matter of putting in my contacts, getting dressed, loading the bike in the car (Dave did that!) and grabbing a little coffee.

We got to the site and there were already a ton of people. Dave helped with the bike, pumping up the tires and lubing the chain. It didn't take too long to get set up in the transition area and get body marked (forearm, hand, thigh and calf -- #679). Got in line for the bathroom. Listened to the race brief. Grabbed the wetsuit (Dave's shorty that I was borrowing), one more time in line for the bathroom, then headed down to the beach.

I joined the other people testing the water. It was nice and glassy, little surf to begin with. However, it was freaking COLD. Much colder than the beach near us -- the type of iciness that just hurts and aches til your skin goes numb. I was already a nervous wreck and the water temp didn't help any. I chatted with a few other women while waiting (Omigod! it is fucking cold!).

The Olympic distance triathletes started first. I was in wave 12, the last wave, women 35 and older I believe, scheduled to go about an hour after the first wave started. Yep, more time for me to fret!

Then the race officials and lifeguards decided they'd have to move our southern buoy, because it was in the way of the Olympic distance swimmers. They ended up moving it about 25-50 m north, thereby cutting off that much distance of our advertised 400 m swim. By that time, I was happy about that -- the less time in the freezing water the better.

By the time the sprint waves actually started the surf was coming in harder. Wave 10, older guys I believe, got smacked by a couple big waves. Luckily, our wave started between sets.

Ack! Ack! Ack! I positioned myself to the right and rear in hopes of not gettting swum over, kicked, hit, etc. Worked fairly well. I did a lovely combination of pseudo-freestyle, backstroke, and sidestroke and wasn't quite the last getting out of the water. One woman was about even with me, but she kept taking breaks, resting on the lifeguards' boards, then would catch up again. I felt like saying 'just keep swimming!' to her -- she was obviously looking a lot stronger than me.

I got out, yanked off my cap and goggles, pulled down the top of my wetsuit, and trudged up the beach. Sorry, no running through the sand -- I was just catching my breath. Got a drink of water right before getting off the sand, then started jogging on the paved path to the transition area.

Got to my site no problem, yanked off the wetsuit the rest of the way, threw on my white Nike dryfit t-shirt, put on my sunglasses. Had a little of my mmmmmChocolate Clif Shot.

Why oh why didn't I just bring a bucket to rinse my feet?! I'd read about it, and decided, no, I'll just bring an extra towel and brush off my feet. Trust me, the rinse basin THEN the towel would've worked a lot better! Anyway, got most of the sand off one foot, sock on, bike shoe on, same for the other foot, get up, put on my helmet, and started out of the transition area.

Got to the point where I could start riding, futzed with clipping in, and I was off! Dave took my pic as I pedaled off.

The bike ride was great -- it was during the bike that I actually said to myself, 'Wow, this is FUN'. At that point I knew I would finish. I actually passed some people -- no stopping Rocket Bike! (Actually, a lot more people passed me, but they were all really fast Olympic distance people. No one from the sprint passed me.) I felt good, I was cranking along faster than normal but wasn't feeling exhausted like I do training. (Less headwind, I believe, plus adrenaline.) Dave was waiting to get a pic of me near the end of the bike course, yay!

Dismounted without falling off, before the line, so the volunteers didn't have to yell at me. Made it to the transition area, more of the Clif Shot, switch out shoes, put on my race belt with number, and I was ..... sorta off.

Yeah, the run sucked. It was hot and when I finally reached the mile marker I wanted to cry because I couldn't believe how long that mile was! I trudged on, partaking at each water station (thank you, volunteers!), trying to keep up my run/walk times. Coming back wasn't as bad since I knew the landmarks. And I actually picked up my shuffle to a dog trot in the last .1 mile.

Dave was there waving before I did my final 'rush' to the finish. Yay! I heard my number announced, but Dave heard the whole thing -- now a triathlete!

I was so happy. I had met my modest goals: finish, and not finish last. I wanted to just 'tri' a tri, get a feel for what goes on, and it was great. I have lots of room for improvement but that's fine -- lots of babystep goals can be set.

And even better -- they had free beer! BJ's Brewery had free beer and pizza for the triathletes. I had about half of my amber, very tasty, but I was getting too buzzed (and you could have two big beers if you wanted!). The family of Dina La Vigna (the triathlon is a fundraiser in her memory) had burgers, hotdogs, and chips for racers. Dole had fruit cups, jello and bananas. The LA Tri Club had goodies too from PowerBar. I hung out, struck up conversations with various people (wasn't the water fucking cold? this was my first triathlon! etc), and had a good time.

Woo hoo!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A little background.....

I've completed 2 marathons (LA 2001 a weekend or two before getting married, Suzuki Rock N Roll San Diego 2003), 4 half marathons (Pacific Shoreline twice, Long Beach once, Great Race of Agoura Road/Trail once (my longest & hardest, involving lots of pain, dehydration, and bloodletting (my own)), and too numerous to list 10ks and 5ks.

I am slow. I alternate running and walking to drag my sorry butt through the miles. I'm definitely in the Athena category. In fact, I think my goal weight is still within the Athena category (but that's mesomorphic/endomorphic me with muscles!). My fastest per mile pace EVER, when I was a lithe 19 year old running twice a day during Camp Buckner for summer training for West Point (and trust me, I sucked at running there, too) (running twice a day because I sucked so much), was 7:45. Trust me, I've not been near that pace (or body weight) in, well, 18 or 19 years.

For those runners who get pissy about run/walkers taking up space and time during events, suck it up and play nice. I'm trying to get better. Every race I do I try to improve my times. I check the cutoff times for races and if I don't think I'll finish well within them, I don't enter. I wish I wasn't slow, I don't rejoice in being slow, but damn it, I'm trying to get faster. And thankfully, I've never been LAST in any event, though that might very well change next weekend at the Tri for Life.

When in the Army in Germany I sold my Alfa Romeo (I looked great in that little car -- when it was running/working) and bought a Cannondale mountain bike which I occasionally rode recreationally but primarily used for commuting, including during the winter, on ice. Yep, wiped out a couple times. I sold that original bike and bought another Cannondale mountain bike, the M800 I still have, and decked it out as a touring bike with front and rear panniers, handlebar bag, etc, and in summer of 1993 toured by myself about a week through Switzerland and northern Italy (before I got fed up, got on a train back to Germany, dropped off the bike with a friend, and took the train back to Italy).

After moving back to the States I really didn't ride, and have just started up again. Dave & I bought really nice Treks last fall (him: Madone, yeah, like Lance, me: 5000 WSD aka Rocket Bike) and have been riding on & off since -- more seriously recently.

Swimming-wise, I think I'm competent but not great; at West Point I swam for our company intramural team (you had to do intramurals, you just chose what you wanted) and was relatively slow but I don't think last.

Weekend Training

Yesterday Dave and I went for a good ride -- medium (distance) slow (pace) easy (intensity) for him (he says he didn't even break a sweat), long medium medium/hard for me (longest ride I've done since I biked in Italy after gettting out of the Army in '93). Okay, so it was only 24 or 25 miles, in a little under 2 hours. But still, considering that my previous longest ride this season was only 16 miles or so, I thought pretty good. And I wasn't completely wiped by the experience like I was say a month or two ago. I was starving, however, afterwards -- had only had some oatmeal for breakfast and ate one ClifShot (mmmmmm....Chocolate!) midway through.

This morning I did 4.5 miles run/walking, about 12-12:30 pace. Uncrowded, cool weather, good! I'm overall more fatigued at this moment than after the bike yesterday but not hungry (duration of exercise just wasn't that long).

I'm also planning on practicing surf entries/exits.....well, in between bodyboarding!

Friday, June 17, 2005


One of the nice things about making a big training goal is that, if you enjoy plotting, planning, researching etc then you'll keep yourself happily busy for a bit of time.

I've always been really good at making initial plans, doing the necessary background research, organizing, etc. Worked when I was in the Army, works now as a vet when initially presented with a patient. Works when I tackle my knitting projects and other crafts.

What I suck at is maintenance.

I know, however, that having external goals, such as a race, that I further publically emphasize (fundraising, thank you Team in Training, for my first marathon (LA 2001); informing all my friends and family; and now, blogging), helps keep me on track.

My husband doesn't quite understand this. He happily works out regularly at the gym, in fact getting very disagreeable when not allowed for whatever reason to work out, and loves to bike. (Unfortunately, he doesn't run. He also doesn't swim unless diving and really, considering PADI tries to say you don't have to know how to swim to dive, does that swimming count? No.) Anyway, he doesn't require any outside goal to motivate him.

He is also quite content to repeat the same or similar workouts. For example, his typical bike ride is from our house, down to the Strand (the running/biking path along the beach) along Gould, to the bridge between Playa and Marina del Rey, and back.

It's a good ride, really.

But sometimes it's fun to see something ..... different.

I like to explore and try new places.

What about you?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

So far training this week has gone well overall.

Running (well, run/walking, alternate a la Galloway) on Monday and today, biking yesterday (going SO well until my rear tire flat that we couldn't patch), gym planned for tomorrow, long bike Saturday, long run/walk Sunday. I'm trying to figure out a training schedule incorporating periodization to prep for the Malibu Tri and the Galloway suggested half marathon training mileage in readiness for the Long Beach Half Marathon.

I'm starting swim lessons/class the end of June, meeting twice a week. I'm a strong swimmer compared to people who don't swim a lot (for example I did fairly well during ADP when we had to do lap swims) but I suck when swimming in a Master's group. I'm comfortable in the ocean, including entrance/exits (thanks to lots of practice while bodyboarding and shore diving -- nothing like trying to force you AND all your SCUBA gear past the surf). Anyway, I'm hoping the class will help improve my stroke & technique so I'm not the slowest swimmer in a Master's group!

Tri for Life is on the 26th of this month, in Ventura. Dave & I are going up Saturday and staying at a bed & breakfast in Ventura Saturday night, I'm 'racing' Sunday, we're coming back that afternoon. Rigel gets to board at Redwood Animal Hospital from Saturday-Monday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Blog

I've decided that rather than including Tri stuff on Sunset Cat, which is supposed to be primarily knitting, I'd start a new blog in which I can detail my triathlon training and misadventures. I'll crosslink occasionally. I'll be doing the same for SCUBA.