Saturday, October 29, 2005

Total Immersion

Just a quick note -- doing the Total Immersion workshop this weekend -- so far it's awesome!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Long Beach Bike Tour

Wow. The bike tour was an absolute blast. 26.2 miles in about 1:40ish. Basically flat course, varied scenery (darkness to beach to pretty houses to boonies to houses and beach), couple other LA Tri Clubbers, home by I think 9:30ish at the latest ('course we got up at 4:30). Definitely will do this next year.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Just in case... thought I was nuts with the previous post, that list doesn't mean I'm going to do ALL of those. Frankly I don't have the money budgeted to do ALL of them. But those are the events/races I'm considering. The ones noted as 'A' races are ones I'm definitely planning on.

I'm still working on my training plan for this winter.

Running-wise I'll be doing at least 2 runs during the week and a long run on the weekends with the LA Roadrunners (in prep for the marathon).

Cycling....well, I want to focus on endurance and increasing my average speed (to the point I can hang with people doing group rides). I have a Cateye bike computer that does average, max & current speed etc but not cadence. I'm thinking of getting a computer that will tell me cadence as well -- anyone have suggestions? It doesn't need to do a lot of other things like time laps etc.

Swimming -- that's the conundrum.

I've signed up for the Total Immersion weekend class the end of this month. I'm hoping that I'll learn enough to set up a program for myself. Gold's Gym has a small pool that I can use but I don't think it's even 25 yds, so that's a (free) backup. South Bay Adult School has lap swimming at local high school pools but you end up skipping a few weeks in between sessions. Still investigating the other pools and Master's groups.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

2006 Race Plans & Possibilities

February 11th 2006 Tour de Palm Springs (probably the 55 mile ride)

March 4th 2006 Tour of Borrego (probably the 40 mile ride)

March 19th 2006 LA Marathon (2nd time around, did it in 2001 right before our wedding!)

March 26th 2006 Strawberry Fields Oxnard Sprint 1/4 mile Swim, 11.5 mile Bike, 3 mile Run

April 2 2006 UCSB Spring Hazard Santa Barbara Sprint 1/2 mile ocean swim, 16 mile bike ride, 3 mile run

April 23rd 2006 Desert Tri (near Palm Springs) Sprint 500 meter swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run

Above already changed! Now planning April 22nd Mulholland Challenge (primarily because Dave & I had signed up with Planet Ultra for their Solvang ride but had to cancel and choose another ride).

May 5-7 2006 Wildflower!!! thinking Oly course: 1.5 k swim, 40k bike, 10k run. My first big 'A' race.

May 21 2006 Newport Beach Tri Sprint 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run

June 3rd 2006 Ojai Century

For whatever reason, most of the races I'm considering in June and July don't yet have dates for 2006. Possibilities include:

  • Breath of Life (possible Olympic) 1.5 k swim, 40k bike, 10k run ('A/B' race)
  • Carlsbad Sprint 1K Swim, 25K Bike, 5K Run
  • Solana Beach Sprint 1/4 Mile Ocean Swim, 9 Mile Bike, 3 Mile Run
  • Redondo Sprint 1/2 mile swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile scenic run (really kind of too short -- may just volunteer)
Aug 25-27 2006 Santa Barbara Tri: 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike, 10 mile run (this would be one of my 'A' races and really the big one I'm going to focus on)

Late September 2006 Nautica Malibu Sprint 1/2 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run ('A' race)

October 2006 Hermosa Day at the Beach Sprint 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3 mile run (despite getting my ass kicked this year in the surf)

October 2006 Reebok Women's Sprint Encinitas .75k swim, 20k bike, 5k Run (unless it's on a different weekend than the Long Beach Bike Tour)

October 2006 Long Beach Bike Tour: so much fun this year I'm gonna do it next year too

Ankle Woes


My ankle generally doesn't hurt; it reminds me it's there with a gentle, almost subliminal throb. (Unless I try to wiggle it and flex it and work its range of motion; THEN it's unhappy.) I've only walked, not run, this week.

And I am going to switch to just the bike tour for Sunday.

I'm trying to tell myself it's not totally wimping out to do so. I'm older (grumble) and slower to heal than I was 15 or 20 years ago, and if I really pound the hell out of it, it's going to be an even longer recovery.

Anyway, 26.2 miles is a respectable distance, even if it's on a bike.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Athena Vs Age Group Part Deux

Okay. I'm an honest person so I'll 'fess up. I did better as an Athena at DATB than I would've as an age grouper.


Hermosa Day at the Beach Race Report

Hermosa Day at the Beach is about as close to home as you can get for us; the transition zone is less than 2 miles from our house. So it was a no-brainer to do this particular tri, though I'd heard the turns on the bike were a little rough and occasional collisions occured because of how the course is set up. And, of course, I know what the surf's like in Hermosa.

Ah yes. The surf. MUCH more on that later.

We picked up our packets at Triathlon Lab after attending the 'grand reopening' of Catalina Coffee Company, my favorite local hangout for coffee, croissants, salad, get the idea.

The building, a 1950s drycleaners, had a flat overhang over the patio area. As you can imagine, after 50+ years of rain settling and not draining, it finally failed and needed to be rebuilt. Of course, if anywhere else than SoCal, with more rain, it would've failed much sooner. So they closed down for a week when they had to do some intensive rebuilding and remodeling. Still not completely finished yet but almost.

Anyway, got our packets, another free towel from Toyota, and free stuff and water bottles at the LA Tri Club tent.

We prepped all our stuff the night before down to packing our bags and attaching our race numbers to the bike, and realized how lovely it was going to be to sleep in (relatively speaking) before a tri.

I actually slept well. No weird tri dreams (I especially appreciated the one I had in which the race organizers had me do the swim and bike the day beforehand because I was too slow, and then I was too late to do the run anyway -- that one was I believe before Malibu, but maybe Jamba), slept through the night, and woke up at 4:00 a.m. anyway. But I was able to lay in bed and nap until 5:00 a.m.

Got everything in the car in record time and headed down to where we knew we could park for free. Nice to be a local.

In case you were wondering why we didn't just ride to the transition area from our house I had four really good (well, sort of) excuses:
  • pitch black out and no bike lights (this is the most valid excuse)
  • time constraints after the tri (had to be able to get to the LA Tri Club picnic in a timely manner);
  • BIG hill on the way back to our house;
  • and litter boxes are unwieldy. Even though I stuffed them into Dave's 'tri' bag, a mesh Akona dive bag.

Litter boxes? Small litter boxes are the perfect size for rinsing your feet. And they are new, never used for their intended purpose. So stop wrinkling your nose and saying 'ewwww, I wouldn't stick my feet into a litterbox'!

We ride down to the transition area, which encompasses all of Pier Plaza. We're racking bikes by numbers -- my favorite way, because it ensures I can always find my bike.

Finding my bike is not generally an issue as it's usually one of the last still in the transition area. (Even if I wasn't a rotten swimmer I'm still in the last wave.)

Regardless, I can always read the number on my arm and match it to the rack if my brain totally fails otherwise.

My rack is third from the bike exit -- awesome! Get set up, get bodymarked, potty break, gyrate into the wetsuit, eat a Clif Shot, listen to the pre-race brief, and head down the beach. Wade into the water -- supposed to be 61 F, feels okay, mostly because the sand is freezing and the water feels warmer. And watch the surf.

It sucked. We were going to get pounded. I knew it could be bad, and it was. Moderate waves interspersed with some big ass, gnarly knock you off your feet and hold you under kissing the sand waves.

I hung out with the other gold capped people (not as bad as the condom caps but close). Yep, Athenas, mountain bikers and over 40s. For all my bitching in the previous post, I'd better just suck it up because in two years, this is gonna be my wave.

It was the first tri for a lot of people so I shared some encouraging words: Relax, don't drown and you'll do fine.

Well, maybe not so directly, but that was the gist.

The gun went off, we charged in.

Now, as an aside, I was talking to a charming Brit at the LA Tri Club picnic later that morning, discussing the tri and especially the surf. She pointed out that she was always told to hang back, watch the sets, and swim swim swim during the lull to get out past the break. I told her that made perfectly good sense but that I'd NEVER seen anyone do that. (Which could be because I've spent more time flinging myself into the waves than watching how the pro's handle the surf entry.)

But it's something I'm going to try next time, because
  • after getting thrown around, hammered, pinned down etc I'm terribly tired;
  • I don't get to really make any forward progress until after all of the previous has occured i.e. when the lull starts;
  • any time I 'save' by charging ahead is more than lost later due to fatigue and
  • since I end up making progress at the same time anyway (the lull) no time IS saved.


It was horrible. So horrible I thought I wasn't going to be able to get out past the break. I got pushed back by a 6-7 foot wave at least 10 yards (all of that under water eating sand) and held down DESPITE my wetsuit. Pushed back by other big waves. Even trying to dive under them, I got picked up and hurled back to the shore. My goggles filled with water, my heartrate shot up, and then, during that biggest most horrible wave, I twisted my ankle while flailing for footing.

I persevered. Ankle throbbing, I started swimming towards the first buoy. The cold eventually numbed my ankle.

The lifeguards (helpfully) screamed at us to keep our heads down and swim. I was gasping for air until about halfway through, thoroughly exhausted from my entry.

I slogged around the second buoy, then had to deal with the waves coming IN. Lifeguards screaming about waves coming, duck down, get held down SOME MORE. Almost in but here comes another big one. I look at the lifeguard and wearily ask, 'A little help here, 'kay?' He lets me hold on to his float as we duck together under the next wave. I pop back up a lot faster than without the float, thank him, and make the rest of my way in by myself.

Through the soft sand for ~150m (again, I'm not even at a point where I can even think of trying to jog through it) up to the Strand, start jogging on the concrete into the transition area. Wetsuit off, rinse feet, dry feet, socks and shoes on, helmet and sunglasses on. Slug down a chocolate Clif Shot, almost puke it back out, get the bike, and go!

The first bit is a hill up Pier Ave. I've got the bike in the appropriate gears so I'm good to go -- the hill is a lot easier than I thought it would be. All of a sudden I'm happy! I'm passing people even going up the hill, I'm on Rocket Bike, I will pass other people, I will push myself to increase my mph, I'M OUT OF THE STINKING OCEAN!!! Life is Good!

The course is up the hill then twice around a loop and back down the hill. There are some subtle changes in elevation along Valley/Ardmore that don't seem so subtle to me on the bike -- I'm feeling the uphills and flying on the the slight downhills. There's a hill at Herondo but it's doable. I pass people. I like passing people. I know most of them will pass me on the run (but not if I finish enough ahead of them on the bike!) but damn it, I like passing them!

Go screamingly quick down Pier to the transition area, off the bike, out of the shoes, helmet off, hat on, race belt on, running shoes on, drink some more PowerC Vitamin water flavored water (I do 1/2 and 1/2) and grab a gel for later. Jog out of the transition area and start the run!

Keep in mind my 'run' is still a run punctuated by walk breaks. Some would say it's a walk punctuated by run breaks. Nonetheless, my calves aren't cramping, I'm feeling okay, and my ankle is okay. I could feel it throbbing halfway into the bike but for whatever reason it's okay during the run.

The run was on the Strand, basically the same route that Melanie and I train on, except we usually go farther (all the way to Manhattan Pier). Water was available at the turnaround point. I ate my gel right before and washed it down with a couple cups of water.

I was feeling good enough to cheer some people on. I always like to be cheered on, so I try to encourage others as well.

Near the end a woman passed me. I started my feeble kick and passed her back! Yeah! didn't mean all that much I'm sure to either of us, but, I like passing people on the run, too, I just usually don't get to do so. Charged across the sand to the finish (yep, last 2om in the soft sand. What were they thinking?).

Grabbed a half of a banana, an Oreo (wasn't missing out on them this time) and a water, then moseyed over to the Tri Club tent, grabbed another water (they didn't want to have to carry them back to their cars) and some Power Bars (Power Bar is one of our sponsors). Visited the Glen Ivy Spa table and got some nice bottles of body/face cleanser and some coupons for $ off treatments. (They're opening a day spa on PCH in Hermosa...walking distance from my house.)

Overall an interesting experience. My ankle started to swell up and hurt later that day -- not too bad, but enough that I noticed it (and still do, as of Wednesday morning). I've decided to change to the bike tour this Sunday rather than the 1/2 marathon to give it more time to heal and will be primarily walking and working out at the gym this week.

That said, I'm working on my plan for this winter and next season, picking out races, etc. I'll be posting as soon as I get it together.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

That's it.

I'm tired of registering as an Athena and being stuck in the last wave.

You know, when I compare my times in the Athena category vs my age group, I usually place better (well, further away from last) in age group.

Okay, we all know that I will never be competitive even within my age group unless only 3 women including myself are in it. I mean, the fastest I've EVER run per mile, and this was when I was 20 years old, and skinny, and running twice a day while at Camp Buckner yearling (sophomore) summer at West Point (running twice per day, mind you, because I was a REMEDIAL runner) (not to forget all the running through the woods pretending to be infantry) was about a 7:40ish pace.

I'd love love love to get to that again. Shit, I'd love to be sub 9. Hell, sub 10 or sub 11 even. I think I can eventually get to sub 9 minute miles. Eventually.

Regardless, even though being in the last wave means you have time for an extra port-a-potty visit, I really don't like starting last. Psychologically, it give me far too much time to dwell on things like a) big surf b) how tight my wetsuit is and c) they're going to be out of food by the time I finish.

So anyway, after Malibu and the condom cap incident I'd decided not to register as an Athena anymore, but, as I'd already registered for Day at the Beach as an Athena, it was too late to change.

At least the swim cap for tomorrow is gold as opposed to latex condom. (That's the other thing I'm wondering: do they save the grossest color for us in the last wave? Come on, guys: I would've really appreciated the pretty lilac cap Dave got for Malibu. Trust me, he couldn't care less.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

I Won Aero Bars!

Mel and I went to the LA Tri Club's "First Thursday" at Sharkeez in Manhattan Beach last night (cheap beer, meet other tri clubbers, door prizes/raffles). This is the first time we knew of that this event had a South Bay venue, so we were pretty psyched to go. Mind you I have never before set foot into Sharkeez, which tends to be a hangout for 20-something singles, both of which I'm assuredly not, but I digress. But keep in mind it's the kind of dive where TVs fall off the wall and hit people in the head. Not joking. One of the tri club guys was holding a big bag of ice to his head when we arrived.

So, we're handed our raffle tickets, go grab beers, hang out chatting about our tri experiences (yeah, Ventura was FREEZING! yeah, Malibu ROCKED! yeah, the bike has to be at LEAST 12-18 miles or the event's a waste of money!). I met some really nice people, a guy named Wayne who'd done Ventura and Malibu, a woman whose name I didn't catch, and Mel's friend Eric who's one of the nurses at one of the hospitals she works at. Anyway, I shoved my raffle ticket somewhere in my purse (a tiny Dooney & Bourke affair that only held my wallet, keys, a hair clip and a pen) and forgot about it til they called off a raffle ticket number.

'405? 405?' I'm digging through my purse, mumbling how I probably lost my ticket, then, as the last forlorn '405?' echoes I see my ticket, half stuffed into my wallet, and say, incredulously, 'I have 405!!!!'


She passes a slightly larger than shoebox sized box over to me -- and I read it and start gabbling, 'Aerobars! I won aerobars! I don't DESERVE aerobars!' (being as I'm so slow and have an inferiority complex despite how nice and supportive everyone is).

Oh yeah -- carbon fiber Easton AeroForce clip on aero bars! I checked online, these things go for $299. (Easton is one of the LA Tri Club sponsors and I assume donates a bunch of their products to the club -- thank you Easton!) And they're size short, which is perfect!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jamba Juice Mission Bay Tri -- Race Report

Tri #2 down! Hermosa coming up this weekend!

How could you go wrong? Sprint distance, swim in the bay (no surf or waves or swells), free Jamba Juice afterwards (well, they ran out, but the thought was there, and we did enjoy free icy beer in the beer 'cage' afterwards)...

....and bonking with calf muscle cramps the whole 3.1 miles of the run.

My own damn fault. I got so excited in the transition area that I a) neglected to take my Clif shot prior to the bike and b) neglected to take my Clif shot before the run. And, oh yeah, didn't bring any along with me on the run.

Now, if y'all remember, I had bad calf cramps during Malibu too, but they eventually went away. Thinking back on it, they went away AFTER I'D HAD A CLIF SHOT (that was conveniently located in the back pocket of my tri top -- note I wasn't wearing the tri top for Jamba).

Well, now I know for next time.

Highlights: one of the biggest for me was that the waves alternated between men and women, so, since I signed up in the 35-39 yr group, I wasn't in the last wave for once. Psychologically it helped to have a bunch of other people finish after me.

Time: 1:45:02

And congrats and hugs to Melanie -- it was her first, and we finished together (thank you for suffering with me at the end! and then drinking beer!).
Swim bike run...slowly
Lots of room for improvement
Times getting better!

Yep, it's a triathlon haiku.

The depths to which I will sink, trying to win a free entry for the Hemet Tinseltown Triathlon.

Race report for Jamba posted soon!