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Daily sMiles

August 18, 2012 Fido No Comments

Begging me to give him the cardboard box, he promised he’d make a super cool fort we could play in all day.

 

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The Elusive Podium

June 4, 2012 Fitness, Fun No Comments

Maybe The Elusive F-Spot is actually the P-Spot. THE PODIUM. Because I have come close to making it a few times now, yet it always eludes me.

*sigh*

It’s a good problem to have, I guess.  Making it into the top 5 athletes, even at a small(er) event, takes a little effort… So you can imagine that I was thrilled we screwed around long enough after the race to check the results as they were being released. I couldn’t find my name anywhere, until I looked at the Age Group Winners page and saw my name in the #4 slot. Yippeeeeee!!!

I didn’t even know what my final time was, so it was a real shock when it said 2:41. But let me back up…

PRE-RACE
I mentioned in my race goals that we were going to head to the race site and camp. We ended up not doing that. I got myself ready, but Greg couldn’t get himself organized and make it worth it to be down there. We went to bed early with the van packed and a very clear plan of what needed to happen on Sunday morning. The alarm went off at 5:17 and we were on the road by 5:30. I am certain this is a new record for us. We arrived at Uvas Reservoir at 6:40; our races started at 8:07 and 8:15.

We opted to do packet pick-up the morning of the race and that was the right call (rather than wasting more than an hour driving to Sunnyvale on Saturday afternoon). It was a small enough event that it was easy to get parking and do all of the body/equipment marking in enough time. The transition area was first come, first served and we found spots close to each other as we applied Body Glide and sunscreen before putting our wetsuits on.

As we were making our final preparations to head to the swim start, Greg realized that he had FORGOTTEN HIS GOGGLES! So, he hopped on his bike and rode the ~1/2 mile up the road to where the van was parked and made it back in plenty of time… But that’s kind of a panicky moment (especially when you wonder what else you’ve forgotten that you won’t realize until it’s too late).

SWIM
The water was warm (69* F) and calm. It was an in-water start and we swam from one entry point out to a buoy on the far side and then back to the boat ramp on the other side of the land mass. The land mass was the transition area. Let me assist with a visual of this…

The swim was fine. It was green murky water, but that doesn’t bother me and there were no panicky moments. I easily found an open “lane” and just kept swimming. I swim with my Garmin tucked into my swim cap and it works flawlessly. I have the device set to beep at me after 10 minutes so that I have some idea of how things are going. I am not very good at gauging my effort level/time/pace while I’m swimming, so I really become conditioned to hearing that beep to have an idea of how far I’ve gone. When I made it all the way out to the far buoy, I was thinking that I was either swimming like a professional or I had mistakenly hit the Lap button on my Garmin instead of the Start button.

When the beeping still didn’t happen, I knew I wasn’t tracking my data. Which is bad. I’m kind of addicted to the data. I knew I was swimming in a very straight line and sighting the buoys well. If I was going fast at all, this could be a really great swim for me. I had no way of knowing… I did know that I was passing men who had started 3 groups (12 minutes) in front of me, which is always a good sign. As predicted, I stood on the boat ramp and pulled my Garmin out of my swim cap to see it flashing all 00:00:00 at me. Dammit!

Official time: 28:43. Not my best, but not my worst. I must need to work harder in the water. As straight as I was going and not being winded, I’m kinda disappointed that this wasn’t better.

T1
I had a pretty quick transition at 2:09, considering I got to my bike and the athletes (ahem, MEN) who were on either side of me had knocked my helmet and sunglasses off my handlebars and I had to search around for them in the rush. No worries. Transition areas are always tight quarters.

BIKE
It was a nice bike ride with rolling terrain, not much car traffic, and a couple of short but decent climbs. The descents on these climbs were pretty technical and I was glad to not be around other cyclists for either of them. Greg said he saw a rider down (crashed) on one of them, and I saw a guy running who had visibly crashed on his bike.

Even though I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, I kept to my nutrition/hydration plan according to schedule. I drank ~1.5 bottles and ate an almond butter-filled date at 30 minutes and 60 minutes on the bike. I also kept my heart rate within range and didn’t go balls-out, even though there was the opportunity to do so on many of the flats. Even so, my average pace was good and I knew I’d finish ahead of where I thought I would. My average speed was 18.5 mph and I finished in 1:18. Even though I didn’t know my swim time, I knew I had bought myself a little time on finishing the bike early and went into the run with confidence.

T2
Nothing to report here. It was pretty quick in and out — 1:26.

RUN
The bike course went out on the same trajectory as the run course, so I was paying attention to the terrain. There were a couple of rollers near the turnaround, but I knew it would be a cinch compared to Wildflower. I had done calculations in my head to finish under 3 hours with a 9:00 minute/mile pace on the run. Again, working to fulfill my race plan, I set my Garmin to ONLY show me my heart rate and I did not worry about pace/speed/distance until the turnaround. When I got there and clicked over to the other screen, I was pleasantly surprised to see my average pace was 8:16. I wasn’t fatigued! I still had fire in my legs! In all of the races I’ve done, I have NEVER felt like that. Hooray for a plan!

I did pick up my pace on the return 5K, but again kept my Garmin set to my HR only and kept it above lactate threshold without going crazy. A gal that had passed me within 500 yards of starting the run was coming into view and I knew I’d pass her. I got to the 5-mile marker and picked it up a little more. I couldn’t believe I still had a “sprint” in me! I saw Greg with Miles about a half mile out, just as I passed that gal. I finished strong and felt good in 50:29 (8:07 pace), though I still had no idea what my overall time was.

POST-RACE
This race was pretty awesome in that the post-race food included Pizza My Heart along with fruit that was fresh-picked just up the road from the race site. It was really low-key and there were lots of dogs and kids around, everyone enjoying the beautiful weather. We took Miles down to the swim start to play around in the water. He loves swimming and we make it a fun game of racing him to the ball or stick that the other person has thrown. He seems to understand the idea of racing and that’s kinda fun, too…

We decided to pack it up after one last slice of pizza and I said I wanted to stop by the Results table to see how my swim had gone and what my final time was. Again, I was delighted to see that I was #4 in my age group! Unfortunately, the podium only has three spots so I was out of a bottle of wine and some other winner goodies again this time. And when we got home, my position had slipped to #5. I don’t know how or why, but I guess I’m still glad to be in the top 5 (out of 25 participants). It does seem somewhat fishy that the winner in my age group finished a 25-mile ride in 53 minutes (faster than the fastest man and overall winner) and her T2 time was 0:16… But whatever.

Greg came in 6th out of 47 participants with an overall time of 2:23.

We then trekked out to the coast and made a leisurely trip home, stopping at our favorite watering holes for a drink and a snack. It was a great afternoon! At 60 pounds, Miles still believes he’s a lap dog and chooses to nap on my lap. Sweet boy!

And it turns out I was right — racing an Olympic distance event is just so doable. It was a lot of fun and a feeling of accomplishment all at the same time.

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Daily sMiles

May 9, 2012 Fido No Comments

Our buddy Pete took Miles to Fort Funston while we were off celebrating Sarah‘s wedding.

He seems pensive.

And more obedient than a puppy should be.

There is a race report coming. I’m still trying to figure out if it went well or not…

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Daily sMiles

January 31, 2012 Fido No Comments

I take Miles with me on my childcare gigs. It’s great for him to learn his boundaries, and the parents want their kids to be around a dog/puppy without taking on the responsibility themselves. Win-win!

He does get frustrated when the two-year-old does not want to play with him. Last week, we found a suitable playmate in her backyard. Take a look:

YouTube Preview ImagePriceless! He and “Pinky” played like that for 20 minutes straight. And then he crashed hard into a long nap. Ahhhh, puppyhood.

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I’m a Triathlete??

January 29, 2012 Fitness 2 Comments

I’ve been at this triathlon thing for a few years now and I’ve come to learn a lot about myself.

This year, of course, will be the true test as I prepare for Ironman Canada in August. As January comes to an end, so does the first month of training. It was aggressive. I mean, we were swimming 2000+ yards three times a week during Week 1. Swim-Bike and Swim-Run bricks were introduced in Week 2. And today’s workout marked the first Bike-Run brick (33 miles + 2 miles).

Here are a few observations that run through my head as I plan my training, map my routes, actually do the workouts, hydrate and eat accordingly, and recover:

  1. I am not good at practicing proper nutrition when I train because I am more concerned about my weight than proper fuel. This needs to change, and fast.
  2. I prefer a loop to an out-and-back. I prefer a loop so much that I will re-route myself mid-ride (sometimes making it harder) just so that I don’t have to simply turn around and re-ride the same course backwards.
  3. I am pleasantly surprised that I have become a strong swimmer. Considering I couldn’t make it 25 yards without stopping to catch my breath at the other side when I started, I have come a long way. I owe it all to that swim clinic, and the subsequent time I’ve spent in the pool practicing what I learned.
  4. I am tired of men and their egos. A guy can very clearly be out for a leisurely stroll while I’m out for a serious training ride when I pass him. He will then go into heart attack mode to re-pass me, just to save a little face. Get over yourself.
  5. I’d be lost without my Garmin. (Not literally – ha!) I am addicted to the data and won’t train without it. As my friend Ryan says, “If I didn’t track it, it didn’t happen.”
  6. I need a professional bike fit in the worst way. I have owned my bike (a Specialized Roubaix Expert, purchased before I got into triathlon) for 4 years and have never been all that comfortable on it.  My shoulders pinch and my hands go numb at the wrist, among other things.
  7. After all this time, the Bike-Run bricks never get easier for me. Not even during a real race.
  8. My stomach doesn’t do well on the engineered food like gels and chews. I need to find REAL FOOD that offers quick sugar/energy to fill this void. Dates filled with peanut butter are great, but too messy.
  9. My typical hydration is a bottle of water and a bottle of FRS on the bike. I like to run with a bottle of Nuun and take plain water at the aid stations. This has been working well for me.
  10. I am not a snob, especially when it comes to my workout gear. Being unemployed for 2+ years contributed to this, and it also proved that I don’t need all the highest-tech gear to get my training hours/miles in. Time trumps gear.
  11. I don’t have a go-to recovery food. Sometimes I’ll have chocolate milk. Sometimes I’ll have a beer. Today, I had a slice of a kid’s birthday cake and a glass of cheap red wine. It did the job.
  12. Naming our dog has had the exact effect I hoped it would: a positive connotation with lots and lots of Miles.

Am I really a triathlete?? So many of the people whose stories I follow and carouse with are much more scientific about this whole thing. Every calorie is planned and accounted for. Every piece of gear has been chosen. Every training route is executed without question. And yet, this works for me. I don’t take it too seriously and still manage to come across the finish line in reasonably good spirits each time. To each her own!

What have you learned about yourself over time? And does anyone have a suggestion on what I can do about real food??

 

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Daily sMiles

January 23, 2012 Fido No Comments

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Friday Five

January 6, 2012 Fido, Fitness, Fun 1 Comment

1. We’ve had Miles for a week now. Only a week. Although it feels like way longer than that as I stand in the yard every morning at 4 AM, praising him in my high-pitched voice for a good potty!

He just feels like home and I kind of can’t believe I was patient enough with Greg to live without a puppy for five months.

Also, he loves my Fit Flop slippers as much as I do. I am sure this obsession will come to blows in the near future.

2. It’s been quiet on the fitness front lately. That isn’t because I’ve been slacking off; I’ve consistently worked out 6 days a week since my last race. But it’s boring stuff. The triathlon training has begun and will continue to ramp up and there will be more to talk about.

I made a Facebook page for my blog that I haven’t known what to do with. I’ve decided that I’m going to dedicate my that page to Ironman stuff — training, nutrition, rants, etc… Join me over there if you want to follow along. (PLEEEEEEASE!)

3. There’s no snow in Tahoe. I can’t tell you how much this pains me. My 2012 season pass is going unused with every un-winter-like day we have.

4. I bought for-real cowboy boots when I was in Kansas City for Christmas. Then my mom gave me money for them and they turned into a gift. Win!

Greg hates them. Win?

I continue to look for excuses to wear them. It’s not going that well. Not only do I rarely go out, I am not very good at dressing myself.

Also, I have big feet.

5. I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy. I’m not usually the “fantasy” type. And I haven’t fallen prey to the “young adult” genre (Edward and Bella can suck it as far as I’m concerned – ha!). But this gripped me and held me until the end of the series. I love when I hate to finish a good book.

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Meet Miles!

January 2, 2012 Fido 5 Comments

Here’s our sweet boy – Miles!

Yep, all ~6 pounds of him.

This furball is a Lab mix (mama is pure yellow Lab, dad is black Lab/collie) and we are in love. We think he got enough collie in him that he’s got some smarts — he’s already responding to clicker training and has learned to use the ramp to get on/off the deck. Not without a few foibles, though. And that’s just good entertainment.

We’re quickly remembering how vigilant one has to be when there’s a puppy in the midst. Potty training is a full-time job. And remember those socks and pants Greg likes to leave around the house? Fair game! This guy does tire himself out rather quickly, though. Like, right in the middle of a play session.

He’s very social and very snuggly. Most times when he wants a nap, he finds me and crawls into my lap (or, if I’m standing, lays on my feet to indicate it’s time to be rocked to sleep). This may be teaching bad behaviors, but I’ve got to admit I love it. He won’t be this little for very long.

We got him on December 30, exactly 5 months after Argus left us. Admittedly, it was a bittersweet day. Greg and I reminisced about bringing Argus home for the first time and tried to push away the feelings that we were somehow replacing him or betraying him by loving a new puppy so much.

While Argus will always be in our hearts, we are enjoying seeing life through the eyes of a puppy. Miles has accepted us as his family, and we are happy to claim him as ours.

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