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Day of Rest – Take 2

February 26, 2010 Fear, Fitness No Comments

About 10 days ago, I started following a prescribed training regimen for a Half Ironman triathlon. So far, so good. In fact, it has really helped me stay motivated. I like knowing what I’m going to be doing and not having to come up with it myself. That said, I’m working considerably harder than I would be if I were the decision maker.

Tomorrow is a prescribed day of rest and I can’t wait! This week was supposedly a “light week” in terms of workouts, relative to what next week will be. I had guests in town and could not participate in the 56-mile bike ride on Sunday, and I chose to do a 40-mile bike ride on Monday instead of the grueling swim workout that was on the schedule. Other than that, I did as well as or more than what was planned: Tuesday morning yoga + 5.5 mile track workout (in the pouring rain) that was H.A.R.D. Wednesday’s swim workout was a welcome change because it didn’t require my body to hold its own weight. I was sooooo sore from Tuesday I could hardly get out of bed, get onto or off of the toilet, into or out of my car…you get the picture. It felt good to be semi-weightless in the water! I was proud of myself for completing the 1400-yard workout (and actually enjoying it). The “lunch ride” on Thursday was, for me, a 21-mile interval ride with lots of short, steep hills and little recovery. Today, a 3.5 mile run, my strength routine, and a much-needed 90-minute massage. Ahhhhh…

Tomorrow is a day of rest. But I have seen what is on the calendar for the following 7 days and I am officially frightened. It is a week that is largely focused on swimming, and that is clearly my weak link. I am nowhere near where I need to be to get through the drills and main sets of swimming in terms of my basic form. There are lots and lots of bricks — swim + run, swim + bike, swim + strength, swim, swim, don’t drown, swim. EEK! I’m scared that I won’t be able to do the swim workouts well, and that mental defeat will play into my other sports. I’m scared that it will rain all week and I won’t be able to get out on my bike or otherwise have to compromise myself. I’m scared I’ll look for excuses to compromise myself because it’s too hard.

So, I ran my 3.5 miles today and enjoyed my massage (probably a little too much). I am considering a yoga workout tomorrow if we don’t go skiing in Tahoe… but will otherwise relish the day off. That’s a first for me, and a big win mentally as I enter a week that is sure to be full of a lot of mental failures.

Here’s to progress — and FEAR!


An Impostor’s Question

February 5, 2010 Fear, Fitness No Comments

Are you more afraid of…

Looking like a fool while swimming?


Looking bad in a swimming suit?

This is what plagues me on this rainy Friday evening. I signed up for a swim clinic to improve my weakest triathlon link. I’ve known about this clinic for a few weeks now and have not been excited about it from the beginning. Sure, I know it’s the right thing to do. I know I need it. I know that everyone else who has signed up is likely in the same boat, or one that at least looks similar. Hell, my husband signed up and “he’s good at everything.”

But then I face the reality of it. It’s a 2-hour drive. It’s an outdoor pool. It’s going to be raining. I will be videotaped.

There are people out there who are TRUE triathletes. Not just people who complete a designated swim/bike/run to check it off the bucket list. These people live triathlon — their workouts, their diets, their lifestyle. I am not one of these people. So maybe I’ve got a bit of the Impostor Syndrome going on here. I like to do triathlons for fun, for camaraderie with friends, as a common thread with my husband,  and to stay motivated with my workouts (note: this motivation mainly lies in being able to eat and drink what I want and still have my clothes fit the same way each time). I’m competitive by nature, so I do them to compete with myself and get better each time, but I’m no die-hard. That’s what I’m getting at.

So, as I continue my week-long commitment to no-carbs-except-red-wine diet on this Friday evening, I contemplate the fear that is before me. I am confident I won’t be the worst swimmer, nor will I look the worst in my swimming suit. Even if I am, I have committed and I will finish the clinic and my training will benefit from it. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Which do you fear more?


My First 13.1

November 17, 2009 Family, Fitness, Friends No Comments

I didn’t let myself fall off the workout wagon after the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 23 and Claudia talked me into one of her favorite races of the year: Big Sur Half Marathon. At the time, we decided it would be a fun way to stay in touch over the miles this fall, keep each other motivated, and enjoy a fun weekend in Monterey. Sign me up!

I’ve been training pretty diligently, adding running mileage every weekend and cross-training during the week as usual. I am very thankful for being able to call on my friend Heidi to do long runs with me at the drop of a hat. Sawyer Camp Trail offers beautiful scenery, and it’s always nice to run with someone since iPods aren’t usually allowed at races.

Race weekend arrived and I was admittedly nervous. I had set a goal for myself to finish under 2 hours. Claudia was going for a personal record to beat her previous year’s time of 1:50. Greg and I drove down with Argus and met Claudia near Cannery Row to pick up my race packet and otherwise hang out the day before the race. We enjoyed lasagna take-out from Whole Foods and camped out in our hotel room with our carbs and wine, chatting as late as we dared before an early wake-up call.

The race start was 7 AM, so Claudia and I made our way in the cold, dark morning to the starting line. It was very cold — ~45 degrees Fahrenheit. I was actually glad to start running to get my body heat up. I was wearing my CW-X compression tights, a tank top with built-in sports bra, and a long-sleeved shirt over it to keep warm. The first couple of miles were through downtown Monterey and by Mile 2, things had warmed up significantly. The rest of the course largely ran along the coast with a short detour through downtown Pacific Grove. Chatting with Claudia and taking in the beautiful scenery, I almost forgot I was running and the miles passed quickly.

We saw Greg and Argus cheering us on just before Mile 7, which was near our hotel. The turn-around for the 13.1 is just past the actual halfway point, which helps me mentally to know that the return trip is shorter. We were approaching Spanish Links Golf Course along Asilomar State Beach and the views were spectacular. The morning had really warmed up and I felt great. I had to stop for just about five seconds at the turnaround point to stretch my right hip, then we were off again. I stretched it again at Mile 10 and Claudia urged me on with, “You can run a 5K in your sleep.” It was just the eg0-push I needed to keep going.

At Mile 11, I proudly announced that, “I am officially running farther than I have ever run before!” and several women turned to congratulate me. I was tired, but kept to my mantra that I Can Do Anything For Two Miles. I felt that familiar flutter of anticipation as I passed the Mile 12 marker and gave it all I had into the finish line.

I finished in 1:52, which greatly exceeded my expectations. I was so proud that Greg and Argus were there to cheer us on twice on the course and were there at the finish line. While my stomach was upset about an hour after the race and I my leg muscles stiffened on the drive home, I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction to have completed my first half marathon.

As the last race of the 2009 calendar, I feel like George Costanza “leaving on a high note.” I look forward to 2010 for the challenges and accomplishments that await me.


Dog Days of Summer

July 27, 2009 Fido, Fitness, Friends No Comments

We just got back from a weekend at the Utica Reservoir, our annual camping trip with Jeff Barker & Gang. It’s generally the first weekend in August, but this year it had to be moved up a week because of family obligations. It was at this trip last year that we became concerned about Argus’ guarding problem and decided to do something about it. We hired a personal trainer, Matt Hibbard, to help us. We knew that this year’s trip to Utica would be a good test.

I was looking forward to the trip for several reasons. I got to take Friday off of work, I wanted to get in a long open water swim for triathlon training, I enjoy the peace and quiet that our granite island provides, and it’s always a good chance for me and G to reconnect.

Greg made the kayaking part of the trip more enjoyable this year by buying two inflatable kayaks. These are not some flimsy plastic things. Everything goes right on top and there isn’t a bunch of stuffing and hiding and otherwise piece-mealing everything into nooks and crannies. Plus, Argus is very stable in the back of one.

It was a small crowd this year — Jeff and Caryn, Ron and Jen, Rob, and us. Jeff and Caryn brought their respective dogs, Buddy and Rutzie. Jen and Ron also have a mutt named Sponge. It was clear from the start that Argus was going to have to let Sponge know he is boss. Luckily, he didn’t have a problem with Buddy and Rutzie this year (note – he has had issues with them in the past and has apparently gotten over it).

We got camp set up and joined the group around the campfire. Sponge came over to say hello to me, which had Argus on high alert. I was kind of instigating this behavior, knowing that we had the shock collar on Argus and it would be a goodopportunity to “teach him a lesson.” Well, things happened a little too quickly. Argus made his aggressive lunge toward Sponge and Iinstinctively put my leg out to create a barrier. My placement was a little high and my leg ended up in Argus’ mouth. CHOMP! Lots of adults screaming, dogs barking, and spilled wine. I came away with two deep puncture wounds and some scratches. I even had pants on!

Argus was forced to wear his muzzle, I medicated with wine, and the crowd recovered. Nothing like a little drama to shake up a peaceful evening in the mountains…

Saturday included a mountain bike ride that all of us participated in. It’s rare to get three women who mountain bike — and Caryn and Jen are much better at it than I am! I had intended to take the day off from working out, knowing that I was going to do a triathlon training course on Sunday. With everyone going, I opted to tag along. The trails were much harder than I had anticipated and it was a lot of hike-a-bike. I was pretty frustrated by the end, though trying not to let it show too much. Greg was very accommodating of me and held back with me for the most part. While this is very sweet, it makes me feel bad for him. Again, trying not to “scar” him from riding with me, I opted to keep my mouth shut.

I was happy to get back to camp, where we played in the water awhile and enjoyed happy hour. We then fixed our dinners (ours was veggie jambalaya from TJ’s, supplemented with cooked shrimp) and packed a cooler to watch the sunset atop the mountain. We retired by the campfire for more beverages and story telling. By this time, Argus and Sponge had made friends and there was no more drama to fear. Such a different story than what we experienced last year!

Sunday, I got up early for my biathlon workout. I swam ~40 minutes, which I hope equaled a little over a mile in distance. After yesterday’s difficult biking excursion, I opted to skip the bike leg today. I quickly changed my clothes at the car and went for a 6 mile run. This was a very hard run!! It was hilly and at altitude. I was TIRED by the time I got back to the car. After paddling across the reservoir back to camp, I sunbathed and read my book while waiting for Greg to return from his bike ride.

We packed it up for the day around 3:30 and headed home. Greg and I remarked that it was a much better experience with Argus this time, and the professional training really seemed to help. Last year, he would not listen to our commands and never backed down from any of the other dogs (including old Buddy). This year, he listened to and obeyed commands and was able to “make friends” with Sponge. In short, he wasn’t a complete pain in the ass. We realize that there will always be some hot-button situations for him, but we know how to better handle them and be prepared.

My leg is sore and quite possibly infected. I think it would have been fine if we had gotten it properly cleaned up right after it happened, and were able to keep it clean. All the dirt, granite dust, and lake water probably did not help my situation… I’ll keep an eye on it for the next couple of days and go to the doctor if it doesn’t start to heal. You can look at our pictures here.


This Native is Restless

July 22, 2009 Fitness, Food No Comments

It’s 3:18 on a Wednesday. I decided to come to the office today. Going to the office always makes my stomach hurt the night before as I lay down for bed. The idea of going to the office and working on stuff that I don’t care about and I can’t really make a difference at eats at me. What a way to spend a gorgeous summer day, eh? And by this time EVERY DAY, regardless of where I have chosen to “work,” I am over it. There are things I could do. There are things I could start. There are things I could research. Nope. I’ll choose to do none of it. And I’m not generally what you would call a slacker.

In other news, my shoulders and trapezius muscles have really been bothering me since I started riding longer distances on my bike to train for the Death Ride. The event was 10 days ago and my shoulders/back/traps seem to be worse. I don’t know if it’s how I scrunch my shoulders up because of stress, or the acupuncture is “working” to break things up, or what. All I know is that it doesn’t feel great most of the time.

I am trying to talk myself into working out today, but am easily coming up with excuses to just take today off. We’ll see how motivated I am when I blow this popsicle stand in 40 minutes…

I’m going over to Mel’s house tonight for a little girl talk and dinner.  I think we’re making Stacked Ratatouille using ingredients we have on-hand. For whatever reason, I like eggplant this year. Weird.