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Reality Bites (and WWW: May 8)

May 16, 2011 Fido, Fitness No Comments

It was a busy week of taking care of others — dogs, kids, houses. By the time the prescribed day of rest came on Friday, I gladly obliged! Then I slept in until almost 10 AM on Saturday and decided to have another low-key day based on how tired I felt. I was clearly exhausted and finally decided to listen to my body and give it the rest it needed.

The week started on Mother’s Day, and my dear dog found himself in a situation that led him to chomp down on my hand. I take responsibility for putting him in a stressful situation with an unsocialized dog, and I was punished for it.



There has been quite a bit of pain and swelling this week. Thankfully, Pete cleaned the wounds (5 punctures total) thoroughly and they are healing well. The pain is from bruising and general tenderness, but there doesn’t appear to be any infection, tendon damage, or nerve sensitivity. Whew! I can’t swim because of my right shoulder pain, and it wasn’t advisable to get in the water with my left hand injury. Maybe I’ll be able to swim this week…

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday – OFF

Monday – 29-mile bike ride

Tuesday – 7-mile run + 6 mile walk with stroller

Wednesday – 17-mile bike ride + 5 mile walk with stroller

Thursday – 4.5 mile run + 20 minutes yoga

Friday – 4 mile bike ride (errands) + core

Saturday – 4 mile bike ride (to/from gym) + 20 minute sauna


700 Miles (and WWW: May 1)

May 9, 2011 Fitness 1 Comment

I am participating in May is Bike Month with my tri club and have pledged to ride 700 miles this month.


That’s a lot of miles in 31 days. What the hell was I thinking?? Well, I was thinking that I rode 324 miles last May and I didn’t even sign up for MIBM until the 15th… So, I figured I could double what I did last year if I made it a priority right off the bat. Sounds reasonable, right?

Also, we are planning a bike trip down the California coast later this month. We’re not doing the Tour of California, but we are hoping to retrace a portion of their path! I think that trip should give me about 200 miles, depending on the weather and the route we end up taking. Highway 1 is closed past Big Sur, so we may have to cut the trip short. Either way, the views should be fantastic and it will be great endurance training for my upcoming Half Ironman. I need to increase butt-on-saddle time now that Wildflower is behind me.

It’s a good excuse to think twice about driving to run quick errands and/or to visit friends. I logged 95 miles in this first week, 30 of which were errand-running excursions. It’s a heckuva good workout riding with a 30-pound backpack filled with groceries, let me tell you!

Are you up for pledging to ride more this month? Make a commitment and share it with me — we can cheer each other on!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: 1.5K swim + 40K bike + 10K run
Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 15-mile bike ride
Wednesday: 14-mile bike ride
Thursday: 5-mile run
Friday: 26-mile bike ride
Saturday: 15-mile bike ride + Bodyrock.tv

Wildflower Race Goals (and WWW: April 17)

April 25, 2011 Fear, Fitness 3 Comments

The first race of the season is a week away. I’ve done what I can do training-wise. I’ve put the work in — hopefully it was enough. Depending on what my race goals are, I can rig it so that it is! Ha!

I mentioned in my last post that Greg’s Sea Otter race goal was not to win or necessarily place high in the rankings. It was to work hard. He considered this a “B-level” race and he successfully achieved his goals of working his race legs to prepare for Wildflower this coming weekend.

So, what are my race goals for Wildflower?

  1. Sub-30 minute swim. I hesitate to write this. I was solidly on track for a great swim this year before the rotator cuff injury. I worked hard on my swimming all winter and even had a great first (and possibly only) pre-race open water swim. My time last year was 0:30:36 and I really want to break the 30-minute barrier this year.
  2. Faster transitions. My transition times last year were horrendous at 4:40 and 2:12, respectively. Admittedly, it’s a long run up the boat ramp from the water to the far side of the transition area… but I am clearly not being as efficient as possible once I get to my spot. Maybe I should practice this week like these guys?
  3. No walking. Before you write me off as a pussy, let me explain. There are actually people who RECOMMEND walking the hills on this course, saving their legs for the flat and downhill sections. This is not my run strategy. I tested both approaches in my training over the last three weeks and I shaved 2:30 off my run time by running all the hills (even though my lungs were burning and my HR was nearing danger levels the first time). My problem is this: my tendency is to leave everything I have out on the bike course. This is a hilly run course — 518 ft of elevation gain over 6.2 miles — and it is very exposed. My race starts at 10:35 AM, which will put me on the run course around 12:30 PM. My goal is to run all of it.
  4. Finish sub-3:00. Last year’s official race time was 3:00:07. I’d really like to come in under the three hour mark and I think it’s possible. If I plan to shave a couple of minutes on both transitions AND the swim and the run, this is doable. Right? Tell me my math works. My bike leg was very good last year at 1:29 and my cycling has been inconsistent this year. I don’t know that I can expect to do much better than that this year, especially since one of my goals is to leave enough for a strong run. I hope my savings in the other areas are enough…

It’s scary for me to write these down. I have created a space that can be filled with disappointment by saying it out loud. Greg suggested that maybe I’m sand-bagging and I should be more specific on Goal #4 and shoot for an overall time of 2:50. But he also said it’s up to me based on how I feel. I’ll tell you how I feel right now: tired and injured. And accountable.

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: 21-mile bike ride + 3.5 mile run

Monday: Bike — hill repeats

Tuesday: 5.25 mile run

Wednesday: 20-mile bike ride

Thursday: 1600-yard swim + errands on the bike (10 miles) + chiropractic

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 34-mile bike ride


First Open Water Swim (and WWW: 4/3)

April 11, 2011 Family, Fitness No Comments

I finally took the plunge — my first open water swim of the 2011 season. I was in Santa Cruz for the 6th Annual Sisters Trip and thought the Beach Boardwalk area would be a good place to test the waters.

It was sunny and reasonably warm on the beach (~60). I wasn’t sure if I’d have a rocky water entry, so I chose to wear my Vibrams. My intention was to swim out to the end of the wharf and back. I didn’t measure the distance, but I had my watch on so I figured I’d go for 30 minutes or so and call it good.

A wetsuit is really a great thing. The water was cold — colder than I thought it would be — but between my “shoes” and wetsuit, it didn’t feel horrible.

But I won’t lie: putting my face in the water was worse than I thought it would be. Way worse. My hands do that crazy Raynaud’s thing when they’re only slightly cold, so I knew I wouldn’t have feeling in them for the entire 30 minutes. I was right. This was great practice, though! I had to force myself to breathe deeply and make full strokes. I had to force myself to calm down and settle in. As I looked up and saw fishermen casting their lines from the wharf, I had to stop thinking about the sea life that was likely swimming right under me…

My mom and sister kind of panicked when they couldn’t see me anymore, so they walked out onto the wharf to spot me. The Harbormaster had noted on a public chalkboard the water temperature: 52* F.

I finished in 24 minutes and my body was tingling from being so cold when I got out and started to warm up. It took a good hour to get feeling back in my toes, even after a hot shower. I ran 7.5 miles on Saturday, including to the end of the wharf and back. I was really pleased that the distance from where I went in the water to the end of the wharf was a half mile. If I can swim roughly a mile in roughly 24 minutes, I will be very pleased! My time last year at Wildflower was 30 minutes!

It was a great training weekend, performance-wise and scenery-wise!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: 33 mile bike ride + 4.5 mile run

Monday: 2100-yard swim

Tuesday: 19-mile bike ride

Wednesday: 5 mile run

Thursday: Hill repeats – bike ride

Friday: 1-mile open water swim

Saturday: 7.5 mile run


A Rainy Week (WWW: February 13)

February 21, 2011 Fitness No Comments

After three weeks of summer-like weather, winter finally returned to Northern California. Tahoe got dumped on! WOO HOO!! I had a busy social calendar, so wasn’t able to join Greg for a couple of days skiing this week. Not only was I unable to enjoy the snow, I had to move several workouts indoors to the treadmill and Spin bike. Because of torrential rains, I made Saturday a recovery day and went for my long bike ride+run on Sunday instead.

There were 6 birthdays to celebrate this week, a bridal shower, and book club. Was it a full moon this week?? I didn’t sleep at all and I pretty much felt “off” all week. I am pretty sure the lunar calendar coincides with my cycle (sorry for TMI!)… On the up-side, my knees feel great and I have worked up to being able to hold ten 1-minute planks. Rest + strength = results!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: OFF/Tracy Anderson

Monday: 19-mile bike ride

Tuesday: Track Attack (4.25 miles speed + 1.25 miles regular) + 10 1-minute planks

Wednesday: Tracy Anderson + 20 minutes sauna + 2100 yard swim

Thursday: 20 minutes sauna + 1200 yard swim + 30 minute “hill repeat” indoor spin (avg HR = 153)

Friday: 5.5 miles treadmill run (6.5% incline for 3 minutes at Miles 3 and 5)

Saturday: OFF/Tracy Anderson


Gimme a brake! (and WWW: February 6)

February 14, 2011 Fitness 2 Comments

I went for my longest bike ride since October on Saturday — 44 miles. I had intended to go something like 38 miles, but tried a new loop and it was slightly longer than planned. Everything was going along very smoothly, but I had to stop for water in Woodside because I only brought one bottle with me.

I got off the bike and stretched my legs a little while refilling. The sun was finally out, burning off the chill that had been in the air all morning. My bike fell over as I was getting it turned around from the fence, causing the chain to come off. My legs felt tired, but I had only ridden ~25 miles, so I wasn’t that tired. I put the chain back on and headed for home.

It was slow-going. My legs felt awful! It was like pedaling through mud. I was really cussing myself for getting off the bike in the first place, giving my legs the chance to cool down. The worst of it was that nothing improved as I kept going. I was having some serious conversations with myself:

“Wow. Things are really not coming back for you this year.”

“Why are you so weak?”

“You are going to have to work much harder this year to get back to the same level of strength and fitness.”

“You suck.”

I looked for Greg’s car at the corner of 92 & Canada, thinking I’d take it and make him ride the 6.5 extra miles home. Ha! I was OVER IT by this point. There were at least 30 cars there, but not his… I had to make the last couple of short climbs home. The climbing was nearly unbearable. I climb those two little hills almost every time I go out and they are hardly painful at all. Even when I got to the flat 3.5 miles along Crystal Springs Road, I had to stay in my lower chain ring to keep up a reasonable speed.

I was pissed.

I finally pulled into the fucking driveway and got off my fucking bike to walk it into the fucking garage. Then — ONLY THEN — I heard it: the friction of my brake pad on the wheel rim. The brake caliper must have shifted when my bike fell over, causing one of the pads to rub on the rim.

Maybe I’m not so weak after all!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: OFF

Monday: 16-mile bike ride + Tracy Anderson

Tuesday: Track Attack! (3.5 miles on track + 1.5 road running)

Wednesday: 1400 yard swim + 30 minute “push” bike ride + Core

Thursday: 2200 yard swim + Tracy Anderson

Friday: 5.5 mile run + Core

Saturday: 44-mile bike ride


It Officially Begins (and WWW: Jan 30)

February 7, 2011 Fitness No Comments

Training for the 2011 race season officially began this week. I also signed up for my first race of the season — Wildflower (Olympic distance tri) on May 1. My last race of 2010 was November 15 and it hardly seems like I’ve had enough down-time. Probably because I’m not very good at resting… That is really unfortunate, because I’m sporting a lot of aches and pains that will make for a very long season if I’m injured.

My knees are giving me the most trouble, though something is off in my back also. I know it’s all connected — whatever is going on in my back is affecting my hips, which is affecting my knees, which is affecting my ankles. Or maybe the trouble is happening from the ground up? Either way, I need to attend to it. I have a great chiropractor that has helped in the past, so I am hopeful. The yoga helps keep things loose as well.

I follow a set training plan and that is half the battle for me. Like Kirsten, I’m a rule-follower. If someone says to ride my bike 25 challenging miles and then run 2 miles, I’ll do it. If I were the one coming up with the workout plans, I’d probably ride my bike 15 flat miles and not run. Also, I like that these training plans put core workouts in writing. I’ve been doing them as prescribed, and I dare-say I am starting to see a difference!

One note of interest: I am entering this training season in reasonable swimming condition. I swam over 6000 yards last week and it felt great. And I’m gaining speed! My knees certainly enjoyed the break as well… By contrast, my long run was only 5 miles and it felt awful. I’ve come such a long way in just one year!

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: OFF

Monday: 21-mile bike ride + 10 45-second planks

Tuesday: 1650-yard swim + Tracy Anderson

Wednesday: 90-minute yoga + 20 minute sauna + 2050 yard swim + 4 mile walk with a friend (and Argus!)

Thursday: 25-mile bike ride + 2 mile run + Tracy Anderson

Friday: 20 minute sauna + 2350-yard swim

Saturday: 5-mile run + 10 minutes core (from Fitness magazine)


WWW: January 16

January 23, 2011 Fitness No Comments

It was a busy week with friends in town and a trip to Davis for Argus’ third chemo treatment. Also, I was working on completely reformatting my resume, which gobbled up any additional brain power that wasn’t killed by wine consumption.

I managed a respectable workout week, despite the busy-ness and hangover(s). I attended a new yoga class on Monday morning and my hamstrings were still reminding me of that on Friday afternoon. There were only two of us in the class (thanks Jane!), so we got personalized attention from the instructor. A lot of little adjustments made a big difference and I’m going back again tomorrow.

I am surprised there aren’t more kids puking during lunch recess. I went for a run in Davis about an hour after eating a big salad at Pluto’s and really felt awful at about Mile 4. Stomach rumbling, saliva in the back of my throat… Yeah. And that wasn’t a hangover day!  Also, my palms were itchy. I wanted to dig at them with a rock. Does anyone have any idea what’s up with that??

The sun has been shining for the last several days, making workouts much more enjoyable. I’d like to get out for a run today, but my knees and hips are telling me otherwise, so it will probably be another bike ride instead. I’ve been icing my knees and keeping my runs to a minimum in the name of “rest.” I can tell some improvement, but I’m still erring on the conservative side.

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: 25 minutes sauna + 1450 yard swim

Monday: 90 minutes yoga + 15-mile bike ride

Tuesday: OFF / 45 minute walk with Argus + 50 minute walk with friend

Wednesday: 5.5 mile run in Davis

Thursday: 20-mile bike ride

Friday: 4 mile run + 15 minutes sauna + 30 minute swim + massage

Saturday: 33-mile bike ride


WWW: January 9

January 16, 2011 Fitness No Comments

I wasn’t quite as gung-ho this week as last week. I felt tired and it was cold and dreary most days, so I really had to force myself and get out there. The skiing wasn’t great (especially Thursday), but it was better than doing nothing. And hopefully what I did do was enough to offset the amount of beer consumed…

What did you do this week?

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday – 26-mile bike ride

Monday – 19 mile (??) bike ride. My Garmin died at Mile 3, but I basically did this route.

Tuesday – OFF

Wednesday – 4.65-mile run + Tracy Anderson Method

Thursday – Downhill skiing (11:00-1:30) — conditions were rainy and miserable

Friday – Downhill skiing (11:30 – 3:30)

Saturday – 33-mile bike ride + Tracy Anderson Method


Weekly Workout Wrap-up: Jan 2

January 8, 2011 Fitness 1 Comment

The Weekly Workout Wrap-up is a new feature to the blog for 2011 — my own little WWW. This is a double-edged sword for me: it keeps me accountable to work out when I may otherwise wimp out, but also drives my already-obsessive/competitive nature up a notch. If it gets to be too much, I’ll stop doing it.

When I can, I’ll post links to the details on Garmin Connect and/or maps to my locations. Let me know if there are other details you are interested in seeing. While I’m still in the “off-season,” I am not wearing my heart rate monitor and I’m working hard not to focus on exact distances or pace. I’m just going out there to do it for the sake of doing it. Hopefully we’ll all notice when I actually start trying again…

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday: Downhill skiing at Squaw (11AM – 2:30PM)

Monday: Backcountry skiing up and over Mount Judah (12PM – 5:30PM)

Tuesday: Off / yard work + house work

Wednesday: 28-mile bike ride

Thursday: 3.4-mile trail run at Water Dog Park

Friday: 45 minute spin + 45 minute yoga + 60 minute P90X (shoulders/biceps/triceps) + 15 minute P90X Ab Ripper

Saturday: 25 minutes sauna + 1250 yard swim + 30 minute run in Vibram Five Fingers shoes