Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
I knew, coming into the tri for fun that it was going to be a good race. My training has been right on of late with three open water swim a week I haven’t been in such good swim shape since I was in synchronized swimming in Jr High! My bike rides have been intense, but I’m easily powering up hills that used to leave me stopped and gasping for breath. And my running, well the time at the Skyland run showed that I’ve made huge improvement there too. It felt like it was all coming together for this race. You add on top of this that the bike is almost completely flat – and yes, I knew I was going to have a good race! I set my goal high – under 2 hours.
(for reference – I finished the Napa Valley Sprint tri – this same distance – on May 3rd in 2:21, and the Mountain Bike Tri – a little shorter but on single track – on June 20th in 2:02)
I started prepping Friday night. I had a good dinner w/the Orca swim team and Forward Motion Racing Club out at the lake. We had good food and I enjoyed trading stories with others who would be racing the next day at the Tri for Fun and/or at Vineman 70.3 on Sunday. It seemed to relax me even more.
I got home at a reasonable time and it was a relaxed evening of hydration, fueling (with MRD) and packing my transition bag. I even got to bed at a reasonable hour!
Of course, there was a reason for getting up at a reasonable hour. Even though this race was practically in my own back yard my teammates had warned me that the place filled up quickly, so I was up at 4:30 and on the road by 5:00 (ish). The drive over was pretty uneventful and we got in easily and got prime parking. I was happy to see a few teammates already setting up in transition when I got there, and I dumped my gear off and headed over to pick up my ‘race packet’.
Because this was a Tri for ‘Fun’ there wasn’t much to packet pickup. Basically I just signed a waver and received my race number, no timing chips, it was very easy and very well organized.
Then it was back to transition to set up my stuff, gab with teammates, stretch a bit and basically wait for the sun to come up. As it got closer to race time I headed over and got body markings, my race t-shirt, slapped on some sun screen and was ready to go. Given the air and water temperature, there was no way I was wearing a wetsuit for this race… No Way!
As the 7:00 AM start time approached I headed down to the water and tried my ‘new’ warmup technique. I swam sprints with short recoveries for about 10 minutes. My goal was to get my heart rate UP and then recovered before the start. It worked and by the time the race announcements were over I could feel the little ‘buzz’ that comes from a body ready to do some serious work.
Of course, I’m a 40 year old women, so in this race of 6 waves I was in wave 5. That meant I had to work a little to keep that buzz up, but adrenaline did a little of the work for me. Before too long the first 4 waves were off and in the water, and I was standing waist deep waiting for the signal to go. A quick countdown from the announcer and we got the go, and I DOVE in, literally. Where a lot of people were wading into deeper water before starting I used a little of my prior pool racing experience and did a shallow water dive right into a hard fast stroke as soon as we got the go signal. It served me well as I stayed right up with the front swimmers. My warm-up had served me well too because I was able to maintain the pace I set throughout the entire swim – two BIG bonuses. The only thing I would have changed on the swim. I set myself on the far right of the group. I pull right a little when I swim. The first buoy was at an angle to the left of the swim start. So, when I finally sighted, about half way to the first buoy, I was abreast of the front swimmers, but I was also far to the right of them, and I lost a little time having to cut across to the left. Still it was obvious I was in the front of the pack and I didn’t let the miss calculation get to me, I just kept on swimming. Once around the first buoy I started passing people. I could tell that things were going well, it just was hard to tell HOW well – it always is when swimming. I made it around the second buoy and headed to shore. The area here seemed to have a lot more swimmers in it – probably as people had slowed down – tired. Plus it was a little narrow, up against the edge of the lake. There were two ladies swimming side by side in front of me and both were doing the breast stroke – the ‘frog kick’ of the breast stroke takes a lot more room then the crawl and I was kind of stuck. If then had been doing the crawl I probably would have swum between them, but I had no desire to be kicked in the head if should misjudge the space. So, I slowed a little and tried to pass on the right. Just as I did, the girl on the right started drifting to the right… dang! BUT, when she did she opened the space between the a little and with a little juke move (who knew you could do that in the water!?) I squeezed between them and started pouring on the last burst of speed to the swim finish – whew!
I don’t have any ‘official time’ for my swim, I knew I had done ok when I glanced at the people who were getting out of the water around me and most were under 40 - the wave that had started before me.
The run to transition was really short and it was a straight shot to my bike. It didn’t take me long to switch over to bike gear – no wetsuit to strip – and head out. I was now on the part of the course where I planned to see the biggest improvement the bike. I climbed up the hill out of the park and hit the roads. It didn’t take long for my new found bike speed to show itself. I was passing people almost faster than I could shout out “On your LEFT”. And it was EASY. One after another I set my sites on girls with 20 or 30 something written on their calves, chased them down, and passed them. I was almost giddy with joy! Yes, I got passed a few times. But the 4 people who passed me in the 11 mile ride were nothing compared to the 30 or so that I left behind.
The turn around of the short out and back portion of the race, was there before I knew it and I took the corner easy and headed out again.
I would like to say “SORRY!!!” to the few people I passed during that short time when we were riding on the wrong side of the road, to whom I called out “On you LEFT” and then I passed you on the right. Passing people is new to me, and I got a little confused. Thank you to the one girl who pointed out my error. Seriously, I felt like a complete dork, but I was glad I didn’t do the same thing to too many other people.
About mile 8 or so I saw what would be the one and only hill other than the one at the start. It was steep, but short and I hit it, focused and got up and over it without dropping my cadence – a huge victory for me. I did get a little grumpy when the little girl who I had passed at the bottom, passed me at the top, looked over at me and said “That was easy!” I’ve come a long way, but not THAT far! I got my revenge though when I passed her on the downhill like a large lightning bolt :)
The end of the bike ride came so much faster than I expected and before I knew it I was swooping down the hill into the park, unclipping, and dismounting back at transition. Again, I knew I had a good time, I just didn’t know how good, and the hardest part was yet to come, the run.
I came back to my transition spot to find – someone had taken my spot! My stuff was still there, but someone else’s bike was parked over the top of it. I grumbled a bit, but one of my teammates who had already finished (thanks for being there CHRIS!!) calmed me down, pointed to an empty spot further down the rack and got my head back into the game. I did a quick change and headed out onto the run course. This was it – this was where I would make or break my race I was sure of it. My legs were feeling the bike as I trotted to the start of the run course – could I do this? I just kept repeating to myself – 2 hours! 2 hours!
The run started off frustrating. I was tired, my legs were rubbery and the first thing off the bat was a gnarly hill. Yes, the bike had been flat, but the run was anything but! But I gave myself permission to walk the up hill and just kept swinging my arms to keep my momentum going. It took me about a mile to settle into a comfortable pace and by then at least 15 people had passed me. But I didn’t let it bother me. I knew I lost time on the run – I just had to focus on running my race, my pace… 2 hours… would I make it?
The run was a funny little clover leaf thing that I really liked. You got to see a lot of people as you were running and it made the whole thing seem really friendly and fun. It was also good for someone like me who tends to get stuck running alone a lot. Not on this race there was always someone coming and/or going and not just people who were leaving me behind :)
I hit the water station at the center of the leaf at the end of the first mile and finally started to feel as if I had my legs under me. It was cool to see so many of my Forward Motion teammates there handing out water and that helped to boost my confidence just a little. Still there were a lot of hills left to go. About mid way through the second mile I was feeling it. It was hot, I was tired, I was worried I had spent too much on the bike and mentally I was starting to crumble just a little. I dropped to a walk even though I wasn’t going uphill, that’s when I heard a voice behind me. “Don’t give up! Keep going, just take small steps, they conserve energy. Small steps, keep going”
I have no idea who my angel was, but THANK YOU! Your tiny little bit of encouragement got me going again. Got me thinking positive when I wasn’t doing so hot on my own… I did start moving again. I focused on finding a ‘happy pace’ and maintaining it… and I continued to maintain it, even up some hills! I hit the end of mile two feeling pretty good and started on the last ‘loop’ of the clover. I still had no idea if I was meeting my time goals but I knew I would finish with a smile on face, and knowing I had given it my all.
I hit the top of one hill to cheering from one volunteer. “You’re doing great, almost there – go there”
There, was down a hill and off the ‘ridge’ we had been running on. I pounded down the hill expecting to have to climb up again only to find another volunteer at the bottom pointing me across the grass. “Head across the grass to the finish” she told me… I literally WAS almost done!
I started to pick up the pace my heart pounding with excitement. I was almost done – the finish like was up there, I could hear the music and cheering. I jogged a bit faster, and then faster, would I make it!? I knew that the big clock over the finish line had started with the first wave, and that I had started 20 minutes behind the first wave – so to be under 2 hours I needed to see less then 2:20 on the clock. I saw the finish and spotted the clock… I squinted trying to read the numbers… it says… something 40 something... darn it! I kept running, pushing myself to the finish, that’s when I realized – the first number was a 1!!! I was not only under two hours I was WAY under two hours!! I sprinted to then end and passed across the finish line at 1:50 which made my official time 1:30!!
I swear I was on cloud 9 the entire rest of the day!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
The drive down to Los Gatos was nice. It was already shaping up to be a BEAUTIFUL day. Although this was touted as a 'fun run' ran by a local church, from the moment we arrived on site it was apparent it was very well organized. There were folks visable immediately; directing traffic and making sure people parked correctly. There was other person at the entrance to the 'staging area' directing people to exactly which table they needed to be at to pick up our numbers and shirts. The bathrooms were well marked, and there was water set out for people to use before the race.
We lounged around, warmed up and stretched as we waited for the race to start. Near 8:30 (race start time) they called everyone to the starting line. And I mean everyone -- all the races were starting at the same time the 10K, the 5K and the 5K walk. Somehow everyone managed to arrange themselves appropriately as they gave a brief explanation of the course and then... we were off!
One thing I can say about this course - it is BEAUTIFUL! Nice enough that I didn't even notice (much) the rolling hills, and boy were there hills!
I started out middle of the pack. I knew I didn't want to have to weave my way through the walkers, and I also knew I didn't want to be in the way of all the speed demons that were crowding toward the front.
When the gun went off, I started at a nice comfortable pace. I had set my watch to 'ding' after a mile, then count down a 1 minute rest interval, and then ding so I could run another mile. I was really surprised to find that in that first mile I passed a LOT of people. I was managing the slight incline ok, and didn't feel like I was going to die! I could actually FEEL all the work that I've been doing to improve my fitness - and the 40 lbs I've dropped. I finished the first mile in less then 11 minutes! (don't have my exact times because somehow my watch lost my run during the download process - AGAIN!! *sob*)
Of course, when I started walking, a few of the people I passed, passed me - but I was really happy to know that I could maintain a reasonable 'middle of the pack' pace now!
The rest of the run went pretty much the same. I would run for a mile, sometimes pass someone, and then walk for a minute and get passed myself. I didn't mind, it was great to just feel like I had the 'gas' to get through the long run! At 1.5 miles the people who were doing the 5K turned around and those of us who were doing the 10K kept going. I had to walk sometimes during my 'run' interval because the hills were too much, but I ran for as long as I could each time and started back up as soon as I could.
My biggest goal for this race was to beat the time of my last 10K - the Old Mill Run that I did on April 18th -where I finished in 1:39. The way I set my watch I couldn't really see what my overall time was, but I as I finished each mile it was apparent to me that I was doing better then I had in April. Still, as I got closer to the finish line I started pushing it a little. By the time I got to the final stretch I was pretty much sprinting. It was pretty cool to hear so many people cheering and shouting "Great finish!" and I certainly crossed the line with a smile on my face.
Even better was stopping my watch and finding out that my total time was 1:14! I shaved 25 minutes off my 10K time in three months! I need to schedule another 10K in three more months and see how much better I can get! :)
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Otherwise, I'm recovering from yesterday's leg workout. My hamstrings (back of the thighs) are really really really sore. Ladies, you want to tighten up your rear view - stiff legged dead lifts are the BOMB... just expect a little pain for a few days after.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday we got up early and headed over to watch the local 5K/10K races. It was awesome. Fast people, slow people, entire families all racing together. So much fun!
If you read my blog, you know we got home from that in the mood to run! I changed, leashed up the dog and took off only to find out it was WAY TOO hot to be out. Still it felt good to get out there and stretch my legs a bit.
Saturday night we went up to the wine country and watched the fireworks. It's always nice to get up north, even if it does make us want to move back. But, the next move we make will be closer to work - there's just no question that this 2 hour commute (each way)is slowly killing us.
Sunday I got up early and met some of my ORCA team mates for a swim. We did a mile in the lake at 8:30 in the morning. It was a fantastic way to start the day. A dry off and a change and two of us headed out for a short/easy bike ride. We took a route that I had biked before (40 lbs ago) and I was thrilled to make it to the top of hills without stopping that I had stopped on before. Even with the few hills we made it 15 miles in an hour. A BIG improvement!! The best thing was I still had energy to burn! I had visions of finishing the run that I hadn't been able to finish before, but later decided that it was better to let myself rest a bit.
Finally get my act together and wrote out a resistance training plan. So, this morning we got up at 4:00 AM. That's right 4:00AM. So we could go to the gym before work.
It was 5:00AM by the time we hit the gym (which is normal) and we did a 'moderate' workout. Still, it felt GREAT to be pushing iron. We did a Body for Life style workout that seemed to be perfect for our current goals:<
Squats: 90 lbs x 12, 105 x 10, 115 x 8, 135 x 6, 115 x 12
Leg Extensions: 55 x 12
Stiff Legged Dead Lifts: 85 lbs x 12, 95 x 10, 105 x 8, 115 x 6, 105 x 12
Lying Leg Curls: 40 x 12
Standing Calves: 60 x 12, 70 x 10, 80 x 8, 90 x 6, 80 x 12
Seated Calves: 90 x 12
Cable Crunches: 70 x 12, 80 x 10, 90 x 8, 100 x 6, 90 x 12
Leg lifts: 12
Oh - and because I didn't mention it earlier...
The Double Dipsea was SO HARD! I was determined to finish it though... until, while coming down a particularly knarly hill I stepped on a rock and fell HARD. I thought I was ok until the path started going uphill again. My knee had swollen up -- I had to stop at the turn around :( only a single dipsea for me
Oh well, next year!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
it seemed like such a nice day out that Zues and I decided to go for a run. I needed to get in a 4 mile one in on the weekend and since I have a swim and bike planned tomorrow, I figured I better get'er done today.
we got geared up and headed out.
from the start I knew this wasn't going to be easy. It was HOT and it was hard to breath. The dog and I were both panting after the 5 minute warmup.
but, I kept going. I got the first running mile in and I was less the 12 minutes into my run! That was exciting! But, I was struggling. I tried slowing down. It almost seemed to make it worse. The dog was struggling too. I slowed to a walk, trying to recover. But couldn't seem to do it. Finally Zeus stopped in a patch of shade and wouldn't move.
I decided to listen to the smarter of us and head for home.
3 miles complete. It'll have to do. Proof that I shouldn't have been out... I got on the scale before getting into my post run shower. a two pound drop! Oops!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
It was an interval run and I managed to keep my first 4 minute interval at 6MPR (10min/mile) and didn't drop below 11:30min/mile for any interval after that. In total I did 4:05 miles in 51:41. Considering the first time I ever did this route (in Feb) it took me 1 hour and 8 minutes, I really proud of that.
in case your curious, the interval program I'm doing is called "Freeway to 10K" and it's supposed to get you from a 5K to a 10K in 10 weeks. You play it on your ipod and you can get it at: www.podrunner.com
This week looked like:
42 minutes @ 137 BPM to 153 BPM
5 min. warmup @ 137-142BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
3 min. cooldown @ 142-137BPM
I hope to get one more swim done before the end of the week - maybe an early Sunday swim. I also want to do two bikes and one more run. So, an early morning Bike tomorrow - and probably a BRICK Bike/Run on Saturday is probably in the works :)
I hope everyone has a GREAT 4th!