About Me

When I was 8, I was always the last one picked for dodgeball. Now at 29, I'm training for my first Ironman.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Water Aerobics is Ruining My Life

I hate water aerobics.  I really do.  Almost as much as I hate brussel sprouts.  Or Sarah Palin.

I had a brilliant plan today.  The two-a-day workouts are really getting to be a grind, and I still have a long way to go until June 24.  I miss my evenings.  I also miss staying at work until 7 since oddly enough, my most productive hours are usually between about 3 and 7pm.  I am also tired of showering and blow drying my hair twice a day.  It's just inefficient.  And I'm all about efficiency.

Last Thursday I tried to just knock out both of my workouts one after the other in the am - a 10 mile run, drive to the gym, then a 40 minute swim.  But that was hard.  I was super tired and hungry and my swim suffered because of it.

So I had a brilliant plan.  I would run at 5, enjoy my coffee time to refuel and renergize, then swim, then go to work.  I would be at work no later than 10 or 10:30 and could work until 7 or 7:30.  Perfect.    The first part of the plan went well - I had a nice 6 mile run, good conversation and a chai latte, and then I headed to the gym.

Unfortunately, I got to the pool just in time for water aerobics.  Yup.  They have a morning session too.  WTF?!?! Who are these intense 60-year-old chubby women that are doing two-a-day water aerobic sessions!!! Argghhh!  It is my new life's mission to convince people that water aerobics is not actually a workout.  It can't be.  Right?  I mean, how many calories can they possibly burn?  Not to be mean, but have you ever seen someone in that class with a seriously toned body?  Ok fine.  They're doing something to stay active.  But can they do it at a time that doesn't conflict with my swim schedule?  Or at least leave a lane open for me?

Nope.  I'll be headed back to the gym tonight.  After their evening workout.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Heart My Bike .. No really .. I'm serious.

So I'm happy to report that I'm actually beginning to love my bike.  Seriously.   I have a shirt that says that but friends tease me for wearing it since I have somewhat of an aversion to my bike.  But, I'm really starting to believe it's possible. 

I went for a fun 2 hour ride with friends on Friday, a beautiful 2 hour ride in Santa Barbara on Saturday and then an hour all by myself right after the sun came up this morning.  That was a big deal - going all by myself.  It meant that if I had a flat tire or something, it would be up to me to fix it.  I've never gone by myself before exactly for that reason.  Over 5 hours and 75 miles of riding in 4 days - So yea me : )  I also feel like I'm getting a little faster, learning better technique from the friends I ride with, and just overall gaining confidence on the bike.  When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was actually a little bummed that it was a run day and not another bike day ... but that's also probably because I had to run 20 miles : )

Back to the pool tonight for more swimming and it's almost time to head to the lake... I bought my annual pass today : )

Weekly Totals for Last Week (2/20 - 2/26):
Swim: 2:00, 4150m
Bike: 5:10, 72 miles
Run: 7:12, 42 miles
Total: 14:22, 116.6 miles

Cumulative Total for Weeks 1-3:
Swim: 5:35, 15,050m
Bike: 10:10, 147 miles
Run: 21:42, 115.5 miles
Total: 37:27, 271.9 miles

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Early Bird gets to eat Naan

10 mile run followed by a 1500m swim this morning meant I was done for the day by 7:30! Happy to be able to do something other than workout after work tonight : )

Both workouts were good.  Started out slow on the run but picked it up as we went along and had a decent overall pace.  Decided to do the shortest swim on my schedule this week (supposed to be for tomorrow) since I just swam last night - the main set was 20x50 alternating hard and easy efforts and resting for 10 seconds in between.  I definitely felt like my arms were tired from last night and my legs were tired from the run, but I pushed through and felt strong over all. 

Of course there was a guy doing butterfly next to me again and I swear I think I saw that same bandaid still floating around ...

Happy Thursday!  Indian buffet is on the menu for lunch and a real (as in not trainer) bike ride with friends is on the agenda tomorrow morning after a swim ...and maybe another run : ) Lots to look forward to!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Swim Lessons

I swam 3000m in the pool at GB3 tonight.  That's a lot.  120 laps to be exact.  My schedule called it a 'mental toughness' day.  It was right.  That's a lot of time for thinking. 

I had problems before I ever started.  I forgot to bring a hair band.  I did not think this would be a big deal.  Just stuff your hair in the swim cap, right? Wrong.  Turns out that stuffing wildly free hair into a latex swimp cap is like corraling children at an amusement park, or something equally obnoxious and impossible. I finally got it done but the swim cap was askew and I looked insane.  Oh well.  I had 3000m to go.

The first 500m mostly consisted of thinking "WTF is wrong with my goggles?!?!" They refused to seal onto my right eye.  I was convinced that (1) my goggles were broken, or (2) my face was broken.  Neither was correct.  As it turns out, goggles do not sunction to latex and my askew swim cap was already causing issues.  Many a short break were taken and many a cuss words were uttered before I solved this mystery.  And then I finally got to work. 

I swam the last 2500m pretty solid and felt strong, but there was plenty of time for random thoughts.  Here are a few:
  1. Who's bandaid is that floating below me?
  2. How far exactly is 2.4 miles? (Followed by 6 laps of long division while swimming)
  3. Do those old fat guys actually work out at the gym or do they just creep in the spa and sauna?
  4. I didn't know it was possible to have a coughing fit under water.  It is.
  5. Why is that sitting there lurking?
  6. Followed by, oh, he is waiting for a lane. 
  7. Followed by, why doesn't he just ask someone to share a lane? 
  8. Followed by.. I hope he doesn't ask me to share my line.
  9. I think I have PTSD from the lane hogger last week because my body flenches when it gets near the lane divider (I literally had bruises on my hands and feet)
  10. Hand paddles should be outlawed (the guy in the lane next to me had them)
  11. Are flippers really necessary in the pool?  We're not scuba diving here.  (that was the guy in the next lane again)
  12. I wonder if that guy in Alabama really killed his wife while scuba diving on their honeymoon... (anyone ever watch GMA?)
  13. Nah, she was probably just a noob who shouldn't have been scuba diving.
  14. That's bad karma.  I'm probably gonna drown.
  15. I wonder if everyone has ever drowned during an Ironman.  I should google that.
  16. The butterfly stroke should be outlawed (guy next to me again).
  17. How good will an Arby's roast beef sandwich taste after this swim?  (Answer: really good)
  18. Oh no, that guy just asked to be my lane buddy.  These last 20 laps could be miserable...
  19. Nope. Most courteous (and skinny) lane buddy ever!
  20. Am I done yet?
If you repeat those 20 random thoughts 5 times, that's pretty much my swim.  Is it time to swim in the lake yet?

Slacking Off?

Ok, I may have been slacking off with the blogging, but I've been pretty good with the training.

Here's what you've missed since my epic swim last week:

Thursday 2/16:
  • Run: 10 miles

Friday 2/17:
  • Swim: Awesome 1500m swim (good karma for the Wednesday debacle)
  • Bike: Awesome 60 min bike ride on the road (braved the cold!) with 4x 8 min hard intervals
Beautiful Ride in San Diego
Saturday 2/18:
  • Bike: Fun 2 hour bike ride in San Diego - got some good climbing in on the way to Cabrillo State Monument
The hill (on Hill St.) I went UP and DOWN.  Awful up, terrifying down. 

Sunday 2/19:
  • Run: 12 miles
Monday 2/20: Nothing.  Nearly struck dead with the common cold.

Tuesday 2/21: Still recovering but...
  • Bike: 1 hour on the trainer
  • Run: 6 miles and hill repeats with Team
Wednesday 2/22:
  • Run: 6 miles
  • Swim: 3000m long swim (make-up from Monday) planned for tonight...
For those who are keeping track (pretty sure that's just me) here are my totals for Weeks 1 and 2 of Ironman training:

Week 1:
  • Run: 45.5 miles, 10 hours
  • Bike: 15 miles*, 1 hour
  • Swim: 4050m (~2.5miles), 1:10
  • Total: 63 miles, 12:10
Week 2:
  • Run: 28 miles, 4:30
  • Bike: 60 miles, 4:00
  • Swim: 6850m (~4.3 miles), 2:25
  • Total: 92.3 miles, 10:55
* I'm estimating that I do about 15 miles an hour on the bike when it's on the trainer.  For those of you who know how slow I ride, you may think I'm being generous.  You're probably right.  But I'm also bad at math and 15 is a round number.

Funny to see how much more efficient with my time I was in week 2.  That's probably because I didn't run for 7 hours in week 2 like I did in week 1: )  My weekly running mileage is getting me a little depressed though.  I used to run 50-70 miles a week on average.  Yikes.  And all in all, it sounds a lot wimpier than it feels.  Oh well, trying to focus on the big picture...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is it still too cold to swim at the lake?

So before I launch into my horrifying swim story from tonight, let me catch you up on my week.  On Sunday, I woke up from my Saturday adventure, convinced I would never move again.  Luckily, I was wrong.  I took two full days completely off - no running, swimming or biking.  The schedule (who my friend, Rudy, has reminded me is a guideline, said that I was supposed to bike for 90 minutes on Sunday and then do an hour swim and an hour bike on Monday.  Tuesday's schedule called for a run speed workout.  Since I was still going downstairs sideways (and only out of necessity) on Monday night, that obviously wasn't going to happen...

So I moved my Monday workouts to Tuesday.  16 minutes into the bike (on the trainer) my quads were on fire, my shins ached and I thought my legs might fall off.  I was about to call it a day and rationalize that I needed more recovery - until I remembered I won't have that luxury in Idaho.  So I sucked it up and kept spinning.  Got through the full hour on the bike and actually felt better afterwards.  The swim was fine - other than the fact that I'm obviously slower than beginnertriathlete.com wants me to be since a 40 minute workout took me 55 : )

That brings us to today.  I ran 6 miles easy this morning in the rain.  Felt refreshing to be out again and while the legs are still healing, I'm encouraged to realize I still want to run.  Especially after I went to the pool tonight...

Today's workout was my 'long' swim day of the week - 2900m total - 6x100 warmup (focusing on a different part of the stroke for each 100), 4x500 main set at a steady pace and a 2x150 cooldown.  The distance alone made me nervous.  Tuesday's workout was 2450m and that felt really long.  Then I got to the gym and found all 4 lanes taken.  I asked the most normal looking of the 4 if she would mind if I shared her lane.  That'll teach me to judge a book by its cover.

She was an excellent swimmer.  That is the only nice thing I will say about her in this post.

The woman had no concept of pool etiquette - i.e. how to share a freaking lane.  I think I'm a pretty good lane buddy.  I received formal training in pool etiquette from Team in Training (they gave us a handout and I read it).  And since I am built like a 9-year-old boy, I am approximately 6 inches wide so I don't take up much lane space.

This woman was a little bit wider than 6 inches.  (That's me being nice, like when my grandma says someone is 'different' when she really means they're f*ing crazy and she hopes they go to hell)  She was also practicing her butterfly stroke, with hard plastic paddles, and doing those flip turn things that look up 1/4 the length of the pool.  This meant that every time she passed me (which was often considering she was significantly faster than me), I was nearly struck in the head with a forceful plastic paddle, or a kicking foot.  It also meant the entire pool was churning and choppy like the worst day at Millerton Lake.  My only chance for survial was to hug the plastic lane divider the entire time.  So much so that my hands and feet all have red marks on them.

Of course, 2900m gave me plenty of time to look for 'silver linings' - 1) this was good Ironman training for the mass start swim when you get kicked in the head and 2) focusing on not dying sure made the swim go faster.

Still not fast enough for the liking of the beginnertriathlete.com people though - the '60 minute workout' took me over an hour and ten minutes.  But I think I get some time shaved off for the constant dodging of GB3's equivalent of the Loch Ness monster.

So seriously ... is it still too cold to swim in the lake?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Extra Credit

So the training plan for the weekend was a 50K trail run Saturday followed by a bike ride and swim on Sunday.  That didn't happen. 

The plan changed at the second aid station of the 50K on Saturday, when I realized that I'd already made two wrong turns that would add an additional 3 miles to the 31 mile course.  I could have turned around right there - it was the turn-around point for the shorter 25K distance course - I still would have ended up with 20 miles or so and could have been good to go for a bike ride and swim Sunday.  But that would have been lame and my fellow weekend warriors (Rudy, Steve, and Christine) might not have let me back in the car.  So I trudged off towards the back loop of the course and promised myself that if I just toughed this out, I could lay on my couch all day on Sunday.  God must have heard that plan, laughed, and thought "Ok, then I'm going to get what I can out of you right now..."  And he did.  For 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The back half of the course was brutal.  They must have imported mud from somewhere that actually had rain this winter, because it was everywhere.  And I'm still struggling to figure out how they created terrain with only uphill and no downhill to match.  Oh, and there was one additional wrong turn and one additional mile. (That makes for a 35 mile day for the math-challenged readers) I wanted to cry.  And maybe I did a little, but I'll never tell.  What happens on the trail, stays on the trail.

It still amazes me that a long trail run like that has so many ebbs and flows to it.  There were moments that I reminded myself that I love running - like when I turned a tight corner on a switchback and found two deer staring at me no more than 25 yards ahead of me.  And there were moments when I scoffed at the idea of a runner's high and decided it must have some expiration point, and I was definitely beyond it.  Moments when jumping off that bridge at mile 29 seemed like a pretty good plan.

I didn't feel pride or jubilation at the finish line.  That came later.  I was dazed, confused, and pissed.  They didn't even hand out coasters at this event like they do at a lot of 50Ks.  No medal, no handshake.  Just a can of soda and some chicken soup if you wanted it.  I didn't.  We were in the car within minutes of my finish.  We celebrated with a quick meal at McDonald's in Lodi.  I splurged and super-sized the Chicken McNugget meal.   

Back in Fresno, I changed into my 80's garb and rushed over to the running club's annual banquet.  I danced the night away with the only people in town who would understand why I didn't turn around at that second aid station.  (Scott Ramirez, resident bad ass, even told me I was 'insane' - it doesn't get much better than that!)  A perfect ending to a perfect day, in a really twisted world. 

I made good on my promise to myself and laid on my couch all day yesterday.  Ate a greasy burger for lunch, ventured out the house only for ice cream and to see my friends' brand new baby.  I woke up today feeling worse than yesterday.  I might have to miss a few more workouts on my Ironman training schedule as I let my legs recover from Saturday's adventure, but that's all right.  I did extra credit - not just in miles but in mental toughness.  And I'm gonna need it - because 7 hours and 20 minutes is probably less than half what the clock will say when I finish this thing in June.  But I'm gonna try better not to make any wrong turns on that one..

The Before Picture...

The After Picture - Still Smiling!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Testing to see if this works to post from my phone...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

And on the fifth day ... I rested

So yesterday was my favorite kind of training day - running only : )  Just did five miles with a couple of good pick-ups since I'm quasi-tapering for a 50K (31 miles) trail run on Saturday.

My schedule today called for a 30 minute swim in the morning and a 45 minute bike ride in the afternoon.  I planned to swim at the gym this morning, and ride outside this afternoon, but when my alarm went off, my hamstrings felt oh so achy and my bed felt oh so warm, and I remembered that I will be leaving my house at 3:30 tomorrow to drive to Auburn, run 31 miles of hills/mountains and then come straight home ... and I thought ... this seems like a good day to rest : )  See - sometimes I have moments of sanity.

I'm planning on doing a bike ride and/or swim as recovery on Sunday but I will have to see how I feel.  When I asked my friend Rudy to describe the 50K course we are running tomorrow he said 'brutal'.  Sounds fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Here goes nothing...

So this blog thing seemed to keep me sane and/or find an online support community of likewise insane people when I was studying for the bar exam and training for my first marathon, so I decided to turn to it again for my first Ironman. Plus, my friend Kerry Sue created one and I'm jealous, and it might be a good way to prevent me from annoying my facebook friends with constant Ironman updates.

A little about me, I was never athletic as a kid but decided to run a marathon to prove that I could back in 2008. I had never run more than 2 miles before I signed up for that. My mom* thought I was going to die. But I did it. And I didn't die. Now I've done 17 marathons, 3 ultras (will be 4 after this weekend) and am training for my 2nd Boston marathon. My marathon PR is 3:25:30. I like running. A lot.

In 2010, after I qualified for Boston, I needed a new challenge so I decided to try a tri : ) I signed up and did the Olympic distance Pac Grove tri with Team in Training in September 2010. Before I signed up for that, I didn't know how to swim - at all - and the last bike I'd been on had a pink banana seat and tassles. My mom* thought I would die that time too. As kids have a habit of doing, I proved her wrong again. Since then, I've completed three olympic tris and a half ironman.

I still really suck at swimming and cycling and feel like I'm faking my way through the whole thing, but oh well. It's fun and I want to say I'm an Ironman before I turn 30 (in August). So I did what any sane person would do - I signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene Idaho in June 2012. I'm hoping that by June 24, 2012 I will be able to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon all in sucession without dying. And before they close the course. It would also be cool if I could spell Coeur d'Alene without looking it up on google by then.

So here goes nothing ...

This is week 1 of my official training plan. What is my official training plan? I swear it's not Ironman endorsed by any means. I found a couple of different plans on the internet (mostly beginnertriathlete.com), ignored what they said about running, added in the run plan for a 3:20 marathon from 'Run Less, Run Faster' (which I will probably ignore because I like to Run More and still try to Run Faster just to prove that book wrong), added in my Jillian Michaels workout videos which I swear have given me six pack abs in the past, and printed up a fancy schedule on an Outlook calendar. If I do everything on that schedule, I will probably die. A good friend pointed out it lacks only one thing - rest days. Ooops. I figure I'll just take days off when I feel close to dying.

So far, it's going well. My weekday riding right now is all on the trainer because I'm a wimp and it's cold outside. Plus, I can watch movies while I sit on my trainer. My swimming right now is all at the gym pool because it's not warm enough to go to the lake yet. Hopefully that will change soon. The old pervy men staring from the hot tub and my inability to remember when the senior citizens water aerobics class will deprive me from my opportunity to swim are already on my last nerve. Here's what this week looks like so far:

  • Morning: Biked 60 minutes on the trainer, all small chainring work low effort (and watched a great movie - 'Beginners' - check it out)
  • Evening: Swam 2400m (is it meters or yards? I can never remember), 1500 of that was continuous. I thought I was going to die. But I didn't.

    • Morning: Jillian Michaels 'Maximize - Front Side' workout video with 5 lb weights (You might be laughing at this. Clearly you haven't done this video. She is brutal and says stuff like 'If you feel like you're dying, you're doing it right!')
    • Evening: Ran about 7 miles at the track. Did my workout first - 1.5 miles of warmup followed by 5 x 800m @ 6:00-6:10 pace with 30 seconds rest in between each. Then coached Team in Training and got in a few cooldown miles with them.

      • Morning: Swam 1650m - 300 warmup, 3x400 each progressively faster, 150 cooldown

        That will be my only workout today since I am busy tonight. Tomorrow calls for a long tempo run and another session with Jillian Michaels. Friday will be another bike and swim day.

        My plan is to at least post my workouts each day but I make no promises. It's already seeming like this Ironman thing is going to keep me pretty busy...

        Here goes nothing..

        * Mom - these references to you are not meant to be derogatory at all. I'm glad that you care about me enough to not want me to die. You're the best mom ever. Love you.

        PS How can I make the blog put a space between my paragraphs?