Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

RACE DAY DETAILS

I can't believe we're not allowed to wear headphones!!!!!! You're actually disqualified if they catch you with them!  I'm going to be out on that bike for over 4 hours! And running for over 2 hours with nothing but my thoughts. I'd rather take my chances getting hit by a car, but be listening to good music while it happens! 

I'm most nervous about the swim. I have to swim 1.2 miles or about 2,000 yards. That's like swimming around the track FIVE times. I just can't wrap my mind around it...in part because I had such a terrifying experience swimming a HALF mile last fall in Long Beach. But, I did put on my wetsuit last night (it took my 20min and was a workout in itself!!), and swam about 200 yards in Lake Mission Viejo. While I had that same scary experience of loosing my breath (it's awful to have to stick your face in the water when you can't breath!) I was relieved to find that my wetsuit provides so much buoyancy. The first 200 will be the worst...just like the first mile of any run is the most difficult because you're still getting warmed up. Except, you could drown.

I'm also really worried about the swim cut off time of 70 minutes. I'm expecting it to take me about that long! Now, the cutoff time starts from the last wave, and I won't be in the last wave...but, they won't be that far behind me! I don't get it because the other times are WAY too generous!!! They actually allow 6 hours on the bike and there's NO WAY it will take me longer than 4 1/2 hours. Then, they allow a whopping 8.5 hours (!!!) for the run - and it will not take me more than 2 1/2 hours! I could run almost TWO full marathons in that amount of time!!! I don't get it. I wish I could trade one of my running hours for more swim time! I mean, what if I don't make the 70 minute cutoff swim time and I'm out before I start? It is possible, and a horrible thought. I will be elated to finish the swim and get that wetsuit off - you have no idea!

I signed up for this to make myself train. But, it was only after I signed up that I did the math and realized it will take me somewhere between 7-8 hours. There are 500 participants total. First thing I thought of when I read that? Wow, I might actually be last. But, that's okay. My goal is just to finish!
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RACE DAY DETAILS
RACE DAY ITINERARY
When: Saturday, April 30th, 6:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Oak Shores Recreation Area, 5520 Knoxville Rd, Napa, CA 6:30-7:45 am Transition Set-Up and Check-In 7:50 am Pre-race announcements 8:00 am Race starts approximately at this time There will be no awards ceremony on race day. Full results will be posted at www.envirosports.com within 48 hours of the event and award plaques will be mailed six to eight weeks later.


TRANSITION DETAILS
Following the swim, there is a short 200-yard run back to the transition area. Most athletes opt to run this barefoot. However, if you prefer to have shoes for this short run, some athletes choose to leave a pair of flip flops or their run shoes on the beach near the swim finish.


Rack your bike and lay out your transition gear in the transition area. Racks are NOT pre-assigned, but are first come first serve. Please be respectful of your fellow participants who've arrived and set up their spaces ahead of you. *If it comes to our attention that you have been disrespectful of your fellow participants, you may be disqualified from the race. The transition area is for athletes ONLY. No spectators will be allowed in the transition area! Be sure to make a mental note of where you rack your bike. Racks will be labeled to help you. A bike mechanic will be available for any last-minute emergencies. This does not mean you should count on him inflating your tires. You should arrive with a ready-to-race bike. Anticipated RACE START is 8:00 a.m. Do not arrive at 7:45 a.m. and expect to set up your transition area in time to compete!


SWIM
The 1.2-mile SWIM starts in self-seeded, ability-based waves of 100 swimmers each. This means that athletes choose which wave to start in. Fastest athletes (those shooting for a top-five finish in their age group) are asked to go in the first wave. The final wave is reserved for new triathletes and tentative swimmers. Everyone else figures out where they fit in between.


Before the start of each wave, the Race Announcer will ask the next 100 swimmers to enter the water. As you enter the water, you will walk across a timing mat and be directed to a "starting line." Your timing chip will record which wave you are about to start in; your personal race clock will begin ticking at the start of that wave. Starting the swim this way minimizes passing during the swim and the bike, making for a safer, saner event. View SWIM MAP.


Each group of athletes will enter the water before the start of their wave. The swim course follows a counter-clockwise, triangular course, marked by orange buoys. Swimmers must keep the buoys to their left at all times.


After the swim, there is a 200-yard run to the bike transition area. Remember: The transition area is for athletes ONLY. No spectators will be allowed in the transition area.


BIKE 
The bike course has been changed to improve the safety of the participants. With the "out & back" feature, participants now have a chance to observe the competition and cheer fellow riders. The course is as challenging as it is scenic, with several climbing portions. The aid station located at mile 14.6 will be stocked with sport water bottles only. Aid stations located at mile 35.5 & 41.4 will be stocked with sport water bottles, Gatorade in sports bottles, CLIF Bars & bananas. View BIKE MAP.


IMPORTANT BIKE COURSE RULES & SAFETY INFO
Your safety and the future of this event depend upon ALL athletes adhering to the following rules while out on the bike course:


RUN
The run route will follow a double out-and-back course along Knoxville Road. There will be aid stations approximately every 1.5 miles. The Smittle Creek Aid Station which you will pass 4 times (at miles 1.5, 4.75, 8.75 & 12.25) will be stocked with water and Gatorade only. The rest of the aid stations (located at the start/finish and the turnaround which you will pass at miles 3.25, 7.25 & 10.5) will be stocked with water, Gatorade, Clif Bars, bananas and other snacks.


For your safety runners MUST stay in the lake-side lane of the road (and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible) at all times to allow for oncoming cyclists and escorted automobiles. Absolutely NO HEADPHONES! Athletes wearing personal music devices will be disqualified.  View RUN MAP.


COURSE CUTOFF TIMES
The following cutoff times are cumulative from the start of the last swim wave.


Swim: 70 minutes Bike: 6 hours Run: 8.5 hours


Absolutely NO HEADPHONES! Athletes wearing personal listening devices will be disqualified. Bike helmets are MANDATORY! Your bike helmet must be fastened before you mount your bike and may not be removed until you return to transition area and have dismounted your bike. All participants must obey all normal traffic laws during the bike portion of this event. This means riding as far to the right as practicable, no cutting tangents and especially no crossing the centerline. We share the roads. They are NOT closed to automobile traffic. Cyclists must ride single file at all times. Participants may pass slower riders when conditions allow and the pass can be made quickly and safely. After passing a slower rider, cyclists must resume riding as far to the right as possible. No riding two abreast. NO DRAFTING or riding in packs. California Highway Patrol officers will be stationed at strategic locations along the route; they will be operating to give our cyclists the right-of-way, but if you are instructed to stop, you must heed the officers. All participants must obey all directives from race officials, volunteers, CHP and Napa County Sheriffs. Any violation of the above rules will result in penalties (TBD based on violation) against the offender.


POST RACE DETAILS
Be sure to pick up your well-earned technical shirt after the race. After crossing the finish line, we'll have plenty of post-race snacks set up in the picnic area to top off your tank. Your run bib number is also your post-race meal ticket for lunch located at the race venue. Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to provide lunch for spectators. You will need your run bib number to retrieve your your bike and transition gear. 







Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When life gives you lemons....

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
But, unless life also gives you sugar and water, 
your lemonade is gonna suck.

RUNNING, or more generally speaking, EXERCISE is the sugar and the water that you need, no matter what comes your way. I'm not sure what I would do right now without my passion and ability to exercise. It is a crutch when times are hard, and a life enhancer when things are good. I told all of the middle school track kids last week that running is a panacea, and I was speaking the truth. Never mind that not one of them knew the definition of the word panacea.

I had a PR (personal record) in the Costa Mesa Community run on Saturday. Did I want to get up at 6am on a Saturday and go? No. Did I want to run? No. But, I had my fastest time in a 5K since I was on the x-team in high school, and placed 4th in my division. Of that I'm proud. And afterwards, was I glad that I went? Yes. Always. That's the thing about running: you may not want to do it, and you may not enjoy doing it, but you never regret it afterwards. I tell the middle school kids that their brains are now flooded with feel-good chemicals after we run. And, it's the truth! Every problem, no matter the size, is a little bit smaller after a run. They don't go away, but they're measurably smaller.


3.1 miles in 25:03 


All week, I had been talking this 5K up with my administrators, saying I would beat both of them. Okay, more accurately, I was going around telling everyone I was going to beat both of them.


But, I was actually worried I would not be able to keep up with our AP, who is currently training for an Olympic distance triathlon. I asked him what pace he would be running, and he said 8:30 min./miles. I was thinking I would be around 9 min./mile but knew if I pushed myself, I could hang on to 8:30. But, I ended up with an 8:05 min./mile average pace!
My competition!
Here's how it all went down. We started together, and finished our 1st mile in 8 minutes. Fast for both of us. I thought to myself I need to slow down! But, we would get stuck behind some slower runners; runners going more my pace and he would go around them. So, I went around them. At mile two I looked down at my garmin, and it had taken us 7:45. Whoops! At 2 1/2 miles there was a short, steep hill. Called puke hill, and for good reason. We powered up it and at the top, I was done. I actually thought I might throw up (I haven't felt that way on a run since HS) and didn't want to hold him back. So, I courteously gave my permission "Go ahead, Todd." No one needs permission, but it's a polite way to accept defeat. As if they have your blessing. He continued on, and I walked for about 5 seconds. Then, I thought of all my shit-talking. For the past week. I wasn't ready to let this one go. I continued on, hanging back and noticing he had slowed a little, as I would have done had I not been running with him. Clearly, we were pushing each other.



The race finished on the track. Not one complete lap, but 3/4 of a lap. Right as we got to the track, I kicked it in and he gave me his blessing. I sprinted 100 yards, but it was too soon. With only 200 yards left, I thought what if I don't finish? But then I told myself I was almost done, and gave it everything I had. And by doing so, sort of earned bragging rights for at least the rest of the school year. If only in my own mind.

Last week, I thought the timing of my 1/2 Ironman could not be worse. But, as it turns out, it could not be better. Getting out there and pushing myself for 7-8 hours and earning my medal is exactly what I need right now. So much so, that I have already set me next goal: the Missoula Marathon which is only 73 days away. I've never signed up for a marathon that close to the start date because you need a good 3-4 months to train. But, my 1/2 ironman has given me a good foundation. All I need to do is bump my mileage up to 15 the week after this, and I'm on my way. And right now, that's exactly what I need: another goal to set my sights on (a new PR!) and something else to force me to train consistently. My panacea.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spend time with family, or workout? Both!

So, in march I biked 118 miles. But in the last week, I biked 112! In part because I won't be bringing my bike with me for my week in Colorado and feel like I need to get in as many rides as possible. And in part because I'm a little freaked out that my race is only 21 days away! Life can get in the way of training. When I found out I was going to be spending Saturday with my Mom & brother on Saturday my first thought was "Oh no! What about my ride?" Normally, I would be happy to spend a day tooling around thrift stores, shopping, having lunch and catching up. 
But with the race fast approaching I just don't feel like I can afford to skip the big ones. I felt conflicted and almost explained that I couldn't when I caught myself thinking what would I miss more: not spending the time with them, or being a workout short? I decided I would see them, before it was even a decision. But the thought alone speaks volumes to how much this training has woven it's way into my daily life. Luckily, it all worked out because Friday was a minimum day. I was able to hit the Santa Ana River Trail by 3pm. I rode 45 miles; from Newport Beach to Yorba Linda and back in 3 and 1/2 hours. 

It was absolutely gorgeous out, with beautiful puffy white clouds. The kind I'm certain would catch me if I fell out of an airplane. And it only sprinkled on me a few times - a far cry from the 4 hours of hell I endured on the same ride back in December. During the start of my ride I was enjoying it so much that I had the thought that everyone should bike! I was listening to Hitch 22 and it was finally getting interesting. I was thinking about my trip, life, and enjoying the industrial sights as well as the more natural ones of the river trail.



But when I turned around, I had a fierce headwind to contend with. A wind so strong that I had to pull over and raise the volume on my iPod. And still couldn't hear. I was pedaling just as hard as I was on the way out, yet going half the speed. By mile 35 I was wondering why anyone would own a bike. I was ready to call and leave messages with all of the people I had mentally called on the way out, telling them that I had it I had it backwards; a bike wasn't the greatest invention after all. 'Save your money and buy a scooter' I would say. 


But, as always I made it through. And, as always, it was worth it. That's the thing - no matter how tough a workout is, you never regret it afterwards. When today rolled around I was able to enjoy my time with Mom & Glen more than ever, knowing that it was out of the way. And I will never put quality time on my bike or in the pool or running before family, lest I be left sitting on this bench alone.


Now, my focus for the next week will be swimming. I plan to swim at least 5 of my 8 days in Colorado, and run 5 times as well. When I get back, I'll have another big week with swimming and on the bike; at least 100 miles and then...it's time to taper! Which some training plans, like this one, say can begin as early as NOW!

Friday, April 8, 2011

March Totals

Here are my totals for the month of March



Total distance: 181 miles
Total time: 23:44:49 min.


SWIM: 4,700 yards in 3:45:00
BIKE: 121 miles in 9:35:47 (4:46 min/miles)
RUN: 60 miles in 9:24:02 min. (9:24 min/miles)

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Let's compare that to my February totals:

Total distance: 174 miles
Total time: 24:15:54 min.

SWIM: 8,900 yards in 5:25:00 min.
BIKE: 118 miles in 8:45:41 min. (4:27 min/miles)
RUN: 56 miles in 8:35:13 min. (9:12 min/miles)
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...and, to my January totals:

Total distance: 159.57 miles
Total time: 27:02:04 min.

SWIM: 9,800 yards in 7:16:00
BIKE: 113.5 miles in 11:15:44 (5:57 min/miles)
RUN: 46 miles in 7:00:20 min. (9:08 min/miles)
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For the next 2 weeks I am going to focus on my swimming. I'm a little worried that my swim distance was substantially lower this month...but, happy that my total mileage still increased. So did my speed. I went 7 miles farther this month, but it took me 30 minutes less!! And, when compared to January the improvement in speed is really noticeable: I went 21 miles more this month but it took me 3 hours and 15 minutes less!!!