Thursday, September 27, 2012


I had my first private swimming lesson last night.  I had taken a group class in the spring, but I just didn’t feel like I got enough out of it.  Mainly, I don’t know how to turn my head to breathe while doing freestyle.  I either lift my head completely up – causing me to come almost to a complete stop – or I would turn my head but wind up with a mouthful of water. 

This is where I hope the magic will happen!

I got to the pool for my lesson and the instructors were finishing up with the preschoolers.  That was a bit humbling, but hey, I’ve got to learn from someone.  And if they can keep the attention of four year olds and prevent them from drowning, then they should be able to teach me!

Samantha asked me a little about my swimming background and what I was looking for.  Then she had me swim a few strokes.  She told me a have pretty good from, long and straight.  At least we aren’t starting from zero!

And then it was time to teach me how to breathe.  She started to say something about how when she teaches the kids to swim, and then stopped like she didn’t want to insult me.  I told her to go ahead and teach me like I’m four years old if that’s what’s going to make it easy for me to learn!

And that’s where I learned “bubble…bubble…breathe.”  I want to be able to breathe on either side, so Samantha had me hang on the wall and do three strokes with my arms.  On the first two strokes I’m blowing bubbles out.  On the third stroke I turn my head and breathe.  Sounds simple enough, right? 

Wrong!  For some reason, I would wind up almost flipping completely over onto my back when I would try to breathe.  It turns out my problem is not just with my head, but also with my arms.  So we made a few tweaks, and what do you know…I’m actually getting air!

We then moved this exercise from the wall to the kickboard.  And eventually I ditched the kickboard and did my version of swimming.  There is still much work to be done, but for a few brief moments I’d take a few strokes, turn my head, and get air instead of water…all while continuing to move forward.  In those few moments, I felt like I was really swimming!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bruuuuce! Oh, and a little race report, too

Let’s get to the most important business first.  On Friday, I managed to get two lower level tickets to the Bruce concert in Oakland in November.  I haven’t been to a Bruce show in at least five years (because I can’t stay up that late anymore!), but this one is on a Friday night so there was no way I wasn’t at least going to try to get tickets.  Lower level, left side of stage.  I’m excited!

And now for my first race report of this blog – the See Jane Run Duathlon on Saturday.  I laid out all of my gear on Friday night and got a good night’s sleep.  The alarm went off at 4:00 am, and once again the thoughts of “what am I doing?” entered my head.  But I paid for it, I trained for it, I’m doing it! 

I got there just after 6:00 am – or dark o’clock – and couldn’t even see where transition was.  My friends Meredith and Molly were there.  They were doing the triathlon.  In fact, Meredith was doing her first ever triathlon!  We managed to get a great spot in transition and got everything set up, made the required 14 trips to the bathroom, and then it was time to wait…and wait we did. 

I wasn't kidding - it really was dark out!
At 5 minutes before the first wave was set to go off, there was an announcement.  Apparently there was some road work along part of the bike route the night before, and the construction crew eliminated the entire bike lane.  So the race directors were trying to come up with an alternative.  And so we waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally they decided that the best and safest thing to do was to just eliminate that part of the course, shortening the bike portion of the race from 12 to 10 miles.  No big deal, but it was an hour and ten minute delay from the scheduled start time.  I have to admit, while standing around all that time I started to lose interest.  My legs were getting annoyed with standing, I was thirsty, and my breakfast was long gone by that point!

Molly showing off her giant tub of Aquaphor.  Prevents chafing!

Finally it came time to get this show on the road.  The duathlete wave was last, so I got to watch a number of the swim waves head out, including the wave that Meredith and Molly were in.  Then it was time to head to my start line.

There were a lot more duathletes than I expected, but I was happy to see that.  When you’re heading out in the last wave, it’s nice to have some company!  They counted down from 10, and off we went…straight uphill!  Um…I wasn’t quite ready for that, but I made it to the top where it leveled out.  One mile goes by pretty quickly, so before I knew it I was heading into transition. 

And uneventful transition – change my shoes, toss my visor, grab my bike helmet, and off I went.  And the bike start…also uphill.  But I knew this ahead of time so I was in a good gear and made it to the top where again it flattened out, then I took off.  Now on the flats, I was able to drink regularly and eat shot blocks every few minutes.  I probably ate more than I needed to, but since we had that hour delay I figured it was better to eat too much versus too little so I wouldn't bonk on the run.  I started passing people regularly and felt really good about my pace.  There was one steep hill towards the end, but it was short.  My biggest issue on this hill was getting past the people who either decided to walk it or were swerving trying to keep their bikes moving forward.  Just a few short minutes after this uphill, I was heading back downhill and into transition.  Bike over already?  I was a little disappointed – the bike portion is fun! 

T2 – rack the bike, take off the helmet, change shoes, grab my water bottle and GO!  At this point I was glad I had done the duathlon because I knew to expect the hill at the start of the run course.  I decided to walk up the hill to get my legs back under me after the bike, and I wasn’t alone in this strategy.  This run was really hard for me.  I expected it to be warm, but with the delayed start it was really HOT by this point of the day.  I did a lot of walking – more than I planned to or wanted to – but every time I started to run, my HR would shoot up and I had to slow down.  This was definitely not the run I wanted for this race, but I stayed positive and tried to enjoy myself.  And the miles actually flew by.  Before I knew it I was down the hill and heading across the grass to the finish.  Meredith and Molly were there to cheer me in, and that gave me a little boost.

Sprinting to the finish

Overall I had a great day.  I smashed the goal I had set for myself.  Even if the bike course hadn’t been shortened, I would have still beaten my goal time.  So it was a great day!

Run 1 - 11:42 (a fast pace for me)
T1 – 1:56
Bike – 36:36 (average 15 mph – fast for me!)
T2 – 1:15
Run2 – 44:35 (hot and slow!)

Total: 1:36:06

Even better, this location is the site of the first triathlon with an open water swim that I’m planning on for next year, so it was good to get a preview of the lake and the entire area.  The swim looks totally manageable, even now with my limited ability.

Next up…private swim lessons starting on Wednesday, and a couple of 5Ks to finish out the year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Gift of Taper

Yesterday was my birthday and with my race coming up this Saturday, taper is one of the greatest gifts I could have received!  I have been so consistent with following my training plan – more so than for any previous race I’ve done – and by Sunday afternoon this weekend I felt like I had hit.the.wall.
It probably didn’t help that I threw in a round of golf – walking in 90 degree heat – this weekend on top of the training.  But it was my birthday weekend.  You bet I was going to play golf.  (Note to self:  next time it’s 90 degrees and you have a big training weekend, get a cart!)
But I muddled through it all.  I even drove up to San Francisco on Sunday to pick up my race packet since it was the most convenient pickup location for me.

So now, I am officially into taper week.  Today is a rest day, and all I had on the schedule last night was a 20 minute run – which I did, even though I came home from work and found this sitting on my doorstep.

My friends picked the perfect gift!
I'll admit, I did have one when I got back from my run - how could I not after my friends went through so much trouble to deliver this gift to me?

So now, only two more workouts stand between me and my duathlon on Saturday.  I'm getting excited and nervous all at the same time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Because I'm easily influenced...

I signed up for another 5K today, the Mermaid 5K in November.  I've done this event for the past three or four years.  In fact in 2010, I did the 10K as a training run for my first half marathon.  It's a totally flat course so it's fast - even though I'm not.  I've been looking for a 5K to do in either October or November and two of my friends are doing this one.  It's always more fun to have someone to hang out with at the starting line.  But my friend Meredith used the argument of how cute the shirts are going to be to push me to register.  Yes, I'm easily influenced by fun race swag!

Enjoying a rest day today.  My legs are very thankful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Holy legs, Batman!

I've been going strong with my duathlon training this week, and today my legs are feeling it.  I had a bike/run brick on Friday, a bike workout yesterday, and a run/bike/run brick today.

It's been quite some time since I felt the need for an ice bath, but today it was absolutely necessary.  Luckily it's pretty warm out, so I didn't feel the need to curse as I dumped two bags of ice into the tub with me.  It was actually refreshing and thankfully the ice melted pretty quickly due to the heat.

I'm hoping for cooler weather on race day but the extended Accuweather forecast doesn't look promising - sunny and a high of 88.  At least I don't have to worry about rain!

Another week of training in the books.  Now I get to relax on the sofa with my compression socks (and an adult beverage) while I watch some football.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Here we go!

My first foray into blogland…where to begin?  I guess I just figured this would be a good place to keep track of my thoughts, my crazy ideas, and my online journal of sorts.

So…a little about me.  I’ve been playing golf for about a dozen years or so.  Compared to the pros, I’m a hack.  Compared to a lot of weekend golfers, I like to think I’m not half bad.  I don’t hit the ball long, but I’m consistent.  I shot a 101 at Metropolitan yesterday and I was pretty happy with that score since I haven’t played in a few weeks.  31 putts – pretty good!

I started running about 5 years ago.  I started by following the Couch to 5k program, and have since completed numerous 5ks and 10k, plus three half marathons.  The problem is, my hip gets a bit cranky when I up the mileage to longer distances.  Because of my cranky hip, I’ve taken to the run/walk method of running.  That seems to help, too.

About three years ago I bought a bike and ventured into the world of duathlon.  I’m participating in the See Jane Run Duathlon in a few weeks, so these days I’m focusing most of my training efforts on getting ready for that.  I’ve had an on and off relationship with my bike for the past three years, but I joined a gym in January and have gotten hooked on spinning classes.  All of that spinning has really helped my cycling, so my relationship with my bike is definitely in the “on” stage these days.

Since I’ve already got a pretty good handle on the biking and running, why not throw in a little swimming, too, and go for a triathlon?  The idea of a triathlon interests me because I get really bored if I have to do the same workout every day.  Triathlon kind of appeals to my exercise ADD.  The only problem is, I am a horrible swimmer.  I mean, if you push me into the pool I’m not going to drown.  But I can barely do one lap of freestyle without feeling totally gassed.  But I’m working on it.  My goal is to do my first triathlon next spring/summer so I’ve got some time.

So here is where I’m going to rant (hopefully not too often) and rave (hopefully regularly) about my training and progress.  If anyone is reading, I hope you enjoy my ramblings!