Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Where Have I Been?

I've been a bad blogger and an even worse athlete.  Since completing the Mermaid Triathlon a couple of weeks ago, I have been so inconsistent with my workouts.  I told myself that I could take a week off and do absolutely no formal workouts if that's what I wanted to do, but then I had to get back to work.  After that week I could do whatever type of workouts I wanted since I'm not actively training for anything right now.  Turns out the workout I've chosen the most since the tri has been sitting on my ass!

I have been to the pool exactly one time since the triathlon.  I've gone to one spin class.  I've run a handful of times and there have been a couple of strength training sessions.  And I think I've played golf twice.  But I feel like the worlds biggest slacker.

The only noteworthy workout I had took place this past Sunday.  My friend Sara and I met for a bike ride.  The City of San Jose has a project where local artists were commissioned to turn utility boxes into works of art.  So we decided to ride around the City to check out some of them.  There is even a link on Google Maps that will help you plot a course.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Cool Dragon

Of course I like the one with a dog on it.

Cat playing a drum.

Beautiful work.
We rode somewhere between 15 and 20 miles but it took us hours because we were stopping constantly.We barely saw a fraction of all of the boxes that are out there. It was a really fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon and get in some exercise.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mermaid Triathlon Race Report

Buckle yourself in - it's a long one!

On Sunday I completed my first triathlon with an open water swim.  I don't know why, but this triathlon just made it feel a little more real than the Moraga Tri in April.  I don't know if it was because of the open water swim, or the expo afterwards.  All I know is that I now really feel like a triathlete!

I didn't have major expectations going into this event - particularly since my experience with open water swimming is so limited.  I was looking at it as just a way to get some triathlon experience and to have some fun.  But I did have a super secret time goal that I was hoping to beat.

I picked up my race packet on Thursday and was able to rack my bike on Saturday, so that made Sunday morning a little less stressful.  Dan came with me to this race - a first for him! - and we got there about an hour before my wave started.  All I had to do was locate Meredith, set up a few things in transition, put on my wetsuit, and then it was time to head down to the water.

Good location, or so I thought!
The swim was as hard as I expected.  I know I can cover the distance easily in the pool, but open water is a whole different animal.  I knew that I was going to be slow and I was OK with that.  The water was much warmer than expected, so that was a plus.  I lined up in the back of the pack and to the far right.  We had to keep the buoys on our left and the current was going to push us to the left, so I didn't want to get pushed too far and have to backtrack.  I started off slow but after just a few strokes I felt like a cork being tossed around out there.  Most of the pack was gone - there were only two other swimmers near me - but I knew I just had to push forward and get it done.

The tiny orange dot below the bird is me.  The guy in the kayak is making sure I don't drown.
My biggest worry is that the wave behind me would catch up with me - they started 10 minutes later - and I'd get swept up in the crowd.  So I did everything I needed to get myself out of the water - some breaststroke, a little side stroke, more freestyle.  And finally I was done!  I wanted to kiss the ground when I finally got up the ramp onto land.

Into transition and wanting to get out on the bike, but my transition neighbor was sitting in my spot putting in her contact lenses.  So it took me a couple of extra minutes to get out of there.  When I finally got out on the bike, I was feeling a little queasy.  Maybe I was seasick!  I started shoveling in some calories hoping to calm my stomach, but finally gave up as it was making me feel worse.  About halfway through the first loop I started to feel normal again - just in time to take a little detour.  As I approached the turnaround, there were volunteers telling us which way to go.  All I heard was, "Second loop, turn left."  In my mind, that meant to turn left for the second loop...but what he meant was if you are done with the second loop, turn left.  So I wound up back at transition and had to turn around and head back out.  Oops!  Luckily the rest of the ride was uneventful.

Back into transition, only to discover that the same transition neighbor from earlier had done such a poor job of racking her bike that it had fallen off the rack and was lying on the ground underneath where I needed to rack my bike.  I stood there for a few seconds puzzled, then decided to just lean my bike up against the rack on top of my gear.  Changed out my shoes and I was off.

Run and done!
Surprisingly my legs didn't feel too bad on the run.  I was able to stick to the run/walk intervals I had planned.  I saw Meredith just before I got to the turnaround point and we gave each other a high five as she headed towards the finish line.  The run was on a trail along the bay, and by this point the sun was shining and I had a beautiful view of the bay and the Bay Bridge.  I actually got a little teary and felt so grateful to be able to do this.  And before I knew it I was crossing the finish line!

And that was it.  I had done my second triathlon, this one with a swim in the Bay!  I beat my super secret goal time of two hours.  And I have to say, I am officially hooked!  Bring on See Jane Run in October - I can't wait!

Me and Meredith - happy triathletes!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I am a Tapering Disaster

Taper week...short workouts...lots of rest...eating healthy...FAIL!  I am officially a tapering mess this week.

On Monday, while trying to adjust my new desk chair at work I stood up and bent over the chair to try to read the various levers.  I found the one I wanted, pushed it, and the chair back sprang forward and smacked me right in the side of the head.  Ouch!

Later that same day, as I was coming down a flight of stairs I twisted my ankle on the bottom step and wrenched my knee.  Instead of spin class on Monday night, I spent the evening on the couch with an ice pack on my knee.  Thankfully all was fine the next day, but it put quite a scare in me.

This Mermaid Triathlon has turned into a bit more than I expected.  I had signed up for the Mermaid Duathlon three years ago - long before I ever had dreams of learning to swim.  Unfortunately, the day before the race I had to say good-bye to my best friend, my dog Zack.  I was such a physical and emotional wreck that I didn't race.

My sweet Zack.  This is my favorite picture of him.
Zack was a year and a half old when we got him and he lived a very full life until the age of 14 1/2.  Pretty old for a medium sized dog!  He was my first dog, and I'm so lucky that I got to share every day with him for 13 years.  But today being the anniversary of the day we had to say good-bye, and the memories of a Mermaid Duathlon that never happened for me three years ago - needless to say, I've been a bit of an emotional mess the past two days.

But I need to turn things around.  There is still time.  I did manage a short 20 minute swim last night.  I'm going to do a quick bike spin tonight - although I should run since it's National Running Day.  (Who decides these things anyway?)

Tomorrow morning I will go for a quick run in the morning because I'm going to packet pick-up tomorrow evening.  I will sleep in the spare bedroom if I have to tonight in order to get good sleep.  I will eat healthier for the next couple of days.  And when I cross that finish line on Sunday morning, it will be worth the madness and sadness of this week!