Monday, January 20, 2014

Doing a Rain Dance

Last year was the driest calendar year in California since they started keeping records over 150 years ago.  And we have had no real measurable rain so far this year, with none in the forecast for at least the rest of the month.  We've also had below normal rainfall for at least the past two winters.

For those of you not familiar with our quirky California weather, winter is supposed to be our rainy season.  It typically rains regularly from November through March, and then it will not rain at all during the summer.  I thought this was odd when I first moved here, but now I think it's awesome because you can plan anything in the summer - an outdoor party, a wedding, a hike - and not have to worry about your plans getting rained out.

On Friday the governor declared a state of emergency due to the drought.  Everyone is being asked to cut their water use by 20%.  We're starting to collect gray water at my home to reuse for watering plants and flushing toilets. We turned off our lawn sprinklers back in October, and we won't be turning them back on this year.  My car is just going to be dirty more often because going to the car wash seems a little frivolous when farmers can't water their crops.

But this also is making me rethink my race plans for this year.  Many of the local reservoirs where triathlons are held are incredibly low or even empty.  I'm not sure that the Catfish open water swim event I wanted to do is even going to happen at this point.  And I wonder about the lake where the See Jane Run triathlon is held every year.

The Almaden Reservoir in San Jose just last week.
There are plenty of triathlons that are held in the ocean in my area, but I'm just not up for that.  I don't think I'm strong enough of a swimmer and I honestly can't get past my fear of sharks.  (Silly, I know, but a very real fear of mine.)  I've managed to convince myself that I won't get eaten in the bay but the ocean just seems much scarier to me.

I'm guessing many local events may be turned into duathlons but since running isn't my strong point and I really enjoy the swim leg of a tri, I'm not that interested.  I just wish there were more triathlons that were held in swimming pools!

So if you've got it in you, please send all of your rain vibes, prayers, juju, whatever you can spare towards California.  Now excuse me while I get back to doing my rain dance.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Water Reignites Fire

I've been feeling pretty blah about triathlon season for the past few weeks.  Maybe it's because I'm not really training for anything specific right now.  I felt like I lost the drive.  I haven't been able to get motivated to try masters swimming. After all, I completed four tri's last year - what did I have to prove to myself?

But something happened when I was swimming last night.  I was plugging along doing a ladder set.  There was so much chaos all around me - masters practice going on, kids swim team, private lessons.  Add to this the fact that it was 70 degrees yesterday, and the pool and pool deck were packed!

But I just felt so focused and determined.  And my motivation for training has suddenly returned.

Monday, January 13, 2014

In the Words of LL Cool J...

"Don't call it a comeback.  I been here for years."  OK, so maybe I'm being a little over-dramatic, but I did the Foster City 5K yesterday and it felt a little like a comeback.

"Momma Said Knock You Out"
I've been battling my hip injury since August and had to walk the entire run portion of the See Jane Run Tri in October and the entire Mermaid 5K in November.  In fact, I was getting so frustrated with the situation that when I got home from the Mermaid 5K and my husband asked me how it went, I burst into tears.

But there were no tears yesterday!  I've been having ART (Active Release Technique) treatments since November, and while I'm still not 100%, I'm feeling good enough to do some running intervals, so I was excited to see how this 5K would pan out.

When my friend Meredith posted on Facebook saying she had a discount code to this race, how could I say no?  It was literally 10 minutes from my house, and with an 8:30 start time I didn't even need an alarm clock.  All races should be this convenient.

I arrived around 7:45 and found Meredith.  We sat in her car to keep warm until just after 8:00, then headed over to the venue - right near the community center, which was open, which meant real bathrooms and no porta-potties.  (The little things that make a runner/triathlete happy!)  I had already picked up my packet on Saturday, so I took a short warm up walk/run and we lined up.

They said that 500 people had signed up for this event but it didn't seem like that many to me.  There was also a 10 miler heading out, so they asked the 10 milers to line up in the front and those of us doing the 5K moved to the back.  They gave a 10 second countdown and we were off!

I planned to do 3 minute run/1 minute walk intervals.  It was perfect running weather - not hot, but I didn't need gloves or a jacket.  It was an out and back course that was mostly flat with the exception of a portion where we had to go up and over a freeway overpass.  I wasn't fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I did pass all of the walkers who had started ahead of me.  Mental victory!  And I was running, which made me so incredibly happy.

My only complaint about the entire event - and it's a very minor complaint - was what I'd like to call the "Finish Line Fake Out."  As I turned the final corner and headed about two blocks towards the finish line, I thought this course was going to be very short.  I could see the finish line and hadn't even gone close to three miles yet.  And as I watched the people ahead of me, I realized that they were running past the finish line arch.  What???  Yes, we had to run PAST the finish line and continue for a bit before turning around to head back to the finish in order to make the course a full 5K.  I'm glad I still had a little gas in the tank!

Overall it was a fun morning.  The race was well organized.  The shirts were nice.  They even gave out beer at the finish!  Although since it was just after 9 am and I hadn't even had breakfast at this point, I decided to pass on the beer.  But the best part was that I RAN this race!  I was slow, but I was running, and it just felt so normal.  So maybe I am on the verge of a comeback after all...

Happy runners after the race!

Friday, January 3, 2014

How I'll Budget My 2014 Races

2013 was the year of the triathlon for me.  I was so focused on learning to swim, becoming a better cyclist, and towards the end of the year healing from injury.  I feel like I didn't do very many races last year.

I'd like to do some kind of event every month in 2014.  However, this could become quite expensive.  With entry fees running anywhere from $35 for a 5K up to nearly $100 for a sprint triathlon, I could wind up in the poor house signing up for events.

So I've had to come up with a strategy to pay for his little race habit of mine.  Since many of the events I do are put on by the same event organizers - like the Mermaid Series or Brazen Racing - 2014 is going to be the year I finally start volunteering at events.

I've been telling myself I'm going to volunteer for a few year, but it just hasn't happened yet and I'm not really sure why.  But I do think it's important to give back to the sport.  Without the volunteers, these races absolutely could not happen.  They man the tables at packet pick-up, they set up the water stations, they work the gear check areas, and so much more.

So I'm revising my goal to participate in at least one event every month - and that means either racing or volunteering.  And with that, I think my plans for 2014 are finally starting to come together.