Monday, December 14, 2015

Intentions

I just renewed both my USAT and my USMS memberships for next year - so I must have intentions of doing something. Now if I could only figure out what that "something" is.

We've got some major plans for early to mid-year next year that I can't disclose yet. But it's making it difficult to plan since I don't know the exact time frame. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep on moving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mermaid 5K

I did the Mermaid San Francisco 5k a few weeks ago. I've done this race nearly every year for probably 7 or 8 years now. One year I even did the 10k. It's become somewhat of a tradition among my friends. Some years we get a few more people than others, but there are a few of us who are "regulars."

The race started at 7:15 am the morning after Halloween. Let me just say that driving through San Francisco at 6:00 am the morning after Halloween was quite comical. I saw a number of people still in costume...some looked like they were still partying and others looked like they were doing the walk of shame.

I wasn't even going to do a race report as I really don't have anything to report. There's not much to say about a 5k - especially since I now walk instead of run. It's not like I'm going for a PR or anything. But after seeing the race photos, I had to buy this one - not because I think I look like anything special. What first caught my eye was how cool the bridge looked in the background with the fog burning off. Then I noticed the woman walking behind me and I knew I had to buy this photo.


A true representation of San Francisco.

In other news, I made it back to the pool for the first time in almost a month this morning. I have been really slacking on workouts since the start of October. This coincides with the start of the bathroom remodel project and hockey season. What seemed like a simple project that would take just a few weekends is now going on it's seventh weekend. It absolutely has to get done this weekend since we're hosing Thanksgiving next week.

I can't contribute my lack of workouts entirely to the bathroom project. We've also gone to six Sharks games this season already and it's only mid-November. I feel like I lose two days of workouts due to each hockey game - game day and the day after since I'm out way past my normal bedtime on those nights. And I think I was also wallowing in grief due to the loss of my friend, Vanessa.

But I'm feeling like I turned a corner and I'm ready to get back into a routine. I'm thinking of signing up for a couple of 5ks just to keep myself moving through the winter.

Most people find this time of year the crazy/busy season. But my husband & I always go way low-key for Christmas. Thanksgiving is the bigger holiday for us, so after next week I'll feel like I've got more time for myself.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Until We Meet Again, My Friend

I said good-bye to a dear friend last night. I don't ever remember when we met. It was like she was just suddenly part of my life...until now she isn't.

Cancer may have taken you too soon, but our memories will live forever in my heart. Countless Sharks games. Giants games. Happy hours with "the girls." A couple of Bruce Springsteen concerts. I'll never forget you driving us out of AT&T park on the wrong side of the road when we left the concert so we could pass the line of traffic. You practically lived at that ballpark every summer, the huge Giants fan that you were.

I can still hear your laugh...as loud as it was, it was genuine and inviting. You had so many friends. Everyone loved you. It was easy to.  You lived your life out loud. I will always admire you for that.


Vanessa, I miss you already.

After Glow

"I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, 
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, 
To dry before the sun 
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done."



Monday, October 19, 2015

Swim Clinic

Let me start off by saying how much I love my gym. I've belonged to a number of gyms over the years, and I'd wind up cancelling my membership after a few months because I wasn't going for various reasons. Sometimes it was lack of motivation. Sometimes it was injury. With one gym it was due to very limited parking and having to get there an hour ahead of time to sign up for spin class. No thank you!

I joined my current gym in January of 2012. Not as one of the new year resolutioners, but because I needed a gym with a pool - and swimming instructors -  so I could learn to swim so I could eventually complete a triathlon. (Mission accomplished a few times over, by the way.)  This place fit the bill and more. They had only been open for a year so everything was so fresh and shiny and new and clean. The pools weren't new - yes, I said pools plural - as the gym is on a college campus. But they were updated when they decided to build the gym that is open to the public.  There is an olympic sized pool - 20 lanes short course during the week and 8 lanes long course on weekends. So awesome! And there is also a smaller 6 lane 4 foot instructional pool.

The olympic pool on a long course day.
Every semester they hold a few swimming clinics and this weekend was a freestyle clinic. It was about an hour of land instruction and videos, and then another hour in the pool doing drills. There were about 20 of us there so they split us into two groups so we could get more attention. It was really beneficial. I learned that I have a good kick, but I don't extend my arm enough as it enters the water. So basically, I've been giving away free speed. It was pretty amazing how much faster I felt like I was gliding through the water once I started doing it the right way.

We also did a lot of drills, so now I've got more things to practice when I swim instead of the same back and forth, back and forth. This clinic has really gotten me excited about swimming again. I can't wait to get back in the pool.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm Still Here

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I swear. Just been busy - and tired.

This summer really took a toll on me. It was the hottest summer I can remember since I moved to California, and most homes in this area don't have air conditioning. We just don't need it. Typically once a month it would get really hot (90s) and stay that way for three days, then the fog would roll in and cool things off. This year it seemed to get into the 90s nearly every week.  I would come home from work and the thermostat in my house would read 88 degrees.

This would be the temperature after work.

And this is what I'd come home to.

Sleeping was nearly impossible and I missed so many workouts because of it. Honestly, it was too hot to workout when I got home.  Believe me I tried. I decided to suck it up and go for a bike ride one day and lasted seven minutes. SEVEN! I felt like I was in hell.  And because I was barely sleeping I couldn't get up in the morning to workout when it was cooler.

So...I took my first ever voluntary DNS (did not start) at the See Jane Run triathlon in September. I knew I was under prepared, but I could have finished at least. But I didn't want to go out and put myself through a sufferfest and possibly get injured.  Triathlon is supposed to be fun, after all, not miserable.

So, my triathlon season is officially over. At first I was going to label it a complete bust, but looking back it really wasn't. I did one triathlon, one splah & dash, and a 1.2 mile open water swim. I also did a couple of 5k's and one 10k, so I guess I'm still moving. I also have a 5k scheduled for November 1 with some friends - and at least one of them is a walker like me.  I think in the past everything was so new and exciting, so maybe that made it more memorable for me. I also figured out that I prefer to do more "training" in the fall/winter/spring. In the summer I want to workout just for the sake of working out.  I like to play a lot of golf in the summer and tend to do a lot more socializing, and it makes it harder to follow a training schedule. Knowing this now, I'll just have to plan my races based on this - in other words, no September races!

I'm looking forward to more strength training between now and the end of the year - once we get past our bathroom remodel project - and then it's time to start planning next year. I'm sure I'll toss in another 5k before the end of the year, too.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Weekend

It was a crazy busy weekend for me. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish that felt a mile long. I managed to get everything done on the list, plus a few extras.  Just a couple of things...

We picked up our new vanity. We're going to do some updating to our bathroom - new floors, new vanity, and we're going to peel off the ugly striped wallpaper and paint the walls.


Emma & I both got our nails done this weekend. She did not enjoy it as much as I did. Maybe we should ask them to paint her toes purple next time.

Sweaty selfie.
I made it to spin for the second time in less than a week. It's been a long time since that has happened.

See the second one hiding behind the fence?
We went to my parents for a birthday party for my niece and saw these guys looking for something to eat. My mom said that they are around every night because it's so dry. They come down the hill looking for something green to eat.

And I made a decision this weekend. DH and I were talking about when we're going to go about our bathroom makeover, and I said I'd like to wait until October to do it. I've got a race on September 27 and I can't sacrifice all of my weekend training to peel wallpaper and rip up linoleum floors. So, um, I guess I'm doing the See Jane Run triathlon. It wasn't until I said it out loud that I felt like I wanted to do it. But I had some really good workouts last week and I feel like I'm back in the game.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday

Here is my first ever five for Friday post. I'm going with five random thoughts from spin class last night.


  • Considering I've only been here once in the past two months, I'm feeling pretty good.

  • Why is it always so hot in here even with all of the fans going full blast?



  • Why do I always get stuck next to the farters or the people with bad breath???



  • Oh, no, twentysomething in the front row...you will not out-spin me!



  • Two Led Zeppelin songs, a Bee Gee's song, "Pump Up the Jam", "Blurred Lines." This instructor knows how to put together a playlist. I need to come to every Thursday class.







Monday, August 10, 2015

Love to Move 10k and More

Last Saturday I walked a 10k with a friend. It was organized by a women run event production company and it was fantastic.  From their website:

"Why? It all came down to one simple belief  - when we move, we are moved to love… First to love ourselves and who we are at that very moment and also to love others as they are at that very moment. The key to this, we discovered, is moving our bodies. When a community of women is moving, there is not much that can stop them! So here we are, “Love to Move.” Whether we are walking, swimming, biking, running, hiking, climbing, surfing, building, playing tennis, basketball, softball, hockey, roller derby, skiing, skating or anything else that gets us up and moving, we Love to Move! We know that no matter who you are, where you are or how you love to move, we can help connect you to other women & provide opportunities for you to try something new. "

It was such a wonderful environment, very encouraging and more about just getting out there and doing something for yourself rather than competition.  

This was also a bit of a test for me - to see if my hip could hold up for six miles. I wouldn't say it felt great - things really started to tighten up after about four miles, but I stretched really well afterwards and wasn't in any more pain than my normal hip grumpiness afterwards. But I'm feeling really positive about the entire experience and it opens up some options for other events this winter - especially since triathlon season is almost over.







Getting rabbit ears.
So that was last Saturday, and since then I've done absolutely nothing, nada, sqat that could resemble exercise. I took that Sunday to recover, but then I stayed at my parents house from Sunday through Tuesday to look after my dad. My mom had to go out of town on business and because of his health, my dad really needs someone there to look after him. Because my parents live 25 miles away from me, this totally threw off my schedule and added a lot of extra driving to my week. And since I wasn't sleeping in my own bed and had to get up earlier each day to get to work on time, I didn't even try to workout during those days because I was exhausted. Without going into too much detail, it was incredibly stressful and my mother is a superhero.  But as I watch my dad's health declining further, I wonder how much longer my mom is going to be able to care for him alone in their home. 

Wednesday was my first day back on my normal schedule, and by then I was just wiped out. Thursday and Friday nights I had plans both nights so nothing resembling a workout happened on those days. I was feeling incredibly over-scheduled last week and was mentally just trying to get to Sunday - the day when I finally had nothing planned. I spent a good deal of Saturday walking around Home Depot picking paint, tile, and flooring options for our upcoming bathroom project and spent about an hour pulling weeds. Does that count as exercise? And yesterday I spent the entire day watching the Walking Dead marathon and putting my house back together from a crazy week of running around - laundry, cleaning, going through the huge pile of mail, etc. 

I know I could have done a better job of carving out some time for a workout - mornings before work, a walk at lunchtime. But last week it took all of my mental energy just to get through the week and what I absolutely had to do.

I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much more well rested and have my swim bag ready to go for tonight. And I'm planning on hitting up spin class tomorrow night. But what comes next is still up in the air.

As I've mentioned before, I have a free entry for a triathlon next month. But I'm just not sure if I want to do it. Let me take that back...I know I want to do it, but I'm not sure if I want to train for it. I haven't been on my bike since April and have no desire to ride it. I'd love to be able to go to spin class three times a week, but there is no substitute for time on the road. The ride is only 11 miles so I know I can do the distance even if I only do spin between now and then. But if I do this race, I want to go into it with more than just a "to finish" attitude. 

Race day is still 8 weeks away so I'm going to give it another two weeks or so to decide.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Staycation's All I Ever Wanted

Cue the Go-Go's ear worm.

So last week DH & I took the week off from work and did nothing and everything. 

We played lots of golf.

Golf selfie!

The first tee of the second round of the week.

Vacation golf includes adult beverages.

Sometimes you have to brave the wildlife to play.

We went up to San Francisco where we played tourists for the day.

Lunch with Sangria in North Beach.

Typical SF summer weather.

We went to the aquarium.

We went to a baseball game.

Go Giants!
And we spent a whole lot of time in Yardsville.

This is what a drought does to your lawn.
All in all it was a great vacation. Lots of activity mixed with lots of sleeping late and relaxing.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Time Flies

It's been almost a month since I've written anything so I thought I should blow the dust off the blog and put pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard.

Dan & I celebrated our lucky 13th wedding anniversary over the 4th of July weekend with dinner out, a round of golf, and fireworks.

Other than that I feel like I haven't done anything memorable to write about in the past month, but when I look back at my Training Peaks log it seems like I was doing pretty well on my workouts. I haven't been in the pool much, but I'm signed up for a 10k on August 1 so I've been walking - a lot!

Or at least I was until last week. We had family in town over the weekend so the later half of last week was spent cleaning and getting my house ready to host everyone for dinner on Saturday night and for my brother, sister-in-law, and niece to stay overnight. (More on that to come.) Then once back at work on Monday and back to a normal schedule, my hip flared up in pain.

Now let's not say I haven't learned anything after six years of dealing with this. I decided not to workout instead of pushing through it or doing something "light." And I've spend the past two nights icing it.  And today it feels better. Not 100%, but better. Maybe I'm finally getting wiser in my older age!

So back to the family visit. My aunt and uncle came to visit from Florida from Thursday through Sunday. They stayed near my parents (about 35 minutes away) and did touristy things the first couple of days. Saturday night my aunt wanted to make us all a big dinner, so we offered to host since our house can accommodate more people.  Since my brother lives about 90 minutes away from me and we were all going to the city for the Giants game on Sunday, they decided they were going to stay over.  We had a really great dinner and it was fun hanging out with family I don't get to see very often.

My niece snuggling with Emma in the morning. No, we didn't make either one of them sleep on the floor!
On Sunday we all went to the Giants game because the Phillies were in town. Being that I'm originally from Philadelphia it made for friendly ribbing. My parents, aunt, uncle and brother all wore their Phillies gear. I've since converted to a Giants fan because 1.) I don't really follow baseball much and 2.) the Giants have won 3 of the last 5 World Series. How could I not jump on that bandwagon?

So Dan, my sister-in-law, and I were in our Giants gear. My niece decided to go with my brother's Eagles hat that she found in the car. Wrong sport but who really cares?

The whole family at the game.
It was a beautiful day at the ballpark and the Giants won, so it was a fun day. We ran into some friends while were were there, too.

Dan & I are taking a "staycation" next week. So far we've got three rounds of golf, a movie, and another baseball game on the schedule. I'm really looking forward to the time off!

I have a free entry to the See Jane Run sprint triathlon in September but I'm waffling on whether or not I want to even do it. I honestly haven't been on my bike since the triathlon in April - my race stickers are still on my bike!  Maybe I'll peel them off and take a ride next week to decide how I feel about it.

And that's all that's happening from my little corner of the blog world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Baaaaad Company...Til the Day I Die!

It was a crazy busy weekend around here.  Not only did Dan and I both play in a golf tournament - on separate teams - but we did something we haven't done in a long time. We went to a concert. And it wasn't Bruce Springsteen!

Paul Rodgers - formerly of both Free and Bad Company - played at a little local venue called the Mountain Winery. It's a great little winery up in the hills with a concert amphitheater that seats I would guess less than 2000 people. And let me tell you, he did not disappoint!

Grapes behind us!

I've always liked Bad Company and Paul Rodgers. His voice is smooth like butter and when he sings it's like the words just fall out of his mouth. Honestly I've never seen anyone with such a powerful voice who can make singing look so effortless.


Waiting for the show to start. Is this a cool venue or what?!
Seriously, even for a 65 year old rock start he still put on an amazing show. I got to hear all of my favorite Bad Company songs including "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Shooting Star" and he even did a couple of Free songs.  It was pretty cool to hear some songs played live that are almost as old as I am!

Anyway we had so much fun that we're going to try to get to a couple more concerts there this summer.  Dan would really like to see Barenaked Ladies with the Violent Femmes since he was a huge Violent Femmes fan in high school. I'm trying to talk him into going to see Pat Benatar & John Waite - because, honestly I wanted to be Pat Benatar when I was in 8th grade!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Catfish Swim

Last Saturday I did something I've never done before - something I never in my wildest dreams imagined I could do, or would even want to do. I swam over a mile in open water.

I had originally planned to do this swim last year, but I hadn't yet signed up for masters and hadn't trained enough. I knew I couldn't do a mile so I opted for the 500 yard swim instead. But this year I had set my sights on the 1.2 mile option.

Since joining masters, I've swam the distance in the pool a number of times so I knew I could do it. But there is a big difference between swimming in the pool and swimming in open water.

I arrived at the park with over an hour to spare. I waited in a long line for the bathroom then another long line to check-in. I was getting more and more nervous standing in line. When I got near the front, the woman in front of me checked in and told them that she wanted to downgrade from the 1.2 mile distance to the 500 yard distance. And the thought occurred to me that I should do that, too. But I knew I'd be disappointed with myself if I didn't at least try the longer distance.

Couldn't have picked a nicer venue - and the weather was great, too!
I had just enough time to squeeze into my wetsuit and get in the water to get acclimated before it was time to go. Just follow the buoys!

Swim course pic taken from event website.

I started towards the back of the pack - as usual - and it wasn't long before most of the crowd was ahead of me. I was fine with it. I wasn't out there to "race." I just wanted to get it done.

The non-wetsuit swimmers started 10 minutes after me and I was a little nervous about getting caught up in that pack when they caught me, but it was fine. I never got hit or kicked, and even the turns weren't crowded.

What's there to say about a swim race - right stroke, left stroke, repeat. And that's what I did until finally I was heading towards the shore. Eventually I got to the point where my hand touched the ground so I stood up and ran through the finish chute.

Thanks to Meredith for the picture!

I did it!  I swam over a mile in a lake!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When We Last Left Off...

I was struggling getting back to masters swimming. Well, I finally went on Monday night and I'm so glad I did.

We did the usual five minute warm up, then a 200, then 2 x 75 with drills & kicks, and then it was time for the main set. 5 x 300 with the 1, 3, and 5 pulling and 2 and 4 swimming. Just a few months ago if you told me to swim 5 x 300 I probably would have laughed thinking I could never do that, or if I did it would take me all day. But for some reason on Monday night it didn't phase me one bit. It still took me a long time, but I did the entire set.

It was a great confident booster heading to Catfish in just a few weeks which, by the way, I finally signed up for it. And to celebrate I decided that I needed a new swimsuit.

No that's not me in the photo!
Shopping can equal motivation or a reward!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cinco de Mayo 5k and Other Random Things

Last weekend I did a 5k with some friends.  Two had signed up to run the 10k but when race day came they decided they only wanted to do 5k instead. Another friend was going to walk the 5k with me, and another friend was going to run the 5k but came up injured so she walked the 5k with us as well.  It was a very small local race but I think it was very well organized.  They even had us doing Zumba moves at the start as a warm up - corny but fun. Honestly, I was only in it to see some friends and for the breakfast afterwards - and I wasn't disappointed with either!

Another race, another tee shirt.
The Catfish swim is coming up in a few weeks - I guess I better sign up! I've been stalling since I wasn't sure if I want to do it with or without a wetsuit. A few weeks ago, I found out that it's not going to be at the same lake as last year. And since I'm completely unfamiliar with this new location, I think I'm going to sign up for the wetsuit division. I'd rather have my security blanket with me in unfamiliar waters.

I haven't made it back to masters since I went on vacation in March. First I was trying to focus more on spin class to prepare for the Moraga Tri, but that was weeks ago and I still can't get myself to go back - but I have finally figured out why. There are only two workouts a week that work for me - Monday & Wednesday nights.  The other weeknight workouts focus on IM - I don't know butterfly, I can't breastroke because of my hip, and my backstroke isn't straight. But the Monday & Wednesday night workouts are exclusively freestyle.

I was feeling guilty that I can't always make it both nights. But it dawned on me that it really doesn't matter how often I go as long as I just go when I can. I'm the one paying for it - and it is ridiculously cheap at my gym - so I shouldn't feel guilty if I can only make it once a week. And just because I can only make it to masters once a week doesn't mean I'm not swimming - I've been trying to get there every weekend because they switch the pool to long-course which I love. And I've swam on nights or mornings when I couldn't make masters. So I might as well get at least on workout a week that I'm paying for!

And finally I've been pretty consistent with my strength training workouts the past few weeks. It's something I always say I'm going to focus on, but it always gets dropped due to tri training. Let's face it, trying to get in two sessions of three different sports every week doesn't leave much time for strength training - at least not the kind that I want to do. But since I've really only been focused on swimming lately (and I haven't been on the bike or at spin class since Moraga), I've had more time to do strength training.





Thursday, April 30, 2015

Moraga Sprint Triathlon

I survived my first triathlon of the season on Saturday - and when I say survived, it felt like just barely at times!

I started out the day completely sleep deprived.  I even went to bed early the night before, fell asleep at a decent time, and then woke up after about an hour and tossed and turned for the rest of the night. If I'm lucky I think I had about four hours of sleep.  I actually woke up and as I was standing in my kitchen I seriously considered saying "F-ck it!" and going back to bed.

I left the house almost an hour later than I had planned and was so tired that when I was changing from one freeway to another I went the wrong direction. So after about fifteen minutes of driving west instead of east, I realized my mistake and turned around.

The only thing working for me at this point was the fact that it wasn't raining. It had rained hard during the night and was threatening to rain again, but at least I wasn't driving in the rain.  Even with my detour, I still made it there in plenty of time to pick up my packet, set up my transition, and hang out with Meredith and her family before we started.  Meredith and her husband were doing a relay (they took 3rd place!) and her daughter was doing the kids tri.

My bike and running shoes in ziploc bags - in case the rain started again.
So, the swim.  This race was my first ever triathlon two years ago. At the time I had been swimming for less than a year and 400 meters seemed like a really long time to be swimming. This time I was sad it was over so quickly!  I beat my previous swim time on this course by 2:08.  Super excited about that!

Then it was on to the bike. I knew this bike course was a little hilly and I thought I was prepared.  But when I got out there it was nothing but a big sufferfest. I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, poor nutrition, not being as prepared as I thought, or the fact that the roads were wet so I was nervous - but I felt like this ride would never end. And it showed in my results. I was eight minutes slower than the last time I did this race.

But it was over and I made it through safely - which was my biggest concern leading up to this event due to the weather. When I got back to transition I honestly didn't want to continue but I didn't let myself think about it and just put on my shoes and headed out.  I knew this leg would be slower than last time because back then I was running and now I'm a walker. Another hilly leg - up then down, then up again, then down again, and finally up and around the track.  Even though I'm not really a runner any longer due to my hip, you can't help but run when it's downhill!  So I was pleased with my walk/run time even though it was slower than last time.



Looking back, this wasn't my my best outing. They can't all be an improvement over the last race - I get that. And I'm sure the lack of sleep and nerves about the wet roads didn't help. But I can't help feeling disappointed - mainly because I know I can do better. And if I think about it honestly I didn't prepare as well as I should have. I really should have spent more time on the bike outside instead of at spin class.

But I can also say that I did the best that I could have on that particular day - in spite of the lack of sleep, the wet roads, and under-training. I could have gone with my first instinct and gone back to bed that morning. Or I could have not signed up at all. But I didn't. I went out and gave it everything I had THAT DAY. And it makes me want to do it again soon!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Racing in the Rain

Tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season and instead of being nervous for my normal reasons I'm nervous for an entirely new reason - RAIN! We are in the middle of a serious drought, and it is supposed to rain tomorrow - specifically during the time I'll be racing.

I know we need every drop, but it makes me nervous. I've run and swam in the rain plenty of times, but I've never ridden my bike in the rain.  And I'm afraid of crashing.  I've read everything I can about riding in the rain and I've gotten some tips throughout the week - avoid the painted lines, feather your brakes, watch out for oil. But I'm still nervous. This course is hilly and I'm concerned about being able to stop on the downhills.

Fortunately in this case, being a slow triathlete has its advantages!  I'm swimmer #163, which means well over 100 people will be out on the bike before me - some of them might even be back by the time I get out of the pool. I think I can count on it not being very crowded out on the bike course while I'm out there!

Also if riders are coming back and saying it seemed dangerous, I can choose not to ride. I've never quit in the middle of a race before, but I'd rather be safe than worry about finishing. I'm a somewhat confident biker in dry conditions but I am a chicken on the downhills - and that's in dry conditions. So to go out on a hilly course in the rain might not be the best idea for me. I'm just going to see how things unfold tomorrow. For all I know, the rain might hold out until after the race or it might not rain at all. It wouldn't be the first time the weather people got things wrong!

In the meantime, I'm going to stay on top of my hydration today, stay off my feet tonight, and try to fuel well throughout the day.

We'll just call this carbo loading.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eight days

One week from tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm going back to do the first triathlon I ever did.  Hopefully I'll be a little faster this time around.

I think I must be a nice weather triathlete.  Now that spring is here I want to sign up for ALL.THE.RACES.  Unfortunately neither my wallet or my body could handle it.

After next weekend, the only things I have on my calendar are a 5k in May, a 10k in August, and a sprint triathlon in September.  I'm thinking of possibly adding another triathlon - or maybe an aquabike event - to my schedule for June or July.

But for now I need to keep my focus on next Saturday.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Marin Swim & More

I did my first multi-sport event of the year on Saturday.  It was a Splah & Dash event - a 500 meter open water swim followed by a 5k.

This was an unusual event because it started at 1:00 in the afternoon.  Nice because I got to sleep in and go out to breakfast with my husband to celebrate his birthday.  But the 1:00 start time brought with it some complications.  What do you eat before a race that starts at 1:00? Also I had to drive through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful Saturday afternoon - which meant lots and lots of traffic!

But I got there with plenty of time to get organized and hang out with Meredith and Christina before getting in the water.

Christina, me, and Meredith - before wetsuits.
This was a pretty low key event.  No set transition area.  Just put your stuff in the grass.  Um, OK!  We all laid out our towels with our running shoes and then poured ourselves into our wetsuits and headed down to the start area.

Wetsuits on - ready to get into the COLD water.

For this event, we were able to walk down the shore and get into the water up to about our knees - which in no way prepared me for how cold the water was.  They counted down to the start and we were off.  Well, some of us were off.  I waded in up to my chest, and I could not go any further.  I stood there and honestly considered turning around and getting out.  It was that COLD.  I tried putting my face in the water and it took my breath away.  I was standing there actually saying out loud, "I can't do this" when Christina came from behind me, grabbed my arm, and told me that I could.  So I tried.  I took a few strokes out towards the first buoy and one of the kayakers came over to me to see if I was OK.  Honestly, I was fine.  I wasn't hyperventilating.  I wasn't in any danger.  It was just soooooo cold that I didn't know if I wanted to go any further.  Then I decided that I'd feel like a real ass if I got out of the water after driving all the way up here, so I just went for it.  I probably wasted a minute trying to talk myself into it.  But once I got out to the first buoy something happened.  The water was actually warmer than it was near shore.  And I was able to swim normally.  It wasn't my fastest swim, but it was probably the best open water swim I've ever had.  I could look ahead and see a lot of people struggling, including one girl going about as slow as me.  Only she wouldn't put her face in the water - she had even taken her goggles off and would grab every kayak along the way.  Like I said, I wasn't swimming fast but at least I was swimming - and I was grateful that I wasn't in a state of panic like this other girl.

Feeling like a rock star coming out of the water.
Next it was time to try to find my land legs, strip off that wetsuit, and put the running shoes on.  And yes, I did sit down on my towel in my "transition" area to put my shoes on.  I'm not used to going straight from the swim to the run and there was no way I could have gotten my shoes on while standing. 

Just getting started on the 5k.
The run (or walk for some of us) started through the park, then went up a giant hill out of the park to some city streets.  Honestly, I wasn't ready for how hilly this course would be but I made the best of it.  I did a little running on the downhills, but I could tell my hip wasn't thrilled with it so I stuck to mostly walking.  On the way back to the park, it was a huge uphill on sidewalk, then back down on a trail into the park.  And finally I was heading to the finish line.

Happy to be done!
Overall I felt like I had a good race.  My official finish time was 1:11:30 which was faster than my goal time of 1:15.  Swim time was clocked at 18:25 and my run time was 53:05.  If I had to guess I think transition time was included in the swim time, but I'm not positive.  I think swimming with Masters has helped build my endurance. So even though I still struggle in the open water, I don't get out completely gassed like I used to.  I'm much more relaxed in the open water (once I get going!), so I'm not using as much energy as I used to - which definitely helps with the rest of the race.  I felt strong on the run/walk portion of the 5k which is a good confidence boost for the Moraga Tri in two weeks.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Thoughts from a Bike Ride

"Why am I doing this? I'm out of breath and we just started. OK, I'm warmed up now. This isn't so bad. I made it up that hill and I still have two gears left! Downhill isn't as scary as it used to be. Wow, almost done already. That was fun! I should do this more often."  These are all thoughts that went through my head on a less than 90 minute group bike ride yesterday.  

In other news, I've got my first multi-sport event of the year this weekend.  So I guess it's time to start freaking out about it.  It's going to be a long week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Philadelphia Freedom!

You know I love, love, love you!  Yes, I'm channeling Elton John.  I just got back from a trip to Philly - my hometown - and I'm still feeling the love.

The grade school I attended - and my mom before me - has since closed, but they were having an all class reunion as a fundraiser to make some necessary repairs to the church.  So I decided to go back and have a girls weekend with my friends.

All of us at the reunion.
I think the last time I was in Philly was 2007.  All of my friends have kids, and I think most of them were in the newborn to toddler stage back then so it was much harder for us to spend a lot of time all together on that trip.  But now those kids are much more self sufficient and in school all day, so I got much more quality time with my friends on this trip.

We went straight from the airport to my favorite Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Full and happy.
The next day we planned on doing some sight seeing.  However, we didn't plan on it snowing so much in March.  After getting tired of hopping in and out of the car in the snow, we decided to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so we could be inside for a few hours.  I hadn't been there in years.  It was quite a different experience going as an adult than being forced to go on a school field trip as a kid - although without the nuns to keep us in line, we were probably not as well behaved this time around!  One friend who shall remain nameless kept insisting on touching everything in spite of the signs that said DO NOT TOUCH - and we might have almost been asked to leave.  But we got out of there without anyone getting arrested, and we may have gotten a little bit of culture in spite of ourselves.

You can't go to the art museum and not get your picture with Rocky. 
On Saturday I visited with my godparents during the day, and went to the reunion that night.  I saw so many people who I hadn't seen in years.  It was a great time!  Sunday was brunch with the girls again before heading to the airport for the long trip home.

I am still exhausted but it was well worth it.  I always laugh so much when we're together. There is something about having such a history with people that each time I see them the months and years apart just melt away.  We talk and laugh about old times while making new memories.

City skyline.

We've already decided where we're going next year.  Vegas baby!  I can't wait to see my girls again.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Training and frustrations

I joined the the local triathlon club again this year.  I want to have a group to do some open water swims and bike rides with, and I thought I'd give their newcomers program another try.  Not that I'm exactly new to the sport, but I'm soooo slow at everything so I thought it would be good to train with the newbies.

I tried working out with this newbies group for the past two years but they left me incredibly frustrated.  The first year, they put out a schedule which spanned almost four months.  The schedule stated what the workouts would be each weekend - bike, brick, swim clinic, etc. - and whether it would be on Saturday or Sunday  I planned races and golf around this schedule so I could be sure to get to the swim clinics or the bike rides or the course previews that I wanted to attend.  The problem was, each Monday they'd send an e-mail announcing what the upcoming weekend workout was going to be - and often it didn't match the schedule they had originally established.  Frustrating!  Last year, some of the workouts were listed as "uncoached" - so I didn't go.  What was the point?  I could sleep in and ride my bike on my own.

Anyway the first workout this year was on March 7.  It was an open water swim clinic which I attended, and I thought it went well.  There were a ton of support people, a big group of newbies, and I was really excited about it.  At the end of the workout, the coach said the next swim clinic would be in three weeks - March 28.  Perfect for me!  I'd get in another open water practice session before my Splash & Dash on April 4.

So today they sent out the schedule for this weekend - the open water swim clinic which is supposed to be next weekend has been moved up to this Saturday.  Great, you'd think...except I'm going to be out of town this weekend.

Maybe it's just me, but I am a "type A" planner.  But in my defense, you can't just wake up one day and decide to do a triathlon.  There is training involved that takes place for months leading up to the race.  Also, some races sell out so you've got to sign up for them in advance.  And with golf, you can't always decide on Friday that you want to play the next day...you've got to make a tee time.  If you want to play a particular course at a particular time, you've got to make that tee time a week in advance.  Add in social plans with friends, visits with my parents, etc. and my weekends book up pretty quickly.

So it really frustrates me when I plan to attend a swim clinic, only to have the date move to a date I can't attend.   What frustrates me more about this is that I had a conversation with one of the tri club board members about this very issue last year, and she told me she had heard the same frustration from others and they were going to address it.  At the end of last season, the tri-club sent out a survey to anyone who had participated in the newbies program asking what they could do to improve the program.  At the beginning of this year, they sent out e-mails saying how it was improved.

But all I'm getting is the same frustration.  Honestly, how hard is it to make a schedule in advance and stick with it?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Things Are Coming Together

I *finally feel like I've got a plan for this spring.  Here is what I've got on the calendar:

April 4 - Marin Splash & Dash
April 25 - Moraga Tri
May 9 - Mermaid 10k

Thanks to Training Peaks for a free 7 day premium trial, I even put together a training plan and got it all down in writing.  Having a training plan makes it feel more real and also makes me more motivated.


I like having something in all of the boxes.


I've decided to use my free race entry for the See Jane Run Tri in September instead of for the half in June.  There are a couple of other triathlons happening this summer - one in June and one in August -  that also offer aquabikes, so I'm leaving my options open for those.  I also want to leave my weekends free for golf, and my husband and I are talking about re-doing our kitchen - mainly just paint and tile. But that's a project that could span a few weekends so it would be better if I wasn't training for something when we do that.

I'll probably do a couple of 5ks over the summer, and I'm trying to decide on a half marathon for the fall.  I've done the Morgan Hill half marathon and really liked it.  Plus they have a full marathon on the same day, so I wouldn't have to worry about a time limit - something to consider when you're walking.

So I guess now it's time for the formal training to begin instead of me just winging it like I've been doing for months!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winner, Winner. Chicken Dinner!

You might remember that in 2013 I was chosen to be a See Jane Run Ambassador.  See Jane Run is a local chain of running stores that focuses on women's running shoes and clothing.  They also put on a couple of local running races (5k & half marathon) and a triathlon. I've done the 5k twice, the duathalon once or twice, and the triathlon the past two years.

When I was an ambassador, I started following the blogs of a few of the other ambassadors and still do follow a few of them.  Last week, one of them was holding a contest for a free race entry to any of the See Jane Run events for this year.

I decided to enter and I found out yesterday that I won!  Woohoo for free race entries!

But now, I need to decide what I want to do.  I've seriously considered walking a half marathon this year.  I've made peace with the fact that I can no longer run, but I always liked the challenge of the half marathon distance - in spite of all of the bitching I did during training! And I'd like to give it a shot with strictly walking.  However, I figured if I did one it would be in the late summer or fall, and this one is in June.  But a free entry makes it hard to pass up.

On the other hand, I've done the See Jane Run triathlon the past two years.  I'm familiar with the course, and I've always enjoyed it.  But it's in September, which is when I thought I'd be in training for a half marathon.  But again, free entry...how can I resist?

There is also the wildcard of my hip to consider.  Could my hip stand up to the demands of training for and completing a half marathon - even if I'm just walking?

So for now, I think I'm going to focus on training for the races that I've already mentally committed to, including a 10k in early May.  There are six weeks between the 10k and the half marathon, which would put me on a perfect half marathon training schedule.  I can see how I feel after that 10k and decide then.

And for now I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I won a free race entry - and I'll go buy a lottery ticket to see if this luck continues.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oof!

Masters is kicking my butt - but in a good way!  My original plan had been to do masters on Mon & Wed nights, and spin on Tues & Th nights.  But I'm going to need to adjust that plan, at least until I get used to swimming so much.

I'm swimming for twice as long and twice as many yards as I'd been doing on my own.  Truth be told as much as I enjoy swimming, if I'm swimming on my own I would just become bored after about 700 yards or so.  So I'd force myself to get to 1000, then call it a day.  I'm really enjoying the structure of having someone tell me what to do and the variety of the sets.  But damn, I'm exhausted the next day.

So it's - once again - time to draw up/revise the old training plan so I can be sure I'm getting in enough swimming and cycling.  The triathlon that I plan to do in April has some HILLS, so there is no faking it on the bike.




Friday, February 20, 2015

On Being Brave

I saw this shirt a few months ago and decided that I had to have it.

Be brave. Be thankful.
I think it's a great sentiment and a great reminder to me of how I want to live my life.  I spend too much time reluctant to step outside my comfort zone that I sometimes feel stuck in a rut of my own making.  So I'm purposely trying to be brave this year and doing things that make me uncomfortable.  And I'm trying to be more thankful that I'm able to do these things that make me uncomfortable.  Yes, it makes me sad that I can no longer run, but I still have legs and I can still walk.  I have a job, a home, food in my kitchen, and people and a dog who love me.  I have so, so much to be thankful for.

So this week I finally took the big step and did something that I've been talking about doing for maybe two years.  I went to my first masters swim workout...and it was AMAZING!  My gym had an "Intro to Masters" session on Monday morning where you could meet the coach, ask questions, and get a few swimming pointers.  So I went to that, and it turned out that only one other person showed up as well.  The coach asked us each to swim 50 yards easy, then told us both that we are ready to join masters if we wanted to.  He showed us the workout that the team had done that morning, explaining where at some points the faster swimmers did a particular section two or three times while the slower swimmers only did this once.  He said that we don't have to stay for the entire workout if it's too much for us or even if we're just short on time. (I like this because I might start going in the mornings before work once in a while.)  He told us the best days for us to come because those are the days that they only do freestyle and drills, so that would give us a chance to build endurance and get used to the workouts before tackling the other strokes.  He told us that some people on the team compete but most don't.  It was just a great opportunity to meet the coach and get an idea of what to expect.  He made it seem much less intimidating than I had built it up in my mind to be.

And with that, on Wednesday night I put on my big girl panties (big girl swimsuit?) and showed up for masters.  The coach remembered me from Monday, told me which lane would be best for me - the super slow lane, of course! - and there I was, swimming with the big kids.  The coach kept checking on me, telling me I could take as much rest as I needed, I could get out whenever I wanted, etc.  It was so much fun.  I made it through 60 minutes of the 75 minute session before my hands started cramping - most likely from the 600 yards using the pull buoy - and I just had to get out.  But I am soooo glad I mustered up my courage and went.  I'm going to be going every Monday & Wednesday nights for now.

And...I also now have another event to look forward to.  My best race buddy Meredith found a splash & dash that we can do together in April since our regular June triathlon has been cancelled.  She suggested it and I agreed, then after doing some research I started to chicken out.  But thankfully she shamed me into doing it by pointing out that they also hold a kids triathlon at the same location - so if 8 year olds can swim there, I guess I can too!  Sometimes you just need a friend to give you a little push to be brave!  And for that, I am thankful.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Need to Commit

It's already almost mid-February and I don't have any races on my schedule.  In the past, I'd have my year's races planned out by the end of last year.  But this year things just haven't come together...yet.

However, we did get some serious rain this past weekend.  And because of it, two races that were cancelled last year due to lack of water in the reservoir are back ON!  One of them has set a date, and the second one's date is yet to be determined.  But I'm hoping they will post the date soon - and also hoping it will be late May/early June.

I have mentally committed to the Catfish 1 mile swim.  However I haven't signed up yet because I haven't decided if I'm going to do wetsuit or non-wetsuit.

The one thing I have seemed to commit to is training.  I got in some great workouts last week - including two strength training sessions.  My plan is to get in at least two strength workouts each week even if it means I skip something else.  I figure the strength work will benefit all three triathlon disciplines, and if I only get in 1 bike session or 1 walk instead of two per week every once in a while, the strength training should help make up the deficit.  I could be completely wrong on this, but I know the strength work can't hurt!

I've also committed to tracking my food - although this hasn't been going as well as my workouts.  I do well with tracking all week but just don't do it consistently on the weekends.  But I'm making an effort.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Scenes from a Lunchtime Walk

We've got rain heading our way over the next few days.  Rain, glorious rain!!! So I decided to take advantage of the nice weather today - and the fact that my boss is out of town - to go for a lunchtime walk.  I've had an extra pair of running shoes under my desk for a month waiting to get used, and I grabbed an extra shirt to change into today so I wouldn't have to sit in a sweaty shirt this afternoon.  So here are a few things that I saw on this fabulous walking path that I didn't even know existed until a few weeks ago.

The fog really hung on today.


But it really was beautiful out there.



Cue the Simon & Garfunkel, "I am a rock. I am an island."



These are salt flats.



Spring is already trying to spring forth in February.



OK, OK, I'll keep out!



I'll be back here to walk again.
It was the perfect weather for a walk.  Not too sunny and no wind at all. I'm going to have to make a habit of heading over here to walk more often.