Monday, July 28, 2008

swimming in paradise

Okay, I know I rant about the La Jolla cove amazingness, but I love this place and I feel it deserves a post. Especially after such a great weekend. Friday was a half day at work (woohoo!) and then Paul and I went to see our friend Bethany in the hospital. She's hilarious on pain medicine! We arrived at the cove later than usual, due to a lack of parking (my only gripe). It was a beautiful warm evening and the sunset was gorgeous. We swam to the marine room and back. Half way there I flipped over and started swimming backstroke, keeping straight thanks to paul's sighting. I swam about 400 yards completely relaxed, smiling with the sun shining on my face. At that moment I was as happy as ever. My body felt amazing, the water was the perfect temperature. No wetsuit, just me and the ocean. I wish I had a camera on my forehead; the view was unbelievable.
Saturday morning I woke up, drove to the cove and got the best parking spot available. The UCSD masters team has this unofficial cove/pier/cove 3 mile swim. It's not a race, but it's been going on for 20+ years. Over 100 people showed up.
The way out was perfect. The kelp beds weren't as bad as I thought and I made it to the pier in roughly 33 minutes. The way back was a different story. I was alone for the majority of the way, and the water was choppy with a current coming straight at us. A group came up alongside me and I was able to keep pace with them for the last half mile, thankfully. My mind was going crazy being out there alone for so long. Total time was 1hr 15 min. I think that gives me confidence for my 5 mile race this weekend and being able to hit my under 2 hour goal. I will have a kayaker so I won't have to sight, and the course is a circular pattern, so let's hope for a favorable current!
Sunday I was a swim buddy for the Solana Beach Triathlon. As usual, a fun rewarding experience. I also climbed with Paul at Mission Gorge and finished the evening rollerblading to the end of Sunset Cliffs to watch the sun set.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Gorgonio

What a great weekend! Last Friday I went to the cove with Bethany and then headed to Paul's for the drive up to the San Bernardino Forest. We arrived and settled into "camp" (tents in the parking lot at the trail head) and finally made it to bed around 1am. Woke up around 7am and after a hearty oatmeal breakfast we hit the trail at 7:40am.

The hike to the peak covered a little over 8 miles, starting at 6,000' and topping out at 11,499'. I started to feel the elevation around 9,500' and was walking pretty slow as I neared the top. I reached the summit around 1:40pm to find the hardcore group members already eating lunch in a little rock wall/wind barrier circle. Immediately the shoes came off and the food came out. A tri club member suggested smoked salmon, cream cheese and a hearty bagel as a good summit lunch and boy was she right. We spent an hour relaxing and bandaging wounds. Luckily for me, my gear was working out well and had no complaints at the top. Others were not so fortunate and the blisters were in full force. We split up on the way down and for some crazy reason I decided to head down with the 15 mile group. :)

The decent was long. The beginning felt great. There was even snow! In southern California! In mid-July! I really wanted to eat a handful, but obviously decided against that since I didn't really want an GI problems for the rest of the hike. There was some trail finding involved and for a while we were hiking up which really hurt my spirits. We really only took a small break to fill water at a stream and then had to wait 30 min for the iodine to kill the bacteria. I passed out some smooshed pb&j sandwiches. The last 3 miles were relatively steep and as the tiredness crept in I began trail running, or better described as careening down the mountain in a semi controlled manner. Thank goodness for trekking polls. As lame and old people-ish as they look, they were an essential part of me reaching the summit and descending safely and with less pain. We reached the wash right around 8:40 and it was just about time to put on our headlamps and get out of there! The other group brought the cars to our exit spot. So 6 hours up, 6 hours down and an hour lunch break. We camped at a boy scouts camp and dinner was being cooked as the tents were going up. A little warm Tecate, chicken pesto pasta, and oreos...yummy!

I've experienced long days (i.e. climbing epics in Red Rocks) but nothing where I was moving for such an extended period of time. Now I know what my mind will be like in an Ironman! Granted, I was walking, not racing, but it was up and down a mountain at elevation!
Sunday we woke to thunder. After packing up camp it began to rain. The others bailed on climbing plans and headed back to San Diego but Paul and I were determined. After a little breakfast at a diner we made a decision based on weather to head to Joshua Tree. Starting up the Swift, a 5.8 3 pitch climb, all was well. As I began to follow the 2nd pitch a storm rolled it. It was pouring! Our route became a waterfall of rain. I know I'm not comfortable hand jamming, but it's impossible for your hand to stick when water is streaming down the crack! I somehow managed a foot jam and a right foot smear and muscled my way up the crux of the climb. We quickly swapped ends and he basically free solo'd the last pitch. Of course, once we were on top the sun came out! We dried out a bit and started our down climb. We decided to keep climbing, because after all we drove all the way to J-tree to climb. The rest of the day was amazing. He lead Count on Your Fingers, a 5.9 crack and then we set up a 5.10d top rope called Child's Play which was awesome! I made it through the crux, passing the roof but then I fell, or rather let go near the top because I'm so out of climbing shape. Argh! I got back on and finished the final 3 moves. (and was angry for giving up so close to the top!)
Overall, a great weekend. I proved to myself that I could do things that I once thought not possible. I forced myself to wakeup for swim practice on Monday to float through the water. I ended up feeling ok, so I swam pretty hard. Tuesday I got my bike back from the shop (it shifts so nice now!) and went for an evening ride to and twice around Fiesta Island.

Tomorrow I'm climbing at the gym with my Idyllwild friend, David and it's also Paul's birthday. It'll be interesting to pull on some plastic since I haven't climbed at the gym in a while! Friday is the usual cove swim and monthly potluck. I think I'll go visit Bethany in the hospital as well. She had her scoliosis surgery yesterday. This weekend I'm planning on doing a 3 mile swim in the cove with the UCSD masters team (cove, pier, cove). It should be a good indicator of how I'll feel next weekend for the 5 mile swim! Sunday, I'm a swim buddy for the Solana Beach tri; but climbing may happen instead.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

5 Miles of Swimming

Last week was kind of a lazy week for me. Monday night swim, Tuesday morning bike and then nothing until the weekend. I saw WALL-E on Wednesday (such a great movie with a great message!). Friday I carpooled with Paul to the cove. He, Nikee and I (and others) swam to the shores and back (2 miles). Saturday was the club race (800 meters, more to come later). Sunday was Carlsbad (1000m swim for a relay team) and then back to the Cove with Nikee and the gatorman training group for a swim to the Marine Room and back, without a wetsuit (aprox 2 miles). Let's just say I was a bit swimmed out.

I won't be in town for Gatorman (3 mile swim) as I will be traveling back from Katie's wedding. But I did hear of a 5 mile race...yes, a swim 3 weeks. Here is the race course: yes, it's two laps. No, you can't wear a wetsuit. Yes, I'm nervous, but looking forward to it. Yesterday I sent an email out to the tri club looking for a kayaker (which is mandatory for the race) and got a response! I don't know what to expect pace-wise, but I'm hoping to go under 2 hours. I don't think I'm going to change my training too drastically, but try to keep more consistent (masters swim 3x week, cove swim on Friday, and maybe I'll add a longer Sunday swim). So, Sunday, August 3rd is race day. Tour of the Buoys, look out! My mom and sister will be in town to cheer me on.

Club race report: wow. I exceeded my expectations. And yet again, I realize the importance of the run. I was 2nd out of the water, behind Jim Vance (a professional triathlete) and I went the same exact time as the month before; 8:32. I felt strong and not so heavy this time (no one was drafting off me!). I hopped on my bike and was off. I made it to the turn around and not one girl had passed me yet. I'm thinking to myself, "What's going on? Where is everyone?" I was heading back up the strand and started to see some girls still heading down. Hmm, ok, let's hold them off. And I did. I got into T2 and was the first girl off the bike. "Are you kidding me? This feels awesome! Ok, don't get ahead of yourself, you still have 3 miles to go." And wow, those 3 miles took forever! All in all, 8 girls passed me. I love trying out other peoples' strides as they get in front of me. I take a couple strides and then decide that pace is way too fast for me! I did drop 2.5 min in the run and 1.5 min in the bike. Overall I went a 1:10, which is 9 min faster than my first club race (and 4 min faster than last month). Kyle's friend Dan Bronner did the race as well. Afterwards I hung out with him and his wife Adi.

This weekend I was invited to hike San Gorgonio (tallest mountain in southern Cali at 11,502ft) and climb at Holcome Valley the following day. San G is a 20 mile hike with over 5,000 ft of elevation gain in 8.5 miles on the way up. I'm "renting" trekking poles from REI. I've never done anything like this before and I'm nervous for how I'll react to elevation. I did get some good pointers at the tri club JCC swim last night. Which, speaking of, I've been asked to be a substitute coach for the Mon/Wed club practices. It sounds like I'll be a little more of a regular, as one of the coaches wants to take some time off. So we'll see how that goes.

So a big weekend: 5 miles of swimming, and then the decision to swim 5 miles all at once in a race. San G invite, Club race success, and the new substitute tri club coach. My plate just got a whole lot bigger.

Monday, July 7, 2008

iDylLwiLd CLiMbiNG!!

Before starting triathlons I was pretty serious about climbing. My home away from home back in MN was Vertical Endeavors, the local gym. Last summer brought my first season of true outdoor climbing, basically every weekend. So after leaving the close knit group of MN climbers for the beaches of San Diego, climbing had been put on hold for a while. I missed it so much, that I decided to find a partner on and take a trip to the small mountain town of Idyllwild, CA to climb the famous Suicide Rock and Tahquitz. I left Wednesday night, made it there, set up camp and crashed.

Day one we did some crack climbing, which of course I do my best to fake, by laybacking the entire way up. So much for forcing myself to hand jam. Included was a 5.10b finger to hand crack. Hard. We also did a 3 pitch slab climb. I heart slab. I led the first and 3rd pitch. I wish I would've brought my camera up because the view at the top was amazing! (I forgot my camera case at home.) On the way down we saw one of the most exposed overhanging routes I've ever seen. Shaped almost like the top of a bird's beak, it was beautiful. I was feeling pretty exhausted(regretting the morning run, why'd I bring those running shoes again?) but craving a cider. We went to a local pizza place which was even better with an ice cold Woodchuck Pear Cider. Yum, my favorite.

Day two brought a longer, steeper, more horrific approach with a harder, taller, 3 pitch crack climb called open book. Apparently is a 3 star climb, but I wasn't impressed. Neither was my right side, after friction'ing my way up. We took a different descent trail, which ended up not really being a trail, more so a skree field with fine pebbles that love to get caught in my Chacos. By the time we finally made it down I was so exhausted I think my legs forgot how to walk. Highlight of the trip was the mountain stream at the bottom. Oh my goodness it has never felt so good to wash my feet in super cold fresh water. I seriously felt like Jesus was washing my feet it was such a moving experience. For our 4th of July dinner we had Chinese. We shared the best homemade won ton soup I've ever had and I also got some shrimp fried rice. We headed back to camp where I packed up and drove back to San Diego. I couldn't sleep in my sleeping bag another night being as filthy as I was.

Overall, as much as I complained, it was a great trip. It really made me miss the sport and that kind of outdoor activity. I almost forgot how amazing camping under the stars in total darkness and silence truly is. Not to mention the great exercise from hiking at elevation. (Tahquitz tops out around 8000 ft.)

I made it back in time to head to the beach with Bethany for some fireworks. The rest of the weekend brought some sewing, scrapbooking and rock band with Ben. I got a 96% on Medium on the drums! Club race this Saturday and swimmer relay member at the Carlsbad tri on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Shoesday

The title has nothing to do with the day...well I am wearing shoes. But I'm in a silly mood. :) So watch out: randomness post ahead!
Had a busy last week with the bro and his gf in town. Took them to the cove on friday and he swam to the first buoy. I think I sparked something; now he's telling me he wants to to a triathlon. Saturday we took the train to LA to see Wiked. What a great show! The engine died on the way back causing quite a delay. I woke up early on Sunday to be a swim buddy and a relay member for the SDIT. It was a 1000m swim. My warmup was helping out with the 40 year old men as a sweeper basically sidestroking/sculling with the zig-zaggers, and then I swam part of the way with Bethany's wave, turned back, and then swam my race. I thought I was 2nd out of the water (actually 3rd) for the relay I know. It was some young swimmer punk wearing a fastskin jammer. :) I did kick some girls butt who was drafting off me on the way out, but couldn't keep up on the push home. My time was 11:33, which was a 1:11 pace. Hmm seems a little fast. But it felt great. My relay members were nice, and the day was amazing. I hung out at the finish line expo area with Bethany for a while but had to head back to bring the kiddies to the airport. Watched the Olympic Trials on Sunday night; yeah Phelps was pretty amazing. :)

Monday I ran after work instead of pilates because it was too beautiful to be inside. Then I biked to Sunset Cliffs to boulder. (pretty sunset, but high tide brought in the flies!) Today was the Cabrillo ride.

Looking forward to finally climbing this week! I'm heading to Idyllwild to climb at Tahquitz with someone from Should be an interesting trip. I'm taking Thursday off work and Friday is the 4th. I'll throw the running shoes in the car, in case I get the spark. :)