Friday, August 29, 2008

Highs and Lows

The past two weeks have been semi-uneventful, but I'm sure this will somehow become a long post. Weekdays have been staying pretty consistent, Mon - evening run and JCC swims, Tues - JT's Cabrillo ride and run, Wed - lazy mornings and JCC evening, Thurs - Dale's masters workout, Fri - Cove swims (still my favorite).

Last Saturday I was supposed to go on a bike ride from LA to Oceanside - take the train up and ride back. Somehow, in my 5am groggyness, I confused the travel time to Oceanside with Solana Beach. As I arrived to the train station and was purchasing my ticket...the train pulled away! Argh! What now?? I decided to drive back down to Del Mar and hit up the usual TCSD ride at 8am. Well, we made it to Oceanside (hmm this is familiar) and I wanted to go for a longer ride (since I was planning on doing 75 miles that day). Bob - looking like a super badass biker - said he was going 80, and everyone else was turning back for 40. Hmm, ok Bob, this is my first time going over 40 miles, and I really want to do this, but I have some obvious concerns. i.e I've never done this! Bob - great guy p.s. - ok, it'll be an adventure, and we'll be sure to pace ourselves. An adventure it was. We got on base at Camp Pendelton and from then on it was glorious. Very little stop lights, traffic, and annoying runners (the usual on the PCH) was just Bob and I and the beauty that is Southern California. After the base we went 11 miles further north to San Clemente where we stopped for a B&B break (bathroom and banana). On our way out I fell while clipped into my bike. Great, way to really look like an amateur. I still have a bruise to show for my sudden lack of grace. Back on the bike, and back down to Del Mar. Surprisingly I was feeling great. In Oceanside (hmm familiar?) we randomly bumped into Stephen who was looking for the train station! He actually made the train and was back to his starting point. Lovely I'm at 63 miles, only 17 more. Back on the PCH I was feeling ok. It was getting a little windy and I began feeling a little sore. Yet thoughts are still happy. Around mile 74.9 breakdown point commenced. Hip flexers not feeling so great. Morale is slipping. 5 more miles. I think I looked at my clock every quarter mile. Stopping, no fun. Must keep spinning, spinning, spinning, what do we do? we spin, spin. A little Dori ended up sneaking in. Oh jeepers! A hill! Made it up, with one final hard push, and the Starbucks was in sight. Now, for most that would mean a nice iced coffee after a long ride, but for me it was the end. The end of my first 81.4 mile bike ride. Just under 5 hours. Averaged 16.4 mph including slowdowns. Over twice the distance of my longest ride prior. My college friends have been calling my triathlon adventures in training crazy; not until now did I believe them. Bob - you rock.

Saturday afternoon that high turned into a nap. Saturday evening Paul picked me up in Jolly, his vintage VW bus, and we headed to Idylwild. But not before stopping at Stone Brewery for an amazing gourmet mac and cheese dinner and of course some cold beer. A really good Hef and yes, a Cider. Off to Tahquitz. Ended up rolling in around midnight, popped the top and crashed. 6:45 am brought some lovely polka music from the nice Mexican family in the campsite over...are you kidding me??? That went on for 30 min at least. Rolled out of bed around 9 and ate some yummy oatmeal. Gave the friendly wave as we were leaving the campground and we were home we'd pay for that crappy nights sleep. My legs were surprising feeling ok on the crazy approach. This picture is a fallen tree with a bunch of really old pennies hammered into it. Arrived at the base of the 5.7 route called Finger Trip. Of course there were 3 parties ahead of us so we moved over to a 5.8 called Traitor Horn. Paul linked the first two pitches with a little bit of simul climbing. The 3rd pitch was the crux. Holy exposure! I followed and fell, and was dangling in mid air. Then a storm rolled in. Lovely, lightening. We need to get out of here, now! He eventually lowered me so I could swing and grab a flake, and re-climb the crux. Somehow I managed to muscle my way up, with my nerves raging! Ok, I'll lead the last pitch cause I'm on this end of the rope and we need to get up. A nice slab with very hollow flakes. Hmm, I feel safe! Ok, you can do this, just keep your feet solid. I placed a couple of nuts and a cam and put in a belay (with my handy dandy bunny ears figure 8 end of rope knot learned from Tommy Cadwell). We made it! Ok, descent time. Let's get going, it's still lightening, thundering and it may drop some rain super soon. Made it down to our packs and then all the way down, with only 10 drops of rain. Home sweet home (but not before a Cider float at Stone).

I'm heading to Minnesota tomorrow! Climbing, boating, and the Tiedeman/Chmielewski wedding. I'm sooo looking forward to a week work free.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Best Weekend In far

Well, the title says it all. Here's a recap; I'll try to keep it quick.
Friday: Cove swim was cold and only a mile, but still fun. Paul, Dawn and I went out for sushi afterwards...yummy! Great food and silly conversations.
Saturday: 5:45am wake up. Club Race. Paul picked me up, the race went well. I didn't look at my swim/bike time on my watch, but I did have my fastest run split somewhere around 25 min, which yes, that's still slow, but I'm making strides (literally) at improving. 4 months and 4 min. I also went my overall fastest time by a half second. 1:10. **Edit: I went 23min in my run!! and a 1:09 overall. Super excited!! Work: yes I just included work in my best weekend ever, but I had to come in on Saturday to close a loan, and overtime pay is always nice. Climbing: Paul and I went to Lake Dixon, or Dixon Lake (actual order unknown). Super easy approach with some fun top rope problems. I somehow managed to muscle my way up a 5.10 sharp flake with no feet while adding a heel hook near the top...what a sweet climb!! We have to go back to work this 5.11 overhanging roof crack that just wouldn't go for us. On the way back we hit up the coast and ended up eating at Pizza Port. Attention all Rachel visitors; you will be going here if you come see me. Large vegetarian (who are we kidding here) with chicken. Half pesto sauce, half tomato, with whole wheat crust - so delicious! I ate 3 pieces in the car on the way to the La Jolla Shores for Buck's Moonlight Swim. Paul dropped me off with waterproof camera in hand and I helped set up the glow sticks on the buoys. We finally entered the water at 9:30pm and it was amazing. A 180 from Friday's freeze. It was 74 degree bath water. IT WAS THE MOST FUN I'VE HAD SWIMMING - EVER. and obviously that's saying a lot, since I swim. a lot. Took some neat pictures (posting soon).
Sunday: (finally right?) Swim buddy for Solana Beach Playa del Run aquathon. It was a beautiful morning "floating" for 1000m with the sun shining in my face. :) They had great food after including oranges, peaches, grapes, muffins, naked juice, and the dreaded Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Last time I indulged? hmm, summer '02 living in Minneapolis. I'm going on a bike, this is fuel right? haha...well it ended up working. I did this loop with a couple people from the tri club: It was a Pumpkinman prep ride; (heat and hills baby) an inland ride done around the noon hour...scorching. It was everything I expected besides an unexpected performance by myself. I had 2 gu's (note to self: vanilla bean is yummy, and caffeine works), endurance drink in one bottle and water in the other. At the halfway point we stopped at a church to fill up in the spigot. The ride back was primarily downhill, but there were still plenty of climbs, just not as sustained as the way out. It was nice to get back to the ocean breeze towards the end of the ride. After napping and Olympics watching I took a trip to Target where I proceeded to spend way more than necessary. Oops.
Swimming, climbing, biking and napping. Could it get any better?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Camp Pendelton Sprint

Race report: Saturday morning, snoozed 3 times at 5am and somehow managed to crawl out of bed after staying up way too late watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics...I have a feeling this will happen a lot in the next 2 weeks. Drove all the way up to the base, parked, checked in, walked all the way to the transition area, got organized, and then waited. Forever.
I was in the 2nd to last wave at 8:47am. Our heat got off and it was quite a swim. I'd say probably the hardest 500 yard race I've been in. The surf was pretty crazy as were the currents. I somehow managed to not catch any waves on the way in...just my luck...but was the first out of the water, battling it out with another girl on the 200 yard deep sand run to the transition. T1-holy crap I was out of breath! "Relax. jeepers! socks, shoes, helmet, sun glasses; now go! Oh crap! I didn't check to see which gear my bike was in and the start of the bike was an uphill ramp. lovely. shift. ok, go. You are breathing way too hard. You need water. Slow the breathing, get some water. Overpass hill, don't push too hard. Ok, get in the groove."
The bike was interesting. I saw 7 people with flats. Not including my friend Farah who got one in the last 2 miles of the race. I felt crappy the entire first 5 miles of the 18 mile out and back course. I was alternating drinking my powerade endurance with water. At the halfway point I had the volunteers splash me with water to cool off which felt amazing. I started feeling stronger. I ate a hammer gel at mile 13.7 which made my stomach feel not so great. Luckily that passed. Finished right around an hour (official splits aren't out until Wednesday) and was feeling ok going into T2. Switch shoes, number on, helmet off, hat on. Go!
Run: ramp again. lovely. an uphill run for the first half mile. I was literally shuffling my feet, thinking to myself, "Is this going to end?" Got some water at the first turn and dumped it on my head, which i proceeded to do at every aid station, and I feel was smart choice to help me from overheating. Mile 1, as usual I felt like crap. Mile 2, ok I can do this. Seriously, Rachel, it's only 3 miles. pick it up. Mile 3, alright, I'm finally feeling good. Stride is stronger and quicker. On the final push a 50 yr old man passed me. But he started his kick way too soon. And there was no way I was letting that happen. So about 10 seconds later I started my push, and passed him in the final steps. I was sprinting. wow. I didn't know I had it in me. 1:39 was my final time. Paul and I estimated that my goal time should be under 1:40... woohoo! :)
The usual lightheadedness set in. Then I had to cross a hovercraft with a steep up and down ramp. It was pretty neat actually. Drank more water, ate some orange slices and walked back down the ramp to the transition area to clean up. I went to the awards to cheer on my fellow TCSD winners and ended up hearing my name! The women's results hadn't been posted, so it was a nice surprise to hear that I placed 3rd in my age group!
Afterwards a bunch of TCSDers went to Oceanside Ale Works for a beer tasting event. Yummy! I then went to Bethany's and took her for a walk and watched Juno. Back at home to watch Phelps kick some a$$.
Sunday I slept in...mmm that was nice. Then I biked to the Cove, swam 3 miles, and biked back. (20 mile bike). The swim was cove/pier/cove and it was super choppy and pretty freakin cold. The currents were crazy. 35 min out going easy and 47 on the way back with considerably more effort. On the way home I got a flat on my rear tire in the middle of a bridge. Great. However, I fixed it myself and made it home! (yes I'm proud of myself) It was my 3rd flat, but my first time changing it without help/supervision. :) Sunday night I went to a Tri Club BBQ/Olympics watching party.
Kyle's challenge: Rachel has to run at least 30 min every day and Kyle has to swim at least 500 meters. We'll see how this goes. Club Race on Saturday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

JT's Two Torrey Pines Tuesdays

Tong twister, thigh burner, and thrilling.
Ok, I'm off the "t" rant. The past two Tuesdays (I promise that's it) on my usual Cabrillo morning ride, I've opted for the longer version up to La Jolla. July 29th we had mortgage mania at work (I won't even get started on that) and our hours were 11-8. So rather than waste my long morning sleeping in, I went to JT's ride with the thought of extending it afterwards by myself. I arrived and was excited to find out that a group was heading up the coast for a longer ride. Great! I don't have to bike alone. Hopefully I can keep up!
The ride went well. I don't think I could re-create it again, or even find my way home without the group! We started with 7 and ended up with 4 finishing the entire 2.5 hour 40 mile ride. We didn't do any laps on Torrey Pines - a long, steady hill - thank goodness! I only had 1 water bottle, filled with Powerbar Endurance drink and a Hammer gel. Definitely wished I had another bottle with water. Live (ride) and learn.
After the ride I had some time before work. So I ran for 30 min. Fun times (actually). I think for the first time in my short running life, I actually felt good. Like I could've kept going. Am I building endurance? hmm. I hope.
This week I showed up to the ride groggy (after Sunday's 5 mile swim) and expecting to get back on the Cabrillo ride. Nope. I did have a choice this time as 2 other riders were going on the usual ride. JT wanted to head up the coast again. I figured what the heck? I may as well get a long ride in. The only way I'm going to get better is to ride with people faster than me. Alright, JT, you better not drop me; I'll get lost.
Surprisied myself. We did a similar route (36 miles) in a little over 2 hours. The only time he really dropped me was on Torrey Pines. Of course. I really should work on hill repeats. We had to get back; I had to work at 10am this week so only 1 lap. 9min30sec from stop sign to blinking light. I better beat that next time. New plan: I'm starting out slower. Oh yeah, and bringing another bottle, with water. :) And, to clarify, I'm not by any means saying I kept up with JT; he was nice enough to ride with me.
Best part of the ride: JT, "Rachel, you're getting stronger on the bike!" wow, confirmation that what I feel is actually happening. And surprising as well, since as of lately, I've only been biking once a week (plus the measly miles I ride to work, in work clothes) because of weekend visitors and races.
Today and last Thursday were both Dale weeks at Mission Valley Y masters swimming. (my favorite day) "The Eliminator" and "The Indicator" were his workouts. Both challenging. And rewarding.
Today: 3x200 on 2:45 3x200 on 2:35 and 3x200 on 2:25. On the last 3 I was going 2:15s.
3x100 on 1:20, 3x100 on 1:15 and 3x100 on 1:10. swimming lingo. sorry. Posted for future comparison because he writes that workout every so often to test where we are at.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tour of the Buoys

This morning I competed in the highly anticipated La Jolla Cove Swim Club Tour of the Buoys 5 mile swimming race. My sister and I arrived to the shores at 7:30am, I got my race packet, found my kayaker, Buck, and an hour later, we were off. Beach start, running, dove in, saw a stingray in the sand, freaked out, kept swimming, passed the first buoy and settled into my groove. Buck found me easily thanks to my Wahoos bright green cap from my old college club team; good thing cause I wasn't going to look for him. The first leg of the race I was swimming with people, but after hitting the kelp beds and turning the first yellow buoy 14 minutes into the race, I was alone. The long back leg of the race started to bore me and I had to keep my head in the game. Getting used to swimming next to a kayak and learning how to keep the proper distance was also a challenge. I wasn't really sighting at all, so not having a forward marker made it difficult for me to keep straight. The next two buoys were the worst part of the race, as I couldn't even picture the map anymore and I didn't have any sense of direction. I drank some orange gatorade but that mixed with the salt water made it feel like I was drinking some sort of alcoholic drink...not so yummy. Lap 1: strong, but my left arm/shoulder/back was bothering me from primarily breathing on my right side so I yelled at Buck to switch sides so I could start breathing left and keep him in sight. Good plan.
Lap 2: primarily left side breathing to the kelp beds. I took 298 continuous stroke cycles (596 strokes) to that buoy. Time check. "1:09, ok, wow I can do this. keep up the tempo and you'll go under 2 hours. If nothing goes wrong. If. stop that, you feel good. now go." The long leg was about 450 cycles. My mind became consumed with counting and keeping that tempo. No stray thoughts, no singing, not even a little Dorry (Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, what do we do? we swim, swim.") I was feeling confident. Starting the turn back to the shores my kick was picking up as was my tempo. I faltered a little bit in there, and had a couple gatorade gulps and even ate part of a Hammer gel with some water. It was time to get this race over with. I looked at my watch, 1:46. I needed to pick it up. 600 yards left? I have no idea where I'm at. My mind starts wandering, delusions start overcoming me.
"NO! SNAP OUT OF IT! Okay, back on track. Just keep using that core, and let your arms recover, and then be strong, recover, strong. Oh final buoy thank goodness. Yeah for the surf bringing me to shore. Alright, get ready to engage those legs, you don't want to fall in front of all these people. So, swim longer-kick! Look out for stingrays, swim till your hand hits the bottom twice. Now, stand. Be strong. Run. Look back; okay no one. Run."
I looked up at the clock as I entered the finish line chute, 1:55.blur! My arms went into the air and a huge smile came over my face. I saw my sister taking a picture. Immediately my thoughts went to food. I need food.
Pizza and salad and yes, a little more gatorade.
I won my age-group, took 4th in the women's division, and 12th overall. Not bad for my first open water swimming race.
Here's a shout out to my college roommate and soon to be bride, Katie: Good luck in your 10k lake swim coming up! May the force of the pink ladies be with you.
To retired Sioux Girls: I've never felt better.
(pictures and possible video to be added when I get them)
Here is the video link on youtube:
Thanks Buck!