Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

{Ah, one of my all time favorite Office intros. Love the Jim/Dwight banter.}

So if you haven't heard, I'm training for a triathlon. Which happens to be long. And at elevation. And for someone who literally lives at the sea, this isn't an easy feat. Since I know race day is full of surprises, I'm trying to minimize the shock factor. By shocking my system into shape. What's more shocking than a bear? The past 3 weekends have been filled with bear sightings:

1) Tahoe girls weekend; a brown bear managed to stumble into town and climb a tree after being spooked. Slept on the branch all day as tourists wandered past taking photos. I have to admit, his little {okay, very large} paw hanging from the branch was cute. He must have crawled down at night as he was gone by sunrise. 

2) California State Criterium Championships at Brentwood; ie the race for the coveted bear jersey! Kyle and I had a fun getaway up to LA last weekend. Stayed at the local Brentwood Inn, a quaint upscale hotel minutes from the race course. Kyle picked up a "W" in the men's 4/5 race, which sadly was not contesting for the jersey. I managed first loser in the 3/4 race in my first crit of the season. {dang it! I forgot how freaking long that sprint section is! Should've sucked wheel longer! Congrats to the Skyflash ladies for playing the cards perfect and for a ridiculously strong sprint.} Kyle battled back after a crash in the 4s and solo'd the remainder of the race. The highlight for me was hanging on for the finish of the pro 1-3 race! 55 min of constant attacks and counter attacks. Read: not what this endurance girl has been training for! Power meter picked up some great data to use next season. Last year I was dropped after 20 min {granted I tested positive for strep throat the following day} and this year I found myself amazed to be there in the end. A super fun, yet ridiculously challenging race. Ended up 14th, but the first cat 3 over the line. So by an un-technical, technicality, I was a state champ. :)

3) Big Bear Lake, CA; training camp weekend with a bunch of San Diego peeps training for Tahoe. Got another chance to train at elevation a bit closer to home and learned more valuable lessons to store in the suitcase for IM. 

Kyle, Jeremy and I headed up late on Friday night and arose after a restless first night of sleep. {ugh elevation!} Hopped on the bike for a 60 mile effort with the gang up to Onyx summit {and down and back up again}. Tried to stay within IM efforts and am really learning to hold back. Had a quick change transition and headed out for a 9 mile run. And I survived! Confidence boost and more deposits in the bank. 

Sunday was quite the opposite. Everyone woke up a bit more lethargic and the impending doom of the century ride was starting to set it. Another night of restless sleep.
The first 65 miles were great. Beautiful views riding on the "Rim of the World" down highway 18 looking out towards LA. Turning north over Crestline, the descents on hwy 138 were epic! A freshly paved road, wooded, and winding with beams of sunshine, this is a road you must ride. Made it to the desert floor and my slow leaking rear tube finally gave out. Limped our way to the nearest market to refuel {no mxn coke!} and change the flat. 

Survived the next 15 miles to the base of the climb back up to Big Bear and I was feeling the cumulating efforts of the weekend, the heat, the elevation, the saddle and then this- a freaking mountain in front of us. I said this in a post, but I've never wanted to get off my bike so badly, so I did. After a 10 mile slugfest up, I had enough. Everyone was regrouping under a bush and Kara, Kevin and I made the decision to pull the plug at mile 90. Kyle and Jeremy were our knights in spandex kits and finished the final 14 miles to the cabin and rescued us. Seated shower, pizza and a Corona haven't been better. 

I was finally able to sleep through the night {yeah I'd hope so} and Monday we slept in. Well, minus Kyle who had a 4am wake up to make it back to SD in time for work. The rest of us headed to the lake for a swim after a lazy morning. 

I was enjoying myself until a police boat scared the living crap out of me with his siren/horn! Apparently there is an ordinance about swimming 50ft from shore. He said it was highly likely I would get run over by a boat. So I swam in and along the shore back to where I started. Chatted with a few raft floating fisherman who noticed the boat speeding towards me and thought he was going to hit me. Lol. They asked if it was me who screamed. Yes, yes it was me and a heart attack while swimming is no joke. Luckily they weren't catching fish big enough to eat my feet, but I put a move on it back to the start. We had a delicious brunch at the Teddy Bear cafe, cleaned up and Kara drove Jeremy and I {and a very full Corola} back to San Diego. Big thanks to her for organizing the weekend accommodations!

I know I shouldn't be hard on myself for Sunday. But it's hard to swallow quitting something I've set out to do. Finding limits. Testing them. I can only ask so much of myself, but ugh. {I know, #firstworldproblems} We all have goals and aspirations and places we want to be. I want to be an Ironman {again}. Maybe I need to start eating beets. :) 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

all too familiar; yet so reflective

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm sore. I'm exhausted.

{jeepers, you'd think I was PMS'ing or something}

Nope. I'm dead in the middle of my Ironman build. Yippie ki-yay! Why do we block these memories out when Race Registration Compulsion Disorder (RRCD) sets in? {Swim, Bike, Mom on the credit for that one} Why is that finish line so powerful? Powerful enough to make someone sign up for another?

It is about the journey, right?

Journey of an Ironman. Pony up the dough 12+ months in advance. Start training 6 months in advance. Freak out 4 months in advance because training hasn't commenced. Hire coach. Train. Feel like you'll never gain fitness again, and then fitness itself starts peeking through the curtains. Hello, thank goodness you are here. What's next?

Panic mode. Cramming for Ironman. How many of us will overtrain on our journey there?

Thank goodness the fitness is starting to show up to my workouts. It's not perfect, and I'm not close to race weight, but I'm on a path {albeit not straight} to getting to that finish line. With a smile on my face. I've hada good streak of training as of late and can only hope to ride this wave all the way to taper time.

However, it's not always sunshine and rainbows, even in San Diego. I heard an NPR segment recently about how social media and our "online personalities" are actually making everyone else depressed. All too common are those posts about the sunshine and rainbows, and smiling kids, and weddings, celebrations, sunsets. We wrap those perfect moments into a collection and leave out the rest.  Rain, tears, breakups, crying babies, work frustrations all get slid under the social media rug and then what? Our lives become these perfect little square photos of smiles online, but unravel behind the screen. I understand there is a limit and a balance as well. You're probably thinking of the person you blocked from your timeline who hasn't a happy thing to say. But see, we push them away. Into this fake friendship, instead of reaching out. Instilling a smile into their so unpleasant online world. Remember the FB "Poke" and the smiles those used to bring to your belly when the notification rang?

Poke. :) Am I really getting old enough to say, "Remember, in the olden days?"

Everyone has setbacks. It wouldn't make the good times great if it weren't for these "why me?" moments. Woe is me, my heel has been a literal pain in the foot since January. Woe is me, walking to pee in the morning is a serious struggle full of painful steps. Woe is me. Work has becoming increasingly stressful. This is not a pity part blog, Rachel!

space boots. recovery mode on.
It's either hurry up and get through these days, these workouts. Or Stop. And smell the roses along the way, enjoy the view, your ability, the shivers you get when thinking of that last mile before the finish. And that line. Drawn in the sand, that we must cross. To reach the end of the cycle. To maybe start again someday.

I said my first would be my last. And here I am, cycling back to the #freakingironman mode. And I feel it becoming a part of me. Not enough to outbreak in RRCD because that'll happen when the time is right. But enough to know that I still have that light inside and I won't let these woes blow it out. Maybe someday the {ironman} light will jump to the Sherpa and we'll experience what a household of #craziness is all about. {Yes, I also think it's crazy that my brain is starting to process the "pound/hashtag" as a part of my daily communication. We're all doomed.}

goldfish reflections. yum.
I've become a bit more reflective this time around. Which I suppose happens when you do something over again, but in a new way. Reflections get distorted and aren't perfect. But neither are we who are reflected. Those square photos are a snapshot of this ever crazy journey. And right now, I'm happy where that journey is headed.

reflections at the pool. in not so sunny SD