Monday, January 25, 2010

Storm of the Century

...and other such musings.

It's pretty funny how worked up people get over a little rain and wind. Maybe it's just my negativity for trainers and treadmills, or thoughts of "real" weather back in Minnesota and North Dakota, but seriously? It wasn't that bad. It was a little challenging fitting it all in, but not once did I end up on one of those dreaded machines.

I live in San Diego. I'll say it again, San Diego living is Glorious. I can't imagine preparing for an Ironman anywhere else. May 1st is a pretty "early season" Ironman, and who else besides Arizona, Hawaii, and Southern Cal residents can possibly have an adequate preparation? So when people say us Utah'ers are crazy for signing up because of the dreadfulness of winter training, that should exclude us nice weather peeps. Yeah, we have to deal with the cold, the rain, and the wind...but not forever. It will continue to be sunny in San Diego. So suck it up.

Last week couldn't be a wash week (pun intended) for me. The previous week was my rest week, so I knew I needed to plan it out and get it done. Monday was a swim...partly cloudy. no rain. Tuesday was my day off, so I did bike intervals on Fiesta followed by what would've been my short track workouts, but decided to "race" a 5k on Kyle's Navy base. I ran through the finish line, and then kept running...partly cloudy. no rain. We rode home together, and just as we arrived it started to sprinkle. Yeah for getting it all in! Wednesday it was supposed to rain, so I opted for another swim. Sunny. no rain Literally, sun in my eyes. Outlook on the western front was good.

Thursday there was no avoiding it. I had to get my long run in, so I put on some layers and headed out in the morning. It was windy. It rained for maybe 2 of the 11 miles, one being the first mile, just to make me suffer soaking through the rest of the run. Although, a brutal headwind at mile 2-4 kind of dried me out. Then came the repeats up Cannon, and it was HOT! I was dying in all my layers. Good times.
Friday it was supposed to rain, so I opted for yoga in the morning. sprinkles, barely. Saturday it was raining when I woke up, but I had to get another ride in. I left the house at 7am right when the rain stopped. The roads were soaking, Fiesta Island was a mess, and Soledad Mtn repeats were a bit chilly, but nothing too horrible...but I can't say the same about my bike. Poor Kermit. Not a happy camper.
This was after the initial brush off.
He was a little cranky. :)

Sunday was...interesting. 7am departure for what was supposed to be a 4 hour ride. 39 degrees through Rose Canyon, and a frozen puddle about froze the under-prepared (Jake and I).
Noko walking around the flooded area.
Yes I have a temp gage. 39 plus (or rather minus) the "wind chill" you create while riding. Awesome.

Up the coast and met up with Steve and Erin, and did the Elfin Forest, Del Dios loop. Realized I had enough food for 3.5 hours, and that this ride was going to end up at 5 hours. Coach gave Noko and I the lovely task of Via Capri at mile 70.

Via Capri. To all you non San Diegan's, this is quite a steep pitch. 650 vertical ft over only 1.4 miles. I didn't think I was going to make it. I was bonking hard. The thought of a Double Double from In and Out was the only thing that got me up that horrendous pitch. Jake's front derailleur wasn't working, so he pushed on in his big ring, taking breaks in random driveways and side streets. I can't believe he did that. I have a compact crank and a 27 in the back. I'm sure my cadence was lower than 40. I wanted to cry, but didn't have enough energy to muster pedal pushing, much less a tear. Made it somehow. With many thoughts of turning back and just f'ing going around. And much to my coach's dismay, I stopped at In and Out for that Double Double. I barely remember tasting it. 5 hours and 79.5 miles later I was home. And late for work...No time for a transition run, but I thought long and hard, and ate and drank and worked. And after work I went for a run. It was the first time I wanted to go for a run. Just to run. I didn't look at my HR or pace once. I just ran. It felt far from effortlessness, but I was running, with aggression, with passion and without limits. Good times. HR was surprisingly normal, and the pace was pretty quick considering the days prior events. I survived the storm. I laugh thinking about it.

I got an email prior to last week titled "Storm Watch" and forwarded it to my coach, to ask about the dreadmill and trainer. His response,
"When scientists start using phrases like, 'barreling towards', 'slam into', and 'truly ominous', I instantly become suspicious that they've become a little too enamored with their own work. Especially when it involves weather/climate models." He couldn't have been more right. Congrats San Diego...we survived the storm of the century. Now don't ruin my plans for the Great Western tomorrow.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


San Diego living is Glorious.

2009. An entire year.

To quote David Bowie:
turn and face the strain.
Time may change me.

But I can't trace time."

Here is my attempt at tracing my time over the past year through many changes in life: My 2009 year in review, a month late. :)

Family: I got to see my family a bunch this year. My parents came to visit and it just happened to be the same weekend as my first half ironman. A couple trips to Phoenix to visit Meg including our satellite christmas. I went to Minnesota for the Peacock wedding in June, but didn't make it to my home. Finally, as an entire family, after a year and a half, we were all able to get together at the same time for Thanksgiving. Took some great family fotos at the local studio. Ate some amazing mom food. Ran in the cold.

2x Half Ironman: So that'd make me a full Ironman, right? haha, far from. Yet I clicked "Pay Now" for my 2010 Ironman Utah Race Entry. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. May 1, 2010 here I come. The two halves went well. I was the 5th overall female at Superfrog, my first half, in March, winning the swim. October brought a lot of challenges, but I managed to PR at SOMA half, and win the swim. I even out swam the pro males. :) I can only hope for such success and effortlessness come May. Finishing St. George with a smile on my face. That's the goal.

Job: I left Wells Fargo in the pursuit of happiness. Joined the crew at Moment Cycle Sport, a local shop just down the road from me, and haven't looked back. Need a new bike? I am working on marketing and sales for the company, however, for a couple months my job title was "race director" as we presented the Inaugural San Diego Triathlon Classic. It was a ton of work, but ended up being a huge success. September 18, 2010 here we come again.

Coach: I am a coach, and I have a coach. I instruct private swimming lessons, I still volunteer coach for the Tri Club San Diego, and I was offered a coaching sponsorship for my Ironman training, and I couldn't be more grateful. 17 hour training I come.

Bike: Another new bike. This time a road bike. Parlee Z4. What a dream to ride. I think I finally found a name: Cookie Monster. "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me. P is for Parlee, a joy he's been to me." Staying with the Sesame Street theme there. And yes I still have Kermit, my custom Guru, and am still in love, 4,000 miles later.
Health: when most people are down, the quote, "well at least I have my health" comes out. Unfortunately that hasn't been so for me. After my first half, I injured my back and was slow getting back. Through many ART sessions with Dr. Matt, was back racing and training again. Only to crash my bike and separate my shoulder. In the middle of the summer. My favorite San Diego months. I was determined to do everything I could to get back. I swam with one arm for 5 weeks in the ocean before I was even able to attempt rotating my right arm again. Surprisingly, cycling was the easiest to get back into. Running was out of the question. Healed. Finished that 2nd Half and got serious about this Ironman training thing. I think I was almost 8 weeks in and doing great, listening to my coach, increasing run volume the right way, and bam. Bad news from the doc leads to surgery to remove some scary cells. Out for a week. Back to training, with another good three week build, until bam. Colonoscopy. Hopefully surgery won't be necessary. Luckily that was during a rest week. Okay, enough bad news, this needs to end.
Swimming: Did a lot of it this year. I was really enjoying the cove and ocean swimming before the bike accident. After only a week off, I got back in the water. I became famous for my one armed long distance swimming. Thanks to all my swimmer friends who waited for me and to all my non-swimmer friends who raced me. I won a couple of swims (Superfrog, Pier to Cove, SDIT, Tuggs, SOMA, club races) and used swimming as therapy, emotional and physical. I also challenged my friends to a 10 mile swim around Point Loma, which unfortunately didn't happen due to the accident, but don't worry. I haven't forgotten. :)
Friends: Met a lot of cool people this year. Great training partners, great cooks and, great people. Weddings, parties, game nights, leg wrestling; you name it, these guys are up for a great time anytime. Oh yeah, and there a really fast group of peeps as well. Please don't de-friend me through this ironman craziness.
Rocks: Did a little bit of climbing with a certain sailor who's back in my life. :) Although that's what he'd say about it. A little. :) His climbing trips turn into my training trips. J-tree adventures usually include some sort of bike and run workouts. But that's why we workout together. Thanks Kyle, for putting up with the other K-man in my life (Kermit).

Alright, so that's it. 2009. 49 blog entries, 4000 Kermit miles, 1500 Cookie Monster miles, Jack the Jeep had a rough Christmas but is pulling through with who knows how many miles, 7000 airline miles all summed up into 1 post.

On my way to effortlessness...sleep. Time may change me, but I can't make time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking back and ahead

Year end and beginning bring thoughts back to accomplishments and forward to goals. It's good to have some self assessment. To measure where you come from and where you are going. So here it is. I'm not so much for the resolutions, although if I did have one, it'd be to update the blog more regularly, so my posts don't continue on the mile long road of craziness, so to become less daunting of a task. Looks like I've already failed at that, since my last post was quite a while ago. Anyway...Onwards.

Last year my word was "Athlete" and I'll do my year end review soon.

This year I've decided on "Effortlessness." To most this would seem like I have this disbelief that I won't have to try, but really it's the opposite meaning. I want to excel in what I do and I know this will take much practice, much effort, and much thought. Then, when performance time comes I'll look and hopefully feel effortless.

With that said, finishing an Ironman is a huge goal. Having it feel effortless is even crazier. I know that it will be a long day, but with the right preparation I know most of the suffering will be mental.

Effortlessness. defines it best: the quality of requiring little effort; "such effortlessness is achieved only after hours of practice"

I will put in those hours.

I've set some goals for this year and I'm reminded of them every time I open my weekly training plan from my coach.
1. Remain injury free
2. Increase run speed and run endurance (This one should just say "become a runner")
3. Finish Ironman St. George with a smile on my face

First off, staying injury free is not effortlessness at it's finest. Balancing "getting it done" with "being able to get it done" isn't quite as easy as scheduling out my weekly workouts...which ain't easy either. Staying on top of stretching, core work, and yoga, along with some (okay, a lot of) help from Dr. Matt at Crac with his ART loving hands has been essential in keeping me ready for training.

Goal 2. Becoming a runner? Far from effortless. This has been my hardest, yet "proudest" part of my training. Every week, and every month, I'm at my "All-time personal record" for run distance. This week is 11 mile long run, 23 mile weekly total, 71 miles in the last 30 days! Which for some, is a part of their life, but for me it's crazy. I've never ran over 40 miles in a month, which included a 13 mile run in a half Ironman race. Yet, with such little training I was able to fake my way through the run of two half Ironmans. I said it out loud. Times are changing. There is no faking the run of an Ironman. I respect the distance because I have a little fear in it. All this running for a non-runner seems crazy, and a contradiction of goal 1. How can I remain injury free, beating myself up? Enter coach Brian. Can't thank him enough for figuring it out for me. Doing the right training, and the right volume at the right pace is the way to become an effortlessness looking runner. I almost laughed at the thought. It'll come, he tells me. I'm waiting for the day.

Finally, goal 3. Finishing with a smile. That's effortlessness. Thinking back on all these "hours of practice" I'm putting in now will accumulate up to the second before I cross that line.

Then, just past that line, according to my season begins.

Monday, January 4, 2010

guest posting!

Warning. If you don't like blood and "guts" don't scroll down.

Mixing it up a bit, I figured I'd let someone else tell the tale of the weekend. What better person than the man who decked himself? If you haven't seen the pictures on facebook, or you have and want the whole account of the situation, here is Kyle's narrative of what went down this weekend in Joshua Tree...while I was out gallivanting on a 4 hour ride with no cell service. I returned to this:
January 1st, Two thousand Ten, first day of a new year, the sixth year of my love affair with rock climbing. A long run, especially for me, of going accident free in fairly accident intense sport. The weekend had just begun, a weekend that was supposed to be a bar-lifting, record setting, motivated, no brakes climbing extravaganza, when it all came crashing down around me.

I was going to be climbing with a new partner, one with similar goals in mind for the weekend, someone who was trying to break into slighter harder grades like myself and one I was hoping to climb with in the future as well. After a quick meet and greet we saw Rachel pedal off into the sunset, grab the gear and headed over to what would be my first of hopefully many 5.10 rated climbs. For non-climbers out there, 5.10 could be considered the first of the 'harder' grades. 5.7-5.9 being 'moderates' and I was getting tired of knocking off moderates and was looking to up the ante.

So recap, First day of the New year, first climb of the day, first climb with new partner I had just met 30 minutes ago, first 5.10.... and about 50 feet up, 25 feet from a large ledge, I sloughed off the route, rope began to grow taut on my last piece of protection, piece pops out of the crack, and I fall very un-elegantly into a Kyle-sized heap on the ledge. I fell in a 'standing up'-esque position with my feet hitting the deck first, but moving extremely quickly with my knees and head quickly following my feet onto the deck.
The knees.
My knees probably absorbed about 92% of the impact and the frontal lobe of my skull the remaining 8%. I had always believed helmets were only necessary in areas with a lot of loose rock and multipitch climbs with parties above you and therefore not common in Jtree due to the lack of falling rock and the well 'broken in' routes. However, I am really lucky I didnt hit my head any harder, and will wear it in the future.

The crash brought a lot of groups to come help and I managed to down climb to the ground under my own power. Many insisted I go to the hospital immediately, and "not fall asleep or you may not wake up" however I knew I had only dinged my head slightly and was far more worried about the very wrecked knees. In order to appease the masses Richard, my brand new partner and possible accomplice in my decking, and I set off in his truck, in order to 'drive to the hospital' but in fact only to a pull out down the road and put that snazzy Xterra first aid kit of mine into action. Fully wrapped and feeling a little less shocked/nervy/tweaked out we returned to my car and parted ways, wishing him luck for the rest of the weekend.

Now with Rachel gone on a 4 hour bike ride, I began to make plans to lay down in the back of my car and read my book until she returned. However, with the onset of major swelling I decided a determined trip back into town to buy ice and some beer was definitely in order. Returning after a painful trip I quickly pumped up Rachel's sleeping pad, and organized the rear compartment for maximum comfort and knee elevation whilst icing.
I almost couldn't wait to see Rachel's face when she returned, although I knew in my head that it was a major bonus that she wasn't around when it all went down ( pun intended) I also was aching for some TLC that only Rachel could provide. I managed to hobble around the rest of the weekend and even climbed two easy pitches the next day, because there was NO WAY I was going to waste an entire three day weekend in Jtree and not climb.

The knees still ache but I think the swelling is going down and can only hope they continue to heal quickly with my Half marathon on the 25th now looming ever closer. And while I did not in any way meet my goals for this weekend, I did gain a lot in the experience side of life.
The morning after

Afterward, while laid back in my car waiting for Rachel, multiple climbers who had seen/heard of the incident approached me and offered their sympathy and, unsurprisingly some 'herbal relief' and while I of course turned it down every time I did find one sympathetic anecdote interesting; "There are two types of climbers in the world, those that have, and those that will" and although its always nice to feel like you've achieved some kinda landmark in any sport I can't help but worry about a third possible category... "those that will again."The route: Purple star is where he fell from. Red star is where his last placement pulled, and the green oval is the general area/ledge that he came crashing down onto.

So that's it. I don't want to freak people out. What he did was dangerous and isn't what will happen to you if you are getting introduced to the sport. Kyle is an experienced leader, but like the random climber said, you either have, or you will. But that's if you are leading. Top rope climbing is relatively safe and fun. Don't let his accident scare you away from one of the greatest sports I've tried.

My account of the weekend is up next. :) I promise it's much less gruesome.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

happy birthday to me.

i love skating.
i "love" running.

Sunday the 27th was my 26th birthday. For some reason (USAT) I thought I was 24, turning 25 this year for the last couple of months. I actually had to count it out on my fingers how old I actually am. Sillyness yes. So this year I am 26, but by USAT rules I'm 27. I'll be racing Ironman in the middle of my age group (because of 4 freaking days). Anyway, what better way to celebrate your birthday than with a brick on Fiesta Island? I mean come on, it is the "party" island, right? Wrong, I wish I was out in east county with some special cupcakes and a birthday ride with my friends. But it was good to get out and get that workout in with Kyle. I even had one of my favorite Christmas cookies instead of a Gu as some mid-ride fuel. I really have to start working on this nutrition plan (and sticking to it!). These hot chocolate/doughnut/cookie rides aren't going to cut it at Ironman, or any race.I got a nice comment on Kermit, "Was that a Christmas present?" which was cool, since he's over a year old now. He does need a good cleaning (with rubber ducky) however. Off to work for a couple of hours. Yes, work on my birthday, how horrible I know. That's what happens when you get old (and work in retail.) Then I made Kyle drive me to Dairy Queen like 25 min away from my house for Ice Cream favorite. We met my friends in Coronado for some ice skating at the Hotel Del's outdoor, on the beach, rink. Yet again, more fun. Nikee (from Chicago) had never skated before! Being midwestern, that is truly a sin. I took lessons for a while, and showed off some of my moves.
Back home to enjoy the big cake to ourselves! Kyle brought it to work on Tuesday which was Physical Inventory day...counting stuff for 15 hours at the shop. The ice cream cake was a very nice break in the day!

Thanks to everyone for making my day so special. My roommates were all still on their respective vacations, but had surprises waiting for me on the table when I got home from Arizona. My parents sent my present to Meg's house and I got to use it early! (pots/dishes for camping!) Thanks to the college roommates for the presents mailed way on time...they totally kick my butt at being great friends. Here's to a new year, one more closer to 30. hehe.