End of Year!

2009 Recap:
2009 Races
click on the photo for links to each event

Run: 934 Bike: 2,873 Swim: 67 miles
9 races plus 1 Alcatraz Crossing, volunteered at 2 events

2009 was the year of the TRI. I learned to swim and do my first Triathlon, Ultra and Alcatraz Crossing and started getting humble AG wins in running. The total mileage was upped, but split into multiple activities. I had improved speed and endurance in running and swimming.

I found it hard to find the time and energy to do long bike rides in tandem with swimming and marathon training, but now that my swim time is better and I feel more comfortable with it I hope to get back on the bike more. Instead of running high mileage, I learned to get efficient high-intensity running workouts in each week. I picked up a new off-season sport that I like: boogieboarding!

My goal is to do more pace workouts and update my cobwebs PRs list. Do another marathon, an oly tri, a century ride, a distance swim, and let the rest happen. I'll be entering a new age group so that should be interesting! I would like to swim 800m in 15min, a 5k in under 20, and at least get a 4:20 marathon.

Cool winter recovery tip: I took it easy from running but upped my swimming mileage, and noticed that getting back into running was easier after the break because I kept up my cardio. Also, over the holidays I had a week and a half of no sugar or refined carbs. When you do that there is no such thing as a bonk and it keeps the weight down when you are in an easy phase. I see carbs alot differently now.

This has been a weird decade, full of darkness, doom and gloom, but it has also been a decade filled with some turning points. I am going to light my candle and keep it burning bright! Let's see if we can sneak in a few more running miles in today. Happy 2010!


Coastal Trail

Jo Lynn and Boomer at the Cliff House

This weekend I had the opportunity to run with Jo Lynn and Boomer and show them the San Francisco section of the beautiful Coastal Trail. I ran to meet her and we ran from Golden Gate Bridge to the Cliff House and back. She took some amazing photos before it rained. Jo Lynn is a super friendly & supportive runner and a pleasure to run with. I totally lost track of the time and ended up with 15 miles on my Garmin. It is a treat to slow down and run, bike and swim for pure enjoyment. It's been a great holiday. I feel like I have new legs! Looking forward to the new year!


Having Fun

Irene and I Boogie Boarding at Kelly's Cove

After the ultra I took a week off to relax and visit family. I had the sniffles for several weeks, but I have a feeling that is because I wasn't taking my regular cold swims in the ocean. After this weekend of going back to the cold water - I AM CURED! Seriously! I'm doing easy workouts for the rest of the year, mostly swimming. I am trying to do my part to swim at least 3-5 miles per week for the USATNCC that our club is competing in. This is more than I usually swim during regular training season and am really enjoying it. My swim times have greatly improved since last summer. Joining a tri club and a swim club has helped challenge me to go the extra mile, I highly recommend it. It has been a great year and I didn't even "plan" it that way, it seemed to evolve organically. I am keeping that in mind as I am looking at next year. The recession has left me living check-to-check and I can't sign up for all the events that I want to. But that's not going to stop me from continuing to improve by training hard and having a great time!

My friend Irene is teaching me how to catch waves. Now that I know how to swim I'm finally having a blast at Ocean Beach!



Northface Endurance Challenge 50k


I will just have to say WOW! on this one. A very challenging 32 miles! This is the hardest run I've ever done. A week's worth of mileage in one day. It's unbelievable how much climbing there is on this one. I have full respect for ultra runners that did the 50 mile. Makes flat road marathons look like a piece of cake, really.

The views are amazing. I even saw a coyote up near Hawk Hill.


The whole race experience was great, awesome volunteers, lots of slow torturous uphill powerwalking climbs, painful descents, beautiful scenery, friendly runners. Whoever made the chocolate cupcakes and brownies are an angel. They had my drink of choice which is Nuun, and vegetarian options for the hot meal at the finish. I carried my camelbak and carb flask loaded with gu. At the aid stations partook in the pb and jelly sandwiches, baked potatoes with salt (mmm), chips and chocolate cupcakes. I weighed in when I got home and lost 5 lbs. water?

Almost 8 hours of running. I'm smiling, but exhausted in lots of pain. Lower back, achilles tendon, quads, hip flexors, arms...I got some kt tape for recovery - didn't realize I could put it on before the run. Now I know.

Ran steady up wide hilly trails in the first part. This is good because then you get sorted out and not stuck behind someone on singletrack. This is also bad because if you can't keep up the pace then you get people running on top of you on singletrack. Physically, it was tough. My hip flexors gave out halfway through it, I could barely lift my legs anymore. I was using my arms to lift my leg up a few times. My lower back and achilles tendons are also quite sore. Mentally, I felt like I was being punished. Though I love trails to bits I prefer them in healthy, manageable doses. There were only a few miles of steady pace running where I could "relax". The rest were teeth clenching wtf bitch miles. It got insane by the time I reached the last third. I was LOL to myself then I saw a coyote. Not a hallucination. I didn't think to take a photo of it. It was hard to stop and start again. There was a lot of run-walk-run, counting of steps. I didn't bring an ipod but I had some songs stuck in my head. Don't ask me why but they were "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Welcome to the Jungle" by Aerosmith, and "Truckin" the Pop-O-Pies version LOL.

Met some nice runners, ladies from SoCal. People were friendly as they passed by me. I'm more than happy to yield to faster runners and attempt to use them as a pacer. I noticed the legs on the people who passed - twice as thick muscly tree trunk legs! Next time I do one of these (if) I will have some jokes ready for them.

That's it for me this year. 50k to Couch program is underway. Will do lots of swimming and easy running for the remainder of 2009. The rains are here which makes cycling a drag.

Northface Endurance Challenge website



Run Wild for a Child 5k

Run Wild for a Child 5k

I love 5ks! They are over before you know it. Add costumes, music and a toy drive and you have a really great time called the Run Wild for a Child 5k! This is a good run for kids and teens, and there are runners of all ages, from 1 to 83! I dressed up in a Twister costume, and saw that another lady also had a Twister costume, so we teamed up and became the Twister Sisters! Having the costumes added a whole new social aspect to the race. I met a bunch of fun runners, and we all got medals just for running in a costume (actually won a gift certificate to Sports Basement also!) I also got 4th in my age group, added bonus since I did work hard and ran 100% plus my maximum heart rate. Thanks to all the awesome volunteers!

For toy donations in San Francisco call (415) 777-0440 SFFD Website

Diabetes cases to double and costs to triple by 2034

Health, Diet & Recovery
Having witnessed family members go through type 2 diabetes this is troubling news. Another reason to keep moving and eat veggies.


Distance Disparity

Here are three different distances for the same 47min 30 sec run on hills and stairs:

Garmin Forerunner 305: 3.33 mi
Nike + : 4.56 mi
Gmaps Pedometer: 3.6 mi

Which one is the accurate one? I think the disparity has a lot to do with hills and stairs because yesterday's run wasn't so hilly so it was only off for about 3/4 mi for a 6 mile run. Whatever. I'll run on effort, though I'm supposed to log my miles for the USAT Triathlon National Challenge Competition.

On another note, I raided the farmers market this week and came home with three pounds of persimmons for Thanksgiving yumminess. Hope you have a good one!


End of November already?

I can't believe the year is almost over! It has been tough at times, especially with the recession hitting everyone I know including myself, but in the parallel universe of run/bike/swim, it's been pretty darn awesome. It keeps me going and my spirits up. Not to mention yoga which is extremely grounding...and marathons of A Bit of Fry and Laurie which are freaking hilarious.

Saturday: Bike Expo! Watched friends racing in cyclocross and wondered if I can haul my bike up these steps.
Sunday: Swim & Run!
Countdown: less than 2 weeks away from ultra, next weekend fun 5k!

Why exercise makes you less anxious


Motivation for Hill Work

This is the next course profile for the ultra in 17 days and a little motivation for me to do hill running today. I'm going to try to maintain and extend the fitness level gained from the last marathon into the 50k before the final taper.

FYI There is a Presidio Coastal Trail Improvements Project underway. I missed the information meeting but you can send in your feedback. ***I love this trail!*** They are planning to remove the sand ladder and add improvements for pedestrian access to Baker Beach which include expanded car-parking facilities. I hope they aren't going to cut down too many trees for this and also that it doesn't create even more traffic on the road there. Many cyclists use the adjacent road. Also, with the upcoming work, access to parts of the trail might be temporarily closed. What will I do?

Coastal Trail


Recovery Week

It's been a good week. I survived without injuries! The calves were hella tight and sore by the achilles tendon, so I took it easy and mellow and slowly eased back into it with some power walking, then light flat jogging, then back on trails. Had some great swimming in the bay. At 56° F, the water doesn't seem as cold as I thought it would. I am going to try to keep swimming through the winter. I didn't think I would like swimming this much, I'm hooked! On Saturday went out with couple peeps from GGTC to join the Swim Art swim, and we jumped off the pier! Coach Leslie gave me some great stroke pointers and we did some technical drills. My friend Irene ended up doing her 2nd Alcatraz crossing that day! On Sunday went out with Water World Swim and had a great inside to outside cove swim. On both days there were strong currents, but it is calm in some areas and then little jet streams in others. It was good practice for me to swim into these and practice getting over the panic and swim through it. Today I was caught in a water treadmill near the jacuzzi and could not get anywhere. I think the water was collecting at the wall and built up alot of pressure there. Pedro directed me to go to the right a bit and I was freed. Sometimes you just need to take it at a different angle.

I saw an amazing NatGeo doc called Stress: Portrait of a Killer about the brain and how stress affects us. It points to Professor Dr. Robert Sapolsky's lifelong studies of baboon behavior and you can find several of his lectures online. In one of the interviews he recommends ways of coping with stress:

1. commit to consistent stress management
2. don't displace stress on others
3. maintain perspective
4. don't get gored (does this mean avoid overly stressful situations?)
5. friends

Now I know why I love to exercise so much, see #1. Gimme Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins, and just little dash of controlled Epinephrine on occasion during a hard bout to push the endurance a little farther and I'm alright!


Stinson Beach Marathon

Stinson Beach Marathon
This was a challenging and BEAUTIFUL course. I still can't believe I did it! (Yes I can, because I'm totally sore today!) It was beautiful day to run and the weather was PERFECT! It had rained a couple days ago so their was some dampness and wet leaves on the trails. I'm glad I got some new trail shoes with extra grip. Wearing new shoes on a marathon is not recommended.

Stinson Beach Marathon

We started off in the sand of Stinson Beach after Dave delivered his pre-race meeting instructions and jokes (which is very entertaining btw). Then we headed straight up the Dipsea Trail and Steep Ravine for about 3-4 miles of steady climbing. It took me a while to warm up, and I was carrying a 7lb Camelbak full of water, so was a little out of breath. It was a relief to reach each downhill approach but then I remembered that downhill can be just as challenging and painful if not more than uphill. Some of the runners are very good at descending and were able to speed past.

Stinson Beach Marathon

Lot of lush switchbacks heading in and around Muir Woods. Every now and then there was a babbling brook or moss-covered bridge to cross, and at one point, a ladder! At times I would find myself running alone and stunned by the remarkable silence and peacefulness here. Even though the trails were well marked I would have several moments of - omg am I going in the right direction? Then I would see another runner or orange ribbon and be relieved. I stuck with fueling and hydration the way I trained. Take a sip of water every half mile, and gu every 45 minutes. They had salty snacks, gatorade and water at the aid stations. I unbelievably made it to 11.75 miles the first 2 hours, considering the elevations. In my mind I thought "whew, the hard part is over". NOT.

Stinson Beach Marathon

The Coastal Trail on the ridge seems like a cakewalk on the elevation graph but it is not. It is very rolling, which means, watch your step or you can roll down the mountain! Going north, my right ankle had the opportunity to become sore. Coming back, my left ankle. So, I feel balanced now. It's also baking. I was cheered on by the cry of the hawk that you hear in movies. There were other marathoners coming back on the same track and hikers! Lots of stopping politely to let others pass. Some of the hikers on the way back were stunned that I stopped for them and were complaining that other runners didn't stop. It gave me an opportunity to rest, though. But - I can understand why runners didn't stop. Some people looked like they were hanging on by a thread and were in zombie mode. Others were wild-eyed and in their zone. We would cheer each other on and others didn't say a word but I know how they felt. I was cursing to myself alot on this part of the trail. Remember all the pounding and work that had been done on the first 15 miles? I can feel it now. And I still have to get back down. I started praying to the Envirosports Goddess "Timing Chip" on my bib logo to help me. I thought of my wonderful support team, my family, friends and fellow bloggers, and how thankful I am that I can do this, all the training I put in, etc. I'm not going to make record time by flying down the mountain. Maybe if I hang-glide.

Stinson Beach Marathon

On the Matt Davis trail down I could hear the reassuring sound of the waves. I wanted to cry every time I came to another round of steep stairs, and walked gingerly down them. My feet at this point felt like bloodied stumps (hahaha new shoes). I can't risk falling and injuring myself because I'm doing another long trail run next month! Yes, I will forget about all this pain and do it again. The mental mantras kicked in. My "fresh legs" mantra that I used in the beginning was a joke now, and basically used humor to get me the rest of the way down. Somehow I finally made it to the finish line in 5 hours. Dave was there to shout our times and record them himself. A cold foot dip in the ocean never felt so good. Marathon #3. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Stinson Beach

This year Mt. Tam, next year maybe Mt. Diablo!

Results: 5:00:25. 3rd in AG


Catch the Sunrise

Catch the sunrise a different peak a day on Twitpic

Run/Bike/Swim/Yoga, etc. to catch the sunrise and post your pictures on fb, flickr or twitter! #catchthesunrise

Only a handful of sunrises left of 2009!


Bicycling Problem Solving One Intersection at a Time!

This is a problem area in Alameda that cyclist encounter on the new detour heading to Alameda from the Posey Tube. There is a construction site that is blocking our straight shot into Alameda on Webster St, so we get routed around into a dangerous roadway and into an intersection that has a lot of Marina Village traffic. On the top right there is a bike lane, and cyclist can connect to the bike lane on the left side of the map on the left green arrow. Problem is, there is a right turn lane here and cars are not letting bikes have right of way. I almost got hit here by a truck last week, and another cyclist WAS hit here this morning. Why not paint a big green stripe (or pink!) across the whole intersection to show what the cyclists' intentions are? Or put the mini bike sharrows on the far left turn? I have a feeling the cars just don't realize what the cyclists are trying to do here.

Right now it's safer to try to cross in "L" fashion like pedestrians.


Week 13 - Deep Taper

I wasn't expecting the first week of taper to be such a bummer, but it was. It's beyond my control: Hard to eat enough, eat right, sleep right, think straight, too much anxiety, PMS, emotional rollercoaster, dead tired, and the Bay Bridge has been down this week, adding extra time to my commute... What shook me out of my doldrums is I volunteered at the Marin County Tri today and that was a great cheerup. This one has a beautiful course and fun people in one of my favorite parks. Several people tri'd in their halloween costumes! The bike part has a lot of windy rolling curves, and it also became the run course this year. I got to ride it on my way to check-in after the road was closed off. I heard some of the trails inside the park were washed out because of the heavy rain. I had a great 2.5 hr bike ride back to SF - no big loss of fitness despite having not done these rides in a while (so nice to be on a bike!!!) Also, there is nothing like a good dinner out with bffhuzby and a dog lying on his back next to you with his feet up in the air and snoring to help you to relax and enjoy life.

Marin County Tri

Next Saturday's marathon was going to be my "A" race, but my pre-race ritual is to always have the next goal or event lined up. I added an ultra in December so then that one will be the A+ event. I added it when I was at my peak in "A" race training. It's amazing how goals change with your fitness level. Oly distance seems doable now. I'm looking forward to miles of beautiful trail running. Also, with the time change, will switch from sunset runs into morning sunrise runs. These are my favorite times to run.

Preparing for 2010


Week 12 - Swim Alcatraz!

The rock on Twitpic

The 1.5ish mile swim from Alcatraz this Saturday was amazing, a culmination of a year of training and learning to swim. I didn't plan on doing it this year, I didn't think I was capable... but a fellow swimmer said let's do it and I said alright (gasp!). That's what happens when you start hanging out with swimmers! Alcatraz is standard fare for every triathlete out here, but for us first-timers it's something special!

Alcatraz Crossing

After Coach Pedro gave us some last minute tips, we jumped off the boat. The sunrise as seen from floating in the bay is unbelievable. I learned alot about navigation. The current was a mellow ebb, but even with calm conditions things can get critical. The fog started rolling in soon after we jumped off the "Dauntless", which could have made sighting to shore really tricky. In just few minutes I couldn't even see Alcatraz. I think that's why I swam faster. Thankfully we had 3 pilots helping us across the 58 degree water, which seems comfortable to me now. The sun was glinting off objects onshore which also helped. I started sighting on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, then shifted to the masts of the Balclutha as I got closer. As I approached the opening to Aquatic Park I thought I was all set to land at the opening. I was veering slightly left to the entrance (water moving to the right). I put my head underwater to take a few more strokes. Next time I sighted I was a few yards past the opening near the wedding cake and had to swim against the current to get back. Doh! For a couple minutes I felt that dreadful feeling of not going anywhere on a water treadmill, then realized I would have to swim faster or change my angle. One of those two things worked and I managed to get to calmer water at the opening. Now I know for future reference when navigating to overcompensate just to be safe, because it's much easier to ride the current then to swim against it. Also, try not to stop here at all - all the work of getting to the right place will be lost. Next time I will sight more at this point to make sure I'm in the right place. I didn't panic too much because The Dauntless was nearby with 3 pilots that can reposition you if needed. Those kayaks are pretty fast! I had a plan B, C & D. Plan B was to land at the wave organ, plan C land at Chrissy Field, and plan D the water will change direction eventually LOL!

An hour goes by fast in the water - it is very eventful. I'm very proud of myself but also proud of my friend Irene who also completed the swim. This was all her idea. We are the 'slow' swimmers in our group and we are so happy we did it. Everything else seems easier now.

Click here to see photos from a previous excursion to give you a taste of what it's like. (I'm not in these)

Now I know why the run comes after the bike in Triathlon.

After the swim, I attempted to warm up in a cafe with a mocha and pumpkin scone before running. I thawed out a little, but realized the run would warm me up faster. I tried to run a 10k at race pace (Nike Human Race) and it didn't happen. It took me 4 miles just to warm up, and by the last 2 miles I could see that I wasn't going to catch up to my last year PR. I could have rested and done a warmup run first. BUT...I was only off 5 minutes and running at 70% MHR, so imagine what 90% looks like? Note to self not to have a rich mocha and pumpkin scone right before running. I was pretty wiped out after all that.

There were a gazillion events going on at the Marina. I saw Rick and met Jo Lynn at the SF One Day Ultra. I stopped by their aid station where they were volunteering. Jo Lynn is the friendliest person you'll ever meet and so is Rick - he's a super endurance volunteer. Last week he volunteered at Nike Women's Marathon, and this week he was stationed at the SF One Day all day until midnight?! Wow.

Only 12 more days 'til the marathon. Passed the 2,000 mile mark on my running log this weekend!

EVENT: Lake Merritt 5K Walk/Run Fundraiser for Adriana Nov. 14th


I'm just sayin...

I was just checking out Running Down's marathon elevation profiles and thought I'd do one for my last (Nike Women's) and next(Stinson Beach) marathon and um...


Week 11 - Back on Track at the last minute

Checking in with the training plan...

I love graphs! This data from Voomaxer occurs after the metric century training, and shows my tri sprint training and marathon training. As you can see, I do the bare minimum as far as mileage goes. I just barely crossed 40 miles running last week, highest in a while (ever?) I was starting to go down before getting into my peak phase (green line), which should be NOW so I had to put a stop to that and ran twice this weekend. I was always afraid of working out hard on Saturday because I wanted to have energy for my morning swim on Sunday, but it turned out alright this weekend, even though I did hills the day before the long run. It was slightly uncomfortable but manageable. I was going to concentrate on just running long on trails and terrain similar to my race, but am mixing in going long for time on easier terrain as well to practice keeping the heart rate up for 3+ hours. Here are some notes. I use this blog as a personal reference so feel free to click away. I learned alot this week, and since these next few weeks before the event at week 14 are critical, I'm trying pay attention. Click on items in "my distance" to the right to check out details.

Weekly goal: Acclimate to cold water for Alcatraz & prepare for Stinson Beach Marathon.

Tues: Easy run

Wed: Ran a few hills and 1 minute windy time trial @6:51. (This is the end of my 800s speedwork for now, I got up to 7x, now in maintenance phase - next weekend fast 10k!)

Thursday: Swam with another GGTC member for part of a lap. Swim was not as cold as last weekend. The water temperature was the same, but the air was warm and balmy, which made a big difference on how long I can stay in:

LAST WEEKEND (Oct. 10-11)
air / water
51 / 57.7 °F
could stay in 30 minutes until numbing

air / water
65 / 57.7 °F
could stay in 1.5 hrs until numbing

The water was posted as biohazard because of storm runoff but the readings posted on sfwater seemed normal. Didn't encounter any problems. Note the high E.coli reading on 8.26.09 occurred about a week after that mysterious smell that wafted around SF! There is much tidal action here though so things get flushed out on a regular basis. I have been swimming here every week with no problems.

It was just starting to flood so it was easy to drift on the other side of the buoy line. I work on sighting and trying to swim in a straight line. I noticed if my stroke rate is slow, I drift off course more. I never get water or congestion in my nose when I swim in the ocean, only when I do flip-turns in the pool. The pool workouts are helpful for feeling the water and improving technique. With just a swimsuit you can feel where the sweet and drag spots are and you don't have the saltwater helping you stay afloat. Would like to try without a swimsuit next spring.

Friday: Felt sluggish. Extra rest day and guilt trip!

Saturday: More swimming and 8 mi hill repeats. My knees will hate me tomorrow but oh well.

Sunday Swim:
wind/gust 9.9 /18 mph
temp air/water: 58.1 /57.9 °F
Good *open water* learning experiences today (btw it's swimming in a cove!) practice swimming with currents and chop, navigation, sighting, and positive mental attitude - practice not to panic and just keep swimming. Adrenaline keeps you warm LOL!

Sunday Long Run: New thing I just discovered!
I can eat solid food while running. I was so hungry and needed a little extra incentive to do Great Highway to Sloat and back so I made a plan to grab a plain sesame bagel at Java Beach at mile 14. I munched on that thing for 2 miles and no problems. By the end of the 22mi run I felt like I had lots of energy! Beautiful Sunset!

What happened to the cycling? :-p Transportation.

My Alcatraz swim is next Saturday and so is the Nike+ Human Race. I wonder where people here will be running it. Last time I did it was great because it was a car-free day at the Embarcadero, I did it early and had the whole road to myself practically.


Climate Change - Local Transit

Even though I bike to work, I spent several hours yesterday stuck in traffic on a bus yesterday because an accident on the Bay Bridge blocked off all but one then 2 lanes of the freeway. Thousands of people (not that many carpooling) were trickling at a snail's pace to reach their destination, idling their engines, sending smog into the air. There is no way for me to bike all the way to work because there is no bike lane on this bridge. I couldn't help but think that a wide bike and pedestrian lane would have provided access for emergency crews and tow trucks to deal more swiftly with such situations instead of blocking off most of the traffic lanes. The accident was caused because of truck speeding into the new "S" curve on the entrance to the bridge, everyone thought it would slow down traffic but instead it only causes accidents. A couple of signs and maybe some enforcement of speed limits would have helped. When traffic is shared with bicycles people pay more attention and slow down. Those are the benefits of road diets - safer roads. We need to rethink how we view transportation and provide options for people who really want to ride a bicycle to work and work on long term solutions to easing the congestion. MORE BIKE LANES, More ferries and buses that run on biodiesel, more trains, more than 1 CalTrans shuttle for bicycles... and NO BART BLACKOUT FOR BICYCLES.

I bike to work because I love it, it's great exercise, cost-effective, and way better than sitting in a traffic jam. Using 2,000 LBS and tons of CO2 emissions to haul 130 lbs only 15 miles or less doesn't make sense to me. Especially with all the information we are now seeing about what is happening to our climate & air quality as a result of burning fossil fuels. If there is any remote chance that I can contribute to a solution, then why not try it?


Week 10 - Whatever!

Okay - sometimes life shows up and you gotta deal. Recession = less work = less pay = downsizing. I spent the week moving and organizing, so only did 2 runs this week. It is a little nerve-wrecking for me to stray from my training regime, but it turned out to be manageable. I can't even remember the first run - it was all a blur. I think I switched into dissociative mode then just turned into a packing robot. Feeling very grateful for a helpful huzby (that word has his seal of approval), friends(that I never see) and online support. What else, my mtn bike klunker is at the shop :-( good to know that my folding bike can do "some" hills. Today I ran 21 miles on mixed terrain which was a relief. I think I am going to alternate the few weeks left with 20 milers and whatever I can do on the very hilly trails. I'm just winging it.

I'm loving swimming at Aquatic Park. Pairing up with other swimmers is the ticket. The temperature is dropping though, and even a few degrees makes a difference. After 30 minutes my hands and feet are starting to get numb and I feel a pinch in my right shoulder. I tried balling each hand into a fist as I turn for air to see if that brings some circulation. Maybe. I'm not as concerned about the feet as I am with my hands, because I could not cup them after a certain point. I didn't really think about it but for the crossing I would like to be able to stay in the water for at least an hour. It sucks because my mind says, yay this is fun, let's do another lap, but then the popsicle fingers. It's like Cinderella's stagecoach that turns into a pumpkin. I will work on acclimatizing myself. Look at all these swimmers without wetsuits!

There were so many running, swimming and tri events this past few weeks, I can't keep up, so: good job everyone!

No pictures this time, but imagine a fleet of Pelicans flying quietly in a perfect V formation over the cliffs.


Week 9 - Running by feeling


bike 25.2 total miles (+btw 50mi)
swim 2.88 total miles
run 32.45 total miles (82% - 88% MHR)

This week I am getting used to running for time, intensity and feeling instead of mileage. It's interesting. According to a regular marathon (+tri) training plan I should be in the 40+ miles per week range by now but my upcoming events are on hilly trails. It's a little tricky to predict running times on those, but I can expect anywhere from 10 - 14mph pace.

I was checking out my LSD run in comparison to last week's and was able to go a little farther in less time, but that's also because the trail was a little less arduous! I'm doing the long run after swimming and biking also, so I am already a little 'warmed up'. I wanted to say tired, but once I get out to to Marin Headlands and see nature's bounty, I forget about that. The mind is a funny thing - at first, running up that long 1.5 mi climb up miwok trail seemed a chore, but after I did my loop (miwok, old springs, marincello bobcat) I did the miwok hill again and it seemed easier. I wanted to do Alta and Rodeo valley trail but it was easy to miss the trail marker. hmm.

I didn't get up into the 90% range on my speedwork this week because the location was crowded with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass traffic. When people are drunk and they see you running fast it is a comedic moment for some reason. I tried to run in the street with the cyclists but now that it's getting dark earlier need more lights. The 1/2 watt black diamond LED headlamp wasn't bright enough so I upgraded to the 1 watt.

Swimming is getting easier for me now that I have put the time in to work on all the little pieces of the stroke and improve my weak spots. It's a never-ending process. Balance is a little tricky sometimes I turn over too far. More sidekick drills. Endurance and speed here I come. I just got the book "Swimming Even Faster" by Maglischo. It's a big heavy textbook, though. Reminds me of school days.

This is what the training plan looks like:
mon: rest
tue: easy run - 45min - 1 hr
wed: hill repeats - 1.5 - 2hrs
thurs: swim - 40min - 1hr
fri: speed intervals: 1 - 1.5hrs
sat: easy day, swim or bike - 1 - 2 hrs
sun: BRICK swim, bike, run! - 6 hrs

bike to work - 50mi (4 - 5 hrs) per wk is so routine I hardly consider it a part of the plan

The sunset was so beautiful that I wasn't really annoyed that my right shifter died on my bike after this picture was taken. Time to give the klunker some TLC.


Week 8 - Extra effort, extra output

This week I pushed the training a little more, and got a lot more in return. More fast interval work, more hills. I feel that the endurance I've gained from marathon training is crossing over into the swimming (and vice versa). I feel like my body is using oxygen and fuel more efficiently. Had a great time swimming at Angel Island in beautiful Ayala Cove with WWS. We had a wonderful picnic on the boat afterwards. It felt like a mini-vacation on the weekday! Swimming in the pool feels much easier since I have focused on getting a better pull. By trying some sprints I noticed that now I can go at more than 1 speed. I integrated the bike by using it to get to the swims and trails.

Here is a view from the cove at Angel Island:
Sunset at Angel Island

Aquatic Park
swimming at Aquatic Park w/ WWS

The fog was thick everywhere else. Can you believe it? The hills on my upcoming marathon & ultra are a little intimidating, but I am adopting the motto of the North Face Endurance Challenge to "Run your self-doubt into the ground". Instead of just running for mileage on the LSD, I am going to run for time on actual terrain of the course. A 20 miler on a flat would take twice as long in the Marin Headlands and Mt. Tam, so it doesn't make sense to train on moderate hills and easy paths. Sundays are peak training days: I did almost a mile in the bay, 19.5 miles biking to and from the headlands, and 11.25 of hilly trails = 6 hours. It was like a triathlon, with a 2 hour lunch break and dog walk at T1.

North Face Endurance Challenge - notes and photos by tjiang

a perfect way to end the week

Running the Entire Pacific Crest Trail...Again


Recovery Drinks

Today was supposed to be my rest day, but I feel like I can run another 19 miles today! It must be the recovery drink I had: Unsweetened soy milk with protein powder, cinnamon, chia and joint supplements. Wondering what other people drink for recovery after a hard workout.


Week 7 - The Halfway Point

Yes! Only 7 weeks left until the marathon and I am heading towards the peak. I have three 20 milers coming up then a taper. My plan says next week is it for hill repeats, but the course on Mt. Tam has some steady climbing for 4-5 miles at a time, so I will keep doing them until the taper. I did feel sore for several days after doing successive short hill repeats instead of one long hill up and down. I think there is a place for doing both, because a long climb totally redlines you. Today's long run turned out to be a mile longer than planned, but no prob. The only thing I need to do is bring an extra pair of dry socks because after 12 miles the feet need a little refreshing. It would be so nice to dunk them in the ocean halfway through. There were alot of surfers out at Ocean Beach today! I saw several boards fly through the air!

Some issues that are coming up are: sleeping (not getting enough) eating (my appetite has gone down) This is when I have to pay attention and force myself to bed and eat the right things. Anything that says "high fructose corn syrup" or has a variant of sugar in the first 5 ingredients gets the boot.

Sorry bike, I didn't ride you very much because I'm working on my swim. I signed up for an Alcatraz crossing next month just to kick it into gear. That always seems to happen when I register for something. The WWS Sunday Swim was great, I'm glad I found some ladies there that swim my pace, so we can do the buddy system out there and challenge each other.

Had a fun time at the GGTC social night. What an inspiring bunch! I hope to do some group training again one of these days but it is really tough because I already have my little training routine all dialed in. I plan to do some group trail runs after the Alcatraz thing. I feel like there are so many events and things going on right now - it's the end of Summer! Monday is officially the last day of Summer, but we'll continue our weird schizo weather pattern here, foggy, with 3 hours of sun, then sunny all day, then foggy, then windy...

To be honest, I'm not thinking too much about the marathon because in December I have an ultra (just by a few miles) and I also already thinking of the triathlons I want to do next spring and summer. I'm learning about lots of potential events from people in my training groups.

A Simple Strategy for Running Your Best Marathon


Week 6 - Relaxed Effort

I'm almost halfway through my training program, and as things start to heat up, I need something to help keep me grounded and focused. The yoga is really helping with that. I found that doing some yoga sun salutations and breaths before my swim gets me in the frame of mind to focus on form. It also creates alot of internal heat that keeps me warm in the cold water. All the chaturanga dandasanas are giving me some arm strength, and the movement from that pose to the Upward Facing Dog is the one that develops the pull muscles, esp. if you don't rest on your legs and stay on your toes. I'm getting the hang of sweeping the water now and the feeling of propulsion with the arms. Whenever I get stressed or overwhelmed, I just come back to the breath and form.

...And today with WWS we swam outside the cove! OMG it was beautiful to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the ocean, and Coit Tower, and the sailboats in the bay, and Alcatraz, and all the swimmers coming back from their swim events. I love San Francisco! Then I ran the trails of the Presidio, to the Coastal Trail along Baker Beach, Sea Cliff, Land's End, Sutro Baths, Ocean Beach and back through Golden Gate Park.

The Olympic distance triathlon doesn't seem as daunting. I'm psyched about the marathons coming up but also enjoying the training process. It's a lifestyle. Running 4x a week, swimming 3x and biking to work and whenever I get a chance. Daily yoga. This week we added Baron Baptiste to our yoga mix. Very good workout.

Sun Salutation A & B: 3-5 sets of each can be done in 10-15 minutes for a great warmup.

California Coastal Cleanup 9.19.09


Week 5 - In the Zone

This was a good week - I'm feeling in the zone. Training plan is based on modified green team intermediate, with some days traded out for swim days, and doing 800 meter intervals for speed.

Running - trying to find efficient pain-less ways of getting up and down the hills. I found that running up on the ball of the feet helps alot. Good recovery, especially when I do an hour of yoga after the run. I use DVDs. I have done many hours of classes and various places around the city and use the DVDs because I can just press play. Steven on Tuesday and Nicki on Wednesday. Nicki Doane can show you some great Ashtanga done right. My arms were sore and my hamstrings got totally stretched! Also worked the external obliques like never before...must be those reverse triangle poses! Ice baths? Never do them.

Swimming - Spent a little extra time swimming (instead of biking this week) mostly working on my strokes. Dude, freestyle swimming has some highly technical moves it takes years to master it! I was doing the pull, then not hesitating after the pull but continue to lengthen and keep the movement going. Now I'm adding the front quadrant swimming. This just means having my stroke extended as long as possible until my recovering arm is back up over my head to switch arms. Before I was switching too soon, then hesitating on the breath, then losing the streamlined position, which slows me down like a parachute. It certainly paid off today in the bay. It was a strong flood at the opening, like a river current going across, except this time I didn't get flushed back to the boats. I stuck with my swim partner and with Coach Edna's guidance we went well into the center of the cove before turning. I didn't try to race my pace in the beginning and started nice and slow to find a good rhythm of breathing. Then when it was time to turn, we jetted across and finally made it to the jacuzzi, it was a BLAST! We swam a little inside the wall where the water is calm, then headed back across the flood with the same determination. It was very choppy and had to turn over quite a bit to get air. The sun was shining right in my eyes and sighting was short, only like a second. Also, it felt at times like I was going nowhere, just on a treadmill, but that is when I streamlined it more to let the water go around me, and picked up the pace and kicked more. All this took place in the span of 30 minutes, but it seemed like much longer. Now I know what I would do in the instance that I get caught up in the current again (Plan B): I would pretend like I'm doing a buoy turn and swing out of the current at a diagonal back to shore. I really like the WWS group swim out here it totally simulates the racing experience. If I keep it up maybe I can do an oly tri next spring.

Nutrition: granola bars, blueberries, protein shakes, grilled veggie sandwiches & tacos (half-wheat, half-corn tortillas mmm!), buckwheat noodle stirfry, potatoes, bananas, kiwis, kefir & kern's...get that low-carb crap away from me! I'm burning at least 4,000 cals a week and have no need for it! It's like garlic to a vampire!



A seemingly quiet composed runner heads down the street for an interval run in the park, but this is the chatter going on inside her head, inner coach in italics:

7:00pm - I'ts cold, I'm tired and really hungry, and it's about to get dark outside. I can just do my run in the morning and stay home and watch a DVD with my dog. But then you'll have wasted a whole day of not training and recovering for the next thing. just go, you'll feel different once you get warmed up. Eat Oxygen!
7:05 - Ouch, my legs feel stiff. There is something going on inside my ankle. Is this going to hurt the whole time? No, just stretch at the stoplight.
7:10 - Finally, warmed up. ok, this is alright. Let me just cruise like this for a bit. This run is going to help me run faster, right? cool. If I aim for 6:00 pace I'll end up with 6:30 pace. Sounds good to me.
7:20 - Crap, there is an event going on at the track, that is why I should have got up at 5am to do this! Ok, should I go home and just call it an easy day? Silence from coach. Where am i going to do my intervals? Right here! ok.
7:25 - Get ready to run as fast as you can for the next half mile, then run moderate for a quarter.
7:30 - (Running fast) breathe, fast feet, breathe, stop fiddling with your watch, just go go go! Try not to run into those people up there, stay alert and aware of your terrain. Great it's windy, and there is a steep hill coming up, oh well resistance training! mind goes blank:

7:36 - Wow, ok, the first one was alright, good pace I wonder if I can do that again or if it's going to get progressively slower, -let -me -catch -my -breath...only 2 more to go....
7:40 - fast feet, breathe, cough, etc. don't puke, try not to zone out this time...
7:46 - Ok, they start out fast then taper off, try not to slow down. one more to go, this is it, last one is always the hardest. I really need to watch what I eat before these...
7:50 - aaaaaaaaaaaaa! (huffing and puffing eveyone else is able to talk while they're jogging and I'm just tring to get air, looks at pedometer) only 10 meters left - do not slow down at 9!
7:57: OMG! Ok, can I just stop now? No, just keep moving and breathing. 119% Maximum Heart Rate 215? You can run easy now. Hey it took less time than I thought. Now go home and chill. Tomorrow is another day. (endorphins churning - wow this song is really great!)
2 hours later, no appetite, can't sleep, but sure glad i did it! Next week, 4 x 800s!


Week 4 - Yes, continue

Great week. Legs feeling strong. Finally joined a triathlon club, Golden Gate Triathlon Club, which is highly motivating to get my butt out of bed early on the weekends and train with a group. They have a challenge for members to sign up for an ultra, The Northface Endurance Challenge, so of course I had to go for the 50k. Why not? By then I'll be in marathon mode. Went on a fun group ride with them yesterday.

Had a great swim today with Water World Swim. The water is warm right now and the currents were mellow. I had to really psych myself back into the water after last week's experience, and am glad to have done it. Each day is different and it is always changing. I just tell myself "what can I learn today?" This week I am working on my pull and making sure I get my arm extended down to my thigh. Been practicing the fist drills etc. in the pool. If I can just squeeze in another pool workout or 2 in the week that would be optimal.

I didn't think I could get up early to train but managed to on Friday to hit the track. It's not so bad as long as I can get to bed early. I'm working on a 6:30 pace doing 800s intervals. Might as well aim high. The hill training is also going well. My training hill is rougly 25 stories high, and I just go without stopping even if it burns. Even though I might feel creaky and tired at first, once I get warmed up and in the zone it's all good. I recommend spacing out the hill training and speed training. Sore hip flexors and quads! I still have a long run to do today, but I know I'll be too tired afterwards to blog. My worst enemy is my mind telling me to slack off. MUST EAT CARBS! Did over 100 miles this month!

I kind of like this running 40 miles a week plan. Leaves room to do other stuff...

Sept. 4 & 11th Alcatraz swim clinics with Water World Swim, and Swim-Art is doing a long 90 minute group swim September 12th, and an intro to open water swim clinic for newbies on September 13th.


Week 3 - Crumbs

It's great feeling of sticking to the training plan. Having done a couple marathons doesn't make the training any easier for me, just more familiar. What's different this time round is that I'm keeping up with a little bit of cross training in case I want to do another tri. I would like to do more swimming but I need at least 7 hours of sleep and getting up at 5am would just send me over the edge. I don't know how the Iron People do it. The week was interspersed with 16 hours of short to medium trail and hill runs, yoga, a little bike ride and a couple swims, with a long run today which had quite a tough last 5 miles. Today was the hardest day and I am ready for bed early! I was so tired that when I got home I poured my water bottle out onto my houseplants forgetting there was NUUN in it. I hope they like it. Now I know what the rest days are for - RESTING!

Today's morning swim in aquatic park was quite a learning experience. The flood was strong, so we all decided to swim to the center of the cove first. I'm a DFL swimmer and have a few (very few) people to swim with, so we kind of stuck together until it was time to cross. I couldn't figure out why everyone was swimming so damn close to the boats on the right of the cove, but I was getting tired of taking a wide turn into the crossing, so I thought it would be time to make the crossing. Then, suddenly, I was one of those people swimming next to the boats! I was overwhelmed by the current and had to stop and hold on to Balaclutha's anchor line LOL! I never made it to the "Jacuzzi". I wish I had a sports photo of THAT to hang on my wall! I had to go back to shore against the flood somehow, and get out of this cat up in a tree predicament. Coach Pedro gave me a word of encouragement then I swam like a little turtle back to shore, breathing on one side, the only side that wasn't splashing me in the face. I was never in any fear of drowning, just couldn't control my direction. My that was fun - let's do it again next week!

I still had my long run to do, pushing my little mileage up. I thought of all those ultrarunners and Eddie Izzard running 30 miles a day for charity and the kid in my swim group who did the English Channel and said, well ok, I can do this. I broke the course up into chunks. Then I broke the chunks into chunks. Then I broke the chunks of the chunks into little crumbs which I followed all the way home.

Next week: the speed work begins.

Have a Punk Rock Tri fortune cookie!


Week 2 - In the Groove

Anything that was on my schedule today (Tour d'Organics ride, swimming, etc) is off. My poor pup is in epileptic mode and cannot be left alone. I didn't get enough sleep last night, but the week's training is in the bag. I'm up to 14 miles on the long run no pains whatsoever. I noticed that my swim pace is also getting better. Steven's power yoga is helping me be where I want to be. I got my new trainers this week (in BLACK), and my new sportband. Ready for a day with the dogs at the beach and week 3!

BTW what is up with the CLOWN COLORS trend on the runnning shoes these days? I mean, really. I don't have anything to wear that matches that!


Week 1 - Base Training

Week 1 went better than the week before, which was supposed to be week 1 of the marathon training but was reset due to unprepared ankle. I'm using a new ankle brace called YOGA. Did an hour of it after each short run this week and started feeling strong, flexible and stable. I will never run up on a trail again until I can do a Padangustasana toe stand.

Yesterday did a big bike ride with my husby and a friend. I probably would not have been motivated to go had it not been for them. The weather was great and turned out to be a good workout, probably more than I expected, thanks!

Today's swim was a toughie having not been in the ocean for 6 weeks and had very sore arms. The water looked nice and calm from shore but I had no idea what was going on underneath. I looked at the boats anchored in the cove to see which way they were pointing to give a hint of direction. Thanks to Coach Pedro for bringing his giant map and showing us what the conditions were beforehand. The flood at the opening was pretty strong, not something you want to get flushed into, but then it changes here and there. It's very dynamic - there is nothing like it.

Was I done yet? No. Just did my LSD of 10 miles. Today was car-free day in the park and there is nothing better than running or cycling without the noise and fumes of car exhaust in your face. Aaaah!

Strangely, pushing past the comfort zone can offer relief.

New: My Twitter!


Building Mileage

14 weeks until the marathon and the training plan is off to a slow start. I started out on hilly trails and it seems my left ankle didn't like that too much, so have to take a few days off of running until the tenderness subsides. My mind and muscles are ready, but the joints need a little extra time. Since my last event was a triathlon with a 5k, and took several weeks off, I haven't done a long run in ages, so have to start over again building mileage up. I've read several articles about taking time off and retraining, and they say it takes two days to retrain for every one day off. It's interesting what happens to your glycogen storage as well. When I went for short 3 miler this week, I felt a bonk after 15 minutes or so. I used to expect that after the first hour and have gels ready. 6 miles was my max this week before the pain, so I'm going to try to work from that on a flat course, and alternate with 3 milers, and not go beyond that next week.

The other weird thing that happened when I stopped training is I dropped 5 LBS. I would have expected the opposite to happen. After training resumed I'm back up to 129.

A weekend plan of cycling, swimming, and Steven Grillo's Hot Power Yoga (DVD) which is great for runners. It includes a fierce all-over body and core workout and all the stretches I need. I'm going to attempt to do the yoga every day this week to rebuild my base. We'll see what happens!


Good Luck SF Marathon Runners!

Have a great run! Especially Green Girl, who is running for a good cause and didn't give up the race even though she became injured. That certainly takes extra effort and determination! I learned a bit of good advice from swimming coach Leslie about sleep - instead of trying to get enough sleep the night before your event, (which will be impossible because of nerves) get lots of rest 2 nights before. So, if you didn't sleep good last night, take a big fat nap today!


Thank you, bloggers!

I've been taking it easy for almost an entire month with only a few maintenance runs and easy rides since my triathlon. After the long flight back home, I'm sleep deprived, sunburnt, my knees feel like jello and I have cankles from sitting on planes for 13 hours. If you want to torture an active person, just make them sit in a small chair with no leg room all day. Doing a 4 hour marathon and a 2 hour triathlon is easier in comparison!

After catching up with my running blogs I'm eager to get back into training for the next marathon. Just wanted to say thank you to all the bloggers that inspire me to get out there!


Buon Giorno!

Running in Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy


It's scorching hot here! I feel like jumping in the fountain!

I walked many miles and saw lots of art. Half a dozen museums, and half a dozen churches including St. Peter's.

Here is an interesting relic from the Musei Capitolini: a milestone from 312 A.D.



Bon Jour!

I'm spending some of my vacation in Geneva Switzerland and enjoying the "real" summer weather, running, cycling and swimming. It is hot here, and swimming in the lake is the perfect way to spend the day, especially after a run. There are several rivers with shady trails to run on, including a nice one along L'Arve around the Bout-du-Monde stadium. Bikes are rentable in several locations, with a 20 franc deposit. The first four hours for free and after that 1 franc per hour. Tons of bike paths, routes around the lake through parks, and the old-town is a car-free zone! You can find routes at mapmyrun.com and events here.

Cool shaded trails along the river L'Arve

Swimming at Bains des Paquis. Swimming in a clear freshwater lake is FANTASTIC! You can see everything. The water was warm but on some days very chilly. I hopped in one day when it was 55° F (13° C) without a wetsuit! For cold swimming I highly recommend a swim cap, goggles (it's better to get your face in), and earplugs. Have warm clothes handy for afterwards.


Golden Gate Triathlon Sprint!

Pre-race breakfast: water, coffee and 2 granola bars
Fuel during race: 2 gus and 24oz Nuun water
Time: 1:55:17

Golden Gate Triathlon Sprint: Well, that was my first triathlon and it was fun! Hard work, but fun. I think I finished in around 2 hours. I was aiming for 1:45, and after the swim was estimating 2:15, but when I saw that I could probably get in under 2 I was hussling. The hardest part was swimming to the first buoy. It was difficult to see it in the glare of the morning sun. The water was comfortable but I thought I'd never get there! I was so glad I wasn't doing the Olympic. It took me a while to warm up and find a groove. The sprint men went first, then the women. We had ten minutes then the Olympic competitors started behind us. They had already caught up to me (and swam away) before I got to the turn. I used humor to get me to the next stop. The buoys were bright yellow triangles, which reminded me of Pikachu, so I kept thinking "I have to get Pikachu!" LOL!

After that it was all good, though I didn't feel normal until the second lap of the bike. The climbs were tough, but those painful interval workouts paid off, as I was able to hang in there and do some passing. I am mediocre on my descents and climbing so I have to do what I can when I can. After all my worries about littering on the course, guess who lost their carb flask!!! My bad! <:-< It didn't stay secured into the holster! I will try to go back later and find it. I'm glad I had it though because it saved me, and allowed me to get my wits back.

The run was tough in the beginning, (all uphill) but fast on the return. Thankfully, everything went nice and smooth. I just kept inhaling deep breaths, hydrating, allowing myself to warm up for each thing. I tried to relax and stay focused on the moment and what was coming next and try not to stumble in the transition area.

I really loved the course and the volunteers were awesome (especially the little darlings collecting the chips). No aches and pains afterwards, feeling great. I could totally do this again...


...I'm officially on vacation now and have a much needed break ahead. Yeah!

Golden Gate Triathlon Sprint Results Analysis
.5/9.5/3.1 mi (out of 8 in age group):
Swim - 48:46 Rank 6
T1 - 1:39
Bike - 43:14 Rank 2
T2 - 1:14
Run - 21:22 Rank 1 (PR!)
TOTAL - 1:55:17

So you see, if I could have been faster on the swim, I coulda been a contender!


Tapering and Future Goals

It's actually been a great week tapering, because I felt so "bone tired" that I'm ready for a rest phase. I've just been spending more time walking in the park with my dog and tending to my miniature garden. I did my triathlon race plan on paper, plus I broke down the course into sections and added a list of "targets" to hit during the race. Instead of just thinking of the finish line, I have several hurdles to go for during the race.

Planning future goals after the triathlon: I would really like to do a continuous 1 mile swim (almost there) and maybe an endurance swim after that. I still haven't done my century bike ride yet, that might happen later in the fall. I have a marathon in the schedule so will be doing more speedwork. It just keeps going and going.

Training plan for the fall marathon will be based on Hal's Intermediate II, with rest days switched to Tuesdays, track on Fridays, open water swims Sundays and Mondays with bricks and bike rides sprinkled in. I just gotta have structure!

TI: Distance Swimming healthier than running: Uh-oh don't go there!

Nutrition daily must-haves: Fresh fruit and veggies, Garlic, Kefir, Blackstrap Molasses, Omega 3s, Glucosamine / Chondroitin, berries and nuts


Happy Solstice!

Summer is here and events are in full swing. I'm a week away from the tri and just read this great article over on Joe's blog about having a race plan. I'm going to try that, but first I must take a nap 'cause I just burned 1,375 calories swimming, biking and running today! I see an easy bike ride and another ocean swim in my future, then resting before the race!

miles: .88 s / 7 r / 5.7 b


Triathlon Countdown - 10 days!

Getting organized for my race, and am making final decisions. I still need to get a few items. Since it is my first triathlon, I'm wondering if I need to bother with aerobars.

video: Comfort vs. Speed in Transitions

How about also, comfort vs. speed vs. green? I know that I will bring a fuel belt with a carb flask, because it saves way more time than opening gel packs and littering the beautiful Presidio with the wrappers. Plus the wind could easily take the wrappers and send them over the cliff into the beautiful ocean, no way!


Downhill Banana

Last night's swim with Swim-Art was awesome! A dozen of us beginners went out with Sarah and did fist drills, boat-hopping, and chasing. The bay is beautiful at sunset, with great conditions and sunlight glistening on the water. I met several women who are doing the Golden Gate Triathlon for the first time also. Psyched.

Whenever I get in the ocean now, I am aware that I am immersing myself into a different experience. I've been in about 10 times, and this weekend I swam 3 consecutive days in a row! I must say that helped my swimming alot. With a few adjustments to my stroke and belly-breathing, I am swimming stronger and not so exhausted. I try to bow my streamline a little to compensate for sinking legs and body position so that the legs are up near the surface of the water. I do this by pressing the chest down into the water. I think of myself as a banana swimming downhill, because when I'm on top of the water in the perfect position it is like cruising downhill.

I'm slowing things down now but still trying to do a mini-brick workout with transitions. I commute by bike with some fast sprints to make the lights. I bike to my swim meets and after the swim I've got a lovely little climb awaiting me. I'm keeping it short and sweet this week and see what I feel like next weekend. Happy Turtle Downhill Banana!


Escape from Alcatraz

Here are some photos of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, the last shot is a video of the transition from swim to bike. It was such a huge event! I just happened to be in front of winner Andy Potts bike when he showed up.

Escape from Alcatraz

Escape from Alcatraz

Afterwards had the best swim ever with Pedro's group and several ladies that swim at my pace. We decided where we were going to swim to and where to meet up. The "Jacuzzi" (on the corner behind the wall) is a nice spot, then from there is a nice long wall to swim along. I practiced the diaphragmatic breathing and it is helping me in all three sports! It was a good feeling to implant as my triathlon nears.


Cove Swim

It was a good day for swimming with Swim-Art today. The water was 58° and slightly ebbing. There were swimmers training for the Bridge-to-Bridge swim that were going to swim the perimeter of Aquatic Park cove 3 times. I decided to try just one loop. This time I didn't treat it like a cross-training swim, and actually rested up beforehand. It was hard to warm up, I brushed over some seaweed at first and the pier seemed to last forever. Pretty soon the group was gone and I was straggling along by myself. Psychologically, it was hard for me and I thought about going back, but then Henrique showed up on his surfboard and offered me a tow. We took a shortcut to the opening and I was so thankful for that! It encouraged me to keep going, and I swam a little further than I normally do. Barry was also there with the kayak nearby, so I felt better. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement.

All this reminds me of when I was training for a marathon and doing those 20 milers and going, WTF am I getting myself into? But it's all good as I soon found out, it's mostly in my head.

Book: "Open Water Swimming" by Penny Lee Dean
DVD: Outside the Box: A Total Immersion Program for Success in Open Water by Terry Laughlin


Different Strokes

This week I'm sneaking in some different strokes and drills I should have been doing weeks ago such as breaststroke and swimming with hands in a fist.

Tri Swim Coach Podcast #5- Tapering for a Triathlon

Swimming - Surviving the Mass Start



My training week is winding down and I am so done. I had to bail halfway through my group swim. I was more tired than I thought I was. The water was great though. I know what I need to work on, but right now, I need to CHILL!

I looked at my training log to see what's up, and last week I trained for almost 9 hours plus the 5 hours of sprinting around town on my bike. My running mileage was a lot higher, and I had a long 2 hour bike ride this weekend. No wonder. Swimming in the ocean takes a lot more effort, and I'm pushing it trying to get some quality workouts in all three in. This week I'm bringing the leg mileage down and working on swim drills, and endurance swim on Saturday.

Why Not Tri? >>
Painful Thoughts >>


AnchorMan Triathlon

Here's some photos of the AnchorMan Triathlon

AnchorMan Triathlon

It was very exciting to watch. I don't have the finish photos because I had to go to my swim meet with Pedro's group. I saw Coach Edna competing in the tri - that was awesome! Way to go! I was checking out the Transition area and noticed that the fast ones spend less than 15 seconds in there, max. They mount/dismount their bikes barefoot and deal with securing the shoe while rolling. They did need shoes after peeling out of the wetsuit for the run to the transition zone, because it was a gravel track. Someone handed them shoes as they got out of the water. I'll be back next weekend to get some Escape pics.

We had a great swim at Aquatic Park. It was sunny today, no numb feet. The current was swift so had to keep moving. Coach Pedro helped me out by saying "don't think about it too much" before crossing the flood. I stop and sight alot, which makes a slow swimmer slower because then I start drifting away. It's like a giant treadmill. But at least I found someone else my pace to swim with. When I was running back to my bike I saw a big jellyfish floating near the shore. It was clear, maybe 12 inches in diameter with reddish brown ruffly tentacles. Whenever I swim into the seaweed it freaks me out and I think it's a jelly. Ah!



A bike trip out to Marin Headlands for a trail run. The weather was gorgeous!



Marin Headlands

I really enjoyed the way up Wolf Ridge Trail, even though it is uphill (790 elev) it is absolutely beautiful. The Coastal Trail constantly amazing. When I reached the peak and saw the view I was bowled over.


An hour to get out there, an hour to run, an hour to get back.



Tonight I swam my half mile in 200 meters sets, with only 3 breaks. I'm slow, but I'm a happy little turtle! 6 months ago I was just learning how to swim. I love how all the trivialities and trifles of the day get washed away underwater. When I feel overwhelmed, I've learned to focus on little technical things that keep my mind from going into the negative zones, such as: counting, trying to keep one goggle underwater, relax the arms, pushing your buoy (chest) down into the water, rotate to the side, high elbows, reach for the wall, flutter kick from the hip, breathe out fully, etc. etc. etc! You see, there's no time to get caught up in stuff this way.


The X List

When presented with challenges, sometimes it helps to make a list. After reviewing the triathlon schedule and course for the Golden Gate Triathlon, I'm just making a little list of X factors that may present a challenge on race day. I will keep adding to it as needed (updates in italics a week from event)

1. Cold. We have to get there an hour before our wave start. For me that's 6am. Stay warm. Bring windbreaker.It's been warmer lately, may not be an issue.
2. Swim - I swim slow, so will have to find a nice spot in the back so I don't get mowed down by faster swimmers. Turnaround at 2nd yellow buoy. Sight also on Palace of Fine Arts
3. T1 - getting the wetsuit off in a timely fashion with cold hands and numb feet. Will probably still need the windbreaker on the bike with soaked tri-outfit underneath. No worries, weather has warmed up
transition areas
. T1 and T2 are in the same place. Just make sure to have running shoes available after the swim for the run to transition. The course is similar to AnchorMan
5. Bike - there is a steep mashfest right at the beginning of the course. On training rides, visibility was an issue on foggy days because of wind hitting naked eyeballs and tearing up. Need some kind of eye protection. There is a bumpy patch of road (Cowles) on the return loop. I totally didn't take into account the width of the course will be narrower because of oncoming cyclists. Bring fuel belt with my own carbohydrate flask because I've never trained with any of the things they'll be serving at the aid stations. Just remember to turn off on Long after two loops, sharp right on Marine.
6. Run - Steep stairs in the beginning of the course. Will the feet still be numb? The turnaround for the sprint is on the bridge, which means we'll be sharing the lane with oncoming runners. Tight squeeze? Most likely I will be in the back of the pack on all this stuff so will not have to worry about crowding. No worries, warmer weather is here and acclimatization to the water has been accomplished.

The good thing is, I live here and can familiarize myself with the course. I'm going to go check out some of the other tri's happening this month. There is the Anchorman this weekend and the Escape the following weekend. Both were great!

Now to make a list of what I will need and what goes in each bag! A list of positive affirmations will also be helpful. It's going to be fun!


Starfish Swim

Had a great group swim with Pedro's group today! It seemed like more people showed up. We swam to the middle of the inside wall on the perimeter of Aquatic Park and back. The tide was kind of ebbing, so you could see lots of colorful starfish clinging onto the wall. Coach Edna said that is a good sign that the bay is healthy and the water is clean. The faster swimmers had already swam out and around the wall and on their way back by the time we got there. They are so fast! It seemed warmer today and I stayed in for about an hour. The recovery seemed easier this time. Such a great feeling to get to shore. I can't wait to go back in tomorrow w/Leslie's group.

After a hot lunch and a catnap, I biked the Lincoln loops again (GG Tri course). It took me about 20 minutes to do one loop at a moderate pace. I totally don't see myself racing my bike. Ha. I hope I can ride in a pack without crashing. I suppose if I'm able to ride in critical mass, then it shouldn't be so bad. Seems to be sunny everywhere else but here. As long as I get to run, bike and swim, I'm a happy camper.


Budget cuts all around

The California budget cuts are pretty serious, affecting everyone including those who need help the most.

Parks and trails that people seek peaceful recreation and refuge in these dire times could also close:
25 Bay Area Parks may close from budget crisis.

UPDATE: Save Our State Parks - "A State Park Access Pass would institute a $15 surcharge on vehicle license fees of non-commercial vehicles in order to provide Californians with free day-use access to state parks and generate much-needed revenues for the system."

Sporting event organizers, plan your fund-raising accordingly!

Roz Savage takes off on solo journey across the Pacific in a carbon-fiber rowboat >>


Fugeddabout it

This fog just makes me want to stay home under the quilt! I forced myself to go to the pool anyway. Just showing up is half the battle, right? It was so crowded, that I almost gave up again, but instead waited and had a sauna. After all the surrendering and letting go of the "blah not into it" feeling, when I finally got a lane, I had the BEST swim ever. Go figure. Was it the sauna? I didn't get out of breath and felt like I could keep swimming and swimming and swimming... I was able to swim strong and work on my triceps extensions on the pull. I'm baffled, but smiling. Now I can go and hide under the quilt.


Bike/Run Monday

Since it was windy today, avoided the chilly water and instead went over the GGTri course in the Presidio. After doing the loop twice, a nice long 5 minute transition and a 3 mile run through the park. It's a little weird running after cycling. It takes a minute to shift gears. It's also tough to run in the park when you're hungry and all you can smell is BBQ. I love the smell of caramelized bbq sauce. Here is a quick recipe for high-protein post workout nachos:

1 cup quinoa
1 can beans (your choice)
1 tub of pico de gallo
extra cilantro and peppers to taste
cheese optional
mix well and serve with chips!

Reading: Hulaman's Tri Tips


Sunday Swim at Aquatic Park

I am getting acclimated to open water swimming in the cold bay water so today I went out for a group swim with Water World Swim group. They have weekly training sessions with Coach Pedro Ordenes for all levels. In the beginner's group we learned how to swim at an angle against the tide and then rode the tide on the way back. It was really fun after the warmup part. The water was about 55°F and there were many swimmers training out there. I practiced sighting and trying to relax into the coldness. My fingers started to get tingly and numb after 20 minutes. Probably time to get out of the water. I might have been able to stay in longer if I had not been hanging out for almost an hour in the cold wind beforehand. The great thing about swimming with a group and a group leader is (a) motivation to get there and do it (b)you go further than you probably would have if you went alone (c) you have the safe feeling that you are going with experienced people that have knowledge of the water conditions, and someone has your back. You check-in before the swim and check-out with someone before you leave. I went in solo yesterday and it was very quiet. The Swim-Art group won't be meeting tomorrow because of the holiday so I may go back in solo. San Francisco is shrouded in it's usual cool fog for memorial day weekend. Time to curl up with a good movie and a hot cocoa!



Boring training notes: tonight I thought it was high time I get some serious brick workouts in, seeing as how the triathlon is in 5 weeks! I'm going to try to do swim/bike and bike/run workouts for a bit. I'm up to 150 meters swimming freestyle without stopping. I am slow and steady, conserving my energy for the long haul. If I stick to my training schedule I should be at least at 300 meters by the time the tri rolls around. I used to think the freestyle swim was about pedaling my arms as fast as I can like on a bike, but it actually gets most propulsion from the hip. Tonight I was working on driving the spear into the water with my hip, it's like a little hip twist elongation thing. Next I need to work on "grabbing the water" after spearing. There are many little parts that need to come together for a stroke.

Then I hopped on the bike (after changing into some dry clothes of course) and did a 9 mile speed ladder interval. I love those. It's 4x400, 2x800, 1x1600, 2x800, 4x400 with 400s recovery pace in-between. Fuel: nuun water and gu. I was so amped afterwards that I felt like running 3 miles would be very doable.

My training buddy: coffee!

April Recap

Spring is here! Proceed with caution!  I managed to ramp up my activities, adding in more bike rides and swims, and taking the time to d...