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!

Triathlon Anxiety Dreams

I had another triathlon anxiety dream the other night. I didn't have anxiety dreams when I was training for my first marathon. The dreams are about cycling, not swimming, surprisingly. I ride my bike every damn day, so why the bike?

I dreamt I was racing the bike and my tire was punctured, not just the tube, the tire also. When I looked at the hole in the tire it was huge and a nonstop blast of air was gushing out of it like a mighty wind. I didn't have the right tools so I DNF and used my tire as a fan to cool off. Well at least my dreams have a sense of humor.


Open Water Group Swimming Experience

I'm so glad I found a group that does Monday night group swims at Aquatic Park: Swim-Art! It was an exhilarating experience, and not as cold or scary as I thought it was going to be. It is sooo easy to float in the saltwater, and a wonderful feeling floating on the back, like being cradled by the ocean. Being with a group was helpful in getting up the courage to get into the cold. Also, I felt support from the other swimmers and the group leader. A couple of people went in without wetsuits! We swam to a buoy or a boat, rested and swam to the next one. The advanced beginning swimmers were doing a longer time trial. I do need to work on my sighting skills after almost crashing into one of the boats that was anchored out there. I should have left more space on the turnaround. It's also easy to bump into people - I thought I was going at a slow pace, but the tide was pushing me a little faster towards the shore, and opposite on the way out.

We stayed in for about 45min. to an hour, and had a nice spot on the grass to change clothes. Next time, I think I will bring more layers that are easy to put on, a beanie, warmer socks, gloves and some "hot hands". It was windy and foggy out, and I couldn't feel my toes for two hours afterwards. That's probably because I was biking around and didn't really dry out very well. Trying to transition from swim to bike without the feeling of fingers and toes quickly in the triathlon is going to be a challenge. My mind is also thinking in slow motion at that temperature. Good to know these things beforehand! I'll try a short run after getting out of the water, some pushups, or a bowl of hot clam chowder!

Allen's Photos
: here I am working on not dropping my elbows, LOL!

Here is an amazing video documentary: Voyage of the Lonely Turtle


This year's Bay to Breakers was a lot tamer than the rest, but not enough to appease the haters. I run every year because it is the first event that introduced me to running races, and it was fun. They corralled all of us boring runners up front so it actually felt like a footrace, and all the costumed runners in the back. It was so hot! My heart rate was already elevated at an easy pace. I had wished for more water stops during the last 3 miles in the park, especially on a hot day like today. Where were they? I finished in less than 90 minutes and got to enjoy the costume parade on the way back home and saw that there were still THOUSANDS of people still cascading over Hayes Hill! My goal was to get out of the sun immediately. Sunscreen sweats right off when you run, and needs to get reapplied several times, and I didn't bring any nor did they have any at the aid stations. Running in the heat had wiped me out so after B2B I went Back-2-Bed.

Did way better than I thought: 1:13:37, about 7 minutes faster than last year without even pushing it and in the heat. Interval training rocks!


Wetsuit Test

OMG It was so gorgeous and hot out today I didn't even need a wetsuit! The beach at Chrissy Field was packed, the water was gold reflecting sun rays back off the sand below and was warm in the shallows, with colder currents flowing in. I had a totally refreshing swim experience in my blueseventy. It's a little over 100 meters from the extended part going east to the edge of the rock wall so i just did one out and back. I tried to stay in the water for 20 minutes. It was kind of wavy, and for a minute I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere swimming in an endless pool. I didn't go out that far and could touch the bottom. I did a little deep swimming and got to practice vertical kicking drills. Did not have the sinking problem as in the pool, it's so easy to float in the brine. I did forget my earplugs though and got a little dizzy. I did a slow-motion transition to the showers then to my bike. I rolled up my wetsuit burrito style, racked it, then put on some dry clothes and sunscreen and had a gu. Where did I put my keys? I improvised a swim belt for my stuff from an old headlamp strap and a coin purse keychain. From there I did the route for the triathlon course and enjoyed the beautiful view along Lincoln. It has some "mild" but STEADY climbs and a few sharp turns. I say "mild" because there are some major steep climbs around here with Marin Headlands, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Oakland Hills, etc. that are way more painful. So if you have ridden those, this is not too bad. Nothing too steep for more than 5 minutes, and not as long as the nearby Arguello Blvd. or Presidio Blvd. But, did I mentioned the awesome view?!!!!!

And now for something completely different: Will someone please tell me why certain men that are going fast on their bikes insist on making snyde or sarcastic comments as they pass to women that are riding alone? Of course, a member of Team Dickhead had to show up, wearing his aero helmet and making sarcastic remarks about my pace. Do I know him? NO. Am I racing with him? NO. Do you think he would have said anything if I was with my guy or with a group? NO. Do women do this? NO. What's their deal? It is Saturday afternoon on a hot summerlike day, prime Blazing Saddles time and Baker Beach traffic. Was he expecting to have the road all to himself today LOL! Just say "on your left" and be gone already. Instead of making a comeback, I opted to be polite and supportive of others on the path instead of engaging in that bad behavior.

And on a brighter note, it's B2B tomorrow!

Team Dickhead in the news! This explains why TD is so chafed! They probably just got off the Golden Gate Bridge and had to pass a ton of cyclists going at 10mph.

Into the Ocean

The other night I had a triathlon anxiety dream - As soon as I got on my bike my entire handlebar broke in half and I had no brakes. Then the next day during my swim warmup I almost had a panic attack thinking about the deep, dark ocean. So, to get over it I've been reading tri blogs and watching transition videos. Today I am going to run through my course and jump into the pacific in my new wetsuit! The suit is so comfortable and warm I can't wait to try it out.

I love Terri Schneider's Triathlon Revolution book. In the mental training section I learned a new tip which is really helping me, and that is channeling positive energy and visualization into a word or phrase that you can use when you are under duress. I haven't formulated one for the run or bike, but for swimming, which I find most challenging, it is "Happy Turtles"! This is magic super hero stuff and it works!


Swimming for a better planet

Christopher Swain is swimming 1,000 miles along the Eastern Coastline to raise awareness about the state of our oceans. It's unbelievable all the junk that's floating around out there.


Envirosports Mt. Tam Wild Boar Run 18k

mt. tam
The Envirosports Mt. Tam Wild Boar Run 18k was a joy. Mt. Tam is beautiful. I can't wait to go back. We did the Bolinas Ridge, Coastal Trail, Matt Davis and up the Old Mine trail. Part of this course will be on the Stinson Beach Marathon later this year. I forgot to ask Dave why it's called the Wild Boar Run.

I cycled the 20 miles back to SF. It took 2 hours. I think if I cycled up to Mount Tam it would take 4 hours! It's a long climb.


Cycling for a Cure

Michael Solis rode like hell to fight MS in the Sams Club Frisco to Fort Worth 150. At first I thought it was San Francisco, but there is a place in Texas called Frisco. He raised over 20k for the cause, and his team over 200k! I'm impressed! His story is moving and personal, because his wife was diagnosed 2 years ago. Way to go Michael. Don't give up hope.


Sunset Run - 100th Post!

Sunset Run

Tonight's Sunset Run was fan-freaking-tastic! It was a beautiful sunset, great weather, and the moon was almost full rising over the cityscape behind us. I got a cool Nike dri-fit shirt and a Noah's bagel and funds were raised for the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer survivor support.

This is also the 100th post of my blog! It's been many miles, and many more to go I hope.



I haven't been able to swim 3 times a week as I should, but I was able to swim 100s today. I had a little minute to rest in-between and practice core breathing. This gets the heart rate down and calms the nervous system. It always takes me a couple laps to warmup in the water and get into the zone. In between focusing on form and rythym I thought of sea turtles.


Grizzly Peak Century Support

Briones Rest Stop
On Sunday I volunteered at the Grizzly Peak Century as I did last year. The only difference this year was: RAIN! I took two buses to get to Berkeley since BART doesn't run that early on weekdays. The city was shrouded in this beautiful blue glowing fog at 5:30am. I would definitely get up early again for that view. I biked up with Rob from there to the Briones Rest Stop. It was a constant trickle of light rain, a steady spray, not the heavy kind, but I could feel the water running down my leg into my shoe. I was not dressed properly for the weather and somewhere along Bear Creek Road I realized a longer visor would have been nice. Next time in these conditions: a full extra change of clothes in a plastic bag. This was just a little taste of what the century riders were experiencing.

Ernesto brought canopies and recycling bins and stoves for us to set up, and though the support van was a tad late we managed to pull the food boxes off the truck down a steep muddy slope and set up in time for the first wave of riders. There were a few early birds, but I think they took a short cut. Rob constructed a beautiful amphitheatre from tarp for our bike mechanic, and we had an oasis of water and gatorade. I don't have photos because things got quite hectic. Unfortunately not a dry seat in the house for tired cyclists. It's all about surrendering to the rain at this point.

Briones Rest Stop

Hot coffee was popular this year, hot cocoa, hot soup, anything hot. Unfortunately it took forever to boil water on the camping stove so we had to stay vigilant with the backup burners and get creative. Barbara was making the hot coffee so she was the magnet. We had tons of fresh fruit, shot blocks, homemade cakes and cookies. Whoever made the chocolate brownie cookies was a genius. Though we were not the lunch stop, some cyclists were ready to down some hot food. There were some things we wished had which we didn't. One of the cyclists described it as "like a bad camping trip". Most of the riders were looking good despite the bad weather and were grateful to have a hot cocoa, coffee, potatoes and some gatorade. One cyclist had done 100 miles the day before, and was participating in a "year-rounder". I had a great time meeting and working with everyone and finding out what events everyone is training for. On a day like today, the right attitude is extremely important, and the right preparation.

Bike Rack
I haven't even done a full century yet. Will I ride it next year?

May in Pictures

May is a long haul with all the events: Bike to Work Day , the BoMF Gala , the Alcatraz Classic, the art auction I was in for HH , and fina...