Sunday, January 24, 2010

A bump in the road

It was another solid week of base training. I enjoyed a few great run workouts this week (even that Friday a.m run which required an intense fight with gale forced winds!). The rain didn't keep me from enjoying several solid swims. I am notorious for changing the prescribed swim set...but lately I haven't changed a thing. When Fast Friday came around I didn't think my usual: "I don't do fast." Instead I tried to hang on as if my life depended on it. Sierra was in town from Pasadena and did a great job at showing me how it's done!

When Saturday rolled around. I was ready to hit the road. The rain stuck around until 7:30a.m., but by 8:00 the clouds moved aside and we were rolling. We headed to the mountains. Climbing = warmth. We even enjoyed a snow sighting. It was beautiful! Cold, but beautiful!

After taking in the beautiful snow capped mountains things went south. We descended, speeds picked up, body temperature went down, and my blood sugar hit zero. I can honestly say I wasn't sure I'd make it home. I just wanted to get to the next town (20miles), hug a huge cup of coffee and find food. Had Shannon been without that extra gel I think I would have assumed the fetal position and given up. But Gu once again dug me from that deep dark place. Thank you Julie and Shannon for not leaving me for dead. I was very fortunate to have great friends and training partners out there to provide the sugar and smile I needed to get me home!!

Who would have thought that after such a ridiculous display of destruction I'd be able to pull off my 2 hour run this morning! Sierra and I went puddle jumping/running. Man, I love enjoying time training with great people. Come back soon Sierra.
I certainly hit a big bump in the road this week, but things ended on a high note. While I was out there suffering Saturday I promised myself that I'd take tomorrow off.

Congrats to everyone who ran their hearts out at CBad Half Marathon today. A special congrats to my Kristin who killed it! Love you girl!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There's no shortage of water around here!

Yes, there is a lot of water in the beautiful Pacific. But that isn't the kind of water we're experiencing here. We're getting what I'd refer to as a good Michigan kind of rain. You know the kind where substantial amounts of water falls from the sky, and every once and a while there may be a glimpse of thunder and lightening. San Diegans simply can't cope. Surfs Up!

The roads are flooded, and even the indoor pool was briefly closed due to thunder and lightening.
[WOW I just heard the loudest thunder EVER. Nice! Power just flickered off and on. Real weather....gotta love it!]
Oh, back to the pool. This was how swim practice started today:

The pool has a retractable ceiling. The ceiling was closed...making it an indoor pool. But they still made us wait 30mins from the last lightening sighting. Strange, but we socialized and waited it out.
Once we finally got in the workout was awesome. The main set is one I'll put in the book and repeat next time I have to swim solo: 2x400; 3x300; 4x200; 5x100.
The base -5 200's even made coach tired and required a brief mid-workout snack.

They're predicting another strong storm tonight, but the weather man says we'll be able to hit the roads and ride Saturday. Stay Dry!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This week we're experiencing our week of winter. Rain, wind (like 60mph at times), and cooler (I didn't say cold!) temps have kept me indoors. I'm taking the opportunity to find that long lost running fitness I so desperately miss! This was me yesterday:

After a solid warm-up it was time to see how quick my legs could turn over. The workout: 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1600, 1200, 400. I started at 6:45 pace and accelerated from there. As the belt started moving faster I played the game of "Keep up or Fly off." I choose to keep up! The treadmill is not my favorite, but it does help keep the pace steady and leg turnover moving. The scenery isn't quite as enjoyable, but the benefits are there.

I saw a slew of friends walking by as I finished my warm-down and realized masters swim practice was starting in about 20mins. My legs were trashed from the run and lifting the day prior (lifting is so beneficial, but it sure does hurt! Pain is means my little muscles are growing again).

I wouldn't of been able to hammer out the 10x200's and 10x100 main set without the presence of our amazing coach Hux on deck. Once we hit the base -5 segment of the 200's I wanted to stop. But this is the difference I'm trying to make in my swim training. Just when I was ready to call it quits and thought "am I really accomplishing anything here?" coach looked my way and yelled "only 3 more- GO!" And just like that I was back in the game. When my legs are dead, and my body is tired I need to push harder. I need to feel that kind of pain and discomfort more often so I can swim to my capabilities in races this season! Swimming over 56 mins in an Ironman is NOT acceptable for me. Something has to change! And, I'm learning that actually working hard in the pool can be fun.

I stayed in and finished the workout, and made sure to smile big after! 2 solid workouts, and a very productive day thereafter. Score!

Today I reversed the order. Swam dark and early, then revisited the tready for an easy/short run and the beginning of the Today show.

I hope the sun is shinning where you are. Happy Training, and Keep Smiling!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Towards the end of yesterdays ride I started thinking about the reward I wanted when I got home. Don't tell me you don't do it too. I made it to the top of Palomar without seriously bonking because of the calories I got in on the way up. Then I started thinking:
"If I climb another 500feet on this hill I'll burn enough calories to indulge in that extra treat." I got in that extra climb knowing exactly what those extra burned calories were for.
Then with 30mins to go I just wanted real food! "Why have a Gu now if instead I could have a small Golden Spoon tonight," I thought.
My reward for those few extra miles and one less Roctane Gu.

Today I returned to my ultimate favorite long run venue. I met Tatiana for a spirited run through the trails of glorious Rancho Sante Fe. It was my longest run of the year: 1:40. Slowly, but surely, those running legs are coming back. Now if I can just shed a few excess pounds I swear running will feel right again.

Enjoy your rewards!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Welcome back my love!

A few weeks ago the request came in from my friend Shannon: "want to climb Palomar?" I may not be in shape, but this climb will kick my butt into shape like few other rides can. Plus, how can I say not to a request coming from 6 people willing to drive all the way from Pasadena to ride Palomar (5 of which were Palomar virgins!). I immediately stored the ride in trainingpeaks. After 2 weeks of riding I was ready to visit the mountain we love to hate!

The gang arrived from the northern hemisphere and were ready to roll. I let my worries be known. No, I wasn't worried about the 5,550ft climb in 12 miles! I was worried that the sun was no where to be found. I HATE (seriously HATE) descending that hill when it's cold. I threw on 3 layers and packed another long-sleeve in the pockets for the descent. We rolled out and I was scared of possible hypothermia to come :(

Shannon and I layered up and ready to roll!
The Pasadena crowd looks very happy. Do they know what's to come?!?!?!

Soon we happily welcomed the Lake Wulford climb. Climbing = warmth. The weather in San Diego has been summeresq lately. It was cool today! But then again, we're riding in January...not too shabby for this Michigan native!
As we made our way to the lake atop the climb my quads began to burn. Oh boy! A sign of good things to come.

At the bottom of Palomar we stopped to make sure the bottles were topped off, the excess clothing tops were off, and provided a quick description of the climb for the guests. It went something like this:
"Ok, we'll start up, after 5 miles there will be a V in the road stay left. From there you'll enjoy 7 miles of switch backs. Ready.....set.....GO!"

The watch timer started and we were off. It only took 90 seconds before Shannon and her fellow climbing mules were off. That girl inspires me! She can climb like few other chics can! And she'll be in St. George for her first Ironman in May...I can not wait to watch that action!!!

5 miles in and I was in 'no mans land.' 4 goats ahead of me, and two behind. The iPod was put into play and the fun began. My goal was to build my intensity, heart rate and power throughout the climb. "Where are those 4? Seriously, what studs!" At the 5 mile mark I got out of the saddle and bumped up the intensity. 7 more miles!

Rage against the Machine provided a little inspiration with "Know your Enemy." I caught an unknown rabbit. He was feisty and put up a good fight. Thanks for letting me play dude!

Another thanks to Bon Jovi for letting me know "We Weren't Born To Follow."
3,000ft down.
"Ya, Ya, We weren't born to follow. Come on and get off of your knees. Life is a bitter pill to swallow. We've gotta hold on to what we believe."
Ya baby...climb climb climb. Legs burning, burning, burning.

Rocking out to Kings of Leon I made it back and forth a few more switch backs. Just then I saw one of my fellow goats. I think he thought I was a bit lonely, and figured he'd come pick me up. At every turn he looked out to the panoramic view with appreciation. It was awesome to see him enjoying one of my favorite backyard playgrounds. I vowed to never take this scenery and terrain for granted.

Ok, back to reality. I was dying, and he seemed to be spinning with ease. I tried hard to hold on, and together we passed one of our mules. I love those moments of encouragement amongst training partners: "good job. kill it. go go go." I let him know he was almost there. Seriously, the first time up this long climb is the worst. You just don't know when it will end!

"I Got a Feeling" (Blcak Eyed Peas)...Woooooo Hoooooo! This hurts SO GOOD! LOVIN' IT.
That leaves just over 1,500 to go. I took a glance at my watch and knew I had better get a MAJOR move on if I was going to record a descent time for this fun little time trial. Before we started I was sincerely scared my legs couldn't make this climb after only 2 weeks back on the bike. They proved me wrong, and were in the game to play and responded well to my request for more.

Wait a second- Do I see the last 2 rabbits! There's my favorite goat. " Shannon, I'm coming" (I thought-I couldn't speak at this point) We "flew" (as fast as one can possibly "fly" when grinding on their easiest gear 11.2 miles and 5000 ft in.

Just then my FAVORITE climbing song came on: "He's a Pirate" by DJ Tiesto. I have no idea how it ended up on my play list, but seriously download it. Your cadence will quicken, your power will rise, and your heart may pound out of your chest.

I don't know how I reeled in those crazy goats, but I just about caught them all. It wasn't a race, but you see, at mile 5 I was feeling a bit sorry for my self out there in no mans land. When I clicked the stop watch at the top that I wasn't as weak as I thought I'd be.

A quick coffee/hot chocolate to warm the core and it
was time to retrace our path home

It was far from warm atop the Mountain. Clothes on quick and lets get off this giant. If I haven't mentioned it before, I hate this part. But what goes up, must go down.
To have this kind of ride in my back yard is simply awesome! Thank you Palomar for allowing me to fall in love with you again. I enjoyed sharing this ride with so many out-of-towners! Come back soon guys!

As for me- Palomar my love, I'll be back soon!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Veggies- shouldn't they be healthy?!

Gotta love our country. We take something healthy, douse it with oil, and fry them to our hearts content. Or there are those products that try reel in the "I want to be healthy" people by making things sound way healthier than they are. Take those yummy Veggie Chips for instance.
Or there is a somewhat healthier version. But still these chips are saturated in various oils.
I had time to attempt a homemade version. It was largely a success (although it takes time to master the baking time so the veggies come out crispy). But prepare this snack according to the directions below and go figure- your veggies remain a healthy snack. Perfect to snack on when you get home from a ride and need something salty while you prepare a "real" meal.

1. Pick your favorite veggies. The best are carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and green beans.
2. Peel veggies and slice very thin (important or they won't crisp). Lay in a single layer on paper towel and sprinkle evenly with salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, allowing vegetables to release moisture. (Potatoes hold more moisture so the longer u can let them sit the better).

3. Rinse well in cold water and dry completely! Again, make sure to dry completely so they crisp in the oven
4. Arrange veggie slices in a single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spray vegetables
lightly (too much and they come out soggy) with cooking spray. Bake at 275 for 40 to 50 minutes. Flip half way through cooking.
I'll admit they aren't as good as the store bought super crispy veggie chips, but considering they're healthy and oil free....I love 'em!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The fog has lifted

I enjoyed my time away from triathlon. I took advantage of mornings without an alarm, time with family, going out with friends (since I could actually keep my eyes open past 9pm), and much R&R! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't itching to get back to training again. I was starting to feel bogged down, and am very ready to return to my eat healthy eating regime and cut some excess weight ASAP!

It's time to get back in the saddle, enjoy running through my favorite trails, and jump in the pool (at 6am instead of the glorious "club med" noon workout).
Yes, the fog has lifted!

Fog set in last night, but thankfully the sun was shining inland for my morning ride with Julie
Last week was my first full week back. I even opened my account again. Oh, I missed that calendar view of 20+ hours of swim/bike/run. I got in a solid week of training last week, culminating with a 5 hour ride with great friends on Saturday (Time sure does fly when you get to hear about one friends honeymoon in New Zealand, and another's wedding in Mexico!).
This week marked the return of 6am workouts (I only relied on 2 of my 3 set alarms this morning to get up). I even feel tired and a bit achy today! Kind of sick, but I missed the feeling. The fog of the off season has lifted.... now I just need to figure out a race schedule! In the meantime, there's more training to enjoy tomorrow...

Make it a Great Day!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My new January

I grew up enjoying January's that resembled this:
That's still my home, sweet home. But a week ago I left for a different kind of beauty. One where I could get out of this (although if you have to workout surrounded by 4 walls, this isn't a bad selection):

and enjoy a little of this:

and this:
During yesterdays cruise around the county I couldn't help but to smile when I saw this! Little kids on their way to school. But instead of mom driving them, there is a car-0-van of kids on bikes. As I rode by I said good job to the gang and complimented their hot rides!
What makes a home a home? I guess they say home is where the heart is! You can take a girl out of the Midwest, but you can never take the Midwest out of a girl. I'm happy both of those things are true!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let the spirit live on

All of my Christmas dreams came true this year. Reality is, there weren't many. I just wanted to get home and enjoy time with my family....all 4 of us! Thankfully my brother wasn't sailing around the world (literally) and was able to make it home. Our Christmas was simple and simply awesome. The midwest sure does Christmas right. The minute I disembarked the airplane I was greeted with awesome decorations and instantly filled with the Christmas spirit (as if I was lacking this prior to arriving back home).
When I walked into my parents house things got even better. The table was set, and soon my mom's great cooking filled the plates.
And then there is the tree. Beautiful Mom!
The lines for Santa were long. But as they should be. After all, we all know the real Santa only exists in Somerset mall!
I use to be the youngest within my extended family as well. Thankfully one cousin has 2 adorable kids. They remind us of the true magic of Christmas in a way only kids can!
Christmas is over, but I hope the spirit of the holiday carries you through 2010.