Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunday's Crystal Cove Extravaganza

Those that are able to update their blogs as life unfolds amaze me. So, without further ado.....
 The Crystal Cove 17k has now been rescheduled three time. I didn't quite mind, because the timing of this race was perfect for me. I had just come off that long long (but crazy fun!) Sat ride, and a tough training week. No better way to top it off than with a trail race! Plus, without a little race motivation I'm not sure I would have been able to get my legs movin' Sunday morning. I love these XTerra races. I was warned that this course was ridiculously challenging. It didn't disappoint.
Tawnee was an amazing host. THANKS girl. I was able to stay with her Sat. night to ensure I'd actually wake up AND make it to the starting line in time.
We LOVE our GU!!!
People said the flowers were out...but I was too busy feeling the burn of the 180HR going up hill, or staring at the ground on the downhills to prevent a face plant incident.

As you can tell by the graphic above the course starts with a killer climb. It only took 90 seconds for my HR to shoot up to 178. I know I'm not the best at drastic rocky downhills so I tried to get out in front from the get-go.  By the top of climb one I was the lead female. By the bottom of hill 1, I was in 2nd, by the top of hill 2 I regained the lead, by the bottom I was in 2nd. Frustrated that I was suffering the 180+HR to get the lead, then losing it on the downhill/free speed sections, I decided to suck it up and charged ahead.

When the trail flattened out a bit (not often) I looked back to see if the downhill runners were approaching. I built enough of a lead that I was able to cautiously/wisely back off a bit on the final descent for home.
Turns out not only did the opportunity to "race" get me out of bed, but it also got my heart pumping, and lead to an overall win (10th human).
This was The Perfect way to spend my Sunday morning, and close out a tough training week! The breakfast was "Caroline approved" (healthy, and not all that starchy stuff), and  there was plenty of Starbucks coffee to top off our jumbo mugs ;)
 The male and female overall winners. He freaking FLEW!
Tawnee also had an unbelievable race, and won her age group. WHOOOP WHOOOP! Killer race girl!!
If you haven't thought of racing in the California XTerra Trail race series, you should! Brennan puts on some stellar races (fun, low key, great great courses, and good peeps all around!). Thanks so much to him and all the volunteers out there! Thinking of hitting up Malibu next week for the next SoCal event.
But in the meantime I'm enjoying some time in St. George, Utah. It's time to get the North American Ironman season under way. I have so many friends racing here, so couldn't pass up the opportunity to play support crew. It's going to be a good one!!!

Keep Smiling =) and...Happy Training!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Love and Laughter

Another typical- coachless caroline training weekend. I get to do what I want, when I want, where I want...and hope I'm being smart about it. I've said this in the past, but one of the advantages of not having a coach is you learn how to listen to your body. This weekend was AWESOME! My body said "go for it!" "have fun!" "smile lots!" "laugh more!" and... remember how much you love this sport.
 Sat. I enjoyed (no really, every mile of our 120 adventure was fun) long ride with Colleen. She's training for her first Ironman, IMCDA. This is the kind of athlete you can't wait to watch attempt this feat. She is a psycho fast swimmer, very talented athlete, and has been dominating her age group since getting into triathlon. When she told me she had 6.5hrs on her schedule I asked if I could play tour guide.
I couldn't wait to share one of my favorite IM training routes with her. She's never been this far east, never climbed these hills/mountains, and simply has never been on her bike this long. I love Ironman, and want her to also ;) I was equipped with some homemade bars to serve as a little treat at the half way point.
I successfully stayed on top of my calorie intake and prayed fit and fast Colleen wouldn't leave me for dead. After 3.5 hours of going up, up, up, up, the horses were there to welcome us to the half way point...
And to think that just a few years ago I dreaded the long rides. Now I look forward to all the wonderful places Laule takes me-both near...and far!
Showing Colleen where we were on the big map. Heeeelllllllllllllllllllloooo Julian!

I seriously smiled the entire ride- EVEN when Colleen took over the tour guide responsibilities and opted for a route that added another 6miles onto our ride. 112miles!?!?!?! whats a few more!
How hot is that bike ;) The fact that I don't even have an ironman on my schedule, yet, confirms that I truly love training.
Thinking of all I wanted to eat when I got home carried me up the final climb - still with a smile on my face. And thank you Colleen for all the laughs. You seriously crack me up!
Long workout indeed, but my fun filled weekend of climbing in the wonderful outdoors wasn't over yet. After eating lots, and sleeping a little, it was time for Day 2-Crystal Cove 17k XTerra Trail Race... stay tuned...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Trails...

I've always been a fan of shutting off the brain, running in the wilderness, and trying to navigate my way through a maze of trails. I half try to figure out where I'm going ;) all the while knowing that if I get lost it just means more time spent doing what I love!

It decided to stop by South Mountain for a long run before heading back to San Diego. Trails galore! First I took off for the main trail that goes right up the first mountain.

Going up is way more fun than coming back down. Once atop the mountain I could run for miles (AND MILES!)

Over and over I had to choose: right OR left? Eventually I simply couldn't keep track of how on earth I arrived at my current position (in other words I was lost...and happy!). 
How people were able to mountain bike on these trails was beyond me. I was happy to make it out without tripping, face planting or breaking my ankle! There were several very technical sections. And I even had an opportunity to do some minor rock climbing. Guaranteed soreness to come tomorrow!
I couldn't wipe the smile off my face! I'm so thankful to be in love with a sport that enables me to experience morning like this!
I jumped in my car, and after 5 hours of driving found myself at the pool for a quick swim with Beth. It was a long way to drive for a swim ;) But I was happy to be home again....but am certainly missing my cuddle buddy!!!!
 Happy Trails!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back at it

Last weekends season opener seems like a blur. Besides the awful blisters from all the sand running, recovery went smoothly. My best friend just had a baby boy and I've been dying to see him. So I took off for Arizona! He is now 6 weeks and adorable beyond words.  AHHHHHHHHHHH, Crazy! It was love at first sight. Seriously missing the little dude right now. We got in some serious cuddle time though.
 Mom clearly has him on the right track in life! Study hard Cole ;)

On Sat. morning I had to sneak out the door without seeing Cole first. Once I laid my eyes on him I couldn't say goodbye. And there was some exploring to do.The best part-only one stop light. The worst part-the streets were loaded with debris. Ok, let me define what I mean by debris: dead bobcat, mice, 2x4's, glass galore, nails and tacks, and how can I forget to mention the mattress. Seriously, Phoenix!?!?!?!
The last time I biked through Tonto Nat'l Park was miserable. It was early 2006 and the first ride on my original P3. 12 hours after the bike was built Lance and I headed out for a pre-ironman ride. It was the most uncomfortable 100 mile ride ever. I was a sad excuse for a cyclist back then!
Needless to say this time I was lovin' my ride, and as a result enjoyed the scenery way more...
After 4 hours I really wanted to take a dip in the river! 85, sunny, light winds. Perfect day for exploring!
Before I left today I hit up South Mountain for a KILLER trail run. I'll post those pics tomorrow.
I miss you Colester!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Race 1, and Hungry for More

The best way to describe last weekends race is deceiving! It was a tough course, but loads of fun indeed! The Navy Seals were on hand to get things started: 
The swim was gnarly to say the least. 2 loops meant battling the tough surf not once, but twice!

The entire women's field started together. I made it out through the surf just behind Hillary Biscay, with no other pink caps in sight (which isn't saying much because it was hard to see far with the big surf). I felt strong in the water, and knew I was somewhere in the front when I entered for lap 2. This was the toughest swim I've ever done in a triathlon (evident by the slow swim times!). Several friends were there to cheer for me as I exited the water. I was in second, which meant there were some very fast pro women behind me and soon I would be the hunted!
             TYR's Hurricane suits are the bomb....First and Second out of the water! Solid!!

The bike was flat but nice and windy- not my favorite. With each loop of the course (4 total) the wind picked up. The bike was not the strongest component of my race. I felt flat for the first half and struggled to keep my heart rate up. Good news, when Kate Pallady and Haley Cooper came flying by I tried hard to keep them in sight and felt stronger and stronger w/ each mile.Had I been racing age group I think I would have let them go without a fight...but I was racing elite and figured I should at least try to play at their game.

The run was grueling. 11 miles worth of packed and soft sand (beach and random sandy trails). I was surprised with my pace after mile one. Solid, could I hold on? Then, during mile 2 I stepped in a small hole in the sand and my hamstring seized. I couldn't walk. I stretched for about 90seconds (thank u Garmin for keeping track of the time I spent standing still). I wondered if my race was over, swallowed 2 salt tabs (with salt water from the ocean) and thankfully was able to start running again. Flat bike courses can be fast, but it means you're using the same muscles throughout and was probably the reason for the random muscle seizing. From there things only improved with each mile. As we ran off the beach at mile 2.5 I was ready for some fast pavement. Joke's on me- more soft soft sand and a head wind awaited. I tried to work on my form, stay light on my feet, and build my pace throughout. After the first of 2 loops I was in 7th, but closing the gap between me and the girls ahead of me.
Two goals of mine going into this season are to take in more calories on the run and try to negative split the run. It's only race #1 and I accomplished both (something I didn't do well at all of last year!) With 5k to go I threw it into another gear, emptied the tank, passed a few girls and almost caught another before the finish. I ran out of real estate, but dug deep and finished with my fastest miles of the day.
I definitely left it all out there, and finished at 4:48:16. I was 6th overall, and the first non-pro to cross the line. It was really really fun to race amongst the fast pro women, and I couldn't be happier with how things went. I'd love the 1:30 that I spent attending to the hammy cramp back, but I'm now confident that the months I've spent working on my running form will pay off!

The first triathlon of the year is in the bank.... a worthwhile deposit, leaving me hungry for more!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Racing close to home really is a treat. My own surroundings, pre-race tune up in the environment I'll be racing in, no baggage/bike fees, and of course my own bed!
Laule is pimped out and ready for his race day debut (it should be spelled Laule'a, however that sounds too girly...and it's a dude, so I'm going with Laule).

I woke up early (not necessarily by choice) to get in a quick swim/bike/run. All systems are Go. The surf at Coronado is huge. Getting out to that vast ocean will not be easy, nor will surfing our way back to shore. But we're racing in the land of the Navy Seals, nothing about it should be easy! 
I made a quick stop at Target for the wonderful socks turned arm warmers. It worked perfect for IMAz. They go on and off really easy, however I doubt it will warm up enough to take them off tomorrow =(
 On another note I received a really amazing email from my freshman year college rowing coach (on the right above). A few years ago she kicked breast cancer in the arse! During her battle to overcome the disease she inspired me to dig deep and push through my own dismal challenges. Knowing what she was battling kept me focused during a lot of workouts. I never told her this, but doesn't it go without saying. How can you know someone dealing with this and not be inspired!! Well in the email she told me that while she was fighting for her life she enjoyed reading about my triathlon endeavors and how I pushed through when things got tough. This coming from the person who taught me to FIRST love the sport you're doing, and only then can you really win and accomplish greatness! I was touched beyond words, and once again overcome with emotions of gratitude that she is now healthy and happier than ever.
You see another dear friend of mine is suffering this same fight, and it just isn't easy watching such lovely, young, energetic, athletic women go through this. I want to ripe the bad cells from her body and squash them for good. But as she fights, she also inspires! It isn't fair, it isn't right, and it isn't easy. Claire proves that simply by the power of our being we can help empower others. She certainly didn't ask for this :( If I can race with even 1/2 the fight that Claire has displayed over the past few months it will be a great day. This one's for you girl!

So.....Let the 2010 Triathlon season begin! The Navy Seals put so much into this race and I can't wait for the challenge. High surf, strong winds, soft sand: BRING IT!!!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ocean or Washing Machine?!?!?!

The theme for my workouts today was Beach! Temps in San Diego reached 80 degrees today. I live in paradise!!
Of course I rarely just sit on the beach. It's not so much my thing. But a run on the beach was the perfect start to this beautiful day! I'm experiencing this annoying, increasing strong shin pain. It's not sitting well with me, especially seeing as though the first race of the year is a few days away. Oh well, it is what it is and this isn't something new for me. I can deal (and smile while I'm at it)!
Sunday's race is flat but incredibly challenging. The swim starts on the Navy Seals training beach, and features a traditional beach start- heading straight for the high surf. I'm hoping the past 2 ocean swims will come in handy in getting out through the break.
The run includes 4+ miles of soft sand running. Add in a windy windy bike to the south tip of Coronado and we'll have ourselves a little party! Yaaaa Baby!!!
                             Look who just moved to San Diego! Welcome to town Julie =)
It seemed like the perfect day for an ocean swim. Sadly, we didn't take into account the wind and ridiculously choppy water. However, the new wetsuit kept me happy as-can-be out there. My stroke felt so much stronger and longer. My lats felt like they could engage better, and in return I think I moved faster. Test #1 comes Sunday!
                                         Thankfully we were accompanied by a Navy Seal diver
                         and a paddle board escort. (Although w/ the chop he couldn't actually stand up)
At one point I could have sworn I saw a whale's water spout! Ok Caroline, that was a scuba diver. Keep swimming!
Together we battled our way out into the Pacific. As long as we didn't stop it was a blast. Stop and the stomach starts churning!
The swim back to the cove was against the current. Fun times!

Even amidst the surf and chop, we took in the beauty of the moment. I so wish the sun was going to stay around for the weekend. I don't think we'll be so lucky. Sun or clouds; shin pain or not; surf or flat seas; I'm ready to play!!!

Goodnight from beautiful sunny San Diego.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Go Go Go

Maybe the reason I'm feeling off kilter today (can't use the 4 letter S word!) has something to do with the fact that I was PUMMELED in the surf yesterday. Hux was beyond awesome and met me for an Easter morning ocean swim. The surf didn't look so big from the parking lot, but once in the water I was singing a different tune. I wanted to quit and go get coffee instead. I was tossed around like a rag doll, but my amazing new flotation device came in clutch! I couldn't stay in the surf. I needed to test this puppy out! I'd be lying if I didn't say it was love at first stroke. The TYR suit is amazing. My arms feel like they can move smoothly and I simply feel stronger in the water than I usually do in wetsuits.
Ya, we were tough out there (and I promise the surf was big, even though it looks teeennny tiny in the background).
I'm without pics from my torturous ride on Sat. Let's just say I was pummeled out on the road as well. The Swami's boys had their way with me :( My HR was sky high (never dropped below 170). I really want to think the ride was faster than usual, but I'm sure it's just that I have a long way to go to find any sense of cycling speed. But my heart was in it, and I hung on for dear life. I just want to be fast like them! Is that so much to ask!?!?!?
Beth and I enjoyed a great Easter sunset run. Both of us sported our pastel easter attire, but she came complete with a giant chocolate bunny! I might have to do that loop five more times to just burn off the calories in the bunny's head.
The highlight of the weekend was celebrating my old roommate and awesome friend Courtney's recent wedding. I can't believe it's been over 3 yrs since we lived together. I miss her to pieces, but loved every second I was able to spend with her this weekend! Congratulations Courtney and Tom!!!
Here's to hoping I wake up feeling healthy and energetic tomorrow! because the first triathlon of the season is on tap for this weekend: Superfrog Half Ironman.

Health and Happiness to you! and Happy belated Easter ;)