Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Body is Rejecting My New Hobby

I just have one question. One teensy, weensy question.

Why can people twice my size run twice the distance I can, twice as frequently, and NEVER GET HURT??? Are they superhuman? Can their muscles and joints, which are identical in structure and function to mine, sustain superhuman forces moreso than mine? How is this fair??

I swear, I am just floored that I am the only one on my team experiencing all sorts of injuries. It started with IT Band Syndrome. Then -- shocker --- runner's knee. A million dollars in physical therapy later, the hip flexor pain appeared. Yes, you can run through all of them, but the pain and potential for crippling aren't worth it. So you spend more money in physical therapy. Make sure the shoes are proper fit. Rotate the schedule to make sure you aren't stressing your body out too much.
And then.....the flippin' Achilles starts in. Seriously, I'm RUNNING OUT OF BODY PARTS HERE!!! I started feeling a little "pull" in the Achilles while climbing up those wrotten hills in the Las Vegas race. It was part of the reason I ended up walking the hill. You see, my Dad ruptured his Achilles fifteen years ago, and he's not been the same since. It was almost debilitating, so any tweak in that region freaks me out. Anyway, I had a fabulous bike ride last Monday, where I sustained the big ring for over an hour on some gnarly hills. I attacked those mofos! But then I felt tight in the Achilles again, which turned to soreness, and I stupidly ran on it Wednesday night and then on Sunday morning. Brilliant me. So I sit here now, happily in high heels (only pulls when it's flat), and waiting for my PT session on Thursday where we will yet again focus on a new body part. This time around, I am prepared to drop money on a bike fitting AND orthotics. Anything that'll help the cause.

I have to say, all these pings and pangs really get me down. So many people can follow the plans without any injuries at all. So why me?? I'm not overexerting. I'm not underexerting. I'm not exceeding distances. The plan is far from challenging at this point. Why why why why why why why????

Just to spite my Achilles, I intend to race on it next Saturday. I am signing up for the Sprint, which I will race by myself with the hopes of just adding a race under my belt. (And reintroducing some speed) I am not afraid about the race, but somehow I am freaking out about this Wikipedia article I just read about the dam and Lake we are swimming in. Apparently it is structurally unsound for a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, and the lake is 1.5 miles from the San Jacinto fault, which is more than capable of predicting one. In light of all the small earthquakes popping up in the US these past few weeks, I can't help but freak out a little about it. I mean, I guess if it's your time, it's your time, but I'll be damned if it happens to me in a free sprint triathlon I'm doing by myself.

I suppose I'm done bitching now. Hopefully the coffee machine salesman has vacated the kitchen so I can get my 2nd cup of heaven in peace.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Oh, I'm around. I do check in. I'm just so boring that I don't feel like writing all that often!

I've been somewhat lazy since my race two weeks ago. I suppose traveling for a week will do that, but we are in a quiet build week, so I haven't worked particularly hard. Rode some hills on my bike on Monday (I hate them so much now that I attack with all my power--- it's funny how getting your rear kicked in a race by a hill fuels your anger), and yesterday I ran 6.5 miles around a challenging, hilly course. Aside from the fabulous hip flexor pain I've grown accustomed to, it was easy. Can you believe that? I have a 6-mile running base. And miles 4-6 are the happy ones. Who would've imagined?

So this weekend is all about the hard swim, the long bike, and another strong run. I'm looking forward to it, but I hope my legs recover enough. Am considering getting a bike fitting with a FIST certified fitter....I did a pretty good fitting when I first got my bike, but I am having some very specific pings and pangs as a result of cycling and I can't help but think it may be time to make the investment.

It's odd that I haven't enveloped myself in training this week. Work is uncertain, and hubby's work is pretty horrible, too. Too bad we now work for the same company! We are having some communication issues at the moment......he doesn't think I know what it's like to hate your job, but he is woefully mistaken. And he doesn't think talking about it will help because there's nothing I can do. At least he's right about that one. I can't do anything. Yes, I helped to get him this job, but it's not MY fault he had to take it. Oh, it's all so frustrating. I know it'll all work out for the best in the end and that it's not the end of the world, but right now I just want to disappear.

To top it all off, the love of my life, my kitty, has had some bad allergies that resulted in some scratches around his eye. Tonight, the scabs got itchy and he went after his eye again. He's walking around looking all beat up, like Rocky. Pink, puffy eyelids.....weeping.....itchy itchy. I've drugged him with children's Benadryl, but he is such a beafy boy that the cat dosage didn't even touch him. I was hoping that even if it didn't help the irritation, it'd put him to sleep... No can do.

Yes, it is a sad day when I am more upset about the puffy-eyed cat than I am about my depressed and non-communicative husband.

And to top it all off, after looking at my race photos and seeing how my lovely fat POOCH hangs down when I'm in aero on my bike, I am determined to lose this extra weight. But I weigh 3 lbs over my WW goal weight, so I am too embarassed to go back because that's 4 lbs heavier than I was the last time I went a few months ago. Can you believe the insanity of this? I've lost 1/2 inch in my hips, thighs, boobs, and waist, but I've gained 4 lbs in the same 3-month time frame. Life is cruel. And those race pictures just go to show that maybe, just maybe, I could have made it up those hills during the race if I wasn't carrying 10 lbs of fat in my baby-virgin belly. (ie. I have no excuse-- it shouldn't be there!)

Oh, the title of my post. My LBS is giving away a free entry into a triathlon the 2nd week in May. Somewhere in the desert, where I vowed I'd never race again. It's not USAT certified, but it's got both Oly and Sprint distances, and it'd be free. Can I turn that down? I'm seriously tempted to sign up, but only if I can convince more people to come with me. SIXTWOTHREE??? May 10th............

So yeah, that's my update. Lazy, sore workouts. Work sucks. Husband sucks. Kitty's eye sucks. My stomach sucks. And I'm contemplating yet another race. Dude, I need some chocolate. What a week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Race Report

I did it.

That's all I wanted to be able to say after this race. I know I have this crazy, speed-seeking reputation and all, but honestly, I do triathlon because it pushes me to do things I don't think I can do. The Olympic distance, until Saturday at 12:00pm (approximately!), was something I wasn't entirely sure I could do. A year ago, if you mentioned the distance, I would have said I'd have to be smoking crack to do it. Well, here I am, crack free and I've done it.

It wasn't pretty, though.

So, to the race.

I strolled into transition at 5:30am and couldn't help but notice that nearly every other Diva was already in transition and done with their setup. Seriously, I thought I was early!! I looked like the kid who came to class late. Anyway, I had no trouble getting in, dropped my gear, got marked, and then chatted a bit. I was more concerned with where I was going to use the bathroom than what was happening in transition. To help alleviate all other stress, my Garmin mysteriously turned itself on sometime in the night and had run its battery dead….so I had no way of knowing my speed, distance, or time on the bike or run. Oops. This race was going to be done on perceived exertion…..how can I go all out when I don't know how fast I'm going?

We had a ½ mile walk to the swim start, where I put my wetsuit on at the car and then joined the other Olympians down by the water. The Sprinters were already in their chutes, and the crazy, FAA-rule-breaking NBC helicopter was continuously buzzing by. We took a few photos, chatted, and waited. And waited. And waited. When the Sprinters went off, we started getting nervous again…but then nothing happened and we had to wait some more. So there was time for some "acclimation" in the water and a fabulous photo op with Elvis. I was a wreck until our Elvis photo. How bizarre that this triathlete with a shaved chest dressed up like Elvis actually calmed me down more than my husband or fellow Divas!!
Then it was time.

I wasn't panicky this time around. The thought of doing Pacific Coast had me whimpering at the swim start, but this race I was determined to just get it over with. So I lined up to the far outside in the very front, and then I made them swim over me when the gun went off. It seemed to be pretty smooth compared to the kicking and throttling we witnessed in the Sprint starts. I got out pretty cleanly and managed to stay somewhat close to the front. I never really sighted the big orange buoy too much…..every time I looked up I was headed for it, so that was a plus. About halfway through the swim, we started getting some waves. When we turned towards shore, they started hitting us from the right and I swear, they were almost like rollers out in the Pacific Ocean. They really hit the snot out of us! It was fun, though, and soon enough we were under the bridge and it was time to focus on the bike.
(that's me on the far left!)

I crawled out of the water and when I got to the pavement, whipped that wetsuit right off. I then proceeded to run. Well, not before I looked at my watch. 26 minutes. Holy cow. Either that was not 1500 meters, or I just swam the fastest I ever have. Anyway, this is important, because I then ran my little tush off to get to the mat as fast as I could. Coach said it was ¼ mile according to her Garmin. My transition time was 28 and change, so this means I clocked an 8-minute mile pace up that miserable hill, barefoot, into transition. FYI – I don't run 8-minute miles. I am slow, and 8-minutes is what I muster in an all-out timed mile. And then I vomit immediately afterwards.

So I think this is the first thing that went wrong for me. In my vain quest for a good swim split, I sprinted to transition and blew out my legs. In T1, I quickly got my gear on and sucked down a gel while pushing my bike over the mat.

Hopping onto the bike, my legs were shaking and my heart rate was refusing to come down. I was whooped by the time we got out of the Lake Las Vegas vicinity and onto the multi-use trail. I just have to note here that I carefully studied the elevations on this bike course, and while I'm not so good at measuring how comparable one course is to the other, I was certain Santiago Canyon could kick this course in the rear. But I was WRONG. The 3 sisters (er, Bitches as I am told they are really referred to by Nevada locals) are evil cows. That's what they call the three hills that we hit in the first few miles of our time on the trail. They are fairly short as far as hills are concerned, but the grades were ridiculously high and not something I'd ever encountered before on a road bike. I heard someone say 17% at one point? At any rate, my inner quads were shaking 1/2way up the first and I saw several girls walking towards the top.

I had initially sworn I would never walk these hills, but I started to do some math. These hills finish by mile 9, and then that's it for the hills. So I have 12-15 + miles of downhill and level riding ahead of me, which I knew I could hammer out on "fresh" legs. Why blow out my legs on these ridiculous hills and sacrifice the majority of my bike leg? So what did I do? I clipped out as I neared the top of #1 and walked my sorry butt a few feet up the remaining part of that miserable, god-forsaken hill. I made it up #2 with no problems, but again with #3, I dismounted and started to hike.

And then I got caught in the act. There went Shannon, FLYING up the hill right past me on her little blue bike. Talk about deflating. My fellow Diva saw me walking up the hill on my strongest sport. Oops! But I was supposed to ride my own race and not get injured, so I let it go.

The rest of the bike was easy, minus the insane crosswinds that rocked my bike out on the trail, the headwinds that fought us back up to Lake Las Vegas, and the car that pulled out in front of me in the street right in front of the cops. I almost threw a bottle at him, but decided that I couldn't afford the abandonment penalty. After Hill #3, I was never passed again and was able to pass a few people in my age group, finishing the bike fairly strong. I was insatiably thirsty despite drinking all the liquids on my bike, but I did come into transition at 1:25 feeling pretty good.

I'm not sure how I managed to spend three whole minutes in T2. I did take time to apply sunscreen, but I didn't even rub it in! Oh well. Room for improvement next time.

I was on pace for a 3-hour finish. Or so I thought……….

One of the pros in the race was overheard proclaiming that the run course for this race was VERY HARD and that she felt like she was running on the moon. Honey, we weren't running on the moon. It was more akin to Dante's 1st circle of hell, filled with the virtuous pagans and unbaptized children (you know, that's us—Olympic virgins and those that just don't know any better--- and yes, it's sad that this race actually invoked a Paradise Lost reference from me). Not only was there not enough water out there, but the damn course kept going up and up and out. Denise was right—you would look out and see little ants in the distance. Girls who were faster than you. On the course you had to run…..in the land that looked like the place in all those horror movies where college coeds' cars break down and then some crazy cowboy in a blue pickup stalks them and chops them up? Yeah. That was like the run.

The run chewed me up and spit me out. Between the horrible stomach ache I had, the racing heart rate that refused to settle, and this overwhelming voice in my head saying "just stop trying so hard—this is torture—just walk," I was in pretty bad shape for the first few miles. I had seen Shannon out of transition, but lost sight of her after she ran up the first hill and I ended up walking. I was pretty much alone for quite some time and just had no concept of how far I'd gone or how I'd be able to salvage the run. (Darn the Garmin for dying on me!) I walked up the hills, ran the downhills and the flats, and spent as much time as I could downing water at the aid stations and dousing myself. Robin told me to keep drinking to make my stomach feel better, and she was right. After I got out of that horrid wasteland of a course out in back of the resort, I was back in the groove. Run a mile, walk a minute. I stopped getting passed. I kept moving forward. And I kept thinking to myself, "there is no way anybody could possibly convince me to run longer in a triathlon."

I'd just like to state that all the people at the transition area saying that the finish line was only a mile away….only six minutes away….almost there --- they were wrotten and cruel liars. That was the longest mile of my life, then! It was such a tease to run through the excitement of transition only to have more race left to run. And then snaking through the village and finishing UP another freaking hill? Insanity, I tell you. But I kept running for the sake of the camera crew and because my fellow Divas had stuck around to cheer us on through the finish chute. And then it was over, and instead of crying like I thought I would, I had no emotion at all. The run had sucked my poor brain dry. I was proud that I had finished, but a little disappointed in my run and in the end, was a bit upset to see that I wasn't as high up on the results list as I'd like to have been. I know, I'm so shallow. It just means I'll have to train harder and focus on my newfound weaknesses so that I can hammer out Danskin and redeem myself at Pendleton!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Me! That's me!

I did it. It wasn't pretty, but I finished the race. I'm actually at a class in Phoenix right now and can't post photos, but will post those and a race report when I have a chance. Finished in 3:09, but not so sure of the official distances. My swim time seemed too fast for 1500 meters, the bike seemed shorter than what they said it was going to be, and the run seemed longer. So who knows what this means in the real world. I was a middle-of-the-packer yesterday, but I was just happy I conquered that monster. My run gave me quite a bit of trouble, but that wasn't surprising considering all the time I lost on training due to my injuries.

So, thought I'd report back, even though SixTwoThree already knows. I'm happy to be a finisher, but now I feel a need to redeem myself. Pendleton, perhaps?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hard to Taper when you have a TAPEWORM

Holy cow, I will hit this race 5 lbs heavier, I swear. Uncontrollable hunger......OUCH!

I can't even do my taper week exercises because my knees and IT band are still so sore from my first 7-mile run on Sunday. Yeah, smoothness. To top that all off, I am starting to feel sick. Like, bowling ball in the head and drippy nastiness kind of sick.

If I end up at this race SICK and LAME on Saturday, I am going to cry. I am going to cry and scream and maybe even eat a donut.


As you can tell, I'm heading to sleep now and praying that my Zicam, excellent rest schedule, and pure luck get me through the next few days.

Why did I pick this sport?!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Progress....it's a good thing

I'm happy to report that DH is now gainfully employed and his first day on the job is Monday. This is momentous, as it's his first non-aviation job since college, and he actually has to wear a suit and tie to work. YES!!! This is fabulous for me, because now he looks hot ALL of the time. The downside, of course, is that I have to purchase this wardrobe with my lovely bankroll. I would much rather take $1000 and buy new trishorts, a new helmet, enter a few races, take a vacation......but I suppose this is a small price to pay for a new career and a chance at creating a "fall back." He'll probably still go into the whole pilot thing, but his new job (with MY company!) should fund his flying habit a bit better than unemployment. So I am pleased to report this progress in his life.

My work life? Eh, not so fabulous. Hard to do huge mixed use real estate projects when the funding is so limited out there. So I am working with the apartment side, but not managing anything of my own and feeling like I'm not exactly mission critical. I LOVE being mission critical, so this is stressing me out beyond words. Can't say there's been progress in this area of my life.

Peak week has revealed personal bests with every workout. Wednesday evening, it was 20 sets of 100's in the pool, on the 2:00, alternating between all out effort and race pace. Up until the very end, I was seeing 1:45 and was SO happy to see that it was sustainable. I may not be the best swimmer in the world, but I am seeing a wee bit o' progress in the pool.

Thursday saw a brick workout-- 1/2 hour of race pace bike followed by 1/2 hour of race pace running. I did a set of hill repeats for the bike, beating my personal best time up that hill on BOTH repeats. Then I knocked out my fastest 5K time ever and felt like I had plenty more to give. Yes, was sore and beat and had to take Friday off, but it was exciting to see the progress.

And this morning.....I did the same Canyon bike loop that I've been doing for a month, followed by a quick 10 minute run. I beat my best loop time by 8 minutes, even with 30 billion Team In Training people clogging the bike lane. (Love them, just not this morning-- I felt like I was in a race, but there were horrible cars everywhere!) I'm psyched.....progress, progress, progress. I may actually finish this race in a somewhat decent time. (Publicly aiming for 3:20...if I take longer than that, I will shoot myself)

So that is my update. I'm not exactly going for volume in peak week.....just hard effort and personal bests. Tomorrow is my 7-mile run, and then I am on taper until Saturday, when I join the ranks of 1000 other women and hit the Lake Las Vegas race course. I get to share the race course with the likes of Sam McGlone and Mirinda Carfrae -- -2 pros who will surely give us some serious speed envy --- I'm psyched!

So overall, I guess you could say I am making progress in life. It's painfully slow, but I'm getting there.....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Can we just get this over with?

I vote that we skip peak week and go right to the race. My tummy is more nervous than you can possibly imagine and I just want to get it over with!

In true freakshow fashion, I've checked out all of the girls in my age group on Athlinks. I know that there are a handful that will surely kick my rear so bad I will question why I have chosen the sport. There are a few who can give me a run for my money in the sprint department (same races, close results). There are some freakishly fast marathon and half marathon runners who I hope will sink in the Lake, but I am sure they will join the ranks of those who will slaughter me. There are even a few slowpokes who are PAINFULLY slow according to their race results....consistently, painfully slow.....and I know that I won't be last. (important) And then there are TONS and TONS of women who have no race history at all. No 5K. No 10K. No bike race. No tri. Nada. So who knows what their stories are?!

Did researching all these women make me feel better about the race?

Absolutely not. Because this race, unlike my sprints, isn't really about them. It's about me. This is my journey. This is me proving something to myself. Maybe next year I'll worry about beating them.

Things are coming into place, though. Hip flexors are great-- my McTherapist came through and worked magic on them. I did a 2000 meter swim tonight that was alternating 100's between race pace and all out effort, on the 2:00....and I could have made them on the 1:50. Yes, I was PSYCHED. 12 weeks ago, I couldn't make it to 1000 meters on the 2:00. So this is a big deal to me. I ran 6.25 miles on Sunday, proving to myself I could definitely make the distance. And my bike is coming along. We did a brick after a really tough 1:44 ride, and I was able to comfortably run 3 miles without any pain.

I'm ready!! April 12th, hurry up..........I'd like to be able to incorporate acidic foods back into my diet again without them burning a hole in my tummy.