Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week 38- 06.23.08- 06.29.08

Hardest 100 miles I will ever ride and what did I sign up for on Monday? Read on..

My oh my, I am convinced that I covered the toughest 100 miles I will ever ride on my bike yesterday! With the air quality issue in the East Bay, the East Bay Century was moved to the Southbay. I was happy at first because that meant, no Morgan Territory and no Mt. Diablo but then I see the profile of the Southbay ride and had a second thought!

I drove into the parking lot off Alpine in the peninsula at 7:15am and saw more people than I had expected at that time. People had the option to show up between 7 and 8:30am. I took off with Nancy, Robin, Minnie, Kristie and myself. I knew that there were 5 water stops on this ride and SAG vehicles as well so already, I felt better about this week's ride than I did last week. We had an easy first hour of riding before we got to what seemed like non-stop climbing and technical descends. Don't believe me? See course profile below!

The vertical lines on the map indicate every 20 miles on the route. The top elevation line is 3,000 feet. To put things in perspective for those of you familiar with pennisula riding, the short peak at mile 50ish..that's Old La Honda! The first big peak, mile 21 ish is Mt. Eden, then Old La Honda followed by Pescadero I believe. Those three "bumps" you see..that's Stage Road and let me tell you, they were not "little bumps"..they were climbs! And then the h*ll that came at mile 80..that last BIG peak..that's Tunitas Road. 9 mile climb..8% grade..a definite WTF moment!

The most difficult part of the ride came at mile 84ish..the steepest part of the grade but Minnie and I kept know it's bad when your bike computer tells you that you're going 3 mph! At mile 87, Heidi rolls up with her SAG car. She asked me how I was doing and I think my body language (bent over my handle bars) said it all but I still had a smile on my face as strange as that sounds. Heidi offered water..I said no..she offered face lit up! Calories! Physically, I was spent but mentally, I wasn't going to be done until I finished the course on my bike! Minnie and I made it back to the parking lot a little after 5pm..we were on the saddle for over 8 hours! The last of the team made it back at those people are the ones who deserve a BIG round of applause because they didn't give up!

I am thankful for the company of Kristie (until she took off that superwoman!), Coach Nancy, Robin and Minnie on this very tough ride as each of them helped me keep going at one point or another. If there was a ride that caused you to have self doubt about your abilities on a bike, this was the one! But it's also during these moments that you show yourself what you're made of! Minnie was the star teammate of the day in my book because if it wasn't for her, my day would have been a heck of a lot tougher and that I can't even imagine! I thanked her for keeping my spirits up and she thanked me for letting her be like darth vader breathing down my neck all day. Ha ha. I'll try to set a speedier pace for us next time. Good times in the end!

The Southbay All Team Century was by far the hardest and most physically demanding ride I've ever experienced and while I was cursing up a storm doing it and fighting the part of me that wanted off my bike, I am glad that I finished and the entire experience goes into my mental toughness bank when I am in need of "dig deep" moments.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I just got hit by a bus but that's okay because I just finished a ride that is worth bragging rights for years to come! Teammate Robin Moss described that ride as being harder than her Ironman Lake Placid..I sure hope it's true! To get rid of my "hit by a truck" feeling, I went to the pool, swum for an hour and then made a visit to Kabuki Springs and dipped myself in the 55 degree bath for 10 tub for 10 minutes..repeat 3 times...Dr. Rabbetz would have been very proud of me for this self torture.

Oh..and what did I do last Monday?! I signed up, along with 17 other friends (yes, I have that many other crazy friends..go figure!) for Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2009! These entries sell out so quickly that if you even want the option to do have to sign up one year in advance so that we did

Workout Summary-
Swim- 2 hours and 30 minutes
Bike- 9 hours and 45 minutes
Run- 1 hour and 0 minutes
Total workout summary- 13 hours and 15 minutes

Monday, June 23, 2008

Week 37- 06.16.08- 06.22.08

Recovery week that ended with an @ss whipping Sunday!

Yes, it was recovery week which meant shorter workouts with lower intensity! I milked recovery week for all it's worth..saw my friends more than normal in the week..had a normal (some what) social life! Spring team victory party at Holy Cow, brunch, BBQs, girl's night in, good times! But in between all that was a 60 miler in the East Bay covering Morgan Territory and Mt. Diablo!

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling my quads from my 10 miles run the previous day. Regardless, I mixed up my nutrition bottles, racked my bike on my car and headed to Renee's to pick her up! The team gathered at Heather's Farm to set out for our ride and the moment I clipped into my pedals, my quads told me that it was going to be a very tough one out there and a tough one it was!

Our route was a 60 -70 mile loop depended on whether you were going to climb up to the summit of Mt. Diablo or "just" to the Junction. After the Morgan Territory climb, I was already in a dire mood of no return. My body was hurting and mentally, I was just not all there. AND to add to my dark day, Mr. Squirrel decided to attempt suicide while I was descending at 30+ mph by sprinting across the road right in front of me! Good thing he sprinted fast enough! At mile 25, the Chevron stop, some of the ladies and I contemplated on taking a short cut and skip Mt. Diablo all together but we decided to suck it up and just do it. Coach Dave said, "the only thing separating you and your car is that mountain (Mt. Diablo)!" That did not make me feel any better!

After we filled up our bottles at the Chevron, we road towards the mountain. As we're approaching, everyone kept asking how long we were climbing for? "6.5 miles" said Coach Dave. Great! I thought. The climb and the miles we had covered thus far was difficult and if Dave hadn't been there with us, I might have just gotten off my bike and sat on the side of the road crying! I was hurting..physically and mentally- I don't think I've ever felt that type of difficulty..but at the end of the day and after 4800 feet of climbing..I pulled through and was more than glad to see my car!

Teammate Brian came over to my car after my ride to ask how it went and I completely unloaded all my thoughts on him! Oppsy..sorry Brian but you were the first one I talked to right after the ride. Thanks for listening though :)!

Workout Summary-
Swim- 1 hour and 13 minutes
Bike- 6 hours and 40 minutes
Run- 2 hours and 0 minutes
Total Workout- 9 hours and 53 minutes

Monday, June 16, 2008

Week 36- 06.09.08- 06.15.08

3/4 to Ironman Training Weekend! 2 mile swim, 90 mile bike and 15 mile run- goal for the weekend accomplished!

Friday afternoon, Heidi and I drove up to Ikea in the Emeryville to meet up with Alex so we can caravan up to Clearlake, Ca for training weekend! I stopped by Jeff's compound to drop off my bike and then headed to the team hotel- the Anchorage Inn. As I drove up, folks from the Eastbay were hanging out by the pool. I joined them in jokes and laughter before heading to dinner.

Sunrise- Saturday AM- view from the hotel-

Saturday morning, we all drove up to Jeff's for our 2 mile swim and 90 mile bike! Swim was nice..water was nice! The bike consisted of 4 parts. A 15 mile loop from Jeff's to the hotel, a 30 mile loop to the East, a 30 mile loop to the West and then the 15 miles back to Jeff's from the hotel. I did relatively well today considering it was 95+ degrees outside! I started the first 15 miles with Hez and then was joined by Jeff, Susan and Marion for he 30 mile loop. At the halfway point, Kristie and I took off..except she left me after about 10-15 minutes and I rode the remainder on my own. I rode the last 15 miles with Caesar, Kristie and Josh after gathering at the water stop. It was a great ride with great support out there thanks to the organization from our coaches and volunteers! I've never seen so many flatten road kill in my life! I even saw freshly dead birds..even one that was on it's back and legs up in the air..just like the cartoons..poor birdie. The ride didn't feel like 90 miles although I was ready to get the ride over with! What happens when heat and excessive sweat mix together? Heat rash! All over my thighs..not very cute!

Pic below- Team gets ready for bike!
After the ride, the team had a gathering for dinner at Jeff's..burgers..chicken..hotdogs..calories! Pic below- Brian all smiles, Mike Kyle, me and Heidi!Later that evening, we all piled into Frostie Freeze for dessert! Team take over at Frostie Freeze!

Sunday morning- got up and ran 15 miles. How my legs did it..I don't have a clue but that was the goal for the day and so my legs did! It was a fun weekend..good times! Team..we will always have the Anchorage Inn!!
As I have a chance to look back on our weekend..I realize we checked off an amazing goal! Congrats to us!

Heidi and I- after my 15 mile run-
Workout Summary-
Swim- 2 hours and 47 minutes

Bike- 7 hours and 8 minutes

Run- 3 hours and 39 minutes

Total workout- 13 hours and 34 minutes

Monday, June 9, 2008

Week 35- 06.02.08- 06.08.08

Escape From Alcatraz Race Report!

So there might have been others things I wanted to talk about or mention about this past week but none of that really matters because Escape From Alcatraz was just too much fun! Coming into the event, I knew my goal was to not push it hard because I have a tough training weekend coming up at Clearlake where I'll be doing 3/4 distance of an Ironman! It all began on Saturday when I met up with some friends at the athletes meeting where they brief you on the course and the swim conditions. Saturday night, Mary and I stayed over at our friend Eric's place because he was conveniently located 1.5 blocks away from the start and transition.

Mary and I attending the athlete's meeting at the Marina Green-

Myself, Doug, Brian, Josh and Robin a.k.a. Ironteam 08 @ the athlete's meeting-
Sunday morning, Mary and I woke up and strolled with our bikes and gear in tow to transition. I found my number and began setting up my transition! Note to beginners- do not take up a lot of transition space because your stuff will be moved! Which is what happened to my neighbor. She set her stuff up right next to mine..and then had her transition bag on the other side of her wheel..big no no was space is tight in transition and we still had to fit someone else between her and I. That someone else came and for her to set up...some stuff had to be shifted so we shifted!

Mary and I boarded the shuttle bus at around 5:30am or so to head to Pier 3 where the San Francisco Belle awaited us! We boarded the boat which set sail at 7:15am for the 8am start! Weather conditions couldn't have been better- warm, sunny and minimal wind!

Alcatraz to the left..San Francisco Belle holding 1800 triathletes..ready to jump-

Atmosphere on the boat was just fun! 1,800 of us.. body gliding.. putting our wetsuits on..taking pictures..or if you were like my friend Mike..napped! As it got closer to 8am..I pulled Mary hand and started for doors.8am came..the horn blew and the Pros were off..the doors opened and we were next! Mary and I darted for the door and all you see are people jumping off..the volunteers are yelling at you to "Go! Go! Go!" If you didn't'd get pushed! I held my goggles and jumped in with no hestitation and started swimming! People were going left...people were going was pretty darn chaotic!

Below is a video of the swim start from last year..pretty much sums it up-

The water was warm for SF Bay standards..57 degress but it was a lot choppier than I had expected. At one point, I could have sworn that I got some air being thrown around by the swells! Not a time to freak up though..I just put my head down and kept swimming! I was told at the athlete's meeting to keep the Sutro Tower at my 2pm. I tried to do that the entire time but I still over shot my swim and ended up at Crissy Field..swimming probably 20 minutes more than I had to! At one point during the swim, a kayaker told me to make a sharp left but with the current coming left, I told him that it wasn't going to happen. As I looked toward shore, I saw people running along the beach from Crissy Field to the St Francis Yacht Club (target swim finish) so that's what I decided to do..swim to Crissy Field! I was so excited to feel the water temperature dip as that means I am close to shore! As I exited the water..running towards the timing mat..I heard my sister and friends cheering! My friends Heidi and company even started a rhyme as they wondered where I was.. "Yi..Yi..where could she be?"

Picture below- just finishing the swim thinking,"I really swum to Crissy Field!" Later I found out..along with 300+ others that overshot the finish!

The swim should have taken me no more than 40 minutes ended up taking me about 57 minutes- oppsy! I arrived at my bag that had my running shoes..pulled off my wetsuit..put on the shoes and ran the mile to T1!

And now the bike! I had a pretty good ride on the bike..1 hour and 17 minutes for the 18 mile hilly ride. I do that ride often so I knew every corner, every turn and every climb! I felt bad for the 1st timers or anyone new to hills! Saw M2 on the bike course as well as Coach Bobbie, Emma Louise and Kara out cheering.

The run..I was just glad to be on foot because that meant I was almost done! The 8 mile run, while a little hilly, is beautiful! Takes you along the coastline to Baker Beach.. up the 400 step sand ladder and back. The most comedic moment was when I passed this guy who was yelling at myself, "I'm such a f*cken nut..why am I here?" repeat..haha. As I passed him, I said, "'re here to have fun! You're almost done!" I hope he calmed down after that but it was just funny to come across. Kara ran with my for a few minutes after the sand ladder before veering off to her car. Not long after, I saw Emma-Louise who ran a few miles with me. Finished the run in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I can't complain since I had to put my calves in a contrast (55 degree water for 10 min followed by hot tub water for 10 and repeat) bath two days prior and was able to run without any calve pain!

All in all, a very fun day out! After the race, I found out from Emma-Louise that over 300 people overshot the swim finish and ended up at Crissy Field. Some said they've never seen anything like it! Usually it's just one or two! I definitely want to do the race again next year if I should be do lucky to get in! I have a swim do over to do! Thanks to family and friends who came out to support! It was so great to see them all there! More pictures next week!!

Workout Summary-
Swim- 2 hours and 36 minutes
Bike- 3 hours and 21 minutes
Run- 2 hours and 5 minutes
Total Workout- 8 hours and 2 minutes

Monday, June 2, 2008

Week 34- 05.27.08- 06.01.08

Recovery week! It was recovery week last week! I still went to M2 to knock out an intense spin session! Alcatraz is a week away and I'm getting a bit nervous about it! I've been in the waters by Alcatraz..I've biked the course and as of this past Saturday..I've ran the course with good company..Ms. Heidi! Still, the race itself kinda freaks me out! I ran the course on an ugly San Francisco saturday morning with Heidi..we'll see how it goes on Sunday!

Longest workout this week was my 60 mile recovery bike ride on Sunday. Yes..60 miles as a recovery bike ride..there's something wrong with that combination, isn't there?! I headed out to the Eastbay and joined Mike, Elaine, Jeff and Raf for what turned out to be a great ride! I rarely go out to the Easybay so I don't really know any of the this instance..ignorance was bliss!! I didn't know what I was really in for...just that it was going to be long and hilly! I knew that the Three Bears would be included. The last time I rode the Three Bears was about 3-4 years ago with fellow Velo Girl Annette W. At that time, I thought it was one of the toughest things ever. Yesterday, as were finished the climbs..I asked Raf..were those the Three Bears? He said, "Yup." I much easier than I had remembered them to be! All those hours in M2 are paying off! The course we took wasn't too bad at all and with good company..the ride was great!

Later that evening, I joined 7 other ladies for a little ladies' night out to watch Sex And the City..what else?! Susan, Kerry and Tessa got there earlier to save seats. The movie couldn't have been done better, I thought! We laughed..cried..loved it! After the movie, the 8 of us minus Mary had a lovely dinner at Roti. Main topics of discussion was the movie (duh) and "the Body" that was running around at Kezar. Apparently, I missed this very worthy sighting..I will have to pay attention this Wed when I am there!

Workout Summary-
Swim- 0 hours and 50 minutes
Bike- 6 hours and 55 minutes
Run-2 hours and 59 minutes
Total workout- 10 hours and 44 minutes