Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Cool thing is, 1+8 and 7+2 both equal 9...and according to the Chinese, 9 is a VERY lucky number. Wikepedia says it's a homophone for the word "longlasting" and since Ironman is obviously an endurance event in which I hope to be longlasting-ly awesome at, I cannot help but think this sets me up for a great race ;)
I haven't blogged lately, mostly because, as you can see, I've been busy researching things such as the significance of my bib #. Actually, the reason is more along the lines of I've been thinking inside my head too much and also getting things prepped for my departure in...OMG totally unintended...NINE days!!

This past weekend was my last set of big training. Saturady I headed out to OC so I could do my long ride on Santiago Canyon Rd- a lovely stretch of road with ample shoulders, little to no traffic, hotter temps than Encinitas and a bit humid, and the best copycat of the Queen K that SoCal offers (IMHO). So I started out the day just like IM, at 4am, got in a quick breakfast and made the hourish drive out there to swim the 7am masters workout at the Nadadores Club (aka the swim factory). My car was my transition area and from there I quickly hopped on my bike for an awesome 5hr ride with some speficic pacing that was super important for me to nail. After that it was onto a run along Lake Mission Viejo and off to Mother's Market for some awesome food. I've noticed that wherever old people eat, is the best place to eat especially close to a race when everything can go wrong. What I mean is, old people are the most concerned about their health, they usually have tons of limiters to their diet (because of their meds, conditions, whatever) so a place that can cater to old people can cater to me.

After that I dropped off my bike at Edge so Hank could strip it down and build it back up like new :) I picked it back up yesterday and took it out for a spin- all good to go!

Sunday I did my 2hr run in the morning which went spectacular. I had no feeling of the load from Saturday's session and after a short nap I was off to the gym to hop on the treadmill for my second 30min run of the day and some core. My legs felt even better then!

This week is pretty much the start of my taper- the big stuff is in the bank. Now I just need to get organized for next week's travel and keep my mind and body healthy.

I plan to do my next update in Kona and when my mom arrives on the 3rd I will begin posting video clips of each day's adventures on the Big Island!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't think, just do

Since a car alarm managed to wake me up at 11:30pm, I might as well blog now...and hey, then I can go back to sleep and wake up midmorning when it's warmer out for my ride and run!

Yesterday (as it's now 12:07am), I was coerced into doing the 1 mile La Jolla Rough Water Swim and a couple hours later the infamous 3 mile Gatorman swim up at the Cove. My coach basically just signed me up over a month ago, otherwise there are plenty of excuses I could've come up with to avoid that adventure.

See, I actually do enjoy swimming- in a pool, or in clear, calm, warm open water. I do not however enjoy swimming in cold, choppy, swelling, dark ocean. At all costs I tend to steer clear of lakes in places like Florida (gators) and ocean water with shark-sighting/trauma history. My limbs don't grow back if chopped off last time I checked so it's best to take care of them.

Anyway, Julie and KP were both going to do the double and it was the perfect 3 day training summary- 6.5hr ride Fri, 2.5hr run Sat, 2ish hrs of swim Sun.

I woke up pretty early as usual, had breakfast and wasted time at home. Around 9 I drope up to La Jolla and found a good place to park around the shops on Prospect St and headed down to pick up my cap, get marked etc. Things went super smooth and I had about an hour and a half to kill. I luckily stumbled upon the Compex booth and given that my legs were pretty trashed after the long ride and run the days prior, I got hooked up for 30min on their recovery mode. The Compex system rocks!!!!! My legs felt golden afterwards :D They also offered to hook my shoulders up and that really had me thinking of purchasing the things- took my knots out like no massage had before.

I wasn't really nervous about the mile- I mean it's not long at all and my wave- 39& under women, was like 400 people so when it came down to it, sea creatures were the least of my worries. I had two main concerns: 1) water temp, 2) waves/swells when coming back to shore. I don't mind chop so much, that's just a mental struggle and endurance issue (for the Gatorman not the mile) but I suck at taking waves back in. I can time them going out but having them behind me always ends up in me doing ten thousand waching machine reps.

When we went off I loved it! The temperature was 73ish and it felt perfect. It was pretty clear and calm with the current in our favor to the turnaround and the sun had actually started to creep up from the cloud cover. I found a pair of feet and didn't have to look up almost at all. Then the way back happened. Suddenly chop and the realization that this was going to take a bit longer than the first half. Whatever, almost done with swim one so just keep moving. Ahh shore! BAM, BAM....that was my quick surprise as a wave that I must have only imagined to be the size of a house, smashed me to shore. Some circles and a refreshing gulp of salt water later and I was out.

I dried off quickly, and scarfed down 3 powerbars. Had I known that the Gatorman was going to be delayed over 1hr I would have eaten something more substantial like a sandwich, but I thought I only had about 90min before going off again and the last thing I wanted was gulps of salt water mixing with undigested food while swimming forever.

So by the time we started I was kind of hungry, thirsty, and already needing my afternoon nap- great, bonking in line before we even go off! I think we went off just before 3pm vs 1:30 scheduled time. We make our way down the stairs- all couple hundred of us- and greeting us is a beautiful sight of huuuuge waves. Ahh, can this day get any better?! Up to this point I'm feeling exactly like I do before an unconquered rollercoaster ride, or more specifically the Elevator at Universal Studios that I rode with my dad when I was like 9 (the one where you just freefall with like no support except a bar in front to hold on to). You know that when people are done they're only smiling because it's over not because of how much "fun" they had while on it. Everyone always says "yeah, it's great, don't worry" because they want you to have to suffer just as much as they made their sorry a** suffer.

I digress...so KP and I had planned on swimming together. Hahhahaha that plan went to hell in the first 2 seconds. My only thought as we plunged in was avoid getting smacked and injured. I didn't care who the hell passed me, I would have gladly been dead last and not even made the cut off as long as I came out scratch free. One thing I was not going to ever let happen was to lose sight of another swimmer. Heaven heard my call and sent me a wonderful pair of feet that led me without worry to the turnaround. 37 min out- nice! But I knew to expect the worst on the return. Well clearly my imagination needs to expand because my idea of "worst case return" was nothing in comparison to what took place.

1) I lost my original pair of draft feet- thought I thankfully found another girl with a respectable pace and swim etiquette shortly after
2) I swallowed half of the Pacific Ocean- soon I was nauseaus, thirsty, burping powerbar(s), and dizzy
3)The sun went away and the water got cold- my right hand started to get tingly and numb

At this point I was done talking inside my head and shut off into a robotic, survive this thing by just moving mode. Seriously, a shark nibbling on me started to sound appealing as I could then yell for a kayaker and get back to land. This is where you realize there's a reason we don't have gills, fins, etc...we were not meant to be in the water!!!!!!!!!!!! You would think mother nature would think to cut us idiots some slack, but nooo the chop just kept coming. I now have an immense appreciation for the back of the pack at IM swims who probably feel like I did on the last 1.5miles but they proceed to bike and run. Also, I learned that open water swimmers (like the poeple that actually do this shit over and over and for waaay longe distances) are wired entirely different than the rest of humanity. Whoever thinks Ironman is outlandish (no pun intended)- think again.

Thankfully I avoided getting smacked by waves like I had at the end of the 1mile swim, made it to land, tried to drink some water, and proceeded to shiver uncontrollably for, I kid you not, the next hour. Where did the sun go, why is it cold?!?! I bolted out of there straight for whole foods- got in some well deserved real food, and came back home to my warm bed.

Moving on- now Ironman seems like a cakewalk. I guess this is the benefit of what I did, aside from the two finishers medals and t-shirt. This week I'll be rolling through with some moderate stuff, mainly bike and run, and my final big weekend before taper.

Ok, I think I'll go back to sleep now, it's almost 1am...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Proceed With Caution

That would be my task for the upcoming days leading to race day Oct. 10th. After 2 full days off following my 10 day block-end last Wed and some easier stuff until today, I'm freshened up for the key sessions that remain and absolutely the fittest I've ever been. In fact, the only time all year that I can say I'm fit to what I deem race-ready. What remains now is to protect my fitness, health, and confidence. Then, into taper shed fatigue and gain "form".

With that plan in mind, I have to proceed with utmost caution. Today Julie D., KP, and I headed for a swim at Scripps Trails, a 3hr ride to the base of Wohlford (spelling?), and finished with a 30min run (for me). Clearly this has been the only bike ride I've felt fresh for in a looooon time so I felt uber uber sparky :D KP quickly warned me that in the next couple of weeks I must go a gear or two less than I feel up to because it is very possible that I could let myself go and peak too soon. So the goal is to have my "best day" be Oct 10th. Makes sense ;)

Personally, my biggest concern and the focus of my paranoia leading into race day is the many little f* ups that I've lent myself to in the past pretty much from 4wks out of a race and even into taper time....
1) Food Poisoning Kona '07- for this I am being extremely obsessive about every tiny little thing that goes into my mouth...suffice it to say I'll even be packing my rice cooker for the flight to Kona!
2) bike crashes- Summer 08 collarbone fracture before the crux of my season- being especially cautious on bike paths with runners that cannot understand "on your left" and move left when told that.
3) car accidents- again 08 3weeks before IM AZ- this is almost out of my control but really trying to have my old-person-who should have their eyesight checked again for license renewal-making a right turn in front of me-radar.
4) injuries- this year all of the 2mths before Honu Half- being avid in my stretching, hottubs, ice baths, key gym sessions, equipment, etc
5) last but not least...hasn't happened, knock on wood, but any other type of sickness or disability- trying to stay away from anyone with a slight sniffle or cough, and thank goodness I'm not around little kids or in school anymore (especially college- dorms are breeding grounds for flu 24/7).

Yup, that concludes my Ironman OCDness. :D

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monster Block Finished

All done as great as I had hoped :D Roughly 50hrs of training banked for Kona and now it's time to rest & recover for a few days.

This morning I was up at the not-so-bright and early 4am, ate some breakfast and headed to KP's house for a swim at Scripps Trails. It's a really neat masters group- few people in a small 25yd country clubish pool. I loved that the pool was about 3ft deep at one end so I could stand and feel tall for once while on rest intervals hehe.

After 4km in the water, we changed and got on our bikes for a 5hr ride out Scripps Poway climb to Ramona, Dudley's Bakery in Julian, and back home through Highland Valley and Pomerado Rd.

Some solid climbing and pace! My legs were definitely feeling it and once we were done my body definitely said "ok you said this was it, now I'm shutting down, feed me and don't move me for a good amount of time". So, I'm obeying and loving the rest from all this work!!

After an easy week I'm looking forward to a epic ride with Julie D and KP next Friday followed by an epic run Saturday and the uber epic La Jolla Rough Water Swim Sunday where I'll do the mile and the Gatorman (3mi).

More fun ahead for Hawaii prep, but for now, I'm enjoying some couch potatoing :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

180 & Stoked!

Today I did a full 180 from the last 2-3 days. My cold symptoms went away completely and I was shocked at how awesome and strong I feel :D
Two great things that resulted from this cold (always find the good in the bad) 1- I eliminated coffee from my diet...I did substituted tea as it would help with my cold anyway and lo and behold it regulated my sleep patterns and erased the mid-day crash. Yes, I'm still taking in caffeine with the teas and gels during rides, etc but I have no intentions of cutting out every little stimulant ;)
2- Going from fatigued and pushing through a big block with a slight cold to still pushing with no cold made the latter feel like a cake walk. So this morning I went for an hour run- parked my car at the entrance of the Lagoon in Rancho and ran to the golf course, one loop and back to the car. Running felt amazing!! I've only been doing a series of 30min runs since Thurs on top of the mega bike volume so going a little longer felt like a good change and I was delighted to discover light legs and a quick turnover, something that I totally did not expect this far into the big block.
After some chill time and breakfast I went on an ez 2ish hr ride along the coast as I agreed to cut some bike time today for my run gift :D Then I hit up Frog's for an aewsome core workout.
Tomorrow ends the block with a very early 5:30am swim and long ride probably out to Dudley's with KP. It's supposed to be near 100 out there and I cannot wait!
My 2 complete OFF days will be well deserved and I'm so looking forward to absorbing all this work and freshening up for a couple more key sessions left before I depart in 4wks time for the Big Island :D :D :D