Monday, July 26, 2010

Kona Round #3

Today Kona training started. Part of me is really excited, the other part (tiny, but it exists) is scared to the point of wanting to puke. Not scared of the training, that's the easy part- I lack no motivation. Rather, I'm scared of the sinking feeling you get at the point of the race where you've realized you've failed. I've faced this once- last year, coming off the bike, nearly coming to terms with the chance of having to hold glow sticks if I don't pull out a decent run. Thankfully I ran my PR (3:32), & climbed from dead last to 2nd. Still, I wanted to throw my bike into the ocean. I told my mom, "be happy, I'll never do triathlon again". Of course that was my shattered ego talking. It was only a couple hours of broken sleep later that yielded a desperate attempt at signing up for IMAZ just a month later.

To a lot of people it sounded stupid. I had gotten second at the World Champs, it's not my job, a lot of people would kill to just participate there...and even when it was my first IM in 2007, over and over I was told to have fun, to not expect anything.

But, I'm sorry, that's just not how I function. I like to win. If it's a race, I'm racing. I do not line up, or slap on a bib number to "participate". I may go into some races tired from training/not tapered, whatever. However, I still want to win, try to win, and go my hardest. It's called a competitive nature. I grew up chasing boys, & taking the hardest challenges- even if they were something completely out of my reach.

I digress but bear with me...Recently I read Agassi's autobiography and he talked about playing down to players that were worse than him, and playing up to the level of thhose that were better. Ah, thankfully I'm not the only one that had that issue!! I absolutely hated random matches because I could potentially lose to a 4yr old beginner hitting lobs and accidental drop shots. Yet, pair me with a world class player, and I have the match of my life.

Anyways, back to the present. I'm proud on how I've handled this year. Those around me can attest to the fact that I've mellowed out a bit. It's the end of July & I'm fit, healthy, and injury free. So my build to Kona will at least start on a completely different note than last year.

I have so many great training partners, an excellent coach whose training I've responded to quite well, and amazing travel/training opportunities. It's promising.

There are so many great athletes every year in Kona. All I can do is have my best race. But I know that if I give myself a time goal I can disregard all of them on race day. Why? Because if I hit that goal of breaking 10hrs, I will undoubtedly be top 5 amateur.

For USAT triathlon I have to be top 10 Amateur in Kona to get my Pro Card. Yes, I go through the Mexican Federation so I could get by with a more relaxed criteria. However, I don't want a shortcut.

Third trip to Kona, third attempt to WIN my AG, second attempt to crack 10hrs....I want to get my Pro card so Cozumel can be my first Ironman as a pro. It just would be really special given that it's in Mexico and a lot of my family members & friends will be there.

Roughly 10wks until I land on the Big Island.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vineman 70.3

This trip was awesome! It's kind of a story....

Wednesday evening I headed to Pasadena to stay the night at Sierra's so we could leave Thursday morning for our looong drive to Windsor. After a good night's sleep, we swam a solid LCM workout & I was suprised & elated to be right behind her in the pool as she's an amazing swimmer. We followed that with a 40min trail run, breakfast at Whole Foods and then hit the road.

After roughly 5hrs of driving we stopped in Tiburon to have dinner with John & Sierra's friends. I had a yummy red snapper overlooking the Pacific with San Francisco in the distance.

It was good to take that break before driving the final 1hr into Santa Rosa/Windsor. I had reservations at an Extended Stay in Santa Rosa & that turned out to be a nightmare. We get there, get our room key from the girl in the office (motel-ish place with the doors right by the street- I was immediately not digging this place), go up to the room, and find there are people there!!! Back down we go to get a room change, and we spent the next 45min watching the girl go back and forth confused as ever by the computer as to which rooms are non smoking, which are occupied, which have two beds. Really? Is it that difficult?!?! We were tired, and just wanted a decent bed. Ugh. On the last attmept she gives us a "nonsmoking room", but as we walk to that side of the building the ENITRE thing reeks smoke. That was my threshold. "Oh I didn't realize you could not even be around smoke", she says. WTF?! No, just like I can't be around cow shit. Sierra quickly found a Holiday Inn that had rooms available in Windsor.

Ahhh, much better! Clean, not motel-ish, maybe 2 blocks from the finish/Windsor High School, & with cute little shops/restaurants within walking distance. Perfect.

Content with some good rest, we got up and went for a swim at the Russian River around 10am. It was absolutely gorgeous out! The water felt fantastic and I was sooo happy to be swimming without concern for any wildlife, chop, surf, etc. We stopped at a little fruit stand on the way back and I ate one of the best papayas I've ever had :D

The next day we just did a little jog & ride, I found Golden Spoon in the middle of my ride, checked in our stuff, and mellowed out.

Race day!...

My wave went off at 7:42

SWIM- After shivering for about 1hr in transition, despite putting my wetsuit on for warmth, jumping into the river was heavenly. The water felt like a bath. I lined up front right to avoid the brunt of the current going out, then the plan was to swim the boueys (middle) coming back to use the current in my favor. It was really uneventful. A group of about 2-3 girls were swimming ahead but in the middle, and I was fine just swimming on my own along the edge, avoiding having to manuever slower people from the waves ahead. At the turn around, I actually stood, dolphin dove onto the feet of a girl in my wave and we cruised back in together. Sorry to the (I think) Asian dude in the white cap that I almost knocked unconscious with my elbow!

I cam out of the water right under 30min which is exactly what I wanted.

BIKE- My only complaint on this lovely bike course is that it's not closed to traffic. Lauren even came by me at around mile 35 screaming she had just been nicked by an Escalde. I felt great riding, and just rode HARD from start to finish. I don't think I could've gone any faster, so am simply very satisfied with that whole leg. One thing for future races: I've been experimenting since Honu with much higher dosages of caffeine than I've ever taken, and which I never use during training, and I think this amount needs to be lowered closer to the just coffee, gels, and maybe a couple of Zenergy tabs that I used to take. A couple of times on the bike I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest- scary!

T2- this needs to be inclduded because I made it a significant part of my race :( See the day before a girl in my wave (F 29&U) had taped a huuuge colorful heart & arrow on the grass as our wave cardboard indicator was obscured in the middle of the race because there are few girls 29&U compared to other AGs. So rather than count rows or look for Landmarks as usual, I just planned on running until I spotted the heart & arrow. Well, I get there after dismounting from the bike and my heart & arrow are gone!! CRAP! I proceeded to spend until the next century looking for my spot in transition. Lesson: never rely on heart girl.

RUN- First 4 miles were a bit of a struggle. But from mile 5, and especially once I reached the 1mile loop at the La Crema winery, I found my rythm, felt awesome, and picked up the pace home. It was a bummer that the last 5k the aid stations had no coke to give out, just water so I made it to the finish right at empty. The good thing is, my legs felt strong, so with continued nutrition, I felt I could've continued running a lot longer.

So the race was a success. I wanted to go sub 4:50, sub 4:45 on an ideal day, & I clinched 4:49. I ran a PR for a HIM in 1:35, 1st in my AG, 7th Amateur, & 19th F. Not too shabby.

Sierra proved she's on fire & that her run is not a weakness. She won overall amateur with a huge PR!! Her job between now & Kona is to just focus on making ME fast in the water & the bike as she has it all figured out for herself. On that note, I'll be heading to TX Sept 1st through 12th. I'll spend 2 days in San Antonio then the 3rd through the 10th with Sierra in Austin training our butts off in true heat & humidity, race the Austin Oly Tri Sept 6th, and stay two more nights in San Antonio before flying home.

The day after the race, still filled with adrenaline, I was keen on racing Steelhead 70.3 in two weeks. But after the looong drive back to Pasadena Monday, and an epic failure of a swim yesterday morning (1,000meters & DONE!) I decided it's best to stay put, minimize costs/travel, & race some local stuff instead.

So I'll be sprinting at Solana Beach this Sunday, then the Surf Monkey swim/run next weekend, Santa Barbara at end of August, and the Austin race in Sept.

On the drive back home, since Sierra had to fly back Sunday night to work early Monday, it was just her husband John & I, and he is the world's best tour guide/sherpa/supporter!! He took me over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, we stopped at the Fishermna's Wharf to buy some sourdough at Boudin's, then ate the best Cioppino at Scoma's on the water- basically the best San Fran day tour a girl could ask for!! :D

Long blog, I know. Done. Time for a week of paddling, light s/b/r stuff if I feel like it, some squash, maybe rent a kayak at Carlsbad Lagoon...who knows.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The End of the Beginning

One week exactly until I finish the 1st part of the 2010 season & start on the bigger second. Part 1 will have consisted of 2 half marathons, 1 xterra run, a 10k, 2 aquathons, 2 sprints, 1 olympic, & 3 Half IM's....Part 2 holds 1 aquathon, 1 slightly longer than olympic, & 2 Ironmans. That is one hell of a season :D

Thursday I take off for Vineman so not much time to blog until after that race- look for lots of pictures & hopefully a very positive race report, ha.

This week I had two training sessions that stand out: 1) a 4hr ride with Beth that we didn't start until 11am Wednesday as it was rainy & cold. We hoped waiting would improve the weather but it only slightly minimized the rain to a drizzle. Paul had given me 2x60min w/ 15ez at z3high to mid z4. OUCH. It looked as rough on paper as it was on the road.

I really would've struggled immensely without Beth, after the first when my legs were toast, she wasn't allowing any wiggle room & after an ez recovery out to Del Dios (reverse Swami's) she just said "ok ready? just tell me when..." So off I went for rd 2. Round 1 had been a full loop of Santa Luz with half of the San Dieguito horse tracks oval.

When I got home, all I thought about was food and getting my legs up for the next smash....a 2.5 hr run with Caroline at Lake Hodges trails Thursday morning.

That was AWESOME too :)! I'd never run out there & it sure made those minutes fly by. We held a good base pace, did a recovery version of masters after & that topped off my last push for Vineman.

Saturday was Colleen's bachelorette party & about 15 of us girls headed out to Temecula for some wine tasting. It was a blast. Pics below:

Then today Daniel, Kristin & I rode our bikes up to Tamarack for the Carlsbad Sprint. After a little jog warm up we were off! The water was a bit chilly as it's been winter this summer...but anyhow, a quick recap-

Swim was crap, not until the first bouey when we finally were paralleling the shore did I start to make way & swim. The "elites" went off with the 30-34 males & another group so that coupled with my surf entry disability, meant suckage.

Heard I was about 1min back from Jessi S. out of the water & I pushed the bike as hard as I could. The legs were pretty lead-filled but I felt good overall. Lauren came flying by around mile 5 of the bike, & I hung with her for a little while then she was out of sight. The run was the best! I felt really good and had great turnover going. Lauren caught Jessi with about 1 mile to go, & I was closing in on Jessi but ran out of real estate with like 50m left. All in all a FUNNNN day with local friends.

After the race, we hung out for awards & then Daniel & I literally raced home cuz we forgot to refill our water bottles & were hungry so rushing to get back, shower & head to pizza with some peeps.

We tried out a new pizza joint in San Elijo & watched the finals of the World Cup- amazing- so stoked for Spain!!

Now, it's definitely taper time & getting all set for my road trip to Nor-Cal!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Whoa, Vineman is coming up!

This is probably the longest I've gone without blogging :/ Lots of stuff has happened since Honu, including an awesome 2 wks with my mom here visiting.
On the training front- things have been stellar!! The week after Honu, I was hit with some sort of delayed fatigue that lasted about 5 days. It sucked. All I wanted to do was sleep. The good thing is I've learned that just because you have all day to train doesn't mean you should. I'm proud to have zero injuries, or any niggling pains. When I've felt like crap, rather than keep plugging along like a greedy rookie, I've called it a day & gone home.

A couple of days ago I went with Julie & Caroline on the infamous Henshaw loop. It was gnarly. Being my longest ride of the year- the last "long" ride logged in around Feb I think for "80 for Haiti"- J & C were inflicting a serious amount of pain on me...which I thank them for, but after the fact :D

The next long ride was yesterday & that was an awesome success. Julie guided us through "KP's epic ride": 111 miles, roughly 8,000ft of climbing, a lot of aero time, little traffic, and finally warm weather. Our group of about 8 did a really good job of keeping pace & not hanging out at frequent rest stops. In fact, we only stopped 2 times to refuel.

These were taken on stop 2 after climbing up to Julian:

Back to the car, Jen & I did a short trun around the park/bball fields, & then I sped home to get Daniel & head to a fun bbbq/pool party w/ friends...spending the next 6 hours eating non stop :D

Oh yea, before this super long ride- last weekend was San Diego International. It went really well for me. I finally swam in a manner that reflects my pool abilities/work. Also, I had a good bike- which isn't so hard to pull off on the ever-so-incredible Slice. The run....oh, the run....Caroline somehow transitioned in ITU manner & even though I pulled in a couple sec's ahead into T2, she darted out about 15sec in front of me, & I basically didn't HTFU enough to reel her back. Plus her run is ON FIRE- can't wait to see her smash IM Canada!

Anyway, ended up 5th- managed to hold off Beth. I kept looking back to see when Ms. Gazelle would come floating by. It was pretty cool to snag 4,5,6th place - some fun and friendly competition with training partners.

Daniel did AMAZING!!! Him & Garrett led the elite field on the swim, & though he lost a good chunk of time on the bike to those guys, he pulled off a 33:18 run to tie for fastest run split!! Not to mention he did that on two very cut up feet thanks to his kluts fall coming into T2. After the race I had to take him to get stitches- 8 on one, 9 on the other. He was out all this week, but it's healing well & by tomorrow he should be back at it.

The little guy beasting up the run (red mark on left shoe= blood):

Next weekend we're both racing Carlsbad Sprint- one of my favorite races!! Then the following weekend I'm off to Vineman 70.3 with my friend Sierra. I am STOKED to do that race as I've never been in that part of California, & heard it can be a pretty warm race :D :D

That's it! Heading out for a semi long run in a little while- Happy 4th of July!!!