Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I don't even think I can accurately summarize the rest of the year that has passed since I posted last... lots of blood, sweat, and tears...

But lets just say... 2011 will bring about many changes....hopefully all good. I don't like making "resolutions" because those have the stigma of being broken by the 5th or so of January... so every year I commit to be better than the year before and commit to a healthier lifestyle and healthier/better choices than the previous year...and every year, I do accomplish it. So I will continue to make this pact with myself to live yet another year in better form...

I have my own demons to conquer - namely - MYSELF. I am my own worst enemy...my greatest foe...the force that brings me down in a single thought...the most powerful adversary that I will ever meet... I have a unique way of messing myself up worse than anyone else can...or will...and can destroy myself with a single thought.

I hope 2011 can quiet some of the demons that sit atop my shoulder as I race or simply go through life.

I have a lot on tap for 2011...and a lot of goals to meet and negativity to destroy.

I am also going to try to post 1 picture and a brief blog EVERY day for 2011. We'll see if that happens... (hence why I won't resolve to do it)

Perhaps this year, with the help of my awesome coach (Bryan Hill and Catalyst Endurance Coaching/Rehab United), my best friends and training partners (Jax, Randi, Kara, Mary, etc etc etc) and a whole lot of inspiration (Whit, Liz, Julie, Beth, Desi, Michelle, and the list goes on and on and on) this will be one of the best years of my life. (And I'm sure I've forgotten MANY MANY people in that short list of people). Well... here goes...January 1st, 2011 - I go up an age group... lets see if I can't go up in everything else as well...except weight... that I'd prefer to see on a downward trend.

Here's to 2011... BRING IT.

Monday, August 9, 2010

... and it goes on, and on, and on.....

"I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying AYO
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying AYO
Baby, let's go

'Cause we gon' rock this club
We gon' go all night...we gon' light it up... like it's dynamite!!"

This song went through my head for the entire 70.3 miles of the race a couple weeks ago... music has always been so important to me and having the right motivational beat has always gotten me through the most tough of times...

Right now, I'm struggling... I'm struggling to get my workouts in... but succeeding in other places in my life... and actually, I have found that it's making me agitated...angry... My husband took a fantastic job with Dell and is away in Texas for training and will be traveling most of the months when he is home, and home on the weekends. What does this mean? It means I guess I need to get creative with my workouts and really figure out the balance. Jason has always been there for Jackie and I, taking care of all FOUR kids when needed, when asked... usually at least once a week (if not two or more times a week!!) he had all the kids. He was amazing, helpful... I really relied on him for assistance. And I know how lucky I am... I appreciate it... I make sure to let him know how much I appreciate it... but right now, I'm lost. I help "swim buddy" for Bobbie during the beginner open water swim on Thursday... I have brick workouts that I'm supposed to do during the week... but it's incredibly hard when there are lunches to make, dishes to wash, a house to clean, kids to entertain, meals to be made, camps to be picked up from, etc etc. So I'm a little lost right now. Today I was supposed to swim... but I had a paper due tonight for my master's program. The treadmill is broken (waiting on a new belt) or I would go for a run. I could get on the trainer... but I need to finish my paper. I have one due every week... This is going to be interesting.

I still have goals. I still have hopes for my performance. Barb's race made me realize that I truly CAN do what I put my mind to. And now I want to see what more I can make my body do... and I have 32 days until my next race...and I am kind of stressing about getting in the training. I feel that I won't be able to put in what I need to, and I feel selfish even feeling anxious and antsy when I don't get a good workout in. But I was used to that - I got used to the hard workouts...it was an energy release for me... a stress reliever... a way to really feel good about myself. The last week of recovery has been extremely hard on me!! I am antsy... I feel really anxious... I want to be moving... I want to put in the miles on my bike and feet... I want to feel the water in my fingers as I lope through the water.. I need to find balance. I need to figure out how to maintain the highest levels of myself as a mom, wife, student, and athlete. Now... where to start?

I feel like I've let myself down... I'm letting myself down... I'm failing... in that I can't follow what's currently on my training plan... that I don't have the time right now to do it all.. how can I get past this? Will I ever really get past feeling that I'm letting myself down... or those who have been encouraging and supporting me. I feel that in not doing my training and not going everything I am "supposed to" be doing is a failure. So what do I do? Do I make time for it all, getting 0 sleep? Do I just deal with the fact that I don't have the time? How can I break through that mental barrier of NOT pushing myself as before?> How peculiar... at one point, I had trouble getting through the workouts... and now I miss them!! How crazy...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

at long last....

... I am back. I came, I saw, I conquered...and I plan to do it again. What transpired over the weekend of my race was seemingly life changing... it showed me what I could achieve, if I put my mind to it... and it surpassed my wildest expectations of myself.

We began the journey on Wednesday night, caravaning behind Randi and her wonderful parents. The decision was to stop for the night in Santa Clarita so we could get a good night sleep and choke down the pre-race boost of sodium and glutamine. (GROSS!!) A little splenda couldn't even mask the taste... or even worse - the smell. But we did it - in the name of victory - and we laughed about it later. Between that and the gallons of water, we were a bloated, hot mess... not to mention stopping to pee more often than any of us would have liked. Fueling with healthy snacks and water, we were determined to keep up our healthy eating and water drinking... all in the name of the race.
Thursday we finished the drive and went for what was supposed to be a 30 minute ride. Since we ladies always have to overachieve, the ride turned into 11+ miles... (though at a very pedestrian pace) and followed up with a one mile run. Dinner was protein and carb loaded at IHOP...where the service was less than stellar. Jax and family went to bed and Jas and I spent some time with Randi, loving on her OCD Type A tendencies and organizational nature. (Which, might I add... I learned so much from her...really!!)
Friday morning we stuffed ourselves with omelettes from "For Play Cafe" and headed to the Russian River... the nerves were intense during the drive... I seriously thought that I was going to puke from anxiety... We got to the river and Jax and I walked around in nervous silence... knowing what was to lie ahead the following day... Then it happened... the TCSD people started pouring onto the beach... we were HOME again... the nerves disappeared and we enjoyed a nice swim with the tri clubbers and then went on rent a couple of canoes. The nerves stayed away until we arrived at Windsor High School. I realized I only had my expired USAT card and my phone would not load the page fast enough to show the people checking us in... so I sucked it up and purchased the $10 day pass. The most exciting feeling in the world came when the volunteer placed the wristband on me, and I walked into the room to pick up my packet.
Jax, Kara, and I were all on the same rack in T2, so we set up together, marking the spot with hot pink tape (thanks, Randi!!) -- a long course talk later and more walking (and my misplacing...and thankfully FINDING my phone) -- we were off to Applebee's for some pre-race fuel (and of course more water and salt!!) The booth we were sitting at was surrounded by pictures of previous Vineman races... ahh... the nerves. Jax and I created our pre-race playlist, discussed final thoughts, and headed back to the hotel to prep (and sleep!!)
Saturday morning, I was awoken by Jax jumping on me, proclaiming "Today, it will be DONE!!" I'll admit it, I was nervous. Packed everything into the cars... double triple checked everything... and we were off. Arriving at the beach, I was in awe... all the men around me were IRONMEN or aquabikers... and the women were either there to do the full, Barb's race, the relays, or the aquabike. Everyone there was amazing... simply for showing up. Transition set up, we watched some of the swim start to Vineman... it always amazes me how many people give up within the first few hundred feet of the swim start... all that training... to just... end the race... barring anything catastrophic, I suppose...
I don't think I've ever been so nervous before a race. Either it was nerves or the sheer terror of the 70.3 miles that was in front of me, waiting to be divided and conquered... Jax and I did a little RU-style warm up and into the water for our quick warm up we went... funny thing, too... they didn't count down, they didn't warn us... just BEEEEP of the airhorn...and we were off...

The Swim:

I am not a fast swimmer... I am a strong swimmer... and I kept swallowing the water... thankfully, it wasn't salty... I felt so slowwwww going up, and when I glanced at my time at the turnaround, I was at 24 minutes... thankfully, it only took me 16 getting back... swim time: 40:55

Can I jut say - I LOVED THE WETSUIT STRIPPERS!! I wish they had them at every race!! Though I somehow managed to burn nearly 4 minutes in transition... probably mostly the slow commute I had from my rack to the hill.

The Bike:

Can I just say... I LOVED THIS COURSE!! However - in spite of the huge USAT rules talk we were given, I only saw ONE marshall, AND had a girl tailing me for about 15 miles... I kept asking her to get off my butt, and then I'd speed up... but we basically played cat and mouse for a long time. (She went on to have a stellar run -- gee, maybe had you not saved your legs drafting me.... HAHA) But I loved the course... In retrospect, I probably could have pushed a bit harder on the bike... but that might have royally messed my run up even worse than it already was. The course breezed by... chalk hill came and went... and finally... the descent and flats into the high school. (Bike time: 3:09)

Now, we had been told that there was grass in t2... well, as we had found out the previous day, there was not. However, around mile 47, the spigot to my water bottle system popped off and started to spray infinit... when I hung my bike up on the rack, it unleashed a waterfall of hydration... I had to pee... so what the hell, as I was putting on my shoes... took care of business... afterall, there was no way for ANYONE to know what I was doing at the time... rinsed off with a bottle of water and was off.

The run:

Started off around a 9:05/mile... which is decently fast for me... kept this up for maybe 4 miles... and the heat got me. The water and gatorade completely unsettled my stomach and it was a chore to choke down the Roctane... I even had to walk for a few... just to settle my stomach... begged, pleaded, argued with my legs to keep going... and they did!! On that hot, sticky, 100% humid course, I managed to pull out a 2:19... faster than I had run San Dieguito on fresh legs the year before... ok, not my crowning achievement and the most stellar performance... but I did it... I ran that hot, hilly half marathon and I finished...

6:17:45... and I was done. Jax was waiting at the finish line to give me my medal... we embraced and shared a cry... after a cool shower, I felt semi-human again.

Amazing day. Amazing Race. Randi and Jax killed it out there. (As did Val, Brian, Peter, the rest of the tcsd crew) We all exceeded our expectations. We did it. We came, we saw... and we CONQUERED.

... Then I got home and signed up for round 2. I think 70.3 is a great distance for me. I think that since I'm a slower, stockier athlete, I have a better chance at doing well with the long, slow distance than I do with the sprints. However... my goals right now:

Sub 2 hour - Vegas half marathon (december)
kill last year's time and possibly top 15 or 20 -- mission bay sprint (october)
work on speed
ride a century
train with less time and less flexibility than before
watch and encourage jax on her podium journey
get faster
get stronger
lean up/tone up

Count down to New Orleans April 17, 2011.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, loved, and encouraged me through this journey. Thank you for putting up with my lows and my highs... for being there, for giving me advice and comforting words... for keeping me positive... for not discouraging me in this journey... for being my friends... my family... my partners in crime, my sisters/brothers in suffering... for allowing me to pursue this craziness.

And here's to what's to come!!

Special thanks to my training partners... you all know who you are. Thank you for everything. I love you all more than words can express... you are an extension of my family and hold a special place in my heart.... For inspiring me, and pushing me to run when I didn't want to run... bike when my legs felt like lead... and swim when my arms did not want to move. To my family for being there, for loving me even when I was gone a lot... for supporting me even when it wasn't easy... for the endless encouragement. I love you.

And a special thanks to Bryan Hill, of http://www.rehabunited.com, and Catalyst Endurance Training... for the coaching, the support, the friendship, and the tools to help me achieve.

So I accomplished this... all the self doubt... all the fears... everything that I experienced... lead to one thing: a phenomenal accomplishment. When i first started this process, my only wish - to finish the race in less than 8 hours. 8 hours whittled down to 7 hours... and I figured that I would do it in 6:45/6:30... I exceeded my expectations... I actually exceeded my expectations. I pushed and pushed and pushed, I did not let myself slack... I made my legs pedal when they felt like coasting... I forced my arms to swim, even though I wanted to get up and walk through the water like some of the others were... even though I was ready to give up in the head of the run... I kept going.

Something changed in me out on that course... and I will never say "I can't" again. I CAN do what I put my mind to. Now to really see what I can really do with my upcoming races and training... bring it on :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've been a huge slacker...

...and I've not blogged in a few days.

this weekend was awesome. we got some awesome training in and spent time among triathletes... what more could I ask for?

Saturday, we hit up the Triathlon at Treasure Island. Turns out, this is the race that NBC has the "biggest losers" do. So there were about 50 people, former contestants and staff from the show competing. Now, I'm really not "star struck" but I definitely have triathlon fever... so to me, taking 50 people who could at one point in their lives, barely walk... barely run... hardly swim...etc... and turn them into triathletes... completely amazing. Jax and I had some truly inspiring, amusing, fascinating, great conversations with so many people that day... who they are isn't important... but know that there's so much more to all of them than just characters as portrayed on tv. But most importantly to me - they are athletes... TRIathletes now...and as you all know - that's what I find to be the most interesting and inspirational. There's something to be said about hard work, perseverance, and achievement. Who I find to be the most inspirational are the so many athletes as part of the challenged athlete's foundation. These are the most amazing, incredlble athletes I've ever had the pleasure of watching. If a person can do a triathlon with one leg, no legs, no arms, one arm, etc... there should be NO EXCUSE for anyone to at least TRY to achieve their goals.

Jackie and I took our kids to the Challenged Athlete's Foundation's Triathlon Challenge... as a part of this, there were events for the CAF kids... I want my kids to see a person with no arms or legs and think "hey, s/he is a triathlete" (even if they aren't LOL) not... "s/he has no arms..." --- but that's when you realize that there ARE NO excuses... That anything is possible. That you can do anything you put your mind to with hard work, dedication, and perseverance....and just in thinking about that, in writing those words... I am pumped for my race. I am going to achieve it, because I am putting my mind to it.

As for our trip, after Inspirational Saturday, the rest of the weekend was spent training and doing a tiny bit of relaxing...

...and now here we are... at just about 18 days until the race. I am trying to remain as optimistic as possible.

...but for now, I must sleep.

Friday, July 9, 2010

reflections on the barb's course

Well... now that I've done test runs on the swim, bike AND run portions of Barb's... I am fully aware of the challenges that face me in 22 days... Yes, 22.... WOW!! Tomorrow marks 3 weeks until the race.

My thoughts...

The Swim Course... the Russian River is a unique swimming experience for me, as I have never swam with a wetsuit in fresh water. TOTALLY not as buoyant as in the salt water, as expected... fresh/clean(ish) tasting...and shallow. The way to the turn around was AGAINST the current... so that took us nearly 28 minutes (we were not pushing the pace) but only 13 to get back. Very enjoyable swim... water temperature was perfect and it wasn't as shallow as we had anticipated...and it was definitely a good experience.

The Bike Course - rolling hills... poorly maintained roads... the downhills tend to be shadowy and full of potholes, so instead of utilizing them to gain time, I feel that I am going to have to approach them with caution...the course is absolutely gorgeous, rolling hills through the vineyards and through several small towns. Love it... but it definitely will pose many challenges for me between the potential for heat, wind, and any other catastrophic things that might occur on race day. "Any given Sunday" or in this case, Saturday, will be the name of the game. When I rode the bike course in May, it was WINDY and COLD. Today, when we drove it, it was not windy but pretty hot.... and I still need to fine tune eating on the bike and perhaps even peeing on the bike? Tips? Hints? Suggestions?

The Run Course - some parts are much like San Dieguito... the course consists of an out an back (4 miles) and then a loop back of 2.5ish miles... for a total of 13.1ish miles... some parts are extremely hot... all in all, I'm definitely not expecting to PR my half marathon time on this course but rather, just survive it and do the best that I can... which will hopefully result in a decent half maraathon time. We shall see.

SO in conclusion, this course is definitely going to keep me on my toes and challenge me... and I will push myself as hard as I can on race day and see what I can achieve.

But let me tell you what... I am so looking forward to training for Malibu olympic and all the other fun races Jax and I have in the cards for next year... as next year will be the year of the sprints, Olys, and FUN.

can't wait.

Can't wait for this to be over... can't wait to see what I push my mind and body to do.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

leaving on a jet plane...

Tomorrow, Jax and I head to San Francisco... why? Because we're swimming and running the course for our race in...23 days!! Holy cow!! 23 days... just over 3 weeks!! Tomorrow should be awesome...1.5 mile fresh water river swim followed by a 13.1 mile run. Yikes. Then on Saturday, we're going to try to PR our 10k... definitely something I'm nervous about. I really hope that I can pull something amazing from within and hit that PR. My goal is around 56 minutes... (or less) -- I'd REALLY like 54.... but that's a stretch.... my current PR is around 59something (for just a 10k) and I'd like to smash that. I'm not going to hold my breath (well, duh... I have to breathe!!) especially after the long workout we're planning to do the day before... but I would really like to see what I can put myself through. Running strong on tired legs... well... we shall see about this.

For now, I'm relaxing while watching Le Tour... this race is seriously addicting to watch... it's amazing what these men can put their bodies through. I love the strategy and excitement that the race brings... some day, I'd really like to visit France during le Tour... I haven't been there since 1999 and I miss the cultural immersion. Hopefully, when Jason and I are bit more secure in our finances, we can plan a trip... (thinking... 10 years from now??) But back to Le Tour... I've found several live feeds so that I am able to catch the last hour or so of the stage every morning... but now I'm watching the beginning as Versus is showing it again. Love it... very inspiring... Now if only I could channel my inner Lance or Cancellara or Cavendish while racing in a few weeks... all truly amazing men who inspire me!! Actually, I'd just like to channel my inner Chrissie... that's just what I need.

Hopefully this weekend brings some amazing training and some good times with the best friend I could ever ask for...

Again - thanks to Jason, my mom, Mike, and Bobbie for supporting us in all of this. Truly do love you guys!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

24 days...

When I tell people that January 2009 was my first half marathon and May 2009 my first triathlon, most don't believe me. Perhaps it is because I jumped full throttle into the community and training... or perhaps I just fake it well... that I know what I'm doing, that is...

If you had asked me 3 years ago if I thought that I would have run 2 full marathons, 10 half marathons, dozens of 10ks and 5ks, raced olympic and sprint distance triathlons, completed a half ironman unofficial event and was training for an official half ironman distance race... I would have laughed at you, and probably thought you were crazy... But here I am, just 24 days away from my race... and looking back at the last couple years with awe.

When I first started running, I used to resemble what you would imagine a penguin would look like in running shoes. No, I wasn't quite as round but I had about the same grace and coordination as one would think a penguin would have if he or she were wearing running shoes. I ran at about a 14 minute mile (sometimes slower, probably)... and now I've knocked around 5 minutes per mile off my time. I never in a million years pictured myself getting this far, and achieving all that I've accomplished... so really, when I sit here and think about my goals and try put the heat on myself to accomplish even bigger and better things - I have to remember where I came from and where I am now... and be thankful and content with my achievements.

In all of this, I have to say a few "thank yous" to various people without whom I would never be able to pursue this crazy newfound (well, in the last 2 years) passion of mine... Jason for his enthusiastic support, love, and encouragement... for putting up with my crazy training schedule and for taking it for the team in watching our lovely (though rambunctious) children... I would not be able to do this without him - emotionally or otherwise. To my mom, for being so supportive regardless of the fact that she finds this all to be a bit crazy but for helping with the children whenever needed, even when she's not feeling well... To my bestest buddy and training partner, Jax, for introducing me to this crazy lifestyle and for encouraging, motivating, inspiring, and supporting me every step of the way. There's NO WAY IN HELL that I would be able to do this without her. She was the one who put up with my SLOOOWWWWW-ass 12 minute miles and didn't (out loud anyway) hate running with me... she's a phenomenal athlete who just radiate a certain energy that is infectious. To Bobbie for her encouragement and love...and SWIM HELP!! Seriously, this woman is an AMAZING swim coach - so patient and helpful - and I owe so much of my improvement over the last year to her lessons. To my coach, Bryan - for pushing me over the last few months, and helping me realize my own potential as an... an.... an.... alright, I'll say it... athlete... To Randi for being such an awesomely fun training buddy...and for being a shoulder to cry on for all things triathlon (and non-triathlon) related... To my amazing children for trying to understand my crazy schedule and for loving me in spite of the fact that I've been a crazy nutcase over the last 6 months... And to the dozens of other triathletes (and athletes in general) who, on a daily basis inspire and motivate me to be the best that I can be... who push me to better myself and to continue to participate, even on days when I really don't want to. (There are so many wonderful friends I've made along the way who deserve thanks as well, but far too many to single out, but I truly love you all and thank you for making this journey so amazing!!)

... and to all my non-triathlon friends... Thank you for not completely abandoning me and hating me. I know it's so hard to understand what I'm going through, having not experienced it yourself... and I apologize for being distant, for always being busy... for being a shitty friend... for not listening more or for not spending more time with you... but I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will gladly utilize my free time after this race for making up lost time, if possible.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

counting down the days

I had this long post contemplating life all thought out... but now that I'm sitting in bed, I'm suddenly exhausted. Managed to do a 20/2 brick today... fantastic ride from my house to J street marina and around the area... then on my way back, there was a man on a recumbent bike in front of me who started pedaling faster when he heard me behind him... now, this is my biggest pet peeve so I chased him for about 3/4 of a mile at over 20mph... only to realize that his bike had a MOTOR on it. Crazy. And exhausting.

Run was alright... watching le Tour on my dreadmill... so that wasn't bad... Really looking forward to the weekend!!!

I'm exhausted... so this post will be short and sweet...


Monday, July 5, 2010

my flock of wounded birds

AMAZING, isn't it? I DID say, afterall, at the beginning of this blog that I was much more than my training... well, I've not done a very good job at demonstrating that. But really, I am a lot more than my training. In fact, I'm about to continue working towards a major goal in my life (besides discovering myself as an "athlete") and that is graduate school. On July 13th, I am going to start my Master's program in Psychology!!

I am extremely excited about this as I recently (finally) graduated with a BA in Psychology...but such is my luck - just having a BA in Psych does NOT help with finding a good job. In fact, I need to have an advanced degree before I can even THINK about pursuing my ultimate goal - to be a counselor/psychologist/therapist/whatever you might call it. So basically, I need a MA and then a PsyD or PhD... which is definitely something that I want to pursue.

But where has this interest in psychology gotten me in my life? Well, nowhere really... but I have always been "that girl" whom everyone confides in, tells their secrets to, seeks advice from...and I've always been "that girl" who cares too deeply for others, "that girl" who really wants to help heal the world, one wounded bird at a time.

I've always had the tendency to take people into my life who are hurting emotionally... I've always had the tendency to seek out those who need help (whether they want it or not)...I've always had the tendency to want to fix things, even when there's really nothing that I can actually do to fix the situation. Sometimes this backfires, and the person doesn't want help... sometimes they deny that they need help... sometimes, they build a wall so high and strong around them, that in spite of my best efforts to scale and destroy it, I am unsuccessful. This has always frustrated me - I see a problem, I want to fix it... end of story...and I look foward to the day when the majority of the people I deal with are those who actually WANT my help and are paying for it. (HAHA) But I will forever want to help my friends, regardless of whether they want it or not.

Sometimes, all it takes is a disinterested third party... another set of eyes and ears, another viewpoint... to solve problems. Or sometimes, all it takes is a simple conversation full of self discovery... or a long run on the trails, or swim in the ocean, or ride up the coast... lots of time to think and explore the many questions of life, in an attempt to find solutions to problems...

Over the years, I guess you can say that I've filled the nest of my heart with a flock of wounded birds... I've collected such an amazing, eclectic mix of friends (so many who have been through some harrowing and amazing circumstances and situations) and many of them have wanted to talk about their lives, get my opinion, or just vent about circumstances of their life...and I've always loved every minute of it...there's just something so refreshing about being able to take someone who is upset, who is experiencing something that is making them uneasy, who is unhappy... and helping them turn it around... make the most out of a situation... learn something new... change their outlook... just BEING there for people is something that truly does make me happy.

I've always been a people person, a people collector of sorts. Through facebook, I'm still connected with people I went to pre-school with, people I knew through girlscounts, or elementary school... high school...college... the triathlon club, etc... It enables me to keep up with everyone's lives... to lend an ear or offer advice... to stay connected. I have such an eclectic mix of friends, from all walks of life... of such a varying degree of interests... It's just amazing what technology has allowed us to do. I can't imagine what things will be like for my children when they are my age...how social networking and communication will differ from how it is at present... the way they will be able to keep in touch with their friends and loved ones... simply amazing...

And as I'm typing this ridiculously long ramble about this... I received my training schedule from now until the race...and anxiety has set in again. I am so nervous for race day... how hard will I be able to push myself? How far will these legs carry me at the fastest pace possible? Will I be able to push myself hard enough? What's going to happen on race day - will I execute the perfect race or will I have problems? Will I fail or succeed? What if it's windy ... or super hot... or what if my nutrition just doesn't work for me that day? There are so many what-ifs that I keep pondering and simply do not have answers for.

I'm going to use the next few weeks to their fullest. I am stoked for Jackie's and my upcoming trip to San Francisco/Guerneville/Petaluma/Windsor and can't wait to get in a weekend of solid (run focused) training and see if I can PR my 10k on Saturday... This is the time to focus, to buckle down... to put aside the worrying about my friends and their problems... or about strangers and their problems... to not consider my shortcomings and focus on my strengths. To make every workout count and push myself to achieve all that I hope to achieve. There is no time like the present to affect my future. So here goes nothing... here we are in the final stretch... the finish line is almost in sight... the next few weeks are going to fly by... and hopefully I'll be ready to face the challenge.

Well, I guess that's enough rambling for now... It seems I'm not too good with writing about anything beyond training these days... (seeing as it's all-consuming!!)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ahhh how good it feels....

Nice trail run with Jax at Mission Trails. We had such an amazing time rock climbing, dodging bushes, avoiding fire ant hills, chasing rabbits and scaling steep hilly faces. It was just incredible. I always feel so free out on the trails - the silence of nature coupled with the quickening of our breath and the beating of an awakened heart... the fresh smell of dirt and vegetation mixing with the aroma of our salty sweat... just the free feeling of not being tied to a particular pace, location, or distance... just our feet, our energy, and nature. Purely liberating and amazing. The run was truly phenomenal and as my feet prodded the dirt and rocks, I imagined myself running an ultra, as I truly love the idea of running, at a slow but steady pace, through all that the natural world has to offer. My thoughts were flowing, my feet lightly gliding through the terrain. I was free!! So glad to be in great company, at a great location, and enjoying a great workout.

Our ride was less than mediocre. We were tired, sore from the day before, and just wanting to be done. We took a little tour through the hills of Santee/Lakeside/Mission Trails area...We grumbled about how we missed just being able to do "just a run" or "just a ride" and both of us are really just ready to have our race!!

All in all, a great day. I was spent by the time I got home and required some naproxen, a shower, and a nap.

Let us not forget, though... today is Independence Day... and we should all take a moment to recognized our heroes, the fallen, and our fighters. Thank you for all you've done in terms of service to our country... Thanks to your hard work and dedication, we remain a free country.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

turning that corner....

I had the most amazing day of training with Jax and Randi today.... we went on an incredible adventure through San Diego...we started at my house with the intention to ride to Coronado via J street in Chula Vista and the bike path over the salt flats...but we soon realized (as we were passing Navy ships) that we were going north instead of south... so we went with it...and off we rode through some of the "finer" parts of San Diego. As we cruised, conversationally, at 21mph, we all had the realization "wow... our training IS paying off... "

Our ride today was just awesome. 40 miles of fun scenery and great company... hills... crappy roads... nicely paved roads... fake grass....and it was just awesome :) This was all capped off with a 4mile trail run.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, July 2, 2010

29 and feeling fine...

Today was an amazing day... I had a fantastic birthday. My day started with a slew of texts, emails, facebook messages, and phone calls from friends and family...and ended with a great 2+ mile swim and fantastic burger from Burger Lounge with Randi and Jason...

I am excited for this weekend... since we didn't get in the run today (we ran out of time due to the traffic causing people to arrive later than expected and Randi losing her goggles at the cove, which resulted in a slower return swim) ... we will be running tomorrow... and on Monday...

I'm pretty excited about what's on tap for the weekend... to recap the plans... tomorrow = 40+ mile ride followed by a 4-8 mile run... Sunday = 50-60 mile ride, 10k trail run... Monday = 13.1 mile run on the AFC course with Randi, Jason, and some of Jason's co-workers... should be AWESOME.

Super happy to be feeling better (the salt water in the ocean totally cleared out my sinuses) and my shoulder is doing far better than expected. I really enjoyed being out in the ocean today... great company, awesome swim... and the water was pretty clear with decent visibility. I saw tons of fish, a few bat rays, a couple stingrays... even ventured to try to dive close to the fish... had a highly amusing swim back to the Cove with Randi and Jax's cousin's boyfriend, Travis. Since she didn't have goggles on, it was definitely much like a three ring circus... Good times, though... again, a reminder of why I love this sport, this community, this lifestyle.

so here I sit in bed, pre-hydrating for tomorrow's fun... looking forward to what the day holds and totally excited about the weekend of training. I do plan to get some relaxing and errands done as well, and I will get to spend time with my beautiful children.

My kids are truly amazing!! I don't emphasize how incredible I think they are. We have all three girls this weekend, and I love to just sit back and watch them play. They baked me cupcakes with my Mom today (another amazing person!!) and we celebrated my birthday briefly when we got back from dinner. Zoe, my biological oldest, has the most amazing outlook on life. Everything excites her, and she's so easily pleased. She also has the most kind and generous heart, always looking out for her sisters and sharing with them. Ellie, our youngest, has so much personality at such a young age. She's so energetic and loving... Jenna, J's daughter from his previous marriage, is sensitive and the "mommy" to the other girls. She and Zoe are only 8 months apart, but Jenna tends to try to mother the other two. The three of them together are such a fun combination, though, as their personalities are so different.

My mom also helped to make my birthday special. She's always there for me and the kids and I am so thankful and appreciative of her presence in my life...and in my kids' lives as well.

And to my friends... thank you so much for being there, for being so amazing... for making me feel so loved today. You guys are the best!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

batting 0

SO I've got a cold... and a shoulder injury... but I must truck on. With 30 (almost 29) days until the race, I can't let anything slow me down - including myself. This weekend should be a great training weekend... We should be logging in some awesome mileage.

Had a fantastic massage today with Sarah Zimmerman (http://www.breakawaytrainingmassage.com) which really started the day off right. Unfortunately, my shoulder continued to get worse as the day went on, which resulted in a trip to the doctor... turns out I have a sprained shoulder though if it doesn't feel better in the next couple weeks, I'm to see my PCM for an MRI to ensure I don't have a bulging disc or something... ohhh that would be so NOT good. But for now, Ice, anti-inflamatories, and flexeril before bed. We shall see what happens. I'll see how it does on the bike this weekend - I see a lot of naproxen and ice in my future.

Ah well... I am my own worst enemy... and I need to learn how to be my own biggest fan.

I'm watching "Losing It With Jillian Michaels" and it's the episode with the family where the dad doesn't ever want to try something because he doesn't want to fail... i feel that way sometimes - I've always been so quick to disregard setting a goal because "I just do this for fun" but the real reason is I just don't like disappointing myself and other people. So how DOES one overcome themself?

ugh... shoulder pain

So the pain my my left shoulder (not the right one this time... amazingly!!) is horrible. It' shoots down my left arm, into my fingers, and down my neck and stops at a spot just even with my shoulder blade. I wonder if I pulled something? Either way, I think a trip to urgent care is in my future. I really hope it's nothing serious... but this is getting ridiculous - I almost want to cry - and for those of you who know me well - I rarely cry. Lets all just cross our fingers and hope that it's just a strain or over-use... or something... something that ice and/or heat can fix... or advil.. or something... But I don't know how much longer I can do this neck/shoulder pain thing.... so frustrating... 30 days until the race.

What a crazy journey this has been... I've come full circle from excitement to more excitement to crazy devotion to training to burnout...and now I'm back to excitement!!

"What a long, strange trip its been"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ONE MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy wow... one month until the race. One month to fully prepare myself mentally and physically for the "big day." One month to be all that I can be, train as hard as I can train...and try to break down the mental walls that seem to be conquering me harder than the physical challenges of this training.

I really need to start meditating again, practicing visualization techniques and self-motivation. I need to drop the negative self talk and replace it with only positivity. I need to truly BELIEVE that I can accomplish all that I set out to do. I suppose I just sound like I need to convince MYSELF, right? I just need to accept the fact that I can, in fact, actually embrace the term "athlete" and allow myself to fall under that category... I AM an athlete, right?? I mean, some days I definitely do not feel like one... I feel like a wannabe... a fake... a phoney...I feel like I have the drive and desire but lack the physical prowess to back it up.

But you know what... I can do this. I CAN do this. I WILL do this. I am GOING to do this. I am ABLE to do this.

Tonight, Randi and I swam 3300 yards...It was supposed to be 3000... but I get so wrapped up on my music and start jamming out... next thing I know, 3000 turns into 3300...and I'm flying (well, not really) down the lanes, oblivious to the world around me. Bobbie also gave us some pointers and a lesson on reaching and pulling... now, in the words of Randi "If only I can implement it..." But it's getting better.

In any case, I am excited for the weekend.... I can't wait to get back to Mission Trails with Jackie and explore the "finer" parts of San Diego via bicycle... Tomorrow = bike, run, swim... Friday = my birthday fun... and then... then comes the glorious weekend...

I WILL DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a summer cold?

So I woke up this morning extremely sore... and with a head cold. AWESOME. So I popped a couple tylonol and am now chugging a large batch of Emergen-C. Not happy. I have way too much to accomplish the rest of this week and this weekend. Tonight, I have a swim session with Bobbie because I think my technique has gone to hell and is ineffective... and I have to somehow pull out this fantastic 3000m swim workout... complete with sprints and progressive 100s. Should be a good time, especially for a slow swimmer like myself. Lets just hope that it doesn't take 2 hours.

As a kid, I'd frequently injure (strain/sprain/whatever) my neck and lately, I've been having incredibly annoying shoulder/neck problems. I noticed last night, around 9pm, that my left shoulder and side of my neck was extremely uncomfortable. I struggled to find a decent position to sleep in, knowing that if I slept on my right side, my shoulder nerve impingement would get aggrivated.... so I ended up sleeping on my stomach, as usual, but with my hands shoved under the pillow in a position that is tolerable to my ailments... (See, I told you guys that I'm getting old!!!) And so today I'm sitting at my desk with one of those heat patches on my shoulders... ugh... totally NOT the way I wanted to start my day...

... and to top it all off... my 8 year old SIM card in my new phone (been with Tmobile for 8 years, haven't ever had to replace the card) died and my phone isn't working... so off to the tmobile store I will go during "lunch."

Good times... NOT a good way to approach a Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the wheels on the bike go round and round

Fabulous workout today... Thank you, Randi!! 20 mile ride, 5 mile run... great company. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Felt so refreshing to ride around lake miramar (albeit frustrating with all of the pedestrian and casual bike traffic) but the wind (and there was a stiff wind) in my hair, the overcast sky allowing me to wear a sweatshirt, and a good friend at my side... I felt so good. Even the run... In fact, I really do love running - just not a fast pace. At a 9:25/mile, I am super happy...relaxed... my HR gets high - but I can breathe easily, talk to friends, enjoy my surroundings. (Maybe this is because my AT is 166!!! and my LT is 197!)

I'm getting pretty excited for this race... this weekend requires some high mileage...and I'm excited for it. Friday is my 29th birthday - and to commemorate it, we are swimming 2 miles, then running for 9... followed by dinner in La Jolla... anyone is welcome to join for some or all of it. Should be a good time :)

So finally... I've found the love again... I'm smiling through my workouts... I feel alive... I've felt strong on my last two runs... Perhaps the training is working afterall, right?

Bring it ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

flirting with disaster?

So those of you who know me well... you know I'm not a sprinter... I'm not "fast twitch" inclined. When it comes to my approach to sports, I live for LSD (no, no.... nothing illegal... LONG, SLOW DISTANCE) And for quite some time now, I've had this recurring dream (literally, at night... sleeping...a dream) about doing an ultra marathon. And after a lot of thought, I've decided that doing one is going to be my next endeavor for next year.

So I'm sitting here looking at http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/races/usa.html#CA and wondering... which one will I do? Definitely not a 100 miler... maybe a 50 miler... but I'm thinking that starting with 50k might be the most intelligent choice of the three. I wonder if there are any NOT on that list that might be worth doing. I don't see Oriflamme on there... http://www.ar50mile.com/ sounds like fun, but it's up in Sacramento and in April... though the benefits to that would be that it's a bit cooler... though I think I'm looking for something in the Fall of 2011...

Now this is all just thoughts in my head for right now... I just think it's funny that Jax goal is to BQ next year (because she's fast) and I just want to go long and slow... (well... because I'm not fast) -- but she's definitely more of a sprinter (and more of an athlete) than I will ever be. (Maybe if I were to lose the boobs... I'd be a faster runner... HAHA!!)

In any case... I always need to have a new goal, a new plan... This half ironman training has been awesome - I just now know that I'm going to have to wait until the kids are a bit older to really even start considering doing a full ironman. Jax and I said by 2018... so I guess we'll see what happens in the future. But it's nice to be excited about the future...and finding new limits to push, new goals to achieve...

For now, I'm going to enjoy my training, my family, my friends... and see what I'm truly made out of. I woke up this morning a bit sore from class but with a renewed focus and love for all of this craziness.

...Barb's Race (1/2 Iron) ; Malibu (Oly) and then... La Piece de La Resistance... the RnR Half... where I hope to go sub-2 hours ... which would mean crushing my recently achieved PR by 12 minutes... Can I do it??? I'm sure as hell going to try.

Can't wait for this weekend - lots of miles and fun to be shared along the pavement and on the trails with some of my best friends... and lots of time to be spent with the family.

Monday, June 28, 2010

i found the love

Funny how a great class can do wonders for me... today was the Monday night class at Rehab United and it was awesome. I had such a great time - all 60 muscle burning, sweat dripping, body pumping moments of it. It was truly awesome. Not only was the company great but the workout itself was a lot of fun. With Jax as my partner as usual, we had a blast. I even enjoyed the crazy ab workout that we did. So thank you to everyone who was there, and most importantly - to Bryan and Lesley - for leading a phenomenal workout!!

Today was overall a good day... got a decent swim in at the Y before the RU class... had a great workout with my friends... got home feeling somewhat Zen about everything... Looking forward to this weekend's workouts...which will include TRAIL RUNNING with Jackie... I can't wait to get back to Mission Trails... I've missed them so much... And can't wait to embark upon my ULTRA training... must do at least 30 for my 30th next year... and we'll go from there. But all in all, I've found the excitement and spark again... and I'm super excited for what the future holds, in so many aspects of my life.

Right now, I'm feeling very focused... very relaxed...and very excited. Out here, triathlon really isn't a "hobby" it's an entire lifestyle, a way of life... you eat, live, breathe, sleep, incorporate your family into it... it consumes you... in a good way... but really - the community out here is fantastic... the support system - incredible... and I couldn't ask for a better journey to have embarked upon in my life.


After yesterday's wonderful experience at SDIT (thank you, RANDI!!) I am feeling good...A new training week…. And I am excited for it. I am ready to rock and roll…. Feeling quite renewed from the weekend. (Now ask me again next Monday, and the tune might change… but for now, I am going to approach this week with a smile and eager excitement… )

Today will be a swim followed by the Rehab United Tri-Strength with Jax and some of my favorite friends and training buddies. Should be a good workout among good company. Tomorrow is slated for a 2 hour ride and a 30-40 minute… Wednesday is a killer 3000m swim… Thursday is ride/run followed by helping the beginners at the De Anza Cove swim… Friday is my 29th birthday – and we are celebrating by swimming 2 miles and then running 9… and a nice, conversational, fun 9. Nothing crazy… just good company… good conversation…. And then the weekend. Currently on the schedule for Saturday is a 60 mile ride, followed by an 8 mile run…and Sunday has us down for a 10k run followed by 40-50 on the bike… Holy crap. We’ll see how that fits into my life and schedule, but I do know that I’ll get it done to the best of my ability…but am also going to be mindful that we have a nice, long weekend ahead of us and spending time with friends and family is definitely high on the priority list as well).

I keep having this dream (every night for the past few nights) about doing an ultra… in the dream, I’m flying (well, those of you who know how I run know that I most certainly do not “fly”) along the trails, past some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen…. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it – and I think I want to make this happen next year. I’ve always said I wanted to run 30 for my 30th… and I am going to make it happen…

I won’t be doing another half iron for awhile. I just don’t have the time between family, work, and soon GRAD SCHOOL to devote the time to the brick workouts and the long hours of training… so next year, I will be running-focused with cross training in swimming and biking… doing a few Olys and sprints here and there… but really focusing on the Rs in my life: relationships (family/friends), running, reading (school) and relaxation  I have a few running goals that I want to accomplish… and will attack those with tenacity… and excitement.

SO I challenge myself to attack this week’s training with a renewed energy and excitement…. To push myself as hard as I can… and to accomplish the goals that I’ve set out to accomplish… and to do them in good company, with a good attitude…and look towards the future with a smile  It WILL be good. Oh yes… so much to come… so much potential… so many opportunities to explore and situations to pursue that might just be coming out of the woodwork.

Lets DO THIS!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

trying to deconstruct the mental wall

I found it.
I found it.
I found it.

Today... I swim buddied for 2 waves... and then ran the 10k portion of the triathlon with my good buddy, Randi... I loved every step of that run. It wasn't blisteringly fast...it wasn't slow... it was just PERFECT. The weather was amazing... the conversation and company was awesome... I was reminded of why I loved triathlon - the community... the races... the scenery (in more ways than one!!) and just being around other athletically driven people.

The smell of the bay air... the hot pavement under my feet... the light breeze in my hair... the beat of my heart and rhythm of my breathing... I was hypnotized with every step that we took, smiling the entire way...

I have no doubt in my mind that come race day, I will push myself to new limits..I will bring my "A" Game and aim for the best race that I can put on... I will push myself through these next few weeks, giving it my all...and come race day - I will attack the course with all of my physical and mental being. I can't wait for that moment... the sounding of the gun... the swell of the water as the wave starts... the rush of adrenaline and that moment when you realize "holy shit, I'm RACING!!" And most importantly - I can't wait for that magical moment when my feet hit the timing mat and my race ends... and I can collapse into the arms of friends and family, having accomplished what I once would have thought was a very lofty goal.

I only started doing triathlon last season. (Actually, I started running last season too - my first half marathon eve being Carlsbad 2009)... April 2009 was my first triathlon...and I was hooked. But had you even mentioned to me 3 years ago that I would have run 2 full marathons, ten half marathons, dozens of 5ks and 10ks... olympic and sprint tris... I would have laughed at you. I played sports in high school but I was not athletic. i was overweight... I was very slow (not that I'm fast now LOL) but I really didn't consider myself to be an athlete, even at the varsity level... and I think I still struggle with that today - calling myself a true "athlete."

I think so much of the time, I still really do view myself as that sluggish fat girl in high school. I look in the mirror and can't get past that sometimes. Again, it's always my own head that seems to be my biggest enemy. I really need to get past the mental blocks that I set within myself - I would probably accomplish so more... not only as an "athlete" but as a person as well.

I get going, I start to give it my all... and then... SLAM... right into the mental wall of "Well, I won't be able to do as well as I want to anyway... so why keep pushing!!" Or "Well, I'm not as good as ______ and never will be... so why bother?" I don't know what it is - but I just seem to be my biggest challenge. Now if only I can just break through the mental wall...

Slowly... ever so slowly... I am starting to chip away at this wall...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

not a quitter

On Thursday night - this weekend's plans changed significantly. My best friend and training partner, Jackie, experienced something that no parent ever wants to experience. Her son, Shanne, fractured his skull and got a bad concussion. We were supposed to race SDIT this weekend as a relay with her mom, Bobbie... but we didn't feel that it was karmically right for us to do the race under the circumstances and that Jackie needed to focus on her son and her family, at this time. Thankfully, after a night in the hospital and a lot of sleep, he is doing better...recovering still...but doing better... which is a true relief to all of us.

So today... I rode my bike from my house to the expo, where I had decided to volunteer regardless of extenuating circumstances. I had a fantastic ride from South Bay to Spanish Landing park... getting to view from my bike, some of the (less) finer parts of San Diego. I had a blast!! I was reminded of why I enjoyed riding so much - the ability to explore new places, see new things...from the seat of my beloved Rocket.

This is why I need to keep reminding myself that it's back to basics. Back to exploring. back to incorporating enjoyment into training. Back to training hard, but training for the right reasons - for me, for accomplishment... for enjoyment. But after a week of inner turmoil, I am ready to resume a new training week.

Tomorrow I am going to swim buddy at the race...and then run with a friend for the 10k portion. I might even ride part of the course. But I am going to enjoy it, help others, and immerse myself in the community that I have grown to love.

I have, however, re-evaluated my bucket list. I had initially thought I might want to set my sights on some larger races... additional 70.3s in the future... but I am not ready. Next year, I want to focus on my running... which is truly my achilles heel in triathlon... I plan to do a couple marathons...and honestly, I would really like to do an ultra. I turn 30 next year, so I think that I am going to make it my goal to run 30 for my 30th.

I think that after that, I am going to stick with olympic distances and a few sprints to keep it fun... but I am not going to devote my life to training. I have a few running goals that I want to achieve... but I don't think they will require the type of training that we have been doing now... and I look forward to seeing what some focused training on a sport-specific race will be able to do for me. I, of course, plan to cross train in the other disciplines (how could I give up my beloved biking? or the relaxation I find in swimming?) But things will be different.

I've been thinking about ultras more and more lately. It seems so much more up my alley... longer, slower, back to nature. I love the feel of dirt and gravel beneath my feet... the way I feel on the trails... the freedom that nature affords me. I think I am going to throw this into the "less distant future" list... and less in the back of my mind than I've put it in the past. You can learn so much about yourself, about your running partners... about life...nature...passion... on the trails...and I look forward to getting to embrace that.

Back to nature... Zen... peace... bring it on!!

(But for now, I am ready to embrace a new training week... gotta finish what I started and finish strong...I've gotta lose the negative attitude and the "cannot do" thoughts that I've been having...and bring back the push, the pain, the drive... and kick this back into high gear...I'm NOT a quitter)

Friday, June 25, 2010

the wheels in my head

So I’ve decided to put the “fun” back in racing and training. For the last few months, my life has been consumed by pressure, by failure, by self-defeat and negative self-talk. But you know what? I’m done with all that. I race not because I think I have a snowball’s chance in hell of placing… I race because I love the sport(s)… I race because I love the sense of accomplishment and pride that I get when my feet hit the finishing mat… I love the feeling of the cold finisher’s medal against my sweaty, hot skin as I proceed down the finish chute to find my friends and family. I love the look of amazement on my children’s faces when I tell them how long the race was… “Wow, mommy, that is FAR” (which I get from every distance from 5k to 26.2 LOL) but I also love how my involvement in triathlon makes my kids want to participate too.

And with that – I am going back to basics. I am going to enjoy my training. I am going to push myself to my limits on race day and see how far these legs and arms can take me. But I am not going to hate myself if I fail to set a specific time goal. When I originally set out to do this half ironman, I said “I just want to finish.” That turned into “I want to finish sub 7 hours…” which turned into other goals that I think are nearly impossible. I simply just can’t go THAT fast. Sure, I’m an athlete. But to what degree? My brain is far less of an athlete than my lungs, arms, and legs…and on the bike, even my legs can’t keep up with what my heart and lungs could accomplish.

I am going to strive to be better…faster…stronger…. But I am going to enjoy it too. I am going to stop riding loops around fiesta to get “more mileage” for my time… and I am going to head up Soledad…Cabrillo…the Coast… up to UCSD and around La Jolla/Del Mar… I am going to see as much of San Diego as I can on my two wheels, two feet, or swim wherever my arms can carry me. I am going to leave the pool as often as possible in favor of the Cove, the Shores, or even De Nasty. I am going to run in new places whenever possible… and I am going to have fun with my training partners.

I have to do this for ME again. I have to remember WHY I do this.

I finished my bike ride yesterday in tears. And for those of you who know me, know how much I love riding over all else. Yesterday, I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to run… or swim… or bike for that matter. But I did… begrudgingly. In the water, I was frustrated with my wetsuit because it takes on so much water and I felt like the floating Michelin Tire Woman… I was loping along until I heard Jax’s voice next to me “Let do this!!” And we were off. Now, even without her wetsuit it was a struggle to stay at her side… but just that short burst of united energy was enough to motivate me to pick up the pace. If only my own voices in my head could be so motivating.

I really need to learn to get outside my head when I’m training. To disconnect mind and body and just perform, much like a machine. Sure, I’ve made great improvement in my mental toughness… but I’ve got a long ways to go when it comes to overcoming the mental walls. The other day I told Jax… “I think my motivation bonked…and that my whole body is flat… not my tires…my whole body. I’m done!” And it was.

I’m racing this weekend… sort of. Well, rather, Jax, Bobbie and I are doing SDIT as a relay. We did it last year and came in 3rd. We are hoping to do better this year. But I’m scared. Scared that with how I’ve been feeling, I won’t be able to perform as well as I want to… but you know what – we do relays because they are fun, because we can do well with combining our strengths… and I need to remember that… remember it, enjoy it, and make my legs scream in pain as I push up Cabrillo.

And after all, as one of my friends told me yesterday “Tomorrow is a new run day.” And it is…. And a new swim and bike day as well.

See you all at the Cove tonight 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the tale of the pink trek

So I was looking at my results for the last year… and as it turns out… my PR for RnR was a 4 minute PR… nothing huge but still… I suppose I should try to look at the small accomplishments instead of simply aiming for the one huge one.

Last night, I was struggling around Fiesta Island... struggling mentally, not physically. For those of you who haev ridden with me before, you know I hate being passed. Someone passes me, and I try my hardest to "get them" -- an unfortunate habit that has gotten me into trouble several times before. As I cruised at 25.25 mph, a tiny man on a bright pink Trek plowed by me... staring my direction as he wizzed by, almost taunting me with his eyes...he was doing it on purpose. He has been on the island every time that I've TT'd around it, for the last few months... and he's always behind me... until that one part of fiesta that goes downhill... he then plows down at lightning speed... and passes me. One of my loops, I was determined to not let him pass me... I pushed as hard as I could... I thought I had him... Then... I heard it... the sound of someone behind me... I tried to hold on, but he was just too fast. That tiny man, on the bright pink bike... passed me... yet again... Moments later, I was engulfed in the peleton that is the Tues/Thursday "world cup" ride or something. I was so scared, I nearly fell off my bike...but tried to hang on to the wheel of the last rider for a few... I could not. But I tried.

I felt my motivation coming back last night... I'll get there again... but for now, I've got a date with 2800 in the pool.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today it feels like this blog should be more like "learning to fall" because that's how I feel lately.

Training has seemingly consumed my life, and I am too far in to give up or back out now. This weekend called for entirely too many hours of training...and I was not emotionally ready for it... I don't think... I mean physically, I was fine... but loping up torrey to the trails, I broke down into tears...

Monday, June 14, 2010


Tonight, I broke down during my weekly class at Rehab United. I cried. Now, did I cry in front of anyone? Well, not really. But the bathroom door shielded me from watchful eyes. I really don't think the workout was to blame... just ultra sensitive tonight...

I've been having a lot of doubts lately... will I be able to perform on race day? I've set expectations for myself... others have most likely done the same for me since they see me putting in the hours... but what if I fail? What if I don't come close to my goals? What if I'm aiming too high? I don't feel like I'm getting better. Some days, I feel stronger... but most days, I see those around me improving and I put in the time... and don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything major. I don't know what it is... but I cannot get past my own fears, my own walls...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goal Setting

Last night, Jax and I stayed behind after our Tri Strength class to talk with Bryan about our goals. It was extremely motivating and I realized that I was selling myself short with some of my goals.

I've always had a "problem" with believing in myself, especially as an athlete. I've never really considered myself an athlete, and even 2 full marathons and 9 half marathons (not to mention the countless 5ks, 10ks, training runs, etc) that I've accomplished, I still do not really feel like I can call myself a runner. Perhaps it just comes with the lifelong lack of self-esteem that I've had, or perhaps since I've just never set goals for myself before, I've never had a true measurement of achievement.

I was "the fat kid" growing up. I played sports...soccer as a young kid, then field hockey and lacrosse at the varsity level in high school... but I was overweight, and have always had self-image problems because of it. I still see myself as the "fat kid," the "slow one," the "non-athlete" and I think that's the barrier that I really need to work on breaking down. I'm imperfect... and I need to come to terms with the fact that it's okay to not fit into a particular mold... that I need to be happier with myself, and see the accomplishments that I have achieved, instead of focusing on the failures. I'm just hoping that this comes sooner rather than later, because self-disappointment is an unhappy place to be.

The past 6 months have been a whirlwind of training and racing. However, it has been in the last month or so when I had the realization that I need to really take myself seriously as an "athlete" - dare I actually call myself an athlete? I've always just thought of athletes as tiny, muscular, fast... three things which I am not... but participate in the athletic events - that I do. And I love it. I often joke that I'm a triathlete, because I'm "trying to be an athlete" but really, my secret (and now not-so-secret) desire is that I continue to improve and can just blow my old times and goals out of the water.

I am not fast. I don't have a particular sport of the three that I truly excel at. I'm a decent biker, and alright swimmer...and well, I can run...sort of. But I do love the rush of the adrenaline, the excitement, the lifestyle that is associated with racing and the triathlon community... so I keep trucking.

My goals are to be faster, stronger, better - in all three disciplines. And I know I can do it, I just need to get everything dialed in... I need to learn how to get out of my own head and push myself as hard as possible. I need to find confidence in myself and my own abilities, and not allow for my insecurities to get in my way.

I am my own worst enemy. In sports, my head reigns over my heart. My heart is fully comitted, fully in the race, but smoetimes my head is not. I need to learn to get over the voices in my head telling me to slow down or stop or "it hurts." I need to learn to trust in my own abilities...

Now I'm not going to publish my time goals just yet... but I have some very lofty ones that I'm trying to achieve. I just worry that I will fail, and disappoint myself. And others. Two of my biggest fears in life - failure and disappointment.

I know the next 7 weeks of training are going to hurt... they are going to rule my life...and I am probably going to cry at some points. But they will all be worth it in the end - as I cross that finish line... hopefully, at some time around __:__ (to be shared later)

And to Jax, Bryan, my husband (and my other friends/supporters) - thank you for pushing me, for encouraging me, for believing in me... even when I have a hard time doing that myself.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rock and Roll Half....

Well... I picked a goal. (A very lofty one at that) and failed. But, I think I'm okay with this failure. I had picked a goal that would have required that I shave 13 minutes off of my previous PR for a half marathon....and nearly 17 minutes off of my last half marathon, which was Carlsbad, in January....

So I suppose I should be thrilled with 2:11:06... (my time at Carlsbad was 2:15:52) and I should keep pushing myself to achieve a sub-2 hour half marathon... which I really do hope I can achieve in December, at the Rock and Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon.

Race day was far from what I had hoped or planned. The horn sounded, signaling that we begin running... my feet felt light, I was off to a good start. My goal was to maintain a 9:05 for the entire race and I was comfortably running 8:45 or less. I thought "wow, maybe I can do this!!" My husband at my side, good music in my ears... I was unstoppable. Around mile 2.5, Jason backed off (he hadn't trained enough and didn't want to try to keep pushing his pace... but I am so proud of him for doing it and trying!!)

The race course was different this year, and we circled around (and up and down) Balboa Park... Okay, not what I was expecting, but whatever... then we hit the 163 prior to going into downtown... Oh crap... this means they added more of the crazy angled 163...not fun. I tried to maintain my pace through the sideways road and up and down the hills. My heart rate shot up, though I didn't have it as a field on my monitor, but I could feel it - I thought it was going to explode!! SO I slowed down a bit, regulated my breathing, tried to will my heartrate to slow itself down... I finally got to the top of what I thought would be the last "hill" and saw some handcyclists flying down the hill, yelling "watch out" and then it happened - one of the cyclists slipped and skidded and ran right into a runner. He went flying, and crumpled on the ground, dazed and bleeding... right in front of me!! I started to tear up, but kept running.

My pace settled around 9:10, but I figured that I would probably be okay since I had been running faster at the beginning... and then it happened - I realized I really needed to use the restroom. I tried to ignore it, to will it away, but I had no choice but to stop. Dripping with sweat and my heart beating in my chest, I found a bathroom (right before the off-ramp onto Friar's road) and after I was finished, got really nauseous and proceeded to puke. Not sure if it was my heartrate, or the awful smell of that porta-potty that did it... or that I had just been pushing myself... Me? Running until I puked? Wow...

So the race continued, and I realized that ther was absolutely no way that I was going to be able to achieve my goal time, but knew that I absolutely had to (for myself) beat my current PR (which, by the way, was held at AFC half marathon, at which the first 4 or so miles are downhill) and so I continued a steady pace, trying to re-hydrate, re-fuel, and get back into the groove.

Jax had made us a "get moving" playlist, and I tried to just settle into the music and ignore everything around me. Funny thing looking back - I don't remember most of the race. I mean, had I been running with my eyes closed? Perhaps.

Running up and down Morena Blvd was awful. I really hated that part of the course.... though was extremely excited to hit Tecolote, and just SEE the finish line. I looked down at my Garmin and panicked... my feet started pounding the pavement, my heart beating in my chest... I push through until the finish chute and just sprint as fast as I could (per my garmin, my max pace was 5:23, and I'm assuming this occurred at the finish line) until I hit the mat. Success!! Well, sort of... my final time was 2:11:06 and my garmin said I had run 13.34 miles... which averages to 9:56/mile, which I should be happy with.

I stumble down the finish chute and there's Jax!! She gives me a hug, shows me her watch - 1:49 -- she DID IT!!! So proud of her!! I look at my own garmin and realize my average heart rate was 184 with a max of 238!! No wondeer I had felt like crap. We grabbed our stuff and waited for the rest of our friends/family to finish.

So many people PR'd today!! I am so proud of all of them... especially Jax for hitting her goal time ON THE MONEY... she has always been such a source of inspiration and support for me, and I would not be where I am today without her constant encouragement and help!! I am also very proud of my husband for completing his third official half marathon and not feeling horrible at the end...and Bobbie for hitting a new PR as well... and Nathan... for doing an insane brick on Saturday then ROCKING the run on Sunday... and Katie...and Randi... and everyone else who did it - you guys are all amazing.

I would also like to thank my coach, Bryan, for daring me to set goals and to push for them.

Am I bummed out - kind of. Am I horribly discouraged - not really. I supposed I hadn't exactly thought through the magnitude of cutting about a minute per mile off of my run time... and considering that when I started running in October 2008, I ran 13 or 14 minute miles, for SHORT runs, I'll settle a sub-10 minute per mile half marathon. But I'll get you yet, sub-2 hours... oh yes, I'll get you yet.

Friday, June 4, 2010

goal setting

I have always been afraid to set goals for myself... simply because of the fact that I fear failure... so here I am... 2 nights before the half marathon, and I'm terrified. Not because I think that I will fail at the race, terrified because I'm not sure if I will be able to accomplish it....but you know what - I am going to dare to achieve something....

Do you want to know what my half marathon goal time is?

Well... do you?



Should I?

Can I?

If I can't do it, are you going to laugh at me?

I'm going to try....................

Ok here goes....


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

miles to go before I sleep

My best friend, Jax, made a blog today.... and much like me, we both seem to seek the same thing in writing these blogs... perhaps self discovery... realizations, actualizations, etc... I think that writing is one of the best forms of release and understanding... and maybe, just maybe.... we will find the answers we are looking for.

I was originally going to write my blog about triathlons and training (since that seems to be 95% of what I spend my time doing these days... but Jax reminded me that we are far more complex than just our passion for triathlon and athleticism... so here goes nothing... a journal about me, myself, and I... my life, my fears, and my accomplishments...and hopefully - self discovery.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


"4, 3, 2, 1...Earth below us...drifting, falling...Floating weightless...calling, calling home..."

I don't even really know where to begin... Barb's Race training kicked into high gear a couple months ago and my life has been dedicated to triathlon... My family and non-tri friends (yes, they exist - though few and far between)have now all become triathlon widows and widowers.

But who am I? I am a mother... wife... triathlete...friend... employee... former student... current student in the school of hard knocks...I am so many things... but yet... I do not have a clue what I really want to do with my life. I have my BA in Psychology, but that doesn't seem to get me anywhere... I have an amazing family whom I love and the most incredible friends... I have a great life... filled with passion and excitement... yet I do thirst for more. Perhaps I will find it....