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 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 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 ( 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"