Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Peaking too soon?

I hope not.

Thing is, I feel great. I mean, really, GREAT. On the other hand, I had three, count them, THREE days of rest last week. Oh, the shame! "What a SLACKER I feel like!" I thought to myself. Thoughts like "my training is going down the tubes," "you're being so LAZY, Sarah," and my personal favorite, "How can I make this up next week?" were flowing through my head constantly. Between cat-sitting, feeling exhaustion from my double on Monday, horrible cramps (sometimes, being a woman does have its downsides), and the upcoming conference for work, I was one ball of exhaustion. I knew it would not behoove me to go against my instincts and work out (that is, if creating time for such was actually a feasible thing), and it is a rare moment when I actually think "no, I really don't even have enough energy to work out and I will NOT feel better after exercising."

And thus, Friday and Saturday ended up being rest days. Saturday was not a restful day in any way, shape or form, though. Conferences are tough work and when it isn't physically exhausting to be running around, standing and setting up/breaking down all day, it is mentally exhausting to be 'on' from pre-start to post-finish. I had planned on running Saturday evening, as I thought it would provide a nice release after such a long day, but all I could think about doing was eating dinner, having a glass of wine, and falling into a deep sleep.

The sleep may have been deep, but it is always too short. I love sleep. I think I've mentioned that before in this blog. The nice thing is that it generally comes easy for me as well. As long as I'm sufficiently tired, sleep will ensue (provided I haven't ingested coffee past 3 p.m.).

I woke up early (far too early) Sunday morning, nice and blurry-eyed and ready to ride! Departing from Lee's at 6:45, we did a great 50 mile ride on one of my favorite routes, which was part of what the 1st stage of this year's Tour of California encompassed. We rode out toward the ocean where it got progressively foggier (but so beautiful!), and right around Valley Ford we began to notice people zooming by with numbers on their bikes - a race! Intrigued by what race it was, we stopped at the general store to find out, and were told it was a biathlon: bike from Santa Rosa to Marin, then run (not sure exactly where). Lee enjoyed the idea of that, as swimming isn't his favorite. The pace of the whole ride was great. Nothing crazy like the week prior, but not too slow, either. I love riding up there. I certainly took some opportunities to attack hills as I felt the motivation, which I did - I felt great on the ride.

Later that day, I certainly felt sore. The impact from the climbing we did (~2200 ft.) had set in, and I had a good feeling I might be feeling tired the next day...

or not. I don't know if it was the recovery day(s), the recovery drink, or a combo of both, but at swim practice Monday evening, I felt FANTASTIC! I was on fire! Got a good night's sleep, woke up bright and early on Tuesday, though admittedly as I arrived at the gym all I could think about was how nice a hot cup of coffee would be. Christine and I lifted weights (focused on back and abs), and upon finishing, I headed out to the track, somewhat dreading it, as I knew my friends out there would have a great (read: HARD) workout in store. After a warm-up mile (which I ran at an 8:04/mile pace quite easily - was very surprised), I greeted Owen and company and said, "so what's the lineup?" "6 x 1 mile, with rest intervals at 1/4 the mile pace, and running speed at your 10K race pace," he said in his British accent with a smile. I had actually planned on doing something similar, so I was somewhat happy to hear it, though I knew not to be fooled by the seemingly easy tone of the regimen. That sixth (or fifth, in my case - I knew I'd only have time for 5) mile was going to kill.

I was alarmingly surprised when I began to consistently run my laps at 1:52, 1:53, 1:54 somewhat comfortably. I say that loosely - 'comfortably' meaning that I wasn't gasping for air. I was running roughly a 7:30 mile with consistency and not dying at the end of each one! I rested for 1:52 between each one. The very last lap I completed in 1:43, which made me happy (and dead...).

That was yesterday. Today I woke up at 5:15 and met up with Leo at 5:40 for a 23 mile bike ride, and I felt SO FANTASTIC!!! I was totally spinning up Tunnel Road, felt great attacking Eunice even after a nice break at the Cheeseboard for scones and coffee (now that's rare - that climb is typically hard as hell after I've taken a nice coffee break), and in general, felt like a fantastic rider. However, as I realized how fantastic I felt, that's when I began to pose the question, "am I peaking?" I really, really hope not, since Donner Lake isn't for another couple of weeks. Hrmmmmmmmm.

The other possibility is that I had two days off to rest, and this is the result of such. Chances could be that if I taper properly the week prior to Donner, I'll be feeling like this or better. In any case, it feels good to feel so...good. I'll take it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Apparently, Fitness Journal DOES INDEED have a planner function where I can set out my week's plan! I stood to be corrected (and I was). Well, it's even better than I thought.

There's a food journal function on there as well, but I'm not so good at keeping track of that even though I'd like to be. I just don't have the desire to log every single thing. Maybe I should try it for a few days.

The other thing I like about it is that it differentiates between, say, stationary bike, actual spin class and road cycling; running and running on a track; swimming in open water v. pool - very cool. You can be as detailed or as vague as you want in recording your workouts, and there's a place to record how you felt, and make other notes. For example, on my track workouts I use the notes section to write what the actual track workout was.

Finally, the neat thing is that it tallies everything for you so you can look at a week's totals thus far, a month's totals, etc. It also tells you when you log in how many days you have until each event. That's good and scary. :-)

Go Fitness Journal!

Falling off the wagon blogging!

I've got to get back on it. I was blogging pretty regularly for awhile, but things have been so crazy, I haven't had a lot of time. However, I am NOT falling off the wagon training!

I'm using Fitness Journal to keep track of my training now so I don't have to use this much to record what I did, which is part of where the lack of blogging comes in. Fitness Journal is great because it does a nice job of summarizing your week and lets you have a nice view of the variety of things you do. I haven't used too many of the other functions yet, but again, it's nice to have a place to log distances, and the other bonus is that it automatically calculates your pace. For example, I did a 44 minute run yesterday and used Gmap pedometer to calculate that I did 5.279 miles. I entered this in to Fitness Journal and it said I was at a 8.29 min/mile pace! Great!

The one thing Fitness Journal does NOT have, however, is a place to lay out your plan for the week, so I'm going to continue to use this forum for writing down my plan for the week. That way I can stay on track and have something to be accountable to.

Finally, regarding my feelings about the upcoming races...Donner, I think I'm really going to kick butt. I feel strong. Running has gotten better. Cycling is super strong. Swimming is good (same old). Vineman 70.3...I'm a little scared. We did a 56 mile ride last weekend on the Vineman course and I rode really well, but I thought "crap...I'm going to have to run 13 miles after this! Damn!!!!" Worse yet, it'll be HOT. However, that's the wrong attitude to have so another thing I'm really going to work on is maintaining a positive mental attitude and do some visualization work for the race so that I go in more confident than I feel.

Okay, that's all I have time for now. Plan for the week:

Sunday, 6/18: Rest Day
Monday, 6/19: a.m. - ran 5.279 miles for 44 minutes; p.m. - swam 2500 yds for 60 minutes
Tuesday, 6/20: unintended rest day :-) chose to sleep in
Wednesday, 6/21: a.m. - bike ride; p.m. - swim
Thursday, 6/22: a.m. - lift/run; p.m. - spinning
Friday, 6/23: a.m. - swim
Saturday, 6/24: early a.m. run? NBTF Conference that day but we'll see...if not maybe a p.m. run
Sunday, 6/25: 60-70 mile ride up in Santa Rosa w/the guys

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Getting back on track to train...

Okay, so it's 2 days out. Time to start constructing a game plan for the week. I glimpsed the title of an article I printed out last week that I've not yet read, which said "Are you training or working out?"

Good point. Do I really TRAIN, or am I just working out each week? Planning on reading more about how to properly train for the rest of my races. So far I've done reasonably well given the time I put into this, but I think my time could be better constructed and I could train smarter than I am. I do think I lean more toward 'working out' as opposed to serious 'training,' and that could be a severely limiting factor in my performance and could possibly be what's keeping me from moving up just a tad.

That said, this is kind of a recovery week so I'm just going to focus more on working out and letting my body put itself back together as I read more about how to get myself ready for Donner Lake Triathlon (July 16) and VINEMAN (July 30). I just want to perform to the best of my ability and truly make the best use of the time I devote to training.

Week ahead:
Wednesday, 6/7: swim at 6 a.m.
Thursday, 6/8: lift at 6 a.m., run on the track
Friday, 6/9: swim at 6 a.m.
Saturday, 6/10: stretch/ab work if I can make some time for it - will be in Las Vegas at a conference all day for work
Sunday, 6/11: late afternoon bike ride/run

That's it for now. Working on the race report from Alcatraz...

Monday, June 05, 2006

I ESCAPED!! (mini race report - long one to follow)

*Photos courtesy of the SF Chronicle (

The 2006 Accenture Escape From Alcatraz - DONE!

Yes, that's right. I swam my way from the San Francisco Belle in 44 minutes (though I had 42 minutes by my watch...), ran 1/2 a mile down to the transition zone to grab my bike and go on a very technical, very hilly, very NARROW course that traversed the Presidio, Great Highway, GG Park and back for 18 miles in a time of 1:04, traded the bike shoes for running shoes and ran for 8 miles along Crissy Field, under the GG Gate bridge, down to Baker Beach, back up the Sand Ladder (for anybody who's curious about what the Sand Ladder is, there's a great video of people climbing up its 400 steps here:, and back down to the finish line in a time of 1:13, for a grand total finish time of 3:11 and placing 16th in my age group of 73 women. Phew!!

Did I love it? It was fun, fast, and a great race to be a part of. I was really happy to be one of the competitors and I will say that the overall level of fitness of the athletes who participated was far higher than what I've experienced at other tris. I'm normally used to passing tons of people on the bike and even a fair amount on the run, and that was definitely not happening to the degree it normally does.

Personally, I think I found it more grueling than anything. The swim was really neat, but about 20 minutes into it the fog rolled in and the Palace of Fine Arts (what I was sighting off of) disappeared!! So, that kind of sucked and it was a little scary. The bike lane was SO narrow, it made it difficult to pass people especially since everybody was vying to pass everybody else - I'd try to make a pass but inevitably ended up cutting more than a couple of people off by accident. I felt bad about it. Then it was just like "up and down, up and down...enough with the climbing already!" As much as I feel weird saying this...the run was my favorite. It was a cool run and I really got energized at the 4 mile mark. Unfortunately, those first 3.5 were really difficult and it took a lot longer than usual for my body to kind of 'click-in' to the run. Usually only takes about a mile or so.

Would I do it again? Probably at some point, and it's a really neat race to be in, but it's not going down in my book as something to do every year. Maybe every few years.

My friend Sherreme took this picture of me at the beginning of the run. Thanks, Sherreme! Go Lombardi Sports!!!