Monday, July 30, 2007

Recovery/The Ride this weekend

Yes, I'm working on the race report from Vineman!! Should be finished today or tomorrow!

In the meantime...a little recap of how "well" I recovered in time for this past weekend's ride:

Woke up just a tad late, but had things packed to go so I was okay on that. Somehow, though, I just didn't wake up with the pep I usually do (and in general, I don't really wake up late). Spinning class was tough on Friday and I realized that I either need to vote for our rides to be on Sunday or find another evening to teach.

Backtracking -
My recovery last week seemed to go alright; on Monday I couldn't sit down without using every muscle in my arms to lower myself, because my legs still could not function. Monday evening I took Anna's advice and just lied on the floor with my legs up against my bed, meditating and I actually fell asleep!!! I was probably asleep for about 30 minutes before I woke up with my legs still up in the air. :) It must've done some good though, because Tuesday I was remarkably improved. Still a bit touchy in the quads, but overall much better. By Wed morning spin class, I had my pep back. I think that's when I sent the e-mail out about the group ride - clearly, I was feeling ready to get back into things. Took Thursday off again, and Friday evening I taught spinning and then went to the Giants game.

Back to Saturday. Showed up, voted we head east instead of west (where the fog would grow even thicker) and was ready to roll. Funny thing happened - we got harassed by a CHP officer IN WINDSOR because we were riding two abreast instead of in a single line. At 6:40 a.m., you would think it would be no big deal, but he honked at us and then turned around up ahead as if he was going to pull us over. Shouldn't he be patrolling the HIGHWAY or in a donut shop?

Anyway, on we went down Shiloh Road and made our way over to Chalk Hill. Chalk Hill felt fine, but afterward I began to wonder how pleasant this ride was going to be for me. My legs began to feel a little sticky/heavy. Because I had voted for a fast ride initially, I didn't want anybody else to slow down on account of my slow-@$$.

As we rode along 128 toward Calistoga, I looked down at my computer. 14mph? Are you kidding me? "WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?" I mused. Seriously, I knew my legs felt heavy, but I didn't think it was THIS bad.

What I did not realize however, is that 128 has a very deceptive slight (SLIGHT) grade. It LOOKS flat. However, as we sped back upon the return at 22 mph, I felt validated. Even so, I knew I was riding slowly and it just wasn't my day, period. Climbing up the hill to descend into Calistoga felt okay, and I just focused on watching John Murphy spin in front of me so that I had something to follow. "Try to spin his cadence" I told myself. While I couldn't get my legs going quite that fast, it helped to have something to shoot for.

Stopped in Calistoga and turned around, not before having a dude in his truck with a road bike in the back stop us. Pat said "Can we help you?" Dude says "well...I'm looking for a place to ride and you guys look like you might know where to go." We gave him some ideas (I love being an expert on such a beautiful place!) and took off back in the direction we came from.

A photo from the Calistoga area...looks like winter time but still beautiful!

Again, I just didn't have my legs responding well. I decided to just make it back to the best of my ability. El Falco was of course, right there with a lecture on how I probably hadn't rested properly and that was why I was feeling so dead. Thanks.

We took turns pulling and managed some decent speeds, nothing of course compared to what the other four were doing, but I was just happy to be noticing that my slow speed on the way out was due in part to having a slight grade in the road.

Approaching the turn onto Chalk Hill Rd, we saw the other guys pulled over. It looked like Pat and John were inspecting their bikes. David immediately said "I think we need to have a replay for Sarah and Matt." Huh? We learned that John and Pat had crashed into each other in a very silly way. Thankfully neither seemed to be hurt TOO bad, though Pat had landed on his tailbone and John had gotten a little bit of road rash on his arm. Ouch! Additionally, Pat's new wheel was out of true, but not so bad it was hitting the brake caliper.

Onward on 128 - we decided to head back through Healdsburg where it was flatter and we could go faster. Or shall I say, THEY could go faster. Actually, we stayed together pretty much after that. Had some nice pacelines were we held 21-22 mph. I always think it's funny how, when you're 3rd or 4th in the paceline you think "oh cool, this is EASY! Awesome!" move into 2nd. Now, that can still sometimes go okay, but I was behind The Sleeper. Sure enough, he began to slowly edge away from me. Having a paceline edge away, no matter what position you're in, is something to the effect of losing your grip on a rope you're holding onto for dear life. You see it slipping and desperately begin to pedal harder to get back on the wheel in front of you. "NO!" I yelled. Still inching speed going down to 20..."OH NO!!!" I yelled again. "Pedal harder, Sarah. Faster."

Thankfully, The Sleeper is a nice guy and looked back, only to see my desperate attempts to reconnect the line. He slowed down so I could jump back on. *Phew* My legs were really not in the mood for this.

Lucky for me, John Muphy ended up taking the lead and I never had to pull. I would've really been toast! Being 2nd was hard work as it was! I am so amazed at the difference between 2nd and 3rd position in the pace line...

The rest of the ride was pretty chill. El Falco was starting to peter out and I decided I'd had my good tempo pushes, and I was content to just spin lightly with him back to coffee. MMMMM, coffee. I could just smell it those last 5 good...

Pat ended up staying with us too as his tailbone wasn't feeling so nice. The three of us took a slightly alternate route to beat the other 3 guys back. :)

We got back to Cafe Noto for coffee (SO GOOD) and breakfast burritos. I'm in agreement with Pat & Jim - truly some great laughs afterward and hopefully some new Lombardi Tri Team recruits! upcoming new nickname for Mr. Murphy. David was christened with his new nickname "The Sleeper," in honor of his funny quips that come out when least expected and his swiftness that also emerges when least expected. Congrats, David. :)

All in all: 3:10 ride time, 55 miles. 1:15 coffee and breakfast burrito time, LOTS of laughs.

My foreshadowing about recovery was not for naught: I mentioned it because not only was I absolutely exhausted Saturday night, but a couple hours after waking up Sunday morning, I took a two-hour nap from 10-12. Then, later on that afternoon, I took another two hour nap from 5-7. Finally, falling asleep by 10:30 last night, I didn't wake up until 7:30 this morning.

WOW. Guess I wasn't as recovered as I thought. Hopefully this week will be better...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

C'mon, GUYS!!

I was pretty upset to read this:
Vinokourov tests positive; Astana withdraws from Tour

Vino was one of my favorites and I called him to win the Tour in the WC Velo 'call your Top 3" challenge. I had picked Vinokourov, Kloden, and Leipheimer. *sigh* So much for my top 2.

More than anything, I'm just sorely disappointed. Bicycling Magazine had an article this month about how we're finally getting back to the pureness of this competition - it's about the Yellow Jersey, not about one rider. This year we've been seeing different guys wearing it and it's exciting to see what's going to happen next. Levi Leipheimer seems to be holding back a bit (in fact, many of them are) because they know they've got to save some of their energy for the days to come. That didn't happen when doping was so much more prevalent because they knew they could handle it. The race coordinators had to make it harder and harder every year because these men were enduring and going the distance with super-human abilities.

I really thought when Vino won the time trial on Saturday that his achievement was one of pure athleticism, will and a commitment to break through the pain that he was surely enduring that entire ride. That's not to say that none of that is true; he is still one of the best cyclists in the world and clearly fought hard to make that victory happen. It's just disappointing that it was done with the aid of something else.

My last point - it really annoys me that there is so much negative attention being given to the cycling doping scandals (and rightly so) and yet, so many people are caught up in the Barry Bonds chase to beat Hank Aaron's home run record. Do we not see a parallel here? Barry Bonds is this 'hero' of some sort and yet, the man clearly had the aid of steroids in the past as he made his way through beating home run records. It's utterly ridiculous.

I guess the Lombardi Sports guys' t-shirt is right: "Dopers Win."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vineman 70.3 in 2007: Done!

I have so many emotions flooding through my mind and body right now that I can't possibly jot them all down. The race report is brewing. However, I know people check back here after a race, so I thought I'd write down a few things to check in with y'all.

Initial goal: Very happy if I finished sub 5:30. VERY VERY happy if I finished sub 5:15. Knew that running was going to be tough due to a couple of weeks I lost when I was experiencing some severe tendonitis in my left foot a few weeks ago. Knew that my back was going to probably be angry with me for not putting my aero bars on my bike sooner than a week and a half ago. Otherwise, knew that I was prepared to give this race everything I had, and I do mean everything.

Between Cristi's inspiration, the support from everybody around me and my own determined will, I achieved my goals. I learned a few more things about myself. I dug deep and felt stronger than I've ever felt. I'm inspired to focus on my weaknesses. Best thing of all? I really had fun.

I didn't officially qualify for Clearwater 70.3 by the standings, but since nobody wanted the spots who DID qualify, I had a chance to take a spot. I decided against it. If I go to a championship race, I think my goals need to be a little different. I'm enjoying the goals I set for myself and not trying to meet pre-determined goals. If my goals eventually fall into line with the other pre-determined ones, then great.

Coming down the chute was agonizing. If there's one thing I can't stand about Vineman, it is the last 1/4 mile. It is the longest 1/4 mile you've ever seen, and you hit the front of Windsor High School with people cheering you on saying "You're THERE! YOU'RE THERE!" No, dammit, I am NOT THERE. It's amazing how such honest attempts at encouragement can be so frustrating, especially when you're in pain. Reaching the field in back of the high school, I saw the green and purple that lined the chute and thought the first green post was the finish...I was sadly mistaken to see that no, in fact, I still had further to travel. It was all I could do to eke out a sprint down to the finish, and upon crossing, began stumbling stupidly all over the place as I attempted to remain standing.

It was very hot yesterday. In spite of it being near 90 degrees, I managed not to dehydrate, which was good.

"I'm on a Japenese fisherman's line, scaling the slope painlessly." - I repeated this on the many rollers on the bike, as well as the rollers on the run. Never stopped to look back, made me smile. THANK YOU CRISTI!

"I think you're going to have your best race ever." - Used this when legs were burning and also beginning the run. THANK YOU, MATT!

"You have no idea what the human body can do." - This quote continued to inspire me all morning. Lifted my spirits when they began to sink. Lengthened my stride when it started to shorten. Reminded me to inhale deeply as my back started to ache. To the late Klaus Barth, thank you for your amazing inspiration.

Violins from Bolero emerged in my head every time I began to feel weak; they pulled me back up, and I could hear the crescendo of the beautiful song as I began the 11th and 12th miles of the run, all of which inspired me to keep on keepin' on.

It was a great day in Wine Country.

Swim: 34:34 (or so...the official results don't have my swim time...just a T1 of 37:52...damn! Anyway - slower than usual...1:38 pace which is OKAY...but I need to get back on that 1:30 open water pace!)
T1: 3:18 (trying to work on sub 3 min...stupid wetsuit)
Bike: 2:44:35 (20.42 mph!!! Realization here: tri bike would seriously have helped....if I can avg 20.42 mph on MY bike...what could I do with a sweet tri bike and sweet wheels? Maintain a pace easier, that's for sure...)
T2: 2:36 (even the pros had slow T2...I think it had to do with that long run into the transition zone and long run out of it)
Run: 1:59:36
(9:08 min/mile. Not quite what I was hoping for...I was hoping for around 1:55 or 1:56 and started the first 6 at a pretty great 8:30 pace or so...slowed down after that. Look forward to practicing with those orthotics! Hope they get here soon!)

Overall time: 5:24:39 :) Oh yeah...and 20 minutes better than last year!!!!

Me, Dave N., David G., and Mike
Thanks for the sweet poster, Pat!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Taper Revisited

I somehow feel much better about my taper this week than I've ever felt. Cristi commented on my blog the last time I mentioned taper and referred to "Reduce volume, keep intensity. You should get that "race feeling" in training sessions leading up to the big day..."

Hm, I've kept that in mind...I haven't quite followed that model completely. Yet, I've gotten a lot of fantastic aerobic exercise this week and reduced overall volume by only about 15%, which is right on target. Monday I went to yoga which was a great workout to follow my Sunday swim and long run. Tuesday I had to bring my bike in to Lombardi Sports, the fabulous store that sponsors the triathlon team I am so proud to be a part of and represent. Normally I might think "oh, just take the 8:44 BART train (bikes not allowed before then - SO COMPLETELY lame but that's another story) and get into work late." But...I've been good about getting to work on time. Didn't want to do that.

Other option? Drive in. No, not an option. I'm not spending another $14 in daily parking fee and driving into the City, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be able to use the casual carpool because I'd have to bring my bike along. And I want to use my car as little as possible.

Third option: Ferry. Ride bike from house to Oakland ferry terminal. Ferry one way = $5.50. BART back to Berkeley and walk home. Awesome! Could time trial myself over to the ferry and get a nice 25 minute intense workout, and could make the walk back home a nice brisk walk - all uphill.

I did just that. I wanted to ride faster than I did over to the ferry but stoplights and cross traffic sort of got in my way. Still, it was a good workout. I raced a garbage truck down Telegraph Avenue, which was fun. I gave them a thumbs up for their hard effort, but I ended up winning. :)

I rode my bike from work over to Lombardi, which only took about 10 minutes (up Market street to McCallister and onto Polk...down Polk and there I was!). Took the MUNI back to work. Rode BART to Downtown Berkeley and walked a brisk 30 minute walk up the hill back home. So, 1:10 of exercise, 0:30 of it more intense, the rest aerobic! Great!

Wed morning I taught spinning but mostly took it easy with a few short bursts.

Thursday I got a LOT of walking in due to the fact that I had an appointment in the Marina and since the MUNI never made a magical appearance, I just kept on walkin'...and walkin'...and ended up at Lombardi to pick up my bike. Rode down to BART, time trialing again due to the fact that at 8 p.m. BART only comes every 20 minutes and I was desperate to make the 8:17 p.m. train.

Today I will teach spinning again and get in a few good intense bursts with easy spinning in between. Tomorrow I'll get a nice easy swim in. Overall, I just feel...READY. I feel GREAT! I AM READY TO GO KICK SOME BUTT!!!!!

David G. in my Wine Country Velo group asked if any of us had tips for the last three days of's what I wrote, based on reading and great advice:

1) Hydrate
2) Don't drink (alcohol)
3) Eat more carbs than usual (not TONS, but just a bit more)
4) Get your protein (tofu guy)
5) No last hill repeat/quality interval/insert hard workout here is going to help at this point. Allow your body to rest, recover, and be fresh for race day.
6) VISUALIZE. You know the course inside and out. Think about that quick climb at the turn on Westside. Imagine zooming past the vineyards. Anticipate that turn onto Canyon and how it's further than you remember. While everybody else slows down at the turn onto Chalk Hill because they think the hill is 'coming right up," keep up your speed and let them all be confused at why you're still going fast. As you visualize, imagine yourself not letting your cadence fall below 90 rpms. Practice your deep breathing. On Saturday, take 30 minutes to just meditate and visualize the entire race. Be ready.

Cristi had a great quote for me, which I just really loved. I'm all about mantras. Between this and Klaus Barth's "You have no idea what the human body can do" - I think I've got some great things to hold close to me during race day:

"One from Barb Lindquist is when going up hills, imagine a Japanese fisherman pulling you up the hill with his line in order to painlessly scale the slope."

If anybody has any other great tips, bring 'em on!


By the way...Lombardi is such a fantastic place. They saw that my rear derailleur cable just totally needed replacing and did it right then and there and made sure they stretched it out as much as other words, they just took such good care of me knowing I have a race on Sunday. Lombardi Sports (namely, Robbie and Scott) - YOU ROCK!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

WTF is up with THAT?

So I finally decided to cross off "Sign up for races" from my To-Do list.

These include:
  • Santa Barbara Triathlon (8/25)
  • Donner Lake Swim (8/11)
  • Angel Island 12K (8/18)
  • Napa Valley Century (8/19)
  • Big Kahuna Triathlon (9/9)

I'll sign up for Foxy's Fall Century later. That's not until October. Sadly, the Treasure Island->Embarcadero Y swim falls on the weekend I'll be in Chicago. :( I LOVED doing that swim last year! The bonus is that it benefits the Embarcadero Y, which I now love even more that I am a spin instructor there.

Anyway - Santa Barbara website says Long Course is open. Been meaning to sign up for the last month, but just kept forgetting. I go to and THERE it says it's FULL. WTF?!?! Full?

Already? We're still nearly 6 weeks out!

Maybe it's a sign I shouldn't do it given my other ambitions during that time - the 12K run and the Big Kahuna (oh and the Donner Swim...). *sigh* I LOVE that race, though. LOVE IT.

In any case, I've e-mailed the registration director about this inconsistency and in the meantime, mailed my registration in with fingers crossed. Fate is tossed to the wind...

15 minutes twice a day

So...I want to blog more. Really - Christine told me she goes to my blog all the time but I never update. I enjoy the fact that my friends read my blog. I don't know if anybody else does, but I don't really care that much. I just enjoy writing and miss doing it more often.

I was talking with the gentleman who works at the printing company we work with, as we always get off topic from work stuff and get onto other interests, and he was telling me how he just takes a tea break (he's English, go figure) twice a day and writes for 15 minutes. Hm. I think he's on to something. It's all about making the time to do things. I hate to be so scheduled, but in this busy life we all live, sometimes it's simply inevitable. I write down WHEN I'm going to yoga, WHEN I'm swimming, WHEN I'm cycling, WHEN I have meetings, WHEN I'm going to get my laundry done, WHEN I'm going grocery shopping; why not write down WHEN I write?

The idea of 15 minutes is great too, because it means that you're not sitting down and thinking "gee, I want to write about that race but I don't have an hour!" Even if the thought process gets interrupted, at least I've got the damn thing done in 2-3 days as opposed to 2-3 weeks. I LOVE writing about my experiences.

So, 15 minutes, twice a day. I'm going to start with 15 minutes a day for a week. I'm a creature of habit, so once I build into a habit, it's not hard to keep doing it - I just have to really commit to it.

As for the other stuff -
a) Injury is healed. Thank you for everybody's concern and well-wishes. Cristi was right (and everybody else who said so) - the rest was good for me, and I can flex my toes without really even any tightness in the ligaments, so that makes me very happy. I've gone on some long runs and been fine, still taking the precautionary measure of ice and ibuprofen afterward, but everything is great. The rest was also really good for me- on my long easy ride Saturday, I simply just felt SO GOOD.
b) It's a really fantastic feeling when you can say that an avg speed of 18mph on the bike is "easy, long slow distance pace."
d) Thinking a lot about what all the prep means to me - the event itself is just half of the experience. I so thoroughly love what training brings to me: the socializing, the focus, the adventure, the challenges and the strength it builds in my mind and body. I honestly can say that I don't care if I don't get top whatever, or if I don't make it to Clearwater. That's not to say that I'm not going to try for it. Maybe saying "I don't care" isn't the right phrase. My purpose next Sunday is to go out and perform to the absolute best of my ability and enjoy pushing my body. If me pushing my hardest and digging deeper than ever before means I get to go to Clearwater, then that's even better. More than anything, I am just so excited to go out and see what I can do after all these months of preparation and hard work.

Klaus Barth was an Olympic swimmer and a national record holder in West Germany who, after moving to California, because a swimming and water polo coach. In his mid 30s, he turned to triathlon and in the 3rd year of his Hawaii Ironman debut, came in fourth behind Dave Scott, Mark Allen and Scott Tinley. Apparently, not only was he a fantastic athlete but a fantastic coach who truly inspired his teams.

In 2000 he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, which is the severest type of malignant brain tumor one can have. True to form, he outlived the usual prognosis, which now stands at 12-15 months (back in 2000 I'd estimate it was probably 9-12 months - they hadn't yet approved the oral chemotherapy that is standard treatment for this type of tumor). He passed last October (2006), and I was sad to hear it. I first heard about him from Scott Tinley's Tinley Talks column of Triathlete Magazine in April 2006. I couldn't believe that this all-star triathlete had been diagnosed with this horrible disease that I tell people about every day and he was still surviving! I began to tell the patients I spoke to about Klaus, and meant to write into Triathlete mag as well, but erm...never got around to it. (Tinley also wrote a great article in April 2007 on the broader subject of dealing with the randomness of having life threatening or life-altering illnesses. Interesting perspective:

When I found out he passed, there was a write-up in the Long Beach Gazette about him. One quote in particular really moved me, and it's become a mantra of mine during training:

"Berg remembers how Barth’s training influenced him and his fellow swimmers at Wilson.

“He sat us down for one of his Klaus talks before one of our workouts,” Berg recalls. “He was a specimen of strength. He was truly inspirational. He told us, ‘Boys, you have no idea what the human body can do.’... Then he had us go out and do 70 100s and would ask ‘How are you doing?’”

You have no idea what the human body can do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Now, I'm not the sort to sit and throw myself a pity party. I don't run around going "poor me! poor me!" What I am doing, however, is being really frustrated. I HATE BEING INJURED.

Here's the deal: I began teaching spinning classes about 8 weeks ago. Now, up to that point, I was spinning once, MAYBE twice a week in addition to the weekly ride. I wear tennis shoes in class and put them into the toe cages. So for the last 6 weeks, I've had at least two intense spinning classes/week, and for two of them had 3 (I subbed for somebody). Still, felt fine....

...up until two weeks ago when I began having some pain on the top of my foot. Didn't think anything of it. Then two Saturdays ago we had our awesome ride from Fairfax out to Hwy 1, down the coast and back up, up UP Bolinas Ridge to ride back inland past Alpine Dam and back down to Fairfax. Later that day I went for a 1 1/2 hour trail run through Redwood Regional Park which was also AWESOME. That night I went to a concert at the Fillmore where I stood for 4 hours, literally one person away from Mr. John Butler (TOTALLY worth standing...he was AWESOME!).

Sunday...the top of my foot was totally swollen and I could barely bend my toes without having pain shooting through my foot. I tried to do a light 45 minute swim that afternoon but even the force of the water on top of my foot hurt too much. I got out feeling very upset and defeated...Vineman was 4 weeks away!

Doctor visit last says he's sure it's not a stress fracture b/c I'd be in a lot more pain if it was. However, he does think there's some pretty bad swelling of the tendons from OVERUSE! So, as I worriedly said "BUT I HAVE A HALF IRONMAN IN 3 WEEKS!!" he said "well, my advice to you is to rest as much as you can in the next week. If you can rest a lot, ice 3 times a day and take the NSAIDs three times a day, I have every bit of confidence this will get better in a week and you'll be fine."

All last year, everybody harped on me to 'train right.'

So...heeding YOUR advice and the doctor's...I made a decision that will help me to be ready for Vineman so I can go kick some triathlete @$$ instead of kicking some WC Velo cyclist @$$ and ruining myself. Hence, did not make that awesome, awesome ride last Saturday which was a battle royale, to say the least. It sounded like lots of fun. [Sticking out bottom lip here and pouting] I HATE missing fun. >:-P

Still, it was the right decision. I know my race day competitiveness would've come out to play last Saturday, and it really was the last thing I needed for my foot. Swelling is getting better. I have a different doctor appointment today with Dr. Hannaford. Seems he's the running guru. I'm already going to get orthotics for my shoes because I have nearly flat feet, but it will be nice to have another opinion from somebody who really JUST works with athletes. However, I was impressed with my podiatrist I saw through my insurance as well.

So, we'll see what happens. The interesting thing I've noted is that for the last few weeks, I've been training about 11-12 hours/week and never felt better. I've taken the last 3 days off and my back is SO STIFF! Amazing how our bodies show us how much they love exercise.

Still working on my report from one of the best weekends of the year - the Berryessa Swim/Tahoe Ride. I need to convert my videos so that I can hopefully upload them to YouTube so that I can post them in the report. That will come soon...

More later. Let's hope the foot keeps getting better, because I WANT TO ROCK VINEMAN!!