Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shark Week

I'm jumping on the shark week bandwagon. Why? Because I think sharks are neat. I wouldn't want to meet one personally, but they are so interesting and

So I lifted a couple links from Kelly (sorry Kelly) and put some of my own in, just for anybody who wants to get into the shark week spirit.

I promise I'll write a real post soon.

1: Why you don't f*** with an octopus (CRAZY!):

2. Bunch of cool sharks showing their jaws:

3. Here's a link to shark week on the Discovery Channel:

4. Also, I love Sharkies - you should try them on a ride/run/outdoor activity sometime!

5. The classic 'Land Shark' skit from SNL. It wouldn't be Shark Week without watching this. I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vineman 70.3 2008: Part III - PHOTOS!

Vineman photos finally came out! Here they are, with full commentary by me. Mostly not so bad, so I'm happy.


I love cycling. :)

Even better, I love cycling DOWNHILL AND NOT HAVING TO BRAKE!!

This is the "oh hell yes I'm done" photo.

Wow. My left quad is um...really big.

This is the "YES I AM A SUPERSTAR" picture! Though I do hate how the time clock is the total time from when they 1hr 45 min before I started!

I like this photo more than last year's...I don't look dead. :)

YEAH!! SODA AND I!! She rocked this race!!

Me and my friend/coach/cycling buddy Tim and his cute son Mateo

And that ends the Vineman 70.3 2008 series. Thanks for the memories, Vineman!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vineman 70.3 2008: Part II

One week ago this time at 7:50 p.m. I was asleep in my bed (my post-race nap...I woke up at 9 p.m. and fell back asleep at 10 p.m....). I was beginning to feel my muscles attempting to repair themselves, the result of which is soreness (that proceeded to last for 3 full days and POOF! Just like that...on trace of soreness. Rest and stretching probably aided that...). Earlier that evening I was forming my race report in my head, piecing together the day and thinking about what sort of goals I'd achieved, reveling in being done and ready to take a nice, long break from training (by long I mean...5 days).

What a nice break it's been. What a WEEK it's been! It flew by! Went so fast I never had time to blog! What have I done since Vineman?

A) Went to the ocean

B) Cooked (see recipe below): Provencal Corn and zucchini soup with rouille-spread garlic toasts

C) Baked chocolate chip cookies

D) Hiked

E) Went on a cruiser ride out to Sebastopol (a civilized 8 mile ride along a dedicated pathway for bikes and pedestrians) where I sat and drank Belgian ale while thoroughly enjoying mussels and frites along with an SF Chronicle and some nice summer sun (and even had a nice headwind coming back that I pushed right into so that I could feel like I had some decent aerobic activity).

F) Went to a Giants game

G) Went for a 20 minute run with no heart rate monitor, no particular pace and not a care in the world. What do you know - I ENJOYED IT!

H) Pulled out my road bike and realized why riding my tri bike so much over the last few months may have actually weakened me: my road bike is double crank with an 8-speed cassette maxing at 25; my tri bike is also a double but a 10-speed cassette going up to a 27. I rode that road bike...well...everywhere. There was never a hill I couldn't conquer with it...and now I am freaking out about riding it next weekend in the Marin Century. I RODE IT TWO YEARS AGO IN THIS VERY RIDE! WHAT AM I BEING SUCH A BABY ABOUT?!?! I just need to suck it up and shut up and realize that I will probably hurt quite a lot next Saturday. But that's okay. I need a little toughening up right now.

I) Thought about my goals for the next two races and what the rest of 2008 will look like.

Goals for SB Tri and LA Tri:
-Train hard but keep it fun
-Race hard but keep it fun
-Don't care about where I place, what my time is, or how it compares to anybody else. Just RACE HARD AND HAVE FUN!!!!

Goals for rest of 2008:
-Join Empire Runners Club and start running cross country in hopes I might like running a little more AND get faster
-Swim more often and go to an evening workout once/week to get help with my stroke (evening is when they give you more coaching)
-Hike more often (like once every 2 weeks) and explore this amazing beautiful playground I live in
-Yoga more often and learn to meditate better
-Keep trying to find good spinning songs and keep it interesting!

Taking a week post-race to just...chill...and do whatever it was my heart desired to do was really...awesome. I feel so excited to start the week - getting into spinning tomorrow, making a splash at the pool, getting back to my running group...hooray for mental and physical breaks!

Recipe from SF Chronicle Food & Wine Newsletter 2 weeks ago:

Provencal Corn & Zucchini Soup With Rouille-Spread Garlic Toasts

(easy to make but beware of the garlic!! You will have very bad garlic breath! The soup is good by itself but a tad plain; could probably spice it up a bit and not even bother with the rouille if you wanted to avoid fat and garlic...)

Marlena Spieler based the following recipe on the fish soups of Provence, made with vegetables instead of fish. The soup itself has no added herbs, spices or flavors; it comes alive with the rouille, or hot pepper and garlic mayonnaise. The rich rouille has been given a Southwestern flavor with the addition of lots of cumin and cilantro, then spread thickly onto garlic toasts. The toasts grow soft and swollen from the soup, and the rouille swirls about in the broth and vegetables, adding its distinctive character.

The rouille:
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground red chile
1 to 2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste
2/3 to 1 cup mayonnaise
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
The soup:
1 medium-large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, + several garlic cloves for rubbing on the toasts
1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 small to medium zucchini, diced
Kernels from 2 or 3 ears of corn
1/2 loaf stale French or Italian-type bread, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS: To make the rouille: Combine the garlic with the ground chile, paprika, cumin and mayonnaise. Stir in the olive oil, adding it slowly, until emulsified. When it is smooth and fluffy, stir in the lemon juice, salt, cayenne and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the soup: Lightly saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add diced tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce, broth, zucchini and corn. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Lightly toast bread slices until just golden on both sides. Rub each side generously with a cut clove of garlic.

Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls. Spread garlic-rubbed toasts with a generous amount of rouille. Float as many of the toasts in each bowl as will fit.

Serves 4 to 6

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That wasn't so bad...

Isn't it crazy how our minds work?

As I reflect on Sunday, my mind seems to selectively start omitting the worst parts. Suddenly that epic journey I was embarking on during the run almost No! REMEMBER, SARAH! REMEMBER THE PAIN! REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT!

Funny...I don't remember my brain being like this....!

Yeah, but...then I remember how proud I was at that finish line. How good it felt to put my arms over my head and shout YEAAAAAAAAAAH!!! at the top of my lungs with the biggest smile on my face.

The bike part almost seems nonexistent. It was so short. I remember getting to Chalk Hill (for those of you have to's really not as bad as they say, is it? It was done before you knew it!) and thinking "wow...this ride flew by." Could be because I know the course so well at this point I think I could ride it in my sleep.

But still, it was the run that stands out the most. The last portion of my three-sport event.

And yet...instead of getting stuck on the lowest points, my mind instinctively finds the highest points. Hitting La Crema winery. Mile 7...that was a good time. When Soda passed me around mile 7.5...another high point (I was so happy for her and it inspired me to not let her get too far ahead of me!). Mile 9 - realizing I wasn't crashing, even though my legs hurt. Mile 12 - the final stretch and I suddenly realized that yes, I was indeed finishing, and for the first time in this race I'd done 3 times, the only times I had walked were for (very) brief stints through aid stations - WOW! I realized right then and there that even though I'd gone slightly slower than I'd wanted, I really WAS stronger this time around. How ABOUT that!

So as I sit and reflect, I begin to wonder 'why?' Why was I swearing off halfs for the rest of the year? Was it really that bad? Why was I contenting my mind with the idea that I never had to do this again in 2008? Was it hurting that much? Maybe, but I can't recall!

Reminds me of how I call that run course a 'mostly flat' run with 2 hills. Loren said it was a big lie. When I posted my 'tips' on the race director of Vineman and some other guy got all on me because they said it was NOT a mostly flat run!! So I amended my statements. But honestly...even after 3 times...I'm still scratching my head. I don't really remember many rollers besides those 2 hills. And over 13 miles...let's say 2 hills and 2 rollers? Still = mostly flat, right?

I don't remember. Maybe my mind is good at blocking out the pain. It endures it and then throws it away to make room for more important things, like desire and motivation and excitement and grammatical rules.

Whatever it is, I'll take it. I still am not doing anymore half-Ironmans this year (I signed up for the LA Triathlon today - Olympic distance, woo hoo! And Courtenay's birthday, yay!!), but I am thinking ahead to what I might plan for next year, after all...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vineman 70.3 - Part 1.5

WHOA! My friend David just sent me a link to our local newspaper's (The Press Democrat) front page photo gallery: IT'S MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! See...I was going pretty fast. ;)

Cool! The whole photo gallery is pretty cool. You can check it out here.

Vineman 70.3 2008: Part I

Part I: Race report, preliminary pics
Part II: Thoughts on triathlon, more pics (to follow in another week or so)

I have had so many thoughts and feelings flooding through my mind since...well since the race STARTED yesterday!

Ultimately I can honestly say I gave it my all yesterday. I did my best and I put it all out there. The biggest disappointment for me was my run. I gave it my all but I wanted to feel better. I wanted to have more strength. I wanted to have more 'get up and go' in my legs. I wanted to be faster. But, I did what I did and in spite of knowing that I was running slower than I had originally intended, I kept a smile on my face, I kept my thoughts positive, and I told myself "Sarah...this is the last time you have to do this this year..."

My goals going into this race were as follows:
-Go sub 5:10: Nope
-Qualify for Clearwater: YES! (But I turned it down)
Not break down at mile 9 on the run: YES!!
Have fun and be confident and proud of myself: YES!!!!

My times went like this:
Swim: 34:34 (1:47/100 yard pace, avg HR 162)
T1: 2:58 (avg HR 169!)
Bike: 2:45:34 (20.3 mph, avg HR 161)
T2: 2:17 (avg HR 161)
Run: 1:53:51 (8:41/mile, avg HR 164)

Total: 5:19:17

I went into the race feeling pretty positive. I had a lot of fun the day before - met Loren and Christine at packet pick up, and Christine and I headed back to my house and chilled for awhile. Then Jocelyn showed up. It was a big ol' blogger/girl party!

Race morning we all headed out. Our wave didn't start until 8:15 so we had plenty of time to get there, get situated, all without the worry of having to rush. The air was cool and layered with fog. Perfect racing weather! As Jocelyn put it, "perfect weather for a PR!"
Pre-race superstars! ------------>

I smiled when she said that. I certainly was aiming to do my best. Even if it wouldn't be sub 5, I was aiming for something just under 5:10 - my previous best at Big Kahuna last year.

<----- Me, Pat, Jim and David - the WC Velo Vineman Crew, pre race!

Before I knew it, we were in the water and counting down. 10...9...8...BAM! The gun when off. I thought of Bree and Eileen always talking about grabbing feet. I thought "ha, I'm so fast, I'm going to rock this swim!"

Well...I didn't really rock it. 34:33 for the swim. One of these days, I will get it down to 32:00. I KNOW IT! Still, I kept trying to find a rhythm and seemed to have a hard time doing so. I'm really looking forward to spending more time in the pool and working on having a smoother, longer stroke. I eventually started to catch some people from my wave and felt better about that. Then we were done!

T1 - wetsuit off, no problem! I saw Jocelyn across from me and she was already getting ready to head out. I wished her well and got back down to business. As I ran out with my bike, I looked at my watch - just about 3:00. WTF? IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE THAT LONG! WHY DOES IT TAKE ME SO LONG?!?

Bike - Off I went. I wore my HR monitor so I could keep myself in check. Knowing these roads like I do, it's easy for me to want to just GO. Westside Road NEEDS to be repaved before next year. I saw SO many water bottles and crap all over the road because of all the stupid potholes! I just put my head down, smiled and went. I felt so happy to be on the bike, so strong, and it helped that I just kept passing more and more people. In the first 30 minutes I figured I had caught most of the women who had beaten me in the swim...and I just kept passing folks. It was such a confidence booster.

Before I knew it, we were off Westide and onto Dry Creek. At this point we were about 20 miles in and I felt great. Pretty soon, I heard two female voices up ahead chattering and laughing. I looked up and there was Courtenay and Kelly!! They smiled at me and cheered for me - what a nice surprise! The only people who had passed me were a handful of fast men who had started in the last two waves after me. I kept repeating my affirmations to myself throughout the entire ride - "I radiate confidence and relaxation."

At about 35 miles in, a woman with '25' on her calf passed me - the first one! However, after Chalk Hill, I came up on her again - from Chalk Hill to the finish, we leap-frogged. Keeping in line with Courtenay's attitude from her last race, I had wished most women I passed 'good luck' or "way to go!" Even if they didn't say anything back, it made me feel good. This woman and I had been smiling at each other, kind of cracking up that we kept passing each other. Finally she said "what's your name?" We exchanged names (she was Vanessa) and wished each other well on the run. I had a good feeling she'd kick my ass. She did. :)

Coming closer to the bike finish, I began to worry. Was I really going to finish in 2:45? How could that be? Last year I had a road bike and no racing wheels. HOW ON EARTH COULD I BE A MINUTE SLOWER?

The negativity began to creep in. I wondered how on earth I could possibly be SLOWER on this course. Finally I caught myself and said "SARAH! IT DOESN'T MATTER! FORGET AND FOCUS!" I repeated another affirmation, telling myself "I believe in my training and fitness."

I was doing all I could do, without leaving it all out there on the bike course. I knew that I had raced that bike to leave a little for the run. That's the name of this game and I was playing it. So...onward.

[I later found out from my super-fast friend John Murphy (who, btw, got 4th in the SUPER competitive age group of Men 40-44 - GO JOHN!!) that his bike time was about 5 minutes slower this year too - there was a headwind for about the last 20 miles that I somehow neglected to notice...I felt MUCH better after learning this!]

Run - I started the run uncertain of how I was going to feel. I had kept my HR in the low 160s for much of the bike. I had eaten well, though I had to back off near the end - because it was still so cool out I wasn't sweating as much as I thought I would, and I wasn't digesting as much as I thought I would either.

Coming out of T2 I saw Chris and realized he was the same guy who I had seen as I came in on the bike (and was like "who is that and how does he know me?"). It was awesome to see he'd come up here to cheer us on!

As I embarked on the first mile, I realized my FEET WERE ASLEEP!! Pins and needles - for 4 full miles!! Right out of the gate, Vanessa and about 2 other women from my AG passed me up. Hm, oh well. I just hoped I could hang on tight and race my race - I was shooting for about 1:48 at this point.

Inevitably, however, it came down to taking it I would say "3 miles down, 10 to go. 4 miles down, 9 to go..." etc. My friend Jerry saw me right before La Crema and offered some helpful words" "Sarah, you're dragging your arms. Swing them and get some momentum going!" He's a fast runner, so I knew whatever he had to say I should follow. It seemed to help.

I tried to pick up the pace a little. It hurt. My HR was getting into the 170s and I questioned whether I should just let it stay there and push through this. But then I doubted myself. I knew that in an open 10K I could easily hold my HR there, but what about right now (with only about 10K to go)? My legs were jelly. No threats of cramps, but just losing strength with each passing minute.

I sighed. Just had to press on. In spite of being positive, I was convinced that even if I qualified for Clearwater, I was just DONE. I didn't want it. Burnt out, tired of half-ironmans for this year. But in that moment, I knew that I HAD to push through this because a) the pain wouldn't last forever and b) this was the last time I had to do this for now. I had to make it count.

Right around this time, Beth passed me. The one and only woman from my AG to pass me on the run. I figured if only one woman had caught me, I was still running fairly strong and holding my own!

Seeing her sort of inspired me to hold onto things, suck it up and just get it done with. So I did. Nobody else passed me, I passed more people, ate more Gu, drank Coke/Gatorade/water, went through more lows and highs and decided that I had indeed met my goal: I did not blow up at miles 9, 10, 11 or 12.


Finally, as I turned the corner at the front of the high school, I saw Courtenay and Kelly again! THEY ROCKED!!!!!! They ran with me from the front parking lot, saying "GO GO GO" and I was saying "I F-ING HATE THIS FINISH! IT'S SO F-ING LONG!" and Courtenay just saying "GO!" Then I heard Kelly say "okay, I'm tired." and that cracked me up. I smiled and knew it was done. I just had a little further. In spite of hurting, I knew I would 'fake it 'til I made it' and look like I felt like a million bucks (because in a way, I did - I was DONE, DAMMIT!).

So I ran down the chute, smiling and being grateful for still beating my time from last year. Grateful for being able to do this sport. Grateful for my friends and family who support me. Grateful that I could push myself to finish strong. Grateful that I've experienced so much from this crazy-ass sport.

As I came through the finish line, I put my arms up like I was the champion of ME and yelled "YESSSSS!!!!"

It felt so good. The best surprise of the day was yet to come - my parents WERE THERE! They found me after all was said and done and had made it in time to watch me finish! It was the most awesome thing ever and I was *so* stoked that they had totally surprised me by being there. :D

I'm so proud of Jocelyn - she wanted sub 5 SO bad and she got it - she did 4:58!

I'm proud of Christine - it was her first half ever and she took second in her AG!

As for me - I wondered how I'd placed. I figured maybe top 10? I had seen so few women from my AG on the course, that I figured a handful were way out front, but I had to be somewhere close.

Apparently, however, I placed 18th - and as I looked over swim times of all the people who had beaten me - THOSE WOMEN WERE FAST! And not only fast swimmers, but fast bikers and runners, too!! It was rather surprising - often some of the fastest swimmers are not always quite so fast on the bike and I can usually catch them on the bike, then try to hold them off on the run. But so many of these women had swim times under 30:00!!! It was nuts.

To that end, I realized that I did what I could do. I did my best. I'm very proud of my performance, my effort and for still being 5 minutes faster than last year. And I've made up my mind: LA Triathlon, here I come! NO MORE HALFS FOR THIS YEAR!!!!!

Thanks to everybody for all the support. Especially to my local Wine Country Velo crew (and their families) who was out in full effect, to Courtenay and Kelly for coming out to cheer, to my parents for totally surprising me and making my finish that much sweeter, to Matt for putting up with me through all this, and to all of you people in the blog world who inspire me to push hard and never look back. It really makes this journey possible.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I <3 Norcal Bike in Santa Rosa

Definition of a great bike shop:
  • They know their stuff
  • They're not condescending
  • They don't make you feel stupid
  • They can fix anything
  • They are willing to explain what they're doing if you ask
  • They do a GREAT JOB
  • You can trust them (like you would your car mechanic!)
  • They are willing to make some fixes for you at the last minute (assuming you ask nicely)
  • Have I mentioned they do a great job?

Throughout all my time in Berkeley, I could never seem to find a bike shop that I really 'gelled' with. I was intimidated by most places, and even though people were nice enough, they often had a tone that made me feel like I was an idiot for not knowing more than I did, or for asking the questions I did. The place that came closest to earning my love was the Missing Link on Shattuck Ave. They were pretty nice, but often were so backed up in the shop that I usually had to go somewhere else. If I tried to make an appointment, my bike wouldn't be ready for 2-3 days for a basic tune-up. :(

Every time I've been to Norcal they are friendly, sweet, answer my bazillion questions (if I have to bring my bike in, I might as well understand a little more each time, right?), and I can make an appointment, drop my bike off the evening before and it's ready the next afternoon.

I also think they do a great bike fit. It's a bit pricey but I think a good bike fit should be. A couple of years ago Phil fit me on my old road bike and was very honest in the end when he said "ya know Sarah, this bike really is too big for you. I think I've done the best job I can given what we're working with." And you know? He really did. In spite of my Trek being too big, the fit was awesome - I never had any pain or discomfort in the entire time I rode it after that fit.

Last week I brought my bike in for a pre-race tune up. Fritz remembered working on my bike before - he had actually figured out how we could manage a slight defect in the front fork, and asked me "how's that front fork working out for ya?" Then when I went to pick up my bike, I remembered that I had been having some problems with my bike seat coming a little loose and tilting down or up at times. He explained what the problem was (my seat screws needed some grease), told me how I could fix it, then said he'd do it right there on the spot! After that, I brought my bike home, stopped by the store, picked up some beer and promptly delivered it to the guys at NorCal. They were grateful, but I told them how grateful I was, too! :)

Cut to this week. I met up with Matt D. yesterday to pick up the Zipp Wheels. Man, they are SO SWEET!!! But after I put them on, I realized my dérailleur would need some adjustment - the cassette was a 12-25 and my previous one had been a 12-27. Argh!! I knew how busy the guys at NorCal were...maybe I could just ask them to swap the cassette real quick?

I brought both wheels down this morning, and Fritz said "yeah, but we'll still prob need to adjust the derailleur." Damn! I said "well...I hate to be a pain in your @$$...would that be okay?" He looked at me like I was crazy and said "sure, it's fine." So, right then and there, he swapped my cassettes while I ran home to grab my bike, and then made the adjustments and presto! My bike is ALL SET!

NorCal Bike Sport - YOU GUYS ALL ROCK!!! Many many thanks for your quick help and for being so nice to me (and not making me feel stupid about trying to learn about bikes). :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

6 Days 'Til Vineman 70.3!

It's almost here. 6 days! I am SO thrilled! SO excited! AND it looks like the weather will cooperate!

Thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU to Mike & Matt DeAsis of Lombardi Sports who are lending me a pair of Zipp 404s. I called Mike D. and said "hey, the Race Day wheel rental place is all rented out. Do you know where I could find some Zipps to rent?" Mike's response: "Sarah. Why rent wheels? We have wheels!" Mike & Matt - YOU ROCK. Even though I am no longer officially with the Lombardi Sports Triathlon Team, the support I still receive from those guys is incredible. If you're ever in SF and need a good sporting store - Lombardi is it. I will always be a Lombardi Tri Team member at heart. :)

Throughout this week I'll be reflecting on the people/companies that are supporting me and thanking them as well as reviewing the products I use.

Triathlon, in spite of what you might think, is not an individual sport. It is not something you go at alone. You need support; from your family, your friends, your boss, your co-workers, your teammates and fellow triathletes. It takes the effort of everybody to get you trained and out there ready to race come race day. On race day, your competitors can also be some of your biggest supporters. A little cheer or push from a fellow racer can go a LONG WAY. I have had numerous finishes with another triathlete that came as a result of pacing together near the end and pushing each other.

It really isn't a sport you take on alone. You do it and bring everybody in your life along with you, hoping they'll enjoy the ride, too. I guess that's a little bit of what this blog is about - sharing my experiences, lessons and love and hoping people see how much I appreciate the support. I really couldn't do this alone!

I was at a yoga retreat this past weekend, where I was reminded of how important affirmations are; the idea is that you continually repeat them, especially during meditation, and eventually, you really begin to embody them. The important thing is to find affirmations that work for you!

I think this is really important, especially the week before a race; we begin to be flooded with self-doubt, worry, anxiety - negative messages that we keep repeating throughout our days and internalize (and thus BELIEVE) without even really noticing. E.g. "Oh wow, he did that for training? I should've done that. I trained all wrong. OMG I am totally not going to be ready for this race! What have I done?"

By taking a few minutes several times a day to simply meditate and repeat some positive affirmations, we are training our brain to not only be positive, but if we say them with conviction, we come to truly believe these thoughts as well. One key: Affirmations should be positive, in the present tense, and use everyday language. Always focus on the state desired, and leave out the negative aspects of what you seek to change

Here's some I thought I would work with this week:

- I radiate confidence and relaxation
- I approve of my training and feel great about my fitness
- Everyday and in every way I am getting better and stronger

Okay! Have a wonderful week!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Fabulousness of Friday

No matter how bad a Friday can be, it's still usually good. Because it's FRIDAY!!!

Unless of course you work on Sat/Sun...then it's not quite as good.

Anyway, I overslept this morning (slept in, I'd prefer to call it...) and missed swim practice. Damn. But then I thought "well, I only need to do a 40 min swim anyway...I'll go at lunch!" Besides, then I can wear my new two-piece I got at the Lake Berryessa swim and work my tan a little more. ;)

Usually when I post a "Fabulous Friday" post it includes songs and fun stuff. This is no different.

When I checked my e-mail this morning, Ben's mom Shirley (who is very awesome and inspiring) had sent this great email of a video that I've embedded below. I think it's just beautiful. It's about 5 minutes but so worth it. It really shows that at the core, we are the same. No matter where we come from. Humans are human. We all like to laugh and have fun and be silly, no matter what our culture is. It's great.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I've also posted my top 5 songs of the week. I taught THREE spinning classes this week (usually just do one!) and they were all awesome. It inspired me to download some new songs and get a little crazy with everybody. We had fun together.

I really feel like I'm getting to know my spinning students at the YMCA and learn their strengths and weaknesses, not to mention their personalities. It's been about 5 months since I began teaching up here and I really feel like it's all beginning to come together. I know people's names, I know who to pick on, I know who the jokers are, and they are beginning to know me. They know I'm not as hard core as I probably seemed in the beginning. I've really started to look forward to class as opposed to being a little apprehensive and I think it shows. There are also starting to be more people showing up on a regular basis, which is also a great sign.

It all comes back to patience. Sigh. Not one of my strengths by any stretch of the imagination. One of my dad's biggest hobbies is fishing; while he brought me on many great camping and backpacking trips throughout my youth that I later came to enjoy on my own, the fishing part of it was never something I cared for. I just never had the patience for it!

Here they are...this weeks' top 5 on the song list:

1. Listen to the Music (Malibu remix) - Doobie Brothers
2. Sweet Dreams (2007 Remix) - Eurythmics
3. By My Side - Flanders (this link is actually from the SF radio station that I listened to a lot that inspired many of the spinning songs I use)
4. Girls - Beastie Boys (oh Beasties...I love them)
5. Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (this is one of my most favorite songs in the entire world; it's not a workout song, but certainly a nice cool down song, and just a really beautiful song that makes you want to be in Hawaii!)

I'm off to a yoga retreat this weekend to kick off my taper. Have an awesome weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Bree's post yesterday inspired a lot of thoughts for me since I read it. I think everybody should go read it because it's an incredibly insightful and awesome post about confidence.

It's the first time I've read/heard the quote "Fake it until you make it."

Huh. Now that is interesting. And just this morning, as we ended spinning class, and I reminded my students I wouldn't see them until after Vineman, one said "okay, I expect to see your medal!" My response was "ha! Right!"

Why do we DO THIS? True, the chances of me earning a podium spot at Vineman are slim. There's an awful lot of competition out there and this is a tough field to be going up against. Still, why shouldn't I allow myself to think that I have a good chance at it?

Like Bree said "yeah, I'm going to swim so fast. Michael Phelps wants my autograph!" - why can't I say something like "you bet you will! And it's going to be a first place medal, too!"? What is wrong with allowing yourself to believe that you WILL be fast - even if the reality is that maybe I won't win first - why can't I still believe in myself and give myself a great pep talk?

It was such a revelation to realize that maybe all those people who look like they exude SO MUCH confidence might just be faking it a little. Maybe it's half real and half fake. But so what? The rest of us don't know that. We just know what we see.

Women, especially, tend to be self-deprecating and humble. Not sure why, but maybe we're taught to be that way? It seems like we're taught that if we show confidence and strength we come across as bitchy.

And yet, when I think back to any races I've had that were particularly good, it went all the way back to my mindset. One race in particular that stands out is the Santa Barbara Triathlon from last year. I had a huge bike mechanical that set me back by at least 15 minutes, if not more. The rear wheel on my bike was rubbing against the cutout in the frame, and it wasn't until a big big hill that I realized it and knew I couldn't keep riding with it (I was already about 25 miles in with 9 miles to go...) that way. I was pretty bummed because I had gotten third place the year before and had some high expectations for myself this time.

Yet, I didn't let this setback get me down. I thought "okay, so no podium this year. But you know what? I'm going to put a smile on my face, laugh about this, have a GREAT time, fix this damn new bike so it never happens again in a race, and you know what? I am going to have the BEST RUN EVER!!"

And what happened? I did. For the first time ever, I ran all 10 miles at an 8:00 mile and ran across that finish line feeling so great, so happy and had SO MUCH FUN that I'd nearly forgotten all about the bike mishap. Sure, it looks like I was slower than a snail on the bike results, but I don't care! I had a great swim and that run set me up for the Big Kahuna a few weeks later, which I DID podium at.

I completely believe that it had to do with my attitude. My pep talk. My belief that it really was going to be my best run ever. My smile on my face.

So, as I mentally prepare for my big race next weekend, I will take Bree's thoughts and create my own mental game plan. I asked Tim Lincecum to be my friend on Facebook the other day (we have one friend in common) - OF COURSE TIM LINCECUM WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND! Doesn't he know what a great triathlete I am? He may be able to pitch like a super stud, but can he swim, bike and run like I do?

Okay, clearly I need practice at this because as I wrote that, I felt SO SILLY! It feels so silly to be speaking so highly of myself, but it really shouldn't be that way. Another great Bree quote - "the body achieves what the mind believes."


Monday, July 07, 2008

4th of July Weekend: the long version

Okay, here's the full details. I am so breaking Greg's rule of posting about one thing in every way...SORRY GREG!

4th of July Part I: Kenwood 10K

My 4th of July began with the alarm clock going off at 5:30 a.m. Carmen would be at my house at 6:20 a.m. so we could head down to Kenwood (about 12 miles down Hwy 12, between Santa Rosa and Sonoma) for the annual Kenwood Footrace 3K & 10K (we were both doing the 10K).

An abnormally early start to 4th of July, I know. Still, the race sounded fun and I figured I wanted some redemption from two weeks ago when I had raced sick and had a horrible race time (not to mention had a horrible time in general). I was eager to see how my track workouts, treadmill time and long runs had paid off (or IF they'd paid off!) and what kind of time I might have.

Everybody had said "oooohhh...Kenwood 10K...that's a tough one. Got some good hills." Well...after two weeks ago, I couldn't see how anything could really be worse. I was ready for it.

The race began and I knew within the first minute I had put myself too far back into the pack. I really do underestimate my running speed sometimes. It took me a good two minutes just to get out toward the front. I had been given some advice that the hills were mostly in the first two miles, so be somewhat conservative starting out and let it fly the rest of the way.

I did just that. I kept my HR in the 160s for the first mile, upper 160s-low 170s for the second mile, and just didn't pay attention after that. Then a bonus happened: as we made the turn onto Lawndale Road, I realized "oh! I KNOW THIS HILL!" It was a route we'd taken many times on the bike. Bingo! I knew exactly where the hill would end and when it would go up again, so now I had a great sense of how to pace myself in regard to climbing the hills. How awesome!

The minutes rolled on and I kept passing more and more people, making my way up to the front. From about miles 3-4 I found a guy who was exactly my speed and I paced off him. Then I looked down at my HR monitor and saw I was at 180...not something I thought I could hold for the next 20 minutes, so I realized I'd better back off a little.

Minutes later, however, as I flew down a massive downhill, I caught and passed him up. I made it my goal to see how long it would be before he caught me. I just had to keep it steady!

Keep it steady I did. That was my rule the whole way through...steady and kept my HR between 170-175. We rounded a corner and the woman I had been keeping an eye on was slowly getting closer to me. I couldn't really see any other women ahead of her, so I knew that she would probably be the last one I would catch before the finish. I picked it up just a tad; we had about 1 mile to go and I knew this was my chance. Right about here the guy I had paced with finally caught me. Not bad!

One last hill - yes! I knew that not only would I gain some ground on the uphill, but surely the downhill would definitely be what I needed to bridge the gap between her and I. There were two other women that were nipping right at my heels - every time I would look back, they were RIGHT THERE, so I knew I couldn't let up at this point. I was sort of annoyed because I had taken some inspiration from Courtenay and cheered them on as I passed them and said "great job, ladies! Let's do this!" Neither said a thing or even smiled. Anyway, it felt good FOR ME to be wishing them well, regardless of their response. It made me smile. :)

Once we hit the downhill, they were no longer on my heels - I think I picked up a good 5-10 seconds right there. This was it - the woman I'd been aiming for was right in front of me, so I made each step count and passed her. We had about another 1/2 mile to go.

Pretty soon we made a right turn then a left turn - and there was the finish line! I estimated it to be about 200 meters - surely I could sprint this! I looked behind me and heard a spectator say "you're good - nobody behind you!" Hm...I sort of doubted this. I knew the woman I passed couldn't be too far behind. I picked it up and imagined myself running down the straightaway of the track.

Pumping my legs, pushing the ground beneath was beginning to hurt...and suddenly I realized...this was more like 400 meters. Oh, bad mistake!! With about 100 meters to go, the woman I'd passed sprinted past me. And I couldn't do a damn thing about it! Damn damn damn! I smiled and shouted "great job!!" after her. Lesson learned!

<-- Carmen and I post-race

Final time was 46:35 - a 7:30 pace with about 700-800 feet of climbing. Not bad at ALL!

The bonus: I won my age group! How awesome is that?!

I was really happy for Carmen, too - she bettered her time from last year by TEN MINUTES! Way to go, Carmen!

4th of July Part II: Post-race

The rest of the weekend was pretty awesome. We met up with our friends Kendall and Cindy in SF for a Giants game and some tailgating. Then we went out to the Richmond District of SF for some AWESOME Korean BBQ (just FYI for any City dwellers - Brother's Restaurant #2 is on Geary Blvd and 4th ave...though...curiously, they have another one - Brother's Restaurant #1 at Geary and 6th...which some people say isn't quite as good...I don't really get it.). There was SO MUCH FOOD. Crazy!!! SO DELICIOUS (assuming you're a carnivore)!


4th of July Weekend: Long ride/run

I don't have much to say about this part but it's still worth writing about. So I was slated for a long ride/short run Sunday morning. Holy CANNOLI my legs were still sore from Friday. David and Lee met me at my house and I had chosen a route that was more of the southwest county - get Lee off of the Terrible Two roads and David & I would be nowhere near the Vineman course.

We headed out and in the first 15 minutes I knew this was going to be a very painful, very long ride. It felt like I had gotten an intramuscular there was just nasty stuff floating throughout my quads and they were on fire. I thought 'well...if you have to go have to go slow. Let's just see what happens.'

About 25 minutes into it, though, I was doing alright. They were still sore, but overall I felt good. So by this point we had picked up another rider (Dino was his name) and he and Lee were further back behind David and I who were doing our pre-Vineman just-under-race-pace speed. Dino and Lee actually took a shortcut to catch up with us and announced that they were going to be heading back to get coffee and that we should have fun. Thanks a lot, Lee! (Originally this ride was just going to be Lee and the question I'm left with is...would Lee have ditched me for his new friend Dino if David had not been there? Hmmm...)

David and I headed out toward the coast to Valley Ford. The air became thicker with fog and a hint of salt, and the wind picked up quite a bit; yet since it had been some time since I'd ridden those roads, it reminded me of how GORGEOUS it is out there.

We took a quick stretch break at Valley Ford and on we went. My legs were heavy and this ride was nowhere near the glorious feeling I'd had on last week's solo effort. It concerned me slightly and then I had to remind myself that I'm SUPPOSED to be a little more fatigued and that I have a great taper coming up!

We hit Hwy 1 and stayed there for just a bit; turned right and headed into Occidental. After another 5 miles, we were making a left turn at Bohemian Hwy - the other half of my most favorite road in the entire world. This half was almost as sweet - had some uphills so not like the half that goes from Occidental down to Monte Rio, but just as beautiful. Words fail me to describe the thrill and joy of riding this road that seems to be so aptly named.

Making a left onto Bohemian Hwy in Freestone, my nose immediately picked up the most wonderful smell. David yelled over to me "have you been to that bakery?" "No!" I said! "Oh, YOU HAVE TO go there sometime," he said. "It's the BEST!" On any other ride...I would've pulled the bike over and relished an apricot scone while taking in the hills and thoughts from the last 40 miles.

But today...I rode on. Thankfully the sights, sounds and smells from this road were inspiring enough to keep me happily pedaling forward. We journeyed into a redwood grove and suddenly the sunlight became filtered, the air cool and the smell of damp redwood and green plants surrounded me. It was just like you read about in books. It was so quiet and peaceful, I wanted to slow down and ride through slowly so I could enjoy it even more.

But today...I had a mission. I had to get through this ride strong and keep my pace as consistent as possible. The hill began and I kept on moving. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, but I have decided that the Freestone/Occcidental/Graton area is one of the most awesome places I have ever ridden. 5 stars!

Once we hit Occidental we had about 17 more miles to go. We hurried back to my house at a good clip and finished with an 18 minute run, where I managed to keep my pace at about a 7:50 mile with a nice mellow 160 HR!!!!! I was stunned that I was running that fast, but very happy.

The weekend ended on such a high note, save for the soreness. That finally went away this morning after a great morning swim. I am SO excited about Vineman. I'm just hoping that this heat wave ends next week and we have some moderate temps - my wave doesn't start until 8:15 a.m. Ouch.

Finally - I'll finish by excitedly saying that my friend Lee (the one who was training for the Terrible Two; the same one who ditched me on Sunday) finally started a blog! He's a great writer and I'm so excited that he's joining the blogger world. Go visit him at Lee's Life Adventure and enjoy his adventures!!

Last weekend rocked in so many ways

That I haven't even had the time to put it all down.

So...I'll be writing about it tonight.

The preview is:

-I ran a 10K race on 4th of July. I'm not saying how I did until later. ;)
-I had a pretty American 4th of July - I went to a baseball game!
-Pretty American...up until I went out for Korean BBQ...omg...SO GOOD
-I played more in my garden (holy TOMATOES)
-I went for my last big training ride/run (can you say...I AM SO EXCITED FOR VINEMAN!!)

Okay - pictures and actual stories to follow. To be continued...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Vineman 70.3 Tips Part 2

So last month I wrote this post on tips for the Vineman 70.3. I hope it was helpful for anybody who might have read it!

That post was actually an entry into the Fitness Journal Discussion Board as a response to somebody who had asked about the race.

After my post, two of my buddies, Pat & Jim, chimed in with some additional advice. I thought I'd post it here as well.

T-MINUS TWO WEEKS TO VINEMAN, EVERYBODY!! Let the countdown begin. I AM SO EXCITED! Now let's all hope for great weather that isn't sweltering. ;)

Vineman 70.3 Tips Part 2:

From Jim C:

A few more things to add to Sarah's report on the course. We rode most to the course today (only approaching the course from the other side.

1st - I would highly recommend that you have well-lubed shifters as you will be constantly changing gears. I was surprised how often I changed along the course.

2nd - I found it best to keep the pace up and use lower gears when possible.

3rd - You can stay in the aero bars for a long time, so you should get used to that position (most of my training has been on my road bike, and I found my beck getting REALLY stiff today.

4th - BUTTON DOWN THE HATCHES! What I mean, is that these roads have some major bumps and rough areas. We had computers falling off, water bottles coming out and tool kits being bounced out. Tighten things down.

5th - Save some for the run, it is easy to push these course fast and burn your legs out. DON"T DO IT!

From Pat K:

Westside road over the past couple of winters has gotten worse and the road has a lot of pot holes and rough patches.. The only thing i will add to Sarah's & Jim's report is that at the end of Chalk Hill rd you turn left onto Faught rd. Before you turn onto Faught rd make sure you shift down to an easy gear there is a sneaky little hill as soon as you turn and it catches a ton of people in a big gear every year..

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blogger Tag

TAG! (From Marit & Bree)


Spread the blogger love and enjoy:

10 Years ago I was…
...About to enter my senior year of high school.
...Taking a "Swim for Fitness" class at Solano JC and thought "hm, wow, I kind of like this swimming thing. Had no idea you could have real 'workouts' in the pool. This is cool. I should stick with it."
...Thinking I'd be off to the east coast for college to ride horses and earn a degree in biology so I could go off to med school afterward.
...Aiming to be the captain of the badminton team (yes...IT IS A SPORT!)
...Working in my first job as a cashier at Ace Hardware in Benicia, CA

5 Years ago I was…
...Galavanting around western Europe with my now-ex-bf (but now still good bud) Ben
(That's us in Spain!) ->
...Gearing up to start my job in Outdoor Education in the foothills next to Yosemite
...Contemplating how to keep medicine in my career without being a doctor
...Still just a 'lap swimmer' at the local pool and not even close to considering triathlon a viable sport. (wow...a lot happens in 5 years!)

1 Year ago I was…
...Still thinking about whether to buy a new tri bike or road bike
...Working at the National Brain Tumor Foundation in San Francisco
...Living in Berkeley
...Getting ready to go camping for 4th of July!
...Convinced that Vineman would be WAY better than the first year I did it (it was...sort of)
...Still trying to figure out where to go with my life and if I should leave Berkeley

5 things on my to-do-list today..
1. Do my track workout this evening
2. Decide what to make for dinner without going to the store
3. Start the new book I just bought
4. Watch the Darjeeling Limited so I can return it!
5. Work on Tim's website

5 snacks I enjoy...
1. Bananas and PEANUT BUTTER!
2. Wild Harvest Blueberry Flax Granola and plain yogurt
3. Carrot sticks
4. Pita chips and hummus
5. Fruit. Any kind of fruit. I love it!

If I were a billionaire I would…
1. Pay off all my stupid debt.
2. Develop a non-profit organization that had to do with literacy, education and sustainable living here in the U.S.
3. Use my free time to think about what I could do on a global level, and then with all my money, do it!
4. Open a bike shop and have bike clinics every week for newbies while advocating for more bike lanes and roads.
5. Oh a new road bike, a mtn bike, a touring bike, and some sweet ZIPP WHEELS! :D

6 people I want to have lunch with tomorrow…
In no particular order...
1. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (together, at the same lunch)
2. Michael Pollan (I have no idea what we'd eat)
3. Ruth Reichl (editor of Gourmet magazine and AMAZING writer! Her books are delicious!) (This is a pic of Ruth Reichl)
5. Isabel Allende

6. My sister (this is us last November on a fam trip!)

5 places I have lived
(Yes, I'm a California girl...)
-Vallejo, CA
-Berkeley, CA
-Sonora, CA
-San Francisco, CA
-Santa Rosa, CA

5 jobs I have had
-Cashier and key-maker extraordinaire at ACE Hardware
-Sales person at the Men's Fragrance Counter at Macy's
-Tour Guide at UC Berkeley
(This was Cal Day rained ALL DAY!!! I'm in the front row...big 'ASK ME' button on :))
-Outdoor Educator for mostly 6th graders
-Program Manager in Patient Services at NBTF