Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tagged - I'm it!!

Devon is playing a game of blogger tag and she tagged me. So, I'll attempt to answer these, though it's very clear that this is for runners, so I'll adapt it for triathletes and it'll be like telephone-tag! The original words will be in [brackets]. :)

1. 2007's most memorable moment on the road [trail]...
It came down to the day we did 125 miles and the day I conquered my fear of riding my road bike on dirt. Still, I'm going with the latter. It was an amazing day in many regards - we rode up Sweetwater, the steepest climb I'd ever done up to that point (though that was trumped by the Geysers on the 125 mile bike ride - there was a part that had to have been at least 18%, maybe 20%) and I did it with a double chain ring. The ride itself was truly magnificent and we went from the redwoods out to the coast and back. I nearly turned in early because I knew that there would be about 8 miles of dirt road to ride on, much of it uphill. The idea of riding my road bike on dirt just freaked me out to the point of wussing out. But Tim wouldn't let me, and after 8-10 miles of it - I was just fine. You never forget those days you finally push your limits and re-set them even higher.

2. Best new trail I discovered in 2007...
This is tough. I could have inserted road, but I'm actually going to go with a running trail on this one. Running through Joaquin Miller Park up in the Oakland Hills was really awesome and there are so many different trails you can take. It's truly an inspiring journey and one that I already kind of miss!

3. My best performance of the year...
Big Kahuna. :) Just...one incredible race that I continue to think about. Even though I know my legs could have done even better if I hadn't done that 125 mile bike ride only 7 days before, it was just a fantastic performance. I still remember how awful I felt at mile 6.75 on the run and thinking I was done. Then accepting it and dealing with it...and finally overcoming it to have my best 13.1 mile run ever and knowing that sub-5 hours is indeed possible...nothing could ever replace that feeling.

4. I don't know how I previously survived without...
This is a tie:

Clif Shot Blocks!!!!! They're AMAZING! Sorry Gu, but you've got nothing on Shot Blocks. For me, they're an instant pick-me-up.

Kinesys SunBlock
! Also an incredible product. After all that swimming and sweating on the bike, it still manages to stay put during the run and the only times I get sunburned is if I miss a spot. I don't know what they did to come up with their formula, but man...it is worth GOLD. Thank you, Jeff Kletter, for supporting the Lombardi Sports Triathlon Team with your FANTASTIC product!!

5. The person I would most like to meet on the road [trail] in 2008...
Levi Leipheimer. I know that's not running or tri-related, but Levi lives in Santa Rosa and you just never know when we both might be out for a spin at the same time! That would be so awesome. I'd beg to stay on his wheel just for a couple of miles...

And passing along the love.... tag, you are it... Paul! Sadly, I don't have a lot of other blog buddies because while I love to read everybody's blogs, I just don't have a lot of time to keep up with all of it. The other person I was going to tag (Donald) whose blog I love to read has already been tagged!

More updates to come...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


*breathe* *breathe* *breathe*

Okay, let's back up for one moment. For those not in the know, the annual BYOBW (Bring Your Own Big Wheel) is a race that happens at the top of San Francisco's curvy Lombard Street on Easter Sunday. It brings out tons of participants (they have multiple heats!) and hundreds of spectators. I have yet to participate myself (dang family obligations on Easter!), but have become a big fan of the event and follow it every year, checking out the multiple videos and photos that are posted after the big race.

One friend even went so far as to send me a picture of a bike I could get just for this race - not that I would really buy it, but it was hilarious to have a friend email this to me and say "hey Sarah, I may have a connection...let's talk."

SO ANYWAY, I was just thinking that the BYOBW is just around the corner. Upon viewing their website here, I was horrified to find out that they are changing the location (still to be announced)! Apparently the landscaping of Lombard Street really took a hit, and while the BYOBW folks raised enough money to pay for foliage restoration, they have asked the event to be moved elsewhere.

The thing is, part of what makes that event so hilarious is the steepness and curvature of the course. Without Lombard Street, will it still have the same charm??? Feedback welcomed. I'm just not sure it will ever be the same (or as popular), but maybe I'm totally wrong.

There's also lots of photos/videos from the event on Flickr, Laughing Squid, jwz.org, and YouTube. Enjoy - I sure do. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week 2: Base 3 Continues

So for my first week of real 'training' and sticking to a plan, I ended up with 10.1 hours - 0.9 less than planned. In spite of not quite reaching that goal, I was very satisfied with how it all went given my time constraints and really adding a considerable amount of time to my week's training (went from about 6.5 hours up to 10!).

Additionally, in spite of adding more hours, I really feel quite good. I was definitely tired by the week's end, but muscle/energy-wise, I feel fantastic.

To review last week -

Wed - I followed through with a nice intense spinning session that focused on three major areas, which were speed, power and muscular endurance. It was really great. Then I went over and ran the treadmill for 35 minutes at a very nice slow, easy pace.

Thursday - I didn't have time to get the bike part in and ended up only getting 45 minutes of swimming in after work. Still, it was a good workout and I maintained discipline by putting myself in a slower lane and just getting some nice longer sets in that were slower.

Friday - I actually ended up with 2 hours because I got one hour of intense swimming in (about 3050 yards of shorter, more intense sets) in the a.m. and lighter spinning in the evening.

Saturday - GORGEOUS (but FREEZING) bike ride in the a.m. It was 3 hrs and we started from Healdsburg and headed north through the Alexander Valley up to Cloverdale, then turned west and back south via Dutcher Creek to Dry Creek until it hit Westside Rd and back into Healdsburg. In spite of the freezing temps when we started (literally), it warmed up about 20 degrees 2 hours into the ride, so we were fine. We had a great crew turn out to ride and we all went back to the Bear Republic Brewing Co. afterward where i had a pint of my most favorite beer in the world, Racer 5. :) The nice thing about this ride was that it was an easy 46 miles - nothing crazy - we averaged a nice slow 16.6 mph and stayed in the small ring (well...middle for those with triples) with the exception of the Dutcher Creek descent, where I HAD to kick it into the big ring and fly down! It really was the perfect Base Training ride.

Sunday - Went for a nice long run at Annadel State Park. I figured it to be right about 8 miles, and I ran a very nice slow pace of about 10:30/mile. Of course, this also had to do with the fact that I was on trails that went up, up, up and of course, one was very APTLY named "Cobblestone Trail." Definitely had to watch my footing. Still, I was very committed to not letting my HR fly out of control and just enjoying the beautiful scenery and focusing my thoughts.

Monday - So here I am. This is the 'rest' day but I still do some weights and swimming. It's freezing out but I'm going to go get out there. Brrrrr!! Did the weights this morning and that felt really nice. The deal with Monday weights is that it's really the 'Strength Maintenance" phase so you're not going crazy with them, just keeping the muscles primed and ready. :) However, given that I may be teaching spinning on Mondays, I will likely have to re-think my rest day - prob make it Tuesday.

This week will be interesting. I have a work trip over the weekend which really throws a wrench in the long ride/long run thing. Still, I may be able to make it work.

Here's the plan for the week (11.5 hours total):

Monday 1/21 (1:30): Weights (0:35), Swim (1 hr) - Drill and fins focus
Tuesday, 1/22 (1:15): High intensity, med duration run (0:45); Low intensity/duration bike (0:30)
Wednesday, 1/23 (1:30): High intensity, med duration bike (1:00); med duration, low intensity run (0:30)
Thursday, 1/24 (1:30): High intensity/duration swim (1:00); low duration/recovery bike (0:30)
Friday, 1/25 (1:00): Low intensity bike, low intensity swim
*This will be tough...I'm leaving for L.A. that morning and making a road trip out of it; it's possible I can fit in time that afternoon/eve to get some bike/swim time in or find a local YMCA, but we'll see....little nervous about that.

Saturday, 1/26 (1:45) The work I'm doing will be all day Saturday so the only 'long' thing I could conceivably do would be a long run after the workshop I'm doing. I've done that in the past and it usually works fine.

Sunday, 1/27 (3:00?) I am hoping to bring my bike with me and do a nice long ride while I'm down there. The alternative that i can think of is to find a gym/YMCA and get on a spinning bike and ride for 2 hours. Otherwise I may have to make Sunday a rest day and try to get a long ride in on Monday. Hm....

The nice thing is that with the work trip I have the following week, I'll be getting back on Sunday morning and could hopefully fit in a nice long ride in the mid-morning. Not ideal at all given traffic, but it will be the last time I have to deal with that maneuvering, THANK GOODNESS!

Off to go swim in the cold...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Goal: Break 5:00 at Oceanside 70.3

Limiter: Running speed, bike positioning, time available to train in the next two weeks
Objectives: Run comfortably for 2 hours at an 8:30/mile by March 17
Have all workouts scheduled in advance and stick to them
Get bike position analysis completed with Mike K. in early Feb

Clearly, I have many more goals for the year. However, The Triathlete's Training Bible is a voluminous book with a lot of very rich information. You could (and probably should) spend hours just pouring over the information and soaking it all in without writing a single thing. To think about all the different goals I could set for myself, all of the different limiters I have and how to create objectives from those (on TOP OF the training schedule) is a bit overwhelming.

So, I did what I do best when I'm a little overwhelmed: bite off a little at a time. Let's start with the looming task at hand: Oceanside 70.3. Must be really ready for that. I'm just glad I got my act together now (somehow the end of March seems so far away, but when you add it up in training weeks...IT'S ONLY 11 WEEKS AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Paul's comment saying he looks forward to my goals definitely helped motivate, in addition to the fact that I wrote it down saying I would...so...I had to, right?

I just was reminded as I went through the book again how valuable that information truly is and why doing it for Big Kahuna really did make a difference in my race performance. I've got the kind of personality where if I have something to stick to, I'll stick to it. Otherwise it's far too easy to just 'work out' with no real training element to it.








Base 3




Base 3




Base 3




Build 1




Build 1




Sprint Tri (Davis)

Build 1




Build 2




Build 2




Build 2








Half-IM (Oceanside)



My first thought would be "What's wrong with this picture?" The answer is that I've only got 2 weeks of aggressive hours followed by one week of less hours as opposed to the usual 3 weeks on/1 week off. However, I don't really have time to follow that model and I actually think that given what my weekly hours have been for the last 2 months (about 5-7 hours), this will work out just fine (i.e. my body is going to be shocked by bumping it up to 11 hours). I also know that I've stayed fairly strong in the last couple months. What I will really need to work on is my long weekend rides and runs, which the move will definitely help with.

In any case, going on that table allowed me to break down this week to the following schedule:

Monday: (0:30) Recovery day

Tuesday: (1.5 hours) High intensity, Med duration run; Low intensity/duration bike
Bad me!! I overslept this morning! Only got a 40 minute, high intensity med duration run in.

Wednesday: (2 hours): High intensity, Med duration bike (yay for spinning); Med duration/ low intensity run

Thursday: (1.5 hrs): Low intensity/duration swim/bike

Friday: (2 hrs): High intensity/duration swim, Low intensity bike

Weekend: (4 hrs) Long duration/med intensity bike and run

So far, doing okay but no more oversleeping! I must say though...when I have it outlined like this and planned out for WHEN I'm going it, it really helps me to stay on track.

Here's hoping for the rest of the week...;)

This picture was sent to my by my friend Ivy and her husband who were back in Sri Lanka for 5 weeks. It's just the sweetest picture and makes me smile every time I see it. Reminds me to relax and enjoy the good life in the midst of all of this hard work, too.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Last ride of 2007 / Hello 2008!

Goodbye 2007...Goodbye Berkeley!

Full sunset set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/strejo/sets/72157603608208264/

I've been busy with a lot of things lately and I can't believe December, along with 2007, has come and gone. So many changes this past month and yet to come! I'm still letting it all sink in.

Because I've been so busy, I've put off that 2008 calendar I've been meaning to make. It's happening this weekend and I will post it, along with my week's training plan. I think by putting it onto my blog, I've made a commitment to honoring it.

As I reflected on my training last year, I realized something interesting - back in July I set 3 goals for myself. They were:
  1. New bike
  2. Training regimen (based on Triathlete's Training Bible) for Big Kahuna
  3. Get resume together/up-to-date

By 8/21, I had completed the first two. I also realized that not only did I write those GOALS down, but I wrote out my training regimen for the 6 weeks leading up to Big Kahuna. I implemented it and followed it very closely. What happened in the end was a PR and me feeling very optimistic about having a sub-5 hour half-ironman (well...one that's relatively flat, anyway).

The main point is that by writing them down, I had something to go back to, to check in with.
The difference between a goal and a dream is the written word.
-Gene Donohue
That subject is a whole other blog entry - there are tons of studies that point to the benefits of writing down your goals rather than just thinking about them. So why don't we do it more often?

I don't know, but I need to, since I am an especially goal-driven person. I want that Clearwater qualification!! Goals to appear here soon...my first goal of 2008 is to write my goals and my training plans!

I completed #3 a couple of months ago, and as of yesterday, have found a new job in the non-profit world that I am incredibly excited about, especially since it is leading me in the direction of public health - a passion I've had for the last 10 years or so. Did I also mention I moved? Yes, I made the big move from Berkeley to Santa Rosa on December 31 with the help of many dear friends. I am so thrilled to finally be living in Sonoma County and especially about not having to wake up an hour earlier to drive up for a bike ride in the mornings!

So, just a few notes here and there:

Jessica and I rode together for the first time ever (she's getting back into cycling) on my last day in Berkeley and had a fantastic time together. We did the Wildcat Canyon -> Camino Pablo -> Moraga Way -> Pinehurst -> Skyline -> Tunnel Rd. -> back through Berkeley loop from my (old) house.
The view from the top of Pinehurst is just lovely. Hello Mt. Diablo in the back!
Would've taken Grizzly Peak from Skyline but we were pressed for time so we thought it might be faster to go through Berkeley. It was a very frigid morning that proved itself with the several ice encounters we had along Camino Pablo on the east side of the hill. Brrrrrr!

The nice thing was that because she's just getting back into it, we took it slow and easy and it was a very aerobic ride for me (as opposed to riding w/the guys, which would have been a mix of aerobic and anaerobic up the hills since I would've tried to kick their butts up the hill - damn ego). It felt really great and reminded me that I need to still do more of that as I ramp up my hours, especially with my runs. It's far easier to push yourself and work hard than it is to work out at very aerobic rates because psychologically, you think you're not doing enough. It is a very frustrating endeavor, one I know many athletes struggle with.

There was a great article today from Active.com called Train Smart This Winter on this very issue. Some helpful running tips as well. Get it here.

Speaking of running, my friend Sarah invited me on a really awesome run. It's called Saturday Morning Run and it is loosely associated with the Tamalpa Runners. I think this description from the website is apt:
This run began in 1971 and is the longest-standing group run known to the club. It is 100% trail running, always hilly, generally lasts 1 1/2 to 2 hours covering 7 to 10 miles. There are plenty of options to run longer or shorter depending on your ability, time, and interest.

We went out on Saturday, 12/29 in spite of the rain we encountered on the drive over. I'll be honest, I was very dubious. All I could think was "damn, it's gonna be cold and wet. How fun can that possibly be?" Thankfully, I'm not one to flake so I stayed the course.

We got there pretty early but right before 9:00, the cars began to arrive en masse. "Wow, these people are really committed," I thought. We met at the Mountain Home Inn near Mt. Tamalpais and the run began at about 9:15 a.m.

First we went down, the flat, then more down into Muir Woods. Then up, up, up and MORE UP. It began to hurt. Yet, in spite of my labored breathing and hurt, it still felt good. It felt good because I knew everybody else was doing it, too. It felt good because I was in good spirits. The people were so nice and so welcoming, especially when some found out it was my first Saturday Morning Run. No wonder Sarah loves it - I loved it and I'd only been once!

I can't say that doing a ton of hill training will necessarily be good for my triathlon training, but I think that coming out once a month for their trail runs would be really nice and a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning. THANK YOU, SARAH, FOR THE RECOMMENDATION!

This past weekend I did yoga for the first time in a month or so and my body reminded me why it's important to do yoga often rather than sporadically. Oh, so sore! It will be nice when I can get settled in and find a place to do yoga at on a regular basis. About halfway through class, I thought "you know...this is nearly better than a massage." It's that good. :)

Finally, an article from today's Wall Street Journal caught my eye - "Are You An Alcoholic?" Just a nice article about how they're trying to adjust the definition of alcohol abuse and dependency for the new DSM-V that's being compiled to include a range of severity so that potential problems can be caught sooner than later. Also a good reminder of what's 'normal' for alcohol intake for all of us. I'll be the first to admit my love of vino and beer, as well as the occasional gin & tonic. Still, I find I'm much more careful about my intake now than I used to be, and don't even necessarily crave a glass of wine every night with dinner. I'll also admit, however, that I would have a hard time going 60 days without craving a drink. Sure, I could do it (let's not put me up to the challenge right now though, okay?), but because I tend to enjoy my wine with dinner at restaurants or have a beer when I go with friends to the Belgian Brewery (The Trappist in Downtown Oakland - totally ROCKS!)...would make it a little rough socially because I wouldn't want the temptation, so I just wouldn't go out. Then...what's the point?

Speaking of alcohol...my friend David told me to drink a grog to warm up. Not a bad idea... :)

On a clear day, a ride in Berkeley is simply just stunning. Me at the top of Tunnel Road on 12/31. Full set of photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/strejo/sets/72157603608270826/