Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swimming always makes it better

Every time I think "maybe I shouldn't go to swim practice" I tell myself "maybe you should stop saying things like that. Just HTFU and GO."

I was working a little late last night so I knew I wouldn't get there by 5:45...but I could still make it by 6 and thus get a full hour in. That would still be good, especially since Karen was coaching - she's always good for lots of yardage.

And sure enough...3000 yards for one hour which included 5 x 100-yard sprints and lots of rest in between...usually on sprint days the yardage is significantly reduced, so this was about right. On a 'normal' day it might end up being about 3700-4000 yards and my arms want to fall off.

As Karen told us "okay, you're going to do 4 easy 25s followed by a 100 sprint on the 1:20" my mind immediately began to think of all the reasons why I couldn't make that. Out loud I said "couldn't she have made it 1:25?" Then I thought back to my post from earlier. I had to shake that attitude. Hell yes I could do this!

And what do you know...1:16, 1:17, 1:17, 1:18 and 1:16 were my times. I had to do a double take after the first round because I could hardly believe I was swimming THAT fast. Wow!

Right before the last round my friend Todd said "okay Sarah, wanna race?" I smiled and said "you're on!" I always love a good healthy dose of competition.

Of course, all that sprinting made Wed morning spin a little harder than normal, but whatever. It just felt good to have that post-swim soreness when you've had a really awesome workout.

I think I'm going to start a poll every week about spin music. I'm wanting to 'branch out' into new horizons with teaching 4 classes a week and really start changing it up a bit. But in order to do that, I think I'm going to have to start asking folks for suggestions. SO...start looking for a poll here soon.

Also I was thinking of starting a separate food blog like Devon has and Beth & James. It would be a better way to keep track of dishes and probably inspire me to add recipes a little more often. We'll see!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Off the topic of training (again)

I know I haven't been writing much lately.

Life has been BUSY! Much of my spare time in the last two weeks has been spent:
-Working extra hours
-Planning more spin workouts
-Sleeping a little more because I got the crappy cold that's been going around
-Watching the Tour of California on the Tour Tracker (omg SO addicting)
-Thinking about my alternatives 'just in case' we aren't able to get through this recession

What does that last one mean? has been tough lately. I generally don't like to share much about my personal life on my blog because I think there's enough about me already that's public...I don't need to add to it. And I've dedicated this blog to my triathlon life. But I decided to include that on my list because it is a big reason I haven't been writing much lately. Thinking about 'what if' I didn't have a job in a few months...

And you know what? It doesn't really scare me that much. Yes, I have bills/debt to pay. Yes, it would cause some stress. But honestly, is there a better place on this planet to find yourself without a job? I kind of doubt it. Looking around, you wouldn't really notice at first glance this country is in a recession (well, assuming you're avoiding all of the media headlines). I'm not saying it wouldn't suck. But I am saying that there's still a ton of traffic heading down 101 to SF every day; people are still driving out of town up to Tahoe on the weekends; there are still long lines at the grocery store; there were still FOUR (yes, four) new bike shops that opened in Santa Rosa in the past 8 months; there are STILL jobs posted every day. We are not living in a 3rd world country. So...I've gotta stay positive.

I've also been reading more, dare I say it, 'self-help' books. Okay, I'm only on one right now. My goal is to read 15 min a day because if I didn't set that goal I'd keep reading my New Yorker magazine and Triathlon magazine and Bicycling and Gourmet and I'd never get around to the books. So 15 min of reading a BOOK every day. Slowly but surely, I'm reading a book called "The Magic of thinking Big" by David Schwartz. (Also reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch...another nice and inspiring little read)

I used to think books like that were kind of cheesy. But I'm coming to realize that our society is full of negative thinking and a negative attitude and just...well, a CAN'T-do attitude! We're bombarded with negativity every single day, ESPECIALLY this doom-and-gloom about our economy and society. I've had enough of it.

Just like with triathlon, you have to focus on the things you CAN control. You can't control getting a flat in a race. But you can control how fast you know how to fix it, not getting angry, etc. You can't control your body breaking down in the run or throwing up; but you CAN control learning from every race and doing everything you can to ensure proper nutrition/hydration.

So I can't control the economy and I can't control what happens every day in this business. I can only do the best job possible, and that includes focusing on the positive and making sure I'm giving 110% effort in the work that I do.

This would also mean that my focus has been slightly taken off of training. I'm getting about 8-10 hours a week in, so that's not bad. I'm not running right now, but I'd like to start picking it up again in March. Just doing enough to stay fit and sane and healthy, which is okay with me right now. It's all about balance!

Since it's been raining cats and dogs the last two Sundays, we've been doing 2-hour indoor rides at the Airport Club. It's actually been a LOT of fun and a GREAT workout! I lead the first hour and my friend Tim leads the second hour. We both have diff workout styles where I'm more focused on cardio and Tim's hour is more based on building power or speed. We've had fairly large groups join us both weeks so it makes the time FLY by. Last Sunday I managed a good 2500 yards in the pool afterward and just felt AWESOME!

Overall, life is STILL good and it's a great feeling to really recognize that in spite of some of the worries about what lies ahead, I can really still be so grateful for where I'm at and what I've got. AND HELLO, LEVI WON THE TOUR OF CALIFORNIA!!! SO awesome!

The other awesome thing that happened last week? Lance Armstrong had been twittering about diff music he was listening to. I responded "I'm going to have to check out some of this music you're talking about - I've never heard of any of it!"

LANCE RESPONDED DIRECTLY TO ME and (putting the smack down) said "C'mon Sarah, get with the program!"

Ha. Guess I'd better get hip with what Lance listens to. :)

Then the next best part was that JP saw his Twitter and emailed me and said "Did you just get a shout out from the man? Way to go!"

That's all for now. Will def try to get back and update sooner than two weeks from now!

OH and FYI Dave Zabriskie's house was broken into during the ToC and they stole everything. :( Here's the article and please pass this on. It's really sad.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Warm Fuzzy Wednesday

I couldn't resist sharing two things that I recently found that just made me smile. They reminded me that everybody, no matter who they are, deserves, needs and ENJOYS a little kindness and friendliness from time to time. Even the grumpiest people!

This pic is from November - a friend JUST sent it to me.
It was from the Girls on the Run 5K.
Me and Christina, one of my spin student's daughters.
I LOVE this pic - makes me smile. ;)

This post seems to be especially appropriate today for me because spin this morning was one of the best classes I felt I've taught in awhile. Then again, teaching it seems to just get better all the time. My students are AMAZING. They inspire me. Today I REALLY challenged them to push harder than ever; to keep pedaling even though their legs were burning; to bring their heart rates up and keep the cadence high in spite of it all.

They rose to the occasion. I could tell JUST how focused they were when one of my students, after I wished everybody a Happy Valentine's Day, said "awww, no theme for the music, huh?" I said "Actually...I DID have a theme - didn't you notice they were all 'love' songs?" She had this look of wonderment and slowly came to the realization that I was right. I laughed and smiled and said "I'm guess you were SO focused and SO in the zone you weren't paying attention, that is AWESOME!"

There is something about my morning class at the Y. We joke and laugh and at the same time, when it's time to buckle down and focus and push hard, they give it 110%. Most of them aren't athletes outside the gym but they are there to work and be healthy. They're there, every day when they Y opens at 5:30 a.m., committed to themselves. I think it's wonderful.

So, to add to the warm fuzzies, I've got two brilliant things to share:

1) Article from today's SF Chronicle: SF General Hospital Honors 48-year Volunteer
You can read the full article from the link above, but here's a snippet to make you go read more:

Every week for 48 years, the 82-year-old Russian Hill resident - the hospital's longest-serving volunteer - has filled a shopping chart with curlers, hair dryers, hair spray, savers, shaving cream, scissors, towels, a pink mirror and a big, black smock. And every week, she's wheeled the cart down the institutional hallways, stopping whenever a patient needs a new 'do.

Vidal Sassoon she is not. She never had any training before taking on the volunteer position and said she doesn't bother keeping up with the latest styles. Forget anything fancier than a couple of inches off the bottom.

But for the patients at San Francisco General, many of whom are uninsured and homeless, none of that matters. Tanner is often their only visitor who's not there because it's her job, instead offering them 20 minutes of grooming and chit-chat just because she wants to.

Wow...48 YEARS volunteering!! This woman ROCKS!! And I can only imagine how her 'clients' must feel.

2) The Latest Improv Everywhere Mission: High Five Escalator

Description: For our latest mission, Agent Lathan gave out 2,000 high fives by standing next to a subway escalator (in NYC) during the morning rush. Five additional agents spread out along the adjacent stairs, holding signs that prepared commuters for the upcoming high five fun. Enjoy the video first and then check out the mission report and photos below.I mean, how COOL IS THIS?????

You'll have to read the whole report but the 'agents' wrote about the people's reactions to this whole thing. They went from 'huh' to pretty soon being like 'wow, a high five!' And the 'post high-five glow' they had was apparently great - all these people who are normally very ho-hum and blank-faced on the morning commute (I SO remember that from taking BART to SF every morning...) had these big smiles on their faces and it was so clear that this had really brightened their morning.

I love stuff like this. It's the little things that can really make (or break, even) our days. You never know what a smile to a random person might bring them (or a high five! Everybody loves high fives!). Or sending a card to a friend.

I know I'm being all warm and fuzzy but it IS the week of Valentine's Day AND it's great to be reminded how much random (or not so random) acts of kindness can mean.

Have a GREAT week!

Monday, February 09, 2009

So much stuff!

I realize I'm pretty far behind in blogging. Things have been, shall we say, BUSY lately!! So I have some quick updates and two announcements for anybody who cares:

**I'm now teaching spin 4x/week: Mon 6 a.m., Wed 6 a.m., Wed 6 p.m., and Fri 6 a.m. (This means even more time spent planning workouts and making sure I avoid song repetition)

**We got a new computer and switching all music/photos/docs from the last 4 years on my Crapintosh over to the new PC has been time consuming, to say the least.

**We went to L.A. from 1/26-2/1 so I was busy working and having fun.

**I'm getting back into the swing of training! Which means less chill time (aka blog-writing time) in the evenings. I'm actually starting to feel a desire to run again. And to race again. It is a FANTASTIC feeling. Just the other day I was glancing at some old tri photos from last year of me running out of transition and I smiled and thought "that was fun. I can't wait for sunnier, warmer, longer days to do THAT again!"

**I'm SWIMMING again. And I'm KIND OF FASTER! I was making 100s on the 1:25 consistently without drafting off somebody! I was doing 100 IMs on the 1:34 - getting closer to being back at my 1:30 IM pace, NICE! (If only I could swim free as fast as I can do IM...sigh...)

**I've been busy having Tour of California FEVER! Team Astana is in town and everybody I know is all giddy and starstruck because of random Team Astana/Levi Leipheimer/Lance Armstrong sightings. It is SO cool. Last week I was driving down a main street in Santa Rosa and was turning left at an intersection; as I was turning, I realized that there, to my right, was TEAM ASTANA WAITING AT THE LIGHT. OMG OMG OMG OMG! I was so excited I didn't know what to do. After I made the turn I pulled over and as they rode past I cheered them on and hooted and hollered. It was cool.

Okay so I promise to write a real blog post in the near future. Life is good and busy and I'm happy so I don't really feel too bad. :)

Me and Pliny the Elder (double IPA, MMMM!!)


1) Team Aquaphor is now recruiting for 2009! If you are interested in learning more and/or applying,
click here. Applications are due by March 6.

2) Norcal Bike Shop is having a Tour of California After-Party at Stout Brothers on 4th Street in Santa Rosa. They're raffling off a Specialized fixed-gear bike and up to $1500 in bike gear.

Sun, Feb.15, 5-9pm. You have to pre-buy tickets at the shop.
Click here to learn more and BE THERE if you can!!!