Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday: The Toughest Day

Indeed, Wednesday is my most difficult day of the week. I teach spin twice. It’s not even the double workout that makes it tough. I’ve done two workouts in a day plenty – as have most triathletes. That part is nothing new. And sheez, I get a whole 12 hours in between so it’s REALLY just fine!

No, I think the issue with Wednesdays is simply that I’m TEACHING two spin classes. And working all day in between. My main problem is that I’m not planning ahead well enough and it seems it is beginning to catch up with me. For example, instead of being the smarty pants I KNOW I can be by getting all of the week’s spin classes together on Saturday or Sunday, I inevitably whittle away my time so that Sunday evening I really only have time to plan Monday’s class. Then Tuesday rolls around; I go to swim practice from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m., come home, eat, and by the time I’m sitting down to plan Wednesday’s double duty it’s about 9 or 9:30 p.m. Theoretically I would be getting ready for bed by then. Oops.

The realization is finally hitting me that this ‘process’ really needs to stop or I will break down and it will begin to affect how I teach. I don’t want that. I’m trying to get through this nasty cold; lack of sleep isn’t aiding in recovery now, is it?

Just like everything else I do, I’ve finally realized that if I want to continue to be a good spin instructor I really need to plan out when I will be writing out classes and honor that plan. Time to GET WITH IT! Out of curiosity to anybody out there who coaches/teaches as a side job – do you have a routine that works for you to get this kind of stuff done?

In spite of my stress I am CREATING FOR MYSELF (that’s how I know I need to get my act together – it’s stress that I am unnecessarily bringing on MYSELF!), I still absolutely love teaching spin. Seeing my students improve in their ability to push themselves, in their form on the bike, in their willingness to commit to working hard – it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Oh and I love finding new music. If you haven’t checked out the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire, you should! Some great workouts songs on there!

On another note…slight schedule update:

  • March 14 - Solvang Century Ride - Done!
  • NEW: April 12 – Artichoke 10K (Pescadero, CA) – Maybe
  • April 19 - Santa Cruz 10K – a NO GO if I do the Artichoke 10K
  • April 26 - "Just Go" 10K (Santa Rosa)
  • June 7 - Tri For Real #1 Olympic Distance (Folsom)
  • July 4 - Kenwood 10K
  • July 12 - Tri For Real #2 Olympic Distance (Folsom)
  • July 19 - Donner Lake Triathlon - Olympic Distance (Truckee, CA)
  • July 19 – Trans Tahoe Relay (Lake Tahoe) – WOOO!!!
  • August 9 - Tri For Real #3 Olympic Distance (Folsom)
  • August 22 - Santa Barbara Triathlon (MAYBE)
  • September 13 - Escape From the Rock Triathlon (San Francisco)
  • October 25 - The Big Kahuna Triathlon (Half-IM) (Santa Cruz)
  • Insert Date Here - Some Half Marathon

Today’s spin song list:

  1. Children – Robert Miles
  2. Life on a Chain – Pete Yorn
  3. Two Step – Dave Matthews
  4. Aaj Ki Raat - (Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack)
  5. Bottom of the Barrel – Amos Lee (recovery)
  6. Mercy – Duffy
  7. Maneater – Nelly Furtado
  8. Shot in the Dark (remix) – Chris Mancini
  9. Send Your Love – Sting
  10. Get the Party Started – Pink
  11. Bicycle Race – Queen
  12. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
  13. It’s the End of the World – REM
  14. Faith – George Michael

Monday, March 23, 2009

When to rest?

It’s a new week. New goals. New attempts to manage my time and do more with the same minutes I had. But it seems like my body is telling me to rest. Last week, during both Monday a.m. spin and a Wednesday ride I had a difficult time getting my heart rate up. By now I know this is a sign that my body is tired and I need to give it a rest. Considering I had ridden 103 miles at a decent pace only a few days before and I was also feeling a cold coming on, I thought “okay, definitely a good time to take a break.”


Spring has sprung in Sonoma County!!

Begrudgingly, I made Thursday a rest day. Friday morning I still had a little bit of a sore throat but when I taught spin my HR was back to normal and I thought all was well again.

But I still took Saturday off and after yesterday morning’s 2 hr pain session on the bike I decided against swimming. Yet…I still have a sore throat and my nose is all stuffed up again and my voice is not too strong. ARRRRRRRRRGH!

This is positively frustrating! I’ve been trying to build momentum back each week but it seems like I just can’t quite get there. So what does REST truly mean? Take a few days off from everything and sleep? Do lighter workouts? Skip a workout? I know rest varies for each situation – if you’re REALLY sick then you stop working out. But what if you’re just battling two back-to-back colds? I seem to have recovered from last weekend’s century, but I’m still obviously battling whatever sickness has decided to manifest inside my respiratory system.

On another note, I did my first 20 minute run last week (after a several-week-long hiatus from running) and that was actually fairly nice. I think I should be ready for a 10K in a few weeks. Suddenly what used to be such a short distance seems so much longer. When Carmen and I were driving down to Solvang we were discussing running and I said “I guess I just hate how much it HURTS!” She said “that’s because you RACE it! Try just running at a gentler pace and you might enjoy it.”

What a concept. Hmmm. I think doing something like that would be difficult for me but perhaps good practice in throwing the ego out the door. Just enjoying it for the run itself. Yet even on the century ride I found myself wanting to chase people down (silly girl) KNOWING this was NOT a race and NOBODY cared if I caught them. It’s that competitiveness though. It’s what drives me forward in triathlons…from the very first one I ever did. We’ll see. One day at a time.

And now I’m off to swim (I know…rest…but swimming always makes me feel better when I have a cold).

Sunset damons 2 Sunset from my friend Damon & Erin’s window looking out across the avenues in SF’s Sunset District and out to the Pacific

Friday, March 20, 2009

Solvang Century Ride Report

**A Joint Ride Report by Sarah and Carmen and Sarah** (mostly Carmen because Sarah is getting lazy about blogging)

Carmen says:

The first highlight of the trip is the night before the ride. We stopped in Pismo Beach for dinner, just in time to see a breathtaking sunset off the Pacific Ocean.


We then went to Splash Cafe and had what had to be the best Ahi tuna fish tacos in the world. We split our orders so we could each have one taco with this tangy Citris salsa and the other with this spicy horseradishy green sauce. YUM!!

Splash Cafe

Sarah says: This place is NOT to be missed if you’re going through Pismo! It’s on the main drag heading toward the pier. You can’t miss it b/c it will be packed with people!

Carmen says: After dinner we headed down to Solvang to get our ride packets. As usual, there was a product expo where we spent more money than we planned. Sarah nabbed this super cute “Cycling Diva” t-shirt, a TriDiva hat and a pair of sunglasses. I (finally) got the Bento box I’ve been needing and a new pair of sunglasses.

It was nearly 10 p.m. before we got to the hotel in Lompoc. Not much to say about Lompoc, but the hotel experience was classic! We hijacked a luggage dolly and loaded it up with our crap and then rolled it and our bikes up three stories and, of course, all the way to the other side of the hotel. We couldn’t stop laughing as we looked at this thing piled high with gear bags, overnight bags, and groceries. Seriously. We were there for one night but could have stayed a week with the amount of stuff we had!

The next morning we got a little bit of a late start but managed to hit the start line just in time for the cut-off (8:00 a.m.). (Sarah says: really, Carmen? There was a cut-off? I had no idea. :P If it’s not a race…I’m not in a hurry…no stress…and I knew we’d be fast anyway!) It was a bit on the chilly side as we started out but the place was packed with riders and we were excited to get moving. The first group of riders we ended up with had two younger ladies in pink/lavender clothes with a "HOT" sticker stuck to their rear-ends. At first, we were like, "that's cute." But after awhile, they were driving us bananas. Speed up, slow down. Speed up, slow down. By the time we got to the first rest stop, we made a decision to simply roll through and left our little group behind.

BEFORE we left, though, we met Batman and Robin who were riding on a tandem bike. Apparently last year they rode as the Tortoise and the Hare. These two guys were cracking us up - and they were fast! We kept seeing them throughout the ride and yelled, "HEY BATMAN!" (Sarah would like to note that at one point Batman said “You can call me Bruce, too…” and I didn’t get it until about a minute later…DUH…BRUCE WAYNE!)

Batman and Robin
Miles 40-60 were probably the best miles of the ride.

Carmen mile 50

We caught a group of riders a couple of times and were SPEEDING along at some crazy paces. Sarah hung on longer and probably could have stayed all day - she was doing AWESOME! Sarah also had this amazing pull down this busy stretch of a road. Every time we looked back, more and more people were jumping onto the pace line. That's kind of what's neat about these rides. You don't know anyone but pretty soon little groups form and you all work together to get some good miles in.
Mile 60-ish was a low point for me. All that fast fun took a toll and eating was at a minimum because my stomach was revolting. Sarah finally said, "You NEED to eat." She was right. After stopping briefly to eat a half a PB&J, I felt like new and off we went.

Another low point was miles 80-86. Why? Because everyone kept telling us there was this "huge climb" at mile 80. So Sarah went ahead at her own pace while I took it easy to save some legs for the climb. But then mile 80 went by, 81, 82, 83, 84....still no climb. We were like what the heck? Where IS THIS CLIMB? Sarah joined back up and we were for some reason really pissed off by the fact that "big climb" wasn't where everyone said it would be. Can't really figure out why it bothered us so much but I suppose it was just that we were taking it easy to save our legs and it just was nowhere in sight! (Sarah says: I was pissed because at the mile 72 rest stop Carmen had taken off ahead of me since this ‘big’ climb was coming and she figured I’d catch her. So I passed her around mile 76 and thought “well I’ll just keep going and wait for her at the top of the climb.” But mile after mile…this climb wasn’t coming and I felt bad for leaving my friend to ride alone. LAME!) Finally, at around mile 85/86, the "big climb" came. It wasn't really a big climb. These people need to come to Sonoma County - we'll show them a big climb! Nonetheless, I stuck it in an easy gear and went up while Sarah breezed her way to the top.

The landscape for the first 80 miles was bleh. Nothing too exciting, especially when you compare it to our beautiful Sonoma County. But the last 20+ miles were very nice.

Top of climb

Sarah continued to ride strong and I was getting a second wind and feeling great. In fact, after the fun times at mile 40-60, the last 20 miles were the next best miles. Great views and strong legs.

We finished in 5 hours and 50 minutes. Sarah could have gone faster but she graciously waited for me. Even so, I felt like I had a pretty good showing for my first Century ride!

After the ride, we stopped at a Danish Bakery and had the BEST Danishes and coffee. Although it could be that everything tastes better after you've ridden 103 miles. One thing we noticed, though is that Solvang is kind of an eerie town. It's suppose to be really cute with all the Danish architecture but, hello, we're in the middle of California. EVERYTHING has a Danish spin to it. It kind of felt like the twilight zone. Beautiful, but strange.

All in all, it was a great day!

Sarah says: I think Carmen did an awesome job with this ride report, so I don’t feel like I really needed to add much. Or I’m just lazy. ;) But seriously…while not the most scenic century I’ve ever done, definitely one of the BEST!!

First, I had great company (yay, Carmen!).

Second, I felt like I kicked ASS all day long. And when we finished I thought “ya know…I could ride another 30 if I wanted to.” My nutrition was solid all day and I never felt too tired or like I wished I could just get off my bike and curl into a ball. THAT is an achievement for me! All I can say to people is EAT, EAT EAT!!!! Gotta keep eating on those long rides even if you’re not hungry.

Third, it felt so awesome to pull a train the way I did. I was scared to look back and see how many people were on the back but when Carmen told me there was a huge long line behind me I just smiled this big smile and kept on pedaling. Yeee haww!

Fourth, it felt awesome to join up with a train of guys at mile 70 and be going at 28 mph. We were FLYING! Love love love love that.

Fifth, I was so proud of our ride time and really proud of Carmen. I think she had a spectacular first century – and she’s only been riding for about a year now!

Thanks, Carmen!

Enjoy our photo album from the trip…

Friday, March 13, 2009

This weekend: Solvang Century!

I know I’ve been super lame and haven’t been writing much lately. Just so much busyness and I wish I could say with training but sadly the last two weeks have been not so great training-wise (especially now that I have a couple of runs to prep for!). Que sera, sera. Life happens and you have to just roll with it. There’s no point in being upset over things I can’t control.

SO here it is Friday already! This is a short post because Carmen and I are taking off at 1 p.m. to drive down to Solvang for the Solvang Century. YES! Been looking forward to this for weeks. We finally got to ride outdoors last Sunday and did an incredible 75 miles in glorious sun. It felt amazing and I felt SO happy just to be there, on my bike. During those four hours, there was NOWHERE else in the world I wanted to be than riding my bike through Sonoma County vineyards with friends on a sunny day seeing all sorts of other friends along the way who were also out riding. It was heavenly and I was so grateful for the weather finally cooperating.

The other cool thing that happened this week was that I got a re-fit on my tri bike from Rand Libberton at Aria Velo. This was more of a ‘mini-fit’ because he had helped my friend Pat get fit to my bike when I was going to let Pat borrow it for IM AZ last year when his bike kind of broke at the last minute. So Rand was just making sure that things were back to how they should be.

BUT I learned about what a ‘real’ fit involves there – first of all, it’s a 4-HOUR SESSION. Wow! I was so impressed with the detail that’s involved, from discussing what type of riding you want to do with your bike to getting you set up with 3-D points so he can evaluate every aspect of your positioning. His set-up is super high-tech and I just couldn’t get over the level of details he gets to in determining a proper bike fit. What’s more, he keeps all of your ‘numbers’ so that when you’re out looking at new bikes he can pull them up and say ‘yeah, I don’t know about that model, you might be 3 cm too short for it,’ etc.

Why do I write about this? Because for all the time and money we spend on our bikes, this could be the best $350 you’ve ever spent. I’m SO excited now to book a full appointment with him, especially as I’m looking at new road bikes this year. I think it will help big time. If you’re local, go check out Aria Velo. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

That’s it for today. Hope everybody has a great weekend of training and good luck to any event-goers! I promise to post pictures of our ride next week!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sweet Swim, Go SERC!

My friend Heather posted this video on her Facebook page this evening. South End Rowing Club (SERC) is a club in San Francisco that, among many things, fosters the sport of open water swimming. They are nested right at this cove near Ghiradelli Square and many swimmers new to Bay swimming get their start with SERC. Folks can swim in the cove (typically sans wetsuit) and have the comfort of a nice sauna afterward to get their body temps back up.

All of my serious open-water swimming friends are/were with SERC. In the open-water swimming world, it's known as one of the best places to train for big swims because the Bay has so many changing conditions.

One of the most challenging club-sponsored swims is the Pt. Bonita -> SERC swim. Below is a video of it.

While I never felt a desire to swim more than 3 miles in the open water, I always sincerely appreciated my friends that did. I crewed for my girlfriends Jessica, Alice and Amber when they swam the Maui Channel and I tried to help out as often as I could when they were training for other big swims.

Open water swimming is just downright HARD! Besides the physical aspects of swimming hours upon hours in training, there is so much coordination involved. Getting your crew for training swims. Making sure you have a boat. Making sure your crew is fed. Etc etc etc. Then there's the acutal SWIM DAY. Again, making sure you have your boat and driver AND a back-up plan in case something goes wrong.

I think I really just appreciate the will it takes to want to do something like this - whether it's 5 miles, 10, 20 or beyond, I would get SO BORED! The Donner Lake swim is 2.7 miles and I do enjoy that swim a lot, but by the end I'm definitely ready to be done.

These people put so much time, effort and dedication into this - I really think it's just awesome. Enjoy the video. :)

Yesterday was Square Root Day!

It was 3/3/09 - and three is the square root of 9 (3√9). So the next one won't be until 4/4/16. Isn't that cool how that works?

Yes...I AM a math geek! However, instead of celebrating Square Root Day the healthy way and cutting up root vegetables into squares, I went to Happy Hour at Equis where they were serving $2 beers and $2 appetizers. So I drank 3 Racer 5's (TWO DOLLARS EACH, OMG!) and enjoyed the early evening with 9 friends (4 of them people we met there, but friends!). I was pretty proud of how that worked out.

However, celebrating in that fashion also meant that I skipped masters swim. Whoops! Gotta have some fun when it presents itself, though.

Still, I felt a tad guilty this morning (only a tad) and decided to start filling in that race calendar.

There are two 10K races in in Santa Cruz and one in Santa Rosa that is benefiting REACH (the medic helicopters). I may just do both! Why not?

Doing those would help get me back into running shape for the Tri For Real Series in Folsom in June, July and August. I may throw in a couple sprint tris in between as well. Then I will finish the season with a half marathon (not sure which one, any suggestions?) and the Big Kahuna in October.

I also really want to pick a few bike races to do this summer as well just for fun and to see how they go/how I like them. Velopromo doesn't seem to have anything up past April yet but we'll see.

Sure is looking like a full plate (I'll update my sidebar soon)..
  • March 14 - Solvang Century Ride
  • April 19 - Santa Cruz 10K
  • April 26 - "Just Go" 10K (Santa Rosa)
  • June 7 - Tri For Real #1 Olympic Distance (Folsom)
  • July 4 - Kenwood 10K
  • July 12 - Tri For Real #2 Olympic Distance (Folsom) -OR-
  • July 19 - Donner Lake Triathlon - Olympic Distance (Truckee, CA)
  • August 9 - Tri For Real #3 Olympic Distance (Folsom)
  • August 22 - Santa Barbara Triathlon (MAYBE)
  • September 13 - Escape From the Rock Triathlon (San Francisco)
  • October 25 - The Big Kahuna Triathlon (Half-IM) (Santa Cruz)
  • Insert Date Here - Some Half Marathon

I have to smile as I look at this. Knowing that I'll be adding in a few other goodies in between, it IS turning out to look like a busy season. And I'm GLAD about that! I've taken an extra long time this year to actually lay out a schedule. I've taken an extra long break from running. I've chosen leisure over working out (well, not always, but many times in the last few months) when the opportunity presented itself.

But I FINALLY, finally feel like I WANT to run again. Like I am ready to commit to a few more hours a week. My words can't even describe how good it feels to actually want all of this, maybe more than I've ever wanted it before. And really my goal this year is to simply do the best _I_ can personally do and have fun at it.

I am also making a promise to myself to:
-Refuse to stress over missing a workout here or there
-Take time to rest if I feel I'm getting sick
-Not be afraid to take something off the schedule if it begins to feel like too much
-Take rest weeks SERIOUSLY and ADHERE to them

I think one of the big reasons I was SO burnt out was that I never took proper rest over the last four years. Yes, I took time off between seasons, etc., but never enough. I was always too afraid of 'losing' my fitness. But now it's kind of fun to think of the challenges that lie ahead. Tomorrow's goal - a 20 minute run. Wooo!

March seems to be off to a good start.