Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I am SO ready for vacation.




Top 10 Reasons I Know I Need a Break (in no particular order, they're all good reasons):

10. I have fallen WAY behind on reading people's blogs. This happens not because I don't care, but because I'm really tired of sitting in front of computer screens. When the router went down at work yesterday, was I eager to turn the computer on at home and take care of emails and Twitter and blogs and Facebook? Nope. Put my bag down, looked at the computer, shook my ahead and cursed silently, then went into the other room.

9. I'm beginning to skip even the things I love most. I wanted to go out to the Tuesday Night Twilights tonight, just to cheer people on. Nah. Got too much to do before vacation, not to mention I just want to have a 'normal' evening and come home, make dinner, relax and get to bed on time.

8. I'm saying 'screw that' to my 'no alcohol on weeknights' rule. I've been trying to be good lately and skip the post-workout beer or glass of wine. Tonight I said to hell with it. Vacation is 3 days away, that's good enough for me.

7. I'm having a hard time managing my anger. Oh, you didn't know I had anger management issues? Yeah, when it comes to stupid, intolerant, dumb-ass drivers who start to HONK AT YOU (and you're on your bike, enjoying one of the most gorgeous bike rides in Sonoma County, happy as can be) when they're 100 YARDS AWAY and keep blaring as they drive all fast around you...it pretty much makes me angrier than I've ever been. As I began flipping the jerk off and yelling at him as he drove past, he attempted to scare me by slamming on his breaks, as if he was going to back up and do something about it. I threw up my hands as if to say, "BRING IT, ASSHOLE." My scared friends reminded me that it only takes one crazy to actually do something about it, and you never know who that crazy is going to be. Oh, I was SO mad. But they're right. He's in a 2000 pound car and I'm on, well, my bike. In bike shoes. I need a break.

6. All I want to do is sleep. Seriously. Granted, I've raced two bike races in two weeks and that is not something to sneeze at. I need to plan this stuff better because racing at that intensity that often just isn't going to cut it. Yesterday I was asleep by 5 p.m. and only woke up at 9 p.m. to eat some dinner then crashed again by 10. By this evening all I wanted to do again was sleep. And I'm still sore from the weekend, wtf? All I did was Sat morning bootcamp at the YMCA and Sun an easy 45 mile ride. There is NO reason for me to be sore. Except that my body has had ENOUGH!

5. Lack of focus. I can't seem to do anything without losing focus and starting something else. I started this blog post 45 minutes ago and checked email and Facebook 3 times since.

4. Lack of desire to cook. It's starting to be this amazing time around here when the Farmer's Markets start to have more than winter greens and squash and yet I don't feel like making a damn thing.

3. Lack of desire to write. I haven't been writing much lately, I know. Just with so much going on, I haven't had the mental energy to sit down and blog. Sort of goes with #10, too, of not wanting to spend even more time at the computer.

2. Starting to feel fatigued with spin workouts. Just kind of feeling like I'm tired of my workouts and sick of my music and how can I be motivating and inspiring if I'm not truly feeling it? Definitely the sign of needing a break.

1. Have I mentioned sleep? #6 was race and exercise related but #1 here is really about just sleeping. A lot. Naps. No alarm clocks. For several days. It's been quite awhile since I got to have that kind of sleep. I just drooled on my shirt writing about it.

Can't promise a blog in between now and May 30. Leaving Thursday night for Cozumel for one full week of naps, massage, snorkeling, beaching, reading, drinking, and best of all: relaxing.

I can't wait!

(I'm also resolving to bring a journal with me and write every single day! One thing I'd like to do is write my Berkeley Hills Road Race Report from last weekend and post it upon return.)

Me at the Berkeley Hills Road Race

(Thanks for the photos, Ronnie!
Photo Credit: Veronika Lenzi)


Monday, May 11, 2009

Do the Test (part 2)

It's Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 14, 2009! Hooray!

However, I'm going to declare it Bike to Work Week and make my blog all about bike-related stuff this week. Oh, wait. I've already been doing that lately. Well...I guess it's intentional this week!

As an aside, I raced again last weekend - the Berkeley Hills Road Race. Actually I also raced last Tuesday in an informal Team Time Trial. Race reports to come in the next couple of days. Short story: I had SO much fun. Earlier today I got to thinking, and came to the realization that both Berkeley and Wente were races that I just sort of threw in there for fun. In other words, my training over the last several months has been incredibly non-specific and not periodized, nor did I taper for either race. So that said, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for how it's all worked out! There's a lot to learn and a lot of little things I need to do for my next races. Now that I know which direction I'm headed, it's time to buckle down, figure out my race schedule and throw down a plan!

Back to the subject here - Do the Test. Last March I posted an entry with this video:

If you haven't seen it yet, go on and check it out. It's cool!

But if you had already seen it, DID YOU KNOW THEY MADE MORE?!?

Yeah!! I still think the basketball one is my favorite, but these are kind of cool:

In the spirit of cycling, please remember to be aware. Whether you're cycling or driving - we all have to be incredibly aware of our surroundings.

Be safe out there. Wear a helmet. Use lights at night. Signal. Watch your car doors when you're opening them on a street. Look over your shoulder, not just into your car mirrors. Be aware!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Race Day Thoughts

A lot of folks (Soda, Amy, Courtenay, Alexis, Jocelyn, Eileen…anybody else??) are racing Wildflower this weekend and my great friend Carmen is racing the Lake Berryessa Half (also similarly difficult and at a lake but in Napa County, not in the middle of the state). Originally I had a post all set to go in my mind titled “Mexico or Bust” but I’ll save that for Monday. Let’s just say I am still planning on going to Mexico in three weeks and the media and their over-hyped B.S. can KISS MY A**!! (FYI did you know that 36,000 people in the U.S. die EVERY YEAR from flu-related illness? And that so far there have been 8 CONFIRMED H1N1 flu-related deaths? That's all for now...)

I also had a post set to go about an article in the New Yorker this past week on the use of ‘neuroenhancers’ and I have to ask, how is it different from steroid use in athletes? But I will also save that for next week. Go read it and help me weigh in on this ridiculousness.

Yes, a lot of editorializing on my part but both are topics that really get me going.

Oh and there’s also a post in the works on a review of SKWEET! (preview: I give it two thumbs up!), too!

BUT in the spirit of all you fabulous people who are racing this weekend, I wanted to share some wise race-day thoughts that I’ve always loved and helped get me into the right frame of mind. With that said, here you go:

Mental Health: Confidence! You didn't train all these weeks just to be a wallflower competitor come race day. It is a RACE. Go out and be competitive and ready to push yourself out of the comfort zone. Make it different from an ordinary training day.

Recognize that 99% of the time, things will not go as planned. Expect to be ready to face whatever surprises come your way, whether it’s nutrition, mechanical or whatever else may crop up. You've trained through all kinds of conditions and situations so use that strength to your advantage and say “BRING IT ON!”

RACE DAY IMAGE: Strong, fluid, smooth, tons of endurance, lean, and willing to suffer!

POSITIVE self-talk. If you are thinking ‘I suck. All these people are passing me.” Or “Oh god these hills are going to suck because I can’t climb” then how do you expect other people to root for you if you can’t root for yourself? In fact, be so positive and confident in yourself that you occasionally cheer others on as they pass you or you pass them.

BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. If you had a bad swim, suck it up. It’s done. It won’t do you ANY GOOD to think about how you could’ve swam faster or ‘if only I would’ve…” NO “if-only”s!!! Focus on the HERE and NOW. On the bike, keep those pedals turning over, be SO SO proud of yourself because you are HERE. You SHOWED UP. Now focus on kicking ass – whether your goal is just to kick your own or somebody else’s. Once you hit that run, don’t look back for one moment. What’s done is DONE and you can’t change a damn thing. Not only that, you still don’t know how everybody else’s race is going. There’s no way to know so the only thing you need to do now is focus on YOURSELF and finishing strong! You CAN do this!

Some technical tips:

Swim--only concentrate on navigation and keeping a clean stroke. Decent swim times will come directly from fixating on these two things. Forget these and it won't matter how hard you're pulling.

Bike--think negative split on the second half of the bike, that is ride the 2nd half faster than the first. This means going easy the first half! Overall pace on the bike should not feel exhausting as the goal is to not have to walk any of the run due to exhaustion. A 5 minute faster bike split is killed if you have to walk 20 minutes during the run. Allow 5-10 minutes of riding before consuming fluids or fuel. After that, follow the hydration plan you've been doing for long rides, adjusting for temps and higher intensity of the race.

Run--constantly monitor calories and fluids and try to even split each half of the run as closely as possible.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Hope it helps and peps some people up. NOW GO RACE AND HAVE FUN!!!