Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doing Life Together

Just like workouts, some blog posts are easier than others...even ones you are really looking forward to writing.  This topic has been kicking around my head for a while, but I haven't been able to get it out in a manner that didn't sound cheesy.

Thankfully, Sunday's run helped clear my writer's block  As I started my run and headed down Woodside, I noticed some old friends helping install the front door at my stepson's house.  My run got delayed a good 1/2 hour as I caught up with my friend Denise.  Eventually the topic of my training came up and I encouraged Denise to come try out the triathlon group (she used to be a swimmer, so she's got the hardest part of a triathlon in the bag!)

Cruising to Mexico with the Turners

When I finally started my run, I got to thinking about the friends Mike and I have in our lives.  Most of our friends have become part of our lives because of sports.  My BFF, Kim, and her family is a perfect example.

We became friends back with our kids were 7-8 years old swimming in the Mid-Valley Swim League. My girls swam for the Manteca Dolphins and Jordan swam for the Tracy Tritons.  Eventually, all three girls went to year round swimming and became members of Delta Valley Aquatics.

Swim Dads on the Delta - No kids!
When we moved the girls to Tiger Aquatics in Stockton we met Bob & Denise and their two daughters.  As it turned out, Bob and Denise lived a couple of blocks away from us, so car pooling was a natural next step.

When you spend hours driving kids back and forth to the pool, or entire weekends huddled under leaky Ez-Ups because your kids had a meet in the middle of January, you can't help but become friends.

We have shared meals, camped out, and traveled with these people.  We have spent entire holiday weekends working swim meets together.  These are people who we only met because of sports.  The best part is that we are all still friends even though our kids are grown up and out of the house.

New Team - New & Old Friends

New adventures!
I guess that is what got me hooked on the triathlon training group.  Everything that we had while the kids were growing up and participating in sports is still available to us as adults.  Better yet, instead of cheering for the kids, we're cheering for each other!

Since joining the group last August I have made several new friends and I have gotten closer with other friends.  In all my years of working with Eric, I never knew we both used to drive MGB GTs in high school.  Of course there is Coach James too who we would never have met without this group.

Last night at practice, our lanes were full. Full of family, friends, coworkers, and new faces.  It is a very exciting time for the triathlon group.  I look forward to all of the practices and races we have in our future as well as all of the extras that go along with them.  Although, I'm sure that with this group, any kind of extra activity is still going to include some sort of workout ;-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run

+Mike and I headed down to Fleet Feet tonight for the first "official" Tuesday night run of the season.  New Balance was there and we got to try out some of the newest New Balance shoes (the only running shoe made in America).
I tried out the new 1080v3.  They were very comfy and light.  Not thrilled with the color since white shoes get dirty quickly, but the rep said they were coming out in different colors.  This is definitely a shoe I would consider buying in the right color :-)

Of course, Tony Vice was giving out goodies tonight and we both came home with New Balance headbands and Fleet Feet water bottles.  Next week is going to be a pizza run or a pub run.  Either way, it will be fun.

The Actual Run

After yesterday's 40 mile ride, I was going to make tonight a recovery run.  I started out easy at about a 9 minute per mile pace, but when Mike turned around at the 1-1/2 mile point, I was left running by myself.  Actually, I wasn't running by myself.  I was being chased by a woman wearing the exact same shirt as me!  We both wore our Bad Bass 1/2 Marathon shirts tonight!!  

My shirt and finisher's medal
We chatted briefly about the race and she asked if I had done anymore Brazen events.  I said that I hadn't and that I would have loved to do Bad Bass again this year but it was too close to Barb's Race.  She told me she had just raced Brazen's Badger Cove race which made it very easy for me to cross reference the races and figure out who she was.  (Don't judge me!  I'm just curious.)  FYI...I have a dozen years on her!

Anyway, she was right behind me the entire time.  I could hear her footsteps and I wanted to just stop and say "Go around me!"  However, that is not the way to win a race (not that tonight was a race).  I had to remind myself that I only had a mile to go and if I was at the end of Barb's race I better not be acting/thinking like this.  I pushed through and prayed for a red light at Pershing.  My prayers were answered and we both sort of laughed about being glad to finally get a red light.   Next week I'm not wearing a race shirt ;-)

Weekend Recap

Sadly, my four day weekend came to yesterday :-(   
Here are my totals for the weekend:
  • Swim: Fri, Sat & Mon (2-3 hours)
  • Bike: Fri, Sat, Mon (64.6 total miles)
  • Run: Sat, Sun (14.11 total miles)

Sunday Run

Nobody wanted to run with me, so I went out on my own a little earlier in the day than planned.  Pace was good considering it was warmer than normal.  Luckily I found a water fountain that works at Grupe park!

Monday Ride

Eric came to our house and we rode towards Lodi until with met up with James along Thornton Rd.  Rosa drove to the town of Thornton to meet up with us for the ride home.  It was a beautiful morning and I got a chance to put some more miles on my tri bike.  The Garmin stats at the link below show that I had several miles at a pretty decent pace.  

My bike handled well and I spent more time in the aero position than out of it (thanks to my new shorter stem).  

The stats at the links above are one of the reasons I like using a Garmin on my rides and runs...I can see what my pace was.  As Tony Horton says in P90X "How do you know what to do if you don't know what you did?" (His reasoning for writing things down).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Multi-Sport Kind of Day

Saturday turned out to be a full day of training.  Mike and I started the day in Lodi with the Triathlon 101 class.  I was so excited for this class and it was great seeing all of the new faces.  James did a great job with the introduction to triathlons and soon had everyone in the water working on their swimming skills (this is going to be a great class!)

Coach James addressing the Triathlon 101 class

After swimming, we had to stop by Target to pick up a few things...wet hair and all.  If you want to feel like an athlete, try going to the store with wet hair, no make-up and OWN IT! When some lady in a matching track suit and perfect hair gives you a sideways glance, just give her a look that says "Don't mess with me...because I much tougher than you can ever imagine!"  :-)

We grabbed what we needed and I did a quick search for my favorite Easter candy. Unfortunately, my search was unsuccessful, which is probably just as well.  The last thing I need is a big bag of Easter candy because I need to start getting serious about my nutrition so I can get down to my desired race weight.

I look at it this way, I can spend hundreds of dollars buying expensive bike components that are measured in grams or I can drop a few pounds.  Dropping the weight is not only cheaper, but I'll end up looking better too ;-)


After we got home, I changed into my biking clothes.  I had intended to ride my bike on the trainer (since it was still set up after Mike worked on it yesterday).  When Mike saw me changing, he suggested that we go on a ride instead.  I got the bike off the trainer and strapped on my new helmet (told you I liked getting new stuff).  We headed out to Ladd's and then worked our way back to the Calaveras bike path.  When we reached Pacific Avenue, we retraced our ride back.

I am happy to report that I was much more comfortable on my tri bike today.  The road we take through Brookside out to Ladd's can be quite bumpy in sections.  The surface is smooth, but tree roots pushing up through the asphalt can get you bouncing in your saddle.  I decided that I was not going to let that rattle me and I pushed through the nervous feeling.  My stats show that I had some pretty quick miles (in between some slower ones).  The 22mph mile was heading through Brookside...I even got down on my aero bars...Yay!

Some of you may be thinking "Big deal, anyone can ride like that".  You may be right, but I think I had myself convinced that I couldn't balance on my bike.  Anybody riding behind me wasn't likely to see any hand signals.  If I saw a rider on the road, they would get a tip of the head instead of a wave.

This is the crane pose
Last week I did P90X Yoga and it dawned on me, as I held the crane position for almost a full minute, that I have a lot of strength and pretty good balance.  If I can do crane, I can surely balance on my bike well enough to maintain control of it.

After that realization, I decided to stop the negative mental chit-chat about balancing on my bike.  This made a big difference on the ride today and I was able to wave at a neighbor, change gears (even while on a hill), and flash a few hand signals.

Brick - 1 by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


We didn't intend to do a brick workout today, but after the ride, Mike said he would like to try his legs on a short run.  I'm always up for a run, so I agreed and suggested that we run by the high school to see if the track was open (it never is).  Luckily, there was a baseball game going on and the track was open to give people access to the restrooms.  Yay!

The track has a rubber surface and felt wonderful as I jogged around it. After a couple of laps I decided to pick up the pace to see what I could do.  My Garmin clicked over to a new mile and I started running.  I was very pleased to maintain a 7:35 pace for a full mile (now if I could just do that for 12 more miles!)  After that mile, Mike and I were done for the day and ready to head home.

Brick - 2 by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


One of the things I love about my Garmin is that it allows me to upload all of my data to their website for tracking and reporting.  Since the start of the year, I have run 30 times for a total distance of 221 miles (25,233 calories) and I have rode my bike 20 times for 362 miles (20,014 calories).  Of course, there are a few runs and rides that didn't get recorded because my battery wasn't charged or I forgot my watch, but this is a good start.  I am going to start ramping up my distances next month in preparation for Barb's soon as I finish my workout calendar.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Knowing My Limits

Today was a learning experience for me.  I didn't go farther or faster than I have even gone, in fact, I went slower.

Morning Swim

Lodi High School
The morning swim proved to be a bit intimidating as I found myself in a lane between James and Coach John.  Mike didn't seem to care because he had no intention of trying to follow their lead, but when John announced what the workout was, I figured I might as well try.

As we started off on our first 200y set, I had an epiphany...DO NOT RACE THE SWIMMERS!  Ok, this might seem obvious to a lot of people, but I am a bit competitive and I will always try to at least keep up with the person next to me even if it means my form falls apart and I feel like puking.

However, today was different.  Today I decided that it was Ok not to keep up with the fish on either side of me.  Today I was going to do my swim and continue to focus on my stroke.  Today I was not going to race people that were much better swimmers.  Today I was going to do the best I could do even if that meant sitting out a set.

Aborted Bike Ride

After the swim, Mike and I came home to eat breakfast and rest a bit.  Around 10am I decided it was time to go for a bike ride.  I have been dying to take my new tri bike up to Knights Ferry to give her a spin on the hills.  For whatever reason, I really like this area and do not feel as intimidated by the hills.  Perhaps its because I don't have a fear of going off the side of a mountain or into a tree.

Civil War re-enactment this weekend at Knights Ferry
Anyway, it was pretty breezy when we left Stockton and I prayed that the grass dancing on the side of the road was from cars going by and not the wind.  Unfortunately, it was the wind.

By the time we arrived at Knights Ferry the wind was definitely blowing.  Garbage cans had been knocked over and my Garmin later reported the wind was 22 mph.  Being the hard head that I am, I still wanted to ride.

Knowing that the ride starts with a climb almost immediately after leaving the town of Knights Ferry, I decided to switch to my lowest gear.  I rode around the parking lot to warm up a bit as Mike got his gear on and noticed that I wasn't in the right gear.

As we rode out of the parking lot, I told Mike that I couldn't get in my lowest gear and in fact couldn't get in the lowest THREE gears.  There is a monster hill on this ride, and I knew I would need to be in my lowest gear eventually.  We stopped on the side of the road and Mike made some adjustments.  The bike dropped into the lowest gear, yay!  Unfortunately, the bike would not stay in that gear and kept alternating in and out.  

We rode on for a bit and it felt like the wind was blowing me all over the road.  The clicking noise from my bike was driving me nuts so we stopped again and I told him to just put the derailleur back like it was.  I figured I would just ride without the use of those three gears.  At this point we may have gone two miles.  I pointed to the top of the next hill and told him I thought that was the point of no return.  Once we went over that hill, the only way back is to climb it (the monster hill).

The wind was really blowing by now and as bad as I wanted to continue I decided that it was Ok not to do the ride.  Wow!  Twice in one day I decided NOT to do something!  Who would have thought that a major milestone in my training would be not to do something :-)

Aborted Bicycle Ride by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Swim Lessons

Chlorine hair
My swimming career got off to an inauspicious start as a member of the Mayfair Flyers. The Mayfair Flyers were part of the City of Stockton "B" League.  The idea behind the "B" league was that the participants needed to swim slower than a "B" time.  If you swam too fast (got an "A" time) then you couldn't swim that event again in that age group.

Not sure who thought this was a good idea, but to me it seems to encourage kids not to get too fast.  In fact, a lot of kids would sand bag the entire 2-1/2 month swim season and then blow it out at the City Championships. I like the way Manteca handles their rec league much better.  You can swim as fast as you want, but you can only compete during the months of April - Oct (unless you are a high school swimmer).  This encourages kids to become better, faster swimmers.  Eventually, they make the leap to year round swimming.

Mayfair pool (Anderson Park) is now a skate park
Anyway, during the swim season, we would practice twice a day.  I don't think the pool was heated and can still remember freezing in the mornings.  After practice, we would hang out in the park at the rec center waiting for the pool to open for afternoon swimming.  We would swim all afternoon playing Marco Polo or "Sharks & Minnows".  My mom must have made us go home to eat, but I know that we were usually there again in the evenings for another practice.  My hair was always shiny and green at the end of the summer.

So 70's
Now, you might be thinking that I must have been pretty good after all of that swimming.  Unfortunately that was not the case. (HINT: I never got an "A" time and I didn't swim in high school). The Mayfair Flyers were coached by whoever was life-guarding that summer.  Sometimes they would be good, other times not so good.  A couple of summers, the coaches ended up being a couple of the older boys on the team.  Their coaching style consisted of yelling at people and throwing kickboards at your head if you stopped in the middle of a lap.  Needless to say, there was no stroke correction or any kind of technique work.

Fast forward 30 plus years and I am back on a team (although it is a triathlon team) and swimming laps.  I keep waiting for Coach James to yell at me, but he doesn't.  He is one of the most patient people I know.  I say this because he has been diligently working on my stroke technique since last August and I am finally starting to get it!  Yes, I am a bit of a slow learner...old dog, new tricks...whatever ;-)

Currently I am trying to remember/incorporate the following while I am swimming:
  • Bilateral breathing
  • Hand entry position
  • High elbows
  • The catch
  • Pulling 
  • Keeping my hands wide
  • Hip rotation
  • Shoulder roll
  • Remembering to kick
  • Flip-turns (overrated, in my opinion, for a triathlete LOL) 

Unfortunately, I have been unable to do all of these things at the same time with any sort of consistency.  When I try focusing on one aspect, another one falls apart.  Last night I was concentrating so hard on what I was doing that I ran into the lane line.  Doh!  

Regardless of my aquatic incompetence, I am persevering.  I have a 1.2 mile swim looming in the near future and I need to be ready.  Because James has finally gotten my stroke to come together (thank you James!), I now look forward to swim practice.  Swimming no longer feels like torture.  Yes, it is still a challenge and yes, I have a lot of stuff to work on.  However, I am thrilled to be enjoying myself in the pool again.  Maybe one day James will let us play "Sharks and Minnows" ;-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Support is Essential

Yesterday Mike and I went over to Fleet Feet to do the Tuesday Night Run.  When we got there, the staff told us that, although it was advertised to start on March 5, the actual start date was going to be the following Tuesday.  Nevertheless, we decided to run.

Mike's knee has been bothering him, so he wore his brace.  I could tell he was in pain and at a mile and a half, he took the truck key off of his key ring and handed it to me.  We were a couple of blocks from our house, so he decided not to risk injuring his knee further, and walked home.  I was sad to see him go, but took the opportunity to run by myself for a bit and to do a little speed work.

When I got home from Fleet Feet, I could tell he was not happy about having to drop out early.  I massaged Icy Hot on his knee and told him I want him to take care of himself because I would hate it if he couldn't train with me. You see, Mike is my workout buddy and is usually right there with me doing his thing.

When I do a long, slow run, he can often be found at my side on this bike.  When I am swimming, he is in the lane next to me working on his stroke.  On the bike, I am often the one chasing him. However, while having him at my side makes the workouts more enjoyable, it is not the most important thing.

More Important than a Workout Buddy

Having Mike's support is more important than having him next to me while I swim or bike or run.  It is a tremendous confidence boost to know that he backs my crazy dreams and is willing to go along for the ride.  Honestly, I don't know if I would have even signed up for the triathlon class if he had said something like "triathlons are stupid...expensive...too hard...etc".  Instead, he said "If this is what you want to do, go for it".

I don't know if I even would have completed my first race without his support.  When I was in the bathroom crying before the Golden State Triathlon, he was there to tell me that I was going to be fine and that I had nothing to worry about.  He was also there to load up my bike and put up with my all crazy anxiety that morning.  He now jokingly refers to himself as my pit crew.

Support Even When He's Not There

Me at Bad Bass all by myself
Last year while Mike was away with the guys at the motorcycle races.  I decided to sign up for the Bad Bass 1/2 marathon trail run at Lake Chabot.  This was just as much a physical challenge for me as it was a mental challenge...facing my fear of doing things alone.

This was the first time I had ever done a race by myself.  In fact, it was the first time that I ever driven to a race (that's always Mike's job because I am usually a nervous wreck).  To say I was scared would be an understatement.

I could barely sleep the night before.  I left extra early just in case I somehow got lost on my way to the race.  After checking in, I wandered around aimlessly among the other runners.  I ate one of my GU packs to kill the time.  I walked back to the car to make sure I locked it.  I think I tied and untied my shoes at least 10 times looking for that perfect fit.  I even used the public restroom (oh the horror!).  Normally I would have Mike to talk to before the race instead of wandering around like a lost puppy.  I felt so alone that I was tempted to just leave (I stayed though because the finisher medals looked really cool).

Once the race started my mind cleared of all the pre-race garbage and fears and I began to focus on the task at hand...tackling some very steep hills.  As I neared the 1/2 way point, I began to imagine that Mike had decided to surprise me and was secretly waiting at the finish line to give me a big hug.  I guess you could call it a little imaginary support ;-)

I knew his appearance at the race was highly unlikely since the guys never leave the track once they get there, but it was a positive thought that kept me going through the run. (Later on Mike told me that he had thought about surprising me but that the logistics were against him). I'll admit that I did get a little teary eyed when I crossed the finish line and he wasn't there, but an interesting thing happened during the race.

Support from Competitors

In a longer race, after things have settled down, you may find yourself running with the same group of people.  At Bad Bass, there was a group of 5-6 of us within about a minute of each other.  We traded positions as we fought our way up and down the hills to the finish.  Words of encouragement were exchanged along the way.  Nods and smiles acknowledged the shared struggle.  While I didn't have a hug from my man waiting for me at the finish, I did receive some high-fives from my fellow racers.

I used to think that runners who would say nice things during a race like "Keep it up" or "Finish strong" were just showing off because I felt like I was dying and they appeared to not feel pain.  I could not have been more wrong.  As athletes, we share a common goal.  We are all trying to finish the race.  I have changed my stance since Bad Bass and now offer words of encouragement myself to fellow racers too (if I'm not too winded to speak).

Support from Family

One of the most memorable races for me was the Crazy Eight's Marathon by Tracy's Racing.  If it had not been held on my birthday or been hosted by a race director with the same first name as me, I would have skipped this 33 lap, rain soaked, slog around McKinley Park in Sacramento.  What made this race memorable was not the course or the weather but the support from my family.

Of course, Mike was there, and I knew Lindsey was planning on coming to watch at some point.  Actually, I expected Lindsey and Mike to go eat or at least get some coffee because if I thought this race was boring, I could only imagine what a spectator would think.

Family support for my b-day marathon
Lindsey showed up about half way through the race and that really lifted my spirits.  A while later, I saw some more people standing by Mike and realized that it was Sean and Stephanie and their kids.  I was shocked and started tearing up (I'm really starting to sound like a crybaby). One nice thing about running around in a circle is that people have plenty of opportunities to cheer for you!

Several laps later, I thought I was seeing double.  There were two thin women in rain coats standing next to Mike.  I couldn't imagine who the second woman was.  As I neared the group, I realized that my sister had taken off from work to come cheer for me. I started tearing up all over again, but was a little too tired for a full on cry.

None of these people were required to train with me (although some of them do).  All they had to do was show up and watch the crazy lady run circles in the rain.  All I needed was their support and encouragement.  It meant more to me than I can say.

Support from the Team

Even Coach James' shirt says "I support"
I have now added a new level of support.  I have a coach and workout buddies to keep me going....and the encouragement goes both ways!

Some people may not be as fortunate as me in that their spouse or family does not understand or support their desire to compete, and that is why having a team/group for support is so important.

Having a group to train with means never having to workout alone or, God forbid, go to a race alone.  I feel truly blessed to have so many people behind me!  Thank you everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's More Than Minutes and Miles

This past weekend I completed a 53.4 mile bike ride on Saturday  (the Pancake Ride to Korth's Pirate Lair) and a 12 mile run on Sunday.

Pancake Ride by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

I lamented the fact that my run times weren't as fast as I wanted them to be and questioned whether or not I was making any progress with all of my training.  Monday morning I got up for work and went about my daily routine.  It wasn't until Monday afternoon that I realized the progress I had actually made.

Fun times early in the race
Boring Stats

Lindsey was still having fun at the end
Last year I ran the Avenue of the Vines.  My official time of 1:56:00 is incorrect.  My timing chip was defective and I actually finished a couple of paces behind Lindsey with a time of 1:58:25.  This was roughly a pace of 9:00+ minutes per mile... my goal pace for Barb's Race.

On Sunday, the first 7 miles of my run were faster than my 2012 Avenue of the Vines pace.  Mile 8 got messed up because I made a pit stop at 24 Hour Fitness for a bathroom break and to fill up my water bottle (My Garmin kept running so mile 8 had a pace of 11:20).  My average pace for the run (including my cool-down) was 9:23 minutes per mile.

What the Stats Don't Tell You

Blah, blah, blah... that's a lot of stats about my Sunday run.  Yes, if you throw out mile 8 and the cool down, I ran faster than I did at Avenue of the Vines. Yes, it was following my longest bike ride ever.  However, the stats don't reflect my true progress.

What the stats don't tell you is that two days after Avenue of the Vines I could barely walk. My legs were so sore that I had to use my arms to lower myself down on to the toilet.  My buddy, Mike Turner, put a name to my affliction... DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  (I felt this same pain the day following my first full marathon).

That is what finally dawned on me Monday afternoon...I was not sore!  Ok, maybe a little stiff, but nothing like the days following Avenue of the Vines. This is major progress!!  This means that instead of taking a week or so off to nurse my aching muscles back into some sort of light activity, I am able to keep going.  I am able to build on my fitness instead of backing off.

I need to remember that sometimes the progress I make is measured in more than just minutes and miles.

PS:  I'm doing Avenue of the Vines again this year and my goal is to be smiling at the end just like Lindsey ;-)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reconsidering Rain Girl's Nutrition Plan

"I was planning on swimming today!"
Rain Girl is one of Mike’s many nicknames for me.  He gave me this one because I like doing the same thing at the same time and any kind of deviation can make me crazy.  This is especially true about my nutrition during the week (and my workouts).  

During the week, I like to eat basically the same thing at the same time (7:30am, time for snack!  5 minutes to Wapner!).  I change up breakfast and dinner a bit, but for the most part the timing and the calories are the same. At the bottom of this post is an example of what I was typically eating on a weekday.  This was giving me roughly 1500 calories a day including 245g of protein.

The amount of protein is good.  However, the calories are much, much too low; and I know better.  When I calculated my caloric needs for P90X, I required about 2,300 calories a day.  I lost 35 lbs at this intake level.  Based on the amount of training I am doing now, I am working much harder for longer periods but I'm eating much less.  Unfortunately, my workouts are starting to suffer.

Yesterday's run was a real struggle for me.  When I got home from work, I had planned to go swimming.  Mike was stuck in traffic and wasn't going to make it home in time to go with me, so he suggested I go for a run instead.  I washed down a few crackers with a glass of water and headed out the door.  At this point, I had probably eaten about 1,200 calories the entire day.

I started my run a little too fast, and quickly drained any energy I had.  On top of that, the weather had warmed up a bit since the previous week and it felt like it was 90 degrees (even though it was only 73).  I ended up only going 7.5 miles and at a much slower pace than what I would have liked.  Because of this poor performance, I decided I needed to re-evaluate what I have been eating.  It was obvious that I needed to up my calories.

Of course, this is easier said than done.  I am 7 pounds away from my race weight.  My initial thought is, eat less and you will lose the weight.  However, the whole point of losing 7 more pounds is to improve my race. Improving my race also includes training at the appropriate levels.  If I cannot train at the levels needed, then my race is going to suffer.  I need to eat in order to be able to train.  It's a vicious cycle to someone like me who can get too wrapped up in numbers on the scale.

That being said, I made an effort today to add extra calories to my lunch and to my afternoon snack.  I also tried fixing 3 eggs instead of 2 for breakfast, but I just didn't feel like eating this morning and ended up giving the rest of my breakfast to the dogs.    My first two snacks remain the same, but I did pack some stuff to make a wrap for lunch, and I have dried edamame, cranberries, and almonds for my afternoon snack.

My goal for the rest of the week is to get closer to 2,000 calories a day to see if I start feeling a little better during my workouts.  Of course Saturday is our "Pancake Ride" out to Korth's.  James said it will be a 40+ mile ride so I am going to pig out when I get there.  In fact, I might just get the Pirate Special!

Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic's calorie calculator.  This calculator gave me the same results as my P90X calculations... 2,300 calories a day (based on being "very active") to maintain my weight.

Previous Weekday Menu

  • 1 cup greek yogurt (130 calories, 23g protein)
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries (40 calories, >1g protein)
  • 1 tbls. Agave (60 calories)

Snack 1:
  • 1 whole pink grapefruit (50-60 calories, 1g protein)

Snack 2:
  • Chocolate Shakeology® (170 calories, 16g protein)
  • 1 banana (blended in shake) (100 calories, 1g protein)

  • 1 can solid white tuna (180 calories, 39g protein)
  • 1 green apple (100 calories, >1g protein)

Snack 3:
  • 1 oz. almonds (180 calories, 6g protein)

  • 6 oz. grilled chicken (280 calories, 52g protein)
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli (55 calories, 4g protein)
  • ½  cup brown rice (110 calories, 2g protein)
Post-Workout (optional):

  • If I've had a particularly hard workout, I will have a P90X Results & Recovery drink (220 calories).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gearing Up

Before I get started, I will openly admit that I am a gear junkie.  It's not so much that I need everything I buy, but I just love getting new stuff (even if its used).  Plus, I can never have too many pairs of running shoes or swim suits ;-)

It is OK to Borrow Equipment

In her book "A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey", Chrissy Wellington (4 time Ironman World Championship winner), wrote about the borrowed equipment used in some of her first races.

Coast to Coast (New Zealand) Run, Bike, Kayak

"I'd turned up to this event on a whim, learned how to kayak in a few weeks, borrowed equipment and very nearly won the biggest endurance race in New Zealand."

2006 National Sprint Championships (Redditch)

"As usual, I had borrowed equipment.  First there was the road bike.  Paul Robershaw, the very man who had introduced me to the idea of triathlon at the Birmingham Running and Triathlon Club two years earlier lent one to me.  So: road bike, check.  Now I needed to get hold of a wetsuit.  Mark Hirsch, also of the BRAT club, had a spare."

2006 Shropshire Triathlon
"The night before the race, he taught me how to mount and dismount in my new clip-in shoes.  I even borrowed a wetsuit that actually fit".

2006 ITU Age Group World Championships (Switzerland): 1st place

"And of course, I had borrowed a wetsuit."

2007 Ironman Korea
"I'd borrowed kit off my team-mates and worn an old black vest - not great in the heat - onto which I'd ironed the team logo."

Here is someone winning world championships on borrowed equipment!  She didn't need the latest and greatest technology to reach her goal.  In fact, the day before she won the 2007 Ironman World Championship in Kona, one of the pedals on her bike broke.  In her book she describes how she "fixed it with industrial glue." She didn't run out and buy a new set of carbon fiber pedals.

You Don't Need Fancy, Expensive Equipment

Racing without a fancy outfit
When I showed up at my first duathlon with my Performance store brand bike I moaned to Mike how everyone else had real race bikes.  I looked for other Scattantes, but didn't see any.  I was convinced I was going to get my butt handed to me by these athletes with their fancy cycling outfits and expensive bikes.

I ended up being the 3rd place overall female.  In fact, not only did I not have a fancy outfit, but I did the majority of the race in my running bra because I had dressed too warmly and overheated half way through the first part of the run.  So much for decorum and fancy racing clothes.

Stick to the Basics 

So what will you need in terms of gear for your first tri?  You will need a swim suit and goggles (Stage II in Lincoln Center has just about every type of goggle you can imagine); a bike and helmet; and some running shoes.  That's it.  Basic, basic.  Depending on the time of year, you may or may not need a wetsuit.  My first triathlon was in October so I bought a used one on eBay.  My reasoning was that it was going to cost me $50 to rent a wetsuit, so why not buy a used one for a bit more (I got mine for $75).  If I decided I never wanted to do another triathlon, I would just sell the wetsuit on eBay to some other tri hopeful and not be out any money.  Mike purchased a brand new wetsuit for $99!

I feel a little hypocritical writing this because I love getting new gear, but that is a personal preference and it is not necessary (as evidenced by Chrissy Wellington).  Start with equipment you are comfortable with.  After you are hooked on the sport of triathlon (and you will be after you complete your first race) then you can gear up! :-)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tentative Tracy (or Learning to Love My New Bike)

Tentative is Mike's nice word to describe me on my new tri bike.  Actually he could use the words terrified or terrible.  Well, maybe not terrible, unless you consider the fact that I cannot seem to ride this carbon fiber monster any faster than my road bike (and it's 5 lbs. lighter!).  It is very, very frustrating.

I keep reminding myself that I did not instantly take to my road bike.  I was ready to do my first triathlon, the Golden State Super Sprint, on my mountain bike.  I had been training for 11 weeks on my mountain bike.  I was very comfortable on it.  More importantly, I felt in control.  It was a women's frame, had a nice cushy seat, shifters with numbers on them, and a kick-stand.  What more could a girl ask for?

Well, this girl dared to ask for a little speed and I figured I just wasn't going to get what I wanted out of my beautiful, baby blue mountain bike with the big knobby tires.  I tried riding Mike's mountain bike because his tires we're smoother, but the bike felt too big and wasn't any faster.  A co-worker had offered to let me borrow his bike (we are close to the same height) and I declined.  A week before the race I decided I would borrow the bike.  I made arrangements to pick it up the following day, but before I got over to pick up the bike, I had already purchased my own.

It wasn't a completely rash decision.  Mike and I had been checking out bikes on eBay and Craigslist, and we had been to Performance Bike more than a couple of times to look.  I had started learning about the different components and knew I was looking for a bike with at least Shimano 105 components.  I ended up getting a Scattante (the Performance Bike store brand) W670.  I was not very impressed with the colors on this bike, but it had Ultegra components and it was half off.

I got the bike home and set off on a familiar course so I could compare my ride with my mountain bike ride.  Unfortunately, my maiden voyage on my new bike was at the same time school was letting out.  I was dodging cars and kids as I wove my way around my neighborhood streets.  When I got free of the school traffic, I started heading down a recently resurfaced (chip seal not smooth paving) stretch of road.

My new aluminum frame bike vibrated under me, rattling my bones.   The thin, narrow tires followed the pavement surface, ignoring my efforts to steer the bike.  I was starting to feel a little out of control and scared.  When I got home, Mike asked about my top speed and elapsed time.  I shamefully admitted that my 5 mile ride was only a couple of minutes faster.  My top speed wasn't much better. I was devastated and wanted to cry.

Since I had already spent the money, I was just going to deal with it.  I hated the bike.  I hated how scared I felt and I hated the fact that I was going to do my first triathlon on it.  I was so scared on this bike that I didn't even get clipless pedals.  In the picture above (taken during the race) you can see my bright pink running shoes.  I convinced myself that I did this because it would be faster in T2 than if I had bike shoes on.  I did better on the bike portion of the race than I expected and started to like my new bike.

Unfortunately, the Golden State Triathlon is one of the last ones of the season.  I wanted to race again and I wanted to ride my new bike.  I signed up for a duathlon in the foothills east of where I live.  The race was a success and my bike was an ease on the hills.  I could not imagine trying to do that race on my mountain bike.  After that race, the only bike I used was my new bike.

When I got bit by the triathlon bug, I got it bad.  I started dreaming big and decided that I wanted to do a half Ironman called Barb's Race at the end of July 2013.  As I started training and trying to wrap my mind around what I signed up for, I once again decided that I needed a faster bike.  I needed a tri bike.  

I found a gorgeous bike on eBay that had been used in a few Ironman races including the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas.  I figured it was the bike for me and it was the right size.  I think I got lucky with this bike because the auction ended during the middle of Superbowl.  Even I forgot I had placed a bid on it until after I got home from a Superbowl party!

That brings me to today.  I've got that same, fearful, sick feeling.  I'm afraid that this bike will never be right for me.  I can't seem to get the speed out of her that I want or expect.   I know it's not the bike...I know it's me.  I hate this feeling.  Luckily I know that this is just a passing feeling and that I am going to get better and faster.  I am going to keep practicing on her until I feel as comfortable on this bike as I do on my road and mountain bikes.  

Here's my ride stats from today...actually had a few good moments when I wasn't terrified ;-)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Triathlon 101

We are less than 3 weeks away from the start of the next Triathlon 101 class and I can't wait!  Since I've already been through this class, it may seem weird for me to be excited about it, but I'm excited for all of the new people that will be joining us.  I'm excited for the start of their journey.  I almost feel like some sort of energy vampire because I feed off of other people's excitement, enthusiasm  and accomplishments.  It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you do something that you never dreamed you could do, but you will understand when you cross the finish line.

What to Expect

The first class on March 23 is going to be a swim clinic from 9am-11am at Lodi High School.  Do not fear, you won't be swimming the entire two hours.  If this class is anything like the class I attended last August, the first part will be Coach James talking about the class and triathlons in general.  The actual swimming part will follow the introduction and it will be more technique than training.  Fundamentals will be the main focus.

I remember walking on to the pool deck for my first class and seeing the coach's triathlon gear and thinking "Man, I am in the wrong place.  I don't have all that stuff and I don't want to buy it in case I hate it."  The good news is that you don't need the all the fancy gear for your first triathlon.  All you need is a bike (beach cruiser, mountain bike, road bike, whatever) and a bathing suit (and it doesn't have to be a Speedo).  This is your chance to explore the sport of triathlon.  Hopefully you will love it as much as I do (then you can start buying fancy gear). LOL

Practice, Practice Practice
Lake Camanche

During my Triathlon 101 class, we went to North Shore Camanche for two evening open water swims and one Saturday practice triathlon.  We also had cycling clinics, running clinics, and plenty of swimming.

Open water swimming wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I only saw a couple of fish and I eventually got used to weeds touching my feet.

You might feel a little nervous swimming away from the shore, but James always had people out in canoes to make sure everyone was OK.

Listening to James teach us about open water swimming

Setting our our transition area

We practiced transitions a couple of times.  One time we were at a park in Lodi and our transitions consisted of riding off on our bikes, coming back, racking them, and then running.  We practiced again up at Camanche during our practice triathlon and again up at Sacramento during our practice race (James wanted us prepared!)

At our Camanche practice triathlon, most of us had our wet suits.  Although the water at Camanche was warm enough that we didn't need wet suits, many of us had rented or purchased used ones on eBay and we wanted to try them out.  A couple of us even wore them to swim practice at Tokay High School one night.

Race Practice
One thing you can be sure of, Coach James is not going to let you do your first triathlon without proper preparation.  Not only is James an excellent swimmer, but he knows all the ins and outs of cycling as well.  One Saturday James had a friend of his who is a USA Cycling coach come and host our bicycle safety clinic (not that James couldn't have done this himself).   Our running clinic was hosted by Fleet Feet of Stockton.

While you will get plenty of instruction on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the 10 week course, you will need to do some homework.  As part of the course, you will have access to pool time in Lodi with the Masters swimmer.  If you belong to a gym with a pool, you can practice there.  You will also need to do some biking and running on your own too.


Bright and early with our race numbers on
Our graduation race was TBF Racing's Golden State Triathlon Super Sprint up at Discovery Park in Sacramento.  The race was held in October, and I remember it being pretty chilly...especially the water in the American River.  Lucky for you, your graduation race is going to be in June.

James had us there for our race at 6am.  We were the first one in line for our race numbers and we got a bike rack to ourselves.  We also had plenty of time for warming up and going to the bathroom.

NOTE:  Besides writing your race number on your arms, putting a sticker on your bike helmet and strapping a number on your race belt, the event staff will also write your AGE on the back of your leg!!!

Headed down to the river for the race start
T2 - All that practice paid off
Smiles all around!

Final Notes

Look at the picture above of our first Triathlon 101 graduates.  Everyone is smiling.  Not little, smile for the camera smiles, but BIG, HAPPY smiles!!! In fact, if you look at any of the pictures of our class, you will see lots of smiles.  It feels amazing to step out of your comfort zone and accomplish something you didn't think you could do.  If you have people in your life telling you that this is crazy or that you will never make it, don't listen to them.  You will get more than enough support from the rest of us "tri" crazies and we will cross the finish line together.

Because James Said I Couldn't

Ok, maybe the best reason to go for a run is not because somebody said you couldn't do it, but that is what I did today.  Yesterday on our hill ride up at Camanche, James made a comment that I wouldn't be going on my long run today, which made Mike laugh.  Mike knew at the moment James said that, that I would be running today.  (Don't throw out a challenge if you don't want me to take it LOL).

It was a decent run.  I'll admit it though, it took every thing I had to keep going.  I would do a body check of how I felt to see if I could keep going.  Breathing? OK.  Heart rate? OK.  Feeling loose? YES.  Legs?  Legs?  Hello, legs??? UGH!!  We're sooooo tired!! Well, if that is all you got, then you can keep going.  What are you going to do after 56 miles on the bike?  It also didn't help that breakfast kept wanting to come up instead of staying down (no more huevos rancheros 3 hrs before I run).

Anyway, here are my stats from the run...

Because James Said I Couldn't - Details

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lions and tigers and HILLS, Oh My!!!

Today our tri group met up at Camanche for a hill ride. (Note: we are now an official club with USA Triathlon!!!!  Check out Lodi Masters Triathletes).  We started out with our standard trip down to the restroom at the waters edge.  Afterwards, James proceeded to freak us out with all of his instructions about how not to fall down on the hills.  The only thing I could think was that I was so glad I didn't bring my scary bike.

Side Note:  I feel terribly, terribly bad referring to Pretty Baby II as my scary bike, but that is what she is right now.  This bike scares the hell out of me...especially the thought about taking her on hills.  I've got 5 months...I'll get over it.

Anyway, back to the ride... We headed east and rode to the stop sign.  It seemed much harder than last time and I also noticed that I was riding my breaks down the big hills (need to work on that).  At the stop sign, we turned left (the easy way) and stopped at the "wishing well".  The next hill was HELL!!! It was tough and I struggled to get my cadence up.  I swear that I needed an extra 1 or 2 lower gears to get my up the hill.  Eventually, I stood up and powered my way up the rest of the hill.  We stopped at the look-out point and got some great pics.

After we took this picture, we headed across Pardee dam and headed through Chile Gulch.  The weather was amazing and I even got a tan line from my Garmin.  I can't wait for out next group ride.  

I am currently reading The Triathletes Bible by Joe Friel (suggested by James) and I am trying to figure out my place in all this.  How fit am I?  Where should my training be?  How am I going to work in my group rides?  It sounds like at the upper levels, groups rides are not appropriate to get you to your goals.  That being said, if I had to give up my group rides and friends to place higher in a race, I would quit.  I love getting together and working out with friends.  The fitness and race results are icing on the cake.  Not sure that I would want to change what I am doing.

Garmin Stats: