Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run

There were no shoes to try out, no free socks, no beer, and no ice cream tonight.  Tonight was just running.  Unfortunately, my legs were really tired. I was sure that my time was going to be 5 minutes slower than last week's run.  As it turns out, I was :23 seconds slower.  However, last week I rode on the trainer for over an hour prior to the run, so it's not as good as it sounds.

Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Pre-Angels Camp Freak Out

Before we headed out on the run tonight, Mike was talking to Tony about the Angels Camp triathlon and that stupid hill (it's not a rolling hill!!!).  Tony offered a warning to take it easy on the descent because there is usually at least one wreck at this race.  Great!  First I was worried about making it up the hill, now I've got to worry about making it down the hill.

Maybe I'll bring both bikes on Friday to see which one I like better on the hill.  I still believe that I need to be comfortable on my tri bike on hills because that is what I'm planning on riding for Barb's Race.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Long Run - Details

Not much to report today.  It was hot and my legs were tired.  I made the best of it and did my long run. Mike followed me on his bike to make sure I had plenty of water.  He even went home and got me a GU after I realized that I forgot to bring one.

Sunday Long Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Random Thoughts 

As I was running I thought of all of the unacceptable reasons for not training (this is only intended for those people with an upcoming race):

  • It's too hot
  • It's too cold
  • It's too windy
  • It's raining
  • I hate running/biking/swimming (pick your poison)
  • I'm on my period
  • I had too much to drink last night
  • I don't have anything to wear 
  • I've got no one to train with
Upcoming Races
  • May 12 - Angels Camp Triathlon
  • May 19 - Avenue of the Vines
  • June 1 - Tri for Fun

Saturday, April 27, 2013

F'n Bike

Friday was a furlough day for me.  I had wanted to get up early and go swim, but I'm still not sleeping well through the night.  I was up for at least 3 hours :-(  When the alarm went off at 4:15, it was a quick swipe across my phone to silence it and then back to sleep...oh well.

Mike had a meeting at work, so he left early.  I did some laundry and a bit of house work and decided to pop in my Spinervals "Hardcore 100".  I figured I would ride until Mike got home and then we would go have lunch or head down to the Asparagus Festival.

Mike got home earlier than expected.  I only got 2 hours into my 5-1/2 hour Spinervals workout.  Mike asked if I wanted to drive up to Angels Camp and check out the race course.  Of course I said "Yes!".  I found a Map My Tri map of the course, packed our wetsuits, and we headed out the door.

Angels Camp Practice Run

Correct boat ramp - still steep
Our first stop was at the wrong boat ramp, and I'm glad...it was long and very steep.  I checked my map and realized that we needed to be at the Angels Creek ramp.  After a short ride, we packed up the truck and moved to the correct location.  Unfortunately, this ramp was closed, so we were unable to park in the actual transition area and had to park down the road a ways.

We rode to the boat ramp so I could take a look. It didn't seem much better than the first ramp we stopped at. The water level is pretty low, and the surface of the ramp looks rough. I may put a pair of flip flops at the exit point to protect my feet on the way up.

We started on the ride, which actually took us back to the first boat ramp. There were a few short hills that weren't too bad. There was one hill required a little extra effort. When I stood up to pedal, my back brake grabbed!  With every revolution of the wheel it was Erk! Erk! Erk! Erk!  OMG!!!  It freaked me out a bit and made trying to get up that small hill quite challenging.

As we came back to the Angels Creek access road, I looked up ahead and saw a huge hill...which clearly did not fit into the category of a "rolling hill". This thing seemed to climb forever.  After the incident with my rear brakes on the shorter hill, I was wary of trying to climb this hill.  Mike took off without me, which pissed me off, so I stood there for a while expecting him to come back down. When he didn't turn around, I started walking my bike up the hill. Screw it! I don't care what anyone thinks! (James would have been sooooo disappointed LOL).

This is NOT a "rolling hill"
I was seriously mad at this point. Mad at Mike for leaving me behind. Mad at my bike. Mad that I signed up for a race at this location. As I pissed and moaned my way up the hill I wondered how mad Mike would be at me if I chucked my bike over the side.  Argh!

The road leveled off briefly and I knew I would never catch up to Mike by walking. I climbed back on my bike, opened the rear brake release all the way, and started pedaling up the hill. Erk! Erk! Erk! Erk!  The brake was still grabbing. I finally broke down and started crying.  Mike had circled back by now and I told him I wasn't going to try and ride the bike like this the rest of the way up the hill.

I closed the release on both the front and rear brakes (the front wheel is a different story) and screeched my way back down the hill. I fully expected my wheels to catch fire or at least start smoking :-) Of course, at the bottom of this hill you have to make a right turn to head back to transition. I survived the turn, probably because I was going so slowly down the hill and I thanked God for the straight flat road back to the truck.

Rolling hills? I don't think so! by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details  (shorter than actual race route because I turned around)

My Pit Crew

Not just a pretty face
After we got back to the truck, Mike checked my bike and found that the rear wheel was loose. When we got back to Stockton, he made a call to his son to see if we could borrow his lockring removal tool (or whatever it is called).  I mentioned that it would be helpful if we had a bike stand.  He agreed, so we made a pit stop at Performance and got a bike stand and a complete bike tool kit.

After Mike removed the wheel, he immediately found the problem (didn't even have to remove the cassette).  He tightened things up and put the rear wheel back.  Problem solved!

Back to Angels Camp

Next week some of our tri group is planning on heading back up to Angels Camp.  I will climb that hill! We will also be bringing the bike tools with us just in case there needs to be some adjustments made.  Oh, and I will NOT be riding on the trainer for 2 hours before attempting this again :-)

I will also be getting in the water.  We packed our wetsuits for our trip, but forgot to pack our goggles.  Actually, after the crap with the bike, I was in no mood to swim.  It was probably for the best that we called it a day and headed home.

While I really would like to ride my road bike in the race, I found that my TT bike has better gearing for hills.  Besides, Barb's Race is supposed to have "rolling hills" (uh oh) and I will also have to climb Chalk Hill during the race.  The Angels Camp hill is going to be my training ground for now ;-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sleepless in Stockton

I woke up this morning at 3am (still not sleeping through the night).  I decided that I may as well get up instead of trying to fall back asleep (only to have to get up again in an hour).  I popped Spinervals "Lean and Mean" in the DVD player and climbed up on my bike.  An hour latter, I was soaked in sweat and ready for some coffee.

Salmon Stir Fry
As I mentioned in a previous post, the scale hasn't budged in over a week.  I tell myself it's nothing to get upset over, that everyone hits a plateau. Regardless, I'm working to lose about 5 lbs in the next 3 weeks.

I made a good effort to eat clean today even with a refrigerator full of cake at work.  I also avoided snacking when I got home by immediately fixing dinner (we had to eat early because of swim practice).

Instead of grilling the salmon like I normally would, I made a salmon stir fry with red onions, red peppers, garlic, ginger and broccoli and served it over quinoa...yum yum!

Bye Bye Progress

After dinner, we headed to Lodi for swim practice.  When we got there, James introduced some new swim techniques that he learned at a Masters swim clinic.  While these techniques should speed up my swimming, they seemed to slow me down.  All of my progress I felt I made over the past few weeks was gone as I tried to incorporate the new techniques. It was pretty frustrating.  I have been working on relaxing in the water and taking my time.  The new pulling technique made me forget all of that and had me winded and disappointed.

Hardest Day of the Week

Tomorrow is the hardest day of the week for me.  It's not because of any workout either.  It's because Thursday is generally my day off and taking a day off is challenging.  In my mind I feel like I should be working out more and that any time off is a step backwards.  Now before you start messaging me about the importance of rest/recovery, I know all of that...that is why I am taking a day off.  I'm just saying that in my mind I think I should be doing more.

Angels Camp Triathlon

My next race is the Angels Camp Triathlon on May 12.  The swim is going to be longer than the swim at the Ice Breaker Triathlon.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but I'm also looking forward to it.  I need to have a successful open water swim to finally put Ice Breaker to rest.

If I'm lucky, I will convince Hot Stuff to take me up to Angels Camp on Friday for a little practice ;-)

Fleet Feet Ice Cream Run (sans ice cream)

Yesterday was the highly anticipated Fleet Feet Ice Cream run.  I have had ice cream on the brain since hearing about this run, but I refrained knowing that I was going to indulge last night.Unfortunately, Mike made other plans for us. So, while I still did the Tuesday night run, I had to miss the ice cream :-(  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the scale hasn't budged in over a week.

Brick Workout & Free Socks

Prior to the run, I did an hour and 15 minutes on the bike trainer using my new Spinervals DVD "Hardcore 100".  The description on eBay said it was a 3-disc set.  What I didn't realize when I ordered the DVDs what that they were intended to be used consecutively as part of the same workout.  The complete 5-1/2 hour workout is supposed to replicate a century ride.  Yikes!  5-1/2 hours on the trainer...my flower gets sore just thinking about it.

I finished on the trainer about 5:15pm, changed into my running clothes, and headed to Fleet Feet with HS.  Since I knew we would possibly be testing out socks along with running shoes, I decided to wear a brand new pair of hot pink socks that matched my shoes (I didn't want anyone to see my old dingy running socks).

When we got to Fleet Feet we were told that we could have a brand new pair of Feetures! socks IF we surrendered our current socks.  Argh!!! I really liked the hot pink socks!  However, my hot pink Gold Toe socks were relatively cheap...7 pairs for $11.99 at Target.  The free pair of Feetures! was somewhere in the range of $10-$15 a PAIR!  In fact, I went to Zappos and found a 3 pack of the sames socks for $44.97.  Bye-bye hot pink socks.

New Feetures! socks...well worth the trade

Time for New Shoes

After we put on our new socks, we had the choice of trying out a pair of Brooks Ravenna or Pure Grit.  I opted for the Ravenna and Mike chose the Pure Grit.  Over the past month, I have tried New Balance, Merrell, and now Brooks.  I am torn between the New Balance 1080 v3 and my current Brooks Pure Cadence.

My Tuesday night choice
The Brooks Ravenna felt great at first, like I was running on marshmallows.  However, about mile 3, a couple of my toes started to go numb and I was no longer enjoying the shoes as much.  Also, the Ravenna provided a little more stability than I like in a running shoe.

I ran a report on Garmin Connect to see how many miles were on my current shoes.  Based on the mileage recorded, I have approximately 650 miles on my Brooks Pure Cadence.  This is a bit on the high side, but the shoes have held up great.  I went to the Brooks web site to see the color selection for the new Pure Cadence 2's and I'm not seeing anything I like as much as my hot pink Pure Cadence...bummer.

I hate to make a shoe selection based solely on color, but fashion is a consideration :-)

The Run

Last night's run was good.  It was a minute slower than last week's time, but I did ride an extra 20 minutes on the trainer, so I'll chalk it up to that.  Also, it was considerably warmer than last week.

Fleet Feet Ice Cream Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hormones and Hand Grenades

I'm going to work my way backwards through this weekend's training activities because they seemed to go from good to bad.   

Hormonal Digression

First off, let me digress by saying that triathlon training is tough. (I would recommend that the men stop reading at this point, but they didn't listen about the "Flower Power" post, so I won't waste my time telling them again).  Anyway, triathlon training is tough for any athlete, but I contend that it is even tougher for a female.  It is especially tough for a 45 year old woman who's body is in the process of a "last call" of sorts.  Not that anything has stopped, unfortunately.  

If it could all just be over, it would be great...I wouldn't have to cross reference the calendar with the race schedule.  If things could just be normal, it would be fantastic. Unfortunately for me (and Hot Stuff), things can get a little crazy. I am guaranteed at least 4-5 days a month of insomnia.  No matter how hard I train, I cannot sleep though the night.  I will wake up around midnight and toss and turn until about 3am.  If I am lucky enough to doze off, I am cruelly awakened by my alarm at 4:15am. 

This little sleep problem is what kept me from going to swim practice on Friday morning. I had managed to fall asleep and when the alarm went off, there was just no way I was dragging myself to Lodi to go swimming. On top of the sleep thing, there is bloating, fatigue, weight gain, and a wee bit of crabbiness. All of this can wreak havoc on a training schedule.

I know the female problem is ramping up when I start crying for no particular reason.  After my dreadful run this afternoon, I sat poolside, soaking my feet and reading "Can't Sleep, Can't Train, Can't Stop: From Common Man to Ironman" by Andy Holgate.  When I got to the part where he crossed the finished line and became and Ironman, the tears started to flow.  Uh oh.  This is a another warning sign...be prepared for more posts about crying and running.  LOL

Ok, enough about that...other than I hope my hormonal stars align for Barb's Race...on to my training this weekend.

Is It Hot or Is It Just Me?

This morning Mike T asked me how far I planned to run.  I answered 13-15 miles and fully intended to run that distance.  I started my run about 1pm and by mile two I was downing my Gatorade. Typically I carry water with me, but I decided I needed Gatorade today. Big mistake and I drank too much too fast.  After I passed mile three, Hot Stuff caught up with me on his bike and caught me walking. I told him the heat was really getting to me and my stomach was starting to bother me too.

The next three miles were a combination of running and walking. At mile six I had a GU gel and some  water. Thankfully, Hot Stuff reserved two of the water bottles on his hydration belt for me and filled them with water (I won't say what was in the other two bottles). Mile seven was good, but during mile eight the GU gel got into a battle with remaining mexican food in my stomach and I started having serious cramps. I walked most of the back side of Embarcadero and wondered aloud how hot it was.  Hot Stuff wasn't sure, but it felt like 90 degrees to me.

My Garmin recorded a temp of 79 degrees, but Weather.com said it was 89 degrees in Stockton.  I'm not sure which one was correct, but regardless, it hurt. All I can do is continue to work on getting used to the heat.  I've read that the run portion of Barb's Race can get warm.

Sunday Runday by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Why Not Ride to Practice?

Saturday morning I told HS that I was going to ride on the trainer for about an hour before we headed
Coach James gave me a special cap today
to Lodi for the transition clinic.  I had previously suggested that we ride to practice, but he didn't seem interested, so I thought the trainer would be just as good. He must have had a change of heart, because when I mentioned again that we could ride to Lodi, he agreed. We loaded up our running shoes, swim suits, caps and goggles into a backpack and were on our way.

Unfortunately, the wind had picked up again and we battled a head wind all the way to Lodi. I could tell that HS was really, really mad at me (He was wearing the backpack). He didn't speak to me the entire ride there and I had to dodge snot rockets most of the way. Trina remarked that after that ride I was "F'n Tracy"!  LOL Oh, well, the ride home was much better and we had a five mile segment where we averaged over 20 mph.

F'n Tracy Ride by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

The transition clinic was good. Luckily James is very patient and handled all the questions and side conversations with ease. He had a trial by fire with our first tri group, so he knows to just ride out the talking until he can get going again. Hot Stuff, on the other hand was not quite as patient and kept trying to quiet people down to no avail.

During the transition clinic, Coach James presented me with a cap from his Ice Breaker Swim. This Saturday was the official end of the pity party (over my swim) and the cap was a great way to end it!  I am looking forward to my next swim and I swear I am going to relax and not race!

Hand Grenade with a Water Bottle

Last week during our Zin Spin ride, James pointed out a rider in front of us.  She was swerving around a lot and didn't seem to have good control of her bike.  "You see that?" he asked "That's what you call a hand grenade!" OMG!  I hope she was far enough ahead of us that she didn't hear what he said :-)  The funny thing is, I am a hand grenade! Ok, maybe not at bad as that lady was, but I have my moments.   

Friday morning, after skipping swim practice, HS and I went on a ride.  During this ride, I practiced drinking out of my water bottle and replacing it.  A couple of times I let the water bottle dangle from my teeth as I worked to steady myself enough to replace the bottle.  I need a lot of work in this area.  I fully envision doing the entire ride portion of Barb's Race without taking a drink and then falling over from dehydration.  (Just kidding James...I promise to work on this until it's not a problem).

Looking forward to another week of training!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Was This a Punishment Workout?

Tonight's scheduled workout was swimming, but in attempt to ramp things up a bit, I did P90X - Ab Ripper-X before heading to the pool.  It's been a while since I've done this workout, but I got through it OK though I still struggle with the oblique V-ups.

When I got to the pool, James told me that I would be swimming 200's with a 15 second rest and Eric would be swimming 150's. We were to keep doing them until we got tired and at that point we could put fins on. Things started off well, but by the fourth set we were starting to slow down a bit.  During one of our extended 15 second rests, I looked at Eric and asked "Do you think this has anything to do with the nickname?"  Eric responded "Yeah.  He could have just told us he didn't like it!"  We had a good laugh about our predicament and then started our 5th set.  

Actually, James had told us beforehand that we would be working on our endurance, so we expected tonight to be tough.  I completed 8 - 200's before my feet started cramping. Pushing off from the wall seems to set them off. As I get tired I push off harder (trying to get a few extra inches without swimming) and as a result my feet cramp. Either that or its the all the running and biking I'm doing.  Who knows, but it stinks!

On a positive note, I am feeling stronger in the water and a lot more relaxed. I should probably revisit my New Year's resolution about doing flip turns, but I really hate them. Besides, there are no flip turns in open water :-)  

Favorite Workout of the Week

Regardless of how hard the workout is, the Wednesday night swim workout has turned into one of my favorite's of the week (I used to hate it!). There is such a positive vibe at the pool and everyone is making big improvements. On top of that, we had at least 3 new people tonight!

I'm really getting excited for the graduation race and am contemplating whether or not I want to participate or just cheer from the sidelines. Oh, who am I kidding, I wanna race, but I also want to watch everyone.

Plan for Tomorrow

If I wake up early enough, I plan on getting on the trainer in the morning. The afternoon will be a run (hopefully the wind will be gone).

Spinervals & Fleet Feet

I decided that I needed to ramp up my workouts this week, so after taking Monday off, I came home from work on Tuesday and did a 50+ minute Spinervals DVD.  This one was called "Lean and Mean" and it is definitely a workout.  I was prepared to run rather slowly at the Fleet Feet Tuesday night run.

I had about 20 minutes in between finishing the DVD workout and starting my run.  I ate two pieces of toast with strawberry jam and headed down to Fleet Feet.  I fully expected to take it easy tonight because I thought my legs were going to be tired.  However, once the run started, a guy took off and got out in front and I had to chase him down.

Ok, maybe I didn't have to chase him down, but sometimes I can't control myself.  I finished the 4.87 mile run with an average pace of 8:06 minutes per mile.  This is pretty speedy for me, especially considering that I had just done a bike workout.

Fleet Feet Tuesday Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Old Guys Rule (Zin Spin 2013)

Let me start off by saying that a long ride (like a long run) gives you plenty of time to think. Especially when it's windy and everyone is working hard...not a lot of chit chat going on yesterday...even Mojo (more about nicknames later) was relatively quiet! As I was riding, I kept thinking about things to write about and what I was going to title this entry. Here were my top title contenders:

  • Gentlemen Do Not Have Flowers 
  • F'n James
  • Old Guys Rule

I chose Old Guys Rule.  I was the only female in our group and the only one under 50...and I had to work my butt off to keep up. Yesterday was tough, but the guys showed that age didn't matter as our 4 man person group chased down riders that started almost an hour before us!  Needless to say, impressive ride old guys...you rule!!!

Let's Ride!

We arrived at Bare Ranch by Michael David Winery around 7:30 Sunday morning.  The location was beautiful and nicely shaded, which would have been great if it was 90 degrees out.  However, this morning it was very chilly and windy, not exactly my idea of cycling weather. 

Unloading the bikes at Bare Ranch
Mike and I checked in and met up with James. He informed us that we would be riding sweep with him at 9:00, so we got back in the truck to stay warm and out of the wind. We regrouped with James and Eric ( oops, I mean Mojo) about 8:50 and headed out shortly after.  

Immediately we were hit with a head wind and had to fight our way down Woodbridge Rd. Things weren't much better when we turned to head north on Thornton Rd. and had to fight the cross wind. James kept telling us that things would get better when we finally started heading east towards Clements, but that never really materialized.

Me and Mike at the first stop
I struggled for the first several miles and couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time keeping up (except for the wind). When I finally checked my gears, I realized I had been riding for 7-8 miles in my small chain ring! Argh!!! I figured it was the wind that was making it hard for me to keep up with the boys, not being in the wrong gear. Lesson learned... for a couple of hours anyway...until I made the same mistake at the end of the ride.

Old guys refueling
The Zin Spin turned out to be a very nice event. There was plenty to eat and drink at the rest stops. There was even wine tasting at some of the stops, although our group waited until the end to indulge. Lunch and Michael:David wine was provided at the end of the ride and we sat and enjoyed ourselves poolside.

There were a few different routes for this event: 100k, 50k, a Fun Spin, and a Zin & No Spin option.  Of  course, we did the 100k route which was about 62.5 miles. This was my longest ride to date and I did it on my TT bike. I am confident I will be able to complete the ride portion of Barb's race without a problem...running a half marathon following the ride, well that remains to be seen. I used today's ride to work on staying in the aero position, taking a drink out of the water bottle, and shifting gears (need more work on that).


Last week as Mojo and I stood freezing our tooshies off in Folsom Lake, he said something along the lines of "F'n James".  I laughed and said "Yeah!  F'n James!"...like it was James' fault we were out there.  The funny thing is, I was the reason we were there.  I signed up for Ice Breaker first and then convinced Mojo to sign up...James had nothing to do with it, other than giving us some pointers about the race.  Regardless, the F'n James comment was pretty funny.

Hot stuff!
Fast forward to the Zin Spin. James tells us, after we pull away from the first rest stop, that we aren't going to ride too hard but will be riding at a consistent pace or something to that effect. The next thing I know, he's going faster and faster and faster. I was in the right gear and he kept pulling away. Jeez! F'n James!

When we stopped at the second rest stop, I told him I was going to give him the nickname of F'n James! Heck, you can't write a blog about your group and not have nicknames, right?  In the book, The Lola Papers, she called her running coach Mr. Speedy Pants.  In Triathlon for the Every Woman, she referred to her mentor as Coach Monster. How could I not give James a nickname? I know he has one already, but I don't know about calling him Scooter...unless he really, really, really likes that one :-)

I think I'll call Mike "Hot Stuff".  He was looking good in his new outfit. Of course, Even (although he wasn't on the ride) has earned himself the nickname "Gun Show" and everyone in the group knows why. Eric informed me that Mojo was the nickname he used when he registered with USA Triathlon, and I'm not about to change that one...although Chatty Cathy would work for him. Me, I don't have a nickname, which is fine with me!  LOL
Second rest stop - Brownie Bites and PB&J!

Did You Just Break Up With Me?

While taking a break at Clements Ridge, F'n James announced that he would understand if I wanted to get a coach. Whoa?  What? Where did that come from? That would be like Mike telling me he would understand if I wanted to get a husband!  WTF??? Are you kicking me off the team? I mean I know the Ice Breaker race was less than ideal, but I swear I didn't tell anyone you had been coaching me! Was it the nickname???  LOL

Hot Stuff (he's going to kill me) says that James didn't mean it that way and that he was just giving me the OK to spend hundreds of dollars hiring someone to tell me what to do. Yeah, that's not going to happen. Nobody puts Baby in the corner and nobody tells Tracy what to do!  ha ha ha ha ha

Besides, James is a great swimming and cycling coach. I looked at the Zin Spin like a 4+ hour semi-private cycling lesson. I had an expert cyclist riding along side of me telling me what I should and should not be doing...and I didn't punch him!  Even Hot Stuff says I've been doing a good job about listening to what James says at the pool and incorporating it into my swimming...and he thought I was un-trainable.

Random Thoughts from the Ride

First, I told you guys not to read the post about "flowers". Second, gentlemen do not have flowers!  I think the Austin Powers route would be good for you guys. How about "wedding tackle", "twig & berries", "fruit and two nuts"? Just throwing that out there. You could also go with classics such as "family jewels", "package" or "junk"... just not flower.

Nothing is sweeter then the chirp of a Garmin as you click off the miles (especially around mile 50).

I do not care how fast you are going...I will not ask you to slow down. I will ride until my legs fall off or you drop me, but I will not ask you to slow down for me! F'n James!  LOL

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Flower Power

Ok, this post is just for the ladies... it's about a delicate subject, so if you have man parts, just stop reading now.  Last year during the inaugural tri group training session, we started referring to our lady parts as our "flowers".  It really wasn't a secret code.  When you announce at the end of a long ride that your "flower" hurts, even the dumbest guy gets it.

Today during our bicycle clinic, James mentioned that I could answer "lady parts"questions (not his exact words) .  Ok, so here's what I know, or more exactly, what I've stollen from another triathlete that has already broached this subject :-)
Spring 2013 Tri 101 Group

In the book "Triathlon for the Every Woman" (which I highly recommend), the author refers to her flower as "The Queen".  Since it is less embarrassing and also easier to use her words, I have selected some highlights from the text about saving the Queen.

Remember, while many of her suggestions are helpful, they are merely suggestions.  When it comes to your "flower", personal preference goes a long way.  Listen to your body and react accordingly.

God Save the Queen
"Extended periods in the bike saddle are hard on your read end.  When I say your rear end, I really mean your buns and your lady parts.  Plain and simple, the Queen will start to scream after so many miles.  The best way to deal with this issue?  Ride more.  Seriously.  The Queen is a lazy diva who must be whipped into shape and only time in the saddle will save her.  God save the Queen!"
So true...if your flower is sore, ride more!  No, you won't develop calluses, but you will develop a tolerance and each ride will get better. 

"That being said, be nice to the Queen.  Get her a good saddle, proper bike fit, comfy chamois (padded) shorts and lots of Aquaphor or other lubricant to keep her happy.  If you are noticing that the Queen goes completely numb while you are riding, then you are ripe for a nose-less saddle like the ISM Adamo Road saddle or the Cobb saddle.  Basically these seats remove the pointy part of the saddle, which in turn takes the pressure off the Queen and her castle."
If you are still sore, Coach James can refer you to specialist that can help you with bike fit.  
"Sometimes you can develop "saddle sores".  Saddle sores are actually skin issues on the Queen or her backyard neighbors.  Saddle sores can appear from too much unnecessary chafing or movement (forward, backward, or side to side) in the bike saddle - which is precisely why a good bike fit is paramount.  If you are too high in the saddle, your body and hips will move too much and you are ripe for sores"
Ouch!  No personal experience with these. 
"Also, keep the Queen lubed up and wear a one-piece chamois pad while in the saddle.  Sometimes a chamois pad can be made with two or more pieces, causing additional friction and discomfort."
I have tri shorts with a chamois, but I've never had to lube my flower. Once again, personal preference. You may or may not need to do this. Don't be afraid to experiment.  I do however, like a little Glide around my sports bra so it doesn't rub ;-)
"And while it may be entirely too much information, I do know that the Queen is a better cycling partner when she is completely bald. Less chance for ingrown you-know-whats and ripped-out-you-know-whats.  Just saying."
Totally, personal preference!!!

Triathlon for the Every Woman (Amazon Description)

Meredith Atwood, an overweight and overworked wife, mother and attorney, went from the couch to the finish of a half Ironman triathlon in little over a year.  Her book, full of contributions from expert coaches, nutritionists and athletes, takes the reader through the disciplines of swimming, biking, and running. In addition, the book includes comical accounts of battling the scale and the balancing act of training with a spouse, kids and a full-time job.  The book will inspire and entertain-- and have even the busiest of women taking on the challenge of swimming, biking and running.  Even for those lacking in time, motivation or hope, Triathlon for the Every Woman will turn everything around and make any woman a believer.

"Triathlon for the Every Woman" can be purchased through Amazon.com


Monday, April 8, 2013

Confidence Swim

Tonight I had every intention of going to the pool for a punishment swim. Once I got to the pool, however, I decided that I did not need to punish myself for my race on Saturday. Instead, my swim became a confidence swim. I really needed to prove to myself that I could swim the race distance (because I had some serious doubts after Saturday).  

I got in the pool and immediately swam 900 yards non-stop (no hanging on the wall or fiddling with my goggles).  900 yards is a little more than the distance of the Ice Breaker. If I had the chance, I would have gone back to Folsom Lake and done the swim there (but not in this wind!). I think my biggest problem was the rough water and not so much the distance.  

Learning Experience

I have been doing a lot of reading about swimming in rough water.  Most of what I have read (and what James has also said) is that it is ok to roll over on your back and catch your breath. This is exactly what I did on Saturday, but I don't think anyone intended that the whole race should be swam that way!  Oh well, it worked, but a little more freestyle would have been nice :-)

I found the following video on YouTube about swimming in rough water. I should have watched this before the race, but up until 9:25am Saturday morning, I had no idea that the water conditions were going to be so different than what I was used to. No, I didn't expect it to be like the pool, but my previous open water swims at Camanche and the American River were relatively calm compared to Folsom.  

Saturday's race was definitely a learning experience.  I've got a month before my next triathlon, so I have time to practice. Honestly, I don't want to have to work on rough water swimming techniques. I just want to swim in a nice, calm lake where I can concentrate on simple things.

My goals for my next open water swim are as follows:

1) Remain calm 
2) Swim my race 
3) More freestyle!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Brick

I was tempted to take the day off following yesterday's Ice Breaker triathlon, but decided against it.  Normally I do a long run on Sunday, but Mike wanted to ride so he could see how his knee felt.  We decided to head north and rode out along Thornton to Peltier and then turned around.  It was pretty windy on our ride.  No matter which way we were riding, it felt like we either had a head wind or cross  wind.

We ended up riding about 30.5 miles at an average pace of 15.4 mph.  Not bad considering the fact that we rode though town part of the way and that it was so windy.

After the ride, I told Mike I was going to go for a run.  My legs were feeling really tired, so I said I was only going to run for about 6 miles.  I downed a bottle of water, a GU packet and a handful of strawberries, and was off.  I was surprised at the pace I was able to maintain and finished my run with an average pace of 8:34 minute miles.  I wish I would have ran like that yesterday!!!

Tomorrow night I will be back in the pool.  My plan is to swim 880 yards (the distance of Ice Breaker) without stopping, hanging on the wall, or fiddling with my goggles.  Mike offered a couple of suggestions to help me with swimming in open water.  One was to run along side me in the pool and continuously splash me in the face.  The other was to hold my head in front of one of the jets in the hot tub.  I think I will pass on both of these.

Ice Breaker - Race Report

Worn out from chasing squirrels.
Not sure what possessed me to do this race.  I guess knowing that I needed to practice open water swimming was one reason.  I had a plan in my head for this race.  I was going to do my race and not worry about what was going on around me or how fast other people were swimming.  Unfortunately, I think I am part Terrier.

If my dogs see a squirrel, that's it...they go crazy and there is nothing I can say or do to get them to stop.    They are so bad that I can't let them in the front yard for fear that they would see a squirrel and run off or get hit by a car.  That is what happens to me at a race start.  While this may be ok at a 5k or a duathlon, it is not ok at a triathlon when my weakest sport is first.  Unfortunately, I hear the horn sound for the start and I take off like I'm chasing squirrels.


Had two fried eggs over fingerling potatoes with a cup of coffee about 5:30am.  I really wanted eggs on toast, but we were out of bread.  I was a little nervous and had a hard time eating.  On the way up to Folsom Lake, I did manage to eat a Pop Tart.

Check-in was smooth.  Mike, Eric and I walked down to the water to watch the start of the sprint. After that, Eric and I went for a warm up run.


Absolutely the worst swim I have ever had.  I got in early and warmed up just like James said to do.  I swam a little freestyle and everything felt great.  While the men were getting started, the first buoy came loose and had to be repositioned.  I was hoping that they moved it in closer.  At this point, I was not thinking about my plan for the swim.

As I was getting acclimated to the water, I noticed that my wetsuit felt like it was holding water in the lower part of my legs.  Not sure if that was normal or not, but at least it was warm.

When it finally came time for my wave to start, I positioned myself over to the far side just to stay out of the pack (just like James said).  The horn sounded and we all ran towards the water.  When I thought that I was finally in water deep enough to swim in, I dived in...unfortunately, the water was about 18" deep in the area I aimed for.  It wasn't quite a belly flop, but it was not pretty.  I stood back up and kept running out towards deeper water.

Squirrel!!!  Seriously, what am I doing out in front?
When it was finally deep enough to swim, I started freestyle.  It felt ok for a bit, I might have gone about 100 yards, but then it all went south.  My arms felt really cold and I was having a hard time breathing.  I tried doing a bit of breaststroke, but because the water was so choppy, I didn't really seem to go anywhere.  I rolled over onto my back and told myself to relax and to breathe.  I did this for a while and then decided it was time to swim again.

Unfortunately, by this time, my goggles were completely fogged up.  Not that you can see a great deal with your face in the water, but when you lift your head up to sight and can't see anything, it stinks.  I tried a little more breaststroke, and then switched to side stroke (which seemed to work better).  After a while, I rolled onto my back again.  Back stroke saved my race.  I could get through the water and breathe at the same time.  At this point, I really didn't care if I went straight.

I'm glad James wasn't here to watch this!
After I rounded the first buoy, I continued to struggle with the cold.  My legs felt like lead and I scanned the horizon for the kayaks.  Unfortunately, neither one was close enough for my liking.

About half way between the first turn and the final turn, I came up to one of the kayaks and asked if I could hang on and try and fix my goggles.  I rinsed them out and started trying to swim freestyle again.  Once again my goggles fogged up.  I moved them back up to the top of my head and rolled over onto my back,

After I finally rounded the final turn, I seriously thought about giving up.  I was cold and tired and extremely disappointed.  The only thing that kept me going was the thought that no matter how crappy I felt about this swim, I would feel 100 times worse if I stopped and didn't finish the race.  I swam on my back until I could finally touch the bottom.  I walked out of the water dejected and proceeded to walk up the hill while Lindsey tried to get some "action" shots.

The long, sandy walk of shame to T1.
Close to the top of the hill I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and I started to jog.  My bike time would have been much faster had I got my head back in the game sooner.


The first transition went as well as could be expected.  I had some GU, washed it down with a sports drink and put on my helmet and shoes.  We were allowed to ride out of transition, but my tired legs had a hard time getting clipped in.


Chasing one final female rider before T2.
I am so much more comfortable on my bike compared to my first triathlon. I knew I was going to have to make up time on the bike.  Any time there was a descent, I was riding fast (for me).  If I saw a female in front of me, I worked to chase her down and managed to pass quite a few ladies.

My legs burned on the hills, but I didn't let that slow me down.  I was determined to make up lost time.  I had completed a duathlon on this course earlier in the year, so I was pretty familiar with what to expect.

Before the race, I was worried about being cold on the bike.  Honestly, I don't remember being cold at all.  I was very happy with the bike portion of this race.


Unclipped without incident.  Remembered to take my helmet off.  No sand or rocks in my running shoes.  All was well in the world.


Beautiful location for a trail run
Previously I had stated that I would mark myself down if I walked on the run.  However, that was before I knew how hilly this course actually was.  I have learned from previous trail runs that running up hill is not always the most efficient thing you can do.  In fact, with a steep hill, you can almost walk as fast as you run...and the walking doesn't kill your legs.

Some of the descents were pretty steep too.  Loose gravel like sand over rocks makes for a slippery surface. I took my time going downhill because I didn't want to injure myself.  Once I got to the flat land and only had a mile to go, I picked up the pace.

Happy to see the finish.
When I saw the clock at the finish line, it said 2:08 something.  Since I was the 6th wave, I had to subtract 25 minutes to figure my time.  The fact that I was able to do any math at all at this point was amazing.  I quickly realized that I had beaten my goal time.

Final Thoughts

When I visualized this race, this is not how I expected it to go.  I had pictured a slow but steady freestyle from buoy to buoy.  I didn't expect to be leading the pack, but I also didn't expect to be one of the last ones out of the water.

Mike said I should be very proud of myself for battling back and not giving up.  I suppose he's right.  I hate it when he's right!  LOL  I'll be back next year!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Sunday, while I was out on my long run, I encountered an amputee headed east along Benjamin Holt.  He was wearing shabby clothes and was using his remaining leg to pull himself along in his wheelchair.  As I approached him, I attempted to make eye contact and say "Good morning".  However, he clearly wished to avoid me and looked down at the ground as I ran by him.  At that moment I was overwhelmed with a sense  gratitude and fought to keep the tears from coming.

I immediately stopped cursing my tired legs and thanked God for what I was able to do.   No, I am not an elite athlete, but I am able bodied.  I have two legs that allow me to run and bike and swim. Yes, other athletes, may be stronger or faster, but I cannot focus on that.  I need to focus on my blessings and I need to be grateful for every step...every slow step, every painful step, EVERY step!

I continued on my run, completed the loop around Embarcadero, and headed back home along Benjamin Holt. A red light stopped me at the Plymouth intersection.  As I stood there enjoying my break, I noticed a young girl staring at me from the backseat of her mom's car. Next to her was a baby in a car seat.  I waved and smiled at the girl and she waved back as her mom pulled away. Once again, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

The car the girl was riding in was very old and missing a hub cab.  If I had to guess, I would say that I probably spent more money buying my used triathlon bike than the car was worth.  A purchase that I often think I should have spent more money on!  Talk about a reality check. How fortunate am I that I am able to buy a THIRD bicycle??? Once again I fought back the tears, wondering what was wrong with me.  Were hormones getting the best of me? Was I fatigued from over-training? Or, was I truly overwhelmed by gratitude?

I thought about this the rest of the way home and considered a blog entry on the subject.  At the end of the day, I just couldn't think of what I wanted to say and decided that this was a subject I would keep to myself.  In fact, I didn't even tell Mike about my experience...I guess I didn't want him to know that his wife was running up and down Ben Holt crying.

A Day to Think About It

I guess God gave me a day to think about it, but Monday came and went and I still didn't feel like writing about gratitude.  Honestly, I don't feel qualified to write about it because sometimes I don't feel like I'm grateful at all! Or at least not nearly as grateful as I should be.  I feel like I take so much for granted...my health, my abilities, my bikes, my job...you name it.

Anyway, Tuesday morning, Mike posted on Facebook "Things we take for granted.  Some times we just don't realize how lucky we are." Where did that come from??? In that post, he had a link to a video by Martina McBride called "God's Will".  I watched the video and immediately started crying (this time at work, not along Ben Holt).  The song tells a story of a young boy with braces on his legs.  This song got me thinking about the man in the wheelchair and the girl in the back of the car again.

Once again, I kicked around the idea of how to write about gratitude.  About being grateful for even being able to attempt a triathlon.  Once again, I decided that this wasn't a topic for me.

Third Time's a Charm

Hoyt statue as it's unpacked
This morning, as I was getting ready for work, a story came on Fox News that stopped me in my tracks.  It wasn't an unfamiliar story.  It was the story of the Hoyt's, the father and son team that has competed in numerous marathons and triathlons.  Because the son, Rick, was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, the father pushes him in a special wheelchair through all of the races.  This month they will be honored at the Boston Marathon with a bronze statue commemorating their incredible journey. 

If you have never heard of the Hoyt's, their racing journey began in 1977 when Rick "told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player how had been paralyzed in an accident".  After completing the race, Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped." 

Here are two people who could understandably be ungrateful for their situation, but they are not.  They have made the most of their situation and as a result have changed hundred if not thousands of lives.  Just like the boy in Martina McBride's sone, Rick Hoyt thinks beyond himself and his circumstances.  He is not consumed with what he cannot do.  He goes out and races with his father, and together they do the best they can do.

Truly Grateful

These last few days have really given me a chance to think about gratitude.  I am now making an effort to be more grateful...a LOT more grateful.  I have so many people and things in my life to be grateful for that I feel stupid admitting that I am often ungrateful.  I promise to change this.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run - Merrell

Ok, I fully intended to take it easy tonight.  My legs are still a little tired from my run on Sunday.  However, when I got home and plugged in my Garmin, I was surprised to see that my time was faster than last week. Perhaps it was the Merrell shoes I was testing out.  They were a zero drop and very light.  They had a firm Vibram sole, but were not jarring like other minimalist shoes I have tried.

Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

As much as I liked the feel of the shoe, I really didn't like the all-black look.
I like a little flash in my running shoes :-)

Tonight's run was a "pub run".  So after everyone got done running, we met at Papapavlo's for free food and beer courtesy of Fleet Feet.  If you've ever been to a Fleet Feet event, you know that Tony likes to give away stuff.  In fact, tonight I was wearing a Pearl Izumi shirt and running hat that I had won at one of the Crazy 8 races last year.

Anyway, tonight's prizes had be to earned by answering questions about Merrell, Fleet Feet, or Tony.  One question asked the year Tony was born and the correct answer was 1969.  The following question asked what year Tony graduated high school.  Since he was born two years after me, I figured he graduated two years after I did and I was right! Woo Hoo!!!  I won a pair of Merrell running socks, and as I always tell Mike, you can never have too many running socks.

And There It Was...

The other day I mentioned how I was nervous about a 5k race. What I didn't mention was that when I would think about the race, my heart would start racing and my anxiety level would skyrocket until started thinking about something else.  Since I my second triathlon (ever),  was the weekend following the 5k, I tried thinking about that race instead. Interestingly, the pending triathlon would not illicit the same response.  I felt no anxiety what so ever.

Well, the 5k is history and the next race is the Ice Breaker triathlon. This morning I started making a mental list of the things I needed to pack... and there it was... my heart started beating faster and I got that shaky feeling.  However, it was not as extreme as it was for the 5k.

I think that is why I like things like trail runs, duathlons, and triathlons.  Yes, many of the distances are the same, but so many other things are different. While I may have a predetermined "time to beat" in my head, the pressure to beat that time is much less because there are so many factors that could affect the race.

Making the Grade

Before the Bad Bass 1/2 Marathon trail run last summer, I saw a blog where the author assigned "grades" to her expected performance.  I decided to do the same. I don't remember what all my grades were, but an "F" was not finishing the race and an "A" was finishing in under two and a half hours.  I finished with a time of 2:22.27, which makes me think that I may have set the bar too low :-)

Here is my grading scale for Ice Breaker:

  •      A - 1:50 
  •      B - 2:00
  •      C - 2:10
  •      D - 2:20 or walking during the run
  •      F - Not finishing the race

I have no clue if these times are practical or not.  I talked to a teammate at practice last week and he said I should expected to spend 15-20 minutes on the swim.  The bike is a double loop of a course I have raced before.  My previous time for a single loop was 23 minutes.  And I'm using a 9 minute mile pace for the run (it is on trails).  Throw in 5 minutes of transition time and you get 20+46+36+5 = 1 hour and 47 minutes (I rounded up a bit just to be safe).  

At least with my grading system, if I don't beat the time I want, I still have a way to judge my performance.  Now I can relax and focus on more important things like which outfit will look best in the race photos!

Monday, April 1, 2013


Today is April 1, 2013.  I consider this date to be the official start of my 70.3 training.  So, how do you think I kicked things off?  It wasn't with some killer workout.  Instead, I started with P90X - Stretch.  It may seem like a weird way to go about things.  I mean, P90X - Stretch is so easy.  Especially when  compared to one of my regular workouts or even P90X - Yoga, but it is exactly what I needed today.

While today is the official start of my training, it is not as if I haven't been working hard up until this point.  Some weeks my workouts have been quite tough.  This past weekend I ran a 5K race, completed a 2,100 yard swim, and ran 13.1 miles for my long run.  Needless to say, my legs are a little tired and sore today.

If I sat around and did nothing today instead of the stretching I would be in even worse shape tomorrow (and I'm planning on doing the Fleet Feet pub run!) Stretching is one of the best ways to make sure I recover in between workouts and that I remain injury free (unless I fall on my bike).  

It's Supposed to be a FUN Run

At the finish
Saturday morning, on our drive to the Easter fun run at Lodi Lake, I asked Mike if he thought it was weird that I was nervous about doing a 5k.  I mean, I have done several of these races, so it's not like I was doing something new.  Mike said "You're nervous because you want to win and you know you will be upset with yourself if you don't". Whatever!

Actually, I don't go into a race thinking I have to win.  Would I like to win? Sure! A lot of times I get nervous because I think others expect a certain performance. When Steph asked what my goal was, I said I would be happy with something in the 23's or 24's.  I'm not sure she believed me, but I was dead serious.  I've been training hard lately and my legs felt tired.  I wasn't even sure I was going to run this race until the last minute (this was the first time I registered at a race instead of online).

Besides not feeling 100% like racing, my iPod died, and when the race started I pushed the wrong button on my Garmin and was unable to time my race.  After the race, Mike commented that he couldn't believe I was screwing around with my watch and trying to run.  He said he didn't even know why I needed the Garmin for a 5k.  I explained that I like to see my pace.  I also like being able to upload my race into my training log :-)

1st Place & Top Female Master
I finished the race at 22:52 so I was happy. My goal is to eventually finish in the 21's, but I don't see that happening during my training for Barb's Race. It felt good to be able to push through the fatigue and my desire to quit.  Seriously, there were a few times during the race that I thought "Why are you doing this?".  Of course, after it was all over and I was happy with my effort, I remembered why.

Swim Practice

After the race, Mike and I headed over to Lodi High for swim practice.  There was a nice turn out considering it was Easter weekend but we had plenty of room to spread out.  James had prepared a 2,100 yard workout for the advanced group.  It kept us busy and gave him plenty of time to work with the other swimmers.  We completed the workout in an hour which was a real confidence boost.  Based on the yardage and  the fact that we were taking breaks in between the sets, I should be able to finish the swim portion of Barb's Race in under an hour ;-)

I shared a lane with Stephanie and Eric.  Eric has improved so much that he went first for many of the sets. Mike's swimming has come a long way too.  He may not realize it, but he is swimming longer distances, his stroke is vastly improved, and he is much smoother in the water.  His next step is to try out his swimming skills in open water!  However, I think the backyard pool will be the first body of water his wetsuit will see.

Easter Sunday Run

We decided to go to Saturday night Easter service to avoid the crowds on Sunday morning.  Mike, however, volunteered to return on Sunday morning to usher for the first service.  After Mike left the house and the sun was up, I headed out for my usual Sunday run.  I must say, it is much nicer running in the morning (especially since it had rained the night before) than in the afternoon when things heat up.

I was tempted to skip this Sunday run because I have the Ice Breaker next Saturday but I reminded myself that I could not taper for every race.  Ice Breaker, the Angel's Camp triathlon, and the Tri for Fun are my "B" races or training races.  Barb's Race is my "A" race and must remain my focus, even if it means I am not performing at my peak at these other races.  My legs felt pretty tired, but overall it was a good run.

Easter Sunday Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

The Week Ahead

Monday - P90X Stretch-X
Tuesday - Fleet Feet Tuesday Night Run
Wednesday - Swim
Thursday - Ride
Friday - Swim
Saturday -  Ice Breaker
Sunday - Long run