Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Funky Town

One sure way to fog up your goggles is to get weepy and teary eyed at swim practice. I was feeling
good up until it came time to get that point, all I wanted to do was sit on the edge and cry. I was overcome by such a strong sense of sadness and loss...I can only describe it like being in mourning. HS could tell something was wrong from three lanes away, but I did my best to play it off.

Since I registered for Barb's Race back in November 2012, there was a purpose to my workouts. There was a reason to suffer and plan and try to get better. It was part of my identity. When people saw me running on sweltering afternoons and questioned my sanity, I would reply "I'm training for a half Ironman". Suddenly, my running in those conditions seemed to make sense. Maybe it just seemed less crazy compared to doing a half Ironman.
Can't stay in my funk forever

I guess today was the first day I was really feeling this sadness because in the days following the race, I was in "recovery mode". Monday's swim was a recovery swim from Barb's Race. Tuesday night's Fleet Feet run was an easy run because my legs were still tired from Barb's Race. Even though the race was over, I still felt a connection to the race.  Now it's all over and I'm feeling a little lost....guess it's time to get out of my funk and to look to the future.

Here are some of the races I am considering...

  • Crazy Eights Trail Run #3, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, Aug. 25
  • The Dignity Health Women's Triathlon Festival, Rancho Seco Park, Sept. 7
  • Central Valley Triathlon, Woodward Reservoir - Oakdale, Sept. 22
  • Golden State Sprint Triathlon, Sacramento, Oct. 13
  • Salmon Duathlon, Knights Ferry, Nov. 2
  • CIM, Folsom/Sacramento, Dec. 8
  • Ironman 70.3, Monterrey, Mexico, Mar. 16, 2014
  • BARB'S RACE 2014!!!! (Registration opens in November. Yay!!!)

Santa Lucia River in Monterrey, Mexico - How can you not want to swim here?
It looks like Disneyland

Monday, July 29, 2013

Post Race Recovery Report

I have done a few half marathons and one full marathon. The days following these races are usually quite painful. Going to the bathroom means using my arms to lower myself because my quads are shot. Even following the Avenue of the Vines this year (during my training for Barb's Race) I suffered in the days after the race.

Could only wear these for a short time
Today is the second day after completing a 70.3 and I am feeling remarkably well. So well in fact that I even considered going in to work today (I had scheduled it off to recuperate)... but I decided to stay home and enjoy the day :-)

The night of the race, I tried doing an ice bath. It was a half hearted attempt. I went light on the ice and only stayed in it for about 5 minutes. I also took Advil in more of a pre-emptive attempt to ward off pain. 

I put on full compression pants for about 1/2 an hour, but my legs had this weird energy, twitchy feeling and the pants were making me nuts! I switched to compression socks instead and felt better. 

Sleep was elusive that was harder sleeping the night following the race than the night before the race. I think I was still all keyed up from the race.

Feed Me!

Eating was difficult following the race (I usually never eat post race). Everyone expected me to be famished, but I wasn't. In fact, I was only able to eat half of my pizza at Jackson's and this pizza was amazing!

Post-race pizza at Jackson's with the support crew
Sunday was a different story. My appetite returned with a vengeance! HS and I stopped at Black Bear Diner in Sonoma and I ordered the California Bacon Benedict. I almost ate everything on the plate. The funny thing was, as I am eating breakfast, I'm telling HS what I want to eat for lunch/dinner!

Impressive pile of empty sugar packets spotted at Black Bear Diner

Once we got home and the girls returned from the mall, we headed over to Casa Flores so I could get the shrimp tacos I had been talking about at breakfast. The waitress laughed when she saw my empty plate. (Seriously though, it was one shrimp taco and some rice & beans...not a ton of food). I didn't eat again til after 8pm. I realized I was hungry again and found some pasta the kids had made. 

Odds and Ends

In my race report, I mentioned my bike bag barely hanging on. Here's a pic after I got the bike back to the hotel...

I think what had happened was that the bag was so heavy that it slipped through the strap. It probably didn't help that it was at a fairly steep angle because of my seat. Oh well, I never really liked this bag and will be looking for something different...besides, it's been a few days since HS bought me anything ;-)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Barb's Race - Race Report

Now that the race is over and I have my finisher's medal in my hand, I have to wonder...what was I so worried about?  LOL  Easy to say now!

Before I get started on my race report, I want to take a minute to thank everyone that helped make this possible. First and hubby and best friend...aka Hot Stuff.

Without his support, I would not have been able to put in the time that made it possible to complete Barb's Race.  He followed me faithfully on his bike when I did my long runs, he went to swim practice with me when the last thing he wanted to see was a pool, and he allowed me the time I needed to train.

Also, he was very accepting of my ever growing need to acquire tri gear and he was willing to indulge me when I wanted a new bike, helmet, shoes, tri kit, bike bag, pedals, swim suit, goggle, goggles, more goggles. On top of that, he spent hours upon hours at races only to get brief glimpses of me coming out of the water, coming in off the bike, or crossing the finish line. Thank you, Honey! LOVE YOU!!!

Post race support party, only person
missing is James
Secondly, I would like to thank my coach, +James Cotta who taught me everything I needed to know to go from super-sprint triathlon to 70.3 in a little less than a year. He turned a one time rec league summer swimmer (who never used to wear a swim cap) into a swimmer that finished 5th in her age group at Barb's Race. Amazing work! Barb's Race definitely highlighted some areas we need to work on in my second year and I can't wait to get started!  Thank you, James!

Last, but definitely not least, I want to thank all of my family and friends that have supported me in my racing endeavors. Words cannot express how much it means to me to see your smiling faces at the finish line! I love your encouraging Facebook posts and text messages, even if they make me cry (BFF was exceptional at ruining my makeup at work! )

I also want to thank everyone that made a donation in my name as part of my fundraising requirement for Barb's Race! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Let me start by saying that I was really stressed about the pre-race meeting and two separate transition areas. It was very hard to drop off my running gear and walk away...hoping to see it again the next day.

We were allowed to bring moral support to the meeting
(hence all the men you see)

Bye-bye stuff...see you tomorrow

Race day morning was not as bad as I had been expecting, even following a restless night of sleep on a little too firm, hotel mattress. I woke up around 4:30am, drank a chia fresca and a cup of coffee, followed by a banana. This has been my standard race day breakfast for the last few races and has worked well.

Breakfast of choice
We were early meeting James in Windsor, but he was early too, so it worked out well. We made a quick stop at Star Bucks. I got a small dark roast and used it to wash down a protein bar on the way to Guerneville.

Once at the race start, James and I racked our bikes while HS parked the car (another of his many and much appreciated duties! Thank you!!!) It was weird only having bike gear in T1. Unfortunately, I forgot a couple of things, like a towel for my feet (sandy dirt) and a sweatshirt to stay warm in until the race start.

I think James is laughing at me because I'm freezing!


The swim went way better than I expected. I chose not to warm up. Honestly, I didn't want to get wet and then have to get out of the water, I was already cold enough. It was announced that the water was 71 or 72 but it felt warmer...probably because it was warmer than the outside temp.

I was in the 2nd wave for Barb's Race. I was surprised when I caught up with the tail end of the first wave relatively quickly. At that point, things got really congested and I was making contact regardless of which way I turned.

When I reached the bridge, the water got shallow. So shallow in fact, that my finger tips would drag on the bottom. I have been told by people that have done Vineman, to stay horizontal and to drag myself through the water. I tried this, but it hurt my fingers. I opted to stand up and run. This proved to be a good move as I was passing people that were slogging through the water. It also gave me somewhat of a "bird's eye view" of the best path to take to avoid my competitors.
Not exactly a straight line

This was my longest open water swim to date and it was much better than I had expected. I had hoped to finish somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes and came in well under that time. Thanks again James!!!

I think there is a certain "safety blanket" type feeling of being able to look left or right and see the bank of the river. In fact, during the pre-race meeting they told us this was one of the safest swim courses and that we could basically stand up or grab a tree branch whenever we wanted. NOTE: You can't always touch the bottom :-)

Over before I knew it
...tied for 5th in my age group ;-)
Time seemed to fly by during the swim. I think I was so preoccupied with avoiding my competitors that I didn't have time to focus on the race or the distance. Before I knew it, I looked up and could see the exit to T1. What a welcome sight!!!

Barb's Race - Swim Course by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


OK, as I mentioned earlier, I forgot a towel for T1. Most of the time, this wouldn't have been an issue, but this transition area is on the bank of a river and is nothing more than sandy dirt. There is carpet lining the run from the water to the bikes, but it is covered with dirt too.

I did take advantage of the wetsuit strippers. As I came out of the water, I unzipped my suit and pulled it down below my hips. When I got to the strippers, I laid on the carpet and put my feet in the air. A volunteer grabbed my suit and yanked it off. Thankfully, my TYR Hurricane slipped off my legs like they were covered in butter (actually baby oil).

When I got to my bike, I stuffed my wetsuit in my swim bag (don't want to lose it again). I slipped on one of my bike shoes... noticed my sunglasses and put those on next. I then grabbed my second shoe and remembered I had placed my socks in that shoe.  Dang, now I have to take my first shoe off. My feet are covered in dirt and now I have to get my socks on...ARGH!

I grabbed a water bottle off of my bike and squirted one of my feet clean. I then struggled a bit with my socks trying to figure out which one went on which foot (I brought my fancy running socks that are foot specific). When I finally figured out the socks, put a shoe on, washed the other foot, and put a sock and shoe on that foot too. Last to go on was my helmet.

HS was standing by the fence, so I handed my swim bag to him. I grabbed my bike and hustled out of transition.

Let's do this!

I opted to run up the first hill in lieu of falling and taking someone else out with me :-) Sorry, Coach...still not entirely confident with my cycling skills.


To begin, my bike was stocked with chia fresca in my aero bottle, 3 chopped up Kind "Almond & Coconut"bars, several boiled red potatoes sprinkled with salt, two GU packets, and two Smart Water sport bottles in my cages. NOTE: Cut the Zip-Lock seals off the bags before the race. I struggled to open the bags single handedly. The Smart Water bottles were a perfect fit and I didn't care if I tossed them.

Now, on to the ride...

Up until this race, my bike has been problem free... not today! Shortly into the bike course you have to make a sharp right. You drop down to the old highway and then quickly have to climb. It's not a big hill, but it is steep. I down shifted before I got to the climb, but as soon as I started pedaling, I knew something was wrong. I could barely spin and felt like I was going to come to a complete stop. I looked down...BIG CHAIN RING!! My bike did not change gears. ARGH!!!

I stood up and pedaled with all of my might to the top of the hill. My legs were shaking and I thought I was done. Once I got rolling down the road again, I tested my gears and everything seemed to work fine... OK, maybe I'll still be able to climb Chalk Hill.

I noticed lots of bottles and a few bike bags along the way. I felt bad for anyone that had lost something they needed for the ride.  It's a long way...especially for those doing the full Vineman. The ride progressed as well as I could have expected, but I noticed a pain in my hips.  I suspect this came from the struggle up the hill.

It's funny to admit this, but I felt like a real triathlete (after 5 triathlons) as I made my way through the first aid station. James had tried to prepare me for what was going to happen... toss the bottle, grab a bottle, avoid the pros. As I approached the first aid station, I grabbed my empty bottle (I had emptied it into my aero bottle on a climb) and tossed it into the bin (a large area encompassed by plastic fencing). I then grabbed a bottle of Gatorade from a volunteer (still moving) and stuck it into my bottle cage. Seamless, smooth, and I'm still on my bike. Yay!!!

A little way past Mauritson Family Vineyards (that's how I know where I am at over the wineries we have visited with Ashley), I shifted to the smaller chain ring in anticipation of a climb. This time, the bike shifted and then the chain fell off!  CRAP!!!  I pulled off to the side of the road and struggled to free the chain that was jammed between the frame and the small chain ring. On the bright side, one competitor checked to see if I needed a tube and others offered helped as they rode past me. Triathletes are awesome people!

One of many wineries passed without a taste :-(

I freed the chain and got it back on the bike relatively quickly (1-2 minutes).  I caught and passed the women that passed me minutes before and continued my ride. The climb and descent to Geyserville was fine. However, HS questioned my top speed of 32 mph. I'm sorry, but they put brakes on bikes for a reason, and I learned on our trial run that the road is bumpy and the shadows make it difficult to see the bumps. I decided to play it safe and keep my speed in check.

As I rolled into Geyersville and the second aid station, a male competitor (probably full Vineman) told me that my bike bag was holding on by a thread. CRAP AGAIN!!!  I pulled over before the aid station to figure out what was wrong. At that point, I unwrapped the bag, rerouted the velcro straps and pulled everything tight.  Please, please, please....stay on my bike.

I mounted my bike and continued moving forward. Eventually I approached Soda Rock Winery and knew I was getting close to Chalk Hill. I'm not sure how far away I was, but I knew Chalk Hill was coming. Before you get to Chalk Hill there is a short hill that can easily mistaken for Chalk Hill (I saw one rider walking on this hill).  It seems steep enough to be CH, however, it is silent...there are no spectators on this first hill cheering you on to the top. Ugh... keep pedaling...

I finally got to Chalk Hill and copied the riders in front of me... they rode in the saddle, I stayed my saddle...they popped up, I popped up. Clang, clang, clang....YES! Cow bells! Spectators! Fans! I'm almost to the top.  There are chalk markings on the street encouraging their people to the top! Such a welcome sight...I wasn't sure I was going to make this climb with the way my bike had been acting. From this point on, it is basically a descent all the way to transition (not exactly, but it feels like it).

After Chalk Hill, I tried to take advantage of the descent and managed to pass a couple of people. At one point, I looked down briefly and to my horror I saw that my bike bag was once again hanging on my a thread. I was not stopping! I said a quick prayer and asked God to keep that bag on my bike. My prayers were answered and I made it to T2 with no further problems.

Barb's Race - Bike Course by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


OMG! I never thought I would get this far. Seriously...I never thought I would make it out of the water!  After my not so impressive transitions at Tri for Real #2, I kicked things up a notch (heck, it's my "A" race, right James? LOL). Anyway, I dismounted my bike and ran, yes RAN, all the way to the rack. Thankfully a competitor had attached a pinwheel to our rack, so that is what I searched for.

Just like Forrest Gump...if I was going anywhere, I was RUNNING!

Once I located my bike, I changed into my running gear and headed off to the run course. Avenue of the Vines only hurt for a few days, how bad could this be after swimming 1.2 miles and riding for 56?

High Five for HS as I left T2
Such a great feeling getting off the bike and heading out for the run :-)


There was a change to the course before the race. Instead of running a long loop followed by a shorter loop, the loops were going to be equal. Works for me.  The aid stations were every mile or so and very well stocked. I drank and ate at almost every stop... oops, I mean station...I tried not to stop...I really tried not to stop.

I should have checked the run course before the race. The hills were much more substantial than I anticipated. When I got to the first serious climb, I walked. In fact, I walked almost every hill. At that point, I had lost all of my mental toughness. I was done and contemplated walking whatever distance I had left. 

When I neared the turn to head back for the second half of the race, I was bolstered by the fans lining the street. Go "1966!" they screamed. They had no idea who I was and vice versa, but they kept me moving. When I made the turn to head back out, I was greeted by the best supporters in the world...halfway done...I can do this!!!

Throughout my run, I had water, Gatorade, ice, peaches, half of a banana, and two chocolate chip, I had a GU left over from the ride. I probably ate more than necessary, but it gave me an excuse to slow down.  In fact, every stupid hill gave me an excuse to slow down.

Honestly, I am not a fan of hills...heck, I'm from Stockton and this is serious flat land. I know that in my second year I am going to have to do more hill work and I have people willing to train with me. Should I have ran on more of the hills? Yes! But I didn't and I am just going to have to accept that. I had hoped to average 9 minute miles. It didn't happen, but I'm OK with that...there is always next year and James hasn't resigned :-)

Final Thoughts

As I approached the finish line, my gait took a turn for the worse and I started a sort of hobbled run. My knees were aching from the down hill runs and the pain in my hips returned. In the back of my head, I was convinced the muscle was tearing away from my bones. I wanted nothing more than to walk. I couldn't tell what my overall time was because I forgot to turn off the "auto pause" on my Garmin.  Ugh! Just let this be over.

However, as you make your way to the finish, the last mile is lined with spectators, and they could care less who you are. If you are competing...they are cheering for you! They may not know your name, but they can see your number.  "Go 1966!"  "Looking strong 1966" "You're almost there!!!"

I couldn't let these strangers down. When I saw the final turn into Windsor High School, I ran. I ran for the last year! I ran for all of the training! I ran for all of my friends and family who had been waiting around all day for my crazy butt to finish! I ran and ran and ran. I didn't care what my legs felt like. When I crossed the finish line and I got to grab that finish line tape in my hand, I felt as if I had won Kona!

Amazing feeling!!! DONE!

I would definitely do this again and I'm already making my list of "Do's and Don'ts" for next year. Who wants to join me? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gearing Up for Your First Triathlon

With the next Triathlon 101 class starting soon, I get a lot of questions about the gear people will need. Here is a list of the basics

1) Swim suit and goggles

Nothing fancy, just something you are comfortable wearing. Stage II in Lincoln Center has various suits and a large selection of goggles that you can try on first.

Note: The majority of the group is made up of middle-aged adults. It is not a bikini contest, nobody is looking or checking each other out! Eyes to the ground, all we want to do is get in the water without embarrassing ourselves ;-)

2) Wetsuit

This is an optional piece of equipment and depends on how well you handle cold water. The super sprint race is in October in the American River. Chilly? Yes, but you are only swimming 200y. If you feel you need a wetsuit, here are a few options.

  • Fleet Feet Stockton rents triathlon wetsuits. Just go in and ask, they will fit you for the correct size. I believe the rental rate is about $50. Note: They only have full sleeve wetsuits.
  • Buy a used one. I bought my first wetsuit on eBay for $70. I figured that if I ended up hating triathlons I could sell the wetsuit and not be out any money. If you are thinking about getting a used wetsuit, order it sooner rather than later. It will give you time to shop around and you will have it for the open water swim practices.
  • Borrow one. 
Sample of what you will find on ebay

Note: There is a difference between a wetsuit that you might use for surfing and one that is meant for triathlons/swimming. The surfing wetsuit acts like a sponge that holds the water close to your skin. This is meant to keep you warm, but it is heavy and slow! A triathlon wetsuit has a coating to help repel the water which helps you move through the water faster. 

Also, men's wetsuits are cut slightly different than women's but there is no reason a lady can't wear one...unless of course you aren't planning on wearing anything underneath (the arm holes are lower/larger) and stuff might show ;-)

3) Bike & Bike Helmet

The graduation race for the fall Triathlon 101 class is a super sprint, which means it is super short (5 mile bike leg). It also means it is possible to do this race on a beach cruiser.

A mountain bike or hybrid will work just fine

Really cool & fast - not necessary for the graduation race
Don't forget your helmet. Not only will you not be allowed to race without one but Coach James will not let you ride with the group!

4) Shoes

It is important to have a good pair of running shoes because you will be doing plenty of running during your training. If you are unsure what type of shoes to get, go to Fleet Feet. They will fit you and make sure you have the correct shoes.

Optional Stuff

a) Tri Kit / Suit

This is a special triathlon outfit and is not necessary for a super sprint. A kit is two pieces and a suit is one piece.  For my first super sprint, I wore a bathing suit bottom and a sports bra under my wetsuit. When I came into transition (T1), I slipped on some running shorts and a tank top. No special shorts, no special shirt. If you think you might want some tri specific clothes, REI usually has a selection on clearance.

Super cute tri kit from

b) Race belt

At a triathlon, you will have your number marked all over your body, but that doesn't preclude you from also having to wear your race number during the run. If you are planning on throwing on a shirt after the swim, you can attach your number to the shirt ahead of time. The other option is to purchase a race belt. After the bike, you simply clip the belt around your waist and take off running. In Stockton, you can find these belts at Fleet Feet and REI.

c) Bungee Laces

Ok, I'm calling these "optional" but after you try a pair you will never want to waste time with regular laces again. Bungee laces allow you slip your shoes on in transition. This can be a big time saver.  Once again, they are available at Fleet Feet...there is a tub of them up by the register.

d) Garmin or other GPS Watch

Techno geeks like me will say this is a necessity.  However, you really don't need one to do your first triathlon. If you decide to keep going, knowing how far and how fast you are going is very useful information.

T-Minus 3 Days!

Crazy Dreams

No airplane dreams last night, only a brief, weird little dream that I have no idea of the significance. If you've ever seen the Julia Robert's movie "My Best Friend's Wedding", then you know the scene. Family and friends are sitting around the table in a restaurant and break out into the song "Say a Little Prayer for You"...hmmmm maybe that's what this dream is hinting at...say a little prayer for me :-)

However, in my dream it was not "Say a Little Prayer for You". In my dream, I am at a restaurant with everyone that has told me they are coming to watch the race. All of a sudden, we break out into "Change" by John Wait. This was one of the very first videos I ever saw on MTV so it is very nostalgic (Ol' Mutha Hubbard knows what I'm talking about!). 

Anyway, even Max starts singing this song and I just look at him like "How do you even know the words to this song? You weren't even born yet!"... then we all continue singing just like the scene in the Julia Roberts movie.

Crazy Goals

Last year, when I was doing the Triathlon 101 class, I remember James telling me that I would probably be the first in the group to attempt a 70.3. At that time, I didn't even know what a 70.3 was. Weeks later, I completed my first super sprint and was looking for a 70.3. I found Barb's Race and asked James what he thought. He didn't think it was entirely crazy...probably because it was 9 months away, so I registered.

Why did I decide to do this? What made me think I could do a 70.3 race after only completing a race that took 1/2 an hour?  I have no idea but it reminds me of this quote I had read on a triathlon website...
"The Creator has not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do."  ~ Orison Swett Marden 
I have to have faith that this crazy goal I have came from someone other than myself and that I have the ability to do it! Say a little prayer for me :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Barb's Race - T Minus 5 days

When I started typing the title of this post, it occurred to me that I had no idea what "T Minus" even I Googled it...just to make sure I was using the term correctly :-)

According to Wikipedia, T Minus is...
"...a sequence of counting backward to indicate the seconds, days, or other time units remaining before an event occurs or a deadline expires. The "T" in T-minus stands for "Test".[1] Some events for which a countdown is used include the launch of a rocket or spacecraft, the detonation of a bomb, the start of a race..."

When I think of counting down to Barb's Race, I think comparing it to the detonation of a bomb is more appropriate than the start of a race. 

Airplane Dreams

In the past (over 20 years ago), when things were really, really stressful I would have a recurring dream about an airplane falling out of the sky and killing me (and usually HS too). Mind you, we were not on the plane, we were on the ground and the plane smashed us. One time the dream went beyond the actual crash and I saw myself in the hospital. Only I was dead and walking the hallways looking for A & L. An angel then came to me and told me not to worry, that the girls were going to be OK. 

This particular dream was so real that I actually woke up crying! After that dream, I developed a terrible fear of flying. Of course the fear of flying makes absolutely no sense because I wasn't killed while flying. If I wanted my dreams to make sense, I should freak out every time a plane flies over me (well actually, I do...just a little). 

Like I said, this was a long time ago and during a time of incredible problems, bankruptcy, IRS. On top of that, I had two little kids and was still in my early 20's...not entirely mature enough to deal with this kind of stuff. Thankfully, I had HS and while these problems were stressful for our marriage, I think we came out stronger and I haven't had an "airplane" dream since.

Correction...I haven't had an "airplane" dream until last night. This was not a fall out of the sky, smash me airplane dream this was just a weird, random airplane dream. In this airplane dream, I am traveling somewhere but I don't know where. I am on a large private airplane and one of the pilots was the ex-Public Works director. He wasn't mean or unapproachable when I worked for him. However, he was someone I avoided at all costs because he scared the crap out of me...which explains why I didn't even question him about why he was flying the plane.

The plane in my dream was so big that it was like sitting in a living room (no windows though, not even the little oval airplane windows). My dad made a brief appearance and for a moment I didn't think I was going to be able to get on the plane because I couldn't find my passport. We also landed in some rural area and had to use the road as a landing strip. This stop was so someone on the plane could visits their friends/relatives. At that point, I saw my co-worker Carol and she was playing with a baby which she let me hold for a while. Then we got back on the plane and started flying again.

When I look back at my previous airplane dreams, it is obvious that the plane represents all of the financial problems we were having and how I felt that I had no control over things. That the problems were just falling out of the sky and crushing me. Now, this new dream...I'm not so sure, but I think it has something to do with Barb's Race ;-)
  • Airplane = Loss of control (I am a terrible control freak)
  • Unknown destination = Barb's Race, not sure what to expect
  • Lost passport = Forgotten ID and USAT card
  • Dad = ???
  • Ex-boss = ???
  • Co-worker = ???
  • Baby = ???
  • Big plane with no windows = ???
Anybody have any ideas?  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nutrition Planning by Rain Girl

I've gotten a few requests over the last month for help with nutrition planning (Stephanie even offered to pay me! LOL).  Of course I welcome these requests because, as my family will eagerly point out, I love telling people what to do! (Can you just feel the love?)

Anyway, my type of planning may not be everyone's cup of tea. I am busy, lazy, and have a touch of Rain Man in me (or Rain Girl as Hot Stuff affectionately calls me). What does this mean? I have a lot to do (work and triathlon training), I don't like to put a lot of effort into meals, and I don't have a problem doing the same thing day in and day out.

For example, during the week, I get up and have breakfast at 4:30am, 7:30am is Snack-1, 10:00am is Snack-2, noon is lunch, and 2:30pm is afternoon snack... dinner is flexible and depends on what time practice is scheduled. Does this sound crazy? It doesn't to me, but other people might think I'm nuts!  LOL

If you are still on...I've included lots of pictures so you get an idea of the kind of things I eat.

Step 1 - Determine Your Caloric Needs

Before starting any kind of nutrition plan, it is important to determine how much you should be eating. A lot of people make the mistake of not taking in enough calories. This can be especially detrimental if you are doing triathlon training. Your body needs calories in order to perform. If you aren't taking in enough calories, your workouts and performance will suffer. So, to start off, lose the idea of a 1,200 calorie a day diet.

When HS and I first did P90X, we followed the nutrition guideline to determine how many calories we needed. Several years later, P90X2 was released and it included a similar although somewhat revised calculation method. The main difference is that the P90X2 plan allows you to add or subtract some calories to either add or lose weight. I would recommend not doing this the first few weeks until you see how the standard caloric intake is working for you.

My caloric needs using this method is approximately 2,500 calories a day. It may be hard to see in the photo, but this method adds 650 calories a day to cover the energy used doing the P90X2 workouts. This would be similar to an hour of running or biking (a little less for swimming).

Can you imagine trying to do an hour or running or biking on only 1,200 calories a day?

If you are too lazy to try and use this method, there is a calculator on I entered in my info and it returned a caloric need of 2,400 calories. This is close to the P90X2 calculation. Calorie Calculator

Step 2 - Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you know how much you need to be eating, you need to plan out your meals. This is especially important if you are working or busy all day. Fortunately, I work in an office. I have access to a refrigerator and I have my mini blender for my shakes. If you are out and about most of the day, you will need to plan foods that do not need to be refrigerated (or pack an ice chest).

I am a very lazy person. During the work week, I am quite happy packing the same thing day after day (HS doesn't think this is lazy, he thinks its a "Rain Man" thing).

Everything was ready the night before...just grab and go

Almonds are one of my favorite afternoon snacks. In this photo, I bought the big bag of almonds from Costs and packaged 1oz. bags for myself and 2oz. bags for HS.  This makes getting out the door in the morning easy... just grab what I need and go!

I've marked the bags with the weights
Another thing that I like to make is juice (more on juicing below). Unfortunately, fresh juices should be consumed within 48 hours, so I really can't make a whole week's worth ahead of time. This picture was back when HS, Loo and I were all juicing which is why there are so many bottles (Note: Snapple bottles work great and are reusable).

Juice - another lazy option

Shakeology at work in my mini-blender

Simple salad made the night before

Taking our shakes on the go

I take a little more freedom with breakfast and dinner, but we do have our favorites.  For example: breakfast is usually greek yogurt with blueberries, oatmeal, eggs & beans, or turkey chorizo and eggs.

One of my favs - very easy to make
Dinner follows a simple format... a protein (chicken, fish, lean beef), salad, and brown/wild rice or veggie. Sometimes I will get fancy and follow a recipe! The turkey chili below was from the "Body Beast" nutrition plan. Yummy!

Chili made for a beast

Step 3 - Adjust and Adapt

After you start a new nutrition plan, you need to give it some time to see how it's working for you. Give it few weeks then review what you've been doing.

Over the last few years of working on my nutrition, I have discovered the following things about my diet:
  • Having bread and pasta in my diet, regardless of the amount of calories, causes me to get bloated. It also makes me crave more carbs.
  • Drinking wine causes me to throw my diet out the window. Oops! I try and limit my wine to the weekends :-)
  • Juicing makes water weight disappear.
  • Too much exercise and not enough calories sends me into a peanut butter eating frenzy. 
  • Cheat days are a necessity otherwise I would never stick to my plan.
Keep It Real

If you are serious about getting healthy and losing weight, it's time to drop the diet soda and any other kind of diet, fat-free, sugar-free crap. Loo once posted something about chemicals in food... pardon the language...


Enough said!
Check out this recent article about diet soda...

"a Purdue University study has found that diet sodas may be linked to a number of health problems from obesity to diabetes to heart disease, just like their more sugary counterparts"
You may want to start off your nutrition plan by first eliminating the bad stuff and then adjusting your calories after you've gotten used to the changes.

About Juicing

HS and I first decided to give juicing a try after watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" on Netflix. We had the Jack La Lane juicer from Costco, but upgraded to the Green Star Elite after we got serious. The Green Star is not cheap, but in terms of extraction, there is no comparison, especially if you a juicing leafy greens (spinach, wheat grass, etc.).

I have done a full week juice cleanse as well as a couple of weekend cleanses. The full week cleanse is not for the faint of heart. However, it is an effective way to kick of a new nutrition plan. Not only will you lose weight (I lost 8 lbs. in 7 days), but you will feel rejuvenated and you will find that your junk food cravings disappear.

The first few days of a 7 cleanse are tough, but if you can get through those, the rest of the week is not bad. Don't attempt this if you have any kind of special event planned during the week. Not only will you be miserable watching everyone enjoying whatever celebratory food they are eating, but you will also piss them off because you are just so freakin' healthy! LOL

Juicing also requires planning and prep work

Fridge full of juice as well as some chia fresca
My favorite recipe

A Little Extra Ooomph!

After following a nutrition or workout plan for a while, I find that I need to shake things up a bit. Due to the time demands of triathlon training, I haven't done any P90X workouts for quite a while (except for the occasional Yoga-X or Stretch-X workout). Most of the P90X workouts are at least an hour and then add another 15 minutes for Ab Ripper-X.

As you can imagine, following a P90X workout with an hour long run, swim or bike would be quite time consuming... plus I would be worn out! Doing P90X before work is not an option either. I start work at 6am and get up around 4:15am. No one would be able to stand me if I tried getting up any earlier ;-) HS wouldn't want to put up with me after an hour less sleep (I'm bad enough) and James would probably kick me out of the pool! LOL

I think I have finally found a solution....after Barb's Race, I'm going to start Shaun T's new workout called T25. I have always been a fan of INSANITY, but just like P90X, I just didn't have the time for a 45-55 minute workout. T25 is only 25 minutes a pop. This is completely do-able even if I did try it before work (less time playing Candy Crush in the morning LOL).

Another reason I want to incorporate a structured workout into my triathlon training is because I need some additional strength and core training and I'm not the type that can just do those types of workouts on my own. I need someone moving me along and telling me what to do.

One thing I like about Shaun T's workouts is that they use your body weight for strength training, not weights. Of course, HS is not a big fan of this because as he says "I don't want tri arms". I on the other hand want long lean arms, but I also want strength. This workout will be perfect for a little extra strength without the bulk (HS can stick to his Body Beast routines).

Can't wait to try this

Once I get the program (it's on back order because it has proven to be so popular) am going to read through everything and determine how I am going to work it into my schedule. I'm also looking forward to checking out the nutrition plan.

Here is a list of the workouts that are can see why I think this will help my triathlon training :-)

ALPHA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Cardio 25 minutes of calorie-burning, sweat-drenching cardio.
  • Speed 1.0 Ignite your quickness. Burn the fat. Fast-paced for fast results.
  • Total Body Circuit Focus on strength and resistance—without lifting a single weight.
  • Ab Intervals Cardio and ab intervals that shred the fat from your midsection.
  • Lower Focus Focus on your lower-body muscles—the key to burning fat and kicking up your metabolism.

BETA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Core Cardio Get your sweat on! This progressive cardio-core workout is about you getting shredded fast.
  • Speed 2.0 Rev it up with Shaun's calorie-scorching, core-focused speed drills.
  • Rip't Circuit Cardio … upper body … legs … abs ... repeat! This is how you get ripped in 25 minutes.
  • Dynamic Core You'll go from vertical to horizontal and back again in this dynamic, crazy core routine.
  • Upper Focus Shaun will help you develop the upper body of your dreams. All you have to do is FOCUS. 

Don't tell your friends
Let me know if you are interested in doing this program with me...I can get it for you at my cost ;-) Shhhhh!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Journey from Fat to Fit

Sunday afternoon, after we got back from the Tri for Real #2, Hot Stuff and I were relaxing in the pool and discussing triathlons, racing, and fitness. The topic of my former, larger size came up and HS suggested I post a picture showing everyone who didn't know me back then what I looked like.

My low point - November 2008

The picture above was taken on the U.S.S. Missouri while HS and I were in Hawaii. Most of the pictures from this trip were either head shots or pictures where I tried to hide my body behind something. This was the heaviest I had been since I was pregnant...I'm not even sure how heavy I was because I would not get on a scale. My best guess is over 185 lbs! I was miserable on this trip and vowed to make some changes when I got home. 


After we returned home and the holidays were over, I started doing the Atkins diet AGAIN. It had worked in the past but was not a long term solution. I continued yo-yo dieting for several months with only a slight reduction in my weight. In July 2009, a group of co-workers began doing P90X. One co-worker gave me a copy of the workout so I could try it.  HS agreed to do the workouts with me and we did our first P90X workout in August.

The workouts were extremely difficult and we spent a lot of time on  the floor looking at the TV trying to figure out what Tony Horton was doing. A few days into the workout, HS asked me if there was a diet that went along with the workouts. I said there was and he insisted that if we were going to kill ourselves with the workouts, that we needed to follow the nutrition plan too.

The next day, I prepared our first P90X breakfast (we didn't normally eat breakfast). HS was shocked when I gave him his 10 egg white omelette. "Are we sharing this?" he asked hopefully.  "Nope," I answered "this is yours, I've got to go make mine".  For the next 90 days, I prepared every meal and snack according to the nutrition plan and the results were amazing. 

The picture above shows my results from the first 90 days of P90X. I went from about 180 lbs. on August 8th to about 145 lbs. on November 4th. After that, HS and I continued to do the workouts, but got away from our strict adherence to the nutrition plan. Over the next two years or so, we did other Beachbody workouts and started hosting Tuesday evening workouts at our warehouse.  Unfortunately, without a nutrition plan to follow, my weight started creeping up again.

Time for a Change

By the summer of 2012, I believe I was back up to about 160 lbs. again. On top of that, we had just rented out our warehouse and could no longer do our group workouts. I was really bummed, because I really liked the social aspect of these workouts. Luckily I found a replacement for the warehouse workouts when I signed up for an "Introduction to Triathlons" class.

Not only did the triathlon class fill my need for some sort of social exercise program it also sparked something inside of me. The goal of having to actually complete a triathlon helped me focus and gave meaning to my workouts. After two years of doing P90X and INSANITY workouts simply to maintain my weight, it was a welcome relief to feel like there was a purpose for exercising.

At my first tri - still a bit heavy

It has taken a while for the weight to come off but I am below my lowest P90X weight and I am in the best shape of my life.

Getting down to my race weight 
Worst Coach Ever

Besides being a former heavy weight, another thing you may not know about me is that I am also a Beachbody coach. My good friends who knew I was a coach probably don't know I'm still doing it...unless they are the few that call me up to buy something with my discount! LOL That's the main reason I signed up to be a coach...just wanted to get the 25% discount on the P90X Results & Recovery  and Shakeology...not to make people buy stuff. 

I still drink my Shakeology everyday :-)
I don't know...I hate recommending something to people when I know I am going to make money off of my recommendation. Maybe that's why I never hesitate to tell people about the triathlon group...I don't make any money off of it...I just love doing it!


Training Peaks 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tri for Real #2 - Race Report

I decided to do this race for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to complete 3 sanctioned USAT events
  2. I wanted to try out a few things before Barb's Race.

The Tri for Real #2 was my second race this weekend. My first race was the inaugural S.H.E. 365, a 5k fun run put on by Fleet Feet Stockton.

Pre-Race Race
LMT Ladies Pre-Race

My intent was to use S.H.E. 365 as a warm up for the Tri for Real #2. Only the top three overall finishers were going to win an award, so there was no reason for me to go out and kill myself. That all changed when HS, who was volunteering at the event, came over to tell me about a certain person that had shown up to run.

This person is not someone I regularly race against, but I have lost to her in the past. In the back of my mind I saw her as unbeatable. Once I knew she was at this race too, I immediately felt deflated.

The deflated feeling didn't last long...I wouldn't allow it. Why should I concede a race before it even starts? What is wrong with me??? I decided that I was no longer going to let who shows up to a 5k or a triathlon affect my race.

Floating on Air
Once the race started and the herd thinned a bit, I was surprised to find that there were still a lot of women out in front of me. I have learned after many 5k's that the fun runs tend to attract people that are new to running and pacing themselves.  These people tend to go out way too fast...I know because I used to do the same thing and I would be passed by this one 60-70 year old woman every time (she was my first nemesis). I stuck to my pace and picked them off one by one.

Eventually the next person to pick off was the one that HS pointed out. I continued at my pace and crept up inch by inch. About a mile and a half into the run, I was ready to over take her. I increased my speed a bit and ran past her. I slowed back to my original pace and didn't look back.

When I rounded the last corner, I kicked it up a bit to sprint to the finish. I finished 7th overall but more importantly, I overcame the negative thinking that had derailed previous races (yes, I beat the person I thought was unbeatable). This was important because the Tri for Real #2 was going to put me up against a competitor that beat me at the Tri for Real #1.


The day before the Tri for Real #2 I made a big batch of chia fresca. This concoction, which the author of "Born to Run" describes as "home-brewed Red Bull", was going into my aero bottle. The intent was to kill two birds with one stone. I was going to hydrate and get nutrition/calories at the same time. I figured a full bottle of this stuff was going to give me about 300 calories.

Since I also drank chia fresca before the first Tri for Real back in June, I decided to do the same before this race. I ate about 1/2 of an over-ripe banana, had a big class of chia fresca, and a cup of coffee. This mix is easy to digest and hasn't caused me any problems. I will definitely be bringing this to Barb's Race.


Let me start off with a quick product plug... at the Tri for Real #1, I was blinded by the sun as I rounded the first turn and swam east. The glare was so bad that I couldn't even see the next buoy. I remedied that at this race with a new pair of goggles by TYR called "Special Ops".
"Showcasing polarized embedded anti-fog lenses, the Special Ops Goggles block horizontal sun rays that bounce off the top of water, for a sustained clear and reliable swimming experience. An ideal choice for everyday training, open water swimming and triathlon use..."
These goggles were awesome. I was able to see everything and they did not fog up! What a change from the first race. Now on to my swim....

After almost a year of triathlon training I am finally feeling comfortable about the swim and I credit James with getting me to this point (Thank you Coach!!!). I cried before my first triathlon and it only had a 200y swim. For whatever reason, the swim just freaks me out. Anyway, before the start of this race, I felt more relaxed than I have ever felt. Perhaps it was just the relief of knowing that the race was wet suit legal.

This relaxed attitude about the swim was surprising since James was starting in my wave (he decided to do a relay instead of doing his aqua bike thing). I didn't want James in my wave...he's too fast and he might try and make me do something crazy like try and get out in front or go fast. Thankfully, he let me do my own thing for this race :-)

Having James in my wave actually helped take my mind off of the race. The TBF announcer put the focus on James since he was the only dude in the wave. He pointed out what a good swimmer James was and then James added fuel to the fire by letting everyone know that he was a swim coach too. At that point, all of the ladies started telling James that they were going to draft off of him. My first thought was to tell them all to back off because he was MY coach and if anyone was going to draft off of him, it was going to be me!

I decided to keep my mouth shut...I didn't want my competitors to know that my coach was in the water with me. I also didn't want a target on my back like James now had. James tried to play things down a bit with the women by telling them that he wasn't going to be that fast because he wasn't wearing a wet suit. I don't think the ladies believed him :-)

Before the first wave of men took off, there was an issue with the orange buoys. It was then announced that the only ones that had to be kept at our right were the white triangular buoys. Apparently, there was an issue with the white ones too because HS said he could see the first one moving! This may not matter much to the first wave, but when you are in the final wave that starts 20 minutes later, that means 20 minutes of the buoy moving farther away.

When my wave finally started, I worked to settle down and just swim. I soon found myself swimming next to James and felt a sense of security knowing that the coach was right there. While the volunteers in the kayaks may possibly let me drown, I was certain that James wouldn't let that happen! ha ha (Don't ask me why I still think I'm going to drown). I tried recreating the same things that got me through the Tri for Real #1 swim, but the songs weren't in my head and just didn't seem necessary.

I was breathing every stroke for a while and I did switch to breast stroke a few times to sight. I focused on doing catch-up freestyle and staying long in the water. I was amazed at how good I felt in the swim. My arms felt strong and my anxiety level was very low. (Thank you James!) During the home stretch I started kicking more to wake up my legs and tried to stay on a straight path to the finish.

Just so you can see how my swim has improved in the last month, look at the comparison between race #1 and race #2. In the first race, I was ranked 71st overall in the swim, this time I was ranked 46th. I had a much higher ranking in my swim than in my run...which most would argue is my strongest leg. How did that happen?  When did I become a swimmer?  LOL (Thank you, thank you, thank you James!)

Swim Bike Run Finish
Tri for Real #1 0:28:55 71 1:20:30 73 0:57:36 75 2:47:01
Tri for Real #2 0:27:12 46 1:20:57 73 0:55:10 67 2:43:19

Tri for Real #2 - Swim by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details

NOTE: I did not stop my Garmin until I was up in the transition area.


I don't know what came over me as I headed into T1. I was thrilled with my swim and for whatever reason, decided to take my time getting over to my bike. Let's just say that my transition was sooooo leisurely that Hot Stuff wondered what I was doing. After the race he asked why I was going so slow (and he never questions what I do in a race). I didn't have an answer. All I know is that I am thankful I took a little extra time to drink some Gatorade and eat 1/2 a pack of it turned out, it was going to have to last me longer than I expected.


The bike course at Rancho Seco starts off with at least 4-5 speed bumps as you work your way out of the park to the main road. I have learned not to fear the speed bumps and try not to slow down too much for them. When I hit the first speed bump, my aero bottle shifted and I could hear the Velcro that was holding the bottle tear a bit. I grabbed the front of the bottle and tried to shove it back in place.

When I went over the second bump, the bottle shifted again. I took a big swig of the chia fresca to try and reduce the weight of the bottle...hoping that this would help. I was pleased to find that the drink was still cool and the big straw of the aero bottle made drinking it easy. After the third speed bump, I took another drink just to be safe. I didn't want to drink too much in the beginning but I did want to lighten the bottle a bit more.

The final speed bump is at the guard shack at the entrance to the park. As soon as I hit this final obstacle, my aero bottle was launched off of my bike and crashed unceremoniously at my feet... shooting chia fresca all over my right foot. Crap!!!

A female competitor that I had just passed, rode up next to me to ask if that was my only water. Luckily I still had one water bottle with a 50-50 mix of Gatorade and Smart Water. This was going to have to last me the next 22+ miles.

Tri for Real #2 - Bike by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


OK, I don't know how many times James has told us to find a landmark so we can find our spot in transition, I wish I would have remembered to do this. When I came in from the bike, I was lost. Don't ask me why, our spot was in the front next to a tree well (pretty easy to find). Once again, HS was wondering what the heck I was doing in transition. He said I was just standing there looking around. Apparently he yelled "You're in the front row! FRONT ROW!!!"  I'm not even sure I heard him. Thankfully I snapped out of it and found my spot.

I decided to put on socks today since I plan on wearing socks during Barb's Race. I made sure I took off my bike helmet (so I wouldn't embarrass HS) and put on the Fleet Feet visor that HS let me borrow (just to see how much cooler it is than a running hat). I had a small problem with my race belt not wanting to clip so I struggled with that a bit. Since I didn't get the nutrition I had wanted during the ride, I grabbed a bag of GU chomps and took a quick drink of Gatorade. Lastly, I stuffed a handful of ice in my top and took off for the run course.

Run (Aunt Flo's Undignified Return)

My plan for the run was to stay consistent and not walk. Mission accomplished. Now on to the horror of the run... (Men might want to stop reading NOW!)

Back at the Father's Day triathlon, I reported that Aunt Flo made a race day appearance. Well she reappeared for this race too, not that I wasn't prepared. In fact, minutes before heading down to the water to warm up, I went to the bathroom and took care of business with the thought that the race would take about 3 hours and I should be good to go for at least that long. WRONG!

TBF Racing has well stocked aid stations along the run. At the first station, I had a cup of electrolyte drink, dumped a cup of water down my back, and poured a cup of ice in my top. I felt cool and refreshed. At each aid station, I would drink the electrolytes and dump some water on myself.  About mile three or four, all of my ice had melted but I still had a strange sensation that water was running down my legs.

OMG!!! It's not water! To my shock and horror, I had blood running down my legs. For those of you brave/stupid men that have decided to read this far, let me just say that no, I had not fallen or cut myself...the blood is exactly the stuff you don't want to know about. Gross!!! LOL

Well, at this point, what the hell am I going to do? I gotta keep going and I may as well run because the longer I take the worse it's going to get. At the final two aid stations, I drank the electrolytes and poured the water on my legs instead of down my back. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I made a bee line to my transition bag to grab a necessity and head off to the bathroom.

Tri for Real #2 - Run by tpengilly at Garmin Connect - Details


Regardless of everything that happened at this race, it was still a success. I took almost four minutes off of my previous time and finished second...again. Kelly, the lady standing in the first place spot on the podium, is the same person that beat me at the Tri for Real #1 in June. However, following my experience at S.H.E. 365, I didn't get upset or feel defeated when I saw her walking around transition before the race. I like Kelly and look forward to racing her again (she only beat me by 19 seconds this time). Of course, HS pointed out that maybe if I had hustled in transition...blah, blah, blah... LOL

Besides HS, Emily, one of my LMT teammates, was there to watch the race. I cannot express how touched I was that she wanted to come out and support me. She even made some great signs. If she ever plans on coming to watch another race, I think I will make a special request for the signs...something like "Hey dummy, your bike goes here!" with a big arrow and "This is supposed to be a transition, not a vacation!"  ;-)

Love it!
Lastly, to finish of a mentally exhausting day, I realized (after we had reached Highway 99) that I did not have my wet suit, my brand new wet suit!!! OMG! I checked to see if James had the number to TBF but he didn't. I then sent TBF an email and a Facebook message. I was distraught and HS didn't think that going back to Rancho Seco was going to help...he figured that someone had taken my wet suit because we didn't see it when we collected my stuff from transition.

I must have looked pretty pathetic because Hot Stuff relented and turned the truck around. We raced back to Rancho Seco and were relieved to see the TBF staff still packing up. I walked over to the announcer's stand and was immediately asked "Are you looking for your wet suit?"  YAY!!! There it was. Let this be a lesson...put your name in your wet suit. I had just written mine in this week and I cannot tell you how glad I was that I did!

I'm still not sure how my wet suit got missed when we packed up. The only thing I can think of is the guy next to me in transition had slid my suit over and racked his bike between my bike and my wet suit (he had stuff spread all over).  Oh well, the important thing is that I have my wet suit and won't have to wear HS's wet suit for Barb's Race (he thought that was a funny joke!).

We left Rancho Seco for the second time that day and headed to Elk Grove. HS had been talking to some staff from Kinetic Cycles and wanted to stop by and see what they had in stock. Unfortunately, their tri bike selection was depleted, but they did have some bike shoes in my size. This is good news because I'm fairly certain my old pair of shoes is going to start sprouting chia any day now ;-)