Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Different New Year's Resolution 2016

Ok, I'm not going to beat around the bush...I'm just going to put this out there and then I will explain why it's a GREAT idea for a resolution...

Resolve to do a TRIATHLON! 

The very first Triathlon 101 graduation race...nothing but smiles :-)

Don't wait, resolve to do one, find a team to train with (more on that below), find a goal race, get started!

Triathlon Resolution Explanation

The other day I overheard some people talking about New Year's resolutions. Of course, if you were like me and you stuffed your face over Christmas, your first thought for a resolution may be to lose weight. Last year the Neilsen Company did a survey and found the top 10 resolutions for 2015.

Source: Nielsen
No. 1 was "Stay fit and healthy". "Lose Weight" was a close second. I believe it is possible to kill two birds with one stone by resolving to do a triathlon. I can't count how many times I've resolved to eat better, exercise more...blah blah blah...only to have the first time I fall off the wagon derail my efforts. I can tell you from experience, there is nothing like signing up for a race that's a little outside your comfort zone to MOTIVATE you!

Below is a picture of a runner named Derek Mitchell. Derek decided to run a 5k every month in 2015.  According to Derek's community Facebook page, he ended up running 20 races and lost 100 pounds along the way. Do you think Derek was a little out of comfort zone when he signed up for his first race? I bet he was. But guess what? Once you register for that race and post your intentions on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, you are committed!

My guess is that you will show for swim practice...you will get out the door and complete your training run instead of sitting on the couch. You want to succeed.  All of your friends and family want you to succeed! All you need to do is try :-)

570 Pound Man Commits to Finishing a 5k Per Month

Wait, Wait, Wait...

Now, before you tell me I'm crazy or you start listing all of the various reasons why you think you cannot do a triathlon, let me just say one thing..."You are wrong!"

Think you are too old? WRONG! I was pushing 45 when I did my very first triathlon and HS was 61 years young when he did his first! S-I-X-T-Y  O-N-E...enough said!

Think you are too out of shape? That's what training is for... more on that below.

Think you don't have the right equipment? Unless you are shoeless and have no access to a bicycle (it's perfectly acceptable to borrow one for your first race) I'm not buying it.

Think you can't swim? Well, if you ask my swim coach, I still can't swim either. If you don't like swimming, join the club, I only do it so I can get on my bike and ride as far away from the water as possible ;-)  LOL  Actually, I've learned to enjoy swimming and I find it to be a great recovery workout. I'm at the age where I can't pound my body day after day...I need breaks and I need recovery workouts.

Local Athletes

If you live in the Lodi - Stockton - Manteca area, the Central Valley Triathlon Club (formerly Lodi Masters Triathletes) will be conducting their annual Triathlon 101 course. This is a 10 week course to get you ready for your graduation race...the Auburn Mini Triathlon.

The Triathlon 101 class will focus on getting you ready for the swim, teaching you bike safety and proper riding technique, as well as teaching you the ins and outs of transition (swim-to-bike and bike-to-run). Provided our winter stays wet and the local reservoirs fill up, we will have open water swim practices at Lake Camanche and a couple of practice triathlons.

Open water swim practice when there was water in Lake Comanche

Practice triathlon

The Auburn Mini Triathlon consists of a 500m swim - 8 mile bike - 2.6 mile run and according to the race organizers is an "excellent novice challenge with diverse terrain, incredible scenery and virtually no car traffic on both the bike and run!" This race is being held on Sunday, May 16, 2016.

NOTE: If you are out of the area and would like to find a club to train with, go to USA Triathlon and check out the club listings.  USA Triathlon also has an extensive list of events or you can go to Active.com to find even more races.

Steps to Success

1) Send me a message for more info on the Triathlon 101 class (I'm still waiting for some of the details from the coach).
2) Post your intention on Facebook. Let everyone know what you are committing to and invite them to join you.
3) Relax and enjoy the journey. Trust me when I tell you that you are going to meet some great people that love sharing the sport with new athletes :-)


Friday, December 11, 2015

CIM 2015 - Race Report

I really thought that this year was going to be my year to qualify for Boston. It's not that I even think I want to go to Boston, I just want to qualify. Maybe this goal is stuck in my head because the first time I raced CIM in 2013, I missed a Boston qualifying time by a mere :04 seconds! ARGH!!

Maybe I started off too slow this year?

I went back again in 2014 after following a marathon training plan and sticking with the 3:55:00 pace group. That should work, right? Wrong! I added two minutes. I was so bummed. Part of my problem was (I thought) that all of the running I had been doing as part of my training finally took its toll and caused my calf to cramp with less than 5 miles to go. I had to walk it out and missed my goal. I was completely defeated as I watched the pace group run away from me.

For 2015 my plan was to stick to a more diverse training plan with more swimming and cycling. I was done with running 5-6 days a week. I also decided to splurge and get a hotel room at the Hyatt right across from the starting line.  I also convinced Lindsey and Max to come stay at the house with the dogs. This move should remove any race morning worries about driving from Stockton, finding parking, dropping the dogs off at the kennel, etc. I should arrive at the start line well rested and ready to go...NOT!

Day Before the Race

HS and I got to Sac a little after 1:00pm on Saturday. We parked at the hotel and headed to the convention center to pick up my race packet. There were no lines and I was done within 10 minutes. Since we couldn't check in until 3pm, we wandered around the expo for a while longer, I bought some of my favorite GU...Salted Watermelon and HS snapped a pick of me standing by a CIM sign. By then it was still only 2:30pm. We walked back to our car, grabbed our bags, went to see if we could check in a little early.

This sign had the shortest line

There was a line of runners at Registration but the clerks were efficient and it was our time before we new it. To our surprise, The #Hyatt had our room ready and allowed us to check in. The Hyatt also had a goodie bag for the runners, a bottle of water, a banana, some Nuun, and a pack of ear plugs LOL

Our room was very nice. I went through my bag and starting laying out the gear I would need in the morning. Once that was done, I double checked that my Garmin and my LifeBEAM hat (for tracking my HR) were synced. I then triple checked my alarm and flopped down on the bed. HS warned me about taking a nap and not being able to sleep later on, so I did a little channel surfing before we decided to go get dinner.

I had been craving ramen for over a week so we headed for a sushi restaurant that was just around the corner from the hotel. I ordered the House Ramen and was not disappointed. It was just what I wanted.

Carbo loading with House Ramen at Osaka Sushi

We were back in our room by 6pm and HS was asleep not too long after that. I, on the other hand, was not ready to sleep. I was preoccupied by the race and could not wind down (not even after some #MichaelDavid Inkblot Petit Verdot). I tossed and turned, hot and then cold. Comfortable then uncomfortable. Eventually I turned off the TV and tried willing myself to sleep. This was not good.

I think I finally fell asleep around 10:30pm. It's not bad, but it would have been nice to be asleep at my normal bedtime of 9:00pm. The alarm would start ringing before I knew it.


My alarm sounded at 3:55am (I just realized that I set my alarm for my goal time LOL) and I wished I could just keep sleeping. I rolled out of bed, started some coffee and hopped in the shower (my hair was a sweaty mess that even my hat could not hide). I ate a Clif Bar and a banana and finished my coffee. I had been thinking about bringing some bagels, but didn't get around to picking some up. At 4:50am, HS and I walked down to the bus line. It was a little on the windy side and chilly. HS wanted to go get his jacket but didn't want to miss sending me off, so he endured the cold.

I love my number!

A couple of buses appeared from the opposite direction and I was lucky enough to get on the second one. As we headed east on Highway 50, the rain started to fall. I told myself that it looked worse than it was because it was a big flat bus windshield. The funny thing about riding the bus from the finish to the start is you get a very good idea of just how long 26.2 miles is! Even though this is my third time running CIM, I'm always humbled about how far it actually it is!

Once we arrived in Folsom, the bus driver took a couple of wrong turns, but eventually he got us to the start. I got off the bus immediately and headed to the port-a-potties. Once that was taken care of, I wandered around a bit, helped myself to some free GU Chomps and looked around if I could see anyone I knew. No luck.


Before I knew it, we were singing the national anthem and on our way. Immediately I noticed my HR was too high for my race plan...even though I had been trying to keep it at the right pace and we were running down hill. I didn't want to slow down anymore and prayed that I wasn't dooming my race before the first mile was even over. Eventually, my HR started to come down a bit and I got into my rhythm as we made our way up and down the rolling hills.

The race progressed as I had planned, and according to my Garmin, I was at the pace I wanted. I ate a GU about every 5 or so miles and was drinking at the aid stations. I was happy that I was able to grab the cups of Nuun or water offered and drink without slowing down much (I did get water up  my nose at one station LOL). However, at around mile 18, things started to change. I noticed that my quads were starting to ache. This was new for me because I usually don't even notice my quads until about a day after the race.

My legs felt like they were on fire, so I took another dose of Sport Legs (I had one prior to the race and again at mile 10). I also had some Aleve in my bag so I took one of those too. Unfortunately, this had no affect on how my legs felt and I only succeeded in upsetting my stomach. I told myself that if I slowed down to walk I would feel worse tomorrow about walking than I did at that moment. I hate looking back at a race and wishing I would have pushed more, endured more, or not given up. So I kept running. I told myself it was just a little pain and that I wasn't going to die from it.

The 3:55:00 pace group caught up with me at around mile 21 or 22. I tried to hang with them knowing that as they moved past me my goal time was also slipping away. As much as I tried to muster more energy, I just couldn't go any faster. My goal at that point became not walking and instead pushing until the end. I ran past the spot where I walked last year. Every step after that became a victory. Before I knew it I saw the 25 mile mark and I started to run with everything I had left. Looking at my Garmin data I was running around 8:20 pace down to 7:34 when I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.

Thanks for capturing this moment, HS!

Post Race

After I crossed the finish line I walked over to HS. All I could say was "I didn't make my time." That was it. No tears, no anger, just sort of matter of fact. I guess the fact that I gave it everything I had, that I had no regrets made it easy to accept that once again I missed a Boston Qualifying time. I really didn't think about this moment again until the next morning when HS remarked "I was really proud how you handled yourself yesterday."

I was floored. It meant so much to me to hear this, to know that it was remarkable enough for him to notice!! It was another victory for me. I had finally learned to handle defeat and to shrug it off. I was moving past that race and looking forward to my next challenge :-)

Of course, one of my next challenges is CIM 2016. As soon as I got the invite for the $89 re-run I signed up. HS even signed up too and so did my sister, Trisha; my teammates Dani and Nancy; and one of my co-workers!

Here's to 2016...BQ or no BQ :-)


Thursday, November 26, 2015

In Search of 5 Seconds

In 2013, I ran my first California International Marathon and missed a Boston qualifying time by 4 seconds (race report).  F-O-U-R freakin' seconds!!! I was crushed.

I went back in 2014, after following a marathon training plan and cutting out all of my usual triathlon cross training, and I managed to ADD a few minutes to my time. (race report) ARGH!!

Had a great time in 2014 with my tri buddies
I recently re-read my race reports from those years.  At the end of last year's report, I had noted the following goals:

Goals for 2015 
  • Learn to listen to myself
  • Enjoy the marathon during Vineman
  • Convince HS , LindseyMax, and Ashley to run CIM with me!

Ok, I'm running CIM by myself, so I definitely missed Goal #3. As for enjoying the marathon during Vineman, well...I don't know about that goal either LOL!!! Now, as for my first goal about learning to listen to myself, I think I have been much better than previous years.

Going Back to What Works

This year I decided to go back to more of what I did in 2013 and less of what I did in 2014. In 2013, I enjoyed my training a lot more than all the running I did in 2014. I also didn't have the cramping issues.

Here's how my training in November matches up for the past 3 years:

Orange = swim
Blue = run
Red = cycling
Green = strength training

November 2013

Almost as much swimming as there was running with a little bit of cycling on Saturdays. Seems like a lot of "rest" days too.

November 2014

Almost entirely all running except for the Salmon Duathlon.

November 2015

Less swimming than 2013 and a lot more cycling and strength training.

Race Plans

I've decided that I won't be running with a pace group this year. 2013 = no pace group / 2014 = 3:55:00 pace group.  Apparently the pace group tries to keep an even pace for the entire race. However, that is not how I run. I need to start out a little slower and then pick up the pace later in the race.

26.2 miles is a long run and a lot can happen. That being said, I really hope that somewhere in all those miles I can manage to squeak out at least 5 seconds!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Last Long Run

Today was my last long, slow run before CIM. I usually don't write much about my running...there's not much to say...it's long and it's slow and it's boring. Knowing that you have a 20 mile run is not always something you want to think about when you roll out of bed...especially if it's raining. I checked the weather report and according to Yahoo! Weather the rain would be over by the time I got home from church! Yay! I was not looking forward to running 20 miles in the rain.

Our street was still wet from the morning rain, but the weather report said it was over
Yeah but...

Unless your cable and internet service has been down for a few days, you are aware of the terrible events that occurred in France on Friday. It is truly a tragedy. When I got to church and looked at the handout I saw that the topic was "Yeah but...Why do bad things happen to good people?" This wasn't a sermon that the pastor cooked up at the last minute because of the events in France. It was the planned sermon in a series called "Yeah but..." which is meant to address the questions that we all may ask about God, life and faith... the "Yeah but's" in life.

Although the sermon wasn't intended to be about France, the pastor did open with a prayer for the people of France and everyone affected. After the prayer, I couldn't help but think about all the tragedies and heartache in the world. You can't turn on the TV or look at the internet without learning about some new horrible event. My mind then drifted to my big worry...was it going to rain on my long run. Immediately I felt horribly shallow and stupid. Really Tracy? That's your big worry? Boy you sure do have it rough.

Is it Worth It?

When I think about the time and money involved in training for the events I choose, I often wonder "Is it worth it?" I mean honestly, what am I doing here...planning my Sundays around insanely long distances that I really don't even like to do. In a few months I will be preparing to have another go at Vineman. What if terrorists decide to do something horrible in the US again? It could all be over tomorrow and then what? Are there triathlons in heaven? Does everybody win at a triathlon in heaven?

I then remind myself that my time spent training is my way of staying grounded. For the few hours that I am out riding or running, I am in control. I'm not concerned with terrorists, bombings, mass shootings or anything like that (although the car alarms and sirens in Stockton can be a little worrisome). During my training, it's just me and the road. In a world where I feel incredibly out of control and helpless, my training gives me a glimmer of hope. I decide where I want to run, how far, and how fast? Nobody is making me train, it is my decision and I am incredibly grateful to be able to decide what I want to do.

Windy, Windy Weather

So, I lucked out in the rain department, but unfortunately the wind picked up. In fact there was even a possible tornado a little further south and that is pretty rare in California. My Garmin says the wind was 10 mph, but as anyone with a Garmin knows...that's at the time you start your activity. Weather Underground reported maximum wind speeds in Stockton of 31 mph with gusts up to 38 mph. I definitely felt some of those gusts. The run back home along the Calaveras bike path was miserable. All I could do was put my head down and hang onto my hat...so much for my Chi Running form ;-)

HS kept me company throughout the run. I know it wasn't easy for him to try and stay upright on his bike as he rode at a stupid slow pace, but he did it. I can't thank him enough. As I made my way back over the bridge on Feather River Dr, a gust of wind blew along the water way and pushed me enough to make me side step a bit. I was so over trying to fight the wind. I should have just ran in the hills if I wanted this kind of workout! I dug a bit deeper and made my way home (only 2 miles at that point LOL).

After loading my Garmin data, I then checked my calendar. 10 miles next Sunday!!! AWESOME ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Salmon Duathlon 2015 - Race Report

My goal for today was to beat Tracy with a "Y"...myself (my friends know what I'm talking about). This would be my fourth time doing the Salmon Duathlon. The Salmon Duathlon was my second multi-sport race following the Golden State Triathlon in 2012 (my very first triathlon). I had so much fun at Golden State I wanted to do another one, but Golden State was one of the last local triathlons for the season, so I settled for two sports instead of three and found this fun, low key event.

My first year's time was OK, but of course I wanted to beat that time the second year. I did beat my 2012 time in 2013, so of course, I believed that I would continue to improve and get even faster in 2014. Unfortunately, I added several seconds in 2014. I wasn't devastated, but I did question whether or not I had reached my limit. What if 2013 was as fast as I would ever be?

Actually, I had a second goal for this race...not to mess up my Garmin! For whatever reason, I have been unsuccessful at capturing my race data. One year I turned on my Garmin and didn't let the satellites sync. Another year I recorded the entire race as a cycling event. So this year, the pressure was on to get it right. I am happy to report that I recorded the race accurately and was within a couple of seconds of my official time.

Finally got it right!


Started the day with a breakfast of eggs on toast (Double Fiber english muffin). Thirty minutes before race start I had Beachbody's new Performance "Energize" pre-workout drink. It is similar to C4 but doesn't make you feel like your skin is crackling! LOL

Just what I needed :-)

Overheard at the Registration Desk

HS  fills out his registration paper work which included information like his name and age (63) and the following conversation ensues...
Registration Lady: It's 65
HS: No, I'm only 63
Registration Lady: No, it's 65 dollars. Mike, you've raced here before.
HS: Derp!!!

More Pre-Race Antics

As we stood along the side of Sonora Rd listening to final instructions from Mark , a fellow racer took the mike and gave everyone a little pep talk and chant to help get up the hill (all three times). I don't remember all of it, but it was a military 4 count chant that included the following lines...

...I don't know but I've been told, Mark Aiton is fat and old.
If he tried to run this race, he would fall flat on his face...

Smiles before and after the race today! Great race by On Your Mark Events
It was a great chant and got everyone fired up and ready to race.

Run - Part 1

For the first run, I wanted to try running by feel...so I fought the urge to check my Garmin. I also wanted to test out some of the things that I learned at the #ChiRunning clinic. The first loop felt good (it always helps to start a race off going down hill). Even the first run up the hill wasn't so bad.

Running through the Knights Ferry covered bridge 

Actually, the second loop felt pretty good too. Hmmm...What's up with that?


In and out without any problems. It really makes a difference not having a wetsuit to peel off ;-)


Last year, things got a bit windy on the way back. This year, however, there was no headwind to contend with...although there did seem to be a bit of a cross wind the entire ride.

The road conditions were a bit improved too. It looked like several of the really bad potholes had been filled and I didn't see a single rider sidelined due to a flat tire. As I neared the turn around point, I reminded myself that my bike is perfectly capable of during around and that I didn't need as big of a turning radius that I thought I did. It's a bike not a big rig. Anyway, as I neared the turn around point, I got a little nervous because the street seemed too narrow and I unclipped my inside foot. The volunteer kept saying "It's OK, you've got this" but I don't think I believed him.

My speed slowed to a wobbly crawl and when I eventually got around the cone I tried to clip back in but was unsuccessful on my first few attempts. The only thing I could think was that +James Cotta would have been soooo embarrassed. He probably wouldn't tell anyone ever again that he taught me how to ride! LOL


Same as T1 and unlike the first time I did this race, I didn't run out of T2 with my helmet still on my head! LOL

Run 2

I'm not sure what it is, but this run course reveals itself to you bit by bit, so it never really seems that long. That is... until you come to that hill...for the third time! As I exited the covered bridge and gazed up the hill, my thoughts went dark and I told myself just to walk. Why run and make yourself miserable.

James is still smiling before his third go at the hill!

I then sternly reminded myself that the little bit of discomfort I feel running up the hill would be nothing compared to how I would feel after the race if I walked. Nothing is worse than the "shoulda-coulda-woulda" after a race. So I kept running...slowly! Eventually I made it to the top and rounded the corner, a short flat distance and then it was basically all down hill to the finish! Yay!

As I rounded the final bend I looked in amazement at the clock. I had hoped to shave :30 seconds off of last year's time. That would have been a major triumph for me. It would have proved to me that I wasn't done, that my best years weren't behind me, that I could still manage to eek out improvements.

The clock showed 1:36 and change! That couldn't be right. I wanted to shave off seconds, not minutes. I almost started to cry...but I ran instead... I ran with everything I had left. I finished at 1:37:19. Just a hair under 7 minutes better than my best time! I was thrilled!!! I couldn't wait for HS to finish so I could share this with him!!

Post Race

I finished the race and immediately drank my P90X Results and Recovery drink...the weekend wasn't over and I had more training to complete before Monday morning. After an orange slice and a little water, I walked over to the finish line to wait for HS.

Although HS had been plagued with a sore knee and other ailments, he also shaved a couple of minutes off of his best time! However, at the awards ceremony, Mark announced that HS had finished 2 hours behind me and that while he did win his age group, my trophy was going to have to hang a bit higher than his on the way home.

I love this handsome guy!

HS trying to hobble up to get his award like an "old man"
Love my #PearlIzumi kit 

HS hung my medal a bit higher than his on the way home ;-)

Next Year

My goal next year is to have our team show up in greater numbers than Stanford!!! #OYME #OnYourMarkEvents 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vineman - Take 2

Last July at the Vineman award ceremony, my daughters and I made plans to come back in 2016 and do the Vineman relay. I was excited for the opportunity to just go out and ride my bike and not worry about having to run that course afterwards. It would be a training ride for me as I still had plans of doing a “real” IRONMAN event some time during the year.

Last month, our relay plans were scratched. The Vineman site announced that the full distance Vineman race had been acquired by World Triathlon Corporation and would now be a “branded” IRONMAN race. With this change came the elimination of the aqua bike events, Barb’s Race, and the relays. I was bummed. I was really looking forward to racing with my girls.

This change also threw a new wrinkle into my 2016 race plans. I had discussed possible IRONMAN races with Coach K and was noodling over some of my choices. A flat course with a non-wetsuit legal swim? A scenic but somewhat hilly course? A race in another country? I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Now I had the option of going back and doing Vineman again.

While I was still seriously considering one of the other races, a little voice in me got louder and louder. It kept telling me that this was a great opportunity. I would get to do a real IRONMAN event, it was on a course I had raced on 3 times before, and it was close to home…no travel worries, no worries about where I wanted to stay, or where I should eat. It also meant that family and friends could come and cheer me on (if they were so inclined). Deep in my heart, I knew that this was going to be my “A” race for 2016. I completed the last unbranded Vineman and I would have the opportunity to complete the first official Vineman IRONMAN.

First Weird Dream

One of the things I liked to do during my training last year was to record my dreams about the race. Last night I had my first race related dream. I’m not sure where HS and I were at, but we were at someone’s house and they were having a party or watching the big game or something. At one point I realized that it was time to register for the race but that I didn’t have my computer with me. HS asked if I could borrow a laptop and one of the guys there handed me one. It was dirty and gross looking and most of the keys stuck because of the beer that had been spilled on it (don’t ask me how I knew that).

Anyway, I got on the website and filled out the info and pressed enter. I was fully expecting the next screen to be the screen for my payment information but instead I got a message that said “Thank you, you are now registered.” That was weird. I wondered why I didn’t have to pay anything. I then started worrying that I really wasn’t registered and told HS that we had to leave because I needed to go home and check my registration. As we were walking down the driveway, I told him what had happened and he explained that the guy probably had all his credit card info saved on his computer, so he was probably charged for the race. HS told me not to worry about it because the guy probably wouldn’t even notice the charge on his bill (NOTE: HS is not like this in real life, he is very, very honest and would not scam someone out of an IRONMAN registration fee LOL).

Registration Day

Last year when I signed up for Vineman, Mike and I pushed the [Enter] button together to complete the registration and then we drank my Barb’s Race prize wine. It was a great moment that signified our commitment to each other during training and the race.

Last year's registration

This year, as we kissed goodbye on our way out the door I casually mentioned “Today is registration day for Vineman.” HS replied, “Are you going to do it again?” “If I get in” was my answer. And that was it. No fanfare, no cute little pic of us pushing the button together, no celebratory toast. Just another day, just another 140.6 mile race.

I got in my car and started the engine. I had the satellite radio tuned to “The Message” and as soon as the music came over the speakers I heard Toby Mac singing…
...I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That's how I know...
That’s exactly what I had been thinking in the moments before I told HS I was going to register. I started to tear up a bit…oh jeez…I haven’t even started training and I’ve already got Vineman tears going. I couldn’t help it. I had been debating for the last couple of weeks whether or not to do this race again. However, deep down something kept telling me that this was the smart choice, the best choice for me, the choice that would elicit fewer tears than my other options (I could only imagine the tears and freak-out moments if I had to ship my bike, board an airplane, or tweak my routine too much).

I anxiously waited for the clock to strike 9:00am. I had my USAT number and credit card ready. 8:58am... Would the registration fill up like some of the other IRONMAN races? Would all my worry be for nothing?  8:59am... What if it fills up as fast as Vineman 70.3? There is no way I'm paying extra for this race. 9:00am...Time to register!!! I made the few initial clicks and found myself on the registration page. After a few minutes and several key strokes, I was officially registered to do IRONMAN Vineman. Now all I have to do is complete the 140.6 mile race and I will finally get to hear the words I've read about over and over... "Tracy Pengilly, You..Are...An...IRONMAN!"

Thank You, HS

I just want to thank HS for all of his continued support. I know that racing isn’t really his thing, but he sticks by me and occasionally put his name down on a registration form. Having his acceptance, understanding, and companionship during the training months means more to me than I can ever say. I know that there are plenty of days that he would rather be doing anything else besides riding a bike, or waiting for me to finish a long run, or driving to swim practice. Heck, there are plenty of days that I would rather be doing anything else besides riding a bike, finishing a long run, or swimming.

Through the good days and the tougher days of training, he sticks by me and encourages me when I want to quit. The picture below is a beautiful summary to Vineman 2015, I hope to have another one just like this on July 30, 2016.

I couldn't have done this without him.
I love you, Honey!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

P90X3 and Me - Month 2 Wrap-Up

It's funny, when I look back at all of my blog post, I have several favorites...most of them are race reports. However, when I look at the stats,  my top post of all time is about P90X3. Go figure.

My first go at P90X3 is still the top post.

There are a couple of reasons that I decided to do P90X3 over the original P90X or P90X2:

  • P90X3 is only 30 minutes long. I loved the original P90X, but with my current marathon training, I just didn't have the time or energy for 60+ minute workouts.
  • P90X3 seems to be geared towards athletes. If you read the fitness guide or listen to the comments that Tony Horton makes during the workouts you will notice comments about preparing the body to compete, preventing injury, etc.

Month 1

I was shocked during the first month of P90X3. I figured that I was in the best shape of my life. It had been a month since I had completed Vineman, my first "iron" distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, 26.2 run) I couldn't have lost that much fitness in just a few weeks. It wasn't like I did Vineman and then stopped working out. I took a few days off for complete rest, but I was back in the pool and running and biking before the week was up...I felt great.

Anyway, that was my frame of mind when I started P90X3...it should be no problem. Well, I was wrong. I struggled with any type of pushup...in fact, yoga turned out to be quite a tough workout for me. How could that be???

Regardless of how tough everything felt, I kept at it. At the end of the first month, I was down 4 lbs. and I was starting to look more toned.

Day 60 - Down Another Pound
(My tan is fading fast LOL)

Month 2

The second month has marked the return of my strength. I can now do push-ups again and I feel fluid and strong during the yoga workout. While I know that the workouts in the second month are supposed to be more challenging than the first month, I actually liked them much better. The eccentric upper and lower routines are great and I was pleasantly surprised by Triometrics. I was certain that Triometrics was going to be 3x worse than P90X Plyometrics, boy was I wrong. Triometrics has some jump training moves but nothing like I was expecting.

"Old-school plyometrics is jump training. Welcome to Triometrics, X3's state-of-the-art take on a plyo workout that goes far beyond simple jumping. "Plyometrics" here means explosive. It's highly effective means of training muscular efficiency or power. The downside of this training is the time factor. The more explosive force that's created, the more downtime you need. Triometric's proprietary formula utilizes three different levels for every exercise, each targeting a different plysiological response while minimizing the downtime needed between movements. The result is a workout that increases speed and power in a fraction of the time you're used to training."
Speed and power...that's exactly what I need. I have the endurance (or had LOL), but the longer my triathlon training got, the slower I seemed to go. I was concerned that my 47 year old body was just slowing down. Maybe I was to the point where I would never see another PR :-(

This past Friday I went out for a 6 mile run (it was the end of my P90X3 transition week)... my average was sub-8 minute miles. I hadn't run that fast in a long, long time. I was thrilled. The only thing I can attribute this to is P90X3 and workouts like Triometrics.

My weight loss has been very, very slow this month. I am battling to get the last 4 lbs. off before CIM. I am going to have to really watch what I eat over the next 30 days if I want to get to my goal.

Trying to use Photo Booth on my computer to take pics...
didn't work so well LOL
Month 3

I started the third block today. I was tempted to skip it and just stay in bed, but I got up and made my first attempt at "Decelerator".  HS even joined me today. Decelerator was challenging, but it was the perfect cross training work out.

"Most athletic injuries occur on landing, not during takeoff, which is why a University of Southampton study concluded deceleration training is a must for general fitness training. Decelerator focuses on this type of training, using strategic angles to force loads on different parts of your anatomy, thus increasing your ability to stabilize and protect muscles, connective tissues, and joints. It also focuses on the strength and explosive power associated with launching into a move, creating a balance between your ability to go up strong and come down safe."
While I am a bit disappointed in my weight loss, I know at this point, it is going to be tough to get those last few pounds off. When I look at my pics though, I see more of a change in this last month than one pound could explain. It could be that I may have lost fat and gained muscle. Who knows...I feel better, I'm performing better, and I look better. Bring on month three!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Garmin 910XT Elevation Fix

Back in May my Garmin 910XT went haywire in terms of elevation. All of a sudden everything I did was at some crazy elevation that just flatlined for the entire workout. I Googled all sorts of solutions and found that I wasn't the only one having this problem. Several people wrote about how they sent their watches back multiple times to have them replaced with a refurbished unit only to have the same issue a few months down the road.

This is what most of my elevation data looked like...28,000 feet...no change.
Note: This is for a run in Stockton, CA with an average elevation of 26 feet!!!

Since HS and I were on a little vacation up in Tahoe, I didn't want to record my runs with incorrect elevation data. I wanted accurate info!

The Gingerbread cabin. So cute!

So, one morning as we sat and drank our coffee in the Gingerbread cabin, I found a post that said all I would need to do is wash the watch in warm soapy water and use a tooth brush to clean the barometer vents. Worth a shot because I definitely didn't want to part with my watch while I waited for a replacement from Garmin.
Warm water, but not too hot.

Where did I get a Michael David toothbrush? LOL
Apparently the problem stems from sweat, sunblock, dirt, etc. plugging up the barometer holes on the back of the watch. My first attempt at cleaning the watch was unsuccessful. I cleaned and scrubbed the watch, turned the watch on and went outside to check the elevation reading. Tahoe may be up there, but its not as high as my 910XT was telling me.

I went back inside the cabin, warmed up the water (just a bit warmer this time) a let the watch sit for about 10 minutes. I took care to work the bristles of the toothbrush back and forth in the barometer holes.

There are two holes, one small one on the side of the watch and another one
by the screw.

This time, when I turned the watch on, I had a reading indicative of Tahoe! Next I went on a 10 mile run to see if I was getting an accurate reading.

No more flat line!
Sign reads 6,245
(Not sure if this is the center of town elevation or the elevation at the sign)

Garmin reads 6,270

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let's take the Beachbody Challenge!

What is a Beachbody Challenge Group?

A Beachbody Challenge Group is a coach-led (that's me), exclusive group committed to getting healthy where participants (that's you) agree to do a Beachbody fitness program, drink Shakeology daily and check in with other participants on a private Facebook page. 

People helping and motivating each other to achieve their health and fitness goals by sharing tips, accountability, and results.

A team committed to success in The Beachbody Challenge contest (more about the contest...and the free t-shirt at the end of this post.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you are already a Beachbody customer and want to join my challenge group, you will need to contact Beachbody and request me as your coach. Give them my name and my coach ID 813039.

Why P90X3?

Let me be honest...I am a HUGE fan of P90X and I absolutely LOVE Tony Horton! Now that I've put that out there, the real reason I have selected P90X3 is sort of like the story of Goldilocks...this bed is too hard, this bed is too soft...this bed is just right... you remember how it goes.

Anyway, that's sort of how I see the P90X series...

P90X: This one's a little too long. (Most workouts are at least 60 minutes not including Ab-Ripper). I still love it though, but for me, I find the amount of time to be a bit much to fit into my schedule. 
P90X2: This one requires just a little too much gear. Seriously, 4 basketballs or medicine balls per person? As well as a balance ball, a rumble roller (I love mine!), weights, pull up bar, yoga mat, etc. Great workouts if you had the room to store everything you need to do the workouts. 
P90X3: This one is just right. Each workout is 30 minutes long and the equipment required is minimal. In fact, you could do this workout with a couple of dumb bells and a stretch cord.
On top of the reasons I just listed, I feel very comfortable as a coach supporting you while using a P90X workout. That's not to say that I couldn't assist you if you decided to try something different, I'm just have much, much, much more experience with P90X (all versions including P90X+).

It Works

HS and I did the original P90X for the first time in 2009. Both of our results were nothing short of amazing. I managed to lose 35 pounds during the first 90 days. I will be forever thankful to Tony Horton and Beachbody for the improvements in my health and fitness. I wouldn't be where I am today without those daily workouts.

As most of you know, I went from being a couch potato to running 5Ks to completing an "Ironman" distance triathlon. This was all made possible by my simple action of pressing "play" the very first day and sticking with it. I am not suggesting that everyone start racing or doing triathlons, I am merely suggesting that you don't know what you may ignite once you get your health and fitness back on track.

It's Hard

As Tony Horton says in P90X "I know it's hard...it's supposed to be". I would like to expand on that with a tid-bit from +Hot Stuff ... if you could do the entire workout the very first time you tried it, you would probably quit because it was too easy.

During our first round of P90X, HS and I spent a good portion of each workout laying on the floor, looking at the TV screen asking "What are they doing?" The moves were challenging, our fitness level was low, and there were times we just had to stop and wait until we could go again. That is perfectly OK!

Modify, Modify, Modify

When I watch some of the individual workouts, I wonder if maybe it's too much for some people. I then remind myself that every move can be modified. Heck, I modify the warmup when my ankle is a little too stiff. On those days, I cut out any kind of jumping and simply go through the motions.

I also don't have the upper body strength to knock out a bunch of pull ups. So, instead of torturing myself, I use a stretch cord to mimic the pull up motion (there is usually a person doing this kind of modification in the P90X3 workouts).

Final Thoughts

This program is about progress, not perfection. Every day you press play on a workout is a small step forward. String together a week and then a month and eventually 3 months and you will see results. If you miss a workout, it's no big deal...pick up again the next day. Do not let one small set back derail your progress.

Now, about the contest (just one more carrot to motivate you) that I mentioned at the beginning of this post...
The Beachbody Challenge contest is the “Rewards” piece of the overall Beachbody Challenge philosophy. It’s an incentive to help people reach their goals and achieve success. Contest rewards include an exclusive free t-shirt and the chance to win cash & prizes ranging from a $500 daily prize to the $100,000 Grand Prize. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you are ready to go, simply follow this link to purchase your challenge pack...

YES! I want to join your P90X3 Challenge Group!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

P90X3 - First Month Complete

Well, I finished the first 30 days of P90X3. So far I am pleased with the results. I am down 4 lbs and I am feeling much stronger than when I started...lets just say that I was struggling with the push ups in Yoga (yes, there are push ups in P90X3 yoga LOL)

Green boxes are the P90X3 workouts

I took before pictures the day I started. Correction, Lindsey took my before pics. Yesterday, the start of month two, I took my own pics and they didn't come out too good.

Looking at the pics, I do see a little change in my stomach and my arms are a little more defined. Maybe I'll have HS take some more pics of me so they are in focus.

Now, before you chalk up the weight loss to my marathon training, take a look at the chart below which shows my total training distances over the last 12 months. As you can see, my distances are down significantly compared to the ramp up to Vineman.  Based on the decrease in training distances (volume) I should have gained and not lost.

Please note...after Vineman, HS gently reminded me that my training volume had changed and that I couldn't eat like I had been before Vineman. I did make an adjustment when I started P90X3...I cut out a LOT of snacking and I also switched my lunches during the work week to Shakeology.

Plan for Month 2

Due to my marathon training, I changed up the order of the first month's workouts so they wouldn't conflict with my training. I plan on doing the same for month two.

For example, Monday was P90X3 - Eccentric Upper. This works well with my schedule because Monday is a recovery ride in the afternoon (or maybe a swim). Tuesday has Triometrics on the schedule, but Tuesday is also a run day for me. So, instead of doing a plyo type workout such as Triometrics, I decided to do yoga instead (I really love P90X3 yoga)...besides I have a blister on my toe from Sunday's long run and I was in no mood to try and jump around.

Wednesday has yoga on the schedule, but since I did yoga on Tuesday I think I will do Eccentric Lower on Wednesday with a swim in the afternoon. I'm still trying to decide what to do on Thursday. I may just move Friday and Saturday up a day or I may just do yoga again ;-)