Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 Tri for Real #1 - Race Report

1st Place went home before the award ceremony...but it was
all smiles for the rest of us who waited around
It is 3:00pm on a Sunday afternoon and I am sitting on the couch in my pajamas. Earlier today I finished an olympic distance triathlon, did a little wine tasting, came home and took an epsom salts bath, and then put on my PJs. I am now sitting on the couch with my ankle on ice (and a glass of #d'art wine in my hand).

This was my 5th time racing the Tri for Real at Rancho Seco Park. Prior to today I have always set a new PR at this race...not today. Also, every time I have done this race I have placed second...not today. I always jokingly call this my "bridesmaids race" because I never seem to make it to the top of the podium. Today, while I did manage to get 4th place, I didn't even get to stand on the podium! I guess that still makes me a bridesmaid! LOL

Time Out!

Here is a gentle reminder to myself about why maybe...just maybe...I may not be a "quick" as I was last year...

236 total training miles in May 2014 vs 695 miles in May 2015
For those of you that prefer time to distance, that's 58 hours of training in May 2015 vs 28 hours of training in May 2014. OK, so I may not have been at my peak for this race...I wasn't supposed to be. Still...  :-/


Not much different today. Had my usual pre-race breakfast of eggs on toast with a cup of coffee and then a chia fresca about an hour before race start.


Well, since I love swimming so much, I decided to swim just a little further than I needed. According to my Garmin data, I tacked on about an extra 50 yards (it seemed longer than that). On top of that, I felt like I was struggling in my wetsuit...each stroke was an effort. My neck and shoulders have been bothering me since the Specialized recall fix on my Shiv and the swim was borderline painful.

Mike had to get a pic of me in my new wetsuit
Best part of the swim? Getting out of the lake!


Even my towel is color coordinated :-)
Since today's race is more of a tune-up/practice for Vineman, I opted to put socks on instead of going without like I normally do at this race. I also didn't run from the water to my bike so I did add a little bit of time (that wasn't "practice" that was me being lazy).


Leaving the park is always interesting, especially if there is a car on the road. Today there was a pickup truck trying to leave. The driver didn't seem to know what to do about all the cyclists and decided to drive right behind a group of them instead of going around. I could see the truck ahead of me and I knew I was going to have to make a decision. As the truck approached the entrance kiosk it moved to the right a bit so I passed him on the left. I wasn't about to follow him out of the park...I had swimmers to catch.

The ride out 104 was nice. I felt a bit of a cross wind as I headed east and hoped that it would die down. I had never had to do this race with any kind of strong wind, and I didn't want today to be the first.

Although this race is much shorter than the training rides I have been doing, my neck and shoulders started burning about mile 16. I am still trying to find a fix for the "recall fix" that turned my comfy ride into a real pain :-(

As I headed west back to Rancho Seco Park, the wind started to pick up and it was no longer a crosswind. The return ride had an unenjoyable headwind UGH! My best average bike pace at this race is 20.8 mph. I had hoped to match that, but between all of my training and the wind, I was happy with today's 20 mph average pace.


My time in T2 was about the same as it usually is. I would call it uneventful, however, as I was putting on my running gear, HS thought he would inform me that there were a couple of women out in front of me. What??? All I could think to ask was "Are you sure they are in my age group? 45-49?"

At this point in the race, I was tired and working really hard to maintain a positive attitude and to just run my race. I didn't want to hear there were possibly women in my age group out in front of me. Talk about taking the wind out of my sails!


The majority of this run course is rolling hills on either a dirt fire road or a single track trail. There is a brief section of asphalt which is like heaven to me :-)

More than a couple of times during the run I had the impulse to give up... because it wasn't going to matter, I was already beat. I would then remind myself that it was possible that the women HS saw were not in my age group, or if in fact they were, they could have been part of a relay. I would also remind myself that I was there to run my the middle of training for Vineman.

Although I ran slower than I would have liked, I completed the entire run...running!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tour Delle Vigne 2015

Saturday was my second century ride in the last two weeks.  Depending on what Coach K puts on my workout calendar, it may be my last until Vineman. The ride we did Saturday was called the Tour Delle Vigne (formerly the Sunrise Century) and it was one of the better organized and supported cycling events I have completed. I actually saw SAG vehicles out on the course and the rest stops had plenty of fresh food choices and treats, and lots of friendly volunteers.

Time to Ride

HS and I got a bit of a late start and didn’t arrive at BareRanch until about 6:30am. This proved to be perfect timing because four of my co-workers had also just arrived. HS said “Good, you can ride with Eric”. I tried telling him that Eric wouldn’t want to ride with me because I was too slow, but he wasn’t having any of it. So, once everyone had checked in and had their gear ready, the six of us headed out as a group. HS announced “Tri bikes in the front”…and that was the last I saw of him until the rest stop in Clements.

The Clements rest stop was located at the fire station. After I had finished eating and was getting ready to go, HS and his group rolled in. We talked briefly and I got a quick kiss. He was having a good time with his group and said they were taking it easy. We said good-bye and then I hit the road again for the climb around Lake Camanche. One thought kept crossing my mind as I rode away from the rest stop...what is more anxiety producing...riding 100 miles in hills or knowing your husband is riding with your boss for 6+ hours and you aren't there to monitor the conversation? LOL


After the climb up Stony Creek, Eric and I stopped at the water station to refill our bottles. As we were standing there, a rider approached and flew past us up the next hill. I looked at Eric and said "I think that was Bob." (aka Coach K). Eric decided to try and chase him down to see if it was. I got back on my bike and figured I would meet up with Eric somewhere down the road...I really doubted he was going to catch him unless Coach K decided to stop riding, got a flat, or decided to double back and do Stony Creek again just for giggles. Watching Eric take off to chase him down was almost as fun as watching my dogs chase squirrels... they never stop trying, the squirrel is just a bit too fast ;-)

Next Stop

I saw HS and his group again at the rest stop in Wallace. His group had made up some time and only seemed to be about 10 minutes behind us. I was happy to see him again and to see that everyone was doing well. We chatted a bit but it was time to keep moving.

Before we left, I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to use the porta-potty but finally decided it was best to go when I could. To my horror, just about every surface in the porta-potty was wet! WTH??? Obviously there were more male riders than females. I covered the seat with a couple of layers of toilet paper but had no intention of sitting down. The TP was merely to keep a layer of something between me and the grossness.

Now at this point, most people won't think anything about hovering over the seat. I'm sure 99.99% of all women hover in these blue boxes of filth. However, after just completing the hilliest section of the ride, my legs weren't entirely up to the task. As I was squatting my legs started to shake. Apparently I had to go worse than I thought because I couldn't stop going. I started to worry that my quads were going to give out and that I was going to fall back on to the seat. OMG! STOP PEEING!!!! Stop! Stop! Stop!

Thankfully, I remained upright and dry. When I later recounted the incident to HS he remarked "That's how sh*t ends up on the seat" ha ha ha ha Well, I wasn't going No. 2, but I may have contributed to the wetness issue ;-)

Where Are You Guys?

I finished my ride around 2pm and decided to wait to until the entire group was back before I ate. So I waited...and waited...and waited. I took a little recon ride back out on the course to see if I could meet up with them, but didn't see them. At this point, it had been about an hour and fifteen minutes since I finished and I was starting to get both of the rest stops where we saw them, they weren't that far behind us. Then I heard sirens and I was convinced that something horrible had happened.

About 10 minutes later, Even "Gun Show" got back and announced there had been an accident and that is what caused the delay. Thankfully, HS wasn't involved but Gun Show and my boss took quite a tumble. Both riders suffered cuts and scrapes, but were for the most part OK. Amazingly, this happened at around mile 54 and they got back on their bikes and finished the ride!

Enjoying a little post-ride wine and telling war stories about the accident :-)
Gun Show was feeling bad, so he bought a bottle of wine to help ease the pain. Shortly after that, one of the volunteers checked in with us to see how we liked the event. We told him we really thought it was nice and then sort of joked about the accident. That little story was worth a complimentary bottle of Freakshow...Nice! I said the volunteers were friendly ;-)

Total Recall

I Last Wednesday I took my bike in for some recall work on the mounting brackets for the aero bars. Unfortunately, the fix changed my position on the bike and the arm rest ended up being an inch and a half farther out. The bike shop told me to try it out on the century ride and let them know how it felt.

Let me tell you…it felt horrible. It wasn’t bad at first, but as the miles added up, the pain in my neck and shoulders got worse. On top of that, the new position of the arm pads also affected the steering of the bike and things felt just a bit squirrelly.

You wouldn't think that 1-1/2" would make such a difference, but it did

As I mentioned before, this was my second century ride in two weeks. Two weeks ago felt nothing like this ride. On this ride, I kept trying to change positions to see if the pain would get better, but nothing seemed to help. After I got back, I used the time waiting for HS to try and stretch out my neck. I hate the thought of doing Vineman on this bike and I really hope that #Specialized comes through with an acceptable fix :-(

Monday, May 11, 2015

Feeling Selfish

I have often read that triathlon is a selfish sport. I would be lying if I didn't say there was some truth in that (OK, maybe a lot of truth). I am very, very hubby is more than willing to go to swim practice with me and ride with me and follow me around on his bike when I run. This Saturday, however, I realized just how selfish this sport is...

Cycling Workout

My coach scheduled a 3-1/2 hour ride for Saturday (Thank you Coach K for taking it easy on me). I put together a route in the hills that would get me to about 3-1/4+ hours depending on my pace (I decided to add Stony own mini-Chalk Hill). I shared this route with a co-worker who wanted to ride with me and HS. He organized a group ride with other staff. Since all I wanted to do was ride for a certain amount of time today, I wasn't too concerned with pace...just get me to three and a half, or close to it :-)

What I hadn't planned on was a half hour stop in Ione and then having to skip Stony Creek because apparently I was the only one that wanted to do it. This is where the "selfish" part starts...I need to ride 3.5 hours. I don't care if you need to get home. I don't care if you don't like my route (did anyone even LOOK at my map?). If you want to ride with me you have to do things MY way! LOL

Now THAT is selfish! ha ha

So after that ride, I have decided that I won't be doing anymore group rides until after Vineman. It will just be me and HS and anybody else that agrees to my terms and conditions (in other words, my distance, time and pace). Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy riding in a group and I intend to get back to group rides after the race. I am just not willing to jeopardize the race in order to ride with my selfish ;-)

Running Workout

As with every Saturday (except last Saturday due to the century ride), today was a brick workout. This was the third time hopping off the bike and attempting to run after the same doing the "Wallace Loop"...and it was my fastest to date. 

I am also happy to report that there was no crying during this run. Last time I ran for 30 minutes following this ride, I started crying when HS drove past me. I was just simply overwhelmed by how much I love that guy... especially when he is willing to drive around for half an hour while his crazy wife runs up and down hills.

Of course, crying while you run is good practice for the actual race. It can be hard to catch your breath when you're running and crying at the same time, but I've learned to master it. I cried during Avenue of the Vines last year after I injured myself and decided the best thing to do was to keep running. I cried both times I did Barb's Race...heck, I was crying because complete strangers were cheering me on (it didn't matter that they were cheering for everyone). I cried during my very first marathon (33 laps around McKinley Park)...towards the end of the race, more and more familiar faces showed up in the rain to support me. Each time I came around that corner and saw another person, I started crying all over again!

Overwhelmed that anyone beside HS would drive to Sacramento and stand in the
rain to watch me run around the park 33 times

Heck, I'm crying now as I write this...

It blows me away that I have people in my life that will stand for hours, that will stand in the rain, that will follow me in their truck for 4 hours while I ride my bike. I cannot tell all of you how much that means to me. I also cannot explain how selfish I feel when it seems like the training and racing becomes all about me. 

As I said, I started crying as I was writing this. HS came over to comfort me and I explained that I was worried about putting him through all of this and not being able to finish Vineman. What if all this craziness and selfishness is for naught?  I hate to think of the possibility and will instead remain positive that I will drag my ass over the finish line no matter what it takes!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Delta Century 2015

I like to do things two or three times so I can compare how I did. Today was my second attempt at the Delta Century. Last year, I hung desperately on the rear wheel of a teammate we affectionately called "The Bull". I would say that for about 80-90% of this ride, Paul was in front...unless of course there was a photographer ;-)

Photo op in in front (Paul in blue) LOL
This year I knew was going to be different. For one, Paul was no longer training with our group. For two, HS had been sick for two weeks and it was questionable about whether or not he was even going to be able to do the event. What this meant for me was that I was going to have to be prepared to not draft anyone and to possibly ride by myself. With that in mind, my main goals for this year's ride were to maintain an average pace of 18 mph (last year I was able to average 19.9 behind Paul) and to ride in front.

Oh the Wind

I remain unimpressed with Garmin's weather reporting capabilities. Apparently it grabs the info from the point you start your activity. So for today's ride, my watch reported a 4 mph wind...WRONG! Here is what reported for Courtland, CA

9am - 10mph wind with gust up to 15mph....that's more like it

Our second rest stop was at the Old Sugar Mill. Unfortunately, several course arrows had been blown away, so we had to take a round about way of getting to the stop (I talked to some riders that missed it completely). At this stop, HS informed me that if the wind continued blowing like it was, I was going to have to go on without him...he would just ride at his own pace. As much as I hate riding by myself, I understood... I think it was a miracle he had already gone half way with the way he was feeling.

OK, don't smile :-)
We left the Old Sugar Mill and guess what? The wind kept blowing. It didn't seem to matter what direction we headed, we were going straight into the f'n wind! Eventually, HS told me to just keep going, so I did. I still had my 18mph goal and I was going to do it alone :-(

Tale of the Tape

So, despite the wind, rough roads and no HS keeping me company for half the ride, I was thrilled to see that my average moving pace was 18.4 mph. My goal for Vineman is 18.5 mph, so I think I'm on my way. I keep reminding myself that I'll be in better shape and rested for race day, so 18.5 is doable.

Slower average, but my top speed is identical

Saturday, May 2, 2015


For those who know me, I am affectionately known as T-C-B or Tequila Cry Baby. Too much Cabo Wabo and the tears start to flow. Anyway, today it was the middle of tasting at Berghold Winery. I didn't intend for it to happen. And I didn't intend to drag HS into my emotional collapse, but I could not help myself.

Ashley is also a W-C-B
(At her sister's wedding)

After leaving Klinker Brick, we headed over to Berghold. We saw a couple of people from our last stop and struck up a conversation about the Giants (I was wearing a spring training shirt). Next thing we know, our attention was turned to the gentleman to our right. I'm not sure what started the conversation, but he was engaging and had some great stories. Next thing we know, he's telling us about his cancer diagnosis with 0% chance of survival. He explained how he had sought out a second opinion and how now because of a new procedure he now has a 70% chance to survive. What struck me is that he wasn't sitting at home feeling sorry for himself, he was out wine tasting. He told us about his upcoming cruise with his beautiful wife.

I said a quick prayer for him and his family and it just seemed to push me over the edge...I started to tear up. I tried desperately to compose myself as much as he was. When he saw that I was losing my composure, he apologized because wine tasting was supposed to be a happy time. HS started to tear up when he looked at me. It was all going south so fast and I could see that he didn't intend for us to feel like this, so I interjected "So, I'm doing a 140.6 mile race this summer."

That was just what the conversation seemed to need and the three of us were able to redirect our focus. Of course, what followed next was the typical triathlon questions "What do you do?" "How far?" "Are you crazy?" (Actually, the last one I just offer up as "I am crazy, that's why I'm doing this." Of course, HS gets more praise than me because he looks amazing and he isn't doing the race! ;-)

You Can If You Think You Can

I am currently reading "You Can If You Think You Can" by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I decided to move away from reading triathlon stories and focus more on reading stories about positive reinforcement and believing in yourself. This book is perfect and the gentleman we met today could have been a case study in the book.

I'm about 1/2 way through the book but one of my favorite take-aways from the  book is "Love life and life will love you back". The guy at Berghold clearly loved life and he wasn't settling for some doctor's diagnosis that would have probably had me running for my bed. Life is amazing and we should embrace every moment we have.

This morning I read the following passage in the book...
It has been my observation that people who are active and deeply interested in everything that goes on in the world are not likely to become bored, frustrated, or fed up. It seems that the more you are into things, the greater the zest. The more active the mind is, the better it will perform and the longer it will keep on performing. To slow down can result in boredom, but not if one continues to exercise the mind by reading, thinking and by participation in contemporary affairs. You can avoid boredom all your life if you keep alive mentally all you life. Keep moving, keep thinking, keep participating -- this is the golden secret of perpetually fascinating existence.
This is what triathlon does for me...whether it's the training or the racing...whether I hate it (at the moment) or I love it... it makes me feel alive. Nothing is more exhilarating than crossing the finish line after tackling something people gave you a 0% chance of completing. I am going to keep Gary and his wife in my prayers. I hope he gets a clean bill of health and that we run into him in another winery some time in the future.