Saturday, March 31, 2007

week 9 was a wash

I've been laid up with one nasty virus since Tuesday night. Shortly after writing that last post, I felt much, much worse. Couldn't stop coughing and shot up into a fever that stuck around until Thursday morning.

So, I've been in bed ever since.

Not training. No practice Thursday night. No practice today. Not gonna run tomorrow. Just recovering.

I feel a little anxious...I've just missed a key week of build training.

On the other hand, I do myself no good by pushing through a this uncomfortable episode has taught me.

Looking back--I've already put in a lot of training. I did the whole course (except 10 miles of the bike due to flats) two weeks ago, quite comfortably. Just not all in one day.

The plan now...take it easy until Tuesday at the bare minimum, and then do a day or two of recovery workouts...spinning, light running. Go to track Thursday, and either do half the volume, half the speed, or take double the rest (on Stephanie's orders, thank goodness I have her to help keep my head right about this stuff). Maybe a light swim on Friday to restore water-feel and then to practice on Saturday for whatever I can handle. Then ramp back up week 11 for 3 weeks of building before a taper.

In the grand scheme of things, Wildflower half is not intended to be an all-out effort for me. I just want to finish, to see if I can do it. It's my first half, and it's a tough one.

All along my intent has been to use it as a B race on the way to Escape from Alcatraz. Thinking about that is helping me to put things back into perspective and is alleviating some of my anxiety about race day.

The only thing I'm a *bit* worried about is making the bike cut-off...but I dont think that'll be too much of a problem. Now that it's light later in the day, I'll be able to focus on bike training a little more intently.

Sigh. Back to recuperating. I am so sick of chicken soup. :-P

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


argh. another day off for being sick.

i came down with this blasted cold a week ago...had almost shaken it, and then found myself in sinus pain hell after 3 hours in the pool at happy fish yesterday. today i feel...slightly better. tired and achy, but i think that's more delayed onset muscle soreness from hiking sunday.

i already took yesterday as a recovery day. must today be one, too?

i'm tired of taking days off from training. i feel like i might start to fall behind. this is getting very frustrating!

Monday, March 26, 2007

ending week 8

Even after taking most of last week off from any serious training, I'm still feeling a bit under the weather. Throat feels better, but now I've got a pesky cough that settles in every evening. I read recently that a common cold takes 5 days to show up, inflicts misery for 5 days, and then takes 5 days to go away. If that's the case, then I really hope this one's on it's way out.

I didn't end up going to track last Thursday at Stephanie's urging. Instead, I slept for about 11 hours. It helped. Friday, I hit the pool after work for a very light swim just to maintain water-feel. Only did about 1000m of drills.

Saturday, I went ahead and went to team practice. I knew it would be a down week after the workout at Wildflower, so I was pretty sure I'd be up to it.

We did a bike-run-bike-run brick. The biking was all flat; disappointing but probably better for me. It gave me a good chance to feel the handling of the new tires. They're nice. The runs were quick and on the track.

The swim ended up being a bit more than I bargained for, but I hit a groove and could have gone on a lot longer were it not for my better judgement.
400m warmup
10x50 drill
50 @ L2
100 @ L2
150 @ L3
(repeat 4x)
and then...Soren the slave driver gave us this:
20x50, 25L4/25L2

After that, the count was well over 3000m and I decided I wasn't about to blow out a shoulder. I said "I'm out!" I hopped out onto the deck and it wasn't long before my teammates followed suit. :-)

Sunday...There was no workout posted, but I knew it would be a long run, probably 9-10 miles. Still feeling hacky and sick, I decided I wasn't up for a run but that a hike would be fine. I drove out to Big Basin and did the Berry Creek Falls loop. It's an old fave of mine and it's about 12 miles, with a fair amount of climbing. The falls were all running quite nicely, and I got an early enough start that there weren't many people out at all. The trillium were blooming all over the forest floor. I had to watch my step to avoid squishing scores of newts and banana slugs along the trail. The air was clean and moist and served to soothe my throat and cough. What a great way to fit in a little cross-training!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

middle of week 8

i realized i've blogged a lot over the past few days, but not so much about training.

the past two weeks have been rough--at least in terms of midweek training.

last week, the only workouts i was able to fit in after my killer dish run on sunday were a 2K swim on monday and a 1K swim on friday (at the OTC, no less).

then the big weekend at WF.

monday I decided to slack it completely--no swim, no nothing...just a little bit of stretching.

tuesday morning, i woke up with a sore throat that got worse as the day went i refrained from spinning.

wednesday...i should have had a swim, but i was feeling worse yet. i decided to spin lightly for a little while. after 20 minutes, i'd broken out in WAY too much sweat for a spin that i cancelled the rest of my clients and went home for a nap.

today my throat is still bothering me, but not as much. i feel better, but sound a lot worse. squeaky squeaky! i went ahead and packed my gear for track tonight...we'll see how i feel when i get there.

it's gotten very hard for me to take a break from training when i probably need it. i know, intellectually, that i've got a great base fitness level developed...but it's tough to let up when I've got a couple of big races hanging over my head.


Last night I figured out why I kept flatting at Wildflower.

While replacing my tires and tubes (with significantly better ones acquired at the-shop-formerly-known-as-Santa-Teresa-Bikes), I found a large hole in the rim tape right over a spoke port.

Checked the tube to see of the location of the blowout corresponded. It did.

Sigh. Off to PA bikes to get some rim tape.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

pondering nutrition

If the past weekend has taught me something, it is that I need to revamp my nutritional strategy for a long event.

For the past year, I've been an Accelerade/Accel Gel devotee. Having something with a little protein in it really seems to be the best thing for me; perhaps because I'm so darn dense. I weigh in at 155# but I'm only 5'6"...there's a lot of muscle on these little bones.

After a year,'s gotten pretty boring. Now I am reluctant to drink/eat because I am tired of the taste, and this is no good.

This past weekend, I decided to experiment with a few new things:

1) I replaced my Bento box of gels with a flask of raspberry Hammer Gel. STRIKE! When you are deep into an endurance event, the physiology of your taste buds actually changes. Hammer Gel is cloyingly, disgustingly sweet to me at that point. It was also hot out, and hot fruity gel? EEEEEW!

2) I added a Profile Design under-saddle bottle mount so I could carry more liquid. With 4 bottles, I brought 2 of Accelerade and 2 of tri-berry Nuun. The Nuun worked great--it was refreshing even when warm. It will also be very easy to replenish on race day. I think I will drop down to 2 cages again, and bring a tube of Nuun tabs with me to mix more at the aid stations. That will be easy!

3) The question of solid food...Gels and drinks are fine for a 3 hour Olympic race, but WF Half-Iron is probably going to take me about 7 hours. That means my stomach will be empty for a long time, and growly. I had thought that PB&J would be good in transition, but after cadging a few Fig Newtons off a teammate, I have decided that's the way to go. It's no wonder they are an official Ironman sponsor.

4) Tried the new Powergel formula--not bad! And it now comes in Caramel... I think I may switch to it for a few weeks, and see how it runs out for me...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hello, NASTY!!!

I've spent the past two days out at Lake San Antonio getting a feel for the Wildflowerlong course. It's amazing I'm feeling as good as I am, considering the huge training load on top of VERY little sleep for the past week!

Friday night, after flying in from Denver (see post below) I raced home for a quick dinner before jumping into my car for the 2.5 hour drive to the lake. Thank goodness I'd had the foresight to pack all my gear in the car before heading to Colorado.

I got to the campground about midnight for a quick nap (too much caffeine on the road) before being up and ready in time for an 8am swim in the lake. Immediately following the swim, we were all to head out on the ride, so I had to have all my gear down at the shore to transition to the bike. Got up at about 6, cooked up a quick breakfast of camp coffee, quinoa cereal, and a tangelo. Then headed down to the lake.

My swim was AWESOME. I think the pros went about 1.5 miles. It felt great--the water was up to 61 degrees, compared to 49 degrees for last year's practice weekend. I was able to get into my glide and sight pretty well, despite the glare from the sun and all the newbies pitching left and right all over the makeshift course.

Headed up the boat ramp to transition to the bike. I discovered that my neck was chafed pretty badly from my wetsuit, despite the application of copious amounts of Body Glide. Spraying sunblock onto it stung a lot!!! I got ready pretty fast, but most other people took quite a while, so I had some time to cool my heels before we all headed out on the ride together.

At about 1030, we regrouped and Coach Steve gave us the rundown on the bike course. Long coursers headed out first, with our group out in front. Other than an initial steep 1 mile climb right at the beginning and lots of rolling hills along Interlake road, the first 20 miles of the course are relatively easy. Too easy--I was able to get a spin on to 18-22mph for most of this section (when I wasn't climbing). I know now to hold back a little bit more. Miles 20-34 are out on Jolon Road, headed south. Lots of big, gradual rolling hills and a rather yucky headwind. I dropped my chain on the top of a long gradual climb, but no prob getting set back up. At mile 34, we hit the last aid station before the the dreaded Nasty Grade. We hung a right and had an easy rolling spin through farmland and vineyards from mile 34-41. At mile 41, we turned left and headed up Nacimiento Road. Coach Steve was there, cheering us on, telling us all "you can do this, you've got this, you're up to it, no problem!!!"

He was right--we all made it. It was crazy hard, though. It wasn't hard because it was a tough, long climb. It was tough because my legs were already nice and toasted from going 41 miles of rolling hills before hitting it. Most of all, it was tough because there is no shade, and it was HOT. I'm glad I got to feel it, because it can only get hotter from here. In 7 weeks it will be sizzling!

At the top of Nasty (which, by the way, is a false summit), the coaches and mentors had set up an aid station. I stopped and refueled, and did my best to move around and restore some feeling to my nether region. Then I hopped back in the saddle to grind my way up Heartbreak Hill (not so bad after a little rest). A quick descent, up and over another steep hill, and then into a long, screaming 2-mile descent.


About 1/3 of the way down at mile 46, I flatted. I was probably going about 30mph. Thank goodness it was my rear tire, or I might be in pretty bad shape today. There is nothing quite a discouraging as hearing that sudden "fssshhhhhhhht!" I managed to stop safely, and actually, since I was out in front with the speedsters, get the tube changed before everyone had even passed me. A coach from Santa Cruz on SAG stopped to give me a quick pump--and while he was doing it--FSSSSSHT! Another tube blown. To make a long story short, between me, Coach Steve, Jeremiah, and Scott, we went through 4 tubes and blew them all.

Defeated, I agreed to SAG back in with Scott. I'm so sad and mad that I missed out on the last 10 miles of the course, but grateful that I was okay, and that I had done so well up to that point with such an empty tank to begin with.

I grabbed a shower and spent the rest of the day hydrating, socializing, and licking my wounds.

Sunday I woke up and packed up my gear so I could leave right after the run. I'd never run 13.1 miles before, and I was feeling a bit discouraged after my experience on the bike the day before. It was cool and cloudy, perfect running weather, and I put my best face on. It turned out to be great! I really needed that. The hardest parts of the run are definitely within the first 5 miles. Even the Pit, a mile-long downhill followed by turning around and heading back up the same hil for miles 9 and 10, wasn't too bad. I think I finished up in about 2 hours and 15-20 minutes. Calves and quads were tight and the pounding was relentless, but overall, felt okay.

Overall...I have to say, this is going to be one of the toughest things I ever do. I knew that it would be, intellectually, before I experienced the whole course... but now I have a whole new respect for it. I need to do some hill repeats. I need to nail my nutrition and hydration. I need some Kevlar tires. Most of all, I need to mentally prepare myself. I'm glad I've gotten the heads up!!!

whirlwind OTC trip!

Where to start? It's been almost TWO weeks since my last post. Unbelievable.

It's been a whirlwind, I tell you!

The past two weeks of training have had their ups and downs, due to time constraints and traveling to and from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I was there for 3 days last week to take USAT's Level I Coaching Clinic, hands down the best clinic/continuing education I've ever attended. It was really exciting; I went with Liz Elliott (owner of Happy Fish and soon to be co-coach) so we can get legit for starting a kids' triathlon club in the East Bay this summer.

We got to stay in the athlete resident halls and eat all our meals in the cafeteria. This was a cafeteria like no other; everything whole grain or produce based, all lean meats, and pretty much open all the time! They had some really creative dishes out--butternut squash au gratin, a barley-corn-provolone bake, stuffed flank steak, orange chicken, quinoa salad, broccoli and penne with chick peas, all the steamed veggies you can imagine, a salad was amazing. And all I needed to get in was my handprint! :-)

The clinic was top notch. Huge names in the field were presenting to us--Bobby McGee, Bob Seebohar, and a whole host of people from Carmichael Training Systems (Chris Carmichael is Lance Armstrong's trainer).

I left feeling inspired. This could be a whole new world for me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

another rest day!

Sigh. I should've spun today, but there was no workout posted on the wiki.

That's a pathetic excuse for a pretty qualified fitness professional. I could darn well make up my own workout pretty easily.

I took it as a serendipitous chance to give my body one more day to recover and fight off whatever is causing the throat scratchiness and vague sniffles.

It's also a chance to get home a bit earlier, flip on a little Everything But the Girl, and do some things around the house.

Coolness: my package from Boure came today. Supposedly some of the best cycling shorts ever. We'll see how I feel after a couple hours in the saddle with them on...

Monday, March 05, 2007

weekend of building!

Wow, am I ever wiped out much so that I'm skipping my swim and heading to bed early tonight.

I had a great weekend of training.

Saturday I went to practice with the team. All us long coursers swam first so we could squeeze in a longer ride afterward. Coach Steve had us do the requisite warmup and drill sets. Then he called another 20 minute marker set! It was a bit of a surprise. It felt great, even after my sluggish training week. I made it 1200m--100m farther than the first marker set 3 weeks ago!

Sandy had instructed us to transition quickly to the bike, which I did...only to have to sit through a tire changing clinic before heading out. Sigh. It gave me a chance to munch a bit and to have Coach Barney check out my DIY brake adjustments and make sure they weren't lethal. ;-) The ride was great. We went a bit more than 30 miles. Headed up Foothill to El Monte, skirted around Foothill College and over to Arastradero. Took that to Alpine, went left and did the Portola Loop. Once we were on Arastradero and I knew where I was headed, I was able to cut loose. By the time we turned left onto Alpine, three of us (Lynn and a new girl named Bene) stuck close together out in front for the rest of the ride.

I'm much better at climbing than I used to be, but I'm still adjusting to the triple crank. I have a psychological roadblock against the smallest chainring that I need to drop, or I'll never make it up Nasty. The coolest thing is how much better I've gotten at powering through the flats. Cadence training has made a ton of difference!

Sunday I ran farther than I've ever run in a single shot--8 miles! The morning started off rough in the aftermath of Saturday evening spent watching UFC--while drinking beer and eating pizza. I don't have to put much of that stuff in my body before it takes a toll! I woke up with puffy eyes and a headache. After a leisurely breakfast and little time hydrating, I headed out to Los Gatos Creek Park. Not my favorite park, but easy to measure mileage. It all felt pretty good. I didn't really have to dig until the last mile, and that was only because I didn't take in any calories while I was running. DUH. Immediately swung by the Sports Basement and picked up a gel flask.

So, that brings me to today. 2400m swim is scheduled, but I hardly slept last night and my sinuses are bugging me. Scratch that! Instead today it will be stretching, Wellness Formula, Zicam, and early to bed. :-)

Friday, March 02, 2007

comment away!

Okay, I finally figured out how to enable comments on this thing.

Sheesh, I wondered why no one was saying anything. Could I be that dull? ;-)

Friday off; week 5 in review

Ahhh, the recovery day. I love having Fridays as an off-day. I should probably stretch, but i'm far too busy with back door work stuff in all my spare time between clients.

Anyway, here's the training week in review.

I'm feeling pretty good about everything. This week wasn't as strong a training week for me as I would have hoped, but if I take a step back and look at how far I've come in the past year, I can see it wasn't so bad. Again, I'm still more nervous about the bike than anything and have been driving myself a bit crazy doing Google and Youtube searches of the WF course. Rain has been a heavy factor and I haven't gotten in the saddle time I would have liked. Also, I need to spend a little more time developing a nutrition/hydration strategy. This race is a lot longer than the others I've done. I'm either going to have to put more cages on my bike, geek around with a Camelback, or (gulp) get proficient at whizzing past aid stations with my arm outstretched to grab a water bottle from a volunteer. Or, I suppose I could stop and dismount... Horrors!

Volume this week will probably top out between 7500 and 8000 meters. My fatigue resistance is steadily increasing, and if I concentrate, so is my glide. Can make it across the pool in 13-15 strokes if I stay focused. Should be a cinch to glide once I'm back in the wetsuit.

Have only managed the scheduled spin session this week. Picked the Long Course Pro session and went 70' with 5x6' intervals at L3, out of the saddle. I know it's good for developing my power, but 1 hour on a spin bike always feels like 3 or 4. BORING. Thank goodness for the hammer-inspiring sounds of Tool and Nine Inch Nails!

A bit out of commission this week. Sunday I went out for a 5 mile trail run. It turned into an extremely muddy, slippity-slidey hike through the rain. I kept up as brisk a pace as felt safe and ran up all the hills. Right calf has been tweaking again in the cold weather, right at the musculotendonous junction of the Achilles. Don't want to mess with that, so I had an hour session with Kristi on Tuesday. I gave it a little test last night at track with a little running, but mostly we did circuit training. I will try it out for sure this coming Sunday with an 8 miler.

Question of the week...Sport Beans vs. Accelerade vs. Nuun vs. Shot Bloks? Too many choices.