Sunday, April 29, 2012

Countdown to Wildflower!

My guy and I are going to Wildflower this year!
It's Wildflower's 30th Anniversary.
My guy and I are Wildflower virgins and don't know what to expect, so being the prepared guy that he is, Robert printed out the AVIA Wildflower Triathlons Digital Guide.
30th Annual Avia Wildflower Triathlon 2012


I have a lot of reading to do between now and Thursday when we leave to head up to Lake San Antonio for the events.

Wildflower has a Long Course (Half Ironman), Olympic Distance Course and a Mountain Bike Course.

Robert and I are signed up for the Mountain Bike Course.
I thought it would be fun....I mean how hard could a 1/4 mile swim, 9.7 mile bike, and 2 mile run be?

I'll let you know.

If I can figure out how to repack my Swimsafe, I think I will have the swim portion under control. I have been doing a lot of swimming (lessons) and open water practice.

I have really been getting in some mountain bike miles. I rode about 35 miles on trails this month, a lot of them up Skyline Drive, which has a grade of 4 percent to 13 percent for miles..

I also feeling pretty good about running 2 miles. I haven't been great at running lately. I have been so focused on strength training, swimming and biking. But I LOVE trail running and I am envisioning my inner runner just joyfully running those 2 miles!

(I promise, Coach, to get back to my running regimen when I get home).

Today during our bike ride, Robert said he was really looking forward to Wildflower.

"It will be fun," I said.
Fun is a theme with me, in case you hadn't noticed. If it's not fun, why do it?

"Yeah. It will be fun," he said. Then added, "Maybe next year we can do the longer triathlon."
"Uh, you mean the Olympic Distance, right?" I threw back.

"Or maybe even the long course," I said. He didn't answer, but my brain was already going to next year and how much FUN I was going to have swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running 13.1 miles.

But first things first.
Tomorrow I need to run some miles and clean up my mountain bike.

And who knows, this may be my first step into Xterra racing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Open Water Swim....Tried my SwimSafe!

Some of my friends from my tri-club, Triathlon Connection, got together this morning for an open water swim at Lake Perris. I didn't make the get-together. No worries. I still swam, just a couple of hours later with my guy. I waited for him to get off work and then we headed out to Lake Perris together. It was warm and sunny and calm and NO one was there...okay, there were a couple of fishermen on the dock, but that was it.

We swam from one end of the beach to the other end.

We swam from the about the bottom corner along the beachy strip up and to the left and back.

Robert was getting a bit nauseous and I'm sure he was getting tired of me telling him he needed earplugs. I thought maybe he was going to get out, but he kept on.

At the end of the beach we turned around and started swimming back. I was having a marvelous time. Well, as marvelous as you can have while thinking your guy is going to puke in the water at any minute.

 I tried to keep my mind on having high elbows and dropping my hand and bending my elbow on my pull and having my chin follow my shoulder and keeping all my appendages inside my "tube" so I wouldn't be putting on the brakes and sighting every once in a while by barely lifting my eyes out of the water. My coach would be proud...or maybe he would have just taken a video and pointed out all my errors. At any rate, I was feeling at one with the water.
And then it happened!

I looked down and saw a snake. It must have been 5 feet long and it was laying on the bottom or the lake. I started swimming at warp speed, my heart rate shot up, I lift my head and yelled, "Holy Crap!"

Robert stopped, turned and asked what was wrong.

"I just saw what I thought was a snake," I explained, while massaging my right calf muscle, which had gone into a spasm from the frantic kicking I had just done.

"Do you think there are snakes in here?" he asked.

"No. I just thought I saw one and it scared the hell out of me. I'm okay. Let's swim."

I continued swimming, closing my eyes when my head was down and only opening when I took a breath to the right so I could see the shore.

After about 50 strokes, I was back in my rhythm and the snake was forgotten. 

Amazingly, of the 45 minutes it took us to swim the .85 mile, I kept my face in the water almost the entire time. I was thinking of that fact when we were getting to the last red buoy.

 If someone had told me that I would have my face in Lake Perris for almost 45 minute straight, only lifting it to breath once in a while, I would have laughed.

And I did laugh because then I opened my eyes to look underwater and there was my son's missing shoe.
I am sure what I saw was not MY son's missing shoe. His is probably under the couch or under the pile of dirty towels in his room. But what I saw was some teenage boy's missing shoe. I think the shoe at the bottom of Lake Perris is going to be missing forever.

When we got back to shore, I though about my little "snake" scare and how wearing my SwimSafe kept me calm because I had thought worse comes to worse, I could always pull my safety cord and be safely cradled until someone came and got me.

"You know," I told my guy, "I have been wearing this thing for a year and really I don't even know if it works. I think I should try it out, just to make sure."

And I did.

I pulled the cord and the inside self-inflated and turned into a flotation device.
Then I went back out in the water with it and tried it out, just to make sure it would float me.

It did! I have to get the thing put back together!

I am searching for the directions.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Someone Took My Bike!

Someone took my bike, but don't worry, because I AM going to get it back!My bike looks like this one and it sits in the second row on the right hand side, four bikes over from the center at LA Fitness in Mission Grove. It may belong to someone else at other times, but at 6:45 p.m. on Thursdays it belongs to me.


Tonight when I stepped into class someone had their water  bottle and towel on my bike. I asked the woman if she was leaving and she said no. I just started at her. She didn't move.

Okay, I admit it. I have been stuck in a rut!

Well, I guess sitting on a different bike at spin class would give me a different perspective and get me out of my rut.
I moved to a bike in the front row - the music was too loud. Plus, the bike was really close to the mirror and I didn't want to spend 60 minutes looking at myself sweating. So I moved.......
 to a bike in the back row and stayed there for the entire class. But never again. First negative of being in the back row is the slight bit of cool air there is in that room never made it to the back row. It was too hot!! Second negative - I had to spend the entire 60 minutes looking at the fat bottom of the lady who was riding MY bike!
And I am NOT being mean because her butt was big. I would still be complaining if her ass was small. Or if it was a him. The point is, in the back row I had to watch someone else ride MY bike!
It was torturous to watch.

I don't care what the spin instructor says about people hurrying in after the class before his ends to get a bike. He gave a lecture last week because some people didn't even wait for the previous class to finish to go in and put dibbies on a bike. Next week I am going to be one of the first people standing at the door waiting to get in and get my bike......or maybe I'll just start bringing my swim stuff with me and if I can't get my bike, I'll just go swim.

I hope I get my lane!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Colorful Way to Train - DYE HARDS!

My training plan for today said run 2 hours (aka my coach's verbiage for 13 miles). Instead I laid down some yellow, green, blue and pink miles.

This is what it looked like:
My guy and I at the start of the Color Run!
Our Team name:
Robert, me, Jeanne and Tom

We ran about 1/4 mile and then volunteers threw yellow powdery color on us.

We ran some more and then had green thrown at us.
I am still laughing that I talked my guy into putting on WHITE clothes and allowing people to throw stuff at him without him retaliating. He must be mellowing out. You know exercise can do that to you!

Don't Color me Blue...I am HAPPY!

I am feeling pretty in PINK!!!

Then at the end everyone throws their color packet - orange, red, blue, purple, turquoise, WHITE?

3.1 miles not timed
3.1 miles of fun
3.1 miles of nonsense

My guy and I at the finish line.

Me and my client Tanya!!!! Way to go Tanya!!

DYE HARD team at the end of the EVENT!
My guy, me, Jeanne and Tom.
PS - This was Jeanne's first run since she broke her rib on a bike fall five weeks ago. She ran almost the entire way and she said it did NOT hurt!!!! Yeah!

Okay, here's the truth - The color run is not timed and people throw stuff on you and for the first mile I could not wrap my mind around it. I mean, all I could think of is, "What is the purpose of this?"


Sometimes even triathletes, or athletes need to stop training and have some FUN with friends. And what better way to have fun by doing something that still involves some physical activity.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Body Fat Testing. The Results are in!

I had a Hydrostatic Body Fat Testing experience today.

The results are in.

I was shocked!

I have been figuring out my BMI (BMI stands for body mass index, and is a figure that attempts to illustrate someone’s approximate health by taking into consideration his or her height and weight. It is more exact than simply standing on a scale, as it does rely heavily on the person’s height, as well, giving a person (or physician) a better picture of the overall state of one’s body. Its overall goal is to determine an ideal weight for an individual based on these factors. Body mass index also helps doctors and patients talk about weight objectively.) by looking at the charts for height and weight. Also when I go to the doctor's office for check-ups they include BMI in my After Visit Summary. My last BMI from the doctor's was 20.31. I was happy with that.

When I looked up what my doctor's measurement of my BMI meant, this is what I found: BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 (Normal Weight)
People whose BMI is within 18.5 to 24.9 possess the ideal amount of body weight, associated with living longest, the lowest incidence of serious illness, as well as being perceived as more physically attractive than people with BMI in higher or lower ranges. However, it may be a good idea to check your Waist Circumference and keep it within the recommended limits.
Note: Since Body Fat Percentage calculations use total body weight and not estimates of lean muscle mass and fat, BMI can not determine between the overweight and the more muscular.

Wow, I know that was a lot of information, but it is background. Because I was happy walking (I mean, swimming, biking, running) around being 20.31 percent FAT!!!!!

But if you look at the says BMI cannot estimate LEAN MUSCLE MASS and FAT and it CANNOT determine the MORE MUSCULAR.

I've been lifting weights...I want to be more muscular!
A little over the top...but you get the idea!!

When my friend Martin advertised he was offering FREE Body Fat Testing by Water at the Grand Opening of his IN2IT Nutrition and Fitness store in Riverside, I probably was the first person to call in and put my name on the list.

Because Hydrostatic (underwater) Composition Testing is universally considered to be the "Gold Standard" of body fat testing to which other methods still compare.

And did I mention - it was FREE!

Well, today was the day.

I was the 4th person in line to get my body fat measured. The guy that came out before me said the tank was a little squishy. I was a little apprehensive. Would I have to roll myself into the fetal position and hold my breath?

Don't mind my friend Orietta waving from behind the curtain. She REFUSED to have her body fat tested. Next time, Orietta!!!! This is what the tank looks like without anyone in it.

Saul, the tester, told me to get in, stomach down, put my hands on the top bar and my feet on the bottom bar.

Before we go any further, grab a pencil and paper and jot down the percentage you think my body fat is based on the Hydrostatic Body Composition Analysis.

I facebooked and said I was going to do this and several of my friends put in their votes.
Thank you, Melodi, for thinking I am only 10 percent fat! But you are delusional.

I am going to put my head under and pull myself down and exhale all my air and wait for Saul to tap me on the shoulder to let me know I can come up.....Did I mention that being submerged in water with no air is one of my greatest fears? Will I be able to do this?

Yes, I did it!
Three times to make it official!
It wasn't scary and it wasn't hard!

Now I just had to wait for Saul to input all the information and the computer to spit out the truth:


Again, I was shocked......

and pleasantly surprised.

Hydrostatic Evaluation Results prepared by FitnessWave:
Body Fat - (%) 16.9
Lean Body Mass - (%) 83.1
Fat Body Mass - (lbs) 17.5
Lean Body Mass - (lbs) 86

Saul went on to show me that with a body fat percentage of 16.9 I fell in the excellent standards for the 50-59 age group, and the 49-49 age group, and the 30-39 age group....

If I lose just 1.1 more pounds of fat I will be at 16 percent body fat and I will be in the excellent range for the 20-20 age group, too! If only I was really that age.
Uhm, I think I may find my abs yet!!!!

You are never too old to find your abs!!!!

FYI: The minimum recommended body fat for women is 8 to 9 percent and for men it is 5 to 6 percent.

P.S. Saul said he had to set a goal as part of his reporting. He explained that the ideal body fat and weight for a woman my age and height is 22 percent or 110.2 pounds. I would have to GAIN weight for that....but since I am an athlete, he set my goal at 12 percent or 97.7 lbs. I told Saul I would have to do LENT again and give up alcohol to get to that and it just wasn't worth it.

 So we brainstormed and set my goal for 15 percent body fat and 101.2 lbs.

I have 2.3 pounds of fat to dump.

Monday, April 16, 2012

USAT Rankings 2011. I Made the List!

USA Triathlon put out the 2011 rankings list....and I am on it.

My name is on the list, along with Sally Edwards and Madonna Buder and 13,109 other women.

My name is on the womens' 50-54 list. That list has 1,230 women on it. It starts with No. 1 Ellen Hart, 53, with 97.24979 points and goes down to No. 1230 Bonnie Parrish-Kell, 52, 39.54959 points. Congratulations to both of you and all the women in between!

I am No. 997, Kandi DeCarlo, 51, with 60.42447 points.

I read the page that explains how they figure how the rankings and it made my brain explode.

USA Triathlon uses pace setters (athletes who received an overall ranking the previous year). For each race they use a calculated time determined for each pace setter.
"This is calculated by taking their overall score from the previous year and dividing it by 100, and then multiplying that number by their finish time for the current race, which is converted to minutes.
This means that if John is a pace setter and he finished a race this year in 1:30:00, we can find his calculated time. If his score from last year was 95.234, we would divide it by 100 to get .95234. Then, we multiply that by his finish time, which would be 90 minutes. 90 x .95234 = 85.7106."

Has your head exploded yet?

How many pace setters are there?
It actually depends on the race and who competes. Pace setters received rankings from the previous year. Some races may have five; some may have 50!
How do I get a score for my race?
Everyone's score for the race is determined by the par time, which is the average calculated time of the pace setters.
Par time is calculated by dropping the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of all the pace setters - only the middle 60 percent is averaged together. If there are 100 pace setters in a race, the top 20 and bottom 20 pace setters are not included, and the remaining 60 pace setters' calculated times are averaged together to equal the par time.
After the par time is calculated, the time of every participant in the race is compared against the par time. If the par time of John's race is 80 minutes, and he finished in 90 minutes, his score would be 88.888 (80 / 90 = .88888 * 100 = 88.888)

Who knew triathlon involved so much math. First Swim Golf and now USA Triathlon rankings. I may need to forgo my strength training every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and take a math refresher course.

Anyway, I take USA Triathlon's word on it that they have their math all in order.

Here's what I found interesting about the lists. And sorry, guys, I didn't even look at your list yet....just the women's. The list starts with 15 years and under and has 116 girls on. Yippee, that is 116 up and coming super stars!

 The 16-17 age category has 86 names; 18-19 has 99 names. Then a big jump in the 20-24 category with 579 names....then an even bigger jump in the 25-29 age group with 1,382 names.

The 35-39 age group has 2,293 names.

The BIGGEST group is the 40-44 group with 2,490 names.

Then a drop in the 45-49 group with 1,813 names.

My age group, 50-54, as I wrote above, has 1,230,

Then a big drop in the 55-59 group with 558 names.

The 60-64 group has 223 names, with the last name on the list being Sally Edwards. Sally Edwards is one of my heroes. Her book, Triathlons for Women, was the very
first triathlon book I read when I started competing two years ago. Get this....Sally has completed over 130 all-women's triathlons during the past 20 years and she INTENTIONALLY is the "final finisher" so that no other woman has to finish last.

Sally Edwards, #223 on the 60-64 list

There are 73 women in the 65-69 age group listing, and 28 in the 70-74 listing.

In the 75-79 listing there are four women, in order: Harriet Anderson, 76; Janet Weiler, 75; Barbara Robben, 77; and Marsha Smith, 76.
I want to meet these ladies and ask them what their secret is. I want to still be able to do triathlons when I am in my 70s.

The last list is the 80-84 age group and there is only one name on it. The lady has been my inspiration since I read her book, The Grace to Race.
 Madonna Buder, The Iron Nun.
 She didn't even start running until she was 48. Sister Madonna has completed more than 325 triathlons, including 45 Ironman distances.At the 2005 Hawaii Ironman, at the age of 75, she became the oldest woman to complete the race finishing one hour before the 17-hour midnight cut-off time. At the 2006 Hawaii Ironman, at the age of 76, she again became the oldest women ever to complete the race, finishing with a time of 16:59:03.

I am so honored to be on the USA Triathlon Ranking list which includes these fabulous women! These are the women I look to for inspiration and hope that I, too, can continue to compete in triathlon as I get older.....

Thank you for paving the way for me and all the other women on this list, and the women not on this list, who find joy in swimming, biking and running!! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

LA Championship Race Series 1

My goal for today's LA Championship Race Series #1 was to have a calm, fun swim and get out of my wetsuit fast.

I did that!

The water was freezzzing. Well, maybe not freezing, but really cold! I did all the things I've been taught by my coach.I got in the cold lake before the race and splashed water on my face. Then I dunked underwater. I tried to get my breath as the chilly water had somehow frozen it inside of my lungs. It took several minutes for me to get use to the water. I swam around amidst all the people standing in the water. When I thought I would be able to swim without freaking out about the cold water, I got out and lined up with all the other pink-capped women.

Dennis, another Triathlon Connection member, and myself before the cold, cold swim. How come he looks so happy? Maybe he hasn't warmed up, I mean, cooled down, in the water yet?

While waiting off to the right-hand side of the crowd for the horn to go off, I had a nice little conversation with myself.
"Do I really want to do this? After all, I am at this triathlon all by myself and no one will know if I just turn and go back to my car to put on my warm sweatpants and my Uggs and my parka. Nope, don't want to leave, so I am here for me because I really want to do this. Why? Well, I want to become a better swimmer and I do not want to be afraid of swimming in open water. I do NOT want to NOT do something because I am afraid."

And then the horn went off and there was a whoosh of women running by me.
I let almost EVERYONE run into the water as I calmly walked into the water and then gently lowered myself into the water to start my freestyle swim. About 5 strokes into the swim that darn water froze the air in my lungs again and I had to lift my head to get the icicles out of my mouth.  Then I went right back to swimming. From the shore to the first buoy, my sighting skills were lousy. I would lift my head and almost come to a dead stop.

By the time I rounded the second buoy I was starting to pull it together. I was so numb I didn't feel the cold water anymore. I told myself to enjoy the swim because it was going to be over before I knew it. I did enjoy swimming from the third buoy to the shore finish because I realized I was calm and I was having fun. I thought about high elbows and slicing my hand in and rotating and gliding and breathing and my sighting skills even improved to where I was just peeking my eyes out of the water to see where I was going as I continued to swim. I wish my coach had been there to film it. Uhm, maybe not.

In my age 50-54 age group I was 6th out of 11 in the swim. It took me 15:15 to swim that 500m, but I never once felt out of breath or afraid. I would even go so far as to say I was comfortable that last 125 meters.
I was comfortable until I was in transition and took off my wetsuit. QUICKLY! RAPIDLY! With SPEED! My wetsuit came off the smoothest and fastest it ever has. I think one reason it came off so easy was I did not wear a watch for my wetsuit to get stuck on. And I used LOTS ANDS AND LOTS of Glide.
My goals were accomplished, yet I still had a bike and run to go before I crossed that finish line.

I just stood there in T1 a freezing, shivering mess! You know how they say guys have "shrinkage" when they are in cold water? Well, darn if I didn't have "shrinkage." But my "shrinkage" was in my brain. No Joke! My brain was just not working because I was so cold. I looked down at all the gear I needed to put on and I just stared at it.
After what seemed like FOREVER I put on my sunglasses and my helmet, because I didn't want to forget to put on my helmet, and my helmet didn't fit was TOO BIG. Yes, my head had shrunk in the cold water. I had to tighten all the straps because every time I leaned over to pick up a sock or a shoe, my helmet would slide down over my eyes.

Results showed that my T1 time was 5:23...I was 10 out of 11 in my transition. Next time I swim when it is so cold, I am going to pack a heater.

 Finally, I was out of transition only to find that my bike was making a funny clicking noise. I stopped and the sensor for my Cateye was turned and catching on my wheel. I got that all worked out, but when I went to ride, my Cateye was not registering my speed or anything.
Should I stop again? Or should I just ride on and go. I decided that since I had already made my goals to have a calm, fun swim and get my wetsuit off quickly, and since I already was racing without a watch, I might as well just go with it.......

So I just pedaled as hard as I could, which was hard because I couldn't feel my feet.
They were frozen. I could feel my calves and my knees and my hips, so I just worked from there and kept my legs turning.

I have to be honest and tell you I need some work on hills. Bonelli Park in San Dimas has hills. I know I am better riding hills than I was a year ago, but I need more practice. I can't tell you how fast or how slow I was going on those up and downs, but I can tell you it was not as fast as I would have liked to have gone up hills nor as fast as I would have liked to allow myself to go downhills.

LOTS of men passed me, but I passed a lot of women. It was hard to judge where I was in the pack because the Championship and the Express races converged together on the bike route, with Championship riders doing two loops on the bike and Express riders doing only one. On my second loop, an official drove his 3-wheel motorcycle up to me and started asking me questions. "What race are you doing?" "What loop are you on?" "Are you having a nice day?"

"Why are you asking me these questions?"
"We are just trying to get an idea of who the last rider is?"
"What? You think I am the last rider?"
"No, just checking."

Okay, that really pissed me off, so I started riding harder, even though I still could not feel my feet.
I turned the corner and rode for the last time on the stupidest, ruddiest road ever and then I was riding by the beautiful horses who were running up and down the corral and whinnying at me as I rode by.

I had another conversation with myself - "I bet I could sell all my triathlon gear and have enough money to buy a horse."

 "If I had a horse right now I wouldn't have to be working so hard pedaling this darn bike up this hill. I could be sitting on that beautiful horse and he could be doing all the work."

I did some calculations in my brain and the cost of race entry fees, equipment, training and gym fees would about cover the cost of boarding and feeding a horse.

Then I made it up the hill and I was done cycling and the horse thought left what was left of my "shrinkaged" brain.

It took me 58:47 minutes to ride that 23.3k bike ride, coming in 6th on the bike, results show.

T2 - my feet were still frozen, but all the math I did on the bike must have defrosted my brain because I was out running in 2:30 minutes (8th out of 11).
I ran the entire 5k at a steady pace. I ran up and down the hills. I felt good, though I still could not feel my feet. On the way out on the run I passed a few people, and I saw a couple of women in the same orange-colored bib as mine going the other way. At the turn around I started to feel pins and needles in my feet and thought that must be a good sign blood was returning to my frozen appendages. On the back back I saw lots of other orange bids just starting their run.
I just kept to my pace and before I knew it, the run was over and the triathlon was over.

Results for run - 32.04 for 5k, with 10:20 pace. I was 5th in run.

Overall, I was 7th in my age group.

Next month, LA Tri Series 2 - 1000m swim/27k (16.77 mile) bike/8.8k (5.4) run.

My goals for Series 2? Have a calm, fun swim, get my wetsuit off fast, cut 1 minute off my T1 time, bike at a 15 mph rate, and still run the entire 5.4 miles at a 10.20 mile pace.

I better get back to train"ing"-n-tri"ing"....but not tomorrow. Tomorrow is haircut, manicure and pedicure day...priorities, you know!