Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Age?

A guy at the gym the other day asked me how old I am.
I didn't answer right away.
I didn't know what number to give him.
 Telling my age shouldn't be that hard.
I was born July 3, 1960, so my calendar age is 52.
I could have just told that guy, "52," and that would have been the end of it.
But according to USA Triathlon, I had my birthday on January 1 and I automatically turned 53.
I could have just told that guy, "My race age is 53."
Most days I feel younger than 53, or 52.
I could have told that guy, "My spiritual age is 32."
I don't think he would have believed me because he probably would not have heard the "spiritual" part.
What is our age?
I took an online questionnaire about age. It asked questions about whether I smoked (NO!), exercised (YES!), ate healthy (YES!), drank alcohol (Sometimes), slept a certain amount of hours (as many as possible), and if I ate vegetables (eat them and juice them).

My "age" according to the online questionnaire was 48.

I'll take it!

I told the nosy gym guy, "Age is just a number!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Pedals Do You Use?

I need some help people. I need some help from my bike-riding, triathlon people.

I need some opinions. I need some opinions from you.

I have spd pedals on my road bike. I like them. I can clip in and out of them easily. They have a little play in them and my knees don't hurt when I am riding.

My pedals on my road bike are similar to these (maybe they are these).

I have a pair of road bike shoes and keen bike sandals that have spd cleats on them.

Now I have my tri-bike and I tri-bike shoes. I put speedplay lite pedals on my bike, but for the life of me, I could not get clipped in. I tried numerous times. It just was never going to happen. Frustrating.

Okay, so what do most people have on their bikes? What do you have and why do you like it?


spd (and I think these are more like my road pedals....and yes, right now I am too lazy to go out and look at my pedals).


So what do you use? And why?
Thanks in advance for your words of advice.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Training FLU Out the Window

My training plan flu out the window this past week.
That plan would have worked, if that had been my plan. But I had lots of plans and I couldn't do any of them.
My training plans started taking a nose dive about 10 days ago. I didn't know it at the time, but the flu bug had bitten me.
My knees were achy, so I taped them up before I headed out a week ago Saturday on a ride with my guy and several of my cycling girlfriends
Photo: Robert had a nice ride with the girls.... Me included.
Good thing I took this picture because it was almost the only time we were all in one place at the same time because I could JUST NOT KEEP UP!
My legs had NO energy.
Thankfully, my guy stayed with me.
I came home from the ride and took a 3 hour nap.
Maybe I've been over training, I thought.
The next day I just didn't FEEL like doing anything.
I must really be over training!!
Monday, I was able to get in a mile swim and go to my triathlon club's local get-together.
I slept really good that night.
Tuesday I worked!
That was it. That was all I could do.
I turned my Tuesday night bike ride over to Robert and I went to bed - at 6 p.m.
Wednesday I got up and worked again.
I felt okay and even managed to get in a mile swim after work and visit my daughter.
By 10 p.m. I was EXHAUSTED.
Thankfully, I did NOT have to work on Thursday.
I did have an appointment with my doctor for my annual female appointment.
She offered me the flu shot.
I turned her down.
I am healthy, I told her.
(I think the flu bug must have a wicked sense of humor)
I did some errands and attended a birthday party for my mom's husband.
I did feel as if I had a slight cold and my arms felt as if I had lifted some heavy weights (which I had not).
Friday I felt congested, but I got up and went to work.
I kept telling the students that I didn't feel very well and I almost went through a whole bag of "bribe" jolly ranchers.
My throat slowly constricted as the day went on.
Thankfully, the class I was working in has a student that requires me to wear a mic.
Photo: Wearing a mic in the classroom..... Trying not to break into song and dance.
I can whisper and the whole class can still me here thanks to amplifiers.
I laid down on the classroom floor and took a nap at lunch time.
(The teacher I was substituting for even came in and saw me napping!)
That nap got me through the rest of the day.
 By the end of the day though I could barely talk.
I am sure I had a fever.
I came home and went to bed.
4 o'clock in the afternoon - in bed.
I had plans to ride the 62-mile Grape Fun Ride with my guy and several friends.
They all rode without me.
I stayed in bed.
I stayed in bed until 2 p.m. when Robert drove me to Urgent Care.
Fever, flu, strep throat
In other words - SICK
I crawled back into bed Saturday afternoon and stayed there until Sunday morning.
I didn't know if my body was aching from the flu or from being in bed for so long.
I made my way from my bed to the coach in the family room and took over the TV remote.
Fourteen hours later and 5 movies, a liter of 7up, a quart of orange sherbet, 2 cans of Campbell's Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup, about 25 saltine crackers and endless cups of hot tea with honey, I was feeling better.
I couldn't remember if the rule was feed a fever and starve a cold, or starve a fever and feed a cold. I didn't want to take any chances so I just continued to eat.
Then I went back to bed!
This morning, I felt well enough to do laundry, work in my yard and blog.
I think I'll try a bike ride tomorrow.
And if you haven't had the flu shot yet, do it!
Even if it is only 60 percent effective, that is better odds than what I had.
Next year I'll be first in line for the flu shot.
Because flu germs don't care if you are healthy and a triathlete or about your training plans.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Swim Bike Mom ME!!!

Triathlon for the every woman
You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You.
Meredith Atwood wrote the book.
I am in the book.
You have to read 390 pages until you find my name...and you'll only find my first name, not my last name, but it's me.
I met Meredith through GOTRIbal and Facebook.
She lives in Georgia and I live in Southern California, so it's not like we are training together.
Yet, in some ways we are.
Meredith came out to SoCal a while back (a year ago) and we met at a spin class in San Diego taught by Mickey Forrest.
Yep, Robert and I drove all the way to San Diego to take a spin class in SD at a LA Fitness. All I can say about the class was, "Wowsa!"
Mickey could really make her legs spin while she was standing on the pedals.
It made my hips hurt to see how fast she could spin WHILE standing.
While Mickey was standing and spinning, I was SITTING and spinning.
Then I was standing and taking my picture with Meredith.
Meredith (on left) and me on right at spin class - a year ago - my how time flies when you are tri-ing!
I wrote about the class and my week in this blog:
Just in case you missed it and want to catch up/refresh your memory.
Anyway, Meredith and I have stayed in contact.
She loves Chrissie Wellington (and who doesn't?), just like me.
She loves Aquaphor (and who doesn't?), just like me. She mentions Aquaphor numerous times in her book.
She loves triathlon (and who doesn't?).
Okay, some people may not love it, but that's just because they haven't tried it yet. Once they try it, they probably will love it...just like me.
Meredith asked her triathlete friends to tell her why they like triathlon or what triathlon means to them....
PAGE 390:
"KANDI: I competed in my first triathlon when I was fifty-years old. Triathlon is a good way to have fun and be fit. Nothing gets overworked, but everything gets worked? I love to cycle, I enjoy swimming and I am learning to tolerate running. Put all three activities together, throw in a stopwatch to see how fast you can transition from one sport to the next...well, it's so wacky, it makes me smile!"
(I am still working on 'learning to tolerate running'.)
Okay, besides my quote, the rest of the book is good too.
If you haven't done a triathlon, Meredith will make you want to try one.
If you are overweight and you haven't done a triathlon, Meredith will make you want to give triathlon a try as a way to lose weight, or lose weight to give triathlon a try.
If you are a crazy mother who has no time because your work is too demanding and your kids are little and need lots of attention, Meredith will show you that you, TOO, need to take some time for YOURSELF and triathlon is a positive way to get yourself SANE and HEALTHY.
Hey, even if you NEVER think you are going to do a triathlon, you can read her story and get a chuckle or two...or three.
Here's what Chrissie Wellington said about Meredith's book: " too can become a triathlete: no matter what your age, your background or your ability....This book will help you change 'I CAN'T' into 'I CAN' and give you the tools, advice and inspiration for how to do it. With this book, you will realize that your life truly has NO LIMITS!"
Chrissie Wellington (on left) and me on right. Chrissie, Ironman World Champion, is holding her book, "A LIFE Without Limits!"
Meredith and I have a lot in common.
We are both married.
We both have kids.
We both have jobs - though, hers is WAY more sheduled and high pressure than mine is.
We both are training for triathlon inspite of, or maybe because of, our issues - her issue is weight, mine is age, I mean, my knee.
We both are NEVER going to be a World Champion.
(Only in my wildest dreams!!!!!)
But still, we continue to SWIM, BIKE, RUN, MOM, FRIEND, WORK, WRITE, SLEEP, EAT, REPEAT!
You can buy Meredith's book on Amazon.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm a Cold Cyclist...Brrrrr

This is the first year I have been a WINTER cyclist.
In past years if it was dark at 5 p.m., well, my bike was hung up in the garage and I went to spin class during the week. On the weekend if I had a bike ride planned, but it ended up being COLD, or WINDY, or DRIZZLY, I'd skip it and read by the fire.
This is not me reading by the fire. It would have been LAST year or the year before, but this year (and it was last night) it is me trying to UNFREEZE in front of the fire after a bike ride.
Yes, I live in Southern California.
To me, anything under 60 degrees is chilly.
Anything under 50 degrees is cold.
Anything under 45 degrees is freezing.
So, when it gets to be around 47 degrees and it is windy and I am riding my bike and it is dark...DAMN, that's cold!!!!!
DOUBLE DAMN, I am cold!!!
I was dressed for the weather. My face was okay. I had on two shirt and my jacket. I was wearing my Capri workout pants, cycling leg warmers and my Capri bike pants. I had on wicking run socks and my compression socks, along with my bike shoes. I had on a neck buff, a cycling cap under my helmet and long-fingered gloves.
Please message me what is wrong with this picture.
Everything on me was NOT-freezing except for my feet.
My feet were cold and frozen!!!
My feet were ice cubes.
They were so cold they hurt.
But I didn't cry....I just kept wiggling my toes around and kept pedaling.
About 20 miles later I was home.
I turned to my friend Orietta and asked her if her feet were cold.
"Yes," she said.
Yes? That was it?
Not, "OMG, my feet are so cold they feel like Popsicles."
I hobbled into the house and took off my bike shoes, my compression socks and my wicking socks and wiggled my toes. They hurt. They hurt to wiggle. They hurt to hold still.
In desperation, I grabbed the "warming booties" my friend had given me for Christmas and threw them in the microwave. They have rice packets in them that heat up in the microwave. Then you put them on your feet and warm your feet.
At first I felt nothing....then slowly my toes began to defrost and a couple of minutes later....YYYAAAHHHLLL!
TOO HOT!!!!!
I am not going to stop riding at night, even in the cold.
Today I drove to Don's Bike Shop in Redlands and plopped down some money for some toe warmers.
I'm trying them out tomorrow morning when my triathlon club has a 50-mile ride on the Santa Ana River Trail.
I have my fingers crossed that I don't have to stop along the way and jump up and down to try to get blood into my frozen toes.
How do you keep you tootsies warm in the cold?
Let me know.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Hills

Triathlon Connection's Riverside bike ride took to the hills Tuesday night. The group has been riding FLATS on Tuesday and Thursdays since we started out. But we decided the New Year was a good time to get some hill workouts in.

We started Tuesday's ride out the usual way....about 1 1/2 miles of flat down Victoria Avenue. At the second light, instead of continuing on an easy, flat ride down Victoria, we made a left turn and started up the first incline of the evening. Right up a busy connector street. 
"Please God, don't let anyone hit me," I prayed as I pedaled as fast as I could. I knew the road we were turning right on was just up ahill, I mean, up ahead.
I was pedaling hard and dropping my gears, but my speed just kept dropping..16 mph to 12 mph to 10 mph to 9 mph to, I stopped looking, by the time we hit the top of the hill.
Okay, so I wasn't really thinking about how I LOVED hills. But I was thinking how adding hills into our bike ride was going to be good for me.
We had about 30 seconds of flat pedaling before we made a left onto another hill climb. This one was through a residential neighborhood. The road was nice and the climb went by (6%, 7%, 8%) quickly. My low speed on this hill was 8.7 mph.
The good thing about a hill climb is that once you are at the top, you have nowhere to go but down.
I didn't go downhill that fast - it was dark and even though I have a great light, my eyes aren't the best at seeing at night. Potholes can sneak up on me in the dark so I have to keep my hand on the brakes - just in case.
Some of our group turned right to hit the next hill (oops, wrong way guys), but some of us went left and started up the next residential neighborhood hill. I knew we would meet at the top of the hill, just from opposite directions. I have ridden this road during the day, but not at night. At night it seemed to take FOREVER to get to the top. At one point I was riding 4.9 miles per hour.
The way we rode up, our grade topped out at 14 percent. The way the wrong-turners went, the grade was 17 percent - uh, maybe next time.
We went around the loop again, this time all of us going the same way.
Yes, someone did have to stop and push their bike up the hill. I am NOT saying who. But it WASN'T me. I may be slow, but I am GO!
We rode about 3 miles of flat with just one little incline to get to Gratton...our last hill of the evening. It starts out as a slow incline, but progressively becomes steeper and steeper. Within a mile the elevation goes up about 200 feet, with the last 25 yards ranging from 11 to 13 percent. I finished it off at 4.9 miles an hour, Obviously, my preferred low speed for the evening.
Yes, someone had to stop and put their foot down on our ride up Gratton. NO, it was NOT me! I'll say it again, I am SLOW, but GO!
I wonder how slow I can go before I fall over?
Hope I never find out!
We rode almost 16 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes. We did have a couple of stops at the top of hills to catch our breath.
This hill-climbing is really going to make me a better cyclist.
I read an article the other day that a person should suffer when riding on the hills and think of it as storing "whoop-ass in a can" for in a race.
So that's the thinking I am taking with me from now on when we ride the "Hills Yes!" ride on Tuesday night.
That and this......

And I am not going to lie...
I am glad tonight's Thursday right is FLAT!
At least I'll be going faster than 4.9 mph.


Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Juiced

I admit it.
I juice.
Sometimes my preferred substance is hard to get. There seems to be a lot of athletes out there wanting that precious element which can boost stamina so you can exercise longer.
That's right.
I am talking about beetroots.
It's not found on the superfood lists, but they should be.
Beets are packed with antioxidants, nitrates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, vitamins A, C, K, B-12, B-6, folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. They are also packed with fiber.
Since I juice the beets, I get all their benefits without the fiber.
Doesn't that look DELICIOUS????
It is delicious!
Especially when I think of all the health benefits.
Beets are a good source of oxalic acid, which is known to help remove inorganic calcium deposits from the body. When I read that my ears really perked up.
Why would my ears perk up?
Inorganic calcium deposits cause multiple health problems, such as kidney stones (which I have had), hardening of the arteries, (which I don't want to have) and joint pain and stiffness (other ailments, which I do not want to have).
So bring on the beet juice.
No, NOT Beetlejuice.....BEET JUICE!
I did buy beet juice before I got a juicer. But a small bottle of beet juice cost almost as much as a bottle of wine, and didn't taste nearly as good.
Some studies have suggested that beet juice can have a positive effect on the body during exercise.
One recent study showed that downing a glass of beet juice for six days enhanced overall physical performance and heart functioning during exercise.
Wow! That sounds great to me.

If drinking the above pictured concoction can allow me to exercise 16 percent longer, enhance my physical performance and heart functioning during exercise AND enable me to exercise longer without feeling tired, then I will happily be a juicer.

You may wonder why my pitcher of juice shown above is greenish instead of red.
This batch just happens to have kale in it.
It still taste like beet juice though.
Photo: Juicing
Beets are a little tough to cut, even with a sharp knife. But it is worth it.
Scientist have found that cyclists who drank a half-liter of beetroot juice several hours before riding were able to ride up to 20 percent longer than those who drank a placebo juice.
A half liter of beer would probably go down easier than a half liter of beetroot juice. I just can't think of ANY cycling event that I'll be partaking in that would require me to drink that much beetroot juice.
Kale juice + beetroot juice = BROWN juice
Last scientific tidbit - a study at Wake Forest (and I looked it up and it is a University in North Carolina) showed through MRI imaging that drinking beetroot juice increased blood flow to the brain in healthy elderly people. It could also improve blood flow to skeletal muscles, according to the research.
This is not just advantageous to athletes, but to everyone as they age because it could be used to help improve muscle strength, thereby reducing falls, fractures and impairments associated with muscle weakness.
So raise your hand if you are drinking beet juice.
The hand of a beetroot juice Juicer!
Don't worry. It comes off with soap and water.
If you have any good juicing recipes you'd like to share, I'd love for you to include it in the comment sections or on my facebook page.

One warning - what goes in red, comes out red.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 is Going to be My "Hill Yes" Year, I mean "Hell Yes" Year!

It was all Maria Shriver's idea.
Maria Shriver
On Tuesday, Maria wrote on her FB:
"A wise friend said to me, "Whenever you are in doubt this year look within and say, 'Hell yes!'. May today be the beginning of your Hell Yes Year."
That sounded good to me.
Hell yes, sign me up for that Olympic Distance at Wildflower.
Hell yes, sign me up for that 70.3 hilly Vineman course.
Hell yes, let's sign up this year for that Memorial Hermann Ironman in Texas in 2014.
Hell yes, let's swim, bike and run and ?!!!!
Embracing "Hell Yes!" means I will be open to new things, new ideas, new people...NEW!
That all sounds great. But if you know me, well, sometimes I may seem stuck in a rut. I call it organization. I mean, if my training schedule says A for so many minutes or miles on Monday and then B for so many minutes or miles on Tuesday and well, you get the idea.
I can't dump my training plans and workout willy-nilly.

If I was Willy-Nilly I guess I would carry a balloon and wear a big bow - NOT! That's why Willy-Nilly is NOT a good idea for me.
But I am going to be more flexible, so I won't get in a rut.
  2013 is my "Hell Yes" year to make sure my bike, my shoe, my mind won't get stuck in a rut.
I am already making changes.
Hills Yes!!!
My changes started today.
I went out for my first 2013 run and I did NOT run my usual 3.1 mile course. I did NOT run down Victoria Avenue. I did NOT aim for a flat run and I did NOT map it out first.
My run was uphill. And then more uphill. And then more uphill.
This is not a very good picture, but I took it while I was running backwards uphill!
I did NOT look at my watch while I ran.
I just ran for fun and enjoyed the day.
I ran in Zone 1 and 2.
I was NEVER out of breath.
It ended up being a 4.01 uphill cruise.
When I got home I sort of fell back into the "rut" because I looked at my schedule and it said, "SWIM."
I went for the coin toss.
I didn't use a coin. I used a phone.
I called my 15-year-old son (who had spent the night at a friend's house) and asked if the Two Boys if they wanted to hike up Two Trees.
If they had said, "NO!" well, then I was going swimming.
They said, "Yes."
(I'm not sure, but I might have even heard a "Hell Yes!" from the other end of the phone from one of the boys.
I grabbed the dog and drove and picked up the boys.
About half way up Two Trees.
I didn't even flinch when the dog plopped down in the muddy water and started lapping it up.
"Hell Yes. You go dog," was all that I could say.
So add another 2.78 miles to my day's run.
First run of 2013 ended up being a "Hell Yes" 6.79 miles.
After all that I was so giddy, I sent out an email to my Tuesday/Thursday night ride cyclists telling them from now on our Tuesday night ride was going to be about 15 miles with Hell...I mean Hills.
Don't worry, I still have a little rut left in me.
Thursday night rides will still be about 20 miles and FLAT!
Happy New "Hell Yes" Year!