Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Brain than Brawn

I'm happy to report that I found my brain.
It showed up at 4:15 Sunday morning when I was awoken by a howling noise.
It wasn't my dog.
It was the wind.
The first thought that popped into my mind was, "Uh, I don't think I can ride my bike in this wind."
That's when it hit me that my brain had returned.
My brain got lost on Thursday when I signed up for the Steelman Challenge, a reverse sprint triathlon.
Easy enough.
But the mind-boggling part is WHY I would sign up for the Steelman Challenge when I already had Race on the Base, another reverse sprint triathlon on my schedule for the day before.
I had lost my mind, ignored my plan and signed up for Steelman anyway.
The deed was done and all I could do was take it day-by-day, race-by-race.
Race on the Base - sunny, clear skies, less breeze on the tarmac than in past years. My first triathlon on Hector, my new tri-bike. I made goals and wrote them down. (My goals - Run 30 min. T1 2:30, bike 50 min. - I know that seems long but in past years there have been headwinds that forced me down to 10 mph..and I figured I was on a new bike, and we are just getting use to each other - T2 2:30 Swim 5:30 - total 1:30:30 - all of these goal times are faster than last year's results)
I met my goals and finished in 1:26:22.
I felt great after the race.
 I ate a huge cheeseburger and drank some beet juice and felt ready to take on another reverse sprint triathlon.
My plan was to leave Hector (tri-bike) at home and take Sarah (road bike) because the weatherman was calling for some winds and I didn't want to be aero in the wind. I just don't have enough experience for that yet.
I was packed and ready for the Steelman Challenge.
Then when the wind woke me up early this morning my brain had re-appeared and sent me this image.
The next image that flashed in my brain was one involving me and road burn and bruising and doctors.

The warning doesn't say anything about biking, but my brain made the connection and said, "NOOOOO!"
So I grabbed the book I am reading and went back to bed.
I'm reading "The Fear Project."
Maybe I'll learn why I have fear of huge gusts of wind that may cause me to crash my bike causing hurt to my body.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Taking it Day by Day

I have two races this weekend.
Race on the Base on Saturday and Steelman Challenge on Sunday. Two races back-to-back.
I am just going to take it day by day....race by race.
I'm only going to concentrate on tomorrow's race and leave Sunday's race to, well, after tomorrow's race.
Race on the Base
This will be my 4th year to compete at Race on the Base.
My first ROTB was Feb. 27, 2010.
It was my first triathlon.
I had been signed up for Tinsel Triathlon a couple of months prior to this, but my friends and I bailed out because it was sprinkling and my son warned us not to ride our bikes in the rain - TOO DANGEROUS!!!!
So I was really excited about ROTB.
My friends and I went even though it had rained the night before and it still looked stormy.
I didn't know what the heck I was doing. All the triathlon information I had learned from reading books and attending clinics departed from my head the minute I entered the fenced off transition area.
I set up my stuff in transition the best I could. And newbies that we were, we hung our big flowered balloon by our bikes. Several parts of transition were underwater, but the rain was holding off race-day morning.
After setting up transition I made numerous trips to the porta-potty.
The run started on the tarmac at the Los Alamitos Joint Training Facility and within running a mile it was drizzling. Another mile and it was sprinkling. The run went through a small stream that went up to my knees.
My feet were drenched.
"What kind of crazy event is this triathlon-thing?" I remember thinking to myself.
I sloshed my way through the end of the run and made it through transition.
The timing mat from transition to the bike course was underwater. There was no way around it....I had to run through the huge puddle. Now my bike shoes were drenched also. By now it was raining.
I couldn't see anything.
I took off my bike glasses and tucked them into my shirt.
I still couldn't see anything.
Rain was pelting me. I squinted my eyes to see through the rain. I started laughing.
This was crazy!!!!
There were a lot of people riding around me that were grumbling and saying stuff like "This sucks!"
"I LOVE THIS," I yelled!
I was drenched but the bike ride seemed flat and fun....until I rode my bike to the other side of the tarmac and was hit by full force in the face wind. My bike speed dropped dramatically...from beginner slow to almost no-go.
My legs were screaming and if I started to cry no one would notice because the rain was still pelting me.
Another turn on the tarmac and the wind was now at my back....back to beginner slow, which to me felt fast.
Three loops on the tarmac and the ride was done.
By now I didn't care about wet shoes or clothes.
I ran through transition and parked my bike and ran to the pool. The pool at the base is gorgeous and 50 meters. I had never swam in a 50 meter pool before nor a pool with a DEEP end. I had been swimming in a gym pool where the deepest part was 5 feet. Within 30 seconds (or less) of trying to freestyle, I couldn't get enough air and I had horrible cramps in my legs.
I flipped over onto my back and backstroked the entire 200 meter swim. I looked up into the sky and said over and over to myself, "I love swimming. I love swimming."
And then it was over and I climbed up the stairs and ran over the timing mat. I stood there while a nice volunteer took off my timing chip and another volunteer gave me a finishers medal.
Results were posted.
I wish I could report that I had an awesome time for my first triathlon.
I can and I can't.
My chip did not work and I had no time - for the record.
 I did have an awesome time for the experience of my first triathlon.It was fun and exhilarating and exciting.
I wanted to do it again.
So I did.
2011 - I came in 8th place in my age group with a time of 1:35:57. (some freestyle, some backstroke, some breaststroke)
2012 - 8th place again. My time was 1:38:01, but the run was increased from 3.1 miles to 3.7 miles. (all freestyle)
Tomorrow's race is going to be great!
I will be riding my new tri-bike.
My son (who's been sick all week, but is on the mend) will be competing in his first triathlon. Yes, the same son that warned me of the dangers of riding my bike in the rain.
My husband and a friend are also competing.
Yep, tomorrow's race is going to be great!
But it is going to be hard to beat the greatness of that first ROTB triathlon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Lost My Mind

There just isn't any other way to explain it.
I lost my mind.
I am signed up for Race On the Base sprint triathlon for this Saturday. This will be my 4th year to do this race. My guy is also signed up. So is my 20-year-old son, but I am not sure he is going to get to compete...he is SICK!
My friend Jeanne is also signed up. This is her second year for ROTB.
We all signed up several months ago.
When I signed up I had a plan and I had my mind.
I thought I had learned from last year. Last year at this time I somehow had managed to sign myself up for events almost every weekend.
 It was fun collecting all those tshirts and finisher medals, but I could never seem to recover enough to really give each event my best.
This year I made myself make a plan.
I plotted out my "A" race, my "B" races and some fun "C" events.
I have been sticking to my plan....until last night.
A lot of my triathlon club friends signed up for the Steelman Triathlon, another sprint triathlon taking place the day after Race on the Base.
The list of friends competing at Steelman was growing longer. I raced it last year, but it was the weekend after Race on the Base, not the same weekend.
I thought about just going and cheering everyone on.
I thought about that for about a second.
Then my mind short-circuited.
While my brain was disconnected, I found a pretty decent discount code for Steelman and signed myself up.
Then I went to my plan and crossed off RECOVERY for Sunday and penciled in Steelman. I erased my training plans for Monday and wrote in RECOVERY.
I love pencils!
I think I need a triathlon "sponsor" know, someone to talk me down when I want to press the enter button for some event on
Or I am going to have to just add those "D" races to my plans and know that those races are going to stand for either "Damn, that was a lot of fun!" or "Damn, that hurt!"
I'll let you know on Monday.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

There is NO Going Back

This morning I pushed the button and I already received my email confirmation.
No, I didn't sign up for an Ironman - not yet!
I signed up for something scarier for me.
I signed up for Lifeguard Training.
To participate in the 4-day 28-hour class you have to be 15 years old. I meet that requirement.
While I don't really intend to EVER lifeguard as a job, when I hold tri-clinics it will be nice not to have to HIRE a lifeguard for the swim portion of the clinics.
To become a lifeguard I'll have to demonstrate the ability to swim 300-yards continuously using the front crawl and breaststroke.
 I KNOW I CAN do that!
I've already swam continuously (okay, so I did take a pee break by the last buoy) using freestyle at my half iron distance, which was 1.2 miles. 300 yards is barely a warmup.
I'll have to retrieve a 10-pound weight in 7 feet of water.
I am pretty sure I can do that.
But just to make sure I'm going to start bringing a 10-pound weight with me to the pool for practice.
This may be my biggest challenge. After all, that 10-pounds is about 1/10th of my weight.
The brochure says I am going to have to swim 20 yards with legs only and tread water for two minutes.
Treading water for two minutes shouldn't be too difficult. I think I'll start timing myself. It should be a great leg workout.
Now, swimming 20 yards with just legs won't be a challenge if they aren't going to time us.
But if they are going to time us, I may be in big trouble.
Since I have been "triathlon" swimming, I have not been using my legs much. I have a very ineffective kick. I bet right now I could get in the pool and start kicking and not use my arms and not go very far very fast. I may even be able to kick and go backwards.
I already am CPR/AED certified, so I KNOW I can pass that part of the course.
I am really going to be good at this part -
I own a whistle and I blow it at kids at recess all the time. I have LOTS of experience with blowing whistlesand pointing at kids and I know I can do all that while wearing sunglasses and holding a flotation device.
What I'm really looking forward to is jumping off the tower.
Okay, sitting on it looks fun, too!
And I am stocked up on sunscreen!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving up Alcohol for Lent - AGAIN!

Last year I gave up alcohol for Lent.
I'm not Catholic, but it seemed like a good idea.
My blog about it is here:
Quite a few people read that blog and were asking me - "Are you giving up alcohol again this year?"
I reread my blog and decided that, YES, I'd give up alcohol again for Lent this year.
When is Lent?
I googled Lent 2013.
I don't even have time to toast my decision.
Lent starts today. Wednesday Feb. 13 and ends 40 days later on Saturday March 30.
According to the article "Holy Savings! Add $1000 to your Savings Account During Lent by Giving up These Bad Habits," by Paul Sisolak, and posted today, I could save up to $600 over the next 6 weeks. Sisolak cited a recent Bureau of Labor Statistic study which stated that Americans dedicate 1 percent of their income towards the purchase of alcohol - $1 per every $100 earned. That's only the average. According to David Mitchell of, he and his wife had at one time spent over $100 a week on their drinking past time..
Well, I don't know where David Mitchell buys his alcohol, but I get mine at Trader Joe's and if I spend more than $8 on a bottle of wine, it hurts.
But if I think about it, I guess during the course of the week, at a glass (or two) a night, I have been downing about 3, or 4 bottles of wine a week. I'll take the bigger number and multiply that by $8 and that's $32 a week.
So, by giving up alcohol for lent I will be saving $32 a week times 6 weeks for a whopping $192.
That amount will be enough to buy that new saddle for my tri-bike.
And don't worry, I checked on National Margarita's NOT today, so that made me feel a bit better.
Today is National Tortellini Day.
But I am skipping Tortellini AND Italian food today because I probably would want a glass of vino to go with it.
For the next six weeks I'll be drinking sparkling water.
What food goes with that?


Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Had my First Date With Hector!

It finally happened.
Hector and I went out on our first date today.
It was fabulous.
If our first date is any indication, our relationship is going to go smoothly.
In the short time that I have known him, Hector already has taught me a lot about patience.
I met Hector online on CyberMonday in November.
We didn't actually meet face to face for about 3 weeks.
I really wanted to go out with him, but something always seemed to get in the way.
First I could not find the right shoes to wear for our first outing. It took several weeks until I found the perfect pair.
Then I found out that Hector did have a slight problem and he needed an adjustment.
Another week went by while he got his problem taken care of. All of this time Hector has hung out in my office area.
On those nights when I tried to get some work done on the computer, it has been difficult to have him in the same room. Even though he is very quiet, I could feel his presence.
I just wanted to grab him and go out with him, but it wasn't the right time.
Until this morning.
I put on my new shoes (and pedals) and we went for a 20-miles ride.
Hector and I are a perfect fit...
Well, except for the saddle.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why You Should Join

I am now the liaison between Triathlon Connection and USA Triathlon.
For the past two months I have been in charge of Triathlon Connection's team for USAT's National Club Challenge....really, all that means is that I took some club members names, ages, emails and USAT numbers and input them into the computer. Luckily, everyone except my husband and a friend, have been logging their own swim, bike and run miles.
 And I don't mind logging for my husband and my friend and myself.
For doing that little job, I somehow got appointed as the liaison between Triathlon Connection and USAT.
I totally support USAT!
Some members of Triathlon Connection aren't members of USAT and that's okay, as long as they know what they are missing.
And here it is....what you're missing if you AREN'T a member of USAT.
  • Subscription to USA Triathlon Magazine, published quarterly
  • Multisport Zone, a weekly e-newsletter highlighting the latest training & nutrition tips
  • Saving money at race registration by avoiding the $12 one-day license fee (so if you are competing in 4 triathlons/duathlons/or other sanctioned events a year and paying $12 each time that's $48...and a year membership to USAT is $'ll save $3 and get all the other perks of joining).
  • Included in official USA Triathlon National Rankings after competing in at least 3 sanctioned triathlon events, or two sanctioned duathlons, aquathlon, aquabike or off-road triathlon events.
  • Opportunity to advance to the only official National Championship events in multisport..I know several Triathlon Connections members have received their invitations to compete in national championship events in the past.
  • Chance to qualify for Team USA and compete against the top international age-group athletes at International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships.
  • Exclusive educational resources, development opportunities and certification eligibility.
  • Automatic excess accident insurance coverage while participating in sanctioned events. While none of us likes to think about getting hurt while competing, it does happen and this accident insurance coverage can be very important.
  • A USA Triathlon car sticker (woot-woot).
As a member of USAT you also get a lot of discounts from lots of different companies. The discounts range from 5% off from United Airlines to 25% off items from Rudy. Other companies that give discounts to USAT members are TYR, Training Peaks, Avis, Hilton, High Country Shipping and Fuel Belt.
When you join you also get a code to get $20 off any $50 purchase from TriSports.
So there are a lot of good reasons and perks to join USAT.
USAT "Shares the Win" by putting together the US Olympic Triathlon Team and will support participation in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
If you have any questions about USAT, leave a comment.
Okay, my first official "liaison" duty is now complete...back to train-n-tri.


Monday, February 4, 2013

One of My Bikes is FIT Enough to Ride

My bikes got fit on Super Bowl Sunday!
One of them is fit enough to ride.
The other is waiting to make the cut.

I took my road bike Sarah (who has been masquerading as my tri-bike) and my new tri-bike Hector (who has been leaning against my living room wall for two months) to get fit by Coach Tony.
Coach Tony is a F.I.S.T Certified Bike Fitter.

What does that mean?
It means that Coach Tony has been certified by the Fit Institute Slowtwitch.
If you live in my area and you need a bike fit, check Coach Tony out.
It is worth it!!!!

When I walked out of his garage after the fit, I had a road bike (Sarah) who was ready to go and a tri-bike (Hector) who was still waiting to go.

Let me tell you a little bit about Sarah and Hector.

Sarah came into my life about 5 years ago. She has been an awesome road bike. She has always been fabulous on the flats and after I changed out her cassette she has even put up with hills.

Sarah's favorite place to to my guy's bike.
 Sarah ready to ride on the Ventura 1 (which really is the 101 Freeway).
 Sarah took me to the Shack on GMR as a road bike.
 Here Sarah is leaning again a wine barrell resting her weary AEROBARS!
She really didn't like them.

Sarah was nice and flexible about it when I added aerobars to her about a year ago. Coach Tony put them on for me and changed her from a road bike into a faux-tri-bike.

But she kept whispering in my ear, "Please let me be a road bike again. I don't like to race. I just like to ride for fun. That's what I was made for. Fun Sunday morning rides. Please change me back."

Sarah means princess and princesses always get their wishes.

Her wish came true when I bought Hector.

I wrote a blog about Sarah and her last triathlon and you can read it here if you are so inclined -

So Super Bowl Sunday, Coach Tony tapped his bike tools and changed Sarah from a tri-bike back to a road bike. I looked around his shop for a wand, but I didn't see one, only bike tools.

Generic picture of bike magic wands.

 The magic happened anyway.

Sarah is patiently waiting her turn, Hector has been fit and has a "try-it-out" saddle on.
I road Sarah for about 15 miles during the SuperBowl half-time show and we had a great time. She was so happy to unload some of her gear. She just felt lighter. Today I gave her a good cleaning and cleaned and restocked her bags.
She is ready to ride the roads.
(She has Solvang on her plans for March and San Diego for June....don't worry, she'll still be busy.)

Okay, now about Hector.
Here's the blog about how Hector came to me.....;postID=7678402118422441097

Hector's name means holding fast (as in patience) and to hector somebody means to intimidate somebody.
I bought Hector from TriSports waaaayyy back in November. I had to have a lot of patience to get him and if you don't know what I am talking about you can read the blog above.

Finally I got Hector and he leaned against my living room wall waiting for Christmas to come because he knew I was getting new tri-bike shoes and he was getting new pedals.
We were so happy.
Until I sat on him and tried to reach the pedals. The seat was way too high. Luckily, my guy was able to cut down the seat post and make it so that I could actually sit on the seat and reach the pedals.
We were so happy.
Until I tried to use those pedals.
I tried for several weeks to clip into the Speedplay lite action.
It was SOOOOO frustrating.
But Hector has patience and I am learning.
The pedals went back and new pedals were ordered.
I immediately could clip into the Speedplay X pedals.

 I was so happy. I rode Hector around the block a few times, but the fit wasn't right.

Now thanks to Coach Tony the fit is exactly right.
But I still can't ride Hector.
He needs to get cut.
Once fit to me, his tri-bars came all the way back to my knees. I can't ride him because my knees will hit his bar.

Ouch - if I tried to ride Hector like this.

We are still practicing patience.
He is again leaning against my living room wall.

The bike shop opens tomorrow.