Thursday, March 19, 2015

Solvang Century 2015 - It was a ride!.

Solvang Century Ride 2015

First off, I just want to say I am really glad I did not buy a jersey.
It looked like snot.
Which fits, since the ride was a big booger!!!

After a really long drive on a Friday afternoon my guy and I officially started the weekend by checking into a cute granny flat in the back of a house in Santa Ynez.  We were surrounded by horses. It was nice.

Saturday morning came early and I met up with three of my athletes for the start of the century ride.
 Barbara, Sandi, Rosemary, me and my guy.

The start was chilly and it felt good to pedal. The first 20-something miles went by quickly because the views were gorgeous.

I sent Barbara on her way as she is my fastest cyclist and I didn't want to hold her back. I had made a promise to myself that I would spend the day riding with my guy.
We stopped a couple of times (while we waited for my guy to catch up) and took some pictures.

 Before we knew it we were at the first SAG stop.

It was at this stop that we finally figured out which arrows we were suppose to be following.

We followed the orange arrows, though for some of us (my guy) it might have been better to follow a different color.

We rode along some lovely streets and some not so lovely streets. We rode along Highway 101 and the traffic didn't even phase me.

So after some more miles we were at SAG stop 2. I filled my bottles up with water, ice and electrolytes. I was squirted with water from a small hand-sprayer. I borrowed their sunscreen and sprayed it on the top of my legs because I felt as if I was getting some sun there, even though I had slathered myself with sunscreen before the ride.
I ate some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some orange slices and a banana and got my group together to take off.

It was getting hot.

And Robert (my guy) was falling farther behind.
At the third stop there was no ice. It was hot and windy. Luckily, my athlete Sandi, was staying at the hotel right by the SAG stop and we went into the hotel - with our clicking bike shoes on their nice marble floors and with our bikes - and used the ice machines to fill up our bottles. We also used the vending machines and downed a couple of cokes.

The next SAG stop was at mile 70.
A lot of people did not make it that far.
It was hot and cyclists were walking their bikes and sitting under any bit of shade they could find.
I handed out all my electrolyte tablets to cyclists along the way. (Though my guy would not take any). I also rode up to Sandi and Rosemary and told them not to wait for us, as I had a feeling my guy was NOT going to make it. 

At the top of one hill there was a group of guys standing in some shade. My guy said he just wanted to stop for a minute. He sat down. Then he told me to ride on.

Well, if I wasn't married to the guy I probably would have ridden on. 
But I just couldn't leave him on the side of the road, so I did what any loving wife would do.

I stuck him in the back of a Penske truck.

Yes, I did!!!

Just then the Penske truck came by and asked if everyone was okay and if anyone needed a ride. Hands went up. None of them were from guy, so I put my hand up for him.

There was already a cyclist in the back. And besides my guy, three other cyclists joined in the back.
My bike got put in the back also.
But not me.
I had quickly gone to the front of the truck and saw that it was kind of squishy with the driver, the radio operator and a female cyclist with a hurt foot, but I assured them that I was small and wouldn't take up much room.

They didn't tell me no, but then again, I didn't really ask them. I basically told them I was riding in the front.
There was no way in HELL I was riding in the back of a Penske truck. I would have ridden my bike 100 miles on top of the miles I had already done to NOT ride in he bike of a Penske truck.
But that's me (and my little issue with claustrophobia).

The ride back to the start took a while and I started to worry about those guys (especially mine) in the back of the truck. I asked the driver if the back was ventilated and he said no. Uh-oh. I asked if we would hear it if one of them started banging on the cab wall. He said he hoped so. Double uh-oh.

When a thought of fried cyclists started to pop into my mind, I pushed it away and thought happy thoughts, such as how happy I was to have about 2 inches on the seat and half my body hanging out the window of the Penske cab.

I wasn't happy when I heard the radio "talk" about shortages of water at some of the SAG stops.

Eventually we made it back to Solvang. Those guys (especially mine) were relieved to be let out of the back of the truck. My guy said the others must have thought it was the end of the line for them because they were sharing way too much information. He said it was really hot in the back and if we had driven for another five minutes he may have passed out, but at least he knew he wasn't been taken to the San Joaquin Valley to work in the fields, since I was sitting in the front. 

We put our bikes back on the roof rack of our car and went to the finish line to wait for my athletes.

Barbara was the first one to finish. She didn't do it in the time she wanted, but she did great for the heat and the wind. In the past she has had issues with the heat, so just having her finish the ride was a major celebration!!!!!

It was a pretty long wait for my next two athletes. At one point, one of them texted me that she was cramping and I offered to come and get them. I was worried that maybe they didn't have enough water and/or were over-heating.
The other athlete texted right back and said NO pick-up...they were finishing.

And they did.
It had been a long hot LONG day cycling, but they did finish.

Later they said an "Angel" was on the street who offered them ICE. It helped get them to the finish.

The day was done, but the weekend was not.

Turns out the sunscreen I sprayed on myself at the second stop must have contained something I was allergic to.

But I wasn't going to let some weird allergic reaction deter me from spending Sunday with my guy. I decided we were going to have a leisurely drive home and hit some antiques stores and nurseries. I wanted to give him the opportunity to make it up to me for pulling out of the century ride at mile 67.

The day was going great until we decided to stop for lunch.

Oops.....not enough room for a car AND bikes.

The bikes are goners.
But I'm keeping my guy.
And we will both be getting new bikes.

In the meantime, we can ride mountain bikes together.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bayshore 70.4 2015

Bayshore 70.4 looked like a good practice race for me and a couple of my athletes.

One of my athletes is training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene and I have another one training for Vineman 70.3 
Bayshore looked like a kick-back fairly inexpensive way to get in a full day of swim, bike, run training with support.

As an athlete, it was really hard for me today.
As a coach, I had a fabulous time.

A few weeks back a woman rear-ended my car at a freeway off ramp while I was waiting for the light to change. That BUMP caused damage to my shoulder to the point where I can't swim. Well, I could swim, but I would just do more damage. And I am not being sarcastic when I say that not swimming right now makes me sad because I love swimming.

So I went to the tri and signed in and took everything but the chip. I figured it would be just a good training day for me also, even if I didn't do the swim.

The athletes lined up on an "official" line drawn in the sand.

Bayshore is a nice place to swim. I am so looking forward to the day I can swim again.

It was great to watch my two athletes do their swim. At the half way point the swimmers had to get out and run around an orange cone and then head back in.
One of my athletes came out and ran around the cone and then headed out for her next lap. 

Barbara onto her second lap of the swim.

About 5 minutes later my other athlete ran around the cone and then came to me. She was freaked about the swim. We had a talk. I told her that fear could not stop her.

 Then I sent her back in to finish it.

My two athletes ended coming out of the swim together.

Then we all ran into transition and got ready to cycle. I led the way out about 2 miles until we hit the San Gabriel River Trail, then I sent Barbara ahead. I rode on the back of Rosemary's wheel. I had told her she was going to ride a negative split so the first half of the ride was just going to be an easy ride. We had a headwind, but it wasn't too bad. Before we knew it we were at the turn around/Aid Station. They had grilled hot dogs (pass) and beer (pass) and water (thank you very much) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I can eat one in less than a minute), but NO BATHROOM.

They guys pointed to the truck and said the bathroom was behind it.

This isn't really the truck I squatted behind, but it was white. I think a lot of people driving on the nearby freeway got a good show, but I didn't care. I was careful that no one on the bike path saw me. A guy was waiting to use the "restroom" as I walked away.

After the turn-around a lot of the course was a 2 percent downhill with some short steep inclines and some underpass tunnels. I continued to ride on Rosemary's wheel, letting her set the pace.

Everything was good until we started riding near a woman in running shoes (with her capri running pants inside out), with the number 26 on her leg (for her age).
She would whiz by us on the flats, but on the steep inclines she was a mess. Once she had to get off and walk her bike while we rode around her. Of course, she then floored it to pass us on the flat. Then at the next incline she barely made it and almost caused a domino effect taking us with her. I nicely suggested that maybe she should incorporate some SQUATS into her workout routine, so she would have some glut muscle to get her up the inclines.

Shortly after she whizzed passed up and I watched as she sped up the next incline and around the curve. Then I saw a guy running toward in toward the curve.
She'd crashed.
I got to her and laid my bike down on the other side of her across the bike path and told someone to go down to the bottom of the hill and divert cyclists. It was obvious that her foot was at a 45 degree angle from her knee (NOT GOOD!)

I ran through the first aid check list. She knew her name and her pupils were good. She knew her mother's name and phone number to call her. Some guy was near me and I asked him if he had called 911. He got up and moved away and I heard him call for an ambulance. The girl told me she was at the race by herself and didn't have anyone at the finish line.

I sent Rosemary on and waited until the fire department and ambulance came. Then rode out.
No one was one the bike trail then, so I was able to really push it. It took me about 10 miles to catch up with Rosemary. Then I rode her wheel to transition.

It was a beautiful hot sunny day at the beach.
The kind of day that you want to just sit in the sand and look at the ocean and read a book and dip your toes in the water once in a while.

Instead we put on our running shoes and started running. Okay, so it was really a jog, but we were moving forward. I hung back because I wanted Rosemary to set her own pace and not be pressured to run faster because I was on her heels. I knew Barbara was in front somewhere.

The run course was kind of boring. Mostly sidewalk along the main street. Nothing much to really look at. And the course was 3 loops.

After the first loop I became a rogue runner. Since I wasn't chipped it didn't matter where I ran. I ran up and down the streets in the neighborhood checking out the landscaping. From Park to Claremont I just ran up and down the streets in a serpendine formation. I stopped at one open house and had a look inside and filled up my running water bottle. After about 10 miles I went back to the triathlon transition area and packed up all my stuff and loaded it the car.

Then I parked myself at the finish line and waited for my athletes.

I ended up walking the run course backwards until I found Rosemary not far from the finish line. She was walking, but I got her to run the rest of the way in.

Yeah!!!! Half iron distance finisher!!!!

Yeah! A best-time for Barbara!!!

It was a long hot day out for these two athletes, but they finished it!!!!

I was so happy to be a part of it!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Five Year ROTB Anniversary

I'm eventing at Race on the Base at the Los Alamitos Joint Training Facilities Base on Saturday.
After I cross the finish line of the reverse sprint, I'll receive my dog-tag finisher medal.....and then I am going to visit the "staff at Pool on the grass with the awards and check in with them to receive" this medal.

Five Timer!

I got an email a couple of weeks back telling me about the special medal I was going to get.
And for me, it is special!!!!

Race on the Base is very special to me, since it was my very first triathlon....5 years ago.

My blog last year about ROTB:

This next one is another blog about ROTB and my first race:

Some things have definitely changed since my first race.
 I only backstroke now during training and just as a fun stroke.

Since that first triathlon I have become a USA Triathlon Coach and this year I will have three of my athletes at the event. That is really exciting for me. It is especially exciting because for one of my athletes it is her very first triathlon. I know she is probably a little nervous, especially because the weather is calling for rain. Since it poured the first year I did ROTB, I think I can assure everyone that they will live through it AND have fun!!!!

Some things have not changed since that first race.
I am still bringing my guy along.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Citrus Heritage Run - I didn't run, but I did sweat bullets!!!!

The Citrus Heritage 5k and Half Marathon run were held today in my city.

For the second year in a row, I signed up to have a booth for my Train-n-Tri triathlon training company and to hand out SunRype bars, since I am one of their sponsored athletes.

I had a lot of fun last year hanging out and talking to my athlete friends. Last year, my guy rode his mountain bike as the bike lead-out for the half marathon. He was working this year so he couldn't do it, but other people stepped in and took over the job. One of the people who signed up to ride the bike lead-out was one of my athletes. Then yesterday he had to have some dental work done and just wasn't up to riding his bike.

He asked me if I would take over for him and he would man my booth while I was out riding my bike.

Sure, no problem. I knew that part of the 13.1 miles was trail, but no biggie. I have a mountain bike. I haven't really been mountain bike riding for a while, but I thought, how hard could the course be?

So at 7 a.m. I left my booth (and the warmth of the Big Buddy heater) and went to the start line.

It was about 40 degrees at this picture, but we all look warm because I had the Big Buddy heater kept the booth toasty warm for several hours....some of which I missed because I was out riding my bike.

The start line...where the real adventure began.

Eric Lewis and me at the start line. We were joined by a couple of other cyclists who were also bike lead outs.

The runners are ready!!!

And they are off and running. Take special note of runner 191 and runner 200.

The four of us pedaled in front of the fast runners, but it was soon obvious that runner 200 was going way faster than anyone else. He had a big lead so the two other cyclists led him on, while Eric and I dropped back and pace runner 191.

It just so happens that I know runner 191, so for the rest of my saga, I'm calling him Jake.
Jake has ridden at one of my Tuesday night bike rides and came out for a Triathlon Swim session I coached last year.

But today it was my and Eric's job to get him through the course and to the finish line.

For a while we could still see the two front lead-out cyclists and the front runner.

Then we couldn't.

I didn't have a map of the route, but I had been told that I wouldn't need one because the route was well-marked and there was no way I could get lost.

Eric had a map on his phone.

Since I did not know I was bike lead out until last night, I had not attended the pre-ride the weekend before. Eric hadn't either.

No map.
No pre-ride.
None of it made a bit of difference.

We were going along pretty well, and Eric and I even talked about how the "off-trail" part of the course through the Citrus Heritage State Park would make a good cyclocross course. 

The run went through lots of orange groves and had uphills and downhills and sand and dirt and mud and water.

At one point I let Eric lead and I dropped back behind Jake because the hill we were going down was pretty steep and it had lots of different terrain mixed in (dirt/ruts/mud) and I didn't want to accidentally crash in front of Jake and slow him down.

Every once in a while we would see an orange cone or an orange painted arrow, but pretty much we were just flying blind through the orange groves. 
We didn't see anyone in front of us or behind us.

As we came off one dirt road onto a paved road the arrow pointed left and there were cones that curved to the left.
We went left.

We went down a little ways and there were a couple of police explorers on the side of the road. There were cones set up in the road and it appeared that we should turn left onto a dirt road. When we asked the explorers which way we should go, their response was, "uh, left?"
Oh gee, thanks, guys.
I have this really fast guy running up my ass and he is counting on me to get him to the finish line and this course is NOT well-marked and I DON'T have a flipping map.

We turned left and led Jake through another muddy orange grove road.  At the end of the orange grove road we came out on a paved road and we turned left and it was then that I knew something was wrong.
Eric knows something is wrong.
Jake knows something is wrong.

In front of me I could see runners running across the street. The were running from a dirt road on the right, crossing the paved road and continuing onto the dirt road on the left....all of which we had already done. 

There is no way, I was thinking, that the race planners would have the runners intersecting with other runners (though once I did do a triathlon open water swim that had that problem because of poor planning).

"Did they change the route?" Jake asked.
Since I had never run, walked, rode or even looked at a map of the route I didn't have a clue.

I rode up ahead and eventually found a cone and an arrow, though the arrow was coming out of a dirt road and made a left onto the road we were on.

I know that all sounds confusing and crazy, but it was confusing and crazy...AND A RACE!!!!

Jake kept following us and when we got to the next intersection there were a couple of volunteers sitting on the ground and they said turn right and we did and we went up to an aid station where you had to turn around and go right back down.....down to the two volunteers we had just seen.
"Which way?" we asked them. And they didn't really seem to know and they indicated that we should turn left and go back the way we came, but Eric and I were smarter than that and we continued on straight. 

Every time we saw a volunteer (which was not very often) I would ask if anyone else had been by, and most said no, while a couple of volunteers would say they had seen one person. 

Finally, I saw a motorcycle police officer and I rode up to him and asked him if he had a map.
He said yes, but it wouldn't do me any good because the course the runners were running was not the course on the map.


By now, Eric and I are a little worried. 
We want to get Jake to the finish line, but we also want to get him there by running the correct course.
We finally come up on some course mile markers and we breathe a sign of relief.

Eric checks his STRAVA for the mileage against the course mile marker and it looks as if we had Jake run an extra half mile.
I told Jake I was sorry that we had added mileage onto his race. He was so nice about the confusion. He said the race was a training run for him for the Boston Marathon.

The last 3 miles of the run were a straight shot down Victoria Avenue right to the finish line.

And we did get Jake to the finish line.

But he wasn't the first one there. Runner 200 had crossed the line first. We heard that Runner 200 had crossed the finish line in an hour, but had only ran 10 miles.

I was a little sick to my stomach waiting for results to be announced.

Hanging out with my athletes and friends helped pass the time.

Sandy, me, Barbara and Orietta.

Finally, they had awards.
It seems that somewhere along the way the course was changed or it wasn't changed, but it was mis-marked, so it was changed because some orange grove gates were not opened, or it wasn't changed, or ????
The announcer kind of joked that some people ran more than the 13.1 and some ran less and the people who ran more could go to registration and pay their extra money.

End results?
Runner 200 was disqualifed..I can only guess that it was because he did not run enough miles. He was near my booth talking to the other lead-out cyclist and he looked kind of upset. And who could blame him. Runner 200 is a damn fast runner. 
Look, I like Jake, but if he and Runner 200 both had ran a well-marked course, say, like up and down Victoria Avenue without depending on cones, orange ground arrows, a map, and a bike lead-out, I think Runner 200 would have crossed the finish line first.

Both Runner 200 and Jake will be running the Boston Marathon so they can go up against each other there. I am sure that course will be marked correctly.

Truth is, though, I am relieved that Jake won Overall Male because if he hadn't I would have felt guilty about my hand in his race.

Another truth - Eric and I did the best we could with what was put before us and I think we did a pretty good job.

And one more truth - there were a lot of other runners out there running up and down the orange groves off course and putting in extra paces and they didn't have a bike lead out worry about getting them to the finish line.

When it all shakes out, it wasn't the best RACE for anyone. But it sure was a pretty run.
Or in my case, ride.

But next year, I think I'll just hang out in my booth and pass out SunRype bars and answer questions about triathlons and training.

And next year, if they want runners to sign up for the Citrus Heritage race they better offer it dirt cheap because people expect to get what they pay for.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Triathlon of 2015 - INDOORS!!!!

I competed in my first 2015 triathlon this morning.
I swam.
I biked.
I ran.
All inside a gym....okay, the swim was outside, but it was at the gym.

I shouldn't really even call this place a gym. It is a gorgeous health center and if I lived in Laguna Niguel I would be a member of this place.
I may not be a member, but for today I was allowed inside to "compete" at the Indoor Triathlon Hour sponsored by Life Time Tri and Ironman.

I was curious what an indoor triathlon was like and I emailed the guy in charge and asked if he needed a volunteer.
He said no.

I was still curious, so I signed up and gave my $25 to compete.

Why did they hold this event?
According to the Life Time info, they wanted to "inspire Life Time members and the greater community to consider and commit to racing triathlon in 2015. The inaugural Indoor Triathlon Hour powered by Life Time Tri and Ironman, is designed to offer an inspirational charged, safe and simulated environment for athletes of all fitness levels to experience the nation's fastest growing sport of triathlon."

I should be committed.....I mean, I am already committed to triathlon, so all this was a win-win for me. Especially since, being in the event gave me a lot of opportunities to win....a slot at Kona 2015, an entry to a Life Time Tri, or an entry to the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria.

I'd love to win all of that.
But no matter what, this morning's indoor tri was a great workout.


My transition area was all set up.....inside a locker in the prettiest locker room I have EVER been in. I was kind of scared about my locker because you don't use your own lock. They give you a card and you put it on the inside of the door and you set your own number and then you shut the door and scramble up the numbers. My locker was numbered to make it easy for myself I made the locker number code 2851. I wasn't too worried about anyone trying to steal my stuff. Did I mention that there were about 30 Range Rovers and 70 Porsche parked in the "gym" parking lot. Which, by the way, had VALET parking.

Okay, so back to my transition area. 

I had my stuff ready for my "quick" transitions and I headed out to the pool area.

The tri started with a 10 minute swim. I was in Wave 4. 
Which meant that 30 people had gone before me as they had 10 people in each wave. I shared a lane with a younger guy (probably in his 20's). I told him my plan was to draft off of him. He looked at me and said he wasn't that great of a swimmer and then he looked at me again and I guess he figured he was going to drop me quick-like.

I'm in lane 2 from the left, sharing with the board-short swimmer guy. The water was CHILLY!!!! 
I am glad to report that I hung onto the feet of the board-short swimmer guy for about 5 minutes and then he dropped me....but I just kept swimming my swim and toward the end (after he had blown himself up) I passed him and had a good lap on him at the end.

I jumped out the water and had 10 minutes to transition from swim to bike. Yes, 10 minutes does seem like a lot of time, but I had to go into the locker room and change out of a wet swimsuit into my tri-shorts and sports bra and shirt. They didn't want any wet clothes in the gym. Most of my time was taken up putting on my sports bra. It is very (VERY!!!!) difficult to put on a sports bra when your skin is wet. I had to force myself NOT to stop at the coffee bar on my way out of the locker think I am joking?
Then I ran up two flights of stairs to the spin bike room on the 3rd floor. I did get the spin bike adjusted and my bike shoes on and clipped into the bike with about 45 seconds to spare....and I ate a SunRype bar during this time also.

I have never ridden a spin bike like these. They were WAY different than the ones at LA Fitness. As I was riding I had to ask one of the guys...yeah, the one leaning against the bike in the picture, how you adjust the tension and he pointed to the red "stop" button....I tried turning it, but it never seems to make much of a difference. And here is the funny (as in weird) matter how fast or slow I peddled, it always said I was going 9.9 miles an hour and had WATTS of 29. 
I could not get that computer reading to change whatsoever.
When the 30 minute time was up the "officials" said to soft pedal just to keep the computers on while they walked around and wrote down our numbers. They women next to me kept on barreling away. I asked the official, "Aren't we suppose to back off now?" He said yes. And I said, "Well, maybe she didn't hear you," and pointed to the woman. He walked over and told her to take it easy and she just said something about being in a race.

That's when I reminded myself that this was for fun and observation.....oh, and winning that Kona slot.

I put on my running shoes and made it down a flight of stairs to the treadmills.

I had 5 minutes for transition and I must have been speedy because I was standing on the treadmill waiting for about 2 minutes for the officials to start us.
So, I stood there on a non-moving treadmill for 2 minutes.
Running on a treadmill for two minutes is boring, but standing on one that is not doing anything for two minutes is BORING!!
Finally, the officials blew a whistle and we were allowed to start our treadmills.

I ran Sycamore Canyon yesterday, so my legs were screaming at me the first couple of minutes, but then I changed the incline to a 3 and it was a little easier to run. I was probably running slower, but running uphill always seems easier to me than running flat or downhill.

20 minutes on the dreadmill, I mean treadmill and I was done.

The Life Time "officials" said congratulations, took my picture and gave me a tshirt.

Thanks to my guy Robert, and my son Darin, who patiently waited for me (and took pictures)...and then let me take them to Crystal Cove for a nice 3 mile uphill/downhill hike.

Happy New Year!!!
Tomorrow is a NO legs day!!!