Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Running is a time specific workout.  Once I pick my training distance, I can accurately estimate my finish time. Cycling is totally different story. Steve can be delayed by a flat tire or a broken spoke. If any teammate has a mechanical problem or just a bad day, the whole team is delayed - maybe by a few hours. Every couple of months, Steve calls me to tell me that someone isn't able to finish the ride.  That's when I hop in the truck and pick them up.

When Steve called me last night from his regular Tuesday ride, I wasn't all that worried.  He said he'd taken a spill and that he had a cut on his forehead. Nope, he didn't need a ride home, but he'd be late. Then another friend called and said "We've got his bike and his stuff and they're loading him into the ambulance."  WTF!

The next hour was sort of a scramble of grabbing stuff for Steve (pajamas, food, eye glasses) and  heading to the hospital - the wrong hospital.  Then I got lost a second time by taking the wrong highway split.  Finally, I got to the correct ER. I must have had my "Don't mess with me" look on my face, because the ER nurse immediately walked me back to see Steve. If you work in the ER, let me give you a free tip.  Tell the family member what they're going to see.  I was visualizing a little knock on the head.  Not gushing blood, a swollen face and cervical collar.  How's about you give me a friggin' warning ER nurse?

Luckily, Steve is okay - no concussion.  (Thank you helmet!  A million thanks.)  He's got a wicked case of road rash on his face,  lots of stitches on his forehead and cheek and a shiner you wouldn't believe.  A little cosmetic damage and general soreness, but time, Neosporin, and Tegaderm will take care of that. 

If you'd have told me that one of us would have a bike accident this week, I wouldn't have guessed Steve.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's As Easy As Riding A Bike

Triathlon training is coming along swimmingly (HA!) Yesterday, I did a good long workout: swam 500 meters, took an hour long spin class and ran 2.5 miles. That's nearly the distance I'll do in the race. I'm trying to make sure that I'm physically super conditioned for this race. The only thing that can get between me and the triathalon finish line is panic.

Steve offered to tune up my bike for me. When I got rid of the fancy road bike, I bought a heavy steel hybrid bike that I call Blue Steel. I've never actually ridden Blue Steel, but I'll occasionally throw it on the spin trainer and do a spin workout. Steve spent the better part of the afternoon getting Blue Steel ready for service. He got rid of the clip on pedals and he fixed the derailleur (Derailleur is the mechanism that shifts the gears.)

This is all well and good, but when Steve finished the job I needed to get on the bike. Somehow I've managed to completely paralyze myself in fear regarding the bike. I used to love to ride and spent hours on my bike. Granted my road cycling experience wasn't very good, but really, but there is simply no reason to have a panic attack at riding my bike in my friggin' neighborhood. Embarrassingly enough, I had to talk to myself for the entire 10 minute ride. By the time I got back to the house I was shaking.

Here's the plan. I'm going to ride every day - not far, just consistent riding until I don't have a panic attack at the thought of hopping on the bike.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Give It A Tri

Triathlon training is coming along well enough.  The tri I selected is a short race.  I'm reasonably confident I could finish the race today if there was some sort of emergency need for triathletes.  It would be difficult, but I think I could do it.

Mostly, I'm worried about the unknowns.  Endurance sports are a skill that you learn.  I know how to do a marathon - where to pin my race number, what to eat, how to manage my pace in the pack of runners.  Triathlons are tour through the unknown.  How do the transitions work?  Are there scary critters in the water? How deep is it?   Are there eels?  I've decided that eels are a real possibility.   And of course, there's the bike riding.  Road cycling has not been a friend to me.  What if I make a huge fool of myself and everyone laughs at me?

At least I know I'll be physically strong.  I've been swimming pool (no eels there!), spinning on the stationary bike and running. In my heart, I know training in the gym has none of the mental stresses of ocean swimming and road biking.   It's sort of like sky diving.  You can practice all day on the ground, but that doesn't mean you'll be able make yourself take that leap.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adventures in Landscaping

A few weeks ago, I was walking out to the garage and one of our landscape plants had sprung the creepiest looking thing ever. It was an enormous growth about a foot and a half long with a big, red curled tongue. Steve said it looked like the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I'm from the East Coast, so much of the native desert plants look like weeds to me. This plant had always looked like a ten foot high weed which was bad enough. Now it had some creepy pod with a tongue sprouting out of it. It had to go!

I went back the a week later and things were sprouting out of the giant pod. Things that looked like baby fingers. It's time for google, because I'm getting pretty sure there's something evil in the back yard.

Do I kill it with Holy Water or do I kill it with fire?

After some searching, it's not sprouting evil. It's growing bananas. (Identified to beyummy edible bananas by the helpful folks at Nice! We like bananas.

Then I started counting and looking at ripe banana bunches - only a few of which you can see in this photo. Right now, I've got about 75 bananas and every leaf of that red thing is going to roll back and reveal more bananas. All of which will be ripe at the same time. If Steve and I both eat a banana a day...that's not enough.  We'll up our consumption to 2 bananas a day. And I'll make banana bread. And smoothies. And give some to the neighbors. And friends. And strangers.

It's a lot of bananas, but homegrown fruit is awesome.  Then I spotted this...another red pod that will be absolutely full of bananas.

I'm going to be the Bubba Gump of bananas.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Was Completely Minding My Own Business

I was aimlessly goofing around on Facebook.  Somehow I surfed over and found out that the marathon series I like is branching out into triathlons...
 - And there's a sprint triathlon race here in San Diego.
 - And it's on a weekend that neither Steve nor I have anything scheduled.
 - And the bike ride is short and on non-scary roads.

None of that would have gotten me, but then I saw this...
Finisher's Medals.

Oh, Finishers Medals...I don't know how to quit you.

TriRock Sprint Triathlon
San Diego - Sept. 12th, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

Race Notes: RNR San Diego Half Marathon

The San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon is the race that started it all for me.   It's my hometown race and it's always a fun one.  Little mini accomplishment: In celebration of losing 40 pounds, I wore my original race day jersey.  It was nice to have that jersey fit me again.

During the race, I realized that this race sets the standard for me in terms of crowd support.  There are tons of people with signs, aid station volunteers in costumes, the "drag" cheerleaders, the bands.  The local fans make this a great race.

Thankfully, we started at 6:15 am (which required getting to the race shuttle at 4:45am...and I'm so not a morning person!).  The early start meant we were pretty far along before the heat kicked it up a notch.  The heat really hurt me.  I was super slow along the hottest stretch of Morena Boulevard.  The thing is you're so close to the bay, but the buildings block all the breezes.  The other, not-fun section was Hwy 163.  The road is sloped and it's difficult to run.  They year they had fantastic Taiko drummers to inspire you on the 163.  They were absolutely fantastic.

Early in the race, Mike Sheehy passed me on his way to completing his Guinness World Record run.  He ran over 400 miles in 7 days and raised $50,000 to cure cancer.  Wow.  In the last 2 miles I saw 5 of my TNT coaches from past seasons. That was really awesome and got me motivated for the final push to the finish line.  It wasn't a fast day for me, but it was a fun one.

(Photo credit: My friend Debbie who always remembers to snap pictures on the course!)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Serendipity Brings the Inspiration

This is a big weekend for us - I've got a half marathon and Steve is riding his first cycling brevet. (For those of you who aren't fluent in language of bike-geeks, a brevet is a timed, long distance bike ride.)  He's riding the 200km Kitchen Creek Brevet.  Go Stevie!

Last night my Thursday night nutrition class decided to meet at Mission Bay for a walk. There were some minor hijinks going on at our normal classroom building; therefore, a change of venue was in order.  This was lucky for me since Mission Bay has a 5 mile running / walking / biking trail that goes around the bay.  Mission Bay was the perfect spot to log some quick miles and work out the pre-race kinks.

Last night as was trotting along the oh-so-familiar path along the bay, I saw the Team In Training tent.  What is TNT doing on at Mission Bay on a random Thursday?  Oh, yes.  One of our TNT runners, Mike Sheehy, is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the most miles run in 7 days.  He's run 70 miles a day for the last 5 days. Seventy. A 7 and a 0.  That's, you know, an awful lot.    He's not just going to break the world record.  He's going to crush it.  He'll break it today by running 352 miles in 5 days.  He's going to keep running for the next two days just because he can.  He's doing it all as a fundraiser for cancer research. Take that cancer.

Embarrassingly enough, he'll finish his world record run by completing the full marathon on Sunday.  After running 500 miles this week he'll do the full marathon.  I've been sitting in my office chair all week and I'm only doing the half marathon.

I feel like such a slacker.