Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best Wedding Cake Evah!

My former cycling mentor, Jenny, is a fabulous baker of the most beautiful cakes.  I absolutely love this cake she did for a wedding.  The front is all flowers and normal wedding stuff.  The side and top have a robot, a giraffe, a monkey and NINJAs!

How awesome is it to have wedding ninjas?

Robot Giraffe Wedding Cake

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Good to have Goals

This weekend Steve and I started working on our 2011 race calendars.  For the last 2 years, it's been all about volume for me.  How many races can I jam into the calendar?  We've had a blast and visited great places.  My marathon medal collection is fantastic.  No regrets, but it's time to adjust the focus. When you race constantly you sacrifice performance.  Also, we're both worn out by all the weekend trips.

Here are the goals for 2011.

  • 1 ultramarathon.
  • Ironman California 70.3 and Vineman 70.3  (Hidden agenda item - I want to be at my goal weight by Ironman California.)
  • 1 endurance cycling event.

I'm also planning to do the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon just so I can visit my folks. Other than that, it's all low key and local.  San Diego has tons of half marathons and triathlons.  Those will make the calendar if they don't conflict with Steve's events, family stuff or the retention of our sanity.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Philadelphia Half Marathon

With all the prep for the triathlon, I haven't really run long distances lately.  That's a whoops because I had the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday.  It's a shame this race got stuffed behind the tri, because I really love Philadelphia.  My family lives about an hour outside the city and this was a combo race trip/family visit.   This was also Steve's first trip to Philly and we did lots of tourist stuff.  We walked about 7 miles on both Friday and Saturday.  So much for pre-race resting.

The race was mostly a blur.  Here's what I remember...
  • Rocky theme playing at the start.
  • Running toward beautiful City Hall.  
  • Damn, it's humid.  Oh, there's the Liberty Bell. 
  • A course band plays the Rocky Theme.
  • It's so frigging humid that I'm wheezing. Stop running. Walking is good.
  • The Art Museum steps.  Fairmont Park.  Kelly Drive.  Boathouse Row.  Lots of shade to cool off.
  • Rocky theme on a boom box.
  • Think about TNT Honored Teammate Skip Gleavey.  His memorial bike ride is today.  Damn cancer.
  •  A drum circle plays the Rocky theme.
  • Hot, hot, hot.  Why is there no more shade?
  • Another runner gets hurt.  I run to next police person to send back help.
  • Course band plays the Eagles fight song followed immediately by Rocky theme.  It's official.  I hate Rocky and I hate his annoying theme.
  • Finish line.  Medal.  Kiss Steve. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tri With A Little Help From My Friends

After a long summer of preparation, it was finally my first triathlon. I was a mix of giddy, panicky, and teary. As I was unloading my gear, I realized that everyone - absolutely everyone - had better equipment than I did. The other competitors had better bikes and fancy, expensive gear. I decided that I wasn't going to worry about it.

I set up all my transition area exactly as I practiced. Then I walked the transition zone several times locating "Swim in", "Bike Out", "Bike In" and "Run Out". I also met the women assigned to the transition spots near mine. One competitor, Donna, took me under her wing and she was an awesome companion while we waited nearly an hour for our age group to start.

As we were standing waiting to get into the ocean, I looked around at the other competitors. I was the only person not wearing a wetsuit. They are all in sleek black wetsuits with their official swim caps. I'm in my hot pink triathlon suit. When I'm a novice at something I just want to blend in with the crowd. There's no blending in when you're the solitary hot pink in a sea of black. I told them that they were my back up dancers. If I can't blend in, then I'd rather have people laugh with me than at me.

The San Diego Tri Club offered "swim buddies" to first time triathletes. Swim buddies are experienced open water swimmers who'd swim along side of you. I ran over and asked for buddy as we were heading to the dock to jump in the water. When I jumped in, I started to hyperventilate. It was silly, because I'm a really strong swimmer and the water wasn't that cold. My swim buddy, Monica, helped me calm myself in time for the start. After all that, the swim was easy. As I rounded the first buoy I called out to Monica that I was having so much fun. I surprised myself by zipping out of the water in the ahead of many of the women in my age group. As I headed to the transition zone, I called out my thanks to Monica.

Transition to the bike went exactly as planned. The bike ride wasn't so great. My bigger, heavier, mountain-geared bike was a slow ox on the bike course. Plus I had some problems with the gears not shifting correctly. I'd pedal behind someone matching their cadence exactly and I'd watch them pull away from me steadily. I watched lots women that I'd smoked on the swim, zip by me on their fancy bikes. It was very, very frustrating. I passed one person on the bike ride - and that's because he had a flat tire.

Other than the slowness, I wrapped up the bike course without incident. The bike-to-run transition went according to plan and I was out on the run. At that point, my legs were tired from trying to keep up with everyone on the bike. I ran when I felt like running and walked when I felt like walking. Mostly I relaxed on the "run" leg and savored the fact that I got myself to the finish line of a triathlon.

Here's the deal. It was challenging, but I loved it. I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Triathlon Expo Day - Now With More Stress!

The day before my race was the Triathlon expo. The whole day was one giant stress ball.

Saturday morning, I woke up with incredibly sore shins and thighs due to a 3 mile hike I made on Friday...in high heels.  Ouch and Dumb.  Steve was out on an 80 mile bike ride and I was planning to go to triathlon expo to listen to all the speakers.  I'd read a lot about tris and I trained, but I haven't had anyone to ask questions.

My plan was boogered when Steve called needing ride home because his bike wheel broke.   Normally, if one of the cyclists needs a ride, I'm happy to drive the sag wagon.  But this was my one day to absorb everything I possibly could to prepare me for my race.

To fetch Steve, I made a 70 mile trip in our beater pick-up with no AC. It was hot in there with my temper and stress just boiling.  Poor Steve dropped me off at the Expo and headed off to continue his misadventure.  In the 3 mile drive home, he got a flat tire.  He changed the tire, only to find out the spare had a small leak too.  He had to walk his bike home for about a mile and a half.  A broken bike wheel and 2 flat on the truck - it just wasn't his day with wheels.

I was finally at the expo where I learned that everyone else had a wet suit.  Everyone.  On the race website, it said wet suits weren't needed.  And I believed them.  Liars!  When I told people I wasn't wearing a wet suit they told me I was brave.  I wasn't brave; I was gullible.

Luckily, I got some really good advice from the Tri Club of San Diego. They quickly taught me how to layout my gear and how to transition efficiently.  I'd read most of this stuff, but having someone review it was incredibly helpful  After the Tri Club people set me straight I felt nervous, but okay.  Thank you Tri Club. (Really, I love you Tri Club.  Call me.)

Saturday night, I got to hang out with my friend Debbie and some of her friends.   Debbie is one of my original TNT teammates and a bunch of women at the party had done tris.  They managed to dump some additional information into my head.  I felt like I was cramming for an exam and hoped to absorb enough information to pass.

When I got home, Steve was thoughtfully working on my bike. Taking care of my tires, putting on a bike pump.  While he got my bike ready, I practiced my transitions.  Finally, I loaded my gear and my bike into my car.  Then set my alarm for 4:03 AM and collapsed into bed.

(Next entry...the big race day!)