Monday, July 25, 2011

Seafair Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

Yesterday was the Seafair Triathlon and the weather couldn't be more perfect.  Summer finally reached Seattle, the sky was bright blue without a cloud and the day's high was low 80s.

I was doing the Olympic distance (1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) and met up with some friends from college that I rowed with.  As my alarm went off at 4:15am and picked up the girls at 5:00am, I semi-jokingly asked them why we chose a hobby that starts even earlier than crew practice did.

I only have one picture of me right now, but more pictures will be added to the facebook later this week.  :)

Here are my times for the event:

Swim: 25:58
T1: 3:28
Bike:  1:06:40
T2:  3:33
Run:  1:23:11
Total:  3:02:50

Before I get into the breakdown of the events, I just have to say how awesome my friends are.  Not only the ones that did the event but those who came out at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to see us for a few minutes during transistion.  My good friend Jed, fresh off of his brother's wedding the night before, showed up at 6:30am to wish us well before we dove into the lake.  He took pictures the entire time and even ran with me for a bit during my second loop to encourage me and tell me I was doing great.  He also emailed status updates with pictures to another friend who was out of town and otherwise would have stood along him to cheer us on.

Swim:  25:58
The swim was in Andrews Bay in Lake Washington.  As you can see from the handy-dandy map below, there was a double loop that took you out and then almost all the way back in to the start for the second loop and actually went around the south end of the swim dock.  This caused an issue because as you went for your second loop, the sprint waves (starting about 20 minutes after the Olympic waves) were starting.  So, after you had just battled your own wave, either swam over others or was swam over or both, you got to do it again through the second loop.

For me, I battled most of the swim.  I was at the front of the pack for our wave with a friend of mine whose swim pace is similar to mine.  At the first buoy turn I was stroke for stroke with someone from my wave (you can tell by the color of the swim cap) and it later turned out to by my friend.  During the swim I caught up and passed some from the wave(s) ahead of me.

Transition 1:  3:28
Uhh, 3.5 minutes?  Not good.  I knew I didnt want to rush through transitions as this was my first Olympic triathlon (and my first triathlon this season) but I didnt realize I was moving that slow.

Bike: 1:06:40
The bike course was beautiful and super cool, I averaged about 17.5mph.  We went up Lake Washington Blvd and it took me about 3-4 miles to get my bike legs going.  Lady (my bike) rode like a champ and it was so great to have her back after nearly a month.  The express lanes on I-90 were closed for the race and they sent us East to Mercer Island first.  The sun was just rising and the view was amazing and gorgeous.  The ride was great as there was plenty of space for all riders and no intense climbs.  It was fun to be able to shout to my friends as we passed each other on the bikes.  Orange cones and a police car with flashing lights was the signal for the turnaround and they sent us West, all the way to downtown Seattle.  I have never been on this stretch of road before and it was super cool to be able to ride all the way to the football and baseball stadiums in the city.  More cones and flashing lights signalled the turnaround that sent us back.

Bike course in red
True to form, triathletes during a race are some of the nicest and most encouraging people I have ever encountered.  No less than 5 people (men and women) encouraged and congratulated me during the ride.

Transition 2: 3:33
Yeah, about 3.5 minutes again.  I did realize that after putting on my shoes I still needed to put on my knee brace, thought I could fit it over my shoe, then realized I needed to take my shoe off again to put it on.

Run: 1:23:11
As you can see above, not good.  I am a terrible runner.  The first loop I didn't walk at all and felt pretty good.  The second loop was definitely worse.  I felt thirsty and dehydrated and although I went reallllly slow, I didnt feel like I was going to die.  Which, for me, is a plus.  This part is where I always lose ground.  I passed 2 people during the entire time and it was because they were walking.  But again, triathletes show their awesomeness.  During the run, I had about 5 men holler encouragement to me as they went loping by.  I was called sweetheart, honey and girl.  I laughed.

At the 6 mile marker I was passing a 68 year old man (and I know this because they mark your age on the back of your calves) who was walking and looking like he was struggling a lot.  Feeling good, I told him lets go and that we can do it and he took up trotting with me to the finish. 

Finish:  3:02:50
It was good to finish.  My first Olympic triathlon on 3:02.  I really wanted to do it in under 3 hours, but with my slow transition and struggle on my run I came close.  Next time baby.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Poker Face

My physical therapist consistently tells me I have an impressive poker face.  This usually happens during the deep tissue massages where I grip the sides of the table and try to ignore the searing pain through my body.  While I don't think my poker face would be useful in an actual game of poker (I get too excited when winning), it works well for being an athlete.  After spending the last two decades in sports, I have encrued various injuries.  Due to that and phrases from coaches that include "Dig or Die" and "Sacrifice your body for the ball" I have learned how to hide the pain that I am in.  Luckily, Costco sells monster-sized bottles of Ibuprofen.

Alas, here is a laundry list of all the major injuries that I have encountered in the past 20 years:
  • tendonitis
  • juvenile rhematory arthritis (JRA)
  • torn miniscus
  • torn cartilage
  • blown ACL
  • sprained ankles
  • sprained wrists
  • jammed fingers
  • pinched sciatic nerve
  • separated bone from tendon
  • stress fractures
  • bone spurs
  • joint injury (apparently only resolved by exploratory surgery - no thanks)
Majority of these issues still bother me today, even if they are quite old.  I am pretty sure I am keeping my physical therapist, multiple specialist doctors and Costco afloat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

60 Days

Today marks officially 1 week since I have been allowed to start training again and exactly 60 days to Lake Stevens.  In the past week, to start getting my endurance back, I have had my butt kicked in just about each thing I did:
  • Spinning classes - these can and will kick your butt no matter what shape you are in
  • 100 mile bike ride - definitely challenging when you have not worked out for 2 months
  • 7 mile hike - the morning after the century ride
  • Masters swim - was planning to be a recovery workout, but instead turned into a 3000 meter swim in 60 minutes
It still hurts to run, even to eliptical, so my new strategy is to race the swim and bike as fast as possible in order to not be kicked off the course during the run, even if I have to walk most of the way - which is very likely.

I also just signed up for the first Olympic distance Seafair Triathlon (they have only had sprint distances in the past).  This will be a good indictor on how painful and tough the run for the 70.3 will be.

With only 2 months to go, I am already getting butterflies and second guessing myself.  What if I don't make it?  What if they kick me off the course?  Not only will my group of friends (aka my team) be racing or cheering but my parents are planning on driving up from California to watch me as well.  Which is great! I love having my parents be there and support me and I know just how lucky I am to have that, but it definitely adds another level of nervousness to the race. 

As an athlete, my biggest competitor is myself and I definitely don't want to let me down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Many Things, Here Are A Select Few

It has been forever since I have posted, and there is lots to catch up on.  Here are some highlights:
  • Finally done with my project management program!  So happy to have my evenings back.  School is way different as an adult, without student loans (and out of my pocket instead), and working full-time
  • I am (unofficially for now) the new VP of the Board of Directors of Candlelighters Children's Cancer Foundation of Western Washington
  • Injuries from training.  Lots of injuries.  Was banned from running for a couple months, which caused me to cancel my Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon and also the 1-day Seattle to Portland ride.  Sadface.
  • I now have a little over 2 months to train for Lake Stevens 70.3,  lets hope my body doesnt break down again
  • It still hurts to walk, yet I am now allowed to start training again
  • Changes in friendships have made me realize how amazing my true friends are
  • Taking a vacation in Florida made me remember what life was like living outside of the PNW
  • Fun spring/summer weekends have started, I am so stoked for what the rest of this summer brings.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pure Awareness

I have always sensed that there is a deeper connection of body, mind and spirit, separate from divinity, especially in athletics.  Athletes have to be in tune with their own body, able to push themselves to far limits, while knowing where to stop to abstain from injuries.  I first became aware of this inherent connection during my years of swimming.  Swimming has always had a calming affect, and after an hour or so swimming laps, my mind would be clear and my problems resolved.  This was strengthened even more as I practiced bikram yoga.  I was able to connect with myself on a deeper, calmer level, something I would never be able to accomplish if I was not actively engaging myself in some sort of activity.

In the midst of my realizations, a Groupon (oh Groupon, how we love you) for an Effortless Mind Meditation Course at Fern Life Center came through.  Taught by yogi Ajayan, I honestly went in (alone) with some hesitations.  Come on, meditation?  An 8 hour meditation seminar?  Expecting some extreme yogis, I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the yurt (oh yes, there is a yurt set up in his backyard) and realized everyone else there was also a Groupon-er and "normal."  (I say this in quotes, because although no one was completely off the ranch, there were definitely some fun and interesting characters there.  But I think thats just Seattle). 

Shoes off, in comfy sweats, incense burning, fireplace roaring (it was a pretty sweet yurt), everyone cozied up on the blankets and pillows on the ground.  Ajayan took us through the basic steps of meditation, the goals and different ways to practice meditation.  I have never even tried meditation before, so the basic foundation was perfect for what I was looking for.  We practiced meditating once before lunch and twice after.  On the second meditation, I stopped trying to meditate (counter-intuitive to me) and I actually started to get it.  Of course, once I realized I was doing it correctly and had stopped trying, it backfired and brought me back out.  But at least I know what it feels like now.

During the practice of meditation, you aim to reach pure awarenessAjayan describes pure awareness as, "transcending the gross layers of thought that comprise ordinary mind, and experiencing the molecular and atomic nature of consciousness that lies hidden within. The rigid boundaries of the gross mind can melt into pure energy and then finally into pure, unbounded consciousness, into the Truth of our own Being, which is universal and infinite..."

In training for endurance events, you end up spending a lot of time with yourself.  Especially on the bike and swim, you don't have music to help distract you, you end up spending a lot of time in your own head.  My goal was to take advantage and help myself in my connection to myself and the world around me. 

Today marks 5 months exactly from Lake Stevens 70.3 (but who is counting?) and as I am building the foundation for my event physically, I am now starting to build the foundation mentally as well.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I am sure I will have a story or two to share about the seminar.  You know I love telling stories  :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

What's In A Name?

I recently got a new bike, a 2010 Look 566. My first bike, a Marin Portofino, was my first road bike, ever.  Now that I am more into biking, I have been looking for a new bike with better elements.  I love my old bike, as it was there through hundreds of miles, blood, sweat and tears.  It introduced me to the world of biking.

I love the black and blue colorings of the Marin.  I also love that Marin is California based (in Marin County, just outside of San Francisco) and therefore has a grizzly bear emblem on it.  The Marin will always have a soft place in my heart for its ties to my home state. 

For my new bike, I feel like I need to spend some more quality time with it to really know its nuiances and feel.  I got it fit in the middle of Seattle's snowpacalypse this week at Montlake Bike Shop and am looking forward to spending some time in my new saddle, testing out my fabulous new red, black and white bike.

Now that I own two bikes, there has been confusion when talking about them. Before, I could easily say "my bike" and all would know what I was talking about. Now, referring to "my bike" can confuse the listener. I have decided it is finally time to name my two bikes.

However, this decision has yet to have any resolutions.  Whats in a name?  How do I name it?  I am normally not one to give names to inanimate objects, however all of my friends, families and pets have multiple names and nicknames I have given them.  So what is the block when trying to establish a name with my bike?

I have a few ideas rolling around, but none have really taken root.  Any suggestions on names - or how to go about naming your bike?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Olympic Hot Springs Weekend Getaway

I get cabin fever very easily (and often) living in a city.  Luckily, the NW has tons of great places to explore well outside of city limits.

This past weekend, a friend and I drove to the Olympic National Forest to hike out and soak in some hot springs.  We didn't go to the Sol Duc hot springs, but instead went to the ones near Hurricane Ridge.

The drive was beautiful.  Leaving around 6am on Saturday, we decided to drive down and around the water on the way there.  I loved the cute farm towns we passed through, commenting on cool looking trees and plants, and giggling at oddly named roads and signs.  The weather was pleasant, even some sun breaks peaked through which instilled hope for the hike as the weather report for the weekend was dismal.  Reaching the Olympic National Forest, the rain started coming down as we drove in.  And by rain, I mean pouring rain.  We were prepared to hike in the rain, but this was crazy rain.  Expecting it to let up soon, we stayed encouraged by the gorgeous drive and views along the way.

Lake Mills on the drive to the trailhead (picture doesn't do it justice, the water was sea-green and gorgeous)

Arriving at the trailhead, we quickly layered with nearly every piece of clothing we had brought.  Gloves and beanies were discovered; wine, sandwiches and snacks were packed into my hydropack. 

The hike itself was pretty easy, about 2.5 miles of mostly mud and snow.  It was intense to see the washouts above and below us, knowing how much effort was put in to restore the trails to usability.  Commentary on neat trees, plants and types of predators in the forest continued.

One of many gorgeous waterfalls we passed.

The rain continued to come down and didn't let up at all.  Despite soaking wet and starting to get chilly, our spirits were high as we crossed a raging river on a hand-made log (the only way across) and other, more sturdy bridges.

Snow covered bridge

We arrived at the hot springs and decided to check them all out before deciding which one to soak in.  We were told there was a total of 7, some smaller, some larger and some hidden off the trail.

At this point, the rain increased heavily, we were hungry and a bit cold.  Despite these factors, we stripped down and jumped into one of the more hidden hot springs.  Due to the cold pelting rain and the hot springs not being very deep (and kinda mushy on the bottom) we didn't last long.  We quickly dressed again and headed back out along the trail to hurry back to the car for some dry clothes.

At this point, the trail was flooded and we gave up on trying to avoid the pools of water, mud and snow.  Once back at the car, it was a ridiculous race to try to avoid the van of hikers club and keep somewhat dry while changing into sweats.  Dry clothes finally on, heat blasting and seat warmers toasting our buns, we were on our way to stay the night in Port Townsend.

the aftermath

Making our way out of the forest, the rain eased up but the sulfuric acid of the hot springs set in.  Poor Y had a bad allergic reaction and we stopped at the nearest gas station to grab some Benadryl. 

We arrived at the super cute Tides Inn and quickly jumped into bed to get under the warmth of the covers.  Showers, nap and dinner followed in this adorable water-front town.

well deserved drinks

On Sunday we decided to drive to Kingston and take the ferry back, arriving in Edmonds.  The sun came out and highlighted the small and absolutely cute port towns along the way.  My favorite was the white picket fence town of Port Gamble.  There was very little ferry traffic and we were able to drive straight onto the ferry.

I had a lot of fun and it definitely helped cure my cabin fever, for now at least.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pick-up Lines for Runners

Shared off elizwalsh83 blog post on Runner's World, here are some pretty good pickup lines for runners:

PR here often?
You think you'd be tired after running in my dreams all night!
Are those tights reflective? I can see myself in your pants!
Do you wear Shape-Ups?
So, do you like speedwork? Because I'm always down for a quickie.
You like fast? I can be fast.
Let me see your body glide.
I like racing, but I'm not the first one done in everything.
If I said you had a great runners body, would you hold it against me?
Whaddya say we go back to my place and foam-roll each other out?
Gee...what should I do with all this left over body glide?
My Garmin told me I couldn't stop until I got next to you.
See that spike in my HRM feed? That's the moment I saw you.
Your pace or mine?
Is that a Garmin in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
I lost my bib number, can I use yours?

Monday, February 7, 2011


I believe I am pretty darn lucky.  This past weekend helped emphasize that.

I am lucky that I have friends who will cuddle up on the couch with me and sing our way through Glee, feast on homemade snacks and laugh our way through commercials.  I am lucky that I have friends who will watch sad movies together because we should.  I am lucky that I have friends who will train with me and do endurance events with me.  I am lucky and so pleased that I have friends who will have intense discussions on the game of quidditch.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sorta New Bike Trainer

I will admit it, I am a fair-weather biker.  Riding in the rain scares me, and although I do it, I would prefer not to.  As the PNW is prone to rainy days, I decided that the best thing would be to invest in a bike trainer so I can get the miles in while dry and toasty in my home.

Bike trainers (at least the good ones) run about $300, which is a bit pricey for me.  So I thought for a bit and realized that a friend of mine used to really be into biking and no longer is.  He is one of those people that always purchase the best of the best, so chances were that he had purchased a top of the line bike trainer a few years ago.  I contacted him and asked him if he was willing to sell me his bike trainer that was currently in storage, not being used.  He agreed.  I now the proud owner of a Cyclops Fluid indoor bike trainer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ah-ma-zing Motivational Exercise Video

"If you have something bottled up inside you, go straight to the snake shaker."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday Ride - Lake Stevens

Yesterday we rode the first loop of the Lake Stevens bike course for the first time.  It is brutal. And we will be doing the loop twice.  This was the first time I have ridden since the Chuckanut Century in the fall and lets just say that I have a long way to go to get ready for this race.

We ended up doing about 32 miles and my average moving pace was 13.5mph.  Not bad for not riding in months, but not nearly good enough yet.

Here is the elevation climb, please note the lovely little gems located between miles 22 and 24.  These two have been dubbed "Big Pappa" and "Little Bitch"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Schedule of Events - So Far

There are so many fun events and vacations to do when the weather gets warm again.  As the weather is currently not very pleasant, I like to plan out my schedule for the season.

Here is my schedule of events and vacations to look forward to so far (suggestions for events welcome), and I am sure plenty more will be added on:

May 6-11: Florida vacation
May 26-30: Vegas
June 11: Moses Lake Olympic Triathlon
June 25: Seattle Rock n Roll Half Marathon
July 9-10: STP
July 16: Warrior Dash
July 24: Seafair Triathlon
August 14: Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If There Is A Will, There Is A Way

I follow lots of blogs, my newest one is Weight in Vain, where a 20-something loses 50 pounds, runs the Chicago marathon and discovers herself along the way.

She just posted a really good blog on a story of faith and determination.  I would repost it here, but I am not certain of the copyright laws on blogs.  So go here and read it for yourself.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Everything Hurts

As I am blessed with the body of a 50 year old, when the weather is as cold as it has been, everything starts to hurt and ache.

After an intense bootcamp on Saturday, running, dancing the night away in heels, then yoga and ice skating on Sunday, everything hurts.  It hurts to just touch my legs, sitting and standing are pretty pathetic to see as well.

However, I am not complaining.  Yes, the weather has been abnormally cold for Seattle and I would love some sunshine warmth, but I know that cause of the pain is good in the long run.  For now, ibprofen is my new friend.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Training Schedule All Set....Well, Kinda

With the help of Runner's World SmartCoach system, I just built out my 8 month training program for the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon and the Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3.  Runner's World has an incredible amount of great information on their website, but their website could use some work.  So if you are willing to sort through to find the gems (much like shopping at Ross or Nordstrom Rack) it will be worth your while.

I built out a powerpoint deck, with a slide per month on what I will be doing each day, with countdowns to the actual races.  I plan on browsing the college dorm section of Target tonight to find a fun whiteboard or bulletin board to hang on my wall in my apartment.  In plain sight, my schedule, inspirational quotes and goals will be in front of me constantly, motivating me.

I purchased The Triathlete's Training Bible and Triathlete Magazine's Week by Week Training Guide and plan to go through them to build out a triathlon training program for myself.  Once I have this program built (and once I finish going through the large books), then this program will be incorporated into my running program.  As running is my greatest weakness in the multisport event, I feel like it would benefit me to focus heavily on running in my training.

Off to Target!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


For me, running is my biggest battle.  Its boring, I am not very fast, and did I mention boring?  Besides that, it hurts, a lot.  In the bad pain kind of way, not the good pain.  Majority of the pain comes from previous injuries, which deserves an entire post on its own, but lets just say that I have really bad knees and really bad feet. 

For the feet I had my podiatrist create custom inserts that have changed my life.

For my knee (especially my right one), I just purchased the knee strap that is supposed to reduce pain caused by patellar tendonitis.  Whether I have this in my knee amongst my ruined meniscus, torn cartilage and destroyed ACL, I have no idea.  But hopefully it will help.

Any opinions?


THe Mueller and McDavid brands work well, but they do not have a pull for leverage when using the knee strap.  They just have a wrap-around velcro piece that is tough to adjust for tightness.  I returned my McDavid one and have just purchased one with an adjustable strap.  The ACE brand and Imak brand have these options.

A Word of Thanks

At the age of 5, I joined my first team, the local summer swim team.  I stayed on this team for the next 13 years (when I got too old) and then ended up coaching it.  Growing up, I have always been on a team.  Softball, basketball, multiple volleyball teams, recreational and club swim teams and crew team.

Of course I have to mention my built-in team, my family, especially my parents.  My mom took turns driving me and my two sisters to each of our multiple sporting events, oftentimes just driving back and forth.  Many times, my older sister and I played against each other, which was great for carpooling, but uncomfortable for the loser on the drive home.  Even more uncomfortable when I, as a pitcher on the softball team, brushed her back from crowding the plate while she was up to bat.  My dad was at every single one of my games.  Every single one.  Weekend tournaments in warehouses in the middle of no-where, he was there.  Early week-day games, he was there in his suit and tie, pager going off, but cheering for me nonetheless.

Having teammates and family support peaked as I became a collegiate athlete.  Now I had multiple trainers, specialized coaches and a large team to fall back on.  Upon graduation, I found myself lost without a team.  Being an athlete on a team was part of my identity, part of who I was.  No longer a student, no longer an official athlete, I found myself struggling with figuring out who I was as an adult.

Fast-forward 3.5 years.  The last 9 months have helped shape me and have helped me realize who I really am and I feel like I am finally comfortable and happy with that person.

As my 26th birthday approaches, I feel like some thanks are due to these people in the last 9 months.  I have finally found a team of amazing and wonderful people who welcomed me in, no questions asked.  Twitterbugs, you know who you are, and you are amazing.  The support you have given me to shape myself as an individual athlete is refreshing, and quite frankly, something that I did not know existed anymore. 

So, without embarassing anyone, and without getting too mushy, I would just like to say thanks.  Twitterbugs, thank-you for allowing me to train with you for my first STP, including me on your weekend adventures, pushing me to become a better athlete, and supporting me as we train for the Ironman 70.3.  You are all wonderful people who I wholly appreciate.

Monday, January 3, 2011

charity: water

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

It seems that majority of my friends these days are involved in some sports event.  Whether it is running, biking, triathlons, fitness modeling, everyone is super active and continuously pushing themselves.  Many of my friends participates in Team in Training, which raises money for cancer research for sporting events.  While I would love to do TNT, the practices conflict with my school schedule in the evenings.  So I pondered, what could I do in support of my athletic events?

The answer came to me in the form of my lovely friend, Julie Rossman.  Julie trains for fitness competitions and is incredibly healthy and obsessed with water.  Truly.  She found a foundation called charity: water which provides clean water to those who otherwise would not have it.  $5 provides 1 person with clean water.  Just $5!  Your morning Starbucks could provide someone with clean water.

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund sustainable water solutions in areas of greatest need. Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years.  More info here.

As an athlete, I know and appreciate the need for clean water.  Before, during and after a workout, hydration is a must.  So I want to call attention to this often-overlooked comfort.  Clean water. 

My goal is to raise $500 by August 14, 2011, the day of my race.