Saturday, March 22, 2008

Don't read this post if you are easily grossed out. I took this post down for a while, because I don't like to use this blog for rants, and it is that. I think my reasons for not wanting to rant are twofold: I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or slander anyone, and I don't want to be negative. This is kind of negative, so skip it if you don't want to hear me whine. I'm not worried about slandering Willow though. She can't read, and she really doesn't have much of a reputation to defend.

I woke up at 4:15 am on Thursday morning. I slipped my running clothes, shoes, and head lamp on, and left to take Willow for a run. Yes, I can proudly say I am hard core enough that I get up at 4:15 once a week to train. I figure I have to run at least 3 days a week if I'm to see improvement, and this is the only way I'm going to do it, while still swimming and biking 3 days a week. Willow needs her exercise, too, which she definitely doesn't get enough of.

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I don't have a very well trained dog. She's a sweetie pie inside the house, but she pulls on the leash when I walk or run with her. At least at 4:30 in the morning, there aren't any other dogs out, which is what really makes her go bananas. I don't know what to do about this. I took her to obedience school, but she actually got worse not better afterwards. She isn't "treat motivated" when running, or praise motivated. She calms down after she tires out enough, but for the first mile she is a maniac, and for the first three, it is hard to have anything like good form at all. Anyways, I turned my ankle after one mile of running, and ran 4.5 more miles on a hurt foot. I've run when I've turned my ankle before with no repercussions, but this time I sprained my foot. I didn't notice any pain really until after I stopped running.

I got back home at 5:30 after an hour of running. Raybon, my usual carpool buddy, was still in bed, rather than in the shower or getting dressed like I expected him to be. Waaah.... I have to say I was a little annoyed, but really, I should be nothing but grateful that he ever gets up at 5 am so that I can get to swimming by 7 am. An occasional slip up is not worth getting mad about, but it was still hard to drive myself to work exhausted and then get in the pool, do an hour long workout, and then try to get a days work in.

I lasted until about 2:30 at work. My foot hurt, and I wanted to go home and rest and ice it, and I was just plain tired. I got home, and for whatever reason wandered back to Raybon's office to find that Willow had, um, did her business in Raybon's office. That's all I'm going to say. It was gross. I was so tempted to leave it to Raybon to clean up, but I figured since I found it and he wouldn't be home for hours, I should deal with it.

I was tired, and then decided to take a nap. I get into my bed, and notice it is warm, and there is dog hair all over the comforter. ARRRGHHH!!!! Aren't dogs supposed to be better behaved when they are well exercised???

To Willow's credit, she doesn't do any of this all that often. Apart from being a nut case while on a leash, she is a great dog, and was house trained when we got her. I don't know why she acted like this on that day, but it just wasn't what I needed. I still try to be a nice mommy to her, but when I look at her I associate her with the pain in my foot and the grossness that she left me to deal with on Thursday. Raybon says he thinks Willow can sense a bit of animosity. He's probably right.

OK, Willow and I have been through bad times before, and I'll eventually forgive her and work this out. My foot is a worry though. I skipped biking today, and did a double swim workout, and won't run tomorrow. It's over 2 months until my focus event (Honu), but I have a half marathon coming up in 3 weeks. Sigh. Whatever will be will be. My foot may be better by then, but it might not be. In the meantime, swim, swim, swim, and hopefully bike, bike, bike, before I can run, run, run.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Treeathlon Photos

I don't like pictures of myself, and these are no exception. Other people like pictures, though, and they do tell a story.

Ummm... Yes, this is me about to pull my pants off in front of hundreds of people. Yes,there are tri shorts on underneath of course.




Me in a wetsuit. The evidence is out in the open now, so you can't blackmail me, Jac. I think I look kind of a like a teletubbie.



Where did I get the idea that warming up in 52 degree water would be a great idea? I guess the thought was to get that layer of water in the wetsuit warm before the race.


This picture doesn't begin to capture the feeling of claustrophobia I experienced just seconds later as everyone swarmed in tight together.


This is an extra unflattering photo, but it captures how much it hurt to run barefoot on asphalt with frozen feet. I was wondering if I was just being a wuss letting people pass me as I ran towards my bike, but this pictures tells me, no, sweetie, you were being tough enough.



I like the bike photos best of all. My run photos and end of swim photos look like I'm in pain, but the bike photos capture my cluelessness and "I can't believe I'm doing this" feeling.




This me looking at my feet as I clip in. Dork. But in a cute way, right?


Does it look like I know what I'm doing? To me it does, but since the real answer is that I don't, I'm not one to judge.


Hey, I'm waving! I'm generally not very friendly when I'm running.


I like this pic, because it almost looks like I have good form. But, then again, I don't know enough to judge. At least it doesn't look like my head is dragging the rest of my body like some of ther pics do.


Yay, the finish!!! I was dizzy and would have probably got run over by other runners on the way to the BBQ afterwards if Jac didn't stop me.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hooray for Nice People

I was feeling flat last week, but I think I'm having a turn around. My coworker Sandy sneezed yesterday, and it startled me and made me giggle. I think being happy about a sneeze is the opposite of being flat. Maybe this is because of all the super nice people in my life. Here is a list of nice things that people did for me just this week:

- Jac cheered for me at the Treeathlon, brought me homemade cookies, and made me breakfast. I don't think anyone has ever been so nice to me in my whole life.

- Mojojoey saw a Bento Box on sale at a bike shop that was going out of business, and bought it for me, because she knew I wanted one. She also read my blog and made me feel better about my results, when she told me about her first season, and how she wasn't born the super hero she is now.

- Sandy gave me some of her chocolate, my favorite kind, Dagoba. Sandy is always so nice to me.

- Ultra-M bought me breakfast, and just generally made me feel loved and needed.

- Raybon cooked me dinner, and even cleaned the dishes aftewards. He also told me I looked like the beautiful runner on the cover of Runner's World this month. I don't see it, but that was nice of him to say.

- When talking about the Treeathlon with myself and a couple of super fast triathletes who also did it, Coach told me he heard the water was choppy, and asked if I thought it was. I honestly (not really even trying to brag) said no. Maybe he didn't mean to give me the opportunity to brag, but it seems like the kind of thing that a confidence builder like him would do.

- Big L. gave me nice compliments about the work I'm doing on a website with her, and also encouraged me to go on one of the T.S. weekend trips. I probably won't go, but it's nice to know that I'm welcome.

- M.A. thanked me for swimming with her on Monday.

- One of my other coworkers asked me about my triathlon and told me I should be proud of myself for all that I'm doing. Oddly, I've been finding being proud of myself hard to do, so I'm glad for the encouragement.

Hooray for nice people!!! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Treeathlon

This morning I did a sprint triathlon. I've been feeling flat for the past few days, and was able to shake this off a little bit for this race, although not entirely. I'm not sure the race was an enjoyable experience, but it might be my mood.

The swim was really cold, and the start very violent. I got kicked and hit quite a bit. My goggles fogged up, and after a while I finally decided it was worth it to stop and defog them in order to see the buoys. Jac, who was sweet enough to come just to cheer me on (yay Jac!!!), told me I started towards the back of the pack, but finished maybe 5th or 6th (out of how many in my heat, I'm not sure.) I think triathlon starts tend to be kind of aggressive, so people started faster than they ended.

The transition from swim to bike was awkward. My shins and feet have been hurting this week, so running on pavement without shoes was unpleasant, and I lost ground from the swim. I didn't find my bike right away, and I had trouble getting my shoes and gloves on, because my hands were sort of frozen.

I finally got on my bike and had trouble getting going. My muscles were cold from the swim, and didn't warm up very quickly in my wet shorts. The course was 3 loops around the same course. I got faster on each lap, because I started to warm up some. I got passed a lot, but made an excuse for every person who passed me. That person is a lot younger than me. That person is a lot older than me, and has probably been doing this for a long time. That person has aero bars. That 12 year old on the mountain bike is going to grow up to be the next Lance Armstrong. (OK, so no 12 year olds on mountain bikes passed me.) On my third lap, someone passing me told me to stay low (it was a little windy), and I did this and found myself picking up speed quite a bit. That was nice of that person. The first half of each lap was slightly uphill and in the wind, so it was slower than the second half.

My bike to run transition was maybe slightly less awkward. Starting to run was hard. I felt like I was running with stiff shoes, because my feet were frozen from the ride.

I ended feeling mostly indifferent about the experience. Jac told me I should be proud of myself. Eh.... Before I found out the results, I felt indifferent, but when I found out how I did, I was a little upset. I got 10th out of 14 in my age group, and placed maybe 200th out of 260. I can't remember the overall placing exactly. I've gotten used to being a middle of the packer overall in my open water swims, and sometimes even placing in my age group (mostly by luck, admittedly.)

My time was disappointing, too. It was 1:38, which is hard for me to fathom. I didn't get my splits, but my guess is a 500 yard swim shouldn't take me more than 7 minutes, even if I was taking it easy. I forgot to turn the timer on my heart rate monitor on at the beginning of the race, but I did turn it on for the run. I forgot to look at it at the end, but by the time I caught my breath and remembered, it was only at 30 minutes. That's 37 minutes, which means bike and transitions took 1 hour and 1 minute. I had my bike computer on, and while it took me a while to get going, my guess was that I ended up averaging about 16-17 miles per hour, which would amount to 46 minutes. (I unfortunately didn't blank my computer from my easy ride the day before, and the time I spent walking my bike before and after the race, so I don't know for sure what my average was.) That leaves about 16 minutes unaccounted for. 16 minutes for 2 transitions??? Can that be right?

I feel like I have a couple of things to evaluate: my overall experience, and my results.

On my overall experience: I'm flat right now. It's hard to say whether triathlon is something I just am not excited about, or whether it's just because I'm not really excited about anything at the moment. I may be over training. Work has also been very stressful. I'm taking over the job of someone retiring at my work, and she is taking it sort of hard. Maybe I need to take a week very easy. Honestly, also, being part of a team where I'm the slowest person is very hard mentally. I was the slowest swimmer in Masters when I first started, and I didn't mind as much, but I'm more competitive than I used to be. I try my best to put on a brave face and a good spin on it, and while I can maybe talk myself out of being really negative about it as best I can, I can't talk myself into being happy about it. The best thing I can say about it is, as an underdog, I've got nothing to lose.

On my results: Good or bad? That's really impossible to say. I haven't done this enough times to compare my results to any other results, and I can't compare myself to anyone else because I'm new at it. I don't know what their backgrounds are, and whether it makes any sense to make comparisons. I looked up the results of my first open water swim, and I placed 7/8 in my age group, 126 out of 157 overall. My results for this triathlon are actually a little better than that, and I'd been a swimmer for about a year when I did that first swim. I've only really been riding a bike about 7 months, and have been sort of serious about it for less time than that.

Lessons to take away from this:

- I need to take care of my bike. My bike was squeaking quite a bit. I've been sort of ignoring this, but not I'm realizing I need to take good care of my bike if I'm going to be a triathlete. If I have a nice, well-oiled chain, my bike will last longer, and I'll be able to go faster.

- I may be overtraining. I spent 4 hours on my trainer last weekend, and I had a cold. I think crazy training sessions sap the energy to race. While this was just a practice race in my mind, and not a real race, part of practicing racing is taking it seriously and giving it what you've got. I think I'll try to do my best to rest up for my next race, which will be a half marathon in Flip Flop.

- I need to plan some fun for myself. Honestly, I used to think of training as play time, but I've been so serious about it lately, it's almost like a second job.