Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Posture and Cadence...

So I just watched this little video clip of Pete Jacobs talking about what he focused on when he was trying to teach himself to run more efficiently. And while I'm no Pete Jacobs, I can nevertheless100% relate to what he's talking about in that video b/c they are the exact same things I've been discovering for myself these past few months!

When Marilyn was here last month she could see right away that my posture and my cadence were holding me back from progressing with my running. So the first thing she did was try to make me move my feet quicker. As I've noted here before, this was awkward and uncomfortable b/c in order to do that I had to take itty bitty short little steps. And I had to be reminded every 15" to keep my hands up! At one point she even took her shoelaces out of her shoes and made me hold them around my neck which forced me to keep my hands up so I wouldn't rub my neck raw.

It only took me ~2 focused weeks to make that cadence/hands thing a habit. Those 2 things alone did not result in me running any faster, but it did seem to make my running more efficient, and for an endurance athlete, that seemed like a worthwhile achievement.

Then I discovered the new Curve treadmill at our gym. I was just sort of curious so I hopped on it. And WOW! Um, Awkward! To be completely honest, I sucked at it! I really couldn't get my balance right at all... step too far forward on that thing and the belt speeds up way too fast and you lose control... Lean back at all and the belt just completely stops. I spent my whole first session (~30') pretty much just oscillating between that belt whirling out of control or just coming to an abrupt halt.

So. Given how much that sucked, seemed like something maybe I should try to work on right?!? I left the gym that day pretty convinced that if I kept trying, I'd learn how to run on that treadmill... This month Marilyn gave us all the green light to go ahead and add 10-20' of relaxed jogging each day if we wanted and/or could fit it in... so I've been using some of these bonus sessions to teach myself how to run on the Curve. I did some research about how to best use the machine, and it seems it's meant for short interval type work for neuromuscular coordination... so that's pretty much how I've been using it. I'll jog for 30-90" at a time (form focus) then walk ~30" then repeat. When I do it that way, seems I'm better able to really focus on posture and foot placement, which seem to be the 2 key elements that allow you to run on that thing while feeling balanced and in control. And balance and foot placement were the things that, even though I'd upped my cadence and could keep my hands high, I still didn't have right.

The most interesting thing has been how I've felt the changes that this Curve mill forces while I'm out running on the road. I'm actually running faster now! But not harder! DING DING DING! So it turns out, if I can get that forward lean, I move forward at a faster rate without working so hard. I feel a bit like a moron that it has taken me what, like 20 years?! to figure this out but hey, at least I finally got it! Or am getting it is probably how I should write that... I'm certainly not a master BUT it is coming. Yesterday I was on a regular TM at my gym and doing some 'quickness intervals' Marilyn likes me to do and I could tell by how easily I was able to run faster than 5k pace (a lot faster!) that the forward balance thing was becoming habit. And now if my weight shifts back at all I can feel it right away which also seems like a giant leap forward.

So, I'm a swimmer, which means that most of the time I am thinking like a swimmer, and relating all sporting things back to swimming... and I had this little A-HA about how swimming faster and running faster are not really altogether different endeavors. To swim fast, you need to be efficient with your stroke... Reduce drag from your lower body by staying 'on top of it'... It's about achieving balance on top of the water and keeping your turn-over UP. I feel this a lot when I'm doing repeat race effort 50's... The Roka Sim Shorts help a ton with this as well... Just putting you in a body position where your balance is better on top of the water so you are set up to execute a stronger catch/pull... Then it turns out, running is the same damn thing you guys! It's about staying on top of it and keeping cadence UP. Too bad there isn't a company making the equivalent of a Roka Sim Short for running...

So there you go... Posture and Cadence. Keys to swimming and running faster and more efficiently!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015... The Process

Happy New Year!

Jan 1... Started the year with a group run on the most amazing route. I'm seriously spoiled as this route is one I can run right from my front door. It's all hills back there in the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens but the scenery is so gorgeous, you forget how hard it is to run. :)

Starting the year with a solid run felt like the right thing to do, though in all honesty the effort there was probably harder than generally appropriate for a January run. I don't do stuff like this that often so I think it was fine. I will say though, I don't think running like that all the time is the way to reach big goals... I'm really learning and every year more and more I am grasping the concept of The Process... and building as we go... That not every training session is a test and most sessions shouldn't be raced and it isn't best to always be judging ourselves based on our pace/power week in and week out... While seeing glimpses of progress is good, going about The Process of training in such a way as to be at your peak when it matters is better... This is where I think athletes get into trouble when they do all their training as part of group sessions. Or at least, I would get myself into trouble this way!

I find myself feeling exceptionally motivated at the moment. It's not really just this moment though... I've been feeling this way for several months now... Just mentally and emotionally and physically ready to tackle training in a way that sets me up to keep building toward my goals this year. Such a difference from where I was at last year at this time.

I get motivated when I sense a real possibility of 'success', however one might define that. I think for me, success this year will be about pushing through to a new level on my run. Just reaching or maintaining my past levels of swim/bike would be satisfying for me (Funny, I'm not convinced I have a ton of room to grow with swim/bike? Maybe I'll prove myself wrong? That would be super...) but with the run I feel like there's so.much.room.to.grow and I have been focused in a way I have never been before on doing things correctly with my running... I know some believe that focusing on changing run form is a waste of energy and doesn't lead to better/faster running, but I'm not in that camp (anymore). Every run I do now I am focused on my posture, my cadence and how/where my arms are swinging... It was so awkward at first to change and I thought I just wasn't the kind of runner who could run with a cadence of 90 and still be aerobic... But it turns out that I just needed to take a few more steps backward before I could move forward again. So I did that. In fact, I took the smallest little steps you could possibly imagine trying to combine high cadence with low HR. Turns out, it is possible! And if you go all the way back to the beginning teaching yourself this, you'll get it! Trust me if- after 20 years of running with a cadence of 80- I can change, anyone can! I will say though, it requires some patience. Ok, a lot of patience. BUT, I'm seeing glimpses now of the type of runner I hope to become and as the weeks go by and I see it more and more, my confidence grows... And that, I think, is the key for an old dog athlete like me.

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the weight room recently as well. Really enjoying the lifting and I can feel that I'm a ton stronger already. I actually just bought a 45b bar to have here at my house and as time goes by I will likely start adding bumper plates to my collection so I can do weighted squats and lunges and deadlifts right here at home. That's how much I like this stuff. One thing I really like is the feeling I have when finishing up a heavy weights session. Not just the mental/emotional feeling but the actual physical feeling. I think there's a shift in hormones going on b/c the pumped up "high" is super cool.

Speaking of shifts in hormones, holy cow you guys I think I've discovered how to control that PMS roller coaster I've been riding every month for the last 5+ years... 3 months in a row now I've had ZERO issues in this area... and after months where I had such horrible lows right before my period would come (hot flashes, no power on the bike, frustrations at everything from red lights while driving to being out of peanut butter to the sound of my daughter's voice, crying at the tip of a hat for no reason whatsoever, feeling like an elephant while running, not wanting to get out of bed, I could go on and on...) This is such a giant relief I don't even know where to start?!? It's just crazy to me to have days and days of good solid training sessions and then all of a sudden get my period?! Usually I know it's coming b/c everything SUCKS for like 5 days prior... but not anymore. Phew! My gut says I've got my hormonal balance back and this is just essential to feeling good.

Speaking of feeling good, doesn't this picture make you feel good? :)

OK- I need to get going to the pool. I'm less motivated than normal to swim right now b/c the heater in our pool has been broken and the water temp has been hovering around 72 degrees. I've never done this before, but I'm actually packing my wetsuit today and I just might cave and wear it in the pool.

Cheers to 2015!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Ramblings

I'm procrastinating going for a ride... If I blog that'll waste like an hour, right? Lol. I know I should not say this but damn I'm just COLD and the thought of facing that cold wind on my bike right now is not really that appealing... except it's not really that cold. I'm just a complete wimp. It gets worse every year!

I can't believe 2014 is almost over. This fall just completely flew by! Anyway, makes me think I should do a little reflection on 2014... and set some goals for 2015... I've actually done a bit of both already, though maybe not "officially". My goals are mostly in my own head, and if they stay there, they're easier to revamp or reorganize depending on how things are going. Maybe that's a good thing, but maybe it's a cop out? I should probably write them down somewhere even if I don't publish them all on the inter webs... I will write this one down though... I have a goal of getting through an Ironman Marathon without breaking down. A Big Ask, I know, but I think I'm on the right path to breaking that bitch down, so I have some hope that it's possible.

Maybe I'll write all my goals down when my Believe Journal comes? Actually, I think it came already. I made a Christmas wishlist and gave it to Scott so when a package shaped like a book arrives from PickyBars with his name on it, well, I got a little excited. :)

Know what else I'm excited about? I get to be on the Coeur Sports team again for 2015! I really liked that group of gals last year so I'm excited to be a part again this year. Coeur is a company that always seems to be doing the right thing... so having an opportunity to support them, and also be supported by them, is super cool. Plus, Osmo is back as a sponsor of the team and I'm completely convinced that stuff is magic. And at some point my computer will learn that when I type Osmo, I don't mean Oslo.

I feel like I get to associate with a whole bunch of awesome triathlon groups... I've got my group of local friends/training partners here on Oahu, I've got my Coeur Sports team, I've got my own TeamBSC, and I've got the gang over at Endurance Corner. So bases are covered when it comes to surrounding myself with awesome TriGeeks TriPeeps. Feels like I'm having more fun with them now too... we recently started a private Facebook page for TeamBSC athletes. Mostly b/c I made a video last week on a swimming mobility concept I'd been thinking about... then I posted it on FaceBook. It was really just a video I made with one athlete in mind- a concept I wanted to explain to him that I didn't feel I could do in writing- so I made the video and then figured maybe some others would get something out of it too... so I posted it and allowed it to be public. At first I thought it was cool that it got shared a couple of times (cool, people like it!) but then it just seemed like it didn't stop and before I knew it, it had been shared 55x (mostly by people I'd never even heard of) and 5500+ views... and I don't know, that just freaked me out a bit. Like yikes, you know, that wasn't exactly a professional video... I didn't even think very much about it... just set my iPhone up and talked into it for a few minutes and then hit 'post' and once you do that, well, you've lost control of it! (Mamas- teach your teenagers this!) So while I liked the idea and felt like I wanted to make more videos, I didn't want to post them publicly. So now we have a private page and I can quite easily post all my thoughts via video and they only go out to a few, which means I can talk rather freely and not really worry about how 'professional' it appears. Take today, for example, when at the end of my video my chickens came to check the scene... like who is she talking to?! It was pretty funny, I thought. ;) But that's part of the value in those videos I think- knowing they are unscripted, yet from the heart... Just short little lessons about whatever I'm thinking about and because of that maybe more interesting than a professional video made specifically to appeal to the masses? Anyway, enough about that.

I think I may have mentioned once or twice about a 'Steel Challenge' I am participating in- the folks at Endurance Corner came up with this one as a way to encourage us to pick up and put down more heavy things during the month of December... So what the heck, I joined in. I've never exactly added up how much weight I lift in a session but it's been a bit eye opening... so we log all of our sessions and I've been getting ~30,000lbs lifted (total) in each of my strength sessions (2x/week) which is  decent amount. It ranks me sort of in the #3-5 position on the Leader Board... smelling a chance to solidify my position toward the top I sent Marilyn an email asking for a 'Go To The Gym Free' card for the remainder of the month, specifically so I can put more pounds on the board for this silly challenge... I was thinking I KNOW I could lift more if I could go to the gym 3-4x/week vs just 2... Of course she was the voice of reason and immediately said NO (I think she actually called me a 'Silly Goose' for even asking- ha!). Part of me was disappointed but the rest of me understands... and it saves me from spending my New Years Eve in the gym knocking out sets of squats and deadlifts in an attempt to get myself ranked in a competition that means absolutely nothing! Lol. It's been fun bantering back and forth a bit on the EC Forum though- something I've never done before with people I don't really know (yet).

OK enough time has passed and I'm now at the point where if I don't leave the house NOW for my ride, I won't be able to fit it in before I go into Mom-Mode for the rest of the afternoon... So off I go!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One on One With Coach...

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment... not in a bad way but almost like there's so much good going on that my head is spinning a bit!

I just spent the last 5 days with Marilyn here at my home and it really couldn't have gone any better. A while back I threw out the idea to her that I would love to have her here for a weekend and my thought was really so that she could see where I live and train and that we could get to know each other a bit better. I know as a coach that the better a coach knows her athletes, the easier it becomes to coach that athlete, so that's mostly what I was thinking when initiating the idea of this trip. I was really happy when she agreed to come, and we decided this would be the best weekend because it was the weekend of the Double Roughwater Swim so it gave her a goal to target and train for while she was recovering from knee surgery.

We clearly achieved all of our goals (and then some!) while she was here! She got to see me swim in both the pool and ocean. I haven't had anyone give me any stroke correction in YEARS so it was cool when she was able to point out how I was losing my grip on the water with my left arm at a certain point in my pull each stroke. Gave me something to focus on and for the most part it was something fairly easy for me to fix once I knew where to focus. She also took a few short videos of me swimming which was cool- again I hadn't really SEEN myself swim in forever so was good to be able to watch and see what she was seeing.

On the bike we had to figure out the best way for her to get to 'ride' with me- given her recent knee surgery, Marilyn wasn't able to really RIDE again quite yet... we considered renting her a moped but in the end decided an electric bike would be best. So Friday night Scott brought home an electric bike he'd rented... SO classic and we both giggled at how funny our Saturday ride would be with me on my TT bike and her on this machine...
If you're friends with Marilyn on Facebook you can see the video she took/posted while we were out riding. It's hysterical! Anyway, the electric bike was brilliant while I was doing seated big gear intervals up a hill... she could pull the throttle and cruise along right next to me! Good too in that she could cue me to gear down/up depending on the grade of the hill... cue me to push through my heels, etc. Then I got to take her out and show her my standard riding route and where I always go when I have tempo intervals or whatever... was able to do some of those for her as well but unfortunately by then the battery on that electric bike was starting to lose power and we were afraid she wouldn't make it home... Indeed... Turns out those electric bikes are good for ~2.5 hours. We rode for close to 3, so Marilyn got to test her knee out a bit while pedaling that beast of a bike the last few miles (uphill!) to home.

Anyway, over the course of the weekend, Marilyn was able to see me riding easy, doing big gear reps in my aero bars up a hill at 220w/55rpm, riding steady tempo 175w/92rpm, and spinning 110rpm on the rollers... I'm pretty sure that I'll have her voice in my head for the rest of the year when she said "You should have big goals on the bike. You're a good rider." Coming from her, that was probably one of the most motivating and confidence boosting statements I've ever heard.

Yesterday morning the schedule called for the session that scared me the most- A lifting session in the gym with Marilyn. She is a bit of a strength freak so I had some major fears that she might just kill me during that session, but in good news my limbs are all still attached and functioning today. I did lift quite a bit heavier than I had been doing on my own which gave me a nice fat score for the Endurance Corner Steel Challenge (yes I'm playing along!) but overall the session went well and she said she was happy with my squat form so I'm taking that as a giant compliment!

So while all that was awesome, really for me the best part was the coaching I got on my run. That's where the biggest changes need to occur for me and having Marilyn here to really help me fix it was key! We spent a good bit of time doing drills, and of course as you know, drills are only going to be helpful if you're doing them correctly... and I thought I was doing them correctly but of course I was not! So funny- Day 1 running drills she said "show me high knees" and I did like 3 steps of what I'd been doing before she said "Ok stop." Ha! It was like that with pretty much all of them but it's good because I had a very open mind about it all... soaking it up like a sponge- like teach me how you want me to do them and I will do them that way... At one point she resorted to taking her shoe laces out of her shoes and made me run with them to get my hands to do what she wanted them to do (because I could not feel it otherwise). Anyway, lots of form changes to think about on my run but after the last few days I feel like I've got a good grip on what I need to be doing over the next few months to fix it. And I'll get to see Marilyn again in a few months at the Endurance Corner Camp in Tucson so she'll get to see if I've managed to make habit what she was trying to reinforce with me this weekend... It's my goal to make it happen!

And I guess I didn't talk about the Double Roughwater swim here at all yet... Was a good one this year! Conditions were nice- water was mostly glassy until the last maybe 20' or so where we got a bit of chop. We had some currents to contend with as well but that was standard.

Overall I'd say I'm pleased with how I swam and how I kept my mind engaged and focused throughout the whole swim which seemed like a nice step forward. And I finished in 1:57 which is the fastest I've done that course (9' faster than my BLAH swim last year!) so that was cool. The best part though was watching Marilyn come in for the finish- she had never done an event like this one so understandably had some concerns but she had a GIANT smile on her face as she finished which was just awesome. As tradition calls, even though my beloved Nalani wasn't present, we sat on the beach and made our way through a couple bottles of champagne... Pretty fun Sunday morning!

And then of course followed it up with this...

The answer to that question, in case you were curious, is Two.

So there you go! I have to say, if you've never spent time working in person with your coach, it's absolutely worth the time and money and effort to make it happen. There are so many GOODs that came out of the last few days I can't even list them all! But what I know right now is this- my motivation and confidence are both higher than they've ever been, which, given my history with this sport, is amazing. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Building

I remember last December...  feeling like I was just completely burnt out. I did next to nothing but EAT a bunch of crap for the bulk of the month. Clearly the long break was necessary even if I took it to a rather extreme. :)

This December feels completely different! Granted, this year wasn't as big of a training/racing year as I've had in the past... so that helps. From 2011-2013 I did 5x Ironman races, so a year away from the distance in 2014 was a good call for sure. And somehow because of that, I feel more mentally fresh and ready to GO right now than I have in years past. Which is good, because Marilyn doesn't kid around with training this time of year! She's got me doing some solidly hard bike sessions, lots of skill work, and I'm in the gym lifting heavy things several times/week. It feels good, like she's building me into a different (more complete) type of athlete. And since we are so far away from any racing, now is a super time to be doing this kind of stuff. I can feel some real changes taking hold too- changes in my strength and changes in my form. One of my 'complaints' about this past year was that my biking was only moderately strong, which made sense because I only rode a moderate amount. I felt like I missed being a super strong rider, so recently we've upped my riding frequency a bit. Today was day 4 in a row of riding for me and it feels great... like I'm on a mission... and even though I completely blew myself to shreds today, my motivation is through the roof!

December is a good time to reflect. To figure out what worked and maybe what didn't work... what you want to keep and what you want to change going forward. I just spent a good bit of time writing all that out for myself and for my coach and it is helpful! I thought about just copying/pasting all those reflections here but in the end decided not all my laundry needs to be public.

The conclusion of what I wrote though was about how much I appreciate Marilyn as a coach. I feel like she has taught me a ton, yet I feel like there is so much more I can learn from her. I like the stuff we are doing right now and I sense success in the future- and that is highly motivating.

I know athletes hire coaches for different reasons. Some just need some accountability. Some seek the knowledge. Some seek a close relationship with someone who understands. I think my reasons spill into all of these categories. While I probably know enough about training methods to coach myself, I am not foolish enough to believe that I could do it successfully all on my own (been there tried that!). The truth is, having someone objectively watching is a giant key to success and knowing that I'm set up in a great situation heading into next year feels awesome. And the better that person knows you, the more specifically he/she will be able to help. With that in mind, I invited Marilyn out here to Hawaii to train with me for a few days... and she's coming this weekend!! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time and the truth is, I need to stop writing this blog and go clean out my car. ;)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures in Swimming...

It seems like more than a week has gone by since I did that little swim meet thing... but really it's only been a week, so I guess still within the window where I can blog about it??

Swim meets are not a big deal here in Hawaii. While there are a ton of really great swimmers on Oahu, most (me included!) prefer ocean racing vs diving off a block and sprinting for dear life. Consequently, we only have a few opportunities each year for this kind of event, and even then, a total of 9 swimmers showed up! That made warm- up pretty nice and relaxed. :)


Anyway, it was fine with me that this was a low key event b/c I had my own fears, mostly about keeping my goggles on when diving off the blocks. The fears were not unfounded as I spent the bulk of the warm-up period trying unsuccessfully to get a decent start without ending up with my goggles around my mouth. I tried 3 different pairs and finally found success with a pair I'd borrowed last month from Nalani. :)

Since it's been a whole week, my memory of how painful these events were to swim has faded, and I'm positive that I could go back and do them all better given another opportunity! :) That's how our brains work, no? Somehow my brain also 'forgot' about the 20 years it had been since I'd last raced a swim event in the pool with swim meet type intensity, which is simply not the same as what we do in training. I swam a couple of 25's fly off the blocks in warm up just to feel it and was like CRAP that was hard how am I going to make it through a whole 100?

First event for me: 100 Fly. The 100 fly was my favorite event in high school and I remember 1:03 as my ability back then. For whatever reason I ASSumed I'd still be able to knock off a decent split for that just like I did when I was 17... I'm laughing right now as I type that b/c it is clearly so naive but whatever. I got through the 100 fly ok... asked the timer gal at the end what it was, thinking maybe she'd say like 1:08 or 1:09... she said 1:13 I had to ask her to repeat that... WHAT?! Yikes. So a week later I look back and think well I only really lost like 1/2 second per year over the last 20+ years so that's not so bad, right? Trying to make myself feel ok about that, and really it's fine. The state record for my age group prior to that was 1:16 which I thought was crazy slow (for a state record?!?) but now I'm thinking that most people, by the time they turn 40, are smart enough to retire from attempting 100's fly. That's how I find success though- not through actual talent but rather through tenacity and being willing to attempt things that maybe others aren't willing to do. :) Next year though I'm going to rest more into this meet, be more aggressive on my start, and knock that record down <1:10.

The other events I didn't care about much at all, but swam the 500Fr, the 50 fly, and the 200Fr. All similar stories~ shockingly slow based on what I remember being able to do 20 years ago~ but clearly my memory is warped a bit. In the end I'd say this meet was super fun and definitely WELL outside my comfort zone which is a legit reason to go back and do it again next year. Next year we'll work harder to recruit more swimmers too! This is the motley crew who showed up this year!

Moving on. I've actually been swimming quite a bit recently, mostly in prep for the Double Roughwater Swim which I do every year. Have been joining in with a group of strong ocean swimmers on the weekends which has been REALLY fun. I actually don't have a lot of confidence that I can swim with the gang I've been swimming with, which I suppose is funny... but another plug for those Roka Sim Shorts- when I wear those they make swimming a bit easier and I go a bit faster which means I can indeed hang with this gang for as long as I want which is confidence boosting... so yay sim shorts! :) Last weekend it was a gorgeous Sunday morning in town and we went shark hunting... found 3!

Then we swam out to the channel marker buoy and climbed up on it which just made us feel goofy. But it was a great day.

This past weekend a similar group got together for a long ocean swim on the east side. Usually wind comes from the east so east side swims are super choppy, but Saturday was another no-wind day so the ocean was as nice and calm as ever... We set out to do a long-ish swim around Kailua Bay but as always the plans were fairly loose and we were sort of making up the route as we went.

Our start point was sort of at the top of this picture (above) and our first goal was to get around that Flat Island and back... But we got to the back side of Flat Island in ~35' and decided that wasn't long enough so we kept going to Lanikai Beach and figured we'd make a call about what to do from there. It was only ~15' more to get to Lanikai. So we were 50' in and "group think" with 8 swimmers made coming to a decision about what to do a bit of a challenge. Lectie and I were ready to head back the way we came which would have given us a respectable ~7K swim, but a few of the more hard core swimmers were enticed by the idea of going out to the Mokes... which would add ~an hour to our already long swim... Um, well... It was true that the conditions were picture perfect and this is where we were looking at going so we kinda shrugged our shoulders and said OK let's go! And off we went.

Swimming out to the island was just as nice as any swimming anywhere could be... we saw several GIANT turtles and once we landed on the island we saw some friends and a monk seal which was cool. Of course then we were facing the daunting task of swimming back to where we started. We didn't have an escort or anything with us and we were starting to get thirsty so we decided rather than swimming straight back, we'd take  break at the boat ramp where we could drink some water.

My 'low point' came from ~1:40-2:00 into this swim as we were trying to get to the damn boat ramp and I had that quote from The Albatross in my head Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink... Started to get a bit pissy and couldn't really talk to anyone just get me to the damn water fountain already... Funny how quickly a mood can deteriorate when one becomes FIXATED on needing water. So after ~2 hours of swimming we finally landed at the boat ramp and rushed out to the showers were I just stood with my mouth open letting the fresh water rush down my throat. It was glorious. Of course then we were all quite tired and thinking about just walking the 2 miles back along the beach instead of swimming... by this time a ton of beach goers were out in the park BBQing and the food smelled SO GOOD (cruel, really) and then this guy went walking by with a case of root beer and we all just gazed longingly at that root beer thinking it looked like some sort of nectar of the gods...

Just as we were about to take off we heard our friend Marcy calling out to us "Hey you guys want these donuts?!?" Like an angel from heaven, Marcy showed up with a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and offered them to us! I think we all just sort of closed our eyes and let that sugar melt in our mouths. A donut has never actually tasted better. Poor Brad was already in Bonktown USA so he ate 3 of those things before he could even take a breath... But as you may know, sugar can be a magic mood booster in a scenario like this and those donuts allowed us to get back in and swim the final stretch across the bay... For many of us this was in the area of longest swim ever but it felt great to finish and then Ryan's wife Bonnie had prepared this absolutely amazing brunch buffet for us all. I would have taken a picture but we chowed it all down too fast!

Anyway, this kind of training is so much fun... Lucky we live Hawaii! And that we can find so many awesome friends who like to do what we do...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Let Them Be Chickens...

Well I'm happy to report that a week later, Hila and Hae are still alive and seemed to have figured out that my backyard is a pretty good place to live. :)

I'll be honest- I was worried in the first day or two that they would freak out and go hide somewhere and never come back, but it seems that the abundance of food in the yard is enough to keep drawing them back. I've learned a few lessons this past week- mostly that wild chickens are simply wild chickens and they'll pretty much do what they want. In good news, their instincts to survive are quite strong and even though my 3 domesticated chickens tend to chase them around a bit, Hila and Hae have not been deterred by that little nuisance.

Last week I wrote that I was worried about how I was going to train them to go into the coop at night with my other girls. Well, I've given up on that. It's not going to happen. I did see Hila start to check out the coop the other evening... she scoped it out as a potential place to roost but then opted against it. Next she checked out the fig tree... hopping from branch to branch but again opted against it. I think the fig tree doesn't have enough leaves coverage for them to feel safe? And they haven't flown into the neighbor's plumeria tree for a while. Last time they tried that the big dog saw them and barked like mad and that was enough to scare them right back into my yard. So it seems the avocado tree has become the favored place to roost each night and that is fine with me! I actually think it is super cool that they like that tree. Plus, I can easily see them from my bedroom window.

The most interesting thing to me is how one of my pet chickens, White, watches every move Hila and Hae make. It seems clear that she wants to emulate them, so I wasn't surprised the other night when she followed them into the tree at dusk. It was like somehow they sparked a reminder to her that she is a CHICKEN and that chickens are supposed to roost in trees.

So for two nights now White has slept in that tree with Hila and Hae. Elsa is my other white one and she's been watching as well... last night I thought she was going to make the leap... she thought about it and almost did, but in the end chickened out and went into the coop with Ellie.

I posted something to the BackYard Chickens Facebook page about how my girls were opting to roost in the tree at night vs the coop. One guy replied that I should lock them up and clip their wings.. Um, thanks for the suggestion buddy but I think I'll go ahead and let my chickens be chickens. That's why I keep them after all... to (hopefully) give them an opportunity to have a better life than being locked up and unable to fly.

In other news, my cats could care less about the chickens.

But they do have a pretty good life...

Enough about the animals. Things are good with me too. I've given up the pursuit of the Honolulu marathon this year. None of my long runs had been going well, and then I got sick last week which eliminated running altogether, and that seemed like the final straw. I am sure I could get through that marathon ok but not in a way that would actually feel satisfying so it didn't seem worth it. So right now I'm pretty much just doing some off-season type work- spending time in the weight room, addressing quickness and agility issues, etc. My swim volume has gone up a bit though b/c I've still got the Double Roughwater coming up in December. I'm on a little swim bender right now swimming every day recently and I like that. I think I'll end up with ~26K this week and I'm handling it fine.

Lastly, if I play this game tomorrow I think I'll end up quite drunk.