Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Couch To Ironman

Well folks, it looks like I've got an exciting and fulfilling year of coaching ahead of me. I'm thinking I should dub 2011 as The Year of Couch To Ironman... as it appears I will be guiding 4 first time Ironman athletes into the world of long distance training and racing. Not that they are all just now getting off the couch, but one of 'em kind of is...

Nalani and Andrew and Matt and I are all going to Couer d' Alene, and just today my newbie athlete Scott got off the couch and sent me this picture via text.

Watch out for Nalani... though CdA will be her Ironman Debut, she's got several seasons under her belt and a great half ironman this past year at Honu... she's going to out together a super solid Ironman. Just you watch.

Andrew is going to be a blast to coach. Our joke is that he's only 25 so he doesn't need recovery like the rest of us old folks... Lol. Just you wait, Andrew. Next May you're going to be begging for recovery days and weeks. ;) My job with Andrew is really to harness to his energy and excitement and steer him in the right direction at the right time.

Matt is on the other end of the spectrum... at 50+ years old, he's going to need a good bit more recovery than Andrew will... And possibly a little more prodding to get out the door. My job with Matt will be to get him to the start line injury free and in shape to finish strong with a smile and his hands in the air.

And then there's Scott... Scott is my newbie triathlete who I think I told you about previously. He was a close friend of mine in high school (we were on the same swim team) and thanks to Facebook we've been back in touch. Scott and his wife just completed their first sprint triathlon a few weeks ago... They have jumped right in and embraced the triathlon lifestyle and Scott fully admits that he is HOOKED. He'd been hinting about wanting to do an Ironman... Since he lives in Louisville I told him to go watch the race on Sunday so he would understand a bit better what Ironman is all about. He watched some people complete it successfully while others were pulled from the course. He sent me text messages and pictures all day and said he'd been tearing up just watching those athletes and has never been so inspired. He ran with several of them for a few miles here and there encouraging them to keep going...

I told Scott to hold off on signing up until we talked... I just wanted to hear it in his voice and also, of course, wanted to make sure he understood the level of commitment and training that this next year would require. (Of course, the first person I spoke with was his wife and I got her blessing!) We talked for an hour yesterday afternoon and I did not sugar coat the process... or the expectations on race day... but Scott was unwavering and now he's signed up for Louisville 2011!

So this morning I spent my entire run thinking about these athletes and how I want to train them and how their plans will differ based upon their backgrounds and lives and all... I have to say, I am completely obsessed with helping these athletes achieve their dreams. And the best part? Getting a text from Scott that said, "You have helped change the course of my life; I hope you know that." That felt almost as good as watching Moana poop in the toilet.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


When you become a parent, suddenly you get all excited about little things you never would have thought you'd care about at all.

She sat up by herself!

She rolled over!

She laughed!

She said 'mama'!

And they're really, truly, a big deal. To you. Nobody else really cares. That said, if you're not my mom, you probably won't care about this post so feel free to skip it.

It's amazing to me how much Moana matures every day. I took her to the beach this afternoon and the tide was coming in and the waves were a bit bigger than normal. Not like scary big- it's still a very kid friendly beach- but it wasn't like a lake like it normally is. Anyway, Moana was in heaven! She was getting pummeled by these little white water waves washing over her face and came up laughing every time. Then she went and rolled herself in the sand until she was a complete sand monster and we had to go rinse her off again. Anyway...

Tonight after dinner I actually gave her a choice... bath or shower? Most nights we give her a bath but sometimes if I have to take a shower too I just bring her in with me. Tonight was the first time I actually asked her to make a decision. She chose shower. Fine.

Afterward I was drying her off and she started patting the toilet and said "potty".

At this point I should go back and say that I have not pushed the potty training thing with her at all yet. She does have a couple of potty training books that she likes because you can push the buttons and make the flushing sound, and Elmo is there wearing big kid underpants and saying "Hooray!" which is now one of Moana's favorite words. (You should see her- so freakin' cute when she throws her hands in the air and yelps, "hooray!") Anyway, that's as far as we've gotten with the potty training. She's not even two and I'm not in a huge rush at all.

Back to tonight... so she said 'potty' and I wasn't sure if she was just telling me that she knows the toilet is called the potty, or if she actually wanted/needed to go and was willing to do it on the big porcelain perch. Because sometimes she says "banana" while pointing to a banana... so I would peel the banana because I assumed her naming it meant that she wanted to eat it, when in fact she was just naming it.

So I asked her, "Moana, do you want to use the potty?" And she responded, "Yeah. Ok." which is her most recent way of saying yes.

So I sat her on the potty- the big one- because I haven't even bought a little kid friendly seat for her yet and she just hung out there for a few minutes doing nothing. She wasn't unhappy on the potty so I just let her sit there... but then I was unsure of what to do next? (I have not read any books on potty training yet b/c like I said, I'm not quite ready.) Anyway, guess who went poo poo in the potty??? I was so surprised. And honestly, I think Moana was too because she looked down at it as it was coming out of her and started to cry. She said, "scary!"

Another one of Moana's new words is scary. All of a sudden she is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. And she's pretty much afraid of anything that moves by itself, like a remote control car or an oscillating fan.

So I guess it makes sense that she would be afraid of her poop. It does sort of move by itself, doesn't it? She saw it coming out of her tonight, and I guess when you poop in a diaper you don't really know what it coming out of you... I mean, it's not like I've ever had her look at her stinky diapers...

This might be TMI. Sorry.

Moving on. I was like a proud peacock after she did that! I showed her how to flush the toilet which I think she thought was cool. Then the best part was that after she was all cleaned up and diaper on, she went to her Elmo potty book and pushed the hooray button so Elmo said "HOORAY!" and then she came back and said, "wash hands"... because the book says that you always wash your hands after you use the potty... She's a smart one, my little daughter!

Anyway, the thing that struck me most was how incredibly proud of her I was. Can you even imagine what I'll be like at her first swim meet? Or when she stands up on a surf board for the first time? Or rides a bike without training wheels? Oh my. These are the moments when you're just so so so glad you are a parent. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Have A Short Memory

All week we've had a big debate about where to swim this morning. Our pool is closed now most Fridays (thanks to budget cuts and furlows of city workers, which includes lifeguards) so that's why we've been going to the ocean on Friday mornings. I was hesitant about going back in the ocean though after that nasty man-o-war wrapping I got last week... The welt is pretty much gone but it has left a semi-permanent looking mark... Add to that Mark telling us earlier this week about the recent shark siting at this particular beach and that was IT for me, I wasn't getting back in that water no matter what. Mark was like, "OH it was just a little black tip reef shark..." and I was like, "Yeah, just a little black tip reef shark..."

Given our limited hours available to swim (i.e. early mornings only), our only other logical choice to swim was at one of the military bases that has a longcourse yards pool. Yep. Longcourse yards. Weird, huh? We swam there once a couple weeks ago when our pool was closed for a full week and we needed a pool... it's open super early which is nice, except that it actually means a wake up at 4:30 AM, meet to carpool to the pool at 5:00, arrive to swim 5:30-6:30, home by 7:00. The home by 7 is awesome, the wake up at 4:30 is not. I'm okay with doing that every once in a while, but not on a regular basis and not when I'm just getting over being sick.

So the choice was, wake up at 4:30 and swim where we can be sure we won't get stung/eaten by ocean creatures, or sleep an extra hour and risk it. In the end, sleep won out and we chose to risk it. I suppose I could have just skipped the swim altogether, but given that I have not been training all week I'm starting to go a little nutso and thinking about the half ironman I'm going to do in 2 weeks, well, I'm starting to get antsy about the lack of training time I have put in... I don't feel deathly sick anymore so I got up to swim and risk death that way.

We actually walked down the beach a bit looking for man-o-war that had been washed up on shore. I totally should have done that last week because after my sting while I was walking back along the beach I saw TONS of man-o-war in the sand. From now on I'll be more aware of that as a sign to stay out of the water... this morning we walked for a bit and saw none so after a bit of chit chat about the craziness that we will endure next June at the Couer d' Alene swim start, we dove in and swam.

It really wasn't bad this morning at all. I did feel a man-o-war tentacle wrap around my left wrist at one point, but it must have just been a broken off piece because while it stung, it didn't throw me into shock or anything. Pretty minor. Last week I read all about man-o-war (I googled it while driving home because I wanted to know if it was going to actually kill me.... in retrospect the fact that I was googling anything while driving home would have more likely been my cause of death) and learned that after their tentacles break off they can still sting for up to 24 hours. The one I got today must have broken off yesterday because while the sting was there, it wasn't too bad. The bumps are just now starting to come out on my wrist and itch.

And the water was totally murky for whatever reason this morning so we didn't see any sharks. I guess that doesn't mean they didn't see us. Lol.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SAHM Again... For A Few Days Anyway

This will probably be pretty random because I'm not thinking entirely coherently at the moment.

I'm feeling a little better. Thanks for all your well wishes. This virus is a nasty one though. I was thinking today that I almost have some respect for it... well, as much as you could possibly have "respect" for a virus. I guess I just sort of admire its tenacity. It is just Not. Letting. Go. I told it today though that I will beat it. I actually said it out loud. I will beat you. This virus is not going to ultimately win against me. It is tenacious for sure. And I respect that. But I am tougher and I will outlast it.

Unfortunately I think it's going to keep playing with me for several more days.

In good news, I feel well enough to work and play with Moana and cook dinner and clean the house and all that. So I'm not dragging around the house like I was all weekend and earlier this week. However, being well enough to live your life does not automatically make one well enough to train. Training really requires 100% wellness and I am just not there yet. I tried running this morning anyway... first run in 9 days... that is depressing. I ran 4 miles. No watch. This was the kind of run that you really don't want to worry about your pace. I could just feel that my body was weak. My breathing is not right and I couldn't have picked up the pace if a tiger was chasing me. So that was that.

Moana's daycare was closed today and will be again tomorrow, so I've got her home with me all day. I knew this was coming so I busted my butt trying to get all (most anyway) of my work done for the week in the first 3 days so I could relax a bit and just be SAHM again for a couple days with her. So we had fun today. I am amazed at just how much she has matured lately. She is 22 months old today, and she's becoming such a cute and fun little buddy to hang out with. She mimics *everything* Scott and I do/say. Which sometimes is ok and super cute. Other times, well, Scott and I need to watch what we say. The other day Scott was watching soccer on TV... it was a weekend review show so they were showing all the best goals and saves so even if you weren't watching the TV you could repeatedly hear the crowd go wild and the commentators raise their voices in excitement... and then Scott would burst out, "Oh my God!" at a particularly amazing goal.

So what does Moana do? She's not even watching, but she's running circles around the couch and every time she hears the commentators start to get animated, she screeches, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Clearly *somebody* needs to watch his language and hold in his excitement a bit better when a ball finds its way past a goalie and into a net.

I know my mom didn't like that last story but she'll like this one... Moana is also big into playing 'dress up' now. She really wants to wear all sorts of clothes and shoes- mostly mine. This afternoon we were hanging out in her room and she found a top in her closet that my mom forgot and left here on her last visit. She insisted on putting it on. She said, "mommy's shirt" and I told her no, it's Grammy's shirt. So she was running around the room in it saying, "I wear Grammy's shirt!"

This morning I took Moana with me into town... we called on one of my accounts there and then headed to the beach. It was a different beach that I've never taken her to previously, just because it's not super close to our house... but it is an ideal place for little kids because it's protected, has super shallow water for a wider area than normal, and there are no waves at all. Of course she was all about it... "OOOOOOOH!!! OCEAN!" She exclaims... Lest you feel sorry for me for still being sick, here's a video of my morning with my little cutie pie.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bearing Fruit

Finishing up Day 6 over here of Deep Hacking Cough and Solid Yellow Phlegm. I've given up all hope that I will wake up tomorrow and feel 100%. This virus is like a sticky booger... hanging on for dear life. I do feel a little bit better with each passing day, but the improvement is so very gradual that the best I can hope for is just that- to feel a bit better. At some point I'll be back to 100% but it may not be before the weekend.

Scott is in the same boat. His is actually a little worse than mine, and therefore the sound of Deep Hacking Cough is pervasive throughout the house.

I'm disappointed to be missing out on the last of my planned key training sessions last week and now again this week... with 2 big (in my mind anyway) races coming up in the next few weeks the timing of this isn't great, but what can I do? Every time I get sick like this I just think about how glad I am that I am not a professional at triathlon*, trying to make a living based upon being 100% healthy all the time. Because sometimes you just get sick. And, well, if I was depending on a race performance to earn money to pay the mortgage or something, well, that would just make this virus even tougher to deal with.

Enough of that. Guess what? My coaching business is bearing fruit. Literally! Check out the awesome bonus payments I got from a couple of my athletes... Straight from Nalani's tree... these apple bananas need a few more days to ripen, but once they do... yum yum!

And Mark has a tree in his yard that apparently spits out hundreds of perfect lilikois every August... he gave me like 15 of them yesterday.
Cut one of these babies open and you get this... an awesome combination of sweet and tart that is just plain old mouth watering. I mixed this up with yogurt and a bit of granola for breakfast this morning... YUM YUM!

*NOT that I think I could or should be a pro... oh my. NO. Just making the point that pros have it so tough when they have to depend on something so fleeting (like being physically healthy) to make a living when sometimes that is just flat out not within our control, you know?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Am Not A Couch Dweller

Day 4 of being sick. Ugh. One thing I've learned this weekend: I am not a couch dweller.

Scott and I both got struck by the same virus on the same day... and while I feel bad blaming my perfect little toddler for this, well, I'm blaming my perfect little toddler for this. I'm sure it's not the last time she'll take the blame for bringing the plague into this house either.

So for several days (since Thursday now) we've all been hacking and coughing. Moana is probably taking it the best. Amazing how little kids can be sick and you hear them coughing up a storm but it does not seem to affect their well being? She's still full of energy and ready to go go go. Men, on the other hand, turn into little babies when they're sick... we all knew this, right? Lots of drama and moaning if they are required to move from the couch for any reason. While Scott can hang out on the couch watching The History Channel all weekend, I myself, cannot.

I knew when I woke up this morning that this virus was still with me- it has invaded the deepest portion on my lungs and I feel it with every breath- but the thought of spending another day on the couch was overwhelmingly depressing. I do feel a bit better today so I think I'm on the upswing, and used that as my rationale for getting out on my bike for a little while this morning. I rode for a little over an hour... a glorious hour. I don't think I made myself any better (physically) by doing that, but I don't think I made myself any worse. And my mental state is better for the rest of the day so I'm glad I did it.

I have been a nut about my nutrition the last few days. I always eat pretty well, but since I've been sick I've been ALL ABOUT fruits and vegetables and other foods that are reported to boost your immune system. I do think that is quite helpful in bringing us back to health quicker, and I think it's working, because while Scott only had energy to watch something about WWII on TV, I felt up for taking Moana to the park to feed the ducks. She was mildly interested in the ducks, but what she was really interested in were the flowers. Flowers flowers flowers everywhere. The most often heard sentence around here lately is, "I want the pretty flower!" See?

I should take a cue from her. We could all stop and smell the flowers a little more, no?

Though it's probably not necessary to wear a helmet while doing so. Shhh. Don't tell Moana. I think it is exceedingly cute that she wants to wear her helmet all the time.

So check this out... I had to take a picture of this beautiful welt I got from that man-o-war on Friday morning. Sweet, huh? The pic is from 24 hours later. It actually doesn't hurt anymore, but the welt has still not disappeared.

I hope you all enjoyed the picture of my armpit.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here's Hoping I'm Out Of Bad Luck Now

Bad things happen in threes, right? I hope so. Because that would mean I'm all done with my bad luck now and should have a decent weekend.

First was Wednesday. I told you about that. Not a terrible bike crash but my left hip still hurts a good bit (all superficial but still- can't touch it at all without wincing). On Thursday I woke up and realized that my bike frame must have hit the inside of my quad when I fell because I've got a sore spot there... and the outside of my ankle hurts too.

I didn't run yesterday like I wanted to. I kind of knew my hip wasn't going to allow it but held out hope until I woke up and made the official call. Though even without the hip pain I couldn't have run anyway b/c I woke up with that sick feeling in my throat... coughed up some solid yellow phelgm (yum) and went back to bed. Did much of nothing yesterday and was bored out of my mind but knew that it was for the best. I'm not a fan of trying to train through illness. I'd rather just get better and then train 100% than work out several more days and end up with a more serious 3 week lingering thing. Still though, I'm not a fan of doing nothing so it wasn't a great day yesterday.

I was hoping I'd feel better today. I'm not any worse, maybe just a hair better, but definitely not 100%. I ignored my 'No Training When Sick' rule and went to the ocean anyway. I figured I'd just swim for like 30 minutes and wouldn't push the pace and convinced myself that moving around in the ocean might actually be somewhat healing. And it might have been, except that I got NAILED by a giant live man-o-war. Holy cow this one was 10x worse than last week. I think last week I just swam through bits of broken tentacles... today I got the full on treatment.
Immediately the shock was excruciating and I screamed under water, though nobody heard me. I got out even earlier than I'd planned because I just felt horrible all over. The welt across my left armpit/shoulder/back is at least 12 inches long and the one that goes across my left hip makes my right hip pain seem like nothing. I was nauseous driving home and thought about just driving myself straight to the ER to see if there was some sort of anti-venom treatment they could do for me. Instead I went to Safeway and got some Benadryl and took that right away.

Now I still feel sort of sick (low energy, which is really not like me at all), and have equal pain in both hips, and am going to go lay on the couch and do nothing until I feel 100% better. These episodes are good to experience once in a while because it'll really make me appreciate being healthy and 'on'. It's been a long time since I've felt so physically useless.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bike Crashes

I took a little spill this morning on my bike... Ugh. It's nothing too serious, but I'm in enough pain that I skipped my ride and think there's a chance I won't be able to train at all for a few days.

I rode my bike to the pool, had a great swim, then got back on my bike to do a longer ride. Just as I was riding out of the pool parking lot I turned too sharply (and too fast) around the corner and my wheel just slipped right out from under me. I landed squarely on my right hip and slid across the pavement. A quick assessment and I knew I would be fine, but I'm surprised how much it hurts already! I just rode straight home instead of doing the ride I was planning... cleaned the cuts on my elbow and hip and am now icing in an attempt to reduce the swelling and bruising that is surely to come. I think I'm gonna have a bruise about 4" wide on my hip when I wake up tomorrow morning.

It got me thinking about bike crashes... and how many I've had. Not that many I think, given the miles I've ridden. 15 years of riding... last year I rode 5,000+ miles but I haven't average that for the whole 15 years... but let's say 3,000 miles a year as a (very) conservative estimate and that's 45,000+ miles of riding. And this is really only my 5th crash. Well, 5th if you don't count the inevitable I just learned how to ride my bike with clipless pedals and forgot that my feet were attached to my pedals when I came to that stop sign and I fell right over crash. If you count that one, today would make #6. But I don't count that one. That's like a right of passage or something.

Anyway, the first one happened in AZ. I was riding in a paceline with a group of friends and we were pushing rather hard. I was third in the line and the guy pulling sat up and backed off the pace without giving us warning... I accelerated right into the wheel in front of me and went straight down. The guy riding behind me actually rode straight OVER me so that was a nice little bonus to that crash. I still have some of the road stuck in my elbow from that crash. It wasn't too bad though. I got up and finished the ride, and then felt much worse (read: sore) the following day. (And btw, later that same year I was riding with the same group and we had a similar crash... only this time I didn't go down.. instead I rode right over Bill, who was the guy who rode over me in the first crash. We laughed about how I'd been planning my revenge. Lol. Payback.)

The next one was kind of a dumb one. I was out riding alone (here in Hawaii) and came to a huge puddle in the road. (Obviously it had been raining pretty hard). The puddle was big and I knew there were potholes in the road and I didn't want to crash so I slowed WAY down to ride through this deep puddle. The funny thing was, I crashed bc I slowed down TOO MUCH. My front wheel went right into a pothole that I couldn't see and it stopped me right in my tracks because I was going so slowly and I fell right over. No bodily damage, though my ego was bruised a bit as I lay there in the middle of that mud puddle.

The next one involved a car, though I don't know if you could call it a crash because I didn't actually go down. I was riding alone again here in Hawaii and was minding my own business, in the shoulder of the road, when a car came from behind me and just ran me right off the road! I was on my TT bike and in my aero bars and felt his side view mirror on my left triceps... he actually drove into the grass and pushed me off the road in the process. I was completely freaked out. I swear I thought he was trying to kill me... so when he stopped and got out of his car to come back and ask if I was ok, my brain went into protection mode and I told him to stay the hell away from me! I actually asked him, "Are you trying to kill me????" while basically screaming at him... In the end I was fine. I ended up with a flat tire and a cut on the back of my arm from his mirror, but that was it.

Then came the most serious one. I was riding alone (seems like I'm almost always alone when I crash? Hmmm.) in Ohio... I had just done the Greater Cleveland Triathlon (1/2 IM) and I won the whole thing overall so I was on this little high... 2 days later I was out riding a 50ish mile loop (I was training for Kona- 9 weeks out I think) and the whole time was thinking that these roads weren't super safe to ride on... no shoulders at all and not a ton of traffic, which meant the cars were going pretty fast when they did go by... anyway, I made it through the most dangerous roads no problem and then got back pretty close to my mom's house and decided to take the longer route through the neighborhoods instead of the most direct route which would keep me on a busy main road. I specifically thought to myself, "I'll take these roads because they'll be safer..." Well wouldn't you know it? On this nice sleepy neighborhood road, some car drove up from behind me and totally sideswiped me... I don't remember much of the actual accident but I did look up and see that the car just drove off. Ugh. Some people in their yards saw the accident and called 911... I ended up in an ambulance going to the hospital... again don't remember much of this. Ended up with a broken hand and a concussion and a very sorely bruised body for quite some time. I was stressed about all this because I had Kona coming up and didn't want to miss the training time... but I was back on my bike in about 2 weeks. I had a hard time shifting with my left hand for a while because of that broken hand, but I managed somehow and eventually got all healed up.

Anyway, except for that last one, all my accidents have been pretty minor, which I guess makes me pretty lucky. It does make you stop and think about this sport we're involved in, but I have to say, even after falling again today, I think the risk is worth the reward because (most of the time) I just really enjoy riding my bike. Here's to a safe rest of the year on two wheels... of course, I've only got a few rides left in 2010... so I'm gonna try to keep the rubber on the road for those and then it's all good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Collecting Data

And let the marathon training begin!

Ok, well, almost. Today was the first 'race' in the Marathon Readiness Series. Basically, we have 5 running races every fall that are meant to prepare runners for the Honolulu Marathon in December. The 15K was today, then the distance goes up by 5K every couple weeks, maxing out at 30K like 7 weeks prior to the marathon.

I should start by telling you that my goal is to run 3:30 at Honolulu. And just saying that is a bit crazy to me. If I'm honest, I'll admit that this is an ambitious goal for me, but why set goals if they are not ambitious?

I vividly remember sitting on my friends couch several years ago and talking about running... were we talking about marathons and running times, etc and I said, "Oh I could never run a 3:40 marathon..." His response? "You're right you can't. You know how I know that? Because you think you can't."

I kind of thought he was crazy for telling me that... In my head I was thinking... you just don't know me that well.. I'm just not a good runner... blah blah blah... But I've never forgotten that conversation.

So fast forward to today and here I am shooting for 3:30. 10 minutes faster than I said I could never do. Never say never. :)

Anyway, having read several books that I really like on running and marathon training, I feel like I've got a pretty good idea of how I want to train. And my plan is to use each of these Readiness Series races as opportunities to run marathon pace for increasing distances as the months go by. The idea is that I need to gain confidence running 8:00 pace, since that is marathon pace. But I'll be honest. I haven't done a lot of running at 8:00 pace. Haven't done a ton of tempo training at all yet, really. I've got plenty of miles at 8:45ish pace, and have been at the track pretty consistently running 7:00ish pace there... but marathon pace? Not much (yet).

So my goal today was to run 8:00 pace for 9 miles. I wore my HR monitor, but more for collecting data than anything else. I wanted to be keenly aware of what 8:00 pace felt like... how hard is the effort? How high is my HR at that effort? Would it drift ever higher as the miles ticked by? This was a perfect opportunity to find out since it was a 'race' situation and the miles were marked and there were a couple of aid stations along the way to help us out... And it was on some of the same roads as the Marathon course.

After a short (read: not enough) warm up jog, Nalani and I took off cruising when the gun went off. The last thing I wanted to do was make the mistake of taking it out too fast but of course then we erred on the side of too slow. Came through the first mile at 8:15. Whoops. Though I'll be totally honest, it wasn't as 'easy' as I'd hoped... 8:15 pace felt like <8:00 pace for sure and that was not a good sign. And on top of it, there was this Heavy Breather Guy wheezing right behind me with every step. I mean, it was LOUD. Out of control. Everyone else around us was cruising in control, and this guy sounded like he was trying to break the world record in the first 3 minutes. At one point I actually turned around and shot him a look that clearly said, "You're driving me NUTS with that breathing..." I didn't mean to look so mean, but oh my he was like full on sprinting. And had a lollypop in his mouth. Yep.

Here's some free coaching advice: Don't start off sprinting when you are running 9+ miles. And, um, don't race with a lollypop in your mouth.

He actually said something about how he is a 'heavy breather', and I was just thinking, Yep. We are ALL heavy breathers when we're running 2 min/mile faster than we are actually capable of... I knew that eventually we were going to lose this guy and tried to shift my irritation into curiosity about how long he was going to be able to run 8:15 pace? Well, we had to run up and over Diamond Head in mile 2 and that was the end of Heavy Breather Guy. Phew. But crap. 8:24. Are you kidding me? Nalani was still right beside me and sort of smirked when she looked at her watch... I just shook my head and thought that I was full of crap for ever thinking I could run 8:00 for a whole marathon. I couldn't even do it in the first 2 miles of this measly 15K! Ugh. I suck. Marathon goal out the window... blah blah blah.

My HR was not very high. Perceived effort told me I was right where I needed to be, but HR was on the low side and pace was a good bit slower than I was shooting for. I was 40 seconds in the hole after only 2 miles! Grrrr. But mile 3 was a bit downhill and we hit it in 7:59. Ok, that's more like it, but it was downhill. I still thought I was screwed.

But then something magical happened. How about this? I was warmed up! Hit mile 4 at 7:53. Perfect. That's better. Mile 5... I felt like a machine and ticked off the steps... 7:46. Mile 6... legs were just clicking over... 7:37! HR was still just fine but increasing a few beats and I reminded myself that my goal today was not to take myself to the wall, it was to run MP for 9 miles. I was still with Nalani, though I could tell she was just itching to GO. She looked at me and said, "Can I go now?" And with a smile I set her free. It was like letting a puppy off its leash at the beach... she just took off! I backed off a bit and settled back into my 8ish min pace. Back uphill a bit 8:07. Uphill some more 8:08. Last mile down some 7:39. I felt steady and rock solid and came across the finish line with a big smile and feeling totally in control. Avg pace for the 15K was 7:59. Perfect.

In his book, "Run", Matt Fitzgerald talks about how we need to have confidence in our ability to run race pace... but not just mental/emotional confidence... but actually creating Physical Confidence by physically running race pace at distances increasing ever closer to goal distance. Showing our brains that our bodies are capable of running X miles at X pace... then come race day you don't need a bunch of magic or luck... you just need to go execute what you've been practicing. I totally subscribe to this idea. And today I proved to myself that I could stay in control while running MP for 9 miles... I'll build up a bit more in training and then try it for 15 miles next month.

Truth be told, I'm looking forward to letting my bike collect some dust while I focus on running this fall... but that'll have to wait another 4 weeks... I have some business I want to take care of on the bike and in triathlon in the next 3-4 weeks. After that, it's all about the Run. ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

It Only Took Her A Minute And A Half!

I am feeling all itchy. Red welts are starting to appear on my arms and legs and chest and back. This is how I react to man-o-war stings. It takes about 12 hours after the initial sting for the welts to show up. And then they itch like mad. Should be fun trying to sleep tonight.

I should back up. This morning I swam with my gang in the ocean. Great swim in choppy conditions. I like choppy water because I have an easier time keeping up with Brett and Nalani. They kill me in the pool... and when the ocean is calm I usually can't even draft, but when it's super-chop, well, that's my thang. I can hang when its super-chop. So I was having fun this morning doing intervals along the buoy line in Kailua. Remember how last week I was all relieved that I didn't get stung when just about everyone else in my group did? Well wouldn't you know it... the ocean has a way of making everything 'right'... because the two of us who didn't get sting last week were the two that DID get stung this morning.

OW OW OW!!! When you swim into a man-o-war you can feel the tentacle and its usually quite long, which means you get all wrapped up in it. It kind of feels like you're being shocked... it's been a while since I've been stung but this morning I felt a shock wave zap through my whole body. I didn't have to stop swimming or anything (in fact I think I sped up temporarily due to the shock!). After a few minutes the pain pretty much goes away, and then returns as itchy red welts about 12 hours later. Nalani described my incident as a 'full body blessing' this morning. She is always so positive.

Moving on... a few weeks ago I posted on FB that Moana was trying to copy me and use chopsticks to eat her dinner. I let her try. It was pretty funny. She actually had a bit of success when she used them as a stabbing tool, but then she figured out that she could bang on her high chair with them like drum sticks so that was the end of dinner that night.

After that post, Regina's son sent Moana a thoughtful gift. You can watch her opening it here. (Sorry the quality isn't great here... I shot it on my iPhone.)

I figured this was Regina's attempt to get back at me for some of the crazy workouts I tell her to do. Because if you have (or have ever had) a toddler, you know how they react when they want to be able to perform a task but cannot actually perform said task... oh my. I was sure we were going to be in for an evening full of whine. Regina asked specifically for a video of Moana using them while trying to eat. I was in the process of sauteeing garbanzo beans and I thought that would make quite a funny first attempt with these chopsticks.

And yes, sometimes we let Moana eat dinner while in her swing on the patio. But check it out! She does exceedingly well I think for her first attempt.

I swear I wasn't planning on timing her as she ate with these things... it's like a reflex or something with me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Power Of Suggestion

Just finished a beer. A celebratory beer. What's the celebration, you ask? Well, Mama just entered her 10th Ironman!

It's amazing how these things come about... the other day I got a phone call from a triathlete... the husband of one of my good friends and training partners from Arizona. He said he wanted me to train him to do IM Coeur d Alene next summer. Ok. Can do. Then his wife posts on FB that she is in too! Theresa and I did Brazil together in 2002 and Canada in 2003.... or maybe it was the other way around? I can't remember. I'm too old and have had a beer already. Regardless, a long long time ago we traveled to foreign countries together and did Ironman races. Then we traveled around afterward and had a blast. Fun times.

Anyway, Theresa started bugging me about doing it too... this is how it always starts...

I dismissed the idea at first... of course... not interested. But then I started thinking about it... the timing of the race is pretty good... I've never been to Idaho... the race is still open... I hear it's a great course...

So what did I do? I tried to talk Nalani into it too. I put a little bug in her ear (or a post on her facebook page) and told her to chew on it.

Then I casually mentioned it to Scott. Just to get a feel for whether or not her would freak out or be open to the idea. He immediately started talking about renting a motorhome and exploring Yellowstone afterward with Moana. (It appeared that he was open.) I was 70% in. Now I just needed Nalani.

And wouldn't you know it? All Nalani really needed was the suggestion... at first I think she sort of dismissed it... but then she got to thinking... and then she flew it by her husband, who apparently said YES ten different times in ten different ways...

SO, tonight was the night... we texted the whole time and did it together. Opened a couple of beers... filled out the little forms... texted back and forth about what interesting facts we should write about ourselves (I told Nalani she should write that it took her two beers before she would fill out this form)... and hit ENTER. So now we're in. Ironman #1 for Nalani. Ironman #10 for me!

The owner of Coffees of Hawaii (my boss who I've never met) has done the race 7 years in a row and he'll be back next year for #8... Maybe we can talk him into getting us COH race gear to wear while we're there... Are you reading this, Albert? Dress us up! Lol.

Anyway, I think it's interesting how the power of suggestion works (note my little message to Albert, above)... a week ago this was not even a blip on my radar. And now I'm a confirmed entrant. Sometimes all it takes is someone to suggest an idea to you, and the rest takes care of itself.

When You Come To A Fork In The Road And Have To Decide Which Way To Go, Go Up

We arrived home from our weekend on Moloka'i last night. What a treat to get to spend a quiet weekend away on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I have to say... one of the best parts was showing Moana the stars. She has seen stars in books and pictures, but between her 7PM bedtime and the clouds that typically cover our Windward Oahu skies, she doesn't get to see real stars too often. And in my 36 years on this planet I'm not sure I've ever seen stars like what we saw on Sunday night. It was magnificent. We hung out with Moana in the yard at the plantation house we stayed in and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her while she stared into outer space with her mouth gaped wide open. I'm not sure I've ever felt so small and insignificant as I did that night. It was just amazing.

So Sunday morning we woke up dark and early and drove off to the race start. Did I mention this was an 'Island Style' race? Truly. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to when it was supposed to start (before the race director got there, lol) and wondered if we were in the right place because the only other people at the park were the locals who had camped there the night before. But eventually Sue (race director) arrived and the other runners did too. All three of them. One gal who also works at COH and two of the race directors kids. It was a highly competitive field. Ha!

Before we began Sue spent some time describing the course to me... up up up, water jugs every 1.5 miles where we could stop and fill out bottles if we wanted.... up up up... Her directions were best summed up when she said this, "When You Come To A Fork In The Road And Have To Decide Which Way To Go, Go Up".

She did say that after about 6 miles we would turn left and actually start going down. 3 dips, she said, over the last 2 miles... down and up and down and up and down and up and then you're done. That didn't sound too hard. Except that meant we would reach 3700ft in the first 6 miles. That sounded hard.

I should stop and give you a little background on Sue... Sue grew up in Alaska... competed in the 1992 Olympics in France as a cross country skier... cross trained by mountain running... she must be 6' tall and weighs maybe a buck-twenty. She does this kind of thing all the time (runs straight up mountains like a billy goat) but I think her perception of what is possible for the general population might be a little skewed. Lol.

Ok, back to the race. We climbed over a fence, and started jogging up the rocky dusty trail when she said go.

The four of us jogged quietly together, straight up right from the get go. You couldn't go 'fast' because it was straight uphill. Jesse said it well when she said 'put it in low gear' and go... The others started walking after maybe 15ish minutes... I set an early goal for myself to run the whole thing... no matter how slowly... but you know what? That was a ridiculous goal. I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

You can see me here though... Look carefully! This was early on when I was still determined to 'run'.

After 20+ minutes of up up up, then more up, I was still trying to 'run' but technically I don't think it was actually running because there were times when both my feet were on the ground at the same time and I think that's technically called walking. Then it pitched even steeper and there was just no way to run anymore. So I walked. My heart rate was still solidly in zone 75 even while walking so I rationalized with myself that I was still getting in a good workout.

Thank to Jess who brought a camera with her and took some great photos of the trail... the view from 2300 feet (at mile 3, 50ish minutes in) was stunning.

We entered another ecosystem after that where we were in a forest dodging pinecones... totally quiet up there... I saw a group of 8 spotted venison leaping across the trail. Wow are they beautiful when they run!
I had settled into a jog/walk routine and just kept steadily making my way up the mountain. Saw a couple of the forks in the road that Sue talked about and of course chose the route that kept going up each time.

Finally, I got to the mile 6ish turn where the trail actually flattened out a bit and started heading down. My watch said 1:32 so you can do the math and figure out my pace. Oh how nice to be able to run again! 2 more miles, with some downhill... I figured I'd be done by 1:50, maybe even before! Sweet. But then I saw the trail. Since we were in the clouds by this point, it was misty raining (and kinda cold!) and the trail was clay. Know what happens to clay when it gets wet? Here are a couple of thoughts that went through my mind...

I bet the good folks at Saucony were not envisioning conditions like this when they created these FastTwitch 4's...

I wonder if I should just sit down and slide?

These downhills actually turned out to be the slowest part of my day! It was crazy. I slowly slowly picked my way down... taking teeny tiny little steps and slipping all the time anyway. Then I got to the bottom of the first gulch and was greeted by a huge mud puddle that spanned the width of the trail... These mud puddles were pretty much everywhere in those last few miles. I gingerly stepped through a couple of them... once I found myself grabbing onto tree branches for support as I tried to walk to the side around the deepest puddle. It was hysterical. Well, looking back now it is hysterical. At the time I was pretending to be Moana... what would Moana say? Mud puddle. All done. Slippery wet clay trail. All done. Wishful thinking on my part.

Anyway, eventually I did get to the top. 1:54. Later, when Sue was giving us medals as awards, she told me that I now held the course record, which just completely cracked me up. I'm sure it would be possible to do that course MUCH quicker than I did it on Sunday, especially if it wasn't so wet in the last few miles, but shoot, I'll take the course record and enjoy it while it lasts. Lol. ;) Jesse was actually making up good ground on me as I was picking my way through the mud puddles (next time I shouldn't be such a princess about them I guess) and finished just seconds behind me!

The best part of climbing a mountain is the incredible view from the top, right? We were greeted with this... Isn't it amazing? Welcome to the cloud forest.

We waited for a while at the top for Sue's kids to finish and eventually it did clear up a bit and we got a glimpse of the ocean. This really was quite stunning.

Moana had a blast playing in the field and waiting for us to finish (doesn't she look like she's having fun?) She and Scott got a bumpy ride (up a different trail road) to the top with the race director and her husband.

On our way down (another highlight of the trip!) we stopped in a field and picked thimble berries!
There were tons of big beautiful red berries. Moana LOVED them. I bet she ate 40 of them... picked 'em right off the bushes herself (careful to avoid the thorns!). That's the great thing about hanging with the locals- they know all the secrets of the land.
Sue's husband, Phillip, took Scott mountain biking on Sunday evening and then they had us over for dinner where they grilled ahi that Phillip's friend had caught... Moloka'i Style. Love it! All in all a super fun weekend. Sue says its going to be an annual event, so if you're a billy goat, you might want to pencil this one in your calendar for 2011. See if you can go break my course record. Lol.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In It To Win It, Part II

What a weekend! Where to start.... how about Saturday? Saturday seems SO long ago at this point, but here's the gist of it... It was the last of the north shore swims... 2.3 mile point to point ocean swim... I really wanted to win my age group for once... I've been training hard and feeling pretty good in the pool lately... So I thought there was a chance I could do it this time.

Isn't this a great photo? This is from the start. You can't see me in this photo because a) there are 500+ people in this race and b) I was WAY on the inside so about as far from this cameraman as one could get.

I took off sprinting at the sound of the horn. We have the whole darn ocean to spread out across so it's not a crazy start like triathlons can be. And there's not a buoy 250 meters out that everyone is aiming for. So it's easy to just find yourself a little group and settle in. Unless you're trying to win. Then there's no settling in.

I found myself in a group with my long time swimming rival, Jana. She and I have battled in the swim races forever. I like racing her because she brings out the best in me. Sometimes she's on, and when she's on, she's ON. Sometimes not so much... and on those days, I can beat her. (She beat me the first time we raced this year, I beat her last race so starting this race we were one and one for the year.) In my head I believe I'm a bit faster than her so I found myself quite frustrated that I was *killing myself* to stay on her feet on Saturday. But on Saturday, she was ON.

There were several times during the race that I just wanted to ease up and relax, but I could not do that with Jana in my sight. In fact, several times she gapped me and I had to full on SPRINT to catch her feet again. Good thing we practice that kind of thing all the time in training... threshold swimming then BLAST FAST for 50-100M then settle right back into threshold. It's a skill that comes in handy when you're racing like we were on Saturday. Anyway, we hung together through the whole dang race. I knew that Jana hates it when I run up the beach and beat her to the finish line that way, so I was determined to get by her in the water in the last 500M so that way she wouldn't yell at me afterward. With the beach in sight, man, I put my head down, brought my kick in and swam up next to her... I had all these aggressive thoughts in my head... I want this more than you do... I am faster than you... etc. I was seriously battling, and I didn't even know if it was for the win because I didn't know where the other fast girls in our age group were. I just knew that if I did not beat Jana then I definitely did not win because she is in my age group.

Isn't this a cool shot? This is not us (I wish I could say it was!) but here are two other gals battling toward the finish just like Jana and I did. Sweet picture. Look at that nice extension and reach! And you can tell, at least with the gal who is closer, that she is NOT going to drop her elbow as she catches and pulls.

Well, I hate to tell you this, but I did not win. I tried. Really hard. But Jana knew I was right there and she is fiercely competitive and wasn't going to give up anything. She got me by 2 seconds. She won our age group and I got 2nd. But I congratulated her whole heartedly at the finish. She swam really well. I did not give her that win- she earned it- so good for her. We swam that course a good bit faster than I've ever swam it before... 53:09 was my time... we must have had a decent current helping us, but still, I'm quite happy with that.

I will try again in 4 weeks at the Waikiki Roughwater Swim. "In It To Win It, Part III" Coming your way... Stay tuned Sept 6. Lol.

In the meantime, I'll post again soon about our trip to Moloka'i! It was crazy... beach park shower after the swim race, stop at Killer Tacos for a burrito and then beeline to the airport to catch our flight! Moloka'i is such a trip. Mix Island Style with Backwoods Country and you get Moloka'i...

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'll Trade Those Ridiculous Rules For A Chance To Be Stung By Man-O-War

I just got off the phone with two of my athletes... a husband/wife team in Kentucky who are doing their first triathlon tomorrow morning. They are so psyched up... they are so cute and so much fun to work with! They were asking all about elastic speed laces and transitioning with your shoes already clipped into your pedals and all that... I can't wait to hear how it goes for them. He has lost 25 lbs in the last 2 months and has been asking me about what magazines he should start subscribing to to help fuel his new addiction... and she told me how good this training has been for their marriage (something that they can do together as a couple) so just positive stuff all around.

I also had an opportunity to meet one of my local athletes at a pool (not our normal pool- his pool that is on a military base where they don't have a fit if someone stands on deck and watches/corrects your stroke)... and I have to say... I'm AMAZED at how much he has corrected his stroke since last time we did this. 100% different. You know, for most people, changing swim stroke technique is really hard and takes a ton of time and patience. But Andrew has really done an amazing job. And in the process, he has chopped 40 SECONDS off his 100M swim time. I video taped him again so he could see the changes for himself and he is pumped.

It was a good day to be a coach.

This morning I met my swim buddies at the beach and we did a great ocean swim. It was nice to not worry about being yelled at by the lifeguards for breaking any ridiculous rules. And it was a beautiful day at the beach. The only problem was that the Portuguese Man-o-war were out in full force. Seems like every time we stopped to regroup somebody else had a story about getting wrapped in long stingy tentacles. 4 of the 6 of us got wrapped... 45 minutes in, when I was still one of two had not been hit, I suggested we end the swim early since we're racing tomorrow and all... though really, it was not because of the race. I wanted to get out of the water before pushing my luck any further with the stingy tentacles. Though seriously, I'd rather face the stingy tentacles than the crazed lifeguards with all their crazed pool rules.

Tomorrow morning is the last of the north shore swim series races. I can't believe the series is (will be) over already?!? I am really looking forward to swimming tomorrow though. This point to point course is my favorite of the 4 swims (it's also the longest at 2.3 miles). No buoys except for one to mark the start and the finish... strategy is to find the best current and flow with it. Usually that means hugging those rocks. It's a game of How close can you get to the rocks without hitting them?

Scott and Moana are going to come watch and then straight from the beach we are going to the airport to get on a plane and fly to Moloka'i! That Moloka'i Mountain Run is on Sunday... I got an email the other day that said it was only 8 miles, all trails, with 4000 feet of climbing. Ok. First it was advertised as a 16 mile run. Then I heard 12ish. Now 8? I have to say, I was a little disappointed- mostly because if I'm going to climb 4,000 feet I think it would be much easier to spread that out over 12 miles than to do it in just 8. I mean, 4,000 feet in 8 miles? That must seriously be like a WALL. Ouch. But if they are as wrong about the elevation as they were about the mileage initially, maybe it'll actually be super tame and only like 1200 feet at the top. Lol. Wishful thinking I'm sure.

I found this photo online... 8 miles of this? Oh boy...

I'll try to get some more good pictures for you on Sunday. I've heard the view from the top is stunning on a clear day.

Regardless of the crazy run, I think it'll be fun to hang out and relax on Moloka'i for a few days. We're staying at the Coffees of Hawaii plantation house and have no plans other than to chill out and sight see in the wilderness. But before that happens, I need to make a list and start packing. We'll have to be packed up and ready to go tonight before we go to bed so we can leave right after the race tomorrow... I must be in denial about all I have to pack for Moana, because I'm not really worried about it. That, or I just haven't had time to think about it yet.

Oh, and since some of you have asked for more Moana updates, here's one from yesterday... we were over at our neighbor's house hanging out. Moana's little boyfriend there is 6 months older and he loves her. It's really cute. Anyway, Nico was showing off and jamming to his play electric guitar (it plays music if you push the right buttons) and Moana joined in and totally started dancing. Erica and I were just laughing and watching the cuteness and Nico pipes in and says with a giant grin, "I make Moana happy." That pretty much melted his mom's heart.

Ok. Have a great weekend and I'll be back early next week with updates on the weekend! :))))

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Brett Special

I should probably start by apologizing to those of you who were hoping to read more about my personal life on this blog... Going forward, if you want to know all the ins and outs and drama going on in my world then you'd best come here and go for an early morning run with me... Because that's where I'm most likely to be when I'm spilling it. Poor Nalani. I should really stop charging her for coaching if she's going to double as my psychotherapist.

Don't worry though, all you haters will still find plenty to judge as I will continue to talk about my training here on the blog so you can go on believing that I am neglecting all the important people in my life since I find time to train while they sleep.

On to today's topic!

So a couple weeks ago Brett put in a request to do 30 x 100's as a main swim set. I looked at our calendar and decided today would be a good day to do that. I created the workout in Training Peaks and named it The Brett Special. Isn't that nice?? But 30 x 100's is pretty boring unless you mix it up a bit, so I changed it up by making every 6th one blast fast. Gave us something to think about. So essentially the set went like this:

5 x 100's holding T pace on an interval that was pretty much T+10. My goal here was to hold the fastest pace I can hold when I'm doing a timed all out 1000M. With about 10 seconds rest between each 100 this was doable. Then the 6th one was as fast as we could go, on an interval that was 10 seconds faster than the cruise interval we were normally doing. Then straight back into the tempo 100's... So for example, if you can hold 1:30's for 1000M straight, then you would swim
5 x (5 x 100's @ 1:40, hold 1:30, then 1 x 100 @ 1:30, hold 1:25) with no extra rest between sets.

Let's be honest. I did not think I could make this set. I mean, the first 12, ok. I can do that. Maybe even 18. But 30? I don't know. I knew that Brett and Mark would be fine. I figured Nalani probably would if she was having a decent day. But me? Well, when I'm 2000M into a threshold set, popping off sprint 100's with little/no rest is not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. But I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happened. But first, the funniest part of the day...

There is not a pace clock at our pool. Never has been. Nalani and I wear watches and go by them at the wall. But Brett and Mark don't wear watches (why don't men wear watches? Scott doesn't either. Go figure.) Anyway, Brett and Mark came up with the brilliant idea of getting a small pace clock to bring to our workouts. Apparently buying a real pace clock is expensive so Brett made one himself and showed up with it this morning. Perfect, no?

So just as we were getting in the water, one of the lifeguards came up to us and told us that we were not allowed to have any timing devices on the pool deck. I laughed. Really hard. I swear I thought Cliff was joking. Is it April Fools? That's a good one.

But he wasn't joking. Seriously. That really is another rule at our pool. No timing devices on deck. If I didn't know better I'd swear that the rule really is, "You may not employ any devices that might possibly make you a better/faster swimmer." Last week it was no coaching on deck. This week, no pace clocks. I laughed through the whole first half of our warm up because it just seems so typical of how they run this pool. We were given no explanation. Brett told us to shut up about it because he is envisioning all of us being kicked out of the pool altogether for creating too many waves since we swim fast as a group a lot. And honestly, I would not be surprised if one of these days they tell us that there's a rule stating that swimmers may not swim together in a workout type situation... That seems logically like it would be next, doesn't it?

Anyway, back to our set today. Suffice to say, I made it! And I was extremely pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. Sometimes holding T-pace is a pretty big challenge. But not today. And the blast fast ones? I was actually getting 4-5 seconds rest, even at the end, which was also a very pleasant surprise. I would have guessed that I would just barely be making those fast ones, if at all, which would then mean the first of the next set of 5 tempo 100's would be hard because I'd be behind on the interval to start with... but that wasn't actually the case today. So that was cool. Based on that set, I would venture a guess that if I did a 1000M time trial right now it would be faster than it was last time I did one. Which is a good sign that the training is working! Nice.

I just hope that next week they don't tell us that we are not allowed to wear watches while swimming in this pool.