Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Worked?

Blah blah blah... 2011 is almost over and now it's going to be 2012... I guess I'm supposed to get all excited about it being a whole new year and all but really, we're all going to wake up tomorrow morning and see that the sun will come up just like it did this morning (which was just *stunningly* beautiful btw I was out riding my bike with some friends and this bright orange ball of light started peeking over the mountain and I don't know how we managed to stay upright on our bikes while we were staring at it). I guess some of us will wake up feeling better than others tomorrow morning... I plan to be one who feels good. I don't understand why people would start off a new year being all hung over?? Hello? Drink in moderation and take 2 e21 tabs with a big glass of water before you go to sleep tonight. Duh. ;)

Anyway, I suppose this is a good time to do a bit of reflection... what worked this past year and what didn't work... what we want to continue doing in 2012 and what we might wish to adjust. Given that this is (mostly) a triathlon training blog I'll just write a bit about my thoughts in regards to triathlon for me...

What worked? Hiring Lucho as my coach. That was quite possibly the best triathlon related decision I have ever made. I really learned so much about training this past year. So not only did I have a good year racing, but I finished it up still as in love with the sport as ever... I trained a ton this year (close to 900 hours!?!) with very few injury/illness issues and I am entering 2012 with a rather high level of baseline fitness (as compared to last year anyway). I feel like I have a decent understanding of how to proceed from here to make the most of it. So thank you, Lucho.

What didn't work? Hmmm. I'm kind of stuck here. It all pretty much worked. :) Ok, here's one: riding without a tire liner this past month didn't work. I put one of those tire liners in my back tire yesterday and so far so good- no flat today anyway. So that is fixed already and it's not even 2012 yet.

What do I want to continue doing in 2012? Everything! Lol. Can't I have it all? OK let's be real here... I want to continue coaching to the best of my ability. That is going incredibly well btw and I may write another post with more details in the coming weeks. I plan to continue my own routine of stringing together consistent training weeks. I plan to continue to search for my limits and then push them out further than I thought they could go. So ok all this is really vague for you here but I swear I have a plan with details in my head. ;)

What do I plan to adjust in 2012? Now that I have built a strong aerobic base I am adding in some faster running... intervals and shorter running races in the coming months before getting back to longer Ironman training in the spring/summer. On the bike my plan is to add power (ie Powertap!) partly because I think having personal experience with it will make me a better coach for my athletes who have power and partly because I think I will like biking even more when I can track my progress in a more concrete way. And as far as swimming goes, (Lucho will be stoked to hear this though he already knows it) my plan is to pull back my emphasis on it. I'll still swim some but my focus is going to be bike/run and if I lose a minute on my ironman swim, well, I lose a minute on my ironman swim.

So there you go. 2011 was awesome. I expect 2012 to be awesome too. Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Win-Win Training!

What a fun training day today! Today was the first day in a long time that felt like triathlon training to me... I've been focusing on running for the last few months and have let my swim/bike go to some degree so it felt good to really get back at it and feel like a triGEEK again. :)

I am a creature of habit and my typical Wednesday workout is swim/bike brick... I have not done that since like September though. And Nalani has been gone for the holidays so my once/week swims have been alone and uninspired lately. In good news, a couple of my athletes are on a break from work this week so I invited them over to come swim and ride with me this morning. I tied my feet together for the whole swim workout which was fun. I don't swim that much slower with bands vs without bands which probably doesn't say much for my regular swimming! But whatever. I got a solid strength swim in and didn't have to actually see how much slower my 100's are now that my swim volume has been reduced to like 3K/week. Win-win!

So it was 8:30 by the time time we started riding and I was like "Ok boys you have 3 hours to drag me through 62 miles..." (Scott had a meeting to get to today so I did not have unlimited time to play on my bike). Patrick and Gene took my instructions seriously and got after it right from the start. We stopped for ~3' at the turn-around to pee and fill bottles and then we were right back at it... Turn and burn, baby! Of course on the way back we also had to stop briefly for my weekly flat (big piece of glass this week). It's like not even news anymore when I flat b/c it happens so often (my 4th one this month- ridiculous!). That nearly new Continental tire is going straight in the trash b/c clearly it sucks. Anyway, Patrick did his best to make up for lost time there in the last ~20 miles... and wouldn't you know it... ta-dah... ride time 2:54 and I was pulling into home and didn't even make Scott late. Win-win! Drafting on the bike is the bomb. I do that so rarely b/c I do so much of my training alone but what a relief to not have to deal with the wind as much today.

In exciting news, I found out today that I was named Hawaii Sport Magazine's Female Cyclist of the Year. Holy crap! So of course I am super excited to back that up in 2012. After the ride today it appears I'm starting from a decent point fitness-wise (light years ahead of last year anyway).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Week Images

It's Christmas Eve which somehow feels weird to me... pretty much always has since I've been an adult... given that my strongest memories of Christmas are being a kid with my family in Ohio with snow on the ground. Now *I* am the mom (after 3 years this still feels weird to me!) which I guess puts me in charge of making the memories for Moana... Right now I am consoling myself with the fact that she is only three so she won't really remember this one, right? Lol. One of these years I won't get to use that excuse and I suppose I'll have to put more effort into Christmas.

Anyway, I am ahead of the game at the moment, primarily b/c I stayed up until ~11PM (late for me!) wrapping presents last night and I am hoping that Moana somehow ignores the fact that Santa is bringing presents wrapped in the same wrapping paper she saw in our closet last week. Coincidence, right?!? In the coming years I'm going to have to be way more sneaky and sly about all this b/c Moana is one freakin' smart cookie. She will be stoked tomorrow though... she definitely understands more about Christmas this year and anticipation for Santa's arrival is high. I'm sure it will be super fun for us all.

Part of the reason I finished the wrapping task last night was so I could go out on a bike ride guilt-free this morning... turns out it is yet another wet windy day here on the island (Wind advisory! Yikes!) so it was pretty much a mess out there today but I made the best of it. I managed to stay upright and kept air in my tires which is about all it takes these days to make me declare 'decent ride' in my post-workout notes.

Isn't this a cool banyan tree?

So here are some other images from the week around here. I didn't take this one but found it on FB (taken today)... this is a beach ~9 miles from my house (I run here on my longer runs) and you can see the rain storm off shore. Most of the time when I say I'm riding through rain it's just short little squalls like this that pass fairly quickly (ie as fast as the wind is blowing, which today would have been ~30mph).

All this weird weather has left lots of crap on our roads which is wreaking havoc on my ability to keep air in my tires while riding my bike. Exhibit A from last weekend...

Exhibit B from Wednesday... Check out that big ass nail. It jammed itself right into my rim and I'm actually going to have to replace the rim tape after that one. In good news, with all this recent practice (3 in 3 weeks), I am *awesome* at changing flats now. I'm hoping Santa brings me some new tubes and CO2 cartridges, but even if he doesn't, I stopped by the bike shop yesterday to stock up so at the going rate I'm good for at least another 5 weeks.

Don't feel too sorry for me though... on the ride my goal was just to get here...

You'd think that since I live in Hawaii I would make a point to do this more often... but I was sitting there on the beach on Wednesday trying to remember the last time I just hung out on the beach and listened to the ocean?? It's been a while. Too long, really. I think in 2012 Training Peaks should figure out how to let us work in their software program off-line... in which case I would get a laptop and make this my office. Now THAT is a New Years Resolution worth making!

Anyway, it was really nice to just hang out and relax for once... every once in a while I caught a glimpse of my hot husband riding a wave... nice for him to have some time off work this week too and play in the surf where he grew up.

So all in all it's a cruisy relaxing week of holiday fun over here on Oahu. We won tickets to Sea Life Park and I think Moana may be as excited to go see the dolphin show next week as she is for Santa's visit tomorrow...

Merry Christmas to you all!! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Did Not Feel Like Running Today

So this afternoon I was planning to go running but instead I found myself on my couch... sinking in... not really feeling so interested in moving. I fell asleep briefly and decided to bag the run b/c I just felt too tired.

But then I was trying to figure out if I was really that tired or if maybe I just imagining it? I did not have an especially big week of training or anything so I didn't feel like I had a real reason to be tired. Was I just being lazy? There had to be a better excuse not to run. But as I tried to come up with an excuse I could live with, I realized that I did not really have one. I was not feeling sick... I am not injured. I was just letting myself be a prisoner to gravity. So I started perusing twitter and facebook and blogs on my phone (still from the couch) and found myself reading all those 'motivation' quotes... you know the ones about how right now somewhere someone is out training and when you meet head to head in competition, she'll beat you kind of quotes. So I dragged my ass off the couch and put on my shorts and shoes and ingested my magic potion* and got out the door.

And you know what? I had a stellar run! It was shocking, really, the difference in how I felt once I got out there. I'd call it one of my best runs of the year. As I was floating home, feet barely touching the ground, I was thinking about how incredibly glad I was that I did not bag that run. I proved it to myself once again- you don't have to feel good prior to starting. You just have to get out there and do it.

*My magic potion... you wanna know, don't you? Ok I'll tell you... Two e21 tabs and a shot of espresso. Magic, I tell ya. Works every time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Saw A Ray Of Light

So this morning I woke up feeling old and creaky and stiff. I am not that old I know, but 37 is different than 27 for sure! It was raining (again) and I just couldn't make myself go out and run (again) so I rationalized it by telling myself that I really needed to get some work done... and then I really needed to clean the house (it is a complete pit)... and then I needed to get some more work done... and then lo and behold a ray of light came through my living room window.

Light?!? Was that sunlight?? 

Here on the dark Windward side on Oahu we go days without seeing the sun in the winter... maybe a bit like the Pacific Northwest, but warmer.  I can't remember the last day we had here that it did not rain (I have not had a bike ride since Kona that didn't involve water falling from the sky) and since I am solar powered, seeing bright light coming in from my window today instantly changed my mood. I jumped up and looked outside and <GASP> blue sky OMG! Within 5' I was wearing bike shorts and pumping up my tires. No way I was going to waste this opportunity to ride when the sky was BLUE!

It was all super for about an hour and then it went back to being winter and the front rolled in and the sky opened up and I got wet. Not a huge deal I know but it does get a bit sketchy b/c those white painted lines are as slippery as ice and in places they are thickly painted and like a foot wide... I am careful b/c I prefer staying upright when I am riding my bike.

I'll keep trying because one of these days I'm going to get to ride when it's not wet. I just know it.

I'm perfecting the art of changing flat tires too. I didn't succeed in keeping such a positive attitude about my flat today- primarily b/c it was the second one in 2 rides on that bike and the tires I'm running are fairly new (less than 300 miles on them) and I replaced them specifically b/c the old ones I was using were totally worn down with too many miles to count. I figured I'd prob start flatting more often on them soon so I bought new Gatorskin Hardshells (which supposedly are more flat resistant but after my last 2 rides I beg to differ). I was only ~7 miles from home and I hated to spend a co2 cartridge to spin myself home... thought about trying to hitch a ride but then I knew if I did that I would lose my mojo to run so I gritted my teeth and fixed my flat. And now I need to make a trip to the bike shop for some tire sealant because flatting every week is a pain in the ass.

In good news, Moana learned how to patch a tire tonight. She got a kick out of that! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Time To Start Buying Leotards

So today I picked Moana up from pre-school and took her over to a local gym that has a reputation for churning out some of the best gymnasts in the state. I heard they had a program for kids 3-5 years old and since Moana has shown some agility I thought maybe she'd enjoy checking it out. I really just wanted to get an idea of their schedule and fees, etc but of course as soon as we showed up a friendly coach told us there was a class going on right then and asked Moana if she wanted to join in... Duh. Don't need to ask her twice on that one!! She ran right over to the trampoline and forgot I was even there.

Of course Moana has a BLAST and swung around on the bars like a monkey and jumped into the foam pit and walked across the low/wide balance beam and did forward and backward rolls like a champ. She was totally into it and when the coach said jump she jumped and when the coach said arms in the air she put her arms straight up in the air... full on monkey-see monkey-do syndrome there which was perfect. So cute and I was just smiling ear to ear watching it all from the balcony of the gym.

Which brought back memories... sitting there watching the older girls just drill themselves... they would pick a skill and just practice it relentlessly over and over... there was some real talent in that gym and I had goosebumps watching. I remembered being that age and spending like 20 hours/week in the gym doing everything my coach told me to do (and more... if we were supposed to do 30 pull ups over the course of the workout I would do 60... shocking, right?). I absolutely LOVED being a gymnast... and still today I appreciate the discipline and hard work I learned to do when I was so young.

At one point Moana was standing on a taller mat and (assisted) she took (another) flying leap toward a bar and caught it with both hands! The look on her face when she realized she did it was absolutely priceless. So I signed her up and we're going back tomorrow. I've heard that when she puts a leotard on it'll be like magic, so that will be super fun for her too! Don't worry, mom. I'll take pictures. ;)

The only thing Moana didn't like about the gym today was that after an hour it was time to go home. She threw herself on the floor and yelled out NOOOOO!!! I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME!!!! So much for the good impression I thought we made... Ha! But like I've said before, apples don't fall far from trees so it shouldn't surprise anyone that my offspring apparently subscribes to the 'more is more' philosophy as well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Watching A Marathon

What an interesting morning! I don't know that I've ever actually watched a marathon? I've been a spectator at ironman before but not a straight up 26.2 on the road. It was pretty cool!

I woke up before my alarm went off b/c I was excited (and a little bit nervous) for the morning... I told a couple of my athletes that I would be out in Hawaii Kai (mile 17ish) and would try to run with them til mile 22 or so... I arrived ~90' after the start of the race, just in time to see the lead pack of men flying around the corner... it was a tight knit group of 6 African men... Um, ok I have seen pictures of elite runners running and maybe a video here or there but I'm fairly certain this was the first time I've ever seen them running in person like that and I will tell you- they were beautiful. They were running so fluidly with these huge strides and their heels were coming up to their asses after every step... feet barely touching the ground as they were just gliding together all in sync. Unfortunately it was still dark out and they flew by in a flash so I only got to see it for maybe 10 dark seconds... but wow. It was cool.

About 10' later another lead vehicle came driving by and it was the pack of lead women (and a few men hanging on to them) looking similar to the men. They make running look so easy.

I wish I could run like that for 1/4 mile. Seriously.

I hung out on that same corner for another 20' and watched as the sun started coming up and more runners started streaming by and it was starting to look a little harder. The strides got shorter and the heels weren't coming up as high and the faces looked a little less stoic as the runners became more human. It was really windy here today and they had all been running straight into a wall of 20-30mph wind for like 8-10 miles... luckily they were turning into a tailwind for the last ~8 miles but you could see that the effort of holding pace into that headwind had taken its toll on many. Blah! Like marathons aren't hard enough?!? Gotta add a 20mph headwind into the mix? Fwiw, don't come to Honolulu if you're looking for a marathon PR. But I did see a bunch of friends and local athletes I knew running by and looking great so I did my cheering part (and I was wearing my Be Relentlessly Positive tank top which seemed appropriate for the event).

I actually jogged a couple miles as warm up b/c I figured running 8' pace is not always the easiest thing for me to do and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be huffing and puffing and holding my athletes back or anything in case they were running that fast when I started pacing with them... And as soon as I saw my first one I jumped in and started running with her and went into my you're doing awesome super duper positive happy talk... 3 of my athletes were all running within about a minute of each other at that point so I sort of traded off running with each of them for the next ~5-6 miles... I was actually only planning on going to mile 22 but ended up getting close to mile 24 b/c I was sensing they were hurting (duh, marathons hurt!) and just didn't want to let them go! Interesting too b/c as the miles ticked by I started getting more and more militaristic in barking orders at them... My message morphed from the happy/smiling You're doing awesome at mile 18 into more of just SHUT YOUR BRAIN UP and GUT IT OUT by mile 23. Classic.

One other thing I should point out is how different marathon pace feels at mile 6 vs mile 22. I almost felt a little guilty about how good and fresh I was feeling running alongside my athletes... but I was at mile 6-8 and they were 20+ miles in and the effort required to hold pace at that point is significant... I KNOW how hard it is that late in the game... but early in the game, well, not so hard. Just an interesting observation that seemed really black and white today. I guess that's the lure of the marathon!

Anyway, eventually I did let them all finish on their own (they did well- all 3:40-3:46) and then began a very interesting jog back to my car (which was ~7 miles away). Honolulu is one of the only marathons that doesn't close the course at like 8 hours or whenever courses typically close... and for whatever reason it just attracts a bazillion (ok 22,000+) people, mostly from Japan, who walk the entire course. Some rather leisurely. I'm not sure I understand the draw to fly to another country and go for a 26.2 mile stroll, but to each his own I suppose. I do know that I ended up surrounded by many of them as I was running back to my car- the whole 3 lane road was completely crowded and jammed with people going in both directions so I just weaved my way through and watched as they all went about their business of finishing their marathons in their own way. It was very eye opening to see that.many.people out there chugging along... relentlessly through 30mph winds (and sideways rain by that point)... If Honolulu is any indication, way more people finish marathons in 5-7 hours than in 3-4 hours. And good for them for getting off the couch.

So there you go! It was a super fun day and I'm stoked for my friends and athletes who gutted it out today. I got a decent 15+ mile run in (was happy with that and how I felt) and then got to my car and found the texts from Krista and Shane that they totally surpassed our expectations at Tucson 1/2 Marathon this morning... Honestly I thought Krista was ready to run 1:40-1:41 but she bombed through that course in 1:39 flat with Shane right by her side and got a HOLY SHITBALLS text response from me. Totally made my morning. ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mostly About Moana... And Some On Running.

So I don't have anything hugely important to blog about but I suppose there are a bunch of little things that my mom probably wants to know so here you go.

Moana is obsessed with wanting to go to her brother and sister's house. Hmmm. Where is your brother's house? I ask. Brother's house is at Holidays. She says. Oh, where is sister's house? She thinks to herself for a moment and then replies, Sister's house is at Molidays. (I don't know either but we've had this same conversation probably 4x in the last 3 days.)

Moana is also obsessed with Christmas lights. She LOVES them. We have Christmas lights on our tree and on our wall inside the living room and on her bedroom wall and on our outside patio. They are set up so they can be turned on via light switch and she asks every day if she can turn the Christmas lights on... then when she does she says Don't you just LOVE that?

Moana is extremely easy to buy Christmas presents for. Last night she went out for sushi with Auntie Nalani (true story! one of her favorite things to do!) while Scott and I went Christmas shopping. I restrained myself some because I don't think Christmas for a 3 yo needs to be some giant massive ordeal, but I will say that all I had to do was wander around from store to store and pretty much anything that had a princess on it or was colored pink would be something she would just flip over if she found it wrapped under the Christmas tree in a few weeks. Every time I ask her what she wants Santa to bring her for Christmas she ooohs and ahhhs and says she hopes he brings her Princess shoes. Shocking, I know. Christmas this year with a 3 yo is going to be already way more fun than Christmas without a 3 yo, that's for sure. :)

The marathon is this weekend. I am not bummed I'm not running it, which I suppose is a sign I made the right choice in choosing not to do it! I do think I'll go out there on Sunday morning though and run with some of my athletes for a while in Hawaii Kai... I have 4 athletes running it this year... one first timer who is going to shock herself and do really well, Nalani who's ready to PR, another gal who is rather new at running- this will be her second time running Honolulu- and she is going to PR by like an hour over what she did last year, and another guy who's been sick through most of the recent training block so honestly I just hope he finishes! But he's a man so he'll figure it out. ;)

I am finishing up a pretty big week of running myself (big for me anyway- I know some of you run a ton more). I am rather pleased with how well I have handled it so far... 65 miles planned this week (I've got 48 done so far) but I'm spreading it out over 9 runs so none of them are crazy long or anything. Running frequently makes it rather easy to accumulate volume... take today for example... 7 miles in the morning then 7 again this afternoon and ta-dah! 14 miles for the day but I swear I feel like I only ran 7 (i.e. I feel fine). Part of that is because those miles were all highly aerobic so I was not killing myself to get them done, but even the hard runs I do I'm recovering really well from. I do think that is the benefit of all those aerobic base miles I did this whole year. I totally remember (not too long ago!) when I had a hard time figuring out how to run 25 miles in a week without getting injured. Then I thought 30 was a big week... then 40 was a big week. Now 50 is normal and I'm trying to get to the point where 70 is normal. It's all relative, isn't it? One thing I know for sure is that running 30-35 miles/week does not work for me... I've been running for ~17 years now and it's taken me this long to get to the point where I can handle the volume I think I actually need to run the way I actually want to run. I think about what works for me in swimming... high volume and frequency. What works in biking? Lots of miles and riding frequently. I've never really run lots of miles before so that's the route I'm going in 2012. Stay tuned to see how it works. ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


So I was back out on my bike today. I think this was my fourth ride since I started back last week and its so cool because every ride is just a little bit better than the one before... that makes me super motivated and leaves me wanting to ride more often! Last week when I was a bit concerned about how weak my legs felt, Lucho assured me that it would take about a week to get much of that muscular endurance back and of course he was right. I'm not as strong as I was in September but today I felt leaps and bounds stronger than I did last week. :)

I had the opportunity to practice changing a flat tire today. It's been quite a while since I've had a flat... seriously maybe August was the last one? Even though I've probably changed 50+ flat tires over the years, I always get nervous when it's time to load up that CO2 cartridge... I've screwed it up a couple times before and since usually I'm riding alone and only carry one tube/CO2, well, if I screw it up I'm stranded and looking to hitch a ride. I suppose I should carry two but I like just having the little saddle bag on my bike and only one spare tube fits in there... That's why I carry my phone I suppose. Two flat tires would = a phone call for a ride home.

Anyway, at one point when I was riding and drops of sweat started dripping down on my sunglasses I thought about how grateful I am that I have the opportunity to ride outside all year long without completely freezing my ass off. It was ridiculously windy today (that is really nothing new) yet I managed to keep a really positive attitude about it today (that is kind of something new). I was actually rather proud of myself for not getting all pissy... instead of bitching to myself under my breath (or actually swearing out loud) I thought about how grateful I am that I have access to this uninterrupted stretch of rather flat road that almost universally presents me with 15-20mph headwinds (for like an hour). What a super opportunity to do big gear strength intervals! So I popped it into my 53/11 and spent about an hour just grinding away (GGRRRRRRR) and building back my bike specific strength. Amazing how just framing it differently in my head made the whole ride a completely different experience from what it could have been.

Speaking of positive opportunities, Recovery e21 is taking applications for their 2012 Triathlon Team until Dec 15. I haven't talked a lot about this awesome all-natural electrolyte supplement lately but rest assured I still take them every time I have even a remotely key workout where I want my leg muscles to function. I still don't know exactly how this stuff works (maybe it's the magnesium?) but it's effects are black and white to me... when I take it I feel better than when I don't! I take it before, during, and after hard training and somehow my legs feel less pounded and sore than they otherwise would (or do if I forget to take it). Anyway, I'm proud to represent this company and this product and if you want to do so as well, get your application in this week. It's a great opportunity!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Double RoughWater Swim 2011

I'm trying to decide whether or not that was fun.

In the beginning it was fun. Toward the end of the swim it was not fun. But then we finished and got dry and started drinking champagne. Then it was fun again. :)

Sitting right here at my computer (even though the buzz has mostly worn off) I hardly even remember how irritated I was in the last ~30' of that swim.... even though I specifically reminded myself to not forget how shitty that was. Hmmm. Our brains are funny. I won't soon forget the jellyfish stings though b/c I am starting to get welts all over my body and they itch like mad.

OK, back to the beginning. Check out my awesome supporters! Scott lead me on his surf board and Moana hung out and played on the beach with a friend of mine. Moana loves being body marked.

Can you believe this is Moana's 4th time at this race!?! She is a seasoned veteran at this point. I just read over my Double RoughWater reports from 2008 (the year I was 6 weeks post-partum) and 2009 (the year I was pregnant and they should have called it The SmoothWater Swim) and 2010 (the year of the torrential downpour and nasty brown water). Kinda funny to read those b/c they bring back memories... though I should have read them over again before this morning because then I would have remembered that every year this race starts with a very unceremonious yell of the word "GO!" while we are all standing on the beach chit chatting and then we all look around at each other and wonder was that really it? And then we run into the water and start swimming. Same same this year.

Scott and the other escorts were waiting out at the first turn buoy that is maybe 800M off shore.
It was a little windy this morning but didn't seem crazy or anything (at first). I felt good and strong and confident and felt like I was swimming well. That's pretty much the story of the first 90'. Boring I know, but that's life when you're ocean swimming.

I definitely noticed that the water was not as clear this morning as it typically is. Seemed very opaque (not necessarily brown/dirty but just not at all clear). Turns out the water was just pretty much thick with jellyfish and if we weren't swimming into jellyfish we were swimming into jellyfish bits and pieces. I was getting stung a little on the way out but not really worse than other times I've been out there so it didn't bug me too much. But then it got bad.

~90' into the swim I swam through what felt like some of the worst jellyfish swarm I've ever been through. At that point it was like adding insult to injury b/c while I felt like I was swimming fairly strongly, the wind chop was very challenging to swim through and it was tough to get a good grip on the water when it's moving like that.... and seemed like it was just taking freaking forever to get back (I was not imagining this- found out at the end I was 53' out and 1:13 back! Clearly I was stuck in a wicked current b/c usually our splits are more like 1:03/:59- usually its a little faster coming back, not 20' slower!) Anyway, choppy opaque water, strong head current, wicked jellyfish stings... twice on the way back I stopped and asked Scott if we were even moving?? Where the hell was that turn buoy?? Ugh. I was over it at that point. Apparently Scott was over it too- he told me afterward that the chop was so bad that he had a hard time keeping up with me on his surfboard (hence there are no videos from this part b/c he couldn't just leisurely paddle with one hand next time me like he did on the way out when the chop was going with us...). The thoughts going through my head were significantly less happy at this point... I was thinking about how much Benadryl I was going to have to take later to avoid the huge itchy welts I was surely going to have all over my body.... and I was having thoughts like I am not a terrorist why am I being subjected to this electric shock torture?? It was bad. Just shocking sting after shocking sting and it seemed there was no way out of it and I could not see them- only felt them. It really did feel like torture.

(While sharing war stories afterward pretty much everyone had the same story- wicked jellyfish stings the whole time. Nalani said she was grabbing them and pulling her way through them- like swimming through jello. But not quite as fun as that would be...)

Anyway, I was swimming as well as I could have and I never felt super tired or anything (which is a result of all that swimming I have done these last 6 weeks) but it didn't really feel like I was 'racing' either... mostly b/c no one was around me for much of the time. About 50-60 people were there swimming this year (bigger than years past) and I was 10th out OA, 6th woman and 1st on my age group. Once again the women totally outclassed the men at this event. Top 2 finishers were men but then Vicky was 3rd and Nalani was 4th OA... 5 more people were enough ahead of me that there was no chance of me catching, and there was no one within striking distance behind me either so I did not have to bust ass or race to the finish or anything. This picture of the finish shows about how lonely it was. :) And I know this looks calm and easy... and in the channel coming in it was calm! The chop crap was probably 3/4 of a mile off-shore where we did the bulk of the swim.

So I won my age group which was cool (4th year in a row) but really I'm just lucky that I am old and all the fast female fishes are younger than me. :) Top 3 women were 30-34 then the next 2 were 25-29. 2:06 was only a minute faster than last year and 8' slower my fastest time but as I always say, conditions make such a huge impact in a race like this. I did feel stronger this year than I have ever been before at this race though so it's a bit disappointing to have had it take so long but it is what it is. In good news, this swim did not trash me anywhere near the degree it has trashed me in the past (the champagne afterward, well, that's another story! :)

Starting tomorrow I'm going to hang my swim suit up for a while and become a runner.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New People At The Pool

So this morning, as is typical for a Friday morning, I was sitting on the edge of the pool deck chatting with Nalani when we saw a rather fit looking woman walking toward us. She looked vaguely familiar but I couldn't place her though I knew she was not someone I'd seen at this pool before. My friend Marcy was there and introduced the athletic woman as Melanie McQuaid. Ah ha! THAT is how I recognized her.

You know what is cool? When you are confident enough in your swim fitness to say to a 3x World Champion, Hey, wanna swim with us? She accepted my offer and after a long w/u we ended up spending 1800 quality meters together this morning. Ok technically she spent them closer to Nalani given that I was off the back a bit desperately trying to chase, but nonetheless, cool.

That was way better than my experience with another new woman at the pool this past Wednesday... I was about to get in to swim next to her and before she even saw me swim she told me to hold my line so I wouldn't run into her (no lane lines, remember?) I was like, um, ok. I wanted to snap back with something about how I'd been swimming at this pool for 7 years now and her first time here she's giving me instructions about how to do it?? Just keep your trap shut, Michelle. I was good and held my thoughts to myself but I'm telling you, this woman wore fins the whole time and I was swimming dead center on my line when she kicked me (how she managed that I have no idea??). Apparently she should have been more concerned about her own ability to hold a line.

Anyway, this week just flew by. I just spent the whole day sitting right here in front of my computer working. I've got an awesome crop of athletes right now, 13 of whom are building toward an Ironman next year (only 2 of which are first-timers). I love Ironman.