Friday, July 24, 2009

My huge lateness

OK, so I've been woefully delinquent in my postings . . . oops. I *do* have a race report coming up, I do I really do. My sister is visiting this week, and right now we are getting ready to head out on a 5 day deep woods backpacking trip and we've been gardening and thrift store hunting and talking and laughing and floating down the Truckee River and my race report has just fallen down the list of things to do.

Just to hold you over, 'cause I know this is so very important, here's my numbers (even without proper formatting, I think it's pretty clear):

















I came in 442 out of 446 finishers, thus cementing the name of this blog, plus my status as A Finisher! and A Triathlete!

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I'll be totally out of the loop until next wednesday, but I'll blog tons then,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DLT . . . done!

Yay! I finished my race! I don't know my official time, but I think it's somewhere in the 4 - 4:30 range. Doesn't matter much, as I'm super happy just to have finished. There will be a race report in the future, but for now it's enough that I made no major mistakes, the swim was the bitch I thought it would be, the bike went fine although it was extremely draining, and the run, well, not so hot. Full race report soon!

So I've done a couple sprint tris, but this Oly length is an entirely different animal. I am whipped. I'm sore. I'm a triathlete!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Trying not to freak out.

Last night was another TRG club race, again a 4 mile trail run through Martis Valley Wildlife Preserve. I considered skipping it (aren't I supposed to be tapering?) but opted instead to do the thing and just keep it slow -- this I can do! It was another great run -- I'm really happy I managed to swallow my fear and join this great group of very talented runners! My friend Andrew (he of the get-off-the-couch-and-run-a-1:42-trail-half-marathon fame, who's doing the same for Sunday's tri, getting off the couch and racing, I mean) came along for the first time. It was another good run, though very HOT, and I did the 4 miles in 46:57. The last time I ran this route a month ago, I really struggled on the (gently) hilly parts and throughout the run in general. I definitely felt improvement and took the whole race in stride, didn't stop for walkies even on the hills, and turned in a time 1 minute faster. Keeping Sunday in mind, I really didn't push at all and even reminded myself to (gasp) slow down on a few occasions. Nevertheless, I finished in my accustomed place, third from last with Bob and Bill following. I'm nothing if not consistent!

Even though all I really wanted to do was remain consistent and join everyone for pizza and beer as usual, Andrew managed to talk me into heading out to Donner Lake for some last-minute training. We practiced transitions, and I tried to tell Andrew what little I know about triathlons, those things I wished someone had told me when I started. Namely, don't freak out, really plan your transition area well, get your ears wet and some swimming in before the start, pee in the wetsuit, start getting the wetsuit off while still in the water, PREPARE TO BE DIZZY!, dry your feet, don't freak out, use BodyGlide, and don't forget your helmet. Don't draft. Spin yer legs before the bike-to-run transition. Use sunscreen. Eat right and stay hydrated. Know where the portapottys are. And don't freak out. (I think the freaking out part is more my issue than Andrew's. Still.) We then went for a maybe 400-500 yard swim (which felt GREAT after the hot run!) and called it a night.

So maybe I'll take a little 2 mile jog 'round the neighborhood on Saturday, otherwise that's it. Sunday looms.

I'm a little nervous here. *Gulp*

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dress rehearsal for a lazy girl

After my disastrous attempt at running over the weekend, I was feeling pretty poor about my ability to complete the tri this weekend. Really, given my slow speeds and general lack of training, etc., all I can strive for at this point is simply to finish, and I'm happy with that goal. After this weekend, even that was in question. Doubts doubts doubts. Now, I may not hand in a blazing time when this is all through, but I DO feel confident in my ability to complete it. What happened? I got me some FOCUS!

Even with all of my gadgetry (Garmin, tracking software, etc etc) my "training" in the past has consisted mainly of just going out and running biking swimming, with only scanty effort spent paying attention to time, pace, intervals or any of that "serious" stuff. I just couldn't be bothered. Maybe that's starting to change.

On Monday, I ran the course of the coming race. I have done this run on numerous occasions in the past, but this time I went with a mission. I decided to try to be consistent with (and oh, I dunno, PAY ATTENTION TO) my pace. I know this is all elementary stuff, but I have so far just looked at my pace and said "Oh! I'm going so fast!" or "Fuck! I'm going so slow!" and not much modified myself to suit. So this time, I ultimately decided to NO MATTER WHAT keep my pace under 12:00, and really try to keep it under 11:30. Every couple of minutes, look at Gary, adjust my pace, continue, repeat. Basic stuff, yes? Well, I was really happy at the end of the run to see my results: 6.6 miles, 1:17 time, 11:37 pace, 976 ft of climbing. My pace would have been better, except for that pesky hill, which slowed me down to a 13:02 mile. Otherwise, all of my miles were below 12:00, and 4 of them below 11:30. This is the fastest (by like 10 minutes) I have done this route, and, here's the kicker, I think I could have gone faster. Hmmm.

Yesterday, I biked the complete course (minus maybe a mile or so). This seems like a KILLER COURSE for a tri! 26 or so miles with 2800+ feet of climbing -- there is NO flat part AT ALL. As I've said before here, the first 3 miles is climbing to Donner Summit -- 1200 feet. In 3 miles. Fuck me! I don't know what the gradient is, but it's gotta be up there. So yesterday, solo for the first time, I again paid attention to numbers. For this first climb, I tried to keep my cadence (in granny gear) above 50 and my speed above 4 mph. Blazing! Well, just keeping my eye on Gary, I made the summit 39 minutes (a 20 minute improvement since the first time I road it, and a 7 minute improvement since the last time). Yay! I continued for the whole ride trying to keep my cadence up, my upper body quiet, my hands powerful on the bars and my feet utilized on the pedals. I went hard for 3/4 of the ride, then was joined by my friend Jim, at which point I gave in a bit to the tiredness and slowed down some to socialize -- though I descended from the summit pretty damn fast for me, even with the road open to cars. My overall time for the 24.5 miles was 2:17. I think I did pretty damn good! And STILL could maybe go faster on race day . . .

So, there's my complete dress rehearsal for the tri, and I am now somewhat more confident about Sunday. I mean, I haven't done more than 1 brick, my training has been sporadic at best, but look I've just replicated the race and did ok. I can do this thing!

Oh, what was that you asked, what about the swimming portion?!? Swimming??? I've never swam a mile in my life, and have not swam a stroke in the past two weeks. I'm in total denial about the swim. Don't mention the swim. I'll deal with it Sunday morning, I guess. Oh boy!

So, having no idea how long it will take for the-portion-of-the-race-that-will-go-unmentioned, and my improving times and confidence on both the bike and the run, I am going out on a limb here and guessing that maybe, just maybe, I can do this in under 4 hours. It would take a LOT of effort and even more luck, but I don't think it's completely unrealistic. So that is my super-secret goal, under 4 hours, though I will be totally happy and jazzed and satisfied just to finish.

(I really wish I was at this point in my training maybe a month ago, instead of days before the race. THEN, I think, I could really come at this race with a solid effort, both physical and mental. At best, now I am flinging myself out there with the bare minimum of training and skill and who knows what'll happen? I'm slow, lazy and untalented, but I have a LOT of grit and endurance and think I can do OK. I need some kind of mantra that embodies that.)

OK, so my next Oly tri will be in Marin in November, and THAT one I will be prepared for. Training plan, regular workouts, the whole enchilada.

Right now? Wingin' it.

But I ROCKED that bike ride!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend at Downieville

We packed up the truck on Thursday (and it's amazing how the things of two relatively bare-bones people can take up so much space, even just for a long weekend) and drove for Downieville, site of the (apparently quite famous) Downieville Classic Mt Bike race. Not surprisingly, I am no mt. biker, but Tom and a bunch of his friends are, so we all settled into a big site in a local campground and prepared for a weekend of festivities and bike riding. I initially thought I would join folks for some of the legendary riding (only one of our group was actually racing), but the more I talked to people and listened to their stories of grueling climbs and technical downhills (often on narrow singletrack inches away from hundred-foot+ cliffs) I decided it wasn't for me and reformatted the plans of my weekend to include plenty of reading and soaking my feet in the river. Given my very-much-a-beginner mountain skillz, I think this was the wise choice to make.
The first whole day we were there, I decided to go for a run while the others went biking down a different trail. Tom, taking an easy day, decided to join me, though he would hike while I ran and we would meet up. This was the plan, anyway, and we headed out on the Deer Lake trail, 3 miles to the lake and we'd do an out-and-back, meeting up at the lake.
Now this whole area, while very remote, is exceedingly beautiful. Really stunning, even with Tahoe as a comparison. Lots of forbidding territory, constant elevation changes with steep steep uphills and downhills, alpine lakes, wildflowers, you name it. The bit of the trail we did is part of the PCT. This is how it began:
Again, I am SO lucky to be able to live and play and run in such beautiful places. The run started great, I jogged up this trail and into areas unknown. I knew something was wrong, however, when Tom (hiking, mind you, that means walking) caught up with me, and then passed me. While I ran. Yeah. No more demoralized than usual, I continued on. I don't know if it was the elevation change (climbing), the elevation itself (7000 ft, but c'mon, I live at 6000 ft), or my lack of using my new friend the albuterol inhaler, but within a mile or so I was a gasping, wheezing mess sitting on a log trying to catch my breath.
The view was great, though!
Tom, worried, comes BACK (walking, remember!) to find me there in my running failure glory. I was done, at least with the uphill part. Just didn't have it in me, for whatever reason. I gave it up and walked the following mile or so to the lake.

Tom waited some more for me, and we walked the last bit to the lake together. I decided to run the way back (so BRAVE!), being that it was all downhill, and I managed to make it back without imploding. Tom, who I had left walking about 2 miles ago, showed up about 5 minutes later. Either I run way too slow or he walks way too fast.

Despite managing the last 2 miles, I was really feeling crappy about my running after this limp attempt, and furthered my plans to spend the rest of the weekend in a lawn hair with my feet in the river, and that's about all I did. Everyone went out for some hard biking, and I stayed in town and ate ice cream. Nice.

At the finish of the race itself, the fire dept. had this hose set up wherein all the dirty, sweaty (and, I might add, freakin' ripped) racers could wash those toned bodies off. Another nice place to sit.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I haven't posted because -- and this is so bad so close to my DLT -- I have done little more than nothing in the past week. Work was busy and yadda yadda yadda I chose sleep over running. This seemed like a good idea this past weekend, and am sure I will think it's a really poor idea when next weekend rolls around. I am woefully underprepared for this race, and have shelved the idea that this is the A race of the year . . . that'll have to be the Marin race in November. THAT one I will be ready for!

Anyhow, the has been a little running of note. I ran a 5k with the Truckee Running Group a week ago today. I went in with the slightly absurd goal of sub 30:00, and pretty much knew it was out of my reach. However, I ran for it anyway. Imagine my surprise when Gary clocked the first mile in at 9:40 -- I have never run as fast before. I stopped looking at Gary at this point, and just ran the rest of the race as fast as I could. Imagine my HUGE surprise when I crossed the line in 29:03! Wow!

In any case, Tom and I have the truck all packed and after we watch today's stage of TdF (on Tivo, of course) we are headed over to Downieville for very cycle-oriented weekend. Mountain biking, which I don't like nearly as much as road biking, but biking nonetheless. I also plan to run quite a bit (to make sure I haven't forgotten how) and have some good times with friends.

And, I finally drank the Kool-Aid and bought myself an iPhone and oboy! is that a cool piece of electronic tastiness. It was only a matter of time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

10 mile run

(this whole post has some kind of weird formatting html problem I can't be bothered to figure out right now.  Sorry for all the underlining . . . )
Yesterday I went out to replicate a favorite long run that I have not done since last year. Tom dropped me off at Stampede reservoir, and I ran about 10 trail miles to my previously stashed car at Donner Camp -- this is the Emigrant Trail, and it's got to be one of the loveliest runs around these parts, and that's saying a LOT.

I ran this once or twice last year, and remember it as being challenging, yet relatively easy and quite a fun run.  I must have been in better shape then, 'cause while it was definitely fun, it was really quite challenging for me, especially those pesky first few miles.  Throughout the run, I stopped a number of times and took quite a few walk breaks, which I generally don't do unless there's lots of big hills.  There is quite a bit of climbing on this run (Gary says 1761, which seems a little high, but I'm not gonna argue), but it's all pretty gradual, and not the type of climb that usually makes me stop or walk.  I was just feeling kinda tired (maybe over-training a bit?) and took the opportunity to take lots of photos.  Also, I've just made the switch from iPhoto to Picasa, so the shots are an experiment in uploading (I think they should be bigger -- next time!)  Hopefully, all the captions line up . . . 

This is such a beautiful run, and most of the trail looks pretty much like this -- nice, clear dirt path through lovely pines.  I took off around 10:30 am, which was perhaps a bad choice this day as it was HOT and got HOTTER.  I usually run in the afternoon/evening, so this high noon stuff was a little tricky for me. 

The heat the climbing took its toll, and I was not a happy camper the first 4 miles.  I found all kinds of reasons to stop!

There were plenty of wildflowers everywhere.  I think this was about halfway through the run.  I dunno the name for these, but they were a really vivid blue that was hard to capture with my little point and shoot camera. 

Most of the trail runs through the forest, but at the peak you can catch glimpses of the surrounding mountains.  This is looking east towards Reno.

Anyhow, by this point I am enjoying my run, as I am well into the downhills and (what passes for) flats.  Unfortunately -- and this is rare for me -- I have just about run out of water at this point, and am on total rations.  One tiny sip!  Not pleasant when it's 85 degrees or whatever.  

This is the only really open part of the trail, and the run through the meadow is a nice change.  I took my very last sip of water here.

Water, water everywhere.  This is Martis Creek, and this time last year was fairly easy to cross with dry feet, stepping from stone to stone.  Another effect of all the rain we had earlier is this:
I could have taken my sneaks and socks off, but I figured with only 2 miles left wet feet couldn't do too much damage.  The water felt WONDERFUL!

Again, somehow Gary calls this 1700 feet of elevation gain, but that just seems excessive.  I've got to look at that a little closer.  I'm using a program called Ascent to manage the GPS input, and I'm finding it just slightly bewildering.  

All in all, a fine run, though slow.  I ran 10 or 10.5 miles (had some GPS issues right at the start and had to start it over again) in about 2:30.  

I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.  The pictures really don't do it justice . . .