Wednesday, August 27, 2008

sunday sunday sunday

i have mixed feeling about Sunday. i don't think i want to get into much of it, maybe on my other space...maybe. i woke up to Bri texting me some sort of nonsense about onions burning his nose hairs clean out of his nostrils at 430AM. my alarm was to go off in 10 min so i decided to get up and get my usual morning routine of organic steel cut 100% gluten free slow cooked oatmeal with spices and 1/2 of a sausage link diced up and mixed in ready for consumption. yum. i'd like to interject that for the record, in case there was any doubt - i love to eat. breakfast makes me happy. barney butter with apples makes me smile. lunch time excites me. my pre-work out snack energizes me and dinner, well dinner is just full of possibilities. my meals are strategically planned and timed throughout the day and i thoroughly enjoy thinking up, preparing and devouring each and every collation i put together. its the little things in life that bring me joy. so anyway, i woke Dana up at 530 so we could get on the road, get her breakfast and coffee and make it to the starting line before the gun went off so we could wish everyone good luck. after calling Jim for directions to the closest Starbucks - ransacking the place of their coffee and breakfast wraps - we made it with plenty of time to spare.

to put it bluntly - the crowd sucked. big time. Dana and i were pretty much the only people cheering the entire time. we kept a constant clap going and cheered for every single solitary person that passed us. many of them looked directly into my eyes and smiled. i'd get goosebumps each time, knowing i had just made a part of their race a little bit better. after our last friend exited the water, we hightailed it over to the finish line to watch them come in. the big dogs had already finished, so we resumed out cheering and clapping along the finishers shoot for the age groupers. i don't know how it was possible, but the crowd was even worse there! i've never been to a tri with such incredibly unsupportive spectators. it was something.

we gathered the troops, did the after race chit-chat and decided to make our way to Jim's for the bbq. it was really nice to see the baby, hang out with the Goudreau's and the rest of our tri/TNT friends. we were to leave around 1145 to head to the cove. the day's workouts were to consist of the Cove 2 miler and a 40 min zone 1 LSD run. as if cued from some director's chair, the ex walked in with his girlfriend (who i happen to think the world of and its a shame i cannot for the life of me act like a normal person when the two of them are in a 5 mile radius) and what do you know? 1145 on the dot. so maybe i will get into it. this was the 3rd or 4th time i had seen him that day. i'm not gonna sugar coat the fact that it sucked. i seem to be running into them quite frequently now, which isn't too surprising seeing as how our root group of friends are pretty much the same and we are both in the tri community...its bound to happen. but this was too much in one day especially for a girl going on about 15 hours of sleep in a 72 hour period AND the fact that i was exhausted from the previous day's jaunt up the mountain. when i see him/them i feel like my lungs just might actually collapse in the chest cavity that is supposed to be protecting them from sharp objects. the oxygen coming in gets a little bit thicker, the breeze surrounding my path gets a little bit colder and my focus on the road ahead grows a little bit hazy. i get nervous. i don't know what to do. i don't know what to say. i don't know how to act. i don't know what to think. i don't know where to look and i don't know how to feel. so with all of that uncertainty in one day - i was ready to put on camouflage, drop to the floor, army crawl my way through the living room in hopes that i wouldn't be noticed, dart out the door to escape the fiery glances of disappointment and disapproval and drive away into the sunset, never to be heard from again. too bad i didn't have camouflage, there wasn't room to army crawl out the door, and my invisible shield was just that - invisible. plus it was just before noon and the sun was nowhere near ready to set. so i tried to leave as graciously and quietly as i possibly could so i could get to the safety of my car, roll down the windows and let all the stink in my heart and my head leave with the wind passing through. i wanted Dana to stay. she is after all still very good friends with them all. i am the outcast and i didn't want to bring her into that. i didn't want to make a big deal of that either, so i told her it was fine with me if she wanted to stay. it wouldn't hurt my feelings in the least. she was already in the car and so she decided to just go. i knew she'd rather stay to hang out then go to the Cove - she hates ocean swims - but she stuck it out. bad call.

the ocean ended up being as topsy turvy as i felt. the swells were copious and constant. as we made our way through the beginning of the water, a coldness swept through my body and a chill ran down my spine. as we made it to the half way point of the quarter mile buoy, i stopped to get my bearings amongst the washing machine waves. i took in my surroundings. Dana was about 200 yards back. i was completely alone. there were no other swimmers within seeing distance. the water carried a green foam atop its unfaltering rollers. the sky was grim and grey. it was eerie, like i was lost at sea not far from shore. my heart was sullen and low. my mind was wondering into places unknown and unwanted. my legs were tired, my arms were heavy and my soul wanted out - to fly somewhere, anywhere but there - in this trapped and suffocating body. i waited as Dana neared and then we continued the swim. two other guys finally appeared out of the abyss and made the call to head back to shore, not to the half mile buoy and most definitely not to the shores and back. we followed suit. come to find out, not even the Gatorman crew swam past the quarter that afternoon.

the run was hard, but not in traditional terms. i was supposed to be in zone 1 - that's less than 153 beats per minute. i couldn't even get my heart below 160 to start. i was basically at a walk and it was still shooting up into the atmosphere. Dana ran past me with a sort of irritated look that i was going too slow and shouted something like "can you even run in zone 1?" well yes, on a normal day, i can. on a normal day when i am not faced with my past at every turn of the corner. on a normal day when my heart doesn't feel like it might explode from the sheer force of a distant stare. yes, on a normal day it is quite easy for me to run in zone 1 and make damn good time. today was not a normal day. we finished the run and all i wanted to do was eat and sleep.

we headed back to my place to get Dana's car so she could leave to do her thing with the group that i wasn't quite welcome with anymore. i got to thinking about all the crap i was feeling inside and the weight of it all. i wanted to sleep and not wake up until it was over. or wake up and be in a different time, a different place. somewhere that didn't hurt. somewhere that didn't disappoint. some place where the competition i felt within my self wasn't always being challenged by those who think they should be able to take me but can't. some place where doing what's right, or trying to anyway, doesn't give you the cold shoulder and a colder stare. some place...else.

everything is the same in a place where everything is different. its a strange place to be. not really there, not really here, not really anywhere you recognize yet you know you must be on the right path. God never steers you in the wrong direction. you may take the path of a million twists and turns, but its always the path you are meant to be on. just wish it wasn't filled with so many dadgum potholes. here's hoping to freshly laid asphalt ahead. on second thought, i'm going to find that damn truck and pave it myself...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

body - four, mind - zero

Saturday was not a day for the faint of heart FYI: date completely off at the bottom of the pic - Tina, you should def update that ;)

the plan - meet at 6:30 AM to ride by 7
the course - Iron Mountain loop X2 = a total of 60 miles
the nutrition - CB said no less than 300 calories per hour
the feeling - pure and utter fright

i hadn't attempted Iron Mountain since having knee surgery and quite frankly, i wasn't sure i was ready to tackle the feat once, let alone twice. i was the one who thought up the ingenious route. i was the one pumping everyone up to get ready for the arduous ride. i was the one fueling this fire and when it came down to it, i was scared. i mean i ride an 11-23. that's a time trial bike set up to the max. it was hard for me to imagine completing a 60 mile ride when my longest mileage to date was only 42 in a chain ring and gearing that was made for the flat and fast not the mountainous and brutally slow. as we gathered, a shot of nervousness pierced my heart and i wasn't sure i could do it. i started telling the others that maybe we'd need to regroup after the first loop to see how we felt. to then decide if the second loop was possible. if we could do it and then take it from there. i heard myself explaining that i had a scary set up and i wasn't sure if this was possible. i doubted myself more that morning than i had in a very long time. i couldn't find that inner strength that has been coming so easy to me as of late. i don't even have to ask if i can do something lately, i just do it with the sense that i can do anything. i just have to put my mind to it and it will be done. i don't know why it seemed to be missing that morning. Dana kept chiding me about being a wuss and backing out of my own workout plans and so on and so forth. i finally told her she could attempt the workout without using her last 3 gears or shut up about me not being sure if the second loop was indeed do-able. that way we'd both be on the same page and we'd have a level playing field throughout the day. she laughed in my face and said "yeah right" so off we were on the first loop.

the plan - take one loop at a time
the course - start at Poway Rd, head up to Highland Valley Dr, u-turn and head towards the Circle K and finally make the ascent back to the cars to regroup for round 2
the nutrition - water bottle filled with 1 1/2 scoops of Accelerade + one GU at the Circle K = about 370 calories give or take
the feeling - get it done

going up the to Highland Valley Dr did nothing to mollify my qualms. i found myself working hard early on. i was in the small chain ring, easiest gear and still having a hard time keeping my cadence high and my legs spinning. i took it really easy on this first leg of the ride and when i would start to feel myself pushing too hard, i'd ease up in order to save my legs for the monster ahead. i did drop to the big chain ring a lot, but it was because i needed it. i felt the need to push at certain points to get the lactic acid built up so i could ease off at certain points to work that lactic acid out. it was a very steady and precise balance i imparted on this leg of the workout. i listened to my body and obeyed its demands in order to produce the expected outcome - conquer Iron Mountain.

the down hill was a rip roaring good time. Ryan, Tim and i battled the winds and each other to be the first one down. it was this high spirited and fun demeanor that would lead us into the tough climb ahead. we regrouped at the bottom, pottied, took our GU's and headed out - or up if we're being technical. Ryan and i led the pack with Tim, Dana, Cindy and Robby close behind. i stayed on Ryan's tail end the whole way up the mountain -


we tackled that mountain like it was our job. i'd never felt better. stronger. more powerful. i was taking it all in. the sites of dirt hills, open fields and beautiful landscapes. the sounds of roaring cars, birds and nature moving. the smells of freshly chopped Oak, Douglas Fir and Riparian saturating the air. i took it all in. i felt my spirit climb along with my legs and as i reached the top, i shouted "WOOHOO! let's do it again!" we still had quite a way to get back to the starting line, but i was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that i could do this again. that i would do this again. my body had just out done my mind one more time and a sense of awe overcame my center of attention. i was an animal. no thoughts entered my mind. no fears trespassed my heart. it was me, Muffassa and the mountain. we were one within the other and moved to a beat unheard by the likes of the others on the ride.

as we neared the beginning of the end, the adrenaline rose and i was indeed ready to not only start that second loop, but take it, wrangle it and make it mine. CB texted me to see how the day was going and when i told him, his one word response was "hammer" and that's what i did. i waited about 20 min for the rest of the crew to catch up and then we headed out - again - only this time there was no question in my mind, no doubt in my heart, no mercy in my legs. it was time to attack. to take no prisoners along my path of destruction. to lay it all out on the line and reap the benefits at the end. first loop: 01:51, just under 30 miles

the plan - divide and conquer the halves of this loop
the course - start at Poway Rd, head up to Highland Valley Dr, u-turn and head towards the Circle K and finally make the ascent back to the cars to celebrate the victory at hand
the nutrition - new water bottle filled with 1 1/2 scoops of Accelerade + one Accelgel at the start + one GU at the Circle K = about 490 calories give or take
the feeling - excitement

Tim, Dana, Cindy and i headed out. Cindy and Tim were to only do the first half of the loop - Poway Road to Highland Valley Drive and back. Cindy had to be somewhere and Tim wanted to run Iron Mountain with the TNT team. Dana and i were the lone rangers on the second half - neither of us were backing down. because i was really wanting to see what i could do on this loop, to really see what i could accomplish - what i was made of - i rode like the wind. i didn't stop to regroup. i didn't stop to chat. i was a woman on a mission and that mission was to see what the hell my limits were - if i had any - and if i did, to break them into a million little pieces so they could be swept up and discarded with the trash. i made it to the Circle K and was so excited to see Tina there with a huge cup of ice and an even bigger smile. she hugged me, told me i looked great and that she was proud of me. hell, i was proud of me. who knew i had it in me all along?! i stopped and replaced the empty space in my water bottle with ice, thanked her for surprising and supporting me and began the ascent.


the second loop proved to be a horrible time. i was alone. i was hurting. i was tired. i was hungry. i wanted to be done. the good news was i only had 9 more miles to go and it would be over. the bad news was i had 9 more miles to go and it would be over. i played games with myself. sang songs to occupy my roaming mind. i thanked God for being able to feel this pain and push through it. i thanked him for allowing me to train with the passion, intent and fortitude i do and thanked him for giving me the sense to break free of things holding me down. i even talked to myself out loud at times of delirium. the temps were steadily creeping and were easily reaching the 90's. i had to get out of my saddle on at least 3 occasions - not to adjust my very sore and very achy bum, but to actually make forward movement possible. i was there pushing my body, learning what i could do, tearing down walls and breaking past limits. as i crested the last hill and saw the cars, i smiled. i cheered. i whooped and hollered. second loop: 01:55, just under 30 miles

the plan - celebrate my accompishment with food. lots of food. and sleep.
the nutrition - 2 water bottles filled with 1 1/2 scoops of Accelerade each + one Accelgel at the start of the second loop + one GU at each of the Circle K stops = about 800 calories give or take (i didn't completely finish either of my nutrition bottles)
the feeling - pure and utter awe

total workout: 03:46, just under 60 miles completed

i came. i saw. i conquered.

Iron Mountain what?! ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

swimming?...yes please :)

that has been my gmail message quite a bit lately...and today it is: swimming twice in one day?... yes please :)

this week's workouts have consisted of the following:

Tuesday PM: RIDE
normal 24.5 mi route, this time with gnarly headwinds the majority of my circle. i felt like i was struggling pretty much the entire ride and towards the end i really buckled down, shifted to a harder gear and knocked out the last 5 or so miles like a jail bird trying to lose the hound dogs hot on his trail. this ride gave me trouble at the beginning and i had a hard time keeping my concentration. i kept giving myself excuses why it was okay to not go as fast as normal - i'm tired, the wind is too strong, it's getting darker mind was not in it but what the hell do you know?! my body sure was and in the end, i came out on even in comparison to last week's ride: average 17.5 mph in 83 total minutes. not too shabby considering my initial pussy-itis attitude, all of the stops along the way AND the winds from Zues himself! body - one, mind - none

Wednesday AM: SWIM
1000M W-U
- 300M kick
- 300M pull
- 400M swim
2 X 600
- 300M paddles/LD
- 300M swim/LD
2 X 100 (2min/20sec rest)
= 2400M

felt great and there were no problems getting up, getting going, entering the water or completing the workout - WOOHOO! even score - no points awarded!!

Thursday PM: TRACK (UGH!)
3X400 at 70% max HR
4X400 at 80% max HR
5X400 at 90% max HR

track and i have bonafide a love/hate relationship. i love to hate it. it hurts so bad it feels good. its all very complicated and i don't want to bore you with the details but last night's session kicked my butt. i was sucking wind and producing carbon dioxide like it was my job. i was a tree filtering the worlds air through my lungs in such large waves that i just about resigned myself to the grass where i could plant roots and continue my exertion in a much less exertive way. alas, it wasn't meant to be and the lady i was running with just. kept. going. round and round. every time we'd finish, i'd swear it was my last to run with her and then she'd walk up to the line and i'd find my legs carrying my body up to the line to follow her, completely against the very loud, authoritative and somewhat ticked warnings of my psyche. there was a constant battle between my mind and my body each and every lap. i struggled in my head thinking that this could not go on. i could not finish this lap at this pace and to please God put me out of my misery and what the hell do you know?! i finished the damn lap. i finished the damn lap at the pace the fast lady set. i finished the damn lap at the pace the fast lady set AND THEN WENT BACK FOR MORE! how the hell does that work?! when it was all said and done, i was spent. i gave Luke the drop-in fee and crawled back to the salvation of my car. body - two, mind - none.

Friday AM: SWIM
1000M warm-up
- 400M swim
- 4 X 50M single arm
- 2 X 100M pull
- 2 X 100M kick
400M swim
600M paddle set
400M swim
= 2400M

i got up at 4:10. got dressed and ready to go at 4:15. this is where it gets literally took me 20 minutes to talk myself into walking to and getting in the car. its not that i was necessarily tired, not that i necessarily didn't want to swim, not really anything i could pin point, i just wasn't motivated to get to the car. as my body and my psyche wrassled and wrangled for some sort of decision, i decided to check out until the verdict was in and just as i thought we were headed right back to bed, my legs carried my psyche to the dadgum car where i got in and drove to the pool. really?! how is this happening?! body - three, mind - none.

Friday PM: PLAN - SWIM
one mile at the cove in 35min or less (without wetsuit if its warm enough)

7 AM start time. Iron Mountain ride - first loop with the Pac Grove/Nation's Tri TNT Team for encouragement and camaraderie because as soon as we hit the top, we're doing it again for a total of 60 miles which = my longest ride to date. so far i've gone no longer than 40, way to do an incremental jump katie b! so you've decided to kill yourself and take your friends down with you...nice. and if are legs are still working after that, we will attempt a LSD run of 40 min, keeping our HR under 153. i know this means we will not be completing the traditional Iron Mountain Brick pulled from the recesses of Hades, but really, what do you expect after a ride like that?! we'll be lucky to be able to crawl after this workout so anything more than that we'll consider a miracle :)

Sunday afternoon: PLAN - SWIM/MAYBE RUN
two miles from the cove to the shores and back (let's pray for a washing machine-less day please) and take a 40 min jaunt along the coast if the run didn't get done the previous day, this time avoiding little yappy attack dogs hiding out in the store fronts of downtown La Jolla!

we're sitting at a 3 to 0 score right now in the body's favor...let's hope it's strong enough to continue the fight...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

sunday WAS NOT funday

it went a little something like this:

5:30 AM - Dana calls to tell me she's on the way to the race

5:35 AM - up to make breakfast, it's gonna be a LONG day

6 AM - stop at Starbucks (thank GOD)

6:35 AM - trek over to finish line to watch 5k-ers come in and wait for my half-ers

8:21 AM - first runner of my clan crosses the finish line

9:50ish AM - last runner of my clan crosses the finish line

10 AM - wonder over to the Triple Crown line to find my clan

10:20 AM - still looking

10:22 AM - plant myself on the grass and whip out BB, banana & GF toast - snack time :)

10:35 AM - finally find Bri

10:40 AM - finally find Dana


11:20 AM - Bri comes to our rescue

11:40 AM - FINALLY make it to the car

11:59 AM - stuck in Pt. Loma traffic hell

noon - Dana FINALLY gets to eat something

12:40 PM - head to the Cove

1 PM - find sweet parking, only hindrance is the down hill we must descend (poor Dana)

1:30 PM - Ryan and i still waiting on Sandra

1:50 PM - question = 2 with wetsuit or 1 without...?

1:50 PM - answer = 1, hands down

2 PM - in the water swimming with the fishies :)

2:35 PM - out of the water and making our way back to the towels

2:40 PM - Sandra/Ryan = laying down, katie b = changing for the 90 min run from hell

2:55 PM - katie b leaves for run

interjection by this time i am STARVING!!!! i had eaten 3 shot blocks before entering the water because i was already really hungry but we all know how well swimming works for me on a stomach with anything solid in it and if you don't, ask Dana - she got to see the very disgusting effects of said pukapalooza on our last swim/run brick at the Cove. so with one shot block left to fuel an entire 90 min run, i was not a happy girl.

4:25 PM - back with extremely tired legs, sore knees and a screaming belly.

4:29 PM - can you say cranky?!

4:30 PM - getting crankier by the second, MUST GET & EAT FOOD

4:40 PM - Dana has a breakdown in the car because i brought up a touchy subject

4:45 PM - Dana and i not talking because we are now both cranky

4:50 PM - pull into Whole Foods, the mother land of all that is good and right in the world

5:15 PM - FINALLY eating, and a lot of it on my part.

5:29 PM - can you say fat kid?!

5:30 PM - Dana is in a much better mood and forgives me for talking about touchy subject

6 PM - gallivanting around Target but not getting much

6:45 PM - drop Dana off at her car

7 PM - home, home at last

7:34 PM - bed

7:40ish PM - sleeping, so looking forward to the next day of nothingness!!!!

training week from hell over and done with. i have never been more excited about a Monday in my life!

who's up for a tri?

is it considered a triathlon if there are only two participants?
As with most of my workouts - or torture sessions as they have so lovingly been referred to as of late by those partaking - CB sends me the time/mileage and i devise the routes and effort level. this weekend consisted of the following:

45min swim/at least 1mi + 90min bike/at least 25mi + 40min run/at least 5mi = great workout on already tired legs from the time trials of hell the week following up to this day.

i only had one brave soul answer my call to arms and with that Ryan M and i met at the shores Saturday morning at 730 to begin our day of training. we swam the mile on the clearest day yet, seeing to the bottom almost the entire way out to the half mile buoy. it was beautiful. it was peaceful. it was breathtaking. it was me thinking, "i better get this swim over with quick so my sandals are still there when i get out and my car hasn't been stolen with my not-so-hidden key!" we exited the water in 32 minutes to the very fantastic fact that all of my belongings were just as i left them. thank God drunks and thieves normally aren't early morning risers. next up the ride...

is it considered a triathlon if there is no official course or aid stations?
i decided the day prior that the bike portion of our day would consist of a 15 mile out and back. i thought it might be nice to head up Shores Dr (the horrible knee blowing downhill of the La Jolla Half Marathon), out to the infamous Torrey Pines hill and then along the coast until we hit the 15 mile marker as dictated by my bike computer. right off the bat, our first climb set the standard for the day's ride. in a word - gnarly. Ryan and i kept exchanging curses to the effect that who ever came up with this route must die, that she must be an evil bitch and that Ryan needed to set up better SPAM filters so those pesky emails couldn't get through. too bad all of said comments were directed at yours truly and even as i said them, i smiled a devilish smile of victory because i knew - in essence - we were about to get our asses handed to us on a platter. those comments continued throughout the entire ride and as we neared the turnaround point, Ryan noticed i was out of my nutrition mixture and would need to restock with water at the very least. that's when we had the very grand idea to crash the TNT transition workout just a mile ahead and steal their water and hopefully snacks :) steal we did and off we were to tackle the dreaded Torrey Pines hill (my first attempt at the task in over a year and a half) and get back to transition to start the run. i'll be nice here and just say that i had a good ride - as in i dropped Ryan :) i held a steady 21/22mph on the way back and even caught up to a pack of male riders and quite quickly dropped them. at the next light, they caught back up (okay - so i didn't really drop drop them, more like pass dropped them) where one of the riders made the comment "sorry. i just caught up, i was trying to find a bungee cord to wrap around your back tire" YES! SCORE! YIPPEEE! i'm not gonna lie, it felt good. really good. i gloated - just a little - with a quick smirk and soft laugh. i never saw the other riders again after that light. they must have turned but Bungee decided to stick with me and Ryan up Torrey and that's when Ryan got dropped. i only say this because he's fast and it makes me feel good to say that i beat him. in his defense, he was only going on 4 hours of sleep AND a night of drinking. so it was me and Bungee, duking it out to the top. i won :) and back to transition it was...

is it considered a triathlon if you get attacked by a yappy dog on the run?
i waited for Ryan to get back before we both headed out on the last leg of the workout. it was a gorgeous day at the beach with tons of people out playing football, soaking up the sun and walking their dogs. Ryan stopped about 10 minutes or so into the run to stretch, but i kept trucking along so i could just get it done - by this time i was beyond starving. i'd had one scoop of Accelerade/Ultima in my water bottle on the way out, one Accelgel at the half way point on the bike and water for the run. i had infact been asking Ryan where we were going for lunch since minute 10 of the ride. now it was minute 10 of the run and i needed food! at my run turn around - which i estimated to be about 2-2.5 miles - i was accosted by one of those yappy, shaggy dogs that can't weigh more than 5 pounds wet. the dadgum thing came out of nowhere and just started barking and lunging and God knows what else. i was lucky enough to divert disaster and continued on. Ryan wasn't so lucky. i kept wondering why i wasn't catching up to him on my way back to the cars. i mean, i was miraculously NOT lost and retracing me exact path out - he had to be here somewhere...right? that's when i saw him limping towards me with a hole in his tri shorts and in his leg. one of those yappy, shaggy dogs that can't weigh more than 5 pounds wet had accosted him as well, but got much more than my attacker did - a piece of his quad! he had already washed it out by the time i returned and was just ready to leave to get food.

is it considered a triathlon if you don't have a 4th event?
so that's what we did. we ate. we ate a lot. we ate a whole lot and afterward i smacked Bri (who was so nice to come and join us at our celebratory meal after his TNT session) for letting me eat ALL of my ginormo burger with bacon, cheese and avocado + all of my caesar salad. in my defense, CB had just told me on the phone to, "eat. eat protein. eat as much protein as you possibly can to rebuild those muscles." so that's what i did, and was completely chockablock of cow walking back to my car. so full infact that i all needed was a shower and a nap to complete my day.

is it considered a triathlon if you do more/less than was prescribed?
so our final day of training tallied up to the following:

32min swim/1mi + 112min bike/30mi + 40min run/4.5mi = kick you in the teeth workout that leaves you begging for your mommy and an ice bath :)

it was a great day of training. we worked hard. we got a lot done. we kicked ass and we took names. so who's up for the double loop Iron Mountain ride and run this Saturday? i promise it will be just as much fun if not more ;)

Friday, August 15, 2008

things that make you go "hmmm?"

"hmmm?"1: i went to Mesa College today to finish registering for my accounting 101 class. you might be thinking "why katie b? you already have a perfectly good degree in creative writing?" and i'd say "well i am a senior accounting specialist for my PR firm that includes three offices - San Diego, New York, and Los Angeles. i manage all 3 offices' accounting and have absolutely no solid background in the damn field besides getting thrown to the wolves from my very first job out of college. so - my boss would like me to at least learn what the heck i need to know to grow this department and make it rock" i say "bring it!" so with that, i was off to pay for the class. in the midst of the whole paying sham they have set up down there in no man's land which i think was at least 92 degrees, a boy of 14 started chatting me up in line - okay, maybe not 14 but definitely no older than 18. a bit later, i was in the elevator with said boy and his friend where he proceeded to say the following, "that's cool, we'll both be on this campus. hopefully i'll run into you sometime soon." ha. ha ha. ha haha hahahahahahahaha. really?! was i really just hit on by a 14 year old child?! yes, yes. i think i was... "hmmm?"

"hmmm"2: on my way back from the shenanigan's of community college and the unending joys it entails, i stopped by Henry's to pick up some Barney Butter because what do you know? i'm out. go figure. so i get in the store and HOLY COW - BARNEY BUTTER IS ON SALE!!!!!!!! sweet glorious mother Mary in Heaven is finally answering my prayers and is on the look out for my CHECK LIST - Special Needs items. at this point i sort of went a little crazed - all wide eyed with weird giglingly spouts errupting from my lips while grabbing every jar of BB on the shelf (note this kids - go stalk up at your neighborhood Henry's, but if your in Point Loma, you may have to ask if they have anymore in the back). anyway, back to the story - as i am frantically hording all of the smooth BB insight, i see this lady out of the corner of my eye sort of staring at me like "what the hell are you doing?" i sort of just smile, hold up one of the jars like "hey, gotta love it" and scurry to the register where the checkout boy proceedes to ask me if i was actually planning on eating all of that and then actually looked me up and down. i then had to go into some sort of lame explanation of how i'm a triathlete and training for my first the end i said "no, i don't need a bag" and juggled the jars out to my car. i just forked over $40 for jars of almond butter..."hmmm?"

"hmmm?"3: if you google images of Barney Butter, my picture pops up as the 6th AND the 10th item on the count. really!? REALLY?! it's official - the saying "you are what you eat" holds a completely new meaning..."hmmm?"

"hmmm?"4: so after the race on Sunday, Dana and i start to walk in a direction that i was dead sure was taking us to my car. i just knew we were going the right way and defended it with such conviction that Dana had to believe me. she had just run a 1/2 marathon, so it's not like her brain was working all that quickly - well quickly enough to scream at her "NO NO, DON'T BELIEVE HER! SHE IS THE MOST DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED PERSON YOU KNOW!!!! RUN. RUN AND DON'T LOOK BACK!!!" so we continued to walk for a good 20 - 30 min in the direction of what i thought was Zoo Place only to hit 6th street. weird. is that even close to where we want to be? of course it is...until we look at the map and find that i have lead us in the absolute, complete wrong direction and we are on the opposite side of Balboa Park from where we need and so desperately want to be. so we had to call Bri to come and pick up our dumb asses - me dumb for having lead us there and Dana dumb for allowing me the opportunity. the best part about it is that i am so utterly convincing that it really is hard to doubt me. i mean, i apparently even talk myself into thinking i really know where i am going. really?! how can a person be so damn sure they are going in the right direction to find that they are going in the exact wrong direction 99.9% of the time?!..."hmmm?"

"hmmm?"5: as some of you may know - i have a gum addiction. this isn't just any of your run of the mill gum chewers anonymous offenders either. take for instance - i bought a pack of gum last night at 7PM Sunday. it is now 10AM on Monday and there is one piece left. one. and this isn't abnormal. my daily ritual usually goes a little something like this:

2 PM - buy pack of gum
2:01 PM - first piece chewed
3:4oish PM - first half of pack - GONE
5 PM - popping last piece on way to my workout

and there you have it. now, the rate of gum chewed is in direct relation to the amount of internal/external stress i am feeling during that period of time. i have been known to go through two entire packs from a 1PM - 5PM period of time and not even think twice about it. everyone who knows me or has spent any real amount of time around me knows i will more than likely have a pack on me and if i don't, its because i've already chewed it all. i gave it up for Lent. once. i made it through the time allotted by the powers that be, but as soon as i put that first piece back in the trapper, it was like the Heavens opened up and sang. it was over after that. a pack a day habit was back in place and i still suffer from the effects. oh and i should mention, i only buy one certain type of gum. you will NEVER see me purchase another brand or color than the light blue STRIDE sweet peppermint. its a sick, sick addiction. i mean who goes through an entire 14 pieces of gum in a matter of 3 hours?!..."hmmm?"


if you've been following this blog for any real amount of time, you know how i feel about time trials. plain and simple - i hate them. they push your limits. they make you scream. they make you puke. they make you wonder what the hell you are trying to make your body do. all in all - they make you HURT. and not in a "oh wow, that was such a great workout, it hurt so bad it felt good" no, no. its more like "oh wow, that was such a brutal expenditure of dynamic forward movement that hurt so bad i now have to lay down and try to recoup some sort of energy just to make it back to my car without passing out."

TT1 - the run
actually this one wasn't so bad. i met Bri at the track in Clairemont so i could get in my 3 miles before his TNT team started their track workout. Bri and Coach monitored each lap and as i ran by, Coach shouted encouraging words like "form looks great" "staying on the mark" "good pacing kate" while Bri and Iris screamed "GO KATIE GO!!" i ended up jack rabbiting the first loop in 1:40 but settled back down to 2 minutes laps until i hit the last mile.

first run TT:
mile 1: 8:36
mile 2: 8:38
mile 3: 8:36

second run TT:
mile 1: 7:49
mile 2: 8:04
mile 3: 7:53

not extraordinary but not too shabby either. the best part about it was my knee never acted up, which was very encouraging. i am looking forward to the upcoming track workouts so i can get some speed back under me and in these little legs of mine. although, i can't really say they're little anymore - they seem to be growing as of late. my "skinny" jeans don't fit in the quad section anymore. i can't say that i am stoked about losing my one and only expensive jeans to the likes of triathlon but i've lost a lot more to this sport so i guess i'm on the up and up for now...

TT2: the swim
oh the unhighly unanticipated, loathsome hilarity of a "sprint" in the water. i mean who the hell came up with this unusual form of torturous punishment? what have i done to deserve this?! one - i had planned on doing this at 5AM Wednesday but due to the unfortunate kidnapping of my poor goggles (or more truthfully and sadly, the fact that i left them at the cove) i had to avert the TT to that evening. bad - no, horrible idea. two - the lanes at the CP are overtaken on Monday and apparently Wednesday evenings by the Master's swim class, leaving two measly open lanes at the end of the pool for the pond scum who try to come and crash their perfect form and seamless wakes. alas, the animation of my TT went like this: rotate the hips - g l i d e...&push, rotate the hips - g l i d e...&push, WHACK! hit the guy in front of me &push, rotate the hips - g l i d e...&push, rotate the hips - g l i d e...&push, WHACK! get slapped in the leg by the guy behind me &push. that went on for pretty much the entire time giving way to pretty poor results but in the end i came out on top.

first swim TT:
Lap1: 1:52
Lap2: 1:57
Lap3: 2:59
Lap4: 2:20
Lap5: 2:21
Lap6: 2:58
Lap7: 2:16
Lap8: 2:18
Lap9: 2:50
Lap10: 2:15

second swim TT:
Lap1: 1:50
Lap2: 1:53
Lap3: 2:00
Lap4: 2:01
Lap5: 2:10
Lap6: 2:12
Lap7: 2:06
Lap8: 2:10
Lap9: 2:05
Lap10: 2:08

although i do like swimming much more than i used to, i still hate sprint swimming - mainly because i am the opposite of fast and that is discouraging. i did however just purchase some God awful paddle contraptions on the advice of Luke to build up my arm strength which in turn, is supposed to make me faster. we'll have to see about that...

TT3: the bike
well here's a good story. my last one was a sham of a time trial, a debacle of sorts - as i happened to attempt this crazy task in the midst of the first weekend, on the second day of the Over the Line tourney on Fiesta Island. ummmm, not so much what you would call ideal TTing conditions. but i went with it, and put up some pretty pathetic numbers. it didn't hurt me and afterwards i even went and rode/swept the TNT Saturday AM workout to Del Dios. that was NOT the case yesterday. i decided to change my TT location to the Coronado Strand, mainly because i despise the barren landscaping, the continuous dirt hills and the rows of smelly port o' potties that line the loops of that horrendous hallowed training ground. i did a short .2 mile warm up on the bike and shot off when i felt the need for speed, or something like that. GOOD GOD - the wind was awful. Winnie the Pooh would have loved to be in this blustering tunnel of pain. at least his red balloon could have carried him away to saner ground. i, on the other hand, had to push myself through until the very end. i kept looking at my speed and seeing 18 something or other which was less than comforting because just 4 days prior i rode this exact route and got up to 26.4 mph on one stretch. oh Lord this sucked. luckily, on the way out i was unknowingly fighting the head/cross winds (opposite of the previous jaunt) and was able to reap some of the tail/cross winds on the way back...

first bike TT:
12 miles - 41:35
i believe that's like an avg. of 10 mph :(

second bike TT:
12.05 miles - 36:24
that is an avg. of 19.5 mph :) WOOHOO

as soon as i hit the 12 mile mark, i stopped, got off my bike and proceeded to puke as cars drove by - some honked while others hollered. APPARENTLY i need to find a better pre-workout meal than tuna fish salad and Kettle Potato Chips - i mean its hard to get all my calories in each day so i thought this was a decent way to get in the added protein, fat and carbs to fuel my workouts. i do eat this every afternoon you know, approximately 2.5 to 3 hours before go time and CLEARLY it has ceased to work for me. i know this every time because every time i feel like i may be sick, but the push isn't hard enough to actually make that sickness occur...until yesterday. a change must be made and i have no idea what to do about it except trial and error, and that kids may lead to more upset stomachs and (please God save me) barfing on the side of the road. ugh - at least i am recognizing this now instead of closer to race day.

so its done. my week of hell is over...until next month when CB forces me to jump through these dreaded hoops yet again. oy! now - on to a weekend of EPIC proportions...

happy training kids :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

frustrated and missing

frustrated: it is 4:20 AM in the freakin morning. i am up. wide awake. have my new, very stylish swimsuit on. i am getting prepared for the dreaded TT that awaits me in the pool in just 40 short minutes. i am packing up my bag in order to leave...what the eff do you know?! i somehow lost my new goggles. i must have left them at the cove on Sunday after our washing machine swim due to my complete disorientation and nauseousness after exiting the water. i mean, i was well enough to refuel with my Barney Butter and apple, but apparently not well enough to remember to freakin pick up my freakin brand new, only been worn 4 times goggles...OY VEY! so now instead of a lunch time nap, its gonna be a lunch time trip to freakin Paradowski's swim shop to buy a new freakin pair of goggles! maybe this time i'll get a backup pair for this exact type of situation, although if i do something this stupid again, i may have to find someway to punish myself for the stupidity of it all - like swim an extra 5000 :(

missing: brand new pair of TYR NEST PRO goggles (and hot pink swim cap), slightly tinted for my viewing pleasure. black in color and oh so pretty. last seen at the group Cove swim Sunday, August 10th, 2008. if you or anyone you know have seen these and are in the know of their whereabouts, please contact America's Most Wanted Gogglers. there is a man hunt being assembled as we speak to comb the ends of the earth until they are found. i am very worried.

ps. did i mention this is freakin TT week? and did i also mention how much i despise TTs? so to dedicate an entire week to something i passionately hate is not so much an ideal use of time spent. and to throw a wrench in my very well meaning plans just plain sucks. i guess i'll head to the pool tonight...anyone want to time me while i attempt another one of these kick you in the teeth and make you scream "UNCLE" human sacrifices? oh the things i do...


Saturday, August 9, 2008

do i know you?

Friday ended up being quite a stressful day at work and in the midst of all the chaos, i found myself aching to just get in the water to swim. this sudden and dramatic turn of events has me a bit baffled. i mean, who goes from absolutely hating to swim - and by way of one single solitary swim lesson - changes to absolutely loving it, can't wait to do it, feels better just knowing its going to happen?! it really is such a crazy phenomenon - this swimming thing and me. its gone from "swimming? ugh, i guess if i have to..." to "swimming? hell yes, name the time and place!" i never in a million years would have ever even contemplated entering the Pacific without a wetsuit on, much less swimming an entire mile without the comfort and shark protective shield it offers in my head, but what the hell do you know? i did it on Friday. i walked my happy, excited, joyful ass down to the water, dove in and just started swimming. and the swim - oh Lord was it amazing. the water was a cool 72ish. clear. blue. perfect. i was in heaven for the 3rd time that week...

HOLY COW, who am i? i don't even know myself anymore. and that's not all. i have gone and thrown my whole self into some kind of massive conundrum in terms of what i will do and the limits i will push. case in point:

the schedule for today's workout: double brick - bike: 45/45, run: 20/20. what did i go and do? double brick - bike: 60/60, run: 30/30. yep and i didn't even tell my workout partners that i had changed it. i just told them what we were doing and then we did it. no questions asked (i am so gonna get it for admitting this one, sorry guys - but didn't it feel great?!). we did the Coronado Strand out and back. we agreed to take it at an average 15-16 miles per hour as this was supposed to be a "good workout", not a "kick you in the teeth and make you puke workout." that agreement was thrown overboard the moment i clipped in. without even pushing, in the first half mile, i was going 15 and the words "slow it down, take it easy" seemed to immediately jump ship. there is no such thing when i am on the bike. CB has made it quite clear that i am to push myself each and every time i am out there riding the wind. i have less than two months to turn myself into a half ironman and easing up on it certainly will not do. so, i heard him in my head, dropped into my big chain and pounded out a pretty decent first leg of the order. we ended up averaging about 22 going out. too bad the winds from hell's labyrinth decided to try and throw us off course on the way back. i was literally being pushed around the bike path at the most inordinate and inopportune times - like as soon as a family would ride up on us, i'd just so happen to be thrown into a gust that threatened the safety of all around me. it was a little annoying, but i kept pushing through. working out the lactic acid i could feel building in my muscles so i could transition and get the run done. first out and back - semi easy pace with a good run of 3 miles under the belt.

next up: round two and this is where i surprised myself yet again. it was 2:30 by this time. it was hot. it was windy. it was past lunch time. i was tired from being up at 4 and then helping out with the TNT time trial all morning. my knee was starting to feel a little agitated. i wanted to stop and i said so. "i do NOT want to go back out there. not in the least." everyone chimed in, like a choir of nightingales, "let's just hang out then" "me either" "let's just call it a day..." my response, "i said i didn't want to, nowhere does that mean i am not going to." and we were off again. this round was supposed to be a bit more intense. the wind had picked up significantly so the plan was to pound it on the way out and do what you could to get back - with just enough to make the run. at one point i looked down at my speed and by God's name in the Heavens the thing said 26.4 mph! i was ecstatic. we averaged about 23-24 going out and then the winds of defeat slapped us in the face the moment we switched directions and off we were again to just try and hold a decent enough pace to round out an overall average of at least 17mph. by the end, my legs were burning, my ass was sore, my knee was irritated as all get out and i was just ready to call it a day. but again, the voice in my head, "there will be days you are tired. there will be days you want to quit. there will be days and you have to be strong enough to know this journey won't do itself. so on those days, wake up and don't quit!" so i put on my flats and took off so we could get the last run in and over with. my knee was not cooperating on the run, it kept hollerin' profanities up at me so i dropped it down 2 notches from the previous run and just did a steady jog, making promises that if it just held throughout this last leg, i'd reward it with lots of ice and even more stretching (i spent a good hour and a half stretching every inch of my legs this morning before all of this nonsense started). it finally agreed and we made it through the run. in the end, we covered just under 30 miles, averaging 17.5 mph for the entire ride (hell's winds and all) on our trusty steeds and ran a total of 60 minutes, approximately 6 miles, to finish it all off.

there were so many times i just wanted to quit. to let up on the push. to ease into a higher gear. to stop and walk. but i didn't. i kept pushing the entire way. i have this new found determination, strive and dedication not only to my coach but to myself. i want to do this and i want to do this right. i want to take my self perceived limits, roll them into a ball, stuff them into a leather casing and grand slam them out of the park. i have it in me, this weekend has proven that, and now i get to take that new found freedom of no holds bar and do with it what i please. and i please swimming and loving it. i please new friendships and adventures. i please Ironman Cozumel November 29, 2009. and i please that you come along and enjoy the ride in whatever way you possibly can :)

Friday, August 8, 2008


the past couple of days have been just that - a whirlwind of emotions and physical challenges. after sort of inadvertently signing up for my Ironman race (mark your calendar kids, we're having Thanksgiving in Cozumel! Dad is already trying to figure out how to fry a turkey without pissing off the Mexican consulate! ha! Texans, you can take them out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of them) my head and my body went into some weird hypersensitive mode as in "HOLY EFFING COW! DID I REALLY JUST DO THAT?! WHAT THE F...YES, YES I DID. OH BOY...HERE WE GO" now don't get me wrong, i was going to do it anyway - CB only had to say the word to exacerbate the crescendo of possibilities sounding in my head - i just wasn't aware that i would get in at that exact moment. the press release did say registration wasn't open until August 19...not August 6, but if i've learned anything in the past 6 months its to roll with the punches. so paint me black and white, slap a NFHS approval sticker on me and punt me out the door, i'm ready coach!

the short version of my personal life's demise before its even started:

CB: FW - If you have even been considering racing Ironman...

kb: I am so in…2010 – Cozumel, here I come…can you handle it?!

kb: Or should we do the inaugural year??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!!!!

CB: You know my answer to that already. Why do you think I sent it to you?

kb: You sent it to everyone…if you say yes, so help me God I am signing up…I’m serious. Don’t play with me Brian Alexander Melekian.

CB: Based on what I have seen in the last month Katie B, I have 0 doubt you could do an Ironman in 2009. 0 doubt.

and there you have it - the idea was born, hatched and now it's clucking around on two legs and squawking "OMG! OMG! OMG!" just you wait till that damn thing takes flight !

because of the plethora of excitement, fright, disbelief and determination running through my veins on Wednesday, my ride felt extremely laborious. i couldn't focus on the ride or my rhythm. my legs felt like dead logs. i couldn't get past the breaking point and fighting the headwinds for the majority of the ride was less than ideal in my state of perplexity. i kept pushing though because in my head, this weekday route is a race. i need to beat the previous week's time, the previous week's speed, the previous week's strength. i constantly flirt with the clock, trying ever so slightly to push my limits more so than the time prior. i feared this week wouldn't fair so well as i just couldn't get my body and mind to cooperate with the effort i wanted to put forth. on my last stretch of flat, i was stopped by the red demon which normally erks me, but on this particular day lent me the moment to check out my stats - I WAS AVERAGING 17.5 MPH!!!! last week was only 17.1! ROCK ON KATIE B, ROCK ON :)

last night, i attempted my first track work out since knee surgery and let's just say it wasn't very attractive. it was actually down right ugly. the workout consisted of the following:
10 min warm-up
10 min stretch w/alternate high knee/butt kick drills
4X400 w/10sec rest
2X200 w/30sec rest
10 min cool-down

in the midst of one of my numerous jaunts around the track, i yelled something to the effect of "slave drivers!" in Luke and Felipe's general direction and was met in return with a "thank you!" this from the guy who manifested the "rotating circle of death" drill that tried to drown me in the pool the week prior. no love. none at all. in fact, the opposite of love and i feel this is how our relationship will continue in the months to come IF Coach Brian decides track is something he wants me to continue to do. in the end, it felt good to put some "speed" in my week, but that "speed" was just a touch above where i unusually train because i am not in "speed" shape. unfortunately on the last set of night's torture round, i felt my left knee start to pull and was immediately reminded that i need to strengthen my core in order to offset the deficits that occur when my body gets tired. so much work ahead of me, so so so so so so much. i can tell you this - i will be icing the heck out of my knee all day so that i am ready for the weekend's workouts.

all in all, its been a fantastic week. my feet are really starting to get back under me in all aspects of my life. i feel better than ever. my head is clearer than ever. i am healthy and happy and content in this exact moment, in this exact space with this exact hope in the awesomeness to come...

...the possibilities are endless, i only have to reach out to take them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


i'm freaking out! i thought you couldn't register until the 19th, but what do you know - IT FREAKING LET ME IN?!?!?!?! how did this happen?! i'm shaking and have the BIGGEST smile on my face right now!!!!! katieb is going to do an ironman people...H-O-L-Y-S-H-I-T-!

Succesful registration
Dear Katie,
you have succesfully registered for the event
Ironman Cozumel 2009
Your information is:
Name: Katie Brunner
Birthdate: 02/06/1981
Gender: Female
Category: K Female 25 a 29 years
non-mexican citizen
Number: 228
Confirmation: 500781

it just gets better

i was feeling REALLY tired Monday and unfortunatley that tired-ness haphazardly decided to piggy back on over to Tuesday as well. because of Coach Brian and my agreement to not blow off any workouts, i was having a hard time deciding if i should just go to bed at 7 PM for the second night in a row to get in some recovery, or suck it up and hit the pavement. bed won - a million times over. i figured - if i wasn't able to give a good effort then, what was the point if i could make it up later in the week and be able to put forth great effort? after deciding on the early to bed thing, i made a promise with my bed mate (which happens to be a pile of clean laundry that i have been too lazy to put away) that the early to rise thing would have to come into play as well...

alarm off at 4:15. snooze till 4:20. in car by 4:45. at pool by 4:55. in water in 5, 4, 3..."DADGUM FIRE ITS COLD IN HERE. DID THEY FORGET TO TURN ON THE POOL WARMERS LAST NIGHT?! ARG!" swimming by 5. feeling incredible in...wait for it...wait for it...5:01! this swimming thing just keeps getting better and better!!!!

200m warm-up
1100m set (alternate LD* by 100m/kick by 100m)
100m SAD** (switch arms at 50)
100m kick/100m LD*
2X200m lungbusters (breathe at 3, 5, 7, 9)
100m SAD*
200m cool-down


i never thought i would say this but - i love to swim. now - let's not get ahead of ourselves here - i am still incredibly slow compared to other swimmers (a 90 year old woman, who by the way was at least 30 pounds overweight, was kicking my ass and loving every minute of it), but i am making headway...i am hoping the speed will come. well more like praying the speed will come. one step at a time i guess ;)

and now because of last night's slackassness, i will be riding tonight as well so i can get my speed challenged self to the track on Thursday night on the advice of my very well meaning coach. this whole 'breaking out of your comfort zone to get better' thing is a little intimidating, but whatever - i'm committed now. too bad for the timid shy little girl of yester-year, she is no more - can you handle it?!

now if i could just accomplish this early morning swim every week...i'd be stoked. anyone up around 4AM on Wednesdays and want to go for a dip in the Coronado Pool? its fun, i promise ;)

ps -
*Luke Drill
**Single Arm Drill

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

what a weekend! Part Deuce

Sunday morning started out a little gloomy, but as we sat at Swami's enjoying the scenery, the sun broke through the clouds and made its shiny rays down to the shores of So Cal - making the ocean swim on the near horizon that much more enticing...

i have been helping Dana with her nutrition for a little while but it all seemed to be very overwhelming for her, so we decided to go grocery shopping together so i could help her pick out the right ingredients to fuel her everyday life. Dana hates grocery shopping when it involves thinking about food, looking at food or actually buying food. she sort of has "freak out" moments mid aisle which i was so lucky to witness during our adventurous trip to Whole Foods on the way up to Vineman :) so we went into the Seaside Market with a plan and pretty much stuck to it. no major freak outs and now Dana was stocked for the week, maybe even two with the arsenal she needs to feed herself in a positive manner - no more lean pockets and protein bars. all whole, natural, raw ingredients will be entering her body to fuel her through her normal days and her training days. she was even ready to conquer the ocean with me on this very fine day...

i have literally been dreading this swim all week long. when i read ahead to my schedule for this particular day, i had a feeling of complete dread sweep over my body, my hands started to sweat and my mind started to race. 60 minute swim - shoot for two miles (duhn, dunh, duhn) IN THE OCEAN...AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! is CB not aware of my complete fright of swimming in the ocean? i mean it scares me shitless, literally. i have stomach issues leading up to the swim, just knowing i'll be in the water with all of the many sea creatures AND SHARKS lurking off the coast of La Jolla. BUT, i had a plan for today and it was a good one:

2) fact: prime feeding time for fish (i.e. sharks) is early AM, and late PM - SWIM MID AFTERNOON TO MINIMIZE SHARK HUNGER!
3) in my head: its less likely to have sharks eat you if you are in a group setting - SWIM WITH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE!
4) in my head: wetsuits protect swimmers from these "lurkers" - WEAR A WETSUIT NO MATTER WHAT, EVEN IF THE WATER IS 90 DEGREES!
5) in my head: stopping to rest = less surface area for the shark to come up from underneath and chomp - JUST KEEP SWIMMING!

after my swim lesson with Luke the day prior, i was feeling good about my abilities and felt confident that #1 had been taken care of. i had a lot to think about technique wise, so at least i wouldn't be thinking about the sea life swimming beneath me. i know Coach Brian said to shoot for two miles, but i was dead set on doing two miles. no excuses, no renigging, no turning around before my feet touched the opposite shores. i even made a public announcement of my intentions so i couldn't back out. the day was here and i was ready to do it - after 4 bathroom brakes and and the shaking subsided...

we arrived to the shores at about 12:30 PM taking care of #2 on the list and then i saw what made me smile and wiggle with glee - there were hundreds of people EVERYWHERE. not only were these droves of families and friends on the land, they were swimming in the sea! that means #3 was covered and i didn't even have to do anything to accomplish it. the gorgeous sun had provided my salvation! Dana wasn't sure she wanted to swim with her life jacket (AKA wetsuit) so we went down to check the water temps while we waited for Sandra. it definitely could have been a day for a wetsuit-less swim, but take two girls from Texas and throw them into the Pacific Ocean, and you will more times than not get the wussy side of things. we both decided ditching the suits would be a less than ideal choice which just so happened to wrap up #4. we headed back up to situate our things and start the hilarity that getting on a wetsuit always seems to be, ending with the three of us finally making our way into the water to head out on - what i was thinking - would be a very long excursion...

BUT IT WASN'T!!!!!! i have never moved through the water so smoothly in my life. just like on the bike when i hear Brian in my head i heard Luke "rotate the hips - g l i d e ...&push, rotate the hips - g l i d e...&push." i never kicked once throughout the entire two mile jaunt and was swimming faster than i ever have before. i mean, i was kicking (or really stroking) ass and taking names. ha ha, that sounds dirty - but really, i felt so fluid, strong, efficient. i was finally letting the water do the work for me instead of fighting it. i was actually smiling as i swam. fantastic. and to make the experience even better, the water was a clear crystal blue the entire way there and back. i have never in my life seen the Pacific Ocean in all of its glory as i did that day. amazing. the entire affair was simply moving. i can't describe the joy i felt. i was finally swimming. i was finally in the water. i was finally not freaking out at every single moment. i was calm, serene, happy to be in the open water with the sharks who were not eating me. #5 was a bit of a quandry as Dana was not having a good day and had to stop on numerous occasions to fix her leaky gogggles (note: Dana needs new goggles ASAP) but i didn't want her treading out there all alone so i treaded with her. in the end, i was able to keep my cool the whole way out and even the majority of the way back. there were a couple near miss panic attacks, but in the end we made it through in one piece. me - happier/prouder than ever as was CB when i called to update him on my progress :)

i feel that the wetsuit really helped things "click" today as it allowed me to over exaggerate my movements which produced the desired outcome of speed and efficiency. i know i still need to work A LOT on my technique out of the wetsuit and in the pool, so have no fear - no slacking will come out of this enlightenment except the feeling of knowing what it should feel like. we got out of the water and headed out to finish our day of training with a leisurely 50 minute jog. what an incredible encounter - when training meets awe...

i spent a lot of time talking to God that day, thanking him for the sheer joy of what the experience had produced in me, for the ability to live in such an incredible place and the blessings to have done so much with my life up to this point - but even more so for the opportunity to have life, no matter what the cards i've been dealt thus far have provided, in the space to come.

Monday, August 4, 2008

swim lessons - everybody's doing it

after a fantastic morning junket, a small timeout and recovery assemblage at the beach, a near miss trip to the restroom that i will not be sharing details about suffice to say Sarah and Dana were highly was time to make my way to the pool for my swim lesson. this is a HUGE step for me because i find it sort of silly to pay to workout. i try to solicit those who don't cost any money because, well let's face, i have none. in this particular instance, in this particular aspect of my sport - i need help. not help as in, "oh, there's a little old lady crossing the street and she probably needs a hand" - no. this is the, "oh shit! there's a little old lady who has fallen and can't get up, her little beeper has been crushed by her ass and she can't reach the phone, i must call 9-1-1!" everyone kept telling me to just go see someone. someone who could help my poor pathetic ass move through the water instead of against it - i mean every body's doing it, so i did some research on coaches, talked to 3 possible candidates and finally decided on Luke Walton, former Olympic Athlete and Breakaway Training Coach Extraordinaire.

i again prefaced my horrible technique so poor unsuspecting Luke knew what he was working with right up front - "i look like i am having a seizure in the water instead of actually swimming." okay, so that's a slight exaggeration - i am a little hard on my abilities sometimes - but i wanted to prepare him for the worst, just in case it was as bad as i thought it was in my head, i could say i had warned him of the spectacle he was about to witness.

luckily i wasn't all that bad, or at least he was nice enough to hide his amusement - well, that is until he told me to do this one drill where i absolutely made myself nauseous. i was literally turning every which way possible in the water, looking like a very irritated amoebae roistering through the likes of the most tumultuous sea. i stuck my head out of the water after one length, laughing so hard that i snorted the last of the gallon of water i had just guzzled in my attempt to stay afloat during the 'drill of rotating death' he had just assigned. i looked at him from across the pool hoping to find solace and an encouraging smile, but alas, i received none of the kind. he was laughing just as hard as i was. really?! as a coach, are you really supposed to laugh at your students?! the unequivocal answer to that is - ABSOLUTELY! especially when they look like floundering idiots. when i finally made it back to the edge where he sat, i had to steady myself to make sure i didn't barf up my breakfast in the pool's gutter. we did work on some very basic techniques throughout the hour session and i left the pool feeling like i had learned exactly what i needed in order to do this thing they call swimming in this first event they call triathlon which i happen to be doing in less than 2 months in front of all of my family and friends...

in the end, i realized that not only is he an amazing athlete himself, he is able to relay that athleticism and wisdom into easy terms and drills in order to project their effectiveness onto the person he is coaching. in other words - a real coach, the kind you always hope your kids will have when they start sports because you know they will be taught instead of told. they will learn instead of mimic. anyway, it was a great session and i highly recommend going to see this guy if you have any questions at all about any aspect of triathlon. i know i have to utilize the drills and the message he imparted to be a better swimmer, but now that i know what to do and how to do it - the hard part is over and the easy part is just around the corner.

as i have already said, i am not thrilled to pay for things that any normal human should be able to do - for instance swim, bike or run - AND although he is a little pricey, as are all great things that are worth anything - i can honestly say, without a doubt - especially after yesterday's performance in my debut 2 mile ocean swim (more on that here) - that i have no qualms about spending the money i did to get the result i was after and would do it again - too bad i'm pretty damn good now and won't be needing to go back any time soon - well, until i decide to go pro that is ;) and that kids, says a lot!

go get your swim on :)

what a weekend! Part One

have you ever had one of those training weekends when everything just clicked? fell right into place and just made sense? after all the working and building and learning and "tri"-ing, it finally all falls together? a huge piece of the puzzle just drops smack dab in the middle of your lap and all of a sudden the final picture is now more apparent than ever?

i woke up late on Saturday morning. it was 6 AM and i needed to be at Fletcher Cove to ride by 7. seeing how i may have the weakest stomach on the face of the planet when it comes to eating and working out, i had to skip my normal breakfast of gluten free whole oats with half a link of sweet italian sausage chopped up and mixed in with Trocomare (the best seasoning blend EVER). after throwing everything together that i would need for a longish morning ride and a later afternoon swim lesson, i headed out the door with a cut up apple and an triple serving of Barney Butter in hand.

i met up with the new crew, headed by Kevin, who all seem to be training for Ironman Arizona. i always feel like i should explain myself in order to side step being made fun of for getting dropped, alert people to my innate sense of NONdirection or warn them to whatever the expectation for myself is that i fear i don't meet. in short, i like to let people know what they are getting themselves into. this day was not unlike any other in that sense and i was sure to let everyone know that i 1) was coming back from knee surgery so i wasn't an incredibly strong rider and 2) can get lost in a shoebox - as my two concerns were getting dropped and subsequently getting lost. after we left the meet spot to head out, i found myself up with the top riders for the majority of the first segment of the ride, keeping up pedal for pedal and thoroughly enjoying the company and the course. as we neared the edge of Elfin Forest and regrouped, i had a chance to shoot the shit with the other riders and they had the chance to fervently tease me for my very inaccurate assessment of my own riding abilities. Beth, a sponsored rock star of a triathlete, even made a comment to the effect, "she shows up all undercover in a cotton tank top ready to ride, spouting off something about not being very strong because of knee surgery and then totally blows it up. where do you even keep your nutrition?! just wait. she's flying now, but in a bit she'll bonk and we'll just ride on by." Lorenzo, Mary and the rest of the group chimed in with their own stabs at my speed and strength and the fact that i was indeed not lacking in either of those categories. i can honestly say that i felt very proud of all of my hard work up until that very point and i finally felt like i was making progress in comparison to other athletes. it felt great to have them tease me, and although i prefaced my abilities to start because my confidence isn't all that great due to the short time i have been back at this whole thing, i was stoked to know that these seasoned triathletes were telling me that i was a pretty decent rider. awesome. confidence level in reference to my cycling speed and strength is on the rise :)

we ended up doing the ride in 2:18:57 total move time, covering about 38 miles and averaged 16.5 mph including all of the stops for lights and regrouping. in a word: fan-freaking-tastic! the rest of the group needed to get in another 2 hours before they called it quits so i decided to skip out as soon as we rounded Fletcher Cove, as i needed to save some of myself for the swim lesson later that day. i invited one of my new riding buddies - who by the way has a BROKEN FOOT, is in a boot AND still managed to rock it on the ride - to join me for brunch at Naked Cafe where Dana and Sarah were waiting to meet us. one great morning beginning with a fantastic ride + meeting and chatting up new friends + very yummy and much needed food = one happy girl.

ps. i never bonked :)

next up: learn to swim...

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