Just Another Epic Thursday

The photo above is the aftermath my husband came home to on Thursday....Thursday was an "Epic Ride" day. Friends and I set out to ride the Great Western Loop plus the Laguna Loop all in one ride. I heard two of the fast guys talking about this ride and they called it the "Loop of Doom" The made me lick my chops and want to ride it even more. If I can't drop those boys I'll do my best to make what they called doom be fun. Hah ...Take that fast boys. We women can turn your suffer fest into a full day of Oprah style stories. When Elizabeth suggested the ride I was tickled and couldn't say no to the opportunity. These are my two most favorite rides in all of San Diego County....Maybe in all the world. Besides, I would have 10 days to recover before Wildflower.
I seem to be having a lot of great opportunities for training that are simply too good too pass up. As a result my legs feel like they have had a lead injection. In fact at mile 80 we mentioned that instead of a Botox injection we all felt like we had received a lead injection into our legs. Anyway with all this" training" by the time I got home my legs were feeling a bit like a cow sat on them. (I stole that line from Bree Wee's blog....) I was a bit desperate as I wanted to clean up the house a bit and make cookies for Tim. This would distract him from the fact that I was playing all day while he was working. Besides I can never complain I'm tired after a ride because he'll say "I wish I could have ridden my bike today."...or worse he'll say "I'm not the one who chose to ride a 100 miles today" It's hard when your only defense was "It was only 90 and I had a tailwind on the way out so I wasn't really pushing it"
After a long slow shower I donned my 40-50mmHg compression tights (purchased from discount surgical supplies ....not cool ones like Zoot or 2XU) and a pair of mop slippers...These were inspired on a bike ride with Julie, who said in a pinch she mops her kitchen my sliding around on washcloths. When I saw them in the Le Cruset catalog I knew they would be just the ticket.... and she went sub 5 at Cali 70.3 so it must be good cross training.
Anyway Tim came home earlier than expected and I hadn't quite finished cleaning up (meaning things were messier than before I started) and I was wearing the above get up. I bet his friends are like "Dude, Timmy picked a real winner there" Isn't my husband lucky I'm so fashionable and organized.

Sunday....Run Day

This photo is a replication. The original photo was too graphic for all viewers

I managed to get an unscheduled day off from work on Sunday. I was on-call in the morning which meant I would have to be at work within 30 minutes if needed. Tim and I had such a leisurely morning still celebrating Tim's birthday. We had waffles, sipped our coffee slowly at home and strolled around La Jolla (cell phone in hand). I suggested we go to the La Jolla Farmers Market but Tim said that he was convinced people just bought honey from Trader Joe's and repackaged it to make it look like it was organic and vegan. I told him he was wrong, because there was no way anybody would cheat by using Trader Joe's...They would buy a vat from Costco. Hah- what he wouldn't think of to talk me out of the farmer's market. Around 2:00 p.m I got the green light I wouldn't be needed at work. This gave us the afternoon off to get in our long runs. Necessary because one of us signed both of us up for the marathon - and necessary to do today because Thursday's scheduled long run had been replaced with an EPIC RIDE plan. I realize what separates me from better athletes is not only strength, talent, and fitness...but discipline.
Our neighbor, freaky fast Paul, the Recovering Runner, wanted to run with us. I tried to recruit others to join us but it was me and the boys. What a sacrifice made on my part;) I had to run faster than my usual pace for the first 12 miles before Tim called it a day. Tim and I ran down Soledad Mountain to meet Paul; thank goodness he was pushing his son Spencer in the jogger stroller. I seriously need to know the weight limit because I would have been glad to hop in and hold Spencer while the guys pushed me. Due to the stroller I managed to keep up or at least thought I was keeping up. We were probably running my 5k race pace for the first 5K. I kept up but knew I would pay back later. It wasn't if but when. I didn't want to be a complainer or worse, (gasp) ask the boys to slow down so when given the choice of routes I chose going up over Soledad Mountain. I was the deciding vote in choosing the route that went from the ocean to the cross. I knew it would slow the guys down a bit. After all Paul was pushing a stroller. I kept up and had to listen to Tim deprecating us regarding Paul's ability to push his kid up Soledad as fast as we were running. At the top we did a circle around the cross then ran down Soledad. For a while down Soledad I ran faster than the guys (yee haw) then as it flattened out they caught me and dropped me and if not for a red light I would have been history. I knew I still had 9 miles left. We ran Paul to his house and refilled our water bottles then headed toward the cove. It was here where the wheels started to fall off the bus. Tim started to pull ahead. I never get mad about this but I was out of my zone and angry - sort of like that place I have been trying to get to. The place Bree Wee refers to in her blog about making peace with; it's the place that is really uncomfortable and you want out. Not that it competes with your love of sport or healthy attitude. It's just how it is. I wasn't intending to be in that place middle of a long run but what the heck I was there and I know it's good for me. At Oceanside I gave in to the discomfort but the final miles of a race aren't about being comfortable so I know I've got to make peace with it(even if I'm sort of distraught now). I want to sprint and tackle Tim and take back my water bottle, the one I insisted he carry:) Even though it was just yesterday he helped me with my mechanical issues, and he's carrying my water bottle as a favor to lighten my load. I am so indignant that I can't keep up. I realize per my Garmin I am going faster than usual at this point in my long run. It is hotter than usual so really I am happy in a twisted way. I am actually grateful deep down. I just can't express it because I am distraught, irrational and want to jump in the freaking ocean. My legs are cramping, lead like, my water bottle is out of reach because I can't keep up. I am struck with a terrible sense of injustice: it is not fair Tim was complaining about how hard it was and how tired he was and I didn't complain at all and I can't even run half as fast. Life is no fair:) So you know what Tim does: he goes below the belt and starts quoting everything I made him read from Bree Wee's blog...the interval session with a big scary intimidating guy who makes her pretty much puke. I think that I have a loser's attitude and wonder what Bree Wee would do. Hah.... I take a slightly different route through the Cove (a short cut) and end up in front of Tim. He asks how I pulled that off and I stick my nose in the air like I don't know what he's talking about. I'm just that fast. Then I give him this lecture on how if he's going to complain about being slow and tired he's better not do it around people like me who "never complain.";) Tim turns for home and I have a zillion miles to go alone...and now I really miss Tim even though I was really looking forward to relinquishing back into an easy pace. I keep running above my normal pace. I see rocks on the trail and I want to kick them. My paces stays up. Then I start to notice all the flowers and how nice everything is and I realize I have slowed way down. Hmm, I guess that's how it works. For the last two miles I hang in but I must confess I threw in the towel and walked up Soledad as I am spent. I am happy pushed the limits but hoping I will recover without sabotaging the rest of my week and Wildflower . Not sure what else to do I eat, soak in the unheated pool (think ICE bath) then have dinner. Did I mention Eat again.

Pine Valley Du...Tim's Birthday and Roadside Repairs

Today's race report. No, I mean drama report... No, more like a race report that turned into a disaster but ended up not being a disaster. At the end of the day, it was business as usual. In otherwords: a ton of fun. Every year the San Diego Triathlon Club puts on a duathlon that starts with a climb up Mt. Laguna followed by a gnarly 4 mile hilly trail run. The trail is on the edge of a cliff with the occasional rattlesnake and wind gusts so strong you might blow off. The climb is breathtaking in many ways. Due to Tim's suggestion and pleading, the tri club altered the route this year. Instead of going up the main road we took the fire road, Kitchen Creek. It's our favorite road to ride but it's longer and steeper than the previous version. Since it's closed to traffic it's safer to climb but harder for the directors to provide help if needed. Anyway to make a long story short (or to make a short story long) we really hoped there would be no problems and people would like the course since we felt partially responsible.
The group met in the usual meeting area then planned to ride together for 7 miles until the start. As we climbed the first hill I felt like I was going to croak....heart was beating very fast. I couldn't go any faster and I swear the entire group dropped me. Now, not to act like I am "kind of a big deal" but I wasn't expecting to get dropped during the warm up. No problem, focus on breathing, settle down. I thought maybe I was having some sort of reaction to the combination of my coffee and excitement. I relinquished to thinking it was going to be a long day. I have days like this and they are ...well, long. I tried to stifle the feeling of overall depression. Then I heard this bump, bump, bump noise as the air leaked out of my tire. This was good and bad news....Good because usually I think I have a flat when I am tired and really there is 120 psi in that tire and I'm just tired. This time I really did have a flat. Bad news because these tires were put on last night by my loving rock star husband (new stiff tires plus tired husband = pinch flat in the AM). It turns out the Michellin Pro's ride nice but don't make nice when little girls try to change them. Ugh. I never thought I was fast at flat changing but I usually can muddle my way through it. My plan was to change the flat then catch the back half of the group. I was hoping to change the tire in 5 minutes. I swear it took me 10 minutes and a couple tire levers to pry the darn thing off. By the time I got the tire off I had grease from the cassette all over my legs. I went to work at getting the the new tube in. Just an FYI ladies....if you are on Match.com save your money. Sit on the corner of Sunrise highway and Old Highway 80. Get some grease on your hands because a zillion guys with mountain bikes drove by and asked if I needed anything. In cycling it is courtesy to ask if somebody has everything they need....meaning an extra tube, co2 , and patch kit. I did have everything I needed - I just needed manlier hands to get the tire back on the rim and in place. A few bloody knuckles later I inflated the CO2 and pinched the tube by the valve stem blowing spare #1. That was a really loud embarrassing pop. Very amatuer by "big deal" standards. At this time my hands were tired and shaking from trying to hurry. I felt bad because Tim was calling me and telling me has was turning back to help me. I wanted him to race and do the climb he loves so much. I have four chances a week to get epic rides in and he has....NONE...well maybe one every couple of weeks. Then Eizabeth called to say she wanted to come back and help. Crap now I'm ruining everybody's race. She inadvertantly dropped a few guys while on the phone with me. HeHeHe. She drops boys for real. I'm just a pretender. She's too polite or too smart to advertise it like me. Yes in fact on my wheel there are stickers that say Idropboys.com. I guess they should say Ichangetireslikeagirl.com. My favorite thing about the club du's is that they are much smaller than the tri's. One time at a du, Matt, Corey, and JT were slacking so I passed them and dinged my bell at them as if it were a totally normal way to say hello (inside I was dying laughing) Now everytime I don't pass Matt he asks (with his accent) "What! No dingy dingy today?" Today I was going to eat my bell, my slogan and all of my pink. Tim and his friends love to sling mud at each other and I love to be in the thick of things. It makes the race so delightful. The fact they are all faster then me allows me to chastise them with no guilt. I think it motivates me to go faster.
Tim calls and says he's coming back to help me. After blowing the first tube I lost a bit of credibility. I am very torn now because I don't want to ruin his day or slow him down. Plus I want to prove to myself I can change a flat. I change the tire the second time inflate it but I can tell there is again a slight pinch by the valve. This means the tire will likely flat while I ride up the hill or potentially come off the rim when I go fast....I decide those to options are worse then ruining Tim's race. I can't exactly go back to the car becuase Tim has the keys. Tim arrives and in about 20 demoralizing seconds he deflates the tube, pushes up the inner tube and gets the pinch out. We decide to head up the regular road as we have lost a lot of time and I have no spares left. We jam up the mountain as even though we aren't racing we don't want to miss the club breakfast....just kidding, we just want to catch up. We hit the top of the mountain in the middle of the pack and I am hammering now as I want to do the run with everybody else. I apologize to everybody I pass as they say good job ...I mention that I am Rosie Ruiz or whatever her name was...the girl who cheated at the Boston marathon. I really enjoy the next few miles. I am a bit frustrated by this mornings events and I am able to stay in the aero bars and push the biggest gear on my bike. Yee Haw. I get to the transition and tell Susanne the race director not to give me a split becuase I am a cheater....She is laughing as she and Tyler knew I had a mechanical and I wasn't cheating. Once into T1, I was very confused.There was a smattering of people...some were done with the 4 mile run and eating breakfast. Some were eating breakfast because they were done....and not running. I wanted to run but I didn't want to hold up the show for the course officials. I spent a few moments trying to figure out what the status was and also recruit people of sound character for my next epic ride. Then I heard Tim say " Jen enough talk lets run." I took off after him and started the rugged run. I don't know what my splits were but I actually felt fast...doesn't mean I was fast....but I felt fast. The run was windy. At one point I was running downhill with all my might, a hear rate of 176 and for all practical purposes I was standing still (but still I felt fast:)
After the run we had a TCSD breakfast (where Tim ate too many bagels). We all got prizes donated by Runjunk.com. Free race, free breaky, and free bottle of Carbo Pro 1200. What more could a girl ask for?
We rode around Lake Cuyamaca and back to the car. It was a great ride back. It felt so short since I hadn't ridden up Kitchen Creek and we hadn't ridden into Julian for pie. The guys rode ahead as Elizabeth, Danielle, and I chit-chatted. Usually I'm very social on the bike but today I selfishly indulged in the tailwind. I swear I could just sit in the aero bars and the wind pushed me up the hills, With a few pedal strokes to help my cause we were at the car in no time.
Tim and I headed home to celebrate his 31st day.....he's now as OLD as I am. (Hah...take that) We stopped for frozen yogurt and then made his family's birthday tradition, Buttermilk cake. I was going to make it for him without any help but he insisted there were lots of little technicalities I wouldn't get right. (Must be like changing a tire;)

Team in Eating

Caught in the Act
I'm sure you have all heard of Jenny Craig...spokesperson for weight loss. Well I am Jenny from block, the neighborhood gal. Spokesperson for the "Team in Eating". My husband is the founder. I am very upset because recently I gained 2 minutes on my swim. I was accused of stopping for mimomsa's along the swim course. I would never ever loose time to a mimosa. It was margaritas that derailed me. I searched at every buoy for mai tai's and margarita's. I did not find any along the course. All I had to drink was murky salt water. I am wondering if my fellow member's of the "Team in Eating" drank them before I got there...Darn...that's what I get for gaining 2 minutes.

2009 Oceanside 70.3

Oceanside 70.3 is the unofficial kickoff for spring.
Stacy and I pre-race. Like the ski hat? I told you I get confused about my sports.
I had a lot of fun training for the race this winter with Stacy, Elizabeth, and Julie. I definitely recommend training with others when you can. On days you are short on enthusiasm others can send some your way. My husband, Tim didn't get to train much....OK. Face it. He didn't train at all which actually served to calm my nerves. I usually wonder if I have done enough. I really couldn't complain since my "low volume" year is 5x as much training as Tim's. Everybody is different. For me, doing a fair amount of training and hanging with others is the exact amount social pressure I need to keep me from being a neurotic monster. It's the perfect balance of shutting up my brain and just keeping up. It is soooo fuuunn.

I was worried I wouldn't get excited for the race. I did. Thursday and Friday I spent exchanging texts with Elizabeth, Julie, and Stacy. It served to get me pretty fired up.

My in-laws arrived Thursday night. After work they kindly saved me from 7:30 p.m. cereal. We went to dinner at a great Italian restaurant in LJ. Tim met us there around 8:30 p.m. when he was finished with journal club. My in-laws are really great. We spent the whole dinner talking this winter's ski trips. They kept telling me how fast I was going to go and how fabulous I would be..... My father in law said I would blow by him. I knew he was just trying to pump me up. I knew there was no way. He wouldn't even need age grading to help him out. The half is his event and I have never raced him on his new bike. The bike he rides used to be owned by a pro and it has won world class time trials. I know it's the Indian, not the arrow, but it seems like it has a little magic. I'm learning right now that meeting your potential is about more than executing what you are physically capable. It's about tapping into mental toughness.

I'm becoming such an advanced triathlete I brought my own marker for body marking....the true ICU nurse always has a Sharpie. I have been known to label my water bottles just like I do IV tubings and bags. You don't really think I can add and subtract my caloric I & O's while my heart rate is 170 do you?

So that's Elizabeth who I chase up and down the mountains and occasionally around Fiesta Island.
She's on her way to first place.

On Friday I was really excited. I was nervous I would expend all my energy bouncing off the walls and be tired on Saturday. I texted Elizabeth and asked her how on earth I was going to behave myself and get myself through the race tomorrow....she responded "with speed and grace." I said, that's you...I will mimic you. I'm not sure how graceful I was. I got to the finish line faster than ever before....so I am halfway there. Sort of.
Tim executes mental toughness to make up for no training....Nice job.
He still beat me! Actually he holds the Neuschwander win for this year. I think Bruce can keep his Speedo's - the ones I had made by Splish that say "Age Graded Champ." I wasn't real thrilled about the wave start orders Mr. Ironman came up with. My wave started near the end with primarily the guys 30-34 to follow. AKA ....swim over the top of me. The good thing was I started 8 minutes in front of Tim which meant we would be very close together on the course. If I was 1 minute faster at every discipline including transition....we could have finished together.
The swim was relatively uneventful. I really wasn't cold. I entered the water with Stacy at my side. Not being alone kept me from any freak out thoughts in the final few minutes before racing. Not hyperventilating before racing is always a good thing. The beginning of the swim was the usual cluster. I found rhythm quickly and thought I was swimming great. When I came out of the water it seemed like a long run through transition. I have a hard time equilibrating after long, cold swim. As I ran forward everything seemed to rotate sideways. I just wanted to get to my bike, sit down and pull off my wet suit. I'm going to blow my blog horn now: If you're going to walk in transition. MOVE RIGHT PLEASE. This is a race. The carpet is for running to your transition spot. It is NOT a sidewalk and NOT a side-stand. All these people were walking on the carpet and if I wanted to run I had to run barefoot and dizzy on the pavement. I was so worried I would stub something and fall down. I thought I swam well as a lot of bikes were still in transition. I did notice Stacy's bike was long gone. I saddled up and headed out to catch her. I bobbled a few times in transition. I confused the bike mount spot and started to mount my bike early..then had to do it over again. I also realized my number was still on my bike. Not exactly graceful. I was 2 minutes slower than at Wildflower last year. Maybe each ski trip cost me a minute. It was worth it:)
I think my actual bike ride consisted of some speed and grace. I don't know what else to say except I was very comfortable throughout the ride. I kept my heart rate low. I was hoping to nail the run and thought my bike was good enough. I didn't think too much. The body and bike just did its thing. I can't resist to blow my blog horn once again: People in the no pass zone at mile 25....that is not the coffee break zone. I didn't pass. I went 11.5 mph because some guy four guys up was munching on his Cliff bar. We should have been rolling above 20mph through this section. Some people passed through there and I wanted too. I was afraid I would get a penalty. The rules are the rules. I paid to play by them but I couldn't resist the urge to announce that we were traveling at a pace of 11.5. Dude...11.5 is slower than I ride my bike with a basket full of groceries. Today is the RACE that some of us trained for. I finished the bike feeling good and fresh. I saw Tim heading out on the run. He wasn't too far ahead. He passed me in the swim. That wasn't very nice of him was it? :)
I started running....this is where everything gets really fuzzy. I knew I wanted to run 8:15 -8:30 pace/mile. I was breathing fast. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. My Garmin said my pace was 7:20. Running confuses me. This is funny because the Garmin never says I run that fast. In fact I was starting to think it was broken and only able to report paces above 8:00 minute/miles :) I couldn't really think logically here. All I could think was I needed to get under control and just keep moving. Moving for the next 13 miles. Soon I hit the sand. There is about a 1/4 mile section of sand on this course that you run through a total of 4 times during this race. It really wasn't hard but annoying....like a fly that keeps buzzing. You want to swat it and smash it and never hear it again. Not enough sand running where it is an epic accomplishment...like the old days of Superfrog. Enough to jack up your shoes. Enough to ignite my "just get it done legs" that actually go faster to get it over. This made it challenging to navigate around the walkers who cannot move right. No....I must navigate around them and the firm sand they are walking on.....more sand in my shoes. Soon after I was at the TCSD love stop aid station. It was all a blur, tons of club members. I saw Jess, Angie, and Joanne (I think). They were jumping and cheering so hard and with so much energy I almost cried. It made a lump in my throat. The vision of them was a blur, but I noticed Jess seemed to look really fabulous and cute. You rock sister.... So off to mile 2 I headed still running above pace and slightly distraught. I kept trying to keep good form and run smoothly. I passed Paul and Beth...Paul of course told me to catch Tim, while Beth was jumping and cheering like the other girls had been. I was touched my this as Beth is a real runner... and she could run this pace in her sleep yet she was cheering so hard. I kept going. I heard Julie's voice. I hoped she was killing it....She was. She is SO FAST. I got myself a little more under control but soon started struggling to maintain a fast enough pace. I eventually saw Stacy at a turn around. She had dropped her salt tablets on the bike. I had extra and wanted to hand some off to her. I knew she was having a tough race because she hadn't passed me yet. She's another one of those real runners....who now is a real swimmer and cyclist. Basically she is a triple threat:)
Stacy...The triple threat!

The halfway turn seemed to be moving further away. I just kept digging deeper and deeper to try to keep the pace below 8:30. It wasn't happening. I refused to give up though I felt like I had blown up. I've been told I need to do a better job managing the discomfort of racing. I knew I was paying back for starting too fast but you can't blame a girl for trying. I keep joking that one day I'm just going to wake up and be fast. We all know this isn't how it works. I just kept digging. I tried to salvage.I tried to think of any way I could to run faster....that's why I threw my empty water bottle at Jess and Angie. It really flew. I didn't know I could throw so hard. They looked confused. I think....I was confused. Hopefully they understood. It seemed several calves with age 30-34 passed me. My Mother in Law was the official calf counter of the weekend...she only counts for Bruce though as there are too many calves to count in front of Tim and I. Anyway I had about a mile to go and I thought I might cry as it seemed like eternity. Scratch that. It seemed the last 4 miles had been eternity. What could be beyond eternity? People lie like rugs when they say after Ironman full everything is easy. This was certainly not easy. I don't think it is supposed to be easy. Then I passed the TCSD love stop aid station. For about 3/10 of a mile I was distracted from my eternity thoughts. Darell Steel came out dressed in TCSD orange to run with me. For a few seconds, it helped immensely. I stopped thinking about the struggling and felt a smile spreading across my face. I confessed I had come a long way but I had fallen off pace. He was my voice of reason and told me exactly what I wanted to hear: I was almost home and I was running a good pace. Soon I could see the finish and I hustled it in. The finish is where the party is at.
After the race I walked around in post race glow. Even though it was hard. I was happy. The wheels were also turning about how I could go faster next time and how I couldn't wait to have a shower or at least get these disgusting clothes off. We went for fish tacos in Carlsbad. This is a Neuschwander family tradition. My father in law said he was retiring....this is a tradition too. Tim said he was in pain because of me....another tradition. I tried to talk to Tim and Bruce into signing up for another race - (another tradition). ;)