Swim workout: can I have kicking without pulling?

2014-07-21 18.18.06This was Monday’s workout. Except that I am posting Tuesday because I posted a weekend blog on Monday. And I didn’t want to confuse the two. I woke to an email saying the pool was temporarily closed due to a power outage. I’m not going to lie, I was excited about the prospect of not using my legs after weekend workouts in Tahoe. Visions of leaving work early to go to yoga went through my head all morning.

Well, it turned out the power outage was only temporary and the pool was reopened a few hours later. Yay? This ended up being a good thing because I stayed later than I expected at work. Because of my busy day, I forgot to pack food. As a result, I didn’t eat (or drink) much  - 2 pieces of banana bread and half a quesadilla (woops). I was worried I wouldn’t make it through the set so I gobbled down a peach and some chocolate 15 minutes before swimming (always a good idea…).

Considering that I was tired and hungry, the workout went surprisingly well!? My stomach didn’t bother me at all. I lead the kicking (not really a surprise if you swim with me) and actually managed to keep up for 400 + 300 + 100 pulling (we skipped the 200 because we were lazy needed to properly cool down). The water was cool and refreshing and I had good people for lanemates today. All in all, it was a good set. Guess it goes to show that I still cannot predict how I’ll feel at practice. I keep hoping someday blogging will help shed light on this!

Time: 55 minutes
Distance: 2400



Camping in the Sierras and my Weekend Brick

2014-07-20 12.22.34I’m skipping reviewing my workouts this week (sad I know…) and focusing on my weekend instead. I managed to cram a fair amount of biking, hiking, running, and avoiding rain clouds into two days. Because I was busy enjoying myself, not many pictures were taken. But I do have quite a few Garmin maps to show for it. ;)


Last weekend a few friends headed up to Donner Lake/Truckee for some camping and triathlon training. The trip came into existence because one of them is doing the Donner Lake Triathlon and wanted to pre-ride the course. It is an olympic distance triathlon with gorgeous scenery and a rather technical bike course. I decided to tag along because a) I like all things Tahoe/camping/etc and b) hard workouts are fun. It is not often that I get invited to ride hills at a high(er) elevation.

I arrived at Donner on Saturday for the brick. It was a bit later in the day than I anticipated (thanks HWY 80 construction) and hot.

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 7.48.02 PMAlthough the race starts with a 1000+ feet climb to Donner summit, we decided to survey part of the run as a 4 mile warm-up. I spent a lot of the warm-up admiring the lake and wondering how the altitude change would impact my already mediocre cycling on hills. The relatively flat part was over too soon and I started the climb.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 8.24.55 PMDespite the fact that the road looked steep and it was hot, the climb wasn’t actually that bad. It was hard (obviously), but there was never a moment when I worried that I might have to get off my bike and walk. I can’t say the same for Cantelow. I didn’t even feel that I needed to get out of the saddle to push past steep part, but I did anyway for a nice change in body position. That isn’t to say that I was making amazing progress… I was pretty much crawling along (see pace below), which was okay, except that I felt bad for my riding partner who decided to wait for me. After the hill, I mostly coasted for miles. It was a lot of fun, but unfortunately I had to ride up that hill again. Such is life. Here is the ride recap.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 8.24.34 PMI am fairly certain that this is the most elevation gain my bike has seen ever.

After the bike was the run (surprise, surprise).Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 7.45.56 PM

While I felt okay on the ride, I completely lost it on the run. I tend to slightly exaggerate when it comes to my running performance. Jokes aside, this was pretty much an all time low. There seemed to be no shade and I was convinced that my bike jersey was trying to suffocate me. (Maybe not literally, but I wanted to rip the sleeves away to give me some air). Also it seemed that I was running by disgusting smelling trash every few hundred feet. Somehow I managed to make it through 1.8 miles running at 8:20ish. And then I started walking. The funny thing was the first part of the course was uphill. So essentially I ran the hills (~100 feet elevation gain), fell apart (heat + wardrobe malfunction), and then walked down. While I felt terrible, I managed to average 9:03 over 4.27 miles. Next time (not that there will be a repeat performance) I’ll remember to ditch my bike jersey and walk the hills (or not walk at all). I can probably shave off at least 30 sec/mile.

After the workout I jumped in Donner lake (it felt so good). As I lounged on the beach, black clouds started to roll in. During late lunch in town, it started pouring rain. It was a weird storm in that lightning and thunder was accompanied by warm rain (not something I observe often in the Davis. There was some concern that the rain would interfere with camping (I like to be comfortable, warm, and not soaking when I’m vacationing), but it stopped after a bit. I guess we lucked out in terms of weather!

The next morning I woke up and went for another run. I wanted to make up for my performance the day before (and make sure I didn’t slack on miles this week). However the run was much slower than the day before (this time because I was running on river rocks and couldn’t find a good running trail). Looking at the map, the trail (marked in white) was apparently quite close, but I missed it (despite running past it 3x and asking two people for directions). I can’t complain too much because I enjoy trail running and felt considerably better this time around.Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 7.33.34 PMThe weekend ended with an amazing hike up Mt. Judah. I cannot recommend this trail enough. It was a fabulous workout with beautiful scenery. Mossy forests, pretty wildflowers, and a windy summer. Oh, and a great view of Donner lake.

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All in all, it was a pretty fabulous weekend. A little bit of me is sad that I am not going up for the triathlon in 5 days. Then again, it would be a pretty hard to have a repeat performance. ;)

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Workout week (in review)

A few days ago I was hanging out with some friends and we got talking about what kind pictures we have on our phones. I, of course, went home and went through my phone. And then got on a photo album kick and started digging up old photos from college. Fun! I’m not going to post any old pictures (too self conscious), but I will share some snapshots from my phone.

Workout clothes. I totally love this Lucy shirt and snapped a photo of it after my Saturday run. I think it would be a great addition to my Fall running wardrobe. However I am not willing to spend $55 on a shirt that it made of practically nothing and I am going to sweat in it. I often take pictures of cute clothes I see so I can think about buying them later or try to find a less expensive look-a-like.

2014-07-12 09.14.52Work stuff.

2014-07-12 12.04.37Food – mostly things I’ve made. I feel uncomfortable taking out my phone at restaurants.2014-05-19 20.38.30

Puppies! Yup, most of my photos and all of videos are of my dogs. I just want to squeeze them. 
2014-05-09 06.29.31

Monday - Swimming.

Tuesday - Running. Approximately 6 miles broken. It was hot and not fun.

Wednesday – Swimming.

Thursday - Running. I ran 2 miles with the dogs in the morning. After work, I went to the gym for 1 mile @ 8:20 mins, 1 mile @ 7:20, and 0.5 miles @ 6:38 (1% incline on the treadmill) followed by 15 minutes of stairs and some core. Treadmills are awful torture machines! I would have done anything to listen to music, but my phone was not cooperating. I never ever listen to music on my runs outside. I’d rather chat or watch the scenery or get lost in my thoughts. But the only ‘scenery’ available at the gym was TV (boring) and people watching. I enjoying trying to look up the pace of people running next to me, but I know that is not good gym behavior. Next time I’ll go to a class to keep me more engaged.

Friday - Swimming. Sprints. Good workout and nice way to end work week. The pool was surprisingly busy for a Friday (4 people in a lane).
2014-07-11 18.15.37Saturday - This was supposed to be my long run, but life was not cooperating and I was tired. Only 6 miles happened. And I am okay with that. I still got my post-long run bagel and was able to meet up with a friend who is visiting.

Sunday - Brick = 26 mile bike + 6 mile run. Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 1.43.01 PMBecause of the Summer heat and World Cup final, the workout was moved to 7am. This meant that I had to wake up super early eat breakfast and take the doggies on a short run. The workout was at the usual Sunday brick spot. I ended up biking slowly despite the fact that it was nice and cool. My internal dialogue was not pretty and I worried the last part of the ride that I would be too tired (and hungry!) to run after. I downed most of a packet of PowerBar Gels and started running. And was really surprised to find that I felt fine. I cannot say if it was the extra calories or not running very hard the previous day, but I’m glad I didn’t tank.

And with that, I should probably go do some yoga. I skipped out on class today, but I have no excuse not to do some at home now.

Swim workout: KICKING/PULLING and interpersonal relationships at DAM

2014-07-09 18.16.19Running and swimming and cycling are definitely activities you can do alone. But they are more enjoyable to do with people. I find that when I am with a group, I train harder and longer. This is especially true for swimming. When I am on my own, I am likely to swim for 20 minutes or less. At DAM, an hour swim practice is over in no time. This is in part because of the creative workouts and excellent coaching, but I also have 3-4 other people motivating me to push through the set.

Lanemates are grouped by ability. Most of the time, I really like my lanemates. We swim together a lot and are familiar with each others’ strengths and weaknesses. We do the workout (and I usually get my butt kicked!), but we also take our rest and catching up seriously. (I mean who wouldn’t want to know that I was woken up at 330am by my dog barfing sticks on my $1000 carpet. Clearly crate training is going very well…) Most days at swimming go smoothly from a lane dynamic standpoint. Today was not one of those days.

The set was kicking and pulling. The workout looked rather nice - nothing more than 150 yards…yay for short distances. The usual group was all present and we were moderately enthusiastic. (Okay maybe not so much because I am pretty sure that kicking/pulling is low on the list of favorite theme days.) And then we were joined by someone who does not usually swim with us. I won’t go into the details, but there was some mutual disrespect and crankiness. I feel that I took it in stride and did not let it ruin my workout/evening/etc. It made for an entertaining conversation after practice. As for the workout, well it was a good set, but maybe not the best workout. This was entirely my fault because I totally sandbagged the 5 X 150s (and did 2 X 100 + 3 X 150 instead) and took a lot of rest on the kicking. Hopefully I’ll be nicely rested for running tomorrow. Even though my fairly usual Thursday running partner is gone, I am going to try to make myself get up at 530am and run at least 4 miles.

And I’ll leave you with a picture of Millie who escaped her crate and was all tucked out by the time I got home from work.

2014-07-09 17.34.21

Swim workout: SPRINTS

2014-07-07 18.12.04

Short sprints. Minimal rest. My kind of set! I wasn’t feeling 100%, but I wasn’t dragging either. It would have been nice not to be lane leader, but I got impatient during the 500FR and touched the toes of the person in front of me. I tried to step down later, but my lanemates weren’t having it. Serves me right I guess for wanting to go out fast. We did the zoomer portion of set on 30 sec and non-zoomers on 35 sec. I spent half of the set dreaming about margaritas and Mexican food. Bad. Instead I came home and made a quinoa salad and drank half a ginger soda as a treat. Hopefully I can grab a cocktail after swimming later in the week.

Workout week (in review)

Happy belated holiday weekend! I’m a day late in posting, but I was traveling. And when I got back I was busy with laundry/food shopping/grilling etc. How did I spend my 4th of July weekend?

Baking cupcakes.

2014-07-03 08.13.34Watching fireworks at the beach.

2014-07-04 21.25.59 You see it is illegal to light fireworks in Santa Cruz county. The police locked down the beach for the day to make sure no one was sneaking them in. Unfortunately the checkpoints and excessive lighting didn’t work. I started hearing booms around 7pm and by 9pm my interest was piqued and I decided to drive down to check it out. It was sort of entertaining…

Since the beach was essentially closed on Friday, J and I took the dogs to Nisene Marks State Park for a run.
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Happy puppies, post-run. Love it.

Monday - Swimming. I have no recollection of the set…

Tuesday -  Running. It was 7.5 mile loop with some intervals thrown in. I didn’t bring a watch (or do intervals) because I rushed straight from work. But I ran hard. And got two blisters from running in cotton socks. Fail.

2014-07-03 17.50.12

Wednesday - Swimming.

Thursday - Running (3.6 miles @ 8:05 + 1.4 miles @ 11:00).

Friday - Running (3.5 miles). The run was awesome! It was cool and beautiful under the trees. The pups loved pitstops in the stream and I was happy to experience varied terrain. Unfortunately the trail was rather poorly marked and I had to stop more and more frequently to get my bearing. As such, my pace suffered.Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.59.42 PM

My only regret was not going longer. I need to schedule some more trail runs. It will be a great excuse to get away from the Davis in the heat.

Saturday - 13.5 mile bike. I probably should have tacked a short run on after…

Sunday - Yoga sesh/rest day. It was a such a good class from an emotional perspective. The teacher talked about giving and receiving, and how important it is to accept support from others. I am very bad at this. Even though I am actively trying to work on accepting assistance and not blowing off complements I am given, it is nice to be reminded. We did some partner poses to illustrate relying on others. I feel slightly weird hugging friends. So about that double tree pose with someone I’ve never met before….awkward. Part of training is pushing past comfort zone. The class was definitely hard for me, but great training!

Swim workout: DISTANCE

2014-07-02 18.16.22Some days everything seems to go right. Today was not one of those days. Mishaps included not noticing that the dinner I had planned (green gazpacho) needed to marinate for four hours. And I lost both my nose ring and water bottle at the pool. The good news (?) is I powered through a rather hard workout. So I guess it wasn’t all bad.

It was definitely a distance day. Time flew by due to the fact that we had pretty much no rest. While this was not my favorite set, it was a very good workout. I should keep this set in mind for future uncoached practice (ie lap swim on the weekend) as the yards added up quickly and good triathlon practice. Also, the few seconds rest mentally prepare me for the next set. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to fall apart when I see long swims on the board. However, 4 X 250 with minimal rest seemed much more manageable and I didn’t hang on the wall for any of it. We even did a bit of drafting which is important for open water distance swimming. This was a bit selfish on my part as I did not want to lead the entire set.

Love the smily face at the end. I wasn’t smiling at the time, but am now.


2014 Western States Aid Station – Dardanelles

2014-06-28 19.38.59The Western States is a 100 mile endurance race. Runners start at Squaw Valley (Tahoe) and run all the way to Auburn. It is quite the course with over 18,000 feet of climbing on a rather narrow trail. Elite ultra runners finish in about 15 hours, but the course stays open for 30 or 31 hours. Here is a map. All the blue dots are aid stations.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 9.58.33 PMThe Golden Valley Harriers running club staffs an aid station around mile 66 (Dardanelles on map above). You can read about it here. They’ve done it since 2003, with a new aid station director every few years. Since there is such a big discrepancy between finisher times, the aid stations volunteers are divided into two shifts. This year I volunteered for the setup crew. Since I had never done it and didn’t really ask friends who’ve volunteered past years, I didn’t exactly know what I was in for.

We arrived at 1220pm and had about two hours to get our cars down a dirt road to the site and all the gear unpacked before the first runners arrived. Besides the shade covers, tarps, tables, and chairs, we also drove in about 800lbs of ice, cases of soda and Gu brew, and all sorts of salty and sweet foods.

2014-06-28 16.29.48Here is some of the crew admiring their shade cover craftsmanship and the fruit spread. It is impossible to tell from the picture, but we managed to keep all the fruit and turkey sandwiches cold with double tupperware containers filled with ice.2014-06-28 15.13.48We even had a table stashed away for food prep. Here we are getting the PBJ sandwich station ready.

2014-06-28 15.12.49When you are running in 100F degree weather (or running in general), hydration is super important. Everything was labeled. We had water, ice water, GU Brew, 7-up, coke, ginger ale, warm vegetable and chicken broth and rice, and lots and lots of ice. While it did not look this tidy once the runners started to arrive, we did manage to keep everything separated and filled for our shift.
2014-06-28 14.33.49 2014-06-28 14.33.522014-06-28 15.13.15 I was on soda and teamed up on ice duty. This meant keeping cups filled and pouring ice in cups when asked. I also helped take ice out of the chest below me to fill up large pitchers which we used to stuff hats, pockets, scarves, etc. It was fun to see everyone, but it got a bit busy when groups of more than two runners came in. We went through bags and bags of ice…I lost count after a while. Coke was definitely the most popular beverage (besides water). Hardly anyone wanted 7-up and GU brew. As an aside, I find it funny that I managed to get a bit dehydrated even though I had my two water bottles and was surrounded by fluids!

2014-06-28 14.48.39Race and runner impressions:
Wow, I cannot imagine running 100 miles. I got to see all the fastest runners, which was great experience. Some people came through running sub 8 minute miles. Most elites looking amazingly strong considering they had just run almost 70 miles. A few people definitely looked like they were hurting, which was sad, considering they had over 30 miles left to go… I’d been to see the finish in past years, but getting up and personal with the runners was definitely an experience worth having. 

Aid station impressions:
–>It was highly organized and in the end I am glad that someone was clearly in charge. It was a bit dicey/stressful at first, but once we settled into our assigned rolls, things went amazingly well.
–>Music was good for morale. Hopefully no one minded me singing to some of the tunes. A cowbell would have been an excellent addition. I’ll make a note of it should I end up at the aid station next year.
–>Watching people drip sweat, Vaseline, etc, all over the food/drinks was disgusting.

It was a long day, but definitely an experience worth having!


Swim workout: IM

2014-06-30 12.03.37Mini vacation day today. Yay! Without work, I had time to go to the pool during the day. This was a good thing because a) I got my workout done before lunch and b) it is going to be a scorcher today (106F) and the pool will probably feel like a hot tub by the time 615pm rolls around.

The water was nice and refreshing. However the swim set totally kicked my ass. IM after IM. No fun. I was totally exhausted by the end and got out 5 minutes early because I could not stand the thought of another 100 back stroke. (It didn’t help that two other people in my lane bailed before me…one after 35 minutes.) That said, it could have been a lot worse; it could have been build a 400IM. IM drop-off is much more preferable.

Anyway, I am glad I got my swim in. I might even go back this evening because I got a new workout suit (!!!) and I don’t want to wait until Wednesday to wear it. ;) Alternately, I could be lazy or go to a yoga class that I love, but often miss because Monday evening swimming gets in the way.

Workout week (in review) and Fields of Sunflowers

2014-06-29 08.21.15

Growing up in Santa Cruz County, I was spoiled by beautiful ocean views and redwood forest. The first time I saw Davis, I was unimpressed by the agricultural fields and flat landscape. Over the years I’ve come to love living here. While I’m not always thrilled that it is so flat, there are definitely moments of beauty. Like this morning on my bike ride; I passed through acres and acres of sunflowers. Unfortunately the picture did not capture how awesome it was. And the flat landscape, well, it makes biking a lot easier. ;)

Monday - Swimming.

Tuesday – AM – 2 miles with doggies; PM – 6.5 miles @ 8:30min/mile. This was yet another failed running speed workout. I better start training for something stat. The GVH speed workout called for 2 mile warm-up, 4 X [2 mins at 5K pace followed by 5 mins hard recovery], 2 mile cool-down. It was hot (84F) and I was late to the workout due to a crazy day at work. Once I joined the group, I ran (and walked ;) ) with a friend for a while. And then I decided I better get my shit together and took off alone to do some intervals. I got through most of three, but found myself back at my bike. Of course I decided to cut the workout short. It wasn’t pretty…Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 3.09.14 PM

Wednesday - Swimming - short sprints with and without fins. The best kind. I felt pretty good for the swim and was liking fly week (especially with fins!).

Thursday - Run (3.6 miles @ 7:56 pace + 1 mile @ 10:00 pace). The run felt way harder than it should have.

Friday – AM - run (2 miles @ 10:00 pace); PM – swimming (kicking/pulling). The run felt even worse than Thursday. It is best not to talk about it. Swimming felt good though. It was a nice way to end the week.

Saturday - Rest day.

Sunday - AM – brick (18 mile bike + 2 mile run); PM – yoga. I biked 18 miles with my husband at a moderate pace. It was a very pleasant ride filled with pretty flowers and a cool breeze. Unfortunately, there were bees everywhere!? The run after felt fine (yay!), but the dogs were not loving the warm weather.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 3.06.27 PMNow I’m ready for a nap (or caffeine). 2014-06-29 08.20.59

Looks like I’ll have to bike back on a weeknight to get better shot of the flowers.