Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mini Mermaid Running Club!

I was waiting to blog about our MMRC 5k until we got the professional photos back, which took longer than I expected.

We were up super early, and I love that my kids never complain about having to get up early on race morning. We agreed that Scott would run with Sydney since she really wanted to earn a PR and she also really wanted to run the entire distance without walking. I would run with Kylie and hopefully motivate her to run more than walk.

Kylie and her friends started out pretty hard and none of them wanted to run with their parent. This left me running back and forth between 3 six year olds. They were having so much fun though and you could tell they were soaking up the energy along the course. Kylie ran about half of the course with one of the other Mom's and I stayed mostly in front of them to try and keep Kylie motivated. Eventually the Mom went to run with her daughter and it was just Kylie and I. Around the two mile mark she began to talk about having to do another lap. When I explained to her that we only had to do one lap of the course, her entire attitude changed and she started to run more. We set visual markers as goals, "we'll start running at the next garbage can" and "we'll walk after 5 garbage cans". This strategy worked well for her, she didn't really seem to believe me when I told her we were getting close to the finish line, but when she saw Scott and Sydney cheering her on, she knew she was close and she sprinted all the way to finish line. Kylie ended up with a 23 minute 5k PR.

So very proud of her
After we crossed the finish line I was amazed to hear that Sydney had a 4:26 5k PR as well. Scott simply ran behind her and let her set the pace. She ran a 33:49 and now has aspirations to run a sub 30 5k. I guess this means once I get healthy, I'm going to have to start taking her running with me. 

Love this photo of her! 
We also ran the Turkey Trot this year with the kids, So I'll post more about that next time! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's almost time to get back to me

How is it October already? How is October almost over already? The days are flying by and with that means eventually I'll get to return the focus back to me and determine what I really want to focus on this winter.

We transitioned the kids successfully from swimming to triathlon, tennis and running club. Yikes, we've been busy! The girls recently finished their last triathlon of the season. They are very bummed to learn that there is an off season for triathlon. It brought us such great pleasure to watch them race and to enjoy the entire process of it all. When I did my first multi-sport race it brought a huge feeling of accomplishment and joy as I crossed the finish line. It brought amazement at what my body was able to accomplish. I can tell you that none of that even compared to watching my kids cross the finish line and the looks on their faces as they did. Smiles and determination to not give up is what I see in their faces. In just three months they've completed one duathlon and two triathlons, they also think its way cool that they are now members of USAT and get their own magazine with a kids triathlon section in it.

One thing that we learned from running club this fall, is that training for a 5k immensely helps your run in the triathlon. In the last tri Sydney had a hard time on the bike and lost some posts on they very rough dirt trail they rode. However, she made up all of that time and passed three girls on the run. We were floored to watch her coming up the trail so quickly. In addition to that, this past weekend the girls and I ran the two mile course at the Lafayette Reservoir Run. Sydney ran the entire two miles without walking. It's the first time she has done that in a run event. She also had a 5 minute PR for a 2 mile run. She is really excited to pursue track and field in the spring.

Kylie's running is also making huge improvements. Fort he girl who always complains about running, her body is finally grasping it all and pushing herself further and further. She had a 10 minute 2 mile PR this weekend. She almost ran the entire course without any walking. Super proud of our Smiley Kylie.

Running Club will be finishing up in two weeks and once I'm done coaching it will be time to finally turn the focus to myself and what I want to do this winter. I'm anxious to return to running and thinking maybe an early year 10k race sounds fun.

Love this photo of her

Kylie cruising past all of her competitors on the swim

Monday, August 18, 2014

All things lead to triathlon

It's been a face paced summer filled with swim team practice, meets, tennis and dog walking. Nothing brings me greater joy than watching my kids swim and watching the improvements that come from all of their hard work. It's not difficult for the six year old to put in the effort everyday and sometimes twice a day. Convincing the nine year old that improvements are a result of hard work during practice was slightly more difficult. I'm proud to say that for the last two weeks of swim team she worked really hard and saw some huge improvements in the championship meet. 

Here are some highlights from the summer season.
Swim sherpas spend lots of time holding towels, parkas and flip flops

Our coaches spend most of the summer leading awesome cheers

The typical summer scenery

Kylie's backstroke start started looking really good

She got to swim on a lot of relays, even one that earned a gold time!

Sydney had an excellent summer as well

Sydney's butterfly progressed beautifully
So much so that she earned a bronze time in fly at the championship meet

Lots of parental cheering
Lots of parental hugs

Lots of hair care

I love that the kids had such a great summer and learned the lesson that good things come from hard work. Kylie wants to continue with fall swimming since she is concerned that she is moving up an age group for next summer and she really wants a gold time. Sydney wants to pursue more tennis and running in the fall. 
The awesome part is that both girls decided they wanted to do a triathlon in two weeks. I'm so proud of them for doing new things even if they are scary. So for the next two weeks, I'll be helping them "train" for a triathlon as I begin my owning triathlon training program. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Catfish Open Water Swim

I can't really call this a race report, it's more of a I survived my first long distance open water swim report!

Beautiful day for an open water swim
Anyone who knows me, knows that I started swimming strictly for triathlon. I am an oddity growing up in the Lamorinda area and not being a swimmer. I'm by no means a fast swimmer but I do love it. I think I actually get more thinking done swimming than I do running, which is saying a lot. Some how or another I got talked into swimming the Trans Tahoe Relay in July. Originally, I thought it would be fun to do the 500 yard distance. Once i realized I had been talked into the relay, I was thinking maybe i should opt for the 1.2 mile swim. The deciding factor was when I talked to my masters coach and he literally laughed out loud at the 500 yard distance. He explained that 500 yards would be like a warm-up and I'd be wondering where the rest of my swim went after I was done. Alright then. 

Of course Mary Sue was also swimming, because it wouldn't be fun if we didn't do it together! At the last minute one of my friends who talked me into the relay swim opted in as well. 

We got to the Quarry Lakes park really early. The plus side was that we didn't have to wait in line for packet pick-up like everyone else. It was also not cold, which helped with being there so early. My goal for this event was to just do it. I have swam this distance in a pool lots of times, but also means resting at the wall in between sets and chatting with folks. My biggest concern was just being able to swim the distance without stopping. I was also doing it without a wet suit since I won't be allowed to wear one for the relay. Although the water temp was so warm I imagine that anyone wearing a wet suit must have been dying of heat. 
Krista and I ready to take 1.2 miles
Our wave which consisted of all non-wet suit swimmers swimming the 1.2 and 2.4 mile swims was the last wave to go. As soon as we were sent off I quickly got dropped. I knew this would be the case, I was not racing, purely just covering the distance at a manageable pace. Thankfully, there were a few swimmers behind me so I wasn't the last person being followed by the paddle board. I found a groove and stuck with it. I was alone so much of the time that it was easy to just focus on myself and what I needed to do. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th buoy I encountered the swimmers the wave that went off 5 minutes ahead of us. These were the wet suit swimmers. I may have been dropped by everyone in my wave, but at least I could pass a few folks. However, after swimming solo for so long, passing folks actually seemed like a workout. It was quite the relief to hit the first turn buoy. I was feeling pretty tired at this point, but I thin it was mostly from having to pass people going around the buoys. Once I hit the final turn buoy and was heading back in I felt much better. I basically started counting the buoys down, knowing that I had to pass four of them and then swim in and run up the beach. I focused on just finishing. I started to worry about my ability to actually stand up right and run up the beach. I felt good, like I could keep on swimming but standing up might be another story. As I came into the final stretch, I kicked harder mostly to move the blood around more. As I made my way in and my hands started hitting the sand with every stroke, I stood up and ran in. Running is hard after swimming that long, and running in sand after swimming that long is really, really hard. 

I did it and it was fun! It made me feel much more confident to know that I could swim 1.2 miles in open water.

Next up is the Moraga 4th of July Run and the Trans Tahoe Relay. I'll just keep plugging along and keep it fun.

Mary Sue and I post swim

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mermaid Series Sprint Tri

Saturday packet pick up
I was ridiculously not stressed for this race. Probably because I felt I was under prepared for it and had the mind set that I would just go have fun. I was pretty certain that I would be able to improve my swim, I assumed the bike would be worse or the same and I wasn't sure about the run. While I have made huge leaps in my running in the past year, I also knew that being under prepared on the bike could lead to a less than stellar run performance. I have found that running a small business and training for triathlon is really, really hard. Also, having a kindergartner that gets picked up at 12:20pm every day makes it really hard to squeeze it all in.

Exiting the swim
It's hard to do a Mermaid event and not be excited, so by the time race morning came around I was excited and ready to jump in the water sans wet suit. Since I am training for the Trans Tahoe Relay I've been trying to suck it up and will not be using my wet suit this summer. When it was my wave start I headed down the ramp bravely and with the help of some volunteers got my feet wet and then dove in and immediately thought "holy shit, that's cold!" I just started swimming out to the start buoy to try and warm up and by the time I reached the buoy I was fine and warmed up. Much to my surprise it was very easy to float at the start line, I didn't even need to tread water, I was pretty relaxed. After a count down the horn blew and we are off. The folks in front of me seemed to have a delay in their start so I was on some feet right at the start and before I knew it they had dropped me. I focused on my swim and staying on course. The conditions were so much better this year, but I did still feel like I was being pushed out towards the bay, so a couple of times I had to redirect. I felt really comfortable on the swim, really comfortable sighting and most importantly really comfortable without my wet suit. I did have the thought that my swim coach would be going crazy if he could me swimming with my head not as fully submerged as he would like it, but I kind of needed to in order to stay on course. I always have a good reason for swimming with my head up. As I approached the final buoy and made the turn to swim into shore it occurred to me that I was not getting any help from the current like I did last year, it seemed to take forever. I was very excited to be assisted up to the swim ramp and to have the volunteers say "Wow, no wet suit, you're hardcore!" It made me laugh. I made way up the very steep ramp and ran into transition.

Swim time: 11:13, a 47 second PR from last years swim. 12/38 AG

As I made my way to the bike the first order of business was to get socks and shoes on. I felt a little dizzy as I tried to get everything on and was pleased when I did this without falling over. Next was my sunglasses and helmet. As I tried to unrack my bike, my seemingly great end spot was no longer great. I really couldn't get my bike out. People had decided to throw their bikes along the side of transition so I was now boxed in. The two bikes to my right had tons of stuff and gear bags, it was ridiculous. I made the decision that I was going to have to back my bike out over this woman's gear bag but her bike was so close to mind and being on the end I didn't have anywhere to maneuver. I'm not even sure how I got out except that I had to lift my bike up and over her stuff and practically run her over as she was sitting down trying to get her wet suit off. It was a disaster and basically cost me all of the time in transition I had saved by not wearing a wet suit. Oh well.

T1 Time: 1:55, a 19 second PR. 4/38 AG

heading out on the bike course
I was just glad to be out on the bike course. I tried to get my bearings and take in some nutrition on the early part of bike where the course is smooth. I felt relatively good on the bike but was trying to pace myself knowing that the ride out to the turn around is easier than the ride back typically do to wind. I tried not to get too excited at the turn around for the first loop knowing that I would need to complete a second loop of the course. Amazingly I was still very good. Even as I headed out on the second loop I was amazed at how good I felt on the bike, I guess that last bike adjustment I had done really was paying off. Since I was feeling so good, I kept up the pace and hoped I would still have something left for the run. As I came back in towards the bike dismount line, I unclipped and got out of my saddle a little early. I would rather have a little bit further to run with the bike than crash at the dismount line. I'm really not that skilled with this part as of yet. Feeling really good about my bike I rain into transition and racked my bike.

Bike time: 48:58, 4.16 PR. 28/38 Still a slow cyclist, but damn!

Determined to have a good bike ride
The second transition is always my best, thanks to Molly and all of her great tips! I threw my shoes on, grabbed my visor, gel and race number and ran. I had my visor and number on as I crossed over the transition mat onto the run. Here we go!

T2 Time :58, 4 second PR. 1/38 AG

Okay legs, it was time to prove what you are capable of off of the bike. My calves were pretty tight and I tried to take in a gel, but the rest of my body wasn't having it. I forced about 1/2 of it down before I tossed it in the trash along the course. It seems daunting when you see people running to the finish line and you are just heading out on your run. But I was already having a great day, I new I had PR'd the swim and bike and I was hoping for a solid run to earn an overall PR for the day. It was starting to get hot and I was desperate for some fluids. I just kept chugging along to I would hopefully find an aid station. I kept looking at my average pace is shock and was sure there was something wrong with my watch. Really, I couldn't possibly be running sub 10 minute miles off the bike. I tried to just ignore my watch. Last year, the run was really painful and I walked portions of it out of sheer exhaustion. I told myself if I just kept running and never walked I could PR the run portion and have a great day. Just keep running, that's what i kept telling myself. After awhile my calves loosened up and started to feel better. With about 1/2 mile to go that familiar cramp on the inside of the knee started to twitch. I only get this during tri's. I know it's a result of under training for the bike. I simply told it to shut up as we were almost done, that actually seemed to work. I was super happy to be approaching the finish line and there is nothing better than hearing the race announcer call your name as you cross the finish line. She even gave a shout out to Trisports.com  since I was wearing my super spiffy Trisports kit!

Run Time 24:37, 3:48 PR. 18/38 AG

Overall Time 1:27:41 a 9:14 course PR.

I'm not going to lie, I was pretty amazed with my performance. I told myself I wanted to go out and have fun and not be stressed. Amazingly, I managed to do that and have a great race while doing it.

I've been going back and forth all year trying to decide if I really want to continue in triathlon, if I really have the time to devote to all three sports. After I crossed the finish line the answer became yes. Fitting it all in is difficult and even though I didn't fit it all in that successfully, I had a great time. To me, that's the most important part. If and when the day comes that it's no longer fun, then I won't do it anymore.

For now, it's on to the next crazy "I probably can't do this, but I'm going to try anyway event". I'll be swimming (I hope) 1.2 miles this weekend. Wish me luck!

Proud to be part of the TriSports.com team! 

Friday, May 23, 2014


It's hard to believe that May is almost over. May is our craziest month if the year as schools tarts to wrap up and the teachers try to cram every last thing into the month of May; field trips, projects, fundraisers, etc. Alongside that pre-season for swim team has started. This means we are at the pool from 4:15pm - 6:45pm almost everyday after school. This also means that we are cramming in homework and dinner in the short period of time we have before bedtime. Almost every night I come into Sydney's room to find her asleep with her book club book that she is trying to read for school.

May was "scenario" time for Scott at work. Those in the know will understand that we hardly see him for the two weeks that span scenarios at the academy. For myself, I'm currently maxed out on my dog walking business, meaning I won't be able to take any new clients on until September when school resumes. That's a great problem to have, but it also means I hardly ever get to sit down during the week.

As usual I'm finding triathlon training difficult, I seem to be really great at training for two sports but adding the third is where it all seems to fall apart. Most of the time it's the bike that gets neglected. This week it was the swim. Today (Friday) was the first day I swam all week. Lucky for me it was a long at your pace workout. I love those, I'd rather do the endurance stuff than the short speed work.

I was scheduled to race a 5k this weekend, sadly it was cancelled due to low enrollment. I guess I'll just go run a 5k with one of my doggy partners and call it good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moraga Treeline Triathlon

I really wanted to do the Moraga Tri again this year, but with 1/2 marathon training all winter I knew there wouldn't be enough time for me to get any bike training in. The Moraga Tri bike course is not one that you can just wing it. The amount of gear shifting that takes place is mentally exhausting alone not even counting the number it does on your legs.

I inquired with the city if you could do a relay team with only two people, and they said yes! So I signed myself up for the swim and run leg and Scott for the bike portion. I didn't have a lot of nerves before this race because I don't think I really knew what to expect, other than I should be able to improve my swim and I should definitely have a better run time based on not having to do the bike leg.

We arrived to transition on race morning and found the relay rack, we were the second team there so we got a very nice end spot. After getting body marked it was time to stand around and wait for our swim time seeded starts. There are many advantages to doing a relay. The largest was being to wear my swim parka on deck until it was time for me to jump in the water and hand it off to Scott. I received my three second count down and I was off. I'm pretty sure I swam the first 50 meters too fast, immediately my arms started to ache. I'm sure this also had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't able to warm-up. My arms just felt like lead the entire time. I also realized that I should have practiced turns that involved going under the lane rope. In this swim you traverse the 50 meter pool in a zig zag pattern until you reach the other side of the pool. This means when you hit the wall you have to get under the lane line to head down the next lane. I don't remember having such a hard time with this last year, but I found it difficult this time around. I must have seeded myself fairly well as I only passed one person and only two people passed me. The entire swim just felt like a struggle and when I finally reached the end of the pool I climbed out and booked it over to transition. I probably would not have run that fast if I were actually doing the full tri but since I wasn't, I did and managed to pass two people coming into transition. I finished the swim and run to transition in 9:57 far from my goal time but still an improvement of 24 seconds from last year. I was ranked 13/17 for the swim.

As I came into transition I saw Scott waiting and ready to go, all I had to do was take the timing chip off and attach it to his ankle as he headed out on the bike. Our T1 time was :50 which ranked us 2/17 for T1.

I stood over my bag for a second feeling the need to either throw up or pass out. I told myself I needed to move, so I grabbed my bag of running gear and started walking back to the locker rooms to change. Walking helped, but at that point I wasn't even sure if I would recover enough to have a decent run. I changed, consumed liquids and headed back to the relay rack. It was interesting watching people come into transition and getting a look at bib numbers. You were assigned a numerical bib number based on your swim times. So bib number one had the fastest seeded swim time. (Which ironically did not, as I guess his wife signed him up and entered some erroneous swim time that had him seeded first). We had a bib number of 117 since I'm a slower swimmer. Watching people was fun because you could be a fast swimmer and a slower cyclist or vice versa. I was waiting with the other relay runners and we watched a few relay teams come in. I had a general idea of how long I thought it would take Scott but I also didn't know the exact time I got out of the water and when he left. We had lots of friends doing the race and I was trying to keep my eyes open for them as well to cheer them on. I was actually pretty surprised when I saw Scott heading into transition. I think my exact thoughts were "Holy shit, that was fast!" and "Holy shit, I have to go run now!" I struggled a little bit getting the timing chip off his ankle but got it on mine and took off. Scott's efforts on the bike ranked him 2/17 and once again our :28 second transition also had us ranked 2/17.

I was nervous about the run, I had brought a gel along and actually had intended to consume it while waiting in transition but my stomach didn't agree. I figured I would just take it in during the first downhill portion of the course. The run takes you through the Campolindo residential neighborhood. You come out of transition and start running up a slight incline. Then you make a right and start running up a slightly more inclined street. I tried to focus on just one step in front of the other and the downhill portion that would come once I reached the turn-around on this street. It felt good to hit that turn around and have the relief of some downhill. This is where I took in my gel; right before the aid station so I could wash it down with water. After that it was a long, steady, steep uphill. This is the part of the course where it would be really awesome if it just didn't exist. You want to walk but you know eventually you will be rewarded with a long, and steady downhill portion. At the crest of the hill my gait was so slow I'm sure it didn't look much like running, but I breathed a big sigh or relief as I hit the downhill. I could push going downhill for awhile until I hit the last uphill section and then would need to run 3/4 of the way around the track. As I came through the parking lot I saw Scott cheering me on. He ran alongside me up the last hill and encouraged me as I hit the nice soft track. Just push, I thought to myself. I sprinted with long legs as best as I could until I crossed the finish line. I took 4:31 off last years run time thanks to not having to ride the bike. Sadly my run ranked us 15/17. Although I knew this would be the case as most of the relay runners are running the 5k somewhere around 23-28 minutes. Overall, we placed 7/17 which we were pretty stoked with, way better than we thought we would do.

I have also decided that from now on we are totally doing this race together as a relay. We had so much fun and it was really nice for us to work together as a team. Obviously, I'll be working on my swim and run game for next year!

Thank you TriSports.com - I was super excited to wear my new gear for the first time this year!