Saturday, May 29, 2010

still learning...

okay, clearly I am still learning the ropes of this blog thing. I wasn't near done with my May commentary. And for someone as technically challenged as myself this whole inserting picture thing could take a while to get the hang of.

The Mister (husband) completed his second Double-Century, 200 mile ride in Davis, CA on May 15th. So Sporty-Spice (son, age 5) and I had a whole Mommy and Me weekend thing going. We started with the Chabot Space and Science Center after preschool on Friday afternoon. This is one of his favorite places and a very cool outing for kids of all ages if you are in the area (Oakland Hills). We stayed up way past our bedtime that night watching his favorite show, America's Funniest Home Videos and eating Trader Joe's pizza and frozen yogurt (wow, mommy IS off training, isn't she?).

Saturday started out with us doing our second 5K run/walk together, this one in Concord, benefitting Kops for Kids, a group that helps at risk youth. From there we went straight to the Oakland Zoo for Celebrating the Elephants Day. It was wonderful! We got to take a tour of the usually restricted to public elephant barns and make them "treat boxes" that the zookeepers tossed to the elephants that afternoon. They eat the whole thing, box and all, filled with hay and various goodies elephants love.

The following weekend Sporty Spice and I went to a Rummage Sale where he found and I bought a very large, extremely noisy Tonka fire truck (whose batteries may need to go missing in the very near future). And we also went to find us some "Mini-Love".

Although we didn't come home with one of those, we did come home with these a few weeks ago.

We passed by all the big tubs of cute little fluffy one week old chicks and went straight for the molting, bald four week olds that I was afraid wouldn't get a home. They don't have names yet. Any suggestions???

As I mentioned, the weather here has been incredibly rainy, windy and cool for May, making training soooo frustrating. Hours are ramping up now in the first cycle for Barb's Race and getting them in around the hours I have kid-free have been a challenge. And it just plain hasn't been all that pleasant. There was some roadside crying this week. But the weather man assures me that it is all about to change, starting TODAY. We are headed to Arnold thismorning for the weekend, and I plan to be on my bike from noon to six today. As god is my witness.

I had so much more crafting I wanted to do in my time off. The one thing I did accomplish was to participate in the Sweet Goodness Girls Vintage Cowgirl Swap. As my box should be arriving at my partner's doorstep today, I think it is safe to post a few photos.

May In A Nutshell

What happened to May?!? Northern California saw it's most rainy May in many, many years and this made outdoor activities most unpredictable. I had quite a few projects on deck for my two "low training" weeks after Wildflower and before training for Barb's Race on July 31st really kicks in. I did get to take my much-coveted solo outing to Berkeley one morning and I went to the Art Museum and walked along Telegraph Avenue. It's been 20 years since I graduated!! Twenty?!?!? Two-oh?!? I was thrilled to see many of my favorite places still there. Milano, the cafe where I used to spend almost every evening studying, Intermezzo, the restaurant with the best ever salads and home-made bread. Moe's Books and Amoeba Records.....

My little respite of indulgence was hampered by a sick cat and a sick kid, but both are on the mend.

I did get in a few mountain bike rides on Mt. Diablo, my new backyard. All this late rain has left things green and wildflowers blooming.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13 mile run)
May 1, 2010 Lake San Antonio, CA

2010 got off to a rocky start, with January and February consisting of (besides buckets of rain! And cold!), getting past having the metal pin taken out of my tibia in December, unexpected dental work, including a tooth pulled, and not one, but two colds (thank you Noah)! Struggling to regroup during March and April was tough, as our wet and cold weather continued…
Now, mind you, this is going to be a looooong year, with Barb’s Race at the end of July and the Big One, Ironman Florida alllll the way in November, so I know will be a price to be paid for getting too excited too soon into the year. But I was nervous, anxiety-ridden, even, going into Wildflower. Kona last October was pretty much a once in a lifetime experiment in calculated stupidity, and finishing was absolutely the ONLY goal. Which, on some small level, was a little demoralizing, after finally feeling the least bit competitive with anyone other than myself in 2008. Don’t get me wrong, I savored every minute of it. It was just weird in that way. Wildflower was going to be the test of truth….how much was actually lost last year, strength and speed wise? Would I ever be able to “race”, even in the loose sense I use that word? Only the clock would tell…..and it wasn’t gonna lie.
Having an 85 cat Tri-Valley Fix our Ferals clinic the weekend before was both good and bad. Added stress, yes, but also a place to channel all that ridiculous energy of taper week; there are 85 fewer breeding cats in the world AND my CD’s are alphabetized! Excellent! Taper week was tough this go around. Turned out none of my friends were able to make it to the race this year, so we decided to turn it into a camping adventure and Dan and Noah would accompany me. Knowing the logistics of Wildflower, we reluctantly decided to leave Lance at Club K-9 in an attempt to all make it home alive, unharmed and still married. So Friday, after the traditional pre-race brick workout and tucking in the masses of animals for a 2 day stint of self-management, we picked Noah up from preschool and headed out. We arrived about 5pm, and the campground was looking pretty full. We found a bitty spot right next to where I had camped with Lori and Ray 2 years ago, and set up camp. Beggars can’t be choosers, so our site had a definite, shall we say, “slope” towards the lake, and Dan tried to do some relandscaping to prevent any of us from taking an unscheduled swim. The best part for Noah (and ultimately for us) was that there was a kids play structure about 500 feet from our site. The best part for me was a bathroom at about the same distance. Tents were pupped and off we headed to registration/check in. Bike set up, clothes and transition bags set out and off to bed….
Knowing the Wildflower madness I was at the shuttle boat launch with my bike and bags 2 full hours before my start wave. Good move. Set up my transition area and had lots of leisure time to stretch and listen to my Ipod and contemplate the port o potties before squeezing myself into that wetsuit. Being old now, and a girl, my start wave was the very last one before the Relays—9:25 am. The water was cold when we got in, but not troublesome once the horn went off and we were into the open water. My swim is…well, my swim. I survive it as best as I can and hope against hope to balance bettering my last time with having enough energy to do the rest of the race. Did my darndest…my swim has been the bain of my existence as of late—turned in a time of 48 minutes and change (5 minutes slower than my 2008 time—what are ya gonna do?). Ran up the ramp, saw Dan and Noah, had a very good T1 (faster than 2008) and onto the bike. That Lynch hill right out of the gate is simply an insult to all things good and right in the world. And before you get there, you have to navigate, no!, survive, getting around all the people heading onto the mountain bike course. Made it onto the top of Lynch hill and off we went. The bike course was, and this is my favorite way for it to be: fairly uneventful. Worried that I have had no barometer of my returning (or not returning—you be the judge) cycling strength/speed, I just wanted to keep steady, stay absolutely focused throughout, and give it what I felt to be my 100% while not trashing myself. Some sort of karmic balance between pushing and spinning (thank you computrainer for your faithfulness and tempo workout feedback these last months!). One bathroom stop—darn aging process!—2 minutes lost—I TIMED my bathroom stop as I STILL can’t pee on the bike! And it’s just not something you want to, well…practice. Being in the last wave, and being a really BAD swimmer and relatively strong cyclist, I had LOTS of people to pass. And pass them I did, which was the first time THAT had happened in awhile (like about 18 months, to be exact) and I started feeling like a rockstar with the ensuing optimism. Time: 3.26.28. 2008….3.18.19. I’ll take it! As will I take a faster T2, by 6 whole seconds, thank you very much.
And now for the test of truth…the “run”. I didn’t really have a plan, per se, for the run, beyond eating a gu every 3 miles. My usual best case scenario/personal rule is run as much as you can, but any time you have a paper cup in your hand you are allowed to walk. So I headed out in my newfound shuffle-pace and thought I’d just see what happened. Pretty soon my obsessive thought pattern turned to the last year…more specifically how much WALKING I had had to do in the past year. I had to train for the whole flipping Kona Ironman marathon at a walk….on a flat bike trail….in Danville…in the summer. I decided that I never, ever wanted to walk again as long as I could run, and by mile 2 I decided as long as I was alive and breathing, I’d be running. By the massive hill about mile 4, I kept thinking about the first doctor I saw after breaking my leg who told me I’d never run again. Well, then I HAD to keep running. Mind you, my run was little more or less like a jog at best, but I kept it going….with or without the paper cup!! At WILDFLOWER! Toughest half run I know of. I just kept plodding along, thinking I was just happy not to be walking….like the at least 3 MEN I passed by---with M-DOT TATOOS ON THEIR CALVES!!! HA! Take THAT ya stupid horse, and you, even stupider doctor! Not knowing what to expect from this race at all, I knew deep down in my overtaxed heart that I’d be thrilled with anything under 7 hours. My 2008 time was 6.41.54. I always wished to beat it, but I was realistic. I saw the magic time come and go…but I was about half a mile away from the finish. I mean that in an “ONLY” half a mile kind of way! I was indeed going to make it in under 7 hours: 6.50.06 to be exact! As I ran down the finish chute, so thrilled with myself, about 500 feet from the finish line, Dan heaved Noah under the snow fence barrier like a torpedo and he scooted out, took my hand and ran to the finish line with me. It was indeed a very sweet victory, personally. I checked my actual times on the website Monday morning to write up my race report and looked at my run splits. 2.26.45 on Sunday. 2008: 2.32.44. Oh, my gosh, I’m the six million dollar woman! Is it possible that they put it back together STRONGER and FASTER?!?!? I have to go send another thank you note to my orthopedic surgeon now.