Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Déjà vu all over again

I know it's only October, but I've had a full year and I'm looking to press reset and start again. 

A year full of sunshine and rainbows, and a lot of smoke and mirrors on the rainy days. We even had thunder and lightening cast over us in San Diego. And over my life too. 

This week, Moment Racing lost our two most active female racers. And I can't help but reflect that loss to myself. There is probably much more to their exits, and I know it's selfish to turn the spotlight back to me, but I am hurt. It's not their fault, nor do I wish to reflect any negativity towards any of my prior teammates. I realize this event is just the last one in a series of "woe is me."  

So I'm going to cleanse my feelings through writing and press restart. 

**********
The problem is, I'm a strong individual. The first born. A Midwestern. Stubborn and a bit sassy. So identifying when something is internally wrong doesn't come immediately for me. I think I'm pretty good at mitigating my stress levels. I have a handle on these crappy situations. But what's happening are those levels become maxed out, and the next stressful event fills my already full arms. My internalization of emotions and events makes me look strong from the outside, and asking for help seems weak and unnecessary. I got this. And the extra tip of the scales suddenly makes that load unbearable. 

Looking back, I've had a great year statistically. 

Top 5 placing in 14 of 16 races

Red Trolley W123 - 2nd
Valley of the Sun Criterium W3 - 1st
Valley of the Sun Road Race W3 - 5th
Valley of the Sun Stage Race W3 - 4th
St Patrick's Day Crit W123 - 4th
Tour de Murietta Road Race W123 - 5th
Barrio Logan W3/4 - 1st
Hancock Twilight Crit W3/4 - 2nd
Hancock Twilight Crit W123 - 5th
Avenue of Flags Crit W3/4 - 3rd
Avenue of Flags Crit W123 - 7th
California State Championship Crit W3/4 - 4th
California State Championship Crit W123 - 5th
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix W3/4 - 1st

Successful Category 3 -> 2 upgrade (points)

Here was my write-up to a teammate gathering info on the season:
"I had an awesome season racing with teammates! We had a blast coming up with race plans and executing, and whether they succeed or not, we always came to the next race with the fire to try again. After racing as a solo racer for most of my career, it was very rewarding to share my successes with teammates, who sacrificed a ton to get me to the line every time. Every one of those results was a team effort. It was a fun season of not only endurance but mental growth, learning to push past pain doing multiple races in one day/weekend. In my last season as a Cat 3, I was afforded the opportunity to both learn from the big girls, and lead the newer racers."
Deja vu all over again. None of that matters when you don't have anyone to celebrate with. I lost almost all my teammates in 2010, just after my first racing season, when they left to start another team. I should have learned back then that nothing is forever in this sport; loyalty is only good till the end of the season. 

I'm a swimmer and a triathlete, which are individual sports. I was a marching band nerd and a synchronized swimmer, but I liked those team activities because they were so reliant on each individual's performance. I thrived knowing I put forward my best for the team. 

Amateur bike racing is unique. The results in the end are who crossed the line first, but the process to get there and how a race unfolds isn't so simple. Teamwork is a beautiful thing when it works, and is what keeps a team together. Second place through the last rider keep coming back to race again. The lure of the line isn't the only reason people race. Maybe I've been blinded by that. 

*********
This summer I had just come off a great road season, ready and motivated to kick butt at Tahoe half ironman this fall. I was happy with my fitness at SDIT and ready to build upon it. We went to Lake Tahoe for my swim relay and Kyle's first long distance mtb race and came back motivated. Only to have our car break down and Kyle to go into SVT two days later. The string of stress started to unravel. Training suffered. 

September 2014 was probably the most stressful month of my life. Highlights (and lowlights) included Tri Classic work craziness, immediately followed by Interbike, my cousins wedding and our fall Tahoe trip. Immediately followed by my race cancellation, Kyle's SVT, watching him get shocked 3x and subsequent overnight stay in the cardiac ICU in Reno. Immediately followed by my worst half ironman, my car dying again of the same problem, and Kyle's mandatory pre-deployment retreat on his 30th birthday.  Immediately followed by his 2nd ablation which took much longer than expected, but yet she expects it to be a non issue. Which was said after the first round. Immediately followed by the exit of teammates. Oh did I mention we are under the two week countdown to his second deployment? Can we just get a break already? Déjà vu all over again. 

before the race that didn't happen 
yep. 247. garmin said so.
not a comfy ride. 
oh, this again? 
that was not fun.
In college I went through a similar low eb during my sophomore year. I was dealing with a sidelining back injury, working on a not yet diagnosed Crohn's disease, and a failed relationship where I was heartbroken. I had just finished my worst swim meet and called home to cry to my dad. In his ever amazing talk to calm me down, he explained how my siblings and I were finally voted into our Chippewa tribe! Did I mention this was the only semester I got a 4.0? Ahh, silver linings. 

**********
It's not as if this is "just a funk," as I kept telling myself. And I know I'll be okay. I have an amazing husband, I live by the beach, I love my job. 

I'm not motivated by swim bike run anymore. I need to step away from the sport until it finds me again. It felt very forced this season, and I don't enjoy sport when I'm "forced" to do it. I'm not a pro. This isn't my livelihood. My college tuition is paid. Triathlon is something that used to make me happy. This year I kept finding it left me feeling guilty about missed workouts. It left me feeling bad about my body image and my slow (for me) times. It actually made me hate swimming. 

Phew. That's a lot of negativity. I'm a positive person. I like to smile. I've lost who I was and I will find her again. I am a swimmer, lost in transition. But I am a native and I always find my way. 

I'm looking forward. To training as "one of the guys" again, and racing as I have before, solo. I know this will be a challenge as a Cat 2. I know I have a lot of work to get my body where I want it to be. Strong and balanced. My sherpa is going on an extended "trip," yet he'll be back before I know it. Time for a winter of #willsdynasty. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Training Calendar vs Life Calendar

I'm heading to Tahoe 70.3 with mixed emotions. I'm excited to race my heart out, but at this point I'm feeling more like a participant. Taking a look at my training calendar the past month...yeah, um...crickets. 

My life calendar on the other hand has been rather packed with work and fun. Unfortunately we can't have it all and something had to give. And for once, I was okay with it being athletics. 

After Kyle's hospital stay and subsequent tests, I lost a lot of motivation. Looking back, I can't believe how well I handled it, but I'm glad I didn't push myself. As much as I tried to smile through and hide it, the stress was present. And making myself feel guilty over missed workouts was not the solution. 


Soon after, we slid into tri classic mode at the shop which leads to long days, missed lunches, and too much Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper. We had another great event and it really felt like we had our sh*t together this year. {good job Sara! and super thanks to my husband for all his "voluntold" work. He's the best.}

i love my volunteers. especially him.
omg i need this bike.

Three days after the Classic, JT drove us to Vegas for Interbike {so much for catching up at work!} and we enjoyed two and a half days out there. Long days standing and walking make it pretty hard to find motivation to run. Jim and I flew back late on Thursday night {9/11} and I didn't get to bed till after midnight. 
#nbd - yah - Taylor Phinney

Friday afternoon I was back on a plane with Kyle to Seattle for my cousins wedding. We had a fantastic time at the Copper Creek resort at the base of Mt. Rainier. Simply gorgeous. She had almost the entire side of the family out there, so it was awesome to catch up! Besides the bride and groom, baby Jax stole the show. And I was glad for his snuggles and giggles. Family time is the best, and sadly it went by way too quickly. It was so great to see everyone, and especially my grandpa. Thanks to Molly and Bill for being the best hosts ever. 

gorgeous hannah and pop Bill
gordon family
jax being mr. handsome

#onaduck in Seattle
Kyle + I at Mt. Rainier
Hannah's husband Michael restores VW's. This was their guest book.
family!

Sunday night we all shacked up in one hotel suite and it kinda felt like a college trip I took to Winnipeg. Kyle and I grabbed the early flight back to San Diego for a long day back at work. We worked Monday-Wednesday and started today at Kyle's 0-dark thirty wake up call for departure to Lake Tahoe. And the land of fires. {Well, that's all of California}

Phew. Exhausted reading all of that? I rode my bike on Wednesday and felt great. Usually taper weeks have me feeling down. I'm kinda hoping I can roll from the fitness I had this spring. But I'm okay with whatever race day throws at me. Know that I'll be fighting till the end. Channeling all of that Jens Voigt hour record energy. #shutuplegs

And it's vacation time! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trans Tahoe 2014

Lake Tahoe is a pretty amazing place. I think I've put the Trans Tahoe swim relay on my yearly must do list. After the awesome time I had last year with Erin H. on a team we hardly knew, I knew this year was going to be even better. I'm not one for planning, and actually prefer when someone else does it and I just ride the coattails. However, I knew I wanted to swim again and to just be on the lake. So, I assembled the team, registered for the race, rented the boat, got the lodging and executed a fun long weekend!

life is good.
Thursday am was an o-dark-thirty wakeup just as Kyle prefers. We were on the road and into Tahoe around 2:30, just as the crazy thunderstroms were turning on. Lightning, thunder, rain, hail. Chaos. How am I supposed to train for my half ironman in these conditions? Jeremy and I went out for a quick ride once the rain died down, just enough to get my bike nice and nasty.

erin rocking it up brockway.
Friday we had planned for the long ride day.  Jeremy had two laps on tap {that's what happens when you register for the full ironman rather than the half!} and was worried about the afternoon thunderstorms, so we chose to start early. Erin, Erin, Steve, and Mark joined me for the 1 lap adventure. Afterwards we went to the beach for a bit, before the storms rolled in. I attended the captains meeting on Friday night and they let us know the contingency plans should the storms roll in earlier on Saturday. {Radio channels, protocols, etc}

Saturday was another early wakeup as the 5 team members had to get to the boat launch and drive across the lake to the start. Our lead swimmer Erin M. got a more relaxed morning as she got driven to the start line via car. As the captain and organizer, everyone looked at me to be the boat captain. Yeah, I grew up on a lake in Minnesota. But my dad always did the boat launching, tricky driving, and navigation. I think I only took the boat out by myself once. Suffice to say, I was very nervous about the responsibility. After the 2 second, "this is forward, this is reverse" tutorial by the boat rental staff, they pushed us away from the dock and I was forced into go mode, trying to not smash into the boat docked directly in front of me, or the other boats tied up in the area. Phew, made it out of there and we were ready for our long journey across the lake.

sun bathing beauties.
We got to the start very early and were just a floating around in anticipation, yet nervously patrolling the area. Before we knew it, the race had started. We were in the second wave. I started to get closer to the pickup area and luckily found Erin without too much trouble. This part is extremely scary, as there are a crap ton of boats all within a small area and now swimmers are in the water. After finding her, it was then about navigating around  the other boats and out the natural "channel" of swimmers forming through the impending and waiting boats. Phew, we were out in the open water and I was getting more relaxed.

finding erin. and then trying not to run anyone else over. 
Now it was just 10ish miles across the lake in a somewhat straight {or zig zagged} line to the west. We all had fun jumping in, which of course makes for epic photos in a ridiculously gorgeous setting.

so much fun. all in one.
Saturday night we hosted a big party at our house with two other San Diego teams. Sunday was a bit of a rainy day and Kyle and I spent it together as most everyone else journeyed home. We enjoyed some drinks {Woodies} at Gar Woods on the lake, watching a crazy lightening storm roll over the lake and some mini golf after {of which I won by 1 stroke.}

woodies!
storm watching from the deck at Gar Woods
this is serious.
Monday morning we left bright and early. Only our alternator failed around Lone Pine and we rolled into the only auto repair shop in town. Of course they didn't have the part and we'd have to stay overnight to wait for it to get shipped in. And of course the entire town's hotel business was booked with Badwater endurance run race support crews. Luckily, I gave our sob story to the front desk woman after she told us no, and after we called every other hotel in town hearing the same thing. She magically found a room available. Hotel pool and a race running just outside our door? Sounds like an okay way to spend 24 hours in the high desert. I had Tuesday off of work since the shop is closed, and Kyle called into his work with the news. He went for a mountain bike ride in the afternoon and I waited till sunset to get my long run in along Owens river.

Tuesday morning we decided to ride up Whitney Portal Rd to the trailhead. It's a ridiculous undertaking at 11 miles and 4,000 ft of climbing. Kyle only had his mountain bike and I was on Kermit, so suffice to say, we both didn't have our bikes of choice. Somehow we managed, and I think Kyle dominated with his granny gearing, but was nice enough to ride next to me as I was about to cry every time I looked up and couldn't see the top.

trying not to cry.
mr easy gearing. 
We passed 4 "runners" finishing the final leg of their race, that they started over 24 hours prior. We finally made it, and dipped our toes in the frozen creek, which felt amazing. We actually got the call that the car was ready when we were up there, so we {he} bombed down the descent while I descended like a sissy on my tri bike with sweaty palms, trying not to slide off my brake levers, smiling ear to ear. The fresh air and gorgeous views really do melt away the pain.


Got in the car with the new alternator, and it was idling like crap, and a with another quick adjustment, we were on our way, hoping the work we just forked over an arm and a leg for would get us back to San Diego.

Sometimes an unexpected detour is just what you need after a long vacation. Having it extended that final day actually added to our journey and helped Kyle and I grow closer. It's something we'll need and look back to as he's prepping for D2. {his second deployment} His hospital detour the day after we got home wasn't something either of us expected. Suffice to say, I felt I needed a vacation from our vacation and hospital stay. I definitely fell behind on training and it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in our neck of the woods {beach}. After hearing about his CT results, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief, for now at least.  Thank goodness he wasn't put on limited duty, or worse, medically separated. Life as we know it will continue on. He's "away" {not underway; this land based navy stuff is interesting} this week for some final prep. And in less than 5 weeks, we'll be back in Tahoe!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Semper Tri {then & now}

Back in 2008, the Camp Pendleton sprint was the first race I picked and registered for after moving to San Diego. I ended up racing Spring Sprint and a couple of TCSD club races in the meantime, but this race brings me back to my newbie days of triathlon. 2014 was the first time I came back, and I'm not sure why I waited so long. This is a very well run, organized event, on a great course and you get to run over a LCAC at the end! I snagged a free entry at a TCSD club meeting for knowing what LCAC is an acronym for {Landing Craft Air Cushioned}.

My race report will be a then/now on my feelings throughout the race.

PreRace
Then: I remember thinking how cool it was that they let us onto a military base. Now: Been there, done that, military wife. Then: Super wowed by the vast LCAC area, structure, launch ramp. Now: Still wowed. Then: Setup transition, and would've panicked had this years turn of events sprung upon me. Now: My wetsuit leg ripped open as I was putting it on. Like a serious hole, through the lining, across the entire front of my upper thigh. Ugh, not good. Was chatting with friends when this happened, and I was like, "Well, I don't have to wear my wetsuit bottoms, and maybe I'll just wear the top." My tri top isn't the greatest swimming top and would've caused a significant amount of drag. My shorts are a couple of seasons old now, and not sure they would've stayed on with the surf conditions. Okay, duct tape maybe? I went to the announcer's stand and surprisingly the guy had a bin of supplies and as I saw the grey roll, I knew I was in business. I put a couple strips on the inside to hold it together and then wrapped it around my entire thigh to make sure the water didn't wash it off. Seemed to be holding so I got in the water for a bit of a warmup. Got back out for the swim start, and the makeshift, ghetto wetsuit repair was going to work. BTW - I got these De Soto bottoms back in 2010 before my first Ironman. 5 seasons later, I'd say that was worth my $$. The top was replaced last year before IM Tahoe.



yep - this happened.

duct tape fixes everything!

Swim {Then: 12:50 / Now: 10:38}
I remember large waves in '08 and a rather tough current pulling us south. This year, the waves weren't bad but it did take longer than expected to get to the first buoy. The current was pulling us a bit north and almost pushing us back to shore. The way back in was easy, but I never really had a wave to catch. The sand run was horrible both years. :) Wetsuit repair and stripping went as normal.

Bike {Then: 1:00.03 / Now: 53:58}
Not really a fair comparison. I had Felty back then, possibly with some aerobars by that point. Now, my position aboard Kermit, with my aerohelmet and fancy gadgets, I should be able to go faster than I managed. I just couldn't wake up. Any time my cadence went under 90, my power dropped. I had absolutely no "push" and had to just spin my way through the course. Average power was 15 watts lower than it should be and I just couldn't find the pop on the course this year. I had 1 Gu and 1 bottle of APX.

Run {Then: 26:54 / Now: 24:46}
Wow, that sucked. I remember the launch ramp being crappy, but not that crappy. I trudged my way up that incline and struggled through the rest of the run. Couldn't pick up my feet, and again, that elusive pop I felt in my legs during SDIT hasn't made an appearance since. I knew I was leading my age group and probably had enough of a lead to hang on for the W, but man, I couldn't shake the funk I was in.

Overall {Then: 1:39 / Now: 1:31}
I ended up 2nd overall female {1st AG} this year as the lack of local pro's and possibly a smaller field helped the competition ease up a bit, and hey, I'll take it. The trophy was an old ammo box with their logo spray painted on the side which was a neat touch and a good conversation piece for Moment's trophy mantle. Thanks to all the volunteers out there - this course is super safe, fun and well run. I'll definitely be back!




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kyle's frozen heart

Life has interesting ways of reminding us about breaking free from our daily grind. Sometimes it's a vacation. And sometimes it's getting 220 volts to the chest. Kyle tried both last week. And even after his heart was frozen, I fell more in love with the warmth inside that man. He is my life companion, my best friend and my lover and I know I'd be lost without him.

I'll save the Tahoe vacay for another post, but mention that it was a much needed break away and we both had a blast. Even car troubles couldn't bring us down. We came back energized for the grind ahead. But I don't think either of us were prepared for the events of those 3 days. 

Trying to keep this relatively short: He experienced some high heart rate stuff at work on Thursday. Like 250bpm high. Onsite EKG was showing abnormalities and Balboa wanted him transported via ambulance. Anyone who knows Kyle knows that he isn't a fan of anything hospital related. After almost 2 hours with the elevated HR, and 2 doses of adenosine, his blood pressure plumited and they decided to defribulate him, unsedated. 

It reset his heart and he claims after the initial millisecond of sheer pain, gave him instantious relief. And it was about that time that I got to the ER. His work called me that morning and made it sound like he was going in for some routine testing and may be there for a half day and I can go if I want. No mention of ambulance or puke fest he had on the way. 

I got to the ER and saw that things were much worse. His bed was surrounded by docs, EMT's and nurses and he was covered in wires. I gave him a kiss and his first words were "I got shocked" and "It felt like I was on tv!" Okay, we're gonna be here for a while. 
he made me post this. he was "resting his eyes"
We finally got moved upstairs and out of the madness of the ER around 4pm and heard the plan for day 2. An Electropathway study and possible ablation. He's diagnosed with AVNRT and they weren't going to let him leave till it was fixed. {Wikipedia is helpful to someone unfamiliar with medical vocab.}

I went for a run through Balboa Park to clear my mind from the emotions and went back to tuck him in for the night. 
running on empty
Day 2 was long. I got there at 7am to sit in for the Doc meeting and plan for the day. He got bumped to third in line, and without being able to eat or drink until after the study, we knew it was going to be a long day.
movie watching day
Around 2pm they came in and got things rolling with a dose of Valium and rolled him down to the cath lab for what was a 4+ hour study. They put him into tachycardia to find the bad node. It was close to his av node, which meant they freeze it instead of burning, because they have more control. After retesting, they couldn't get him into the crazy rhythm again, which means she fixed it. 

5 hours of laying flat and still to make sure the holes in his groin and neck from the 4 cath ports clot properly. He did get to eat (Gagillone Bros cheesesteak from his boss) which was a relief. Another overnight stay. 

The drive home on Friday was hard. All of the emotions and fears caused me to get a bit tearful. Even knowing it was over and he's fine, I think the stress of those two days and magnitude of what had happened finally hit me. Trying to be strong and supportive can only last so long in the energy sapping environment of the hospital. Lucky for Kyle, he got some drugs to aid in his sleep. I had an empty bed. We had a lot of friends and family reach out, but all I really wanted was a hug and kiss goodnight from my man. In our bed. 

Saturday morning I went for my tempo run in OB before heading to the hospital. Trying to burn off some of the "woe is me" feelings of the night prior and oh yeah, I am still training for a race. If Kyle couldn't use his heart, I best use mine to some potential here. 

Saturday was a crappy day of waiting for discharge papers. Docs came in at 9 and said all is well and we release you. What that really means is they have a lot more rounds to cover and your paperwork is not our top priority. By noon the nurses still had no idea we were leaving. I think by 2 pm they finally started pulling the iv's and removing his monitor leads. 

"Thank the maker" as Kyle always says.  We were out of there in time to see the sun set over the ocean. 

So he's out of the woods with the electric stuff but they did find an aorta issue during his echo which he's receiving follow up appointments for soon. 

He's a happy, healthy, very bored sailor right now who'd much rather be back on his bike chasing those local KOM's. Soon enough. In the meantime he had some computer games to win. #willsdynasty

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Carlsbad Triathlon 2014

Here's the lowdown on the shop throwdown. Getting JT Lyons to the start line takes a little inter-shop smack talk these days. A lot of you didn't know or don't remember, but long before our road team started, JT was a pretty competitive triathlete. After starting a business, his fitness lagged as we grew. 2008 he raced IM Arizona and killed it. {Meanwhile, I did my first Tri in '08} He made a slight comeback for a bet with an old friend in 2011 at San Diego International {which he beat me in.} All the pre-race polls had me picked for the win, but I knew better. Jim and I had our bets on JT getting 2nd in each leg, but taking the overall win. Jim and I held up our portion of the specialization, taking the run and swim respectively, but not sure what happened to Vince on the bike. Oh wait- he put heavy cage pedals on his Dura-Ace 9000 cranks, thus using his running shoes on the bike because he "didn't want to get his Sidi's wet." And then there's that whole octopus dragging thing. Yeah, the bike did include the transition 1 and 2, but the clock doesn't stop in triathlon. He lost by 2 seconds. That hurts. 



From my perspective, it wasn't going to be a close race so sadly I didn't take it seriously enough. I had a pretty big week of training, as my coach wasn't going to let me taper for a shop competition. {Next year I may reconsider the race calendar}. I came to the start line with 15 miles of running and 3 rides, 2 which were interval work. Looks like I left some watts on the silver strand on Friday. 

The swim was ho hum. I'm not the greatest at the run-in, beach start, so I just tried to follow JT's line into the water. We were almost to the first buoy before I reconnected with him and saw his wetsuit. So, yes I figured it be a great idea to pull his leg, fully knowing he'd go ape sh*t on me. A hard dunk and a near kick to the face later and we were on our way. I put in a bit of an effort after the turn buoy and didn't see him again. 


T1 was slow as I use socks and road shoes. I'm not really a sprint specialist, so transition times usually aren't a top priority for me. Foot comfort and no blisters matters much more in a half/full ironman and these swimmer feet can't seem to knock those comforts. Hopped on my bike and felt like poo. Power ended up being 15 watts less than my last tri, 2 weeks prior, and the effects of the training were showing. Apollo Ono passed me in the bike lane around 4 miles in {on the right!! He'll get a penalty in Kona if he pulls that crap} Apparently speed skater legs translate well into cycling. Then the inevitable JT pass occurred. I had 2 options, draft my way back or be fair and represent the shop and myself in an appropriate, legal manor. Grr, stupid morals. I let him go. 

I got off the bike and hobbled through transition like a crippled old lady. {still struggling with the low back issue.} Lynne yelled that I was 30 sec down but I didn't see JT, so it had to be more. I ran hard on the boardwalk and wished I'd have known JT walked up the ramp! I started on the downhill towards the final 180 and these random men who were running but not in the race became my personal pacers and cheer squad. I told them that my boss is ahead and I need help. Trip him, please. :) We passed by as he was on us way back up and yeah, his running style looked like hell. Maybe I had a chance! I saw Jim with perfect run form and calculated that I'd at least, hold him off. Vince a little later looked like he'd thrown in the towel. I ran as hard as my legs allowed on the day and finished less than 2:30 min behind JT, keeping my job. :)



Racing my coworkers on a gorgeous So Cal day is pretty awesome. I ended up 3rd in the Elite category which was a fun bonus, ending up on the podium with Michelle Jones. (Olympian, ironman world champion and a Felt IA rider) She crushed all of us and edged out Apollo for a sprint to the finish. 


---------------

We're on our way to Tahoe! Vacation responder is on. Kermit is packed and I'm so ready to jump in that lake. 



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 SDIT

The yearly benchmark race. I almost didn't register as my run prep wasn't where I'd have hoped it would be, but the lovely folks at TCSD granted me an entry as a thank you/retirement present for my help with the JCC swim program over the last 6 years. Coach's advice was solid and I went for it. And it was everything I had hoped it would be. A great confidence builder in the plan and in the work I did this year on my bike. I can't believe it, but crit racing actually helped me race triathlon. That silly full gas on, rest, sit in, full gas, unpredictable, controlled by others, way of riding and racing somehow translated to an individual pursuit. 

The swim was ho-hum, as it usually is. Gun went off and I started out moderate. Looked around and saw a couple of lurkers, but decided to drop the hammer and get them off my feet. Kyle commented on the swim start, "Babe, before the first buoy you've taken half as many strokes as the girls around you and you've already dropped them." I watched a video he took and yeah, my stroke rate is a bit slow right now. I really don't have the swim fitness to keep it up, so I relied on my strength to pull me through. Time was close to my slowest at this race but was still first out in my wave. {12:31}


Kermit was back in action this year, and I got to hammer the bike. I PR'd the course {49:12!} and had a blast up at Cabrillo. It's so nice to know every bump in the road- and there were quite a few! Gotta love the city of SD and their water line issues. Once they are done digging up OB/Point Loma, I can only hope and wish they'll actually dig up the entire road and resurface. It's a disaster out there right now. Power was where it should be {200 watt average} and I {not so gracefully} got off the bike still holding the lead. 

If you saw me in T2, I ran to my rack like an old lady. My freaking jammed low back was NOT happy coming out of aero and standing was a bit difficult. I knew I'd eventually shake it off as it had before, and just after the sand out of T2 I was able to stand straight. Phew. My run garmin wasn't cooperating, so I finally switched it to timer mode and went by the course mile markers. Was hitting my 8min/mile goal and feeling pretty great, surprisingly! 

Kyle was yet again an amazing Sherpa and has this race down pat. He drops me of at transition, drives to the finish line, rides his bike back to the swim start and cheers the entire way. He gives me time checks on the run.

hanging out before the swim.
This year I had the lead until mile 4 on the run. It was the latest I'd been passed on the course, yet I'm never surprised when it happens. The first girl ran a freaking 38 run, to which I have no answer to. The second came past me and my legs refused to respond. Not that I blame them, as they've had no speed work an haven't even ran a mile under 9:15 in training. Pulling off just over 8min miles for 6 miles was a huge feat for me and I still can't believe they did it. I ran 49:08 and the muscle soreness was quite the reminder for the next couple of days.

focused.

Overall at 1:53 this was my second fastest SDIT and I was pleased with the result. Last year I was Debbie downer after a less than spectacular day and it was nice to redeem myself, if only for the confidence it gave me going into this summer. I ended up 3rd in my AG.

cycling podiums are fancier.
It's funny how my bike times at this race seem to mimic my run times each year. 

2009: 52/54
2010: 50/50
2011: 50/51
2012: 49/47
2013: 49/51
2014: 49/49

In 2012 I was coming off decent fitness from Carlsbad half marathon, and Panama 70.3, and Kyle was deployed. After a couple months off, I put in an almost 30 runs in 30 days during April which kickstarted my training, but still I lacked focus and consistency leading up to the race. One of these years, I swear I'll actually schedule my training plan to peak for this race (i.e. actually train for it!). I'll eventually get to that elusive top spot on the podium!

Onto Carlsbad Triathlon this weekend! It's the Moment Employee showdown. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 7, 2014

MBGP & Upgrading

My last race as a category 3.

Solo 2 lap TT for two primes.
Pain face after getting caught from said breakaway. 
The wining move. Orange girl attacked at the last kicker, so I had no choice. 
I hammered down the hill and took the last corner perfectly, coming 
around with enough time before the line. There it is. My race report in pics. 
{thanks pbcreativephoto.com for the shots!}


Finish line video by Kyle


Prime hunting with Deanna and podium shots with my Parlee. The winner's
jersey made by Capo was an awesome touch by the race organizers! And of
course, APX was my drink of choice for this short, hot race. {35min}

I've been struggling with how to fit in, and I realize by trying to do that, I'm only lying to myself about where I can go. Let's face it, I've never fit in, and as a women in her 30s, it's not looking like I'm going to anytime soon. As a female athlete, I think we have plenty of opportunities to second guess ourselves, doubt our abilities, and hold ourselves back. That's a lot of internal struggles, matched with the external pressures and fierce competition, and it's no wonder our sport lacks participation numbers. It takes a certain type of person to be a bike racer, and for once I'm willing to admit that I have it. The courage to race.

I've submitted my upgrade and pending USAC approval, I'll be a Category 2 racer. 

If you read my blog or see my Instagram or Facebook pics it's no surprise that I've had a little success this season. Upgrading wasn't one of my goals, but I suppose that's what has to happen after accumulating all the other goals. I'm leaving Cat 3 without a state championship jersey, which is something that was a goal. I'm leaving my teammates and won't have the ability to help them upgrade. And I'm indebted to them for dragging me to the line and helping me rack up these points. I'm leaving the category that often had two opportunities to race; gaining invaluable experience hanging on to the pro fields, and being at the forefront of "racing" and tactics in the category 3/4 fields. I'm leaving the category that afforded me the experience of racing 6 times in 3 days at the 805 Criterium Weekend. I'm leaving the comfort of the known.

I know no one really takes USAC rankings seriously, but it's pretty cool to say I'm going out on top.




So why upgrade? I'm 3 points away from a mandatory upgrade and if anyone calls me a sandbagger again, I may hurt someone. So, I'll take that aggression out in my training and racing. All joking aside, I shouldn't hold myself back from becoming better. My teammate Greg said it best "Be excited, Rachel, if just not to undermine the gravity of the achievement for the rest of us whom upgrade points don't come quite as easily. Congrats! First Moment to two." So I've been dabbling with the big girl racing, but now it's time to show myself that I belong. To show myself how far I've come since my first criterium a week after my first Ironman in 2010. 

after my first Ironman and a week later, just before my first crit.

And that's how it's always been. I've dabbled in the two sports, cycling and triathlon, since living in San Diego. There has been focused training blocks towards one or the other, but most of the time, for me, it's about getting out there and racing. My current preparations for Tahoe 70.3 are going well. Manhattan Beach Grand Prix was sandwiched between SDIT and Carlsbad Triathlon this coming weekend. There's always been something about toeing the line that motivates me much more than the daily grind. The race day adrenaline can't be duplicated outside of competition and that's what fuels my fire to train. I'm a competitive person by nature. I've honed my racing skills and craft of winning, and I'm ready for my next challenge. I didn't push for an upgrade, because I wanted to learn from the best and I knew I had to personally "feel like a cat 2 racer" before actually becoming one. There are a lot of riders who put upgrading first, but I think my patience will pay off. I want to be a smart, safe rider, someone who has others looking for my wheel. So here it goes.

Expect the best for yourself, and nothing less.

{I have my husband to thank for always encouraging and supporting me throughout our journey. He's a big part of the reason I've experienced success and have kept my head high, through controversy and failures. His love {and bell ringing} is second to none. My sherpa, my teammate, my best friend and the love of my life. #willsdynasty}

Saturday, July 5, 2014

summer love

Zen running. I've never believed in it {or understood is probably a better word} because I'd never experienced it. Runner's high. Yeah, not so much from the "land" of swimmergurl. But tonight, I think I've come as close as I'll ever get to the feeling of floating. We aren't talking about cranking a 6min/mile pace, floating like Meb. Just one of those runs where no body parts are barking back. Where your mind is at ease with every step. Where I finally felt at peace with where I was at, in those exact moments. The run wasn't forced, nor planned and definitely not fast. I ate dinner {a lovely one, prepared by my husband} and watched an episode of House of Cards. We discussed tomorrow's plan and then I decided to run.

At 8pm. On a perfect summer evening. In Ocean Beach. I don't think a run can get much better. The sun had just set and the clouds were colorful, hovering above the ocean. A slight breeze made the run out quiet and the way back tranquil. The San Diego river was calm and the ocean was tucking itself in for the evening. 

Anyway, I digress with setting the scene. It was just one of those runs I won't soon forget. I'll fold that into my heart and bring it out during this next run block of training, where I'm sure the zen will quickly fade as the mileage and pace ramp up.

June has come and gone. And there was only a hint of gloom, which has since past. I get to keep my husband home for a couple more months. I'll reflect back including my yearly benchmark race report alongside my first mtb race in a post to follow. 

Is this real life?
I got to meet Meb!
Happiness is.