It Hurts so GOOD

This morning, despite the fact that I over slept and had to hustle to eat (enough so that I wouldn’t bonk, but not so much I’d barf), drink and get geared up for Spin (OK, at the “Y” it’s called “Group Cycling” for legal reasons)

I’ve been nervous about going back to Spin class due to how out of shape I am right now (yeah, I know, no one knows what the tension is set to on your bike but you and you don’t have to do the standing work if you’re not up to it)

It was a good, hour long, hard climbing workout and I did just fine. I’m apparently not is a bad a shape as I though I was, as I was fine on the standing work and didn’t reach my target heart rate until late in the workout on the big hill sections.

It was hard, and my quads are a tiny bit cranky, but it felt GREAT!

If I keep this up, I might not make an ass out of myself on Chilly Hilly (it just doesn’t look good for a ride ref to bonk or walk a bike up one of the hills)

This has nothing to do with “resolutions” (which I don’t do), and everything to do with the fact that I look and feel GROSS.

Last year was not a good workout year. I had all the “escrow from hell” stress, packing, moving, working on the yard and house (which was at least some exercise) and broken foot/big toe. I didn’t do ANY triathlons last year. (I did volunteer as a swim angel for Danskin and Trek and did coach some women in open water swimming) By the time I had the big projects done around the house it was holiday prep time and I had that lovely fall down the attic stairs. As soon as the holidays were over, I got this nasty upper respiratory/sinus crud that totally knocked me on my butt.

When I’m not working out and in shape, I don’t sleep well, and my immune system is not what it should be.

It was NOT a good year for fitness, working out, discipline nor keeping to any sort of schedule, and I’m paying the price for it now. The only thing that saved me was some early season hiking in the spring, and a bunch of good hard hikes in the fall.

Last night, I sat down and put my workout schedule on paper (OK, pixels) because having it printed up on my fridge and at work “keeps me honest”. I’m more likely to follow through with a written plan than random neurons firing in my head.

I also log what I actually log everything I do on a spreadsheet which tracks my time spent, mileage and calories burned by activities, and provides monthly totals.

The other thing that “keeps me honest” is putting it out where OTHER people can see it.

So here it is.

workout schedule 2011

Some things to note…

Everyone needs rest days scheduled. Our bodies get stronger when we rest and they rebuild. I have seven days a week scheduled because my body doesn’t usually want/need the rest day when it is scheduled. One day I way up, feeling exhausted and my resting heart rate is higher than normal and that tells me I need to rest. Whatever day of the week my body feels burnt out, will be the rest day. (I’m going for one rest day a week)

This may look “extreme” to some, but it’s not (as a matter of fact, it will get harder later in the season when I add long runs and bricks). I’m a triathelte. One who competes in three disciplines in one event, can’t just do one type of workout a day; it’s impossible to get enough training in each event. It’s also important to do “bricks” where you transition from one event to the next to train your body to be used to it. (running, after a hard, quad burning bike ride is disorienting and painful; the first time I did it in a duathlon, I was so wobbly and disorientated, I nearly ran into a tree)

Any day that I have the option of biking OUTSIDE, or skiing or snowshoeing or hiking is a day that I won’t be doing these, mostly inside at this time of year workouts.

I am super lucky to have TWO “Y” locations in Tacoma, so I have more options/time slots for spin classes and master swim. It’s not easy to schedule workouts around work and other areas of my life.

So there it is.

It’s printed and hanging on my fridge (and will be in my cube at work) and out there for the “world” to see.


Mood: Tired


Swim/Bike/Run or Why I’m too tired to rant or squee this week

I didn’t have the time, energy or inclination to rant yesterday or squee today.

In addition to being super busy at work, and my usual frenzy in the yard/garden, I’m finally getting off my butt, now that the foot/big toe is finally healed and working out again.

I’m volunteering as a Swim Angel for the Danskin Women’s Triathlon again on the 15th, and have signed up for two sprint triathlons in September (when I will also be volunteering as a Swim Sister for the Trek Triathlon).

I need to get off my butt.

Three months off of training has completely kicked my butt, I’m out of shape and weak (and none to happy with myself about it)

I already blogged about my not so smart five mile “run” on the steep evil trails of Chambers creek which left me limping for a few days.

I did take a rest day on Monday. (yard work counts as rest right?)

Tuesday, I joined the Harmon Bike Club for a ride, which was not the smartest thing I could have done since they were trained up for the Courage Classic and I’m in worse shape than I was in February (actually, in February I was kicking ass and taking names)

It was hilly (over 1,000 feet elevation gain) because ALL of Tacoma is hilly. (oh, since I live on the HILLtop, it’s a long uphill slog to get back home)

I was feeling pretty demoralized after I was done (the last person in) but at least I did it.

point defiance ride

Yesterday, Gene and I went out the Steel Lake for an open water swim. If I’m going to be a “calming” and “motivating” influence on women (most of them doing their first triathlon ever, many of them cancer survivors, some in active treatment) I’m helping through the swim course at Danskin, I’d better be competent and confident, so I needed to get back out there.

I managed to get through a mile swim. I did have to stop and rest a few times, but that’s no biggie. It’s probably the least demoralizing thing I’ve done since I started working out again.

Today was the Tacoma (Beer) Runners run.

We started out at Woody’s on the Waterfront, ran up and over the 11th St Bridge, around the tideflats and Foss Waterway, back up Pacific Ave and across the bridge of glass.

I was not fast and I was not last (but close)


I did not even stay for the beer (wait? Wasn’t that the point?). It was too crowded and too hot to wait inside in line for one, so I socialized a bit, drank some water and headed home and enjoyed a margarita on my newly screened back porch.

Now, I’m exhausted and need to go to bed.

I have another long work day tomorrow, and then I’m taking Alisa, Robin and Karen (all will do their first triathlon at Danskin) out for an open water swim clinic. I may swim a bit after they’re done to get a workout in. But tomorrow is about them and paying forward all the help Gene and Steve gave me when I was first starting out.


Mood: exhausted


Spin it Baby!

My Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA adventure continues.

Because my body just didn’t hurt enough from the masters swim class last night, I decided to spin (OK, due to licensing issues, the YMCA has to call it “group cycling” but we all know what high intensity cycling done to music on spin bikes is, right?)

I had a Harmon Bike Club meeting tonight (just how many bike clubs do I belong to? 4?) to kick off the Courage Classic and the St Leo’s food bank ride so I had to do something earlier than the offering at the downtown Y.

I realized that I can go to any Y and that the Morgan Family Y on Pearl St is only 4 miles from my house. I checked their schedule and there was a spin class at 4:30-PERFECT! I’m kind of spoiled by having the downtown Y (which is 15 and over only) so close (a mile, if that) and was wondering what the family one would be like.

The locker rooms were split between upstairs and downstairs, with the downstairs filled with squealing kids getting ready to swim and the upstairs being very much like “my” Y downtown, 15 and over only.

This Y was older, but well maintained and full of interesting things including an indoor climbing area.

But back to the task at hand.

Even though I’ve ridden century and double century rides, I’ve been extremely intimidated to try spin. Afraid that I’m too out of shape (especially at this time of year) and wouldn’t be able keep up.

But everyone I know that takes spin classes in the winter totally rocks the hills come spring and I know I need to get back on my training. (I’ve been a slug) Spin is the way to do it when days are short and torrential downpours and ice are making the roads unsuitable for outdoor riding.

I showed up 10 minutes early (as requested for first timers) so that the instructor (Denise who was awesome) could help me set up the bike the first time. I set it up just like I set up my road bike so that was a no brainer.

The critical thing to learn about a spin bike is that they have weighted fly wheels and you can’t just stop them by stopping pedaling. They have a break lever down near the tension knob.

I had fully intended to stay in the far back so as not to draw attention to my out of shapeness and lack of spin juju, but another woman in the class told me to get right up front with her. (she was rehabbing an injured knee) The guy on the other side of me was an instructor, so the front and center row ran the gamut.

We did a warm up and then did “hills” (increasing the tension according to our own comfort/fitness/challenge level) and had the choice to stand up on the pedals or not (when riding hills on my bike, I tend to “sit and spin”. We also did sprints, a long “hill” increasing our grade 6 times over the course of the hill. We pedaled for cadence of 80-110 rpm; I was averaging a bit over 100.
I surprised myself not only by finishing the workout, but by really cranking the tension on the hill climbs, standing up and going for it.

Denice was awesome and made sure than everyone was comfortable and knew that at any time they could reduce tension or speed.

It was so NOT intimidating. There are no neon lights over your head telling people what your tension is set to or how hard you are working.

The music was fun, the instructor was fun and the whole workout was GREAT!

I could feel the burn during the workout but my legs feel great now (we’ll see how they feel tomorrow)

This will help me with cardio and hill climbing, but is obviously no substitute for long rides (several hours) to build my lactic acid threshold, help my muscles burn fat instead of glucose and build endurance for 100+ mile rides in the summer.

I can’t believe I didn’t suck it up and try it before now.

Tomorrow is my 2nd masters swim class.

Spin Tues-Thurs, Master Swim Mon-Wed. I need to get some weight training in there and probably start running at work at lunch as well as longer runs on weekends.

If I can keep this up, I’m going to be an animal (or at least not suck) by the time triathlon season starts. And maybe I’ll get this middle aged winter pudge off of me. (and hopefully not put it back on next winter)

Oh, one of the spinning websites I checked said 40 minutes at a 80-100 rpm cadence equals 15-20 miles, and I averaged 100, I’m giving myself 18 miles towards my Frostbite Falls goal.


Mood: tired


This afternoon’s fun

I tested out the Go Pro Hero waterproof video camera today on an open water swim at Steele Lake.

I strapped it to my lifeguard can and we were able to shoot some fun video of each other swimming.  Since neither one of us have seen ourselves swim before it was quite helpful (I’m dropping my left shoulder a bit and need to pay more attention to my rotation)


Mood: Amused


Triathlon anxiety… (is the hay in the barn?) and swimming solo

The temperature for Saturday’s triathlon is forecast to be 86 degrees.

That may not sound like much to many of you (and may even be laughable to some) but for someone living in Western Washington, it’s extreme. Consider the fact that black asphalt can radiate 180 degrees 6′ above it’s surface on such a day, and it’s down right scary.

This may be the race where I finally barf.

Today I needed to get one last (or maybe the 2nd to last) open water swim in before my first Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday (which I am totally freaking out about and am not ready for this early in this, my 2nd season of doing these things)

My regular swim partner Gene has had some “complications” at work and couldn’t get off in time to do the swim with me.

I had another potential partner from the South Sound Triathlon Club who wanted to come out, but he recently moved and couldn’t find his wetsuit. (no way do you want to try a mile in the current water temps without one)

So I had to suck it up and go solo.

I made sure that people knew where I was and when to expect me back.

I called the Icky Boy before I want in and after I got out (even if he came out to be bored and watch, he’s not a swimmer and even if he was, with me out in the middle of the lake, there wouldn’t be anything he could do anyway-but I know I like to know when he’s returned safely from something with significant risk)

The police are usually there and the outrigger canoe club practices in the area-both parties usually watch out for swimmers.

I was probably safer there than I was driving to work on I-5 this morning. I’m a strong simmer (but I’d by lying if I didn’t have self doubt and anxiety even though I swam that exact route last week with no problem)

It would be virtually impossible to sink in the wetsuit.

I towed my lifeguard float in case I got a cramp or took on water…

swim0509 001

I hydrated well today (it was HOT out) and ate some shot blocks for extra energy before I want out (they really help after a 10 hour shift at work)

People looked at me like I was nuts; nuts for wearing a wetsuit, nuts for carrying that silly float and nuts for getting in the lake and swimming out to the far end.

I felt good…


I swam it a bit faster than last time (no one to shoot the breeze with)

if you are viewing this via LiveJournal or RSS feed where the map doesn’t display properly, click here

I got out, texted work and called the icky boy to check in and headed home.

I’ve been tired the last couple of weeks.

I did two sprint triathlons in a week, and did runs two days after each of them.

I did a 71 mile bike ride a week and a half ago ago.

I haven’t been running as much as I’d like, but I have done a (slow) difficult half marathon this year.

I’ve done two open wter swims of just over a mile…

I’ve done FOUR sprint marathons (3 with 250 meter swims and one with a 400 meter swim) which is likely more than a lot of people have done this year but not enough if my books.

I just don’t feel fully trained up enough in any of my disciplines. Training for a triathlon and to be a staff rider for a double century with a full time job (oh, and a life) is a daunting task at times.

I feel like I’m not giving anything enough time or attention.

I’m resting tomorrow.

I’ve been tired. My legs feel fatigued and my morning resting heart rate is a bit higher than I think it should be (60 bmp)

I may do another swim on Thursday afternoon for confidence. I don’t’ use my legs much when I swim (difficult in a full wetsuit and counterproductive in a triathlon where you need to save your legs for the bike and run), so I should be OK. At this point, I really don’t consider swimming a workout.

Can I do an Olympic distance triathlon (full mile swim-40K bike-10K run) in the heat, this early in a season where I don’t feel I’ve done enough?

We’ll see on Saturday.

I will be supported by good friends (and my Icky Boy)

And I “haz he stubborn”


Mood: Swimmin’ baby…. Swimmin’


Triathlon report Survivor Elma or “Holy Crap! That water was cold!!!


It was a dark and stormy night afternoon…

Being seriously insane I drove down to Elma (West of Olympia heading towards the coast) to do a triathlon, uh yeah… in the rain and wind and cold…

A triathlon in mid April, in Washington State.

Where the water is butt cold until July/August.

When no sane person would go there.

The good news is, I survived and every triathlon I do after this one will be better.

The weather sucked pond water.

The water was butt cold, 51 degrees (F) at the shore, likely less than that where it was deeper.

Here is all my stuff in my transition area… I wore the wetsuit, gap & gogglese for the swim and the bike jacket , bike shoes & Recoverite mix for after the race were placed under plastic because it was raining and that water bottle was used to mix my Heed)

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I thought that maybe I’d stand a chance at a trophy since obviously, no sane person would go out on a day like that, get in water that cold, then get on a bike in a cold wet trisuit, then go run in said cold wet trisuit…

I was wrong. Well over 80 people showed up for the tri.

Getting into the water was tricky. We got into our wet suits and stared at each other waiting to see who would be first.

We got in, gasped, squealed , groaned and made lots of other strange noises, and waited as long as possible to let water into our suits to warm up. One poor woman looked horrified when I explained to her that water was supposed to go in her suit for her body to warm up when she said she was trying to keep it out. “If you were meant to stay dry in it, it would be a dry suit.” About three or four other people looked at her and said, “She’s right.” (I also advised her that she would do well to take her diamond wedding ring off in a lake that cold if she doesn’t want to lose it)

Our feet were instantly numb. The worst part was putting our hands in. There we were, hunkered down in the water (it was too cold to be in the water and too cold to be out of the water), all of us holding our hands up above it. I hope someone got a picture of that; it looked ridiculous.

Uh yeah, I thought the worst part was putting our hands in.

Until I put my head in. It wasn’t so much that my face was numb, it was the worse than an ice cream headache wrapping around our skulls that we got. Even with a neoprene cap (which admittedly was too large for me as it was Gene’s) My head pounded with a sharp blinding pain every time I took more than 4 strokes with my head in the water.

I ended up having to be creative and use some very odd strokes to keep my head above water, which means my swim time sucked pond water (and took way more energy than it should have) I looked around and discovered that pretty much everyone else was doing the same thing. It was just too cold to swim normally face down for more than a few strokes.

The combination of water that cold and my chest being compressed by the neoprene wetsuit made it difficult to relax and breathe properly. This was most definitely the worst swim I ever had… in my entire life…

At least I completed the swim. (no matter how ungainly and slow) One guy had to be pulled from the water due to hypothermia. (I heard about it after the race)

Of course, the joy of a Spring triathlon is spring weather…

According to Weather Underground the air temperature was about 50 degrees at 2:00 PM when the race started. Oh, it was windy too.

So I got on my bike already chilled, wearing a cold wet trisuit and rode 13 miles in the cold wind and rain. With wind chill from the speeds I hit, that would be 32-37 degrees (F) from just riding, not counting the wind that was blowing. (for those not from the US, 32 is freezing)

Here’s the run route. If you’re viewing this on LiveJournal (why won’t LJ allow iframe html code ?) or via RSS feed where the map and/or tracks don’t show up properly, you can just click on the button below

View Interactive Map on

I brought along my softshell bike jacket and took the extra time to put it on. It saved my bacon.

My transition from swim to bike went well (this is a manually timed race, so I don’t have transition time) The wetsuit came off easily, the bike shoes went on quickly with the speed laces and I didn’t have to worry about drinking because I had the aero bottle. I actually made up time getting out onto the bike. I could tell because I was out before people who exited the water well ahead of me.

I didn’t put anything on my legs to cover them (Steve is going to have a fit when he hears that) but luckily I didn’t cramp up.

I averaged 16-something miles per hour on the ride, which is not too bad considering that it starts up a long steady hill (on a rough chip sealed road), how cold it was, how cold I was and the wind. I actually passed about 10 people on the bike.

I was oh so thankful for the areobars; there is a lot of wind on this course, especially when weather is blowing in. Oh, did I mention that it was raining?

My transition from bike to run went well, as I had speed laces on both the bike and running shoes ,was hydrated from sipping on the areobottle the whole way and had Cliffshots in my pocket.

That’s when the cold started to get me. My right calf started cramping up. (it was most certainly not a lack of water or electrolytes, I loaded up knowing this race would be tough because of the weather) Luckily, it loosened up and I was able to finish the run in 33 minutes. I know that’s slow, but it was cold, it was after a swim and bike; sadly, it’s faster than I have been running.

Here’s the run route. If you’re viewing this on LiveJournal (why won’t LJ allow iframe html code ?) or via RSS feed where the map and/or tracks don’t show up properly, you can just click on the “view larger map” link

View Larger Map

I came in at 1:31:02 which is not as fast as my last triathlon was at the end of last season, which was 1:28:something. But it was faster than my first triathlon last year (or ever) which was also on the same course and was 1:36:06. (oh, much later in the season and in much better weather)

It wasn’t the time I wanted, but I survived and I’m way ahead of where I was at this time last year.

Oh, and I got a shiny thing. Here it is, with the frigid lake in the background…

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Mood: holy crap I’m tired


Of Pancakes and Peeps

It’s spring; and Easter (for those who celebrate it) is rapidly approaching.

I am remind of this, by all the hits is getting on a certain page.

Yes, I have a web page dedicate to “peep jousting” and microwaving peeps.

click here for PEEPS!!!

Why yes, I am easily amused, why do you ask?

Mother nature seems to have forgotten that it’s allegedly spring, at lest here in the Pacific Northwest. On Friday we were treated to a wicked hail storm (which actually is typical of our spring) nand yesterday morning, unforecast freezing fog.

It was butt cold yesteday morning, 29 degrees F to be exact (for my friends who measure in Celsius, that’s 3 degrees below freezing). It was also very damp out and we actually ended up with ICE on our eyelashes. That was weird.


I did not wear my neoprene bike shoe covers on yesterday morning’s ride (I wear mesh mountain bike shoes because they are the most comfortable most of the year, and need to cover them in freezing weather). I also didn’t wear my insulated winter gloves (left them in the truck because I figured they’d be hot miserable in the return trip. I had to keep checking myself for cappilary refill to make sure I wasn’t going to get frostbite (in addition to sub-freezing temperatures, there’s the issue of wind chill when buzzing down the road on a bike. Oh, and it was even colder when we got to Spanaway.

It was still a fun bike ride with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club. Every month or so there is a ride to the senior center in Spanaway adjacent to the LeMay car museum.

The proceeds go to charity, they enjoy having us there, and we get a great breakfast of coffee, juice pancakes, eggs and ham (2nds if we want them) and it’s a lot of fun (oh, and great exercise)

After the ride, I went for a swim and felt really good. I think that adding extra protein to my diet (hard boiled eggs in the morning and branch chain amino acids is helping. My legs don’t hurt or feel fatigued and I’m going for a run today.

Here’s the route we took (roughly 37 miles).

If you are viewing this on LiveJournal, via RSS feed or another method that does not display the map/track properly, you can click on the link that says “view larger map” and it will pop up for you.

View Larger Map

Oh I did a meme… (and am not surprised at my Canadian Slang score seeing as Canada is just up the road eh?)

You Speak Canadian Slang

Canadian Slang: 100%

British Slang: 75%

Aussie Slang: 50%

Southern Slang: 25%

Victorian Slang: 25%

New England Slang: 0%

Now that I’ve eaten and the sinus headache is going away, I’m going to get out for a run (well, more like a waddle, but whatever)

Oh, and like a dork, I’m going to go run in the trees… (yeah, the ones that are spewing pollen) Of course, it’s not like we have a choice here. The silly trees are everywhere…


Mood: cold

Happy Birthday Flash!!!

I was talking to my friend Gene today and mentioned that although I feel bad about not having my bike mileage up to where I’d like it to be. I followed that up with, “But at this time last year, I didn’t even have a road bike.”. Then I went and checked my records.

I got flash One year ago TODAY March 20th.

In that time, I’ve ridden her approximately 2,300 miles including:

Two Duathlons
Three Triathlons
The McClinchy Mile (26 of them actually)
The Daffodil Classic
The Tour De Pierce
The Peninsula Metric Century
The Flying Wheels Century
The Seattle Century
The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (2 day ride)
The Bike MS Ride (2 day ride)
RAPsody (Ride Around Puget Sound 2 day ride)
Numerous rides from Golden Gardens Park in Ballard to the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville
Lots of rides around Pt Defiance
Several trips across the Narrows Bridge
Many wonderful Monday rides to University Place for coffee
Lots of other fun rides with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

and most important, fun rides with friends, new and old.


I can’t wait to see what adventures 2009 holds for Flash and I


Mood: yeah baby