Show Time!

ImageKatiepants and Barbiepants ready to crush it!

Tomorrow is finally here. Whether I want it to be or not. Not feeling ready, wishing I would have trained more, but I just have to see what happens. Feeling lots of pressure to do well but it will be an accomplishment to finish no matter what happens. And most importantly, I can’t wait to see my bestie Katie come through the finish for her first Ironman!

We have spent months training through the winter, overcoming obstacles left and right and all with smiles on our faces.

Please send me your cheers and track me here as I chick boys left and right: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx?race=newzealand&y=2014#axzz2uYGmm7al. Start is at 10 am pacific time. I’m number 309!

As random as it may seem, this song is stuck in my head….specifically the words “He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready”.

See ya on the other side, friends!

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It’s Getting Real

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I have officially arrived to the course of Ironman New Zealand! The past few days have been a whirlwind of fun. I probably did some things that I shouldn’t have like wine tasting or rock climbing up a water fall (nobody tell my coach) but hey, I like living on the edge a little. And nothing bad happened, right?

Today we arrived to Lake Taupo, where the race is being held. The lake is a lot bigger than I expected. And a lot windier! To keep the disc cover on my wheel or not, that tis the question.

My friend Katie and I went to check out the expo, got some schwag and dipped our wet suits in a cleansing bath so we don’t infect the lake with anything.

Tomorrow we are getting our race packets and then going for some further previews of the course.

Well, it’s time to go dip in the lake and then go for a run!

3 days until the race (in New Zealand time).

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Intimidation

After this weekend, I thought I was officially in taper mode for Ironman New Zealand. Then I looked at my coach’s plan for me over the next two weeks (pictured below). Not exactly what I was expecting. Flying over to NZ, we lose Friday, so apparently I am going to swim on the flight somehow, maybe in the lavatory. I talked to my coach and we moved that particular work out. However, even though the volumes of my works outs have slightly decreased, the overall amount of time on each work out is essentially the same as before. Wait, what? In my taper before Ironman Lake Tahoe this past fall, I was doing 20 minute bike rides and 15 minutes runs. Apparently not the case. Somehow I have to find a 3 hour bike route when I land in Auckland, extremely jet lagged. (If anyone has any suggestions, or is familiar with the area, please share.) Everything is just completely different this time around. I guess I just need to zip my mouth and see what happens.

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My work out plan for the next two weeks…

A few days ago, I was browsing around Slowtwitch and an article regarding New Zealand caught my eye. It was regarding a fellow competitor Larisa Marsh. So I started reading. Big mistake. Turns out this girl took second place last year at Ironman New Zealand in the Female 25-29 age group in a speedy fast 10:15. No big deal. My stomach dropped. I read further. Even bigger mistake. She placed 6th at the friggin Ironman World Championships. To my utter dismay, she will be competing this year again in Ironman New Zealand.

My thoughts: well, there goes at least one of the slots to Kona. Because it’s the 30th Anniversary of IMNZ, there are 50 slots allocated to this race, and 2 specifically for my age group.

But, I just have to suck this all up and do my own race. Like I have said before, I can’t control the elements of race day, who shows up or the kind of race other people have. I have to be in control of my own race, my own destiny and just let what is going to happen, happen.

My goal is to do approximately a 1 hour swim, 6 hour bike and 3:50 marathon, putting me right around 11 hours with transitions. According to last year’s results, this would put me in 3rd place. But whatever is going to happen is going to happen. If I don’t put out there what I want to do, or what I think I am capable of, then it won’t happen. We all have that voice telling us what we can and can’t do. So I’m telling mine what I want to do.

So basically, on the swim start, I’m just going to do this and try to freak out the rest of my age group or just everyone.

Final Countdown:

LEAVING: TOMORROW

Race: 9 days…

Put your Stress to the Test

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Ever since I put the new Flos on my bike D (short for DeLorean), everything seems to have been going wrong. First spin class with the wheels on, pinch flat. Second spin class with the wheels on, D attempted to commit suicide and threw herself on the street outside of Shift in SF. It’s her first flesh wound, a nice little battle wound on the handlebars. Oh, and then guess what? Another pinch flat. Just what I want to happen right before I hop on a plane and fly across the world for this small little thing we call an Ironman. My worst nightmare is getting a flat….or multiple flats…during a race. Luckily, I’m getting in some extra practice changing tires from all these debacles which have been happening.

So now, after 3 trips to Sports Basement in 4 days, I got down to the bottom of things. There was a huge gash in the side of my tire. This is an instant equation for disaster and inevitable pinch flat after pinch flat for the rest of infinity. So now, $70 later there’s a spiffy new tire on my bike. But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. I found the culprit. My cat. Because when I went to take out D for the last big ride this past weekend before I leave, what did I discover? Bite marks on my gear shifters. My cat has been attacking my bike. Clearly, he’s jealous. I’ve been spending more time training for these triathlons than with him.

Just like for any race, you have the normal stress leading up to the event, getting everything ready, making sure you don’t lose your sh*t. And then I had a fun little addition to my stress. My car got broken into this weekend. A lovely little extra thing to throw into the mix and another unexpected cost. At least they didn’t get anything. It just sort of ruined my Sunday and threw off my training schedule.

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And have I started packing yet? Pfft….that would have made things far too easy. I should be fine with another 2 or 3 or 5 trips to Sports Basement. I think.

The Final Countdown

Leaving for New Zealand….2 days

Race for Ironman New Zealand….10 days

Holy Shift

ImageD getting ready for New Zealand. Looking super fly with her new Flos on.

Careening down Broadway in San Francisco, no helmet, rain gushing in my face, and people still in line for strip clubs at 6:30 in the morning. Quite the juxtaposition of me heading to a spin class at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning. My prescribed work out was to do a 6 hour bike ride. Just an fyi, you can’t ride your bike very well in a torrential downpour. So instead, I joined about 20 others for a 3 hour sweat fest spin class at Shift. P.S. Don’t EVER ride without a helmet. It’s just stupid. Just wear a freaking helmet, it will save your life.

I finally caved in and went to my first spin class at Shift last Wednesday at the request of my coach. Holy Shift, do they make you sweat. It’s a bit pricey ($35/class if you don’t get a package) but you are paying for what you get. There are fancy, schmancy bike computers that you can adjust the resistance on. Then, they give you nice, warm towels and fill your water bottle as many times as you want during the spin class. You can even valet your bike. Now that’s what I call full service.

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How many sets of intervals can you do in 3 hours may you ask? Well, quite a bit actually. The majority of the work out was done at a 90+ cadence. My coach explained that during a spin work out, doing a higher cadence leads to a general fatigue over time. Plus, you are using more simple stored energy versus muscle energy. This is ultimately what you want to do in Ironman since it is so freaking long.

ImageBasically what the set up looks like at Shift.

Also on Saturday, I tried out Robert Irvine’s new Crunch bars for breakfast pre work out. There are 30 grams of protein packed into these bad boys. And they are solid, dense things but very tasty. It’s more like a caramelly cookie than a protein bar. This a nice change from the norm and something I would definitely recommend people trying out.

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Here’s what the bars look like.

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Basically, eat them if you want to look like this guy.

On Sunday, my work out was a practice triathlon. Here’s the breakdown of my work out Sunday:

1 hour swim-2 miles, felt a lot better than I was expecting

2 hour spin-My legs were toast from the day before. This spin included 5 sets of 5 minutes at zone 4 out of 5. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest or I was going to fall off my bike from the sheer loss of water weight yet again. Think I lost a good 5 pounds of water weight.

1 ½ hour run- Surprisingly, my legs did not feel as tired as when I was on the bike. Managed to put in a solid 10 miles at a zone 2 out of 5 effort level. Maybe my run isn’t as bad as I thought.

The Final Countdown:

10 days until I leave for New Zealand

19 days until the race

This is Not Where the Magic is Going to Happen

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Today I officially got my race number for Ironman New Zealand, lucky 309!!! (Check F2529). I always say my number is lucky as I am sure many people do. It’s officially 24 days until the race and 15 days until I leave for glorious New Zealand and the kiwis!

As the homestretch approaches, I had a talk with my coach, Chris Hauth. I just haven’t been able to completely shake this feeling of overwhelming burn out. So last week, I sent him an email begging him to let me have some time off post Ironman New Zealand. I thought I could take a little time off, then slowly get back into things, focus on speed work, strength training, then build into the main triathlon season.

His reply in some ways was exactly what I wanted to hear and the worst possible thing he could have said at the same time. This sums up what he said:

  • I get to take 2 WHOLE, ENTIRE weeks off after Ironman New Zealand.

I was about to stay in New Zealand infinitely just so that I didn’t have to get back on my bike for another round of 5+ hour rides for the next 6 months until Ironman Lake Tahoe. Seriously, I was that desperate.

  • It is completely normal to feel like this.

As in all things, we need moderation. Once something starts becoming a burden and not fun anymore, there is something definitely wrong. I need some me time to sleep in, go drinking with my friends and not worry about triathlons or training for 2.5 seconds.

  • This is not where the magic is going to happen.

I sort of wish he didn’t say that. It’s all of my inner most fears coming to an ugly head. Hauth said at this point, nothing I am doing in training is going to make a difference. All the time I’ve put in the past few months is going to show at Ironman New Zealand, for better or worse. I feel so much more confident on the bike. I’ve been swimming more. I’ve been training in a completely different zone for running so I sort of have no idea where I stand in that aspect. But I’m scared to see how that is going to reflect in my performance at New Zealand.

SO….I am going to turn what he said on its head.

This is Not Where the Magic is Going to Happen.

I don’t care if New Zealand does not go exactly the way that I wanted it to. It’s going to be a learning experience, no matter what. I can use this race as a jumping off point as I go into training for my ultimate fantasy of qualifying for Kona at Ironman Lake Tahoe.

And who knows, maybe it will all go better than expected. You never know how a race is going to go or who is going to show up on race day or what the conditions are going to be. It is going to be its own, unique day regardless of me. So I have to believe in myself and maybe prove my coach wrong. I always loved a good challenge. Bring it on.

The Top 3 Do’s and Dont’s of Coast Ride and Other Bike Tours

DO’S

1.  DO bring tons of Chamois Butt’r.

There is no such thing as too much Chamois Butt’r! No such thing! Chamois Butt’r can be squirting out of your bike shorts and it is still not too much (just ask Sam). Make sure you lather up everywhere and everything. This involves a layer of tri glide and then copious amounts of butt’r on top of your butt’r. This means packing multiple tubes of Champois Butt’r and additionally carrying the little mini travel size. Seriously guys, this shit is your best friend.

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2.  DO eat a LOT.

You’re burning thousands of freaking calories. After a while you will actually grow TIRED of eating so much. So make sure and pack plenty of options. You never know what you are going to want. And if you have time, stop and have a real meal. Except, if you are doing a 130 mile ride that involves 12,000 feet of climbing because then you might actually not make it to your hotel before the sun goes down.

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3.  DO bring a different set of riding clothes for every day.

You are not going to smell like the human embodiment of sweat after working your butt all day in the sun. It’s just kind of reality.  Bonus Pro Tip: Pack a garbage bag (preferably scented) to pack all your dirty clothes in. You don’t want to cart a bunch of nasty laundry around for days on end.

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DONT’S

1.  DO NOT do a bike tour on a triathlon/TT bike.

I don’t care if you think you’re more comfortable on your tri bike than on your road bike, or don’t even have a road bike. Get one. A ride like this consists of a lot of pace lines. You can’t do a pace line in aero bars unless you want to die. However, I will admit, by the time the ride was coming to an end, my butt had either become so numb that it didn’t matter anymore or my seat had just permanently embedded a spot that felt oddly comfortable.

ImageBecause it feels sort of like this. Not an exaggeration.

2.  DON’T wear white bike shorts.

Seriously. It’s never a good idea to wear white bike shorts. Even after Labor Day, or any time.

ImageUnless you are this guy. Then maybe you can wear white bike shorts.

3. DON’T eat at hole in the wall Mexican Restaurants.

Just don’t. That should go without explanation.

ImageJust think of that coming out of your white bike shorts.

So there you have it. My top 3 DO’S and DON’TS!

Coast Ride: Day 3, Getting Lost is Sometimes a Blessing in Disguise

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Morro Bay, CA to Goleta, CA 

Things were just off right when I woke up for day 3. It had been another night of tossing and turning. My energy was low; no matter how much I ate it didn’t feel like it made a difference, and to top it all: girl problems.

We pushed off at 7:00 am again and I could tell almost immediately that it was going to be a long day. There was no way that I would be staying with the main group or even my smaller group. So I tried to suck it up and just do it. Sometimes, this is easier said than done.

Fortunately, in the first 20 miles I started riding with a girl named Mary who was on the Fusion team (another team doing Coast Ride. They even had sponsors.). She told me that she was from somewhere that had absolutely no hills and the previous day going through Big Sur had destroyed her legs. So we stuck together and took turns pulling in a mini pace line. BP, being the amazing individual that he is, took pity on us and made sure that we got along on the right path.

Then, we hit a pretty steep but not very long hill. Mary just cried out “I can’t do climb that!” And I told her, “Yes, you can. If you need to, just stand up and grind up the hill. You can do it.” I think I was convincing both of us. The hill was only what I can describe as a mini heart attack.

We got to stop around mile 30 for water and food. I shoved a bagel down. But I still just wasn’t feeling it. I actually got to ride with my coach, Chris Hauth, for a little bit following the stop. He asked me how I was doing, and I blatantly lied that I was doing fine. It was taking everything inside me to just keep going. And then, he rode off, I had lost Mary and I was alone again.

I went into a really dark hole at this point and had to fight off just stopping and sobbing on the side of the road multiple times. My knee also began throbbing. Then, when things didn’t seem like they could get any worse, I got lost. I immediately realized something was wrong when I started entering wine country which looked like a scene straight out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. SAG had to come get me. I was defeated and pissed.

Then I realized that it was a Monday. I had chosen to take this day off to go on this somewhat ludicrous yet incredible journey. I had to pull my shit together. I have learned this lesson over and over again through Ironman training, and in life. You have to go inside yourself to pull yourself out and turn things around. So I took a seat in the van, had a LOT more food, drank a couple bottles of water and finally, for the first time, felt like I could actually finish the day out.

All in all, I missed out on 20 miles of that last day, but it was worth it. I would have quit at 75 if I had not gotten lost. So, sometimes when you get lost on your journey, it allows you to reevaluate what you are doing and realizing why you are doing it.

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