Monday, December 29, 2008

Watts up? Not anytime soon...

This weekend I had a chance to train with my team indoors on 8 computrainers. The numbers don't look good, as over the course of a 90 minute tempo ride (3 hills and 2 sets of bursts) I only managed to average 90-100 watts. My max watts/Kg was 4.56. My average watts/Kg was 1.61. I really need to work on my power over the next few months. Must get a computrainer. Maybe my friend Rusty will lend me his.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Today I got a chance to round up all my clothing to make a donation to Goodwill. Let's just say with all the weight I have lost, this years donation is huge...over $2500 worth of used or new clothing. God, I have to stop shopping! I'm going to return 2 pairs of shoes I bought last weekend...buyers remorse I suppose.

Actually, I just heard a rumour that MS will be laying off 10% of their workforce. I read it on a blog While I do believe that Microsoft needs to trim down a bit, a massive layoff would be a huge wake up call for those that work there. I had always believed that we were immune to all of this stuff that is going on in the economy since we have 40B in the bank and bring in a lot of money. I guess we shall find out on January 15th.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Santa, for xmas Seattle needs more snow ploughs

This is probably the most amount of snow I have ever seen here in Seattle. I guess my attempts to avoid the white stuff this year didn't quite happen. Seattle is ill equipt at handling a lot of snow. 5-6 inches is peanuts back in Ottawa, but it's quite a big deal here since they do not have enough snow ploughs to clear the freeways. So there's a lot more snow on the roads here than what we're use to.

With all the snow, I've been working out on my bike trainer with my new Cervelo. I've blown through 10 episodes of CSI so far. Coach Michael wanted me to get use to riding in aero position indoors. When the weather gets better I am to practice on a flat surface. It that still doesn't work, then he needs to do a private lesson with me.

Lastly, I've spending a lot of time on my feet Christmas shopping too. Lori and I did 7 hours of shopping yesturday and both of us blew a combo of over $1000. I purchase 3 pairs of shoes and 1 Burberry wool coat. I'm doing my part to improve the economy. So Merry Christmas everyone?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I suck at swimming

Lord knows I have been working really hard to learn how to swim more effectively and efficiently. After 11 months of swimming, I have concluded that I still suck. I do triathlon swim class 2 times a week and have Master swim class 2 times a week. I do get a lot of coaching, maybe a little too much. I'm a little overwhelmed...thinking too much instead of "feeling" it. Anyways, to add to my already overwhelmed swim training, I have agreed to take a group less on Wednesday evenings with some fellow triathletes with a swim specialist. Maybe, she will induce some sort of breakthrough in me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cycling indoors

I have survived all my holiday parties so far. With all this holiday eating, forunately, I have been working out on a regular basis. It has been super cold around here lately so biking outdoors was out of the question. And with my plantar fascitis, running was also out of the question. So instead, I've been swimming at least 4 times a week and cycling indoors on my trainer. I really hope my feet get better soon so that I can start training for Ironman 70.3 after the holidays.

My office Christmas party was at the Seattle Space Needle this year. My organization rented out the entire thing on Saturday night. The food was amazing, especially the desserts!

Monday, December 1, 2008


For thanks giving I did not have any turkey, instead I went up to Whistler with my friends for a weekend of early season skiing. The snow on Friday was great, however there were so many people crowded onto the few runs that were open. On Saturday, it was raining so we decided to now ski. Instead we eat at Crepe Montagne, did a snowboard factory tour with Prior and ate at the Cinnamon Bear restaurant in the Hilton. I ate really well...too well...and too much.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Motion Based

It was a beautiful day in Seattle today so I took advantage of it by pumping my bike with air and going out for a recreational ride around Lake Sammamish. I had not done this ride since the week of my last triathlon. Today I decided to take my new Garmin Forerunner 305 out for a spin. I had configured it the night before with my personal data like weight, sex and max heart rate.

After my ride, I uploaded the data to MotionBased - it's an online activity tracker owned by Garmin available for you to upload all your training data to. The above is a summary page of my ride today, other information such as elevation gain, loss, ascent and descent grade are also tracked. So today, I learned that 1 loop around Lake Sammamish is 22.17 miles, 67% flat, 15% uphill and 18% downhill. Pretty neat huh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Plantar Faciitis

This morning I went to see the one of the run doctor to get a diagnosis for my foot pain. After examining my feet for locations of pain and my leg anatomy, I was diagnosed with plantar faciitis. He looked at my current pair of orthodics and felt that they did not support me enough. It was too soft so my foot would break it down while running. Also, the heel was too narrow so it was unstable. He also did an analysis of my walking on a treadmill with video analysis. We watched the replay and he told me that my left foot arch is alright, but my right foot completely flattens out. Also my legs are a little more curved than most people - thus I have to compensate a little. So I was casted for a new set of orthodics and I got a foot splint to wear while sleeping. No running, swimming and biking are OK though.

I had brought 3 pairs of running shoes as well to be examined. My Brooke Ariel, Brooke Adrenalin and my New Balance 457s. I also had Mizunos at home that I didn't bring. He told me that once I get my orthodic, I should use a more neutral shoe. I don't weigh enough to wear the Brooke Ariels - also they were too controling and heavy. The New Balance and Mizunos were good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yeah Garmin!

OK, so I caved and ended up purchasing the Garmin 305 GPS with heart rate monitor. It was on sale at Costco for $159, retails for $299. It'll be nice to be able to download all your data and view your run, bike and swim courses.

I guess I will just return my Timex, although I've been pretty happy with it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to my happy weight

After my parents had left, I noticed that I had gained 3 pounds since completing my last triathlon. This of course left me feeling icky so I decided to be more aware of what I was putting into my mouth. I had worked so hard the past year I was not going to get out of shape. Anyways, I jumped onto the scale this weekend (I always weigh myself in the morning) and I was back to my happy weight of 115 pounds or less. I would love to get to 110 pounds or less before xmas holidays since I know that eating healthy and working out will be harder. At 5 2", five pounds makes a noticeable difference on me.

Anyways, this weekend my friend Kat was up from So Cal. But I did get a chance to go on a couple of runs. This week, I have 3 swims and weight training in my plans. I love schedules as they keep me on track.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Garmin for me

I had been doing quite a bit of research and trying out a bunch of heart rate monitors lately. I had the Polar F4, but returned it and got a Timex Ironman Triathlon, then I started eyeing the Garmin 405. Our team is actually sponsored by Garmin, so I could get this thing on sale. But then it turns out that Lori was trying to sell hers, she thinks it's too big. I was so close to getting it, when I found out that it was NOT waterproof! Bummer, what a deal breaker.

On another swimming note, Michael Covey said that I have been making phenominal progress this year with my swim. I couldn't swim to save my life in March and now I am averaging about 1:45 100s, which is really good progress for me. This morning, I actually felt like I was moving through the water instead of ploughing through it. Anyways, according to my Timex HRM I burned 485 calories during the swim. But I ate a pizza and a piece of cake today so that pretty much negates my workout. I am thinking about doing Masters tonight because my punch card is about to expire.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Muffins

The rainy weather outside has forced me indoors more than I would like, so I have been spending quite a bit of time fiddling with baking recipes to make them healthier. Here is my favorite chocolate chip muffin recipe and my modifications:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar - I use 2/3 cup of Splenda
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk - I use soy milk
1/2 cup butter (melted & cooled) - I use 1/4 cup of butter + 1/3 cup of apple sauce
2 eggs - beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (12 oz) chocolate chips - I use half a package

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake 15-20 minutes.

One cup of sugar is 770 calories, so I substituted equal amounts of Splenda instead. I was able to cut the amount of butter in half by using some apple sauce. 1/2 cup of butter is 400 calories. Also, the recipe asks for 1 package of chocolate chips, I actually find that half a bag is more than enough. The picture you see is what came out of my oven. It was so yummy!

Nutrition Info: about 335 calories per muffin with very little fat (I made 6 large muffins). Starbucks low fat muffins are 400-500 calories. Woohoo, I'm better than Starbucks!
2 cups of flour - 880 calories
2/3 cups of Splenda - 0 calories
2/3 cups of Soy Milk - 87
2 eggs - 150 calories
1/4 cup butter - 200 calories
1/3 cup of apple sauce - 100 calories
1/2 package of chocolate chips - 800 calories

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Halloween

So I've decided to return my HRM because it didn't allow me to enter in my own max heart rate - thus felt that I was not getting accurate data. I ended up picking up the latest Timex Ironman Triathlon watch instead. For $100 (minus a 15% coupon) I have many more features than with the Polar F4. Not to mention, it looks a heck of a lot cooler as well. I took it out for a 25 minute run today and it said that I burned 274 calories - this data appears to be much more accurate to me. I can't wait to take it swimming tomorrow.

Last weekend was Halloween and I ended up at a house party in Kirkland. It was great meeting new people. I met this lady who was a good swimming in college and we talked about doing water polo. I don't know the first thing about water polo, but anything to do with swimming is cool. I love swimming so much that it is one of the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Do we burn a lot less than we think

I just recently purchased a real heart rate monitor, when I say I mean one with a chest strap instead of one with electrodes that measure with you finger tips. I took the HRM out for a spin in Master swim class on Thursday night and after 60 minutes of swimming about 2000 yards, my watch told me that I had only burned 403 calories! What the heck? Seemed really low to me, it even seemed low to the swim instructor.

Today, I had a weight session, 20 minutes on level 10 on the stair mill and 10 minutes on the rowing machine. My HRM said that I burned 250 calories. And get this, the stair mill also keeps track of your HRM and calories and it said that I burned twice as much as my watch.

I'm trying to figure out what could be the issue. For the stair mill, I did not program in my weight, thus it using the default weight which is probably 150 pounds. Another issue is, I did not program in my max heart rate into my watch, so the watch is also using default settings. It had asked me to enter in my age and my weight and then set target heart rates for me - I'm guessing that it has my resting heart rate at 75 BPM. However, my resting heart rate is closer to 55 BMP. So what I have done is set my age to 20 to see if that makes any difference.

All this calorie counting has made me think twice about how much exercise I need to do to maintain my fitness. Today, I found myself counting calories which is not a thing I enjoy doing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm one big ball of stress

Work has been so busy lately, I've barely had a moment to breathe. I'm also having to deal with some injuries that are still on the mend and lastly, I'm having some issues with close friends of mine. Oh did I mention that I gained 2 pounds from my lowest weight? Two pounds isn't much, but they can add up if you are not careful. Thus I have been exercising everyday and watching my food intake. For the most part, I have been swimming. However yesturday after Master swim class my shoulder was sore...this adds a bit more stress as now I have another injury to worry about.

Gosh, I really need a vacation!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

99 Ballons

This video was shown on Oprah last night and it brought me to tears. A boy who touched the hearts of so many, and he didn't even utter a word. A life doesn't have to live long for it to be meaningful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Family in town

So my parents have come and gone - I am still recovering. Although I was off for 1 week, I really wasn't getting any rest as I was driving them all over the place. I have come to realize that spending a lot of time with my family can be really mentally draining and stressful. At times, it can get really emotional as well. My dad and my 15 year old brother got into a fight because he had deleted all the Grand Canyon vacation pictures and didn't tell my dad. So all the photos he took are gone - my dad was furious. Another time I got into a discussion about Alex's weight. He's 15 and weights 186 pounds! Very obese for his age and no one is taking any accountability for this. My mom enables him by constantly feeding him late at night. "He's a growing boy" is what she would tell me, and I would reply "he's growing the wrong way!" This weight puts him at risk to develop diabetes. I told them that if Alex were to develop diabetes that it would be their fault because they were responsible for him. Sometimes I feel that my dad is too exhausted after a days work to spend the time teaching him the tools to become a confident young man. It's like he went into parental retirement after I graduated from college. The sad thing is, I don't see things changing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cervelo P2C

My search for a tri bike has ended. I am now the proud owner of a brand new Cervelo P2C! This bike won Kona the last two years thanks to Chrissie Wellington. I didn't think I could fit into this bike, but it had a short top tube so after shortening the stem to 65 mm and pushing the saddle forward I was able to ride it. Eric Moen (my bike fitter) thought that this bike would work for me. I just need to take it in to have him fit me on this bike now. I also got a chance to try the Adamo road saddle. It works really well for me - no pain in the groin area however, I have a little soreness on the sides instead. Still a lot better than before.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Times are tough

So as you all know, there as been a lot of noise on the news about our tanking stock market. Times are tough and people are seeing their capital gains disappear. I recently took another look at my monthly expenses and I found that I had over $1700 in fixed costs (not including food). These costs include my mortgage, home owner dues, Internet, cable, cell, energy, gas and car insurance. This is an insane amount of money if you think about it, because after I include my food (I buy lunch every day) - Thus I can easily spent over $2000 a month on basic necessities.

My friend says that's really cheap but I just watched a family of 6 live on $58K a year and have $70K in savings with little credit card debt. That's amazing!

All this financial chaos has made me be a little more aware of how I spend my money. What are you all spending a month?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bike drama

Last Friday, I decided to get a professional bike fitting with Eric Moen. He is a world class bike fitter in the area (went to Beijing to support the National team). I had been having trouble with my bike seat height especially while I was racing Black Diamond - it was so discouraging and I didn't know what was wrong with me. It turns out that I had a defective seat tube and it has been the cause of my seat troubles - it would fall while I bike. It's really hard to bike when your seat is too low as it causes your ankles to bend unnaturally not to mention it is also very inefficient.

After taking some measurements for me, he recommended that I return my bike back to the store because there was a defect in the frame. I proceeded right to Performance right afterwards and they gave me a brand new bike. Eric had a while list of things for me to get (shorter stem and no offset seat post). They didn't have my sizes at Performance so that evening I went to Gregg's Cycles and when they put my new stem on they noticed that my front tube was cracked. They said that I need a new fork. Luckily, my old bike had a good fork so when I went back to Performance for the second time, they swapped out the forks. Man, it can't be good business for them to be swamping parts between bikes.

Anyways, today we went to bike around Mercer Island. We did 2 loops, it was a really fun ride. But I didn't wear my bike shorts and that was a mistake. The first loop took us 40 minutes. I was told it was about 18 miles around the island. One thing I really enjoyed about that course is it's windy nature. You really get to practice your bike handling skills on some of those sharp turns. Also, the course is pretty much all rolling hills which is another thing I enjoy. I hope I can do this again next weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Black Diamond Race Report

Last weekend, I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon. All summer long, I had hoped to complete this distance, but I still had some knee tendinitis and I wasn't sure if this would happen. What my injury didn't realize was that I was much more persistent than it was. A friend wrote this quote...

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Bowl of Special K with soy milk and 1 cup of coffee.

DRUGS: 1 all day Aleve

SWIM: 1.5 km
The Tri-It, Sprint, Relay and Olympic distances were all on the same day and we all went out in 4 different waves. The swim course was littered with 7 large white triangular buoys. If you were doing the Olympic, you had to loop around the outer buoys twice, if you were doing the Sprint, you had to loop around the inner buoys, finally if you were doing the Tri-it, you had to loop around the guy in the green kayak. Confused? Well many people went off course, luckily I did a decent job sighting. This swim took me 40 mins.

BIKE: 40 km
This did not go too well. When I came back to transition, there were not very many bikes left. It was a little surreal. The swim had left me really thirsty and I tried to drink as much as I could in T1. While biking, I noticed that I had a lot of difficulty, then I realized that I forgot to adjust my bike seat - it was too low. My ankles were bent weird on the downstroke and felt really awkward. The course was quite nice actually. On a couple occasions I almost swerved into the ditch while drinking. This bike took me 90 minutes.

RUN: 10 km
This was the moment of truth. The most I had ever run was 2 loops around Green Lake. I had never run this distance in my life but knew I could do it today if my knees would let me. I had decided to wear my Brookes Ariels as they have the highest level of motion control to fight pronation, unfortunately they are much heavier than my Mizunos. Most of the run course was on road. About half a mile of that was on this dirt road with huge rocks the size of my fist. Many people twisted their ankle there. The last 1.4 miles of the run was all trail. I pretty much ran the entire thing except to get water and on the really steep hills at the end. This run took me 1h 08 mins. My knees felt tight around mile 4 and I had to march on the spot every 5 minutes to loosen them up.

I was so relieved to see the finish line! Woohoo, I did it! When I stopped running - this sensation of fatigue really hit me, also both my ankles were really sore. I was limping. So I think it was my low bike seat had jammed my ankles too much and that was the cause of my pain. Luckily, after seeing the PT it doesn't look serious.

When I looked at my time after the race and saw that I took 3 hours 26 minutes I felt a little disappointed at how slow I was. The thought did come across my mind that maybe I should have worked harder. But then again, my #1 priority was taking care of my knees and they didn't hurt after the race - phew! Lastly, I really enjoy the race and had a lot of fun out there. I found this distance to be much more challenging than the sprints.

Lots of records in this race for me:
- Longest open water swim ever
- Longest run ever
- Most physically challenging thing I have ever done - ever!

What an ending to my first season! Now I get to start training for Lake Stevens :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The day I will never forget

I remember exactly where I was 7 years ago this day. In Vancouver, BC, Canada I was preparing to head to work as an intern for Agilent Technologies when I saw the footage of a plane flying into the WTC. At first I couldn't believe what I was this some sort of horrific movie? Unfortunately, it was all too real and I remember getting very emotional. This day, I knew would be a day I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tapering is great!

My week of tapering begins. For the most part all I have on my schedule is swimming. This weekend I did a brick workout with the Pro Club team which included indoor cycling and then an outdoor run. The indoor cycling was uneventful, but then when we went on our run I got lost...was slower than everyone else. My knee started to get tight, anyways when I didn't sign in Coach Josh came looking for me and couldn't find me - oops. Luckily I ran into Heli who told me where to go, who also in turned ran into Josh and told him.

On Sunday, Rusty took us out to get familiar with the Kirkland bike which was really nice of him. Unfortunately, my knees didn't feel so good and I've been icing them like crazy. They definitely have been getting better, but I've been icing them like 3 times a day. No doubt I will be taking really good care of them this week.

I also found out that all my swimming has left me with a small eye infection. It's being treated now so I should have everything under control.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Surprises when you least expect them

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news! I just got promoted! Yeah, my title has officially changed to "Sugar Mama!" :) I was hoping to get it this year but I wasn't sure what to expect. So many good things have happened to me this year and I am so greatful.

On another high note, I improved my 100s by 25 seconds. Coach Michael timed our 100s today and I was around 2 minutes. The last time I was timed I was around 2:22 -2:25! This is quite an improvement in my swim time. He said that he would like to work on my pull on the off season and I should be really fast for next season! Woohoo!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Running my first 10K

Today I took it upon myself to attempt to run my first 10K. I needed to test out the condition of my knees to see how they would hold up, in addition I wanted to see how my body would take it - I am definitely not in the same running form as I was in prior to my injury. In the past, I never had to run more than 4 miles as I was only training for sprint distance races. I knew I had to throw in a 6 mile run over the next 2 weeks.

I decided to drive up to Green Lake so that I could focus solely on my run. I knew that two loops around the lake was approximately 10K (6 miles). I decided that I would run one loop and see how my knees felt before attempting to do a second. To my surprise the first loop was a breeze and I walked around a little afterwards to see how my knees were feeling - also had to get back to the car to drop off my cell phone and my jacket. Then I went back and did a second loop. At around mile 5 my right knee started to tighten up and my feet were chaffing so I ended up walk-jogging the last mile. I was happy that I did this run as I feel I should be able to run this on race day. I'll probably do another run like this next weekend.

Since I was Green Lake, I decided to stop by Gregg's Cycle to see if they had any sales going on. I ended up picking up a pair of Sidi Genius road shoes for $128 - score! They are usually around $225! I've been eyeing these shoes for a while now, so glad to find them for such a good deal. What I like about this brand in particular is the fit and the suple leather. The shoe-maker is the only handmade European left in the market.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lake Washington ride

Today I got the opportunity to ride around Lake Washington - something I had wanted to do all summer. The ride started off at 7am at Starbucks in Bridle Trails where we met up with Jill. We took off around 7:15am and started with the south end of the lake working our way up north and back around. I'm definitely the rookie of the team, but everyone has to start somewhere right? All that practicing all summer paid off as I was able to keep up for the most part - still need work on climbing hills. I was proud of myself - 56 miles...that's a half Ironman distance bike ride!

I was trying out new nutrition - CarboPro and did really well with it. I put one scoop into my Gatorade and 2 scoops into my CamelBak with water. This seemed to give me enough calories during the ride. However the last 10 miles were the toughest...we ended the ride with a nice hill climb up Old Redmond road - phew! According to online cycling calculators, I burned over 2000 calories on that bike ride.

So what's up with the bike picture? Well, I've been eyeing this bike all summer. I told myself that if my half Ironman training (I was planning on doing Lake Steven's next year) goes well that I would get this bike! Now I have even more motivation to train hard!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chronicles of an overtrained triathlete

Happy Labour Day everyone! Yesturday I took the day off to give myself a nice 4 day weekend. However, I didn't rest - it was all labour for me! The alarm clock was off at 5:30am so that I can meet Guy for our usual 7am open water swim at Idylwood. Coach Josh told me that 2 laps of all 4 buoys would be close to an Olympic distance swim. So that was the goal I had set out to do - 2 laps of all 4 buoys. I got to Idylwood on time, but Guy was late - usually I'm the one that is late. It took me a million years to put on my wetsuit and by that time, Guy had arrived. We got into the water and proceeded to swim. He has never swam the distance either so we went buoy to buoy as we needed to practice sighting as well. It was definitely a long swim for me but I am glad that I got through it. After the swim, I had PT at 8:30am where Shelly made me do all these squat jumps and butt burners. When I got out I rushed back to Idylwood and continued my brick...a nice bike around Lake Sammamish. That bike was really hard as I didn't do so well with nutrition so I was tired. I'm still no comfortable with pulling my water bottle out of my cage while riding...however I did manage to go down on my drop bars! So I'm hoping that one day out of the blue, I will feel comfortable with my bike handling such that I can drink and ride!

Today I am thinking about taking a rest - a little shopping and time with good friends. My knees are a little achy from yesturday. The rest of my body is noticeably fatigued. However, another part of me is toying with doing 20 minutes of hill repeats up Juanita Woodinville way. Tomorrow we have a 56 mile bike around Lake Washington with Jill. I can't wait to do this ride as I've always wanted to ride around the lake.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Olympic dream

So the Danskin has come and gone with little fanfare. Now I am concentrating on my preparations for my first Olympic distance triathlon. I have not committed to it yet because I need to see how my knees are feeling. But I will make an effort to train for this. I am NOT in running form right now. I have not run in 3 months so I can't expect much. I know I can run 5 km because I did that at the Danskin. But can I run 10 km after a 1 mile swim and 40 km bike without my knees failing on me? This is still up in the air.

I must admit that being able to complete an Olympic is something that I had dreamed about about doing all year. So do I go after this dream or not?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Danskin Race Report

Today was the day of the big race - and I mean quite literally as there are 4000 women registered for the Danskin triathlon.
Woke up to the sound of thunder and lightening at 4am. My thought was, "Oh no! The Danskin is cursed!" Last year it poured.
I had a bowl of cereal and 1 hard boiled egg for breakfast then left the house at around 4:30am. I had packed everything the night before so I was all set to go.

SWIM: 1/2 mile
This was challenging. The wave was so huge - like at least 100 women. I placed myself too close to the front and when the count down ended, it was madness! I was shoved around, pushed and kicked. Only when the mass of women were ahead of me, could I really start to swim. I passed the first buoy without incident, but then had trouble seeing the next buoy - it was so far away! I felt like I was swimming all over the place. This half mile swim took me 20 minutes - a little longer than I had hoped. After the race, I heard that a lady almost drowned. She was taken to Habourview and put on life support. She is recovering now, thank God!
Time: 00:20:39

I made it a goal of mine to improve on my transitions from Issaquah. I ripped off my wetsuit coming out of the water and ran to transition. I had used Body Glide on my ankles and my arms so that I could rip off my wetsuit - which helped. I didn't put socks on or gloves for my bike. Still with all that, it took me 3:17 to transition. It was a pretty long run to transition from the water, so most people had poor T1 tmes.

BIKE: 12.4 miles
My bike went really well - they closed off I-90 for our bike portion. I left transition very light, not even a water bottle. Because I was in one of the early waves there weren't many people on the road, so I was able to reach top speeds with not too many issues. The steep climb up to I-90 was open so that was not a bottleneck for me. But coming back, that tiny on ramp was packed. A few people had crashed there. My average speed was 20 MPH.
Time: 00:36:03

After my good bike, I ran to transition, racked my bike, put on my socks and shoes and took off. I was trying out new nutrition, Nuun tablets...this would end up being a bad decision. You should never try anything new on race day. This transition took just under 3 minutes.

Run: 3.1 miles
The first mile of the run was hard as my quads and hamstrings were tight from all the lactic acid build up from my bike. Not only that, but my tummy was not feeling so well. I realized after the race that carbonated drinks don't do so well for some people. I started off around 10 MPH and eventually speed up to 8 MPH but there was not enough road left to make up for my slow start.
Time: 00:28:26

Overall: 481 out of 3710
Time: 01:31:20

Friday, August 15, 2008

Danskin T-2 days

Yesturday in swim class we did timed 1000 yards (914.4 meters) and it took me 21m 15seconds to complete it. This is way better than I expected. I'm starting to get a little nervous about the race because it is a half mile swim and I will be surrounded by hundreds of people. Also, I'm hoping that my knees will hold up during the run. In any case, the Danskin is not your typical triathlon, very supportive and non competitive. It is the world's largest triathlon for that reason and many of the participants are cancer survivors. I look forward to it. Now if I can only figure out the logistics of how to get to the race I will be set.

On another note, I expressed interest to race the Black Diamond Olympic triathlon in September. I spoke with my coaches and they think I can do it - of course that's what they are suppose to say right? They are in the process of putting together a training plan for me for the next few weeks leading up to the race. This means I will need to put in a lot of open water time as the swim is 1 mile!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend in the Olympics

Our annual camping trip this year was in the Olympic National Park where we stayed at Hurricane Ridge. Though we did bring our bikes, we didn't get to ride them because it rained the first day and we hiked the second day. Well at least I got some activity - about 8 miles of hiking. However I doubt that it made up for our level of gluttony. I had tons of smores!

We got back today at 3pm, thus I decided to repent but cycling to my boot camp workout where we did our usual movement preparation, strength training and a 4 mile hilly run, and finally I biked back home which meant I had to climb Juanita Woodinville Way hill. I did all this but not without some minor feet injuries. I have 2 blisters and 1 purple toe nail.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

You can get there... if you are willing to do the work.

One year ago, I was a different woman. My body was weak, I had no stamina and I was very uncomfortable in my skin.
What I now have come to realize is life is a journey of learning to love yourself first and then extending that love to others.
So I did just that - I started loving myself more. I started eating healthy and set fitness goals for myself. I knew that my goals had to be challenging in order to be fulfilling. One day I saw Coach Michael in front of the ProClub advertising the triathletes club - the rest is history. It was like the universe knew what I needed and provided it to me. Triathlon? I can't swim to save my life, I don't run nor do I cycle. Something inside convinced me to do it. Six months later, at the lowest weight I have ever been since I can remember, I can comfortably swim a mile, cycle at high speeds and run miles! And what I know for sure is this: whatever your goals are, you can get there if you are willing to do the work. Once you have decide what you want, make a commitment and watch life begin to move forward.

I'm running now!

My knees were feeling pretty good last night so I made the decision to run in boot camp. And guess what? We ran almost 4 miles and I was the fastest chick. Yeah! I was so happy after that run. The first couple miles was tough since I had not run in 3 months. I iced immediately when I got back to the club and aside from very minor achy-ness, they were feeling pretty good. I also swam this morning and I didn't modify the workout (use the pull buoy). We did 3 x 200, 3 x 250 then 1 x 500 today. Coach Michael said I didn't need to use any fins, which is awesome. Now if I can only get my butt into the lake.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Federal Escape

There is a race this weekend and I really want to do it. But I'm not sure I should because my knees are still not healed yet. The swim is only 1/4 mile, bike 12 miles and the run is 3 miles. Man that's a really short bike. Should I go for it? Thoughts? If I reinjure myself even more than I risk the Danskin which is the race I am looking most forward to doing. I can always WOG (walk-jog) the run portion worst case right?

Toughen up, buttercup!

One thing that you immediately realize when you become a triathlete is how to overcome your fears and insecurities. Don't complain, just close your eyes and dive in - literally! Last week Coach Michael taught us how to dive entry into the water off the diving blocks. On one of my dives I didn't tuck my head up properly and got a bit of whip-lash. Now my neck has been sore the past few days and I've been losing sleep because of it. This caused me to sleep in and miss my swim class this morning...pooh. A couple of days ago on a bike ride, Jared was trying to get me to use my drop bars but I was worried that I was going to loose control of my bike.

A part of me was like, "Angela, just suck it up and do it." Anyways, I've decided to swim at my own pace after work tonight instead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Preventing running injuries with weight loss?

I want to test out this idea that was mentioned by my PT - former USA Olympic trials marathoner. She keeps her weight low to prevent running injuries. It should come to no surprise, but the less you weigh the better it is on your joints while running. The force of each footstep is up to 4 times greater than the runner's body weight. For a 100-pound person, that means as much as 400 pounds of pressure per footstep every time the foot strikes the ground. For a 200 pound person that's 800 pounds!

With my super pronated feet and whinny knees losing weight might make a difference. Just losing 5 pounds means 20 pounds less pressure everytime my foot strikes the ground! Yes, I have already gone to the podiatrist for custom orthodics insoles and I have proper shoes. I'm not very tall (5 2") so a weight in the sub 100s is still considered in the healthy range for me. So I'm going to try to lose 1 pound a week up until the Danskin which is in 4+ weeks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brick time

The Danskin is just around the corner - 5 weeks to be exact. I have to force myself to put in more open water time. My knees have been getting better, which is good because I have been swimming with a pull buoy for the last 2 months. Today after my bike ride, I went for a swim at the ProClub. I was worried that my cardiovascular abilities would not be so good in the water, but to my surprise I was able to swim my workout set. I will be increasing my distance - I believe the Danskin has a half mile swim.

This weekend I put in about 50 miles on my bike. I looped around Lake Sammamish a little more than 2 times. Around here bikers are quite friendly as they would always wave as they pass by. On Saturday, I flatted and attempted to fix it when I realized that I didn't have my C02 cartridge adapter. Luckily some nice guys stopped to inflate my tire.

Finally, I feel like I am getting a lot stronger on the bike. I may pass a few casual riders once in a while - just not those dudes with their fancy matching bike outfits and disk wheels. My Fuji bike is so sweet - worth every penny. Every time one of those dudes race by me, they say "Hey that's a nice bike you got there!" Is it just me, or do guys look really cute in biking uniforms?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The truth behind my addiction

So I exercise almost every day and sometimes even twice a day. Is this abnormal? There's not doubt that I'm doing very good things for my health. And still on the few days I take off, I feel guilty for not doing something active. We all handle stress differently. When I'm stressed I workout - this keeps me happy.

In my college years I was out of shape and not comfortable in my own skin. While I am in way better shape now than I was back then, my brain has not caught up with my body. My body is much stronger and fitter now than it has ever been, but my subconscious doesn't believe it. Thus, often I find myself not believing in my abilities. For example, not believing that I am a good enough swimmer, or biker or runner. So I compensate and work even harder. Fortunately, my consciousness understands that with time I will get there.

Anyways, so I decided to pick up piano again to find other ways to destress. I'm going to take a few hours to learn how to play a song from the movie "Amelie" by Yann Tiersen (up on my playlist). Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Results don't tell the whole story

I was watching a friend finish her first half iron man not too long ago, as she crossed the finish line, I heard someone say, "Man, if I took 7 hours to complete a half, I would be so disappointed."

This comment didn't sit too well with me. While it is important for everyone to have a healthy amount of ego, this was pushing it a little too far for me. I really feel that the results of others aren't any business of ours. We all race for our own reasons, some to win, some to place top 10% and for the majority just to complete the race is already a wonderful accomplishment.

What I know for sure is that results hardly ever paint the full picture. Rather, it is the battles that you have fought that got you there - the journey taken that counts.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where there is a will, there is a way

I took this opportunity to head up to Lake Stevens to cheer on my team as they raced Ironman 70.3. This is a world qualifer for the 70.3 World Championships in Florida. So there were quite a few Pros that made a show and it was really exciting to watch them race.

At the race I was introduced to Mark and Joseph. They are on my team and guess what - one of them is blind. So how does a blind man do a half Ironman? Well, he had a partner that raced with him for the entire time. For the 1.2 mile swim he was roped to his partner, for the 56 mile bike they had a tandem bicycle, and for the half marathon run they were tethered with a rope so that he could follow. Talk about overcoming obstacles! I am so inspired. It took them over 7 hours to complete the race. What an accomplishment!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Criticism can be a good thing

I have never been one to say that I am naturally athletically gifted. But I do believe that practice makes perfect. And when you are pint size like me, it is really important to focus on the fundamentals to compensate for the things I wasn't genetically predisposed of. I had a bike ride with a coach one morning and she rode me pretty hard. I was changing gears all wrong, my standing climb had poor form and I was riding all over the place.

What I have come to understand is, constructive criticism can be a really positive thing. Because when you are screwing up and no one is telling you it is not a place you want to be in. It means that they have given up on you. In some way, at least your critics still care about you.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Le Tour de France

Wimbledon finals and le Tour de France this weekend! I will be glued to my flat screen whenever I can - lots of parties this weekend! Bicycle racing is a remarkable team event with each rider having a different role to play. My manager loves cycling and we spend a lot of time talking about it.

The 95th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,500 kilometres. The longest stage is 210 miles through the Alps!

These 21 stages have the following profiles:

10 flat stages,
5 mountain stages,
4 medium mountain stages,
2 individual time-trial stages.
Distinctive aspects of the race

4 mountain finishes,
2 rest days,
82 kilometres of individual time-trials,
17 Category 1, Category 2 and highest level passes will be climbed.

Highlights from Versus:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

JFT uniforms

I just ordered my JFT team uniform. I can't wait, I feel faster already! Here is a picture of Jill with the team uniform on. It looks so cool, I'm excited!

Monday, June 30, 2008

How to date & train with someone who is faster

How to Date and Train with Someone Who's Faster

Great blog above. I agree that finding a partner to train with would be spectacular. But what do you do when they are much stronger than you? Yes we are independent women and all, but when your significant other leaves you in the dust it is not always OK.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 bike course

So I've agreed to take on the Ironman 70.3 bike course on this Sunday. Several of my teammates will be racing this next weekend and I wanted to try out the course. This will be the most difficult ride for me ever. My friend Rusty tells me that it is a technically challenging course. It is moderately hilly with steep downhills. I must admit I am a little anxious, but I know I will learn a lot. My plan is to do 1 loop of the course.

The Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 is a qualifier for the Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I plan to be there to cheer people on.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Biking the Chinese way

A good friend of mine was in town this weekend. David, an ex-Microsoftie who now resides in Beijing is trying to build his new technology start up. Somehow, the subject of bicycles becomes the center of our conversation. Now, most of us know that almost everyone in China commutes by bicycle. All roads accommodate cyclists, or should I say all roads can accommodate cars? There are even traffic lights to direct cycling traffic. It is truly the bicycle capital of the world in my opinion. But, professional cycling is much too expensive for the average Chinese citizen. A factory worker makes about $4000 USD/year while an office worker might make around $12000 USD/year.

Now bike theft is very prevalent in Beijing. David has already had 2 of his bikes stolen so far. He said his first bike costed him about $10, even with a lock it was stolen. His second bike costed him $6, had two locks on it and it was also stolen. He said you can even pay some dude, show him a bike, and he will go steal it for you. How crazy is that?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

5:30am ride with JFT

This morning, before the birds were up, I met Jill, Heli and Melissa at Idylwood park to ride the Lake Sammamish loop. With the exception of the Issaquah Tri, I don't think I've ever woken up so early voluntarily in my life. So the night before, I had packed up my SUV with all my gear and set my alarm to 4:30am. Of course, I was really excited because that meant I would be trying out my new bike. So excited that I could not sleep a wink.

The ride began at Idylwood, and within a few miles I noticed a thumping feeling in my backside and I was slowing down, it turns out that I had a flat. Now, I've never had to change a real flat in my life, so this was interesting. Jill had also stopped to help me out. There are a bunch of little details that I didn't know about that make changing a tire much easier, like to work with it on your feet. When applying the C02 cartridge, make sure you have your tire on the ground and you fill the tire pressing down on the valve. Also, to fill the tire on the side where your cassette is facing away otherwise, when you remove the cartridge you might bang your hand on it and it will hurt!

Now the hard part is actually putting the back wheel on properly. We somehow got the wheel back on after quite a bit of fiddling. It turns out that it wasn't quite on right, but I'll get to that later. During the ride, Jill had me working on my big ring to build strength. It turns out that on my standing climbs I should be using a bigger gear because I am still wobbling. Also, she mentioned that I should practice my balance a bit more as I tend to not stay on a straight line. Lastly, we talked about focusing on the hamstrings and gluts because that is where all the power is from. This was a really great learning ride for me, now I have things to work on. One day I would like to bike to work. The Lake Sammamish River trail is only about 1 mile from my home and I could take that safely to campus.

Jill had mentioned that I should remove 1 disk from my stear tube to get better handling and that I should fix my seat. So I took it back to Performance Bikes this evening and Matt my bike tech was there and he cleaned up my bike, fixed my seat, removed the disk, changed my water bottle cages, gave me new ties to transfer my cyclo computer to my new bike and gave me some suggestions to heal my knee faster - I swear this guy has a crush on me. It also turns out that we didn't put my back wheel on properly and I forgot to close my rear brake - oops. Lastly, it turns out that Matt also works on Jill's bike as well and told me to tell her not to let her husband work on her bike anymore. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fuji Supreme

This weekend I spent some time shopping for a new bike. I bought a cheap Trek bike to see if I would like the sport at the beginning of the year. After doing my research, I have come to the conclusion that I would never be able to get a triathlon bike unless it was custom - and I was not about to spend 6-7 thousand dollars on that. I know that I wasn't completely happy with my current road bike, though it did well on climbs, I had trouble keeping up with people because it was heavy (21 pounds) and had 650 wheels which made it a little harder to maintain speed. Another thing is, my neck would hurt after my rides - thus it didn't fit quite right. Today, after trying out a bunch of bikes - I even had to wait for them to build me the bike I ultimately ended up purchasing, I took home a brand new Fuji Supreme RC. It is the 44cm and weighs only 15.4 pounds! The frameset weighs around 850 grams. And guess what? I got it for over 40% off because Performance was having their 25th anniversary sale and it comes with 700 standard size wheels! So what I will do in the future is slap on clip on aero bars and call it a day.

FRAMESET: C-10 SuperLite High Modulus carbon with 3K weave, Continuous Fiber Technology (CFT), integrated aluminum cupped head tube, double water bottle mounts, shaped ride-tuned Energy Transfer Chain stay, replaceable hanger

FORK: FC-330 Fuji Carbon Monocoque Integrated 1 1/8" Carbon steerer , 350g

DRIVETRAIN: FSA Energy Compact MegaExo w/ integrated spindle, 7075 CNC 34/50T, NEW SRAM Rival Exact Actuation derailleurs & double-tap shifter/brake, 20-speed

WHEELS: Cane Creek Strados

FEATURES: Ritchey Pro Biomax II alloy, 31.8mm bars, stem, Ritchey Pro carbon seat post, Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour women specific saddle with titanium rails

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Underwater treadmill

I was chatting with my PT Shelly yesturday about how my knee injury has been hampering with my regular activities. I cannot run, I cannot bike and even daily things like walking down the stairs I need to becareful. I am also worried that my cardiovascular abilities might diminish. Shelly gladly mentioned that I could train on the underwater treadmill and that it would be covered by Microsoft. Woohoo, the ProClub rocks and so does my insurrance plan!

So I've setup 2x underwater treadmill classes a week, swim 3x a week and do strength training, intervals in boot camp 2x a week. This is the best I can do until my knees heal.

Lastly, I bought the Yakima King Joe bike rack for my car. I tried to figure out how to set the thing up, but no luck. There are so many straps and clamps to make your head spin. I guess I will bring it back to the shop.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Triathlon bikes don't come in my size

I stopped by Sammamish Valley Cycle this evening to pick up some neoprene booties for my swim tomorrow morning. While I was at the shop, I figure I might as check out their tri bikes. They had the Cervelo P2C and P3C, QT, Scott and Light Speed bikes. Unfortunately, none of them fit me as the standover height was a little too high. The 48 cm Cervelo came closest to fitting me, but my crotch was still touching the bar. She recommended that I get a custom titanium Light Speed made for me when I am ready for a tri bike. Did I mention the price would be $6K? Presently I have a Trek road bike. When I looked on Trek's site, they did have a 47 cm women's specific tri bike that might fit me. Felt also had a tri bike in 48 cm with a low stand over that might fit me as well. I know that standover height is not how you judge fit, but it is a quick way to rule bikes out. Man, I wish I were bigger :(

Anyways, on another note, it looks like I will be doing nothing but swimming and strength training for the next 2 weeks. I read that with my injury I need to really baby my knees, so no running even cycling during this time - must focus on healing.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Today I completed my first triathlon! As I still have knee tendonitis I went in with a game plan to complete as much of the race I could.


Night before: I had packed all my gear including my bike into my SUV.
Pre-race: 1 bowl of Special K with strawberries and soy milk.

Morning: I woke up at 4:30am to get ready to leave for the race. My intention was to get there for 5:30am so that I could pick up my race packet (which contained my timing chip, race bib and t-shirt). I arrived there at 5:30am and parked at the Sunset beach parking lot right in front of the transition area (TA).

There was not a lot of people there at the time. I picked up my race packet then walked around a little as I was not really sure what to do next, but I saw people taking in their bikes into the TA. I headed back to my SUV and grabbed my bike and helmet out of the car, proceeded to the TA and got marked with my race number. When I found my rack, I took the spot on the end so that I could find my bike quickly. I setup my gear like we had practiced in transition clinic and I had everything ready to go except my wetsuit was not on.

Swim: Close to 7am I had my wetsuit on. My wave didn't start until 7:21am. Before the swim, I got into the water to get use to the temperature - and it was the warmest that I have ever been in. I found Nicole and Emily, who were also my wave. We were all nervous and excited. Nicole and I positioned ourselves at the back of the pack as we were slow swimmers. And we were off! I reached the first buoy in no time, so far so good, but there was still a 300 meter stretch to the next one. I had decided to pull the entire swim to save my knees. As I turned I saw a girl swimming to my left that was swimming about the same pace as me, so I just used her as a guide to keep me on course. About half way to the next buoy, she started breast stroking and I'm like "great now who am I going to follow now?" So I just over took her and tried to sight on my own. About every 5 strokes or so I would look up to make sure I was on course. Things were going really well, I was really relaxed and my wetsuit felt very comfortable. My heartrate was at a steady rate. I got out of the water a little too far from the shore so the water slowed me down as I got out. But I swear the choir was singing. It look me over 10 minutes to swim that one. But I was so happy that I survived it!

TI: OK, I had a picnic here. It took me 5 minutes to transition. I had decided not to wear my tri-suit (that was probably a mistake), I ended up having to put on my bike shorts and shirt. I had my race bib pinned onto my bike shirt which ripped off and I had to fix that. I decided that I could not bike without my gloves instead I went sockless. Man, it sure didn't feel like I took 5 minutes. I spent too much time figuring out what to wear :) This was no time to be a girl Angela!

Bike: The bike was hard, everyone was passing me and I was working pretty hard too! I think I did well on the first hill climb, as soon as I saw it I picked up my speed and slowly stood up and climbed that sucker. Then about half way through the bike my knee started to complain. The last hill climb was really tough. I think overall I averaged about 16 mph. This bike took me 55 minutes.

T2: One picnic wasn't enough for me, so I decided to take another. When I arrived back into the TA I could not find my bike rack. I saw Coach Josh and remember him telling me "Put you bike on the rack!" I finally found my rack, put on my running shoes and off I went. This took 2:33 minutes.

Run: The run was painful. When I started my run I had this really tight sensation in my gluts and thighs that was new to me. This didn't feel so good, but eventually it went away. I didn't want to make my knee worse, so I tried to jog as much of this as I could and had to walk at times. Overall, I found the running trail quite nice and I was happy that it was not on concrete. 30:30 minutes - that some serious speed walking there. It sure didn't feel like 3 miles.

Post-race: I'm so glad that I did this. It was an amazing experience and I could not be happier. I ended up coming in 603/703. God this sport is so humbling! I'm a changed woman!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Swimming with the fishies at Idylwood

It turns out that there are a lot of people that swim early in the morning. I found a group of ladies to swim with on a regular basis. Today we met at 7am and jumped into the water. There are fish jumping out of the water there! On my previous swims, I had not gone past 30 yards from the shore. But today, with encouragement from Jen (a lady from Jill's team) I just went for it. When I reached the buoy I was a little tired, my heart rate was up because I was still very anxious. I went on my back for a few seconds, then we swam to the next buoy. Jen kept going, but I swam back to shore. I think that was about 1/4 mile. Some of us were planning to swim the course after work this evening but I have to pick up my new car not to mention my race packet for tomorrow still.

Wish me luck in my first triathlon tomorrow, I'm going to need it as I am going to be racing injured. My knees are still sore from tendonitis, but I told myself to just go and have fun out there. I will walk the run if my knees start to hurt too much.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Honda CR-V

I just bought my first car ever! I'm so excited it's the 2008 Honda CR-V, finally I found a compact SUV that gives me ample storage space, good on gas, 4WD and handles well.

I was at the dealership for 3.5 hours negotiating with them. We finally came to something we were all happy with. Goodbye to Max (my Nissan Maxima - which my dad bought for me) and hello to my new CR-V. Don't have a name for her yet, yes my car will be a "she" this time. No soccer mom comments please!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why exercise can be so addictive

I'm reading this amazing book by Eckhart Tolle called "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose." This is a very interesting explanation as to why I find challenging exercise so addictive.

Our brains are in constant thought, and psychologists have found that 98% of our thoughts are quite useless and repetitive. He explains why many people love strenuous physical activities even sometimes dangerous levels. When you climb a mountain, you need to be totally focused on the present, if you loose your presence something bad can happen. And the reason why people feel so much more alive during this time is for a moment you are free from thinking. This is the essence of presence - it is a moment of bliss where everything is at peace.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Open water swimming

I stopped by the Triumph wetsuit demo on Saturday and it was a good thing that I did so. I got to swim in the freezing water and get some coaching. I met a really nice lady called Jill and she encouraged me throughout the swim. She even told me about her triathlon club. They have weekly training events and a really good community of people who train together. Today, I actually went and swam with a lady from Jill's team at Idylwood park. We swam back and forth and I found it difficult. You cannot see a thing and that got me a little flustered which sent my heartrate through the roof. When we got out of the water we ran out of the water, and ripped off our wetsuits as we headed to our transition area. In my opinion I really think EVERYONE should swim in open water before doing any race. I think I would have had a little "panic" thing otherwise.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Knowing when to stop, that's wisdom

I am driven and set realistic goals for myself, but not to the point of alienating all the other aspects of life that make it enjoyable. This demonstrates that I recognize the importance of what I call, "work, life and work-out balance."

Another important life lesson is knowing when to slow down. A few years ago, I had suffered a terrible groin injury put me out of commission for over a year. That had to be the most painful and agonizing time in my life and I will never forget it. If I had listen to my body then, I would not still be plagued with the chronic pain I feel today.

So here I am again, in the same boat only with my knees. It is not nearly as painful as my groin injury was - well at least not yet. But this time, I know better. As an athlete, knowing when to slow down so that your body can heal itself, that's wisdom and putting yourself in a situation where you will always win.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two week workout plan

So I tested out my knee yesturday at practice and I could not run more than 4 laps of the track. It probably would have been fine, except I swam afterwards (pulling the entire time), then headed over to the U-district fair where we spent 6 hours walking around. My knees were moderately achy by the end of the night.

As I am an injured athlete, I really feel I need a good workout plan for the rest of the month, here is mine:
Sunday: 30 minute run in the pool, 1000 yard swim
Monday: Movement prep & strength training portion of boot camp + stationary bike
Tuesday: Get to pool early for 30 run in pool + triathlon swim class
Wednesday: Movement prep & strength training portion of boot camp + stationary bike
Thursday: Get to pool early for 30 run in pool + triathlon swim class
Friday: rest
Saturday: Swim + outdoor bike if knees feeling good.

Plus doing my PT exercises everyday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grieving - the triathlete way

As a new triathlete, being able to train on a consistent schedule plays a very important part when it comes to building that confidence. Then when it is suddenly taken away, it can get very hard to cope. I felt like I am going through the same stages as I do when I grieve.

1) Denial: "Oh, I'll be OK. It doesn't hurt too badly. A little ice & rest and in 2 days I'll be back to normal."

2) Anger: "Why did I push myself so hard to put myself into this situation."

3) Bargaining: "Dear God, please make me better soon."

4) Depression: Today, I heard myself say, "What if I can't run my race. I really wanted to do that one."

5) Acceptace: I am at this stage now. I will be in the pool and biking. No running until I get better.

Friday, May 16, 2008

To track or not to track

My knee felt much better this morning. I had PT at 8am and Shelly showed me a lot of love by massaging my tendons - Ouch! Then she proceeded to give me a brutal butt workout, my gluts are so sore. Anyways, I got iced afterwards and my knees are feeling much better, not back to normal just yet though. So I guess I will not be going to track practice tomorrow and hoping that maybe I can bike on Sunday? I guess time will tell.

UPDATE: OK I just got a new pair of running shoes and I am dying to try them out. They are suppose to help my over pronation. The Brooks Ariel are in the category of motion control shoes that help people like me with really flat feet. I've been walking around in them for the past few hours and so far, I like them a lot.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Couch potato is not for me

Tonight I have the rare opportunity to catch up on episodes of Smallville. I can't believe I have missed so many of them! I just watched the season finale.

Anyways, my knees are still achy today. They were alright last night at boot camp where I avoided the run and took the stairs. I even went to triathlon swim class, but decided to pulled the entire time - one can never been too careful this close to the race. So I've been icing them like crazy today and foam rolling. I hopped onto my bike to see how they felt and it hurt. It looks like I will be swimming a lot this weekend and being a bit of a couch potato.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Knee Tendonitis

I knew escaping injury would be wishful thinking. This Saturday while doing some hill work I tweaked my right knee. Many people run through pain, but I have been injured enough to know that the shortest recovery comes when you catch the injury before it gets bad. On Sunday I did some swimming and my knee was fine. Last night we had boot camp and I tweaked it again during our endurance run but it bothered me a bit more than on Saturday as my knees felt like they were burning while I was sleeping last night.

This morning we had triathlon swim and I my kneed started to bother me after a few laps. Coach Michael said to just pull, so I pulled for the rest of the class. He also said, "Angela no boot camp tomorrow night. See what Shelley Hack has to say." I have my appointment with Shelley this afternoon. Meanwhile, I will not be running the rest of the week I think.

UPDATE: I've been diagnosed with knee tendonitis. My feet are really pronated so it puts more stress on those tendons. So some rest from running, lots of ice, hamstring stretches and glut excercises (clams) is what Shelly has prescribed for me. She mentioned that I can run in the water or try the stationary bike meanwhile.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Moch tri - race report

Today we had our transition and nutrition clinic. We were told to bring all our gear as we would be doing a mini moch triathlon to practice our transitions T1 and T2. I will post up meeting notes a bit later when I have more time to write them up. Basically, we would have our bikes racked up and a tiny area the size of a towel for our gear. We were to setup all our stuff on our towels - our running shoes, bike shoes, helmet, sun glasses, socks, bike clothes etc. After our gear is setup, we should head into the water and soak our wetsuits up so that they are nice and flexible for our swim.

Both T1 and T2 for our moch tri were in the multi-purpose pool area. I did not bring my wetsuit, but some folks did. We were all placed in lanes according to our speed, I was in the slow lane. So I'm use to being the slowest swimmer and usually I just go last and follow other people. But today, I was the fastest slow person in my lane and had to pass everyone. Now, passing in a lane is not that easy as it is sort of like passing a car on a one lane highway - in that you need to watch for on coming traffic. I had to "drop the hammer" to pass quickly. I seem to shave a few seconds off my time everytime I get into the pool.

After our swim, we headed towards T1 to grab our cycling shoes and towel off. I had my tri suit, so I didn't need to change. Then we headed up to the indoor cycling studio for our bike. After our bike, we headed to T2 to change into our running gear and did an outdoor run. Running seems to be my strongest out of the three - but it is not very consistent.

Anyways, this was not timed as we were focusing on the transitions. Overall I had a lot of fun. I was tired though. Emily and I were going to do the duathlon tomorrow then hit our bikes to make it a full sprint distance, but we decided not to do that. This is good, as I need a break.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Building character - the triathlon way

When I made the decision to train for my first triathlon, I understood that it would involve a lot of commitment on my part and hard effort. I was new to all 3 sports, thus I knew that I had to stay motivated to be successful. I had to WANT this.

Yes I have been fearful many times. This fear comes from an inner voice that whispers, "Angela, train hard, you don't want to mess up your first triathlon. This is not what you had imagined, not what you have dreamed, but it could happen if you don't put down 110%."

What I have come to understand is, if you slow down just a bit, you will realize that when fear rises, it will subside. What goes up, must come down. That is Karma. With this, I think I am learning to become more of a spiritual warrior - one that can accomidate fear, not run away from it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Conquering my demons

Today in triathlon swim class we did timed 100s as our main workout. Coach Michael (who is a USAT tri coach) made us swim 5 x 100s and timed each one to get an average of our times. He said, said, "OK, Angela take off your fins." Today I really appreciated how far I have come. Two months ago, my swimming ability was such that I could probably save myself if I fell out of a boat - and if we were really close to shore. Lastly, I have spent many moments over these past 2 months fighting these demons that have fed me nothing but anxiety, doubt and fear.

So there I was, in lane 1 (because I was the slowest swimmer) thinking "Boy am I going to be so slow without my fins."

1 x 100: First 100 I didn't know I was suppose to time myself, I thought that Coach Michael would be doing that, but I thought that clock said 2:17 minutes. From the look of his face, I don't think he believed me.

2 x 100: This time, Cody a ProClub trainer I was sharing my lane with helped with my time and this one took 2:27 minutes. Cody was doing his 100s at 1:30 minutes - why am I sharing a lane with this guy? In fact, I think half the class can do 90 second 100s. I heard Michael Phelps can do a 100 meter in 49 seconds.

3 x 100: My third 100 took 2:19 minutes. Coach Michael timed it himself, he raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "Hey, that's a good time."

4 x 100: My forth 100 took 2:21 minutes

5 x 100: My last 100 took 2:18 minutes. Coach Michael, was kinda excited said "Good!"

I was really happy after that workout. I was working hard, really high in my heart rate threshold but still managed to hold my ground. There's still time to improve, and now I see that I can only get better at this. I will try to get faster, otherwise I might be easy pickings for a trout with a bad attitude :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Week in summary

The Issaquah tri is just around the corner so I have been training hard. Since I got back from my trip:

Friday: weights and 4+ mile run
Saturday: track workout (I ran a bit more than we were suppose to, I calculated 5 miles)
Sunday: rest
Monday: weights + swim
Tuesday: triathlon swim (drill day)
Wednesday: swim
Thurday: triathlon swim (endurance day)
Friday: outdoor run (3 miles)
Saturday: indoor cycling followed by an immediate short run, 26 mile outdoor Lake Sammamish bike ride (moderately hilly with a big hill climb at the end)
Sunday (today): rest...I'm so sore. I actually fell over because my cleat fell off my left shoe, luckily I was stopping so just ended up with some scratches. The screws of my shoes all came out and I had to pick up them off the road. On a good note, I was able to clock a PR on my speed, according to my bike computer my fastest pace was 51 km/h (31.7 mph) with the aid of a hill of course :) I was impressed that I wasn't scared.

I notice that I don't run or do weights consistently enough, so boot camp should help with that as I will force me to do that regularily.

I would say that the only set back this week was my dinner tonight - chicken club sandwich (grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, swiss cheese, no mayo) + french fries. I devoured it! It sure was yummy though. It's not what you do once in a while that determines your fate, but what you do in the long run. At least that is what I told myself as I stared at my empty plate.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Triathlete killed by shark in California

A bunch of triathletes were training off the ocean in California, one was attacked and killed by a great white. They estimate it was around 12-17 feet long. According to the article, the group of swimmers were wearing their wetsuits and were probably confused for a sea lion. He was only 150 yards off shore in 20-30 feet deep water.

They saw him come up out of the water, scream 'shark,' flail his arms and go back under," Hill said. "The flesh was just hanging."

On another note, I had once heard that in Hawaii, they have special devices to send out frequencies in the water to protect swimmers from sharks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I can do it!

Yeah! I was able to keep up with the rest of the swim class today. I just told myself to relax. Coach Michael said, "that was the best swim I have ever seen you do." I was really slow but did all the laps without stopping or him having to adjust the workout to make it easier for me.

Warm up:
200 yards swim
200 yards pull
200 yards kick

Main Set:
10 x 50 yards swim (1:20 send off)
500 yard swim
250 yard kick

Cool down:
100 yard swim

Total: ~2000 yards (That's 40 laps people!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

@#$% you Gertrude!

My manager Sylvia and I side tracked a little today and we started to chat about my training. I told her that I was really frustrated with how my swimming has been going, that I was scared that I will not be prepared for my race in May. She said this, "Realize that you are there to learn, don't put any expectations on yourself. For some reason you do better when you think this way."
This made me remember why I wanted to do this, which was to be in the best shape I have ever been in my life. I knew that it had to challenge me or else it would not be fullfilling.

She said that she grew up in a family where there was a lot of expectation - this was the case for me as well. I remember when I was growing up, that if I came up with a 97% on my test that my father would ask me where I lost those 3%. I still remember the expression on his face and it really had an impact on me. I still have that voice that shadows me around. I've decided to give this voice a name "Gertrude." Whenever I hear this voice inside of me, I will tell it where to go - straight to hell.

Anyways, on another note we got invited to try out Boot Camp for free. Yep! I was going to sign up for it anyways, but never got around to it. Now that it is free I should sign up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rocks don't swim very well

Ouch, my shoulder is hurting right now. I'm still struggling in the pool because my pull has issues. Coach Michael told me to practice tomorrow and do 1000 yards alternating between kicking and swimming. I was very frustrated in the pool today - I actually teared up a little (luckily no one can distinguish tears from pool water). Looks like I will need to put in at least 4 swim practices a week until race day. I don't know what else I can do. I know I can get this, just that I need more time and patience which I sometimes feel I am running out of. I swear I must have been a rock in my former life, because that is how I feel in the water.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vacation's over

I'm back from my road trip and it was a lot of fun! The Redwoods were absolutely stunning. So today, I moved into a new decade. Like turning 18, 21, 25, when you turn 30 it is a milestone. I would say that I am really looking forward to my 30s. I feel a lot more comfortable in my skin and I have a better sense of self.

Here I am standing beside the 297 feet Brotherhood tree at the Trees of Mystery in Klameth, Oregon. This gigantic redwood has a diameter of 19 feet! I think this tree must be at least 2000 years old. It has been standing before most of humanity's recorded history. Makes me feel really young to stand beside this giant.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lake Sammamish ride

This morning Coach Michael took us on a 26 mile ride around Lake Sammamish. It was such a beautiful day, so I decided to do his ride and skip out on the CTS ride because I was a little worried that 55 miles would be a little much. I've never been very good at judging what I could handle and what I couldn't. Coach Michael said, "Yeah, Angela that 55 mile ride would have been too much for you. Your last ride was 36 miles, but the Mercer loop is easier than the ride we're doing now."

This was my first longer ride with my new clipless pedals and things went flawlessly. I had been practicing clipping in and out over the week. It feels pretty natural now. I actually discovered that it is better to keep one foot clipped in, so since I push down with my right, I keep that one clipped in and stop on my left foot. Overall, I thought the ride was super fun and very safe. There were quite a few rollers and one big hill climb from Marymoore to the Pro Club. That climb was really tough for me. Coach Michael thought that we averaged about 14 mph which is the fastest average pace for me thus far - keeping in mind that we were out on the open road not something easy like a the Burke. The last ride I did we average around 10-12 mph, thus this is a good improvement. Right now, I feel pretty good. Not tired at all which is great since I have to pack for my trip. Sand dunes, white water rafting, skiing, hiking here we come!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Blueseventy Synergie wetsuit

I stopped by Speedy Reedy and also called Everyday Athlete to get a wetsuit. I tried on the Zoot Zenith, Blueseventy Reaction and Blueseventy Synergie. They had a Blueseventy 2007 Helix on sale but it was a really small size.

This is a new suit model for 2008. It has the same arm paneling as the Helix which makes it really comfortable. I know I definitely want to be comfortable during my swim.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My "AHA" moment

I just had a spiritual moment. I call them my "AHA" moments. For weeks, I have been worried - so worried that I will not cross the finish line in my first race. When you are training and working so hard - the idea of not crossing the finish line makes me nauseous to say the least. Then I stumbled upon this quote, "Behind every negative self-concept is the hidden desire of being the greatest or being better than others." This was really resonating because it surfaced the real reason why many of us think negatively.

What I really need to focus my energy is on the present - the now. My need to succeed has been draining me of my power and it has to stop.

The wheels on the bike on go round & round....

The wheels on your bike will keep spinning unless you have fallen over while trying to learn how to use your clipless pedals. This was the beginning portion of my experience last Saturday during our bike clinic. I was really nervous. Coach Josh was patient enough to watch me practice clipping in and out over and over again.
I look back and realize that I might have been over nervous. A wise person said to me that nervousness is an act of selfishness because you are making it all about you. This made me stop and think a bit. Was I being selfish?

After class, I went and practiced some more on the trail. It was fun and I was going much faster because the shoes make you more efficient with your pedal stroke.

We also learned how to change a flat and maintain our bikes. While practicing on my own bike I ended up pinch flatting my tire because I did not tuck the tube inside the tire completely. So I really had to change a flat tire now. One thing I noticed is how difficult it was to pump up the tire with a portable pump. I think I need to get me some C02 cartridges now.