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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Triathlon on Biggest Loser

I have a secret. I am a really big fan of Biggest Loser. There's something about the final weigh in that just keeps me hooked. Anyways, last night, the remaining contestants had to do a short distance triathlon in Austrailia: 300 meter open water swim, a bike then a run (not sure what the distances were) and the finish line was at the top of a really tall sky scraper so they had to climb the stairs to get to it. This is a pretty big accomplishment considering that these folks 12 weeks ago were 100 pounds above their recommended weight. They have lost so much weight, in such a short period of time. This cannot be healthy. I did read in some article that most of them gain their weight back after the show is complete. One guy said that after 1 week he regained over 30 pounds of water. They workout like 5 hours a day with their trainers. Kai, one of the contestants from last seasons show said that she would soak in a hottub for hours to dehydrate herself before the final weigh in. Unfortunately, the TV show knows that America is more interested in seeing weight loss than weight maintenance.

Anyways, my bike is in the shop for my 90 day tune up - free of course. I also told them that I had a really hard time braking because the levers are too far out and I have a really small hand. So Gregg's said they will take care of that for me. I then asked them about how to take off the pedals on my bike, as it was unclear to me and he said that if I brought my pedals they could install them for me - of course I left those at home :( Apparently I need some wrench, which I don't own I'm sure. I sure hope someone brings a wrench to our bike maintenance clinic on Saturday.