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.