Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just want to go on the record

Okay, maybe you know this, or maybe you don't but I am going to make it clear right now. I love hockey. Specifically, I love my San Jose Sharks. Dearly, passionately, like I will leave my starving husband at home to fend for himself if anyone (Molly) offers to take me to a game.

I used to have this same sort of love for the Oakland A's when I was in middle school and high school. I was a huge fan. I made headstones of offensive World Series opponent players in my yard as decorations for Halloween. I could tell you the starting batting order and the batting averages for each player. Then they went on strike, and I left baseball fandom for good. When I moved back to San Jose 8 years ago, my fanaticism found hockey.

There have been many roller coaster playoff series these past few years. I have spent shifts in the ICU watching the game on the slingbox of a kind nurse, only to run down the battery and have to listen to the game with my head underneath the desk because the CPU speaker was down there and it was the only way I could hear clearly.

I have driven home, sobbing, because my team lost in 4 overtimes to Dallas.

I was also there for this gem - this is a picture of Detroit beating San Jose in game 6 in 2007 (I think, I could be wrong). Either way, I was there for this game, I watched as the Sharks pulled their goalie in the last minute to try and tie the game, and Detroit scored an empty net goal, effectively ending the Sharks season and sending me home on the tragic trolley in despair.

This year....new year....Olympic medals won, second line scoring, and grit showing. We meet them again. I am going on the record now to say I am DONE. The Sharks are going to win this series. I am going to do everything in my power to think positively (Detroit is old and slow, Detroit is old and slow, Detroit is old and slow etc.) and be at a game or 2 to support my team.

Why am I bringing up these horrible memories now? Because I'm done. I don't care if it takes 7 games. The Sharks are winning. What's in the past is in the past and it only matters if it makes you stronger, otherwise forget it. Or in the words of my favorite Disney Movie "Hakuna Matata".

The Sharks are gonna win this one. I can feel it. I have to believe it. My heart, voice, and liver cannot take anything less.

Just thought I would let everyone know =)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mountain Lion

Today was supposed to be a hilly trail run. I am fortunate to live in an area with many open spaces dotted with numerous trails. I chose my favorite and headed out. About 1/4 of the way up the first major hill, I noticed an older man and a younger girl coming the other direction. The man had three dogs with him (Golden Retriever, Black Lab, and a Beagle), being a sucker for dogs, I planned on giving them a pat on the head.

The man flagged me down (it didn't take much I wasn't going that fast up hill, but I did have my ipod on). He told me that there had been a mountain lion sighting on this trail eariler during his hike, directly on the trail I had planned on going today. He let me know he thought the other ones were safe, but honestly, that was enough for me. I scratched the Golden's head, and high tailed it down the hill.

Now I was in a bit of a quandary, once I reached the bottom of the hill, I was only 15 minutes into my run. I didn't really want to get into my truck and drive somewhere else, so I decided to run around the neighborhood. This particular neighborhood has many different hills. It's not as good as the trail I was planning on going, but I figured it would be a close second, and much better than getting eaten.

But seriously, what was a mountain lion doing out in the hot (and it was warm today for an animal with a thick fur coat) middle of the day?? It was 2pm!!! I avoid jogging at dawn or dusk for this exact reason! I don't bring my lab because she's only 50 lbs and would be merely and appetizer. I have contemplated carrying a small taser, but who's to say I could even get the thing turned on to zap the animal if I was attacked?

Ugh ugh ugh. Either I am going to have to find someone crazy enough to run with me on those trails, or I am going to have to find some new hilly ones in the time being. Blah. I was so looking forward to my nice hilly trail run too.

I get to swim tomorrow, in a pool. No sharks or mountain lions to worry about there. Whew.

Riding bikes with my brother...

Yesterday was especially fun. My brother is back in town, and I convinced him to go on my scheduled 2:15 hr ride with me. He's got my old bike, which used to be my husband's bike. But he loves that bike (we did upgrade it quite a bit) and can ride the heck out of it.

My brother has quite a unique look. Three years of going to school in Chico turned him into a bit of a hippie. This past year he wanted to see how long he could grow his beard if he let it grow for an entire 12 months. The answer is - pretty long. So my riding partner had on a short sleeved plaid shirt, his mountain biking shorts, and his beard. It was fun, we got a lot of looks as we passed people (well he did most of the passing).

We took the same course as I had done the day before, only I planned on taking us further out before we turned around. The last time I had been this far it was pouring rain, so I much preferred yesterday. Everything is blooming, so it smells wonderful. All of the hills are green, and everyone was really polite out there on roads yesterday.

My instructions were to keep my heart rate in a certain zone, unfortunately I had forgotten about a rather large hill that comes before the turn around. So Garmin was beeping at me steadily for about 5 minutes. I felt good though. We stopped at a gas station after the hill, got some gatorade, and turned around to come home.

It was nice riding with my brother because he was pushing me to go harder than I normally would if I were out on the bike by myself. He wasn't pushing me out of my zone, just to the top of it. It was also great, because I haven't seen him in a while and we had a really good time out there, talking and being silly in general. He's in great shape after a summer of working in Alaska and a winter working in Jackson Hole. If he stays around this summer, I plan on dragging him a long more often. Yesterday ended up being my longest ride so far of training this year - 31 miles.

The weather person is saying it is supposed to rain again this week. I can honestly tell you I am really DONE with all this rain. It is almost May!! C'mon! Enough with the rain! I know we need it and all, but still. I want to enjoy my Springtime. I don't want to lose the tan lines I have already started!

This week brings some more long rides - if I am not feeling in shape riding-wise by the time my next Tri comes around (in three weeks), then there is something seriously wrong with me! I am still getting used to my new Adamo saddle. I was complaining about my painful ischial tuberosity (sit bones) yesterday. This is actually a good thing because A) I remembered the correct anatomical term 5 years after taking anatomy and B) this is what the seat is designed to do. After my rides this week, I should be pretty well broken in.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ON YOUR LEFT!!!!!!!!!!

So today I got back on the bike. It has been a week since the Vineman Showdown Tri and it was time. I had some sprints that coach assigned me so I choose a nice flat expressway that was a short drive from my house. Foothill Expressway is clean, has a nice wide bike lane, relatively free of debris and quite well paved. In short, prefect for a sprint work out, apart from the occasional lights if you catch them wrong.

I knew there were going to be a lot of cyclists out today because it was a Saturday and it was gorgeous out. What I didn't realize is how incredibly rude they were all going to be. As I was warming up I heard the tell tale sign of a bicycle clicking behind me, I waited to hear the obligatory "on your left" so I would have a better idea of when they were going to pass, but instead, I heard nothing as the cyclist rode by me, seemingly mute.

Well, I thought, that's just one person. No big deal. Or so I thought. After a while, I had been passed by 4 different people, at different intervals, and not one of them said anything to warn me they were about to pass. At this point I decided I was going to count. I was annoyed, and I couldn't think of any good retorts to say when the person went passed, so counting seemed like as good an idea as any.

At one point, one girl passed me and I almost hit her because I was trying to avoid some debris in the road. Are you kidding me? Is it so impossible to let someone know you're going to pass them? Is there something wrong with me? Do I not get the obligatory saying due to the fact I am a little chunkier than most cyclists? The brand of my bike? The fact I am wearing black? Mountain bike shoes on a road bike? My rather slow speed? Did I miss the memo that it is extremely passe to tell someone you are passing them? WHAT I HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE SUCH RUDENESS???

I mean it is just so silly, and unsafe. Yes, I was not riding on the white line, leaving plenty of room to pass on the left. However, should there be some sort of obstacle in my way, and I DON'T know you're there, I am going to swing out to miss it. I can't be looking over my shoulder to look for a mute cyclist before I avoid a branch/roadkill/screw in the road! Unsafe because if I do swing out and hit you, I am going to knock you into oncoming traffic, and yes I will call 911 for you and try to stop the bleeding but cyclist VS. car does not usually end well.

It occurs to me that the people who are not saying anything prior to passing are also the ones whose turn signals appear to be broken on their car whenever they wish to make a lane change or turn. Curious.

Finally, cyclist #14 who passed me uttered the magic words as she passed. I don't know who you were, girl in the blue and white kit, who passed me very nicely today, but I appreciated it.

I managed to get a little *ahem* lost on the way back. I tried to go back to my truck a different way in order to avoid a particularly nasty left hand turn. But I went a bit too far east, at one point I thought I had found the school I had parked at, after all - wasn't that my red truck in the parking lot? Of course I had about 10 min left to ride so I proceeded to do little laps around the neighborhood, as the end came near, I got closer and realized that no, that was not my truck, and this was not the school, and yes I was still lost. Crap. Crap. Crap.

So I ended up doubling back, turning down a road I had debated turning down earlier (which I should have done) and finally made it back about 10 min over the prescribed work out time. Oh well, my saddle needs to get in riding shape anyway!

In other news, my Grandmother passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning. She was at home and happy when it happened, which is all I can ask for. I feel extremely blessed she was not in a hospital, nursing home or similar when her time arrived. I will miss her dearly, and hope my 89 year old Grandfather is able to manage okay. Loneliness is tough.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vineman Showdown Race Report

It's been a while since my last post, nothing to incredibly exciting has been going on, and I have been healing from an injury I had no control over. But yesterday something exciting did happen - I competed in my first triathlon ever!

I went to this race with Molly last year, so I was fami
liar with the course. I had even ridden the course last year for something fun to do, so I had a good idea of what I was going to face.

Here I am setting up my transition area for the first time:

The swim was in the bay, which they told us was
68 degrees. I had rented a sleeveless wetsuit, and even 68 degrees wasn't warm enough for me to keep it off, all though I did see quite a few people who opted for Speedo only. I prefer the buoyancy of the wetsuit, so I kept mine on.

I thought a lot about what I was going to wear under the wetsuit. I just couldn't fathom riding and running in my one piece polyester suit. I finally decided to wear my biking shorts and sports bra. I figured it would make my transition a little faster, and more importantly, much more comfortable on the swim and run.

We're ready to go!

Our swim wave went last, at 4:30pm. Molly and I were in the 34 and under group. There were some young girls there, who I had no doubt would be faster than me in the swim, so I lined up in the second row. Looking back, I should have just gone in the front, it would have been okay.

Having never done a shore start before, I was a little apprehensive. When the gun went off I did a lot of heads up swimming to see who I could pass. I swung out and was able to pass a bunch of people before the first buoy. I sighted well and felt like I did a good job staying in a straight line from buoy to buoy. I continued to pass people and the buoys kept coming faster. Before I knew it, the swim was over and I was dizzily running up the hill to transition. I ended up placing 2nd in my age group for the swim.

Here's a picture of our wave entering the water:

Here I am at the swim finish, trying not to fall down...

I got into transition and did my best to get everything on. I have mountain bike shoes, but today that was a blessing, as we had to walk our bikes, uphill a 1/2 mi., to the place where we were allowed to mount our bikes. This was tough, my heart was racing, I was nauseous, and my legs were screaming at me.

The bike was a beautiful course, but not my best showing. I had to constantly remind myself I had not been able to be on my bike for 3 weeks due to my injury. Of course, when the girls on mountain bikes and running shoes passed me, I did curse to myself a bit. There was nothing I could do about it at the time, I stayed in my zone and thought about not blowing my legs out for the run. I was hoping to take a gel as soon as I got on my bike, but my stomach was not having it. I managed to get in a full water bottle and gel by on the second half of the 9 mi ride, but it wasn't pretty.

At the dismount point, we had to walk our bikes back down the hill we'd come up which was pretty exciting. Luckily I didn't fall, and no one fell on me so I felt successful.

Here I am almost at the dismount point, I was hurting....

I racked my bike and got my running gear on. Now we had to go up set of stairs and another hill (for another 1/2 mi) before truly getting to the run course. Again, my heart rate spiked, and I just walked up the hill. Once out on the course my legs actually felt okay, but I was breathing hard and had double side cramps which stayed with me the entire time.

I have just made it up the hill and am on my way out...

At one point I heard a conversation going on behind me. Two girls, seemingly in no distress at all, were having a full on conversation and passing me at the same time. I swore silently (breathing too hard to swear out loud) and kept going. I was really just jealous that they could talk and pass me at the same time! Oh well, this was my own race. My knees, ankles, and feet were all feeling good so I was happy. In fact, I had really been looking forward to the run - no body to kick you like in the swim, and no one to hit you on your bike!

I saw a girl about 50 meters ahead of me at the turn around. I really wanted to catch her and attempted to pick up the pace. Running back into the park, we had to go uphill again before we came to the flat finish. I wanted to walk, but I noticed the girl I wanted to catch was slowing down, so I kept plugging along.

As we came down the hill, I continued to catch up to her. On the flat, Molly spotted me and started yelling and cheering, which was awesome.

I really picked up the pace and flat out sprinted the remaining 25 meters or so and passed the girl I had been trying to catch right at the finish line.

At the end I was the closest I had come all day to tossing my cookies. But I kept it together and Molly and I took this picture:

A big thanks to Molly, for keeping me calm when I was freaking out, and her husband, Jeff, for all the great pictures he took and cheering! It made my first tri a lot more enjoyable.

My next
tri is the third week in May. I am looking forward to having a better bike and run, hopefully sans side cramps!! I have to say I probably won't do this particular race again, unless they figure out a way to change the 1/2 mi uphills out of transition...

Happy Spring, everyone!!