Friday, March 3, 2017

It's March!

I said I wanted to update every month...well I'm two months in instead.

A fair amount has happened between New Years and now cycling-wise. Mostly good stuff.

My first FTP test (January 2 or 3, can't remember which) told me that my FTP was at 142. Considering a few years ago when I was just below competitive my FTP was just above 200, this really sucks.

So far for the year, I'm at 407 miles. That's definitely under what I would like to be at, but it isn't horrible. I've been lucky not to get super sick, so that's been nice.

Mid-January I did the UA Crit. This year, it went back to the UA Campus, and included a fairly technical turn right before the finishing sprint. I raced in the women's 4/5 field, and we also raced with the younger junior riders. I got squirrely at the beginning and was dropped by the third corner.

One of the biggest issues I have as a cyclist is that I have decent technical skills, but I haven't had the strength to show it. Throughout most of the race, many of the dropped riders who I caught (or caught me) couldn't hold my wheel around corners (or I would have to slow down behind them). I remember one time a few years ago, that skill got me a prime. Maybe one day it'll get me a win! :P

I ended up dead last. It really sucks, but it was fun to get out there and race.

I've been getting into the Zwift events and races as well. So far I've ended up near the end of my category, but it's been a lot of fun. It's far safer than actual racing, and it costs a lot less as well! My first crit I ended up 11/14 (which was after more than half the field was DQed for having too high of a power to weight ratio for the category they signed up for). Once I fell off, it was fun trying to pick up other riders who had fallen off and trying to stay away from chasing racers. I've also done some time trials and group rides, which are fun. There's a group ride every Wednesday for the Tour of California, so I'm doing that and enjoying trying to push myself and stay with the front group (even though most people are just chilling in the back and enjoying themselves). There's also a sub 2.0 watts/kg group that rides throughout the week, and I've been having fun on their Sunday afternoon rides.

Also, I finally went to physical therapy to try and address the pain I've been feeling since my trip to Sedona in November. What happened was we rented mountain bikes and severely underestimated the skill level required for the trail we picked (in our defense, it was considered an "easy" trail...just for hikers, not cyclists). We ended up having to push 40 lb mountain bikes up a hill on a very narrow trail with a cliff beside us. At one point, the bike slipped away and began to fall off the cliff. I reacted quickly and rescued it. I'm almost positive that was the moment I injured myself. Throughout December and January, I was reduced to laying on the floor at home and work trying to find a way to relieve the pain. I couldn't stand or stay seated for an extended period of time without setting off pain.

My physical therapist, Craig Smith (AWESOME guy, highly recommended) diagnosed me with gluteus medius tendinopathy and trachanter bursitis. He also believed there was a bit of trauma to my spine, but I don't know if he ever called it anything specifically. Essentially, part of my butt and upper thigh was inflamed. I had been doing deep stretching to make things better, but it turned out I was actually making things worse.

Four weeks of PT and my hip is almost back to normal. I tried some deep hip stretches and running as a test, and definitely felt some pain the next day. It sounds like I just need to keep working on strengthening the hip and know when to pull back. It does suck, especially with not being able to go as deeply in yoga, but I hope one day I'll have that hip back to its full potential.

Even though I went through all of that, I was still able to ride. I actually managed to raise my FTP to 162 as of last Sunday!

For upcoming races, I think I'm going to do Flapjack Flats TT and the Colossal Cave RR. I'm a little too busy and under too much stress at work to think about doing the crit, even though it's in the evening. I'm hesitant about Colossal Cave because the women 3/4 do 54 miles now...and the most I've done in the past four months is 35 miles, but I'm going to try a 50-60 mile ride tomorrow AM and see how things go.

Here are some lovely pictures from the past two months:

Early ass morning zwift workout.

Hitting the technical corner at UA crit without falling over!

Superfun Zwift climb group ride.

17% grade felt like Gates Pass without the fresh air.

I think I was trying to show my aero position here.

Smirk behind the mountains after breaking off from the Sabino ride to do my own thing.

Much love! I hope to pass on a race report after next weekend! :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Yeah maybe one year I'll actually update this regularly. I used to be so good about blogging in high school, but that was daily...and I don't think my exercise life is interesting enough to update a blog on a daily basis.

I had an interesting year, filled with promises of being faster, losing weight, and racing. Instead, I got slower, fatter, and did four races - my lowest since racing.

So basically I didn't meet any of my goals for 2016.

These were my goals for 2016:
Post in this damn blog at least once a month and do race recaps - last update was Jan 23rd - boo.
Upgrade to Cat 3 - Nope.
Follow my Training Peaks workouts as accurately as possible - this was pretty successful through April with the exception of my sinus infection issue (I literally had a sinus infection from January through April and it took steroids to get rid of it).
Podium either a RR or Crit - :(
Do yoga 1-2 times every week - I did yoga once a week through the spring, and then sporadically through the rest of the year. Took an acro yin class, which made me feel like a wrapped up baby (but in a good way).
Lose 10-15 pounds by State RR Champs - Naw I gained like 15 lbs this year
Complete my first Olympic Tri - Patagonia! - I trained for it, and was as ready as I could be ...unfortunately, there was a death in the family and family>tri.

Instead of wallowing in sorrow over my poor choices and bad luck, I'm going to look forward to 2017.

Here are my 2017 goals:
Race at least 2 road races
Race at least 2 crits
Race at least 5 time trials
Race one summer tri and Patagonia Olympic in October
Goal weight of 150 lbs (I don't even want to tell you how far away I am from that right's bad)
Get back to an FTP of 200 watts
Swim 100 yds  <1:50
<1 hr 10k run
At least 50 yoga classes on Gaia

Post in this thing at least once a month and provide race recaps

How will I accomplish this? First, by actually training. I had some serious lazy issues this past year. Second, we've got a TON of women racing with Tolero this season! We've got at least six amazing women - two of whom are almost ready to cat up! This should be great motivation to get me out and riding. Also, Mike and I recently purchased a Wahoo Kickr, along with a Zwift membership. The interactive component of Zwift, the ease of using the Kickr, along with the ridiculous amount of money we spent should be strong motivation to keep active throughout the winter and on rainy/busy days. I'll be doing an FTP test in the next day or two and then begin using some of the training/events Zwift offers.

In conclusion, I'm excited to see what the athletic side of 2017 brings.

Follow me on Instagram - bikerandi is my username.

Here are some fun race/ride pictures from the past year:

My first ride on my ENVE wheels up Lemmon!

Thug life headed home after watching the TBC Circuit Race

Shooutout with Carolyn and Carol! I dropped several groups and rolled all the way to Helmet Peak!

INSANELY windy ride up to Molino with Marisa!

Just another Lemmon ride!

Rented some beach cruisers in Santa Barbara to get from the beach to downtown shops!

Free entry! That was pretty cool. I get to push it out to 2017 since I missed it this year!

SUMMERHAVEN! I got amazing pizza and cookies! (if you can't tell, my hair is SOAKED with sweat from riding for four hours in July)

My least favorite part of Lemmon - miles 15-16!

Hubsy and I at Palisades.


Tri for Kindness 2016!

My first Sabino run! Only a 5k, but I worked my way up to the whole thing!

My beautiful wetsuit that I can't wait to use!

Picked up some new kicks for trail running. Sad I haven't gotten to do much of that since buying them!

I DID IT! Sabino tram road out and back! 1:40 total time. Whew.

My second crit of the December. I can't wait to race with/against these lovely ladies in 2017!

I don't want to look like this anymore. Fat and off the back.

The new trainer! It's so purty!

Screen shot of my Zwift ride from yesterday. I had planned on doing Lemmon, but it was a little too rainy for that. In its place, I did a big climb on my trainer. Not sure I wanna do the opposite direction yet....

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What's up + RAT Recap

Since my last post, I was sick for two weeks, rode over 150 miles, and completed my first bike race of 2016!

I was pretty devastated to get sick on basically 01/02 and have it continue through this past weekend. It seems as though I've got some shit in my throat still, but it's far more manageable than it was even earlier this week. Hopefully that means I'll be in ship shape for the rest of the season - or at least until the end of the school year.

Even though I'm supposed to be waking up at 5:30 for my trainer rides on Tuesdays and Fridays, I still struggle with the waking up part and end up doing them in the afternoon...or not at all. Bad Andi. Gonna try to go to bed earlier in the coming weeks and see if that helps. I'm one of those lame people that need at least 8 hours of sleep or I'll be a zombie all day.

Race Against Time Recap:

I was psyched to see so many of my old cycling buddies, some of whom I hadn't seen since the summer! I was actually late warming up because I got so involved in talking to people.

Today, I rocked the usual setup - Powertap + disc cover in back and Zipp 808 in front. Wore my skinsuit, Specialized helmet, and shoes. I also borrowed Mike's shoe covers...which are a little worse for wear, but they're aero, and also warmer for the cold morning.

They didn't hold your bike at the start, which made awkward start. I can't say I'm the most graceful clipper, so all of the photos of me at the start line are kinda weird. I'm giggling and scowling...and then sprinting like hell.

The ride out was probably a little easier than I should have gone, especially the first mile. I knew it was flat rather than downhill, and it's been a while since I've done a steady effort for 20km. I knew I needed to step it up when some dude flew by me going like 35mph. I stepped it up, and it definitely paid off. That tailwind had me going 26 mph for most of it, at one point hitting 29 mph!

Then I turned around. That part sucked. While it was only about 140 feet of climbing in six miles, the headwind was really intense. I managed to hold my speed near 20 mph for a bit, and then after the first mile, I dwindled fast. Trying to keep my heart rate, power, and legs in a safe zone was very hard. At one point, I was hit with a GUST of headwind. I look down - I'm going 250 watts, heart rate skyrocketing to 190, and my speed goes from 14 to 12 mph. *sigh*

After I saw the sign for 5 km to go, I picked my effort up past my comfort zone. The road both flattened out and got bumpier with the older pavement. There were two girls in front of me who I wanted to catch once I saw the start list. Got one of them with just under 1 km to go and was just behind the second one at the finish line.

Averaged 184 bpm, which was low for me...though it is difficult to raise your heart rate on a slightly downhill tailwind without using up all your power. Power was 171 watts, which was 1 watt less than last year's race. I think I'm a slightly better climber than I was last year, especially with the training I've done. However, I seem to leave something to be desired with my threshold. Overall time according to Strava is 38:21, which is crazy slow. I just keep having to tell myself that it was the wind and not me. Even the fast people I know had much slower times than previous years.

(a shot of me with my Tucson Tri Girls!!!)

Next weekend is the Santa Catalina Omnium, which includes the BioPark Crit and the Oracle Road Race. The crit should be interesting - I'm really excited to be able to race with a team this year (though it probably means I'll end up being a carrot attack at some point). There's a chance of rain for the road race...and in Oracle, that also means there's a chance of snow. Eek.

Barring any issues, I'm picking up a new pair of race wheels! A friend of mine is giving me a killer deal on a pair of Enve 6.7s. It'll be a nice all-around pair of wheels to use for races, so I'm crazy excited!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram - @biker_andi!


Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year in Review - Looking Ahead to 2016

So I got a little lazy with posting - which could be an understatement, considering I haven't revisited anything since April.

I had a great summer of cycling, and a fun fall of climbing. I had a lot of issues, but overall enjoyed myself. I stopped running, but rode more.

Here are the goals I set for myself for 2015:

Fitness goals for the year:
-participate in featured GaiamTV guides (meaning yoga every day for the most part)
This definitely did not happen. I did the New Year New You Guide, followed by Conscious Cleanse, followed by Yoga for Athletes...and that was about it. I threw in some other yoga on Gaiam, as well as in-person classes as well. In the fall, I had a yoga class that I went to nearly every Sunday at Crossfit Purgatory - Sarah Orzel, the instructor, was phenomenal. Not quite as playful and graceful as Arynn's practice, but I've yet to meet another instructor who can do that. Unfortunately, with new team rides on Sundays, I won't be attending those anymore.
-do at least two sprint triathlons (joining the Tucson Tri Girls too!!!)
I did THREE sprints! Oro Valley 1/2, and Firecracker Tri. I placed well in both Oro Valleys, and got third place in Firecracker. I learned that I can swim decently, kick ass on the bike, and then flounder in the run. That will not happen in 2016!
-run 10k in under an hour
Yeah I didn't even get close to this. I did a 4.5 mile run in like...48 minutes. This year...this year...
-do the Cotton Classic and Three Bears TT series, as well as the Lemmon TT
The only one I didn't do was 3 Bears #2 due to some scheduling conflict. In addition to Lemmon TT, I also did all the hill climbs (South Mountain and Kitt Peak) except for Graham (and I even climbed it, I just didn't race it). I ended up 2nd in the Copper Cup (due to a dratted results submission fluke), 3rd in the AZ Time Trial Series (alas, Beata and Tracy kept beating me!), and won the Saguaro Velo Time Trials Series! I finally won something!
-race at least two road races
I did Colossal Cave - placed 10th.
-race at least two criteriums
I did Tolero Crit - placed 6th overall
-run or bike at least three times a week (commuting would count)
Surprisingly, barring any major work stresses or illness, I did this nearly every week. I would probably guess there were under 10 weeks where I only did 0-2 activities.
-ride to Ski Valley at least once and Summerhaven at least twice
Despite climbing at least 3 miles up Lemmon over 30 times this year, the highest I made it was Palisades. This was due in part to having Sunday races on days that were nice enough to get all the way to Summerhaven/Ski Valley, and also in part to my laziness and not waking up early enough to beat the summer heat. I believe there was also a really dangerous day of high winds.

Overall, it was a great year. In October, I went through a month period where I ate everything I possibly could - I briefly thought I was pregnant or dying. While I still don't know what exactly happened (pretty sure it was menstrual cycle-related), it caused me to gain about 10 pounds. Thanks to cycling, I'm managing to keep the weight at bay.

My bike also saw some weirdness. I broke my first spoke, rubbed brakes for nearly a month, and now it makes a scary clicking noise when I push pace. I plan to get the bike taken in this week sometime and I hope that can get fixed.

Now that my review is over, let's look to 2016. Here are some cool things going on with me in this New Year!

1) I've got a women's team. Even though I'm racing with Tolero, there aren't any consistently active women on the team. By volunteering to captain the TTG Cyling Team, I've added about 15 solid women to race with. I can't wait to see all of us dominate the Cat 4 and Masters fields this year!

2) With TTG Cycling, I also have a coach! Phil Reimer is an awesome dude who gave us a ridiculous discount on his coaching services. Despite having race training since 2009, I've already learned a ton. He's also given me direction and discipline in my riding, which is something I've lacked since I started this whole race thing in 2012. Plus, it's so fun to say something like, "My coach has me doing lactate repeats today," or "Nope, my coach wants me to have a rest day."

3) I got a Garmin 520 with Strava and Training Peaks Premium. This data nerd will be data-gasming all year long.

4) I'm on Instagram. Username - bikerandi. It's mostly pictures of my cat, but there will be a lot of cycling pictures up there too.

5) There is so much  more, but quite frankly, I really want to watch Star Trek and get ready for my Tempo Intervals. :P

2016 goals:

Post in this damn blog at least once a month and do race recaps

Upgrade to Cat 3
Follow my Training Peaks workouts as accurately as possible
Podium either a RR or Crit
Do yoga 1-2 times every week
Lose 10-15 pounds by State RR Champs
Complete my first Olympic Tri - Patagonia!

Here's to 2016! May everyone have a wonderful year!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Race Recap: OV Tri - Spring into Tri

Yesterday, I completed my second ever triathlon!

I didn't do much exercise last week. It was testing week at my school, and despite me having less to do during the day, I always come home exhausted and nervous (performance pay/knowing your job security depends on 25 ten year olds does that to you).

The morning of my tri began at 4:15 AM. I had my morning snuggle with Lilah, and put on my clothes. We left the house around 4:45, with  me feeling strangely numb to the fact that I was about to jump into a giant pool with 100 other people.

Setting up transition was pretty easy - until a guy came by, moved my towel, and put his stuff in my spot while I was picking up my race number. I gave him a glower and respectfully declined when he offered to move my stuff where I put it.

I met up with a couple of my TTG girls and then walked the transitions to be sure I knew where to go.

They lined us up at the pool. It was freezing. I was down to my tri top and shorts, and the relatively warm water kept splashing my toes, making them quite numb. I chatted with the people around me (we'd be starting 15 seconds apart, so I figured I'd get to know the people who were about to be kicking my face). Most of us estimated our times to be within a minute of each other. One of them also recognized me from a TTG meeting where I spoke about cycling, which was kind of cool.

Finally, I stood at the start line. The official told me to go. I have no clue how to dive into a pool, and I saw several spectacular belly flops which I did not want to imitate. My thinking was that I should slide in, duck down, then kick off the wall. Mike later told me that I looked like I was about to go on a leisurely swim, so that's something I should work on.

I started things out steady. Last year, I went way too hard on my swim, and couldn't get out of the pool on my first try. I made sure to breathe and count  my strokes. It seemed to be helping. I wasn't freaking out, and I had already swam 100 m without realizing it. I noticed I was coming up close to the guy who started in front of me, and knew I would be passing at least one person.

Suddenly, I felt a tapping on my toes. I knew it must be the very intense-looking German lady behind me. I moved over to the right and waited for her to pass. When she didn't, I kept going. I caught the guy in front of me, and we were quickly approaching the wall. I figured the guy would hold onto the wall, and I would stagger it so I would pass him and try to stay with the German lady (I think her name was Bettina or something like that, but I thought of her as "The German" during my swim).

Well, the German swam past me before the wall, reached the wall, and turned. The guy didn't wait at the wall, and I didn't want to try and pass him down the I pulled a dick move and crossed in front of him. I chased after the German and caught up to her. I decided that I would hang on in her lovely drafting bubbles until I got winded and would relax.

I found myself thwapping her feet with my hands over and over again. My group swimming skills are close to zero. At Tri for Kindness, I passed the four people in my circle swim lane, but there was more room in the lanes. I trained with one of my friends and we practiced passing once or twice, but other than that, I had no idea how to dodge a foot. We passed a group of three swimmers, and I thought I should try and pass her as well. Nope. She wasn't having any of it.

The guy at the start told us to pass politely, but it was such a clusterfuck in the water that at certain times, I was less than polite. After another 100 m or so, I realized that I was consistently staying on her feet, and my breathing was fine. I decided to stay right behind her until the end of the race. Unfortunately, that meant some awkward passing and pushing other people who were hanging on the walls catching their breaths. I felt terrible, but there was a point where there was no room on the wall for me to turn around due to three people stopped at the end of the lane.

I was shocked at how zen I was throughout the entire swim. When I did my first tri last year, I totally freaked out and hyperventilated and thought I was going to die...all while swimming in a 4ft deep pool. This time, I was swimming in 6-15 feet of water, passing people, having swimmers push off me, with elbows and feet flying, yet I maintained a mostly clear mind and kept calm under some of the more crowded sections.

At one point, I had no idea how far I'd gone, but I could see the wall. I attempted to pass the German again, but she sped up, and I continued smacking her feet through the very end.

(Please note that I found her on AthletePath and messaged her thanking her for letting me draft and apologizing for the number of times I hit her feet. I wish I could apologize to some of the people I passed as well, but I have no clue what their race numbers were).

It was my first time ever using the "Triathlon" setting on my watch, and I thought I remembered how to use it. Apparently, not. I was definitely slowed down by fooling around with the watch, and I was a little kooky after the swim.

 Once I made it to the transition area, I quickly put on my sunglasses, race belt, shoes, and helmet. The food was a bit more difficult to stuff in tiny soaking wet pockets, so I made a mental note to myself to either keep it in my jersey the whole time or find a more efficient way of doing it next tri.

I can't believe I was holding onto my handlebars. I didn't even realize it. I'm the worst.

I jumped on the bike and did a sprint to make up for the lost time from fitting my HammerGel in my pockets. There was a "No Pass" zone SOMEWHERE on the first section of the course, and it wasn't marked. I was quickly approaching a group of cyclists, when they all suddenly moved into the "keep left" section of the cones...which I was pretty sure was for the cars, but I didn't really care. I just really wanted the QOM of the segment. I caught a guy, yelled, "On your left" and he told me this was the no passing zone. So I waited until our section opened up, put in another sprint, and turned onto La Canada still in my aero position (oh yeahhhhhhhh). I bombed down the hill, and began the short but painful climb to Lambert. The second half of the first lap was pretty uneventful. I realized I forgot to turn over my watch to the inside of my wrist, so I had no idea what sort of power/speed/heart rate I was holding. There were several points where I did some dangerous things while in my aero bars to try and see my speed...but don't tell that to my parents.

The second lap went much better. I passed about 30 people, and flew up the hill. The only issue that happened on the second lap was when I turned onto Oracle in my aero position and nearly knocked into a sign that was pushed in just a little bit more than the others. My bike went sideways, and I briefly imagined the humiliation of crashing my bike during a triathlon. Luckily, I stayed upright and continued onward.

I'd also like to point out that this was the very first time I've ever ridden a bike while wearing a sleeveless jersey. I can't say I'm a big fan. The wind whipping on my bare shoulders was completely bizarre, especially at the beginning when I was still soaking wet.

Finally, I made it to the dismount line, and rushed back to my transition towel. I threw off my shoes and helmet, and slipped into my shoes. Unfortunately, the tongue on my right shoe got folded under itself, and I spent about 45 seconds tugging and nearly breaking a nail trying to get it set right.

I'm not sure why, but I always feel like I'm going slow at the start of a brick, but when I look down, I'm insanely fast. Like...too fast to keep the pace for even a half a mile. I kept staring at my watch until I reached a pace I knew I could keep...and even then, I was dying. I took some water halfway through the first lap, and took a quick walking break. Once I finished my water, I got right back on it and continued running.

It was kind of cool having to do two laps, and it was a two-way course. I got to see my TTG race buddies and we cheered each other on as we passed them...though I'm sure most of it was me gasping their names instead of cheering...

The second lap was even more painful than the first. I have a feeling that runners can sense when other runners are in agony, because I got a lot of, "Great job!" and "Keep it up!" as people passed me. *hangs head*

I have no idea how I managed to finish that last half mile. Having my hubsy cheering me on, and the TTG cheering section at the end definitely helped. I was ready to crawl on all fours to the finish line.

But I didn't. I finished. I crossed that damn timing mat, hobbled to the guy with the finishers medals, and nursed a bottle of water while laying on the concrete.

How did I do?

Not great.

My swim was about a minute slower than my estimate, but was still reasonable (20:37), considering the number of times I had to get creative with the wall. My transitions were awful, despite the ridiculous amount of preparation I had done. My run was nearly a PR for me, but atrocious compared to my peers (31:06). My bike was pretty awesome - only three minutes behind the fastest female cyclist and 10th for overall women, averaging nearly 20mph with a climb in the middle. My overall time was 1:39:40, which was alright compared to the women as a whole.

Unfortunately for me, the women in my age group ended up taking the top 25 overall - I was 31st. The girl in first place in my age group finished 15 minutes ahead of me and took 3rd overall. If I wanted to come close to a podium, I would have needed to make up 10 minutes on my time.

However, I had a blast racing yesterday. I felt far more confident and steady in my efforts than I did last year. The only way to do things better in races is to make mistakes and learn from them.

I've got three months until my next triathlon - exact same course but in the dead of summer. I fully intend on dropping at least five minutes from my time, hopefully seven. I'm sure I can make up one minute in the transition alone. I'd love to get quicker at swimming, and my cycling ability will only increase as the summer wears on.

Yet, none of that matters if I can't get my run right. I was one of the slowest runners of the day. Ideally, I'd like to have a 27 minute 5k (but that means dropping five minutes from my current record). My Garmin seems to think it's possible, but I'm not sure. It probably doesn't help that running is my least favorite out of the multisport combo.

(apparently, I clench my fists when I run. I look like I'm practicing for a ski event instead of running...)

Now I get to go in full hill climb mode for the next two weeks to get ready for the South Mountain TT. I've also got Cotton City Classic next weekend - a 20k and 40k time trial. It will be both painful and fabulous.

However, I want to do at least one run and swim a week on top of that. I'm also trying out GaiamTV's Conscious Cleanse - Clean Eating and Yoga Challenge for the next two weeks as a way to shed some weight and get back into yoga. Wish me luck!

Until then,

Saturday, April 11, 2015

1 week until OV Tri!

I found myself with a bit of spare time, so I thought I'd write something in here today.

The past few weeks have been interesting in terms of training. I had Spring Break and got a lot of good training in (I posted all about it in my last blog). I was running, biking, and swimming - even getting back into a yoga routine. I hit some PRs for 2015 in terms of power and running too!

And then I got sick.

Two Mondays ago, I woke up feeling okay, and got worse and worse as the day progressed. Cooking dinner was an effort. On Monday night, I woke up around 11PM with a splitting pain in my ears, nose, and face. I was in so much pain, I couldn't get back to sleep until nearly 2AM. I somehow managed to make it through the day on Tuesday, and decided I'd go to school on Wednesday. School lets out at 11:30 on Wednesdays, and I send my students to the computer lab at 10:30. So I had to make it through two hours with my kids. I could hardly hear anything, and I wanted to curl up under my desk and sleep.

I visited the Walgreens clinic after school was over, and I was immediately diagnosed with a sinus infection. The lady at the clinic took one look at me and said, "Oh, you're sick." No shit.

I was given 20 gigantic antibiotic pills and instructed to take them twice a day. I hadn't done any exercise in six days.

By Saturday (04/04) I was feeling more like myself. With the OV Tri coming up, I needed to at least experience what a long course swim was like. I drove the 22 ridiculous miles to get to the pool, and went for it. I did an 800m straight swim. Nineteen minutes! It's pretty slow, and I definitely took it easy, but I had never gone that long before, and I was recovering from my infection...and apparently antibiotics can do weird things to your heart rate. The worst part about the swim was that you have to swim over the scuba and diving section, so at certain points in the swim it's super deep. I hyperventilated a few times, which I suppose will closely mimic race day.

I've discovered that swimming requires some of my yogi skills. To keep calm and not wear yourself out, just count and focus on breathing. Obviously, with me being the only one in a single lane, it's a lot easier to do that than in a serpentine swim with a hundred people in the pool, but I think the concept holds true. If I can keep as zen as possible for as long as possible, I won't have trouble next weekend.

My run on Tuesday was pretty successful too. I was pretty slow, but I felt good running. A lot of the time when I run, I get this super awful feeling and I end up walking for five minutes at a time. I actually feel like I have more than one running speed now. I can turn it up or cool it down. When I started back my training in January, I had one speed - and it killed me. I still can't run 5k straight, but I can come pretty close, and I'm not miserable by the time I'm done.

Wednesday, I got to ride with my best friend and her boyfriend. They both just bought brand new Cannondales, so I convinced them to climb Lemmon with me. They made it about half a mile from the base, and let me keep going.

I've been training for the hill climbs this past month. My goal is to do Lemmon at least once a week through September. I'm a decent climber for my body type, but if I want to win some of these hill climbs coming up, I need to step up my game in a major way (and lose ten pounds). I've PRed up to Windy a couple times since the start of March, which is awesome. I tend to push it up to Molino and then crawl my way as high as I can go before wanting to puke. I've learned to be more steady and push through the agony - and sore lady parts.

Today, I did some recon for the tri next week. I did the bike course (2 laps up in OV). I'm feeling pretty confident. I'm not quite as fast as I'd like to be, but there isn't much I can do now. I should end up with one of the faster bike times of the day. I hope. I pray.

My run still isn't where I need it to be. I think I'm still a better runner than I was when I did my tri last year, but it's going to be a miserable three miles!

I don't have any super interesting pictures from my training the last few weeks, especially since I've been taking it easy, but here are a couple moderately interesting selfies.

My sick (both in health and awesomeness) ride up to Windy Point last weekend.

Lunch of champions!

At the OYL Fitness Tri Kickoff swim. Got to practice a serpentine swim and "drafting" a swimmer in front of me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's been a while!

It's been ages since I've posted! Not intentionally, as I've been taking photos and actively thinking about posting stuff on here. Just not actually...doing anything.

My goal was one post a week, and I think I'm six weeks back. Don't worry, I won't bombard feeds or anything. I will type up a separate race report on the Southern AZ Omnium, because that requires more than just a flyby of "meh I kinda sucked."

I've been riding about 50 miles/week. I started my climbing training, as that's my main goal this season. In May, I've got South Mountain; in June, I've got Mt. Lemmon and Snowbowl HC; in September/October, I'm doing Kitt Peak and Mt. Graham. Part of it is to win the AZ TT Series, and the other is because I've always wanted to be a better climber.

Yesterday, I had a PR up Lemmon from the base to Windy Point. I did it in 1:52. After judging how I was feeling throughout the ride, my new goal is to hit sub-1:40. It'll take some more training, but I think I'll be able to hit that before the end of the school year. Then it's on to my hour times.

My running has gotten better and better, but my attitude and general experience hasn't. After Tri Camp at Tucson Endurance Performance Center, my form has gotten a LOT better. Unfortunately, my stomach cramps like crazy, and I still look like a crazy person when I run. I finally gave in and bought some cutesy-looking running clothes - they were on sale - but I definitely do not look attractive at all during my workouts. Sometimes, I pity the people driving by me. Hopefully they get a laugh.

I've had some of my fastest miles/half miles this past week. I still haven't ran for more than 25 minutes straight, which is a concern. My goal is to be able to run a straight 5k in the OV Tri next month. Eep!

Swimming has been enjoyable. For some reason, I am super loopy after a swim and I have a tendency to forget things in the locker room. I've left a swim cap, my hand paddles, and even my fucking swimsuit in the span of a month. Part of me feels this means I need a better bag that makes it easier to keep track of my things. Right now, I use a backpack, where I stack everything on top of each other. If I had a sports bag, I could open it up and see everything right there.

On Wednesday, I was able to swim 600 yards straight. I need to be able to do 800 m straight for the OV Tri. I'm almost there. This upcoming Saturday is the OV Tri Kickoff, where I'll get to do an 800m serpentine swim at the same pool as the tri. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the distance and all will be good. I'm also crossing my fingers for an 18 minute time. When I registered, I vastly underestimated my time, and put myself at 24 minutes. I know I can do better than that.

Yoga has been sadly lacking lately. It's probably why my headaches and stress levels are up. I haven't been able to find a good yoga instructor in a good place/time after Arynn left in December, so I've been doing a home practice. Home practice = laziness, going out of poses early, and sore hands because I'm on carpet instead of hardwood floor. I'd like to make an effort to do yoga, especially with the beating my body is taking with all of this training. Today, I did some stretches for the lotus posture (my ankles have trouble handling it), and my hips refused to cooperate. Even if it's just that sequence, I know it will be good for me.

In conclusion, if anyone knows a good vinyasa instructor on the east side of town who gives classes Monday or Thursday evenings, please let me know!

Below are random photos from the past month during training. Enjoy.

Rocking my Garmin Forerunner on my way to my swim.

Post sprint on a training ride on Pistol Hill

Treating myself after Tri Camp

Look ma! I found my paddle!

At Bad Dog last know, in 25mph winds.

Lilah and I post-run today.