Monday, June 15, 2015

Swimming Milestone #2

This Monday marked the first OTC swim practice *ever* that actually felt like a recovery swim.  I swam 1500m (including a warm up and cool down) and I was never really winded even though we did four 200s at 70% for the main set.  All this can be attributed to the Total Immersion online swimming tutorials and the outstanding OTC coaches at these Monday night Mills practices.  

Oh - haha - something hilarious happened at the start of this workout.  There was this little boy (maybe 6 years old??) getting out of the shallowest lane and I asked him if he was done swimming there (I knew he was - I just felt like modeling politeness for some dumb reason).  He was like, "You shouldn't swim here.  It's better practice down there where you can't touch!" LOL...  Doh!  I was like, "Okay.  Thanks!"  ...and then slunked into the kiddie lane anyway.  Ha!

It's true that it's pretty lazy to stay in the stubby shallow end of the pool, but OTC considers it the "slow lane" and I'm preeeeeeeetty sure I'm the slowest swimmer there, so......  PLUS, I rely on the floor of the pool to be there for me if I need to stop swimming to cough up a mouthful of delicious pool water or whatever (yes, of course, this still happens occasionally).  I intend to get into the deep end soon, but *that* - my dear little boy - is a milestone for another day.  ;)

The next swim goal on my horizon is to swim continuously for 10 minutes. That may entail getting into some open water soon where there's nothing tempting to hang on to....  Eeeek!  Alright.  That's all for now.  More later!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Today, I set out to break my time up Snake (a steep 1.5 mile climb up to Skyline Boulevard in Oakland).  My first attempt was just last week and I really went for it from the start, but then lost steam at the top (shooting for under 10 minutes I barely made it in under 12:30 - Oyoyoy!).

Today I was determined to try a new strategy.  I held back the reigns for the first half of the climb (up to Colton) and then really let loose on the last quarter mile (after Thornhill).  This strategy paid off as I shaved 45 seconds off my original time (11:34).  This made me particularly happy because I'm now barely hanging on to the tenth spot out of all the women who have climbed that segment on strava (woohoo!).

I'm already pumped about improving my time next week.  Here are my ideas!
1.  Climb with cleaner lines (cut corners smarter and make straight shots up the squiggles)
2.  Use a nasal decongestant strip (an experienced cyclist recommended this to me for getting more oxygen into my bloodstream - still need to try it!)
3.  Start attacking the hill from Shepard Canyon downhill (this is a little cheap as a tactic, but it will bring my average speed way up if I can get a running start into that first steep climb)
4.  Sprint - slow to fast - sooner (Instead of gunning it and having to back off later, steadily build speed from Thornhill up to 15mph and then stand up to sprint all the way through Colton)

Ohhhh can't wait to do this again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Swimming Milestone #1

Timed 100 @ 1:45ish.  I can also tell the difference between fast and slow in the pool now.  So yay for that.  Haha.

Swimming is by far the area of triathlon racing that I stand to improve the most in a short period of time.  The first real milestone actually may have been a few practices ago where I actually felt like I was *swimming* instead of *not drowning*...  My goals have progressed each week and now just about every time I get in the pool I feel like I'm getting more comfortable and faster (which is the goal - ha!).

Lately, I've been practicing a method called Total Immersion (the site was recommended to me by Coach Chris at the OTC Mills swim workouts), which the basic gist I've gathered is as follows:
1.  Relax the recovery arm (high elbow, but fingertips almost drag along the water's surface before dropping into the water)
2.  Emphasize feeling the surface area of the arm catch the water at a target point in front of shoulder
3.  Kick once at the same time and with the same leg as the entry arm upon entry

Now, this last point is what has helped me the most with my anxiety in the water.  If ever I feel scared like I might drown I just go back to this rhythm (kick and stroke same side just once together!)...  This really helps my body calm down.  I'm not sure what it is about this that actually works, but - for some reason seriously I have no idea why - it calms my whole body down and gives me the confidence I need to keep going.  If my kicking is frantic and I'm gasping for air, I just go back to this easy rhythm (kick and stoke on the same side together).  It brings my heart rate down immediately and I'm able to focus on other things like relaxing my neck and catching the water and rotating my body to take breaths.  Anyways, I'm definitely learning a lot in the pool.  I'm starting to crave harder workouts, but I know I still just need to hit my stride...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

CFO Endurance Running Clinic

On Saturday I went to a running clinic to get more information about the pose method from a coach who has been running the track workouts for OTC since March (Aaron Castillo).  He had some good things to say and some drills that helped the group get faster and possibly prevent some injury.  There was ten of us and we all had a really great time and learned a lot!

Here's what I got out of it (hopefully I'm not butchering the ideology too bad - haha!):
1.  Relax upper body completely (this is a huge challenge for me IN LIFE not just in running)
2.  90 degrees arms (pocket to chin) with loose fists
3.  Pull knee up vertically on recovery
4.  Foot strike directly under center of gravity

Here's a picture of me running using the pose method:

Apparently, it's supposed to be "good form" that my entire body is in the air... and I'm pretty sure it's bad form to run with your eyes closed no matter what.  Eyeye - haha!  :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lakeside Bump

The day after my 32nd birthday, I went on a ride with Billy to get the QOM (queen of the mountain) on the segment Lakeshore to Lakeside Bump in Oakland and it's finally displaying on strava.  Yay!

Because I've been nursing this turf toe I've been riding and swimming a lot more.  I'm getting faster!

Saturday, April 4, 2015


The theme of this week has been "reassess" and what better way to finish it off than with a brand new injury, right?!?!  Hahah... Oh man!  March was shaping up to be so awesome!  I was super satisfied with my new goals sheet when I posted it on Tuesday afternoon and *then* I felt SO GREAT about my performance at track practice Tuesday night.  But - oyoyoy - one day and one little baby recovery ride later and I found myself suffering from a mild case of 'turf toe' on my right foot.  I've been RICE-ing and going easy on it ever since Thursday and there's still no sign of the pain going away any time soon.  Meh.

Okay okay - so, I admit that I may have needed a little reality check...  Maguy discouraged me from double days last year and I've been aware I'm pushing it with these back-to-back bricks on Tuesdays.  So, here I lie, on this couch, in this oh-so-familiar position (with one leg up and tingling in my toes from a tightly wound ace bandage).  Ugh!

For the next few weeks, I'll be fine-tuning my weekly workout routine to avoid a double day.  The problem will be deciding which Tuesday workout to retain!  I've been loving my morning jogs with Vala and the Tuesday evening track workouts with Oakland Triathlon Club (OTC) have been so enjoyable and so intense.  Look!  After doing a mini brick in the morning *and* riding 12 miles to Berkeley I still ran my fastest recorded 400 meter (1:12) and my fastest 1/2 mile (3:16):

So you can see what I mean...  I'd like to keep both workouts in the mix somehow (maybe with one 3 miler day and a 5 miler day?).  Once my foot heels, my plan of attack will be to get some new shoes, and maybe custom orthotics, and ask the OTC track coach about how my form can be improved to avoid reinjury. Alright - that's enough wah wah wah for now - more later!