Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

I'm a true San Diegan through and through. This becomes very apparent at the holidays. While other kids spent their Christmas' playing in the snow, I have very fond memories of playing on the beach with all my cousins.

To this end, we do Christmas trees a little different in my family.

Instead of hiking into the woods to chop down the perfect tree, my Dad goes into the backyard and selects the perfect Christmas palm to decorate. A few red balls and a string of twinkle lights later, I think to myself "It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

December in San Diego!

Just a few pics from my ride today. Luckily all two people who read this blog live in San Diego; so I hopefully won't make anyone jealous...

I'm looking forward to a white "sand" Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Running Away? Or Becoming More Present?

"I have a theory that most endurance athletes are running away from something… when you’re not zoning out during training to endure the pain, you’re too tired to even think about anything else. It’s almost like training can numb those emotional nerve endings."

I read this on a friends blog today and it got me thinking. While this may be the truth for many people, the sport of triathlon has the complete opposite effect for me. I find that training makes me feel more and more alive as the days go on.

First of all let's talk about the physical pain the sport inflicts. We have all felt the burn of the lungs in the pool during a tough session, and the burn of the quads while pedaling up a seemingly endless hill. I'm not sure about others but this is when I become my most present. For me it is very easy to zone out on those long, L2 work-outs. I call this my therapy time and with all the stress I have in my life, I know I need it. It sure is a ton better than spending time and money to sit and chat with some therapist. Give me a bike or running shoes, my Ipod and the open road, and all my problems seem to sort themselves out.

But once I take it up a notch, and the heart rate goes up and pain begins, the focus kicks in. I like feeling that pain; it reminds me that I am alive. I use it to help me take myself to a level I didn't think possible. I am always elated when I finish a work-out that I am sure is going to kill me.

On the emotional side, triathlon has me feeling more emotions than ever before. I'm not just talking about the racing. Sure I've felt some of my highest highs and my lowest lows while racing, but it is the day to day training I'm thinking of. It's the joy I feel when seeing the sun rise over the hills in Mission Trails. It's the peace I feel when taking time out of a cove swim to admire the beauty surrounding me. It's the pride I feel when conquering a really tough ride. It's the frustration I feel when a session does not go the way I want.

I would argue the point that I use triathlon to keep myself from becoming another one of the passionless people that our over-technologed society is creating. Most people in the U.S. today spend more time interacting with their computer, phone, television and other electronic devices than they do interacting with the world around them. They don't know how it feels to have the cool ocean waters glide across their skin or what it sounds like to have the wind rush pass their ears. They have never felt their heart beat so fast it feels like it may pop out of their chest or the shear joy of crossing the finishline of a race and looking up to see that PR. They don't stop to admire the endless beauty of the San Diego coastline or reflect on how their body and mind is becoming stronger on a daily basis.

So the question remains, "Am I running from something?" I'd say probably, but that's my secret! More than that I think I am running towards something...becoming a happier and better me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


So to know me, is to know that I LOVE my TT bike. She is called Speed Racer by those who are close to her. While other people have pictures of their kids and pets as backgrounds on their computers, I have a picture of Speed Racer. But the honest truth is Speed Racer was not my first ride.

People often ask me how I got involved in Triathlon. I had been running a lot in college, and then when I moved to NYC for medical school, I happened to have the three best roommates ever. Two of them were big runners, so we started training for half marathons as a way to relieve stress. I fell in love with running and by my intern year was doing full marathons. I distinctly remember somewhere between mile 20 and 21 of the Rock and Roll Marathon during my intern year thinking, "All this running is totally destroying my body. I gotta find something a little less jarring to do. Maybe I'll look into the triathlon thing. I hear it's big in San Diego."

Fast forward a couple of months to me being on a rotation in the hospital where I worked 8pm to 8am admitting patients from the ER. I was miserable! I decided that it was time to stop thinking about becoming a triathlete and make a move. But I needed a bike. So during those rare calm moments I began to research road bikes. Looking forward to learning how to really ride a bike kept my spirits up during that LONG month.

Basically all my research on road bikes was for not, because in the end a friend hooked me up with a guy he knew at Cal Coast Bikes (I don't shop there anymore, but I do need to give them a shout-out as the guys there were always really helpful!) I tried out a few bikes and settled on one that was in my price range and seemed to fit me well (Honestly I couldn't tell a thing. Just being on a bike felt so foreign at that time.)

So I finished my horrible rotation and bought my bike a few weeks later. First it was little rides around Fiesta Island and up and back on the Coronado Strand. Then I did a beginner ride with TCSD and realized I was not to bad at this cycling thing. Next on to the TCSD Saturday ride, where I really learned how to cycle. Thanks to all those unsuspecting people who let me chase and draft off them, I became stronger and stronger on the bike.

My road bike and I had lots of good times over that first year of my triathlon career. She was with me for my first triathlon and for my first time on the podium. We rode everything from the coast, to GWL, to Mount Laguna. But like all triathletes, I eventually decided I needed a TT bike, and Speed Racer came into my life, and took over as my main ride.

So for the past year and a half, the road bike has been sitting in my garage with flat tires, collecting dust and unfortunately rust in a few spots. Save for a few quick trips to the grocery store, I had not ridden her. Lately I have been doing more serious riding with roadie types who have encouraged me to get back on my road bike. I made a commitment to get the road bike back in shape after my tri season was over this year.

The week after SOMA, I made good on my promise and took the road bike down to Moment Cycle Sport to get fixed up and ready for some off season training. A new saddle, handle bars, bar tape, a stem and new tires and she was ready to go.

Took her out to the GWL to get reacquainted this past weekend. The ride went great and I was more comfortable on the road bike than ever before. Not sure if this is due to the new set-up or my over all better bike handling skills, but I realized my road bike is just not that bad- and she handles awesome descending Lyons Valley!

The last thing to do was name the bike. I have had her for this long, and she was still with out a name. I tossed around a few, mostly things related to her black and yellow color (I'll allow you to figure out some of these) but nothing really seemed to fit.

Back out on the road Thursday, I got to thinking about how much I was enjoying my road bike again, but how she really needed a name. While apoligizing to her for the neglect and treating her like the forgotten step child it came to me... Cinderella! As I see it she was cast aside for the prettier child. Made to collect (sweep) dust while the other got to go out and play, but she never complained. Then a fairy God Mother (Moment Cycle Sport) took her and dressed her up all pretty so she could go to the ball (GWL). Now she is the talk of the town! Hopefully I will meet my prince charming while riding her!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I LOVE Recovery no specific order

10. Wearing something other than Spandex on the weekends (I forgot about some of my cute clothes!)

9. Not having to eat 6 meals a day

8. Saddle sores are properly healing

7. Not smelling like chlorine constantly

6. Eating pancakes on Sunday morning, not just dreaming of eating them while doing my long run

5. Being able to stay awake past 8PM

4. Not always being the first to leave a party

3. Making it to the Farmer's Market before it closes

2. Not having to set my alarm for 4AM

1. Being able to spend quality time with family and friends

Friday, October 30, 2009

SOMA Race Report

I've been in full off-season mode since the second I hit the finish line at SOMA Half this past Sunday, which includes procrastinating on writing my race report, but now the time has come to get back into real life. In the spirit of getting back to reality I hit up the pool for an easy swim this am. Coach said to do what-ever I wanted the next two weeks. No plan, but if I want to run/bike/swim just do it easy. So when she showed up to the pool 5 minutes after me, all she could do was laugh and say "We're both the same...Type A!" Turns out her coach wanted her to take off 2 weeks too, and she made it 4 days. Did I mention my coach placed 2nd at Xterra World Championships in Maui this weekend. I'm so inspired by her! But I digress....

When I signed up for this race back in the summer, I realized it was the same day as my mom's birthday, so I hatched a plan to get my parents to go over with me to Arizona. Just promise my mom a night in a hotel and a fancy dinner out, and she is game. They were actually really excited to watch me race and be my sherpa's for the weekend.

We ended up flying over due to work commitments, and my bike took a ride over from Rick. I was really nervous to have my bike out of my possession for those two days. Speed racer is my baby!

I was able to grab the bike from Rick and get all checked in on Saturday early afternoon. Then it was off to the hotel for a little work-out; 15mins on the treadmill and a few laps in the hotel pool- which was more than interesting. All the guests around the pool seemed fascinated by me swimming back an forth- I think it was about six strokes each way!

Then it was time for the spa. After relaxing some more, the family decided I needed a pasta dinner, so we hit up Marcella's in Scottsdale.

Carbo Loading?

Up early on Sunday and tried to QUIETLY make my race breakfast. 1/2 PB&J, a banana, some chocolate soymilk and a cup of coffee is what I'm liking these days. Then down to the race site.

Despite getting down early, I felt like I had way too little time to do all I needed. Did get in a little warm-up run, but couldn't take the bike out and no pre-swimming allowed. Bummer as I now swear by my pre-race swim warm-up.

As soon as I got on the stairs to enter the water I realized just how disgusting the water is in Tempe Town Lake. Green and very murky. I just prayed I would not swallow too much water and give myself some strange disease.

For some reason I was not nervous at all. I was ready to race. I only had one goal in mind for this race and that was to "WIN!" No, that does not mean to be on the podium or to place in the top of my age group. It meant to do my best and keep a positive attitude no matter how the race played out.

I lined up one row back from the front hoping that would give me a chance to get off well without getting swum over by the fast girls. And we were off!

Had a good swim for me. A little slower than I would have liked, but everyone (except Rachel who had the fastest female swim time, and beat all but 5 guys!) had a slowish swim. I blame the person who felt the need to grab my right foot at least 100 times and all the guys in the wave ahead of me who I had to zig-zag around! But really I felt great, which is all I asked of myself. No panicking... breathing every 4-6 strokes... good sighting... straight line... caught a few drafts. I'll take it as a victory.

I was really excited about the fact that they had wetsuit strippers at this race. I was expecting a super speedy transition, but... So the lady who initially tried to get my wetsuit off couldn't do it, so she called for back-up. Then I had two ladies tugging on the wetsuit to get it over my calfs. It took way too long and I could have had it off much faster, but I'm still thankful to the volunteers who got up early on a Sunday to peel wetsuits laden with gross water off a bunch of crazy people. I did manage to yell "Thank you" as I ran off towards my bike.

Hopped on the bike and sped out of transition. It was the first time I had ever race a flat course, so I was excited to see how fast I could go. Was also the first time I had raced a multiple lap course, so I wasn't sure how that would play with my mind.

Spent the first few minutes settling in to a good pace and heart rate. 56miles is still a long way, so I was trying not to push it too hard at the beginning. I really had to work hard to keep from drafting as the course was packed and narrow. I kept it clean for the most part. The entire ride went pretty much like this: Settle into a good rhythm... Oh no, I'm kind of drafting off that guy/girl in front of me... OK I guess I'll have to pass him/her... Oh no, now I fell like a jerk because I'm not sure if I can sustain this pace with out the draft.... Oh well, that's the person behind's problem now. Sometimes they would pass back, sometimes they would fall off. All in all I did an excellent job of keeping up my membership in

To keep the bike interesting I played a little game with my parents. They did not tell me where they were going to watch the race from as there were a ton of great spectating spots. I had to find them. Lap one was a bit too early for them to be out as my mom stated she was not getting up "at the crack of dawn" on her birthday. Lap two I was determined to find them. Not in the transition area, not on the bridges, not on the far side of the lake, and just as I was coming in for the final lap, there they were at the Hot Corner. "Happy Birthday" I yelled out.

I can honestly say that all of my hard work training on the bike this year really paid off. I felt awesome on the bike. My heart rate stayed right where I wanted, my legs felt fresh from start to end and I had a pretty fast time. The weather was perfect. The best part was that I was smiling and even laughing almost the entire time.
The course flew by and before I knew it I was headed back into transition. I was so surprised to be back so soon, that I forgot to do my little mental prep that I always do before T2. Usually I go through all the steps I need to take in T2, but I was rapidly approaching the dismount line and I had to get my feet out of the shoes.

Bike on rack... Bike stuff off... Run stuff on... Gels and Salt up shorts. Away I go!

I was ready for this run. I'd been doing a ton of bricking this season and my running was going great. As soon as I got off the bike all I knew was I had to pee. OK, I could deal with that. It's a good sign that I'm hydrated. Just look for the nearest port-a-potty. So some people didn't look for a port-a-potty and were penalized for "Indecent exposure!"

There it was, just up a short hill. As I charged up the hill all of a sudden I was over come with sharp cramps in both my quads. Crap! I have not cramped in a race for two years. Why now? What could I do to make them go away? Figured I should start taking more salt tabs and maybe sitting to pee would help.

Back on the course my quads continued to be cramped up. Think sharp knives into the quads with each step. Tried my best to keep up the pace, but could barely extend my legs. The pain was extreme. I was reduced to running for as long as possible and then stopping to stretch. NOT the way I wanted this run to go. I was frustrated to say the least. Tried to keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward.

Later rather than sooner I found my way to the finish line. I had left everything I had in me out on that race course and was exhausted! All I wanted to do was lay down.

In the end I have mixed emotions about this race. It was the last race of my season, and I wanted to make it my best. The leg cramps seriously de-railed that plan. I have spent a bunch of time going over what I could have done to prevent the cramps and have ideas of what I need to do next season to prevent it from happening again. On the positive side I had a great swim and a fabulous bike. More important than anything I gave it my all and had a really fun time. I'll be back next season. Now it's time for some off season resting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Already?

Sometime a few weeks ago, I realized summer was officially over and fall had begun. I tried to hold it off as long as possible, but now I have resigned to the fact that the weather has definitely changed and the holiday's are rapidly approaching. I must admit, I love the feeling of the air in fall! Makes me miss living on the East Coast, but I get over that real fast when I remember the cold and snow.

Things have been crazy busy lately (note the lack of posts), but I have been having a ton of fun. Some of the highlights of the past month have been...

San Diego Triathlon Classic
The inaugural San Diego Triathlon Classic hosted by Moment Cycle Sport was last weekend. People kept asking me if I was doing it, and I had to tell them it was not on my race schedule. Honestly I was scared to race again after my pathetic attitude towards Santa Barbara. I thought for sure I only had one more race left in me and I would have to save that for SOMA. Well, about a week out from SD Tri my coach gets the great idea that both should do the tri since it is local and would make for a great training race. When I found out that a ton of my friends including Jen, Murray, Kris, Jay and Paul were doing it, not to mention all those volunteering, I was in. Had not seen some of my friends in way too long!

This race was just like a huge club race to me, which I think helped a ton mentally. I did not taper, gave my "race plan" no thought and threw my stuff together in a frenzy the night before. My race strategy was to have as much fun as possible while seeing how hard I could push my body now.

The swim was interesting from the time I put my feet in the water to warm up. Realized the sun would just be barely coming up as we went off, and I had tinted goggles. Duh! No idea of the swim course, except that it was an out and back. Figured I would not be in the lead anyhow, so I could just follow the people in front of me. Got off well, but still felt like I was struggling on the swim. As usual, I was praying the whole time not to drown and to be out of the water NOW!

The bike was the best part of the race. Took us up a "killer hill" through the sub base and out to Cabrillo. OK, so after hearing how hard the hill was, I was totally underwhelmed. I was riding mostly among the guys, and had a ton of fun dropping as many as possible. Too bad the singlets weren't ready yet!

The run was nice and flat. Unfortunately part was on a narrow dirt path, which made it hard to really open up the stride. Looking at my watch I got really excited when I saw the time as I approached the finish chute. Thought this would be a 10K PR by a lot... until I heard the course was 1/2 mile short!

In the end, the girls had a good day. We all (Jen, Kris, Lesley and I) all ended up on the podium!

I Like To Ride My Bicycle!
I've been getting a lot of good riding in lately. I'm not sure if I'm getting any faster, but I'm having a great time. I've been riding with some roadie type guys who sort of adopted me into their group. I'm pretty sure they just like having me around to have someone to make fun of, but laughing the entire way around the GWL is good by me! I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time riding with them in the fall, and getting back on my road bike so I can stop hearing how I'm going to skewer someone.

I've done a few Palomar ascents... some awesome and some sucked. Just a matter of what state my body and mind were in on the day. It never gets easier. And riding the coast still makes me happy, but more and more I get freaked out I am going to be hit by a car. But who can resist those ocean views?

Sure I'm Sponsored...It's Called a Job!
Work gets busier and busier as the days go by. We've had one doc leave the practice and another on maternity leave, so I have been given some extra responsibility. It's great, but leaves me exhausted by the end of the day. I've met some great patients lately and seen some really interesting things. I'm amazed day after day the strange things people come to the doctor for, and have to continuously remember to keep the laughter to myself. Just as long as no one gives me their cold or flu, I'm happy! Loading up on the vitamins before SOMA.

This Is Not The AIDS Walk Ladies
Or so my friend Tim would say when he wants Jen and I to run faster. So it wasn't exactly the AIDS Walk, but it was the AIDS 10K. Have been working a ton on my running speed lately, so I decided to enter a local 10K to see how fast I could run. Was one of the best races of my season. Cheap race entry, lots of entertainment, great post-race food and a very festive atmosphere. Ended up having a great run too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Open Letter to My Coach

Dear Coach,

Oh yeah... I see how it is. You finally got tired of listening to me whine about how I want to become more efficient in the swim, more powerful on the bike and faster on the run. So now you are going to make me work for it.

This new block of training started off with a killer bike. I thought getting up at 4:15am to get on the trainer would be the most painful part, but I was wrong. It only took about 20 minutes for my quads to start screaming. At several points the legs tried to quit on me; I had to consciously remember to keep pedaling. I was SO happy when the intervals were done, until I noticed the "extra credit" at the end of it all.

You ordered me back to the pool on Tuesday. I bailed on Masters and did a version of the sets you wanted me to. I was feeling pretty good on the first set and was even getting some rest. Unfortunately holding that pace over the next 1800 yards was more than challenging. When I thought I couldn't take one more stroke, I had to finished off with sprints. This left me with burning lungs and tingling, noodle like extremities. I could barely get myself out of the pool at the end and was staggering like a drunk person as I walked to the locker room.

Next up you had a little run for me. This was similar to a run you had given me earlier in the season, which had proved very challenging. I was stoked to redeem myself. An hour and a half later, I was over-heated, dripping with sweat, nauseous yet starving and left wondering if I would be able to walk the next day. The good news is I only threw-up once this time!

Back in the pool again. This time I stuck to Masters. The work-out didn't look too bad on the board, but I was wrong. It must have been the combination of swimming in a lane with one swimmer who moved down from lane 1 to "take it easy," two ladies with fins on and the 82degree water that left me dizzy and sweating in the pool. If that wasn't enough, I finished the morning off with your killer core session. At the end of it all, I was so hypoglycemic, I couldn't drive home. Had to go across the street to Starbucks and eat until I could once again think straight.

So here I sit contemplating my workout schedule for the rest of the week and exactly what I did to make you torture me so. As far as I can figure there are only a few explainations...

1. I am getting too big of a head these days and you have decided to show me how a real triathlete (like yourself) trains.

2. You are trying to help me cure my insomnia issues through pure exhaustion.

3. You have bought stock in Costco and are trying to give me a Costco sized appetite (it's working!).

4. You have heard that I never cry, and you have made it your mission to get me to cry like a little girl.

5. You are in collaboration with my friends and family to try to get rid of the endless amounts of energy I seem to have.

6. You are actually a top-secret Scottish agent working on new forms of torture.

All I can say at this point is THANKS! I look forward to the pain you will be inflicting over the next several weeks.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Santa Barbara Triathlon...and much more!

So I have the best group of triathlon friends who are always up for a fun adventure. When I decided to do the Santa Barbara Triathlon this year, I had seven friends jump on board for a weekend in SB. Last year we all went up to Big Kahuna and had a blast in our crazy rental house; so we decided to try to repeat the fun times at this race.

We all headed up to SB on Friday morning. Being triatheles we made it to Camarrillo before we had to stop for food. Mike and I decided sushi would make a great pre-race meal. Too bad the all-you-can-eat sushi deal was not going on, because we could definately gotten our money's worth! When the lady told us to come back on Monday we almost made a reservation.

The condo Tina found was great, and we made quick work of filling it with bikes, tri gear and of course lots of food! It definately reminded me of my college days as we tried to figure out how to best arrange 8 people into two beds and three air mattresses.

The boys were in charge of the pre-race dinner, so we headed out to "Lazy Acres" a Whole Foods/Jimbo's type store. I am really glad I don't live near, as I think I would have trouble keeping myself out (did end up there 3 times over the course of the weekend!) Everything looked so good, and so healthy, just like I like it. The boys ended up making an awesome pasta dinner with garlic bread and salad. Then to bed early-ish.

Pre-Race: Up EARLY to eat and get ready to go down to the race. I love getting ready with other triatheles in the house; the energy is great. "Who's having oatmeal?" "Do you think we'll need arm warmers?" It really helped me get my mind into this race.

Got to transition pretty early as the guys had early waves. Open racking, but luckily not too many girls there yet. I was able to get a spot three bikes from the end. Then I turned into super-bitchy tri girl when I told the chick next to me that she couldn't take up both sides of her bike with transition stuff. I really did not mean to be bitchy, but it was early and I was nervous, so the words just came out of my mouth. I'm sure she didn't like me too much.

Set-up transition and fussed with my bike some. The race directors announced over and over that anyone who tossed, dropped or launched a water bottle would be immediately DQ'ed. I was really nervous as I have been launching bottles all over SD county lately. Did some last minute Macguivering to make sure the bottles would stay-put. Thanks to the boys who lent me all types of tape and a few spare hair rubberbands, I was set to go.

Got in a great little warm-up run and a few strides to get the leg fully warmed-up. Not too polite to the TCSD guy who yelled at me to "Save it for the race!" while I did my strides. As I got back to transition they were shouting they were going to close transition. Of course I fell for this AGAIN and rushed to get on my wetsuit and out.

Down at the water they were giving another pre-race talk. Again they were going on and on about no bottle dropping and then they started in on how people DIE on this course. Oh yeah... that puts me in the mood to race.

I hopped in the water for a warm-up swim and was completely unprepared for how cold it was going to be. I have become such a wuss with the warm water in SD, that I was in shock. My face froze and my breath was taken away. I reminded myself that I have swam in water colder than this before. Just kept swimming up and down the shoreline and finally got nice and warm.

Swim: Like always it was super crowded the start. Luckily it was only about 200 yard to the first buoy where we turned. I knew it would thin out from there. Focused on keeping calm until that first buoy. Didn't get knocked around too much.

Once we started up the coast, I tried to grab onto some feet. I really suck at this. I have no awareness in the water. I can never tell if the feet I jump on are going too slow or if they are even going the right direction. Not too sure how long I lasted trying to draft, but eventally I ventured off on my own. Then I got worried about swimming off course. By sighting I felt like I was headed straight for the buoy, but then I could see a ton of people to my far right. Were they inside the buoy line? Was I off course? Like Don said, it would be nice to have a little GPS that tracked you so you could go back and see your exact course. I am pretty sure I was all over the place.

T1: Ran hard out of the water and focused on getting the wetsuit off ASAP. It came off smooth this time, for which I was grateful; but I had used a TON of BodyGlide!

I really think this is where the race turned around for me, at least in my mind. I ran it hard into T1 passing people all the way. I will never understand why people saunter into T1. It's a race... the whole thing!

Bike: Hopped on my bike and knew I had only a few miles to settle in before the hills hit. Legs were certainly not feeling fresh. I had three pretty tough weeks leading up to this race, including a time trial up Palomar just five days before, and only a two day mini-taper. Quads were begging for mercy but I knew they would come around in time. Just put my head down and let my legs take over. Now I was excited!

Up and over the first of many hills in no time flat. Then came the big descent... the one people "die" on! I know myself and I knew I would be pretty aggressive. Unfortunately I did not have that opporunity as it was an open course and I got stuck behind a yellow Xterra who did not want anyone to pass on this narrow stretch of road. I watched as a bunch of guys tried and some succeded in passing the Xterra, but I decided not to risk it. I'd rather finish a bit slower than be taken off the course in an ambulance.

In the valley I formed a group with four guys. None of us were drafting per-se, but I was definatley feeling the beneficial effects of having big men infront of me. Out of nowhere came a chick on a pink and black bike yelling something. She passed us all and then the guys jumped on her wheel. It was pretty funny watching four big men draft off a small girl in pink.

We hit the next set of hills, and our little group thinned out. It rapidly became clear that my new girlfriend was strong in the hills, so I made it my mission to keep up with her. She was not in my AG so I figured this was a fair race strategy. I did a great job until I had to move my bottles around (read: deal with all that tape and rubberbands I had used in transition) and she dropped me. I thought she was gone for good. Finished off the hills pretty much alone and was really into my groove by then.

As I rode the flats between the hilly sections I looked ahead and who did I see but my new girlfriend. I am pretty sure she was not as happy to see me as I was to see her. We traded back and fourth a bit and then hit the last set of hills. This time I was not going to loose her.

Once out of the hills there were some good flats back to transition. The quads were finally happy and ready to run. I was happy as I had dropped TONS of boys! Trying to keep up my membership in

T2: For some reason I was all confused in T2 ( I have coined an new medical term: race induced dementia) Everything was laid out as always, but I couldn't quite figure out what to do with it all. Forgot to take my helmet off, and was confused why my visor would not go on. Got that sorted out, but left without my race belt and number. Whoops.

Run: Legs feeling surprisinlgy great after a killer bike. Settled into a nice pace and ran like I know how. Realized about 5min out that I had forgotten my race belt. Spent a lot of time trying to figure-out how not to get a DQ for that one. Lots of great excuses came to mind.

Wound our way through the harbor and then up the only big hill. Someone had written inspirational messages on the hill which were awesome! Helped me push up it for sure.

Once we crested the hill it was some flat and then a gradual uphill out to the turn around. This is where it got gnarly for me. Stomach was hurting like it never has before. Not sure what the problem was.. I think it was a combo of things. Could not get anything in! Ended up doing the entire 10 miles on 1 shot block and two sips of water.

Despite the stomach problems I was feeling really good and keeping up a strong pace. Saw all of my race buddies looking awesome!

The last mile was sheer will to keep the legs turning over. Saw Mike about 3/4 of a mile out. I croaked "How much further?" He tried to explain where the finish was but I continued to be demented and could not understand. I told him it was time to pick-up the pace and he ran me to the chute. Took it in hard the last 200m to the finish.

Everything at the finish was pretty much a blur until I made my way over to the food tent and got some calories in. Next stop, an ocean soak. After complaining about the cold ocean earlier in the morning, I was really happy about the temperature several hours later. Ended up going in twice!

Watched all my friends come across the finish with big smiles and then headed home to the condo for some R&R before a big night out on the town in SB and wine tasting the next day..... That's for another post though.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation Rocks!

After a busy first half of 2009, it was time for a vacation! I can hardly believe that I have been at my job for a year now and I had not taken vacation. When I was invited to go to Hawaii with my friend Kristin for our mutual friend Molly's wedding, I jumped at the chance.

Classic Waikiki Photo!

View from Our Hotel Room

View the Other Direction... Equally Pretty!

This hotel looks so serene from the photo, but I promise it was full of screaming children and Japanese tourists. Needless to say we did not spend much time there.

Deciding where to eat was probably the hardest decision we had everyday.

The wedding was beautiful. They held it at the Royal Hawaiian (aka "The Pink Palace" as dubbed by Kristin and I) in Waikiki.

Molly and Jason and Family

I don't think they could have asked for a better day or setting for the wedding reception!

The traditional Lion Dance.

Once he wedding was over, the real relaxing began. As Kristin grew-up on Oahu, she knows all the best beaches. My favorite is Kailua. Warm, blue water. White sand. No tourists. It doesn't get much better than that.

This paddle boarding thing is really popular. I wish we would have had the chance to try it out.

Ko Olina. The word on the street is that Disney is planning on building a resort here... Bummer! Right now it is a pretty unknown stretch on the north side of the island.

Kristin and I had been taking about MaiTai's at the Halikulani for months. They're the best on the island! We were not disappointed.

So Pretty! And So Tasty!

I was supposed to be resting from my training while on vacation, but when we heard about a 4th of July trail run 10K on this gorgeous ranch, we couldn't resist. It was great to experience a local race. Very low key. Those cones are the finish chute. It was like a TCSD race, Island-style.

Who could resist running through this beautiful area? Not me for sure!

The race director sporting her WonderWoman Splish suit. Kristin swears she is getting me one for my birthday.... but I have to promise to wear it to Masters. Like I don't get made fun of enough at Masters, this would sure do it!

The podium. Like I said... really low key.

After all of hard work at the race, it was time to meet up for a 4th of July picnic and to watch fireworks. This picture does it no justice, but we had enough food to feed a small army! All local which was the best part.

Instead of fireworks; In Hawaii they just have rainbows....

After spending all week eating, it was time to eat some more. Kristin's long time family friends invited us over for "Mr. Mike's Mai Tai's" and sushi. The Mai Tai's were awesome, but that second on did me in... I think Mr. Mike made it a bit strong!

The infamous Mr. Mike. His house has the best view on Oahu!

Why does vacation have to come to an end so fast?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tour de Counrty Store

**Before you even start reading this post I need to put the disclaimer that Jen's blog about this ride totally rocks, so you should probably save yourselves time and just read her post. But none-the-less, I have to give my own account of our epic ride.

Somehow I ended up with an extra day off work after my vacation to Hawaii. Any sane person would use it as a day to relax and catch-up on laundry, etc, but I promptly called Jen to see if she wanted to ride. We never get to ride together mid-week due to my less than flexible work schedule, so this was going to be a real treat!

Jen has been adding a lot lately to her already super strong base, so I was worried about holding her back. She assured me she was not rested. I came to find out that was code for, "I rode a double Great Western really fast the day before!" Well at least she wouldn't hurt me too bad, I figured. My only excuse for being slow was that I had been lying on a beach drinking and eating for the past week.

We both love the GWL, so a plan was hatched to meet at the Starbucks. I showed up only half awake to be greeted by Jen who was raring to go. I just prayed my coffee would kick in sometime soon.

The beginning of the ride flew by as we had a lot to catch-up on. We tackled every subject from how our training was going, to interesting work cases, to what new things Jen had cooked and baked for Tim, to any new gossip we had heard. Before I knew it we were already climbing "the wall." Being the occasional dumb-blond that I am, I actually had to ask Jen "Is this the wall?" She just gave me a look and took off up it. I guess she figured if I wasn't hurting bad enough to know it was the wall and I could still talk, she would show me how a real cyclist climbs.

We were both lured off the loop and into Descanso by thoughts of ice-cold Double Shot Espressos. Little did Jen know I was riding with only two dollars in my pocket as I had spent my cash on Malasadas and Shave-Ice before boarding a plane back to San Diego. Carb Loading? So what started out as a friendly ride, soon turned into a bad date for Jen, who had to pay my way at every country store along the way.

I am not sure if it was the heat or the large amount of caffeine we had consumed or what, but the next thing I knew Jen and I came up with a plan to tackle the Laguna Loop. We both maintain that our bikes made us do it! They love riding together.

Off we headed towards Pine Valley, without a map, and a somewhat vague idea of how we were going to get where we wanted to go. Jen assured me that we could always use her I-phone to look at the route... but soon enough we found she had no service. It was then we began listing all of the people we could call if one of us blew-up; I was placing bets on myself to be the first to be lying on the side of the road in a pile. Luckily I was riding with a superstar ICU nurse, who could perform some BLS, ACLS, ATLS or just pour water and Gu down my throat until I perked up.

The sights and smell of the mountains lured me up Sunrise Highway. All the way up boring Jen with my stories of family camping trips and summer camp experiences in the Laguna Mountains. I've had a lot of good times in those mountains and this was definately another day full of memories. I find it funny how I used to think it was SO far from our house in central San Diego to the Lagunas. I would honestly pack like I was going to be gone for a year and snacks in the car were a must... I guess some things never change! Yet this day I had covered the majority of the distance on my bike, with snacks still abounding.

Next stop the Laguna Store. Both of us must have been a bit bonky at that time, as we promptly parked our bikes on the porch right under the "No Bikes on the Porch" sign. Classic!

I had somehow convinced Jen that popsicles on the top of Laguna would be awesome; my plan to trick her into buying me a popsicle worked! We chatted with some guys in the store as I continued to reminisce about my childhood. One of the guys mentioned how suprised he was by how fast we had climbed Sunrise Highway. Thanks random mountain-man for helping expand our egos and lighting a fire under us to get our bikes and ourselves off the porch and back riding. Without you we may have just sat up on top of the mountain taking and eating popsicles until dark.

It was a good thing that we filled our bellies with popsicles, water, G2(I think Jen should be sponsored by them. She would make a great spokesmodel!) and energy bars, because as we reached the summit the wind began to blow. It would have been one thing if it were a headwind or even better a tailwind, but no it was a crosswind trying it's best to blow us right off the road and into Anza Borrego Desert. I love my super light-weight Guru, but this one time I was wishing I had one of those old-school heavy bikes. I looked up the road to see a gust blow Jen sideways towards a steep drop-off. If riding with her was not enough to get my heart-rate up, that did it! How would I explain to Tim that I lost her over the side of a cliff? I could hear myself trying to explain how she just blew off like a little kite. All I can say is that girl needs to keep it up with the cookies!

Next up was the Lake Cuyamaca Store. Yep... that's #3 for those of you who are counting! Not too memorable, but I am still confused by the duck sign...

All of our hard work had finally paid off and we got a nice long ride down the 79 to Descanso, and of course we stopped at the store to fuel up some more!

The back side of the GWL turned a bit ugly for me. The heat was killer and I know Jen could tell I was struggling. She just kept telling me funny stories which I could only half listen to. I just had to focus on not falling off my bike and having to get picked-up by the TCSD Cares van. I really think triathlete road-side assistance would be a good use of that van between all of the races.

Just when I thought I was destined to turn into a big piece of beef jerky, we arrived at the Lyon Valley store. We were exhuberantly greeted by my new BFF David and his slobbering dogs. I was really in no mood to deal with a very hyper little boy and his dog who felt the need to lick all of the salt off my legs, but this stop turned out to be a highlight of the day. David insisted that we needed a card to enter the store. Jen got to pick and it said "ENERGY!" We were both giddy with excitement; just what we needed.

For some reason, David decided this card should be thrown away, but Jen pretty much tackled him to get it back. We needed that card to get us home, oh yeah and several bottle of cold water apiece.

We were able to hammer it home from there; riding high on pride from tackling the "Loop of Doom." In true Jen form, as soon as we hit the parking lot she had changed into a super cute outfit and was providing me with a post ride PB&H sandwich. All I could do was lean against my car staring at my Garmin... 104miles... 7:20 of riding... Sweet!

Monday, June 29, 2009

SDIT Race Report

This was the race that almost didn’t happen for me, due to my procrastination in signing-up, but in the end I was able to scrounge up an entry… and I’m so glad I did!

The week prior to the race had been a really hard one which left me feeling beaten down by Friday night. Decided to do the cove swim for some salt water therapy. It felt awesome to do an easy swim out to the ¼ mile buoy and just float out there taking in the beautiful views… and watch a somersault competition!

Saturday would have been a great day to relax, but I had to work the expo; pimped myself out for that race entry! Too much sun… too much on the feet! Just drank as much water as possible. To make matters worse, I slept horribly on Saturday night. I think in total I slept 3 hours. I was really nervous. People kept telling me how good I was going to do, how I was going to podium, blah, blah…., which really played with my mind. I would so much rather race invisible. Just want to go out and do my best and not worry about how that places me, but I know others are watching!

Last year at this race my head was up my ass the entire time, so decided this year my only goal was to be focused on the race. To this end I had a theme/mantra for each portion.

Race Morning: “Prepare like a Pro” Up early to eat, and my new favorite thing, spin on the trainer at home. It is so much easier than trying to take the bike out at the race site. Ended up getting really stressed-out prior to the race due to parking issues (pretty much just made my own spot and hope I wouldn’t get towed!), and having to set-up my bike stuff in transition, as the bike had to be there over night. Luckily I had taken my bike down early Saturday so I had a prime transition spot. Got in my warm-up run with Darrell, who is so great to talk to pre-race; he always has such encouraging things to say! Diverged from Darrell and spent some time running alone to clear my mind and get focused on what I needed to do.

Then on with the wetsuit and down to check-out the course and get in my warm-up swim. Did a nice warm-up swim which I am now realizing is key to having a good swim. Keeps me from feeling like my wetsuit is too small. Timed it so that I finished my warm-up a few minutes prior to our wave start and then just swam over to the start.

Swim: “Swim like a Fish” Lined up front and center. All the fast girls were crammed over to the right along the buoy line, but I decided it would be worth the short extra distance to start the swim by swimming at a bit of an angle into the first buoy then taking it straight up and back along the buoys. This worked out wonderfully. Had a clear path from the horn to the end with the exception for a few stragglers from the waves in front of me. Still haven’t figured-out the drafting thing.

T1: “Get the Hell out of Transition”-Part 1 My biggest complaint about this race is the transition area situation. The women’s transition is terrible for the swim in, OK for the bike out and in, and sucks for the run out. I like running, but all that barefoot running on concrete is painful! Secondly they have VIP racking up front and center for teams and people who pay extra. There are honestly girls who beat me strictly due to their transitions. With that said, I had a pretty good transition. Trouble getting the wetsuit off my arms again. I’ll just keep telling myself that it is because my arms are getting so muscular from all the swimming…

Bike: “Try Harder” Hopped on my bike and settled in quickly. Have the advantage of knowing the course pretty well and loving hills. Started dropping people, especially lots of boys right away, which lit a fire in me. Kept in my mind to constantly be trying just a bit harder than I was at that moment. This was good to focus on as I found myself taking in the beautiful views from time to time. Had to remind myself I was racing. Sight-see another day!

Half way on my first trip out to Cabrillo I got passed by a girl in my AG with her name on her shorts. I figured if she was special enough to have her name on her ass, she was probably good enough to drop me.

My favorite moment was dropping some guy, who then started peddling really hard, got about ten feet in front of me and then totally blew-up. I had to refrain from making a “Got Chicked” comment as I passed him back.

T2: “Get the Hell out of Transition” -Part 2 Finally got the feet out of shoes/shoes still on bike without falling off the bike thing right today. Grabbed my run stuff and off I went.

Run: “Run like You Know How”
Legs felt awesome straight away off the bike. Maybe this means I should have been pushing it harder on the bike or else all the bricking is paying off... I’ll take the later. Settled into a nice pace right away and just tried to enjoy the ride.

I passed a bunch of people on the run, but unfortunately at about mile 4 a girl came flying past me. She made me look like I was standing still! I looked to see if she was in my AG but she had no body marking on. I could only figure she was in my AG due to her race number, but really the race induced stupidity had already set in.

I was hurting a bit so I decided to try to entertain myself. First I tried focusing on my form, but that got boring quick. Then I tried singing to myself, but could only think of really annoying songs, so I went to my gold standard; counting in multiple languages. That always works to get me to focus.

Once we entered Seaport Village I picked-up the pace. Unfortunately it was further to the end than I expected as the course was changed from last year and I failed to look at the course map. Running out of energy but pushed to the end; the cheering crowds helped.

All in all, I’m super happy with my race. Third place in my AG is great! More importantly I took over six minutes off my time from last year. Best of all I felt great the entire day, kept my head in the game for the whole race and had a blast hanging out with friends!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So I had a new addition to my office on Monday... a coffee maker! This could be really bad for me. I love coffee but it makes me really hyper. So the coffee pot stays on a trial basis...

I never really drank coffee until I went to Medical School. Between the very cold winters and the late night and early morning studying I became a fan. Let's just say I spent a lot of time studying in coffee shops all over Manhattan, so I drank my fair share. It even got to the point where the shop owner of the little market at the end of my block knew exactly how I took my coffee, and often had it ready before I had a chance to order. Residency was more sleepless nights than I want to remember, so the coffee kept flowing.

Lately I had been trying to cut back. I only keep decaf at my house now, but there is always a pot brewing at work. Often I am the one who is begging for the coffee to be made as I drag myself into the office after an early am workout.

This coffee maker is now on it's third home in the office. When I first started it was in the central administrative area, but the admin decided no more food or drinks out in the office. Then it moved to an empty office, but now someone is taking that over. Knowing my addiction to the caffeinated stuff, the nurses asked me if I would be able to provide a home for our little friend. I almost said no, as I was having visions of me drinking cup after cup and bouncing around the office. But then that would mean no coffee at all, and I can't have that. So it has come to live in my office, as far away from me as possible.

The some-what nerdy, Type A, evidence based doctor in me decided that it would be a good idea to research the benefits of coffee drinking; mostly as to allow myself the addiction without guilt. Here is what I found:

"Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders." OK that may be a little too much for me, but I say stay away from the cream and the sugar for sure and it may be true!

"At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk." So you mean to tell me I can either have the jitters from the caffeine or get tremors when I'm older... I'll keep drinking!

"The remarkable thing is that a simple cup of coffee appears to have more effect on preventing Alzheimer's than the expensive pharmaceuticals currently being used to treat the disease." I've got a strong family history of Alzheimer's, so I'll keep enjoying my morning cup.

"A research team at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has shown that a combination of exercise and some caffeine protects against the destructive effects of the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation, known to induce skin cancer." I'm not as good as I should be at wearing sunscreen, so another reason to drink up.

"Coffee has numerous health benefits, and the amount of antioxidants it delivers can make a significant contribution to your fight against the damaging effects of free radicals in your body." Any help I can get on limiting the amount of damage to my body I'll take.

"It's also caffeine that makes java a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance... So powerful, in fact, that until recently, caffeine in coffee or other forms was deemed a "controlled" substance by the Olympic Games Committee, meaning that it could be consumed only in small, designated amounts by competing athletes.
That (caffeine) may include signaling you to ignore fatigue or recruit extra units of muscle for intense athletic performance. Caffeine may even have a direct effect on muscles themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction." Heck yeah! This is why I have made coffee a part of my pre-race breakfast! Even works better if you cut out all caffeine about 2 weeks prior and then have a cup on race day.

So for now, Mr. Coffee and I will share an office. I will have to employ some strong will power to keep the consumption under control, but I am looking forward to all the "health benefits" my morning cup of coffee will bring me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Getting Stupid

When reading triathlon "literature" (AKA Triathlete Mag, SlowTwitch, and other peoples blogs) there is a lot of discussion about that fine line between just enough training and over-training. I have worried a lot about this recently, as this season I have increased not only my training time, but also the intensity. People say that when you are reaching that overtraining point, things start to happen like insomnia, lack of appetitie, moodiness, etc. I am not saying I haven't experienced any of these (just talk to my family about the moodiness!), but the one thing that keeps coming up is that I'm getting really STUPID!

Here is a list of some of the stupid things I have managed to do in the past month:

- Lost my cell phone for a good 24hours. Convinced it was gone, I had already looked into replacing it. On the way to the Verizon store, my Dad tried calling my phone, and there it was... in the car.

- I keep taking the wrong off-ramps on the freeway and making wrong turns on well know routes. Twice I have even gone the wrong way when driving from work to my house, something I do everyday. Half the time I forget where it is I'm going!

- I keep turning in half completed forms at work.

- I set out on a ride only to realize a mile in, I didn't have my car keys. When I got back to the car, they were there, hanging in the trunk.

- I left an entire load of groceries in my car, overnight. Let's just say a bunch of things had to be thrown away.

- I crashed my car into the side of my garage. Luckily the garage was not damaged and my car only scratched.

- I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get my back wheel off my bike, something I've done countless times. Took it to Moment Cycle Sport (they rock and didn't laugh in my face!) where they easily popped it off.

Looking back on all these things, it seems really funny, but at the time I was NOT amused. My biggest fear is doing something stupid at work. Really... someone could get hurt if I don't watch it!

Please someone tell me I'm not alone in Training Induced Stupidity!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Double D and Double R

Double D: Del Dios x2! Dirty and Damp!

Saturday as usual was excited for a long ride. Unfortunately I had not been able to find anyone to ride with. The usual suspects were either on an off day, injured or didn't want to ride long. I was looking to do a hilly ride; GWL would have been my preference but I'm not comfortable riding out there alone, so I decided the Del Dios loop would be the second best. When I was trying to figure out which way is better to go, I came up with the crazy idea that I should do it both ways and find out for myself.

Despite weather reports, it didn't look too wet out to me, so I headed out in the car into the May Gray. As I got further West the "rain" began to fall. Now I put rain in quotes because what was falling was what people from most parts of the country would call mist or heavy fog, but for this San Diego girl, it was the real deal. Had momentary thoughts of turning around and heading East, but convinced myself that if I rode East it would be dry. Let's just say I was wrong! About 20 minutes in I was soaked and my feet were squishing and swimming in my bike shoes. Very gross feeling! Decided that this ride was all about building character... or else I'm just crazy. I was thinking more the later when I realized that there were very few cyclists out on a road that is usually packed on a Saturday. Still convinced that the rain was going to stop and the sun would make an appearance.

Before I knew it I was heading into Harmony Grove. Super excited to see they had repaved the road; smooth ride! So nice to not be bouncing around. And not too many of those aggressive drivers in their huge trucks trying to run me off the road. The only problem was I would get all excited that the rain had stopped, and then it would start again.

Had a cold and wet descent out to the coast, rearranged my stuff and headed back the other way. Stopped for water at the little church and it was there that I realized I was filthy and my bike even more filthy! Looked like I had been mountain biking!

In the end, I still have no idea which way is better; both have merits. Highlights of the ride were trying a new gel product and finally finding something that I think I may be able to tolerate after years of trying everything out there... Honey Stingers! Also remembering that solo rides are actually quite fun!

Double R: Rock and Roll! Running Relay!
The Rock and Roll Marathon had a relay this year, and when one of my colleagues heard about it, he not only convinced a bunch of us to form a team, but also he got the company to pay for it and buy us (very ugly!) team shirts. As I'm trying to keep my running miles down this season due to a nagging leg injury, this was a great opportunity for me. A training run with aid, cheering crowds, bands and 18000 running partners... what could be better? All the fun of a marathon without all the pain!

Luckily my relay leg turned out to be the third, which meant I could sleep in! Actually watched the start on TV while drinking coffee. Took the trolley to Fashion Valley and headed up to cheer on the runners. The plan was for me to pick-up Jen and run her to my transition spot as a warm-up. She told me she would be running with the 3:40 pace group and there she was, right behind the guy with the sign. Unfortunately there were a million other people in the pack, so I had to push and shove my way to get to Jen. She looked great and was running strong. I knew at that point she was on her way to a Boston qualifying time!

All too quickly I was at my transition and had to send Jen on her way. Luckily not too far behind was my relay partner. He handed off the baton, an annoying wooden drumstick, and I was off. I took it out fast and felt bad as I passed tons of people. It brought me back to Wildflower and how irritated I was by the relay runners passing me. I decided at WF that the relay runners were cheaters and now I was being a BIG cheater myself. Felt bad taking aid and having people cheer me on. Had to just focus on my pace goals and keep the heart rate under control.

My leg was only 8 miles, which was shorter than what was on the plan for the day. So once I passed off the baton to my teammate, I ripped off the timing chip and kept on going. Didn't want to get my team DQ'ed by getting timed for two legs. Ended up being able to finish the run and through the finish chute. In the end it made for a nice long training run.

Afterwards I met up with my teammates, who were all smiles. It was awesome seeing how excited they were. They kept talking about next year and how they were going to train harder. I just love what endorphins do to people.