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!