Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

I feel like 2012 was finally a good year! It seems like the first time in a long time where I wasn't reflecting on the end of the year and thinking "phew, glad that one is over!" While there were lots of challenges this year, we seem to be ending the year in a good place and for that I am very thankful.

I PR'd in every running distance I raced this year, I did my first duathlon and triathlon this year, so it was a very exciting year for me. I hope next year is as much fun as I continue to try and balance being a wife and Mom and making time for my hobbies.

As 2012 comes to a close here are my stats for the year.

Swim: 39,666 yards (yay for a new sport this year!)
Bike: 536 miles
Run: 310 miles

For a total of 125 hours.

Dam Run 10k - January 2012
Oakland Running Festival 5k - March 2012
Diva's Half Marathon - 19 minute PR
Diva's Half Marathon May 2012
Daffodil Duathlon - May 2012

See Jane Run Triathlon - September 2012
Finishing my first triathlon

Walnut Creek 5k - December 2012

 Happy New Year and many thanks to for helping me to meet all of my goals and encouraging me to complete my first Triathlon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dam Jingle Bell Run

This will be my seven year old daughter's race report. Originally I signed us up to do this race together. We had so much fun at the Mermaid Run that I thought this would be a fun race for us to do. The goody bag is a stocking and they give you bells to pin to your shoes so we all jingle-jingle during the run. Since I had been so ill all week we made the decision to have my husband run in my place with our daughter. Having been sick for two weeks, I didn't want to push it and get sick once again.

The other great thing about this race is that's in our backyard and with a 9 am start we didn't have to get up super early. We brought the entire family and met one of our fellow Mini-Mermaids at the start line.

Mermaids ready to run
 I was a little worried that we had not done any running since the Mermaid run. She got sick over Thanksgiving, then I got sick and then I got sick again, I never was able to get her over to the track like I had hoped. Thankfully this was not an issue. Apparently, she decided that sprinting up the hills was a good idea (I have no idea where she gets this from). My husband said that she would yell "I love hills!" and start passing people as she sprinted up them. The girls also talked the entire time, non-stop. I did tell them that if they can talk while they are running, they are running a good pace. It's nice to see they were putting that to good use.

The time that they were gone was excruciatingly painful for the four year old. She wanted to run the 5k distance badly. 38 minutes is a lifetime when you are waiting for your Dad and sister to get back.

sprinting to the finish

This is classic
 After the girls finished Santa made his appearance! This was awesome, since we don't trek anywhere for Santa pictures. Although they did ask later if that was the "real" Santa.

Before the kids Santa Dash, I went to check the girls times and much to my surprise they not only PR'd they came in first and second in their age group (5-9)! Everyone was so excited and impressed!

Mermaids coming in 1 and 2. 
Finally, it was time for the Santa Dash! The four year old had been waiting all morning for her turn!

She is taking this very seriously

Finally smiling once she realized she got to Santa first

Another first place medal in the house! 
After running the 5k, the older girls ran in the Santa Dash also. 

I am so glad we did this. Wolf Pack Events doubled the amount of participants this year for this race. I think this will be a family event every year, we all had such a great time. We're even thinking about everyone doing the Dam Run in January, the little one so desperately wants to run a 5k, we may have to let her try. 

I couldn't be more proud of these two little girls and their love of running.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walnut Creek International Half Marathon & 5k

I signed up for this race because it's close to home and I love supporting local races. I chose the 5k distance so that I could scope out the race organization and determine if I want to run the 1/2 marathon next year.

 On Friday I headed to the expo to pick-up my bib and goodies. I was in and out in about 10 minutes. The only booth I stopped at was the ZICO booth to grab some chocolate coconut water. I think if it's your first go around at an expo they are more fun. My first expo was the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in Vegas, it was ginormous, I think everything sort of pales in comparison to that. I picked up my shirt on they way out (which is a really cute long sleeve tech shirt) and headed home.

With all of the craziness that took place the night before ( 7 year old tantrums, husband falling asleep and leaving me with said 7 year old tantrum) I some how only halfway managed to set my alarm, which means I really didn't. I was in the edit screen of changing the alarm time and never hit "done" before I went to sleep. Miraculously, I woke up at 5:20 am, the exact time I thought I had set my alarm for. I got up and did my usual race day morning routine. I wasn't able to stomach my usual chocolate cheerios for breakfast. This didn't raise any alarm as sometimes on race morning my stomach has other ideas about eating so early. I grabbed a banana on the way out the door instead.

Not being sure what to expect for race day parking considering the 1/2 started a half hour before the 5k I arrived to downtown Walnut Creek around 6:15 am, just as I parked the car Mary Sue sent me a text that she had arrived also. We sat in my car for about half an hour to try and stay warm before heading out. Once we decided we were willing to brave the cold temperatures (I believe it was around 37 degrees when I left the house) we headed over to the start just in time to watch the 1/2 marathoners start. I was amazed at how fast the front of the pack was running, it was impressive.

Once we reluctantly checked our jackets I manged to eat about 1/2 my banana before posing for a picture.

Right after this was taken Berenice found us and we headed over to the 5k start. I knew that the course would be congested since this was the old Turkey Trot course, which was fine. I knew in order to keep myself from having a coughing attack that I would need to run a slower pace, so a congested start helps with that. As soon as we made the first right turn onto the trail we slowed to a walk. I kept to a slow easy pace and passed only when it was easy to do so. As we approached the Ygnacio Valley pedestrian bridge there was a  woman who was pushing a stroller and her child was asking why they were running slow. She was explaining how the course was crowded and that they would be able to pass once it cleared out. This made me laugh, because clearly she was saying it loud enough and hoping that the three runners in front of us who were running three wide in their matching shirts would hear and stop running three wide. They weren't getting the message. I ran up right behind them and said "excuse me, can I please squeeze though?", to which they parted and let me pass. This is me working on my runners etiquette instead of being grumpy about people running three wide.

At some point along the way I was certain I had run one mile but my watch had not buzzed alerting me to my first lap, so I peeked at my watch to see I had only run .80 miles. Ouch, that's when I knew it was going to hurt. I focused on just running slow and holding off any coughing. At any point that I felt that little tickle in my throat, I slowed down. Along the way I experienced lots of muscle fatigue, aches from previous workouts and just in general was not feeling great. It made me slightly sad, because I wanted to come out and have fun, not feel like crap. Even with all of this I was passing people, so I tried to just focus on moving forward.

In the last mile of the course we hit the muddy trail. In last year's Turkey Trot Scott had to run this portion and he kept complaining about the mud and how slippery it was, I think that was the point in his 10k when he hit the wall. Running in mud takes a toll on your form as you try to slow down and acclimate to the conditions in order to avoid slipping or falling. I focused on finding the driest part of the trail and running there, when there was not a dry portion I ran to the right of the path on the leaves and foliage that was growing to help with traction.

I knew that I needed to save energy to get up and over the Ygnacio Valley pedestrian bridge, so I took a short walk break so that I could run up the bridge and have never felt such relief as when I reached the top and got to run back down the other side of the bridge. I was in the home stretch and that felt good. There were two women running together that I had been following who were literally running in unison, they had the same form and matching headbands to go with their matching pace. I knew that the grass finish would be difficult, so I decided to pass them right before we hit the grass. They seemed surprised to be passed but didn't alter their pace any.

I crossed the finish line with the most relief I have had in a long time to be done with a 5k run.

glad to be done
I finished this 5k three minutes slower than the Turkey Trot, I knew I would need to run conservative in order to finish and that's what I did. Amazingly my finish ranked me 10/37 in my AG.

This week I am resting up to try and fully recover from whatever this super bug is that I have in order to run the Dam Jingle Bell Run with my 7 year old daughter and a couple of the girls from our Mini Mermaid Running Club. Should be fun.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Storms, flooding and colds

After having such a great Thanksgiving and launching into my training for next year I was hit with multiple obstacles over the last week. First, I got sick. This is a little early in the season for me to be getting sick, I notoriously get sick every year between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe this means this year I will get to enjoy that week.

As I tried not so successfully to get through my first week of training with my head cold, Northern California was hit with a series of storms. We are pretty fortunate because we live on a hill and we typically don't experience flooding but many places near us suffered damaged. Our gym's Kids Club was flooded, Starbucks flooded and I had a friend whose garage flooded. We were lucky that we never lost power here but there was plenty of damage to go around. Lots of accidents with all of the rain, in fact three of our local firefighters were injured when a car crashed into them while they were assisting with a previous accident. Did you know that when emergency personnel or Caltrans are working on the shoulder it's the law to move a lane over. If it is not safe to move over you must slow down. So many of our officers, firefighters and Caltrans employees are killed or injured because of distracted motorists. 

As a result of our storms the pool I have been swimming at was shut down due to flooding and contamination. 

Since I was still pretty sick and my back-up pool's hours are difficult to work with I skipped my swim on Monday. They are hoping to have the pool back up and running next week, but they need to be cleared by the County Health Department first. 

As I have struggled to get back on track and healthy this week I did manage a swim yesterday (why is it everyday I swim it's in the middle of a massive downpour?). Today is a rest day as I prepare for the Walnut Creek 5k on Saturday. It's hard to believe I'll be running on Saturday, lucky for me my only intention when I signed up for this race was to scope out the 1/2 Marathon course for next year. My only goal will be not to cough up a lung along the course and of course have fun. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Walnut Creek Turkey Trot

I've decided I am going to officially stop bitching about how crowded this run is. While it is nowhere near as crazy as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, 6000 runners with a mass start is pretty crazy. However, every year I have run this course I have done really well. The last two times I have run it I have earned a 5k PR. This year with not much running other than the Mini-Mermaid Running Club I decided that the Turkey Trot would be purely for fun. No pressure of running a certain pace, just go out, have fun and feel good that you burned a couple hundred calories off before Thanksgiving dinner.

The kids helped me at packet pick-up so we could avoid the chaos on Thursday morning. These cuties got to sleep in Thursday morning since they spent the night at Grandma's. So come Thursday morning we begrudgingly got up out of bed and started to get ready. My husband said "How do I let you talk me into this stuff?" Actually, I'm not sure there was any talking, I think I just signed him up, and signed him up for the 10k while I was at it.

Once we arrived we made our way over to the start line and started to stretch. We started at about the same place we did last year which probably meant we were too far back, but since I wasn't racing it I wasn't worried about it. I reminded my husband to start out easy so that he didn't hit a wall later. With one last kiss we were off! Well, almost. We actually had to walk to the start line since it was so crowded, so like two minutes later we were off! Every year I am amazed by the amount of walkers we pass. Really, if you are walking a race you should not start at the front of the line. Also, if you are running with little kids, you should not start at the front either. I took this photo from the start line, but the larger mass was behind us.

Doesn't that look like it should be the 10 min mile pace start? I thought so, but I guess not, since we passed a ton of walkers at the start. Again, I wasn't worried about it since I was not racing. I had a strategy to just run easy and the shortest distance of the course to be sure I didn't run more than 3.1 miles. Last year I spent so much time and energy zig-zagging around people that I really wore myself out. I remembered Mary saying that in her last race she just tried to follow the center line of the street in order to run the straightest course. I thought this was a great plan and decided to follow it. The first mile was great, because of the crowds they kept me at a nice pace that was not too strenuous. I'd hang out until I felt I was able to make a nice easy pass. I felt good, I was comfortable and I was having fun! At the mile mark I looked down at my watch and was pleased with my pace, it was a little faster than what I thought I would run, but I was comfortable and didn't feel taxed. As we approached the turnaround point, I was on the inside and had to slow to a walk to get through the turnaround because it was so crowded. I actually witnessed a runner turn early to avoid the crowd. I have to admit I was kind of horrified. Even though I was out for a fun run, I still would not cut a course short. After that I was able to pick up the pace slightly, I watched lots of folks cutting in and out and using up lots of energy to navigate the crowd. At one point I got squeezed in by a double jogger on my left and a runner on my right. No worries, I backed off until I was able to make a pass that would not piss me off. So far so good, my plan was coming together nicely. As we passed through the aid station (which I skipped) I was amazed at how many people just threw their cups in the middle of the course, clearly no one even attempted to toss their cup to the right side. It was slightly like an obstacle course as I tried to not slip on about 900 cups. As I approached the 2 mile marker I peeked at my watch to see that I had run the last mile a little faster than the first. "Oh, that's nice I thought." I was feeling great and only had 1 more mile to go. It was at this point that I realized I was going to have a really nice run. I was running mostly based on feel and only looked at my watch when I would complete a lap (one mile). With one mile left I picked up the pace for what I knew would be a strong finish.

I crossed the finish line with like a bazillion other people but was super stoked with my time of 30:58. Considering that I wasn't trying to do anything special other than have fun, I was pretty excited about my seconded fastest 5k ever.

After that I waited to watch Scott finish the 10k in 45 minutes, he is such a show off :)

I'm looking forward to what should be a great season for me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mini Mermaid Running Club

We just wrapped up another successful season of Mini Mermaid Running Club.  MMRC is a 6 week program for girls in the 2nd-5th grades. At the end of the six weeks the girls run a 5k in beautiful San Francisco. Not only is this program about running but it's about friendship, boosting your self esteem and learning how to make those difficult decisions as a young girl when you just want to fit in with everyone else.

This year I had five girls plus my 4 year old who we call mini-mini mermaid since she does her best to run as much as the older girls. The six weeks sure went by quickly this year and before I knew it was race day. We were so fortunate that the weather in San Francisco was perfect for a Fall run.

Our team ready to do warm ups.

Mini-mini running her heart out.

Syd's goal this year was to beat her time from last year. During the first part of the run she said she wanted to try to run the entire distance and only walk through aid stations. She ran 1.25 miles without walking before we hit the first aid station. After that she decided we need more walk breaks. The best part for her was the turn around point where you get to start running by the water, she loved it. It was a perfect clear day to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

As Sydney struggled towards the end I looked at my watch and told her if she kept her pace she would earn a PR. I told her we had about two laps left (about 1/2 a mile to go). She ran hard to the finish line to earn a 2:48 PR! Our mini-mini was such a trooper and ran the first 1/2 mile of the course and last 1/2 mile of the course with a huge smile on her face the entire time.

So proud of all the 200+ mini mermaids that ran this past weekend. It's a huge accomplishment for every single one of them. If you would like more information about the Mini Mermaid Running Club, check it out here to see about bringing it to your school.

Many thanks to for sending our girls all of the essentials for training and race day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Off season

Everyone else is blogging about it so I guess I will too!

When I'm not over thinking my own pursuits I like to over think my daughter's pursuits. Okay, maybe not, well maybe a little. For the second year in a row I am coaching a group of girls through the Mini-Mermaid Running Club a program that was founded by those great women over at Mermaid Series. The program is geared for girls in the 2nd - 5th grades, we aim to instill a love of running as well as to learn to love themselves. At the end of the 6 week program we run the Mermaid Series 5k in San Francisco. I originally did this program last year because my daughter loves to run but being in the first grade there just weren't many options for her. I started a team on a trial basis with 6 first graders to see how it went. Well it was such a great and positive experience for everyone that I'm back doing it again this year.

We just passed the halfway mark of our program with our practice race. Basically I set up the day to be as similar to race day as possible. This means I brought music, snacks, race bibs, created an aid station and we had a dance party after the race. Being at the halfway point meant the girls had to run 1.5 miles or 6 laps around our track.

TriSports sent us a bunch of goodies for the girls! 

My 4 year old Mini-Mini Mermaid running her heart out

She never wants to be out down by the older girls
Our aid station thanks to TriSports
All of the girls ended up running an extra lap to make sure our Mini-Mini achieved all of her 6 laps

I am so super proud of all of the girls, every single one of them had a huge smile on their face and I never heard one "I'm tired" or "I can't do it". Such a great program and a huge thanks to for supplying us with water bottles, race belts, stickers and tattoos!

Immediately after run club Syd went to her last swim practice session before her big meet for the weekend. During summer swimming as an 8 and under you swim 25 yard distances. During Fall swimming the USA Swimming organization allows you to swim 50's if you want to. When I asked Sydney if she wanted to swim 50's she immediately said yes! She said yes because she wanted to do flip turns. I was a little concerned about this but since we were doing fall swimming more for fun I figured why not. I signed her up the Orinda Aquatics hosted meet at the Soda Center. On Saturday she was signed up to swim a 50 Backstroke and a 50 Freestyle. On Sunday I talked her into 25 yards of Breaststroke since she never swam it in competition over the summer and a 50 Butterfly. 

Saturday went great. I was so worried about her being able to nail the flip turn on the backstroke. Coach Nick gave her some last minute coaching. When she see's the flags she was to count 5 strokes then flip on her stomach to complete the flip turn. We all stood there holding our breath and waiting for her to roll on her stomach and then flip! She did it! I think we were all amazed! She made it back in under one minute and that for us was a huge victory! Then we sat around and waited for her 50 freestyle. By this point I was not as nervous for her knowing that if she nailed the flip on the backstroke she would be fine for freestyle. Once again we huddled together to watch her do 50 yards of freestyle. Once again she nailed her flip turn, even the timers commented on a what a nice flip turn she did. We had watched the heat before her and none of the girls had attempted turns so it felt really good for her to be able to do it and do it well. 

Day two was going to be a little bit of crap shoot. She only ever swam breaststroke at time trials because she didn't actually know how to swim it and her time was 68 seconds. I listed her seed time as 60 seconds since I really had no idea how long it would take her and I knew she wasn't legal. Coach Nick had warned me that her kick wasn't legal but the poor girl has been dying to swim it so I entered her anyway. Sure enough she smoked her competition but was DQ'd for a scissor kick. I didn't see it, but I'm guessing she did it one of the times that she was looking all around to see if she was beating everyone else. She cracks me up sometimes. I didn't tell her she had been DQ'd, I didn't need her to be devastated before attempting a 50 yard butterfly. I'm just happy that she got to swim it and that she has gotten faster. We can work on her kick in the Spring. Next up was the butterfly. Because I was not a swimmer when I was younger there is a lot of stuff I son't know. For one that you don't do a flip turn in butterfly. I had watched Sydney practice the side sink, glide move, but I didn't know why they were doing it. Oh, that's what you do instead of a flip in butterfly. I knew she could do the move, but it was the two hand touch I was worried about. We reminded her several times, touch the wall with both hands before the side sink. We even tried to demonstrate with her using my arm as the wall. 

She started off great! She was in the very first heat because I gave her a seed time of 1:10 since I had no clue how long it would actually take her to do 50 yards of fly. Once again, we are holding our breath, whispering two hand touch to ourselves. And she misses it. Immediately I see the stroke and turn person in her lane raise his hand. I think we both let out a sigh, I was so sad for her. We cheered her in all the way to the end. We talked to her about the two hand touch and she was convinced she had touched with both hands, I tried to explain she had to touch with both hands at the same time. We talked about what a great experience it was for her to swim 50's and learn how to do flip turns. She won't need to actually do all of this until she is 9, so it's great that she got some experience doing this so that when she starts swimming in the 9/10 group it won't be so scary. I'm so proud of her for not being scared and tackling 50's. Several kids had no interest in trying to swim that far and I'm so impressed that she didn't back down from the challenge. 

We signed up for fall swimming because we didn't want her to lose so much of the stroke technique that she worked so hard on over the summer. It's also great exercise and I really feel like after school she needs that cardio outlet. This meet was great experience for her and fun for the entire family. She has one more meet for the fall where she will just be swimming 25's in free and back. Then she will get a break from swimming until we start again in the Spring. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


There has been a lot going on this month. Some good, some bad and some stress. Everyone goes through ups and downs and I guess how we pull through it is the test of character. I took about a week to feel sorry for myself, feel angry and be depressed. After that I decided one week of self wallowing was good and it was time to move on.

How do you turn it around? The hubby and I finally got some alone time which gave us the opportunity to actually talk (without being interrupted) to really share some things and gasp talk about feelings! I think he finally understood the amount of stress I was under and he admitted to being a little jealous of my situation. I tried to explain that being the family chauffeur is really not glamorous, but I get that I also squeeze in 6 workouts a week; swimming, biking and running and that part is "mostly" fun. I do keep trying to remind him that he has a pool, gym and track at work! Okay, getting a break to take advantage of those things isn't always easy but still. Just being able to talk through some things was a great help in my attitude. A movie, Mexican food and margaritas helped too.

On Saturday I watched the Ironman Kona World Championship all day long. I also got no funny looks or glares for doing so. Of course I set the laptop up in my daughters room and cleaned up (threw away) and organized her room, so I was sort of productive. Sunday morning I decided to go for a run. Something about watching Ironman inspires you to get your butt out the door and do your meager workout for the day. I had four miles to run and could have easily done my usual out and back from my house. I didn't want to though, I really wanted to enjoy my run and embrace those endorphin's. I drove to the park to run the trail. While it wasn't as easy as I imagined it in my head, it still felt great. Sometimes it's nice to know that you still have it even if you are feeling a little bit like a couch potato. The next day my legs reminded me that it had been awhile since I had run four miles with hills. That's okay though, the ache felt good.

Sunday night I was having a hard time sleeping and decided to check email, Facebook  the usual. I discovered an email from Trisports saying I had earned a hefty gift card for all of the usage of my referral code this summer. I was so freaking excited that I really couldn't go back to sleep! This meant that I could actually get a wet-suit! I knew eventually I would need to get one but it wasn't really an affordable option at this point so I just assumed sometime next year, maybe for my birthday. After lots and lots of research I decided on this. If all goes as planned it should arrive on Friday, as soon as I have the opportunity to test it out I'll let you all know how it's working for me. That being said thank you to everyone who has used my referral code! It's the end of the season and TriSports has lots of stuff on sale and you can still use my referral code YOX-S to receive a 10% discount. The best part? Free shipping on orders over $99!

Despite the fact that October started out rough for me things are looking up and I'm trying to embrace all the awesome things that are to come through the end of the year. From here on out it's all about having fun and enjoying my activities. It's been an amazing year for me, I hit every goal this year that I set out to accomplish and even a few extra ones! I'm looking forward to the last few races of the year being fun. No over analyzing how to get a PR, the last races of the year are for fun! Enjoy the scenery and take it all in, because if it's not fun why would I do it.

That being said my next event is a non-timed mud run. I'm doing the event with some other Mom's and looking forward to just being silly, getting muddy and having fun!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Becoming a triathlete

If there is one thing that I have learned in the past three weeks, it's that life is short and you should live life to it's fullest.

I spent the summer following a beginners triathlon plan out of Triathlete Magazine's Guide to Finishing Your First Triathlon.  This is an excellent book if you are at all looking into competing in your first triathlon, I highly recommend it. My goal race was not until April 2013, but the idea was to follow the plan and see if I could at least get the 6 workouts in a week the training called for. I chose to do it over the summer knowing that if I could get the workouts in or get close to getting them all in when both kids were home, I could for sure get it done in the Spring with them in school. For the most part it went well, there was only one period over the summer (the height of swim team competition for my daughter) where I fell off the training wagon, luckily I had enough of a base built that I picked up where I left off with no problems.

Two weeks ago my friend Molly asked if I wanted an intro to open water swimming. Of course I did! While my first tri was going to be a pool swim, I knew if it went well I would want to try one with an open water swim also. We swam at Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton and did a quick bike ride that happened to be part of the bike course of many of the tri's that take place in the area. It was a great day and really built my confidence.  It built my confidence so much that I decided I wanted to do the Tri that was being held there two weeks later. I kept this idea a secret while I really pondered it. Finally, a couple of days later I sort of threw the idea out there. Since it seemed to be received well by those whose opinions counted the most (Molly and my husband) I signed up. While I never had a "what the fuck am I thinking?" moment, I did realize that this was way out of character for me. I plan everything way in advance (obviously, I started training for a tri 9 months ahead of time). The idea that I signed up for a triathlon 10 days prior to the event is kind of funny for anyone who knows me. But I also knew that I had trained all summer and I felt fairly confident that I could cross the finish line.

All of four people knew I was doing this race. Mostly because I didn't feel comfortable putting it out there and I wasn't sure how I would do. I also was so busy in those 10 days with other things that I really did not have too much time to actually think about it or freak out about it. I did thankfully, with the help of Molly write a race plan and write out a gear list to be sure that I had everything I would need. Let's just say I'm an over packer in general and the same applies to racing.

Trying to sort it all out

 I had goals that I hoped to meet overall and for each leg of the event. In general I knew what I could swim 400 yards in time wise in a pool, but I  also knew I would be slower in the open water with a wet suit and having to factor in the run from the beach to transition. I hoped to finish somewhere somewhere between 10 and 12 minutes. For the bike, I looked at some of my recent rides and the Duathlon that I did in May, I targeted an average speed of 13 mph for the bike. I know, I'm slow! For the run, I had no idea what to expect, I knew I would not be running anywhere near close to my 5k PR time, I knew the run course was difficult but I was still hopeful for a decent run, I was targeting a 10:45 overall pace.

Race morning came and the alarm went off at 4:30am. I was planning on getting to the race site when the gates opened at 6am to try and get a good spot in transition. I arrived at about 5:55am and Molly was already there and said transition wouldn't open until 6:30am. One of those little details they had left out. Shortly after Mary Sue arrived. They must have grown tired of the growing number of people trying to get into transition because they finally opened it up. Molly scouted a great rack very close to the bike in/out and the run out. It was a great spot. We got all of our gear set up before most of the masses arrived.

Best two people to race with! 

With transition all set up I headed out to see if the swim buoys were out. they were not, but it sure was pretty.

I walked through the swim in and chose the shortest route from there to my transition spot. Then mentally walked through the bike out/in and run out. After that it was time to get body marked! I had no problem remembering my bib number but had to stop and think a minute about my age!

 After that it was time to put the wet suit on and head over the athlete meeting. We were given some instructions about the swim, basically if you touch a lifeguards surf board or jet ski they pull you out and you're done. Okay, there is something for me to worry about since my sighting is not the best, try not to accidentally swim into the surfboard thus ending your day. there were some instructions about the bike course and a portion where no passing would be allowed. Okay, going to try and remember that one.

Yes, a little giddy for my first triathlon

Eventually it was time for all of us to make our way over to the beach. They had the first wave of 50+ age group swimmers in the corral and ready to go. We actually thought they had been sent off when we saw some swimming so we got in to do our warm-up. It was only when were done with our warm-up that we realized they had not been sent off. Hmm, okay we hung out in the water for a while because it was warmer there. After what seemed like a really long time we got out of the water and discovered that there was an issue with the bike course that was trying to be resolved. Finally at 8:30am a half hour after the first wave was to go off we got the word that we would be starting at nine due to some changes in the bike course. They had to cut out an entire section due to some construction that had taken place the night before. We were advised the course would now be 10 miles. Okay, fine by me, can we just get started! I wasn't panicky, but sitting around for an extra hour sure made the excitement dissipate.

Finally it was our turn, my plan was to swim to the right of the buoys so that I wouldn't get swum over and just in general try to avoid the melee. In hindsight, this was a poor choice. Apparently everyone else had the same idea! I had to run through water further than I would have liked because that's what the women in front of me were doing, I finally found a spot and just dove in. I was not panicked at all and I didn't feel like my heart rate was super high but in general I was uncomfortable. I started to breaststroke because I was wedged between two people who kept stopping. Note to self: this is why people swim over other people. Every time I would try to swim freestyle I was getting whacked, I looked up to see that the person in front of me was swimming back stroke and this was causing a problem for me, the person next to her saw her and said "oh, good idea" and started doing backstroke also, now I was wedged behind and between backstrokers. Not good, I actually slowed down to get out from my predicament and started to swim closer to the buoy to make the first turn. This was much harder than I had anticipated. I was doing way more breaststroke than I wanted, but every time I started swimming freestyle I kept getting water up my nose from all the splashing that was going on around me. At some point I realized that breaststroke was going slow and felt physically more difficult than freestyle. So I tried my hardest as I made the last turn to just do freestyle. Of course I got knocked around to which one woman actually said "sorry!" Which made me laugh and smile. Then I got clocked good but composed myself looked around and saw that we were close to the beach. I hunkered down and swam hard all the way until both my hands were touching the sandy bottom, I knew I passed several women who were wading through the water while I swam, so thank you Molly for that tip!

I exited the water and was a mess. totally exhausted. I walked up the beach until I could get the top half off my wet suit off and then jogged up to transition. Got to my rack and took my suit off and sat down, yes I sat down to put socks and shoes on, it was just easier and probably faster since I was shaky. Put my helmet on, sunglasses and tried to find somewhere to toss my wet suit that wouldn't hinder anyone else. I also had to put my garmin on and start it since I don't have a multi-sport watch. It took extra time but I wanted to wear it because I wanted to be sure I maintained my goal paces for the bike and run. Out of transition I clipped in pretty fast considering I'm still a newbie with the clipless pedals and was off. I passed one person coming up the hill out of the park and headed out on the straightaway. I was told to go easy for the first 3 miles to let my heart rate calm down and get comfortable. I ended up not needing that much time. I felt pretty good early on and started following my nutrition plan on the bike. I was passing people on the bike, okay mostly people who were on mountain bikes or hybirds, but at least I was passing people. I also got passed but I was riding faster than my goal pace and feeling very comfortable so I was very happy. Since it turns out we were riding the same course that Molly and I rode 2 weeks prior, I knew the bike would be shorter than 10 miles. If I remembered correctly it was more like 8.5 miles. As we approached the only other hill on the course I was ready to power it up, sadly the women in front of me were not and were having a difficult time shifting. I ended up having to go into the lane to pass them, but was pretty happy to pass a couple of women going up the hill, when I looked down I realized I was still in the middle ring! Take that hill! After that I knew it would be an easy ride back into transition. As we came back into the park I passed a couple more cyclists coming down the hill, unclipped and dismounted and ran into transition.

Once in transition another athlete asked where the run out was, I turned around to point it out to her and then lost my own train of thought and tried to rack my bike on the wrong rack. Luckily I realized that was not my towel on the ground and headed down to the next rack. Took off my gear, threw on my shoes and the thing that took me the longest was resetting my watch to run. I grabbed my visor, race belt and gel and ran out of transition with it in hand. Once on the course I put my visor on, race belt on and shoved the gel in pocket. Another great transition tip from Molly! I had taken in good fluids and chews on the bike to fuel for the run, the gel was a just in case scenario knowing the run course would be difficult, let's just say I'm glad I brought it. Shortly after starting the run course there is a fairly large hill. I took one look at it and knew I would be walking it. At this point I was exhausted but I also knew I had it in me to walk the entire run course if I had to and I would still finish my first triathlon. As soon as we hit the top I started to run again. there were a few more ups and downs and at some point I decided taking that gel might be a good idea, so I did. I do believe it helped because I finally found a nice run pace that I could manage. It wasn't my goal pace, but I had ended up having a better bike pace then planned so I figured it was okay if my run pace was off, plus we did start an hour later than planned and it was getting hot. There was one last hill and then it was all flat. My body was really happy with that and I found a pace I felt I could hold. I told myself to run until mile 2 and take a short walk break, which I did. I could tell by the mile marker signs that the course was going to be short based on my Garmin. So I knew that that I could make it in without another walk break. I found that happy pace, I knew I was negative splitting my miles and that sounded good to me. A big downhill and then the final stretch. The course photographer was there yelling at me to sprint for her, so I did! Ugh, okay I sprinted too early and did not have much left for the finish line but I still had a huge smile on my face!

I have to say that with exception of the swim, I think I had a smile on my face the entire time, even through the difficult run! I recently joined Forward Motion Race Club and hadn't had the chance to meet anyone yet, but got so many shouts of support on the course from other race club members that it just totally made my day and kept me smiling.

I'm so pleased with my results. Even with not being able to hold the run pace I had hoped to, my swim was in line with my goals, my bike was better than my goal and I felt good about being able to negative split the miles on the run. Overall, I'm really pleased with how I performed for my first triathlon. It also means that I can go into 2013 confident that I can do the Moraga Triathlon which will be an easier swim, more difficult bike and probably equally challenging but longer run.

Many thanks to Trisports who without their support may have never even considered doing a triathlon! My good friend Molly for always being ready to answer any question I may have and basically coaching me through my first triathlon! Mary Sue for bringing champagne to the race for me, everyone needs a friend like that! Many thanks to my family for giving me the me time to do all of this crazy stuff!

Final Stats:

Swim: 11:17
T1: 2:21
Bike: 34:51
T2: 1:13
Run: 31:35


55/90 AG
285/437 OA

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let's ROC (AKA Run to Break the Silence)

I should have taken an after picture, we were a mess. 

This is my third year in a row of doing the Ovarian Cancer Run in Sacramento. And I think this is the third name change of the event. I noticed a couple of months ago that the race was now being backed by a new non-profit that also focuses on education and early detection of Ovarian Cancer. It looked the format was all going to be the same so I convinced Scott to run it with us this year.

This event is always fun but it's kind of a love/hate relationship, because it starts at 5:30pm in Sacramento in September. It's difficult to eat for an evening race and I mostly focus on just trying to get enough fluids the day of. I felt like I had hydrated really well since I couldn't make the drive to Sac without having to stop to use the bathroom.

I've told myself over and over that this is not a race that I can earn a 5k PR on. the course is awesome and flat but the late day and heat always play a factor in my performance. I calculated out what I would need to do for a 5k PR and made a mental note of last years time.

As soon as we got out of the car at the race site I had the doom and gloom feeling. It was really hot. I don't know the exact temperature, but I think it was somewhere around 95-97 degrees. I already felt that suffocating feeling in the air. As we made our way over to the start we lined up about 3 seconds back from the start line. There are a lot of walkers at this event so it's important to get in front of all of them. After a last kiss goodbye we were off. I was keeping an eye on my watch and I was running an 8:30 pace which I knew was too fast, but I had also set my watch to 5 minutes of running and 1 minute walk intervals to factor in the heat. I thought maybe I could hold that pace during my run intervals with the 1 minute of walking to recover. Yeah, that lasted for basically the first interval. My running pace slowed down and I as I approached the 1 mile marker I knew there would be no 5k PR (a silly thing to even let come into my head) but I could still earn a course PR. I walked through the first aid station took a couple of sips to try and cure the ridiculous dry mouth that always accompanies this course and dumped the rest on my head. Back at it. It was just so freaking hot and the course meanders through sun/shade the entire time. By this point my interval plan was not working at all, I was getting a side cramp and I still had cotton mouth. I started having to walk more and as I approached the last aid station I managed to drink about 1/2 of it and dump the other 1/2 on my head. It's at this part of the course with probably .65 miles to go that you begin to just not give a shit. It doesn't matter what goals I set or what I would like to do my body just says please stop torturing me. My heart rate was really high even when I was walking and I started to get a tingly feeling in my arms. Hmm, that can't be good. I started doing shorter intervals to make sure that I was really physically okay, I didn't want to collapse at the finish line. I knew how much further I had to go and I was sad because I thought, crap, I'm not even going to beat last years time. As I made the final turn to head in with .10 miles to go I started to run again. There are very few races where I have nothing left to give at the end, but I had nothing. Nothing left for a sprint and barely enough to just get there. I spotted Scott on the side lines and he was cheering for me and trying to motivate me to run faster and I just shook my head "no" at him. If I tried to go any faster someone would be picking me up off the asphalt. I tried to just focus on being steady and consistent as I came in. I managed a 6 second course PR, far from what I had hoped to do but there is always next year.

This run is like childbirth, I must block all of those painful memories out because I always forget just how difficult this race is.

The one positive to this race is that there are a lot of walkers which always help your stats! I pulled off a top 10 in my age group with finish time that is 4.5 minute off my 5k PR.

Final Stats

10/54 AG
109/657 OA

Scott had a great day
6/27 AG
29/657 OA

Saturday, September 15, 2012

One last farewell

We have felt a pretty deep layer of sadness at our home over the past 10 days. It felt pretty much like everything was on hold until we get through Thursday. I had a huge to do list piling up but my one and only task was to get through Thursday so that we could honor a man who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I was up at 5:30am on Thursday to get ready for Kenyon's funeral. We are so very fortunate that my Mother-in-law was able to come and take care of the kids and the midweek routine so that we could be on the road by 7:30am.

I myself have never been to a law enforcement funeral. I remember sitting at home and watching the service on television in 2009 for the four OPD members who were killed in the line of duty. I cried through the entire service as I'm sure so many did. While I had a good idea what to expect nothing could have prepared me for the amount of support that would be shown on Thursday to Kenyon to honor his sacrifice and his life.

As we headed out we ended up behind a Stanford Sheriff patrol car that we followed all the way up. Once we got on 80 the over passes were filled with Fire Fighters and Police staging for the procession that would come past. The Officers saluted every patrol car that passed by.

Shortly after we passed the staging area where the limos were lined up for the family. I was in tears already at all of this show of support and we weren't even there yet.

Traffic started to back up onto 80 as we all tried to make our way to The Mission. We were now behind a convey of patrol cars who all had their lights on in a show of respect, more tears. As we got closer we passed a side street that was filled with Highway Patrol cars lined up and ready to join the procession. I just was in awe, I have never in my life seen so many officers and patrol cars, it really just took my breath away. As we approached The Mission we saw this on our left side.

And this as we pulled into the parking lot.

Once we arrived we tried to find a spot to sit. Priority to inside seating was given to Contra Costa office employees and Golden Gate Division, the two areas that Kenyon worked. After that priority was given to allied agencies who had responded that day. We were lucky to find a spot and sat and watched in awe at the great distance that so many departments had traveled to pay their respects. There were officers from as far as Alaska and New York and everywhere in between. Every where I looked I was overwhelmed with emotion.

I was not expected to be so moved by Commissioner Farrow's eulogy. While I thought I had prepared myself as best I could for the emotions I would feel, nothing would have prepared me for Officer Tyler Carlton to get up and speak. I can't even begin to imagine what this man is going through. His courage and strength to get up and speak about his partner and share with us his feelings is beyond anything I can put into words. I hope he knows that he is a hero to all of us for his brave actions that day. The entire room gave him a standing ovation after he said goodbye to Kenyon.

There were so many great stories shared that day and they filled the room with laughter and tears. I think Chief Becher summed it up best when she said "I've never known how my heart could be so broken and so full at the same time." It was amazing to hear the stories of that fateful day and the countless people who came to his aid. An intensive care doctor who happened to be traveling in the other direction and made it over all 4 lanes of the freeway to come to his aid. This doctor would later become Kenyon's primary physician at John Muir Medical Center. All of the people who stopped to help and all of the first responders on scene that day made it possible for Kenyon's entire family to say goodbye as well as for his organs to be donated.

The most important thing that I pulled from Thursday was when Kenyon's oldest son, Alex got up to speak. Seeing and listening to him speak about his Father gave me this comfort that he is going to be okay and he is going to go on and do great things with his life.

At the conclusion the vast amounts of CHP and allied agencies lined up to salute and say their final goodbye's to a hero.

RIP Kenyon, we will never forget.