Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Last of 2010

There is something about wearing a wetsuit in public that just reeks of superhero...

I have slowly been getting back into the groove of exercising: a few spin classes here, a 6am ride there and a dash of open water swims. They have all been great- and most importantly knee-problem-free!

Most happily I have found an open water swimming buddy in Kai :) This has been the most happy new development. We've gone for a few swims at the SF Acquatic Park- last week we even logged a full 2 miles total- but this weekend we were able to convince Erica to get her ass out of bed on a rainy Sunday morning to come swimming with us! It was pretty awesome :)

The morning definitely started with a few texts that read:

"It's raining pretty hard. We still swimming?..."
"Its not raining here"
"Hum ok..."

I decided that it was in Erica's best interest to give Kai full authority when picking her up to use force if necessary to get here into the car :)

But we all made it to the Acquatic Park and even though it was deary it wasn't raining! Then it was the task of putting on the wetsuits. Erica had forgotten how to put hers on- luckily I was able to introduce her to the wonderful new world of pam pre-wetsuit.. it's as magical as you would imagine! I also had a new wetsuit that I was trying out so I was pretty excited to take this puppy for a joy ride.

Clearly Erica had forgotten how to put on her wetsuit!

The weather was easily in the 40's, misting and the water was also in the high 40's. So... we needed a bit of pre-swim hyping up before we got into the water.

Hence these:

and this...

Oh ya... and then we took a video:

Any who, after all of these shenanigans we actually did eventually hop into the water!

I must say for Erica first real open water swim in....a year? or more she did a great job and was up for everything that we asked of her. We didn't do a huge amount of meters, but we were able to work on our siting - which got increasingly harder as it started to rain more and Erica was even able to do a full 250m straight in her wetsuit multiple times- which is pretty great! She even listened when I kept shouting for her to put her head in the water!

All in all a great reintroduction for her to open water swimming- AND she even liked it enough that she is excited for more in 2011!

I have to say that I am pretty excited for 2011 too. Not just for the ability to do some more triathlons, but I really want to do some open water swim races. I sort of missed the boat on the whole open water swim season this year, but really want to explore more of it next year! Hell, maybe I'll even be around to do my bridge to bridge swim that I so want to do...that would be pretty awesome!

In prep for 2011 and swimming I went to return my rented wetsuit to Sports Basement and actually ended up impulse buying this awesome Orca wetsuit that I have soo been coveting! It's the Orca Alpha and I am super in love with it- so much so that I think it might be bordering on wrong. Can a girl love a wetsuit too much?...

And what is even better I got it for more than 50% off :) So it was like finding the love of your life AND realizing that they are a cheap date :)

I am super excited for my first open water swim in 2011 when I get to try it out for real! It has these great blue neoprene panels on the arms that make it much easier to swim in- so no more my-shoulders-are-so-tired-they-are-going-to-fall-off mid swim. They were on the Blue Seventy wetsuit I rented for the swim today but only on the shoulders and it made a pretty big difference.
The specs are below if anyone was to check it out:

So all this will probably be the end for 2010, but there will hopefully been much much more to come in 2011. There will inevitably be more running in 2011- and with that comes more self-deprecating posts- and hopefully I'll be able to actually get in a long ride here and there.

Have a great holiday season all and see you in 2011!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Back Bitches! (Literally and Figuratively)

YAY! I am back in action!

After over a month of baby-ing my knee and two weeks of a very painful pinched nerve in my back- that kept me from doing anything- I am finally back to cycling, running and swimming! And it feels good!

This break also taught me a very important lesson- Stretch like the dickens pre-workout and post-workout!

Well, Sunday was my first ride in over a month and it felt really good to get back to cycling.

We decided to take it easy on my knees and my legs and do a mild ride that went over the
Golden Gate Bridge and into the Sausalito/ Tiburon area. Happily this was the first time I have biked over the bridge and it was also probably the last beautiful day in the bay area for a while.

Erica and I enjoying a beautiful day and clear skies!

So we started out a bit late in the day (and as we realized later too late to be starting a ride in the winter time), but were still able to enjoy some incredible views of the city from Sausalito. We quickly made it to in n out where we of course had to make a pit stop. You know that it is nearly impossible for me to pass up a chance at in n out (and when I say "nearly" I actually mean "certainly").

After that we started to ride again and Erica thought that she had a flat tire... turns out yes indeed it was- and it only took us another hour and half for her to fully get a flat. Sadly on her folding bike the tires and tubes are too small to bum a tube off of another rider. At this point Andrew and I had biked all the way to the tip of the peninsula and by the time we biked back and figured out the issue with her bike it was getting pretty late. Andrew and I thought that we could bike back all the way before the sunset- but after we got to in n out I felt that we wouldn't make it. We had no lights nor did we have any reflective gear- it figured it was better to be safe then sorry and since Darwin was coming to get Erica any ways we figured that we would just get a ride back with him.

It took some AMAZING bike/ human tetris on Ze'ev and Andrew's part but we managed to fit four people, two normal sized bikes and a folding bike into Darwin's 4 door Toyota!

Here we are smushed into the back of Darwin's car - I said that we managed to fit it all I never said that it was comfortable!

So it was a strange first ride back, but two things came out of it: 1. my knee seems to be in good shape and not hurt any more - even though my legs are WAY out of shape now. 2. I got to wear my new awesome arm warmers!

Here I am capturing the moment of de-virginizing my awesome mini-skull arm warmers!
I love the ridiculous shit that you can wear as a cyclist!

Since then I have been back to swimming and running. Neither were as hard to get back into as a thought. My running actually stayed at a decent level as well (which, might I add, is still very slow).

I even think that my time off might have been a good thing because now I feel super motivated and am really excited to be training again! I can't wait to get back to really biking and all the fun that comes with harder work outs!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Ode To My Two Tadpoles!

Because real pictures of Tadpoles are quite ugly!

Just wanted to put a shout out to Laryssa and Erica who are becoming quite the swimmers!

After 2 months of from-scratch-swim-lessons, Laryssa is finally doing a full freestyle stroke across the whole 25m pool length! Whoot whoot! Now that we are over that initial hump it is time to start to work on arm- kick coordination and arm strength. I am super excited to introduce Laryssa the Tadpole and soon she will be kicking tri butt in 2011!

And a second shout out goes to Erica- who is FINALLY realizing that she is a way better swimmer than she thought. Congrats on doing 2950m last swim practice and look forward to many more painful swim practices that I will concoct for you. :)

Yay swimming and yay tadpoles!

Oh, on a side note, I got a new swim buddie Kai. We are going to start to do open water swims in the frigid cold of the SF Bay come Oct 30th! Wish me and my extremities lots of luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Down for the count...i.e. how I am slowly falling apart

Lesson 1: Do not get yourself stuck on a ride with no shade in 90 degree weather and your only way out is up, up, up.

Lesson 2: Liz makes bad decisions

These were the two crucial lessons that I took from my Saturday ride.

Saturday was going to be my great return to riding after 3 weeks of not being able to do anything due to life and the hectic-ness that has become its norm. I was super excited to do the three bears ride- one that I hadn't done since way back when in June when it was just me and Erica riding. I had even planned my whole weekend so that all the other things that I needed to do this weekend could happen around this ride.

So I get up and over to Berkeley with all my gear ready and plenty of water (it was to be in the 90's down near the reservoirs). We start up Spruce and start to head into Wildcat Canyon and oh no... my left knee starts to hurt. At this point it could just be warming up pain due to the fact I hadn't done this in a while.

Ok, so I keep going. The pain moves from being localized in the back two tendons behind my knee and starts to creep up the inside of my left leg. Probably not great- luckily we all stop at Inspiration Point to assess.

Inspiration Point is the point of no return on this ride. I either: A. go down Wildcat and do this whole damn ride (37 miles) or B. jump ship and head home at this point.

Of course a normal and sane (I have to add sane here- it is crucial) would have said it was time to pack it in and go home since this was a particularly hilly ride. Of course, see Lesson 2 from above, Liz makes terrible decisions.

So of course I decide to "just go down Wildcat Canyon" and then "see how I feel". Some how this ended me half way through the ride in lots-o-pain thinking who the HELL can I call to come and pick me up?! Of course, even in the day and age of ubiquitous cell phone usage, I managed to have a group of car-people who collectively don't pick up their cell phones at that exact moment. I was even hoping that a mini-van filled with a happy, non-deranged family would drive by and pick me up (ya that didn't happen either).

Since I had gotten myself into this mess the only way out was to finish climbing up the rest of the hills... so not good.

I couldn't even finish the ride completely. By the end of it all my knee was in too bad of shape to finish the last climb up Wildcat Canyon- I had to bike to the bart station so I could get out of the valley. ::sigh::

Luckily, Andrew's family's bbq was filled with a whole slew of doctors all of which thought my left knee tendons were inflammed.

So basically I need to take it easy until my knee stops hurting and then be "reasonable" about working out. HA! reasonable?!

But they did say that if I wasn't more careful I'd only suffer for it later. So in order to listen to the doctor's advice I am taking this week off from training and only doing yoga. I have personally decided that part of this is due to lack of stretching on my part. I have noticed lately that my flexibility has gone way down. So I have decided to do yoga/ stretch everyday regardless of whether or not I am working out. Hopefully this will kick the bad knee habit in the bud.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Attempting to not be a mono-athlete any more

So I finally went back to running to day - the first time since my tri for fun! It has been a good hiatus, but it was sure hard to get back into the swing of things. I have decided to do some nice easy short runs during my lunch break, since my after work schedule doesn't allow me to do much training until my grad school apps are over with.

Today was shitty, but it is probably a good thing that I am back to running. I am hoping that by March I can do 13 miles no problem.

I am also hoping that even though I am only doing a few miles at lunch that that qualifies as me as bi-athlete again, right?!

Also, went back to the Cal's swim practice on Monday for their recovery workout swim. It was good and no cramping happened - although it came close at one point! I think that I need to do some calf strengthening exercises when my foot is flexed and pointed so that my calf doesn't cramp during butterfly and breast.

Here's our recovery workout (we were in a 33m long pool so the work is a bit wonky):

Warm Up:

200m free

10 X 66m: 1st 66m: build up (i.e. start slow and get fast by the end), 2nd 66m: cruising pace, 3rd 66m: build down, 4th 66m: slow and 5th 66m: fast. Repeat

5 X 100m: 1st, 3rd and 5th are free style, 2nd and 4th were either free style drills or non-free

5 X 100m: 1st 100m: free, 2nd 100m: IM, 3rd 100m: free, 4th 100m: backwards IM, 5th 100m: free

4 X 133m: 1st 133m: regular IM, 2nd 133m: free, breast, back, free, 3rd 133m: free, free, back, free and 4th 133m: all free

Cool down:

200m free

And that's all she wrote folks! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sad Calf is now Just-Barely-Making-It-By Calf

Oh and the workout

I forgot to post the workout that we did so that anyone training can do it as well.

Here we go:

Warm up:

200 free

10 X 100m free sets: 1st 100m: is 25m fast 75m slow, 2nd 100m: is 50m fast 50m slow, 3rd 100m: is 75 m fast 25 slow, 4th 100m: is all fast, 5th 100m: is all slow. Repeat

Main Set:

6 X 300m free kick sets: the kick set is comprised of 7 kicks with the left arm stretched out in front then 3 strokes then 7 kicks with the right arm stretched out in front then 3 strokes and so on. This is to work on rotation as well as working your kicks. Also you learn to appreciate the 3 strokes you get in between.
It goes as follows: 1st 300m: kick set for 100m and 200m free, 2nd 300m: kick set for 200m and 100m free, lastly 3rd 300m: is all kick set. Repeat. These should have a 10 sec rest in between the 300's

3 X 300m free and non-free: 1st 300m: 100m non free of your choice (but you could do an IM to make it spicy) 200m free, 2nd 300m: 200m non free 100m free, 3rd 300m: 300m non free

Cool Down:

200m free

So that is it folks! I also gave a modified version to Erica which is basically the same just less intervals.

Here is that:

Warm up:

150m free

6 X 100m: Every 3rd 100m (so the 3rd and 6th) do the close fisted drill for the whole 100m. There should only be a 5 sec break in between 100s.

Main Set:

3 X 300m free style and kick board: 1st 300m: kick board for 100m and 200m free, 2nd 300m: kick board for 200m and 100m free, lastly 3rd 300m: is all kick board. These should have a 10 sec rest in between the 300's

3 X 300m free kick sets: 1st 300m: kick set for 100m and 200m free, 2nd 300m: kick set for 200m and 100m free, lastly 3rd 300m: is all kick set. These should have a 10 sec rest in between the 300's

Cool Down:

200m free

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sad calf is Sad

So Monday I went to swim with the Cal Tri Team for the first time while I try and decide if it is a good idea for me to actually join the team. There are a couple of reasons why I am still on the fence about joining- even though it is a great team and would be an awesome way for me to push myself- the least of which is the fact that all the Cal-Hoorah kinda scares me a bit. (What can I say I went to NYU for god sake... college spirit just isn't in my nature! I'm trying to reform and be happy/ spunky about it... also, not in my nature!)

I was also worried that I was going to be the "old" person on the team with a bunch of über- spunky freshman and they were going to shame me... which actually sorta happened- just not in the way I was imagining.

After amping myself up for the whole evening (the practice is at 8pm) and telling myself that I was a highschool swimmer and "God damn it can TOTALLY do this", I get there and the practice starts. First of all let me preface this by the face that in highschool our swim coach was an ex-navy seal, and while he was an amazing coach and great guy he was a yeller. Actually I have NEVER had a swim coach that was not a yeller (now that I ponder on this fact it could be due to the fact that when you swim your head is in the water and you are actually unable to hear your coach talking to you so by the time you DO get to the wall they are irate from trying to talk to you the whole way and there for are ready to yell at you. Just things to ponder...) And by yeller I mean: point at you in the pool "Why have you stopped swimming?! Did you completely misunderstand the concept of sets with only a 5 second rest? You are not fast enough for this lane today" and suddenly you have been demoted a lane IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE TEAM. So... going on THAT experience I really thought that it would be more along those lines.

In actuality I don't know if the swim coaches really cared if anyone new was there or not. Not because they don't care- they do- it was just that there was only two of them and a WHOLE lot of us with seriously varying skill levels. They could not keep track of what everyone was doing. It would have been much more helpful if they had a board to write the sets down on so that they didn't have to recite them to us each time we finished one... but oh well you live and you learn I guess.

Once there you kinda just hop in a lane that you *think* you might swim at the same level as everyone else and you just start down the lane in a crazy free for all and hope you are able to make due. It was actually kinda crazy/ fun in a way - I have never been to a swim practice that was that disorganized, but it was a great way to sorta just melt in with the rest of the team without sticking out like a newbie-sore-thumb! I must say tho, not all the lanes had lane lines and in the frenzy that was the swim I got smacked, kicked and even scratched while swimming! A bit too reminiscent of water polo practices, HAHAHA.

The sets were great, but not too challenging. I got to be the leader in my lane- which was bad because I was in a lane too slow so I didn't really get a great workout. I should have bumped up a lane, but it was just too crazy so I stuck with it. And here is where the most embarrassing thing that can happen at a swim practice happened: mid butterfly, in the deep end of the pool I get a majorly intense calf cramp. So intense I actually started to sink to the bottom of the pool because I could not concentrate on anything but the pain. Of course this holds up the whole lane that I am heading- and I have to struggle to the surface and pathetically doggie paddle over to the wall where the coach is standing and staring at me. Let me reiterate: I doggie paddled at a freaking swim practice! Needless to say I am glad that they really didn't know me at this practice.

Any who, after a few minutes of waiting to see if this cramp would go away I sheepishly crawled out of the pool and left the practice hobbling down to my car. Unfortunately by the time I drove home (Thank GOD it was my left leg or else I would have been stranded there) the cramp had become so intense that I couldn't put any pressure on it and therefore was stranded in the garage. Of course it was also the day that Andrew had left his phone in the car so there was no possible way of calling for help. Finally I got up stairs to my bottle of ibuprofen and a heat pack- it took over an hour for the cramp to die down enough so that my foot was not forced into a relevé.

Of course Erica, the-soon-to-be-great-doctor, diagnosed it over the phone: evidently the leading cause of cramps are dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes. I.e. me: not eating pre-practice and drinking coffee the day of were my downfalls. The succubus that is coffee strikes again! Now, I am once again going cold turkey with the no-coffee plan, thankfully I have ol' reliable green tea to get me through the day!

Now we are on day two and it is still super sore and hard to walk. I feel like such an old person right now. I asked Laryssa if this is a sign that I am officially old and she said that I wasn't officially old until I was sore and hurt, but couldn't remember why... So I guess I'm not old. I'm just young and embarrassed instead... Great!