Fitness Check-In

It's been 40 days since I started working with Trainer Evan and Tuesday we re-tested body comp.  I knew my scales at home had gone down some, but the official numbers were good - down 6 pounds and inches lost!  With the Styku machine they have, you can see in 3-D [http://www.styku.com] where the changes are.  So that's even more motivation to keep at it and I'm going to keep working with Evan twice a week, then swim or ride the trainer or walk on the other days.  He definitely keeps things interesting and mixes it up and definitely challenges me every session.  And writing down everything I eat and drink has been very enlightening and helpful.

And that's also 40 days without a zero in the training log.  In fact, last week was the highest volume of training in over a year and my first outdoor bike ride in 16 weeks.  For some reason, Tennessee has dimmed my love of riding the bike.  Drivers here are terrible, 90 degree humid weather, seeing huge snakes on the bike trail, having to ride by myself, my irregular work/travel schedule - all have played a part.  Thanks to Kathy for riding with me on Saturday.  I need to get back out there because you forget how much you enjoy it.  I've also gotten back in the pool and am looking for a half Ironman distance race in 2018 which has the aqua bike division.  That will be one of my 2018 goals.

projectreturntofitness

worldgymmusiccity

 

 


No Zeros

When I was working with Scott Molina, he once gave me a stretch of training with no days off for over a month.  He said because of my work and travel schedule, that a rest or off day would just happen, so in the meantime, "No zeros in the training log."  I think I hit about 40 days in a row of training at that time.  I also know that I really fall under Newton's First Law - An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.  If I miss a day, it's hard to get back to it.  So as of today, I have 30 days in a row of some sort of exercise.

Most of what I've been doing is riding the trainer early or walking and working out with Evan two days per week.  He keeps it fun, but hard, and always throws something new into the mix.  I'm seeing results - wearing a dress to the Predator's Petey's Party charity function that I hadn't been able to wear in quite a while.  Very motivated to keep going!  Though I definitely get frustrated when I can't do something right or like I used to do.  Patience has never, ever been my strong suit.  As the V-Man used to say, "Passion, Patience, Persistence".  Need to keep the 3Ps in mind.

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I've also been back in the pool a couple of times.  That is the harder thing to fit into my schedule since I can't seem to get in the pool at 5:00 AM!  When work or other appointments don't conflict, I'll be going to the noon MWF workout.  The two times I've been recently were good - the feel for the water is coming back and I just need to get my "swim muscles" kicking in again.

There is a 5K in early October that I'm going to target.  And I need to look at the 2018 triathlon/aquabike schedule and pick out a few races to do.  Suggestions welcome!

#projectreturntofitness

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#projectreturntofitness and a Race Report

My last post here was well over a year ago. I’ve spent from about July 2016 to late July 2017 in a huge funk. Yes, hockey season was fantastic and oh so much fun, but life was work, hockey, drink beer, eat crap and barely work out. Somewhere along the way, I lost the love of riding my bike – winter and cold weather, other things going on, work travel, being fat and out of shape, probably some mild depression. The last time I had any good rides was the Slowtwitch Womens’ Camp in April and I didn’t pin on a number all spring or summer.

Sometime in August, after a trip to San Francisco, I decided that I was tired of being tired, out of shape, not fitting into the clothes I already have, and that it was time to do something about it. A new gym (World Gym Music City) opened near where I used to live, so convenient to where I now live and to work.   And the best thing? It’s open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Believe me, that is a big deal here. I shot off an email to the program director giving him my background and current state of fitness, well, actually the lack of fitness, and after a few emails back and forth, I went in to check things out. My lucky day as I was able to meet him, the membership director and the head of personal training. I got a great vibe from all of them and signed up that day and did a fitness evaluation, which was about what I thought it would be – out of shape!

I’ve started working out with Evan, the trainer, and I early on came to the realization that I really need accountability and feedback, and I haven’t had that since working with Scott and Kenny. So I’ve had 4 sessions with Evan and I’m starting to feel the athlete come back. And Evan just seems to get me (which I think is super important).  I’ve also gotten back in the pool and have been twice to Masters. The goal is to swim 2-3 times a week, ride the trainer or bike or walk, then work out with Evan twice a week until I get in good enough shape to go to the organized weight classes (sort of like Crossfit?) and do that and keep working out with Evan at least once a week.  We’ve been doing a lot of functional strength stuff and the treadmill, plus keeping a food journal (which I have to give to him). Let’s just say, I’ve skipped one outing where I knew the food would be crap and lots of beer just so I wouldn’t be tempted!  Oh yeah, they have this machine which tells you how fat you are and sends you drawings of your body.  That is eye opening!  But, what gets measured, gets monitored.

In addition, a few weeks ago I decided I needed a goal, so I signed up for a 5K to walk and today was the day. This morning when I woke up, I almost talked myself out of it, but got ready and went to the start. It was a half marathon, 10K and 5K, benefitting Best Buddies. I told myself I’d walk the entire 5K and my goal was to break an hour.

The weather was perfect – overcast and 59 degrees. The first mile was mentally hard but my watch said 17:09 for the first mile. That’s faster than I thought I’d be. Mile 2 was better – I started to eye people in front of me and tried to reel them in. Got to the turn and about 2.5 miles in, I got pretty tired, but didn’t want to let anyone behind me catch up (that “being last” monkey was on my shoulder big time). Got to the last turn and it was about a 0.2 mile straight shot to the finish. Kept to my promise to myself to only walk and crossed the finish line in 53:30, well under my 60 minute goal. Average pace – 17:13 min/mi. 142nd out of 160 in the 5K and 6th out of 7th in my age group. A good start.

What didn’t work so well was walking the 5K in basic (non-running/walking) shoes, so this afternoon I made a visit to the new Rhythm Running store on Demonbruen Street and bought a new pair of shoes. I never did replace any of my running shoes after knee replacement surgery, so I should probably get rid of them.

Pretty happy with the race. Maybe down the line I’ll add in some slow jogging, but for now, walking is good.  #projectreturntofitness


October

Swim: 3,350 m
Bike: 10.1 mi (indoor at PT)
Trainer: 25 minutes 
Walk: 5.7 miles
Time: 5:31

PT Sessions: 12

After how I felt the entire month of September, I’m pretty happy with October, especially since I couldn’t swim until about mid-month and then or even longer to be able to make a full rotation on any bike.  The goal for November is to build time slowly and to either swim, bike or walk daily.  I have some PT sessions left and then we’ll see if the insurance will cover another round. Considering I can’t yet walk downstairs normally, I hope so.

Tomorrow I start back to work in the office full time.  We’ll see how my knee handles that.  I really hope I get back to sleeping normally (not waking up during the night).  I think that will be the biggest help in recovery.

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#My500Words: January 13, 2014

 

Back on the bike.

Two days in a row of riding the bike. That's about 34 miles and probably more than in the past 4 months. October through December was pretty brutal. A lot of work travel, a lot of normal work (I annually have a large insurance renewal application due in early December which involves a lot), plus, there was a lot of work on a potential merger, something that had most of the staff on edge and freaking out since they had never been through the process before. That cratered and a lot of stuff that was set aside, was then back on the table. So busy, busy, busy. And then there was all the sadness and shock of losing Allie. Some weekends after a long week at work, all I could was lay on the couch and read or watch TV. And then came December.

 

For many, many years, I have not liked the month of December. It's cold, it's dark more than it's light, the whole holiday thing, and seriously, I think I am very much affected by S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). From WebMD.com:

What causes SAD?

Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. And it may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that affects mood.

What are the symptoms?

If you have SAD, you may:

  • Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.

  • Lose interest in your usual activities.

  • Eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta.

  • Gain weight.

  • Sleep more and feel drowsy during the daytime.

 

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

The best December I remember is the year I went to New Zealand for 10 days to do a half Ironman. I may have to schedule a short holiday next December and preempt this. It seems like I had a mental shift on New Year's Day and the nice weather over the weekend also helped a lot. Something to think about.

 

So Saturday's ride was a solo affair. I headed out about 2:30 PM on my road bike and rode over through Metro Center and did a couple of loops. It was a little cool, but not bad and it was really nice to get out in the sunshine. But man, I'm out of shape. One good thing is that always in the past when I've taken a break on the bike and then started back training, my fitness comes back pretty quick. Saturday's ride was 15 miles.

 

Yesterday teammate Chrysa came over to my house and we rode from here over past the edge of downtown and past the football stadium and to Shelby Bottoms Park and to the end of the bike path and then looped around and back. It was a very nice day with a lot of people out and about, so a casual, chill ride with lots of talking. The incline up the Woodland Street bridge wasn't even as bad as I thought it would be, but carrying some extra fat was not helping. Major goal is to lose that! We came back via the side streets and ended up with close to 19 miles. So nearly 34 miles for the weekend. Now to ramp that up. The racing schedule has been announced and the first road race is at the end of March. Time to get serious.


Year 2010 Totals

Yeah, I'm a bit late with all this.

Year 2010 Totals:

Bike: 3,742 mi (2nd highest volume ever)
Trainer: 34:39 (being limited to the trainer last Feb. bumped this up)
Walk/jog: 221.9 mi (mostly walk as the ortho banned running)
Total time: 426:58 (biggest volume since I took up bike racing)

Resolved for 2011:

Work on power/wt ratio.
Do more rides and races where I am not in my comfort zone, mentally and physically.
Get training hours up over 500 for the year.
Revise my goals so that they are process oriented. Work on the habits and the process and the goal results will follow.


2010 Season In The Books

Long time, no update. I'm not sure why. I just wasn't motivated to write anything over the summer. But now the summer is over and it's like a new year...I,ve always liked looking at things like a school year instead of the calendar year. And as long as it's a new start, it's time for a fresh look for the blog.

So what happened over the summer? Training, some racing and lots of work. I think that with a lot of work and feeling a bit overwhelmed and trying to train and too much sitting and the knee not being 100% (STILL!), that things went in a vicious circle...work, sit, train, too much coffee, too much sitting, too much crappy food, often eating dinner at work at 7:00 PM (where generally the food is starch on starch) and that left clm not so happy. But like I said, it's a new "year" and time to get things back on track.

The 2010 racing season came to an early end and in the grand scheme of things, that is probably for the best. I raced a few mass start races early on, but then the surgeon (with the Coach's agreement) didn't want me to mass start race, which meant Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the velodrome were out, leaving me with only a few chances to race. July was the Beat the Clock time trial day, August was Masters States and Elite States and September was Masters Nationals. I was supposed to go to Masters Worlds (scheduled to leave next week actually), but on coming back from Nats, I turned around and went to Washington, D.C. for work and came back from there and ended up sick and stayed sick off and on for about three weeks, missing some key training. Once I got back on the track, my workouts were terrible, times were slow and Annabell and Carlos both said one Sunday, "You aren't riding like you usually do." At that point, I knew there was a chance I would not go to Worlds, but decided to see what happened at the workout the following Tuesday. Well, that morning I woke up with a fever and I emailed the Coach saying, "I think my decision about Worlds has been made for me". So, no Worlds for me. And I'm fine with that.

Right now I'm on a couple of weeks of unstructured workouts...doing whatever I feel like and mixing things up. Some walking, some weights, ride when I want, maybe even some swimming. The Coach and I are discussing 2011 goals and I'm excited about next year. And the knee? I'm still going to physical therapy, yes, over a year later, and there is still a definite strength differential between my left and right leg. And with what I've spent on PT, I could have bought a new bike or some really nice race wheels! At least I really like my PT!

Winter plan....like the Coach said, this winter we can do all the things we didn't get to do last year, like hit the gym hard and base riding instead of 15 minutes trainer rides and physical therapy. I'm looking forward to it!


Long Time, No Post

Over a month since I've updated. Not sure why, just not in the mood.  Too much rain, too much work, knee hurting, all of the above.  So, what's been happening?

Still going to physical therapy. Next week will be 9 months since the surgery and 15 months since the original injury.  I still have a strength deficit between legs and we are still working on that and on trying to keep scar tissue from building up.  A lot of painful sessions!  I told Rich that with what I've spent out of pocket on this, I could have bought a new bike or some really nice race wheels.  It's a good thing I like him or I would have quit going long ago.  It gets really frustrating at times, plus, it's like having another job.  Anyway, enough complaining.

One positive is that Kenny has me going back to the track to do some track workouts.  I really like the Sunday workouts--there is a nice group on Sundays and you warm up together, then do your own workout and socialize in between.  And it's really fun to ride fast!

Off the bike the Mouse team helped out at the Berkeley Hills Road Race in mid-May. I worked one of the intersections with teammates Dan and Hank and we sat out in the rain and had a pretty chill day. 

The weekend after that was the TOUR OF CALIFORNIA!!! For Stage 1, I drove up to Sacramento with a couple of guys and rode on the American River bike path, then stowed the bike and watched the P12 Sac Grand Prix race and the women's Sac GP race.  Mouse Bev mixed it up with the big girls and it was so exciting to see a really good, fast women's race. Listening to snippets of conversation amongst people who showed up early for the finish of the TOC, they were amazed and excited to see women racing so hard and fast.  "Wow, those women ride hard!"  

SANY0036
 

Stage 2 of the TOC was a rain-filled day so I ended up working and watching via the computer (well, actually reading text updates since they couldn't get the helicopters up in the air).  I'd originally planned to take the day off and ride and catch the finish, but I'm still a little leery of riding in the rain, especially since my knee started hurting again.

One evening after walking some steep downhills, my knee started getting a sharp, stabbing pain every time I stood up or extended it.  It wasn't the pain like pre-surgery, but in a different place and a different pain.  Crap! Why now?  It seems that the muscles tighten up and pull on the kneecap and that's what is causing it.  More bodywork and diligent stretching and it has subsided quite a bit.  Not 100% gone, but much, much better.  Stretching and deep tissue massage are my friends.

Stage 3 TOC:  I met up with Jean down the peninsula and we drove up to the top of the first KOM at Tunitas Creek/Skyline.  We'd planned to ride out there but the week prior Jean broke her toe pretty badly and no riding for her.  So instead, I got there early, got in some riding before she got there, we went and watched the race come by and then I finished up my ride afterwards.  It's amazing how fast the pro riders go uphill!  A cold, rainy day.   SANY0052
 

The evening of Stage 3 we went to a fundraiser for the Hellyer Junion Program and the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge at Testarossa Winery.  Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin were there and they were very entertaining!  I'll do a separate post about that.

Stage 4:  We went to the start in downtown San Jose and wandered around checking out bikes and bike riders and watched the race start.  Then I went and rode 2.5 hours.  Again cold, windy and some rain.  It never rains past May in California!! 

SANY0059

SANY0090
  

After that, the TOC headed south so that was the end of my TOC.  I did take Friday of last week off and rode another 2.5 hours.  The weekend was a women's track camp at Hellyer which I mentored at.  That was a lot of fun with 20 women trying out the track for the first time. Nearly all are roadies so some good hard riding was done.  It was a good week--13 hours on the bike for me, biggest volume of the year.

That catches things up to this week.  A recovery week with a race at the end.  It came at a good time as I had a work trip to Los Angeles and the hotel (downtown Marriott) has a WEAK gym!  One exercise bike.  A number of elliptical machines (5-6?) but all but one were out of order.  3-4 treadmills but 1 was out of order. I did get two very short bike rides in on the gym bike, but more to just get my legs moving since I knew I'd be sitting in a conference room for two days.  

Recovery week + 3-day holiday = time to get caught up on stuff that isn't bike-related!  On tap for the rest of the weekend is read, study (started Portuguese classes again), laundry, dinner out, grocery shopping, and two short bike rides. And finally....NO RAIN!  Happy Memorial Day!


Finally!

What a totally great day yesterday!! The day I've been waiting 6 months for....getting back to the track and being able to train!

My teammate Ben's comment:  "You looked really good out there today! I think you are going to have a really good year."

That about wraps it up.

I headed down yesterday morning to the beginner session since our weather forecast is the pits and it looked rainy. Supervisor John had sent an email at 7:30 AM saying it wasn't raining but looked like it might so decide whether to drive down or not. I told him to call me if it started raining and headed out. Got there and not rain but very overcast with about 30 people total in attendance.

First up was a 30 lap warm-up. I've been riding a small gear all winter on the rollers both due to my knee and to try to learn how to ride at a higher cadence so I left it on for the warmup. The 46x16 (77.63") felt great and I was able to keep up with little effort and spin merrily along. I'm pretty sure that I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.  After the warm-up I flipped the cog to a slightly larger gearing [46x15 (82.80")] and used that the rest of the morning.  I was easily riding along at 95+ cadence, up to 105. 

I don't remember everything we did, but we did 2x8 lap efforts with 5 people in a group, working on transitions--pulling off the front on the corners and getting back on the end of the line.  We had our Team Roaring Mouse group, plus 1, and we worked well together.

We also did 2x100 meter jumps, riding along 3 abreast. Everyone rides around easy (12 mph) and on the whistle, the first group of 3 does a hard jump for 100 meters, then eases up and gets on the back of the group. We did one seated jump and one standing jump. I was a little leery of the seated jump since in January at my one foray to the track, I tried this but it made my knee hurt. But yesterday, no pain!! I wasn't as fast off the line on the seated one, but on the standing jump, I took off and stayed standing the entire 100 meters. And no pain!

Next we did the "ride off the front of the group on the whistle and sprint around to the back of the line" drill.  We did this twice. The first time there were two of us working together and the second time it was a solo effort. That was a couple of good hard efforts.

The last thing we did was the Australian pursuit. What this is is everyone picks a light pole to start at on the rail (32 light poles at Hellyer) and then on the whistle, you take off and try to catch the person in front of you while not being caught by the person behind you. If you get passed, you are out.  I lined up at the light pole right behind Ben and took off and got behind him and sat on his wheel. He was playing with me, but I was able to sit on him and we got going pretty fast (27.68 mph my computer read).  I tried to go around him, but he took me high and kept me at his hip. I felt pretty good though! Then young Mouse Matt came flying by us and we were both out. Lots of fun!

That was the end of the morning session. It had sprinkled a bit, then the sun came out, then spit rain, then partial sun, then clouds, but it never got wet enough to force us off the track. Since I was feeling pretty good, I stayed for the afternoon session. We only had 5 people: 3 fast guys, new guy, plus me. We did another 30 lap warm-up and my bike was making a noise, kind of like a piece of paper or plastic or something was stuck to the wheel. I got off and looked at the bike and the wheels and couldn't find anything. Peter Bohl was there and he checked it out. Nothing. The noise wasn't there holding the bike and spinning the wheel, just when the pedals were engaged and we took the wheels off and never found what it was.

I got back on the track after changing gears to what is probably my race gear, but found that it's way too big of a gear for right now. My cadence was only about 65 and my quads felt like they were loading up. So I changed to yet another gear, something in between. At least I haven't forgotten how to change the chain rings!  After doing a number of laps on the third gear, and the noise was still there.  It never did quit and then after 2 hours and 15 minutes riding time, I figured that was good for the first time and packed up and headed back to SF. I dropped the bike at the shop to figure out the wheel noise and headed home. Perfect first session back.


Light At the End of the Tunnel

Two great things about this past weekend. First and most important, is that this was the first time in over seven months that I've felt like I was TRAINING versus just out riding the bike.  That has been a long time coming. The second great thing is that I RODE IN SHORTS AND NO ARM WARMERS!!!!!  Really, it's the small things.

I wanted to challenge myself and I've had the Alpine Dam ride in the back of my mind as a goal to work towards so Saturday I decided to do a harder ride than I've been doing with some harder/steeper climbing to see how my knee felt.  To do the full Alpine Dam loop from my house, it's nearly 50 miles and over 3,000 feet of climbing. I didn't want to deal with the bridge as I started late, plus I didn't know how tired I would be from the climbing, so I drove over to Sausalito and started from there.

A little warm up and I hit the Camino Alto hill and rode a pretty good time up that hill, like a minute faster that a month ago.  I felt STRONG!  My knee didn't hurt, my legs were on fire. Super happy with this climb.  I rolled down the hill and all the way up to Fairfax and started the BoFax climb. You ride out of the town of Fairfax and it's about a 2 mile climb to the top before you drop down to the actual dam and Alpine Lake.  I did the 2 mile BoFax climb, up to the top of the first hill which was about 30 minutes and fairly steep in sections.  At the top, I was getting tired, but my knee didn't hurt. Turned around, came back down and rode back to the truck. Just over 3 hours and some good climbing.  The knee passed the test!

On Sunday, the coach had intervals (4x5:00) on the schedule so I went down to the peninsula again. The plan was to get in an hour warm up and then do the intervals and cool down. 2.5 hours total on the schedule. I headed out and the first time I hit a gradual incline, my legs weren't liking that very much, but later they felt pretty good. It was pretty nice--sunny, cool and windy, warm in the sun out of the wind. I had on knickers and could have gotten by with the hot rub and shorts as I shed the arm warmers after the first hour. Once I got warmed up, I started the intervals.  Instead of doing them one after another along the stretch of road, I did them all starting from the same spot. I'd do one, then turn around and ride back easy, spinning my legs out.

The route was flat to start, a slight uphill (I could big ring this), cresting the hill, then a gradual downhill which flattened out (here I didn't bury the gearing, but instead backed off a gear and pedaled like hell--as fast as I could pedal and still engage the gear), then back uphill a little steeper where I had to shift into the small ring in order to not mash the pedals, and then it flattened out again and started back downhill.

#1: I didn't want to start out too hard (like I think I did last week). Start like a 2K, not like a 200m. Fast on the first section, then when I got to the uphill where I had to shift I kind of played with that and then by minute 4, I was ready to be finished. Not sure how far I got but I remembered the road sign for the next one.

#2:  Same start, big ringed the first uphill and felt good, spin like hell downhill and then pushed it a little harder (and knew where to shift) on the second uphill. Got to 4:15 and thought, "it's just a 500" so I pushed it and got further than #1. Riding back I was very happy to be half finished!

#3: Not as good a start but the whole rest was better and I got way further down the road! Probably a quarter mile more. Very happy with this one.

#4: Same distance as #3 and felt good. Pushed the entire way.

After that I rode another 40 minutes to cool down and at the end I did one sprint. 

A little over 12 hours of training for the week. Finally getting there!


Back on the Bike!

The doctor released me back to riding outdoors just in time for good weather. It's been a bit cold, but sunshine. I also got a new ISM saddle for my road bike (thanks DB!) so I went in to the bike shop to get the bike blinged up a bit....white saddle on the white bike with white bar tape.  Now if I just had some cool looking wheels!

I headed down to the Peninsula and rode 2 hours that first ride back. The knee felt pretty good but I was pretty wiped after.  The next day I rode another 2 hours and again, the knee felt pretty good and I felt better afterwards.

This past weekend on Saturday, I rode Paradise Loop plus a little extra in the Presidio and that was my longest ride of the year--3:45.  My knee felt pretty good for the vast majority of the ride. It was a bit sore on some of the seated climbing and I really need to work on stretching after every ride. Sunday was another trip down to the Peninsula for some intervals.  On Sundays they close off one of the roads to cars, so it's a good place to do intervals.  Kenny had 3 x 5 minutes on the schedule and my fitness is about 3 minute intervals right now.  After I did the intervals, I did a number of sprints, including one standing sprint, to see how my knee felt.  No problem!!  I was pretty happy after that ride.

The past two weeks have been a 10.5 hour and a 12 hour week.  Things are looking up!

From last Sunday's ride.

Sunday ride
 


February Goals and Totals

The little crash early in the month put a damper on my outside riding, but I did get in some quality time on the trainer and the rollers. All of the bruises are nearly gone and this week the doctor said I could resume outside riding. Yea! Her parting words, "Don't fall down!" I don't plan to doc!

February Goals

* Follow training plan - check, for the most part

* Ride 400 miles - Not met due to being limited to inside riding. 

* Walk 30 miles - No

* Limit white flour, sugar and wheat - Yes, for the most part.

* Continue yoga once/week - Yes! Very happy to have returned to yoga.

* Read one book - Yes

* No beer - Yes

* No Diet Pepsi - Yes.

Giving up Diet Pepsi might have been harder than giving up beer! I've taken to drinking Calistoga bubbly water with lime to get that bubbly sensation. Much better for me.

February Totals:

Bike: 282.7 mi
Trainer: 8:06
Walk: 20.9 miles
Time 45:09 (includes weights and yoga)

So a fairly solid month, considering I was a walking wounded yet again! Getting a little tired of this! At least I'll be back riding outside, but no racing for awhile yet. The coach and I had a lengthy email discussion about this yesterday and he's right, I'm not ready to race right now. And PT Rich agrees with him, so I'll listen to them. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get things through my head (or I don't want to recognize it, which is more like it). So continue the training and the physical therapy and yoga and increase leg strength. And remember: Go fast in September and October not early spring!

March goals: Will be very similar to February. Take February's training and build on it. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.



6 to 8 Weeks

That's what the doctor said before my surgery. "You'll be back full training in 6-8 weeks."  Tomorrow will be 13 weeks, so I guess that was way off the mark. Of course, that was before she got in there and saw how #*@*ed my knee was. "I don't know how you functioned with it that bad." Well, you suck it up and go. Plus, it never did hurt to ride the bike. In fact, riding made it feel better. But honestly, right now I'm not so happy about the whole thing and I wish I'd never had the surgery. It doesn't hurt now to ride or with basic walking around, but the physical therapists (yes, more than one as I am frustrated and got a second and third opinion) are counseling a very conservative rehab. Those who know me know that patience is definitely not my best feature.

So there's really not a lot new to tell. I've only ridden outdoors a handful of times and nothing over 90 minutes. One time on the track for about 30 minutes in a small, warm-up gear. That felt great! The rest of the time it's been trainer or roller riding, no more than 30-40 minutes, plus some upper body weights and some quad exercises with the muscle electrical stim machine that the second PT has me doing. I can feel my fitness sailing away and it's especially frustrating when everyone else is out riding 3, 4, 5 hours or racing cyclocross and I'm not. But I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. And I've been working on cadence on the bike. I've been able to get up to 135-139 a few times for a few seconds. Now I just need to hold that longer. 

But, in the past 10 days, I've decided that I need to get walking more and since I was in Arizona for IM AZ last weekend, a lot of walking was necessary. That was a fun short vacation as I got to watch friends race and I ended up working one of the penalty tents which was a fun and sometimes frenzied way to watch the bike part of the race. Being there rekindled that Ironman bug and like Kenny and Scott both told me, never say never. 

I've also been traveling a lot for work. Usually we spread out the travel over the year, but due to the surgery, some of the trips got postponed and in October I was in Los Angeles twice and in November it was Orange County (1 day), Silicon Valley (1 day), Houston (2 days), Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia (4 days), Arizona (5 days) and finally New York (4 days). In fact, I'm writing this on United #5, wireless internet in the air! It makes the JFK-SFO trip so much more fun. I'll have been gone 17 days in November. I'm ready to stick around SF for awhile!

Here are a few photos from NYC. Thanksgiving is a great time to go as everything is so festive. I went and saw the show "Burn the Floor"....really good, very high energy, full of dancing and music. And Maks and Kym from "Dancing With the Stars" were in it. Really fun time. My co-worker Germán and I went out to a Brasilian restaurant and the food was great! Impanema Restaurant on 46th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue. Very highly recommended and not expensive.


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Post-surgery Update #2

The second doctor's appointment was yesterday followed by physical therapy. All the stitches came out and it looks pretty good. I asked about graduating from the trainer to the rollers and maybe even an easy ride outdoors on the flat, but the answer was no....stick to the trainer for two more weeks. Two more weeks?!? Torture! She made one consolation--I can bump things up one gear ("...once you get warmed up!")

After seeing the doctor, it was over to physical therapy. We started out doing some walking (still working on walking correctly), then some calf stretching, some knee flexion, then some marching, step ups and finally some standing hip flexion and abduction and very light leg press. That was followed by ice and compression. I got the word to do the step ups, marching and stretching on a regular basis. And continue swimming and riding the bike. So not what I wanted to hear, but things continue to progress, just slowly.


Post-surgery Update #1

It's now 20 days since surgery and one post-op doctor visit down and one physical therapy session down. Last week the doctor took half of the stitches out. Hopefully the other half come out today. She said to ride the stationary bike every day, starting at 15 minutes and working up to 45 minutes, very light gear. So I've been on the bike 13 days in a row, working up to 45 minutes, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe today she'll let me graduate to the rollers.

For physical therapy, the orders were to walk short distances multiple times a day and concentrate on walking correctly. I guess I'd been toeing off too much to compensate for the weak quad and pain in the knee. I'm also supposed to do 3 second "stand on one leg then switch to the other leg, do it 10 times" multiple times a day. I started out barely able to stand on my left leg and that has improved a lot.

The other biggie is walking up and down stairs. Normal sized steps I can now navigate. Big deal!! But deeper steps like getting on/off the bus or the cable car, I still have to take one leg at a time. But things are coming along!


Non-Race Weekend

This weekend was the Wente weekend out in Livermore (East Bay). Road race on Saturday and crit on Sunday. I did the crit last year and had a lot of fun and had planned to do both races this year. That was before the new coach and he said no to racing and yes to a 3 hour ride on Saturday and a track workout plus 1.5-2 hour road ride on Sunday. So, change of plans to support at the road race and hand out bottle with teammate Ben.


Saturday dawned cold, sunny and windy and stayed that way all day. I drove out to Livermore and parked at the race site, saw a few guys I knew and wished them luck, rode part of the course and then went off to finish my ride. The riding out there is terrific--lots of rollers, not too much traffic, some good climbs if you want to (Mt. Diablo), wind. In the summer, blazing hot. I did most of my weekend long riding out there training for Kona since it is so hot and windy. But Saturday….. cold. The route I took on the way out was mostly a head wind, plus the roads are slow, sort of chip seal type. I did an out an back and had to get back to the race to go to the feed zone with Ben, so I only got 2:15 riding in. We were on the hill for the feed and I've ridden up that hill a million times over the past 20 years and yesterday was the first time I'd been up it in a car. Kind of steep! My teammate took 2nd and one of our Cat 5 guys took 3rd. Three other gals did their second ever road race and they all finished. Drove home and rode another 45 minutes on the rollers to get my 3 hours in.

 

Sunday was cold, sunny and windy. Do you see a pattern? I drove down to the track and got in a good warmup. I got at least 15 minutes in solo, then hopped in the paceline once the boys and Annabel got going. I lasted until about 15 laps to go and the speed had been ramped up a lot. Sunday advanced training at the track is just that—everyone does their own workout. Hopefully someone will be there doing something similar, so you can work together. If not, you just do your thing and everyone works around everyone else.

 

I got in about 30 minutes warm up but the cold and wind and allergy crap in the air made my eyes water a lot and I was NOT motivated to do anything. Plus, I was FREEZING (it was probably high 50s, but I really hate cold weather.) My coach gives me a specific workout to do and this one seemed kind of long. It seemed even longer when not motivated. But, I changed gears to the and got on the track and started the 15 laps rails. [15 laps riding around the very top of the track, ‘the rail’, riding hard through the curves and easing up on the straights, so really, 30 hard efforts.] Instead of counting laps, I counted curves and I got to 10 and thought, "Shit! I'm only 1/3 finished!!!!" The next 10 were hard and a few of the efforts weren't as "strong" as others, but they were at least efforts. The last 10, I got a second wind and just busted through them. But I was glad when I got finished with that! One of the guys was sitting there when I finished and I told him I might have to lay down right there on the cement!

 

After a rest, I got ready to do the next part (4x3-laps) and I told Tim--why don't you pace me through this? So he did. I told him to go out at 22 mph and try to increase it a little each lap. The first one we did just like that and I was able to stay on his wheel. The second one, we started out a little faster and ended up faster. Then, he was finished, so I had to do the last two solo. The third one I went out OK, but the second lap was way too fast and I really fell off on the third lap. So, the last one I took it out more moderate, then sped up the second lap and kept it the same on the third lap.

 

Next was 2x200 meters. Annabell had to so some fast spinning efforts and had on a small gear so she said we could do one 200 where I led it out and she'd talk me through the approach and then one where I sat on her wheel and see where she gets up to speed and how easy she goes at the beginning. She gets up to speed a lot later and stays standing later than I had been. On the second one, I wish we'd had a watch on it since she said we were probably at a time which is faster than my usual.

 

Then, it was time for the 3 standing starts. Tim was still there so he held me and the first two I did left foot forward and on the second one, I went left too much and down onto the blue band, so I tried the last one, right foot forward and did much better. Need to continue to work on these.

 

Over 3 hours later, finished! But, it was then time to do the road ride, so I changed to the other bike and headed out on the bike path and rode 1:45, feeling GOOD! I rode easy at the beginning where the path is curvy and more people, but worked the little rollers (standing up and powering up them and not shifting), then rode steady once I got out on the less busy part of the path. A great ride! I felt like I could have ridden forever.

 

Got back to the truck and the juniors were on the track so I stopped in to see what they were doing and ended up doing lap counts for their practice 7-lap scratch race. Changed, stopped for food, then hit the road. A great day!  Five hours of bike time for the day and lots of fun.


Training Camp Wrap-up

Yesterday we got up to a beautiful day--cool in the early morning, but lots of sunshine and blue skies and light winds. I took the advantage of the day to get in one last ride--out to my favorite road in the area, Pallet Creek. Up to the top of it and back to the house. Two last climbs--the 1.5 miles up Pallet Creek and then one last climb up to the house. I ended up with over 17 hours on the bike and about 20.5 hours total, adding in the hiking and yoga. A good solid week. I think I'm back after my crash.


A big thanks to Dan and Monty and all the lovin' from the "kids"....Punkin, Nelson, Spike, Sunny, Charlee, Morgan, Bubba/Bobby, Babe, and new little guy whose name is to be determined. And to Dawn, Michelle, Audrey and Sally--a great group of women to train with (and drink margaritas with). I can't wait for next year.

Training Camp, Day 6 (Saturday)

Saturday it was time to head down to the desert floor. Dawn and I headed out on the bikes while everyone else went to swim. We went down the hill and did the SoCal TT championships loop. It was sunny but cool, with some wind. The first part of the ride is a 5 mile downhill (4-5%), then a more gradual downhill (1-2%) for about 3 more miles, then it flattens out up to the little town of Lake Los Angeles (no lake to be seen). It's there we picked up the TT course. The TT course is mostly flat with a couple of minor inclines.


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We rode about 18 miles of it, instead of doing the 5th leg we rode back towards the house. The wind was such that the first long stretch downhill and all the way to Lake Los Angeles was a mostly headwind and cross winds. The 6 mile stretch out Avenue O was pure tail wind and was sweet! I was pedaling along very easy at 20 mph. It would have been nice to just keep going with a tail wind for hours and have the car pick us up out in Victorville, but I don't think Monty would have been too happy about that. Turning right onto 240th Street was a strong cross wind, riding leaning into the wind. Then we turned back into the wind and had 6 miles of headwind. I got clear down in my drops and was working hard to keep up a decent cadence. 

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Once we turned back south, we had cross winds mostly and then the last climb it was cross winds and when the road curved, we got a little almost tail wind, but then we went through the S-turns through the ridge and there was no wind there. Top of the climb and we curved back around and straight into the wind.  I've never ridden down on the desert floor when there wasn't wind. The last time we rode down in the desert, we had headwinds that kept us at 7 mph and I got hit by a tumbleweed and it cut up my leg. 

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We ended up with a 3 hour ride. Perfect. One last ride this morning before I pack up and head back to SF.

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Training Camp, Day 5 (Friday)

Had a mental day yesterday. I just couldn't get motivated to get out the door, even after lots and lots of coffee. It was cold and grey and the temperature had dropped a lot overnight so it was about 45F in the morning. My legs felt OK, I was just mentally not wanting to go ride. Everyone else went off to run and I finally headed out about shortly after noon. The clouds were coming in over the mountains and they had said 60% chance of rain, so I decided to stay somewhat close. Plus, I didn't know how I'd feel. Yes, total whine day.

I headed down the hill, across the slight downhill past the post office and my legs felt good. Up Pallet Creek and my legs still felt good, but I was just not into it. I decided to ride the "recovery loop". At the end of the loop I headed back towards the house since the temperature had dropped and the clouds were much heavier and looked like rain, so I decided to do one short out/back and then home. 


20 miles in the log book. Didn't get rained on, but a little later the others did get wet. 

Monty cooked us a great dinner and I was in bed shortly after 9:30 PM.

Training Camp, Day 4 (Thursday)

Sunny and windy and hills. Do you sense a theme?

Today's ride: shorter and tried to take it a little more easy as my quads were a bit tired this morning, but overall I feel good.

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The women for the camp all showed up last night and this morning after breakfast and horse wrangling, a few of us went out on the bikes and others went into Palmdale to swim. Dawn from Toronto and I rode together and we started out with Dan but he went off at his fast pace. We rode from the house and the first 4 miles were gradually downhill. We then rode the Punchbowl road race course in reverse. It was a good ride, but with a 5 mile climb, but we didn't push it, just sat back and tried to spin up. My legs actually felt pretty good. We saw two guys out training on the course as the race is next weekend. On the 5-mile climb, there was nothing super steep, just a long grind, probably 4-6% on average. That was followed by a screaming downhill where I hit 41.4 mph even feathering my brakes due to the cross winds. Fun!

2:15 riding time.

Later Dawn, Michelle and I went to Devils Punchbowl park and walked around a little bit which I think was good to stretch my legs out. Monty cooked a great dinner--grilled tri tip, rice, salad, brownies, red wine. Tomorrow it's supposed to possibly rain, so it will be play it by ear. Saturday is supposed to be sunny and warmer.


Training Camp, Day 3 (Wednesday)

Another day of wind, even in the morning, but it didn't seem to be as bad as Tuesday. But definitely colder. The front that blew through dropped the temps a lot. 


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I headed out to do what Dan and Monty call the "recovery loop". It's probably the flattest riding around here, but definitely not flat. And even if it looks flat, it's usually a false flat.

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First minor climb and there was headwind (of course). After the recovery loop (which had a long 3-4% uphill), I did two laps around the triangle--one road with a little slight uphill and then a downhill, turn right and up my favorite road which was a 12 minute climb, but nothing steep, then downhill to the third side of the triangle. 

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I headed down the hill and back towards the house, but took a little side trip up the entrance to Big Rock. Even more windy there and at one point, about got blown sideways going about 25 mph. A definite, "#(@*" moment!

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A solo ride of 2:50 riding time, but Bjorn (Andersson, pro triathlete) and I kept passing each other back and forth on the road. I finished up and he still had some mile repeats to run. I definitely do not miss having to run.

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So far for the camp: 8 hours and 55 minutes of riding over 3 days. 

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Training Camp, Day 2 (Tuesday)


Last night the wind was howling here and the clouds blew in. A storm expected about 11PM, but it looks like it blew itself out. Sunny and blue skies today, but a lot cooler.

Yesterday I had a major wind tunnel experience! I was doing some work in the morning and should have gotten out a bit earlier. It was "breezy" when I left and the idea was to ride out to Mt. Emma, which includes a 5 mile climb. Since I had 2x20 minutes hard hill work on my schedule, this would work well! It was in the high 60s or maybe low 70s. I rode with shorts and jersey and it was nice and sunny.

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The first stretch from the house is a downhill then a gradual uphill. The gradual uphill was straight into a headwind. I went from 35 mph to about 8 mph within a few pedal strokes. A right hand turn and a slight downhill with a tailwind! I was in my biggest gear and spinning out at about 30 mph. FUN!

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 A short climb, then another long stretch that was slightly downhill and this time, the wind was coming from the side and had picked up. I was rolling along pretty good (24-25 mph), but didn't hit it as hard as I could since I was getting blown around a bit. I then turned off to a road I'd never ridden and it was again side gusts, but when I got to the intersection past the dam where the climb starts, the road turned and it was pretty much a strong headwind for most of the 5 miles. 

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Coming back down was a little crazy with the wind and on the way back, it was blowing more. By the time I got to the last 8 miles, the wind was pretty much a sustained 30 mph and I turned south on Longview and that's about a mile gradual uphill with a straight on headwind and I was working hard to go 5-6 mph here. I was very happy to be turning off that road! The rest of the way home was partial side wind and more head wind until I turned back north and had a flying gradual downhill with a tailwind, hitting 39 mph, which leads into the hill to the house.

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3 hours and 45 minutes.

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Training Camp in the Desert

I'm in the high desert for the what, third or fourth year now. It's perfect--lots of roads to ride, hiking or running in the mountains, a beautiful pool down in Palmdale. Though this year it's just riding. No running or swimming. 


Monday I rode with Dan/Slowman and his wife Toni. Well, what I thought was going to be a nice desert floor loop ended up being not so desert floor.  Dan, Toni and Monty went swimming and while they were swimming I rode 30 minutes. I should have known better when I asked Monty if he were riding with us. A very quick "NO" was the answer. So the three of us drove over out of Palmdale and parked. Dan said, it's a nice 25 mile loop. It started out ok--a few little rollers, one small climb and then a good downhill. I was thinking, good, a loop so we don't have to go back up that. Silly me.

At the bottom of the hill we turned onto San Franciscquito Cyn. That should have given me my first inkling of what was to come. It immediately started uphill. Not super steep, but enough that I was only going about 6 mph. After about a quarter mile, it bumped up fairly steep (8% or so) and I was NOT happy! As Dan said later, I had my whiny-bitchy moment. Toni and I had stopped to catch our breath and she took off and I thought about walking for about 10 seconds, then I got back on the bike and just rode up to the top. Well, there was a 12% stretch, thankfully not long, and I got to the top, then it was a screaming downhill to the burg of Green Valley. Then we turned onto Spunky Cyn. At least it had a fun name. But of course, to get back to where we started, we had to get out of the canyon. Spunky wasn't as steep as SFquito, but longer. And, at the top, another long downhill. Dan said at the bottom that that was the last big hill. What he didn't mention was that to get back to the car, there was yet another hill, longer but not as steep (way longer) and oh yeah, with a headwind. I think I averaged about 6-8 mph on most of that climb. At least at the top there was a beautiful 2-3 mile downhill that wasn't so steep as to make you need to feather the brakes a lot. Though with the wind, I was pedaling fast in my biggest gear and only hitting 24-25 mph.

My total riding time for the day was 2:20, but lots of climbing.

http://photos1.blogger.com/hello/101/2656/640/3%20canyons.jpg  This is the loop we rode. We didn't ride the straight line and hook out to the right.

Longer ride today, leaving from the house, so from 4,200 feet up to about +5,000 feet.