Sunday, August 24, 2014

Planned and unplanned excitement

Posted by Rachel


You've probably heard of Napa, and possibly even Sonoma. Well, northern California has another, much less well-known wine region that tourists wouldn't really think (or want) to visit- Livermore. Yesterday, some friends of ours planned a great 30 mile bike ride through this region which of course ended with a picnic and wine drinking. (Thanks, Michelle and Danielle!)

 During the drought, brown is the new green

Because of its lower popularity compared to Napa and others, the roads are actually much more suitable for biking. You can find miles of relatively nicely-paved roads with very little traffic. We did have one encounter with a man in a tiny porsche. We (a fairly large group) were stopped at a stop sign trying to figure out which way to go, and the car was approaching. It wasn't slowing down and instead, the guy lays on the horn as he comes up on us. Were we taking up 1/2 the road? Sure. Was there any sign of human life or any civilization that would prevent him from maneuvering around us? Absolutely not. He flipped us off as he passed too, in case we weren't sure how he felt about cyclists :p

Staying true to our blog namesake!


There are two types of people in this world- those who would sleep through a magnitude 6.0 earthquake, and those who wouldn't. I'm the former. Travers is the latter. So I was woken up for 10-15 sec (?) of pretty legit shaking, although I somehow missed the initial jolt. I was groggy and our floors were creaking, and I was hoping that our place wouldn't fall apart. It didn't... but it was a good reminder to have an emergency plan.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Opposites Attract

I’m going to do a race report even though there is a push to document more of the training.  To be honest, there wasn’t any real training on my part anyway so I don’t have much to talk about on that front.  Here is a report of the Paavo Nurmi Marathon that Sandi and I ran on August 9th.
Our experiences were on each end of the spectrum.  Sandi was the 4th female over all, but hated almost the entire experience.  I had a blast and felt great, but posted a time 70 minutes slower than my PR 9 months ago.

I’ll start at the beginning.  We made our way over to the finish line where we boarded a bus that took us up the road to the start line.  On the way to the bus we drove past the local high school athletic fields; home of the Hurley Midgets.  That has nothing to do with the marathon, isn’t a lie, and is absolutely worth mentioning.

We arrived at the start line where we joined less than 300 other runners to start our journey towards Hurley, WI.  We were both a little nervous, but ready to go.  At 7:30 the gun (a large woman who yelled “go”) fired and away we went.  Immediately Sandi began to pull away while I tried to keep it conservative.  The first couple miles are downhill, so it was very difficult to keep it as slow as we should have.  Neither of us succeeded but both were able to settle in around mile 3.  I ran with a guy for most of the first half who competes in Ironman 70.3 and 140.6.  I believe he qualified for the 70.3 championships in Mont-Tremblant next month so this was just a training run for him.  The rest of the first half was pretty uneventful.

Here is an elevation chart from MapMyRun because my Garmin Connect isn’t working and I can’t get to my activities.  This chart minimizes the impact of the last three peaks, but I can assure you, they seemed a lot like the Alps.  In all seriousness, there is only about 560ft of climbing so with the right training and good weather it has the potential to be a great race.

Mile 15 was a game-changer for this race.  Sandi missed the water stop which started a downward spiral that ended in a mouthful of vomit and walk breaks.  My trip was more of a gradual slide as the heat and long rollers started to take their toll.  The second half was void of any shade and temperatures crept into the 70s.  Water stops were more frequent in the second half (about every mile or two) and each one had bags of ice and cold sponges.  I learned a lot about running a hot marathon.

Keys to running a hot marathon:
  1. Drink the electrolytes
  2. Use the sponges, even if they smell strange
  3. Accept that you should run a slower pace than your ideal-condition marathon pace (I’m going to start calling this “CIM Pace”*)
*CIM – California International Marathon: known as one of the fastest (if not the fastest) marathon courses in the Western US.

The finish was probably the most difficult finish of any marathon I have ever run.  It is an up-hill finish on the shoulder of a busy highway without shade.  Further, there is a large group of Paavo veterans who had the insight to leave enough in the tank to power through as well as fresh-legged relay runners who constantly fly by you.  Through the adversity Sandi was able to hold on and salvage a great time of 3:38:20 and 4th overall.  I, on the other hand, was greeted by my old friend ITB* who I thought I got rid of.  I went into this race with woefully low levels of training and made the decision to run based on perceived effort, which would be apparent if I was able to show my mile split times here.  I just wanted to keep my heartbeats in a range that would allow me to stay just on the edge of comfortable.  I made the decision to walk through the last water stop (~mile 24.5) in order to get enough to drink before making the final push up to the finish.  I took my last gulp, threw the cup to the side, and began to accelerate from a walk back to a jog.  That acceleration lasted two steps before coming to a complete stop.  The quick walk through the water stop was enough time for my ITB to tighten up and made running impossible.  I took time to do some targeted stretches to see if I could stretch things out, but had little luck.  My next idea was to attempt a fast walk to see if I could loosen it up with dynamic movement.  This also was a failure and I began to accept that the running portion of the day had finished and would likely post a PW.  Lucky for me, my worst is so much slower than my normal times that even a complete blow-out won’t do it.

*ITB - Iliotibial Band: connects the knee to the pelvis and stabilizes the knee during running motion.

It is likely that we will be running this race again.  And at this point you might be asking yourself how I came to that conclusion based on how terrible this was for both of us.  Well, Sandi feels as though the race got the best of her and she needs to get her revenge.  I feel as though this race would be even more amazing if I were to have put just a little bit of effort into training for it.
Now we are both going to focus in on the fall training plan that will include a couple 5Ks in September, a half marathon in October, and CIM in December.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Mt. Hamilton ride and a weekend of heat training.

Posted by Katie

If I had to chose one word to describe this weekend's training it would definitely be... HOT.

Our weekend started with an open water swim, in a shallow lake... getting shallower by the day thanks to California's massive drought. Lately the swim lane that is marked off is so shallow that long armed folks (like Matt) are hitting the bottom during their stroke in one corner. I think the shallow water is also contributing to the temperature rise or at least it feels that way...Having the wetsuit on was nice for all of 5 seconds of getting into the water and then promptly too warm. A friend with us swam without one and remarked that it felt just like swimming at the pool. We pushed on for a mile swim that I felt pretty good about. The sun started to break through the fog just as we finished the swim and the temperature rose rapidly.

After about a 30min transition of driving back to our place, changing, consuming some food... it was time to run. At this point it was probably about 80F (but it felt like 105F). My longest run thus far has been 8 miles (a month ago?), and lately really just 6... so I am definitely behind on the running and planned to get 10 miles in post swim, an ambitious jump. Starting out the run for me immediately became a mental challenge. At 1.5miles I felt like a big noodle, no energy, things were hurting.. not a good sign. So I convinced myself to run for a half mile, then walk... then run 1 mile, walk, then 2, and a gu... finally around 4 miles I started to hit a rhythm and ended the run feeling strong (or at least much better than it started). Miles 7-10 we spent thinking about what I wanted in my post run smoothie (strawberry, banana, and yogurt) which I made immediately upon entering the house.

No time for cups... smoothie consumed directly from blender.
Sunday we decided to ride up Mt. Hamilton in San Jose. Let me say right now that this ride was an a$$ kicker in every sense of the word (total gain = 5,100ft).  We parked ~5 miles from the base of the climb which is 19 miles of pretty much continuous up (with two small dips). The best thing about this ride is that the grade is super gentle.. no more than 6.5%. This nice gentle grade is due to the observatory at the top, or more specifically the trucks that have to carry observatory equipment to the top. 
Yep that's a mountain.

I would like to reach out across the internet and give Cal Fire in Santa Clara a big huge hug. At the base of climb part 2 of this ride there was a fire station with a table out front and a huge jug of iced water. We just happened to stop there because one of our riding buddies needed to change a flat. All 4 of us on the ride agreed that had we not stopped for water there we most certainly would have bonked on the next section. Not only was it super hot and exposed but the pavement was that new black tar style stuff that was literally roasting us as we biked. So ya... full waters were necessary! Thanks Cal Fire!!!

At the top we were rewarded with amazing views in all directions. Also there is a visitor center for the observatory, complete with bathrooms, cold water, a gift shop, and vending machines which sold gloriously cold Gatorade and other treats.

Lick Obersvatory
We made it!!

View of the crazy windy road.

Gatorade (in cans?!) cheers.

The ride down was fun! Lots of curvy roads but again, not too steep. Matt says there are supposedly 365 turns on the road. Call me crazy but I really liked this ride. I would definitely do it again, although next time I would want to start much earlier and avoid the heat.

Post ride of course we were all ready for food... ASAP. The pizza below was for just Matt and I..

Me in the background for scale.

Training in the heat sure feels heroic but I don't know if that translates to any sort of added fitness. Likely not. I suppose if we were getting ready for a tri in Florida we would be set.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last entry of documented training week

Posted by Rachel

It's finally here- the last day that I will post the excruciating details of my training. I'm also going to give a quick overview of the Oakland Triathlon bike course, in case any participants are stalking the internet and looking for something like this.

12 mile flat run at MLK Shoreline. It was warm and a little bit rough. The pace would've reflected this sluggishness if a fellow blogger (I won't mention any names Sandi) hadn't decided to make the last 5k a race. It's ok though, it meant we got finished sooner and made it to Stag's just in time to beat the line!

If you live in or near Oakland, seriously just go here

32 mile bike ride. This is a little bit short on miles for a peak week, but I felt I've done plenty of hilly 50 or 60 milers.. way more than necessary for a flat Olympic distance tri. I needed to go grocery shopping and do some chores so I saved time by skipping the extra 20-30 miles :p We rode the loop of the Oakland Triathlon bike course* (described in detail below for any random internet stalkers who are wondering) and then Skyline. 

And that's a week of training in Rachel's life. I'll mention here that Travers crashed his bike today by running into a giant piece of asphalt, which is basically the same thing that got me a couple months ago. Watch out for these things, people... they can sneak up on you!!

Oakland bike course:
I didn't ride this course exactly between miles 2.5 and 4.5 but the rest is legit. So below outlines the part of the course I did ride. The course is mostly flat although you will notice slight changes in your pace due to gradual elevation changes. The course CAN be windy although in the morning it's usually not too bad, and it's almost always from the west-ish.
North on Broadway to 30th: This part is net uphill (although << 100 ft, so barely noticeable). Pavement quality varies although may be better when the lane is closed.
Left on 31st: There is a one block incline shortly after the turn that most will have to gear down for, and there are speed bumps throughout this section that I wouldn't take in aero (disclaimer: I'm not a great biker). I skipped some of this part heading west today, but I know that once you hit Mandela the pavement should be nice. Net downhill, but again barely noticeable as the net change is pretty much insignificant.
Right on Grand to Frontage & 7th: Another short (~1 block) incline before the left turn, then downhill after you make the left on Frontage. At the end of Frontage through 7th, you go down under some underpasses to cross freeways that are a little bit torn up. They were actually filling in a lot of the holes when I rode by today, but the pavement is still less than ideal in some parts so use caution. 
Out and back on Maritime: The pavement in this section isn't smooth, but it's ride-able.
Port of Oakland: Once you curve around 7th to Middle Harbor, you have a tail wind and some decent pavement the rest of the way. There are 3 "speed bumps" on Middle Harbor that are very gradual/low height + low slope.  Most riders could probably take those in aero. 
Throughout the entire course, there are several sets of (unused) railroad tracks you will cross. Most of them are 45 to 90 degrees to the direction you'll be riding so there shouldn't be too much of a chance of getting caught up in them as long as you're paying attention. I usually turn my wheel but just slightly when going over most of these and I'm way overcautious.

I still have mixed feelings about an urban triathlon course, but I do love Oakland so we'll see how it goes in 2 weeks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday and Friday workouts

Posted by Rachel

And we continue on with peak week.

Morning - 45 min strength training = 15 min core + 30 min strength. The strength excises are mostly legs, and mostly using my own body weight (although there are a few with weights). I try to avoid arms at all costs due to the fact that my shoulders get really large. I feel the same way about large shoulders as I do about accessories- I think they look great on other women but not really on me. (Although, thanks to my fellow female bloggers, I did get some great accessories for my last birthday which have been complimented at work.)
Afternoon- 7.5 mile run. Generally my Thursday run is a slogfest, being tired from the activities from the previous days as well as morning strength training. So I leave my watch at home and just move as slow as necessary to stay on a forward path. Since the last 4-7 hours of the Ironman will be this type of run, it seems good to practice.

Many of you know that I swam competitively for a long, long time (age 9 through 2 years of college). By the end of that time, I was so burnt out. I just hated swimming and the thought of getting in the water and the fact that my times had improved only marginally (or not at all) for 3-5 years. Ever since quitting 11 years ago, I still to this day pretty much refuse to get into a pool 'for fun'. It's just not fun for me. However, the sport of swimming is now another story. It turns out a few years off can do wonders for your attitude. Friday morning master's swim practice at our gym is now my favorite workout of the week! This morning it was a bunch of 50s and 100s, which I usually scoff at for being way too short of a distance. But they were all hard/sprints on really short time intervals and this workout completely kicked my butt (in an awesome sort of way). 4000 yards.

Random stories:

-If you're a consistent blog follower you know that we signed up for IM Canada. The swim is in a lake called Alta Lake. I was changing the water cooler at work yesterday (which yes, I can lift to the surprise of many colleagues) and I noticed the brand of water:

So the water isn't from Canada (it's from San Leandro), but I think it's an interesting coincidence that I'll have drank gallons of Alta water before even getting to the start at Alta Lake. I hope it's not a (bad) sign. (For the record, I'm totally ok with swimming 2.4 miles in open water, but I'm terrified to do it with 2,000 at the other people all trying to go the same exact way).

-I found out yesterday that we have to tackle this during the swim-bike transition in the Oakland triathlon:


Unfortunately I had no idea that I was training to climb 3 flights of cement stairs while soaking wet. Guess it's a good thing I did those stairs on Tuesday at track after all. As if it's not bad enough that T1 is 0.2 miles long, I was really hoping they'd add something like this.

(So now that I'm done being dramatic, I do now realize that we have to cross train tracks and this is the only way. I just had to get my complaint out there.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday track and Wednesday commute

Posted by Rachel

Now I realize why we don't usually blog about training... it appears that's not what our audience likes to read about. It must be our hilarious race reports and witty, charming story telling that really lures them in. Nonetheless, I promised that I would cover my actual training for a week, so here it goes.

Track workout: 4 x (800 interval pace, jog to bottom of track (~80m), stair repeats back to the 'top' of the track, 200 interval pace, 200 recovery). Normally I'm highly opposed to things that aren't running occurring during my track workout, but I figure anything that will help make my quads become gigantic (like stairs) may help my biking. So I went for it. I'm not sure if it really did much except make the track workout really hard, but I guess that's ok. 6.1 miles logged total, 2.5 at interval pace (~6:15 mile).

This is the day we bike commute from Pleasanton to Oakland. It is 30 miles w/ 2400 ft of climbing, so it's a solid workout. There is a net 200 ft elevation loss, but since the commute is in the west direction and the wind is generally 15 mph from the west, I think the verdict is that it's a challenging bike ride. Today I focused on the back half of my pedal stroke (the part where you pull your heel up) and it really helped increase my cadence. I knew swimming and running had a 'proper form', but I never really think about biking efficiency much so now seems like a good time to start. It's really hard to compare pace week to week because the biggest variables are headwind and stoplights so I'm not sure if it actually helped my speed or not (today was 14.0 mph which is right in the normal range for this ride). We'll see. The other thing I'm working on is controlling my bike on downhills and turns... still a long way to go there.

Only 2 more training entries to go for the week. I'll include some pictures in the next one.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Peak week for Oak tri- training

Posted by Rachel

I was looking at the banner on top our blog and it says "a group training blog". But if you look at the entries, we mostly talk about races and hardly ever even mention training. Well, it turns out we all do train. So I decided that for one week I would actually cover training. Also, since it's a "peak week" for the Olympic distance Oakland tri, this might as well be the week I share it with the world (I'll look less lazy this way).

Disclaimer: I am following a completely made up plan (devised in my own mind), so if it doesn't make any sense, that's why.

Monday (the day with the most different activities):

1.) 4200 yard swim (endurance day). Main set ladder- 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100  all freestyle, all 1:30/100 base

After work-
2.) 45 min spin class (push the hard intervals)- they took out many of the "night club" elements from the new cycle studio at the gym, which was good. The first bike that I got on was showing speed in km/hr, and I didn't want to do any math so I moved to the bike next to it. Once I got going on that bike, I realized it was ALSO in km/hr. At this point I just gave in, figuring that I signed up for a race in Canada, I might as well go metric. (For the record, I prefer metric for distances under 1 meter, but over a meter it has to be miles.) Luckily, power was still in watts and not BTU/hr or some weird crap. It's really interesting to see power... at the beginning of class I can barely break 100W, but once I get warmed up I'm mostly in the 130-150 range somewhat comfortably (then up around 190-220 for high intensity intervals of 30-60s). I have no idea what this means, but it's mostly likely weak.
3.) 30 min core class

Question for cyclists... Does anyone know of a magical online chart where you can look at your weight and the speed you want to go and it tells you what power range you need?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Race Report: Tri Santa Cruz (Dip and Dash)

Posted by Katie

Half Ironman training has been going pretty well... I must admit that I like it more than I thought I would. Some weeks are better than others of course but for the most part it has been going really well as far as hitting the distance (well okay I have definitely cheated the running) and not getting injured (check). The week leading up to this race however was pretty dismal so I was not feeling super confident about our planned olympic distance "Dip and Dash".

My motivation for signing us up (and peer pressuring Matt, which for the record in endurance events is easy) was to conquer my fear of the swim. My first (and only other) triathalon was a sprint and I spent ~60% of the swim doing the doggy paddle and/or freaking out. I knew I had to address this or 1.2 miles would be just about impossible. We had originally talked about doing the Tri Santa Cruz Olympic Tri instead of just the Dip and Dash but we decided against it for two reasons.... 1) cost: the tri is $130 and the dip and dash only $65 so take out one event and you cut the cost in half and 2) the bike course: the olympic distance is four loops... FOUR loops?! it just sounded a little monotonous to be honest... Dip and Dash, it was.

Yup that's right my bib number was 666...made for a lot of funny comments
 Matt and I like to joke that we never really look like we know what we are doing... mismatched clothing.. the wrong gear, etc. Below is a picture of Matt demonstrating the "gaper" look by hydrating with an iced coffee while everyone else is getting ready and going towards the beach.
Matt nailing the "gaper" look 

We were able to get to Santa Cruz and check in that morning which was nice, and because our wave started last (at 9am) we only had to make it to registration before it closed at 7:30 which left plenty of time for coffee drinking. Soon though it was time to make our way to the beach and get serious. We got in the water to warm up a little and practice getting in and out, everything I've read talks about dolphin in, dive when it gets just deep enough, stand up, run, dive again. I'm sure this is a solid technique but since neither Matt or I had ever done it we decided today was probably not the day to start. Matt's technique, which I think works great for us tall people, is to run and whip your legs to the side above the water. Two benefits that I can see right away.. 1) more efficient than dragging your whole leg through the water and 2) creates space around you because who wants to run right next to the crazy person with flailing limbs?! Also as soon as we got out of the water from our warmup a SEA LION popped it's head up right where we had been swimming and barked (?) super loudly. I'd like to think he was cheering on the swimmers.

Photo Credit: Finish Line Productions
The Swim:
Aquathon (aka Dip and Dash) sprint and olympic distances all start together probably 30 people total. The sprint distance does one loop and exits, while the olympic gets out of the water, runs around a buoy on shore and gets back in for another loop. That meant we had to do the crazy leg kick jump technique twice. Good times. Also I am sort of afraid of waves crushing me as I try to get into the water but luckily both times the waves were pretty small so it wasn't a huge deal. From the start to the first buoy I could just not get it together, super panicked. Had my heart rate monitor been working I'm sure it would have registered 200 beats per minute. I basically just did the breast stroke with a few crawl strokes mixed in here and there. Once around the first turn I felt better and started swimming a bit more and picked out a group ahead of me to try and stay with. As we turned toward the beach I realized all the people I was staying with were getting out (Sprint distance) and only one lady a little ahead of me was looping around the buoy for the olympic (great). The second lap started off MUCH better. I caught up with the lady in front of me and stayed with her for a while then eventually passed. I was super thankful to just be done with the swim. Certainly not as good as I had hoped given how much I have been swimming.

The Run:
Running out of the water and to the transition area (0.3mi) felt sluggish, but once I got out of the wetsuit and into sneakers the run felt great! Running was like an old familiar friend, definitely more comfortable for me than swimming. The run course is flat out and back along the bluffs and there was lots of cloud cover so basically ideal running conditions. Because of the staggered wave starts I got to run with get run over by all the super fast guys (and gals) from the olympic distance tri. Matt did awesome on the run and earned himself a 10K PR. Clearly he has more room to PR there. I was also pleasantly surprised to finish the 10K in 55:47 which is only 27 seconds off my 10K PR.

Lessons Learned:
1) I swallow a ton of water when I swim. My new hydration plan for Tahoe is to not drink anything before the swim and just realize that I will drink ~half of the lake. I didn't take any water on the run  this time because I was already too hydrated and would have had to stop if I did (and I didn't notice any porto-potties on the course so that wasn't even an option).  I wonder if this is normal or if my swim/breathing technique is just a mess... probably the latter.
2) Don't forget to GU. Before the start of the swim I was planning to take a honey stinger gel because my bagel breakfast had been 3 hours prior at that point. Also right before the swim I wanted to use the bathroom one more time, so while standing in line I put my spare gu in my sports bra so I wouldn't have to try to hang onto it in the bathroom. Two hours later when I changed I found that gu, still in tact, and right where I had left it... whoops.

At the end of the race there was pizza (yay!) but after 1 slice we decided to change and seek out some brunch type food. It was 11:29am and they had announced that awards would start at 11:30, we considered sticking around but it seemed like they were having trouble with the computers so results might take a while. We strolled down to the boardwalk and ate at the Ideal Cafe. Fitting name because it really was the ideal spot, not too far, outdoor seating, and brunch/lunch options.

Keep Calm and Drink Coffee... my life mantra.

 After a great brunch we strolled back past the finish area on route to the car and were surprised to see that awards were only partway through. We soon also realized that they hadn't done the Dip and Dash yet and were giving out awards 3 deep in 5 year age categories and decided to stick around just in case.


 It ended up being sort of a painfully long wait... I had flashbacks of the Mermaid 5K waiting hours for poor Sandi to get a hat. The Dip and Dash Olympic category was somehow skipped and ended up being the absolute last awards and literally everyone had left except ~6 of us. Sort of a bummer that the awards must have taken a long time to get started or just dragged on for a long time (now 1:30pm at that point) but I am glad we stayed to receive our awards! Matt first in his age group, and me second in mine. We got these sweet glasses and a discount coupon for a future race, sweeeeet! All in all a really fun day!

Age group award glasses and cookies from SC!

The (lack of) view from Mt Tam

Posted by Rachel

Sometimes, while I'm biking, I think to myself "wow, this sport really sucks". That's something I've been working on and trying to be more positive. After all, 112 miles of biking is a LOT of biking. Might as well embrace it.

Travers has been wanting to bike Mt Tam all summer. Finally, on Saturday, we went for it. It was our 3rd bike ride in 4 days, so I didn't expect it to be easy. My legs were the least of my problems.

We took BART to Embarcadero and biked over the Golden Gate. In the morning, it wasn't so bad except for the fact that the wind was literally manhandling me on the bridge (and later on the mountain descent). It was pushing me toward traffic instead of toward the bay, so I guess that's better? Fortunately, Travers agreed to skip the loop in the Marin headlands with an 18% downhill grade. I did that downhill with a 0 mph wind once and almost started crying it was so scary, so I'm pretty sure I would've ended up in the Bay if we attempted it on Saturday.

So fast forward a bit and we're climbing Mt Tam and all of a sudden I get pelted in the chest with a wasp. It falls onto my quad, and instead of flying away it of course bites me in the quad. This is the second time this has happened to me on the bike. (The first time, a bee actually flew into my sports bra and then stung, so I suppose the quad is preferred). Begin inner dialogue "My quad is on  fire.. this sports sucks!" "It's not biking's fault... runners could get stung, too." Etc. Then finally we were getting toward the top of Mt Tam.

View from the climb

The climbing itself wasn't so bad. However, when we got to the top, we were rewarded with...just bathrooms. The view was covered in fog. 

Travers looking at the"map" of what he was supposed to be looking at... if in fact he was looking at anything other than fog

I also wasn't a fan of the top because it was swarming with wasps. I had enough for one day already, thanks. The ride back was pretty uneventful, although the Golden Gate was MOBBED with tourists. It was a little bit of nightmare but at least I had expected it. It reassured me (yet again) that we made the right choice in living in the East Bay... I just can't imagine constantly dealing with tourists. The ride was beautiful but I think I'll stick with the more convenient Diablo for future mountain climbs.

After, Travers and I went to a great Jamaican restaurant. Travers asked me who I thought the most famous Jamaican is and I said Usain Bolt. He countered with Bob Marley. I think he's right... but what do you guys think?

Today my run was fine, except my motivation was low so I only made it 10 miles (intentionally). Also, the wasp sting area was itching like crazy and was actually sore in the vicinity of the sting when I started running. Oh well... better luck in my training next week :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pre-Race Thoughts

Tomorrow, Will and I will be running in the 46th annual Paavo Nurmi Marathon. The race was named after, the Finnish athlete/Olympian and 7x gold medalist Paavo Johannes Nurmi, aka the “Flying Finn”.
I have to say that I love small races! In a lot of ways, Hurley reminds me of Monte Rio; the small town feel is great!  The packet pick-up and expo were held in the local high school, in addition to a pasta feed for runners their families/friends. We opted not to join in the dining experience in the high school cafeteria. I should also mention that the 5k runners and the half marathoners were able to pick up their shirts at the expo, but we will not get our race shirts until we FINISH the marathon.
A picture says a thousand words...
Race Expo
Pasta Feed

While the race website promises beautiful scenery and great spectators, I am somewhat skeptical. We drove along the course and all I can say is that I hope the clouds show up in full force tomorrow. The forecast call for highs in the upper 70’s L.

I am feeling unprepared and scared. On paper, my training plan says I am good to go. In reality, the past two shake out runs and my current state say differently. Let’s hope the race gods are on my side tomorrow.

The plan is to race smart AND negative split. I would like to go out at 7:50 – 8:00 miles and see where the race takes me. I hope that Will plans to stick with me for the first 10 or so. However, if you have read about his recent training, you may not think that’s the best idea.
The ceremonial torch. We saw the lighting ceremony parade from inside the restaurant :).
Stay tuned for the race report. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rambling thoughts about training in Buffalo

Posted by Rachel

Last weekend we took an extended long weekend to head to Buffalo, NY for my grandma's 80th birthday party. It was a great time and I'm so glad we were able to go. Fortunately for us, the weather also cooperated quite a bit. The first morning we went for a 10 mile run and it wasn't even painfully hot or humid. Travers looked up the most popular routes in Buffalo, and we just followed one. It was really (surprisingly) nice! I suppose that's why it's the most popular. Also, while I was searching for a bathroom and not looking in front of me, I managed to slip and fall on some gravel. I'm getting used to biking/running bloody.

I didn't have my camera on our run, but we did find this Giants tribute right in front of our hotel. Random. 

Two days later, we went for a run on the Niagara River/Lake Erie waterfront. That was nice, too, albeit much shorter. On the way back, we noticed that the road in front of the hotel was closed for a bike race. I asked what distance the race was and was told it was a criterium. I have seen these before, but I really just don't get them. Maybe it's because I can't turn my bike very well, which would be catastrophic in this type of event. I guess it's equivalent to racing a (5k, 10k, etc) on a track?

On our last day of the trip, we went to the Frank Lloyd Wright house and it was really neat (I hadn't seen it before). It's funny how you can live in/near a place for so long and not do all of the notable things there.

I'm not that into architecture but this place was cool (Martin House)

We also went to Niagara Falls, which I have done many times before (if you are from anywhere in WNY, this is pretty much the only thing to show people that come to visit). Travers, on the other hand, has only gone once in the dead of frigid, frigid winter. So we went back again, went on Maid of the Mist, and hiked around. It was really nice, and it reminded me that I want to bring Travers back to WNY in the fall sometime...which happens to correspond with...

...the Niagara Falls International Marathon! 2017, or 2018 maybe...who's in?! Apparently I have a recent thing for races in Canada :p 

Travers looking cool in front of Horseshoe Falls

Now I'm back into regular training for a few more weeks before the Oakland Tri (Olympic distance). I'm pretty excited about it and am hoping to PR. I skipped a bit of biking while in Buffalo, but I think it was a good thing because my legs felt strong this week and ready for a few weeks of hard training. Yesterday we did a spin class in our gym which has a new cycle studio. Travers said he didn't like it because it is too much like a nightclub, which is exactly how I felt when I was in there but I thought it was cool. I guess we'll see if it gets old. Then today we did our normal bike commute home (30 mi) but I somehow forgot a sports bra. I went for it in regular apparel, and was relieved that it ended up being fine (I didn't even notice). The time I wore my bike shorts inside out for a 30 mile ride was much worse (yes, the butt pad was on the outside. No wonder the "real cyclists" were looking at me strangely as they rode by). 

I think that's enough from me for now, but I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again soon. Good luck to Will and Sandi in their marathon!