Archive for the ‘century’ Category

>With my new commitment to training, I decided that it would be a good idea if I started to report on each week of training. After all, who better than my followers to get on my ass call me out if I don’t keep up with my training.

Until recently, I always had a written training plan. Years ago, I used a calendar, then as technology advanced, started using the computer, then my old Palm, then finally my Windows mobile phone. That changed with my upgrade to an Android phone. I’ve been unable to find similar programs that I so loved in windows. I’m left to enter my plan on my calendar (or not at all), and reduced to recording my workouts on Daily Mile or Bike Journal. I’ve also started using Garmin Connect, but I haven’t got into the habit yet and forget to upload the data.  I really miss my running/biking log!

In any case, I’ve started training again, with my goals in sight:  The Borrego Springs Century on January 1 and the “brick” weekend, the Tour de Palm Springs on February 12, followed the next day by the Palm Springs Half Marathon on February 13.

With that in mind, I need to start increasing my mileage, both running and riding. Now that cross country is nearing the end of the season, I know I’ll have more training time (no more Saturdays dedicated to traveling to various invitational meets across So. Cal. Yeah!). This week was still a bit of a challenge, though. The rain during the first half of the week kept me off the bike (riding once a week is not a great way to get ready for a century!) The cooler weather brings the arrival of the snowbirds, which means I work longer hours, especially on Monday and Thursday, when I have private clients at another country club.

Enough of the excuses. Here is what I managed to accomplish, training-wise, this week.

Monday, October 18: I did NOT make it to the gym (in spite of working in not one, but two fitness centers). My snowbird clients returned, so I worked from 5:15 am and finished up at about 4:00 pm. I will adapt to this schedule and happily head off to the gym afterward, but this first day back I was pooped, so I went home (and cooked dinner, but that doesn’t count as exercise).

Tuesday, October 19:  I ran one mile with the dogs, then headed to cross country practice where I ran about 4 more with the team. Total for the day: 5.2 miles/51 minutes.

Wednesday, October 20: This is usually a bike day for me. I don’t go into work until 10:00, which gives me a couple hours to ride in the morning. Because of the rainy weather though, the streets were very wet, plus there was still a lightening storm going on to the southeast of us that I was a little leery about (that’s the direction I ride!). Instead, I decided to go for another run (it is so nice to have options!). There were just a few sprinkles coming down as I headed out with my dogs. They were so happy to run four miles (many times I’m in a hurry and they only get one mile or less). I brought them home, then headed out for another three. The sun was just coming up, which made for some beautiful scenery:

Total for the day: 7 miles/1:09

Thursday, October 21: Long day, no gym, wimp out.

Friday, October 22: Now that the weather has finally cooled down, Friday will be the day that I get a third ride during the week. I get off early (the one advantage of working at 5:30 am), so I’ll have time for a one or two hour ride most Fridays. Not this week though. Too much to do getting ready for the Mt. SAC Invitational which was on…

…Saturday, October 23: The cross country invitational at Mt. San Antonio College is the largest one in the country. Last year, over the course of several weeks, over 22,000 elementary, middle, and high school, not to mention college, athletes participated in this huge event at Mt. SAC. Celebrating its 63rd year, the course at Mt. SAC has changed little over its history, offering challenging terrain for all the different levels of runners.

This year our first race was scheduled at 7:10 am, meaning a 4:30 departure from Palm Desert for the 100 mile trip to Walnut. For yours truly, that meant a 2:45 wake up, even though the van was packed, the snacks were made, the coolers were loaded.

I’m getting off track a little, but the bottom line is, we didn’t get home until about 2:00 pm, exhausted and ready for a nap. (In the old days, we rode in a school bus. We could nap both before and after the races. Now, with financial cutbacks, we drive vans and they expect us to stay awake, since we’re driving those vans.) So, unless you count dashing back and forth to follow our team during their races, no exercise.

Here’s a picture of the Varsity girls team. They are the best posers!

Sunday, October 24:  Finally! I ran two miles with my dogs (I figure that makes up some for no running on Saturday). After that, Alan and I went for a 52 mile bike ride. Two points here: One, it sure is nice waiting for it to warm up, rather than trying to beat the heat. Two, it is hard to build up mileage when you are riding only one day a week.  Because of the rain this week and our home course cross country meet the week before, my riding time has been severely limited. I was, however, determined. By the time we finished, my quads burned, my neck ached and my back was sore, but, dammit, I did it. On the way to a century! A few photos from the ride:

It stayed cloudy and cool for the whole ride. In fact, I kept my arm warmers on until the final four miles. I was very tired by the end, feeling more like I’d ridden 100 than 50. So another nap. I’m not sure all these naps are necessary because of my early hours and hard work, or just because I’m getting older. Probably a little of both.

In any case, total for the day: 2 miles running/20:15, 52.1 miles cycling/3:42
Weekly mileage totals: 14.2 miles running/52.1 miles cycling
Plan for the upcoming week:
Monday: Gym-Done!
Tuesday: Run with the cross country team (about 5 miles)
Wednesday: Bike (25-30 miles)
Thursday: We are taking the team out to practice on the course we’ll be running for the league finals. I’ll bring my running gear and my good intentions.
Friday: Bike (20-25 miles)
Saturday: Bike (60 miles)
Sunday: Run (8 miles)
I’ll be sure to report back about my efforts.

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>Lots to talk about…

First of all, I say this every year, but it still amazes me how suddenly great I feel when the weather finally cools down. It happens every year, but after several months of training day after day in hot desert weather, you start to feel slow, sluggish, unmotivated, lazy. This morning when I rode my bike (wearing arm warmers!), it was cool for the entire two hour ride and I felt strong and wonderful. It has been abnormally hot in October (over 100 degrees just the day before yesterday), but finally, finally, it looks like it is going to finally cool down. Did I say finally?

Now that my attitude has done a 180, I can address some of the complaining I’ve done in recent posts.

Goals? I was whining a couple weeks ago about not having goals and therefore not feeling motivated to train. Almost immediately, two women spoke up and offered ideas, motivation, and shared goals. One is a very good friend, who suggested that I pick a century ride to train for and said that she would train and ride with me. We don’t live close, but hopefully we will also have an opportunity to ride a couple of training rides before the event. We’re thinking about the Borrego Springs Century, which is on January 1, 2011 (talk about ringing in the new year!). Depending on my friend’s holiday travel plans, we may ride the Stagecoach Century, which is on January 15 (checkout the link, there’s actually a picture of me on their homepage).

The other woman who offered motivation was Kate, whom I’ve never met before. She lives in San Diego and is the author of the blog “Run with Kate: Tales of a SoCal Veg Runner” (check it out!). She also read my whiny post and my speculation about the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Through blog comments, we discussed signing up and running the race, maybe working up a veggie blogger angle to get a few other runners involved. Unfortunately, since then, Kate has had to deal with some injury issues, which forced her to drop out of another race. Now Carlsbad is sold out, so it doesn’t look like that particular event is going to happen.

But, just the fact that these two women reached out to me was inspiration enough to pull me out of my dreary self pity. I’ve decided that in addition to the January Century, I’m going to sign up again for the Tour de Palm Springs and the Palm Springs Half Marathon and go after that Brick Award again. Yes, I know that I do this every year, but this time I’m going to train for them. No, really, I am.

So in the spirit of training, bolstered by the fact that we did not have a cross country meet this weekend, I made a simple plan: a moderate 45 mile bike ride on Saturday, followed by a medium run, five to six miles, with the cross country team on Sunday. I’ve lost a lot of my endurance over the last couple months, so I want to build back up without injuring myself.

So, goals, plans, and cool weather all combined to give me a positive attitude and the motivation to get back to training. My weekend training coming up in part two of this post.

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>…a plan? A goal? Some motivation? Something to excite, inspire, and get me off my ass.

Having pretty much failed at achieving my athletic goals for the year, (oh, and this link, too) I find myself sinking further into a training rut. The summer heat, now extending into late September (111 today!), plus cross country season, which sounds really athletic, but really means I’m doing a whole lot of coaching, traveling, and driving, and very little running, cycling, and, well, sleeping.

What’s worse is that I feel like I don’t care. That’s not really true, or I wouldn’t be writing this at all, but I’m finding myself feeling pretty blase about training these day. No running due to cross country meet? No problem.  Ride cut to 30 miles because we dared to sleep in to 5:00 am and it got too hot? Oh, well. I didn’t get to ride my bike for 11 days because (pick one) cross country, work, heat, family? Big deal.

I need to change this relaxed attitude immediately! So, in an effort to motivate myself, I will:

Pick a century ride in December or January and sign up. The Borrego Springs Century is on January 1st (that should be an interesting group), and Stagecoach Century is on January 15 (there is still a picture of me on their homepage, so I should probably ride Stagecoach). I need to get my mileage back up  (which will happen as soon as the weather starts to cool down). I did ride a century in July, so I’m not a total slug, but lately I’ve barely ridden 30 miles at a time.

I also want to pick a half marathon, probably Carlsbad, because it’s one of my favorites, and sign up. Just a couple years ago, I would proudly say that I was always ready to run a half marathon (not the same as racing one, but I could definitely go the distance). Well, that was then, and two years and one hysterectomy later, I find that I struggle to run 6-8 miles. Okay, I won’t lie, recently it’s been more like 4-5 miles.

Note:  I found, when I was linking the Carlsbad Half Marathon website, that they expect to sell out by the first week in October, so I’ll have to make my decision very soon. Like, tomorrow.

February, of course, brings the Tour de Palm Springs and the Palm Springs Half Marathon, one weekend of pure, athletic hell fun. I completed the Brick last year, and I plan do it again  It would be real nice to actually be in shape.

So, it’s back on the road for me. I’m assuming, of course that the weather will finally cool down. I do have another month of cross country (more if we qualify for CIF), but if I’m motivated, I can find the time.

I also need to take more time to stretch and recover. Yes, I’m a coach and personal trainer, but that doesn’t mean I always follow my own advice. I am declaring, right here and now, that I will stretch after each and every workout (and in between if possible). I will also make use of that foam roller that I know helps me (but hurts like hell).

See, just writing this down has me excitied about the coming months and, finally, excited about training. I’m ready to go! Well, maybe not tomorrow, because it’s supposed to be 112, but definitely the next day.

How have you done on your goals for the year? Are they in sight or have you, like me, had to revise them?

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>Alan and I took a well earned break from the desert heat last weekend. The only catch was that we had to ride 100 miles on Saturday as our excuse to do so. I know this may be a hard choice for some, but for us it was easy:  Cooler temps/ride a century.

The ride, billed as the Almost Flat Century, because there was very little climbing involved over the course of that 100 miles, started in Malibu, headed north to Carpenteria, and back. We decided to drive in early Saturday, then stay overnight following the ride. So much better to be able to clean up, rest, eat, sleep, etc. instead of a long drive home.

We planned to leave by 4:45 am, managed to get going by 5:15 am. The ride was planned to start at 8:00 am at Neptune’s Net, in Malibu. As we started out, the GPS gave our ETA as 8:01. Uh oh.

Thanks to very light traffic and my driving, we managed to take about 15 minutes off our estimated driving time and arrived at Neptune’s Net in Malibu at 7:45. There we met Herb, who had planned the ride and about 25 other riders, most of whom I’d never met before. No problem there, it is always fun to meet and ride with new people.

We got started shortly after 8:00, heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway. The sun was shining as we started, but it wasn’t long before it clouded over. Good news for the locals, but a little chilly for this desert rat.  It was probably about 30 degrees colder than we are used to as we started out.

We were only about one mile into the ride when one of the cyclists, Mark, suddenly skidded off to the right as he tried to keep his bike upright. He almost made it, but had to lay his bike down on the rocky shoulder. Apparently, he had hit a rock with both tires, getting two flats. Fortunately, aside from some road rash (and aches and pains as the day went on) he was okay. A few of the men stayed behind as they changed his tires, urging the rest of us to go ahead, with plans to meet at the first rest stop.

As I said, most of the other riders were strangers to Alan and myself. We had ridden with Herb, who planned this ride, last year (same course, you can read about it here). Tom, who had started last year’s ride but had turned around early, not feeling well. Jan, who I’d met several years ago when riding the Cool Breeze Century. Some of the riders I have “met” on the SoCal Bike Forums, including Big John and Mark (Marks, actually, I think there were two). Jason who rode with us last year, has a four month old son (his wife Lisa rode with us last year, too, obviously busy with her baby this year).

Some folks we met this year:  Mike and his daughter, Beth, a lovely 10 year old who was the stoker on their tandem. When we were at about mile 80 and I was dragging behind a little, Beth very sweetly asked me if I was okay, if I needed some water or food. What a doll. Todd and David, who were doing their first centuries. They kicked our butts, both excellent riders.  And several other riders whose names I did not get (they were mostly all ahead of me 🙂

The other crash happened after one of the few climbs on the ride. The rider was going too fast downhill, couldn’t control it on a sharp turn. As I was way behind him, I didn’t see the crash, but the group was waiting at the bottom of the hill. Fortunately, he was alright, aside from (another) flat and some road rash. He was able to continue on.

Alan had two flats. The first one was while we were riding on the freeway, a pretty scary experience. The coastal ride requires cyclists to ride on the 101 freeway in both directions. Even though it is a wide, well groomed shoulder, there is something terrifying about being passed at 80 mph by an 18 wheeler, especially when you are standing still changing a tire on your bike.

The second flat happened when we were about three miles from finishing. Nothing to do but take your time, change your flat, and get back on the road.

Overall, I had an excellent riding time, not counting the waiting around time while tires were changed, dust was brushed off, wounds were tended to. That took an extra two hours or so.

We had a great time with very nice people. Oh, and the weather?  It was about 65 degrees when we finished our ride on Saturday. It was 112 degrees when we arrived home on Sunday. That is almost a 50 degree difference! Anyone up for a century next weekend?

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>I had a hard time deciding a title for this post. Based on my experiences during the San Diego Century on Saturday, there were several that would aptly describe the ride:

Title #1  Would You Like Some (Soy) Cheese (with that Whine)?

It was cold, there was too much climbing. While I was climbing it was too hot (the only time the sun came out all day). They don’t have veggie sandwiches at the lunch stop (they did last year, what happened?). Was there this much climbing on last years ride? (there was) Where the hell did this wind come from? Ouch, my knees (my back, my neck, my “you know what”). How am I ever going to ride two times this distance?

One of the (seems like many) climbs of the day.

Yes, I had a litany of complaints during my ride. However, I kept them to myself until this blogging moment. Basically, that is because I had no one to complain to.  Alan, while he stays close and waits for me during the ride, doesn’t spend a whole lot of time riding side by side. And, I figured if I laid it all out for the random folks that I rode with during the day, they’d either hastily ride away, wither me with a nasty look, or trump me with a serious ailment that they had overcome to accomplish a one hundred mile bike ride. So, in the spirit of  “It’s my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to,” read on (if you want to).

 It wasn’t long before I was looking at Alan’s rear.

The weather…was great, actually. I chose to dress fairly light so that I wouldn’t have to haul extra clothing after the weather warmed up.  Since it never really warmed up, I was cold for most of the day. With the exception, of course, of the climbs, where the sun seemed to make a brief appearance, only to hide again when I began my descents. The only clothing change I had to make throughout the day was to pull down my arm warmers from time to time as I climbed, then pull them back up again as soon as I reached the top of the hill. There was some wind has we headed back from Ramona, but it really wasn’t too bad (although the cross wind while riding almost 40 mph on some the descents was, hmmmn, interesting, shall we say?).

 Dang, we’re cute!

I was disappointed that there were no veggie sandwiches available at the lunch stop this year.  When I asked, the (very nice) volunteer said, “No,” then very helpfully pointed at yet another PB&J. I refrained from smacking her, and, yes, ate another peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I swear there seemed to be more climbing this year.  I know that’s not true, but I swear there was more climbing this year.  Total ascent (according to Garmin):  6,546. Unbelievably, it says the total descent was 6,636. So, I actually was going downhill more than uphill.

 Seemed like an awful lot of “up” in this ride

As for my aching body, well, what the hell to you expect when you ride 104 miles?

The serious question for me, though, is that I plan to ride almost twice as far in about a month. As an experienced endurance athlete, I realize that your mindset is as important as your training when you attempt an event such as a double century.  For example, if I was running a half marathon, and completed it, I would have a difficult time heading out and doing another half marathon.  But if my goal was a full marathon, my brain as well as my training would get me there. Does that make sense?  I hope so, because I’m counting on it.

Title #2  I See Dead…Animals

I don’t want to write too much about this, because I love animals and it makes me sad, but I must have seen 15 or more dead, squished carcasses on this ride.  Birds, snakes, rabbits, and many unidentifiable creatures. No, I didn’t take pictures. Just slow down, people!

Title #3 It’s a Beautiful Day for a Bike Ride (the winner!)

With names like the Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove, you would expect the San Diego Century to be a scenic ride. It lived up to expectations this year. With help from the winter rains, the wildflowers were amazing, so many colors enlivening the ride.  I wish that I could stop and photograph all the flowers along the way. Since that wasn’t going to happen, enjoy these:

After all was said, title #3 won out. A combination of the beauty of the scenery, the great people (volunteers and other riders), great support, a change of route, which bypassed the downtown Ramona area and improved the course, and excellent weather, all add up to an outstanding ride. And…this year, guess what I got…?

That’s right, they gave out finisher’s medals this year. I will add it to my collection of running medals, but in the meantime, my bike looks proud to wear it:

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>I wore arm warmers on my bike ride today for the first time in months. I felt like celebrating this morning as I pulled them on. At about 60 degrees, it was nowhere near real cold, but after weeks of lows in the eighties, it felt downright chilly as we headed out at 6:30.

I wore my arm warmers for the entire three hour ride!

The forecast was for a high of 81 today. Of course, there is a bad to go along with the good: there was also a wind advisory in effect, with gusts of up 50 mph predicted. Sigh.

As we began our ride, though, the wind was mild, the air was cool, and all was good in the cycling world. We followed our normal route, deciding to ride east of La Quinta, where there is light traffic, open roads, and lots of beautiful desert scenery. I had some hope of riding a double loop and completing my first (of two) centuries for October, but as time went on the winds picked up, which put a damper on my enthusiasm. Smothered it completely, actually, so I rode the single loop, about 43 miles for the day.

My Ironman, leading the way as usual.

Saturday, we took the Cross Country team to the Yucaipa Invitational. It’s a fun meet, close to home, well run, good course. The kids did well on a tough course. One cool item: All of our girls received medals! That was running in three separate races (Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman), in the small school division. The boys got quite a bit of hardware as well. I’m so proud of all of them!

A few of our Freshman/Sophomore Boys.

Our only Freshman girl. She looks great!

Varsity Girls know how to pose! (They run pretty well, too)

Now, that’s a hill.

Next week, we’re off to Huntington Beach for the Central Park Invitational. It is one of our favorites, because, well, it’s at the beach. Like we did in San Diego, we will take the kids to the beach after their run, while we walk up Main St. looking for a Veg friendly restaurant. Wearing jackets. Brrrrr!

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>Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on myself, but I am extremely disappointed because I am unable to complete my Century a Month plan. Not, because, like last year, I need major surgery. But simply due to the hot weather. Okay, there are a few other factors involved, but at the core, it is the desert summer that has done me in. For a full account of my reasons (excuses), read on.

1. August was hot. Sounds simple doesn’t it. I did ride, I did get out early, sometimes by 5 am. Unfortunately, it takes me at least seven hours or more to ride a century. That’s including break times. And by noon, the temperatures have been hitting 105 and higher. In the shade.

We did get some riding in. Here I am sporting my new “SoCal Riders” jersey.

2. September was hot. See paragraph above. The few cooler days we had seemed to happen on Mondays. That sucks whether or not you’re trying to ride your bike.

3. Also in September, cross country season started, which means we have practice most weekdays and meets on Saturdays. Leaving Sunday for everything else.

I love my cross country team (aren’t they cute?), but they do take a lot of my time.

4. And, because we have only one day weekends these days, we’re not doing a lot of traveling, like, for example, to cooler climates for bike rides.

Even at cross country meets, I try to take the time to stop and smell (or photograph) the, er, sunflowers.

5. Even traveling for the day is tough. Five hours driving, seven hours riding, not to mention eating, etc. make for a really long day. Especially when it is on Sunday, the only free day of the week. And, of course, with six dogs, it involves doggy sitters, and, well, just leaving them.

These cuties also take a lot of time. Olivia (above) and Lily (below) They are doing great, by the way.

So, my official Century a Month effort is over for this year. But, I am not defeated. I won’t give up easily. So, I’m recording it here: I will still complete 12 centuries this year. My plan is to ride two centuries in October, two in November, and finish up the year with one last century in December. Total: 12

And, there is always next year. Although, perhaps, it is time for a new goal. Double century, anyone?

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