Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anne's house of pain

I've never been a "swimmer" per say. I've never even had an official swim instruction, or lesson, or anything like that. I grew up in Spokane, lakes with in 20mins of my house. Our family vacations were spent at Priest Lake in Northern Idaho camping. I also spent a lot of time at Lake Roosevelt in Washington. Actually, at Lake Roosevelt (Porcupine Bay) campground, is probably my first real memory of "swimming" for lack of a better term.

My parents were fond of the "sink or swim" method. It's not an exaggeration. At the campground, there was a floating dock in the middle of the swimming area. I can picture it now. It seemed like miles from shore (in reality it was probably 50 yards) and had a green top. Well, my parents took me out there, took my life jacket and made me jump. Sink or swim.

Sounds harsh, but honestly I think it made me the fairly decent swimmer I am today. I've never been afraid of water, lake water that is, an ocean is whole other story!

We also spent a lot of our summer days at the beach in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. That lake is like home to me, and when I decided to do my first Ironman, there was no other first choice. Getting back in the water was more comfortable than any other race (I struggled with a lot of open water swims).

Now, going back a few years in college, I decided to join my roommate and signed up for an elective one semester - Conditioning swimming.

Let me tell you. While I could swim, I learned quickly I didn't really know how to actually SWIM, SWIM. One length of the pool and I was DYING. Kicking as hard as I could... gasping for air. It was a long hard semester, but I got better, and more efficient... and loved it.

My roommate, Erin was a great swimmer, and I would watch her. Watch her streamline the top of the water with one of the best flutter kicks (to this day) I've seen. I tried to mimic her form, and slowly got a little better...

Now over the years I've had some great pool workouts. Some speed stuff, longer stuff... and also learned flip turns, which if I feel like I have finally mastered if I do say so myself!

However, and maybe on the same note as my cycling, I've been in a slump. I got comfortable going longer and slower, and in turn, I GOT slower. My splits were not getting any faster and I certainly was not getting a closer to beating my husband out of the water in a race....

Then Monday happened. I'm at masters, doing my thing. A nice slow 3000 yard workout. And next to me, my lane partner in Momo's absence starts speeding by me. Between my sets I hear him chatting with Anne, our instructor, about times and workouts. Something about a 3:02time.

I'm all jeez, that's fast. Which fires Anne (passionate about swimming) up... and one thing leads to another - her overconfidence in me, and my lack of speedy confidence. Next thing I know I have a date for Wed at noon. "Anne's House of Pain workout", as James called it.

She mentioned 10x200 on 3:15. I knew that was pretty crazy.. but she was SURE I could do it.
We got there, did a 500 warmup, and looked for Anne. She was finishing up a swim lesson so we decided to start the torture on our own. We decided we would start at the 3:30, and descend by :05 each time.

Now, I know we all go out too fast sometimes, but I think I'm fairly good at pacing. And after what happened next, I'm KNOW I am much better than others at pacing.

First 200. 2:54. THAT IS MY 100 speed, on a good day. I looked at James and said WAY TOO FAST..... I got him to slow down after that. Mostly I think because he was DYING and while he had much more get up and go than me, he also needed a lot more rest time than me.

Then next 4 were right at abou 3mins, with 15-20seconds rest.

5 was enough... that was freaking hard. So, we decided to pick up on the rest of the workout and did another 800 yards of shorter, easier sets.

THEN ANNE CAME BACK. She asks us how it went, times, etc.... Then she says "Do you want more?" I started laughing.

James says, "I have 20mins left".... WTF? Dude... shut up. We're already at 2300yards for the day.. come on.

Suck it up Buttercup....

Next up 6x125 (she actually said something about doing this TWICE over, but I put my foot down at 3000yards for the day).
starting with 4 lengths easy, 1 length fast - 3 lengths easy, 2 length fast..... last one 5 lengths fast. ALL on :15 rest.

After our longer rest sets for the 200s I really stuck to the :15. That, and Anne said she was "watching".....

I ACTUALLY felt GREAT! And, I paced right... felt great.. and :15 was actually more than enough time for me to catch my breath (even if I sounded like I was dying when I first hit the wall) However, Mr. speedy James had to take an extra break for the last couple. He actually said at one point "I think I might get sick"

In the back of my head I thought - HA, "chicked" strikes back! But, I didn't let those thoughts go too far, since I invited him to ride with momo & I on Saturday... and he just so happens to be a bike racer..... I'm keeping my mouth shut and ego in check.

So, I'm feeling excited and happy about this swim workout. I did more than I actually thought I could. I also realize why I haven't gotten any faster. It's easy. I don't try hard enough. While my arms can feel trashed, I've never felt that level of effort in the pool like I did today. I don't know if it was out of fear of going breathless while under water? Or something else?

Either way, I'm excited to see what happens over the next months. She said on Wed we could continue to do stuff like this and eventually... we would be doing those 200's ON 3:00.

How cool would that be?

Maybe someday, I actually WILL get out of the water before him....:-) Ya think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Got lungs?

So.... this whole remodel thing we've got going on.... Yah, not so good for the old allergy-crazy asthma lungs. BUT, on a good note, everything with this project has gone WAY better than expected (minus the lung problems), and we are so excited about it all! Pictures soon, I promise... I'm waiting on Shane to load them!

Last Thursday Shane tore out some old carpet from his office closet, as well as the spare room/workout room. The only two spaces in the house we had carpet left. WE WILL NEVER EVER have carpet again.

After he finished the closet, he asked me to sweep it. I paused for a minute, and almost said - prolly not a good idea - but I sucked it up (the motto of 2008) and went in. I felt bad cause he was in tearing up the bedroom stuff, and well.. with this kinda stuff I'm kinda useless to him. I knew what he had in store for the next couple of days putting in the pergo, and again.. I wouldn't be much help.

I KNEW it wasn't smart to go sweeping up that room up. I knew I would prolly pay for it.. but I did in anyway. I did go VERY slowly trying not to stir up too much stuff... but within minutes I knew I was in trouble.

I spent the next 3 days wheezing and hacking, and living on my inhaler, puffing every 4 hours. I felt awful. I couldn't get much air, and it was making me SO tired. On Saturday we went for Krista is wanting to kick ass on her bike long ride #2. We stopped for some more water about 2hours into the ride and as soon as I stopped, my lungs kinda seized. I felt like I couldn't get air past my chest and was coughing up some not so pleasant stuff....

Strangely, when we started riding again, I actually felt better (or at least that is what I told myself). Denial is a wonderful thing you know. But, as soon as the ride ended, I knew it was BAD. Cough, cough. I sounded like a smoker with emphysema pulling out the xopenex like it was candy.

I made an appt with my PCP on Monday, first thing. Unfortunately, my Dr is in Bejing working with those uber fancy Olympic Athletes so he wasn't able to take care of little old me - but they fit me in with another DR.

While my DR is pretty easy going, you are fine kinda attitude, this guy was NOT liking what he heard with my lungs..... His conclusion - Bronchitis via allergies.

Hence the following remedies:

1 Injection of prednisone to get immediate opening of the airway
1 Chest x-ray
1 script for steroids (week dose)
1 new steroid inhaler (A.K.A. CRACK)
1 Z-pack antibiotics (apparently the airway was so small he feared infection, aka pneumonia)

Oh - and I wish I had a camera when I asked him about exercise. It was priceless. Very obvious he's not my normal Doc. He so doesn't know how Krista rolls.

BUT, I even had Shane on my side for this one. Dr. prescribed sit on my ass and inhale MORE remodel air or... just be a little smarter, and only go SWIM, cause that's not that taxing.

Guess who won :-)

The good news. The meds have been working. While I'm still not 100%, I'm realizing that my lungs have had some issues for a while now. The steroids are REALLY opening up my airways. I'm excited to see how I'll feel after the full dosing.

Up next.... remodel pictures, I promise!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Kharma.

I don't know if I ever wrote about my little dilemma with Toyota. Right Toyota of Scottsdale, specifically. Read. Don't EVER EVER purchase a car from Right Toyota. They are sleazy, lying, scumbags, if you will.

Long story short, a year ago I traded in my 4-runner for a Sequoia. The finance manager "sold" me on purchasing an extended warranty because HE calculated I refund in the amount of $X from my previous Toyota warranty. After much convincing, they had me at "it's basically free $"

Fast forward a few months and the refund I got was only HALF what he estimated. I made a phone call and was told "no problem" and given directions on where to send the money them.
Case closed. Or so I thought. A few months later I received some no-letter head collections letter for the difference in what I gave them. I ignored it. It had no validation on the letter. A few months after that I received a small claims complaint.

I SO responded. 2 months later I heard nothing, so I assumed the case was closed. Until one day Shane emailed me asking if I knew WE had a court date in like 5 hours, THAT DAY..

WTF? Ugh.. NOOOOO. Shane has a "google alert" set up, so anytime his name appears, he is sent a notification. This notification was a court date and time.

So, we showed up, fired up, and ready. Plead our case, which really wasn't that difficult. They were facts. Toyota had some out of the loop attorney there, with a SIGNED letter from the finance manager that worked with us LYING about how he had nothing to do with the refund I received and had NO way of knowing what that amount would be. (Apparently making a phone call IN FRONT OF US, and providing us with a calculation based on dates, times and paperwork NEVER happened in his delusional mind).

ANYWAY. The Judge was very nice. She was annoyed that the Toyota Representative who actually participated in the transaction was not there. On the other hand she told us we needed the agreement in writing. Point taken.

She was unable to make the judgement that day, but said we would know by the end of the week. Shane & I both felt good about the hearing, and went on with our Holiday weekend in California.

About a month went by and I never received a judgement. After not receiving the initial court date I got worried we might not have received the judgement as well so I did some investigating. About an hour later after being on hold, I was told that the case had not been completed, judgement was not made.

Apparently our hearing got lost in the mix of the Holiday weekend. Oops.

A week later I received a judgement and was ordered to be the difference. I was furious. I felt cheated. Not out of the money, but out of principal. I'm a good person. I pay my bills. I don't mess will people.

In fact, my first year in Arizona I made a big mistake. I was coming home late one night from the gym. I was on EMPTY. I stopped at the store to get some food. As I went to turn into my parking space my SWEATY hands slipped off the wheel and I smacked right into the side of a truck.

I waited for :45mins in the parking lot for the owner of the vehicle to arrive. I gave him all of my information (while HE was screaming at me).... and went home.

I did a good thing. I paid a lot or it, but it was the right thing to do.

There was nothing I could do to take away the court judgement of the money I had to pay Toyota, but for piece of mind I needed to go look the man in the eye and tell him what he did.

THE PIECE OF SHIT guy played DUMB. He tried to claim that he wished I would have called him before it went to collections. He totally would have taken care of it. Blah Blah. "he had NO idea" "it was such a small amount, he couldn't believe they would go to court over this."

I looked him in the eye and said, "Funny, Your attorney had a signed letter FROM YOU stating you never estimated the value of the refund, etc...."

He stumbled with his words a bit and then tried to say he signs stuff all the time...

Ok, to end this not so short versions... The coward got up, said he needed to get a receipt for me and NEVER CAME BACK. The little Wiesel sent some one else in to finish with me...

Seriously. The dude couldn't face little 5'3" of me. Cause he KNOWS he was wrong.

UGhhh... Anyway. Back to the Good Kharma. See, when I thought for a moment I wouldn't be forking over the cash for this whole deal, I happened across a new bag that I absolutely fell in love with. I was so ready to buy it. Then, I had to write that damn check for twice as much as the bag, and I just couldn't do it. Too much money.

So I went to the Coach store thinking maybe it wouldn't be as cute in person as it was online. But it SO WAS as cute. Maybe even cutter. And there were not many left. 2 in the store, less than 100 in distribution.

I finally came to reason that it was just a bag. No big deal.

Until Monday when I got a 25%off preferred customer coupon.

And guess what I went and ordered yesterday??

Good Kharma. It's a wonderful thing :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My favorite new snack

Finally. A protein powder that agrees with me. I've had some really bad issues digesting dairy in the past few years. I tried every.single recovery drink out there.. They made me sick and I would throw them up, as well as my throat feeling like it was closing in on me.

I did figure out I can use soy protein, but we all know what happens with too much soy. Since I don't like meat, and struggle to get enough protein with peak training cycles, I'm really always looking for something new.

Then momo had me be her Guinea pig for some new rice protein powder she found. Sure why not.. If it doesn't work, I guess I'll just throw it up like the rest of them, right? Jeez, not like I'm a sacrificing friend or anything. After all, I just COULD find a new supplement, right?

So, sure enough I went home, put it with some frozen berries and OJ and blended in the Magic Bullet. (BTW - this product is freaking awesome. Quick, non-messy way to make endless mixtures, including gatorade smoothies after those really long workouts!)

The results; A great snack, no stomach upset, extra protein! YEAH.

So, over the past few weeks I've been experimenting. I went to Whole Foods looking for some more Brown Rice Protein, and found some CHOCOLATE Brown Rice protein powder. You know what goes just perfect with chocolate? Yup, my favorite. Peanut Butter...

I've finally put together the perfect combo:

cup of ice (or to your liking depending on preferred thickness)
3/4 cup chocolate rice milk (120 cals, ~1.75grams protein, 2.25g fat)
1.5 tablespoons of Peanut Butter (150 cals, 7grams protein, ~11g fat)
1 heaping tablespoon of chocolate brown rice protein powder (57cals, 12protein, <1g fat)

Total Nutrition:
327 calories, ~21 grams protein, 14grams fat (peanut butter)

If you don't have lactose issues you can use skim milk instead of the rice milk and get about half the calories and added protein.

While this is a little heavy on calories for a snack (unless you are Ironman training of course), rest assured, it will keep you full for several hours! I just made one, and should actually be full until dinner time - that's a record 4 hour time between :-)

Anyway - if you love chocolate and PB... this is a fantastic treat!

Monday, August 11, 2008

All about the bike

After several disappointing bike splits in my past few races.... I've decided enough is enough. I looked up my 3 year old time from Soma, and went, huh? I avg'd 19mph easily on that course 3 years ago... and I am much more experienced and stronger on the bike now.

So, what has changed? Comfort. I think I've gotten WAY too comfortable and well, lazy.... Pre-ironman and strict HR training, I used to just RIDE. I rode with people far better and more fit than me, and ever Tuesday morning, they would KICK MY ASS. Literally. I remember looking at my Polar HR monitor and after 1:20ride I would have burned ~900calories. WHOOT!.... To me that meant another free glass of wine, or piece of chocolate :-) Priorities people.

Then, I struggled to loose some weight, and found out that my body burns a LOT more fat calories when I'm at a lower HR. I also learned that eventually I did get faster at a lower HR, with some patience of course.

Unfortunately, I think I took that a little bit too far. As I got more efficient, and my HR dropped into the zones I needed, I didn't work any harder. I just kept plugging away, sometimes not even in my zone 2. More of a recovery workout, if you will. I would end 4-6 hour bike rides with a HR average in the 130's, sometimes even in the 120s.

Then, when push came to shove and it was time to race... I would have experiences like this. Which pissed me off, but also made me doubt my abilities.

Now, I can't really say for sure if my slower than expected bike split at CDA was the same thing due to the stomach issues.. but it was a huge disappointment none the less.

I'm not one to sign up for races, just because. After many years and many missed and or poor races, I think it through before clicking the "submit" button on So, when I decided to register for Soma half IM, I needed a good reason. The registration alone is a fair chunk of change, and training in the heat of the AZ Summer is taxing. I had also planned on "resting" after Ironman CDA - that would be limited.

But, again, I felt like I owed it to myself to prove what I can do. And, while my IT band is not 100%, so I'm not looking for a run PR, I know I can do SO.MUCH.BETTER. on the bike.

With that said, I did the unthinkable. I put a time goal out there. Something I DON'T do. Something I am scared of. Failure? Pressure? Who knows.... But I did it.

56miles. Goal - 20.5mph-21mph. Time: 2:43-2:46. Doable? He@@ Yah!

So, it's easy to have a goal.... it's putting that goal out there for everyone to see and holding yourself accountable that is scary. I don't like failure. I don't do failure.

The plan:
  • Ride like hell for the next 12 weeks.

  • No more Zone 1 cruise speed every week.

  • Push through the comfort zone

  • Stay healthy

  • Rest when needed

  • Actually do the speed ride once per week on the schedule

  • For once if feeling fatigue - miss the run, not the bike!

I think my goal is pretty aggressive, but in hindsight I can't figure out how the heck I avg'd 19mph 3 years ago with little experience, and in no where near as fit!? So, I must be able to one up that, right?

Yesterday was test ride #1. I knew there would be a few phases to the ride, because we were picking up one of newest members, Big J for his first non-perfect weather, flat terrain road ride. And, if he was willing to get up 3 hours early to get out there with us, I would do my best to help make him more comfortable (i.e. - not make him resent coming out there!)

So the plan - Melisa would come pick up Shane & I....we'd ride up to get Big J. ride about 40mins with him, then Melisa & I would take off to finish our ride. And that is where I decided I would start my plan. Push it.

Which is EXACTLY what we did. After 1:20 of easy climbing, it was time for the boys to head home & Momo & I to finish our ride. Mission accomplished!!!!!

We avg'd NINETEEN POINT 5 for 1:45!!!!!!

Avg HR 149.. Now, we're talking....

That includes several start/stops for lights & water. Along with some slight incline/decline (no major hills)

While my legs felt it... I also felt so much better at the end. I knew I actually worked hard. I manged the heat and humidity really well, and honestly... It was actually EASIER to keep a steady/strong pace vs a few pushes here and there along with a lot of drafting, which is the norm.

I'm pretty sure Melisa hated me for a few minutes here and there. You know, since this was also HER first ride back from the perfect Coronado. Nothing like easing back into things, eh? But, as the new favorite saying goes, "Suck it up Buttercup." She's got some goals set herself here as well.

So, week one down - 11 to go. I managed 12 hours for week one. I'm sticking with my plan of only 2 runs per week until September to allow the IT to respond to treatment more.

Here are the results. Oh - and after yesterday's run.. I managed a KICK A@@ tempo run this am. While the numbers aren't that impressive - I manged about :40 per mile faster than I have been in this awful heat and humidity. Very happy with that!

You know what's kinda sick? I felt better than ever after finally getting back into the swing of things... You know, training...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bullet Points

I'm feeling all random... Lots of "stuff" happening, but no cool stories, so I'm deciding to just do some bullet points.

  • Officially signed up and started 12 weeks of training for Soma half IM
  • It's hot and nasty in AZ
  • I hate IT bands - but am back on my stretching routine, so hopefully I can avoid damage
  • I started riding mini-me again. Damn she is so much easier to lugg around than my road bike
  • Aero position REALLY hurts my you know what. I forgot how you have to sort of get used to it or go numb
  • I'm tweaking my saddle position a little. I think when it was in and out of bike shops the saddle position got moved. I can see it in my bike pictures. My arms look so stretched out. When I got my F.I.S.T fit they were like a right angle. Hmmm, something has happened.
  • It was pointed out to me that my left leg does this shimmy thing at the bottom of my pedal. Now I'm OBSESSED with it. It TOTALLY does. I have realized that there is WAY too much play in my left clip. Does anyone know how to tweak this on speedplays?
  • It's hot in AZ
  • Did I already say that?
  • We are so totally back on the home remodel biznas. All good this time around.
  • So far, we have ordered a new dining room table. Very simple. Dark Chocolate, almost espresso colored rectangle table.
  • We also ordered a dark cherry/espresso BAR. Yup that is right. A BAR! We have this pretty big living room/great room connected to our kitchen that right now is basically wasted space. We have a couch/chair/ottoman there, but we never use it.
  • My new office is almost complete. I'm waiting for some patched holes to dry up so I can do touch up paint. It looks really good.
  • Shane is so in the "dog room" now. It's funny. Especially since the dogs won't hang out there with him. They are always with me.
  • We picked out the pretties travertine for our bathroom remodels. Its' sooooo nice, it almost looks like marble. And, we got a smokin' deal on it.
  • Have I mentioned how much I love 'deals?'
  • Just so happens that there was a close granite match to the stone. Very few left so we are going to buy the granite to go in our kitchen. We'll store it until we can afford to do the new cabinets.
  • So - hopefully in the next month or so we will have some big changes to our poor house that has been neglected for the past few years!
  • It's hot and MUGGY in AZ
  • Crap.. I did already mention that huh?
  • Facebook. Seriously, do we need to spend more time at our computers? I made fun of myspace, but for some reason was Ok with Facebook. That is just dumb. It's so the same thing!
  • YES, I know that I am not 29 anymore. I actually did email the girl that did Supa's blog overhaul again, but I haven't heard back from her. I so need a new look.

Well, I think that's enough randomness for now.... It's pretty much how I'm feeling lately, so I think there will be more bullet points in this blog's future!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Can someone please turn the AC on in AZ?

I can't believe I actually just signed up for a race... I mean... My HR was 5beats higher and :15/mile slower today cause it was an f'ing sauna out there... So what do I do when I get home?


I've had friends left and right trying to get me to sign up for races.... I just haven't been able to "commit" to anything. The "iffy" IT band.... The horendous heat in AZ. The thought of having to stuff my face every 2 hours and still not feeling full again. Wait, has that actually even stopped? Hmmm

But low and behold, leave it to an email stating "Hurry up! Prices increase Aug 3rd!" Sure enough I'm a sucker for a "deal" so to speak and hate paying full price or MORE for that matter so I went ahead and did it.

It was my first half Ironman in 2005. It was my 2nd race post IT surgery. It was a big deal to me. I surprised myself by finishing about 25mins ahead of what I thought I could do.

As much as I hate the course - I'm excited for the bike. The last time I raced it I did 2:57 - 19mph. I barely knew what I was doing then... I'm going to focus on the bike and run quite a bit less this time to spare my IT band. Let's see what Mini-Me can do!!!

Anyone else joining me? I hear someone else is interested!!! P.S. I just saw a SW special on flights from your home town to mine!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

This and that and MAD

It's been over a week since my last post... For many reasons, I just haven't sat down at my computer all that much. Starting with a last minute decision to return to California for a fun filled weekend with our second family, the Angelones. And, much to our surprise 2 of our other favorite people, Jaynee (I'm FINALLY getting used to saying her real name, not Nytro) and Benny. And ending this week so tired and dumbfounded at how much energy it takes to be a surrogate mom for a couple of days watching my 5year old niece...

First things first. I wish I would have written about the fun-filled weekend right away, but as many of my happenings go - too much time has gone by to really sit down and write out a recap. I swear, if I could just get out of my head my thoughts as I think about blogging, vs actually blogging I would have so much more to say... and I think it would be more entertaining to read.

Momo & Johny invited us back for the weekend while we were still IN Coronado over the 4th. We had so much fun with them, and their kids that they actually wanted us back!!! Well, once we got home we were feeling a little guilty about starting a remodel project, and other misc. expenses that we decided not to head back over.. But, in typical momo fashion, she put my head straight and helped us find a dog sitter (again..another missed blog post including empty margaritta mix, random shot glass, murky pool, and hungover dogs!) and within 24hours of changing our minds we were on the road back to San Diego....

With in minutes of arriving we were already in for our first surprise! You can read about it here.... We had an absolutely amazing weekend, even with my random case of food poisoning?
Sun, cool temps, beach, wine, food, cheese, music.. did I say cheese? And post importantly time spent with some of the best people I'm pretty sure I'll have the blessing to be part of their lives.

Hence, the Momo Appreciation Day.... I don't think that I can even begin to write or express how much this girl means to me, so honestly, I'm not even going to try. She's done so much for me in the past 2 years that I've known her that trying to write it down would just not do her justice. I'm sure those who read this who know her, I mean really know her don't need me to site examples or personal experiences or stories of her generosity, kind heart and open mind. My only hope is that my friendship with her has given her even a slight piece of what she has done for me...

As I started to write this blog post I was going to go into what's been going on in the past few days, but I think it's only appropriate to end it here. I'll catch up on another day, another post....

Love you momo!