Thursday, January 5, 2012

Please participate in my research project

Dear Bloggers,

I am on my final leg of my graduate studies journey. In one month, I should hopefully be graduating!

I am reaching out to the blog world in hopes that you will participate in my final research project by participating in a quick on line survey about triathlon coverage in the media.

I would sincerely appreciate if you could click the URL below to take my survey. Thank you so so much for your input!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Race Report: Big Rock Olympic Distance Triathlon

Good morning! Another Monday again... someone please explain again to me why weekends aren't three days long.....? ;)

Well, I finished my first Olympic Distance Triathlon on Saturday!
And boy do I have a lot to learn and improve! Let's start from the top, shall we? This is gonna be a long one, I can feel it.

3:30 am wake up call, in the car by 4:15. I munched on some waffles and Clif Shot Blocks and drank a liter of low cal Gatorade in the car. It was still dark when I got to Lake Perris before 6 am. Parked my car and walked to the registration table, picked up my bibs, got body marked, etc.

The t-shirt was really disappointing. I don't have a photo of it, but it's just a plain white cotton tee with a grey logo on the front. Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why don't more triathlons offer tech tees... or at least some cool cotton tshirts? meh.

Got my bike to transition, walked over to the lake to test out the water temps. Not bad at all!! A little chilly, but NOTHING compared to the ocean, or to the freezing temps of the Turkey Triathlon back in November. What a sigh of relief!

The wierdest thing was that I could NOT stop going to the bathroom all morning. TMI I know, but I had to pee more than any other time in my life. It was wierd...and it wasn't like I drank a lot of water... wierd.

I saw my friend Mike from the LB Tri Club and he gave me some pointers about the course, and to be ready for the one major hill. He made it seem like no big deal, like it was just this semi-challenging hill that wasn't very long. um... ok. yah, definitely the understatement of the century! But more on that later.

Around 7am I put on my wetsuit....and to my disappointment, it was tight as hell. I knew I had gained some weight since I bough it... but this was definitely the slap in the face that I needed to get my eating habits back on track!

There were four wave starts for the swim, and I was in wave 4 with all the women. The waves started 3 minutes apart. The Sprint Triathlon athletes ran around the lake once, while the Olympic Distance swam it twice.

Let me tell you: 3 minutes apart for four waves IS NOT ENOUGH. Especially with some people doing two laps, by the time I got in the water, it was SUCH a cluster eff. My gosh, I'm used to a certain degree of crowding, pushing, and shoving, but this time, I literally could NOT go more than 6 strokes without being bumped into, or bumping into someone. The water had close to zero visibility, so bumping in was king of inevitable. I got kicked, shoved, got my goggles knocked off... it really threw off my breathing and swimming groove. I actually had to breast stroke for quite some time, just to let the crowds pass, and even then, it was still so crowded. This really slowed down my swim time. Grr. I wish the waves started 5 minutes apart. This would have REALLY helped. The second lap was a lot less crowded, but it was still hard to swim any length of distance without being crashed into.

Oh, and I had to pee SO BAD during the swim! I knew I had to go in the water, because once I was on land, it would take MUCH MUCH longer to run to the lady's room. So about 200 yards from the finish, I slowed down to breast stroke to go. I have never 'gone' in my wetsuit before.... it definitely was a strange feeling! lol

I was glad to get out of the water, let me tell you that much!

T1: Good Golly! Once you get out of the water, the road to transition area was all sand, all uphill, and about 0.4 miles long! gahh! my hamstrings were KILLING ME! Thus, my T1 Time is embarrasingly slow, since I had to walk up the sand hill. Oh well. Whatever.

Two loops on a mostly flat course. There was one MAJOR downhill around mile 2 or 3, and it was so much fun to gain a TON of speed and just FLY down the hill. It felt awesome. Then until mile 10 or so was pretty flat and uneventful.

I was SUPER paranoid about getting a flat, so I spent a bit too much energy trying to dodge every little pebble and debris on the road.

And then.... the hill that Mike was telling me about. The hill is shaped like an "S", so you can't see the whole hill at once to guage its difficultness. The first curve was a moderate uphill. Challenging, but not awful. Then you come around the curve... and omg.... it looks like it's going straight up! So I'm grunting it out and I see the others around me struggling as well. Except for the one guy in his super fancy aero bike and helmet whizzing up the mountain. All is fine until you come around the final curve and see the hill gets even longer and steeper! My hamstrings were on fire! And let's not forget it's like, 85 degrees and super sunny by this point. I see at least 4 people walking their bikes. I said "eff it", got off my bike, and got a bottle of water from the aid station as I walked up the hill. If I'm doing this monster hill twice, no need to kill myself on the first round! Plus it was nice to drink a bunch of water. Got back on my bike, did the second loop.

I really realized that I need to get re-fitted on my bike. It just felt really off, my back was killing me, and my legs felt like it wasn't producing a lot of power per revolution. A bike fit is definitely on my to-do list! The second time around I tackled the monster hill and it was pretty awful. It was so hot, sublock was running into my eyes, and my hamstrings were killing me. But yay! No flat!

T2: A little slower than I would have liked, but went smoothly overall.

It was an out-and-back 10K course. It was a little hillier than I would have liked, and a LOT HOTTER than I would have liked. There was no wind, and temps were def in the high 80's by this point. My face and body were caked with salt.

There were NOT enough water stations. It was HOT! There were only two water stations on the course, and neither of them had Gatorade which I really wanted. I walked through the water stations to make sure I got enough fluids without choking on it!

I generally felt good though on the run, and I made friends with a 17 year old baller doing her first triathlon. She was kicking so much butt and I told her how amazing she was for doing something so challenging. I wish I were that cool back when I was a teenager! I passed quite a few people on the run, and though I couldn't run as fast as I would have liked, I felt strong right until after mile 5 when it got really hot and kind of hilly again. My sunglasses were chafing my cheeks and I could just feel my skin burning. I couldn't WAIT to cross the finish!
I finally crossed the finish line, and Mike was waiting there for me with a glass of Gatorade. Thank you so so so much for that! I was dehydrated! I immediately drank two cups of Gatorade and a bottle of water. I actually felt awesome after, not too tired or anything! I definitely still had a lot left in my tank... which I think is because I am really slow on the bike.
Here is Mike, who placed second in his division. Congrats!
They had a BBQ at the finish line, as well as the usual post-race fuel like oranges and bananas. Here is my plate... but I was most excited about the 7 Up. It was soooooo refreshing! I ended up only eating half the bun of the burger and the burger patty.

Mike and I recounted the experience, and I asked him how to improve on the bike. To me, improving on the bike is so hard, becasue there are so many elements involved. With swimming and running, it's just me and my muscles. But on the bike, it's me, the bike, the tires, the wheels, the helmet, and so many other things. And right now, I don't really have the ability to spend a lot of $$ on bike stuff. But my goal after this race is to really buckle down and improve on the bike.

Looking at my results was very interesting. My swim time was average, and given the fact my goggles were knocked off and stuff, I'm OK with my time. My T1 was is super slow, but again, given the fact that it was sand and uphill, I'm OK with it.

Here's what's interesting though;
I have the second fastest run split in my AG!!!!! but the second slowest Bike split...!!!!

That says a lot, in my opinion. Bike bike bike bike bike. Gah. Gotta get better on the bike. ANY tips for someone with limited budget for upgrades? I would REALLY appreciate any bike help!

Overall, I had a lot of fun at the event. It was a GREAT learning experience in preparing for the half ironman. I don't know if I'll be able to do another triathlon before the half ironman, but I kind of want to do another one, just as a tune up. There's another Olympic one in Ventura in June. We shall see.

I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and where to concentrate my training on. Man, that's why I love this sport. You never stop learning!

The rest of the weekend looked like this:

Gettin my tan on! It was a GORGEOUS weekend here in southern CA.

Getting my tan on! And last night at my tri club mixer I won this cool little gift: Can't wait to test it out!
Well Phew! That was a long post. Between the race on Sat and hot yoga on Sun, I am kinda tired today! But today is just a strength sesh, Body Pump time!

PS congrats to all the Boston runners!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Big Rock This Weekend

ahhhh! It's happening! My first Olympic Distance Triathlon is this weekend!
Time to Google where the race actually IS, I guess! haha, I don't even have the slightest idea where the race is... I know it's less than two hours away... but in which direction is anyone's guess! I don't know how I can be so Type A about certain things like punctuality, but so Type B about other things!

Last weekend was a fantastic girl's weekend with my best friends from college. We spent the weekend in Palm Desert. I had never been there before, but WOW! It was seriously so beautiful there! The big clear skies, the mountain ranges in the background, the pink and purple sunsets... Obviously, I was excited for a change of scenery for my training! I made my friends laugh when I showed up to vacation with more training gear than clothes.

I did my final brick workout before the big race: I rode 25 miles and ran 7.5 miles. The temps were perfect, although quite windy. It was hillier than expected (who knew the desert would be less flat than Long Beach?) so I was glad to have more practice riding and running on hills. I sincerely enjoyed the views on my ride. The roads all had bike paths, there was hardly any cars on the roads, and everywhere I looked was pretty and surrounded by these big brown majestic mountains. I was in awe. I always thought I was more of an "ocean/beach" person, but man, the mountains were absoulutely beautiful. At mile 23.5 of my ride I got a flat on my front tire....shoot! I didn't wanna waste so much time and effort fixing it, being so close to finishing, so I just rode back to my car as quickly as possible. Thank goodness I was less than a mile and a half away from my car! I actually made it back with plenty of air in my tire to spare.

I quickly changed and took off on the run. I stuck to one road and ran up and down the same street for 7.5 miles. I was initially only gonna do 6.2, but it felt good and I wanted a challenge, so I did 7.5. The run was slightly slower than I would have liked, but overall felt really solid and strong. The more I do these longer bricks, the easier they get. Well... not entirely easy... but you know what I mean. The first time I did 5.5 miles I thought I was gonna break. Amazing how the body adapts.

After the brick I lounged about in the pool; it felt amazing to be in the water after a challenging workout. My leg muscles definitely appreciated it!

I've also been doing a lot of hot yoga again too, mostly because I have a 20-day pass. I find hot yoga to be very complimentary to triathlon training; I feel a lot more limber, my muscles feel looser, I feel more balanced, and my back muscles get a lot more of a workout. Although I find Triathlon training to be a very good total body workout, I find that it really lacks in the "back muscles" training. Running, swimming freestyle, riding the bike... they all work the front muscles a LOT more. Hot yoga balances me out with a lot of spine strengthening work. I have bad posture to begin with, so I find it to be very beneficial.

I also installed my new Speed Play pedals onto my bike on Monday. They are a lot lighter than my previous pedals, but I have not used them enough to give a full assessment. I will get back to you with more details later. I also FINALLY changed my own tire. I know.... I'm bad.... I've always had boys to do it for me.... But enough was enough and I buckled down and changed it myself. I knew how to do it in theory, but it was different actually doing it. Hopefully, (fingers crossed!!!!!) I will not have another flat disaster during the race this weekend, but if I do, I will be able to change it myself... I hope!

Sorry it's a borig and long post with no photos. Hopefully this weekend I will have a lot more, from the race as well as from our monthly tri-club mixer! For now, I am gonna get my booty in gear for the race this weekend!

ps... I kept typing Palm Dessert instead of Palm Desert... Freudian Slip of the finger much? ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My baby is growing up!

wooooahhhhhzzzz It's April already? When did that happen? :) I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post?! sheesh. (bop myself on the forhead) My first Olympic Distance Tri at the Big Rock Triathlon is next week! gaahh! AND HALF IRONMAN IN 100 DAYS!!!??? OMG. Training has been going well despite the awful weather we have been getting on the weekends. It'll be sunny all week, and then BAM! Rain on Sundays. WTF. I've done a couple of good brick workouts though! They include:

  • 26 mile ride 5.5 mile run brick

  • One hour spin plus 4 miles treadmill indoor brick (hate these!)

  • One hour spin plus 8 miles of BRUTAL HILLS OF DEATH in the rain!

  • 26 mile ride 6.2 mile run brick

Olympic distance: bring it on!

What about the swim, you ask? Well..... I'm winging it. It's what procrastinators do best :)

I wanna talk more about my bricks, but first, I am so excited to show you how my baby is growing up!

And of course, by Baby, I mean my road bike

duhhh ;)

And by Growing Up, I mean, get triathlon friendly updates! So this has nothing to do with bicycles, but look at all the goodies I got at our last tri club meeting! I loooooooooove Clif bars. have you ever tried the Mojo Bars? deeelish!

PS- if you are looking for a new flavor of energy gel to try out, I highly recommend the Citrus Clif Shot. It tastes AMAZING! Plus, it's got some caffein too, which I find really works for me. Yum!

Ok onto bike parts. In preparation for my upcoming triathlons, I decided to blow most of my paycheck (...yikes!) on bike upgrades. They are all still entry-level items, but I cannot WAIT to try them out and feel more like a legit triathlete!

To start, I needed to ditch my clunky and heavy mountain bike shoes and pedals for triathlon shoes and speed pedals.

My new shoes: Louis Garneau Tri Speed Shoes

Photo from

It's blue and white, matching my bike! It is SO much more flexible than my current shoes, and OMG so much lighter! I also tried on some carbon soled shoes, but they were about double the price, and I know that I am not a good enough rider yet to really benefit from a couple of ounces lost from my shoes. Plus, these shoes are prettier ;). Not that it matters, but.... haha. I will still use my old shoes a lot though, for the indoor spin bikes, but I will be doing most of my riding in these shoes now.

To go with the new shoes I also got new pedals:Speed Play Light Action

I have the black color. (picture from

I actually have not had a chance to try them out yet....But I will let you know when I do!

I am also getting new tires through a friend with hook ups. Serfas SECA-RS Road Folding tires:

(photo from

How awesome are these tires with the blue trim? Again, it complements my bike's complexion. :) It's also 700X23, so it's skinnier than my current tires, which will really help with speed! They aren't racing tires or anything, but definitely an upgrade! Also from Serfas I will be getting new bar tape. Mine's been peeling away for some time now...oops! Oh, and it you are in the market for new bike stuff, Serfas is really awesome brand, because their stuff is seriously like half the price of some of the other brands! My friend clued me into this brand, and though they aren't triathlon specific, they've got some asweome shades, clothes, road bike shoes, and accessories. Check it out! And of course, no triathlon bike is complete without aerobars. Enter: Profile Designs T2 Plus!

Photo from ( According to the website, it has an "aggressive s-bend postition." Sounds good to me! I'm kinda scared about trying out the aerobars on the road.... I know it changes your balance, steering....pretty much everything.... and seeing how I'm basically the most clumsy person on the planet....I am just hoping I don't do a face plant out on the road! Any tips for begginner aerobar users I should be aware of? To go with my aerobars I also got this cool looking water bottle as a raffle prize from the tri club meeting:

Profile Designs Aqualite Bottle that goes in between the aerobars for easy access hydration on the ride. I was super happy to win this prize! This bottle has a 22 oz capacity, and an extra long straw. I have a tendency to forget to hydrate on the bike, so seeing that straw right in front of my face would be a good reminder to drink up.

Phew! That was quite the shopping spree, huh? My baby is growing up right before my eyes! And I feel like such a proud parent.

Alright. This is a monster post because I have been a slacker blogger and need to cram a lot into one post in case I slack off again. haha

Bricks are getting better! I run so much faster off the bike, so I find it exhilierating to do bricks. One of the toughest workouts I've done in a long time was the brick with the Tri Club two weekends ago. It was raining so we decided to ride the indoor spin bikes for an hour and then go for a run in the rain. The spin sesh was tough, but pretty standard. Then we set off on the run in a really hilly part of town. I desperately needed to run 10K to boost my confidence, so I pretty much begged and convinced everyone to run 10K with me, instead of the usual 5K. We set off....and within a mile we were facing the steepest hill I have EVER attempted. WTF. In the rain, too! Good gosh this hill was killer! But I kept thinking about how this would help me in my hilly half Ironman and kept trucking along. Slowly but surely I got to the top..... only to discover another killer hill a half mile later. Let me tell you about this hill....I couldn't even run DOWN this stupid thing it was so steep! And we had to run UP it. Insanity I tell you, INSANITY! My gosh my calves were burning! And we were only 2 miles in! Thank the heavens the rest of the run was not as steep, but we had rolling hills throughout. At mile 5ish it was decided that our run would be extended.... so 8 miles later, we finally finished out killer hilly rainy run. And you know the best part? I beat all the boys. I was the only girl there, and beat all the boys. What a confidence boost! ;)

But OMG I am in desperate need of more hill training. My calves were sore for a good 5 days after that run! Phew! Long post.

This weekend is spring break time in Palm Springs, and though it's the crucial weekend before the race, I will not be able to ride my bike. Oh well. I am going to make up for it by doing my first 10+ mile run in over 3 months! agh! wish me luck!

Thanks for reading, and Hi to my new followers! :)


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