4 weeks and counting

Can’t frigging believe that it’s only 4 weeks before PG and 10 weeks before Big K. School and continuing job search will definitely make things interesting (in the Chinese proverb sense)…

"I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."

Jesse Owens

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."
Dan Gable

20090817 – Swim Workout

Damn, 2000 yards really kicked my ass today. I thought I had hydrated enough and that I had loaded enough calories but about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the workout my legs felt heavy and I had to stop way longer than my schedule said to. I managed to finish and even to bike a little bit, long enough to take the bike to the shop to have it looked over.

20090818 – Bike N Beer

We did Eden again. For some reason the front shifter is not working quite as smoothly as the rear one and, as a result, I was stuck in my biggest gear for the whole ride… legs felt it big time but it is still something to be proud of as I managed to push through the pain and complete the workout as planned.

One of the things I’ve learned is the delicate balance between pushing against pain and listening to your body… there are times when it’s wise to push on and times when holding back is the wiser course.

20090819 – Swim Workout

Legs were feeling crampy and achy so I decided to take the day off from workout.

20090820 – Bike/Run Brick Workout @ Foothill

The brick workout was fun, for the most part, and challenging as all hell. The bike loop was ok until the last part before the turn around… that hill looked so freaking tough. We did 4 laps… on the first one I unclipped and had to restart pedaling when already in the incline… let’s say it wasn’t fun.

The next 3 laps were better. I figured out that up hill speed is nowhere near as important as consistency… you pedal slow but you don’t stop pedaling at all. It was worth the pain to get ready for the ride on Saturday.

We started at the track in Foothill College; we did the loop around campus so we wouldn’t go against traffic and then headed out on El Monte towards Foothill Expressway, right on Foothill until we hit Magdalena, right on Magdalena until we hit Summerhill, right on Summerhill, where we hit a stop sign and the freaking hill (which we had to take pretty much from a dead stop.

Repeat this 4 times and then run 2 miles.

20090821 – Swim/Bike Brick Workout @ Burgess Pool

I was scared. 30 miles is still a respectable distance to bike… even more so when you’re doing it after a 60-minute swim.  However, I have to get used to that distance if I’m ever going to progress to the 56 miles that I need to bike for Big Kahuna and I need to start the progression now.

Coach Tom coached our swim workout. It was just like Rita at the UC Swim Club when I was in Jr. High. I see in Coach the same intensity that Rita I remember from the daily swim workouts at the Santa Rosa de Las Condes club.  Coach Tom and Drew have been the biggest motivators for me to push as hard as I’ve had in the last 3 months… I can’t tell you how grateful I am for their coaching and prodding… I’m arrogant enough to think it’s been worth the effort.

We started at Burgess pool in Menlo Park and we headed towards El Camino Real on Valparaiso towards Alameda De Las Pulgas and Sandhill Road… the same ride we did the very first time I rode my road bike.

We kept going up and down Sandhill until we hit Whisky Hill road… I have now fulfilled the promise I made to myself that I would bike all of Sandhill Road going uphill. We turned right on Whisky Hill and headed to Woodside… I’ve done that brick before either on my own or with the team but, other than the mistake I made when we did the Woodside brick, I had never strung together that many miles on 1 ride deliberately… 30 miles / 48 kilometers is no joke but I have to keep reminding myself that the goal is 56 miles / 89.6 kilometers in time for Big K.

The new part for me was turning into Cañada Road and heading north. I knew were the road was; I had crossed it during prior rides but this time it was the first time that I would actually ride on it. It’s a nice road but, to me, it’s deceptively treacherous… just when you think you’re home free, you get one more hill to beat your legs down a little bit more.  It is tempting to just push as hard as  you can the whole way but you have to fight the temptation and stick to your nutrition plan and give your legs time to recover as much as possible because no matter how long the bike is there is still the run to contend with.

I had a lake or reservoir at my side as I rode up and down Cañada. It was gorgeous.  It’s funny to me that the harder I push myself the more I realize all the blessings given to me and how much I take them for granted.

We were warned to make sure we worked on nutrition for this ride. That the important part was to keep hydrated and keep your food intake up. I have to figure out if it’s better to keep bars in Ziploc bags already pre-opened and ready to eat or if I just want them pre-opened but kept on their wrappers.

Contrary to what I thought I’d do, I did stop for water and Gu Brew replenishment, hence all the people who passed me and were waiting for me when I got back to the pool and had no idea how they had passed me… I have to admit that my legs were starting to give me grief and that, along with the need for more water, was the main reason why I stopped.  Besides, it’s always nice to chat with people, isn’t it?

The ride back down Sandhill is always fun… just tuck in and fly.  I don’t know how fast I was going but the lyrics to Red Barcheta from Rush come to mind:

Wind in my hair ---
Shifting and drifting ---
Mechanical music ---
Adrenalin surge ---

Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware

It was a great ride… another one scheduled for Tuesday 🙂