Help with accountability?

I think I am ready for this thing(the tri to trump all tris), but I also think that I need to have some culpability for the future, and really starting now. I feel like I slithered out of a lot of my training for no reasons, although at the time I’m sure I had some excuse like: “it’s raining” or “work was so long today” or “I’m afraid to take the metro in a city I am unfamiliar with…” bla bla bla. It’s all bogus when it comes down to it. Really.

I will give myself a break since J and I are at CERN, we don’t love it, and all that fun French stuff, definitely. And with all this, we have been averaging ~4 hours a week exercise, for 5-6 days a week, which is an increase of > 60% from last year!! Holy cow!! (real current reaction, despite being in the most boring meeting evaarrR) Now that I see those numbers, I think I will relax a little on the self-punishment. haha, maybe I should have checked that before! And to boot, I have lost a bit of weight. I guess I just expected more from myself…

However, it must be noted that I am just barely ready for an olympic distance triathlon. Had I been signed up for a sprint, I would be good to go! But since this triathlon is A) longest I’ll have done, B) got a bitchin’ bike ride, I’m still nervous. I really needed to do those extra swimbikeruns all those times I decided I didn’t want to. It’s a bummer to look back on it and see my lazy bupkiss at certain times. For instance, I absolutely 100% should have done my week of intense training in Prague (out there to give a talk at HQL2012 – Physics conference). It was the 6th week in an 8 week plan, where the 6th and 7th weeks get very intense. I guess it was my way of wimping out because I didn’t want to do it.

Point is, I want/need some accountability, not necessarily to do everything with training, but to make sure I stay on track!

How do I do this?

Do I ask J to be my coach in this?I feel like that’s dangerous! He is my hugest supporter, but I can’t ask him to do any more that he does. He’d never have time for photography!!

Do I hire a coach at some point? I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I think that is for a few years from now…

Do I write the daily workouts on this thingy? Along with my feelings, and all that stuff? Use it as my journal, as it were? This feels like the most natural thing for me…for now. But will that hold me culpable for the training? No one reads this thing!

Any suggestions, J? I know you are the only one who reads 😉



Annecy Tri 2012 Pre-ride – Good Gawd!!

J and I went for a sweet bike ride on Saturday (the 8th) in Annecy. The goal was pretty straight forward: ride the tri course and don’t die. Simple. Huuurty.

We arrived in Annecy and it was pretty nice over there. We actually started biking in Sevrier, which is basically where the giant hill of doom starts. We parked, got ready, and took a 5 minute warm up along the lake path that is specifically for runners, walkers, bikers, whatever. We did see one guy skate-skiing with long poles threatening to impale anyone who was nearby. He was also wearing the shortest spandex a man can possibly wear. Sweet.

So we head off in the direction of our destiny. The 15km climb to gain 600m. Saweeet.

So the first bit wasn’t so bad! It was actually semi-enjoyable, since the lake was to our left and it was so beaauuuutiful. Just gorgeous. J stopped a few times to catch some photos of the lake and landscape, and while he took breaks, I chugged on. And because I am so slow, he managed to stop like 4 times and still catch up with me every time. Good for my ego. <shhhhrink>.

I think I averaged like 8 mph on the way up. At some points I hit 10, some points I hit 7. I almost made it to the top without any rest breaks, but at some point, ~1km from the Col (900m), I was going slower and slower and it wasn’t happening. Stopped for a 3 minute break, took a gel, drank waters, drenched myself with water and then on our way again.

The gel didn’t upset my stomach at all, like sometimes, so yey for that! Then finally we hit the top and J caught a shot of my bupkiss passing the Col sign. He is such a good photographer! Always gets the timed shots!

Then we turned left, and all of a sudden we go straight up again…whaaat? The profile on the Annecy website didn’t feature this! Then we follow the road to the right, where I drop my speed to ~5mph because it’s steep here! I’m thinking…whaaat?? again. But there is not time to consider this because there are the cutest sheep in the world to me left. OMG they were so cute. Extra fluffy guys, with black eyes and schnozzes, so fluffy, that they looked like they just popped out of the dryer. The looked like stuff animals. So I did what I normally do, despite heaving up this hill, I started screaming “Oh My God, hi cuties! LOOK JUSTIN! They are the cutest I’ve ever seen, omg you are so cuuuute.” To which they responded by running to the opposite side of their fenced area. I do that. All the time. I’m impressed I had enough energy to yell and bike up that shisty hill.

Finally we hit the top of that crap and then saaaaaaail down…and I mean sail. We freakin’ flew. I hit 32mph, and there were some switchbacks so it was pretty scary. We hit this town, and then continued on, and realized we missed a turn, but it was right behind us. Turned, and look what we have here…hill #2….BOSSE deux! It was brutal. Way shorter and way steeper than bosse 1. J decided to tackle it standing, some other dude decided to pass me (that’s too damn easy) and I juuuust made it up there without my legs falling off, averaging ~4mph. I didn’t know I could go that slow on my bike. It was tough. Took a break to relax the leggums, and also figure out where to go next. Kept on, and then we FLLLLYY again. At this point we’re more than halfway, which is great because I am getting tired. We fly down a million squiggly switchbacks, my fingers want to fall off and by now i’m sure my brakes are melting onto my wheels. We make it down into this town, where some other guy passed me, and then breaks left while we go straight. Obv he is doing the tri (totally not obv) and we should have followed him. We turn back, and finagle a few turns and find our way to the main road again.

Then make a left, for the final climb..BOSSE troi! We did part of this one 2times bevcause we are big idiots. Well I am, I thought it was the wrong place, but it was correct. So we did it, passes a lady who said I was courageous for doing it, and then J took us to a dead end which had more grade than anything that day (totally doesn’t compare to the Chapelle ride, which I never wrote about because I’m permanently scarred – when I comeback from PTSD, I will write about it). At one point there was a large grating area but with no grating, so I jumped off, walked over the grating then walked my way to the top of the dang hill…was only like 100m…totally worth it. Then we hooked up with part of the first climb and sailed down once again. Within like 5 minutes we were back to the starting point. I’d say it took ~2hours and 25 minutes to climb and about 5 minutes to descend the entire course. I totally rock at climbing. So I withdraw my statement that this season will be the season I learn to climb well….I will just learn to climb a little…to just get by. And thankfully at no point did I think I was going to die on the course. That made me happy. What also made me happy is that I actually finished the damn thing. I definitely needed another gel, and wish I had had one, but will definitely have one come race time. I also felt well hydrated and felt good. My legs wanted to fall off, for sure after. I was tired of climbing. My avg HR during the climb was ~167, and my avg HR overall was 145. My peak was 176, which is great. I didn’t push too hard that I’d want to just throw my bike away and die, but so that I could imagine running 10k after. I think it’s possible! WOOOOO.

Here’s the gpx business:

Yup. Awesome stuff. Do you see the incline of that last one?? jebbbuusss.

Rumilly Super Sprint 2012 Race Report

I’m not completely sure how to begin besides just flat out saying: I am disappointed.

But let me qualify it first by saying that I had a lot of fun also!  The atmosphere *was* a lot more competitive than I had hoped considering it was the shortest race known to mankind, but it could have been because I can’t speak the language well. I went into this thinking it was a training setup, not really a race, because it’s such a short one, and I haven’t done a race since 2009! However, I always get race anxiety and say to myself the night before, who knows what is going to happen? Maybe I’ll do really well, so well in such a short race, that I might even place! I mean come on, it’s a tiny little race, and probably beginners will be there, not anyone crazy serious. Oh how wrong I was. Listen, I didn’t delude myself into thinking I could be champion of the race here, but I was hoping to do better than I did. But as J and I unloaded, and got the race packet and all that jazz, I deflated…a lot. My apparently enormous head (for why?!how did that happen??) popped quickly when I saw those svelte French ladies and dudes with their aero-bars and other ridiculous triathlon paraphernalia. The guys with their bulgy muscles and all too tan faces looking cocky, and the ladies with their nicely fitting shorts and also very tanned-selves. I wanted to prove something I guess, to myself, that I have done this before, this is not something new for me and I would do okay! This is how it was on the inside, on the outside, I was all nerves, asking all kinds of questions in poorly annunciated French to the referees (yup, in stripes) or fellow ladies. I was all jittery, frazzled. Then I saw people jogging for warm ups, and I’m thinking…really? This is like going to take an hour…or less, so why are you wasting energy? Maybe they do it differently. I don’t know. I felt nervous and crappy, so crazy things were going through my head.

J came back from dropping my after-race stuff at the car, then we went over to the pond to feel the water and warm up a bit. I walked in and at first it was nice and warm! Then I walked in until the water was up to my calves and dear god was it cold! I said to myself Okay, let’s do this then… So I dove right in and swam a bit, practicing my good form and my bilateral breathing that I am now comfortable with (cool!). I came up to take a breath and thought This shit is ICE! as you can see from the photo below.

I hope you can zoom on this to see my facial expression. It shows exactly how I felt…COOOOOOOOLD! (Taken by J)

Yeah!! Also please note the amazing head gear I have on. It is truly something special…and is from the 1960s. Why aren’t I wearing a ton of make up to go with it? This hat will come to haunt me in about 20 minutes…

So after that fun time, we lingered around until finally it was time to get to the start line! In this race, the women got to start 7 minnutes ahead of the guys, in something they call “Retrappe Moi Se Tu Peux!!” or “Catch me if you can!”. So all 30 of us ladies lines up at the start of the water. I chatted (yea,, weird huh?) with some ladies prior. Everyone but me and ~5 other gals had wet suits on, which was interesting. It’s such a short swim that I figure taking the thing off would be longer than anything else, but maybe my body wouldn’t have frozen if I had one on! Some lady asked me what type of swim she should do. I’m like, um whatever you want? She said well what are you doing? I respond with the freestyle and if I get tired some breaststroke. Then I threw in, you could back stoke if you want also, seriously it’s up to you. But freestyle is fastest. She nods. (BTW the entire thing was mimed. because I don’t know any words in French about swimming except for: Nager (pronounced: Nah-jhey) = to Swim, Froid (pronounced: frowhad) = cold, and Allez!(pronounced: allay) = GO!). What a weird thing I’ve gotten myself into.

I’m there in the gray tank top with the pink and white on the side. I’m making sure my goggles aren’t fogged. (take by J)

That dude is yelling us where to swim, because they didn’t tell us prior…GENIUS. Damn France!! Get your shit together.

After a few moments of last minute freak out, and wave to my lovey, we finally started!

Ahhhh Rocks, feet, legs! Get out of my way I want to swim now!! (Taken by J)

I think this is a beautiful image captured by Justin of the mayhem that occurs during the beginning of an open water swim. Everyone’s kick and punching, and trying to fight the water, run on rocks, and just swim. It’s a whole different experience than anything else in the world. Then, when your face hits the water, that’s the best part. Well the best part of getting kicked constantly in your right oblique by the lady who racked her bike right next to you, and then her saying “pardon!” very sincerely. I scream “Allez! C’est bon!!”. Which is really what I said the entire race to anyone who passed me, which was 120 people. 😦 She stayed with me for a good portion of the swim actually.

Anyway, that shit WAS cold, I was huffing like a maniac, feeling spent after only a a few minutes. I notice I’m breathing on one side, and not being efficient AT ALL, wasting energy left and right. So I slow down, get into gear, start rolling correctly and do the both side breathing. I felt better, but I took a lot of breast stroke breaks. I turn the last bouy, and see a pack ahead and pack behind me. I made a break for it, leaving my fellow side-kick-er (SEE WHAT I DID THERE??) and then zigzagged a bunch then finally came in the chute, alone. I ran up the chute only to hear everyone scream “Chapeau!!” or “Bonnet!” and I saw Justin screaming “hat!!”. I am all in a tizzy thinking whaaat?! Finally I understand I am to take my swim cap off. I tear it off, along with my own swim cap and my goggles and hurl it at the ground (Master Shake style..I swear it would have exploded if I had the touch). They say, “noo! Ouii!!” I saw “Quoi??” Then I turn to start running to my bike, slip (because I am soaked!) fall on my side, while everyone watches, they saw and said “ohhhh!!” and I’m like “ughh,” get up and run away. It was so….French.

I run to my bike totally wasted of energy, which I am so unhappy about. Got my bike business together, got my bike and ran.

Heyyy Justin!! (Take by J)

I mounted and bike away. I made sure to say thank you to as many of the referee and volunteers as possible. They are important and I appreciate what they have done for me and everyone else participating. The first 10 min of the bike feel like shit, as I’m trying to cool down from the swim. People are passing me incredibly fast, I hooo and haaa at the ladies for being badass, and almost get tossed into the grass a few times from fast dudes. Not cool. Finally hit the turn around, they say “Allez!”, I say, “okay”, then they ask me if I’m english (whaaaa?), I say “Yes. Thank you, Bye”. Ride back up the giant hill I just came down (at a fantastic speed of 30 mph), then make it back to transition with a time of ~27 minutes (’d I manage that?). I dismounted, booped my split button on my watch with my face (aww yeah, I wish I had a photo of that!) and ran to put my bike back.

T2 was much better. I’d say I kicked it’s ass. I take my bike shoes off, slip my running sneakers on and go to run, stop short in a kind of football player stance, legs wide, make sure I didn’t forget anything the French wouldn’t forget, turn my bib around to my front and take off! 54 secs. BOOOM.

I’m running, it’s kinda hurty, my HR is at 175, not so good. I slow down, then there is a little kid (15? he’s racing me?!) that is bent over. I ask if he’s okay, he says yea. I say no probs. Then a dude stops running, pulls over next to a trash can (on his left, not his right…so I can see everything he is doing), pulls his right short leg up and starts peeing. I swear! I am thinking Are you kidding? No blockage? No? So I yell “Suuuuuper Bon!!”, which translates to super good. He chuckles and/or looks annoyed, says stuff I can’t hear nor understand and runs off. I tell it like it is. Get over it.

Next, is a hairpin turn up a hill, not a giant one, but annoying enough for me to want to hurl, so I took a 20 sec walk break at the top, then continued on my jolly way. Said hello to some volunteers, made my way through some forest bit, fixed my shoelace, more forest bit, then….then it happened. My right toe caught a tree root, and I went flying forward onto the ground, scraping my legs and knees and letting out a giant bellow, “Auuugghhh” style. Awful. I never fall! I am not THAT clumsy! Aaaacccck! Whatever I got up and kept going. Then I hit some plush grass for a bit, decided I was tired and walked for a bit. Saw Justin yelling me for, I was so sad at this point, or maybe I’m just so said now looking back at that point. I don’t know. I picked it up after 10 sec walk rest and he got a nice photo.

I am tired but hiiiii!

I look happy, and I was. I’m just bummed out now, after the matter.

Finally, I turned down the chute to come to the end. Some ladies screamed “Couraage!! Alleeeez!”, except they were smoking cigarettes so I couldn’t allez! There was a dude behind me by like 30 sec, who could have easily ran faster and beat me and I was looking for him to make a move so I could “race” at this point because I wanted to try it out (I don’t know, it was like I was on drugs at this point, ok! Don’t judge!). He did not, so I kicked it into high gear for myself and crossed the line in 62 minutes. I apparently expected 70, so that’s awesome!

yey! Done! (Taken by J)

 I smiled during the entire race, I promise I did, except for a few times when I grunted and things really hurt. But look at the smile above! I’m so pleased I came in 8 minutes earlier than expected! How cool!!??

The run down in times:

Swim: 11:44 minutes. boo!!! What happened here!

T1+Bike+T2 (Ala France): 30:18 – why would you put T1 and T2 with the bike?! Also. cool!

             I know I did T1 in ~2 min and T2 in less than 1 min. It was better than the other races I’ve done. No doodling!

Run: 20:26  – holy balls! I did 10:30 minute miles! That is 2 minutes faster than usual per mile! Where did that come from?!

This race was a serious lesson learned for me. I need mental toughness, better bike training and less anxiety. I also see that I’ve improved on my running, which is fantastic! J and I are  so pleased to see our running training paying off, in a big way! I know I need more confidence, from within not from anyone else. I just have to get out there and do it. Unfortunately for J and I, double work out days (morning AND evening) are a must for the next 6 weeks, if I plan on finishing the Annecy triathlon in July. Oh and also climbing the Col de la Faucile, at least once… 🙂

Rumilly Super Sprint Triathlon Goals

The time has come to think about some goals I would like to achieve for this seasons inaugural triathlon, Rumilly Super Sprint 2012!

SWIM – 400m:

Currently my swimming is out of whack technique-wise, as I’m still incorporating bi-lateral breathing as well as more exaggerated rolling, as I do not roll do well. However, my time has  remained the same or similar, which tells me that my technique before the change was not the best. I think this is a good thing because with correct form I have a better chance of not hurting myself and pushing myself so that I can be a little faster and of course be more efficient in the water.

Thus for the swimming I’m hoping to achieve somewhere in the 9 minute region. I normally do my T-pace 100s at 2:08(m:ss), but if I add in the bilateral breathing and some funky chicken kicking (it’s still a bit erratic) then I’d say 2:15 per 100m. So that’s why 9 is okay. I don’t want to be unrealistic and say “Oh I’ll have so much adrenalin I’ll pull out something sub-9 minute,” because even those this is the first race, it’s a warm up, to get me ready to do more, mentally and physically. So for swim I’ll be happy with sub-10minutes.


Don’t fall on face. Take wet suit off, if wearing. Put shoes on. Put helmet on.

BIKE – 7 miles:

My bike skillz lack, big time. I can’t climb hills without dropping to the tiny gear and grinding up, teeth clenched ( although I’m trying to stop this)! However since the bike course is relatively flat out and back I think I’ll be okay. Lately we’ve been averaging ~12mph but that includes some large long climbs, so I think I’ll cut myself some slack here. I think anything under 30 minutes will be okay. Yes, it’s 7 miles long. Yes that is slow. Whatev.


Don’t fall on face. Take bike stuff off, but sneakers on. Forgo the goddamn water bottle. Just go!

RUN 3.2km = 2.1 miles:

Apparently I thought erroneously that this was going to be a piece o’cake. I finally mapped it and saw there is a Cat5 hill (it’s a 5% grade) at the beginning of the run. Sweet. I love hills. I was made for hills… one of my past lives. It’ll be fine I think, just take it easy on the hill, then run the rest as I can. I really am not trying to win anything here. Anyway, even with this badass hill, I think I pull out 12 min miles easily. I’ve been training this way for like a year, I think I’ve got that. Although a few months ago I was thinking, “Man, I could pull out 10 min miles on this!” which is a lie, because it is a fallacy. 🙂 I think if I’m luck I can pull out 11 min miles, considering I did those today and the perceived effort was like 2 points higher than the 12 minute miles I’ve been doing. So, ya, I’ll be happy with whatever. Let’s say sub 25 min! 🙂

Thus, to show my fabulous math skillz, we have as an upper limit: 10 Min swim, 30 min bike ride, 25 min run –> 65 minutes, plus any other doodling I do in the transitions. Let’s put 4 minutes on for stupid crap I will do during T1 and T2. –> 70 minutes! (I added on 1 more minute for the water bottle crisis I know will occur).

There ya have it.

Triathlon season 2012, I coming for you……….slowly!!!  😉


Our count down is moving right along ’till our very own D-Day (departure day), with almost 10% of the time ticking away every week. It’s pretty exciting! I was recently inspired by a friends blog post before they moved back to the states to begin thinking about making some lists of what I will and won’t miss about being here.  Some of this will be pretty easy and some won’t be so easy.  I’ll probably also do a post about what I didn’t think I would and wouldn’t miss after I’ve been back for a month or two.  Here’s a quick preview!

Some things I will miss:

  • The mountains (Alps and Jura), they’re beautiful!
  • All the French cheeses and breads, and the fresh Parmesan!
  • A couple of restaurants: L’Incontro and Good Taste, and Cafe Soleil

It’s just a preview, and I’ll fill it in with some more good stuff (less fluff).

Longest run to date!

Hey yo! I ran 5.25 miles last night! This is my longest run to date and I’m so proud! J and I took to the streets of Maconnex thinking we’d do 2 loops of our usual lollipop and then go home (I thought we’d just walk home after 4 miles).

So we did.. and then we kept going! I know it’s partially not a good idea to push oneself when there is more training to do, but I didn’t really have a plan, I don’t this week. So anyway, it was probably around 65-70 deg F and it was hard at the last half mile, but I did it!! I felt good after too! And today, I feel fine! Although, I haven’t traversed too many stairs yet…

No so bad! Those are tiniest hills in the world. Anyway, I feel good and I’m happy about it! I think I’ll be able to do this 10km in Annecy just fine! The 3.2km at Rumilly can eat my shorts!

PS: I tried on my wet suit last night after dusting off cobwebs and after the long run and omg did I feel like a standing sausage. I walked like the tinman without oiled knees and the collar was choking me. I also felt like a big beefcake. Not really what I was going for. I guess my large runners legs (wtf?) took up a lot of room, and my clothing?! I don’t know. Maybe next time I lube myself before I get in…and not after a long run.. woops..

Upcoming Tri talk

I completely forgot to write it down, but a month or so ago I signed up for the Rumilly Super Sprint Triathlon on May 20th. It’s a 400m swim, 11.5km bike ride, and 3.1 km run. These are all very short compared to the Annecy tri I am doing in July (and the bike ride is a whole lotta nothing compared also!!). I am doing the short one instead of the olympic they offer because the last time I did this stuff all in a row was in 2009!! Taking a 3 year hiatus from racing, means I don’t remember, but also, I never really knew to begin with since it was my freshman year racing back 4 years ago! I cannot believe it’s been that long. I’ve been on this continent for far too long.

Anyway, I’m excited!! J and I are going down to Rumilly this Sunday to check out the lake/pond, the bike course and the run course. I don’t want surprises, even though it is super short. I’m very pumped up for this! I’ve lost a lot of weight and feel better about all 3 sports! My swim technique is much better now that I am focusing on the roll and bilateral breathing, my cycling is much more improved, and my running is off the charts. Now this is all in comparison to where I was in ’09. I ran/walked both triathlons. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just I only knew 1 speed, GO!!! And I hadn’t trained right for a person who has never run before. However, this time I know I’ll be able to run it all, and do it in a decent time, for me. A year ago this time, I was running like 18 minute miles, where by “run” I mean walk/jog so I didn’t die and/or hate it completely! This year I’m at 12 min miles, which is still slow compared to others, but that’s not the point. But that is also my training pace, so I think I can get something around 11 min per mile out of me for this upcoming triathlon.

Today is a running day and it’s beaaautiful out! It’s around 68 deg F and I’m looking forward to it.

I also need to practice the transition times because I don’t remember anything about that except feeling drunk after the swim. I remember running to my bike, and not knowing what to do, staring around trying to get my stuff on and being very confused. It was better at the run, except during Iron Girl (my first tri), I was like “take the water! No, they’ll have some at the station. No, take it, you overheat! No, don’t do it! YES TAKE IT.” I jumped back and forth and finally threw it down, and ran off…only to get out of the path of vision of the cheering fans to start my walk-of-shame because I couldn’t breathe. Anyway, NOT THIS TIME! This time it’s fast pace, flat. in and out. I also need to see if my wet suit fits, I know it’s going to be cold in that water..I just know it. I hear they fish there, I also hear it’s really an etang (pond), which I’m not sure I want to swim in now…! 😀

Well, anyway, should be fun! I think Sunday will be a good time with J even if it does rain! We get to see a new part of France!