Archive | July, 2004

Swimming in the Bay stinks

31 Jul

I mean literally, not figuratively. I just washed out my wetsuit and bathing suit from our 1 mile open water swim, and boy, did they smell bad.

The swim, on the other hand, wasn’t bad at all. In fact, compared to last time, it was an absolute breeze. Coach April told us to get in the water and warm up for 5 minutes beforehand, so I swam around a little bit. We were going to do a race start–running into the water off of the beach–but the tide was low and April decided it was too rocky. So we started from the water, which gave me a taste of what swimming in a big ol’ pack is going to be like. Legs, arms, wetsuits, red and yellow caps everywhere… Sighting was almost impossible until we got a little ways into the swim and people started to go at their own pace. This time I tried sighting for the next buoy, rather than the end of the lap, to prevent me from adding on an extra mile or so with my zigzag swimming. It helped, although I definitely wasn’t going straight.

Breathing was a lot easier, too. I resolved myself to the fact that I was going to be drinking some salt water and just dealt with that. Heading toward the Dolphin Club, I tried to focus on my form and got some good stretches in, rolling nicely side to side. By the time I rounded the buoy for the final 1/4 of my last lap, I couldn’t believe it! I did it!

My friend Miller (she has the coolest name) placed second (of the wetsuit-wearers) in the 1/2-mile Lake Del Valle swim last weekend. That competition was our practice for last Sat., but I missed it since I was in Nashville. Go Miller!

Tomorrow, Chad and I are going on a 50-mile (!) bike ride with our hard core friends Ben and Tiffany. I hope I’m ambulatory for the jam at my house afterwards.

I love biking!

27 Jul

I do! I just did an hour bike ride after not having touched my bike for about a week. Between getting ready to go to NAMM and then actually being at NAMM, my workouts definitely fell by the wayside. It felt so awesome riding again. I went up through the Presidio, just riding up and down hills, doing little loops for an hour, pretty much just trying to use up the time in my workout. I did one loop, first downhill, then uphill three times. Each time I got a little better, a little faster, a little more savvy about when to change gears. And I successfully stood up on my pedals–multiple times!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite figure out how to get back to the easy way back up, so I had to go up Arguello. That wasn’t so bad (although it’s a fairly grueling climb for someone of my biking ability), but it meant that I missed my favorite part about riding back out of the Presidio. Once we get towards the top of this one road, it evens out and I really start picking up speed. Coming around the last part, where Arguello turns off to the left, I feel like I’m racing. I push myself as hard as I can, come around the golf course, and end up at Arguello Gate, ready to head back down to home. I got some speed going, but cutting off that first bit made it much harder to get my momentum going.

I also ran twice on the treadmill in Nashville, going for pace. I ran 40 minutes the first day (plus a 5 min. cooldown) and 30 minutes the other day (again, with a 5 min. cooldown), averaging about a 10.5-min. mile pace! WOO HOO! Now if I can just translate that to actual road.

Does anybody read this?

17 Jul

Besides Chad, of course. If you do read this, feel free to post comments to my blog entries: share your stories, question my numbers on my training log on my personal page, congratulate me on the fact that, so far, I’ve swum, biked, and run over 200 miles–or whatever else you feel like mentioning.

P.S. My knees haven’t hurt for the past two runs! Hooray!

First open-water swim!

17 Jul

And I can still taste the salt water in my mouth! We got our wetsuits on Wednesday, after our BRick practice (at which, I must say, I did pretty darn well on the run intervals. Why can’t I do that well on my own?). Pedro Ordenas, who holds the record for the most Alcatraz swims, gave us a talk about open-water swimming, which boiled down to: keep warm (don’t drink cold water before swimming and cover your head and ears), find a landmark to guide by, and relax.

This morning, we met at Aquatic Park in SF at 8:30 for a “how to put on your wetsuit” clinic, by Coach Samir. It still took me about 15 minutes to get it on. Colleen, my mentor, said that last year she did the Sprint Tri at Pac Grove, and it took her twice as long to put on the wetsuit as it did to swim the whole quarter-mile (she swam it in 8 minutes–go Colleen!).

Once we got in the water, I tried swimming, thinking about form, landmarks, swimming in a straight line, not breathing in salt water, my goggles that were fogging up–and of course, I started panicking. It was awful. I kept running out of breath, taking in salt water, having to stop to burp from drinking all that salt water, wondering if my arms were tired or if it was just the weight of the wetsuit…

And then, while I was floating on my back, defogging my goggles AGAIN, I thought, “Stop it. Focus on not drinking the whole Bay.” And it was so much better. Focusing on that one thing allowed me to start dealing with all the other stuff I was getting overwhelmed by just a few minutes before. I started noticing the current a bit. I was able to keep decent form for longer, and I didn’t need to stop to catch my breath as often.

At the end, I did about .6 miles in about 30 minutes. At that pace, I could do the swim part of the race in about 45 minutes, and I bet I can speed up my time even.

The run was pretty sweet, too. I decided to just go for time and stop worrying about my per-mile pace. We left from Aquatic Park, ran along the shore past Fort Mason, Marina Green, Crissy Field, up towards the GG Bridge, and back. I felt great the whole way, did a negative split (faster on the way back), and even after I picked up the pace coming down the final hill, I felt like I could have pushed myself harder. Next time.

An Irish Blessing

12 Jul

I just had to post about what my Irish (-American) Uncle Bernard wrote on his donation form:

May the wind be always at your back! Good luck!

How cute is that?

Cell Phone Cozies

12 Jul

Chad makes fun of my cell phone cozy, but I find it indispensible. For starters, had I sewn the button on it right away, my cell phone wouldn’t have slipped out and gotten the gigantic scratch it now has on it.

So as I was trying to come up with some more fundraising ideas for my triathlon, I thought maybe I’ll knit up a bunch of cell phone cozies with the extra yarn I have from the scarves I made last year.

I now have about three made and started in on a sunglass cozy. I’m not sure yet if I have to sell them, but they’re so easy to do (I did one in an hour, which is lightning fast for me). I’m trying to find some other cool projects to knit or sew up as a possible fundraiser. If anyone has any ideas, please leave them as comments.

In other news, inspired by my knitting conversation with Erika (we both saw cute ponchos in Macy’s and want to make ones for ourselves), I tried to find a poncho pattern at Dharma today, but to no avail. Knitty doesn’t have one I like, either. What’s a girl to do?

Honorees

12 Jul

When I was up at bluegrass camp in Grass Valley, my friend Patti (who is also one of my personal honorees, as well as the bass player in my band) mentioned that A., my guitar teacher’s wife (I’m not putting her name because I’m not sure how much she wants me putting on my site), was waiting on some test results. She had lymphoma a few years ago, but she was treated with some serious chemo and it went into remission. A month or so ago, her lungs started filling up with liquid. She had to go to the doctor to get it drained so that she could breathe. Her doctors thought it was lymphoma, but they were just looking for proof. My teacher told me today after my lesson that they found it; her lymphoma is back.

Fortunately (if there is a fortunately in these kinds of situations), she has low-grade lymphoma, which means that it grows relatively slowly. He said that many folks with this kind of lymphoma can live with it for years and that the treatment for it is much less toxic than chemo, which she had for her last bout with lymphoma. She went for her first Rituxan treatment today and was hooked up to an IV for three hours–that’s how long it takes to get the drug in your system. My teacher said that these drugs are so toxic that if the IV comes out of your arm, they have to bring in a HazMat team to clean it up. And it’s going right into her blood!

After practice last week, Liz, our fiddle player who’s also a nephrologist (kidney doctor), was explaining to us what goes on with a bone marrow transplant (one of the treatments for myeloma, which is what Patti has). Basically, they blast your body with chemo so that every fast-diving cell in your body dies. That gets the cancer, but it also gets your hair cells, blood cells, bone marrow, and some other things that help you stay alive. Then, you’re completely prone to infection because your body has zero defenses, so they put you in a clean room for days. THEN, they inject the bone marrow cells into you and let them mulitply. Hopefully it’s your own bone marrow; otherwise you have to have all these other toxic drugs injected into you to try to get your body to accept the transplant. And then, once all this is done, because of how toxic all the drugs are, you have a 10% chance of getting lymphoma.

All this has helped me realize just how important what I’m doing is, that this isn’t about me. It’s not about me swimming, biking, and running. It’s really about me raising money to keep people like A. and Patti alive and to improve the treatments so that they don’t have to get so sick to get better.

Thanks to everyone who has donated; I’m really amazed at how generous everyone has been. If it wasn’t for people like you, A. probably wouldn’t have the treatment options she has right now. I really appreciate everyone so much for contributing, from my friends who contributed $10 (especially from them, because I know they don’t have a lot of money right now) to the people who gave me over $100.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.