Skip navigation

I Did Wildflower

Posted by Active Belle May 5, 2008

I did it! I did Wildflower.


A few weeks ago both Gale and Stephen said that even if I doggy paddle the swim, granny-gear the bike and crawl the run, I can still call myself a triathlete. I was covered! Then I read the Wildflower rules the day before the race and learned that if you crawl at Wildflower, you will be disqualified.


I also went down to the pier on Saturday and watched the pros dive in for the swim on the long course. That got me worrying that my first lake swim just might be a doggy paddle.


But Sunday morning I felt surprisingly relaxed and happy. Standing on the boat ramp waiting for my age group to start I was joking around with some of the other girls. 


Then the horn went off.


The water was cold, the wetsuit was choking me, there were elbows in my face, and hands swatting my ankles. My heart rate must have been higher than I thought because I had trouble breathing. I had to stop and tread water and tell myself to calm down. There was even a part of me that wanted to swim back to the boat ramp and stand on solid ground for a minute. I had never met that part of me before.


But thankfully there was a bigger part of me that said, 'Are you crazy? Are you actually thinking about turning around in the first 100 yards of a race you trained 6 months for, just because of a little panic attack?'


So I kept swimming, breathing every two strokes instead of my usual 4, and talking my heart rate down. I made my way to the outer edge of the pack and finally found my rhythm about 10 minutes into the swim.


Even though it was hard to keep track of the buoys and even though I felt like I was swimming in circles, I still swam in the amount of time I had estimated (30 minutes).


Coming out of the water I was disoriented and felt dizzy, but I ran my way up the ramp and into the transition area. It took me just under 4 minutes to get through, and then out on the bike. It was better than my 15- and 7-minute transitions from training but still pretty slow. Although for this race, the transition times were the least of my worries.


I was more prepared for the bike than anything else and the 40K ride felt great. On one of the initial descents I looked over at the bikers coming up and thought, 'This looks like a killer hill on the way up.' Then the song Killer Queen got stuck in my head and distracted me from worrying about a hill I wasn't at yet. So I started humming along to the tune in my head.


"She's a Killer Queen...Gunpowder, gelatine...Dynamite with a laserbeam...Guaranteed to blow your mind...Anytime..." and I forgot all about the killer climb. I was passing people going up the hills, smiling on the way down and I finished 25 minutes faster than I had anticipated in 1 hour, 34 minutes. 


My transition from bike to run was a little faster than my first transition at just under 3 minutes. Exiting the transition area you go straight up a flight of stairs and onto a dirt path. The first few miles I felt strong and positive. Then I realized the mile markers weren't mile markers...they were kilometer markers. That's when the shady trail turned into a sun-exposed path and I started to slow down. There was a big hill between kilometers 4 and 5 where my body got in a fight with my mind.


My body said, "I want to walk this hill: There is nothing wrong with walking this hill"


My mind responded with, "There is everything wrong with walking this hill, don't you want to say you ran the whole thing?"


My body shot back with, "Yes, but it will be even better if I can actually finish."


During this debate I would stop running briefly, feel bad about it and two second later start running again, then my body would scream that I was going too fast and I would slow all the way down to a walk again. There was an older gentleman near me that kept a steady pace, and when I slowed to a walk he would pass me, but when I ran, I would pass him. I realize now I should have kept pace with him and I probably would not have walked at all. But the final big hill, combined with the heat, got to me and I had to walk a bit.


I picked up the pace again at the crest of the hill and was able to keep a decent clip on the long descent to the finish line. Coming through the final chute I was neck and neck with another girl and we pushed each other in a sprint to the finish. They announced everyone crossing the line and I felt proud to hear my name over the loudspeaker.


I could have collapsed on the other side of the line but a volunteer threw a cold, dripping wet towel over my shoulder that revived me. I also saw a co-worker who was at the finish line cheering Team in Training athletes across. He congratulated me and I was grateful to see a supportive smile. A smile that said, "Look at you. You just did Wildflower!"


1,221 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon, bike, wildflower, run, swim, tri_training, triathlon_training, race-report

On My Way

Posted by Active Belle May 2, 2008


I am off today to drive up to Wildflower. I did a short taper workout yesterday: a 10 minute run and a short swim. While I was in the pool, I got a little nervous about the lake swim as I have no idea what it will be like...and this will be my first time wearing a wet suit.  



Overall I am excited and just looking forward to having fun.



Thank you so much for all your encouragement and advice Gale! You really helped keep my training light and fun over the last 6 months. I think the most important thing I learned is that it doesn't matter if I do a short workout, or an easy workout or even miss a workout--as long as I keep getting out there.



Stephen--thanks for all your encouraging words. It was so nice to see your messages from time to time as a reminder that someone was watching me, and that if you kept at it, I should too. Good luck at your race next weekend. Be sure to let me know how it goes. 



FinallyA few weeks ago I had a co-worker/swim coach (Carrie) watch my stroke. She gave me lots of great feedback with a couple of drills to work on.  Toby took video of the session but unfortunately I never found time to edit the footage. Thanks so much for taking the time to work with me Carrieyour suggestions have been really helpful over the last few weeks!



Good Luck to everyone headed to Wildflower!



1,001 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon, wildflower, swim, tri_training, triathlon_training

One Week Away

Posted by Active Belle Apr 25, 2008

This weekend I plan to do all the things Gale said to do a week or two ago: get the wetsuit, figure out what I will wear and practice my transitions--which I did cut from 15 minutes two weeks ago to about 7 minutes last weekend  :p.


Riding home from work yesterday I realized that even though I finished my base training 11 weeks ago, I still feel like I am building a base. I am quite happy with how far my fitness has come but I still feel like I want to go a lot further. I actually thought I would be in peak form for this race after 6 months of training, but I see now that this is just the beginning.


With that in mind, my only goals for next weekend are to complete the entire course...and enjoy doing it.


By the way, thanks for your latest blog Gale! -- Your perspective is very motivating. 



971 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, wildflower, tri_training

The Wetsuit Dilemma

Posted by Active Belle Apr 16, 2008





The Tri-California site lists the water temperature for Wildflower between 65 and 68 degrees. The Air temp right now is 71 degrees. Would you recommend that I use a wetsuit? Please keep the following in mind:



1) I have never been swimming in a wetsuit.



2) I don't own a wetsuit and prefer not to purchase one.



I could rent one however is that a good idea when I have never used one before?






1,365 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: training, swimming, triathlon, swim, tri_training, triathlon_training, open-water, wetsuits

Weekend Workout

Posted by Active Belle Apr 13, 2008


Sunday's scheduled workout: 2 1/2 hour bike to a 45 minute run with a triathlon-style transition for practice. (I also planned to get up at 6 am and do a hilly route--as the triathlon is super hilly)



How Sunday's workout actually went:  6 am alarm went off, 7 am I got up and had a lazy morning with an egg breakfast. At 8 am I was on  my way--out the door and up the hill.



My Bike: I took it easy and felt ok but not great. My throat had that cold, dry feeling which is really annoying. I included two reasonably big hill climbs and could have added a third but I was really tired and turned around after 50 minutes thinking it would take me longer to get back and the ride would be about 2 hours. I got back in 45 minutes making the ride about an hour and a half.



My Transition: I came in the house, drank some water, went to the bathroom, put my hair in pigtails, changed into running clothes, talked to my sister--who woke up, said good morning and then went back to bed. Then I stretched, selected an album on my ipod, put some more sunscreen on my face and finally headed out the door.



My Run: I meant to follow the same bike path so that I would end up doing at least one big hill, but I was exhausted so I turned downhill at the end of the driveway instead of uphill. I ran the short, flat route (25 to 30 minutes) and was still struggling. Plus I did not drink nearly enough water while biking to prepare for the 80 degree weather at 10 in the morning on my run.  (I know megan--you would love 80 degree weather at 10 in the morning:)



The good thing is that even though I was tired, my body felt like it knew what to do and my legs did well carrying me through the workout.



1,346 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon, bike, run, workouts, triathlon_training, road_biking

I finally went to Road Runner in San Diego and had them look at my stride. I kind of expected a big to do but this is all that happened:


First they took imprints of my foot strike on both sides




Then they taped me running on the treadmill




They scribbled notes on a sheet of paper, then told me I have a neutral stride.


According to the Road Runner pamphlet titled Feel Great in Your Shoe Fit, neutral means my feet "tend to be rigid, have high arches, and roll inward or outward minimally."


It was kind of anticlimactic but my runs since have been nothing short of glorious. I am feeling good so I don't have to deal with the super heavy, I-don't-think-I-can-run-anymore-than-20-feet feeling that comes when I haven't run in a while.  I especially enjoyed my long run last weekend. I took it slow, ran down along the ocean and felt really good. I am looking forward to slipping back into my new Saucony Triumph 5s!



I did learn that I was wearing a half size too small. Apparently your toes are not supposed to hit the front of the shoe at all when you run. (My toes were hitting the front of my old shoes when going down hills)

1,027 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, triathlon, run, triathlon_training, tr

Dealing With the Unexpected

Posted by Active Belle Mar 26, 2008

I am getting frustrated that things seem to keep getting in the way of the weekend workouts. It makes me nervous as those are pretty important steps in my training and with Wildflower only a month away.


The latest? I broke out in Hives last Thursday night and I am pretty sure I got them from using seventh generation's powder laundry detergent.


I got it the worst on my chest and stomach so there was no way that I was going to put on a sports bra. And aside from the fact I wanted to scratch my skin off, I was advised to stay out of the sun while taking the medicine the doctors prescribed, so I was house bound the entire weekend--missing yet another major weekend of workouts. 


I did however learn a few things:


Benedryl works better as an antihistamine when taken orally--forget the gels


Xyzal is an even better antihistamine


Oatmeal baths make you feel like you are bathing in vomit (and don't actually work that well--stick with a cold compress)


Cortozone shots are good


The Bourne Ultimatum wasn't all that different from the other two films


Seventh Generation powder laundry detergent is no good


I might have to walk the hills at Wildflower

1,049 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, workouts, tri_training, hives, missed_workouts

Lunch Run

Posted by Active Belle Mar 19, 2008

Here is what a lunch run looked like before Who Wants to Get Active:



Here is what my lunch runs look like now:



(I took this video with the Flip Video Camera which I have come to love taking on runs and rides with me. It is durable, lightweight and super easy to use!)

1,110 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: running, run, trail_running, lunch_run

2 reasons...

Posted by Active Belle Mar 11, 2008

Why I prefer mountain biking over road biking while in the Santa Cruz Mountains:


1) There are tons of trails with fantastic views








2) The roads around here are just too dangerous. A crash on Sunday morning claimed the lives of two area cyclists, one of which was an Olympic hopeful, and injured a third.







1,078 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: mountain_biking, triathlon_training, santa_cruz_mountain, skyline_drive, road_biking

I think Active X has finally interferred with my training. 400 meters of lunges is what did me in. The lunges took place last Wednesday and I can finally walk today--Monday. I was able to do one swim workout between then and now and an easy, flat mountain bike ride helped get the legs working again on Saturday.


A friend mentioned that a few things may have contributed to how sore I was (in addition to the fact that I have never done 400 meters of lunges before). He said that I should have stretched more and eaten some form of protein after the workout.


Gale, How does protein help sore muscles? and how much stretching do you do after a big workout?


For fun: mountain biking in Montana de Oro State Park--Morro Bay, California.


980 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: mountain_biking, biking, morro_bay, montana_de_oro

Back at it with Active X

Posted by Active Belle Mar 3, 2008

After moving and being sick, I finally made a return to Active X and my full training schedule. After Active X today I did my 30 minutes of cycling on the stationary bike. I felt good, but weighted down. Over the final weeks of training I really want to focus on eating well and finding my optimal weight for performance. I want to learn to eat less and make the foods I do eat go farther.


699 Views 0 Comments Permalink

10 Weeks To Go

Posted by Active Belle Feb 22, 2008


I revved up a little slower this week than I would have liked but the good news is I did my first swim to run workout and felt good. I ran on the treadmill because my shins and knees still hurt. It took my legs a few minutes to warm up but I felt good after that.


This weekend will be tricky. I am supposed to swim and run on Saturday and then bike on Sunday but I will be driving a moving truck for

8-hours on Saturday and then unloading and unpacking up in the mountains on Sunday. I am confident that I'll be able to fit in the run on the local trails but I won't have access to a bike or a pool.




Gale-- what do you do when you can't get to a pool or on a bike?



1,004 Views 2 Comments Permalink

A Big Loss And A Minor Lull

Posted by Active Belle Feb 15, 2008

Several things have slowed me down over the last week:


1) My cat died—I got her when I was 11 and we have been together for over 19 years. Needless to say, I was bummed and low on energy. I know that working out probably would have helped my mood but I just couldn’t motivate very well this week. (she was 17 in this photo)









2) My knees have been hurting—I got new shoes and few weeks ago and thought that would help, but I think I need to go into a running store, have them analyze my stride, and possibly recommend different shoes. I have been wearing New Balance for a while now and used to LOVE them but they just don’t seem to support me as well anymore.




Last Sunday I opted for a long hike instead of the run—it suited my mood—but I have not done anything since. I am headed out now to get in the water. Hopefully I just needed a little break and will feel re-energized going into the weekend.



918 Views 1 Comments Permalink

How to Apply Chain Lube

Posted by Active Belle Feb 8, 2008

After we laughed about the clumps of dirt on my bike, I asked Gale to explain her method of cleaning her chain. This is what she does before every ride:

972 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon, bike_maintenance, biking

Swim Question

Posted by Active Belle Feb 7, 2008


Hey Gale, today's workout says to do low intensity of 8x50, then in the comments it says to  



"Swim the designated number of 50s at race pace".



Should race pace be low intensity?






1,088 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: swim, triathlon_training
1 2 3 Previous Next

Active Belle

Active Belle

Member since: Nov 19, 2007

Belle is a little active but she wants to get more active. Follow her through videos and blogs as she works with help from Active Expert Gale Bernhardt to prepare for the wildflower triathlon next May.

View Active Belle's profile