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Who Wants to Get Active--Belle

15 Posts tagged with the triathlon tag

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. 



972 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

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:

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

Meeting Gale

Posted by Active Belle Feb 1, 2008

Gale was scheduled to shoot some cycling and triathlon training videos today at Active. I decided it would be a good opportunity to meet my coach and get some footage for the blog so I volunteered to be one of the "models".


I don't normally think of myself as awkward but in the world of triathletes, I just might be. I wear old clothes, my face gets bright red when I work out, and no matter how hard I try I come home from every ride with a grease stain on my leg in the shape of a chain ring.


Standing next to Gale it is easy to tell, who is the coach and who is the rookie. Gale wore matching Pearl Izumi pinks and black that reached from the trim on her shirt to the mesh in her shoes: I wore a ratty jersey I got for free in Japan eight years ago.  Gale's frame is tiny and her body, trim: I kept pulling at my shirt, in hopes of covering up my tummy. I forgot sunscreen, I didn't shave my legs, and of course I gave myself a tire mark in between video takes.


Most of the video shoots were done with Jesse's bike and Jesse, the other model, spent the prior evening making it presentable. He wiped the tubes, dug the dirt out of the cogs, lubed the chain and tightened screws that needed to be tightened.


When we put my bike on the rack I noticed everything I didn't think to do the night before. My handlebar tape was peeling, the gearing was caked in dirt, the brilliant blue tubes were covered in a light gray dust and my cyclometer screen was dead.  


"Eek, it's kind of dirty," I said.


Gale was polite. "It's OK, you can do what you like; personally, I prefer a clean bike."


We laughed and I made a mental note to buy some chain lube.


At the end of the day, we discussed what still needed to be done. Gale stopped mid-sentence to wipe what was undoubtedly a grease stain on my forehead.




Gale, It was great finally meeting you. Thanks for all the training and racing tips!

2,030 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, gale_bernhardt

Running with Numbers

Posted by Active Belle Jan 21, 2008

A lot of my runs so far were supposed to have been low intensity and in zone 1 but I am having a really hard time running in zone 1. I thought I calculated my lactate threshold to be around 174, so zone 1 would be under 147 HR.  This past weekend I went on a 6-mile run and it took one hour. 10-minute miles is pretty slow but my heart rate was still high. For the first 30 minutes my HR was consistently between 154 and 165. The slightest hill made it go up into the 170s and 180s and in the last half hour I could not get it under 170. I was winded however as long as I was not running a hill (or recovering from a hill) I could still talk. My boyfriend's HR was around 150 the whole time.


My questions are:


1) Is it really possible to run in zone 1 and am I doing something wrong?


2) is it normal for women to have a higher HR than men?


3) am I too concerned with the numbers? ?:|

1,025 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, triathlon, heart_rate, zone_running

Supplemental Events

Posted by Active Belle Jan 2, 2008

As the new year gets under way I have been tempted by a few races that friends are signing up for. How do I know where I can fit shorter running and biking races into my training plan leading up to the main Wildflower event?

834 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, triathlon_training

Weekend Report

Posted by Active Belle Dec 18, 2007

I was in the Santa Cruz mountains this past weekend visiting my boyfriend. He lives across the street from an open space preserve with lots of great trails so we went for a trail run instead of doing the shorter run I was supposed to do.


I was supposed to do a timed 1-mile run on a flat course at heart rate 9-11 beats below my lactate threshold heart rate. Gale, What does that mean and can/should I still work this in.


1,014 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: running, triathlon, run, triathlon_training

Total Fitness

Posted by Active Belle Dec 13, 2007


I am starting to learn that running or swimming or biking for 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week, might keep me active but it does nothing to improve my fitness. And the ActiveX strength workouts I do twice a week have been a reality check for me.


Today our circuit went like this: run 400, 20 push ups, 15 Box Jumps, 10 pull ups; repeat 3 more times.

I felt like my lungs were sealed shut and I was sucking air in and out of a small opening, my run pace got slower and slower, my arms felt like rubber and I once again felt like I have never worked out before.


These workouts are notoriously difficult but I am consistently falling behind the rest of the group even though I thought I was in pretty good shape.


I realized after the workout that I have always been active but I haven't pushed my limits in a long time. I trained for some 24-hour adventure races a few years ago but even those workouts were pretty low intensity and by my own design. I was focused on building my enduranceand was able go for 24 (or 36 hours)but I neglected the other components of a total body workout.


The longer I sit here writing, the more my lungs are opening up, my breathing is getting less labored and the more excited I am to be replacing my lazy workouts with a total fitness routine. It still stinks to be the slow one but at least I have something to shoot for.

954 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: training, fitness, triathlon, strength_training, activex

Deviations From the Plan

Posted by Active Belle Dec 4, 2007

Week Two Workouts (11/26-12/2)


-I swapped Monday and Tuesday's workouts, and Wednesday and Thursday's workouts, so I am swimming on Mon/wed and running / cycling on Tues and Thurs.

-I did ActiveX on Friday instead of resting.

-I did not get the chance to run on Saturday.

-My bike workouts were longer and more intense than they were supposed to be.


Week Three workouts (12/3-12/9)


-I missed my Wednesday swim

-I rested on Thursday as well

-I did my bike ride and strength training on Friday instead of Thursday.

-I plan to do the Saturday run and the Sunday ride as planned.


Thoughts and Questions:


Swim: I like having my swims on Monday and Wednesday so I would like to stick with that.


Strength: I am still trying to fit ActiveX into my schedule but I am not sure how that will conflict with climbing in the future. Plus one of the ActiveX days is Friday, which is supposed to be my rest day.


Bike: I ride with a lot of people who are better than me, when should I go alone and when is it OK to push myself on what is supposed to be a low intensity ride?


Yoga: Finally, If I wanted to get in on an occasional yoga class, what would be the best day for that?


On another note: I signed up for Wildflower  over the weekend--even though every time I mention it, people tell me it is one of the most difficult triathlons out there...and even though I read this article  about the race.


Looks like I will have to do a lot of hill training to prepare. Bring it on!

864 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: training, fitness, triathlon, active, workouts

My First Triathlon

Posted by Active Belle Nov 21, 2007




(This video took Belle a few tries: To see her outtakes click here.)




I have to confess, I am pretty active...sometimes. I have a schizophrenic sports personality and try anything that comes my way.


During college I took up mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, running, racquetball and Rugby.


After college I moved to Japan where it was easy to be active because I had so much time on my hands. I only worked 20 hours a week so I swam a mile every morning, rode my mountain bike every afternoon, and rode a city bike or walked to work. I was in peak form because my lifestyle allowed me to be and it was easy.


While in Japan I tried a triathlon, however, the race did not go very well. I was late for the swim because race officials changed the start time and did not notify the gaijin (foreigners). I was riding a mountain bike with nobby tires and I got lost because I couldn't read the road signs. (Apparently there was a huge sign that said “DON’T GO THIS WAY”…and I went that way.) Then I had to run, which is by far my biggest weakness.


My fellow gaijin were among the first to cross the finish line. By the time I arrived there was a pig roasting over a fire and all the Japanese men were lighting cigarettes and drinking beer.


Since I returned from Japan my focus has been sporadic and fitness weaves in and out of my life. I feel like I am constantly trying to get into shape instead of reaching a point where I can push my abilities.


I have often wondered if, with proper training and a little more focus, I could get to the point where being active can be a consistent part of my life--like it was in Japan seven years ago.


The biggest focus for me is to learn how to integrate workouts into my life. No matter where I amworking or traveling, summer or winter holidaysI want to make training an automatic part of my day. has paired me up with Active Expert Gale Bernhardt to train for the Wildflower Triathlon in May. Stay tuned, and feel free to cheer me on, egg me on and post comments as I work towards this goal. And hopefully this time I can at least beat the people smoking cigarettes at the finish line.


2,564 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: training, triathlon, tri_training