12.31.02 - Washington Resolution Run
01.19.03 - San Diego Marathon
07.13.03 - Tri For Real #2
10.23.05 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.23.06 - Sparks Turkey Trot
05.05.07 - Marathon de Mayo (Half)
05.13.07 - Moms on the Run
10.??.07 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
05.10.08 - Moms on the Run
06.21.09 - Pleasanton Spirit 5K
07.29.09 - San Francisco Half Marathon
10.04.09 - SJ Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon
10.18.09 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.01.09 - New York Marathon
11.26.09 - Spark's Turkey Trot 10K
02.20.10 - Bay Breeze Half Marathon
03.14.10 - Shamrock 'N Half Marathon
03.21.10 - LA Marathon
03.27.10 - Scheel's Fanatic 5K
04.25.10 - Marin County Half Marathon
05.02.10 - Reno Rock 'N River Half Marathon
06.05.10 - See Jane Run Half Marathon
07.25.10 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.05.10 - Pier to Peak Half Marathon
10.10.10 - Chicago Marathon
10.30.10 - Healdsburg Half Marathon
11.07.10 - U.S. Half Marathon
11.25.10 - Scheel's Turkey Trot 10K
02.06.11 - Surf City Half Marathon
03.13.11 - Dublin Shamrock 5K
04.18.11 - Boston Marathon
05.01.11 - Big Sur Marathon
06.11.11 - Lake Tahoe Relay
07.31.11 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.11.11 - Walnut Festival Run 5K
09.18.11 - NorCal Half Marathon
11.24.11 - Scheel's Turkey Trot
12.03.11 - Las Vegas Santa Suit 5K
12.04.11 - Las Vegas Half Marathon
03.11.12 - South Bay Duathlon
03.25.12 - Oakland Half Marathon
05.20.12 - Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon
06.24.12 - Silicon Valley Intl. Triathlon
07.15.12 - Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon
03.09.13 - Lucky 13 Half Marathon
04.28.13 - Eugene Half Marathon
05.11.13 - Folsom International Triathlon
06.23.13 - Ironman Coeur d'Alene
11.02.13 - Silver Falls Half Marathon
11.15.13 - Mt. Tam Half Marathon
11.28.13 - Scheel's Turkey Trot
5k:19:17 @ Dublin Shamrock 5k 2011
10k: 41:01 @ Scheel's Turkey Trot 2010
Half:1:30:07 @ Oakland Half 2012
Full: 3:12:57 @ CA Int'l Marathon (CIM) 2013
70.3: 5:20:07 @ Vineman 2012
140.6: 12:14:21 @ Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2013
Tag Archives: open water
My dad should have been Yoda.
Yoda and I.
This is no exaggeration as his mantras are not only a regular part of my life, but are heavily scattered throughout this blog. On paper, they sound like 100 percent cheddar cheese, but when they’re coming from my dad, it’s nothing but authentic dad-isms.
I thought I had heard them all, but recently I was in a bit of a sticky situation and called my dad to get some perspective. I was ready to give up and he laid it out straight, “You can either be a baby or a warrior. You choose…It’s a choice that you will have to make every day and the good thing is that you get a choice. Now make it.”
It was a little tough love, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
That day, I chose to be a warrior and it’s that same cheese-ball mantra that carried me through my first open water swim of the season.
I arrived at the lake early to ensure that I could get in and do my drills prior to the group swim. I squeezed myself into my wetsuit for the first time this season and slowly waded into the water to start finding my anxiety-free place.
I started by going completely under water.
Then putting my face in the water and blowing bubbles.
I proceeded by doing breaststroke to the open water swim lanes, took a deep breath and told myself, “You’re either a baby or a warrior. Choose one.”
And then I swam, talked to myself, and swam a bit more.
I popped my head up after my quick warm-up and knew that I had made my choice and everything was going to be ok.
I soon met up with the group and proceeded to swim the entire open water workout without any anxiety, constantly reminding myself of my new-found favorite mantra.
Whether it’s open water swimming, clipping in, standing up for what you believe in, battling illnesses, or facing your fears, my dad reminded me that we are given an incredible gift every single day and you get to choose the outcome: are you going to be a baby or a warrior?
Once you’ve chosen your answer…the rest is easy.
Man, this week. Can’t this world catch a break?
More important than any of my trivial babbling, I want to make to send love to the people in West, Texas. The videos are frightening and the raw emotion is haunting. I hate that it’s times like these that often remind us to squeeze our loved ones extra tight, but in any case, make sure you hug ‘em until it hurts.
<INSERT AWKWARD TRANSITION>
In much, much, muuuuch lighter news, I have failed to update last week’s training and will opt to do a two week training recap next week as tomorrow’s workout is making my gut ache, my heart pump and my mind in a crazy spiral and it hasn’t even started yet.
Tomorrow night is my first open water swim of the season, followed by another one on Saturday.
For those that may not know, open water and I have issues. Even more so than just swimming in general. We’re talking full-on anxiety issue. Jury, I present Exhibit A.
I suffered from some frustrating open water anxiety last year as it was the first time that I’ve ever really swam in open water. I eventually learned how to manage them (sort of, and note, I’m nowhere near the pace in that photo anymore), but this will be the first time back in a long time and I’m just so nervous to see how my mind and body will react.
I’m fairly open to my fears here on the blog, and it usually ends up being totally ridiculous and I never should have worried in the first place. I’m going to try and keep this in perspective and use some of the open water tips that worked for me last year, including:
- I need to do my little anti-anxiety drills, including getting in the water 10 or so minutes before the actual workout starts.
- I need to ease in, get warm, and most importantly, start by putting my face in the water, blowing bubbles, and getting comfortable being in the dark water. I have to do this “face dip/bubble drill” at least four or five times. Somehow it calms my heart.
- I need to some sprints to get my heart rate up with rest in between, rather than jumping right into the workout.
Needless to say, I’m nervous, but I also know this is 100% mental.
So I’m going to go ahead and trust today’s fortune cookie from lunch in the most positive way possible:
Do you have any other open water swimming tips, or shall we say mental manipulation advice?
“Hurry, we’re going to be late!”
I had a date with the open water and I had guilted Chicken Face into accompanying me to the park with Lola. He begrudgingly gathered up Lola’s things and was probably cursing me under his breath. It was uncomfortably hot outside, he had just gotten home from work and I was pushing him out the door to do something that he clearly didn’t want to.
“It will only take (hopefully) 30 minutes and Lola could use a walk – hurry!”
I sped to the park, hopped out of the car, hustled to the meeting place and noticed that I was officially late to meet the group. Some were already in the water and on their way to a longer course. There was another smaller group that would be swimming the same short course that I was, but we were different paces so I couldn’t count on swimming with them. Great – I’d be practically by myself, an open water no-no. Well, at least Chicken Face would get suspicious if I didn’t show up 30 minutes later, or the other group would stumble upon my floating body.
I shimmied into my wetsuit and stuffed my hair into my cap, all while noticing that Chicken Face was still not having any fun. I quickly pointed out the trails where he could walk Lola, strapped on my Garmin and made my way to the water.
A few quick looks underwater and I was off.
1-2-3-breathe-1-2-3-breathe-1-2-3-I wonder what Chicken Face is doing-I can’t believe XYZ happened at work-What’s for dinner tonight-Don’t forget to point my hand down-sight-I still need to pack for tomorrow-Whoa-what the hell is happening?
For the first time ever, I had the type of “normal” thoughts that I have running while swimming in the open water. I wasn’t focusing on the water, the visibility, the distance, the creatures underneath – nope, just life, form, and other random nuances that pop into your head. Before I knew it, the swim was over and nothing dramatic had happened.
This was the first open water swim with absolutely zero anxiety.
While it was a short swim, it was still one of the biggest successes I’ve had in triathlon training thus far. I swam in the open water, unafraid, confident and actually enjoyed it. And to top it all off, when I saw my average pace I had to double check and make sure my watch wasn’t faulty:
A 1:38 average pace? What the?! I’ve never seen that average pace – ever!
Thus, it’s easy to see why I was beaming ear to ear – I had conquered a fear that had been plaguing me for months and made me question my purpose in triathlons. It was a glorious moment.
While I am the furthest thing from an open water or swimming expert, and I’m sure I’ll still have my fair share of OW anxiety, I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me thus far and maybe a few will help you as well:
If at first you fail, try, try and try again. Every singly open water swim I’ve done up until last Friday (probably at least 10 times), I’ve either had a full-blown panic attack or some smidgen of anxiety. But I kept going because I knew that with time, this too shall pass.
Start small. I think my first mistake was swimming outside of the OW lane lines on my first swim. I should have stayed within the lane lines, my perceived “safe zone” until I was comfortable and confident enough to swim outside of them.
Swim with people who make you comfortable. I still have my friend Simon to thank for taking the time out of his busy morning to swim with me in the lane lines and get me comfortable. I wasn’t afraid to be my nervous self with him and having him there was that baby step that I needed.
Get acquainted with the water. Before I start any swim, I spend a couple moments putting my head under water, looking around and blowing bubbles. For some reason, it assures me that I’m not going to die.
Stop thinking. On Friday, I didn’t have time to stand on the sidelines and think about what could happen. I was time rushed so I just ran in, leaving my fearful thoughts behind. Once I stopped thinking about how green the water was or how far I was swimming, it made space for my other, calming and normal thoughts.
I know that I’ll most likely have another anxiety attack. It’s natural. But for now, I’m going to think of what my mom told me when I cried at the lake, “There will come a time when you’ll back at this and laugh. You’ve got this.”
So mom, here you go: HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Only five days ago I was struggling and felt completely defeated by the open water. But today I realize what friends can do for you, and why I’m lucky to have some that will go swimming with me at 6 a.m. on a Friday morning.
Today, I swam with Simon, Jeff and Andy, all of whom knew about my fears and were nothing but supportive. Simon even offered to stay with me in the swim lanes and coach me through each lap with tips and tricks. With my mind focused on his sage advice instead of the negative thoughts that would normally be running through my mind, I was able to swim in the open water (largely) anxiety free! Let me repeat that for you: LARGELY ANXIETY FREE! WAHOO!!!
I focused on sighting, on drafting, on feet bubbles and anything else EXCEPT how deep and dark the water was, and my anxiety subsided. Lesson: focus on anything but your fears.
Well, there were still some moments, especially in the beginning, and I still stayed in the lane lines, but by the end I felt like a new person and I have Simon to thank for this. So here’s a shout out to you, Simon – THANK YOU!
And it all came right on time as Sunday is a big day. It will be my first triathlon.
Ok, ok, Chicken Face likes to remind me that I did a couple triathlons in college, but given that I can’t even remember any semblance of a training plan or the fact that it was over seven years ago, I’m calling this weekend’s race my “first” triathlon.
The Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon is a 3/4 mile swim, 16 mile bike and a 5 mile run.
The Swim & Run:
This morning, I also met my coach for a "Triathlon 101” pow-wow. I literally asked the world’s most basic questions so I don’t make any rookie mistakes on Sunday. Did I sound like an idiot asking them? Probably. Am I glad I asked them? You better believe it. I’ll be sure to share them with you soon!
My race strategy for Sunday: think of it is a triple brick workout to get used to the sport, but leave everything out on the course. We’ll see what happens.
I have another open water swim tonight and some race prep tomorrow morning, so pending another confidence meltdown, I’m nervous, excited and anxious all at once. Here goes nothing.
It’s important to me that my blog isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.
Far too often I read blogs that are nothing but dancing unicorns and it’s easy to find yourself falsely comparing your life to these seemingly perfect lives. But in reality, the blogger just chooses not to post their struggles, thus creating a fake perception of reality.
I don’t want my blog to be pathetic rants or any sort of pity party, but I do want it to be an honest reflection of my athletic endeavors – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think it’s important for anyone who is reading about my journey to know that it is not seamless. I also know that my “struggles” pale in comparison to serious hardships, but they are still part of the process and I want to be honest with you guys and myself. Plus, putting it down in writing is my version of therapy.
This morning I went back to the open water, dragging my mom along for the ride as she was in town for mother’s day. Last week, I made small progress in the open water by staying in the lane lines and only swimming short distances at a time. Sticking with my motto of “baby steps,” I decided that I would once again swim before the rest of the group arrived and swim the longer swim lanes (150 meters each way), but not outside of the lane lines.
I zipped up my wetsuit, moaned “Mooooooooom!” when she insisted on snapping photos, and was anxious to see what today would have in store. I made my way out to the swim lanes with the intention of not necessarily getting a workout in, but rather working on my open water comfort. I once again spent some time blowing bubbles in the water before starting the swim and trying to get comfortable.
This is the “my wetsuit is choking me” look.
I started swimming and felt good; same feeling as last week and thought I was making progress. But as I got into the 100 meter marker of each lap, my heart would start to race. The water got deeper, a little foggier, different plants underneath, and even my first fish sighting. My mental freak out makes absolutely no sense as there is no reason for it. I would flap around for a few more meters until I reached the end and had to take two minutes at the end of each lap just to calm down.
Absolutely nothing went wrong except for my mind doubting everything. I thought I was done with doubt?! Apparently not because once again my wetsuit was seemingly “choking me and trying to kill me” and the negative thoughts of, “Why am I doing this? My triathlon next week is going to be an embarrassing disaster. I can swim in the pool just fine, but I am deplorable in the open water. Just give up. I can’t F-ing swim. I hate this. Why is this happening?!” raced through my head. It was pathetic.
I promised myself I would do eight laps (1,200 meters) and the good news is that I did it. I don’t even want to tell you how long it took me. As I walked way out of the water, I made my way past the group and tried to avoid any eye contact or conversation with anyone. This was the same time that my mom and aunt came back from their run around the neighboring trails and met me at my stuff. Still avoiding eye contact, they asked how it was and I just replied, “Fine.” and nervously gathered my stuff.
I stripped my wetsuit off stupidly back down in the water, my coach came to tell me there was a shower, and I forced a smile and loaned out my swim cap to a fellow swimmer. As I made my way to the shower, my mom and aunt followed me to a hidden corner, away from the view of everyone else and I lost it.
For the first time in Ironman training I cried.
I cried because I felt like a failure at something that should be easy. Something that I know takes time, but I should at least be able to swim the swim lanes. My self-esteem plummeted.
In perfect timing, my mom and aunt were there to do the things that moms do best: comfort me.
I know that I’m far too hard on myself and that things like this will take time. They assured me that come November I will look back at this and laugh, but I just have to keep at it. I know they’re right, but for a confirmed type-A, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Am I back to my “I can do anything!” mentality? Not at the moment. But it’s almost as if it was supposed to happen today, Mother’s Day, when my mom was in town and it was her first glimpse of my training. I got knocked down and she was there to pick me back up. Love you, mom.
Tomorrow, we try again.
Panic Attack: “A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.”
I had to Google it to make sure I wasn’t over exaggerating, but when I put my head in the open water for the first time and all I saw was this, I freaked:
Absolutely nothing – just solid green all around me.
Enter panic attack.
Allow me to backtrack…
There is a reservoir that my coach’s group will now be swimming at weekly. In order to get permission to swim out of the reservoir’s swim lanes, you must be an Orcas member and pass a simple 200 yard swim test. It should have been easy enough.
Today, we had said swim test followed by my first open water swim workout. I had dreams of this going swimmingly (pun intended). For the swim test, you weren’t allowed to wear a wetsuit, so without thinking twice, I waded through the water and into the swim lane area. Giggling and nervous, I made small talk with neighbor swimmers until I finally had to start.
I put my head in the water and attempted to swim regularly, but that’s when it hit me.
I couldn’t see anything. My heart went bezerk. I couldn’t regain my normal breathing routine.
Oh my God, what is this?!
I swam a handful of strokes and couldn’t do it.
My heart was pumping and my thoughts weren’t helping anything.
“I’m going to fail a 200 meter swim test. No, no, I wasn’t only going to fail, but I might drown. What if they need to send a life guard for me? I can’t do this. Oh my God, I signed up for an Ironman? What the hell did I get myself into. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m going to drown. I can’t do this…”
And so I stopped and tried to compose myself again and somehow, I managed to fake my way through 200 meters at an atrocious pace.
I don’t think anyone noticed what happened out there because as I made my way back to the group, the Orcas leader gave me the official swim cap, the sign that I had “passed.”
Post panic attack number one, I was determined to do the 1,600 yard swim outside of the swim lanes with the rest of the group, but this time, in my wetsuit.
With the confidence of the wetsuit’s buoyancy at my back, I made my way out to the “rock pile” (the opposite side of the reservoir that acts as the turnaround point). I was still a disaster on the out AND back. I’d take a couple of strokes at a time and have to stop and regain composure. The anxiety-driven thoughts were overwhelming me, my wetsuit felt like it was choking me, I freaked out from the alleged choking, and then I got some severe gut aches because I was gasping for so much air.
Somehow, I flailed my arms and legs enough to get me back to the beach feeling pathetic and defeated.
I minimized my post-swim conversation, made my way back to my car and called my mom. I’d never, ever felt anything like this before and even thinking about it now gets my heart racing.
I know the only thing I can do is keep at it and with time, I’ll get comfortable. I’m thankful for all the tweets and emails I got about others experiencing the same thing with their first open water swim; it’s good to know that I’m not the only crazy one. But I’m still extremely nervous about the next time I face the open water, which will be soon.
But there was something good that came out of this swim. As I was walking to the swim lanes, I saw something hidden in the dirt. It’s face looked familiar so I grabbed it with my feet, rejoiced in my treasure and shoved it in my top.
I guess it did pay off.