Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Archive for April, 2006

wow… feelin’ GREAT

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

I just did an awesome ride (my first with the Inland Inferno Tri club). We rode out to the Santa Fe dam, and then climbed up GMR (Glendora Mountain Road). Now, I’ve done the dam ride before… it’s just under 40 miles round trip from the bike shop. With the addition of GMR it made for a 60 miler. And not just any 60 miler… but a 60 miler with just over 4700 feet of climbing! Hot damn. Heh. Oh, and was I done then? Nope… rode the 4 miles home right after the club ride, and turned it into a brick with a 4 mile run.

I felt really really strong today. Yes, most of the climb was very slow. But it was tons of climbing for me, and I did it. I climbed a road that has been somewhat intimidating to me. And I climbed it fairly easily (as far as HR is concerned). I got over my fear of just cruising up in my lowest gear (I’m often cautious about using it in case I turn a corner and have a steep hill. But hey, this way I don’t burn up my legs climbing in a higher gear. My run was floating on clouds… I just did it, and felt strong and smooth and powerful. Which is great after a ride with that much climbing.

Last week I did a 50 miler and a 3 mile brick run, and felt strong there, too. But it was a 50 mile ride with 3400 ft of climbing at 14.2 mph (3 hr 40 min), and then a 3 mi (30 min) run at a 9:33/mi pace. Today was a 60 mi ride with 4700 ft of climbing at 11.8 avg (5 hr 2 min) (70 mi total with riding to and from the start, but I’m not counting that in the elevation — also, the club regrouped a number of times). And the run was 4 mi (40 min) at a 9:43/mi pace. My HR stayed relatively low and comfortable the whole time 🙂
And tomorrow is the first tri of the year! Ok, not a smart day before, but hey, I’m going with new clothes that I haven’t tested in the race, so I figured I might as well break every rule :). Really, it’s a little local sprint (3.5 mi run, 10.5 mi bike, 150 yd pool swim) and reverse order. So it turns out it should be a great time to try out new stuff (since it’s shorter than many of my workouts, and since I’m doing it for fun). I’m excited to see the club folks there… they were great fun to ride with!

So I was going to skip the hill climb of the ride today. Was worried about being able to hang with the group, etc. Bobbi would have none of it… Bobbi is many times over an Ironman. She has started 17 of them, and finished 12. Oh, did I mention she was the oldest woman racing at IM AZ last year? She is in the 70+ division. Amazing, inspiring woman. I am lucky that she is in my club and that I got to ride with her. Oh, another inspiring rider today. His name is Alan. He was talking about how he doesn’t want to take the number off his bike… but will have to for Brazil. What number? Oh, just his number from Kona last year. He got 4th in his age group there… you know, the M75-79 group. And the other riders were great to talk with as well. I’m looking forward to the next ride.

So definitely as great day… I felt great and was surrounded by great people. I felt strong, and my fitness confidence was definitely boosted by it! Heh… I’m such a girl. Today leaves me feeling fairly in shape, and pretty. And boy was that pasta and veggies and bbq chicken great after the ride!!!

As for tomorrow’s race… bring it 🙂 Should be good fun.

Buses, stress, and bullies

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Ok so what is a bike supposed to do when it comes to buses?

Here is a scene from my commute though: There is a light, and not right after it but pretty close (less than half a block) is a bus stop. Then about a block later is a railroad crossing (so buses all stop to open their doors). Then about 2 – 3 blocks later there is another bus stop.

I always thought that if a bus pulls to the curb, just go around it (assuming traffic is free enough). However, I did that the other day and the driver only had one person getting on and then he honked at me. I figured I was doing the right thing, but that he can’t see me (yeah, he shouldn’t go so fast he has no idea if someone is next to him, but that is another story). Then he proceeded to go around me, just to pull in front of me and stop for the railroad, so I went around him again (yes, I probably should have stopped this time, since I knew he was dumb, but I’d stopped there before and some of the buses stop FOREVER). Although annoyed, I figured it was just my bad luck that our timing was hitting that way that day, and then when he got to the next stop there was a bit of time before I would get to him so I just slowed, and then he was about ready to go once I got to him and I just waited. Yes, there are times that there is gray area — and on a bike and more vulnerable, I need to err on the side of caution at those times. However, yesterday didn’t seem like gray area to me.

Yesterday I’m at the light (it was red). A bus pulls up somewhat next to me, but stays behind me (although there was room in the lane). And it honks a few times. I was like, whatever, there is room if he really wanted to pull forward, and I’m allowed to be here too. Then the light turns green, and I go, as does the bus. Although he had stayed behind me at the light, as soon as it is green he moves up next to me, and stays there since his acceleration isn’t that good, and he knows he has to stop in a second. And so he does… starts pulling over to the right to hit the stop! While still next to me! WTF??? I pulled hard on the brakes to avoid getting pidgeonholed into the curb (or the doors they were going to open to let people in), and went around it. As I pass it, the driver honks a few more times, and points at his eyes, like he is saying “I can’t see you!” If he couldn’t see me, why did he honk at me at the light?!!? Is it just me, or should he have just gone to the curb behind me? It’s not like it was that far to the bus stop, or like he was going at all faster than me by the time we got there! So I was pissed, and yes, I think it was the same driver as the other time.

He pulls out of the stop a little bit after I passed (when I passed there were still people getting on, so it’s not like he could have been moving yet). He flies past and slams on his breaks pulling in front of me (very much cutting me off and again causing strong breaking, and strong words) for the railroad crossing. I’m sick of him, so I stop, wanting him to just keep going and get away from me, as I know he will by after his next stop. But he stays stopped for a while (like, I put a foot down, my HR monitor started beeping, etc). And then goes again. I just waited. And he was soon gone. But I was PISSED. My great morning ride in became a stress yesterday.

I am tempted to call the bus company and file a complaint against the driver, reporting his action right after the light (of pressing me into the curb, and coming close to side-swiping me). But at the same time, although I can give the company the exact time and location (wooo GPS), as well as the bus number (2 — there are a few routes that use some of the same stops), I am not sure I want to. I commute that way. It is one of the sections where it might be possible to pick another road, but with how badly the roads in that city are paved and how thin some are I’m really not sure if I could. I don’t want a pissed off bus driver knowing I “told on him” to be in a lane next to me (even if it is only about 1 or 2 times a month that we seem to have our timing matched).

And then I get a bit more frustrated and upset. I’m scared to report something that threatens my safety? And why? Because I don’t feel it will do any good. Because it seems like it could just make the situtation worse. Because he is like the bully on the playground that no on will stand up to, just glad it isn’t them getting picked on. And when getting picked on, you just take it because the teachers really don’t stop it anyways. But I don’t know that there is any good solution here, other than me avoiding him. *sigh*

spreading the love

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Last night I got home to see my roommate riding the bike I got her around our street!! So I joined her (I bike commuted so was already on a bike), and even got her to go around the block twice! It’s exciting… as a kid she never learned to ride, and it’s one of my missions to get her comfortable enough to bike commute to her work (about 1.25 miles on easy roads with a bike lane and wide shoulder, etc). I think I even have her convinced that it might be nice to sometimes ride to her boy’s place… just under 3 miles away. To get there is a bike path… no cars, and lights at all road crossings. I think it would be fun for her (plus parking at his place sucks).

Then I got up this morning to find a message on my computer from my roommate’s boyfriend’s roommate, who is also a good friend of mine, and who I took to Foothill Cyclery the other day. He is going to get the Jamis they showed him! Wooo! He ran 6 miles each day last year (yes, every day, 6 miles, always the same route, or the track or treadmill — not the best plan but it worked for motivation for him). Oh and did I mention he likes to swim? And that I told him to do the tri that is this Sunday (minisprint)? Heh… Right now I’m thinking if they have a bike in his size and he gets it this week I might have to work more on that part. *grin*

dreams already??

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Lisa, Jeremy, and my friend Randy (who is silent on Trifuel — muahahaha I am exposing him as payback for the dream) were all getting ready to head to Vineman. Yet for some reason it was only like 10-12 miles from us, so Randy was going to pick up me and Lisa (I think Jer might have already been with him or something). But he just couldn’t find us! We tried and tried to get him to the right place, but it wasn’t working. So Lisa and I were like “This kinda sucks… ” and clipped in to ride to the start. It was kinda crazy… we were totally stressing and annoyed and panicy — but just getting it done. In true SoCal bike commuter style =)

In real life (yeah, as real as it seemed, I could still figure out it had been a dream once I woke up) things are moving along. My nephew is adorable! 1.5 years old now, and starting to talk. One of his favorite words is “nuisance”. When he was being silent and not saying whatever it was his parents were trying to get him to say, they said “Ethan, you’re such a nuisance” and he looked up and said “nuisance”? And now he even answers to that name (well, at least looks up to it). He’s getting to the age that people need to start being careful what they say around him… he dropped some cereal in the kitchen and said something that sounded remarkably like “shit”. But we aren’t sure on that one.

However, as cute as he is, and how sweet it is that he shares stuff… He gave me a goodbye present of a bit of a stomach thing. Man that made the plane flight home SUCK! However, I don’t think anything could have made it match the flight in, on which I met a cute boy (and yes, got his number).

Training-wise the long weekend was decent — Sunday before church I got in a 10 mile run in Tucson (I went really early and it was still fairly warm by the time I was done). And Monday I went mountain biking with my big brother (more like sand biking, but a few technical sections, and one massive climb on the road to get back to our car). He has great mtb skillz (as he used to ride tons) but I kicked his butt up the final climb, and he was dead after the ride (yup, he was well-mocked for this). It was kinda odd though… I’m used to him being the athletic and in-shape one of the two of us.

huh. [pool operation rant]

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

I guess I should be glad the pool is closed for health reasons, as opposed to letting people swim in it while it’s unsafe. However, I’d me more happy if they could figure out how to get the chlorine levels right. I mean, really. How many pools does 24 Hour Fitness operate? How long have they been doing so? How hard is it people?

Oh, and I think it might make me a bit more worried that it was closed Monday night, open Tuesday morning, and then closed again. Their reason? They health inspector came and checked and the levels were still no good so they had to reclose it. HUH?? Why did the open it again before it was checked?? (sorry Lisa… maybe you didn’t want to know that part).

And couldn’t they at least post a sign on the door (not just under the counter edge where I saw it when I checked for one on the way out) instead of just on the entrance to the pool from the locker room (I’m already changed at that point) or the pool handle (I hope everyone is changed by the time they get there). However, it didn’t stop me today… just made me drive another 10 or 15 minutes to the next pool down the road, where there is usually a line. But there wasn’t and I got in my whole set (although their pool will be closed for an hour or so this evening)!

500 warmup, 10×100 (20 sec rest), 500 cooldown. All the 100s were between 1:50 and 1:56 (the final was 1:50! woo!). And felt fast, but comfy. It was a day of practicing “climbing the ladder” on the bottom of the pool (to get better pull).
(oh and Lisa did run on a treadmill today… I saw her! hehe)

(oh and sidenote: 24 with shift pressed = @$ and the start of @$$y… the things you learn typing 24 Hour Fitness and hitting shift for the H too early)

Between 2 Continents, between 2 Oceans: Race is on

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

Wow… a week long SOLO adventure raceis going on now in a Costa Rica near you! My friend Paul (of Team Sole) is racing… and his son and Karen are there as his crew! It should be fun to keep track of how he is doing, and I can’t wait to hear what crazy stories he has after this one =)

mmm mmm muscles

Monday, April 10th, 2006

You know it was a good weekend when one of your first thoughts Monday morning is about how you finally got up without using your hands. My quads love me. Needless to say, I didn’t work out Sunday, but slept and hung with good people. I will probably swim on the way home tonight. But I’m still flyin’ off that great day Saturday =)

AWESOME day of AR

Sunday, April 9th, 2006

Explore the West Southern CA Sprint (1st race in series)
April 8, 2006

After being strongly encouraged onto a team for the second race in this same series, and craving navigation practice, and missing my mountain bike, and missing seeing AR friends, I decided Friday afternoon to just sign up and get out there. I left work early Friday, wanting time to make sure the bike was happy while the bike shop was still open. I climbed on, and rode to the track. The ride was fine — I’m ashamed to admit there was actually a spiderweb in the spokes! But it shifted smoother than I remember it doing last time I rode, so maybe it has a self-tuning superpower. At the track I proceeded to do a heartrate test, which might have not been the best idea the night before the race (I knew though that it wouldn’t happen this weekend after the race). Either way, the run was done, and yummy In ‘n Out was had for dinner (probably also not a great refueling after that run and before a race). Then I stayed up way too late packing and double checking my packing… but hey, I was excited for the race, and I had missed that feeling. It would be my first race of the year, my first solo AR, my first AR all in daylight, and my first time as the team navigator!

My alarm went off nice and early, and I drove to the race which was about an hour away back in the hills near Irvine. I arrived right about when I wanted to, and got to see Paul and Karen, and Barrie, again. Damn, it had been too long! I checked out the plan for the day. It was a marked run course (about 3.5 miles and over 1500 feet of climbing, which we were told would be mostly in the first mile and a half). From there it would be a quick white (beginner) level navigation course, and then onto the mtn bikes for another marked course (which Paul said would be about 11 miles, “plenty” of elevation gain, and a combo of double and awesome single track). About 300 meters from the finish we would be told to drop our bikes and run in to the finish. I was definitely a bit nervous — I haven’t been doing any hill stuff at all as I was still doing base training, and I hadn’t done much nav ever. However, I reminded myself that I knew all of that when I signed up as well. That I was there for those reasons — to get in the practice, to see the people who are like some funky huge family, and to just have a good day with my bike and trail runners.

I got my TA (transition area) set up. It was really not hard at a race this short and without rain or any water event — basically meant making sure I had some water to refill with, and a few snacks to grab if I wanted them, as well as a helmet and biking shoes and a bike. I ran into Dale, who I’ve met at a number of ARs, and we realized we live within 10 miles of each other, and should train together sometime. I got to talk to Karen of Wellsport, who I’ve read some about and who was really sweet and friendly and human despite her amazing abilities on the course (it must go with the name). I also said hi to Jordan, Paul’s son, who was setting up a snack booth to raise money for his mountaineering adventures. Talk about a cool kid! He knows tons of facts, and will happily share stories with you. Check out www.jordanromero.com if you want to learn about his journey to be the youngest person to climb the 7 summits.

Then it was time, and we toed the finish line, and were off. I could quickly tell that the hills were going to hurt, and accepted that and moved at my own pace. I knew it would be a long day, and there was no reason to push too hard on the run climb, which I knew would be on of the tough parts of the day for my physically. I just kept moving… no matter how fast or slow, one foot went in front of the other. Up, up, and then up some more. Of course, here a group of us (there were now a few breaks in the field) did manage to make a wrong turn. Yes, in one of the marked sections of the course. However, it just meant we ended up taking a less steep but a bit longer path — we could see racers ahead and knew what had happened, and that we would end up meeting up with them (at least we hoped so, and then we did in fact do so). I made it to the high point, where the CP (check point) was, and got the word to put on my passport (“super sweet”, which the course was). Then I started the mostly down section, and my legs fast felt like jello. I felt the lack of sleep the most here, as I had gotten a bit ahead of the small group I had been with and had to pay close attention to the course markers and rocks and gullies. I got a bit out of control a few times, and distracted by the gorgeous view of the valley’s around a few times, but made it down in one piece, and back to the TA, where I got my trekking passport and headed out.

I started with a few other people, and we grabbed the first CP together, and the second, but then I decided to go a different way than they did. For one, I wanted to have to rely on myself and my navigation. And for another, I wanted to get the CPs in a different order than they picked. So we split ways, and I stopped to figure out if I was indeed at the trail that I wanted. While stopped, Paul came by. “Orient the map” he said in typical Paul fashion. I’d been hearing his voice say that in my head, and I smiled to hear it really say that as I did so. “Where are you?” he asked, and I pointed to the right place. In big brother fashion, he made me do it all myself, and I had been right, but now believed it myself. One big lesson in nav: trust yourself. Else you can doubt for hours and never get anywhere! I headed off, and came right to the CP I had been looking for! I continued up the trail, making my way to exactly where I knew the next CP would be. However, I knew it would be just off the right of the trail, and hadn’t realized that it was a bit of a drop there. A few other racers were there as well, and we slid down, and got it. Then I headed to the next point, and along a trail I remembered from volunteering in this area once. I knew exactly where I was on the trail the whole time, and knew when it was too far, and even used elevation lines and the compass to double check where I was and that I should be right by the CP (yup, I was proud of my mad navigation skillz). However, I wasn’t seeing the CP. Again, it was just to the right of the trail, and from down the very brush-covered hill, the group of us looking heard “it’s here!” from below. Instead of sliding down this hill, we retraced back a bit and then got to it. It also ended up being much easier to get to (elevation-wise) from the lower section of road. Then it was up the hill to the next 2 points, and then past the 3rd one along that road. However, I quickly knew I was past it and went back and found it. Here I again ran into a few people, but like the other times I never really stayed with anyone on this section. I just did it at my pace and relying on me. I ran past the TA to grab my last point, and then into TA, onto my bike, and out for a bit of climbing!

mmm mmm mountain biking! Ok, or mountain bike walking ;). My legs were definitely tired from all the foot climbing, and I just couldn’t make it up all the hills. So I walked some, talking with Angie and Raffi on some parts, but soon we separated as well. It was a marked course, but that in no way made it easy — there was single track, and fairly loose ground, and plenty of elevation gain, as Paul had promised. I enjoyed it though, except for the blister I could feel growing on my heel part way through. Oops, I never put duct tape on my right heel! It tends to blister when hiking in my bike shoes. I made it down some single track that I almost didn’t dare to ride (and yes, didn’t make it down parts of it and instead made friends with some bushes along the side of the trail — hey they looked lonely!). I didn’t trust Paul when I came across him and he said it was “just a single track climb and then downhill to the finish”. He was sorta telling the truth… it was a single track climb next, but it also included some single track downhills and then more climbing to regain ground lost during them. But I LOVED that section. I managed some of the more technical climbing bits on the bike, even some of the turns! Since much of it was a trail cut through brush-type stuff, and not with cliffs, I tried almost all of it. I think for that part I even rode every bit of the downhill parts — awesome for me since my mtn biking skills are still very beginner. Soon I saw the CP flag which I knew I would find Barry below, and I rode up and over the last crest and to him. Paul pulled up behind me (he was riding about the course on a motorbike) and they told me it was a single track downhill that would put me back on fire road, and that road would basically take me to the finish. 8 minutes, they said. So in 20 minutes I figured I’d be done, and I started off with a smile on my face — that previous single track section had been wonderful for my self-bike-esteem. Again, I managed to ride almost the whole thing! A few hairpin turns had me put a foot down, but I cruised most of it, and down the final fire road. I dropped my bike at the marked spot, and ran into the finish, tired but oddly refreshed, and definitely pleased with how my day had gone. Oh, and it did end up being about 8 real minutes, instead of 8 Paul Minutes.

The day was awesome, and I felt great! Tired in a wonderful, accomplished way. As for my goals, I met them all. I got in some awesome practice, including greeting a few bushes on the mtn bike section, sliding down a few hills on the navigation (yup, some on my butt). I saw some great people I had missed, and some new faces of people fun to meet. I enjoyed the day (because even moments of self-doubt can be enjoyable looking back), and my quads are sore, and my shoulders a bit stiff. I haven’t been sore in a while… and yes, I love this feeling. I learned a lot for nav, and I definitely got inspired to get out on more technical mountain biking! As a bonus, I won the women’s solo division! Haha… my second division first place ever at a race… and my second race at which I was the only person in my division :). Paul and Karen put on a great event, and the ranch was beautiful and difficult all at once. Now I’m even more excited for the next event, where I will have a team and not have to just listen to myself the whole day!

first race of the year

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

I’ve chosen my first race of the year… Explore the West Southern CA Sprint. Oh wait, it’s today? Ok I guess I should go get ready. I decided yesterday, actually, to do this one. It should be fun — I’m doing it solo, which I’ve never done with any AR. This means I’ll really get to navigate for the orienteering (this is an odd AR in that the bike and run parts are marked courses, and there is no water event)… usually I’m at most backup nav. I’m excited! Oh, it will be my first AR that is all during light — first like that for either racing or volunteering. So that will be neat as well. And now… gotta leave in 10 minutes! Yup, there will be a race report later 🙂
(more…)

runnin’ in the rain

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

Yesterday was an awesome run — I just needed to get back out there. Yes, it was a bit wet. Ok, it was pouring (for reference for those of you near me, I ran from around 4:15-5:45 last night). But it was somewhat less raining for part of the run! And it was going to be about 40-50 min, and turned into 1:30 since it was just a comfy day. Ok, I did get a blister or 2 (no socks since I figured they’d just get soaked, and since it was supposed to be such a short run). But it felt great to be out there. GPS ziplock baggied in my pocket, so I could hear beeps for HeartRate but not really focus on my pace, and I really wanted to stay low HR without temptation of a better average speed by pushing it. Got in about 8 miles (GPS has some signal issues with all the clouds and my pocket).

The couch was tooooo comfy last night, so I stayed there. I think that’s the first time in the new place that I just didn’t bother to make it to my room. I think part of me just wanted to be far from alarm clocks and not tempted to use one. I still woke up at 4:15, decided that was crazy-talk, and slept til 6:15. I probably would have had one set for around 5, so this meant a shortened swim of just 1500 yds (instead of 2000-3000), and getting to work a bit later than planned, but that’s ok. This is my easy week of the month, and I can finish up some work stuff after I teach tonight — or maybe I’ll finally find a way to do some easy spinning on the trainer while at the computer 😉

I do love the sound of rain.