Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pool toys, tempo running, and big bricks

Pull buoy, Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins, and ankle band

It has been a great training week, with progress made in the pool and on the road!

Swim Coaching
This week Christine and I met with Mark Kendall of SpeedSHOT Racing for some individualized assessment and coaching. I was actually kind of nervous about this because Mark was going to be videotaping our swimming to evaluate our technique and I've never seen myself swim before...was worried I was going to look ridiculous (isn't that just silly?)!! But, like all the other sports assessments and training sessions I've had over the past six months, it was a great experience and there really was nothing to be nervous about at all!...and I didn't look ridiculous!

I was hoping to have copy of the video to include in this blog, but I haven't got it yet, so I'll probably post that later because it helps illustrate some great points on technique, body position, and timing. Mark first asked us what our concerns were with our swimming, which included timing, efficiency, and endurance for me. He watched us swim during our warm-up and then videoed underwater as we swam toward, away, and alongside for two lengths of the pool. Mark then showed us the video on his laptop, poolside, and we discussed what we were seeing--VERY INFORMATIVE! As I thought, my timing was off which created power loss and drag, reducing my efficiency; in fact, I was "windmilling" which is where your arms are continuously 180-degrees from each other, resulting in big power loss. My stroke was otherwise good, just not efficient. We also discussed body position and rotation. Poor body position and rotation actually interferes with your ability to breathe effectively, increasing drag and decreasing efficiency.

After watching the video, Mark ran us through some drills using some training aids. We used a kick board to target our core and body position; a pull buoy to isolate our arms to work on stroke; a band around our ankles (made from an old bike tire inner tube) to immobilize our legs to work on body rotation; and a Finis Tempo Trainer, a waterproof metronome slipped under our swim cap, to purposely slow our arm stroke pace for consistency and endurance. We started with the kick board, switched to the pull buoy and catch-up drill, added the tempo trainer, and finally added the ankle band. We also worked on engaging our shoulder blades for optimum stroke and rotation.

The results were fantastic! We used the catch-up drill (see You Tube video here) to work on my timing, working into a 3/4 catch-up swim for optimal timing. This stroke was so efficient and powerful without exhausting me and I wasn't even using my legs (still had the pull buoy in place)! What a difference good timing makes! The ironic thing is, that before my mock tri I told Christine, "if I get tired during the swim portion of the Mock Tri I'm just going to do the catch-up drill," but of course, I forgot to do that!

We didn't use the Alpha fins during the session, but talked about using them to enhance body rotation. We will work on all of these drills and tools over the next few weeks and meet again with Mark for another session after the Blue Lake Triathlon June 11.

Big Brick and 10 mile Run
We did a big bike-to-run brick this week. The bike portion was 17.5 miles, which was unremarkable other than a problem with my front derailleur again. I couldn't move onto the large front ring until it spontaneously jumped onto it at mile 14.25. I will work on it before my next ride and if I can't remedy it, will take my bike back in to my mechanic. The 3 mile run, however, was AMAZING! I did some treadmill work after the Good Form Running clinic, focusing on increasing my tempo to 180 beats per minute, posture, and midfoot striking, and my pace seemed to increase, but it was hard to tell on a treadmill. I didn't have a tempo cadence with me on this run, but did run without my iPod (sans Gladiator Soundtrack) and ended up with Katy Perry's Extra Terrestrial song running through my mind as I ran...and I ran a 9:06 minute mile my first mile and 9:45 minute mile pace overall--immediately after my 17.5 mile bike ride! That was my fastest mile pace ever! I was just amazed!

Two days after the big brick was my scheduled long run, which was 10 miles this week. I decided to do a tempo run with my iPod and found Podrunner on iTunes and downloaded his 178 bpm set. My pace was again faster, my run easier, and I completed my run in 1:36:52, a 9:41 mile pace overall, which beat my Shamrock Run 15K (9.3 mile) by 9 minutes! I am soooo excited!

Coming Up
So everything's on track for my next sprint tri June 11 at Blue Lake in Fairview, Oregon, right down the street from my fire station! I'm attending an Open Water Swim Clinic being put on by Athlete's Lounge June 4 at Blue Lake. And, I signed up for the inaugural Vancouver (WA) Half-Marathon June 19, which fit perfectly in my Hal Higdon Marathon Training Program.

Coaching and clinics are sure making a difference!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trimazing!


If you follow me on Facebook you may have already gotten the word...I am in the process of developing Trimazing!, dedicated to my adventures in training, my blog, links, resources, and more. So stay tuned for updates and notification when I migrate my blog to the new site.

So what does Trimazing mean? Well, it was a combination Triathlon and Amazing...Trimazing, which, turns out to be defined in the Urban Dictionary as three times amazing, which I thought was perfect!

I've have also created a new Twitter account, so follow me!
TrimazingCindy
You can contact me by my new email address:
cindy@trimazing.com
Thanks everyone, for your continued support! I look forward to sharing and growing Trimazing with you all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So much to talk about, can't wait!


I realize I've posted a lot already this week, but I had such a great training day yesterday that I can't wait to blog about it. The weather has taken a turn for the fantastic, finally, and Christine and I took full advantage of it.

Lacamas Lake 8 mile run

Normally I wouldn't blog about a single training run, but I posted a little teaser on Facebook about putting a running tip into action that improved my running pace. At the Mock Tri, the person leading the running clinic mentioned a little trick to improve your pace....wait for it...I felt so silly for not knowing this...swing your arms faster and your body will follow!! So I did it, and, it worked! My running pace on long runs usually falls to about 10:30 and the pace for my 8 mile run at Lacamas was 9:50, my fastest pace for that distance. In fact, my first mile pace, where I was really working on moving my arms faster, was 9:17, my fastest pace ever. I'm posting my splits from my Forerunner. I was, and still am, so excited!

Garmin Forerunner Quick Release Kit

The Quick Release Kit for my Garmin Forerunner arrived. This allows me to transition the GPS unit from swim, bike, to run quickly and easily. While I knew that the Garmin would not transmit GPS data through water while I wore the unit on my wrist during my swim, I didn't realize that it would not regain satellite connection upon exiting the water, which caused the unit to not notify 0.25 mile marks during the run portion of the Mock Tri.

The quick release mount allows the Forerunner head unit to be popped off the wrist strap and quickly attached to a bike. It includes a bike mount and wrist strap with quick release head unit mount. This allows me to carry the GPS unit in my swim cap during the swim, snap it onto my bike at T1 and then onto my wrist strap at T2 for the run. It snaps on and off very easily while still being very secure.


Open Water Swim Practice

I was not very happy with my swim experience at the Mock Tri. I felt choked and constricted in my wetsuit, which negatively impacted comfort level and prevented me from being able to swim with my face in the water. I really needed to get to the bottom of this and determine if there was something I needed to do while donning the suit to prevent this or if having tri sleeves under a sleeveless wetsuit was too much bulk over my chest.


I am ecstatic to report that I believe my issue was related to improper donning and race adrenaline! My swim at Klineline Pond was fantastic! This time I made sure to not only pull excess suit from my arms and legs into the core, but to pull excess suit from my neck and chest down into my core. I think I just pulled the arm excess into my neck and chest at Mock Tri. It was night and day different.

I ended up swimming just 0.25 miles as my goal for the swim was to get comfortable in the wetsuit and we had a running clinic in Portland to get to after the swim. We met two other members from the Tornadoes Swim Team, swam out to the floating raft and had intended to swim the pilings from the raft to the beach and then repeat, but ran into another swim team member and changed course. Not having enough time, I swam with the group for a ways and then exited to get changed for running clinic. A great swim and also the first time to use the Garmin in my swim cap to track my distance.

Good Form Running Clinic

Foot Traffic hosted a Good Form Running Clinic put on by a rep for New Balance. It was a great clinic and included individual videotaped running analysis to see how you run and learn how to correct it. And it was FREE!

Good Form Running focuses on four elements of running to improve your pace and prevent injury:
  • Posture 
  • Midfoot
  • Cadence
  • Lean
I suggest that you click on the Good Form Running link above and watch the videos about the four elements rather than having me explain them. This technique eliminates "heel striking" through correct posture and tempo. Oddly enough, the trick of swinging your arms faster to increase your running pace came up again in this clinic!

Through the video analysis I learned that my lean was great, but that my cadence was a little slow that causes my stride to be too long and lead to heel striking. Increasing my cadence should correct this. I am looking forward to my next run to begin to implement these techniques and improve my running. While I love running to the Gladiator soundtrack on my iPhone, I am going to take the advice of the New Balance rep and download new music with the suggested 180 beats per minute cadence. She suggested jogtunes and I also found running music mix.

Alright, that's it for now!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Road ID


One thing I forgot to mention in my post about the Mock Tri...Road ID.

I ordered Road ID through FinishSafe nearly two months ago and had not yet received them. I really didn't want to go ID-less during my triathlon, even though I'd entered emergency contact information with my registration with the Mock Tri. As I was getting my equipment all together, I suddenly remembered I still had my Medic Alert bracelet that Mother Superior had made for me when I was 7 years old... It still fit and was still current, so that's what I wore! The funniest thing about it is that on the information side there are three numbers etched into a blank area that I now remember were the numbers of my bicycle combination lock!! How funny is that!?!?

And note, I went to the FinishSafe website to try to figure out the date I ordered the ID, and it now says they will ship in 10-12 days...

I do think I will continue to wear my old Medic Alert bracelet though too...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Triathlon Virgin No More!


 I did it!!! 

May 14, 2011, I completed my first triathlon!!! The Portland Triathlon Club's Mock-Tri at Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Washington.

The PTC puts this on every year to kick off the triathlon season and to give newbies like me a chance to put their training to the test, as well as their gear and organization. It was billed as a Sprint or Olympic event but with an abbreviated swim of 750 meters for both...turns out it was a bit longer (more on that in a bit).

The weather was perfect, 51 degrees air temp as I was driving out. I arrived at 7 AM to pick up my packet and set up my transition area. The PTC was able to use the Portland Triathlon's bamboo bike racks for the event, which made it spot-on realistic. From 8:15 to 9 AM we had clinics, really a quick briefing, on all segments of the race, which included handouts for future reference. Great information, did wish we had a little more time between the end of the clinics and start of the race because I learned some things that I wanted to change to include in this event, but only had enough time to run (literally) for a bathroom break, slather on Glide to neck, arms, and legs, put on my race belt with my race bib, get into my wetsuit, pose for the team picture, and do a short 5 minute warmup swim before the race started! 

The Swim - 16:54 - 0.46 miles

I brought my neoprene swim cap, but during the warmup I realized that the chin strap was too constricting and that the water was not really all that cold to me, so I left it on a piece of driftwood to pick up after the race and went with my silicon cap only. Air temp at race start was 59 degrees, partly sunny. So, at mass start, I started on the far left, mid-pack so I could swim a diagonal toward the first buoy (a kayak) and reduce my turn angle. The clinic I had two weeks ago really eased my nerves about the mass start, and I had no problem with other swimmers' arms, legs, feet. What I did have a problem with was my wetsuit...so frickin' constricting! I had mentally prepared myself for this, knew that everyone initially hyperventilates at the start of the swim due to the constriction on your chest from the suit, but it took all the mental talk I could muster to deal with it. This was the first time I had done an open water swim in my wetsuit, due to my own scheduling problems, so I was learning about swimming in it at my event... I could not get comfortable enough to keep my face in the water, so ended up swimming heads-up freestyle the entire course, which creates a lot of drag and, while I knew it was harder, was all I could do. Occasionally, for a break, I rolled over and did a few strokes of backstroke and returned to freestyle again. About 3/4 of the way I caught up with another swimmer, who I later found out was one of my Tornadoes teammates, and drafted off him to the end (thanks Corey!!). I got up when my hands grabbed sand, and probably should have swam about 25 feet closer to the exit point, but I was ready to get out of the water, exhausted...

T1 - 2:25

So, we've all seen images of triathletes running out of the water and up into the transition area...I was not one of those...I walked! A couple other people passed me, I didn't care! I did manage to get out of my wetsuit top and then out of my tri-sleeves under it by the time I got to my bike. Being barefoot didn't even bother me, like I feared it might. I grabbed the waist of my suit and pulled it straight down, did the "poopy pants" step to get my suit inside out at my ankles and easily pulled the suit off with one finger on each side, just like I learned in the clinic. I put on my helmet and snapped the clasp (either of which you forget can get you disqualified at the start of the bike), put on my sunglasses, put on my shorty bike socks, slipped on my shoes, decided to forgo gloves, got my bike off the rack, and ran it to the bike mount area. I was energized again!!

The Bike - 47:51 - 13.5 miles

I love this bike course, I've done it many, many times, which was a huge mental boost! It's flat, and on the weekends, not a lot of traffic (this was not a true race event so traffic was not shut down). Remember the people that passed me out of the water, well I passed them on the bike. I passed a bunch of people who passed me in the swim, too. They say you never win a triathlon in the swim, and I get that now. The bike is my forte and I was able to use that to my advantage and make up time lost in the swim. I had my bike set in middle gearing for the start, which was perfect, and quickly geared up to higher end for speed. Not much to add here other than for the first time ever, my feet started to fall asleep 3/4 of the way through the ride. I need to research that. Otherwise my ride was fantastic, great pace.

T2 - 1:26

I ran my bike back into the transition area, and remembering my clinic two weeks prior, ran my bike straight in and threw the front wheel over the bike rack as a time saver...to be told by a course judge "You can't do that!!" so I had to remove it, wheel the bike to the other side of the rack and return it hanging by the saddle like the start. A little time lost and a lesson learned. Off came the helmet, on with Dad's old cap, slipped out of my bike shoes that I hadn't tightened all the way on purpose, slipped on my running shoes, grabbed a sip of water, unrolled my race bib on my race belt I had donned over my trisuit and under my wetsuit at the beginning, and ran out of the transition area to start the run.

The Run - 36:11 - 3.5 miles

So my feet are slightly asleep, a big surprise...haven't had that happen before on a ride and didn't have that happen on any of my brick practices. The run starts on a trail, which is great! I grab a cup of water at the water station for a drink. I can feel my throat closing and do some mental talk to calm down. I walked about ten steps to stop hyperventilating, and it works, and I start up running again, no problem. I passed a couple people on the run, which helped mentally too. My Garmin Forerunner lost GPS signal during my swim (I had it on my wrist instead of my swim cap) so I didn't have my normal 0.25 mile indicator. Run went from trail to road at about 0.5 mile, I think. The run out was way harder than the run back, mostly because I didn't have my quarter-mile notification and therefore no idea where I was in the run--all mental. Once I hit the turnaround I was much better. No pain at all during the run. Walked a couple paces during the run, but kept that to a minimum. Best sound in the world? Cowbell at the finish line!

I felt great at the end! No pain, no cramps, so happy! It didn't matter that the swim sucked!

So, how did this compare to a Sprint Triathlon? It was LONGER than a normal sprint tri!!!

Normal Sprint: 750 meter (0.46 mile) swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Mock Tri : 75- meter (0.46 mile) swim, 13.5 mile bike, 3.5 mile run

Woo Hoo! And I did it at 1:44:49, under my predicted 2 hours! My new PR (Personal Record)!

Lessons Learned:
  • Time to do a lot more open water swimming. It's not too cold to do it.
  • Figure out if the sleeveless wetsuit with tri-sleeves underneath is too constricting with all that bulk at my chest. Try a rental long sleeved suit and see if that makes a difference.
  • More nutrition beforehand. At the Tri Clinic two weeks ago I was in the middle of a juice cleanse and my performance was great during the 5 hour workout. I decided that juice would be good race day nutrition, which it was, I just didn't have enough of it. Need at least another quart.
  • Forget neoprene cap and bike gloves.
  • Get a quick-release system for my Garmin Forerunner to go from cap, bike, to wrist. (Thanks to my friend, Zach Wiens for the screenshots from his Garmin). 
  • Figure out how to keep feet from falling asleep on the bike.
  • Do more bike to run bricks, with longer bike to simulate stacked effect from swim and bike before the run, to train not to hyperventilate at the start of the run.
  • Put bike back as you found it!!

All in all, an awesome experience! Can't wait to do it again...June 11, 2011, Blue Lake Triathlon, Fairview, Oregon!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ride Around Clark County 2011

New swag from the RACC

Had a tremendous ride today! Christine and I did the metric century (100 kilometer/66 mile) Ride Around Clark County (RACC). It's an annual ride sponsored by the Vancouver Bicycle Club (VBC) and they offer 18, 36, 65, and 100 mile options. We chose the 65 because it only had a 3,000 foot elevation gain, unlike the 4,500 foot gain in the 100 mile option.

The weather actually wasn't too bad, sprinkled a bit at the beginning, light rain every so often, then sun breaks and one downpour that only lasted 2 miles at the end.

I have done parts and pieces of this ride with the VBC and solo from their cue sheets, but had never done the whole thing. Well, I tell you what, it's HILLY! It is a beautiful ride, though, winding through woodsy areas, along Lacamas Lake, and into vineyard and farmlands.


Notable events on this ride...
  • There were only two rest stops, Heritage Park at Lacamas Lake, mile 15.2; and Daybreak Park, mile 42.2. 
  • It really, truly has 3,000 foot elevation gain! The worst hill was Felida hill at mile 60, which Christine aptly noted, "Sucks monkey balls!"
  • We only had one mechanical problem, which was my chain coming off my front gear stack while changing to high-high gear readying to head down a steep hill in Ridgefield, about mile 55.
  • The worst part of the ride is between mile 50 and 60, despite what the elevation chart looks like! Maybe we were tired!



Due to the rainy forecast, I installed a mud guard on my rear wheel (would have put one on my front wheel but my ride computer receiver is in the way) so I could keep my butt dry and not spray other riders. It worked! Nice and dry and no skunk trail! My bike is filthy, though, and will require a intensive cleaning session tomorrow. My front derailleur is acting up now and I think it's due to dirt.

All in all, a great ride! I do recommend it. It is beautiful, even with all the hills.

I did do something different for part of my recovery after this ride. At this week's Tri Club meeting there was a discussion amongst several of us about ice baths after hard runs and rides and the great recovery benefits people get from them. I did a little research on them and found that ice baths reduce swelling and tissue breakdown by constricting blood vessels and decreasing metabolic activity. Once tissues warm up, blood flow returns faster to the area to flush out byproducts of tissue breakdown (see http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-285--12810-0,00.html). So I did a 15 minute ice bath when I got home, and it actually felt pretty good, surprisingly!  

This Week's Training

Well this week was full of garden cross-training... I worked four days removing 1,500 sq. ft. of sod, digging irrigation trenches, and filling raised garden beds with 2 yards of soil. Needless to say, I was tired at the end of the day, and in the mornings too. I did get a couple of swim workouts in, but no runs. Will remedy that this week. 

We did try to catch an open water swim with the Tri Club at Klineline Pond here in Vancouver after our swim practice Thursday, but we got there too late and everyone was gone. The water looked great, but we really didn't want to go out just the two of us, for safety. Hopefully we can get one in this week.

Upcoming Events

It's finally here, the Mock Tri! May 14th at Vancouver Lake will be my first Triathlon experience! It has a short swim, less than 1/4 mile, but sprint distance bike (11 mile) and run (3 mile). There will also be clinics, a barbeque, etc. More info here: http://www.pdxtriclub.org/content/view/211/1/ 

That's it for today! Have a great week and will see you again next weekend after the Mock Tri!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just Effin' Work Out!


Yikes, I missed a blog week! A lot to talk about today...I think I'll go in reverse chronological order!

Beginner's/Novice's Tri Clinic

I attended a fantastic tri clinic put on by Athlete's Lounge, sponsored by Ameritrade. It was hands-down, the best triathlon training I have had! The first evening was held at Athlete's Lounge where professional triathloners, Chris Boudreaux, Phillipe Kozub, and Eric Lagerstom talked about each phase of the event, including training, nutrition, and recovery, along with questions and answers. They offered a ton of great information, including the phrase, "Just Effin' Work Out", that I used for this week's blog title, as a reminder that you have to motivate yourself to train, even on the days you really don't want to. It's now written on my bathroom mirror, along with "Are you really tired or just being lazy?" Ha!

Day two was fantastic! We met at All-Star Fitness with all of our triathlon clothing and gear (except the bike) for a five hour practical triathlon training session with the three pros.

We started in the pool, because a triathlon starts with the swim. After some warmup laps we worked on the following skills:
  • Sighting
This first drill was on how to pick a spot above the water to swim toward, simulating picking out a landscape feature above the buoy that you are aiming for. We learned how to incorporate quickly looking for that spot every four to eight strokes without disrupting our swim stroke, lifting our head out of the water just enough to visualize and then face back down in the water.
  • Close contact swimming
At all previous tri training, everyone has always said, you just have to get used to getting elbowed and kicked and swam-over, but no one ever had tips on how to actually "get used" to it...we trained on that. We started with two swimmers swimming side-by-side, sharing half a lane and learned how to continue our swimming strokes while contacting legs, arms, how to adjust to have an efficient stroke while doing it, and how to breathe with waves and wake from that swimmer. We added up to a total of four swimmers to practice. There is a lot of contact, bumps, strikes, kicks, and after doing this over and over, we all became quite comfortable with it.

  • Drafting
New concept for me! I really had no idea you could draft during the swimming session of the triathlon. The key for drafting is to swim close enough behind another swimmer so that your fingertips contact their feet, this allows you to be "pulled" along in their wake and expend 25% less energy to swim the same pace.

  • Mass start
Triathlons start with a fairly confined starting area, everyone getting into the water to start their swim all at once. It's a lot like the start of a running race, however, you don't line up according to your pace like run starts often do, leading to faster swimmers swimming over the top of you or you needing to swim over others to get past...it's intimidating and causes a lot of anxiety at the start if you don't have techniques to deal with it. We used the skills from close contact swimming and practiced this over and over, changing locations in the pack to experience and learn how to deal with being in front, the middle, back, or sides.
  • Buoy turns
Most triathlons have at least two turns, marked by buoys. We learned how to properly aim to reduce turning angle and how to adjust our stroke to more efficiently make the turn without slowing our pace.
  • Putting it all together
One we had the skills down, we put it all together from mass start, sighting, positioning to draft, and turning at the buoys in a course set up around the pool. So great! It has reduced so much of the anxiety of open water swimming!
After an hour and a half in the water and a little break for nutrition and hydration, we moved to the spin room, did a warm-up and practiced "spin ups" to maintain race speed and had occasional "hills" thrown in by keeping our race cadence and adjusting the tension on the spin bike. Fans were shut off and doors closed to let us get used to temperature increases. There was a lot of sweat!

During the next nutrition/hydration break the pros went through the two transitions, T1 from swim to bike and T2 from bike to run. They demonstrated techniques for doffing the wetsuit on the run from the water to the bike, how to layout your equipment, tips for how not to forget stuff, and how to mount your bike. They did the same for T2 on dismounting, returning to the transition area, changing shoes and beginning the run.

For the last session we went outside to the Duniway Park track next door for core workout, a one mile warmup run, and running drills. We ran about three miles total, which was enough by the end of five hours of working out! We finished with a final Q&A and discussion on recovery nutrition.

If you are in the Portland area and want to participate in this training clinic, I would highly suggest subscribing to Athletes Lounge's newsletter from their website. They hope to offer this clinic again as they had more people interested than they had room for. I would even do it again...for $30 this was an amazing deal.

They took pictures during the training but they are not available yet, so stay tuned for an update with clinic pics.



Tulip Festival Ride

Last weekend I went on a 16 mile road ride with the Vancouver Bicycle Club through Woodland, Washington to the Tulip Festival. It was a great flat ride, a lot of people, and the first 70 degree sunny weather day of the year!

Beautiful Tulips!
 









Vancouver Bicycle Club members on the Tulip Ride


Christine's Training Blog

My tri training partner, Christine, has started a blog on her triathlon and Portland Marathon training: http://determinationportlandmarathon.blogspot.com/. She is training for the Portland Marathon with the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation program, raising money for cancer research, a subject near and dear to my heart. Please check her blog out and feel free to make a fundraising donation to the ACS from the link on her blog page!

Upcoming and New Events!!

The Portland Triathlon Mock Tri is just around the corner, two weeks away, May 14...stay tuned for the story and pics on that.


Christine and I will be riding in the RACC (Ride Around Clark County) in the 65 mile option next weekend.

Breaking news.....I REGISTERED FOR THE 2011 PORTLAND MARATHON!!! This will be my first marathon, happens October 9 (Mother Superior's birthday). I really hadn't planned to do my first marathon this year along with my first triathlons, but I discovered that the Portland Marathon and I are both turning 40 this year, a mere 20 days apart, so I took it as a sign...

Other than that, swimming has taken a turn for the AWESOME! Having a coach does wonders! I now look forward to swim practice and go on my own without hesitation!

We'll see you again next week after the RACC for details on how that goes, May's PTC meeting, and hopefully some pics from this weekend's tri clinic.