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things I have done

... in the week that has passed since Vineman:

Decided to do it again next year. Because it is awesome and now I want to go faster.

Spent a ridiculously long time on the Ironman and Rev3 sites, looking for other 70.3 races to do. (Portland, anyone?)

Registered for Ukiah.

Completed the equivalent of a half Ironman in food, a.k.a. Morimoto's 12-course tasting menu, which included this gorgeous tuna tartare:

(Doesn't it look like a mini Zen garden just waiting to be raked?)

Celebrated my brother's return to California with a ridiculous amount of ramen -- first this soy milk bowl from Shoki:

And then their seasonal tomato ramen (ah-mazing!):

Agonized over my Vineman splits. If my bike leg hadn't been so incredibly snail-paced (the slugs that continually invade my bathroom -- yes, they really do this -- can probably cycle faster than me), I would've easily had a sub-7 race.

(Tell me this is not the most disgusting thing ever. And yet it resembles me on a bike.)

Went to the Trek store to try to figure out if my cycling issues are my fault or my bike's fault.

Made plans to take the full-carbon Madone on a test ride up Chalk Hill. (Dear Trek: You are very brave, trusting people.)


Two days before Vineman, and I'm realizing I've forgotten to tell you about my last triathlon -- my first Olympic distance race, the Reservoir Triathlon in Morgan Hill.

Only two things really mattered going in: (1) Swimming sans freakout. (2) Actually finishing this one.

The swim: 46:10 -- slow for most people, miraculous for me. Hell, I almost started crying halfway through because I realized: Holy crap, I am really doing this. I am not panicking or backstroking or drowning. I am swimming 1.5K in open water and everything is fine. Yes, I had trouble sighting, and at one point, I looked up and there was a buoy right in front of my face, but does that really matter? I can swim!

T1: 4:11. Apparently, when you're euphoric over your swim success, you don't want to take off your wetsuit immediately.

The bike: 1:47:33. Again, slow for the rest of the world, but right on target for my turtle ass. I felt mostly OK, until the last mile or so, when my stomach started cramping and I thought I might shit my pants. Brown bikeseat? Not really the look I was going for, folks. Not so much.

T2: 1:42. You know what sucks? When you get to T2 and people are packing their gear and going home already. Damn you, fast people.

The run: 1:20:46. Nothing short of horrible. It normally takes me less than an hour to run a 10K, but the cramping was so bad that I literally couldn't run. I had to walk the first three miles because I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or take a massive dump. And I couldn't eat anything because my stomach was so upset. But at this point, I was too far in to give up. If I had to crawl across that finish line with poo smeared on my face, I probably would have. Luckily, it didn't come to that.

Overall: 4:00:22. Eighth last out of everyone. Someone needs to give out awards for us slowpokes. I bet we fought just as hard as all you "winners."

So I did it. It was far from pretty or fast or heroic. But who the hell really cares? I finished, I got something out of it (swimming!) and I learned what not to do next time. (For example, you will not find me stealing food from a high school prom this weekend.)

And that's how I'm approaching Vineman. Yes, I'm ready. I've done all I can do. (And yes, this time, my nutrition is much more dialed in and hopefully I won't be threatening to shit myself mid-race.)

It's probably going to take me a long-ass time. And yes, everyone else will have aero helmets and TT bikes (you have no idea how intimidating it was to drive home from work today and see all the TT bikes heading up the freeway to Windsor), and I will have Bibi the Aluminum Frame Princess and Crash Survivor.

But I will have homecourt advantage. I know that river inside and out (and yes, I've swum it without a wetsuit, just in case that's an issue Sunday morning). And I've ridden the entire bike course. (Here's a secret -- I love Chalk Hill!) And the run course happens to be where I trained for my first marathon and where I hold my half marathon PR. Also, my co-workers will be playing my fight song at our winery's aid station.

So here's to the weekend and the culmination of what's been an incredible, ridiculous, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging adventure.

Vineman, here I come.


Here's a question for the other bloggers out there: Let's say your blog focuses mainly on one or two topics and you rarely stray from those themes and you do a pretty good job of skirting nicely around your personal life or anything remotely emotional.

And then something absolutely horribly tragic happens. And it makes everything you write about and think about feel really, really stupid and trivial and selfish.

So what do you do? Do you continue as normal because getting into anything personal is TMI and just too painful? Or do you address it and risk revealing too much?

All I know is now Vineman seems like nothing.

on tapering

This is quite possibly the best shirt ever. And if I had found it several weeks ago, instead of just the other day, I would be wearing it right now. (And yesterday. And tomorrow. And the day after that. I would basically just wear it until my boss told me to stop, kind of like how he told me last week that I needed to clean my desk because it was piled high with used dishes, magazines, notebooks and balled-up paper towels.)

Anyway, currently I am eating. In fact, I have been eating all day. Pretty much non-stop since I woke up.

I made a blueberry, almond milk and whey protein (I love this stuff -- it's actually Bourbon-flavored!) smoothie this morning, drank half of it at home, ate gluten-free pretzels in the car on the way to work, drank the rest of the smoothie at work, immediately ate some string cheese right afterward, mowed a Clif Bar, had a 49er roll, miso soup and salad for lunch at Ume (where my server told me she is also a triathlete and is doing Barb's in a few weeks), ate a piece of mochi ice cream at the office for dessert (I have conveniently stashed a box in the freezer here), found a half-empty small bag of Kettle Chips that someone abandoned in the break room (yes, I am the scavenger who snuck that back to my desk -- it's fine until someone actually sees you do it) and now I am eating the leftover brown rice-asparagus-tofu-mushroom saute that I made for dinner last night.

And since I am swimming at Johnson's tonight, there'a a strong chance that I will end up at boon later for more food.

Also, I am extra-moody. (Today I yelled at my friend because I felt he "stared too much." Really?) And extra-tired.

Basically, I think tapering is just an excuse to eat a bunch of food, sleep too much and act like a raging bitch.

Aren't you glad this will all be over in five days?

six days

... and another dead body.

Perhaps this is just a (very creepy) coincidence, but this is the second time in less than a week that a dead body has shown up in a place the day after I've been there.

Layla has told me I should never go to her house.


Did a few final pre-race body tune-ups today. Went to the chiropractor for a little Hendrickson love.

And then a Pilates reformer session tonight for some core work and lengthening.


If a dead body shows up tomorrow at either of those places, something is seriously wrong.

one week!

Surprisingly, I'm not freaking out.

I am, however, trying to get to bed by 10 p.m. every night this week so I can be well-rested for the big event.

Therefore tonight's post will be short: Photos from today's last long(ish) run through Golden Gate Park. (Naomi, you are a genius -- thank you for organizing!)

The meeting spot: The Conservatory of Flowers, which apparently, was undergoing some growing pains.

One thing I regret about the years I lived in San Francisco: I wasn't a runner then. If I had laced up those shoes earlier, this view could've been part of a regular route:

Stumbled across this on the way back to the car. It's a motto I can follow.

Finished off the run with -- you guessed it -- ramen.

Genki's kinoko mushroom bowl (tonkotsu broth with several kinds of seasonal mushrooms) hit the spot.

with no definite aim or purpose

Before an open water swim, I've been known to say: "I hope I don't see a corpse out there."

And then my friends laugh at me, because what are the chances of actually brushing up against a pale, floating hand or finding yourself looking down through the murky water into a pair of empty eyes? 

Apparently it's entirely possible: A dead body was found in the Russian River this morning.

The man was a 48-year-old transient, and cause of death hasn't yet been determined.


I was at the river yesterday. Not in it, but close to it.

We parked at Windsor High, rode to Johnson's and then did the entire Vineman route. Total mileage: 72. And most of that was riding solo, since I wanted to do this at my pace instead of trying to keep up with everyone else. (Small victory: I can ride alone! In traffic! And feel OK!)

I had to stop a lot to eat and drink. (World's Worst Multi-tasker, remember?) See this water bottle in the weeds?

I was able to take my bottle out of the cage while riding but couldn't put it back. So rather than risk another horrible crash, I threw my water bottle on the side of the road, stopped the bike, got off and went back for the water.

Hence this ride took a long-ass time. You could have brunch, get a mani-pedi, play a round of golf and get your car detailed all before I finish Vineman.


And if a 72-mile ride wasn't enough, we hiked up Bald Mountain last night (6.5 miles round-trip) to watch fireworks and raise money for the Sonoma Ecology Center. This "moderately difficult" uphill jaunt left me sweaty and winded. My quads hate me today, but the pain was worth it.

We saw 10 fireworks shows from around the Bay Area. And one glow worm.


Today: Hayes Valley with Christina. We went to Smitten for made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream. (Crossing one off of the list!)

TCHO chocolate with pistachio peanut brittle. Mmm. Creamy like pudding.


(It's sort of disturbing that a dead body and ice cream exist in the same post.)


If you look closely, you can see the spaceship.

Just kidding. It's just the full moon from my deck. And yes, I'm still awake. Because Vineman training generates an ungodly amount of laundry, and I need clean bike gear for my ride tomorrow.

Anyway, I swam at the river again after work.

I swear, it probably looks like one big freakshow when the triathletes show up at Johnson's Beach for training. Imagine being at Kellerman's (where nobody puts Baby in a corner) with a bunch of aliens in wetsuits (despite the 80-degree temperatures), goggles and neon swim caps. And while you are standing in waist-deep water in your camouflage string bikini, making out with your boyfriend who has a lot of tattoos, said aliens swim by. A little too closely, since they are having trouble sighting and therefore cannot swim in a straight line.

You get the picture.

Today there was a lot of traffic on the river. Scantily clad couples getting romantic. (For the record: Gross.) Inner tubes. Naked children. (Did your parents let you do this? Mine did not.) Teenagers. Kayaks.

But the biggest mindfuck of all: Motorized boats.

From underwater, those things sound like high-pitched hissing -- like there's a giant sea serpent just waiting to eat you. Fun!

Anyway, I slightly overshot the turnaround point (this is what happens when you're a newbie swimmer who only breathes on the right and the landmark green wall for the turnaround is on the left), so I ended up doing an easy-paced 1.3 miles in 59:45. Still slow as hell compared to the rest of the world, but who cares. I'll make the swim cut-off, and I may even get close to my 50-minute goal if I push a little harder. Just the fact that I went from a complete swim meltdown in March to swimming 1.3 without any issues is a miracle in itself. I'll take it.

And I'll also take this post-swim view from the shore.

Final thoughts: Apologies to the patrons of boon, who were also subjected to a triathlete invasion this evening. The spandex was a little excessive, I know.

the weekend, in numbers

California foie gras bans that went into effect: One.

Bowls of foie gras ramen eaten before said ban: One, at Bar Terra. (And it was ridiculously good -- a Hokkaido-style miso-based broth with two foie dumplings and a piece of seared foie on top. Oh lordy.)

Wine events involving an insane amount of Chardonnay: One. (For the record, Presqu'ile was my favorite discovery. Love the acid on those wines.)

Women who tripped during said wine event, thus falling on the wine glass strung around their neck on a necklace (yes, people wear this stuff), thus breaking that glass, thus cutting their neck open, thus bleeding everywhere, thus requiring an ambulance: One. (Thankfully only one. But still: One too many.)

Pieces of gluten-laden flatbread consumed during said wine event because there was literally nothing else to eat and the tasting went on all day: Eight. Perhaps more. I may have eaten an entire pizza. (On top of the foie gras ramen.)

Miles of training that did not get completed due to gluten overload and GI distress: 70. That's right. I skipped riding the whole Vineman route and then some yesterday because my stomach was in revolt. Also, I thought I might be getting a sore throat.

Episodes of "Breaking Bad" watched from bed while recovering from above gluten overload/sore throat: Six.

Orange cat princesses that were thrilled to have mom stay home instead of ride her bike: One (who so clearly has a rough life).

Days left before Vineman: 13. (Frick!)