Reno5000 – River Run

10K Action

So Global Café is finally open. We opened on December 29, 2015 after a big push to open before the end of the year. In the last four months, I have learned a lot about people and myself. It is different kind of stress, but I have enjoyed it a lot. We are now serving delicious food, great coffee, and have a great selection of beers and wines. We are becoming the base camp for adventure in Tahoe Vista. I’m very proud of the Global Café team and being part of the Tahoe community.This past winter was an epic winter for snow in Lake Tahoe. I have not skied in years, but I did go out once. Great conditions but I confirmed that skiing is really not my thing. I was left with the desire to go outside and do something physical though. When I think about time for myself, there are three things that help me find balance within myself. One is being physically active, the second one is painting and third one is meditation. Which I haven’t really done in the last 6 months.

When I finally got a breather, I thought of signing up for an event. No triathlons came to mind, but a running an event. This time I really wanted to challenge myself, so I looked for a 10K. Yes, it is not a marathon or a half marathon, but it is would be the longest distance I have ever done. So yes, I am challenging myself.

So I signed up for the Reno5000 event, which is a Boston Marathon qualifier, to do my first 10K. I liked telling myself that it was a Boston Qualifier while I was getting ready for it. It kept me inspired.

My training… well… the word training is too big for what I actually did. February, I ran once. We got snow, and I did not run again until the last week of March. I actually ran four times during that week in which I concentrated on moving my legs, and being able to run/walk for a 3K distance. I was thinking “I got this” at this point.

In April, I ran 4 times again during the whole month. I mostly run/walk for 3K on each run except for the last run I did. For my last run in April, I used the MOOV device. Which I think it really helped me. The device gave me feedback on my cadence while running. 

Eight weeks passed from the time I signed to the event, and I have never even got close to running a 10K, but deep inside of me I felt like I could run the distance. And that became my goal: to finish the race, and actually run a 10K, even if I walked some of it.

The days before the event, I was left with fueling and hydrating myself as a desperation move. What else could I do at this point? So I kept peeing a lot, and being smart with what ate the day before.

Sunday morning came along, and I ran, and walk a tiny bit, and kept running. And at the end, I actually ran a 10K. My official time was 1:21. That’s at a 13:27/mile roughly (per Garmin, but I forgot to turn it off right away, so added a full minute to my time, but who is counting).

I’m freaking ecstatic. I not only did it, but I’m so happy with my time. I did check my results a few days later, and I realized I was really at the bottom. But this time around, I did not really care at all. After reading the results, I was still having a smile on my face.

I was not Wonder Woman. It did not happen overnight. I have been way more active on a daily basis than I have been in prior years. My new job keeps me moving all day long. In addition, the few times I did ran, I did it at an elevation of 6,600 ft and the event was around 2,000 ft lower. I also picked up a new sport: longboarding, which I love and keeps me moving. My muscles are still sore. But the soreness is a trophy that I proudly have been carrying for the last four days. A constant reminder of my first 10K!

 

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30 DAY COUNTDOWN

7019 North Lake Blvd, Tahoe Vista California
Global Café – Tahoe Vista

I have started and restarted a thirty day count every month since May of this year. But I think finally, this 30 Day Count is my final restart.

My business partner and I have been working on starting a restaurant in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and it is finally happening.  There’s still lot of work to do, but I can’t contain my excitement anymore, and I’m making it public. I’m starting the final 30 Day Count for the opening of Global Café in Tahoe Vista.

We took over the location from el Sancho Restaurant located at 7019 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe Vista between the Post Office and Firelite Lodge. The owner of the building gave us a beautiful remodeled location, and we are finalizing things to bring great food, coffee, beer and wine to Tahoe Vista. This is my base camp for adventure, and I want to share it with the Global Café community.

Location:

Global Café - Tahoe Vista Map
Global Café – Tahoe Vista Map

IRONMAN Lake Tahoe

2015 Lake Tahoe Ironman
2015 Lake Tahoe Ironman

I was able to spectate a portion of the Ironman Lake Tahoe this year.  The first year I learned about this event was in September of 2013. My family and I were vacationing at the lake, and we were seeing people get into the cold water to practice their swim the week before the event. I was recovering from surgery, and I thought there was no way I would jump into the cold waters of Lake Tahoe for a swim. The athletes looked so foreign to me too.

My surgery was to remove a rod from my leg. In 2003, I had a tib/fib fracture, and since then my physical activity diminish significantly. I was in pain most of the time, and when I was not in pain, I was too scared of the pain that I stopped trying things.

My life became very sedentary. I spent too much time sitting down in front of a computer, and not trying new physical things which made things worse for me. The lack of exercise did not improve my physical pain or self-esteem either.

Eventually, I found the right doctor to have my surgery, and went for it in August of 2013. Looking back, I never thought I would eventually run, bike and swim in a triathlon. In September of 2014, I participated in my first and only Triathlon so far, and was excited to see the athletes for the Tahoe Ironman, but the race was cancelled the day of the event, with the athletes in the water due to smoke from nearby forest fires. I could sympathize with the athlete’s frustration. I understood sacrificing and training for so long to have the event cancelled at the last possible minute.

So in 2015, third year of this event in Lake Tahoe, I was excited to watch at least a portion of one of the most difficult Ironmans in the world. I woke up somewhat early for a Sunday, and by the 8:30 I was riding my bike to watch the end of the swim, when I realized that there were people already biking. The 70.3 athletes started later and were still swimming, but I decided to cheer the bikers instead.

I talked to one of the volunteers, and she said that some of the members of her tri club were racing, so she decided to volunteer for the event. She and I cheered every athlete that went by, and each athlete seemed to appreciate our cheers.

If you ever get the chance to go out there and cheer, please do so. It feels great to be both in the receiving and the giving end of the cheers. There were athletes of all shapes and colors, and I recognized in all of them determination and appreciation for being there. I stayed for a couple of hours, and went back after lunch and they were still biking so we cheered more. By four o’clock, there were still bikers on the course.

That night, I went to the website, and checked to see the finish line. It was nine o’clock and athletes that woke up earlier than me, and swam, biked and ran that day were finally finishing the event. I saw one my neighbors from my town finish the event too.

The event did not have any pro athletes, and by the next morning it was announced that Ironman was not returning to Lake Tahoe. It may have been poor attendance, fear of event cancellation to this year’s fires, being one of toughest events in the circuit or all of the above. I’m glad I attended and took my son to cheer with me.

I was motivated and inspired by the athletes, but I do not have any desires to participate as an athlete in an Ironman event. And yes, I have swam in the cold waters of Lake Tahoe since my surgery.

Summer Pace

Finding a water fall
Finding a water fall

My summer was different than I expected.  I have been gaining some improvements with my running. I have been able to increase my distance (one or two additional miles), and my heart rate is steady and not out of control.  But one thing I noticed was that my pace had not improved at all. One can say I cannot have everything, but then why not?

My running pace is 14:45/mile. I know it is slow, but it is where I have been all summer.  It doesn’t matter how much I have run in a year, it is the same pace that when I started, and I could barely run four minutes in a row.

In March 2014, I registered for my first 5K. I was in week 3 of the Couch to 5K program, and I have never ran that distance before.  My strategy was to run for 3 mins, and walk for 2 mins.  My pace at the of the 5K was 14:58 per mile.  I was so happy, and my legs were killing me, but I did a 5K.

Eighteen months later, I can run the 5K distance without having to do a run/walk interval.  That by itself, it’s a big accomplishment for me.  I also don’t feel like will die as soon I finished the run.  However, my time is 13 seconds faster than walking and running, which I think it sucks.

The positive side is that there’s a big room for improvement.  This summer my condition training has been at higher elevation because where I’m staying right now. I don’t really know how much of an advantage or disadvantage this is for training, but there are a lot of hills. Not just hills, but big hills which are kicking my ass.

I have not done as much running as I have been wanting to do because I do not have access to a treadmill right now.  However, whenever I get a chance to go for a run, I have been running outside.  Mostly on trails, which now I just love to do. I also have done some Mountain Biking.  Biking, it’s another area I have not spent much time doing either.

Have I mentioned I had fun this summer?  I did everything, but spend time training for a triathlon. One of the reasons why I did not sign up for any this year.

I swam a few times during summer, and concentrated in form. I actually think I improve on that this year, but again, I did not spend much time on the pool swimming either.

I did start the P90x3 program though, which surprisingly I liked a lot.  It made me work on muscle strength and rustiness.  During the program, I have done things I did not think my body was capable to do 20 years ago.  The program has the classic, lean, mass, and double programs.  I did the lean program. I thought it would help me with the cardio, and still improve some of my strength.

I believe I accomplished both of those expectations. I’m two weeks away from finishing the 90 days of P90x3, and over the weekend I ran my second 5K.  I cut 2 minutes of my pace. I ran at a pace of 12:51/mile on a trail.  I’m happy, and I am posting this so I do not forget how proud I am of this pace. It is my pace and it took me 18 months to get to this point. I own this pace, and I earned it. I even got a trophy for coming third on my age group with this pace.

I hope than in the future when I read about people with 10 min/mile pace complaining of how slow they are, I don’t get upset or down with myself.  I don’t want it to affect me anymore. This is my pace today, and I am happy of this pace.

Running was fun this summer at my pace. I ran to a waterfall in the state of Georgia, and saw dolphins while running at Virginia Beach, and I ran a portion of the Tahoe Rim trail.  I can’t wait to see where running takes me next.

Group Stage – By the Numbers 

I don’t watch much tv, but when I do I mostly watch sports. I’m an avid fan of motorsports on two wheels (Moto GP and Motocross), but I grew up watching mostly team sports events.

I’m the type of soccer fan that will tune in for the FIFA World Cup. I have watched the previous Women’s World Cups, and this year it’s not an exception. I have not watched all the games, but I have been following the games of my home team USA. I’m not a sport analyst, I’m just a very passionate fan at times. If you still have any doubts about the disclosures, let me say it I’m not an expert, and I’m just a fan.

I’m very proud of the level of soccer the women are playing. I remember watching good ball handling, raw talent but not enough stamina. However, this year the players are not only playing at a high level, but it is impressive to see the intensity and endurance for the 90 minute period of game. Women play great soccer. The competition for the teams with a long successful history in the sport (USA, Germany, Norway, Japan) has increased and the quality of the game it’s improving.
The USA Team as usual is one of the teams to beat. However, they are not only a target for the other teams including their coaches, but also the media. The comments from both groups got me interested in looking at the numbers of the Group Stage, and reviewing some of the statements made about the performance of the team.
There are two comments that I want to address, one is the lack of scoring for the USA Team, and the easy path to the finals for the USA Team.
While reviewing the numbers, I  focused on this 2015 Word Cup, and I’m fascinated by the numbers. This cup has two more groups, which increases the number of additional countries participating in the tournament to 24 from 16 in the prior cup. During the Group Stage,  there were more average goals scores per number of participating teams during this cup 4.45 (60 goals divided by 16 teams) vs 3.75 (107 goals divided by 24 teams) in the prior cup.

The last cup had two big blowouts during the Group Stage. In two occasions, the game ended 4-0. This year we had two blowouts where the winning teams score 10 goals against their opponent. These two games help increase the average goal per participating team.

The first one is that the USA Team did not look dominant in their games. I agree with the comments that the USA Team was lacking offensive results. I also agree with the comments that to stay competitive at later rounds, the USA team has to experiment with a different strategy to create more opportunities for goals.

The highest scorers of the Group Stage were Germany, Switzerland, Cameroon and Norway for a combined total of 43 goals. During this stage, these teams played against Ivory Coast, Thailand and Ecuador who allowed a combined total of 43 goals. If we take those goals out, Germany still scored 5 goals, Norway 4 goals, Switzerland 1 goal, and Cameroon 3 goals. The USA team scored 4 goals during the same round, along with Japan, South Korea, Brazil, England and Colombia. France had 6 goals, but 5 of the 6 goals came from one game against Mexico.

However, we cannot compared apples to apples, because we are basing their score in 2 games vs 3 games the USA team played.

To put in perspective, in the prior cup, Germany, France and Brazil had 7 goals during this stage, and Japan and the USA Team had 6 goals. The USA Team Group Stage games were against North Korea, Sweden and Colombia.

During this cup Group Stage round, the USA Team did not have high scoring games. Compared to the previous cup, the total goals count was down by 2 goals. Their offense did not appear to be creating a lot of scoring opportunities, but the USA Team played three competitive games. They worked hard and won against Australia (who beats Brazil in the next round) and Nigeria. Then tied what I considered the most difficult game of their group against Sweden. Sweden finished third in the last cup and it is the only team to have won against the US in group stage. In addition, the Swedish coach was the USA Team coach in the last two world cups which in my eyes gives them an advantage.

The next comment is that the United States has an easy path against Colombia and China before they had to confront the winner of France/Germany. Colombia showed a great performance in their group. They won against the favorite of the group (France), tied one game (Mexico), and loss by 1 goal against England which is showing to be a tough contender.

The quarter final game would be against China who also had a tough and low scoring round, but won against Cameroon in the elimination round (Cameroon won two games out of three in their group, and their loss came against Japan).

It is foolish to solely base predictions of this tournament on teams’ past performances. Colombia and China do not create an easy path to the semifinals. They are both good contenders.

The USA Team was accused of disrespecting teams, but I believe that the media, experts and commentators are the ones responsible for the misunderstanding. While voicing their expectations for the USA Team, these experts are underestimating the competition. I am glad that the USA Team is not underestimating anyone.

As a latin woman, it is exciting to see how much the sport is growing and the backup countries are giving to Women’s sport by spending resources in supporting their nation’s team. It is great to see the different Nation’s programs improving and maturing through the years.

I can also see the results of other Nation’s programs that have not invested resources and are expecting better results from their teams, which puts players at a disadvantage. These are top athletes, competing at the highest level of the sport and they deserve respect and the support of their nation. What worked 4 or 8 years ago, in the previous two cups, it is not longer enough to be competitive.

I just needed to vent a little.

These are my notes from Group Stage. All the information from this year’s cup was obtained at http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup-complete-schedule/story?id=31204768

Take in consideration that this analysis has been done after lack of sleep. All groups played 6 games. Each team playing each other once.

Group A: Canada, China, Netherlands, New Zealand. Total goals scored 9. Highest Scorer China with 3 goals. Notes: The group had 3 games that ended in a tie, and 3 games decided by 1 goal.

Group B: Norway, Thailand, Germany, Ivory Coast. Total goals scored 29. Highest Scorer Germany with 15 goals. Notes: Ivory Coast allowed 16 goals, and Thailand 10. Germany won against both teams, and tied against Norway 1-1.

Group C: Cameroon, Ecuador, Japan, Switzerland. Total goals scored 25. Highest Scorer Switzerland with 11 goals. Notes: Ecuador allowed 17 goals. The group had 4 games out 6 that were decided by 1 goal. Two games against Ecuador had a 16 goal differential. Japan beat Ecuador 1-0.

Group D: Sweden, Nigeria, USA, Australia. Total goals scored 15. Highest Scorer tied between three teams (Sweden, USA, Australia) with 4 goals. Notes: Sweden tied every game they played. The group had three ties, and two games were decided by two or more goals.

Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Korea. Total goals scored 13. Highest Scorer tied between two teams (Brazil, South Korea) with 4 goals. Notes: two games were ties, and 3 decided by 1 goal.

Group F: France, England, Colombia, Mexico. Total goals scored 16. Highest Scorer France with 6 goals. Notes: Mexico allowed 8 goals, and France scored 5 goals against Mexico, and won against England 1-0.

Happy Trails

I have been running the couch to 5k program with the purpose of learning how to breathe properly while training, which I believe it will improve my cardio condition. I’m running the program at a slower pace than I wanted to, but running it twice to double the fun. 

The first two weeks, I did not see any improvements on my heart rate. But now that I have been at it for 5 weeks, my average heart rate has dropped 10-15 bpm, and the best part is that I feel strong after my runs. I don’t feel that I’m running at my maximum all the time.   

Running has become my favorite discipline, but I do have to admit that I don’t run outside, but on a treadmill. When I run, I just listen to music, and look at a watch for a countdown on the time. 

 In addition to convenience, I realized that I enjoy running on the treadmill because I’m full of fears. My fears can go from being run over by a car, attacked by animals or humans, and being mocked at by random people. I know that the statistics are on my side, and some of my fears are unfounded but I do feel stressed when I get ready for an outdoor run. 

Last weekend, I did what I thought would be impossible for me. I took a pepper spray to keep bears and people away and my dog to alert me of any potential dangers, and ran on a trail. It was the best experience in running I have ever had in my life. I even got lost, so I had to run an extra mile. 

The climb was hard, and I had to walk it, but I was able to run 3 out of the 4 miles. I felt a big sense of accomplishment not only by running at 6,500 ft of elevation, but I also conquered my fears. 

My reward was this feeling of assertion about my capabilities. It is no longer I can do this, but I’m doing this.

  

A 4-Carrot Soup

I’m looking forward to trying this one.

kake2kale

I once knew a couple who were very much in love.  They dated for 5 years and didn’t have much money, so he proposed to her with a 1-carrot diamond ring!  No, that is not a typo, he found the biggest carrot and carved it into a ring.  To her, that ring was more meaningful than a real diamond ring and she proudly wore it until it wasn’t fresh anymore. As demonstrated, you can do more with carrots than just eat them.

soup 2 Kake2Kale

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My Neska

In 2013, my husband and I bought a used Orbea frame out of Ebay, and decided to build a road bike for me. Prior to getting this bike, I have never ridden a road bike, and I did not know what to expect. And some components were solely picked because the way they look.

In 2014, my neska (girl in Basque) and I rode a portion of Lake Tahoe, and we did a triathlon together. We had a great year together.  However, my first ride of 2015 lots of things hurt, and the only thing I had changed from the prior year was the seat.  I was expecting that switching my seat would hurt my rear end. But I was having pain around my neck and along my arms too.  

So for $13, I switched the stem on the bike, and I went back to my comfy seat. The only tool needed for the job was a set of L wrenches for both jobs.

This is the seat I had changed. I bought online, on a sale, and I believe it was Italian made and it looked like a “real” bike saddle.   

       My rear end did not like it. I couldn’t get back on the bike for three days after a 20 minute ride on this saddle. So I went back to my not so cool, but oh so comfy sofa saddle:

  I believe I need a saddle that does not taper down, but that supports my wide cargo. I know it weights lots more than the cool looking one, but it is a good reason to lose weight, in exchange for the comforts of this saddle. The brand is Ars 🙂 What can I say, it makes me happy, and with no pain, I ride for longer.

I think my arm and neck pain are coming from me stretching out to reach the handle bars.  I think last year, I was in better shape, more flexible and of course younger.  This year, it is just uncomfortable and painful to ride.

  This is my original setup. It was a beautiful 100 mm Carbon Fiber stem that I bought at a discount, and which got replaced with a non carbon fiber Orbea 90 mm stem with 10 angle raise, which brings the handle bar closer and higher. I test rode it, and the change felt good. I just need to go for a real ride to make sure the changes are the right ones.

 

 

Training to Train

I have been thinking of how to write this blog entry without sounding whiney. But this topic has come up every time I start reading books about training for a triathlon, or looking at training programs. I’m frustrated, and I believe is time to put it out there in the open.

My heart rate is high, and I don’t seem to be able to bring it down.

Most of the books and programs based their training schedule on heart rate zones. The idea I gather is that I should work out on some heart rate zones to maximize my training. Some days you work at a lower high rate zone than others, and others you increase it.

On her book “Triathlons for Women,” Sally Edwards has a test to calculate your Maximum Heart Rate, which I did running at the pace I have been training on my run. My average heart rate while running at that pace is 168 bpm.  Most of my readings lead me to believe that my heart is too high, and I’m pushing too hard. But, I’m running at 12:45 min per mile pace, which is not a fast time under any standard. That’s the same pace I ran during the triathlon last year, but then I actually did it at a higher average heart rate of 174 bpm.

Last year, I started to freak out about it, and I went to the doctor. The doctor scheduled me to do a stress test along with blood tests. After all that, he narrowed down to two things, one I was out of shape or that I may have a sport induced asthma.  Of course, I did not back to see him.

When I run, I feel like I’m running at my capacity. I don’t think I can go any faster, but I don’t feel any discomfort on my chest, or that I’m going to pass out. But every time I want to improve on my training, I go back to the heart rate zone issue, and I get frustrated because I don’t seem to be able to slow down the heart rate, until I stop working out.

Sally Edwards has a chart where you can compare your times in each of the three disciplines, and rates you as beginner, experienced and advanced athlete (this may not be the exact terms she used, but that’s the idea of the chart). I compared my times to her chart, and I have to say that the only time I was able to show on her beginner athlete chart was the running. I scored high for a beginner runner, but on biking or swimming, my times  don’t even show in the beginner chart.

So, the doctor was right. I’m out of shape 🙂

Since my triathlons are later in the season, I made the decision that I will spend 8 weeks training to train.  The idea is to slow down my on my run, get a stronger core, and work on my biking skills so I can at least be in the beginner portion of the fitness chart before I start training. I believe this would be my best bet to push myself to perform better than I did last year, but overall have a better physical condition.

I read this article from the Beginner Triathlete on Base Training, which convinced me that this is the right path for me.

So I’m training to train. I started running at a slower pace. I need to check my average heart rate at while running, and see if I’m making any improvements.

Rough Start

I was a little dissapointed on how much of my physical condition I lost from last year. It really feels like I’m starting from zero instead of from scratch.  I rode my bike on the trainer on two different days. I rode for 20 mins on  Monday, but My butt was soooo sore afterwards that I couldnt’ sit on the saddle until Thursday. 

This week on the other hand was better, and I was able to run three times.

Since I could not ride for long because my stamina was low (I’m blaming my cold), and how uncomfortable I was on my bike (I’m blaming the bike), I looked at two things: my bike fitting and which events I will participate in. 

This blog is about the second one. 

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to do two events, a Sprint class event and end the season with an Olympic event. In between, those two I wanted to do a 10K run. I also expected to maintain a condition level where the training would get me to achieve my goals. On the Sprint class I wanted to reduce my time by 15 minutes. It sounds like a lot, but after reviewing my swim, bike and transition time, I felt that I could achieve that goal. For the Olympic event, I wanted to have a solid middle of the pack finish.

My last year triathlon goal was to finish one, and I did. My time on the Sprint class was just a few minutes over 2 hours, which I was very happy with. I had started a new job, and my last four weeks of training were at a minimum

Through out my training, I lost 15 lbs. I was on the best physical condition I have ever been, and it felt great. I had so much fun at the event, and I actually enjoyed the training. That’s why I’m doing it again.

For this year, I wanted to prepare for the Washington DC Triathlon in September. The event is 2,400 miles from where I live, and my biggest constraint this year is my travel budget which I may try in 2016. My father once told me that when there’s money, there’s no time, and when we have time, there’s no money. I guess I traded one for the other one. 

With starting training at the end of March, I will be pushing it to meet any events before June. We have some family reunions planned for the month of June, which takes the full month out.

After looking around, I found the Lake Tahoe Triathlon in late August and the See Jane Run Triathlon in late September. Both events are Sprint class events, and both open water swims are in a lake. The See Jane Run event is 400 miles away, but all of my options are going to require travel. I’m still looking for a 10K event to do.

My goals for the year are still going to be the same, but I will only do the Sprint class.

I’m so excited! Let the fun begin…