Saturday, January 31, 2015

100 things about me... you may or may not have known!

Wine: NZ sauvignon blanc, Sancerre and Falanghina
Partner in biking
Jackpot! #winning
SF #outsideisfree
  1.  I changed my first name to Jordan when I went to college because I had never liked the name my parents gave me.
  2. I had never heard of Stanford University when I visited the football stadium in 1994 but I decided it was a place I wanted to study.
  3. I got married on my 39th birthday so I would never have to celebrate my 40th birthday
  4. I hate eggplant.
  5. My college major was initially Mathematics with Statistics but I switched to Modern Languages after a year.
  6. As a child, I wanted to be a British diplomat.
  7. I am the 3rd of 4 daughters in my family and they would probably agree that I fell furthest from the tree.
  8. I was vegetarian for 12 years.
  9. At age 13, I weighed about 170lbs.
  10. At age 14, I weighed about 125lbs.
  11. My favorite sport as a child was netball and I loved playing the position of GA (Goal Attack) or GD (Goal Defense).
  12. My husband is 3rd generation Mexican but I speak and write far better Spanish than he does.
  13. I first visited the United States in 1989 and my sister took me to watch Madonna in a play on Broadway.
  14. I worked on Wall Street… actually on Wall Street, the address was 60 Wall Street, New York
  15. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  16. I have a 17 year old stepson.
  17. I wish I lived closer to my nieces and nephews so I could be a bigger part of their lives.
  18. I’m from the north of England.
  19. I went to the University of Bristol, England, for my undergraduate studies.
  20. I won the jackpot when I met and married my husband.
  21. I never went on vacation with my parents after the age of 12.
  22. I spent my third year of college splitting time between Oaxaca, Mexico and Lyon, France.
  23. I have scuba-dived once and I hated it.
  24. I suffer from mild claustrophobia.
  25. I learned to swim at age 7 but wouldn’t put my face in the water.
  26. I re-learned how to swim (exchange air under the water) at age 32.
  27. I worked at Disneyland, Paris, for a summer during college.
  28. I paid my own way through college. 2x
  29. I’m the only member of my family ever to go to college.
  30. I dreamed of being a writer in college because college boyfriend was a writer.
  31. My college  boyfriend had a best friend with the exact same name (Richard Kelly) so he became Richard T. Kelly.
  32. I saw my husband compete in a triathlon and took a photo of him (because he was cute!) 7 years before I met him.
  33. I’ve visited four of the five continents and I’m dying to go to South Africa.
  34. Sweet potato fries.
  35. At age 8, I suffered briefly from Bells palsy, which partially paralyzed my face.
  36. My husband proposed to me at the end of a 2 week and 1700mi cycling/triathlon adventure.
  37. I didn’t get totally comfortable with myself until my mid-30s.
  38. I attended a Church of England school through high school.
  39. I’ve lost much of my English accent.
  40. I’ve lost my Yorkshire accent.
  41. I have a Prada dress in my closet that is 17 years old and I still wear it.
  42. I rented my London flat to a prostitute (by accident).
  43. I traded my pacifier for my first bike at age 4.
  44. All of my parents (mom, stepdad, dad) were only children.
  45. My first ever job was picking potatoes at age 12.
  46. I hate cooking for myself and rarely do so.
  47. Carrots and hummus for dinner is not unusual.
  48. My first marathon in 2000 took me over 5 hours to complete.
  49. My second marathon in 2002 took me 3:38 to complete.
  50. I regret not taking the Boston slot from the 2002 marathon.
  51. I first heard of Ironman while at Stanford Business School when friends competed at Ironman California.
  52. I watched my first Ironman race in Canada in 2001 and thought that I would never be able to complete the swim by the cutoff time.
  53. I wish I had travelled more around England when I lived there.
  54. One of my favorite vacations was a backpacking trip to Chilean Patagonia while at Stanford.
  55. I was practically deported from the US in 2006 due to an immigration snafu.
  56. A 3 week trip to England turned into 5 months in 2006 due to immigration issues.
  57. I received my green card in 2009 just weeks before I met my future husband.
  58. I didn’t think twice about giving up my maiden name when I married.
  59. I used to work with my husband’s ex-wife.
  60. Co-parenting is impossible.
  61. Sparkling water.
  62. When working in Investment Banking, I would have an annual shopping splurge at Armani.
  63. Now that I work from home, I barely change out of Lululemon capris.
  64. A weekend in Minneapolis for a wedding was one of the most fun trips I made last year.
  65. I second guess my decision not to have children of my own all the time.
  66. I think I could be a good mother.
  67. I organize EVERYTHING in our household – travel, bills, finances, cleaning, social engagements.
  68. We never have leftovers. Even when I think I cooked a lot of food, my husband eats up.
  69. The only musical instrument I ever learned was the recorder.
  70. I rarely listen to music.
  71. My husband loves playing the guitar and singing. He even writes his own music.
  72. I do not enjoy going to music concerts.
  73. My husband loves going to music concerts.
  74. I am incredibly stubborn and determined.
  75. I’m racing an Ironman this year without qualifying for Kona as the goal.
  76. I am currently writing my husband’s training plan. Does that mean I am coaching him?
  77. Not everyone should go to a four year college.
  78. I’m a morning person and love being in bed by 9pm.
  79. I probably drink too much wine.
  80. I learned to drive at age 21.
  81. I never owned a car until I moved to California at age 28.
  82. NPR
  83. At night, I need complete darkness to sleep so will unplug electronic alarm clocks in hotel rooms because I hate the glow.
  84. I stopped drinking coffee about 8 years ago.
  85. I stopped drinking diet coke about 3 years ago.
  86. My husband wants us to move to Santa Cruz when we retire.
  87. I’d like to spend more time in Europe when we retire: France, Italy, Spain.
  88. I took a year of Portuguese while in college but I barely remember any of it.
  89. I wish I had studied history in college.
  90. I pretty much write all articles, essays, papers in my head before ever setting pen to paper.
  91. I still have love letters from my college boyfriend saved in a box titled “memorabilia”.
  92. I hate running at altitude.
  93. I don’t like climbing Mt. Lemmon on my bike.
  94. We got engaged in the New Zealand town of Invercargill, not a very romantic city.
  95. My father died when I was 2 years old.
  96. I’m a bit of a control freak.
  97. I don’t like surprises but I keep asking my husband to surprise me. He refuses to.
  98. I’m really happy that I had a British education.
  99. I don’t miss much about England.
  100. I hate being cold more than being hot.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coast Ride 2015: #8

I've written about the Coast Ride before... just look here, here and here! Apparently it was the 8th time that I've done the Coast Ride... which seems crazy to me. The Ride also gets bigger by the year and I heard numbers as high as 225 riders participating in this organized, non-organized ride...

Much of that growth is presumably attributable to #socialmedia... There are so many people that travel from out of town to do this ride these days that have heard others blog, tweet, Facebook and instagram about the ride. It's also presumably because of the amazing January weather we have had in California for the past three years. I know that we really need rain... and we got it in December... but it's really nice to not worry about the weather on a destination ride like this!

In spite of the number of riders, the Coast Ride felt like a small affair for me this year. I rode mostly with Blanco, Beth Gerdes and Luke McKenzie with occasional appearances by Katya Meyers and other groups of folks. Luke has quite the eye for a great photo (and I don't take pictures while hanging on for dear life!) so here are some of his shots from the ride.

Day 2 - highway 1, Big Sur

Day 2 - amazing morning sunlight

Blanco, myself, Beth crossing the famous Bixby Bridge

Day 3 - early morning rollout on the McKenzie wheel

Day 3 - Blanco rolling into Guadalupe
So how was the Coast Ride for me? I have to confess that I was a total stress-case leading into the ride, convinced that I would bonk, be riding 8hrs+ per day and would be solo most of the time. I spent October-December focusing on healing my body and while I worked on strength in the gym and on the trainer, I also blew off several outdoor rides in recent weeks and/or had mechanical issues interfere with my rides. Our January destination ride to Carmel did give me some confidence about my fitness but I was exhausted on the return ride and I wasn't sure if that was my health or the derailleur/mechanical I had to deal with (only had about 3 gears!) for those 180miles! Even in the week leading up to the Ride, I talked to the SAG guys about possibly riding just 60-70mi a day.

Why does this ride cause me such stress and lack of confidence? I think in the last few years, as the ride has increased, it's evolved away from mostly triathletes and the pace has quickened dramatically. The number of riders on the road and the large groups also scare me a little... unfortunately there were a couple of accidents during the course of the weekend.

With all that said, I did much better than I expected in terms of ride time, power numbers and how enjoyable the ride was for me. I think it leaves me in a good position of readiness to tackle the Ironman training I have on tap for 2015... Ironman Texas in May and Ironman Los Cabos in October... I'm not fit just yet but I think I have a good foundation of strength and good health from which to start Ironman training, after a season away from the longer distance.

It was also great to spend time with good friends, Beth, Luke and their daughter, that I don't get to see year-round. I met Beth on the Coast Ride 4 years ago and we became fast friends... we make for compatible training buddies on the bike, as well as off the bike! We share similar tastes in wine :) I'm still in this sport after 14 years because of the people and friendships and so I am always psyched to share training and racing adventures with great friends.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Making progress on the bike...

I shared recently that my theme for 2015 is to get stronger. After 13 seasons of triathlon, my *aerobic engine* is not generally in question, so if I am to extend my athletic boundaries and continue to improve in the coming season, I need a stronger platform. With my physical and adrenal health slowly getting back to 100%, I have been loading up the weight in the gym.

- Lots of single leg pistol squats (TRX to stabilize)
- Weighted squats
- Hang clean to push press
- Renegade rows
- Lots of core - plated sit-ups, push-ups and plank (60s alternating every 10s), V-ups, Russian twists

Friday night strength session at the Olympic Club, SF

I found some heavy weights at our Park City hotel gym
With more time spent in the gym each week in November and December, I've had a little less time to focus on endurance miles on the bike and run. This lack of time outside also happened to coincide with some very rainy weeks in San Francisco and a Christmas vacation in Park City and Alta. 

Most of my riding in late November and December was done indoors. I definitely squeezed in a couple of 3-4hr outdoor rides in the past 6 weeks but more than half of my bike training was on the Computrainer, either at home or at Shift. My indoor bike training has also been focused on helping me build strength and pushing my top end power abilities. And most of my rides have been no longer than 90-100 minute sessions.

There are two types of key sessions that I've been doing on the bike to build strength:

Session 1: Alternating intervals of very low rpm (45-50rpm) in zone 3 with very high rpm (105rpm+) in zone 1-2. 

I think of this workout as muscularly challenging but you're never breathing hard. As Matt Dixon would say, the focus is downstairs, ensuring each pedal stroke is as good as it can be and that you engage the hamstrings and glutes in the latter part of the pedal stroke. It's a great session for working on technique.

Session 2: After a solid 20-30 minute warm-up that reaches into zone 4, do 8-10x maximum effort 1min intervals (zone 5+) with full recovery (~2:30-3:00 recovery between each interval). 

This type of session has been my nemesis over the years, as my zone 4-5 power efforts usually taper off into failure pretty quickly. My power files for sprint races are very similar to my Ironman effort! I am committed to change this year so I started out doing these 1min max efforts in November at around 275-280w and I've slowly increased to 310w. I still would like to find another 15-20w in this session to be happy with my progress for the season but I'm already seeing the benefits of this work when riding outside.

With drier California weather (so far) in January, my husband and I decided that we wanted to kick off the New Year with a cycling adventure and so this past weekend we embarked on a destination ride! Just before New Year's we Fedexed a box of clothes (cycling kit, jeans, tee shirt, swimsuit) to a hotel in the Carmel Highlands. This past Saturday, we rode ~85 miles from the Bay Area to the hotel  on highway 1 at the start of Big Sur. We stayed the night and then rode back via a slightly different route (~95miles) on Sunday. 
Love the Betty 2 kit!

Bike path in Seaside

A room with a view!

Sunrise on highway 1, Big Sur, CA

Day 2 was pretty hard with a more challenging route that included a steep climb on a single lane road over Mt. Madonna (1600ft climb over 4mi or ~8% grade). This time, I lost Blanco's wheel as I was grinding up the steeper sections that were 11%+ grade but he waited patiently for me at the top.

Top of the big climb on day 2 (Mt Madonna)
I recommend reserving a hotel with pool/hot-tub when doing destination rides!
The adventure ride was a great test of where my cycling fitness is (especially with the 375 mile Coast Ride coming up in two weeks!) and I was excited to notice that Blanco's wheel didn't disappear up the hills ahead of me... for the most part, I stayed right on his wheel, holding watts that usually have me freaking out. Now, perhaps my SRM was reading favorably so I won't get too excited but it did boost my confidence that my lack of road miles in the last few weeks has not been a bad thing ;)