We got started at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA this morning at 6:15am… that was one of the hardest parts! I realized as I was setting up my transition area that I forgot my saddle bag… for the first time!

For those of you unfamiliar with such things (I know I was at the start of all of this), this is where I keep my spare tubes, CO2 cartridges, tire levers, and basically everything necessary to change a tire if I get a flat. Shoot. Naturally, I got a flat during the course of the triathlon and had to stop and wait for assistance from a teammate, stranger, or the SAG vehicle. My teammate Catherine had tubes, but they were the wrong size. A stranger gave me one of his tubes, but the stem didn’t fit in my tire… even though the tube was the right size. Finally, Ginger found me and I changed my tire. It cost me an extra 30 minutes or so, but I survived and thrived! (Also, my tire changing skills are pretty phenomenal at this point.)

I still finished in the amount of time I’d hoped to finish in… and that even included my extra tire changing time! Yay! Go me!! All in all, a successful (though tiring) day. It was half of our race distance (in miles that about a 1/2 mile swim, just about a 12.5 mile bike, and 3 mile run). Wow! It may have been “practice,” but it was the real deal.

On the fundraising front, $862 to go!! Help me reach my goal… it’s so close I can taste it! It’s not too late to donate! My deadline was extended a few days!! Yay! So as always, spread the word and the link:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/sd/pactri08/bleach

Happy Saturday and thank you SO much!

I’m off to bed as I have an arrival time of 6:15am tomorrow morning at Moonlight Beach… crazy! We start our practice tri at 7:30am. It’s a 750m swim, 20K ride, and 5K run! Oh geez! Am I ready? As I’ll ever be…

Fundraising deadline got extended a few days… so make those donations, you still have time! $900 to go!

Here we go again, another trip down memory lane… last weekend!

Saturday, August 9, 2008, was another early (well, earlier) morning at Coronado Island for a 30 mile time trial and 3 mile run!! Oy!

The cool thing about the Coronado ride was that it was FLAT (virtually flat… no big hills) and had a major headwind in, well, *every* direction. We did two loops (out and back on Silver Stand twice) and practiced our bottle exchange. Bottle exchanges have a high incidence of injuries, so practice was imperative.

I was very sore coming off the bike, so the first mile or so of the run was more of a walking recovery. All in all though, success! My speed wasn’t too great, but I was proud of me.

*^*^*^*^*^*

Spirit Award, you say? That’s right! On Saturday morning, before the 30 mile time trial, I was given the Spirit Award for the week! We have a hat that gets passed from teammate to teammate each week and on August 9th, that hat was mine! I felt so honored and wore it proudly while Amy and I fundraised at Qualcomm before the Chargers vs Cowboys pre-season game. We each decorate the hat too, adding something each week as our “signature” before passing the hat along. I added a thought bubble with the number 90 in it… it is 90% mental after all.

Okay, so, I’m just going to continue moving back in time until I have the blog all caught up…

On Saturday, we had our FULL TRANSITION SHAKEDOWN! Wow! What a feat!

It was incredible and so eye-opening for race day!! Look at all these exclamation marks, can you tell I’m excited? Race day is less than four weeks away, where did the time go???

Back to Saturday, we arrived at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas [the site of some of the biggest triathlon moments in history] at 6:45am where we set up our transition areas and listened as Coach Gurujan reminded us that we were following in the steps of greatness and that where we stood was “holy ground” in the triathlon world. Apparently, if you tell triathletes around the world that you had a practice tri at Moonlight Beach or ride Fiesta Island they will “worship at your feet.” Haha, but seriously, it was pretty incredible to hear the stories that Coach told and also very inspiring.

Just as inspiring was Jenny’s Mission Moment about her dad who died of a sarcoma her sophomore year of college. Jenny’s an alum and this is her fourth event with Team In Training. While her dad didn’t die from a blood cancer, she feels that this is a way that she can honor her dad and work towards a cure. One of the things that inspires each of us is knowing that sometimes the drugs and research for one cancer can help combat another. That is a great thing, truly.

On with the practice! First, we watched our mentors and assistant coach (Brian, Emily, Penny, and Robbie) do surf entry, swim out about 50m, then swim back and surf exit. Then, they ran up to the transition area where Emily and Brian were in a full race. She hopped on her bike at the mount line and slipped her feet into her bike shoes without socks. Brian didn’t have his shoes on his bike, plus he wore socks… so his transition was a little slower. Meanwhile, Robbie and Penny also made their way up to the transition area and transitioned to the bike.

After completing the bike portion, they transitioned to the run and sprinted out the demo. Crazy!! And then, IT WAS OUR TURN! Ready, set, GO TEAM!

I swam out and around our mentors and Coach Robbie and boy! I have never done a surf entry with THAT MUCH SURF… it was a whole lot more difficult than La Jolla Shores. Then, I ran up the ramp to the transition area where my gear was waiting… I pulled off my wetsuit (so hard!) and pulled out my water bottle and rinsed (most of) the sand off my feet before I slipped my socks and shoes on. Slipping socks onto wet feet is not my favorite thing in the world, but better than I expected it’d be. Now, as my personal bank account doesn’t have the wiggle room, I’m using cages on my pedals and regular running shoes on the bike. I’m also using *real* laces… so my transition from bike to run is pretty slow. Luckily, after the bike, all I had to do was hop off the bike, grab my water bottle and hat and take off… one of the fastest transition times because I didn’t have to change shoes! Woo hoo!

Now, we only did a very short distance as the goal was to practice transitions and not distance on Saturday. However, because it was all so quick, it was very high intensity and boy was I exhausted when I crossed the finish line! I’m interested to see how the practice tri will go in a couple of weeks. Running (walking?) that short distance of a half mile or so wasn’t bad with wet socks, but we’ll see if that changes and the distance increases.

We did all of this one more time (actually, we ditched the wetsuits the second time around) before the team headed out on a 20 mile bike ride. I had to skip the bike ride on Saturday to go work at the Qualcomm company picnic with Picnic People who gave me $10 an hour toward my fundraising. It wasn’t the best way to fundraise, but every little bit helps and I’m grateful for their generosity.

And *that* was Saturday… 5:30am to 8:15pm… BUSY! Haha, and so it goes.

~1 : Number of Mile[s] Swam This Weekend

33 : Number of Miles Cycled This Weekend

6 : Number of Miles Ran This Weekend

2 : Hours Spent Fundraising at Qualcomm This Weekend

162.74 : Dollars Raised at Qualcomm –> Thank you Chargers & Cowboys Fans!!!

2534.74 : Dollars Raised to date –> THANK YOU DONORS!!!!!!

I’ve crossed the 50% mark!!! Just under $2000 to go (oy!)!

Check back in in the next day or so for more updates from the weekend.

I took this picture when I was at the aid station… you’re looking at the end of Scripps Poway Pkwy and the beginning of where we started our ride on Hwy 67. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the mountain from the other direction… this doesn’t do it justice at all. It was SO steep and long and the back side is not so steep or long. Haha.

Where should I begin the tale of Scripps Poway Pkwy and Hwy 67? Perhaps, we’ll begin with a summary of obstacles.

• Mornings that Come TOO Early
• Heat
• Hills
• 7% Grade
• Did I mention the hills?
• Loose cages
• Bleeding finger
• Falls
• Slipping Gears
• Inability to utilize the four easiest gears
• BENT bike frame
• Crooked Seat
• Knee issues
• And the hills? STILL THERE.
• Humidity
• Flat Tire
• Mileage

Clearly, I had an abundance of obstacles. In fact, at one point, the following conversation took place:

Coach: “What would Yoda say?”
Me: “Do or do not.”
Coach: “And?”
Me: “There is not ‘try.’”

(Jess, you’re so proud. Be honest.)

Now, let’s back track to the beginning of the story. Today, we began our ride at Dingeman Elementary School in Scripps Ranch. It’s right off I-15 at Scripps Poway Pkwy. I arrived at the bright, early hour of 7:30am. After discussing fundraising, dates, workouts, “pits,” and Penny’s Mission Moment our ride began (so, just before 9am).

As soon as you turn back onto Scripps Poway Pkwy, the hills start. The first hill? Quick. Gradual. Whew! I can do this! My confidence was up and I felt strong and fast going up the hill, even though I was still tired. Now, if only that could have lasted…

The second hill is much longer and also steeper. John, who works for LLS (he’s our coordinator’s boss), gave me some tips about pushing myself and experimenting gears. He felt that I was in too easy of a gear and it was making it more difficult because I wasn’t getting propelled forward as quickly as I could have been. I played and found a gear that gave me more forward without giving my legs too much grief. I mean, they weren’t so happy at this point anyway, so it worked out.

I reached a nice flat stretch where I was able to bust out the big chain ring and just go and go. Then, I reached it: the hill… no, the MOUNTAIN, the 7% grade that takes you up to Hwy 67. Egads. I remembered hearing stories about this one. So many teammates had previously shared stories of walking too the top of this really steep hill on Scripps Poway Pkwy. There it was. Well, let’s go.

I got up about 1/3 or maybe 1/2 of the way up before I hit a brick wall. No, not literally… mentally. I had to stop. Alum rider Ryan stopped with me and then kept me going through stories and tips. I did stop a couple more times though. I never walked though. Quick breaks and then back at it. Coach caught up to us and suggested that I focus on pulling up instead of pushing down, but my cages were too loose so Coach taught me how to tighten them. What a difference! As I tried to tighten the second strap while riding, I missed the strap and caught the metal. Oops! Hence the bleeding finger obstacle. We reached the top and reached the aid station. THANK GOODNESS.

Then, we got going on the second leg of our journey… Hwy 67 out to Ramona. Is it flatter? No. That would be too simple. Penny reminded me that it’s 90% mental in endurance sports… which is SO true. I just needed to keep my mantra, “Push, two, three, four, Pull, two, three, four…” and I needed to not look too far ahead. I succeeded in reaching the top of the first hill! Yes! Obstacle overcome! I eventually passed my teammate Diane and nearly caught up with Carol, Brian, and Melinda, but the second hill was too much and I needed to stop and pour water on my head (keeping cool is ESSENTIAL). As I got going again, I couldn’t get my foot in the cage and fell. Yup, just tipped right on over. Sweet. Only not. Gravel on my hands, but thankfully not IN my hands… seemed okay overall. The bike looked alright, even though it fell down gear side. Penny caught up and checked in on me.

We continued on to where Highland Valley Rd meets the 67. SAG offered us refills and we got going again. This is when I realized that my gears were slipping. I tried to shift into an easier gear for the incline and the chain kept jerking and slipping off the gear. I stopped with Mentors Brian and Penny. We (read BRIAN) tried to fix it, but we had to call in the expert. Coach was still at the aid station 8 miles away, so we decided to keep riding and I decided that I would just do my best until we met up with Coach on the path. Brian and I took it slow, or rather Brian took it slow for my sake, and made frequent stops. The tough gears really wore on my knee and I did not want to hurt it even more by pushing myself too hard. Our three miles from the turn around point took the same amount of time as Coach’s much more difficult five miles from the aid station. It was a pathetic 45 minutes, that’s for sure.

As it turned out, my fall hurt the bike. My seat was crooked. My bike frame was bent. The covering to some cable or something-or-other on the derailer was ripped. Oops. I felt awful because it’s Coach’s bike. I guess he’s used to such things as he does rent his bikes out to beginners every season. In good spirits, Coach took off my back tire and detached the derailer from the frame. He then proceeded to hammer out the frame with a large rock. Brian and I proceeded to laugh and take pictures. Without the proper tools and setting, Coach was able to give me three of my four easiest gears back and we rode on to the aid station. My knee was really bothering me at this point and everything felt like a lot of work. We made it back to the aid station though and that is when the previously mentioned conversation took place.

I’d received an offer to be SAGed off the course. They’d throw my bike into the truck and drive me back down the mountain. It was a tempting offer, particularly for my knee. The conversation continued:

Coach: “So, you’ve got to make a decision.”
Me: “Right.”
Heather: “You can still call, if you go and can’t make it… We’ll come get you.”
Me: “Aha! So there is a try. I’ll do it. I think I can do it.”

And so we went. Down the mountain at 40mph on our bikes… so awesome! The flats were nice, but the uphills were brutal on the knee. I wanted to stop, but I just couldn’t with mentors Brian and Emily, Coach Gurujan, and Alum Ryan all riding with me. I just kept reminding myself, “It’s 90% mental. You CAN do this.” The flat was great and at one of the stop lights Coach gave me a quick shoulder massage.

As we climbed the last hill, I hit a bolt in the bike lane and got a flat tire. Shoot! Seriously? It was about 15 feet or so past the point where Penny was stopped changing her flat tire. I hadn’t changed a tire since the beginning of June, but it came back rather quickly and I had Coach there to remind me of the little tricks and tips to make it easier. I got dirty and grimey, but I changed that tire and filled it with my CO2. Proud moment! Flat tire? Obstacle overcome!

Coach biked ahead as we’d received calls that Melinda and Diane had both crashed (but not together). Emily and I finished climbing that last hill and rejoiced at our return to the school. It may have taken me a LONG 4 ½ hours today to ride that 31 miles, but they were tough miles and I had many obstacles trying to get in the way of my finishing. I didn’t go as far as I planned. I was originally going to go with the second option that Coach offered… a second loop of the second leg (which would have brought my total miles to 47), but with gear problems, the time it took to semi-repair the problems, the fact that the bike WAS having problems in general, and the knee issues it just wasn’t going to happen. As it turned out, no one did the second loop.

So, today, I feel accomplished. It was a hard ride and I overcame many obstacles. It taught me so much and was great training. I learned that it really is 90% mental and if I tell myself to finish, I’m going to finish… nothing will get in the way. I may have to stop. I may fall. I may get tired. I may encounter other obstacles along the way, but I will finish. It might take a little longer, but I will finish.

And today, I ask you to consider what your own goals and the road blocks you’ve encountered. Are you stopping yourself from reaching the finish?

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