Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Favorites List

1. Burt's Bees Carrot Nutritive Night Creme--smells good and I just know it's getting rid of my eye wrinkles!
2. Bike Snob--I read this a while ago. It's a fun, quick read. Sure to be appreciated by those who love to cycle and snarky humor
3. Curbed SF--All things happening on the streets of SF. Plus, the mega mansions for sale with photos...I can dream, right!?
4. Trampled by Turtles--these MN boys tug my heart a little, make me want to dance, plus I kind of have a crush on the lead singer.
5. Boden Scarf--Really, Boden anything...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Santa Barbara Lovin'

A few weeks back, RC, MD and I packed up the car with bikes for a weekend in Santa Barbara, to visit MC, who finally, after traveling the world, settled long enough for us to catch up with her. It was Fiesta in Santa Barbara, and downtown was crazy--a parade, confetti stuffed cascarones (I'm still finding confetti!), tango, and tacos! The four of us are the founding members of Team Tacos and Beer bike team, so of course we headed out for a ride Saturday morning. MC always "forgets" how hilly the ride she suggests (her birthday ride up Mt Tam), and she didn't disappoint us. By the end, the sun was peaking out as we rode along the coast and up, up, up, up to the house. We relaxed by the pool for a bit, got our legs back, and then headed downtown to Fiesta!

Viva la Fiesta!

Heading out!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Ride

Check out this great doc! Amazing Race host, Phil Keoghan, rode from Los Angeles to New York City, averaging 100 miles per day. The Ride, captures the trek, which raised money for multiple sclerosis (MS), follows Keoghan and his caravan battling wind, rain, mountains, doubt, emotions, friendship, and love. The ride stopped in multiple cities along the way to spread the word about MS and hear stories of local folks living with the disease--which I am sure were inspiring and yet, heartbreaking to hear. For those who've taken part in an athletic endeavor that has tested every inch of your body--physically, and ounce of your spirit--emotionally, you'll appreciate this film. I've done a few century (bike) rides, I cannot fathom doing it everyday for 40+ days. The film did capture the emotional stress of the ride, but actually, I thought it was relatively small compared to what I'd expect. I understand only so much can be shown in a film, and there was likely thousands of hours of film that had to be cut. And there is so much more of the story that needed to be told. An inspiring film--both from the riders and those along the course living with MS; plus, Keoghan keeps his wacky sense of humor throughout the film.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Carlson Kids in SF

Well, the "older" Carlson kids!

My parents came to town for my race & we had a lot of fun just hanging out and catching up, exploring, drinking coffee and chatting, cheering on the Giants, and driving all over Northern California!

Monday, August 8, 2011


 I made it!

Wow! I can't believe it's all over. Last week, between vacation, my parents in town, trying to catch up with work, and then more vacation, I am just getting to post about my race.

My parents came to SF Thursday of race week and we drove right up to Santa Rosa where we stayed for the weekend. Friday morning, we drove to the start of the swim, Johnson's Beach, in Guernville, and I got in a short swim. The swim took place in the Russian River, where at this particular place, it can get very shallow. For me, it helped that I could see (and touch!) the bottom at times, and I could stand up if I needed. After the swim we drove to Windsor High School, the bike/run transition and the finish line, so I could pick up my race packet and set up my run clothing in the transition. That night, we had a wonderful dinner at Rosso Pizza .  I felt well prepared as far as having all of my gear, food and clothing ready for the race.

Race morning came too quickly and we were up at 4am. My bike felt a little "off" since we had to take both wheels off to get it into the car (for the ride up), so I was anxious about my brakes rubbing and gears not shifting well, so I stopped by the mechanic tent for a "therapy session." I am not sure the guy really did anything to fix my bike, except he made it seem like he did, which was good enough for me.

The swim--1:15:
The swim began in waves, 3 minutes apart, so I started with about 100 30-34 year old gals. I had a moment after the start where I began to panic, which always happens, I had to calm myself down and do breaststroke for a few minutes. It honestly was the only time during the race I wanted to quit and the only time I thought I wouldn't finish. The past 7 months flashed before my eyes--the training, the cold Bay swims, the lack of social life (!)--and I told myself to "get going!" The course was a double loop, and on the second time around the turn-around buoy, I looked up and saw RQ. She looked over at me and causally said, "hi," as though she knew I was there all along. I didn't really know how to gauge the effort of my swim, and I knew it wasn't worth going out hard, since I'd burn myself out for the entire race. So, I swam at a pace that I felt comfortable and in control. Could I have swum faster? Probably. But, I felt really good, I enjoyed the swim, and I had a lot of energy left for the rest of the day.

The bike--7:11:
I could feel my calves cramping, during the swim, so at the transition, I ate 2 bananas as quickly as I could! The cramps took me a little off guard and I was a little worried I would continue to cramp the entire race. I made a plan to drink at least one water bottle between aid stations (about 25 miles apart), take a salt tablet once per hour and eat, eat, eat. I ate more during this race than I had during my training rides, which is a no-no (you're not supposed to do anything "new" on race day), but I listened to my body, and refueled according. This was a good lesson for me; I don't think I eat enough during my training rides. That I was well-fueled really helped me throughout the day. I've learned, when I am hungry (and might not "feel" it), negative thoughts begin to creep into my mind and also, I begin to get spacey or almost drunk-feeling. It's so weird, but I can't see straight!

The bike course was 2 loops. The first loop I felt great. The weather was cool and overcast. The sun began peaking out on the second loop, right about time I turned into the headwind. My pace slowed considerably. There is one major hill, Chalk Hill, which on the 2nd loop, occurs about mile 100. I felt good on it the first time, but the second time, it was pretty tough. There are signs along the road and people write encouragements in chalk on the pavement. The second loop, I couldn't even look at them...maybe I had my eyes closed (!), I don't know, but all I could do was tell myself to "pedal, pedal, pedal."

The run--4:47
Coming into the bike/run transition, I was pretty nervous about beginning the run. I knew I was tired from the bike, it was hot, and I still had 4+ hours in front of me. My parents said they were worried because I looked "so serious!" I think I was terrified. I'd made a plan to begin the run conservatively and get my legs back into it slowly. I walked through all of the aid stations, taking a sip of water or Gatorade, putting ice down my shirt, eating a grape or 5. The run course was out-and-back 3 times, which actually made it seem a little more do-able--breaking it into 8+ mile loops. Plus, I could see all of folks I knew in the race at various points in the loops. It was a huge boost to run by them and high-five or offer (and receive) words of encouragement. By my second loop, I felt great. But about 6 miles to go I had to visit the porta-potty, which I did twice more in the last 3 miles. I think it was the combination of too many "energy" foods (gels, bloks, bars, etc), and the fact I was exercising for 13 hours! My body was beginning to rebel.

I finished in 13:30. As I ran to the finish line, I was overcome with emotion. This had been a goal since I'd seen the race on TV as a kid. I'd made a promise to myself about 4 years ago that I would do an Ironman when I turned 30...so this was it!

The next morning, our group (racers, parents, fans) went had a wonderful brunch at Zazu. It was so fun to hear everyone's race "war" stories. We laughed and commiserated with each other.

My parents were such great sports during the entire weekend. I was a bundle of nerves; I am sure I not always pleasant to be around. They literally waited for 13 hours for me--yelling support, holding wetsuits, picking up clothing and bikes--they were so great. I am so, so thankful they were there for me. It was a tough day and knowing they were cheering gave me a little extra boost. They probably would have preferred I finish in 10 hours, but they would have waited 16 for me.

Will I do another one? Yeah, I will. When--I don't know. But I learned so much about myself during this entire process--training and racing. I might sound kooky, but there is so much power in positive self-talk. I "told" myself I would do something and I did it--whether it was another hill, a rainy training run, or a Bay swim in 56-degree water--more importantly, I think, I didn't give myself another option. I was going to do it. Or, when doubt began to creep in, I was able to find a way to bring myself back and refocus.

Getting into our wetsuits
Bike/run transition

Yeah, I look scared...about to begin the run
Half of my cheer team!
Dad and I at the finish

At the finish...we're smiling...it couldn't have been that bad, right?!