Such a small thing, so tiny, so able to ruin my morning.
Nothing ruined Saturday morning though. Up early, headed to Claudia's to carpool into San Francisco for our second Aquatic Park swim. We again got there in good time, way faster than we'd get home later in the day. After some short team business, and an injury prevention clinic from a local chiropractor, we all suited up.
It's getting a little easier pulling on the sausage casing wetsuit. I know how high up to pull the legs, where to place the knee, how to pull up the arms so that I can move my shoulders. I added my booties and squid lid and was ready to jump in the water.
The freezing water. It was considerably colder than our first swim there, and way colder than Del Valle last weekend. I firmly told myself to just run in and start swimming and for the most part, I did. Of course, I couldn't put my face down for more than a second so that slopped up my form, but at least my brain wasn't freaking out. After just a couple of minutes my fingers and face went numb and it got easier to swim along.
I cut the corner, not seeing the buoy we were supposed to swim around. Ooopsie. I was having vision problems, a combo of fogged goggles and a schmootzy contact lens. Luckily there's a building way off in the first direction, kind of hard to miss, that I could sight off of. I was doing ok avoiding other people and thought I was swimming in a straight line but Claudia informed me that I was zigging and zagging. Surprising, it really seemed from my sighting that I was going straight. At least in that direction.
As I was swimming along one of our coaches who was floating around in the water, making sure we didn't drown, told me I was cutting my arm stroke short. Sunofagun, he was right. I guess because of the tightness of the wetsuit I was only doing about half strokes. I started paying a lot of attention to that, thinking that I'd probably go a bit faster than my pitiful pace if I was swimming right. Then as I got around to the beginning again I saw another coach who told me to kick more (I wasn't kicking at all, just letting my legs float along happily behind me) so that I'd go faster. Hmm. I guess my pace worries them. So I started kicking, still paying attention to my arms, trying to get a new rhythm.
This whole season I've been focusing on not kicking since so many people have told me that's what you do to save your legs for the ride and run. It's going to take practice to learn how to kick again without tiring myself out too much and without using so much energy in the cold water that my breathing gets worse. Good thing we've got all the (scummy) swims at Shadow Cliffs for practice.
After our timed swims we practiced mass starts. Although it would have been much more beneficial doing this before we got used to the cold water, I guess you get what you ask for! They shoved us all together and had us run together to the water, dive in, swim to a buoy and return. I lined up at the back the first time and didn't have too much problem, mostly because I was expecting the water to be freezing. The second time they shoved us together tighter and I wasn't as far back as before. That time I got shoved, run over, bumped into (and kicked Claudia in the throat - I'm sorry!) and tried to keep pace with the other swimmers. That was a mistake; by the time I reached the buoy my heart rate was outrageous and my breathing was ragged. I slowed down a little on the return and that helped. Until I tried to stand up and walk out of the water; I was tilting and stumbling like I had consumed 6 martinis. So I'll have to watch that in the real race (no, not the 6 martinis!) (well, that too). I can't keep up with most of the others, just like in cycling and running. I have to go my own pace from the start or I'll blow the whole shebang. I didn't freak out with people so close, and was able to swim even while I was being shoved around. That's a plus!
After the swim our group was scheduled for a 60 minute run. For me that meant a 60 minute walk. Yawn! Boring! Yes, you can check out more of the scenery when you walk. But good grief, it just goes on and on and on and on and I really had to hold myself back from running any of it. I decided I'd walk to where I knew was 2 miles, figuring I should be able to walk about 4 miles in about an hour. Maybe I shouldn't have gone so far.
Despite the boredom I felt good while walking. My back wasn't hurting too much, the weather was fabulous, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge were spectacular. It wasn't until I got to the downhill close to the finish that my back started aching. A lot. Ruh roh, overdoing it again. I was glad to finish, get in the car and head for home. And my ice pack.
Because this morning was an on-your-own bike ride, Claudia, Rocky and I met up to ride the same route we've been doing. We started off at 8:00 am along with one of our teammates who had the same idea. Again, the weather was pretty nice, the fog burning off while we rode along. The guys kept getting ahead of the girls but that was ok, they were faster and that way they wouldn't have to poke along with us.
When we got to Blackhawk we decided to continue along Camino Tassajara all the way to Highland, then turn around. We knew that coming back would be a slight incline into a strong headwind, but the outward bound ride was great. I haven't been along that stretch of road in years but I remembered the long stretch without any bike lane and cars zooming along at 50 mph. Or faster.
After the turnaround Claudia and I slowed down considerably (incline and wind, remember?) but the guys powered ahead and were soon out of sight. We enjoyed our pokey pace, pushing ourselves but not knocking ourselves out. We were just getting to the area where the wind shifts to a tailwind and the incline becomes a decline, my favorite stretch to power along, when BANG! Clank-clank-clank-clank-clank! I had run over something (well, duh!). I was able to brake and stop and got off my bike. I checked the front tire and it was ok. Of course, it would have to be the back one. Flat as a pancake. Sigh.
Claudia and I pulled off the road and luckily there was a wide sidewalk there. I started getting everything ready to change the tire (yuck), got out my tube, gas cannister, levers, blah blah, then took a good look at the tire. I saw this: Holy crap! Would you like a closer look? Right through my tire, 2-1/2 inches of pointy ruin-my-day nail. In one side of the tire, out the other side. With 2 big gaping holes in the tire.
Game over. No way to fix that; a little patch kit wouldn't have covered the holes and would have just wasted a tube (and my patience). In my head I swore very loudly, repeatedly. Claudia tried to call Rocky but he didn't answer. We decided that she'd ride back to the cars (another hour, at least) and I'd walk my bike over to the closest Starbucks to sit in comfort while I waited. Sigh.
I started hiking along in my cleated clacking shoes, rolling my flatted bike alongside of me. It was at least a good half mile to the Starbucks (since I got lost in the shopping center) and as I walked up one of the employees came outside and asked if I was Amy. Yuh. Claudia had just called. She got a flat. Sigh.
Like the dummy that I am, I didn't have my cell phone with me. Why, I thought, would I need it when I was riding with other people who had phones. Dummy. I sat there outside of Starbucks for 14 hours. Ok, maybe it was closer to 2 hours. No way to get an update, no way of knowing what was going on. Just sitting there counting the Mercedes, BMWs, Hummers, Lexus' and other incredibly expensive vehicles disgorging caffeine lovers. And I didn't get anything to drink because my stomach was upset so I sat there. Lalalalalala. Sigh.
Finally Claudia and Rocky came to my rescue (thankyouthankyouthankyou!) and we were able (to my great surprise) to fit not only my bike, but me into the car that already had 2 bikes and 2 people. Back to my car, back to the start, only 18 miles ridden. Sigh.
I was fed up, tired, pissed off, cranky. So what did I do? I went over to my mom's house since she'd been expecting me for the past hour. "Why were you late??" I spent a couple of hours there and headed to a local bike shop to get a new tire.
I admit it, I was lazy as can be and paid the shop to pull the tire off, put on the new tire (and new tube) and put the wheel back on the bike. Yes, I know how to do it. Yes, I could have done it myself. But it would have taken at least a half hour and more likely an hour and I just didn't have the desire or energy left to do it.