Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer of Jen

Before I get to my little report about the course preview day, I have some news...

Let's see, how did they put it... "The company is facing some difficult times, and your position is being eliminated." Yes, I got the axe! I am among the unemployed. On a Friday too, just like they said in Office Space "Less chance of someone coming back and shooting up the place."

Here's me when I got home, yes it was only about 11:00 am.

Anyway, before anyone even utters a condolence, let me state that I'm very OK with it. If I am honest, I'm happy. I didn't really like my job. It wasn't bad, but it was far from challenging and I was ready to move on. I worked there for over 5 years. It was my first and only real job since graduating college. I wanted to make a change but I was so comfortable in a routine, as I'm sure most of you can relate. This time, a change was forced on me and I'm welcoming it with open arms. I don't know what I'm going to do, but Zach and I are talking about a lot of options, and I can promise it'll be something big/cool/different. I also got a sweeeet severance package so I won't even bother looking for a job for at least a few weeks. Meaning I have endless time to train. Meaning this will be the Summer of Jen!!!

So prepare to be annoyed with my tales of sleeping 10 hours a night, going to noon master's classes, taking long mid-afternoon bike rides, and generally bragging about my joblessness.

Cheers, KK!

Ok, so onto the Vineman Course Preview day. And it was a DAY.

My Half Ironman, Barb's Race, is the same day as the full iron-distance Vineman (August 2), which is two weeks after the Vineman 70.3 race. All races cover generally the same course. So this group was a mix of people training for all events. It was an awesome day. It was perfect weather-wise: it never got too warm, and the smoke was not bad at all.

I drove the 90 miles (ya) up to Windsor where the group met up at the high school at 9:00 am. This is the location of T2 for the race (the bike is point to point). The coach of Tri More Fitness, Neil, was super friendly and greeted me when I arrived. There were about 20 other people there all from the same tri club, so I kind of felt like the odd man out. After a brief meeting and explaination of the day, I paired up with a sweet girl named Rachael from the UK (lives in SF) and we carpooled the 20 or so miles over to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville. She's done Barb's Race twice and was really helpful. Guerneville is where the race begins and T1 is located. We got a swim course overview from one of the Vineman race directors and then headed into the Russian River to do the entire 1.2 mile swim course. I wasn't that nervous but I didn't know what to expect time-wise. Here's a shot before we started swimming:

Kind of hard to see but the water is in the picture, it's just very smooth. We swam from where I stood toward and beyond the bridge. It's just a straight out and back.

swim 1.2 miles


Yay! Very happy with that time. If I could replicate that swim time on race day I'd be happy. If I could improve upon that, even better. I felt really comfy and had a lot of fun. The water is warm enough, about 74 ish?, and shallow enough to touch in places. I did brush the bottom with my hand a few times right after the turn around. They said there was a slight current but I did not notice. I was really pleased to see that I was solidly in the middle of the pack too. (Ever since that open water swim with the master's I'm paranoid about being last like I was there!) So in summary, awesome swim. I'm definitely ready for that portion of my race.

We got out of our wetsuits and headed back over to Windsor to begin our bike. We drove the exact route that we will take by bike on race day, since we'd obviously not be covering that on bike today. With all the driving and all the talking it was shortly after noon when we started the ride.

My only goal on the ride was to stay with the pack. Again, I'm paranoid about being last. Not even being last, but being dropped. Coach Neil did drive a SAG vehicle and promised no one would be left behind. But, I didn't know the route at all so I wanted to stay with other riders. I stuck with a group of about 4 or 5 girls at first who were taking a very easy pace. I was a little impatient actually, but knew I needed to stay with them. Boy, I'm glad I started off at this pace because it was a long and tough ride! Those girls obviously knew what they were doing.

We stopped and regrouped about 20 miles in at a little General Store. The ride is very rural and this was the only store for miles. At that point I sent a quick text to Zach to update him, refilled my water bottle, and snapped a cell phone pic:

When we took off, I ended up riding near my friend from earlier Rachael and a couple others. I stayed near them for the rest of the ride. We continued on the beautiful vineyard-lined country roads and up and down a few hills. I was really crusing along and hit some good speeds on the downhills- I went over 30 MPH for the first time ever! And I did it FOUR times. My max speed was 34! There were some long stretches with headwind, and I started to wear down. My ass muscles were on fire and I was pushing hard to keep the other riders in sight. Finally, we take our second and last break at about mile 43. I needed it too, not only to rest my ass but I was out of water. I'd been drinking plenty like a good girl and eating lots of luna moons and clif bar (practicing nutrition for race day). Coach Neil informed me that we were at the base of Chalk Hill which is supposed to be the big one on the course. They say it's not that bad it's just the fact that it comes so late in the ride. I would completely agree. It might have been a half mile but it's steep and has a couple bends, so you don't quite know where the top is. I made it up though and then flew down the other side. Finally we were getting close. Just a few flat miles back into town and we hammered.

bike 54.4 miles


16.0 MPH

Sweet!! So, that makes it my longest ride ever, my fastest average speed ever, and I hit my fastest max speed ever. I rule!

So now it's about 5:00 pm. I've completed the first two legs of a half iroman and I could easily curl up and fall asleep in the backseat of my car. But Coach Neil has other plans, a transition run! Allrighty, why not!

run: 3.5 miles


8:44 average pace

I was pretty much just shuffling along, counting down the minutes. I didn't feel terrible but I was tired and thirsty and ready to be done. I couldn't even imagine having to run another 10 miles but I have time to get ready for that, plus the run is my strength so I know I can pull it off.

As soon as I was done I had a nice conversation with the coach and Rachael and we packed it up and headed back in our seperate directions. I'll probably never see these people again, I mean they have other events but at that distance and the cost of gas, I think I'll pass. This one day was totally worth it though. I got an awesome training day in and a big confidence boost.

I grabbed a hot dog at a little shop in Windsor then hit the road. With the inevitable accident and backup on 101 I didn't get home until amost 8:00 pm. I had just enough energy to shower and hit a local establishment for some greasy dinner and a few beers. :) Here's a couple pics of me and my coach for the day and my new friend.

One last quick note, today we went out to Del Valle for a picnic and some beach-lounging and I swam for a while in the lake. Because I am greedy I'm counting it. I'll call it 500 y.

TOTALS for the week:

19.5 miles run, 114.2 miles bike, 5000 y swim

TOTAL training time: 12 hours.

Thanks for reading! :) Have fun at work tomorrow, suckers!!


miss petite america said...

yeah to the summer of jen(n)!!!! it's my summer too :)

good luck with the next phase. it will certainly be super cool!

Kevin said...

Why do I ALWAYS need a nap after I read all the training you do girl???

Good luck on the job front. You have the perfect attitude.. as always.


Mir said...

I always hate the language in which they couch the basic "you're fired" idea. My GM at the old place kept accidentally referring to it and getting embarrassed. Then when it was time for for us to be terminated, he kept trying to invent reasons for us to stay and work longer. I just wanted to shake him and say "YOU are firing US!" Ugh.

Anyway, like you say, it's for the best. You'll find something better and in the meantime, enjoy your break!! They picked a nice time of year for it. :)

*aron* said...

i am really jealous that you are probably sound asleep right now and i am sitting here locked in my cube.

good luck figuring out the new phase!!!!

and AWESOME JOB this weekend... you are amazing! that sounds like a crazy long day!

KK said...

I would have commented earlier, but I was still in bed...

CONGRATS on offically becoming a member of the summer sloth club!!! I'm sure you will like it here :). Too bad you don't live in Colorado, because we could embark upon midday rides and runs with beers after. Or before, anything is game here :).

Good luck on finding your new thing. Enjoy that severence package and I'm secretly hoping that this "opportunity" moves you guys out here. Have I mentioned there are no wildfires here (yet, knowck wood!)?

Oh yeah, and great workouts this weekend. I had the same thought after our 3 hour ride, 30 minute run: how in God's name will I be able to run 10 more miles after this? I guess we just will...

Cheers right backatcha!

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

I got let go from my last job and it turned into me getting a much better job a few days later. I'm wishing you the same sort of karma.

The only difference...they cut me loose at noon on a Monday. That's probably an example of why they were such a crap company.

Rock on, girl! Good luck with the race. Sounds like you are very prepared.

Ted said...

I love your attitude. *raising glass to Jen* Enjoy your summer. Sleep in and enjoy your endless training. Keep this in mind that when a door closes at you, another door will open. As for now, have a GREAT break. Before you know it, you will be working in a different job. Enjoy every minute you can right now.

Nitmos said...

Along with this news comes increased expectations. $$ and no work? We'll now be expecting big PR's in everything you enter. Really, no excuses (except for job interviews getting in the way of course).

Steve Stenzel said...

Oh jeez, sorry to hear about the job!

Nice job with the mileage and the pace!!!

21stCenturyMom said...

Whenever I do that ride I can't stop jammering about how gorgeous it is! 16 MPH is my race day goal (doing the 70.3) so you are my hero. I just hope I can pull it off!

Enjoy your unemployment! Spend your leisure days climbing Diablo and Chalk Hill will seem like nothing.

Danielle said...

Sorry to hear about your job (I think). Cheers to the "Summer of Jen"! I'll drink to that (although I'll drink to anything)! :)

Arcane said...

Sorry to hear about the job and i hope you end up finding something you really enjoy. Summer of Jen sounds great. Nice work with the biking breakthrough.

Ewen said...

The summer of Jen sounds like a dream job. Get Zack to take on a second job so you can become a full-time athlete.

Enjoy (when the smoke clears)!

ShirleyPerly said...

You know, sometimes things work out just the way you want them to. Great opportunity to train more and find out what you want to do next job-wise (I gather you're too young to consider retiring ;-)

Great to hear the training camp went well. I went up to the Guerneville/Russian River for a couple family vacations and remember how pretty that area is.

Michele said...

what a great day of training. you are going to rock your race.

enjoy summer of jen. I wish I could get fired.

ncrunner12 said...

Awesome workout, why can I apply for the summer of Jen job? Good luck with everything you've got comin' up.

Gotta Run said...

i have had that happen to me once at a job that I did not enjoy so much. Still it stings a bit but drinking when I got home helped me too.

Enjoy this time and search with an open mind. Lots of great options out there to be discovered.

BTW... if you guys are thinking of moving SC is the place to come. I called it first!!!!

Great job on the swim/bike/ride. You will rock you Half IM with no problem. Just beleive in all that you are doing and TRAIN HARD GIRL!!!

Paul said...

Congrats on starting a new chapter of your life! :) Hopefully it's nothing but smooth sailing...

Summertime and the living is easy.. :)

Debbie said...

Summer of Jen...very cool! It sounds like you are up for some new challenges and new plans...good for you!!

The preview sounded very cool. You really did awesome!! Wow!! are going to do great!

GB said...

Hey Jen, I tell you what. Your training will improve GREATLY this summer! ;)

Ryan said...

WOW... so many developments as I check back in to find the Summer of Jen. Shall I say congrats on getting your freedom?

Glad to see you're taking it as a blessing. And what a performance.

I see this has morphed into a TRI site... I need to figure out how to get there.

Marathon Maritza said...