Boot Camp Day 2: Groundhog Day, John Wayne, Workout Tourettes, And More…

“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Green.

Up again at 4:00 a.m., to get in my chosen nutrition (oatmeal with protein powder and blueberries, yerba matte, and Accellerade) and get the “system moving” before getting out the door to pick up Iron Mel at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Yes, it was Groundhog Day – another 7 hours of “boot camp” training with the combined North and South Bay Ironteams. I greeted her with “Hu-LLO lil’ lady!” since I was walking like John Wayne – my hips belonged to the cowboy star, that’s for sure. I just needed a gun belt. Oh wait, I had one – but it was filled with GU and Accellerade in little bottles! (Snort!) It was drizzling when we loaded Mel’s bike, trainer, and “stuff” into the Siena, which had been the outlook for the entire day. And off we went.

Mel had been too tired to blog the night before (that’s what happened to me Sunday – I’m actually typing this on Monday), and we went over some of the goofy things, phrases and the like that had come out of Saturday. We got some good laughs out of them the second time, and remembered some that she hadn’t written down. I’ll add the link to her post here when she gets it on her site, because it’s going to be a funny one. We basically amused ourselves for the many MANY miles it took to get down there. Kinda/sorta a couple hours. Both days. There and back. SUCH TROOPERS (pat, pat, pat on our backs (laugh!!))

We arrived at Gunderson High School in San Jose, and were the first ones there. Slowly the “cat dragged in” the rest of the North and South Bay teams, and we made our trips into the pool area, to set up our trainers and bikes (in the drizzle) and get into the water for our first Swim workout.

The workout went for about an hour (I think) – it was mainly doing a short set of drills over and over and over again. From memory, it was a 300, then a 150, 3 sets of 50s at L5 then L6, then L7, then back again. Again – not that “hard” but a little brain numbing. Our lane looked like it was at the middle of the “slope” of the other lanes, because we had all sorts of debris in it (I dove down to get a few pair of swim goggles out from the Band-Aids, leaves, and other crap) – and Will actually got his hand caught in fishing line on his first trip down the lane! As we continued, I could feel the rain pelting down on my arms and head, and was not relishing getting out of the warm pool and onto the trainers.

But we did NOT get onto the trainers! They had had us set up the trainers, but the next part of our workout was to be on the road! We all got toweled off as best we could, donned our bike kit, unbolted our bikes from the trainers, and headed out. I discovered to my horror that neither pair of my shoes were in my athletic bag . . . though I was pretty sure I had seen them in the van. While everyone lined up to head off on the road, I biked over in my Uggs to the parking lot. I got a few catcalls about that! Yes, I am the only athlete with a 20 year old bike and pedal baskets instead of clips, but even I am above biking in Uggs! I did find both pair of shoes (biking and running) in the car, but sadly no extra socks. I strapped on the bike shoes and then (like the day before) I was off – pretty much in the last of the pack.

We had been told by South Bay Head Coach Dan that the route was “way shorter than yesterday’s” and that it had “2 little hills.” I was in a swim lane next to one of the South Bay gals, and asked her about it – she said, “Oh, NEVER believe DAN! Those ‘little’ hills are KILLERS!” So off we went, again, with trepidation. Apparently yesterday’s link worked, so here is the map of our ride for Day 2. (If you click it over to Terrain Map view, you can get a feel – hopefully the Elevation map will show but there is also a little click-button for that as well.)

On the way out, I was riding a bit with our North Bay Head Coach Dave. He’s such a great guy. He scared me in the beginning of our training, so I still have that “scared” reflex when I see him. But each time I have ridden with him, he’s super great. Very relaxed, very informative, very fun. We got to a big stoplight at one point and were waiting while the light changed – he pointed up to our left to a cloud-enshrouded freakin’ MOUNTAIN. He said calmly, “We’re going up there.” That’s when I knew that the South Bay gal had not been kidding to roll her eyes at the coach’s comment about the ride being “not that bad”…!!

We caught up to Paula, Patricia, and Cori on the climb up the first hill (Hicks Road/Shannon Road/Kennedy Road). As the percentage increased, I started my trademarked “breathing like a freight train.” Dave laughed and said, “Steady there, Tiger…” and I had enough breath to explain that if I breathe out HARD, I somehow avert an asthma attack. His “inner coach” kicked right in when I said “asthma” and he said, “Where’s your inhaler?” I held up my Phubby on my wrist. I discovered during the Louie Tri that having the inhaler in the back pocket of my bike jacket and/or in the Camelbak is Too Far Away. My BFF Maria (who also has asthma) sent me the Phubby, and it’s now an integral part of my training equipment. I was happy to introduce Coach Helen to it, too, and she now sports a spiffy black one.

So up, up, up we went, and down, down, down the rain came. Oh lord. It was miserable. Seriously. Dave actually rode back down to “coach up” the next set of riders, and Patricia, Cori, and Paula and I basically made a pack for a while. After the huge uphill came a flat, where I pulled over and tried to catch up on the hydration and nutrition that I had missed on the climb. I just can’t drink or eat, and breathe. I felt like I was falling behind in a big way nutrition-wise, and with it being cold and wet, I knew that this was a losing proposition for the rest of the day! After a big downhill came – surprise! – another freakin’ uphill. I was riding alone with Patricia by this time, just grabbing onto her back wheel as close as I could, while trying to stay out of the roostertail of water coming off of it.

Luckily, though it was raining, it wasn’t really windy, so Patricia and I could actually talk (mainly, curse) during the part of the climb before the WORST part (where just breathing was hard due to the exertion). I started getting bike ride A.D.D., and would call out to Patricia “Look up! Look at those almond trees and the sweet grass!” or “Look over to the right! Check out that apple tree!” I had really made a point of trying to enjoy the scenery the day before – and it had SO helped during the “tough times.” She sent me a Facebook post later that it had helped her get out of her “head full of Athlete’s Tourettes.” Ha! That was my phrase for the day –  I had certainly heard of “Athletic Asthma,” but with so many of the folks on our team busting out into strings of random expletives during various parts of the training…Finally! An Explanation! (smile)

We came around a corner and Patricia and I could see that this second hill definitely looked even worse than the first. It was very quiet as we slogged along, then I made her laugh out loud by mumbling forcefully under my breath into the quiet: “Bastards!!!” She said back that her general phrase was, in situations like this, to grumble out “This is BULLSH*T!” about every few yards. I said if I adopted that one, there was no question that a schoolbus full of underaged impressionable children (or, say, nuns) would drive up right next to me as the Tourettes took hold. I tried to keep it at the PG level for that reason.

As we reached a turn in the road and ANOTHER climb, I was really feeling it. We were both laboring up the grade, and there wasn’t any way to even speak any more. The only sound was the rain hitting us and my freight train asthma-averting breathing. Then, I hear this wonderous, little girl voice coming from Patricia. In my mind, I can picture here batting her eyelashes, with one finger up to her cheek like Shirley Temple. She says in all wonderment, “Oh! Wow! I have another GEAR!” and CLICK, she’s off and pedaling more freely. I couldn’t laugh because I could barely breathe, but I was able to shout “B*TCH!!!” at the top of my voice (bus full of nuns, be damned). Then we both started laughing, which made us start wobbling, so we got our game faces on and re-attacked the hill. Patricia with her new lower gear. Arrrrrrrrrgh.

We finally reached the top, shouting not so mildly at the South Bay Coaches who were guarding the crest. “You are just plain EVIL” was the least of it. They just laughed.


(I mean that, of course, in the nicest of ways.)

We then headed down a super slick downhill with lots of patched pavement – it was nerve-wracking. I don’t have any experience with riding in the rain like that – especially on a downhill. Your wheels slide around and are just not in the same sort of contact with the road. I knew that the stress of the ride, the cold, the rain, and the inability to correctly hydrate was starting to work adversely on my system – namely, I started to get cold, REALLY cold. And (big surprise) my ‘potty reflex’ had kicked in, in a big bad way.

We did get down the hill, into the suburbs, and then Patricia actually knew which way to go. We caught up with Janice and rode together for a while. They waited for me when I missed a light, which I was immensely thankful for. Then Janice got out ahead of us, and Patricia dropped her chain! I realized there was literally NO way that I could stop without having an “accident” so to say – I stopped for a second and she said just to go on. So I pushed forward HARD – and luckily a portapotty at a construction site magically appeared a couple of miles later.

We got back to Gunderson High and I stopped by the car to pick up my running shoes and Uggs. Then it was back onto the Pool Deck, where nearly everyone was back, and already had their bikes up on the trainers. Set the bike up, and then back to the locker room, to change into running clothes. I realized that though I had dry clothes (shirt and shorts) to run in, I was SERIOUSLY cold – core cold – and I didn’t have another set of tights, socks, or long-sleeved wear for the workout. So I did the best I could – I actually kept on the bike shorts/tights (and of course socks) on the bottom, and layered in some dry clothes, but then back on with the bike jersey and Flames vest.

We ran out and back for an hour along a canal area by the high school. I was with Carol and Patricia, and we generally race-walked and talked. I was exhausted. We talked about the bike ride, and I got Patricia laughing again, telling Carol about her whole “extra gear” scenario on the bike ride. We shared tips (such as lace locks for shoes, and tennis wrist-bands for the ever-present bike snot – sorry, dear readers), and tried to make a miserable situation of being out in that rain more bearable. Thank you, Irongrrls, for keeping my mind off my squishy feet and aching legs!

trainer stand filling up with water

Back from the “sidewalk run” (or for us, walk), and onto the trainers. (As the coaches said a lot during this long long day, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.”) Since I was still in my bike shorts and tights (as Patricia said, “This is like wearing a wet diaper – no WONDER the babies cry!”), I just swapped out my shoes and got my bike gloves. Donna from South Bay noticed I had had just regular gloves during the walk, which were now completely soaking. She took me into the toilets area, and showed me how she had been using the hand dryer to warm up her hands, and her gloves. GENIUS! I was able to get my bike gloves pretty dry (and definitely warm), so got them onto my hands, and out to the trainers we went.

I was biking in front of Mel and Margaret, and they could definitely see I was in trouble. Mel kept checking in with me, “How’s it going, John?” (for John Wayne) and I would nod and try to keep my misery from busting out. It was nice though to know that they were there and that there was a flow of concern goin’. I think that the best part about training with the team is that when you are at your worst, SOMEONE is seeing the humor of the situation, and will bust out with some outrageous comment or string of cuss words. And then, surprisingly, you find that, a bit later, you are the one with the comment (or fantastic string of expletives) for someone else having a low moment.

me, super cold on trainer - tried to keep warm with my hands under my arms. Mel is in the red cap to my right, in back.

I forgot to mention (I think) that H had purchased me the lowest-level bike computer with a cadence meter – the Cateye Astrale 8 (I thought it was just over $20, it’s about $29) because mine died at the Louie Tri. He had even calibrated it Friday night, so that I could have it for the boot camp. It was BRILLIANT having a computer that was easy to use, but that also had a cadence meter on it. I used it both days on the road, to figure out where my “sweet spot” of cadence was (right around 76-80 rpm). This was the first time I got to use it on the trainer, and it was fun not having to “match” someone else’s foot speed. Not sure how long we were on the trainers (days and days – but it was probably about 45 minutes or so), and then it was off to the track.

We did track work, mixed in with squat/jumps, ab work, running the stadium stairs, stair tricep dips and leg/ab crunches… general brutality. The good part was that I was able to power through feeling grumpy, super cold and lightheaded (I had been mis-er-a-ble on the trainer and came SO CLOSE to quitting!) and actually felt pretty good by the time we were done. I tried to stay by myself though – because my Athlete’s Tourettes was going full-tilt-boogie in my head!

Dips on the Stairs: And YES I (lovingly) mean the double-entendre

Back on the trainers – more Accellerade, more GU, more cadence drills (this time up to 115 rpm for one set – I was able to get to 107 but just couldn’t get my legs moving faster!) – and then everyone was off to the track again for another track workout, and a final swim. It was already 2:30 p.m. however, and I had promised H that we would be done at 2:30 (not sure how I got to that math – I think I was off by an hour). I felt bad, because of course Iron Mel commutes with me – but she is still having her hammie issue so was not able to really do the track portion, meaning she had just missed walking the track, and then the final swim. (I do know that the reason I didn’t quit and just leave when I was feeling at my most miserable during the first trainer workout was that I didn’t want to blow Mel’s workout. So thank you Mel for being my motivation!)

oh yeah, I am SO HAPPY to be doin' this.

We gathered up all our sopping wet kit, and off to the van we went. SO SEXY! I get to tell a story on Mel now (sorry sweetie!). She got a call from an acquaintance when we were coming home – of course, I could only hear her side of the conversation, but it sounded like the acquaintance was asking to meet up the coming Wednesday. Her answer was, “Oh, I think that should work out – I’m actually in the car right now, but next week I’m in recovery so I’m pretty sure that’s not an issue.” (pause as she listens) “Well, actually I’m coming back right now from a ‘boot camp weekend’ of training, yes, and so next week is going to be an easier week…” (I stopped listening in around this point, but I was REALLY LAUGHING inside). She got off, and said, “Do you think it was weird I got to talking about the working out and stuff? I just felt I had to explain what I was talking about – it was odd.” I said to her (laughing) – “Honey, this is my first time on Team In Training, but you have been doing this for years. I think it was a Lingo Issue.” She looked at me quizzically, and so I continued. “You just said that you could go out, because you would ‘be in Recovery’ next week.” Suddenly Mel’s eyes popped open huge and she BURST out laughing as of course I said, “…to MOST of us, ‘Recovery’ is an Alcoholics Anonymous word!” She laughed and laughed, and said “Oh NO I never even THOUGHT of that!” We had a real fit of giggles over it. I told her not to worry about it – but it added another “You Know You’re Iron When…” phrase to my ever-growing list!

You Know You’re Iron When:

…your husband finds the ear wax you stuck to the dashboard after your open water swim as you transitioned to the bike, and is pointing disgustedly to it while you go “WHAT? WHAT?” looking for a crack in the windshield or whatever he must be seeing to get him upset….
…you walk into Safeway in head to toe spandex, smelling like a goat, and see nothing wrong with it…
…you don’t see anything wrong with being super happy telling folks you are ‘in Recovery next week’ so you’ll have time to go out…
…you open your dishwasher and it’s 80% full of water bottles and caps…
…you ask your husband to please heat up some of the glo-green Accellerade from your Camelbak and bring it to you in your ice bath…
…you TAKE ice baths! And you look FORWARD to them!…
…you know what Athletic Tourettes is, and have had it a bit yourself…
…your talk about clothing isn’t based on Milan or Paris but on “wicking ability”…
…”badonkadonk” has entered your vocabulary…
…you race to potty…(that’s for us, Carol)
…you sign your husband up for a Century Ride because you’re “sure he’ll have a good time and it will just be some relaxing fun”…
…you practice your John Wayne voice and swagger around at 5 in the morning in Ferry Parking lots to the delight of your Navigatrix…
…”BITCH!” becomes a term of endearment…
…you just Keep On Keepin’ On…
…you stop comparing yourself to others and learn the words to “This race is MY race, your race is YOUR race” (to “This Land Is Your Land”)…
…you hit the Wall (maybe for your 2nd or 3rd time) and realize what the phrase, “There are no Atheists in Foxholes” is REALLY all about…
…(corollary to the one immediately above) On mile 9,000 of the Big Climb, you become a lot more Equal Opportunity, and start calling on all religious icons for help with the G.D. Hill (Moses, Jesus, Mary, Mohammed)…
…you realize that your sense of humor has returned – and boy, is it Evil…
…you have “shorthand” for “stories” with people you didn’t even know a couple months ago…

Additions from Comments:
…you pick up a friend at Oakland Airport smelling like chlorine mixed with sweat and dirt-encrused legs…(IronWu)
…your desired gift certificate is from Sports Basement, not Tiffany’s… (IronWu)
…you take off your bike jacket to change a flat, and your [non-triathlete] biking partner comments in a puzzled voice on the wafts of chlorine coming off your body…(Missy)
…you are happy that the chlorine is so denuding your body of hair, no more brow tweezing and you can skip shaving your legs…(Missy)
…waking up at 6 a.m. is sleeping in (IronMel)
…you lick your arms on a spin day surrounded by 40 strangers at the gym with a curious look on your face, to see how your ‘salty sweat test’ is coming along…

…What’s Yours???? Add a Comment if you read this – I’d really like to collect a few more!

7 thoughts on “Boot Camp Day 2: Groundhog Day, John Wayne, Workout Tourettes, And More…

  1. please add, “Picking up a friend at the Oakland airport smelling like chlorine mixed with sweat and dirt crusted legs.”

  2. @IronWu: OH YES! I should have included that. And our “You know you’re Iron when your desired gift certificate is from Sports Basement, not Tiffany’s…” :-)

  3. Hey Sandy,

    These reports are just like candy. Can’t get enough. Definitely fun seeing how the Left Coast does Ironman. The before mentioned chlorine reference made me relate. Yesterday when I whipped off my bike jacket to change the flat my ride partner said,”I just got a definite whiff of chlorine.” and then when I got home I realized my arm hair is GONE and my eyebrows are thinning from the chlorine. Yikes!!!! On the up side, no more brow tweezing and I can skip shaving my legs.

    Your Cali Irongrrrls rock!

  4. laugh out LOUD re chlorine! I’m so lucky that my pool is “saline-filtered” – though the other day it was somewhat out of whack and I got out to do Spinning right away (a Swim/Spin day) and about 40 minutes into the ride I noticed I had a white “sheen” on my arms – yup, lick (laugh) – salty! “You know you’re Iron when….” :-)

  5. Sandy – this made me laugh out loud! You did great on the little hills (well, ok they were a bit more than little) – glad you were able to join us down South for Day 2. Looking forward to seeing your smile at the finish.

  6. Hey Dan! Yah to those “little hills.” Vlad The Impaler (my 20 year old Specialized Sequoia – with toe baskets) said “I vill take zose hills for you, Mastah” (laugh). You didn’t add your “you know you’re Iron WHEN” tho! ;-) Thanks again for such a great, Tourettes-filled weekend. If you happen to have links to your photos, could you send them? There are a couple of Alyssa and me trying to share the foam roller on Saturday that I want to post if I can get them from your gal who took them.

  7. Sandy – this made me laugh out loud! You did great on the little hills (well, ok they were a bit more than little) – glad you were able to join us down South for Day 2. Looking forward to seeing your smile at the finish.

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