Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Training for 2009 Season

With the impending New Year vastly approaching, I am still able to maintain a moderate 6 day schedule. The other day, I bought "Strength Training for Triathletes" by Patrick Hagerman to improve my stamina. Hopefully it will have a significance for the 2009 racing season.

As for this week, I have been consistent with my swim and run workouts at a local fitness center. After 8 250 meter swims and 40 minutes on the treadmill I am pooped! Although, I must admit, I haven't mad much riding time because of bad weather (I know ...EXCUSES!!) However, I will ride with the Visalia Tri Club this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes early next week... Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Me

As I look back to this year, I am deeply grateful for my friends and family who have been there every step of the way. They were my major support system. Here are my major accomplishments for 2008:

1. San Luis Triathlon I wanted to prove to myself that I can achieve anything that can keep me focused. Training for my first triathlon made me believe that anything is possible.
2. Merced Triathlon I loved the course. See number 1. Enough said.
3. Wildflower Century This century taught me to climb up a mountain at any weather condition.
4. Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon Prior to this event, I was never much of a runner. Now that I developed a love/hate relationship with the sport, watch out!
5. Going to School. I have been taught that education is the key to success... I'm getting excellent grades in school.... enough said!

With this said, I am deeply saddened that 2008 is at an end. I have many things enstored for 2009. You'll just have to wait and see what's next...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm Back With the Holiday Blues

With the holiday season upon us and my end of the semester finals over, it's now important to focus on more important matters, life, family, health, and the pursuit of happiness. I haven't done much holiday shopping, but I am eager to get started. However, I have been able to spend time with friends and family during this festive time. Not to mention, I do spend quite a bit of time exercising (for the record, I hit the gym for about 2 hours- one spin class and 45 minutes on the elliptical).

Here's what I have been doing, besides shopping and studying, during holiday period (sorry if it's all distorted!):

Monday, December 8, 2008

One More Week Then I'm Back!!

I have not done any serious physical activity since the Turkey Trot other than going to my local fitness center, In Shape City Health Club. I've been too busy hitting the books in preparation for my end of the semester finals! This is the main reason why I missed the annual Toys for Tots 5K Run in Fresno, California. It's a decision that I deeply regret. I should have listened to my friend, Duane's advice by putting my body and health first over anything. Now it's time for me to hit the books! (For the record, that's not me on the picture!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Real Slim Shady

It has been two days since I last took my finals. Now, I am back to my regular exercise routine of 1 hour swim, 1 hour treadmill, and 1 hour weights with an occasional spin class a few days a week. This time of year is when I lose weight rather than gain. For the record, I have lost 3.5 pounds. Most people are jealous towards my holiday success.

Here's the key. Think of the holiday season as a buffet restaurant. You have all these food choices to fill up your plate. Then you take the first bite and savor it. Twenty minutes later, your brain tells you to stop, but you decide to continue. Well, listen to your brain!! If not, head to the gym the next day. Otherwise, you will gain those unwanted 10 holiday pounds. If you follow my rule, then you will be a "Real Slim Shady."

Friday, November 28, 2008

9th Annual Team in Training Turkey Trot

The results are in! My first "real" 5K was a success. A dear friend of mine created a video of me crossing the finish line. Here it goes:

Sierra Challenge Express Running & Racing Club

presents the 9th Annual


Woodward Park - Fresno, CA

Thursday, November 27th

*** OFFICIAL RESULTS – 5K/3.1 Miles RUN ***

Results by PRO RACE GROUP of Fresno (www.proracegroup.com)


Overall Finish PACE Race ----- DIVISION ----- - GENDER -

PLACE NAME TIME p/Mile NO. Descript Place Total Place Total CITY

801 June A. Stuckey 44:02 14:13 1141 F/55-59 6 15 380 536 Soldotna AK
802 Stephen J. Charles 44:03 14:13 58 M/55-59 23 29 422 470 Fresno
803 Rene Quintero 44:17 14:17 482 M/55-59 24 29 423 470 Clovis
804 Jonalynn S. McFadden 44:22 14:19 1813 F/25-29 62 72 381 536 Fresno
805 Melanie L. Tatco 44:27 14:21 1022 F/30-34 68 76 382 536 Lemoore
806 Ralph W. Toles 44:31 14:22 467 M/50-54 33 36 424 470 Fresno
807 Maria L. Toles 44:34 14:23 1287 F/45-49 37 53 383 536 Fresno
808 Martha Toledo 44:34 14:23 1464 F/45-49 38 53 384 536 Madera
809 Amber N. Dauer 44:34 14:23 1092 F/15-19 31 39 385 536 Fresno
810 Emily E. Dauer 44:35 14:23 1442 F/09-UN 12 19 386 536 Fresno
811 Frances P. Echeverria Neill 44:41 14:25 1090 F/25-29 63 72 387 536 Fresno

Female Division

63 729 Tamar M. Kenworthy 40:02 12:55 1454 Fresno
64 739 Leah Thompson 40:14 12:59 1471 Fresno
65 752 Jamie L. Eropkin 40:48 13:10 1114 Fresno
66 755 Onna Mehas 40:53 13:12 1239 Fresno
67 763 Dawn Aholu 41:17 13:19 1429 Fresno
68 809 Melanie L. Tatco 44:27 14:21 1022 Lemoore
69 833 Laura A. Reyes 45:10 14:35 1097 Fresno
70 850 Scarlett Noguera 46:51 15:07 1816 Fresno
71 873 Jennifer L. Gannon 48:58 15:48 1487 Fresno
72 879 Jennifer Feaster 49:22 15:56 1745 Clovis

The course: The course was very flat with a strong climb towards the end. Recommended for beginners.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It Feels Good

Now that school is almost over, it's now time to go back to my regular workout routine of 1 hour swim, .5 mile run, and weight training. Like Jim Carrey, I miss exercising!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Drug Addiction

I had a conversation with my sister, Maricel, who noticed something peculiar about me. She claims that I have an addiction to endurance events. Indeed, she is right. Preparing for a century, marathon, triathlon, or Ironman is my drug. Albeit, it's a good one! Mention an event to me and I will clear my weekly schedule to train. What can I say? I enjoy it all!

And by the way, a dear friend of mine has brought up the attention of doing a Half Ironman in California. If he continues to talk the talk, I will definately WALK THE WALK!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Mummy Returns

It's been a few days since my first half marathon and I am definately feeling the pinch. I feel like a mummy!! My legs and feet are sore. I can not get out of bed nor stand up after sitting in a chair for long periods of time. In addition, I can't walk from one place to another without holding an object such as a wall or table. I hope my body recovers soon. Otherwise, I don't know what to do....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Inaugural Trail of Two Cities Half and Full Marathon

The Inaugural Trail of Two Cities Half and Full Marathon was a success. It started off with a Health and Fitness Expo at a church convention center in Fresno, California. There were lots of fitness and nutrition books. In addition, many of the runners got a chance to meet Kathrine Switzer, a famed women's marathoner (see my picture).

The half marathon (13.1 mile) course was very flat, which is great for beginners. At about mile 8, I started cramping. I must admit, I failed to drink lots of water prior to the event. However, I did not want to stop. Like the Energizer Bunny, I kept running and running.

Throughout the course, I got reacquainted with old friends and made new ones. In the end, I was able to finish at reasonable time (3 hours 39 minutes) with many people, especially with two ladies who are my support system- one of them a pioneer, cheering at my side.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lackluster Training

My overall training has been poor. What can I say? I'm not the average athlete who makes millions of dollars. I have a life! I go to school and work to make a decent living. I can't make it to scheduled workouts with a few local clubs because they are all doing the evening. I'll be happy to make it to the treadmill, which is nothing compared to the ground. Hopefully, this won't conflict my performance for this Sunday's run....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Unofficial 13 Mile Rout

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who Let the Dogs Out???

As I was training with my friend Steve for the Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon, I was bitten not by the love bug, but by animal dominance. In the midst of a 11 mile run, two aggressive terriers were running towards my side on a country road. I attempted to use pepper spray as recommended by a reader, but failed to release the button in time. Instead, one of the dogs bit my left leg near the hamstrings, creating a few scabs. Afterwards, I threw the object towards them thinking that they would leave me alone. However, it added towards their frustration. Fortunately, a noble citizen pulled over to the side of the street in my rescue.

Stress Reliever

The other day, I received a letter from the California State Insurance Commission stating that I'm not a licensed driver and owner of a vehicle. I was in a rage. I wanted to go to the insurance office and throw something across their faces. How could this be? Did my insurance company fail to submit their paperwork with my policy plan? Could be their a glitch in the state's computer system? Perhaps a state employee deleted their email stating that I was a new member. Regardless of the situation, I was ready with a vengeance!

I drove all the way to the insurance office and gave them a piece of my mind. One of their agents looked into their computer system and saw that I was a customer in excellent standing. I make my payments on time and haven't had an accident in over a year. My driving record is in near perfection.

Afterwards, he called the California Insurance Commission on my behalf. The representative informed him that there was a problem with their network earlier this year and to accept their apologizes (yeah right!). He then faxed my original paperwork to them.
Once I headed home, I grabbed my bike and went for a run. I wanted to release all of my frustrations and vent. I was on fire! In the end, I was able to complete a 11 mile bike ride and 6 mile run. Boy, did it feel good!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

13 More Days...

It's less than two weeks before my first half marathon and excitement is beginning to linger. I am stronger physically and mentally. Most importantly, I am starting to enjoy the sport of running. Move on people, the Melinator will cross the finish line before you know it!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Valley Girls Ride

Alright, I may be training for my first half-marathon, but I have to go back to my first love- bike riding. The third annual Valley Girls Ride was located in Fresno, California in honor of Marsha Sorenson, a Team in Training Alumna, who died in 2005. All of the proceeds earned will go to local charities.

This is my second time competing in the event. Albeit, it was bitter sweet. A dear friend of mine decided to ride with me after a week of enduring stress. And what a great way to vent our frustrations! Thus, we completed a 65 mile ride in about six hours with very little terrain.

Out of the many courses that I have ridden, this is my favorite ride. It's fun to see people in their costumes (especially men in drag) for a good cause. I plan to ride the VGR next year as it will be bigger and better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Slow-Poke Child Turned Triathlete Ready for Half Marathon

With triathlon season over, it's now time for me to focus on another sport, running. When I was a child, running has been my least favorite activity. I could not qualify for the elementary school track team because I was overweight and slow. The middle school that I attended did not have a cross country team. Besides, my 7th grade P.E. teacher would wander around the track knowing that I would finish last after a mile run (albeit, she would be the only person to cheer once I finished the course-- therefore I would give her kudos for that!).

Now, the tides have turned. I am no longer that "slow-poke" child most people remember. I am consistently running several miles a week in preparation for my first half-marathon. This is in lieu of achieving my ultimate goal of training for my first Half Ironman in 2010.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

1st Annual Tulare Triathlon

Third time is indeed the charm. Another triathlon is in the books. The First Annual Tulare Triathlon was a success.

Like Merced Triathlon, the course is flat which is great for beginners. It consisted of 400 yard swim, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

Swim:The swim was very short, compared to what I experienced last week at Merced. The pool was 25 meters long, as opposed to 50 in Merced. Because of the length of the pool, I didn't feel winded and swam straight through without stopping. Although, once I got out of the pool, I slipped along the transition line and nearly cracked my head.... Ouch!!

Bike: To make up lost time as a result of my fall, I had to pedal fast on the bike. I averaged 17 to 20 miles per hour while on a 10 mile ride. Most importantly, there were no hills! Not so bad for a person who has completed 5 centuries!
Run: I must admit, running is my weakness of all the events in a triathlon. Although, I underestimated my overall performance. I averaged about 4.0 miles per hour. Most importantly, I ran as fast as I could with one of my closest friends at my side. Thanks Mandy!
With another triathlon in the books, I have my eyes set on training for a Half-Ironman in Auburn, California near Sacramento http://www.auburntriathlon.com/. However, it will probably be after nursing school.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Run With the Wind

People say that mother nature does takes it course. Boy, they are right. Since I was a child, I have always loved the wind. I enjoyed having my hair messed up because I was having a bad hair day and watching leaves twist and turn across the sky. Those days are long gone, but not forgotten.

As an athlete, I truly enjoy running with the wind on my shoulders. However, the wind can bring the worst performance that any athlete can endure. While training for the Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon, I became somewhat timid and went to the gym. I managed to get a few miles on the treadmill. Although, I would rather be running with the wind at any time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Number Two is in The Books

The Merced Gateway Triathlon was a very easy course and perfect for beginning triathletes. It consisted of 400 meter swim, 6 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. I had a very smooth transition pace. Most importantly, I did not walk during the run! Overall, I finished at a reasonable time of an hour and fifteen minutes. Not so bad for a second go around, right?

Along the way, I met an 83 year old man competing in this event. He finished first in his age group. Let's hope that I will be in as good shape as him when I reach my eighties.
Top 10:
Division: Women - 30-34
1. Laurel Larkin, Reno, NV 34 0:48:37 O'All: 7
2. Jenny Drake, Fresno, CA 31 0:56:01 O'All: 22
3. Jill Benson, Sacramento, CA 30 0:56:53 O'All: 25
4. Marie Cleveland, San Jose, CA 32 0:57:42 O'All: 27
5. Janet Groome, Castro Valley, CA 30 0:59:58 O'All: 29
6. Colleen Dettling, Merced, CA 31 1:04:06 O'All: 36
7. Leslie Lawson, Atwater, CA 33 1:05:17 O'All: 39
8. Julie Gosling, Bakersfield, CA 34 1:11:47 O'All: 42
9. Melanie Tatco, Lemoore, CA 30 1:12:49 O'All: 43
10. Stephanie Ramirez, Merced, CA 32 1:13:36 O'All: 44

36. Colleen Dettling, Merced, CA 31 1:04:06 30 - 34 / 6
37. Hope Sarafa, San Jose, CA 38 1:04:45 35 - 39 / 7
38. Pam Riffle, Fresno, CA 55 1:05:06 55 - 59 / 2
39. Leslie Lawson, Atwater, CA 33 1:05:17 30 - 34 / 7
40. Ashley Johnston, Fresno, CA 24 1:11:08 19 - 24 / 11
41. Jennifer Duran, Merced, CA 26 1:11:15 25 - 29 / 2
42. Julie Gosling, Bakersfield, CA 34 1:11:47 30 - 34 / 8
43. Melanie Tatco, Lemoore, CA 30 1:12:49 30 - 34 / 9
44. Stephanie Ramirez, Merced, CA 32 1:13:36 30 - 34 / 10
45. Julie Tripp., Merced, CA 40 1:14:37 40 - 44 / 2
46. Mary Hintenach, Merced, CA 51 1:18:17 50 - 54 / 3
47. Deanna Black, Atwater, CA 35 1:19:12 35 - 39 / 8
48. Kristine Ulrich, Fremont, CA 43 1:19:19 40 - 44 / 3
49. Rebecca Moon, Fremont, CA 34 1:26:22 30 - 34 / 11

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nutritional Information With Training

Marathon Training Program:

In regards to all the aspects of marathon training and preparation, nutrition is one of the most important topics for which to thoroughly consider and give your full attention. A carefully conceived training schedule is of little value if a runner fails to properly plan to meet his or her nutritional requirements for long distance training and racing. While a general overview of nutritional guidelines are presented below, specific nutritional issues relating to the long run, the taper period, and the marathon are featured in their own sections of this site. I strongly urge you to take time to review the comprehensive nutritional information presented within these pages.

General Guidelines Water is the drink of choice for both general health and for runs lasting under 90 minutes.
  • Water is the drink of choice for both general health and for runs lasting up to 60 minutes.
  • Sports drinks should be consumed (along with water) for runs over 60 minutes in duration.
  • Don't rely on your thirst mechanism to indicate signs of dehydration.
  • It is virtually impossible to "catch up" on your fluid requirements once you sense that you're thirsty. It is vital to stay well hydrated throughout the day. The color of your urine should be relatively clear. Urine that is dark or approaches the amber color in appearance is a signal that you are dehydrated and need to significantly increase your fluid intake.
  • A word about hyponatremia – While staying well hydrated during endurance exercise is very important, too much of a good thing can be harmful and even potentially fatal. Hyponatremia, also referred to as “water intoxication”, occurs when fluid intake (also including sports drinks) exceeds fluid loss during exercise, resulting in an imbalance between the body's water and sodium levels. This condition can lead to nausea, fatigue and vomiting and in the most severe instances, seizures, coma and even death. For additional information about hyponatremia, check out The American Medical Athletic Association’s on-line brochure entitled “The Right Way to Hydrate for Marathoners“ (PDF format).
  • While there is much debate regarding the proper mix of foods, aim for 65 percent of your total calories consumed coming from a variety of carbohydrate sources.
  • Emphasize healthy and nutritious foods in your diet while limiting your intake of fried and high fat foods.
Preparing Nutritionally for the Long Run, The Taper Period, and The Marathon

Please carefully read the following sections of this site for detailed nutritional information that pertains specifically to these important areas of marathon training:
I highly endorse Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook for any athlete interested in becoming more knowledgeable about, and incorporating sound nutritional principles as part of their overall training.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Almost Over

Triathlon season is almost over with cycling not far behind. A friend of mine, and fellow triathlon coach- remember that man name Justin?, has set up a regiment to keep me slim and fit for next season. He suggested that I should maintain the same routine. Hopefully, I will be able to perform this task.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Running With Jennie

Crazy me has decided to do a marathon with several lifelong friends. We have all made a pact to train for the Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno. Training starts tomorrow. I'll give you details on it as time progresses.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

San Luis Obispo Triathlon Results

Sorry this took a long time to post. Here are the results of my first triathlon:

819 133 Flowers/Barnum-Huckins FF 40/43 Bakersfield, CA 024419
820 414 Melanie Tatco F 29 Lemoore, CA 024433
821 534 Kirsten LaFranchi F 37 Atascadero, CA 024520
822 788 Lori Barksdale F 48 San Luis Obispo, CA 024536
823 745 Thomas Stevenson M 55 Cayucos, CA 024556
824 926 Kristie Rothstein F 36 Shell Beach, CA 024653
825 417 Mary Freiberg F 44 San Luis Obispo, CA 024816
826 565 Mitchell/Kovac/Foglietta MFM 55/28/59 Los Osos, CA 025609
827 779 Debbi Tovsrud F 37 Fresno, CA 025755

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Routine Physical

I went to my local doctor for a routine physical. I have a clean bill of health! Yay! So much for a person who is physically active!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Running on Hills

I never thought that running on hills would be difficult, until I started training. Running has always been my weakness. Today, I met with the Visalia Tri Club at the famed Rocky Hill, where runners, walkers, and cyclists unite. Typically, I would meet a group of people for a bike ride. However, this time was different.

I thought that running on a hill would be a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong. As I approached the top of the hill, I was gasping for breath. Luckily, I had a friend run with me throughout the course. In the end, I was able to complete the course with minimal stoppage.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Biggest Fear

Each time I prepare for an event, I am always petrified of finishing last. As a child, I did not participate in any sports. In P.E., I was always the last person to complete a track course, kick and hit the ball at short distances, and the first one out of the dodgeball inner circle. Because of my lack of athletcism, I never received an intrinsic award for my fitness efforts.

Many years later, I am still haunted of being the final person completing a course. I cannot over come this fear despite earning many cycling and triathlon awards. If anybody can help me overcome my childhood obstacle, your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Schedule Struggle

It's the start of the school year. Already, the demands of my proposed second career in nursing have interfered with my training schedule. Aside from training, I do lead a normal life. I work two jobs and attend school at a local community college. In addition, I have a family and tend to their every need.

I do not enjoy adding a new activity (i.e. academics) as it coincides with preparing for a sports endurance event. I have worked extremely hard to get into shape. I enjoy my activities and meet fellow athletes. However, if nursing will pave the way to perfect my triathlon/marathon/cycling skills, I may have to adjust my calendar. Let's face it, reality is starting to set in.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pure Frustration

It's a matter of months for my next triathlon and first real 5k. Already, I am experiencing frustration and anxiety. A local high school has closed their football stadium late in evening in preparation for the next school day. This leaves me with limited access to a track or trail. I am trying to avoid running on the treadmill at the fitness center, but I have no option at times. Trust me, running in gravity is better than on a machine.

I want to become a good runner. In order for me to accomplish the feat, I need to find a decent place where runners can train in public property such as Blossom Trail in Fresno, California, Eaton Trail in Fresno, California, Woodward Park in Fresno, California, San Francisco Peninsula Trail in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and most notably Central Park in New York City. Otherwise, I will be miserable!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Best Shape

A few years ago, I was an overweight depressed individual. Life seemed meaningless. I had terminated a relationship with a man who could have been my Mr. Right. I did not care about people. To ease my frustration, I sought food as my source of comfort. I lacked exercise and self-esteem. I wanted to die.

It wasn't until a few months later that I wanted to make a change. Therefore, I joined a local fitness center and began exercising. I signed up with a personal trainer who was able to teach me proper strength techniques as well as nutrition. In addition, I enrolled in a few group exercise classes offered at the gym. Furthermore, I met a few sports endurance athletes who encouraged me to cycle with them. Through it all, I was able to lose a significant amount of weight and regain my self confidence.

Within a span of 4 years, I went from overweight to athletic. Also, I have endured the pain of training for several sports endurance events (5 centuries, soon-to-be 3 triathlons, and soon-to-be half marathon). Along the way, I have developed many friendships. I am a happier person. Needless to say, I am in the best shape of my life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mel The Hero

For the past two days, I have heard nothing but congratulatory remarks from my fellow colleagues, teachers, friends, and family. Without their support, I would not have completed my first triathlon.

1. Family- Thanks for your continued support. Mom and Dad I love you with all my heart. You taught me how to overcome many obstacles. Maricel, my dear sister and BFF, you gave me the tool to defend the challenges I endured. To my aunts, uncles, and cousins, you showed me persistence.

2. Team in Training- The greatest organization!! Sheryl, my "other" Mama, thanks for letting me be part of a team dedicated to help find a cure. Coaches Cathy, Bill McE (a.k.a. Mac Daddy), Bill N., Jim F., John G., Peggy S., Steve and Donna D., TC, Jerry and Katherine F., and Alan K., you transformed a scrawny individual with little pedaling experience to an athlete. For that I am truly grateful. To my teammates, Papa Bob Johnson, Becki R., Bob McK, Brian "My Brother from Another Mother," Erik "Papa John," Amy "First Grade," Mandy "My Sister," Mike "The Chauffeur," Dave "Crazy Legs," Rick "Speedy Gonzales," Doreen "Where are you?,"Andy "My Daddy," Karen McE (Mac Momma), Drew "Squeeky," Marcela, Alison, and Abby to name a few- you are the best! I am glad to have made lasting friendships with all of you!

3. Visalia Triathlon Club- There are endless amount of words to describe. I thank all of you for giving me the tool to achieve greater success. Justin- you're the bomb!! Thanks for helping me trying to become a better athlete. Sharon B. and Mike K- you, along with my aunts and uncles, have taught me that persistence is the key to success. So much for a future RN right? Jen, Carol, and Susan= Thanks for always turning my frown upside down! Connie, and Sam- hearing your inspirational stories about your first Ironman make me want to do one... however NOT IN HAWAII OR FLORIDA WHERE SHARKS ARE INVOLVED OKAY!!! And Janet L., we're next okay?

4. Friends- What can I do without you? Faith- I love you sister! You taught me to fight negative criticism. Maria A.- Kindness words, Maria P- laughter is the best medicine, Isabel- being lovable, Shayna- Put trust in God, Joe- Joe Cool, Char- Living life to the fullest, Kim- Be freespirited, DeAnna- Teach people, live well, and to the rest of you- trust!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SLO Triathlon

My first triathlon was a success! I did very well for the first time. What's amazing to me was the course was not difficult at all! Visalia Triathlon Club President Justin Levine had a friend who served as my personal assistant for the day. Poor thing! He was my lap counter and photographer. I told him to take more pictures of me while swimming, biking, and running, but he was so preoccupied that he totally forgot! Anyways, I'm sure that Justin will send out more pictures to the club later on the week.

The 800 meter/.5mile/36 laps/I don't know how many yards swim was very easy. I remembered what Justin taught me during our group swim practices, 1-2-3 strokes, reach far, count to seven, breathe, and stay one sided. Much to my amazement, I finished the swim in 22 minutes (typically, I average 1 lap per minute, so I thought that I was going to take at least 40 minutes). And for added humor, when Ira said that he was finished, I did one more lap -- I thought that he said "one more" instead of "no more!"

Next was the bike, which was a piece of cake. Although there was some rolling hills along the way. I was averaging 15 to 19 miles per hour flat, 4 to 8 mph climbing. Needless to say, I completed it in a little over an hour.

The toughest part of the course was the run. There were lots of steep hills, especially towards the end of the course. I was never a runner until yesterday. I had never ran a steep hill other than using the treadmill (which I usually trained in). I stopped for at least 10 minutes non consecutively to walk. However, as I reached the last hill, I gave it all, ran to the top, and went downhill. I saw Mike Keller, a fellow member of Visalia Triathlon Club, at the last intersection and we finished together. Oh yes, it took me 40 minutes to finish the run.

As Mike and I approached the finishline, we heard the crowd screaming "Go ____!" or "Way to go #____." It was an overwhelming feeling similar to what I experienced riding my first century in Lake Tahoe as a member of Team in Training. Along the way I heard the announcer saying, "Here comes #414, Melanie Tatco from Lemoore, California! You better watch out! She's charging up a storm!" Meanwhile, I saw the VTC gang (Justin, Stephanie, Ira, Jennifer, Carol, Mark, Susan, Dan, Brian, Scott, Kim, John, and Andi to name a few) and gave them each a hi-5 as I crossed. Once my stomach touched the string, I accomplished a feat that nobody my age or older would ever do.

Afterwards, I called my family. Each of them were extremely proud, including my mommy and daddy.

I did this event on behalf of a friend who died in last month due to leukemia. Last year, I made a promise to her that I would do another sports endurance event in her honor. I know I made her proud!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Almost Here

The day has vastly approaching. After all of the hard work and conditioning, I am in the best shape of my life. Training for a triathlon is very rigorous. Although I did not lose any weight as I anticipated, I gained a lot of muscle strength. Now, I am ready to rest in preparation of my first triathlon. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


My idea of becoming vegan ended yesterday. I couldn't resist the piece of t-bone steak that was lying on my kitchen table! Agh! At least I tried, right?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Swimming the Perfect 10

Today was the first time that I had swimming practice with the Visalia Tri-Club. For weeks I have been wanting to show my skills as a swimmer. Being coached by several members of a local high school swim team, I wanted to display my skills. Boy, was I wrong.

While swimming a the first few laps of an 50 m relay (16 laps), I felt a little disoriented. I began to lose energy and gasped for air. Coach Justin "The Mighty" Levine taught me some viable techniques that would help me finish the course. He told me to have my head one sided and in the water as much as possible. This procedure would allow me to save energy and gain strength. Indeed he was right!

I was able to finish the swim portion of the course in under an hour. I may not be an Olympic swimmer, but I did my best.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July Workout

Though many fitness centers were closed for the holiday, I still made time to exercise. I ran with my nieces and nephews, swam with my father, and biked alone all in 100 degree temperature. In addition, I ate at my favorite restaurant, Fresh Choice, in the Bay Area. Needless to say, I am ready for a triathlon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Not Enough Training

Though there is a few more weeks left of training, my body doesn't fee like it's ready for another event. As any athlete can endure, making time to schedule an exercise is very difficult. Work... Kids... Family... School... To resolve this problem, I have devised a plan that will work. May be... How does a lunchtime workout sound? I'll let you know...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Three More Weeks

There are three more weeks to go until my first triathlon. Since then, my workouts have been very rigorous. It consists of 60 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. People have noticed my progression. I have seemed to amaze many people, including myself. Who would have known that I would complete 28 laps around an Olympic-size pool? Three weeks ago, I wouldn't have completed one!

I started spinning classes again. Boy do I miss it! Because of spin, I am training to be... Miss Olympia!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Century Number 5 Continued...

I hope that you are staying cool under the hot sun. Yesterday, I completed yet another century in Cambria (The Gene Cerese Century Classic) with my friend Mandy, who is an alum. For the record, this is number 5. The ride was very scenic with high terrain (it was 3600 feet of climbing). Also the temperature was 85 degrees compared to the record 110 in Fresno. The routed started in Cambria headed East to Paso Robles off of Hwy 46, back to Cambria, turned right on Hwy 1, went to San Simeon, passed the infamous Hearst Castle and Lighthouse, and headed to Ragged Point near Big Sur. Along the way, I had a nice view of the ocean. Total time was about 7 hours.

As I crossed the finishline, I held a button of all of my honorees up high and kissed Debbie. I know that she was watching over me. Chandler, you were in my thoughts friend!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Century Number 5

The Gene Cerese Century Classic was a great experience for me. Flat with high terrain. Over 3600 feet of climbing. Wonderful ride!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Going Vegan and Green

Part of my training regiment is to eat nutritious foods. I must say, I am very particular on where to shop for groceries. For the record, you will NEVER see me purchase foods at a convenience store. Outlet grocery stores are not particularly my favorites. Regular grocery stores such as Save Mart, Albertson's, or Vons are always at the top of the list. However, seeing junk food does make me go sick to my stomach! Wholesome, certified organic stores such as Whole Foods (www.wholefoods.com) and Trader Joe's (www.traderjoes.com) is where you will see me purchasing goods to stack up my refrigerator.

Though I may have to commute to the nearest health foods store (ahem- Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in Fresno, CA), I firmly believe that shopping for nutritional reasons is very cost efficient. Organic foods decrease cancer, heart disease, and fight off the body's immune system. In addition, it promotes biodiversity and minimizes processed foods that are free of hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. Yes, you may think that purchasing an organic cheese is expensive, but in the future it will help you defeat cholesterol.

With all the organic hype that has surrounded our nation, I have decided to "Go Green." I have spent more commuting time on my bike and shopped at local groceries stores where the the USDA Organic logo is displayed. However, don't worry America, I still wear regular clothing as I spend the other half of my income on places where I like to shop for clothes (i.e. Gap, Express, Old Navy, Limited, New York Company, and Macy's) Also, my home consists of somewhat free of hydrogenated fats. Although, I am trying to convince my parents that the reason why their cholesterol level has lowered is due to the processed foods that used to plague our kitchen (Not to mention I did convince them to exercise!). Well, at least I am saving the world right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Store Recommendations

For as long as I can remember, I have always been quite the trendy shopper. Here are few stores that I recommend for any triathlete, cyclist, or marathon runner:

1. REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc)- This national retailer has great products for any sports endurance athlete. They provide excellent service to their customers. Some employees at selected stores are experienced triathletes, cyclists, or marathoners. Their Novara and Canari bicycling clothing lines are very durable. Memberships are available at a one time fee of $25. (www.rei.com)

2. Rubber Soul Bicycles, Fresno, CA- Great service.... All of their staff members are experienced cyclists who are willing to help people with their cycling needs. Supports local charities such as Team in Training and California Bicycle Coalition. (www.rubbersoulbicycles.com)

3. Sierra Running Company, Fresno, CA-Staff members at this store know how to run. They consists of experienced runners and triathletes who answer to all your needs. Knowledgeable staff will assist you with the fitting process into purchasing the perfect shoe and tri gear. (www.sierrarunco.com)

4. TriSports.com- Online retailer founded by triathletes that offers products at affordable prices. In addition, they have weekly specials and clearance sales to members. (www.trisports.com)

5. Sierra Bicycle Werks, Visalia, CA- Wonderful staff and a friendly owner. A 10 percent discount is offered for cycling club and Team in Training members. (www.sierrabicyclewerks.com)

With this said and done, it is time for me to go to bed!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My First 5K

I cannot believe that I did the unthinkable! As part of my triathlon training, I am supposed to run several miles whether it would be on a treadmill, track, flat land, or hilly course. Well, today I decided to do a 5k (3.5 mile) run on a treadmill! Never have I ran this many miles since my early collegiate years. The most I ever ran on a treadmill was at least 1 mile.

Running on a treadmill always seemed hard for me. I never could withstand walking or running for several miles. At least in cycling, you are able to sit on a seat for long periods of time. However, after the first mile I decided to change my ways. I was able to complete the course in a little over half an hour.

I know that a 5K run may seem a lot to you, but it doesn't to me. A 5k is a stepping stone towards greater achievements. Another triathlon, marathon, and century ride are in the works. Most importantly, it will help me lead a productive lifestyle.

For the record, the picture posted on the left is not me!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


(Cycle Campaign Coordinator Sheryl and Bob- Team Tahoe 07 and 08)

(Ben and Me- Team Tahoe '07)

(Left to Right: Alice, Amy, Denice, and Erik- Team Tahoe '08)

As a member of Team in Training, I have made many lasting friendships. Above are some people who I have met. Those who are missing are Brian, Andy, Mike, Mandy, Janet, Laura, Dave G., Greg G., Pete, Nancy, Shelly, Kasey, Trish, Heidi, and lastly Debbie Turner (1958-2008). I think about them all the time, especially Miss Deb. I miss them all!!

Swimming with Relaxation

I finally swam in my kidney-shaped pool at my backyard. I did not have a rigorous training day under the sweltering 100 degree heat. (Justin, Susan, and the rest of the Visalia Tri Club members, if you are reading this blog, today is the day that I prefer relaxation!!!) Rather than sticking to my regiment, I swam like a fish and managed to do a few laps around the pool. Hopefully, my little time at the yard will help me become a stronger triathlete.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I went to the gym only to find out that I left my shoes! I only had packed one pair for my left foot and forgot the other! Agh!! At least I will be there tomorrow. Hopefully I will remember to bring my shoes at that time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 4 of Training

Training for Debbie Turner

I received word via email that Debbie Turner, one my leukemia honorees, passed away earlier this week. She was loved by several people. Below is a short note that I am writing to her:

Dear Debbie,

You are inspiration to many people. Thanks for being my friend. I will miss your smile, warmth, and constant emails about life. Please watch over me as I train for several sporting events as a member of TNT (see my swimming picture on the left). Ms. Turner, you will always be my hero!

Love always,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Swim Swim Swim!!

The other day, I signed up as a member at the local YMCA. For the past few days, I have utilized their pool services as a part of my training regiment. The fitness center that I joined prior to this didn't have an Olympic-sized pool for me to train. And for those of you know where I reside, the kidney-shaped one that I have in my backyard is not sufficient for me to use.

While at the Y, a few high school swimmers employed at the facility have been serving as my swim coaches. They have been teaching me the fundamentals of swimming One of the products that I have been using is a buoy (see picture on the right) which has been a great tool for perfecting a swimmer's strokes. In addition, energy is saved rather than stopped midway through the route. Thus I will continually use the buoy until the coaches say so.

Well, that's enough from me now! In the meantime Happy Trails!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Triathlon Training Part Deux

Just got finished riding and weight training in the midst of the Laker/Celtic game. Okay Celtics fans, you can say your "hoo-ha's" if you so please. Did a 40 mile ride after weight training. I wanted to swim, but the water in my backyard is too cold! The pool at the fitness center is closed for maintenance. I will probably will go tomorrow. Until then, ttyl!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Attention Parents!

The other day, I rode with a few cyclists at a local city park. I came a cross a Moms-in-Motion team as they were training for a sports endurance event. They brought their children, some in strollers, to help them train. For those of you who don't know, Moms-in-Motion (www.momsinmotion.com) is an international network created by a stay-at-home mother that connects mothers through wellness and philanthropy. In addition, they promote childhood nutrition and physical fitness.

As an educator, I am saddened that our nations youth has gone through a health crisis. Childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. Over 20 percent of children are overweight. Thirty percent of children are developing Type 2 Diabetes. Hypertension and heart disease are also on the rise. Lack of exercise and nutrition are factors to this problem. Schools are providing processed foods to children and cutting physical education programs because of budget cuts.

There could be many reasons why children are extremely overweight, but the answer is plain and simple. Parents need to educate them proper nutrition and exercise will help them gain self confidence. Joining fitness clubs such as Moms in Motion and Team in Training (yes I am biased!) teaches children how to live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore parents who are reading this blog, please take care of your children before it is too late.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cycling Journey

For the past year and a half, I have been a cycling enthusiast. Above are pictures throughout my journey.