Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why is it pronounced del-VAL?

Today I was driving to Lake Del Valle to swim and run. I kind of didn't want to go but there was sort of a chance someone was meeting me there so I figured I had to show up since it was my idea. But there was enough of a chance no one else would show up and then I'd have to decide if I was going to swim by myself, which technically is dangerous.

I'm thinking these random thoughts as I force my body into the car with wetsuit and assorted paraphanellia and I'm driving out to Livermore when my GPS tells me to turn on "valley-ceeto" road. "Hey, moron," I yell at my GPS (yes, I talk to inanimate objects. A lot.), "it's Vi-yay-ceetos. Valle is pronounced vi-yay, not valley. And there's an S on the end, too."

My GPS is not cowed by my correction and continues to mispronounce the road until we move onto a new one.


I get to the lake and see no signs of anyone who looks like they might be swimming. However, the entire parking lot is filled to the brim and most of the cars have boat trailers. I have never seen the parking lot so full and I have never seen so many boat trailers. Now I am cowed. The lake is going to be crazy with boats.

A man about my age is coming up from having swum and starts talking to me. Turns out he's from a tri club in Stockton and is doing Vineman Half too. We talk a bit, but I need to get down to the docks just in case E from my club actually shows up. Plus, I've finally figured out that when guys have these conversations with me they are actually flirting with me (at least a little) and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Sorry, random dude from Stockton who probably is in a serious relationship and just being friendly...

Anyway, I do decide to swim by myself. Normally there are tons of other people swimming even if they aren't "with" me and even when I swim with a group I tend to end up by myself for large portions of the swim. Plus the lake is narrow where we swim so, if I get in trouble, I can just swim over to the edge and stand up. The only real danger is a boat driving over me and knocking me out and, in spite of the hundreds of empty boat trailers in the parking lot, there aren't a lot of boats in this part of the lake.

There aren't the usual swimmers either but I'm in my wet suit and I want to swim.

So I swim. And swim.

My first thought was to swim 30 minutes out and 30 back but there is a current fighting me on the way out and I had to stop and mess with my goggles and my Road Id so I figure I should go a bit farther than 30 minutes out if I want to swim an hour. But when I get to the 30 minute time buzzer, I'm almost to the point where the lake turns into a bulb (and where the boats tend to hang out). If I swim to the point and turn around, I'll get in at least 2 miles, which will make me happy.

So I keep swimming. I get to 45 minutes and I'm not quite to the point but I'm starting to see boats and I'm not sure I can go for more than 1 and 1/2 hours so I turn around. Nothing horrible has happened so far. Several boats have driven by but nothing close to me at all. Still no other swimmers though.

The swim back is great. The current is with me and I find myself really reaching with my left arm, which I don't always do. (Right arm, yes. Left arm, not so much.) It's so peaceful too. I am reminded, once again, of how much I love open water swimming, especially warmer water. My timer buzzes just before I get back to the docks and I'm a bit disappointed that it took longer to get back than to go out but then I turn off my Garmin and take it out of my swim cap and it says 1:21 min!

For some reason I think it also says 1.5 miles. Wow, I've gotten slow, I think. I should have thought, "that makes no sense as I went passed the second outhouse which is the turn around for 1.5 miles". But I'm too happy and invigorated by my swim to care.

I change for the run and I take off. I'm trying something new this time -- running with Fluid Recovery Drink. Yes, it has some amino acids in it, but I figure cookies and chicken broth do too and I've run successfully with those.

The run goes pretty well. I have to walk some parts that are steeply uphill. Then I get to the mostly downhill part and it makes things start hurting so I end up walking a bit of that. I also end up taking two potty breaks. It seems the Fluid makes me very gassy. Very, very gassy. So no more Fluid on the run.

I get back to the end of the trail and I'm not quite to 4 miles so I run a bit into the parking lot until I get to an even four and then I stop. Four miles! Even with two potty breaks and two small bits of walking that's still much better than I've done up until now. My goal to get back up to being able to run a 10k before IM Canada is looking better and better.

On the way home, my GPS tells me to turn onto Del Vi-yay Rd. Well played, GPS, well played. But it makes me wonder. Why do we pronounce it Del-VAL and not Dell VI-yay (or even day VI-yay)? The lake is in a valley and valle is Spanish for valley. I wonder if it used to be called de Valle, pronounced day VI-yay) and over time we Anglos anglicized it?

Hmm. I guess it's not just swimming that makes me meditative.

When I get home, I figure out that my pace for the 1.5 miles would mean it will take me 2 hours and 9 minutes to do 2.4 miles. That makes no sense, so I figured I've screwed up the formula. But no matter how I run the numbers, it comes out the same. This leads me to actually look at what the Garmin uploaded. Oh, I swam 2.02 miles, not 1.5! I'm not sure where that 1.5 came from. Well, I didn't have my glasses on, so that's my excuse.

2.02 miles in 81 minutes means 2.4, if done at the same pace, would give me 96 minutes on the clock. That's faster than I was at this time last year and I had plenty of energy left at the end of the swim so I'm sure I could tack on .38 miles more at the same pace. I think I could even go faster if I paid more attention. (I tend to drift off in my head and forget to push myself when I swim by myself. Not as much in a race, though even then I sometimes lose focus.)

All in all, it was a good day. I came home to the kids' bathroom being mostly clean as well. (Shock. I asked Mini-Mac to do her main weekly chore and she did it without me being there to make her.)

Tomorrow is my first 100 miler bike ride of the season and I'm finally starting to feel ready for Canada.

I even have some strategies cooking. I'm going to run 3 miles and walk to the next aide station and repeat for the run. This will give me six miles of walking and 20 miles of running, which is actually fairly respectable. I can't do that quite yet but I think I can get to that  point in the next six weeks. And, since I can't run all out like I want to, I'm not going to save anything in the swim or ride. I've seen from past races that there isn't any point in saving myself as it's not my engine that is going to give out but my calf. In fact, my "run" tends to be more like a recovery workout at the best of times these days.

I'll further refine these strategies over the next two months and figure out a new nutrition plan since nothing I usually race with seems to be carried locally any more. I'm going to try cut up Powerbar Energy Bars and Stinger Waffles for tomorrow's bike ride. I'm also hoarding my last Powerbar Energy Bites just in case. I'm going to switch to Fluid + Nuun for an energy drink as well. I've biked with Fluid before. It actually works pretty well except for not having enough electrolytes, but Nuun tablets should fix that. Or I can just take in more Enduralytes. I have a big bottle of them and I don't sweat much so they've lasted forever.

We'll see how it goes and I'll report back after tomorrow's (hopefully epic) bike ride.
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