UPCOMING EVENTS for 2016: Puerto Rico Marathon (March), Virginia/Pennsylvania Marathon Double (April), Cedro Peak Ultra 45k (April), Quicksilver 50k (May) NUT 50k (June) Lake Tahoe Trail 50K (July), Cloudsplitter 55K (October)

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure. This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, and triathlete. Along the way I've cried, laughed, fallen, gotten up, lost, won, hallucinated, been dehydrated, DNF'ed, and been DFL.
I also swear. Alot.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Favorite training foods.

I was told not too long ago that "for a vegetarian, you look pretty healthy."
Uh, thanks! Actually, my diet is well supported in the literature as being ideal for athletes. I have a link (down and to the right) to the physician's committee for responsible medicine on diets for vegetarian atheletes. I'd also like to share some of the things I've picked up as an Athena (heavy) female (hormonal) and vegan (where do you get your protein?) athlete.

For breakfast, I like instant oatmeal, any brand and any flavor that doesn't have milk or whey in it. Complex carbs like those in oatmeal kind of line your stomach and help regulate the absorption of carbs into your system. Kashi has a new one out that's complete vegan, and uses fruitose and cane juice instead of sugar. Right before we leave town for an event, if I have my 'druthers, I like a huge plate of curly fries from Hurricane's and a side order of green chili. But that might not work for everyone. For carb-loading, I prefer whole-wheat pasta (see earlier mention of complex carbs) with TVP nuggets and/or veggie sausage chunks and olives. Gives me complex carbs and veggie protein. I eat my last meal as lunch the day before a race.

Energy bars: There's LUNA BARS. They're fab, and I like the fact that they sponsor women-only triathlons. Their big brother, CLIF BUILDER BARS are terrific, too. Both are yummy, and animal-free. Soy protein, all the way. GNC's pro-performance protein-95 is soy protein isolate, if you MUST get some extra, and it comes in banana flavor. I like to drink CYTOMAX before and after workouts, because it provides carbs in the form of fruitose and electrolytes, it calms my stomach before a race, and doesn't give me the cramps during events that other drinks. I got into the habit of taking Clif shots from time to time - I like the company because of the reasons I mentioned before, plus they also were handing these out at aid stations along the first half marathon I ever did.
I take magnesium, calcium (no oyster shell) supplements from time to time, and iron supplements during "that time of month". BTW, don't take iron and calcium during the same meal; they can interfere with each other's absorption rate.
My favorite post-race recovery drink is a Silk Chai Latte. Silk soymilk has a ton of potassium in it, and it just plain tastes good, ice cold, going down. Husband prefers the mocha flavor.

If you let me play sports

If you let me play sports
I will like myself more
I will have more self-confidence
If you let me play sports.

If you let me play,
I will be 60 percent less likely to get breast cancer
I will suffer less depression.


If you let me play sports,
I will be more likely
to leave a man who beats me.

If you let me play,
I will be less likely to get pregnant
before I want to.
I will learn what it means to be strong.
If you let me play sports.


(from a 1996 award-winning Nike ad. Nike, by the way, is the companion to goddess Athena in Greek mythology)

More plans for 2006.

I've been perusing the training plans at begginertriathlete.com and have decided on the 16-week, run-focused Olympic plan. I'm going to try to run the Buffman and Squeaky Olympic distance triathlon in Buffalo Springs. it's more than a little daunting. First of all, Buffalo Springs has this insane climb immediately out of the canyon on the bike. Not really much chance to get a running strart. In fact, the entire bike portion is up and down hills, in and out of canyons. Yikes. But what the hell, right? I'm having trouble deciding between the Tour de Acoma and the Fiesta Marthon. You see, they are both the same weekend, although one is Saturday (marathon) and the other Sunday. I'd like to do them both, but I don't know how possible that is.

I went to the Dr. the other day to see him about some things. One is my weight. Why aren't I the sleek athletic hollow-boned bird person I dream of being? I know I lost 30 pounds during 2005. But still. He showed me a graph of my weight over the past 5 years. "If I were to draw a line right through the middle of these spikes, it would be the weight you are right now. You're healthy, and not terribly overweight. You're just a big girl". Of course that means I'll have to give up my dreams of being the tiny, sleek bird person who flies like the wind, and perhaps be a large woman who lumbers like the wind. It also means I can focus now, on being a fast, ass-kicking ATHENA.

On a happy note, I will be getting a pair of prescription sports goggles soon. No more glasses that are too heavy and sliding down my nose. I haven't decided between M frames and Half Jackets yet. Also, I'll be getting a pair of swim goggles for nearsighted ninnies such as myself. More toys, oh, boy oh boy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Obsess much?

I read somewhere recently that, "runners tend to be very rigid, schedule-oriented people" and, "triathletes are often obsessive people, consumed with details". I wonder if this is true? For the past couple days I've had off, I've been obsessing over my training schedule for the next six months. I'm determined to dramatically increase/improve my performance. So much so that I'm googling potential competitors to see if how much they've improved, finding out what they do (so that I can determine the liklihood of them showing up at certain races) and whether or not I'm likely to beat them, if they do. Loading times and such into spreadsheets.

Hmmm. Am I approaching this in the spirit of sportsmanship. I feel like some kind of robot, obsessed with PR's and other such numbers (VO2 max, lactate threasholds, et cetera). I want to be certain that I keep enjoying myself, and that I don't push myself too hard or take it too personally when I don't do as well as I'd planned.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Training Plans

I'm going to do another half marathon President's Day weekend '06. It's part of my training plan for my first marathon, the "Fiesta de Albuquerque" marathon in April. It's to celebrate the 300th birthday of Albuquerque. It's a very ambitious plan. We'll see if I stick to it.
Meanwhile, I'm off for the next two full glorious weeks. No schools, no books, no students' parents' dirty looks. Yay! I'm going to spend this time at the gym, and laying about at my MIL's, reading non-academic reading and napping, in San Antonio. Hmmmm.
Happy Holidays, y'all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

GOALS, 2006

Okay, so here are my goals for 2006
Mainly, improve run and swim time dramatically, and bike time somewhat.
Training:
Spin classes at least twice a week: bike 18 miles flat in 1 hour.
Swimming at least 3 times a week, sub 10 minutes for 400 m. swim
Running: start speedwork to improve 5K times, 1 long run every week, sub 10-minute mile.
Events:
Run 3 full marathons (Lost Dutchman in Feb; Fiesta in April, and Duke City in October)
Run several 10K's throughout the year.
Run at least 8 triathlons to qualify for the SW Challenge series

Personal:
Take 1 art class, and belly dancing. Maybe start ASL.

Professional:
obtain LPC liscense, try to talk RR into creating an Athletic counselor position at the high school, graduate with 2nd MA

Monday, December 12, 2005

First race, 2005-2006 Season

December 10th - Polar Bear Triathlon at White Sands Missile Range.
What a great race! Yes, it was c-c-cold, but it was perfect for a reverse triathlon. Although I'm still PAINFULLY slow, I had two goals: new PR, and don't be dead last.
Coming in on the 5K, I was just behind a race walker. I kicked it just ahead of her, more for personal pride than anything - if you've read my previous posts, you know that my ass has been kicked by a 60-year-old and an 11-year-old; I'm darned if I'm going to come in after a walker, too. Anyway, new PR on the run: a little over an 11 minute mile.
The 18.6-mile bike was a nice course, mostly flat and wind-y. My fingers were frosty - (note to self: next time remember that the gloves were in your helmet was so you'd remember to wear them) NOW, in on the bike, then off with the leg warmers, jacket, arm warmers, shoes, socks...jump in the pool for the 400 meters. Husband ran too, set a new PR, I think, and got 1st place the Clydesdale. Son ran too. He didn't place, but did pretty well. Had his first on course flat tire. Good learning experience.
Results: 3rd place, Athena Division
Dog count: One person was forward enough to bring their dog into the restaurant where the pasta meal was served afterwards. Jeez!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tuscon Bobbi Olson Half Marathon Race report


Morning, just outside of Tuscon. I was picked up at a designated parking area by buses at 5:00 am and carried to the start line for those running in the half marathon. In the shadow of the Catalinas I am sitting on a bus, waiting at the start line for the Bobbi Olsen half marathon. I was one of the lucky ones. Early and one the first bus, the other buses have left and this one is staying to collect drop bags. So those of us on it are allowed to sit on it until about 6:30. more than a thousand other peopole are milling abouat, trying to keep warm, huddled near the open doorway of the bus. I fall asleep briefly.
I go to the portajohn and there's no toilet paper. Okay for this time, but if it happens again, the $2 gloves will have to be sacrificed. The race starts at 7:00 and it's cold outside. Some people are huddled near the rear of another bus. After we're asked to vacate the bus, I try that, but my eyes are stinging so I leave it. I don't want to try to run 13 miles having been poisoned by carbon monoxide. Note to self: next year, just in case, bring a disposable puffy jacket. Maybe something picked up at Goodwill. Walkers are lined up near the rear. Thank God for them; they make me feel so swift later on, when I'm barely shuffling along. For now, though, I am about in the middle of a pack of 2 or 3 thousand, ready to go.
And we're off! I start up my watch so that it goes off every 9 minutes. At that point I walk a minute and a half or so, and then take off running for the next alarm. The day is cold and clear, with no wind, and dry. The course is the shoulder and right lane of oracle road south toward Tuscon. It's clear and clean blacktop.
Mile 2, I'm starting to see hats strewn by the side of the road. All kinds of hats, thrown into the ditch. I wonder what happens to these. Do people try to come back and find them? Do homeless people look forward to the annual Marathon because it's a source of warm clothing? It's nice out, and the sun is coming up. My MP3 player is chugging away. Still on the
same battery. I'm feeling good. I pick up the pace a little.
Mile 4 or so, and now the clothing on the side of the road is jackets and a couple of knitted scarfs. We are directed to turn left. We run up a side street, then down another side street, turned around, and then backtrack out onto Oracle, heading south again. It's at first humbling because I'm running past all the people ahead of me, which I previously could not see. But then on the way out to Oracle, I pass people that I'm ahead, and I feel better. Easy, Misty. It's not a
contest. Just try to finish.
Mile 7 as I come out of the little jog off the side. The time on my watch, now 2 minutes walking for every 9 minutes, and it goes excrutiatingly slow. I'm dragging. I'm tired. I wonder if I will finish walking.
At mile 8, I hear a siren behind me and a motocycle police officer ride by, escorting the first runner of the full marathon, which started a half an hour later than the half marathon, PAST ME. I stop and take a gel and some water from the guys on the side. I'm feeling pretty weak. The legs are getting slower and heavier.
Mile 9. The ankle is talking to me now. "I hate you," it says. "This road is not even, and I want to sit down." It is also clear to me that my left shoe is on too tight. I've already loosened it up twice. I grab another Clif shot and suck down the last of my water bottle mixture. Somewhere around Mile 10, the gel kicks in. Or maybe it's my 2nd wind. Whatever it is, I'm in a rythem now. Slow run, walk 1 minute out of every 5. I discover that the cadence of the song, "Fly away" by Lenny Kravitz is perfect for a good running pace for me, so I keep backing up and listening to it over and over again. By the way, the course is NOT completely flat or downhill, there are some times when the road curves toward the mountains and gently uphill.
Mile 11, or maybe 12. I stop, take some water, and the guy says "just one more mile to go". LIAR. There's nearly 2 miles to go, as it turns out, and as I wind down to the last mile, I can see a large arch of balloons in the distance. Alright! I'm going to kick it and give it the rest of what I've got so that I can run in strong. I do that, and as I approach the balloons, everyone is yelling. Woohoo! Alright! Way to finish! You're almost there!!!"
ALMOST THERE? Come again? I run under the arch, and round the corner, and now the run course is surrounded on both sides by people screaming, "yeah! alright! You're almost there! I run straight down about 25 yards and round another corner, and there, 100 yards ahead of me, is the finish line. I'd had this idea that I'd do something cute and theatrical but all I'm focused on is the big FINISH and the pad I'm to run over. I run weakly over it, having blown out the last of my energy getting to the balloon arch, and then stop. An older man walks up to me. Places a hand on my shoulder. Would I like to sit down? Yes, please. Very much. I'd like to sit down. I'm feeling a little woozy. He cuts the chip off my shoe and hands me a bottle of cold water. Another volunteer comes over and hands me a finisher's medal. Hell yes I'll take it. I'll wear it until my legs stop hurting. Later on, I go back and wait for husband, who is running the full marathon. He can report that to you on his own.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Tuscon's a go.


Earlier this month Husband got a petulant call from a friend who lives in Tuscon. "I guess you aren't coming for the Tour de Tuscon," He said, "since you're not here" Indeed. In order to to the TdT, we would have had to leave immediately after work on Friday, drive until midnight, and then get up at dawn to do it. That leaves the realm of "fun" and enters the realm of pathological obsession. BUT, we did sign up to do the Tuscon Marathon on December 4th. Husband is doing the full, and I'm doing the half. They have a "filly" division, and I expect this is the last year I'll be able to qualify. It's for women 160 pounds and up. I've been right at about 160 the past 3 months or so, but I've decided to stop taking some evil meds that my doc put me on - Not that HE's evil; he's awesome, but since I started taking them my training and weight loss have slowed immensely - okay, yes, I'm babbling again. In any case, based on last years results, just for showing up I may place third. My first half marathon! Then of course, on the 10th, the Polar Bear Triathlon, the first tri of the new season. (No web page, but there's the info: Reverse 5K R, 30K B, 400M S, Location: White Sands Missel Range, NM, Contact: Bill Velez, 505.678.3374)

This picture is a statue of Athena. Isn't she awesome? That's the weight division that I am in when I do triathlons. Much better than "lady clydesdale". Here's what Wikipedia says about her (edited): "Athena, (Greek θηνά Athēná or θήνη Athénē), the Greek goddess of wisdom, strategy, and war ...is attended by an owl, and is accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike. Athena is also a goddess associated with mentoring heroes. Athena is an armed warrior goddess, never a child; she is said to have found the advances of men to be childish. According to Plato, Athena was derived from A-θεο-νόα (A-theo-noa) or H-θεο-νόα (E-theo-noa) meaning the mind of God (Crat.407b). Athena was patron of the art of weaving and other crafts, wisdom and battle. Athena's domain was strategy and tactics."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Feel GOOD!


Husband and I went down to Sports and Wellness today for a workout. My run was 4.5 miles, and my swim was faster than is has been. Considering what today is, I feel virtuous and very healthy. Then it was back home to pop the Tofurkey in the oven (don't laugh unless you've already tried it) and heat up all the usual side dishes. We're sharing Thanksgiving with the Tri club today. have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Random thoughts.

I'm now a member of the New Mexico Outlaws tri club. Actually, I think they were pretty happy to have the Husband and are kind of stuck with me, but if they are, they're awfully nice about it. I like triathletes. They're high-energy folks who don't take themselves too seriously and like to have fun. I feel a little out of sorts, because they all seem really sleek and athletic, but they're so encouraging and accepting, and I feel like I might be somewhat athletic too, when I'm around them. We go out for these runs on Sundays. Well, we start out on runs. Usually after the first 50 yards I'm already wayyy back, so I take along my MP3 player. I've worked my way up to about an 8 mile jog. Husband does something like 20 miles. Then I go for a swim, which feels grrrreat!

Husband and I are considering the Tuscon marathon December 4th. Actually I'm considering the half marathon. It's all supposed to be downhill, which could be nice or could realllllly suck. I'll keep you posted on this. A lot of it depends on whether I want to arrive home at 10 pm after a half marthon and then go teach 90 8th-graders the next day. That could really suck, too. But it would be my first half marathon. If nothing else, the Polar Bear tri is the following weekend.

The problem with my current training plan is the the local high school swim team has a stranglehold on the pool after school from 3 to about 5. I think I'm going to switch gyms, too. Here's my choices:
the new gym (Defined Fitness) is a mile from my house and a little less expensive, and only adults or kids age 15 and over are allowed, and a good friend teaches a couple cardio dance classes that I enjoy, but it doesn't offer much in the way of amenities. The treadmills automatically shut down after 35 minutes and you have to reset them. You can join month-to-month.
the other gym (NM Sports and Wellness) is 5 miles away through traffic and a little more expensive, and requires a contract. Sometimes there are young kids swimming in the pool, but it has provides shampoo, conditioner, towels, blow-dryers, rentable lockers, two pools and no high school swimming practice. It also has nicer treadmills. (I'm not a weanie, but it is getting below freezing and I need to run.)
My current training plan:
Sundays, long run. Increase by 10% each week. Then swim 500 yards. Although this isn't exactly an ice bath, I think it's a good recovery activity.
Mondays, swim about 500 yards, and then cardio dance. For the heck of it. Stretching afterwards.
Tuesdays, run 35 minutes (working on Galloways' half marathon plan) and then swim 500 yards.
Wednesdays, off.
thursdays, run 35 minutes, and then swim 500 yards. Working on speed and no rests.
Fridays, bike in to work and then swim 500 yards after work.
Saturdays, bike to down town (my "long" ride) and back, 10 miles or so each way.
I'm going to work on increasing the biking after Christmas. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Galloway's Book on Running

I got a $10 gift cert from a science teacher thingy that I was involved in this fall, and I ran straight away down to Barnes and Nobel. Awesome. I love this book. Now, if there were only one like this about swimming!

Long run: I'm up to 7.5 miles now. I joined a closer gym to get more swimming in. 2.5 weeks until the "Polar Bear Triathlon".

Friday, November 04, 2005

Haiku for The Sims

Playing God today
a therapist's therapy
purposeful chaos

I've discovered the Sims. Why didn't anyone every tell me about these? They are the ultimate destressing tool after a difficult session or a long day of sessions. As a beginning therapist, I'm always acutely aware of my ethics, what to say, what to do, concentrating on the client and their thought functions. Sims are awesome. I can create people and then deliberately screw up their lives. Very satisfying.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Great Pumpking Chase

I was last runner in. Very discouraging. I was way ahead of a bunch of people, but they turned out to be 5K-ers, so they dropped out after the first loop and crossed the finish line. When I kept going, I was alone, way behind the other 10K-ers, and very lonely.
It was a nice run, though. Through one of Albuquerque's nicest neighborhoods and then along the Bosque trail. But I wasn't ready for it. My time was abysmal, and now my knee hurts, which has never hurt before. I keep telling myself that at least I finished, but it's discouraging when they start doing awards before you've even finished the race.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Duke City Marathon, and a cool new T-shirt.

Today I did a 5K at the Duke City Marathon. Not ready for that, or the half marathon yet, (I tested myself last week; trust me, I'm not ready) but it's my new goal for next year. I ran pretty well, slightly less appallingly slow. Husband did the half-marathon. That and the marathon course go down by the Bosque, which is where this picture is taken (This picture is also on the Long-sleeved T-shirt. Cool.) The 5K went up 2nd, down Central, and then down Laguna through one of Albuquerque's oldes and prettiest neighborhoods. It was all to benefit the New Mexico Cancer Center.

A big STICK to all the local down town businesses who were happy enough to open and rake in all the extra money on a Sunday morning, when down town is usually dead, but then closed their bathrooms to Marathoners. This includes the down town Hyatt, who not only locked their bathrooms but posted a guard outside to shake her head at us. I'll remember this when making recommendations to out of town guests.

Next up: The Great Pumpkin Chase. I may wear a costume.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Post-season

I mentioned to my husband that I was an okay swimmer and biker, but I suck as a runner. I am so slow. Usually not many people pass me on the bike; I usually hold my own, but I'm such a slow runner that it really hurts my time. His response was something he said he heard another triathlete say to a similar concern: "That's what winter is for"

SOoo I'm going to approach running the same way I approach everything else. Read, read, read; research, research, research, and then run, run, run. I joined CoolRunning where I got my original "Couch-to-5K" plan and I'm also reading a top 10 tips article. I'm also reading current issues of Runner's World.

It's finally cool here again. I love fall in Albuquerque. And it's great running weather. Rarely below 20 or above 60 between October and April. I figure I might be in good shape to start running, because I've been running 2 or 3 5K's per week and I haven't had any sore anything.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Life under a giant mobile.

This past week, the day before I participated in my 2nd triathlon, Husband and I took a couple friends to see the annual international "Balloon Fiesta" that is held in Albuquerque every year. For those of you that don't know, apparently the conditions of the high desert to the west, river valley, and and mountains to the east converge to make this a perfect area for hot-air ballooning. The result, then, is like living under a child's crib toy most of the time between September and April. In the fall and spring, it's not unusual to get up on the weekend and see 20 or so balloons up in the air, just hanging there or lofting along in the breeze.

On the first official day of the fiesta, we took off in the Roo pre-dawn, and crawled through murderous traffic, something you don't want to do more than once. If we hadn't had guests, we would have parked miles away and ridden our bikes. To actually be on the field, you pay $$, but it's kind of cool to get up close and see how these things are inflated and fly. It's considered quite an honor to get to "crew", which are the group of people who do all the grunt work of unfolding, holding, standing in front of a blasting cold fan and then pulling on ropes, after which they may or may not get to go for a flight. It's hard work, and as I've made no secret, I'm not someone who relishes just effort for effort's sake. Triathlons are different, that's all there is too it.
In any case, there were over 600 balloons, I think that's what someone told me. Lots of them were "special shapes" meaning that they were something other than the teardrop familiar ones we see. To the left, you can see a Wells Fargo balloon, and a couple of inflated bees that - yes, it was too cute! - bent over and appeared to kiss while they were being inflated. A few familiar ones, like Smokey the bear, and a few new ones. It's fairly entertaining, and a couple times during the week that is the Fiesta! they also have fireworks displays, which Husband and I view from up on the mesa on our balcony.

All in all, it makes for a fanciful place to live. Don't you wish you could live in ABQ?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stealth Triathlon, Almagordo NM



I just got back from the Stealth Triathlon and I am whipped. I don't know

where the web page is for this. I'm still trying to find it. The Stealt is relatively flat, a a reverse 5-30-400, and I burned up everything I had on the 30K bike. The run and bike were both out-and-backs. By the time I hit the pool, I had nuthin'. I mean, nuthin'. I wound up doing the back stroke almost the entire 400 meters.
After that, I was a rag doll.

The weather was pleasant - cloudy and threatening to rain, just the way I like it in New Mexico, since it is rarely humid here, even under those circumstances. Another competitor (Kathy) and I pretty much hung together. kathy is a fabulous gal, and I don't think she'd mind saying that she's a cancer survivor who has been doing this for over 15 years. She threw lots of tips my way, and her enthusiasm was contagious. I practiced standing on the pedals going uphill and "rocking the bike". Plus, she warned me about cars and bumps in the road.
Husband, of course, was finished (2nd place, Clydesdales) and dry long before I showed up for the pool but what's cool about that is that someone is there to cheer and yell encouragement. Plus Peter and Patrick from Tuscon were there - we'd all gone Saturday morning to see the Grand Ascention (sp?) which is where hundreds of hot air baloons take off all at once. Pictures when I get them developed. There were actually some pictures taken of me at this triathlon, too, which I hope to share with you soon.
Results: My goal, as usual, to finish and not be dead last. I made it, and placed 3rd in the Athenas.
I'm going to go flop down and eat some Soy Delicious Decadence.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I'm not being modest.

Sometimes in a mass start when I tell people things like, "you should go ahead of me; I'm really slow and it's easier than passing me down the road," people assume either I'm fast but modest, or slow and have low self esteem. If it's the former, very nice people often say, "oh, you aren't slower than me!" (women usually say that) or if it's the latter, something like "Oh, I'm sure you'll do just fine!" (men usually say that). The truth is, I'm neither. I'm realistic. I'm very slow, but I don't feel bad about it because I think that over time I'll get faster.

I say this because I did my first "road race" today, the 4th annual Tour de Acoma, in Sky City, New Mexico. Beautiful scenery. Your choice of the century, 50 mile, or 25-mile. (I chose the latter). I finished in 1'35". That gives me, I think, about an average of 15 mph according to the really cool triathlon calculators I've found online. Husband did the century, or started it, but had a really nasty blowout at 25 mph that took the tire with it, and possibly the rim. The whole situation is being evaluated at Albuquerque Bicycle as we speak. I'll keep you posted. He was immensely disappointed because it was his first road race, and his first century. It has also increased my general level of paranoia over long distance cycling, because I'm feeling that I could finish it, but worried about mechanical disasters - like this one.

However, the Tour de Acoma took us around the Acoma pueblo, past some really cool scenery, up near El Malpais, which is an old lava flow in that part of the state. The road was good, though the cattle guards--4 of them on the 25-miler-- are something I could do without. If you've never seen a cattle guard, it's many metal slats perpendicular to the road with a hole underneath. They're usually about 2-3 inches apart. As usual, fellow racers were super friendly, and even the loose dogs stayed in the middle of the road and stared, instead of chasing and barking. There was some hill climbing and a headwind on the way out, which means that the ride back was pretty pleasant. I recommend it. These are good events to do if you need to focus on your cycling. And you can impress your friends at work the next day. "What did you do yesterday? I went to church and took a nap". Then you can reply, "I rode a 25-mile bicycle race". Way fun.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fundamentalist new-agers

In an earlier post I wrote bitterly about how fundamentalists on our school board are introducing policies that have no business in a public school. However, it's becoming frighteningly clear that fundamentalism in any form is rarely attractive. I'm referring to those people who are at the other end of the spectrum from those mentioned previously: Hard-core New-agers.

It sounds innocuous enough, but they can sometimes be as narrow minded as any extremist. It's not that I'm against alternative methods, because I'm not. They are, as a whole, completely convinced that they are superior to you and I because they use herbs and chakra stones instead of Western Medicine. They will, furthermore, tell you that if alternative healing methods don't work for you, it's because you aren't open to it, you're coming from a "bad place", you have too much negative energy, or because your body is too corrupted by a lifetime of Western medicine, which as we all know, is corporate greed. Then they go and spend $50 on some herbs and crystals.

Now, let me be the first to tell you that I take Black Cohosh for my hot flashes and Valarian when I need to sleep. They kick ass, as lots of herbs do. However, Recently I remarked offhandedly altnerative healing methods didn't seem to be working for a friend of mine. I was immediately rebuked in that calm and loving but oh-so-superior tone by a fellow classmate who informed me that she is a "Reiki master" (I had to look that up; I assume she was talking about "Reiki", the healing touch, and not "Raki" liquor produced in Eastern Europe or the Japanese monster) Anyway, I was told was that natural healing worked but might take 6 to 9 months, and I needed to be patient because "people who are used to Western Medicine are used to things happening really fast".

Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm A-OK with things happening fast. I have severe asthma and don't think I'd like to wait 6 to 9 months to feel better. I take a kick-ass drug--an evil, western one, mind you--that has changed my life, and has had not more side effects than a temporary sensitivity to spicy foods the first year that I took it. I've been taking it for 3 years, and after years of using a rescue inhaler several times a day and going to the emergency room several times a year, I'm about 99% free from my symptoms and happy, thank you very much. And I didn't have to be open to it, or worry about my negative vibes. It just worked. Awesome.

I have a history of not being very popular around New Agers because of their love affair with crystals and my love affair with statistics. Plus, with a degree that included a lot of coursework in geology, I'm adept at studying a "crystal" and stating, with authority: this isn't a natural crystal, you know, it's man-made or stating blandly, you know, quartz crystals have the exact same chemical composition as window glass. You could meditate to your windows and save a whole lot of money.

An it's not that I'm against alternative methods, because I'm not. What I'm referring to is people who say that all western is corrupt, oppressive, and evil.

That's just silly.

Extremism of any kind is silly. Saying that you know the whole, complete truth and believing it is silly.

That's all I have to say. Thank you for letting me rant.

...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Spike's Ride

Okay, if the difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form, then I guess the same is true of cycling? I did my first "ride" today: The annual Spike's Ride and his Roaring Chili festival. This is an event that raises money for the Museum of Natural History, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It wasn't a race, as we were constantly reminded--it's a ride, so have fun! And I did. Through one of Albuquerque's most beautiful neighborhoods (now I want to live there) across the Rio Grande and up onto the west mesa past the Petroglyphs park. I chose the 25-mile version; husband chose the 50 mile variety. My time: slow, as usual, but I had fun, and never stopped except to move my chain, which for some mysterious reason would not move off the middle front ring to the smallest ring when I was climbing the hill up out of the valley, but functioned fine after I got my hands all greesy. If you go to the link above it will take you to where the maps are.
Afterwards, we were treated to free messages and drinks from Whole Foods, as well as samples of New Mexican chili and tortillias from some of Albuquerque's finest restaurants. Yum. You wouldn't think a super spicy hot dish would be good after a ride like that but it was pretty fab. Beautiful day, too; the usualy crisp 20-ish or so percent humidity and temps in the sixties. Don't you wish you could live here?

Next up: the 4th Annual Tour de Acoma

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Will she do another one?

Next up: STEALTH TRIATHLON***Alamogordo NM: October 2, 2005
5k/30k/700m.
2 weeks to go!
Don't know if I"ll do as well in this one. Monstrously long swim. But I'll have fun trying. :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Now I am a triathlete. (Race report)


Today was the big day: the Cotton Country Sprint Triathlon. I've actually been dreading it all week; and Thursday am horrified to discover one of those untimely events that only women experience - I'll avoid stating the obvious, except to say that it left me worried about hydration and electrolytes, how cranky I get and how sore my lower back gets, things like that. In any case, not a good omen. But interesting in light of what I carried home from the race, which you'll read about later.

As well, I'm paranoid about the lack of time I've spent on my bike. Every since I went back to work (teaching) I plan out these days that I'm going to ride or swim, and then there's some meeting, and I can't. For one, brief moment I even consider backing out. But I've told too many people. I can't back out now. In any case, I'm worried that I'll really suck, but then I remind myself of the 3 sacred goals of me, the Virgin Triathlete: 1) Finish, 2) Don't be dead last, and 3) Have a good time. On Thursday, the new tri suit arrives (the first one was sewn incorrectly and had to be returned) so my last excuse not to run is gone. Friday, I pack up the munchkin who will be in this triathlon with myself and Husband, and off we set for Lubbock.

Saturday, I wake up feeling nervous. Worried that I'll just embarass myself. I remind myself of the three sacred goals. We drive out to Levelend, where it is surprisingly cool. Luckily, the race T-shirt is long-sleeved. I get marked, and find out that I'm the only Athena entered. An evil voice whispers in my ear "you don't even have to try. Just mosy!" I push the evil voice away. At 9:00, the race begins. It's a reverse triathlon, run-bike-swim. Nearing the turnaround, I am very nearly the back of the pack. I'm running faster than my usual slow steady pace, and am promptly passed by a much older man running slowly but steadily. For the rest of the run, I"ll try in vain to catch him. I never do. Husband and Son pass me yelling, "great job, Misty" and "way to go, Mom," respectively. So do the volunteers along the road "you're almost there! Way to go!" That's the cool thing about Triathlon, all the upbeat attitudes. But, I'm going too fast, and have to stop and run a couple of times. Taking a cue from Jayne Williams, I tell the people passing out water, "it's all part of my strategy: I'm saving it for the bike!" All the while thinking to myself, "I'm saving it for the nap on the trip home". But I don't finish last; I finish third from last. As I come into t1, the guy yells out, "36:35" and I think. "That can't be right," I think, "I've never run that fast." I'll know for sure when they post the splits.

Pull of the running shoes, strap on the "clipless" bike shoes, and I'off! As I round the last corner onto the straightaway a guy by the side of the road warns me of some ruts in the road, "don't let your tire catch!". I think that's what he said, anyway, so I thank him and ride out. I'm excited about sitting and riding a nice, flat 13 miles until I get out onto the main rural ride that comprises most of it: the wind is unbelievable. It's blowing in my face really hard with occasional gust from my left that push my back end sideways, causing the evil voice to whisper in my ear two things: "your butt is so wide that it catches the wind" alternating with, "that guy didn't say that, he said 'get your tire patched!'" My paranoia re. the last part causes me to look down several times to check and see of my tire is low, but I push on, dropping down and trying to make myself as tiny a wind target as possible. Unbelievably, I manage to pass five or six people on the bike, incluing my nemesis, the elderly man who kicked my butt in the run, but that's all; the ride back is nice because the wind is at my back. I find that the cadance meter, newly installed on my Trek 1000, to be extremely helpful in this regard. I round the corner to find my son and husband waiting for me with camera in hand as I head into T2. Earlier, I had snapped my goggles into my hearing aid case, believing that I needed to be able to hear on the bike for people coming behind me but worried that I'd accidentally jump into the pool with it in (I haven't mentioned it before, but I'm hearing impaired and wear a super-high tech digital device on my left ear) so I did this. I pull out my hearing aid and put it in its case, grab my goggles, kick off my shoes and socks, and head for the pool.

Maybe snapping my goggles into the hearing aid case wasn't such a great idea, because they keep filling up with water and eventually come apart in the middle. However, I am aware of my husband snapping pictures and son yelling encouragement when I turn, and blindly swim on, make the turns, finish the swim, and eventually clamber out of the pool. This was the point at which I became aware of an interesting phenomenon: my body was talking to me. particularly my legs. They said, "sit down, now". Which I did. Wobbly. Interesting. I sat for a while, trying to get my wits about me, while my husband and son were asking me if I'd liked it. Hard to answer now. Eventually I get up and walk to the transition area, and I notice my husband is grinning like crazy as he puts out bikes away. I put my hearing device back in and start packing up. People I've met at previous triathlons come up and ask me if I liked it. One woman tells me that she remembers me talking about it two months ago and is really happy I actually did it. I am too. I'm still processing the psychological impact it's had on me. I'll write more about that when I do.

At the awards, son gets a 2nd place medal as an age-grouper. Husband takes 1st place in the Clydesdales (out of about 7 total; they are surprisingly competitive) and I get first place Athena, since I was the only athena. My total time was 1:39. Our 1st place trophies? Really cool little tiny bales of cotton with the race logo on them and "First Place" on it.

It is cotton country, after all. :-)