NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

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

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow.

6 more weeks until the Cotton Country Spring.
I tried running outside today, after a month of running on treadmills. It's pretty nice out, only in the mid eighties so far at 10:00. I took it easy. Husband went on one of his 50 mile bike rides. As I was walking in the house, I was reminded of something I learned about sweating a while back, that the more fit you are, the more you sweat. I must be pretty fit because I'm 'glowin' like a horse. The 'glow' is dripping all over, and my new running bra is soaked with it.
Today I'm going to get a "woman specific saddle" for my bike. I've been avoiding long rides because I am not a narrow-hipped woman, and as my rides increase I'm increasingly finding them not enjoyable. Husband was trying to convince me that I'd rather have a cyclometer than a new saddle, but riding comfortably is more important to me than knowing how fast I'm going. Besides. If I know distance and how long it takes; I can do the math and get miles/hour. Mentioning detrimental affects an uncomfortable saddle could have on conjugal activities helped, I think. We're going this afternoon.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Weekly results.

Here's a cool link. At My Virtual Model you can type in info and get an approximate rendering of yourself. Then you can virtually try on clothes at Speedo, Sears, and others. Of course, my model (right) isn't as lumpy or jiggly as I am in real life, but I have an interesting sense of why I should never, ever wear tops with big squares of color on them.

Today was a running/walking day. For some reason I don't run as well on Fridays as well as I do on, say, on Wedesdays. I'm still following the "couch-to-5k program" from coolrunning.com. I'm doing more running than walking now. I have to say that I'm really starting to enjoy running. I feel kind of Wonderwoman-ish. My ratio of run:walk minutes is increasing, too. I feel really good after I run. Sort of like someone's taken a big bottle brush and cleaned out my lungs.

I'm still using the swim plan in to book, "The Woman Triathlete". It's getting easier. I'm able to complete 50 meters doing the crawl without stopping, whereas even last week I had to stop, flip over on my back, and do the backstroke to finish 50 meters. I'm able to keep my head down and breath every so often instead of every other stroke. When I first started, I could barely do 25 meters without stopping to rest.

Daily training goals for next week:
Every day:
Decrease time for 8 mile bike.
I'm moving up gradually on the bike, because there's so many hills here.

Monday/Wednesday/Friday:
swim 500m (swim continuously for 75 meters, 20 sec. RI)

Tuesday/Thursday
Run/walk 3 mi. Increase ratio of minutes run to minutes walk.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Learned something new.

I'm pretty good with HTML, but not so good with scripts and css. Is there anyone out there that can give or direct me to tips for editing my template?
Today I learned how to delete comments. Cool.
Some pathetic little man left a comment on my blog, trying to pick a fight because this is apparently his hobby. In psychology, they're refered to as personality disordered. On the 'net, they're flamers. You and I call them Losers. But I digress.
I just found out that my internship logs are due tomorrow. Ooops.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Slow, slow triathlete

Yesterday I swam 400 meters. I may have swum (swam?) more but I lost count. Today I ran 3 miles, and then biked to the counseling center (10 miles) and then back home later. I'm on my way. However, as I've mentioned previously, I've just finished reading "Slow Fat Triathlete" and I've discovered that while I'm no longer fat (although I'm still officially "overweight") I am indeed quite slowwww. I enjoyed my ride alone the Rio Grande. It was mostly flat, but there was wind in face. I won't tell my times, because they're humiliating. I did shave 30 seconds per mile off my running, though. I was looking up some stuff because my knees were a little achy when I ran, in the exact same way, on the outsides on both sides. I did some extra stretching before and after, and they didn't hurt at all this time.
My goal for this first triathlon is not only to finish, but not to be dead last. I was reading the other day that Sally Edwards sometimes volunteers to be the last woman in some triathlons so that no woman has to be last. That's awesome. I wonder if she'll be at my first triathlon? Probably not. Soooo that means keep movin' GeekGrl.

Monday, July 25, 2005

First Brick workout. Doll stuff. Kinda long.

I tried my first "brick" workout. I'm not sure how authentic it was. I did a 8-mile bike ride to the school where I work and back, then ran into the house to see what time it was (I have GOT to get a digital watch) then a brief run (about 1/2 mile). Coming and going there are a couple of nice, long hills to climb, as it passes through a small arroyo. My time sucked, don't even ask. For a couch potato like me, though, encouraging. <--To the left is a topographic map of the area that that Husband and I do our road bike rides through, the area where we live. We're just above 5000 feet elevation. The combination of my workout and finishing Jayne Williams's book has got me feeling all sassy. I even have a bit of swagger in my step.
In other thoughts, I guess I know now why my friends were so horrified at the thought of me glorifying Barbie in any way. (Understand that I was never a girly-girl, so this may be old info to you, but it's new to me. I was given a Barbie once, and she spent most of her time in great peril, while I and my gang of rowdies formed teams to rescue her. I think she is buried in my former backyard back in Hoover, Alabama. But once again, I digress). Now get this: if Barbie were a real woman she would have measurements of about 38-21-34, weigh 110 pounds, be 6'2" to 7' tall, and have a size 5 shoe. That Barbie AIN'T runnin' no sprints.

Now, In my (admittedly, aimless) search on the subject, I also found out that there are some very cool doll companies out there. As a woman, with a daughter, and future school psychologist, this is of great interest to me. Big Beautiful Dolls sells full-figured fashion dolls. Girls Explore sells doll sets and biographies of women such as Harriet Tubman, Amelia Erhardt, Dot Richardson, and other notable figures. Tonner Dolls sells the EMME doll AND some of the most beautiful dolls representing women of color that I have ever seen. Finally, Mattel has a line of dolls that are really action figures for girls, called Get Real. Get Real dolls are slender, but have an athletic build. Last but not least, there are novelty action figures, like Rosie the Riveter, the Librarian, and the Barrista, to name a few.

Finally, I found this great poem: PHENOMENAL WOMAN by Maya Angelou. Now, I don't want to come off as someone who runs around yelling about how women are oppressed. I think most of that is long past, and to be honest, I think most women are satisfied to oppress themselves. It's up to me to be empowered.

Thought for the day


If you mix up some hydrogen peroxide-based stain cleaner in a spray bottle, do not - I repeat - do not screw the top on tightly. That is all.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Better than a banana.

**7 weeks until my first triathlon, a sprint called the "Cotton Country" in West Texas.
I think I may have found the perfect pre-sprint-race drink: Silk Mocha. Husband was drinking it down earlier, and out of curiosity, I checked the label. It's soymilk with coffee and some other stuff, but here's what you get when you down the carton (32ounces):Calories: 560, Fat: 14g (unsaturated), Sodium:400mg, Potassium:1000mg, Calcium: 120%RDA, Carbs: 88g, Protein: 20g, PLUS you get Vitamin A, Iron, Vit.D, Riboflavin, Folate, Vit. B12, and a bit of pre-race caffein, which doesn't hurt. (Just a warning, if you're not used to legumes, could make you gassy)
I finished "Slow Fat Triathlete" and am envious of Jayne. I can't call myself a SFT without being a copycat, even though it's true. The most original I can do is Slow Vegan Triathlete, in which I answer the never-ending question: Where do you get your protein? I was freshly inspired by her book, and went out to get my first training diary.
Tomorrow, the training starts in earnest.

Geeky idea: a figurehead for my bike.

I was just joking about being Triathlon Barbie. Jeesh. A friend of mine was pretty horrified by the idea. I looked at current pictures of Barbie and I can see why. She's built like a heroin addict, and doesn't appear to be able to run a sprint.
I am, however, determined to create a figurehead for the front of my bike, like the kind they have on ships. I'm aware that it may cut some of the aerodynamics, but I don't imagine that it will make the difference between being 47th and being 1st. I've working on the design, but I'm pretty certain it's going to involve Barbie-like doll parts and accessories, and flat white or maybe powder blue paint. As it will be the mascot of the GeekGrl, it has to look Geeky. More on this as it develops.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pretty new clothes for Triathlon Barbie?

My new TYR tri-suit arrived from Sports Basement. It's a large, of course. About 5 years ago I was a size 8 for a little while, and weighed 130 pounds, but it didn't suit me and was incredibly hard to maintain. I would get easily dehydrated and dizzy. I look and feel best about a size 10. Right now I'm a 12. I loooooove to eat. But I digress.
I have to say I was surprised. I like the way it looks. I feel kind of like Triathlon Barbie. It's designed well and flattering. It has some rubber inside the legs on the end, so they don't creep up, light padding in the seat vents in the leg, shoulder, and along the side, pocket on the back, and is made of a super fast drying fabric. It fits very snugly. I also got some Easy Laces. Hey, maybe if I lose more weight, that can be my tri nickname: Triathlon Barbie. Jayne Williams says you need to have fun, and laugh at yourself. Am I allowed two nicknames? I've already had GEEKGRL on my license plate in three states. I could put blue and white flowers, or something, on my bike. My helmet already has blue and white flowers. Of course, I could never reach the caliber of Captain America in the southwest series, (he's this guy that wears a trisuit, helmet, et cetera, that are all the American Flag) but I could have fun with it. Hmmmm.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

If they can do it, I can do it!

BBC Article on exercise and the elderly I got my copy of "Slow Fat Triathlete" in the mail and am devouring it. Holy cow, she was in rough shape when she started out. I have a bit of tendonitis in my right wrist, but it comes and goes. Also, one day as I was leaving the gym I struck up a conversation with an older woman I've noticed in the locker room. She limps because she has an ankle that was screwed up in surgery. Befor that happened, she used to play golf. So every day she limps into the pool, and walks around and kicks her legs for exercise, because she doesn't know how to swim. She is 89 years old. If Jayne can decide at 220 pounds to become an athlete, and if this 89-year-old woman limps into the gym every day, rain or shine, then I guess I'm out of excuses. I'm off to the gym. See ya.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The problem with treadmills.

I did the full 5K that I'm working my way up to doing, hopefully, in 1/2 hour before the Cotton Country race. My goal is to be able to run the whole time. Right now I'm alternating walking and running, and it took 42 minutes. The problem with tread mills is that people walk by and you want to stop running and chat with them. A fellow teacher who I didn't know was a member of the same club walked by and I slowed down for a full 7 or 8 minutes to chat, walking the entire time. Tomorrow I swim, then Friday I'll run again. I'm actually starting to look forward to running. So why did I run inside instead of outside? Being a recent couch-queen, I don't like heat. The forecase for today: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms possible. High 97F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. I'll translate for you: It's going to be hot. Real hot. There will be some wind, making it like a large convection oven. There's a 30% chance that it will get realllly muggy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday mornings never get me down.

I worked hard yesterday - relatively speaking - I ran along the dam at Cochiti lake. Okay, I walked most of the way, but I did some running. I'm getting better at this. I noticed for the first time perhaps that husband is getting really lean. I'm surprised at how appealing it is. I mean, he's always been appealing to me, but this is, oh, I don't know. Extra appealing, I guess. Saturday, I spent the day at a colloquium discussing personality disorders and the drama triangle, so I'm taking today off so that I have can a proper 2-day weekend, 'cause I'm spoiled that way. First, I'm going over to REI to return a Garmon Forerunner. It was supposed to link up with a heart monitor and satellites and such and give tracking and pace, but it never linked with the satellites, ever. It didn't even work out on top of Cochiti dam. So back it goes. Disappointed, husband is. You know how much it sucks when you get a new toy and get it home and it doesn't work? My guess is that all the mountains around here screw with it - it has to have clear line of site for 3 satellites, or something like that.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Goin' to DC

Well, folks, I'm going to Washington DC in August. I've never been there before, and I'm pretty excited about it. Husband is getting an award from the APA. You probably don't know this about me, but I've done web design on and off for a few years, and besides being a student affiliate of the APA, I designed one of the websites, including the graphics.
But most of all, though, I've been wanting to go because a few years ago, after my mother died, I found some photographs taken when she was younger, on a trip to DC. I never knew she went. I want to have some photos of me taken at the same places. If/when I can do this, I'll post them.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ahh, rain!

The monsoons have come. Monsoons in India mean that rivers flood and houses wash away. Here in New Mexico, they mean that we get clouds, and maybe even some rain. Big, fat raindrops and a cool wind blew through here yesterday afternoon. Looking forward to more! (Unfortunately, there were also a couple more brush fires, some started by lightening. But there's always the bad with the good, right?)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Customer service is dead.

Bizarre experience. I wrote the a publisher to ask for a refund for a book I ordered 7 weeks ago. In his communication with me Joe Wysong has said that I'm lying, I have personality problems, he's going to report me to the Postmaster General - for what I have no idea. He's sad I'm allowed contact "any level of responsibility" with children, and that I would never have any choice but to go through him to get my books. I have never gotten a response from any vendor like this. It's unusual for professionals in the behavioral health field to lash out at like this, though I have seen this behavior in some of the clients that I see for psychotherapy...I spoke with fellow students of mine, who ordered the same books from Amazon. They were advised by Amazon that it was having trouble getting them from the publisher in a timely manner, so they both canceled their order. They also told me that the guy who runs the bookstore at our university had all manner of trouble with the this particular publisher, but I haven't checked that out yet. One thing I do know. It's used books from now on. I don't have to send him any more money.

Bosque fires and late monsoons.

Bernallilo fireYesterday while driving home I saw the telltale signs of a fire north of me. Large plumes of brown smoke not long after the 4th of July is a common enough occurance around here. There were two fires in the Corrales and Bernalillo areas, and another one, a brush fire, over near the airforce base on Albuquerque.
Usually what happens is children (or child-like adults) play with leftover fireworks in the dry grass. Sometimes it's kids playing with matches, or a cigarette tossed out of a car, but usually it's leftover fireworks. A couple years back a large area of the bosque (pronounced, "bah-ske" was burned, and you can still see the damage. While not causing as widespread damage as a forest fire, it nonetheless threatens homes, wildlife, and lives. According to local news souces, the fire in Corrales started in a yard in which there were propane tanks and no easily reached water source; these complicated efforts to put out the fire. The home, belonging to a 55-year-old grandmother (who isn't even home) was destroyed, as was a shed, camper, and 3 cars, and as of 10:00 last night, it was reported that the fire had spread to 2 other homes.
You'd think NM residents would be hip to the fact that:
1) we live in the high desert and it's very dry and hot here in July.
2) The monsoons (annual rains) are late this year.
3) fireworks are flammable (duh) AND illegal this time of year. Maybe for a reason?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I enjoy being a girl.

Vanity.I'm debating whether to ride my bike to the counseling center today after my swim. It is SO HOT here right now, plus when I ride to the counseling center, I have stringy gross helmet hair. On the other hand, my car has no AC, so it's gross when I get there anyway. Last week, I bought a tiny fan that plugs into my cigarette lighter. It's kinda trashy, but thank God it's only hot 2 months out of the year here. In any case, we don't dress up at the counseling center, it's very casual, but I at least want to be presentable. Trying to figure out how to solve the "helmet hair" problem when I go back to work next month. Maybe I'll just wear it back.
I cut 8 inches off my hair last month to simplify my training, and I also gave up my artificial nails. That was the most painful thing for me to do, because I am somewhat vain. I did so love those fake nails! I can't have fake nails and highlighted, long hair and swim in a chlorinated pool. I chose the highlighted, shorter version (it was to the middle of my back, now shoulder-length). So now my hands look awful. >Sigh<>with?

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm it.


Here's a cool link from Nancy. I didn't do the world map because other than Canada, Mexico, and Japan, I've not been anywhere in the world of note. I did the US map instead. Hmmm. Looks almost like an election map with all those red and blue states! All of this was car trips except a flight to NY. I'm hoping to visit DC in August for the APA convention. Tag, you're it.

How can I run if I'm not pissed off?

Running DayRun day. Happy to find that my running was better. I figure my weak areas are the run and the swim, so I work on those and bike a couple times a week. My couch-to-5k plan called for 90 seconds running, 90 seconds rwalk, but I found that I could do 3 or more minutes running. I used my new playlist, and I'm hoping that with repeats I can play it over in my mind while running a race. I was pretty happy to find out that my heart rate wasn't as high as it was last week. Then I ate too much for lunch. [Bad girl! No luna bar!] I'd like to be able to work my way up to running 3 or 4 miles without walking. Now, don't mock me! I've only run once before in my life, during a particularly nasty divorce: overcome with rage, I'd run straight up a hill. But time passes, anger fades, and I stopped running. Now I'm trying to run without being pissed off . I suppose if I have to think there's plenty to think about. After all, I'm a school teacher during a time when two branches of the government are controlled by Republicans. 'Nuff said. I don't do political posts.

Otitis media? What am I, four?

Doubt and laziness set in. Were we, as humans, meant to work this hard? My husband really enjoyed his 12 mile run yesterday. I tolerate my little 3 mile run, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, nor would I want to run 12 miles in the hot, New Mexico sun. My spirit is sloth, and heat makes me cranky and lazy. I looked up "lazy" in google images, and Homer here was the first entry. -->
What am I doing? Am I crazy? Why am I doing this? My sunburned back is all red and itchy and sensitive, and my feet hurt, and I'm pretty sure I have an ear infection from swimming.
I uploaded pictures of my husband and son at the triathlons they've done so far. Maybe soon I'll have some of myself. They're at http://photos.yahoo.com/mistypilgrim.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A swim in the desert.

We spent the late morning and afternoon at Cochiti Lake, and I have the pink shoulders to prove it. About 35 miles from ABQ, a nice place to practice lake swimming. It's a no-wake lake, meaning serious hard core rednecks tend to stay away. Mostly, you see sailing, canoing, kayaking.
The dam road is 5 miles and open only to foot traffic. It's a very nice run, and when you're done, go jump in the lake. It's clean, with a nice beach, and just the right temp to cool you off. It was hard to get used to the having my face, goggles and all, in the murky water, but eventually I got some good swim time in. I'd love to get a kayak. Think I'll add that to my fantasy wish list. Now here's my question. I assume the guy next to the dock, trying in vain for an hour to start his motor didn't test it before coming out to the lake. Why? Maybe I'm wrong. All he ever got was a splutter and a puff of very black smoke.

Karen, Where Are You?

I forgot so many things on this last triathlon that my son needed, that I've decided to make a checklist to use in the future. I'm a little ADD, and I get discombobulated from time to time. Today, we're going to take a ride up to Cochiti Lake and maybe do a lake swim. I need some open water practice. I found a new link that's kinda cool: Explore NM. It has some bugs in the website.
I've been looking at triathlon times, and I notice there is another Athena out there that is over 40. I'd like to have a chance to talk to her, but I can't find any contact information. I think I could use the advice of another Athena over 40, because I think we have concerns that 110-pound triathletes don't have. She lives in my town. I found a newsletter in which she wrote, 'where are all the Athenas?' and here I am. I contacted a New Mexico tri club by emailing them to get her a message, but received no response.
- - - - Karen, where are you?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hold onto your pants.

Dateline, Roswell, NM.
Roswell has managed to capatalize on its legendary status as the landing place of UFO's about as much as this town of 45,000 can do. It is the home of the New Mexico Military Institute, one of the finest of such schools in the nation. That's about all it appears to have going for it, however. It's also the home of a lot of burned-out, abandoned buildings. There is a brand new Wally-mart on the northern end of town as you come in; I wonder if this has anything to do with the failure of small businesses in Roswell?
Just outside of Roswell, NM is some rolling countryside where alfalfa hay is grown. It's a large dairy producing area. It kind of brought me to mind a similar landscape in South Dakota, and I've heard Roswell described as, "beaucolic". But rolling grasslands are where the similarities begin and end. First, Roswell area grasslands are surrounded by brown, dusty hills. Second, in South Dakota, you see deer coming out to feed at dusk, while in Roswell, you see tarantulas.
There are the usual Mexican food restaurants and grills. Nothing to send you to the moon. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in a suite, and it very nice place. I recommend it if you need to stop in Roswell for any reason.

Bottomless Lakes State Park, and the Bottomless Triathlon
13 miles outside Roswell are a series of lakes called the "Bottomless Lakes". They're formed by the collapse of limestone caves, and while the lakes aren't actually bottomless, they are very deep, and salty. There are some alkaline flats nearby, and scrubby trees. The Bottomless Triathlon, a small sprint held here each year (hold on to your pants!) is supposed to be one of the most fun of the sprints in the Southwest Challenge Series. My husband ran in this one this morning, and scored 3rd in his division. My son, a 14-year-old, ran it also. The race is a 400 meter swim in Lea Lake, 14K bike, and 4K run. (If you are metric-disabled, go here for conversions) The swim in the lake is pretty straightforward: 200 meter out and then back. The lake is cold enought to allow wetsuits, but they aren't absolutely necessary, and the lake feels fabulous after the run. The bike ride is wild loop: straight up out of the canyon onto the prairie, up and down and around a lot of tight turns, on a narrow, bumpy paved road, then down into the flats (hereforeafter known as "the smelly flats") and back into the transition area. (See map) The run is an out-and-back.

As usual, fellow triathletes were fun, friendly, helpful, and excited about the race! I'm going to do it next year.

RATINGS: (Out of 4 possible chilis)


The Bottomless Triathlon (3.5 chilis)

Town of Roswell, New Mexico (2 chilis)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Import successful.


I spent the morning importing posts from my old blog. It was tedious. I resisted the temptation to do a lot of editing, but wondered why I mentioned some things, leaving out others.

Okay, I will.

More later.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kids and Cell phones and Dogs, Oh, My

I swam 500 meters today. Not continuously, but with minimal rest intervals. It was exhausting. I'm not used to using these muscles. I had to use every stroke in my repetoir just to finish.
Yes, that is a dog wearing a cell phone. Check this out
So here's my rant for today. About 5 years ago, I noticed that people started taking their kids everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE, even when it's inappropriate. Like Starbucks at 11 pm (Gee, I just don't know why he's so cranky - he's usually not like this!) or to a loud, scary movie when they're 3 years old, for God's sake. Then I noticed cell phones, and I predicted they would become as much, if not more, ubiquitous. People talk on them in the gym, in the locker room, they ring in class. Now I'm making another prediction: dogs. People have, in the past couple years, suddenly felt that they need share their decision to have a pet with the rest of us. They bring them to work, to public outings, you name it. God forbid I should object. I'm just an animal hater if I bring it up.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

From Couch...to 5K?

Okay, so I'm starting my training today for my first triathlon. It's an amalgam of the training plan for the swimming found in the "Woman Triathlete" I went to and the running plan found at coolrunning.com. I thought this would be a good time to start a blog, although I sort of have one already that I started this past spring by the same name...talking about losing weight. I started at 194 pounds on January 14th, and lost 30. I'd like to mention that I'm a strict vegetarian. A fat strict vegetarian. Hell, potato chips are vegetarian, aren't they? In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was in better shape than I thought. I found that instead of 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking, I could do 90 - 90 comfortably. So I did. And you know what else? I liked it! Who'd have thunk it. I lifelong mosy-er enjoying a run. Good girl. Sweaty girl.

Monday, July 04, 2005

What every woman needs is really good support.

Well, I'm now the proud owner of another piece of equipment: a "moving comfort" Maia bra. I tell you, this thing is a work of art. The girls are going NOWHWERE. They are iron clad. I'm starting my running training tomorrow and I needed something like that.