NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Spinning class.

What's up with Blogger? I've tried five times to upload some pictures, and it says that it has, and then it doesn't. I finally had to edit the HTML by hand. I hate linking to other people's pictures. It's like stealing bandwidth.

Anyhoo, Helen is this fast Athena in the SWCS. As long as she's over 150 pounds I'll never get first place. I asked her how she got so fast on the bike, and she said, "spinning class". Given that I have 1) a gym membership, and 2) a lot of time on my hands during June and July, it seemed the thing to do. So, today I went to my first spinning class.

Well, spinning class kicked my ass. It’s heart-rate based, which is good for me; perhaps it will push my ability/willingness to withstand a bit more anaerobic work. Next week, they’ll be focusing on leg turnover. They rotate focus every three weeks or so. I was dripping sweat - literally, me, the queen of sloth. Dripping sweat, and a minor case of "monkey butt". I'm gonna do it again. Just think: a great workout, increase power/endurance on the bike AND nobody to honk or flip you off, or run headlong into you on the bike path, crack your fork, and screw up your shoulder for a month (no, your OTHER left!)

My heart rate soared and dipped pretty quickly, and finally I decided to just start pedaling harder or slower to control my heartrate. The instructor commented to the group about how some people have a harder time using resistance, and instead can control/move their heartrate up and down easier with faster/slower spinning, while others have an easier time using power up and out of the saddle to change it.

I asked her what that means, and she said it means the first type most likely has a higher proportion of fast twitch to slow twitch. I don't know if that's true or not, but it supports a theory I have, that a slumbering sprinter lies within.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Family Vacation Time

Husband and I are planning our vacation this summer, ever so carefully. What makes this vacation so special,

...so worthy of special planning...
is that it is our first child-free vacation,

EVER.

Husband and I met when I was a single parent in grad school. We have had at most one day away from the children at any given time. Now our youngest, 15, is the only one at home, and he is spending a week in bible camp and then the following week with friends. So we will be alone. GET IT? Sans l'enfents. (Pardon my French. Really)

For two weeks. For someone who has been raising kids since age 19, and who teaches 8th-graders all year long, this has a certain appeal, to say the least. this will be the longest I have ever been away from all my children since I was 19. that was - uh, quite some time ago. (Okay. it was 22 years ago)

do you get what I'm telling you here?

In any case, here's plan A, so far, in its tentative stage:
Load up the Fit with both bikes and our gear, and drive to Flagstaff, AZ. Laugh and be carefree, in manner of Hepburn and Peck or Kelly and Grant. While in AZ., do the Mountain Man Triathlon, which comes in 3 flavors: 70.3, Olympic, and Sprint.
After leaving Flagstaff, drive to Portland to visit Husband's father and his family. Spend time enjoying relative humidity. Hang out. Drink coffee. Then, the last weekend of vacation, drive to Bend, Oregon to participate in the Deshutes Dash: a sprint triathlon that includes a downstream river swim. How fun is that?
Neither of these have Athena divisions, but that's okay: it will be fun to do a tri outside the area and in a place I've never been. Kind of like golfers who like to cruise around, playing different courses. If you've heard of either of these and/or participated in them, I'd appreciate some comments or warnings! Thanks!

Monday, May 29, 2006

My longest swim ever, ever, ever.

Today Husband and I donned wetsuits and did an open water training swim out at Cochiti Dam Resevoir, about 25 miles north of Albuquerque.
We went from the the swim area straight across to the another shore and back. We mapped it using http://www.mapmyrun.com/, and found the round trip to be around 2.6 miles. Whew! I had a few rests on my back, to catch my breath, and Husband spent a lot of time waiting for me to catch up. We did it in 1:47:18, which is actually pretty good time for me. Originally, I just wanted to swim out to this tower (picture right) but once we got there, it was practically at the other shoreline, so we just kept going. (Okay, that's a lie. Husband said, "why don't we just keep going?" and I groaned and agreed. I groan because I am the queen of sloth and will frequently avoid any kind of heavy lifting. Husband has committed himself to a lifetime of saving me from myself in that respect, and for it, I thank him. Often.)

Then we headed to Whole Foods and loaded up on goodies, e.g., Soy Delicious Decadence, Chocolate Almond Brownie Fudge. (The vegan equivalent of a pint of Hagen Daas)

This weekend [June 3] we have the Milkman Sprint Triathlon in Dexter, New Mexico. I've heard the water is disgusting. I promise a full report, including the funk rating. Wish me luck; the "trophies" are cool retro ceramic milk bottles, and I want one.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Summer Training Plan.

What are your plans for this summer?
I now have a little over 16 weeks left for the half iron I'm planning to do in September.
Crunch time. So, okay. Here is my ambitious training -- but then, I'm off until August 8th, and my kids are nearly all grown, right?-- plan. Days may be switched.

  • Mondays: Speed Swim, Spinning class, Yoga. Evening Bellydance class.
  • Tuesday: Moderate run, with hills.
  • Wednesday: long swim, Weights, Spinning class, Yoga.
  • Thursday: Long run, and every other week, open water swim (when I can get a buddy)
  • Friday: Weights, spin class.
  • Weekends: 1 day off for recovery/traveling
    1 day for sprint tri's or Long ride
    If no race, then a long ride and one day off.
  • Every 4th week: recovery week.

"A" race: Oklahoma Redman on September 23rd. Half Iron Distance.

"B" races: Two olympic distance races in the Southwest Challenge Series

"C" races: Sprint triathlons, about two or three a month, in my continued quest to place in Athena division in the Southwest Challenge Series.

The only "musts" I have going this summer are a 30-age paper on the therapeutic uses of exercise to treat anxiety and depression, and my goal of reading of Harry Potter books 2 - 5.

Tangental goals for the summer: buying a hammock, making some macrame plant holders, growing hollyhocks and sunflowers.

So, what are your plans for the summer? Will you be training, hanging out, competing, what? Inquiring minds want to know!

Riding Sag

Today was was my first experience as a "sag wagon" at a time trial in which some of the members of the Outlaws participated. Now, I am loathe to be associated with anything called "Sag" but this was fun. This was a small time trial held out in Moriarty, New Mexico...14 miles down and back. Now here's the rub...the winds were forecast to be gusting 25-35 mph by late morning, and our take off time was 10:00. I was riding behind Outlaws team 2: Ricky V., Stitch, and Wiz. (we all have nicknames). My job was to follow closely behind, alert them if anyone fell behind, carry spare wheels, tools, gels, water, etc., and by my own estimation, play blasting loud music. This last part they never got to appreciate because, due to the high winds, all they heard was "Whoooooooooooosh" the whole way out (downwind) and back (upwind). it was an interesting experience watching them cycle tup and back as a team hrough this draft legal race. Kathy aka "Queen" rode Sag for the 1st team.
(My nickname, by the way, is "double-barreled" and apparently has more to do with the fact that I tend to shed layers when I run than it does with guns.)
Think about it.
Results: Since we weren't "licensed riders" we won the "open team" division, and received a nice trophy cup. We're going to have the plate changed, and send it to Pretzel, who is in a hospital in Dallas. (Len, the guys would like you to know that this race was for you.)

I've very excited about tomorrow: we're going for a group swim at Cochiti Resevoir in our wetsuits. Then we're having a bbq afterwards. I'm having some delish vegan brats and potato salad. Cochiti resevoir is where I first saw triathletes practicing an open water swim. I just didn't know it then. Now I'm a triathlete, practicing my open water swim! cool!

Of course, I can't forget the real purpose of the day: those who have sacrificed with their service so that I live in a country where I can be a triathlete, or indeed, participate in nearly any kind of insanity. I am the daughter, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother, and wife of veterans. I would have joined myself, but in 1985, they didn't take single parents with asthma.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Boy, am I out of shape.

I've been a very lazy, very bad Athena this spring. I haven't met my training goals in one single week, and now I must do penance, by training extra hard over the next two months. With no classes, except for belly dance on Monday nights, and lots of time on my hands, I have no excuse not to do so. Plus, if I want to meet my goal of a sub-10-minute mile, I need to get off the couch. NOW.

Some of my favorite excuses this spring: too hot, too cold, too windy, not enough wind, too early, too late, my foot hurts, my knee hurts, I'm tired, haven't eaten, just ate, not hydrated enough, too full of water to run just now, I'll be late for work, I just got home from work...and on and on. You get the point.

The Olympic Triathlon I did last weekend was case and point: I finished this, not because I was fit and ready for it, but because I'm incredibly stubborn. In the words of Heidi Kelchner, "what I lack in speed I make up for in pure, pig-headed perseverence"

Today I went for a "long run" which at this point means 10K. Pretty bad considering I've done a couple half marathons. I won't even tell you how slow I was. It was pathetic. I was winded, and I coughed a lot. Given my lack of fitness at this point, the fact that it's spring, I didn't quite become the flem monster, but I was close. Oddly enough, it seems that when I'm running I'm okay, but when I stop I practically cough up a lung. What's that all about?

It was a beautiful day on the Bosque trail, thought it was getting a bit crowded when I was done. If you've never experienced summer mornings in the high desert, let me give you some adjectives: Crisp. Cool. Clear. Calm.
Now some nouns: Slight breeze. Hot-air balloons. Recumbants. Walkers. Families. People running happy dogs. There were a few clouds of gnats to contend with (I'm pretty sure the people behind me who hadn't yet encountered them thought I'd gone mad, leaping and waving my arms all over the place) and happy swallows chasing and devouring them.

It felt like things were "back to normal," though. Shuffling along, listening to my Mp3 player, with some of my favorite songs repaced to match my jogging/shuffle.

I will run three times a week (including races) from now on. there. I said it, and publicly. Now I have to do it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Buffman and Squeaky Photos


These are some photos from the Olympic distance triathlon I recently completed.


1. Husband and self listening at the pre-race meeting.

2. Riding the bike

3. pushing the bike up a grade 8 hill.(trying to smile) It doesn't look very steep, because the camera is tilted, but look at the lake in the background.

4. Beginning the run (trying to set my watch)

Is it just me or does everyone feel like they look much heavier in photos than in real life??

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I've been playing with Photoshop again.






Whaddaya think?

It's SUPER ATHENA!


Added later: The Misty Blues version.
In this one, I got rid of the "bullseye boobs" in the red version, and and changed her colors to match my bike.

Dawn of the Summer of the Belly.

I'd really like to learn how to dance.

Not ballet--that ship has sailed. Madam Whatshername asked me to leave her ballet class when, at the age of ten, I finally grabbed that damned stick our of her hands that she was always rapping me in the back of the legs with, and threw it across the floor. Straighten your own damned legs. And quit hitting me with that stick.

Not square dancing, which was REQUIRED (I'm not making this up: It was a 9-week unit in PE class when I was in the 8th grade) in Alabama when I was a child.

No, I'm talking about something a little more graceful yet earthy. I hear music, and sometimes I want to move to it, but all I really know how to do is tap my feet. That's why I love running in the morning so much: I love to strap on the Mp3 player, and I've got a playlist of songs that are at just the right cadence to run to. It's kind of like dancing. I'm moving my feet to the beat, at least. But sometimes, when I'm standing in the kitchen, or alone in my classroom, I want to move to music and I don't know how. Besides that, I'd like to learn to move more gracefully. I'm happy with my slowly evolving athleticism, but there have been times when I feel like I kind of lope about, and not in a very girly way. The triathlons and racing are awesome, but I get a yen from time to time to move in a way that is distinctly feminine, even if I'm alone when I do it.

I can't dance. I have no soul or sense of rhythm. I blame my suburban upbringing by midwestern parents. I have no idea how to really move when there's music to move to. When I was younger, I could loosen up by drinking a couple of mai-tai's, enough to drop my inhibitions and move to the music, but I'm no longer in my 20's and mai-tais give me a headache.

So when Regina, another counselor at the agency where I intern, decided to spend some 'down time' showing me basic belly-dance moves, I was immediately intruiged, and I have been ever since. I looked into lessons through the community center, but they had already started, and in the spring I was too busy with work and triathlon trianing.

Each summer I pick a theme, and I decided that this would be the Summer of the Belly. I also had tentatively planned to sign up for Salsa. I bought my hip scarf - a sheer scarf that you tie around your waste that has little jingly things all over it. I had to wait until late April to sign up for classes, since I wasn't a continuing student. When it came time to sit down and sign up for the lessons at the local community college, the course was already closed. All sections were filled on the first day of registration.

Sigh.

I asked Husband to pick up a book about it. I started reading about the history and styles, and about how, unlike many other kinds of dance that have been around for a long time, it allows the body to move in ways that are natural, so that it can be done at any age. It is also a fairly low-impace workout. The time I spent with Regina just doing a few moves for 15 or so minutes gave my quads a little workout, and I was a bit winded.

It occured to me there might be some places here in Albuquerque that teach it. I did some Googling (I am the Google queen) and found a couple. there's lots of information about it on the Internet. Apparently, it's gaining in popularity. (That figures - usually when I decide that I'm interested in something, I find out that I'm one of a million other people that got the same idea at exactly the same time.) Did you know, for instance, that comedienne and gay pride activist Margaret Cho sells her own line of belly dancing wear?

Anyway, one such place in Albuquerque sells blocks of classes very reasonably, and I've contacted them. They've encouraged me to come observe such a class. So, I'm very excited about this. I'm going to observe a class on Tuesday next, and if I like what I see, I'm going to get a block of classes

and this will be the Summer of the Belly.

I'll keep ya posted.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Warning: blatant emotional manipulation ahead.

I lost my mom in 1998, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her.

Sometimes I'm enveloped in the realization that I'll never touch or hear her again, and it fills me with an ache.

Mothers are extraordinary, aren't they? At various times in our lives, we hate them and we love them. We need them. We want them to go away, and to come closer. I read somewhere that the toughest soldiers will call for their mothers when injured or dying.
Every year for mother's day I used to call her, or send her a card, or both. One year I sent her a packet of squash seeds in a card for Mother's day. When my mother asked me, "did you know you sent me a packet of squash seeds?" and I responded, yes, I did know that. It's just that I wanted to send her something nobody had every sent her before, that she'd remember (and, I was incredibly poor. And, perhaps, I had been drinking).

She set a good example. She reminded me of Edith Bunker, but not quite as flakey. And, as much as I fought with my mom when I was younger, I appreciated her more when I was out of the house. Once I had children of my own, particularly....it was then that I realized that parents are just ordinary people, trying to do the extraordinary job of raising children while they're dealing with their own stuff. I wasn't easy to put up with. I mouthed off, got terrible grades, and slammed a lot of doors. Like a lot of teenagers.

My mom welcomed everyone I brought home. Even if she didn't approve, she made them feel welcome. She was a professional artist, and ran a small gallery and did custom framing. People would hang out in her shop, just to be around her, because she was a warm, welcoming person. Sometimes nosy. Sometimes bossy. But always because she cared. It was never a selfish thing with her. I knew that even before she was diagnosed with a disease that had a hideously long name (ideopathic dilated cardiomyopathy).

The reason I'm writing this now is that today is May 24th, and I have accepted that neither of my two oldest children have any intention of acknowledging Mother's Day. Not by phone. Not by email. Not by any indirect means. Not the daughter, who calls me when she wants something, or the oldest, a son, married with a daughter of his own.

I hate feeling this way. I hate the parody of the meddling, self-pitying mother who runs around screaming about how bad labor was (14 hours, and large children with LARGE heads) how ungrateful her children are, etc., etc., etc. I am not that person. I am not Marie Verone.

But I understand the inclination.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stick a Fork in me...

...cause I'm DONE.
I've returned all the library books and audio-visual equipment.
I've packed up my overhead projector.
I've pulled down all the posters, and removed all the stapes and tape from the wall.
I've got all my teaching supplies packed into boxes, and labeled with my name.
I've got all my maps rolled up in tubes and stored.
I've got all the boxes stored in the cabinets.
I've got masking tape with my name and room number on all the tables, chairs, and computer equipment in my classroom.
I've shredded all the records with confidential student information on them.
I've backed up my computer onto a CD.
I've exported my grades to the district.
I've turned in my badge and my parking permit, and the keys to my classroom.
I've scavenged supplies being given away by teachers quitting or retiring.
I've signed my intent to return next year.
I've returned all the phone calls explaining why Tony, Katy, or Angela got an F, C, or a B when what they really wanted to get was a D, B, or an A.
I've taken retiring collegues to lunch, and attended parties for those who are leaving.
I've contacted belly dancing schools about lessons.
I've made my master triathlon training plan.
Developed my master reading plan.
I've brought out the shorts, clam-diggers, and skorts, and put away the pantsuits and dresses.
I've taken a good look around at a house that's been neglected for nine months.
Ready or not, summer, here I come!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Random thoughts, from a slow triathlete.

What on earth have I gotten myself into NOW?
I can't believe how terrified I am.
This is crazy.
Can I do this?
No way am I ready for this.
Look at all those people ahead of me. I suck.
This water actually feels pretty good.
Where is he going? The buoy's that way.
Wished I'd trained more. I really mean it. I'm going to train more from now on.
what is that floating in the water?
Affirmations. almost forgot: I'm fast and powerful!
Fast and powerful!
Fast and powerful!
I'm going to beat 4 hours!
Glad I anti-fogged the goggles today.
What's the smell?
Who's grabbing my feet? Just pass me already.
Wish I had some music.
Pulled from the water already - I wonder if that will ever happen to me?
I can't ever seem to get my feet dry.
Another walk up a hill in bike shoes.
Why do I do this? It's hard, and I hate it.
That's a penalty. Wonder if I should report that.
Hope my tires hold up.
It will all be over soon.
Fast and powerful.
Fast and powerful.
I'm totally focused.
I need to reorganize my desk.
Maybe I should try to 'feel the burn.'
Ow. The burn hurts. Don't like the burn.
Hate bumpy roads. Hate Hills. Hate Wind.
I should lose some weight. Then I'd have have less weight to haul around.
Fast and powerful.
Fast
and powerful.

This is a steep climb.
There's my car. I could just leave the course and go over and sit down. right now. Nobody would think any less of me. At least I tried, they'd say.
This is hard.
I think I'm going to throw up.
What are those, BUGS?
Yeah, sure, dude, you're fast. Me, I'm just pacing myself.
Wheeee! Love the downhill.
Do glued tubulars come off easy?
I hope I can beat 4 hours.
I like that house. They did a lot with their front yard.
I need to gather up stuff I don't use that's cluttering up the bedroom and donate it to Goodwill.
Wish I were a faster runner.
Gosh, she's fast. Well, she's probably been doing this a long time, and I'm pretty new at it.
I should grow my hair back out.
Sure, go head, try to run me off the road.
You and your pickup truck must be very important.
Fast and powerful.
fast and, um, powerful.
A hose! hey, squirt me!
That dog should be on a leash.
I wish I was a faster runner.
I'm alone out here.
So very alone.
wonder if anyone's behind me?
Don't look back.
I bet Husband is all done and showered off by now.
I bet everyone is.
Fast and powerful.
(Slow and weak.)
NO! fast and powerful!
Gosh, it's getting hot.
An escort for the last runner.
Me? Am I the last runner?
I should just try to run faster.
Just try.
Maybe I'm not trying enough.
I don't think I can run any more.
Fast
and
powerful.
Fast
and
powerful.
I really do think I'm going to throw up.
I'm not going to
beat 4 hours.
I feel a little
dizzy
and kinda
sick.
Gosh, it's hot.
I'm almost
done.
Finish line.
Maybe I can run
a little more.
I'm
done.
Fast
and
powerful.
Fast
and
powerful.
I'm
done.
Where's the lake?
No
thanks.
Not
hungry.
I'm done.
I rule.
I'm
finished.
I can do it.
I wonder what else I can do?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Buffman and Squeaky Olympic Distance Triathlon

Results are here (link)

My results:

  • 1500 m Swim: About 43 minutes
  • 40K Bike: About 2 hours
  • 10K Run: About 80 minutes

Total time: 4 hours, 6 minutes. Or therabouts.
First place (and only) Athena.

There are not enough words in the English language to describe how tired I am.

I am "just leave me in the car and I'll sleep here tonight" tired.

"Cook it yourself" tired.

I love my life.
I'll post something tomorrow.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Science Experiment

Being a big science nerd, I'm given to looking up stuff and performing experiments on my personal life, usually with me being the subject. I do this out of desperation and to avoid the generally well-meaning but unhelpful, "just rest [it] for two weeks" or, "just avoid any stenuous activity for a week or so".

What this means is that I'm a big fat baby. I complain, then I ignore the helpful and sensible advice. This is referred to as "help-complaining-rejecting."

Here are the two experiments I'm working on now. I have an Olympic-distance triathlon this weekend, and I don't want to miss it:

Experiment 1: I have a cough that, while it is not getting worse, is pretty annoying. I found out that an associate just got over strep and a bad cold (Gee thanks). I wish to vanquish any possibility of being too sick to compete this weekend.
Observation: Germs will only live in a very specific host environment. Most human germs, for instance, exist at near 7 pH and 98.6 degree temperature.
Hypothesis: If I change my internal environment, I can flush them out.
Method: Take lots of metals (magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, etc.,) in an attempt to change my internal pH. Drink boatloads of water, ditto. Repeat on Friday. Of course it does without saying, I'll be getting lots of sleep to support my immune system.

Experiment 2: I fell (again) and aggravated the tendonitis in my wrist. Yeah, I know. I need to learn to tuck and roll.
Observation: When I wrapped my wrist for 8 hours, it was virtually pain free when I was done.
Hypothesis: If I keep my wrist immobile until Race day, I can swim with a brace on and then just curl up in pain afterward.
Method: I plan to keep my wrist taped completely until it cannot move, as well as take some prescriptions anti-inflammatories until Saturday.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What a week.

Holy cow, this week is just dragging by. Eighth- graders do not get more mellow as the year closes, and now they are absolutely hyper. I decided, why fight it, so we're doing group projects all this week and watching some Bill Nye science videos. Summer cannot come fast enough. I've got my summer training plan all figured out, and I want to get going on it!!

This weekend I have my first Olympic distance triathlon, and I'm more than a bit nervous. First off, I've developed a nagging cough in the past 48 hours. Okay, well, coughs can be supressed. But then yesterday, I walked out a little-used side door at work and the sidewalk wasn't where I expected it to be - it was 3 inches lower. Grace, thy name is me: I fell forward, landing on the same wrist that I seem to injure every time I fall in any venue. (Of course my skirt floated up over my butt when I did that, adding to my humiliation. Luckily, it was well after students had left for the day, so that only people who got the show were a couple of the maintanance staff.)
It doesn't hurt going forward or backward, just when I twist it to the right. There's no swelling or bruising, but I'm worried about the 1500 meter swim on Sunday. The 40K bike and 10K run don't worry me so much. So, here are my options:

  • Don't do the triathlon. Rest up, watch Husband and Son do it.
  • Do it at an easy pace, wearing a wrist brace. Consider it a training experience, and don't even try to push it.
I have about 60 hours to figure out what I'm going to do. In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers that my right wrist gets better during that time.

I'm nervous enough about this tri without having an aching body part.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Do you have TRIATHLANGST?


What happens when psychologists become triathletes? and get injured? and depressed?

No. Really. It's not a joke, and there's no punchline. There's just a new mental disorder that should be listed in the DSM.

(The DSM is the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which mental health practitioners use to diagnose mental disorders and impairments.)

Jay Benson thoughts.

...on the 5K run...
Gosh, the crowd's moving ahead of me fast. I wonder if I can at least finish somewhere in the middle this time. That lady looks like an Athena. Should I ask her? But what if she isn't? She'd freak out. Karen's quite a ways ahead of me now. Huh, they have a skateboarding park here. Neat. There's Debbi. She's way up there, too. That lady's walking - maybe I can catch her and pass her. Wow, my heart rate is THAT high?? I'm running out of air. Crap, I forgot to press go on my watch and we've been running for 4 or 5 minutes already. My legs are pretty tired already. I should have trained better. My throat hurts. Wonder how Husband and son are doing. I wonder if that's the chondroitan that made my feet better. I wonder if it's nice living on a military base. Seems like there's a lot to do here. I'm going to have to take a walk break. Ahh! That water tastes good. Dump the rest on myself to cool me down. Hey, thanks for volunteering today! Boy, volunteers are nice. I wonder what it's like, to stand out here, mustering up enthusiasm for people who are back-of-packers, like me. Wish I didn't have this cold. It's making my breathing all weird. Ugh, I hate hills. The wind's picking up. What's that honking/squeaking noise? Is that coming from me? How can those two women chat AND run at the same time? I can barely catch my breath! I should have trained more. gosh, that lady is 60 and she's kicking my ass! I'm going to train more. This time, I mean it. Oh, thank God, the last part of the run is downhill and downwind. I might be able to kick it. Nope, maybe not. I have got to get faster! Whoo. At least that's over...
Results: 33:48.

...On the 20K bike...
clip in! Dammit, clip in! clip in! Why do I have so much trouble getting my shoes clipped in? That's better. why do they call these clipless anyway? Wow, these wheels feel great. I am cruisin'! ON YOUR LEFT! Holy cow, did she really think it was a good idea to ride a big mountain bike for this? Whatever. ON YOUR LEFT! Where did that guy come from? Is he left over from the males? They started a half hour before us. Crap, forgot to push the button on my watch again. Agggh, I forgot to zero out my speedometer! ON YOUR LEFT! Not sure if this seat was a good idea. I think my butt's too wide for it, and it feels pretty hard. ON YOUR LEFT! Ugh, wind. I hate wind. but the downhills feel great. ON YOUR LEFT! YOUR LEFT, PLEASE! I'm PASSING YOU ON YOUR LEFT! THANKS! Ohh, that's a dad and his daughter. that's so cute! Ooh, this is bumpy. I'm thirsty. There's downhill, but wind. Should I gear up, or down? I wonder if the kids will remember to call me for mother's day? Wow, she's really mashing those pedals. Doesn't she have any gears? Wonder if this is her first. Ooo, this is smooth. I need to work on my cadence. Wow, she's cruisin'. ON YOUR LEFT! WTF, is she passing me on the left? Hey, you can't do that! Ah, turn around. Let's see if I can grab a cup of water to dump in my aero bottle and turn around at the same time. Almost done! Wow, she's really fast. Wizzed by me like I was standing still. Hey, there's that honking again. Jeez, is he in the race? It would suck to get a flat and have to walk all the way back. WHAT IS THAT HONKING NOISE? Am I doing that somehow? Is that coming from me? oh, prairie dogs. ON YOUR LEFT! Ugh, this hill is KILLIN' ME! I don't know what I hate more wind or hills. ON YOUR LEFT! Hey, she's mashing her pedals to keep me from passing her, and I've already come alongside her! She's can't do that. I think it's a rule or something. Anyway, I'm not havin' it - upshift - rock the bike - Take that! Hah! She won't be catching up to me soon. There's transition up ahead. ON YOUR LEFT! Done! Ow, this is a long transition to run through barefoot...
Results: 45:47; average: 16.3 mph

...and in the pool, during the 400 meter swim...
Crap, I forgot to push the button on my watch again. Ah, this feels good. gosh, I'm just about worn out. Hey, lady, pick a side so I can pass you, okay? Who's grabbing my foot? Let me finish passing this lady and I'll get over so you can pass me! Ugh, my goggles are filling up with water. I hate these goggles. I might as well not have them. I can't catch my breath. WTF, is she doing the breast stroke? How am I supposed to pass her? gosh, this pool is long. And deep! Whew! Only three more lanes to go. hey, go ahead - you're going to pass me anyway. Wow, she's SMOKIN' fast! I'm going to have to stop and clear my goggles. My eyes hurt. What is that on the bottom of the pool? a watch? It would suck to lose your watch in the pool. Gosh, I'm tired. I need a nap. Ack, I needed more guafenisine this morning. I'm' breathing every stroke now. I just can't catch it my breath! Holy cow, I'm tired. Hey, move over - I need to pass you! Wonder if flip turns would make me faster. I just wish I could do them without getting water up my nose. It's noisy in here. Is that Brian? Oh, no. Another guy in a white running hat. Wow, I feel the stroke now. Yeah, okay, you go ahead of me. What's that? Looks like someone lost their timing chip. Gosh this pool is crowded. That must be a former student. Nobody else calls me "Mrs" . Woozy. Wish I'd brought a towel. How am I gonna get dry?
Results: 11:16 minutes.

I didn't place, but I think I did better than my usual. the Jay Benson Sprint on Kirtland AFB was a big triathlon, about 600 people, I think. There was a lot of competition today! But a fun race! Karen placed 3rd. Yay, Karen!

Funky smell rating: A+
Dog siting: 2 (unless you're impaired in some manner, do you really need to bring your dog into the ladies locker room? Ugh.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wunderfrost (?) debuts.


Here s/he is - I'll have better photos within a day or so.

My baby is a Trek Equinox 7 WSD, 54 cm frame, (birthday present from husband) with the following additions & enhancements (mother's day presents):

--Shimano Dura-ace pedals*
--Shimano 12-27 gear ratio setup*
--Zipp 404-tubuluar wheels*
--Specialized WSD seat for my wide Athena butt*
--Bento box for holding energy bars, gells, asthma inhaler, what have you...
--Profile design aero bars, aero bottle holder, and aero bottle (not seen in photo)

*All the stuff with stars next to it (astericks? asterix? asterics?) are brand new and will debut at the Jay Benson Sprint Triathlon tomorrow.

it's a pale frosty blue, the same color as my Shimano wsd shoes, so maybe I'll call it Wunderfrost.
Or geekgrl (my college nickname) Actually, you can't see it in the photo, but there are red decals on the side that have my full name with my college nickname "Geekgrl" (this is also on my license plate, and has been through four states) on it. Maybe I'll have a naming contest, except I don't have any cool prizes like Mp3 players, just the smug satisfaction of knowing that you named someone's bike.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I shall slay thee, evil procrastination demon.

Enough already!
I can't do this anymore. I can't justify absolute sloth and laziness by saying that I'm "tapering" or "recovering" anymore. I have to be honest with myself. I've been running, biking and swimming only once or twice a week up until now, using teaching and, "being busy" or "I'm too tired" as an excuse, but it's time to get serious. I need to be able to keep going, even when I'm feeling tired, if I want to be able to do a half iron distance in September.

Meanwhile, I have my first Olympic distance triathlon in 9 days, (holy cow, that came up fast) and I honestly don't know if I'm ready for it. Oh, I'll finish it...but slowly, and I fear, painfully. I've had my training plan in place and haven't been following it. I've been doing one long swim (2000-3000 meters), two short runs (5K each) and one bike (about 18 miles) each week.

So far, here are my favorite excuses for not training (you have to imagine me saying these with more than a bit of a whine in my voice).
It's too windy (when I have an indoor trainer and spinnerval DVD's)
It's too hot (when I have a treadmill and a/c)
The pool's too crowded, I couldn't get a lane (okay, well, that is an actual excuse - but once I'm off work for the summer, I'll be able to hit the pool when there's nobody in it)

Meanwhile, even though the sprint I'm doing on mother's day (short and flat) will be okay, I fear the triathlon gods will punish me at the Buffman and Squeaky Triathlon next weekend.

Agghh! I've been a bad, bad, Athena! But no more!

New Shtuff!


I've been realllly lazy this week. Just so tired. I sat down a couple days ago and realized I haven't built in any recovery weeks into my training plan. Maybe that's why I've been so exhausted.

That, and the last couple weeks for a teacher, while part of us feels like singing, is full of many parent phone calls and all the last minute begging (by students and parents).

So, I've starting building in a recovery week into my training plan.

Meanwhile, Husband took it upon himself to get me some very special nifties - mother's day nifties - and upgrade my bike. Wonderfrost, or Geekgrl, or Rosie, whatever I decide to call my tri-bike, now sports a pair of Zipp-404 tubulars, Shimano Duraace pedals, and a new casette and rings (I was having a really hard time with just the double chain wheel on hills, so I got a different ratio to help me climb easier), and a new pair of Shimano cycling shoes, with carbon on the platform (?) (and they even match the bike).

I say (?) because some of the terminology I'm a bit unfamiliar with. Husband researches this stuff and then tells me what the best stuff is. Then, when I'm standing in the bike shop, they start talking bike-ese to me, assuming that since I'm getting some high end stuff, I must speak it to. I can only nod, and hope that I live up to the promise of all this very cool equipment. Part of me feels like a kid who just learned how to drive and has been handed a porche. But it's exciting nonetheless, and I can't wait to try it all out this weekend at the Benson.

I'll have a picture of my new bike soon for show-off purposes!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

SO he's not running...


...he's still pretty awesome.

Fat Man Walking has arrived in NYC.

Another example of someone who ignored conventions and the word "can't"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

First open water swim!

Ransom Canyon, Texas. Race Report.

I love Texas. I was born there. I love the way they talk, and how friendly they are, and how they call me, 'girl.' They are ever so helpful, too.

"Hey, y'all, gather round if this is your first lake swim, or if this is your first triathlon, now listen up. Sometimes when you git in that water you might just start to panic, that's okay. Happens to the best of us, happened to my wife and she's had eleven years of triathlon, just do the breast stroke if you have to or swim on your back until you feel better. An' try to get away from everybody; you might get slapped or punched by accident by people swimmin' by ya, just remember it's nothin' personal, there was a guy at one triathlon I was in somewhere else one time, they think he got punched in the trachea by accident, didn't find him in the water until Thursday after the race. Alrat that's it, lets have a good swim!"

For the next five minutes I stood in cold, waist-deep water and perseverated on what I had learned.
They didn't find his body until Thursday after the race. Thursday, after the race. The race was on a Sunday, and they didn't find his body for four days. He must have sunk like a stone. Four days it took them to find him. They didn't even notice he was missing. Didn't find his body for four days. Missing. Dead. Oh, my, God.

Then the gun went off.

I took Karen's advice and counted to five, then dove in.

and then I forgot how to swim.

Holy cow, that water was cold. It didn't matter that I was up to 3000 meters on my long swim. That nice, calm heated indoor pool didn't prepare me for the choppy waters of a cold (65-degrees) spring fed murky lake on a cloudy, windy day. It also didn't matter that I was wearing my new ironman instinct wet suit. I found myself swimming with my face straight out of the water, sputtering, arms flailing, while everyone around me seemed to be doing the same. One woman near me would swim a few strokes, stop, and turn completely around around with a look of panic, and then do it again. People near me cursed freely about how cold the water was, how this "was shit" and how much they hated it, "this sucks!" et cetera. One older woman, wearing a shorty wet suit, had to be pulled from the water. She just couldn't make it.

and I just couldn't seem to remember how to swim.

Finally, after about a fourth of the swim, I forced myself to stop and calm down. I sat in one place for a moment, treading water. Think! take a deep breath. Now, put your face in the water. Exhale. Stroke, stroke. Turn your head. Inhale. Repeat. WHO KEEPS GRABBING MY FOOT? It's FREAKING ME OUT! which I don't need!! Okay, now I'm getting into my groove. but holy cow, that water is cold..the swim is estimated to be anywhere from 500 to 600 meters...why do I keep ending up toward the right of the buoy when I'm swimming toward the LEFT? Oh, I get it, I'm drifting. The water isn't quite so cold now. Isn't that the first sign of hypothermia? Oh, I get it. The water is MOVING. Finally, here's the ramp next to T1...where they grabbed, hauled me up out of the water, and yanked my wetsuit zipper down. Swim time, 15:17, T1 time, 3:37 (Takes a while to get that wetsuit off, dry your feet,).

Then I headed out on the bike. I was whooped. I just couldn't get up that hill. It was an 8% grade hill about a quarter of a mile long, and about halfway up, I finally stopped and walked the bike the rest of the way. Once I was near the top, I got on the bike, struggled the rest of the way and out onto the flat. There was about four miles of that, and then the decent into Yellow Horse canyon. I was still pretty whooped from that swim, so as I rose back up out of the canyon, once again about 50 yards from the top I had to get off and walk my bike up another 8% grade hill. I'd be ashamed if I wasn't so grateful that we're allowed to do that. Then on the flat about another three miles to the turn around (this was a 30K bike) and then back down through yellow horse canyon again.

This time, freshly fortified by water from my aero bottle and a Hammer gel, I was determined that I would RIDE UP THIS HILL. And I did. Back on the flat, and then back down into Ransom Canyon. Husband lept out and took a picture. I noted with satisfaction that I was exceeding the 20 mph speed limit as I careened into the canyon.
"Wheeeeeeeee!"
Then I remembered the caution of "you might like goin' that fast, but remember, you gotta stop." So, I started applying my brakes and came to a gentle stop right at T2. Bike time, an hour and twenty-five minutes.

The 5K run was uneventful except for the funny guy who announced that I was "almost to the hurdles".
Ha ha.
Ha.

Maybe I could have run faster, but I knew that the only other Athena was already ahead of me and there was no catching her. I also knew there were exactly two people far behind me. I was determined to enjoy the rest of this race, so I would run for 4 or 5 minutes, and then walk for a minute. Run time, 37:40.

  • Results: Overall, I wasn't first, and I wasn't last. Athena, 2nd place.
  • Friendliness rating: A+, like nearly all of Texas.
  • Funky smell rating: (Lakes can get a little stinky sometimes, especially after sitting all winter)