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

Monday, October 30, 2006

SOMA: In which I chased myself down.

Okay, so, SOMA. Results are posted here.
I'm going to be comparing my experience here to my experience at the Redman, since I did such a poor job of taking care of endurance needs at that race. Ah, well, lesson learned, and learned well.
I highly recommend this race. The bike portion alone is worth the price, because it's wild ride. For a race only 4 years told, it was well organized, and as a completely anxiety-ridden moi, I appreciate that I never, ever had to mix with--shudder--city traffic. AND, the triathlon gods blessed us with phenomenal weather: the sun stayed behind the clouds most of the day, leaving is a cool (low 80's) windless day.

We New Mexico Outlaws were all there bright and early in transition, including Pirate, Bones, Sweet Baboo, Myles, Ricky V, Wingman, and Wiz, aka, "wait-I've-got-a-different-idea-let's-change-our-plans-and-boy-do-I-need-a-nap") I got a chance to meet Benny, but I'm sorry to say that I had no idea what he said to me because I didn't have my hearing instrument in - he seemed really pleasant, though. I never did get to meet Nytro, who may have been afraid that I would force-feed her something healthy.

The swim went off a bit late, prompting my anxiety level to ride even higher, as I was concerned about the course closing, but no matter.

I had a competitor to chase down.

Someone who's ass I seriously wanted to kick.

A weapy, self-pitying silly Athena who finished crying at the OK Redman.

I'm talking, of course, about ME.

Let me REMIND you that my time at the Oklahoma Redman was just a moment shy of nine hours. How badly I mismanaged hydration and nutrition. How I wound up with a post race body temp of 95.6, which means (according to the CSI episodes I've watched) that I've been dead for three hours.

This was different. I was ready and waiting to chase her--me--down.

Some things I figured out beforehand, bearing in mind that everyone is different:

  1. Drinking high electrolyte drinks all day long the day before the race? Bah. They went right through me. The fact that I spent the entire day before and most of the race itself in the loo should have been a red flag. THIS time, I drank a lot of water and Poweraid Option the day before, and it worked fine for me.
  2. I just can't eat a huge carb breakfast. I don't know a whole lot about hypoglycemia but I've suspected that I am in the past, and the high carb breakfast spikes my insulin level, I think, leaving me weak and weary early on. For this race, I ate a large dinner (I'm going to mention the restaurant you want to avoid later) the night before, but a light breakfast consisting of a sandwitch of vegan lunchmeat and cheese, about 2 hours prior to the race. I think the protein acted as a nice buffer.
  3. Hammer Perpetuum throughout the entire bike at SOMA. it rocks.
  4. I sucked down caffein throughout the entirety of the Redman. Don't think it works for me. this time, I limited my caffein intake.
So, the swim.
Well, you leap off the staging area right into the deep water. There's no walking out. You swim out about 100 yards or so to the starting line and wait for the large airhorn. I was in the women's 30-to-70 wave. (yeah, I know.) Anyway, there's no current. I've never taken off in the middle of the pack like that--I usually start out at the back--and I never will again. I'm just not ready for it. It was a human washing machine. I spent a great deal of time just treading water, while other people around me splashed mightly and smacked me. Despite this bedlam, I managed to shave a bit of time off my Redman time. At the end of the swim, hefty high school wrestlers hoist you out of the water back onto the staging area, and if you're at the back of the pack, like me, you get full use of the wetsuit strippers.
REDMAN SWIM TIME: 1:02 / SOMA SWIM TIME: 00:52:51

In T1, I tried desperately to get all the tiny grass clippings off my feet, shove them into my bike socks, sucked down half a bottle of Perpetuum, grabbed my inhaler, helmet, bike shoes, and headed out. (At right: me headed out onto the bike course.)

The bike loop was 3 trips around the craziest bike ride I've ever taken.
Each loop had several out-and-backs. I was doing my slow version of "hauling ass", since I was trying desperately to get off the bike course before it closed at 11:30. What I didn't know was that it didn't close until noon. Toward the middle of the first loop, I threw a chain, and spent the rest of the bike ride wiping bike grease across my face and nose without realizing it.

I also didn't know that I still had a couple of Clif Shot blocks in the bottom of my bento box leftover from the Redman. They glued everything together so that when I pulled out my sunblock, everything came out in a huge clump and I had to choose between catching the inhaler that fell off or the energy bar that fell off. (I chose the inhaler). On the ride, I drank 3 bottles of Perpetuum and a full aero bottle of water, and had one gel with caffein.

Another lesson learned: As I was peddling along, I started muttering a weird cadence to myself "Pedal, pedal, gator ade. Pedal, pedal, gator ade. Pedal, pedal, gator ade." In the midst of this, I suddenly remembered a caveat Bones gave me about the street signs, and looked up just in time to avoid running smack into one. Others were not so lucky. I heard there were some large pile-ups and mass wipe-outs, which I did not see and did not participate in. I've never been in a race this large, and because there was only about 3/4 of a lane for each direction (the signs and pylons took up some room) there were large masses of cyclists would would go blowing by me, even squeezing by on my right.

Toward the end of the ride, I was pretty frantic. I was convinced they were going to shut down the course any second, and my quads were ACHING. I was running out of steam, and wondering how I could possibly do a half marathon after all this madness. Just then, another Athena pedaled past me, further dispiriting me.

REDMAN BIKE TIME: 4:11 / SOMA BIKE TIME: 3:32

At t2, I grabbed a 12-ounce bottle, a bottle of hammer apple-cinammon gel, and drank half of an energy drink, because I think colas suck. (Don't start. I've been trying to get a taste for beer and colas most of my life, with no success). I shoved my feet into dry, sexy toe socks, and then I was off!
The plan: run 10 minutes, walk 5. I experimented for the first two miles with water and gel, and found that the perfect mix for me was to drink about 8-9 ounces of water during my 5 minute-walks, along with a squirt of goo in my mouth. Any more water and I got a side cramp, any less and I got nauseated. I ALSO did NOT pour ice water over me during the race, since I suspect this further confounded my ability to detect dehydration at the REDMAN. The combination for this slow runner worked perfectly. At each aid station, I refilled my tiny bottle, and then stuck in the back pocket of my skinsuit. Every 4 miles or so I ate two enduralytes.

Toward the end of the first loop, I passed Sweet Baboo on a small out and back part of the course and he hollered endearing things at me, which was nice.

The run course was two loops around lake Tempe, which resulted in one of the lonliest moments I have EVER experienced. As I approached the end of the first loop, everyone--I mean EVERYONE--around me turned left. Toward the finish line, and finishing.

I (sigh) turned right, and ran over the timing chip pads. Nobody was there.

After that, the course was largely deserted. Far ahead of me, though, I spotted the Athena that had passed me on the bike. Then, it was so ON

...but in a sad, slow, shuffling kind of way.

It kind of reminded me of a chase seen I saw in a movie once, where the people were riding tricycles. I would just get caught up to her, and then my walk alarm would go off. It was a test in patience. Eventually, though, I passed her and stayed ahead of her.

It was working, but I was starting to run down. I swore freely at the sun each time it threatened to appear, and then As I finished the end of the second run loop, I turned left and was disgruntled to realize that I had to run about 50 yards UP a grassy noll toward the finish line. There was nobody on the grassy noll, and hardly anyone at the finish line, save Sweet Baboo.

REDMAN Half-MARATHON TIME: 3:31 / SOMA RUN TIME: Around 3:06

I wasn't as emotional at the finish as I was at the Redman, but I didn't wind up in the medical tent either. I'm also more sore, since I put more into this race than I did before (mainly because I took better care of my nutrition and hydration needs. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is)

FINAL RESULTS:
REDMAN TOTAL TIME: 8:56:05
SOMA TOTAL TIME: 7:4704
17/22 Athena

PS: I appreciate the support and comments about Birdy Lisa. However, birdy people are generally fast. There's just no running them down. And all reports are that she was horribly embarassed by her mistake. As well she should be.

Also, AVOID a restaurant called OREGANOS. We waited for an hour to get seated. Then we waited an hour for the food. It was very good food, but let's face it, after smelling food for two hours, ANY food tastes great. So, you're thinking, that's a lot of time to visit and chat with your friends...absolutely true, unless the music is blasting so loud that everyone else in the restaurant is screaming over it and finally you give up and shut off your hearing aid and just smile and nod at anyone who tries to hold a conversation with you. I followed some of it. It was exhausting.
After the race, I was so hungry I ate two suppers. I apprantly burned somthing like over 4000 calories. At the second supper, I had a pomegranate margarita. Avoid this. They are $9 each. That must be why they don't put the prices on the drink menu at Uno's.

...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Birdy Lisa

Well, we made it to Tempe. Holy cow, it's hot here. Not looking forward to running in the heat tomorrow. We've already picked up the goodie bag, numbers, and chip. Inside th bag was a water bottle, head sweats visor, and the T-shirt. For some reason, only 'girls' as in LITTLE girls T-shirts were were available, so my shirt is size XXL. Fat reminder #1 is in play.

Next, Sweet Baboo and I rode our bikes over to the check-in and set them up in transition, then wondered around with some of the other NM Outlaws on our team. They introduced me to a perky, tiny bird person named Lisa, who is a recent graduate, apparently, of the Norman Stadtler Charm School.

I say that because upon introduction, she glanced at Sweet Baboo and I, and then asked sweetly, "So, are you two here to be cheerleaders tomorrow?"

Cricket. Cricket. Cricket.

Let me just try to share with you how difficult it is, ever, to make me speechless. As I stood there, mouth agape, Sweet Baboo spoke up and said, "um, actually, we're in the race."

B&#$H!

Deep breaths. I will ignore any thoughts that I have that this was some type of intentional dig, and assume the best: Birdy Lisa is just one of those people with a raging impulse disorder who blurts things out when she's off her meds.

Anyway, I'm going to get ready to go to dinner, and try not to feel fat.

I haven't connected with Nytro yet, but I have left her a voice message on her cell phone. A bunch of us are headed over to Oreganos tonight for the pre race meal, so maybe I'll see her and Pirate there.

T-minus 14 hours. And counting.

..

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Narcisisstic post #100

This is my 100th post. To honor this occasion, I've decided to share many things you maybe didn't know about me.

I tried to come up with 100, but didn't quite make it. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. I spent nearly all of my childhood in Hoover, Alabama.
  2. I spent my teenage years in Dallas, Texas.
  3. But I'm still a left-wing, a-theist Vegan liberal.
  4. That means the other Southerners won't hang out with me.
  5. I eat white sugar, and I'm sick of salads.
  6. I don't believe in astrology or reiki because they aren't supported by empirical data.
  7. That means the other Vegans won't hang out with me.
  8. I don't have a Southern accent.
  9. But I have seen a tornado.
  10. It sounded just like a freight train.
  11. I was hyperactive as a kid.
  12. I used to forget how to eat.
  13. I never had problems with my weight most of my life.
  14. Then in my thirties, I learned how to cook.
  15. After I learned how to cook, I started eating and boy, did I gain weight.
  16. I lost part of my hearing when I was a baby.
  17. I didn't know I was hearing-impaired.
  18. I just thought I was just "right-eared."
  19. Now I wear a hearing aid.
  20. When people annoy me, I just shut it off.
  21. Sometimes it gives feedback in a loud, piercing tone that only I can hear, and when the batteries are dying, it beeps continuously until I change them or shut it off.
  22. Sometimes when my hearing aid beeps at me, I forget myself and talk back to it while I'm in public. I say things like, "Okay, fine, just a minute. Jeesh."
  23. In college, I double-majored in Earth Sciences and Education.
  24. That means I have a degree in rock-collecting.
  25. But I have all summer long to do it.
  26. My mom was a professional artist.
  27. Once, my mom was teaching me how to draw faces, and she told me that my nose was not in proportion to my face.
  28. Then when I was 37, I got a nose job.
  29. I broke my arm once.
  30. I slammed the car door on it.
  31. My mom didn't believe me.
  32. And waited 5 days to take me to the hospital.
  33. I don't want you to think I didn't have a great mom.
  34. She was just really distracted.
  35. I once got attacked by a turkey.
  36. I was trespassing on a farm in Alabama.
  37. I wanted to pet the cow.
  38. I have one sister.
  39. Her name is BariLynn.
  40. She is the pretty, sensible one.
  41. My sister had one child, after she'd been married many years to a sensible man, in a home in a nice neighborhood with decent schools.
  42. I had three children right after high school before I could afford them and before I had a house and was divorced almost immediately.
  43. I'm the weird sister.
  44. But my life is more interesting.
  45. When I was a freshman at U. South Dakota, I had a 3-month-old, a 3-year-old, and a six-year-old.
  46. I bought a house in South Dakota for $2,500.
  47. That's not a typo. I lived in it while I was in college.
  48. Unlike college dorms, nobody cared if I put nails in the walls.
  49. Actually, some of the walls were missing.
  50. And some of the windows.
  51. And the pipes leaked.
  52. And some of the wiring was bad.
  53. But it got me and the kids through college.
  54. I used a wood stove during blizzards.
  55. I pretended it was really really nice camping.
  56. Once I accidentally set my house on fire.
  57. The town it was in didn't have 911 service.
  58. So I put it out myself.
  59. I got a third degree burn on my foot.
  60. Two days later, the volunteer fire department showed up.
  61. They gave me a sticker for my phone, so that I'd know who to call, the next time I accidentally set my house on fire.
  62. I painted over the burned stuff with latex house paint and RUSTOLEUM.
  63. You couldn't really tell the difference.
  64. When I was in high school, I helped my friends with their math.
  65. They paid me in cigarettes.
  66. When I was in college, I helped people with their computers.
  67. They paid me with bags of disposable diapers.
  68. I met my husband in college.
  69. The first Christmas gift he gave me was an Eastwing Rock hammer.
  70. I was thrilled, because I'd always wanted an Eastwing Rock hammer.
  71. I taught high school math for nine years.
  72. Most educational administrators don't understand math.
  73. So I could tell them anything about what I'm teaching, and they believe me.
  74. When I was ten, my dad moved us to Japan for two years.
  75. Star Trek sounds weird in Japanese.
  76. But yakitori is Awesome.
  77. And now I'm hooked on Ramen.
  78. (But not if it has dead animals in it)
  79. While I was living in Japan, my parents sent me to a private Catholic girls school.
  80. Yes, one of those uniforms.
  81. And now I have Catholic guilt, and I'm not even Catholic.
  82. I have four cats.
  83. I'm not, like, a cat collector or anything.
  84. I tried to join the air force once.
  85. I taught computer classes at a university in Alabama for six months.
  86. They "requested" that I give, extra time for the athletes to complete their assignments, but only the athletes.
  87. I resigned a month later.
  88. I will not leave the house without lipstick on.
  89. And I wear makeup during triathlons.
  90. This weekend, I'm doing SOMA (you probably already knew that.)
  91. I'm still the weird sister.
  92. And my life is still more interesting.
...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Last minute jitters.

This week is parent-teacher conference week in Rio Rancho. Actually, the 30th and 31st were set aside, with no school being taught on those days, for conferences, but when you have a thousand or so licensed staff having been told, "now, if you are able to hold the conferences early you will only have to come in for half of one of the two conference days," the result is, well, a thousand or so teachers who work every night the week prior, cramming in conferences so that they can have one-and-a-half whole days off. Of course, one of days will be spent by me driving back from SOMA fingering, I hope, a finisher's medal.

The end of the grading period is chock full of panicked kids wishing they just had a couple more days to make up all that work they neglected for the past nine weeks, and even a few panicked parents who call me and ask me, "Can all this missing work be turned in now? Is there extra credit?"

Sorry, kid. You might as well realize that you can't make up months of neglect in a couple of days. If you could, there'd be no such thing as a taper.

"What's a taper?"

Of course, this week also means that a teacher somewhere is trying to cram my conference about the Jonster in as well. And so it was that I was sitting across from my son's very nice, very affable advisor for the year, who is also one of his JROTC commanders. He's also an ex runner, so we spent some time chatting about that.

I like talking to runners about running, because I like being in their little club, but sometimes, it's intimidating. Not as intimidating as it would be, say, to live in Boulder, but almost. Real runners say things like, "well, I thought about doing some more races, but you know, I just could never cross that 6-minute barrier." or, "I'd like to do more marathons, but I never could quite manage to keep up my 8-minute mile for that long."

Blink, blink.

Oh! um, was I supposed to nod and laugh knowingly? Like I, myself was having that same problem? Actually, I'm still trying to consistently cross that 11-minute barrier on anything other than a 5K. However, I do appreciate the assumption that I look that I could commiserate.
I think I look kinda sporty these days. One of my work collegues told me that they were looking for my name in the paper after the Duke City Marathon, but didn't see it.

(Uh, Ed, I wasn't in that marathon, and even if I were, they only printed the names of the 10 or so front runners. But, thanks--thanks for looking, and thinking that I'm a contender, and that my name would be in the paper.)

Four more days until Soma, and luckily the parent-teacher conferences all week will keep my mind busy and quell that last-minute panic that's setting in, the "wait! oh, wait! give me just one more week - I can get faster, really I can, watch me blow my taper as I desperately try to get some speedwork in a few days before a major event!"

So, in 4 days I'll find out if my performance at the Redman was an anomaly or if I really am that silly and slow. Another chance for me to panic and wish I had pedaled harder all those times behind Sweet Baboo. Another chance for me to wish I'd really pushed it and hadn't skipped any of those training days.

Wait! Can I make up the work late? hey, is there extra credit?

...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yikes. Just--Yikes.

Now I really have to move my butt.

There's no turning back - it's all paid for.

No refunds.

gulp.

I'm Louisville bound in '07.

C'mon, ladies. (I'm calling out Pirate and Helen, too!) Don't leave me alone in this madness.

I went on an "easy" 6 mile run today as I'm tapering for SOMA. I forgot that this was THAT weekend. THE weekend. The one where they have the Duke City marathon. All the way back, people kept leaping out at me, clapping, screaming, "good job!" and trying to give me things to drink.

I thought I heard someone yell, "Bandit! Swarm! Swarm!" but maybe not.

A photographer kept trying to take my picture, too. I should have let him. Then, when I turned off the path, spectators were trying to help me. "No! That course is that way! THAT WAY!"

It felt good, a good 12-minute pace. I think my goal for 2007 will be to be able to maintain that 12-minute pace throughout 26.2 miles, instead of the 7 or so that I can currently maintain it at before my legs threaten to succeed from the Union.

So far, for 2007, I'm signed up for
  • My very, very first marathon: The Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon, during MLK weekend. Husband is doing it, and so it Mini-me--er, I mean, The JONSTER. As soon as he heard me say, "40 cheerleading squads will line the course" as I was reading it from the descriptions, he lifted his head from the fog that it's often in.

    "Cheerleaders? I wanna do a marathon!"

    We tried to sign him up for the full, but he's on 15, so we signed him up for the half. It'll be a family affair.

    I'm also planning to do another Marathon in April, in Albuquerque, but I can't remember the name.

  • Some triathlon in Rocky Point, Mexico, in May. I can't remember the details, and I have no idea how I'm going to do it since I have no more time off

  • Ironman Louisville, the newst Ironman, which will be my first full Iron distance race. Louisville is very close to where my father's immediately family lives, and due north of Birmingam, Alabama where my father and sister (yes, I have one Sister) live, so it's very, very possible that one or both of them may deign to come and watch.
    Possible, but not likely.
    Unless Dad can watch cable, plug in his George Forman grill, AND be a spectator, I don't think so.

    In fact, I mentioned to Dad that I was doing this, and he said something like, "Gosh, that's really far off. I just don't know. Pretty far ahead to plan something."

    My Dad is retired, and otherwise uninvolved in anything other than Cable and the aforementioned George Foreman grill.

    I should mention at this point, that my father has never seen the house that Sweet Baboo and I built in 2004. Sister, meanwhile, has never visited me out of state. Ever. Once I crossed the State line out of Alabama, I lost the right the be visited.

    I lost my mother in 1998, and she was really the only one that was interested in any of the weird things I became involved in.

    But, anyway.
So, I've signed my life over to training for 2007.

It's not like I had anything else to do.

Other than, Oh, writing that paper for my 2nd master's degree. To finish it. Finally. AND THIS TIME, I MEAN IT, Dr. WELLS!

Oh, and put together a Dossier, which is required to go up the next level in my teaching certificate.

And working.

And taking trig or calculus as a refresher.

But other than that, I've got scads of time.

...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And here I am, taking bellydance lessons.


In a Past Life...



You Were: An Insane Belly Dancer.

Where You Lived: Israel.

How You Died: Typhoid fever.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I would like to announce that this morning was the longest I've ever run continuously: 12 miles. EVAR. If you don't count the couple times I stopped for about 15-20 seconds to stretch. My aductors (? those muscles that pull your legs up and down) were screaming toward the end. Yes, yes, I've done two half marathons, but I did the run-walk thing. This time I did my famous sloth run for the whole 12 miles.

I wore my injinji socks - aka "the secret weapon" and my new Ultimate direction Diablo, which carried a liter of filtered water, a 20-ounce bottle of electrolyte fluid, a gel, my phone, my inhaler, and assorted other items. It performed like a champ.

My glutes hurt like hell, too. What's that all about? Anyway, toward the end, Sweet Baboo tried to encourage a faster pace with reminders of our traditional post-long-run-high-glycemic-repast, otherwise known as a huge basket of curly fries and a bean and potato burrito smothered in green chili at Hurricanes.

It didn't make my run faster but, oh, those fries were good.

...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

McGrumpy the anti-Cyclist

Today's weather: Grumpy, with a slight sprinkle of self-pity.

Well, of course as soon as I bragged about keeping my training schedule I imediately had a week in which I was so swamped with work that I couldn't keep it. Since I'm a teacher, and the report card period endeth, I had lots of grading and tutoring to do.

Today would have been the last long ride before Soma of 60 miles, but we wound up cutting it a little short. The ride back into town was a nightmare; the wind was in my face going out and then picked up, shifted, and was in my face coming back. I struggled up the hill into Rio Rancho while Sweet Baboo cackled insanely and taunted me, threatening to cut off food and water if I didn't speed up...

(Sigh.)

No, that didn't really happen.

It would be too easy to blame Sweet Baboo for how discouraged I get on the bike, but the truth is that he always waits at the end of each hill with smiles and encouragement, and he works very hard to make it enjoyable, and worries that I'll associate my lack of enjoyment with him, inevitably linking him to dislike and loathing. He makes training easier; for instance, today he discovered I was using the wrong chain ring most of the time.

It's not him; it's me.

I hate to say it, here it is.

At times,

more often than not,

currently,

I hate cycling.

Yes, you read right.

HATE. It.

What's to like? I live in a place where there is no flat, every route has rollers and hills, and the wind shifts midway through the day so that if it's in your face in the morning, it will be in your face in the evening. Add to that my general paranoia about injuries; I have yet to do more than stumble in the 300+ miles of running I've done on 2006, but I've had two minor accidents on the bike, and they took me out of swimming and the bike for at least a month. Every three months or so I hear about a cyclist being killed, intensifying my fear and loathing. I feel trapped, fastened as I am to the pedals, unable to dodge obstacles or leave the path.

Accidents like Pirate's don't help my level of fear, nor does the crazy, zig-zagging fair-weather cyclists on the bike paths on the weekend, nor does the dozen or so careening Rednecks in SUV's and trucks that go screaming by on public roads, blasting their horns and showering me with dust. I live 4 miles from work, but the treatment I get by locals keeps me from biking there.

I've yet to have any endorphin-like moments on the bike. Often, after hill climbing, my knee hurts and my crotch is out of comission for days.
Some part of me will go numb. Maybe it's my feet, from the cold. Maybe it's my hands, from the vibration. Maybe it's my butt. Part of me will be sweaty, part of me will be freezing, and part of me will be numb.

Contrast that to running: I can dodge obstacles nimbly, leap up onto the curb or go down a dirt trail. I stumbled once, limped for about 10 feet, and then resumed running. I've been fortunate enought to have not been injured, and my joins seem to tolerate even the long runs I'm current doing of about 9 miles. I can always run slower, and believe me I will, going up a hill, or I can just stand. I can't just stand on a bike. I will fall over. (And I have.)

Infrequently, running with my headphones strapped on, even at my pace of around 12 or 13 minutes per mile, there are moments I feel that I'm flying. They don't happen often, but often enough to leave me like one of Skinner's pidgeons, pecking at the bar of the occasional moderate run, to see if I'll get that feeling again.
When I run, I feel strong, swift, and competent, even at the back of the pack.

When I ride my bike, I feel weak, ineffectual, slow, and vulnerable.

Meanwhile, I'm surrounded, living as I am in New Mexico, by people who LOVE the bike.

LOVE. THE. BIKE.

LOVE IT.

Want to MARRY it.

Things will get better; I know. They always do. After all, there was a time I hated running. and swimming. and, well, doing anything that made me sweat. Now I'm quite willing to sweat, even profusely on occasion.

I'm just going through a grumpy bike phase, I guess.

Tomorrow is a long run, about 12 miles. I'll feel better then.

...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A pat on the back and a nap.

Every week I put my training plans for the week in my little sidebar. I faithfully write out what I think looks like a good training schedule, and then immediately abandon it becaue 1) I suck at planning and 2) I am lazy.

The end result is that currently, I am 1) slow and 2) weak.

But I plan it, nonetheless.

After my experience at the Redman in which I had my pity party and worried about being able to finish Soma in the time limit, I asked Sweet Baboo if he would work up a training schedule for the rest of October leading up to Soma (meaning, yes, that I plan to do two half iron distance triathlons 5 weeks apart, me, who runs about an 11 minute mile on a good day with a tail wind; me, who averages around 16 mph on the bike in a race; me, who usually has a 2:45 swim pace, yes) and damned if he didn't do one.

Sigh.

This means that I actually had to stick to the plan laid before me because 1) I asked for it and 2) he went to the trouble to do it.

However, this week I actually did it. Nothing suceeds like obligation and guilt. Perhaps it's that two years I spent in Catholic school.

I,
yes I
Stuck.
To a TRAINING PLAN.
for a whole week.

In between patting myself on the back, I'm really, really tired.
The only thing I haven't done this week is the 50-mile bike, it wound up being 47 miles because my knee starting feeling really funky. Bad funky. Like something was swelling.

Since today is the opening day of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, meaning that 1) traffic all over the city is congested and 2) there are ALL kinds of people who have dragged their Family-dollar bikes out of the garage and hit the bike path in order to see all the hot air balloons.
I had a tough time this morning trying to get down the path, something akin to trying not to hit zig-zagging rabits and slowly moving cats. There was just no way to predict where any of them might go. Left, right, whatever. Other people were ignoring the nice, flat compacted running path in favor of the paved bike trail and sauntering down it, three or four abreast. And, as soon as Sweet Baboo passed them, they would IMMEDIATELY move back to the left without looking. It was a nightmare, and I blame my funky knee on it because I was trying to pass a large group of adults doing a "ride," in a large pack, up a hill, and I as out of the saddle and really mashing the pedals to do it. Okay, maybe that's my fault. but it was still frustrating.

But in the end, I actually was a good girl and did my training, as prescribed. Go, me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Toys!

I love new stuff.
Which is why I enjoy triathlon so much.
There's just so much stuff to get.

Sweet Baboo ordered one of these Ultimate Direction "Diablo" hydration vests the other day. He asked me if I wanted one, too, but I was skeptical, so I waited until he got his. As soon as he did, I tried it on, and immediately said "I want one" Now I'm awaiting its arrival. It's super lightweight--I swear, it weighs nothing--and rests over your shoulders. (I'm am SO tired of carrying stuff around my hips/waist. It makes me feel fat.)

The bladder carries 64 ounces of water, and under that is a compartment for the included 20-ounce bottle. There's 2 pockets for gel flasks, and it comes with one, and several other pockets in it for various things (like chapstick, sunscreen, ipod, and and inhaler, I'm thinking.) The biggest pocket has a bungee on it to hold things securely. And, it has reflective decor on it.
Before he bought it, Sweet Baboo noted that it was lavishly praised all over the place. So, of course, Ultimate Direction is discontininuing it.

Of course.

This is the bane of my existance - I find that if I fall in love with a product, I have to order it immediately and/or stock up, because it will become discontinued as soon as the company finds out that I really like it. It doesn't matter what it is: the food, the perfect foundation for my face, drink, hygene product - whatever.

Case and point: Morning Spark
I hate sodas, and I tolerate coffee only because of the caffein. So, it was with much excitement that I stumbled across this stuff at WalMart. It's a drink mix with caffein and no sugar. Each box has 10 little packages that you throw on 20 ounces of water. It's like Crystal Lite with a kick. Outstanding! It comes in Cranberry, Apple, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and Orange! I love the Cranberry and Apple!

So, immediately, the manufacturer discontinued everything except the orange.

Then WalMart has stopped carrying any of it. Bastards. Luckily, I saw this coming - such is my life - and bought about 15 boxes of it. Most of it is in a cabinet in my classroom. I feel like Elaine in the Sponge episode.
Is this a Morning-Spark-worthy event? Hmmmm.

I also ordered a couple of books on athletic nutrition for freak food eaters like me (aka Vegans). I'm pretty sick of the muscle-bound counter help at GMC admonishing me that "whey" is THE superior protein (it's a by-product of the cheese-making process, something they used to throw away) and that, without it, why, I'll just die. Or be some kind of gurly person.
When, in fact, 7-time winner and course record holder of Western States 100-mile Endurance Run Scott Jurek is completely Vegan.

I'm also seriously considering an ipod Nano. Not because I need one.
Because I want one.
But if you insist, here's the reasons I need one:

  1. It's flatter, which means it would be less likely to be bumped and damaged.
  2. It's also more aero.
  3. And lighter weight.
  4. The name, "ipod," have fewer syllables and thus, would be more efficient to say while running than, say, "mp3 player"
  5. I would be keeping the free sprit of enterprize alive by supporting Apple, instead of windows-based computers. (the fact that all my computers are windows-based is completely beside the point)
  6. It's way cooler looking, and that would give me a psychological edge, just by knowing how cool I am.
  7. It comes in pink. This matches my cool cycling socks. See #6 about the psychological edge.


I love new stuff.

Monday, October 02, 2006

DOPING SCANDAL (?)

I was relating my sudafed experience today at lunch with a friend of mine who is a serious bike nerd. In addition to being a teacher, he works part time at a bike shop--just because he can--and does time trials for fun. He "loathes" running, and swimming, and says he'd do a triathlon only if it was bike-bike-bike.

Anyway, Bob started laughing and said, "Geez, you were doping! Didn't you know that's a banned substance?" He walked off, cackling, down the hall. Apparently, he thought it was a real hoot.

Nope, I didn't know. As a lifelong battler of the sprint and fall flem seasons, Sudafed is something that's always in the medicine cabinet. I'd taken to using Guifenesin lately because it works better, but yesterday I was out. But I checked, and by golly, according to the US Anti-doping agency, Sudafed is indeed a banned substance. In any case the whole experience sucked - I don't know why anyone would want their heart to race until they couldn't catch their breath, but apparently, it helps somebody unfairly, so it's banned.

Life and learn. Now in addition to the general paranoia about poisoned contrails, I can be paranoid about the USADA coming after me. Suppose I become famous, for something. Like, maybe, being the slowest triathlete on earth.
"Excuse me, but is it true that you once used a banned substances in order to enhance your performance in a sprint triathlon at Holloman Airforce Base in New Mexico? How can you explain this to the parents who entrust you with their precious teenagers, day after day?"

"Um, yes," I'd have to admit, "I was trying to enhance my performance by eliminating a substantial amount of snot--I admit it, and I promise never to do it again.
As for the teenagers, judging by their academic inclinations in the afternoons, it's probably likely that they are popping way more serious stuff than Sudafed at lunch."

Still no results posted, about the results of yesterday's sprint tri, and nobody's answering the phone over at Holloman. Grrrrrr.

Sweet Baboo
has stepped up to be my training coach. I have to give him credit for taking a deep breath and doing this. He has experienced the wrath firsthand of the pissed off and tired Athena, and yet he's mustered up the courage to experience it again. When I had my Soma pity-party last week and whined, "you just don't know what it's like to always be last!" he started working on how to help me feel better and planning my training so that I would be able to finish Soma by the cutoff time. He does that a lot. It's a lot like having a nice, protective bubble around me all the time so that I don't have to experience too much stress. However, I have gone off on him in the past when my fatigue would temporarily pickle my brain and I would accuse him of trying to thwart my training, lying about how big the hills were going to be, and generally just trying to hurt me.

Now, I know he'd never do that. I just get paranoid and weird when I'm really, really tired.

Anyway, I started today with a 1500 m swim at the gym, and then 11 miles on the hill climbing program on the electronic cycle, feeling the burn, which I usually avoid doing, because I hate the burn--the burn hurts. (I prefer the electronic cycling because I don't like riding around Rio Rancho because, 1) The denizens here are insane rednecks who love to run cyclists off THEIR road, 2) there's a lot of heavy construction going on and a solid line of about a dozen large fill trucks running back and forth in the middle of my route who LOVE to come up behind me and blast their air horns at me. Bastards. As well, the bike bath on the bosque is ripe with IBP incidents--just ask Dread Pirate.)

...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Stealth Triathlon, Redeaux

Good: leftover vegan pizza, HEED, and an energy drink pre-sprint
Bad:
Pre-race sudafed.
Well, how could I have known this would make my heart race the way it did? Of course, AFTER I did it, and told people, they were like, "gosh, you should have told me you were going to do that. it's a bad, bad idea.

Well, live and learn, I suppose. Cold pizza good. Sudafed bad.

You should learn from my mistakes.

This year was pretty much like last year's Stealth Triathlon, a reverse sprint, except that 1) The bike ran a little long - 20 miles instead of 18.6; 2) I had taken Sudafed, which made my heart race; 3) I didn't drive the wrong way on the bike course this year, adding to my time, and 4) the pool wasn't heated this time, and 5) this year, I actually swam, instead of doing a 400 meter backstroke.


I hit the pool, where a friendly volunteer notified me, "Feet first, please!" I went into the pool, feet first, and gasped.
They should have made wetsuits optional.
If I'd known it was going to be this cold, I've have worked up more of a sweat beforehand.
"Sh** this is cold!" I yelped.
The volunteer gave me a dazzling smile, "sure is! down each lane, and then under, and then down the next. Good luck!"

I passed a few people in the pool. I was very, very motivated to get the hell out of there and get under a warm shower.

As per usual at Holloman, the results weren't ready for us. They fed us, then apologized, packed up the medals, and took off.
Then, we took off.
I think I got 2nd Athena, but I'm not sure.
No biscuit.

Oh, and I can also now add another to the list of people who have kicked my ass.
Previously, this list included:

  • an 11-year-old with an extremely awkward gate
  • a 70-year-old shuffle-walker
  • a racewalker
  • a woman with bronchitis
  • a woman recovering from radiation therapy
  • a pregnant woman
Now, you may add to this list a woman recovering from a broken foot; friend/arch nemesis Helen, who walked out of her house one day two months ago and broke her foot. She just got her cast off last week, and still managed to beat me today.

Anyway, here's how the times worked out, my performance this year compared to last. Let me REMIND you that I did a half iron triathlon a week ago.
Last years run: 38:42
This year's run: 33:17

Last year's bike: 1:21:44
This year's bike: 1:14:58

Last year's swim: 13:37
This year's swim: 10:25

Last year's Total time: 2:17:31
This year's total time: 2:01:33

4 weeks to Soma, and 15 weeks to my first marathon.
I've been reading up on ultra marathons. I know, it sounds crazy, but I've been wondering, maybe ultra stuff is my calling. I saw a picture of some women ultra runners on the cover of "Ultra runner" magazine, and they look like me: stocky, I believe, is the perferred term.
Also, I'm not particularly fast, but if you give me enough time, I can go forever. I'm that stubborn.
That's what I'm calling it.
Stubborn.