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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Atomic Man 2007, Race Report

This morning Sweet Baboo and I got up and headed for the 3rd Annual Atomic Man Duathlon. They have two courses, the "Fat Man" and the "Little Boy". Forgetting for a moment the objectionable source of the names, I have to say that this is one of the best duathlons I've ever done. It's well organized, and they give you HEED at the aid stations instead of the evil stomach-cramping gator-juice. And, they give out some serious shwag. Last year they gave out technical T-s, long sleeve, which are one of my favorite shirts. This year they gave out LG Jackets. And, if you fill out a post race survey, you get a really nice runner's cap. The awards are usually something interesting and artsy.


We stayed in the area the night before and ate at the Peking House, I think it was called. Really decent Chinese food, including Tofu. We tried getting a bite at the Los Alamos Beverage Company, but they didn't really have anything vegan-ish. The people there looked pretty happy with their food, though, so I'm assuming it's a pretty good place. I met the owners, who did this duathlon, and they are pretty nice people. Their 8-year-old also did this race. I think he beat me.

Anyway, I'm babbling. Back to the race.

The little boy course is a 4K run, 15k bike, and 4K run. The fat man course is a 10K run, 40K bike, and 5K run. It is worth noting that the bikes on each of the courses are formidable. As in, "holy hell, this hill is steep and long, and I think I'm going to throw up." As in, the Jemez Mountains not too far from the Santa Fe ski area. They are not only very winding, but involve considerable climbing, and the whole things is at an altitude of over 6000 feet.

I did this one last year, and I was hoping to best my time. I probably would have, if I hadn't wasted time doing any of the following:



  1. Standing at the bike mount line repeatedly punching my cadence meter, muttering, "reset, damn you."

  2. Stopping to pick up a gel I had accidentally dropped on the course after the race director, in the prerace meeting, threatened that if we trashed any part of the course, he would find us and he would penalize us.

  3. Pedaling with one leg on my bike aftering picking up said gel, while saying, repeatedly, to my left shoe/pedal, "Clip in, damn you."

  4. Stopping to put the chain back on that jumped off while pedaling uphill.

  5. Pedaling with one leg on my bike after putting on said chain, while muttering to my left/shoe pedal, by now shouting, "Clip in, damn you!"

It is interesting to note that it's been suggested to me repeatedly by Sweet Baboo that you're supposed to clip on the side that's most difficult first. Of course, I never remember this until I'm at the point where I'm screaming at my pedal/shoe.

Sweet Baboo would also tell me, in his kind and patient way (if he saw any of this) that swearing at my pedals, or my cadence meter, don't make it work. I, however, would insist that the end justifies the means: I feel better by swearing at my pedals and my cadence meter, and that's what's really important.

Besides, he never sees me swearing at my equipment; he's usually finished with the race, showered and relaxing with a cool beverage by the time I hit T1.

Anyway, here's a profile of the bike course. You'll have to click on it; the elevation is on the right in green; my % heart rate is on the left in brown.

Before and after the bike from hell, the two 4K runs are more or less flat, with some slight grades increasing or decreasing no more than 100 feet across the same course. The longer 40K course, by the way, including a decsent and climb into a canyon.

I missed last years' time by about 10 seconds, I think. Lessons learned: reset the cadence meter BEFORE the race; clip in left first.

Oh, I was 11th in my age group (40-44). Out of 12. I miss getting the medals. But I'm determined to get faster.

I hadn't said much about this before, but after my grand announcement of no longer being an Athena I immediately gained five pounds that have stubbornly refused to budge. I've been toying with the idea of reclaiming my status and re-entering the Athena category.

It's damned hard, at 155 pounds, (that's 11 stone for our Aussie and Canadian friends, ay?) to outrun all those skinny birdy women who dash by me. Those women who don't have to haul my fat ass up a grade 8 or 9 hill on a bike.

They are hardly much more than the weight of their skeleton, muscle, and some connective tissue, as they do their 7 or 6 minute miles and then haul their 5% bodyfat up a hill on a bike. Yeah. I'm whining. Don't remind me, or I'll sit on you. I, on the other hand, to use the vernacular, have a whole lot of cushion for the pushin'.

And I miss the gratuitious medal. I know, I know... I should be above all that. But who doesn't love a medal?

In any case I'm going to make my decision some time this week.

...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

For Ruth

You asked a question recently that I can't answer, yet.

Why would anyone do an IronMan more than once?

I can't answer that, yet, but I can answer some questions leading up to it, and I can put it out there for those who are training for their next Ironman to answer. I suspect, as a mother myself, you might even be a bit disappointed that I don't just put my foot down with Your Boy, and say, "No More" after what happened in Arizona.
Ruth, I might as well tell Sweet Baboo not to breathe. I have put my foot down before, in matters of conscience and safety. I suppose I could do it now, but you and I both know we'd have a very unhappy Baboo. Plus, it would be kind of hypocritical for me to do that, since, you know, I'm doing these too...

I once asked the question, "Why anyone want to do this more than once?" after I watched Sweet Baboo come across the finish at his first sprint triathlon, red-faced, panting, completely out of breath and largely untrained, I figured that would be the end of it. I feared it. But he was high. Then when I started doing them, I learned why.

Part of it is doing something that most people would never conceive of doing. Part of it is the endorphins. For others, at each finish line some poor judgement or mistake from the past gets hazy, and voices in our head that whisper "fat," or "lazy," or "worthless" or worse, are silenced. Each finish line perhaps, negates some earlier thing that never got finished.

So then you, the triathlete, are hooked. And you're in a community. People are pulling for you. They call out your name, and you feel that they care about you finishing. The thought you had when viewing a sprint distance, "Hey, I think maybe I could do one of those, become the thought you have when you watch people finish an Olympic Distance. "But I'm pretty sure I'd only do it once."

So then, you do your first Olympic. And it's hard. It takes you 2 or 3 hours or more, if you're me, but you finish. Another finish line. Another T-shirt. Another sense of accomplishment that leaves you high. Another invisible athletic disploma. No matter what happens after this, you've done something that nobody can ever take away.

Part of it is a goal. Sometimes exercising can be a bit monotonous, but now, training for an event, well, then there's an end point, right? Something to accomplish. Another piece of craziness that, most people say, "I would NEVER do,"

I've said that before. I've said it while training for difficult sprints. "I'm pretty sure that I'd never want to do an Olympic." and then I decided to train for one. I entered the water terrified, and crossed the finish line alone, last, and exhausted, thinking, "That was too hard. I'd never be interested in doing a half iron" Then, sat in the lake and drank a cold beer. Then I did three Olympics, and each one got just a bit easier. Not faster, mind you, but easier.

Then, my brain whisperied, "if you actually train more, they get easier."

With good training comes eaiser races and good times. It's you and the sun and the bike and your footsteps (and sometimes the snow and the wind and the rain and the bugs) You're alone with your thoughts and your breathing but you're with others. The afterglow is what does it for me. Every finish line is followed by, "Cross that one off. That one's done."

Then, I saw people finishing a half iron, and I thought, "I think I could do that, but I'd only do it once. And I'm pretty sure that I'd never want to do an Ironman" When I finished my first half iron, I cried, and was the medical tent for dehydration, and didn't think I'd want to do another one again.

I did my second one a month later. It was easier. I learned. The endorphins kicked in, afterwards, like they always do, and I was high. I ate two dinners and slept hard, and then I woke up the next day and started thinking, "I could go the distance. I could do an IronMan. But I'd only do it once."

Maybe it's something to prove. For most of us, though, I suspect the race is with ourselves. Sometimes it's against others, sometimes it's against officials pulling us from the course at the cutoff. But it's always with our selves, putting away the little voice that says, "Relax. Sit down. Have some cold tea. Why do this?"

But none of this necessarily answers your question. At this point in time, as I contemplate my first ironman, it's easy for me to say I'd only do it once, just like I did all the others. But even as I've started training, I've already amended that to, "I'll do iron distance races with generous cutoffs, but I'll only do one official IronMan."

But see, I said that before, about sprints, olympics, half-irons, and marathons, and I've already planned on doing more of those. So who knows how far I'll go.

I started writing this by saying that I can't really answer your question, Why Would Anyone Do An Ironman Than Once? I can't, because I haven't done my first Ironman yet. So for you, for your question, I thought I would put it out there to the triathlon community.

So, here it is, triathletes.

This is for Ruth, a worried and puzzled mom who loves Her Boy, Sweet Baboo, and worries for his safety. She knows how brutal the winds were at Arizona, and she knows about him being in the medical tent. If you, in the triathlon blogging community, are currently complemplating or training for your Nth Iron distance race, tell her:

Why Would Anyone Do An Ironman Than Once?

...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The course maps are up!

Thanks to SkiRough for this!

Bike and Swim: http://www.ironman.com/assets/files/races/louisville/maps/2007/swim.pdf

Run Map: http://www.ironman.com/assets/files/races/louisville/maps/2007/run.pdf

Now, in other news, I have found a new use for triathlon skinsuits.

I loved my TYR skinsuit even before this because, as Tim discovered and I preciously posted, I am a manly girl, but the skinsuit still fits.

However, today I found out it's perfect for a dunk tank.

It was all for a good cause. And here's a tip from your favorite GeekGirl: have them fill it with super warm water. Then you're making money for charity AND having a hot tub party.

I am now the coolest teach EVAR because I'm the only teacher who did the dunk tank for carnival day. I followed the school principal and assistant principal, and the kids wound them up and pitched 'em in.

Then, um, I found out all the girls' bathrooms were locked in the school. Uh, hello? Hello? I put on clothes over the skinsuit, and I'm pleased to share with you that after the initial soaking through I was dry in less than 90 minutes.


...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A new evil in my life.

Okay, so I know that many bloggers have given you their take on the Garmin 305 wonder, but I thought I'd give you the opinion of some who is 1) slothful and 2) dishonest and 3) given to self delusion and rationalizations.

Today I took out the Garmin 305, hereforafter known on my blog as the reoccuring character, Evil Garmin Genie. Me and the Evil went for a long run, and here's how it went.

If you're like me, slothful, dishonest, and addicted to rationalizations, then you don't want, you need an Evil Garmin Genie, especially if and when you have ever subscribed to any of the following delusions/misconceptions/rationalization, as I have:
  • I'm not really that slow; they just marked the miles incorrectly.
  • I'll make it up on the downhills.
  • I'm not really that slow; it's just the wind/slight uphill that's making it seem that way.
  • If I hadn't gone back to pick up that lipstick/cell phone/gel that I dropped on the path, my average pace would have been better.
  • Gee, I'd love to do trail running, but I can't, because there's no mile markers.
  • I'll just switch off my timer while I go pee, because it shouldn't count against my pace, since I'm not really running...
So, yes, shut UP, I lie to myself. OFTEN.

Moreover, I round up and round down (whichever makes me look better) so that I can continue to do so. Then I enter my lies into whatever log I'm keeping that month, or add it to the running total in my head, which is suspect, and the lie continues.

But no more. Evil Garmin Genie is brutally honest. I must say, I respect any entity that is honest, whether it's Sweet Baboo, the Jimmy, or Evil Garmin Genie.
During setup, I set the main window to show me four things: my heart rate, which I was trying to keep at 155 or under; total elapsed time, my current pace (in miles per minute), and elapsed time for the current lap.
Through it all, Evil Garmin Genie made sure I was keepin' it real

E.g., Me: "wow, I feel great! I'm flyin'!"
Evil Garmin Genie: CURENT PACE 14.2 min/mi

The next cool thing about Evil Garmin is that I can go ANYWHERE. I mean, ANYWHERE. I'm no longer a slave to routes I can find in Google Earth or the route finder on BeginnerTriathlete.

As in, "hey, I wonder where THAT path goes?" It it counts into my distance, and I don't have to remember it later on to try to retrace my route, because Evil Garmin takes it all into account into my distance. It not only makes up for my inherant dishonesty, but my forgetfulness, as well.

Finally, there's no "rounding" because as soon as I pop Evil Garmin into it's evil cradle, it calls up the software (it came with it and I installed it) and uploads it before I have a chance to try to stop it or try to monkey around with it to make me look better/sleeker/faster, etc. It uploaded everything and logged it: my time, course profile, elevation, map of where I went, my pace, everything.

So, it's the end of an era. The end of my charming self-deluding bullshit. I've been found accountable, and I've done it to myself.

Thank you, Evil Garmin Genie.

...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Now I can start earning penalties.

I took out the new Garmin 305 and tested it today. It's got so may functions that it will take a while to learn them all, but I figured I'd do a basic heartrate/speed thing.

I also learned how to draft. Sort of. Damn, it was windy today. I'm guessing around 30 mph and gusty. Of course, it seems kind of useless for me to talk about wind, after what Sweet Baboo, et al., went through last weekend at Ironman Arizona, but, it was one of those moments when you're out riding, and it's silent except for the sound of your breathing.

You know that feeling? You're tooling around at about 18 mph hour, effortlessly.
And you're thinking, "Man, that training is really paying off!"
And you're thinkng, "I am AWESOME!"

And then you notice that the trees, grass, and bushes are all whipping wildly. And bending in the direction that you're going.

And then you notice that the people who are headed back in the direction you're coming from are on their bikes all tucked down as low as they can go, grimacing and squinting and barely able to wave without losing control of their bikes.

Crap.

So, you move along, thinking in your foolishly optimistic way, maybe if stay in this direction long enough, the wind will reverse, and be at my back on the way home.

"Or Maybe," laughs the evil bike genie, "It won't!
Maybe it will continue in the same direction, and intensify."

So then you think, maybe this would be a good time to learn how to draft.

Which is what I did. For the first time, I drafted off someone. Sweet Baboo, to be exactly. Of course I'm not good at it, yet, and the wind never blows steadly in New Mexico, so that occasionally an errant blast of wind would knock me just far out of alignment from his back wheel so that the next gust straight at me would leave me breathless and nearly knock me backwards, and I would fall behind.

Sweet Baboo would pedal on for a while, oblivous, and then look back and see how far behind I was. Then he slow down so I could catch up, and remind me kindly and patiently that I really needed to stay on his wheel.

He reminded me kindly and patiently about four times.

Finally I'd had enough of the wind and kindness and patiences and screamed, "I KNOW THAT! I'M TRYING, DAMMIT!!"

Then I felt bad because he seemed genuinely perplexed that I was so frustrated by his obvious attempts to help me. I do think it helped me a lot to have him in front of me, it's just that I get so nervous following closely ever since our accident last year.

Obviously, I made it back. My Garmin, for some reason, stopped reading my heart rate. I'll take it on the run tomorrow and see if it does better. However, I was genuinely impressed with I popped it into its little cradle attached to my computer and, with a tiny beep, it both loaded the Garmin software and uploaded the information from the watch, having tracked my progress. It showed me a little map of my journey and gave me my average speed and a bunch of other stuff. And I'd done was push START/STOP twice.

Tomorrow I'll take it on my long run and play with it some more.

...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Need some inspiration?


Jacob, who I think is down to under 400 pounds, just ran Boston.

I may be late in the game on this, but I just now became aware of it.

Swim workout with the Jimmy.

Yesterday I had my first swim training session with the Jimmy, which is what I'm going to call him now in honor of my favorite TV show of all time. Not that the Jimmy talks about himself in the third person, or anything. He's just unfortunately enough to be named Jimmy and have a new client who likes to bestow nicknames.

the Jimmy had me swim up and back in the lane and then showed me some drills. As it turns out, like in running, I've got very good form but no power. This, of course, being the result of a very casual approach to training, the, "Oh, I'm having so much fun now; I'd rather not sweat or get a cramp" type of training. As I have previously mentioned, I hate the feeling of sweat rolling down any part of me. But, no more. I want to be fast. I've already tried a headsweats, and a baby washcloth in my cleavage. They've helped the icky sweat feeling a LOT.

As for swimming, I'm just weak. Like I lot of women who don't weighlift or play ball sports, I have a week upper body. Some of the drills he gave me probably have names, but I don't remember them. They made pant. They made me nearly choke on water when I wasn't able to breath as often as I wanted to.

the Jimmy filmed me, but I haven't been able to see the film, as the battery died at the end of the session.

I did some one-armed swims, in which I swam down the lane with only one arm, switched arms and came back, and tried not to drown. I also did one where I did a normal stroke but as my arm extended down, I pushed back hard enough to make a splash as it came out behind me. I did some drills where I reached down really far before pushing out really hard behind me. I did drills where I swam five strokes before breathing instead of three, tried to lower the number of strokes down the lane by "gliding" on each stroke, and one where I dragged my finger tips through the water as I reached ahead.

During the entire session, as I'd forgotten my swim cap, my hair flipped in my face and interfered with my breathing and I inhaled water. My goggles fogged constantly. Oh, there's just no end to the things I can whine about and use as an excuse to stop for a moment.

On Wednesdays, the Jimmy usually has my warm up and then do some interval 800's around the track. Next Wednesday I'll start bringing my bike to do bricks. My doc, who is a marathoner, is putting me on Singulair along with what I've already been taking: Advair and Flonase. Hopefully this will put me on a less whiny, complainy path.

Oh, and the new Garmins have arrived! Now I get to spend the weekend playing with new technology.

...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What good kitties do after an Ironman.

Sweet Baboo arrived home yesterday; he got up at 8 am the day after the race and drove from Tempe to Albuquerque, tired, but happy to be done, to have done, and be home.

He checked his email.


He got some food.

And then, he slept. For about 10 hours.
...

Monday, April 16, 2007

He's done!

Sweet Baboo just crossed the finish line. I talked to several people still there while he was out on the run course, and they said the wind was brutal, gusting up to 30 mph. I'm sure he'll write about it soon!
Now, where can I get one of those T-shirts, you know the ones, "My husband is an IronMan?"

I'm so proud of him. I know from his time splits that he was hurtin' when he got to the run portion, but he never quit. He never does.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Things I just happen to know today.


1. If you take, oh, say, a MONTH off most running, it will Slow Your Ass Down. (Yeah, I know. DUH. but sometimes I just have to learn things for myself.)
2. The strawberries I bought on Thursday went and got themselves LOST. I know this because I went looking for them after doing my LSR this morning. When I asked mini-Baboo, he said he "FOUND" them. In the refrigerator. Then he asked me if he could use the Internet.
That happens a lot. Things getting lost, and then "found," by mini-Baboo, all right where I last last left them. For Pirate, it will happen twice as often. Bwahahahahah.
3. It takes me much longer to get ready for my long run when Sweet Baboo isn't here to say things like, "do you have your gels? your inhaler? your water? your watch?" etc.
4. Sweet Baboo, as I write this, is well on his way to not only be one of the Greater Sweet Baboos, but one of the Greater Sweet Iron Baboos. He finished his swim in 1:19:57. Bib#1184. Of course, he's already done an iron distance triathlon, but as several people have reminded him, he isn't a 'real' ironman because he hasn't finished a 'real' IronMan.
(WhatEVER)

5. I am now officially insanely jealous of Pirate, because she's in the midst of pimping her training bike with a pink powder finish. I will not and cannot live in such a jealous state, so I'm going to pimp my commuter. I thinking pink with black polka dots, or black with pink polkadots. And a silly plastic basket with flowers for the front. And maybe streamers. And one of those horns you squeeze.

6. The Baboo and I have decided not to move to San Antonio after all, partly because after spending two days threshing 5 acres in March temperatures, Baboo started wondering what it would be like to thresh fifteen acres. In July. When he's sixty.
Instead we're searching Albuquerque for our empty-nest nest. When Mini-baboo, the youngest of the baboos, graduates in 2009, our house will be far too large, and we're pretty desperate to get out of Rio Rancho and move into Albuquerque.

Lost item of the day: the USB network adapter I bought for Mini-baboo's computer. Some small items I should never be allowed to touch.
Or, there should be a way for me to call them, like I do my cell phone when I can't find it.
...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Calling in the big guns.

First off, Sweet Baboo is in Phoenix, where he'll be doing Ironman Arizona tomorrow (You can track his bib number, 1184, here). Several people have asked me if I'm going. I am not. Teachers are only given 2 personal days off (well, not counting summer) and also, I was going schedule to be chaperoning a group of science students to the state fair in Socorro.

But in any case, usually Sweet Baboo is the one who, at a reasonable hour, flips off the light and turns the fan on high, leaving me in darkness with the realization that it must be bedtime. As a result, I get enough sleep. I know it's time to go to sleep and the white noise from the fan keeps me there.

Since he's not here, I don't go to bed on time and I don't stay asleep and I'm BOORED that is why, at 4 am on a Saturday morning, I am wide awake, and haven't made it to sleep before 11 pm for three nights running.

Secondly, I've decided to get a coach.



No, not that kind of coach.



Yes, that kind of coach.


Now that I've satisfied my answer to the question, "Can I finish a triathlon?" and have successfully finished over 20 sprints, 2 Olympics, and 2 half-irons, the question becomes,

"Can I finish it before everyone packs up and leaves?"

I would like to hastily add that I still. know. everything. but I realize by now that despite the fact that 1) Sweet Baboo reads voraciously and 2) Barnes and Nobel should honor us with a catered meal each and every fiscal quarter, that just there comes a time when you say, maybe someone outside my head knows what's good for me, too. So I'm getting a coach. I chose the Jimster because about half dozen people in my area have gone on and on and on about him, including Pirate, who told me that he listens for, like, EVAR.

This Thursday will be my full initial fitness assessment. Since I can have him watch my run at the track workouts, and was just assessed and fitted for my bike at Colorado Multisport, I'm going to have him assess my swim form for the initial assessment.

I've done two trackworkouts with the Jimster that he does on Wednesdays with the people he coaches, including Pirate, at the 400m track on Academy. The first one, he had me do two laps "easy," to warm up, then a couple of 800 repeats. He did this timing me. The funny part was when he said things like,
"Okay, do this at about a 10K pace"
or,
"Okay, do this about your half marathon pace"

Ha. I have three speeds: fast shuffle, slow shuffle, and walk.

And unlike some people out there, when I say "I'm slow" (Most triathletes I know,) I mean it. I'm not lamenting about how "Oh, gee, golly, I wish I could do a 6 minute mile." I'm lamenting on how I'm nearly always at or near the back of every triathlon run I've ever done. I make some of it back on the bike, but let's face it, that only works on reverse tri's.

Then, we all lined up and did some stretches and sideways running drills, which kicked my ass. I mean, everyone else floated sideways while I awkwardly stumbled sideways, and then when I arrived where everyone else had been for quite a while, their heart rates having alreedy dropped 20 points, I was gasping for air and practically prostrate and then the Jimster would immediately say, "GO!" and everyone would take off again.
We finished off with some ab work.

Muscles that I don't usually use have announced they would like to have a word with me. NOW.

After a brief assessment, the Jimster concluded that my first goal will be a 10:00 mile. I must confess that, secretly, I was disappointed at first; I had this fantasy that he would slap his hand to his forehead and say something like, "HOLY COW! You're the most natural runner I've ever seen! With work, I think we can get you down to a 6-minute mile in no time!"

But, um, when I asked if maybe he thought I could get down toward nine, he put a hand on my shoulder and said, as gently as I might have, to a struggling student who wants to raise their grade from a D to an A in 3 weeks, "Well, now, let's be realistic."

In any case, I feel that's doable, since I've done a 10:30 mile in a 5K before. Right now, though, my heart rate shoots up to around 170 at that pace.
Little steps.

At the second track workout, he had me do some intervals. This track is open to the public, and there were a group of young kids there learning to be race-walkers. So, yup, you guessed it - while RUNNING, I had my ass kicked by a neophyte RACEWALKER, who I judged to be about 14. Really. I know I say that everyone younger than me is 14, but I really think he was. Maybe even 12. Not that it was a race. Were just working out. But he beat me. Dammit.

I'll write more when I do my fitness assessment.

I think I'll go buy a Garmin forerunner today. I'm tired of Nancy having cooler stuff than me, and I need a reason for Nytro to shoot off some envious sarcasm in my direction. Plus, they're cool and do graphs and lots of stuff. I got a new triathlon bag, too, which I'll write about when I have a chance to try it out.

..

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More triathlon tips.

Okay, so I've told a couple people this story, and they thought it fairly entertaining, so I'll share it with you.

It is fall of 2005. Mini-baboo, who is at the time 14. And a HALF. is doing his first or second triathlon.

He REALLY, DESPERATELY wants to big one of the big boys, (those big triathlon boys are SO COOOOOOL!) so he's hanging around sharing all the things he's heard Sweet Baboo say, or things he's read in a magazine.

At one point he overhears one of the big boys talking about struggling into a wetsuit, and he says, well actually he yells, excitedly,

"Hey! Hey! I know what you do for that! You're supposed to rub Spam all over your body!"

All heads, and I mean ALL heads, within hearing distance, swivel toward this revelation.

"Spam?"

"Yeah!"

"SPAM?!?
"Could you possibly mean, 'Pam' ?"

"What's the difference?"

The difference was patiently explained to him. Being that one is a spray on cooking lubricant, and the other canned pork. Not that it might have been any less able to get you into a wetsuit, we surmised later over the T3 repast. But it is a bit smelly. Plus, we're vegans. No potted meats for us.

Our team, the Outlaws, likes to give nicknames based on something silly or embarassing, or some quirk about you. It took quite a lot of effort to avoid the inevitable nickname they wanted to bestow upon him (SpamBoy will never know how hard I worked on his behalf, to get him nicknamed, "El Chivato") as 14-year-olds do NOT have a well-developed sense of humor nor do they enjoy laughing at themselves.

...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Are you really ready?

Sweet Baboo and I have lots of friends who are thinking about becoming parents. It's quite interesting to us, since I began the whole parenting thing at age 19, we find outselves, at the beginning of our 40's facing the empty nest. Even as our friends are having babies, or getting pregnant. So I just wanto to ask you,

Are you ready?

Are you REALLY ready?

Oh, sure, you think - I'm ready. I'm ready to be a parent.

If you've already taken the plunge and had your children, look away now, because it's too late for you.

The rest of you, awwwwww...you see other people's children and smile. You imagine what it will be like. Oh, yes - you've got the parenthood itch. You maybe even babysat once or twice, bless your heart. What's a little throw up, you ask. They're only babies for such a short time.

You can't wait, to have something like this



that will grow into something like this:







But the truth is, probabalistically speaking, you are just as likely to have something like this:
that grows into this:
(Not that I'm saing she isn't perfectly delightful,

but, I'm just asking you,

Are you ready?

Are you ready...for a teenager?

To answer this question, you'll need a partner to help you with a little experiment.
So here's how it works. Your partner should be someone (usually it's your mate/partner) who has about a week to devote to this project.

First, your partner is in charge of making sure that anything you truly adore, whether it be fritos, blueberry poptarts, crangrape juice, or a can of cream cheese frosting (hypothetically speaking) disappears. But they can't tell you about you in advance. They should also remove all of the cordless phones and leave them in places around the house where you woudn't expect a phone to be, like in a laundry basket, linen closest, spare bathroom, and under a rug. Some food, perhaps sandwitches or a piece of pie, should be placed under cushions of the couch or other sitting areas.
Finally, they should make sure they leave at least one door exterior door open at all times. At all of these times, they should insist that they did not do these things, and scream, "WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS BLAMING ME??"

Now, to start. As soon as you come in the door from work, your partner should immediately jump right in front of you and start repeating the following, "I'M HUNGRY. I WANT. I NEED. I NEED. WHY CAN'T I? YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING! YOU ALWAYS GET STUFF FOR YOURSELF AND I NEVER GET ANYTHING NEW! WHY CAN'T I DYE MY HAIR BLUE? I WANT TO GET MY LIP PIERCED!"

Then they should snarl and walk away, mumbling things about you under their breath that you can't quite hear.

Next, your partner should stand outside the door of any room that you're in and knock, saying over and over again: "Mom. Mom? Mom! MOM!! Mom. Mom? Mom! MOM!! Mom. Mom? Mom! MOM!! "
Your partner is also in charge of the following:

  • Waking you up at 5 am to get something signed; something that will cause them to fail a class or cost a lot of money if it doesn't get signed.
  • Stopping you as you're going out the door to work, telling you that they have to have a check for $35 or, again, they'll fail a class or they'll get kicked off the team, or something else horrible will happen.
  • Call you on your cell phone when you're halfway to work and tell you that they missed the bus, and they don't have a ride, and if they're tardy again, they'll have detention on Friday, which will require a ride home from school, except that is the day you need to leave early to go out of town.
  • Announce to you on Sunday night that they're out of deoderant, shampoo, and toothpaste and need markers and glue sticks for the project that's due tomorrow morning.
  • Snarl when you're in a good mood, and make random mumbings under their breath, such as, "I have to do EVERYTHING around here."
  • How can I say this delicately...even as teenagers, boys still haven't quite always perfected their aim some of the time?
  • Drag home a denizen of the local homeless shelter and announce this is their new best friend, and can't s/he spend the night at their house? WHAT? YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!!

--Sweet Baboo adds the following:

  • Have your partner strap on a chipper/shredder and throw food into it as you run arouNd the house, so that it sprays food onto the walls, floors, and ceilings (and stays there until YOU clean it up)
  • Make random chunks of money disppear from your wallet/checkbook (unexpected things like team uniforms, pictures, dances, and having outgrown all their shoes and the entire suite of clothes you just bought them last month, fillings, glasses, braces)
  • Have the partner run two or three baths every day in order to double the water bill, and leave their windows open in the winter (or the summer) thus doubling your heating/cooling bill.

There you have it. The truth test of readiness.

Not that he isn't perfectly delightful.

He graduates from high school in 2 years and 1 month.

...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Boulder experience, day 2.

Up and at 'em at 28 degrees. Yikes. We had a 10 am appointment at Colorado Multisport.

But, so, imagine the following: you have three hours to spend with someone who knows a whole bunch about bikes and triathlons, and you can ask them all the questions you've been meaning to ask him, sorting through all the stuff you've read, and the hype. They work with you, and only you, and answer all your questions and adjust your bike so that you stop hating your bike and are well on your way to making friends with you saddle.

That's what I got today from Tim at Colorado Multisport.

Of the many things I learned today, I learned that my old bike was the right size, but badly fitted.

Second, as I suspected, I am, indeed, the average male triathlete. I am 5'6" and have a longer torso and wider shoulders than most; so for a female, I'm quite manly. I don't worry because I know that the universe loves a balance, and that somewhere there is a girly triathlete man.

Anyhoo, Tim had me fill out a questionnaire and then sat down and interviewed me about my habits and experience on the bike. I was honest. I shared with him that, for the most part, my experience was that biking sucked, saddles sucked even more, and cycling events were punishment for having been very, very bad in a previous life. Tim asked me which event was my "strongest,"

I said, "the question really is, 'at which one do I suck at the least?'"

Tim laughed.

Then I said, "Ironically, it's the bike."

I have to tell you, I was nervous as first, because Tim seemed so young. However, he really knows his stuff, and as I'm discovering, everyone seems younger these days because, apprently, I'm getting older.

The next thing Tim did was take some measurements of me standing, lying, and the bent over. He had me sit me up on a compu trainer and set the tension up and then say, "Pedal. Keep your cadence up the upper 90's" He corrected my posture, and gave me exercises to help make it even better, which he's going to email me.

At first I was like, WTF???? PEDAL? You mean I have to WORK today?

And work I did, throughtout all the various measurements and questions and adjustment, I pedaled in bursts until I was breathing heavy and sweating and my quads were burning. He pointed to the readout and commented on my form and measured away. Then he started making adjustments.

The first adjustment Tim made was to change out my saddle. He put one on called a San Marco Glamour (see picture, right)


Oh. My. God.


I felt the difference right away.
Then, he pulled out my aerobars and tipped them up a bit, because I was hunched up and this would stretch me out a bit, but also angle me so that I wasn't always hunching to look up.


Then he put insoles in my cycling shoes and something called "wedges," to correct the angle of my legs when I pedaled.


Eventually, after all the measuring and such, he took Wunderfrost, who will hereafter be my trusty training bike, and set her up according to his specs.

All this took nearly 3 hours. It was time well spent, let me tell you. I could feel the difference immediately.

I promise you this: even if I wasn't purchasing a bike all the stuff I learned and the adjustments made to my existing bike were so well worth it: worth driving through the ice from Albuquerque to Boulder, worth the 29 degree day that I endured with no proper coat, worth it because I feel pretty strongly from now on that my experience on the bike is about to change.

Finally, Tim plugged in all his numbers into a computer which suggested...the Kestral Aifoil Pro, although technically, it seemed that I had several options available to me, being the average manly triathlete woman that I am. The airfoil pro. Huh. Whaddaya know about that? My new one will have 650 wheels, instead of 700's, with HED 3 and the Ultegra set.

After I was done, it was Sweet Baboo's turn, and I'll let him tell you about his experience.

As Sweet Baboo was finishing up his turn, with the crazy grin on his face that told me that, for him, it had been time well spent, that's when Duane arrived. The three of us when to BD's Mongolian Grill on Pearl Street, and talked. Duane is every bit as nice, funny, and friendly as you might suspect him to be, and has fantastic taste in music as well (Pink Floyd ROCKS, and now I don't have to saw at my wrists from Devo overload!) We learned aobut his two daughters, and about how one of them is about to do her first triathlon. We swapped triathlon stories. It was a great time! I ate much food, now that I have the excuse that I can eat like a manly man. Duane took a picture of us, and I completely forgot to get out the camera and take one of him and Baboo.

So sometime soon I'll have a new toy and now I really have to stop the martini drinking and train, because I have absolutely no more excuses. It's all up to me now; no more blaming my crappy splits on bad saddles and machinery that's out to get me.

As for the new bike, Webster's tells me that a Kestral is, "a small falcon that hovers in the air against a wind." I like that. I haven't named her yet, but I will. I'm still considering a custom paint job which I've decided, if I can get it, will involve purple and gold. In the meantime, here's a picture of her with factory specs:


So that was my experience. I don't know how typical it is, but if you have the time and the means to get this type of personalized fit experience, run, don't walk, to getcha one.!


Colorado Multisport is awesome, and I had a great time. And because we paid for the bikes outright, they are shipping it home for free, and it is being shipped out of state, we do NOT have to pay the 8% sales tax.

Sweet Baboo had a great time, too, but I'll let him tell you about that!

Cheers!

...

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Boulder Experience, Day 1

We arrived at the Boulder Outlook Hotel tonight at around 10:30 or so. You wouldn't; you couldn't, you shan't know how difficult it was to get here. I think the sign when we crossed the state line into Colorado was something like, "Now entering the state of Colorado; go back where you came from."

The highlights of the trip, so far, are that nobody has thrown eggs at us or screamed obscenities at is.

I'm tired. and cranky. And I wasn't even driving.

For starters, I had the choice this morning between loading software and setting up my new laptop or checking the weather in Colorado. I chose the former, because it was more fun, and now I am paying. Oh, dearie, am I paying. I am dressed for sprintime in New Mexico, and have brought with me 3 pairs of crop pants and 2 pairs of sandals, and two sleeveless shirts.

It is not springtime in Boulder. An icy drizzle began soon after entering Colorado, which seemed to confound the drivers here. Apparently ice is some exotic species, kinda like sand in New Mexico, and people have trouble driving on it. We counted seven (7) wrecks during the 3 hours it took to drive from Colorado Springs to Boulder. They ALL involved SUV's. So much for 4-wheel drive.

We watched with great interest as the large charter bus in front of us, traveling from Juarez, slid sideways across I-25 and then regained its traction. The car next to it honked, like as if, the driver didn't notice he was skidding on the ice and needed to have that brought to his attention. As if.

Second, the highway 36 From Denver into Boulder was shut down. CLOSED. We were directed to leave the highway, period, at Louisville, CO and the best we could do was follow a stream of cars, hoping they were going to to Boulder, too. (Luckily, they were). However, the mapquest directions were by then no good. We arrived at the hotel after several illegals Uturns and stopped to ask for directions. (Where is 28th street? Why are there two 27th streets?)

Bolder, you're fired. Duane, you too. You guys were in charge of making sure that weather was fair and highways were clear, and you blew it. Fie on you.

(And Duane, you know we all love you, but if I have to hear any more Devo I may start sawing at my wrists. )

So, FINALLY we arrived exhausted and tired and tried for pizza at Skinny Jays Pizza, where we were promptly ignored. We had better luck by ordering from the front desk. I'm having a 14" Vegan Pie. I had to, because rarely do I see the word "Vegan" on a menu unless all the servers are wearing hemp. But I digress.

I'm tired. And hungry. Tomorrow I'll give you the skinny on the Skinny Jay's pizza. Day 2 is our visit to Colorado Multisports, where we're going to be fit for new bikes. I have already deduced that the evil ABC in Albuquerque sold both of us bikes that are far too large, so I'm interested to find out what size I should have had. (My tri bike is a 54 cm. frame, and the only other person I know that has one is 6' tall. I am decidedly NOT 6' tall)

Till next time.

...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This is what I've come to.


I found out last night my daughter is scheduled to graduate May 20th.

MAY freaking 20TH, the same day I'm registered to do Buffman and Squeaky. I really, really wanted to do this race because last year I did this race and it took me four hours, and they were taking down all the equipment when I finished but Mike and Marti Greer, who are the best race directors EVAR left up the finish line for me and announced me as the winner of the Athena group (I was the only Athena in this race) even though I was still out on the course and DEAD FREAKING LAST with the support vehicle deiseling slowly behind me as I shuffled through the 10K. You can read about that here. And, I really wanted to see if I could beat my time this year.

So anyway, I was freaking out. This is what I've come to, the mother who's trying to figure out how to hop a flight from Lubbock to Dallas to see her only daughter's graduation from high school so she doesn't miss a triathlon. To add even more guilt, I should mention that my daughter receives special education services and has really struggled to graduate from high school at the age of 19. I'm immensely proud of her. She never gave up.

But between me and Travelocity, we couldn't make it work. You have to imagine my whiniest voice here as I said, over and over again, "I really, really don't want to miss this race!" Finally, I threw down my schedule in disgust and said, "that's it, I can't do the Squeaky Buttman. I can't miss her graduation from high school," all the while feeling resentful toward her, teenagers, high school graduates, whomever planned the graduation and triathlon dates, all race directors and the Dallas schools in general. And massive amounts of guilt for feeling that way.

Finally Sweet Baboo, whom I call the idea man, said calmly, "why don't you do the triathlon, and tell her you can't make it, and instead for her graduation present tell her you're going to fly her out here for a week. She's never been on a plane before, I'll be she'd be very excited".

And you know what, he was right. I called and asked her if she'd want to do this, and she's wildly excited and screamed a lot (the happy, hysterical teenage girl kind of scream) and doesn't care if I'm there for the ceremony, because flying out the week after school/work ends for me to spend the week with me is way cooler than just spending one day together. We'll do mom/daughter photos, lunches, the whole nine yards. (Sigh) Disaster, and worst-mother-of-the-year-award, narrowly diverted.

This is, of course, why I married him, and not some other, lesser, baboo.

...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Multisport, ya got me.

I noticed that after I did the sprint on Sunday I felt great. I mean, really, great. I mean, I placed 6 out of 6 in my age division, but I felt all sassy and full of myself, like I usually do after a triathlon, and that's where I finally said to myself, okay, multisport, ya got me.


I'm hooked.


Sweet Baboo has wondered outloud, on more than one occasion, if I don't have body dismorphic disorder. I don't know, but I tell you, man, after a triathlon, no matter what the result, or even after a long slow run, I tell you those endorphins kick in, and when I look in the mirror the person looking back at me is less ugly, less pasty-thighed, less tired than she used to be. Really. It's quite astonishing how it affects me. It's like heroin.

My name is GeekGirl, and I admit that I'm powerless over my addiction.

Soo, now that I know I'm here to stay, I'm ready to start investing in this hobby-turned obsession. I've finally admitted that running and tri-ing is something I plan to keep doing, unlike so many of my other short-attention-span diversions, and I'd like to do it well.

First, I finally admit that despite my love of books, research and reading, I'm finally ready to get help from someone who actually knows what they're doing. (Oh, I know. You're thinking, "but gee, GeekGirl, a 12-minute mile is just BLAZING fast, why the speed, oh, why?")

Many of the New Mexico Outlaws, including Pirate, get coaching from this guy Jimmy (hereafter referred to as The Jimster, just because it's my blog and I can) whom I've heard many, many good things about. And soooooo, this Wednesday I'm going to go and meet the Jimster, and do a speed workout with him and a bunch of folks. It's mostly to make sure there's no serious personality conflicts, but I'm already impressed by what he offers. In particular, when he begins coaching you, he offers an "initial fitness assessment thingy", which, according to his website, includes...

...video analysis of running gait, bike fitting for all bikes you train and race on,
swim stroke analysis of all strokes, nutritional consultation, body compostition,
postural assessment, weight room routines, VO2 max and Sub Max testing,

and mental training and racing strategies.

How cool is that?

Along those same lines, Sweet Baboo has finally talked me into splurging and getting a serious tri bike. I've balked at this before because, as you may or may not know, I once bought a house for $2500. It was when I was horribly poor and living in rural South Dakota, raising three kids, and going to college. From then until now, nearly 20 years later, I tend to compare things to the cost of that house. As in, "I can't buy that - it costs more than a house."

However, I think I'm sufficiently comfortable now that I'm employed and no longer single to do something nice for myself. So, I'm thinking Colorado Multisport in Denver. I'm thinking Kestral airfoil pro, because I'm wondering if no seat tube = softer ride. I'm thinking HED 3's. Yeah, I know - I vowed not to make my bike any lighter until I made myself lighter. I didn't say anything about a new bike, however, so I get off on a technicality.

Any suggestions? comments or experiences in getting bike bling?

...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

MVCT (07) Race Report

So, I was asking a friend of mine this morning, "How long do you think I'll be able to milk this 'I've had a bad cold and that's why I suck so much' thing?" and she said, "I think your time is about up."

So it is with heavy heart that I admit that I really need to train. I don't suck because I have a cold. I suck because I suck.

But anyway.

The Mesilla Valley Track Club Sprint Triathlon is a reverse tri, 5K-25K-500m pool swim, held near Las Cruces, New Mexico. I did this race last year, and I seem to recall being the slowest one, finishing dead last but I can't find my results just now, so I don't know for sure. I tried warming up for the run, which helped a bit, but it wasn't too long into the 5K before my heart rate soared up into the 170's and I started sucking wind. KrissyGo ran past me early on and said Hi, and eventually, so did most other folks. I did a bit better than last week's triathlon, probably because it was flat. I originally was going to pace off a friend of mine that I passed last year, but I'm so out of shape that she blew me away. So I tried someone else. Eventually I gave up and slogged in, finishing the 5K in 32:59, which is actually an improvement over my run in January, I think. And this time, I wasn't nauseated.
The bike is quickly becoming a beloved part of the triathlon for me, particularly in reverse tris, because I get to pass people who blew me away on the run. They say that it's rude to count out loud the number of people that you pass in a race, but that doesn't mean I can't whisper to myself, "there he is - number six" so that's what I did. It's pretty bumpy pavement most of the way with rollers. I like to attack the upslope on the rollers and stay seated, so that as soon as my cadence drops even a tiny bit I shift down, and then shift back up as soon as I feel my feel lifting off the the pedals on the downslope. I stayed in the big ring and I finished the 15.6 miles in 59:33. Nothing interesting happened. (I didn't even leave my brakes on this time.)

(This would be a good time to utter a friendly reminder to folks out there who are reading this and contemplating their first triathlon. First, please, I'm so glad you are enjoying this, but triathlons are not a good time to practice riding down the center of the bike lane with no hands, weaving back and forth just for fun. Also, could you please, please, please make sure you keep to the right on the bike, unless you are blazing fast? Finally, I'm so glad that you are doing this with your very favorite friend or sweetheart, but you're not supposed to ride side-by-side like that; in fact, you can get a penalty for doing any of the things I've just mentioned. Just take off your headphones, and have a great time. Thanks in advance!)

The 500 meter swim seemed to go on forever. It's a 50 meter pool, and of course, I've barely glanced at pools in the past three months. My time was a shameful 14:50, and I was whooped.

I didn't really expect any blingy bling, and I didn't get any. My age division at this fairly large in this race (for the southwest series, anyway) and was 6 deep, and sixth is what I got. I had a good time, though: beautiful, windless day, and a nice race! My goal was to finish in 1:55 or less, and I finished in 1:50. Sweet Baboo got first Clydesdale in the 40+ division, (of course) and Mini-baboo got first place in the 16 and under.

This week, I start my training anew, now that I'm over the cold (now I just seem to have some annoying throat clearing disorder, which doesn't really affect me but seems to affect Sweet Baboo to no end, although he's too nice to do anything about it except glance at me sideways each and EVERY time I loudly clear my throat) and it's warmer out. I want to start getting ready for Ransom Canyon sprint tri in May, the second time I've done it. It will be my first open water swim for this season. My main goal for that race is to make it up that grade 9 hill at the beginning of the bike without swearing OR getting off my bike.

Yes. I will start training. This time, I mean it.

No really.

Seriously. I mean it this time.

Stop laughing!

I really do mean it.

...