UPCOMING EVENTS for 2015: (Under consideration) BigHorn 50K, North Carolina/DC Marathon Doulbe, TURNING 50 (not in that exact order).

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

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure.
This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, triathlete, and *sigh* student.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, May 31, 2007

For Saturday, a new plan and a new bike.

My hydration/nutrition plan (you should always have a plan)


GOAL: Finish the Deuceman 70.3 triathlon in 7:30:00

Challenges: altitude of 6200 feet, cool and dry/arid climate.
Breakfast (about 3:30 or so) oatmeal, fruit cup, half sandwich (w/protein), soy latte
  • Pre-race (two hours) water

  • Pre-race (one hour) full serving of HEED, sipped

  • Pre-swim (15 minutes) one GU w/caffein

T1: one GU, 2 enduralytes

56-mile bike: loaded in my bento box: Cliff BLOCKS (2 packages), enduralytes, inhaler

  • 1st half: 2 bottles of HEED, 2 GU's, 1 package of BLOKS
  • 2nd half: 2 bottles of water, 2 GU's, 4 enduralytes, 1 package of BLOKS
13.1 mile run: loaded in my "race-ready" shorts, 6 paks of GU, enduralytes (just in case), inhaler

  • Each mile, 2-3 swallows of water.
  • Every other mile, 1 GU
POST RACE: Recoverite (2 servings), sunflower seeds, lots of water, advil.

That should just about cover it.


My new bike arrived today! I took beauty pictures, but can't find the cord to upload the stupid things. For people like me, they should make the cord permanantly attacked to the camera. So you'll have to see a stock photo. It's a Kestrel airfoil pro with an Ultegra setup.

You have to imagine it with HED3's and a flatwing setup on it:

Introducing...:




My as-of-yet unnamed racing bike.


debuting at the 2007 Deuceman on Saturday.


Rock on.
...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thanks for the well-wishes!

I really want to thank all the well-wishes I got. I also want you to know that tThe first thing I thought when the car stopped moving yesterday was, "crap, now I've been in an accident."
The second thing I thought was, "I hope Mini-Geek Girl (daughter, visiting this week) is okay."
I was a bit scattered for the rest of the day and today. But to be honest, I've had a lifetime of incidents that gray the hair of people who care about me.

Among them:

  • As a toddler, I ate a bunch of my mother's diet pills. That was back when they had the good stuff in them. They said it was too late to pump my stomach at the ER, so I was high (and awake, and hallucinating) for three days.
  • When I was ten, I was walking home from school and a man grabbed me and started pulling me toward a garage. I kicked like hell until he dropped me. I didn't mention it to my mom until she asked me over dinner if anything interesting happened that day. Ever seen your mom have a major freak out? It's quite a sight.
  • I've had a tumor removed from my inner ear (head). Twice. It was removed at age 15 and then again at 18.
  • In my late teens, someone tried to strangle me. You know that saying,'your life flashing before your eyes?' It doesn't always happen. Sometimes, you just feel a sense of despair that you're going to die and there's some important stuff that needed to be done and people that will be left uncared for.
  • I've lived in some horrid neighborhoods in Dallas, including one that my Dad called, "Rape Alley." I once stood in the middle of a boulevard in the dark playing tug of war with a guy trying to snatch my purse. It came apart, and he took off. At the time I was waiting at the bus stop, because my car windows were broken when someone broke into my car.
  • Once when I was single my house caught on fire. The cabinets in the kitchen were burning. I wet a towel down and slapped the flames after I got the kids out of the house. Sparks flew, but the fire eventually went out. Then I drove us to the ER to take care of my burns and asthma attack.
  • When all my children were small, I got really, really sick. I was single and alone, and I could barely crawl. Eventually my mother forced me into the car and to the ER, where I was given a chest X-ray, antibiotics, and a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia.
  • I once got out of my car and accosted a carload of teenagers who were harassing me and tailgating me in the middle of the night. My kids were asleep in the back seat, and I was a mother on the edge. I punched the lead boy in the face and knocked his hat off. Then I drove home and called the Sheriff because I figured I'd broken the law by hitting a minor. The Sheriff explained to me that no self-respecting teenage boy would ever press charges on this, as he'd suffer greatly by the kidding from his friends.

So it is that having a wall of blue with a grill attached to it come at me yesterday didn't really cause any life-changing things to happen in my head, heart, or psyche. I just felt deeply disappointed that I had just been involved in something that would affect us financially, distressed my daughter, and ruined our plans for the day. Usually, when things like that happen, I'm in problem solving mode, and very conrete. I'm busy apologizing to everyone around me for inconveniencing them. It's not a bravery thing. It's probably some protective psychological mechanism that stuffs the fear deep down until I can tell jokes about it later.

I was also immensely impressed with how well the little car took car of me. Seat belts locked and held firm. Outer shell crumpled like a tin can, absorbing the impact. And, I did promise Baboo that I would never again bug him for a tiny little car, given that the height of the average bumper these days seems to be above the roof of said tiny little cars. I like my face. Want to keep my face.

Now here's what really scares me: the Deuceman 70.3 I'm doing this weekend. Yikes. High altitude, hills, and a half iron. Triple H. Ugh.

...

Ah, 2007 FIT. We hardly knew ye.


Ah, sweet, sweet Honda.

How clearly I remember the day I first saw you. I walked past you in the Honda parking lot, that March day in 2006,

and said, breathlessly, "what the hell is that?"

We test drove you, Sweet Baboo and I. We test drove you straight to our house, where we checked to see if two tri bikes owned by a Clydesdale and an Athena would fit in you.

And they did. And so it was that we decided we must possess you, and we took you home.

Over the months, you carried us and our gear to many triathlons, marathons, duathlons. Why, you took us to Sweet Baboo's first Ironman and my first 70.3. In between, you made recovery runs by carrying me to work. Many, many ungraded tests sat in your back seat over many a weekend.

Yet, you never complained. Never asked for more gas than was absolutely necessary (27 mpg city, 35 highway) because you loved us and knew we needed that money for more gear.

But, now all that is gone.

The large blue pickup truck that barreled down on us today showed no mercy, smashing into your rear passenger door, tearing a gash in it and spinning you around until you were flush against the side of the truck. Shattering your windows.
Ripping apart your tires.

You absorbed the impact to save me, sacrificing yourself, keeping me safe.

But it is unlikely you will recover.
The truck that killed you will need a dab of touch-up paint.

The Fit is no longer Go.

R.I.P., dear friend.

...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An experiement in trying to avoid the Bonk.

I've accepted that sports nutrition is very individual. You have folks like Dean Karnazes, who are just freaks and can actually eat a pizza while running an utra. Then you have folks that have very delicate stomachs that clamp down if there is anything solid put in them.

I'm somewhere in the middle, and this morning I decided to experiment with the revelation that I burn through carbs like a hummingbird. (Why I have such a big butt, given this fact, is a mystery to me, but it may have something to with that fact that I eat a lot of fat. A LOT. My mom also had a big butt. The gift that keeps on giving: My mother's big butt. )

The Jimmy ordered a 9-mile run. I prepared 4 small bottles of Perpetuum with an added scoop of Cytocarb, giving each bottle w 200 calories, which I planned to take in sips, averaging a bottle about every 2 miles.

I digress for a moment to say that you can't, you won't know how fabulous it is to run in Albuquerque in the late spring and summer. No matter how warm days get, mornings are in the 50's or 60's, with about 20% humidity (or less). There is usually a cold breeze blowing from the north. It's awesome.

I ran along the west side Bosque trail from Alameda today, as the Jimmy had requested a trail run. This run is mostly packed dirt with some deep soft sand closer to Alameda. So much deep silty sand that, on the way back, I circled to avoid it. I hate running in deep sand; it's like one of those bad dreams where you're trying to run fast but you can't.

The last time I did a long run was before the annual Spring Triathlon Blitz (3 sprints in April and 2 sprints and an Oly in May.)
Results:
  • On April 22 I ran 10.46 miles in 2:22:03 with a pace of 13:34 minutes/mile.
  • Today, I ran 9.28 miles in 1:57:17, for an average pace of 12:38 minutes/mile.
That difference is attributable at least in part to the Torture that the Jimmy bestows on us every Wednesday. My average heart rate was a couple beats higher today (157 v. 152) but I felt about the same.
.
Each of my knees aches in the same spot, a little more pronounced in my left knee. I've noticed some tightening in my quads the last couple of days, I'm going to see if stretching and anti-inflammatories will help. The last time my knees hurt like this was when I first started running, so it just may be them getting used to the faster pace.
.
On the first half of the run, I started feeling sloshy and full, so I backed off on drinking near the halfway point. After about mile 6 or so I slowed down and felt super tired. I used to think that "this is what happens when you run long distances" However, now I think this means I'm out of fuel, so I took a couple mouthfuls from my bottle. I was able to speed up, but the sloshy feeling, along with a stitch in my side, came back.
.
Since I'm not much of a sweater, and it was cool out, I think this means I should have a more concentrated source of calories, like gels or maybe even bloks or sharkies, along with bottle of water or, if it's really hot, bottle of nuun.


I was gratified to find that each drop in pace was immediately followed by a drop in heart rate. My heart's getting pretty good at dropping quickly when I stop moving.

Conclusion:

1. A more concentrated source of carbs is needed. I'll try GU's because they're worked well for me before, and include electrolytes.

2. I am, finally, getting faster, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I won't start having "knee trouble" as a result.

3. "Gold Digger" is an awesome running song. Not very PC, but a great running song.

...

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Gig

I've been informed that I'm back to my old gig of teaching high school algebra. Mostly because I asked to. Mostly because 8th-graders in large groups make me want to saw at my wrists. And because I'm tired of all the props associated with science.

I taught algebra for 5 years before trying to teach science for 2 years, and I'm pretty good at it. I've learned a lot, 8th-grade science students, but farewell.

And here's another thing: I won't have my own classroom next year. I'll be what is called a "floater". The other teachers wrinkled their noses when I said it, but I've also done this before, and I prefer to refer to myself as a "free spirit". I'll have one classroom for two blocks, and then a different classroom for another block, and share an office. I won't have to put up the content standards, or decorate the room, or whatever.

I show up, tell a few jokes, teach kids how to factor and isolate the variable, then leave.

SWEEEEEEET.

They don't call me the Geekgirl for nothin'.

A couple cartoons to puntcuate the mood:









Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's not that I hate your kids.

Yesterday I found the perfect place to do my training runs this summer. I ran this loop yesterday somewhat behind the group of folks I train with (including Sweet Baboo and Pirate). Of course, they sprinted off, and leaving me to get lost in the middle of the desert.

(Okay, well, I guess that's not really true. It's in the middle of the city, and I was wearing a Garmin, and besides, Pirate and Kerry came back looking for me.)

Anyhoo, it's everything I usually hate but badly need in a run: a long uphill, short steep little uphills, and deep sand running, all at 5200 feet elevation. One lap around is about 5K. Kick ass. I'm going to get some great training done here!
The other thing that I love about this run loop is that it's right next to a branch of New Mexico Sports and Wellness that's going to be my new best friend, and I'll tell you why:
The gym near my home, like most of society, has gone, "family friendly." It has children screaming and running around the locker room all the time. They're screaming and crying because they don't want to go swimming or they want to swim some more and or they don't want a shower or they want a shower or their brother just took away their shoe and is dangling it over their head, or their diaper is dirty and meanwhile, I'm in an ethical quandry because, as a teacher, I don't feel comfortable getting undressed in front of any child, much less a 3 or 4-year old boy!!!

Their toys bounce into the lap lanes and they come over to get it, and I discover this when I run into one while lap swimming. Children are in the hot tub (I ask you, what 5-year-old needs to use a hot tub?) splashing and screaming while their parents look on, smiling benevolently. It's anti-relaxing. I get to be the bad guy and tell them to settle down, but even then it's useless to pretend that I'm not swimming in a giant warm kiddie toilet.

But now, I've discovered an oasis of sanity and peace where I may be able to actually have a real summer break away from children. It's the branch of my gym up near the aforementioned Academy track.

After my run I walked over to the gym nearby, and I noticed a huge sign on the doorway to the dressing room:
No one under 18 is allowed in the dressing room.
All children and their parents are to use the family dressing rooms.

Don't ask me what that means. I don't care. Then I walked over to the jacuzzi, and saw another sign: ADULTS ONLY JACUZZI
This is rediculously happy-making for me because I'm on summer break, for gosh sakes, and I need some SEPARATION. I sat in the ADULTS ONLY JACUZZI for about fifteen minutes. Ahhhhh. Bliss. Peace. Quiet.
Trust me. The more time I get to spend away from other people's children during summer months, the more I'm able to appreciate them the other 9 months.

I was busy explaining some of this to Pirate, and a women overhearing me, smiled, laughed, and said, "Yeah, no shit."
"Teacher?" I querried.
"No. Principal."

...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Open mouth, insert foot.

Next up: Show Low, Arizona "Deuces Wild" triathlon festival, first weekend in June.
Originally, I was scheduled to do the Oly, somewhere far behind Pirate, with Sweet Baboo, newly-svelt-Helen-age-grouper and Stuey, aka "Mark Spitz" doing the 70.3 "Deuce-man."

Here's the Oly bike course:
When I first saw this, I nearly passed out. I was pissed, at Sweet Baboo, of course, what on earth was he thinking?

There's that one climb--see it? From mile 11 to 15?
It looks like I'm going to have to throw a grappling hook up before I start heading up that hill.

Does Kestrel even make an aero grappling hook to go on your bike?
Does it fit under the seat? Does it include a wench? I mean, WHAT THE HELL?

Then I stopped hyperventilating and actually looked at the numbers. I mean, it's 4 miles and 400 feet of climbing. That's 100 feet per mile. A 2% grade. Not as cool as something that's flat, but certainly nothing to get freaked about, I guess.
Stupid bike profiles. Why do they have to look so scary?

Now, here's the 10K run course:

Ulp. Now, after my initial freakout, I can see that this climbs 100 feet over 4 miles, which means it's a 0.5 grade.

So at this point I said blithely to Sweet Baboo,
"Gee, these don't look so bad now. I almost wish I'd signed up for the 70.3,"
I said that knowing that it's difficult to move UP in distances this close to a race.

And then Sweet Baboo was supposed to say, in a voice tinged with regret,
"Gosh, sweetie, it's too late now. I sure wish you'd said something sooner, then you could be going 70.3 miles instead of 33.9..."

and then I'd say something like, "Well, I'll know better next time, right?" and then mosy my way through another Oly, hanging out at the finish line waiting for the three of them to come in.
But instead, he said, cheerfully, "Well, if you really want to, I'm sure it can be switched." Then he immediately set about emailing the race director, in order to do just that.

Uh... um...

Wait.

That wasn't supposed to happen.

Shit.

...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Race Report of Lists.

The short version: I had a good race at the Buffman and Squeaky International Distance Tri. There was gusting wind AND super steep hills (see the bike profile in my previous post, below) but I ran like a girl, and did twenty minutes better than last year, felt great, climbed EVERY hill, and wasn't last. This is a well-run race with a challenging bike course that I recommend because I love the race directors and it's just plain fun.
================================

The longer version: A list of lists.

List One: Things that were different this year:

1. I increased my calorie intake, due to comments by my dentist and coach. My dentist commented that I must must have a high metabolism because all my life, the novacane wears off unusually fast and I have to have a second shot. (My teeth are a long story. I've had 9 root canals) My coach commented that my heart rate is higher than most. Ergo, what if all this time, I've been calorie deprived and that's why I'm so tired and so slow?

2. I hired someone and enlisted peer pressure to overcome my substantial lazy streak. the Jimmy not only writes training plans but meets with all his coaching clients each week at a local track to do intervals and plyometrics. Otherwise known as The Torture, the Jimmy style. For instance, last week, he had us jump up and down bleacher steps. On one foot. And then run sprint relays. Even if I had the experience and know-how to come up with this stuff, I need the peer pressure each week from having people standing around staring at me.

3. I've stopped coughing. For as long as I've been training, whenever I slow down after exerting myself, I'd flem up and cough like crazy. People would stare, it was so bad. This past week, right after the Jimmy had us doing relays at full speed, it just stopped. It didn't peter out, or lessen, It just. stopped. I don't know why. Maybe my asthma has given up.

4. I wasn't breathless today. Oh, maybe a bit on the swim, but my max heart hate was 170, compared to last year's 183. Usually I loiter about in transition waiting for my heartrate to go down. Today, I didn't have to do that. I was, in fact, less breathless and couging and flemmy than even last week, and I don't know why.

5. I knew more people, which is fun. Like to give a shout-out to Helen, Lisa, and the rest of the peeps.

List TWO: What I ate today
1. a good breakfast. 3 hours prerace, I had oatmeal, half a sandwich with vegan cheese and vegan meat, and a double soy latte.
2. Extra GU's alone with plenty of hydration and electrolytes. On the bike, I had a bottle of heed and 1 bottle of perpetuum, 2 GU's and a bag of shot blocks. On the run, aside from 2 gulps of water at each of the 3 aid stations, I had three Gu's.
3. T1, a couple ounces of energy drink. T2, a couple more ounces of energy drink. T3, the rest of the energy grink and a medium pizza and a latte.

List THREE: STUPID TRIATHLON TRICK of the DAY
it isn't really a list; that's part of what makes it STUPID.
Okay, well, I didn't fasten my aerobike bottle on securely. So, as I was careening down the first downhill it started to shake violently. I held onto it for a while, but as I started going over some bumps at the foot of the hill I finally had to let go and grab the handlebars with both hands. At that point, the aerobottle exited my holder, hitting the pavement on the corner so that it bounced up into the air, spinning like fireworks. Except that, instead of sparks, it was spinning out 20 ounces of HEED. And, of course, it happened right in front of a race official. So, I stopped the bike, ran 10 yards or so in my cycling shoes to pick it up, and the only way to carry it was to fasten it back onto the bike. Which was a feat in inteself because it has this little strappy doodle thing that is hard to thread through...oh, forget it. Anyway, once I finally got it fastened back into the bike I realized it was on backwards.

List FOUR: The results
1500 m. Swim
Last year - 42:51
This year - 37:47
The swim felt pretty good. I didn't feel as breathless as I have in the past, and I even got to beat up Stuart. (Just kidding, Stu. JUST KIDDING!)

40K Bike
Last year - 1:53:00. Walked up 4 of 5 hills.
This year - 1:50:00. Climbed every single hill.
This doesn't seem like a huge difference. (Be sure to check out the bike profile in my previous post below) Except that: I lost my aerobottle in front of an official, so I had to get it (see below) Also, this year, there were some nasty gusting winds.

10K Run
Last year - Run pace, 14:45, Total run time - 1:31:29
This year - Run pace, 12:09, Total run time - 1:15:22
I felt awesome on this run. I started out conservatively, taking a 1 minute walk break after running 5 minutes, but after 2 miles I thought, screw it, so I stopped walking except through the aid stations. Eventually, I got bored and started singing to myself and even skipping (Yes, LIKE a GIRL.)

Total time
Last year - 4 hours, 7 minutes.
This year - 3 hours, 49 minutes.
1st place (and again, the only) Athena.

Time for a nap. And some soy ice creme.

...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Run like a girl!

I was a tomboy most of my life but I never was interested in being girly until I started doing triathlons. Isn't that weird? Triathlon plays havoc with the genders. Men shave their legs, and girls engage in unladylike behavior in order to to pee. Or so I've heard.
Right now, I'm alternating between mulling over a very hard race this weekend, feeling pissy about not having gotten my new bike yet, and wishing I'd taken the time to get flowers painted on my toenails.

Myles found this cartoon, but I convinced him that if a man used it, he might get angry comments from the ladies in the audience.

Anyway this cartoon reminds me how I felt one year ago at the 2006 Buffman and Squeaky Oly Triathlon , which took me four hours.

FOUR. HOURS.

The bike is 3 different canyon climbs (see below), and then finishes with a 10K in the hot west Texas sun.

I was dead last, my legs were trashed, and I was nearly crying, I was so tired. It was my first season, I didn't have much of a base. And, I was alone.

So very, very alone.

Then Shanna Armstrong came out to run with me. She had to jump up and down in place to go as slow as I was, and she chattered constantly. I could barely grunt in reply, but I was happy for the distraction, and grateful to have someone running alongside me.

They took down the transition while I will still out there, but not the finish line, 'cause Mike and Marti Greer don't take down their finish lines over in Buffalo Springs until everybody's had the chance to cross it. They announced me as the winner of the Athenas (I was the only Athena) while I was out on the course, and when I came across the finish line I walked straight across the mat and down the boat ramp and sat down in the water in a pained daze and refused to move and people brought me a cold beer and my first place prize. I'd never been so tired, or felt so slow.

And so, of course, I'm gonna do it again.

This Sunday at the Squeaky Buffman I'll give it my best shot.

My goal is simple: beat last year's time, (4 hours, 7 minutes), running like a girl.




...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ride your bike to work

Did you know May is national Ride your bike to Work month? And Tomorrow, May 18th, is national Ride Your Bike to Work DAY.
Thanks to Bill Anders for posting this this video:



Top 5 Reasons to join the Mayor for National Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 18th from The city of Greenville Bike2Work web page:

  1. Good for the Environment:For every mile ridden on your bicycle, you keep 3.6 pounds of automobile pollutants from entering the atmosphere.
  2. Good for your Health:A bicyclist burns an average of 25 calories per mile.
  3. Good for your Wallet: AAA reports it costs over $5,000 per year to own and maintain a car comparedto $120 per year to own and maintain a bicycle.
  4. Good for your schedule:Combine your commute with your workout. Biking gets you there nearly asfast as driving for many local trips.
  5. Good for the Community: See Greenville from a new perspective. Learn about new and interesting areas of your neighborhood and City.

Somewhat timely, considering this story that came across my email.

Link: League of American Bicyclists

Not quite the right idea, but at least moving in the right direction: http://www.ridetowork.org/

...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Countdown...

With thanks to Pirate for the idea, and Nytro for the link.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hurry up, summer.





Today was a rough day.


If school doesn't end soon,


I will go insane.


And take you all with me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Other Sunday pasttimes.



c. John McPherson

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Twelve Seconds!

Today and for the next month or so, I shall agonize and obsess over TWELVE SECONDS.

Today I did the Jay Benson Sprint Triathlon. Last year I did it in 1:35:03, and was fifth place in the Athena Masters. I only know my overall time this year until the splits are posted, because I haven't worked out how to use my Garmin yet...damn thing...

After spending the morning hanging out with Pirate, et al., and following her and others to bathroom many, many times, I started the run way in the back. This was a mee-stake. There were all manner of walkers and joggers back there in this larger race, and I was trapped.

How many seconds did being stuck in the back cost me?

I knew that ShyTri Girl was in this one, and I was getting winded trying to catch up to her because she's really improved her run. There's no reason in particular to beat ShyTri Girl except that our pace is simliar, and so it's an indicator of my training. On the run, I was especially looking forward to the aid station and getting a gulp along with my second wind. I was about a quarter mile or so behind her, and started closing the gap, and then I got to the aid station. Which was OUT OF WATER. dammit dammit dammit! I looked ahead and noticed ShyTri Girl sipping her bottled water, which she was carrying. Gaaaaaa!
How many seconds did that cost me?!? Thirsty and winded, I slowed down and after noticing that my Garmin wasn't ON, I came into T1, about 30 or so seconds after her. Then it was onto the bike. Last year's run 33:48, pace 11:16min/mile. This year's run: 32:56, pace 10:56/mile

How many seconds did fiddling with my Garmin cost me?? Ooo, I've noticed I'm quite the mosy-er in T1 and in T2. Is that where some of the lost twelve seconds came from?
I felt like I might be closing the gap but I think every time she saw me on one of the out-and-backs on the course, she started hammering. As I came into T2, the person in front of me slowed wayyyyy down, and it was awkward to try to go around her so I just rode the brakes and slowly rolled into T2, then slipped off shoes, socks, and grabbed goggles. Then I remembered to take off my garmin. Last year's bike: Bike 45:47, avg. 16.3 mph - This year's bike, 45:13, avg. 16.5 mph

How many seconds did taking off my shoes and socks cost me?

How many seconds did taking off my Garmin cost me?

I hit the pool and swam my guts out. I used one of the techniques the Jimmy taught me last week for passing people, and made pretty good time. As I exited the pool, I ran across the mat and a volunteer started pulling my chip. And that's when I saw her. She was standing with another volunteer, getting her chip pulled. ShyTri Girl had beat me. By twelve seconds.
TWELVE! SECONDS! AUGGGHHHH!
I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "hey, you beat me!" and we high-fived. She was tired and happy. My last year's swim time was 11:19, this year's swim time, 10:55

Now, getting beat by a few minutes makes you think about your training. You start doing one-legged and one armed drills. You start running and cycling hills.

Getting beat by a twelve seconds, however, makes you obsessively second guess yourself. Should I be running faster in transition? Making use of flying mounts and dismounts? Should I forgo socks, and risk thigh pinching on the bike to wear a swimsuit through the whole thing like Pirate does? And the technology. Do I really need to f*&K around with it as much as I do? Should I rubberband my shoes to my pedals? Should I wear my goggles around my neck through the whole thing? Is nudity allowed and how much time would it save???

That's what I've come to: deciding what comforts I'm willing to sacrifice to shave off seconds.
How pathetic is this? Is there anyone more demented and pathetic than I at this moment, perseverating over TWELVE SECONDS?

The good news is, I did beat my time last year, by about three minutes. And since ShyTry Girl is under 40, I was first master's Athena. Other good news:
Sweet Baboo, Masters Clydesdales, 1st place.
Mini baboo, 16-17 age group, 2nd place.

as for ShyTri Girl ,
well,
let me just say in all good fun...and the spirit of friendship, sportsmanship, and true sisterhood...



Added later: pictures by Amy! (See above)

Wrapping it up. Last year's times v. This year's times:
------Total ----Run---RunPace--- T1---Bike---Mph----t2-----Swim
2006 1:35:03--33:48--11:16-----1:59--45:47--16.3----2:13---11:19
2007 1:32:58--32:46--10:56-----1:57--45:13--16.5----2:09---10:55

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Tri-ing on mother's day

I lost my mom on November 30th, 1998 and there's not a single solitary day that goes by that I don't miss her.


She was diagnosed in 1990. She'd spent nearly 30 years morbidly obese. She loved to cook, and loved to eat, and her choice of foods was tragic. She absolutely would not exercise. After losing 100 pounds on a liquid diet, her heart had not reduced in size like the rest of her, and that's when it was diagnosed. Her Grandmother, also very overweight, also died of the same disease.

Idiopathtic dilated cardiomyopathy means, "you're heart's enlarged, and we don't know why."
It means, "you need a new heart."
It means, "there's a 75% chance you'll die in the next five years."

Watching your mother die is mile 21 of a marathon that won't end. The overwhelming sadness as her life slips away is unbearable. When she slipped into a coma the day after Thanksgiving, her heart was pumping 11% of its normal capacity. She died the following Monday, aged of 61.
First, her heartrate soared up to around 200 bpm, and then it stopped. Just. Stopped.

My father, her husband of 43 years, was so grief-stricken I had to pick him up twice. He actually fell down from grief; he hadn't really thought she'd actually go and die on him. He hung around for a while, until this past Christmas, and then he just got tired of being alone.

There are those times when I'm extremely resentful that she didn't take care of herself better. That sounds awful, doesn't it? But grief is a very, very selfish emotion.

My mom will never to see her grandchildren graduate from high school. She never got to meet my Sweet Baboo. She never got to see me get my life together, settle down, and become a teacher. She never got to see me become a runner and a triathlete. She was a talented, professional artist, and loved to take pictures from which she would paint.
I'll never see her at a finish line with her Minolta, snapping away, laughing at my folly.

It's in her memory that I have decided to make the Jay Bensen Triathlon in Albuquerque my annual mother's day celebration.
In her memory I will not become morbidly obese, I will not leave my children motherless too young; I will not leave my Sweet Baboo grief-sticken, haunted, and struggling to cope with being alone. In her memory I will run, bike, and swim on the second Sunday of May.


I don't mean this to be a somber as it sounds. Take care of yourselves, if not for you, then for your loved ones, and have a Happy Mother's Day.


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Thursday, May 10, 2007

We interrupt this program...

I'd like to interrupt the usual triathlon gear porn that goes on throughout the blogosphere and share with you something completely different.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to make instant pistachio pudding. I could not get enough of this stuff. I loved its cool green-ness and nuttiness and she eventually took to hiding it, because I learned how to make it on my own.

Ahhhhh, BLISS.
Why, all you had to do was mix it with cold milk, wait a few minutes, and voila: through the miracle of modern chemistry, you had wonderful pistachio green goodness!


When I was older I started using Clinique. Again, the soft light green. Few other companies can match my skin tone and needs the way Clinique can. Oh, I deviate from time to time and try out new things, but they eventually stop making whatever it is they're making, and I return to my tried and true green plastic packaging.

I even once had a whole bathroom decorated in that soft, light, blueish-green in the 90's.

Now, from time to time, I've been asked, "Isn't that beautiful bike," I've always said, "um, sure," all the while thinking, "Well, I can appreciate the engineering superiority, but I wouldn't call it, 'beautiful'."
Indeed, I wasn't sure that I could ever call a bike "beautiful."

And then I was scoping out ideas for my commuting bike, and I walked into Two-Wheel Drive in Albuquerque. I saw a bike. The most beautiful bike I've ever seen. I had to have it. It was beautiful.


HAD. TO. HAVE. IT.

And so I made it mine.



I picked it up last Wednesday and had a basket, rack, and headlight installed.




wait for it.












and I shall call her Pistachio.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Or you can ask for directions.




I found this map on a triathlon web page.
I won't tell you which triathlon it's from; I just found it interesting that they felt a need to provide a map of the swim, especially since this is a seeded swim start.
Just in case you get lost in the pool, or something.




Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tangental rewards


You're always reading about all the benefits of exercise and fitness...but there are those moments that defy any attempts to predict them.

So this morning I was doing my weekly "duty". For those of you not in the know, many teachers have to do "duty" which usually involves being posted at some spot at scheduled intervals, before and/or after school, keeping and eye on kids arriving/leaving/lunching, etc.

So as I said this morning I was strolling down the hallway and I heard one of the exterior doors open, and turned just in time to see a pair of legs about to disappear up the stairs. Kids are not allowed in the hallways before the bell; we have too much trouble with vandalism, fights, and what have you...so I said to the legs, STOP!

and they stopped.

I need you to come back down here.

the legs jiggled. Flexed.

Kid, do NOT make me chase you. I will chase you down and I will catch you.

and then the kid bolted.

oh, no you din't!

As it turns out, it just so happened that on THIS particular morning, I was in a mood to get jiggy. On THIS particular morning I was wearing very comfortable shoes, and a skort, and I'd spent the last few weeks with the Jimmy assigning me speed work and all manner of cruel and inhumane exercises, whose names I've forgotten...
In any case, I, the GeekGirl, 42 years old, took off after this 13-year-old with the intent to chase him down.

I took the stairs three at a time and tore down the main hallway of the building after this kid, running at full speed while students and a startled assistant principal jumped out of the way...I finally caught up with him in a stairwell, where he stopped abuptly, turned, and said, "okay, let's go."

I am NOT making this up.

He walked with me to the office where, still breathing heavily, I explained what happened to the principal's secretary. Both she and another teacher in the office laughed like hell at the kid and said, "oh, you don't run from Mrs. GeekGirl. She'll catch you."

and I will.

Punk.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Getting hairy chested at Ransom Canyon.

Let me just start by saying that I love this triathlon.

I love Mike and Marty Greer, and I love visiting Texas, and even though their triathlons are harder than hell, they will - as my father used to say, "put hair on your chest". (My father's people were from Kentucky, and he was a veritable treasure trove of pithy expressions that would make my mother roll her eyes.)

As Mike put it, "this ain't one of those Starbuck triathlons, where you ride around in circles and then go drink your starbucks."

Indeed they are not. They are heart-pounding climbs out of canyons and wildly careening back down into canyons and long windy flats. They are also friendly ladies who serve you pasta at packet pickup and say things like, "jist break off however much bread you want with your hands, there's not bread knife; this is country-style." and the men call every woman, "gurl" as in, "All rat, gurl, good job!"

I discovered today the disadvantage of being near the middle of the pack on the swim - there's lots more people there. It's the first swim in which I was pummeled, just like in all the stories. The water was 67 degrees, and it was 500 meter "give or take," as Mike said, so it was a half kilometer of breathless and cold and strangers swinging wildly and grabbing at my feet.
Swim time: 13:40 (Last year, 15:17)

At T2, I was sitting in T1 on this particular race, drying my feet and staring fixedly and with hatred over my left shoulder at the hill that was there, dreading the climb. Helen later said, "Gosh, you were there when I came out of the water, and you were there when I left for the bike," I was sitting on the ground, drying off my feet. I spent over 3 minutes in transition, and then Marty Greer swept by me, exclaiming, "hey, no picnicking! get a move on!"

That damned, stupid hill.

I headed out on the bike, and got about halfway up that damned hill, the one I really, really wanted to climb, since I wasn't able to do it last year, before my heartrate hit over 180 and I gave it up. Oh, well, almost made it. I pulled over, along with a half dozen others, and then shuffled up the hill a bit on foot, before jumping on me bike again. I put my LEFT FOOT IN FIRST THIS TIME, and CLEANLY CLIPPING IN WITHOUT SWEARING OR ANYTHING! WOOHOO!

The bike on the Ransom Canyon sprint in Ranson Canyon Texas is pretty unbelievable. It starts out almost immediately climbing a quarter mile of what I'm sure is a 8% hill, then out onto a flat, then down into Yellow Horse Canyon and out again, with the turn around on the other side of Yellow Horse. Three ugly climbs over the 18.6 miles. They don't have a picture of the bike profile and I wasn't wearing my Garmin so I used Photoshop to do a sort of "artist's rendering," using my best recollection, just for you:

Now, on this particular day it was also breezy. Did I say breezy? I meant windy. Did I say windy? It was GUSTING. It was HILLS and it was GUSTING and dontcha just know I just loves me some HILLS and some F&$%$NG WIND????

My Timex told me that my max heartrate for this little adventure was over 200.

Now, the trip back down into Ransom Canyon is a wee bit treacherous. One guy was unable to navigate down the very steep hill back down into T2 and took a header. As in, he went head-first, and landed on his head. As in, they took him away in an ambulance. Yikes. Bike time: 1:18:57 (Last year, 1:25)

I into T2, and one of the disadvantages of this race is that there are always newbies who don't understand proper triathletiquette - and found someone else's bike in my space. There were no other spaces left, of course. I shoved it over and put mine there, and then headed out on the run. I passed Sweet Baboo who was, as usual, finished and refreshed and sauntering along, chatting with someone else equally finished and refreshed. Crapheads.

That's when I felt it - oh, crap, what's that, is that - is that my calf? It felt like a brick! I must be getting ready to have my very first leg cramp! Whee!
but I never did.
No war stories here.
I almost lost my toenail at the marathon in January, and I almost had a leg cramp today and almost climbing that damned hill. I'm Sir Robin who almost slays the dragon, and almost has battle wounds to show for it.

Anyhoo, I spent the rest of the 5K alternatively trying to run down my 16-year-old Mini-baboo, to teach him a lesson that he must, must start training, and trying to run down a 66-year-old woman. The latter, by the way, is always a bad idea. You should only try to run down someone younger than yourself, because that way if you make it, "hey, great! I just ran down a whipper -snapper!" But if you don't, well, you can just shrug and say to yourself, "hell, she is 20 years younger than me, after all" but trying to run down someone older than you, well, that's just risking humiliation and a serious blow to your ego.

On the way back from the turnaround point on the run I thought I spied Karen, the other master's Athena, coming up behind me. I was really trying to stay ahead of her - so I kicked it in the ass and ran the second half of the run 2 minutes faster than the first, and the person who I though was Karen actually turned out to be a 15-year-old boy. I think I need new glasses.

I came across the finish line and then walked down and stood in the lake because, I'm telling you, my legs were trashed. I stood in the cold lake near the docks with water up to my thighs and ate cold pizza, and thought, "life is good." Run time: 35:31 (last year, 37:40),

So the bad news is I didn't make it up that stupid hill, but the good news is that I made it up the second hill, which I had to walk up last year, and even though it was nasty and gusty I finished 10 minutes faster than last year. The ten minutes was evenly spread out over the swim, bike, and run, and that's even figuring in the fact that it was windier than hell this year.

Results:
Sweet Baboo: Master's Clydesdales, 1st place, 1st Clydesdale over all.
Mini-Baboo: 1st place, 15-17
Me: Master's Athena, 1st place, 3rd Athena overvall.

My rating: same as last year. Except this year, they've had lots of rain so it didn't have that funky spring smell. Awesome.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

...and the winner is...

Here it is, the item that may possibly just make my life a wee bit simpler. I purchased it from Epay. I can't wait until it gets here!

The idea behind this is similar to when you page the handset of your cordless phone. Not that I know what that's like. I'm just sayin'. Anyhoo, you attach these tags to things one might lose often, say, keys. Then you use the remote to locate it.

It comes with eight receivers. I'm going to attach one to my cell phone. Yeah, I know. I should be able to call it, right? The problem is that sometimes it shuts itself off if the battery gets low, and then I can't do that. I just have to search. UGH!

Don't get all up in my face about how I'm going to lose the remote. I am NOT going to lose the remote. I shall put it with the other remotes on Sweet Baboo's side of the bed - with the other sacred remotes of which I Am Not Allowed To Touch. Then it will be safe.

Or, I could take advantage of the fact that the base comes with a magnetic mounting bracket that attaches to metal surface, and attach it to something. Like my refrigerator.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Welcome to my world


I've never been particularly good at keeping track of my things but in the past couple years the number of important items I lose has risen exponentially.

The very worst thing I ever misplaced was Mini-baboo. He was one, and I was in college. One day I left for class. I drove about 2 miles towards the babysitter before I realized that something was missing; something just wasn't right... then I turned around and went back home, where he was napping, and got him.

In the past three months, I have lost the following:


  • My very cool prescription racing sunglasses (which I then replaced).

  • The Compact wireless adapter I bought for Mini-Baboo's computer. I hid it from him, to restrict his Internet access, and now it's just gone.

  • My "other" keys - these are the ones that include my classroom key (the janitors had to let me into my room each morning for nearly 2 weeks), my house key, mailbox key, and the key to the filing cabinet in my classroom that I never use; all the little tags that get me into the gym, have my USAT number, and identify me as a frequent shopper at several grocery stores. My car keys are on a separate ring. I found them last week.

  • My cell phone, several times, (but thank goodness, I can call that and find it).

  • Several gels that I bought at the bike shop a few weeks ago.

  • Assorted other odds and ends that I've already forgotten about

The upside of this is that I'll tidy up and suddenly find all the lost stuff and it's like Christmas. Saturday I straightened up and packed for a triathlon; by midday I'd found so much lost stuff that I giggling and all happy. I now have two cool pairs of prescription racing sunglasses. The only thing still missing is the compact wireless adapter.

Poor Baboo suffers. We have AAA for when I lock my keys in the car, or leave the headlights on...and he always tries to get optional loss coverage for anything that we buy. And I'm never allowed near the remote control.

Yesterday, however, I topped even myself.
After talking to several parents on the phone, sending and returning emails, and recording grades, I stood up and got ready to leave and realized that my right shoe was missing.

That's right. ONE shoe. Was missing. From my FOOT.

Welcome to my world.

I walked around my classroom for a while wondering what on EARTH I could have done with my other shoe. The minutes ticked by, and I finally resigned myself to the realization that, yes, I was going to have to drive home this way. I was imagining the look on Sweet Baboo's face when I arrived, sans one shoe, to tell him I'd lost my shoe.

I imagined that he would say, in his kind and patient voice laced with just a bit of stifled laughter, "well, where did you have it last?"
and I would then scream, "ON MY FOOT!" and then he would be all hurt because I'd screamed at him.

I finally found the shoe on a shelf under my keyboard. I'm not sure when or why I put it there, but I am getting a bit tired of all this.

It sucks up a lot of time, stalking around the house at 6:30 am screaming "ALLRIGHT, DAMMIT, WHO TOOK MY KEYS? I KNOW SOMEONE TOOK THEM BECAUSE I--OH, oh, never mind. Here they are, on the fish tank. I found them."

I thought of behavior modification or learning how to locate things, but to be honest I've had 42 years to deeply entrench these bad habits and as I have said several times, I am lazy. As well, I don't realize something's missing until several hours or even days go by, so retracing my steps is nearly impossible.

So, I'm considering some sort of remote control device that might allow me to tag certain objects and beep them when I can't find them.

And I know what you're thinking. I've already decided that the remote control for such a device would definitely be tethered to a cinder block or something equally cumbersome.


I'll keep you posted on my research.


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