NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pre-Las Vegas Marathon Checklist

☑ Garmin heartstrap and units

☑Camera

☑Inhaler

☑Jogging bra

☑Nathan hand held water bottle

☑1 white running minidress with red and shiny snakeskin trim

☑1 white jumpsuit with red and shiny snakeskin trim, (including cape)

☑1 shiny red metallic belt

☑1 shiny gold belt

☑1 brown bouffant wig

☑1 black pompadour wig

☑1 pair of long, thick false eyelashes

☑temporary sideburn hair color, black

☑very frosty eyeshadow and frosty lip gloss

☑1 pair large, gold, aviator sunglasses

☑sense of humor and adventure

What? You mean your marathon checklist doesn't look like this?

Well, it should.

Tonight Sweet Baboo and I went to Wigs, Wigs, Wigs in Albuquerque. Let me tell you folks, this lady knows WIGS. She caters to everyone from alopecia sufferers to cross-dressers. She has personally be-haired (is that a word?) all manner of people, including RuPaul. My own hair should look as good as the wigs in this place.

In a small time she took a plain black short wig, and voila, Sweet Baboo had Elvis hair. Then she took a medium-length brown wig, back-combed and teased it into a large brown helmet of hair appropriate for my She-Elvis/Priscilla hybrid.

When I saw myself in the mirror, I had to say it, "It sounded just like a freight train. Y'all."

Think Patsy Cline.

Think Sally Field in, "Steel Magnolias"

Saturday I'm Santa and I'm running a 5K.

Sunday I'm She-elvis and I'm running a marathon.

When did it come to this?

...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What I Learned This Season

Thus my second full season as a triathlete draws to a close. During this year, I did fewer races, but more long course stuff. I finished the following:

  • Sprint triathlons - 9
  • Duathons - 3
  • Olympics - 3
  • Half Irons -2
  • Full Iron - 1
  • 10K run - 1
  • Marathon - 1

And here's what I learned during 2007, either indirectly or directly from my racing season, in no particular order:

  1. DFL > DNF >> DNS.
  2. Very few people are all good, but even fewer are all bad.
  3. You don't get the family that you wish you had. You get the family that you get. (How I learned this is a long story about how I chose Kentucky for my first Ironman based on its proximity to the few relatives I still have, and their complete lack of interest in it. Wah, wah. A moment of self-pity. There. Now it's over.)
  4. I can be injured. I can overdo it.
  5. I will never be willowy, and that's okay. Willowy women tend not to do endurance events well. They're too, well, willowy.
  6. It's easy to be Vegan, but it's really hard to be a Vegan endurance athlete. It's nearly impossible to be a family of Vegan endurance athletes.
  7. I have great friends, which more than makes up for #3, above. I also have the world's best mother-in-law.
  8. If I train, triathlons get easier. Who knew?
  9. I have a laziness threshhold, and it lies somewhere between "long and flat" and "Short and challenging"

  10. Pirate is a good friend. We take turns supporting each other's worries, self-doubt, and paranoia when we're PMS-ing. Hopefully, we'll never PMS at the same time, because I think the universe would fold in on itself.

  11. Everyone who toes the start line wonders how well they'll do.
  12. I must have running shoes with a big, wide, toe box.
  13. I. Am. NOT. LAZY.
  14. If I work out at least 4 days a week after work then I enjoy life more, like myself more, like my job more, and am much less anxious.
  15. Race nutrition, and what is or is not tolerated, is extremely individual. It also changes over time.
  16. No matter how well built a GPS device is, it will not withstand going under the wheel of a Honda Fit.
  17. No matter how well-built a Honda Fit is, it will not withstand a direct hit by a Ford F250.
  18. I, on the other hand, can withstand much; I'm much tougher than I ever thought I could be, emotionally and physically.
  19. I may have permanantly influenced at least one of my children to lead an active life.
  20. High school freshmen are more impressed by tattoos than they are by finishing an Ironman.
...

Rumors of my impending silliness are true.




Well, Sweet Baboo has announced our intention to do the Las Vegas Marathon in about a week, and after much consideration, I've decided that everything I've done this year has been way too serious. Thus, I will also be joining the Running Elvi.


However, since I am a girly girl (ironic, given my insistence on dressing like a boy when I was younger. Now I'm all, like, girly girl. A girly girl who does triathlon. ) I will be going as Priscilla.


Think of the Viva Las Vegas Elvis, but instead of pants, I'll be wearing a red mini skirt, white running tights and a white rhinestone leather belt.


There is this woman named Misty (fanTASTIC name) who makes running Elvi costumes, and she's already provided the dress.


The Elvis glasses and white leather rhinestone belt are on order.


Then, there is the wig.

Yes, yes, yes. The. Wig.

I found and ordered an auburn bouffant wig, but haven't received it yet in the mail yet, so you'll have to rely on Mr. Photoshop to do the imagining for you:





Wait for it.













That's it. No more pictures until the day of the race. (Yeah, I'm a tease)
...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rio Rancho Hobbler Gobbler 10K (race report)

This morning Sweet Baboo, Mini-Baboo, and I ran the Rio Rancho Hobbler Gobbler 10K. With us was Bones, Miguel, aka "Wingman", IronOutlaw, and Michi.

It was with no small amount of trepidation that I entered this race. I woke up and my tendon thing did NOT feel the greatest.

PLUS on my last few "easy" runs I'd felt weak and breathless.

PLUS it was 31 degrees outside.

PLUS it was windy.

PLUS the course was going to be hilly, although nobody knew exactly what it was because it hadn't been published anywhere.

Well, I was right. I was cold. It was hilly. It was tough. My heartrate soart to zone 4 and stayed there most of the time.

Now, before I tell you how I did, I'll tell you that my previous 10K best pace was about 12:20. That was at the end of an Oly, but it was a beautiful day at sea level with no hills.

Today my average pace was...





wait for it...






wait for it...






c'mon, you know you love the anticipation...






10:50 minutes per mile.

That's right, my best 10K EVAR.

I don't question it, I just accept it. And am thankful. For me, this is HUGE. I felt downright SPEEDY. And, I wasn't last. The race was well-run, and they had a 5K fun run and walk. The course was tough but fun, and then they had a Kids 200 meter race afterwards where every kid got a finisher's medal and a pie. Here's the run profile, with my heartrate (in red) and comments:


...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Thankful for my Oven

Alternate title: A White Trash Thanksgiving.

The time: Thanksgiving, 1992. I was a college student, but not your ordinary one, oh, no. Despite my insistence that I, Am, Lazy, I tend toward the type of impulsive decisions and movements that really bite me in the ass and force me to work harder than I need.

And so it was that as this particular Thanksgiving day approached, I was a 26-year-old, full-time college student at the University of South Dakota. I was divorced, with a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 7-year-old. I did not receive child support, and made too much money from my 20-hour-per week, minimum-wage workstudy, to qualify for welfare payments.

To say we were poor is a significant understatment. I used part of a student loan to put $500 down on the house that we lived in. The total price on the contract-for-deed: $2,500. I was on food stamps, child care assistance, heating assistance, and every other type of assistance I could find to get me through college and DONE.

On this particular Thanksgiving, I was given a very large turkey by a local charity, along with all the basics needed to put together a good Turkey Day feast.

Except that, well, I didn't have an oven. I didn't even have a large pot to boil it in, but that was besides the point: who has boiled turkey on Thanksgiving?

I had a range, of sorts - a friend of mine had clued me into it. She found it in a vacant lot with weeds grown up around it, a 1945 model that "looked like it should work." I actually got that thing loaded and drove it home, slowly, sticking out of the trunk of my 1980 Olds Delta 88. For FREE.

I got it home and I rigged some house wiring so that it was on the same circuit as the electric dryer I'd paid $25 for that, one day, gave a huge BANG! and flames sorta, well, shot out of the back of it. Yada,yada,yada, I took the back off and found a lot of charred something, and over $15 in change. As I've said before, my life has been interesting.

Anyhoo, the range and dryer were direct-wired in to the same circuit which is kind of dangerous and definitely illegal in most places, but I was "country" so it was okay.
I could never use them at the same time or somewhere a fuse would blow, but at least I could use them. However, unfortunately once in place I found that only two of the burners worked and the oven didn't work at all, but hey! I had a stove!

Now a friend of mine had an old Coleman grill that her husband had accidentally hit with the truck, and asked if I wanted it. She swore I could cook my turkey on it, given enough foil wrapped around it. It was pretty dented and the legs were trashed, but the lid sealed and so I set it up in my front yard on cinder blocks (no, I'm not making this up) and on Thanksgiving day, 1992, I fired up the coals.

For the next 5-6 hours I tended the turkey that I had wrapped in an entire roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil. I would set a timer and go outside every 40 minutes or so in my parka and snow pants (November, South Dakota) to turn the bird and pointedly ignore any of the 200 fellow townspeople who drove by just a little too slowly to stare at that crazy woman.

But anway. My friend who swore that this would work also came by, amazed, because, well, she'd never actually done it, and was curious to see if it actually worked. There I was: occasionally turning it until juices started leaking through the foil. I guessed it must be done, and dontcha know that eventually, it was, and it was delicious. The meat was falling off the bone, it was so done. But not something I'd care to repeat. A large pan in an oven inside the house is so much more, well, civilized. But if you want to try it, more power to you.

So the moral of the story is, I'm thankful for my oven, even if I don't eat turkey any more.

PS: Animals are friends, not food (you know I had to say it.)

PPS: Now it's your turn: tell me what weird thing are you thankful for?

...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Friday.


Sometimes they are people who work for us, and file grievances against us that we don't deserve, or they are the people we work for, scheduling meetings that interfere with necessary work our our personal lives.


Sometimes, they are people who live near us, and don't muffle their cars or pick up their trash or control their kids or their animals. (Need to vent? Try this.)


Sometimes, they are people who work with us, and steal our lunches or spread rumors or interrupte us constantly...or leave passive-aggressive notes around the workplace.



Sometimes, they are students that we teach, who disrupt the classroom and nearly ever lesson we try to teach.


They
aggravate - - - irritate - - - instigate.


They make us hate our jobs or neighborhoods. They make us cranky and consider moving or quitting. We stomp home in a bad mood. Yell at the spouse. Kick the cat.


And yet,

we need them.


We need them so that, when they FINALLY move , or switch schools, or get another job, we can really appreciate how sweet life is.
Oh, yeah, baby. Sweeeeeeet!


And that's all I'm going to say about that.



...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Math problems from the math teacher.

Today's weight: 154.5 - I go through weight loss spurts. I guess this is one of them. I'm not dehydrated or anything.

Your math problems for today:

  1. Sweet Baboo's weight loss continues; he's now 10 pounds away from where I was when I started in early 2005. How much more weight can he lose before I say, "Woah, there, boy, now you're making me look fat"? Express this as an inequality.
  2. I went running Tuesday on the bosque trail, and picked the part that I forgot had about a half mile of really soft, deep sand, and several miles of stiff, winter-dried folliage scratching my legs up because I wore shorts. How many times did I say "MOTHERF&@#ER!" during my run? Express this as a range of potential values for x.
  3. The temperatures have finally gone down to "wintery" type weather. How many more times will I run outside before I start whining and making excuses because it's too cold? Give your answer in the form of a graph.
  4. A particularly difficult student is moving about 8 states away. How many margaritas shall I and his other teachers have? (Okay, we'll probably just joke about them, but how many will we joke about having?) Express your answer in the form of a compound inequality.

Things that I've discovered this week:



  • I found out that before my spin class on Wednesdays there is another class that combines very light spining with weight lifting. I shall investigate! I like doing something different every once in a while, and since I'm paying for the gym membership, why not get all I can out of it?
  • I've discovered that if I walk past the adults-only hot tub (and see people sitting in a hot tub outside on a crisp, fall day) on the way to the pool, I don't seem to make it to the pool.

  • Not quite ready for the 2-piece yet. When you lose weight at my age, there seems to be some residual, um, skin (ew) that hangs around in case you need it to cover some more bulk. I don't know if it goes away.

  • I found "Lean Gourmet" at my local grocer, which is the skinny, low-cal version of "Budget Gourmet". They are $1 each and perfect for lunch. If I don't have a warm lunch waiting for me, I will go to the school cafeteria and get nachos. Not good. Plus, they give me a nice high dose of carbs about 3-4 hours before I work out.

  • I have discovered that going to the gym after work greatly improves my mood and outlook. I never did it before because I just wanted to go home and veg out, but going to the gym and doing something for myself instead of going home and arguing with my teenager has been awesome. I think it's been good for him, too. He gets and hour or two to not have grownups nagging at him, and he's happy to see me when I get home around 6 or 7 or so.
  • My willpower is getting better. I have had two students selling chocolate (including Reeses cups) in class for over a month, now. I've only bought chocolate from them twice.
  • Im going just reuse my usual Vegan thanksgiving recipes. Most of them are very low cal, low fat, and filling.

Nothing funny or insiteful today. Enjoy the cartoon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Checking in.

Today's weight: 156.5.

Like to give a shout out to Cindy who called me a WEE LITTLE THING. I don't think anyone's called me that since I was in junior high. At 5'6", I'm not huge, sometimes I feel like it, especially at triathlons, where I'm surrounded by all the little bird people.

Hmmm. Well, I figured out that I stupidly sabotaged myself by entering the wrong nutritional content of Kraft Free Fat-Free Cheddar into my nutrition program. Instead of entering 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving, I entered 280. Duh. This may explain why I couldn't seem to get my carbohydrate level down to 55%-65% where I wanted it to be.

Now that I've corrected it, it turns out that my carb intake has been about 40% of my total caloric intake, which might explain why I've been bonking on my runs. I HOPE that explains it, anyway.

I'm enjoying having cheese back in my diet again. I try to stick to the fat-free stuff because dairy fat is SO bad for you. It's saturated, you know.
My tendon still hurts, especially when I walk, shift my weight, or put on my pants. It stops hurting when I run. So, as long as I run and don't stop, I'm fine. How messed up is that?

My weekly "short" runs are 6-8 miles if I can get them in before it gets dark. 3 weeks until the Las Vegas Marathon.
Oops, the bells is about to ring. My 25-minute lunch period is nearly over. Today, we're learning about relations, functions, domain, and range. I've been enjoying my job, which means that pretty soon they'll give me something stupid to do, like another series of tests I have to give, or something like that.
...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Baboo's Splits so far

UPDATED 10:47 pm MST

HE's DONE!
I just talked to Sweet Baboo and he is DONE at just a bit over 15 hours. Considering the conditions of the race, that's a great time. This is what hes said so far about the race...

"--The swim was difficult, you swam a long stretch into the sun with the wind coming at you and large waves slapping you in the face when you sighted."

"--There was wind on the bike."

"The marathon was ugly hard. There was some rain and it was long and hilly. My stomach was a little upset, but it wasn't bad. I finished the marathon in under 6 hours."

He sounds good and happy and not even tired. He's not headed for the medical tent, either.
I'm sure he'll post more on his blog. Stay tuned...
_____________________________

Update: 6:15 MST
Baboo's bike time stays at 4:35. His 1st run split is posted at 9:10, but I have to assume that this is 9:10:50 after the start time. It means, at least, that he's on the run. On the run!

----------------------------------

Update: 4:44 pm MST
Baboo now has a bike time listed instead of a bike split: 4:35:06 I'm not sure what this refers to; if it's the whole bike, then he's pulled off a 24/25 mph, although he's done it before.

Cody's bike split is listed as 5:56:13, so since that's listed, I'm assuming that Baboo is on the run.

Baboo started at 7:30 MST, and was finished with the swim around 9. If 4:35 was his bike time (HOLY COW!) then he was done with that between noon and 12:30; does that sound right??

ERRRRGGGHHHH!
--------------------------

At 2:00 MST:
According to http://www.silvermannv.com/results_coverage.php, here's Baboo's splits so far:
SWIM - 1:35:32, TRANS1 - 1:38:45, BSPLIT - 3:00:49

Okay, thanks to Chubby for the link!

I think it means that he did the 2.4 lake swim in 1:35:32 (great swim!) and left transition at 1:38:45 (3 minute transition in an Ironman? Wow!)

and his first bike split (I assume this is half of it) was right at 3 hours. That's an average of around 18 to 19 miles per hour. That's doing pretty well, considering all the hills and such.

FYI: Cody the Clydesdale's splits:
Swim - 1:54:17, T1 1:58:48, Bike split 1 - 3:50:26

...

Send Sweet Baboo your best energy.

I talked with Sweet Baboo last night. He drove the bike course, and said that it was pretty hilly. 112 miles of hills. Silverman is apparently supposed to be the toughest Ironman course in the world. He slept well and long on Friday and was hitting the sack early last night when I talked to him. He's planning on having a long day of hard work tomorrow, but he feels really good. He's got no aches or pains, no sniffles, none of the "pre race hypochondria." He's ready.


He's worked for it, too. For the past 2-3 months he's done century rides every weekend, and during October those were extremely hilly, up here at a mile above sea level. He's gotten all his long runs in including lots of hilly runs. He's been at the gym when it opens at least three times a week, getting in his 3000-4000 meter swims.

His legs, especially his upper legs, look like trees. Not saplings. Trees.


It would be an understatement to say that I'm proud of him. When I met him he was an earnest guy with a great smile who flew through college from his freshman year to his final year of doctoral coursework in 6 years.

However, taking 5 and 6 classes a semester while working took its toll - he'd had to neglect his own health. He'd gotten heavy and with that came discouragement and no small amount of self-loathing.


Sweet Baboo has never been anyone to do things "sorta". When he does them, they are done fully and robustly, and involve thorough preparation and planning. I mentioned how hard he worked in college. Before that he was in the Marines for 6 years, and after meeting me, he courted me with the same determination. Once his mind is made up, that's it, there's just the steady, quiet and dogged effort until the goal is reached. When the job gets done, it's done completely, with excellent results.

He also doesn't take compliments very well. When I tell him what a great husband he is, there's an awkward silence, and then he says something like, "well, that's as it should be." Now he has a new compliment he's getting used to; it goes something like this: YOWSA. The other day, I told him, "Hey, nice a$$." I think he blushed.


Living with the Baboo is always an adventure. We didn't just take up camping for a few months, we were completely outfitted from REI and hiked up mountains. We didn't just get a row boat, he carefully researched just the right two-man kayak so that sometime in the not-too-distant future, we could do an adventure race, or something.

That's right. Adventure race. Stay tuned.

--> See that sky behind him? That's an approaching storm. He paddled until the oar broke to get us to shore.


In some ways I suppose we compliment each other, his intensity and drive help offset my laid-back, " hey, 'tsall good! attitude" and vice versa.

It's no surprise that while some guys are losing weight by dieting and running 1-2 times a week, other are doing a bit of weighlifting, that my husband is doing the Silverman, his fourth Iron distance triathlon in 14 months.
I'm proud to know him, and not just because he's an Ironman. He's my best friend. He just also happens to be my husband. Silverman doesn't have live athlete tracking, so I'll go about my day and check the website occasionally to see if anything's been posted. Meanwhile, send good thoughts and well-wishes his way!


I've got nothing to give him for this. I can't wish that I could give him my legs or strength, because he's much stronger than I. All I can do is blow a kiss toward Henderson, Nevada.

Here's a description of the course: http://www.silvermannv.com/race_details/full_course_description.php


Bike profile:









Run profile:







And now, I'm headed out for my long run. We'll see if my tendon is healing or not.

...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I got nothin'.

Today's weight: 158 lbs, holding steady.

What I've learned this week: I seem to have one day a week where I just blow it, calorie-wise. Blow. It. The good news is that I found out that a one-day a week food freak-out isn't a bad thing, what's important how it averages out over the week. All within moderation, of course. THis is one of the ideas behind the Weight Watcher's "flex points" plan.

My average has been about 2100 calories a day, at about a 53/28/19 (carb/fat/protein) ratio, and I'm looking to drop it a bit lower to average at 1800 calories. I'm still going through an adjustment period as I discover what a 50/25/25/ ratio feels, looks, and tastes like. I'm eating dairy (low-fat) and eggs (egg-beaters) for the first time in about 7 years, and it's taken some getting used to.

I'm also getting used to working out after work each day. Mini-baboo isn't in winter sports, so I am free to head out after work and either dance (Mondays) run down by the river (Tuesdays-Thursdays) or swim and spin at the gym (Wednesday-Fridays). I've been getting used to the self-imposed guilt of not being here to cook for my family, and also getting used to having to plan my days carefully so that the stuff I need is in the car.

I can't stress enough how light my training has always been, that's my dirty secret. Only Baboo has known about this. I joke about being really lazy, but truthfully, I'm a bit agoraphobic. With some practice, I'm getting used to going across town to the gym, and it will just be part of my routine. I have already noticed that although I get home later, I feel calmer and happier when I get to go to the gym a few times a week after work. I'm not stomping around the house muttering things like, "When do I get to go play? When is it my turn?"

See? When Mom's happy, everybody's happy.

Since Sweet Baboo is gone, I'm eating in bed and watching LOTS of TV. Shh. Mini-baboo tried unsuccessfully to get a ride the two miles to the high school, where he volunteered to help out at the state track meet, and then sulked and whined when I declined. He finally got on his bike and went, complaining the whole time.

Take a moment to think about this.


Mini-baboo, who is 16, large and healthy, was sulking because I would not drive him two miles. This is the same 16-year-old who has done an Olympic Distance Triathlon and an untold number of sprint tris and duathlons. It's a beautiful day, too. Sixty-eight degrees, 18% humidity.

He'd better watch it with the grumbling AND the attitude when he gets home. I've been known to go into great detail about how large he was at birth (10 pounds) and the resulting episiotomy. Seriously. Ladies, if you have sulky male child, this works wonders. I've driven him out of the room with his hands clamped over his ears. Sometimes it works for girls, too, particularly the ones that say "ew" when you talk about childbirth.
Later I shall grade Algebra tests. (Sigh.) I'm bored. I'm crossing my fingers that Sweet Baboo has a good race at the Silverman tomorrow, and will then hurry up and come home.

...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Miscellaneous Thursday Stuff.

I've started my off-season marathon training. I find myself in the position of having signed up for four marathons in four months. 'Cause that's the way I roll. Some say driven. Some just roll their eyes.

Tonight, I used the "workout mode" on my Garmin for the first time today. It was pretty easy to program, and I programmed in an interval workout as follows:
Five-minute warmup walk - Then this sequence repeated 3 times:

  • Fast Jog 1/4 mile
  • Fast Walk 1/8 mile
  • Fast Jog 1/2 mile
  • Fast walk 1/4 mile

"Fast jog" by the way, is what Msr. GarMEAN calls the pace I've been aspiring to.
Yep, I hauled ass, only to be nagged by Garmin, which sounds a little tinkling, trilling noise when you're going too slow, and flashes SPEED UP! briefly on the screen.

Obviously, I don't know what happens if you're going too fast (are you KIDDING?)

I liked training with GarMEAN, although it was another startling reminder that I really, really need bifocals. I just can't read anything close with my near-sighted glasses on anymore. I did manage about a 9:30 pace on a couple of those intervals, which is great, but I didn't realize it stopped recording my run immediately when the workout was over. Maybe that's a setting I can change, but I ran about a half mile before I realized it was no longer recording.

I also wore my new trail shoes today for the first time. They are what I can only describe as breathtakingly ugly.

As in, every time I look at them, they take my breath away and make me forget how tired I am, as I think, "Holy cow, those are some ugly shoes." But, they're pretty confortable.

Then it got very, very dark, and I couldn't see any more, so I kind of shuffled that last few miles back to my car. Oh, and because I had to listen for the Garmin, I ran without music.

Diet-wise, I've been a good girl this week, except for what I suspect was a moment of PMS weakness when a kid in my classroom showed up selling fundraising candy.

I just wanted to help out, you understand. So I did, a Reeses' and a Snicker's worth. Hey, the kid is trying to earn enough to go to Italy. What else could I do?

...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Headphone sound-off, wrap-up

So, lots of information I got from folks about thoughts and considerations re: headphones. To wrap up:

  1. People who wear them in heavily trafficked areas are just plain annoying, and this includes many races. They get in the way and don't hear people who are trying to pass them.
  2. Some people prefer to be more in tune with their surrounding and their own internal experiences and feel that music obsures this.
  3. Some people like the music a lot, particularly in training, but don't listen to music during races.
  4. Most of the people who commented felt that they were faster without it.
  5. There seems to be a relationship between relative running ability and listening to music, although cause-effect isn't clear. As I've told my students, if A and B are related, then either A causes B, or B causes A to happen, or something else altogether causes A and B to happen at the same time.
  6. It seems that one of the differences between people who prefer to run with and those who run without is that those who prefer to run without are more competitive, even if only against themselves.
I like to keep an open mind about things. When I originally wrote that post I was kind of ticked off, but you have all (as usual) have given me a lot to think about.

I also think from time to time about my marathon at Ironman Louisville. My previous marathon was 6 hours. My bike split was painful and slow and my feet and legs were sore and I was so tired. By the time I hit the run, I'd been racing for more than 10 hours. Yet, my Ironman marathon, without headphones, was 6:20, and I felt strong.

Perhaps the headphones have been holding me back?
Finishing a little faster would be nice because I'd like to be able to finish some races comfortably, instead of when it's really hot out and the pizza is all gone. Not that I don't enjoy the occasional drama of the last minute finish, but it's hard on me emotionally, ya know?

It bears investigating, I think. I still like my runs along the bosque dirt trail with my music from time to time, but perhaps now I start focusing on the various signals my body gives me. Maybe that will be the next stage in my "evolution" as a runner!

...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Banning the tunes.

I'm probably a little behind on the controversy. Sweet Baboo let me know that the marathon we've planned for January does not allow the use of headphones. I was stunned, because I did some digging, and this is what I found:

USATF Rule 232(d) and 144.3(b)
Athletes shall not use video or cassette recorders or players, TVs CD or CD-ROM players, radio transmitters or receivers, mobile phones, computers, or any similar devices during the competition, nor shall such devices be premitted.

Safety I can understand, particularly if you are on an open road, or out-and-back course, although it's not clear to me how many injuries that have occured during competitions due to the use of headphones. Sweet Baboo has the experience of leading the lead runner at the Duke City Marthon, an out and back (bad idea) course. As he rode along the trail he yelled ahead, calling out "Lead runner! Lead runner!" people with headphones didn't hear him coming.

I long ago accepted this in triathlon events because of the cycling aspect. Listening to headphones while road cycling is just plain dangerous. Even when running, I don’t listen to headphones unless I’m facing the traffic, and then I only put one in.

Perhaps it's more of a "highly annoying" factor. As one runner put it, there's no end to the list of things that are dangerous on the course. You sign a waver agreeing to take the risks when you sign up for these races.

Here's some "what-ifs"

  • What if it’s a closed, point-to-point or loop course? You wouldn't need to hear any vehicles coming up behind you.

  • If hearing warnings is USATF’s primary concern, will they now ban the deaf and hard-of-hearing since they can’t hear who is coming up behind them?

  • Here's another thought: transmitters and receivers. Guess that your heart monitor is? It's a transmitter, and your watch is a receiver , as is your Garmin.

  • How about timing chips? They are wireless transmitters.

Unbelievably, there is a small number of runners behind the ban, but not for safety reasons. These "running purists" believe that headphones remove the pure experience of running. That’s great for them. But who made them my experience police? Everyone experiences running differently. On my short runs, I will run music free, but on my longer runs, I like to run along, lost in my thoughts, listening to my tunes, which give me emotional uplift.

When I ran my first marathon, it was one song in particular that helped see me through the last 10K. But on the marathon at Ironman Louisville, I ran music-free, humming certain songs to myself as I went along. Would I have been faster? Slower? Who knows?

I'd like it to be my choice to decide.

As well, running purists will complain that they can’t converse with people wearing headphones. Uh, who carries on conversations while running a marathon? People who are walking or those who want me to feel bad about myself, that’s who. When I’m running, I can barely gasp out a one-syllable reply now and then to someone who is talking to me, and even then my heartrate shoots up.

Oh, and PS to the purists: in most venues if I have headphones on, I don’t want to talk. Will you now FORCE me to listen to you? I can throw up on cue, ya know. (I learned it in high school. Long story. )

Lets move on.

SO here, as I see it, are my options, none of which involves the forced removal of my tunes.

Option 1: I can avoid events with a "headphone" ban. Let's face it, I’m not trying to qualify for Boston. Most smaller events are more fun anyway, and often more scenic. Trust me. There are plenty of race directors out there that don't like being bullied by governing bodies. At the recent New York Marathon and Marine Corps marathons, the ban wasn't even enforced.

Option 2: The technical loophole. Most directors that abide by USATF rules are just banning headphones, so check these out; they aren’t technically headphones. http://www.safesoundsports.com/

Option 3: Be sneaky. Wear mp3 sunglasses and a sweatband. For instance: http://www.amazon.com/Fio-MP3-Sunglasses-128-MB/dp/B000ASB5JW/ref=sr_1_11/104-2429120-7938322?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1194274070&sr=8-11. And other brands I’ve found: Nu Tech Dark Shadow 256MB MP3 Sunglasses, iSonic 256 MB MP3 Music Player with Headphones built-in in Sunglasses, and Oakley Thump MP3 Sunglasses 256MB.

Comments or idea that I haven't considered?
What are you thoughts on this topic?

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bang. 2007 Rio Rancho Duathlon.

First, I want to be clear about one thing: Sara is a super sweet person. She loves to hug, and despite having a bad knee she does as many of these things as she can. She has the enviable job or working for parks and recreation for the city of Rosell AND being the regional coordinator for the Senior Olympics.


Now back to the Du. I found out from Michi that they had 4 weeks to pull this together, and I have to say, it was as well organized as races I've been to that have been around for years. Everything you'd expect was there. We were allowed to forego body markings as long as we wore race numbers and had bike numbers. After all, most people were covered, especially in the beginning.
At the start of the race it was chilly, Im' guessing about 45 degrees or so, but we heated up quickly. Some of us more than others. It's a surface-area to volume ratio thing. You might not understand.

The run was about half sandy trail and half blacktop. All very well maintained, with 3 aid stations with friendly volunteers and nice COLD WATER. Drinking water, in my opinion, is vastly underrated. How can you cool down your core with warm water? Nope, this water was cool.

This was a tough little duathlon! Hilly run, hilly bike. This is a profile of the run...



Now, Rio Rancho, my town, is not terribly amenable to being slowed down in its 60 mph commute to church. Or fishing. Or whatever it is that requires driving very very fast and looking very very annoyed when your speed is curtailed at nine o'clock on a Sunday morning.

I say this not so much with malice, but as a fact: it's not historically been a pedestrian or bicycle-friendly city. That's changing; the city of RR has committed to adding wide biking shoulders to all its new roads and walking paths throughout the city.

Luckily, the auto-baun wanna-bes were only an issue on a very small portion of the course, and the police were around to put the kybash on anyone who might have otherwise been inclined to knock us into a ditch. As I say, all that attitude is changing. I expect many will be annoyed by it. I don't care.

But anyway, most o' the time the road was devoid of anything other than the cautious and curious passer-by. The road, by the way, was LIKE. BUTTAH. Smooth as glass. But hilly. This is NOT a duathlon for the weak of leg or huge of ass.

Here's a profile of the bike:

At one point Sweet Baboo rode by (he was head ref) and kind of flipped his hand at me. I thought he was trying to get me to move further to the right, so I was like, WTF? but it turned out to be a wave.

The second time around on the run (same course as above) was done much less energetically and we were spaced much further apart, as one might expect.

The announcer was Michi's esteemed Iron Outlaw, and he did a great job. Mike is a great speaker, and he startled me by announcing as I came across the finish line that I was an "Ironman Triathlete." Heh. I never heard it said like that before!

Anyhoo, Mini-baboo got first in his age group, and I got 1st Athena. The prizes? a fleece running cap and scarf, with the race logo on it, and matching gloves and a little bag they go in. This in ADDITION to the very nice Colorado timberline long sleeve technical shirt and water bottle

Oh, also in the bag: Oreos! OREOS!

Cha, I know what you're thinking: oreas? I'm so THERE!

But anyway: useful swag! I like that. Oh, and after the race, Dion's pizza, oranges, more cold water, so that, um, you know, I wouldn't be caught in some sort of calorie deficit. Because, you know, I could like, starve and stuff.


This was a nice way to finish the season. Not with a whimper, but with a bang.

I so needed this.

I so needed this.



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Saturday, November 03, 2007

How Sara Stole My Day of Sloth.

So, today I took Mini-Baboo to the gym to sign him up for the Rio Rancho Duathlon. It's part of the Southwest Challenge Series and is held just a few miles away from our house. I was pretty smug about the whole thing because I WASN'T going to be doing it.

I have no reason not to do it, really. It's a couple miles from my house. However, I, Am, Lazy.

Nope. Not me. I had my day of sloth all planned out: I would do body markings and then watch everyone else work hard, including Sweet Baboo, for whom this would be his first "head race official" gig.

I love days of sloth. I have lots of them. They involve a lot of sitting, and internet surfing, popcorn, and sometimes they involve closet sorting, but mostly they involve bed. Hey, maybe that's why I'm one of the slower triathletes. Maybe if I had fewer days of sloth, I'd get more awards... Nahhhhh.

I haven't mentioned the Southwest Challenge Series. It's a series of sprint tris, a couple Olys, and a few duathlons. There are age group and Clydesdale/athena awards. You have to do at least 8 races in a given year. For each race, if you place 1st in your division, you get 10 points, 2nd gets you 9, 3rd gets you 8, and so on. If you do more than eight, your top eight placings are counted, and then every race beyond that gets you a quarter of a point "bonus".
Got it? Good.

Last year Mini-baboo was champion of the under-19 AG division, and was the only one who qualified in that division. Sweet Baboo was champion of the Clydesdales.

And I, well, I was second place. There are a lot of Athenas who are WAY faster than I am but most of them aren't stupid enough to do as many as 8 or more races to qualify. I am.

I AM that stupidly competitive.

And yet, I, Am Lazy.

I'm an enigma.

In 2006 I was beaten by nemesis Helen, who is much faster than I. I narrowly beat Karen, my other nemesis, who is a little faster than I but moving across the state and wasn't able to get in enough races in to catch me.

But this year Helen lost too much weight this year and had to become an age grouper. (What you'd call a Win-win). Karen meanwhile, still wasn't able to get her 8 races in; in the midst of house building as she is.

And then there's Sara. Sara is a Super friendly woman from Roswell not too much older than I. Usually I can beat her, but she surprised me this year: she's gotten 12 races in, several of which I wasn't at, and has been racking up lots of points. I watched carefully to make sure those points didn't get too close to mine, and with the Rio Rancho Duathlon approaching, the series last race, I was pretty satisfied that I had the series locked up. I have my 9 races in, and I figured I had the championship all locked up. Surely, she won't come this far north for a measly little Duathlon. Because if she did, could beat me for the series.

Except that, well, she did come this far north.

While signing up Mini today I mentioned that I would only be doing this race if I knew Sara was doing it, and Michi looked a bit flustered and said, "but she is doing this race."

I leaned forward and rested my forehead on the table. She did not just say that. She did not just go an trash my day of sloth.

$HIT! There goes my day of sloth.

I wrote the check for the race and took home my shirt and goody bag. Mini-baboo, of course, thought it was hilarious.

The RR-Du is a hard 5k-25k-5k course over Rio Rancho's very hilly terrain, that last year in April I'd said, "was as hard as childbirth." Of course, that was before I'd done my first Olympic, Half Iron, or Ironman, but still, I'm badly out of shape, having slacked off pretty dramatically during my post Ironman LooUHvul burnout.

So there it is, my folly.
All things considered, I've actually gotten kinda stoked in the past couple hours, thinking it would be cool to finish my season by actually trying to crossing a finish line. I hadn't wanted to admit it, but I have been a bit bummed since walking off the course at Soma. Especially when I found out they didn't enforce the cutoff on the run and let everyone finish who was already on the run.

See you at the finish line.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

and Mom said HA!

So among the drama of finishing neither Soma OR my "bastard paper that's eating my life" (thanks for the new title, LBTEPA!) and listening to Britney's newest CD, a little drama has been playing out here that I thought I'd bring you in on.

So here's the setup: I have toaster streudels in my freezer. They are fake strudel with strawberry and creme cheese filling.
They are NOT real strudel; they are crap. I know this.
At the same time, they are like heroin. I must have them.


So, I keep them, and I allow myself one on any day that I run. They are to be savored, with tea or coffee, alone in my kitchen.
We all have our little indulgences. This is mine. Just let it go.

Last week, I had crazy days with nineteen parent-teacher teacher conferences in addition to my full days of work.
Since my schedule was upset I forgot to eat a couple of times, and by the ends of two days, I'd only racked up about 800 calories per. I had also ran two days in a row but and didn't have time for the toaster streudel goodness.
By the second day of running and sub 1000 calories I decided I'd better do something FAST or my metabolism would probably shut down and I wouldn't have any energy.

I thought about the streudels I had in the freezer. I thought about them all the way home.

I would have two of them.

Their fake trashy toasty goodness.

Mmmmm.

Turns out, Not. So. Much.

Mini-baboo, the teenager that eats almost anything that isn't attached to me, had found them, and even though they were a foreign item in the freezer (they're usually kept in the mini-fridge in our bedroom) he decided, what the hell, and ate them. All three of them. I came home, and found them gone.

When confronted, after a moment of silence, then he said, seemingly sincerely,
"Oh. My bad."

I came unglued. "NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE HAS TOLD YOU, 'MY BAD' IS NOT AN APOLOGY! I WANT MY FAKE STREUDEL! "

He said something like, "Jeez, Mom, get a grip," or something like that. I don't know. I-I think I went blind and deaf and just couldn't calm down. Finally, in a fit of anger and grief over my missing and unrequited craving, I marched upstairs and took his TV.

"Hey! No fair!"

"No tv until I get $6 or a box of toaster streudel," I shouted back.

"What? I only ate half a box! A whole box isn't that much!" retorted person who lives in my house and doesn't pay rent.

"I don't care. In the real world, if you steal, you have to pay it back AND pay a pentalty. This is yours."

For the rest of the week, he would occasionally broach the subject and I would snap, "$6! I want my $6!!" and thus held his TV hostage.

Tonight, for some reason, things came to a head. Maybe it was because I went grocery shopping and took and sharpie and wrote "Not Jon's" on most of the foodstuffs I bought. Or maybe it was because he really wanted to watch TV. Who knows. Who cares?

What resulted was that, after a weeklong standoff, Mini-baboo went to the store and came back with toaster pastries. In a box. At room temperature. Toaster pastries.

"Those aren't toaster streudel," I sneered. "They're generic poptarts. Do you remember where you found the toaster streudel? You found them in the freezer. you know why you found the toaster streudel in the freezer? BECAUSE THEYRE FROZEN!"

"This is so unfair!" Then more grumbling.
Then about 40 minutes later, a box of toaster streudel slid though the opening in the door.

"Now can I have my TV back," he whined.

"Yes," I said magnanimously.

I always get my way.

And he, he has learned a valuable lesson that, I think, will serve him well in his future as a significant other: You don't get in the way an insane, peri-menopausal woman and her snacks.


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