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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gravity's Siren Song

This is a bit long but it highlights an important lesson I've learned this past year, perhaps the most important lesson I've ever learned, DON'T HAUL ASS DOWN HILLS.

Last year I was injured, and I'm about 96% certain it was because of a lot of downhill running.

It's tempting, isn't it? You might be running along, or perhaps UP a hill, your stocky, bootylicious self, and you see the downhill and you say to yourself, "WARP FIVE, MR. SULU!". Chances are, if you are not a bird-person, and if you haven't (gently) trained running a lot of downhills, you might be cutting your race short and you will suffer.

If the finish is down at the bottom, fine. But if not, if you have a couple more miles to go after that long downhill (I'm talking here of marathons, 10ks, et cetera, not necessarily 5ks, although I'm not ruling them out.) say, a couple more miles or flat or--shudder--another hills, baby, you are DONE.

Last year I did several long downhills on pavement. I did the New Mexico marathon, which has a 6-mile downhill between about mile 15 and 21.
At right, this is an old profile from a training ride, but the area between miles 1 and 13 are the first half of the NM Marathon. -->

At this marathon, I abandoned my works-for-me plan and answered the siren call of gravity, hauling ass down that hill.

By the time I got to the bottom, the nagging pain I'd had the previous week while hauling ass down the road leading up to the La Luz trailhead had spread to my left tibia. I was in such pain by mile 23 than I nearly fell over when I stepped wrong at an aid station.

I laid off, and then did the Colorado Relay 2 weeks later. My splits were short, about 4 to 6 miles, but all downhill - my choice. The last one dropped in altitude over 900 feet over 3 miles. OWWW. But I was okay, I could jog, a little. X-rays were negative. Diagnosis: shin splints.

Three days later, I went for a quick (2.5 mile run) to the local aquatic center, swam, and then headed home. 100 feet into a very steep downhill on blacktop (running full tilt, of course) I suddenly could not run any more. The theory was that at that point I'd developed a stress fracture. I didn't run on pavement for over 8 weeks, although I could do some light trail running. The rest is history. I finally feel like I'm recovered.

So then, this past weekend. Here's the profile -->

Ahead of time, a fellow ultra runner, Don, warned me about the downhill. Don't go flying back down that hill, he said. You're not done yet.

There was a woman just ahead of me, who seemed invested in staying ahead of me. She is a bit trimmer than I, and she kept looking back at me. Because she did that, well, I had to beat her.
Had to.
You understand, right?

She was good on the flats, but challenged by the uphills - I passed her going up that long 2.5 mile climb. I've started doing this little hopping run--tiny steps-up hills that is faster than hiking, but I could only just now do it because I had to develop quads and calves. But anyway. So I passed her, and said as nicely as I could, "boy, I'll sure be glad when this hill ends, won't you?" as she walked dejectedly up the hill, hands on hips, taking long, huge steps*.
I went ahead, but she wasn't that far behind. She could have, mind you, passed me easily with a gentle jog, and stayed ahead. As we crested and headed back down the hill, however, she flew past me. I mean, she hauled ass, running with big huge sprinting steps, each jarring step pounding the ground with all the combination of her weight coming down on it and the force of gravity.

As tempting as it was, I'd been thinking about New Mexico marathon lately, and last year's injuries, and Scott's warning, and I continued my gentle jog down the slope.

When we got to the bottom, she was done. DONE. as in, she could barely move. She'd shocked the crap out of her shins and quads, and now barely shuffling on the rollers.
She kept looking behind her. I felt sorry for her.
But yeah, I passed her.
I tried to say something encouraging about it being almost over for us, but let's face it, when someone passes you, you just resent them for passing you at that stage of the race.
So my lesson today is, watch out for those downhills. They may be doing much more harm than good. You won't make up much time by sprinting down them that a nice brisk run with small, gentle steps won't accomplish, and you'll feel better when you do.

*Big mistake. When going uphill, change your stride to smaller steps, else you'll burn your adductors out.
...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1. WINDY CITY HERE WE COME!
Mini-baboo is graduating from Navy Boot camp next Friday at Great Lakes, and I will go view the pomp of a full-on military parade while Sweet Baboo reminisces.

2. Due to Sweet Baboo 's savvy planning: our plane tickets are nearly free, we got a steep discount to a nice hotel a few miles from base, and there will be running--Yes, running!--a local 5K and the Full Moon half marathon within driving distance (It's Wisconsin, but within driving distance).

3. The 5K is the "ELVIS IS ALIVE 5k" I haven't worn my Pricilla dress and wig since the Las Vegas marathon in 2007.

4. I expect everyone to look just like these people -->
all fabulous and singing songs as they go about their day and whatnot. Right? RIGHT?

5. I used this website to workout a 50K training plan for this year's Palo Duro 50k. I'll be running 5 days a week. Somehow, I'll squeeze in swimming, cycling, working, and 11 hours of school. (eep)

6. Diet: I blew out, and made this HUGE pot of cheesy mashed potatoes. HUGE.

But. I've been eating 6 tiny meals a day and a lot of G2; thus my stomach capacity has decreased. All I could do was stare at the pot, bloated and full, after eating a slightly unreasonable couple of servings. The rest was put in rubbermaid for another binge.
BINGE: FAIL.

7. To the left is my new 2 mile run. Not a fast sprint, mind you--it's a run that goes uphill in tiny baby steps on tip toes. It's hard to explain, but faster than slogging it up the hill. As you might imagine, the half first mile involves nearly throwing up. It's getting easier.

8. Right behind my house is a large flat-topped boulder that I get to sit on and stretch and cool down, facing the mountains and the dawn. (yeah, I know. I'd hate me too, if I were you. )


9. Ever heard of a SWAMP COOLER? A swamp cooler is the charming nickname for an Evaporative Cooler. It is slightly less primitive than standing under a hose. It makes everything kind of clammy and also uses a lot of water, which is a bit scarce here. I dislike them pretty intensely.

10. Soooooo, I put a window A/C unit in our bedroom to get us through the hottest month of the summer. Since there's just the two of us, we can just hang out in the bedroom watching old Seinfeld episodes with wonderfully dry air conditioning. You don't need whole-house anything when there's no kids living within.

11. I'm eating a ridiculous amount of popcorn with cheese powder on it. It's not bad for me, but the hulls are always stuck between my teeth and there are orange stains on everything.

12. I don't know why my cats like playing in the garage. They hang out near the door and meow plaintively and bat their eyes at me. So, I open the door. You can almost hear them yelling, Wheeeeeee! as they shoot through the door into to the hot, stuffy garage. I guess if you're a house cat you find your moments where you can.

13. There this really bitter unpleasant old bag at work. She's ugly and mean and complains and derides everything and everybody. Whew! that feels better. Glad I got to say it to someone!

...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fat Tuesday: 3 articles about fat.


Now, of course - this doesn't include an operational definition of obese, which one would hope is not from the MetLife weight scale and, rather, uses the increasingly more useful waist circumference or bodyfat measurement. As well, all of this is based on frequency tables, and the average "obese" person probably doesn't do Ironman Triathlons and trial ultras, so I'm not too concerned. Moreover, according to the AHO's definition of obese and this calculator, I'm not obese, but I'm definitely pushing maximum density.

In any case, my comment on this was that being big is just more expensive all around. I pay more for clothes, since the amount of any shipment of clothing that is devoted to plus sizes (12+) is generally very, very small - by the time the sales hit, there's nothing left but make-believe sizes (0, 2). Don't bother complaining to me if you're a size 0. I won't believe you. You're not real. Oh, and more expensive CRAPPY clothes, too, since clothing designers haven't gotten the notion that larger women don't just increase proportionally, they change shape.

Other ways that being big is more expensive, I've found: I go through running shoes more often, I wear through socks more often, and I seem to bang into stuff more often, requiring bandaids and such (I'm still not used to being this big and taking up this much space)

What on earth is "polycystic ovary disease?" I looked this up, and read the symptoms, and I'm fairly certain I don't have this. Still, I'm reminded of a brief conversation a few years back when I was reading the symptoms of menopause - plain, old menopause - to Sweet Baboo. He listened in astonishment for a little bit, and then finally shook his head and said, "Women's bodies just fall apart".
We do have unnecessarily complex bodies. There's all sorts of complicated plumbing and wiring down there, and up to about 40 years ago the answer was just to yank the wiring harness or the plumbing stack rather than research ways to fix it.

From the conclusion: "Caffeine supplementation does not provide recreationally active women a viable pathway to weight loss or any meaningful ergogenic performance benefits. "

However, I did find it interesting that they found improved Vo2 max in the 6 mg/kg dose. (that's about 13 mg per pound, which is about 2 cups of brewed coffee, I think, for a 100-pound person, which I am NOT) It makes me wonder if the 5-hour Energy Shot I always take before heavy workouts is just a placebo effect. Of course, they weren't studying stamina; they were studying efficiency. Nancy can probably lend more explanation to the results than I can, because it's not really my area.

Meanwhile:

I found this cool web site that helps you work out a training plan for a marathon or ultra. http://scrunners.org/ - - Click on your choice on the left.

...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Suckfest's younger brother...

is known as the "Run to Break the Silence" 20k.


It sounds innocent enough, doesn't? Awwwww. Why, it's not even a half marathon. It's a baby half marathon! How sweet. Yes, let's go do this. It's for charity, for a local Oral School

The day after the 80-mile suckfest ride in high 90s heat, after which the DailyPlate informed me that I could have 2088 more calories (but I was too tired to get them) yes, let's go run in the foothills . In the heat.

So. It starts out at Sandia Casino, and then climbs gently for a while, and then sucks your soul dry for over 2 miles, and then goes back down to the casino. It's a good, well-marked course on dirt service roads, and was well supported with water and gatorade and nice volunteers.
As you can see by the profile, it's not completely straight up and not completely straight down. I wasn't last, but it was hot, and I was pretty sick of being tired, sore, and damp, so I finally finished, and said, "take me home". And Baboo said, do you want to go get food first? So then I was like, "um - yeah, okay. Food. Then home."


There was about 1400 feet of elevation gain and loss. My quads are treshed. My inner adductors are pissed. My butt muscles are pissed.

Then I went to Einstein's bagels, and asked for a spinach and mushroom bagel pizza on a fluorentine bagel. No, wait, did I say A bagel pizza? I ordered three. And a cup of brocolli cheese soup. Then I went to Keva juice, and got a large Keva Kolada. Mmm.


Miles for this week:
Bike: 80 miles
Run: 22.3 miles
Swim: 1700 meters

Distances for July:
Bike: 367 Mi
Run: 53.65
Swim 11150

Now I will shower. And sit in air conditioning. And drink, drink, drink. And sleep, sleep, sleep.

...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Santa Fe Suckfest.

This morning Baboo, Courtney, SW TriGal, her beloved, and a couple of other pals and I boarded the Rail Runner express with our bikes and bike gear and headed for Santa Fe.


The Rail Runner express is beyond cool. When the doors are warning you that they are about to shut, they make the Road Runner sound. beep-eep!

Phrases and words to describe the train trip:
Fast
Smooth
Pleasant
Relaxed
Pretty scenery

We got off in Santa Fe, boarded our bikes, and had a quick breakfast and coffee, and then headed back to Albuquerque by bike.

Phrases and words to describe the bike trip:
Hills.
Hot.
Suckfest.
Wind.
Dehydration.
Pretty scenery.

The Garmin readout is kinda messed up, because Baboo and I rode down to the train station from our house, which is about 15 miles, but I forgot to turn on the Garmin at first. Then I shut it off until we got to Santa Fe. Then I forgot to turn it on until after we were well on our way, bellies full of breadfast burritos (potatoes, egg, veggies, cheese).
So, pretty much everything after the big line up is most of the trip back to Santa Fe. Baboo, much less scattered than I, said we got in about 80 miles for the day.

SW TriGal said she didn't care if I called her a liar publicly, so I will: she said it was mostly downhill from Santa Fe. Uh, yeah, my butt. of course, she was no more to blame that the lying weatherman, who forecast lower 90s, partly cloudy skies. But then again, SW TriGal also let me use her gloves, since I forgot mine (I get numb fingers if I don't wear gloves,) so she's forgiven. As soon as I wash all the self-pitying snot and tears I left on them, she can have them back.

How hot was it? Weather in the upper nineties, and that wind that changes from the morning cool breeze to the afternoon convection oven in your face. It was in the upper 90s, with it much hotter, of course, on the pavement.

It was so hot, that one of the guys with us, a pro cyclist, had a ride come pick him up about 18 miles from the end because he wasn't used to the heat and elevation. Well, of course after that I HAD to finish. Just so, you know, I could some day brag that I'd outlasted a pro cyclist with my badass self.

Another rider became a bit overwhelmed and got a ride home a few miles after that. That left the five of us to finish the ride. Well, sorta finish. When I got a bit less than a mile from home, and surveyed the 8% grade hill that leads up to where I live, I took a ride from a friend who happened by. I'd had about 30 miles of a painful and numb toes on the right, and toes on the left that were starting to tingle, so I was done.

Did I mention I hate cycling? During the last 20 miles I was all whiney and crying and saying, I hate this. I'm dropping out of Redman and IM Utah. I can't do this. I'm not cut out for this. Cycling isn't my sport. SW TriGal and everyone else there can testify that I was whiny and very self-pitying.

Now, of course, I'm showered and hydrated and cool and I'm wondering why I was such a wuss. I'm always embarassed to look back at how negative I get. Maybe when my glucose gets low, my brain kicks up the save yourself mode. I don't know.

In any case, as many say, it's miles in the Ironman bank for me.

...


Friday, July 24, 2009

Vegetarian Squid Nugget.

Ever since my employer installed POS newest version of MSOffice and it's evil sidekick, IE 7, in my computer has started freezing up about twice an hour. In between freezes, I get some work done.

This morning, it suddenly occured to me that one of the reasons I've been feeling so blue lately is because I'm not getting to do what I love to do most of all: an easy trail run in the cool of the day before all the swarms of locusts mountain bike riders and contribitors of dog crap people who don't "believe" in leash laws show up.

Don't get me wrong - the training is going well. I'm exactly as I should be at this point. It's just that training for an Ironman is a lot like doing a thesis: you start out fairly enthusiastic and excited. Gradually, however, as THE day approaches, you're sick of the whole thing and ready to get it over with, wondering if it's all worth it. It's work.
That's not enough for me; I need at least one run every week that I do because I enjoy it. When I do, then I can shrug off most of life's annoyances and worries.

So. But. Anyway. Lying in bed, I worked out in my mind a route that I figured to be about 3 miles. I started at the crack of dawn, and it was awesome. I started out on neighborhood streets, joined silently for a short time by other morning runners who were barely discernable in the dawn light and getting their morning fix in.

After about a mile, I turned onto a trail leading up into the foothills, and I was alone. Up, up, up I climbed continuously for about a mile, jogging slowly, joined occasionally by bunnies zig-zagging down the path in front of me and the occasional coyote ambling across the path. I turned off and headed up a small arroyo, still climbing, happy that I was still running.
Alone this way, I'm not big or slow: Compared to the stillness around me, I feel swift, no matter how slowly I might moving.

On this run there are two places where I crest a hill top as I round a corner. Looking down, the whole of Albuquerque, lights still twinkling, is spread out before me. Each time I crest there's the satisfaction and grattitude that I get to do this.

I landed in my back yard and walked around for a bit, cooling off, and my cats stared at me enviously through the window. I stretched, and watched some quail run across the back yard for a bit. This is what I have to do each week, I know now, to get my fix in. Antidepressants are cheaper than running shoes, but not nearly as satisfying.

So. About the title. Well, Sweet Baboo and I go to this World Food Market every week. It has a large selection of Chinese vegetarian foods. I go every week hoping that they'll be carrying the vegetarian shrimp that I've had and loved - but alas, I think they have stopped carrying it. Anyway. While looking for it, I saw this on the shelf: vegetarian squid nugget. I'm not really sure what to do with it, but I'm of the opinion that if you find a food that looks like the name of a punk rock band, you must try it. So I brought it home. I couldn't think of any title for this post. So there ya go.

...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

'Geekgirl' Misty...

...misses FaceBook and its meaningless third person, ego-centric and narcissistic statuses (statii? Statussus?) which she cannot access at work


so she'll use Blogger instead.

...is amazed and sickened at the calories in the cashew nuts she ate yesterday (she thought nuts were HEALTHY).

...is even more amazed and sickened to find that a grande "skinny" white mocha is 420 calories.

...is saddened that most of her former classmates...how shall she say this delicately...refuse to take credit for their achievements, and insisting instead that it's all due to their deity.

...is wondering how many people will be offended by the previous statement.

...finds that lately, she has the panicked feeling that time is running out.

...has begun to dislike her new job quite a bit; it's tedious and she misses working with patients.

...has an impossibly messy house.

...doesn't understand how one can be 5'6", size 12, and weigh 175 pounds. What are her bones made of, anyway? Galena?

...is trying to determine how to respond to mini-Baboo's recent idiotic declaration from bootcamp about future intentions that he has no wherewithall to follow through on.

...is wondering how to get her watch to stop beeping at 9 am and 11 am; having set these alarms and then imediately forgetting how to unset them.

...is jonesing to see the new Harry Potter movie.

...made a lovely eggplant curry for lunch all this week, which almost makes up for the white mocha and cashews.

...did a 10k last night with Baboo, in which was amazingly slow. Incredibly slow. You would not believe how slow. (Okay - maybe you would).


~.~.~.~.~.~
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Lazy post. Here's some stuff I found by putting "obese" into a search engine:

Study finds that Obesity is linked to the same-sex parent, and is more behaviorally-caused than genetic.

Obesity linked to complications of the H1N1 flu. Patients who are being hospitalized with complications of the Swine flu are more likely than not to be obese.

Quick fix found for Obesity? Researchers have discovered that injected two natural hormones combined with an appetite suppresant caused massive drops in body fat in just one week in rats. (I’ll be watching this closely – fat doesn’t just evaporate, you know. It would probably leave the body after being processed by the liver. I’ll be interested to see how badly the liver is damaged by this compound.)

And here’s my favorite: A STUDY that is refreshingly, NOT in the US, on child obesity has gone to the dogs after naughty children attached their pedometers to their pets. What’s fun about this isn’t the obvious, but also how much in denial the parents were found to be about their children’s weight.

...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Next, there will be people in floating chairs.

Today's workout I've dubbed "Hell Ride's Big Brother". It was slated to be a ride of about 75-80 miles, the most I've done since Ironman Couer D'Alene last year.


Hot, hot, hot and a stiff headwind. WINDY. By the time we were near mile 65, I knew I was in trouble. I was drinking gallons of fluid but hadn't gone to the bathroom in 4 hours. When we started climbing Tramway the thousand feet back up to home, I was drowsy. Really drowsy. My eyes kept closing while I was on the bike. My right hand and foot were numb, too, and so finally I pulled over and decided to walk a bit.

Baboo had other ideas - he deposited me in the shade at a mini-mart with lots of ice cold gatorade and a frozen fruit bar, and headed home to get the car. He returned an hour later with ice and cold drink. I'm less drowsy now. Oddly enough, though, I felt a bit like a failure for not finishing the climb up Tramway in what was probably nearly 100 degree heat there on the blacktop.

Such is the life that we live now - I am surrounded by tiny, lithe bird people who train far more rigorously than I. So that, when I have to stop after 63 miles into a ride from heat sickness, I feel like a deadbeat.

Of course, when I sit an observe people, such as I did while waiting
for Sweet Baboo to come pick me up, I realize that I am part of a very small group. I watched people argue and honk at each other over who got to get to the gas pump first. On a Sunday. I watched a fairly well-dressed man pull a half-smoked cigarette out of the ashtray, brush it off, and ask someone for a light. I saw very heavy parents offer their children chocolate bars "since we didn't have time for lunch today".

The more time I spend out observing the masses or watching popular TV, the more real life is starting to remind me, frighteningly, of the movies Idiocracy and Wall-E. Don't laugh. When's the last time you went to a large discount store and saw perfectly able-bodied people driving those motorized carts around? And how much more can Discovery and The Learning Channel dumb-down their content? Pretty soon, there will be a new, educational show on about the adventures of a Pawn Shop owner.* Yee.

So today, we were sitting in the shade for a bit at San Felipe pueblo, and a woman came in with her daughter. The daughter, perhaps 6 or 7 years of age, could clearly walk, and so could the woman. But not finding a parking space to her liking, (there were many empty spaces about 100 feet away) she simply parked next to a gas pump. Nobody could use it to get gas because she had decided to simply park there.

Meanwhile, while she was in the mini-mart, her passenger flicked cigarette ashes out the car window toward the gas pump. yes, you read that right: lit cigarette ashes. gas pump about 2 feet away, as I looked around cautiously for the big red button you push to shut off the gas in an emergency.

Earlier last week, I observed a man with his 8- or 9-year-old son at a mini-mart. The son was looking longingly at fruit juices, but Dad then asked him if he wanted a RedBull. He then reached for a large RedBull. "You want one of these?" and and then handed it to him. I leaned over to Baboo and whispered, "2 hours from now he's going to scream at or smack him because he won't settle down."

A family come out of the mini-mart; one of the children carrying a large cappacino drink. We talked about that: I remember asking my mom for a sip of her "Suisse Mocha" coffee drink, and she would give me one, but I wasn't allowed to have my own because "Coffee stunts your growth." Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, shared with me that he was told that coffee was a grown-up drink, and he could have some when you're grown-up. Now drink your milk.

As a teacher, I had assumed that kids bought their own energy drinks that they brought to school. Clearly, it's likely that their parents bought them in bulk and gave them to them every day. Where I got a thermos of milk, today's child gets a Monster drink.

Yikes. No wonder people are on meth. By the time they're in their late teens, caffeine no longer has any kick. Not that they'll need it, with their floating mobility chairs.

Just my two cents, as usual.

*Not kidding. Check your local listings.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 City of Santa Fe Sprint Triathlon


Elevation: 7000 feet.

Organization: Top notch. Here is a nice, well-run course. It's only in its second year, but you wouldn't know it; things run so smoothly. I LOVED that it started bright and early (6:30 am) and that we were done and outta there in time for breakfast!
SCHWAG: Very nice. Water bottle, bottled water, 2 energy bars, chapstick.
This design is on the T-shirt --> very cool.

5K RUN: 32:31, including T1 transition
This run starts out downhill - I rounded the corner of the first mile and saw 9:39 on the clock. No. WAY. well, it was downhill. The run went onto a nice, black-top bike path. I passed the clock for the 2nd mile. 20:31. WOW. Okay, so my 2nd mile was a little slow. We had started gradually going up hill coming to the end of the 1st mile, and it continued up and onto a bit of dirt, but mostly clear, hard running path. I think there were 2 aid stations, but I can't remember. I know there was at least one. At one point, I was running next to another woman, and just then a race walker blew by us. BLEW BY US. Nothing humbles you like that. Toward the end, there is a short, steep climb to the transition area. Disappointing, but I hope they don't take it out - it keeps ya honest!
I think this may be my best 5K ever.

12.6 Mi Bike: 53:59, including T2 transition
This had large rollers, and most of the uphill was also into a nice stiff headwind. Ugh. I worked hard, but 53:59 was all I could pull off with the wind and the rollers. It was a nice course, though, on well-maintained roads, and plenty of officers to direct traffic.
One thing I was curious about. There were volunteers standing near a bunch of broken glass. Not warning, or directing anyone away from it, just standing there. Why? Still, it was a very fun ride. Not too technical, not to difficult, but it sure got your attention!

400 Meter swim: 10:58 (EEK!)

Can you say, "time for swim drills Misty?" This was a nice, 50-meter pool with wide lanes. Plenty of room to pass and be passed. I felt good, and wished I could get back into the pool when I was done. of course, I couldn't. There were still people in it. STILL PEOPLE IN IT!! I wasn't last.
I almost feel like, well, kinda athletic today.

Total time: 1:37:28

Division place (female 40-44: 10/17, overall females: 101/147)

No Athena or Clydesdale divisions. BOO!

Afterwards, bagles, cheese, processed meats (??) and a finisher's ribbon.

RECOMMENDED RACE. I will do this one again and again and again!
It was friendly and well-run, and VERY well organized. Good course markings, and nice courses that were challenging but didn't break you.

...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Week-ending July 17th.

Before I went to bed last night, I stepped on the scale. Fully loaded, I was 4 pounds down. This is huge. It's the first drop I've seen since January.

Distances this week:
Run: 8.1 Mi
Bike: 95 Mi.
Swim: 3900 M.
(oops. Time for a long run...after the sprint tri tomorrow I'll be doing at least 10 miles)

July's totals:
Bike: 249.01 Mi
Run: 28.25 Mi
Swim: 9050 M

The Tramway climb is getting easier, and my average time has increased by a bit over a mile per hour.
I'm getting used to the heat. It's still annoying, but I'm losing that nauseated feeling, and my butt hurts a lot less.

Still using "The Daily Plate". It's easy, and it's working for me, and it's free. It has just about every activity in its activity database you can imagine - including nookie.

I don't know why, but I was hoping for more
than "57 calories an hour".
This just doesn't seem right. -->
In any case, I'm not logging this. I don't want to be one of those featured "members who logged this activity include..."



...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

    By Tired McBitchiness.

  1. I like working at the hospital here with Baboo, but it's a temporary (3-year) gig. They don't hire counselors, they hire social workers to work with people and do therapy. So now I'm in social work school.
    It is with no small amount of bitterness that this fall I'll be taking the first of two required classes in human behavior. Thank goodness, after two master's degrees in human behavior and research, a license as a mental health counselor, and 9 years of teaching, I'll get to finally learn human behavior. Oh, and ETHICS.

  2. I'm not getting any more degrees after this. I mean it.

  3. So far, I've taken 4 classes in Social Work School. In one, nearly half of those introducing themselves said they wanted to "work with children," (Awwww. I know.) another nearly half said they wanted to be therapists, but didn't know what a theoretical orientation was.
    I said I wanted to work in psychiatry. There was a puzzled silence, and a woman whispered to me, "you know who you'll be working with, right?"
    and I said, um, psychiatric patients? and she said nodded. Very seriously.
    I said, Who do you imagine you'll be doing therapy with? and she looked startled. Is it just me or do people pick vocations without actually knowing what they are?

  4. This fall, I'll be taking 4 classes, working full time, and Ironman Training. THAT should be interesting. Be very nice to Sweet Baboo. He will have a crazy wife to deal with this fall.

  5. I'm starting to feel like one of those cakes that is just never set. You keep peeking in the oven, sticking in toothpicks, and finally you just give up in disgust and throw the whole thing out because it just won't ever set up. That's me, and my life, and my career path.

  6. Mini-baboo has written me twice and called me once from Boot Camp. He's doing well.

  7. Before 9 am no less than two guys show up to empty the trash can in my office, and that's it for the day. The result is that on Monday morning there is some smelly lunch trash that has been sitting all weekend. I offer this not as one of life's tragedies, just one of those little annoyances that pop up from time to time.

  8. Tuesday, I got "casted" for orthotics for my bike shoes. Perhaps soon, my years of numb toes will be over. I've learned the hard way this year and it should all be hard, but never really PAINFUL; if it is, there's something wrong, and I need to speak up.

  9. I hate the twice weekly bicycle commute. But I like what it's doing for me. Between last week and this week the average pace over the total 44 miles for the day has gone up by over a mile per hour. It includes a long, 6-mile extended climb that goes from 5000 feet to 6000 feet. oh, and ice cream. It always includes ice cream. Because, you know, the carbs. And stuff. Ice cream by the way works very well with a Gatorade chaser.
    The upside for Baboo, who of course is going WAY slower than he would normally, is that he can tell me all about his day, all the way up the hill, because he can talk while doing this ride. (I can't).

  10. My face is not tanning evenly. It's kinda starting to look like an antique map of the world.

  11. I am keeping to a training regimen for the first time ever, mostly because I am accountable. Before, I had my own little life, and Baboo had his, and he would come home, Hey, did you do your training today? And I was all, tra-la-laaaa, Nope, I didn't feel like it. And then he would work me hard on the weekends, which was better than nothing...but now, we commute together, so if he goes to the gym, *I* go to the gym, and what the hell, I might as well swim while I'm there, right? So I'm actually following a decent training plan.

  12. Because of the training, I'm exhausted. Every afternoon I lay down in my office for 15 minutes and take a nap. It's allowed, if somewhat unorthodox. Afterwards, I feel totally better.

  13. I miss my brassy, tacky blond hair. But I'm starting to like this, too. It's more carmel-colored, with blond streaks.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Pompous Idiot


I’m not sure exactly what you were screaming as you tried to run us off the road. When you scream at people out the open window of a moving car the Doppler effect makes it difficult to understand. The only word I could make out was, “A_ _hole”.

I can assure you that we were following all the applicable statutes while commuting today. It was very early, with little traffic, as well. I can further assure you, as you deliberately swerved in front of us as close as you could, that you were not. It’s clear, though, that we may have made you a whole 30 seconds late getting home, which was very distressing to you.

You did me a favor, actually. Normally I only see women drivers that angry, so it was refreshing to see a man that angry who, in retrospect, I suppose was acting like a woman. It gives me hope that it’s not just women I see exhibiting road rage as they pass inches away, angrily and impatiently gunning their engines. As a mental health professional, I can only assume that you have some issues, some stress that is superimposed onto the rest of your interactions with society, such that you vent at every stranger you see, however inappopriate your behavior may be.

Oh, And thanks so much for pulling into your own driveway and screaming and swearing at us from your very own front yard. I checked on Google Street, and saw the same dark grey Volvo parked in your driveway, and now I know where you live. I’ll be sure and share that address on every cycling advocacy website that I know.
Regards,

Athena Misty

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good Thing I'm Smart, Because I'm Sure Not Handy.


This might sound snotty but it was my goal to get educated and be in a vocation such that I don't have to mess around with things like automatic sprinklers, and pay someone else to do that.

Not that I don't occasionally try. But it's satisfying to know that at some point, I can drop the screwdriver, butter knife, or nail file on the floor, say, screw this and get on my phone and call Hank, whose last name is Knows What He's Doing.

Hank Knows What He's Doing is not always available, though, so I will sometimes impulsively decide to "fix" something on my own rather than wait; this is why I decided to "fix" the errant pop-up rotor sprinkler head that is not rotating properly. Despite having read several tutorials, I still haven't figured out how to get it to aim a stream of water at a dying patch of grass instead of the side of the house, which tends not to need watering.

Which is why I woke up in the middle of the night with the sprinkler shooting water through the open window on my side of the bed.

2am: I woke up, a bit chilly, and my first thought was, this isn't your usual night sweat. I was sleeping with my back toward the window, and my second thought was, what is that hissing noise? I turned, and my hand brushed the side of the mattress, which was also wet, as was my pillow, and the back of my head. Holy cow, can I turn on the sweat!

Then I figured out that there was a fine mist spraying through the window screen, right at me.

Dammit.

So I closed the window. I'll call Hank Knows What He's Doing later.

Distances for July, So far: Bike, 169.41 Mi; Run, 22.5 Mi; Swim, 5150 M. I didn't run much last week. I've been focused more on my weakness, which of course is cycling. Yuck. It seems to be key to finishing earlier, so I'm focused on the positive: It's a good, low-impact way to work my legs between runs, and if I'm faster at it, I can get to run sooner, and really enjoy my run.

See? It's all about the reframing. Now, if I can just keep repeating that to myself over and over until I believe it. As long as Sweet Baboo can put up with my crying and hysterics I hate this. I suck at this. I'm never going to get faster! I feel light-headed!
BOO HOO HOOO HOOOOOOOO!

This weekend, I'm doing The Santa Fe Triathlon. It's bike-swim-run. The bike leaves in waves, and then you swim, and then you run. It starts at 6:30 in the morning, which I love, on Saturday. There doesn't appear to be an Athena division, but that doesn't really matter to me; I'm just going to try to do my best. What else can I do?
...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bottomless Triathlon, 2009 (Race Report)

A Little History:

Bottomless Triathlon, 2006 1:16:59, 3rd place, athena.

Bottomless Triathlon, 2007 - 1:15:59. 1st place, Athena

Bottomless Triathlon, 2008. 1:12, 1st place Athena

The Bottomless sprint is one of those things that you suffer through but it's so short you immediately get amnesia and sign up for it again. It's fast, well-run, and my only complaint year after year is a wishful bit about it starting maybe 90 minutes earlier. It starts at 8:30 and the race director won't budge. But there's plenty of aid stations, and the water and ice are cold, and there's ice-cold water melon and bagels at the finish line.

2009
So, we were all standing around and I was kvetching because I was the only (seriously - the only) female wearing a black cap. All the others had pink. Two women I was talking to motioned towards a tall triathlete standing off to the side wearing a pink cap, "ask him if he'll trade."
AWESOME! I splashed over to him and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, "hey, I know this sounds weird, but would you want to exchange caps?" I saw the subtle hour-glass shape.
Oh, crap. This wasn't a dude. She looked at me, puzzled, and shook her head, "no".

So, I followed it up lamely with, "I know it sounds crazy. I'm asking everyone today." Then I splashed around to ask some other women so that she would see and not realize that I had mistaken her for a guy (I'm SUCH an idiot) and finally I went back to the two women and mouthed the words, "THAT'S NOT A GUY" and they looked astonished, peered around me in a very obvious way, and then broke into peals of laughter, and I felt like crap. I really really hope I saved it well so that the chick didn't go home thinking that she looked like a guy.

So anyway. The air horn went off, and we went running out into the water. As soon as I get too much resistance running I dive in. Except that, this time, it was a bit too soon and I hit the bottom of the lake, a really rocky part, dragging my knee over it as I swam out. Of course, I sometimes forget about such things until just after the race and then I look down and say, "what did I do to my knee?" and have to think back and try to remember.

I think I had a pretty good swim; it was "about 400 meters, give or take" in a very clear lake. The lake here, I'll warn you, sits in a collapsed limestone sinkhole and the water is very alkaline. It tastes kinda like epsom salts. The temperature, according to fellow triathlete Tina was 78 degrees, so I wore my Point Zero3 suit, and came out of the lake before Sweet Baboo's wave, which was supposed to be 10 minutes later.

I ran out and into t1, shoved my feet into my bike shoes, since I don't wear socks in sprints any more, and headed out. It's a bit of a climb as you come up out of the bottoms area, and then you r-r-r-r-rid-d-d-de the very bumpy road through a few rollers, generally heading back down into the bottoms, with one last "surprise" climb about halfway through. At one point on the bike, my fellow competitor, Sarah, had caught me coming down into the smelly lake bottoms area. I worked really hard to catch her on that last hill and then stay ahead of her for the rest of the bike, but she came into T2 right behind me.

Into T2, where I grabbed my "COOL OFF BANDANA" that I'd pre-loaded with ice and my hand-held bottle, shoving my feet into my racing flats, again with no socks. I'd come into T2 the same time as Sweet Baboo but of course, he was already a quarter mile ahead of me as I exited to the run.

The run is long, flat, and hot. The temperature on the blacktop was 98 degrees, and my legs were trashed because of trying to stay ahead of Sarah. Not knowing how far behind me she was at any given time, I ran as hard as I could, which wasn't much because my legs were just HEAVY and aching. The run is only 4K, which is about 2.5 miles long, but it's sure a long 1.25 miles out to the turnaround, where I threw cold water on myself. The ice in my bandana melted slowly, and kept an icy spot just below the back of my neck.

I don't know what my time is, and was informed that the race director is out of town until the end of July, but I think it might have been around 1:10, which would be a PR.

I crossed the finish line and walked into the lake, shoes and all. 78 degrees is pretty nice and cold when you've just run in temps in the upper nineties. And was promptly informed by fellow Outlaw MG that my shorts are see-through from behind when I'm in an aero position. (This, I've decided, is good to know.)
After a while, I got out, changed clothes, and then collected my award: First Place, Athena, and Baboo collected his: 1st place, Clydesdale.

Fellow Outlaws Pocket Assassin, Bones, and MuffinMan, and Michi also took home hardware. I hope I haven't missed anyone.

On the way out of Roswell Baboo bought me a dipped waffle cone sundae at Dairy Queen and some nachos at Taco Bell. 'Cause I'm all about the health.

Now I want a nap.


...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Healthy, The Unhealthy.

Yesterday morning, I got up and swam about 1100 meters.






I was kind of dehydrated from my workout the night before, so I got a skim milk latte.









With loads of real caramel syrup.






Then I gave a pint of blood, and afterwards, they gave me 100% juice






And cheese/peanut butter crackers.





I found out there was a health fair at work, and I went to that.






It was also an ice cream social. (yes, at a HOSPITAL HEALTH FAIR). I had 4 scoops, with whipped cream and caramel syrup.






And nuts.






And marachino cherries.






At the health fair, I got a free bicycle map, toothbrush, eyeglass repair kit, a free insulated lunch bag, and a guy measured my bodyfat percentage and told me I was in the high end of the "normal" range.









The body fat guy asked me if I ever did any exercise.








At 1 pm, I entered in all that I had eaten so far, the Daily Plate informed me: You may eat about 16 additional calories today.







So I decided to go for a run.









I found out that, according to the Mayo Clinic, donating blood burns about 650 calories.






What the hell. I took a walk instead.

...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

  1. This weekend I'm doing a sprint in the Southwest Challenge Series, my 5th race in that serious this year so far. It's always hot, and there is always a cacophony of cicadas to scream and make it feel even hotter.

  2. I think my swim is getting faster. This won't make much difference overall in the longer events, but I'd love to pull off the swim I had at Ironman Louisville in '07.

  3. I'm letting Baboo drag me around on various training exercises. Oh, how I figit, and stall...but it's always worth it, in the end. "LUCKY" DP mentioned the Ironman Utah craziness that involves a 20-mile climb. Twice. Oh, yes - I'll have to be ready for this.
  4. I have been totally sucked into the drama that is .

  5. I'm wearing my favorite skirt today. Everyone ought to have one of these. It's comfy, makes me look good across 3 dress sizes, goes with everything, and seems to have been made of some space-age material, becuase I've had it forever and it has no signs of wear.


  6. I'm stunned at how much lower my basal metabolic rate is now that I'm not on my feet teaching.
    So, to summarize: I have to eat less, and I don't get summers off. Am I sure that this was a good move for me??*

  7. I suddenly realized I have no summer work clothes, since I haven't worked a summer since 1989. "LUCKY" DP has turned me onto online shopping, so now I'm broke. But, when the boxes arrives on my doorstep, it's like Christmas! In fact, it's better than Christmas - a guy drops the box, rings the bell, and drives away as I open the door and behold my package of goodies.

  8. We're going to be in Chicago August 7th anyway; anyone heard of the Bangs Lake triathlon? It claims a "challenging, hilly ride."

  9. I am working on cussing less.

  10. I have given up hope, and replaced all my lost keys. Crap. I'll probably find the lost ones tomorrow while reaching for some box of something somewhere.

  11. Last night’s ride was beastly. It was only 25 miles, but I am not used to heat yet. We took a longer way home and rode against a lively breeze from work over to Alameda, and then down to Edith. Some small shiny black bug bit the crap heck out of back of my neck. fucker. Stupid bug. Then to we worked our way around to Tramway. I was hot and feeling kind of sick so Sweet Baboo took us to a minimart and bought me ice cream and Gatorade. I sat in the shade for about 30 minutes until I felt better. (I know, I know. I'm a huge baby.)
    So. Then we headed up Tramway where there was no wind, no shade, OH, and did I mention I was riding my beastly heavy commuter bike? I think I was churning about 4mph on that 6 mile, 1000-foot ascent. My bottom hurt from front to back, and I was exhausted. Then, as the sun fell, gnats rose in swarms from the pavement toward me, crawling in my ears, nose, all over my arms, etc. At one point I stopped and lay down on my aero bars and started crying. I'm all sniveling and crying I hate this! I hate cycling! This sucks!-- sweaty and tired. We got home at dusk.
    Then, of course, I woke up at 5 am and went swimming.

    Of course, I’ll do it again next week. My goal is to try to outrun the gnats.

  12. Totals, for the first week of July: Bike, 71.01 Mi; Run, 17.7 Mi; Swim, 4650 M.
    I'm actually following an Ironman training plan now, more than ever before. I'm tried, cranky, foggy, and hungry. HUNGRY.

  13. My ride yesterday ended too late in the day for me to collapse into a plate of food, so I just collapsed into bed. According to my online calorie tracking program, I wound up with a 1300 calorie deficite for the day. I looked a bit sleeker this morning, but maybe I'm just horridly dehydrated. Who knows.

*I'm just kidding, of course.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Swimming. The Clean and the Dirty.

I'm getting ready for the Redman Iron Distance in September.

If I stick with Baboo and do about half of what he does, I can usually finish an Iron Distance. I wonder what would happen if I did MORE than half of what he does? Hmmm...

I rarely write much about my training, so here goes: Tuesday and Thursday we swim in the morning, and then run after work. Since we commute to the same place every day now, sticking with him for training is easier.

This morning we hit the outdoor pool at the gym (this is a Tuesday/Thursday thing now). If we get there at 5:30 we can swim for an hour in the clean, pristine heated outdoor pool, tucked as it is into the side of a small mountain, at an altitude of 6000 feet.
This morning, I swam 2500 in ascending pyramids with one 500 at the top, alternating freestyle and freestyle w/paddles. I finished off the last 100 with 50 breast stroke, 50 back stroke. My arms, they are tired right now. You know that feeling when you've worked your arms so that it's hard to lift them to put on your makeup? Okay, well, maybe you don't. But I do.

I'm using that little beep beep that I wrote about and it keeps me focused. Since I've gotten back into swimming my swim pace is finally starting to speed up again. Good thing, because I'm doing The Bottomless Lakes Sprint triathlon this weekend.

I'm on a careful diet, which I call "I'm menupausal and my thyroid's tanking". I use Livestrong's The Daily Plate to track calories and exercise. I keep my calories at about 1200 to cover my nearly sedentary BMR, but of course I add extra in for any workouts I do - usually in the form of extra lean protein. It's a maddenly strict diet designed to get me back into iron shape and perhaps burn off some of this wiggly, non-working tissue. It worked last year. Let's see if it works this year.

Mini Baboo has written us twice now from Navy boot camp. He's actually enjoying boot camp, and why not? I've mentioned more than once that he did his first marathon and an Oly prior to his 17th birthday. He joined the swim team for a season and cross country for 3 seasons just to improve his triathlon performance, and while he wasn't an elite class triathlete, he's probably in pretty good shape for the rigors of boot camp.

So anyway, in his second letter, he let me know that he now knew how to, "properly care for, fold, and store my clothing. I never knew about that before" I was all, GAAA! LIKE HELL you didn't now that!! I only spent...let's see, oh, EIGHTEEN YEARS trying to teach you how to, "properly care for, fold, and store" your clothing!! AAAAGGGHHH!
Okay, mom. Calm down. Breathe...you believe in redemption, right? Be happy he knows it, however he knows it...
I can always take the credit down the road.

So he graduates August 7th, in Chicago. We were planning to go to APA that week, where I get to go to all manner of fascinating workshops (the best one, hands down, that I ever went to was on HOARDERS.) but I've never seen a boot camp graduation, and I do like Chicago. It has one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world: The Chicago Diner. I'm hoping to hit that, hippie that I am.

I wonder if you can do an open water swim there. Look at this picture. I mean, it looks blue. I wonder if it's safe? Oh, hell. I've swam in the Ohio River. How bad can it be?

Speaking of highly suspect water swims, we're looking at this for next year: The Rev3 Iron Distance Triathlon.

...

Thursday Thirteen

1) So, um, yeah. Wore an ugly boot for a few days by order of the podiatrist, and answered the question "was it worth it?" more than once. Hells, yes, it was worth it. It's always worth it to grab those endorphins for a few days.
I feel strong. I feel brave. I feel beautiful. And It lasts a little longer each time.

2) The people I've met in this sport are the only people I've met who consistently I find interesting and worth my time. Not content to sit still and say, "I wish" they are much more likely to borrow a bike or a wetsuit, and say, "I will"


3) I'm going to do Buffalo Springs again next year. Lighter, and better trained.
I must. I can. I will.

4) Ceolho said, When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream. That's a really nice sentiment, but it's a cop-out.
The universe isn't going to help me finish and Iron Distance. Only I can do that.

5) Bandura, on the other hand, said in his work, "Exploration of Fortuitous Determinants of Life Paths, " that we make our own luck. Sure, you might stumble upon a really good sale, or fantastic weather, or in my case at Kentucky - a situation in which the finish line was held open longer than usual because of unusual circumstances - but none of that would have been meaningful had I not shown signed up, shown up, trained up.

6) Trying to describe a long-course triathlon to someone is like trying to explain the concept of "Trillion" to a 3rd-grader. Their eyes start to glaze over. I just leave it at, "triathlon" or, "marathon" and let them ask questions, if they want to do so.

Random bits of advice for the slower athlete desiring to finish an ironman:

7) Do a half iron. Do more than one. Double that, add about 10-20 percent, and count on that as your iron finish time. Figure out from each one what you need to do differently, and change how you do things.

8) Do and train for a marathon or two, especially if you are heavy for your height. You, the heavier athlete, need to know what it takes to be upright and moving on your feet for 5 to 7 hours. It wouldn't hurt to do a couple century rides, either.

9) Train on hills (running and cycling) whenever possible. There are flat iron distance triathlons, but not around where I live, and the other ones sell out in about 10 minutes. Anyway, even if you are doing a flat one, it's better to be overtrained. The more you do scary nasty hills the more you are likely to say, that's a hill? That' ain't NOTHIN'! in the middle of an ironman.
Iron Distance can really play with your emotions - you'll want to give up. You may feel despair. But if you can look at that hill ahead of you and say, Oh, I've done this hill; this is like the one on Tramway, so I know I can do it then you're free to focus on the physical instead of being mired in despair.

10) Train to your weakness, more than you think you need to. If your weakness is heat, train when it's hot. Your body will adapt. If your weakness is swimming, train as hard as you can in the worst conditions.

11) Find an ironman that is lenient about cutoff times. (aka, NOT NA sports!!) Non NA sports races may say there is a cutoff time, but check the finisher's list; the OKC Redman, for instance, has a cutoff, but I was there in 2006 when they closed up all the aid stations and followed the last runner around in a golf cart, acting as a portable aid station, until he finished after midnight.

12) If you don't make it the first time, there's always other races, and other chances. Enjoy the journey, don't just make it a means to an end.

13) This is stuff I've learned. I make no guarentee that I actually practice what I preach all the time. I'm a work in progress...
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