Monday, July 31, 2006
The Fat of the Land
Las Vegas Triathlon Race Report
This is, first of all, a race I would absolutely do again. NEXT time I'll get more than 3 hours of sleep. Miguel "Sharkbait" stayed over the night before and and drove up with us, and we stayed up too late watching a movie he brought over and wound up turning in after 11. We then got up at 3 am to make the trip up to LV to do the Olympic distance tri.
I do not endorse or recommend this as a race strategy.
The weather was Gorgeous, cool and breezy. This race was well-organized. I loved the bike stickers that you don't need twist ties for and that don't leave stickygummy stuff on your bike, and that's what you get at this race, plus, it's chip-timed. The volunteers were very enthusiastic. I'm shuffling along at about a 60 minute mile pace, and they're screaming "Wow! Good job! You're DOIN' it! Outstanding! WOO-HOO!!!". I usually feel the need to speed up to earn that type of cheering, but not yesterday...I just nodded and waved weakly.
Clearly, the Olympic isn't my race. Yet. Bearing in mind that in the past year I've gone from, "no thanks, I'll take the elevator to the 2nd floor"...to...running 8 miles continuously without walk breaks. My endurance is crap. This has been my aerobic-base-building year.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
pdf file of the run and swim courses. The swim is in Storie Lake, and is done in three waves. The women went first, which is refreshing, because as I've mentioned before, I enjoy not being dead last coming in. Storrie is a nice cold lake. It was about 70 degrees on the surface. I can't judge water clarity, since, like a lot of back of packers, all the murk is stirred up by the time I'm swimming through it. The only unpleasant thing I noticed was the faint smell and taste of fuel toward the end of the 1500 meter swim (if you KNEW how polluting boat engines were, you wouldn't want to ever boat or use a jet ski again) My time for the swim, 44 minutes. Good news: I've been puzzled as to why siting is so difficult for me, and I finally figured it out: if you wear blue-tinted goggles, it cancels out the orange of the bouy, so you can't see it. Duh! I even teach a lesson of this in physical science! Clear or gray for me, from now on.
The bike (pdf bike map) is a rolling out-and-back bike course with a gradual upward trend on nice roads, but you don't realize it at first.
- [This is a bit off the subject, but does anyone out there but me feel a little put off when people pass you, and say, "Good job!"
I always say, "thanks! You too!", but I'm thinking, "not good enough, I guess; you're passing me. In fact, the extra breeze generated by your passing is slowing me down...oh, forget it. I do appreciate the attempt at sportsmanship, and you're already a quarter mile down the road now..."
I don't want to seem like a bitch, though, so I just think it to myself.]
This run brought to you by the letter P.
The run is "p" shaped, an out-and-back with a little loop in the middle. It's very well-marked, with aid stations about every mile or so. The aid stations had water and sponges. Did you know that if you sponge off your legs with cool water, it feels GREAT?? I also tried putting it in my bra top to cool me down, but it warmed up too fast and then, it was just a warm sponge in my bra, which felt weird. I ran with Debi, another Outlaw, and I think she was being charitable sticking with me because I was slooowwww. It took me 1:30 to finish that run, which is astonishingly slow, even for me, but I figure that, 1) we were nearly 7000 feet above sea level, and there were hills, 2) I was operating on about 3 hours of sleep, and 3) I had to stop several times and fiddle with my race belt because I had borrowed one at the last minute and couldn't seem to get my number to stay on it, and 4) I had to stop to pee.
There were some hills and it was challenging, over a mixture of blacktop and firm dirt path. When I stopped to go to the bathroom: "P" is for paranoid: that someone would come along and see me - like my son, who at 15-year-old doesn't need that kind of image in his head. I've discovered another fine benefit of being a back-of-the-packer is that you can pee if you want to, and nobody will see you. The key is to not be the absolute last runner, because there's always a vehicle following you.
I would like to announce that this was Mini-me's first Olympic distance, and he went the distance, baby! Husband and I had mulled over whether to let him do it, but he insisted that he wanted to try it. At 5'9" and 185 pounds, we figured he could handle it. He was pretty tired when he was through; I'll spare you the details because I don't want to take detract from his manly image. As his mommy, I'll just say that he suffered to finish this race. He wasn't in pain; he was just really, really tired. He never quit.
He then set upon me with demands that he be rewarded in every way possible by unlimited TV and computer time, extra food, recognition, acolades, etc.
All of us (and Miguel!) came home with hardware. Husband placed first in the Clydesdales division, son first in 15-and-under, and I was second Athena. It took me 4 hours to finish, but baby, I'm done. I came home and slept for 5 hours, and after I'm done posting this, I'll sleep some more! After that, well, I'll sleep some more.
Results are posted here.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Vacation Tris: Pictures & Results
Some pictures from the Deschutes Dash are here (bottom left three pictures), here, and here. The results are here (pdf file!). The pictures for the Deschutes are kind of aggravating, because they don't list them by bib number. You get to search through page after page to find yours.
These two triathlons didn't have Athena or Clydesdales divisions, so I had to race in the 40-44 females group. But, I wasn't last...by golly...I wasn't last. And, I had a blast in each of them.
Next year's goal: Become a "middle-of-the-packer".
Girly pink energy drink.
So, I saw this energy drink--It's called, "GoGirl"-- sitting on a shelf at the grocery at Lake Tahoe, and I had to pick it up because I pictured some happy person snapping his or her fingers and yelling, "You go, Girl!" at me. Plus, I'm into girly stuff these days. Also, I can't always get a mocha latte in the tiny towns we travel through, and I don't like regular coffee. Call me a yuppie and send me to hell, just don't ask me to start out my day without a "110-degree medium coconut soy mocha, no whip, please."
What excited me about "GoGirl" is that not only is it very girly and pink, it's sugar free, so while I wouldn't drink it before a race, I would buy a case and keep it at work. My dentist was ready to spank me at my last cleaning when I finally admitted I'd been sipping lots of Gatorade and energy drinks. (I have weak teeth)
"GoGirl", which was originally marketed in Japan, tastes like strawberries, which I like. I don't like sodas in general and hate, hate, hate diet sodas, but what I like best about it is that is has 150 mg of caffeine, along with vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, and ingredients that are supposed to inhibit fat production, and Taurine. I finally had to look that up, and still don't understand why it's in energy drinks. Taurine is listed as, "an essential nutritional substance for cats which can help prevent blindness and certain types of heart disease," and, "a chemical present in bile," and, "a sulfur amino acid essential to the proper functioning of the heart and the eyes, also an antioxidant"
If you haven't tried it, give it a shot. Meanwhile, I'll sit on my hands and wait for them to start selling it here. Or order a case online.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
It's been one of those days.
Time left until I become an "empty nester":
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
We're sorry, but we're not.
On the one hand, Debbie "sincerely apologized" for my unpleasant experience, and said that next year, they're going to put orange cones at critical turn areas. She also mentioned that next year they'll make sure the EMT tent is marked, and she refunded my entry fee.
One the other hand, her letter appears to be part of a "cover my ass" affair, copying several other people, as I had in my original letter of complaint. Her letter includes such phrases as, "two telephone calls I received were from athletes that saw your interaction and were apologizing for you by name" and reminding me that "USAT Rules state that the responsibility of knowing and following the prescribed course rests with each participant." She also mentioned that "only a very small number of triathletes were lost" and that Keith Peterson has been marking these courses for 13 years. She also claimed in another communication that she was unable to find me to talk to me at the transition area, and that they had LOTS of fruit and water, why, they had thrown some out after everyone left!
I've debated whether or not to turn this into a pissing contest by responding to her, and have decided that I won't. I'll just vent. Here. Lucky you.
First of all, Debbie, how many triathletes have to be lost before it becomes a problem? 5? 10? Give me a number so that we won't bore you with any complaints until that number has been reached.
Second, Clay, another triathlete, read my race report and told me that the race has gotten worse over the years. He's done it twice before. he was one of the ones that was lost.
Third, Debbie, I'm going to call you a liar, 100%. Nobody would call to apologize for me "by name" because few people know me outside the Outlaws triathlon team and second, there was nothing to apologize for. Keith Peterson berated me and another triathlete for being lost, and we defended ourselves, and beyond that, I was too tired to talk much to anyone.
Fourth, there was no food, I repeat, no food and only warm water when I was in the transition area, except for the single power bar floating in a box of ice. It had all been eaten. If there was fruit, I'd have been all over it like white on rice, because I always eat fruit after I run.
Lastly, I was available to talk to, and easy to find, because MY HUSBAND, WHO HAS THE SAME LAST NAME, WAS ANNOUNCED, STEPPED UP, AND CLAIMED HIS AWARD, and I was standing right next to him.
I stand by my original report. I can bring my own water and food, but I would not recommend this race to anyone I cared about, and maybe not any of my enemies, unless they correct serious and dangerous problems with marking the course.
Deer, cars, and now...bears?
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
It was the best of times...
By the numbers:
Miles driven: about 4300
States visited: 6
Magnets collected: 7
Triathlons raced: 2
National Parks Visited: 7
Highest altitude reached: 8000
Most hours driven in a day: 15
Highest temperature reached: 110 F
Mileage on the Honda FIT: about 38 mpg
Number of new "Roadside Geology" books purchased: 3 (Utah, Oregon, Central/Northern Calif)
Best and worst:
Best place to hear trains: Flagstaff, AZ
Best place to do a training run: Forest Park, in Portland
Best East Indian food I've ever had, in my life: Carson City, Nevada. We were the only people in there, and it was in an old Bananza steakhouse building, and it was to die for.
Worst place to be a certain species of chub: Bend, Oregon. They are getting ready to net over 100,000 of these fish, kill them, and then poison the entire lake in order to eradicate them, mainly because they are "invasive" and make the fishermen unhappy.
Worst place to do a training run: Needles, California
Worst place to buy gas: Needles, California
Best place to buy gas: Oregon. By law, you must allow the attendant to pump your gas. Creates jobs and contributes to the local economy.
Best place to throw a snowball in July: Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Best place to visit an old ghost town: Bodie, California
Best place to see the "other" great salt lake: Mona Basic, California
Clearest, prettiest water: Crater Lake, OR
Best place to fake a moon landing: Four Corners, Utah
Best place to be a cycling activist: Portland, Oregon
Least drinkable water water: Mono Lake, Ca. (3x salinity of sea water)
Best place to splat onto a windshield: Oregon
Worst place to be a plant: central-eastern Utah (things that occur naturally here include uranium, selenium, hot geysers, clays that severely expand and contract, and asphalt--did you know asphalt occured naturally in the earth? neither did I--and it gets 5 inches of precipitation annually)
Best place to see "Othello" or any other Shakespeare play: shores of Lake Tahoe, at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare festival.
Best energy drink I can't find at home: "Go, girl!" Sugar free, with 150 mg of caffein. They don't sell it here. Yet.
Most breathtaking scenery: (Tie) Western oregon, North and South eastern Utah
Best Geological Features: another tie, either incredibly volcanic Oregon or Utah, which likes to label strata with the epoch, era, and name of the formations.
Worst place to find a bookstore: Pocatello, Idaho
Best place to have the locals stare at you, intently, for no reason: Pocatello, Idaho
Best place to do an open water swim: Bend, Oregon
Worst place to live if you're a Vegan: Green River, Wyoming
Best place to be a Vegan: Portland, Oregon
Best place to live if you sell gas for a living: Green River, Wyoming. We saw customer after customer put nearly $200 in gas in their boats. In their boats. That doesn't count what went in their giant 6-wheeled pickups and Winebagos.
Worst place to be the head on any trophy animal: Green River, Wyoming.
Worst place to try to get a decent espresso: Blanding, Utah
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Deschutes Dash Sprint Triathlon Race Report
First, the best. When I got to the transition area, which was neatly arranged on soft, thick grass I was stunned to see them. There they were all around me, in such numbers as I had ever seen before.
Remember that scene in Jurassic Park I where they look out over the rise and see all the Brontosauri? Majestic music swells, and you see them, gentle, beautiful giants, lumbering gracefully, and that is the picture I'm trying to put in front of you at this moment when I saw what was in the transition area.
Clearly, Bend, Oregon is where My People are. My peeps walked around on solid legs, their bad selves wearing their size L and XL Sugio, Speedo, and Tyr suits with pride. They were tall with hips, thighs and calves that said, "I mean business!" Oh, sure - there were some little petite bird-like people scurrying underfoot with worried, tense expressions, chattering about the cold water. We paid them no mind, and shared tips about body glide and sweat. We had other worries than cold water, which are the subject of my only real complaint of this triathlon. There were far more Athenas than Clydesdales, in my opinion, and it was ironic that there was no Athena or Clydesdale division.
Other than that, the race was very well organized, with one glaring problem: The first wave took off at 9:00. I was in the 9th wave, so I took off at 9:45. That's right. 9:45 in the morning, after the temperature was already into the 80's. The waves were arranged in ascending age order and gender, which meant the oldest would be on the run around noon, when the temperature was expected to be in th upper 90's. This is the latest triathlon I've ever done, and as it happens, my only real complaint. I asked the race director about that later, and she said that from now on, they're going to start it an hour earlier, with fewer waves. yay! Other than starting so late, the race was awesome.
I walked into the water to prepare for my wave, and that's when I understood it, the chattering about the water. The water as COLD. Not that I was surprised or angry that a mountain stream was cold - but it was startling none the less. It was so cold my feet ached. Take your breath away cold. Hella cold. Damn cold. Mama can your boys still have babies cold. When I started the swim, my face hurt with how cold it was.
Did I mention it was cold?
Siren would have HATED this swim, because the closed-eye trick wouldn't have worked; occasionally water weeds would be floating on the surface, and when you reached to make a stroke, your fingers would become entangled in some. Other than that, though, the water was clear, clean, and did I mention, cold?
The best part of the swim was that it was down-river. The current was strong enough to get you a serious PR on your swim, and I got mine: about 20 minutes for 1300 yards. My T1 time was better; I think I'm getting pretty efficient at getting the wetsuit off. I no longer even attempt to dry my feet; I just brush off whatever debris has collected and shove socks and shoes on them. I figure it's just a sprint, so I don't worry about any residual dampness.
The bike was through new neighborhood and then out along a mountain road, pleasantly uphill but downwind on the way out, a little more downgrade but into the wind on the way back. It was 14 miles, and I did it in about 57 minutes. Not my best time, but I'm working on not blowing out my legs so that I can have a good run.
The run was flat, a double loop. It was nearing noon as I was finishing, and I was started to feel pretty hot and a little shaky toward the end. I had a decent time, (for me) with about a 11:30 minute mile. Then I headed across the finish line, where a volunteer handed me a "finisher's medal": a cowbell with the race logo painted on it Neat! I always wanted one of these to have at races to wave noisily at my friends.
I hung out in the medicial tent for no real reason other than I was damned hot and I desperately needed shade, NOW. I sat on a cot and drank ice cold water while they gave me a bag of ice to apply to myself. I shoved it into my skinsuit and it was awesome. The EMT's could not for the life of them figure out why "race directors in Oregon seem to like to start races late, when it's hot". Me neither. next time, I'll bring more water. Otherwise, the race was fun, and I had a great time. I love my cow bell. I think I was in the last half of my age group, but I wasn't last.
Now I'm off to Pocatello, ID. See you soon!
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Portland, to Bend
We sat down at Three Degrees restaurant and had hummus, fried potatoes, and "Monty Margaritas". Well, actually I was the only one having the MM's, as Husband is the DD. I do love my Margaritas. I recently listed it as my favorite t3 drink. If only race directors knew. Brave Athena and I chatted about various subjects regarding Portland, as I'm intensely interested in how probably it would be to live there. I'm very attracted to the progressiveness and mild climate. I'm interested in the state of mental health care, since that is where I hope to be after leaving the teaching profession, some day.
The river was really pretty as it got dark, with the city lights on it, but then as cities do in July, Portland began radiating the heat it had collected all day long, and it wa time to call it a night.
One thing I really like is how slow drivers are in Portland. They don't endeavor to cut your off or prevent you from getting where you want to be, as they do in other places. Albuquerque, for instance, is a sea of people who want to get there first, and they will, even if they have to cut you off in the meantime. But I digress.
It's funny how apologetic people are about their cities. Gosh, I'm sorry it's so hot...so rainy...so dry...so cold...throughout our stay in Portland many, many people have apologized for it being so hot. I expect it, first of all, to be perfectly miserable just about everywhere in the US in July, heatwaves be damned, and folks, you don't need to apologize to me! It's a nice gesture, but I think that a lot of people, women especially, apologize too much.
My belief is that if you are apologizing for something, then do something about it. If you can't, then you shouldn't be apologizing.
I've had a good time with the inlaws, and we've spent most of today explaining the mechanics of triathlon so that they can watch us with an educated eye tomorrow, but I know from experience that it will be 400 some-odd people running around, zipping off on bikes, stripping off wetsuits, changing shoes, whatever. It will be the first time we've had family observe us for a triathlon. Packet pickup was today at the REI in bend, and the triathlon starts at a mind-numbing 9 am. Boy, it's gonna be hot for us back-of-the-packers.
More tomorrow, and a race report.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Dateline, Portland OR
On the way out, we stopped at Lassen Volcanic National Park, which had tons of snow still in it, and then Crater Lake national park and bought a copy of "Roadside Geology of Oregon" to replace the now unusable "Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California." that I had been reading as we wound through northern and central Cali. Serious nerdly delight! Crater lake was formed when an active Volcano blew itself out some time back.
Furthermore, did you know that several mountains in the cascades are currently active and due for a major blowout in manner of St. Helens? Nothing helps generalized anxiety disorder quite like a love of Geology.
I know for sure exactly where I'm going to live when I die, provided I've been a good Vegan...Portland, Oregon. I love it here. The people are friendly and laid back, and very progressive. My inlaws were talking about how hot it was this week, insanely hot, dangerously hot, very, very unpleasantly hot...but for the most part, I've found it pretty bearable, just your average hot July weather. For some reason, I had remembered it being dirty and full of scruffy people who didn't know how to use an iron, but that hasn't been the case; I must have been in a bad mood the day that this memory was encoded.
Yesterday we headed out to see "An inconvenient truth". Go see it. All I can say is, if Gore had shown this much hustspa (spelling?) and charisma when running for Prez, maybe so many children wouldn't be left behind. Spare me your comments if you're a huge Bush supporter. I'm not interested, I won't respond, and I'll ignore you.
My blog, my prerogative.
This morning, we went down to Forest Park for a run along the trails. It was fabulous, about ten degrees colder than the surrounding area and completely shaded by a variety of types of trees. I had a good 4 or so mile run. Then we went out to eat lunch at the Vegetarian House, where I ate Chinese food until I hurt. The only mildly annoying experience in the whole was my step-neice, who is one of those toddlers who has perfected the Extremely High-pitched Scream. It nearly shorted out my hearing aid. Mommy saved the day, however - by feeding her whenever she screamed.
"Thanks, Mom. Now I know exACTLY how loud to scream!"
It's been intensely great here, spending time with my inlaws, heading out to starbucks in the mornings, and as I mentioned, the park where we ran was fanTASTic. I could definitely live here. I've "slept in" each morning until 6:30 am or so.
Tomorrow, we head out for Bend and the Deutches Dash, and our inlaws get to view their very first triathlon.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Bitchy Tahoe post
In any case I now feel qualified to tell you where I think the rudist, most discourteous people in the US are.
Hey, you think I like making this pronouncement? I want to like them. I really do. And, I will be the first to suggest that it's not necessarily Californians, but people I've observed IN California, who may or may not be Californians, California license plates notwithstanding.
It's just that so far, the only ones I've met have been incredibly rude and/or completing lacking in observance of the rules. There was a woman who I've nick-named F.U. McPhereson. She was standing on a bike/run path with her dog, talking on her cell phone. Appeared middle-class, blond pony tail, dresssed in running clothes. He wasn't a mean, menacing dog, just your average sniffy golden lab. He was mosying around sniffing, and ambled onto the bike path, where, as I swerved around him, I hollared, "your dog needs to be on a leash" (which, I should mention, is the law here). I didn't cuss. I wasn't even angry. Her response? she shouted profanities at me - and one supposes, whomever she was talking to on her cell phone, to wit:
New Yorkers, contrary to popular opinion, aren't rude. They mind their own business, and they're in a hurry, but they aren't jerks about it. They're actually pretty friendly. People I've met in California, though, well, IT'S ALL ABOUT "ME" After a week or so of observing them, I've come up with the top ten things on your average person's mind while in California:
10) It's just a bike path. It's not like I have to stay on the right or anything.
9) Sure, I know he's only done action movies and weighlifting, but I think he'd make a good governor...
8) Why the &$%* is there so many compact car spaces? Screw it. I'm parking here anyway.
7) I don't care what the research says; I can talk on my--WOAH!!--cell phone and drive at the same time.
6) I don't care what the sign says. I'm not a slow moving vehicle. Those people behind me can just go around. On the right.
7) F&*$ you, man.
6) Hey, we can walk four across--there's room! People won't mind using the gutter.
5) What's that yellow line for?
4) My dog doesn't need a leash. S/he's special.
3) I don't care what the sign says; I'd rather drive on the left. I like this lane. People can pass me on the right.
2) Is this where I turn? Is it? No, it's not. No, wait, yes it is. or maybe not...turn signal? What's that?
1) I don't need no stinking bicycle helmet.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Tahoe post #1
They must have strict building covenances, because the businesses are prettier than I've seen elsewhere. Everything looks rustic and log cabin-ish. They're all built with logs, or cedar shakes, and rock, and I think they have strict signage ordinances. Once you cross into the California side of Lake Tahoe, you will see the prettiest McDonalds you've ever seen, but you won't know it until you're right on it. I also saw the prettiest KFC I've ever seen.
It smells really good here, too. I think it's the pines, but the air is sweet with a piney floral kind of smell. mmmmm.
This is not a time trial bike sort of place, but I hope to go out on a run tomorrow: I think the running would be superb. If you want to ride, I'd recommend road bikes with sturdy frames if you're going to stay in town, and side air bags if you leave it. Remember: biking is what I tolerate between running and swimming, so I'm fussy and picky and not all that comfortable on my bike. Husband is nimble and can do track stands and turn on a dime. Not me.
We got up this morning, and as Husband often likes to do, we lay around in bed chatting until he leaped up, starting pulling a shirt over his head and said, "Ready to go yet?"
He's not a jerk about it or anything. He's genuinely baffled, as I think many men are, as to why it takes me so long to get dressed, make breakfast, and put on sunscreen.
We started out on a 55 mile bike trip, but once we were about 10 miles into it, we started climbing, climbing, climbing onto some steep mountain roads with no shoulders or guardrails, just the ending of the pavement and a straight drop down the side of the mountain . I was tired, and my thighs were burning and shaking after some of that climbing, and there was more to come, so we had to turn back. Sorry, Myles. Our trip was only about 26 miles. It's supposed to be one of the best bike rides, but I think it's only for the very fit, of which I apparently am not. Husband cruised along, sipped from his air bottle, while I huffed and puffed up one mountain grade, gripping my handlebars like they'd save my life. Which they might well have; I figured if I fell off the side of the mountain the bike might catch in the branches of some tree and break my fall.
I'm hoping for a long swim today in that nice cold water. That's it for now! Misty out.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Top 5 things I love about my husband
1) He's extremely dependable. I had former gentleman friend tell me that I was Chaos. It fits well with extremely dependable. I know that if I forget my razor, which I will, I will know exactly where to find his. Which I will.
2) He plans our excusions with air-tight efficiency, right down to the last detail, but yet is flexible enough to enjoy himself when the unexpected happens, which it will, because he married Chaos. This causes me a great sense of satisfaction. I always feel safe because, as I mentioned, everything is well thought out in advance. We will always have enough gas. We will always be comfortable. This may be part of who he is, or it may be a result of six years on the Corps. And he doesn't mind if I use his razor.
3) He has a great sense of humor, and he's awfully cute. Let's face it: it's nice to have a partner whose easy on the eyes, right? I loved the way he looked when we first met, when we both had the Freshman 15 (pounds), sophomore 15, and grad school 20, all at once...but now that he's been running and biking--wow. Just---wow.
4) He walks a very fine line between being frugal and efficient, and having fun. I never don't have fun when I'm with him. Right now we're on this trip with several new toys that we're enjoying, but he doesn't go an blow our savings on something whimsical, either. He indulges my fetish for magnets from every truckstop in nearly every city and state without complaining.
5) He remembers stuff I tell him, particularly stuff that makes me happy. That's a tough job because, as previously mentioned, I am Chaos. I'm libel to mention just anything off the top of my head that strikes my fancy, and then immediately forget it. He will catalog it, however, someone back in his bread there is a folder that's called "Wife's random utterings of things she likes and things that make her happy" That folder gets rifled through from time to time when he's making plans and a gift-givin occasion comes up.
Now you know. We had a wedding anniversary lately, and I thought it needed to be said.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Greetings from Lee Vining, CA!
1) I've finally determined the last place on earth that I want to live: Needles, California. All the expense of living in california without any of the benefits, AND it was over 100 degrees. Door handles had towels taped over them to protect customers from burning themselves. On the DOOR HANDLEs. and the windows of our car in the part of the world were HOT TO THE TOUCH. On the INSIDE.
1.5) They are extremely UNwaterwise. I saw sprinklers going off at 2 pm when it was over 100 degrees out, and LAWNS. In the MOHAVE DESERT.
2) They like to shutdown one lane of main arteries (I40) for no apparent reason. Here we were, crawling along in the middle of the Mohave Desert, at 10 mph. there will be signs that say, "damaged bridge ahead," and one surmises that one might plunge headlong into some rushing water. In the desert. I never saw a damanged bridge, by the way.
3) California drivers drive slowly on the right, and pass on the left. Or not. Depends on their mood. They pointedly ignore signs telling slow-moving vehicles to move to the right. Also, Califonia drivers driving 30 foot long windegegos do not consider themselves trucks, even though they suck gas and cruise around 40 mph on the highway.
4) I saw Lone Pine, CA, through which the Badwater Ultra Marathon goes on its way from Death Valley to the top of Mt. Whitney. Holy cow. These people run from 70 feet below sea level, at over 100 degrees, 135 miles to 12,000 above sea level, at freezing temps.
5) They really, really, really want you to know how to get to death valley from nearly every part of California. There are signs at most intersections telling pointing towards it and telling you hw far it is. I've decided that this is a clever way to keep too many people from moving in. Reroute them to Death Valley.
6) If you're going to drive through the Mohave desert, get your windows tinted.
7) As soon as you cross into California, two things happen. First, the cost of gas immediately jumps by a dollar per gallon, and armed people stop your car and ask if you have any produce or live plants. You can't bring either into California. They don't check for drugs or ask if you've been drinking, just fruit and plants.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Hello from Flagstaff!
The mountainman triathlon took off on time this morning, and it was a BLAST. I was in the 2nd wave of the sprint: 700 meter swim, 20K bike, 5 k run. I think I did alright. i didn't have a podium finish, and I'll find out my placings on Wednesday. Husband got 1st in his age group. I'll let you read his report.
Top 5 things I learned about the Mountain Man Triathlon:
1) Unless you're from 7000 feet above sea level, you'll be sucking some serious wind. I'm from 5000 feet above sea level, and was short of breath most of the way through. It was like going back in time 6 months. Be aware of this, so you don't feel bad about yourself. You'll feel it first in the swim, and then again on the bike. The first thing I noticed on the run was my back started aching. I think it was because of all the rapid breathing I was doing.
2) Socks or cheapie sandals to walk the quarter mile across gravel to the swim start. That way, you won't be trying to shove your bruised and sore feet into shoes later on.
3) The transition area of LONG. I mean LOONNGGG.
4) There's lots of newbies and casual triathletes in this, so even if you're a back of the pack-er, you'll have lots of people behind you. Chances are you won't be dead last.
5) My ankle ROAD ID did a marvelous job of doubling as a timing chip holder. Get one.
6) Be on the lookout for the triathlete characters, as usual. One of the people doing the 70.3 had a full tray of Krispy Kreme Donuts bungied to the back of their tri bike. Now, I spent some time mulling over he purpose of this juxtoposition of values - tribike - Krispy Kreme - tribike - Krispy Kreme - I thought my brain was going to explode until I finally got it. I saw one laying on the bike course. What if his/her plan is to toss them onto the road way, distracting and slowing down the other drivers?
Friday, July 14, 2006
Just because schools out doesn't mean I can't learn something new.
Did you know that if you boil water in an enameled pot on an electric stove, and then start surfing the Internet and forget so that the pot boils dry, that the pot can melt and become part of the burner?
Neither did I.
Today my S stands for simple-minded.
Dawn of the Childless Vacation
Mini-me is headed out for camp for a week, then staying with friends. Here's our itinerary:
- Day 1/2: Flagstaff, AZ for the Mountain Man Sprint triathlon.
- Day 3-4: We hit Lee Vining, CA and Lake Tahoe. Maybe a long swim in Lake T?
- Day 5-7: Portland, OR to visit relatives, and check out their legendary commuter cycling trails.
- Day 8/9: Bend, OR for the Deutches Dash Sprint Triathlon.
- Day 10/11: Pocatello ID, then home.
My daughter called me yesterday. She seemed hurt and bewildered that I was THAT excited about not having any kids along on vacation.
"Dearie, let me explain something to you. Imagine that you have a great life. In this life you have a job, and some money left over to play with. In this life you have a roommate, whom you
"Now, imagine that your roommate is unemployed. You pay for everything. In return, she steals your stuff, throws up on your furniture, floods the bathroom, eats all your favorite food without asking, ruins the carpeting with nail polish, and lies about you to her teachers for sympathy. Do you have that in your head? Can you picture that sweetie? That's parenthood."
"I SAID I GET IT, MOM!!"
Not that I hate kids. Far from it. I've chosen to spent my life teaching, counseling, coaching, and what have you - I consider it a calling. However, I became a mother at 19. I've never, in my adult life, had my own space that wasn't constantly being invaded.
My home should be a sanctuary, so that after being told directly or indirectly by the eighth-graders I teach that I'm an idiot all day, the theory is that I would come home, relax, and gear up for another day.
Except...well, I get it coming and going. I have one 15-year-old left at home, 15-year-old Mini-me, who hates it when I call him that, (so I do it as often as possible, because it's all I've got). Mini-me is actually a pretty good kid, but developmentally, he's a teenager, so he's required to reject all our dearest held values and beliefs while he forms his own, and act in an irrational and irascible fashion. In our family, our dearest held values are education and sound mental health. In school, he endeavors to overcome the stigma of being "the teacher's kid" by making my collegues' lives hell, and I get phone calls about it while I'm teaching, including the once-yearly, "Mom, I overslept. I'm still at home and I missed the bus. What should I do?" (Answer: pretend it's a 5K and start running, triathlon boy.)
Did I mention this vacation would have NO children??
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Girly triathlon stuff
I've become obsessed with girly triathlon things lately. I want to wear pretty strappy things, like the tiny girls wear. (I usually refer to the tiny people as "bird people" because they seem to have hollow bones and fly along like they're winged.) Anyway, I'd like to think that maybe some day I could wear a strappy little crop top. Forget rankings and placings; my goal for the 2007 season is to appropriately wear something strappy and tiny. (Unfortunately, I have to earn that by more miles on the run, because little strappy things do not contain Athenas in an efficient fashion.) Notice that I said, appropriately. As I've told my teenager daughter, just because you can get it on doesn't mean it fits.
I keep looking at the different kinds of athletic bottoms with attached skirts. I just love the idea of these things! not just because they're girly, but because I think they'd do an efficient job of hiding, in the words of David Letterman, "pasty white thighs". Lots of companies make them, but just for inspiration I like to look at Skirtsports, Inc. I want to get one like this one for Duathlons, and this one for running events, and this one for Tri's, if they start making it in black. I got one last year for cycling, which I wear in spin class, but I'm planning to get Black ones to match the Outlaws uniform. I've been putting it off because I figure I can get 20 soy mocha lattes for what one of these things cost, but the pull is just to great.
After all, in the greater scheme of things, covered in sweat, chain grease, and road grime, I just enjoy being a girl.
Ever since I started hearing the stories about accidents and seeing pictures of dented cycling helmets, I'd been thinking about getting one of these.
I chose the ankle style instead of the wrist because I guessed (and was correct) in noting from the pictures that it might also hold a timing chip.
The metal plate has six lines in which information can be etched, and the white band on the velcro is reflective. They come in red, blue, and black, and you can also get them in wrist bands, "dog tags," and a little pocket that fits on your shoe.
I feel safer already!
Monday, July 10, 2006
What do vegan triathletes eat, any way?
The mission: bring food so we 1) don't get caught in a town where the height of cuisine is Denny's (Cheese: It's the new salt!) 2) don't spend our retirement eating, 3) can prepare it with a hot pot and an electric skillet, 4) have plenty to eat because we're doing two triathlons in this trip (more on this later) and finally, 5) still have room in the Honda FIT for our bikes, clothes, and tri-gear.
-->Contrary to popular belief, it's not about salads with us. Myles doesn't particularly like them, and most restaurants ruin any chance for them to be healthy by using iceberg lettuce (pretty nutritionally deficit) and/or adding ham, eggs, fatty dressings, cheese, fried chicken...
We've done a lot of wilderness backpacking, so I like to think of living out of hotel rooms and our car as a type of luxury camping. When you look at it that way, it's pretty awesome to have running water, electricity, beds, ice, walls, a/c...but even cooler, because there will be no kids along. Did I mention we're doing this ALONE??
So, how do Vegans pack light and cheap for a trip?
1. TVP. This gets reconstituted with boiling water, and takes the place of ground beef in a variety of settings. Each 2 ounce serving has 160 calories, 30 grams of soy protein, 18 grams of carbohydrate 12 grams of fiber, 20 mg iron, and less than 1 gram of fat. With this, we can make spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, tacos, and add it to the chili.
2. instant and canned foods. Instant chili, instant mashed potatoes, instant brown rice, instant spicy lentils, instant refried beans, generic crystal light drink, canned veg-all mixed vegetables, canned low-sugar fruit, boxed vanilla soy milk. Bring a can opener and a hot pot.
3. think, "base of the food pyramid" Sandwiches, burritos and entrees using whole what rolls, breads, and buns, taco shells, whole wheat tortillas, whole grain cereals, brown rice, sliced italian bread, pasta, and oatmeal give us our "food pyramid" base, provide lots of complex carbs, and fill us up.
4: Seitan. We eat a lot of this. It's got similar properties to the TVP, except it's made with wheat, and takes the place of larger pieces of meat in fajitas, stir fry, and even sliced for sandwiches. I'm going to make a mess of this stuff, brown it up and season it and bag it for various meals. It keeps well in a cooler (one of the benefits of not eating meat is that you don't have to worry about it going bad). Meat eaters even like this stuff.
5. Avoid too much junk. No fried foods. Baked Lays, granola bars, and generic wheat crackers for snacks.
Today I'll be making a whole mess of seitan, as well as de-boxing and bagging other things.
5 days until vacation starts. Woo-hoo!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Hold onto your pants! part 2 (race report)
This sprint, almost a mini-sprint, really, was held at Bottomless Lakes State Park. The main lake where they hold the swim is pretty saline, but cold and calm. I was standing at the shore in my wetsuit, talking to Karen (my other Athena nemesis/friend) about how I always get so breathless in the water. But you know what? That didn't happen this time. Cool! I took off in the 2nd wave (women and older men) and it was just stroke, stroke, stroke. I was "gliding", doing this thing where you stop as your hand approaches the water for 1 second, and then catch and pull. I felt like I was flying, as it were, through the water. It was 400 meters, and out and back swim, (I think the swim was a bit longer than that and several athletes agreed with me) I exited the lake between two orange buoys, and a guy was standing by with a hose as I ran into transition to hose off my feet. Off with the wetsuit (I'm getting more efficient at it these days) and then on with the bike gear. I skipped trying to dry off my feet - never seems to work anyway - and forced on my socks and and shoes and grabbed my gear and headed out on the bike.
Swim split: 10 minutes
The road was rougher than I thought it would be, so I didn't get down in the aero bars much. About a quarter mile out you climb up about a grade 6 or 7 hill, and then it's rolling for most of the rest of the 14K (8.4 miles). At one point, I actually passed Karen, who I never pass, and she says that woke her up! She then passed me and there was no catching her after that.
Average bike speed: about 16.8 mph
On the 4K run, I was starting to get pretty hot, so I dumped water from the two aid stations on my head and sipped on my bottle of HEED. I tried my "1 minute sprints", and although my time was only slightly decreased (by about 30 seconds or so per mile) I felt better than I can recall, and I can tell I'm getting faster. I never did catch up to Karen or the other Athena, who I didn't recognize, but came in as the third athena.
Average run time, about 12 minutes per mile.
Results: 3rd overall Athena
I'll post a picture of Husband's plaque soon. It's cool; it says, "Hold Onto Your Pants!" 2006 Bottomless Triathlon. They have to mail us ours, they accidentally had "MALE ATHENA" etched into and have to get them redone.
I highly recommend this fun, fast, triathlon just outside of Roswell, New Mexico.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Hold onto your pants!
I know what you're thinking, but there's no way conservative New Mexico would EVER go for that.
This sprint is held at the Bottomless Lakes. It's a short, short sprint I'll be doing tomorrow morning: 400m, 14K, 4K. It's just the sort of thing I need to feel better after the Grady Williams Death by Sand Triathlon last weekend. Most of all, I'm excited because I want the T-shirt (HOLD ONTO YOUR PANTS! etc) and maybe somehardware, but also because this race is very special, as it is the race I viewed last year in which I said, "okay. I'm definitely going to try this triathlon thing". So, it has a special >sniff< meaning in my heart.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Jane's Freedom Run (report)
I loved watching the itty bitty kids do the 400 meter event: parents trotted next to their kids, encouraging them, and the determination of a 3 year as he kicks it and head for the finish line is a joy to see. I enjoyed cheering on Mini-me as he did the 3K. He had asked independently if he could do that race, and I nearly fell over with excitement signing him up, because it was his idea, instead of mine.
Local runs feel so casual; you put on shoes, you show up. No transition area, no worrying about flats. You show up, you run or walk. Whatever. They don't care. I love it. It was a friendly, happy, festive, well-organized race. Just what I needed!
I did the 8K, and so did Myles, who was hurting - he just came off being on the injured list for about a month for a hip stress fracture and he's got a cold. I think he was a little discouraged, but it's all good - I think he'll bounce back quickly.
One thing I love about runs is that you can wear headphones. So why did I forget my headphones today? I don't know. Because I forgot them, however, I was able to try something new that I would have never tried if I'd had them on. Here's what I did: On my run splits, I'd been slipping in 1 minute walk breaks, but once I start walking, it is really hard to run again. The first mile of the 4.97 mi/8K, I ran my usual slow pace, and started setting my timer to go off for the 1 minute walks.
Then it came to me: "what if I tried 1 minute pickups instead?" I alternated running slowly (recovery) for one minute, with running as fast as I could manage for a whole minute, which wasn't as fast as one might imagine, but it was faster than my usual running pace and sent my heartrate up into the lower end of zone 4. I did this the rest of the race, and here's how it worked out:
- Mile1: 13 minutes (slow pace, mostly uphill)
- Miles 2 and 3: about 11 minutes each (flat, and then turning downhill)
- Last 1.97 miles: about 11:30 each half, mostly flat with a small uphill area
I had a blast. Know what I mean? Plus, after DNF-ing at the Grady Williams Death by Sand Adventure race, I fell like I finished something this week.
So glad I did this run. Right now, the way I'm feeling, my "S" is for Sassy.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Grady Williams reflections, post-hissy fit.
No, you don't need to clean your glasses. I actually wrote that.
Next year. Grady Williams.
There's something about the predisposition of multi-sport athletes to punishment, mainly self-inflected. We're a stubborn lot, aren't we? I in particular, pride myself on my stubborness in terms of always finishing what I started. I'm not a quitter; it's so, so, embarassing. As evidenced by my race results, no matter how slow, tired, or hot I am, it's hard to discourage me. You will keep that finish line up. You will continue to follow me in that slow-moving vehicle. You will keep the clock running. Sonner or later, I'll be there even if I'm walking, or crawling.
So now, with grim determination, I've decided that I don't want to do this, I must do this next year. I will do it and finish it, because I can't stand having that DNF on my record, and because, until I was resigned to being hopelessly lost, I was enjoying myself. I enjoyed the swim, the scenery was nice, the weather was good, I was running in a soaking wet skin suit, which felt AWESOME, and I think I was doing pretty well.
GAWD, I'm so pathetic. It's like I'm a battered wife. "It's a really nice course, when it's not trying to kill me...you just have to understand it...it doesn't mean to be difficult..."
There are lessons to be learned from every bad experience, and these are mine:
Lesson 1: I need a lot of money or I need to become a faster runner. A lot of money would be to get a GPS setup so that I can find my way through the desert if they have the same man mark the course. Faster would be so I can latch onto one of the other runners who can find their way through, and follow them.
Lesson2: Er, come to think of it, just because they're faster doesn't mean they know where they're going. I want to try to walk/jog at least part of the course the day before.
Lesson 3: I was right to bring a bottle full of HEED, sunblock, and drink lots of water before the race and at the first water stop, and I'll do it again.
I'll get a two-bottle "Ultimate Direction" hydration belt. When I got back to Albuquerque, after having drunk 3 bottles of various fluids and eaten a meal, I was still three pounds down. That's nearly a quart and a half of fluid. Lesson 4: I will ignore any and all rude and arrogant course markers who attempt to blame me for their lack of foresight and planning. Or spray them with mace.
363 days until the 2007 Grady Williams "Death by Sand" race. And counting.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
General tips and tricks for race directors (Race report).
Note: If you don't feel like reading all of this, skip to the recommendation (paragraph below, in bold). It's important.
So, you want to be a race director?
Well, lets say, hypothetically speaking, you want to direct a race in Farmington, New Mexico. You decide to call it the Grady Williams Memorial Olympic Distance Triathlon. Here's some tips and tricks to ensure the people might want to come back next year and nobody is seriously hurt.
1. When triathletes who have been lost in the desert for over two hours without water finally come in, a really, really good thing to say would be something like, "Are you okay? Do you need any water? We thought we marked that course and we're so sorry you had this experience!"
You would not want them to have the following experience:
Marker-boy: "How on earth did you get lost?Me: "That course was not clearly marked"
Marker-boy: "yes it was; I marked that course myself last night. I watched the chalk fall down myself."
Me: "I saw some chalk lines before I got to the first water station. After that, I never saw another chalk line, and I never saw another water station."
Marker-boy: "You're wrong. There's not a part of that course that isn't clearly and completely marked. I'll prove it. Come back to the course with me [7 miles back to the lake] and I'll show you.
Me: "I don't want to go back there. You know, I've done 14 of these this year. I'm not stupid."
Marker-boy: "Well, then you've done as many as I have".First of all, that last comment was completely unnecessary and unhelpful, and generally speaking, a triathlete who just spent over two hours lost in your F---ing desert doesn't want to go anwhere with you. She doesn't want anything but some concern and some water, so kiss my ass.
Oh, and the upside to the suggested response is this:
when it becomes clear that at least a dozen people lost their way on the run course, including many professional and seasoned triathletes, and at least one of whom has done the race before, you won't look like a complete asshole.
(The downside, of course, is that whomever did the markings won't get to puff up his chest and act like a self-important jerk. )
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
2. Be familiar with AT rules, especially if you insist that you're going by AT rules. For instance, you would register people as their age as of December 31st, not age on race day. For most this may not matter. For masters and non-masters clydesdales, it's going to matter a lot. The upside is that when a triathlete, hypothetically speaking, asks someone working in the race about following AT rules, they don't get a blank stare.
3. Have medical personnel at the transition area. For a race this long and challenging, you may need them. This is especially true if you ignore tip #4.
4. If you use chalk to mark your course, chalk lines should not be placed in the center of a path of loose dirt where people will run over them and obliterate them.
5. Have a pre-race meeting.
6. Putting, "The course will be clearly marked" on a race map is useless unless you say how it will be marked. Tape? Chalk? Flaming monkeys juggling batons? WHAT? And maps are useless unless they indicate that you will come to intersections. That way, when the path splits off into several different directions, you'll know where to go.
Recommendation: I would not recommend this race to my worst enemy unless they correct very serious and dangerous problems, or change the name to "Grady Williams GPS Adventure Race through the Desert" It was estimated that somewhere between ten and twenty triathletes, including profesionals, lead runners, seasoned multi-sport veterans and a blind triathlete and her guide lost their way on the run course. Nobody associated with the race apologized, they made excuses. Nobody looked for any of the lost triathletes, and when another triathlete's partners told race officials that his partner was an hour over due, he was brushed aside and ignored.
There are several other quality, well-run Olympic distance events to be enjoyed where they actually like athletes; they are not trying to kill them, such as the Buffman and Squeaky (Texas) or Las Vegas (New Mexico) triathlons.
What happened, Results: DNF. My first. I'm happy to have had a companion in this debacle but unhappy that it happened at all. In the over-two hours we spent running down several paths and dirt service roads, Helen and I saw ribbons tied to junipers, painted surveyor's stakes of various sorts, different colored flags and signs. We never saw the markings for the run course, because they were mainly rubbed out. We were the only Athenas, and had been following faster runners, who themselves had gotten off course, but when they rounded the bend in front of us - the paths and roads were all very winding - they vanished, and we were left running through the desert in July, without a clue as to where to go next. Although off course, they had turned off and eventually did manage to get to T2 on foot, but we continued down the wrong road, hoping to see them ahead.
After a while, it was clear that although we were not the last people out of the lake (the order of this triathlon with swim-run-bike, with two separate transition area locations) nobody had ever passed us, and so we attempted to find our way back to the lake. Three hours after the start, after swimming 1500 meters, then unable to to find the right 10K path through the desert to the next transition area (there were two) Helen and I decided to call it quits. Helen had no water, we had left the correct path and so had no access to any, and all I had was a small bottle of HEED on my race belt. It was getting dangerous. We flagged down a passing surveyor, who gave us a ride back to the lake, where all volunteers and T1 were already gone.
We found our back to my car parked up the hill and behind some trees, having left Helen's car at T2, and drove back to T2.
People that successfully completed the run told me that they worried as they ran along, hoping that the people in front of them knew where they were going, and wondering how anyone could find their way. Some were passed twice by lead runners.
ADDENDUM: I would like to add that when I arrived at T2, there was no way to replenish carbs or electrolytes. I was asked if I was "one of the missing triathletes," and I gave my race number. The volunteers then wondered away without asking if I was okay. There was one water dispenser sitting in the sun, dispensing warm water, and two ice chests. One was empty and dry. The other had a single power bar floating in icy water. Good thing I had some warm Gatorade in the car.
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