Monday, July 30, 2007

Deconstructing a Bike Profile

So this is mostly me thinking out loud.

In Part I of my attempt to psych myself up for IM Louisville I'm going to take a look at the bike course profile they have posted at their website.

As you can see, the profile is similar to others in intent: Scaring the hell out of each and every one of the participants. This is done quite handily by making the vertical axis to represent vertical feet, while the horizontal axis represent horizontal miles.

Now, 1 mile has 5280 feet in it. The net result is that you appear to be climbing vertical cliffs.

So in order to make the graph correct, you'd have to have the same amount of space for 1000 feet allotted both on the vertical and horizontal axis. Which would make the graph about 10 feet long (Note for the Engineers among you: I have not calculated the exact length of a correct graph, I am merely doing what we in the non-engineering world called, "Exageration" and "estimation." So just CALM. DOWN. )

It looks like the first 40 miles or so is a low-grade climb up out of the river valley, with a few rollers, and then it's about 50 miles of more-or-less flat rollers, and then about 20 miles of slow descent into the valley again. This will be nice because the last 20 miles will be time for my legs to do some loose spinning and get a bit of rest.

According to the website, the cutoff for the swim is 2:20, and for the bike cutoff is 8:10 after that (10:30 after the race starts). I'm pretty sure I can beat the cutoff time for the bike. As several have pointed out, I've been training about a mile above sea level, with hills. Ironman Louisville is nearly at sea level.

I'm can't run 26.2 miles even on fresh legs, so, I've been practicing walking faster. I did this by swinging my arms quickly, since the Jimmy has taught me that when you swing your arms faster your feet move faster. I can pull off a sub-15 minute pace walking while doing that. I also shortened my steps.

This week, the Jimmy has me doing a couple of "shorter" rides (45 miles or so) and another Cochiti swim. This weekend, I'm doing about a 20 mile ride followed by a 3 hour run, and then the next day Sunday, a 4-5 hours ride. At this point, I'm like, "Pffft. 4 or 5 hour ride? COOL!"

I guess the taper has started. Whew. Just in time; I go back to work on August 7th.

According to this web site and this one the average high in Kentucky at the end of August is 85°F and the average low is 67°F. This morning, at noon, there was fog. FOG = HUMIDITY.

I'll talk more about how I feel about this an another day.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

My first century, and I only cried a little.

Well, it wasn't pretty, but it's done.

You wouldn't, you couldn't, possibly believe, or comprehend, how much my ass hurts.

Today's ride was from north Albuquerque, heading northeast to San Felipe Pueblo, then back to Bernalillo, and then northwest to the tiny town of San Ysidro.

100.1 miles, my longest ride evar.

Today's epiphany: I've decided that Sweet Baboo is no longer "The Evil One Who Rides Much Faster And Makes Me Feel Bad Because He Is So Effortlessly Fast" ("Evil One," for short).

Instead, he is now Geek Girl's Support Crew.

And that's your reframing of the week.

Most interesting sighting: loose cows on the road, including what appeared to be a bull...and me in my bright red shorts. Yep, nothing like pedaling by a horned bull with a big, bright red ass.

Luckily, he seemed much more interested in chewing on grass.

After the ride, I went and did a 2000 meter swim with Pirate.

I sure as hell couldn't run. I tried to "jog" at the grocery store to get something I'd forgotten...but my legs refused to bend UP.

So instead, I kind of shuffle-skated. I'm looking forward to that...26.2 miles of shuffle-skating at Ironman Louisville.

It's gonna be great.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday long swim.

Across Cochiti lake and back with SW Tri Gal.

About 2.2 miles, in 1:33:02.

It's not great, but it'll beat the swim cutoff at IMKY.

My shoulders are aching.

But there's a pina colada in the mini-fridge with my name on it.

Tomorrow's workout: Run 15 miles, then drive 250 miles to pick up Mini-baboo at camp.

Sunday, I'm doing my first century ride with Sweet Baboo.


A 40-mile ride, in 6 hours and 20 easy steps.

1. Starting at 10 am, prepare yourself for a 50 mile ride: get your frozen water bottles, sunscreen, and fig newtons, and put them in the car.

2. Search for your favorite Terry cycling tank for about 45 minutes: in the hamper, laundry room, where you keep your swim stuff and where you keep your running stuff, under the bed, in the closest, finally finding it exactly where it was supposed to be in the first place, with your cycling stuff. Go figure.

3. Get your training wheels so that you can use them instead of your race wheels. of your training wheels is flat.

4. Utter your favorite curse words.

5. Since you don't feel all that confident fixing a flat right before a 50 miler, take it down to the bike shop and ask them to throw a new tube on there. You might even get a couple gels while you're there. don't have the checkbook.

6. Utter your favorite curse words.

7. Drive back home to get the checkbook. Which cannot be found. On the way out, notice grab your helmet.

8. Return to the bike shop and dig through your wallet to get a couple gels and pay for a new tube.

9. Drive self, gear and bike down to the little park by the bike path.

10. Put training wheels on bike, bottles in bottle cages, and spray self with sun screen.

11. Try to ignore the van full of men in orange jumpsuits that are lunching, staring at you. Put away the thoughts that there's nobody else but you around...just you, and a panel van full of men doing community service.

12. There! You're ready to go.'ve left your bike shoes at home.

13. Utter your favorite curse words.

14. Take the bottles back off your flatwing, take the front wheel back off the bike, and put everything back in the car and drive back home, leaning forward so as not to get the wet sunscreen all over the car seat.

15. Get bike shoes, and decide to go back to a different parking spot. One not so full of guys in orange jumpsuits.

16. Drive down to a different park by the bike path, and begin your ride at noon.

17. mile 30, you notice ugly black clouds have now taken over the sky. Call Pirate at work and ask her what the Doppler radar looks like.

18. Based on Pirate's recommendation, turn the bike around, spending the last 10 miles of the ride heading into a stiff wind and watching the "average" speed on your Garmin drop precipitously.

19. Utter your favorite curse words.

20. Go home and take a nap.

Now, wasn't that easy?


Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Distance Creep" and foolish optimism.

I wanted to say thanks for all the encouraging words I've gotten on my finishing worry freak-out. Krissy emailed me and helped me to put it in perspective. I mean, the best I can do is train, and then show up and do my best, right?

I was reading AndreaSue's blog yesterday about "distance creep". I have a 100 mile ride scheduled for this weekend. I figure "Distance Creep" is one of the benefits of training; you're less freaked out by the longer distances.

At work yesterday one of the other teachers told me that she actually walked her very first 5K this summer. I was thinking, that's so cute! but not in a nasty, condescending sort of way. I was thinking of my first 5K almost wistfully, the way you think things like, Man, if I could redo my senior year in high school I would SO blow them away with how much more I know now.

I was also thinking that it was interesting that she singled me out to tell me about this, since, I guess, most people would say, "OMG, three miles? WHY?"

In that vein, my training today will be a triathlon, out of order, with really long transition times. I have a 50 mile bikethat I was supposed to do two days ago. Then I'm going to hit the pool for 2000 meters. Then I'll eat, go over to the high school and get Mini-baboo registered for his Junior year.

Then in the hottest part of the day, per the Jimmy, I'm scheduled to do a 7 mile run, down on the bosque, where it's nice and humid. Yay. You know I loves me some heat. The feeling of the sweat rolling down parts of me - where can I get me some more of that? And the river flies biting my slow-moving ass? Mmmmmm.

And it occurs to me, the only part of this day that I'm worried about finishing is getting Mini-baboo registered for school. I mean, standing in line for 30 whole minutes. Ugh!

So I figure that at least part of all the training and the miles and the miles and the miles for the Ironman has to do with preparing me emotionally for the distance, so that I don't say, OMG 100 miles? and instead I say, 100 miles. Well, here we go. Where's those four water bottles I froze yesterday? Are my fig Newtons still in the drawer?

Yesterday I 'volunteered' for registration for the new school year, which starts August 9th. (Ack!) Right after I got there the secretary pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to "comp" my time. In other words, the two days I was going to take off to do "your iron race thing in Kentucky," would I like to come in and do registration and then get those days off instead of using up my two personal days?

Hell, yes I would! I was planning to do the 25-miler when Baboo and Bigun have their big show-down at the Tri-101 in the fall and was wondering how I was going to get that time off.

Lesson learned: go head and sign up for that race, even if you don't know how you're going to get there or get time off or pay for it or anything. Was this a lesson I needed to learn?
(Is this a new GeekGirl law, perhaps GeekGirl's Law of Foolish optimism?)

Anyway as much as I dread going to work today, it primes me for fall. Gets me into the right mood. This year I'll be a "floater" because we don't have enough classrooms. I won't have my own room; I'll share rooms with other teachers during their "off" period. I've done it before. It's no big deal. I'm also switching to teaching Algebra, something I did for about five years, by choice. It's actually easier than teaching science; there's fewer props involved.

On the downside, it means I won't get to decorate a room in Happy Bunny posters, something I've sorely been wanting to do. So, I'll have to put them on my teacher blog. Parents are always thrilled by stuff like that "Uh, Mrs. P? I was wondering if, you know, we could talk about some of the posters you have? They seem a little, uh, you know, not related to academics."

On the upside, administrators are extra grateful that you're willing to put up with it and they kind of afford you some latitude when you need a bit of time off. Or when you show up wearing a pair of crop pants, cycling sandals, and a race T-shirt instead of "professional dress".

It's disturbing how I'm beginning to manipulate my professional life to conform to triathlon.

Anyhoo, extra time off will be useful because I'm already thinking ahead to IMCDL next June. This means my longest and hardest workouts will occur while I'm still teaching, in May. I can't imagine fitting all these in while working and trying to wrap up a semester, when the kids are at their most hyper. Yikes! But, It'll work out. GeekGirl's law of foolish optimism says so.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random Thoughts and Worries

33 days left until Louisville. Thirty-three. Days. One month from now I will be in my hotel room in Louisville, while the voices in my head (not literal ones; I'm not psychotic) will be shouting at me about how slow I am, and how much I suck.)

Last week I rode my bike 180 miles. 180. Miles. It was supposed to be more. Pretty damned slowly, too. I'm never going to finish that stupid Ironman. Some guy is going to leap out in front of me, like they did to Krissy, and pull my chip.

I stopped answering the phone last week because the school where I work is calling all the teachers to volunteer to work registration this week. I have trouble saying no or lying without a lot of practice, so I avoided answering the phone during the day. Then the secretary called me last night at 8:00, and I answered the phone because I wasn't expecting it. Bastards. They are so not getting my cell phone number.

If I'm running and biking so much, and working so hard, why aren't my thighs all nice and smooth? There's no justice. And my butt. What's up with that?

I have to have, like, the weirdest tan ever.

Why does everyone keep sucking air in through their teeth when I say I'm going to do a swim in the Ohio River? Then they get that fake, forced cheerful look and say, "Oh, well, I'm sure it will be just fine."
The little beeper things I bought from Sharper Image so that I could find all my lost stuff were a waste of money. They don't go off when they should and they do go off at random times like 2 am, or when I'm standing in line somewhere, or driving in my car.

Mini-baboo has been gone for two weeks to camp. Other than worrying about him, it's been a nice break, the first one I've had since age 19, when I had my first child. I bought a box of cereal that I love while he was gone and didn't eat any of it for a day or so. It was all still there after two days. The whole box. Uneaten. The. Whole. Box.

I really like the accelerade stuff. I don't get stomach cramps when I drink a whole bunch of it before I run, like I do when I drink too much water or gatorade. That's important, because I will perseverate no end on things that are bothering me.

I am, like, addicted to this website, thanks to Pirate. If you've never visited this pace, you should, but I warn you: it's addictive. Here's an example of something from their site:
(I'm surprised that 'getting off heroin' wasn't, like, number 2. At least.)

Sometimes when I look at how sore Sweet Baboo is in after a hard workout I wonder if I should be working out harder. Then I look at how sore Sweet Baboo is and think, um, No. But then I worry about getting pulled from the course at IMKY. That will never happen to Sweet Baboo. It might happen to me.

After coming in nearly last at the Mountain Man, I've decided to reframe things. My goals from now on will be to finish triathlons. Reframing is when you take something that you think of as negative and look at it in a different way, rethinking or restating it so that it is positive. Some people call that "denial," Myself, I prefer to reframe "denial" as "positive reframing."

That place where I ordered the vegan running shirt is sending me a refund. Good thing, because I'm not really a vegan any more. I've started taking in whey protein and occasionally eating crepes. I think all I can really call myself any more is a "really strict vegetarian." Or as I'm sure some of my friends say, "Pain in the ass." That doesn't fit nicely on a T-shirt. But now I'm not really sure of my place in the whole food pyramid scheme of things.

Maybe I'm eating too much.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mountain Man Oly 07

I had a good time at the 23rd annual Mountain Man triathlon, a well-organized race in Flagstaff at Lake Mary. Now, my point in doing this was to have a good strong brick workout, the last heavy one I'll do before Ironman Louisville. I relaxed and had a good time on this race, and didn't push myself.
The folks that run this race are friendly and enthusiastic. It's a lot of fun and well-organized. I also like that it takes off early, so you're finished earlier.

None, really. Finish, and not be dead last, although I didn't really care about that. This wasn't even a C race. I was relaxed and had a good time.

This was by far the most apalling swim I've had. I was wearing a new long sleeve wet suit that i'm not used to yet, and I felt smothered. The water was decent, about 70 degrees.
If you do this race: do what I did. The rocks going down into the water are sharp. Wear your flip flops into the water and then when you get to the oogy lake bottom part take them off and toss them up on shore. Works. No wetsuit strippers here.

This is the second race where I tried it with no socks, and it was fine. In fact, my feet felt kinda breezy. Now, of course, I'll be putting my bike shoes out into the sun to destank.

On the Olympic, there's no aid station on the bike except for the one just as you leave transition. The thing about this race is, there's abundant supplies. Water, gatorade, etc., but you have to carry them with you. In face, your race packet even includes a couple energy bars, Gatorade endurance formula, e-caps, and a gel. You just have to make sure you get the supplies and carry them with you. Which I did. The bike is somewhat challenging, but the road is in good shape with a nice wide shoulder. No potties. I put two bottles onto my flatwing and took off.
I'll let the bike profile do the talking...

I did the 10K without socks, and it was fine except for the teeny tiny little rocks that found their wayinto my shoe...I'll need a 2nd towel next time for extra food wiping.
On the Olympic, there's two aid stations on the run, but it's an out-and-back so you get to hit aid stations 4 times. More than Adequate. Still, I carried my own stuff with me. I filled up with some water at one. No potties on the run, or in transition either. Accelerade continues to work well for me. I can drink a lot of it without the stomach cramps I usually get if I drink too much of anything else. The run included about a 1-1/2 mile run up a very steep hill. Volunteers at the aid station gave out cold water and gatorade and were extra friendly.
I'll let the annotated run profile do the talking...


I didn't win anything, but I wasn't last. I was nearly last. So there you go. There was no Athena or Clydesdales categories on this race, by the way. This race is a lot of fun, but challenging, especially since it starts out at 6800 feet above sea level and climbs. the weather was GORGEOUS today, and after I was done I had some muffins, oranges, and a cold beer. Then I sat in the cool shade and waited for Sweet Baboo.

All in all, a nicely done race. I recommend it! It's got beautiful scenery, not too much traffic nice roads with wide shoulders. My only change would be to somehow put some port-a-johns out on the course. The race director is friendly and enthusiastic and very hands-on. This is the 23rd year they've done this race, and it shows.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


When Sweet baboo and I woke up this morning it was 54 degrees out.

54. Degrees.

Before we left Albuquerque yesterday morning it was already in the 90's. It had rained during the night, meaning it was all nice and steamy for my 6 mile Friday morning run.

(Still the toughest girl on the block)

I was supposed to be doing hills, which I did. The idea is that, by the time I get to Ironman Louisville I'll be all aclimated to the steamy August heat.

When Sweet Baboo and I do our Steambath Ironman in Kentucky, Ma baboo is coming out from San Antonio. I've adopted her as my mom now. She's like, the greated MIL evar. Sweet Baboo will have to get another mom. This one's mine. That's all there is to it. And, many people we know will be there. So it's gonna be a steamy August Kentucky triathlon party.

But, back to our vacation. I bought a light jacket just in case it got a wee bit chilly here, but holy cow 54 degrees? I'm not complaining! I love the break from the heat. Our hotel is near an iHop. Pretty soon, we're going to head out to the Grand Canyon, where I've never been. Yay!
Then we'll meet up with a couple of friends tonight at the Mountain Man packet.

Tomorrow is the triathon. I briefly considered doing the half, with Sweet Baboo, but decided that I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick. I'm doing the Olympic.

If I sound cranky it's because I have now gained 10 pounds during my Ironman training. And NO, as much as I appreciate the attempts to make me feel better, it is not all muscle, unless that muscle is concentrated in my butt and thighs.

My clothes are tighter. I feel heavier. Yuck.

Okay, now I'm just rambling.

I'm going to breakfast. Gotta maintain my Athena Physique somehow.
See you after the race.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Today's long ride.

You'll have to click on the annotated profile of the ride to see the comments.

Msr. Garmean says that I burned 3271 calories. Now, how to spend them...

Not only my butt hurts, but my eyes, hands,
wrists, back...everything but my legs.
They feel okay.

Didja ever notice how your brain filters things that people say to you when you're feeling tired and discouraged and your brain is dehydrated?

For instance, Sweet Baboo pointed out that since I tended to ride a bit on the slow side, I would be out longer, and would need to bring more fluids and food with me.

What I heard: You're slow, and you suck.

He was also giving me helpful suggestions about gearing.

What I heard: You're slow, and you suck.


Tomorrow we leave for Arizona, where I'll see the Grand Canyon for the first time (yes, it's true - I've driven by the turnoff numerous times, but never seen it, but I'd like to. I've heard it's, well, grand.) and then on Sunday we'll race in the Mountain Man triathlon - he in the half iron and I in the Olympic. We both did the sprint last year, and were very impressed with this race. It was well organized and a lot of fun, with great scenery on the course.

It's at 6800 feet above sea level.

I don't know why I keep doing that to myself.

Think I'll go to bed now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Accelerade, a broken wheel, and me.

Accelerade sent me two boxes (48 bottles) of their ready-to-drink sportsdrink recently and asked me to blog about it. So, I am.

Before I start, let me say that what everyone can tolerate is very different. Myself, I can tolerate more solids and sugars on the bike than I can on the run. Dean Karnazis, as I never tire of pointing out, can eat whole pizzas in the middle of a grueling 100 mile run, while I get side cramps if I drink too much or get white sugar/sucrose.

So everyone is different. Not only that, but your ability to tolerate things changes over time. At least, mine has. I didn't used to be able to drink Gatorade at all when exercising, and now I can tolerate it when cycling.

Plus, I've discovered that working out the heat can increase your ability to do it. You just have to be careful and prepare.

A few days ago I went on a 60-mile ride out to San Felipe pueblo and back. Here's a partial profile (my Garmin battery ran down because I hadn't fully charged it) near mile 40:

The ride: 60 miles north from Albuquerque to San Felipe pueblo travel center, and then back again. The area is arid, with about 20% humidity, and the first 40 miles had about 1500 feet of climbing.

The fuel:
I filled two 20-ounces bottles and my aerobottle first with ice, and the poured nearly 3 bottles of Orange Accelerade ready-to-drink into them, drinking the last couple ounces down myself. By the time I got to the pueblo, the remaining stuff was warm, but it didn't bother me. Some people will freeze an entire bottle of whatever they're taking on long rides, but I forgot to do that.

Other supplies:
I also took along about a dozen whole wheat fig newtons, 2 packages of shot blocks, and 3 Nuun tablets. I generously applied really strong sunscreen, and had two tubes and 3 air cartriges with me. Pre-ride, I had two servings of Oatmeal and a PB sandwich, which has become my standard and beloved pre-long-workout-thing breakfast, washed down with, yes, Accelerade.

My impressions:
I like the taste of Accelerade. A LOT. It has a "hint of chalkiness" to it, in Sweet Baboo's words, possibly because of the added protein, but I thought of it as more of a puckery tartness. I love the fact that it wasn't so sweet. I can't stand things that are too sweet; I like them on the tart side.
What's really important about liking the taste? Well, you'll drink more. That's super important. If you can find a sports drink that provides energy, hydration, and electrolytes, I don't imagine there's that much difference but if you really like the taste you'll drink lots, which is a very good thing. Plus, a good taste gives you less to whine about in your head when you really need to concentrate on pedaling. I love what Perpetuum and Heed do for me, but the sickly-sweet taste gets to me after a whie. While I didn't mind warm Accelerade, it is best when cold. I've heard that others have not had great results when the stuff got warm.

Results: W
hen I got to the Pueblo, the 30 mile mark, I stopped. I felt pretty good, not sick or thirsty, no soreness or muscle fatigue, and no cramps. I went to the bathroom and rinsed out my bottles and refilled them as follows: 1 package of clif shot blocks in each one and one Nuun tablet. This was yet another experiment I wanted to try because I'd heard about it. While not as tasty as the Accerade, it was palatable, portable, and provided energy and electrolytes. Before setting out again, I ate my fig newtons.

I pedaled my badly broken wheel energetically home, and despite being warm I was fine. I've been gradually getting myself used to working out in the heat, as distasteful as I find it. By the time I gave up on trying to pedal my broken wheel my bike computer told me that there was about 108 degrees Farenheit radiating up off the pavement, but I felt good. Not great, mind you. It was hot and I was sweating. But I felt good enough to worry: What if one of the signs of acute hyperthermia is that you feel fine? Like people who are about to freeze to death who suddenly feel warm? However, I then realized that in the past as I've had very straight forward symptoms of heat exhaustion such as nausea and chills, and I didn't have any of these. I felt good afterwards, too.

Accelerade has added a sugar that I'm not familiar with called Trehalose to their forumulation. I don't know how long ago they did that. I did some reading and the only things I could come up with is that Trehalose stabilizes proteins at high temps. So if pre-Trehalose warm Accelerade made people sick, maybe this will prevent that. I just don't know enough about Trehalose to decide whether it's hype or not.

Later today, I'll take some to Wednesday night track workouts. We'll see how it works with interval running.


Seen on the back of a T-shirt...

...for the Midland, Texas annual sprint triathlon:

If triathlon were easy,
they'd call it football.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Things I just happen to know today.

ICHI. Little by little, I'm getting less nervous about the bike. You know how some people are terrifed of open water swimming? I'm like that about the bike. So much so I've avoided it and suffered as a result with apalling bike splits. But, I've been doing longer and longer rides, and I'm getting more confident. Today I did a 60-mile ride all by myself. I'm a big girl now!

NI. If you ride your bike out of town you can impress the hell out of people at travel centers when you stop to get water. People will even say things like, "you drove from Albuquerque? How far away is that?" (Despite the signs posted on the highway on either side of the exit they took) Then you say, casually, "I've come about 30 miles." and watch their astonishment. It's GREAT for your ego.

SAN. Sometimes, things on your bike other than tubes, break. They just do. Did you know that? Like my wheel. It's all broke. One of the spokes has pulled through and the hole it went through in the wheel is broken. Halfway into my ride today my wheel was going crooked. I know nothing about bike mechanics, so I fiddled uselessly with things that looked familiar, but by the time I got back to my car, the bike was super hard to pedal. My bike computer said 108 degrees and I was tired, but I'd only gone 60 or so of my planned 80 miles, which is when I formulated my new "GeekGirl's Law of Difficult Distances" which you may quote, if you wish.

GeekGirl's Law of Difficult Distances:

If you do mileage on the run or the bike but there are unusual circumstances,
such as unusual weather, deep sand, leaving your brakes on, or mechanical difficulties,
you are fully justified in feeling as though you went further.

After all, it felt like you went firther, right?

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is the specific multiplier for how much further depending on each circumstance.

Lastly, sent me a couple boxes of their ready-to-drink bottles and asked me to try it and talk about it. So far, I've only tested it for the bike. I'll write about that more tomorrow, but in summary, I believe there may be some hype regarding Trehalose, but it's harmless hype. So far, after using it in the upper nineties (F) in the desert I find I was well-hydrated and didn't bonk. Also, I really, really like the taste.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hallelujia and pass the WD40

This morning I ran 12 miles. I did it at an average 13 minute pace, good for me, and I felt good, too, sipping my Nuun and my grape-flavored gel.

Oooo, admit it, you wish you had some grape-flavored gel, don't you? I made it by accident by trying to mix maltodextrine and water to create a liquid with the same calories as a gel but wouldn't you know it, when you mix that much maltodextrine powder into water - you get gel. So I mixed in a little powdered grape-flavored electrolyte drink mix, and voila: a lightly grape-flavored gel. It was mighty tasty, too.

I wore my hydration pack with about 60 ounces of prepared Nuun in it, and two flasks of tasty grape-flavored gel, and it was a beautiful morning. I had a good run.
Except for the squeaking.

See, during my 16 mile run on Monday I was wearing my hydration vest I noticed a squeaking sound on my shoulder. The tube for the mouthpiece crosses over and hooks under an elastic strap on my left shoulder until I need a drink from it. I could actually feel the squeaking more than hear it; I can "hear" sounds in my bad ear that are conducted through my bones, and since this tube was resting on my collar and sholder bones, my assumption was that this was the squeaking.

It was annnoying, but livable.

Then on Thursday, I did about an 8 mile run, and there was that squeaking again. Squeak - squeak - squeak - squeak. But here's the catch: I wasn't wearing my hydration vest this time.

Nope, guess what: it's me. I'm squeaking.

Did you READ THAT?
I have something in my BODY that squeaks like an old metal door in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
And only I can hear it.

Today during my 12-mile run it was almost constant, a low squeak - squeak - squeak as my left arm swung back and forth. There's no pain or anything, but it's not like I need any weirdness to perseverate on when I'm trying to run.

I googled, "squeaking joints" to see if this was anything to worry about or if there was anything I could do about it, and here's what I got:

  • "Forcefully blow powder into squeaky joints..."

  • "Take several very thin wood shims and tap them into any loose or squeaky joints..."

  • "Oil up the squeaky joints..."

I've already ruled out the first two, since they don't seem like a pleasant solution.

The only thing I can't figure out is where to stick the little straw so I can oil this thing up.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hey, Bradley where's my shirt?

I think I've been snookered, and I don't know what to do about it.

Last spring I ordered a pair of shorts and a singlet from this website, Organic Athlete. I got the shorts right away, and I heart them. they are black and a pretty green and, as you can see in the picture of someone else's butt above, they say, "Go Vegan!" on the butt.
My hope is that in those rare times that I actually pass people perhaps they'll look at my butt (yes, my butt IS wide enough to prostelitize on, thank you very much) and say to themselves, I daresay, if that very fast lady is a Vegan, why then, *I* want to be a Vegan.

Yeah. Like any of that would happen. Passing someone, especially.

Anway, I love the tri shorts.

So I wrote the guy Bradley at the end of April, and and said, hey, what about my singlet?
And he said, They're on back order. They should come in soon.
then around the first of May, he said, we still have to place the order. it may be a month.
Okay, fair enough. Sweet Baboo is captain of our triathlon club, so I know how it works. Sometimes you have to have a minimm amount before you can do a full order.

Tick...tick...tick...tick (Okay, here is where you have to imagine an animation of a daily calendar flipping rapidly through its pages now)

June comes. No singlet. I wrote him in the middle of June and said, It doesn't seem like the jersey is going to happen any time soon, does it? I think I'd like to get my money back so I can get a different top.

No response.

Two weeks later, I emailed him again. ...please respond to let me know that you have received this request. I have been waiting three months for this top, and I think that I have been very patient.

No response.

Today, I called him, and left a message. Maybe my emails are winding up in his spam folder, or something. Otherwise, I'm not sure what to do. In ten years of buying things over the Internet, I've never had this problem before.

Any ideas?
Followup on 7/17 - Bradley called to let me know he's sending me a refund. Turns out the company he was dealing with was requesting an order of 50 or more. He also said he never got my emails, which, given the current SPAM climate of today's email filters, is very likely.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Linae tagged me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. WahHoo!!
Now I get to betow the title on five others. I wish could pick more, but then who would everyone else tag? Hmmm. Lots of rockin' girl bloggers out there...and at least one or two rockin' guys who frequently refer to themselves as girly...but you know the rules are clear. Nope, no Y chromosomes allowed.
Okay, I'm starting with my favorite swim buddy Pirate. Then I should really include other local peeps: SWTriGal, and Lisa Tri-ing.

and, in no particular order, I'm going to tag not-so-local peeps Siren and Di. (Does Siren count as two?)


I've decided to put some filters in my email. Some people need to be shot, by the way. If I ever meet a professional spammer I'm going to key his/her car. Or think about it really hard.

Come to think of it, if I ever meet a professional spammer I'll probably just give them a realllllly diry look.

SO, henceforth, if you send me any emails, they won't get through if the subject line contains the following words/phrases:

Dearly Beloved

Her Pleasure Will Be Endless


Unclaimed Funds

Bank Account Authorization Information

Endless Happiness

Endless Joy

Online Degree


Urgent Greetings

Honorable One

high-quality prescriptions

She'll be Screaming


Call My Secretary Immediately


All Night Long

If you send me any of these emails, I won't get them. I'm just lettin' you know.


Monday, July 09, 2007

IM Training thoughts, part 1

Saturday I did a quick ride with lots of hills.

Yesterday I did a sprint triathlon.

Today I got up at 4 am, ate some oatmeal and a pb sandwich;

then I ran 16 miles, and swam 3000 meters.

then I had lunch.

and it occurs to me...













Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hold onto your pants, Again.

I've included some sound effects today. You may need to click the play button twice if it doesn't play the first time.

Imagine, if you will, running on hot pavement in the desert in July with hearing several of these screaming in your ear:

Annoying, huh? Has your significant other screamed, "What the hell is that noise?" yet?

It's actually shriller and more annoying in person. Yay!

Today was the annual "Bottomless Triathlon" near Roswell, NM. It's a teeny weeny sprint (400m/14K/4K) that is suprisingly hard work, given that it's in the upper nineties here in the desert. Not all that surprising. Just unwelcome.

No, we weren't bottomless. And, yes, that Roswell. And, OH, it was the 60th anniversary of the alien spaceship crashlanding this weekend and BOY, there's nothin better than freaks on the weekend!

Here's an itinerary from the local UFO museum, including the times of symposiums and lectures, about alien abductions, sightings, and the like. (Lime green, by the way, is the preferred color if one is to feel at home during the annual Roswell Experience. )

ANYWAY, here's last year's race report on this triathlon... This year, several comments:

1. Despite advertising a free pasta meal , they didn't. I mean, can they do that? I give you exhibit A, a screen shot from the race website -->

Surely, someone out there in blogger land can sue on my behalf. Taking away a girl's food. It AIN'T RIGHT!

2. Luckily, just like last year, the director decided to have us go off at 8:30 (young men) and 8:45 (everyone else, including "athenas and the women") Because if you're expecting a high of 100 degrees, you want to start as late as possible.

3. The lake was as salty as I remembered, but oh, so clear. I swam my guts out, and then decided I would strip my wetsuit before T1. I had decided to go sockless, and my feet to be able to dry off during the run. Swim time: 11:13, just a bit slower than last year.

4. The bike was much bumpier than I remembered it. And kinda hilly. But it was short. at just under 9 mile in length, my time was 0:33:47, almost 3 minutes faster than last year, including my T1 time.

5. The run was just as hot as I remembered, with heat radiating off the pavement and insects screaming so loudly that I was disoriented. I'm talking the kinda hot where it feels like someone is aiming an infrared heater on your FACE. The 1.25 mile (2K) run to the turnouround point seems 8 miles long. Everyone running toward you looks kind of pained, desperate, shiny and wet. But, ooo, there was ice water at the 2 aid stations on the run. 2 aid stations. You hit aid stations a total of 3 times, and boy, cold water never felt so run time was 30:59, a little over a minute faster than last year, and included my T2 time.

I was trying to stay ahead of ShyTriGirl. Ever try to stay ahead of a particular person? It's exhausting. You want to turn around but you don't dare, and your paranoia kicks in and--and--oh, is that HER? behind me? are those her footsteps? Is that her shifter i hear? I want to stop running--I need to just walk for a minute, but--crap! what if she's RIGHT BEHIND ME, waiting to MAKE HER MOVE?

I tell ya, I'm exhausted by my own thoughts some times.

Cody came out and ran the last quarter mile or so in with me, which was encouraging because, although I'm [obviously] not the littlest Outlaw I am by far the slowest one most of the time.

Many of the Outlaws got some hardware today. One of them was mine. Sweet Baboo got first Clydesdale. Everyone else is going to have do their own report! (I'm talking to SW TriGal, Cody, and Pirate, and ShyTriGirl; did I leave anyone out?) I beat my time last year by about 40 seconds. I'll know for sure when they post the splits. I did this one blind again - no watch, nothing but me. I'm starting to like that. My time was 1:15:59 total.

As for nutrition, I had a gel just as I jumped on the bike (GU Latte flavor, w/caffein) since I forgot to take it in the swim, and some GU sports drink (mango tango) during the hour before the race. I also took some GU sports drink in a bottle with me on the run.

Tune in tomorrow when, during my long run, I scream, "Will somebody please turn on the damned air conditioner?!?


Friday, July 06, 2007


A study, published yesterday in Science Magazine, reports that, on average, both sexes speak about 16,000 words a day. Despite societal stereotypes, the truth is that women and men are equally talkative.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yes, it's true, it's...

I've been speaking to various people and it appears that this is a widespread condition in blogger land.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hotter than a hoo-doo.

Dear Diary,

It was insanely hot and dry out yesterday which means two things:
  1. We're a day or so away from the annual Bosque fire where kids playing with fireworks threatened multi-million dollar homes, and,

  2. My training plan includes a ride "with hills".

I'm pretty sure that the Jimmy looked at the results of some of my latest races and thought to himself, Holy Cow, this girl needs to learn to climb. My average pace at the Grady Williams 100% hills triathlon was about, oh, 2 mph. Or something like that.

Sweet Baboo knows the area pretty well so he picked a route that would get my 30 miles. He chose a route that included - ulp - Northern Boulevard. Northern runs up through Rio Rancho climbing almost the entire way. It made me nauseated just to drive it in a car. More than once, I've thought about climbing northern, and felt the bile of anxiety rise in my throat.

Actually, it this turned out to be a GREAT route. Not too much traffic, and pretty nice roads. SB was pretty relieved.
I think Baboo worries that some day I'm going to snap and blame him for every bad experience and hire a divorce lawyer, citing "too many hills" or something like that.
Not that I haven't, somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, grumbled very ugly thoughts while chasing his rear wheel up Rio Bravo...but the ugly thoughts always dissipate after I've finished the ride.

And I did it! Now, I'm not saying I did it fast. After all, according to my cyclometer, it was 99 degrees near the finish (it was about 102 F at noon here). But I did it without pulling over and walking. In fact, the only time I pulled over was to switch out my bottles.

I took 3 bottles which each had 2 scoops of HEED along with two scoops of Carbo Pro, for a total of 300 calories each. I only finished two bottles, though. If I try to do this again I'll probably take along a hydration pack with ice and Nuun for extra fluids. I'm not much of a sweater, but geez, I mean, it was 100 degrees F out.

And I Climbed. HILLS.

In 100 degree heat.

Which means I am the toughest girl in the neighborhood.

Wanna arm wrestle?
I also did it in a skin suit, with the nose of my bike tipped down just a tad. I was comfortable enough, but I need to make some adjustments. About a month ago the aerobars on my training bike started swinging around wildly and the spacers fell out. It made for a most unsatisfying ride. When things were tightened back down, I think all my adjustments - aerobars, etc., got out of wack.

So, I figure if I ramp up the length of my rides I should be in good shape for an Ironman in Kentucky in August. Especially since the whole area is in the middle of a severe drought.

This morning we're going over a small local airport to do "time trials" and I have no idea what that means.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In which I run up a mountain and think mushy thoughts.

So last Thursday last me and herself the Pirate, went with members of the Albuquerque roadrunners for a run up the side of a mountain.
Oh, and her beloved took a picture of us to prove that she is real. That's herself, on the left.

Here's the Garmin readout (below) of my run, which began at 8500 feet. Click on it to see the elevations.

I made and broke lots of deals with myself on this run.

Hmmm. Looks steep. I'll just jog it. Umm, okay, I'll jog the flats. Um, okay, I'll hike it. Energetically.

Eventually it just became a hike up, jogging down.
I was out of breath, sweaty, tired, slightly dizzy from the altitude, and loving every moment of it. I gotta do this more often! The views were spactacular.

the Pirate was of course far ahead of me, as was the rest of the pack. Alone, I started thinking, for some reason, about how much my life has changed.

Ten years ago, I was in an unhappy relationship that was about to end abuptly, after which and I would spend a year wallowing in self pity and wine while seeing a counselor.

Ten years ago I had not even met Sweet Baboo. He was a teaching assistant at my college. I'd just started grad school, and would soon begin a graduate assistantship in the faculty development center. I settled comfortably into my nickname, working on computers, writing interactive tutorials, authoring web pages, and teaching technology classes. In a little over a year this psychology graduate assistant, flipping his too-long hair out of his eyes, would be very friendly while I, the angry divorcee, would ignore him.

On the trail, I crossed ski slopes where the wind rushed at me. It was 90 degrees below, but in the sixties on the mountain. Time to go back down now.

A decade ago, if you'd have told me I'd be running 1000 feet up the side of a mountain, I'd have laughed my ass off. Then I'd have taken a puff off my cigarette, and offered to share my "trash nachos" with you, a charming concoction involving as much cheese as it possible over cheap greasy chips and whatever embellishments are availble...Surimi, leftover pork loin, whatever.

Because, in my view at the time, sitting on the couch, smoking cigarettes, and eating junk was much safer than running up the side of a mountain.

I hit the switchback flats and jogged them, and the hit a steeper downhill, stepping gently to avoid turning my ankle on the loose rocks. Hummingbirds shot by me.

Ten years ago when I attended weddings I was admonished to behave. It was well-known some that I was just a bit bitter, and thought marriage was a crock, having had more than one of them fail. This would present as my signature sardonic wit, given enough alcohol and a very solemn occasion. Moreover, I thought most men were perfectly delightful until one married them, and then, poof! Overnight they turned into (ugh) HUSBANDS.

(Even more frightening,
I worried some flaw of mine made them turn bad.)

But then almost nine years ago, I met Sweet Baboo, and all that changed.

Here's a photo of us when we were dating.

Our first few months would be a muddled long-distance relationship and trying to figure out how to get a handle on a "normal" relationship which a "normal" person.

After nearly two years of dating, we merged: the nervous psychologist and the anxious divorcee and the three young kids.

That was July 1, 2000. Seven years ago.

I was terrified that day. What would happen? Would I work my voodoo magic and turn another perfectly normal man into a jerk?

So far, Sweet Baboo has not turned into a toad. He's still my hero, the terrific man I married. He makes me feel safe and loved and appreciated. It never ends.

The only time I've been scared since that day was right before my first open water swim.

Here's a wedding photo.

Proving that anything's possible.

I can run up a mountain.

And live happily ever after.

Happiness is in all our grasps. All we have to do is close our eyes, take a deep breath, and jump in the water.

Or run up the trail.

Or whatever.

Happy anniversary, Sweet baboo.


Love, your GeekGirl.



 I'm no longer involved in multisport or endurance sports. I've started my own business, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety d...