Thursday, August 30, 2007

On not being a stick insect.

There are some signs that something unusual happened this past weekend: my back is a little stiff, I have a little blister on one toe that is healing.

My weight soared to 171 pounds on Tuesday as my body retained extra water in relatiation for Sunday's mistreatement.
But, on Wednsday, peeing. All day. Clear water. All the water is leaving.

My shins stopped aching. I did a light jog/walk around the track yesterday, and some gentle running drills.

"Hey, Mrs. P, how long are you going to wear your medal?"
" You got a problem with my medal?"
"No, m'am."

One of the other teachers asked me how my weekend went. "Didn't you have, like, a marathon or something" and I said, "Yeah, something like that."
"So how did you do?"

I said that I did do a marathon, but I had to do some other stuff before I was allowed to start it." When you put it like that, you get instant attention. Allowed to do a marathon? What kind of "stuff"? In a river? How many miles? OH, MY, GAWD. IN ONE DAY??

And that's when it hit me; I can't joke about being lazy with anyone other than triathletes any more. I've been kicked out of the lazy club.

I'd already been kicked out of the diet club. You know the one: everyone sits around, eating Lean Cuisine, swapping information on the latest internet diet but refusing to exercise other than a bi-monthly salsa class, and then you say, brightly, "I've had a lot of success with jogging and biking!" And then the excuses ensue.
  • "I'm 'different'"
  • "I can't run."
  • "I don't have time to exercise."
  • "I have bad knees."
and my favorite:
  • "I have to wait until I've lost weight before I start exercising."

So, what does all this Ironman stuff mean to me. Hmmmm.

I When I was in LooAville I was laying awake the night before mulling over the possibility of success, or failure, and what they'd mean to me. I imagined writing two notes to myself.

One would say, Open this if you made it to the finish line.

and the other one would say, Open this if you didn't make it to the finish line.

The first one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"

The other one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"

So, what's sinking in? That I'm good enough. Not in a Stuart Smalley sort of way. But in a healthy body sort of way. When I started this part of me was hoping I would wind up being thin and, well, willowy, something I used to dream about being called.
As in, "That's her over there. See her? She's the willowy blonde on the left." (I'm not really blonde, but let's not go there...)

But no more. Barbie may be pretty, but I bet she can't do an Ironman.

So, I'm not tiny. I'm not petite, with a tiny ring in my tiny belly button on my tiny belly. I'm not shivering pre-race in my tiny size S or XS triathlon suits, trying to find a size 48 bike frame. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So, I'm not twenty. I don't have a twenty-something body.
So, I'm not sub-140 pounds. My weight hasn't changed much in the past two years. I'm a few pounds on either side of 160.
So, I'm stocky. I'm broud-shouldered and wide-hipped and I'm definitely NOT aero. But my body is healthy. My doctor is thrilled with the changes I've made. He doesn't say a word about my weight, despite the fact that I'm officially overweight at 5'6". My resting heartrate has dropped nearly 20 beats.

I no longer say things like, "When I get skinny, I'm gonna...." or, "I'll do that when I get thin again."

I refuse to fit myself into someone else's idea of womanhood when I shop. I will not wish that I was skinnier so I can all the cutest triathlon clothes, or buy clothes that are too small hoping I'll lose enough weight to fit into them.
I'm healthy, dammit. If someone wants my business, they're going to have to cater to me. Kiss my zaftig ass, and don't you dare call it extra large.

I'm am not, as Bridget Jones says, "an American stick insect."

I may never even get to see all the new muscles I've been developing.

But now I know without a doubt that they're there.

So that's where I am right now.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Short post.

So, conversation during 4th period today.

  • Me: So, okay. Any questions about variables and expressions? Zack, you have your hand up.
  • Zack: Mrs. Pilgrim, during an Ironman, what do you do if you have to pee?
  • Me: Well, then you pee.
  • Zack: But do people hold it?
  • Me: Some do; some people pee while on the bike.
  • Zack: Ew! Gross! They like, wet their pants and everything? I would never do that! I'd never, like go in my pants!
  • Me: Zack, the first man and woman of this race got $10,000. So, the questions is, would you wet your pants for $10,000?
  • Zack: No. No way. I'd never do that, not for any money.
  • Priscilla: Zack, you're so full of it. You'd do it for less, and you know it.
  • Another student: I'd totally go in my pants for $10,000. I just wouldn't, you know, like do all that biking and running and stuff.
  • Zack: I'd do it in a cup. You know, in a cup. Then throw the cup away.

So, this is the world that I live in. Welcome back, says the world.


Ironman run, part 2

Okay. Well, I'm not going to know how things went until my classes start at 9 am. It appears that the substitutes haven't followed my instructions, so I had time to write this morning.

IN the photo on the right, the cast of characters, which I referred to in my part 1 run post are in this photo, which was taken by Duane.

From left to right are the Ironmen/Ironwomen and their respective Ironmates
(back row:) Ironman Bones, Ironman Miguel, Ironman Me, Ironman Sweet Baboo, Ironmom Mama Baboo and her husband
(front row:) ironmate Lorna, Ironmate Michi, Ironman Wiz, Ironmate Amy and Ironman Ricky V.

So Sunday night, as I was running/walking it occured to me that there was some sort of song, a song, that I heard on an episode of Quantum Leap when Dr. Becket became Elvis. I hummed that to myself as well as muttered nonsensical rhymes and words, none of which I can remember now, except for that song, which is one of the nicer Elvis songs, and I'm not even an Elvis fan.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright...

Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining....

The second trip out was not as fun as the first. It was dark, and quiet, and deserted. The happy chatter of people on their second loop was gone. I'd seen the screaming crowd and then had to walk away from it; we all had. I had ten more miles to go, and it was nearly 10:00 pm. It seemed to take hours and hours to get to the turn around point, and then I knew I had 5 more miles to go, and it was nearly 11:00. This out-and-back seemed longer. Much, much longer.

On the 2nd half of the run an ambulance went flying by me about 4 times, scaring the crap out of me. There were about 36 people pulled off the course for various medical reasons. I saw people whose bodies looked like question marks, they were so hunched over and tired. I felt so, so lucky that my stomach had held up.

As I figured, by the time I reached the 21 mile mark, I was pretty tired. I wanted to take longer walk breaks but my foot only hurt when I walked, and I kept looking at my Garmin, which seemed to mock me in a snotty canned female voice with a British accent, "if you stop running now, you won't make it."

Then a new development, I could not walk in a straight line. I would start to veer off to the right. I could jog in a straight line, however. Between my feet, the time ticking down on the Garmin, and the vertigo, I kept up the running.

I was So. Tired. Not just tired from running all day, but the lack of sleep was kicking in. I felt sleepy. The aid stations were packing it up but they kept out enough of everything to make sure everyong was taken care of. They offered me a veritable smorgasborg of gels, "what flavor do you want?"

Oh GAWD I'm so sick of gels. Who cares what flavor. Just give me one with caffein.

I'd suck down the PowerGel double latte and wash it down with lemon-lime gatorade. Yum.
I had another ice-cold coke around mile 22.

I figured I'd passed 20-30 people on the run, which was somewhat comforting since hundreds had passed me on the bike, but less so this time, because I knew that I was fighting the clock, which meant that every person I passed was a potential DNF.

According to coach Jimmy, I started the run ranked at 1656 and finished it ranked at 1556. 198 people DNF'd. 198. And this is considered low; at Ironman Wisconsin last year they had at least 400 DNF.

Then I was on my way back from the turnaround, and I passed people who were still working their way toward the turn around, and I didn't know what to say. I knew that I would just barely make it in, but these folks were a good 4-5 miles behind me. They were all tired, and all walking slowly. They wouldn't make it. They wouldn't be "official" finishers. One of them was Boo. I passed one guy who appeared to have his parents out on the course walking with him, getting him things.

But who was I to be discouraging? Maybe they'd find some last minute energy. So I just said, "You're lookin' good there!" to everyone I saw, even if their faces were nearly touching the ground, hunched over with fatigue as they pumped their arms, trying to walk faster.

Still about 3 or 4 miles out I saw a middle-of-the-night move out. I remember that. It's what you do when you're being evicted. Since the road was closed, people were carrying out mattresses and other household furniture in the dark, running and putting it in the back of a pickup truck.

Then there was 2 more miles to go.

A Ford Ironman Escape SUV, hazard lights flashing, passed me slowly, going the other way, and I was pretty sure I knew where it was going. They were headed out to pull chips. I felt bad for those people. Less than 10 miles from the finish line, after going over 130 miles all day long, some person they didn't know was going to say, however kindly they might try to be, "I'm sorry, but I need to take your chip."

As I headed down the last couple miles I started speeding up, worried about not finishing in time. I know the websight says I ran a sub-ten minute mile, but I didn't. I don't think the chip mats were 4 miles apart. The street was empty. My quads were screaming for me to stop. I was exhausted and wasn't sure how long I could keep it up, but it was already midnight.

I passed 3 walking guys who cheered me on, even as they headed to the finish line behind me. I could run faster, as long as I knew that it was over soon.

I could hear the yelling from blocks away. I'd heard it on my first trip through but now, 3 hours later, it sounded exactly the same. It was like that sound you make when you're faking a cheering noise--you know, by breathing noisily out your mouth? It was so late, that I figured it must be a recording or something. There couldn't possibly that many people still up past midnight, cheering in the last runners for Ironman Louisville. But they were. There were that many people, and right now, just after midnight, they were screaming like crazy, blowing horns, ringing cowbells.

I rounded the cornder into the bright lights in my face, the screaming crowd. Up ahead, I saw a smiling Baboo. I hadn't read his post about me at this point so I didn't realize how relieved and happy he was that I had finished.

The chute seemed reallllly long. Then I was running on the Ironman carpeting. I heard the booming voice of the announcer, and the cheering. I couldn't really see what was going on around me or understand the announcer, I was looking for a timing mat that I could cross. I saw myself on a large screen, and for some reason, it struck me how large and white my stomach was.

I crossed under the arch at the end of the finish chute and ran out of room to run, so I stopped. And there I was. The last official finisher of the inaugural Ironman Louisville, KY.

They asked me if I needed medical treatment and I said, "I don't know." Quick as a flash I was in a wheelchair and being rolled to the medical treatment place. Someone put a finisher's medal around my neck and Baboo gave me my finisher's towel (?). My muscles immediately started stiffening up. They asked me if I wanted a blanket and I said no, because I was really hot. I could feel that I was sunburned.

One or two men crossed behind me, and then that was it. They closed the finish line down exactly 17 hours after the last swimmer when into the water at 7:37 am. My time was 17:19.

I wanted to sleep but there were all these bright lights. I was in a room like a gym. Baboo gave me some pizza. Pirate called. I called Mini Baboo, and told him I was done. Mama Baboo hovered overhead for a moment - she'd been so relieved when I finished that she nearly cried. She congratulated me and then disappeared. The nurse took off my shoes and, as others have done, marveled at the insanely sexy toe socks. My feet appeared to be okay, no blisters or bruises, although I did find a small blister at the end of one toe on my left foot about a day and a half later.

As the IV drip worked its way through me, I started shivering like crazy, and they covered me with one of those mylar blankets and then a woolen one.

They asked me if I knew my name and where I was. I had to fight the urge to laugh. I was giddy at being done and being vertical and being off my feet. Sure, I knew where I was. I was in triathlon hell, but now I'm in Louisville. My name is Iron Misty.

Eventually, about 1, they sent me on my way with a liter of fluid in me, "as a precaution" even though I didn't have any symptoms of dehydration. I was just really tired. Then were told that we had until 1 to get our stuff.

Uh, okay... So, we walked very gingerly to 5 or 6 blocks to get our bike and bags. Baboo stayed behind a bit to get a pizza, but they had lots leftover and everyone was leaving so they just gave him a whole pizza, and he caught up with me at transition. I noshed on the pizza all night and for breakfast the next day.

We walked our bikes back to the hotel. My legs were so stiff and sore I felt like I had leg braces on. My right foot hurt like crazy, the worst care of hot foot I've ever had.

My right foot and stopped hurting. I think it was a really bad case of hotfoot and then, when I got off the bike, all the nerves were trying to come back online. Baboo has marveled at my marathon time, and I suppose I have, too. My only marathon in January was 6 hours, and at Ironman Louisville, it was 6:20, after 112 miles of Kentucky hills and 2.4 miles of the Ohio river.

For now, I need some time to let all this marinade. I don't think it's quite hit me yet. Sitting here at my desk, waiting for my first class to start, I'm wondering if the substitutes did what I asked them to do.

Later on I'll get a message, and then I have to come back here to open house night. I figure I'll get to sleep around 8 or 8:30, and then I'm hoping for 10 hours of continuous sleep.

I'm overwhelmed at all the comments and emails I've gotten. It made me cry. I'm overwhelmed at the love and support of my friends and especially of Sweet Baboo. But then, he overwhelms me most of all; that's why I married him.

You guys, though, you really gave me something special. I loved reading the comments as people were tracking me through the race. I've done that before for other runners, and each time I ran over a timing mat I imagined that maybe somebody somewhere had new numbers pop up on their computer screen.

I'll write something less rambling and a little more concise when I get my bearings. It's lunch and I've already had one administrator in here checking to see if I have my objectives on the boards, etc. It's back to the real world for now, I'm looking foward to laying down and letting this all sink in without immediately falling asleep.


Ironman Run, Part 1.

I composed this last night on the plane in between naps. I've been napping pretty much since I crossed the finished line. I nodded off in public yesterday several times, while waiting for my inlaws at the Louisville Slugger museum, while sitting at the coffee shop, while riding in the car to the airport, while sitting at the airport...

I'm a little embarassed at how long this is, but I wanted to get it all down before I forgot it.

In t2, I walked painfully and stiffly. It had been a long day for the volunteers as well. They asked me my number as I went past them but stood, almost dazed, as I walked over to my bag and headed for the changing tent. I sat down - oh, how glorious, to sit in something that supported my entire butt...I was feeling a bit disoriented but then one of those fabulous changing tent volunteers appeared and asked if I wanted help, and then I started crying. I was so tired. She helped me off with my various clothes, completely drenched in sweat. I had a little cry fest for a few moments and said, "I'm so tired. I'm just so tired. God, my ass hurts." Over, and over again.

I pulled on my shorts as best I could - a note to all, you might include a small towel in all your transition bags, because you might be sweaty after a 112-mile butt whooping.
Five minutes after I arrived in T2, they closed the bike course. My bike time had been 8:55. I now had less than 7 hours to cover 26.2 miles.

I put on my bra top, which immediately rolled up and I had trouble getting it on, and my Garmin heart strap, and my Garmin, and then turned my attention to my feet. Me feet were worrisome - all white from being in wet socks all day; would this finally be the day that I would get blisters? I hoped not. the volunteer unrolled my socks, and marveled at their sexy toe goodness, as most have done, and then I pulled on my socks and shoes and stood up.
And nearly fell over. My right foot hurt SO BAD. It felt like it had been hammered. My quads screamed. And now I was supposed to run a marathon?

Behind me, a woman I had played leapfrog with on the bike appeared. Her name was Boo, short for Barbara, but I never caught the rest of it and wish I had. She chattered and bubbled as though she was just starting this whole thing, and said that she was a slow runner, so I decided I needed her as company. We wound up being walking buddies for about the first 9 miles of the marathon.

We headed out. I was walking stiffly at first but then my legs started loosening up. It was down town and late afternoon so much of the street was in shade, thank goodness. Although it never got as hot as it has been before the race, it felt hot. My plan was to walk the first could miles and then start my 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off routine. However, my right foot hurt so badly I was wondering how I would run at all. I spent the first mile or so sipping ice-cold cola and carrying my bottle of gatorade.

I saw people around me walking slowly, slumped over. Many were holding their stomachs, so I decided to avoid all solid food. I took just about anything liquid I was offered, and drank constantly.

As headed into the 2nd mile, Boo suggested we try a run, and so I did, and found that when I ran, my foot didn't hurt. It only hurt when I walked. I was also surprised to find that I could run, and at a decent pace, too - somewhere between 11:20 and 12:20. However, I was also smart enough to realize that how I felt right now was not necessarily how I was going to feel 20 miles from now, so even though I was temped to do 10 minutes at a shot, I stayed with my plan. According to my Garmin, after the first mile and a half, my average pace was about 14:20.

I looked at my Garmin and figured out that I had to keep the 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off routine in order to finish on time.

At the first aid station they offered pretzles, bananas, gatorade, ice cold sponges, ice water, chicken broth, cola, and I forget what else. Oh, encouragement. They offered lots of that. "You look great! You're gonna do this! You're aweseom! Did I tell you that you look great?"

I saw someone - it may have been Mary - who told me that Baboo was looking for me; he was very worried because I had been gone so long on the bike and was ready to leave the course looking for me. Soon enough I saw a very worried Baboo who was happy and relieved to see me. He was about 6 miles ahead of me on the out-and-back part of the course. Then I saw Bones and Miguel and Iron Pol running in, headed toward the finish line, and each asked me if I knew Baboo was looking for me. I saw Mary Sunshine two more times on the course, and she was looking great and smiling. She made it look easy. Maybe, like me, she was happy to be off the bike!

The run course starts with a quick out-and-back near the transition area and then angles up onto the main running path down 3rd street. By the time you get to 3rd street you're about 2 miles down the path already. Then you do about another mile to the main out-and-back part of the course. The out-and-back is about 5.5 miles each way that you do twice. Then you run into a little loop near the finish line, turn right, and head back out onto the out-and-back.
3rd street was completley shut down for this event.

As the sun sank into the hills I realized that I was wearing my prescription sunglasses and hoped it would be lit enough to make up for that. It was a party atmosphere on the sides of the road, people camped out in lawn chairs. LouAville LOVES their spectator sports! Plus, since it was a southern town, everyone called me, "girl." Emotionally, I started feeling better. I felt less hopeless, and a little more energetic, as the coke-cola worked its sugary caffeinated magic.

I saw Wiz ahead of me and caught up to him. He asked me if I knew Baboo was looking for me. His stomach was going bad, but he was on his second loop. He was walking, staring straight ahead and seemed barely able to even talk. Eventually he went over to the curb to sit down. He was on his second loop. Miguel told me later that Wiz saw me moving ahead and and decided, well by golly, if she was going to try and finish, then he was going to finish.

Around sunset, after the turnaround - maybe around mile 12 or so, Boo fell behind. I wanted to keep walking with her, as she was good company, but I also knew the numbers: how much time and distance I had left and what I had to do to cover it. I never got her real name, so if you know her or are her say Hi, so that I can thank you for keeping me company and encouragine me!

I kept up my 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off routine and during my walks, I drank Gatorade constantly. I had a Power Gel every 2 miles and I don't mine telling you that I don't care if I never see another gel again. Yes, they sustained me. Yeah. I'm pretty sick of them. But I grew surprisingly fond of Gatorade. I drank it like crazy.

Now here's the part that's really f***ed up:

As you come down the first out-and-back you run down the same street that leads to the finish line. It is in front of you. You can hear the announcer's booming voice over the cheers of the screaming crown. Strangers are screaming like crazy and waving cow bells at you, screaming, "you've done it! You're an Ironman!"

You try to explain that, now, you're just on your first loop, and could they tell you, please, how to get back out onto the course? and they wave cowbells and you, screaming like crazy. Eventually I saw a friend, Michi, and leaned over and hollered, "how do i get back out?" and she told me to run to the right.

So I did. I ran to the right. As I turned away from the lights and cheering, I headed down a largely dark and empty street, leaving the screaming crowd and booming announcements behind. It grew fainter as I headed back out on to the course, now dark, quieter, and more deserted, about 2 people every block or so, walking along, some more energetically than others, but all were walking. I wanted to finish. I wanted to walk. But I knew that if I didn't run half the time, I never would.

When I'd came into T2, I'd mulled over the idea of just handing in my chip. None of my fantasies, equipment failure, not making the bike cutoff, had come to fruition, so I was thinking of just bagging it. I finally decided to keep going, and by mile 15, I was damned if I was going to not finish now.

...(To be continued, probably after work today. Sorry! 9th-grade Algebra 1 awaits...)

Part 2 of the run, and the finish line.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Spanked by Kentucky

First I want to say how blown away I was by the virtual cheering that went on while I was slogging way across the Kentucky Hills. I'm overwhelmed by it all. Thank you so much!

Second, I've never seen such enthusiastic volunteers in any race. They treat you like royalty. The race is also well-organized and well-run.

Here now, what I can remember about the swim and the bike.

2.4 Mile Swim
This was a great way to start off my experience. Due to the increased flow of the river they had moved the swim start to a more protected inlet next to "toehead island" and the type of start to a first-come, first served seeded start. There is a map of the swim here, which will open in a new window.

The race director had said at the pre-race briefing that the course and cutoffs would be adjusted to when the last swimmer went into the water, so if you're a slower triathlete you'd be better served by being one of the first in the water. That was all the encouragement I needed; I was the eighth one in!

At the beginning of the swim, after the pros went off, the official Kentucky Derby bugler played their "first call" signature song ( marking the beginning of a sporting event and then they seeded us off rapid-fire by running us over the timing mat and off the end of the dock in rapid-fire, "Go! Go! Go!" much like I would expect skhydivers to be fed out of a plane.

I hit the water running and started swimming against a little bit of current up the island, out past the islend into the river current, and then eventually up and around the two buoys at the end, and then down river. I had a pretty good swim, about 1:31. I was pretty motivated to bank as much time as possible for what I knew was going to be a long day on the bike.

I came up out of the water, and there were people there to haul you up. They had been trained to help you with your wetsuit, so since it wasn't wetsuit legal they just unzipped the back of my fast-skin. I was on surprisingly steady legs right away and ran up the chute and down the other side to where my swim-to-bike transition bag was hanging on a numbered peg (we wen't allowed to have items at our bike) and ran into the woman's changing tent.

I had placed my bike shoes on the aerobars of my bike because there was so little room in the bag they gave me with the hydration pack already in there, and the ground, which meant I was going to be putting them on over wet feet. I was hoping they'd dry off in my shoes, forgetting that nothing ever seems to dry when you're this close to a larg body of water. Things just kind of stay damp all the time.

When I entered the changing tent, one person assigned herself to me and helped me on and off with things, putting my swim stuff back into the back I had just vacated and asking how she could help me more. It was the closest I've come to being treated like a pro. I was still damp and so getting dressed in spandex biking clothes was hard. I grappled with my hydration pack and put that on as well, and when finally dressed and ready ran out into the bike racks, where I was surprised to see a lot of bikes still left. I grabbed my bike shoes and put them, my helmet, and ran my bike up the long exit shoot and out onto the road.

112 mile Bike
This is what nearly broke me. Here is a map of the bike, which will open in a new window. We traveled out 42 via River Road, and then there was a short out-and-back returning to 42 before you entered the "LaGrange Loop" which you did twice, before returning to 42 and heading back into LouAville.

The bike was every bit as hilly as the bike profile imagines, and it feels like you're in the Sierras. Long screaming downhills are great but eventually I stopped enjoying them because I knew, I always knew, there'd be a long steep uphill on the other side. Toward the end, when I would crest a hill, I was in tears because my quads hurt so bad, and I had run out of ways to sit comfortably on the saddle.

There was just no end to the hills. I have it on good authority from someone who asked to be nameless that actually, the new bike course at Couer d'Arlen was much easier than this; this was actually what one might expect from Kona. The sun defied the weather prediction and was present most of the day, blasting down on us so that when pedaling uphill in my small chain ring my face was blazing hot.

I also sweated like crazy. I abandoned may nutrition plan and instead just drank solid gatorade all day, making sure to take calories every hour form my Carbo-pro and occasionally drinking plain water with that. Each aid station had a bottle dump as you came in; you would toss your old bottles and then grab a bottle from a waiting voluteer. When you grabbed the Gatorade endurance formula, they had already taken off the seals and opened it for you, and then you stuck it in your bottle cage.

The water was always cold. They also offered bananas and all manner of foods but I was largely focused on the gatorade because it was so hot. I munched on some pringles and fig newtons from time to time, but I estimate that in addition to the 64 ounces of accelerade in my back that I drank 6-8 bottles of gatorade and 2-3 bottles of plain water. I would also occasionally pour some of the plain cold water over my head and back.

It was a long and difficult day. Between mile 40 and 80 my bike computer stopped working, so I had no idea how fast I was going or my average speed. My resolve, and my energy level, were dropping dramatically. Emotionally, I was in bad spirits and much less invested in finishing what had now, in my mind, become "this stupid race." I had been passed by nearly every person in the race, including going up hills, and at this point, I. Hated. Everyone.

At mile 60 I finally pulled over, went to the bathroom, and got my "special needs bag" and had a coke, which lit a fire under my ass for the next 25 miles or so, but the hills got to me, sure they did.

Eventually, as the day went on, I trying not to cry and was really wishing for mechanical failure, so that I could leave the course with dignity. There was just no end to the hills. There were few flats or places where you could just lay in your aero bars and fewer chances to get up out of the saddle and stretch. Eventually I just started screaming my favorite curse words at the next hills, but as my energy flagged I just muttered, MOTHERF$%&R whenever I saw the next hill.

As I passed through the LaGrange loop, I had to smile - people were out and screaming like crazy. They rang cowbells and honked horns. More than one an SUV pulled up next to me out in the country and someone honked and rang a cowbell, which I'm sure was meant well but scared the hell out of me at the time! People were in the front yards, in front of churches, in front of elementary schools with signs and pleanty of cheer, and it only slightly abated as late as 3 in the afternon. There was some serious cheer love in LaGrange Kentucky yesterday!

Men argued with wives as they were going into church, according to Baboo, who heard at least one argument about how "we can go to chuch any time; there's this sporting even going on, and we need to cheer for the people in it!"

In the last 25 miles I was hauling ass to make it to transition before the bike cutoff, plus I was angry. Angry at my weak legs and those damned, unending hills. In the middle part of the course, my desire to leave the course with mechanical failure was thwarted by ever-present and helpful bike mechanics who seemed to almost pop out of the bushes.

I wished ferverently for my crank to fall off. They checked it and found it tight. I said that my tires felt soft. They said they were fine. They fixed my bike computer and I realized how much the hills were taking out of my time. I started pedaling like crazy, ignoring the growing pain in my right foot, my ass, my hoo-hoo, and the clear signs that I was pretty-badly sunburned on my back. I passed one woman who had simply pulled over and was standing there, motionless, with her head in her hands, fifteen miles from the finish.

At the same time, beginning about mile 70, I was wishing someone would come and pull my chip. Oh, how I wanted that to happen! In my fantasy, I would be all dramatic and sink to my knees, being all like, "no! No! I wanted to finish!" while secretly being relieved and wandering down to the finish line to drink cool drinks and wait for Baboo to come in. In another fantasy, I simply walked into transition and handed them my chip and said, "Fuck Kentucky. Fuck Ironman."

But that never happened. I hauled ass in, averaging 16-17 mph on the last 20 miles, and they nodded at me all the way to the end, and shut down the bike course about 5 minutes after I arrived. As I ran through the "bike in" entrance a volunteer asked me, "can I take your bike?"

Fuck yeah, buddy. You can take my bike. Take it away. I don't ever want to see it again, or its evil seat. My right foot hurt like hell; for the past 30 miles my middle toe felt like someone was hitting it with a hammer; I don't know what that was all about. My feet were white on the bottom from having been in wet socks all day. My ass felt like I'd been spanked continuously for 9 hours. Which, of course, I had. I'd been spanked by Kentucky and it's "rolling hills."

Note to the viewer: do not put "sore butt" or "spanking" into the Google image search. Just. Don't.

later: The run, part 1 and the run, part 2 (and finish)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Race Day Haikus 発句

Remember when you were little and your mom used to yell (or maybe it was your dad, or grandparent, or whomever) SHUT THE DOOR; DO YOU THINK I WANT TO AIR-CONDITION THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD?!?!

Well, apprently someone with childhood issues from that sort of exchange is working them out, because, indeed, they are air conditioning the whole neighborhood here in LouAville.

We went down and visited the area where the finish line will be set up, and found that it has "out door air-conditioning". I'm torn; I don't know whether to be horrified by the global warming ramifications of this or somewhat thrilled that my finish line will be air conditioned. It will be nice for the people waiting, which means I might get a lot of screaming when I come down the chute (knock on, em, where is some, okay, WOOD) from the folks who are there, cool, and have been partying all night. What the hell; I'll get it however I can take it.

We've requested a 2:45 am wake up call.

My transition bags are hanging on pegs in a sea of 2000 other transition bags.

My bike is racked in a sea of 2000 other bikes.

I'll leave you, for now, with my last pre-race haikus:

In a sea of bikes

mine waits for me to find it

and ride to last place


It's all over but

the sweating, swearing and the

shouting of my name.



Morning Swim, the Sequel. Haiku.

High priced swimming gear,

you'd better make me faster,

rubber money suit!

I really do feel like this made me faster today. The thought of that wicked current kept me awake much of the night worrying, so what a relief! The swim was much easier, and I'm pretty sure the current was the same. I stayed close to the edge, too, which helped, but eventually I had to cut across the current, twice, and it was easier that yesterday.
As a bonus, the wind was gusting in the direction opposite the current, so I had lots of waves slapping me in the face. It was a good time to be a bilateral breather.

I made out to one of the closer buoys in 15 minutes. It took 5 minutes to get back. (I was only supposed to swim about 500 meters per the Jimmy) The combination of the current and waves is largely offset by the warmth of the water, so there isn't the usual panicky feeling associated with cold water. (However, that was slightly offset by the outgasing that liquids do when they are warm. It's just a LEETLE bit funky in the river)

It was interesting to note those who thought that they could just cut across a fast moving current to get to the dock instead of angling their approach. If gambling is a tax on those who don't understand math, then I guess open water swimming can be a tax and those who don't understand physics. :-)

We also rode the first 7-8 miles of the bike course out today. It's really a nice road, but there was a stiff headwind coming back. That will be nice going out, but most unwelcome after pedaling for 100 miles. Other than some bumpiness in the first 4 miles or so of the course, the rest seems to be smooth as glass.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Packet pickup and race expo, a haiku

Endless stickers, bags

we march like lemmings and then

buy all things Mdot.

Okay. I'm not going to keep writing haikus forever, I promise.

Today's real title: Gear sluts do Louisville.

At packet pickup we received a sheet of 10 stickers with our name and number printed on each: 2 each for the 5 bags: morning clothes, swim-to-bike transition, bike special foods bag, bike-to-run transition, run special foods. Note that it says "special foods," and not "special needs". We are advised that we will not get these bags back after the race; pak accordingly. We also received an Ironman Head sweats running cap and assorted other items.

The bike number is interesting, really thick plastic, I mean like 1/4 inch thick, like the kind that kiddie outdoor play stuff is made from.

Sweet Baboo
and I went down to the dinner, where I met up with Dying Water Buffalo, who neither looks nor sounds nothing like one, no matter how much she insists, and Duane, and Mary Sunshine.
I forgot to take pictures, but Duane did, so I may steal some off his blog if/when he posts them.
I was all set to have a mint julep after dinner, because this is Loo-uh-ville (as I have been told is the proper pronunciation) but when chatting at the morning swim was told that, in reality, mint juleps kinda suck, so I had some sort of Southern Comfort concoction instead.

Oh, but here's some details on this morning's swim. Okay. Well, after swimming out past the little protected area, I swam in place for quite some time and then decided, screw this, I wasn't supposed to swim until tomorrow anyway.

Then after leaving the slightly funky, but very warm, water I met up with some fellow outlaws who informed me that we were all going to sneak over to the "real" start, which is in a protected little inlet, and try a swim there.

I walked over barefoot about 3/4 of a mile and arrived there at the same time as a boat full of Ironman do-gooders who, and I know they are just doing their jobs, shooed us away. Booooooooo. Hisssssssss.

I did stick around and chat with some who had been in the water, who assured me that the swim in the inlet was far different from being in the main current.

Then I walked back to the swim area, barefoot, and met up with Sweet Baboo who informed me that it took him 33 minutes to swim about a 500 meters, but only 6 minutes to swim back. Which did nothing for my rapidly increasing feelings of anxiety about the swim, which normally i don't worry about.

At the expo, I bought the following M-dot items: a girlie pink tank top, red running shirt, and bra top. I also bought a new Timex watch heartrate thingy, because my old one was showing its age and beside, I left it at home. I need one to sound the alarm every 15 minutes on the bike so that I would be sure to eat and drink and then every 5 minutes on the run (run-run-walk).

Sweet Baboo and I each also purchased a Blue-Seventy Point-Zero3 swim suit, which I've been told will make me fast, fast, fast and is perfectly legal and allowable in all swims in which wetsuits are not allowed. Like this one.

And yes, it was apallingly expensive.

FYI, they were out of all women's large, and I normally wear a woman's ML in Blue Seventy everything, so I bought a man's medium long, which fits perfectly.

As a bonus, this thing makes me look FABULOUS: taut and fit in a way that wet suits never did. seriously. I wish I could wear one under all my clothes.

Later in the afternoon we drove the bike course, just so all my pre-race anxiety could come rushing back to greet me and the voices in my head could chastize me for buying anything with an M-dot on it and jinxing everything.

Tomorrow, another try at swimming the Ohio river to see just if the pointzero3 lives up to the promise, on people other than Desiree Flick and Normal Stadtler, I mean. Then, it will be dropping off bags and gear, and a short bike, but mostly resting and a visit to Imax.


Ironman practice swim, high current. [modified] haiku

To the river's edge
I, and the iron lemmings

[swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and
swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and
swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and
swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and
swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and
swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and swam and]
went two yards backwards.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Uh, Ex-effing-SCUSE ME?

Will that include our plane ticket prices? Huh?

Bikes, Baggage, Boxes, and Bull$hit.

There is an episode of SouthPark in which Mr/Mrs. Garrison gets so angry at the airlines that he invents a newer way to travel, called "It." The mode he invents involves pumping thrusters in both hands and having a control stick up your rectum, and another in your mouth, in order to operate it. However, as one person using IT points out, "It's still better than what the airlines do to you."

I haven't flown in several years, so I was amused at the Southpark episode, but I wouldn't say it exactly ressonated with me, until today.

We arrived at the Albuquerque sunport with two bike boxes (VELO-. SAFE) which, I will note, attracted a lot of attention. They are large enough to hold a small child. Two small children, actually. They roll easily on wheels, but we took the advice of someone who had borrowed one of them to do Ironman Lake Placid and stuffed all our transition gear into them around the bikes. At the airport, we hoisted them up onto the scale.

My bike box - 80 pounds.
Sweet Baboo's bike box - 80.5 pounds.

"I can't take anything over 70 pounds," the agent said apologetically. He then showed us a sign in order to show us....what? That he wasn't just making it up?

It would have been much more useful to have known that BEFORE arriving at the airport. Like, for instance, when we asked the agent over the phone if the bike boxes would be a problem. "No problem," we were told. Nothing about weight limits.

It occurs to me that I dimly recollect having heard of a weight limit per piece of luggage before, but it's one of those facts that you so rarely use that it falls out of your head almost immediately, kinda like your children's social security number. Or the address of that person you want the school to notify in case of emergency with your child when you can't be reached.

SOOOOO, we pulled down the velcro buckle covers, unbuckled the buckles, and released the two straps that go around the bike boxes, and pulled off the lid. Noisily. Hmmm. What to ditch, what to keep. I pulled out two bags that I figured added up to about 15 pounds or so and put them aside to weigh. I put them on the scale. Baboo likewise pulled out two bags and set them aside, then dashed upstairs to see if he could buy a suitcase. Mercifully, Albuquerque Sunport is a small airport.

I put my two bags onto the scale. 11.5 pounds. Good guess. Okay, that means my bike box is now 69.5 pounds, so I'm golden.

I put the lid back on the bike box, refastened the security straps, rebuckled the buckles that hold the lid on, and fastened the velcro covers back over the buckles, then pulled the bike box back up onto the scale.

60 pounds.

Uh? I only *teach* math, I'm not, like, a mathematician; however, it's safe to assume that I can add and subtract. 80 pounds take away 11.5 pounds, hmm, should be 69.5 pounds; where did those other 9.5 pounds go? This means I can put another bag back into the box.

SOOOO, I pulled down the velcro buckle covers, unbuckled the buckles, and released the two straps that go around the bike boxes, and pulled off the lid. Noisily. I put the heavier bag back into the box. Then, I put the lid back on the bike box, refastened the security straps, rebuckled the buckles that hold the lid on, and fastened the velcro covers back over the buckles, then clean-jerked the bike box back up onto the scale.

(It is worth noting that just having a large truck-sized box measuring 30'' tall by 16'' wide by 5 feet long attracks enough attention without the constant noise of putting on and pulling off the lids. Standing in line with the airport with two such bike-in-a-box is unusual enough. Then, of course, you throw in all the cussing under my breath, and I had lots of curious onlookers and stimulating conversation openers such as, "wow, is that a bike?" when I had the lid off.)
So anyway. I hoisted the bike box back onto the scale.

70.5 pounds.


I flapped my arms useless at my side, looking at Sweet baboo to make it better and just then, as if by magic, the scale changed to 70 pounds.

By now I was beginning to suspect that there were no electronics, no chip, just a tiny little man inside the scale who looked out at the bag and, depending on his mood, estimated the weight of the bag. The scale stopped at 70 pounds, but every time a ticket agent walked by and moved the air, it would say 70.5 pounds briefly because AMAZINGLY, even at 5200 feet altitutude, that agent was able to general a half pound of aid pressure onto that box.

Sweet Baboo had returned with a lime green suitcase that, at least, we'll find easier in a sea of black bags. We stuffed the extra bags into it. Then we checked the bags. He hoisted his box up onto the scale.

43 pounds.

Now I was convinced of my little man in the scale theory.

Whatever. We finished the bags thing and then our next order of business was to try to remedy the fact that, despite buying the two plane tickets at exactly the same time with the same credit card, we were on opposite ends of the plane in all of our fights. That was remedied easily enough. Then it was a brief breakfast at Gordunos and coffee at the Black Mesa coffee company.

In case you haven't flown lately, some things I know now that I wasn't aware of before this morning, when flying, FYI:

  • Your hearing aid won't set off the metal detector.
  • But your shoes might. Take them off.
  • You cannot take any kind of beverage, sealed or unsealed, though security.
  • You have to take your laptop out of the bag and put it in a separate tray and send it through the x-ray which, they promised me, was perfect safe. (It was).
  • Flights can be, and often are, delayed or even canceled without warning. THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! BECAUSE WE'RE THE AIRLINES, THAT'S WHY! BWAHAHAHAHAH!
  • Unlike your local coffee shop, airport wi-fi isn't free. Except in Albuquerque. Beautiful, SUNNY Albuquerque.
  • Just because they're wearing earphones doesn't mean you aren't going to hear whatever it is they are listening to.
  • There's a very good chance you'll sit next to someone who smells funny. Not me; I had a window seat. Sweet Baboo, on the other hand, was crammed in between me and an older lady who was, um, smelly.
  • There will be at least one example of poor planning who didn't realize until she GOT ON THE PLANE that the seat numbers on her ticket have a meaning, and that they were different on her and the rest of her family's tickets because that means they are in different seats. Firsy she'll try to just sit in random seats that are not hers. Then she will stand ineptly in the isle asking everyone to give up her seat for her until the flight attendant steps in and asks her to sit down, while a line forms behind her of people waiting to get to their seat. She won't care that she is inconveniencing others. She will complain loudly until some super nice person finally gives up their seat to make her shut up and sit down. That super nice person wasn't me, by the way. I was watching the drama but not participating.

  • The constant sound of children crying isn't just for Seinfeld episodes. And in real life, it's not as funny.

  • You will worry constantly about your bike making it to wherever it is you are going. More than you worry about things you used to worry about before you did triathlons, like, will I be killed if we crash. Nope. You'll just worry about your gear making it safely

  • The orange juice they serve does not have the requisite vodka in it that one needs for flying coach.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ohio River Update

"...The current temperature of the [Ohio] river as measured at depths ranging from 18" to 6' in the area in front of Joe's Crab shack was a very consistant and uniform 85.3 degrees Fahrenheit today at 6:30pm...

"Tuesday morning (8/21) update at 6:40am in front of Joe' Crab shack Air temperature - 80 F. Water temperature from 18" to 8' depth - 84.6 F... "


Y'all got your bikinis and speedos at the ready??

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Today was my last "long" workout, about 40 miles of cycling during which, I'm happy to report, my crank did NOT fall off. During the 40 miles, I did a lot of thinking, mostly planning for the race. I've done a lot of training and have had a chance to try out lots of different things: what to eat, drink, and wear. So here's my plan:

First, I'm leaving the race wheels at home. They're tubeless, and I'm not as confident about changing those as I am a tube. My road wheels will be fine for my purposes, and I have my trusty Kevlar Hard-Case tires on them, and I can carry several tubes in less space than I can carry several tubeless tires.

Nutrition: I'll be wearing my Diablo hydration pack, which holds 64 ounces of fluid (Nuun) Not only does the fluid stay colder in this pack, but when it rests against my back it feels cool. I've tested it on every long bike I've done and many of my long runs. Every fifteen minutes, I'll drink some of my Nuun. On the hour, a drink of my Carbo-pro, which will be in a squirt bottle on my bike. On the half hour, solid food, alternating between two fig Newtons and 4-6 pringles. The goal for drinking is 20 ounces every 10 miles, and at least 400 calories per hour. I'll be carrying the Fig Newtons and Pringles in my bento box, with spares in my hydration pack, along with a tube of Noon.

To wear:
After the swim, I'll change into my Terry Clincher tank. I heart this tank - it's got a high neck and a single strap between my shoulder blades in the back, and a nice, loose waist with three large pockets across the back. I'm wearing it with my She-beest sprint shorts, which have a kind of lower waist in front and shorter inseem. They're pretty comfortable. I'm going to wear them with my favorite socks.

The Run:
For the run, I'm going to take along gels, an inhaler, and ecaps. I'll drink water from the aid stations, a gel every 2-3 miles, and ecaps on the hour. I'm considering carrying a bottle that I'll fill up from time to time so that I don't have to stop at every aid station. I'm still thinking about this. I'm thinking about getting one of these "Nathan" belts. I've run with waist packs before and liked them. Given the choice, I prefer not to carry things in my hands when I run.

For the run, I'm going to change into my Patagonia Active Top and Moving Comfort Peak Fitness Shorts, both being very soft, wicking, and comfortable thing I've ever worn for running. The shorts are great for gals like me who lack Inner Thigh Clearance. The entire inseam is cotton lined.

Of course, it goes without saying that I'll be wearing the pink uber-sexy Injinji toe socks...which are just so insanely sexy it's a shame they have to hide inside my New Balance 767's, which are the best long-run shoes for me, stability with cushioning.

Round out the ensemble with Msr GarMEAN and his heart strap, so I can keep an eye on my heartrate throughout the day and well as my pace. I just hope GarMEAN can last that long on a charge. We'll see. I have a bike computer but it doesn't seem to be properly calibrated.

OKAY. So much the stuff I have control over...NOW for the weather forecast, according to Intellicast, here's the current forecast for Louisville 7 days from today:

I also used "MAP MY RUN" to do a profile of the run course. There's a bit of a climb at the out-and-back turnaround. You do that part of the course twice. Otherwise, it's mostly flat.

that's enough obsessing for today, I think. Time to start cleaning. Sweet Baboo comes home tonight!


Saturday, August 18, 2007

BIB numbers.

Bib numbers for Ironman Louisville are posted. Including folks I know that will be there... Edited from time to time

Sweet baboo, 1539
Ricky V, 1975
the Lone Ranger, 974
Kevin 231
Bones Mackenzie, 1227
"Wingman" aka "Sharkbait," 1709
Iron Snoopy 84
Moose 1603
Mary Sunshine, 2051

Oh, and mine: 1540

Did I forget anyone?

I woke up in my messy bed today with a penny stuck to my left breast. I hope that's lucky.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Tired, I am. Yes.

I went for a swim tonight and felt like bricks were attached to my arms. I barely finished it, I was so tired and bored. While waiting for Pirate to show up for the swim, I nodded off three times, so I finally went and got in the pool to wake myself up.

This morning I got up and ran 7 miles, faster than I usually do, but that was pretty much it for the day.

As the day went on, I got more and more tired. I finally took the kids outside to work, which was good for all of us. As one of my students stood up to walk outside, he whined, "I'm tired. They made me run a mile, Miss!"

And I said, "Hmmmph. Lightweight!"

I was so tired that I was all set to blow off my swim workout, which is actually yesterday's workout. Then Pirate called me and asked if I needed to swim. Um. Do I need to swim? Need to? Hmm.

Dammit, I guess I did. Which is why I was sitting falling asleep in the reception area at the gym.

Well, as I wrote earlier, my crank fell off Saturday at the beginning of what was supposed to be a 60 mile ride. As I've learned, the bad shifting problem I was experiencing is a symptom of such an event.

The Rockette was taken in to the bike doctor, and when I went to pick it up on Thursday, the guy said, basically, "As I was telling your husband, it doesn't look too bad, but there's about a 50 percent chance that it might fall off again. If it does, it will be within about the next fifty miles."

So let's break this down:
  1. It's very possible that my crank may fall off again.
  2. If my crank is going to fall off, it will be within the next fifty miles.
  3. If it doesn't, it probably won't fall off.
Now, as it turns out, I've already gone 30 miles, and tomorrow, I'm doing another 40, so if it's going to fall off it will be tomorrow. If that happens, I'll have to have another put on. They don't have exactly the one I have, but they do have a DuraAce one that can put it on before I fly out Thursday morning.

I'm kind of nervous about this. Pirate says I should call a different Bike doctor and get a second opinion. I'm tempted because I'd rather fly out with a new crank on Thursday than with one that's already fallen off once. A crank that falls off is a disloyal part. I want loyal parts, parts that don't fall off.

Anyway. I'm not getting any less tired typing away, so I'm going to bed. Here's my workout for the next 9 days:

Saturday - 40 mile easy ride.
Sunday - 5 mile run, 1500 m swim
Monday - 0ff
Tuesday - 1000m swim, 25 mile bike, 4 mile run
Wendesday - Off
Thursday - Afternoon 3 mile run
Friday - 15 mile ride on part of the IM bike course
Saturday - 500 meter swim in the Ohio river
Sunday - Ironman Louisville


Things I Do When Sweet Baboo Isn't Around.

1. I return, time and again, to the house to get the things I should have brought to my workouts. Like bike shoes. And the wheels for my bike. Life without Sweet Baboo becomes a series of necessary checklists I have to consult before I do anything, because there's nobody around to say, "Did you bring your inhaler? Do you have your running shoes? How about your goggles? Did you bring anything to drink?"

2. Things eventually pile up all over the bed until I have to sleep in weird convoluted positions.

3. I stay up too late and fall asleep in front of the TV. I've decided this is because I really don't like the silence.

4. I don't eat well. I forget to eat, and reactively stuff a few things in my mouth when it occurs to me, and they usually aren't healthy things. I eat leaning over the sink, or in my car, instead of sitting down to a proper meal.

5. My life becomes engulfed in afterthought, instead of forethought, and I wonder around with the ever present thought in my head, "Now, why did I come in here."

6. The other ever-present thought in my kead becomes, "now, where did I put that?"

7. I talk to Mini-baboo too much. I think this burdens him.

8. I do things without really thinking them through. For instance, I might leave the ironing board up, pointing through the bathroom door, because it seems efficient and is near an outlet, and it's right there if I need it. If Sweet Baboo were around, he might ask, gently, "Are you sure you want to do that? That looks like something you might walk into stomach first in the middle of the night after going to the bathroom." (Because, indeed, it was.)

9. In fact there are piles of stuff everywhere, not just on the bed.

10. In fact, the bed is much less a bed than it is a pile of stuff under which I sleep. The covers get all weird and aren't tucked in and aligned properly, so that my feet stick out of the sheet and the blanket only half covers me.

11. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. Since there's nobody else around I turn on the light and write dumb posts and emails read random Wikipedia entries.

12. I spend too much time on the phone (Sorry, Pirate) and waiting for the phone to ring.

13. I worry constantly about things, like when the bike guy says, "there's a 50% chance your crank might fall off again." Um, huh? Yeah. (More on that later.) I generally just worry much less when Sweet Baboo is around. When he's here, it's like a big bubble of protection is around me.

14. I get headachy, probably as a result of not eating or sleeping properly.

15. The night before Sweet Baboo is likely to return, I race around putting stuff in their proper places and getting rid of the piles of stuff all over the bed, so that the house looks as organized and neat and it should look for a proper human being living in a proper house. I also start making a real meal.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Calm, ready, and waiting.

So tonight I dragged out the PDF file of the Louisville course and Google Earth, and tried to do a virtual flyover of the bike course.

Is it just me or does being a triathlete have a requisite amount of obsessing one must be willing to do? I visit the 10 day forecast almost daily.

Tonight was Turbo bricks with the Jimmy. We do running intervals alternating with spinning on our bikes on trainers.

This was my last Turbo Brick workout until after the Ironman tonight. It was 95 degrees out, but we were working in the shade, and despite the heat, I was okay. Not ecstatic, mind you, but okay. I think I've reached the point where, given enought water, I can tolerate just about anything.

I've reached a stage in which I feel calm. I have accepted my fate. That doesn't sound positive, but focus on the work "accept" just for a moment.

It's like my friend Holly used to say to me, "What are they gonna do, take away your birthday?"

I can look forward to doing my best, and knowing that my best is a little better than it was a few months ago.

What's done is done.

Training time is over.

The course lays before me.

For everything I've read, it's a beautiful course. Rolling hills and many shady spotsl, starting with a 10 mile flat and ending with the same.

Sweet Baboo is hundreds of miles away at the APA convention. We've always gone to this together, but this year my only days off are being used at Ironman Louisville. Whenever he's gone, I always watch Bridget Jones' Diary.

I love this movie. My favorite part is where the character of Mark Darcy tells Bridget Jones that he likes her just as she is. Not apart from all her flaws, but including them.

I like this part because it reminds me to like myself, not inspite of my flaws, but including them.

And then there is that moment when the antagonist offers her a life in which he has settled for her, and she says, "That's not a good enough offer for me...I'm looking for something more extraordinary than that."

I suppose that's what I'm looking for in this life. Extraordinary events that I can be a part of. And in the end, whether I officially finish or not, I've had the chance to be part of something extraordinary.

To start something that not many will ever start, and possibly, finish something that even fewer have finished, that is a life worth living.

So that's where I am right now.

Calm. Ready, and Waiting.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's all over but the swearing, sweating, and crying.

12 days until the day of reckoning. the training is officially done, and now I'm hydrating and carb loading.

I've done a lot of stuff in my life that I shouldn't have been able to do. Most of that stuff, though, was done with sheet stubborness and quick thinking. I'm not so sure that will be enough to get me through this. This takes, um, some physical ability. My training is largely done. Was it enough? I'll know in 12 days. It was the most I've ever done. We'll see soon enough if it was enough.

I've never given up on anything at all, except maybe the Grady Williams when I got lost last year. I've even cried and dreamed of giving up during two other triathlons, because I was so damned tired, but I never did.

WHY on earth do I do this. Oy. I've decided that I have a strong need to be a codependent martyr. Yeah, that's it. But, since I'm married to a Sweet Baboo, in a normal and healthy relationship, my subconscience craves for some sort of codependent relationship.

I have found this in triathlon.

Like an abused wife, I'll come back again and again, making all sorts of excuses as to why I put up with the fatigue and wear and tear and expense of triathlon and say, weakly, things like,
"you know, when I'm not aching and dead tired, I'm really having fun."

But anyway.

I have to think positive. Okay.

Positive. Think happy thoughts.

Now, I've been accused of having an unrealistic optimism at times by Sweet Baboo, but even I can't come up with a daily happiness list of ten happy things like Mary Sunshine has done. She's aptly named! I can do one list, though.

I need to do this to take my mind off the feeling of dread and nausea and worry that finds its way into my subconscience these days.

So here they are, ten happy things. things that make me happy.

1) I'm happy that I'm healthy enough to even consider trying an Ironman.

2) I'm happy that I'm married to a Sweet Baboo who encourages me in this craziness. I know there are folks out there whose partners are less than supportive. I'm very fortunate.

3) I'm happy that Andie genuinely though that I was ten years younger than I am. It bears mentioning again because it's been a long time since anyone asked me for my ID while buying my occasional Jose Cuervo margaritas.

4) I'm happy that I have a job where I can get time off to do this. There are some people who have jobs where they are fired if they have a sick kid. For all my grousing about my job, I have to say that working for a school means that your employers are nothing if not family friendly.

5) I'm happy that when I turned the corner tonight and caught my reflection unexpectedly in a window, I was struck with how much thinner I am than I used to be. If I didn't know myself, I might be thinking, "why, she looks rather fit."

6) Speaking of which, I'm happy about a certain coworker who I recently met, who asked if I was a runner or something because I look pretty fit. At times when I'm ruminating over my extra belly or who lumpy I think I look in bike shorts, I can come back to this moment.

7) I'm happy to be sitting in this little bistro, sipping my coffe and tapping away on my laptop. Pretty soon I'll join Pirate for an evening swim workout and then go home to a good night's sleep. I have a wonderful life.

8) I'm happy that, succeed or fail, August 26th I'll be headed out on my own two legs.

9) I'm happy to have three kids that think I was a pretty good mom, which is astonishing for so many reasons I just can't go into now. I'm happy they stay in contact with me, although not as often as I'd like.

10) I'm happy to be living in an age where medical science has advanced me to this point. I have asthma, and astigmatism, am horridly nearsighted and have been operated on, twice, for a
tumor in my middle ear. Yet, here I am, ready to swim, bike, and run.

Yep, Swim, bike, and run.

Time's up. I'm going for a swim.



Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stupid Triathlon Trick #14

Today's Stupid Triathlon Trick is, "Don't maintain your bike."

Remember yesterday when I talked about how hard it was to get my bike to shift properly? Yeah. Well, once stuff like that starts happening, it's usually a messge from above.

And that message is this:

"Get your bike tuned, stupid."

I ignored that message. I had a long ride today and figure I could squeeze one more bike ride out of the Rockette before taking it into the shop.

Of course, I discovered right away that this was going to be a small chain ring day. The bike simply would not switch onto the big ring, no matter how much I begged and threatened.

I can remember when that was all I needed.
Big chain ring? Pah.
That was only for going down hill.

But now, after all my practice rides I've actually made some, ya know, progress, and so today I was spinning at a really high cadence, for me, much more than I'm used to. Breathing heavy, but feeling good.
I was thinking that at least, this would be a chance to practice high cadence. For sixty miles. Oh, well. I've got my favorite bike shorts, cycling top, and hydration vest. Bring it on!

and god said, "HA!"

Suddenly, my foot was free. Frowning, I looked down at it. Had it slipped off the pedal? Unlikely. I have the tightest pedals in the world....usually takes much effort and swearing to get locked in and much effort to get unlocked as I coast to stops, just before I fall over.

I leaned over further. No, actually, the pedal was still firmly attached to my foot.
Yep, there they were, the pedal and crank arm.
Dangling from and attached to my bike shoe.
Not to the bike,
Hmmm. Pretty sure this is not one of those quick fix things, like, say, a flat.

I coasted to a stop, and Pirate took one look, and said, "Your ride is over." then she said, "I'd be pissed." I considered briefly whether no shifting and one pedal meant the ride was over, and then I had to admit that it was.

At first, I felt uber studly. I'd pedaled the crank right off my bike. BOOYAH!

But that soon gave way to regret. I'd neglected a friend. This is an example of a desperately uncared for Rockette, on whom I've put nearly 700 miles this summer with no tune up. Don't try this at home, kids.

We sent Pirate's Beloved and Sweet Baboo back for the car whilst we turned around and I pedaled one-legged for about 5 miles. Ever do ILT's? I used to grumble and grouse when the Jimmy made us do them. Today, I was thankful.

Occasionally, I had to shift my weight as ever more components began to complain about the neglect and more recent off-balanced pedaling and started acting crazy. Eventually the guys showed up with the car and we loaded the Rockette into it.

No bike shops open today. Of course, my training bike is still missing a wheel, so that's out.

No ride today.

... Boo.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Last Sprint for a While (race report)

Socorro Chili Harvest Sprint Triathlon was held today in Socorro, New Mexico. They had a change of venue for this year since the city was doing some work on the city pool, and used the pool on the campus of New Mexico Tech instead. I liked the new venue.

This is my last event before Ironman Louisville, which is two weeks from tomorrow.

I recommend this little race to anyone who wants to do a sprint. The bike course is a bit of a challenge, but not overwhelming. More importantly, the Socorro Striders and Riders, who put it on, are increadibly enthusiastic. The overall winners of this little sprint received Nambe chilis. I actually got to touch one...

This sprint starts with a seeded swim. The whole thing is timed by CCRTiming, and they've got this whole seeded swim thing down to a "T". My swim was slower than I've done it before, with an average pace of 2:37/100 meters compared to last year's pace of 2:35.

My T1 was faster than last year by over a minute. I attribute this to the fact that I no longer walk from the pool and then sit down while I dry off my feet, put on my socks, drink some juice, look around, think about life....

Instead, I now have *finally* worked my way into the ability to at least trot through transition, where I have my towel sitting with nothing on it. I stomp on it to dry my feet while I'm grabbing my helmet. Then I shove my feet into my shoes, sockless, grab my bike, and head for the exit running. Well, Okay. Trotting.

It also saves you time in T1 if you skip those little details, like grabbing your prescription sunglasses, or checking to see that your aerobottle is properly secured before you take off on the fairly bumpy bike course. Just a tip....

Well, luckily for me they had marked hazardous areas in the road. Big yellow chalk sawteeth even my nearsighted peepers can see, and how could I miss the the many enthusiastic volunteers waving and pointing with their whole bodies at the turns?

I felt like I was really pushing it, but it didn't show in the results: my average speed was a bit lower and my overall time on the 20K bike split was almost 6 minutes slower.

At T2, I dug into my transition bag and grabbed my sunglasses, put my running flats on, with no socks, and my hat, and took off running the mostly flat run. I felt pretty good, and kept a 10:50 pace, with is pretty momentous for me at the end of a triathlon. My pace was over a minute per mile faster than last year.

I was hoping to beat my nemesis, Karen, but alas, this was not to be, as she smoked me. Just. Smoked. Me.

I think she finished a full 9 minutes ahead of me. The enigmatic Lena S. showed up and beat us both, and then disappeared again, damnit, before awards. I still don't know what she looks like. Dammit, dammit, dammit!

Mini-baboo: 2nd place, 15-17 AG
Sweet Baboo: 1st place, Clydesdales. and that's with a taped calf. I'll let him tell you about that.
Me: 3rd place, Athena

I'm happy to report also that the Jimmy has changed my scheduled 110 mile bike ride tomorrow a 60 mile bike ride. Whew.

SW TriGirl was there. Dread Pirate was also there. You should go nag her until she posts a report. She'd like that.

Next event: Ironman Louisville on August 26th. The dread and nausea and worry have already begun, thanks very much.


OH, one more thing. Like to give a shout out to Andie, who thought I was 10 years younger than I am. Ohhhhh, I feel so good...



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