Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas is here!

Phew, I made it.

Actually, I think I might have been getting used to all of that! Crazy.

A wonderful Christmas to you all, and thanks for following me along the way. I'm glad it's over, but I'm stronger for having gone through it.

And the greatest thing is that well, all of the clothes I have no time to wear no longer fit.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

T minus something

Simple math is beyond me.

24 more hours until Christmas is here (yeah yeah, but you get my meaning)

ppl at work are getting a bit punchy though... It's getting pretty hysterical, actually.

In the morning we've been arriving to polish the very expensive wine glasses from the night before. During this time we talk and laugh, sometimes for the last time that day. This morning was no different.

The biggest joke right now? Something crappy happens, and we all say with our most cheerful voices: "Best Christmas ever, Best Christmas ever!" Sounds stupid, but it makes us LAUGH.

Today was crappy money again. Still more than I would have made otherwise. I succumbed to the chinese takeout monster, realizing I wasn't going to make it if I didn't have at least one square today. Chicken (meow) and broccoli hopefully weren't too bad.

One more. Cheers to GhostMonster, err, I mean GhostWriter. You're doin' a bang up job here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

T minus approx. 29 hours

So the report from the endurance course this morning around 9:30 was even more grim than yesterday. Luckily there was no running to the start line again, but after sleeping through two alarms and miserably dragging herself out of bed, the TriZilla monster was sounding an awful lot like Olga the german nurse... I'm telling you, if she can survive these next 29 hours, Ironman will be a WALK IN THE PARK.

So into T1 (the parking lot of the restaurant, remember?) things were moving pretty slowly but the sense of humor appeared to be in tact and the homing device installed in her brain was tracking accurately toward the super duper coffee/espresso mixture reserved only for emergencies. The game plan for the second leg (lunch, will ya keep up!?) was to keep moving thru the severe pain in her feet until she achieved a state of blissful numbness. I'm told this is remains to be seen. We'll need a report on how the game plan panned out for sure.

The other obstacle today was that, despite the great suggestions from yesterday, it turns out that unless you have time to go GET those foods from the store, they don't magically appear in transition when you're ravenously ready to eat. Tri Z reported leaving for the rat race with less than adequate nutrition this morning. And chances are that the gravy train lunch food offered to the double shift divas will be some food about which Morgan Spurlock might decide to make his next documentary. What's a Tri Girl to do?? Answer: lose another pound. Let's hope two whole days off (Sun and Mon) will go a long way toward rest and nourishment. Might not be enough for a full recovery but we'll have to see...

The last challenge right now is that focus and mental toughness are essential...TriZ's gotta work to stay in the moment and not reveal herself to the beast that is this 72 hour endurance event. She reported being full of doubts about her swimming, biking and running...and feeling as though her current training regimen isn't helping her move toward Timberman HIM preparedness. So what say we all chime in and assure her, as best you know how, that once the holidays are over she'll be ready to hit the gym with her svelt athletic physique and start to re-build the machine that will conquer the 70.3 distance come August.

What say you? Offer up some comment love and assure this tri beast that it's all going to be ok...that she's not too late, there's still plenty of time to get her tri geek on and as long as she can endure the mental and physical challenges remaining in 2006, that 2007 will be the best year ever for this Tri Diva!!!

Show me the love, people!!! The Tri monster needs you!!!

Ghostwriter, OUT!



Home. Tired. But I've felt worse.

Made crappy money, but it's more money than I would have made if I had been at home, eh?

Had a great time with some customers - Some ppl are just so nice.

And then there's the one. The ONE female.

Ok, I messed up her dessert. It turns out that we have two (count them) TWO cheesecake specials. I brought out the wrong one. Then I got it right. Went back a min later to see if she liked it. She points at it and says, "CHEESECAKE!" And gives me this LOOK.

I look her square in the face, smiling (sorta). "Ma'am, I promise you, I don't make the same mistake twice. That is what you ordered."

I swear. People.

And then you have the lovely couple at lunch that you just want to hug because they remind you of your grandparents. So sweet.

I'm going to bed. Thanks for the suggestions on food, guys, keep 'em coming! Today was a little better since we got Isaac's (a local deli) for "lunch."

Only 2 more doubles until Christmas! Wahhhhhoooooooo!!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Well, the report from the endurance front was grim (still 60 hours to go) but positive this morning. Seems there was some trouble transitioning from T1 (bed) into the car leg of the rat race so the arrival at T2 (the parking lot of the restaurant) was a bit rushed with hair flying every which way and phone cord dangling from her neck as she succesfully multitasked with a phone call from the car to one of those loved ones referred to in the previous post. And you thought it was hard to get out of your wetsuit while running to T1!!

We won't hear a report on how the second leg (lunch shift) of the day went until around midnight tonight when the third leg (dinner shift) is finally finished so you'll have to wait on the edge of your seat until then. The bigger issue is the nutrition/calorie intake in between legs two and three (actually this is seeming more like a stage race...) You see, the 12 lbs. of weight loss stems from the fact that T3, which is supposed to be lunch, is staffed by a bunch of pizza eating, junk food guzzling, non-sporty types who insist on making fast food FAST. There's just no time as our endurance athlete runs by the table to get enough healthy calories in.

Here's where TriZilla needs your help. We need suggestions of High Calorie, HEALTHY foods that can be downed in the blink of an eye to sustain activities like running up and down stairs with large trays of food for 14 hours at a time (no joke - 10am to 12 am). One suggestion is loaded baked potatoes but while eating them fast seems doable, making them fast is another issue. And they don't taste all that good when re-heated or eaten cold... There's also a vote for "Ultra Fuel" bottled energy drink. Packed with 400 calories/bottle, this sounds like a winner. We need to hit at LEAST 2000 calories/day...the 1200 average of late is just not cutting it. All suggestions greatly appreciated.

Until later, Ghostwriter OUT!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Okay, folks, here we go.

Some of you asked what I am doing now. Well, it seems that now is a terrible time to find a teaching job, so I've returned to a restuarant that I used to work for. It's fine dining, so lots of time dealing with semi-normal ppl, making lots of money, recovering from grad school trauma.

So far all of those things are happening. As it turns out it is also an endurance sport. I've been working doubles out the ass, so basically there is no time to:
pay bills
do laundry
make laundry
work out (except at work)
call loved ones
christmas shop

Today was my only day off this week until Saturday evening. Monday and Tuesday were doubles (meaning working from 10am to 1am, no break, no time to eat, barely time to pee). I am getting to be very good at multitasking (ever the triathlete). Today, I tried to change my phone number, tried to get my license, finished my x-mas shopping, did my laundry, made christmas cookies, got the mail (!), oh, went to the bank to deposit the most cash I've ever held, and um, folded said laundry. And ate two meals more than I usually do.

The good news? I've lost 12 pounds since Thanksgiving. Okay, okay. That's not really that good, but I can't remember the last time I saw that number. I now make more in a day than I weigh!

So, this is the challenge. 2 doubles under my belt so far. 3 more to go through Saturday. Let's see if I can do it (and stay sane). :) Let's see how much more weight I lose before New Years!

And hopefully, hope hope hopefully, I will find my gym after 1/2, after the freakin holidays are over!

To make it more fun through the next couple days, I'm going to have a guest/ghost blogger for the next few days. She's going to be updating you on my "condition." Join me for the ride! I, more than anyone, cannot freakin' wait until Christmas is here!

Hope you all are well! See you in a few...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Yes, it's true. I'm still alive. I think. :)

I have moved to the lovely state of PA. My apartment is more or less functional (although I have not really been here that much to enjoy it). I have a new job. Training is over. I'm working my butt off (literally), and have lost nearly 5 pounds since starting just two weeks ago.

Since the nature of my work is so physical, I simply haven't had the time or the energy to go to the gym to start a membership. So, it's gonna have to wait until after the holidays. I will get there. And until I do, well... This is base training.

I hope you are all doing wonderfully! I will try to be back (writing after work helps calms my nerves, I'm finding...) more often now. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm in!

So, I know I said my goal was to race my first 70.3in '07, but um, life kinda threw a fit there for a bit. But I'm getting my stuff back together (at least mentally, heh, although there may still be some debate about that).

I signed up for Timberman last night. And then thought, "Oh. My. God. What have I done?"

So, as soon as I become less addicted to yellow cake with chocolate frosting (thanks RocketPants!), I'll be on a roll. I'm getting back to the gym, running a bit. It promises to be a nice day tomorrow, so I'm hoping to actually get on my bike, which I haven't ridden since the last Timberman!

Ok, my kitty is snoring, so I think I might take a little nap with him.

Happy Hump Day!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How does this thing work again?

Oy, this poor blog. I need a leaf blower to dust the sucker off.

Many changes happening.

I am leaving grad school.
I am packing my office, my lab, my apartment.
I am throwing out, reorganizing, re-evaluating.
I am moving back home to PA, closer to family and friends.
I am also temporarily leaving some very dear friends, trusting that we will continue on, as I know we can.
I have a new job.
I have a new apartment.

I have cried.
I have rediscovered my laugh.
I have breathed deeply once more.
I have seen the human spirit work just like it's supposed to.
I have endured the negatives.
I have survived the stress and strain.

And, I have learned that life is not about destinations. I can bear this. It is not greater than me.

Life is a challenge. We simply owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to bear these challenges with as much courage and strength that we can muster. And, if we can't do it, we need to lean on our friends and our family. And we need to trust in whatever higher power or being that you ascribe to that we will be cared for in ways beyond our wildest imaginations.

It's happening now to me. And, I am going to try my level best to see it for what it is, to experience it and be in the moment. I'm smiling more, taking my time more, reposessing my patience.

I challenge you all to try it. One day, even one hour when you are most stressed, consciously slooooooow down. Take that deep breath. Have a cup of tea. Treat yourself to a healthy snack. Put your feet up. Enjoy a book for 10 minutes over lunch. Live.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pursuing My Dream

Thanks to all of you for your supportive comments.

Quite a lot has happened in a very short time. Just another sign that I am making the RIGHT decision FOR ME.

I can honestly say that I feel happy (maybe for the first time in years - It's a foreign feeling.). I feel hopeful. I feel as if I am finally pursuing my dream. It might not be what I do for the rest of my life, but it's a place I feel I could make a difference. Now.

I've spent a lot of time, money and so, so much energy trying so damn hard to get my Ph.D. Along the way, I earned my Master's Degree, so that's a pretty good development. But since then, I've spent 5 long years in the lab, failing. Over and over and over again. It's not in my nature to give up, otherwise I would have done so years ago. I stuck with it. I picked myself back up (And each time, that got harder and harder). I tried again.

It's been a long road. A road that has NO END in sight. Even with the new project, it dawned on me that in fact there was no guarantee that I would be out of here by August 31st (My advisor agreed with me on this.). I know that there are no guarentees in life, but I've gotten to the point of being so thoroughly UNHAPPY. Life is too, too short, folks. This is not my dream.

I realized a year or so ago that what I really wanted to do was teach. Unfortunately almost all university jobs now require that you do some amount of research. After my experience here, I can honestly say that my greatest fear would be watching my students fail, watching their disappointment. It's more than I could bear.

I realized what I really wanted to do was interact with students more closely, that I truely wanted to teach them, to motivate them to succeed where they once thought success was unatainable. I get this excited feeling inside when I'm teaching someone that has no idea about what I'm telling them. It's a challenge. And, I'm up for it. Beyond that, I feel that it's something I'm good at. I feel most fulfilled when I'm doing it.

With that realization, came the CLARITY that I did NOT NEED this degree for what I wanted to do. And then came the next question: So why am I still here, when I'm so miserable?

I don't think that there is any nobility in finishing something simply because I started, especially when it is causing me extreme pain and sacrifice. When it has cost me so much mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It's not worth that cost, especially when there are so many unknowns.

I know that life will present me with challenges no matter what I do. But I also know that I fought the good fight here. It's amazing to me that I lasted this long. And, it was a valuable experience. I have learned so much that I hope to be able to pass on to others.

So, here comes another beginning. Can you hear the happiness in my words? Can you sense the joy and the freedom? Can you tell that I feel SO much lighter? I hope so.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as a seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

-Dawna Markova

Monday, October 16, 2006

Belaboring the Issue

"When I grow up, I want to be a _____________."

Here I am again. Full circle once more. I've been here so much, I'm staring to get dizzy.

I guess the main problem is that I want to matter. I want to do something with my life that is going to have an impact. I want to help kids figure out what they want to do. I want to help them see that there is always a way to go after their dreams. I want to show them that the world is theirs for the taking. I want to help them see that they can make their own destiny. I want to mentor. I want to teach.

I DO NOT WANT TO DO RESEARCH. I do not want to have to fight for tenure.

The fight is gone.

And the question remains: Well, then why am I still here, trying to get a Ph.D., especially if I don't need it to do what I want to do? Why torture myself? Why not start living my dream now?

I'm just wondering if any of you have felt this way. Imprisioned. And utterly fearful of the future. Of making a change. Of what that change will mean to you, to those around you.

I don't want to live my life this way, I know that.

Sorry it's not more upbeat for a Monday, but that's where I am. Back to square 1.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Getting my swim ON!

Fantastic swim today. I decided I wanted to do at least 1500. And, I did.

But, I wanted to really focus on form. And, I did.

I didn't time anything, but judging from the number of times I jammed my fingers into the quickly approaching wall, I think I'm on to something. I'm almost excited to try it again on Monday (if I'm not too tired from the weekend ;)

Speaking of the weekend, if you have time to go wish Rocket Pants good luck on her 1/2 marathon tomorrow, please do! She has a goal, and I KNOW she can do it! She ain't called "Rocket Pants" for nothin'!

The weather is going to be fabulous in this neck of the woods. So, I plan to get out there, play in the leaves and be a kid again. :) Have great weekends, everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Ouchie! Ok, that's not exactly what I said when I burned my wrist on the iron for the SECOND time this week. And now I look like I'm trying to off myself. Not good Mav. Not good.

(I'm not trying to off myself, in case there was any worry.)

In my quest for fun health and weight loss, I went to my second weights class this morning, looking forward to Meaghan's torture. Except poor Meaghan sprained her ankle this past Sunday during her first 1/2 marathon. Yikes.

So we had pregnant nazi lady (Sorry, didn't catch her name.). At first I thought this would be a good thing... Yeah, not so much. She likes the ball. A lot. I don't so much (at least not the fast twisting moves and the ones that strain your back that she seemed to favor). So, I stuck it out for 40 minutes until we started doing things that made me cringe. One lady picked up her stuff and left, and I followed her. Unfortunately, I think we started a mass exodus. Hmmmmmm....

So, here's my public service announcement. Classes are great, but don't assume they are good for you 100% of the time. If something hurts or pushes you too far, STOP! You don't have to be Wonder Woman. We all have that inner voice, and it's there for a reason. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One Good Decision

I'm finding that's all it takes these days: ONE good decision. It's a little more ideal, of course, if they all happen in succession, eh?

But really, as a friend asked me once, "How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

Missed the bus yesterday and the run didn't get done. Lesson learned? ALL workouts MUST be completed before 5pm. You'd think I'd learn.... I think I got it this time!

So, I made it to the pool this morning, and I actually enjoyed myself (once my teeth stopped chattering uncontrollably! GAH! NOT ready for winter, dudes!). Some faster sets, some time actually feeling like I wasn't fighting the water (and losing).

So that's my focus. One good decision at a time. It's all up to me.

See, I tend to be an all or nothing type of gal. Go, go, go! Get it done FAST! Get it done BETTER! The result of this is that I get incredibly burned out. I do it with work too (thank you to those friends that have clued me in, btw - See? I'm actually not a stubborn mule... all of the time...). Get up at 3 and 4 o'clock (am) to be stuck to the magnet (NMR for you chemistry geeks), working crazy hours.... What happens? I get sick. Lesson learned? Everything (EVERYTHING) in moderation. I think I'm starting to get it. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Relaxing Weekend

And yet, it was all too short.

I worked Saturday - lab was kind, thank goodness. Rewarded myself with some shopping and dinner with a friend (yummy bento box at our favorite sushi haunt).

Sunday I woke up in the WORST mood. I knew I had a lot of plans (cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, sewing, running), and I really felt like I wouldn't have time to enjoy the day. I found myself disgruntled and impatient, dropping things, cursing. Finally, I took a deep breath (several, actually). Everytime I started to feel overwhelmed, I would slow down and take another deep breath (This might be the reason it took me so long to get through Walmart... I think I was moving in slow motion - TOO MANY PEOPLE!!!! TOO MANY SCREAMING BABIES!!!)


So, I made the soup, read my book, made the turkey casserole, read some more, did the groceries, set up my lunches (all those baggies take time during the week that I don't have anymore) for the week, sewed a bunch (!), talked to my mom (managing narrowly to not scream my head off), and talked with a good friend. It ended up being a beautiful day. I figured out that I don't have to push, push, push to get the work done all at once. I can feather it in throughout the day and still relax. I also figured out that it all didn't have to be done in one day. Slow and steady wins the race, you know?

Oh, I also watched Amazing Race (the only T.V. of the day).... Dude, Peter needs to GO! What a jerk! The picture of him sitting back, drinking on the boat while Sarah was struggling up that rock wall was too much. And now that the most respectful and healthy couple (imho) on there is gone... Oy, It's becoming too much of an effort to watch, you know? They need to have that sucker on in the middle of the day when I'm tempted to take a nap! :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 06, 2006


Oh, how I love Fridays. Especially when they are rest days. I can't begin to tell you how NICE it was to actually sleep until 7am and take a shower in my very own bathroom! Bliss!

It seems I'm nesting or something for the upcoming winter. I spent most of last night rearranging my living room furniture (a bit proud of myself for figuring out how to move the small, but very heavy entertainment center across the 17' living room!). It's better now, as the heat vent is now unobscured... I daresay, I like the new arrangement - Heck, now I can watch TV easily from the kitchen!

I figured that was enough of a workout, so I skipped the planned swim (and I'm still battling with leftover rot in my chest... prolly not a stellar idea).

So, this weekend is going to be a bit of an experiment. I realized with my weight loss goal (doing well, didn't gain this week... I figure it will take a week or two for my body to GET that I want it to shed the rolls attached to my back and ass), that dinners are my biggest challenge. SO, this weekend will be a cooking and freezing extravaganza. I plan to make chicken soup (crock pot), turkey casserole (from Chris Carmichael's cookbook), and healthy lasagne (with cottage cheese).

Then the plan will be to simply pull a single serving from the freezer in the morning, and WA-LAH!~ Homemade dinner in the evening in 5 minutes or less! Beauty!

I hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Whew, I have finally recovered from the rot that was lodged in my chest. Sunday dawned a beautiful day, complete with 50 degree temps, rain, and gusting winds, so I think my idea to skip the 1/2 marathon was a good one. We'll save pneumonia for another day, yes?

So, I have signed back up with the gym. Beautiful place. Feels like I'm at a spa. And, since I'm in that happy transition time, I'm having great fun going to classes. And, boy are they teaching me a lot:

Yoga - I'm about as bendy as a steel beam.

Cardio Sculpt - "Cardio" is a joke. "Scuplt" is NOT, however. YOUCH!

Spin Class - I'm weak. WEAK.

But this means that there is a lot of room to grow (or shrink, as the case may be and IS). Looking forward to getting more trim, more fit, and more ready to race...

And you may be wondering... What race? What race, indeed... Hmmm....

How about this one?

And so that brings up a new challenge. I think I need a coach, or at least a plan tailored to my strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and when I say coach, I mean either free or slightly less than arm and leg costs. Any ideas?

Much more to come later, but for now the focus is on putting the fork down, getting to the gym, and telling that weak little voice in my head that says, "you can't do this" during wimpy biceps sets that that attitude will get me NO WHERE toward completing my goal.

One day at a time. One decision at a time.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Plan

So waking up at 4 and 5 o'clock, running one self ragged, not getting enough sleep, and traveling to the ends of the earth has had one final effect. I'm sick. It's been 1.5 years, folks. I thought I was special now. Yeah, not so much.

And, since this lovely virus has settled nicely in my chest, there will be no running on Sunday. (Besides the fact that getting from my car to the building - it IS uphill! - was a challenge this morning). Oh well. There will be more races. :)

So for now, I'm enjoying lots of hot tea (Wild Berry Zinger is the current fav), chicken soup, and sleep. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered for the next few days or so.

The good news is that my advisor has temporarily agreed to a small shift in my thesis, which means that I might actually graduate before the year 2010. Which is a good thing, because I was recommended by my eye doctor to get READING glasses this week, due to the eye strain from the computer. GAH! (At least they're cute!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


So, lots of fun stuff going on right now...

Training (remember I said I was going to talk about that?)... heh. Well like most things in my life, it got just a little suckier before it got better. I think I didn't realize how much of a drain this past tri season was for me. I'll be taking some good advice next year and simply pick a few key races, instead of trying to race everything in the tri-state area. Although, I must say, I have a MUCH better handle on what racing really means (especially after Timberman).

So, I took a little break. Didn't do much. And ate. A lot. Smart? No. But I think I needed to be a sloth for a while. (mission accomplished!)

But that time is over now. I am going to join Gold's Gym this week. Can you say pampering? Every treadmill has a TV. They give out towels for FREE. The spin class kicked my butt this morning. And they have a class early every day. And a sauna (which I probably won't use). And a woman's only weight room. And a yoga studio. I could go on. You get the point. It feels good to get healthy again.

So, I'm running this fun 1/2 Marathon in less than two weeks. At first it was supposed to be a goal race, and then, well... I ate the entire contents of my kitchen and lost motivation (well, except to run from the couch to the kitchen for more snacks). And you know? I don't need anymore goals this year. :) So, it's gonna hurt. But, it's for fun. I honestly don't care if it takes 3 hours. As Rocket Pants reminded me, "This is supposed to be FUN, remember?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

3 Weeks Later

I can't believe it's been that long. It's funny, things actually had to get WORSE before they got better.

In short, after being scooped, my computer was attacked by a virius (3 days before a talk), corrupting some much needed files, erasing all of the recent changes to my talk and paper, and making it basically unusable. Let's just say that temporary operating systems are a NIGHTMARE! And, it might could be said that I owe my first born to our amazing IT guy.

But this post is about GOOD news:

-Computer is fixed - complete with a new hard drive. Harvard talk was finished just in time.

-I didn't lose ANY data. God Bless the Backup Server. TriFeist - really hope you are backing up your stuff daily!

-Itunes pulled through.... although it's tough to bring back 40+ days of music... And talk about the good advice you just couldn't take. The NEXT time someone tells me to back my music up I WILL!

-I wasn't really scooped that badly, afterall! The abstract was scary and vague, but the preprint... well.... it sucked! Wahoo for me!

-I have a general date. To defend. It's not official, but my advisor is leaving the country for a 15 mo. sabbitical in May. So um. Yeah. That's my date.

-Last but NOT least: My mom quit smoking! AND, she's eating healthy and walking! She said this past weekend when I went home that she had me to thank for showing her how to be healthier. It almost made me cry. I cannot begin to describe the happiness I feel. She looks so much better. She smells better. The light in her eyes is back. The quickness in her step restored. And more than that, her zeal for life.... Stronger than ever. How I had missed it all.

So, as you can see, life is picking up. I guess people were wondering about me for a while. Things are better. I think I learned a lot about how to deal when the chips are down. Life is such a roller coaster, and sometimes it's overwhelming. Sometimes it's hard for me to ask for help. I finally learned that it's okay to admit that I can't do it all. And, I realized that my philosophy that we're all here to help each other isn't just for others.

OH yeah... is this a triathlon blog? Hmm. Well, let's take a short breather from that for today. Promise I'll be back sooner than 3 weeks to let you know how all of that is going...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Timberman Sprint RR

Timberman Sprint Triathlon
August 19, 2006
Swim: .33 mi, bike: 15 mi, run: 3.0 mi

I had been looking forward to this race for some time. It was the last race of the season. I was camping with two friends (Rocket Pants and Spence), watching my cousin (Pete) and friends (Joe and John) race the ½ IM on Sunday… It had the promise to be so great…. And it WAS.

2 weeks prior to this, I raced the Greenfield long course (slightly longer than an oly). After Greenfield, I was tanked – physically, mentally and emotionally, and I essentially took two whole weeks OFF. I swam 3 times, biked 10 mi once and ran once. That’s it. Finally, I just gave into my malaise and figured at the very least I’d be incredibly well tapered for Timberman. It was a case of less is more. I was a little scared going in that maybe I had really made a mess of things, but I honestly didn’t care that much.

My only goal for this race – Leave it ALL out there. Race the sucker. Including the swim (which I normally just survive) AND the bike (which I tend to lollygag on).

So, RP and I got going Friday afternoon. After a long, hot drive, we finally got to the campground – the MOST high tech camp I’ve ever been to. We get camp set up and then head to the expo. Register, get cool socks. Head to dinner. Wait, and wait some more. Finally they let us in (these folks were sticklers for time, let me tell you, but everything about this entire weekend was just so organized, so no complaints!). And Pete and Cookie arrived. Sooo good to see them, as it’s been years. I’m a little worried as he has a knee brace (had gotten it drained and a cortisone shot the day before), but he’s in good spirits, as usual. We catch up, grab some food, and listen to the speakers (Michael Lovato, Kate Major, Chris Leigh, and Karen Smyers – the last two were great). After some pics, we say our goodbyes.

Just a short time later Spence arrives and we head to our campsite and settle in for a restless night of sleep. 5am comes much too soon, and it takes me a while to get moving. Finally, RP makes a suggestion that we eat at the race site, and I realize that we’re running late. Again. Spence is so great (She really took care of us all weekend!), and leads the way, since our car is a complete MESS – ever try to combine camping with a race? Yeah.

We get to the site, pump tires, get organized (oops, RP, I grabbed your chip – heh, don’t think she’d like that!). Mosey to the transition area – which is tough… they have so much fencing set up, sometimes it seems like you have to go miles. I plug in the tunes, wrestle with my bike, and set up. (Black horse and a cherry tree, if you were wondering). Transition is so much less the mystery it was at the beginning of the year. I’m learning.

Wrestle with the wetsuit and head down to the beach – and realize I still have my tevas on – whoops! Back to transition. Tevas off. Back to beach. Meet up with Spence, say goodbye, and head on out to the swim start (Loooooong walk, and I’m determined to not be late this time!). Swim around a little. Wait. Ruh roh. There’s a truck overturned smack dab in the middle of the course. The announcer is fantastic, though, and keeps us posted (ooh, here comes the tow truck….Now they’re sweeping the course). I’m hoping that Pete found a place to sit to save his legs. Strangely, I’m not nervous. Just ready. This race is mine.

Finally we head out to the very shallow start. 3-2-1-GO! I settle into a rhythm quickly, dodging slower (!) swimmers and head to the turn. It’s a little slow there, but looky here, I’m swimming strong. Nice long strokes, good balance, nice rotation - I can feel I’m going places. A little wavy here and there, oops there’s someone walking. I see a lady from the previous wave eyeing the kayak, and give her some encouragement. Every couple of breaths I say something, and she rallies. So good to see that.

Finally I head into the beach. People are walking in from a good ways out, and I swim by them all. Beach run. Ugh. I see Pete and Cookie, but somehow miss Spence (bummer!). I think by that point, I was just trying to get the suit off without blinding everyone with my bright white skin.

Swim: 12:02 (holy moley – it WAS only .33 mi, but still, I just know I smoked it…. For me, that is. And actually, looking at the swim, that was my BEST placement throughout the day – WEIRD.)

Transition goes well – especially since I see RP there! Wow. Okay, I don’t ever compete with this girl. She’s called Rocket Pants for a reason. And, I don’t like competing with friends. But, it was a huge lift to see her there, but I simultaneously hope that her swim was okay.... I say hi, and finish stripping. Give up on the drying. It’s no use. I see Pete and Cookie again on my way out of the bike (wow, they ran fast!). It’s amazing to see them there. I’m pumped and ready to go. And I think: Even if I blow up on the bike and the run, I just had the swim of my life. I’m happy already!

T1: 3:19

The hills start pretty quickly. Or, should I say HILL. Just one gentle hill. Unrelenting. And a lovely head wind made to order. Nothing gusting, just enough for me to think that I shouldn’t feel this bad going up this dinky hill. And then I realize, Hey, that’s going to be a lovely tail wind on the way back – SCORE! Not much to say here, except I was passed and but I also passed a few as well… I decided right then and there that I think my A races need to be big ones. The way back rocks. DOWN, TAIL wind. So nice. I grab a much needed gel, and manage to get almost completely through my drink. Good going! I’m happy too that I kept pushing throughout the entire bike. I start to think forward to transition, and the run.

Bike: 1:00:20 (14.9)

Transition was great, except I ran the wrong way, toward the bike start. Duuuude! Must pay attention to exits next time! I get going the right way finally, and everything is right with the world. I see Pete, Cookie and Spence all together and throw a mini party (I went completely berserk, actually) that they all found each other! On my way out to the course, I see Joe, going absolutely bananas, telling me to pull the entire way. He jogs along side of me for a minute and I yell at him to quit it (grin), that I’m going to get in trouble. But, his words stay with me for the entire run. So glad he was there!

T2: 2:04 (so close to sub 2 min…. goal for next year)

The run is beautiful, right along the shore. More than that, though, the course is full of people, so unlike Greenfield. It’s a beautiful sight. I settle in. Short strides, getting stronger. I feel good (go ahead, sing it.). I’m tired, but I still have enough gas to finish the run. My goal? Leave it all out there. I want almost zero kick left in me at the finish. I hit mile one at 10:30… Hmm, kinda thought I was going a bit faster than that. And the world makes sense again when I hit Mile 2 after the turn around at 8:14. Ha. No way, Jose. But, I’ll take it that I’m running 9:30s right now. Very cool. One more mile. Okay. I can’t think that far ahead. Let’s just push it a tad more for 2 more minutes. Then 2 more minutes after that. Up ahead I see some guy run with his girlfriend… Get a little disgruntled, but keep them in my sights. I realize it’s not my problem, but they are helping me forget my pain.

Sooner than I think, I see the turn around and hear Julia yelling something…. She’s great, I see Joe just behind her. Kick. Where’s my kick? Hellooooo? (Ooh, this is a good sign!) I muster a little something up and head down the grassy hill (almost losing my knee there) down the LONG finish chute. I pass my cheering section, give a grin, and cross the line.

Run: 28:11 (9:24 – YEAH BABY!)

Total: 1:45:54 (43/59)

I manage to make it through the finish. I’m completely incoherent, but HAPPY. What a great time, what a GREAT race. I had so much fun this time. I kept my head in the game, and stayed positive. THAT’S what it’s all about.

I also think it was hugely wise of me to take 2 weeks off after Greenfield. I realized that I was out there for 4 hours, which was nearly a marathon effort for me. I remembered feeling flat after Nashville, and instead of fighting it, just worked on sleeping and eating well. That was the ticket.

It was also so, so great to have family and friends there. It really makes you work harder and smile wider. When I was spectating on Sunday for the ½ IM, it was such a lift to see a competitor smile. Maybe this world would be a better place if we all did it a little more.

What was just as much fun, was watching Pete, Joe, and John in their own efforts on Sunday. The conditions were not ideal (late start, rain, very wavy swim), but they all stuck it out, and enjoyed the day. It was so great to support them.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dusting off....

Yeah, yeah. I've been gone. I got a wake up call (hmm, literally) today. Must. Pay. More. Attention.

I can't promise that I'll be reading much or posting much in the next weeks or months. I can promise that I'm working my ass off (literally, if not actually working).

Greenfield, Schmeenfield. It's over. And, I'm proud.

This just for you TriFeist: What would you say the chances are of getting scooped not once, but TWICE in 6 years? Yeah. You know it. I'm working through it. It ain't gonna be easy, but my momma didn't raise no quitter... I think.

Amazingly, I've been going through these past weeks/months with sufficient poise so as to convince those around me that I'm actually still sane. That's a new talent!

Okay, something did have to give. I decided not to run the Chicago Marathon after all. There are really too many reasons to list. All way more important than a race that I can run for the rest of my life, if I so choose. Most of all, I'll miss seeing my WL2R friends and Sheila. But life is long. :-)

This weekend is Timberman - doing the old recover-from-last-race-slash-taper-once-more. Next season will be MUCH different. But, I always told myself this one was just for fun. Must keep it that way, and smile as much as possible!

OH, yeah! Check out Rocket Pants' new blog, and send her some comment love! (Erm, that would be my training partner!)

Take Care, everyone!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Greenfield Lightlife RR

Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon
Greenfield, MA
August 6, 2006
Swim: .63 mi/Bike: 30.4 mi/Run: 7.2 mi
First ever Olympic (plus a little for good measure)
Goal 1: Finish.
Goal 2: Be happy.

Going into this race, I felt prepared. PREPARED. Bikes had been around 40 mi, runs were there, with a little speed, and swimming… Well swimming still sucked, but I figured I now KNEW I could handle most swim conditions. In the weeks previous to the race, I had dealt with a few major blows to my psyche, however. Mom needs major neck surgery (and needs me to come home to take care of her). I only have a year to finish my work in grad school (which makes #1 even worse). And some other personal issues I won’t bore you with. Let’s just say I was fully aware that things could go south just because of the lack of mental preparation and concentration.

Somehow I managed to keep it together. I’m not sure how. It just happened. I took all day Saturday, talked at length with some great friends, got my stuff together, and went over my race plan (Finish. Be Happy.). It was simple, but it made me feel safe.

Race day dawns and I plan extra time for everything. I’m starting to really learn what gets me to that “happy” pre-race miracle place, and I had timed everything wonderfully. I pack the car in a jiffy, get the iTrip going, and get on my way. It’s going to be a beautiful day. I get to the Dunkin Donuts, where I’m supposed to meet Jo, and run in for a quick bathroom visit. Perfect. NOW, I can have a good day.

Jo shows up right on time, and we both admit we are a little nervous. We laugh, and get on our way. We get to the race site, register, and find our transition areas. I’m pleased as punch that I YET again have primo space, right on the outside of the row, RIGHT in front of the bike timing mat. I set up my transition area with time to spare (enjoying my calm with iTunes). A good friend of mine had written me a pre-race letter. I read it once. Read it again. Such great advice that I plan to follow to the letter. I find a few more friends in transition: Carol (who had raced IMLP a couple weeks ago) and Laura (who has been QUITE competitive in races past, and swims about once a year – only if she has to…), and also one of the Robins (Cain –great lady, we wished each other luck).

Twelve minutes to go until the race start, and I figure it’s time to head on down to the race site. I catch Jo in the line for the potty, and can tell her stomach is doing major flips. I tell her to try to envision her favorite place, and get relaxed. Not a whole lot of time left, I decide to head down… only to realize that the oly start is WAY the hell down the beach. In the distance, I see the first wave start. Ruh Roh!!! I briefly recall that I’m in the second wave, and that there are only 2 minutes between waves! CRAP!!! Jo comes up next to me and we start our own quadrathon (run-like-heck-swim-bike-run). We get in the water. 30 seconds. Goggles on. Cap on. Head in water. Okay, wait! HOW does this swim go? I only see a single line of buoys. HELP! I frantically ask around. We’re to swim to the end, back again, and then around the buoy we started at to the finish. Guh. That seems long. No time to think about it though! 3-2-1. GO!

Swim: Sooo, the swim is in a river. A shallow, narrow river. So, you could potentially walk the entire swim. And, due to the torrential rain that this area received the previous fall and this spring, it’s a bit of a mess. Thankfully, that doesn’t bother me too much. What DOES bother me is the fact that I keep running into the buoy line, can’t seem to swim straight, and there is A LOT of contact. People are standing when they need to get their bearings, and those of us that are still swimming keep running into them. Then comes the next wave, and the one after that. I get to the first turn around, and feel like I’m in a bit more of a rhythm, when I realize I can’t see a darn thing. I never had time to spit in my goggles so they are fogging up. I give them a half hearted swipe, and get going again. After that it was the sun reflecting off the water… We’re talking the light of GOD here, folks. Can’t see buoys. Can’t see people. Can’t SEE. I just keep swimming, wanting to get finished! Somehow I manage to pass one blue cap near the end, get out, kiss terra firma, and get to my bike. Swim: 27:18

T1 goes pretty fast. No strange gymnastics with the wetsuit. But lots of fighting to get the grass off my feet. Guh. 3:08

Bike: Finally. Now I can start to enjoy this. The day is absolutely beautiful, and I know from having ridden the course a couple of weeks ago, that it’s very picturesque. Coming out of transition is a healthy hill, which doesn’t quite end for a couple of miles. Until mile 4 it’s gently rolling, passing some beautiful sheep farms and countryside. And then I travel into a beautiful cool grove of trees and through a covered bridge (a little tricky to navigate because it’s DARK). There is a great support vehicle right before the bridge BLASTING great tunes, and two guys that are total hams. Out of the bridge is a MONSTER steep hill. Every time I wonder if I can do it again (it’s a 4 loop course). After the monster hill comes some nice down hill, that’s very tempting to absolutely mash (must do this again and again and again). And finally a nice downhill, speeding through the transition area loaded with spectators. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 3x.

The first loop I try to take it easy. The second and third loops I bring the speed back up, and the fourth loop…. Well just is. I see my speed slowly inch up from 14.6 mph to 15.2 mph. Not too shabby, I think. I kind of notice, however, that I haven’t passed anyone, and EVERYone seems to be passing me. Hmmmmm. The last loop is pretty quiet, and my brain starts to wonder…. Could I possibly be LAST? As I’m going up the hill after the bridge, the runners on the course are going up faster than I can bike. THAT was interesting. Bike: 2:01:00 (15.2 mph)

I finally zoom into transition, realizing that I’m starving. I’ve never had fig newtons during a race, but many times before, so I dig into my post-race food bag and grab two. Smartest thing I did all race, maybe. I chomp on them double deck style, thinking that now would be a great time for them to take my picture. Grab some water to wash them down. T2: 2:13 (I did sorta take my time at this point…)

Running. La la la. Darn, it’s lonely out here. Am I even on the right course? It follows the bike course, for the most part, but did I mention that there is NO one out here? I hope the water stops are still up, as I’m pretty sure that it’s nearing the mid 80s now.

Mile 1 is around 12:00. Oy. I purposely went slow for the first mile, and I’m a little surprised that I actually don’t want to/can’t push any harder. I know there are 6.2 more of them to come. And I have to pee. Badly.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spy a blue truck. I see a guy take down one of the triathlon signs and my heart sinks. I MUST be last. Well, I’m not going to think about that right now. The man pulls up to me and says, “Now, don’t feel bad or anything, you’re doing great, but they tell me that you’re last. I’m going to be pulling down signs behind you and relieving water stops. Don’t mind me, okay, you’re doing great!” UGH. NOOOOOO. I NEVER for a minute thought that I would be last. How could…? Well, the swim sucked. The bike was probably hillier than I gave it credit for (that would be 8 decent hills, since it was 4 loops). The run… well, my goal was always just to finish. So, what’s the problem, right?

But still. Two HUGE tears stream down my face. I realize that maybe I’ll just be the last at everything I attempt (Grad school woes.) Then I get a little angry. Eff this. I’ve had to pee for like EVER. They can all wait for me. I finally find the pull off I have been looking for and honestly it isn’t what I thought it would be. But, I feel better. Physically. Mentally, however…..

Why do I do this? Why not just train? Why do this race bs? HOW could a 15.2 mph bike make me LAST? I suck.

Wait a minute. No I don’t. There have been plenty of races where I’ve finished much better than this. I’m not sure what the deal is, especially since mentally I’ve been ON all day. WhatEVER, dude! So, I’m last NOW. That means that there must be at least a FEW people I can pass up ahead, right? RIGHT! I do NOT want to be last. I still have 5 more miles to run. That’s a lot of real estate. Let’s pick it up.

So, no real clue what my splits are, since my watch died as I was trying to retrieve them after the race, but things were getting better. At the second water stop, I see a blurred figure up ahead. Could it be? At the third water stop, I can tell it’s a girl. Oh, honey. I’m so sorry, but you are a marked woman. Because right now, I’m a woman on a mission. I bet she doesn’t know I’m last. Part of me thinks that maybe we can run in together and then another part of me says no way.

I finally pass her with a mile to go, and give her as much encouragement as I can. I’m starting to bargain with myself. 2 more minutes at this pace. Put some distance between you and her. (I can still hear her feet…). Okay, great. You know, it would be fantastic to finish under 4 hours. Let’s try that. 2 more minutes. Guh. This hurts. Bad.

And then I see another person. Walking. Oh, dude. I’m sorry, but um, I ain’t walking. I pass him with 200 yds to go. Flying. Or at least trying to, thinking that this is really going to hurt tomorrow. Shut up. Who cares about tomorrow? This is today, and I’m on a mission.
The finish clock says 3:59:53…..I run sooooo hard through the shoot, just feeling like I had something to prove. I know in my head I have a 2 minute wave ahead of me, but I want to try it. I miss by :02, but it felt good. Run: 1:24:26 (11:40)

Well, the results say that I only finished in front of one person. I’m guessing that they stopped the clock at 4:00:00, so I guess it’s good that I put the speed on. Whatever. It was my race. My goal was to finish my first Olympic race, and I DID. And, while the run was a bit of an ego bust, I was mostly happy for the rest of the day. I managed to keep my crap together through a pretty stupid swim, had fun on the bike, and pushed myself mentally and physically on the run. Total: 3:58:02

One thing I learned already. Just because it’s your “A” race, does not mean that everything is going to go well.

I decided not to stick around after the race. There was a great bbq going on, and Jo and her friend were heading over. I knew also that I had a pretty decent drive ahead of me, and I was already VERY tired (this makes me think I actually did leave it all out there). On top of it all, I wasn’t feeling incredibly sociable. I didn’t really know what I felt at that moment. I was shocked, I think. A little disappointed, a little stomped on ego-wise. But proud too. It was a strange juxtaposition of feelings that I just needed time to sort out… alone.

So, I’ve sorted. I’m so happy I set out to do this. There will be many more races in the future, and much more learning to be done. I had a great day, and the end result does not change that.

Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Riding the waves....

Wow, it's been so long, I almost forgot my login and password.

These are turbulent times, indeed. I think even more than getting away, I just needed to realize that, and honor the fact that I'm going through a lot right now. Sometimes just being kind to ourselves is so, so hard.

I found a wonderful state park in MA, loaded the tent, my bike and a bunch of books. I left on Wednesday morning and had two days of peace, quiet and restitude. I got a ton of bug bites, read a LOT and journaled to my hearts content. I had a wonderful (but HARD) bike ride, sat through a thunderstorm in the car (after realizing that the tent window was open - oops!), and managed to find a shred of peace through it all. I cooked on my little stove, slept curled up with a favorite quilt and my teddy bear (yes), and remembered what it was like to dream.

Lucky for me, my retreat was extended through the weekend with an absolutely BEAUTIFUL ride in VT. A better day could not have been imagined. :)

So, I'm back. I'm regrouping a bit to focus on finishing, and my meeting with my advisor this morning, although no less abstract, gave me hope and a sense of impending success. And (smile), I have my A race this weekend. Boy, am I ready. I rode the course last week - piece of cake. Hills are my... well, you know. :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Getting out of Dodge

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts. I have made a decision.

Don't worry, I'm staying in grad school. I'll file the damn S.O.L. form and finish once and for all.

But in the meantime, I need a break. A real break. No mom, no responsibilites, no chemistry.

Fortuitously, I just found out that my boss is going to be out of town all of this upcoming week.

Soooo, I have found a campsite that has swimming, hiking, and great roads to bike on. I'll be there for 3 days of wonderful solitude. Time to think. Time to relax. Time to rejuvenate. Time to settle.

I'll take pictures. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


(If you are having a sunny Hump Day, PLEASE skip this post. It's uncharacteristically negative and depressing.)

WARNING: Meltdown Imminent

Why didn't I go into history? Orrrr, English? Something that doesn't have to WORK all of the time, something that won't suck the life out of you. Something that just IS.

Why didn't I leave here years ago when I realized it wasn't for me?

Why did I come to this weird department in the first place?


I want out sooooo badly. Now. I want to leave NOW. I honestly don't care what I would do, I just want to leave. I've spent 6 life-sucking years in this hell hole, I want to end it NOW. I hate science. HATE IT!!!!!!!!

I feel like just one more failure is going to put me over the edge. I have absolutely NO motivation to finish this beast. None, whatsoever.

I just want to do something that makes me feel fulfilled, like I'm good at something. Not this constant manic-depressive feeling. Up down Up down. Things work. They suck. Things work. They suck.

I'm tired of this journey. I want off.

Yesterday the secretary asked me if I had submitted my S.O.L. form. (I thought she was telling me a joke...) I looked at her quizically and said, "Um, I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound good!"

Apparently, in this case, it stands for Statute of Limitations. She explained... Basically you get 6 years to complete your work. After that you have to file an extension to stay. You get a year.

These past few weeks have been tough. My mom (which is still an ongoing saga), some other pretty major things that I can't go into and now this. Something's gotta give.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Racing with the Kids

I decided to run my long(er) run yesterday so that this weekend wasn't too heinous. (It's going to be mid nineties here!) It was still wicked humid though! My HR was still pretty high, but I can only imagine it will be worse this weekend.

Anyway, I was just about to turn around, and for some reason instead of going to the other side of the street, I decided to stay on the same side for a minute (there are crazy bends in the road, and drivers were going very fast, for some reason). It's a good thing I didn't, since I almost got run over by a pint-sized peleton! I turn around and see the coolest thing. I see 3 bikers. Two little kids and a "bigger" kid in full out bike gear on on a suweet Giant bike. It was too cute, they were all racing!! I laughed out loud, caught the bigger kid's eye... boy, those kids were giving him a run for his money (but I think he was letting them). Too cute! Reminded me of the time a few weeks ago when a little guy decided to race me at the end of my ride... I let 'im win, of course (dude, I was tired anyway!).

THAT's what it's all about.

Happy (cool) weekends to you all!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pics from Fairlee


What does your bedside table look like?

My crazy bike rack and transition area - I'm 106...

The freakishly long swim... See the orange dots? Yeah... It was LONG!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

RR: Tough Day at the Races

Fairlee Great Triathlon
July 9, 2006, 8am
High: 89, Sunny, HOT

Swim: .75 mi
Bike: 17 mi (had been shortened from 24 due to road conditions)
Run: 5 mi

Tough Day at the Races (R rated)

Everything doesn’t always come together on race day. When that happens, it sucks. Big time. This was supposed to be my first near Olympic distance tri, so when they shortened the bike I was pretty disappointed. I would come to see what a blessing that was in short order, though. So, for now, this is my first sprint-plus.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to cry during this race. I think I was carrying around the baggage from the previous week (unhealthy parent). I had a feeling that was going to be a problem, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Friday, Jo and I drove two hours up to Fairlee to meet our friend Spence (who had kindly hosted us for a practice bike ride a few weeks before). She and a bunch of friends were also doing the race, and she had planned a pasta dinner. It was a great time, and good to log some familiar faces to see the next day.

Today dawns a beautiful day. Foggy at first, blue skies quickly burn through. Note to self: be anal about sunscreen. We get to transition without mishap and start to take notice of our surroundings. I’m feeling a bit disjointed and disorganized (this MIGHT have been due to the fact that I was packing during the Tour on Saturday…). I find my already packed bike rack. Uh… This is going to be interesting. With a little finagling, we all manage to get our bikes on and everything right as rain.

I get body marked, fight with the wetsuit and head down to the lake to check out the swim. Ugh. It looks LONG. We swim around a bit to warm up and head back to the beach for the rather long announcements about the new bike course (out and back, with a turnaround in a parking lot…. Sounds interesting, but I’m more concerned about the swim.).

Without further ado, the first swim wave starts. Then we start. Freaking people are FLYING. While I purposely started in the back of the pack, I am now the LAST swimmer by quite a bit. Ugh. Fine. My plan is to simply survive this long sucker. Just get to the first buoy. Then the second. Then the third. I get to the first buoy. That wasn’t so bad, I think.

Until wave 3 passes me. And then wave 4. I mean, I’m moving, aren’t I? I start to get frustrated. Why am I doing this? Why do I suck so bad? Why can’t I be faster? Is this ANOTHER wave? Am I going to be the last out of this damn milfoil infested lake? How could I ever even think about doing a longer race? I must have been out of my mind.

With every single one of these thoughts and the impending meltdown, I reign my emotions back in. It’s a constant tug of war: You suck. No you don’t. Yes you do! No you DON’T. I did take comfort in the fact that I was at least willing to fight with my psyche, but it made me nervous for the rest of the race. I already knew that I was on shaky ground, and judging from the massive amount of bike porn and crazy ppl riding the course the day before, it wasn’t going to get any easier on the old ego.

Finally I round the last buoy, and make it to the end. Freaking 33 minutes for a .75 mi swim? I don’t think so! My .5 mi swim (also long, I’m pretty sure!) was 18 min. So, let’s do some math: (all of this while getting started on the bike). Say each bit is 11 minutes, that would mean that my .5 mi swim time would be 22 minutes. I feel slightly better after that. I don’t think I could have been that far off pace.

I settle in on the bike. Aero most of the way. Things feel pretty good. Climb a hill, grab a gel, back in aero. My bike computer decides to play nice today and I am seeing speeds of 18, 19, and 20 mph on the flats. Hills aren’t sucking so much, but I’m getting passed like it’s nobody’s business. (All of the waves had been labeled as letters. I was in C wave, and getting passed by D, E, and F like I was standing still.) It’s my race. It’s my race.

I go down an 8% grade, turn around in a dinky parking lot, go over this massive lump in the road, and head BACK UP this hill. I keep telling myself it’s short, and I’m in the right gear. Good cadence. Yippy skippy.

I go a bunch more and then head up the last hill (which I had forgotten about, actually). Some lady passes me (again) and reads my mind…. She says what I was thinking, not out of breath, just like La la la, here we are on this fun hill, not even working hard. In my head (because I can’t currently talk), I think, Thanks Lady, I’ll yell something at your back when you’re bombing down the other side! (She had my same shoes –weird that happens every race- and we had a nice back and forth going.) I finally get my breath back and say, “Yeah, I forgot about it too!” She says (to my chagrin), “Yeah, but I have this cheater ring here (granny gear).” God bless her, she was trying to make me feel better. Me: “Erm, yeah so do I,” as I watch her fly away.

I crest the hill and go to shift into my middle ring. I thought I had it (it’s been working perfectly since I got the new derailleur on the front) until I hear that sickening “chink.” Eff. Get off the bike. Wizz. Wizz. Wizz. (Disc wheels going by.) Chain back on. Get back on bike. Try to shift again. CHINK. EFF. Damn it! Get off the bike. People passing me ask me if I’m okay. I’m frustrated. I get it back on. Go to clip in. Can’t. I take a deep breath, wait a minute and I manage it finally. Okay, here we go.

One more time..... CHINK!!!!! “Goddamnsonofabitchcocksuckingmotherfucking (hey I rhyme) pieceofshit BIKE!”

I’m pissed (Where, oh where, is my master of the obvious badge?). I’m beyond angry. It seems like 100 bikes have passed me now, and I was doing so well. I pretty much yank the chain back on, curse a few more times, and get back on angrily. I have more trouble clipping in, surprise, surprise. Finally I get going. I throw a small temper tantrum, and bomb down a hill going 28 mph in my first chain ring with a cadence of 1000 rpm. I realize that I’m wasting precious energy with this behavior, but this whole day has SUCKED. Finally, I shove my shifter hard and I hear and feel the m-effing chain catch the second chain ring. I go up one more. I’ve had it. Get this done.

I’m on the last road about 1.5 mi from the transition, zooming along when some old dude in a red car decides to not watch where he’s going. The volunteer is screaming at him, I’m yelling and trying to signal with my arm, and it’s just total mayhem. The volunteer tells me (very nicely) to go to the left (so the middle of the road), and screams at the driver to go right, but this car is speeding up and I can’t go because I’ll get hit. I finally get over, and I hear this (very hot) volunteer absolutely go off on the guy. Whew, that was close. (I don’t really blame the driver too much, as it was confusing… It was just very unnerving too…)

I zoom into T2 with my hair on fire and no place to rack my bike.

F$CK! I wrestle for a minute with the bikes and finally get it up there. At this point, I’ve so thoroughly had it, I’m thinking: “I need a coach. Now. I’m tired of being slow. I’m tired of racking my bike LAST. I’m tired of not getting food. I’m tired of getting swum over.” (That English isn’t right, but I don’t care.) And worse: I’m not having fun. The swim was slow and long, the bike sucked donkey balls, and I just saw my life flash in front of my eyes… twice!

I get my running shoes on, grab new glasses and get going on the beautiful run around the lake. I tell myself to enjoy this. It’s a beautiful day. Forget that you are racing. Forget about the swim and the bike. Forget that there is NO ONE around for seeming miles. Forget that thought that you will be last. Forget that you just saw someone with an ‘I’ on their leg pass you, and you just said: “I’s suck.” (Say it a few times, you’ll get it.)

I manage to enjoy the run, and I’m actually surprised at my run splits, given how I wasted energy and time with my outburst, and that I pretty much trashed my legs on the last couple of miles of the bike. I’m still pretty grumpy as I round the bend for the last .25 mi and I get a huge burst of speed as I cross the finish to the yells of my new and old friends.

Swim: 33:23
T1: 3:15
Bike: 1:03:01
T2: 2:43
Run: 51:54
Total: 2:34:18

Huge lessons learned:
Bad things:

I had not yet recovered from the previous very stressful week. I did go into this race with reduced expectations because of that, but I still found myself frustrated with my lack of skill compared to those around me.

It was probably a huge mistake (as usual) to compare myself to most of those around me, as this was one of the most tricked out races I’ve ever been to. I probably should have taken that into account.

It was useless to waste time in a temper tantrum. It didn’t make me feel any better (although I was briefly impressed with my rhyming skills.) Calm rules the day.

Nutrition was iffy. I had one gel on the entire course and about 2/3 of a bottle of Power Bar Endurance Formula. Probably should have finished the bottle and had a gel at the beginning of the run.

I forgot to have fun for a while there.

Good things:

I made it through the swim. I didn’t quit. And it was long. I don’t care what anyone says.

I made it through the bike with pretty decent speed. And, although I got angry, at least I didn’t weep.

I never ever broke down during the race, although I really wanted to. Somehow, I managed to mostly keep it together.

I realized that I really hate sucking, and that if it’s the day that’s sucking, life will go on. There will be more races.

(It didn’t rain!)

I remembered to have fun on the run.

I have great friends. Once again, Spence was a wonderful host, opening her home to us for much needed showers and food. Jo was awesome as usual, basically letting me just let go after the race. I needed that. Somehow we made it home, singing “I will survive” (how appropriate) and talking race strategies. That was more therapeutic than anything.

Friday, July 07, 2006

This weekend

Focusing now...

This weekend was supposed to be my first oly. Well, the bike course most likely will be shortened, which will probably be a good thing (it's going to be H-O-T). And, as Sheila pointed out, now I can go FASTER on the bike.

So, Spence laid out her plan, I guess I should get my head in the game and do the same.

Swim: Once again - I am a calm swimmer. Especially through that nasty (milfoil) shit. Strong and slow and smooth. It will be my first .75 mi swim (in a race), so I'll just stay focused and calm.

T1: It would be super nice if my transition time didn't appear as though I stopped for a makeover. The wetsuit is still giving me issues, but I'm hoping that I'll have more of a system down, due to lots of practice.

Bike: Well, now I don't really know what the bike is like anymore, but it's less steep now, so I can probably put the hammer down on most parts. Nutrition will consist of a bottle of Power Bar Endurance formula and a gel or two. High cadence, like Spence said, and focus on going 2 notches less then all out.

T2: Easy. Don't step on sunglasses. Small steps. Take a gel for the run, just in case.

Run: Relax for first mile. Just get in the groove. Don't worry about the split. Miles 2-3 ramp up. Miles 4-5 - Let it all hang out. Pedal to the Metal.

Phew, that's better!

Above all, I'm going to have FUN!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why I Tri

Any other reason I've stated before is minimal. Somehow they don't seem to matter anymore. There is only one reason now that makes any difference at all.

I spent this past week at home, getting the house ready for my mom, who was returning from Montana, after volunteering a month with the Blackfeet Indians near Glacier National Park. She works so hard while she's out there, and I love getting the house spick and span for her... Buying groceries, picking up the cats.

She came home on Saturday (thankfully, I had the time to clean up the soaked basement, whip the overgrown gardens into shape, and convince the kitties that mommy was coming back.). She had a horrible headache (major neck problems), tendonitis in her arm, and was still recovering from a GI problem she contracted while in MT. In short, she was a wreck.

Of course all of this was making her more finnicky than usual. I'm sure it's understandable, but when *I* had to open her package of cigarettes because of her arm, I lost it. I can see the future here, folks. Arthritic and aching, my poor mother is going to be in a bed before she knows it. There's not much more that can be done for her neck short of a very invasive surgery (which they are contemplating now). She eats horribly, suffers from horrible headaches often, and has severe arthritis.

I don't blame my mom for these problems. Life has been difficult on my poor mom, and honestly, I think these are just some of the burdens that she still carries with her. It pains me when she's in pain. I wish I could take the pain away. I wish it would affect me instead. It tears me up inside. What makes all of this worse is that she's utterly alone. No SO, no really close friend. Part of me thinks that she drives people away because she doesn't want them to be close to her pain.

But, what really gets me is that she makes these really horrible decisions. She smokes. She eats horribly. She doesn't exercise.... She's the poster child for osteoperosis.

So when faced with opening those cigarettes, I cried. I told her that I was worried about her. That I was afraid that before too long she wouldn't be able to do simple things for herself. That she was making all of these problems WORSE by smoking and not taking proper care of herself.

I've never given her any grief before about smoking. Never. Mainly because I know that when people pressure me about anything, it only makes me want to do it more. But, I've had it. Really and truely. I want my mom to be around for as long as possible. She's only 53, for goodness sake, but she's an old 53. Just in the past 2 years or so, I've seen her muscle tone go to almost nothing. She looks... old.

It was a tough week. What I thought was going to be fun and relaxing turned into a week full of driving my mom around, going to doctors (to get a horribly painful shot), in short doing almost everything for her (including washing her at times). I stayed an extra day because she couldn't yet drive. It was terrible to leave, but I know I did the best and the most that I could.

Why do I swim, bike, and run? Why do I eat so well? Why do I not smoke or drink caffeine or alcohol? WHY!?

She doesn't understand why. We were talking about my upcoming birthday recently, and I sent her a list of triathlon-related things that I would love, complete with direct links and descriptions. I explained to her over and over that they were just ideas, and if she didn't want to get me those things, it was okay. But when we were talking about it, she told me she didn't understand any of it. She didn't know what a jersey was, and didn't seem to care to know.

I felt like she didn't want to accept part of me, but deep down I think she wishes that she could do some of this stuff, and is sad that she can't. I've tried to help her. I got her weights and a mat for Christmas 3 years ago. I haven't seen them move since, and the mat is still in the packaging. The next year I got her a pedometer. I have no idea what happened to that. You can lead a deer to water.... But you cannot control the actions of another person. She has to make her own decisions. I just hope that someday she realizes that her decisions affect me as well.

In the end I opened the cigarettes and left the room. And cried some more.

Right now I'm going for a bike ride. You know why.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Lots of things happening right now... Good and bad.

First the bad:
  • The Fairlee course will probably be shortened to 17 miles (from 24) due to road conditions. I rode that course with Spence a few weeks ago, and I thought it was fine. I'm VERY bummed about the shortened course, and keeping my fingers crossed that they can patch up the roads in time.

The Good:

  • My A race will be Greenfield then. It kind of was already. I'm going to sign up today.
  • I had an awesome swim yesterday at Puffers'. 4 laps (~1600+ yds) of beautiful open water swimming. It totally kicked the pool's ass.
  • I have the best LBS on this side of the mississippi (so as not to compete with Amazing Hip's dude). I just got a tuneup, front derailleur replaced, and brakes adjusted... with a ONE day turnaround! FREE!!!!
  • I beat the weather today. I saw it was going to rain (all day) starting at 10am, so I got my bike in at 6am - LOVE the new derailleur.
  • I get to go home to PA tomorrow! I can't wait! - Shadow - what are you guys doing tomorrow night? I know! I changed my plans again. What can I say? Life's a little chaotic right now. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

RR: Webster Sprint Tri

Webster Sprint Triathlon
Webster, MA
June 25, 2006
8:00 am
Rain, steady, 60-70s

Why is success so surprising? Why is it so absolutely dumbfounding when we reach a goal we set? Why is there such a sense of wonder, of awe?

I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something I’ve been addicted to lately.

A little background: This is the same race site (and course) as the Danskin triathlon I did as my very first last year. I wanted to go back to see what I could do (with a new bike and more training and experience). I wanted to see if I had improved at all. I doubted that I had, and I hadn’t even bothered to check what my times were for the last race. No expectations. No pain.

This morning dawned defying the weather forecasters. Cloudy. No rain. I thought we had dodged a bullet. I felt silly for calling my new friend Joe the day before and telling him it might be wise to pack everything in plastic. I felt really dumb for making that garbage bag pack cover for my “tri bag.” But, I reminded myself that this is New England. The weather changes in the blink of an eye.

My training partner, Jo, and I head out on the road, only to meet our new weather in short order. Rain. Lots of it. Having some extensive experience in the stuff, honestly it didn’t phase me. So what? We’re going to start in a SWIM, for heavens sake! Bring it on.

We get to the race site and register. Listening to the sights and sounds of the race, I notice that the organizers must have asked my dentist to give a sample of his office music for prerace festivities. We get to the bike rack and this poor little soul comes up to rack her bike somewhat grudgingly. She says, “I can’t believe they aren’t going to call the race!” Me: “Why!? It’s just raining.” Oops. Seriously. I don’t get it. So you get wet. Then this other guy on our rack was grumping about how there were other better things he could be doing on a Sunday morning. My thought? “Well, just go do them then!” (I didn’t say that one, thankfully, as the brain-mouth barrier had been reestablished.)

My stomach isn’t playing nice, so we make the rather LONG trek to the bathroom (by the lake). Thank goodness things happen that should and I am suddenly a much happier camper. As we tromp back to the bikes I remember just how long that run is going to be from the lake to the transition area. I also note how bad that ground is going to feel on my bare tootsies and opt for the extra seconds to put on a pair of tevas after the swim (smart!).

By some stroke of genius, I had organized each part of my transition area in separate plastic grocery bags (the night before: so that unpacking was a cinch and nothing got wet neither during the transition setup nor the race). We finally head down to the beach, take a practice swim and wait for the dudes to start the race. I look for Karis and Joe (although I honestly don’t remember what he looks like… it was a good way to pass the time though!). We wait some more. 8:10. 8:20. 8:25. Finally the RD comes on the horn. Apparentl,y there was a downed tree on the course (Bunny hopping not having been mastered yet, I was very thankful they removed it) and LOTS of standing water. Woo Hoo! Ignorance is bliss. I don’t really care, just get me started on this damn swim. I’m freezing my arse off here!

We finally get going. La la la. We’re in the third wave, and man this is a long swim. I’m still not out to this first corner. Round the corner. BLAM!!! Oy. “F&^% ME!,” I yell. Some freaking Clydesdale tri-dude just rang my bell pretty nicely. I figure since I can still curse like a sailor (and draw some decent laughter in the process… I’m here to help folks!), I must be okay. Thankfully the rest of the swim was uneventful. I remember sending Joe some happy swimming thoughts. (Don’t think he needed them, to be honest….)

I get out and glance at my watch. Oy. Well, that sucks! Shake it off. There are things to do. Need shoes. Need to run 1/3+ mile to bike.

So, before you all tell me that I should save the party or the make-over for next time, keep in mind that it’s a freaking HAUL to the transition area. I didn’t have time to reapply my eyeliner, and still spent 7:24 in la la land.

I was a good triathlete and re-set my computer, but the gods hated me I guess (or really, really loved me) as the sucker crapped out right at the beginning of the 1+ mile long hill. Lovely. Maybe I didn’t want to know how un-fast I was going anyway. Fine.

The hill has three stages. I’m well versed with this thing since I did it last summer. So I’m a little sad when I see a gal walking her bike just a few feet into it. I tell her that she can do it, and she responds (a little bitterly), “No, YOU can do it.” I argued one more time, hoping she would just get mad at me and hop back on.

I get up the hill, take a deep breath, and hang on for dear life. The worst screaming downhill I’ve ever encountered meets me at the very tippy top.

OhmygodI’mgoingtodie… Momcanhavethecats.

And then: “Momma! Just killed a man… put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead. MOMMAAAAA….”

Okay. Let’s just say I see ½ of my life flash in front of my eyes. Nasty road, lots of water, obstacles, and VERYFREAKINSTEEP. Hands cramping.

I finally see the lady at the bottom… HARD right hand turn. I crawl around that puppy and start working. Lots of nice rollers and flat coming. Let’s haul it. Three guys thought they could pass me, but I love rollers. I pass ‘em all again. And then some. I cruise into T2 (after seeing Jo out on the run).
T2 is much better (2:17), however I manage to drop my sunglasses and step on them (clutz!). Momma always said my middle name wasn’t Grace for a reason. Thank god it’s raining!

I decide I’m going to kick it up on the run. I want to say that I left it all out on the course, and while I worked hard on the bike, I still feel pretty decent. Tired, but decent. Some gal in my AG passes me and I try to keep up. Nope. There’s kicking it, and there’s foolish. Maybe I’ll catch her on the flip side. I see Jo again, tell her to push it in (she’s having a great race!).

Nothing weird on the run. No chickens or dead frogs. Just baby rollers. As I head back to the finish, I see another lady in my AG. She’s a marked woman. I am absolutely determined to catch her and pass her. I don’t care how it happens, or what shade of blue I am when I cross that finish, but I am going to be ahead of her in the standings, darnit. (Of course I wish her the best and all of that….)

We round the corner. I’m gaining, but it’s hard. Gaining some more. We round the last corner. I pass her (“Great job!”) and head on to the grass (thinking: Wouldn’t this be funny…. I just busted my ass to pass this poor lady and I go blam on my butt on the grass?). Thankfully that didn’t happen. I see a dude blaze by me as I kick it. (Darn – you better not mess up my picture, Cowboy.)

Can’t breathe. Can’t see. Must hit stop.

Breathing, seeing and stopping the watch all commence and they remove my chip. I find Jo. I think she’s talking to me. I mumble. “Um, are you okay?” Blank stare. “Wha…?”

I think it’s safe to say I left it all out there. Anyhoo, I’m tickled pink. There is almost nothing better than knowing that you are getting better, and having a ton of fun doing it. Next up…. First oly in two weeks!

2006 (2005):
Swim: 18:42 (18:18)
T1: 7:24 (7:06)
Bike: 50:02/14.7mph (58:13/12.7mph)
T2: 2:17 (2:32)
Run: 27:36/9:31 (29:42/10:14)
Total: 1:46:01 (1:55:53)

Friday, June 23, 2006

More Rambling...


Thanks to my single commenter, I'll try to keep this short. :)

This Sunday is Webster Sprint Tri. Should be a ton of fun, as it's the same SAME course that Danskin was last year (oh, and it's like $30 cheaper).

Can't wait to tackle this hill....

Race report to come, ya'll!

Have wonderful, safe weekends...

OH, and....

happy birthday to SPENCE!!!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A little miracle...

My run this morning started out as nothing special. It kind of sucked, truth be told. I changed my schedule around today because I noticed that I feel "flat" at work. Probably I overworked myself last week. I thought maybe a lie-in might help. (This is the time that the life of a grad student is very nice indeed.)

I looked outside and saw blue skies. Excitement. I got dressed, ate something and was out the door for a slow and easy 6 miles.

Little achilles pain. Mash the crap out of trigger point.

Little right knee pain. Take it easy. (That's nothing new, and I'm learning to embrace these little aches and pains as badges of honor. They say hello. I say come along for the ride.)

Tired. Not surprising, seeing as I indulged my usually strict self to watch a movie until 11 last night. It feels good to do that every now and then.

Slow. Working on that, but it's:

Humid. Wickedly so, which is making my:

HR very high. Fine. It is what it is. Today will be like an unplanned tempo as the temperature and humidity inch up.

I have a million reasons to quit (okay... maybe 5). But, deep down, I still enjoy what I'm doing.

In the end, it was GYGO podcast that saved me. And, sorry, guys, it wasn't IronWil or Kahuna that inspired this time. In fact, I'd almost call it a miracle.

See, I'm so far behind in podcasts, it's almost like I'm ahead. I've been catching up slowly though, and today, I thought it might help.

Cue Episode 14. It wasn't advertised in the beginning as anything special. It was Easter weekend (see, I'm THAT far behind!!), and they were just winging it. Wil was talking about her hand, forearm and foot fettish (and I was chuckling, because I love a strong man's forearms... and calves, and I can appreciate a nice (clean) foot as well). It was light and funny, and took my mind off of my little complaints.

The heat pressed on. Sweat dripped through and on every part of my body. Down my face. Into my eyes. I had almost completed an entire 24 oz bottle of water in an hour. I still had a mile to go, and I really just wanted to walk. Who would care? Who would know?

And then Wil mentioned someone from blogland I really admire. As soon as she started talking about this "strong woman" I knew exACTLY who it was going to be. I broke in a grin and said, "Sheila!" Sure enough. And then to make it all better, Kahuna read one of her posts (about a run no less). If was the right freaking medicine at exactly the right time.

So, thanks guys! And of course, thanks to Sheila. This life is so funny (especially in this very small context). I don't know. Maybe I see more than I should in small events, but they seem to be so few and far between, it just seems more worthwhile to grasp up what I can. It lifted me up. It took me out of my misery. Had it been another blog, I doubt it would have done the trick.

We never know when or how we will have the chance to touch another life, whether it be in a good or bad, huge or very small way.

For those interested, this is what I heard:

"As always, I am battling the brick demons. I am just running as best I can. I'm not looking at the HRM, as it would be pointless. I'm just trying to get a decent cadence with tiny wittle steps (a la Elmer Fudd). I pull my hat down further over my eyes as the sun is bugging me and so is the wind. I get to the first mile. 8:42. What the fuck is that? I shouldn't be running that fast (remember, I am S-L-O-W). Especially after that hard ride. But really I don't feel all that bad. Just the usual this-fucking-sucks-it's-a-brick-run-why-the-fuck-do-I-do-this-shit bad. So I figure that since I'm into a headwind, and I will always run faster back towards home, what the hell let's do another 7 minutes out and then turn around.

No problem. It does suck just a teensy-weensy less with the little tailwind. I figure I must look like total crap, but then my head registers, "Hey, we don't really feel all that bad maybe we CAN keep a decent run pace up in an Ironman." I guess the more you do this shit that hurts you, the easier it feels. Thanks coach! My threshold for suckiness is much bigger now. I am thinking that few of my friends that I used to train with could keep up with the shit I do now. Or maybe they could. I alternate between feelings of invincibility and total suckitude. This is what keeps me training, I guess.

I start the last mile home, and all I can think is, "MAKE IT FUCKING STOP." No walking, no slowing down now, just run and get it done. In reality, I was also thinking how long could I keep going like this? And I know that with a little Coke or Ultra Violence, a long, long time (I didn't even use the old Ultra Violence today!!!). I was listening to some music on the radio, but seriously I didn't even hear it."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I had a *moment*

So, yesterday, I headed out for a brick. I still stand by my postulate that weather people have the only job where they can be wrong every day and not get fired. They were calling for severe thunderstorms. We had... blue skies. Bah!

I got home, changed in a jiffy, fixed my front tire (again - what is up with THAT!? not a flat, just keeps rubbing on the brake...), and headed out the door for the beginning of a brick. My plan was to ride Rt. 9 (Uber hilly road), come back and then go for a 4 mile run.

Not really having much time for a warmup (stupid), as Rt. 9 starts pretty much outside of my apartment, I started in on the hills right away. The first one wasn't bad, but the legs weren't liking it... at all. I made it up one hill, down, and 1/2 way up the second before I realized that this is a fairly advanced ride. Maybe it's better to take it a bit at a time.... Go a little further each ride (I'll plan to do a hilly ride a week), and pretty soon, just do all of Route 9! That will be my end-of-the-summer goal.

So, I turn around (go up another hill), and hit my Winery route. Ahhhh. Much better. Some very gentle grades. La la la. I'm enjoying the heat and the wind and the SUNSHINE until I happen to look to my right. I saw a dead kitty. :( I *almost* stopped (people were out and about at the house across the street.), but it made me so sad, I realized I really couldn't do anything. He was so cute too... This heat is so hard for our little critters - Don't forget about them!

Soon, I forgot about my sadness, though, because I happened upon a little find.... I passed this road called "Hardwick Pond Road" and thought, "Gee, I wonder what's down there!" I love exploring, and I was greatly rewarded... I round a corner after 1/2 mile and find...... a HUGE POND! (Who'd a thunk?) It gets better.... There are 3 swimming docks a good distance out. (I'll never swim there by myself of course, but it's nice to know that I *can* go there on the weekends, should I so choose!).

So, I turn around (after a lady that looked VERY much like one of my good friends from school asked ME for directions.... I don't think I helped that much because I was still trying to make my brain work correctly. "That can't be Melissa... She's in Oregon." Geesh.), get back to the house, grab a frozen Energice (not bad), my fuel belt (it's hot!), and I'm out the door.

The legs are a little wonky, so I focus on small baby steps. I take it slow for the first mile (as it includes two short but steep hills). Gradually I settle into a rhythm. I turn around after 20 minutes (realizing that I'm about to burn over 800 calories for the day, and I probably shredded my legs a bit on the hills) and head back again (I've now travelled this road a few times today already... and I think people are starting to recognize me as "that crazy girl!").

I see a lady cross the street to get her mail, and wonder if she's a runner... She just has the look. She looks at me and tells me that she's jealous because I'm doing what she usually is at that time! Woo Hooo!!! I tell her that maybe I'll see her out sometime. :)

And then the unthinkable happens. Just a few minutes later, a man comes running out of his house and asks me if he can talk to me. I'm a little confused (I don't know him at all!). He crosses the street and tells me that he's training for his first marathon (MCM) with his son, and asks me about my running back ground. (I admit to getting a little chill... This is a first for me.) Welllll, I did my first marathon in April, I tell him! He gets excited and starts pelting me with questions. How do I pace? How often do I run? What am I training for?

And then: Do you drink when you run? He starts to tell me that he ran an 8 miler on Sunday WITH NO WATER! (Guys, it was 90s here with a dewpoint near 70 on Sunday. I also ran an 8 miler Sunday, almost completely finishing a 24 oz bottle of PowerGel Endurance, and another 24 oz bottle of water when I got home....) I promptly conjure up my meanest mommy voice and tell him that that is a very BAD idea! Well, I was somewhat gentler, but my eyes almost popped out of my head. Ohmygosh! If he learns nothing else, I hope he heard me say that! I told him that he should also be replacing electrolytes, and to check the MCM website to see what sports drink they are using... and then to train with it. I hope he heard me.

But, let me just tell you how cool it was to be mentoring someone about marathon training. I am by no means an expert, but it was just the greatest feeling. It's one of the things I love most about running and triathlon - that ability to pay it forward and share the gift with someone else. That, my friends, is what it's all about.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Diet Revisited, Training Week, and Bike Name Revealed

Alrighty then... New diet. I kind of splurged a bit this weekend, mainly because I was so far behind and because it was a pretty big weekend (for me). So, I am feeling MUCH better now. In an effort to get back on the wagon, I have a new diet with much less emphasis on counting cals, and more on just eating healthily.

6:00: Oatmeal, brown sugar, milk (swim at 8-arms tired)
9:30: 12 oz chocolate milk (skim), then a little later: plum, granola bar
11:30: turkey and swiss on multigrain bread with tomato (whole sandwich); banana
2:00: apple, yogurt
5:00: 1/2 lb. haddock, 1/2 c brown rice, big salad, piece jalopeno blue cornbread
7:00 (planned): 1/2 c LF mint choc. chip icecream

Here's a pic of dinner... It just looks so good, doesn't it?

So, what do you think? Better???

I'll add another little meal on double workout days.

Anyhoo, even though I felt like such total crap last week, I managed to pull off one of my biggest training weeks yet. (As in EVER). Fun stuff!

Mon - s1500, r3

Tue - b15.2

Wed - s1500

Thur - b13.1, s300 (Puffers)

Fri - rest

Sat - b24.1, r1.3, s100

Sun - r8

Swim: 3400

Bike: 52.4

Run: 12.3

Time: 8:56:00

Woo hoo! Next race of the year is coming up this Sunday - Webster Sprint. It should be a good one, as it's the same course that Danskin was last year.... I have some hopes, but they all line up after: "finish the gd swim." Girl's gotta have priorities.

Oh yeah! How could I forget... The topic of my nameless bike came up in Fairlee this weekend. It was a struggle for me because of the girly color. So we decided that it had to either be a girl's name (which I wasn't cool with for some reason) or a gay man's name. Sooooo, I've had this major crush on Vin Diesel for YEARS, and it just FITS. Jo and I came up with it on the way home, and honestly I just knew it when I heard it! It'll be Diesel for short (and sits next to Tank), or if I'm in a really bad mood VD.... :) Or Vinny if I'm happy. What a versatile name! And, if rumors are true (well, that and the fact that he's a major celeb), it's the only way I'll ever be with him (*sob*).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fairlee Excursion

Just a couple of weeks ago, Spence contacted me and told me that she lives on the Fairlee course (first oly ever, coming up 7/9).... She asked if I wanted to come up and ride the bike route.... Ummm yes! And, how cool would it be to meet a fellow blogger? Very cool, as I was soon to find out.

So Saturday at 6am, Jo and I load up the car. Bikes, helmets, bike shoes, running shoes, wetsuit, bathing suits, towels, pump, food, and other assorted and assundry items litter the car. We stop THREE times to fix the bikes (note to self: must get roof rack), but we get there just in time to meet the most generous and hospitable host EVER. We get our acts together and ride down to the transition area (um... which had looked much bigger in the pics Spence posted....) And then we start.

We start out slowly on a nice flat road. Ahhh, this isn't so bad, I think. Give me 23 more miles of this. Mile 3 - Spence says, "this is our first baby hill." Jo: "That's a BABY hill?" A sign of things to come, for sure!

I haven't ridden with Jo all season yet, and it becomes apparent why. She has a ROCKET attached to her bike. I mean, someone should really talk to her about that... I'm sure it's not legal.

Somewhere around mile 6 or 7? we come to what Spence says is the first of the monsters. Ug. 5.4 mph most of the way, with HR of 189 (92% for those playing along at home). But, I did it.

We all catch up again and I hear Spence say to Jo that the next one is just as long but STEEPER. How the f...?! Okay, they like to grow 'em steep here in VT.

All along the way, I'm enjoying the company (that is when I'm not slogging up the mountains). It's a beautiful sound when bikes shift in unison... click click click, pedal pedal pedal. And, it's GREAT to have the company of friends on a bike ride. I've been missing out.

Hill 2. Jo and I unleash a "BRING IT!!!" Oh my god she was right. It IS steeper. The last one was a question mark. This is heinous. Why am I here? How am I ever going to finish this triathlon? I'm never going to make it. I've been riding hills! How is it that I'm so unprepared for the wrath this monster is dishing out.

Wait a goddamned minute. I've been through worse. I've hiked 22 miles (a day) in the ME 100 mile wilderness. I've backpacked with sciatic nerve issues and 2 blown out knees. I finished a marathon with cramping. I've been through so much CRAP in my life and gotten through with FLYING colors. Why should this be any exception? Come on, girl. Get it done. I was hoping that Spence wasn't right behind me because I literally started talking to myself at this point

And.... I realized I was humping my bike. You know what I mean. You know when you're on a really hard hill and you start using your upper body? I managed to quit that and made it to the top. This biker dude came along as we were catching our collective breath in a parking lot. He looked refreshed, like he had just done 10 FLAT miles in the largest chain ring... La la la! He waves to us and says, "Come on !" We all mumble something like, "yeah, yeah... "

The rest of the ride was wonderful! Rollers and Screaming Downhill and FLAT. I'll take it! We finally get back to Spence's house and Jo and I decide to run about 15 min off the bike. First brick of the season, and it didn't feel too shabby, except for the fact that my HR was 180 or so. Must work that out.

We get back and all pile in to go to the lake. Spence is chatting about some sort of plant growth. I wasn't really paying too much attention, to be honest (sheepish grin)... I thought it was just some interesting information about the lake. I get the wetsuit on and get in. HOLY FREAKING CRAP! IT'S COLD. (not as cold as puffers was on Thursday, though). They tell me to shut it pretty much (as I'm the only one with a wetsuit). We start swimming a bit. About 50 yds out I notice some thing yanking at my arms, but pay no mind.

One more stroke, and I'm in the midst of a freaking JUNGLE! Hundreds (it seems) of these nasty sprouts are just below the surface and their viney arms are yanking at mine! I get my head out of the water and scream! Spence starts laughing. Jo and I catch up to Spence and I say, "I'm sorry, but that is some NASTY SHIT!" Yeesh! Soooo thankful we did that.

So, we get back and shower (that was GREAT!) and head to the deli. I swear, I've never liked Salt & Vinegar chips... until yesterday. I mean, they used to make my tonsils swell just thinking about them. Until yesterday. I saw them and I wanted them. I ate them like they were candy. (See? I'm getting better at listening to my body....)

We finally get going on the road, and all the way home I just keep saying, "That was so much FUN!" It really was, Spence - Thanks so much for showing us around and being such a wonderful host... especially when you had a tri the next day!

Some things I observed and learned (kind of a last will and testament... to be continued of course)

"have you ever taken your wheel off?" "No."
(learning how to take my wheel off)
baby hills
monster mountains
The meaning of "steeper"
"Come on!"
BRING IT! (always a staple)
what woodchucks are good for (not much)
the cutest/biggest dog in the WORLD
Salt & Vinegar Chips
The lady with the white hair
camp stomping grounds
"What's that noise?"
"How 'bout giving those aero bars a try?"
"See you in 3 weeks!"