Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Alternate Existence

I like to think that I live a life of moderation,but I am so, so wrong.
What I really live is a life of extremes that are not necessarily related to one another at all.
The other day I was described by a self-proclaimed fence-rider as a fence-rider.
Yes, I agreed. I am.
Six months ago I was up by 5:45 most days, starting with a workout, moving into teaching a couple of classes, and then finishing the day off with a shift at the restaurant.
Post burnout, and post classes-getting-cancelled, I'm working nine to ten shifts a week at the restaurant and getting up at ten on an early day.
Forget the workouts.

Tonight I had a table I've had before. Not super-regulars, but every-now-and-then-on-a-Saturday-nighters. The woman mentioned that she worked with FURS, and I told her that as a TRIgirl, I had been involved with them somewhat when they were our sponsored charity. Her husband perked up at this, telling me that he has been doing tris for the past few years. We got into a more involved discussion...

I spoke flippantly about my Ironman and next-week marathon and the ensuing lack of anything whatsoever. He talked up the Shady Grove Sprint. I rolled my eyes internally. This is the girl who would actually rather swim 2.4 miles in the gulf than 300 meters in a suffocating pool. He admired my Ironman finish. I admired his sticktoitiveness with the sprints.

He started asking me about Ironman, and I spilled details. He said, "I see the twinkle in your eye," and I started to tear up. Yeah, y'all expect that of me. I promised him he'd see me there, though most likely not as a participant. I still covet the cheerleader position.

I had a job interview on Thursday, which I thought promising. During my meeting with several of the team members at the company, I was asked, "Given your experience with teaching and the restaurants, do you think you would be happy in an office environment?"

I answered positively then, but that question is haunting me. I do like the open water better than the pool.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fat and Lazy...

Wow. I can't belive I finished Ironman in November. If I told anyone who didn't know me, they would totally think I was lying. I thing that since finsihing the Ironman (and, of course, running the Richmond Marathon the following week,) my workouts have included two two-mile runs, a six mile run, a half-hour swim, and a cycling class. Oh yeah, I may have gone for a walk a few times, as well.

Is this what we call burnout? Granted, I've been living la vida loca, translated as the restaurant lifestyle--working late, enjoying a couple of wines or beers, sleeping in... until the next "double" takes its toll.

As my favorite kitchen guy Paul would say, "Seriously."

Seriously, I have abondened all good habits for slovenly ones. Went from Ironman to Areyoukiddingmeyoureallythinkicouldwalkamile?isntitsleetingorsomething?girl.

I have pipe dreams about the upcoming season, but I'm not ready to face them.


Congratulations to Mom and Dad, who once again ran the Colonial Half in ridiculous weather conditions (aka winter.)
And the Beebs, who makes it to the gym on a regular basis for Eagleman training.
And Lolly, who is maintaining even though she's not training for anything at all right now.
And the guys from Dyron's training blog, who havent quite managed to motivate me, although they make me think about it!
And Anna, who runs. Long.
And the TRIgirls and Maramarc folk who keep on keepin on.
And SanDee J. Gammon who still calls me for a workout, even though she knows I often fall through.
That's how I know, even though I'm slacking now, that I WILL BE BACK.
Just don't push me...

I love you all.

Carmen Leah Hamlin

Monday, January 21, 2008

dont hate in 08/carmen33

So this is my new signature. The year needed a motto, and I needed a name. The plan? Not yet formed.

As my friends, family, acquaintances, and training partners know, I have a bit of an attitude problem. The toddler in me wants all to know that I do what I want to do. I wanted to do ironman, so I did. I wanted--and decided, long before Ironman was finished--to totally take a break from training after the race and party on, dude.

Well, I did run the Richmond marathon the week after Ironman. BUT only because I love the race and because my sister was running her first marathon (and her first run EVER longer than 13.1 miles, God bless her!)

Goal accomplished. That is, of ,party on, dude.

So, I figured life would take shape again when classes resumed January 14. The wrench thrown in my plan--classes cancelled due to low enrollment. So, I've been "gettin my Hondo on steady" ever since. The upside is that this may be the kick in the pants I need to do something full-time, or as many of us refer to it, "real."


In the past two months, I've gone running twice, bought a new car, had a job shift, buried a pet, worked my ass off, and celebrated Christmas, the new year, and my thirty-third year of life. I've reconnected with my wonderful friends and coworkers who thought I'd fallen off the planet in the past year. One major bonus: I've read more than I had in the past two years combined (going from about a book every week or two to a book every day or two.) BUT I've also gained about fifteen pounds and had a hard time getting anything accomplished besides reading or going to work (especially, read: training.)

The wonderful truth about being a human being is that as much as we try to achieve balance, things constantly shift. We think we want things to stay the same, but, really. No.

Do I have major training goals for 2008? Nope.
Do I want to work a little, play a little, race a little? Absolutely.

I'm feeling less lofty, but more human. I'm trying to wallow in moderation. whereas I usually go full throttle in opposite directions.

Plus, I've been getting some smacktalk from the boys.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ironman Florida 2007

It's true.
I am an Ironman.

Nobody else can do it for you, and you can't do it by yourself.
It was the longest day of my life, and it seems like it just flew by.
Ironman is an incredible achievement, and it's also just a race.

I am never doing an Ironman again, and I have reserved my spot for IMFL 2008.

Who's in?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lessons I've Learned in 2007 (Well, September, Anyway!)

The number one lesson I've learned this year is that I can't do everything.

I guess I've known that for a long time, but one of the problems with having an abundance of choices in our lives is that sometimes we have to choose to choose.
Which brings me to another lesson in time management. Ask a busy person...
Well, with teaching and training and smiling and laughing at people's lame jokes and bringing them absoltely whatever they ask for (those last few are all waiting tables, of course,) I just can't seem to find the time to update this gosh darned blog 'o mine.

So, I've been thinking (usually on a four plus hour bike ride or a two-mile timed swim) of what I could actually post that would in some way represent my last month or so of triathlon without actually covering all of it.

And, in the spirit of Things You May or May Not Want to Know About Me, I offer you the following Lessons, in no particular order.

1. Life does indeed get in the way.
2. No matter how many times you've lost the weight, or how much you exercise, you still have to pay attention to everything you put in your mouth.
3. And what comes out of it! Even I have found someone who, as Susie puts it, "makes Carmen sound like a kindergarten teacher."
4. Sometimes the best race is the slowest one.
5. There are pages of things I could do instead of the race, but I'll probably still end up out there. Thanks, Anna.
6. A new bike is going to have it's own new set of things to get used to, but boy do I love it anyway. And it gets better and better every ride.
7. I guess it's inevitable that I'm going to bawl like a baby at some point during Ironman since I do during at least half my training sessions these days. Don't worry--it's just my sensitive side.
8. I can't really drop out if twelve of my training partners are racing with me, and thirteen of my family members along with countless friends and TRIgirls are coming out to cheer and support, now can I? See #7.
9. If you can't run, walk.
10. January to November is a long, long, long time.
11. I'm glad none of my college professors were training for Ironman. I'm not so amenable to excuses these days.
12. I'm just a slow-twitch kind of girl.
13. There are times when I would do anything to have someone to train with and others when I really need four hours completely to myself. At those times, running is a pleasant excuse.
14. Girls do have outside parts.
15. Training is hard.

My Weight Watchers leader used to say (and probably still does; I just haven't been around those parts in several months,) "When you have a bad week, you need the meeting. When you have a good week, the meeting needs you." I may have quoted that here before. There are different times during my training that I have needed something from a training partner, coach, family member, or sometimes, Someone Who Is Completely Not Involved In Any Of This. Actually, there have been several times when I was so happy to talk to a friend who couldn't care less about triathlon, just so I could take a mental break, if not a physical one. Oh, but how soon do we get caught right back up in planning the next race, the next team event, the next carpool to a training ride. Thank goodness for those girls!

During the past month, I've given myself permission to go slow, to sleep in, to ignore my blog. I've met fifty-four new students and gotten to know them and their research subjects. We've discussed conocimiento, the paradox of seeing beyond belief, and what school uniforms mean. I've convinced (some of) them that they get to take a class as opposed to have to take a class. I use the same tactics on myself.

In the meantime, is there anything nicer than a long bike ride on a sunny afternoon with the Beebs? More entertaining than a run and coffee date with SanDee J? More motivational than a training race with the TRIgirls? Better than postPatriot dinner with Anna and Deanna? I think not.

But ask me again at 11:59 on November 3.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I've Also Been Tagged... I'm Pretty Slow, Too!

I guess I've been tagged by all the TRIgirl bloggers for this chain letter style listing by now. It's kind of like a pyramid scheme. Please send a dollar and add your name to the bottom of the list.

Jobs I’ve Held
Little League Softball Umpire
TCBY girl
Receptionist at Pediatric Opthalmology
Olan Mills telemarketer (5 days!)
Sam's Club sample distributor
Herman's Sporting Goods cashier
Campus post office mail sorter
Writing tutor
Computer consultant
Nanny--two different families
Caterer--Incredible Edibles, Virginia Museum
Server--Charley's, Pasta Luna, Richbrau, Garland's Way, Hondo's
Bartender--Charley's, Pasta Luna, Colonial Downs, Brio
Restaurant manager--Melito's
Substitute teacher--Henrico County
High School teacher--Monacan
College Instructor--VCU, UR, J. Sarge

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over
I'm changing this to books. I read the same books millions of times.
The Great Gatsby
Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains
anything by David Sedaris
anything by Joan Didion
Boys of My Youth
I Am Charlotte Simmons

My Guilty Pleasures
Sleeping in

Places I've Lived
Richmond, VA

Shows I Enjoy
The Office
Sex and the City

Places I Have Been on Vacation
Orlando, FL
Naples, FL
the Everglades, FL
South Beach, FL
the Bahamas
Jekyll Island, GA
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hatteras, NC
Nags Head, NC
Virginia Beach, VA
Blue Ridge Mountains, VA
Baltimore, MD
Philadelphia, PA
New Hamphire
Finger Lakes, NY
New Jersey
Toronto, Ontario
Huntsville, Ontario
Nashville, TN
West Virginia
Deer Creek, IN
New Orleans, LA
Cherokee, NC
Phoenix, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
New Mexico
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
the Netherlands
the Greek Islands

These are all places I actually visited and stayed. The list would be much longer if I included all the places I passed through. For example, I put my feet under the fences into Lebanon and Egypt, but they did not make the list. I've driven through Delaware a bunch of times, but only once did I take advantage of the sales-tax-free shopping. I didn't really want to admit to New Jersey, but there it is.

Favorite Foods
potato chips
salt & pepper
dark chocolate
red wine
Mom's spaghetti sauce (which isn't as secret as it sounds)
Grandma's biscuits

I consider all of these items to be food, although some might consider several to be condiments or beverages.

Body Parts I've Injured
I've busted my chin open five times. Stitches three times. The last time I did it there wasn't enough skin left there to stitch, and the doctor told me if I ever did it again I'd have to get a skin graft. I guess I finally learned how to use my hands rather than my face to break a fall. Either that or did more pushups than your average eight-year-old.

Websites I Visit Daily
I do not go online every day. On purpose. Favorites include
TRIgirl Training Forum
VCU Blackboard and email
UR Blackboard and email
Cavtel email
Triblogs and my brother's and sister-in-law's blogs

Awards I’ve Won
Third-place Athena Charlottesville Olympic Tri
Volunteer Spirit Award at 3Sports Tri
Best in Team at the only corporate restaurant I ever worked at

Those are the recent ones. I won some departmental awards and scholarships and honoraries long, long ago in a land far, far away. The most interesting award I ever won was in third grade. It was the More Gold Than Fort Knox Award for the student who had the most stuff in her or his desk. My prize was a Laura Ingalls Wilder book and three outliner pens. Remember those?!?!

Nicknames I've Been Called
Mostly I'm just Carmen. There are a lot of people who know only my first name, and others who know only my last name. One of the distinctions of being a waitress and a teacher.

Other Bloggers
Don't break the chain or you will have bad luck. Ha. Anyone who would like to answer these bone-chilling and exclusively revealing questions, please do.

For the Love of Tri

It's funny to me every now and then when I get talking about triathlon to someone who doesn't know me. It happens a lot when I am waiting tables. I just did my first tri two years ago, in many ways a lifetime, in others, yeah, two years ago.

Recently, I've *obviously* been focused on my training for Ironman. But even more recently, I've been remembering why I enjoy triathlon so much! Not in any particular order, a few of the reasons...

*The camaraderie of TRIgirls.
*Knowing that I'm doing something good for myself.
*The diversity of workouts.
*Seeing my surroundings on foot or on bike.
*Sweating at an appropriate time.
*Sharing a "hobby" with my brother and sister.
*Being part of the excitement of a race.
*Sharing in the accomplishments of others.
*Appreciating things like water and sitting down.
*Swimming, biking, and running. Really.
*And lifting weights.

My nephew just completed his first triathlon last weekend. Reading my sister-in-law's report on it made me a little jealous--not only do I wish I could have been there to cheer for Asher, but I wish I had done this when I was seven years old!

As frustrated as I get that tri coverage is often limited to the annual Kona montage, I do love those inspirational stories. And I hope that I can always experience the same excitement and enthusiasm as I had as a first-time racer, kinda like a kid.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Charlottesville Olympic Tri Race Report

I already droned on about prerace, so let's jump right into the lake...

The Swim

The swim was in a very flat, very calm lake. Some hairy vegetation that wrapped around my goggles once or twice was really the only major obstacle. The water is usually too warm for wetsuits, but race day was a little cooler than normal, so some of the athletes suited up for the swim. Not I. Actually, I did Naylor's Beach 06 and Sandman 05 and 06 wetsuitless. I've raced in my lovely new TRIgirl logo-ed suit only twice, for Smith Mountain Lake Sprint and Eagleman. And here in Walnut Creek State Park, I felt as though the water still verged on too warm, so I was fine without.

Another interesting aspect of the swim portion is that it was a double loop. This is the first race course I've done that was not poin-to-point or a single loop (other than the local sprint pool swims, of course!) Apparently, many swimmers, particularly in the men's waves, skipped the last buoy on the loop, leading to spectacular, yet inaccurate, swim times.

As for me, my major accomplishment here was SWIMMING THE ENTIRE SECOND LOOP FREESTYLE!!! I was so freaking proud of myself that I got choked up just thinking about it. Which is a great example of how trivial some of our personal tri accomplishments may seem to others, but how big they are in our own little worlds... As Grandison predicted, Som simply said, "Why didn't you swim all freestyle?!"

The Bike

The bike course started with a long "false flat" out of the parking lot. Susie had told me she racked her bike in the small chain ring--"Didn't you notice the hill as we came in?" Um, no. It also didn't look like a hill to me as I rode out on it, although it sure did feel like one! This ride was very challenging for me, as I usually struggle with my uphills. I was grateful more than once for our training rides with the Maramarc group on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I passed and got re-passed by a couple of other riders, but the only two I passed that didn't pass me back were a woman on a mountain bike and a seventy-four-year-old man. As I was enjoying the passing scenery, I also noted that I rode past a beautiful turtle. Then I started thinking about describing my experiences post-race, and I thought how it would sound if I said or wrote, "I passed a turtle." Then I laughed out loud. Laughed so hard I fell off my bike and lost about fifteen minutes... No, just passed a turtle. basically, that's the kind of stuff I think about while I'm swimming, bikeing, or running for any amount of time by myself. And people wonder why I've never used an iPod. With entertainment like this, who needs one? The other thing I do to pass the time on the bike is to wait for Anna and Susie to pass me. Anna flew by, complaining that her chain was stuck in the small ring. She now insists that we were going uphill at the time, but I'm not so sure. Susie caught me going right into transition, and as we headed out for

The Run

Cyndi was just starting her second of the two loops on the trail. Always great to see the girls in pink! I do love a trail run, but I was pretty beat for this one. Of course, the challenging course makes it so much rewarding at the finish. I must admit I did fall on my face once, but I'm fairly springy. Bounced back up and just got an extra cup of water at the next aid station to rinse off some of the dirt. Wasn't so effective at keeping my feet dry, but I wasn't thinking so clearly! I walked more than I would like to admit on the second loop--definitely not a negative split!

Sometimes I wonder whose silly idea it was to run all these races on roads when we can be back on the trails, anyway. I guess when I participate in a race of ginormous proportions such as Monument Ave 10K or the VA Beach Rock'N'Roll Half Marathon, I don't even notice that we're on a venue primarily used by automobiles. But when I did my first couple of sprint tris, it seemed somewhat odd to be running on the sidewalk through a neighborhood as "normal" people drove by doing what they do. And even though this trail was tricky, I'll take it over the cornfields and blazing pavement of Naylor's Beach any day!

The Finish

Cheerleaders Derek, Melissa, and Dave joined the TRIgirls who had already finished to see me across the line. Susie won second place in her age group, Ed came in third Clydesdale, and Anna came in second Athena. I was waiting with her to get her award, and before they got to her name, they called mine! I brought home a pair of socks for my third place finish in the Athena division, which was pretty cool. I never thought I'd win an award, but sometimes it's about sticking it out past retirement or signing up Athena in a small race.

I've been planning my 2008 tri season recently--looking forward to doing all my favorite races without "worrying" about Ironman. As of now, Charlottesville is on the list!