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!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Charlottesville Olympic Tri Race Report, Preface

The Outlook
I was OhSoExcited about this triathlon. Really!
Just about an hour away from home, lake swim, trail run, small number of participants. All good criteria in my book.
After completing Eagleman a month and a half ago, an Olymic distance seemed so, well, easy! While I had been incredibly anxious about Maylor's Beach last year (my first Olympic distance,) my anticipation for Charlottesville was completely different. I was totally looking forward to it, felt extremely well-trained, and was already imagining it as a new favorite.

The Trip
Got a couple of screws loose on the travel plans. Anna's beautiful new bike doesn't actually fit on her bike rack any more, so instead of riding with her, I followed her up to the race site. My alarm went off at four am, and we got on the road about five. It was dark out for most of the drive, but it was pretty relaxing. I just listened to music and watched Anna's taillights. Much easier than on my way back home when i stopped paying attention for just a second and ended up driving halfway to Lynchburg!

PreRace MisPreparation
Here's where the pitfalls begin. This was my eleventh triathlon, and never before had I experienced any organizational difficulties, much less an Evil Triathlete. Now I got both.
I signed my waiver and proceeded through the packet pickup line. When I showed my license and USAT card, the woman checking called my number out, 220, although I could clearly see that my name had already been crossed off the list. The other woman agreed--220 was missing from the race number box.
"Sit tight," one said. "We'll straighten it out."
"Where's Dan?"
"I don't know who he is."
"He's in the canoe."
The volunteers had this conversation while I sat patiently on the bench.
Then they went back to distributiing packets.
A few minutes later, I asked if there was someone I could find or ask.
"Yes! Do you know Patty?"
"No. I'm from Richmond."
"Oh." And they continued to hand out packets.
Finally another volunteer located Patty, who said I needed to re-register.
The guy hading out goodie bags handed me a registration form. Actually, two.
"May I have a pen?"
More digging around.
I turned in my "new" registration, then waited again while a woman copied all of the information I had just written onto a blank race number, 244.
"Here you go!"
"May I have my race packet?"
The guy handed me a course map and a couple of race brochures.
"Could I get a bag, too, please?"
"We're all out."
Of course they were. Obviously they had handed out all the bags while I was sitting on the bench for twenty minutes.

I moved over to the chip line, where I had to explain my situation to someone else.
"Hold on while I go check," she said. Five minutes later she returned to tell me that my chip would now be fine, but that I couldn't use the stretchy chip band because they were only for relay teams.

Having volunteered at a couple of races this year myself, I appreciate that these people are out there to make the race possible for us, but this was truly a frustrating experience because nobody seemed to have the wherewithal or authority to make any decisions about a mixup, or the ability to find someone who could. Well, I thought, at least this is all out of the way before the race. I was starting to get a little anxious now, though, where I'd been calm all morning before arrival.

I got bodymarked and went back to the "festival-style" transition area, where I'd already racked my bike and set up my transition gear. A guy had racked his bike so that his front wheel rested not-so-gently on my bag.
I moved it over. "I'm sorry if that was in your way."
"Well, you took my spot."
"Excuse me?"
"You took my spot. I had my towel over here, and I was going to put my bike there."
"Well, I had no idea. There was no bike here, and there aren't any numbered spots."
"I put my stuff to the right of where I was going to rack my bike. That's the way it works."
He was being pretty sarcastic with me at this point, so I just said,
"Well, it looks like we both fit here. I didn't mean to ruin your race."
"I was just letting you know triathlon etiquette."

I didn't reply. Just finished bodygliding while I listened to him give some others around us tips on how to race and train for distance triathlon. "So you've done an Ironman?" someone asked. "No. That's the only distance I haven't done," he replied. "I mean, besides this one." Then he went on to talk about the half he had completed. In other words, this distance tri expert had completed zero Olympics, one half, and zero Ironmans. I'm glad he was preaching to me about etiquette!

At this point I realized that the packeteers had failed to give me a swim cap, so I went back over to "my" bench to retrieve it. Plus, I was starting to get worked up about the Evil Triathlete. I know I didn't make that obvious, so I thought I'd point it out!

Thank goodness for TRIgirls! I met back up with Anna, Lynn, Susie, Cyndi, and surprise entrant Mary. I vented, and then Cyndi braided my hair. I hope that was as calming for her as it was for me. Once again I took advantage of her Mom Skills. I hope this may become a tradition!

I decided that Everything that Could Go Wrong already had, so that I must be in for a great race!!! We headed down to the lake.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


As many of you know, one of my favorite sayings is, "Not with that attitude, you can't." Truth be told, I ripped it off of my brother. He doesn't mind a little plagiarism.

One of my other favorites, and I made this one up myself (very creative, I know,) is, "No self-deprecating remarks." This is actually a rule that I have had in many of my classrooms. "Ms. Hamlin, I'm not a good writer." "I know it's boring, but.."

I find that I "get" to use these sayings frequently with my training partners. I laughed out loud as I read Diane's blog account of Deanna L's self-deprecating, "I'm slow" comments as she continued to extend the length of her ride (at a not-too-shabby 17.2 mph no less!)

Then I laughed out loud again when I got to the next section, where Diane logged her swim workout, needing to "build confidence" that she could actually swim .9 miles in a race, while she completed a 1000m workout at less than 1:05/100m!!! Sounds strong to me...
The diverse group of women with whom I train is filled with people who don't have the attitude that they can't. TRIgirls rock, and I've seen the posters to prove it. They just need to drop the self-deprecating remarks, as well.
Especially if they're faster than me!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Training After Eagleman!

I realized my "positive" post wasn't so much. Obviously, I needed an exclamation point.

Gearing up for cheerleading at Shady Grove next weekend, followed by racing the Charlottesville International Distance July 29. Lake swim, rolling bike, trail run--sweet!

The end of summer school means more time to shower after those weekday brick workouts! Also, now that I' don't have to go straight from VCU to Hondos, I can actually sit down and eat a healthy dinner instead of grazing on french fries, seafood bisque, and assorted fried appetizers at work.

The Camp Hilbert pool is conveniently located sorta close to West Creek. Kay, Anna, Jennifer, and I have really enjoyed this new post-brick hangout! Yesterday, I think Anna and I could even include blowing up our new rafts as another aerobic activity sandwiched in between our 30/10 brick and Swimming with Som.

Oh, yeah, Swimming with Som! After a health-induced hiatus, I made it back to Sunday swimming the past two weeks. Ahhhhh. Love it.

Training After Eagleman.

Okay. I just posted some of my more negative thinking with a question mark. Now here's the positive stuff.

I ran the James River Scramble the week after Eagleman. I love this race, and I think it made it okay for me to run again (ever) after my first half iron.

I have skipped a few workouts, but none of the key bricks. Felt exhausted yet proud of myself after finishing this weekend's brick with Anna.

My Weight Watchers leader once said, "If you've had a bad week, you need the meeting. If you've had a good week, the meeting needs you." I think this is applicable also to training with the TRIgirls. I always come away from a workout or a clinic or the forum or a blog with a better attitude.

Speaking of Weight Watchers and TRIgirl blogs, several girls have mentioned weight loss or maintenace, and Grandison has dubbed July "Nutrition Month." I have gained fifteen pounds over the last ten months (an accomplishment of sorts, considering I was training for/am training for 70.3 and 140.6!) As Jonah pointed out, it's a lifelong battle for some of us to mantain weight, and I tend to slack off completely once I achieve a weight goal or ramp up my mileage.

So, I'm officially back on the boat. Actively paying attention to what I eat, even though there are so many more interesting things to pay attention to! Forget body image; we're talking about my mile times here...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Training After Eagleman?!

Many of us have read bits and pieces about the emotional letdown after a race, knowing that we expect to be just plain tired, as well.

In addition to recovering my first Ironman 70.3 physically, mentally, and emotionally, I find myself battling other transition periods with perhaps even more difficulty.

Aarrrrrrggggghhhh! I am teaching a summer course that meets thirteen times over a period of eight weeks. Only one of my students has been to every class.

No School
The end of my summer class means more shifts at the restaurant. Pray for good tips and no burnout.

Not mental, yet. In the past month, my car has been in the shop twice, my lawn mower was "totaled," my bike went in for some not-too-major adjustments and repairs, and my air conditioning system in the house clunked out. I stand out in my two-foot lawn and wonder, "Will I ever be able to buy a new bike?"

Is it just the heat and humidity? I have had a hard time getting motivated to do all of my workouts. Ironically, for the first time ever, I completing more swims than bikes or runs.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Eagleman Race Report

Would you believe, seven days later, I am STILL wearing my Eagleman shirt?
I certainly hope not.
That you would believe it, that is.
So, this was the biggest race of my life...

Perfect. The only thing to complain about is that I can't blame anything on it.

Much as I expected. I did well, but was aware the whole time that I was using extra energy to breaststroke. Don't tell Som.

A beautiful ride. I prefer a few hills to break up the monotony, but this course was flat and fast. There was some headwind on the way back in, and I was starting to chafe a bit--wishing for an uphill to stand on... Although I drank six bottles of fluid, I didn't feel the urge to pee, so I didn't test out peeing on the bike. Years of teaching and waiting tables really enable the "holding" factor. I felt so great during the first half of the bike that I imagined myself saying and doing all sorts of ridiculous things post-race. "Sure, I'd love to bike 500 miles over the weekend," for example. I came to my senses around mile 45.

I honestly have to say the best part about the run was seeing Blake. Then Som. Then Dr. Rick. Then Mark. Then Rick E. Then Ed Amy Liz Susie CynD Deannas Anna Lynn Kate Mary Jo Jonah Molly Sharon not necessarily in that order who did I forget it was so great doing outandback and seeing pink punctuated by Maramarc.
I felt great for the first six miles. Steady pace, walked the water stops. Could really feel the compilation of bike and breaststroke by mile 11, and I walked a bit more. Head up. TRIgirl representin. For most of the run course I must have looked really good or really bad because almost everyone that passed me in the other direction had a positive comment for me. I think it was my contagious positive attitude and gritted teeth that may or may not be a smile. Sorry I missed speedy Jeff, but, wait a second! Didn't I see Karen and Shawn at mile .1, and here they are again at mile 3?!

Most Memorable Moment:
Okay. I TOTALLY crashed and fell off my bike at the dismount area coming into T2. What's that about not using the front brake at twenty miles per hour? And where was Bob Dickerson when I needed him?
Thanks goodness SanDee witnessed the whole thing--the Gammons are always good to have around for an embarrassing moment.

Finish Line:
How wonderful to finish a race into the arms of TRIgirls and Maramarc folk. I especially appreciate the way our cheerleaders ignored that special postrace smell. And I swear SanDee cried first. Not counting when I did DURING the race. Mark handed me my TRIgirl Half-Ironman Finisher pint glass, out of which so far I've only drunk water!

Anna, Deanna, and I "relaxed" on the grass by the car until Mom & Dad finally got there--two hours after I finished. So much for Maryland traffic. They took us out for burgers and beer, and the girls and I made the wisest decision of our lives and stayed over an extra night, chilling with a foot each in the hotel pool and hot tub until we were ready to go out for ice cream.

Post Race Thoughts

Three years ago I ran my first mile since two that were required in high school. Just shy of two years ago I finished my first sprint triathlon. Although "Anything is Possible," I NEVER thought I would do anything this [stupid]. Ha.
So do I feel any different? Yes. I was a lot more tired and cranky this week.
Many peeps who don't TRI or do other endurance activity don't really "get" Ironman, or half of it. They're impressed when I run a mile or three.

So the race itself is six hours and forty minutes or so that I spend with myself and think about how I got to be where I am. Ironman, 70.3, and the other tri distances are less to me about swimming, biking, and running as they are about me, Mom, Dad, Dyron, Shannon, Grandison, SanDee, Susie, Jennifer, Cyndi, Deanna, Anna, Sharon, Molly, Kate, Lynn, Deanna, Jonah, Mary Jo, Liz, Amy, Cheryl, and the rest of the TRIgirls and Maramarc-ers. And goodness gracious, my friends who don't tri and listen to me, anyway. God bless you all, especially those of you who have spent over six hours and forty minutes with me. Time sure breeds some strange thoughts!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Eagleman Eve

Isn't that a new national holiday?!

Kate just chastised Lynn and me for sitting indoors on such a beautiful day, but I am under strict orders from my massage therapist/tanning counselor/mom to stay out of the sun and keep my feet up today! The most invigorating activity I've done today is rubbing some lotion on my legs and giving myself a mini-pedicure.

Kate O drove me, Lynn, and Deanna B up here yesterday--we caravaned with Cyndi and her family. It was great to hit the expo and bike inspection before one million people arrived. We had a great pre-prerace meal of wild salmon, brown rice, veggies, and wheat bread (mine with lots of butter, of course!) before Anna joined us just in time to get a little dinner and play a rousing game of Yahtzee.

We were just finishing up our game when the brewing thunderstorm knocked out power in our lakeside cottage. Thank goodness there was a good stock of decorative candles, most of which had never been lit before. I was happy to put them to good use.

The storm may have cooled things down a bit, but it also created a much more ragged surface on our lake. We're going to check out the Choptank in a little while and assess the damage to the previously serene river surface...

Kate and I already finished a Scrabble game before nine am. She pulled out a couple of bonus words and kicked my ass. On to other ways to distract ourselves from thinking too much about tomorrow's race, while keeping shaded and rested!

Volunteering at the Powersprint Tri

Last Sunday, I volunteered for the first time ever in an official capacity at a race. I figure that since I've completed nine triathlons now, I was behind schedule in giving back to the sport. Despite the hurricane conditions, it was a fantastic experience. Many of the girls I've trained with for the past year or two participated, including my sister. We also had a record number of TRIgirls completing their first triathlon, which was exciting for our group and intimidating?! for the other racers. Aha...

After body marking with Jonah and Susie--and of course we had to add some inspirational messages along with the requisite race numbers and ages--I joined others outside the pool as they awaited their swim starts.

When I though we were getting closer to the time the Beebs would cross the finish, I joined my dad just ahead of the finish line, where we unsuccessfully attempted to ward off the rain by holding umbrellas sideways against the wind. Shannon had a great race, particularly considering she had alreqady been diagnosed with step and has since been diagnosed with pneumonia! As her doctor said after chastising her for racing, "You healthy people are sometimes so unhealthy!"

T-girl Jennifer S joined me for some cheering--encouraging runners to sprint in the finish and smile big for the cameras--and running out to pick up Cathy and Kay--keep it moving, girls! I was so impressed with all of the Baby Pinks and their performance. What a reward for all the hard work they've put in over the past couple of months. I don't know that I would have finished in those horrific weather conditions... but Karen insisted, contrary to my wishes, that she would still rather do a sprint in hurricane conditions than a half iron in perfect weather. Liar pants.

I look forward to helping out again on July 1 for I Love the Tavern!

Peer Pressure

Here I am sitting at the Eagleman TRIgirl house, clicking away on Deanna's laptop. She's killing me on post numbers and details, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do a few updates...

Admittedly, this kind of TRIgirl pressure is much less daunting than the kind that got me signed up for Eagleman and IMFL in the first place!

Monday, May 14, 2007

More Hills

Some TRIgirls and Maramarc folks headed for the hills again this Saturday. (Mis)led by coaches Mark, Ed, and Blake, our sixty mile ride stretched into seventy! Wow. The fifty-miler we'd ridden a few weeks ago had been my longest bike to date.

Once again, Cyndi carried me and my bike up into the mountains. This time her husband accompanied us, as well. We departed the commuter lot at six am and returned at five thirty pm. Not just a morning ride. Some Canadian bikers along the way asked me how many were with our group. "Not as many as last time."

The thirty-five miles out was really a pleasant ride. The only thing I didn't enjoy about it was the realization of the reverse route.

There were a lot of interesting creepy crawlies on the ride. Shiny black beetles, thick segmented worms, fat colorful caterpillars. Totally different from any I come across here in town.

Part of the ride seemed more pasture than mountain, complete with grazing cattle.

Several vultures took air as I approached them. I couldn't see why they were there, but I could smell it.

I drank a twenty-ounce Coke at the turn-around. It was truly the nectar of the gods.

My chain fell off once. I had grease not only all over my hands, but subsequently all over my face. Does that make me look more or less professional?

A cycling tan is like a trucker tan, only different.

It's interesting to me how the highs and lows during an intense endurance activity mirror the highs and lows of everyday, only the intensity level of them reflects the level of exertion. I'm frequently emotional during long rides or runs. In the Blue Ridge, these emotional highs and lows are inversely proportional to the hills themselves. Going uphill, I curse myself, my bike, my coaches, the mountains. I vow to quit. Downhill, I could go on forever. This is the best ride of my life.

When I finally finish, six hours or days or years later, everything is different from when I started. The temperature, the air, the mood, me. The physical exhaustion leads to emotional exhaustion.

I'm proud of myself.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I swam two miles today.
Farthest swim distance ever.

I joined the JCC today, bringing my workout bag into the membership office with me. That's how much I was looking forward to this swim.
In the interest of full disclosure, my family belonged to the JCC when I was small, and I actually swam on their team for two summers back when they had only one pool. My mom taught water aerobics there, as well. They let anyone join the team. I never got out of the "novice" category in anything but backstroke, and I was used to bringing up the rear in any heat.
So, the facility looks really different...

I loved my swim! As many "issues" as I have with the swim portion of the tri, they all surface in race situations, or occasionally when I'm swimming in a crowded lane and start thinking about race situations. Swimming in the Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Tri last Saturday was my first swim in over a month, so I'm sure that added to my unease.

But today, I spent around seventy minutes swimming up and back and up and back, just thinking some and counting a lot. It was totally relaxing.

I was so pleased with my swim today, I'm on that high that comes after a first race mixed with the commitment of New Year's Day.
Or, you know, when you join a new gym.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon

Haven't participated in a tri since October 15, so I was ready to kick off the season. Felt very prepared since I'm training for much longer distances.

Smith Mountain lake is beautiful, and our accomodations, graciously provided by my TRIgirl little sister Jennifer and her family, were fantastic.

Nutrition and Hydration
During and right before the race, I enjoyed Clif Shot Bloks, Kashi bars, oatmeal, water, and Gatorade. The evening before the race brought fresh red snapper with coconut macadamia crust and a spicy pineapple salsa. The Strebel's postrace cookout was divine--especially the deviled eggs! The margaritas were delicious...

My first swim in a wetsuit, although not my first open water experience. I've completed two Sandmans and one Naylor's Beach, so the lake water was quite calm and inviting in comparison to the Atlantic Ocean and the Rappahannock River. Even the wetsuit provides warmth and flotation. That being said, I still experienced my traditional shallow breathing, not-putting-my-head-under-the-water breaststroking. Totally inefficient. Also quite frustrating, because although I know it's all in my head and I "just need to relax," um, okay. I even think I'll be fine prerace. One day...

First bike with the aerobottle. What a great invention. Felt pretty good on the bike--rolling hills, no real climbs. Stayed in the large chain ring for the most part. There was a bit of traffic on Smith Mountain Lake Parkway that interfered some--had to hit the brakes to avoid rear-ending a truck at one point.

Standard out-and-back. Sharing the road with not only other runners, but also the last cyclists, which made for a more congested course than I've seen on a tri before. Three water stops, which was really nice for a sprint distance. I felt good here and had no problems with a negative split.

1. It is so fun to race as part of a training team. Of course, we have the best jerseys and wetsuits! And we get the name recognition--hearing "Go, TRIgirl!" while wearing a veritable disguise of swim cap, goggles, and wetsuit is very encouraging.
2. Hmmm. This was the first race that had bakery cake at the finish line. I ate a rose.
3. I registered for this race as Athena (first time to ever do so,) which is a category for women weighing over 150 pounds. I thought I may have a shot at an award by doing so, but not among these fast women! There were eight Athena entries, and I finished fifth out of six Athena finishers. I would have been nine out of fifteen had I registered in my age group. My brother thinks the whole Athena/Clydesdale (men over 200 lbs.) is kind of silly, and I kind of agree. But I also think Ironman is kind of silly, and I'm signed up for that, too. Sigh.
4. I like racing.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Workouts, Burger King Style

Not eating fast food, and not necessarily working out fast, but doing the workouts my way.

From the very inception of TRIgirl (and as with Kim's TriMoms before that,) Grandison has practiced and preached fitting training into our often already busy lives. As a women and a mother (okay, as a human being,) she understands that we all have different family- and work-related issues that we have to work our training around. TRIgirl schedules are very sensitive and accomodating to that reality.

I've always taken that part of the schedule seriously, although I do like to point out to Blake or Ed or whomever that "it's MY workout!" particularly if a coach is suggesting that I do something difficult. Mostly it's just rhetoric--I complain while smiling, and while actually doing the workout.

The past couple of weeks I've found myself really having to change my training schedule for health reasons. I've been under doctor's orders not to swim for almost a month now, and I've gone back and forth between relief at having a valid excuse to frustration at not being able to participate in a third of my tri training. The past couple of weeks I've also skipped a number of strength training sessions in favor of an extra two hours of sleep. I'm trying to listen to my body so I can make a faster recovery from what seems to be a never-ending ear infection.

I just read a couple of other TRIgirl blogs in which the girls referred to skipped workouts and, guiltily, felt a little better that I wasn't alone. So, less guilty about missing my own workout, but more guilty about being glad someone else did, too. Hmmm.

Sometimes the workout customizations can be funny, intentional or not.

Jonah saw me running Thursday morning in the Near West End, and again that afternoon at West Creek. I had to explain that I had switched Tuesday and Thursday's schedules and divided the resulting run in two...

...and I didn't notice until Melissa pointed it out, but overachiever Cyndi is going to run for twelve hours on Saturday while the rest of us complete twelve miles.

She'd like fries with that.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blue Ridge Parkway 50-Miler

This was the first time I ever rode farther than about forty miles.
This was the hilliest course I have ever ridden.
This was the first time I'd gotten up at 5 am on a Saturday all year...

The best part of a hard workout is that I can bitch about it during and exaggerate about it afterwards. No matter how hard it seems at the time, when it is over, I will drink the tastiest water of my life, eat the most flavorful food, and sit on the most comfortable... pavement. And a little while after it's all over, I'll be able to imagine working out again some time in the future.

I got up at five, packed half the workout clothes and gear I own, and met the TRIgirls and Maramarc crew at the Gaskins commuter lot. Much to everyone's surprise, I arrived a few minutes BEFORE the slated time of 6 am. I had even stopped at the Sev to pick up one more Gatorade and a ginormous cup of coffee.

Cyndi drove me, Kate O, and our bikes in the midst of the caravan. Most of our conversation heading west is unprintable here, but we sure had a good time. I realized how smart I was to ride with two moms, since they had brought the best snacks! A cyclist cannot live by bars and shot blocks alone, but really enjoys a croissant with Nutella and some honey wheat pretzels.

When we arrived at the parking lot around Mile 14 of the Parkway, several of us discussed how we might pass the time waiting in the cars while everyone else rode...
Coaches Ed and Blake shared a few words of wisdom and some sunscreen, and we were off. As we headed down the mountain, I was surprised at how much of the descent was uphill! When we got to the bottom, I commented that our coaches had lied to us and that this ride was not, in fact, fun at all. Several of the girls disagreed.

As we made our way back up from Mile 0 to Mile 14, the ascent was even steeper than the descent... I've never hung out in the granny gear like that before. I was secretly thankful that I have NOT upgraded to a bike with only two chain rings in the front. When we finally arrived back up to the cars for a rehydration/refueling break, I was pleasantly surprised that we had actually completed over half of our ride. Several of us spread out a serious picnic on Cyndi's tailgate and wondered where the kegs were. I dipped pieces of my energy bar directly into Cyndi's economy size vat of peanut butter, ate half Kate's bag of pretzels, and who knows what else. At this point, it was all better than four-star dining. I commented that our coaches had lied to us and that this ride was not, in fact, fun at all. Several of the girls agreed.

Back up the mountain, heading for the 25 mile marker. I noted, with dismay, that there were only two downhills during this eleven mile portion of the ride. I then noted, with pleasure, that meant the last eleven miles of the whole ride weren't going to be so painful. This section of the ride was by far the hardest for me. My lower back was hurting so badly about halfway through this leg that I actually cried. Mostly just because I could. When I saw Kate T and Anna stopped just ahead of the 25-mile marker, I couldn't get off my bike fast enough. It felt so good just to lie down in the grass on the shoulder for just a minute, and I guess the shot blocks even still tasted okay.

Had the last eleven miles been the entire workout, it would have been one of my favorites ever. Picked up some good speed on the downhills, and felt pretty darn proud of myself for finishing the ride at all. We resumed our tailgate back at the parking lot--about fifteen of us sitting in the middle of the road breaking bread together. I knew I'd picked the best training boyfriend when Bob sat down next to me and offered me half of his Italian sub. That beats trail mix any day!

I think this was the hardest workout I've ever done in my life, and I include my four marathons when I say that.

Actually, that's what I was thinking on Saturday.

Today, I'm remembering what a great ride I had, what a beautiful day it was, and how much fun I had with Cyndi, Kate, Bob, and everyone else. Thank God for my health, my training team, and a sunny April day in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Speed Workout

I had never done any speed work before in my life until TRIgirls joined forces with Maramarc back in December. I don't love doing repeats, but I can see their effectiveness reflected in my race times.
Thursday brought us ten of these half-mile lovelies.
Based on my previous timed mile of about 7:30, Mark has assigned me a target half-mile time of 3:40. I didn't hit it AT ALL on Thursday, but I was pretty pleased with my consistency.
HM 1--4:12 (I counted it as warm-up)
HM 2--3:52
HM 3--3:52
HM 4--3:56
HM 5--3:54
HM 6--3:55
HM 7--3:58
HM 8--4:01
HM 9--3:58
HM 10-3:58
SanDee ran the first four repeats (her first ever!) and after that, she would run, jog, and/or walk around and run me up the hill on the Vita Course for each of my remaining repeats. It was a true blessing--I really needed the "encouragement."

Belated Posts

Okay, so I'm the last to say it, and now it's repetitive, but it really is hard to train AND blog about training. Oh yeah, and work, and be a human being...
So, here's the update.

Work: Still plugging along at VCU and Hondo's. This is the last week of classes, so I'm prepping for that transition period that comes at the end of every semester--being super-busy for a couple of weeks, then knowing that I'm going to have a small crisis when I DON'T have to go to school--that feeling of having forgotten or lost something important. I am teaching one summer class at VCU, and Joe has offered me two classes at UR in the fall already. I was seriously considering finding a fulltime job at the end of this semester, but now I'm thinking that I may just keep the adjunct-waitress schedule through Ironman. I won't make my millions, but I will have some flexibility in scheduling that is great for the long hours of training.

Health: My body finally fell apart at thirty-two. I have been to the doctor more in the past three months than in the past five years. In between minor girl procedures, I'm suffering with the world's longest lasting ear infection. I haven't been in the pool for over three weeks, and this is not going to be the last interruption in my swim training this summer.

Attitude: We are FINALLY experiencing more seasonable temperatures. I'm always in a better mood when I can open my windows!

Training: Aside from the aforementioned swimming hiatus, I've been successfully completing all my workouts. I have skimped a couple of times on weight training, but I will say that it has usually been to get in a couple more hours of much-needed sleep. I've been trying to focus on listening more to my body on the rest side of things... I'm feeling pretty strong on the bike and run workouts, and actually was very proud of my workouts last week, which were our toughest to date. Thursday's run was TEN half-mile repeats (most done before was six,) and Saturday's fifty-mile ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway was not only the farthest I'd ever biked, it was also the hilliest.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Monument Avenue 10K Race Report

The Monument Avenue 10K is a special race to me. It was the first race I ever ran, in 2004, which is either three years ago or a lifetime ago, depending on how you look at it. I had just started running, thanks to some inspiration from my brother Dyron and the autobiography of Dick Traum, and was ready for my first run with thousands of other people, water stops, and a big clock.

This year, I started in Wave E, for people with predicted finish times of :51 to :54. Perhaps a bit ambitious, but I've been training! My previous times for this race have fluctuated quite a bit.
Mostly, they reflect my weight gain last year (and it was hot!) but it's also interesting how any particular factors can influence one's time on race day.

I was glad to see Anna join my in the E group--we trained together a lot last season, but I haven't seen her much over the winter. Just as the C wave took off, I ducked out of the corral for a last-minute pee break down a side street. It was so totally worth it. Our gun when off at 8:44, fourteen minutes after the official race start, and we took off!

I was really proud of my pacing at the Shamrock 8K a couple of weeks ago, and tried to do the same thing here--not start too fast, but at the same time, not too slow, which I think I may have done a few times in the past. I had just read two articles in the current issue of Runner's World that were applicable here--one on starting off a little faster in a 5K, and the other on what the elites think to themselves during a race.

I generally think about when I'm going to throw up or if I have to pee (not this time!) or how far to the next water stop... I added in some "I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!" as suggested by someone much faster than I quoted in RW. I knew I was on track to PR, so I imagined seeing my sister at the end and telling her--actually, more like having her catch me first, or something! I thought about the first-time runners, I thought about Ironman, but only a little, because that thought hurt! I thought "faster, stronger"--another ripoff from RW.

In no particular order, here are the highlights of this year's race.

***A gorgeous spring day in Richmond.
***Driving to the start with my very special friends Ashley and Lauren and my newfound friend and TRIgirl little sister Jennifer.
***Meeting up with, cheering for and beeing cheered for by, and just generally loving, over thirty TRIgirls before, during, and after the race.
***Wearing my TRIgirl jersey--it is so cool to be part of such a great team!
***Getting caught up in the excitement with over 25,000 participants.
***Seeing my sweet, sweet sister Shannon, who, unable to run due to blisters and funny legs, held some gear for us.
***Seeing my dad, waiting for my mom, at the finish. I love that my whole family participates in races together.
***Cheering first-time racer Kay to the finish.
***Post-race Mexican and margaritas with TRIgirls Jennifer, Cathy, and Kay.
***Getting my PR! 54:09.

PS My pacing was great again! First 5K--27:04, second 5K--27:05! "That is consistent if I have ever heard it."--the Beeber

Friday, March 23, 2007

Input, Output, and Honesty

While I haven't posted in a while, I have managed to read other TRIgirls blogs here and there, and I've been thinking baout Renee's honesty, Deanna's nutrition, and Cyndi's battle with the party demons, and how there is so much overlap in what we all experience in and out of training.

I train a lot.
I eat more.

More calories in that calories out equals weight gain. I know this. I've been a member of Weight Watchers for about five years. I achieved Lifetime status a couple of years ago when I hit my goal weight, which I'm currently over by about fifteen pounds. The thing is nutrition and "dieting" is like training and a whole lot of other things in life.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The Seven Ps.

I need to follow my workout schedule. I need to watch my intake, counting Points or whatever. I need to prepare to make these things easier for me--packing my swim stuff or running shoes (in my super-cute new TRIgirl duffel) to have for when opportunity strikes--the same way I always had a toothbrush and a change of clothes with me when I went out in my college years (and, okay, since then, too!) Bringing a sandwich and a piece of fruit with me to work, so I have something to munch on in lieu of the ten desserts a purveyor brought for us to sample.

That way, when an occasion arises when I really don't have the energy for a workout or there's a schedule conflict with an event I really want to attend or life presents me with the perfect dessert (or bag of kettle chips, as the case may be,) I can skip a workout or veer off my nutrition plan without regret.

It makes me cringe to hear people, and usually they are women, say, "I was bad," followed by a description of something they ate. As my WW leader points out, nobody ever got fat by eating a piece of cheesecake. The same goes for training. When being ribbed about missing a cycling class a couple of weeks ago, I replied, "You're right. I probably can't finish Eagleman now."

Point being that these "bad" moments are exceptions. If I ate a steady diet of cookies, hadn't biked in two months, and smoked a pack a day, it would be a different story. If I felt the need to report that "I was good" because I ate a serving of vegetables, I'd start worrying. So, as long as I can remember the last creme brulee, skipped workout, and Camel Special Light in my life, and as long as I can say with certainty that it was the exception, I will be honest about its place in my life. My goal is to relish the small indulgences because they are, indeed, indulgences.

Shamrock 8K Race Report

My first 8K ever. When I mentioned this to some people who don't train with me, I got a lot of encouraging comments about pacing myself, working up to that distance, etc. Funny since my races have all been much longer than that recently. However, there are so many little lessons in returning to a short distance and enjoying the first race of the season...
1. the value of a PR--it has been a long time since I'd PRed in any event, so trying something new can give one a little shot in the arm
2. the value of a race--I hadn't raced since November, so it was kind of exciting to be back in the circuit (especially coming from one who is often teased about the number of races I enter each season)
3. the value of speedwork--thanks to the great coaching from Maramarc and TRIgirl, this is the first time I have ever worked on speed. While I was hoping to be a bit faster than I was, I still ran a faster pace than in any other race I've done.
4. the value of a TRIgirl weekend--Monica graciously opened her beach house to nine TRIgirls, and eleven of us ran in the 8K. Post race, I enjoyed a very relaxing day of eating and expo-shooping with TRIgirls Monica, Kathleen, and Teresa, who was also celebrating her birthday.
One difficult thing about running this time of year is the wild fluctuations in temperature. Today, for example, it is eighty degrees. Race day it was thirty-five and very windy. We even got snow flurries as we drove around post race. Another benefit of shacking up with a bunch of TRIgirls--sharing clothes! Kate O generously lent me a vest, I wore some mismatched gloves that I found in my car, and I'm not sure any of the other runners left the house without a little piece of Teresa's running wardrobe.
Traditionally, I don't wear a watch when I run, so having no idea when I started, here were the clock times I saw running along...
Mile 1--9:01
Mile 2--18:00
Mile 3--26:58
Mile 4--36:02
I'll give myself a bonus point for consistent pacing! Ran a touch faster at the beginnning and the end, meriting a chip time of 44:14.
What a great way to end my Spring Break!

Spring Break in the Winter

Wow! I really hadn't realized how long it had been since I last posted. You've seen the shirts that say Run, Eat, Sleep, Repeat? Well, add in Bike, Swim, Lift Weights, Wait Tables, Teach Classes, Read Student Writing, and that's where I've been for the past month.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Belly Buttons, or, The Measure of Success

This post spurred on by the comment on the last post, but also developed around a concept I've been discussing with my classes today.

First of all, we all measure our workouts in different ways. Sometimes according to time or distance, perhaps by an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of one to four or maybe one to ten. And I swear I have a heart rate monitor somewhere! I've even been wearing the watch part of it on my runs the past couple of months, before which I NEVER ran with a watch, so you can see I am already measuring my progress in measuring my workouts...

So, sweat is another way we can measure our output. Molly and I keep intending to weigh ourselves pre- and post-workout to monitor our water-weight loss. Don't know if she's ever followed through, but I only remember at inconvenient times such as now.

Perhaps more interesting than sweat quantity is sweat pattern. Like snowflakes, no two sweat patterns appear to be the same. I won't detail other people's patterns here, but don't think I haven't noticed! One identifying detail of my own pattern is that I seem to sweat two belly buttons. I can't figure out why this happens, but I get two perfect circles of sweat adjacent to each other right where my (one) navel is located. Hmmmm.

So the other part of my thinking occurs this way...
I have my students do some journal writing on different subjects to practice and develop their critical thinking skills. The idea is to move away from superficial pro/con summaries into a more complicated analysis of a given concept, attempting to understand and explain how it reflects, exemplifies, or influences our cultural values.

Earlier this week I had them respond to an article I had read about Gov. Mike Huckabee's institution of a "BMI report card" in Arkansas and recent legislation in the state senate to repeal it based on the reuted adverse affect on students' self-esteem. Rather than arguing for or against the state implementation of a BMI report, we wrote about and discussed the different elements of the piece. For example, several students thought, as is frequently reported, tat BMI is a measure of body fat. Other students had never heard or used the word "esteem" without a "self" in front of it. We talked about information as a starting point for analysis, eventually moving to solutions--both in terms of BMI reporting and in terms of writing the dreaded English 200 researched essay.

One of the conclusions I drew was that while BMI doesn't measure that much, the relationship among public education, BMI reporting, and self-esteem measures, in ways we can only begin to address, "our" cultural values in what I might describe as a leaky vessel.

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's My Workout

...and my blog and my life. Thank goodness I have so many coaches, friends, and supporters to help me with all of these.
Several of you have let me know it's time for a new post.

I have been keeping up for the most part with my prescribed workout schedule for Eagleman training. After battling (another) cold all week, however, I decided it was okay to sleep through the run repeats Saturday and just show up for cycling. I had felt okay on the bike Thursday, but had had a really hard time on that morning's run with temperatures in the low 20s. I tried to make up my speed workout on Sunday and went with Lauren to the vita course. I ran a mile in about 7:36 and immediately decided against doing the four half-mile repeats that were to follow. Started jogging aroung the course, then slowed to a walk. Then a slower walk. Had the whole internal debate over whether I would feel better if I went ahead and threw up or whether it was worth staving off, and if so, what might be the best method of doing so, or was I even in control, after all? Some spitting, some long swallows, deep breaths. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Swimming with Som was okay--I think the cold temperatures were really adversely affecting my already stuffed up head, but the pool wasn't as bad. I sat out a couple of fifties in the middle of our main set, but other than that, I completed my workout, and actually felt pretty good about some of it.

We were focusing on stroke count, and I usually average 15-16 strokes per 25 on a good day. When we did 4x25 with a decreasing stroke count, I made the mistake of hitting 13 on the first one. I did manage to hit 12, 11, and 10 on the subsequent lengths, but you've never seen so much kicking and gliding!

I have been very proud of my progress on the bike during our cycling classes at Maramarc, and I can't wait to get back outside and see the results. Although I joke that it's my workout and others, including the coaches, should mind their own workouts, I really do push myself to what I perceive their expectations to be. And measure my efforts in the amount of sweat on my top and on the floor below my bike. If the sweat is an accurate measure, my workouts have been tough ones.

So, although I was sorry that Ed's Shenanigans was cancelled this morning due to Ed's Vegas Vacation, I enjoyed every extra minute that I slept in... all 195 of them.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blog Tag What?

Wow. All these things I never knew about. Deanna blog-tagged me, along with the other TRIgirl bloggers, so I'll try to answer the questions, but I'm afraid I'm breaking the chain...

Yikes. I used to think I had a good memory, but many race details run together for me. From the most recent tri, I remember how cold it was! TRIgirl Anna may be from Canada, but it took a lot of convincing to keep her from dropping out of this year's Richmond Sprint Triathlon. I decided it was worth a ridiculously long T1 time to ensure that I wouldn't lose a limb to frostbite on the bike.

Am I allowed to plagiarize? DB summed it up about Naylor's--the only GOOD thing about that race was finishing with her. I really had a bad race, and I think I may have quit if it weren't for SanDee at the water stop and Deanna pulling me to the finish.

I honestly don't remember much about my first triathlon. It was one of the Shady Grove sprints in 2005. Tri shorts? Who ever heard of those? I wore the Trimom team suit for the swim and then pulled on running shorts and running shoes to get me through the bike as well as the run. If nothing else, I've upgraded my tri-wear since then!

One thing I've discovered, not necessarily about myself, but about physical endurance, is that the body can usually do whatever the mind will let it. Sometimes during a workout, I have to turn my mind off completely in order to get anything accomplished. I realize about myself that I am able to challenge myself, but I sure can be lazy. I have a lot of bad habits that interfere with my training. But I guess that's called life.

My most embarrassing tri moment is pretty well-known. My "girls" tried to make a getaway out the sides of my top coming out of the pool in a sprint tri early in the season. They were fairly successful. Moral: don't wear anything during the swim that you havent't practiced it in (this particular top had been great for bike-run bricks.) Solution: our TRIgirl jerseys (and my turbo top) have been great in every race since. Too bad they hadn't come in earlier!

The big goal? IRONMAN FLORIDA 2007.

Friday, January 26, 2007

And, Yes, My LIfe Is Ruled by TRIgirl

I don't mean for it to be, and I do balance it out occasionally. However, having such a structured training plan does help me better manage my time. I know I'm not the only one with that issue!

This weekend...

Saturday morning we meet at Maramarc to run four timed half-miles. This extreme event (so called because the temperatures will be in the teens) is followed by an hour and a half of cycling class in the aero position. Ahhh... then we enjoy TRIgirl coffee at Starbucks.

Saturday evening brings the Richmond Triathlon Club's annual banquet. Hunter Kemper is the keynote speaker, and I'm looking forward to hearing his address as well as socializing with others in the Richmond triathlon community--TRIgirls and otherwise!

Sunday evening after swim class, we will be meeting back over at Maramarc for the TRIgirl 2007 informational meeting. I'm really looking forward to this since I will not only see my regular partners in crime, but we will be joined by TRIgirls who have been MIA since the official season ended and also apparently by a million new recruits.

In addition to Michelle, I have another little sister, Jennifer, since my last post. My real little sister, TRIgirl Shannon, aka the Beebs, will be returning for 2007, as well. What a great family!

So, within the confines of this tri-structure, I will also attend a work meeting (subject: port wine,) read some student response writing, plan my classes for the week, and maintain the semblance of a social life. Maybe.

Time Flies When You're Training

Okay, okay, okay. Enough about the off-season, the workouts, what-have-you. I realize that we technically haven't ramped up for Eagleman yet, but even these short workouts take time. I was just reading Melissa's recent post where she noted that she couldn't believe it was already Tuesday.

Well, neither can I! Yet, it's Friday.

Then I check my own blog, and Susie's taking me to task for not posting. Here I was thinking I was getting an extra rant in, and it appears I'm behind.

As I've explained to my students, any given amount of time--a week, a year, five years--is a smaller percentage of your life as you age, so the time really DOES go faster as you age, you see.

This lesson is in my English classes.

And I'm still not old.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Back to School

Wednesday was my first day of classes; today is my second. It's always exciting to start a new semester, meet new students, etc. Ahhhh, the feeling you get from a fresh new notebook...

My keywords for the semester are "initiative" and "academic curiosity." My students are probably already tired of hearing them, but I really try to emphasize the importance of being engaged in your own life. This class can't just happen to a student; he or she must actively participate. The rest of us are there to help.

I use many training metaphors for developing good research and writing processes. I am very frequently in the role of coach as a writing instructor. Just as Grandison, Ed, Som, Mark, and Blake can't put my miles in for me, I can't do the research and writing for my students. I am there, however, to help them plan, to suggest potential resources, and to offer extra help in areas of weakness. I am excited by their progress and I learn something new from them every day.

My school schedule is fortunately not interfering with my workout schedule so far, and I even found a time slot to swim before classes on Wednesdays. Kate T and I tried it out this week, and I think I can keep it up...

I'm also looking forward to meeting my TRIgirl "Little Sister" Michelle. The addition of a mentorship program to TRIgirl this year just makes the organization better and better. Sharing tri experience, excitement, and resources--how rewarding!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Feel Good

It was SO HARD to get up this morning for a timed one-mile, two timed half-miles, and an hour-and-a-half ride on the trainer in the aero position.

It was even harder to get up yesterday, so I didn't, really. I didn't have to be at work until six p.m., so I spent this one last day of "vacation" finishing up a novel for TRIgirl Deanna L's book club next week. Ah, the luxury.

I dragged into Maramarc *only* ten minutes late this morning, just in time to start our warmup. I need to remind myself that I will ALWAYS feel better after my workout than I do before. Well, of course there's an asterisk with that statement, but we live in a world where not only TRIgirls are Caution: Very Hot!

Pleased with my times--7:32 in the mile (which Coach Mark graciously recorded as a 7:30,) followed by a downhill 3:41 half mile and an uphill 3:52 half mile, graciously timed by Kate O.

I assumed a leadership position during our indoor cycling, sitting up front with the coaches and facing the rest of the class. The real treat about riding here is that Mark and Ed can't keep a close eye on you. I'm sure Blake would manage to find a way, but he is still in Colorado working on his USAT coaching certification.

Now, after TRIgirl coffee and a long shower, I feel good.

Other reasons I feel good:

*Celebrated my birthday last Saturday with TRIgirls and other friends.
*Swam with Som on Sunday for the first time in three months.
*Made it to 32! Had birthday dinner with Mom, Dad, and Ashley at great new restaurant, Cous Cous.
*Successfully completed two swims, two strength trainings, three bikes, and three runs this week.
*Met with other English 200 teachers--getting excited about the upcoming semester.
*Treated myself to five new books and finished reading one.
*Worked with Grandison on TRIgirl press release and philanthropy.
*Saw an old friend today and met a new TRIgirl!

Life is good.
And thanks, James Brown.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

This TRIgirl in 2007

So, TRIgirl really is influencing my life above and beyond triathlon.

Of course, my big goal for 2007 is IMFL in November, so that entails many hours of TRIgirl training. I have also fallen into the habit of having TRIgirl coffee at least five days a week. At my parttime job, a coworker offered to bet me that I couldn't get through a shift without mentioning the TRIgirls. I looked at her and said, "Why in the world would I want to do that?"

I've been working with Grandison on some planning for the 2007 season as her social coordinator/marketing assistant, and so I've been reflecting on my expereince with the group for things such as testimonials and biographical information. I really have made some of the best friendships of my life with these women. G and I keep coming back to the idea that it is so important to surround yourself with people who improve themselves and the world around them, and that's much of what this organization is all about. I am going out for my birthday tonight (it's on Monday--two more shopping days!) and ninety percent of the people who are coming out with me are either TRIgirls or married to one or the daughter of one. Wow.

I'm also enjoying the potential TRIgirl networking as I focus some on my working-for-money life this year. It's nice to have so much support from such a diverse group.

Okay, I'll admit I also did work out with the TRIgirls this week...

Tuesday--met SanDee and Lynn at the vita course. Ran a warmup mile, than ran two miles at tempo pace. My prescribed pace is an 8:50 mile, but I ran them in 8:30 each. i felt that was a pace I could sustain for a 5K, but should run at 8:50 for a 10K. Need to work on slowing down for those longer runs...
Cycling class that evening.

Wednesday--Ed's Shenanigans. Good to back in the swing after the holidays. Met Kate T at Am Fam for my first swim since October 15's sprint tri. We did a half mile in about sixteen minutes, then joked about our $180 workout, since we've been skipping the gym for several months.

Thursday--met Lynn at UR track for half mile repeats. Either we were both having a particularly hard day or we don't know how to properly use a track... neither of us hit our pace goals. I think I need to take Track 101. Ed's Cycling this evening was obscene. Molly and I were trying to measure our sweat volume. I did have a quarter-sized dry spot on my tank when we finished, however, so obviously Ed went really easy on us. I texted Lynn, who along with the Deannas was at Wine Club, with the following quote from Ed: "Level Nine. Stand Up."

Friday was a rest day (much needed and even more enjoyed) and I slept in a bit today, skipping cycling class, but joining the group for a half hour run afterwards. Friend and new TRIgirl Kay and I went for a hilly walk this afternoon to catch up with each other and enjoy the unseasonably warm day--over 70 degrees!

I'm very much looking forward to an evening out with these great women tonight, and seeing many of them again tomorrow for the inaugural SWS event--Som's TRIgirl Master's swim class, or as I prefer to refer... Swimming with Som.