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!