Monday, December 01, 2008



If you haven't linked the feed at my new site (tisk, tisk), you might be interested in knowing there's some fresh news thrown up earlier today.

Just saying. It involves the numbers 140 and 6.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Know much about blogging platforms?

Cause I don't.

I'm having some isshews with my new wordpress account. If you know much about this kind of stuff, can you take a gander at my post today? I need to dip into the well of your collective talent.

Thanks, peeps!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Over there

I've taken up residence over here. It's kind of like a new apartment. Full of possibility, fresh with paint, and oddly unfamiliar. It needs a design upgrade and I'm still trying to figure out Wordpress. But, I'm still putting it down into words when I can. There is an increased possibility I'll talk about my ovaries (eww is right) and use words like "relationship" and "inlaw" and "my stupid period." There is a distinct likelihood that I will say bad words about good things and bad people. I may even throw in some politics and race issues, just for kicks and giggles. And, of course, there will be my ongoing pursuit of the perfect training week.

But I promise to reward you with wedding pictures and stories of the days I do manage to drag my sorry ass out of bed to run. As well as all of the crazy things I think up when I do.

Stop by and say hi. I'll leave the light on.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Parting words

This past weekend, friends lined up for a fabulous race out in Madison, WI. For me, it marked the second anniversary of my writing here.

My first year was about training for my first Ironman distance. It was fun. And hard. And full of lots of self discovery and insight.

Then I didn't finish the IM. And I sulked for a while. And picked up the pieces and put together a new race year. And then I continued to swim, bike, and run.

And life was good. Very, very good.

And here we are, two years later. And I'm realizing that I have changed a great deal. And my relationship to the sport has changed, as well. When I started, I sought a good deal of redemption from triathlon. I wanted -- and needed -- to find a core for myself that included discipline and follow through. I needed to prove to myself that I could, even when it was tough.

And I fell in love with the process and it found a place in my world. A permanent place. And, coincidentally, my life opened up in other ways. I fell in love with a boy. And he found a place in my world. A permanent place.

It has been two very good years.

And recently I have found that my writing has trickled down to less inspirational pieces about training and racing because, frankly, the process has become less about redemption and realization and more about just plain living.

And as much as I want to write more here, I'm finding I resist it. I don't want all of my writing to be about sport. I have much more complexity in my noggin to share. I have relationships and a professional life. I have hopes for a family and dreams of a new home. I have personal journeys that are no longer tied intimately with training and racing.

I need a new home and need a more personal, reflective voice. I'd like to write about it all, not just the triathlon journey. I need to write again, not just report.

So my words will migrate elsewhere. I'll let you know when it's time. I hope that many of you will come with me, and continue to listen to what you find interesting. I have every intention of trying outlandish new adventures and falling down in stupendous ways. I expect to have every pitfall and bad decision on paper, as well as each success. I have a marriage to build and a family to start and a career to jumpstart and an Ironman to conquer.

The next few years will not be dull. That, I promise.

So, thank you to the hundreds of friends who visit each day and the 50,000 who have spent this past couple of years together with me. I appreciate you more than I can describe. And soon I hope to share much more with you than just my splits. Soon I'll share my life. Yes, there will be training. But there will be more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I suspect I will.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've got nothin'.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I have a long blog post in drafts about how I'm done blogging because my content has changed and I write a lot more about stupid stuff and less about anything meaningful and that leads me to believe that I need a change and that change is to stopping blogging.

And it's true -- that's how I feel. I haven't posted it, because I went from decided to ambiguous in under 30 seconds. And just like making decisions riding up hill, I also don't make decisions when ambiguous.

So instead I'll just write this silly little post about not having anything to write.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

My attention is all over the place. Our wedding is rapidly approaching and there's a ton to get through. I continue to question my wedding dress choice, but thankfully not my groom. Our house is in the process of having random repairs done by a handyman who comes randomly (aka, whenever he likes) and looks like it might last longer than the countdown to Christmas. I still am unhappy in my job and looking for the right move to the corporate world of bonuses and meetings where people actually show and do work. I have a perpetual headache that I can't seem to throw enough pharmaceuticals at to convince it to go away quietly. My new (to me) car has been in the shop three times already and I've had it for only 1 month. I'm running out of money. Quickly. And my bitchin' tan from the vaca is sadly gone.

Decidedly not in that list of things is feeling inspired to write about training or life as it relates to training or life with a small side of training, no dressing.

So, I've got nothing to say. Which is quite a change for me. Usually I talk all the time. All the time. Mighty M says he doesn't worry much about a lifetime of this, since he plans on going deaf. Which would be a tasteless joke if it weren't for the fact that he, indeed, will go partially deaf at some point like every member of his family. The question is: how many years into the marriage will he start sitting next to loud speakers to speed the process up.

That's it, folks. It only took me 452 words to tell you that I have no words.

Typical Able.

It's going to be quiet around here. You might hear crickets. You might wonder if I'm ever coming back. And of course I will. But only when I actually feel like I have something to say.

At least something that makes better use out of 452 words.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Sprint in Mid-Atlantic?

Random moment...

Anybody know of a sprint tri coming up this month in the PA/DE/NJ area? I tried to get to the Lums Pond race yesterday, but even leaving at 4:45 from the beach I didn't make it in time. Terribly frustrating. I'm all ready for a race, and no place to do it!

Anything through Labor Day would work...preferably within 2 hours drive and a reasonable entrance fee. (I have a sprint on the 14th already, so sooner is better.)

I'm jonezing, peeps! Help me out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

She's BACK

And good grief am I tan.


I had a great time on vacation and am both happy to be back and sad, all at the same time.  There were some low points (a dent in my new car, an iced cappuccino exploding on a public bathroom stall, a too late arrival at my sprint this morning), but a million high points to make up for them.

I kept very active (one 30 mile ride, a number of runs, a TON of walking, and lots of local riding) and hit the pillow exhausted each night.  I also changed my first flat.  Seriously.  All by myself.

Incidentally, you guys write a lot.  I have over 1000 blog posts to catch up on.  That's three zeros.  Goodness sakes.  This is going to take a while, you know.

Right now, though, I'm exhausted.  I've been up since 4 and drove almost 4 hours already.  (My attempt at leaving early enough to get to my race, which sadly did not work.)  I'm literally going to take a nap.  At 10:30 in the morning.

Because today is still officially vacation.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Well,'s almost vacation time. A week of sun and surf at the Jersey shore. Me, Mighty M and my wonderful inlaws. Ocean swimming, flat beach highways, and early morning runs with my beebie. Sandcastles, summer books, and lots of sunscreen. I finally got my Thule rack on the new car (it only took me 3 days...a record, I believe) and we're hitting Kmart at lunch for chairs, towels, and trashy novels.

I. Can't. Wait.

I'm going to be unplugged -- no email, no google reader, no facebook -- for like 10 days. I'm sure to start twitching from withdrawal in two. But I have a 50 miler ride tomorrow and a sprint race next Sunday to distract me.

So, to my favorite bloggy friends, I shall see you on the other side. I promise to take pics.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I blame you

I blame Wes and Kritta.  Both of you.

Because I reallyreallyreally don't want to go for my ride tonight.  Even though it's gorgeous out and sunny and lovely and perfect for riding.  I want to sit on my porch and admire my herb garden and listen to the family next door parent with air quotes.

And instead, I'm going to go for a bike ride so Wes doesn't have to drop the "eff" bomb and Kritta, well, she'll drop it anyway but I don't want to disappoint her.

So I'm going to ride.


I'm going to press publish post as soon as possible so I have zero chance to back out.  Ready...pressing... now

UPDATE: Done and done.  Ride and core/arms.  I can't lift my arms above my head anymore, but I feel much better about myself.  Thanks Wes.  Thanks Krit.  Love ya!

You bet your...

Oh, we're thinking about it.

You bet your sweet ( ) we're thinking about it.

It would be our 1-year anniversary and we're not doing a formal honeymoon when we get married. This would be a wonderful anniversary gift/belated honeymoon, no?


Are you thinking about it, too?

Reverse psychology

The pool is clearly trying to manipulate me into being a faster swimmer.

I know it's tricks. It's up to no good.

I've been a stranger to my hallowed Y halls in the past few weeks. Mainly because I'm lazy. And also because I have three more races this season (maybe four) and they're all range from 1/4 mile to a whole 0.85 mile swims.

And with my Operation Guns focus, I've been more about slapping on the running shoes than I have been about goggles and smelling like chlorine.

But yesterday I dragged myself there for a touch up (like highlights, but stinkier...actually, no, highlights are pretty stinky) and was surprised.

Half mile time trial in 15:30. That's a 1:46 pace. (Thanks, Team Dork Rocket for doing the math for me.)

That's not freaking bad, folks.

Let's just realize that I generally live in the 2:00/100 region of the pool when I'm swimming on a regular basis.

Hmmmm. I may just have a chance at being a gooder swimmer this year. I have to say, I'm really liking these shorter distances!

Check back with me later and we'll see if the mortgage company is using the same psychological tricks.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In an attempt to not be so darn negative

(a) I've lost weight.  Anywhere from 3-5 pounds, depending on whether you catch me before or after running in the sweatbox that is called outside. Baby freaking steps, people!  Plus, my abs hurt.  That has to be good, right?

(b) I'm going on vacation next week.  As in the entire week of next week.  I can't hardly wait.  I've already made my packing list.  It's three pages long.  This vacation is going to rock.

(c) I'm sandwiching my vaca with joy.  First, a 50 miler bike ride which conveeeniently is on the way to the beach (ahem, sorry...the shore) the first Saturday.  To top it off, my last day is a sprint tri that is very conveeeniently on my way home.  (Okay, kind of.)  In between, I tan.

(d) I'm still getting married in, like, 3 freaking months.  Oh good lord.

(e) Soon after the wedding, Facebook and I are going to have a love child.  Wait a second... .

(f) Coffee exists.  So does Tylenol PM.  Enough said.

(g) Did I mention I was going on vacation?  Oh.  Well, I am.

It's the things you know

A huge thanks to Jess of 21 Days (and Flatman, of course, for pointing me to her) for showing me the difference between relative humidity and dew point.

I'm a nerd.  I like this kind of stuff.  Just the other day I floored my mechanic by starting in on series versus parallel circuits and the four stroke engine.

The things you gather over time.

Anyway, I went to where Jess suggested and read up on the topic.  Very interesting indeed.  Normally I would look at the humidity reading and think I'm kind of a wimp out there.  But today my run was all about 83 degrees and 55% humidity...but a 65 degree dew point.

And now I'm beginning to understand what "fucking unbearable" feels like.

Thanks, Jess.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ugh, poop

Well, I have only some poopy things to report on my Operations Guns progress.

Poopy Progress.

I didn't reach my goals last week. I feel kind of guilty about it. Well of course I do. I steered the ship right ashore on my first trip.

Can I get a do-over?

Here's the report.

Tues - Run (0:40) DONE
Wed - Functional strength routine (FSR) DONE, Bike (1:00)Missed (stormed)
Thur - Swim (2,200) Missed, Run (1:00) DONE (on Friday night)
Fri - FSR Missed
Sat - Brick (1:15 bike, 0:20 run)Missed
Sun - Swim (time trial)Missed, Run (1:30)Missed

See what I mean?


I did get a lot of important things done in lieu of training (it hurts me to even type that). I had a lovely dinner with M's best man, his wife and baby on Thursday. I farted around with getting a rack for my new(ish) car most of the day on Saturday. (Still unfinished. We're missing a part from an old system, so we need to get an Aero Foot now. I'm like a sieve for money.) And Sunday I cleaned the house from top to bottom since we're heading on vaca soon and will be gone for a week. And reorganized the basement, built a shelf system and stored all the wedding stuff we've been accumulating. (100+ votive holders take up a lot of room!)

Entirely unpersuasive, I know.

It's Monday. A new week. Clean slate.

This week's plan is in the margin. Time to stop with the excuses.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Doggie Doo Run, 2008

Here's one for my local peeps.

I just signed up to run in and support a great local event, the Doggie Doo 5k!

You should, too.

It's hosted by Canine Partners for Life, a truly excellent organization in our backyards that helps support those in need of canine assistance for mobility or medical reasons.

As their website says...

Canine Partners For Life (CPL) trains and places assistance dogs with individuals with mobility impairments to help increase their independence and quality of life. CPL has several types of assistance dogs in its program including service dogs, seizure alert dogs, home companions and residential (community) companions.

Our recipients come from all walks of life and have a wide variety of physical disabilities including muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders and more. The one thing they all have in common is a drive to become more independent and a commitment to do what is necessary to have an assistance dog in their life.

If you remember, you helped me raise thousands of dollars for CPL during my training for Ironman Wisconsin. (Thank you again!)

The race is at Hagely Museum and runs along the river there. Seriously pretty stuff, folks. It's early in the morning and organized by those we trust (for good reason!) at Races2Run.

It'll be fun. I'm doing it. All the cool kids are doing it.

And for $15, you should do it, too.

I double dog dare you.

Here's Mischa, the dog my family raised from a puppy
before his formal training, working with his "mom."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Way Reasonable

The coolest thing about all your comments on my new plan is that everyone saw how completely reasonable it was!

Thank you! I totally agree!

That's big for me. Cause, I'm a chronic planner and I have biiiiiig ideas in the early stages and tend to overwhelm myself in the process.

Pushup goals? Totally manageable.

Frequency goal? An excellent idea.

FSR goal?

Weight goal? Toooootally doable.

Nice run last night (woot!) that was relatively pain free. Reminded me how LUCKY I am to be able to go out and run on a dime. It's such a gift. Really.

This morning, I was up early and in the basement (full of spiders) and wrestled with the swiss ball (my fave, as you know) and the assortment of weights down there. I have every intention of making that ball my bitch again, you know. Today, however, it was not. (I have a bruised right knee to show for it.) But soon. Soon... .

Also, last night I made yet another yummy Ellie Krieger dish, this one from the Food Network site. I'll blog about it later. It had pumpkin seeds and chicken and roasted tomatillos and it was nuuuuuummy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Operation Guns

With the change of direction in place and the new goals set, it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

Week 1
Operation Guns

Tues - Run (0:40)
Wed - Functional strength routine (FSR), Bike (1:00)
Thur - Swim (2,200), Run (1:00)
Fri - FSR
Sat - Brick (1:15 bike, 0:20 run)
Sun - Swim (time trial), Run (1:30)

It's so on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Change of direction

If you haven't already noticed, I've been blogging less about training recently and more about my so called life. The training is there, but it's more sporadic and falls victim to wedding planning and work exhaustion more than I'd like to admit.

I'm at a good point now to reassess and make a plan for the rest of the season -- what I want to do and how.

I know I'd like to continue to race. That's a given. Sprints would be a good way to keep me honest, especially since the only Oly's around here seem to be on wedding designated weekend. (And there are sooo many wedding designated weekends!)

But I'm also thinking of adding a different goal as a primary one. I want to improve on my running and safely build up to a solid weekly mileage. I also want to tone up and lose some weight before the wedding. Nothing drastic, just so my back and arms are nice and tight and I can feel comfortable in my wedding dress.

(Which is soooo pretty. I tried it on again yesterday for my FMIL, and I really, really like it. I'm having an issue since it doesn't really match the heiloom pearls or my mother's ring that I intend to wear, but I'll figure that all out later. For now, I'm just happy it's the right dress for me. The ivory version that's mineallmine is due in October 10th. Sqeeeeeel!)

So, I'm in the process of putting together a plan to keep my swimming and biking in line for sprint distance races, as well as build my running efforts. I find that running is the best weight loss bang for my buck, and I miss having higher mileage each week. So, a Sprint distance run-focused plan. I'll return to the ball of hell in the basement and the Elf's strength circuits to build my upper body and core.

If anybody is interested, I can (figure out somehow to) post my spreadsheet here so you can see my plan and progress.

I think there should be some goals involved, to keep me on my toes. Right? Here are the one's I've thought through so far...


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency) *
  • Work up to 25 pushups (continuous) and 50 pushups (in one day)
  • Hit a 5k in 33:36 minutes (10:30 pace)
  • Run 4 x week (min) **
  • Lose 5 lbs weight (160 lbs) ***


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency)
  • Work up to 50 pushups (continuous) and 100 pushups (in one day)
  • Hit a 5k in 32:00 minutes (10:00 pace)
  • Run 4 x week (min)
  • Lose 5 additional lbs weight (155 lbs)


  • Meet at least 80% of my training sessions (frequency)
  • Maintain pushups goal
  • Hit a 5k with mile splits all under 10:00 pace
  • Run 4 x week (min)
  • Lose 5 additional lbs weight (150 lbs)


  • Maintain pushups goal
  • Run at least 3 x week
  • Maintain weight loss (150)
  • Stay healthy for the November 22nd Big Day.
I'll keep y'all updated on the plan this week. It's almost done, but I need a little time to work on it tonight, just to get the kinks out.


* I struggle with consistency, so this is a biggie for me.
** Rest weeks will be shorter, easier runs. But the frequency will stay the same. I think it helps with my knee health to keep the frequency, but dial down the intensity and duration. Time off from running at all seems to hurt my knee, rather than help.
*** I'm currently at 165, and have been here pretty consistently for a long time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008



Good thing THAT pitty party train has left the station.


Feeling a little better now. Thanks for the nice comments and kicks in the balls I received through email. Both worked. I have tuned back into the channel where my life is actually grand and lovely and full of grace and wisdom. Me loves this channel.

Let's get a little random, here. M'kay?


There's some weird thing going on at the house across the street. The house across the street, where Mighty M and I are convinced the "nice guy" who lives there who we rarely see and who backs his car all the way up to the garage each and every time is actually unloading dead bodies into his home. Or into his car. Either way, suspicious.

Every 2 minutes, a buzzer goes off. Not softly, mind you. As in I can hear it in the freaking shower across the street, behind lots of brick and glass and doors and stuff.

Two days now, mind you. Two full days. Every two minutes. Every two minutes.

Thank goodness for air conditioners, fans, the tv, and melatonin.


I have continued on my quest to be the most fickle and impulsive bride there ever was. No, not trading in my groom. But things with the wedding dress continue to evolve.

Actually, the evolution has been halted this week, but my FMIL thinks I'm crazy. Everyone else would, too, but I haven't told them yet.



There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than going for a run in the pouring rain.

There is absolutely nothing more surprising than looking down and realizing you're wearing a white shirt and a white jog bra.

There is absolutely nothing more welcomed than turning around that very moment and seeing Mighty M drive up on his way home from work, ready and willing to give you and your corruption of minors getup a ride.


When you get a development and marketing nerd together with a graphic design nerd to "proof" their wedding invitations, expect a lot of edits.

A lot.


The mid-atlantic states have dried up of all Olympic distance races that I can race in August or September. There's like none. A ton of sprints, just no Olympics that fit with the your-life-is-dictated-by-the-wedding calendar.

Sprints it is. As many as I can get.


I continue to have trouble getting up in the morning. I'm convinced there is a lazy gene that is only expressed when you introduce sugar free chocolate pudding and salt and pepper popcorn into one's diet. Separately, of course.


I've gained two pounds on the pudding and popcorn diet described above. I feel like I've gained 10. I've done the math and it doesn't work out. It never does.


I've put a new sprint distance on my calendar for August 17th. Actually, to be more accurate, a sprint distance I've always planned on doing has managed to remain on the calendar, even after repeated attempts of my so-called-life to intervene.

In related news, my sister the all knowing maid of honor has planned a cool Beach-lorette weekend for me and the girls in September. Seems there's a tiny little sprint right there, that very Saturday morning.

These poor bridesmaids. Think I can convince them all to come? Bonus point to get them in the water.


I could go on forever like this. I should never consider Twitter. It would be as bad as facebook. (By the way, I'm a fan of the new layout. You? Discuss amongst yourselves.)

Instead, I'm going to opt for something productive. Coffee has finally kicked in. Freaking popcorn gene.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting Game

It's been quite a week. In fact, I'm in awe that it's Monday again.

In the past seven days I got my hopes up and then had them dashed about a professional "opportunity." I forked out hundreds of dollars for a car I loved, only to find out that I would have to trade her in within days for a car I'm "eh" about, to avoid about $3,000 worth of additional repairs. I've changed my mind about the wedding dress...again. I realized how very, very long it takes to get to all those dreams and how much patience it takes to get there.

And now I'm walking around with a heavy heart. Managing disappointment isn't fun. I don't pitch a fit or scream for different answers, but I do get sad. Not angry or irrational or despondent.

Just sad. Plain ol' sad.

I'm sad right now. I was hoping for some things to work out. I've placed my emotions on the table for important, valuable things. I've been patient.

And it seems I need to remain patient.

And even for a card carrying grownup, it still can make me sad.

As a drinker, I could manage this right quick. Make it through the day, pull up at the dinner table with a balloon in which to drown your tears, and put some aspirin on the nightstand. It was easier that way. In a sense.

Now, I just get to sit here, knocking this emotion around like a pebble in my shoe. Wishing it turned out differently, seeing the positive side, digesting the result, and moving on.

It's easier this way, of course.

In a sense.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race Report: Diamond in the Rough 2008

Okay, so I'm actually writing a race report.

Can you believe it!?

Me neither.

It's going to be short, because it's still before noon and I have an entire day to fill with lovely things like sitting on my butt and maybe napping. I lead a tough life. I call it "recovery."


This was my least favorite part of the day. Not because it involved getting up at 4:30, although that's always fun. Nope -- it was because I've been feeling a wee bit ill recently.

Friday night I had some serious, omg can you PLEASE not break that hard Mighty M, nausea on the way home from his parent's house. Out of nowhere, just major car sick. I think it was because I was working on stuff in the wedding binder while he was driving back roads.


When I woke up Saturday morning and got the car loaded I realized I was still feeling it. Chalked it up to nerves.

But then a real indicator happened. I could barely look at my DD coffee.

Me. Having a hard time drinking coffee. If you felt that jolt in bed on Saturday morning, it was the world abruptly stopping spinning the moment I thought "coffee, ew."

For the next hour, I battled my inner voice telling me to head back, crawl into bed, and sleep the sickies away. The other half said, "LOSER" loud enough to confuse me into driving all the way to Perryville without a u-turn.

Once there, I learned it was a no wetsuit swim. FREAKING SWEET!! Part of my nerves were because I still hadn't resolved my zipper issues. (More on this another time. But basically it loves to unzip (splitting, not from the top) the moment I start swimming. And yes, it's as fun as it sounds.) No wetsuit meant no worries.

Setting up transition was easy peasy. Last year I won an entire year worth of Nuun with one good idea for transition. Here's the nugget I submitted: split your transition into two sides, the run gear and the bike gear.

It's particularly easy when you've "borrowed" a towel from you Y that has a strip down the middle. Thanks Y guys!

Now I have managed to get my transition times down to something totally acceptable. Whew.

After setting up transition, hitting the pot, and stretching by the water's edge for a while, it was time to race!

1 mile (37:13 including short run, 34:?? in water time ~ 1:58/100)

This was my best swim ever. EVER. The water was wonderful! Clean, calm, and nicely marked. I actually felt like I was cruising for this swim. For the first time in a long time I actually had a group to swim with as the entire field of women (including Athenas) started together. Thank goodness! It helps spotting and it's always nice to find some feet to draft off of.

By the time I got out of the water I was happy, loosened up, and ready to ride.


That split transition idea, no socks, and a nicely planned transition gave me 1:20 total. Not bad at all for me. I'll definitely take it!


27 miles (13.2 amph)

So, I kind of forgot that this ride was pretty hilly. In all honesty, I totally forgot. I knew there was a killer grade at mile 21 ish, but I forgot that the rest of the course was challenging, too!

A handful of miles into it, after we had ventured away from the river and inland a bit, we had been climbing a bit when I actually stopped.

It was my back. A few weeks ago, when Nana was first in the hospital, we babysat the nieces so my FSIL and FBIL could both go to the hospital. Sometime that day -- who knows when -- I pulled something in my lower back, on the right hand size. Kind of right where those dimples are. It basically has healed, but decided to SCREAM at me for the beginning of the Diamond ride.

Apparently my back was so totally not on board with the idea of doing climbs in the tri bike.

BUT, I plugged on just to see what a 7.5% grade for a mile would feel like. It made sense at the time.

Before I made it there, I did the first of two dangerous descents on the course. Sobering, indeed. Another rider had gone down hard. When I passed, he was being collared and already on a backboard, bloodied up and clearly not doing well.

Sobering. I thought of him often for the rest of the day. I hope he's alright -- if anyone knows what happened, comment or email me, okay?

So, the big climb. It sucked. But I did it, and made it over the top without totally losing my legs. For future reference, it's in two parts...the first is 1k, then there's a brief downhill (get some speed back!) and then another spike.

Everything from there on was cake. Just running the horses back to the barn.


Hmmm, can you say a good transition? Me, too. Sockless rocks, visors are better than hats, and putting a race belt on in T1 is best.

5 miles (13:01 avg)

Let's be honest here -- this is like my marathon pace. NOT my 5 mile pace, even 5 miles after a swim and bike.

But I'm okay with it.

I decided that I wanted -- FOR ONCE -- to have a relatively pain free run. I wanted to be able to run over the finish line and not feel like I've done more damage to my body.

So I took the run course with the plan to run 5 and walk 2. I've never used this strategy before and it was actually weird. I didn't like it totally, but it worked.

When I ran, it was strong and my knee didn't disintegrate by mile 2.

And this I consider a success.

What I wasn't happy with is that there was a super nice woman I was pacing near. I walked a small upgrade at mile 3 and she passed me. No big deal, right? I kept her in my sights for a while, but she turned it on a little at the end. I considered chasing her but thought, I'm not a strong runner. Best keep things to a moderate pace and finish.

Now I know I should have chased.

She got the #3 athena spot.


Anyway, lesson learned.


I've been battling a lot recently with race distances and my physical limitations and where and when to push -- push my body or push the registration button.

I *love* longer distances and I love the commitment needed to train for them.

But I hate racing them. There, I said it. The pain eclipses the joy of racing and I find myself swearing off the sport in the car, on the cellie with Mighty M, on the way home.

As soon as the memory fades, I'm there clicking "register" for yet another long race.

But yesterday was different. I wasn't dead last. I wasn't in terrible pain. I didn't swear off the sport. And I was even pleasant to be around when I came home.

In fact, I was singing with all the windows down at the top of my lungs the entire way home.

I think I found the joy of racing again. And I think it has something to do with the Olympic distance. It's manageable for me.

The other day, I had disclosed to Megan that I had a super secret plan to do another half in early September. It's close and gives me another opportunity to do that "build" I've been so looking for. It's the urge for more, more, more. As if I have something to prove to myself.

But I'm wondering now if I really need to do that. Maybe I should just have some fun for a while with Sprints and Olys. I already know I won't be doing a full Iron next year because of our desparate need to save money for a new house. So why not just have some fun and race a little. Work on getting stronger, not longer.

It's a thought. Possibly a good one.

Yesterday I fell asleep with my legs propped up on pillows and with a huge smile on my face. I fell in love with triathlon again. Maybe it's time to just let that be for a while. Enjoy it as it is.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Diamond in the Rough, aka Getting Smacked around by Hills in the Rough

Just got back from the Oly. Almost talked myself out of racing all together three separate times. THREE. Good lord I'm full of excuses.

Managed to ignore myself long enough to get out there and had a surprisingly good day. No land speed records, but a solid showing.

But that's not the news. I finished without (too much) knee pain. It took some strategerum, but my plan worked. Cause I'm just that smart.

Oh, and I managed to get my arse up a 7.5% grade for a mile without loosing it. It was touch and go there for a bit, but a lady has her decorum, you know.

Approximate times from my handy dandy wristwatch...

Swim (1 mile): 35 minutes
T1: not a clue
Bike (27 miles): 2:07 ish
T2: again, not a clue, but speedy this time
Run (5 miles): 1:04 ish

Total time: 3:47

Race report to follow. Promise. No really, I actually will write one this time. (Shut up, I will.)

Peace out, girlscout.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The most amazing chicken you'll ever have in your life OMG go make it now, now, now

You like that title? Huh?, too.

So, I'm a little frugal. And I'm the person in our lovely household who once (perhaps stupidly) raised her hand to volunteer to do all the food shopping for the whole house and most of the cooking, kind of every week, kind of indefinitely.

At the time, I didn't realize it meant until death do we part.

So, now you can find me at the Giant. Or Acme. A lot.

BUT, I take my task seriously and try to plan for a couple of complete meals each week that are healthy and (did I mention?) affordable.

Enter Grilled Tuscan Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon. I bow down to Martha and her prowess.

Here's the recipe, with my notes. And don't think that you can't make this on a training night. I came home, assembled the chick in the marinade, went out for a run, and by the time I was showered and ready to go it was time to fire the grill. It's actually perfect for the nights you have training!

We made steamed green beans and an awesome Blitz Bread I'll have to write about later. (But if you're like me, and think fresh bread is beyond your skill set, go and try this bread. It's yummy and easy. Really. No seriously.)



Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary [1]
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves [2]
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 or 10 serving pieces [3]
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice [4]


  1. Heat grill to medium. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup water and rosemary to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let steep 5 minutes. [5] Transfer to a blender. [6] Add oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth; let cool.
  2. Combine chicken and rosemary oil in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, and turn to coat. Cover, and let marinate at least 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, turning chicken occasionally.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade; place on grill. Discard marinade. Cook, basting frequently with lemon juice and turning as needed to prevent burning, until cooked throughout, 20 to 30 minutes.
Recipe and Image Source

[1] Use fresh. Seriously, it's totally worth it.

[2] Truth be told, I always use more garlic than recipes call for. Sometimes it bites me in the arse, but not this time. I used three large cloves.

[3] I used bone-in chicken breasts for this for the first time -- and boy was it worth it. We removed all the skin and fat to make it healthy, but trust me there was still a boatload of flavor left.

[4] Mighty M just loves to juice lemons and limes now that we got a fancy new fangled juicer gadget for our engagement party. He squeezed the begezzes out of three small lemons to baste 3 large sized pieces of chicken.

[5] Never, ever, ever have I done this technique, but BOY did it work! We only marinated for an hour and the flavor of the rosemary was loud and clear in the chicken. I doubt this would have been the case had we skipped this step.

[6] Years ago my sister got me this sweet little mini chopper. I rarely used it. In fact, I never used it. (Sorry, sweets!) BUT NOW, I've been using it all the time to make dressings and marinates and spreads. Love it. Totally recommend it.

Irony, Day #2

Apparently, I was a week too early.

Don't worry, Wes, I'm all done with my pity party. No need for cussing, the moment has passed. Perspective found. (Whew!)

Went for a run last night that nearly kicked my butt. A lousy 3.2 that was brutal due to the 150% humidity. But, as always, it's better to know you can do it at all then get stuck with your training pants down on race day.

Speaking of race day...did I mention that I have a race. Like this weekend. As in Saturday of this weekend.


Denial is a powerful thing. A powerful, powerful thing.

I'm going to have to think about my goals for this. Some really sharp knee pain last night only 20 minutes in and the serious change in training plans this last month may mean I need to scale back my goals. Before I declare, I'm going to see how tonight's swim and tomorrow's bike go.

I's only an Olympic, right?


...yeah...even I don't buy that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ironic, but not really

You know that when I texted the word "fat" to Mighty M just now, it automatically came up as "eat" on my intelligent-spell-it-for-you-cell phone?

Yeah. Ironic. Ha ha.

Especially because I was texting him this:

Having a fat (eat) crisis here.
Self esteem in the crapper. (actually had to go into the spell function to do that one...seems "crapper" isn't on the top list of words in my phone's brain. go figure.)
But hungry, ironically.

At no point in time, of course, have I actually used the word "ironic" correctly, but that's just to get Sam's goat. She hates that.

No word back from the M. Probably unsure how to approach this animal of deep seated insecurity. What to say. What to say.

The real question is: will it bite?

This is what happens when you get pictures of yourself on the beach from a delightful weekend. And you're in a bathing suit. That makes you look like a COW.

And you didn't even realize it.

Yeah. Thanks.

The whole time, you felt comfortable and at ease, even next to your ittyfreakinbitty FSIL (whom I love, don't let the ire fool ya). Unbeknownst to you, you looked like a bovine. And now there's proof. Out there in the world. As a reminder that you are not, in fact, the shape you imagine you are in your sweet little head up there.


Le freakin' sigh.

I hate body image issues. They suck. And don't spew about how beauty comes from the inside and I'm an active and healthy adult and I should be happy.


It doesn't work like that. At least not for me.

I don't want to be thrown that consolation prize. I want to be a beautiful and happy and active woman who isn't shocked by her picture in a bathing suit. I want to be able to ride 50 miles with ease AND look hot for my future husband.

NOT either/or. I want BOTH.

You know what? This is my biggest fear for the wedding. Not that I will be nervous and take a digger going down the aisle. Not that it will rain or snow or storm. Not that Might M will break all promises to not jam cake in my face.

No, my biggest fear is that I will look fat in pictures. That the permanent record of my wedding will be a collection of bad angles and unfortunate double chins.

And I don't want that. I love myself. I love the decisions I make. I believe in my choices. I think I'm a good daughter, sister, and partner. I know that I make a difference in my world.

But I photograph like a freaking mascot for Chic-fil-a.

And it makes me stinking mad.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Life *is* good

A family beach house, full of good people and good times,

A two-year old with limitless energy, a bottomless tummy, and a love of Uncle Mighty M that might rival mine,

A four-year old with a genetic love of all things beach, a willingness to be everyone's best friend forever, and the thoughtfulness to make sure we always had a "plan,"

Ice cream, and lots of it,

Sisters, both of them,

Salt and pepper shrimp on sticks and marinated flank steak, cut thin,

Buckets of coffee,

Leaving my car parked untouched for days,

Running the boards with my beebie,

Fireworks watched from beach blankets,

Seeing sparklers for the first time,


Digging in the sand with buckets,


Wine and friends on the porch,

Grown up naps,

60 year olds on bumper cars,

Christmas shopping in July,

Children's laughter in our home,

The use of the subjunctive,

Early morning thundershowers,

Sand toy bags,

and family.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's a small thing, but I'll take it

Recently, I've really solidified my relationship with my bike.

I love her. I love riding her. I love hunkering down in aero and really powering through. I love what it feels like to stand in the saddle to get through an intersection, knowing that all ya'll are jealous of my fine bike.

And I've become a much better rider this year, so I'm finally feeling a little more confidence out there.

And last night I did something that -- for me -- was kind of brave. Or at least smart.

I looked ahead.

You see, normally when I'm riding hills, I'm so focused on my gearing and my legs and effort that my vision is just the eight feet in front of my wheel. Lest you forget, I'm terrified of hills. They're my weakness, my fear, my limiter. So when I get on one, I put my head down and just focus on the task at hand.

I've always avoided looking at the top of the hill. It would have some psychological effect on me -- somehow the grade and length would magically multiply and I would instantaneously become convinced I couldn't do it. I would feel my legs shrinking from the proposed effort and I would slow to a meaningless grind.

So I stopped looking up.

Until last night.

I decided when I went out to find something to challenge myself. I was heading out on my standard route out Rt. 322. Really beautiful, generally uninterrupted for upwards of 25-30 miles, and a lovely and safe shoulder. But I ride there a lot. A lot.

So I needed a challenge to keep me engaged. This time it was to focus on the top of the hill, not just ahead of my wheel, to really learn about my own strength.

And, as I suspected, the estimations my brain makes when looking at a grade or distance are far afield from what my legs are actually capable of doing. The hills that look scary from the bottom turn out to be just fine with the right approach. The steep ones leveled out a bit when I connected what I was feeling in my legs and what I was seeing on the road.

There had been a disconnect there. My brain was continuing to interpret hills with the muscle memory of my legs years ago. But I've changed and my brain didn't get the memo.

So, it was really nice to change my perspective and learn a little more about what I can do. I'm still no Lance or Floyd -- and I still get effortlessly passed by guys twice my age on a regular basis -- but I know a little more about myself now.

Because I looked up.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back in the saddle

Got 2:00 bike in today, although I was hoping for a little longer.  The heat was BRUTAL out there and totally tapped my legs.  I knew on the first hill going out of town that it was going to suck.

And it did, but in a really excellent way.  Each and every hill was like dragging an ape up the side of the road.  But for every ride in the rain or humidity or afternoon heat, all I think about is...if this happens on race day, I totally know what to do.

Incidentally, the Swedish fish failed.  Too hard to chew and didn't digest all that well.  And for 150 calories, I need to jam 25 of those little guys in my mouth.  While riding.  In aero.  Chaaallenging.  And between the Gatorade and fish, I was all cotton mouthed with Red Dye #5.  

I have to get out to Performance to restock on Cliff Bloks.  And start stalking the Acme's for some Accelerade stocks.  

Time to shower and head down to the hospital.  Thanks for all of your good wishes for Nana -- she's doing well in recovery!

Friday, June 27, 2008


Insomnia is boring, my friends.

There are only so many times you can check facebook for notifications of old friends from whenever, there are only so many times you can check your emails (three of them!), only so many times you can flip through blogs.

Seems I'm one of the few posting new stuff at midnight.

Le sigh.

This is the end of a long week of insomnia.  And I'm bored.

But I did get out for a run tonight, as Nana is stabilized at the hospital.  The run was only 35 minutes, but pain free for a solid 30.

I'll take it.

Baby steps to the elevator.

On deck tomorrow is 2:45 ride.  Gatorade is in the fridge (btw, why did Acme stop selling my Accelerade??  Huh??  I certainly bought enough of the damned stuff there!) and the bike is ready to go.  Bringing out some little bags of red swedish fish to switch it up a bit -- we'll see how all this sugar sits.  

Plan is to head out to Ephrata and find that hill I've heard so much about.  From the looks of it, the coming back might hand me some pain.  But I miss the pain of a solid bike.  

Time to try some sleep again.  Hopefully some better luck this time... .

(Lack of) Training Update


...'s been an interesting week full of all things unexpected. Last week, Michael's grandmother (Nana), whom I love dearly for her quiet spunk, was feeling funny and then feeling bad and then in the hospital for one thing and then they found other things and let's just say it's been a very challenging week for her. And her family. Every time we think one thing is solved, another is discovered. We just don't know what to expect when the phone rings anymore.

But, even after an emergency surgery late yesterday that even the surgeon admitted was not high on his list of predicted successes, Nana was pushing strong in the recovery room, lucid and alert. She amazes me. Every moment.

So much of our week has been driving to and from the hospital, about an hour away, to see her and spend time together. What it hasn't been spent doing is (a) cleaning our house, (b) watering our plants, (c) doing laundry, or (d) training.

No regrets, mind you. This is so not a complaint.

But it is a reality to manage. I haven't been at the pool, on the bike, or run for a week. Exactly 2-weeks out from an Oly is not a good time to go cold-turkey. Hopefully this weekend will bring some good training sessions. I need that. My sleep is all messed up, my face is breaking out from the weird cafeteria foods, and I'm getting squishy. Yes, squishy. Around my hips.

My sentiments exactly...gross.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Hate That

I had been grumpy all weekend, but I wasn't really sure why. Maybe it was my lady parts acting up again, but I hate that excuse. Maybe it was the change in plans this weekend or the weird lack of motivation I've been having at work bleeding into my subconscious.

I don't know.

But I was grumpy all weekend. Snapish. Defensive. And for as excited as I was for my friends competing out in Idaho, watching everything on IronmanLive(ish) wasn't helping things.

At one point, I wandered downstairs and said to Mighty M, point blank, "I want to do an Ironman."

That'll distract you from SciFi, alright.

Instead of finding the words, he made hand gestures forming stairs in the air...up and up and up.

"You think I need to still build, huh?"

"Yup. Don't you? I mean, look what the last half did to you? That wasn't fun."

It wasn't what I wanted to hear. Damn him. I hate honesty sometimes. What I wanted him to say is that maybe next year, or maybe it's time to think about which one and when. Instead I got the worst possible answer...which is I still need work.


But accurate.

I do still need work. I need to continue to condition my body to do longer distances with ease and strength. I freaking know that.

But I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated because I know what will lead me there. (Or, at least, I think I do.) I need a really solid year this year with half iron distances and really consistent training. And then I think I need a little time off, followed by a strong and consistent off-season of building more.

And then I think I need to train for an Ironman.

Because I want. I want it bad. Like 13-year old pitching a fit at the mall bad. I want it even when I admit what it will mean for my life and my sanity. I want it even when I think about all that risk -- all the things I don't even know about yet.

I want.

And it's killing me. I don't want to get to next year, when everyone's 2009 races are being raced and registration is opening up, only to realize that I'm still not ready because I "dialed" everything back. Because I kept it simple this year.

I don't want to be still getting ready to get ready next year.

I know. Whine. Whine. Whine. I have nothing to complain about. Life is good. It keeps getting better. But I have this itch that I can't seem to scratch. Every time I take a step towards it, life intervenes and says, don't have the cash for the training or travel, or your knees are thinking maybe never, or you have to decide between a new home and children and the Ironman. "You can love the Ironman, but you can't have it."

And I hate that. I understand it, but I hate it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Excuse me?

When I looked at the lady,
behind the counter at Desert Moon,

and casually thought, mmmm tofu quesadillas,
which somehow translated into,

"Two tofu quesadillas, please,"
when I opened my unsuspecting mouth,

what exactly was I thinking?

((food coma))

The Guilts

Yesterday, while everyone was racing their dreams in Idaho, I was sitting on my rump in Pennsylvania. Saturday we babysat our lovely nieces (the best little nuggets ever) and I managed to pull something in my hip area somewhere on the playground.

I'm not too worried about it, but the ache remained on Sunday when I moved my right leg, so my ride and run were off the schedule. And since we were at the hospital and babysitting on Saturday (both unexpected events), my weekend was a big goose egg on training.

Which I'm not totally worried about, because this week will be strong and so was last week.

But for some reason, more than one day off puts me in a funk. Not just off from training, but "off," in the purest sense of the word. Yesterday Mighty M and I let sleeping laundry lie, transplantable plants sit, and the vacuum have some quiet time in the corner. Aside from important family time and a massive trip to the g'store (and subsequent veggie and herb prepping and storing), I was hugely unproductive.

And as nice as that sounds, it never sits well with me.

Doing nothing makes me CRANKY.

I just don't feel like I'm a good person after days like that! I know, sounds terribly dramatic, but the thing is that I need my daily routines of errands and training to keep me feeling like I'm participating in life.

Maybe it's like state-dependent learning. I spent lots of idle time when I was younger because I could and, in some sense, I had to. And as I grew older, that idle time grew you say...pleasant.

So, now downtime gives me The Guilts, big time.

You know...that vague feeling you get that you didn't do something or you forgot to finish something or let someone down...but you can't just put your finger on it? And you feel weird and off kilter and distracted? Yeah, The Guilts.

And The Guilts make me cranky. And snapish. And give me insomnia. And make me eat Special K and popsicles after bedtime.

Me no likes.

So right now, my goal is to move in the opposite direction so I don't mope my way through the day and pick a fight with Mighty M when I get home. Cause the risk is high, my friends. The risk is high.

Step one...caffeinate until my eyeballs float. Then nail some longstanding work projects, finish up a couple grant reports, apply for two more, check in on my banking, and quite possibly sell my first wedding dress.

Bring on the Dunkin Donuts!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Need your help...


Okay...completely off topic.


I have a situation I've found myself in where I have an extra (cough) wedding dress.

Seriously.  I kid you not.

Long story.  I'm constantly being regaled about it.  Trust me -- the humor has NOT been lost!

But now I have an eager potential buyer for the unworn, brand new dress.  She's a bridal salon owner in California and needs it for one of her brides, being married on the weekend of July 4th.  Eak for her!

I haven't spoken to her yet, but my research online has shown that she's a very shrewd shop owner and can I put this delicately? very driven by the dollar.  

If I decide to sell the dress to her, here's my question...


Do I use paypal?  Do I require payment first?  (I fear that if I wait for payment upon receipt, I may not get it and be out both payment and dress.)

New territory for me and I can't find any good resources online.

Maybe I should just list it as an item through EBay (informing her of the sale posting) and use the protection afforded through their agreements.  I'm leaning towards this option now.

What do you guys think?  Your experiences?

(okay...seriously, you can stop laughing about the second dress's funny, i know.  but really)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Run Ning

Um. Seems I've been tagged.

I don't usually do tags (how pretentious does THAT sound!), but it's really just because I'm woefully bad at posting on something within, ya know, like three years of it actually happening.

Unless it has to do with food. Then I post immediately.

But since I hearts Erin and I've been focusing on solving my run issues this year, I thought I'd jump on this wagon. Or catch this train. Or look for an appropriate running metaphor.


So, without further adieu...

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

Running? Ten years ago? (Cough, cough) Sorry, I got something caught in my throat. It might have been a box of wine or a carton of cigarettes. (COUGH) Okay, it's gone.

What were you saying? Ah yes, my running at 24. Let's see, at 24 I was a fresh face in Philadelphia, having just moved there from the DC area and following a disastrous break up with 30-something adolescent and the death of my Mom the year before. Having just started an excellent new job with my best friend working down the hall, living in my FAHbulous apartment that came with free mice and permanent risk of break-in, and a lot of nervous lonely time to fill, I spent much of my time, well...away. Out. Doing "things." I went out all the time with friends. I would dine (and drink) alone to pass the nights without plans. I ate very little and weighed very little, too. I wore leather pants. I could hang longer than most of the guys. I played a mean game of pool and knew every bartender in the Art Museum area personally. I was a size 4 hottie with a fancy party life and disastrous emotional life. Great to hang out with, but seriously, dude, not one to date.

Don't get me wrong. It was fun. For sure. But it was also taxing. Physically, emotionally, financially. While my well adjusted friends found well adjusted partners and married and moved on, I continued to search...for something.

And I had no idea yet part of it might be found in running. Not a clue.

So, me? Running? Ten years ago? Pshaw. Pass the chardonnay and I'll meet you at Rembrandt's at 8.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

I'm going to stick with my best, because I'm feeling all positive like today.

My best run may have been my first half marathon. I had no idea how momentous the day was going to be because I was incredibly naive about all things sport. I had signed up for a trail run that was NOTORIOUS for kicking people's arses up one side of a mountain and down another. I've since gone back for more pain, but it was my first experience on this course. And I was blissfully unaware.

But it wasn't just that I didn't realize what thousands of feet of climb feels like over 13+ miles. I didn't know what 13 miles felt like. Most people do their first half mary in a formal way, with chips and spectators, carrying signs. And maybe a training plan. I had just signed up to do a cool trail run I read about on a flier at the gym, and since I had been hitting 9, 10, or 11 mile runs during the week I figured doing 13 would be no big leap.

Such. A. Fool.

I totally finished that day. I barely made the cutoff at the halfway point, but I slugged it out through craggy, rock infested paths and across fields, and up the random 100 stairs that "help" hikers make their way through the woods. I completely and utterly thrashed my legs. Upon arriving home, still relatively naive about recovery and nutrition, I layed face-down down on the floor in the living room to "rest." Ten minutes later I was dizzy and nauseaus with low blood sugar and seeing spots. What a rookie.

I have no idea what my time was. I don't give a darn, to this day. As with many things, I just randomly crashed into my first half mary sideways without much thought or planning. But it remains one of my best runs ever.

3. Why do you run?

I run because I don't want to die.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

But it's honestly the reason I do. My mom died at 51 years old. Fifty-one years old. She had little choice about it in the end -- it was a cancer she had staved off for eleven years. Eleven years. So she only had 40 years of disease free life.

I'm 34. You do the math.

And, while it may sound dramatic to most (unless you've lost a parent young, then you'll totally understand), I expect to die early and from cancer. I do. When you spend your entire youth and young adult life linking CANCER to MORTALITY, it tends to affect your own predictions of your own life.

I could get hit by a bus or a car. I could drown. I could leave this earth many ways, but I don't expect those ends. I expect that I will leave too early and because of cancer.

So, I put a lot of energy today into removing that possibility from my future. No smoking and no drinking. Whole foods and lots of sleep. LOTS of exercise. Because I'm doing everything possible now to stick around as long as possible for my children. Yup, the one's I haven't had yet. Because I love them to bits and pieces and I don't ever want them to parse out their emotions on mortality and longevity, personal responsibility and loss, at 13 years old. I want them to remain blissfully unaware of the fear of loss.

So each and every time I run in a race and come in dead freaking last (which is often), I consider it a victory. I'm doing everything I can to be alive at 80. So see my children trip and fall their way through their own adult lives and chuckle with Mighty M about how we were like that one day a long, long time ago.

There you have it. I run so I won't die.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you’ve been given about running?

The best piece of advice I've heard about running -- and, frankly, pretty much every unpleasant training activity -- is to get out of my own damn way.

You blog? You read blogs? You've heard that everywhere. I know it, because I've read it everywhere. But it's damned powerful stuff.

I get in my way all the time. I spent a DECADE of my life bouncing around so fast I couldn't slow down enough to achieve my own potential. I bartered and cajoled myself into and out of just plain doing it -- the test, the promotion, the relationship, the future.

And I held on hard to that habit with triathlon and running. For every run, ride, or swim I had a million reasons why I didn't want to, I couldn't, or I shouldn't. I mapped out scenarios of well laid excuses to pave my way to the lazy alternatives. I resisted so much. I got in my own way.

Soon I figured out my why of resisting -- why I tried to pull out early or accept the shorter/easier alternative. And once I did, it became easier to get out of my own way. Soon, with a little insight, I started adding to the picture a little acknowledgment ("Of course you don't want to get out of bed to swim, because you know it's unpleasant and you could just roll over and 'forget' you had that 3,000 swim planned for today") and the good kind of denial ("Ha ha, that's funny how you're so damned predictable. Now get the hell out of bed, beyotch. It's time to HTFU!").

Don't get me wrong...the dark side wins sometimes, too. Last night I opted for a dinner out instead of my run. But I'm wiser now, so this morning I listened to the inner voice that got me out of bed for an AM make-up run.

Cause now I try to get out of my own way.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

I'm terribly neurotic about certain things, while others can lay in waste on the side of my attention span. The fridge, for example. The fridge needs to be organized. There is a place for everything in my fridge, and it better damn site be in its place! The bed is another good example. I cannot stand an unmade bed! (My father just cheered outloud on that one!) I have to make the bed every day, with the corners tucked and the sheet smoothed. I secretly believe that Mighty M's only character flaw is that he is unable (or unwilling? huh? you be the judge...) to make a bed properly. Or, like, ever. And while we're in the bedroom, I can have a pile of dirty laundry in the corner, but the top of my dresser MUST be orderly and clean. The perfume bottles must be aligned properly and there should be no dryer sheets/random hair ties/handkerchiefs/assorted crap there. Incidentally, it's funny to actually look at our dresser because Mighty M does not ascribe to this neurosis. No need to draw a line down the middle, it's pretty clear already.

Other things keep me just shy of crazy, like folding laundry properly, keeping a mess-free car and purse, and having my coffee made just right in the morning.

But I like my kind of crazy. It works, you know? Anyway, what's 40 more years of making the bed?

6. Passing it on.

This is where I will fall flat on my face. Because I'm not passing it on. I know! I'm a total stick in the mud! Shoot me! Actually don't. But at least give me a break. I deserve one...I made the bed this morning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You're in so much trouble

Tonight, after my lovely swim at el Y'o, I headed home for an iddy biddy run.  And somewhere in my moaning about having to actually do it (as opposed to simply moan about it), Mighty M said something about a surprise dinner.

He just got a mid-year bonus.

Booyah.  Run officially moved to tomorrow morning.

So 20 minutes later, I'm sitting in my first evah Vietnamese noodle house.

And I have only one thing to say...

If it was 
job to tell me how 
freaking delicious 
this stuff was, you 

TOTALLY dropped the ball.

Incidentally?  You're in


I have 34 years of noodle soup eating to make up for.  

Step back folks.  This might get messy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Diamond in the Rough: Prep Time & Goals

Next race up? Diamond in the Rough.

1 mile swim/27 mile bike/5 mile run

This one is an olympic distance in Perryville, MD, hosted by the Piranha group who so very patiently waited for me to finish the Devilman like a bazillion hours. Love them.

Of note about the race is that it's a hilly course with some technical turns and no-pass areas. The swim is at a river/bay junction and will be in the direction of the current, which is always a bonus. The run is an out and back.

I had to think real hard to remember the last time I did an olympic distance and finally remembered the Lancaster Triathlon in 2006. Wow, that was a long time ago, huh. Here were the results then...

Olympic Triathlon (03:07:55)

1000M swim (18:35)(1:51/100)

23.7m bike (1:45:44)(13.45 avg)

5.7m run (1:03:36)(11:09 pace)

Not bad, actually! I think I can improve on these this year to a certain degree. I'm thinking my swim will be close, although likely more around a 1:55/100 average as the distance is longer (1 mile). I'm considering skipping my wetsuit (it's having major zipper issues) which will keep my times closer to pool times than race times. My run will likely be in the same realm, although I'm hoping to get through without any (too much) pain. It's the ride that I think will seriously improve. I'm a better cyclist today.

I'm hoping for this...

SWIM: 30 minutes = 1:51/100
Ambitious, for sure. But so am I.

BIKE: 1:30 = 18 mph average speed
Again, ambitious. Very ambitious. But Saturday I did 25 miles at 16.6 average on rolling hills in crazy heat. And I wasn't racing. I can nail something like that under race conditions, I'm sure.

RUN: 1:00 = 12 min miles
The unknown. Expecting 12 minute miles is probably reasonable, but the pain factor could change things. No pain? I think I could do 55 minutes for this. Pain? Could be a deathmarch home. I never know.


So, the next month will be a busy one keeping up with this level of fitness and really honing in on these distances. A couple of 1 mile time trials in the pool with sighting. A few more visits to the hillier routes to really get my gearing strategy and legs ready for eating through any hills on the course. And more bricks than I have been doing -- I've been woefully short on bricks.

The plan...

...I won't bore you with my daily routine for this one, but generally speaking I'm doing 3/3/4 and some core. Three swims a week (gots to gets me to daz pool), three rides (one short, one hills, one long with hills plus a run), and four runs (one short, one medium, one itty bitty, one long).

I'm not going to make myself crazy with this schedule, but I'm going to have spectators this time (my inlaws are coming down for the festivities) so I don't want to (a) puke (too much), (b) bonk on the bike, or (c) be unprepared for the run. I have intentions of crossing that finish line strong for all the lovely people who want to spend their morning watching me race.

Ok. Enough from me. I have things to train or somethin' like that...

An update...on me


It's been a nutty couple of days. (Weeks? Yes, weeks. That's more accurate.)

Here's where I am...

In life...
...I'm holding steady. Spending time with loved ones and my man, much more than in years past. Dialing back on the training has left lots of time for me to just, well, be. And that's nice. Mighty M said one day to me, "We only get to enjoy this once." And he's so right. Reach out and grab for it, it only comes around once.

At home...
...currently our little abode is landscaped (woot!) with pretty juniper plants in handmade flower boxes and there's a sturdy and growing herb garden in pots all over the back deck. Twice this week I've made dinner using herb I plucked from the porch. That was fun. Also, after toiling for HOURS in a windowless, 100* bathroom we have a pretty navy blue bathroom that's very fancy. We love it. And I love that it'll be a nice looking detail for future buyers.

In training...
...I'm finding I have talents I really didn't realize before. For example. This weekend, I had a long bike on the calendar so I headed out towards Honeybrook on 322 for my standard rolling hill ride. No crazy climbs, but a nice steady up and down to keep the legs honest. After warming up for a little, I started to challenge myself. Tried to get through some of the hills with smart gearing and staying in the big ring. And you know what? I did a hellova sight better than I ever would have thought. Last year, I struggled on these hills in my granny gear. I don't have a granny gear anymore, and I don't need one either. I have seriously improved as a cyclist. Seriously. I have to thank the Elf for her guidance over the winter, because I know that's where a lot of it was borne. But it also says to me that I need to push myself a little more than I usually do. I have more to offer. I'm underestimating my abilities. I may actually be a solid cyclist after all. Who knew?

...also on the training front is my running. The new neutral shoes are helping. I'm still having pain at the end of long runs, but it's getting later and later in the run. This says to me I have a working combination of stretching, strengthening, and shoe choice, but I need to get more run focus in. I'm focusing my efforts on a number of shorter (30 - 45 minute) runs each week, and at least one longer run (1:15 - 1:45). So far, I think it's working. Yeah!

...and just to be fair, I've been kind of a slacker in the pool. For the past two weeks I've gone Ugh. Not good. I have to keep the consistency up on this. My next race has a mile swim -- nothing I'm worrying about, but something that has enough teeth to tap my energy for the bike/run. Gotta get to the pool and put my time in.

In re: nuptuals...
...this has been an interesting experience to say the least. The most surprising parts? First, that it's so very lonely to plan a wedding at my age and in my circumstances. My bridesmaids are flung across the East coast and busy with their own lives, so planning is a pretty solo affair. Not having my own Mom alive has been difficult. There's just something about having that person there for you, willing and eager to plan every detail and every moment of the day. I am so very, very lucky to have my FMIL in my life. She's played such a large role in getting ready for the wedding and tempered much of those lonely feelings. I love her dearly for giving me that solace, and that constant ear for concerns and words of advice.

...Also, it seems the year has rushed by. We're getting married in 5 months. FIVE MONTHS!! Holy wow. I'm on track with everything, but now things start moving fast. Big purchases, big deposits, major projects. Invites, limos, bridal showers, bachelorette party, flowers, ribbons, gifts, etc. Let me tell you something, peeps. I plan parties for a's my JOB. And I can tell you from a professional's point of view that planning a wedding it an unenviable role. Be nice to your brides to be. They are working harder than you think. Yes, it's fun and cute to poke fun at their concerns about minutia and constant guest list questions...but at the end of the day everyone else just shows up and enjoys the party. It's the bride who is responsible for making sure that it's seamless. Give her a break. Throw some compassion her way. And maybe a gift certificate for a massage. Even the pros may need one.

In love...
...yup, still there. So little else to say other than he makes me want to live forever, as long as he's right next to me.

Monday, June 09, 2008

You know when, like...

You know when, you know, you do the same motions over and over again (like say for instance bending down or leaning over to idonno...take something off someone's ankle) and the next day you're, you know, kinda sore.

You know how they say it's the second day when you really will feel it?

You know what?

Tomorrow's going to suck.

Hot enough to...


That was hot.

A massive cheer for everyone who participated in the Eagleman half iron this weekend. Even if you didn't finish, frankly not running home screaming about heat stroke at 6 am gets you massive tri-points.

Yes. It was that hot.

I managed to get down to the race just in time to see the age groupers start and see the first waves come out of the water. It was beautiful! Bright and sunny, the water was glass and people were saying it was a great swim. So much excitement...I kept having to choke back tears. Yes, tears.

I'm emotional, you know.

I managed to not cry, and saw my friend D get out of the water with a strong swim behind her and a hot bike ahead. How much fun is it to cheer on the sidelines!! So fun!! Once she was safely off, I wandered around a little. I was a bit surprised at the size of the operation -- I actually expected it to be a little bigger. Mainly a lot of team tents and some Rotary-like food tents. Everyone was so nice and enjoying the festivities.

After spending a little time cheering those out of the water near the end (ahem, usually where I am!), I found a nook right near the bike entry and pro rack. WAY FUN!! These guys and gals are machines! I mean, really. They make it look a casual and all, but transitioning under a minute after a brutal bike (I heard there was some bad headwind issues at the end to add to the 100+ heat index)! Crazy folk.

I didn't get to see the Elf transition because I had to report for volunteering. But I DID get to cheer her as she ran by the finishing shoot -- looking strong and ready to tackle day?

These pros. I tell ya. (chuckle)

Anyway, I learned a really interesting thing from my group of volunteers. If my group represented volunteers at events like this, as a whole, then WE TRIATHLETES NEED TO GET OUT AND VOLUNTEER MORE DAMMIT!!

I was the only triathlete volunteer. (With the exception of the Tri-Columbia folks.) Bless 'em, these other folks were from the local town and decided to brave the 100 degree temps because their churches or schools said volunteers were needed. All ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds. What a great group!

Plus, it was tons of fun explaining little details of what was going on for the volunteers -- who was coming by when and why, how long each leg was, what racing was like. I was proud to be a triathlete.

But soon the talking was over and the pro's were coming. And let me tell you.

Holy. Shit.

These people are seriously the finest form of athlete. Strong, lean, chiseled, serious. They put it all out there for this race, as I would assume they do for every race. But the moment they crossed the finish line, you could see the toll it took on them.

Many were struggling. Most went straight for an IV. It was a brutal day.

Soon the age group men started arriving, including Christian Waterstraat -- the ELF's hubby. He managed to kick some serious arse under terrible conditions to win a Kona slot. Third in his age group, I think. And he was so nice and talkative when he finished -- wide eyed and looking for who was ahead or behind him. I grabbed his chip and steered him towards the water/hose.

Then racers started coming a little faster through the shoot and it wasn't long before I was screaming GO LIZ GO LIZ WHOOOOOOOOOO LIZ!!! Here came the Elf, out on a little training exercise. I couldn't believe she was with it enough to even say hi, much less give me a big hug and jump into a conversation right there in the shoot. Went something like this -- "Omg, it's so nice to meet you!" "Do you need a medic?" "How are you?" "No seriously, we have a hose" "Yeah, your right, hose...water..."

Love her.

As an aside, seeing the Elf there and watching the racing and knowing the dedication to the sport everyone was showing...well, it gave me major pangs for my recent decision to dial back. I know, of course, that it was the right decision and everything, but I missed so much working with Liz and being structured and pointed and goal oriented in my training. I just missed it. It made me really, really want to (a) get back to a coached environment, (b) sign up for the next big race that I could find, and (c) make solid plans for an Ironman. All of those things, as we know, will not happen in the next year. I know. But I really want them to happen. So much. Le sigh.
Anyway, a couple athletes turned into a huge cattle shoot of sweaty, cramping, and disoriented triathletes real quick like. No need to check the thermometer, you could see the conditions on everyone's faces. I've finished two half irons so far, and let me tell you...the finish line does usually look like this. This, my friends, was war. And those athletes won.

So for about 6 hours, I collected chips, steered athletes towards or away from medical, propped up the ones that couldn't walk, manned the backup timing box, got ice/water/soda to those who couldn't make it past the finish shoot. I was thrown up on, encountered multiple people who lost control of their (um) bowels out there on the course, and was a certain kind of filthy by the end.

But so proud to be in this sport.

By 3:00 I finally called it a day. Exhausted, filthy, dehydrated and sunburned. I had been so focused on the racers I failed to eat all day or get on board any fluids myself. Or sunscreen. Oops!

I spent some quick but quality time with my friend D, who finished strong and healthy after an excellent showing on the course. Then it was time for the 3 hour drive home and the attempt to find gas, fluids, and some quality food on the way home. I managed to find the gas under $4 and Gatorade, but quality food was nowhere to be found. Oh, and I made a stupid wrong turn and added a good 45 minutes onto my trip.

But, I loved every minute of the day. It was inspiring and emotional and exciting. It was so fulfilling to volunteer and help the racers out there.

Now all I have to do it make sure I don't start making any rash decisions like, you know, signing up for an Ironman or anything.

But you never know...

Post Script: Over 1,200 athletes finished while I was in the shoot. Being "the chip lady," I took off probably about 800 or so chips from peoples' ankles. That's a lot of bending down. Incidentally? Bending down right now is really, really hard.