Monday, July 30, 2007

The debate within…

Lately I’ve been reminded that as far as an being an athlete…I am a triathlete. Not a swimmer or a cyclist or a runner…although I do have some tendencies to have a running ‘problem’ at times. But rather, I’d prefer to focus on doing multi-sport stuff with the end goal of a tri than be focused solely all the time on one sport and ‘cross train’ with other sports. I forget this sometimes…let me try to explain. If I’m debating about non tri races during triathlon season I have to stop and think really hard about it. I was contemplating running a marathon next june as there will be one basically in my back yard after I move. But the more I thought about doing that marathon…the more I started to be annoyed that it might screw with my tri season since it is at the beginning of June. The build...the taper...the recovery.

Granted the tri season in S. Cali is longer than up here in Massachusetts, but I didn’t really want my training focus during all those good daylight savings hours focused on an A race that wasn’t a triathlon AND it was during tri season. So I’m starting to contemplate a marathon that is in 6 months from now…the one I’m debating would be 3 months after my ½ marathon in October…

The whole debate makes me laugh because I know people give me funny looks when I say i'm thinking about doing a marathon...much less me saying that the reason I wouldn't do a specific one didn't have to do with it being a marathon...but that it interfered with my tri season next year. I think i'm just looking forward to having an actual tri season next year, THAT's what i'm looking forward to.

On other notes...sadly boredom of the dissertation has set in. I tend to get bored after awhile when I'm writing. I have my main things i don't want to go back and re-write every little thing. It makes me want to SCREAM. Whew...that's out now. We can now move on.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

And...another tri

WoooHooo...i got a SECOND tri in for the season. Wow...i may still be a triathlete :-) A rather late in the game decision on my part (as in wedensday), but i decided that since I had finished a sprint two weeks ago and have gotten my running times up to at least an hour these days...I knew i wouldn't be scraped off the pavement at the end of the day, so I was in.

But what is a race without a little drama for me? I am not certain if I am capable of NOT having drama the day before a race. Last was a double flat tire issue...Hartford in the was drama in general. I have come to accept that bad pre-race issues can yield good race day least that is what I tell myself. That's how it rolls sometimes...This time the drama involved climbing through a window and falling in/on the window ledge and BRUISING the crap out of my legs is part of my pre-race drama, oh and being locked out...HEY, that's how it goes, right? At least I have some fun looking injuries on my legs. Yeish.

So fortunately this race was MUCH closer than two weeks ago, there fore it did not necessitate a 4am wake up and amazingly I get into bed so early that I almost get 7 hours of sleep. What is going on with me? Stranger things have happened, but lately things are a bit odd. Although I am greeted this morning with an UNHAPPY stomach that makes me start to question this whole endeavor (as I can barely get 200 calories in without feeling like i'm going to retch) I attempt to convince myself on the way to the race that I can eat Anyway, by the time I get to the race site, I'm feeling a little better.

Find my way to the race and apparently this one is advertised as a 'diamond in the rough' as it is it's first year. If they had said nothing about it being it's first year, one would never have known. It was tightly organized, the transition area was awesomely set up. Tons of room. It was great.

I get set up and saw JB the smaller and JB the taller who are doing the Oly and D who is also doing the sprint and meet up with them prior to the race chat a bit. We discover in the pre-race meeting that the OLY bike is now the same distance as the sprint. They 'claim' that both are 15 miles...but it didn't seem so much like that. JB the smaller thinks it was think I finally realized my bike wasn't zeroed out until about mile i have no idea. But I can tell you one thing...the fact that I have NOT been biking, much less riding hills... showed.

The swim was fine, 0.5 mile, although at one point I realized I was having trouble breathing and reasoned that I could either take bigger breathes or slow down that might help. Got my breathing under control. Time 17:02...about the same as the last sprint two weeks ago.

The bike, it was an out and back course. The out...up, up, up...the back...a lot of down...but still amazingly some uphill too. Sadly due to the lack of time in the saddle and the fact I haven't been climbing much, my avg speed came in around 15.1mph. Meeh...not great, but whatever. I enjoyed it.

The run...came and went. There were no mile markers, just the turn around for the sprint's 3.1 I clicked my watch at the turn around 14:26, I thought I wanted to negatively split the run, but I think I lost track of my brain on the run too. Second split came in slower, 14:32.

Total time by my watch 1:43:xx...although I forgot to hit stop after I crossed the finish line so that may account also for the non-negative split on the second half.

Overall, enjoyable day spent with friends and meeting a few new faces too. Glad I was talked into the whole fiasco even after I convinced myself that there was a 10% grade on a hill...(notsomuch...but hey, it would have made a great story right?...nah...good stories are over rated)...

So at least I get to sport some insane bruises...too bad they are from my window sill and not from something more 'exciting' like a tri. But i wouldn't be me...if it had happened anyway else.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Angry Rain

I love this word:
intr.v. whinged, whing·ing, whing·es Chiefly British
To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner.

Americans don't use this word very much, (as it is chiefly british...see above)...but those that speak English and not American (as i've been corrected on many a time when I lived abroad...I speak 'American' or as some English speakers used to 'take the micky' and just say that i spoke 'Mer-y-CAN') Anyway, the american term that many use is whine. Yet whining is actually a little different than whinging, but anyway...that's not the point. The point is this morning I WAS WHINGING and I was annoyed with it.

Ever get that way? Where your own whinging is so annoying to you that you can't stand it? Maybe i'm the only one who ever whinges and admits it...but was what it was.

The lightening and thunder woke me up along with the water pouring into my window because it was raining so hard and the gutters stopped working properly on the roof. Nice. I thought 'This is good...i can get a lot of work done today and tomorrow is my tri! Great...awesome". I get up, fix some breakfast and then the whinging begins. It was a weird battle this morning as it raged on (and I apologize to anyone who got in the middle of my whinging and ranting) because it became surreal at one point and I finally realized I was angry at the rain. At the rain??

I generally have two conversations with myself going on at any given voices in my head are not talking split personality (i don't think :-) ) Just the general back and forth a person goes through between the innerself and the ...hmmm i'll call it the rational/logical self.

But at one point...I had to have it out...all I could think to myself was "You are mad at the rain?? You have no control over that...and you are mad at the rain. Nice one there" And sometimes I have to talk myself through the stupidity of what is going on inside my head. Here's the conversation:

Innerself (IS): rain...bla...bla...
Logical self (LS): What is your problem??
IS: the stupid rain
LS: Stupid rain? What are you going to melt? You've done a duathlon in the pouring rain in April in Massachusetts, freezing your tights off where you thought you were going to be swept away by the flooding water and at one point were more worried that you would see Noah and his Ark floating down the road as you tried to ride your bike up it.
IS: (more whinging about the rain)
LS: And You did your first 1/2 marathon in situations that would have more been like a 1/2 marathon swim than an actual run. You've done triathlons in the rain to the point where you were afraid that your breaks wouldn't work properly and you are going to cry a river over some rain? Gimme a break. Really....what is your problem?

And then...breakthrough I suddenly figured out what in life was bothering me, yet I was taking it out on stupid things...I wasn't angry at the rain...I was frustrated with what was happening with my dissertation and my lack of an adviser who spends all of his time with students who aren't even going to graduate soon...and ignores those of us who are gunning for the door in the next 4 weeks. He just says "Let's meet later" and then...oh...notimeforyou. But my favorite thing is that he refuses to make an appointment to see me. "oh no...I will find you later"....sure...right...liar. I swear, I think i would have to light my thesis on fire and put it on his desk to get his attention. Ah...the joy. Only 19 days til I have to turn it in. "This too shall pass."


Well tomorrow...another tri...and this time instead of just feeling mildly under prepared, i feel...REALLY under prepared. The hills look, shall I say...scary (i pushed the 'register' button before I realized how big they were...although i'm still not sure if that would have stopped me.)...and I have been biking on not a single that just means...more FUN for me. really does mean's all about the's about being there, enjoying the day, seeing friends, and experiencing it. I have no expectations except to experience it all, stroke for stroke, pedal for pedal, stride for stride.

Fingers crossed that there won't be lightening.

See ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To tri...

((OK I have a disclaimer before you read this post.
1) If you love Shakespear and cannot bear the thought
of someone using one of his soliloquy and modifying it...
well don't read on (and you should sue all those english
teachers who make students re-do
one in proper iambic pentameter too :-))
2) To dissert in proper definition means:
to speak or write at length...which is sorta what I mean.
Mainly I mean the whole process of crafting of a disseration...
so yes, i did sorta make up the word...but...anyway...)
3) I did actually attempt to try to keep
the iambic pentameter...hence the weird changes to words.
4) Why did I do this? um...i'm finding that in order
feed the 'creative' juices for my other analytical writing, i'm finding
I need to do creative things and other things...and well...i'm a dork. :-))

To tri, or not to tri: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler to dissert and endure
The slings and arrows of graduate school,
Or to take arms against a sea of swimmers,
And thus be swum over? To swim: to bike;
To run; and to tri is not to dissert
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That being passed is heir to, 'tis better
To commit to finish. To swim, to bike;
To tri: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in any tri what dreams may be born
When we have shuffled off this mortal fear,
Must give us pause: and a respect to tri.
This makes one see we are so short of time.
To miss the chance to spend with friends and race,
Or to stare at a screen and to dissert,
While fully knowing the pangs of missed chance,
Or endure the mock of conscience instead
That one would endure by choosing to tri,
When she herself knows which the wiser choice,
Being faced with the truth of a lost day,
And rather to push-on and sweat and tri,
But that the dread of lost chance wins against
The bearing of great angst of not dissert’g.
Know’g no one returns unchanged from a race,
Rather it makes us bear those ills we have
With others, as we see life must be lived
And not let conscience make cowards of us;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is marred by a small pale thought to dissert,
The enterprising company of words
That shall be chapters that few will e’er read,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you tri!
The fair race! Oi, it seems there is one choice
But to dissert like mad until the tri.

So...I am in...i have signed up...and
I am doing another tri this weekend! Yea.

why is blogger being a pain??

Friday, July 20, 2007

And dance...

"Dance like no one is watching"...

Slightly cliche...but here's why you just might make someone's day.

I had a 'ho-hum' sort of day...nothing too exciting. A lot of boring reading...what's new. I went to the grocery store to pick up some dinner and there is this 70+ year old guy, driving his car...ROCKING out to POLKA music...he was singing and dancing (as much as a person can when they are driving a car)...and now...I can't wipe the smile off my face. It made my day, if not my week. Not because of what he 'looked' like while flailing about in his car (although it was humorous), but because he did it with such wild abandon.

It made me think about how little in my life I do with wild abandon. Just to do whatever, and not think about how I look or what others will say, or really care about whatever they rarely will I just do something with everything I have and not care what other people think...I know that many times when I think about doing something with wild abandon, i begin to fear that others might judge me for my crazy behavior, yet many times it actually encourages others to try something new.

but in reality, most of my behavior is a bit erratic and WHY do i even care anyway?

so strange

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What *was* I thinking?

"What was I thinking?" Coursed through my brain at 4AM Sat morning when the alarm went off. After the discovery of a flat tire as I was loading my bike on the bike rack on Friday night and two tire changes later ( worthy of pit crew status of course...OK...totally lying on that one.) due to one of my spares ALSO having a hole in it, I got to bed rather late on Friday. Sat morning's rudely early start got me doubting this whole triathlon thing in general. Really...'what was i thinking??'

OK i will admit it...this thought generally goes through my head at least once on race day. But generally it is reserved for the time right after I have gotten off my bike and I am attempting to run on Jell-o legs and I just feel the burn of the previous discipline course through my quads. So I figured, hey...let's get that comment out of the way early on...and early it was.

And yet another confession if you are already unaware of ...i am not a morning person. I want to be a morning person. But I am not one. Even if I had more than 4.5 hour of sleep on Friday night...hey even if I got 8 hours of sleep on Friday night, Sat's 4am wake up call would have still left me in a delirious stupor. It has to do with the time of day...not the amount of sleep I get.

It was my friend PH's first tri...and our friend KB wanted to come along and cheer us on. While having a cheering section is ALWAYS great...i couldn't help thinking "you want to get up at WHAT time to come WITH us...and stand around and cheer"? awesome friend. Anyway, PH showed at my house at 4:30...we loaded the gear and got on the road. The weather was PERFECT. High of 80...70 at the start, sunny...lovely...wonderful basically.

I've been so busy these days with trying to get done, that i haven't had time to contemplate the whole I knew that my endurance base was pathetic. I knew I wasn't super trained for the race...but I think the enthusiasm that PH had for the race was a lot to encourage me to give it a go and just enjoy. Since my training has been less than steller, i had no expectations...and that was really what I needed right now in my life. Trying to finish up before I move has held enough expectations...and recently I think what I needed was something that I enjoyed and could share with others to help put life in general into into perspective a little.

Anyway...we get to the race, set up...get geared up. No issues really. PH is in the first wave...i'm in the 4th or 5th. A lot of standing around and waiting. I realize i'm hungry at this point. It's been almost 4 hours since I ate. Although...maybe those are butterflies and not hunger pangs...:-)

Finally it's my swim start...and we are off. During the swim I make a conscious decision to just be in the race...fully...what ever I am doing. I tend to always think about "what's next" in a race...and hey let's be often do we just be in whatever activity we are doing in life. So I decided to be fully aware of the day...and just enjoy. Breathe, stroke, breathe, stroke. And finally...i saw the beach. It was actually a really good swim for me as far as my rhythm and sighting and not dropping my hips when I time 17:00 for 1/2 a mile . The swim confirmed my LOVE of my new swim goggles.

T1 I managed not to hang out in too long...less than 2 mins. Nice.

The bike was a very undulating course...never really a time without a hill. It was an alright course...some areas a bit rough...I was please to see a final avg speed on my computer of 16.6mph. That's about where I finished up last season in my avg to see that in a race that I haven't been in the saddle all that much great...encourages me for when I have more time to devote to training.

T2...quick again.

The run.."i thought there were more aid stations" went through my head half way through mile 1 since there was one supposed to be at the 0.5 mile mark. Oh well..i'll live. The first half was up hill. My watch said...9:20 for the first mile, 10:30 for the second mile...and then 7:45 for the next mile and 4 something for the final .2 miles...looking at those time...mile markers MUST have been misplaced. Granted the 7:45 was on a down hill...but, effort was not a sub to entertain, but more likely a misplaced mile marker. Over all pace from my final time looks like it was 9:40 something...

Final time 1:40: something.

I was pleased. I had no expectations except to have fun...and I did...sure it was definitely not my potential...but neither has my training these days. I wanted my friend PH to have lots of fun...and he did. His comment afterwards was "that was AWESOME"... that was the best part. My friend KB had a great time cheering.

The best part was just to savor the day...savor each discipline as it passed...I got to share a part of my life with good friends that many in my don't get to...and then to watch them find so much joy in it...filled me with joy.

So...what was i thinking?? I was thinking it was going to be an awesome race shared with friends...and it was.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Dance

Yesterday was another milestone...and this one I cleanly rocked out of the water. No more experiments, only writing left to do. THIRTY-SEVEN days to finish writing and 45 days til Defense Day...and fifty some odd days til the movers show up and haul my sorry butt out to S.Cali...i say "Bring it"

happy dance...happy dance...happy dance.

BUT there is a much more FUN reason for a happy dance


It's my friend's first Tri and its the first of the season for me.

And while my endurance is, um, how shall we say...bad...and i've never been this undertrained for triathlon...i have to say, it'll still be lots of fun. It's gonna hurt. But,'s kewl.

I've been training reasonably for the past few weeks...I got a great brick in on Sat 15 mile bike with a 2 mile run. Mainly workouts have been fairly consistent 4-5 days a week. And i've had a lot of open water practice this season, which is good.

OH, but I bought the BEST thing water/tri goggles


I do.

Maybe the seal goggles are old news to you...but they are amazing. You can see lots...and as long as you don't break the seal on them, they don't leak. Yet another reason for a spontaneous Happy Dance.

When I was purchasing the goggles, i'm not quite sure how I made it out of the store with only the goggles and a new race belt (again...I heart the race belt...but as much as i love didn't change my life like the goggles did). The tri clothes kept calling my name...I managed to escape...somehow...i don't know how.

Yea...tri this weekend.