Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A river runs to it

This little stream by our house feeds into the Mississippi, which after hundreds of miles flows into the ocean. If I want to tame the ocean, I need to start with the stream. I have a decent base of training now, so I am ready to begin the long slow build to Ironman. I have the advantage of meeting IronJenny through my local tri club. She is awesome. She ranks 111 in her age group for USATF and is competing at the the world championship. She is doing Ironman Brazil, and is contemplating Florida. I couldn't ask for a better training partner/coach. Particularly because she just defines "nice" She has the greatest attitude of any athlete I know. So, I asked her how she trained for IMAZ, since she is a mom with 2 young kids. She gave me the following advice:

Gosh, I doubt you want my training regimen... I am the classic under-trainer. I have only done one of these things, but here is my program: I shot for 2 bikes, 2 runs, and 2 swims per week. I know others do a lot more than that. I have a copy of the training manual, but didn't use it. You can borrow it if you want... I can bring it on Wednesday.

Sunday - bike long and semi-leisurely at least 2or 3 hours (on a
trainer if the weather was bad)
Monday - run 1 hour - extra credit if it's some kind of drill/speed workout
Tuesday - swim 50 minutes with Masters group (not the full hour because we have coffee afterward and don't want to be late)
Wednesday - bike with the GW group 70 minutes(?), add a run afterward if you want
Thursday - swim 50 minutes
Friday - off
Saturday - long run (up to 20 miles) with Marathon Training Group
Three weeks before IM - I did a 1/2 IM in California. That was my last long training day. (6:18:00)

I ended up with a 12:51:03, which was 18 or 19 places away from Hawaii ( I didn't plan to qualify anyway), and I was happy with my time. These sports are so personal... it seems everybody is getting something different
from the experience and there are those who want to do really well and qualify for something, and those who just like the cameraderie and chance to
get away from their fighting and screaming kids and those mounds of laundry that need folding. (that would be me). And of course accomplish what so very few will ever even attempt and know you can do it. (the best part)
I found that the above routine left me feeling no more fatigued than after a marathon. I felt strong enough for my steady-not-fast pace all day long; jumped about 5 feet in the air for my finish photo, and then rode my bike back to the hotel afterward.
I did get coaching from Matt Haugen 2 years ago, and took 2 or 3 x 10-week courses through Tri-Endurance, but didn't think I was the type of athlete who needed a coach... I wasn't as "plugged into it" as most of my teammates.

I thought the biggest thing was the nutrition. I ate 4000 calories by the time the race was over: 8 gatorades on the bike; about 4 or 5 clif bars on the bike, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (not all at once), and several bites of powerbars, orange slices, banana halves, etc., as the volunteers were handing them out. On the run there is an aid station at every mile. I had gatorade, water and a bite or two of something at each one. (pretzel sticks, chicken broth, power bar bites, coke, you name
it - there is a BUFFET). It works out to be about 300 calories per hour, but I felt GREAT the whole day. It was strange to be on the run and passing up all these other athletes who are lying on the ground, walking hunched over, just bonked. I really believe eating all day (and drinking gatorade) was the trick for me.
I also recommend taking 2 or 3 salt tablets 3 or 4 times during the day... but I am a sweat-er, so I don't know if everybody needs that much. Finally, I did a lot of walking on the marathon from the very first mile. My split was 4:54, (which is not exactly fast, but it was good enough for me, considering I usually do at or around 4 hours). I took short walking breaks from the very first mile -- I ran 200 steps, then walked until my heart rate dropped below 140 - sometimes that was 6 steps, sometimes it was 80. I passed all those hunched-over people during the entire run. I understand that once you bonk, you don't recover until you sleep it off.

My final thought is: this distance is not for "racing" unless you are a pro or are trying to qualify for something. Enjoy your day - if you feel like going a little faster next time, then OK. But for your first one, take it at the slower end of "strong-but-steady". I'd like to do another one.

So, that seems very manageable to me. I plan to throw in some century rides next summer and bump up to the international distance in racing. I am going to do an Iron 70.3 in September and then on to Florida.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I ran to North Dakota and back yesterday.
20 miles is a long way to run.
Ok, it wasn't quite to North Dakota, but it felt like it.
In an odd way, 20 miles is longer than a marathon. Particularly when it's 20 miles to no where.
My local bike shop had an assisted run on a trail in the western suburbs. By assistance they meant a jug of water, gatorade and and aide box every 3 or so miles. At one point I was hoping assistance meant a wheel chair, or at least a mile marker. My mind did the normal, why am I doing this? It is so stupid to run. If God intended man to run 26 miles he wouldn't have given him a brain (that's my favorite gripe on hills). Somebody needs a little sugar I think. So, I indulged in the box of candy, and that helped. I met other runners enroute, but realized your first marathon is such a mental game it is easier, at least for me, to run alone. That was until I hit the wall. I wasn't sure what to make of "the wall". It is real, and it will bounce you right out of the race without so much as a sigh. This is why God gave me Tridaddy, aka Mrs. Trimama. TD had the infinite wisdom to know this was going to be a big run towards both the goal of TCM and IMFL. So, he enlisted Hyphen Girl to baby sit and met me at mile 18 to run in the final 2. Mile 18 to 19 was simply awful. So, TD did the unusual and talked. He rarely talks when we run together. He relayed the story of Kahuna's swim and some going's on at other blogs. My brain was bonking a little, and it was hard to listen. But some part of my brain heard him, and that part kept my legs moving underneath me. We crossed the bridge with a mile to go and suddenly my legs felt freer. My brain re engaged the process. We gave quite a kick at the end. 3:00:17 for the full 20. Now I know what 20 feels like, I think I can shave some time from some of those miles, but we'll see. The goal right now is to make it to St. Paul.
We stopped in at the running store and drank some water, ate a cookie and felt like another 6 would be no problem. I also bought some socks because I foolishly didn't listen to the little voice in my head that warned against the socks with the hole in the ankle. I have no skin left there and I didn't feel it until that last step of mile 20.
I arrived at the start of the run at sun rise and when I pulled into the parking lot these two triathletes were just entering the lake. I snapped the picture and hoped it turned out. I was happy with it, so it's the desktop for the week--a little inspiration.
Have a good one!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ay Caramba!

Kahuna's gracious praise of Trimama elicited some very interesting responses around the household yesterday, not the least of which was Soapinator's injunction "Mom, you can't get a divorce you know"

I know, polygamy is illegal in California.

But seriously, the best reaction was from Tridaddy (who has my undying devotion and is the most studly of studs in the entire known universe), prompted by a touch of protective spousal jealousy bestowed the greatest gift of all- a night off! He took two to grandma's and two to the "pesky, never say die, Twins" game.

A night off, whoopee! Since the outdoor days are waning with the onset of winter, I had to take the bike out for a long ride. We have a million miles of biking trails around here, but I really like the 12 mile loop which always keeps me within walking distance of my house. (translation 4-5 miles, in case you are wondering) The first loop went well, even with encountering the running club moving in packs of 15-20 obscuring most of the trail as they passed. I felt instant guilt for not running, (which I'll address in another post about the marathon) but determined to stick with my plan. The second loop was even smoother as my legs were warmed up and ready to hammer. This course mimics Florida in it's relative flatness and constant wind, so as I rode I devised my training strategy. 9 loops does almost a ironman make. Bike 2, run 1-bike 3, run 1 it was all laying out in my head for next summer. On the backside I practiced my aero bars and reflected on this past race. One guy at the starting line was joining in the pre race "why do we do this?" conversation and spurted out "I need a cigarette" The perfect cartoon bubble to begin a race. I amused myself with the contemplation of a chain smoking triathlete until I almost wiped out with the challenged athlete approaching and weaving back and forth across the lanes. Enough aerobar, but keep the cigarette in mind.

As the bike path rejoined the city street, a truck drove up next to me so that we were moving parallel to each other. The next thing I knew, the truck had popped the curb and was crashing down the sidewalk next to me. In that surreal instant, I noted that to my right was a chain link fence- no where to go there- and to my left was serious ouch. My brain didn't know whether to speed up or brake, so I did neither and in that rare slow mo reserved for near death experiences I watched as the truck cut a path towards me. Boy, I hope he doesn't hit me. I hope he stops, soon. And he did stop-because he ran over a 20 foot tall light post. I, of course, didn't stop and progressed foward as the light post came down next to me and shattered at my feet. Gee, I'm glad that didn't just hit me in the head.

Then I stopped. I hopped off my bike and ran over to see if the guy was ok. He was shaken up but fine. Then I noticed he had sheared the bottom of his gas tank off and gas was pouring out of the bottom of his truck. That didn't look too good. He shut the truck off and we stepped back on the sidewalk where we were joined by a biker who was calling 911. We asked him again if he was ok, and he still seemed a little stunned. Then he returned to the truck and rummaged around a little, re emerging with a cigarette in his mouth which he lit. Never mind the 8 or so gallons of gas pooling under the truck. Sometimes there are accidents in life where it seems as though it is nature weeding out the stupid. I was going was going to be weeded out with this moron. The other biker and I put some distance between ourselves and the truck, waiting for he police to arrive. They did, and took a report. I was anxious to leave, but noted the leaking gas for the officer.

Needless to say I was shaking so bad I couldn't re clip my shoes, so I just rode home into the sunset. There was a roar of sirens as I biked away, thankfully no sound of explosion.

I called Tridaddy when I got home, then went to grandma's and got the kids. Those hugs felt good.

Ay, Caramba!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

First Taste of Iron

Tridaddy and I are making the journey to Mad City for the big IMMOO. We are going down Saturday, bikes in tow and plan to be up early to see the swim start. We are going to bike around the course cheering unitl 11 when we check in as volunteers for the run. A giant dose of perspective, we report to the run at 11. Can you imagine swimming 2.4 and biking 112 and running 5 or so miles by 11 am. Our other option for volunteering was to wipe sun screen on athletes leaving the water. Being the tri stud that he is, Tridaddy just couldn't envision himself wiping sunscreen on other men, and I'm not allowing him to touch those buff tri women. Someone needs to invent a sunscreen sprayer like they have in those touchless car washes.
I'll need to be careful at IMMOO, Mad City has a strange effect on my brain, dates back to those football games at Camp Randall before they outlawed beer, I need to remain focused so that I don't become swept up in the excitement and sign up for '06. Must get to Florida, must get to Florida.

One mild gulp regarding Florida. I made a small accounting error when I originally investigated Florida. I thought I read the entry fee was $150.00. In my estimate, $150 is a small investment in pursuing a dream, and admittedly-with shame-not a huge loss if I decide I just couldn't do the race. Last night I did a little more thorough research and discovered that $150 is the "wimp out" refund if you tuck tail and run by a certain date. The actual price of admission is $425.00. Yikes! For the record, that is 42 hours of work at my very low paying fitness trainer position at the Y. I really need to upgrade to a national certification, which coincidentally costs about $425.00 to acquire. With the certification my hourly pay doubles, which leaves me with a little fuzzy math to calculate.

$850.00 / $20.00 per hour = 42 hours. Well what do you know.

So, either way between training and working it's a good thing that the entire tribe is in school now.

Tridaddy is committed to making this work, and we will. The Y offers reimbursement for a portion of the certification if you work for a year as a trainer, and I will get to pursue two of the things I really enjoy. Not a bad long term investment on either front.

Finally some iron irony. The principle effect of low iron intake is anemia, which symptoms include lethargy, fatigue and indifference to life.

Iron is an essential element for a healthy lifestyle.

So, go get your geek on!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Race Report 2

Can you beat a morning like this?

Ready to go.

So, which transition area belongs to Trimama and which to Tridaddy? Hint: one of us is a little more meticulous, and one of us averages about 1 min more than the other in transition times.

and if he could, one would add that one beats the other consistently, so then the other one might comment that when you take the 10% gender gap, we're about equal :)

My favorite finish of the year!

A triathlete just like me

This is a letter from Inside Tri magazine which offers an explanation by Steve Larson as to why, after 15 years of competition as a pro, decided to compete in and take a Kona slot as an age grouper. Apparently he angered some age groupers because he took second place overall, including pros, in the Vineman 1/2 iron. I appreciate what he is saying about wanting a life other than pro sports, but I had to laugh when I read the last line, he said "in the end I am a triathlete just like you."

Just like me, hahahaha, that's a good one. Now on to my race report:

Race Report

It was a beautiful day on Pelican Lake. A great day to swim 2/3 mile, bike 20 and run 5 miles. So why do I want to flee naked into the corn fields and hover in a fetal position until the race is over?

Because this race has 144 participants plus relays and 134 of them are age groupers who take this sport very seriously. This was the bonus race of a tri series and afforded points to everyone who finished. Good, I can use some bonus points, and they would come.

We stayed on site for the race, a truly remarkable resort which had the added benefit of the Tribe and tridaddy's folks being able to watch the carnage, I mean race unfold.

We awoke before the sun to attend to all the pre race rituals, filling water bottles, checking transition bag, braiding hair. Why can't I braid the right side of my head? We went to breakfast where the elites were already eating. They were braiding their hair-and it was perfect. One good omen, I was able to empty the old bowel-I always know it will be a good race when I can travel with a little less... why do I want to say bullsh@! here? Obviously that word doesn't work as I am anatomically incapable of being a bull. But I digress, as is often the case pre race. I wonder if Larsen digresses to BS and braids?

We made our way to the transition area, which I would have a picture of if Soapinator hadn't broken cardinal rule #1,521, never take mom's camera. At any rate it was a great set up, nice green grass.

I was experimenting with an energy drink- "No Fear" -yea whatever. One word of warning on the label caught my eye "not to be consumed by people sensitive to caffeine" To say I am sensitive to caffeine would be an understatement and 16 ozs later might explain why I am up at 3 am Tues morning writing my blog-well ok, it's probably not that bad. I did feel quite peppy through the race though.

I was assigned to the final wave of 3 which suited me fine. There were only about 25 women in my group. If you look close that is me in the middle of the pack of course, with the blue trim sleeveless IronMan wet suit.This is the start of the swim. Just get to the sailboats and turn around, get to the sailboats and oof, kick to the face, and turn around. This was my longest open water swim by twice, but it felt good. Really good. For all my pre race fear, I did all right. No, better than all right. I went in with women, and I came out with men-so either there was something in the water or I passed some second wavers. Quick check of body parts, nope, still a cow, and it's off to the bikes.

22:17 swim (I've got to figure out how to exit the water faster-my watch read 19:XX when my feet hit the sand)

We drove into camp on the hill that we would ascend to start the race-it was nasty. The average mph up it was 9, my computer read a steady 7. Is it 5 that you fall over on your bike? This bike was 7 miles farther than I had raced, and certainly confirmed that I am a moron. I have a shiny new bike computer that I have never used, which explains a few things. My top speed was 27 mph-yea for me. However, when I had been biking for 45 mins my ave mph read a measley 12.2. This was just not going to work. So, I started to hammer down with the hopes of getting it up to 14 at least by the finish. The average slowly climbed, but I was unable to figure out how to switch to actual miles without joining the numerous road kill, so I did a little math. If my average mph is 14 at one hour time, then I should have travelled 14 miles at the hour mark. Dang, I know I bike slow, but this means I still have six miles on the bike. I hammered a few more minutes, turn right, turn right, what the heck I'm back to the camp. Now how did that happen?

109:10 bike ave 17.2 (I think my magnet is in the wrong place on the spoke)

Yea, it's time to run! The first mile is up through the cheering spectators and out of camp. I encountered the Tribe who were cheering like crazy.That's Soap in the corner of the picture trying to drag me down the road-but alas mom duty calls. As I passed Buck Naked Boy he held out his hand to give me a high five? No, to show me his owie. 1 bonus minute for stopping to kiss it and make it better. And off again. The run felt good, I think particularly because I still thought I should be on the bike.

My shadow looks like a penquin when I run.

Mile 1 and here comes first braid girl toward the finish- I cheer like crazy- I really can't help it, the amatuer elites are inspiring to me.

I plod along, finally feeling my feet again at mile 2. Then what is that on the horizon? Can it be? Yes! It is Tridaddy making his way down on the second half of the run. We run towards each other arms outstretched "Arturo!" (why is a Goldie Hawn movie going through my head, I'm supposed to be racing) We embrace, I pause to tell him about the bike, ok at this point who cares, just finish the race will ya. So up to the turn around where my knee decides to jack knife. I pulled up and hobbled a bit-then decided to run through the pain and hope it ironed out. It did.

Run 44:01 (without subtracting the bonus mommy minutes :)

The grand finale of the race came 30 feet from the finish chute. Sopinator had moved to the finish and was cheering like mad, so I scooped her up, threw her on my back and carried her with me giggling and laughing through the finish line.
Pic to follow if I find my camera.

Total 2:20:08 My goal was 2:20 which I'm going to give myself credit for-afterall, with bonus time subtracted

Afterall I am Tri MAMA

So we packed up and ate lunch during the award ceremony. Braid girl won the day, and complimented me on how well my braids held together; not nearly as well as hers, but I can live with that. Mostly because I had fun. I had a lot of fun. Train hard but keep it smiling. That is going to carry me through the finish line at Florida. I love this sport.
So, here I am, at the official end to my rookie triathlon season. What a year it has been. I still have the marathon in October, but it's time to officially hang up the wet suit-sniff.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Birthdays and Boys

My computer went down on Friday, couldn't get back on line for anything, so this is Friday's post and tomorrow, race report!

My baby turned 12 today, how did that happen? I know the days blend into weeks and months and years. I know, she'll be moving on before I know it, but 12. That's one year from teenager. Am I ready for this? Do I have a choice? Of course I don't and of course I would choose this life all over again. I am so proud of Hypen Girl and the young lady she is becoming.

So, on the eve of her birthday she went to her first ever (and possibly last) boy/girl party. Some parents from school were hosting a back to school party for the entire 6th grade, so most of her friends were there. There was plenty of parental supervision so I dropped her off, chatted with some of the moms I hadn't seen since June and went to buy birthday presents. I picked her up later that evening and from the exhuberant sounds I was met with, it appeared everyone had a great time.

"Mom, I have a terrible problem with Friend A (not her real name). She told me that Boy A (not his real name either) was going to meet her in the bathroom at 7:30 to kiss. We were still playing games so they moved the time to 8:30, and then she said they were going to wait until Christmas. But I know that Boy A doesn't like Friend A and would never kiss her, especially not as a first kiss. I think my friend is lying to me. I don't know what to do."

I had exactly five gray hairs in my eyebrows when I plucked them this morning, the rest were changing quickly as this party report poured out in one long statement.

Two dilemma's, which to address first?

I'll take lying friend first, since for HG this is the more troubling piece of the situation. We talked about how hard it is when you think a friend has let you down, etc etc. As we talked it seemed wise to give her friend the benefit of the doubt until she knows something otherwise, it's never a good thing to accuse a friend of something for which you have no evidence. I suggested she wait until school starts and she can talk to Friend A more about it at that time.

Friendships and life are about to become a lot more complicated for Hyphen Girl and company.

Now onto


So, of course, the spiel- the deeply held conviction spiel, but spiel none the less. I've been practicing this one since we first had word that "Reproductive Science" was on the curriculum for 5th grade.

You know, no matter how much your changing body might say otherwise, playing with intimacy with a boy, even petty intimacy, is foolish until you are much MUCH older, like say 27. (I only thought the age part, as it would decrease my legitmacy to be absurd at this point-ok, 27 is not that absurd, at least for my baby :)

There was a whole lot more to this conversation, most of it talking about relationship and intimacy, growing up and consequences, but that is between me and HG.

Things were going well.

"I think kissing is the most disgusting thing in the world. I can't kiss the boys in my class, it would be weird."

That's right, kissing is weird

She can think this for 5 or so more years as far as I am concerned. Primarily because I spent the majority of 8th grade lamenting my plight in life because I had never been kissed, rising to a level of chagrin that I probably would have kissed just about anyone just to tell my friends I had-peer pressure. Only kissing is far more than kissing today, and more than kissing is more then trouble today as well. But that's just my neo feminist point of view, save yourself, make the guy earn the right to be intimate with you and keep the standard for that right very high.

"I mean really mom, all the boys in my class are so much shorter than me, I would have to pretty much kneel down and they would still have to stand on their tip toes for our faces to meet. "

I was very pragmatic about the grey hairs in my eyebrows this morning, I intend to age gracefully. Tomorrow the grays in my eyebrows won't be a problem, they'll have fallen out.

Not the grays, all of them.

But seriously, you know what the best present is on a 12 year old's birthday? During the big birthday dinner I rejoined the table in the middle of a discussion where each member named their favorite attribute of HG. Without a thought I said I loved her honesty and openess. Her father had said the same thing 30 seconds earlier. There will be a lot more partys and thankfully a lot more conversations. I think we are going to be just fine with Hyphen Girl.

Tomorrow, race report and why I am so ready to get my Florida Geek On!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

To Face one's fears

Nancyhas us addressing our fears, and then she graciously adds some psychoanalysis to each comment-I believe she has a paypal account arranged, so, you can deposit your $130.00 for each session there. :) Most therapist, and people for that matter, get lost in my head within a few minutes, so there is a very large "enter at your own risk" sign at every portal. My heart is a far more inviting respite anyhow, all are welcome.

Now, on to the fears.

I loathe the feeling of open space beneath me. To say I fear heights would be a misnomer. I do fear heights, but only when I can sense that I am aloft. I have no problem rising 50 floors, so long as I don't have to look out of windows. I will not walk on catwalks, street grates or the floating concourses of the Mall of America, you can imagine the pains I go to in order to avoid the floating floor constructed from glass block. I like to travel, but hate airplanes, primarily because I can feel the open space under my feet.

For me there is often a thin line between uncertainty and fear. I skipped back and forth across that line a hundred times before my first couple tri s this season. Can I do this? I don't know if I can do this. I fear I won't finish this. Everyone will know I couldn't do this. Who exactly is everyone? 4-800 strangers? My husband? My family and friends? Would they love me any less if I didn't complete a race. Wouldn't even be a blip on the radar screen of their conscious mind. Once I realized the shame of failure in racing is fairly well isolated within my own head I realized truly the only thing I had to fear was fear itself. What about that shame though? My resolve to survive has been so thoroughly tested that who I am or what my value might be is never jeopardized by failing in a race, it's only enhanced by crossing the finish line. Believe me, there are worse things then quitting a race on a bad day. Contrast this with the no quit chip in my brain which refuses to stop running at all costs, and well, there we are, lost again, let me give you a road map out. I can't quit. Quitting is dying. So, tread heavy, tread light, tread well, tread pained, but continue- always. Not for fear of failure, but for fear of dying. And for fear of not living well.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Sometimes, it just doesn't kill you.

Last summer I had an encounter with a previously mentioned woman for whom I have absolutely no regard. Flat out, she is cruel. She looks and presents like Aunt Bee, so a wolf in sheeps clothing. She had very sharp teeth and didn't hesitate to use them. She is the type of person who gets you to expose your soft underbelly, because that is where she likes to feast the most. Adequately pictured?

I arrived at our annual sojourn to family camp bleeding and fairly disoriented. Good people are priceless, and I re acquainted myself with some good people there and then came "the jump". Why I signed myself up for this test of will I'll never know, it was insane.

You begin by hiking a mile straight uphill to a place called "pulpit rock" breath taking views. Well, they would be if the hike hadn't already exhausted all oxygen supplies. At the top of pulpit rock, a 35 foot outcropping, there is a ledge. About 20 feet out and 10 feet down from the ledge is a trapeze bar. To reach this trapeze bar you first must climb 40 feet up a tree on metal spikes, where you reach a zip line that you must tie onto from your waist harness. You then zip 25 feet across to pulpit rock where you are then untied from the zip and retied to a safety rope. You then toe the ledge and take the leap of faith, out to the trapeze bar. If you miss, you "Crouching Tiger" into the trees, kind of cool, and if you catch the trapeze, wild cheers.

So there I was at the foot of pulpit rock, contemplating life and the worthwhileness of trust and living forward, asking myself what the hell I was doing here. Pretty much every componet of the leap of faith terrified me. So, I talked to the Creator of all the beauty that surrounded me and told him I thought I was pretty much done with trust and people and that I was fairly well content to live the rest of my life a hermit. Since He didn't create me to be alone, even said it wasn't good, I told him that if he would help me take that leap of faith, I knew he could help me leap back into life. Then I began to watch the other leapers, and with each leap my resolve grew weaker. I quit. I packed it in and began to walk back down the hill. I didn't get very far before a man caught me and asked if I had jumped yet. I told him no, and that I didn't have the nerve. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I remember his eyes, and the next thing I knew I was harnessing up. I climbed that tree and perched on that little branch knob, hooked myself into the zip line, crossed to the ledge, and I leapt.

My fingers brushed the trapeze, and I floated out into the trees, that was actually pretty cool-but I liked that scene in the movie (if you haven't seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon it's great but you have to watch it twice to make sense of it).

Sometimes what doesn't kill you doesn't make you stronger, sometimes it just lets you know it's ok to be alive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm not Insane!!!!

I love Carey Grant's movies, the favorite of late is Arsenic and Old Lace. The best scene (warning: if you haven't seen the film skip this section) is when his homicidal aunts explain to him that he is not related to them by blood but was rather adopted. He realizes he is not insane and runs through the streets making that declaration.

I can relate. I was raised amongst the Criminally Insane (CI), but only one cell of me as zygote originated from the CI, the mobile one was contributed off the floor of some dingy Vegas casino no doubt, (a mystery to this day), which makes me only half insane; therefore I tri.

I preface the following explanation of my kids names with this information as it will lend insight to my thought processes.

I call the melee of energy, curiousity, humor, angst and love that is my four kids, "The Tribe". My great grandfather was a Sioux, and a proud and accomplished man. He determined to not be bound by the quagmire of the reservation, married my great grandmother, an english descendant of the Mayflower families, and went on to be an accomplished musician and businessman. I love the diversity of culture that is my heritage, and attempt to rise to the virtuous and honorable traits they embody. The Tribe is a nod to those traits.

The pater familia of the CI was a seething racist, so I'll admit to an additional motive here, a few degrees more of separation.

Now, on to the nicknames.

We were taking a Sunday drive not long after the start of my blogging experiment, and were discussing blog nicknames. I mentioned to the tribe that they could choose their own nicknames and this is the result:

I dumped a load of pics from the camera to the hard drive the other day and low and behold there was a picture of BNB's naked booty. I wonder what 7 year old brother took that pic? I spared you the nasty and myself a call from child protective services by not choosing that one to post, so here he is, Buck Naked Boy.

Soapinator is the 8 1/2 year old. She was going to be horse girl, as she believes that a mistake was made in her genetic pedigree and that she was really meant to be a horse. I'm glad she is a human girl though, delivery would have been brutal.

Standing Long Jump is the 7 year old. He had just completed his first field day at which I monitored the standing long jump. I suppose he associated athletics with me and therefore 1+1 = his blog name. That or it's some mystic prophesy that will be fulfilled in some future olympics.

Finally, this is Hyphen Girl. I could have selected any of a hundred photos for her, she is a girl of many interests, which is probably why she came up with a dozen different names for herself. I settled on Hyphen Girl, just to save time and space.

So, this completes the tutorial, oh right, there is tridaddy, but that is hopefully obvious, unless you are confused by the other tridaddy who lives in North Carolina and is expecting a newbie any day now.

So, now I just have to figure out how to reduce the body of this post and have it scroll down the right side....sounds like a good workout for a taper week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

3 for 1

It's been a busy couple of days around the trimama household, so today is a triple blog day, yes a 3 for 1, how appropriate for a triathlon blog.

As far as 3 events in 1 race go, it's hard to believe the season ends for me this Saturday at Castaway Club. This will be the longest tri I've competed in, with a 2/3 mi swim, 20 mi bike and 5 mi run. I'm sort of relieved as this distance officially flips the speed switch in my brain to endurance. Those sprints are tough namely because the very term sprint implies anaerobic, move like lightning speed. I am ready to relax a little and arrive at the finish line in one piece. Particularly because someone "tagged" me with a lovely knee problem. I was fine until the 1/2 marathon, but now my left knee is giving me all kinds of business. The quad muscle above the lateral ligament just seizes after about an hour. Any ideas?

Last night was the final real workout for the week so I did a run, bike, run, bike brick- 10, 20, 30, 40, 40 (it was supposed to be 50 minutes but the knee was done) So 2:20 straight aerobic with HR 135-180. Then 20 min weights, core and stretching. I pounded out a lot of stress in the first hour and took it slightly easiser in the second block.

A few observations:

1) If it looks like a white maidenform bra, it probably is and that means it's not a sports bra, and even if it is, you probably need a shirt with it, whether your 50 something, pasty and overweight or 20 something tight and tan, please wear one.

2) That skin on your inner thigh is soft and a little spot that rubbed against the towel on the seat for 10-15,000 revolutions is going to hurt in the morning-running shorts are not good for biking

3) It quite literally stinks to inhale someone elses perfume for a 2:20 run/bike, let alone other body odors, please leave them at home

4) "Remember the Titans" is a good workout movie.

Taxes are done!! I don't mind paying to Caesar what is Caesars, I just wish paying didn't entail 65 million pages of code and instruction and endless forms and worksheets. Even with software like Turbotax the whole process is tedious. Irony, as a small business owner only about a 1/3 of our income is tangibly accounted for as 1099 income from contractors, the other 2/3 is all from individual homeowners. What we pay is contingent on our honesty, as it is with most small business owners. It's an amazing country when 240 or so million people generate hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue, that's a lot of honesty. No altruism here though, I do overtime to ensure we pay neither a penny more nor a penny less.

Now for the fun part:

Soapinator our 8 year old had her first ever swim meet this Saturday. The most grueling part was getting her to compete, for in spite of being quite athletic, she hates competition. I used every ounce of parental influence and sports psychology I had at my disposal to get her to this meet. I knew she would like it if she just tried one meet.
The pool was a 50 meter outdoor pool, so that meant the little kids had to start in the middle for the 25 meter races. They used big kids as the "starting blocks" and soap was comforted to have Hyphen Girl start her out. I felt horrible for Soap just prior to the race. She cried and trembled and cried some more. Her first race was a relay, and she swam in the lane I was timing. I almost fell off the block into the water cheering for her as she brought it home.
After the second race she was doing better and by the third,
she couldn't wait to get in the water.

Hyphen Girl is a whole different story, this being her second season. She still gets nervous and she still doesn't like starting off the blocks, but once she is in the water she can move.
The most exciting moment was the final race, a 200 freestyle relay. HG swam the anchor and things weren't looking good in the first 2 legs, her team had fallen into a 25 meter distant second, to of course the girls in the lane I was timing. The 3rd leg of HG's team was a state champion last year and had been eating the competition all day, so when she mounted the block you could see a look in her eye that said, "Oh yea, finally a challenge" She was going to make up some space, and she did, about 15 meters. So, HG spotted the next lane 10 meters, she caught her at 35, at which point I gave up on looking partial and yelled like crazy, even though I was timing the girl she just passed. HG's team won by 10 meters, so I was able to cheer and see the hand touch of my lane with no problem. Oh baby, that was exciting! The season ending party is tonight, and both girls are ready to start the regular season this fall.

When all was said and done, it was a fun day with big victories and little victories, and then time to just have fun

Friday, August 12, 2005

Inspirational music

All of this inspirational music on other blogs has me thinking of the Flaming Lips--it must be the weekend! So enjoy these lively lyrics...

All those bugs buzzin’ ‘round your head
Well, they fly in the air as you comb your hair
And the summertime will make you itch the mosquito bites

The buzz of love is busy buggin’ you
Well, they fly in the air as you comb your hair
And they’re splattered up and down your windshield and the headlights

Well, they bite
Yeah, they bite
But you can tell they’re there

Does love buzz because that’s what it does?
Well, they fly in the air as you comb your hair
And the summertime will make you itch the mosquito bites

Well, they fly in the air as you comb your hair
And they’re splattered up and down your windshield and the headlights

Fly in the air, comb your hair
Flies in the air, comb your hair

Thursday, August 11, 2005

15 YEARS!!

Wow! Tridaddy and I tied the knot 15 years ago today!
Standing Long Jump and Tridaddy compiled a slide show for the mac of old photos and "our song" Chicago "Just You and Me". Of course that made me cry. It's amazing to look back over the years.

Kids are at the folks tonight, so we are going out on a picnic to one of our favorite spots and then to a little pub where we went on our first date.

Thought I'd throw out a new catagory of tag for you all, in honor of togetherness

Favorite movie: Princess Bride
Our Songs: Just you and me (Chicago-well pretty much that whole album), Natural Woman (Aretha)
Favorite Food: Thai, tex mex, cheese and wine
Favorite hobbies together: biking/hiking, racing, cooking, music
Most peculiar: enjoying a fine cigar together while hanging out

Tagging, Flatman, Chick Fit, Chris, Commodore

Kiss your honey today in tribute :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Too Skinny?

I like to garden. I don't like thorns, does anyone?
I like conversation. I don't like thorns, I mentioned that though.
I've had some thorny conversations lately.
Not particularly caustic, but rather thorny in the style of reaching for a raspberry and getting scraped by a stem. You know how those little thorns can break off and stick, and now you have a splinter.
Mental splinters are the worst splinters of all.
Sunday morning I encountered a woman for whom I have very little regard. In fact, she ranks as 6th on the list of all time cruel, horrific people I know, and the top five are criminally insane (I say that with no exaggeration). I spent the next hour trying not to ruminate and trying not to curse, I was in church service after all.
I was in that state of non ruminating-ruminating when I encountered a person for which I have very high regard. This might explain the splinter, which might not have been a splinter at all, I can't decide.
I hadn't seen this person for 4 months, which was still sweatshirt/jacket weather, which possibly explains why, in seeing me in a sleeveless shirt, she exclaimed, Trimama, you've gotten so skinny.
This was not a complimentary, you look great. This was concern, oh my goodness she's got an eating disorder!
Which explains why my immediate response was, "it's not for lack of eating"
Which garnered the look of incredulity. She thought I was lying.
I went on to explain that I had been training for triathlons and that required training sessions of 2-3 hours.
Growing incredulity.
For anyone who counsels in eating disorders, one cue is inordinate amounts of exercise.
I mumbeled some explanation that I'm really at my normal weight, and that having 4 children was a great challenge to normal, but that this is what I used to look like.....
Utter disbelief.
This person didn't have the catagory in her brain to believe that I could be training to tri; endurance sports are beyond her comprehension.
This is a person I have high regard for, and I want her to have high regard for me. How can I explain to her a hobby that goes beyond most of the people I know?

Now this little splinter settled in right next to one that has been festering for a week or so.

I had met another long time, dear friend at a park and we had our normal extended chat. At one point I was explaining some character in a movie who was this young, skinny jock girl.

"Oh you mean just like you?"

I should have sensed the icy twist.

"No, not like me. She was all young and whatever"

"Well you're out there with your triathlons and marathons and all skinny in your skinny jeans"

Ok, I bought those skinny jeans when thin was the time between kid 2 and 3. Thin was relative.

Undefineable look.

Women are sensitive and they are petty. They are competitive and not always so nice when someone else models something they want and don't think they can achieve.

This is nothing new to me.

I was a skinny little "rat" when I was born prematurely. I was a scrawny "stick" through high school. I didn't fight my weight until kid number 4, now that battle is largely over.

What is new is the thorn that ignorance and jealousy produce in people who I would look to for support.

I'm just starting this whole triathlon experience, I won't be gaining that weight back any time soon. I will be pursuing things that will go even farther beyond their understanding.

I think.

It's hard to train when there is a noticeable hole in the cheering section.

It goes back to those criminally insane people that I know. ( I used to know, haven't spoken to them for 10 years.)

It's hard to tri when it garners that kind of dispersion.

Particularly when it is cast by those who you hope will take the place of the criminally insane.

Ironically, I ususally work these thorns out when I run...

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Just" my a*@

Ok, 13 miles is a long way to run.

At least it was on Saturday. I knew it was going to be a hard run when I was ready to be done running at mile 2.
Speaking of mile 2 and asses, allow me to share some advice:

If you need to do your business en route and there is no port a potty handy, and you choose a bush off the path to squat behind,

1) go farther than 6 inches off the road

2) make sure to choose a bush with some, well some bush to it.

Otherwise a blue bird day suddenly has a full moon.

Or, at least it did at mile 2 when one woman didn't follow my advice- and me without my camera.

That made me laugh, and the miles started going a little easier.

It's a good run that winds through a nature center on an early Saturday morning. The deer and horse flies took the morning off, which if you know MN wooded areas you know we witnessed a miracle.

There were 6 water stations, each mananged by various school kids and civic groups-God bless em. I used these to slow down, even walking, to re group, and thank them for their help. They were equally grateful, as this race almost singlehandedly underwrites the budget of the city nature center. Now that's creative funding!

The absolute highlight was mile 7 when the race ran down the street of some good friends of ours. Tridaddy had bounced the tribe out of bed, and they sacrificed Saturday morning cartoons to stand on the curb and cheer like crazy.

I couldn't find my watch, which meant I had no clue how fast I was running. I now know I run faster with a watch. Time is like that, quantifying it always applies more pressure. This was no white rabbit morning however, and I felt like I was putzing along. I had set the stop watch of my mp3 player and sure enough, it read 1:03 when I hit mile 7. That was nine minute miles and my goal was to finish between 1:47 and 2:00. I pushed a little harder, but I could have sworn my legs had encountered a cosmic storm morphing them into a not so "Fantastic Four" hundred pounds. (a pretty good flick according to TD, Soap and SLJ)

A little mental victory at mile 10, officially passing the current "longest distance I'd ever raced". Then onto plod, plod, plod. There was no way I wasn't going to run this entire course, the only walking would be the water stops, quitting is not an option. At mile 9 I passed a friend on the sidelines cheering. She generally runs the same pace as I; "Are you finished?"
See how inept my brain becomes when I'm just trying to run-that was some crazy math there, 4 miles + time to track back 4 miles to stand there cheering.... thank goodness she had dropped from the race.


I just felt so slow.

Then mile 11 passed, quick water break,

mile 12 water break, push with everything left, cursing every drop of alcohol I'd drank the week before, which wasn't much but is generally the main reason to me for lead legs..

mile 13--finish line

I'll be damned--not 2:20 as expected, or 2:10 which was hopeful, or even 2:00 that darn clock said 1:54... which means I ran the final 6 miles in ...

well you do the math.

Finally, my favorite running buddy, Henry. He's married to one of my dearest friends and is the most calming, encouraging people I know. It's a good race when Henry is at the start and finish line.
Look for his blog, "The Poet Runs" coming to a link bar soon.

Friday, August 05, 2005

How does 13 miles become "just"?

I'm running my first 1/2 marathon tomorrow morning. I've never run farther than 10 miles in a race, and that was a proud moment indeed. I ran that race in an even 9 minute miles, crossing the finish line at 90:33. I still have the picture taped to my fridge 2 1/2 years later. I wear that finisher shirt to tri's to remind myself I can be an endurance athlete.

So how did a half marathon become "just" 13 miles?

IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because this tri geek alliance has me thinking marathons and 1/2 irons and aaaggghhhh IRONMAN!

I'd kind of like to run this 13 miles and think, damn girl you can run.

But noooooo. It's just a tune up. Just a practice run on the way to the bigger events.

It's the blessing and curse when I am training. When the 8th mile of 10 starts to feel awful, I chide myself with the thought, you think this is bad, what are you going to do when you have to swim 1.2 and bike 56 before this?

Low and behold, I suddenly have a little more in the tank. I'm suddenly lighter on my feet. What the ????

7 miles used to be a monumental accomplishment which said I could take the next couple workouts easy, now 7 is the warm up.

Curse you damn (blog) spot!

And Bless you.

For all who are racing this weekend, be safe, have fun and I'll see you Sunday to swap war stories.

A thanks to my sponsors

An egregious falsehood is about to be propagated amongst the blogosphere, something along the lines that tridaddy and trimama are extravagant millionaires bantering around the country, racing, partying and carrying on. To put this to rest, allow me to introduce my sponsors:

I suppose I should add Wells Fargo and Costco. How, you might ask, does a marginal athlete yet lively personality such as Trimama manage to secure the support of sponsors?

Business Miles Baby!

For every dollar I spend, which, with a family of 6 are many, I get one mile of air travel. Tridaddy charges all his work supplies as well, so over the course of a year we accumulate air line tickets or hotel stays.

Works for me. Now bring on Chang's or and that little one- IMFL

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Taming the Wave in "06- It begins!

PF Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon

Let the training begin!

Tridaddy has officially endorsed Chang's as the start of TRAINING. It's a race that ends in a big rockin' party in the middle of the desert, how can you go wrong?

Commodore says the ocean is only 4 hours away-so we can add a little swim training to the mix.

So, register by 9/15 for the early bird discount and make your hotel reservations-it would be a great way for team IMmoo and IMFl to start the official training together.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You're just a phy ed instructor, right?

I normally save the "just" adjective for "a mom" as in, you're "just a mom" right.
"just" is a challenge.
Just defies More than Just.
Does anyone ever say, so you're just a triathlete?
Your're "just" a marathoner?
I think not.
Are you "just a mom" comes from people who didn't have very good ones, or who have a very distorted view on what's valuable to society
Even the marginal moms are more than "just".

I was cleaning equipment at the Y yesterday, which in addition to cleaning towels constitutes a large part of my job as a "phy ed instructor". Not a glamourous vocation, but I enjoy it.

I'm acutally a fitness instructor, and that question was posed by an older gentleman who was working out while I cleaned.
We actually had a good chat, and I certainly don't mind the question. Older adults grew up in a different time, with different vocabulary and different vocations. I don't fault him a bit for not knowing the technical name for my job, or for not comprehending the hours of study and training that brought me to his machine that day. I frankly don't care if he knows because I didn't do the work to impress anyone. I did the work so I can sit and chat with people like him. Or the late 20's teacher who came in later and wanted to get serious about working out. She takes her class hiking each winter and she wants to make it to the top without getting winded. After 25 minutes at 145 average heart rate teacher was pretty proud of herself. Then we added 10 on an elliptical and that more aerobic than she'd done in a very long time. Not a bad workout for a just a teacher and a phy ed instructor.

More later

It's BNB's 5th birthday today, it's hot and humid, taxes are due and I haven't managed a work out since a Sunday bike ride.

Just another trimama day- have a good one