New-ier and improve-ier for 2007.


Things I've been wondering

1. What do long-locked triathletes do about their hair? Especially as it pertains to T1? I find wearing any sort of hair tie very uncomfortable under my swim cap, so I use the “twist and pile” method to get my tresses tucked snugly in. . . is it totally dumb-assed to just plan on pulling into a ponytail during transition?

2. I have a free-to-a-good-home wetsuit, but it’s a shortie. My wetsuit-legal tri is in Lake Michigan in late July, and I’m guessing water temps will be in the low 70s. . . will it do?

3. Why was there one brand-new magenta crayon on the side of the road this morning?

4. What was my deal last week, when I was so exhausted that I managed to only get one 6-mile run in?

5. Do I actually think that not posting my pathetic lack of training last week somehow means that I wasn’t REALLY a total slacker?

6. Why do Sports Beans only taste good in the middle of a run?

7. Why does it feel like I left all of my angst and stress and overwhelmed-ness in the grey mist I ran through this morning?



Week in Review: May 15 - May 21, 2006

Mon (sched): S17, B35
Mon (actual): R22, S25

Tue (sched): S23, R17
Tue (actual): B35, S17

Wed (sched): R8 miles
Wed (actual): R10 miles

Thu (sched): S29
Thu (actual): S29

Fri (sched): B58
Fri (actual): B60

Sat (sched): R29
Sat (actual): R27

Sun: rest



Week in Review: May 8 - May 14, 2006

Recovery week! And yet, I still manage to not really follow the program.

Mon (sched): S17, R17
Mon (actual): R 3M speedwork (fast 1/2, recovery 1/2, repeat)

Tue (sched): S17, B35
Tue (actual): B25, S30

Wed (sched): R6 Miles
Wed (actual): R6 Miles

Thu (sched): S17
Thu (actual): S30

Fri (sched): B35
Fri (actual): slept in 35

Sat (sched): R5K
Sat (actual): R5K

Sun: off

Total scheduled: 226 minutes
Total actual: 206 minutes



Race Report: Franklin 50th 5K

It's the middle of May, so who in theeee hell decided it would be a good idea for the day to be 41 and rainy? Urgh. Spent way too much time waffling on what to wear. Decided on shorts and a performance long-sleeve T. Threw some snuggly yoga pants, a zip-neck AND a fleece on over the top. Consider bringing gloves. Decide against.

Pulchritudinous Training Partner and Portly Training Partner were supposed to pick me up at twenty 'til eight. 7:40 comes. 7:40 goes. As does 7:45. At 7:50, I call their cell phones. No answer. Urgh! Hate the PTP duo. But only briefly.

Finally get in touch with Pulchridtudinous Training Partner. She thinks it's 10 'til 7. Freaks the fuck out when I point out that, no, it's just over an hour until gun time.

They show up. We find the race site. It's in a very lovely county park. We park and walk to the car. I am mutha-fucking FREEZING. A great local coffeehouse has pre-race coffee and muffins and all other manner of yummy treats. I get some coffee, just so I can wrap my hands around the cup. I skip the treats.

I wish that I'd brought my camera.

We stretch, pee, figure out where Pulchritidinous Training Partner can leave her stuff, since it's her first race, and she didn't stop to think that maybe dragging a heavy jacket and a big-ass sports bottle the half-mile from the car to the race start might pose a problem. The lovely owner of the local coffeehouse graciously offers to watch her stuff.

We get to the starting line, and settle ourselves in the back quarter of the (small!) pack. There's maybe 100-200 racers here. Everyone is very friendly, smiling and genially bitching about the weather. I can't feel my fingers. I am grumpy, waiting for the gun to go off.

It's too wet for them to get the gun to go off (??). So we actually start with an ol' skool "on your mark, get set, GO!" I laugh as I start to run. I laugh harder when, about 200 yards down the road, the gun finally fires.

Portly Training Partner starts off strong, and I stay on his shoulder, until I realize that he is going out WAY too fast for me, so bring it down to a more comfortable level. I'm crusing along, staying relaxed, but I am definitely feeling kind of tired. Wow. . . more out of shape than I thought.

I hit the first mile at 7:40. Which is a total "Holy CRAP! moment. I'm going at a pace that's about 1:20/mile faster than I'd planned. I'm going at a pace that's faster than any actual SPEEDWORK DRILLS I've done so far this year. This would explain the early-onset fatigue.

The course is a sort of Y-shape, so after we hit mile 1, we almost immediately hit the first out-and-back turnaround. The people in first place come FLYING back towards us. The first-place woman is all muscle and sinew. She is such a bad-ass. Her legs are whizzing back and forth, but her upper body is totally relaxed and her face is placid. I want to be her so bad I can almost taste it.

Portly Training Partner ditches out HARD -- stops to stretch/walk. He's having asthma problems. I give him a good-natured hard time as I run by.

I take up with an older guy wearing grey running shorts and a black top. He has eye-poppingly blue shoes and a teeny fringe of black hair around his head. I cruise with him through mile 2 (16:00 even. . . that's more reasonable), and to the turn-around at mile 2.5. Then, he opens up his personal can of whoop-ass and drops me like a used water cup.

I can hear a woman behind me (I can tell by the delicate snorts instead of the ooky farmer-blows), but I don't think she's gaining at all. I see Portly Training Partner about 90 seconds back (after the turn-around). He's looking ROUGH. I see Pulchritudinous Training Partner not too far behind him, which is AWESOME. She'd been thinking that she'd run 12-minute miles, but I can tell that she's well under 10 minutes/mile at this point. I jump around like a spaz as we pass each other.

I turn the corner to the "bottom" of the Y and the finish line, and turn it up a little. I'm feeling tired, but still pretty good at this point. There's a guy at the finish line who is just going NUTS for all of the competitors that are crossing the line. Just cheering them in with total sincerity and gusto and energy. I love That Guy.

I hit at 25:25. Totally a new PR for me at 5K. I'm way, way jazzed.

Portly Training Partner came in around 27:30, and Pulchridtudinous Training Partner came in around 29:00, TOTALLY excited. I was so happy for her! She totally blew away what she thought she could do -- both in terms of distance, and of time. It was amazing to see that moment, when she started thinking of herself as an athlete. I may have gotten a little teary, but that could have just been because my nipples were about to FALL OFF from the combination of my nasty sweatiness and the damp cold. Do they make some sort of nipple-glove? There's a fortune to be had there, I think.

Afterwards, there was TONS of fruit, more coffee, incredible-looking homemade biscotti, and readily-available water. For a very small, local race, it was organized really well.

We talked to a guy who ran Boston last month. He was maybe in his 70s, and said that he didn't start running until he was 55. He was recommending the marathon that I'm hoping to do in October, as well as a 50-mile trail run, which I am hoping not to do, ever.

All-in-all, a really great, satisfying morning. Even if my shoes might take until Wednesday to dry.



Why do I DO this to myself?

I knew it would happen.

I knew it would happen almost the second after I completed the 800-yard swim for the first time.

Triumph! Adrenaline boost, big smile, feeling good. Feeling confident.


A week goes by and I start to think about how long it took me. What an “average” time for that distance would be in a race. How do I stack up?

Of course, the answer is “I’m slow.” And I know this, even before looking. But yet, I MUST look. I can’t NOT look. It’s the traffic-accident nature of my psyche.

So I look. Yep, slow. So now, instead of feeling good about the fact that I can do the distance, when I couldn’t even swim the length of the pool with my face in the water four months ago. . . I feel frustrated. Anxious. Angst-y.

I’m doing this with EVERYTHING, not just the swim. My runs are not fast enough. My biking is not fast enough. I am going to be embarrassingly slow. And I HAAAAAATE not living up to my mental ideal of the performance level I should be able to achieve.

If I were listening to my friend rant on about this? I would gently remind her that it is her first season of this kind of training. That she should still be more concerned with getting from one side to the other with a smile. That if she tries to go too fast, too soon, she will blow apart into a fury of feathers and fears. That it’s not about next Saturday, or next month, or next year. It’s about easing out, finding the edge, and building up a new edge.

But platitudes and aphorisms and universal truths. . . all well and good for OTHER people. I, however, am somehow BEYOND them.

Or so I seem to think.

Sure, I could twist this into an epic, positive trait: My Drive To Improve; My Restless Need to Realize My Potential. But really, I think it’s more like My Need to Believe I’m Somehow Different Than Everyone Else.

And I’m really, really not.

So, I’m strengthening my resolve. There is no race “out there.” There is no time for me to beat. There is only this day, this workout, this moment. I will inhabit it fully. I will move from one side of it to the next. And I will do it with a smile.

Adapt and overcome.



Week in Review: April 30 - May 7, 2006

All figures in minutes, except where noted.

Mon (sched) S23, R17
Mon (actual) S20, R20

Tue (sched) S17, B35
Tue (actual) B35, S20

Wed (sched) R8 miles
Wed (actual)R8 miles

Thu (sched) S29
Thu (actual) S29

Fri (sched) B58
Fri (actual) B70-ish

Sat (sched) R29
Sat (actual) R38 (Sunday. 4 miles)

Total time: 320 minutes



Out there looking for me. . . .

“Do you know the one person who will never abandon you in the whole of your lifetime?”

”Who is it?”


“And do you know the answer to any question you may have?”

”What is it?”


“And can you guess the solution to every one of your problems?”

”I give up”


--Anthony De Mello



Storytime: Group Dynamics

The group set out eagerly, knowing how essential they were to the task ahead. Definite make-or-break players. They wriggled and jockeyed for position for a bit to find their comfort zone, and then most of them settled in. Except for one.

There’s one in every group, you know.

He was a pudgy little thing – noticeably fatter than his brother, over there on the other side of the team (hmmpf - almost as far away as he can get! As though he were ASHAMED or something.). He’d never quite fit in with the rest of the crew. Chafing at being boxed in, but feeling as though he stuck out TOO much when exposure was called for.

And today, Pudgy was in A Mood.

The team was only about fifteen minutes in to the task when Pudgy started complaining. (He’s shoving me – he’s crowding me – I need my space. He’s rubbing me the wrong way, and I can’t take it any more.)

Upper Management took notice. Adjustments were made. Egos massaged – short-term soothing, just enough to allow the group to continue working to meet the goal, was applied.

The timeline for the task was re-evaluated, pushed back a bit, but nobody really minded. Everyone gathered themselves, overcame inertia, and started out again.

Pudgy protested. (I’m not comfortable with the way things are moving – I really think some special accommodations would make me more effective – why is everyone looking at me like that?)

Upper Management recognized that Pudgy’s unhappiness had the ability to force their entire plan off the rails. They sighed and devoted considerable ingenuity and energy to placating him.

But Pudgy’s dander was up. He was NOT going to be placated. He’d decided that this project was not the place for him, and he wanted nothing to do with it.

Upper Management knew it was an all-or-nothing deal. As Pudgy went, so went the team. They couldn’t give in to his demands without abandoning their whole project. And, although they would have liked to have the whole team feeling great about their part in the process, the reality was that this task was simply a larger part of a vitally important project, and it needed to be done. With or without the cooperation of Pudgy.

Pudgy was dragged along for the ride. At first, he protested loudly. His adjacent team members figured out a way to compensate for his misery, and he became a mere murmur of discontent. Occasionally, he’d still pipe up, but Upper Management had grown tired of his attitude (Shut it, Pudgy. There’s no quitting now.).

And the task was completed. A little behind schedule, but nothing harmful in the grand scheme of things.

And Pudgy? Well, he’ll live. And he’ll probably go on to complain another day, but Upper Management realizes this now, and will be more proactive about silencing his objections.

Apparently Upper Management needs to get some Body Glide. Stupid fat toe.