New-ier and improve-ier for 2007.


Huh. Well, lookee here.

I did a 45-minute straight swim last night in which I covered ~1600 yards. (The ~ is because I almost ALWAYS lose track of my lap count, so I end up going back to the last number that I remember for sure, so the yardage is probably slightly more than that, but even so, DANG I'm slow!).

Slowness aside, however, I discovered something cool.

I had thought that my August tri had a 1500m swim. But it does NOT! It has 3/4 mile (um, what?) swim. Which is only 1320-ish yards. Which I covered with absolutely no issues, feeling just dandy.

I love it when I occasionally glimpse success!



IronMommy: The Quiz

Sure, you have what it takes to be an IronMan. But! Do you have what it takes to be. . . an IRONMOMMY?

Take this handy-dandy little quiz below to see if you have the right stuff:

1) You have a day filled with "must-dos" ahead of you, including a long run, when you hear a telltale liquid splatting sound and a miserable, freaked-out wail from your 15-month-old. Your first thought is:
A) Damn. My training is totally shot.
B) Oh, poor baby!

2) You're holding the aforementioned miserable, freaked-out 15-month-old and hear and feel the sounds that tell you the Vomit Comet is about to make an appearance. Your reaction:
A) Angle her away from your body, toward the sink and hope that most of the carnage can be washed down the drain.
B) Snuggle the terrified little thing and figure you can always change clothes and shower later.

3) Many hours later, you're rocking (and rocking and rocking) a wriggly, sleeping lump that is apparently only comfortable in a position that makes your right trapezius feel like it's being stabbed with a hot poker. You feel:
A) Guilty that you can't stop thinking about putting your child down, going to pee, and washing the smell of sick out of your hair.
B) So incredibly lucky that your children are generally healthy, and that you get to snuggle this fierce, independent little being for at least a little while longer.

If your answers were Bs, you just might be. . . an IRONMOMMY!

If your answers were "Initially As, but quickly followed by Bs," you might just be. . . me.



Truer Words (a mini-script)

Mama de Veeg: How was your lake swim, honey?

Veeg: It was AWESOME! I got kicked in the head and lost my goggles and had to find them and put them back on in the middle of the lake.

Mama de Veeg: I think you and I have slightly different definitions of "Awesome."



Advice needed: Training/Nutrition

Help me out, people, because I am OBVIOUSLY doing something wrong, here.

Any time I go "long" (relative to whatever my current volume happens to be), my GI system gets completely whacked afterwards. I work to stay hydrated, take in nutrition, finish the workout feeling good. . . and then inevitably spend the whole rest of the day feeling like I was out doing body shots until bar-time the night before. Nauseated, shaky, urky, awful.

Has anyone else experienced this? What fixed it?

I'm thinking "hair of the dog" won't really help in this case. . . .

Update: Based on the fever and chills and generalized "blech," I'm guessing that Tamiflu or Airborne might be a better supplement in this case. ;)



Ideals, and other forms of navel-gazing

About a month ago, I was a team member on a women’s multi-day retreat. One of the talks given early in the weekend was about “Ideals.”

The questions used to help determine your personal ideals are:
1. Where do your thoughts drift?
2. Where do you spend your money?
3. Where do you spend your time?

Since the weekend was supposedly spiritually-focused, I was more than a little embarrassed by my incredibly corporeal answer: training. Especially when I started to mentally hold my answer up against the ideals of “family,” “service,” and “peace” that came from the women on the retreat.

The experience has been eating away at me in tiny little bites in the weeks since. I’ve questioned myself, my choices, a lot. My training isn’t anywhere near an IronMan-esque volume, but it still impacts my family. If I work out in the morning, I miss time with the girls, and The Weez has to shoulder the responsibility of getting them ready for the day. If I work out at night, I am putting off responsibilities to my clients, and miss out on opportunities to spend quality time with my husband.

I found myself cutting many workouts short, skipping some altogether. Cramming training into little crevices where I thought it might not be noticed. Juggling and re-juggling, and apologizing the whole while.

But something has occurred to me.

I ran down the finish chute last Saturday feeling total elation about an objectively unremarkable time, and experienced a flash of. . . something.

I read Wil’s Oly report, and saw a glimmer. The point where she wrote about realizing that her journey wasn’t about the place she finished, yeah, there was definitely a sparkle.

I would consider it many kinds of foolish to feel bad about myself because my race time wasn’t as good as someone else’s. And yet, it never occurred to me that holding up my own ideals and scrutinizing them in the light of someone else’s sun is every bit as ridiculous.

Not only that, I think it’s selling my ideal short.

Training is physical, yes, but it also provides a space to cultivate awareness, clarity, and serenity. That space doesn’t just magically reappear elsewhere in my life when I don’t make time to train.

I am a better wife, mother, and professional when I train. I give more freely to others. I find beauty in more things. I find it easier to remember to take the time to understand. Family. Service. Peace.

One of the last points in the Ideals talk from the retreat is that our ideals change throughout our lives. I don’t know how long training is going to be my ideal. I don’t know what larger purpose it might be serving now. But, I truly believe that, regardless of your theological leanings, when there is a calling this powerful inside of you, there is a deep and necessary reason for it. And it needs a response.

I have a feeling that the flicker of light is about to blaze.



New beginnings

Those first awkward, tentative moments. Does that please? Does this? Can I give you a little more? Take you a little further? Breathing faster. Moving together. Blurring the line between pleasure and pain. Give you this, give me that. Heart pounding. Tang of sweat. Pumping. Throbbing. Fasterfasterfaster.

Nothing can compare to your first time together.



Summertime. . .

Sweet corn and yogurt-topped fruit salad for dinner.

Waking to a glorious sunrise.

Finding excuses to get outside during the day.

Watching my girls tear around the garage on their bikes while I make dinner.

A brand new bike of my own. . . . .



Race Report: Lighthouse Run, version The Verbose

I woke up before my alarm, at 5:30. It was a beautiful, hazy morning. I jumped in the shower (which, admittedly, sounds like a dumb thing to do before a race, but it meant that I had wet hair at the beginning of the run, which was genius, so nyah).

For all of y'all who gave me a hard time about 79 degrees and 70-something percent humidity at the beginning of the race not being hot. . . while you are technically correct, that temp is a good 15 degrees higher than the beginning of any of my previous long runs this year. So, compared to say, Florida. . . not that big a deal. Compared to my Sconnie springtime conditions. . . a tough ratcheting upwards.

I downed a protein shake and started sipping water. I went back and forth in my head oh, fifteen bazillion times about whether or not to bring my fuel belt with me. I decided to do it, since it has made the difference for me feeling like I would rather die than run another step, and finishing feeling like I could definitely go farther on my longer runs, and I thought the additional confidence would be well worth it.

Picked up Portly Training Partner and headed to downtown Racine. Found an unoccupied restroom in the lesser-known parts of the Y (hometown advantage!) Took a short warm-up run. Stretched the hammies, Achilles, and calves. Positioned myself in the tooooootal back of the pack.

Gun and go.

The first mile is pretty much all downhill, and that plus adrenaline makes it pretty fast. I didn't feel like I was going too hard, but I hit Mile 1 at 9:30. Shortly after that, we ran past North Beach, which will be the swim, T1, and T2 for the Spirit of Racine sprint tri on July 22nd. That got my head going in a million different directions, and pretty soon, I was at mile 2.

I encountered a friend who was also doing the race, and we ran together for a little bit, but he was fairly undertrained, so he slowed down a bit and I lost him at about 2.5 miles.

There were quite a few people lining Main Street, with their sprinklers out, which was nice. Cute kids with makeshift water stations (and plenty of real water stations, which was a huge bonus).

Heard the ambulance sirens for the first time at Mile 3. Apparently someone was having some pretty serious GI issues and needed to be transported for care. :( Five more times, I heard the sirens, and knew that someone was being taken off the course. See, y'all mock our notion of heat, but it was just such a big jump, no one was prepared for it.

The Weez brought my girls to the turn between mile 4 and mile 5. That was a huge boost. Small Child was jumping around and cheering for me, and I couldn't stop smiling.

I ran along with some awesome, awesome people during the day. One young man who was running the race with his girlfriend. She was having a hard time, and he was being so sweet and encouraging. It was incredible. Two older gentlemen who formed a fast friendship in the hundred minutes they were out on the course. A super-upbeat, positive triathlete chica from Beloit who just radiated everything that's great about athletics and racing.

I saw the sun shimmering off of Lake Michigan. I truly appreciated the feeling of a gentle breeze. I laughed with folks I'd never met, and cheered for people, and was cheered for in return.

I'd been targeting folks and slowly pulling them in pretty successfully over the course of the race. At Mile 6, I picked out a woman wearing a super-cute pink-and-black running skirt, who had taken her green sponge and stuck it in the neck of her sports bra. I successfully reeled her in by Mile 7.

Big Mistake, Tricia.

Apparently Pink Skirt was a wee bit faster than I'd anticipated. The course turned south right after the mile 7 marker, and my splits went south right along with it. I could feel myself slowing down, like in a cartoon. It was like the nightmares where you can't get your legs to move, even though you're in mortal danger from whatever it is that's chasing you.

I was furious about it for about a quarter mile. I was SO mad at myself for being boneheaded about my pace, about ignoring my body out of some sort of bizarre cockiness. And then, I got over it. I ate a Clif Shot. I plodded along. I felt better.

At Mile 8, I started to try to pick it up a little. It sucked. At Mile 8.5, I got to see the Weez and Small Child again. It made it suck less. Man, I love that kid.

Mile 9 came, eventually, and I knew that if I wanted to break 1:40, was I going to have to run a sub-10. I also knew that there were some steep hills ahead of me. And I was afraid.

I started running faster. And it hurt. I eased off. And I got mad. And I pushed again. And it hurt. And I eased off. And I got mad. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Right at the crest of the second beyotch of a hill, Portly Training Partner and The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist (my BIL) were there, cheering for me and just being crazy (they'd run the 4-mile).

The last quarter-mile blew many, many kinds of goats. I just wanted to be done. I hurt and felt hot and cold and dizzy and urky. It briefly flashed into my conciousness that in October, at this point, I'd basically have to go do this again. And then six more miles on top of it. And WTF am I thinking?

And then I crossed the line, and it was done, and I hadn't achieved all my goals, but I did something that I've wanted to do for YEARS. And I faced down my doubts and anxieties. And I established training habits that are going to take me to the next place I want to go. And I felt strong and proud and blessed.

My splits looked something like (my El Cheapo watch does not have a lap feature, so this is from memory):

Mile 1: 9:30
Mile 2: 9:45-ish
Mile 3: 9:45-ish
Mile 4: 9:45-ish
Mile 5: 9:45-ish
Mile 6: 9:10-ish
Mile 7: 2 hours (not really, but around 11:30 or so)
Mile 8: 10:45
Mile 9: 10:45-ish
Mile 10: 10:17

Final time: 1:40:47
Overall: 361/470
Women: 104/147
Age Group: 17/24



Race Report: Lighthouse Run, version The Pithy

Really. Stinkin'. Hot.

Goal 1: Finish before cutoff time. Done.
Goal 2: Finish sub 1:50. Done.
Goal 3: Finish sub 1:40. Not quite. Blew up a little after mile 7.

Final time: 1:40:47.1

And not even DFL in my age-group.



Random Bits of Pre-Race Effluvia

It’s supposed to be 79 degrees w/ 64% humidity at gun-time tomorrow. I am afeared that I may melt.

I drove the course yesterday on my lunch hour. They’ve changed where the finish line is from previous years, so the final mile is a big ol' uphill. Bitches.

When I picked up my race packet yesterday, I got butterflies so bad I was afraid that I might throw up in my car. WTF? It is just a run! It is not like I'm going on freakin' American Idol or something. . . damn.

I had a great night of sleep last night. That's a good sign, right? I am sucking down water today like it is my job. Control what I can, and let everything else go. . . .

Race Goals:
Goal 1: Finish before cut-off time (2:15). Barring Act of God, this is eminently achievable.
Goal 2: Finish sub 1:50. With the heat, this will be a bit of a stretch, but if I really focus on staying hydrated, it’s also well within reach.
Goal 3: Finish sub 1:40. Probably won’t happen, but we’ll see how I’m feeling in the morning. If everything aligned, es possible.

In other news, we foiled my co-worker’s cube when he went on vacation. Enjoy the show.



Cue the disco music. . .

'cuz it's time for the "Ahhhhhhhh. . . FREAK OUT!"

This weekend is my first “challenging” race of the season. For me, this year is all about redefining my ideas of myself as an athlete –how consistently I can train, what I can accomplish, where I fit in.

I am pleased with the level of fitness that I’ve achieved so far this year. Even with having to take six weeks totally off of running because of my high-maintenance lower legs, I’m feeling good on my long runs and even managing to pull off some speedwork without hobbling around like a crone the next day. My resting heartrate is in the 40s, which is a number I haven’t seen in YEARS. My weight is. . . not where I’d like it to be, but I’m working on it.

One of my annual measures of fitness has been the Lighthouse Run. A group of us have run the four-mile race every year since I moved to the area. I am fully confident that the race this year could bring me a pretty significant PR.


I will not be running the four-miler this year. I will be running the ten. And I am really freaked out about it.

I don’t exactly understand why. I know I can complete the distance. I had a great, great run on Saturday. I think the answer is lying somewhere in the knowledge that I am giving up a chance for a front-of-midpack, very possibly top-10-age-group finish. . . for an almost-guaranteed back-of-pack, DFL-age-group finish.

The competitive part of me is spazzing at the idea that I will run “just to finish.” That I have no choice but to run “just to finish,” because I have NO experience at what my race pace is at this distance. The uncertainty, coupled with the fact that I’m going into this KNOWING that I will place badly, is just kind of. . . killin’ me, mentally.

I know it’s for the greater good. I know it will make me stronger, a better athlete. But maaaaaaan, I hate concrete proof that despite all the ground I’ve covered, I still have so very far to go.



I could never do that. . . .

People keep telling me this, over and over again. "You're training for a triathlon? Three triathlons? A marathon? I could NEVER do that."

And it makes me crazy, because these are able-bodied, healthy people. They *could.* And it's so many kinds of wrong to give me some kind of recognition for it, as though working out with a schedule and goal in mind somehow makes me a better, more admirable person.

It doesn't. And it shouldn't.

I have a friend whose husband left her while she was recovering from the birth of her second child, an awesome, adorable, funny kid, who has some pretty serious and rare medical issues. She has been an indescribably dedicated and caring mother to her son, and also to her older daughter. And not only has she been a rock of love and stability for her children, she's gotten herself into kick-ass shape while she was at it. I am amazed at her resilience.

I could never do that.

I have other friends who are married, but whose husbands travel for business so extensively, that they are effectively single moms. One had a very successful career, but was unhappy in it, so quit her job to stay home with her kids and try her hand at writing and editing a website. I am floored by her bravery.

I could never do that.

Another mom-with-traveling-husband friend recently suffered a very tragic personal loss, and still showed up, both physically and emotionally, for a family that has not been very kind to her, in their moment of need and grief. I am astounded by her compassion and forgiveness.

I could never do that.

I have yet ANOTHER friend whose husband agrees to several eight-to-ten week periods a year where he takes full responsibility for house and kids, so that she can perform in regional theatre (DQM, sadly, this is not you! But it SHOULD be!), because he knows that acting is where her heart is. I am blown away by his selflessness and support.

I could never do that.

There are so many people, every day, doing their best, which is WAY WAY WAY better than I could ever do, WOULD ever do. They are showing love and grace and strength in the face of things that would make me curl up in a corner to cry and shake an angry little fist at God. THAT is what people should be impressed by. THAT is worthy of praise and admiration and awe.

Thank you, all of you, for being heroes. I could never do that.