Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A "new" milestone...and why swimming is like pitching

So I swam 3500 yards this morning!


I know I've techinally done that before...but not in a VERY long time. Like, probably sometime in the first Bush Administration. So I'm pretty pumped. It was nice because the way I had my interval sets structured, it really didn't even "feel" like it was longer than I'm used to. I just kept pluggin' away, and trying to accomplish the goal of each set. Pulls, steady swims, 400 repeats--but everything had a purpose, you know? The 400s had their own special little purpose. The first one was easy/hard by 100, the 2nd was building speed each 100, the third was a negative split, and the 4th was race pace. Now, this came at the very end of the workout, so I was definitely fatigued. But I was pleasantly surprised to see my race pace 400 wasn't too far off what I'd like to do in, say, a sprint tri. I tried to visualize the beginning of a sprint tri as I started that one, and I guess it worked.

Funny how things just work better if everything has a purpose. You don't even realize how hard it might be--you just focus on the task at hand, and when that's done, you move onto the next one.

I should remember that.

Anyway, I've decided that swimming is much like pitching. See, I gave up swimming year round when I was 15 so I could focus on fastpitch softball. I played slow-pitch since I was about 10, but our town didn't have fastpitch leagues available so I had to "crash course" learn how to be a pitcher for high school. Since our H.S. didn't have a pool, being on the swim team meant long treks to the downtown college pool, and less time to pitch...so I gave it up. But I really loved pitching and playing fastpitch. It's a great game.

Basically, as a pitcher, you can be strong and have all the power in the world...but that won't make you the best pitcher. You have to have the technique DOWN, and any variation in that will dramatically affect the outcome. If your hand is in a slightly different position, or you grip the ball a little too tight, or let it go just 1/100th of a second too late, you could have a wild pitch.

Swimming seems like this, too. When I'm really focused on glide and form, it's amazing to me how low my stroke count can get. But when I'm a little tired, or just not thinking about it, sometime I can tell that my form is off--with dramatic results. It will take an extra few strokes to get down that pool. This is OK for a 25, but can really make a HUGE different in my 2.4 mile swim in September.

When I first started pitching I was extremely fast! This was great...except I did not have my form down. What does that mean?

LOTS of hit batters.

Oops. :)

Yeah, they called me "Wild Thing."

Let's just say that our freshman year JV team was 0-16-2. (Yes, we managed to TIE 2 games. Who does that????)

So I quit swimming. Pitched year round. Pitched before and after school. Ended up becoming a closer/late inning reliever, which I loved. Put me in when there's a tough situation, and I'll get her out or die trying. :)

And sooner or later, the form was down--and the accuracy followed.

My softball coach, Coach C, is an amazing guy. One of his 4 daughters was an All-American pitcher for Toledo. She was freaking awesome. He told me that she could LITERALLY strike someone out with her eyes closed. One time in a GAME he told her to do it--and she did.

Good pitchers can pitch a strike with their eyes closed. You just feel the motion and let it go at the right time, and it will be there.

I think good swimming is similar. FORM is everything. Strength plays a role, but without good form, even a muscular-ly strong swimmer won't get any faster.

OK--time to go run some 400 repeats...and then to get a much needed and deserved MASSAGE! :)

Train hard!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Excellent food the night before a 10-miler, don't ya think?  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 25, 2006

some girls

Some girls wear bows in their hair, lots of pink, and are sugar and spice and all that stuff.

Other girls have moms that give up trying to put bows in their hair, since they rip them out anyway...and roll their sleeves up so that they can play in the dirt without getting into too much trouble.

Some girls used to have pictures in their lockers that looked like this

And other girls used to have pictures in their lockers that looked like this

Some girls love to shop for clothes and spend countless hours rummaging around the mall from store to store.

Other girls love to shop for this

and spend countless hours online looking for the best new shoes or aerobars.

Some girls spend lots of money on manicures and pedicures, so their hands and feet look dainty and pretty.

Other girls know that long nails get in the way of pitching a really nice fastball, and are afraid to get a pedicure for fear the nail techician would run away screaming since they have lost a few toenails and have rough and tough heels from the miles on the road.

Some girls spent hours on end talking about boys and mascara, and couldn't wait to go to the prom.

Other girls spent hours on end pitching a ball against a wall of a building, and couldn't wait to pitch a shutout.

Some girls get all dolled up for a night on the town every single weekend, and spend lots of money on overpriced martinis and late night dancing.

Other girls do this once in a while, but spend most of their nights hitting the hay early so they can run 10 miles with their friend at 8am on a Saturday.

Some girls like it their way, and hey, more power to them.

The good thing about the other girls is, eventually, they find each other.

And then, there's no stopping 'em.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What's the U.S.S.R?

So I had one of these weird history teacher/triathlon metaphors today. Is metaphor the right word? I don't know. Parallel is perhaps a little better.

I taught my 9th graders about the Russian Revolution, Lenin, the Bolsheviks, etc. And then I explained that this is what started the Soviet Union.

*blank stares*

You know, the U.S.S.R.?

*"Isn't that in a song? I think my Dad has a cd with it"*

Yes, it is a Beatles song. But I'm talking about the country.

*long pause*

"What's the U.S.S.R.?"

The stares get blanker and blanker every year that I've taught. And every year, I have more and more students that have no effing clue what the U.S.S.R. is. Was.

My freshman were born in 1991. They were babies when the Soviet Union was falling apart. They literally have no. idea. what. it. is.


This fascinates me. I'm a relatively young person, so my memories are limited to the 80s. I'm a child of Cabbage Patch Kids. Jelly Shoes. Bad bangs. Reagan. The Evil Empire. Star Wars--the movie, and the missile defense system. And the fear that a nuclear weapon was going to hit us because of the U.S.S.R.

I remember coming home crying--really!-- in 2nd grade because my teacher told us that if a nuclear bomb hit, it would hit Akron and Cleveland first because there's a lot of industry there, and that would be a good thing because we'd all be instantly vaporized and wouldn't know what hit us.

(My mom sure gave that guy an earful the next morning)

The funny thing is now, that all that fear--all the war--all the sacrifices made--all the often irrational paranoia that surrounded these years and the Cold War years in general--it dominated everything. It was in the background of every day.

And now it doesn't exist.

Now I have to EXPLAIN to high school students what it was.

At the same time, it's BECAUSE of the fear, the sacrifices, and even the paranoia that it doesn't exist. It has been conquored. What seemed to be the root of so much fear fell apart--and mostly fell apart from within.

I have a buddy, M, who grew up in the Soviet Union in the 80s. He's a year older than I am. He's probably sick of me asking so many questions, but he always answers them truthfully. He talks about long bread lines, about not being able to say what you want, and about underlying fear, suspicion, and frustration that grew stronger every day.

Is triathlon the same as living under the grips of a communist state? Not even close. Don't get me wrong, here.

But today when my students asked me, innocently and with great interest, What's the U.S.S.R., it made me think about how something so feared, something so seemingly unbeatable, crumbled apart and needs to be explained.

This was the slight parallel I saw with IM. (slight--again, in no way am I trying to say that the fall of the U.S.S.R. is equal with IM) But the fear, the sacrifices I'm making every day, the occasional irrationality in my thoughts, the things that sometimes keep me up at night as I worry about conquoring this thing that seems unbeatable--that's where I see a parallel.

I know I'll look back when this trip is done, and wonder how I could have ever thought it was unbeatable. The hours I have put in and will put in will make it crumble from within. But it's long. It's scary. It will take a lot of time, and it will not be easy. Right now, it even seems uncertain that it's possible.

I know that these sacrifices will pay off in the end.

And someday, when this is all over, it will make me a stronger person.

And someday, I look forward to answering the question in my classroom:

"What's terrorism?"

Crazy? Yeah, I might be a dreamer on this one.

But who ever thought I'd have to correct papers that said, "The Soveeyit Unity" or the "U.S.R.S.S?"

Nothing is impossible.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

a little more social

OK, so I'm going to try and be a little more social in my workouts this week.

Don't get me wrong--I really do love the solitude of a nice quiet run. There is something about it.

But I do know that sometimes a group setting can help motivate me to "kick it up a notch," too.

So, tonight I'm heading to the track for the first time in a LONG time! Gonna run with my Soler buddies. They are a really supportive and fun group of people. We're going to do a few 800 repeats, which will definitely help me get back the speed I lost over the bubonic plague I had in January. I think I'd like to race the St. Malachi 5 miler, but I know if I am really slow I'll be sad. My PR on that course is 40:02, so if I could at least be remotely close to that, I'd be satisfied. Would have broke 40 if it wasn't for that blasted hill at the end...it's a killer! ;)

Then, for my attempt at "social" cycling, I'm going to try a spin class on Thursday. I have only been to one, but walcha keeps talking about how good the workouts are so I want to check it out! I think it will be good to mix it up a bit...and frankly, I love my trainer but I am getting a bit bored of it.

Today in the pool I got there at 5:45....and it was PACKED! Early risers--and the two Y's in the area closed...so I'd better get there earlier next time. Eric was already swimming away--hope the hip feels better, Eric!!!! I did a 500 warmup easy, then 500 pull, and then thought I'd try 5X100 hard. Might as well try them when I was a little tired...just to see what I've got. They went like this:

1:45 ( started to feel like I was dying here)....took a 1 minute break and then
1:33!!!! Haven't done that FOREVER! Was very excited. Eric is my witness. :)
1:40 (was still mentally gloating from my 1:33...slacked off a bit...hee hee)

So, that was cool! Then did 600 steady and a 400 CD, for 3000 yards.

Starting to get sleepy....couldn't fall asleep last night as Matt and I headed out of town and slept in to enjoy our day off Monday! I'm paying for it now. We went on a great hike though. He got to try his new boots (I got them for his b-day) out and we are getting PUMPED for Grand Canyon!!!!

So, we'll see how this "socialized" working out goes! Gotta mix it up, ya know?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Here is Fat Bastard, who is sleeping in the cage we caught him in, and who, as of 2 days ago, has been released into his natural habitat, which is NOT OUR $%&@(%& BASEMENT.  Posted by Picasa

Mom and I after the Chili Bowl!!! My mom ROCKS! :) It was SOOOOOOOO cold...which explains my sweet hat and ridiculous attire. ha ha Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006

analyzing my stroke, and "stating the obvious"

Uh, huh huh......uh....huh huh huh........heh heh.....you said "stroke."

No, that's not Beavis and Butthead, two of my favorite cartoon characters. That was Adam and Matt last night when we were out to dinner laughing when I told them what in God's name I could possibly be doing at 6:50am on a Sunday morning.

Then they laughed even harder when I said I think I needed to pull harder.

I swear, I think I married a 16 year old trapped inside the body of a 31 year old. :)

Anyway, I think I have successfully kicked my own ass this week....here's what it looked like:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3000 yard swim (1:00), 1:00 weights and core
Wednesday: 1:15 run
Thursday: 1:30 bike, :30 run
Friday: 2:00 run
Saturday: 2:00 bike, :30 core
Sunday: 2:00 swim clinic (not much yardage though, but lots of drills)

Total: 11:45 hours for the week! This is a new record for me! Yay!

Geez....this summer I'm going to be pushing 20 some weeks....

Whoa. I guess that's why they call it IM.

Okay, a few quick things:

1. We caught Fat Bastard! (I named him that because he ate 3 pieces of peanut butter bread on THREE DIFFERENT occasions Friday night before we finally caught him) He has been released into the wild and hopefully our raccoon problems are OVER.

2. Blogfriends galore! CONGRATS to anyone that ran in the FROZEN TUNDRA which was Cleveland yesterday, and especially to Curly Su, Elizabeth, my kick ass MOM, and Daisy Duc, who PR'd!!!! Who the heck PR's when it's six degrees????!!! Amazing race guys! It was so fun to see you all! Elizabeth and Daisy Duc also got some hardware and Curly Su ran an awesome race in darn near unbearable conditions. My Mom did 11:35/min miles, which is AWESOME--I am so proud of her!

So I went to the swim clinic today. I was not sure what to expect but I do know it's been about 12 years since anyone has analyzed my stroke. I was a little nervous to hear what I looked like.

Eric was there as well as a few other Tri Clubbers. I was pretty tired just 'cuz I feel like I've done quite a bit of volume this week. But I was excited to have this really good coach check out my stuff and hopefully to learn some good pointers.

After seeing some drills, doing some drills, and swimming a bit, she looked at each of our strokes. I was a little scared to do my 50 and just tried to swim like I normally do. I got to the wall and looked up and she said,

"Good--good. Well, I can tell you're a swimmer."

For some reason that struck me as kind of odd. I guess it's been a long time since I thought of myself as a swimmer....but for so many years that was really a huge part of me. I guess I was worried that that part might have faded away. Maybe she had been replaced by the stuff that took swimming's place....like a fastpitch pitcher, a decent road racer, a teacher, etc.

But it made me feel really good.

She knows her crap and she said my stroke looked really good. She said her only suggestion was to work on reaching a bit more so I can grab more water.

She also said, "I can tell you're a sprinter." Guilty as charged. :) She said I was kicking way too much and could back off the kicking a bit, which I usually do for everything except a 50. (ha ha--old habits die hard) So I will try to concentrate on that for my longer sets, too, since as she said it does take a great deal more oxygen when you're kicking like a sprinter.

I got home and told my husband that I was a little surprised that she said these things, and his reply was, "But isn't that stating the obvious? You are a swimmer. You are calm in the water, and there's no WAY I ever would be."

So I am a swimmer. Sometimes I need to remember that.

Now for a well-earned rest day, and day off, to boot! Yay! We're going on a mini-getaway tonight and I can't wait.

Stay warm everyone! :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

demon spawn, and my mom that rocks

So you might have read my post from a month or two ago about Floyd, the raccoon that was living in our chimney? And we caught him and released him and then capped the chimney?

Yeah, uh, there was apparently another one. A big 'un. Who has been living in the chimney by day, and wreaking havoc at night. He STOLE the ENTIRE CANISTER of fish food off of Matt's 125 gallon tank. He STOLE the ENTIRE CANISTER of Peppy the Turtle's food.


I've been riding my bike down there with a FREAKING RACCOON!!!!

For TWO MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!

How do we know? Um, when I went down to change the laundry 2 days ago and I SAW IT.

I about FREAKED OUT. Had a level 5 meltdown.

Of course, the guy who capped our chimney didn't show for his appointment yesterday and is now not calling us back.

That @s$%Y*O was shady from the beginning....

So we called the animal warden--who only works Monday through Thursday. Well isn't that convenient. The police said there's a waiting list for traps, anyways. So we dropped $80 on a trap at the hardware store. They were almost all out of traps--I mean, seriously, is there an army of varmints taking over my town???!!!!

So now we have an elaborate trap set up downstairs, and the @*(&#^% has already eaten TWO different pieces of bread from it.

It woke us up at 3:30 last night because apparantly it busted through the doors of our OTHER chimney that led to our living room. Poor Mugsy must have saw it and barked his head off. THANK GOD Mugs sleeps in his crate....if something had happened to that dog I think I would have died.

So Matt tied the doors shut and we tried to go back to bed at around 4:15am...but I think I probably fell asleep around 5:30? I was pretty wired.

The alarm went off at 6:05. Ugh....I had to drive down to Case Western Reserve University (TOTAL other side of C-Town) to go to a workshop on the Bill of Rights.


It was actually interesting, since I'm a geek. But I could barely stay awake for the lectures. And due to the swim clinic that Eric and I are going to attend on Sunday, I had to do my long run today.

This should be interesting.

As soon as I got home, I put on my running clothes before I had time to think about it. And definitely before I sat down. If I did that, it would be all over.

Headed out for my 2 hour run. It was chilly (30 degrees or so) and pretty windy, but nice and sunny. I had a GREAT run and really feel like I got my legs back. Still not up to what I was able to do last summer, but since I'm coming off this sick junk, I'll take it.

All in all: ran 11.43 miles in 1:59.39, which works out to 10:28/mile. I'll take it for today, all things considered!

So, Mr. Raccoon Bastard, unless you plan on paying rent, you'd best get a move on. PRONTO.

Stay tuned for pictures of one pissed off, trapped raccoon....

And, my awesome Mom who is running in the Chili Bowl 5K tomorrow! She is a rock star. I'm so proud of her. And good luck to my good ol' college roomie, DaisyDuc and also to Curly Su and Elizabeth, too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

carpe diem

Today was my day.

People always ask me if I'm nervous for the Ironman. Of course I am--but it goes in waves.

Some days I wake up petrified. I can't even believe I signed up. I start thinking about how long that ride is going to be, and can my legs really do it? Can I really get to that finish line?

Other days I wake up and I'm so pumped. I have these weird little flashes of parts of the day--which is strange, because I've never even been to Madison. But I picture myself in the water, on the bike, running in the dark...crossing that line. And I get all giddy inside--like the feeling you get the night before Christmas when you're 7, and everything is magical.

Today I woke up like any other day--no swim this morning so I headed to school and tried unsuccessfully to get a bunch of stuff done. Things just kept flying at me. I felt like I couldn't keep up.

Then, at 11:12, I got a phone call I've been waiting for.

My doctor--not the one looking into my chest stuff, but another one. I held my breath.

All results are normal.

One more round of tests in 6 months and I'm home free.

I felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. Outside, it was 52 degrees and sunny. I knew it was a run day.

After school, headed to doctor #2. Did a few more tests--breathing tests, asthma tests, a pneumonia vaccine (I didn't even know they had such a thing), and another chest x-ray.

Everything looks normal. The chest is a little congested but nothing out of the ordinary--it will just take a bit of time (even a month or a bit more) until things are the way they were before the stupid pneumonia hit.

I couldn't wait to get home and run. I strapped on my Brooks Adrenaline size 10.5 and put on shorts--SHORTS!--to head outside. My workout was supposed to be 1:15 with 3X5 minute pushes and 5 minutes recovery between each. Turned on the iPod shuffle and hit the pavement.

The two miles or so were pretty slow, as I was just getting the feel of things. Probably around 11 minute miles. I know my past few runs have been disappointingly slow and I've been a little down on myself because of it. But for some reason today was different. I felt like I got my legs back. And I wasn't worrying about my lungs. I didn't even wear my HR monitor--I'm not going to be a slave to that thing. It was all about pace today. And the pace was nice and easy.

First push--Pearl Jam's Go came on. I LOVE that song. I got all pumped up and picked up the pace. I have no idea what the pace was for those 5 minutes, but I just kept hammering.

Recovered, then did it again. Tom Petty's Learning To Fly, which as I've mentioned before, for some reason really makes me think of Ironman. Good timing, iPod.

Recovered, and did it one more time. Spirit by the Caesar's. The IM MOO anthem for Wil and I.

Is this thing reading my freaking mind?

I felt great. I felt fast. I felt strong again. The sun was setting but I didn't care.

One more push.

(Wasn't supposed to do 4, but I'm on a roll.)

Then I was close to home. I backed off the pace to do some recovery at the end. I figured I would be negative splitting it, but I wasn't about to even look at my watch until I got home.

Social Distortion's I Wasn't Born to Follow.

*thump thump thump thump* of shoes hitting the sidewalk

There's my house--


1:13.19--negative split by almost 2 minutes.

7.5 miles.

9:51 average pace.

Wouldn't ya know it--that's my exact marathon pace from my PR at The Pig last May.

And just like that, she's back.

Another one JOINS the insanity

Hey!!! Sooooooooooo excited that Chris has joined Wil , qcmier and I (who else am I missing?) on our QUEST for the HOLY GRAIL of IM MOO!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy Chris! You have chosen wisely. :)

Also, had to add that I'm sure I'm overreacting about my cough. (I hope) I swear I never get sick so I'm not very good at knowing how to deal with it! Hopefully Doc will tell me I'm nuts and this cough is nuthin.'

Now that I have a few more minutes, wanted to also say how much my husband rocks. We are REALLY getting excited to go on our backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon in April with our 4 other buddies. I can't WAIT. For his birthday (Friday) I took him to our favorite store for backcountry stuff: The Backpacker's Shop. We drool every time we go in there at all the coolness. He got a sweet pair of boots that are actually on this month's cover of Backpacker Magazine! He was so excited and I was happy to be able to get them for him. While there, I wandered into the female clothing stuff and found this REALLY cool Mountain Hardware shirt:

How cool would that look on me while backpacking the Canyon? Pretty damn cool, I thought. I told him how awesome I thought that shirt was and said maybe I'd have to treat myself before we headed out to AZ.

Well, no need for that, since he wrapped it up and gave it to me for Valentine's Day! What a guy. ;) Thanks, Matt, for not only being my best friend but for being so supportive of me in these crazy tri endeavors!

My club, the Cleveland Tri Club, is having an inter-club social this Friday at Rock Bottom Brewery! How cool is that? The Cleveland West Road Runners and Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association are there, too. I'm really pumped to go, and Matt is coming too so he can meet some CAMBA people and hopefully find some new riding buddies. His buddy Rob moved to St. Louis and I'm such a roadie....so he could use a new partner. Don't get me wrong, mountain biking is a blast and I really do enjoy it, but Matt has a certain element of FEARLESSNESS that I don't really have on the mountain bike. Like, I freak out when I have to jump a log, and he goes down the sides of hills filled with rocks and then through streams and stuff. So hopefully we'll have a good time. :)

It's sunny and almost 50 degrees here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have spring fever.

April 2nd the TRIBE takes on the dirty White Sox for the first game of the season...I can't wait. And, guess who they play at 7:05 on 7/05? (Which just so happens to be my birthday) THE DAMN YANKEES!!! Woo hoo--I must get tickets.

Allright, enough rambling...time for grading!

random stuff

Busy busy so here goes....in list format:
  • had a really great swim yesterday--was able to hold my 100 yard repeats about 5 seconds faster than usual, so I was pretty pumped.
  • had a good session lifting at they gym, too, and held the plank position for 20 seconds longer than usual--excited about that, too
  • my cough is coming back and my chest is sounding BAD...and I'm really nervous. Have a follow-up at the doc's today, so hopefully things will be OK. Canada Jenn (respiratory therapist) said it was fine to run outside, but my other doc friend said I am nuts and that it will make it come back...and sure enough, I noticed it on Sunday night. Ugh. I will HATE MYSELF if I brought this back on just because I ran in 25 degrees.
  • arggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

That's all for now...so busy at work!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rest Day = Time for pictures

Major props to Heather for sending Stephanie's wedding pics today!!! That wedding was so freaking fun. I posted a bunch just 'cuz I was laughing and figured Jaclyn needed to see them.

Jacks, how 'bout our sweet interpretive dance moves? I think we should seriously consider performing.

So this has nothing to do with triathlons....OH WAIT, actually it does, as I had just finished my first half-iron two weeks before this wedding, and had not consumed any beverages nor stayed out past 10pm for a few weeks prior. It may help to explain my sweet dance moves.

Happy Monday! :)

Sam, Steph, Jacks, and me Posted by Picasa

more interpretive shawl dance.... Posted by Picasa

Hmmm....this is what happens when you drink a lot of beer... Posted by Picasa

Steph is gettin' DOWN Posted by Picasa

Interpretive Shawl Dance #1 Posted by Picasa

Not sure what's going on here, but Doug seems to be digging it Posted by Picasa

How cute are these two? Posted by Picasa

Soooooooo much fun dancing!!! Posted by Picasa

All my girls! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I say, F you, treadmill...I do it MYSELF

BTW--I'm quoting the great Pedro Cerrano from Major League. He's talking about Jobu, but I'm talking about the treadmill.

I totally ran outside today.

I just couldn't pass up the sunny, blue-skied 30 degree day. It was AWESOME.

(Canada Jenn my respiratory therapist friend gave me the green light)

She said I've been off the antibiotics for over a week so I should be good to go.

I felt like a RUNNER again.

The first 4 miles were REALLY REALLY slow. I think I was still kind of afraid. I never ever get sick, so the fact that I got so sick kind of freaked me out. I was a bit apprehensive to do too much, too soon. But the thought of 90 minutes on a hamster wheel made me want to hurl.

So I ran really really slow and then negative split it as I got my confidence back. Still pretty darn slow as I usually run this route in 1:16-1:18, but I'll take it for now. It was an 8.2 mile loop and it was great. A fresh layer of snow even fell this morning just to make everything nice and white and clean.

So I've been hydrating all day and now I'm about to hit the hay....so far so good! Tomorrow's a rest day so now I feel like I earned it. :)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

quite a big day planned....

Home Depot...maybe Bed Bath and Beyond...I don't know if we'll have TIME!
Yep, a very exciting Saturday night in TriSaraTops land. :) Matt and I went shopping for BLINDS. Well, first I made Chicken Parmesan and we had some wine, and THEN we went shopping for blinds. WOO HOO!!! Hold me back--I'm getting WAY too wild and crazy. :)

Actually, it was kinda fun, as we just finished our attic into an office and....

Okay, no excuses. We are so domestically lame tonight. Man, I never thought I'd admit it. Guess ya can't have wild and crazy Saturday nights all the time, though!

So I called Canada Jenn, the respiratory therapist and my marathon buddy, and left her a message on both her cell AND home phones. It went something like this:

"Um, hi, Jenn--it's Sara....it's like 7:30 here...you guys are probably out but I was wondering...uh...can I run outside tomorrow? If I'm really really slow? Or will it make my lungs hate me forever? I just really can't stand the thought of an hour and a half on the dreadmill...ha ha! Um, if you could call me tonight and tell me, that would be great, K? Talk to ya soon!"

Yeah, she hasn't called.

Apparently people go out on Saturday nights?

And, I totally know what she's going to say.

Suck it up, sister--hit the treadmill. Your lungs will thank you later. Pneumonia can mess you up for a long time.


I HATE running inside. I feel like such a hamster on a wheel. Unless it's under 10 degrees or hailing, I always prefer running outside. Actually, give me 25 degrees with snow over 80 degrees and sunny ANY day of the week. I overheat like my oh-so-cool '99 Chevy Cavalier on an August day.

Well, I'm gonna have to do it. This should be interesting.

Today I had 2 hours on the trainer and it was doable, due to the Get Your Geek On Podcast and I got to finish the movie Elizabethtown--which for some reason is seriously one of my new alltime favorites. Go rent it NOW.

But tomorrow--it's just me and the ESPN screen at the gym (hopefully something good will be on--NOT golf or nascar)

Better load up the iPod...:)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

change in plans, and a little bit of doubt

So today a little bit of doubt crept in.

Or maybe it's fear.

(Perhaps a bit of both?)

I hit the dreadmill for an "hour easy" run today. But aside from a half hour last week, I hadn't done a run since January 23 when I did 11 in Denver. I thought, "No problem! Easy heart rate...this will be fine."

So I set the treadmill at a 10 minute/mile pace and went to work.

Except my heart rate was SKYROCKETING.

I kept looking at my HR monitor. Could this be true? Huh?

I slowed down, reluctantly.

Still 167 beats.

I didn't want to slow down anymore. To me, anything on the treadmill slower than 10 minutes/mile feels like I might as well not do it. (This is dumb, I know....but I'm coming off 3 years of road racing 5Ks up to a marathon....so I'm used to running relatively fast.)

NOW it's up to 170.

So I slowed down even more. Like, snail slow. Almost walking slow.

And I could hear the voices in my head.

"You've gotta be kidding me--you're "running" almost 12 minute miles."

"You call yourself an Ironman?"

My heart rate monitor was taunting me. And I think I started to let it win.

I remember Coach Kara's advice--lay off the heart rates, they don't matter as much as some say. Heart rates can differ by up to 10 beats, depending upon stress, hydration, fatigue, etc. etc.

I tried to let go of the heart rate monster that was messing with me.

I finished the run with 5.5 miles--but only because in the last 5 minutes I kicked it up to 9 minute miles. This was probably really stupid. I'm recovering from pneumonia, for crying out loud. But, I dunno...I guess I just wanted to feel fast again.

So I'm bagging the Chili Bowl 5K next week. I know myself, and I know that I will be all pissed off if I can't run it in less than 24 minutes. And I know that the chances of that happening are slim to none. Besides, there's a stroke work clinic I can go to, and I need to remember what will help me better reach that starting line on September 10th, you know?

What's my deal? Why are these little speed voices in my head?! It's not like I'm a natural-God-given-talent runner like my brother. He cranked out 17 minute 5Ks over and over again. Hell, he could probably do close to that right now, and he hasn't run competitively in forever. I don't have that talent. I never did.

What I do have--what I have had since the day I was born--is this borderline-irrational determination. I've gone farther than I thought I initially could not necessary from talent, but from not. fricken. quitting. ever.

I think that's why I'm more suited for this endurance stuff. But I KNOW that I need to let go of the sprinter voices in my head. Some of this must be from my swimming years. I don't get it.

This is not a 5K. This is not a 50 yard swim. How many times do I need to repeat that before it gets through my thick skull?

This is not even like trying to pitch a 7 inning perfect game (which I never was able to do). In some ways, it's not even like running a marathon--where there's still a certain element that is really in my control. There is a certain element to Ironman that is beyond my control. There will be many roadblocks along the way on that September day. And even on race day, from what veterans are telling me and what I'm reading, there will be major obstacles. Some I have control over. Some I do not.

What is in my control is the conditioning that I do every day to get to that starting line. And what is in my head to deal with these inevitable obstacles and road blocks.

I need to focus on how far I've come. How in August of 2002 I weighed 175 pounds. How I've struggled with eating issues since I was 7 years old. How I've beat these demons time and time again, despite it often being an everyday battle.

I love my life. At times it's been challenging. But there are far worse things in this world than my struggles. I know I'm made of Iron and I need to keep my mind focused.

It's just every once in a while I think about what I'm doing and it's really daunting.

I guess that's what makes it even better in the end.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Okay, so it's February 8th.

But I just found this article and thought it was pretty good.

Numbers 1-4, 7 and 8 are my biggies.

Especially #2.

Repeat after me, self: You are not a 50 yard sprinter anymore.

You will be an IRONMAN.

How 'bout you?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I think Joe Friel is hiding in my house

Every thing I've been reading from him in Going Long (I've been reading one chapter a night)is strangely paralleling my day.

When I was sick and had to take 10 days off, I read the part about how important recovery was. It was really weird. Every page seemed to be somehow relating to either what happened to me, or what I tend to do when I get sick (like "train through it." DUMB)

And last night, after my combos-induced bender, I made use of his suggestion that an extra hour of sleep is better than any supplement out there. Went to bed at 9:16! Read for 15 minutes and then turned out the light. Here's what I read:

From Chapter 12: Nutrition, the Fourth Discipline:
"It is important to understand our motivation in making the food choices that we do. You may recognize some of the points below as they relate to your relationship with food....

*I've paraphrased JUST a bit*

Food as Self: There may also be periods in your life when you believe that you are a "good" person when you eat well and a "bad" person when you make poor food choices, like the bag of combos you just inhaled. Realize that you are the same person regardless of your food choices. This is important, particularly in conjunction with why we like certain types of food. In order to gain power over food, it is best to avoid defining ourselves by the food choices we make or those combos you just snarfed. Once a choice has been made, it is done. Regardless of its nature, all we can do is focus on the next choice. Worrying about the past is a waste of time."

Seriously, where is he?

In my cupboard?

Show your face, Sir Friel.

BTW--very proud of myself for going to bed an hour early, and then falling asleep by 10 or so!

But I did wake up at 4:30am to go to the bathroom and then laid there until 5:15's alarm....sigh.

Hey, little victories, I guess. :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

combos are the work of the devil

So I got some great recipes from Cooking Light for some superbowl grub (for Matt and I--keeping it low key this year) and I headed to the grocery store to purchase the healthy ingredients.

And then I bought some cheddar cheese combos.

And now I can't stop eating them.

Damn you, Combos! Get out of my pantry!

(but not into my stomach....arg...but I know they're in there...)

THE SUPERBOWL IS OVER! There is no logical reason to eat you!!!!!!

Just one more handful.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

checking my fins

Okay, so I was the "surprise a triathlete" guest on the podcast this week--Curly Su guessed right. :) Kinda strange to hear it now--hope my Cleveland accent doesn't drive people out there nuts. Of course, I don't think I have an accent at all, but when I spent the summer of '02 in D.C. for the James Madison Fellowship thingy, there was basically one social studies teacher from every state--and I got sooooooooooo made fun of for my accent. I mean, seriously...I had a Texan telling me I had an accent! Come on, now! Texas!!! Anyway, if I sound like the Aflac duck then hey, I guess that's just me. :)

So I got back to the pool this morning--yay! Funny thing is, I had these really wierd dreams last night. The Y pool lap swim was from 7-9, but I kept having these dreams that I got up at 7 to get there around 7:30 (to miss the initial rush) and stuff kept getting in my way. First there was a bunch of goats crossing the street.


I'm wondering the significance of goats....seriously...did I accidentally smoke crack last night or something?

Then I got there and the water was shut off and they had to refill the pool......????

So in my dream I started my 3000 yard swim at 8:52 and I only got to do a few laps.


So I did get up at 7:15ish, without an alarm no less! No goats in my way as I headed to the pool.
I had a workout in my bag that I planned on doing the day I got really sick...so it's been on hold for over 2 weeks. Hmmmm. I wasn't sure if I'd feel my fins today so I thought I'd give it a go and see...

400 yd Warm Up

8X75 kick, swim, drill--these were actually really fun. I read on someone's blog this week (I can't remember who's or I'd give them some props here...maybe TarHeelTri?) that instead of using a kickboard you should kick on your back streamlining your arms, since that gives you a better sense of feeling the streamline while you kick. It totally worked!!!

6X200 Negative Split, 20 seconds rest between: Not sure about this one....thought I'd just see how they went and if I didn't NS them, I wouldn't beat myself up too bad. They went like this:


Woo hoo!!!! That was a nice boost to the ol' confidence. I've lost a little bit from my 2 week hiatus, but not too much--and I kicked it strong at the end!

Then 6X100 on :15 rest. Did those a bit slower as I was feeling a little tired.

200 CD

Total: 3000 yards

So I am pretty pumped. Took a shower at the Y, came home, made some blueberry waffles and scrambled eggs, put a pot on for Matt's tea and brewed my yummy Cravings coffee...and Matt woke up just as the teapot whistled.

It's a good day. :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Okay, the secret I've been keeping lies deep in the PODCAST from Iron Wil and the Tri Geek Kahuna!!!

(I'm really bad at keeping secrets...I'm amazed I made it all week:)

So check it out! And you will learn my little secret. :) Let's just say it makes me feel a bit like this:

Hee hee!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I love you, trainer

Hi biking shorts...I know, I missed you too!

Heart rate monitor! It's been way too long! Hope I can keep up with you.

Biking shoes!! *high five* What's UP???????????????

I know, bike trainer...it's been just about a week since the Doc said I could ride you...and I thought my first trip would be to the pool tomorrow morning but I forgot I have a Model U.N. meeting with my kids, so it's me and you tonight, baby!

*spins for 60 minutes easy, no drills, nothing fancy...just nice easy spinning*

Yep, it sure is warm down here in the basement. What's this on my forehead? SWEAT????? Sweat!!! I thought I'd never get to see ya! Where've you been the past 10 days???

Damn, it's good to be back. :)

PS--the secret is almost out....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wind me up, put me down, start me off and watch me go...

I'll be runnin' circles around you sooner than you know...

(that's the song that's playing, in case you haven't realized it)

I'm actually not looking to run circles around anyone. Just fricken RUNNING period would be nice. :)

"A little off center and I'm out of tune, just kickin' this can around the avenue, but I'm allright."

Got back from the Doc's an hour ago. Things are getting better but I do have another inhaler and I have to go back on the 15th for another chest X-Ray.

I guess my theory that I am germ-invincible due to my profession is shot to hell. Oh well! But she did say my oxygen rate is very high so I am pretty much done here. She told me it will definitely be hard to get back into things and I should take it EASY. I'm REALLY going to have to remember this, as I know myself and I know I sometimes have a hard time "taking it easy."

On a side note, I'm keeping a little secret from you...but don't worry, you will find out soon.

And, for a good little laugh, check out Eric's blog...I'm glad to see I'm not the only one having conversations with inanimate objects such as the YMCA pool.

Thanks for the great advice on the running stuff--it's good to hear it from you guys and I will stick with what all you experts say! I know I need to get over worrying about mileage, anyway, and focus more on volume... but I guess it's the mileage-obsessed marathon chick in me that got freaked out. :)

Gotta go pick up a video on Alice Paul...it's actually pretty good...a little HBO movie that came out in 2004 where Hilary Swank does a great job playing Alice, who is one of my favorite "troublemaker" chicks in US History. And it just so happens that Mitchell's Ice Cream (my favorite place besides Graeter's--the ULTIMATE) is next door to Hollywood Video.....hmmmm....

hee hee

I gotta get my butt moving soon!

2 more days. 2 more days....