Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Is this for real?

First--soooooooo excited-- just found out tonight that I'll be working on an awesome oral history project through where I earned my M.A. in history (CSU). I'll be advising a team of other teachers this summer and together we will be collecting, recording, and digitizing oral history about various Cleveland landmarks and places...and I'm getting PAID to do this! Woo hoo!!! I am really pumped. :)

Okay, onto the tri related stuff...been spending this week reading Joe Friel's Going Long, which is AWESOME. Especially for a mostly self-coached chick like myself. It's full of tons of great tips and training suggestions, as well as sample workouts and just good advice. I highly recommend it for anyone who's trying to figure out how the heck ya train for an IM.

In the book, the swim and bike sections are really extensive, and the run section is really small! Basically, Friel swears up and down that you don't need to do ANY runs more than 2 1/2 hours!!! (Unless, he says, you plan on winning...which I DON'T) He says time and time again that since running is so much harder on your body, it takes longer to recover, and anything over 2 1/2 hours will actually not do much good. You should instead spend this extra time on your bike, and focus on shorter transition runs off the bike.

But this is a hard pill for me to swallow...first off, I love running. I'm already up to 2 hours now...well, at least I was before my chest imploded with this stupid bug. Second, I'm coming off a few seasons of road racing, marathons and half-marathons where I PR'd last year by really putting in the miles and doing some serious track work. I know some of you out there do much more than this, but for me, my 50 mile weeks were really intense and I know it helped me PR by 56 minutes from my first marathon (2002) to my second (last year). And losing 28 pounds helped, too. (I can't give all the credit to speed...ha ha)

So I'm not the fastest out there, but for me 2 1/2 hours will be at most probably 15 miles.

15 miles????

Is that the LONGEST I should be running before the freaking IM?

It just seems so wierd to me. Any advice from Chris or other IMers out there (especially IM MOO)? Is this Joe Friel guy onto something? He must be....he has all the credentials in the world.

I dunno...it just seems so....WIERD.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Monday, January 30, 2006

so this is how the other half lives....

The half (or more, I guess, statistically in this country) that doesn't work out, that is.

(Apologies to Jacob Riis...my kids read an exerpt of "How the Other Half Lives" today and for some reason it stuck in my head.)

I guess I forgot how much time you have on your hands when you're not working out! Wierd that many many people work out very little...including myself a few years ago...and how much TIME you have. I feel like I'm twiddling my thumbs here. I cleaned my house before, gave Mugsy a bath, tried a new recipe for dinner (2 thumbs up from Matt and I), and I've already finished grading papers. I even have time to watch 24 tonight....SWEET....and since I don't have to worry about getting up at 5 it's OK if it stresses me out a bit tonight! :)

Man, I gotta start working out. Like, five minutes ago wouldn't be soon enough. I'm so jealous reading all of your workouts.

It's taking all the restraint I have not to go for a run--today was gorgeous! (FYI: Gorgeous for Ohio in January consists of a)sunny and b) above 40 degrees) Settled on taking the dog for a walk.

Yesterday I did manage to have a hot date with Rodney Yee, yogamaster of my DVD player....the Doc didn't say no YOGA. :) Come on, I'm going CRAZY here! Did core work yesterday and today, too...just 'cuz, again, I'm starting to lose it.

I even found myself daydreaming of an apology to the pool. It went something like this:

Dear YMCA Pool,

I know it's been almost 2 weeks since I've seen you. I'm sorry. It's not you...it's me. I just needed some time. Or at least that's what people have been telling me.

I'm sorry I made fun of you for being 20 yards instead of 25. I don't mind swimming an extra length to make 100 yards...even if it totally screws me up in the head because I'm used to four lengths. I promise I won't make fun of you again.

I'll be back on Friday. Please don't be mad at me and make it harder for me than it already will be to get used to you again. I promise I still love you. Will you take me back?


Clearly I've lost my marbles.

I know this is what's best...that it's better to miss a few nice days in January than a LOT of nice days in April! And I really do feel better...all this hydrating and resting (and these serious meds) have worked wonders.

I just can't seem to stop wondering....

Is it Friday yet? :)

Friday, January 27, 2006

things I did today

Well, I stayed true to Doc's orders and stayed home from work, and did NOT work out. What could I have possibly done with my time? Here's a short list:

1. Had some crazy fricken dreams...must have been these crazy meds.
2. Slept soundly until 10! Geez! Must've needed it...
3. Read blogs and trifuel articles. Stared outside at 47 degree, sunny day. Sighed.
4. Checked my blog to find lots of blog buddies wishing me well--thanks guys, I needed it! :)
5. Listened to Iron Wil and Tri Geek Kahuna's Podcast--Loved it loved it loved it! If I knew how to put it on my site I would, but since I don't--go to their sites and immediately download it. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
6. Smiled at a little surprise at the end of the podcast--thanks for cheering me up, Wil! :)
7. Drank 4.5 Nalgene-bottles full of water. That's 144 oz. Enough to float away, I think...
8. Cleaned my house. (Okay, I was starting to go insane at this point)
9. Saw online the Indians are planning on trading Coco Crisp to the Red Sox...damn Johnny Damon again--he started this!!! Got mad. Grrr...vented to Mugsy.
10. Decided I needed to do something productive with my time. Cleaned out my desk drawers.

Yes, the desk drawers have been a bit messy for a while. I'm pretty much a neat freak about everything but drawers. They are my cleaning tragic flaw. It's just so easy to shove stuff in 'em and close them, and everything looks so neat and tidy...

Found some random stuff my mom has been bringing over in shifts, ever since Matt and I bought the place. Stuff from my childhood room. Happened across some pictures--and on the back of them it was scribbled, "Sara's first swim meet: 6/18/85" That puts me at 7 years old. Here I am--check out my sweet racing suit...uh, yeah, that's the one with the turquoise blue background and white polka dots:

I mean, seriously...am I not the most gargantuan 7- year old you've ever seen? I swear I've been 5'8" since age 10....

Apparently, even though I was sans goggles and swim cap, I wasn't half bad. The back of the picture also said, "Finished first 8 and under breast!" Sweet.

Also found my elementary "memory book," aka where my mom kept a bunch of random papers and stuff I made. Definitely got a laugh out of some of these things. Found it interesting that in my "Favorite Sports" section of each grade, the following was listed:

1st: swiming and bike riding (that's not a typo--that's how I spelled it. come on, kid.)

2nd: swiming and bike riding (OK, by 2nd grade I should know there are 2 "m's")

3rd: swimming and roller skating (there we go--but huh? roller skating?)

4th :swimming

5th: swimming and softball

My professions were entertaining, too...I didn't list them until 3rd grade:

3rd: professional roller skater (I'm not kidding...I couldn't make that up, folks)

4th: teacher

5th: teacher and writer

So the moral of the story is, kids know more than they think they do about their future. Except when it comes to roller skating and spelling "swimming."

Tri on, everyone! Enjoy your workouts tomorrow!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


...not much I can do now I guess...

Just got back from Urgent Care a few hours ago. Felt OK today at school, but the nasty cough was not getting any better, so I thought I'd better have someone take a look-see.

3 chest x-rays later, it's offical:

Bronchial pneumonia.

Sara = sad.

So I'm forced to take another day off work and a whole week off of training.


I wish I could think of something enlightening to say, but all I can think is,


On the way home, though, at 6:27 pm, I noticed that the sky was not pitch black like it usually is at that time. In the west, the sky was still a bright blue, with some greenish-yellowish to the clouds. It sort of glowed a bit, and for some reason it made me feel a little better.

All is not lost--things could be much worse, and the days are even getting longer, which is good news.

So, I will be living vicariously through you guys training hard out there--know that you're lucky to be doing it! Enjoy your workouts, and I'll be back with ya as soon as I can.

Take care, and stay healthy!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

the importance of being rested...

(my apologies to Oscar Wilde)

I'm sick.

I thought I just had a hoarse voice yesterday at school. An "allergy cough."

No sirree, this is the real deal.

So much so that I had to do something I NEVER DO--call off from school. I woke up at 4am this morning and realized that I could barely breathe and was almost too weak to stand. Kinda hard to teach 128 9th and 10th graders if when this is the case.

So what do I do? Try to bust into my classroom at 4:45am to type up some neat and orderly plans for my substitute. I HATE leaving sub plans. For me it's harder to plan for a sub (because I like to literally leave every step for every class neatly labeled with post-it notes, etc.) and be absent than it is for me just to be there, which is why I NEVER call off. (Uh, no....no, I've never been accused of being a slightly Type-A control freak...)

But this time I had no option.

And, um, yeah, I couldn't break into my room at 4:45. I got as far as the elevator to my room but apparently it was locked, and all the gates near the stairs were pulled down.

(I guess not too many people are looking to get into their rooms at 4:45am)

So I sheepishly went home and tried the best I could to create some good plans. Emailed them to the right people and my buddy called at 7:52 to tell me everything was fine.

And then I passed out. Like ALL DAY.

I am realizing that I can sit here and talk about training plans, heart rates, mileage, high elevation, etc. but when it comes down to it MY BODY NEEDS SLEEP. IT NEEDS IT NOW. IT NEEDS 8 HOURS.

Wil's posts today were very helpful, as it sounds like she is having roughly the same problems. EXCEPT SHE HAS A SECOND TEACHING JOB AND 2 KIDS. Big difference! How on earth am I having these problems? I feel like I really have no excuse--I NEED to be in bed by 9 and I'm going to try and heed the advice from posters to Wil about having a cup of tea, reading, or "decompressing" for 15 minutes or so.

Until then, my body is officially giving me the proverbial finger.

The goal is to go back to school tomorrow, but if I need to, I am already talking myself into another day of sub plans.

But this time I won't arrive at school to get things ready until at least 6. :)

And one more thing....I picked videos based upon my mood usually, but this song came on in the car driving to the airport with TriShannon and I forgot how much I really liked it. Not necessarily because it was in Spiderman 2 (although I did actually think that was a pretty good movie) but the lyrics make me think of why I'm doing this. My best friend Jill always tells me that I can do anything I set my mind to. So does my mom. This is sweet, but usually I write this off a little bit because they are my best friend and my mom, and that's what best friends and moms do, you know? So on the plane ride back I put this song on in the iPod and really payed attention to the lyrics. I really like it--it fits this week that perhaps on September 10th, 2006 all my fears and self-doubts will be wrong, and Mom and Jill (who know me best) will be "vindicated."

So in another nod to Wil since she does this all the time, that's why I picked the song. If I were really cool I'd know how to add mp3s to my post so I could put it here, but here are the lyrics:

Vindicated: Dashboard Confessional
Hope dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye
And roped me in
So, mesmerizing and so hypnotizing,
I am captivated, I am

{Chorus}VindicatedI am selfishI am wrong
I am rightI swear I'm right
Swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself
So clear

Like the diamond in your ring
Cut to mirror your intention
Oversized and overwhelmed
The shine of which has caught my eye
And rendered me
So isolated,and so motivated
I am certain now that I am


So turnup the corners of your lips
Part them and feel my finger tips
Trace the moment, fall forever
Defense is paper thin
Just one touch and I'll be in
Too deep now to ever swim against the current
So let me slip away
So let me slip away
So let me slip away
So let me slip against the current
So let me slip away

Slight hope
dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption...

So I was hoping that I'd be able to relate the song to a great workout this morning. No such luck. And now, ladies and gentlemen, this post has become a novel. Sorry...it's just that I'M SO BORED....need to make some soup and get to bed so I can really get better this time.

Yes, I SWEAR this time I've learned my lesson.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Snowshoe chicks Posted by Picasa

TriShannon and I as I lean back in her Jeep Wrangler at the airport to try and get a picture! Kind of a strange angle...oh well! :) Posted by Picasa

Mindy, her buddies, and myself at the Atomic Cowboy (how fun is THAT bar name?) Posted by Picasa

Mindy and I Posted by Picasa

Mindy and I after a few beers (sorry Mynd...had to put this one in...!!! :) Posted by Picasa

Can't decide which is better...color or black and white! I love them both.... Posted by Picasa

My attempt at an Ansel Adams... Posted by Picasa

Heading up the hill! Posted by Picasa

Snowshoe trails Posted by Picasa

home sweet home

I'm baaa-aack!

Glad to be home. Had an awesome time this weekend!!!!! So much fun. I will post pics later.

I somehow came home with an AWFUL cough though....not sure why but I think it might be allergy related, or perhaps from the dry air, too. Ugh. Missed my swim today and I'm trying not to beat myself up over it. After all, everything I read says that it's OK to work out if the cold is above your neck, but not a good idea if it's BELOW the neck. Since my chest sounds ROTTEN, I figured that I'd better take it easy.

Which, I probably should have done before I ran 2 hours yesterday in very high elevation.

Although, I must say, I was quite proud of myself! It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I definitely had to slow way down, especially at the beginning, and up hills...but other than that it was OK! It was definitely hard to keep my heart rate down. I felt like I only covered about 2.3 miles in 2 hours. (Probably in reality somewhere around 11-11.5?) That may also have something to do with the reason why my chest sounds like a cave and my voice is lost. :( Oh well--it was worth it.

So now, I'm trying to HYDRATE like crazy, take Mucinex, and I KNOW THAT I NEED TO SLEEP MORE. No excuses. I told Matt again that I REALLY need to be in bed NO LATER than 10. And so does Mugsy. (Since he barks like crazy when he goes to bed) It's hard and I don't want to upset his schedule (he likes to grade papers late at the kitchen while watching ESPN with Mugsy) but he's totally understanding and now will do grading in the basement while Mugsy is in bed. I think that's also part of the reason I've been sick now twice. I wish I could be one of those peeps who only needs 4-5 hours of sleep.....sigh.....alas, I am MINIMUM 7 or I am toast!!

Thanks for all the well-wishes on my journey! It was so fun. We went snowshoeing in the mountains which was AWESOME! We stopped in Boulder--fun little town--and lots of interesting people watching. For example, there are these really expensive, nice, upscale shops...and then these older hippie folk who try to read your palm and smoke pot right there on the street. Huh?

Ran into a friend from high school on the street in Boulder! How wierd is THAT?

Also, one of Mindy's best Denver buddies is marrying a guy I used to flip burgers with at a country club snack bar near here. We had fun meeting again at a bar. Huh?

I'm convinced no one who lives in Denver (except for TriShannon's boyfriend) is actually FROM Denver. It's lots of transplanted Midwesterners and East Coasters. I do like it there and they definitely have the sunshine I crave, but I think I might miss water. The mountains are gorgeous though!

Ugh......... soooooooooo tired, this time change really screwed me up! It was worth it though--had so much fun with Mindy and TriShannon! Now I need to sleep sleep sleep and drink drink drink to get back into the training. I HATE MISSING WORKOUTS.


Know I need to though.

I know, I know....most of you have already told me that it's better to miss a few now then to pay for it later....


Stop!!!! No panicking. It's January and I will be fine if I have to take it easy this week.




Need to get ready, the bell is about to ring! Pics to come soon!

Friday, January 20, 2006


I'm off!!!

Heading to Colorado this weekend to visit friends in Denver, snowshoe up in Boulder, do a long run at high elevation and get my butt kicked, and have some FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll post some pics of our adventures when I get back.

Happy training everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

2 minus in self-control, 6:11am, and a "new" PR

So I've always had a little problem with self-control.

Like, since I was born.

My mom loves to tell the story of how, in elementary school, my report card would have straight "1's" (they gave numbers, not letters, when we were little, 1 (good) to 3 (not so good)--who knows why)--my cursive was perfect, my math facts were great, and I could read above grade level. The only 2 (and sometimes 2-) was in "self-control." So I'd take my report card home and then proceed to get all mad, cry, and turn red in the face about why I didn't understand why I HAD A 2 IN SELF CONTROL!!! WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL???? BUT I KNOW ALL MY MATH FACTS!!! ARRGGGGGGGGGGGJAKSDFLJSAKDLFJ!!!!

Hence, my mom would try not to laugh hysterically and say, "Well, Sara, apparantly your teacher knows you pretty well."

Okay, so I've been working on that. For like 20 years.

So today when I arrived at the pool at 5:45 to hit it hard before I had to be at school for an 8am parent meeting, I was *slightly* annoyed when it was not open. There was a line of us waiting. The 2 guys in front of me were joking and making small talk, which is great. But as each minute ticked by, my self-control started to head into the 2- range. I finally asked the front desk what was up.

The lifeguard slept in.


So at 6:11 the pool FINALLY opened!!! Arg. So much for my 3000 yard workout. I was going to have to cut things short. Grrrrr. Could feel the frustration mounting.

So I jumped in, and cut my warm up and cool down short, with the intention of focusing on what I know I really need--some technique, drills, and stroke work. I tried to do what the sharks from the swim meet Friday did--keep my butt outta the water. It was a lot harder than I expected! I also focused on low stroke count and trying to glide and get a good catch in the water. These are things I read in my book last night, The Woman Triathlete in the swimming chapter by Barb Lindquist. I figure she probably knows what she's talking about. :) So I did some of those drills and got my stroke count even lower, which was good.

Then I started 6X200 with a negative split. Oooh. Tough. Still feeling the burn from the weights. I really focused on form for the first 5 and then figured I'd see if I just did the 6th "naturally," if my form would have improved.

Wouldn't ya know it--I PR'd by 9 seconds. (I don't count anything I swam before 1992 into my PRs) On my last one. Without a dive in start or anything.

How 'bout that.

Perhaps I am learning to channel my frustration in a positive way.

It only took me 28 years. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

holy temperature change, batman

Okay, so I went to bed and it was 51 degrees.

I woke up to 3 inches of snow and 28.


Currently I am watching my US History kids take their midterm, which is about as exciting as this. (props to jennifer p. for that great site)

I am pretty sore from weights yesterday...although I must admit in a strange way I enjoy being sore from lifting. It makes me feel like I did something...in a slightly sadistic way. Tonight it's a nice easy 90 minutes on the trainer. I have a few movie options:

Sex and the City Season 6 Special Features (an hour I think)
Cinderella Man
Kingdom of Heaven

I guess it depends upon what mood I'll be in! March of the Penguins made me almost CRY on Saturday....some parts were so sad!!!!

Got some great feedback from you all on the HIM vs. Century this summer. I'm actually thinking about possibly doing both...I know it sounds nuts but I think it could really be a good thing. The Sweet Corn Challenge has 50 mile routes, too...so perhaps I could do that at the very least. But I dunno...the Century could be a good thing, too. It is actually quite hilly in Richfield, Ohio...I'll see how things progress this spring and summer and make the decision from there. I definitely need to DO the SCC, as it's sooooo fun. Fully SAG supported, tons of food, and at the end all the sweet corn you want with a bluegrass band. We get really excited about our sweet corn around here. Or maybe that's just me. (I'm such an Ohio geek) It's not like I would "race" the SCC, as it's really just a day long tour with a picnic and party at the end.

I may be TEMPTED to "race" the HIM, *cough cough* as I have been known to have a hard time reigning in the speed when in a race situation. But--if I had done 50-100 miles the week before, that would probably take care of THAT physically, at least! Plus, Wil and maybe even Curly Su will be there...and I know for sure that Wil is not planning on racing it, so I could probably hang with her. That would definitely keep me in line. That would then be 5 weeks before IM MOO....so I could start tapering shortly thereafter.

This could work....

Could this work?

I guess I have lots of time to figure it all out! I would need to register for Steelhead soon, but the Sweet Corn Challenge is pretty much an open event.

Matt and I went to the swim meet for my high school (where I teach) vs. his on Friday! It was fun! Good to see the kids in action. Talk about some serious sharks! I was a bit intimidated. These kids could whoop my ass. I really need to work on swimming with less drag...mostly getting my butt outta the water. My hips tend to sink and I think that's holding me back a bit. Hopefully I'll get some time to work on that tomorrow at the pool.

Last but not least, congrats to Eric on his award from HFP Racing! He did the "Wheelie Fun" tri/du series and was runner up for his age group! That's some SERIOUS competition, folks! He will definitely kick butt at IM USA!

Allright, gotta get to grading...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

there's a gnome in my room

That's the only logical explanation for why I set my alarm last night for 5:15am and I laid in bed waiting for it to go off, only to find out it was 6:27. Huh???? How the heck did that happen? It was TURNED OFF! Arg.

Actually, this probably works out better...it will make for a later dinner tonight, but I will just bump my tempo run from Thursday to today, after I review with my freshman for their midterm. Then I can swim on Thursday and Friday, when (due to midterms) I don't need to be at school until 9. I probably needed the sleep, too, as my throat is still a bit scratchy and I was SO FIRED UP after watching 24 last night that I had a hard time falling asleep!!! So perhaps the gnome is onto something.....

I think that 24 stresses me out too much. I can't fall asleep after watching it. My new plan is to tape it and watch it on my long trainer rides. But can I really make it to the weekend without knowing what happens? Agh!! I fricken love that show. I can honestly tell you that aside from Sportscenter, it's the only show I really tune in to watch. Reality TV makes me dumber and I can feel the brain cells leaving my cerebral cortex, so I don't watch any of that. (My apologies to anyone who loves "Skating with Celebrities" or other said crap)

I'm thinking about doing the Steelhead Half-IM on August 5 instead of the Century Ride I was going to do on the 29th. I didn't think I'd be able to do a half close enough, but not too close, to IM MOO due to weekend conflicts...but this one would work out. Is it better for me to do a century ride with some hills OR a HIM about 6-8 weeks before the big day? I'm a weak biker so initially I thought it would be better for me to do the century.....but perhaps I should do this HIM since I've only done one....and I could treat it as practice.

Any thoughts?




Sunday, January 15, 2006

back in the saddle again

Well, after 2 days of rest, lots of zinc tablets, and 4-32 oz nalgenes of water a day, I'm back! Did a 1:50 ride and 30 min run brick yesterday, and aside from the temperature dropping from 60 degrees Friday to 29 Saturday(!!), it felt great! Today I met the Solers for 10-11 miles at a nice easy 10:30 pace. It went pretty well, and then we went out for coffee at Caribou afterwards, which is always fun!

Headed to the grocery store after that to pick up some peppers and tomatoes for my homemade turkey chili (currently in the Crock Pot--YUM-O), and ran into Debbie selling girl scout cookies at the store with her daughter! Debbie just did IMFL in November and lo and behold she even had pics to share with me!!! So cool. I got goose bumps standing there in the grocery store looking at her pictures. She even had this awesome M-dot neckace on...I soooooooooo must have one when I finish IM MOO. :)

So later on it's core work for me, then some chili, and then some cards with our buddies tonight! Thank God for three-day weekends! (or thank MLK, Jr., I guess!)

Can't wait to head to Denver this weekend to snowshoe with my buddy Mindy! It will be nice to get a little change of scenery.

I'm also pumped to read how Tammy's first marathon went! She's probably finishing just about now (is AZ 2 or 3 hours behind OH? I can never remember...) and I'm sure she kicked butt!

Stay warm....

Friday, January 13, 2006

So Why Am I Doing This, Part II

Okay, one of my first posts ever was a little rant called, "Why am I doing this, anyway?" in which I pretty much walked through my past to see what it is in me that makes me want to conquer IM MOO. Well, this has been a challenging 2006 so far and my training has really been my grounding force. I actually started writing this around Christmastime, when I was so moved and upset after seeing a news story. I thought maybe I'd try to explain why I was doing this to someone in the future. As my writing developed, that someone became the daughter I might have someday. OK--Big IF, I know...but for some reason it just fit. I'll have to do a son version, too, just in case. And if all else fails, my little niece is already here and can read it eventually.

So this is long. Really long. I added links in the letter for this blog only. The real deal is printed out and now in an envelope in my dresser drawer. For some strange reason, writing this made me feel like I was understanding myself and my desire to do this thing even more.

Wil got me so pumped up last night with her post that I thought I'd share this one.

Here goes.

To the daughter I might have someday…

I know you’ll never know me when I was 28. I often wondered if I could have talked to my mother at my age (or at least had a rational conversation with her, since she had me at 26), what would it be like? Would I see a lot of myself in her? I think the answer is yes for me. I don’t know what it is for you, but for now I’ve pretended that you were 28 and I’ve told you what’s on my mind now. Right this second. Here goes.

I’m currently embarking on a long journey to see what I’m made of. This thing called Ironman has sort of dominated my life since I began to contemplate it last year. I decided, at the urging of a few buddies and at the gnawing of a little voice inside of me that just wouldn't shut up, to throw my hat into the ring last September 12. I remember sitting in my classroom, staring at the computer screen. Reading the long waiver. “Blah blah blah....possible death...no refunds...Are you SURE you know what you are getting into?” the waiver read. I thought long and hard.

Are we ever really SURE what we are getting into in life?

I don’t think so. But I knew in my heart that I could do this.

So I pointed and clicked—and it was done. The single scariest mouse-click I’d ever made in my entire life. My hands were shaking. I had a huge goofy grin on my face. I ran to my friend’s room next door to tell her the news….

“I’m in!!!”

Since then, lots of my friends and family members have asked me, “WHY?” They can’t imagine why anyone would ever put their body, their mind, their personal life, or their sleep schedule through the grueling training that is necessary to complete an Ironman. I’ve found myself asking that often, too.
Why did I do this?

I think the answer is actually partly answered by you.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the stories of my Ironman I did this year, and how much love, patience, and support your father provided me to help me accomplish my goal. I’d like to think that as you grow up, you’d see me continue to set my goals high, whether it be with racing, career, or life. High enough so that they are almost out of reach. High enough that I have to stand on my tiptoes to even touch them. I’d like to think that it shapes who you are and your image of what you can be, as it was inspiring for me to see my mother, a self-proclaimed “non-athlete” take up running 5Ks at age 53. She’s amazing for it, and it’s really helped me understand where I get my drive and persistence.

You’re probably also used to my little history lessons and political rants at the breakfast table or in the car. I probably argue with the TV and constantly throw my opinion in there…especially when the topic is one of two things: foreign affairs and education. I probably am saying that I could do it better—half joking, and half serious. You probably roll your eyes every time I relate something in the news to something or someone from the past. But that’s who I am, too. I definitely got that from my mother! I can’t wait to see what your passions are and to support you in whatever you choose to do with your life. I went into teaching to show my students that individual people have the power to change the world and write history, and I want you to experience that power, too.

I read this news story on Christmas Day (of all things), about an “honor killing” in Pakistan. This was 2005. This happened TODAY. Aside from this little blip on my computer screen, I didn’t hear anything else about it. No one at school was outraged when I got back in January. No one on the news mentioned more than this.

Another story told of a beheading of a teacher in Afghanistan by Taliban rebels. Can you guess why they invaded his home and beheaded him?

Because he taught both boys and girls in his classroom.

It really got me thinking how lucky I am to live in a country where I do have equal rights, and how enraged I am that it’s 2006 and there are far too many countries where women and girls do not have equal rights. How long will it take? Honestly, it seems like such a clich├ęd question. But I’m serious—will it be gone when you’re 28?

Then I also got to thinking—this country is not immune to discrimination based upon gender. And really, when you think about it, it hasn’t been that long since it’s been legally dismantled. 1920, as far as history is concerned, is (in a historical perspective) about 5 minutes ago. I can tell you, at 28, that even I have experienced gender discrimination. It’s so ingrained in our culture that sometimes I think we don’t even realize it. Good girls don’t say this or that. Good girls don’t have muscles and don’t sweat. Sometimes I think we make excuses for it. I wonder--will this be gone by the time you’re 28?

As a student of history, I have learned about so many great leaders that have tried to rid the world of various kinds of discrimination, and I’ve learned that change can be excruciatingly slow. But, nonetheless, change happens. I think about the opportunities I have to work where I work, live where I live, say what I want, and physically do what I can. I’m so lucky. I’m so blessed to be able to do these things. I have more opportunities than women did even just a generation ago.

But the more I study history and even the more I listen to the news, I realize that my opportunities are not shared globally. In fact, sometimes I feel as if I am in the minority.

To me, that’s why I do these crazy things like run marathons and do an Ironman. It’s the same reason I vote.

Because I can.

Quite simply, that’s reason enough. There doesn’t need to be any other reason besides that. Why can I do this? Why do I do this—put my body and mind through vigorous tests, both physically and emotionally? I owe it to you. I owe it to myself.

I owe it to her

and her.

I owe it to her

and her.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without her

or without her.

For me, I see how hard these women fought and the sacrifices that were made so that I could do this if I wanted to. So that I could play this if I wanted to. So I could run this if I wanted to.

I do it to celebrate choice. Free will. Things women weren’t always able to have: even in this country. Things too many women today do not have.

I want you to see that. I want you to celebrate this too, whatever your choices may be...and wherever your free will takes you. For I truly believe the saying: “Women who are well-behaved rarely make history.”

So I guess that’s why I did it. I hope it makes sense.

And I can’t wait to meet you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

hit by a truck

That's how I feel this morning! Ugh! Where the heck did this come from???!!!

Last night I started to feel a little wierd, like that feeling you get when you might be getting sick. So on the way home I picked up some zinc tablets and stuff. Went for my run at 5 which was a nice easy 45 minutes--I love those runs! But this time, I felt like POOP. I could barely hold a 10:15 pace and was dizzy! What the heck????? Got home and CRASHED. I went to bed at 8:30! I had my swim bag ready to go for 5:30am.

Got up at 2am because my throat was so swollen...ugh..decided maybe to pass on the swim and slept in until 6:30. I still don't feel great--very tired and weak. I might try the swim tonight at adult lap swim, but that's not until 8:45pm so I'm thinking maybe I should just rest. I'm supposed to weight train today, too. Hmmm....maybe I can do that?

So now I'm beating myself up a bit for missing a workout...although if I slept for TEN HOURS last night perhaps it's my body's way of telling me something.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

way too much fun

OK, clearly I've been having wayyyyyyyyyy too much fun with my blog. Good thing that work is slow the next two weeks and I can (sort of) afford it! I did get my tests graded on time, BTW--whew! :) I've been staying later to help some freshmen get ready for their first midterm exam, which has actually been kind of fun.

I love what I do.

I just need to put that out there, so when I have a bad day, I can remember it. I absolutely love what I do and at the moment can't imagine doing anything else.

When people ask me what I do and I tell them I'm a teacher, they usually give me a strange look. They then say, "What grade?" And I say, (depending on the year) 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th, and the look gets very different. It's kind of a mixture of pity, shock, and the look you give a crazy person who's mumbling to themselves on the street corner downtown. I often get comments and questions like, "But aren't they BIGGER than you?" "You're so young! Do they actually listen to you?" "How on earth do you PUT UP with teenagers? I can't stand teenagers...." and "Better you than me!"

I guess my answers are
1) yes
2) most of the time
3) by having two things: a thick skin and a good sense of humor and
4) fine with me! :)

I love the fact that I never have the same day twice. Ever. I love the fact that often it challenges me and makes me frustrated. It keeps me going and lights a fire under me. I love the small victories I get to see in room 221--whether its a grade or just a smile.

Kind of the same reason I love tri--and so far am loving this training. I know there will be days when I hate it. Days when I wish I signed up for something else. Days people will say, "Aren't people faster than you?" "But you're so young--shouldn't you be doing other things with your time?" "I can't stand running!" and "Better you than me!"

My responses today to these questions are
1) yes
2) right now I can't imagine doing anything else with my free time
3) I used to, too--come on a run with me sometime
4) I don't know what my response to this is!

I'm often left speechless when people tell me that it's "better me than them." I don't know what to say to that one. It's the same thing I say when my friend in med school describes what dissecting a cadaver is like. But I really don't think it's "better me than them." I don't know how this story's going to play out. I don't know the ending and heck, I don't even know what next week holds. It's a mystery. I'm no expert. There are definitely a lot of people out there who are 100 times "better" than me at this stuff. But with IM it's not really about that (for me at least.) It's about the journey.

Never the same day twice.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

well how do ya like them apples? it works!

this is an audio post - click to play

somebody call Guinness....

...the book of world records, that is--not the beer. I was the only one in the pool today for half of my workout! Holy cow!! Usually there's about 8 triathletes, 5 swimmers, and 3 or 4 older ladies who like to "pool bob" crammed into the little 5 lane, 20 yard pool at the Y. (Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit) So I was shocked to have my choice of lanes! The stars must be aligned. TriEric came around 6ish I think and then when I left there were still only 4 of us!

Had a very good swim today--I warmed up, then did some 100 repeats with very little rest between. I was supposed to do them "comfortably hard," but at a pace I could hold for 12 repeats. I ended up doing about 1:41-1:46 for each one, which I was happy with! It's a far cry from my sprinting days, but those days are over anyway! :) I negative split them, too. Maybe getting faster at swimming distance is like getting faster at running distance...you need your endurance base, but you need to do your "tempo runs" and 400-800 repeats, too. Perhaps that's what these 100s will do. Or maybe I'm just dreaming.

I thought I'd see if it was faster for me to shower there, rather than drive the 1 mile home to shower. It was--except when I reached in my bag for my shampoo and stuff, my razor blade cap apparently came off. I sliced the hell outta my knuckle. I looked like an axe murderer coming out of the shower--you ladies (and serious tri guys) know how it is when you cut your leg shaving? Such a small little knick with sooooooo much blood? Yeah, it was like that. Oh well!

Um, I still need to grade those papers. Doh! One class down, 2 to go. My freshman will freak out if they have to wait more than a day for their grade. Time to kick it into high gear!

Some lifting this afternoon (after I stay late at school to help some freshman get ready for their first midterm exam ever next week--talk about freaking out!) and then a nice relaxing night tonight!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Woo hoo!

Okay, MEGA KUDOS to Curly Su for her help in assisting non-technical me with adding some stuff to my blog!

(I also just used an hour and a half that I was supposed to use grading papers....oops...hee hee)

Hope you enjoy the links! Now I can easily check on all my blog buddies.

I need to hurry up and get grading so I can hit the hay for tomorrow's swim....5:20 comes awfully early. But after reading how Wil's day begins at 3:30 (yes, you saw that right. THREE-THIRTY.), I feel almost like that's sleepin' in!

papers! must...grade...papers...

a much needed rest day...

Both physically and mentally. Whew! What a week. I am glad I made it through the training schedule and accomplished the goals I set out to do. Thanks for the advice from my posters on last post--and for telling me to chill out a bit. :) I really need to do that more...sometimes I think it would help me to be just a little teensy weensy bit of a slacker, you know? I have sometimes *cough cough* been known to take things too seriously. :)

This weekend brought me some good news and some bad...my friend in surgury is home and doing much better, and I talked to my Chicago buddy and her Dad is home and his heart surgery went well. So my prayers were answered on that end. On a bad note, I've been praying tons for 2 kids from a nearby suburb who were in an awful car accident Friday after school....just leaving the school parking lot and hit a tree. None were wearing seat belts. They are the sons of 2 of my mom's friends. One is looking like he will be OK...but one is not. This has really been a rough start to this year for my friends and loved ones. I hope things turn around soon. I feel like I keep mentioning bad news in my posts but it's been on my mind and has translated to my training, you know? I try to focus on the positive and hope for the best....

So tonight maybe a little yoga, and a nice relaxing dinner. I went hog wild at Trader Joe's this weekend--love that place. These cinnamon almonds I got there are so addictive! Hopefully Matt and I will have a nice night to chill out and then it's back to the pool bright and early Tuesday morning.

Hope everyone in blogland is having a good Monday!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

lesson learned = stick to the game plan

OK, I've officially learned my lesson. I need to focus on what will get me across that line sub 17 on September 10th. According to the plan I'm following, I was supposed to do 1:50 run today below 164 beats or so. I decided to break with the plan and try the Indoor Tri for fun. First and foremost, it was very fun to meet Curly Su! She kicked butt, too--way to go! Other than that, it was not so much fun.

The 2 hour round trip drive clued me in and I actually said out loud in my car on the way there, "WHY did I sign up for this?" But, it was easy to find and a nice facility. I was excited to do the bike first, as I've really been working hard on that and lifting weights so I wanted to go all out. So I road as hard and fast as I could (ONCE AGAIN--that's NOT IN THE PLAN, SELF) and kept my bike at a high gear level (10-11). Most people around me on the same bike were in levels 4-6. I felt great--I pushed to exhaustion (ahem--I SHOULDN'T BE DOING THAT ANYWAY IN JANUARY--why don't I LISTEN to my inner monologue????!!!!). I felt that my perceived level of exhertion was about 20-22mph if I was on my road bike, so it made sense when I got 7.2 miles on the nose at the end of 20 minutes. I was pumped. 2 sweet girls next to me gave me a high 5. I was 1-1.5 miles farther than any of the other people that did my heat.

Now, I know it's not an exact science, so I'm trying not to let it bother me. But some of the bikes apparantly weren't calibrated all that well, so to make up for it, the race directors decided to give EVERYONE 7.2 miles covered. I was like, wait, what if you actually GOT 7.2? Do you get rounded up to anything? Uh, no. Everyone now gets equal on the bike. Just my luck. I kicked butt and didn't get much to show for it. So despite finishing 1-1.5 miles faster than everyone else in my heat, we all ended up with the same distance. Sigh. (FYI--My husband is laughing at me by the way and said, "I thought you weren't going to do this thing hard or get wrapped up in times and distances?" I was like, yeah...that was rational me talking. This is irrational me, so deal with her. :)

So anyhoo, my legs were shot after that hard bike so I ran and swam the best I could. Whaddya do. It wasn't very fun though, but I'm not big on working out indoors to begin with. Aside from meeting the infamous Curly Su and deciding to do some runs together, which is way cool, I can't say I really accomplished anything towards my IM goal. And I'm annoyed to boot. Grrr....

Should have done the following things:

1) STUCK TO MY PLAN. Did the long slow run like I was supposed to.

2) If I did this thing, I shouldn't have gone all out. Not balls to the wall on the bike like I did. Now I'm pretty sore. STUPID STUPID ME--and it didn't even "count!!!!!!" I guess I got what I deserved. I shouldn't have done that.

So....I guess I'd better rethink signing up for the Chili Bowl 5K I was going to do with my mom and do my long slow run instead. I need to remember to keep my focus. Fast 5K times aren't going to do diddley squat for me in September any more than my years of 50 yard sprints are going to help me with the 2.4 swim. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS Sara.

Figures also that it's 45 degrees and sunny--a perfect day for a long run....arg....

Okay, I'm going to stop beating myself up now and take a little catnap. TriSaraTops the Idiot, signing off....

Saturday, January 07, 2006

luck at Hollywood Video

So I went to the video store last night to pick up something to make my 1:40 ride this morning less mind-numbing...and the Sex and the City Season 6 Volume 2 was actually there! Gasp! I snatched that up, and also grabbed March of the Penguins and Kingdom of Heaven (gotta throw the history epic in there, and Orlando Bloom to boot). I never had HBO, but I really loved the show Sex and the City, so I have been watching them season at a time and have been waiting for this DVD for MONTHS. Someone has been a Sex and the City hog at my local Hollywood Video. It's the series finale and I've been left hanging!!!!

Anyway, watched it on the trainer today and got to the final episode. Then I had to stop and go out for my 25 minute run. Note to self: Must wear sunglasses when it's snowing. I feel like my eyeballs got pelted with little snowballs the whole time! Had some great tunes on my iPod from Wil to keep me going. I think "Spirit" by the Caesars is my new IM MOO anthem.

Got home and took a shower, then Mugs and I watched the rest of the series finale. I am not much of a cryer, but I must admit I squirted some at the end there....SUCH a good show. Bummer it's not on anymore.

Tomorrow is the indoor tri--man, I gots to get up EARLY to drive the hour to where it is. Ugh. I am just kind of treating it as a nice brick workout at a tempo pace. Or at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself to do. Sometimes I have a knack of getting too competitive when I need to back off and just have a good workout--it's not time for me to break any records, just build a base! I need to remember that if I start getting carried away and trying to hammer too hard. There will be plenty of time for that!

I'm thinking of doing a sprint in June just for fun so I can hammer hard--I love sprints! Just when I feel like I'm going to die, it's over. Plus, it's about a mile down the road from our buddies, so we could go visit them.

Can I tell you how FRICKEN EXCITED I am to go backpacking in the Grand Canyon in 4 months????????? We watched the video they sent us last night--kinda funny, as I know they are trying to scare us because it is VERY hard and you need to be prepared, but they actually had a segment telling you how to poop in the Canyon. They described where to dig, how deep the hole should be, etc. and had some actor guy walking with a shovel up the side of a hill and digging a hole....what a great acting job!!!

BTW, my husband is the cutest guy ever. He knows that I've been trying yoga for the past month or so and really enjoying it...although Cliff is right, Rodney Yee yoga videos are definitely tough!!! Anyway, when shopping for his dad's b-day present today he saw a pair of Nike yoga pants on clearance and snatched them up for me. What a guy. :)

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Well, I got a good night's sleep last night--missed one hell of a National Championship game from what I understand, but got a great night's sleep. Besides, the only game that mattered to me was the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Monday when the BUCKEYES BEAT THE IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) But I digress.

Woke up and had a great swim--good and solid. I think I may have to accept the fact that I'm just not a fast distance swimmer. 8 years of sprinting the 50 freestyle is great but it really doesn't do much for your 2.4 mile time, ya know? Sigh....

Got to school and got a few emails from my college buddies. One, in Chicago, lost her grandfather at Thanksgiving, her aunt has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemo, and her father had a heart attack last night. I called her as soon as I could on my lunch break. My heart just goes out to her--I can't even imagine.

My other college friend just made the difficult decision to sever ties to a boyfriend of 6 years...yes, 6 years...because she knew it wasn't right and he wasn't treating her like he should. She's been in the process of breaking up/trying to fix the situation for about a year, and I know how hard this must be on her. She just got an apartment, so I know she means it this time. My heart goes out to her, too.

Then at work one of my friends today had emergency appendicitis surgury and it was not going as easily as planned. She'll be OK, but I know she's in a lot of pain now.

All these things made me feel very grateful for what I have and for my friendships with each of these people. I hope I can support them through these things....it kind of puts things in perspective, you know?

I can't think of anything better to do now except go for a nice hour long run and then do some yoga tonight. After that I'm going to write my buddies a nice card and send some flowers their way. It sort of makes my problems seem very pale in comparison.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

so. tired.

couldn't sleep last night.


I'm serious. I really think I didn't sleep at all. Maybe for a half hour? At one point I almost just got up and watched the news at 4am. Good thing I didn't though as that story out of West Virginia is so sad and has me tearing up as it is...

Also, for about an hour or so, an animal was POUNDING on our chimney cap...could it really be Floyd the Raccoon back for revenge????? I swear, if that freakin' thing gets back in...no more Mrs. Nice Chick.

So I'm going to try to ride on the trainer, but my hour run with speedwork is SHOT. Maybe I'll try tomorrow. Ungh. zZzzZzZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"Royalty" for a day

So I'm a total geek and I'm really excited that my tri club just announced who "won" our little "Holiday Training Camp." Basically, it's a 10 day virtual "camp" where we kept track of our workouts and were assigned point values. 1 mile ran = 4 points, 100 yards swam = 1 point, and 3 minutes on trainer = 1 point. It was a good way to keep us motivated during these holidays, ya know? We had to post our results every day and I didn't want to type, "Sat on my ass and ate cookies" while everyone else was doing 2-hour bricks. So I really worked out consistently and put in some good volume with only one day off during camp (the first Monday--it ended Sunday and I take every Monday off).

It's official--I ended up with 275 points and tied for the "Queen" of camp! Woo hoo! I thought there was no way I'd catch our top scorer, as she rocks and is an ass-kickin' triathlete. I'm sure if we went for speed she'd have me whooped, but for just this once, the time you put into it counted more! I have to admit I'm a little excited. :) They're giving out "crowns" to the King and Queen (s) at our winter meeting. tee hee...even if it's a Burger King crown, I'll just put it on my little age-grouper trophy shelf with pride.

I'm also pumped because the Nakon Foundation put a sweet pic on their website! My mom teaches 3 year olds and had Karen Nakon's daughter in her class a few years ago. Karen died of breast cancer on her 38th birthday. They set up this Turkey Dash in her memory and my mom, Jenn, and I ran it in the 17 degree blustering winds this year. It was soooooooo fun but the slowest 5K I've ran in 4 years due to the HORRIBLE blowing wind and ice! I was sooooo worried about my MOM out on that course--she's a rock star but she's not used to running in this stuff. So Jenn and I turned around and ran back out to meet her at about the 2 1/2 mile marker so we could run her in together. Then they snapped the picture and we made the website! It means a lot to my mom since she knew Karen personally, and I was really happy to be there. I'll definitely be there next year!!!

More good news...looks like I'll be able to officially dedicate my Ironman to raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! More to come as I hear of it, but my great Aunt Betsy passed away after just 4 months of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She was like a grandmother to me. It makes me sad she didn't get to come to my wedding or will never get to meet my future children. So I really wanted to dedicate this IM to something bigger than myself, and I thought it would be awesome if I could raise money for the society. It looks like they will help me set up a website to achieve this goal! I am really excited.

So lots of good news today! Indoor Tri is this Sunday...Curly Su, are you in????

Back to school tomorrow....alas....my 2 week vacation from the real world comes to an end.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 02, 2006

for your viewing pleasure

Okay, here's a link that will hopefully take you to some actual video feed of Polar Plunge. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

We are "interviewed" by the local news. Must be a slow news day in Cleveland!!! Posted by Picasa

Note the look of sheer pain on my face as I try to warm my feet up!!! Thank goodness someone brought hot potatoes to stuff in our shoes... Posted by Picasa

No turning back now!!!! Posted by Picasa

Pain is temporary....pride is forever. Or something like that.... Posted by Picasa

AGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Posted by Picasa

Me, Electric Mike, Tracy, and some CTC members trying to stay warm before we make the plunge! Posted by Picasa

Walking to the "starting line" in the 34 degree Lake Erie Posted by Picasa