Saturday, April 29, 2006

check yo' ego at the door, foo'.


So I just got back a bit ago from a very humbling brick workout.

Apparently I'm, um, not quite as recovered from my Grand Canyon pain as I thought.

Remember 2 weeks ago to the day I was all pumped because (relatively speaking of course) I kicked some booty on my 51 mile ride at 17.8 mph?

Yeah. Um, today I got my booty kicked.

Total time 3:13, 52.5 miles, 16.5mph.

That blows. Oh well. Guess it's about time to get a little kick in the pants, anyway.

I did the first hour and a half by myself and then met up with a CTC'er. I shall call him, Swimmer Mark. Why is he Swimmer Mark? Because he's the FREAKING COACH of the Oberlin College Swim team!!!

So, he's, uh, probably pretty good.

And, his event was the 200 butterfly and the 400IM!!!

I'm pretty sure that if hell has a pool, and I was somehow there, I'd have to do the 400IM for eternity at a negative split. I can't think of a harder event. HOLY RESPECT, man.

So I felt really bad that I told the poor guy I could average between 17-18 and then I pooped out like that! I just had NUTHIN' in these legs. I told him to take off and he was very nice to stay with me as long as he did. Then he took off at the end and finished strong.

Then, we did a 40 minute run. Well, I should say I did a 40 minute run at one pace and he did a 40 minute run at my pace until I turned around, then he surged forward for a while, turned around, and caught up to me, and we finished.

TriSaraTops = humbled. :)

I think it is good to train with people that are much better than you sometimes, kind of makes you strive to be better. For me though this can be a problem as I occasionally refuse to admit if I'm feeling like the pace is too fast...he asked me how the run felt during the first mile. Here's how it went:

Me: "Well...hmm..I think this might be a little bit fast (glanced at my HRM), and my, uh, heart rate's a little bit high."

Swimmer Mark: "What's it at?"

Me: "179..."

SCREECH!!! We both laughed as we BACKED off the pace. Oops.

But, again, the great thing about tri is that everyone is so supportive of each other's goals. I slowed down, and he still got to get in a great tempo run, while we finished together. He's doing IM MOO, add another one to the list of my Cleveland Buddies doing this thing! So far it's me, qcmier, Swimmer Mark, Iron Johnny, and there's a few others that I have only met once or twice. Looking forward to many more bricks with these cool peeps this summer!

Just not at a heart rate of 179. ;)

And now to enjoy the rest of this sunny and beautiful day--onto a shower, a cuppa joe, and then our buddies Trevor and Tina are coming into town for Grady Sizemore bobblehead night! Awwwwww yeah. Go Tribe!!!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

settling in

I feel more settled now.

It's been a rough week and my sleep pattern is definitely off, but I am starting to settle into the reality of what's happening and my situation. The sense of calm is back, at least for now.

As promised, here's pictures from my hill repeats yesterday. This is the view from the bottom of the hill:

And here is my view from the top:

Pretty cool, huh?

Growing up in a city that was the butt of many jokes was interesting. You grow up and can't wait to leave, because you hear how bad it is. But you can't really figure it out, because you see things like the above pictures every day. And something draws you back eventually after you wander around for a while looking for something better.

What's so bad about it?

Yeah, there's snow. Everyone complains about that and stuff.

But I like snow.

Hmmm. Cross that off the list.

Well, there's that river that caught on fire in 1969.

Okay, I wasn't even alive then, so I take no responsibility for that. And that river's actually kinda cool now--still lots of work to be done, but the area around it has changed and cleaned up quite a bit.

It's not as cool as NY/LA/Chi-Town/insert-cool-and-sexy-city-here.

Agreed. But at least I can afford a house and a nice little yard.

There's poverty. Lots of it.

Yeah, that sucks. But what city isn't dealing with that right now? But, more importantly, how can I change that? I volunteer. I educate. I get kids to volunteer. I do whatever possible to try and make the situation better. Think globally, act locally, you know?

I guess I bristle a bit at the criticism. Which is weird. It's a freaking city. Why should I care if people rip on it?

Well, I guess the answer is that it's a part of who I am. So right or not, I guess I do take it a little personally. I know it sounds strange, but hear me out.

I was...I am...not the kind of person who stops traffic with their unbelievable good looks. It's just not me. I do have a good friend from college like that though--she knows who she is so I will spare her name:)--I'm not kidding...guys LINE UP to hit on her at bars. It's quite entertaining. She's absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous, and totally cool to boot.

That's not me. In fact, I got made fun of quite a bit when I was a kid. You name it.

"You're fat." "You're too smart." (I never could understand that one) "You don't have the right coca-cola shirt on--your's is generic from Sears." "You're freckles are ugly."

In middle school (aka. hell on earth), I didn't really have many friends. See, this is the age when girls that say they are your friend do weird things like lock you in a closet at a sleepover. ? But you're supposed to be cool with that. Or they just follow one girl who makes fun of everyone.

But I refused to follow that girl. So I just kinda kept to myself. I said I'd rather be alone than following some dumb mean girl. I'd cry a little at home, but my mom would tell me I was doing the right thing. Peer pressure didn't really work with me. If it was cool to make fun of someone, I was still like, "But that's mean and I don't want to do it, and for that matter, I don't want to be around you, either."

So the bottom line is, I guess for a while I felt like I was a pretty strong person, but a bit of an ugly duckling.

My mom always told me I was pretty, but that's her job because she's my mom. For a long time, I never really believed it. But I knew there was a lot to me people didn't know. I really felt that there was some beauty on the inside if people would take the time to notice.

So I was the butt of many jokes. But I knew I had potential. I just wasn't really sure how to tap into it.

This, of course, is the ongoing life process. I've always been relatively secure in who I am. But trying to tap into the potential is hard, and sometimes scary.

Case in point: this little thing called Ironman I'm doing. I really feel like I've changed so much and it's only been 5 months. It really blows my mind. This training, this schedule, this life that's going on has been affected by it and totally changed who I am. I'm seeing things in myself that I hadn't really seen before. I'm starting to understand the power of this potential thing. I don't know the end of the story, of course. It's up in the air and subject to change, because it's changing every day. But it's getting stronger.

So, to make a long story short, I sympathize with the city. It's not perfect. It's not really that cool. It's used to being an outsider and the butt of many jokes. It doesn't turn that many heads--yet at least. But there's a quiet beauty here, if you look for it. There's a history of strength through time. And for some reason, it draws me in. I see the endless potential. I see people helping, things changing, and unlimited growth.

Kinda like me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

what time is it, again?

Okay, major strike for me this morning as I realized when I got up that I forgot to change the time on my watch from swimming--and it said 2:15am!!!!!

That doesn't make it any easier to get moving.

Oh well--I finally feel like I'm almost back on normal time again, so that's good. Went to the Y this morning and found only Navy Guy there--wow! Usually Noodle Lady and a few others are waiting at the door.

Navy Guy and I had the pool to ourselves for a while and then Mr. Alanis Morrisette came. A few more people trickled in at the end, but it was pretty quiet, which was nice. Navy Guy said it was PACKED yesterday--so it's a good thing I got some much-needed sleep.

Swam 3500 yards this morning in just about 1:10. Not very fast, but I'm still pretty freaking tired, so we'll take it. Did a few sets and then pushed it for some negative split 400s, which went surprisingly well. Now, I'm going to get through the school day today and then do an hour run with hills and an hour bike after school. Figured I'd do a hill by the lake since it's very sunny outside and will probably be a pretty run. Maybe I'll try to take a picture so you can see my lake. :) Yes, it's mine.

Tonight Cort and I are going to try and go to a church group meeting. It's for 18-30 year olds and sounds like a fun group. I have been feeling rather guilty about not making church much at all--and know that's only gonna get less frequent as these hours build up. So maybe a Wednesday night group could be just what I need.

Saturday night is Grady Sizemore bobblehead night at the Jake! Sigh.....Grady Sizemore......:)

Happy training!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006



Damn. I knew I should have went to bed earlier. Of course, in Arizona, it's 8:09, and I'm right on time.

Jet-lag really stinks. That student today told me as I was almost falling asleep standing up that it takes 1 day for every hour behind to recover.

3 days?

I can't afford three days.

I have to get up and swim tomorrow.

I am supposed to do 15 hours this week.

15 hours?

You've never done 15 hours before.


Did I call the sub line for my field trip?

I need to call that one random alterations lady and have her do the 2 bridesmaid dresses I need to get done...oh man, that one wedding's in 2 weeks...

Your interims are due this week.

Yeah, I know.

I have to have that parent meeting tomorrow I've been dreading. They are mildly psycho.


Oh no. Now it's really late.

If you fall asleep in a minute, you can still get 5 hours or so.

That's no good. Then I'll start the week tired-er than I already am. Then the 15 hour week will just get worse.

Did you just say 15 hours? That's a lot.

Wait, May is Monday. That means I have 4 months.

Did you remember to turn the heater on? It's getting cold in here.

Oh crap, it's Sam's birthday this Friday and I have to get her gift in the mail...

Faculty meeting Thursday. Poop.

Why did I get a $30 bill from my doctor? I'm not paying that, that's ridiculous...I'd better call tomorrow...

15 hours.

Wait--May. That means there's 4 months.

4 months.

4 months?!

16 weekends?

OMG. 16 weekends. Is that enough? These last 5 weeks of school are going to be rough. How am I going to get everything in with training?

You forgot to mop the floors today.

Do I have any clean sportsbras?


Oh no. Oh no. *tears welling up*

I'm so exhausted but I can't sleep.

15 hours.

Wait--reality check time... am I sponsored? No. Is this my career? No.

*click* (turns alarm clock to 6:30 instead)

I need to sleep. I'll do my evening workout and life will go on. This used to happen to me all the time. I get myself so worked up about things that I can't sleep and keep myself up all night.

So what's this really about?

Probably some jet-lag still. Probably the wish that I just had ONE more day off to get everything that I didn't feel so buried under life, and could tackle my training with confidence.

Probably the fact that, as I just said in my last post, this is going to hurt. This thing doesn't care how nice I am, or how hard I "tried."

You can do this, though. You need to chill out. Focus.

I know, I know. But my mind is racing right now, and--

Cut it out. Stop crying.

But did you READ IronBenny's report? This thing chews you up and spits you out. And then sometimes it crushes you and farts in your general direction.

Well what the hell did you THINK it was?

I don't know, OK??!! I guess for once in my life I really don't know. I just know that I wanted to click that mouse. I wanted to register. I wanted to do something bigger and scarier than I ever thought I can do. But I hate not being in control of my destiny...that's why I hate flying in airplanes...hate gambling...

But you ARE in control of your destiny here.

I...yeah...I guess I know that.

You need to let some things go. When the PDA reminds you to vacuum, tell it to go to hell every once in a while. The kids can wait more than a day to get their tests back. If they bitch about it, who cares? And you need to focus on your workouts. Everything should be carefully planned and done with a purpose. You've been doing this for 20 weeks now. You're over halfway there. Think about how far you've come.

Yeah, I Over halfway there?

Do the math, Descartes. And you need to let it go in one ear and out the other when people make snide comments--not your good friends, but acquaintences and people at work--about how they never see you, how you don't eat lunch there or go to this bar or that bar anymore...


No buts. The ones who know you well know what you're doing. They understand.

They do? But, do they really?

No. They don't really. But they do. They know you need to do this and they understand that much.

OK. OK. OK........


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Here we are at the top--we MADE it!!!! Ed, Sarah, Rob, Cort, Me, and Matt Posted by Picasa

Matt and I about to dip our feet in the Colorado! We have climbed down about 4,300 feet at this point! (thank goodness for the trekking poles--good call Papa Louie! Our knees didn't hurt QUITE as bad as our buddies I think because of them!) Posted by Picasa

"NEAR......FAR!" --Grover, Sesame Street Posted by Picasa

This is my favorite picture I took, I think--we are in the middle of our Day 1 hike on South Kaibab Trail, and just about to see the Colorado River for the first time. Posted by Picasa

Matt and I near the top of our Day 1 hike on South Kaibab Trail. Posted by Picasa

Luis Gonzales just after he hit his 500th career double. Posted by Picasa

Rob and Cort, pausing for some *serious* reflection in front of Courthouse Mountain in Sedona, AZ. Posted by Picasa

Here it hot dog at Chase Ballpark in Phoenix. Cross another ballpark off my list! So far I'm at 10 I think... (St. Louis, here I come on June 28th, too!) Posted by Picasa

"The best thing about hiking...."

" that you only think about hiking."--My buddy, Cort

I'm back.

I'm sore.

I'm amazed at the chance I had to have an experience of a lifetime.

I'm jealous of my 4 buddies that are still there and called me at 7:32pm to tell me they were on top of a mountain in Sedona.

I'm really not feeling like going to work tomorrow. :)

Yep, I'm back. Words and pictures really don't do my week justice. I had the opportunity to get away from my cell phone, PDA, school, email, and blogland, to really just think. Spend time with my family and friends. And get to see something that not many have seen--the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Monday and Tuesday I went to Mesa to visit Aunt Eleaner and Linda. Super fun. Linda took us to the Diamondbacks game--I will post my dog as proof. :) Luis Gonzales hit his 500th double and became the 21st person in history to hit over 300 HR and 500 doubles. Way cool. I even got to boo Barry.

Then Wednesday my buddies flew in. We headed up to Sedona and did some awesome hiking. I could move there in a heartbeat if it had some water nearby. We headed to Flagstaff, stopped at a local brewery, and then got some shut-eye.

Got up early and headed to the Canyon Thursday. We had a few *minor* bumps in the road. Okay, more like Level 5 Sara Freak-outs as we locked our keys in the IGNITION in the rental car, and to make a long story short, had to leave them THERE for three days. I was a nervous WRECK that our car would be stolen, along with all our wallets and stuff in the trunk. WHEW--it wasn't. THANK GOODNESS.

Headed down the South Kaibab Trail at 1:00pm--MUCH later than we wanted to due to the car fiasco. As a result, it was HOT. REALLY HOT.

Then Matt sprained his ankle. He was white as a sheet. I thought we'd need to turn around and call the whole thing off. But, since he does it often and has played soccer games on it this way, he said we should keep going. He wins the Trooper of the Year Award for that one.

The views were unbelievable. Every way you looked it was amazing. We couldn't believe we were really doing it.

And then, the Colorado River. We camped at Bright Angel Campgrounds and were pleasantly surprised there was flushing toilets and running water! The guys went to Phantom Ranch to have a BEER--no kidding! A cold beer at a little bar at the bottom of the Canyon. Who knew? Sarah and I stayed at our site to look at the stars. It was UNBELIEVABLE. I wish I could have taken a picture of the stars. I have never seen so many stars in my entire life.

The next two days we hiked to Indian Garden Campground--pretty, but definitely not as posh as Bright Angel (no flush toilets this time! ). The campsites were a bit close together. Um, so close that we actually heard the "Farters" next to us. No, seriously. These 5 guys (2 adults, 3 kids) literally woke us up all night by FARTING LOUDLY.

We had dinner, we talked, we relaxed. We did, as Cort said, "Nothing but think about hiking." It was awesome. We did a little 3 mile hike to Plateau Point for yet another amazing view.

Then we had the last day--a 3,000 foot climb at high elevation to the top over 4.6 miles. I knew it would be hard. I dreaded it the entire trip, actually. My pack was pretty heavy and I remembered how the elevation made my heart freak out the last time Matt and I did 2.5 miles down and back when we got engaged in December 2003. And THAT was without a 30 pound pack on my back.

So we started climbing. We stopped a bit as my heart was RACING and my buddies started to tire. We'd go about 10 minutes and then pause for 1-2 just to catch our breath and have our heart rates come down a bit. But we made good time--faster than we thought! I hurt so much with every step, but the views made up for the pain.

Then, Ed said--"Look! It's the top!" And we were almost there.

The best way I can describe how I felt then is that it was like the last half mile of a marathon. You hurt so much. You are so tired. You wonder why you did this to yourself.

And then you hear the finish line. You see the crowd.

And you start hauling.

You sprint.

No matter how much you hurt you remember why you did this and you run across that finish line.

We got to the top and heard cheers of people there--some had done it themselves. Some were just tourists and were really shocked that nutcases actually did this.

A very different finish line from what I'm used to, but amazing and life-changing in its own way.

I really thought a lot when I was down there about IM, too. How the next few months would be the most physically and emotionally demanding of my life. How lucky I am that they are--that I haven't had other things that have been more physically and emotionally demanding, like the death of a loved one, or a debilitating accident.

When you are in one of the most beautiful places on earth, it's hard not to feel humbled and amazed. At the world. At yourself. And the experience you are having.

This was the best thing I could have done at this point in my IM Journey. I really feel like I have a respect and appreciation for myself and my body--what I've just done to it (as I still am so sore I can barely go down stairs) and what I'm about to do to it in the next 4 months.

4 months.

I know this journey's gonna be uphill. And it's gonna hurt.

It's gonna hurt really bad sometimes.

But I know I can do this. I'm ready to do this.

So one more rest day tomorrow, to recover, get caught up, and get back to the swing of things.

And then my uphill hike begins again...with a finish line like no other.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Arizona Bound!

Off for the trip of a lifetime! :)

Can't wait to hear how all you Boston racers did! Hope everyone else has a great week. Expect LOTS of pics from the Ballpark, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon--as I head all the way down to the river...and then climb back up! :)

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

the rest is still unwritten

Someone PR'd today!!!!!


Heck, no.

MY MOM!!!!!! :) Congrats to my awesome Mom who broke an 11 minute mile for the first time in a 5K!!! I am soooo proud.

So much to say I hardly know where to start!!!!

Must type as fast as my brain is going.....

First, sorry Eric and Greyhound that this has taken so long! I just got back from the best ride of my life. More on that later.

Got to the race around 8:20--picked up my number and then waited for qcmier (aka TriAlv2006) to come! He was doing a long run and said he could run a few miles with me as a tempo run in the middle. How much does he ROCK???? He paid the entry fee and everything. What a cool dude.

So we lined up for the start. I was a little nervous but tried to remember that I'm the strongest I've ever been right now and that I can do this....TriAl was joking around with me and helping to focus me on the race. The gun went off, and we were off.

First mile, felt A-OK! It really didn't feel very fast. This is good as I have a tendency to go out RIDONKULOUSLY fast and then die. We did 7:30 on the dot. Now I just hafta hold that!

Famous last words. :)

Mile 2 and 3 were slower, despite TriAl barely breaking a sweat :) and doing everything he could do keep me truckin' along. I felt like I was having a hard time getting a breath in and I was just a little bit queasy, too...

The last .1 I absolutely full-out sprinted and got in a foot race at the end! That was fun, and TriAl jokingly scolded me for having enough juice to do that--of course, if I had enough to sprint at the end I probably didn't push hard enough. Sigh. Story of my 5K life.

So I was about 50 seconds (I think?) off my PR. I was a little bit bummed, but still tried to stay up. Speaking of up, I felt my stomach about to throw up...headed to a clearing in the nearby woods as TriAl cheered me on and said, "Go ahead--let it go--nuthin' wrong with that!"

But no hurl came. Whew.

OK--now to cheer my Mom on--WOW, she turned the corner at 33:30!!!! I knew she was about to PR, so I ran her in the last 100 yards or so....and then she proceeded to wobble over to the EXACT SAME SPOT THAT I ALMOST HURLED SO SHE COULD ALMOST HURL! I started laughing so hard.

"Like Mother, like Daughter," said TriAl to my Dad. I'm not kiddin'--out of all the spots in this huge forest area we could have gone, we went to the same spot about 9 1/2 minute apart. My mom ROCKS.

So anyway, I really got to thinking and told TriAl that I haven't done one of these in SOOOO long that it's easy to forget how to do it. Which sounds rather dumb--how do you forget to run a 5K? But it really is a fine art--how to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion at a steady pace for 3.1 miles. I think if I could try again in a week or two, I might have a better shot, as I dug back in the archives and found that the last time I RACED a 5K--raced HARD, for a PR, and not at the end of a triathlon--was October of 2004.

So a year and a half ago.

So thinking that I could miraculously PR after a year and a half hiatus from that kind of race is rather silly, huh?

Yeah, I think so too.

There will be PLENTY of time for that--now I know that I can, that the numbers say I can, and that I have a goal to work on next year, or maybe in 2 years, who knows? I ain't goin' nowhere. :) I'll be doing this stuff until I keel over.

But this year, as both TriEric and TriAl have been telling me, is about IM MOO. So, to be about 50 seconds off my PR without doing really any 5K style training except for a few sweet track workouts, and after a year and a half hiatus is not too shabby.

Still, the overachiever in me was still a little disappointed KNOWING that I CAN run much faster and DIDN'T. Even though the circumstances of IM training trump everything else. So what could I do to make it up to myself today? How, in the words of Keryn and the infamous Robo-Stu, did I prepare for Ironman MOO today?

Answering that by saying, "I ran a 5K" is pretty lame.

The sky is blue and cloudless. The temperature is 65 degrees. The wind is low. I knew what to do.

God works in funny ways. For me, I prayed for a good 5K. His response, I've concluded, was as if to tell me in a nice way, "Hey dummy--get over the 5K. This ain't the year. Get your butt on your bike."

I knew what I needed to do.

I hopped on my bike for what was hopefully going to be a 3 hour ride. I thought, well maybe I can average 16.5 or so. I averaged 16.5 last year in the Pineman Half-Ironman in September. That's a good goal.

Only I was on FIRE. I felt so good. The first half hour I was a little sluggish, but I decided to give my Perpetuem another shot.

Perpetuem, for those who don't know, is a fuel that you can drink. It's like eating a ClifBar, except you are drinking all that. It's supposed to be good to avoid stomach distress and just a great fuel on the bike.

Except it tastes like my sweaty shoe.

Now, some fools on the package told me that it tastes "Like an orange creamsicle." I would like to take said creamsicle and shove it where the sun don't shine.

But I thought, well, let's try it. The stupid tub was $25 and I'm stuck with it.

So when I took a quick break at around an hour, I held my breath and chugged. You know, kinda like you do with free Natural Light keg beer in college. Ugh.

But man, does that stuff work. I felt like I had so much GO in my legs--and this after racing this morning! I was FLYING. I knew it was a message--God's trying to tell me in his own way through several people, my race results, and my ride, that I am TRISARATOPS. I am not 5KSARATOPS--at least not this year. Focus on the goal at hand. That goal is to get my mind, body, and spirit ready for the most physically and emotionally challenging event of my entire life to date on September 10th.

So NOW, if someone asks me what I did to get ready for IM MOO today, I can proudly reply:

Had a great tempo run with my awesomely supportive training buddy, qcmier. Was only off my PR by about 50 seconds, despite not racing a 5K in 18 months. Then had the BEST RIDE OF MY LIFE on a beautiful day before I had my Arizona traveling buddies over to cook out and enjoy the weather before I celebrated Easter.

Why, you say, was this the best ride of my life?

Remember my stat from above? Pineman 56 miles averaged 16.5? That was my goal for today?

Pace--17.8mph average

Thanks to all my supportive buddies, with a big nod to the one Upstairs--I am TriSaraTops.

I'm a triathlete.

This is IM year.

Hop along for one crazy ride!

UPDATE as of 12:27am (yes, I'm still awake--just had a cookout by the fire outside and it was sooooo fun)--> my time was good enough for 5/31 in Age Group! How 'bout that. Not sooo bad after all. We'll take it. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006


So after yesterday's reflective-ness, I'm feeling like today is really a great day.

Last night, after I got a bit sad, Matt and I decided to head to the Winking Lizard and I'm proud to say I had a nice healthy dinner BEFORE I went.

I'm not proud to say I had a tasty Hoegarten beer....but I will say I did drink it with a LOT of water and didn't finish all of the 22 ouncer.

Then I'm definitely not proud to say we went to Mitchell's (DOH) and got a sundae.

But I AM proud to say I only ate about a third and am saving the rest for tomorrow to celebrate my kick a$$ race.

I am getting a little bit nervous--haven't raced a short distance hard in a LOOOONG time. But I know that the numbers say I'll be fine, and I know that I am the strongest I've been in a long time fitness-wise. So I'm trying just to focus on that when I get the butterflies.

Today I slept in until 8:30!!! (NOTE: 8:30, several years ago, was EARLY for me. That was when I was lazy TriSaraTops) Then I got up, had a nice bowl of Optimum Zen with blueberries (my new morning crack) and I'm drinking a nice cuppa joe. The Pug Man is asleep on my lap and snoring. (no joke) He snores quite loud and it's so darn cute.

Today I'm going to do some chores around the house, and then head to get a massage--yay! After that I'm going to do just a little yoga--probably a half hour or so--to clear my head and stretch a bit. Tonight for dinner my inner Italian goes berzerk as we enjoy a pasta marinara meal for Good Friday. Then we'll probably watch a movie tonight and I'll try to get some good sleep for tomorrow's race. The weather should be OK--not too hot, which for me is VITAL, but maybe a little rain. No biggie.

Very excited for all the Boston-bound bloggers out there! Good luck to Okolo, Elizabeth, and Kim! You guys will have an amazing time and I can't wait to hear the reports! :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I don't know why I just did that

The front page of the paper today released the Flight 93 transcripts. My students, as they were working in the library, had a copy and were reading it. They asked me if I read it, and I said "no." For me, I told them, it's still too soon. They were 9 when it happened. They really don't remember much or even really understand that day. I know it's going on five years now. But for me it's still too soon.

I'm not a cryer. I don't cry easily. But I'm wondering when the time will come that I don't cry on that day. So far I wake up that day and tell myself I won't, and I always do.

So what do I do today after my ride, as I'm getting ready to blog? I go online to the paper's website. And I read it.

And, just as I thought, it's still too soon.

I knew someone on Flight 11. Not even well--many of my friends knew her much better than I. I'm not sure she would even know me if she were still here today. But, she was an acquaintance--I knew her from a class and intramural sports--she was in my graduating class in college. I knew who she was. And for some reason, any time the subject comes up, all I can think about is her face as she must have realized what was happening. I feel like for me it makes it so personal--almost like a part of me was there, too.

And for that reason, when my students ask me if we can "see that movie about 9/11" or "did you hear the plane that flew into the Pentagon was really a fake" or whatever the latest conspiracy theory is out there, I get MAD. And I don't get mad often. But I get really short with them and say, "STOP IT--I don't want to hear about it." I know that as 9 and 10 year olds they really don't understand the terror of that day. To them it's almost like a movie. Some of them say they were even "mad" their teacher turned it off that morning.


I know they don't understand---they didn't understand, and they STILL don't understand. And hopefully they never will have to understand another event like that.

I just wish I knew how many more years it will take until I don't cry.

I was all ready to tell you about my ride--that I did the exact same route today and averaged 18.4mph--and yay, isn't that great.....and then I did what I knew I shouldn't and I read that transcript.

So, no bike story for excitement about my time off work...just a reminder that life is short and fragile. Live it to the fullest, as I truly think we as triathletes strive to do every day. And always, ALWAYS tell your friends and family how much you love them.

That's all I got.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

riders on the storm

Okay, before I go ANYWHERE, get thee to Iron Benny's site and read his IMAZ report. Make sure you have some kleenax. Congrats to Benny and Nytro for their inspirational journey!!!

Whew. OK. So now with today....

I felt really STRONG today. Not necessarily fast, just strong. I woke up without an alarm at 5:08. Headed to the pool and it wasn't even that crowded! Navy Guy and Noodle Lady were both there, along with Mr. Alanis Morrisette. (don't ask...long story) So I had the pool relatively to myself (I say that because 4 people is a "slow" day in our little Y pool...usually you're on top of 18 people in a lane)

Set off to do my 3400 yard workout.

Paused for a minute to realize how LITTLE 3400 yards scared me.


I felt very strong. Again, not fast, but strong. I felt calm and collected in the water and finished with a decent time. The last 400 involved 3X100 hard and a 100 cooldown. I did those 100s hard under 1:36--which I was excited about seeing as I had already swam 3000 yards. Thought about how my strategy for the swim was to really be almost a "warm up" for my long, long day. I originally thought maybe I could get my swim down to around 1:10-1:12....but then I've been thinking...why? Why kill myself in the swim? Does that really matter? Why not take it a little easier, and come out of the water refreshed at 1:20ish? That's the much better route. It's not like 10 minutes is really going to make a difference in the overall day.

Note to self: must remember the BIG PICTURE.

Had a great day at school today: my World History kids created newscasts of 1989 for Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in small groups and did "breaking news" stories of how communism fell apart in each one. They were really good--I mean I was really impressed with what these kids did. Every once in a while they surprise me--and I realize that they are really learning. And that's freaking cool.

It was stormy today--lightning and the whole 9 yards. I LOOOOOVE thunderstorms. One of my favorite things to do is to watch a storm come in off Lake Erie. Waterspouts are the BEST. Then it was sunny after school, so I did what I needed to do to get ready for tomorrow and headed home to hurry up and get my arse on the bike. I wanted to try out my new helmet and gloves!!!

The sky in the west was a little gray as I drove home. Man, was it windy.

No worries--I high-tailed it upstairs to change. Got my bottle ready and put on my road ID, and then headed out to get my bike. I was sooo pumped! Matt warned me about the wind. I said, I know, but it will just make me stronger!

I got on my bike and set off down the driveway.

And I kid you not--the second I hit the street it started raining.


So I went to the garage for 5 minutes and I go to the basement and hit the trainer? YUCK. It's not COLD....just a little didn't look too dark in the distance--even a bit light.

I'm goin' for it.

I warned Matt that I might call him in 5 minutes if I get stuck. Set off bracing for a storm and some wind, but excited.

I felt really strong. Cruisin' along the lakeshore...everything was awesome. The rain came, but it was short--maybe 10 minutes? So it wasn't too bad. The wind was OK...not too bad, but I definitely noticed it.

Then I followed the road as it took a little turn to follow the lake, and HIT THE WIND.

In Going Long, Friel and Byrn say that you should face your fear and personify it. If your fear is wind, for instance, they say give it a name. They suggest Mr. Blowhard.

Okay, I'm just gonna say it. That sounds a little bit dirty to me. :)

But Mr. Blowhard it is.

So I talked trash to Mr. Blowhard as he slowed me waaaaayyyyy down for about 3 miles. I mean, I was going 12-13 mph and it was ROUGH. "You suck, Mr. Blowhard. Just you wait until I turn around. Then you're mine, beee-yotch."

Finally hit the turnaround point, and sure enough, he was my beee-yotch. I was cruising at 23 mph at one point. Woo hoooooo!!!!!!!!!! It felt AWESOME.

I am soooooo glad I didn't pansy out and go hit the trainer. :)

Got home and wondered what my average speed was...I usually don't check until the end. I knew that wind put a damper on things, so I was pleasantly surprised to see I averaged 17.6 mph for a little under 17 miles.

So I felt pretty strong today. Tomorrow begins Spring Break--and the hour countdown to my flight to AZ will commence.

And Mr. Blowhard--you can SUCK IT. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

As Jack Bauer would say on 24...


I totally missed my swim this morning.


I had some more drama last night which was resolved, thankfully...but not before midnight. (!) All I gots to say is I have the most AWESOMELY supportive husband in the world.

Anyway, I had this dream that I turned my alarm clock off because I was up so late.

Except it wasn't a dream. That really happened.


Matt's alarm woke me up. Oh well. I think I found another window after I KICK BUTT IN THE 5K THIS WEEKEND to do some swimming. :)

Zeke and Eric have had some great posts on the importance of mental training. That's something I know I really need to work on. I re-read Going Long's section on mental training last night and have been trying to visualize the race on Saturday. I have a tendency to go out way too fast, and then DIE--so I'm trying to think about being consistent in my pace and kicking it up at the end.

So I did make it to the track tonight--had to dodge the St. Raphael's grade 3-8 track team though. That was interesting. Here are my 400 splits:

1:47 ( had about 10 kids dart in front of me right in the middle--OUCH!)

So I guess I was pretty consistent with that 1:42. Wanted to break 1:40 at the end but I was pretty tired, so we'll take it.

Hopefully that will help me reach my goal on Saturday's race.

Oops, let me rephrase that:

This will definitely help me achieve my goal this Saturday when I dominate the race.

Positive thinking....Joe Friel and Gordo Byrn would be proud. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

a hot dog's eye view of heavan

yes, that is MY hot the heavan otherwise known as Jacobs we SWEPT the Twins!!! (sorry Zeke, Trimama, Walchka, and all you other Twin Cities folks....hee hee)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

a number

The craziness is finally over. Whew. I feel like I can breathe. The thing that's even better is that I confronted the craziness a bit and dealt with it, and it lead to some very good conversations despite a few tears that helped a lot of parties involved see things in a new and true light. Hopefully this will lead to open and honest communication and to less of me feeling guilty.

Afterwards, Matt and I enjoyed dinner and got a chocolate-raspberry brownie with some decaf from Panera Bread for dessert. Mmmmmm. I think if I could just give up my sweet tooth I'd have like zero percent body fat. But then, what fun would that be? ;)

I did have to cut my bike short today and do it on a stationary bike at the gym--SUCKED--as my baby is currently getting a tune-up. I went to the sweet bike shop around here, Bike Authority and had them "pimp my ride" with a new tire, chain, possibly a new computer, and then also treated myself to a new pair of Trek gloves and a light-colored helmet. The helmet is awesome--fits like a dream. And it will be MUCH better than my old one which was black (ouch--combine that with long black hair and you've got a HOT fricken head in the summer) and stays put as opposed to my old one that drove me nuts.

And....drum roll please....I just ordered an AMAZING pair of Sidi shoes!!! Had my eye on them for a long time and figured I deserved them. :) They will come in within 2 weeks, and I got a good deal, so I will post them in all their glory.

I emailed Coach Kara to ask her a few questions this week. See, I sort of surprised myself with 2 good runs at Hinckley Hills, last week's long run, and this week's track workout. I really was surprised. I thought, geez...I must be the strongest I've been in a while to pull out these numbers. So I thought, I wonder what I could do in a short race?

Ahhhh yes. Competitive Sara is rearing her ugly head.

But really, I'm just kinda curious....if I hammered just once, what could I do? Could I possibly PR? I haven't done much short-road racing in almost 2 years now, so I hit my 5K PR quite a while ago. It's OK I guess, but I was never really that impressed with it. Now part of this is because my amazing brother is SUPER FAST and his 5K PR is 17:20. So, yeah, um, I have a hard time measuring up to that. :) But still, realistically, I really thought I should have that PR a little lower. Not 17 minutes--let's not get carried away here!!!! ha ha

So I told Kara about my long run and told her my track splits. She already tested my VO2 max back in December and told me back then that I have the potential to be running "One More Mile" times. One More Mile is the pace group 2 PACES AHEAD OF MY GROUP. I sort of chuckled and said, "Who, ME?" But she gave me a convincing argument and it got me thinking. Wil once said, potential can be a scary thing. But an empowering thing. When someone tells you that you have potential, it really can change your mindset.

So there's a race next Saturday. One I've done before. Nice and flat. Nothing too fancy. I won my age group there a few years ago. We have a good relationship, the race and I. I wondered, could I PR? Is now a good time to try?

Kara emailed me back. Holy crap. She said with my numbers on the track and my VO2, I should be able to run this number that's significantly faster than my current PR.

Over a minute faster.


Is that for real? She knows her stuff, and she thinks that I can run that number.

It's scary for me to even type the number. If I type it and tell you, then that makes it more real.

But maybe it will make me reach it, too. If it's out there, then it's not a secret anymore. Then I've made it clear my body can do it. It's up to my mind to get me through.

Why is it so scary for me to type this number?

Agh! I've debated for the past 10 minutes whether or not I should even post it.'s official. I have signed up for the race. I've got the potential and my body can do it. I have a week to get my mind ready and remember that yes, my body scientifically can hit this number. It can. She said it could. The track splits say it can. The VO2 says I can. I'm physically strong enough to do it and if I am confident, I can pull it off. I've changed my blog's song appropriately.

Oh geez....I'm seriously nervous. No turning back now once I tell you. You'll know my secret too.

*inhaling deeply*


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

flight of the bumblebee

...that song has been the soundtrack to my past 2 days.

Busy busy busy busy busy! Whew. I am freaking exhausted and about to go to bed.

Haven't had much time to post to blogs but I'm trying to get caught up! :) Send good vibes to Curly Su, who's, uh, let's just say having a rough day. And also good vibes to DaisyDuc, who's du-ing her first du this weekend!

Had a decent swim yesterday. Nothing too fast, but not too slow. Then today had a early morning :50 min ride, and an after school run. I decided to do 1:15 instead of :45 and moved the :45 to Friday after school, since I am currently in the world of bridal shower hell this weekend. I'll spare you the details. Guys, be glad you don't have to go through anything comparable. That's all I gotta say.

Run today went well! I felt really strong again and am pretty pumped. I ran 2.5 miles up to the local high school and figured they were just about done with track practice--and, score, I was right. Then I did 6X400s with 400 recovery--wasn't sure how it would go since I haven't done structured speedwork FOREVER. Just lots of hills and fartleks and a few tempo runs. So, I was excited when it went like this:

1:47 (damn iPod earplugs drove me nuts and wouldn't stay put)

Really pumped about that last one! I looked up in my log what I was doing last year for my 400s before the Pig and I was usually between 1:47-1:55. So this was quite an improvement for me and it made me happy. Perhaps I shall try a 5K? Uh oh, here comes CS again....

Tomorrow it's a swim and hopefully some core/weights. This weekend should be INSANITY as I try to fit in a 3 hour brick and 2 hour run around bridal shower craziness. Hmmmmm.....

But next week, kids, I begin SPRING BREAK. And that is alllllllllllllllllllllllll good. :)

Monday night fly out to AZ to see the fam, Tuesday we are going to the D-backs game vs. San Fran (should I throw my empty Allegra container at Barry?) then Wednesday picking up my buddies and Thursday-Saturday backpacking in the GRAND CANYON!

So I will survive, I will survive, oh, as long as I know how to love (or tri) I know I'll stay alive.....

THANK GOODNESS FOR TRI! Or I woulda had to check into the funny farm a LONG time ago. :)

Have a good one!

Monday, April 03, 2006

I was RUN-NING...

So I'd like to know what kind of crazy crack I'm on.

Yesterday, Matt and I set out for our long run--he wanted to go 10 miles (which was AWESOME! So proud of him!) and I needed to go about 2 hours. I figured I'd just go with what felt good and truck along.

Turns out, the weather was perfect TriSaraTops weather: 51, a little bit windy, and cloudy. I LOOOOOOVE it when it's that temperature. I put on shorts and a long sleeved cool-max t-shirt. Perfect.

So what felt "good" ended up being pretty darn fast. For me, that is. Today I taught briefly about popular culture and sports in the 1950s and we mentioned Roger Bannister's 4 minute mile. Now, I am just not that fast--not even close. The fastest mile I've ever run was the first mile of the Old Oak Run back in 2003 I think...I got to Mile 1 thinking, "Gee, there's not too many people around me..." The kid at Mile 1 yelled out the times:

"6:32, 6:33, 6:34...."

I'm not proud to admit that I then proceeded to yell the F word pretty loud, because I knew what that mile 1 time meant.

Sure enough, around mile 1.75: GASP. WHEEZ. Poop. Blew that chance at a PR. :)

Guys like Zeke, Papa Louie, and all you other speed demons out there can do that pace while running up a hill, balancing a hockey stick on their nose, and simultaneously juggling three turtles. But for me that's a rare occasion.

Mostly, I'm pretty much a top-third age grouper who brings home hardware in smaller races.

So, again, "good" for me (average effort, not too hard at all) on a long run is usually around 9:45-10:15.

But for some reason, yesterday, "good" and "not much effort" was 9:11. The whole time. My last mile was 8:57.

What am I on? Seriously!

I think the answer to that is "hills" and "weights." The past few weeks I've been doing the Hinckley Hills with Iron Johnny and really focusing on weights and core. That's the only explanation I have for running 13 miles yesterday feeling pretty average and finishing 5 minutes off my half-marathon PR.

What the heck is happening to me?

Hey, it's good, so I'll take it. :)

I was at the grocery store today, getting stuff for dinner, and managed to find what I think were the last 5 bottles of Endurance Formula Gatorade in northeastern Ohio. I'm not kiddin'. I can't find this schtuff anywhere. So I then had a conversation with the 16ish check out girl that went something like this:

Me: Um, do you know if you guys can order more of this stuff? I just bought everything you had.
COG: (eyeing me strangely, like you look at someone who is talking to themself on the street) What is that?
Me: (rather sheepish, as if I've just been caught smoking in the bathroom) Um, endurance gatorade.
COG: What do you need all THAT for?
Me: Well, um, it's on my race course so I figured I'd give it a try.
COG: What race course is that?
Me:.....Ironman's like this triathlon....
COG: (eyes get big)
Me:'s really...uh, long...
COG: No, I know what it is. Wow!
Me: Yeah, you know, it should
COG: That's awesome. I'd never be able to do that.
Me: (suddently the ums and likes are gone and I get serious) Yes you could. I said I'd never be able to do it just a few years ago.
COG: Really?
Me: Really!
COG: Good luck!
Me: Thanks!

So maybe I'd pass along the tri-bug that way. After all, when I was 16ish if someone told me I'd do an Ironman in 12 years, I'd laugh at that person really hard.

And somehow now I can go out and run 13 miles at a 9:11 pace after a day of lifting weights and still stay up to watch the Tribe game. Well, not all the game. Come on, it ended after 2am. From what I read it doesn't sound like I missed anything worth staying up too late for.

But we're still winning the Central. As I've said every year since I could talk, "This is our year." :)

This is MY year.

I can just tell.