Tuesday, May 30, 2006

tough love


*glaring back*

*annoyed sigh* What?

What are you looking at?

Don't give me that look.

I'm not giving any look.

Bullshit. Yes you are.

Well, you know, you can hate me and get mad all you want but it's not going to change anything.


So it might make you temporarily feel better, but in the end, you know I'm right.

Shut up.

I'm just saying.

I know, alright?! I know the numbers don't lie. I know you are right and I hate it.

Well, what did you expect me to do?

What are you talking about?

Did you expect me to let you feel ready? *laughing* Do you HONESTLY think you were READY? Little Miss "I Ride Flat Road Fast"? Do you think that-matters--that it's all you need to do this?

*sulking* Sometimes I hate you.

I know.

But sometimes I really like you.

We have a dysfunctional relationship, you and I.

You're brutally honest. Sometimes you are too honest.

No such thing, sweetheart.

Dammit. You're right again.

So you know what you need to do.

Yeah. I know.

It's not what you want to hear. But I'm just gonna keep saying it until you listen to me.

I'm listening....

No--you weren't. But I think I finally got your attention. This is your weakness. Not me, but THIS.

I know, OK?! I know I know I KNOW I KNOW....

HEY! SETTLE DOWN. Look, we can pull this off, but you need to start making it a priority. No more flat stuff. You, me, and that stupid course that broke you down last week.


That's what it's going to take. You don't make it a priority and you won't make it. Plain and simple.

I know. You're right again.

*smug look*

I hate it when you're right.

So are we cool again?


Yeah, we're cool.

Good. Now get your butt on me and go ride in the Valley with Jen and Sam.

I like swimming and running better.

I know you do. But in the end, it's all about me, baby.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The best thing about my crappy ride Saturday

...is doing it with my buddies and enjoying some tasty pizza after a dip in the 55 degree waters of Lake Erie. Here's Tricia, Me, TriAl, and TriEric enjoying some wonderfully nutritional recovery fuel.

Special thanks to TriAl, who refused even at my multiple insistances, to leave me behind as I slugged up the hills. I think he did about 18 extra hill repeats just so he could go get me. He is kickin' some serious ass and is going to smoke the IMW course. Thanks for helping me get through it!

And to the hills--you will be mine next Saturday. Now I'm pissed. Look out.

As for today, reassurance is:

Negative-splitting your two-hour run by almost 2 minutes...in the 85 degree, sunshine-y, humid Ohio heat. Take THAT, doubting self.

And now to enjoy my recovery drink:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, damn right, it's better than yours.

(I could teach you, but I'd have to charge)

Off to shower then hit the store for some buns, sweet corn, and beers for a cookout with my Grand Canyon friends tonight!

See, just like Annie said (my FAVORITE movie as a kid--despite the fact that I have black hair, I thought I WAS little orphan Annie and have the cassette tape of me singing to prove it)

The sun will come out, tomorrow...you're only a day away!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

the best thing you can do

...is put it behind you.

And then do it again next Saturday. Only better.

the worst thing you can do

The worst thing you can do is to ride the longest, hardest, most challenging ride you've done so far when you are not mentally or physically prepared to handle it.

Don't do this ride when you have had an emotional week at work. Don't do it when you have heard horrible things have happened to two people you work with. Especially don't do it when something horrible has happened to a former classmate of yours on Monday night.

Don't do this ride when you have a career-questioning week at work--when frustration after frustration mounts in your head and your heart and you don't know how much more you can take of it.

Don't do it unless you are prepared for how hard it will be. How stupid and inadequate you will feel as you crawl up hills miles slower than anyone around you. How your average speed at the end is the lowest you've ever seen it. Don't do your first major ride with lots of hills on this day.

All it will leave you with are some tears and a lot of doubt in your mind about whether or not you can really do this in three months.

So just don't.

Take my word for it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

slightly slug-like but now it's all good

Whew. I took Monday off as usual, and then just wasn't feeling all right on Tuesday. Sluggish...tired...had to fight to keep my eyes open. Decided it would be best for me to take an extra rest day, which I did. I rarely ever take 2 days off a week, much less in a row! But this weekend kicked my butt. It was ridiculously fun, but I think I needed the extra day to re-coop. Got a scheduled massage which was wonderful, and rested up.

Today I arrived at the pool bright and early to do 3500 yards. It was OK. Not my best effort--I still felt a little sluggish and my times showed it. But I'm not going to freak out about it. Tomorrow's another day, and I'll crank out a short 3000 so hopefully that will be good.

(Did I just say "short" 3000? What the hell has happened to me? I feel like I should smack myself.)

Today after work it was BEEE-yootiful, so I decided to do a brick before Bible Study. Hopped on the bike and for some reason was just in the ZONE. Maybe it was making up for my morning's sluggish swim, but I averaged 18.6 over just under 19 miles, which for me is pretty good! Very happy with that. Snotty as usual, but I had my trusty gloves to keep things from getting too out of control :)

Then I hopped off the bike and started a 30 minute run-off. Felt the usual brick legs for the first mile or so, but then got in my groove as the iPod read my mind and ended up negative splitting by almost a minute!


Came home to see that my hubby had already made dinner--complete with a very tasty salad with apples and strawberries and sweet corn on the cob!

You don't even understand how much I freaking Luuuurrrrve sweet corn.

My hubby rocks. :)

Bed is calling--gotta get up early and hit the pool!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Race Day: From a VERY different perspective!

O. M. G.

I had SoOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun today.

I ran the slowest half marathon of my life and had a BLAST doing it!

(BTW--I was supposed to run the slowest half marathon of my life, so that = good)

First of all, you MIGHT not want to go to a concert where you ROCK OUT to Pearl Jam until 11:30 (they had the most unbelievable set...Porch, Yellow Ledbetter, Immortality, Daughter, Given to Fly, Alive, etc. etc. plus a bunch of new stuff---AMAZING) and then park at the most ASANINE parking garage on the top level where there was ONE PERSON working the gate at the bottom and THREE (yes, three) standing there doing nothing while the other 2 gates are IDLE and then it takes 45 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE STUPID GARAGE and it's 1AM when you get HOME--yeah, you MIGHT not want to do that the night before you pace a half marathon.

We passed the Galleria on the way home, and Matt said, "Hey, why are they setting up tents there?" My reply was, "Oh, that's for the MARATHON I'M GOING TO DO IN 6 HOURS."

I might has well have just slept in those tents.


Anyhoo, passed out tired at home (kinda like the picture in below's post) and woke after what seemed like about 37 seconds to my blaring alarm.

WHY, oh WHY, TriSaraTops, do you DO THIS TO YOURSELF????

I don't know. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

Yeah, and that ALWAYS gets you into trouble.

Oh, shut up and get out of bed.


I looked outside and it was cloudy, but no rain. Good. I threw my visor in my car just in case.

About 5 minutes into the ride downtown, it started POURING. Like, cats and dogs and monsoon pouring.

Oh brother.

Got to the Galleria and met up with all my Soler pacers--saw the signs we'd be carrying, us all in our sweet little pacer jerseys, and suddently got very nervous. These people were COUNTING on me to pace them nice and evenly through 13.1 miles. They were COUNTING on me to run a nice 10:53 mile. For many, it was their first marathon, or they were going for a PR, and if I blew it, I didn't just ruin MY race.

I ruined theirs.

That's a big responsibility.

Here I am holding the 3:00 Pace Group sign....ha ha ha! In my dreams! :)

*rain fell harder and harder on the glass ceiling of the Galleria as I have shorts and a thin shirt on, no gloves or jacket*

I thought about my run on Thursday, when I tried to run as SLOW as I could and thought for SURE my mile time was over 10:53.

It was 10:12.

Okay, okay, focus. You can do this. Nice and easy...

We headed to the start. I held my 4:45 banner high. Found Curly Su, going for her first marathon! Found Canada Jenn, coming off injury, trying to finish the half. Found a bunch of random people that were COUNTING ON ME to run them a solid and even half.

Oh boy.


Here we go.

The first two miles, my stupid watch of COURSE was acting up and I wasn't able to see my lap time. AAAGGHHH!! There would surely be mutiny! They will kill me!

But they didn't. They just trusted me as I calmly said how we'd be conservative in the first few miles--"We're about a minute behind, but we have 23 miles to make up that minute so that's 2-3 seconds a mile! We're good!" I said sweetly with a smile. (That was 60% true, and 40% me trying to cover my ass for not having a clue what our splits were)

Then, I got the watch to work and we got on track. And lo and behold, we were running OK. Mile 3 was 10:32 (a little fast, I told them) and mile 4 was 9:41.


"That was mostly downhill, guys--we're fine, no biggie, but I'm gonna slow it down a bit" (*whew, they bought that....good*)

And then it was really weird.

I just ran the most even splits I've ever run. And 5 of my miles were between 10:50-10:53 on the DOT. It was like I was outside of myself. I talked to my pacers and they were such cool people. All but one had never run a marathon before. One was a high school band director from Winston-Salem, NC. He was so cool! Another teacher, too--she talked about her son and we all talked about school. I tried to keep them relaxed but focused...reminded them to drink, to watch out for the potholes in the street, to make sure you take a gu now, that "You're doing great!"

Who is this person?

This person just ran this race, 4 years ago, with no hills, no speedwork, no run longer than 17 miles, and with 30 extra pounds on her frame. With no training buddies, no training group, no guidance but a book she bought at Borders.

Now she's wearing a "PACE TEAM LEADER" jersey and people are COUNTING on her to get them through.

It's all still a little surreal.

The miles FLEW by. We ran through the area I used to live in near some beautiful homes, through Ohio City (I pointed out a great Irish pub, the Harp, and a great place to eat afterwards, Johnny Mango's). I was joking around, I was relaxed, and I was in charge.

And before I knew it, I hit the halfway point--right on time! I passed my group onto Aimee and got a little sad as they ran away. I wanted to keep going!

I got attached!

I knew what was coming for them--the mental struggle of the last 10K. The pain. I remember all that. But when I did the Cleveland Marathon there was no pace group for me. I was alone. No one to run with, just my brain. It was such an amazing experience, but I was jealous that I didn't get to have it again. You only have your first marathon once, you know? And mine was amazing, but it was so utterly alone.

So I stretched a bit, hung with Jen, Mike, Lou, and Sue, and then headed back to the finish line.

I stayed there for 3 more hours. By myself for quite a bit of that time.

Just me. Alone. On the side of the road.

I just couldn't leave. I cheered and cheered until I didn't have a voice left.

I was so tired after 4 hours of sleep and 13.1 miles, but I loved seeing the faces of the people as they crossed the finish line. Some were crying. Some were carrying their kids on their shoulders. Each and every one had a story.

Her story? Amy Winters, 33. Yesterday she set a new world record for amputees and ran the Cleveland Marathon in 3:26:16. Before her accident, she ran 3:16:00 in Boston in 1993. Absolutely AMAZING.

I remember my story.

And I think about where I am now.

I'm in awe of the past four years. I am so lucky to have this mind and body and soul, and to be able to take part in events like these. So many people in the world, in the country, in my town don't think they can or don't know why they ever would want to do this stuff.

I can't imagine ever NOT having this in my life.

I was so glad to be able to share that with my pace group--who all finished with big smiles on their faces. Some on time, some not...but who cares? They did it. They did their first marathon.

And I was--I am--honored to be a part of that memory forever.

Friday, May 19, 2006

go go go go go go go collapsezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Well, no pics yet of my celebratory "ride..."as I forgot Matt wouldn't be home until late last night. So, if I did it, there would be no pics. And then you probably wouldn't believe me. So it's coming!

We're on for June 2nd! This will also be a "Farewell Curly Su" tour since she is heading east...location and time to follow! Just a happy hour--so we will have no excuses for missing our long workouts the next day! ha ha

Okay, I have a confession to make. I missed my swim today. I haven't missed a swim since January when I got pneumonia, but I still feel rotten about it. I know that I'm human, and it's going to happen, but it still doesn't make it an easier pill to swallow.

I couldn't sleep again last night. This seems to happen the nights before I swim, which, are also the nights I have to get up the earliest. Ugh. This has been something I've dealt with the greater part of my life. I remember stressing out in middle school and high school, my brain reeling through all the things I had to do the next day, and not being able to sleep...my Mom trying to calm me down. I just am kind of "Go, Go, GO" all the time. I'll be very glad when school is over so I don't depend upon the Y pool's lap swim hours and can have more time to train.

So as it approached midnight, I thought to myself, This is ridiculous. You've been fighting a cold all week and are just starting to get better. If you have 5 hours of sleep 2 nights in a row you're only going to get worse.

Hmmmm....what to do.

Your swimming is fine. You feel very confident in the water as is. One missed workout will be OK. It's not like you're missing a bike workout, where you need all the help you can get.

But I still feel like a slacker for turning that alarm forward an hour and a half....

STOP IT! This is stupid.

Yes. You're right. It IS stupid.


And that was that. So today will be an hour or so of yoga and core work, and then watching Game Six (GO CAVS), and life will go on.

My mom thinks this picture is so funny...see, apparantly, I would play and play and play all day with toys and never stopped moving. She said even when I was first born, I was the baby in the nursury who's arms were in constant motion--even when asleep! I never stopped moving. Other parents would laugh and point at that one kid who was moving in their sleep! They were probably glad I wasn't their kid. :)

So in this picture, I was playing with my toys so much that I literally collapsed, toys in hand, and zonked out. I "played 'til I dropped," so to speak.

Funny--not much has changed, I guess!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Snot, pub crawls, and Pearl Jam

Okay, I learned a few things from my snot/10,000 visitor post:

1. You guys are snotty, too. That makes me feel less like an alien snot faucet!

2. You would really like to see me make an arse of myself.

Thanks to Rice, too, for that enlightening article on snot, spit, and hydration! Very interesting.

So I really laughed hard at all your suggestions. I'm trying to find a way to incorporate them all into one big celebration. Papa Louie's idea of wearing my wetsuit, goggles, running shoes, and then biking in downtown Cleveland sounded pretty sweet. It might be hard for me to GET downtown though, but I am heading down to pace the first half of the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday...hmmm...then I got to thinking that it would be pretty hard to deal with my bike between 6 and 7 am amidst all the hectic-ness. So, I will improvise. Today, provided there is no rain, I'll don the outfit suggested by Sir Louie and will ride 2 miles to the center of my town and back on a main street. I know a lot of people who live in this little town and it seems that whenever I run down this road, I get honked at by friends/neighbors/family, so this should be pretty funny. Matt will document pictures and I will post them here.

I also liked the idea of a pub-crawl! Alas, can I convince my blog friends to take time out of their busy and high-volume training schedules to pound some? Probably not. So I was thinking perhaps a happy-hour on Friday June 2nd? Just an hour or so, and one or two drinks--we've got long rides/runs the next day I'm sure! I'm thinking at one of the random watering holes in Lakewood, my old stomping ground....but you must wear at least one item of tri stuff to come. So goggles, swim cap, singlet, wetsuit, etc. are mandatory for this extremely important race event. Pictures can follow. C-town bloggers, anyone interested?

Yesterday was a great day: the SUN came out for the first time in several days and I saw the blue sky and was soooooo excited that I threw my bike in the car that morning! I helped a few students after school, then changed and headed to the park. Had a nice little 28 mile ride and did 17.4 mph--the few hills there were didn't seem all too bad, either! Yay! Then last night the storm came through, which of course made my day, and the CAVS BEAT THE PISTONS!!! Take THAT, Rasheed "I-Guarantee-A-Victory" Wallace!!!! ha ha ha ha ha

This morning had a great swim at the Y--my 200s negative split were pretty solid and I was happy with my times. I busted out a few 100s in the middle just for fun and hit them all under 1:31, so I was pumped. Especially since I was a little sore from lifting the day before--we'll take it!

Tonight it's another run trying to get used to my 10:53 pace I need to hold to pace Cleveland. I'm not used to that pace, so I'd better get used to it and PRONTO! On deck is another swim tomorrow, a brick Saturday (Elizabeth--probably only going 2 hour ride, :30 run due to the marathon the next day--you interested?), and then a pre-Pearl Jam cookout with the concert Saturday night! YAHOOOOOO~although it will NOT be fun to hear that alarm at 5am on Sunday morning to head to the marathon!

Oh well, it will all be worth it.

10 more days of school...but who's counting? :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

storm watch

We had our first great storm tonight.

Not rain, but a STORM.

I love storms.

I love watching the underside of the leaves start to show as the wind picks up. I love seeing the gray clouds come in over the lake. I like how everything is first quiet and calm before the wind starts. I can't wait to sit in front of my big window with a candle lit, hoping the storm has lightening and listening to the rain on my roof.

I don't know why I've been drawn to storms my whole life, but for some reason, I have. I used to want to be a storm chaser...you know, like one of those people in that cheesy movie "Twister" who ran after tornadoes. Severe thunderstorm warnings fascinate me. I love to see where the storm is headed...how we try to predict things about them but they never truly know where it will go. There is that element of surprise to it. A little bit of danger. It's more powerful than us, and for some reason, I enjoy the feeling of respect I have for a good storm.

I don't know if it's because I'm a Cancer or what, but I am just drawn to water--even in the midst of a thunderstorm. It calms me down. I feel like I can really breathe when water surrounds me.

The more powerful, the better.

One of my earliest memories was when I was a little kid--maybe 4 or 5?--at the Y that I swim in now, ironically. They had this pole that went all the way to the bottom of the deep end. They put it in there and had us walk our little hands down to the bottom so we wouldn't be afraid.

I was never, ever afraid of the deep end. I don't know why. I can't explain it. Water just felt like home.

I remember standing at the edge, watching little kids nervously shimmy-ing down to the bottom. Some looked really scared.

I couldn't wait for my turn.

I went to the bottom and held on.

I stayed there. All I heard was the eerie quiet of water as I held my breath.

I stayed there so long they had to pull the pole out of the water with little me on the end because they thought something was wrong.

So, I've always enjoyed storms. I look forward to them and in my mind I am still chasing them a bit--respecting the fact that nature is much more powerful than you or I or Triple Doppler Three Radar. The fact that it's unpredictable. It's a little bit dangerous. And it's fascinating.

And I guess when I really thought about it tonight as the thunder clapped and I sat by my window, I realized that even though I'm 28 years old, I still have quite a bit in common with little me.

I'm still sort of chasing a storm.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

that trisaratops is one snotty chick

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am SNOTTY.

That is, when I am riding a bike.

Why is that? Does anyone else have an extreme snotting issue on the bike?

(hold onto your hats, folks, this is one post you can file under "TOO MUCH INFORMATION")

I mean, I know I have allergies, and I am on 2 kinds of medicine, so I have them under control. But get me on the bike outside and I start snotting like nobody's business. I have gotten really good at snot rockets. But this, alas, is rather disgusting, and definitely not very lady-like. Although, I guess most sports I excel at are not really lady-like and dainty, but isn't this a bit much?

Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I the only really snotty one out there?


Had a wonderful little trainer ride (still freaking raining--supposed to until SUNDAY! WTF?!) and then a good lifting session. I really really want to get out tomorrow and I'm hoping the forecasted thunderstorms hold off until evening. I'm going to bring my bike to school and then ride after I help a student after school. That way I can get in the park, instead of on the busy road my MOM HATES ME RIDING ON (see Mom? I do listen)

I still get honked at in the park, but at least I can say, "I'm IN A PARK!!!" and not "I'm on a major route that commutes home from Cleveland during rush hour!!"

One more thing, and this is non-bodily-fluid-related: I just took a look at my little statcounter and lo and behold, I'm about to hit 10,000 visitors! This is pretty fun--who knew when I started rambling back in November that people would actually come to see my ramblings?

(or, perhaps they are not here to see my ramblings but rather to laugh at my ridiculous antics--not laughing with me, but AT me)

Anyways...thought I could celebrate the little mini-milestone like the Kahuna celebrated his 100,000th visitor. Instead of doing a century ride like he did, I thought I could do something random and rather stupid. I'm open to suggestions. Ride down Route 6 in an Elvis costume? Swim in Lake Erie with some water wings?

I'll let you decide. What stupid thing should I do to celebrate my blogland friends? I promise I will post pictures. No wimping out on you here. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

for me, biking = SM Physics

Okay, I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

The hardest class I ever took in my entire life (that includes undergraduate courses at Miami University (OH) and graduate courses at Cleveland State University and Georgetown University) in any degree I was working for (including B.S. Ed. and M.A. History) is my junior year high school "Science Major" Physics class.

Aka SM Physics.

Aka "So Much" Physics. As opposed to, NSM, or "Not So Much" Physics. (or, Non-Science Major in the real world)

Why on earth, you might ask, did the girl who studied History and Political Science sign up for a course called, "Science Major Physics?"

Hmmmm...not 'cause it was a weighted course, like Advanced Placement (AP) courses. A "B" in an AP class equaled an A in a standard class. SM Physics was not weighted. A B was a B. A D was a D.

So why did I do it?

I knew it would blow my GPA. I knew it would blow any chance of me graduating in the top 5 of my class.

Um, once again....WHY?!

Well, the only answer I have for you is that my parents taught me that you should always challenge yourself. I knew I could take the NSM class and probably do well. But I knew I could take this class and make it through--it would be hard, but I would make it. And for some reason I thought that would make me a better person in the long run. Sounds pretty dorky, but I guess guilty as charged.

I never dreaded writing papers or taking essay-based tests. I can write you a 10 page paper in a few hours. Gimme a topic and I can pull it off. I am a master at the art of B.S. (Remember--I earned a B.S. in Education.) ;)

I never worried about getting my English papers done, or my Government cases briefed. But I did worry about that lab coming up in Physics. Would I be clueless again? Would my lab partner roll his eyes at me? Would I have to come in early to work with Mr. Wagner?

Yeah, probably. So I'd better just deal.

Mr. Wagner was the reason I took SM Physics. His subsequent retirement at the end of that year was the reason I did NOT go on to take AP Physics. This guy was a riot. He was an older gentleman, always dressed to the nines in his suit, and he resembled Colonel Potter from M.A.S.H. He arrived at school daily at 7:00am, turned on orchestral music of Looney Tunes, and got the labs ready for the day. I spent many a morning in Mr. Wagner's room trying to figure out what the F was going on. F=MA? D=v/t? I don't know.

But I really did enjoy the class. As hard as it was, as much extra time as I had to put into it, I learned more in that class than I did in most of my other high school classes combined.

Now, my "homework" is my training. I look forward to my long runs. I wish they were longer. I enjoy swimming and love trying to improve my sets and my stroke.

And I just don't have quite the same love--or maybe I should say the self-confidence-- for my weakest link, the bike. Not yet at least.

It's harder for me. It doesn't come naturally. I have to REALLY work at it, and then I'm still not the best at it. There are others who just seem to get it on the first try and don't have to work as hard as me.

So today, as I rode on my bike, I thought: hey, it's like SM Physics again. So I could let this thing hold me back, or I could go in early, stay up late, practice my formulas, do a few extra labs, and master it as best I can.

And it will make me stronger in the end. Even though it doesn't seem worth it now.

I set out for what would be an easy ride in my recovery week, and found that Route 6 (a nice, flat, straight road along the Lake) was finally done in this little lake town--they were resurfacing it! Woo hoo! I kept on going, when I thought initially I'd have to turn around and do another loop. When I reached about 20 miles away, I stopped for a Hammer Gel and checked my stats.

I had averaged 18.1 mph on the nose.


Is this really me?


But also strange were those dark clouds to my southwest. There's been a swirling green funk over Cleveland the past two days and I thought I could beat it on this ride. Uh oh. Better turn around.

Here comes the wind.

Whoa. Now it's getting hard.

(V=d/t? 6.0 X 10 to the 23rd huh? Wait, that's SM Chemistry...)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the monsoon begins. I felt the temperature drop to about 50 as I shivered in my short sleeved-jersey and shorts. I pulled over to a little hardware store and hid shivering under the awning.

Oh boy. What have I done to myself? I could have been on the trainer today, nice and warm with a movie...I could have gone for a nice run, yeah, that's it-- I love running in the rain...

Nope. Time to do this thing that is the hardest for me. Gotta bear down here.

I called Matt. What's it look like on the weather channel?

Did you say, GREEN everywhere?


He started on his way to pick me up. I felt like such a chump. But it was coming down so hard and I just wasn't dressed for it. I was cold. I wanted to get home.

But then, after about 5 minutes, it slowed. The sky grew brighter.

I called Matt. Abort mission! I can do this.

Are you SURE? he says. He tells me he has a sweatshirt and a towel for me.

Oh boy is that tempting.

NO--I can do this. I will do this. I've already had to slow down a ton, but I can still make this a respectable ride. It won't be the best performance--not top notch, but it will be good. But I tell him to remain "on call." Just in case it starts lightening again.

I take off. The cold rain stings my red arms. As a car passes me, the perfect timing of a well-placed puddle splashes me with mud.

I laughed. What else could I do?

This is gonna make me stronger somehow...

And then, there was the sign saying "Welcome to (My City I Live In)." I was almost there! I kept a nice high cadence and started to get momentum.

I pulled into my driveway to find Matt with a strange look on his face--kinda laughing, kinda disbelief, kinda like he knew it would end up this way all along.

40 miles, average speed 17.0. Not the best performance in the world, certainly not top of the class, but very respectable. Not the easiest or most comfortable thing I could have done today, but one that made me stronger.

And about that class I took 12 years ago? I ended up with a B+...the hardest-earned B+ of my life. Not too shabby though. Did it blow my GPA? Yeah, a little bit. I didn't finish in the top 5. But I did finish #11. And I do credit Mr. Wagner and his class with helping me to nail the Science portion of the ACT, which helped my overall ACT score and was good enough to help me land a hefty scholarship. So despite mild short-term setbacks, in the long run of life it mattered quite a bit and it made me a heck of a lot stronger in mind.

Am I glad I'm a person who obsessively challenges herself?

As I stood grinning at Matt today, covered in snot, mud, rain, and Hammer Gel, I thought, "Yeah...I sure am."

Thanks, Mr. Wagner. And sorry I bugged you all those mornings.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Today I just feel really appreciative of lots of things. I am so lucky and I have so much to be thankful for. Here's just a few:

Thanks for my amazing Mom, who sensed I was so busy getting ready for the girls' night out Saturday night, trying to get my house ready for us to come back to and crash at, running around picking up food for munchies and breakfast...and what does she do? She makes brownies (the best I think I've ever tasted) for us to mow because she knew I was stressin' out. How do moms just DO that? Is it a sixth sense?

Thanks for the triathlon community in Cleveland--shocking but true, it's getting HUGE and even getting some national attention! It's grown so much in the past few years and I am so proud and lucky to have a good crew around me to support me, give me advice, and encourage me on

Thanks to TriEric--for inspiring me as he nears the one-month countdown to IMUSA looking strong and confident and kicking some butt. Also, for hooking me up with some Gatorade Endurance coupons this morning at the pool! :) Can't wait to pace the Cleveland Marathon with his wife Aimee in 2 weeks!

Thanks to Wil for inviting me to WI in July to ride the course! Sooooo looking forward to it and excited to meet her. It will be a nice and fitting 29th birthday present. :)

Thanks to progress in general--I heart progress. Progress is swimming today at a nice steady/easy pace, and setting a new PR in your 3000 yard straight swim, without even realizing you were or trying to. It's looking at your watch and realizing you just averaged 18:45/1000 yards, and you're not even that tired. It's knowing that of course that's a pool and not open water with 2,000 of your closest friends around you, but still seeing that time and feeling excited and confident.

And thanks to probably the biggest and most exciting piece of news I've received in a while--to one of my bestest college buddies, "Sam"--who called me yesterday and we actually got to talk (as opposed to playing phone tag) and made tears come to my eyes when she said, "Guess what! We're coming to see you in Wisconsin!" She was all excited and couldn't figure out why I was starting to cry. :) Her husband YGB (aka. Yanni-Golf-Boy) is also one of my best friends (we all lived in the same freshman dorm with DaisyDuc at Miami ) and they are making the trek to Madison from St. Louis, ALONG with our friends R and S--and their baby that will be born in July! I still can't believe it. How lucky am I to have such amazing friends???? I was just excited that Matt and my parents would be able to make it--then I find out that Iron Jeff and his awesome girlfriend Tracy, who are my Soler friends, will be there, and now THIS??!!! It makes me feel strangely calm knowing that all of them will be there with me that day--and that when the inevitable pain sets in and doubt starts to creep up on me, I will have them around me to help me put one foot in front of the other.

And thanks to the blogger community, who has become quite a big part of my daily life, by offering advice, support, and a kick in the pants sometimes when I need it. Who knew what started as my journal would become such an important part of my mental training?

Okay, enough of this cheese. What the heck is this picture I just found??!!

Um...yeah...clearly I gotta get to work. :)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

a nice responsible way to spend a saturday night

So some people, like Rae and Wil, were probably getting a good night's rest for the Indy Mini and the Flying Pig. Some, like DaisyDuc or CurlySu were probably relaxing and recovering from the CTC duathlon or the Wildflower Triathlon.

What was I doing last night?

Celebrating with my chicas, cuz M's gettin' hitched next week!

Up 'til 4am after eating lots of bad munchies and consuming some beverages....seriously hurtin' today, and somehow I played 2 games (3-4, yay) and I might try to get in a little spin somehow tonight. Ugh. Good thing I don't do this often. These pics are the more "family friendly" of the bunch...:)

Why, oh why, can't I just smile for pictures like normal people do?
Kim will appreciate these pics, I bet!

Congrats to all that raced this weekend! Happy to report I did my 3 hour ride and 40 minute run yesterday, before the debauchery began.

Up this week: Lotsa training of course, and also squeezing in the following things:

1. Monday: A field trip with my students to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum tomorrow for a special program on "Music as a Social Force." Pretty sweet.
2. Tuesday: Going to hear an amazing speaker through Facing History: the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. I'm really looking forward to it.
3. Thursday: A much needed trip to the Chef and Mrs. Cook.
4. Friday: M's rehearsal dinner
5. M's wedding!

So, this should be interesting....how to balance the training with all this stuff. Ahhh, such is life. I have a feeling I'm gonna be cuttin' down on the blogging this week. So if I don't make comment's it's not cuz I'm hatin'. (Why am I such a gangsta tonight?) :)

BTW--I'm not sure why I went bonkers when this fun little Madge song came on last night (as I tried to recreate the video on the dance floor), but I am sure that I hope I look like that when I'm 47 years old. Sheesh!

Have a great week!

Friday, May 05, 2006

I win


Ugh. There's no way it's already 5:05am.

*checks the clock*

Damn. It's 5:05am. Maybe I should go back to sleep. That was the first time I made it to bed before 11 this week.

I'll just lay here for a little bit.....


Damn. Now it's 5:14.

Why do they make snooze alarms 9 minutes, anyway? I mean, who decided THAT one?

Regardless....I really could just lay here and no one would know. Matt is in NC for J's bachelor party....he can't rip on me if I don't swim today. My students won't know the difference. And I'm pretty freaking tired.....and I have so much to do today to get ready for M's bachelorette party tomorrow night.

*brain silence*

No, really. If I sleep in no one's gonna know about it.

*brain silence*

Except me, of course.


And I'm my own harshest critic, anyway.

*flips the down comforter up off of me*

Agh! See, it's cold. Now you're uncomfortable. That's what Dad did to wake your butt up in the morning for school. He'd yell, and yell upstairs, and you'd tune him out or do the classic pillow-on-the-head move that allowed you to sleep through Playstation tournements upstairs in Scott Hall Room 109 freshman year.

But then he'd come up and grab the comforter and blankets and THROW them off of you.


Not fair. He plays dirty. If I'm not comfy, I can't sleep and then I am stuck just laying there thinking about what I should be doing.

*click goes the lightswitch*

Ugh. This is another one of Dad's old favorite tricks. Now I'm cold and a blaring light is in my eyes.

Of course, I am by myself, so I can just make this all go away and no one gots to know about it....

....except me.


*puts feet on the ground*

I win for today. Me = 1, Comfy Bed = 0.

Did my 3200 yards at a nice steady pace...picked up the last 600 yards of a straight 3000 and looked at my time. OK. Not bad. Record-setting? No way. But then again, IM swim is not about breaking any records. IM swim is a warm-up for what's to come. No use busting it in the swim and PR'ing by a few minutes only to crash later.

Steady, steady, steady.

Me = 1, Competitive Sara = 0.

But don't the ones who win get all the glory? Get all the accolades? Get all the fame and stuff?

Actually, no. The ones who win are the ones who finish. Glory comes in strange ways, like when a random student knocks on your door today to take your picture for they yearbook because you've been voted "Most Athletic Teacher." And you kind of laugh a little, and then your kids start asking questions about Ironman, and you tell them since they asked, and they say, "Why don't you tell more people about this?" and you just smile and say you're too busy to worry about telling people, and they see that you are not some superhuman, you're still just Mrs. Z, and the look in their eyes as they whisper "Wow..." is worth a million trophies.

Me = 1, Trophies = Zero.

It's the little victories, you know?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What the......?????


Maybe it was because the water wasn't about 92 degrees like it usually is.

Maybe it was because Eric was kicking ass in the lane next to me making 4200 yards look like a walk in the park.

Maybe it was because I had a MUCH better long run last night of 13 miles and I think Wednesday night long runs will work perfectly for me.

Or, maybe it was because we had a nice picnic in the park after my run last night and enjoyed the sunset over the lake.

I don't know WHAT it was but somethin' made me fast today.

My 100s that I was swimming leisurely to steady were, instead of being around 1:50, were around 1:41. ???????????????????

Then, after 3000 yards, I did 3 X 100 as hard as I could....and......

(are you ready for this?)

.......DID THEM ALL UNDER 1:30????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like, each one of them????? The fastest was 1:27????????????????

What the HECK????

This is a good thing, of course, but I am just shocked. I haven't done a 100 under 1:30 in a loooooonggg time. Let alone THREE at the end of a 34oo yard workout!!!

Competitive Sara wonders what she could do if she was on fresh arms and legs.......

(Competitive Sara needs to GO AWAY NOW)

Anyway, I am pretty pumped. Definitely a good start to my day!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

it's finally may

(with apologies to e.e. cummings)

it's may and things are changing
it's may and it smells like it and today it rained and then was sunny

today i felt strong and like something new
and everytime i took a breath i felt the air in my lungs
and it smelled like flowers and grass
and the sun peeked out
and the shadow girl was back again

in may everything finally blooms
after a long, gray winter
and i passed lots of tulips as i ran
which is good because they are my favorite
and in may you remember that winter is long
and gray
but not eternal
and no matter how cold
and no matter how long
the red and orange and
open up

in may when you run and you smell this and see this
and remember where you were four mays ago
you remember you stood at the start line of something scary

you stood at the start line of your first marathon

and you were very afraid

and you had some extra baggage (both in body and mind)

and your course took you through the city
and the town you live in
and the town you taught in
and the town you grew up in
and the man who would become your husband was there
and your family and friends were there
and they watched you


and now it's may again
and in three short weeks
you realize you'll be at that same start line
but this time you'll be leading
and people will be
following you
because you will be pacing it
you will say
follow me
and you will help people reach their goal

and you'll smell the grass
and you'll feel the excitement
and you'll be overcome with the sense of change that has happened in four short years

that is still happening

that is four short months away

and sometimes things will be gray and cold
(not outside but inside)

but you know that in the end

no matter how

you will open up

and the colors will return

and the shadow girl will meet her match

Monday, May 01, 2006

Motion to congratulate some buddies...

Motion Seconded....

(sorry, I've got Model UN on the brain...taking 20 kids downtown to compete for the next 2 days! yay!)

CONGRATS to my buddy Jacks who ran a 1:54 at the Country Music Half this weekend! Might as well throw in a congrats to Rae, too, while I'm at it! Great race ladies on what sounds like a tough course!!!

More congrats to my Soler buddies Courtney and Jen, who PR'd at Louisville with a 4:09 this weekend! Musta been somethin' in the atmosphere!

I, myself, had a VERY SLOOOOOOOOOW 13 mile run on Sunday. Sooooo humid. Sooo underestimated the humidity.

Sooooo ran outta water. Ouch!

But, thanks to Wil, the Kahuna, and the Arctic Monkeys (currently playing for ya) I got through it. Then I had to go play TWO opening games for our RETURNING CHAMPIONS Weasels beer-league softball team. That title is right up there with completing an Ironman.

Um, no it's not.

But we're still proud. :)

We won, 12-7 and 16-9. Yay! I was 4-5 with 1 BB. Not very exciting hits, but hey, we'll take it since I hadn't SWUNG A BAT since last August. Whew.

Definitely decided to switch my LONG run to the middle of the week, from here on out I think. Not fun, but necessary. I was soooooooamazinglytired for the games and it sort of took the fun outta it. That's supposed to be my fun social release time. Plus, Joe and Gordo (the Going Long tag-team) say that it's actually better if you can spread out the long stuff a bit. For me, the long run is more fun than the long brick (at least right now). So I think I can get through it fine on a Wednesday, and then go to my church group to chill and stuff. We'll give it a shot this Thursday and see how it goes.

I'm rooting for everyone's school levies to pass tomorrow......GOOOOOOO school levies! Yeah, um, cuz if they don't, it will be even HARDER for Matt to find a job. So get out there and vote for your levy.

One more thing that's a bit heavy on my mind--just found out tonight that our buddy's Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. One more reason why I don't ever take off my Livestrong bracelet....from the sounds of it they caught it early, but he still has to have surgery on Thursday. Very scary. This guy is Matt's best friend, and his Dad is a great guy. So send any prayers and/or vibes this way for him.