Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And then, one day, you realize you're stronger.

I don't like numbers.

I don't like to quantify things with digits. I've always been someone who uses words--uses emotions. Whenever I'd compete in performances for the flute and piano, I always got marked up for my "musicality," and occasionally would get marked down for being off a beat slightly.

But to me, it was fine. It was the way I felt it--not "felt" with a snotty attitude, but I mean FELT with my heart and soul, and that's how I liked it.

AP Calculus was nonsensical to me, but Emerson and Steinbeck and Vonnegut were clear as day.

I dreaded this past weekend for a long time in several ways.

Jacks reminded me that today--that when I stopped at her apartment on September 6th on my way to Madison, I mentioned the possibilities of this past weekend's events. And she told me, "If it could make you worry more than an Ironman, it was a big deal."

It was. I'm accepting that. It was and I dreaded it and it's over and I made it. And I feel...better even. Vindicated in some ways.

And even a little bit stronger.

Today I got my flu shot at school. Yawn. Or, in my case, THUMP (the sound of me passing out whenever I get a shot). But I didn't pass out this time. I felt a little queasy and nauseous...a little like I felt Friday around 6pm...but I made it through with a smile despite the churning stomach and I'm pretty certain that no one even knew the difference.

(Except, someone did on Friday--I learned that on Saturday. That someone, at one time at least, knew me very well, though. So we'll let it slide.)

I then got my numbers for my health screening--they do it every year for free at work, when we get our shots. So, what the heck, I thought. Might as well.

They have my numbers from last year--November 4th to be exact.

The nurses jaw dropped when she wrote down my new stats:

Blood pressure? 30 points lower.
Cholesterol? 30 points lower.
"Good" cholesterol? Slightly higher.
Resting pulse? 48 beats per minute.

"What did you do?" She said, surprised.

Well...I guess...I did an Ironman?

But that's probably not it. One day didn't do it.

I woke up early for nine months. I hate waking up early. I swam endless laps in a 20 yard pool with Noodle Lady, Navy Guy, Dave the Lifeguard, and TriEric.

I rode on a trainer in my basement, when I couldn't ride outside. I did one leg drills until I swear I did them in my sleep.

I ran. And ran and ran and ran. Slowly. Which, I didn't like to do at first, and then I got used to it as being necessary. To make me stronger.

I rode more hills than I've ever rode in my entire life. I doubted myself. I felt tears welling up in my eyes several times on the course that kicked my butt over and over and over again. And I kept going back. Every. Single. Weekend. Because, what does not kill you, most assuredly makes you stronger.

I rode 100 miles 4 times. And then ran afterwards up to an hour.

I got tossed around by waves and felt the sun shine on the back of my wetsuit as I focused, focused, focused on my stroke. I ignored the dead fish that I ran into in July. I pretended he was just sleeping.

I made it to the start line.

I made it to the finish line.

"I did a lot of things," I answered, smiling. There's no way I could explain it all--nor would she have probably cared to hear it all. I just know that I did a lot of things.

And I'm better for it.

All of it.

It was worth the pain, it was worth the tears, and it was worth the joy while it lasted. I remembered that, this weekend, too.

All of it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

You are now leaving the Twilight Zone.

Thank you for visiting.


So. Tired. Slept 1 1/2 hours Saturday night, some of which being on a hotel lobby's couch. Light sleeper + friend who snores + didn't know friend snores so no earplugs and tried every method I know to stop snoring from waking me up = attempting to sleep in hotel lobby, only to find out that 5am apparently is the PERFECT TIME TO VACUUM YOUR LOBBY.


To make a long story short, I am very tired--got through my day today, but I think I need a vacation from my vacation. Glad to report I ran 5.5 miles at Maumee Bay State Park before the wedding in a beautiful sunny 60 degree day...post-evil margaritas and enchilada dinner combined with not much sleep.

To make a long story very, very very short, this was a very fun and very emotionally draining weekend, of which was five years in the making.

When I ran Saturday morning, I was running away from something, which I hate doing. But I left there Sunday leaving it all behind. And now I don't have to worry about that encounter anymore. Amen for that.....

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Friends who are in love are awesome, by the way.

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No, we're not sisters, although her 8 year old daughter did come up to me and call me "Mom."

It's official: I am signed up for Steelhead HIM next August, and I will be breaking 6:10.

I need to sleep.

That's all I've got.

I'm out.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

"What's My Age Again?"

--Blink 182

Yep, that song pretty much sums up what transpired in the past 24 hours.

See, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Turkey Dash, despite the fact that I really wasn't feelin' it. It's such a great cause, as my Mom knew Karen Nakon personally...and such a nice little race. So, I signed up last night at the last minute, before going to the Winking Lizard for some tasty food, a Hoegaarten (I can never remember how to spell it--somethin' like that), and dinner with friends. I hadn't ran since Sunday's half marathon, and was feeling still just a little tired. But, I thought, it will be fun.

And then, Dill called.

Dill is my best friend from high school. She's a bad influence on me.

Not really, but I like to joke that she is. And for some reason, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, she always likes to go out in full effect. It's kind of the day when everyone is out and about, and you run into randoms that you haven't seen in years. I'm sort of over it, but she said she wanted me to come out, and I haven't partied it up with her in a while, so I went.

Oh boy.

The next thing I know, we're at a crowded bar in the town I spent most of my 20s in, with people that were SIGNIFICANTLY younger (and calling me "Miss Arcaro"--there's a bad sign right there) all OVER the freaking place. I just wanted to have a beer and enjoy hanging out with my friend. Sigh.

Pretty soon, I'm jokingly "bailing her out" of trouble (standard) and before I know it it's almost 5am.

So we basically pretended we were 23 again. See, I used to do this all the time. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND.


Maybe it was the smoky bar (thankfully, Ohio is going smoke free here in a month--yahooooooooooooooo), maybe it was staying up until 5:30am, maybe it was the sheer weirdness and annoyance of hearing, "Hi Miss Arcaro" everywhere I turned, including the BATHROOM, for cryin' out loud (that's what I get for starting my teaching career so young, I guess), but this bar was CLEARLY not ours anymore. It was fun, sort of, but I looked at the clock at 5:30am and called Canada Jenn.

Yeah, um, I so don't want to do a race on 2 hours of sleep.

So I bailed.

My first Turkey Trot in 5 years that I've bailed on! Ugh. I felt a little guilty, but at the same time, it was kind of fun to stay out late, drink with my best friend, and just enjoy being (somewhat) young and having the freedom to do so.

So, in true College Sara style, I slept in until 11am.


I felt all kinds of nasty when I woke up. Hair smelling like smoke, feeling all groggy despite the fact that I had only 2 beers over 7 hours (driving Dill--she needed a driver!), and just generally feeling bunk. So, I knew what I needed to do.

1. Drink tons of water.
2. Get my lazy butt up.
3. Eat a little something, and then make myself feel like TriSaraTops again--go for a run.

Matt laughed at the ridiculousness of the night, and of the fact that I now wanted to run a MINIMUM of 8 miles. For some reason, I thought it might just sweat all the stupid out of me.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. It was PERFECT. The sun was shining, blue sky, there was a little lake breeze, it was a balmy 48 degrees, which means (of course!) running in shorts and a technical tee, and I grabbed my iPod with the kickass playlist and some NUUN.

And I had 8 glorious miles, at an average pace of 8:52, that restored my faith in all things party girl.

I'm not 23 anymore....that's for sure. Those days were fun, and every once in a while, it's fun to remember what it was like. There'll always be a little party in me, I think--especially when Dill's around. Gotta love it, and she is my best friend after all.

But it sure is nice to pound out last night's party on the pavement, and sigh as I stretch after a run, and laugh at how far away in some ways I am from that girl--5am, 23 year old Sara.

She is pretty fun though. I gotta admit. ;)

Monday, November 20, 2006

To Everything...

You'll have to bear with me here. I'm feeling a little wistful.

The more I think about it, the more happy I am with what I did on Sunday. I'm just so thankful that I had such a day. A day that was 38 degrees, rainy, and unbelievably FUN.

Because my friends were cheering for me at the water stop.

Because I ran faster than I ever have for 13.1 miles.

Because I never doubted for one second that I would finish.

And for this, I am thankful.

I'm thankful for my legs, as much as they burn today...as much as it hurts to go down stairs (but not up, of course). Because they are there reminding me of what I just did.

I'm thankful that in the past year I've done things that I still can't really wrap my head around yet. The sheer mileage and time is daunting on paper to me, and when I factor in what I had to give up along the way I am still amazed that I made it at all. To the start line--let alone the finish.

I'm thankful for the love of my friends and my family. Without their patience--on the days when I was too tired to return a phone call, or when I fell asleep on the couch after an 8 hour brick on the other side of town, they smiled and stood by me and understood. Not even necessarily understood why I just rode a bike for umpteen hours, but they understood that I needed to. I hope that I can be as understanding and supportive to them in their endeavors, whatever they may be.

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I'm thankful for my career. Like all jobs, it is hard work, and not every day is easy. However, as much as it frustrates me some days...as much as I feel that sometimes I'm sprinting up the down staircase...I am thankful I have a career I love and one that challenges me every single day. I see many of my friends who are not challenged enough, or are too challenged in their jobs, and I realize how truly lucky I am to have this unique balance.

I'm thankful I get to race. When all is said and done, and I think about the person I was when I was 18, 21, 24, and now at 29...I can't imagine my life without a race. Of any distance. Because I get to push myself, because I am my own harshest critic, because numbers never lie...because every single race I do, and every single step I take, makes me grow a little bit more into the woman I'm supposed to be. The woman I hope to be.

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I'm thankful I had the time on earth that I did with some of my family. It was short, it was taken away entirely too soon...but because of that I have an immeasureable value of what family is, and how important it is to love.

I'm thankful for love. In all its stages. From the whirlwind puppy love as a teenager to relationships, good and bad, in the years that followed...and all the emotions that go along with falling in love. And thankful I've gotten to experience all of these things, with plenty of stories to go along with them. For things coming full circle, again and again. For never in a million years dreaming I'd marry a friend from high school, and now not being able to imagine anything else.

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I'm thankful that I live in a place where I have the ability to say these things, do these things, and love these things.

And as uncertain as the future may be, I can take a deep breath, and step back, and be thankful for this.

All of this.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm proud of me.

But I'm REALLY proud of E-Speed! She freaking ran a 9:23 at the JFK 50 miler! AMAZING, my speedy ultra-friend! Go directly to her blog and give her mad props.

Okay, but I am also kinda proud of me! My goal of 1:54 was a good one....I came in JUST at 1:55. RIGHT on it, basically. So, I have to look this up, but I think I still PR'd by a few seconds...does that count? :) I think I had the time wrong from my last stand alone half marathon back in '03....I know that I ran with the 1:55 pace group with Dr. John my Soler friend as the pace leader, but I think they finished in 1:54 something and me in 1:55 something. So, I will have to dig through the archives.

(OK, update--I just dug through the archives and I was wrong! Previous PR not 1:54.55, as originally thought, but 1:55.39--way off! DUH! So looks like I will PR by more like 25-30 seconds. That's gotta count, right?) :)

In any sense, way cool and wicked pumped that I even came REMOTELY close to a PR today. Let's just lay it out there--I pretty much winged this one. I just signed up last week. I really wasn't sure what to expect, since my weekly mileage has been pretty low. Since Ironman, I did two "long" (go ahead, laugh) runs of 8 miles, and 11 miles. The 11 miles was last week. That's it...and some tempo runs and 2 days on the track. So, I am pretty happy with my results, all things considered. I think it really shows that I still have it in me, and can set my new goal for the Indy Mini Marathon at 1:50 and achieve that. Yippeeeeeeee!

So what is it with me and bunk nasty race day weather? Today it was 38 degrees and alternating between piss-raining (as Canada Jenn says) and a full on, IM MOO style downpour. Not so cool. I actually like the temperature--38 for me is darn near perfect race day conditions--but DRY would have been nice. I think I'm still thawing out.

Coach Kara told me to go out at 8:45s for the first 3 miles or so, and then try to hold 8:20s as long as I could. So, I really thought I was doing that. Mile 1?


Damn. I SUCK at pacing. (But not as much as MICHIGAN SUCKS--hee hee. Had to throw that in)

So I tried to slow down but to no avail. I had set my Garmin for a half marathon, and in a total violation of "nothing new on race day" had no idea that I couldn't take my splits when it was in this mode. DOH!

I tried to just go by my feel and made it to mile 7 in an hour flat. So, I was pretty much right on target. It was very fun to see my Second Sole buddies at the water stop! They kept me pumped up.

Basically, all was well and I felt great until about mile 10. And then I DIED DIED DIED DIED. Which, probably makes sense since I really didn't put in the miles. You can only be a poser for so long. :) I took another hammer gel and tried to focus on a person and stick with them. Eventually, I made it in and was very happy to even see a 1:55 on the clock! I thought for sure I totally blew it and it would say more like 1:57.

Interestingly enough, my Garmin stopped at 13.1 miles (since I set it to half marathon mode) and the time it said when I hit that distance was 1:53.28! I soooooooooooo like that better. :) That was pretty much exactly what I was hoping for! Can I take that instead? Not sure if my Garmin was off or the course was a wee bit long. Most likely, Garmin was just a bit off, I guess, huh? Bummer. If only Garmins ruled the world...

So, what have I learned?

  • I can basically wing a half marathon and do pretty darn well. I guess I must have some degree of stamina and fitness left over from IM.

  • I really need to up the mileage and get in some REAL long runs, not fake pseudo-long runs of 8 and 11 miles! I mean, come ON....I've gotta be kiddin'. I'm lucky I was able to hold the pace I did for as long as I did. So, come January, time to up the mileage up!

  • The iPod was great, especially when I felt like I couldn't move and my hammies were rebelling on the last few miles. I'd like to thank Pantera, Pearl Jam, Suicidal Tendencies, Motley Crue, the Beastie Boys, Eminem, and System of a Down for helping me freaking move my legs.

  • Running a race pretty much by yourself is different. It was nice to not get wrapped up in the numbers and the miles, since I had no splits due to my watch's function (oops), and nice to not worry about who was passing me. But, it sure is more fun to run with a friend, and probably would have helped me not totally blow the last 3 miles. :) You hear that Jacks? Kick me in the ARSE at Indy.

Afterwards, I was shivering and shaking and cursing myself for not getting their earlier to get a good parking spot. Ugh. My car was pretty far away, and so was warmth and dryness. So, I got some hot chocolate and a bagel, and struck up a conversation with the winning Master's male--he saw my IMW hat and shirt and turns out he did it, too! We were laughing that the weather was reminding us of our race day. Then, I saw another guy in an IMFL jacket and we talked a bit! Ironman peeps rock.

On my way to the car, I found one of my former students, who is a senior this year. I heard that he was running this as his first half-marathon, so I kept an eye out for him. He wasn't hard to find--he came in EIGHTH OVERALL. He finished 14th in the state, I think, at the Cross Country Championships. This kid's a MACHINE. Anyway, I congratulated him, and he proceeded to tell me that this race was "the hardest thing he'd ever done," that he was "so inconsistent," and that "he doesn't ever want to do it again." He also said, "I can't even imagine doubling that after swimming like 8 miles and biking like a hundred!" I laughed and told him that his pace is JUST a wee bit faster than mine. :) He finished in 1:21. Way to go!

So, I guess I still have some street cred. Cool. :)

All in all--a great race, a nice flat and fast course, fun people, and even a teensy little PR. Not too shabby. What more can you ask for?

Well, the Browns to beat the Steelers would be nice. But I guess I can't have everything now, can I?


Okay, another update. I keep having all these afterthoughts. It's been a few hours and I just graded some papers and...am I seriously complaining that my PR isn't "PR enough?" What's wrong with me? Someone should smack me upside the head. A PR is a PR, whether it's 1 second or 1 hour. I think after taking 56 minutes off my marathon in mary #2, in my head a PR should be of those epic proportions. Which is PRETTY MUCH IMPOSSIBLE, so I am now officially embracing my PR, albeit a small one. Yay for PRs, yay for progress...yay for half marathons! I think I remember now why I always said that's my favorite distance. Onto Indy!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Is it just me...

...or was this a really long week?


I'm SO looking forward to 2 days of work next week! Yahoo! I definitely need a break.

Driving home today, I was listening to an old mix CD a while back. When I make mixes, I title them something that's going on at the moment in my life.

They're always fun to pop in a few years later....like a little time capsule of my brain.

It's called "A National Championship," and was from 2003 when the BUCKEYES beat Miami. (Rather appropriate for this weekend, methinks.) Anyway, there was some other stuff going on when that was going on, which affected the mood of the songs, and the song "We All Move On" by the Samples came on. Funny, as it's quite appropriate for what I'll be doing very soon. An event five years in the making, you could say....

I think that every girl really needs to have one LBD (little black dress--translated for those that don't speak chick) that makes them feel as if they look like a movie star. Said dress should be brought out only on much needed occasions.

I found mine last night, and it will be in full effect here soon. My buddy Dill helped me pick it out. Thanks, Dill....the only one who knows me and the whole saga from the first moment to the last.

And that's that. Full circle, full circle.....funny how life goes that way sometimes.

Anyway, enough about that. I had a really rotten run yesterday. I'm trying not to worry about it. I just felt hungry and tired, and that's probably because I hadn't eaten or slept very well the night before. It was, as Zeke says, "ass-dragging slow." But, I just slowed down and got through it, and today and tomorrow are off so I can rock the pants off the Fall Classic.

If it has pants. Does it?

If it does, I'm so rockin' 'em.

Wil's not going to be happy with this...I really, really, REALLY wanted to head out to do Wildflower this year. I was really trying to talk myself into it, and she was helping. BUT--it's a Saturday, which means I'd have to leave Thursday morning. For teaching, I only get 3 personal days a year...and I used all three for Ironman. So, I'd have to use a "sick day," which is obviously not so ethical. AND--travel round trip would be somewhere in the range of $350, plus the entry fee, plus shipping my bike, etc. etc....and living on student loans and stuff this spring means it would be about a $1,000 weekend that I can't even really do without losing my job in the process or living in a cardboard box. So.....

No Wildflower for me. :(

I am INFINITELY jealous of her and everyone that can go. I wish I had more funds...but I love this job and unfortunately it doesn't allow for vacation time. (Except for those, uh, three months in the summer. I can't whine too much, here.)

ON A GOOD NOTE, I signed up yesterday for the Indy Mini Marathon! I wanted to do this last year but it closed before I could get in. Jacks is in, too! So we are TOTALLY going to rock that on May 5. Hopefully we can hang out with our friend Lush and maybe some other Nuthouse alums! I can drive there, I have a place to stay (I hope--Lush, uh, can I crash at your pad if you're reading this? hee hee), and it's ridiculously cheaper. So, there ya go.

But someday...I will get out to CA to do that race. Just not this year.

And now, I'm off to a tri-club meeting..I will leave you with this...

GO BUCKS!!!!!!!!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh, it is SO on, baby.

I'm starting to get a little excited about this weekend's endeavor. I know that I've been running well, and hitting all the splits that Coach Kara suggested I hit for the tempo runs, long run, and 400s.

I just need to do the opposite of what Flava Flav and Chuck D tell me to do, and TRUSS' IT.

I just...I dunno...I think this is the thing that fascinates me about running. For me, I really feel like it's mostly mental. Now, let's get one thing straight--I ain't gonna head out there and tear up a sub-3 marathon or anything like that. What I mean is, for what I know I'm capable of, it's mostly mental. And I know that the splits I'm holding right now are more consistent and faster than anything I did when I did my last stand-alone half marathon in 2003. So...relax, self. Chill. Deep breath. Go with it.

As in life. I'm just going to have to trust that the chips will fall where they may, and that's OK. Had a nice long conversation with my girl Wil last night and yet another man-is-this-creepy-or-what realization that we share quite a bit of that in common. Sooner or later, you just get freaking tired of worrying about it all, and you have to let it go. You just pass out in the middle of everything, because you have to. And when you're done, you get up. And you go with it. And you're fine.

And this is pretty much an established pattern of behavior of mine, since, oh, 1977.

So, before I get to said pass-out-with-my-toys-around-me phase, I'm going to REALLY work hard on letting life be life. In pencil. Although my life has been mapped out for me exactly as I have planned for the past three years (literally--every workout, every day, every backpacking trip, every wedding, every degree), I need to accept that this is an anomaly.

Real life usually doesn't have an iron-clad workout log and a race schedule.

And that's....O....K....

There, I said it! *shaking slightly*


And now, back to my race on Sunday...hey, THAT one's in Sharpie.

So sue me.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Half-Mary, Hail Mary


I'm ready to talk about it.

There's going to be a lot of uncertainty next year, and I already said I don't like that. So, what is in my control? What can I do?

I can do this.

Next Sunday.

Under 1:54.

The only thing stopping me is my head, and I think I've finally got that straightened out.

Here we go.

Before my tempo run

I had to buy new shoes yesterday. I was way overdue. I couldn't help feeling just a little sad about saying goodbye to my IronShoes. They are dirty, worn out, and I know they are not good to run in anymore.

But I maintain my position that they are a little bit magical. You only have your first Ironman once. And although they are worn out, my new Brooks Adrenaline look just as they did on the first day I opened their box.

New shoes remind me of an empty classroom in August. Endless possibilities. Not always easy, and not always fun, but when my time is done with them, I've grown a little bit more and left behind some amazing memories.

Some very, very good things happened this week. The next 10 months or so have me excited, nervous, worried, and unsettled. I really like to plan. I'm a planner--always have been. I love marking things on my calendar, making my little lists, diligently crossing off my tasks and accomplishments.

I can't do that this time.

I don't know what's going to happen. There are no guarantees. What we're doing is taking a gamble, and quite a big one at that. But it has to be done--there's just no other way around it. I need to do what I have said before that I always need to do...and that I have a hard time doing.

Trust myself and my abilities. The rest will fall into place.

I'd love to plan my race season for next year, but I really can't. I can, but in pencil. And I am more of a Sharpie kinda girl. There are so many variables...which is exciting in one sense, but for me, quite nerve-wracking in another.

So I am going to do what I can--throw everything I've got here into the next few weeks. Pour my heart and soul into it, since I don't know how long I'll be able to do that in the next few months. Try to ignore the little voice in my head that says "no," that is the only thing that holds me back. Trust the numbers. Trust my ability.

Give it everything I've got. Just a few more times. And then, let the dice fall where they may.

You never know where you're going to be in a week, a month, or a year. My coach told me to enjoy my Ironman because you never know if you'll be back. I hope and pray that I get the chance--and the honor--to do it again...to have the support, the time, and the health required to make it to that start line again.

Today, I'm going to do another run. The run will prove to me, yet again, that I can do this thing. The numbers will show me that. The only thing that holds me back is my head.

But I'm beginning to fully understand, two months later now, that my head is different--my outlook is different. My view of my capabilities is different. And this is good.

But I don't want to have to give this up.

I suppose I can't worry about that...about what might be in store, about the X and Y of the situation.

Trust me. Trust myself.

It's about 48 degrees outside and raining. And I'm going to do my 7 mile tempo run anyway. Because I've been here before.
Oh yes, I've definitely been here before.

And it's about time I got these new shoes dirty, anyway.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eleven Miles

I set out on my eleven mile journey today, after I cast my vote, in the misty air as the sun set over Lake Erie.

No one, no sounds, but me and the leaves and the mist as the occasional car drove by.

I thought about lots of things--I always do when I run. I thought about how some runners run to get away from things, and some run to get somewhere.

I think I used to be a runner to get away from things, but tonight I finally realized that I have become one of the runners that is running towards something new.

If there is one thing that Ironman did to me, it made me realize that.

For some reason, since that day, I haven't had many doubts, despite many aspects of my life in transition right now. I haven't had as much of the fear in my head that I used to have often: that I wasn't good enough, fast enough, strong enough. I think that's why that night when I ran through the finisher's chute in the dark, misty rain, I didn't cry. I laughed.

I screamed.

It wasn't anything like I thought it would be in the daydreams I had on the countless hours on my trainer, in the pool, and on the trails.

I crossed that line and I remembered what it was like to run without fear, play without doubt, be the little girl that beat all the boys in the pool, the little girl who screamed as she did backflips off the high bar on the playground. Who, when she heard "Red rover, red rover, let Sara come over," squealed and sprinted full speed ahead at the line of arms waiting to stop her and dove right at them, breaking through every time.

I thought about how that day has changed me, and how it has changed me in ways I never really thought it would and in ways that I am sure I don't even fully understand yet. And I listened to the sound of my breathing and saw the shadow of the leaves glistening on the sidewalk, and ran the strongest, fastest 11 miles I've ran in 3 years.

I'm running towards her.

The finish line was only the beginning.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"I mean, who throws a shoe? Honestly!"

--Austin Powers to Random Task

"I mean, who chip times a 5K? Honestly?"

--me disgruntled after learning my chip did not read, therefore I am not in official results

Grrrrr! Somehow I had a chip malfunction. Me poor chip did not get read....

So, I just have some imaginary hardware from coming in 2nd in my age group yesterday behind DaisyDuc, which is quite a bummer since the hardware was a stuffed animal (the race was for a nature center) and I really would have liked to give it to my niece.

So, I am unofficially an invisible age group 2nd place holder :) Hey, that's still kinda fun. Only 11 peeps in my AG, but still!

I mean, REALLY? Chip time a 5K with around 100 people in the race????????

Sigh. Oh well.

I have something new brewing up my sleeve....it's a surprise though, but I'm going to really work on this little surprise. Perhaps I will disclose it ahead of time. Perhaps I will not. :)

Congrats to all my IMFL brothers and sisters! You guys are freaking ROCK STARS. I can't wait to read the reports. So. JEALOUS. Will hopefully be there in '08...I want to know what flat is like and what TriSaraTops could do in IM #2! So feed my race report addiction, please!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


A funny thing happens when you don't look for stuff.

You find it.

When you forget how much you love competing against yourself, you remember at the strangest times. When you don't think about being a triathlete, you realize again and again that that's what you are. That's who you are.

I got in the pool yesterday for the first time in a month. I just simply couldn't sit and stare at my computer screen of IronmanLive anymore...I knew my friends were out there, and I knew I had to wait. No sense in wasting any more time. I'd already done all the random little tasks I needed to do. So, what do I do?

Head to a pool--on the other side of town--because I just really felt like I needed to swim.

All that IronmanLive-ing woke up the TriSara spirit, and it was like I was on autopilot.




So I did, and didn't really expect much--first time in a pool since late September! But I put on my Zoot suit and my goggles, and walked into the pool....and got the stupidest smile on my face.

You know you're a triathlete when you SMILE as you go underwater in the pool.

Man, I love this stuff.

So I busted out my first 100 warmup. Not expecting much, of course. Looked at my watch....


It said I just swam it at a pace that, last January, was my 100 yards all-out pace.


Kept going, and did 1000 yards. Checked the watch, and did it faster than most of my time trials from last year.

"Um, hi, guard? Is this pool 20 yards long?"

*looks at me like I'm nuts, since clearly this is a pool used for teams to swim, as all the records are posted on the walls*

"No...it's 25 yards...we have teams race in here."

*stupid grin* "OK! Great, thanks!"

I then ended with 100 fast and hard...just to see.

Looked at the watch...and wouldn't ya know it? Faster than any 100 I did during IM training!

It kinda reminds me of the time at Miami U, when my senior year, I had 2 exams on Green Beer Day. Green Beer Day is the Thursday before Spring Break, and the bars open at 5am with insane beer specials that increase every hour. My grades were good, I knew I was going to graduate with honors in 2 months, so I decided, "You know what? I'm going out on Green Beer Day. And that's that." So I did--went out at 5am, had some green libations, stopped consuming around 7, had some coffee, took my first exam (The European Union) at 8am and my second (International Politics) at 10. Went back to the bars after exam #2.

Got the tests back: A and B+.

So, I remember thinking, WHY did I waste all that time stressing about these exams, when I just got my two highest test grades in these classes on Green Beer Day?

Moral of the story? Don't sweat it. Sometimes good stuff happens when you relax and trust your abilities.

Today, I went up to a little race. I knew nothing of what my body would really do, since I feel like I haven't done much fast stuff since MC Hammer was on the charts. So, I found BuckeyeRunner, DaisyDuc, CanadaJenn, and my awesome Mom.

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TriSaraMom, CanadaJenn, and I suit up for the race

We wished each other well, and then took off!

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TriSaraMom looking strong! Yes, folks, that's my MOM--not my sister

In my head, I really just hoped I could hold sub-8 minute pace for this race. I was pleased to see I was doing so until Mile 3...huh? Really? Did that time dude just yell what I thought he did?

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DaisyDuc, kickin' butt, grabbin' the hardware in AG!

I saw the finisher's chute and kicked it into high gear the last (what I thought was ) 0.1 mile.

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Look! It's a BuckeyeRunner on my tail! I'd better move or she's gonna SMOKE me!

I was bummed at the finisher time, but oh well. You know what? I had a blast. Who cares if it was not close to the time I had hoped for. I cheered for CanadaJenn as she came in and out-kicked some dude....."Get him! Get him! GET HIM!" I yelled.

She got him.

Then, I waited for my Mom. She came through very strong and kicked it at the end. I swear she gets stronger and stronger with each run she does!

Finally, I actually checked my Garmin.

3.19 miles.

Wait a minute......maybe it IS CLOSE to the time I was hoping for...

Daisy Duc came up to me and said, "Hey, did that feel long to you?" I showed her the Garmin. I then saw another girl with a Forerunner on and asked her, "Hey, what does your's say for distance?" She laughed and said, "3.2. It's definitely long."


Pretty soon, the race director came on the PA and announced what my friend Mr. Garmin already told me: the course was a bit long--about a tenth of a mile. Adjust your times accordingly.

What a nice little surprise!

I then asked Mr. Garmin what my laps and pace were.

7:55 pace! YahoooooooooooIDIDIT!

The last 0.1 was really closer to 0.2....and I did that at a 6:41 pace! So I definitely could have ran faster, if I had that much gas left in my tank. But again, who cares? I had a blast, it felt great to be out there, and now I have something to gauge myself against for a few more little 5Ks here before the season ends in December.

So, to "adjust" that to 5K time, I did 24:32. Not anything earth-shattering for me, but hey, not too shabby. It felt good to be back. And I definitely finished strong.

Sometimes, when you just chill out and relax a bit and just GO, you realize you have fun. You realize why you do this. For the friends, the fun running in the finisher's chute with your Mom, the coffee afterwards at Panera. The time's just the icing on the cake.

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What will most likely be ANOTHER PR for the TriSaraMom!

I definitely am excited to try and chase my PR down here in the next few weeks. I think I can get it.

You can take the girl out of the triathlon....but you can't take the triathlon outta the girl.