Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tri Tag Time

I'm hangin' in. Thanks for the kind words.

Looking forward to a great yoga class tonight, dodgeball game tomorrow (if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball), and a fun 10K Trail Run which MIGHT just have to be in 8 degree weather Saturday morning. Well, I said I wanted snow.....

I've been tagged!

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever

By far, my favorite memory of my first triathlon was the training I did with TriShannon. We were both such newbies and we printed out the "Beginner Triathlete" program on and followed it religiously. It was such a fun summer--We'd swim in the morning, then we'd go to class, come back and do a ride or run...and then often top it off with a tasty DQ Blizzard. Hey, so we weren't that concerned about nutrition yet. ;) Training with a good friend was my favorite part of the first tri, aside from crossing that first finish line.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon

Ironman Wisconsin. Wow. How do I begin? I'll tell a funny memory. I remember wading into the water with Wil, hearing Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now," and thinking, "Hey, TriEric said they played this song at IMUSA as he got in the water." Then, I heard Mike Reilly yell over the loudspeaker, "ONE MINUTE! WHO WANTS TO BE AN IRONMAN TODAY?!" And then, for the first time in my life, I got so nervous I peed myself. And about 7 seconds later, the cannon went off, and my day began.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?

A few years back I did the Lorain Sprint Triathlon, got back to T2, put my bike on the rack all fast and slick since I was trying to place in Age Group, feelin' all tough...and I KNOCKED OVER THE ENTIRE RACK OF BIKES. Nice job, Slick. I was totally "THAT GUY." I started apologizing like crazy and the volunteers (as they were laughing) told me not to worry. Somehow I still won my age group....must have been a small field that day, I can only guess. :)

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?

Hands down, the last two miles of Ironman Wisconsin, right after Alicia and Jacks ran alongside me and my other buddies cheered me on with their layers of sweatshirts and umbrellas in the pouring rain and freezing cold...right after Coach Kara ran by me and said, "Think of all the people you raised money for! You're going to do this, Sara!" For the next two miles, I ran with the biggest stupid grin on my face and felt absolutely no pain. And when I got to the finish line, I laughed and screamed and felt more alive than I ever have.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?

That I'm the luckiest girl on the face of the earth, and I have so much to be thankful for.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

Race related, that would be Ironman Florida 2008. That's the big 'un. I might be a little busy until then, so I'm going to take it day by day and work towards another Ironman.

I will tag TriShannon, DaisyDuc, TriEric, and TriAl.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Faith Somewhat Restored...

Yesterday was a bad day, with bad news. Here is not the appropriate medium to discuss said news. But, it was bad, and while it's definitely not the end of the world, it left me feeling helpless, upset, infuriated, and tearful at the state of things.

I tried not to think about it today. Which was hard, as the lesson I had to teach about actually touched upon it a bit. I left school with my hat over my head low, head to the ground, and walked through my snow-globe parking lot and drove slowly home in the gray sky and white as far as I could see, feeling rather numb.

And tonight, I got this email:

Dear Sara:

As you know, X's desire is to become a history teacher. I think you know that her decision was primarily because of the education, interaction, and support received in your classes over the past year and a half. Even if her plans change, and she decides to not pursue a degree in education, I have you to thank for igniting a passion in our daughter, the likes of which we've not seen in a very long time.

I know I've told you this before, but I want to tell you again: You are a very special person, Sara, and a gifted educator. Thank you for sharing your gift! The lives you touch exceed the number of students you've had over the years.

God Bless,
The X Family

And now I'm crying for a different reason.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hmmmmm...what to do before I crash....

Got home last night a 1am! 11 hours on a bus. Whew.

We had a great time. Well, I guess I should say THEY had a great time. I, my friends, was on the clock all weekend. Literally. Very stressful at times...but worth it, as they all had a lot of fun. 1,200 students from 60 schools from all over the US and world--including China, South Korea, Canada, El Salvador, South Africa. Very cool! Especially fun to see them all at the dance, jamming to the likes of Justin Timberlake and Ludacris.

And not so fun....but definitely a little have to deal with the school of the CHILDREN of ACTUAL UN DELEGATES that brought nine bottles of liquor to the dance. Um, yeah. They all got kicked out. (OK--that's a little funny at the irony, at least)

My kids were so well-behaved and such a great bunch, so I was very lucky. I couldn't have asked for a better or nicer group.

Now, I need to SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPP as I haven't slept more than 5 hours per night since LAST TUESDAY. I'm on a bit of a high now trying to get all my stuff at school done (holy pile of grading, Batman) and I could really stand to mop the floor tonight, vacuum, etc. etc. Hmmmmmmmm. We'll see how far I get.

I did manage to squeeze in a 4 mile, 8:15 pace treadmill run before breakfast (I had to kick it up since I barely had any time!) one day, and the highlight of my weekend by far was meeting the awesome Cara from InTransit--and doing a KILLER run up a big 'ole hill to the top of New Haven to look out at the entire city and the Long Island Sound leading to the Atlantic Ocean! So. Freakin. COOL. Wish I could have spent more time with her!

The 2 runs were a far cry from my 18 miles I was supposed to have in those 4 days, but they were all I could do....and they kept me SANE. Yay for sanity!

OK. I MUST start entering these grades and do productive things before I COLLAPSE. I am fighting a cold, so I think I"ll take today off, too (ugh) and hit the road with my Soler friends tomorrow night. I see a DIRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTTY Trail Run 10K this weekend with my homey in my future, and maybe some snowshoeing with my hubby on Sunday!

Hope everyone had a great weekend--I could REALLY use a day off! Ahhh....why, oh why can't I ever get a snow day? Sigh........:)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2 Stars and A Run for my Sanity

Yesterday was a no good, very bad day.

I woke up late. Then, couldn't find my keys. Called Matt freaking out and forgot that we had made spares (he calmly, as usual, reminded me of this, since I *might* have done this before). Then I got to school early for a Model UN meeting and a bunch of the kids I really needed there WEREN'T there. We also found out Monday we were accidentally $1,600 in the hole for our trip to Yale TOMORROW. I had nightmares that angry parents would be in my room wanting to tar and feather me for our clerical error in payments.

My kids sort of drove me nuts yesterday, but it was probably not as bad as I thought...I was just in a bad mood.

Decided I NEEDED a Northern Lite Latte (Chocolate Raspberry) and couldn't get my car to start in the parking lot. Said some inappropriate words. Got car to start. Got Latte.

Read horoscope at Caribou, 'cuz they always print it out. Usually I don't look twice, because it NEVER says I have anything but a 4 or 5 star day. Blah blah blah.

Yesterday's horoscope? 2 star day. Something to the effects of, "It's not your day. Stay at the mast of the ship. Tonight: don't even think about missing it."

Well then. I guess that's the way it's gonna be. Not missing my Second Sole run last night, apparently!

Had a great run, 6.3 miles, with my buddies in the snow. Packing? Still haven't started. But, the sub lesson plans are in, we coughed up the money in time, I almost have all 3 emergency medical forms/liability forms per kid, I did 5 lecture/discussions today so I don't have much of a voice but felt like they actually learned--yahoo--and tomorrow morning at 5am I'll be hitting the very, very long road to New Haven, Connecticut with 19 students.

I'm going to pack. And then, Bible study at my place. And then, a 9pm run, because I know it will calm me down.

And I will even, hopefully, get to meet up with Cara from InTransit this weekend! So that rocks.

It'll all be worth it in the end....right? No, it will. I know it will. It's just a little crazy getting TO the bus. Once we're on it, it's all good. I'm not very excited about the prospect of arriving back at 2am Sunday night and then teaching all week.

BUT--their memories will always be with them, and I get to see that. That should suffice for sleep for a few days.

Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

PFC Jessica Lynch, Y2K, and nothing to do with triathlons

So I was checking the top news stories yesterday, and saw a nice happy story of that former POW Jessica Lynch. "What a nice story," I thought. So I clicked on it.

I read it, and had a "wait--you've GOTTA be kiddin' me" moment.

So I had to do a little searching to find out if you've-gotta-be-kiddin'-me was in fact, true. It wasn't, but in the process, I accidentally discovered where someone I once knew was. A person I had a relationship with, when I lived in Cincinnati 8 years ago. I accidentally found that person is, for all intents and purposes, doing what I knew he'd worked hard to do, had a job at a certain university, and also was married like myself. And I thought, "Well, that's nice. He was a good guy, and even though things didn't end very well, I always knew he was a good guy."

And then for some reason, I didn't think about HIM anymore, but everything surrounding his memory. It was like I was watching a movie where he played a very, VERY small role, and the important stuff was really everything else.

I'm turning 30 this year. I'm actually really excited about this. But I have to admit that I'm already starting to feel a little sad, not at getting older because there is SO much to look forward to. But, for how AWESOME my 20s have been. Still are, I should say. I've still got 6 months. :)

I started thinking about where I was when I was with this person--how we met at a Mount Adams bar that I can't even remember the name of when Jacks was visiting from her 2 year program in Lexington, KY. Writing my number on a napkin. Dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

BUT--what's more important is that I remembered everything else about that time--it just started coming to me in these waves and I started smiling--and even laughing!--at the memories. I remembered being a first year teacher that fall, living with 2 of my best friends and having a ton of friends within 10 miles of me. Thinking I knew what I was getting myself into, as, 4 weeks after turning 22, I moved into my first real apartment, and I entered my first real classroom. My parents took this picture right before they left after helping me move in.
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Then, I remembered having 168 students and realizing that teaching was in NO WAY what I thought it would be.

How in some ways it was the hardest year of my life, and in others it was the best thing that I've ever done, being at that school, staying up until 3:37am grading and thinking and trying so hard to figure out how to teach subjects I knew so well to 168 subjects I was struggling to reach. I remember making the decision to move that spring--to leave my friends and the classroom I was finally getting warmed up in. I remember the scrapbook the kids made me, that I still have, with all the notes and pictures they wrote.

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I remembered these freshman girls, who are now 22. They are the age that I was in that picture. My seniors that first year are now 25. I remember all of their names, when I went back through my books. You never forget your first class.

I remembered packing up my classroom that June, after saying goodbye. The second the kids left--the moment the last one shut the door--I cried the whole time.

I thought about meeting Rizzo, another brand new first-year English teacher who was placed directly across the hall from me, and realizing just how important it is for some people to come into your life. How things change and you move on, and move up, and move away...but they've changed you and will always be with you. How strong she was with what she was going through, and how close we got so fast--us "outsiders:" her playing the role of Jersey girl, me a Clevelander with a "funny accent," both of us with Italian last names and a sarcastic sense of humor.

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I'm reminded that the relationship that reminded me of all these times was over by Y2K. It was short. But I remember it being fun--I remember laughing with Rizzo about these things on our morning commute across 1-74 in our old cars with 140,000 miles on them, listening to the Dixie Chicks and Y96--the ONLY time in my life I've ever listened to country music. About riding the bull at some hole-in-the-wall-bar called Bobby Mackey's in Kentucky. (Kentucky!)

I remember how my friends from Cleveland came down for New Years 1999, and Mindy came home in the middle of her 2 year Peace Corps stint in Belize. And how that night I had all my friends, old and new, there to celebrate what many thought would be the end of the world. But our computers won't work! But our cell phones! Stock up on water and batteries! How now, as I look back, it seems so ridiculous. We had no idea that the day that would really change everything-everything-would come 21 months later, one sunny morning in September.

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I remembered all the mistakes I made. Some were good--like Sheryl Crow says, "my favorite mistakes." Some changed my life and led to a lot of happiness. Some were very bad. And every time I fell flat on my face, either that year or later years, these girls were there. I lived my Carrie Bradshaw years in an apartment with them, and I lived paycheck to paycheck on my small teacher's salary, but I felt as rich as a queen.

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All of this hit me today after reading a stupid little news story. It's bizarre--like I'm staring back at this decade, but at the same time looking forward at a new one. And I think--can it be as good? Can I be surrounded by such friends? Will I make such dumb mistakes? Will I have as much fun? We are all a few hours away now, not a few miles: Denver, D.C, St. Louis, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati. Many of us are married. All of us have great jobs, some of us have kids. But I'm also reminded that at the time, some things seemed so bad...some mistakes irreversable, some problems insurmountable. Sometimes, I'd call Sam and Jill and not even be able to talk--I'd just cry. But they were there. We got through it--everything. Every time.

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So now I've got nothing left really to do, except be reminded, by a roundabout and rather random way through a story on the news, of how good I have it. I wouldn't trade any of these memories, these mistakes, these friendships for a billion dollars if you offered it to me.

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And I understand that I have many, many more mistakes in my future. But, what I also have are amazing friends who will be there to catch me, and I'll catch them, too, even if they are not in my time zone.

My twenties are almost done.

So, I'll take all these memories with me as I turn a new corner and open the next door.
"We do not remember days...we remember moments." --Cesare Pavese

LOVE running in snow. LOVE IT.

Today was my first long-ish run since the 11 I did to get ready for the Fall Classic Half....I was very excited to see a fresh new dusting of snow on the ground for my 10 miles this morning! The valley I run in is SO beautiful in the winter--especially with a fresh dust of powder. I just love how it sticks to the trees and makes everything look like a snow globe.

I got my bottles of water and nuun ready, grabbed some Clif Bloks, and headed to meet my Soler friends for a run. They are all getting ready for the St. Louis Marathon in April and had 16 on their schedule, so I just decided to go out 5 with them and back 5 by myself.

Running with friends is the bomb. Especially in the winter. It just makes you feel warmer and makes it go faster with good buds. We took off and I decided to wear my HR monitor, which I haven't been wearing lately. I figured now that I'm officially on Indy Mini training schedule time, I might as well keep some data to notice trends. (Sidenote: If anyone is interested in seeing my plan for the Indy Mini, you can find it here. I'm on week 5.)

I find that unless I'm careful, I really can become a slave to the HR monitor. I am very much more a fan of RPE training. But, for Ironman, HR training is kinda essential for NOT screwing things up. So, for now, HR will be a guideline for me to just notice trends and see improvements, but I refuse to be a slave to that darn thing.

It was 22 degrees at the start, and very very very icy. So, we were pretty conservative in our pace. Which was good, as I took the time in to enjoy running with my buds, hear the sound of the creek rushing against the rocks, and the snow crunching underneath our Brooks and Mizunos and whatever else we all had on. Some parts of the creek were frozen solid, and it was really peaceful.

Around mile 3 or so, there was a BIG puddle on the trail...I warned, "Puddle!" to those behind me, and then tried to gazelle-like jump OVER the puddle. Instead, I more sort of Kerri Strug-like landed on one ankle directly IN the puddle. NOT GOOD. Luckily, I didn't twist anything and was fine, except for a cold squishy foot. Dr. John even gave me a "10.0" score for sticking the landing. My friend Jen was not so lucky on the way back and rolled her ankle pretty bad.

At the 5 mile mark I said goodbye to my friends and ran back. It was nice to just run without an iPod, no podcast, no music. Just me and the snow and other runners on the roads as we waved or smiled in acknowledgement. Running in silence is a good thing.

Around mile 7, I stopped to take a Clif Blok or two. I had taken the liners of my gloves off, since I was hot, and was just running in my mittens. The liners were stuffed in my fuel belt. Well, I dropped the darn liners and didn't realize it until I was 1/4 mile away.


Turned around and high-tailed it to go pick up my liners--right by the street. Whew! Not like anyone was really out there that would take 'em, but still. They are essential for my winter runs when it's less than 25 degrees. So, I added an additional 1/2 mile onto my run. Oh well!

I made it back to the car, and checked my "stats:"

Total Miles: 10.5
Average HR: 157 (right on the money of where I needed it to be! Yahoooooooooooo!)
Average Pace 10:23/mile (hey, not bad for nasty ice and stuff!)
Total Calories burned: 2231 (I don't buy that for a SECOND)
Number of friends ran with: 8 for the first 5 miles, 1 (that's me) for the last 5.5
Gloves Dropped: 2
Puddles fell into: 1
Deer Spotted: 4
Fun had: infinity times 10

Went to Caribou to meet up with a few Soler buds, and then about an hour later the rest showed up. Now I'm home, showered, and warm, ready to read and relax a bit, and play some Guitar Hero II with my buddies tonight.

In the words of the infamous Ice Cube, "Today I didn't even have to use my AK...I'd have to say it was a good day."

Get out there, friends!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Alias: TriSaraTops

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Mission: To exit during the long break between midterm exams/lunch and hit the snazzy new Y to do a swim.

No one suspects a thing. Flying Pig bag is all packed up. Zoot suit is ready to go.

Enter 29 civilians to take a 143 question test.

Play role of "teacher." Code name: Mrs. Z. (Other Aliases: ZimDogg, ZuhzuhzuhZEEEEUNIT.) Answer questions. Read the riot act about cell phones and iPods. Pass out scantrons. Watch for wandering eyes. Demand nothing but a number 2 pencil.


Collect tests. Eye clock. You will have a short amount of time for said mission. Must complete 2500 yards or it's not worth getting in the pool.

Testing period ends. Two subjects approach you. Keep your cool. They are what the District calls "freshman." These types of subjects usually ask questions incessantly. They are overly excited to actually go out to lunch, since they never get to do this.

"Mrs. Z, we're going to Herb's Place for lunch! Where are you going?"

Quick! Response!

"I'm....going to swim. And then a sandwich."

*blank stares*


NONONONONO you have BLOWN YOUR COVER! Exit strategy commence!

"I mean I'm going to swim. Really. And then come back here and eat my sandwich."

*freshman look at each other quizzically*

"You're going to SWIM?"



*one subject says to the other:*

"Dude, I don't think she ever stops."

Quickly grab Pig bag, while laughing at subject comment. Lock all items secure. Drive to prearranged location. Quick change back into TriSaraTops.

Execute 2500 yards. 500 warm up, 10 X 50 drills, 5X200 NS, 3X100 hard, 200 CD.

Examine clock. Just in time.

Quick change: grey pants, purple sweater, makeup. Back to "Mrs. Z." Report back to 221 for duty. Appear as if nothing happened.

"Hey, Mrs. Z...can I have some extra review?"

Outstanding. They bought it.

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rest Day = Randomness

OK, this is too funny. I found this on TXSkateMom's blog. I have absolutely no training to post for today, so I figured, what the heck.

They take a scanned image of your face and match you up with celebrities. The ONLY picture I have of just me and my mug where I'm NOT making some asinine face, gangsta symbols, or generally making an arse out of myself is the one that Matt had to take for me for Trifuel. So, here's the pic and my so-called "matches...."

OK--first off, who are Lisa, Kelly, and Delta? I have NO clue who these "celebrities" are!

Second off, ain't no WAY in HADES that I resemble Jessica Alba. I guess I shouldn't complain, though.

I actually have heard Rachel Bilson before, but I most often get Courteney Cox or Sandra Bullock (although she's been MIA for a while so I don't hear it as much anymore), and they aren't on the list.

I also found a pic of me and my buddy Jacks...scanned that one in and, hey, Jacks, you look like Hayden Panetierre, Jessica Biel, and Cameron Diaz! Who knew! I still looked like some chick named Delta. day.

Do you SEE why I need a training schedule?! Seriously. I think I just lost some brain cells from this activity.

Tomorrow....swim and some girls' night yoga with my buds E-Speed and JenC!

Enough of this ridonkulousness. I am going to bed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Devilishly Good Run

Snow today.


I love my classroom, not just for what I get to do in it, but for the view. I have four HUGE windows, with evergreens outside, and it looked like a SCREEN SAVER today outside my window.

I was so excited and couldn't wait to get outside, so on my lunch, I put on my red coat and black plaid hat and drove to Caribou to use a gift card for a tasty drink. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Snow. Love. IT.

Stayed at work late to get things done, came home, had an apple with some peanut butter (a little piece of heaven) and changed into my FUN new Nike running pants that I HEART, my Pearl Izumi cool gloves with the blue flower, and my Brooks cold weather running coat. My snow running Nike Storm shoes. My lemon ice lip gloss.

Snow. SNOWsnowsnowsnowsnowsnow!

I drove to meet my Soler friends. Lots were there: Dr. John, New Zealand Pat, Ultra Irene, Electric Mike and Jen. We took off!

23 degrees. Ice and blustery wind. A few inches of fresh snow.


6.66 glorious miles later, I ran with Electric Mike for an average pace of 9:29, through the wind and the snow and the ice and I felt like doing somersaults and making snow angels.

Get out there. Bundle up like Randy on a Christmas Story. Run in the snow with friends, and tell me it's NOT FUN. I dare you.

Warm chocolate milk and a bowl of chili later, and I can't wait for another round.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

The distance girl

I haven't been able to sleep much the past few days.

There's not really one thing on my mind. It's really bizarre. I just try to sleep, and before I know it, it's 1:17am. Not fun.

I wasn't sure if I'd have enough energy to swim on Friday, as I hadn't slept well and was still getting over the little bug I had earlier this week. But after school, I went to the brand new Y down the street, and dove in.

I didn't even go that far...relatively speaking, of course after this year's training schedule. 2250 yards. Just nice and easy with a few negative split 200s just to push me a bit. A 500 warmup. 10X50 drills.

It was awesome.

I have a few sounds that I just LOVE. My bat hitting a line drive. Leaves crunching. Laying down in snow and just listening.

And I love the sound of water as you're swimming laps.

For me, there's the sound of water as you swim in Lake Erie--with the waves hitting you and cresting by the shore. Then, there's the sound of water as I swim laps in the Y--my breath, and a muffled sound of me moving through the water. In the summer, I love the sound I hear when I swim at the outdoor pool in the summer. It's similar to the Y, but with a lot of kids laughing muffled with the sounds of my arms and legs moving.

I remember the sounds of the water at Ironman less clearly, but I clearly remember the sounds in my head. I could probably type back most of what went through my brain that morning. It was almost like I was watching myself swim and taking notes on the situation as it was unfolding.

Strange, but true.

Today, I ran at the zoo with some friends. It was awesome. We did some hill repeats, and said hi to the bear-sloth (did you know that such a thing existed? I didn't), the tigers, the seals (my personal favorite), the wolves, reindeer, and camels. Before I knew it, 70 minutes flew by. I have no clue how far I went.

I came home, and made some dessert for my family progressive dinner tonight. I'm sort of a dessert girl, so I volunteered to make it. Then, I had to clean things up a bit. I vacuumed, dusted, mopped the floors, and straightened up the place a bit. In our spare room, I have a shelf where I have a bunch of my race numbers tied together with a ribbon in a stack. Each one has written on the back the race and time, and sometimes another comment--"1st in Age Group!" "Very hot!" "Almost hurled!" Also on that shelf, are a bunch of trophies that I have from when I started road racing back in 2003. There's quite a few-mostly 2nd in Age Group for the road races, since my buddy Jenn was always first (I just never could quite catch her--she's speedy), but there is one glorious 5K age group win (not my PR, though--kinda weird!), but definitely some 1st for tris. "1st in Age Group." It really used to motivate me quite a bit.

I looked at the shelf and thought to myself, "That's funny...those just don't seem to motivate me as much anymore."

Perhaps it's because the longer the race, the lower in age group I seem to fall. But, whereas that might have REALLY bothered me 3 or 4 years ago road racing the shorter stuff, it really doesn't bother me now. Really. I say that, and probably only Matt can vouch for it. He used to see me get all geeked up about trying to win my age group, or being so pissed if I came in "third--ew." He'd roll his eyes and half-smile when I came home from my races with my little report of who beat me, or who I beat.

Over the past two years, I've been focusing on long distance stuff. 2005 had for me a marathon and a half ironman, with a few road races and sprints/olympics sprinkled in for fun. 2006 was the year of the Ironman, with a half ironman, olympic, and half marathon in as training, and a few road races that really were just glorified tempo runs.

I finished 69/100 in my age group at Ironman. And I am really, really happy with that.

At first, I think it was a little hard for me, to go from bringing home some shiny little trinket almost every time I raced--whether it was a coffee mug, a trophy, a ribbon--to finishing in the middle of the pack, at best. And then--and NOW--I think I realize that I've really changed in the past two years.

I'm not a trinkets girl anymore.

I am a distance girl.

I love to go long--to run with nothing but myself or a good friend for 2 or 3 hours, to hear the sounds of nothing but my feet on the trails, my arms in the water, or the wind through my helmet.

I can't stop thinking about getting another chance at an Ironman next year. I hope I can. I can't wait. I think now, I've seen the value of making my own goals and deciding what MY first, second, or third place is.

So I dusted off that shelf, with the random plaques and trophies. I know that things are cyclical, and that someday, they may be just what I need to get going again. Someday, probably, trinkets will seem exciting to me again.

But, for now, I'm going to trade them in. I'm going to trade them in for the distance, and I'm going to dream at night about going long, and about another Ironman someday.

And I'll make my own definition of first place.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What I Did on my Christmas Vacation

by, Trisaratops.

First, we flew to Honolulu, where we got to stay with our awesome buddy, Molly.
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She showed us all kinds of cool stuff. We got to hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater (as in volcano!) and saw the whole city and Waikiki Beach.

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We got to see where over a thousand heroes still rest...

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It's hard not to get a tear in your eye when you stand there and realize what the memorial truly means. Most of them were younger than my brother.

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I stood on the memorial, looked up, and this is what I saw:

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Then, we flew to Maui. On Christmas Eve, we went up 11,000 feet, above the clouds at Mount Haleakala, to watch the most amazing sunrise I've ever seen....

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It was pretty chilly, but not as cold as everyone makes it out to be! I guess we're used to it, though.

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Then, we got to ride mountain bikes 38 miles DOWNHILL...we saw some amazing views and by the time we got down it was very warm! I felt like such a tool as roadies climbed UP the mountain, while me and my rented mountain bike hauled down.... :) I decided someone needs to put an Ironman course on it...but shuttle you back up to the top and get all 112 miles downhill. Now THAT would be the only way I could break 11 hours in an Ironman... :)

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When we drove back to our hotel, we stopped at this beach to watch the hardcore surfers. If you look really close, you can see tons of 'em. I couldn't WAIT to get my turn!

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This just made me laugh WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY too hard. Outside a swanky resort, on Christmas Day...

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We got to see some humpback whales from a distance, which was amazing...

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On the Hana Highway, we stopped here for some banana bread...mmmm....

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Everywhere we turned on the Highway to Hana, it seemed there was another beautiful waterfall!

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The views were unbelievable. We had a red Jeep Wrangler so it was a fun drive!

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We stopped here for lunch. The black rock was awesome.

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We found a black sand beach! The contrast of colors was like nothing I've ever seen before.

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We made it all the way to the O'heo (sp?) Gulch, which is otherwise known as the "Seven Sacred Pools," and we jumped in!

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It's hard to NOT relax when all you see are things like this:

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Finally, we got to meet up in Lahaina, an old whaling town, with my friend Vicki, her husband Jeff, and her little guy Aidan, who just happened to be vacationing there the same time we were!

And we got to do some surfing, which I can't wait to do again:

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Woo hoo~that's me, standing up, with some help from some surfer dude!


Okay, you can stop laughing now. Seriously. It's not bad for my first one ever, right? Right?! Come on! Cut me some slack, I'm from Ohio!

Definitely....the trip of a LIFETIME. Soooooooo far away from everything,'s strange to think that it's 2,500 miles away from CALIFORNIA, let alone from Cleveland! I knew it was far, but I guess I never realized just HOW far until I was on that plane ride and saw nothing but water for four hours.

So I'll leave you with this, your moment of Zen..... :)

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Me and El Nino Down by the Schoolyard

It's been warm here.

Today, the temperature FINALLY dipped down to about 27, although it was not really snowing--not enough for my liking--but at least some flurries are coming down. When I walked out of school today, I needed my scarf and heavy red winter coat and white gloves. The air hit my face and felt crisp when I took a breath. And I felt better, knowing this.

They say it's "El Nino." That's what's made it so unseasonably warm.

A few days ago, when I went on an 8 mile run, I stepped outside to notice that there were little flowers blooming in my garden. Little snow lilies--they usually don't pop out until early March.

They're confused.

I'm sorta feelin' em.

This whole weather thing has really made me feel "off." It just doesn't feel...quite right. Sure, I've enjoyed running in shorts for all but two weeks this entire winter.


It's not what I'm used to.

You know what? I've had a rough time coming down this Ironman high. I'm just gonna lay it out there. I thrive on structure. Plans. For the past year of my life, that's how I lived. Really, two years, when I think that 2005 was filled with a spring marathon and a late-summer 70.3.

I'm getting better at this. Because, I have to. This is how it's going to be this year.

Pencil, Sara. Pencil...

Let's cue Paul Simon:

"Well I'm on my way....I don't know where I'm goin'...I'm on my way...I'm takin' my time, but I don't know where..."


So I'm here with a calendar, and with a plan that I will sort of follow week by week, and that's OK. Because, you know what? I'm a firm believer in the school of thought that you grow the most when you make yourself uncomfortable.

During the past two years of endurance event training, it's been uncomfortable sometimes.

(That's putting it mildly.)

And I loved it. But not every day, while I was doing it...sometimes I really wondered why or what business I even had doing it. But I look back now and know that I loved it and I loved what it's done to me.

So now, a new phase and a new year. This feels...uncomfortable. That seems like too weak an adjective, but it will have to do.

I'm going to just have to learn to adjust to this. I know, eventually, I'm going to look back and say how much I loved it. How much I loved the freedom to sleep a little later, run if I wanted to, do yoga when I wanted to, read a book when I wanted to. Start teaching a new class that's much harder and challenges me more, run a half-marathon with friends for fun, swim because it relaxes me and not because I-have-to-get-in-4000-yards-today-or-else.

I'm going to stand back in the crowd, now, and watch my friends...all of them, near and far. Because I am still young, and I still have a LOT to learn. I need to remember that Ironmans aren't going anywhere. That I am an Ironman. That I have many years of Ironman, and probably even other things that at one time or now seem impossible, left in me, and this year isn't one of them, but it's still a year to grow and learn and try every new thing I possibly can.

Shove me outside of my little box. Stick my head out of the ground on January 10th, even if it doesn't make sense.

Confusion can be good, because unless you feel just a little, teensy bit lost sometimes, how on earth are you ever going to get going?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

shut the FRONT DOOR

If you would have told me yesterday at this time that the Buckeyes would have played ALMOST as bad as the Browns and gotten PUMMELLED by stupid Florida, I would have told you to shut the FRONT door. (Well, I probably would have said something similar that requires a parental advisory sticker, actually.)

But, if you would have told me yesterday around this time that, intead of going to two Buckeyes parties, I would not WATCH but LISTEN to the National Championship game through the bathroom door as I was curled up in a ball and wanting to DIE, I really would have laughed.

Unfortunately, both of the above happened.

I got home from school yesterday to find poor Matt hurling. Little did I know what was about to hit me.

Between Hawaii stomach flu and last night's debachle, we've each lost over 5 pounds.

Needless to say, my training for today has been put on hold. And probably tomorrow. And....ugh. I don't even want to think about it. Right now I can barely stand up.

To put it mildly:


On a bright note, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in 37 days!

Let's hope I can report back to work tomorrow....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I need some serious updating.

And, by updating, I don't mean pegged, rolled up jeans.

I mean, I really need to update my sidebar stuff. Man. So. Behind.

I could use a sweet new header on this blog, too. How does one go about doing that? So html clueless.......

Anyway, I'd like to give MAJOR SHOUTOUTS to my buddy TRISHANNON who officially has her own BLOG! Go there NOW. Give her some lurve.

This girl is hilarious and cracks me up. I've been telling her she needs to write a blog forevah. So go there and give her mad props. She's part of the reason I got into triathlon--we both did our very first sprint tri ever back in 2001, and trained dilgently all summer in the Lakewood Pool...often followed by Blizzards at DQ. Yeah. No, we're aware it doesn't make much sense. We also had many a great MOUNTAIN BIKE ride in the Valley....ahhh, those were the days. I had a sweet wipeout and we had to walk our bikes home once as I bled all over the sidewalk--good times, good times.

We go WAY back to Scott Hall 1st floor corridor at Miami. She's doing IMW this year, and I already know she will kick SO much ass. This girl might be the most intense chick I've ever met in my life--when she puts her mind to something (ie. giving up chocolate for a year for NO REASON other than to see if she can, cutting horrible bangs with me in the dorm bathroom as we really thought it was a great idea), she does it. Every. Freakin'. Time. So, add her to your daily reads--this one's gonna be fun to watch!

Okay. This week, I ran 25 miles (yay! hi, base miles! nice to meet you), did only one trainer ride (BOO!) but it was definitely a tough one, and swam NADA. I'm really excited that the Lakewood Y is finally open--they demolished it and built all new, and it looks pimped out. I heard a rumor from Canada Jenn that the lap lanes are open ALL DAY! WHA-WHA-WHAT????????????????? Could it be? I decided I will check it out after school tomorrow and bring my swim stuff, just in case! If that's true, TriEric, I might have to swim there since I am not crazy about gettin' up so early since I don't necessarily have to (meaning I'm not IM training with 2 workouts, like last year). Don't hate me.....:)

Tomorrow, of course, is THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP where the Buckeyes will TROUNCE the stupid Gators. HANNNNNNNNNNNG on SLOOPY, SLOOPY HANG ON--

(Did you know that "Hang On Sloopy" is actually the state song of Ohio? Seriously! How many taxpayer dollars were wasted in drafting THAT bill?)

So I will be partaking in some festivities wearing my scarlet and gray. Other than that, this week will have me trying to reorganize things a bit around here, as I feel like it's a bit stale. We'll see if I can figure anything out without somehow accidentally deleting everything. I'm real good at that.

So, at the moment, the race schedule is looking like there will be 3 A Races:

1. Indianapolis Mini Marathon: Goal = 1:50
2. Steelhead 70.3: Goal = 6:10
3. Chicago Marathon (although I am gonna hold off on signing up until I do some research on their refund policy) Goal = sub-4

I will fill it in with a few local tris for fun. Probably some Olympics and not sprints, as I feel like that would be better for my 70.3 goal.

The big goal...the eyes on the prize still IMFL 2008. That, is ultimately, what this year will have to be about. I want to get stronger in a few things this year so that next year I can take on that challenge.

Well...I think that's it. Not much else to report. Except it's still NOT snowy here, and I'm sad. Where is my snow? :(

Only one more week until 24's season premiere! Yippppeeeeeeeee! Maybe this time I can actually watch it at night, since I don't have to get up so early!

(For those who didn't "know" me last year, I had to tape it and watch it the next day, because I'd get so into it that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. Lame.)

So I'll end with the sound of 24 going to a commercial....


Friday, January 05, 2007

Today's sign of the apocalypse


I thought it was just a fluke.

Yesterday, in the hall, I saw one of the cute, stylish senior girls wearing her jeans.....

(wait for it...)

PEGGED AND ROLLED. Like I did in 6th grade. Perhaps the most ugliest and unflattering thing EVER to voluntarily DO TO YOUR OWN FREAKING PANTS.

I thought, ", that must be a mistake. Maybe she just forgot she did that."



That is NOT allowed to be in style. EVER. AGAIN. This style makes NO ONE look good, even if you are teeny tiny as this girl is.

I'm going to go cry in a corner now.

Okay. All better. Screw "fashion." Now it's time to return a tag from TriAl. The tag is as follows:

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

Since I am at school, here's what you get.

The American Republic since 1877, Teacher Wraparound Edition
p. 123
"They include the right to raise taxes, borrow money, provide for public welfare, and administer criminal justice. Conflicts between state and federal law must be settled in a federal court. The Constitution declares that it is "the supreme Law of the Land."

Bonus points if you can figure out what kinds of powers the first sentence describes, since it was the sentence before that in the book that says it.

I will tag ESpeed, because she's always reading cool stuff, SteveS, because he's just hilarious, and Kim, just cuz that girl cracks me up.

I swear that pics from Hawaii will be up soon...been a crazy week, trying to get back into Eastern Time Zone--much harder than I thought! Tuesday night before school Matt and I were wide awake until 3am, which is 10pm in Hawaii. Sweet. To pass the time, we played "Guitar Hero II" on Playstation 2, which might be the most addictive game EVER.

(By they way, I totally rock. Especially on "Free Bird.")

Last night we met some friends at a Comedy Club downtown--very fun! Tonight we're hanging with some buddies and then I'm very excited to head to Second Sole for a run and breakfast/training seminar on Sunday morning. I did a few 6 mile runs at a nice easy pace this week and a tough Spinerval workout yesterday. It feels good to get my new training schedule this weekend for the Indy Mini coming up in May!

Now, the most pressing question....

Do I sign up for the Chicago Marathon or not? Some of my Soler buddies are doing it, Jacks my kick ass friend lives there, the marathon turns 30, I turn 30....sounds like fate to me! But, $110 is an awful lot if I'm not sure if I can commit to it. My buddy Pat says it will sell out in May. Decisions, decisions.....

Happy Half Birthday to Me!

This might be the most random post ever.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Make Your Own New Year

Well, first, before I sound like a party pooper, Happy 2007!

Can you believe it's two thousand SEVEN??! Where did THAT come from?

I feel like it was 1987 about 5 minutes ago.

Anyway, now onto the parade-raining. I don't like New Year's Resolutions. More power to ya if you are one who makes them and sticks to them, but I really think it's quite pointless.


I dunno. I think because, to me, it sounds quite crazy that one would think that on January 1 of every subsequent calendar year, you must make a list of things to accomplish and if you don't accomplish them, you are an utter failure. And, oh, by the way, most people give up on their resolutions within a few weeks. January 1. That's it. That's your ONLY shot. You don't write it down that day, you're DONE. Toast. FIN.

The constant Hydroxycut commercials. The Home Depot organization commercials. The endless gym commercials with tan dudes in muscle shirts.

It just don't seem right.

I bought into it for a long time, too. I'm not saying I'm immune to this thinking--far from it! This MAY not surprise anyone out there, but I kept a diary from the time I was 6 all the way through college (you know, before computers were even in existence). An old-skool, handwritten diary. They are really quite funny. Most of the entries in elementary school are about what I ate for lunch, what I did at the swim meet, and which boy is uckey. Then, of course, as you get to the middle and high school ones, it's drama, drama, drama. Pretty hilarious to look back upon now, at least.

And in most of them that I still have, starting with age 8, I always listed my "resolutions" until I got to college. You know what #1 was on almost every page? The wording was different but the message was the same.

Quoting from my diary from age EIGHT:

"1. Be skinny"

Now, that's pretty sad. First of all, what does that even mean?! I'm EIGHT for crying out loud! Needless to say, "being skinny" is so vague that it is virtually unattainable. And what kind of an empty, vain goal is that?

I stopped making resolutions eventually. I just didn't see the point. Why set myself up for failure? Goals are NOTHING, nothing, unless they are meaningful and have a plan.

For whatever reason, January 1 just isn't my time to make resolutions. Maybe it's the history teacher in me (well, I'm sure it's the history teacher in me) but I see the year's end as a political chapter, not a personal one. I like to look back on the major events that have happened, remember the people who have shaped our year and passed on this year, and think how different the world is than it was last New Year's Eve.

And that's it.

As far as I personally am concerned, I truly feel that my own personal New Year is in August.

(Huh?! I know what you're thinking..."Um...someone needs to tell her that August is the EIGHTH month. Clearly you can't have a New Year in August.")

Well, it works for ME, alright? August is my New Year.

I think it's just more me.

In August, I'm wrapping up the summer and getting ready for a new first day of school. Remembering that I've spent 24 out of the past 29 years of my life preparing for a first day of school in August, maybe this will make a bit more sense to you. August for me used to mean a blank red plastic 5-star-three-divider-notebook and color-coded subject folders. A brand new rainbow trapper keeper. A clean locker, for a change. A new teacher...a new grade...a new start.

Now, August means to me an empty classroom. 131 faces looking to me to help them find the answers. 131 faces all with a 0/0 in the gradebook. Endless possibilities. Knowing that some will be harder than others...that I'll be frustrated countless times in room 221 in the next few months...and that some days I'll question whether I'm even doing any forward progress at all.

And knowing that on some days, I'll see proof that I am.

August is when I said, "I need to see if something's ever going to happen," and then I traveled somewhere to find out, which was probably the best thing I ever did.

August to me is when I changed my name from A to Z, and when I made a committment to my best friend forever.

It's when I finally, in 2002, said, "I think I'm ready to get healthier and lose 20 pounds." And then, by the next August, I had lost 30.

It's when I decided to and implemented a plan to hit the "submit" button the day after Ironman Wisconsin 2005.

August reminds me that it's never too late to be make your own New Year. Whenever and wherever you want.

So, don't buy into all the hype. Maybe you are a person who can stick to your New Year's Resolution...and if you are, man, I salute you. Really, I do. This time of year just never worked out for me.

And if you're not...remember...your New Year is whenever you decide it will be.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

It just ain't 2007 until this happens:

(picture blatantly stolen from TriEric's blog--thanks, Aimee, for recording the moment!) :) That's Espeed, TriEric, JenC, TriAl, and yours truly

I TOTALLY blew it and parked where I used to RUN down the hill, since I used to live in the area, thinking I could DRIVE down...yeah, not so much. So I heard "3-2-1-AAAAAAAAAgggggggggGGGGGHHHHH" and was still fully clothed and about 10 feet behind everyone and got SOOOOOOO sad. :(

Then I saw TriAl who was a little late, too--and a few brave souls above jumped in AGAIN with us for the "second wave!" :) Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy! Only us truly nutso CTC folk would enjoy such a sadistic and chilly ritual. We all agreed this year felt much warmer than last year. My parents were on hand to film the festivities--hopefully will get a vid clip up here soon!

Jodi , Rob, and Charlie were there, too, as well as about 40 others, but were all smart enough not to jump in a second time with the other crazies! :)

Happy Happy New Year and here's to new beginnings and waking up like someone dumped ice water on your entire body!

UPDATE: Here's the nightly news story! I'm on the far right in the first scene...along with JenC, TriAl, TriEric, and check out ESpeed's TV DEBUT! :)

Click HERE!