Friday, January 30, 2009

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is...



Cerveza is going again on her spring break to volunteer and help rebuild homes, because she's awesome like that. She did it last year, too. So watch out, Big Easy, because here comes two Nutter chicks! Can't wait to hit Bourbon Street with her and quote Billy Madison.

The bad news is...

I am SO not going to get ANY sleep from Thursday to Sunday.

I'm taking 32 students to Chicago, which is fun and all, but they are in meetings and don't have curfew until 12:30am CST. This body is on EST, folks. So what that means is that I'm looking AT BEST at a bedtime of 1am (which will feel like 2) for THREE DAYS.

This might be a setback in the training a bit. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze some in somehow.
Good news?

I kicked my own arse last night again at spinning! 2 hours never went so fast or felt so sweatily good. We did some cadence drills and then a 51 minute CLIMB. It was hella tough, but just what I needed.

Bad news?

I'm already freaking out about leaving Jackson next week. I am not sure how I'm going to hold it together when I leave him. The only other time I left him was at WIBA, which was hard and I didn't sleep much, but I had my buddies with me. This time I don't. Arg.

Good news?

I am pretty much the best wife ever for Matt's birthday gift (February 10th) and Valentine's Day. I can't say why yet, but trust me. I will score MAJOR points.

And now, please excuse me while I eat some ice cream. Because it makes total sense to eat ice cream when there are 15 inches of snow on the ground.

At least it does in my world.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What NOT to eat before a swim

One of the things I love about Cleveland is how ethnically diverse it is. There really is every different kind of person and background in this town. Which, of course, means great food. Ethiopian, Thai, Czech, Polish, Italian, Slovak...and especially, my FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT, Aladdin's Eatery. Mmmmmmmmm. Tasty Middle Eastern cuisine.

SOOOOOOOOOOO tasteeeeeeee.

But, my friends, that is NOT the best thing to eat before you crank out 3000 yards. Unless you want it to go like this:

Stroke stroke stroke breathe
stroke stroke breathe
stroke stroke breath
stroke stroke breath

Yeah. Pretty much my swim yesterday. Lesson learned.

(still totally worth it, though)

Big disappointment in my swimming TT from Sunday, BTW. Boooooo hiss. I did the EXACT FRICKEN THING I DID LAST YEAR. And, my STOOOOPID cap came off three times. To quote the great movie "Christmas Story," the cloud of my obscenities is still hanging over Oberlin pool. Good thing no one heard me, since everyone else was swimming. Arg! No excuses. If Michael Phelps can win a gold medal with his goggles full of water, I should have been able to get through a 20 minute TT with my cap not sucking the life out of my head.

Needless to say, I also ordered a silicone cap for "Long Hair" from It's that or get my hair cut short, which is just not an option.

Anyway, I guess I should still be OK with my performance. It was fine. But I am just kinda tired of being sorta fine in the water. I've been swimming like crazy lately...couldn't I have at least been a 50 faster than last year?! Arg. I swear I have one speed in the water...slightly better than mediocre. We can just call me TriSaraTops the Slighty-Better-Than-Mediocre-Swimmer.

/end venting/

There, I feel better now. ;)

I'm getting pumped for New Orleans, fo' sho'! Can't believe I am just about 2 months out. So basically, this is like June for me. I usually race in August, and I've never raced hard in April before. So I'm trying to get in the mindset of June. June's pretty serious. June's time to put the hammer down.

And the hummus and tabbouli.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Race I have such a thing?


So today I had a FANTABULOUS run.

Well--back up.

Today, I had such a fun morning with the boys...I woke up and Matt got us yummy bagels. Then, we took Bug to a local library for a singing and story show with our buddies and his friends, Norah and Elliot. Then we all went back to our friend's place and they played while we caught up and ate a tasty lunch. Then Bug fell asleep on the way home.

THEN, I went for a run.

And it was fabulous. I was supposed to do 20 minutes at "base," then 20 minutes of Zone 2 including a few pickups to 5K pace. I opted not to do that, as the roads were hella icy and I was afraid I'd lose my footing since we all know my 5K pace really requires serious wheezing/heaving/possible wiping out on a perfect day, let alone an icy one. Then I was supposed to hold 20 minutes at "Zone 3" which I took to be tempo, and the rest cool down.

So the interesting thing is that my "base" time averaged 8:56/mile. Which is funny, as it felt great and easy, and that SO was not my base time pre-Bug. My tempo was about 8:20, which given that part of it was on a seriously snowy sidestreet, I was happy. And even with an easy cooldown, my overall pace for the 8.5 miles was 8:51.

Funny, also, that this run took me a total of 1:15 and it took me 2:13 to go only 8 miles last weekend! My how times and terrains have changed.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, what I was thinking is that I have lost a few more pounds. Don't get too excited or anything, but I'm at just about 144/145 now, which is definitely lower than when I got tested in Chicago at VQ last year (I weighed in at 153 there). I'm wondering if those few extra pounds are playing a role in why it feels easier to go at a faster pace at base.

Also, I just bought the greatest pair of pants ever. Reason #1: They were $7.47 marked down from $59.00. Yes, I am the BARGAIN QUEEN, beeyotches. Reason #2: They are a size FOUR.


I have never in my life been a size 4. Not even at birth. I went from a 14/16 girls to a size 10 in middle school. Holy vanity sizing, Batman.

But it's weird, as I still feel like my basic frame is the same...I think it just rearranged or something. But it also made me think more about this whole idea of those couple of extra pounds playing a role in my pace.

So that's the scoop on that.

Oh, and why can't my suit give me a little warning that it's going to disintegrate? Seriously. I mean, I put the thing on last week and it's fine. I put it on this week and I am borderline indecent. Thank goodness I could hit to take a stab at the grab bag again. I went with the TYR reversible again (which is what I currently have), as I figure that at least ONE side is presentable. So far, I've never been let down by the grab bag! It's the only time I ever gamble.

I am definitely super tired now, and have been sleeping like a rock this week as the workouts are really ramping up. I can't believe I'm approaching 8 weeks to New Orleans...where has the time gone?!

Tomorrow morning it's time trial time in the pool...wish me luck!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I am the sweatiest human being ALIVE.

So last night I went to a 2 hour, triathlon-geared spin class that we are lucky enough to have right down the street from where I live. It's run by an awesome guy in my triathlon club, and I thought it would be a great way to get a long ride in since the 1:45s on my trainer in the basement MAKE ME WANT TO BANG MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL. Plus, by doing my longer ride Thursday night, I can do shorter stuff on the weekend and have more time with my boys.

Holy. Smokes.

I was once again reminded that I have an ABNORMALLY HIGH, HOMO-SAPIEN DEFYING SWEAT RATE. Like, I can't even begin to tell you. I was absolutely disgusting. I filled up my towel within the first hour, and pretty much sweat after I got home until at least 10pm. Note to self:

1. You NASTY.

2. You need more than 1 water bottle for this class. What crack were you smoking when you thought bringing one was enough?

3. You need to bring a complete change of clothes, as soaking through your zip-up AND your vest almost made Matt back away to the other side of the kitchen upon arrival.

4. This workout was AWESOME, and you need to be there weekly to help you get ready for IM New Orleans 70.3, which is fast approaching 8 weeks away.

We did something like this:

20 minutes warm up
a bunch of cadence work: 2 sets of something like 1 minute at 120, 1 minute EZ, 4 minutes at 110, 1 minute EZ, 6 minutes at 100, 1 minute EZ
some other stuff I can't remember (my brain was turning to sweaty mush at this point)
strength work: 5 minutes Zone 2-3 (I was trying to keep my watts around 160), 1 minute standing, 1 minute recovery, than 4 minutes at 160 watts, 2 minutes standing, 3 minutes at 160, 3 minutes standing, 2 minutes Zone 2, 4 minutes standing, and 1 minute Zone 2, 5 minutes standing (wanted to DIE DIE DIE)
Ended with some alternating cadence and strength work

It was super fun to ride with friends and I NEVER in a MILLION years would push myself that hard in my basement watching a movie.

I did have some technical difficulties with my bike--the stupid tire started rubbing AGAIN and I know this is somehow my fault. I just can't seem to get the adjustments right when I move my bike (like in that olympic race I did last August). I really need to figure that out, because I'll be SUPER angry to the 10th power if it happens in New Orleans. Harumph. Luckily a buddy helped me fix it and was nice enough to pause his workout to help little ol' me. Thanks! :)

Up for this weekend--a swim out at Oberlin with my tri club friends including a 20 minute time trial...we'll see how this goes! I've been feeling great in the pool lately.

For now, I need to stop sweating. I'm going to cause a tidal wave of nastiness to the poor people riding around me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buckeye Trail

So, thanks for all the advice on the last post.

I decided on Saturday I felt good enough to go for it. Even Coach Emily said that I might as well give it a shot, and if the worst that happens is I get 8 miles in on the trail and then have some coffee with friends, how bad is that, right? Which was true.

I still didn't feel totally 100%. I tried to get some dinner at the grocery store last night and literally NOTHING sounded good. Do you know what we had? A small pizza and some chicken wings for Matt, and for me--EGGO waffles.
Seriously. That's ALL that sounded good.
So I had my 2 eggos and a few strawberries, and Matt had his pizza and wings. I did have a small slice of pizza after I decided it might smell good, which then rounded out the most bizarre and random dinner ever.

So the alarm went off at 4:50am so I could meet TriEric and Aimee to hitch a ride. We headed out and the snow was coming down pretty good. The roads were a mess and I wondered what the trail would be like.

So it went like this: there were two loops, the 8 mile and the 5 mile (and change). So depending on what race you wanted to do (which the RD announced was basically whatever you felt like doing! It was a TOTALLY laid-back vibe), you either started on the 8 or 5. The 8 was supposedly a little more challenging than the 5. We were starting off on the 8, so I was a little nervous to see what I could do. My plan was to do the 8 and if I felt like I could keep going, I'd keep going.

Aimee and I at the start

DaisyDuc, Me, and TriEric

JT, getting ready to rock!

Let me just say how AWESOME the volunteers, course, and race were. I'm totally back for next year! It was an absolutely gorgeous course. We are really lucky to have such an amazing park system and ultra/running community here!

Right about now, at the start line asking myself, "Stomach--you in, buddy?"

Aimee on a stretch known as Pine Lane. Thanks to the volunteers who shoveled a bit of a path for us!

The hills were KILLAH. I mean, really, REALLY tough. They would have been tough without snow, and tough if I hadn't had the flu this week. So they were kicking my BUTT. But it was still a TON of fun, and I was really enjoying it! Everyone out there was so awesome.

I swear this guy just never stops smiling!

TriEric crosses the creek

I could tell I was pretty weak on the uphills. I just didn't have anything left. So Aimee and I decided after 8 miles, we had enough. The funny thing? It took us 2:13 to go EIGHT MILES.



I am usually running an entire half marathon in 1:50.

That's how tough it was.

A guy I talked to at the finish said it best when he described it "like running in an old bar of soap." You when your soap starts disintegrating and just breaking apart? Yeah, it was kinda like that. I'd have to estimate 12-14 inches of snow on the trail, and some drifts were much deeper than that.

SUPER HUGE KUDOS to anyone who could finish the 50K--especially my girl DaisyDuc! I can't even IMAGINE doing 18 miles, let alone 31!

When all was said and done, I had an absolute blast and held up better than I even thought I could. The goal was to have a good solid day of training, and I did. I am FREAKING TIRED now and I had a BIG OL' cheeseburger tonight for dinner.

Because you know what?

Tonight, I was FINALLY hungry.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Decisons, Decisions

I'm sitting here looking out the window at a gorgeous, sunny, blue-skied minus 12 degree day. And I'm not exaggerating. Nor being sarcastic. I really think it's beautiful outside. I wish I could go for a little walk. I swear I'm naturally warm-blooded or something.

Of course, I didn't have to go to work today. So maybe that's why I'm so happy.

Anyhoo, I took 2 days off work and now have another day off. So, inadvertantly, between sick days, snow days, and MLK's birthday, I'm having a week off. I feel much better now, but still not quite 100%. Losing almost 6 pounds in 24 hours will do that to you. I am slowly starting to gain my strength back, but haven't done anything since running 5.5 miles Monday and doing a short strength workout Tuesday.

And hurling my brains out Wednesday.

(Sorry, had to throw that in. At least I'm not Steve. If I was, you'd SEE the evidence. I'd make sure of that.)

Anyways, my little Bug just went down for a nap, and I'm getting ready to grade some stuff. But I'm really thinking hard about the BT Half Marathon Sunday. I'm trying to decide what is possible without crossing the line into stupid.


1. All the cool kids will be there. Seriously...all my buddies that I heart who run. Like TriEric, his wife and my running partner Aimee, my buddy JT, Daisy Duc, Platinum Jen, Electric Mike, Ultra Courtney, and I'm sure I'm missing others. So it would be fun to see them all. However, this reminds me of when I was in high school and my Dad used to say, "If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you do it too," to which my response was twofold:

A. How high up is said bridge?


B. How deep is the water?

(Kidding, Dad! You know I never followed the kids jumping off bridges. ;)

2. It will be good base training for IM New Orleans 70.3, which is the entire reason I signed up back in November.

3. I love running outside in the cold.

4. It is a beautiful course.

5. The atmosphere will be great--trail running is a lot more laid-back than road running, and it will be a fun time with friends. Just completing would be the goal, so it's low-pressure.

6. I've already paid for it.

7. I was shut out of it initially, gave up hope, and got in at the last minute. Many people did not get in and would LOVE to run it. It's a privilege.

The Cons:

1. It's going to be cold. Even for me. And I have little to no experience on this trail.

2. This will probably be the hardest course I've ever attempted. And I have little to no experience on this trail. (worth mentioning twice)

3. I lost SIX POUNDS IN TWENTY FOUR HOURS. I am slowly rehydrating and now I'm down just a pound or two, but I still feel a little tired going up the stairs too much. My fever was just over 100 on Wednesday. It broke Thursday, but today is the first day I'm really feeling like somewhat of myself. Will that ucky-ness be gone in another 36 hours? It's hard to tell.

4. That being said, I'd need to definitely walk all the uphills. ALL. And there are a LOT.

5. I will be out there for a LONG TIME. It took Aimee and JT 2 and a half hours to go EIGHT MILES last weekend. So the chance of 3+ hours is likely.

6. There is a chance I might DNF. I'm being honest and realistic. This course would be tough if I was in perfect health, and I'm not. I need to be ready for that, and to listen to my body. If, after the first 8 mile loop, the body says no, I need to STOP. And I'll probably need encouragement to stop. Because I'm not known for stopping. Except the last time I tried a trail 10K and was hurling because I was 6 weeks pregnant. The thought of Bug made me stop then, so I will need a log to the head or a push in the Erie Canal to make me stop this time.

7. I don't like to stop.

And I think that's it. An even number of pros and cons.

Sigh. That doesn't help.

I feel this will most likely be a game time decision, and by game time, I mean tomorrow evening. That being said, what say you, Oh Wise Internets? Do I do it? Or is this asking too much of myself? Do I do it with stipulations? Should I sack up? Or have another drink from the tequila bottle?

Keep in mind I welcome all advice, but may totally disregard everything you advise me of, either for or against running on Sunday. I'm just keepin' it real. ;)

Have at it. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


What you don't know is that I was the last Ziemnik standing.

Everyone in my family has been sick with a nasty, nasty stomach virus. One you don't wish on your worst enemy.

So I've been washing my hands until they literally bleed, lysoling everything I could, and trying SO HARD to stay healthy, because I am really excited for the trail race this Sunday.

I went to bed, after setting up my bike in the basement so I'd be ready to hit it at 5:30am.

And then, I woke up at 1am. And I knew.

I was no longer the last Ziemnik standing.

I've managed to keep down half a can of ginger ale and 2 saltines. Knock on wood--I hope it stays that way. But now I'm already thinking...if I can't make it down the stairs without being dizzy, how on earth am I going to run a very challenging trail half marathon in 4 days when it's 21 degrees out? Ugh.

Matt told me not to think about it--that tomorrow I might feel 100% better.

I dunno. I just want to stop feeling like I want to curl up in a ball under a rock.

So now I'm sitting downstairs, watching 24, and staring at my bike that never got used this morning.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Know It's Been A Good Two Weeks of Workouts When...

1. You do the laundry and your basket is full of towels (from swimming), hand towels (you have by you on the trainer), technical tees, running shorts, crazy printed cycling socks, and a few work clothes. Just a few.

2. Your abs are sore.

3. Your toenail that just grew in is starting to get discolored again. Poor little guy.

4. Your swimmer arms are coming back. You can even see a little teensy triceps line--yay!

5. There's a HEEEEYOOOOOGE stack of papers to grade, and you really, really, REALLY need a snow/cold day in the next few days. Perhaps Friday? Pretty please?

6. You're officially all out of NUUN and on your last mint-chocolate GU. Crisis mode!

7. You're exhausted, but confident, and feeling better than ever about this thing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"We do not remember days, we remember moments."--Cesare Pavese

So I had a BIG decision to make today.

Snowstorm? Or dreadmill?

Where will I spend my 1:30 run today?

See, it started snowing yesterday. And just. kept. snowing. Until, like right about NOW.

Poor Matt's battling a bug (not The Bug, but a NASTY bug) and I've been pretty much tethered to ginger ale and my Bug. I couldn't make the trail run this morning, and I really, really needed to get some practice in for next week (since I feel like I'm going to get my arse handed to me on a silver platter) so I really, REALLY wanted to go outside.

But 12-18 inches of snow?

Could I do that?


I looked outside. I looked at both sets of clothes. I looked outside again.

I put the shorts and tank top away.

As Matt and his old high school football buddies would say, "WETSU!" Which, loosely translated means, "We Eat This Stuff Up," although in their 17 year old football tough guy glory they substituted another word for "stuff."

I like snow. I am a runner. Therefore, I like running in snow. (Is that the associative property? I can never remember)

So I put on some tights, a hoody, got the iPod ready to go, the Garmin all cued up, and put Bug down for a nap. Matt was napping, too. So it was go time!

I decided that for a venture this crazy, I'd need my Ironman jacket. I rarely wear it anymore, because, I dunno...I feel kind of silly wearing it. It says FINISHER really big on the back. I just don't want to be "that guy," you know? I akin it to wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see, somehow. You don't want to be that guy. I know this is silly, but whatevs. I was putting on my reflective vest thingy over it, so that I'd be a screaming yellow-striped pink hooded freak to any cars I'd see as I'd most likely need to run in the sidestreets. No one would really see the huge FINISHER thing on me anyway, but it would be my little secret.

The snow was still coming down pretty hard, and I'd be lucky to find more than 2 or 3 consecutively shoveled sidewalks. I mean, I shoveled last night at 9:30 and then my awesome neighbors ran the snowblower this morning, and it looked like I hadn't even done a THING.

So I took off.

And I felt about five years old again. I wished I could have put Bug in the stroller but then I might have gotten child services called on me, but I just knew he'd love it. I was slipping and sliding a lot (note to self: YakTraks are a MUST for next week) and had my arms flailing around like I was Elaine from Seinfeld dancing. But I was having a blast. I ran by people shoveling, kids making snowmen, and even a mountain biker who gave me a knowing smile and hello. We were both a little nuts, he and I. And loving it.

The iPod cooperated, giving me a nice mix of songs that sent me all over space and time. I love how songs have a way of transporting how when I hear Mr. Jones by Counting Crows, I'm instantly 16 again, or when Chumbawumba's Tubthumping comes on I'm a junior in college in Oxford, dancing on the coffeetable of our crappy house shared with 6 friends on 115 North Bishop Street. Sometimes I started to sing, because, really, who the hell was going to hear me today, anyway? And I even got to hear my favorite Beastie Boys lyric, "Because I got mad hits like I was Rod Carew."

(That's the kind of line I wish I thought of first.)

Then, another song came on that took me to the water in Lake Monona in September of 2006. Fatboy Slim's Right Here, Right Now. A song that played as I treaded water and literally was so afraid I peed my neoprene pants. And I was reminded. Of what was on my back.

Ironman is a funny thing. It never leaves you; it changes you. It's a part of you always, but it shouldn't define you. The story of my life is relatively boring and wouldn't sell many books at Barnes and Nobles or anything, but in my own head sometimes I enjoy remembering these tiny moments...these flashes of time where I was laughing, crying, or changing myself forever. What is fast approaching two and a half years ago, for one moment today as I was knee-deep in snow, was as vivid in my memory as the step I just took on the pavement.

And I'm so, so glad I took that run outside today. Because I had that perfect storm of a perfect storm, a perfect song, and a perfect memory.

And when I got home and was stretching downstairs, Matt was watching television and the video for Thriller came on. When the dance break came in, I looked at him, grinned, got up, and did the dance. From memory.

And then, I was seven again.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lots of Hours, Relatively Speaking

Seventeen days off = AWESOME.

First three days back at work = FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN HIT BY A MACK TRUCK.

(Now, some of this is my fault. I could have done a lot more over break work-wise. I saved the massive stack of papers for the last 2 days, and didn't do much planning. Because Bug was sick, and I was sick, and our PJs were calling.)

But now, ladies and gentlemen? PAYING. FOR. IT.

Last week I had almost 10 hours of workouts? Do you know how proud I am of myself? Do you?

Of course, I wasn't working.

And Matt was home, too, so babysitting was a moot issue.

But still--ten! whole! hours! made me quite excited. And then I remembered that during Ironman training I was doing 18-20 hour weeks.

And then I remembered again why I have no desire to attempt another Ironman anytime soon.

But the 70.3s? Methinks I heart them. It is just far enough that I really have to work at it, but not too far that it takes over my life. Although, as I sit here, groggy eyed and dazed, with another stack of papers staring me in the face and I have to get up at 5 again to get my swim in and then another workout after school because I have a 7:10 Model UN Meeting Friday morning and an IEP meeting during my planning period I go WHEEEEEEEEEEEEW.

I'm tired.

So right now, this week's calling for 8:20, and I'm really hoping to get that in. Perhaps I should go to bed now. But I might need another snack...see, all this workin' out makes me quite hungry. Good thing I have Honey Nut Cheerios around to save the day.

Oh, and FANTABULOUS news! The Buckeye Trail Half Marathon that I got shut out of contacted me--I'm IN there like swimwear! Yahoooooooooyippee!! So next Sunday will be my first race of 2009--and my first trail race ever! It's super cold and icy up here, so I'd better go get some yaktraks or something if I have any hope of getting through it!

Okay, off to bed, and then the pool bright and early. Man, it's hard to hit the pool when it's 17 degrees and pitch black outside. I sure hope my cozy bed doesn't win...

Thursday, January 01, 2009


This past year, I...

  • was amazed at how fast time went, despite how slowly it felt during 2am feedings. Tonight, when I rocked Bug to bed, he could barely fit on my lap.
  • never realized how much a baby's laugh could fill me with joy.
  • lost the 55 pounds I gained, and another 5. And a dress size.
  • lost 20 minutes off my best marathon, and somewhere around 40 minutes or so off a 70.3.
  • laughed at the irony of this, since I spent the better part of last year worrying I'd be huge and slow forever.
  • found a few more gray hairs.
  • enjoyed 4 months of maternity leave, and then went back to work.
  • dealt with some anxiety related to the return, but know I made the right decision.
  • watched Matt become an amazing father.
  • took Bug to the pool, the Zoo, Lake Wawasee, Lake Erie, Mitchell's Ice Cream (a lot), the circus, a few Indians games, the Nature Center, on bike rides, and on my training runs for the marathon.
  • became completely immune to puke, poop, snot, and drool.
  • realized that Boston isn't just a self-depricating joke for me anymore. It's a possibility.
  • felt a little (selfishly) better knowing that the rest of the nation was in a bit of a recession, too.
  • got to join a wonderful group of people and share triathlon with some awesome girls
  • appreciated my job even more for the opportunities it gives me to be with my family.
  • experienced having 2 sets of grandparents within miles, and saw how wonderful that was.
  • wished someone would have told me about the freaky post-nursing hair loss that apparently is quite common but TOTALLY FREAKED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. Note to self: now you know.
  • realized that life is just a little sweeter with his snuggles and smiles.
  • never want to forget what it was like to rock him to sleep every night, and feel his little heart that I helped make beat against my chest as he sighed himself to sleep.
  • felt like the luckiest girl on the face of the earth.