Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some Love for the Little Races

Thanks for letting me vent on the last post, and thanks for all the very thoughtful and interesting replies. That was some good ol' fashioned virtual conversation, there. I hearts the internets.

Anyway, since I was Little Miss Pissypants in my last post regarding Ironman Wall Street (borrowed that term from a friend--I think it fits pretty well!), I thought I'd take a second to give some love to the little races. Local tris are really, for me, the spirit of triathlon. The ones where you can just drive right up and park next to transition...where nervous newbies rack mountain bikes...where the RD is walking around with you to make sure everything's a go. Aside from being significantly cheaper, these races just have a feel-good vibe about them that is, in my humble opinion, everything that tri should be about. I love love love that my teammate, TriCajun, puts on a local race in Louisiana, and really wish I could get down there. This is the first year in quite a few I haven't been able to make WIBA, which is another example of the spirit of triathlon wrapped up in the most fun weekend you'll have with friends. The spirit is still out there, my friends. Don't lose hope yet.

That being said, there's a few fabulous races here that I'm planning on doing. Rick puts on some great races at NCN and even has the coolest policy ever: volunteer for a race, and earn a free race entry. He even has a race transfer policy that is pretty much awesome: if you get hurt or sick, you can do another one of his races ANYTIME. So last year, right about this time, I had my almost-a-stress-fracture-holy-crap-now-what?! situation and I had to back out of the Huntington Triathlon. I was super bummed, but I knew that at least I could transfer my race entry to another NCN race. I was planning on cheering on the EvoKids anyway, so Rick said, hey, how about you volunteer and earn another race? Bonus! So I'll be cashing in on both of those races this year! I will be doing the Huntington Sprint and the Lorain Tri--probably the Olympic, but we'll see how things go.

(Side note: My hamstring issues are slightly better, but still not great, so I'm trying to take it easy. Lifetime should be quite interesting, seeing as I haven't ran more than 5 miles since the marathon! All in favor of rolling the dice raise your hands!)

Another super awesome top-notch race is the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. This race pretty much is everything I heart about triathlon. A kid's race, a sprint, and an olympic in a beautiful beach east of C-Town with a very hometown, newbie-friendly vibe. Plus, the RD Mickey is one of the coolest guys ever. The run is an out-and-back so you can see all your buddies, which is always fun. I did the sprint last year and am hoping to do it again this year, but it's the day of Matt and my 7th anniversary (awwww!) so I'm not exactly sure what our plans are. Nonetheless, it's a FABULOUS local race and another example of what the sport should be about.

This August is also my 10th anniversary of doing my first tri. I can now say I've been in this sport a decade. What started as almost a dare between two college buds became quite a lifestyle change that led to me dropping about 35 pounds, getting healthy, and meeting some of the coolest people in the universe. Although I may not be crazy about all the directions the sport is going, I give a standing ovation to the local races and all the triathletes out there giving it their all, no matter what they ride, what shoes they are wearing, or what compression socks they might have.

So even if you're doing a big huge race, be sure to give the local guys and girls some love. Volunteer. Race. Cheer. Bring your kids and show them what a triathlon's all about. Spread the tri-love. I look forward to being in this sport for at least 18 more decades and hope you will, too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And pardon me, while I step up on this soapbox...


*bangs head against the wall*


And shame on the fact that there are apparently enough people willing to shell out over $900 in ELEVEN MINUTES to close out a race. I am sorry, but I gotta put my foot down on that one.

Am I too poor for this sport? Is that where this is going? Because there is no way on earth I will ever participate in a race where the entry fee is almost $1,000. I don't come from that side of town.

And then what does this mean, really? That if you want to do a shiny, glittering Ironman race, you have to pony up your right arm, soul, and first born?

What is this sport about, anyway?

I tell you what, for me it's about hard work, persistence, dedication, and above all, community. A pox upon you, WTC. You may be taking your talents to South Beach here, but I sure as hell won't be.

/end rant/

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yes. That's it.

I've re-discovered something through all this running I did all spring.

Something was just missing.

Don't get me wrong...I loved running (most of the time) and really did enjoy pushing myself in the marathon. I tried my best to take setbacks in stride. I kicked my own butt on a daily basis, especially with those cursed Yassos. I dreamed big, and I went for it. And that was painful, but awesome.

But something was missing.

And over the past two weeks or so, I've found it.

I am, most definitely, a triathlete.

There's just something about the quiet calm of laps in the pool, the burning arms during a harder set, and 41 miles on a quiet morning with a friend.

Yes, that's better.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Another year, another season


Up for air. Finally.

I am sitting at home in an empty house at the moment, which happens about, oh, twice a year. It's absolutely glorious. I have nothing on the docket today except to see my good friend's beautiful new baby boy and to head to graduation tonight.

Another school year, in the books!

I can hardly believe I've been doing this 12 years now. I really was a baby when I started. Barely older than my students.

You know what? I am so NOT barely older than my students now. And I LOVE IT. I love, love, love not being the "young teacher" anymore. I'm not quite a veteran, but I'm hovering somewhere in the middle. Or, let's be honest, the way things are going in my state I won't be able to retire until I'm about 80, so maybe I'm earlier in my career than it seems. There's a certain level of difficulty that automatically comes with being a young teacher, and I'm very, very content to say that I'm past that now. It's kind of nice.

The end of school was loco. For a good reason, though. I dreamed pretty big back in January and wrote a grant for 15 iPads so that I could have my students create oral histories and "mini-documentaries" on different aspects of local history with the ultimate goal of having them end up here, on this super awesome app: Which you should check out. Although you may not find it all that interesting if you're not from Cleveland, but it's pretty freaking cool. All the content is user-created with oral histories narrating the story of various landmarks here in the NEO.

Never in a million zillion billion years did I think I'd get this grant.

Except I did!

Which is super amazing. But the equipment didn't come in until early May, so we literally had 3 weeks to throw together this project: learning the equipment and programs, scheduling and conducting 19 interviews, editing and selecting images from the Library of Congress or local archives, AND presenting. And grading. And....let's just say, my kids rose to the challenge, and although we had lots of bugs along the way, I am SO PROUD of what they created. They did awesome. If I get the permissions that I need, I'll post a few links here for you to see. I can't wait to continue this next year!

So now I'm getting ready to really get into a new tri season, but I've definitely had a few bumps on the road. My right hamstring (the one that seized up on me often during the marathon) has still been really tight. It's been bothering me when I'm running, so Coach Emily has really ramped me down. I'm hoping that with some continued yoga and easy runs, I can ramp it up back here soon. What fun is short course if I don't get to hammer?

That being said, not sure if that 5K in 2 weeks is in the cards. Eyeing one on July 4th, but not sure I could hammer it and still be okay for Lifetime. We'll see--a lot will depend on now this stupid hamstring feels.

In other news, I SWAM! And it sucked. But it should, for dear internet, I have not swam since JANUARY. Boooooo. That's no good at all. Really, someone needs to install a pool in my basement and then I'd be fine. Anyway, I still eked out 2000 yards, which is a reminder that I can wing it in the swim, however, just because I can does NOT mean that I should. I am looking forward to getting in the pool and open water here pretty often over the next few weeks.

I am getting my bike legs back a little bit, which is nice. And I have completely turned Ana into a riding buddy! I'm right--that girl will do just about anything. I may be creating a monster.

Looking forward to this bizarre thing called "free time," although after today I will have two little bugs running around and giggling like crazy, so I'm going to enjoy this rare solo quiet house while it lasts.

Happy Training!