Friday, July 29, 2005

Closing Day!!

It's finally here! The day we'll come to own our own home! How cool is that? I hope the woofie likes the new digs. Now if I could convince the bank that Monopoly money works just as well...

Thursday, July 28, 2005


MY FIRST TAG in Blogland!! How exciting. Flatman has tagged me to answer these questions and since I don't feel like working, here goes...

Q: What are you training for now?
A: Timberman Sprint Triathlon on August 20th and Applefest Half Marathon on October 1st.

Q: If you are raising money for a cause, what is it and why is that cause important to you?
A: I am not fundraising at the moment, but like Flatman, I also support the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Another cause I'm happy to support is the Dave Dennsiton Fund...Dave was an NCAA champion breaststroke swimmer and olympic hopeful for Syndey...he missed making the team by one place and was starting a career as a coach and motivational speaker when he was paralyzed from the waist down in a sledding accident in February. He is a friend and colleague of my swim coach. He's got an unbelievable attitude and spirit and will amaze and inspire read his story go to Make a donation while you're there! Or at least buy an anklet...

Q: What is the furthest distance you've run in your training and what is the furthest distance you will run before your event?
A: I ran my first half marathon this spring so 13.1 miles. I'm doing a second race in October and have started training for it in concert with my tri training. I'll likely do 11 or 12 miles before the Oct 1st race day.

Q:What is your favorite flavor of gu? (or other sports gel)
A: Gels are yucky. I just can't seem to get them down and make them work for me. I use gatorade (but not powerade, especially not purple powerade) and power bars. I'm also a big fan of dried apricots (in moderation), almonds and granola.

Q: How many days a week do you run?
A: The half marathon plan I've been using calls for 3 days a week - two shorter days and one longer day. In training for my spring race, I found that I could just barely get three days in but was on the edge of injury for most of the time...sore achilles, tight calves, sore knees. I'm going to try and do two days/week from now until october and if I can get a third day in, it'll be short (<30 mins.) or speedwork. I'll also keep my tri training at 2-3 swims/week and 2-3 bikes/week...and I'm hoping that at least one run/week will be a bike-run brick.

Q: Are you injured in any way right now? If so,what are you doing about it?
A: Not injured right now, knock on wood. I'm RELIGIOUS about stretching and icing anything that shows any sign at all of being sore (sometimes 2-3 times/day) and I've managed to stay ahead of just about everything. I'll sometimes add ibuprofen to the ice regimen but only before bed and never before a workout. If it hurts, I'll try to work thru it for maybe 5 minutes but if it still hurts, I don't do it. Being injured stinks.

Q:What is one item of running clothing/gear (shoes don't count) you can't run without?
A: I never leave home without my 30 spf lip sunblock. After that, I'd say my reebok nylon shorts from TJ Maxx. They're really soft and hang just right to avoid chafing, etc. I'm pretty reliant on my HRM but sometimes go without just to get away from the slavery of the numbers. And my mini iPod comes with me about 60% of the time...

Q: Do you have a talisman you are planning on taking to your event? If so, tell us!
A: Nah, I'm so OCD that if I forgot it or misplaced it I'd create more of an issue for myself so I don't bother.

Q: Share one thing about yourself we don't know.
A: I can say super-cali-fragi-listic-expi-ali-docious backwards, but that's going a bit too far, don't you think? ;)

Being new to this tag thing, I don't think I'll tag anyone else at the moment. I have a few other posts rambling around in my head though - and not much going on at work today so I'll try and write more later. Cheers!

Dorothy had to walk too...

OK, I ran. 6.2 miles. It wasn't pretty at all. It was peeing down rain and thundering but I went anyway. I said I wouldn't bail and I didn't. There was walking and some cursing and then some more walking and some running thrown in there for good measure...I didn't time it but I think by the end I had made peace with the fact that I was doing it to satisfy my mental fitness rather than my physical fitness needs. And when it was over, I didn't feel great but I did feel better. And when I got up to swim this morning, I felt even better still. Did a timed 15 minute swim and was on target - 850 yards which is only 15 yards short of my PR distance for 15 minutes...and then I did the whole Masters practice AND led the lane (Oh, and I was the only one that showed up early to do the timed swim that made me feel a little more studly than I did yesterday). And I think now I've got the required endorfins and serotonin working for me so I feel better still. I'd say I'm almost back on track...pretending does work, as I knew it would...maybe I'll go for a bike ride this afternoon and top the last 36 hours off with an exclamation mark rather than a comma... heh...

I think I lose myself when I don't train...I don't really like who I am. I NEED to feel like an athlete to feel my best, and when I blow off a workout, that's one less workout toward being the athlete and person I want to be. We either take a risk and move toward what we want, or we play it safe and choose comfort. Dorothy could have stayed in Munchkinland...curled right up in one of those big flower beds with lollipops and pretty shoes. It's SO easy for me to choose comfort but that's not helping me move toward what I want. At all. Today is better. I think I will ride too...momentum breeds momentum. Moving is good. The Emerald City is just over the next hill...and I don't even have a witch after me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Move. Just Move.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it. -Amelia Earhart

I'd like to think that Amelia spearheaded Nike's ad campaign. JUST DO IT. It's so simple and so brilliant and so often what I need to hear. I think I've spent a good amount of time in my life trying to figure out how to get out of just doing it...or how to get it done without really doing it. Lame a$$, half-a$$ effort.


I don't want to go for a run today. But I'm going to. I'm writing those words down right here so that you all will read them and want to know about the run I went on when I report back tomorrow. It makes me more accountable. Someone knows that I was planning it and someone will know if I bail. I'm not bailing, just so you know...

See, the thing is with my training and my mental's all an interconnected cycle. And it can be a very positive cycle that builds on itself and makes me stronger and happier and healthier and faster...brain chemicals increase, I feel good, I want to train more, I feel even better so I keep training...or it can be a downward spiral into the depths of the doldrums that cripples me...I don't feel like training 'cause I'm tired or bored or the weather sucks so I sit on the couch and cut myself some slack - after all I did a big workout the day before - but then there's not enough serotonin or endorphins, and then I feel even worse because not only did I not get the biochemicals going, I beat up on myself for not getting off my butt and JUST DOING IT. Go through the motions and the rest will follow. What do they say in 12 step programs?..."act as if..." Sometimes you've just got to pretend...

So today I'm still in vacation mode and I still don't want to train. I'm reasonably sure that I'm not overtrained...I feel similar when I overtrain - anxious, annoyed, tired, unreasonably hungry, apathetic and unmotivated. But this isn't overtrained, it's just plain "I don't feel like it." And I KNOW that I'll feel better and get thru these blues if I can just get out there and pretend I like it for a few days and I WILL start loving it again. It's the same every time - I know myself well enough to know that I can muscle my way through it to the other side. It's just getting started again that trips me up.

So I'll take Ms. Earhart's words to heart...the most effective way is to just do it. Fire up the iPod, lace up the running shoes, I'm headed it or not.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Gone to Da Dogs

This isn't my woofie but I've got one just like her and she often looks like this, especially after a week of vacation. And you know what else? IT'S CONTAGIOUS!!!

Well DRAT. This crash has set me back a bit. I was on such a great schedule and was fired up to get to all of my workouts and then the crash, then a week of soreness/recuperation (1 swim, 1 run), then three days of ice hockey camp (after which I needed a handicap railing to get onto the potty), followed by a week off at the beach (I had such grand plans to run and do some open water swims but Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince kept me firmly planted in my beach chair). I'm by no means was a fantastic week (except I'm still reeling from the conclusion of HP & the HBP, heavy sigh) and the R & R was GREAT...but now my whole training schedule has gone to the dogs and it's a struggle right now to get back into it.

Got my bike back before vacation (Flatman, I'll get photos soon, I promise...) but didn't get a chance to ride before hockey camp...then my bike didn't fit in the car (and she doesn't ride on the roof in case your wondering!) so I didn't take her to RI with me (and I doubt I would've ridden her know, Harry Potter and all) So we got back on Thursday and I finally got out on the road on Saturday only to find that sweet Amelia the Cervelo had not been reassembled to my fit specifications. Handlebars were rotated too far forward, couldn't reach the brakes, once I straightened that out, the aerobars were pointing straight up to the know how it goes. I rode for 2 hours making about 6 stops to tweak things and it still feels wrong. I read the riot act to my bike gurus (well, not really, i'm not really a riot act kind of girl) who were horrified at what a bad job they'd done and they promised to fix the issues as soon as I can get over there...

But that's not going to happen right away because this Friday at 4 pm my Hunny and I will become proud first time HOMEOWNERS!! Yes, we found a house and will close this week. Which is's right on the Great Fairlee Triathon bike course (yes my priorities are a bit screwy) but it also has all the other things about a house that we wanted so we're fired up. So, on with the move....we expect to be completely reinstalled by August 14th (just moving a few towns north...back to VERMONT and away from NEW HAMPSHIRE...there's a big difference, ask anyone...and it's not just a red state/blue state thing...) Long story short: training is taking a back seat at the moment. Drat...

So I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 this morning and led my lane at the felt sluggish but by the end I'd found the groove again. I'm planning on a 4-6 mile run tomorrow...Weasel Boy is leaving town to get MARRIED...what a lame excuse for ditching your training partner...(heh, just kidding Weasel Boy) I'm going to have to drag myself out on my wobbly, unbalanced Amelia and put in some miles by myself. Perhaps Maintenace Girl will grace me with her biking presence on her new Felt 70. OH, I almost forgot...on Flatman's advice, my brother got me a Cateye Astrale 8 bike computer with a cadence function so I'm all set to install that...maybe that will get me more excited to get out there! Let's hope.

OK, gotta get back to it...if I don't post every day, it's because I've been packing and I'm either trapped under something heavy or on the couch with the big furry woofie.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Back from vacation...

OK, I'm back. In body only. Really, would you be able to tear your mind away from the scene above? I've had this view, in REAL LIFE for the past 5 days... hoping I'll have time to elaborate tomorrow...peace out

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Two days post-crash

Recovery is going well...the road rash has scabbed over and I'm done being annoyed. Action is essential. Went for a 4.5 mi. run last evening that felt good. Things are still a little sore in the black and blue areas but it actually felt better to move and get the blood flowing. Amelia gets fixed today and I got word that my new helmet is en-route. More later...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Great Fairlee Tri Race Report

So, it didn't look quite like this when it wasn't raining and I didn't have my umbrella.

And this isn't quite the right angle either, I think my front wheel was definitely turned off to the left a bit more...

This one comes closest, except that I had the good sense to be wearing my helmet...and it was my LEFT elbow that dragged along the ground...

ARRRRGGGGHHHH. Well, it happened...I finally had that first bike crash that all of us know is eventually going to take place. It totally SUCKS that it had to happen 8 miles into my biggest race this season (as yet...) but the good news is I'm only a little banged up and I think my ego has suffered way more trauma than my body. A very bumpy road with lots of fissures, a split second of complacency (see!!! It HAS to GO), and ker-pow...face down on the pavement. Came away with a few standard road rash spots, the worst of which is on my left elbow (and it's swollen to about the size of an orange...gotta love those ice packs) but all in all, I fared quite well. My helmet did what it was supposed to do and while it's cracked all the way through, there's nary a bruise on my head (thank you, thank you, thank you, Giro)...there was no traffic near me and I didn't take out any other bikers...I slept fine last night (apart from just being generally annoyed) and I'm only slightly uncomfortable today. Yes, I would say I'm pretty damn lucky to have experienced such a benign first crash...

My bike...oh my poor little bike...I felt so sorry for her. Thankfully, my bike gurus were at the race and, once assured that I was fine, they took little Amelia and are making her feel better as I type. One bright side to this is that I may end up upgrading the aerobars so that I'll have bar-end shifters...broke off one of the aero elbow rests and may have warped the front wheel...but the assessment is ongoing so we're still not sure of the best (and most cost effective) prescription is yet. We're all praying that the frame is ok...felt like I went down pretty hard but initial inspections showed no frame damage. They'll check her all out and take care of her.

So let's to take something positive away from such a crappy experience...

1.) DNF is going to happen for everyone eventually, right? Think about Tyler Hamilton in last year's Tour...chock it up for experience and move least it wasn't a DQ. I WOULD, however, like this to be my one and only DNF.

2.) I had a GREAT swim - 2 whole minutes faster than last year on this course and I felt really good too.

3.) I realized that I really need to focus more on brick workouts and this will become more of a focus for the next month in preparation to kick butt in future races.

4.) I did have a great day watching the rest of my friends finish and enjoying the sun and post-race barbecue.

5.) There's nothing shameful about a 3/4 mile swim/8 mile bike brick least I got to record SOMETHING positive in my training log...

6.) I got to order a new helmet and it's going to match Amelia!!!

I still have a lot of things spinning around in my head and my heart about this whole experience. For today, I'm just trying to not worry too much about it and trying to get a handle on what I've learned. I know I'll have more to say soon...for now, misery loves company so if anyone has any war stories to share, post away!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Dastardly Weasel or Noble Eagle?

I'm totally stealing this but it is, to me, SUCH a perfect follow up to the question of becoming a weasel... FLATMAN'S quote of the day a few days back (by Whitney Young) pretty much provides the answer:

"The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self."

I guess all the little mice can relax while I go compile a list of all of my former-self's that I can then proceed to build that more superior self that I'm after. No complacency...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Aren't you so strong, or is all the weasel in me?"

I can't really claim to know much about weasels but my good pal and training partner Nick has created a weasel persona for me so it no longer matters what an actual weasel is really like or whether it has the qualities that I've come to consider "weasely." In fact, I'm pretty sure that I've never even seen a live weasel. I think I just associated them with fairy tales and always thought they were mean little critters. Anyway...

It all started way back at the very first sessions of our masters swim team. Nick and I started out in the same lane - he was always faster than I was but he'd lead and I'd muddle along in third or fourth position so we eventually got to know eachother. Then he graduated from our lane and became what we like to call a "'Tweener" - a bit too quick for the current lane but completely red lining it in the next faster essence, between lanes... It's a really SUCKY thing to be a 'tweener for many reasons. Eventually, you adjust to the faster lane, which Nick has done, and you become a Fishy (the Fishies swim in the fastest lane...I'm sure coach would laugh at our categorizations...) So now Nick is a Fishy and I've almost earned my 'Tweener status...and I have routinely been leading my lane (yes, again today too!) This progression has occured over about 2 years...

So last winter I said to Nick, "Why is it that we started in the same lane and you've progressed so much faster than I have?"

His reply, much to my surprise, was, "Because you're not a weasel like me."

Nothing about form, technique, aerobic strength, weight training, etc....just that I wasn't a weasel. Huh? What the heck does that mean?

Well, it turns out a weasel, according to Nick, is someone who is competitive but in kind of a sneaky, the people he's competing with don't really know he's competing with them, but slowly they catch on that he's tracking them or taunting them just ever so slightly, daring them to see his bid and raise they start to speed up too and anti-up, giving it right that in turn causes The Weasel to work even harder at whatever he was trying to win at in the first place...and as you can imagine, this has had quite a positive effect on Nick's swim times...and is thus the reason he has improved faster than I have...and the reason he has legitimately (and affectionately) earned the name "Weasel Boy."

But the question remains: Should I try and gain a bit of a weasely edge, especially if it's going to make me faster?

Now I've always played competitive sports but I don't think I've ever thought of myself as a competitor. Triathlon is the same way. Up until the weasel discussion, I was pretty much happy with my progress and was entering races to have an event to work towards, a goal to complete. But I DO want to be more it possible that there is an inner weasel that I have yet to discover? Worth finding out, I suppose...

So I've watched Weasel Boy for several months now and I've thought long and hard about my Junior Weasel status, and what I think is that I can definitely nurture it a bit...not in a negative way, just in a sort of grow-the-ego kind of way. I think it's doable from more of the leadership kind of standpoint I was talking about the other day. I want to have more confidence in myself and to know that I can compete and I can excel and it doesn't have to be enough that I just finish the race...I think some of my expectations for myself have been limiting me. The sky is the why have I only been aiming for the horizon?

I will embrace the weasel. Look out all you little mice!! (oh wait, do weasels eat up mice?) ;)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Steady Cadence

Long holiday weekend, no reliable internet at home, no posting. So sorry...and thanks to everyone who has taken the time to check in on Two-Thirds the seems I'm off to an okay start...

Had a few great rides this past week - no slacking, no complacency, just great training rides. Nick, one of my training partners to whom I will refer in all future posts as Weasel Boy (I'll explain later...), helped me figure out some basic gear shifting and bike handling skills that I've felt like I've been lacking...what he suggested was finding a steady cadence that felt good and then trying to maintain it no matter what the terrain is like. This, of course, means downshifting to an easier gear on the up-hills and keeping my legs spinning at a constant rate on the down-hills. What I found was that it gave me something to focus on other than how much my legs were screaming, and that I wasn't getting dropped on the hills nearly as much. Aha! Cadence is a good thing.

I also realized that I hadn't really had a biking focus (and by focus I mean like in swimming where we focus just on rotation or just on the catch etc.), I just wanted to get stronger and faster...but I don't think I was riding smarter until we had the cadence discussion. I'm totally psyched now to get back on my bike and be able to really focus on that aspect...especially because it's easier to measure my progress when it's obvious that I'm not the last one up the hill!

I also did two really great open water swims over the long weekend. My Hunny was kind enough to escort me both times in a kayak so I didn't need to worry about motor boats or anyone running me over...I need to borrow a GPS and measure the swim but my guess is that it's about 1500 yards. The first time I did it, it was WINDY...the second leg of the triangle was directly into the wind and since I usually breathe only on one side (my right), I was predictably swallowing half of each wave that broke over my head. ACK! So, I figured what better time than to practice breathing on the other side? I can do it fine, it's just not quite as I happily realized that this solved the drinking-the-lake problem and continued on. BUT NOW I couldn't seem to swim in a straight line and sighting on my weak side felt like patting my head and rubbing my belly (you know that weird, awkward I-can't-get-this-coordinated crossing your arms the other way?) so I was swallowing the lake again. Well, knowing full well that I can't bike and run on a full stomach of water (or with lungs full of water for that matter) I decided I needed to master sighting on my weak side... that's what preparation is for, right? I took a couple breast stroke pulls and determined that I would get it...and you know, I managed just fine once I started counting to myself - one count per arm stroke, one count on the sight, one count to breathe...and I got into a groove, a rhythm, a steady cadence... hmmm...sounds familiar, eh? It works in the water too! How very cool, I thought. The second swim wasn't as windy but I did half breathing on my strong side and the other half on my weak side. Muscle memory is a good thing! Bring on the waves, race day!

I didn't make it to any parades on July 4th but my timing is true to form...what better way to reinforce a focus on cadence than with a few dozen marching bands!