Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bike Handling

So I'm reading, mostly thru my closed eyelids (I know, I know, it's BADDD...), this part of The Triathlete's Training Bible where Joe's talking about bike handling skills....when all of a sudden, my eyes flew open at the section on balance that I found unbelievable:

Place your water bottle on the pavement while riding slowly. Then turn around and come back to pick it up. To make these moves you will need to stop pedaling and keep your foot low on the side you lean to while ensuring that the front wheel stays straight with the frame. Go slow at first, and as you get the hang of it gradually go faster. Use a tall bottle.

HOLY CRAP!! I think this means that I will never be an accomplished bike handler!! OY. Then there's this little feat:

Lay an empty, plastic water bottle on its side on the pavement. Ride at it fast several times attempting to jump the bottle without touching it. Try it in both the upright and crouched positions.

So I think when I finally get around to practicing drills like this, it will be on some very thick and soft GRASS because I will surely be a$$ over teakettle at least a dozen times before I can swing this. It just doesn't seem possible to me!!! Although I suspect it's quite possible and I'm being overly dramatic. But still...

Anyhoo.... went for my standard lake run last evening. It started off great - I felt much better than I did on Monday...but after the first mile things started falling apart. Not sure why. Maybe I'm still a little tired from my ride? Seems like I should be over that. I managed to keep it together and made it around but it didn't feel great...but it wasn't awful either. Splits looked like this:

EZ Warmup to start: 8:19, avg. HR 128
Mile 1 - 11:12, avg. HR 147 (~74%)
Mile 2 - 11:31, avg. HR 151 (75%)
Mile 3 - 12:03, avg. HR 154...still don't know why this mile is always such a killer for me
Mile 4 - 12:25, avg. HR 154...still feeling kind of bad
Mile 5 - 11:35, avg. HR 152...finally found the true mile 5 marker
To home: 5:55, avg. HR 159 (~87%)

Total time: 1:13:03 (only about a minute off my PR time...not too bad for feeling pretty bad)
Avg HR: 149 (~75%)
Max HR: 166 (~94%)...just wanted to see what it felt like today...and stretch out my knees feel all tight...

Not really sore this morning and swimming felt fine too - although I was a little lunchie (you know, OUT to lunchie?) with the sendoffs today...I kept missing them and then didn't hear what the drills were and on and on. I felt kind of bad for my lanemates who definitely noticed!! My brain was still curled up with the big woofie.

And speaking of big woofies, tomorrow is Scout's annual haircut day!! It's all coming off so she won't be such a hot, matted, stinky dog all summer. I'll post pictures... it's very funny to see how skinny she is when she's shaved because she looks like such an airbus with her fur. And her tail is totally unweighted without hair so she actually gets more WPMs (wags per minute) with a naked tail. It always takes a little getting used to for us but it makes her jump for joy. NAKED TIME!!! What kid/dog doesn't love naked time? Here's the BEFORE picture:

OK, back to work... train hard!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Unloading the Backpack

And speaking of backpacks, I want this one badly - in the baby blue. SO cool.

Well, yesterday was my first "weigh-in" day after one week of working the program.

4.25 lbs. gone from the 60 lb. backpack. HOLY. COW. It can be done.

TOTALLY fired up. Had an EXCELLENT 25 mins. of abs and shoulders dryland and then a great swim practice yesterday morning. Feeling really strong...

Thanks to everyone, especially TriSaratops for the WW plug, Tri-Daddy for the diet week/3hr. long ride suggestion, and Bolder for the racehorse analogy...and to everyone else, including Dad, for aiming me in the right direction, reminding me to be nice to myself and having faith that it can be done... I expect there will be speedbumps and potholes...but today is good and that's all I need to worry about.

Around the lake again this evening...and the sun is finally back. Thank the Goddess.

OH, and for some exciting reads, check out Jameson's first Xterra Race report and Joe's 50 fly PR. Edge of your seat inspiring...FOR SURE.

Train hard!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Cold, Gray Monday

Ah don' gut too much ta say taday... so here's this cool photo for you which ties into this Drill of the Week...take a look and then see what it feels like to swim this way. I promise it will convince you to put your head down the next time you're swimming freestyle!!

Went for a 2.5 hr. ride on Saturday - it was beautiful but also gray and kinda' melancholy. Like today. Here's da numbers:
Total ride time: 2:35
Total miles: 35.4 mi.
Avg. mph: 13.9
Avg. HR: ~140 or < 75% max the whole way

Kinda slow, I know. I'll get faster... and it was windy...but I spent a lot of time in the aerobars and finished with the big hill, which was remarkably easier...and I wasn't sore progress continues...

Goin' for a run when I get home... 50 minutes ought to get me enough points to eat a yummy dinner... Tomorrow is weigh in day so we'll see how week one went. I'm trying not to get my hopes up...there's a part of my brain that thinks that perhaps I may just have lost 30 lbs. last week and I how can I NOT be disappointed when I see that I didn't. I'm declaring now that I'll be happy with 2 lbs. Oh and they're having a free trial period if anyone has been on the fence about shelling out the bucks. It's a pretty easy system for me to follow so far...

Until mañana...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Athena Classification, Revisited

So I've been thinking a lot about this Athena issue...For those of you not in the know, you can enter a triathlon in the Athena category if you're a woman and your body weight is equal to or exceeds 150 lbs. The corresponding category for men is the Clydesdale category and your weight must equal or exceed 200 lbs. Although I have not weighed less than 150 lbs. since I was a sophmore in high school, and I've been racing in triathlons since 2001, I have NEVER entered myself as an Athena although I clearly qualify. Somehow it felt like the consolation category for the fat, "you won't ever be able to complete with the rest of us so we'll make a category for you so you'll feel special too." Yikes. NO THANKS!!!

Why it is that I'm unwilling to embrace the inherent advantages of racing with people closer to my own weight? I've always compared my times to actual Athena times and I'm doing fine...but I'm doing fine in the whole field too. And if you've ever glanced at the results for either Athena or Clydesdale, you'll notice that rarely are there more than a few people registered for either...but I find it hard to believe that a woman taller than 5'8" who is sculpted with amazing muscles weighs a whole lot less than 150... so either they're stick thin or they're not signing up for the the Athena category for the same reason I'm not. While this speaks volumes about our society, our issues with weight and the fact that it's still ok to make fun of the fat kids, today I think I came to a decision about how I'm going to approach the whole situation.

It started with an email to Shelley, who confessed in Bolder's comments that she weighed more than Bold...and with Bold at 147, I figured it was a pretty good guess that Shelley might be just over the Athena I asked her if she qualified and if she raced as an Athena...

I asked,
"I find the Athena/Clydesdale categorires to be frightening...and wonder why anyone would enter into it makes me feel better to win my age group...AMONG THE CHUBBY KIDS? What's your take on this issue!!??"

She replied,
"Well, I used to feel that way too...I never weighed myself for years, I hate living by that stupid number. Then I did IMFLA in '04, never registered as Athena. The day before when registering, they make you weigh in...ughhhhhhh, I looked up to the ceiling so I wouldn't see the number...the old guy weighing me yells out ohhhh 170..I laugh, because he MUST BE JOKING..I look down at the paper and sure says 170, I cried and can this be possible???? Everyone said NO WAY, but hey..everyone else's weight was spot it must be true. I was so upset about it, that's why I rarely ever weigh myself.

So, I have a great race, my best time ever. I go to the awards ceremony and they call up people to receive the women's athena division..those women looked awesome, there's no way they could have been..anyways, I would have won 3rd in that division had I registered..I thought "how cool that would have been" win something at an IM..even if it was because of my weight...oh well. Even when I went to IMC, after the race this girl was saying how she won the Athena division..I looked at her and could not believe it for a second..she wasn't chubby, she could have passed for Christie Brinkley, she was drop dead gorgeous..WOW!!! So you can have tons of muscle and qualify for the Athena group, it doesn't mean that you're chubby...:-))"

Shelley even went so far as to send me to a picture of her at IMFL '04 to show me that 170 doesn't look like what it sounds like. Check it out here.

Wow. OK, that gives me some perpective. But I'm still a little unsure about the whole thing...I guess I understand how being heavier slows you down on the bike...but shouldn't the subsequent power you can build from having bigger limbs/muscles make up for it? I think I need scientific data. An 8 minute mile is an 8 minute mile...whether you're 115 lbs. or 175 lbs. Is it really that much harder for a heavier person to run it? And what about buoyancy? I certainly ride higher in the water than my muscular male counterparts (I once knew a guy who could literally LIE on the bottom of the pool) so doesn't that give me an advantage on the swim? Bold, does your weight to power data explain any or all of this? Inquiring minds want to know...

So here's the conclusion I've come to for myself (and only myself...I pass absolutely NO judgement on anyone who doesn't agree with me...): Today I know that I could be a whole lot lighter and I'm working a program to get there. One week in and it's going fabulously. Tuesdays are my weigh-in we'll see how the first week went by the numbers on Tuesday. I plan to work this program until I reach a goal weight somewhere in the 140s. I'd really like to hit 135 but whatever... I'm not obsessed with the number. BUT, if I get down to 155 or somewhere 150 or above and I feel like that's where I need to that's the goal I should stop at because I like how I feel, how I look, how my clothes fit and my racing is right where I want it to be...then fine...I'll embrace my Athena status and it will be really ok with me. But until I've done all I can to get where I want to be, I don't want to take any advantage because of my weight. No brownie points (no pun intended) for the chubby kid.

And while I'm at it, I think today is the day I stop referring to myself as the chubby kid.

Thanks Shelley - you rock and have given me a whole new perspective on this subject.

I leave you with this bit I found here describing the Wisdom of Athena... seems like she was a pretty cool chick...

Grey-eyed Athena, who has been called the mind of god, is the goddess of prudent intelligence, her share of wisdom having been given to her by Zeus. She is able to bestow command, skill and courage, and also victory in war for those who revere justice and listen to her persuasive tongue, or destruction for the unjust. For these reasons it has always been desirable to count upon her favour when war is at hand, for Athena, it is said, would never put up with defeat. And yet she checks the insolence of those whose spirit is violent and unjust.

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Amelia the Super Bike

I felt like a superhero on my bike yesterday. The day was SO LONG as I sat trying to focus and sit still...I just wanted to be OUT THERE. In the sun. Riding hard.

Driving home, my car was literally getting TOSSED around by the wind. My CAR. But there was no way I was missing this ride after thinking about it all day. Wind or no wind, I was going.

In my mind, I tried to pick a route that is somewhat sheltered but that left me only a couple options and I really wanted to get out and GO. What the could conceivably be like this on race day so I might as well just deal. I settled for a relatively flat route and resolved to stay aero in the wind. And the route I chose has a very decent hill at about half way...good compromise.

I clipped in and headed south at a nice easy spin. I felt really strong on the slow, gradual climb of the first few miles and then dropped into my aero bars on the way down the other side to enjoy about 2 miles of nice rolling semi-flats. There's nothing really FLAT in VT but Amelia loves the rollers and I was surprised to feel strong on the gentle ups too...stayed on my big ring and kept a cadence of about 80-90 for a good 15 minutes. It was FAST. Well, fast for me...

Hit the first short hill and powered up it. Again, I was surprised to feel so strong compared to my last ride. That's one of the reasons I love cycling...such dramatic changes from one ride to the next. Those cycling specific muscles really seem to capture so much of the training effect. Down a big hill and a sharp right turn into the big climb. This hill is about 1.5-2 miles starts out gradual and then gets STEEP... enough so that I could only hold about a 40 cadence in my lowest gear and it hurt...but Amelia only has two chain rings so I'm dealing. Just going to have to get stronger because at this point I'm not willing to give up the speed on the flats at the top of the big ring. Held that 40 cadence all the way up the hill and then settled back into the aeros for the return trip. At this point I realized why the ride out felt so fast... my tailwind had just become a full on headwind. Like, Kona headwind...or so I imagined it felt... No problem. Today I am a SUPER HERO!!

So I kept on. The thought occurred to me that I was going to feel like I was cutting my ride short if I stopped when I got home. Tucked that notion into my back pocket when I realized what it was going to take to battle the wind. I just dropped down and stayed that way for most of the way home. It hurt a little but I was able to keep my cadence between 70 and 80 and still feel like I wasn't grinding. A few times I thought I was going to get blown over from sideways gusts but I didn't thankfully. By the time I got home I didn't feel like I needed to go any further. It was just perfect.

Time: 1:15
Distance: 17:88 mi.
Avg speed: 15.1 mph (it would've been faster but for the wind!!)

I'm getting there. And it's EARLY. I think I was at this stage in early June last year. Joy...

Day 4 of the WW plan is off to a great start. So far I've been a model student and my pants felt looser this morning. I resisted the urge to hop on the scale at the pool today - supposed to wait a whole week...but I think it's working. And it's not too hard...yet. I know to expect some speedbumps but we'll deal with them as they come. And my boys served up some serious whoopass to Tampa Bay last night with a 9-1 rout. All the new faces are turning out to be especially friendly. I'm likin' it...

Life is good. Train hard!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fun New Feature, Take 2!

HEY Y'ALL!! Happy Wednesday!! Been wanting to put this feature up for awhile but haven't gotten around to it...and then when I got around to it, I couldn't make it work...but now, with a little help, hopefully it's working right. Feedback would be much appreciated...

Music is a big part of my world and although I don't always train with it, it's often what gets me out the door. And since my goal is to share what I can to help myself and others feel good and train hard, what better way than to share a little ditty every now and then, right?

At first it was going to be "Mood Music for Today" and was going to reflect my mood of the day...but it takes too long to navigate to my storage server and put a new song up every day - so you'll have to settle for the weekly dose of Spence's crazy tunes. And I opted for no video so those of us running macs don't have to force quit out of our browsers every time we navigate thru windows media player code!!! Plus, most of my favorite music doesn't seem to show up on those video code sites... go figure.

Just so you get the idea how it works, I've loaded a well known favorite here - just click the "Song of the Week" graphic and you should hear some fine, fine music. And as a special incentive to try it out, I'm offering an iTune download of your choice (a whole $0.99 value!!) to the first person who can name WHO is singing AND what they called themselves when they sang this particular gem - first comment to get BOTH answers correct wins. Children of the 80s, rejoice!! This is a very serious trivia question....

Then, in the sidebar, you'll find a new song every week (right below Simply Stu) - just a smattering of stuff that makes my feet go. A lot of it will be stuff I routinely run to or think is really fun (translation=best played in the car on sunny, warm days with the windows open and turned up to 11)...but if I have a particularly interesting week, you might get something more mellow or moody. It'll be a crap shoot so be sure to tune in!!

OK, hope all is well in training land - 70˚F and sunny today - headed out with Amelia and I can't WAIT!!! Train hard!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm in the DOTW again!!

It's spring and it's time to start thinking about the open water swim portion of triathlon. Coach has had us doing some sighting, some dolphin-ing, and some drafting drills in the pool and last week she filmed my lane while we practiced drafting at the hip. So we became the Drill of the Week...

Check it out!!

It was pretty incredible to do this in a controlled environment and really feel how much easier it is to swim, especially if you're the fourth in the middle/back of the "chevron." We look pretty tame on the way down but coming back, Coach said to rough it up a little as if we were really in an open water race...and my friend Tom, who did Ironman Florida last fall, decided he'd jump into our lane at the last second because the guys in his lane were being too "nice." Well, you can see me in the middle - I actually grabbed his shoulder and launched myself over him...and then you see me come to a complete stop because he grabbed my foot. Total hilarity... This drill is well worth suggesting to your friends...and once you get the hang of it, invite them to try it with you in open water. We did this early on a few summers ago and it made a huge difference for me to have practiced it before racing in open water...

I also found some helpful links about open water swimming here and here. Enjoy!!

Now GO SWIM!!!

ps. WW day 2 is on track...going well... still feeling motivated and calm...this might just work out...

Monday, April 17, 2006

STOP! Hammock Time!

It was a fantastic weekend here in Northern England of New and the hammock is our new favorite hangout spot. Friday was warm and sunny and every bit as much like JUNE as June is!! I had shorts on all day - even when I rode Amelia!! We went for about 1:15 and averaged a little over 15 mph except we finished off the loop on the backside of the Monster Hill - the much shorter side which is just as steep. And I didn't walk!! It was a tough, grinding climb with only two chainrings on Amelia but I suspect that repeats will improve that situation. Felt GREAT...I'm getting my cycling legs back. Then, despite the miserable forecast from the Eye on the Sky Guy, Saturday turned out to be beautiful and warm too!! Bliss... Things cooled off on Sunday and clouds and a stiff wind called for another go at the lake went something like this (sorry Bold, I'm pretty chart challenged so you'll have to either make one for me or use your imagination...):

Warmup to start line - 8:56 @ avg. HR 136
Mile 1 - 11:23 @ avg. HR 143
Mile 2 - 11:45 @ avg. HR 144
Mile 3 - 11:52 @ avg. HR 148
Mile 4 - 11:37 @ avg. HR 152 (a negative split!!)
Mile 5 - 10:37 @ avg. HR 153 (now I'm convinced that mile 5 is short...)
Warmdown to home: 6:15 @ avg. HR 155
Total distance: 6.15 mi. (mapped here)
Total time: 1:12:26 - 0:01:26 faster than the last loop!

COOL!! This run around the lake is the Great Fairlee Tri course so the mile markers are spray painted on the I felt pretty confident that it was measured correctly...but now I'm sure the last mile is short. Oh well. I'll have to clock it with my bike computer to find out where mile 5 ends. I felt really good the whole time and am less sore than I was after the same run last Wednesday. Progress is so motivating. And there was no bonking or stealing bananas this time... a bite of a power bar each mile seemed to do the trick. I'm gonna try out the new Cliff Blocks and see what all the rukus is about. Oh, and I'd love it if someone could point me toward a good source for ordering Gatorade Endurance powder (Flat?? any bargains??).

And the big news of the day is that I signed up for Weight Watchers On-Line. I'm feeling motivated and strong about it today and I'm off to a good start. I especially like the whole points system and will be a huge fan of the extra points that I'll get to add on in exchange for the exercise... I feel calm and focused. But stick around because I'm sure I'll need donut interventions and exorcisms of the Pizza Whispers... I did manage only a few jelly beans that the Easter Bunny brought... but they're out of the house now so I'm safe.

Taking it easy today and going shopping for healthy, nutritious fuel...back to the pool and core tomorrow.

A big shout out to Elizabeth and Okolo for running the Boston Marathon!! I haven't checked their times yet but I'm sure they both did great!!!

OK, until tomorrow - train hard!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday is My Friday!

OK, I'm pretty much over yesterday's meltdown and I feel much better today. Here's why:

1.) I love the tri-blog alliance. Every comment I got yesterday and today was sincere and helpful and gave me so much hope that I'll get where I want to go. Today started with a great swim and my food intake has been perfect so far. Going to take it a day (or an hour) and a pound at a time and there WILL be progress. I wasn't at all surprised to get such positive encouragement...I just think it's the most amazing thing that there are so many of us out there working toward the same goals and that we can relate to and support eachother in so many ways even though we are separated by geography...and age, and race, and body type, and experience, and on and on... The internet is a powerful entity... Thanks, Kahuna, for bonding us into one... check out his post today and you'll get all warm and fuzzy too...

2.) For some odd reason, my company is closed tomorrow so today, Thursday, is my Friday! I think the previous owner liked to take Good Friday off and even though he retired two years ago, the tradition appears to have endured. Hallelujah!! I think the Easter Bunny is going to come but he's only bringing treats for the non-triathletes. He's a chubby bunny, you see...

3.) It's warm and sunny and the leaves are starting to bud out...this is the earliest spring I've witnessed in my almost 12 years up here in VT. The ice on the lake is gone, my daffodils are about to bloom (crazy, I know - I made such a big deal about showing you their progress and having them bloom in JUNE...which is when they bloomed last year... alas, I love global warming...) and I plan to either play 9 holes of golf or go to the driving range this evening with my I can practice my ridiculously horrible golf swing. Just can't get the field hockey swing to go away and let me tell you, it doesn't work with a golf club... It'll be great fun, but very ugly... Then I think we're going out to dinner... date night is a good night...

4.) I had a fantastic run yesterday, again around the lake. When I ran on Sunday after biking, I had to walk until I was able to "borrow" a banana so my time was closer to 1:30 for that run...but the most recent run I did all the way around ended up taking about 1:18. So ask me how fast I was yesterday?? 1:14! Pretty cool, eh? Kept the HR at 75% and pushed a little harder and things felt really good. I was a little stiff and sore this morning but swimming seemed to work the kinks out... I got my splits for most of the way and was going to post them last night but my HR monitor shut itself off... If memory serves me, and it rarely does, they went something like this:

~0.5 mi. warmup: 8:20
Mile 1 - 11:21
Mile 2 - 11:35
Mile 3 - 12:30
Mile 4 - 12:20
Mile 5 - 10:45
~0.5 mi. home... the balance to 1:14...

Mile 3 is always my challenge...there's nothing in particular about the terrain that makes it hard, it just seems to be the point at which my body decides it wants to be done running and I just have to push thru it. Then mile 4 starts with a nice hill and mile 5 is flat and gradual down...I think mile 5 is a little short but I was also in a great groove so I know it was definitely faster. I know these aren't really times to write home about but soon I will look back and be able to see my progress and that's the whole point really. You gotta start somewhere. Funny how I can totally accept that in my training but not in my eating. I'll get there eventually. Slow and steady...

Going for a ride tomorrow instead of spin class and then Saturday is supposed to be rainy so I'm considering an early trip to the pool and then I bet we have wallpaper scraping and painting on the list to do. We finally have patched wood floors and new lighting in the kitchen...I'll post some photos this weekend.

So thanks again for all the support... I'm going to take some time this weekend getting rid of the bad food in the house and making a menu to shop to so we don't run into dangerous territory next week. I think a little planning will go a long way...I can do this...I's simple math, not rocket science. Less in equals less of the total... I can do this... really... I can.

I'll report back on how it's going soon so don't let me forget!!

And train hard...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Confessions of an Age Group Triathlete

OK, I've got to come clean about a few things. This isn't going to be pretty so if you're looking for an inspirational, happy post today, you might need to go visit Iron Benny. But I have some confessions to make...and I figure if I can say it here, then it's said, it's true and I can start the work. Please don't judge me...

First, I'm having a really, really, really hard time with my diet. I'm incredibly good at justifying everything that goes into my mouth...and if I can't justify it, then I can wait until tomorrow to be "good." And I got to tell you, the weight is right back up where I started. Seriously. I think I need to wire my jaw shut. Or hire a personal chef like Oprah did. Losing weight is the ONE thing in my life that I have NEVER succeeded at. I've gotten to within 15 lbs. of a goal weight but finishing that last bit has never happened. And truthfully, I'm feeling ready to give up. I'm healthy, I've got a strong fitness base, maybe my body was just meant to be this weight. Right? NO. F'ING. WAY. Not possible. I just can't accept that...

So I've been thinking a lot about what motivates me. When it comes to exercise, I'm good - I like the endorphins, I feel good during and afterward, I can see gains in my strength and speed from week to week... And I imagine how strong and fast I'd be if I weren't carrying around this extra 60 lbs. Try loading a backpack with 60 lbs. and running 6 miles with it. I CAN DO IT. I do it every day that I work out... and I know that I'm doing damage to my hips, knees, and ankles...even though I'm not hurting. It's just inevitable that things will start to break down eventually. And the older I get, the harder it's going to be to change things. That's just fact... nature...

I started training for triathlon to have a goal to work toward but the bigger reason was to get healthy. So why is there such a huge disconnect between my weight, my health and what goes into my mouth? It just makes no sense that I'm missing the cause and effect of it all. UGH. total frustration.

I don't want to take diet drugs to help me lose weight. Even to help me START to lose weight. I don't want to hurt my body by trying Slim Fast or any other of those fad diets. But I'm hurting my body by NOT losing the weight. Why can't I just DECIDE to stick to a plan and get it done? Because I'm afraid of failing...again. I'm sidetracked before I even begin because I don't believe I can do it. Where to find that confidence? I've found it in my career, in my training, in my relationship...why is it missing when it comes to my weight? Don't answer that. It's rhetorical. I just needed to see it written down...

OK, so along the lines of weight...what's the purpose behind having a Clydesdale and Athena class in triathlon? My next confession - not since my sophmore year in high school have I been able to claim non-Athena status...yet I've NEVER entered myself as an Athena athlete in any tri I've ever done. It just seems like to place as an Athena is somehow less than placing as a non-athena. Like, "Oh, you won...but you won among the FATTIES. In relation to everyone ELSE, you didn't come CLOSE to placing." Where did I get this attitude? Know that IN NO WAY do I intend to put down athletes in this category...I'm a full 46 lbs. into it... but I certainly have a negative attitude about it, don't I? So here I'm thinking it's probably not the best thing to have negative thoughts ABOUT MYSELF. Pretty counterproductive, don't you think? Maybe I should embrace the Athena category. Maybe. But I'd still want to work to get out of the category. Does anyone know why it was created? Seriously? It just seems like a weird thing... I know in crew and wrestling there are different weight it supposed to be along those lines? because if you're big, even if you're not FAT, you're going to be slower overall? That doesn't seem accurate. I'd love to know: 1.) if you're an athena or clydesdale athlete, do you race as one? if yes, why? if no, why not? And 2.) Why were those categories designated? Does anyone know?

So I'm not sure how I'm going to move forward thru this. My training is going great so I'll keep that up but I HAVE to figure out how to manage my food intake. I don't want to be this heavy...I'm tired of my clothes not fitting. I want to LOOK like the triathlete I've become. For ME. I need to find some motivation...and some patience.

My last confession: I got a copy of Going Long for Christmas from my mom. I've read the first chapter. Three times. Does that mean I have to hand over my permit to tri? I just can't seem to stay awake... What's UP with that?

OK, I feel a little bit unburdened. Thanks for slogging thru the tome. I hate to complain...I'm just feeling kind of hopeless about it. I hope someday soon I can look back at this post and remember 196 lbs. as a thing of the past. I DO want to succeed.

6 mile run at 75% HR Max on tap for this evening - 60 lb. pack and all. It's going to be 70˚F and I can't wait.

Train hard...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fun New Feature, On hold

while I work out my moronic html abilities...

Had a kickin' brick workout yesterday - 11 miles on Amelia - slow easy spin on gentle rolling flats - and then a 6 mile slow easy run. Got a little low on the fuel about 2.5 miles into the run and had to go on a stealth mission into the kitchen of the outdoor center where I used to work...the fruit bowl is thankfully in the same spot it always was and I was spared a phone call home by the good fortune of a ripe banana. Will stash some fuel in all my pockets next time...but it was nice to see where my limits were on a training run rather than on race day. Bonking is NO fun...

More to come once I get this music thing worked out... argh!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wallpaper & The Hill...way more than you wanted to know...

This week will test my mental toughness. It's supposed to be cold and snowy all week. And when it's not going to be snowing, it'll be raining. No sun in the forecast until next Monday. Great. April is about the only month when I wish I lived below the Mason-Dixon Line. For the rest of the year, it's all good up here in my little corner of the country. I'm sitting at my desk sipping hot cocoa... I suppose it could be worse, right? Well, okay...

Had a great weekend warrior kind of weekend. Some running, some raking, some riding, some more raking, some dog walking, some wallpaper name it, I think we did it. I discovered that I'm totally allergic to the solution we've been using to scrape wallpaper - it gives me a serious cough with very deep lung pain - which is quite unfortunate since every room in the house except for the bathroom has at least one layer of paper to scrape - and the rest have up to 5 (yes, FIVE) layers. Get this: In one bedroom, we noticed that one of the four walls only had 4 layers and after careful scrutiny and a detailed analysis of overlapping layer relationships (the structural geologist in me comes out at very strange times...) we discovered that that one wall was missing the bottom most layer. The Leading Theory: they scraped one wall and got so completely incensed by such a HORRIFYINGLY AWFUL project that they exclaimed, "F*&% it!" and went ahead and papered over the first layer on the remaining 3 walls...and kept going 4 more times over the course of the last 50 years. Totally fun work, let me tell you. Whoever invented wallpaper AND wallpaper paste should be tarred and feathered. Just.....NO!!!

So, THAT was fun...and I'm sure you're glad to have read all about it! Onward...

I took my mountain bike, Pebbles (don't ask), out for a spin on Sunday afternoon. There's a KILLER hill on the north side of the lake (see map - again, it's the geologist...) and I've been thinking about hill repeats on it for building some strength...but Amelia the Cervélo only has two rings on the front which means I need a whole lot more muscle before I can attempt this hill with her. So Pebbles, with the thousands of granny gears, was the bike of they haven't swept the lake road, 2.5 miles to the start of the hill (point A at approx 416 ft. of elevation) and then about a mile UP to 750 ft. above sea level - (pt. B).

I'm happy to report that it went better than I expected...except that the shifters on Pebbles are opposite from the shifters on Amelia and things got kind of dicey in the middle there when I went to downshift and accidentally shifted up. AaaYYYE!! Then it took approximately a minute and a half to descend and I finished off with another 2 miles the rest of the way around the lake. Excellent ride. Next time I'll do the hill twice. Actually the best part about it was realizing how uncomfortable I was on Pebbles compared to Amelia, who is fine tuned in every way to my body. Bike fitting is the way to go, of this I am SOLD... Might be time to take Pebbles in for a fit. We'll see...

Had a great run last evening too - after missing the bus at 5:30-am-that-felt-like-4:30-am. Listened to GYGO Podcast #11 and giggled the whole time. Had planned only 30-40 minutes and ended up at 50 mins. - just a nice, slow, easy plod that felt great. Things are coming together. I know the biking will help my running so much too. Now if it would just stop snowing...

And amazingly, the meet last weekend left me with somewhat of a training effect this past week and I had a strong week in the pool. Weasel Boy pointed out some things to me about my freestyle stroke at the meet and he actually got some video footage of it so once I get that file from Karen, I'll post it for you all and point out what I'm doing wrong. Been working the problem and I think it's getting better because I'm getting faster already. Sweet.

OH, and don't forget to visit Trimama's Shop for your TEAM TRI-GEEK DREAMS 2006 uniform. The deadline is tomorrow (that's WEDNESDAY) so get your orders in ASAP!!! Here's what you're missing if you haven't already ordered!! GET ON IT!!! (Oh, and don't be confused - the graphic on the shorts is on the FRONT and the graphic on the shirts is on the BACK - I have them kinda screwy weird here - but you get the idea...)

OK friends, train hard!!! And would someone please enjoy the cherry blossoms for me today...I won't be seeing them for at least another few weeks...if I'm lucky... thanks!!