Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Putting the tiger in the cat

"The long run is what puts the tiger in the cat."
          - Bill Squires


I ran 16 freaking miles on Saturday. 16miles. That is like a HM plus a 5K.

And it was pretty good, I did still get that tight feeling in my legs and stopping for a red light was kind of torture, but it was really good. I didn't plan ahead very well and didn't have my sports beans to take with me so I improvised by buying a bag of candy corn and taking a few pieces of those. It worked out really well, it may just be my new bean alternative, or maybe I will shun beans altogether (those suckers are 1.00/bag and candy corn will be on clearance for 90% off in 5 weeks or so.)

One thing I need to read up on is arm pain/fatigue. My arms started to really get tingly and crampy around mile 14 or so. I assume this is normal from having them in the same position for so long but shaking them out didn't really seem to help. I have pseudo-hypochondria moments sometimes and on Sat I kept teasingly reminding myself that the first sign of a heart attack is arm pain. But, I'm happy to report, no heart attack and I made it home as pleased as punch with myself for running 16miles!

I do need to come to some sort of decision about a few pieces of gear.

My water bottle: I HATE carrying it. I also have nothing but disdain for fuel belts. They irk me in so many ways. The number one and silliest is that running and running clothes are already terribly unflattering so putting a fanny pack on makes the image even more ridiculous.

My iPod: My beloved nano is dying and they just came out with a new super cool nano, BUT the new ipod touch can support Nike+iPod! But I kind of think I want a tactile control so that I can change songs or volume or whatever without looking at the device because, let's face it, running is hard enough without trying to multi-task.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Running is boring

Well, marathon training is boring.

I took a BYE last week on my training schedule. Not on purpose but I was tired from my 15mile run but not really physically tired. I was mentally tired.

I have come to truly love running and the benefits it has brought to my life are so real that I don't have the words to express it. Paradoxically however, I hate running. It is hard on your body, it can be hard on your mind, (for me here in Seattle especially) it can be hard to overcome the weather obstacles.

These long runs have really taken a toll. I like Pro/Con lists so I will include one here.



Reaching running milestones I would NEVER have imagined

Getting bored of the music in my iPod or, more frequently, of the thoughts in my head.

Pushing myself to go just a bit further.


Realizing that I am not hurting and my pace and stride is coming naturally

Running a long distance takes a long time

Seeing your fellow runners and other pretty cool sights on a long run.

People think you're insane

People think you're awesome

People annoyingly trying to scare you away from running with the following phrase "it's bad for your (fill in the blank)"

Helping convince people that it is less scary and more rewarding than they might ever have known.

Devoting a lot of time to training can alienate some friendships

You meet some AWESOME people!

The cost of gear, races and other paraphernalia.

Um…a variety of T-shirts to choose from for PJs and to paint in.

Feeling so hungry you are afraid you'll eat everything in the fridge.

Being able to eat everything in the fridge…and ordering a pizza (kidding!)

The dread of looking at your training schedule and having NO IDEA how you'll ever accomplish it

Completing a nightmarish workout or work out week.

Etc., etc., etc….

So, by careful balancing of above, I will keep running (and running and running). I will realize that this funk is a passing phase and the sheer act of pulling myself out of is an accomplishment.

It's Tuesday, so 4miles here I come. Back on track.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can you take sick days to run a marathon?

Because running a marathon must mean you're sick in the head.

The tickets are bought à


Dec 4-8 for the Tucson Marathon.

Yikes! I am still terrified of the prospect of actually running a marathon. That still sounds perfectly awful. But seeing my friends and their kids again sounds perfectly awesome. I really like using these personal challenges as an excuse to travel to new places or as a deadline to visit with old friends. I am starting to plan my 10 year high school reunion and have thought how much fun it would be to do a 10year/10K fun run and maybe raise some money for my alma mater. This thought would never have even occurred to me 2 years ago.

And going to AZ from Seattle in December will be a very welcome change in scenery even if just for a few days.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pulling a Britney and other genius moves of the day

So, I only mentioned a few of these in my race report but I had some serious Dumb ass moments.

1. Trying to use the porta-potties I must not have locked the door and totally got exposed to the world (I am consoling myself by saying it was too dark for anyone to see anything)

2. I decided to wear a long sleeve tech shirt on the bike and run so i pinned my number on it. Luckily i decided to try it on (mainly to see if it was placed correctly) but I struggled putting it over my head because...I had pinned the shirt together.

3. Got DQ'd for not having handlebar ends which made me SO MAD at myself because I have extras because I know this can be an issue but they were in the car.

4. I lost my phone, socks, sports beans all in the span of ~15min. (Luckily I found the first 2)

5. My timing chip was cutting into my left ankle fo rthe last few miles of the bike and for teh whole run. Probably should have tried to fix that in T2.

Oh well, at least most of these things were remedied and not overly embarrassing. And 2 of these things could have been remedied with small purchases like a race belt and a chip strap.

Peer pressure=impromtu race report

So, i wasn't planning on racing this race. But my TNT peeps were going to do it. And some of my Thur night cycling folks were doing it. And it was the last one of the season. And I had been getting bored of running.

WHAT THE HECK...Let's doooo it!
Race Report: Kirkland Triathlon at Carillon Point
September 21, 2008

Total: 1:36:15 S: 0:15:47 T1: 2:42 Bike: 0:49:52 T2:1:09 Run: 0:26:44
Age Group place: 21/74
Overall: 417/899

Sign up/packet pickup: I was volunteering in the Campaign for Change Bellevue office during the day and ran over to packet pick up with the intention of registering and possibly racking my bike but it was POURING and COLD. I was having some serious second thoughts about the whole thing and honsetly considered not registering. (Un)Fortunately my cycling buddies saw me at the registration spot and further coerced me. So, 80 bucks and a cotton T-shirt later I was committed.

I couldn't access the handy dandy "tri-checklist" that my TNT coach had given us and I had to pack my gear on my own and pray I had everything I needed. I slept better last night than I ever have before a race. Start time was 7am, T closed at 6:30. I had set my alarm for 5am and managed to go to bed at 8:30pm(!) and woke up naturally at 4:30am. This was actually great since I hadn't decided what I was going to eat for breakfast and needed to stop and get something.

This being the least planned out race I have ever done (well there was a 10K that I wandered into once but...) I ran into the gas station and bought the breakfast of champions: Poptarts and a diet pepsi.

It was pitch black setting up transition and since this was my first rainy weather race i had to figure out the wardrobe of the day. I finally got settled and wandered around to find old TNT buddies. When I got back to my bike I had been DQ'd! I got busted for a missing handlebar plug and (with ~15min before start) had to remedy it.

With that all taken care of it was time to get going...

The wave starts were VERY spread out so we stood out in our wetsuits for a very long time. Finally my wave went out. I positioned myself towards the front and outside of the group. This worked out fairly well. My goal was to just stay consistent on the swim and not push overly hard. i wound up in one small tussle. In the past I would fall back and let the other overtake me but I felt like I was in the best position to do the overtaking. I had a soft goal of finishing under 15minutes (which I missed) but I haven't had a swim durinng a race where I felt as in control so that was good.

Since I was only wearing a jog bra and tri shorts under my wetsuit I was too shy to start stripping the wetsuit which was LAME since transition was pretty far from the swim out.
T1: 2:42

Didn't start off great because I had to stop to fix my bike computer sensor which was hitting my spokes (see lake Padden post). This ride was pretty hilly the first half and then it leveled out. But yikes if I didn't very nearly fall off of my bike on the big climb.
Bike: 0:49:52

T2: Uneventful

Run: I was VERY optimistic about the run. I mean, sheesh, I just did a 15miler. I have been running like crazy. But the run felt somewhat hard. I wanted it to feel great and, while I did recover slightly in the 1st mile, I didn't feel like I could really pick up my pace like I would have wanted. My run time however was AWESOME. I almost don't believe it was an actual 5K. Becaus eif it was, then that was sub 9min miles. Who, me?!?!
Run: 0:26:44

Now for the very imoprtant, the post race food/swag. The food was really yummy. They did fruit parfaits with nilla wafers, YUM! Swag was minimal but oh well.

Take home Lessons:
1. I need to sign up for races beforehand so that mentally/equiptmentally I prepare.
2. I need to hydrate on the bike, even during a sprint tri
3. Get my prerace breakfast figured out well before 4am race day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I may be semi-bad ass

I successfully changed BOTH of my bike tires. And, I rode on them ~15miles to prove their integrity to myself.

Oh Yeah!

It all started way back when I had my first flat L, I noticed that the actual tire had a small hole/crack/imperfection in it which I was told was acceptable and I "should be fine."

Well, I have an aversion to riding out to the middle of nowhere where the "should be fine" turns into "completely FUBAR" so I bought new tires. And, I decided to put them on all by myself (or at least make the attempt!).

DAY 1: The front tire

Obviously easy to remove but HOLY HELL I had such a hard time removing the old tire and the new tire was folded up in the package so it was tough getting it to shape up. The new ones were 700x23 (old ones 700x25) and I have never missed 2mm like I did that night. They were so tight, I could barely have any air in the tube and I was SURE I'd get a pinch flat with the shabby job I was doing corralling the tube. It seriously took 1.5hr and my wrists were aching afterwards. I was too tired at the end to properly check for a pinch so I half-assed looked around the rim and pumped it up. SUCCESS! After 100PSI of air it was hard as a rock and shiny as a new penny.

I put off the rear until


I had never taken off the rear wheel ever so I was worried. My TNT coach had dazzled us with his on/off skill but I had never actually tried it and had forgotten where you were supposed to shift, etc. So I found a handy-dandy video which scared the crap out of me (saying if you do it wrong you can mess up the rear derailleur) and got to work. I had to walk away a few times but TADA! The rear wheel was off and I was set out to battle that tire (which I hadn't had the foresight to open up so it could take on a better shape). To my surprise, this was WAY easier than the night before and I had that sucker changed in a few minutes. Putting it back on the bike went smoothly too and I even took a short ride to see if I had jacked up the shifting…all seemed good.

DAY3: The test ride

Went out on my Thur evening ride (which is probably not going to happen much longer since it will start getting dark at 4pm) with only a prayer and a tube. These skinny wheels felt kind of shaky downhill but that was probably mental.

Bottom line: mission accomplished!

I love getting more hands on with my bike. I have never been terribly mechanical but I think that may be because I never tried. It baffles me to think how many things in my life I just assume I'm not good at. I am just getting used to the idea that something I fixed has enough integrity for me to trust with my life (or at least with a pleasant ride). It is a good feeling. Maybe I'll attempt installing that bike computer with cadence that stumped me 6 months ago.

Next bike mechanic mission (which I'll probably save for when I won't be riding outdoors as much) is doing a really thorough cleaning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pride, slide, snide

That is my Saturday in 3 rhyming words.

First thing sat morning I dragged my sleepy booty out on a much anticipated/overwrought 15mile run.

that's right. 15miles. My LONGEST RUN EVER.

I was SO freaked out about this one. I had to move it from Fri evening to Sat thanks to the earlier and earlier sunsets that i am trying to cope with. And I couldn't decide what to do as far as timing, playlist, nutrition, hydration, etc.

I decided to go 1st thing saturday and run my normal route bringing along 2 packs of sports beans with the intention of taking one at 6mi and 12mi. Hydration was my biggest worry since I HATE carrying a bottle for such a long distance but I decided to bring it along with the intention of tossing it if it bugged me.

The run was pretty great. The TNT marathon team was doing a long run (complete with aid stations and spectators) which completely motivated me. It was so awesome to see all the TEAMmates out there and yelling "Go Team!" as people passed. They completely motivated me without even knowing it. I wanted to find out what distance they were doing but we were running in opposite directions and I never got the chance.

The last few miles I started feeling really tight in the legs. i refused to stop at stop lights or anywhere because I thought if I stopped I would lock up and be stuck in that position forever. When I got home (2:25) I followed all the appropriate proceedure: stretch, ice, rehydrate, reaosnable refueling, shower.

I was so proud of myself. 15 miles!

I didn't have much time to waste though, I was meeting up with my sisters and nephews to go to Wild Waves water park (aka my happiest place on earth). I was DREADING all the endless stairs leading to the waterslides but since I LOVE WATERSLIDES it was fine and I had a great time.

My nephews are getting so big! The oldest (3yr old) even went on a rollercoaster! Too stinkin' cute.

It was a great day. We headed back to my Mom's where the exhaustion began kicking in. Thanks to the livliness of my baby nephews though I perked up a bit and went out to dessert with my mom and sister. Totally fun too. Until I made a snide remark to my Mom, hurt her feelings and have been feeling like crap ever since.

There is no one I would less want to hurt especially when she is already down in the dumps. Also, I wish she had something like triathlon or running that could make her feel as good as I do when I do those things. She deserves it. She deserves to feel strong and in control. And free and complete.

so it was a bummer end to a bitchin day but I'm a work in progress and set backs are part of the game I guess.

I did still run 15 miles though.

Friday, September 12, 2008

You’re never sorry when you go

This is what I tell myself every time I finish a workout and is the most valuable weapon I have against laziness.

Tuesday night I was SO TIRED and had no desire to go for my scheduled run. No desire. Except for the voice in the back of my head that said "You're never sorry when you go." And I went and had a great run and a short swim.

Wednesday night I was SO TIRED and got done with work happy hour pretty late. No desire. Except for the voice in the back of my head that said "You're never sorry when you go." So I went out for a great 6miler.

Thursday night I was SO TIRED and was stuck across the lake until late then had to go back into lab to finish up at around 8pm. No desire. Except for the voice in the back of my head that said "You're never sorry when you go." So I went to the gym, got road-raged by someone who happened to be going to the 24hr Fitness too (awkward, I didn't know if it was road-rage or `roid-rage). We carefully avoided getting into the same elevator but I was worried he was using that time to key my car or something then, after only being able to get the crappy treadmill, I ran exactly one lap and went home.

Well it works 2 out of 3 times.

Another thing you won't be sorry for doing is getting on the national bone marrow donor list.

You have to order a mouth swab kit to get HLA typed and that usually costs ~50bucks BUT

Through September 22, the National Marrow Donor Program is waving the
normal fees for registration (usually about $50).


You may need the promo code: NASC262101


Monday, September 8, 2008

New Monday motivation

I just found a new motivation to drag my Monday self to a spin class. The instructor is total eye-candy. He isn't my typical type but he makes busting my butt a bit easier. I'm 80% sure he is same sex oriented but that doesn't matter.

There also happens to be a yoga class right after the spin class. I am going to try to work that in some weeks. I think I'm trying to transition into my inside workouts now that it is starting to get dark earlier and earlier.

last week was pretty good and ended in a 13mile run on Fri. I felt really good until the last few miles I started feeling really tight in the legs. I think taking a stretching break wouldn't be the worst idea ever. I did the yogurt covered pretzel thing again but it felt more harsh on my stomach this week than last so I may continue tweaking that. Maybe plain pretzels?

My new battle though is with diet. after my long runs I eat like a crazy person. For the next 4 days. It is really bad. I need to get over the mental reward system I have in my head. I am frustrated that I'm not making noticeable physical progress anymore.

Mountain Climbing

Climb ev'ry mountain
Ford ev'ry stream
Follow ev'ry rainbow
'Till you find your dream

A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Everyday of your life
For as long as you live

On Sun I went on a bike ride with my family, so it was my Mom and Emily, my sister and her 2 boys (2 and 3yr old) and I. It was totally a scene from the Sound of Music which we acknowledged by referencing most of the songs from the movie. My mom (as we grinded up a 0.25% incline) began singing "Climb every mountain," and, I don't know if I was just sort of hormonal or what, but the lyrics really hit me.

Work hard to find what you want in this life and then don't relent on making that happen.

Sometimes it worries me that at 26 (and RAPIDLY approaching 27) I am still on the dream finding part.

Running has helped me turn over new rocks and look for more within and outside of myself. Doing things that you never imagined you could (like running a killer 13miles on a Fri night!) does slowly begin to realign the boundaries that you set for yourself. So I am easing up on myself and trying to see where life takes me. But man is that hard!


It all goes back to reminding myself of the poem that was read to my incoming college class. The copy that was printed in the matriculation program has been with me ever since and is now hanging on my wall.


As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that one on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfumes of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean

An alternative translation of "Ithaka"

Constantine P. Cavafy

And I think Mother Abbess is in agreement with the sentiment of Ithaka. While on this journey you should be looking for what you want but in the end, it is the journey that matters most.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Is the definition of insomnia

watching an entire episode of The Tyra Show because of your inability to sleep?

Ugh, I went to bed 3 hours ago and can't get to sleep. I am SO tired all the time lately and trying to make a concerted effort to get some zzz's. i want to get back to running and lifting weights in the morning but as is I am having a tough time dragging myself out of bed to get into work at a decent hour.

This is way too early for my winter hibernation routine!

Long run tomorrow, i am actually kind of sickly looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are you Palin my leg?

Ok, I had no intention of letting this become a political blog because...well that would take WAY too much research and factual information rather than me just blabbering about running/biking/swimming BUT this has been killing me and, since this is mainly for my own edification, I wanted to relate my general feelings about this VP pick. and I am going to use a triathlon analogy.

People out there train years for Ironman. It seems like most of those people take it upon themselves to learn everything there is to know about the sport. They train each discipline and seek out the expert advice. They spend countless time and money. The investment is HUGE and none of it guarantees success but it gives them credentials before they even set up their transition. I personally am in awe when someone tells me they are TRAINING for IM.

And I imagine I would be slightly disturbed by a person who has NO IDEA what a huge task it is strolling up to the starting line on a Huffy with P.F. flyers and water wings. At first it would be almost humorous and slightly pitiful. And then it would be frustrating and slightly insulting.


Ok, analogies are hard so I am going to be more direct. On my 3rd grade report card my teacher wrote "stands up for her gender whenever she sees fit" so I have been a slight F-word as long as I can remember. I have always been proud of those who broke the glass ceiling from Lucretia Mott to Nancy Pelosi. I have always been in awe/enraged that women have begun to take it all on. and I KNEW one day that would mean President of the US.

But I am not proud of this pick. It feels like an absolute insult. Her credentials are paper thin and choosing her said that the main concern was pandering to their base whilst trying to appear progressive. As much as I looked forward to the day when a woman was in a Federal executive office there were lists of people more qualified, both male and female.

Clarence Thomas was no Thurgood Marshall but at least he wasn't the first.

And if anyone has shown up to an IM as described above and was successful, then great! At least that is proof that what looks to be an unmitigated disaster can turn out OK.

Si se puede!

I did it! 2 great examples of how I can still train and live my life!

Last Thur I had a flurry of activities to see to, not the least of which was making it to a group ride. But this meant getting into work early, leaving early to make an appointment across the lake and back by 6. I made it! AND I was on time to pick up my friend for her going away dinner afterwards! I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted that day (work, personal, training, friendships). Sometimes while I was training with TNT I fretted about the fact that it had become all consuming and I couldn't sustain that type of focus without sacrificing other areas of life. So I was stoked to have it all come together, even if just once in awhile.

Fri I had a pretty good 13 MILER. 13 miles. A Half-Marathon. The distance I haven't run since I slogged my way across the finish line in Tucson 11/30/07 (OK, truthfully it was between 12 and 13 because I lost my Nike+ adapter for my ipod so I went by time and my approximate knowledge of the trail). But, dammit, I ran that distance on a Fri afternoon after a long day of work! I have decided I am starting to feel bad at 7-8mi which means I need to take some fuel around 6 miles or so. I hadn't planned well for this run and had forgotten to get my new running fave, sports beans, so I picked up some (4mini) yogurt covered pretzels, thinking that would be a nice carb/salt/pleasure mixture for me. And it was good, gave me the energy I needed to finish. I felt pretty loopy the rest of the night though.

The one thing I have let slide during this transition to triathlete is my volunteer work. Specifically I haven't been as involved as I would have like this campaign season. Typically I pour my entire weekend and some weekday evenings into these efforts but now I have a conflict of interest. But I said to myself, "Self, you must make time for ALL of the things that are important to you, and this (the upcoming election) is one." So despite the fact that on Tue I try to do a run/spin class combo, instead last night I did a run/data entry combo. And it was good.

This is not to mention the fact that I got to spend the weekend at my baby nephew's 2nd b-day and my Mom spent the night at my house. I ate like crap, hung out with some of my very favorite people, got in some pretty good workouts and did some of my civic duty. It was a good week last week.

When I am not feeling so upbeat I will discuss that I am CONSTANTLY EXHAUSTED and I have turned consumer crazy with my desire for all sorts of cool gear and my new car got dinged pretty bad.