Monday, December 31, 2007

Free Rice Makes My Day

I just came across a new website that I LOVE. I mean really love. It is you play a game testing your vocabulary and when you get words right you earn rice for 3rd world countries. I'm such a skeptic. I seems too good to be true. I had to check Snopes to make sure it was real. But it is. The rice is paid for by the advertisers at the bottom of your screen, which strangely enough keep catching my attention as I'm trying to figure out words that I've never seen before.
I think what I like best about this site is that I can totally indulge in a computer game and yet not feel too guilty. After all I'm learning vocabulary and helping feed the poor. What more could you ask for? Now go try it. Just don't blame me if you get addicted!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I hope that your holiday is filled with peace, joy and giving. And I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.
If it is not -- go for a run, I'm sure you'll feel better when you get back! Your problems may still be the same, but at least you'll have a new perspective on things. Hmmm, I think I may go take my own advice.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Running for Real

I was so happy to run into Annnnn and Kate on Monument Avenue after my 90 minute bike at Maramarc. They were running the same distance I was, 6 miles, only they were 3 miles into the run.
I didn't think twice about running across the street to meet them. I'd only run one mile and I was already tired of the same Monument Avenue scenery. But, probably I should have thought twice, because they were running it all. Maybe slow, but running it ALL. I always run and then walk and then run and then...well you know.
Anyway, I managed to stay with them most of the time, until they sprinted the last few blocks back to Starbucks. After a big glass of water I continued my run alone and lonely. But, I had run with them for basically 30 minutes. That is really good news for me. Since I didn't know I all I need is someone to help me run like that 3 times a week.

I should also note that we stood up in cycling class for the first time today. I thought we weren't going to do that until January! Well, it was hard, but felt good. I miss my old Cannondale hoods to hang onto. The new aero bars are much lower and it's especially noticeable when we are standing in the sadle, but maybe something I'll get used to. The good news is that so far, I can do it.
I still remember so well, last January when I wanted to go home and cry after I couldn't do the workout we were supposed to. Well, we are not in January yet, so I may get that feeling again, but I'll work through it if I do. And, it'll make me stronger.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Light Run

Last night, I really missed my family. It was super cold and so windy that I was lucky I didn't get blown away on my way to my car after work. I had been planning on doing the Christmas Light Run with the TRIgirls, but it just felt so wrong to work all day Sunday and then to not even come home to see my family, but to go to a workout instead. I know I sound like I'm whining, but when you have a 3-year-old screaming, "Please Mama don't go to work!" it makes it hard. Redfish always confuses where I go when I leave him anyway. If I'm dressed in spandex he says "Don't go to work!" If I'm dressed in slacks and a blouse, he says, "Don't go workout!" I'm sure he's wondering why I'm always laughing at him.
Anyway, Mr. Preschool called me at work to see if I'd finally made up my mind. After hearing my predicament, super cool Mr. Preschool offered to meet us at Starbucks for the 40 minutes I had between work and the Christmas Light Run. I was slightly worried that leaving the kids again would be more heartbreak then the joy of getting to see them for few minutes but Mr. Preschool had prepared them and made them promise not to cry when I left.
I'd been wanting to go on this run since last year, when I kept hearing how fun it was. Actually, I think the main thing that folks talked about after the run last year was the Glogg that TRIgirl 40 brought. Based on its rave reviews, I figured it would make the run worth it and I was right. Between the great company on the run (Annnnn, T, Margo, Cathy) and the Glogg, I was soooo happy I went, even if we did cut the route a bit short so we didn't actually have to run through Oregon Hill. Or more importantly miss the Glogg because we were so slow.
So, in case you want to try it at home, here are the ingredients for the Glogg. It is sort of like a mulled wine with a kick.
It is red wine (Pinot Grigio)
Ground ginger
Whole Almonds
Raisins and well, maybe something else...heated on the stove until it is warm and some of the alcohol has dissipated. I'll update with the real recipe when I get it. And, you can be sure that I will be at the Xmas Light Run next year, even if I have to bring my own Glogg! The kids were fast asleep when I got home and I don't think they missed me as much as I thought they would. Tonight, I'll be gone to another workout when they go to bed -- but tomorrow, I get to stay home!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

TRIgirl Training Starts a New Blog

Grandison, Cyndi and I just started a TRIgirl Training blog. Check it out!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

imATHLETE Wants You!

A blogging buddy of mine, Jeff Matlow, (who also happens to be one of my favorite writers) just started a new website called imATHLETE. imATHLETE is a resource for athletes (especially triathletes) that will act as a sort of wikipedia of sorts, giving all sorts of information about the sport, including race reports, race listings, club listings, coaches and more.
This is where YOU come in! Jeff is looking for folks to contribute to the website. Got a race report you want to post? Photos of a race? Or do you know of an event that is not yet listed? All you do is create a login and ad the info to the site. You'll be helping other triathletes if you do and you might even learn something while you are there.
imATHLETE is still in its Beta stage. You are one of the first ones to know about it. Go ahead, make a contribution to the site, and check it out....then, pass the word along. Oh, and while you are there -- you can vote for me (and my blog)!

Teachers Ask for What They Want -- And Get It!

This is a post from my other blog, The Near West End News. I'm just repeating it hear, because, well, Mr. Preschool is a teacher, and I think it is the best idea I've heard in a long, long time....
I can’t emphasize enough how important schools are to both our community and our future. One Richmond City school teacher found out about a great online program, that was able to help her make a even bigger difference in her students’ lives. Cheryl Thompson, a teacher at Blackwell Elementary, submitted a short essay to DonorsChoose explaining that she had an idea to use a digital voice recorder to record some of the classrooms activities and send them home with the kids. It was a way to involve parents, but also a way to reach out to the non-verbal children who couldn’t communicate with their parents about what was going on in the classroom. Donorschoose matches up everyday folks like you and me with folks like teachers who have a need but not necessarily the resources to fulfill it. It makes philanthropy easy for a regular Joe, and there is a personal element to it because the donor gets to pick the recipient and the project that he wants to support.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine plans to announce this morning at Blackwell that Virginia teachers are now eligible to post their projects on the site.
“You just put your hopes and dreams out there, your visions, and somebody out there believes in you,” said Thompson, who is in her fourth year teaching early childhood special education in the city schools. “I love that idea. You don’t have to write a big, long grant.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The 2008 Triathlon Season Begins!

Yesterday, we started our winter training. I am so happy to be back, it was tough seeing how out of shape I've become in the past 2 months, but great to realize it doesn't have to stay like that.
This has been a really tough Autumn for me. It seems like one malady after another has kept me from getting back into the swing of things. Yesterday, I was still fighting a terrible cough but after taking some asthma medicine from my inhaler, I was able to continue the workout. The truth is that yesterday is the best I've felt in a long time. I slept well. My back didn't ache. I was happier and more upbeat than I've been in a while. My cough even seems to have improved, even if it almost brought me to my knees yesterday during my "run." Yes, run is in quotes because it was more like a walk, run, stagger, stagger, walk. I'd run, feel that the heavy breathing was just too much, because of all the congestion. Then walk. When I walked is when I uncontrollably started coughing...which the running seemed to help, so I'd run to stop coughing and get the idea.
It was really wonderful to see all of the "baby pink" TRIgirls moving on to be the experts. The pros that will be able to answer all sorts of questions for the next baby pinks. It was wonderful to see everyone again, but especially to be inspired by the baby pinks taking on full and half Ironmans in the coming season.
As for me, I'm focusing more on the season ahead. Trying to figure out what races will complete my season.
So far, I've committed to
The Great Cheapeake Bay Swim 4.4. Miler on June 8th
I Love the Tavern Sprint Triathlon on June 29
Sandman Triathlon on Sept. 14th
The Richmond Marathon on November 15
I'm thinking about
The Williamsburg Patriot Half on Sept. 6th (or possibly the International)
Still have to sort things out. I really want to do one half this season and one Olympic or International distance race. That Charlottesville one sounds fun but hilly and hot!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for TRIgirls. For Mr. Preschool. Of course, for my beautiful kids.
And, I am thankful we can all be together at home for a nice relaxed Thanksgiving. And, It may sound silly, but I am really thankful that we have 3 days with no going to work, no driving to school, no VCU classes, no obligations.
Just family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Drink Beer Kids, the Pilgrims Did

My daughter, who is 6, came home from school yesterday telling me that she drank apple juice, but that everyone in the class had to pretend it was beer. She assured me this was the teacher's idea. Weird. I try not to get to picky with the teachers, but we wrote her a note, just making sure that was right, that all the kids had to pretend they were drinking beer.

Yep. Apparently they were Pilgrims for Thanksgiving and all the water was "rotten" so even the children had to drink beer. BUT, fear not, her teacher said. No one was allowed to get drunk...first of all they were just pretending....and second of all, that apparently was one of the first rules the Pilgrims made, when they got to Plymouth Rock.

I am all for bringing history to life for the sake of teaching, but this seem crazy. By no means am I a teetotaler, but we've always made sure the kids know beer and coffee are "adult beverages". I'm sure many of her classmates don't even know what drunk is. I talked to Daisy about what "drunk" is, what, one time, about 6 months ago. Her version of drunk, "you know when you get in the car and drive around and the policeman catches you." Yeah, I was laughing on the floor. "Oh, yeah" she said about 2 minutes later, "because you drink too much."

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Won the Lottery!

No, not that kind of lottery! The swim lottery. See, there is this race that I've been wanting to do for years. The Great Cheasapeake Bay Swim. Yep, you swim accross the entire Cheasapeake Bay. 4.4 Miles. And, I never thought I'd actually have the balls to sign up. But, it is so hard to get into, you have to enter the lottery. So, I figured, what the Hell, I won't get in anyway, right?
I think that is how they suck you in. But, I did get in. And, I'm like, "How lucky am I? I won the lottery....this might never happen again, I guess I should do this race! I have to hurry, only 24 hours to register or they will give my spot away!"
$250 dollars later, I'm thinking "ACKKKKKKKK, What have I done?"
I don't even belong to a pool! I guess that is gonna' change.

In light of the drownings the past 2 years at Ironman Florida, yes I am scared. But, I am also the kind of person who sometimes needed a push to follow my dreams. So, here goes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ruby's Run is Sunday at the Carillon

This post already appeared on my other blog, The Near West End News, but I think it's worth repeating, so here it is again!

I’ve been trying to encourage my friends with kids to sign up for Ruby’s Run, in memory of Ruby Harvey. Ruby’s Run is a celebration or Ruby’s life, and a way to raise money for a scholarship in her name at her old preschool.
I didn’t know Ruby, but I did know her mom and dad, Kathryn and Bryan Harvey. They made a huge impression on me. They were the among the first people I knew who were parents and still managed to be “cool”. It sounds silly to say it now, but I was pretty young when I met them, and I had just married and It made a huge impression on me that they were able to be parents and still maintain their pre-kid lifestyle of having lots of friends and being really involved in the things that they were interested in. They showed me you could be a dedicated parent and that it didn’t have to interfere your own sense of self.
Like many Richmonders, I have been devastated by the Harvey family’s death. The best way to honor them, I think, is to remember all the good things about them. Remember the happier times and to celebrate their lives as best we can.
My kids will be running on Sunday, in memory of Ruby, and if you’d like to make a pledge for the Ruby Harvey Memorial Fund or if you’d like your children to participate here’s the info:
Sunday, November 18thpacket pick up is at 1 p.m.the race starts at 2 p.m.It is for ages 4-14 (ages 15 and up can volunteer)the race distance varies from 100 meters to 2 miles, depending on age.
Pledges can be made online.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ntelos 8K Race Report

Due to my back injury, I decided to walk instead of run the 8K today. I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to finish if I started having back pain, but the Prednizone seems to be keeping it away. After plenty of jokes about how I was going to be disqualified due to my steriod use, I started out. I had never walked a race before and I was surprised at how much company I had.
I enjoyed it, but it was difficult not running, it was like fighting an instinct. And all those people running around me at the start made me even more aware of it.
I was worried it would take a long time to finish, but that sad truth is that I wasn't much slower than if I ran. I came in under 1:15 averaging 15 minute miles. The last time I ran this race, it took me 59 minutes, and I ran my little heart out, I was surprised there was not more of a time difference.
I walked for a lot of the race with a guy named John from Arlington. He did the Marine Corps Marathon last year racewalking (which is I guess what we were doing). That was inspiring to hear about, because I signed up for next years marathon. And, if he can do a marathon walking and make the time cut off, then I can too.

Anyway, I will say that I had fun getting back out there today. I've missed racing and workouts and happy to see a light at the end to this injury tunnel. Cross your fingers that when I wake up tomorrow, after a long nights sleep, that my back doesn't change it's mind. Now if I can just fight off this infection.....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 Tells Me What I Already Know.....

So, I wasn't really holding out hope....but this confirms what I already knew....2008 wasn't my year. Here's the email I just got regarding my Ironman Florida registration:

Thank you for contacting

There was a technical error during your registration. Unfortunately, the Ford Ironman Florida is now full.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact the Customer Support Team at
Best Regards, Support - Amy

Bigger Challenges Lie Ahead

You gotta love your coach when she calls you at 8 a.m. the morning after she does an Ironman, to tell you that you too need to sign up for it next year. AND, you have 3 hours to decide. AND, you'll be at work during that deciding time. God, I love her. I love that she can even wake up at 8 a.m. after an Ironman, no need to sleep late! I love that she has faith in me that this overweight woman can accomplish that kind of a feat. I think what I love most is that she doesn't take this lightly -- she knows how much hard work is involved, she knows me -- and she still thinks I'm ready for the challenge.

But wait, you say. You've had years to ponder doing an Ironman. You've had plenty of time to think about this. You've even admitted that it is a dream of yours. Yea, and I decided I wasn't ready yet.
Swimming 2.4 Miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 just for fun and within a 17 hour time limit, is a dream of mine. But I figured It would be years away. I figured first I had to loose 25 pounds or so I could run faster and longer. I figured I would certainly help if Mr. Preschool didn't have class on Saturday mornings for his PhD. I figured at least my 3-year-old would have to be in school part time (we had to pull him out of preschool -- loooong story). I figured, no way in hell it would be this year.
But, when your coach calls you, and tells you that you can. ...and you secretly know you want to ...and she has that much faith in you, well all sanity and reason goes out the window.

Registration was pushed back to 1 p.m. local time. I had a few more hours to think about it. I loved the prospect of getting to train with TRIgirls that were going for it next year. And, I decided, what the hell, It's a dream of mine, I'll go for it.

I signed on the the Ironman Florida registration website, which mentioned that there would be VERY FEW spots available. I felt like a teenager on Ticketmaster trying to get tickets to the next big show. At 12:56 p.m. I sat down at my work computer, making sure there were no customers around to be helped. If anyone walked in that door, I would abandon entering the race at all. I was at work afterall! I clicked "register." The race was not open yet. At 12:57 p.m. I clicked it again and gasped an audible gasp as I got to the registration screen. Still no customers in need of help coming in. I proceeded to enter my USAT number, my address, my medical info, and my credit card number. I hit send, but had to go back a screen because in my nervousness, I'd forgotten the (804) on my phone number. Then started freaking.
What am I doing?
You see, for the past 7 weeks I've been unsuccessfully fighting an infection. Remember back in September when my nurse practitioner told me not to even race Sandman? That's the same one. I'm now on my 4th round of antibiotics. Not working out really messes with your head. I've been struggling. Then, last week, I through out my back trying to carry a kicking a screaming Redfish up the stairs to bed. OUCH! Damn. And get this, I feel like such a hypochondriac that I haven't really told anyone how much pain I'm in.
What am I doing, registering for Ironman Florida when I couldn't even walk 10 steps without pain, and I haven't worked out since September? What am I thinking?
But, I know it is a leap of faith, and after calling 2 TRIgirls, I'm convinced. I hit send! But in my hesitation, I lose my opportunity. The slots are all gone.

So, at least that has gotten me here. I WILL register for IMFL in 2009. And by then, maybe Mr. Preschool won't have class on Saturday and Redfish will be in school. And I will be well. And I will finally follow my dream. And it is oh so nice to know that there is someone besides myself who thinks I can do this.
I can do this.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Richmond Team Rocks Ironman Florida

Today, 9 of my teammates and 3 of my coaches are on one of the biggest journeys of their life. Swimming 2. 4 miles. Biking 112 miles. And capping it all off with a full marathon just for the hell of it. Today, is Ironman Florida.

These are normal people. People like you and me. Professors, network engineers, waitresses, ropes course instructors, research analysts, computer geeks and stay-at-home moms. These are average people who have chosen to accomplish something extraordinary today. And, as I write this they are winding up the 112 mile bike course. I can't tell you how much these women have inspired me. I trained with them closely for the first 6 months of their season, as we all trained for Eagleman together. This women have accomplished so much, just even getting to the starting line. They have trained for nearly a year. Sacrificing many hours at home with their loved ones so they could complete long brick workouts. Finding ways to train on the road while traveling for work. Biking and running in extreme conditions, rain, and wind and in the dark, because there just wasn't enough hours in the day, to get it all in. They have run miles and miles on some of August's hottest days and biked bundled in all their winter gear, trying to keep their toes from freezing.
Today, they started in the dark, at 7 a.m. swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, they will become Ironmen -- 8 of them for the first time. And, at midnight, some 17 hours later, the last of these warriors, who chose to take on something greater than themselves...will finish the longest day of their life.
Deanna B.,
Suzie Q,
Deanna L.,
and Blake, Congratulations
YOU are IRONMEN. You are amazing. You are representing Richmond well.
Now, go get your tattoos!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just One More Reason I Love Blogs...They Can Help Little Kids with Leukemia Not Feel as Alone

This is just a little shout out to Mr. Preschool.

Recently, one of his favorite students was diagnosed with Leukemia. When he found out that she had been playing school at home and missing her classmates terribly, he made a classroom blog. Now, the class can send her videos, photos and messages each day. And she can log on anytime she wants to look at her classmates, post messages to them and say hi. It not the same as being in a real class with them, but maybe it's the next best thing.

Considering she lives in the Projects, she is very lucky she has Internet at home. And she is very lucky she had persistent teachers and parents who didn't listen to the doctors who said her leg pain was normal. She is very lucky they caught it early and that she has such a great cancer center right here in downtown Richmond. She is also very lucky she has Mr. Preschool for her teacher. Because you can make sure she won't feel forgotten. And if he can bring the classroom to her -- he will.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Missing You

It has been one week since my last post. Jeez, I feel like I'm at confession.
I've been working my ass off at the Near West End News, well today at least. And, well, the truth is, I've been kinda sick. I'm not sure what is wrong with me. I've made reference to it before on this site, but until I get the OK from the doctors, I'm not working out. I hate not knowing what is wrong with me. I wish it would just go away.

So, I guess becuase of this, I don't have much to say in the world of triathlon, except: I miss you baby. I miss workouts. I miss TRIgirls. And all of a sudden things seem incredibly tough.
Hmmm. Couldn't all be related, could it?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Decorations

Little Redfish and I were laying in bed the other day, snuggling.
"What are those things on your tummy Mama?" he said.
"What things?" I said as I pulled down the part of my shirt that had inched its way up.
"You know," he says sticking his little fingers on my belly. "Your decorations!"
"Oh those!" I say. "Those are called stretch marks Sweetie!"

"What are those things on your arms Mama?" he says as he runs his finger on the inside of my upper arm. You know the place, right were it flaps around when you run and you pretend not to hear it. And then you say to yourself, well it's OK your arms make that sound when your running because at least you ARE running.
"Oh, honey, you mean my decorations?" I say.
"Those aren't decorations, Mama!"
You just can't win with a 3 year old!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Rest of the Story: Sandman Race Report

I should have written this before, the day I got home from the race while I was still tired from it. I have been taking the week off. I think as I mentioned before I had been sick right before the race and my nurse practitioner had asked me not to. The deal was that I would take one whole week to do nothing after the race and well, that is exactly what I have done. Nothing. No strength training Monday or Wednesday, no Sunday swim, no brick on Saturday and no run on Thursday morning. Truly I've done zilch.
So, now that I'm writing the race report, I hardly feel like a triathlete. It's funny how fast you forget all of those long workouts. Here are some photos. OK lets see if this helps me remember.
Yep, this is my favorite part of the race. Daisy was so excited to see me. Her dad had miscalculated my swim time (I was too fast) and then had gotten distracted, so she, Redfish and Mr. Preschool missed me on both my transitions. I hadn't really thought about missing her or wondered where they were, I was too busy concentrating on my race. But all of a sudden, there she was! She and Redfish were so excited to see me. And, she just started running. I held her hand and we ran together to the finish line. It was really nice to show her one of the many reasons I do triathlons. Because she was running with me, of course we got all this attention. Actually, I don't think I've ever heard a crowd cheer so hard for me. Wait, it must have been here they were cheering for. Anyway, she got to truly sense what it feels like to cross a finish line (regardless of your place). And I think, and I hope, she found that inspiring.
We talked about how the next time I volunteer at a race, she'll come help too. I think she is finally ready. And next spring, she'll do her first race (and no, I won't be running across the finish line with her then.
Actually, I've never published a photo of either of my kids. So, here is her official internet debut. I guess she's old enough for that too. Not much of a race report. Sorry. I guess I waited to long.
Photo available at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Unempty Pancakes

I was checking in on Ironmom, a blog a used to read alot, but recently I just haven't had as much time to check blogs. I guess the Near West End News, my other blog, has been taking up most of my computer time. Anyway, Robin has a great post on kids eating healthy, and I just love her pancake recipe (although I can see myself adapting it to use soymilk since that is what we usually have in the house).
She has a really good point about what we teach our kids to eat. My daughter can't stand lemonaid, Kool Aide, snow cones, icey pops and the like. She thinks they just taste wrong. My son, who sampled lemonaid at a young age is much less choosey, and will drink anything, well, maybe not soda.

Anyway, here is the recipe:
Robin's Non-Empty Pancakes
1 cup raw milk (ours is goat's)
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cup whole grain flour (sometimes I combine oat, spelt, wheat, coconut flour, whatever I have available)
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Meal
1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds
If I have time, mix everything above together and let it soak for 12 - 24 hours to ferment a little bit.
Then, the next morning, I mix in:
6 eggs
4 Tbs coconut oil or butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbs Raw Evaporated Cane Juice (Sucanat)
1 tsp sea salt
Sometimes I make them with bananas and pecans or blueberries or huckleberries in season. These also make great rollups with peanut butter and honey for a middle of the day snack. If I have the time, I'll mix up a double or triple batch and freeze a bunch so the kids can get pancakes any day of the week. It's both more nutritious and much more cost-effective than breakfast cereals.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sandman Triathlon Race Results

I love haw Kale Running actually emails your race results to you in a summary format, and just hours after the race none-the-less. It just simply rocks!
Well, I didn't blog about this race beforehand at ALL, because not only did I stay up all night with 2 kids with the stomach flu this week, but I also had it myself on Friday night. YUK! I was so tired and wiped out I didn't know if I'd make it to the race. And, on top of that, I was already fighting an infection and on antibiotics. My nurse practitioner said not to race. Wanna hear something really funny? She said she thought I was over training. He he. She obviously doesn't know what a slacker I've been recently. She had herself convinced. Anyway, It's alot to pack up the kids, drive them 2 (or more) hours each way, and stay in a strange place. When you don't feel your best. It's even scarier to do that when you've been medically advised not to.
Plus, I just can't stand it when folks start a race and don't finish and I was worried I'd do that. And I REALLY can't stand it when someone says they are going to do a race and then don't. Well we've all done that once or twice (including myself) but I still can't stand it.
I ended up having a great race. It was a beautiful (but windy) day. Perfect weather. I had a PR by almost 4 minutes over last year. And that was significant for 2 reasons. 1. My run was 2 minutes slower and 2. The race management decided to be lazy and only put out 2 buoys. One at the start and one at the finish, instead of the 5-6 they normally have. We were told we had to go around them both. Only one problem was that I didn't know that the second buoy decided to go for a swim in the Atlantic. I kept waiting for a large swell, and then I'd ride it to the top and look for the buoy. I never found it. I was told we'd be disqualified if we didn't go around them both, so I decided to go looking for it for a while. I figure I lost about 50 yards swimming on my wild goose chase before I realized that it wasn't going to happen. I had never had waves come crashing down on me like the did today. You just couldn't really get out there past the breakers. I'd see this giant shadow, and think I was close to a boat or something and then...BAM a wave would crash over me. It was the weirdest thing.
I'm getting carried away. This wasn't supposed to be a race report, just the results, with the report later. Photos and details about my fantastic favorite finish will be posted soon.
Anyway, here are my results:
I came in 5th out of 15 Athena's in the Under 40 division. I had the second fastest Athena bike split in my division as well, thanks to my new bike.

Total time: 1:54:17
Last years time was 1:57:53.80

Swim was 1,000 meters (or more) 21:17
T1 2:20
Bike 14 miles 48:09
Bike average 17.4mph
T2 2:15
Run 40:13
12:58 pace per mile

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The First Real Day of Preschool (No Mamas Allowed)

Redfish left for his first REAL day of preschool today -- No Mamas Allowed! I'm not sure why it is such a big deal, but for the first time in a long time I have the house to myself. It is a exciting feeling, but a little scary! You should have seen him, so proud as he put on his back pack!

At his school, they want the kids to feel empowered and let them do the "leaving" so drop at drop off the kids hop out of the car and walk to class on their own (with a little help from teachers). It is such a big kid thing to do ....on the first day of school!

And tomorrow he'll be 3, he's growing up so fast.

Here are some photos from this morning.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Back to School

Redfish started school today. Am I allowed to say that even though I didn't leave him? Actually, since it was the first day, we weren't supposed to leave, but still he had a great first day of school. I think he fell in love with 2 of his 3 teachers already.
"Mama, I LOVE her name!" he says to me, 2 seconds after I finally persuade him to leave the classroom by enticing him with the playground.
"Which one?" I say. "Elizabeth," he says.

After the 30 minutes of classroom time, we played on the playground for an hour and a half. He still didn't want to leave. The only way I got him out of there was to let him bring a piece of the playground with him. He finally settled on a pine tree pom pom, when I told he couldn't bring a giant tree branch stick that he had become attached to.

We'll see if he goes running out of the car when he goes back for his first real day of school on Wednesday. The teachers take them out of the car at carpool so that the kids are doing the leaving, not the parents. That will make for an awkward good bye, but I bet he'll go running into class, even on the first day. He is so ready! No one can tell he is still 2.

I think this is going to be a good school year for both the kids. Daisy has an excellent teacher, and she loves first grade. I'm going to have some free time, for the first time in 6 1/2 year. I can't wait to clean the house!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Do You Know Me?

I got TRIgirl tagged. Everyone knows I've been putting this off. I'm going to change the format a bit for my own sake, but here goes -- 26 things about me (that maybe you did, or maybe you didn't know):
1. I've held almost every job you can imagine. Some, just for the sake of wanting to know what it felt like to, say, pull a double shift on a Sunday as a dishwasher in a fancy restaurant. I worked at Fan Thrift for one day. I was a editor and reporter and photographer for Style Weekly. I even freelanced for the Times Dispatch. I even worked in a Visa call center and as a corporate concierge.
2. Favorite jobs are my current jobs: TRIgirl Team leader, Travel Councilor
3. I love that movie Say Anything. I could watch it a million times. But I still giggle every time I see this photo of John Cusack. He looks like such a geek! I also love My Own Private Idaho.
4. In general I absolutely hate movies. I get too emotionally involved. Or, it takes me two hours to realize that they aren't worth my time.
5. Survivor, on the other hand, is totally worth my time. How does that work? Also, I love The Office . I think I like TV way better than movies. TV is like eating ice cream out of the carton rather than actually having to commit to a bowl (which is movies).
6. I hate to fly. The last time I flew was 1995, I think. We were escaping a horrible honeymoon in Jamaica where the cruise ship went bankrupt while we were on it. They served us rotten food and ran the ship aground. A water main broke in the dining room. Everyone cheered when we boarded the plane in Jamaica and lifted off the ground. We were seriously lucky to get a flight back to the states considering. That is the only time I truly enjoyed a flight. 7. This also might explain why I mostly hate to travel. I hate hotels. I hate airports. I hate uncertainty. I love my own bed, in my own house.
8. I always wanted to go to Europe. Both my parents lived there for years. Maybe someday I'll go. Also, I've always wanted to go to South Africa. oh and Brazil. And Thailand. Maybe I'll have to rethink that flying thing.
9. I love food. Mostly anything that is homegrown or homemade. I hate Twinkies, Kool-Aid and especially Hi-C. I hate fake. I love real. I hate cherry Popsicles, but love cherries. You get the idea.
10. Favorite foods include: TomKha (coconut, mushroom & tofu soup) and
just about anything from Tara Thai. Also, homemade Chili Rellenos from the 17th Street Farmer's Market. And at Christmastime homemade Bourbon Cake. I think I'd rather eat it than drink it.
11. I love SPROUT Organic co-op. It has made me really appreciate fresh vegetables. Because of Sprout, we almost never eat out anymore. Last week I looked at the veggies in the grocery store and actually feel sorry for them!
12. Last week I bought black-eyed peas and me and the kids pulled them out of the shell ourselves. They were the best beans I've ever tasted. They tasted sort of like Hot Boiled Peanuts...yet another food I love.
13. I swam competitively and played soccer from when I was 5 until I was 18.
14. When I was 12 I broke my big toe kicking a goal kick. I miss-judged and kicked the ground instead. Ouch.
15. My soccer coach told me I was the end of practice he told me to ride my bike home. That was the most painful bike ride yet. Hmmmmmm, well maybe there was that one 75 mile ride not too long ago where my girlparts hurt almost just as much.
16. I was voted "Most Likely to Start a Revolution" in Senior (high school) superlatives.
17. I earned a Society of Professional Journalist merit-based scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University.
18. I had dinner with Allen Ginsberg at the 3rd Street Diner. He made a lewd comment to me about how I wanted Jim Morrison to.... wait, I cannot finish this sentence it would be obscene.
19. I auditioned for and was chosen to be in a GWAR video. Now that I was proud of! Had to miss it because I went to diner with Allen Ginsberg that night.

20. I took a really cool photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Eugene Trani (VCU's President). One of these days I'll scan it in to the computer.

19. Had dinner with Chuck D from Public Enemy. We ate at Bluepoint Seafood, it used to be in 6th Street Marketplace, next to the Carpenter Center. He was much more civilized than Allen Ginsberg.
20. I have stage dived at an Avail concert.
21. I rode a motorcycle for 10 years. Gave it up when I got pregnant with Daisy.
22. My husband proposed to me at the former East Coast gas station at Cary and Meadow in the Fan. I know you want to know more!
23. Our first date was on the train trestle down at great ship lock park. Not far from the only triple train crossing in America.

26. I have a tattoo on my head. No questions please.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tri One O One is Gone

"All Triathlon One O One events have been cancelled until further notice.

All participant entry fees and 2008 transfers will be refunded within the next two weeks. "

So sad that Tri One O One didn't Make it. I liked the distance. I liked the branding. I wished they had a race close to Richmond! I feel bad for all those people have been training for a race and may even have paid for hotels and airline tickets. Hopefully some 70.3 races and Ironman races will open some extra slots for them. We really needed a new race like this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Patriot Half Ironman Bike Test Ride

Here's a great photo of us after the Patriot Half Ironman bike test ride. One of the most beautiful courses ever -- well except for the part on Route 60 and the part where I had to walk! Dope!

I think we look mighty happy considering we just rode 56 miles!
From left to right, Back: Deanna B., Deanna L., Carmen and Jonah
Cyndi, Melissa, Anna Mac, and Kate O. in front.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Near West End News Blog

So you know I'm a triathlete. And you know I'm a mom. But did you know that I have an alter ego? I used to be a journalist. Became jaded. Way jaded. Finding my way back to writing, I started my Triathlonmom site. And, as a way to further express myself and support my community, I recently co-launched a new blog.
My old buddy John Sarvay, was broadcasting a call from John Murden (another old friend) over at the Church Hill People's News for folks to start West End neighborhood blog, and Kory Mohr and I answered the call.
Anyway, with out further adeau here it is:

Please forgive my lack of links, I'm on a strange computer and it seems to not be an option!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Purple Martins

The Purple Martins were amazing! I only wish we could have stayed until they were swarming at their peak. The severe thunder storm came through just as they were starting to really collect in numbers.
At 7 p.m. when we got to the 17th Street Farmer's Market, we thought it was a bust. No birds anywhere. Then, suddenly out of nowhere they started to appear. Redfish, kept saying "several"...which I thought was a pretty good word for him considering he's 2, but it hardly described the number of birds there were. Thousands. And more frantically coming to get in the trees right by the Farmer's Market parking lot. The storm was coming and I'm not sure what protection the trees offered them from the 75 mph winds.
That was the meanest, longest, loudest thunderstorm I have ever seen. It lasted from 7:45 p.m. in the Bottom to 2:45 a.m. in the West End. Needless to say I slept, if you can call it that, on the floor in Redfish's room. Mr. Preschool spent part of the night in the guest room with Daisy. Horrible night! I feel like I got hit by a truck. I think that would be the combo of strength training and not sleeping much--sleeping on the floor.
Off to a nap for me!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Birds, For Real?

Mr. Preschool loves himself some purple martins or chimney swifts, or any flocking bird that swirls and swarms. He and I have been facinated with them since we moved to Richmond. Often he paints them. And now, I hear they are back. I'll be at the 17th Street Farmers Market with the kids tonight!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Patriot Half Ironman Bike Testride on My New Bike

Today a bunch of the TRIgirls rode about 58 miles on the Patriot Half Ironman bike course. We were testing out the ride, getting a feel for things. One of the biggest things I regretted about Eagleman was that it was so far away, we never really go to do a practice ride of the course. I'm never truly able to enjoy a bike ride until I've ridden the course at least once. The first time I ride a bike course I'm incredibly distracted by the scenery, the hills and the road conditions. I'm always wondering what obstacle is next.

Anyway, I knew today would be a challenging ride. I was riding my new bike for the first time. I wasn't too excited about my first ride being a half iron distance, but I also didn't have much of a choice. The day I bought the bike, and each day since, there have been heat advisories every day...alternating with thunderstorms. So aside from taking it around the block during the 115 degree heat index, I hadn't ridden the bike much at all. New gears, new saddle, new fram, new water bottle cages, new pedal, new aerobars. So many new things to get used to!
The Patriot bike course was beautiful. It was farmland, water and beautiful rolling hills. The bike road well...with a few exceptions. The techincal things I'm not going to get into because I want to give the bike shop a chance to fix them, but I will say that I had some trouble getting used to the gearing on the bullhorn shifters.
The first half of the ride I loved. It was so beautiful and I got to draft off of a really nice guy from Final Kick and his friend from Virginia Beach. When I was drafting, it was almost like it wasn't a workout. Good thing I got my workout in -- they always dropped me on the hills!
There was one hill that just came out of nowhere. It was the steepest grade I've ever ridden on. Needless to say, I wasn't prepared in my gearing and I had to hop off the bike for a portion of the hill because I came to a dead stand still and I was pretty sure If I didn't unclip I was just going to fall over. I was still feeling pretty good after walking up the steepest part of the hill, but getting a flat sort of spoiled things for me. I got half way thru changing the tire, when the sag crew came up and offered to finish. (I let them, which was good, because my new wheels have need tubes with longer stems than I was carying.) Things certainly could have been worse! And Tgirl Carmen was so sweet to wait with me until I could get back on the road.
The practice ride was run by the Colonial Area Triclub. The were well organized but above all NICE! I certainly got my $10 worth. There were lots of super nice people we met and got to see today.
I'll post some photos tomorrow I hope.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

USA Triathlon Rankings are Up

USAT just published their preliminary rankings for 2007. I've linked to the mid-atlantic results for females 30-34 here. The rankings for all females, in mid-atlantic, regardless of age are here.

Although rankings are the farthest of my concern when I'm training or even competing in a race, I've found that it is fun to look at how I might compare from year to year ...or even (God forbid) compare myself with others, just for the fun of it. And yes....EVEN YOU are ranked. You know who you are!!! If you've done 2 races so far this year, then you are ranked nationally, regardless of how long it took you to finish as long as you are a USAT member. Isn't that cool?

Friday, August 03, 2007


Eagleman registration is open for next year. And this year Eagleman is going to be the Elite Long Course National Championship site, so word on the street is that the race will sell out even earlier than in past years. So if you are thinking about doing this race this year...sign up NOW! Before it is to late.
As for me, I am out for Eman this year. Last year was a blast, but I'm thinking of a race close to home next year. If I can do a half ironman and sleep in my own bed... then that is my kind of race. Eagleman was fun, but it also made me appreciate all of the local small hometown races. Not that I'll ever do a pool swim again, but sometimes having all the Elites there makes it more stressful and less fun, if you are just a back-of-the-packer like me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Feeling Fast

Last night when I went to bed I was sure I wasn't going to run today. I've just been feeling like taking a little vacation from training. And I finally managed to convince myself that would be ok right about now. For the past couple of nights I've been so wiped out -- asleep by 9 for no apparent reason. And then I'll keep sleeping until 6 or 6:30. It's crazy! I keep wondering what is wrong with me. Since I still lacked a reason, just figured I needed a little break.

Which is why I was completely shocked when after staying up until 10 p.m. last night, I woke up at 5 a.m. with no alarm clock. I was wide awake. No way I was getting back to sleep! "I might as well run then," I thought. And, when I got there 10 minutes early, I said, "Well I might as well get a mile in before everyone else gets here" And surprisingly, that is how I was able to run 4 miles and call it a good workout too. Yes it was hot. Yes it was hard. But still, today I didn't feel slow or like a slug. Today I felt fast. And sometimes that is all it takes to have a good workout (even if fast is only relatively speaking).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hands On Greater Richmond

I'm sure y'all have heard me talk about my fried John Sarvay's blog, Buttermilk & Molasses more than once. He's always informing me about such great stuff going on in Richmond, which is why he is one of 2 people that I nominated for Style Weekly'sTop 40 Under 40. (He's 39, so time is running out).
Today, he he posted about Hands On Greater Richmond (and its founders) and why they also should be nominated for Style's Top 40. And rightly so. I mean look at the is organization, it is so simple and yet fills such a need. It "advertises" volunteering opportunities and matches volunteers with local non-profits. What a great idea. Makes me want to get out there right now and volunteer. Well, as soon as I don't have a 2-year-old at home all the time with me.
This week they are publicizing a volunteering opportunity that I've been trying to get to for years and years. In fact, when Redfish was 9 weeks old, I went to the orientation for it. That is how badly I wanted to do it. But I realized for then, it was just to much. One day, not to far from now, I'll go down to Refugee Immigration Services and get them to assign a family that needs getting settled in their new life here in Richmond.
Clicking on a "featured refugee" just reminds me again how important it is to me to help guide a new family get settled in a new culture. So many of the families have had so many hardships that I cannot even imagine.
Yesterday, a dutch family that we befriended went back to their country after a year here in America. At the goodbye party I realized that we were one of only 2 families that they had befriended who was not in some way international. I'm not sure if this says more about us or about America. But I really hope that when my kids grown up they value cultures different from their own and continue to make friends from other countries.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh (Not Triathlon Related)

Know how when you live out of a gym bag you sometimes forget say your bra, or your shoes? Well, when you live out of a pool bag you sometimes forget stuff too. Today I forgot Redfish's underwear. I had his cute little pool cover up thing. But nothing for his bum. By the time I realized it he was already clean and dry. I couldn't put the wet suit back on him.

Sooooo since he's only 2 I figured I'd let him go naked. NAKED! Only one person asked where his pants were!

Do you know how boys are? Put him in the car seat. OK. Noone else will see him, YAY. Almost home.....

"Mama, I'm trying to tie my penis in a bow!"


"I want to tie it in a bow!!!" Redfish says again.

"You can't tie it in a bow, Redfish!" Daisy says.

"you need two penises to tie it in a bow!"

"no five!"

"no six!"

I guess you get the idea. I tried so hard not to laugh, but couldn't help myself. Those kids are funny!....and yes, I got it all on video to show at his wedding.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sprout Organic & Good Eats

i can't say enough good things about Sprout. Our family joined this organic veggie co-op at this spring and we share it with another family. We are eating so much more healthy and not going out as much because I always have something to cook and use quickly before more veggies arrive!
Plus we are trying new foods. Tonight I cooked with fennel for the first time, and came up with a great improvised recipe.

There is a waiting list for next year, but I thought I'd tell you about Sprout in case you think you might want to get on the list. We paid $525 for the whole summer May-Sept and have had plenty of veggies splitting just one share. Anyway, it works out to about $13 a week per family if you split it or $25 per share per week.

This week we got:
1 pound award winning sun gold cherry tomatoes (the best in the world)
2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes (I like the zebras)
3 lbs Hanover tomatoes
3 lbs. cucumbers all different kinds...and exotics, my favorite are the Armenian striped
3 lbs eggplant
2 lbs summer squash
2 heads Swiss chard
1 bulb fennel
2 green peppers
1 cantaloupe
1 Israeli honeydew

and there are always tomato seconds in case you are making sauce or salsa.
I guess you can tell I want to spread the word about this awesome group. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and picking up my share has become a weekly ritual I always look forward to. Daisy is learning how to pick out veggies, and she loves to divide our share for the other family when we get home, making sure everything is just exactly fair.

I posted some recipe's on the blog today. But then for diner I made this one inspired by one of the Sprout workers who says they serve a version of this at the Edible Garden in Goochland. Fennel is my new favorite vegetable!

1 cucumber, sliced (if there are large seeds or a tough skin discard them)
1 small bulb fennel, slivered vertically. discard the stalks but keep and chop the fronds
3 T sugar
3 T white wine vinegar
dash of virgin olive oil
salt and fresh groud peper to taste

Serve immediately , but also it is good the second day. It has a sort of lemony, licorice flavor.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Religion of Triathlon

Wow. Just wow.
I know a couple of you know about Iron Kahuna and the Tri-Geek Dreams bloggers alliance. But I didn't know this about the Iron Kahuna's (aka William Lobdell's) soul.

Check out this article he wrote for the LA Times. It is long but worth it.

One of my favorite songwriters, Ani Difranco, once said, "God's work isn't done by God, it's done by people."
So far I've found that to be just about right. You know I'm talking about folks like us...not folks like them. Too bad there aren't more of us.

Sometimes You Just Need A Great Workout

Thank God for beautiful days right smack dab in the middle of summer! Low humidity, cool mornings, so cool in fact that this morning on the bike, I almost wished for my jacket!
Well that was until TRIgirl Ann got my butt in gear and things heated up quite a bit trying to keep up with her.

I had a great workout today! It was about time right? I rode just under 32 miles, and was smiling the whole way home. Tomorrow I'll get up early again to do body marking at the 3Sports Richmond Tri Club Sprint, then I have to cut out early to make it to work.

Monday I turn 34!!!

Kids are fighting -- better go be a mom.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Recently, I've been feeling like not going to workouts. I'm thinking of any excuse I can! I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. When I do go to workouts, I wish I didn't because everything is just rusty. I'm not fast enough. I don't feel great when I'm done...just tired! And everything is closing in around me just in general. I can't sleep well. I'm preoccupied. Hmmm, will a new bike make me faster? New shoes? Maybe a new diet of only Sushi? Buying things seems to be a way that I could try to get myself excited. I need a new pair of bike shorts. One of those TRIKS skirts to run in. And, oh yeah, did I mention I need a new bike?

I know everyone goes through phases like this. Where they feel like they are backtracking or in a period of stagnation. I know TRIgirl 40 has written about it before. I'm in love with her theory of two steps forward and one step back. Although sometimes it feels like two steps back one step forward. I know I'm not the only one who's felt like this. Can someone tell me if the heat makes it worse? Probably.

That is why TRIgirls are so important. And also why the rest of my support system is JUST as important. I was feeling depressed on Wednesday. I had missed strength training on Monday, due to my bike fit. (And my bike fit was a big let down, because we thought the pedals on my bike were jammed or cross threaded and we couldn't get them off the bike I was testing and onto my Cannondale for the fitting). I missed my early morning ride on Tuesday again becuase of the jammed pedals. I missed strength training on Tuesday because I was busy testing out bikes at 3Sports. That alone is enough to make someone feel bad! Riding $4,500 carbon bikes we could NEVER afford. What a tease. So, Wednesday Mr. Preschool made me go for a 24 mile ride. By myself. He told me It wouldn't be easy and he was right. I was slow and kept getting slower. I was all in my head. And even the 56 cm bike that was way too big for me that I had riden on Monday night seemed way faster and better than my bike. And well, technically it was faster and better.

Wednesday night, I had planned on going to strength training but I changed my mind. By the time 6 p.m. rolls around, I'm just ready for dinner and a glass of wine. But he made me go dammit! And he told me I had to hate him for making me go too. Somehow, that always makes it easier.
I am sooooooo glad I went.

And the truth is, I didn't get diner until 8:45, because the kids weren't cooperating at bedtime when I got home, and we didn't really get to eat together because they were calling us back up there until 9:15. But still, I'm glad I went. And I'm glad he made me. And I love him for it.

Thursday it was easier to get up and run at 6 a.m. but It still wasn't easy. But at least I don't have to feel bad because I'm behind on workouts. And at least when I workout I'm always guaranteed a good night's sleep.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sweet Evil

While checking out one of my favorite blogs ....I came across another blog by a nutritionist who made a coment. Hmmm, maybe I can learn something from her blog I thought.

Yep, I learned something. Not what I expected, but I sure did learn something. That aspertame causes cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. Yuk. I hate that fake chemical sugar stuff and I won't let my kids eat it, but my husband eats it. That has me worried. And my mom had leukemia....she's eaten plenty of it. In fact, I used to be a sugar substitute junkie. Until one day, the thought of a diet soda just made me sick to the bone. Nauseous even. My body was telling me something. Thank God I listened. I think I was only 17 at the time. I'm sure I drank thousands of gallons of the stuff between 8 and 17. Some with saccharin in it too.

With some additional reading, I also found that much american chocolate has ties to buying cocoa from African plantations using child slave labor. So maybe that is one more reason not to buy chocolate! Next year we'll be giving out something else at Halloween.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Weight, Self Esteem and the Ironman Pill

You wanna' hear something cool?
I was checking up on my peeps who were doing Ironman Coeur D'Alene a few weeks ago and I came across this story on the IronmanLive web page about a guy who went from 320 pounds to Ironman in 5 years. You've heard this story before. It might have been this guy or it might have been another similar story. In fact there are more of us than you think in the triathlon world who have accomplished something like this or dream of it. But that is not the cool part. The cool part is I emailed Andy Staton and not only did he email me back, but he called. And called again until he got me on the phone in person.
The first email I sent him gave me an auto-reply telling me that he was actually in Switzerland doing an Ironman when I first wrote him. When we finally connected, he said the most amazing things to me. It's taken me a couple of weeks to fully process them.
No. 1 was about the book that he may someday write, called "Everyday I Wake Up Fat." Basically he said, even though he lives in an Ironman's body, he is still the same fat kid he always was inside. I know everyone is different, but this really floored me. Also, it was eye-opening because I wondered if I would feel the same way after I (eventually) complete my dream to do an Ironman. I think part of me wants to view the Ironman as a pill I will swallow and I'll wake up and all of a sudden I'll have this pristine self-esteem. Some people wear their Ironman tattoos as badges. And I know more than one person who in my mind I imagine them waking up every morning and the first thought in their head is, "I am an Ironman!!!! Now I'm ready to start my day -- I rock!"
I mean really, if anything can repair self esteem it would be this right? To swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, and run a freaking marathon (26.2 miles) right after. All in the same freaking day, all under time clicking away towards the 17 hour limit. It shows the ultimate in discipline. We all know you can't do that without putting in the training hours -- the deposits in the Bank of Ironman. Also, you have to dig down deep to find the strength in yourself to not only show up every day to every workout but to give it your best. And, to make it the 15 or 16 or 17 hours it takes to complete the race.
Besides, my self esteem isn't low. Some days it is high and some days well, it is isn't. Most of us have days like that, right? And most days it isn't a issue for me at all, well at least on days that I work out. But, as a kid I was teased relentlessly for being the fat kid. So, put me in the fat 8-year-old's body and get some kids yelling at me and well, it all comes flooding back. Yeah, never bully a fat kid in front of me, 'cause well I just might go off on you --and it won't be pretty. Most of you don't know this about me, but by the time I turned 15 years old I weighed 275 lbs. It is my little secret. Well not anymore I guess.
Once you have low self-esteem it takes time to gain it back. Years. ...18 years later, mine is fine due to hard work, growing up (and moving out of my parents house). Having a loving husband and kids doesn't hurt, either.
But, you never do really forget what it feels like to be in that desperate place though. Maybe that is what Andy is talking about. That feeling of trying your best (for years) and failing. Or the feeling of not having to tools to control the situation (your weight loss). That feeling of being in a society where you can be rejected so easily for one flaw. But also, the powerful feeling when you do gain control. And remembering to keep that control in check and not to overdo it. Most of us who have struggled with our weight have gone down that lane too.
After loosing 100 lbs and making it to my all time low weight of 170 lbs, I hit rock bottom and I could go no further. No matter what I tried I was stuck at 170. I think I should have been happy with that. And if I hadn't been a teenager or if I'd had some sensible guidance (like Coach G's guiding us to the Your Perfect Weight article) then I might have been OK. But I failed yet again because I couldn't come down any further. I wonder what my goal was. I don't remember. But at 5' 9 -- 170 sounds pretty good to me. In fact, my current goal would to be anything under 200, just so I could say my weight was one something instead of two-hundred and....something. Its sort of like gas prices, if you aren't paying attention, you might actually say, "hon, guess what? I only paid $1.67 for gas today, can you believe it?" But you actually mean $2.67. .....What was I talking about? Oh yeah. My weight. Well, hmmmm......let me get back on track.
The other huge piece of insight that Andy gave me was also depressing. And well, deep down inside I always knew it was the truth. He told me that even though he is and Ironman and Is as fit as hell and built, and a perfectly healthy weight now, that it is a struggle each and every single day to stay that way. It never gets easier. Fuck.
Like I said, deep down I knew it was true. So, maybe eating a bag of chips or having a huge bowl of ice cream isn't OK just because I'm training for a Half-Ironman. Yep. I already knew that. Just didn't want to admit it.
He did allow himself a lot of latitude to eat more on the longest of the Ironman training the peak 3 months before the race, but that was it.
So to all you TRIgirl bloggers out there who have been talking about being fit, keeping your weight down and meeting your goals, remember this. You are never in this struggle alone. It is a life-long struggle but you can do it! And slow & steady progress is the hardest kind of progress to make, but it is also the kind that lasts.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Skunk Road Kill & Flat Tires

I woke up yesterday to a flat tire.
Threw it in the car anyway, and threw my bike on top. I was meeting Diane at the Y for a short ride. I guess I need all the tire changing practice I can get. Damn I struggled with that tire!!! It took me almost 30 minutes to change it . Diane was sweet and waited for me.
By the time we got on the road at 7:30 though the traffic was monsterous and I had to cut the ride short to 12 miles instead of the 20 I'd planned becuase of it.
It was so HOT. So much road kill. A stinky skunk roadkill can you believe it? Got home. Unloaded the bike. Tire is flat again! I guess I do need more practice changing tires.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bike Porn

Mr. Preschool keeps emailing me bike porn. I like to keep it modest and just say I don't really think I deserve a new bike, but he's really pushing me, so what can I do???

Right now, I'm just dreaming, trying to locate the one I want (which has a modest price, compartatively) and trying to figure out if I'm a 51 (like teamate Kate thinks) or a 54 (like Mr. Preschool thinks). Sure would be nice to find that out so I could take it to the bike fitting with Jim Miller and have him adjust it properly. Still, I wouldn't want to buy the wrong size!
Still short of flying to Colorado and visiting Colorado Multisports like all the cool bloggers do, what is a poor triathlete to do? Since there is no way I can afford that, and team RaceAthlete, didn't choose to sponsor me, I guess for now, this is the best way to upgrade from a standard road bike to a tri bike with tri geometry and bar end shifters.

The specs look great to me. At least from what I can tell. But what do I know? I've never even ridden it! And if I get this beautiful bike, I'll need new shoes for sure! With my TRIgirl discount it looks like $1709 for the Cervelo Dual Dura Ace 10 Speed. I can't really afford it, but we've been selling stuff on Craiglist like crazy trying to earn the cash. It feels really good to get rid of "junk" we don't need and turn it into something I really want.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Love the Tavern Triathlon Race Photos

A beautiful day! Getting ready to get in the James River to start the Tavern race. We are standing on a floating dock and ramp.

Our wave was all women plus relay and aquabike of both genders.

The calm James River, before it is attacked by waves of swimmers. The course was 750 meters, 400 of which was against the current.

A claustrophobic and physically rough swim -- the verdict: too many of us in one wave! And what is with going on the wrong side of the buoy?

Waving and happy, getting ready to ride!

The Finish!

This photo was taken before the start of the race. Pictured are TRIgirls Megan, Me, Patty, Olivia, Mary, Sarah, Katie and Jackie. Olivia, Sarah, Katie and Margo (not pictured)were doing their first triathlon ever. They all rocked the course! Actually, none of them even looked a bit nervous! Also doing the race, but not pictured were Jill aka Zona girl, Sharon, MaryJo, Teresa, Sandee, Melissa. There were so many of us, am I missing someone?

And OMG, the TRIgirl support turnout was AMAZING! Grandison, our coach, was having a baby during the race, so the TRIgirls support team turned out in numbers!

TRIgirls representing the cheering squad and volunteering were Carmen, Anna Darby, Kay, Annnnn, both Deannas, Kathleen, Anna and Lesley, surely I'm forgetting someone! Anyway, the cheering squad was quite amazing feather boas, music, signs bubbles and all.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Love the Tavern Official Results

Here are my official results for the I Love the Tavern Sprint

13th Place out of 20 in my age group
Total Time 2:07:40
Swim time (750 meters ) 18:43

T1 2:53
Bike 18.8 miles 1:04:10 17.6 MPH

T2 1:04
5K Trail Run 40:52 13:10 mile average

I *Love* The Tavern Race Report

First of all, as noted before, in an effort to remain honest I should note that I don't *Love* The Tavern -- but I do Love the Tavern Race. Richmond has been waiting a long time for this one and it was well worth the wait. Great (but warm) swim. Super fun (and challenging) bike through beautiful countryside. And well-shaded and pretty run, some of it along the river.

Here are my unofficial results (as best as I can remember them from the split board at the race site). Official results are not yet posted.

Total Time 2:07

Swim: 750 meters -- 400 against the current, 350 with the current -- 18 minutes and some change
T1 3 minutes or so
Bike 18.89 Miles including one incredible hill -- 1:05 or so...averaging a speedy 17.8 MPH
T2 2 minutes or so....ran the wrong way out and had to go back
Run 5K (my first trail run EVER) a sucky 40 minutes -- including one wipe out. Note to self I am not a hurdler!

The day was perfect. The red sun came over the river and was BEAUTIFUL on the drive in. I didn't want to stress for this race, or wake up exceptionally early, so I cut it close, getting up at 5:03 a.m. By the time I got out of the house I was running way late -- leaving at 5:45 or so. I'd planned on arriving then! But the theme of this race was have fun....don't stress and for the most part I was able to do that, And despite arriving late (oh about 6:03) I was not by any means the last one there or even near that. Plus they never really closed the transition area so there was plenty of time.

There were so many things I loved about the race including the "I love the I Love the Tavern ringer T" and the Free Polar water bottle. The watermelon at the finish line! yeah fruit! Who would want cookies (oh kids)? The beautiful weather and race site. My TRIgirl teammates, all around and in the same wave. Everyone staring together so you know where you really stand with your competition. The exasperated "Oh Shit" sound that macho guy made when I passed him on the bike home stretch. Yeah man, a fat girl can pass you on the bike! (I'm sure he passed me on the run. 2 minutes later) They did a great job marking the very confusing trail run and the volunteers (especially Anna and that guy) rocked telling us which way to go and when to turn.

And there were some things that could be improved upon. Next year they need to have more than one wave for the women. There were just too many of us (what maybe 100 or more) put together for one wave in a pretty small river. Plus relay and Aquabike were with us too. There was way more body contact here than at Eagleman. I don't really think that was safe (especially for the not strong swimmers). I had one person actually grab my hand when I was stroking and I got kicked plenty too.

I missed the bike turn around and had to go all the way down to Page Road to turn because the turn was too tight for me, so somehow that needs to be fixed...I know I'm not the only one who had trouble here. Hmmmm maybe I was distracted by TRIgirl Kay in her pink boa!

The bike racks were too tight. If spots had been assigned or the race director had insisted that people alternate the direction that their bikes go then this problem could easily be solved. I heard from one racer that when she got back from the swim there was no longer any spot left for her bike because of careless racking.

And finally, the last thing that they can do to make this race REALLY ROCK would be to add an Athena-Clydesdale division. I know we'd have as many Athenas as age groupers....and it would draw in even more racers.
I am happy to say I had a great race. And I felt great (not drained) when I was done. Having all of those Tgirls out on the course and volunteering was awesome. I especially liked little sis Ann's cowbell sign and bubble machine. And a big kiss to Mr. Preschool! He told me he wasn't going to come bring the kids out to this race (and I told him fine, races are not the best places to keep an eye on kids -- too many fast moving bikes plus the river!) But, he did bring them, which was awesome and I got to high 5 Daisy on the run in.

It was a great race -- I think my slump is over. Oh, and I decided to do the Patriot Aquabike. I'll train for the run when I can (cause I know I need to work on my running) but right now I just want to race the rest of the summer season for fun. And running is fun on my own terms.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Love The Tavern

Well one more day and then off to another race...."I Love the Tavern." I've been talking for a couple of years now about how Richmond needed a road tri with an open water swim in the James River, so when the opportunity knocked for this new race, I knew I would answer.

I'm not at all keyed up about it. Sort of treating it as just another workout. I have to go to work right after the race. Just happy to have a race coming up to help relieve the sedentary guilt. I'm giving myself until after this race and then I have to start training in ernest again. I've decided to race the Patriot Half Iron Race afterall. I'm just too blah without training for another big race. The only question now is will I have trouble catching up after 3 weeks of basically doing nothing....and will I feel more fulfilled doing the full race or taking a more casual approach and doing Aquabike....just the things I love.

For now, I'm not signing up, just yet. I'll wait a few more days to decide on the Aquabike-full thing. I did sign up for the Ntelos 8K though...which means I'm not going to run the marathon (this year that is)...what a big relief!

Oh and by the way, I should mention that I don't "Love" the Tavern. Good marketing ploy though.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Post Race Blues

hmmmm. Well, I'm such a slacker. I've been doing baby workouts like 3 mile runs and 12 mile bikes, not even on the same day mind you and still, i feel sort of like I'm dragging the entire time.
I've read the "Post Race Blues" article two times now. Especially noting the part about how if you feel them coming on, don't start immediately training for the next big thing. But still, I can't seem to get my finger on it. Maybe I need to push through the shorter workouts and on to something truely draining to really remember what a break a measly 3 mile run is.
I'm trying to re-balance my life, like the article says. Enjoying being with my kids, sleeping late, having an unrushed diner at home.
Trying to keep it all in perspective. But now with school out, we've got two extra bodies at home. Daisy and Mr. Preschool are off for the summer. Training is done. My life is completely differnt than it was just 11 days ago. And it all happened at once. Plus, this month seems to be the month of parties, wine and eating. Every other day there is some event with lots of wine and good food.

Tomorrow I'm leading an 18 mile bike ride on a the new, I Love the Tavern bike course, hopefully that will be a start at longer workouts. The Tavern Race is in a week, that should fun and challenging because it's new. And I'm going to start strength training again next week too, on my lunch hour if I have to, becuase I can, while Mr. Preschool watches the kids.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Am I Really Saying This?

I think i've figured it out.

The reason I don't feel elated at finishing Eagleman like the rest of the TRIgirls. But wait I'm not sure. I really don't want to admit it. I just can't press it down any more or deny it.

I want to do an Ironman.

That's what I think it is. It's horrible and I don't want to say it outloud or write it even. But it is true. In my heart, in my wildest dreams, I know it is true.

"Horrible" only in the sense of terrifying. Only in the sense of I don't really want to come clean and admit to myself that this is a dream of mine....just becuase I'm not sure If I have the guts (or time) right now to persue it. And, becuase it hurts just a little bit (along with much joy that I feel) to watch my teammates pursue something that I want to do but am just not yet ready for.

Ironman J. just wrote a great post about Ironman Dreams. As I read it, I realized that he was talking about me. You never forget your first triathlon. And the reason I found such exhileration after so many races was becuase each of those times I was pushing so far outside of my comfort zone. Somehow, I'm not sure if Eagleman did that for me. And I'm not sure why. Maybe I was just too comfortable with all my teammates around. I felt in my heart, I always knew I would finish (well except for during my asthma attack). Mostly becuase I had completed the workouts to a T and had faith in my coaches and my training.
Maybe that elation didn't come because I didn't push myself hard enough to go faster or run more of the race. Or maybe, like someone suggested recently, the enormity of my accomplishment just hasn't hit me yet.
Maybe I'll never know

But there is a part of my heart that says it is because I have this dream that I've been surpressing....a dream to train for and complete an Ironman.

Now can someone remind me of what I said directly after the Half Ironman?

Was it "I want to sit down now!"
or was it "I never want to do this again!"
or was it both?

Or as Pirate recently said, "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report (Part 2) -- June 10, 2007

I just finished reading Holly's race report. This woman is so inspiring. For those of you who raced Eagleman with me you may have heard me cheering for her. You may have seen her barrel roll over the finish line (not too long after I finished). I had checked out her blog months ago, via Nancy Toby and I introduced myself to her at Eagleman. Holly is being treated for Malignant Melanoma....It is also her dream to one day complete an Ironman --which I'm sure she will.

I won't tell you any more....just go read it. It's the kind of report that will make you cry, so grab the tissue. Her story makes my journey seem insignificant...but most of it is already written.... so for the sake of not deleting it is.

Bike 56 miles.
I saw TRIgirls Melissa, Margo, and Sandee at one intersection leaving the out on the bike... and TRIgirls Shawn and Karen at the next intersection. Man do these girls rock or what? They drove 8 hours in one day with insane traffic on the way back just to cheer for us. I think Melissa got up at something like 3:30 so she could be there for our first transition....and Margo drove in all that traffic!

Me and my TRIgirls after the race.....Mwwaahhh! LOVE you guys!

Starting out on the bike....

At the very next turn, my asthma meds flew out of my back pocket onto the street! Damn.

My main concern for the bike was not getting a flat (which maybe it should have been)....but getting lost if the support crew got distracted and wasn't pointing the way. I took Coach Grandison's advice and took the first 20 minutes easy, allowing my body to adjust, just drinking. After about 20 minutes I ate something and cranked it up a notch. I'm really not sure what when wrong next but I was having extreme back pain....not sure if it was due to the pull out couch or what but I was very uncomforatble. I tried many different things to stretch it out and actually I wish that I'd pushed it on the first 20 minutes because little did I know that that was the only part of the ride that was easy. As soon as we got out to the Blackwater wildlife refuge, the winds picked up hugely. And as many folks had warned me, it was head winds the entire time -- how is that possible? My heart sank as I was passed by more and more people. (I expected this on the run, but not the bike). Even people I knew I was faster than back at home passed me at a high rate of speed. And all I could think was "what is wrong with me?"

The conclusion I came to is simple, It comes down to this: I didn't train on flats. And with my body type it made much more of a difference.

I noticed that more than anything, I was distracted by the beauty of the nature preserve and the scenery. I had trouble focusing on my race due to the sheer longness of it. It seemed to go on forever.

The texture of the ride came only in fragments. When I was being passed by someone super fast. Or when I passed road kill with the most intense smell that I just chose not to breath. By a guy who passed me going over a small bridge that seemed to be a small favorite fishing spot. A 400-some pound woman in a bikini was sunburned beyond what could possibly be healthy. And the cyclist says to me, "That woman in the bikini -- she won Eagleman last year!" You know she thought she was going fishing in the lonesome, remote Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, not fishing in front of over 2,000 extremely health concious and body concious athletes.

The the texture of me wondering what the hell that pile of little yellow sponges in the middle of the road was BAM!!!!-- "S*@#!" I just figured it out. The biggest F-ing pot hole you've ever seen in your life. No wait, two of them in a row. And all those little yellow things in the road with some GU's and some water bottles to boot are the little spill-proof plastic spongy things that fell out of the triathletes Profile Design Aero bottles. Some eagle is going to try to make a nest of those things!

I drank my Accelerade, which was in my bottle cages but mostly preferred my water because I love my Aero bottle so much and it is so easy to drink from. I picked up a water bottle at every water stop but one (and yes, I slowed down a little to grab it). Each time I squirted it directly into my aerobottle. And tossed it back to the aid station. The volunteers (especially on the bike) were really nice. I made sure that I thanked as many as I could.

All this water was making me need to pee! Yet another dilemea. Even though everyone says, don't try anything new on race day. I had a plan. I was planning to try something new (peeing while on my bike) on race day. Mr. Preschool said it was OK to pee in his/our shoes. Again, just like the race it was way more challenging than I had imagined it would be. I don't want to get too graphic here but let's just say I peed 4 times on the bike. And each time I did it, It slowed me down quite a bit. In fact, I wonder if I should have just gotten off the damn bike.

Changing my wet socks before the run!

Run 13. 1 Miles.

Back in transition, I could smell people grilling and the feel the celebration starting. But I still had a long way to go. Nancy Toby caught up with me. After trying to leave out the wrong exit and thinking I somehow lost my race number (which I didn't) I was running in circles off to a rough start again. Nancy quickly passed me looking really strong on the run.

I ran when I could, but right off the bike, it wasn't for more than a few minutes at a time. I started to feel overwhelmed for the first time at what lay ahead for me. And each time I ran, I started to have an asthma attack. After using my inhaler, I felt slightly better but not great since it takes about 15 minutes to work. I walked a few more minutes. Then came Som and Mark and Rick and Amy, all passing me at my 1.5 mile point and they were coming down to the last mile in their race. Each one cheered for me but instead of feeling happy or feeling more motivated to run, I felt this overwhelming emotion and it would trigger another attack. I was a wreck! I think I was so moved that these incredible athletes (Mark, Michael, Jeff, Rick, Amy, Blake and Som) had so much left in them to chear for me even in their homestrech. I had nothing for them. I wanted to encourage them but I couldn't. I think that's why I got so emotional. It didn't cross my mind that this senario made sense. Eagleman was a taper for them. They were supposed to have plenty left at the end. They've been training for Ironman Cor d'Alene which is next week.

Wild turkeys that we saw on the run.

I was starting to see some of the faster TRIgirls - Liz and Suzie. I can tell I was out of my "fight or flight" mode that was triggering my asthma attack because I was actully able to cheer for them. By the time I saw Suzie she had just a 5 K left. Go Suzie! And then I stared to see my other girls... Cyndi, Deanna B., Lynn, Kate, MaryJo, Anna, Carmen, Molly, Sharon, and Deanna L. Still, they started the race before me (except for Molly and Anna) and they were faster than me. You put the two together and you get a long wait for them at the finish line before I will cross. I found a group of walkers to hang with...Some very cool girls Kristen Mylotte from Baltimore and Angie Yohey from Bloomsburg, PA. I tried my best to keep up with them.

Here's my walker gang...that's Angie on my right...I was so glad when I crossed the finish line and looked back I saw that the TRIgirls were kissing and hugging on her too!

And through it all Mr. Preschool rode his bike keeping tabs on me. Mostly he'd ride from water stop to water stop, making sure I was doing OK. He is the greatest!

When it got hot, I put ice cubes in all my pockets, down my bra, in my back and in my hat. When I ran, It sounded like I was mixing drinks!

Here's a photo Melissa took of me coming down the home stretch. It's a little out of focus, but I look happy don't I?

I think I'm happy that I can see the finish!