Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Free at Last

OK...disclaimer....if you are a guy (or women) who doesn't want to read about breast feeding...stop reading now!
I'm going on 6 days now of not nursing Redfish. I know, I know, he's going on 2-and-a-half, he was getting kinda old for it. But he's my baby, and since we won't be having any more kids...I guess it was me who was holding on. I was a closet nurser, down to once a day, but just couldn't seem to give that last one up. The good news is that Redfish is now sleeping through the night consistently, something that usually happens when you take the "nuk" away.
The other good news is that I'm looking forward to my first season of training in 3 years where I'm not either pregnant or nursing. Hopefully, this will mean less of me, up top to bounce around. But not for a couple weeks. The bad news is that first, I've got to get through the "hurting" stage...with some major lactic "acid" build up. Where does that stuff go anyway?
Since we are "pescatarian" (we eat fish and veggies, but no meat) having a big tuna steak from Outback is about as close as I get to a treat meal. But for the past 3 years, i've had to avoid fish as much as possible, due to the mercury. And everytime I had half a beer, I felt so, so guilty. I'm really looking forward to having a grilled tuna steak at Outback and an entire beer for a celebration dinner. Hmmmm...maybe we need to hire a sitter an celebrate that my baby is growing up.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not With These Hands

TRIgirl has partnered with Safe Harbor this season to help women who have been affected by domestic violence. We will raise money for them, cook meals, and help out where we can. Safe Harbor is a shelter in suburban Richmond that has 8 beds for women and children who need to get out of violent domestic situations immediately. We are really excited to help in this cause because domestic violence affect one in four women in the country. In addition, it is a cause that is close to home for me since my father was both physically and verbally abusive to me, my mom and my sister. I know as a child, there aren't many things that are more disturbing than trying to understand why a parent would be violent and hateful towards you, a child or to your mother. And it is even more important is that these families will have a safe place to live while they are in danger.

In addition, TRIgirls is creating a non-violence team pledge as part of Not With These Hands pledge of non-violence.
Tomorrow, Tuedsay, at 4:30 p.m., Mar. 31st is having a "Drum & Heart" kick off celebration at the Sacred Heart Center on Southside. One of my favorite Richmond bloggers (and friend), John Sarvay also covers it on his site, Buttermilk & Molasses. The TRIgirls are still brainstorming about how we will do our group pledge, but I can assure you it will be awesome and it will be pink. Also, we'll be puting up posters around town and trying to help get the word out. So, if you have been affected by violence or you have been affected by the Harveys, take some time out to express yourself and make a pledge of non-violence. And, if you haven't, than know you are blessed....and make the pledge anyway.

San Clemente Triathletes -- Right here in Richmond

I took Redfish to his gym class today. He is totally in love with Rompy, the gym dog, from Romp & Roll. And Grandma Sudi is paying for 5 weeks of gym classes as his Christmas present, since it was an extravagance we couldn't afford.
Anyway, I see this chick across the kiddy circle area with a little girl Redfish's age. The mom looks sort of polished. Sort of preppy, but like maybe she's turned more casual since she stays home with her kid. She does have makeup on...but hmmmm. Anyway, I look down at the text on her shirt because it is a really cool retro T -- red with 3/4 sleeves and double white bands with stripes where the arms join the shirt.
The shirt says, "San Clemente Traithlon."
I'm thinking, well, she does look just a little polished, but you know...having just been to the Tri Club banquet and seeing how well we clean up. Yes, I bet she's a triathlete. Unlike myself, she is thin. Very thin. She looks healthy. ...Triathlons started in the West....California a hotbed of triathlon.
"Wow," I think to myself. USAT is right...triathlons are really, really spreading...really becoming mainstream. Last night, at the first official TRIgirls meeting of the season I saw plenty of women joining TRIgirls...women who I might not have guessed would want to be triathletes. Women of all races, all sizes, from girly girls to more Tomboy types and everything in between. "Why not?" I thought.
I was proudly wearing my TRIgirl logo fleece vest. So, after class, I asked her...."So did you do that San Clemente?"
"What?" she said looking confused.
"I said, did you do the San Clemente Triathlon? That's a really cool shirt!"
"Oh," she says "Nooooooo! This is just an Old Navy shirt I bought...Are you serious?"
"Well," I said, "I'm on an all women's triathlon team and I just thought that maybe you were a triathlete. Have you ever wanted to do one? We are starting our season February 15th, are you interested?"
Man, you should have seen the look on her face!
"No, I HATE running," she says. "I HATE it....And I can't swim!"
No convincing her there.
I mean, can you imagine? Why would you wear a shirt like that? Talk about not wearing Ironman M-dot logo before you do an Ironman. Old Navy is getting a whole crop of ignorant people to wear super-cool race tees. I should have race tee i've ever gotten has ever been that cool. (Now maybe that is something to shoot for -- a girly race tee.)
So, I Googled "San Clemente Triathlon" and find out that there is actually at San Clemente race, called the San Clemente Challenge but it is just a cycling event. And actually, the shirt is WAY cooler than her shirt. It is a technical bike jersey and it's free-- here's the photo. Next time I'm out in California, I'll be doing this race.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hunter Kemper

So, i just got back from the Hunter Kemper clinic. Hmmm.... what did i learn.....

I learned -- absolutely-- do not teach good sportsmanship to a 6-year-old by giving all the kids at a running clinic a Power Bar but one....Unfortunately for me, that one was Daisy.

I was thinking, lets inspire the girl. Not, let's quiz her on how great an athlete Hunter Kemper is and when she doesn't anwer fast enough or is too shy...let's see how she handles being the odd man out.

I was thinking, let's see if we can get her interested in triathlons like her mom. Sure, she's never done an triathlon, and yes I had to teach her what a transition was before we went to the transition/running clinic. It's not everyday that the number one ranked triathlete in the Universe comes to Richmond to give a clinic -- that she can go to for free.

I try to inspire her from day-to-day by setting an example. I want her to want to be fit and work out -- to see that it is an essential part a happy life. But there is only so much I can do, the rest has to come from her. ... And I was hoping maybe from a little added Olympic inspiration. When I was about 8, I was greatly inspired by hearing an Olympic swimmer speak to our team about swimming. I was hoping Hunter Kemper could do the same for Daisy. Most Olympians have something about them that is magic. True Olympic spirit, I guess is what it's called......experience and a perspective on life caused by a discipline for training and love for a sport that is almost Divine. Or an unyeilding spririt caused by years of trying and failing and still trying until they become one of the best in the world. A spirit that is contagious. I was hoping Hunter would have it. He didn't. Or if he did, his mistake obscured it for me and Daisy.

I'm not sure Daisy learned much from her lesson in being a good sport. I'm not sure if it was right, but her dad and I immediately said we would go buy her a Power Bar at the store.

Daisy missed being in the photo of all the kids in the clinic with Hunter. She was too busy crying her eyes out. After a minor recovery, she barely stood by as I asked Hunter to autograph a poster for her to console her. She wouldn't even look at him when he talked to her. I put her in the car with dad and Redfish and sent them home. I went back inside to attend the adult clinic. When I left her she was still crying....and I was embarrassed that something so small could upset her so much. But, we all know it wasn't about the Power Bar, it was about being singled out for not getting a reward -- the same as everyone else.

I tried to enjoy the adult running clinic, but really I couldn't.... I kept stewing about having to leave Daisy still crying. And about how this isn't the lesson I wanted her to learn from an Olympic star. My image of the Olympic hero had burst. All of a sudden Hunter was just a real person who makes mistakes like everyone else.

I thought surely Hunter doesn't know better, surely he doesn't have kids, or much experience with them. If he had kids of his own, he'd know you don't do that. If he'd given her something, anything, a water bottle, the shirt off his back, he still would be a hero to her. I found out at the Tri Club banquet later that night that Hunter is a dad. He's been one for 24 days. What a world of learning he has coming his way. I hope that his learning curve is not as hard as mine has been.

When I saw Mr. Preschool, after getting home from the adult's running clinic, I was still upset over what had happened. Since I didn't get to see Daisy's recovery, I guess I assumed she still hadn't gotten over it. Mr. Preschool informed me that I got it all wrong. Daisy had a great time at the clinic he assured me. WHAT? ...
"She didn't go to the clinic to see Hunter Kemper....she went because she wanted to be with you....she had a great time because you were there together. And she was learning about something that's important to you."
And sure enough, when I asked her about it, she said, yeah it stank that Hunter gave all the kids but her Power Bars, and Yeah it stank that he said he was going to ask her a question and then called on someone else and gave the last bar away......but that she had a good time anyway, because she did it with me.
Maybe she's not such a bad sport afterall.

....And, I did learn a few things from Hunter:

1. Come prepared
2. Run on the balls of your feet with a high cadence to be faster.
3. I don't enjoy running barefoot on a wet baseball field that has been freshly aerated...(try telling my toes those squishy brown logs of mud weren't poop)
4. Have the cajones to make your limiter your specialty. This is the most impressive thing I can take from Hunter. Running was his weakness, so he decided to run (and just run) all through college. By the time they added triathlon to the Olympics for the first time in 2000, his weakness had become his strength.
5. If you are speaking 3 times in one community, don't tell the same stories at each an every speech.
6. Don't quiz kids on what a great athlete you are....there must be some better way to inspire them.

Friday, January 26, 2007

USA Triathlon Rankings

I guess it is sort of silly...but everyone likes to know how they measure up right? USA Triathlon just came out with their unofficial 2006 rankings. They took the best times for your top 2 races and averaged them. I've read that the rankings are one of USAT's most popular it really must be true...even those triathletes like me, who aren't really competative still are competative, at least with themselves.

So, if you are at USAT member, go have fun and play with the numbers. It is really nice to see how you improve from year to year and from race to race. And it is really nice to have all of your races right there ranked together.

Here are my results:
Rank is 1726 out of 2023 athletes who were ranked nationally

54.9435 Points
60.4379 Gender grading (ranged from a low of 37 to a high of 97)

The first 2 races were used for my ranking.
3 Sports Triathlon
1:27:40 time
54.2798 points
59.7078 gender
Sandman Triathlon
1:57:53.80 time
55.6072 points
61.1680 gender
Iron Girl Columbia Women's Triathlon
2:24:41 time
53.1683 points
58.4852 gender
Power Sprint Triathlon
1:29:10 time
52.8321 points
58.1153 gender

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Patriot's Half and Lady Patriot -- Take II

Those TRIgirls don't let anything slide by them. They pointed out on the TRIgirl forum absurdity of this statement from the Patriot's Half Iron website:
"Also, be sure to tell all the ladies in your life about the Lady Patriot all women's event on Sunday (500 meter swim-10 mile bike-2 mile run)."
Like the the Half Iron is for the men, and the ladies -- the dates --get a dainty little race. Now, I've done an all women's race, IronGirl, and it was great. A women's race doesn't have to be like that. It can be an empowering place where women don't have to feel the intimidation of men. It can be a place where women bond and show support. It can be a great thing. But obviously the director of this race (or whoever wrote that text) is a man...and a chauvinist one at that.
Maybe I should introduce him to some of these strong, independent TRIgirl women. You know....a real woman.
So, I say do the half...just to show them....And while we are at it, let's make it more women then men on that Half Iron course!
Here is the crafty thing that TRIgirl Cyndi had to say:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:40 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

By Ladies I think they meant

Ironwilled women
Enjoying the

Let's see how long they keep that language up.....

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Accidental Photo

This is a photo I took by accident, the other night. I was carrying the camera and accidentally pressed the shutter. I was about to delete it, when I realized that I couldn't. It was just too good. This is a photo of me and my sister with the only grandparents I ever knew. "Grandmother" was a very formal woman who loved to drink Scotch --only the best-- you know, the stuff that's been aged for 20 years, Glenfitich, I think. And for a long time, I thought the Scotch was a kind of perfume because I associated the smell with her. She was widowed unexpectedly shortly after this photo was taken -- in 1976. In fact, this is the only photo I have with me and my grandfather. And also one of the only memories I have of him.
My grandfather his holding his beloved dauchtsund, "Gretchen." He wanted to be buried with that dog-- and he was...only she lasted about 10 years longer than he did.
As I said, Jane was very formal. She insisted we only call her "Grandmother" -- never Gram or Grandma or Nana. She was very hard-headed and proud...traits I seem to have inherited. Only once did I try to tell her to not drink and drive and ...'um maybe could she wear her seat belt. And for years after that I learned not to say much of anything to her.
She was very into fairness. Each grandchild had to have the same. A cruise with just her at age 13. And the gift of a watch at 16 (that must cost exactly $100). All other gifts were in the form of cash. She was generous with her money, but gifts were never ones she selected. I guess being the last of 13 grandchildren that was just too much by the time I came along.
But, when Daisy was about 2, I realized that our relationship didn't have to be like that. And since I had my own kids now, I had another chance with her. Daisy and I made her cards all the time. We made art and mailed it to her. I told Daisy to start calling her Grandma Jane (whether she liked it or not, I don't know, but she let it slide if she didn't). I took tons of photos and mailed them to her. Any excuse I got and more, I called her. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, her birthday. And, I let Daisy talk to her on the phone. I figured Grandma Jane didn't have anything better she needed to be doing. She was probably lonely and what ever mail or calls she got would be appreciated. And when I was pregnant a second time, I told her if I had a girl, I'd name it Jane after her. But, I didn't have a girl. When Redfish was born, I remember being so happy that she'd get to see him, even in just a photo. Seem like my kindness rubbed off on her. She softened up a bit. And When she died I certainly felt closer to her than I'd ever felt to her before.
Jane was a widow for almost 30 years. She had several serious boyfriends over the years, but she outlasted them all. My grandfather was John. He died of a heart attack. Harold died of lung cancer. Then my grandmother stopped smoking. She dated Don for years. They won dance competitions together. He lived downstairs from her....footsteps away in the same building...but they never moved in together. I don't remember how he died, but things were never the same after he crashed his huge blue Cadillac. I'd say Jane found true love at least 3 times, what a woman to have such luck. On March 1st it will be 2 years since she died.
I still have her voice on a message on my answering machine. The whole last year she was around she left these great messages and I couldn't bring myself to delete any of them. She even sang Happy Birthday to Daisy.
In the background of this photo is my mom's Girl Scout handbook from when she was about 8 years old. And some of my favorite pictures of our family from the day Redfish was born. You can see Daisy in the back dancing around the hospital room. In the photo above that she is touching him for the first time...with such a delicate hand. Like she fully comprehends the miracle of life that just occurred.
And off to the right is a Thai canister that our good friend Rit brought to us from Thailand. Our Thai friend, Soo, explained that being given such a vessel is such a huge honor. It is inlaid with gold and it porcelain, very breakable with 3 pieces -- a base, a bowl and a lid.
This is a still life of our life...something worth recording...not an accident.

Patriot's Half

I'm so excited that there is a new triathlon this year within an hour's drive of my house. The Patriot's Half and Lady's Patriot triathlons will include open water swims in the James River, right near Jamestown, the birthplace of this nation.
I guess the bigger question is, will I want to sign up for another half iron distance race. Let's hope the anwer is yes. But, I think it's worth the $25 price increast to wait until after my first attempt to see if I want to sign up for another one this year. And if I didn't have the Sandman a week later, surely I'd sign up for the Patriot's Lady if not the half.
I'm so happy there are more and more races to choose from. There is nothing like racing in the open water....and still sleeping in your own bed the night before the race.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A TRIgirl at Heart...Through and Through....

Coach G had this great idea for TRIgirls this season. Each of us who have been around for a little while, gets to have a "Little Sister"...who is new to the sport. It works out great on both sides....Big Sisters get to feel important and needed....Little Sisters get the extra attention that they need, plus a Big Sis they can ask any sort of question to that they might otherwise be intimidated to ask.
So, last night I got to meet my new Little Sister, Ann. I told her I could meet her after bike class, and she had the great idea to come and check it out -- you know, poke her head in while we were still riding and see what it was all about. Well, I thought this was a great idea...until she arrived 20 minutes before the class was over and I realized i had to set a good example for an entire 20 I was being watched by my Little Sis. I thought I was going to be the one to inspire her first...but NOOOOO! There is no inspiration like that ... having to set a good example during the most intense part of the workout. Didn't make for much of an introduction, but a managed a slightly grimaced smile and a quick nod as we continued UP, UP, UP the hill.
And, what a workout it was. (Actually, I'm surprised it didn't scare her away). Coach M is great. He led us up the hill, and just when we thought we were at the top, he found that the road turned and went up, up, up some more...just like a real ride. In fact, it was vaguely reminiscent of Richmond Sprint Triathlon's Winterpock Hill that ascends for about 2 miles. Coach M took us to where we thought we were maxed out, and then took us just a wee bit farther. It was a small group of TRIgirls who rode last night, maybe 11 of us...but I was really impressed...we all hung tight with him, riding even in the most difficult gear for several intervals -- standing. No one let the hill get the best of them....not one of us gave up...although I'm sure it crossed several people's minds.
Ann and I went to Starbuck's after the workout to chat...seems like a good match, we have lots in common. And, if a workout like that didn't scare her, but encouraged her to join our cycling class early (which I think it did)...then she is definitely a TRIgirl at heart...through and through.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Rocks.
I read Daisyhead Maisy Martin's Big Words for her bedtime story. I'm such a softy. Everytime I read that book or listen to one of his speeches, I just get teary. The illustrations are SO beautiful. Daisy really liked the book and, of course has lots of questions. I think she is just the right age to start understanding the sacrifice he gave. And to start understanding the history of what happed with slavery in the country.
Grandison posted some great quotes up on the TRIgirls message board too remind us of his moving words.
"If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, quality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Also, John Sarvay's Buttermilk & Molasses had a great blog entry on how MLK was ahead of his time and his declaration against the Vietnam War would similarly apply about Iraq.

What MLK day also meant, was that we had the day off and I got to run in the morning and ride at night. I don't think I've done a workout like that, that wasn't a Saturday BRICK in a long time. Luckly Coach E didn't make us stand in the saddle forever. (hmmm...wonder if he's been reading my blog?) Because the standing was limited to about 4, 10 second intervals, I would rate it as a moderate workout....despite the fact that we rode in the big chain ring almost all night and rode in zones 7, 8, 9, and 10.

I was hurting this morning...but I think that was mostly due to the double workout of going hard for 3 plus miles in the morning and going hard at night too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Workout, Another Night

Well.....a change in perspective...and a change in coaches and I did it. I made it through cycling class last night actually standing when we were told to stand and pedal on our bikes. Coach M said not to tell you but...shhhh I'm sure you'll keep it a secret. He went sort of easy on us.
Hmmm. Maybe he saw how much I was struggling through Ed's class? Basically, we did a ride simulation with lots of rolling hills, one big hill and one very, very big hill. So, because we weren't "grinding it out" the whole time, we were able to save some for the hills.
Still, we did get a good work out. And I KNOW I got my heart rate up there, because I felt it, but it was a much more resonable workout. More of a transition from what we had been doing to what we will be doing. I'd say we still stood about 8 times. And I'd say that some of them were for 30 second intervals....but not all of them. Also, my form wasn't great, I know that -- too much weight on my arms and the handlebars. And my rpms dropped way down when I stood....BUT still, I did it! Seems like Coach M knew exactly what I needed, just a little reinforcement to say you CAN do this. And a little backing off to make it more attainable -- for now, that is.
Still, I came home with wet hair, but not the wettest. (Mr. Preschool says he can always judge my mood and my workout by how wet my hair is).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When You Can't

It's been really hard this week at training. For the first time, at a TRIgirls workout, I feel like I've been challenged with something I can't do.
For me this is a huge struggle because I feel like as a team leader I'm supposed to set an example. So, when Coach E. has us up out of our seats on the bike/trainer pedaling standing up for what I think are 30 second intervals, times 6-8 times and I'm done after 3 times, I'm faced with something new. Being in over my head.
I had a feeling I'd get here, just didn't think it would be only one month into the training. I know, I know, it takes practice and with practice I'll improve. I'm commited to that. But for the here and now, we have to deal with my feelings. ...Of trying, but not succeeding.

And for me, it is difficult to be told to do want to do it...and have my body just say "No WAY!"
When it first happened on Saturday morning, I thought, "OK, body, you were having the worst migraine of your life about 12 hours ago...I'll let it're still dehydrated." But, it happened again on Monday, and I'm sure it will happen again tonight. I can do the speed intervals, 90 rpms, the 100 rpms, even getting up to 110 rpms. I can grind it out at level 8, level 9 and even level 10. But, ask me to stand in the saddle and I'm just not able to maintain that position for more than say 15 seconds. And not for more than a few times in a row. I know it has alot to do with the excess weight I carry. And getting to this point where I have to make some choices is something I've been expecting. Even anticipating. One of the reasons I signed up for Eagleman is because I knew I could never make it through the training without making a some changes for the better....dropping a few pounds...working out harder and longer....building inner strength.

Thanks to Mr. Preschool for setting things straight. He reminded me this morning over breakfast that my "performance" was not the reason I was chosen to be a TRIgirl team leader. (In fact, now that I think about it, it's sort of vain (not to mention absurd) to think that was the reason I was chosen). The reason I was chosen as a team leader was because of my personality, my leadership, my soul. And so for me, all it takes is remembering..... I was not chosen as a team leader because I perform well but because of how I perform when I am faced with adversity. Now, if I can just remember that tonight, when Coach E says, "OK, Up outta' your seats guys!"

Monday, January 08, 2007

Richmond Triathlon Club

A fellow TRIgirl nominated me to the Richmond Triathlon Club board of directors. Hmmmmm. This could be fun.
Here is my "platform"....looks like I'm up against some stiff competition...13 candidates for 7 spots.

Triathlons changed my life. But, I'm guessing most triathletes can say the same thing. There is something about swimming, biking and running that changes you. Maybe it's the discipline it takes to train for a race months in advance, in good weather and in bad. Maybe it is the camaraderie you find with others in your sport. Or maybe it is the inspiration you gain from watching someone who is more challenged than you find the strength to do what they thought they couldn't.
If I'm elected to the board of directors, it will be my goal to uphold the Richmond Triathlon Club's mission of helping more people becoming triathletes. And as more athletes come to the sport, I will try to find ways for Richmond to host more races of the highest caliber.
I've been racing since 2002 and a Richmond Tri Club member since 2004. I have been a TRIgirls (and its predecessor Triathlonmoms) Teamleader since 2002. As a Trigirl Teamleader, I mentor new triathletes, raise funds for TRIgirl's "adopted" non-profits, organize TRIgirl social events, and lead cycling rides. Currently, I am training with TRIgirls for Eagleman 1/2 Ironman in June. Also, I have a triathlon blog http://triathlonmom.blogspot .com

Story Corps on NPR

A friend sent this invitation to tell America's story to me . What a great idea! I hope I can make it. I'm thinking maybe DaisyHead Maisy would like to tell her story.....

What does your community sound like? StoryCorps, a national oral history
project, dedicated to preserving America's story in sound, is coming to
the Richmond area, and we want YOU to be involved. Help us to spread the

88.9 WCVE/89.1 WCNV is bringing a StoryCorps mobile recording booth to
Richmond. This event will create an opportunity for Virginians to
contribute their voices to the largest oral history project in the history
of the United States.

We're inviting you to an informational meeting because we want your voice
to be included in this historical record. Please come to one of our
meetings to learn how to include your voice and the voices of your
community in this record. A StoryCorps representative will be speaking and
answering your questions on Tuesday, January 9 at 7 pm and Wednesday,
January 10 at 11 am at our studios at 23 Sesame Street in Richmond.

We need your help spreading the word to the people of central Virginia and
the Northern Neck. We want to hear everyone's story, from the barber down
the street to your great-grandfather's best friend. Please feel free to
forward this invitation to others you feel would benefit from this
meeting. This is your chance to make history.

Please confirm your attendance and the meeting time you prefer by emailing
us at

For directions to our station, please go to
For more information on StoryCorps, please go to