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.