Friday, April 27, 2012

random friday facts

1. All the clothes in my closet face the same way.  To the right.

2. I think my heel-striking problems stem from a very long and successful marching band career.  I learned how to roll-step in the 6th grade.

3. I never call out sick (when I have a job, that is).

4. Two of the windows in my house are missing screens.

5. I'd like to be famous so that stores would close down for me to shop.  Can you imagine how brilliant Costco would be?

6. When I learned to type, I put two spaces after a period, and probably will for the rest of my life.

7. The thing that I will buy to celebrate my next-first paycheck will be a new dishwasher.

8. I take my tea with one scoop of sugar, no milk.

9. The number of random facts for today will be determined by the time Beth knocks on my door.

10. Learning how to mute people on twitter had a very serious positive impact on my life.

11. I probably shouldn't keep teaching people how to do it, because I strongly suspect I am being muted.

12. The number of times I have peed outside this week mid-workout is approaching triple digits.

13. When people yell or scream, especially in anger, it actually hurts, in my chest.

14. I'm still looking for an outdoor pool that is open year-round.  I would swim every day.

15. I bit my nails in college.  Now I am annoyed by how fast they grow.

16. I am back in my Newtons.

17. I'm a Mac person.  I don't mind PCs but I hope I never have to go back.

18. She's here.  Puppy barking explosion.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

three things thursday afternoon

1. This actually happened a while ago, but we shaved 66% of our puppies.  They are thrilled.
We didn't shave Sofie because she blew her under-coat and if we shaved her top coat she would essentially look like we turned her inside-out.  I think she appreciates that.

2. I'm starting to remember how to run hard, but I still can't get my HR up and I still don't like it.  I ran off the bike this morning at an average pace that (barely) started with a 7.  I can't remember the last time I ran that far at a pace that started with a 7, but it was rude.  RUDE.

3. I don't have anything else of remotely any value to say, so here's a picture of my ass (I may have just summed of blogging in its entirety).
Yes, I ate peeps on the bike in a sprint.  My aero bottle was splashing because of how full it was so I actually ate peeps doused in EFS + PreRace.  Delicious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I just don't feel like I have a lot to say right now.

Part of it, I'm sure, is that I'm in the last little push before I taper into my 70.3, and I'm feeling a little flattened.  I'm still reading the Mr. MAF book, and I can see that my body is following the process of HR training the way he lays it out.  At first, it's difficult to keep the HR down on the run.  When I started with Sonja last December, I had to chug along at a pretty meager pace and walk up even the slightest incline to keep it low.  I'm not sure when the switch happened, but now I'm firmly on the other side.  It is almost impossible for me to get my HR up.  It started out on the bike but has now trickled over to the run.  I think this means I have fitness now where there was very little before, but I'm not exactly sure.  The only thing that I enjoy about it is that my miles are starting with smaller numbers again, and "enjoy" is probably a strong word.  I'm pretty sure that I've finally figured out how to detach.  I don't feel a lot of triumph when I see an 8:30 mile flash by on the watch in a training run, and I don't feel all that crabby when an 11:20 goes by.  It just doesn't matter.

It's still early, but there's already a lot of chatter going on about ironman.  It's all noise, coming at me from lots of different angles.  I'm going to hopefully only say this once, but I absolutely do mean it.  I am not making time goals for ironman.  I'm spending some effort, even now, to try not to calculate what my training sessions will equal on race day.  Part of that is because I don't want to have even an ounce of disappointment at the finish line.  Part of that is because I've never raced this distance before.  And part of that is because I understand, perhaps better than some, that anything can happen on race day.  I could throw up in the water or get a bloody nose, I could flat the only way I know how: both tires at once.  I could have ridiculous nutrition problems.  So I'm not sitting around calculating my TT times into best- and worst-case scenarios.  I do know this: I'm not going to win the race.  I know that so many people going into ironman saying, "I just want to finish!" but most of them are dirty liars and have time windows and goals and secret sub-this-hour-or-that-hour finishing times in their head.  I don't want to play.  It just doesn't matter.

I did have an idea in my head last week about writing a post about recovery, and how what I do now with my coach is so different than what I did last summer when I was making up my own life.  I still might write it.  I realize now that all I was doing was hammering over and over and over, especially on the bike.  Now that I've got actual recovery rides and runs and swims in my schedule I realize how trashed I felt all the time.  I still feel tired after a few hard days in a row but it's not like last year when I had sore quads for 4 months straight.  I couldn't stand to finish a ride and have my average mph be in the 15s.  Now I don't even look at my data from recovery rides and runs most of the time.  I show HR while I'm out there to make sure I stay in the recovery zone, and then I get home, upload it, and move on.  The numbers on a recovery day don't matter.

And part of it, I'm sure, is the stress that is coming from looking for a new job, from not having one right now.  I feel a bit at loose ends.  I'm not really sure how to fill up my days, and the past day or two in particular I've just been feeling blue.  It's been hard to get out of bed - because if I don't have to work, why bother getting up early to get my run in?  I've spent lots of time applying to jobs and going through my email, and I should probably be spending a lot of time being the perfect housewife, because what else do I have to do?  But instead I'm filling my time with nothing.  Other than my workouts, I've been hiding out with my dogs on the couch.  Being motionless.  Motionless and numb.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

three things thursday

1. I was sneezing a lot on Sunday.  Monday I was sneezing more and my sinuses seemed to be full of tree pollen.  April is always the worst month of the year for me, allergy-wise.  Last year I got the needle test done by my allergist and the spots where they tested for tree pollen swelled up so much that I had to get a shot because my arm was the size of my thigh, and then I had disgusting scabs for about two weeks.  So I just figured that it was a really bad couple of days.  Tuesday morning I swam, which always makes me feel better because it cleans the yellow powder out of all my crevices and tissues when I inevitably snort water on a flip-turn, but when I got out of the water I actually felt worse.  In the late afternoon, I got dressed for my ride and sat down on the couch...only to wake up an hour later with my ears ringing and my sinuses throbbing.  So, I'm sick.  I went to the doctor yesterday who very annoyingly didn't examine me before sending me away with nothing but a lecture on taking better care of my body (seriously?).  This morning I'm starting to feel on the upswing and don't have any killer workouts on the schedule today so I'm going to give them a whirl.  I'm trying, with not a lot of success, not to stress about the workouts that I missed especially since my long ride for the week was in there.  A lesson that I've struggled with learning is that you can't make-up missed workouts - some call it the "there's no extra credit in IM training" rule - but I'm hoping that maybe rather than making it up, my schedule can get adjusted a bit to include at least a longer ride this weekend when I'm feeling 100% again.  Or maybe I'll just have to grit my teeth and move forward and learn my stupid lesson.

2. I still don't have a job, but I have to say thank you.  Thank you to everyone who has sent me emails and texts and calls and words of support.  I never wanted to be reminded in this way of how much love there is in my life, but it's been amazing and pouring in my direction and I have to offer up a big thank you to everyone who has sent it my way.  I'm still, a week later, working through all the links and positions and emails that have come my way and am constantly overwhelmed (in a good way) by how much is out there.  I will say that the poet and I have been talking about making some big life changes - you may remember me being a secretive wench about it a few months ago - and this might be a sign from the universe that it's time to head in that direction.  As of right now, we haven't made any major life decisions, but we are laying it all out on the table and trying to think of this whole mess as an opportunity rather than the sucker punch that it feels like.

3. I'm going to have to buy this race picture.  I don't even really remember the photographer but I think he was in a clump of people with ridiculous signs.
I actually don't remember seeing a photographer anywhere on the course, which means that I had no opportunity to make scary faces and show off my guns.  Sad.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rumpass in Bumpass sprint: race report

I like that I haven't been racing much this year.  Nothing in January, nothing in February, half marathon at the end of March.  But then suddenly April rolled around and CdA is getting close.  I decided to add this sprint early last week, as a "dust off the cobwebs" race before my 70.3 in early May.  Short enough that I don't need any recovery from it but still can get practice going from swim to bike to run under race pressure.  When the job bombshell hit, I had thoughts about sending a "sorry I registered for this race three hours ago but I just lost my job" frantic retraction email to the race director (which probably wouldn't have worked) but decided to just roll with it.  I didn't really intend for it to be a secret, I just decided not to blast it all over the internet with everything else that was going on.

I invited Emily to come along with me since I hadn't seen her in a few weeks and dangled the bait that we could ride easy afterwards.  She was excited.
My overwhelming lesson from the day is that it was a really good idea to do this, because I forgot half the crap that I needed to bring and do throughout the day.  I realized in the car that I had forgotten socks, and then any kind of lubrication, then a towel to lay my transition pile on, plus safety pins...oh I don't have a race belt?  I decided three minutes before the start to use Emily's wetsuit instead of my own, which was a mess because it took all three of us to get it on and then I couldn't get it off in T1.  I completely forgot how to get off of my bike quickly and my SOAS shorts are worn so thin that I can't post any pictures of me in them from the back while they were wet from the swim.  I didn't think to bring a handheld water bottle with me for the run and I've completely forgotten how to navigate the labyrinth multi-sport mode on my Garmin so I had zero information except total race time, which is useless in a sprint.  I didn't do a great job of calculating how much time we needed to drive down there and get set up, which meant that I was dragging my bike into transition just as they were making the "transition will close in three minutes" announcement.
But the great thing about a sprint is none of this really matters, because you don't have any time to think about it. 

Swim: 750M, 13:38 (1:39 sec/100y), 3rd in AG
When we got out of the car at the race site, it was warm.  Really warm.  Sleeved-wet-suit-is-overkill kind of warm.  Emily had thrown hers in the car because I'm going to deliver it to Allison, and she offered to let me borrow it, which I decided to do based on the fact that it was almost 80º out already and 66º in the water.  Temperature-wise, the wetsuit was perfect.  Sadly, Emily is about a foot shorter and forty pounds lighter than I am, which we didn't consider until I was already halfway into the suit.  I did lots of squatting and jumping while Emily and the poet did some yanking, and I was able to wriggle into it just enough that we could get it zipped.
I scooted down to the water to get over the OMG-cold-lake shock to my poor little heart, and when I started doing some warm-up strokes I realized that I was being choked to death by the tight suit.  By the time I paddled over to the group of women bobbing around for the in-water start, it was pretty clamped down on me but I got some water inside of it and it seemed to help a tiny bit.  Before I had time to crack a joke about zombies or pee in the suit (my usual swim start mojo), the gun went off and we were thrashing.  One of these sleeveless wetsuit people is me.
I didn't have a plan for the swim (or anything else throughout the day).  I managed to fight my way up to the front pack, a group of about 6-8 other women, and I hung on hard.  The course was a long out, a short across and a long back, and I concentrated on following bubbles and pulling strong.  The shore was pretty close when I bumped into a bunch of breast-strokers from the first wave and lost the pack.  I headed off towards the shore only to realize that there was another hard left turn towards the stairs that I had missed about 15-20 strokes back.  I swam like crazy for the stairs and got out with a clump of women who had probably been in the pack behind the front pack.  We ran up a grassy hill and into T1.  I couldn't get the wetsuit off and ended up leaning on the bike rack while a guy sitting on the ground tried to chat with me about the swim.  I flipped him a peace sign and a "good luck!" and ran out.
Bike, 12 miles, 34:44 (20.7mph), 5th in AG
The mount line was at the top of a little gravelly hill, and I'm not coordinated enough to do any kind of crazy flying mount just yet so I paused, hopped on, and spun away.  I'm so accustomed to the 70.3 distance that I spent the first two miles on the bike trying to calm down and breathe and settle down from the swim, but when I saw the two mile marker on the course, I woke up and realized that I was being foolish and only had ten miles to go.  The bike was generally unremarkable.  I was fantastically comfortable in my fit despite the fact that I had forgotten to put any ride glide on.  I spent the entire ride in aero except for one very sharp turn and one short climb where I was trying to pass a wobbler on a hybrid.  Not too many girls passed me - I saw one girl in my AG go flying by, but she was in full crazy disc wheels and aero helmet and I knew better than to try to chase her down.  My Garmin didn't pick up HR information for some reason so I don't have a lot of great data to analyze, but I know for sure that I didn't empty my bicycle tank.  It's so hard to change the mindset from "simmer down" to "go fracking nuts" and while I thought I was really ready to do some hammering, the way I felt when I bounced off the bike told me that I didn't go nearly hard enough.  I'm not upset about my effort/splits/time at all, just trying to honestly recap my effort level.  I got another strong reminder that there are cobwebs in my triathlon racing bank when I slowed into the dismount line and then had to consciously remind myself how to get off the bike and into transition.
Run: 5K, 28:23 (9:09 pace), 10th in AG
I sat down in transition to pull on my borrowed socks and un-speed-laced shoes, then grabbed my hat, sunglasses, and old-HR-monitor-turned-race-belt and flew out the back.  
The run course looked straight and easy on the map but was actually a crazy rocky trail with multiple 180º turn-arounds.  The only info I could see on my Garmin was total race time and distance, so I had no idea how hard I was going.  The day before the race, I did a run off the bike that started out at 8:40 pace, so I tried to just match that effort and not let the entire field of women pass me.  When I ran through the aid stations, I asked all the little kids to throw water at me and high-fived some guys going the other way.  I cheered on all the women I saw and when I got to the finish line, I was only a little bit sad that it was over.  I crossed the line 6th in my AG.  
I ran the 5K pretty perfectly as a step-down progression run but obviously didn't run nearly hard enough.  As my coach said after I sent her my splits and HR information post-race, "Good job running Ironman pace for a sprint!"

But I had a blast.  I walked around for twenty minutes post race saying things like, "So fun!  Sure wish I could run faster!" with a big smile on my face.  I think it was great to do this tiny check-in of where my fitness sort of is right now.  It's not an assessment of my IM fitness, but more of a status update on where I stand in each discipline.  My swim was strong but obviously I need to sight a little better and not get dropped off the back of the pack.  My bike was also good and solid, and since I'm not trying to be a sprint specialist I'm not going to worry that I didn't hammer my brains out like I should have.  It's clear that the run is my weakness right now - for whatever reason, I've gotten into this place where I really enjoy running easy with my HR under 145 all the time.  This used to be an uncomfortable place and I hated it, but now the tides have dramatically shifted.  I had a run last week where I needed to run at a hard HR for 20 minutes and I actually couldn't do it - a heart rate that I used to race the half marathon distance at.  So it's showing me where the work is to be done, and I'm okay with that.  

I also finally - FINALLY - had a race day where I didn't let my brain screw with me.  I'm not saying it was a perfect day - not even close, I was a disaster in so many ways - but this might be the first triathlon where I didn't take any I'm-defeated walk breaks, and that's a pretty big mountain to climb on top of for me.  But it was as good a season-opener as I could have asked for.  
The dust has been blown off, the creaks are getting oiled and I am getting ready to rumble.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Colonies Zone 1000 SCY: race report

Swimming is still a language I don't quite understand.
I finally figured out how to do flipturns back in December.  The math is starting to make sense - I can do a 500 yard TT and I don't need a calculator and a notepad to figure out the pace.  But I signed up for this swim meet with Allison and suddenly there are all kinds of new things to figure out - scratch and heat and counting.

We signed up for the SCY (see?  WTF does that mean?  Short course yards.) meet a few weeks ago.  By the time I got around to registering, the mile had filled, so I signed up to race the 1000.  I had no idea how to seed myself so I ambiguously chose 15 minutes when I registered without really doing any math.  On Friday afternoon when I remembered that this was happening, I went back through Training Peaks and found that the last time I did a 1000 yard TT (January), it was 15:35.  I've been swimming fairly consistently under 1:30 pace in the pool for shorter distance TTs in the past few weeks, so I decided (again, rather ambiguously) that I'd like to try to finish in under 15 minutes.  I tapered for the race by losing my job, skipping my long run and spending 12 hours inside a beer bottle.  Allison and I prepared for the race by hanging out with my puppies and having pizza for a very late lunch.
We got there early enough to warm-up and scope out all the sexy men in speedos other athletes.  Watching the first heat of the mile was pretty exciting, and the first and second place men in the heat finished about a tenth of a second apart.  We also spent some time trying to spook our competition.
Our heats were far enough apart that we would be able to count for each other, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn't have to count on my fingers but instead would get a neato flip-board of numbers to show Allison underwater while she was swimming.
Once Allison finished her swim (huge PR, go read about it), I headed over to line up.  The first thing I did was explain to the stop-watch boys that I would not be diving off the blocks.  I practiced diving off the side of the pool once during the warm-up and thought that would be just fine.  There was a horn or a whistle or a something noisy and we went.
Of course, my goggles stayed on but filled with water.  I swam 50 yards and then popped my head up and tried to restick them to my face.  It didn't work, so I just decided I would swim with them that way and ignore it, but after another 200ish yards both sides were completely filled with water.  So I flipped off of the wall and stayed on my back for a second, pulled them off my face and stuck them back on, then flipped back over and kept going.  
That worked for one side but not the other.  I made it about another 100 yards or so and then did the same thing - flip, pull, drain, push.  I know that I should probably be able to just swim through it but it was driving me absolutely nuts.  
Once I had situated my goggles I was almost halfway done with the race.  I was in the outside lane, and when I looked inside to see where the other swimmers were, it was crazy.  The girl in the lane next to me, who had also seeded herself with 15 minutes, was almost 2 entire laps ahead of me (note: she ended up swimming a 12:xx) and I started to feel panicky that I had lost a lot of time dicking around with my goggles.  Since I was in the outside lane, I could see the times up on the wall when I breathed and started doing math.  When I breathed after the 800 mark and could see that the time had just flipped over to 12 minutes, I realized that I would probably be safely under 15 minutes.  I just tried to stay consistent and hold good form with each stroke, pulling hard and long all the way into the wall.  I was almost the last one done in my heat but was still incredibly pumped about my time: 14:36.16, for roughly a 1:27 pace.  
I can pretty easily see the splits where I was fussing with my goggles, because they are the only splits slower than a :44.x.  I also only swam a :39 on my last 50, which tells me that I really didn't empty the tank on this one, but I'm okay with that.  I had a blast racing in the pool for the very first time, and I can't wait for the chance to go back and crush this time.  That hot mess also managed to land me third in my AG, and Allison broke through with 2nd.
We celebrated with huge bowls of pasta and frozen yogurt, which made for a pretty perfect Friday night.  How was your weekend?  Do you have lots of photos of your ass to post on the internet after it like I do?

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I had this whole post written up for today about peace.

I was struggling, you see, about writing about the rest of my Colorado trip.  It was wonderful to spend time with Sonja, I wish I could just walk around her all day and absorb the mojo that flows off of her in waves.  And I came back to DC trying desperately to hang onto the peace that I felt inside of me.  Peace that I've been searching out over and over in this training cycle, along with the realization that while triathlon training isn't really changing my life that much, the mental work I've been doing for the past few months has been making an enormous impact.

I hate it when people talk about struggling to write posts, mostly because generally, they are just being ridiculous.  However, I honestly struggled over whether to talk about this, what I'm about to talk about, on the internet.  I believe in a very strong separation between work and personal life, and in the years I've had this blog, I've talked about my career very little.  And who wants to read about my personal life when you come here for ass shots and puppy pictures and rants about running and annoying bloggers?  But this blog stopped being about only those things at the very beginning, when I talked about my divorce, when I talked about losing weight and the struggles with my family and when the poet proposed and I said, hmmm, you know what, maybe not. So I decided that I'm going to talk about this, because it's going to affect my entire life and that, to me, is what this blog is for, plus most of you probably know about it anyway.

I lost my job yesterday.

I've been working for a start-up company here in DC for almost three years now.  When I joined them, I left a very stable company and leapt at the chance to be a part of something pretty great.  And for the most part, it HAS been pretty great.  The people I've met, most importantly my direct supervisor, are smart and kind and easy to work with, and while there have certainly been times that my stress levels have been abnormally high, for the most part it's been a good job.  I have worked my tail off in this job, I've worked with every single person in the company pretty intimately over the past three years and I've enjoyed it.  And now they no longer have the money to pay me.

Over the weekend, I had a lot of good talks with Sonja, but one that stands out is when we were talking about things that can happen to a person, and whenever I hear about bad things that happen in families, I desperately want to protect my own.  I have dogs instead of kids and my family may not look like your family, but it's what I have and I wouldn't change it for the world.  And now I have failed to protect it, and that is the theme that I just can't shake from my brain, that has been playing over and over since yesterday afternoon.  I have let my family down.  

We sat down and went through all the numbers when I got home.  Neither one of us can support our family on just our salary, so while I'd love to slide into my premiere role as a trophy wife (full-time lifestyle blogger??), that isn't realistic.  I went through and removed all of the optional extra payments we make every month into our student loans and car loan and mortgage, and I halted all the extra retirement savings, and trimmed down everything I could to the bare bones of our expenses, and we're still not even close to making it.  And I'm so glad I hadn't yet mailed out that five-figure check to the IRS and can now file for an extension and that we didn't buy a new dishwasher on Tuesday.  I don't know how long it's going to take me to find another job, and that is scary.  We have money saved up that we can make it for a little while, and we've already started to roll out plans to bring in some extra income (does anyone want to buy a road bike?) so we aren't going to starve this month, but it is all very, very terrifying.  

My first thought when we started going through all of this was to fire-sale my entire life, and that includes triathlon.  Selling my QR can help us pay the mortgage for a few extra months.  Not paying for my coach, not buying running shoes and cycling shorts and Gu chomps and EFS will help to put food on the table - or little brown circles in the mouths of my puppies.  And the poet said, for now, no.  Because at this point, just about everything has been paid for through Ironman in June, and to bail on it now would be a waste of all that money.  On the one hand, I can and do see his point, but on the other hand, I can't imagine going out and training - I can't imagine walking into Bonzai to spend $45 on nutrition - I can't imagine ordering another pair of running shoes from RRS - when I'm not bringing in any money, when we are going through our savings in order to keep a roof over our heads.  It feels incredibly short-sighted and selfish.  So I don't know what I'm going to do about triathlon, just yet.  I don't have an answer to that question.  

A lot of people have reached out to me already - to help, to offer leads and links and names or even just words of comfort and support, and I can't say how much I appreciate that.  And everyone has told me that I'm strong, that I'm a fighter, that this is an opportunity to maybe move out of the legal field and into a place where my heart truly is, that I will land on my feet, and I appreciate that too, but holy mother of destruction am I tired of that being my line.  For just once, I would love to not have the rug pulled out from under me.  Just once, I would love to not have to fight.  

I promise you, I'm not asking for anything here.  I've never made a dime off of this blog (except a few weeks ago when I turned on ads by accident and couldn't figure out how to turn them off for three days and made $0.04) and I don't intend to try to start now.  I will take all the good karma and thoughts and love you can send my way, I will ask you to take just a second, to pause and send hope towards our family.  And if you do stumble across some freelance writing work or an IT job or an analyst position or you want to pay me ten dollars to coach you to a 5K or you find a five hundred dollar bill laying on the street and you DO decide that you want to hook it my way, I'll take it and be grateful, but I promise you, I'm not asking for anything but acceptance here.  A place to talk about what's going on in my life, to try and get rid of the fear.  Because today I wanted to talk about peace, I wanted to write about how calm I was feeling down to my bones, and now that is gone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

wordless wednesday: vote please

Please indulge my undignified display of complete self-absorption and pick your favorite.
OR leave suggestions and/or email me something you think is a billion times better (which it probably is, there is a lot of creative talent in our house but none of it has anything to do with graphic design).  If you come up with something I pick, I'll give you a couple of free ones AND owe you some major life karma points.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

how to make your crotch happy

Crotch problems are not a delicate subject around here.
I've been having a handful of minor issues on the bike for the past few months.  It's seems like they rotate around - adductor/knee/piriformis/crotch/adductor.  I've been refit quite a few times and while my ride hasn't been exactly uncomfortable, I've been managing a small side series of issues along with riding, especially as the time on the bike has gotten longer.  My adductor has had a death-grip on my right leg for over a month and I recently switched back out of the compact crank because that was when the pain really got serious.  Switching back to the longer cranks made it better, but it removed a lot of my ability to climb and I was still dealing with quite a bit of tightness as well as far more inner-thigh chafing then I really can appreciate.  So I leapt at the chance to get a new set of eyeballs on the problem while I was in Colorado last week.  My coach recently got a snazzy new bike fit of her own and had nothing but awesome things to say about Scott Geffre of Fit and Tri. I dropped him a note before I left for vacation and set up a date at Kompetitive Edge to get all my parts measured and markered on and moved around.  

A lot of people have asked how I got my bike out to Colorado with me.  I made it look like this almost completely without overly-exhasted meltdown:
And then Ryan at KE put it back together for me, because he is the bomb.  I disassembled it almost without extra muscles to bring it back home Saturday night and put it back together yesterday afternoon all alone.  Hopefully it will stay in one piece when I ride it for the first time.  It actually wasn't hard to take it apart other than trying to get the $&*^@ pedals off so I could close the lid.  I was terrified to do this but now I'm a believer AND I managed to snow the airline out of charging me a bike box fee on both flights.  
So I dragged my box into KE and unloaded all of the bike crap that I had brought with me, which included both cranks (one on the bike, one in a Safeway bag) as well as my new sexy shoes and their cleats.  The first thing Scott did was look at my feet (even before I introduced myself, for the record I'm usually quite shy about strangers touching my toes).  He made some minor adjustments to my cleats and I talked him through the slew of physical issues I've had in my life, which is a list far too long to link here but if you've been reading for three years then you're probably pretty caught up.  If not, let's just say I'm a mess from the waist down plus I had shoulder surgery for a bone spur right before this blog even started

The thing that I thought was really interesting was that he made a ton of adjustments before I even got on the bike for the first time.  He swapped out my saddle and moved my seat height and my aerobars around quite a bit as we chatted about all of my ouchie places, and then it was time to hop on.
Right away it was obvious that things were crazy different.  He had me get off and adjusted my seat a bit more, and then let me spin for a bit while he got out the fancy lasers.  The thing I really loved about Scott is that he explained every little thing that he was doing as he worked and measured and adjusted - it seemed like he really wanted me to understand why he was making the changes, not just be happy because I was more comfortable.  He also made most of the changes before bringing out the laser, and it seemed like he was more in tune with what was going on with me because of that.  He didn't measure me and then build the bike and send me packing - it was more like he put my bike in the range where it should be and then dialed it in to my own personal strangeness once I was up and pedaling.  
We were able to talk through the pedagogy of the 165/compact crankset and the problems it brought to light.  He set up the bike so the crank could go back on and it did, and I was able to ride almost eight hours over the weekend so it seems like those particular issues have been banished.  He also made some big changes to my aerobars - changes that I think I was ready for, and that seem to be both more comfortable and more aero-dynamic.  Most of the riding I did over the weekend was either climbing at 2mph or white-knuckled descending or straight into 50mph winds so I'm looking forward to spending more time down in the bars now that I'm back on the flat lands of DC.  I didn't get a great side-view of my fit to compare but my body let me know that the changes are both drastic and good, so I'll take it.
I also got some great advice from Ryan and was able to empty my wallet add some other ironman-must-haves while my bike was up on the stand.  Yes, I think my bike is so sexy.
So many great people in one place - I'm a little bit jealous.  If you live in Colorado and you haven't been there yet, well, just shame on you.  Scott is a brilliant bicycle mind and it was so fabulous to finally get to see and meet everyone at Kompetitive Edge in person.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

just a tease on monday

I have so much to tell you guys.

But it's going to have to wait a day or two until I finish cleaning and buying groceries and doing laundry - the bike shorts need to be washed twice - and making up a week's worth of snuggles with my babies.
See you soon (don't hate).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

three susan things thursday

Howdy, folks!

As we all know, Katie’s not always of sound mind. Which is why it should come as no surprise to you that while she’s on vacation, she foolishly left her website in care of me. Come ON...I can barely keep plants alive. Does she really think I can handle this responsibility? I can only assume that when she asked me, she was A) drunk, or B) completely out of other options.
At any rate, I’m here for Three Things Thursday. I’ve noticed lately that Katie has turned down the ranting on here. You’ve observed that, too, right? Quite frankly, I’m disappointed and bringing snarky back. Here’s three rants I just gotta get off my chest:

1: Beware the Mommy Blogger
I’m getting sick of going to my favorite health and fitness websites and discovering that it’s now a mommy blog. I get it – people hump, babies come out, miracle of life, yada yada – but don’t continue to present yourself as a fitness writer if 80 percent of your writing is now about the current or former contents of your uterus.

What’s even worse is when those now-mommy bloggers look at me and smugly ask “So...when are YOU hopping on the baby train?” Apparently there’s something wrong with my decision not to have children. I’m not saying that having babies is bad, it’s just not for me. Don’t say I’m a bad person, and definitely don’t pity me. Listen, I have boobs that don’t sag or leak, and a vagina that can crack walnuts. Baby train? Pssht...please. I’m on the (clean and quiet) express jet to Happyville.

2: Sneak Your Meat Elsewhere, Please and Thank You
If this reading is your first introduction to me, then you should probably know I’m a vegetarian. I’m not one of those preachy in-your-face types who hand out brochures and throw red paint at people, but I do write for a website called No Meat Athlete, where we’ve got thousands of runners and triathletes who happen to think plants are pretty damn great.

Outside of No Meat Athlete, I know very few vegetarians, and I don’t try to force the life on anyone. It’s not my place to dictate what goes in your body. You’re a big kid. I trust you can make those types of decisions.

So why, then, are people so consumed with getting me to try meat “just one more time?” I don’t get it. On more than one occasion, I’ve had people bring me lunch or a snack out of “the goodness of their heart.” The strange conversation usually goes like this:

ME: Oh, thanks! That’s so sweet! I’m not hungry now, but I’ll dive in later.
THEM: Don’t be silly. Eat now!
ME: I’m really not hungry.
THEM: I insist! I made it especially for you.
ME: Umm...okay. <Takes a bite> Wow, that’s great. Thanks! I’ll eat more later!

Seriously, people...I don’t care what you eat, I think we can all agree that’s a dick move. Get a hobby, for cryin’ out loud.

Recently, Katie took on a very important platform in endurance sports: The Whiner. You know the type I’m talking about, don’t you? The one who CONSTANTLY hops on Twitter and Facebook to inform everyone and their uncles “I haaaaaave to run 7 miles today. I don’t waaaaaaaana. Someone come maaaaaaake me. Pleeeeeease. It’s so haaaaard.”

This makes me want to stab a bitch, okay? If you follow it up with my most hated acronym in the history of the world, “LOL,” I will come and stab you again with my stabby knife.

C’mon, guys. No one is making you train. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. We all have those rough days. Certainly all of us are guilty of whining once or twice, but if every single time you talk about your training, you’re complaining, perhaps you should find a different activity for a while. 

I am joining forces with Katie as we combat this epidemic of whining. If we must, we will host a telethon, design a line of silicone bracelets, and hold charity runs all over the world to share one very important message:

Man the fuck up. Or, if you can only read the texty-speak: MTFU, LOL!

Thank you, and good night. If anyone needs me, I’ll be raiding Katie’s beer stash until I’m not so angsty anymore. If you see me passed out in her backyard, please put me inside before the mommy bloggers get to me.

Susan Lacke enjoys boxy wine, triathlon and harassing undergrads. After lunch she wears a cape, fights crime and dabbles in feng shui.  She can eat just one potato chip, never abuses the word "epic," holds her line, and will always, ALWAYS, tell you when your ass does, in fact, look fat in those jeans.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

mostly wordless wednesday

We've had a busy week.
Lots of hanging out with good friends.

And, you know, with each other.
I've gotten to run in the snow...
In some very interesting places...
And we've had lots of decadent meals.
Meanwhile, our puppies are up visiting their grandparents.
I'm sure everything is just fine.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the weeks are just marching along

It's monthly recap time!  And yes, you can boo and throw tomatoes at my March pun.

March Goals
When the alarm goes off, do not check email/read twitter/read blogs for 45 minutes before getting out of bed.  Total and complete fail.  I think this might be a lost cause.
Stop apologizing about the bikini wax/leg hair situation to Dr. Paul (and maybe do something about it?).  Did something about it!
Buy a real desk chair.  I've only had it for a few days and I'm wondering why I didn't do it three years ago.
Get off the elliptical and back on the road completely.  The elliptical is a distant memory.
Learn how to cook dinner that does not involve cheese.  Some progress here.
Stop stalking other people's training while in a funk.  It never helps.  Very little progress here.
Paint the upstairs bedroom.  Check!
Ask the poet to come and videotape my swim stroke.  Nope, but our trip to CO is negating the main reason why I wanted to tape it.

A lot of March was spent in rest or recovery.  It started with a peak week, followed by a recovery week sans-taper, and then two pretty mellow weeks post-half marathon.  I finally sloshed over a few swimming goals that have been hanging over my head, but for the most part, swimming doesn't change for me.  Once the pollen comes out, I look forward to getting in the pool even more than usual because it's the only place where I get a good strong eyeball-washing, but otherwise it was generally unremarkable.  Spending a week on my road bike this month was enough to make me realize how comfortable I've become on the QR, and I almost - dare I say it - prefer it to the roadie right now.  I still need to get my saddle and crank situation straightened out, but for the most part, I'm feeling okay on the bike.  Not strong, not powerful, though not like I'm far behind, and I know that I'll be spending the better part of the next two months on the bike so I don't feel concerned.  And I'm so pleased to look back and see that this month had over 70 miles of running and two races, when it could have gone so differently - has gone so differently, in my injury-riddled past.  

A month filled with rest and recovery also brings the opportunity to check some items off of my non-triathlon-related to-do list.  We're about halfway done with the total transformation of the upstairs level of our house.  I also got to spend several days - and hundreds of dollars - in the vet's office this month, with ear infections and skin infections and kennel cough galore.  Here's hoping that April brings a healthier month for our family.  

Moving into April, I'm looking at my last big build block before my 70.3.  I'm already mentally preparing myself for a race that is going to be hilly and hot and not necessarily a PR in any leg.  While I'd certainly like to suffer for less time than any of my previous attempts at this distance, time on the clock is not always the focus of the day.  I talked a few weeks ago about how much I've struggled with race-day execution across many distances, and I'm hoping that this race bring me an opportunity to face those angry demons head-on.  

My view of fitness and development has started to change recently, prompted by quite a few elements in my life but certainly encouraged by some of the reading that I've been gobbling up.  It's a bit of a stupid realization, but I'm realizing that I'm not on a downhill slide to CdA.  I'm starting to see that this race - while my A race of the year, something I've been preparing for one way or another for months - is not a means to an end, but instead is merely the beginning of the beginning.  Training for this race has made me realize how much I really do love triathlon.  I'm not planning on finishing the race to check a life-goal box, but instead to really enter this endurance world for the first time.  More importantly, for whatever reason I had it in my head that my build to CdA would bring me to the best shape of my life.  While that still may be true, I think my awakening has been that it might be the best shape of my life to date, but my life certainly isn't over yet.  I was worried that I'd be ready for a break post-Ironman - and I still may be - but as of right now, I'm not feeling burned out by this sport.  Instead, I'm feeling energized and motivated to keep working on my fitness through this race and to continue beyond.  It's a little difficult to explain how my outlook has changed in a way that makes sense, but it's more important for me to be able to recognize that it has than it is to be able to explain it.  Right now I'm really enjoying my training, and I'm quite pleased to be racing very little.  I raced twice in March, and it's easy to see how at least one race created a disruption in the ebbs and flows of my schedule.  I am very curious about what my rested fitness looks like, but I enjoy the solid and uninterrupted blocks of training quite a bit more than I enjoy racing.  Due to all of this, race days are starting to look in my head like a place to test out my current fitness and nothing more.  Absorb the results, compute into training, let go and move forward.  I've been having a hard time lately with a lot of things, but definitely some related to training for this race, and I'm hoping that this mentality will help me to focus on what is really important and discard all the extra noise that keeps turning my head.  

Miles run: 71.8
Rest days: more than 1
Beautiful new bike shoes: 1
Days it took to eat an entire package of Oreos post-half-marathon: 5
Times that we decided to eat in instead of out due to grocery tracking: 3
Times that we decided to eat out anyway: 2
Swims completed with goggles full of water: 5
Swims completed with my swim cap falling off my head: 2
Swims completed with poor-rear-coverage suit: at least a dozen

April Goals
Open and attempt to cook the quinoa that's been in the cupboard for a month.
Teach Sofie how to swim.
Go back to crazy hill ride.  Winter is officially over.
Update the frame wall.
Get back on the asleep-by-8:30pm sleep schedule.
Keep making the effort to run and ride in new places.  It's worth it.

What are your goals for April?  Did you miss half of them in March like I did?