Tag Archives: Triathlon

Plan B, Miss 166, My Non-Water Resistant Camera, and My Cartwheel-Worthy Moment

2 Jul

Did it turn out the way I planned?

No. It almost never does.

Plan B was in full effect Sunday, along with the 100+ degree heat. But as with any Guatacular adventure, Plan B is always in effect, always making an appearance. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Sometimes Plan B ends up being even better than the original.

Yeah … this wasn’t one of those times.

In truth it wasn’t all bad. It provided me with some stressful situations that turned into comedic moments, which turned into great stories. I think that’s what Plan B is about … providing writing material. And it all starts with your plans … your goals.

Just finish.

Don’t fall and crack your head open, ambulances are expensive.

Don’t get a cramp and drown, it sounds like a painful way of dying.

Don’t let the Cha-Cha girl wearing make-up beat you.

Keep up with the 60-year old IronMan lady during the run.

Don’t use all the IcyHot on your quads the first night, your butt muscles could probably use some from all that bike riding.

Hanging out at the starting line trying to get into my Zen-like pre-triathlon frame of mind.

Hanging out at the starting line trying to get into my Zen-like pre-triathlon frame of mind.

All pretty high-achieving goals. I know. And this year an added bonus: Conquer Devil’s Canyon. As you might recall last year this bitch got the best of me and my back. It kicked my ass. This year however I swore I’d make it to the top without stopping and I had more than my pride and two months of yoga pushing me. This time I had extra motivation. I had to make it to my son’s race before it started.

So it was on.

The running went as expected. All the cover models wearing the right clothes, fancy triathlon watches and other expensive gear hauled ass at the sound of the starter’s pistol. By mile two, me and my Costco t-shirt and shorts made our way passed them.

I was doing well. I thought I got this! I made it to the bike transition, no worries. And then about five minutes into the ride, it happened. Plan B provided me with good writing material.

I mean how could I not write about how I almost fell off the bike and ate it because my dude actually did something nice for me. How does something nice go bad? When it’s too nice. He washed the bike the day before, but washed it so well that all the oil practically came off the chain, which then caused the chain to get jammed as I tried to shift gears. It was in a serious state of adhesion. I mean if I went up or down Devil’s Canyon like that, it would have been IT for me. Call the ambulance.

Yeah...this is where it happened. But no pictures of Angie as we were both in a hurry to get on with the race.

Yeah…this is where it happened. You notice how there is no one around … that’s because they all passed me. But no time for pictures with Angie as we were both in a hurry to get on with the race.

Luckily it happened early on. And I guess if it wasn’t for Plan B I wouldn’t have been reminded of random acts of kindness.

I didn’t even know her, but there she was … my savior wearing aqua blue nylon running shorts, a white breathable cotton tank top, shades,  and sporting the 166 ink on her triceps.

Angie. Oh Angie. My savior. Miss 166.

Since everyone was zooming passed me without giving me a second glance I thought I would jog with my bike to the water station and hopefully one of the sheriffs or volunteers would help fix the chain. You know, help me get back on track, because my grease stained hands were making no progress. But on my way there, I ran across Angie, who opened up her MacGyver tool belt to help me. I’m not mechanically inclined, so I had no idea how to unstick a jammed bicycle chain. But apparently  the “right way” was easier than the 15-minute method I tried.

But nevertheless Angie and I persevered. I gave her a Woo-Hoo high-five and promised to buy her a cold one once the race was done.

Triathlon 008

Devil’s Canyon … The Beginning

This 15-minute pit stop allowed for a lot of people to pass me, including some Cha-Cha girls in pink. It felt like last place had my name on it. However, this little setback inspired  a comeback. But I was a little worried because I hadn’t even encountered my nemesis yet: Devil’s Canyon.

However, setbacks have a way of pushing you so that you make it to the top, even without your Gatorade, which happened to spill everywhere during your pit stop. This setback pushed me to race up Devil’s Canyon in all gears — no stopping this time. And as I passed all the bikers walking up the crazy hill all I could think was … Yoga, you rock! My back made it.

As I reached the top I was so happy to see Harold The Rotary Club volunteer handing out water. I think everyone was happy when they saw Harold and not just because of the water. Harold meant the end of Devil’s Canyon.

After this sweet victory I could tell I was on empty and in desperate need of a banana or orange. So I zoomed down because I knew something would be waiting for me when I hit the transition area. As I approached I noticed the wall clock … I had ten minutes before my son’s race. And so when I dove into the pool it hadn’t even occurred to me to remove my trusty non-waterproof, non-water resistant Canon Powershot.

No it hadn’t occurred to me. All I was thinking about was my son’s starting line.

So after 25 meters in the pool it was done for, in truth after one meter it was done for, resting in peace. All I could do was take it out of my pocket, put it on the pool deck, and just keep swimming. The lifeguard assured me that it happened often, however I didn’t see any other water-soaked cameras dripping dry.

But regardless of my camera’s demise the swimming happened to be the best part that day. I wasn’t Michael Phelps, but I made it through without having to stop. The backstroke rocks. I know normal people enjoy freestyle, but as you all know backwards is the way to go for me.

However the best part … the best part of the whole day was not conquering Devil’s Canyon or crossing the finish line. I know I had made it and it felt good. But no that wasn’t it. The highlight of the day was watching my son cross the starting line. It was cheering him on as I ran alongside him. It was helping him during the bike transition and having him tell me “I got this mom,” as he pedaled away. It was helping him be the best Aquaman he could be in the pool. It was seeing his smile as he sprinted across the finish line. It was the hug and the high-five that I gave him as he got his medal.

Yeah … these were definitely cart-wheel worthy kind of moments that lasted all day.

 

The Tiny Tots take off ... my son included.

The Tiny Tots take off and I was so glad my son was able to avoid the 7-child pile up that happened right at the starting line. After a fall like that a few of the kids decided not to continue.

 

In deep waters he decides to have a pit stop. The wall a perfect place.

In deep waters he decides to have a pit stop. The wall a perfect place.

 

Running towards the finish line.

Running towards the finish line.

 

The Little Champion

The Little Champion … crossed off another item from his Sandbox List Adventures.

 

Finish Line Baby, Finish Line

25 Jun

I’m hoping the yoga worked, because The Countdown is on!

I’m already writing my thank you note to the creators of IcyHot.

I’ve got five days. In five days I tackle my yearly challenge: The TinMan Triathlon, not to be confused with the IronMan, but pretty badass nonetheless. I still get black ink finely printed on my awesome calf muscle and tricep. Once I see it, I’m transformed. No longer the mother of two: diaper changer extraordinaire, referee of superhero cape battles, Lego mastermind builder, and Nickelodeon remote control screener. I’m no longer the struggling writer who gets the it’s-not-you-it’s-me rejection letter. No longer a wife or daughter just trying to stay above water. It’s just me … the Guat … TinMan candidate.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

I’m looking forward to that feeling. I’m looking forward to the starting line and enjoying my New Balance hit the pavement, my feet staying on the pedals, and my toes splashing in the water. And even though I’ll be sweating, and huffing and puffing, I’ll probably be enjoying every minute of it. Maybe not the Mission Impossible uphill battle of Devil’s Canyon. But once I reach the top, and hopefully not fall and break a valuable appendage while speeding my way down, it’ll be all good.

But this won’t be the best part.

As I mentioned before, the best part will be watching my son run his first triathlon: The Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. I look forward to watching him smile as he crosses the finish line. I look forward to the thumbs up he’s going to give me. I look forward to taking our picture together with our matching medals. It’s cheesy, but it’s been on my Bucket List-Life-to-do list and his Sandbox Adventure List. He wants to be like Wreck It Ralph and get a medal and he’s been training well.

The biking and swimming sessions seem to be going well for him. The running? Well let’s just say he takes after me … he doesn’t thoroughly enjoy it unless he’s chasing a baseball, football or soccer ball. He sort of just trots his way around the track, but if he sees someone else running in front of him he feels the urge to speed up and pass them. So I’m sure when it comes to the race, he’ll be all right.

Me? My training?

It’s going slower than usual and time hasn’t really been on my side. So I had to do some things that I normally would never do.

Never.

But I’ve done what I had to do — whatever it takes to make sure I finish the race before my son starts his. So I’ve sacrificed. Sacrificed something valuable.

Sleep.

I wake up at the crack of dawn to work out. I hate dawn. I’m more of a dusk kind of person. Dawn is for sleeping, especially when you’re a night person and go to bed at midnight or 1 a.m. I tried the go-to-bed-earlier routine, but my internal clock doesn’t let that happen. I’m used to decompressing and enjoying the awesome quiet of the night. Meditating. And I’ve realized that I really need my Namaste moments, otherwise I’d probably throw someone off a cliff.

So I sacrifice sleep. I flop out of bed to ride a bike, run, and yes even swim. And I’ve got to say out of all the early-bird routines, the swimming seems to be the most relaxing. Surprisingly I flop out of bed with less hostility when I know I’m hitting the pool. Still cranky though, but not as bad.

However, all of it for a good cause. Finish line. Need to make the finish line so that I can see my son cross his starting line. That’s what I keep telling myself when the alarm rings at 5:30 a.m. That’s what I tell myself again after I hit the snooze button. Finish line baby, finish line.

 

 

The Rematch Update 2: Getting To The Starting Line And I Think Yoga Is Going to Help Me

28 May

I don’t know why it seemed easier last year, but for some reason my body seems to agree with me. It was easier. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m one year closer to the big 4-0. It may be, a lot can happen to your muscles and bones in a year. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m checking a new age-range box on applications. I think it has to do with the fact that my one year old is going on two.

Have you heard of twos? They’re terrible.

You would think the sleep deprivation would have stopped after a year. But no … no. This kid is just psyching me out, waiting until I got a little comfortable and then BAM! the middle of the night drama happened again. Just randomly. Sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sometimes just Saturday nights. Just to mess with my head.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s this power struggle that probably effected my ability to function properly during the day. It’s this power struggle that probably has me looking for anti-aging cream at the CVS. It’s this power struggle that probably has me using the adjective “weary” to describe myself now. It’s this power struggle that has probably effected my training. My brains and bones are just not the same. No matter how many vitamins I’ve been acquiring, it seems to take me a lot longer to jump-start my battery. This is when I start to wonder about osteoporosis, arthritis, and sciatica. Is it possible to have all three before you hit 40?

Maybe.

But I do have to say … the yoga has been helping my back. Thanks to 13-letter word yoga poses ending in  “sana” I seem to be chugging along. The whole yoga stretching appears to be helping the training process. After doing them, I seem to have enough umph left to help train my son for his Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. He’s doing really well in the biking part, and I’m happy that he’ll be taking swimming classes this month to help prepare him for his big dive in the pool. In fact I think he’ll probably do better than me in the water. In truth I’m more excited about his race than I am mine. It’ll be our first race together and I’m feeling all “parenty” about it. I’ll probably be high-fiving him all day. And it’s the anticipation of these high-fives and his smiles that really keep me going.

Making sure that I’m there at the starting line to see him take off is inspiration enough to kick my own ass. My race starts at 7 a.m. his at 9 a.m. I’m gonna be there, camera in hand. So watch out Devil’s Canyon, I’m getting ready for you.

One of my goals this year is to conquer Devil’s Canyon without stopping or passing out. Now I don’t have a fast and light racing bike, which would probably help my time, but my Bianchi hybrid will have to do. Maybe I can add rocket boosters or something, you know for that final climb. But maybe I can do a few extra squats so that my quads won’t be burning up when I’m climbing all those hills. And maybe I’ll increase my bike rides through the park, so that I can go passed the stop sign and reach the heliport. And maybe I’ll increase my downward-facing-dog, cat-cow yoga involvement so that my back isn’t killing me while I’m going up the mountain. I’ve decided … I’m gonna make it to my son’s starting line on time, even if I fall off the bike and have to crawl there, which I hope doesn’t happen. But either way, I’m getting to the starting line and I think yoga is gonna help me power through … well I know it’ll help my back. And that body part seems to be very important. It connected to all the vital parts I need for the race.

The Rematch … It’s On Devil’s Canyon … It’s So On. I’ve Got Backup This Time

2 May

It’s that time of year again … the time when I challenge my weary bones and muscles … the time of year when I pretend I can swim freestyle knowing full well that it never works and I just end up swimming the backstroke and floating my way to the finish line. It’s that time of year where I step out of the “mom” box and step into the badass frame of mind which lasts up to 24 hours, then I go back to being defeated. It’s … Tinman Triathlon time and Devil’s Canyon awaits.

Pinche Devil’s Canyon. It’s on … It is so on.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

 

I’m counting down. I’ve got about two months to whip this Guat body into Tinman shape. Don’t get me wrong the Fight For Air Climb certainly put my quads where they belong, it’s just the rest of my body that needs to cooperate. Specifically, the old parts. The parts that take Glucosamine and something called CoQ10. But I’ve decided to add some yoga and stretching to the mix, because my lower back seems to be aging faster than any other part of my body. Although my knees are a close second, and I’m afraid I’m going to need both to conquer Devil’s Canyon. So if you have any pointers feel free to share them.

However this time, the Tinman experience will be different. The training will be different. I’ll have someone there. My son. My four-year old son has agreed to enter the Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. A super miniature version of the race and I’m excited to see him cross the finish line.

This of course means that I’ll be doing double duty when training. I can’t really go at full speed when training with him, so I’ll have to do my training whenever I can get it. This usually means at the break of dawn, which sucks for a night person like myself, or it can happen in the dark of night where suspect people usually walk the streets and I have to keep my Hapkido skills on high alert. Win-win I guess, but at least I have one day during the weekends where I can get my muscles up to Tinman status.

My son is pretty much at Mini-Tinman status when it comes to biking and running. He’s pretty high energy all we have to do is extend the road he covers. However we do have to practice our swimming a bit more, so the Lightening McQueen floaties and goggles will be making an appearance.

We’re both excited about the event and all I’m hoping for is that he finishes the race. He doesn’t need to be first. He just needs to finish. As for me? I don’t need to be first either. I just need to conquer Devil’s Canyon. It kicked my ass last year and I’m hoping the incident doesn’t repeat itself. In truth all I want to do is finish my race before the Tiny Tinman race starts. I want to be at the starting line cheering him on and be part of his pit crew when he gets on his bike. So I definitely need to get into kick-Devil’s -Canyon’s-Ass Shape.  It’s a rematch. Definitely a “Thrilla in Manila” type of event.

Stay tuned.

 

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I’d Like to Thank the Creators of Icy Hot for Making This Possible …

22 Oct

Icy Hot … it rocks. This awesome combination of menthol and methyl salicylate allowed my 37-year-old ass to successfully complete my sprint triathlon this weekend.

I would’ve used Ben-Gay on my tweaked knee, but that really didn’t sound athletic enough. It just sounded like I was old and weary. And even though I may feel like that at times there’s no need to perpetuate that train of thought. I’m an athlete damn it — a triathlete. And it was this bad-ass athlete mentality that helped push me through the race — even through the water, which, as predicted, kicked my ass. But I pushed through.

People making their way to the starting line.

The fact that I had a couple of friends in the race made it even more enjoyable. Camaraderie always makes for a better race.

So after a quick morning drive to the coast we unloaded our bikes and made our way to registration and the starting line. Now as I mentioned in my last triathlon piece the starting line is where you get to see everyone’s pre-warm-up routine and athletic attire.

A little too athletic for me.

Sometimes people go too far. But it becomes a good distraction because you’re full of nervous adrenaline.

A little laughter helps. But why was I still a little nervous? Why? The clouds. I was so hoping it wouldn’t rain during the biking leg of the race because I knew I’d probably eat it and need some paramedic assistance. Asphalt is pretty hard stuff. But as I was praying for the rain gods to take a nap, I noticed the starter of the race.

Sugar Ray saying what up, Guat!

Dude.

Sugar Ray Leonard.

I smiled and did my most enthusiastic, what’s-up-hello-holy-crap-you’re-Sugar-Ray-how-you-doing greeting, you know, like we were friends, like if we had brunch the other day, like if he knew me. I held my camera up and he did his what’s-up-hello-I-am-Sugar-Ray good-morning greeting.

I was pumped. I was ready to go. Legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who won an Olympic Gold Medal and world boxing titles in five weight divisions gave me a thumbs up. Rain or shine. Paramedic or no paramedic it was on.

Three-two-one … Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

We’re off!

Now everything seemed to be going well during the race. The typical fast pace at the beginning where everyone sprints out like they’re Jamaican runners, whizzing right passed me only to die out after the first mile. As I passed most of these sprinters, I couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of elementary-age kids that were chugging along — keeping pace.

The Hill that slowed many down.

I mean when I was in elementary school I was playing green light-red light and watching Thunder Cats or Looney Tunes. I wasn’t racing in triathlons. I mean they didn’t even look tired. Even when we went up the hill, you saw their little legs speeding along. Don’t know what they feed these kids by the beach, but I’m sure when they hit 37 they’re probably not going to need Icy Hot.

Apparently there was this one kid, Jack, who was getting cheers from spectators all around the course. I didn’t see him or hear the chants. I’d like to think it was because he was behind me, but you never know.

One of the nice surprises that I found between mile one and mile two.

In any case, the running and biking portions of the race were not as grueling as I had thought. I felt bionic. A combination of Jamie Sommers and the Six Million Dollar Man: Colonel Steve Austin. A superhero even. I think I even passed Jack. I was zooming it, thanks to the Icy-Hot and my son’s playlist. However, the transition period sucked. It should take you like a minute. Run. Get your helmet. Get the bike. Go.

No, not for the Guat. For some reason it took me over five minutes to get situated. It wasn’t like I changed shoes or anything. I had a mini iPod and there were headphone wires everywhere. At that point I missed my lucky shirt, but I got over it and moved on.

Here’s my friend, Gonzalez passing me.

And when I got to the pool, it was just as I had expected … Kryptonite. Everyone I had passed during the run and bike phase not only caught up to me, but swam right passed me.

No bionic powers at all, just basic Guat tendencies, like pretending I can freestyle swim.

You know, I don’t know why I even try to freestyle swim. I mean who am I kidding? Who am I trying to impress? Michael Phelps wasn’t there. It’s just not my stoke. Freestyle is a stroke for people whose dots in life are connected. Me … I’m an ass-backwards dots-are-no-where-near-each-other kind of person. I’m a backstroke chick. I actually go faster doing the backstroke, so why the hell did I start of with the freestyle? Who knows. Maybe I went with the fake-it-until-you-make-it mentality.

My reward.

Note to self … that does not work in the pool. You just go slow, with the possibility of cramping and drowning. Stick to the backstroke.

However, regardless of my freestyle attempts and doggie paddles, I backstroked the last two legs of the race and powered through to the finish line.

An hour and twenty minutes. WOO-HOO! An awesome hour and twenty minutes, the kind that makes you feel bad-ass all day.

And for this bad-ass feeling, I’d like to thank the makers of Icy Hot, my son’s playlist, and my stubborn Guatemalan blood for making this possible.

Going Shirtless

20 Oct

In truth, I’m a little nervous.

Is it because this is a new race? A new course? No. Not really.

Is it because it might rain tomorrow during the triathlon? No. Not really

Is it because my friend said she could do the swimming portion in seven minutes? No. Not really. That was more of a holy-crap moment.

Is it because I thought the race was next week and I had another seven days to train? Well … yeah … a little but that’s not the real reason.

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s my shirt.

My shirt.

Every athlete is a little quirky, a little superstitious.  Before every competition, race, or game, they have their routine. They have their order. They have their groove. Baseball players may swing the bat and tap their cleats twice. Basketball players may bounce the ball three times and then spin it before shooting a free-throw. Football players may butt helmets and hit each others shoulder pads. Runners and swimmers may shake off their legs and do a couple of squats before taking the starting blocks.

Every athlete has their routine, their quirks. Mine … broken. This makes me nervous. It’s not like I was going for first place, but I’d like to not suck and this shirt … this shirt mattered. My “pre-warm-up” ritual … not the same. Doesn’t feel right. Literally.

It’s my shirt. It’s not a special triathlon shirt. It’s not a hundred-dollar Nike running shirt. It’s a black v-neck Addidas breathable fabric shirt. It’s been washed over and over and over again. It’s the shirt with no chaffing. It’s worn out in just the right places and it moves with me as I run.

Through 100-degree heat or fat drops of rain beating down on me, the shirt did well. It did well on a track. It did well on a bicycle. It did well in chlorinated water. It was an all-around bad-ass shirt — a can’t lose me shirt. So you could see why I’d be a little nervous. I don’t want to do two wardrobe changes as I transition sports.

Those of you saying why not just get another shirt?

Dude. Have you every played a sport?

This is the shirt.

I tried to find something else, something similar to it, but I had no luck.  The fabric was too clingy. The sleeves were too short. The material was not soft enough. The shirt didn’t feel right. It just didn’t. So I might just have to take multiple shirts in order to feel comfortable in every leg of the race. It’s probably all in my mind. But athletes are crazy and neurotic beings — well at least this Guat. And sports … dude it’s all about the mind.

When routine is broken, my comfort and confidence levels go down a notch. But I’m hoping these wardrobe changes will help even that out and set my mind at ease.

I’ll pack some chocolate just in case.

 

 

 

The Crazy Hill and The Mighty Stop Sign

14 Oct

It’s a stop sign. A red octagon with white letters. And normally this traffic sign is insignificant. It’s a stop sign. You stop, then go.  But this stop sign … this one, represented a woo-hoo! moment for me. A holy crap I can’t believe it.

It sits there at the top of a long, winding incline, practically at the top of a mountain. Taunting runners and bikers alike.

Had I attempted to reach the top before, during my previous triathlon training regiment? Yes. Did I make it? The first time I barely reached the 25 MPH sign. The second time … well … the second time I reached the deer-crossing sign and told myself I could do it. And I made it, huffing and puffing and gasping for air, but I made it. It took two attempts and many bike training sessions in between to build up enough endurance to reach the mighty stop sign.

I told myself that this time around I would make multiple trips over there, but seeing how it had been raining last week, and then hitting temperatures of 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit the week before, I hadn’t gotten around to as much bike riding as I wanted.

Image via Durtbagz.com

But I needed to cowboy up, because in my last triathlon Devil’s Canyon kicked my ass, and I didn’t want a repeat performance. Although I’m not sure what the bike course looks like in this race, I’m certain they’ve got hills and mountains. So this weekend I busted out my two-wheeler, with its new tires, and hit the pavement.

Now I wasn’t planning on visiting that crazy hill with its stop sign today. It had been a rough morning and emotions were running high in the Guat household. In truth, when I left the house I was thinking of riding  about five or six miles and then just heading over to the 7-11 for some chocolate, but found myself riding  to the state park instead, looking at that crazy hill and its mighty stop sign. As I stood there, I noticed all these racing bikes whiz right by me and I thought … oh hell no, even if I don’t have Gatorade I’m going up there.

I found myself pedaling towards that crazy hill and the stop sign.

Now once I got to the 25 MPH sign I thought yeah … I’m feeling pretty good. I haven’t even shifted gears, but once I got to the deer-crossing sign I began contemplating just turning around. My quads had not prepared for a ride of such magnitude and altitude. But I kept going. I kept saying, just one more sign, or just one more tree and I’ll turn back.

However, I just kept going. And in truth it wasn’t the upcoming triathlon that was fueling my inspiration to reach that pinche stop sign. It was the family drama that took place that very morning that pushed my Guat butt up that hill. My frustration and anger fueled me all the way to the top. All I could think was if I made it to the top at least something positive would have happened to me that morning. I would have a happy, triumphant moment among the crappiness.

And you know what? Anger works, man.

I reached the top passing all the racing bikes that had zoomed by me earlier. I got off my bike and smiled. I grabbed hold of that stop sign, while trying to catch my breath. I stood there for a moment. Red-faced, sweaty, huffing and puffing. And victorious. I had made it on my first attempt. And it felt good. Real good. I don’t know how it’s going to feel tomorrow, but today it felt good.

Some random couple drove by as I was feeling the thrill of conquering that crazy hill and reaching the mighty stop sign. They looked at the bike, then at me, and smiled. It felt pretty good to have a random stranger give me an imaginary high-five with a glance.

However as I was taking deep breaths, in order to try and catch my breath, I didn’t get a whiff of fresh mountain air that athletes need after such a victory. My oxygen was tainted. Tainted with the smell of fresh horse manure. And not just a little bit either. I think they were giving a group tour or something because there was a definite aroma in the vicinity.

So I grabbed my bike and made my way down hill. I wish I could have stayed a little bit longer and relish in the moment, you know, take it all in, but unfortunately horse crap isn’t really my thing. And it wasn’t great for my deep-breathing victorious moment either. Maybe next time will be better.

 

Even Though I Hate This Step It Gets Me One Step Closer.

3 Oct

Two miles. I’m up to two miles a day. Normally I would say, you’re out of your #$^&%@! mind to be running two miles a day. What’s a matter with you? You hate running. You hate it. But when it’s an integral part of a race, it kind of seems necessary. Essential even.

So it’s become part of my training regiment. A necessary evil. But that’s just me. There are hundreds of people who enjoy hitting the pavement at a brisk pace. Apparently some of my friends find it liberating. Rejuvenating. Calming. Stress relieving. A journey that clears your thoughts and centers your mind.

Image via Durtbagz.com

This does not happen to me.

Most people get to run in the morning. They wake up charged up and ready to go. However since my kids wake up at sunrise, and I’m not the greatest morning person, I’m never really in the wake up-charged up-ready to go kind of mood. I’m more in the holy-crap-I’m-exhausted-type-of mood.

I don’t get any “me” time until nine o’clock in the evening, when they’ve both gone to sleep for night.  So my runs happen at night. Not a good place to let your guard down and feel calm or relaxed. No rejuvenation going on here. Just paranoia. Most of the time you’re extremely aware of your surroundings, making sure nobody comes out of the bushes and tries to slash you. However I do get a couple of daylight workout hours during the weekend. But I prefer to bike on those days. Bikes and nighttime traffic don’t really mix.

So I try to liberate, rejuvenate, and calm myself by walking, swimming  or biking during weekend daylight hours.

Running. It’s not for everybody, but in my case it’s something that needs to be done. It’s step one on my path, a dreadful step one. But a very necessary one for success.

And for me, success in triathlons is the finish … making it to the finish. No need to be showboating and finish in first in the 35-40 chick category, the top three hundred is fine.

And what do I need to get there? Nonstop service from the starting line to the bike transition station. That’s the goal. So I’m just gonna cowboy up, lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. I dread thinking about it, even when I’m out the door I question myself. I question the insanity of running. But once I start, I keep going because I know it’s bringing me one step closer to my goal.

One step closer to not passing out when the running part is done. One step closer to not being that chick, you know, that chick that walks during the race.  One step closer … that idea is all it takes for me to keep running in the dark. Night after night I think “one step closer.” And if there’s chocolate waiting for me at the end … well then I’ll run a little faster. Incentives rock when you hate step one.

Pool Envy and a Triathlon Buddy

14 Sep

I don’t know if  it’s my 37 year-old body or the fact that it hit 103 degrees today, but my workouts have left me huffing and puffing. I’d like to think it was the heat and not my weary bones.

But I wasn’t crazy, I didn’t run in the 100-degree heat, I hit the track before it was an inferno. It may have only been about 90 degrees at that moment. But regardless of the heat, I had to put on those running shoes. The flu sidelined me for about two weeks and my body responded to all that non-exercise going around. So when I went back, slower than ever I might add, the heat wave began.

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s times like this that I wish I had a pool. I wish I knew somebody nearby that had a pool. It would make training for this triathlon much easier. I envy the pool people.

Although sometimes they anger me because of my pool envy. You know, some of these people have a swimming pool just a few feet away and they could care less. Not even the Olympics inspires them enough to jump in and splash around. It’s the best exercise ever for people with bad knees like myself, not that I would know because I don’t do it regularly, but I read WebMD. I see the dirty pool, the leaves, the moss, and the slimy floaties hanging out.  Ugh. Burn.

I was so up in arms with my pool envy that I watched the Endless Pool infomercial the other night and thought … man I need that. Gotta have that, but it wasn’t happening. The patio may be too small, my mom might not have enjoyed the patio takeover even though she never hangs out there, and I don’t have thousands of dollars just lying around. So my endless pool fantasy died with a sigh and flip of the channel.

I resign to the possibility of training in my kid’s pool from Big Lots. But my 37 year-old body doesn’t quite fit in there. And you all know how I feel about public pools and swimming in other people’s urine. There’s just not enough chlorine.

So I must run my ass off and build enough endurance to make it happen in the pool.  However, this time I may not be splashing in the pool alone. A friend of mine decided she’d attempt her first triathlon and I was pretty happy that I wouldn’t be the loner. I even mentioned that the course was a lot shorter than the last time. A 5K run, only a 10K bike ride, and a 160 meter swim.

“I know you can do it. I mean look at you. You got that Sports Illustrated fitness going on, you belong to a gym, you got that New Year’s resolution. Dude it can all happen with a little jog, bike ride, and swim.”

“Cut it out.”

She eventually called me back and said yes, but I knew she was a little scared about the whole thing. I told her she could have her dude come along for moral support, or join us, or just be our pit crew.  But even with that, it was a hesitant yes. I’m hoping she’ll take the plunge and sign up. Once you sign up, that’s it … you’ve made a declaration. You’re in for the sixty bucks. It’s your ante for the big game.

But if she chickens out, it’s all good. I’ll understand. I’ll have a radio to pump me up this time. Singing the songs myself only worked for the first two miles the last time I ran one of these. Then after mile two, all I heard was my heavy breathing. I’m not into hearing my heavy breathing or the breathing of every one else. It may have slowed me down. And slow is something I’m trying to avoid this time around.

Giddy up!

 

With The Help of DayQuil, NyQuil, and Ricola I See A Lot of Checkmarks.

31 Aug

Those calendars days stare at me. They lay there bare naked, no checkmark. They mock me. Damn it.

I started off so well. I was bionic and I crossed off each day in victory — overcoming the lazy I-don’t-want-to-workout early stages of training. The calendar marked my awesome daily athletic progress with large checkmarks. I got an enormous sense of satisfaction marking those days off. But now … now I’m just a regular body filled up with DayQuil, NyQuil, Ricola Cough Drops, and empty calendar days.

Image via Durtbagz.com

The flu is a bastard.

Sleeping about three to four hours a night for the past few days kicked my ass. My enthusiasm for triathlon training went down hill. The sad thing is I didn’t even have the flu this week. It was my kids. That children’s Advil and Tylenol work their magic for about four hours and then it’s over. The crying, the bad moods, the coughing, the congestion, and the mucus set off the night shift alarm, and I’m the supervisor.

However now, not only am I the supervisor, but I’m also a patient. So, I’m all about the over-the-counter medicine traveling through my body. Vicks Vapor Rub, bring it on. Tea with honey and lemon to comfort my body, yes. Thai shrimp soup, spicy to sweat it out, most definitely. I’m trying all methods to make this 37-year old Guat body recover as soon as possible so that I can return to my exercise mode. When training for a triathlon, you need every day, well at least I do. I’m 37.

I look like crap and feel pretty much the way I look. No mineral makeup to cover up this mess. The flu is in my blood and seeing the three calendar days without check marks burns me out. Stupid virus.

Why? Why is it that whenever you decide to get all jazzed up about an event or adventure there is always something that gets in the way? The flu. No babysitter. Sprained ankle. A flat tire. Your period.

All these little impediments momentarily stopping you from succeeding. Don’t they — the Powers That Be, The Universe — know that the race itself contains plenty of obstacles that challenge your body. You don’t need any extra rings of fire. You don’t need anymore downers.

You really don’t.

But nevertheless it happens and you just have to lace up the shoes and move on. There’s nothing that can be done about those three check-less days. There’s nothing that can be done about the 72 hours I lost. They’re gone. I can’t look at the calendar without wincing. But at least September is coming up and I don’t have to look at the month of August. It mocks me.

But September is a new page on the calendar, and all I see is checkmarks in my future. With the help of DayQuil, NyQuil, and Ricola I see a lot of checkmarks.

Giddy up!