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Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the category “Biking”

This IS my Happy Face.

Here follows a riveting, step-by-step recap of last weekend’s rain-athlon.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll be forever changed.  You’ll never get this four minutes back.

After taking most of Thursday to get my head back on, I did well Friday.   It finally came down to the fact that I couldn’t face being a wimp.  It came down to ego.  Facing the triathlon was the lesser of two evils.  I needed the bragging rights, I couldn’t sit home pouting while everyone else put on their big pants and did the race.  Plus – did I mention? – they have free beer.

Once I figured that out and got moving I felt better.  I got organized, printed a triathlon check list and realized I’d done well getting everything arranged and packed.  The alarm went off at 4am, the car was loaded and we were set to go.  Weather.com never changed its mind; this is what our drive to Tunica looked like:

rainy

 That’s rain, not a crappy picture.  Although it is also a crappy picture.  Hey – it was 5am and I was only on my third coffee.

I stalled on the Happy Face a bit when we arrived, getting out of the car in 52 degrees of windy rain.  We set up my transition in the rain and mud and went into the hotel to stay as warm and dry as we could until the start.  The lobby was full of people in varying stages of concern, irritation, or resignation, making me not the only one with the Idonwannas.  One of my friends walked out and went home.  I felt slightly envious.

Sitting on the lobby floor I wrestled with the now sentient and obviously reluctant wetsuit which, as I pulled at the rubberized neoprene, continuously snapped back into its original shape like a new rubber band, clinging to my calves as I pulled and stretched with increasing effort.  I finally got the reluctant thing – I’m pretty sure it wasn’t any happier than the rest of us –  about halfway up my thighs.  Standing, I jumped in place and tugged on the suit, because jumping up and down helps?  At one point I got my arms into the arm holes but couldn’t stand straight because the crotch was still halfway up my thighs.  Normally this type of thing would be a bit embarrassing, bent in half, in public, captive to a large stretchy garment of rubber, but everyone else was doing the same dance.

The best part?  When I finally got it on, found a stranger to zip me and was able to stand straight?  I had to go to the bathroom.  And it wasn’t optional.

Thank you, nice lady in the bathroom, whom I’ve never met before, because with my hair smashed inside the rubber swimming condom and my body squished flatter than a pancake you looked for a moment as though someone was not in the correct restroom, and yet you didn’t scream.

thankyou

Waiting for the start, standing in barefoot in the wet, muddy grass in a sleeveless wetsuit and 52-degree rain made the jump into 68-degree water feel nice.  Even nicer, I felt no fear of the swim.  I wasn’t much faster than last year, in fact it seemed to take much longer – because this time I knew where I was going? – but I made it.  I ran through the squishy muddy grass to my transition site.   The wetsuit that didn’t want me is now my best friend, “please, I love you, don’t leave me” and I plopped in the mud, finally jerking it off my feet, pulling socks on over the mud – who cared at this point – and crammed on my bike shoes.

Running through the grassy muddy transition I worried about all the stuff that could get crammed in my cleats and if I’d be able to clip in, but the Gods of Rainy Triathlons provided a handy-dandy shoe washing station:

IMG_0660

 That’s not me ^^

This is me:

MIM tri v.2

This IS my Happy Face ^^
(DISCLAIMER – I am not a member of the Very Awesome Thunder Tri Team, but Kat C. loaned me this jacket to stay warm on the bike.  See?  Awesome people.)

The bike was great!  I was hitting 20 – 21 mph!  It was so easy!  No strain, quads kicking in and not complaining, calves are silent – maybe it’s a miracle?  I’ve had a miraculous cycling miracle with my 2014 training plan of four bike rides?  This is AWESOME!  I’m golden!  I’m like … in a shitton of trouble, turning left halfway through the bike into a straight-on headwind blowing misty rain in my face.  I dropped from 20mph to 10 in about 13 seconds.  A woman in my age group passed me and disappeared into the distance.  Dammit.

If you’ve never done a run following a bike ride, even a really slow bike ride, it’s weird.  Cycling cadence is much higher than a run cadence; your legs get used to going round and round faster than usual, so when you head out on the run it feels like you’re still slogging through the mud of transition, yet you’re gasping for air, doing a 100-count-per-minute cadence.  It seems to take most of the first mile to get the message to my legs that they can relax now.  I managed to pass the lady who’d passed me on the bike and came into the chute knowing I’d left everything on the course, finishing 6 minutes slower than last year, all of it lost on the bike.

Saturday afternoon sitting around the pool with everyone I found myself thinking, “I could still register for tomorrow’s Olympic distance”, and I considered it for a moment, before realizing I was completely untrained for it.  I knew, given my sincere desire not to injure this year, that  it was a bad idea.  But if I were trained up enough…

WTH??

Get yer head outta yer …

It took considerable effort and most of the day – and a sunny day at that, which would normally help more than it did – but I think I have finally successfully completed the most recently needed headeroidectomy.

This time last year, a couple days before the Memphis in May Sprint Tri, I was also a bitch, but it was born of fear.  Heart-pounding, jump-out-of-the-car-and-run-to-the-portajohn fear.  I wish I were a better person, a person who could panic with grace and good humor, but so far in my life that has never happened.  At least for now I’m stuck being a jerk.  Hopefully I’m shortening the jerk duration but I have no proof.

I’ll tell you the difference a year makes.  I have no reason to believe that you will believe what I’m about to say because I sure didn’t, and I’m the one who heard the words come out of my own mouth, although I could have been channeling some long dead Egyptian god of the Nile, in which case it would have been my own mouth I guess, but not my own words, right?  Anyway, you can imagine my shock when one day my mouth said out loud, “I’d like to get a swim in the lake.”

I turned around reallyquick to be sure Jeff Dunham was not standing behind me playing a practical joke but, no, it was just me and Murphy, and Murph was busy chasing a squirrel and barking.  He’s good and all, but I’m pretty sure he cannot be a ventriloquist and bark at the same time.  Apparently it was my mouth which said that.

Obviously it was surprising.  It was not what I expected my mouth to say, but there you go, it did, and when I thought about it I realized that my mouth was right.  Brain also thought it would be nice to swim in the lake.

So, we did.  Becky and John and Jay came over and we jumped in the cold lake water squealing like girls even though two of us were boys and we swam around until the cold water made us get a little vertigo.  Then we climbed out of the lake, had a beer or two and ate pizza.  It was quite a nice afternoon and I was pleased.

I’ve ridden my bike in circles clipping/unclipping, I think I know how to shift.  I may not really love riding the bike but the panic is mostly gone.  The swim was actually fun, especially the beer part afterward, which was my favorite.  And, of course, all that’s left after that is the run.

My training is not where I wish it were, it’s harder to run slower than I was running last year, which means it’s near impossible to run faster, and faster would still be slower than it used to be.  This makes my ego hurt, and it probably hurt your brain reading that sentence but I swear it makes sense.  So I know that I’m not going to kill the triathlon this weekend.  I’m just going to swim without panic, ride my bike with a normal workout heart rate and finish up with a run.

Then – and this is where the genius comes in – you are going to be soooo impressed – all afternoon Saturday I will sit around the pool in the sunshine with my friends and  free beer.

I repeat – all I have to do is go for a little swim, tool around on my bike, and then run, and I get all the free, warm, soft sunshine I want!  And if I get too warm in the free sunshine, I can get in the pool!  Then I can get in the sun!  Then the pool!

Hallelujah

Okay, plot development.  This is the sad part of the movie where the heroine is deathly ill and the hero is gone off to war or something, I don’t know.  Wherever heroes go.

Current forecast for Tunica this Saturday:  feel like temp of 50, 60%-70% chance of rain.  Mostly cloudy and mid 60’s for the afternoon.  I felt very frustrated, which is quite 3 year-old-of me, albeit an improvement over being very 2-year-old-ish.  Crank crank pout and stomp feet.  DON’T LIKE.  Make it go away.

Of course it’s not going anywhere, unlike our flake of a hero.

So this is what’s going to happen.  I’m going to get wet in the water, then I may get wet on the bike, which I’ll be riding in already wet attire, and then I’ll run in wet attire which wouldn’t get any drier regardless, it will get wetter with rain, or with sweat, or with both.  I’m going to think of the participants who are doing both the Saturday and the Sunday race, with a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday morning also.  I’m going to think of Becky’s bike breaking last Saturday, and I’m going to think about all the people who wish they had the luxury of running, biking and/or swimming but they don’t, and I may do it soaking wet and cold.  Who knows?

Then, as long as I don’t fall off the bike or on my face, I’ll be done.  If I do it without complaining and with grace and charm I will be a heroine, at least in my own eyes.

And – the beer will still be free.

But, no, back on the horse that may throw me.

Well, I’ve just been sitting around on my flukey bootie doing nothing.

I did do some laundry.  But only because I ran out of running gear.  A person needs priorities.

I even went for another bike ride.  Becky is an insidious person and acted like I would be doing her a favor if I rode with her.  Eventually I decided to give it one last try, since I’m registered for a Tri.  Because I’m stupid.  Maybe I should not admit publicly that I’m stupid, but, really, not admitting it doesn’t change it.  Plus it’s rather hard to hide the fact when I just typed “I’m registered for a Tri” because anyone reading that knows immediately that I am stupid.

The reason I didn’t want to ride my bike any more is that I don’t like the feeling of sheer terror.  Call me stupid (I know…) but I just don’t.  I don’t get happy with the adrenaline rush, heart pounding, head throbbing with blood rushing through my brain by the gallon, my body shaking with the flood of fight-or-die hormones.

One weekend when I was in high school a bunch of us, as we sometimes did, had a picnic in the desert.  This was always a day-long affair, everyone driving out in the boonies, kids jumping out of the cars and running all over, moms setting out food and visiting.  The dads would take us all out to some wash and teach us to shoot cans.  My brother had a dirt bike he’d bought with his newspaper route money and the bigger kids took turns riding it around.

It was my turn and I was about a mile from camp, doing no more than 25mph (it had a governor) when I hit a wash and the bike bogged in the sand, so I punched it – just as I also hit a rock with the front tire and the bike came to an immediate and abrupt stop.  I, however, did not stop, going head first over the handlebars, landing on my chin.  Prior to that moment it was never on my radar that a person can break their jaw, but I knew immediately and instinctively that I had.  I also had blood dripping on my shirt from somewhere on my face.

A few months earlier I’d sprained my ankle which necessitated a visit to the ER for an x-ray to be sure it wasn’t broken.   So far in my life – and I hope no further – I have broken my finger, my wrist, my jaw, my toe and my foot; I’ve learned it’s good to go ahead and check.  While there a young man in another room had a nose that would not quit bleeding and they were packing it full of something (cotton?  I don’t know).  That kid was screaming like they were sawing off his foot.

Thus my concern, walking the mile back to camp with a broken jaw which I could not feel because actually I was in shock, was not my jaw, but the source of blood, because I had no intention of ever letting anyone near my nose.  Fortunately it turned out it was just a big gash in my chin from the impact.

By the time we’d driven back into town and stopped at the house to get insurance info the shock had worn off and let me tell you, a broken jaw:  hurts.  Like a mother.

And they would not give me anything for pain in case of head trauma.  I hung around the ER for a few hours while they tended to other people, finally x-raying me, the tech apologizing profusely as he turned my head this way and that.  Yep, broken, up to a room where I dozed off and on, in pain, until the next morning when they set my jaw.  Still un-medicated, because they also needed me able to communicate while they set the jaw.  Which I’m grateful for, I didn’t want a crooked face but – it hurt.

I spent the next six weeks walking around with my mouth wired shut, talking funny and carrying wire cutters because if I ever got a stomach virus or bad food things could get ugly pretty quickly.

That’s the end of the story.

Until a week or two ago, when I met Max.  Mas is a beautiful dog, probably a golden-lab mix, who appeared to be maybe a year old, 80 pounds or so, and newly, deeply in love with me.  He saw me riding Matilda, minding my own business, my HR about 189 since Brain wouldn’t quit thinking about how it would feel to go face first over the handlebars, and he knew we needed to be Best Friends.  Flush with adoration, deaf to his owner’s fervent pleas, Max raced out of his yard and down the street after me, barking his joy and devotion.  I managed to slow before he reached me, getting one foot unclipped before he jumped on me.  The other foot was still clipped, and while he leaned against me in slavish love and his poor owner continued to yell at the now-deaf-with-adoration dog I managed to unclip just in time, catching myself before I went over.

Max suddenly and miraculously had his hearing restored at the exact same time the owner arrived at the scene, apologizing profusely and thanking me for my patience and understanding.  I nodded that I do understand, I also have a dog who suffers event-induced deafness.  And I couldn’t have said anything cranky because my heart was stuck up in my throat doing about 250.

Shaking and shivering I got on the bike and wobbled back home, where I leaned Matilda against the wall, took off my helmet and threw it at the wall, following that with my bike shoes and gloves, swearing loudly with colorful words that it was over.  Sorry, Matilda, that’s the end of the relationship.  It’s not you, it’s me, I want a divorce, you can have the storage shed in the settlement; there you will slowly wither and die, covered with cobwebs and eventually rust.

old bike

I knew – I knew – that Becky would not let it lie.  She was good.  She didn’t say anything.  Like, what?  I’m stubborn?  She and hubs, I know what they are thinking when they get all quiet and don’t mention the elephant in the room.

But she’s so darn little and cute when she gets stubborn, and I didn’t want to make her sad, so I finally put Matilda in the back of the car and drove to meet up near the end of her ride.  Since my biggest worry on the bike is not riding the bike – it’s the sudden and unexpected stop that keeps me in panic mode – I had the brilliant idea of riding in circles and stopping.  There I was, in the St. Phillip parking lot, riding in circles.  Ride – unclip – stop – repeat, while the ladies walking into the church looked at me like I might need an intervention.

“Hi, my name is Terri, and I bike…”

 

I didn’t see that one coming.

Well, over here in wonderland it’s been a merry-go-round of crazy people registering for races and memberships and emailing me to find out if they can contract for services.  I’m kinda shaking my head.  I understand Forbes and the like have criteria they use, formulas for determining which cities get slapped with unfittest places to live, unhealthiest population, etc., but I sure wish someone from those groups would show up at the Road Race 5K starting line, 1,315 runners all the colors of the rainbow, towing the line, Garmins locked and loaded, The Voice Of MRTC bellowing GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORRRRRRRRRRRRRNING RUNNNNNNNNNNNERS!

There was not a lot of unfit unhealthiness hanging around that morning.

There were a few people with headphones blaring so loudly that they could not hear the car behind them honking and fellow (un-hearing impaired) runners screaming CAR BACK! repeatedly.  This is what I think:  If you cannot run without music blaring so loudly into your head that you cannot hear fellow runners yelling and repeated car honking, you need to go see someone for your hearing loss.

Thus we can conclude from this story that running can cause deafness.

Here’s something you two may not know:  Triathlons can cause blindness.  True.

By the way, I did go on to do a 2nd triathlon because apparently even though I am taking my medication regularly it isn’t working properly.  I wanted to do a 3rd, which was this weekend, but I am also training for a marathon and with 20 miles to run this morning I thought it prudent not to blow out 1-1/2 or 2 hours worth of energy the day before.  I did that a few weeks ago when I did several hours of yard work and then did 16 miles the next day.  It was carnage.  Ugly, ugly, ugly.  If that run had a personality it would have been a cross between that idiot that owns Abercrombie and Fitch and the car salesman who screams the entire commercial.  Which, how the hell he sells any cars, I don’t know.  I HAVE A DEAL FOR YOU!!! COME ON OVER!!!! I CAN GET YOU INTO A CAR TODAY!!!!!  Hey, I can get me into a car today, too.  And it’s not yours.

The thing about Speedos is, no one can really wear them well.  Even Olympic swimmers.  I look at the TV and nervously slide my glance away, the anorexic young things have stomachs so flat I’m positive the Speedo actually has nothing to grip and any second now that sucker is heading straight for the floor.  Look at them next Olympics.  They have no butt, no hips and no stomach.  The poor Speedo is hanging on for dear life.  “Ohhhh no….he’s diving into the pool!!  HOLD ON!”  Meanwhile a nation of 18-22 year old females hover on the edge of the couch, watching intently.  “I didn’t know you were so interested in sports, honey,” wonders their collective fathers.

And if those incredibly fit, flat-tummied guys can’t, I can tell you for absolute certainty who else can’t:  that 60-something guy at the triathlon yesterday.  I saw him riding up and because I am so finely tuned into the universe I knew – I KNEW – this was a cluster looking for a place.  I tried not to look but it’s like going to WalMart on a Saturday morning in July.  Oh, crap.  I can’t unsee that.   OOPS, I can’t unsee that.  OH SHIT, I really can’t unsee THAT.  As someone once said, it’s like watching two watermelons fight their way out of a bag.

So I saw Mr. Speedo (that’s not his real name.  I made that up.  I don’t really know his real name and if offered the opportunity to know his real name I would decline, loudly and probably not using the manners my momma taught me.)  Anyway, Mr. Speedo rode up to the transition area on his bike in the little bitty Speedo and nothing else except his transition bag.  I’ve noticed at WalMart on Saturdays that as people age they start to sag a bit, and it appears that no specific body parts are exempt, if you get my drift.  I’m not positive but I think I heard a tiny voice coming from the direction of the Speedo say “For the Love of All That’s Holy someone save me”, but that could have been my eyeballs talking, I’m not sure.  At any rate maybe he has poor vision and XS and XL all look the same.

I walked off and tried to find someone to talk to so I could get the image stuck on my eyeballs to start to fade.  You know, like if someone next to you says, HEY!  DO. NOT. Look at the sun! you immediately stare straight at the sun even though your brain is screaming DON’T and then you have a huge orange ball floating in front of everything you look at for 10 minutes and you really can’t see anything else except around the edges.  I found my friend Johncharles and he’s easy enough to talk to that you can visit with him even if there is a large blob burned into your retinas and you can only see the outline of his head and his face is obscured.  Eventually I felt better.

Later I found my other friend, Hermione (all names, by the way, have been changed to protect the innocent).  We went over to the swim exit and visited with Johncharles.  I was turned to talk to Hermione so my back was to the boat launch as the runners came out of the water.  I saw her face contort, terror and disbelief in her eyes as she whispered, “Ohhhh…gawd…”

I knew.  I knew what she was looking at and I turned my head anyway, yep, Mr. Speedo (whom, I should amend, is, I’m sure, a very very nice man and someone’s daddy and I will get several extra days in timeout in Heaven for this blog but I can’t stop myself now, I have to finish this story so you will be warned and will know why blindness could occur).

I turned back but poor Hermione was still a bit stunned and moving slowly.  “Ohhh…no…we have…testicle.”

DON’T LOOK DON’T LOOK DON’T LOOK OMG DO NOT LOOK it took everything I had not to look but I succeeded.  I want to live to see my grandson’s sweet face one more time.

“…we have…testicle” she said, softly.

“…we have…testicle contact…” she softly updated me as my mind exploded.

“…and…testicle…is secured.” she concluded.

Oh, the places you’ll go (with sincere apologies to Dr. S)

“You should try Indian food. It’s better than a triathlon.” I won’t name the source, but let’s just call her the honorary mayor of Turdville today. 😉

Heather suggested Indian food.  Becky had never had Indian food but I pointed out how good it could be.  Somehow, after a nice buffet at Bombay Palace, I was elected the Honorary Mayor of Turdville after declaring today to be “National Stupid Crap Weather Compounded By Being a Monday and I Have No Girl Scout Cookies Left in the Hiding Place Day and I hereby decree that everyone is not only permitted, but encouraged – nay – REQUIRED – to go ahead and quit trying to feel all perky and sunshiny because you’re just faking it anyway and that’s pissing me off too.”

Here is our National Stupid Crap Weather Day logo:

crappyday

And our Official Turdville Motto:  “Welcome to Turdville.  Go Away.”

My Staph Sargent-at-arms thought we should have an official Turdville Poem and suggested a Poetry contest.  As the Mayor of Turdville I felt it only right that I be the judge of the contest, which I – surprisingly – won! and declared myself the Poet Laureate of Turdville.  I offer my sincere thanks and heart-felt apologies to Dr. Seuss, although I do believe he might have felt the same way, this spring.

ODE TO TURDVILLE

Congratulations!  Today is your day.
It’s going to rain the whole world away!
Can’t get the car out – the driveway’s a Bay!

You have brains in your head.
(Well.  That’s what they said).
You’re on your own and you know what you know.
And YOU know where!  To Turdville you’ll  go!

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
You’ll say, “They just passed my bike — by only a hair!”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of cleat,
You’re too smart to go riding on any DAMN street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
To people on bikes, cars yelling at you.

And then things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along. You’ll get rained upon, too.

OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You still lag behind, despite your 12-speed.
You’ll be passed by the whole gang, they soon take the lead.
Wherever you bike, it won’t matter, you’re not best.
Karma bites ass – it rains upon you and the rest.

BWAhahaha.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
Pouring rain and floods can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
Your gang will fly past – you’ll be left in a Lurch.
After a 90% uphill with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
You ride slowly, carefully, those damn dogs there just BARKED.
A place you could strain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How deep is that f*cking sinkhole? How much can you spin?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
Chambers Chapel?  Damn uphill! Maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
No matter – it’ll be cloudy and windy, you’ll find,
A mind-maker-upper can’t make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place:

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go, Or the rain to stop
Shit.  Leak in the roof.  Where’s damn mop?
Or the mail to come, with more stupid bills.
Like riding on bikes, it’s always UP hills
The waiting around for a Yes or No
Weather.com just said, IT’S GOING TO SNOW??

Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
Or you asshole boss to go fly a kite
Waiting around for another Friday night
Or waiting for a chance to see some DAYLIGHT
Waiting, perhaps, for another damn break
But, no, JUST MORE RAIN, my yard’s now a LAKE.
I’ve flipped my wig, no more can I TAKE!
I’m going to bed, want to live? DO NOT WAKE.

Happy freeking Monday.

As you two might already know, I have a couple of Monday issues happening here.

First, I’m supposed to be having an “off” day.  Obviously most of my days are “off”  so I expect you’re both wondering what’s so unusual about that.  Cynics, both of you, I’m supposed to be taking the day off from working out.  So of course I slept wonderfully and didn’t get up until 7am, waking refreshed and enthused about maybe swimming (right, OK, not really enthused, but you know…sorta not hating the idea.  That’s a lot like being enthused.)

I have to admit I no longer look at swimming like it was my second pregnancy and this time I knew what natural childbirth felt like and knew I was going to have to go through it all again anyway.  See?  That’s positive, right?

I remember being pregnant with the twins, sitting in a chair, unable to see my toes.  Hubs asked me about the Lamaze classes, wondering how learning a breathing technique was helpful.  “Does it make it hurt less, then?” he asked.

In the most polite way possible I told him to go shut his buddy in the door over there and work on breathing slowly and deeply, which would be helpful in demonstrating to him both the feeling of labor and the benefit of proper breathing.  He politely declined and indicated he was happy to take me at my word.

So today I’m not going swimming or running or biking (but I am going to sneak in some yard work SHHHH be vewy vewy quiet.)

vewy vewy quiet

Since I’m full of energy and it’s a pretty day and also I put it off for the past three days I decided to go to Kroger’s and buy food.  Secondly, I decided to actually make dinner tonight.  Fasten the seatbelts, it’s going to be a rough ride.  I even looked up a recipe.  Then I decided we don’t need no stinking recipe and I’m going to make up my own plan.  Baked pork chops, rice and veggies.  I’ll let you know if hubs survives.  There’s really no other option because I forgot to buy the Lean Cuisines and I’m not going back to the store.  I figure more than once a week in Kroger is probably a leading cause of brain leakage, and I have reason for that belief.

Part of the problem is the Muzak.  Usually I can handle a little bit of the orchestral remakes of Back in Black or Somebody to Love because once those get stuck in my head, as they will undoubtedly and without fail do, I don’t feel like I need to thread dental floss through my ears and clean out my head.

Oddly, I kept feeling I should not go to Kroger this morning.  Not that I didn’t want to, I was actually feeling rather enthused about buying food and cooking it, as opposed to buying it and letting it rot.  And I kept thinking of other things to take care of instead of going to the store, but I didn’t want to go this afternoon because I want to get outside in the sunshine and rake up 10 millionbajillion leaves from the 87 trees on our lawn.

OK.  FINE.  It’s not really 87 trees. I don’t want to count them though, because then for the rest of my life at some point every freeking day my brain would randomly announce WE HAVE 23 TREES ON OUR LAWN and when I’m in the home and don’t recognize my own toes my brain would still randomly announce out loud to the nurse WE HAVE 23 TREES ON OUR LAWN.  The nurses will all call me Tree Lady and they’ll all know which resident they’re talking about.  Sometimes they’ll just shorten it to “23 needs a bed pan” and they’ll all know then, too.

Anyway, I didn’t listen to my own inner psychic and I went to Kroger.  Probably, too, if I weren’t so damn well hydrated it would still have worked out OK.  But, no, I’ve had like 40 ounces of water already this morning plus three coffees, so of course I had to go to the Ladies’ Room – this is the polite term for bathroom in public places – which when you think about it, they can’t call it a bathroom because it has no bath.  If it did have a bath I would totally not go in there because I have no clue what I might see at that point, but – without meaning to point fingers – if that woman in front of me in the checkout was naked in a bath and I saw that at Kroger’s I would probably go blind or end up in the home tomorrow telling everyone about the freeking damn trees and drooling.

This is precisely why I will never make it as a nurse.  I’ll never play piano either, but if I did, I can tell you one song I would NEVER-NEVER-EVER play: Please Mr., Please which, unfortunately, came on overhead just as I was checking out.

AND THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED AT THAT STORE!!  Let me repeat that as I’m sure you are both completely stunned and cannot believe what you just read:  THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED AT THAT STORE!

How can the odds possibly work out that I would hear that damn song twice in the same store?  How random is that, anyway?  Shouldn’t I have fallen into a black hole first, or hit a hole-in-one at the Masters even though I don’t golf?  Wouldn’t those chances be better than hearing that song twice in the same place???  AND it happened in the check out line.  If I’d just not gone to the Ladies’ Room.  Dammit.

But, no.  Here I sit, two hours later, and that song is running through my head like a warm murky stream on a grossly hot day.  I even youtubed AC/DC and played it real loud to try getting it out that way, but they can’t seem to kick Olivia out.  Probably by Wednesday or Thursday it should be gone.

Secondly, “at my age” which the doctors seem get some perverse joy out of saying, I think there should be some perks.  One of the perks I think I should be able to enjoy is not have a pimple grow in the middle of my nose.

I’m concerned that hearing Olivia warble about B17 has flashed me back to my teen years and my pores felt obliged to make me feel right at home.  Soon I shall don my jeans that are far too short because my legs are too long and they don’t sell jeans by the inseam yet and get some broccoli stuck in my braces so when I laugh out loud during Monday afternoon Spanish class the popular kids will laugh too.

What do you mean, they weren’t laughing with me?

Dammit.  I HATE Mondays.

I haven’t been right here. Where were you?

I was abducted by Aliens!
I was sucked into a Black Hole!
I was transported to an alternate universe!
I fell deeply asleep for forty years!

Ok, maybe I just got busy and then went out-of-town.  Sorry, I know both of you have completely stopped breathing while waiting for a wonderful, life changing post.  You don’t look so good, not breathing and all that.  Maybe you should get a life?

Anyway, taking up where we left off two weeks ago on the last tantalizing and mesmerizing post about how hard my poor life is, AT&T was firm in its resolve that I was not getting anything fixed for five days.  Whether they have too much stuff that breaks or not enough people to fix the broken stuff, either way they were intractable.

I made up a song about the issue:
It’s my blog and I’ll rant if I want to rant if I want to rant if I want to.
You would rant too if it happened to you

Well, unless you were the Hubs who has the patience of Job, only not as many cows and wives.  “Ok, I’m accepting, I’m accepting,” he said when I told him.  Well, sure he was accepting.  His work still had internet, right?  What was to accept on his end?  Working and getting things done?  That’s tough.

I said something cranky.  Imagine that.

To continue with the comparison of Job:  this is why Hubs, with the patience of Job, if he were Job, would have lots of cows but would balk at more than one wife.  One is one too many most of the time, I suspect.  Also, you pronounce it JOBE.  Even though it’s spelled JOB like “I have a job”, it’s pronounced JOBE, like I said.  Like, “I have a JOBE.”  Of course, if you tell people you have a JOBE they will think you have a dog or a friend or something named Job pronounced JOBE and will think you are a ne’er-do-well who doesn’t work.  I think you should just shut up at that point, but that’s just my opinion.  Go ahead and try it.  Don’t come crying to me.

I felt irritated and cranky until it occurred to me that what we are dealing with, here, is a First World Problem.  Put on the Big Girl pants.  Which I did and then I went to BeckyB’s house and borrowed a cup of wireless for a couple of hours to be sure any work hot spots were stomped out.  AT&T showed up the following Tuesday (which was  about a year ago at this point, thankfully I have a good memory) – at my house – a live person – who immediately detected the location of the issue, found that in the box at the end of the street where my service arises out of the deep dark hole of underground life were two wires, a black one and an orange one.  When these two wires are dangling, loose and unconnected, voilà!  No Service!  When they are connected, voilà!  Service!  And then he stayed until I got everything hooked back up and working.  Nice guy.  I have his name and number.  Let me know if your internet quits.  Black connects to black, orange to orange.  Crazy sh*t, I know, it takes an expert.

So then, since I had nothing else to do that week before I had internet resurrected, my crazy friend and I worked out with Killer.  Then I went to my anonymous crazy friend’s house, where  BeckyB set Matilda up on the Cycleops and we did Suffer-O-Rama Spinnervals for 45 minutes (seriously?  Suffer-O-Rama?  How can this possibly be good??) and then quick like little bunnies we hopped off, put on our running shoes and did 1.7 around her neighborhood.  My first Brick.  With mixed emotions I have signed up for the Memphis in May Sprint Tri.  When I told hubs he started to smile and then he froze as though Big Foot just showed up on our front lawn.  Don’t move Don’t move Don’t move, you might scare it.  Carefully moving nothing but his lips he said, “oh, good.”  Pat Big Foot softly on the head.  Nice Big Foot, there you go.

I thought about that a lot – the triathlon, not Big Foot – the next day as I swam back and forth back and forth like a hamster running on its little wheel going nowhere.  I thought about how I have a few more weeks to learn to swim 400 yards without holding on the side of the pool every 25th yard.  I thought about being in a lake and looking down as I swim, seeing nothing. I considered closing my eyes while I swam in the pool, to practice not seeing, but I didn’t really feel like bumping into the side of the pool in front of everyone.  I wondered if maybe you see stuff but it’s kind of slimy and squishy, and some of it came out of a fish?  Or do you see fish?  I bet you don’t see fish.  They’re probably too smart to swim where crazy people are.  I hope so, anyway.

Finally I had internet and to spare.  The next morning I sat on the patio, Jamaica Me Crazy in my steaming mug, foggy and zero visibility.  I could see the trees, random black outlines twisting and curving against the grey fog, a cacophony of birds cheeping chirping tweeting and squawking and an awkward squirrel ran down the side of a tree, little shards of bark breaking loose and falling in front of him.

I was reminded of one of my favorites from Morning Prayer, the Canticle of Daniel:

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
You sons of men, bless the Lord.

Thankfully, although I forget to do this most of the time, the birds, squirrels and budding plants remembered.  I need to watch them more often.

Isn’t this better than internet?

foggy morning

Altho there could be some Zombies out there…

Putting the fun in functional.

There’s so much I need to do and so little time to get it done.

First, and always:  coffee.  Make the coffee, drink the coffee.

Then I have to stretch, use the roller, use the racquet ball, do some exercises.

I’m lying.  I never do that.

Sh*t.  Our Lady Queen of Pain might read this.

YES, I do that every day.

Brush my teeth.  Every day I have to brush my teeth.  Someone needs to invent self-cleaning teeth.

Then I have to check out FB, of course, and post to the MRTC page.  Which I can’t do today because apparently the gods of FB are not allowing administrators to post to FB every Thursday that falls on September 27th.  So, if you’re reading this blog, YES you can get your shirts at every race now through the last 1/2 marathon.

OH, my gosh look at those cute kittens!

Seriously, that’s cute.  They look like mobsters patrolling their area.

Get the newspaper.  This is always an exercise in frustration.  If frustration burned calories I’d weigh 100 pounds.  I force myself to read the editorials and the op-eds.  The dog sees me sit down at the table with the paper and he runs for the door, “let me out, PLEASE!”   Apparently pounding the table and muttering  “are you a freeking IDIOT!? I vote YES you are!” irritates him.  I’m just guessing, but he does seem desperate.

Either that or he disagrees with my politics.  Yet, I continue to feed and house him.  I think he’s a Democan.  But he might be a Republicrat.

This could also explain why hubs leaves the house early every day to “work out” … hmmm …

The cat doesn’t give a sh*t and just wants to eat my shoelaces.  While I’m wearing the shoes.  And trying to walk.  And dammit, there I go.  Tripped up again.

Then she hauls a$$ and hides in the 2″ space under the couch while I cuss.

Look what an anonymous friend gave me:

Why did she think of me when she saw it?

I’ve used her several times already.  And, why do I immediately think she’s female?  This could be a male dammit doll.

Nah.

Every time I slam her head on the desk DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT, afterward I straighten her hair and kiss her.  Sorry, Dammit Doll, you were born into a life of pain and sorrow.

Neither of you two Faithful Followers of my World Famous Blog will believe this, but sometimes I have to work.

WTH that’s about, I do not know.

Ok, I’m back, sorry – had to play some Spider Solitaire.  Damn game.  I’m at like, 32% win rate.  The rule is, you have to play until you win.  Then when you win a game, you seem to think that can happen again, but it doesn’t, it can’t, there’s some quantum mechanics that could explain why but I still can’t figure out why mechanics are quantum, so now you’re stuck in the endless loop of playing until you win a game….and there’s no way to cheat on that damn game.  Yet, I continue to return.  It’s like when you get a piece of popcorn stuck in your tooth and it hurts.  Then you finally get it out, but you keep putting your tongue where it hurt even though that hurts.  And each time you think, this time it won’t hurt.  Because?  You’re an idiot?

Speaking of mechanics that are quantum, I posted this yesterday and tagged my daughter, since we’re both math inept past multiplication:

Photo

So T1 almost immediately posts, “Shrodinger’s Cat, right?”

WTH??????

Why, yes, Mr. Google reveals, that is, indeed, Shrodinger’s equation.  Now it’s no longer funny because I didn’t know that and I thought not knowing that was funny because NO ONE would know it.  But, no.  The Misters Smart A$$es read the damn books in high school.

I’m not burning off enough energy every day.

Can you tell?

I should ride my bike, but I have to make myself do it.  I have to ride nearly twice as long to burn the energy I use running and frankly, it’s boring.  I guess it’s like when you start running and it’s not as much fun as other people make it look.  They all look like they’re glowing and model for Vogue while you’re slogging along, red-faced and sweating like a pig at a ham eating contest.

No, it’s really not.  When I started running I liked it.  I wanted to do it.  Not that I don’t like biking, I do like it OK.  It’s like broccoli.  I like broccoli.  I just don’t want to eat it every day.  Running is like chocolate.

I really miss my chocolate.

‘Round and ’round and ’round she goes…

One of my teammates was walking across the grass toward me, making a “WTH??” gesture.

I was lying in the grass, part of me under the bike, part of me on top of the bike.  I’d unclipped my right foot but when I tried to unclip my left foot the cramp started, my leg folded like a cheap camp chair, and down I went.

I stared at the lovely blue sky while I yelled.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG!!!”  “CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMP!!!!!”

The lady in the camp next to us calmly continued packing.  She’s seen this before.

Both calves and my entire abdomen were cramping so tightly that, two days later, I am still sore.

A can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles appeared, floating above my face in the pretty blue sky.

“You need some salt,” he intoned.

How do I always end up in these situations?  I think I have “Here, Hold My Beer, Watch This” Syndrome.

Lisa, my friend and a certifiable lunatic, sent out an email a couple of months ago.  I should have kept it as proof that she’s insane.  We could have had her locked up and this would all have been nothing but a bad dream.

But, no.  “Hey!” she emailed, “this looks like fun!  Who wants to join?”

“Fun” as described by Lisa, is a 24 hour bike ride.

Are you nucking futs??

I’m frequently Little Debbie Downer.  I thought I should reply with something a bit more positive than my usual disdain for crazy things and people (especially since Hubs was on the email list too, I need to look like a Team Player, right?), so I said something like “well, yeah, maybe.”

Here’s a clue:  if you say “well, yeah, maybe”, crazy people read that as Y-E-S.

Next thing I know I’m on the email string, oh, wow, how fun, we have a site, here’s the schedule, everyone’s taking 2-hour intervals, rah-rah-sis-boom-bah and I’m sucked into the vortex.

Well, I’m getting a bit cocky here, I’ve been riding the bike, I’m clipping in, I’m hot Shizzoozle, I can do this.  It started to sound like fun.  It was fun.  We had a campsite on the bluff overlooking the Mighty (low) Mississippi River.  We hauled our gear down, had a beer and watched the sunset.  We ate a catered pasta dinner (all you can eat, I’m with ya, babe!)

Sunset on the Mississippi River

Hubs and I headed home, he had the 4am-6am shift and I had the noon-2pm shift and we needed to take care of Cat and Dog.

It was a beautiful day which dawned nice and cool.  Hubs had loaded Matilda in the truck for me so Babs, Matilda and I headed downtown.  “Bill” had the 8-10am slot, “John” the 10-noon slot.  Bill and I watched the river go by and visited.  We cheered John on.  I had some lunch and got ready to pick up my two hours when John came in.

The ride benefits St. Jude and if you’ve never done a charity event for St. Jude you are missing out.  They do a great job; they get the details right, and they do it with their hearts.  They are doing this for the kids and it takes it to a new level.  I’m riding a bike, but it’s not just for me, it’s for those kids.  In two hours I can get off that bike and take a break.  Those kids don’t get to take a break after a couple of hours, and their family doesn’t either.  St. Jude volunteers are doing it all for the kids, but they treated the bikers like royalty.  Every meal provided.  Music and live bands.  Pizza and Movie at 10pm.  “Portajohns” that were in a trailer!  With a sink with running water!  Snacks and beverages 24/7.  Every volunteer smiled constantly and did everything they could to accommodate everyone.

The ride is a closed course, Riverside Drive is closed and the bikers have a continuous 2.8 mile loop they can ride in safety.  The crisply cool morning gave way to a hot, dry (for Memphis) and completely sunny day.  I set out.  I knew I needed to stay hydrated.  Lisa and John met me on the course with water and Powerade about 30 minutes in.

Two hours later I pulled off and “A” headed out.  I knew I’d sweat a lot when I saw the salt crystals on my bike shorts.  I tried to get as many fluids and salty junk in as I could.  We had 11 on our team, so the last two hours didn’t have a designated rider.  “A” agreed to ride until 4:30, I’d pick up 4:30-5 and John would close it out.

We were desperately trying to hold onto our 11th place standing.  Pride.  It’s a terrible thing.

So it was – a little after 5pm I finished my last loop and ended up in the grass.  Dehydrated and depleted, yelling in pain, a can of Pringles levitating above my face.

I HAD A BLAST!!!!!!!

We’re doing it again next year!!!

You learn something new every day.

“They” say you learn something new every day.

I’ve never learned who the “they” people are.

Today I learned to put the dust bin back in the vacuum cleaner before you start it.

And I learned if you don’t, you’ll probably sneeze.  Maybe a lot.

Yesterday I learned you should put the beans in the coffee pot when making coffee.  Otherwise, when the coffee is done and you’re so happy because you finally get to have a cup of fresh hot coffee which you’ve had to wait for, like, at least ten minutes for it to brew, you will look in your mug, then you will look in the pot.  You will think, What the heck? and you’ll look back at your mug.  Finally it will dawn on your decaffeinated Brain that you have:  Hot water.

It will be extremely sad and you’ll have to wait another 10 minutes for your coffee.  This is also not safe for family members or pets but that’s not news to anyone.

Yesterday one of my BRFF’s whom I shall call, Um, Ursula (which you have to pronounce like this:  ERR-sue-lah whether that’s actually right or not, because that’s how I’m pronouncing it and it’s my blog.  And I still don’t like Brussels Sprouts so don’t hold your breath for recipes, although if I get the Cajun popcorn recipe I’ll pass it along) learned that if you have spicy shrimp boil with corn on the cob followed by a movie and two tubs of Cajun popcorn and then head out early the next morning to run 9 miles you will probably have a Code Cajun or perhaps a Code Jet Exhaust.

Her running buddy learned to stay slightly ahead of Ursula.

I went riding with Ursula’s hubs and learned some new courses.  It was a beautiful morning. We biked through the country roads, trees arching over the roads, pretty country houses set back from the road, lovely cool breeze and a bit of fall starting to scent the air. We hit one spot on Memphis-Arlington Rd that was downhill for at least a mile. I dropped and let Matilda have fun coasting rapidly down. At the bottom I told Mr. Ursula, if he told me we were turning back on this course, I was bagging it and going home! WOW what a stretch, no way I’m strong enough right now to tackle that hill going up!

He told me the first time he took Ursula on the course going uphill he reached the top and could hear her as she ascended.  “You *&%% hill what the &*(+ are you thinking you &^%% ‘ing *&^% idiot”.  I learned that did not surprise me in the least.  Ursula and I can sound quite like the sailor sometimes.  We do it on purpose.  Then we think we’re just ^%$$ing hilarious.

OH – hey – here’s a good thing to learn.  If you’re completely drunk on a Saturday morning about 7:30am and you want to get home, but there’s a bunch of cops in the street directing traffic and letting ladies cross to get to a race start, and you don’t want to stop so you go ahead and hit the gas while aiming for the cop, who fortunately bounces off your bumper and just lands on his butt:  about 1,487 cops are going to find your house, put your car on a flat-bed tow truck, take you both downtown, and I bet you are not getting pancakes for breakfast.

I’m learning it’s still a good thing to move slowly and think carefully while paying close attention to what you are doing when you stop your bike while clipped in.

I learned that I will not actually die immediately if I start to topple over but I might hyperventilate.

Oh – another one you might appreciate:  If you are sweaty and trying to put on your bike shorts it will take you a couple of minutes to get those suckers pulled up, your HR will be 125 and you can burn about 25 calories!  Sweet, eh?  I don’t need to actually ride the bike, I just need to put on damp bike shorts.  You can learn a lot from a Garmin.

Last week I learned if you’re stressing yourself over something and don’t get to run, you just get more stressed.  Brain loves to find an issue and jump on that sucker like it was a blow up trampoline at a 1st grader’s birthday party:  JUMP JUMP JUMP

But best of all, on Sunday I learned that you can blow out energy on a bike ride and get as many endorphins stuck to you as you can running.

Sweet!   I’m a very lucky person.  I can’t indulge my first love right now, but biking came along at just the right time and the joy of being a Newbie is filling the gap nicely.

I’ve been running, off and on, for 30 years.  I’ve never experienced a ‘runner’s high’ or endorphin rush – unless I was mistaking it for something else, like the incredible euphoria I felt when my first ever 20 miler was done.  I don’t think that was a runner’s high because mostly I just managed to drive home and collapse.  I know for certain the ice bath following that 20 miler had nothing to do with any type of physical or emotional high, and I can also assure you that sitting in the bathtub clutching a hot mug of coffee while wearing a sweatshirt is fairly ineffectual while sitting in cold water surrounded by a couple bags of little icebergs from the 7/11.

I’ve tripped lightly and sometimes heavily through the past thirty years, running and then not running, then getting back to it.  For the past 10 years I’ve been steady except for the Plantar Fasciitis detour.  Some days I don’t want to run, but once I get out there I’m glad I did.  Other times I’m ready for a run but it’s not so great.  I knew I cherished running but I hadn’t realize how much I’d come to rely on the friendships, the social aspect of the run, the runs by myself as I ironed things out in my mind, loosened up my shoulders, let the troubles slip off – until once again the chance to do so was eluding me.  I was certain there is no other activity that could fill the gap not running leaves, and I was once again sad and rather angry to be out of it again.  Friends kept encouraging me to bike, I knew I should, I knew it would help, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same.  I don’t mean this in an elitist way but I’ve always felt kind of sorry for my running friends who had to turn to biking when injured.  Sure, it probably kept them in shape but, still – it wouldn’t, couldn’t be the same as a run.

Sunday morning I got home, tired, sweaty, stinky, ready for a shower and the egg & veggie tortilla wrap I’d spent about the last 1/2 hour of the ride thinking about.  Fresh out of the shower, clean and happy, I sat down with my tortilla wrap and the newspaper.  I noticed my legs kinda humming a bit, that feeling when you’ve worked out hard and the muscles seem to hum?  I checked in with Brain.  He was pretty mellow, sitting back, legs crossed, just checking things out.  Do you remember Wooly Willy?

You would take the little red magnet and move it underneath the cardboard, smoothing all the iron filings in the same direction, lining them up in designs and directions.  That’s what running does for me.  It’s the magnet that smooths things out, lines things up, gets Brain all organized and orderly, everything in there aiming in the same direction.  And that’s what I learned Sunday:  it’s not a loss, it’s a gain.  I haven’t lost running, I’ve added biking.

How many times in life have I thought not getting something, not doing something was a loss, and it’s turned out to be for the better?  And yet I continue to have to re-learn that.

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