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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 “Triathlon”

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.

If I ever did that again, not that I will, but if I did…

As someone once said, “I know worrying works because 99% of everything I worry about never happens.”

Saturday, 2:45am, dark, warm, muggy.  I’d been awake for a while, trying to sleep but failing.   My mind was not going to let me forget we face Armageddon this morning.  Talking sense to it was useless.   WAKE WAKE, EMERGENCY! it shouted in my sleep, until I finally surrendered and padded barefoot downstairs, firing up the Keurig.  I looked out at the foggy night, details blurred into soft gold and black while I sipped strong hot coffee, cozy and comforting.  Soft air gently wrapped around me, sound suspended and dampened, moving slowly through the thick air like the drawls of old Southern ladies visiting on Mississippi porches.  Murphy looked about with me and seemed to understand.  The world muffled to velvet, we moved slowly not to disturb that sweet gentle silence.

5.18.13

Can you hear it?  Can you feel it?

I’d found an interactive site and created a check list personalized to my preference.  Everything had been checked off three times, lined up in the hallway and kitchen; Hubs has done this so often his checklist is in his head.  We loaded up the car and bikes.  The hour long drive to Tunica seemed endless, of course, and I could not leg jiggle enough to expend the nervous energy I had.  Hubs looked at me.  “Are you OK?”   Hell no I’m not OK, do I look OK?  I’m hopping like a spider on a hot griddle in a front seat the size of jet fighter cockpit.  But you are sweet and kind and loving and I thank you for your concern although I can’t actually speak right now.

You learn something new every day, so they say, and I learned something new about Fight or Flight:  you body is going to jettison everything possible.  Thankfully the Expo Center was nice and large and you can easily sprint through the foyer to the equally nice Ladies Room.  I also noticed I didn’t seem to be the only person doing so.

There’s a lot of detail getting all that gear out of a car, into the Transition Area and set up properly, more than you need to know unless you have had a lobotomy recently and now want to do a triathlon; if that’s happened let me know and I’ll get with you.  Otherwise suffice it to say that many surgeries are done with less preparation, although without a doubt they are more sterile, since I was soon to walk through fish sh*t and then drag that sh*t back into Transition and deposit it in my socks.  Bleach.  Just don’t think, and bleach.

For the fourth damn time in a row I put the damn wetsuit on backward.  Next time I’m leaving it backward.  If there is a next time.  I got in the lake for a warm-up and paddled out to the first buoy where I stopped, my feet not resting on what can only be described as the un-bottom.  There was nothing solid.  It just sort of floated, a half-substance.  The stuff nightmares are made of, the evil fog rising slowly through the cemetery enveloping the heroine’s feet…her ankles…her calves…rising, pulling, wrapping about her, slowly sucking away her life…

Damn, this sh*t is NASTY.  Don’t think don’t think don’t think, just keep swimming just keep swimming.

just keep swimming

We lined up for the swim by age group.  Fortunately I was toward the front of the line with some older men behind us.  They sort the groups randomly every time.  Next time I could be right in front of the 20-24 males and get run over like a train.  If there were a next time.

One of the ladies heard a couple of us commiserating over our first and possibly last triathlon.  She gave us an invaluable piece of advice:  when you get in the water, don’t kick.  Just pull.  This will keep your heart rate under control until you’ve had time to warm up and get the feel of everything.  And then there I was, on the ramp, looking at my friend the photographer, praying her huge and hugely expensive camera would fail, nothing personal Donna, sorry, but I do not want to be forever remembered in that figure flattering wetsuit, swimming hair condom and goggles.

Not kicking made all the difference.  I cornered the first buoy and realized that the wetsuit, my new BFF, made me buoyant enough that all I had to do was pull.  Now it’s just another workout in the pool.  With a deadly, life-sucking un-bottom, but you cannot have everything no matter how you try.

And then, I got pissed.  I’m sorry, but I’m a bitch and it should just be acknowledged.  I could try to hide it but it’s like trying to hide behind swimming goggles and a self-image crushing wetsuit:  We know you’re in there Terri, no use hiding.  The really nice lady right in front of me at the start was zig-zagging like a Singer sewing machine and I could not get around her.  At first I thought it was me going crooked, but I realized that as I breathed I was sighting on the seawall, and it was always about the same place.  So I went to the right.  She was in front of me, again.  Dammit.  I swam to the left.  BOOM.  I went back right.  Bang.

Oh, hell no.  I stopped, deadly cloud of lake bottom rising to kill me.  I watched, weighing time, enough time to sight her but not enough time to be completely sucked into a slow lake bottom death.  She went…ri..no, left.  I went right as fast as I could and aimed for the finish.

Not too quick in the transition (learning curve) I headed out on the bike.  Nervous, I couldn’t clip for what seemed forever.  We turned onto the highway and I got into a rhythm.  Hey.  This is nice.  Mississippi is flat!  The roads are coned off!  No &^%%’s asking me if I pay wheel tax!  I don’t have to stop at the lights!  Cruising, I’m just cruising, me and Matilda, we’re just out, riding, having a good time when, suddenly,  &^$#!!! that woman is IN FRONT OF ME.

target_on_my_back_tshirt

Sorry, Lady, but yes, you do, and here’s your shirt.

Oh, hell no.  I tooled along behind her for a few minutes, getting a feel for her pace.  It was too slow for me, so I passed.  No eye contract, I’m just out here, just out here riding my bike, me and Matilda, nothing to see here, Lady, just keep going slow, that’s good.

I kept a pace that felt a bit of a push but not uncomfortable since I had no idea what my legs would do off the bike.  Next time, if it happened that I went batsh*t crazy more than once, I would know better how much to push it.

At mile 10, cruising, suddenly, what the $%#@!!??  She PASSED me.

Oh, hell no.  I looked at my quads.  Sorry dudes, this might hurt but it’s for your own good, and I knocked it into a higher gear and started stepping on those pedals.  We went from the Beatles to some Highway to Hell in 13 seconds.

Coming in I heard Hubs, Becky and Heather yelling for me, although I didn’t try to see them, not falling over on the bike seemed more important, and at the dismount line there stood Killer, screaming for me!  I looked at her:  “I’m pissed now.”

“SHE’S PISSED NOW!” Cheryl screamed in triumph, “GO TERRI!”

This time transition was as fast as I could handle it, gear thrown everywhere, shoes shoved on and I’m outta here, running out of transition and around the corner where

OH. HELL. NO.  She’s in front of me.  Again.  What??  She’s filming an Eveready commercial???  Dammit.

I waited, jogging behind her, getting a feel for her pace.  It looked to me like she had one gear – a good one, but it looked like she was a pretty steady runner, so if I passed her she might not have a higher gear.  My legs loosened up and got into a running rhythm.  I passed her and I had no intention of letting it happen again.  Somewhere in the last mile I stopped at a turn and walked a bit, looking at the field behind me.  She was still in the same steady gear, and I took off again.  I am never doing this crazy voodoo doodoo again, but if I did ever maybe lose all my meds in a tropical storm or something I would definitely push the bike a bit harder and I would totally want my run stronger, I thought, as I died on the turn into the last few hundred miles.

“TERRI!! ONLY 150 YARDS!!!” someone screamed.

Well hell yes, I can do that, I thought, and I hammered on home.

You want some REAL crazy voodoo doodoo?

Mim

So, next time, if I ever do this again, not that I will, but if I did, I know I can’t expect that kind of thing because the fast ones stayed home or – most of them – waited to do the Olympic distance on Sunday  (not being modest, I just know who they are).  But if there were a next time, I’d still do it differently, and I’d still find someone in front of me to pick off.

And that was a pretty awesome ending, if I do say so myself.

Confidence? Reality? A spoonful of sugar?

“To do your best, you’ve gotta believe in yourself. There is a functional link between physiology and psychology. If you have the confidence to do something, your body will respond. With confidence you can cope with various race day obstacles, but even slight problems are magnified if you lack it. Achieving goals – long training runs, consistent mileage, increasingly faster times in speed workouts and races – builds confidence, which results in further improvements in performance. Reflect on these successes as you approach a race and during it to keep your confidence strong.”  Bob Glover, The Competitive Runner’s Handbook

It’s ugly at the rundogcatcatme household this morning and it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the day.  And, yes, coffee:  on the third.

coffee

Chunker must feel the tension because she is prowling about mewing and chirping at her stuffed toy ‘babies’.  Just now she climbed up on the washer and dumped her kibble into the washing machine.  Now I’ve got cat food pellets stuck under the agitator.  I mean under the agitator in the washing machine, not the agitator in fur, mewing.

where is that damn human

CHUNKDAMMITYOULITTLESHIT

Oddly just minutes before we were discussing yelling at our furry children and that our furry children didn’t have middle names to make the shout effective like it did when I would yell TRAITOR MIDDLE NAME CHILD DAMMIT I TOLD YOU BUT, NO, AND NOW WE HAVE TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.  AGAIN.

Apparently Chunker does have a middle name and I had just forgotten it.

Last night we gave the lake swim another try.  Heather bravely faced the lake and announced there had better not be any &^%%&** snakes this time.  I felt fine, buoyed by my new-found comfort and lack of fear in the lake Tuesday.  Unfortunately I failed to realize I had a couple factors against me.  First I forgot to use my inhalers yesterday and a front had come in (my trigger).  Secondly, and much more importantly, Hubs was home.  Home, and on the boat following us in the lake.

I have performance anxiety.  I don’t mind failing or struggling in front of others (too much) but can’t stand to do so in front of Hubs, which is ridiculous because I usually manage to screw something up on a daily basis so I should surely be used to it by now.  It embarrasses me, and he tries to fix everything which frustrates me (it’s a guy thing, isn’t it?).  After all these years I should get over it.  For some reason he’s fascinated by the thought of me swimming.  He keeps saying, “I’ve never seen you swim” which means every time we’ve been to a pool he’s been struck blind?   Or perhaps that doesn’t count if it’s not laps or something?  I don’t know.  I just know, at this point, that the pressure is on and it’s building and I cannot stand it.

B&H are two of the most mothering and nurturing people I have ever met, polar opposite of me.  Becky stayed back with me when we set out.  Every damn time I looked up there was that boat with Hubs, watching.  The water was cool, I didn’t warm up and within a couple minutes my chest said Ciao, see ya later and shut down.  I’d doggy paddle for a few minutes and set out again, Becky waiting and watching.  I told her to go on, I’m fine.  I swam a bit and floated a bit and doggy paddled a bit but I could never catch my breath, wheezing and pissed off, knowing that Hubs was watching me struggle.   Finally I saw a dock and headed for it.  I held on, trying to catch my breath, looking at our dock across the cove, a million miles away.  Hubs and the boat swung around.  I got on.  “I’m done.  I’m fine, but I’m done.”

The reality, with no sugar-coating, is that inhalers or no, Hubs or no, I am not a strong enough swimmer to go even 400 yards.  I will have to stop and I will have to stand in the 6 inches of marshmellow-y fish poopy fish burial mud until I can catch my breath and then I’ll have to start again.  I’ll just have to boil my feet when I get home.

fish poop

Well, SH*T.

One of my BRFF’s, Lisa, called yesterday to see how I was doing facing this weekend.  She did her first Tri last summer.  She told me how helpful Hubs was at the race start, consoling her with positive reinforcement. “You can FLOAT, cantcha?” he asked her.  She nodded.  “You can DOGGY PADDLE cantcha?”  She nodded.  “OKAY THEN, you’ll be FINE,” he boomed.  She nodded.

Someone posted the quote above this morning.  I can’t decide if the issue is that I don’t believe in myself enough and I need to pump myself with spoonfuls of sugar-y positive thinking and reinforcement all day, or if the issue is what I stated:  I am simply not a strong enough swimmer at this time.

And if the reason is the fact that I am simply not strong enough at this time, is it negative to admit that?  To be afraid, and to feel angry because I’m afraid?

Good luck with that.

I’m sure it’s the same for you two faithful followers of my world-famous, mind-numbingly fascinating blog in which I constantly whine about butts falling off, snakes, crappy weather, and tigers in bathrooms; probably you, like me, think that everyone around you is somehow doing just a bit better, somehow just one percentage point less nervous, less worried, more happy, more confident.  Probably the boss likes them one little bit better than they like you.  Probably they’ve never walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper hanging out the back of their shorts.

A while back, when Becky and Heather were finally medicated to an acceptable level and allowed back out in public, they would message me.

HEY!  I’m going swimming tomorrow, wanna go?

No.

It’ll be fun!

No.

Come on, you’ll like it once you try it.

No.

The entire time I was saying no I knew I needed to do this.  This was where I had a choice.  Become a smaller person, saying no, tightening my circle just a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more.  I’m sure a lot of people are the same way, but there’s only me living in this head and in this life, only what I interpret.  I assume there are more of me out there, struggling not to get smaller, not to live a more circumscribed life, scared and uncertain how to achieve it, but I only know myself.

Heather and Becky make it look so easy that I figure they’re cool with it all.  They use words like “fun” which makes one think more of things like birthday parties and cake and ice cream.  Or coffee.  Or wine.  Or anything other than swimming with the eventual goal being getting out of the pool and into a fish poop filled lake.  After the snake issue on Tuesday, however, I realized that they have just been doing a better job than I of hiding it.  Becky doesn’t like her wetsuit and neither of them like snakes at all.  The messages are flying.

ARG!  I woke up next to the bed beating the invisible spiders I just dreamed of!!

ARG!  What’s the lake temp??

ARG!  I can’t breathe in that wetsuit!!

LOL, snake code:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Snake
_____________ Dead snake
—___—___— Oops, just ran over a snake.

ARG!  Just because ARG!!!

After realizing this was not the Bataan Death March – which was truly a horror – seriously, I’m not gonna die.  I’m not going to lose my family or job or anything, I’m just going to swim in a freeking lake – which is only 4 feet deep and I’m 5’8″, so standing up is an option.  Then I just have to ride my bike, which I could fall off of, but then I’ve already stepped on my own finger; at some point you have to accept that stuff happens.  And finally I get to do my favorite thing: run.  So I managed to switch off a couple of the Panic Buttons in my brain.

I’m a believer in signs, albeit a rather fair-weather believer.  Obviously when things line up like I prefer it’s got to be a good sign.  If the signs are bad I may or may not give it some consideration.  For instance, the sign that says Speed Limit 55.  Because personally, that’s just stupid and I’m not going to give that any consideration.  I’m sure most people are like me, but there could be some who prefer bad signs and not having anything line up well.  Those people probably also do 55 in the 55mph zone.  Then they probably also get yelled at by me, which will surprise you both, that I would be in my car yelling &^$$# driver (*&^ your mother is a $#@!!!!

I have a chin hair roughly the width and tenacity of a piece of baling wire, which I’ve had since the twins were still in high school, making it about 10 years old.  A quick internet search shows that the anagen phase of growth of a hair follicle is an average 2 to 8 years.  My chin hair, which I should probably just go ahead and name since we’ve grown so close, has obviously surpassed this lifespan.  If it were a person it would be my Grandma Alice, who lived to 103 years, only she was nice and did not resemble a piece of baling wire in any way.

The reason I mention this is that I managed to pluck the damn thing out in one try yesterday morning.  This is an incredible stroke of good luck on my part, having ruined several pair of tweezers over the past 10 years, not to mention accidentally slamming my hand against the mirror repeatedly when the tweezers fail.  That hurts.  Hey, at least I never broke the mirror, right?  Otherwise for sure the damn thing would live another 7 years.  I expect that, having outed my chin hair in this public manner, I will no longer receive anonymous emailed marriage proposals or offers for £1million to be deposited directly into my bank account.   So you see how much good luck that is!

Then Heather saw another dead snake on her bike ride yesterday, making it two days in a row of dead snakes!  That’s a much better sign than live snakes.  And when we were first starting out on the bikes, before we even started, I almost fell over!  So that was good!  The almost part, I mean.   After the ride I got in the car and it was 12:34 which is my lucky number.  And THEN – I got Taco Bell for lunch.  That is a very good sign.  You might think a person can get Taco Bell any day, but you can’t.  If you have no money in the car, you have no Taco Bell in your tummy.  Yes.  Now you understand how tenuous the hold on luck can truly be.

So you see, luck is in the eye of the beholder.  Well, except when it’s actually your real eyeball and it’s the bug that flew in Becky’s on the bike ride at the very same time a rabid ant was in her cycling shoe biting the stew out of her foot, which seemed rather unlucky.  Although it was a lot unluckier for the bug and the ant, both of whom got squashed rapidly.

I’m telling you what, with all this good luck floating around I expect that I may not have to worry about the swim, for all I know I’ll be able to walk on water by Saturday.

Well, that went swimmingly.

7:42am *boink* B: Swimming today?

*boink* T: Sigh. Guess so. Just checked, water temp is still 70

*boink* B: I am not worried about the temp of the water really…wet suit–I must wear it, swim in it, and just do it. Intestinal fortitude.

*boink* T: studies show intestinal fortitude is highly overrated. And you can always take Imodium for it.

7:48am *boink* B: can you see the lake on google earth?

*boink* T: Checking. Been taking your meds, eh?

*boink* T: Yes, I see it. It looks like distance to the boat launch is 162 yards. I’m putting Kahlua in my coffee right now.

*boink* B: riiiiight….

8:18am *boink* H: Just catching up, you two swimming in the lake this morning?

*boink* T: I DON’T HAVE ANY KAHLUA

*boink* B: Can you put some Merlot in the coffee, then?

*boink* H: OMG I’m so nervous. Every night this week I’ve worried about snakes.

*boink* T: there are no snakes in my lake. I swear. I promise. I’ve never ever seen one.

8:57am *boink* T: how far you going?

*boink* B: I don’t care. What you need, is to get in the water and get the feel for it–and for the love of all that is holy DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TIME

*boink* T: no, right, just get in the water.

*boink* B: I repeat just get in the water…and swim some…no pressure

*boink* T: Right, that’s all I’m planning to do, I’m not concerned for distance.

*boink* B: there are no drills, no specific length just tip toeing through the tulips.

*boink* T: tiptoeing through fish shit, you mean.

8:32am *boink* H: I’m back. You’d better be right because if I see a snake I will die. Or maybe I’ll kill you.

*boink* T: I SWEAR.

*boink* H: okay

9:31am *boink* B: On my way

9:34am *boink* H: me too

swimmingly

I woke this morning feeling resigned and peaceful.  Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me it was a swim in a lake, not the Bataan Death March.  Seriously.  I thought, what, I’m gonna die?    I still wasn’t thrilled of course, but I seemed to feel a little more realistic about the situation.  I’ll get in the water, I’ll get to the other side somehow, and then I’ll get back.

I was surprised, at 70 degrees the water didn’t feel too cold.  It was chilly on my hands and feet but they quickly warmed; I’d expected to feel cold the entire time.

I finally let go of the dock and we swam to the boat launch and back.  I did get dizzy, I might consider some Dramamine for the next couple days, and I called it at one lap.

B&H returned to the boat launch for a second lap. It all went well until they saw the snake. That it was dead did not make any difference to them. Heather threw Becky to the wolves and hauled ass. Becky did some speed work. Being dead and all, it stayed where it was, but, still, it was a snake.

Later we drove around to the boat launch to be sure.  Maybe it really wasn’t a snake.

There were a couple guys working on the house next to the launch.

“Are you the ones that swam across the lake?” they asked in that tone which indicates they are watching carefully and are ready to back away slowly if necessary.

“Yes, we did, and there’s a f*cking snake in the water!” said Heather, delicately.

“Really?”  Suddenly this was a lot more interesting.  Men with trucks and power tools.  Three women squealing about a snake, what’s not to like?

“Yeah,” intoned the younger one, walking to the shore to check it out, “That IS a snake.”

He threw a rock at it, it bounced on the waves, obviously dead.

“It’s dead.”

Heather shook her head.  “It’s still a f*cking snake.”

Maybe that didn’t go as well as it could have, after all.

OCD much?

Hubs and I were out of town last week.  You might think I would feel completely free to leave town now the kids are grown and gone, no worries, enjoy the trip, relax, eat drink and be merry.

But, no.  First, I no longer have that burning desire to desert Rome as it burns, my mother and four children waving forlornly as we back down the drive, desperately repressing the jiggling as my legs begin the Happy Dance under the dashboard.  NO VOMIT!  NO DIAPERS!  NO CRYING AND FIGHTING AND STEPPING ON DEADLY LEGOS!  I’m FREE!

I can lazily drink coffee and read the paper daily now.  I don’t have to put on adult clothes to take the kids to school and work the phones in the office from 8am to noon or help in the clinic wiping snot and blood.  I don’t have to camp out in a hotel to have a bathroom all to myself.  I don’t have to hide the chocolates in a tampon box.  I don’t have to worry about organizing soccer/cheer/homework/scouts/cupcakes for the birthday party before leaving everyone.  No worries, now.  Free Free Free.

Instead I spent three days prior to leaving town waking at 3 and 4am worrying about — The Damn Cats.  What if they refuse to eat?  What if they pee on the bed?  What if they … I don’t know … jeeze, they’re CATS – how much could go wrong??  But, no…wake, roll over, worry.

Obsess much?

Meanwhile – no pressure here – every damn day hubs insists that I need to try on his wetsuit and be sure it fits.  Fine, I tried it on.  OK, right, it was on backward but what the hell.  It’s not like it’s gender specific.  If it fits backwards it should fit frontwards.  No, apparently it didn’t count, backwards negates the experience so now I have to try it on … again.

Then, after I try it on again, he thinks I need to take it to the Center and swim in the damn thing.  Remember the pool running incident (here)?  Where all the senior water exercise class people glared at Becky and me in shock and awe?  What do you think it will do to them if I show up at the pool in a f*cking wetsuit?  How long will it take management to get all the exploded brain matter out of that water?  And can they sue me for the damages?

Still hubs remains – daily – sincere in his insistent insistence that I must absolutely without doubt swim in water with the wetsuit.  I pointed out that if I fail to do so prior to the race, and it is a wetsuit legal race, I will swim in the water to warm up and I will be wearing the wetsuit.  I think that counts as swimming before the race.  I mean, what if I swim in the wetsuit at the Center and I find out it doesn’t work so well?  Is that going to change the temperature of the water Saturday?

Last week I ordered a tri-suit.  It was in the mail when we got home.  I pulled it out of the packaging.  This sucker will not fit a skinny pre-pubescent 13-year-old.  I don’t know why they wasted a 9×13 envelope to send it to me, it would have fit fine in a letter sized and saved some postage, which they handily charged me.  Now I’ve spent $79 + tax, shipping and handling on something that weighs about four ounces and I may wear only once in my life – if I can even get it on.  And hubs is happy I spent the money.  If I buy a new lipstick and he sees it he asks me how much it cost.  Tri-suit?  Wet-suit?  Bike?  Helmet?  Bike shoes?  He’s throwing money at it like it was beads in New Orleans and he might see some boobs.

I spent one morning at the hotel swimming, then got on the spin bike and did 13 miles, then ran three.  There, I’ve done the distance, so mentally I got that out of the way.  What I realized is that I do not care at all about this triathlon like I have all the races I’ve trained for.  I’m just as obsessive about getting everything organized, not forgetting anything, hoping I don’t bonk, but I don’t really care about doing the event.  All I really care about is getting it over with.

Training for halves, fulls, 50K’s, I check weather for weeks, mentally preparing for wind/rain/floods/solar flares and meteors.  I’m scared, nervous – but it’s an excited nervous fright.  It can still get ugly – marathoniritationitis (with a graphic, here) is nothing to laugh at, but there’s still an excitement about the whole thing.  This one:  if it rains, oh well.  If it’s hot, well damn.  If it’s cold, well sh*t.  Oh, well.  If I get there, and I don’t like the weather, I might just decide not to do the event, and right now I cannot dredge up any impending regret, other than I’d be forced to register for another one and go through all this again.

Last night I dreamed I had a curse that if I talked to someone it would take away one of their powers.   Unfortunately Becky asked me a question in my dream.  I replied without thinking and it stripped her power to do triathlons.

Obsess much?? This is going to be a bitch of a week…

You can’t fall off a marathon, and you can’t sink in a 50K, and all you need is some shorts, a shirt and some shoes.

The truth is:  I’m cranky and pissed and obsessed about the cats because I’m scared of this one and it’s not an excited nervousness.  It’s just fear.

No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.

All due credit to any triathlete out there.  This is a bunch of hard work – not that I doubted that, having watched hubs do every distance from sprint to Full Ironman over the years.  I’m doing, to my knowledge, the shortest Tri you can.  I think the only way I could do a shorter race is to trick my way into a Kid’s Tri.  “Hey, I had a growth spurt!  I’m tall for my age!”  I won’t do that though, not because I’m an honest sort of person, but because some tiny dudette would go spinning past me on their little training wheels bike sporting a white wicker basket with pink streamers and I would cry.  I would get off my bike and throw it on the ground and stomp my feet and cry.

Crazy Becky Heather Killer Hubs cannot seem to quit dropping helpful hints about triathlons.   Very helpful hints, too, with the exception that I still can’t figure out if I’m flattered that hubs, while discussing this Crazy Weather and whether it would be a wet suit legal race, offered me his wet suit.   Not so much even that he offered it, but that he seemed to think it would fit.  Isn’t it in some hubanding manual somewhere that you never indicate that your dainty wife could fit into anything belonging to your manly self??

jacksprat

The learning curve is steepening rapidly.  Suddenly what seemed to be an hour or so consisting of doggie paddling in a warm, shallow lake, peddling along a highway and then going for a little jog has turned into Mothra vs. Godzilla, and we all know what happened to Mothra.

Mothra-9

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothra “Mothra is known for her habit of dying somehow in many of the movies she has appeared in”

(I’m just quoting Wiki.  Sentence above she is referred to in is somehow dying.)

I realized this weekend that I didn’t even know the distances of all three events.  I thought it was a 5K run, and I know for a branded-in-my-brain fact that the swim is 400 yards but had no idea what the bike was.  Ten miles?  Eighteen miles?  Who knew?  And what kind of special stupid do you have to be to register for a race for which you do not actually know the distances?

Me, and one other lady.

I trained for three or four months for my first half marathon.  I talked hydration nutrition elimination clothing shoes for months.  I bought a Garmin and tracked every single mile like a new religion.  Date, time, distance, pace, weather, everything.  The day dawned.  I’d set everything out the night before, of course, nervously reviewing it all 37 times.  Hubs and the twins were going to meet me at the finish line, so I hitched a ride with a friend, a seasoned runner, marathoner and triathlete.

She noticed I seemed a bit nervous – probably the incessant leg jiggling, which I’m actually doing right now, I guess Pavlovian leg jiggling as I remember the story?  Can leg jiggling be Pavlovian?

Yes, it’s my first half!  I told her, jiggling, head bobbing, jerking slightly and slavering a bit at the corners of my mouth, my water bottle full of bubbles as it shook uncontrollably.

Well, I lived.  I did the half and thought I’d conquered the world.  Tired, stiff and sore – yes, I did – I wore my race shirt triumphantly to work the next morning and told everyone who couldn’t hide fast enough every excruciating detail, mile after mile.  I did not wear the finisher’s medal only because it kept clanking against my desk in a very irritating fashion.

The second day, as even more soreness set in and I was forced to grab the edge of the desk to sit or stand, my friend came into my office.

“You did that half marathon, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Yep!  It was great I was so excited I did it!  It was hard but I did it!”  (Why was she asking this?  I’d talked about it every day for the past several months.)

She then told me that a lady she bowled with the evening before was limping terribly and could hardly get to the line to bowl.  She asked the woman if she was OK.  The woman (a smoker who walked a mile or two daily and bowled as her forms of exercise) related this:

She’d registered for “that 5K” over the weekend; she wanted to walk the 3 miles in support of the charity.  Except after a while, when she thought she surely should have hit three miles by now, she looked about and realized there was no finish line.  In fact, what she saw was a sign that stated Mile 4.  Asking around she discovered there was no 5K, only a half and a full marathon.  Well, what to do?  So she continued on and walked the entire damn half marathon with NO TRAINING.  Her feet were covered in blisters and she could hardly move her legs.

And she was my age.

After my brain stopped exploding I asked the woman’s name and immediately looked up the race results.  Fortunately she was about the last in our age group, or my running career would have been over right then.

But you gotta admit, the woman did not give up.

And I won’t, either.

Anything you’re looking at that intimidates you?  Are you going to try?

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