Monday, June 21, 2010

Internet friends

Whenever I explain my blogging relationships to my "real life" friends, I get a bit flustered. Internet friends? I have internet friends? I recognize their legitimate benefit in a changing world while being leery of the stigma. And while the connections I've made with my internet friends have been surprisingly meaningful to me, I was taken aback at just how much the loss of one of them could hurt.

Today I found out one such internet friend passed away. While we only met once, it was all I could do after hearing the news to make it home before I started crying. It also took about that long to think, "If this is how you feel, just imagine how awful a loss this is to her family and friends." I suppose we all have to go sometime, but I can't help but feel like a great positive force in the world has left our company.

Wendy was human and therefore imperfect, but she refrained from displaying those imperfections to me. A swimmer and cat lover with a delightful wit and a great capacity for encouragement, she rooted on athletic accomplishments and human indulgences alike. I can't count the times her comments brought me a smile or a bit of comfort. Though I didn't have the pleasure of knowing her well, I will truly miss her, and my thoughts are with her family. Rest well, Wendy.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

5 months from today

I'll be sweating out my latest and greatest Ironman. It'll be my 5th. I should have this whole "training for an Ironman/kind of a badass" routinedown by now, but this time I'm legitimately nervous. I haven't completed an Ironman-- nay, a triathlon-- since I began law school in 2007. I have the bar exam (Job 1, as those who like to use awkward phrases might say) in seven weeks. I'm overweight, an overstuffed sausage version of my old Iron self. And worse yet, I'm embarrassingly out of shape. I know that once I get to the starting line I can handle whatever race day offers; I am nothing if I'm not tough. But this time, whether I arrive to race is a larger question mark than I'm used to.

Sounds like a good time to start blogging, right? I could use some help or support, and I miss Houston and my tri community something awful. I'll never understand why I miss a place that was never meant to be home-- I daresay it's the people I left behind there. But I digress.

Today I went on my first run in 6 weeks, and it was ugly. About 2 minutes in my chest tightened, and I wanted to turn back. I look ridiculous, I thought. Fatties shouldn't run in public. People are you going laugh at you as you waddle by. But no one laughed, of course, and a few more minutes in I relaxed and enjoyed a nice (though slow) jog along the lakefront. In two weeks I'll be able to handle anything without that fear of physical discomfort (or is it failure?) rising up; right now it's just a question of getting there.

And with that, let me explain my plan. I am going to study for and pass the bar. I am going to take the next 22 weeks and get my ass into shape. I'm going to fundraise for my Janus Charity Challenge beneficiary and my old volunteer gig, the Greater New Haven Cat Project (before that, I'm going to finish building my fundraising site). I'm going to lose the 8 pounds that kept me from winning my Law School Bet (weight in = weight out --> new bike). I am also going to blog about it-- and in that order. Some things I want to accomplish in a less formal sense (more of guidelines I suppose?) include trying to curse less and not describing my training as a journey, an epic metamorphosis, or anything else ridiculous for the daily life of a normal human.

Now, about the blog. I've been here before, but dropped off the face of the planet when I started school and struggled with life, though I suppose not triathloning anymore didn't help, either. But now that I'm back, I'm not sure I'm going to stay... let's see how this trip goes before extending it, eh? I will warn you that unless you email me at my ever classy hotengineergirl at yahoo email by July 15th, you'll find my page blocked from your curious eyes. On July 16th, I'll be switching to a invite-only blog to prevent my getting any stalkers. So, let me know if you want to join. I'll post a reminder closer to the date, of course-- no need to worry about doing it this second (unless you want to).

Alrighty. I'm back to bar study (yea.). Catch you in a few days once I pick out a gym to get back in the pool!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ironman 2009?

I think I have time for one last hurrah in 2009 before I rejoin the workforce the next year. Because I'm limited to late summer races, I really only have one choice left: Lake Placid. And since I expect the online registration to all but disappear this year, I'm helping out on race day and getting in line to register in person the next morning--exactly like Dying Water Buffalo last year. I'm really just following her around, one year late.

I signed up to volunteer, and I won't be getting the posh spots in transition and at the finish line that I got at Wisconsin. Nevertheless, it shall be awesome. I'm stoked.

I was also thinking about camping instead of getting a hotel room since I just bought a sweet new tent and am looking for excuses to use it. Does anyone have any experience with Lake Placid? Camping is a thing to do there, right? I figured if I don't have to worry about all the things that real athletes have to worry about like sleeping well or preparing enormous amounts of gear for the race, I could take advantage of the amazing locale. But, I don't know if this is realistic. Let me know if you have any feedback.

Where is everyone else going in 2009?

Monday, April 14, 2008

And speaking of Chicago...

A law school friend twisted my arm til I agreed to register for everyone's favorite marathon with her. It'll be her first marathon. We have a time goal and everything-- basically, contrary to everything I usually do with running thus far. It's a welcome change.

I'm scared. I've never signed up to do a race with someone else, except Sunmart 50k (aka "The time I learned that drinking soda while running makes me very sick"). We're figuring out a training plan tomorrow, though mine'll be different than hers on account of that whole ironman thing I'm doing six weeks earlier. That's another good reason to be scared. Even so, I'm excited about the prospect of training with someone since training alone for the 26.2 hasn't worked yet. Admittedly, it's been a long and low-workout-volumed schoolyear without any sort of network of exercisers. I'm lonely up here, and so is my spandex.

Okay, enough self-pity. I need to save my whining for the course! ;-)

Moving to Chicago

And as much as I love the band, I don't mean I'm dancing to "Look Away." I'm heading to Chicago for a summer of associateness and Ironman training.
The good: world, eat your heart out as I open water swim every day (in theory) without the fear of being eaten by a jellyfish-shark.
The bad: I think that Chicago doesn't make hills, and rumor has it that Louisville is full of 'em. I'm also without my Houston tri crowd, which is nothing short of tragic (so I suppose that should have made it to the ugly, huh?).
The ugly: I don't remember how to swim, and perhaps more importantly, I have not secured housing.
Still, I'm stoked. No need to go all negativo on myself, right? It's still March. I mean, April.

Aside from the excitement of moving to a city with public transportation, I'm a little concerned about where I go for triathlon info. Where should I train? What are good warmup races to do? Can I ride in the city or is it off to the 'burbs in the Nissan like in Houston?

I don't know. Do you? Do your friends know? Are there any Chicago trifolk running around The Internets? Can you give me tri relocation advice? I'm all ears!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Whatcha doin tomorrow?

Nothing? Yeah, me neither. So why don't you watch one of Houston's finest drop more time from IM #1 and IM #2 and any IMer in history? Go on. It'll be fun. With a number like 99, how could it be anything less?

Friday, April 11, 2008

St. Louis half: a super okay race

I think I owe a everyone poop story. Er, a race review.

The St. Louis marathon is much like the city itself-- perfectly fine, but not living up to its potential. On there's some d-bag from Rochester that goes into this long tirade about how the city's been plummeting from its high point of 1904, but I'd argue that's true of the entire midwest. In a marathon review. And dude is from Rochester, which doesn't sound like a fun place to live at all-- now OR in 1904.

But I digress.

Race day was great. I got to the start line at 5:45 and met a long row of empty, clean portapotties. Like, really clean. So clean I was breathing normally instead of alternating between gagging and holding my breath. For someone who loves poop stories I have little tolerance for anything poop-related. Give me a puking person and I'll give you a trooper who'll hold back hair and clean up vomit chunks. But traditional bathroom god sacrifices? Ew. Anyway, I used the portapotty, ran into some law school friends/acquaintances, and stretched. Two of the school crowd went to go warm up, and I laughed when they asked me to join them. Of course, when you're going to run sub-8 pace like they did, a warmup is a good idea. Me, I saved it for the race.

I started near the 10:00 pace mark and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a beautiful day to run. It was 45 degrees at the start, so I had on a long sleeve top and throwaway gloves that have never been thrown away; I almost wore a jacket too, but my shorts were navy and my jacket was black and I didn't want to clash. Seriously. It was a fortuitous concern because I was pretty hot by the time I finished; I'm a short sleeves and shorts kind of girl, something I continually and erroneously doubt. The gun went off and so did we, and 7 minutes (!!) later I crossed the mat.

And so it was. Miles flew by and my mile splits got faster, so I tried to walk more. It didn't help. I saw Sam finish (an impressive 12th overall) when I was passing the halfway point, and that was exciting, if a little sad he ran almost twice as fast as me. I cruised along happy as a clam with my tunes (a prudent move since I forgot my inhaler and my breathing sounded like a dying cow's final gasps). I walked water stations and some hills and mostly tried to have a good time, which was swell for the first 10 miles. Mile 12 turned out to be brutal, but this is hardly surprising given my longest run was 7 miles, and it was over a month ago. But I made it, and with decent splits:
First 2 miles: 20:20
Mile 3: 9:58
Mile 4: 10:40
Mile 5: 9:56
Mile 6: 9:55
Mile 7: 9:54
Mile 8: 10:03
Mile 9: 9:50
Mile 10: 10:07
Mile 11: 10:22
Mile 12:10:55
Mile 13: 9:42
Last .1: 0:58
Total: 2:12:20

Until mile 11 I thought I could make my midrace goal of 2:11, but that didn't happen. Oh well! I still came in the top half of my division and participants overall, which was all I was hoping for. And I broke 1000 calories on my HRM! 1054 baby! It took an average heartrate of 166 to get to 4 caloric digits, but I did it.

The postrace fun was, in fact, fun if disorganized and a little crowded. It's really hard to appreciate any post-marathon stuff after being spoiled by Houston, who does the best job with the finish line of any race I've seen. I wasn't very hungry on account of the tummy cramps I had from mile 7 on, so I just snagged a beer and headed home-- big recovery mistake.

After I headed home I worked on my last paper for the semester and lounged around. My muscles felt great! It was only my knees and a hand that hurt... til Monday. I got up for school the next day and did a little Frankenstein action; it was funny because it was deserved. After my Sunday mistakes, I iced, cremed, and medicated my legs, and I was feeling pretty good by Wednesday. This Sunday I have to hit the IM training plan for week 1-- five miles. I think I can handle it, but it's hard to imagine being IM training time already.

That was my race. Are you ready for the poop story? I gave the squeamish an escape hatch-- and color coding.
Onto the real action. Before I really get into it, let me just say that I'm not telling this story to be juvenile; I consider it a duty to inform the public. That and it's funny, at least to the people I've told the story to in real life. Not to build it up or anything.

Rewind to mile 4. We were running by the Nestle/Purina plant ((who knew they were one company? Not me) and I got a faint whiff of poop. "Ew," I thought. "What a pity that animal food production smells like feces." But I continued on. So did the smell. In fact, it seemed to get worse though we were running away from the plant; I decided it must be the part of the city we were in.

This continued until almost mile 6. The couple next to me mentioned how it smelled like "Turner's dirty diaper" (Turner? sigh), so I knew I wasn't making this up. And since the smell was getting worse, I was starting to get sick. I kept gagging and was afraid I was going to lose my experimental gel (I ate one 15 minutes before the race started-- something I've never done before. It was, by and large, a success-- no surprise since I'm so bad about eating enough calories before and during a race). Suddenly in front of me I see a woman with a spot of mud on her calf. I thought maybe she'd stepped in dog doodoo. I considered if I should go up to her and ask since I was seriously starting to get sick and there were portapotties everywhere along the course where she could clean herself off... but I didn't. I thought it was rude. A couple minutes went by and I looked back at the woman; this time there is an explosion of poo all down the back of her thigh. That was no dog doodoo. That was a woman pooping during the race.

(Interestingly, there was only poop down one leg. I've been speculating about this with many but it seems curious, no?)

Let me repeat that. There was a woman pooping herself WHILE RUNNING. On the course. The course with 13,000 people on it. My course. Now maybe I should have felt sorry for her, but I didn't then and haven't yet. We've all had running moments when an unplanned restroom trip seems inevitable. In an emergency, YOU WALK to keep from soiling yourself. Craig thinks that maybe she didn't realize it. As someone who slowly caught up to her over 2 miles, I can assure you that she had to know by the exxtreme smell she was giving off. Perhaps she thought she was being heroic? Perhaps. I think 10 minute miles with poop all over your legs is closer to heinous, even if it's a fine pace to run.

Anyway, once I realized there was a woman with explosive diarrhea running in front of me, the dry heaves got worse. I had to surge ahead of her or quit-- that's how disgusting it was. Unfortunately for me, the mile 6 water station was just beyond us, and I stopped to eat a gel. She kept running, past dozens of portapotties. I couldn't believe it. Who keeps running with poop down one entire leg? Who is so selfish to think that their half marathon time shouldn't be slowed by a trip to the restroom? I was mad. I don't know if she finished or not; I admittedly never saw her again after she passed me as I was eating a gel. But I did watch her run by 2 sets of portapotties without breaking stride.

It's funny. I don't pee on my bike or before/in road races because the thought of urine on the things I love-- namely, my bike seat and my running shoes-- is repulsive, the penultimate disrespect (after, of course, #2) to my possessions and other racers. I think the average packer is fooling herself to think such things are necessary for her race when we're not breaking any records and restroom stops are quick (and if you can minimize them by not overhydrating). But at least I can understand peeing on oneself even though I do not approve. Pooping, however, is another matter. It's icky and it's obvious. Why would one stoop to #2 during a race?

That's about all. Although I thought this went without saying before Sunday, please do yourself and those around you a favor-- take a potty break with #2 calls. It's not amazing or impressive to shun the most basic of hygiene-- it's stinky. And even worse, people on the internet will write long posts about you. And who wants that?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A poop story to end all poop stories

Man. Ooooh man. I hope you're ready for a poop story... tomorrow. I had a grand day at the St. Louis half today, and I can feel it from my waist down. My knees are not feeling swell and I got some chafing from careless dressing, but all in all I really had a great day. I just wanted to let you know I lived and it was way more fun than I remembered. Perhaps in the future I shouldn't go nine months without a race if it can be helped; I need races.

Biker friend who doesn't call me now that he realizes I cannot, in fact, bike (Sam for short) like won or came in second or something in today's race. I can vouch for his awesomeness because I saw him finish-- when I was on my way to the 7 mile marker. I obviously planned that.

Anyway, I hope you can't sleep tonight in anticipation of a Poop Story. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll gag. I know I did.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Permission slip

I need your help. Specifically, I need your blessing.

Tomorrow I'm running my first race since, well, I can't even remember (maybe the Webster Du in July?), but it was a long time ago. And despite my promising February - March training, I am not ready to race like my last half marathon. I'm cool with that. The St. Louis Marathon was my first, and I'm excited to be back on the course. And I've been looking forward to a physical experience that will tire me out to knock me into a peaceful sleep at night, even if it may include 12:00 miles. But I realized that my shame has reached an unacceptable level when I considered not wearing my chip for tomorrow's half marathon.

So you wouldn't see. So you wouldn't point and laugh.

In the long term I should consider, oh, not blogging (at all) and voluntarily sharing my race experiences, or finding less judgmental friends. Or maybe I should just stop projecting. None of those solutions can be realized in less than 12 hours, so instead I simply say, "Hey. I'm run-walking a half marathon tomorrow on purpose. Don't laugh at me. I need the exercise."

This ship is not running so smoothly right now. I keep having freak accidents and injuring myself temporarily (have you ever gotten punched in the nose? It bleeping hurts. I managed to accidentally punch myself in the nose a couple weeks ago; now my nose makes a cracking noise if I push on it, and of course I keep pushing on it. Wouldn't you?), and mini-crises keep popping up. I know it's part of the ebb and flow of existing-- after all, I had an accident-free December and January-- but I'm looking forward to hitting calm waters soon. Somehow I think hanging out for a morning of poop-butt running (hopefully sans poo) will make that happen. But it really sours my happy mental image to see you smugly checking the race results.

So there it is. I'll be back tomorrow with some "race" stories and such, and you can bet your asp I'm hitting the beer (even if it is at mile 3 instead of mile 24 like the last time I was on this course). I'm hoping to finish around 2:25, but I've got nothing to rush home to but my kittyman and my last legal writing assignment of the semester. So keep laughing-- just not at me. ;-)

Friday, March 07, 2008

The very next day...

There was no snow:

Actually, I cheated. I took this photo (again, sorry it's crappy) from my hotel balcony in Phoenix. The change of weather was delicious... I should have stayed longer. My obsession with Phoenix is borderline healthy.

Okay, that's it. I just wanted to brag. :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Room with a view: looking out my apt this instant

It's snowing here. And unlike that crap Mother Nature normally pulls, it's snowing during the day; we got to watch the gift fall from the sky all morning. We've gotten 7 inches and it's still coming down... and I'm thinking I might head to Art Hill this evening for some sledding action, though admittedly I've never done anything like that before.

I also got a job offer today.

Life is good. I'll be back to posting earlier than expected!