Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Putting a Positive Spin on Things, 10 Years Later.

I have found it interesting to watch the interactions of colleagues as various clergy and police friends discuss what they are doing on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  For some, they are happy to have the day back to normal, and are glad that their town or church is not doing any special commemoration, beyond perhaps some prayers in the regular service.

Others, like a few fire fighter friends, are furious that rescue workers who served in the aftermath were not being honored beyond what is occurring.  

The Nation's Tri is having a moment of silence before the race.  Initially billed as in honor of first responders and military casualties, after some Facebook discussion, it was expanded to honor all those who lost their lives in the attacks.

For me, I'm finding a great deal of comfort and closure in the project that St. Mary's is doing.  I'm going back to the first place that ever felt like home- my beloved Northern Virginia.  Ten years later, I'll be running in "my" city, with the Pentagon all fixed up, the Air Force memorial completed, and a new MLK,Jr memorial to check out.  Ten years ago, sonic booms roared through the skies of what would become like my hometown to me.  I need to be there to see the peaceful skies for myself.

Yep. My memorial plate from VA. 

And yeah, I'm a cop chaplain (as well as a parish priest).  I spend my life around people who ritualize things as a primary way of making sense of things.  Doesn't it make sense that an elaborate project helps me make sense of things, too?

The Diocese of Oregon shared an interesting story from the Episcopal News Service, by Tom Ehrich.  He declares terrorism failed.  He speaks of how New Yorkers, even knowing their city was still vulnerable to attack, opted to move on with their lives.  I feel the same way about "my" DC.  I chose Northern Virginia as my home for a number of years and still love it today, and I biked and rode Metro and drove the ridiculous streets and flew in and out of Regan airport.  The terrorists failed, because my life never became ruled by fear.

My mom- the artist in the family- did a really haunting quilt in the aftermath of the attacks, titled Tranquility Lost.  Parts of the design included raw burned edges of fabric.  This year, she's offered a free pattern for a design that she hopes incorporates the positive rebuilding that has taken place.  The terrorists failed, because they never stopped her art.

In fact, after the attacks, she made a quilt for one of the fire fighter widows, who was touched by the story of the chaplains who worked with the survivors and at Ground Zero.  The widow sent my mom a pair of her husband's duty pants to make something for the chaplains.  My chaplain stole is one of those.  It's easily my favorite stole ever.  If you are a cop or nurse or fire fighter, and ever saw me wear my stole, this is the one you saw.  If the church were burning down and I had time to save just one stole, I wouldn't even need to run into the building.  This one stays in my go-bag all the time.

Dark navy with a simple cross.  

Ten years ago, one of the Deacons went out on 9/11 to buy a scrapbook.  She had also lived in Alexandria and was heartbroken to see her past home so broken.  The community began writing in the book that day.    Now, the Book of Remembrance is again up in our Narthex for people to add their thoughts and memories to.  Evensong will be offered with a focus on reconciliation.  The terrorists failed; they haven't hurt our community, nor have they stopped Eugene and St. Mary's from being part of the healing and rebuilding throughout the world and in our own town.

Ten years later, life goes on.  We rebuild.  We try to figure out how to help the bereaved make a new normal out of a loss that no one ever wants to face.  We struggle with how we want to commemorate an event like this while focusing also on the good things that have happened since, on the rebuilding and the new normals.    

Monday, August 29, 2011

National News!

What a surprise when I checked my email earlier today to discover that the Nation's Tri had posted a press release about some of the racers!

And yours truly was at the bottom of the list, included in the national press release.  Gulp!  They'd asked us all to provide a release, but I was expecting them to choose other people for the national releases!


This means that people who are technically strangers will be reading about what I do.  This is really, really cool, as well as abjectly terrifying. (No pressure.  No pressure.  No pressure.  Pardon me, is that a paper bag you have for me to hyperventilate into?)

I added an extra 2 miles onto tonight's "mellow" trail run to blow off some of the terror-induced energy.

Here's the press release.  I'm on the same page as Rob Jones, who is running on two prosthetic legs.  (So he has more artificial body parts than me.  Props to Rob, who is obviously made of stern stuff.  Heck yeah, I'll be looking for him on the course.)   Not to mention the other awesome-sounding athletes I'll be racing with.

Wow.  wow.  Just.  Wow, wow, wow.  What an incredible experience to even be in the same universe as some of the incredible athletes going to DC, let alone being listed in the same press release!

I might go to that brick workout tomorrow just for the moral support I'll need from my awesome teammates!  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It must be two weeks pre-race... Anxiety Dreams!

I can't speak for everyone else, but I get anxiety dreams.  With two weeks to go to race day, they are here in full force. Interestingly, a number of tri teammates makes cameos in these dreams.  Usually, they are going way faster than me, but they are so far, quite supportive.  I suppose this is a good thing, meaning that my subconscious looks to my teammates for moral support.  I might need to chat with my subconscious about the roles that M is playing in these dreams, though...

Last night, I dreamed that I swam the swim backwards and got caught by the officials who took me out of the water and made me swim the swim normally.  Mrs. Fearless Leader was among the rescue kayakers, except they'd tied a wakeboard to her feet.  She'd swim to the ailing swimmers and tow them to shore.  No tow for me, however.  When I tried to get hold of the wakeboard, I was instructed that I had better swim!

Sadly, in the dream, I'd forgotten how to swim and could only doggie paddle.

Finally I came out of the water... in 1:30.  This is ridiculously long for an Olympic distance, and in dream land, put me in danger of the cut-off time.  I could see everyone else running, and I knew I'd be the very last person to the bike.  I ran to transition, where all the other athletes had already removed their bikes.  Someone had moved my stuff, though, so I had to grab the bag of my things and my towel and mat and hobble it over to my bike.

Except that there was no M.  M is my special needs person, designated to give me my cochlear processor.  In the dream, no M.  No processor.  Finally, I found him, taking pictures of flowers and artistic grass blades.

(This is why I might need to chat with my subconscious... why is it so worried that M, who is generally reliable and extremely supportive, will fail me in my hour of need?  He hasn't ever let me down for important things: wedding = on time.  Pick up from airports = on time.  Last year, getting to Nation's and forgetting to bring the backpack with my dry clothes for after the race on the rainiest day of September = the man hailed a freakin' taxi in the District of Columbia where it is technically illegal to hail taxis and hauled ass back to the hotel to get the backpack and STILL DIDN'T MISS THE RACE START = super on time.  Really, subconscious.  Chill.)  

The dream ended with me screaming something along the lines of "Get into transition, now!  I have to bike!  I have to get on the bike now!  I have to!  I have to bike now!"

On the bright side, this sort of thing just motivates me to make yet another checklist.  So far, I have four: pack for race, overall (everything I'll need to pack for DC); pack for swim; pack for bike; pack for run; (those three are race day checklists) and finally, pack for race day (transition bag) and pack for race day (M's bag).

For the ADHD control freak in your life (like me!), this is part of what makes triathlon AWESOME.

Control-freak obsessive checklists?

Yes, check.  Thank you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hot Day. Miserable Run.

I guess it must happen at least once a summer.  Last summer, it was every day, but there was one day in particular that was just misery on two feet.

I'm talking about runs in humid, hot conditions.

We've been near and in the 90s the past few days.  My coworker duly warned me that there would be at least one week like this, and here we are.  It hasn't been horrible to the point that I've needed A/C, but we did break down and get a window fan so I could sleep at night.

And today I went for a run, and I chose to try for my sub 1:00 10K, on the bike path, because it's sunny and flat and I figured that would mimic the conditions of DC most closely.

That was 1:08:17 of abject misery, and at the end of it, I was probably borderline heat-exhausted.  I finished the 10K and called M for rescue.  One cool shower and a nap later, I'm feeling a little tight in the face, swollen in the fingers, blistered in the toes, and very hopeful that this will help me in case DC is humid.

And now I'm going to go get my double pointed needles and finish an apple cap, like I knit for the new babies in my life.  If you are a baby in CT, you probably are saying, "What?  Chick never made ME an apple cap!" and that is true, because I am the Worst Person in the World and was distracted with another project this summer.  But the cap is almost done and soon you too will be a baby with an apple to wear on your head.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fast Brick

Yesterday, I ran a fast brick!  A brick is a workout where you bike and run in quick succession, the idea being that you become accustomed to how wobbly your legs feel as you switch sports and you practice your transitions, and also that triathletes are junkies for suffering.

The latter is actually not true.  Really.   I'm in it for the carbs.

But it is true that on Tuesday, I ran the brick in 1:00:02, which is 1:50 faster than before.  Since it was a hot and humid day, I felt like I did very well in conditions that may well mirror those I'll face in DC.  I know how to fuel and I accept that I need tons of Gatorade to live.

The bike being racked.  I've changed my transition setup to hang the bike by the brakes.  Guess what?  It doesn't hurt your bike after all!  And you are faster!  Amazing, right?  

The Geek Breakdown:  1:00:02 had me pacing at 17.8 on the bike according to my computer, and according to our Leader's timing, pacing at 9:30 min miles and faster.  Last year in DC, I was running 10:40 miles.  I've worked over a minute off my mile time.  This may bode well.  My goal is to beat 3:22. Ideally, I'm hoping for a 3:15.  Is it slow?  Yes, but for a girl who couldn't run a mile a year ago and who was still rehabbing off a major bike crash, I think this is pretty decent.

But you know the coolest thing?  My team at Multisport Advantage is just great people.  They stand at the finish line and cheer everyone in.  They say "Good job!" as they pass each other on the run loops.  Mrs. Fearless Leader gives everyone cheers as they come in for transitions.  And even as I passed one guy on the bike loop, he gave a thumbs-up.  (Oh, yes, he also came back a few minutes later and passed me in return.)

When we are all working so hard towards our various goals, it's just really cool to be working with people who give out such great moral support.  I think I've improved so much both because so many of my teammates are so amazingly good, and also because they are just really truly nice people.

Thanks, teammates!  I wouldn't have been running these miles this much faster if it wasn't for your pushing AND for your friendship!

PS- yes, no workout today.  After my Stupid Cats successfully woke up me up at 3:30 AM by over-cuddling (really cats, it was humid, and no, I do not need your catnip mouse in my hand.  Remember the real dead mouse incident**?  Didn't that teach you anything?) I couldn't sleep because I was so hungry.  At one point, M (who was also awake) remarked on the volume of my tummy rumbling.  Awkward.   Sometimes the planned workout doesn't happen, so I'm planning a strong trail run for tomorrow.  

**The real dead mouse incident: feel free to write me for the full story.  Or request I tell it in the comments.  It involves, as you might imagine, a dead mouse and an enthusiastic cat named Snowbeast.

This is Snowbeast.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding the Super-Fancy Bike at Hutch's

Project Update:  You can donate via the link to the right titled "HOW TO DONATE"

Wow, things have suddenly come together!  Hutch's is providing the box and will pack the bike for free!  LifeCycle has offered me a great discount on awesome tires (and thinks I can shave as much as pound off my bike wheel weight!).  Friends in Portland have advised on best airport parking.  My mechanic brother-in-law is waiting, wrench in hand, to reassemble and tune the bike.  Another friend is fluffing the pillows for a place to stay before we move to the hotel.    

We have raised $420 towards our cause so far!  (Mostly from anonymous donors, which I think is very sweet!) 

The last thing left is confirming our rental car.  I was all set with it, and had the craziest anxiety dream on rental cars last night, involving a sleazy agent who played fast and loose with my AAA discount and went on lunch break while I was trying to get the car.  In the dream, M was hotwiring cars so we could get to the race while I was standing in line at the rental facility, putting on my wetsuit and crying that I had to go pick up my race packet.  I don't usually like waking up, but wow, that was a relief.

Yesterday, Hutch's let me ride a super fancy bike to make up for losing me on the ride last week.  ONe of the mechanics actually said that, on the ride, "Hey, so you got lost last week.  We gave you an awesome bike this week, right?"  and I said, "Yep, that's like giving a girl flowers."  They also announced VERY LOUDLY each and every turn and especially the part where the fast guys broke off from the slower group.  So I didn't get lost and had a lovely ride, getting the chance to talk to some great people.  One girl in particular was riding her first road bike (still on flat pedals) and was thinking about doing her first triathlon this fall.  "Oh, yes," said I, "You should talk to Multisport Advantage.  The business owner is a woman, too, so she 'gets' it and takes care of us girls!"  Which is true.  Thanks, Cristina!

I was put on a Specialized S-Works 2012 which isn't even out yet, with electronic shifters.  The entire thing was carbon fiber and weighed about as much as a pair of Dansko clogs.  Cons:  Well, I'm not crazy about the color scheme and it doesn't belong to me.  In a perfect world, this bike would be mine, all mine.  Ees so sad.

I don't actually have a picture because I was A) geeking out too much to take a picture, and B) there are no pictures of this bike on the internet yet because it's not yet released.  So. Cool.  I feel so with-it.

I'm not totally sold on the electronic shifters.  They are so smooth and effortless that, sometimes, when I shift from big to little rings my chain would get for a split second and I'd freak that I was about to drop my chain.  The resulting wobble and slow down would drop me off the pack.  There's a healthy learning curve with those.  But I loved being able to shift from the drops as well as the hoods.

The bike I rode was a mens, so I need to check out women specific designs.  I've been riding mens all this time, but I think I'm finally getting to the level where I'm starting to notice performance differences.  And I might want to think about aerobars, which I can't do right now because I'm pretty stretched out as it is.  On the bright side, a few guys said I had a really, really strong back.  Thankfully, M is not a jealous type and had no problem with a few guys commenting on my back.  :-)  But I do have a strong back.  And when I lose some more CT pudge, I'll be able to show off the sort of back muscles you see on TV.  Except my back has all sorts of oddball tanlines from my various jerseys.

Yeah, we finally started tanning a little here in Oregon.  It HAS warmed up a little!

The ride on that bike... now let me take a moment to sigh in desperate longing.  It is like pedaling softened butter.  It is so lightweight you barely think about it.  Pulling on the upstroke feels less like pedaling and more like floating uphill.  Going downhill... well, wow.  Was. I . Fast.  I had to think about braking to slow down on a curve so I wouldn't overtake the leaders.

That pony just wants to run.

Several times, I had to bust out of the pack where I was and head up towards a faster group because the bike just wants to go, go, go, faster and faster.

Run, pony!  Go, pony!

After a little rest break at the end of the Fern Ridge trail (where we do our bricks from), we started back and I hung in second group chatting with some people.  I saw the lead group (a bunch of Hutch's guys in red and white and M in his blue) swooping away ahead of us, and suddenly had this bright idea of catching them.

So I said, "Hey, I'm going to catch the boys."  The group cheered!  (Thank you, ladies.  Love that we have a little gender-competition going on!)

And I chased them.  And caught them, handily.  And it was only one of several chases to the faster group that I had put on throughout the night.  On that bike, I was a Super Rockstar of Blazing Speed Demon.

Yeah, it really was that kind of awesome.   

I will now wish to dream of light Specialized bikes, if the anxiety dreams will give me a break.  I love my Trek because it's so pretty, but wow, that Specialized are just beyond the pale.  The most I can afford to do right now is change my tires to something lighter.  (Maybe next season, I can get real race wheels!) But the memory of that long, light ride will stick with me.  Ahhhhhhhhh...

Thanks, Hutch's, for the awesome ride!  You guys are great!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bike Pooling

Eugene is internationally famous for its Number 1 Commute in the Country.  (Well, if it wasn't before, it is now.  Some magazine somewhere said it was so.)  You can complain about much, but in Eugene, we just don't have much to complain about in terms of getting to work.

Sometimes for work I have go to to other places.  Yesterday, we had our annual parish picnic.
Don't know 'bout you, but at our parish picnic, we go for mule wagon rides and get a look at Mt. Pisgah.  Thanks to Copper Windmill Ranch for the rides!

So I was very excited yesterday when I talked a parishioner into bike-pooling with me to the parish picnic. He's a well know bike commuter and knows every road in the area.  The parish picnic was being held at the Copper Windmill Ranch, which is acres of delightful hosted by two gracious long-time parishioners.  

My parishioner- let's call him SuperCruiser- rolled into St. Mary's at 3:30 on his fat-tired cruiser with a trunk.  Meanwhile, The Boss had been psyching me out with stories of HOW BIG the hill was en route to the Ranch.  The hill was HUGE, and MOUNTAINOUS, and there was NO SHOULDER and ALL THE CARS WANT TO KILL YOU.

I got a little freaked out, and went home and traded my hybrid cruiser with the granny gears for my light and speedy roadie.

SuperCruiser rolls in and asks me, "Do you think I'll be able to keep up with you?"  I replied that I was looking forward to a nice mellow ride.  SuperCruiser smiled one of those cheerful happy smiles that people seem to have at St. Mary's when you are doing something they like, and proceeds to take off at the soul-crushing pace of 16.1 mph.

Did I mention that he was on a bubble-tired cruiser?  I was holding his wheel comfortably and steady on my roadie, but he was RIDING COMFORTABLY AT 16.1 ON A CRUISER!

He then strikes up a casual conversation.  "Oh, people think I'm really fit, but I'm really not, I just ride my bike to work and around town a little."

You need to be aware that when people say things like that in Eugene, they don't really mean it.  Well, they do mean it, but their perception is skewed because we live in a town with a bunch of Olympians.  So the 75 year old man says "Oh, I"m SO SLOW these days" and reels off a 10K in 45 minutes, while his Olympian neighbor crushes it in 30.  And the UberCyclist (the professor) says, "Oh, I have a few tools and I like to tinker" and his garage could make a mechanic weep in envy.  And I feel super, super slow in tri club, and I do brick workouts with people who made the Team USA team for ITU worlds this weekend. (Yeah, he's mellow about how super-fast and strong he is, too.)  

So when SuperCruiser says, "I just ride to work" he means that he rides up this giant freakin' hill every day and that hills are his favorite geography.

That explains how we ended up on Dilliard Rd.  At the end of the day, it was a great ride.  It wasn't so hard that I couldn't do it.  But it was hard enough to give me a workout.  It's a 2.5 mile climb.  Once, I could see a car in my rear view mirror, and when the driver pulled up, she started yelling at me.  I had already hollered "Car Back!" to SuperCruiser and had no air left.  All I could do was scream, "PASS ME!"  to the car.  She continued screaming at me.  Later, SuperCruiser and I decided she was cheering us on.

He cruised up the hill handily.  I ground my way up, fighting heroically for every inch and using my new mantra of "Up up up up up".  The Fat Cyclist said we could all have his mantra, and I have to say, it DOES help you remember to use your upstroke.  Besides, it takes less thinking than my other mantra of "I get ice cream".  Thanks, Fat Cyclist, who has never met me and who has no idea that I exist, but I think his wife (The Hammer) is awesomesauce.

In other news, one of my favorite new friends (who's a chef.  Wonder why she's my favorite new friend?) passed us as well, and they DID wave and cheer.  As in, they waved their arms and screamed things like "GOOOOOOO!!!  YAAAAAYY!!!!!"  That's the way to do it, folks.

At the almost-top, we met SuperCruiser's son who'd ridden his MTB over on the trails that cover Spencer Butte.  And Jr. proceeded to crush me as well as the climb continued for one last little roll.

Trivia: Dilliard St. turned out to be where my favorite little running trail came out.  So I knew the trail!  I was very, very excited to discover this knowledge and got to say things like, "Yeah, the first mile up from Martin st. is just 900 feet of climbing, but then you feel like a rock star on Dilliard".  Don't I sound so very in-the-know?  I credit Multisport Advantage for showing me stuff like that.

And then, finally, at last, at last, at last, we crested the top and it was all downhill from there.

43.6 mph downhill from there, if you would like to know.

Later, I checked my heart rate monitor.  Average was 151, max was 181 (that would be the hills.  Yowch).  And with all the cycling yesterday, I burned 1155 calories.

Yes, actually, I WILL go back for more salads and that extra veggie burger.  And the fresh blueberries.  And that mint brownie square.  And I really wish that there was more tortellini salad, because that was quite good.  And I sucked down my two bottles of Gatorade, a water, and a Hansens soda.  I'm a hydrating rockstar.

Our host took us cyclists on a longer mule wagon ride, and showed us an extra bike route.  It does cover some significant gravel, so I might have to bring my hybrid (or maybe the roadie can handle it if I do a little walking?)  but eventually turns into pavement again.  It swoops down towards what I learned is Mt. Pisgah and through the town of Goshen, runs over to LCC and back into Eugene.

And now I'm wondering if SuperCruiser and Jr. might someday want to ride Dilliard again and follow it up with the run through Goshen...

Doesn't it look kind of hilly?  But think... it means I GET TO EAT CARBS!  
Maybe there's something to hill riding after all...

Off to work now.  I have to ride my roadie again today because Hutch's is letting me ride a super fancy bike later today.  Remember, it's my flowers from them losing me and me getting stuck with the Fast-And-Furious group last week.  :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Still Chasing my sub-1:00 10K

I went out yesterday with the goal of getting my 10K under 1:00.  I've been working hard- REALLY  HARD- all summer on my running.  My last run was 1:00:17, so I'm so close I can taste it!

I also need to get some training in the heat, because it's been so cool here in Oregon all summer.  We haven't broken 90 until this week (and I'm not sure we did really break it after all), and our humidity is low.  This makes for delightful human living with lots of enticement to go outside and play.  However, it does not make for good humidity training.

Back when I was doing support for the Police Unity Tour, one of the toughest teams to watch was Team Minnesota.  They had some incredible athletes and they trained so hard, you could tell.  And each year, a number of them just keeled over on the Virginia hills.  It wasn't their training, it was the humidity that did them in. They just weren't acclimated.

Needless to say, I'm a little scared of the humidity.  I've lived in DC.  I know what it can be like.  I hope I can acclimate in time!

I inadvertently discovered a great way to do acclimation training.  I have a bunch of tech clothes now- you know, lightweight high tech fabric designed to keep you breezy and cool.  Everyone says "don't wear cotton".  It traps heat and becomes like a shirt-shaped blanket of misery.  I was low on laundry and wore a cotton shirt on a ride last week.  Between the kite-like wind affect from the loose fitting shirt and the sheer hot factor, I had found my solution.

So I went out yesterday in a grey (Unity Tour!) shirt and went for my 10K.  I ran a bunch of stuff in 58:36, but I don't actually know if I did 10K, because my stupid iPhone GPS Nike app reset itself at 8K and I ran at  least 1.5 miles after that from the turnaround point.  This explains why a crazy sweaty person was running down the Amazon path in Eugene yesterday, shouting, "D@mn it, Robot Lance!  Not now!  NOT NOW!  NONO NO NOOOOO!!!!"

However, I did a few stupid things in the run.

I figured "I'll only be out for an hour!" and left my Gatorade in the car.  As I do have a waterbottle belt, this was just dumb.  You get a little cotton mouthed and dehydrated after an hour's hard run in hot sun.  Duh.  Knowing my body chemistry like I do, I know I'm a salt-losing sort of person.  I need my Gatorade or else I keel over in misery.  I paid for it in cramps later on.

I also grabbed cotton socks.  M is in the middle of folding laundry right now, a project which takes him days to do just right (but everything ends up beautifully matched and ironed.  When I fold laundry, it takes me 20 minutes, but your underwear will be tossed into your underwear cubby and not folded, and your socks may or may not be matched).  So all my tech socks were in the laundry, and only my cotton socks were available.

This was a bad, bad, bad, bad mistake.  Yes, wear cotton SHIRTS to acclimate, but cotton socks?  You are just asking for a boatload of pain and misery, and a pedicure of sorrow with a flipflop of regret.

Before I left for work this morning, I had to tape my toes so I could ride in, and then stand for four hours while I did services and walked around.  The total number of blisters is somewhere around 7, with a few additional hot spots.

The feet of pain (in some places, the moleskin is protecting two blisters at once.  I multitask).  Not only do I have blisters, but you also get to see my interestingly flipper like feet.  You'd think I'd swim super fast with these, don't you?  Yes, my heels really are that narrow and my toes that wide.  It makes for interesting shoe buying.  But WHY doesn't it make me a super fast swimmer?  Why, I ask you, WHY?)

Yeah, I dug the tech socks out today.  (Sparkle socks, if you must know.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Triathlete at the Fair

Because I'm an Episcopal priest, Fridays are my day off.  I usually get a lot done when lines are shorter at the stores (explaining the multitude of breakfast dates we tend to have and how I did a Fed Ex run and the grocery shopping AND dropped off a load at the Goodwill before the frozen strawberries even started to melt).  Today, I got to take a massive nap.  Guilt free.
No, it's not the ONLY thing I do on my day off.  But baristas are just artists in this town. This one is from Sushi Seoul, which is a coffeshop in the morning.  Really. 

Then we went to Cottage Grove for some swimming.  Cottage Grove is a lovely lake with fish and all sorts of wild life, like the mysterious thing with four legs and little tail that I saw one time.  (Frog?  Mouse? Baby possum?)  My tri club meets on Fridays for an open water swim where everyone suits up in their wetsuits (a few hardcore people swim in nothing but tri suits!), and swims to the dock, then to the last buoy.  One full lap is just under a mile, so it's just short of a full Olympic distance swim.

Part of Cottage Grove.  

I decided to swim backwards from the group today, swimming first to the last buoy THEN to the dock.  I am easily one of the slowest if not the slowest swimmer in the group.  To be fair, Mrs. Fearless Leader is a former competitive swimmer.  One of our guys is in Vermont competing in for a spot on the National team this week, and he WON a tri earlier this summer.  So I'm in a group with some real seriously awesome hardcore athletes.  But it's still hard to be slow when you swim in a group with people like Mrs. Fearless Leader who is so fast and strong that she leaves a wake.  I wonder if we could sell wakeboard excursions powered by her...

And being slow makes me feel bad, and then I start feeling frustrated and get out of breath and lose my stroke because I'm busy being frustrated.

I decided to swim backwards to focus on swimming against myself.  It seemed to work.  Swimming against the crowd meant that I got to see some people I usually never see (because they are too far ahead) and I got to work on my stroke and technique without being frustrated that I was so much slower than everyone else.

I also debuted my new goggles.  After suffering with increasingly leaky goggles for the last few months, I finally broke down and asked Mrs. Fearless Leader about them.  She shared that she replaces her goggles about once a year.

Ahem.  My leaky ones were over 4 years old, and flaking metallic coating.  It was high time for new ones.  I have Tyr Pro Nanos now.  They are metallic white goggles.  So I look smashing in my red cap and white goggles.  Well, as smashing as one can look in a swim cap and goggles, that is.  Best part, no leaks!  Leaky goggles were getting quite annoying.  I didn't have to stop once today to pour water out of my goggles.  Yeah!

In other news, several of us have reserved super-fancy bikes to ride on the Hutch's Monday bike ride, so bike excitement is running high right now.

After the swim, M and I decided to hit the Lane County Fair for a Friday night date.  It's a fun little fair, and the fairgrounds aren't far from our house.  We decided to try the fair at night to see stuff all lit up.  We ran into a few cool parishioners, ate fried food on a stick, and shared an elephant ear and Hawaiian shaved ice.  I asked how that was different than, say, a Sno Cone, and the guy couldn't tell me.  I'd be interested in knowing the difference, if you do.
Shaved Ice.  Lemon-lime flavor.  So bright green, it could be used as a glow stick for fireworks.
Multipurpose junk "food"!

We also went to see the animals, like the baby chicks hatching.  One chick was just lying down, and M asked, "What's wrong with that one?"  I said, "Oh, he just hatched, and he's really tired."  And then I stage-whispered, "And that's all we'll say in front the kiddies!"  The parents snickered at that one as their rapt toddlers stared in awe at the hatching eggs.  Pecking order must start early, if I am to judge by the one newly hatched chick pecking at the others.
There's really a chicken under all that.  

And a lop-eared bunny!  Who doesn't love a lop-eared bunny?  They're my favorite!

Finally, we watched the All-Alaskan pig race.  No word on when IronPig North America starts.

The winning pig on his victory stand.  They fed him after he wins.  Winning pigs are eating pigs.  Which means you'd better watch out for the poor hungry losing pigs...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My stomach. My nemesis.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a triathlete in possession of a stomach must be in want of massive quantities of food.

I've been working on my nutrition and eating this summer.  I've dropped some good poundage and incorporated even MORE veggies into my diet.  I still have some problems, though.

The biggest problem are days like these when I don't start out on schedule.  I had a meeting with the clergy in town at the sushi coffeeshop.  Yes, such a place does exist.

So I skipped breakfast.

By the time I got there a little after 10, I was starving.  So I ordered my mocha and a bagel which was the size of my head.

But then I wasn't hungry for lunch.  So I skipped lunch.

But then 5 PM rolled around and I was suddenly starving and raging on low blood sugar.  (Think The Hulk and imagine The Hulk wearing a clergy collar and saying, "YOU WON'T LIKE ME WHEN I"M HUNGRY!")

We retrieved our farm box and, in the time it took M to put away my commuter bike and get the mail,  I inhaled: two dehydrator cookies, a tortilla with two egg whites, 1/4 avocado, and an achingly beautiful tomato, a scoop of yogurt and about 2/3 cup of fresh blueberries.

So, see, it was mostly healthy, but an immense amount to take in.  And now I'm very sleepy and full and think I might skip today's run in favor of joining friends for a blackberry picking outing.

I should really spread out my eating a bit more and start better in the AM, right?

I should also never give up a blackberry outing, right?

BTW, here's that recipe I promised Facebook friends.  Last year, after Nation's, I was totally done with all the highly processed energy food I'd eaten all summer.  You have to do that in the beginning to figure out what your body can tolerate, but by Sept 12, I didn't want to see another packaged bar or gummy chew again.

I did a raw food diet for a month to get resettled, and discovered an amazing smoothie with strawberry, banana, almond milk, and cacao.

This rocked, because I found (1/2 off!) a package of 75% cacao chocolate chips.  I bought them and proceeded to do the following:

1/4 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips.  I suggest you see below, and make the same mistake I did.)
7-9 frozen strawberries.
1/2-1 frozen banana (I use 1/2)
1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup water  OR 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 to 1 1/2 cups water (depending on how liquidy you like smoothies).

Blend, blend, blend.

I ate this constantly for 2 weeks.  Then I went back to the store and looked for the 75% cacao chocolate chips.  Not finding them, I asked a store employee, who ruined my life when he showed me to the RAW CACAO NIBS.  I then discovered my error.  I mourned for an evening, and then decided that a chocolate chip smoothie was not only awesome, it had also never killed anyone.

And I decided to make it for myself every now and then.

This makes a big smoothie, so you can even split it amongst friends.  If you drink it for breakfast, I promise I won't tell your mother if you don't tell mine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Road I.D., Finally Updated, and Vagabond Safety

Thanks to the gentle prodding and/or incessant nagging of various voices, including a parishioner who has the same color Road I.D. as I do, I finally updated my Road ID.

I think I've spoken of them before, but they are just a wonderful company with a great sense of humor.  I got mine last year after working several cases where people came into the Emergency Department at Hartford wearing Road IDs.  With one guy, the medics handed me the bracelet.  It's not necessarily the job of the medic to positively identify you... or even the doctor.  The task of WHO YOU ARE usually falls to the social worker, the chaplain, and/or the cop.  (Let's now chalk this one up to "in the category of why emergency chaplains are useful".  I make your life easier, and I'm charming to talk to.)  I logged on and printed out his name, picture, and a list of his medical conditions and allergies to hand to the doctors.  Can I even say how much this expedited treatment?  I called his wife (at one of the four numbers he had listed in his online profile).  He was tucked into the ICU when I met them at the elevator.

On the other hand, when I had my big bike crash the year before, I had just tucked my driver's license and other cards into my seat bag.  It was so wet that day that when I got to the hospital, my cards were illegible.  I was so hypothermic and in shock that I was just "Betsy" for over 30 minutes until I could figure out what my full name was and how to dial my phone.  Not to freak out my brother or anything, but by the time I called him, I'd already been getting warmed and treated for over half an hour.  (Ah heck.  He freaked out anyhow.  The Paramedic just hates it when his family gets hurt.)

So yeah, I'm a huge Road ID fan.

In my first year with it, it went through mud, snow, sun, and more open water in various conditions than I can remember.  I've also moved and packed boxes with it.  It is still as clear and clean as the day I bought it, with not a scratch to be seen.  This little bracelet is simple awesome.

Rest assured, I have now updated my tag (new tag on the way) and both of our online profiles.  And because I updated mine, here's a coupon for the first 20 of my friends and readers to use.

Coupon Number: ThanksElizabethAnne8724001

I'm a pretty safe biker over all.  I ALWAYS wear my helmet (I'm convinced it's why I did not suffer worse injuries in my crash).  I ALWAYS ride defensively.  Here in Eugene, at dusk, I always light up with flashing lights.  I even wear horrendous neon colors in wet weather so I can be as visible as a Christmas tree.

But I do want to say THANKS to those who prodded me to update my emergency info.  Even the safest of us can get complacent about updating things like this.  It was high time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Nicest Bike Store In Eugene Tried To Kill Me

So, as things develop, and as I get more settled in Eugene, I am getting to know the local bike shops.  So far, I really like Paul's Bicycle Way of Life for my hybrid commuter.  The first mechanic I met was a woman, and the guys are awesome, and they have the best advice for commuters and how to keep your bike from getting stolen in Eugene.  They even referred me to a competitor when they didn't have a piece of gear I needed.  You gotta respect a shop that does that.  And so they will keep my business for my hybrid.

But I'm really in love with Hutch's for my racing bike.  They have the gear, they let you pet the fancy bikes, and next week they are having a demo of super fancy bikes.  And we can ride them if we ask nicely.

(Yes, please, may I please ride the fancy bike?)

Not to mention that the mechanics are nice, and also a mix of women and men.  Last year, I broke up with my bike shop in CT because the mechanics were all men who wanted to preach to me about my bike.  Getting to know people to want to teach me more about my bike and really get me on the best machine possible... awesome.

And the mechanics invited me on the weekly rides.

And today we went on the ride, M and me.  The idea was to do the 23 mile nice-and-easy ride.

Several people (including one of our first bike friends, The UberCyclist who is a professor and who attends my parish) said it was a totally atypical ride.

But the end result: we got misplaced and instead of going on the 23 mile ride with the nice-and-easy group, we instead went on the fast-and-furious 31+ mile death sprint of doom.

And did I mention we left our bags at church, so we had to go get them and ride home afterwards?

My legs are still burning.  I ate a ton of protein and a huge bowl of spinach for dinner.  I drank three glasses of water.  On the ride home, we took the bike path and rode through so many bugs, it was like a first course.  I picked a baby dragonfly out of my jersey and sneezed, swallowed, and blinked out several other varieties of bug.  Oh, riding at night.  It ees so special.


Dear Hutch's, I like you.  A lot.  And you are pretty awesome.  I think I'll come again next week because you are going to let me ride a fancy bike if I ask nicely, and that's like giving a girl flowers.  But please don't try to kill me next week.  Can we maybe try the buddy system, and you can give me a slow buddy?

Thanks much- The Vagabond.

I think I'll be sleeping hard tonight.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rest Days

Here's the link to donate, and more information about our project!  I hope to have an update on non-online donations sometime this week.

One of the hardest parts of this whole training thing is the rest days.  I am lazy by nature, and you'd think I'd have no problem sitting at home eating the extra burrito and resting and watching TV all day.

That is shockingly hard.

I'd like to sit, but then my heart is clutched with fear:  what if I miss the chance to go faster because I didn't train every day I could have?  What if one more day in the water is what it would have taken to make me fast, at last?  Besides, my Beetle desperately needs a wash and wax. AND SHOULDN'T I BE DOING A DEEP VACUUM OR FOLDING SOME LAUNDRY??

Sitting around watching movies on TV sounds, by comparison, kinda boring. It's like being sick without the legitimate excuse of a fever.  How does one lie around without being sick?  (Even though, yes, I'm a priest, and yes, I did work both yesterday and today.  So it's not really "lying around", I guess...)

On the bright side, during Friday's swim, I discovered a few things.  A) the silicon ear plugs are a miracle and I will never again swim without ear plugs.  Totally eliminated the dizzy problem!  B) I seem to swim faster when I only use my legs for balance and not for kicking.  I might do that for the rest of this season.

This week, once my rest days are over, I'm looking forward to working out using the heart rate monitor I scored at the REI Scratch-and-Dent sale.  (Oh, we scored, big time.  I'll be telling that tale for a long time. In fact, my teammates and camping friends will probably want to practice their "let's change the subject right now" lines in case anyone ever gets me started.)    

The moon, full and shining strong on the lake.  Our tri team was all out of the water by this point, having a cookout and realizing we were all tired:  we'd forgotten things like buns and cookies and grill pans for the grills.  Whoops.

As for the rest...  I don't feel like I am being "good" with all this resting.  Part of me still wants to head out and run.  Part of me still whispers "Slacker!" in my head.  Part of me is a little horrified that I so rapidly identified Debbie Gibson's "Only In My Dreams" as the source song for the latest Old Navy commercial.  (I even know all the lyrics.  And I still think Debbie Gibson had a great voice.  Oh, I'm such a hopeless 80's geek.  I'll never be cool!)

But I"m also realize that I can't train for the race if I burn myself out to the point of misery and injury.  I hope with these two days of rest that this week of training can be that much stronger.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Anxiety Dreams

I get anxiety dreams before races, I have discovered.

The oddest recurring dream ever was a few years ago before I rode (or tried to ride) my first road bike century.  M would be leaving for Nevada to research Burning Man, and I would be heading to Vermont.  All summer long, I had this dream about falling off my bike and breaking my hands.  I'd hit a curb.  I'd fly over a tree branch.  I'd overshoot a curb.  I'd endo on a street crack.  But over and over again... the dream ended in broken bones.

This was the summer I slid on the tracks and DID break my right hand.  Yeah, it was kind of creepy, especially in the beginning when I was on the pain narcotics and high as a kite.   

But in happier times, I still have anxiety dreams.  Sometimes, I get in the water and realize I don't know how to swim.  Usually, it's preparation related.  Once, I dreamed I left my wetsuit behind so I had to do the swim with the little kiddie arm bubbles.

I tend to dream very vividly.  In fact, I'm able to do lucid dreaming which can be cool sometimes.  Other times, it's a relief to be able to look and see that I'm dreaming.  (And yes, Inception was creepy weird.)  So these anxiety dreams are a little unnerving.

Because of these dreams, I have a set of four-page checklists for tri packing and preparation.

Last night's dream started with me waking up in my own bed, on a brightly lit morning of Sept. 11, 2011.  I could see on the clock that it was about 7:10.  This was a problem because on Sept. 11, I'm supposed to be getting up at 4:30AM or so, in the dark, in Washington, D.C.  I realized this quite quickly, pulled on my tri outfit, and ran to the airport.

This was NOT a good dream, as I was running through an airport wearing lycra and Chaco flipflops.  Quite aside from the "why am I running around in public in skin-tight clothing" was the "man, I am going to be REALLY cold on the plane" and the icky-squicky "I am going to have to go barefoot through security".  I ALWAYS wear shoes with socks when traveling.  I think there's nothing grosser than putting my bare feet down in an airport, anywhere.  I have no problem with the TSA naked-pictures or Cuddles McFrisker, but bare feet?  Not gonna happen.

At the dream airport, I had a terrible time convincing the ticket people sell me a ticket.  M was gone somewhere in the shuffle, which is ALSO a problem as he's my special-needs cochlear holding person.  But I had my tri bag and I was ready to go, and I figured with the time change that if I got a plane right now, I could still make the race.  Yes, I know that Pacific time is behind Atlantic time, but my subconscious apparently doesn't.

Things got a little confused in the dream as I was standing in the plane aisle with my multitool trying to take my bike apart to get it into the overhead bins and the flight attendant was trying to adjust the venetian blinds over the plane windows, and another attendant was offering all flyers a warm kitty cat.

That last one, actually, could be useful...

Somewhere around there is when M started shaking me to wake me up. There's something about that man and mornings and coffee and especially weekends when we go to a coffeeshop for a morning date.

We shall never know if I ever got the bike into the overhead bin.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Educating Lizards, and why Tri Bikes are Not Cyclocross Bikes

This was certainly an interesting day.  Both from the priest side and from the tri training side.

Among other things, I was sitting in Spanish class learning about conjugating the verb "comer" when the lady who sits next to me said, "Ooo, my lizard is missing."


Yes, lizard.  She had caught a lizard in her garden, and her grandson is "wild" for lizards, so she decided to keep it for him.  She had it in a large basket, in a little "critter" mesh container, and she was misting it now and then.  Because that's why you bring a lizard to school, to keep him misted.

Yes, I asked.  Personally, I don't bring lizards to school, but obviously I come from a different world than many Eugenians.

Ultimately, the lizard was caught scampering across the classroom floor, and he was returned to his basket.  Hopefully he is a little wiser and can now conjugate the present tense of "comer".

Then I went on the bike ride.  After the shenanigans of yesterday, my ribs were feeling back to normal this morning.  I was still feeling tired.  So I came home from work and ate an all-protein sandwich.

Stop reading if you don't like vegetarian over-sharing.

I had two thin slabs of tofu with a sprinkle of cheese and some pesto.  It's like a KFC double down, but without chicken or deep frying.

I really, REALLY love tofu, OK?  And it made me feel better.  So I loaded up on water and headed to the shop.

Before the ride, as I was putting my seat bag together, I put my cell phone in.  That was a little odd, because I usually don't ride with my iPhone.  I have a cheap Go Phone for the sole purpose of calling emergency numbers or M for a rescue.  But I had a funny feeling... like if I was a little tired, that maybe I'd want to cut it short and should have a way to call home and bail out if I burned out mid-ride.

Fearless Leader took us out on a bike path.  To our collective dismay, we discovered that the path was being repaved.  (Okay, that is ultimately good news.)  All of us were on funky bike shoes which are not good for walking.  Fearless Leader hesitated for a moment... and then took off CROSS-COUNTRY, on his CUSTOM TRI BIKE!  Not to be outdone, we followed him, all of us riding on the grass on skinny racing tires.

It was kinda wild.  Maybe there's something to that cyclocross thing, after all.

We finally made it back to pavement and the road and kept riding.  Around mile 7, disaster struck.

Fearless Leader pulled up abruptly.  At first, I thought he was letting us all regroup.  I was lagging since I was on the slowest bike.  But then I noticed his chain was off.

And then I noticed his rear derailleur was missing from its usual spot.  The rear derailleur is the thing that holds your chain and clicks it into different spots on the gears.  No derailleur means no bike ride.  It's like knocking half your wheel off.  It's sort of critical.

Half of his had sheared right off.

None of us had ever seen anything like it.

To the credit of Fearless Leader, while he did look a little frustrated (he made some significant frowny faces), he said a LOT fewer swear words than I would have in the same situation.  He let just one slip.  I'm sure he was thinking of a lot more.  But if it had been me... well, you guys don't think I know that kind of language.  He's a nice guy, Fearless Leader.

It turned out to be rather providential that I had that phone.  Fearless Leader called his wife, picked up his bike, and started hiking to a rendezvous point.  And M got to call me and drop a big hint about dinner! The rest of us kept riding.  I was still the slowest (I love my bike, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting ready for the next stage of bike... a real serious, custom fit, high tec roadie this time).  But the tiredness and soreness had left my legs, and I got to go fast on the hills, and it just ended up being a really nice, cool, lovely sun set ride.

And then I got home where M had gone ALL OUT and made this killer amazing fabulous wonderful stunning vegetarian sushi, with this achingly beautiful sauce and fresh wasabi.  It was so good that after I ate what he had made, I actually made a sushi taco with the leftover pieces.  (I think it's called a "hand roll", looks kinda like an ice cream cone.)  Ees so lovely to have spouse who is killer cook.  Num num num!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pain Hurts

Sometimes workouts are fun and you feel strong.  Today, I had my normal after work snack and went to the workout feeling pretty good.  I thought I was in for a strong, fast brick.  (We run two miles, bike about 10ish miles, and run 1 mile.)

The first, 2 mile run started like normal.  Well, the field was pretty strong on the men today, with only two of us girls running- The Ironwoman (the store's owner and coach in chief) and me.  So Fearless Leader, M, and a cohort of other men took off.  I caught Ironwoman and M and held a little chat about greyhounds and whippets.  M and I are discussing the dog who will hopefully join our little family this fall, and right now, sighthounds are high in the running, because they are cool, mellow, and there's great rescues for sighthounds.  Besides, after all these years, it is time for a dog again.  I am always going to be a dog person.  (I guess my kitties are sorta sweet, sometimes, though.)
See?  They are cute when they do stuff like this.  Not so cute when they wrestle on my feet at 4AM.
And the hairball issue is definitely not cute.  

I was pacing decently for the first half mile, but as we headed to the second bridge, M and Ironwoman pulled away.  I was a bit sore from yesterday's fast 10K, but figured that I would loosen up as I ran.  I pushed a little harder, and took a big breath to do one last push to catch up to their little pack.

And suddenly, something "popped" behind my sternum and I was hit with waves of immense pain.  I will call it misery.  In reality, what I called it consisted of a few words that you guys don't think I know.

It felt like someone had punched me right in the chest.  I was gasping for air, and for a moment wondered when I had broken all my ribs.  watched helplessly as they pulled away.

I thought about quitting that mile and just turning around there, heading back to transition, and resting up a bit.

But I decided to haul it through the first two miles.  Then I considered quitting the bike part.  Then I considered not doing the last mile after the bike.

But I got on the bike- I love my bike and I thought it would make me feel better.  It hurt to bend over.  There was more swearing involved.  Once on the bike, I got some Gatorade and the awful ache eased up a bit.  I took the first mile a little slowly, and then built (and held) a 17 mph average pace for the rest of the ride.

Then the last mile.  I think the cute little commentors for the Tour De France call stuff like this "The Cave of Pain".  I was certainly down in a dark black place with just a painful sternum, tight ribs, and firey blister spots on my feet reminding me that life was misery and pain.  My chest hurt.  My legs hurt.  My toes hurt.  My brain felt whiny.  And did I mention that my chest felt like I had broken all my freakin' ribs?  OWCH.

I dragged myself back to the finish line, dead last (but today wasn't a good measure, as it was all the really hardcore men.  Like Fearless Leader, who feels slow running a 6:50 mile.  And M, who is faster than he wants you to believe.)

I guess sometimes the endurance part of endurance sports is hitting that wall of pain and hauling yourself over it.  It was not a pretty finish, nor my best finish tonight.  BUT it was a finish, and I am lucky to be able to do that.

Ironwoman rewarded the whole group with these killer super-healthy brownies, and the tailgate of her car was available for semi-collapse and rehydration.  (That second part was mostly me.  Everyone else seemed pretty cheery.)

It worries me, in case the race is on a humid day.  If DC is humid and hot, I'll be hitting a big wall, going really slow, and hauling through a great deal of misery.  I suppose it's good practice to work through the "I'mma quit this right now" in practice.

I'm off to take a load of ibuprofen, and hope these sore ribs loosen up by tomorrow.  My co-worker in the next office might get a little weirded out if there is moaning and groaning coming from my office all day!

New Run Time!

More donations!  Some of them are coming in by check, so I'll post updated totals as I get them. Wanna be our partner too?  Click here!  Thanks for everyone who supports us, including those supporting the trip (like the friends who offered us a place to stay and my bike mechanic brother in law)!

A long time ago, I declared triathlon insane.  I loved cycling, and I floated very well in water, but hated running with the sort of passion usually reserved for burned broccoli.  I had ridden a century, and some of those long rides had included people who did triathlons and wore heart rate monitors.  I made myself another sandwich and decided I would spend my life happy and comfortable on my bike. 

                Fast-forward several years.  As I turned 30, my husband gave me my first road bike, and I was at mile 50 of a century when I crashed, hard.  The next summer, I was still rehabbing all the injuries.  I turned to tri partly for the cross training, and because Team in Training supported lymphoma and leukemia research and I could do something good for my friend Ben who was fighting lymphoma.  (If you click on the label "Team In Training" below this post, you can read all about Ben.)

               The biking never bothered me a whit- my coach actually assigned me bike workouts as a reward for doing my running workouts.  As a priest, I just couldn’t bring myself to lie about whether I had completed my miles or not.  (Job hazard: ethical quandaries when one would rather be biking.)  When I started, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping.   I went to Nation’s with one goal: run the run without stopping. 

This summer, I've been busting my tuckus on the run, working hard to become more consistent.  Oh, and to change my gait from the Old Man Shuffle Towards Painful Death to something to something actually resembling a run.  You know, where you lift you feet and move forward. 

Yesterday, I had M drive me out to the end of the Fern Ridge Trail (across the street from the Green Hill Animal Shelter) and I ran home- while I hit some hills near the end, it's mostly flat, like DC will be. 

I finished 10K in 1:00:17.  I was aiming for under 1 hour, but I'll take this.  It's 6 minutes faster than DC last year, and I think I feel like I can work on consistently keeping my pace even a bit faster than I was yesterday.  Much of the time, I was pacing 5'30" per K comfortably, and I slowed down mostly because I got distracted. 

I saw buzzards, several herons of different colors, an old guy on the path ahead of me who I ran after and passed (last year, I used to chase 80 year olds to their trash cans), and butterflys and I wondered why I hadn't brought my camera to show you guys where I run...

Yeah, that's how I slow down to 6'46" per K.  I get distracted.  Running through marshland on a scenic bike path does that to you.  (Did I mention how scenic Oregon is, especially five minutes from our house? Love the Southwest hills!)

Then I went home and Chef M fed me marvelously.  He's really picked up the kitchen this summer and he is churning out healthy and TASTY dishes regularly, with much less time than when we first got married.  Yesterday, he had three dishes on the table in an hour.  (When we were first married, a similar dinner would have taken him about 3 hours plus every pot and pan we have.)  

Now if only my swimming self will see all the speediness in biking and running and stop fooling around and start moving in the water! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

From the Nation's Tri Themselves

Here's a little tidbit about the different challenges!

I'm not sure what'll be on the training plan today... it's grey and foggy out, which might put a kink in my swimming plans.  I'll have to give it the morning and see what Oregon offers later today!  It wouldn't be the first time Oregon has faked me out on the weather.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

TV Really Does Rot Your Brain

The Project is LIVE through all St. Mary's!  Become our partner by donating here!

M and I did not have cable for our our entire marriage until we moved to Oregon.  When we began establishing our utilities, we discovered that it would actually be cheaper to get the basic  cable/internet deal than to have just rabbit ears alone and DSL like in our old place.  We really didn't want the cable, but we wanted to be cheap more.

For the record, I much prefer my rabbit ears.  Since getting cable, I have turned off the most amazing amount of c**p.  Did you know that people fight about unknown junk in other people's storage units?  And there are muscly men who do obstacle courses to be named the "greatest soldier", except that none of them are currently soldiers?  Ahem, I think the "greatest soldier" is the one wearing the uniform right now, actually putting him or herself in harm's way... and isn't on reality TV at all.  Thanks, y'all.  I do appreciate what you are able to do for us.

Besides, I had way more Oregon Public Television on my rabbit ears than I have ever found on cable.  Where is my Simply Ming, my BBQ-U, my Rick Steves, my Julia Child reruns?  You disappoint me, cable, greatly.  I will wear out my "TV off" button, soon.

Just don't get me started on Netflix streaming.  I would curse the day I discovered Lost except that I am hooked, hard.

Speaking of soldiers, I am a little nervous about this tri.  There's now about 100 First Responders signed up, and there's a huge number of military personnel who race as well.  I've read that the start is a time trial start, and I am a SUPER SLOW swimmer.  I am having immense trouble with my swim speed this year.  Slow... as... sludge.  And I'm a little worried that I'm about to get thrown in the water in the same wave as either the other First Responders and/or FR and Military Challenge people in my age group.

All of whom are way faster and tougher than me.  I will feel seriously demoralized when I get outpaced! I'd much prefer to do the water with my own regular amateur age groupers and get on the bike and go into my bike happy space.

This, in tri terms, is the training stage known as "What the Hockey Sticks Have I Gotten Myself Into??"

I am off to have some anxiety dreams now.  Ta-ta!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Training of the Week

First, I think the Google Street View car is stalking me.  It has driven by my work, caught me at a number of intersections, and followed me briefly at least twice while I was bike commuting.  I was even taking a totally unplanned trip today when guess what pulled up next to me?  GOOGLE STREET VIEW CAR!

Google, if you want me that much, just send some spooky men in black with a van or something.  The car is freakin' me out.

In other news, our club does a few regular events together.  Several members of the club are getting ready for Ironman Canada.

Yeah, I'm so not there yet.

I still think I'm super-fast and spiffy when I can churn out a sub-10 minute mile.  I know, blazing, right?  In this town of Olympian runners, I think the Road Runner himself would feel slow and pokey.  I'm so slow and pokey I don't even quite know from pokey.

Anyway, Monday M and I went to the lake to do a swim.  I was going to practice the jump-in-and-swim start, but the Park Ranger caught on to us and told us we could swim... but we could not jump.  Ain't no arguing with the Park Ranger.  I'm working on stroke consistently and trying to get tips, which mostly means that M says things like, "Well, you sort of pull and push so you feel consistent tension" and tries to convince me he's not that good a swimmer.  For the record, he swam on a swim team.  That means he's way faster than me.  My triceps are still tired.

Tuesday we went out for the regular brick.  M volunteered to timekeep.  I think my first two miles were 9 minute 20 or 30 second miles.  My bike went really well- for most of the ride, I was cruising at 19 to 23 mph, with hardly any effort.  And then I got hit by the wind.

Oh, wind, why do you hate me so?  I weep on the windswept plains, as you bring the smell of the nearby stables to assail my delicate nostrils and my legs light up on fire as I crank, desperate for cover and relief from your relentless onslaught.

But then I jumped off and had a superfast transition (:31) and went off on the last run with a sub-9 minute mile.  (According to the Timing King, M.)  That made me feel supremely speedy.  And no, don't ask me where it came from.  I just felt pretty good and entirely consumed by the terror that I would be dead last.

For the record, the girl who was "last" is so much more secure than I and was doing the brick after a TRX workout, thus confirming that she is Toughness And Iron while I am Squishy Putty in comparison.

Yesterday, we went on a bike ride.  And while bike rides are usually extremely fun... our Fearless Leader said he had a short time yesterday, so we needed a tough bike in a short timeframe.  So he took us up every single huge steep hill in Eugene, so I was so tired I couldn't even pedal enough to build up speed on the downhill.  This meant that yeah, I was Dead Last all yesterday.

And M took a wrong turn and so he was lost in the middle of nowhere for a while and Fearless Leader had to chase him down to save him because I couldn't catch him even though I tried because M thought he was the last in the group and so he was going WAY too fast.  So my beloved had run away and left me... at the wrong intersection.  All this, by the way, as I was trying to drink some Gatorade and swallowed down the wrong bike so I was burping like a bullfrog while my system reset itself.  It was a smidge awkward.  "M!  STOOOOOP! (burp)  COME BACK!!!!! (burp)!"

I started out the ride saying swear words under my breath until I was too breathless to swear as we ground up the highest hills in the known universe.  (My Virginia friends can think Richmond to Fredericksburg... kinda like that.)  Then I had a damn lot of fun descending all those hills.  Then I ground up the hills again because Fearless Leader faked me out and I thought we were all done with hills so I hadn't saved any internal fuel.  I didn't even have any energy left to even think swear words.  And then M missed his turn and I spent about 15 minutes convinced he'd ridden away into the wilds of Oregon where he'd be eaten by a nutria...

Let's just say that emotionally, I got a little worked up and over on this ride.

Today, I hear we are going hills running on Spencer Butte, which is so far one of my favorite places to play in Oregon.  If I can get my seatbelt unjammed, I'll be filled with joy.  Don't ask me what the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I did to jam my seatbelt so hard, but that thing is STUCK.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Episcopal Relief and Development

So I mentioned C.O.P.S. the other day, as one of "my" groups for whom we are raising funds.  (And yes, the link is live!  If you support us, that'll be awesome beyond words.)  Today, I'm sitting across the street from my office at a coffee shop on their porch in some of the most delightful weather in the universe.  (Sunny, warm but not hot, shaded.... yes, you may envy us now.  Thank you, Oregon!)  Naturally, because I'm an over-educated mostly liberal semi-bleeding-heart type (job hazard), I feel somewhat badly because of the many friends in other parts of the country who are suffering, terribly in the heat.  My aunt and uncle had an anxious start to the summer as they watched the wildfires burn across Arizona, waking up for a few weeks in their house in Santa Fe, NM to see smoke from the fires clouding their skies.
This is USUALLY the view outside their house.  

Here on the West Coast, I'm learning about earthquakes and tsunamis. True story- there was an earthquake when I was in Seminary, and I was so clueless I just sat in my chair wondering how the heck big that damn truck was and why it wouldn't just roll down the street and stop bothering me while I was studying.  It took a California girl to set me straight!  The much larger, terrible earthquake in Japan happened before we'd moved here to Eugene, but I heard early on about St. Timothy's, Brookings OR who needed help when they were swamped from the small tsunami which resulted from that earthquake.  Like most of the normal world, they didn't seek out a disaster... it found them.

Suffice it to say that in a disaster, we don't always know how to help ourselves.  That's where ER-D comes in.  We are supporting ER-D because A) we are an Episcopal Church and we just love anything Episcopal, and B) they have the network of know-how.  They can take our resources and channel them to some place where they will be used to help others in pain rebuild to a new life.  We can help someone else sleep more soundly.  

This is very important for me, as an emergency chaplain.  I sometimes get (ahem, perhaps rightfully?) called an adrenaline junkie.  I like things fast... bikes, cars, dogs... life in general.  I'm a bit ADHD as are most of my emergency colleagues... we eat fast stuff for breakfast.  I'm going to want to take the best trained people, equip them to the teeth, and send them, flags flying, into the fray to make order out of chaos.  Then, being a control freak, I want nice tight controlled borders so that I am completely in control of what is going on in my little sphere of existence.

I'll let you know how the whole control-freak thing is working out sometime.  I will not refer that question to my beloved M who probably has his own ideas.  

The hard part in emergency response is the "what to do next".   That's the great thing that working with ER-D has taught me.  They taught me about many other people- maybe they aren't first responders, and maybe they don't WANT to be first responders, but there's this huge desire in many humans to help others out.  ER-D figures out a way to say "Yeah, we'll find a way to help" to everyone. They give me ways to dial down my adrenaline-junkie reaction, to turn off the run-for-it side, to calm down a little so that together, we can figure out how to help them rebuild lives into a new sort of normal.  With a group that helps with rebuilding, it feels okay to turn off the adrenaline.  And you know something?

New normal can be pretty awesome, and I love being a part of how we get there.