Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Vagabond Goes for A Run

So, thanks to a tight schedule over the next few days, I had to get in a long run and a long swim this week.  I've already talked M into doing the long swim with me Sunday.  Well, I asked him to do a long swim with me, and he agreed to have a swimsuit on hand just in case, and I didn't exactly specify a day and time, but won't he be happy and surprised on Sunday?

Today was going to be long run day.

And by long, I mean 10 miles.  That is race distance, and I wanted to see how I'd do.  I've been working on speed and hills and working up to the distance, and just like when I did my first Olympic tri ever, it was time to try the whole distance and see what I'd really gotten myself into.

The original plan was to talk my parents (who are visiting) into taking a walk on the nearby marshes at the end of the Fern Ridge Bike Path.  They could look at the wildlife and drop me off, and I could run a flat loop with just one hill on the way home.

They turned me down flat.  After a luxurious lunch at a winery, they were "tired" and wanted to "nap" which means, for them, sitting on my couches and petting my cats, who by now think they are the best humans on the planet.  My cats like everyone in the world better than me.  I'm so not a cat person.

So instead, I decided to work in another tough hills run because I could loop that from my house.  I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and loaded my jersey with two water bottles, Honey Stinger chews, and a Clif Shot that I wanted to try a new flavor of.  Even though I have now discovered that it's actually Hammer that I need to be practicing with for the big race.

I charged up the hill and knocked out the first few miles at my typical slow snail whyhillswhy? pace, and got to the top without much ado.  Well, ok, there was probably panting and huffing and a couple hill repeats and my sunscreen ran into my eyes and made me all teary, but no other ado.

From there, it was a long, steep downhill on Chambers.  And you know what?  Downhills hurt as much as uphills.  I practiced landing lightly, but clearly didn't start it early enough or land consistently light.  By the bottom, I was feeling like a rock in a tumbler.

So eventually, I hit the long flat bike path, but after the pounding down Chambers, I wasn't feeling very speedy.  I ate a few chews, and then my tummy started rumbling in earnest.  But it didn't want chews.  It was telling me clearly that it wanted chips and a sandwich, which it was not going to get.  So my tummy turned into a little ball of lead and started sulking, except when I stuffed another chew down there at periodic intervals.

I ran along the Fern Ridge path and then I decided I was bored with my out-and-back plan, and decided to work in a loop on another road.

Somewhere along this other road, my right knee started feeling a little cranky and my feet started some serious aching.  A quick check of my GPS revealed I was a little over 7 miles.

Hold the phone.

All the runners, the serious runners, the people who were runners from the get-go and never cyclists like I was a cyclist who developed a running problem, all of them swore to me that true happiness and joy starts at 5 miles on a run. Even my Bishop declares this to be truth.  The only vow I've taken as a priest involves obeying my Bishop, so if he says it, it must be true... right?

At five miles, you should be feeling endorphins and happiness.  There should be rainbows glowing overhead and the unicorns should be refilling your Gatorade bottle.

It was seven miles, and there were no endorphins going on.  And no unicorns.  What the hey?

My knee continued to hurt off and on and my feet continued to ache and when I got home, I discovered the start of three blisters despite my careful foot care and use of toe socks to prevent the same.

I got home at 9.32 miles in 1:43, which you might think is dreadfully slow but please remember the huge uphill.

I think I should be feeling really badass right now.  But my blisters hurt and I'm tired, so I'm going to bed.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Awkward Triathlete Moments

Early on, I was told that the triathlete was the person who had a $6,000 bike on top of a $3,000 car.  I haven't quite gotten there yet, but there are some other triathlete moments that no one had previously told me about.

For example...

I have my parents visiting me in Oregon for the first time ever.  I have graciously given them my bedroom and set up an air mattress in my study.  I just pretend I'm Jesse Thomas, who famously slept in his friend's closet before his big Wildflower win.  So I'm sleeping on the floor, squished into my tiny study.  (And I ran an 8:07 mile on Thursday!  It works!)

So we've been doing day trips: Crater Lake, the coast.  Crater Lake was gorgeous and tons of fun, and on the way, I realized that the tires on my husband's four door Dodge were bald enough that they chatter at higher speeds, so I decided to drive my beloved Beetle to the coast today until I have a chance to get him new tires.

My poor pop crawls into the back of my Beetle.  After a few minutes, he wrinkles his nose.  After a few more minutes, he asks, awkwardly, if any of us notice a funny smell.

"A rubbery sort of smell," he says.

Mentally, I run through all the things that have been in the back of that Beetle: swimsuits, running clothes, any of three pairs of running sneakers, bike shoes, bike bag, bike clothes including arm warmers, windbreakers, shorts, leg warmers, and booties (and more), snot rags, wetsuits that have been in lakes, towels, gear bags, running hats, bike tires that I was too tired to put back up on my wheel holders, tubes, newspapers that I keep to stuff into shoes that have gotten really wet, water bottles that occasionally get forgotten until they ferment and have to be bleached... and did I mention the wetsuit?  P.U.

And I decide to spare my poor dad.

"Oh, I had a spare bike tire back there last week.  That's probably it."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Summer Goal Achieved!

At the beginning of the summer, I had this idea that it would be fun to break 1:00 hour on the Thursday night brick workouts.  My previous best time was something like a 1:02 something, and that was on a day when I was going fast.

But today I did something I didn't think was even possible.

I decided to just go all-out and see what happened.  (Yeah, that also was a previously impossible thought for me.  I had two speeds: stop, and go.  The idea of "easy run" versus "all out run" is really pretty new to me.)

I ran my first two miles at 8:07 minutes per mile.  For perspective, when I started this tri stuff three years ago, I couldn't run a mile at all.  At Nation's that year, I was at my peak and I ran 10:40 miles off the bike.  That first summer, I used to race old people as they were taking out their trash, trying to beat them to the end of their driveway.  So holding down an 8:07 mile, for me, is super duper fast.  Whooooosh!

On the bike, I held down a 20.2 mph pace, riding my loop in under half an hour.  (Three years ago on the Bambino, my average mph was a 17.2.  These days, I ride with the SuperCyclist when I can, and I pick up speed via osmosis).  Somewhere on the bike, I realized that I had a shot at a sub-1 hour brick, and I decided to click up a gear and just push my cadence as hard as I could.  In English for those of you who like me to explain triathlete terms, this means that I made the bike harder to pedal by clicking the lever that makes my gears harder or easier, and I pedaled really hard.

This is rewarding in the category of "wheeeeeeeee!"  Can I even say how much I love my BMC?  BMC makes amazing bikes.

The moment of truth is really the off-the-bike run.  Bricks are bricks because that is how your legs feel. But I kept pushing it... and a few pep talks of "Come on, legs" later, my legs were responding with that last 8:40 mile.

This is last mile was still 2 minutes faster than my fastest Nation's time from 2010, and over a minute faster than last year's 9:42 miles!

My overall brick was about 55 minutes (the team coach has the final number), so I took my sub-1-hour goal and crushed it!  

If you are a Eugene tri person, you missed my great triumph!  And by that, I mean Jen gave me a high-five while I walked around and panted for a bit while SuperCoach crunched the numbers for us.

And then I went home where my momma is visiting and she had a nice hot dinner of beans and rice waiting for me, and I ate all the beans and the rice and now I am thirty seconds from crashing.  I was starting to wonder if I'd have to go to bed before my parents, which I haven't done since I was 7.  But seriously, with this training volume, I'm keeping kindergartner hours.  Early to bed, later to rise, and a morning and afternoon snack time and mandatory nap time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shoehorn Training And the Dilemma of Eating Constantly

Whenever I ride horses, I typically use a shoehorn to get my feet into my boots.  Once in, they are  comfortably snug.  But to get my over-large, flipper-shaped foot in there, I need the shoehorn's assistance.

Not a current picture, but the best one I have that demonstrates the flipper-like spread of my feet.  No blisters like this this year.  It is because I now soak my feet in pickling brine.  Or I've just learned to respect hot spots better.  Or maybe I just have calluses one.  One of those three things. 

Right now, I could use a life shoehorn for everything that needs to get into my life.

August is perhaps one of the busiest months in my calendar.  We joke around our office about how some other clergy call the summers "slow" and we wonder how they do it.  Our summers are jam-packed with prepping for a program year.

In addition to that, I have my parents visiting me for their first trip to Oregon, and my husband visiting from his fellowship the week after.  Family does trump... well, almost anything.  In the midst of all that, I lost my housecleaner who just stopped showing up for work, and so I have had to somehow cook decent vegetarian food to keep myself alive, clean the house enough so it was reasonably presentable, and do the laundry frequently enough to keep me well supplied in necessary things like clothes.  You see, according to USAT rules, nudity is quite illegal.  But fear not, little chickadees.  The Vagabond does not allow her precious bum to experience daylight.  She is modest to a fault.  So this particular USAT rule is her very favorite, ever.

True story: when I was first starting out, my greatest fear in tri was how I would handle changing clothes in between events.  Learning about tri suits was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I seriously almost cried tears of relief when I discovered that public nekkidness was a rule-breaker.  

To get my training in, I plan to drag my parents to the pool so they can play in the wave pool or sit in the hot tubs while I swim my laps and do my catch drills (I'm learning how to catch water better so I can move faster).  I'll probably take my running gear to Seattle.  I got up at 6AM this morning and was on my bike riding hills by 6:30 so I could get home, showered, changed, and to work by 9ish.  It takes some sneaky thinking, is what I'm saying, to fit in all the training that needs to happen.

I'm also working on the nutrition thing.  Like, this morning I was dragging along at 15.6 mph, and I think I didn't have enough carbs going on.  My tummy rumbles more often than Jets and Sharks.  Last night, I went to bed hungry and woke up hungry... and I'm eating ALL. THE. TIME.  I'm concentrating on getting enough protein and complete amino acids from veggies, and is a great resource these days.  His veggie burger formula might be my new favorite formula ever.  I even made rice and bean packets for my freezer to make meals faster and easier.

Honestly, I am trying really hard, I swear, but I just can't finish all the food I'm supposed to eat at one sitting!  So I'm eating a lot of snacks, or sometimes I'll eat half my meal and then eat the other half a few hours later, so it's constant eating, eating.  It's really not as awesome as it sounds.  People are asking me if I've lost weight (my face starts hollowing out long before I lose actual pounds), but I tell you, it is kind of a pain in the neck to be thinking all the time about how to get the next round of carbs and protein.

That being said, be wary of me, because if I find out you have carbs handy, I might knock you down without mercy and run off with your carbs.  Mine, all glorious mine.

You see what this does to me?  I transform from a pretty mellow priest into a carb-crazed maniac.  I'm a sandwich zombie.

Like right now, my tummy is rumbling a bit and I'm really tired, so it's a choice between EAT or SLEEP.  Sleep will win for now.  I imagine a double egg sandwich will win in about 7 hours.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

In Which I Explain a Brick and Other Strange Tri Workouts

So a few friends let me know that I was confusing them with my terminology as I talked about workouts.  So here is a helpful little glossary for you.

Brick:  (nounverb).  (brr-ick).  This is when you ride your bike for a while, jump off, and go for a run.   This actually helps you in the T2 transition, when racing.  You come in from the bike and have to change your gear to the run as fast as you can, and then take off running.  Pros can make that switch in something like negative 10 seconds.  My fastest ever was about 27 seconds.

As you start to run, your legs feel like bricks, hence the name.  This is also good because you learn to run through that leaden feeling, which usually lifts around the first mile (for me, at least), and you learn when you can start to push into your race pace.

Today's transition time was a non-starter, because I was alone, so I had to rack and lock my bike on top of my car before I could start the run, and I forgot all my water bottles at home so I'd bought some cheap supermarket bottled water and I didn't want to run with it in my hand, so I drank a bunch before setting out on the run and then spent half the run trying to find a bathroom.  So really, it was awkward.  In other news, thank goodness that the Armitage loos have doors.  Not all Lane Country public bathrooms have doors!!  Sometimes, I don't understand Lane county.

T1 and T2: (noun) (Tee-Wun and Tee-Too).  These mean transition 1, and transition 2.  In T1, you come from the swim, and have to get out of your wetsuit and on to your bike.  In T2, it's the bike to run, discussed above.  

Race Pace:  (verb)  (raysh paysh).  This is how fast you will mobilize during a race, and it's different for everyone.  Ideally, it's fast enough to be tough for you but slow enough that you don't blow yourself up and suffer horribly.  Really good runners can talk about "race pace" for 5ks, and 10ks, and marathon race paces.  I don't have that many speeds yet.  But this season, especially with the return to vegetarianism, I find that I've discovered I do have two speeds, at last.  Easy, and not easy.  I can hold easy for a long, long time before I wear out.  I can hold not-easy for a 10K, just about.  Last time I ran not-easy at the Rolf Prima, one of my teammates could hear me coming a mile away, huffing and puffing and blowing.  But then she called me a "beast on the run course", which is a compliment, so I was happy about that!

Do you train with power? (verbiage) (doo yoo TRAY-un weeth POW-ah?).  This is what some other athletes ask me sometime, wondering if I have a power-o-meter hidden in my hub or my cranks or wherever people hide their power-o-meters.  When I ride inside at MultiSport Advantage, their compuTrainer system can track power, I think, but otherwise, really, come on people.  I'm a priest.  I rarely buy anything new or full price for my bike.  (I got a screaming good deal on my BMC!)  I wear hand-me-down jerseys.  In the hospital three years ago, I pulled my own gloves off because I didn't want the doctor to cut my favorite gloves off my broken hand.  (Ok, I was really hypothermic and in shock at that particular moment and not thinking very clearly, but still.)  Power-o-meters are these expensive things for people who need watts to validate their riding all the time, and there is only one thing that ever makes riding worthwhile for me, and if I ever lose this worthwhile thing, it'll be time to hang up my wheels.

Here's my secret:


It's fun.  Power-o-meters would take away some (lots?) of the fun for me, to the point that I'd be analyzing everything all the time.  Tris right now are fun, and bike workouts are my favorite.  At the end of the day, I want to be the triathlete who comes in from the bike looking ridiculously happy and gleeful because I got to ride my awesome bike in an amazing place.

You can keep the power-o-meters, folks.

But jersey hand-me-downs are always welcome!  Especially if they are silly or funny or colorful or have anything about Oregon printed on them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Going Mad With Power

Oh, Comcast.  I am so sorry for you, when you overbill me for three months and renege on the special deal my apartment complex's agent sold me, because that agent is now working in a different department and the new agent doesn't get involved in deals and billing mistakes.

This does not mean I will accept your offer of a different deal for services I still don't want, and the offer of a new two-year contract.

It means I will dump you hard and set myself up (again) with rabbit ears and DSL.  Just like I had in the past.  Just because you sell it and tell me it's important, doesn't mean that I will believe you.

In this era of internet TV which includes Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and iTunes, not to mention the option of watching lots of shows through the networks' websites, you, O Cable, are really turning into quite the dinosaur.

I don't like your contracts.  I don't like your programming schedule.  I am sick of the glut of reality programming clogging primetime, and of dialog that consists mostly of "bleep" noises.  In fact, I so rarely watch anything you think is popular at the hours you think I'm watching.  I wonder why you even bother with schedules anymore.

What killed you (yet again) in my house: Three things.

1) You screwed up my billing, and refused to fully correct your problem.  And you made that my problem.  Big mistake.  The correct answer would have been, "We are so sorry for that error.  Let me correct that for you."  Don't blame your co-workers.  Just fix the problem yourself.  

2)  Rick Steves.  I know he's a professional geek, carrying his dorky backpack and wearing his slightly fuddy-duddy khakis and smiling as he goes about his international travels with persistent good humor.  And I love him for it.  He's like Mister Rogers for grown-ups.  And you, Cable, do not broadcast Rick Steves at any hour I can possibly watch him.  

The loss of my Rick Steves habit has been inciting me to battle for the last year and a half.

3)You are sending me threatening letters informing me that my service will degrade because I do not have a digital TV.  So you want me to add yet another gadget onto my TV so I can more of the programming I don't want to watch at times that don't fit my life.  Your agent helpfully suggested that if I upgraded my old TV, that would solve the problem.  Don't threaten me, ever, for a non-essential service.  You know when you can threaten me?  Ummm... that would be never.  

Let me tell you how I will solve this problem.

I will cancel my cable.  I've canceled my cable three times already in my life.  In fact, I may go down in history as the person who cancels her cable the most.  I have it when it comes free with my internet, and the second you start charging me for it, out it goes.

You call this a "poor decision".  I call this "consumer power".  I have it.  You don't.

See ya.  Don't let the bleeps hit you in the butt on the way out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recovery Week

This has been a recovery week.  At first, I was feeling a little weirded out.  I was faithfully following my training plan, and I realized that my workouts were 45 minutes to 1 hour long...

But the Leadman segments are all longer than that!

No fears, say I.  Turns out that it is a recovery week.  Shorter, less intense workouts for one week so your body can recover.  So I've been sleeping a lot this week (and going to bed early) to make up for how suddenly tired I am.

Then at the end of the week, I should be feeling like a million bucks!  And then it's all build build build until the taper period!

But now... for another nap.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Triathlon Training In the Midst of Work

This past weekend, I felt a little behind because all my tri club friends got to ride centuries this weekend.  They are lucky ducks.  None of this weekend's centuries fit my schedule.  Saturday, I wanted to make an appearance at the Pride Festival to support my awesome parishioners appearing with Integrity, and I had to be done in time to get home to shower and change before the Saturday Circle Service at 5PM.  And then Sunday, I was working all the services, so that meant a 7AM - 3PM day.  Which also meant I had to practice a collect in Spanish and translate a children's story.

Luckily, my SuperCyclist friend was leading a ride with the GEARs group that was scheduled for a distance that would have been either 70, 75, or 65 miles... depending on who you talked to and which paper you signed up with, and which group you rode with (fast-fast, medium-fast, or slow-fast).  And whether or not your group missed a turn somewhere.  I think I missed a turn somewhere.  All told, I rolled back into the park with 85 miles on my odometer.

If you were curious, this is not going to be my year for having normal tan lines, either.  Despite my copious use of sunscreen to protect my Instant-Burn skin, I am showing distinct evidence of Cycle Tan.  There's also a Road ID tan starting too, which should thrill those guys.  My current one is purple and I wear it for every single workout.

I think I went out with the medium-fast group, which is great for improving my average miles per hour. My MPH is better than ever.  The last two weeks, I've been pushing the high 16s.  That's faster than M, right now.  I feel very swift.  There's times on the flats when I'll be cruising along at 20-21 mph and feeling all super-cool, and I'll make a chase on the fast-fast group and see how long I can hold their wheel.

Sometimes I even catch them, for about 10 seconds.

Two minutes later, as they easily soar away from me, I'll be catching the medium-fast group's wheel again going "WHEEEE!"  Because I have never before been able to even THINK about chasing the fast-fast group or catching anyone's wheel.  Besides, there's a sort of core group of medium-fast people that I enjoy riding with.  I'm becoming comfortable holding someone's wheel and even taking a turn pulling.  That means that you ride really close together so you don't get buffeted as much by the wind, so you conserve energy and you go faster together than alone.

I skipped my scheduled training and transferred my rest day to today.  Hey, I'm Episcopal, and my life is ruled by rubrics governing when I can transfer certain feast days to Sundays, so why can't I apply transfer rubrics to tri training?  Today had scheduled a 1:45 hour run, which couldn't have begun until 3PM, and we are having an Oregon heatwave and it was 94 degrees.  In Virginia, I called that "7AM in August" and made slightly stronger Gatorade.  In Oregon, we wave our pale hands and squint at the shiny thing in the sky and call a state of emergency.  In fact, where's my cucumber martini?

And after 5 services in two days (not to mention the midweek stuff and the pastoral calls and the general weight of all the responsibility of being the priest while the Rector is on vacation, oh my word, and did I mention the heat?  Good gracious.  It is a good thing I had my hand fan today!), I was beat.  My job requires me to wear a long-sleeved, floor-length dress, covered up with calf-lenth silk poncho, and spend a few hours standing next to flame on a high dais where all the heat in the world rises to.  I should be packing Gatorade in the Sacristy!

I pulled my Southern Lady card and took to my couch with my sweet tea and a fan this afternoon.

Sadly, my favorite pool is closed on Sunday, and the other pool closes at 7:30. By the time I at my 5:00PM Sunday-Clergy lunch, and talked to M on the phone, it was almost 7.  That is why I didn't go swimming.

Oh, fine, whatever, I'll do some yoga and stretching while watching Olympics so at least it's an ACTIVE recovery day.  Happy now, conscience?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Plans: Run, Bike, Swim

So on my day off today, I expect to start with a 2.5 fast run.  Basically, I'm planning an all out sprint from my house to the garage where the Dreadful Dodge now sits fully repaired.

The Short Version of the Long Story Which I Won't Tell All Of So I Can Continue To Mine It For Sermons for the Rest of My Career: In June, our long-planned Yellowstone vacation went bust when our car engine blew up in Idaho (four hours short of Yellowstone!).   It was a whole weekend before we were able to rent a one-way rental car and escape the tiny town of Kellogg, Idaho, where we'd been trapped.  Once the car finally was shipped back to Oregon, my own mechanic got down to business and fixed it.  

Essentially, it means that we get a fully functioning car back better than it was before, and M can come home in September to visit me and to get a car to make the remainder of his fellowship much easier, and it's about the best outcome it could possibly be.

The downside?  I have to write out a check tomorrow that is several times my rent.  I keep telling myself that this is why we have emergency savings.  And this is why we chose to live in a tiny place, so our expenses could be way under our income each month. I keep reminding myself that everything is ok.  On the other hand, I am a super nervous nelly about money issues, and this huge check is causing me insane stress.  So yeah, I'm sprinting to the garage so I can be a little worn out and not as wired up while I pay the nice mechanic.  

After I bring the Dreadful Dodge home, I'm planning to take the BMC to the bike mechanic.  I think the fit needs a little tweaking.  It feels like my legs are turning in bigger circles than I'm used to, and the front of my knees feels a little tired after a hard ride.  I'm thinking that's a seat height thing.  I also have some very minor tingling in the hands- that's me need to learn to unlock my elbows, and might be a handlebar thing.  (I was so used to a stretched-out fit that I find I am really having to learn to relax my shoulders and elbows.  I bunch up to stretch out.  I really don't need to do that anymore!)  But it's off to the mechanic.  Not only are they fun guys, but I haven't visited since before the Rolf Prima.  And besides, there's a slight chance I might have a slow leak in my front tire.  And I'm pretty sure the bike has a cold.  

I haven't decided if I'll ride there or not.  Both the lower approaches to my house are being repaved this week, and the only non-molten-asphalt way out of my place tomorrow will involve going up into the hills.  See yesterday's elevation profile for the problem with that!  And on Saturday, I'm considering a hill 75 mile ride with a friendly group.  I might want to save myself for that, and to put in a hard swim tomorrow instead.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Life in the Hills

I live in the hills of Eugene.  It means that whenever I leave the house, walking, riding, running, however, I can be pretty sure I'll be working hard to get back home.  There is no coasting home.

In Arlington, while Columbia Pike did have a pretty good hill near the military barracks, once you got past that, you were pretty good to go as far as a nice calm flat-to-downhill home.  Clearly, I had no idea how spoiled I was.

Today, the plan called for a 1 hour swim and a 1 hour run.  My plan was to get home right about 5, run, eat a snack, head to the pool, and swim.

That was before M called via Facetime.  It's so rare to get to see him in real time, and he found a strong wifi signal, so we could really talk today.  It was after 6 when I finally left the house.  I got home around 7:20PM.  The pool is about 20 minutes away and closes at 8:30PM.  The swim wasn't going to happen.

Ah well.

Best laid plans and all that.

However, I can't really fuss.  This is the elevation profile of where I ran.

That's pretty much exactly vertical.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This Week's Plan So Far

So far, this is another building week.  (It seems a lot of plans go in stages- three weeks build, one week recovery).

So I have done two swims, one big slightly ugly bike, and a run.  I am supposed to have another 1 hr run today, and a 1 hr swim.  By "slightly ugly" bike, I mean that I started out, thought I'd ride some big hills, got going, realized I was feeling a little tired, and then got gusted by the wind.  I didn't crash, but it reminded me that my new wheels are SO LIGHT that I"m still feeling a little unsteady, so I opted to keep it on smaller hills for now.

I did get my first Queen of the Mountain on Strava, on a flat segment, for speed.  Yeah, go me!  And I bested a previous hills time.  So I might have felt a little unnerved by the first gusts of wind, but I made a good recovery.

Then actual work comes along.  You might have figured from the blog name that I have something to do with a church.  I'm an Episcopal priest, and most of the time, I'm an Assistant and I like it that way.  (You know, the Boss has to do all the really hard work like the pastoral care and more committee meetings and I'm pretty free to have my writing days in coffee shops and visit with quilters and knitters and to work in those extra runs.)

This week the Boss is on vacation.  Which means it ALL comes to me.  In addition to my regular workload, I'm catching all the pastoral calls too.  Normally, we have a great pastoral care team.  But the sort of calls that came in today were "priest" type calls, so it all came down to me.  Often I can delegate, and some of these I can delegate later on, too, but this time it had to be me.  I got home after 5:30 and the pool I like opens for laps at 6:45.  So I am thinking that there is time for just one of these workouts if I have any intention of cooking and relaxing tonight and so I'm trying to decide what gets done today and what gets pushed until tomorrow.

I'm leaning towards the swim tonight and the run tomorrow morning, so I can finish the run at the mechanic's where my Dreadful Dodge is all better and awaiting pickup (and payment.  This will be by far the most I have ever spent on a car at one go.  OUCH!).  On the other hand, Thursdays are also club brick days, so part of me wants to save my legs for the brick workout, and do the morning swim...

Off to check the training plan and figure out what can get swapped to when.  Such is life as a time- (and cash-) strapped triathlete.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Listening to Things Other Than The Training Plan

I've heard a lot over the years about "listening to your body".  I think for most people it means taking stock of when your body is just feeling run down and to take an extra day to recuperate.  My body, on the other hand, is naturally extremely lazy and whiny.  It's default mode believes it is dying.  It regularly tries to convince me that it ought to be sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade and a hand fan.* So the whole triathlon journey has been about saying to the Body, "Get up off that swing, no lemonade until later, and let's go for that 5-mile run now, slacker."

This week was a heavy load week.  After the Hutch's Ride Monday, the Swim Drills Tuesday, and the Big Hills Wednesday, I got up early for a 5 mile low-fuel run.  I find these are helpful to me for mental training- I go out early in the morning before I"m really awake, without eating very much (or anything).  I'm careful not to go longer than is safe, but just long enough that my body burns through its easily accessible fuel and starts whining and wanting to quit.  I promise, in every race there is a moment when you will be hungry and tired and feeling sluggish and will just want to quit.  Stuffing in more food will only upset your tummy, so what you need to do is train yourself to have the mental willpower to push just a little more.  And often, I find I did have the reserves that I didn't think I did.  These runs are never my fastest or happiest, but I am convinced they make me stronger.

I worked pretty steadily all morning.  But by early afternoon, I was in trouble.  I was sleepy.  I was yawning helplessly.  The parish has a fabulous new couch, and each Thursday I visit with the Needle Arts Guild as we knit.  This was very bad news for me, as the couch kept whispering "Put your head down on my springy, cozy new pillows.  I *want* you to nap on me!"  I grabbed a cup of coffee (which I haven't really been drinking a lot of lately, so it hit me like a ton of bricks), I got some work done on my latest knitting project, and called it quits a little early thinking that maybe working on my sermon would get me going.  I turned on the 80s Pandora which usually wakes me right up, and, about 30 minutes later, snapped to realizing I had been staring at the commentary open on my Kindle for several minutes without comprehending a word.  In fact, while the Kindle had my commentary open, the file open on my computer had something to do with the weekly prayer list.  And the paper in front of me was a book review for Seth Grahame-Smith's lastest novel.
Pretty much what my desk looked like yesterday.  

I think I was a little tired.

A good person who Listens to Their Body would have stayed home without guilt.  I still kinda thought about going out for the Tri Club brick, in the category of "Quit Whining, Body".

But there was another problem.  Without M at home, all the chores fall to me.  Left to my own devices, I had let the laundry pile up into three loads worth.

Not only had I not washed all my stuff from England yet, most of my sports clothes were in there, including all my sport bras and all my bike shorts and my running shorts and my socks.  All I had left in my closet were a pair of yoga pants and a T-shirt from my Seminary for the annual 2004 Class Retreat, which I don't like to wear to work out because I love it and I want it to last forever.

So instead of listening to my body, I listened to my laundry basket.  I spent the evening doing laundry (I still need to fold it!).  I also cooked- high-protein vegetarian Greek-inspired skillet (I think feta cheese would be a great touch on it).  And I spent hours sitting around with the cats who were clearly feeling neglected.  Then I went to bed as soon as Gabby Douglas won her fabulous gold medal and Michael Phelps had edged Ryan Lochte in the pool, and I slept about 10 hours.

Big swim today, and a long ride tomorrow morning!

*Why, yes, lemonade and a hand fan.  I lived in Virginia for long enough to adopt it as my home.  I married a Southern boy.  I am a north Southerner by marriage and adoption.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Climbing Big Hills

So I got it into my head that it would be fun to do a hilly ride today.

I started riding up Bailey Hill Road, which is really close to where I live. Bailey Hill has a good climb, too.  Then I decided to hammer the back half of the Hutch's Loop as hard as I could.  Then I decided that Green Hill was the shortest road home.  I was already pretty tired by now, and pretty sure I hadn't eaten enough all day.  

This is Green Hill, about half way up.  I climbed it in one go last summer, on the Bambino.  It took me most of the summer to screw up the courage to try it.  Today's ride was notably uglier.  When I rode it last year, I rode directly to Green Hill, on a day off.  Today, Green Hill was the last of three big climbs I did on a ride, and I was hungry and had worked a full day.

This was a rest stop.
 This is the top of Green Hill.  What you can't see in this shot is the undulating road rolling away below me.

That is all.