Tuesday, January 30, 2007

USAT, I sat, we all sat for USAT!

Saturday was the USAT Mid-Atlantic meeting where we all came out to be enlightened and win the club challenge. Amazingly, both DCTri and the PA groups had more members there than the local Maryland club.

Things I learned:
1. The divorce rate among the general population is 50%, the divorce rate among serious triathletes is 75%. No word on whether being married to a fellow triathlete increases or decreases this likelihood. Although that didn't work for Peter Reid.
2. The person to ask about balancing home life and tri life, is not the twice-divorced speaker.
"Do you have a pre-nup?"
3. There are a lot of great volunteer opportunities including triathlon summer camps for at-risk kids!
4. Three hours in the saddle- no problem, three hours in a chair- torture.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Spinning my wheels...

Since things are not going well with the favorite boy, spent three hours at the gym trying to sort things out. Blaine, my trainer and dating Yoda, simply reminded me that all guys suck. Not terribly actionable advice. And believing that is not in my nature. Hoping that things will work themselves out. But for the first time in a long time, training didn't make it better. After an hour of lifting and two hours of spinning, I am just tired and sad.
Hoping tomorrow will bring clarity and my usual optimism.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Teen Leaves 'His Only Hope' Behind in U.S.After 20 Months, 14-Year-Old With Leukemia Returns Home

By Susan LevineWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, January 11, 2007

They had spent a tiring weekend boxing up his Harry Potter books, his Disney videos, the games that had helped sustain 14-year-old Kabir Sekhri in this foreign land. And as his mother and father checked off their final packing details, so did Kabir's doctor. Her list included sterile dressing kits and needles, gamma globulin and antibiotics, methadone for pain -- enough to last him until spring, she had decided.
If only she could guarantee that his cancer would allow him that much time.
These were not the preparations anyone had envisioned when Kabir and his parents, Vikram and Sonia Sekhri, came to Washington from New Delhi almost 20 months ago. They had hoped for a triumphant return to India, a declaration of victory marked by the full recovery of Kabir's health, animated smile and thick, dark hair.
Instead, when the family arrived at Dulles International Airport late Tuesday afternoon, a frail-looking Kabir rode in a wheelchair. A navy knit cap concealed the damage wrought by chemotherapy. His leukemia had kept coming back with more and more vengeance until he unequivocally declared that he was done.
It was a wrenching decision, not only for his parents but for his oncologist, Aziza Shad, who had led his care at Georgetown University Hospital. Yet it was a decision they all felt compelled to honor.
The victory now was simply that he was there at the airport, stable enough medically to endure two long flights halfway around the world. Shad bent low to ask Kabir how he was feeling. She would be traveling the more than 9,000 miles with him.
"I made a promise I would get him home, and I need to stick to my promise," she said.
The journey on which they had embarked was not all that different from the journey many families take. Still, something about Kabir's gentle, uncomplaining manner and his extraordinary distance from home prompted the hospital staff and other patients and parents to embrace him in a singular way. The Sekhris reciprocated. And somehow, despite all the heartache, his mother found blessings. "God's been very kind," she'd say.
Kabir was 11 when he first became ill, and the doctors initially attributed his aches, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes to an infection. When his symptoms didn't respond to the usual medicine, they looked further. The correct diagnosis -- of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- came the same week that Kabir's grandfather succumbed to throat cancer after years of grueling treatment. "That was a tender moment for us because we had seen all the treatment fail," Kabir's father recalled. "We thought, 'How can a child go through this?' "
The Sekhris quickly learned. Kabir's particular disease assaults children more than adults, especially older boys, and it carries a poorer prognosis than other pediatric cancers. Though his body responded well enough to the early chemotherapy to put him in remission, he had not completed the full regimen when he relapsed.
"If you really want to do something for him, take him to America," their oncologist in India advised. The newest drugs were available in the United States, as were the best centers for the bone marrow transplant that probably would be needed to save his life. As his mother remembers, "We were told this was his only hope."
They boarded a plane in May 2005, leaving behind Vikram's leather goods business and everything Kabir knew: his beloved sister and the aunts, uncles and cousins who make up the Sekhris' close-knit extended family, the friends he had played with his entire childhood, the dusty, teeming city of Delhi. A relative in Falls Church had contacted Shad, head of the pediatric oncology division at Georgetown's Lombardi Cancer Center. Would she evaluate his case? Did she think he had a chance?
Yes, she did.
Four months of highly aggressive chemotherapy drugs ravaged Kabir but pushed his body into a second remission that made him a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. The perfect donor: his 16-year-old sister, Ridhima. She flew from India, and the family traveled to Duke University Medical Center for the procedure. The graft took well enough that when Kabir returned to Washington in early 2006, he was out of the hospital far more than in it, giving him a chance at memories not integrally tied to pain.
He went to New York, visiting the Statue of Liberty and gawking at Times Square. He also became an enthusiastic camper at a National Institutes of Health program for children battling cancer, canoeing and riding horses and even trying fencing.
"I want to come back from India every year for this camp!" he exclaimed upon his return.
The Sekhris started counting the days to the first anniversary of Kabir's transplant. By September, it seemed likely that they would make it, which would mean that Kabir would be able to be fly to India in time for a cousin's wedding celebration. He'd already bought new clothes.
He never wore them, however. The one-year checkup at Duke revealed a second relapse. The news was shattering. "Everything came to a standstill," his father said. In an instant, wedding travel became impossible, as did his son's greatest hope: to tell everyone back home that he at last was well.
Kabir was readmitted to Georgetown, and the weeks that followed deteriorated in a horrific downward spiral. He rejected any talk of another transplant but acquiesced to Shad's entreaties for one final attempt at chemo. She tried different toxins and combinations as her patient grew ever weaker, wracked by days of extreme fevers, numbness and bleeding. He stopped eating and virtually stopped communicating. When he did talk, he'd say plaintively, in a wispy voice made almost childlike by the drugs: "I just want to go home." Shad feared he'd never leave the hospital.
But just after Christmas, after the final drug in Western medicine's arsenal, a bone marrow biopsy showed the unexpected -- a partial remission. No matter, Kabir reminded her; he'd said he was finished. But Shad, who has a son just one year younger, still is struggling with that. "All I know is that this child gave it his best," she reflected late last week. "He gave it again and again and again and again."
On the afternoon of his departure, the staff at the Lombardi Center threw the Sekhris a cake-and-tears send-off. Then the family and Shad headed to Dulles. Kabir might have wished he'd seen more of America. "I would have liked to have gone to Disney World," he admitted. Not this trip.
His small entourage proceeded to a secluded alcove of an airport lounge. Kabir snacked on french fries, glimpsed at long last the swirling white magic of a brief snow shower and fell asleep under the handmade quilt given to him at the hospital.
"It's time," his mother quietly roused him. The teenager sat up in an instant and readjusted his navy knit cap. And as his parents followed close behind, an attendant wheeled him the final distance down the corridor to gate 32, through the last checkpoint and onto the plane.
He never looked back.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

Friday, January 19, 2007

You know you're a triathlete when...

1) You'd much rather ride five hours to your destination than drive there in 1.5, simply because the ride goes so much quicker.
2) You think "screw the latest Ferrari". Isn't the sexiest piece of hardware on the planet the Cervelo P3/your dream bike?
3) Annual energy expenditure is comparable to that output by a small electricity generation plant.
4) If single, your idea of the perfect girl/guy is someone who will lend you their disc wheel when they're not racing.
5) The local bike shop owner smiles when you walk in the door. No, he isn’t glad to see you, he's thinking that this may well be the day your yearly expenditure in the shop tops the US GDP.
6) Your bike is worth more than your car. And it goes faster too. You don't own a bike rack. Why? Because your bike rides inside the car with you, not where stones, the rain and cold can get to her, that's why! Side note: it is quite reasonable to deny someone/their luggage a lift based on the internal presence of your bike.
7) You sub-consciously slip at least three abbreviations into every sentence, causing non tri-geeks eyes to wonder how you became fluent in Swahili. Example: "yeah, I had a good run, did some striding at AeT + 10, but nearly snuck up to LT, cause I felt I was in Z2".
8) Some of the best conversations you have are during long runs and rides. Mainly when you're going solo.
9) The initial stages of psychosis start to appear as commitments overrun, thereby eating into your training time.
10) You're on a first-name basis with your bike. Usually a sexy name like Kate, Britney etc. Quirky older names can often be used, e.g. Doris, Gladys, Benji or animal descriptions, e.g. steed, mount etc.
11) Any run less than 25km is usually preceded by "I'm just off for a run around the block"
12) Your workmates have given up asking "what are you up to this weekend?” knowing that the reply will be identical to the past 40, i.e. "training". The only variation is "racing".
13) You preach to your friends Gordo's training principles, when all they're really concerned with is running off the extra lunch they had.
14) You grow to love running in your Speedos
15) You're wife complains about you borrowing her razor to shave your legs
16) You take most of your showers either at work or at the pool and you keep extra soap, deodorant there.
17) You are sick to your stomach at 2:00 in the morning and check the back of the Pepto Bismol bottle for caloric content and grams of carbohydrates, fat and protein.
18) You have plenty of water bottles, safety pins, and t-shirts.
19) You have trouble keeping lunch under 2000 calories.
20) You usually wake up at 4:00 in the morning but do not get to work until way after 9:00.
21) You're always wet! Either sweat water, pool water, sea water, shower water, bath water or its p*****g down outside!
22) Your bed-time reading on your night stand consists of a pile of: DeSoto catalogs; InsideTri; Triathlete, VeloNews, USMA Swim, etc.
23) You haven't bought work clothes in two years, yet you own bike shorts made by every manufacturer under the sun and can recite the merits of CoolMax, Supplex, etc. in your sleep!
24) Your car has at least one Power Bar wrapper and two sets of work out clothes!
25) You know You could make a killing at Jeopardy if only the categories were: - Past winners of Hawaii Ironman - Legs shaving techniques - 40-30-30 diet - Aerodynamics racing wheels - Gastrointestinal problems and long runs - How to justify a 4000$ bike
26) Your laundry continually smells like someone locked the cat in overnight...
27) You leave your apartment or house in the morning with your swim bag on one arm, bike on one shoulder, a change of clothes in another bag, and your running stuff in another bag in case
28) You wave at other cyclists, because all triathletes are friendly and if they are not, they are probably purist cyclists trying to get into triathlons and they do not know that triathletes are friendly.
29) You can't decide what t-shirt to wear to your next race.
30) You no longer take vacations but weekend triathlon junkets.
31) You have far more pairs of shoes in your closet than your non-tri wife does in hers
32) The one "suit" you own has a QR on the chest.
33) You think about having sex, but you don't want it to affect your morning run splits. (Or if You do, you wear a heart rate monitor and measure your recovery time afterwards)
34) Your living room has the "swim pile" and the "bike pile" and the "run pile" and the "weight room pile" and you pick and choose kind of like a cafeteria on your way out the door.
35) Your kitchen cupboards are organized into "protein", "carbs" and "etc"
36) You bring bottled water to a party so that you're properly hydrated for the next morning's long run.
37) Everyone else at the party also brought their own bottled water because you don't have a social life outside of triathlon.
38) Oh yeah, and they all showed up by 7pm and left by 10pm.
39) Your company announces mandatory unpaid shutdown days - every other Friday throughout the summer - in order to cut costs and stay in business, and your response is "Great - now I can do two long workouts on the weekends and still have an easy day."
40) You have a separate dresser for all your race t-shirts.
41) Your 8 year old comes home with the school record for the mile and says, he took it out in a nice pace he could hold.....everyone else died.
42) You say that you went to a race last weekend...and somebody responds "running or biking" and you are again forced to explain....
43) Your co-workers catch you with a 'King Sized' meal deal from Burger King, and you can smile and tell them that you will have no problem working this off on the way home.
44) You started the day with a protein shake, had a scone and latte after swimming and commuting, then head out for coffee with the coworkers and have a bagel and cream cheese.
45) You wear your bathing suit under your work clothes to make a fast transition from work to swim on your lunch hour.
46) Your spouse wants dinner out and a movie, so you agree, but fall asleep during the previews and catch hell.
47) Mowing the lawn really smarts after being aero all morning.
48) You've spent more on bikes in the last 10 years than you have on clothes for the past 50!
49) Your hair is never dry.
50) You forget that talking about daily LSD [Long Slow Distance] and speed weirds some people out.
51) You have no FRIGGIN idea what to do with yourself on your off day. Damnit, I mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, washed the car, and there's STILL 4 hours of daylight left! Aarrgghh!
52) You feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000 yards.
53) You have received strange looks from coworkers who overheard you talking about fartleks.
54) You use the words "only" and "10k" in the same sentence.
55) You can easily justify spending $1000 on race wheels because hey, you may use them for 10 hours each year, that's reasonable right?
56) You have a spandex outfit that matches your bike which also matches your wheelset.
57) Lake Placid, Panama City and Coeur d’Alene aren't cities, they are races.
58) A fall marathon is "a fun way to close the season."
59) You tell the local running club you are a little slow because you did a long bike ride the day before.
a. You tell the local cycling club you are a little slow because you did a track workout the day before.
b. You tell your Master's Swim team that you are a little slow because you haven't spent much time working on your stroke lately as you have been focusing on your biking and running, plus open water is your specialty, you have never liked doing mindless laps in the pool.
c. You hope that these 3 groups shall never meet...
60) If IM no longer refers to instant message but a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run.
61) you own your car, but are making payments on your bike.
62) You have more swim caps and goggles than the local Speedo shop.
63) Your tan lines never go away
64) You bring your bike on vacation everywhere you go (including Thanksgiving and Christmas)
65) You'd rather someone steal your car than your bike
66) You have no calendars in your home or office, but plenty of training schedules
67) You throw a party and all of the food has a nutritional breakdown next to it
68) Your idea of a great writer might be Chris Carmichael, Gale Bernhardt, Joe Friel, Jim Mora, Sally Jenkins...
69) You have more Spinervals and CTS DVDs than any other
70) You unknowingly start stretching during client meetings
71) Your 2006 Corvette came with all of the options including a bike rack
72) Your "retired" running shoes are only four months old, and you have seven pairs
73) All of your undershirts are Coolmax
74) Your idea of the "Local Singles Scene" is on the W&OD Trail
75) Your legs are tanned only to mid-thigh.
76) The first thing you ask when you regain consciousness is "How's my bike?"
77) You get more phone calls at 5:00 AM than at 5:00 PM.
78) 6 AM is sleeping in.
79) You put more miles on your feet and bike than on your weekend rental car.
80) You don't need to paint your toenails; they're already different colors.
81) Your employer needs a photo - all you have is race pictures.
82) When you meet the opposite sex you see:
a. A possible training partner.
b. A possible search and rescue team.
c. A possible race director.
d. A possible source of race entry fees.
83) You call something that lasts more than an hour a "sprint" race

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


LEUKEMIA: easy bruising or bleeding (due to a low platelet count),paleness or easy fatigability (due to anemia), and recurrent minor infections or poor healing (due to a low white count). Some people with chronic leukemia may not feel ill and are diagnosed during a routine medical exam.

LYMPHOMA: painless swelling of the lymph nodes (usually in the neck, armpit, groin, or abdomen), recurrent high fevers, night sweats, excessive fatigue, weight loss, and bone pain.

MYELOMA: bone pain, anemia, easy fatigability, recurrent infections, pathological fractures (those occurring in weakened bones).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not my A game

Sunday, I met with fellow TNT-er Simon and his lovely ladies Cassi and Gail to plan a bachelor/bachelorette auction. Four cups of pancake house coffee and five buckwheat pancakes with nuts later, we had a plan, and I had three hours until the Core Strengthening session with TNT. Of course, being stuffed to the gills means it's a perfect time for a brick!

I learned several important things:
- When you have an asthma attack, the most useful location for your inhaler is on your person. Not in your car, necessitating a trip to the locker room to get your keys first.
- Four cups of coffee and pancakes with nuts will feel like a Molotov Cocktail when you are running.
- The day you are most likely to yack while on the treadmill will be the same day that the hot trainer will choose to talk to you.
- Your AT is a nice place to visit, but you shouldn't try to live there.
- Nausea does not improve your balance.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pizza party, pizza party!

I held my first official fundraiser on Thursday at Uno's pizza. It works sort of like dining out for life, they donate a percentage of everyone's check to the charity you specify. They have a new GM, so they were super nice about getting a check cut right away.

Shout out to everyone who came out and supported the cause: A, J, S, K, MR, J&M, and D.
Thanks especially to the non-tri people who put up with all the sports talk.

Thanks to Uno's and our awesome waitress!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who gets Lymphoma?

Approximately 64,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lymphoma in 2005, the vast majority (about 90%) will have non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Of these cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, only 2% will be diagnosed in children. The incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma increases with age.
Of cases of Hodgkin lymphoma, only 12 % will be diagnosed in children, and most of these are adolescents.
In general, lymphomas are more common in males than in females and more common in Caucasians than African-Americans. Lymphomas are the third most common form of cancer in children (the most common is leukemia, followed by tumors of the central nervous system).

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Funny Because It's True

Dating a Triathlete

"I am an outdoors type of person."
Really means: I train in any type of weather. If its raining, snowing, 90 degrees w/100% humidity, or windsgusting at 30 mph. I don't want to hear any complaints because I will still train in it and you're just a big wuss for complaining about it.

"I enjoy riding my bike."
Really means: with or w/o aero bars, alone or in a peleton, I don't care. If you can't do a spur of the moment 30miler then you're not my type. I will let you draft, but if you can't hang I'll drop you. I am a capable mechanic, but don't expect me to change your flats or tune your bike. You need to learn that on your own.

"I enjoy jogging."
Really means: Lets run hills until we puke. I have just as many shoes as you only mine are better because they are functional and all look the same.

"I enjoy dining out."
Really means: I enjoy eating out, in or anywhere else I can find food. Don't be shy because with the amount of food I eat, you can have that main entree instead of a salad and you will still look as though you eat like a rabbit in comparison. Don't get your limbs too close though as I may take a bite out of you. Most importantly don't expect any taste off my plate unless you can bring something to the party like more food. Eventually though if you're not burning 4,000+calories a day you're going to plump up and have a terrible complex due to watching me eat deserts and not gain any weight. Friends and family will eventually decide not to dine with us anymore due to my horrid table manners. Oh, and don't ask me any questions during breakfast, MidMorning Lunch, Lunch, Afternoon lunch, Dinner or Recovery Dinner as it does not lend to efficient food intake.

"I enjoy quiet walks on the beach."
Really means: Walks on the beach warming up into an 8 mile run and then plunging myself in the ocean for a 2 miler. If you get in my way you're going to find out what a mass start is and let me assure you that you don't want to find out.

"I find fulfillment in charitable work."
Really means: If I am not racing, I am volunteering and I expect you to be there along side me as I stand out in 90 degree weather for 8 hours handing out sports drink to cyclists going 20 mph. Just stick the ol' arm out there and hope itdoesn't get taken off.

"I enjoy sharing quiet moments together." Really means: It's taper time. Just back off because I am strategizing and in a pissy mood because I am worried about my "A" race and can't workout.

"I am an active person." Really means: Aside from my 40 hour job, andthe 8 mandatory hours of sleep a night. 10 hours a week are devoted tome during the off-season and 20 during race season leaving us 4 hours. 2 of which are spent inhaling food and you not talking to me, so lets make the best of the 2 hours we will spend together on average each day. If you are a licensed message therapist or doctor this would make the most optimal use of our time together. Nutritionist is also acceptable, but I probably already know just as much as you.

"I enjoy road trips and leisurely drives."
Really means: You have your choice of Wisconsin, Idaho, Florida, California, Arizona, and New York, but don't expect to do much site seeing. If I get enough support fromyou we might be able to include Hawaii in there.

"I enjoy site seeing."
Really means: Lets grab a mountain bike and getour HR's up to 90%. There's plenty of time to look around on the descent as trees and bushes whiz by you at 40 mph.

"I like stimulating conversation."
Really means: while we are running,we can talk about food. Then we can talk about how we decided what to wear on this run based on the temperature at start time versus the temperature at the time we expect to finish, how horribly out of shape we are, how many miles we did last week, and how many we will do this week and next week. Then we can talk about food.

"I enjoy relaxing soaks in the tub."
Really Means: I'm going to stop onthe way home and buy two bags of ice, throw them in the tub with somewater, and sit in this torture chamber for 30 minutes.

"I'm interested in photography"
Really Means: My camera is permanently perched on a tripod in front of my trainer. I obsess over taking photos ofmy bike position and analyzing them to get the perfect setup.

"I'm into in technology"
Really Means: My HRM and bike computer are my best friends. Until you can give me some hard data that can improve my training, don't bother trying to buddy up to me. You could one day break into the top three if I find you as entertaining on long runs and rides as my iPod.

Monday, January 8, 2007

This workout seriously kicked my butt ...

TNT had a running clinic at Potomac River Running this weekend to help improve our run techniques. Particularly since when you run after biking 56 miles, after having swum 1.2 miles, you're a bit tired and your form is a little goofy.

So there's this magic number of steps you're supposed to take per minute for maximum running efficiency, 180. Aside from this being further proof that the world is ruled by Pi and Fibonacci sequences, it gives a finite number to focus on while running.

To get to the all powerful number of 180 while running, we're supposed to practice bouncing in place in cadence, then doing a high kneed step to the 180 cadence, and finally, butt-kicks. Which are exactly what they sound like. I can just imagine doing this while running; talk about things that will make even the crazy homeless people cross the street to avoid you. Next we'll find out that banging my head against the wall is a good swim drill.

I will say that PRR is a good run shop and that Margie and family are good people.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Spasmodic Dysphonia

I've been having trouble with my swimming. My breathing has been off. I had totally lost the ability to breathe properly, which means that my swimming has been more like controlled drowning. I felt like I had lost the ability to speak. Sort of like after waking from a dream where I'm fluently speaking in French, but can only manage the basics now that I'm awake.

Sometimes my swimming helps my rowing and vice versa, so I decided to try doing what helps keep me on rhythm in the boat: sing drinking and 80's songs to myself. I'm sure the guy from Kajagoogoo is thrilled to know he helped solve my swim stroke.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Brick ... house?

Nope. Brick workout!
Fueled by angst (or as the Germans say: angst), over my personal life, I completed my first intentional brick workout yesterday. I had to spin because of the USAT challenge. And I needed to run because: 1. I made a new Year's resolution on Nike.com and I really don't want to run all my races in skirts this year. and 2. My first half marathon of the year is only a month away. It was a pretty short brick: an hour of spinning followed by 30 minutes of real running/ hitting my AT/speed work. That was the least painful run I've had in a while, and I have to wonder if my half marathon time for the Half ironman will be better than my stand alone half marathon times.
I also may have to look into getting a boyfriend since stress seems to be good for my workouts.