Monday, July 30, 2007

Z team for me

I just joined a new tri team- Team Z. It's based somewhat on the Team in Training model. So far, everyone seems to be friendly, and much less competitive thn the DC Tri club, although the two are not mutually exclusive. With luck and fast healing, I'll race a duathlon with them this fall, and a half ironman in the spring/early summer. Coach Ed seems to be a cool guy, chatty and laid back, and there's another newbie in the group, an adorable redhead who is also a Hokie, so that's pretty cool.

They showed a video of the team at IMLP last year and it made me realize just how bad I want that. I was most impressed by the shot of a girl finishing just 10 minutes before the cutoff, and they were still out there cheering for her. IMAZ is tantalizingly still open, but choosing a Team Z training schedule and visiting the orthopaedist's office served as something of a reality check. But that's another post.

Meanwhile, my homework for tonight is a 50' Z2 run and core exercises.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back in the saddle ...

I was supposed to run a 10K on Saturday, my preferred distance. However, due to a complete lack of sleep on Friday night, I didn't make it out the door on time. I did however, succeed in watching You've Got Mail approximately 4 times between the hours of 11 and 4am when I couldn't sleep.

Sunday, due to the unscheduled rest day, New Boy and I went out biking. This was the first time I had been on my bike since October. I've been spinning in the gym, but haven't been out clipless in months.

Within the first five minutes of riding, we hit a stop sign and I couldn't get my feet unclipped. I "chose" falling over in lieu of potentially getting hit by a car. Very, very embarrassing, and also the kind of thing I would mercilessly tease someone else about, so you are free to laugh.
Note to self, buy trainer.

There was also a moment where I thought I might get to see the other side of my handlebars when the trail detoured and became sand and potholes. On the way back, I saw that I was the only idiot on a road bike who didn't dismount for that.

Later, I saw a couple walking excessively slowly in the middle of the trail, walking what appeared to be two Great Danes. Upon approach they proved not to be dogs, but deer!
Deer which the walkers were not quite sure how to avoid.
I can only imagine the deer said something like "On your left! Oooh look a butterfly! Wait, where are we going?"

While ridiculously short, it was a fun ride, and hopefully purged my clumsiness. New boy says I need to get my bike sense back. Bike sense .... shananananana.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If I had a billion dollars ...

New Boy asked me what I would do if I had a billion dollars.
Easy: train for the ironman and hire Paula Newby-Fraser as my coach, get my PhD, and buy you a green dress. But not a real green dress, that would be cruel.

That got me thinking about the Ironman...
So, the original plan was to race Ironman Arizona in '08. It's now nine months away and registration is still tantalizingly open. But is it really feasible?

I haven't seriously trained since February, I'm just now coming around to it again. I got burned out, got a kidney stone, got mono, and then there's the matter of my shoulder, which I still haven't had surgery on.

I feel like I could go out and bike a century cold, and even run a marathon cold (which is looking more and more likely), it wouldn't be fun, but I could do it.
However, there is no way in hell that I could swim two and a half miles cold. I really don't know if I could swim that distance even after training nine months.

And, the longest distance I've tri'd so far is a spint, so that officially makes me out of my damn mind.

And training for a tri is just so lonely. I'm not a crazy cat lady like Peter Reid who can take hiding out and training in solitude.

And, I don't actually have a billion dollars and triathlon is expensive.

IMAZ is a mostly flat course, which is good, because I just don't do hills on the bike.
And the race would be over in time for me to start crew season.

I would be super fit and I'm itching to push myself.

The timing is prime to do an IM, since I hope to be in grad school next fall and you just can't be in grad school, work full time, and train for anything.

The IMAZ training camp is run by ... Paula Newby-Fraser.

The realization of a dream is priceless.

Any voices of reason out there?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Because tacky shorts won't save your a$$

Yesterday, New Boy and I were driving from berry picking to custard and saw the most fantastically hideous bike shorts I have ever witnessed. They were hot pink, electric purple, and teal all over. Like a South Beach version of camoflauge.

After a series of snarky comments like: "Where do you even buy something like that?" "I don't think you can buy something like that anymore".

I turned to New Boy about to say "Well, at least she won't get hit by a car wearing those, you can't miss her " ... when no kidding, she was hit by an SUV. Like one of those VW "Holy ... Safe." commercials.

The cyclist was going with traffic, and in the crosswalk. The people in the SUV decided to make a right on red, and checked oncoming traffic, but didn't see the cyclist. Thankfully, coming from a dead stop, the SUV didn't have a lot of force, and the SUV stopped pretty quickly once she realized the cyclist was there. But the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet! Had she hit the ground, she could have sustained some pretty serious head injuries. Although brain trauma from a previous crash would explain the decision to wear those shorts.

I promise not to make catty comments about your helmet hair, consider that a freebee, just ride safely.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why we're running ...

Stephanie, who is running in memory of her mom, wrote this letter.

Back in January I accompanied my husband Michael on his trip to Miami to cheer him on as he completed a goal he had been preparing for since October 2006; the ING Miami Marathon. Once we arrived, the excitement was so overwhelming, that on a whim, I decided to join in, and I signedup for the 1/2 marathon. I knew good and well that there was no way I'd be able to do much more than walk most of it, however I still participated and crossed the finish line with a time of well over three hours. The experience of participating in the half marathon in Miami
changed my perspective on my own physical endurance. As I pounded the pavement through the Art Deco District of South Beach, with the early morning sun the sun breaking through the clouds, and the ocean breeze cooling me, I felt a calming presence around me. I looked up at the
clouds above me and all I could think of was how much my mom would love this moment. How beautiful everything around me was and how excited she would be to know what I was doing. It was at that moment that I was inspired to keep doing it. In March 2003, my mom, Betsy, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. For many days after my mom received her diagnosis, I spent at least an hour on the phone with her each night. It seemed that the physical distance between us was too great and no amount of time talking could heal it. The truth of the situation was beginning to sink in and I began to realize that her illness could be fatal. There was one conversation we had that continues to stick in my mind: "Mamma, I don't want you to die." She said to me, "Sweetie, I don't want to die either, but if it's God's plan to take me, at least I will go down fighting. I will try everything possible. Even if the doctors can't save me, maybe something they learn from me will help find the cure for someone else. Maybe that is what God meant for me."
As it turned out my mom went through many new and experimental treatments including conjugated monoclonal antibody treatments. These treatments would not have been available to her if it were not for the research, information, and patient services provided by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Since 2003, I have been involved in raising money and volunteering forthe Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When I returned home from my trip to
Miami, I began researching opportunities to continue participating in activities with the Society and incorporate my new found inspiration in long-distance running. As a result of my research I found that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society coordinates a half-marathon in Virginia Beach every fall; in addition the Society offers their program Team in Training that is the number one endurance training program in thecountry. In exchange for valuable funds raised for the Society, TNT provides participants with a comprehensive training program led by experienced coaches who train runners, walkers, cyclists, skaters, and triathletes to complete events in exciting locations around the world.

For the past month and a half instead of sleeping in and enjoying waking up to the warm noon-day sun streaming in my bedroom window, I wake up at7:00 AM to join my Team in Training teammates for our weekly group run.

Last week, I met the 6 mile mark for my training, which is almost half-way for the half-marathon in Virginia Beach. We also had a special picnic after our run in which we met our honored teammates, and I shared with my pace group the story and memories of my personal honored teammate, my mom. It was at that time that I made a commitment to go all the way with my commitment and I will be, in addition to running the half marathon in Virginia Beach on September 2, 2007, running the full Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC on October 28, 2007. This may seem crazy to some of you, but in reality, running 26.2 miles is nothing
compared to what patients with blood related cancers go through on a daily basis.By signing up to run the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon and the Marine Corp Full Marathon, I have committed myself to run 13.1 miles plus 26.2miles, and I have pledged to raise $3,300 for the Society. I will berunning in memory of my mom, as well as for the other honored teammates in my local area.

In loving memory of my mom, Elizabeth 1948-2005

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Le Running, not even from the Onion.

President Sarkozy has fallen foul of intellectuals and critics who see his passion for jogging as un-French, right-wing and even a ploy to brainwash his citizens. Attacks on Mr Sarkozy’s pastime, which he has made a symbol of his presidency, began on the internet as soon as he bounded up the steps of the Elysée Palace in shorts when he took office in May. That moment has become the icon of his hyperenergetic administration. The grumbling has now moved to television and the press. “Is jogging right wing?” wondered Libération, the left-wing newspaper. Alain Finkelkraut, a celebrated philosopher, begged Mr Sarkozy on France 2, the main state television channel, to abandon his “undignified” pursuit. He should take up walking, like Socrates, Arthur Rimbaud, the poet, and other great men, said Mr Finkelkraut. “Western civilisation, in its best sense, was born with the promenade. Walking is a sensitive, spiritual act. Jogging is management of the body. The jogger says I am in control. It has nothing to do with meditation.” Mr Sarkozy’s habit infuriates his critics – and some supporters – because he flaunts it so hard. Le running du Président, often clad in his favourite NYPD T-shirt, has become a ritual, like King Louis XIV’s rides at Versailles. He has practised it at summits in Brussels and Germany and he is looking forward to a bonding jog with José Socrates, the Prime Minister of Portugal, which took over the European Union presidency this week. Until “Speedy Sarko” won office, French heads of state shunned physical exercise in public. The late François Mitterrand was privately partial to golf, but the reflective stroll was his public trademark. Jacques Chirac, Mr Sarkozy’s predecessor, was famous for his energy, but in public he moved at walking pace and in suit and tie. Le jogging, originally known as le footing and now more fashionably as le running, caught on in France, as elsewhere, in the 1980s and eight million claim to indulge. But Mr Sarkozy has rekindled a French suspicion that the habit is for self-centred individualists such as the Americans who popularised it. “Jogging is of course about performance and individualism, values that are traditionally ascribed to the Right,” Odile Baudrier, editor of V02 magazine, a sports publication, told Libération. Patrick Mignon, a sports sociologist, noted that French intellectuals had always held sport in contempt, while totalitarian regimes cultivated physical fitness. Beyond the self-promotion, some commentators see something sinister in the media fascination with le jogging de Supersarko. The “hypnotic” daily images of presidential running are not innocent, said Daniel Schneidermann, a media critic. Mr Sarkozy uses the video images of his jogging as “a major weapon of media manipulation”, said Mr Schneidermann. Some experts have questioned Mr Sarkozy’s running style and say that he is not helped by being overweight. Renaud Longuèvre, a coach of champion athletes, told L’Equipe magazine that Mr Sarkozy bends too far forward, his stride is off, his arms dangle and his feet hit the ground the wrong way. The coach advised the President to get his feet checked, strengthen his abdominal and posterior muscles and “check your diet because it seems you are carrying a slight excess in weight”.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Fourth of July Five Miler

Wednesday, I rolled my booty out of bed at 5:30 am to trek down to Fredericksburg for a five mile run along the Rappahannock. It was a little alarming to get to packet pick-up and see everyone had thighs the size of my torso. Well-defined ginormous thighs. Fredericksburg citizens must do nothing else but run, and do leg presses. With like 450 pounds.

My performance was about what was to be expected for my complete lack of training and knowledge of the course: usual pre-race turning the stomach inside out, lost my inhaler before the race even started, went out too fast and tanked late in the race, wound up with major back pain from an off-balance gait, and got confused about where the finish line was.

What you missed: a pretty path along a creek, over rolling hills (ugh), two ladies running in red tank tops, navy shorts, huge yellow ribbons pinned to their backs, and red, white, and blue star wire crowns, and a guy wearing a t-shirt that said "Stay back 200 Ft".

The race benefitted the Lions Club, so all the tables were staffed by sweet little old men and ladies, and it finished at the farmers' market, and conveniently near a Lilly Pulitzer store :)