Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is this heaven? No, it's Maryland.

So, yeah. Sorry for not blogging. I have been sick and generally lame.

I swam for the first time in like 3 months so I could feel less guilty about not holding up my end of the National Club Challenge. I was lapped by the junior high school swim team.

I joined the mini gym across the street from my office. The treadmills have their own like 15" TV screens so I got to watch Sportscenter and CSI while I jogged on my lunch break. Unfortunately, there was an incident with a bottle of bath oil in my gym bag, so everything will smell like lavender for a while.

Anyways, a friend took me to the Gold's Gym in Bowie.
It. is. awesome.
They have a movie room where you can run, elliptical, or bike while you watch movies. I might never leave.
And they have bikes with like Bike-o-vision so as you pedal you get a bike's eye view.
And the machines all have places to plug headphones in so you can watch the Eagles game.
I'm moving in this weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rowing is good

My plan for black Friday was to ignore the shopping world and go into work for a few hours to clear some things out before Monday. However, since I was both super sick and locked myself out of my timesheet, I'm on vacation today on the books. Since I'm on my own time I think I'm going to try to sleep off the rest of my fever.
Worst cold in recent history turned into sinus infection and now eye infection. Yum!

My non-Turkey day was spent watching a James Bond marathon and eating lime taco chips and mint ice cream. It was the only thing that even remotely sounded appetizing. Even living on Theraflu and yogurt for three days I managed to gain weight. Not fair.

Thank goodness for the Winter Holiday Rowing Challenge.

The Details
Row 100,000 meters or 200,000 meters between November 27 (Thanksgiving) and midnight December 24.

The best part! I picked the Nature Conservancy.
Support a Good Cause with Meters Rowed
Besides helping you maintain your fitness and fend off holiday weight gain and stress, we’re giving you the option of supporting a good cause with your meters rowed. Consider it a holiday gift to the planet.
For every person that rows at least 100k during the challenge, and chooses to donate, Concept2 will gift $.02 for every kilometer (1000 meters) you row to your choice of the following organizations: The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International or the Alliance for Climate Protection. And once you get beyond 100k, we’ll donate $.04 per kilometer rowed. Our goal through this group effort is to raise a total $50,000 to support these causes.

In recent years, we have had around 5000 people participate in the Holiday Challenge! We are hoping that this new incentive will bring in even more people and encourage past participants to row more meters than ever to help us reach our goal. Please invite your friends to join us. Our strength is in our numbers. It’s like rowing an eight: when you all work together in synchrony, you become greater than the sum of the parts.

200K meters is kind of a lofty goal for me. I've tried to be competitive in past years. This time I'm going to take it easy since the rebuilt shoulder isn't rebuilt in the awesome Jaime Sommers kind of way.

Much like awesomeness and attractiveness, the rowing challenge is free.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Xena was in Pharoah's land ...

I hate sick.
I hate snool.
I hate sore throats.
I hate finally being ready to work out and not being able to.
All only slightly more than I hate going to the doctor.

So I either have some montrous cold, or I have a sinus infection. Awesome.

Now I have a cold/sinus infection and a prescription.

What can I do that won't make me sicker?

Also I set up an appointment for a physical for January since I got trashed and signed up for IMFL. Seems like a good idea to get a baseline before I liquidate all my organs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sick of being sick.

Now I have some sort of sore throat thing.
I've gone through two bottles of Theraflu and a box of tissues. May I recommend Puffs with Vick's Vaporub. Should not be legal.

Despite being miserable I gutted out a 5K on the treadmill this weekend while watching Air Force One. This will probably prolong my illness another week.

And waking up at 4 am with a sore throat, since I couldn't sleep, seemed like a perfectly reasonable time to start on a deep dish apple pie.

I peeled and sliced 7 big arse granny smith apples at 4am with no problem. I try to grate cheese during the day for mac and cheese and nearly take my thumb off. Go figure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Puppies, pools, and promises

I'm housesitting for a couple days for fellow Zer and blogger J.
She has a very stubborn pit/ bulldog mix, who is also completely adorable. You have to love a dog who brings you a toy every time you come in.
Puppy number two is some kind of a pointer mix, but she looks like a Weimaraner but less creepy. She's smoky gray, very delicate, and super snuggly. We watched Dodgeball last night on the sofa together.
And the kitty, who sounds like a Siamese when he meows and could stand to put a call in to Jenny Craig.

While at J's house checking on the assorted pets, I saw her swimsuit hanging on the bathroom dooknob. Hey, that kind of looks like a pirate. Hey, that's the Jolly Roger in pink! And it says "Arrrrrrrgh" on the butt! Awesome! Where on earth does one buy such a ridiculously awesome swimsuit? I check the tag and the answer is Splish. The best. swimsuit website. EVER!

My personal favorites:
The Pirate:
Perfect for swabbing the pool deck in.

The keystone cop:
Do you know how fast you were swimming?

The tuxedo, which is also available in Dumb and Dumber varieties:

Pink Elephant. As in ignoring the giant pink elephant in the room- that I can't swim to save my life.

Danger tape:
Truth in advertising

Da Bomb:

I'm a winner:
I don't know why but I cannot stop giggling over this.

Starry night:
Insert heavenly body joke here.

Never trust a big butt and a smile.

Best part, they also have awesome swim caps. And t-shirts. The only tricky part is a lot of the super awesome suits have spaghetti straps, not sure I can get away with that.

And Jeanne I promise that if I don't die training for IMFL that I will still do relays with you and Supersnail with obnoxious names. I'm shooting for the long ball, but I promise not to become a Fasthole.

I will always be an 8th grade humor, snuggly, obnoxious Panda. Iron, tungsten, or aluminum.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The flu and other illnesses have prevented my starting the training plan for IMFL but today is the day. I am going to the gym and getting in my 45' Zone 2 run.

What I've been doing instead:

Cooking. A lot. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I've been making French toast, pancakes, rice pudding, bread pudding, Irish oatmeal, yummmmm.

Watching lots of TV - one of the stars of True Blood is a friend of a friend so I've been trying to help out the ratings. It's also a pretty awesome show.

And Dexter although this season has been kind of weak.

And the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. It is vapid, I know, but I LOVE this show.

Helping someone set up house.

A friend PCS'ed up here and I got dominion over the kitchen. I already own every kitchen appliance short of a KitchenAid, so it's fun to start again with someone else's house.

Writing Christmas cards! I send out about 150 every year. If you want one send me your mailing address.

Online Christmas shopping. Yay Amazon wish lists.

And I bit the bullet and signed up for crew winter conditioning. Sometime in January, you'll be able to wash your laundry on my abs. Heyo!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free with ballot: Starbucks, ice cream, kittens ...

Just in case you've been living underground in the name of science or something. Today is election day!

Red, blue, or in my case pink you should go vote!

Then get your free Starbucks:

And your free Ben and Jerry's:

Not to mention a buck off with your sticker at Cake Love.

And star spangled donuts!

Oh and you get democracy or something, but seriously, free stuff!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dog chasing a car

I got into Ironman Florida.
Holy crap.

Now what?

Best quote ever:
"Well you were saying you wished you were still training so you could eat more. Problem solved!"
Thanks R.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cancer survival and exercise

I read about this in my Lifetime Fitness magazine instead of working out this morning, I'm allowed I gave blood Thursday, and I thought it was really cool.

I love when people give adversity the middle finger.


Survivors' Training™ is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Minnesota. Its affairs are governed by a top-notch Board of Directors whose expertise includes health communication, health care policy, oncology social work, and medical research on the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors. Survivors' Training™ is a member ofthe Minnesota Cancer Alliance. Read more about what the Alliance is doing to advance the Minnesota Cancer Plan here.

Who we are
Daughter, mother, wife, college professor: To this list of roles, Wendy added breast cancer survivor in 2006. Diagnosed with Stage I invasive ductal cancer and lobular carcinoma in situ, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy in November and began the process of reconstruction. While recovering from her surgery, she spent a lot of time reading medical journals and discovered the exciting new research on the benefits of exercise. To help her deal with the physical and psychological effects of her diagnosis and to improve the chances of surviving her cancer, she hired a personal trainer. But she realized that many cancer survivors were not in her fortunate situation. Possessing neither the knowledge about the effects of physical activity nor the means to pay for a supervised training program, many women were not receiving the post-treatment care they needed to improve their well-being, physical function, and their odds of surviving cancer. Wendy started Survivors' Training™ to close the gap between the research findings and everyday reality for women living with a cancer diagnosis.
Her blog: http://survivorstraining.blogspot.com/

Our Mission
The mission of Survivors' Training is to raise awareness of the importance of exercise for cancer survivorship and to promote regular physical activity as an essential therapy for those diagnosed with cancer.

Our Activities
Educating cancer survivors and their caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the general public about the importance of regular physical activity for the health, well-being, and longevity of cancer survivors. Facilitating physical activity through the development and provision of low-cost fitness training options to cancer survivors. Our one-of-a-kind fitness studio in White Bear Lake, MN, is our signature program. Advocating for the reimbursement of cancer survivorship fitness programs with policy makers and health insurers.

Friday, October 31, 2008

8 Halloween costumes for cyclists

I am not clever enough to write this. Copied from someone else who posted without attribution. If you know who wrote it I'll happily give credit.

As a cyclist, you are much, much better equipped for Halloween than the average person. Why? Because you already wear outrageous costumes on a daily basis. Think about it. Even though you are a (presumably) sane adult, you wear a shirt that would look much more at home on a superhero. You wear shorts that are much, much too tight, as if you were on your way to lead a jazzercize class. You wear a hat that belongs on an alien. And, to top the whole look off, you wear what sound and look like tap-dancing shoes...
By spending just a few extra minutes, you can alter your cycling outfit for the evening, making it so you're not just "a cyclist" at the party, but a very particular sort of cyclist. Simply follow these easy instructions.

Doping Cyclist: Dress up in full pro kit. Use a marker to draw needle tracks up and down one arm. Tie a length of surgical tubing above one elbow and leave a syringe sticking out of your vein. Wheel around an IV tower for the duration of the party. Stuff your jersey pockets with bottles of drugs. When anyone asks what / who you are, respond that you are a professional cyclist. When they ask what all the needles and drugs are for, say you have no idea what they're talking about. No matter what, do not admit you have any drug-related items on hand.

Mountain Biker (If You're normally a Roadie): Prepare for the party by gaining 10 lbs and getting 20-30 tattoos. Wear baggy pants -- baggy enough that they keep falling down. Arrive drunk at the party and continue to drink once you get there. Insist you have mad skillz.

Roadie (If You're normally a Mountain Biker): Prepare for the party by putting a stick in your butt. Wear uncomfortably tight cycling clothes for the party, drink nothing but thrice-filtered water and tell everyone exactly how many calories and fat everything they're eating contains.

Triathlete: Don't come to the party, because you've only done four workouts today and still need to get in one more and you don't want to break training, no matter what.

Recumbent Rider: Tape your glasses together, somehow manage to affix a pocket protector to your jersey, and loudly and insistently explain to all and sundry that recumbents are really much more comfortable and practical than "wedge" bikes. Talk a lot about prostates.

Recreational Cyclist: Wear street clothes with your right pant leg cuff completely greasy and shredded. Wear a bike helmet backwards and *censored*ed to one side. Tell people that you're starting to bike again to get back in shape.

Commuter: Wear street clothes, but carry a backpack or messenger bag full of what are clearly stinky bike clothes the entire evening. Make your helmet hair extremely obvious. Keep looking for opportunities to casually introduce the fact that you are a bike commuter into every single conversation in which you participate.

Fixie / Track Cyclist: Dress the same as a road cyclist, but you must always either keep walking or -- if you must stay in one place -- you must trackstand by moving a couple inches forward, then back, then forward and back again.

See? Easy, effective, and totally transformational. Nobody will recognize you. Better start preparing that "Best Costume" acceptance speech now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Skeleton Crew

I'm done with slacking off and eating SF chocolate ship cookies. Mostly.

In order to prep for the annual Holiday rowing challenge, I'm doing Concept 2's Halloween challenge.

The rules:

In honor of Halloween, we invite you to participate in the Skeleton Crew Challenge... it's a great way to earn all that Halloween candy!
Row at least 31,000 meters between October 25 and October 31.
This is an individual challenge. (You do not need to belong to a team to participate.)
Meters can be done all in one sitting or as several workouts.
Meters must be entered online.
Only indoor rower meters count (no water meters please).
All those who row 31,000 meters will be listed on our Skeleton Crew Honor Board. In addition, once you've completed the challenge you'll be able to download your specially-designed Skeleton Crew certificate and iron-on transfer and shop for Skeleton Crew goodies at cafepress.com.

I couldn't care less about Halloween candy since I can't eat it anyways, but anything that allows me to have another Panera Pink Ribbon bagel is good.

Saturday, after a mild case of food poisoning, I went to the gym and made it through 3K before my stomach revolted. So I'm about 10% done. Yesterday I just walked in the park in an effort to not re-injure the shoulders. Today I'm still stiff but will try to put another dent in the 31K. And in my weight for that matter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Somewhere a Nike marketing executive is being fired.

What a colossal F-up.
You run a race under the guise of empowering women, an everyday woman wins the race and you refuse to award her the first prize because she didn't register as elite?
A race where you could run in your own backyard and still be a part of the race so you could reach out to regular women.

Great job. You had the next best thing to Subway's Jared. A marketing boon. Manna from heaven and you completely dropped the ball Nike.

You, a company named after the goddess of victory, refused to give the rightful winner first prize. Not only did you give up possibly the best marketing opportunity short of the super bowl, you handled it so badly people are actually pissed at you.

Oh and to the argument that it wouldn't be fair to the elites? BS. Start everyone together then. And if they would have run faster if they knew they had competition, BS to that too. Really? You could have run 11 minutes faster? Right. And if you could have run faster, you should have run faster. It's your job. Not to mention, respect the race and leave it all out on the course.

And please explain to me how someone who doesn't have a pro card should have signed up as an elite. That's what I thought.

Guess which shoes I won't be buying and which race I won't be running.


Apparently someone is awake over there. No word on whether she'll score prize money too, but it's a step in the right direction.
Nike is back off my Christmas List, we'll talk about the sweatshop thing another day.

From Runner's World:
* The San Francisco Chronicle's editorial page calls for Nike to "Award the real winner."*

It's official: Nike has dubbed O'Connell "a winner." Here's the official statement...Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend’s Nike Women’s Marathon completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany & Co. trophy, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly. Learning from the unique experience in this year’s race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win. Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we’re proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Want to Get Away?

So I've had a persistent cold for like 3 weeks on and off now. I haven't done much other than the elliptical. Not too exciting or worth blogging about. Wheezing and gasping, not so interesting.

So today I got an email about a sale on Zipp wheels, which I sent out to all the training groups. Unfortunately including the XXXX bike shop group. Needless to say, they didn't appreciate that. DOH! Will not be sending any emails until the filter is back in place.

Clearly I need to use this:

Feel free to entertain me with your own stories of stupendous BTK errors. Although I feel like I might be alone in being this stupid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mountain Bike One?

OMG where to begin:
Good thing they aren't say, working on the economy.

Also, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says mountain bikers are communists who eat babies.

Bush to help open national parks to mountain bikes
Rule change will allow decisions about trails to be made by park managers

The Associated Press
updated 2:56 p.m. ET, Tues., Oct. 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans to make it easier for mountain bikers to gain access to national parks and other public lands before the president — an avid cyclist himself — leaves office.
The National Park Service confirmed Tuesday that it is preparing a rule that will allow decisions about some mountain bike trails to be made by park managers instead of federal regulators in Washington, a process that can take years.
A park service spokesman said the rule would be proposed no later than Nov. 15 so it could be final before Bush leaves office. If adopted, the proposal would likely result in more mountain biking opportunities on public lands.
Currently, the Park Service has to adopt a special regulation to open up trails to mountain bikes, which requires the public to be formally notified. The same process is required for all-terrain vehicles and other motorized recreation on park lands.
“We are trying to give superintendents a little bit of latitude especially for non-controversial proposals for bicycling in parks,” said Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the service. “We are responding to public demand.”
Environmental advocate Jeff Ruch called the rule a lame-duck gift for the mountain biking lobby from the “Mountain-Biker-in-Chief,” referring to Bush.
Ruch, executive director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said the proposal would open up backcountry trails to mountain bikers. Mountain bikers are blamed for erosion of trails and trampling native plants. They also disturb other park users, such as hikers, birders and horseback riders.
During his tenure as president, Bush has embraced mountain biking as a low-impact alternative to running, which is hard on his knees. The president — who has a blue and white Trek bicycle dubbed Mountain Bike One — often rides on his ranch in Crawford, Tex. and in the Washington, D.C. area. He also has received several mountain bikes from companies like Cannondale and Trek.
The International Mountain Biking Association, which is supported by some of the same companies that gave Bush bikes, said Tuesday it didn’t believe the timing of the rule had anything to do with the president’s penchant for pedaling.
“It is extraneous to this (rule) that the president has interest in mountain biking. I don’t think that has been an influencer in this case,” said Mark Eller, communications director for the group, which has been lobbying to change the rules since the early 1990s.
About 30 properties managed by the National Park Service include trails approved for mountain bikes now, he said.
A calendar for Lyle Laverty, the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks also shows that the mountain bike rule is one the administration’s remaining priorities.
In April 2006, after a 65-minute ride through Napa County wine country on Earth Day, the president told an AP reporter: “We’re able to enjoy the beauty without really disrupting pristine nature of the place. It’s a classic way for mankind to enjoy God’s gift.”

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/27183753/wid/18298287/?GT1=45002
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Friday, October 3, 2008

Totally could have used this for Savageman


Zero-emissions hybrid bike developed

01 October 2008

A zero-emissions hybrid vehicle that uses solar power and pedal power has been designed.

The Cycle Sol is a bicycle which has a canopy lined with solar cells, which collect energy to add extra power to the spinning of the wheels. A battery collects the solar energy which is then used to power a motor in the back wheel, speeding the bike along at 15mph with minimal effort and reducing the strain on the rider on uphill sections of their journey.

The bright yellow bicycle, brought to the concept stage by London-based designer Miroslav Milijevic, can also be connected to a mains supply so that the motor can assist the rider even when the sun has not been out. Mr Milijevic told the Times: "It is just like an electric bike but the motor runs on a battery powered by solar energy. You can leave it outside the office during the day to top up the rechargeable, ready for the ride home. These days solar cells are pretty good at picking up the lowest amount of light so it should still work when the skies are cloudy." Given the recent announcement that the most efficient solar cell yet has been developed, the future could see the bicycle's performance improve.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Slacking and vote

I have been slacking off so hard since Savageman.

On one hand I want to get out and enjoy the fall weather, on the other I am so ready for this season to be over. So ready. Ready to sit at home, eat sugar free brownies, watch football, and knit.

Only problem: I have at least one more tri on the schedule.

Well two problems, that and that nesting/slacking means I'm gaining a little weight. Unacceptable.

Wednesday, I rolled my arse out of bed at O'Dark Thirty to Meet Trainer Blaine since I have Giant Acorn hanging over my head. I should have ran 3 miles. Instead I did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Stupid leaf mold is making it hard to breathe. As well as idiot roommates who don't comprehend that the dehumidifier prevents the whole house from getting icky moldy.

Anyways, Wednesday was also Doomsday at work. All hell breaking loose. I controlled my mounting panic by scheduling out my training for the next few months. It's oddly comforting. I love lists, spreadsheets, and the comfort of grids and boxes.

What do I do with the rest of the month? Do I race Giant Acorn even though I'm going to the Caps game the night before and haven't gotten my bike checked out since Savageman?

Do I race Brierman?

I already faced the reality that I was not prepared for the Baltimore half and deferred to next year.

Do I do winter conditioning for crew or let my shoulder heal for the next six months?

Vote now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friends don't let friends drink and make race plans.

Saturday I trekked up to Deep Creek Maryland to participate in a relay for the OLY distance Savageman.

Savageman is a race where you can't fake the training. It's intense. But I was going to try anyways.

So this all started with a Happy Hour in Georgetown. Over pizza Supersnail and I talked about doing a relay with me swimming , tri friend N biking, and SS running.

N ended up having to bail. Later I got an email from J asking if I would want to relay with them as the biker. Ummmm, no? Somehow it came out as yes, and brainstorming of obnoxious team names ensued.

Options we didn't go with:
Three Slick Chicks
Cold, Hard Bitches
Chicks with Attitudes
Back Off, We're Triathletes
Hard, Harder, Hardest
Bitches on a Mission
Black and white and sore all over
Legs, boobs, and booty
Something for everyone
Ridden hard and put away wet
We'll tri anything once

What we went with was: 3 legs and 6 boobs

(It's a grenade joke)

Since the OTP crowd has some truly awesome people in it, I got to just go along for the ride as everyone else planned the stay and the food. Sandy was Queen Bee and Master Organizer, and Ryan was the Iron Chef. Seriously dude, marry me.

A little about the course:
Savageman is The. Hardest. Course. Period.

The swim:

I have never been so happy not to have to swim in my life. The lake was covered in fog, it was freezing, and the first few finishers were actually DQ'ed because of a mix-up with the buoy colors (allegedly yellow for the OLY, orange for the HIM), and because they couldn't see anything.

The bike:

Sigh. We drove the bike course the day before. Someone said not to worry because it always seems harder in the car. Challenge. The pre-race briefing included telling us that aerobars were verboten because the descent were technical and they didn't want you screaming to your death. And several warnings about where to shift down, and where to be prepared to hold on for dear life.

On one hand I was glad we saw the course, so I knew where I was later. On the other, it really made me so much more nervous.

I was trying to rationalize that it was only five miles longer than the bike at IronGirl and I wasn't swimming or running, so I could handle it, right?

Let's just say I ended up wheels up 3 times. Stupid chain.

The run:
Crazy, crazy hilly. The HIM took racers past the finish line 3 times. That is just cruel. And more than a few people turned down the finish chute by accident.

SS did a great job despite the heat and hills, and J and I got to run in with her.

They actually refused to announce our team name since it's a family show ...

Post race:
S gave me a ride back to the house and made popcorn, and I got a shower in before the boys came home.
No vacation time meant a long drive home late with a slight detour. I still need to take my wheels to get trued.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

Guess what happens when you are prone to kidney stones, you race a hot horrible race and get dehydrated, and you drink the race course beverage which has in one bottle 300% of your RDA of vitamin C?

If you answered you get a kidney stone, give yourself one point.
If you answered you get a kidney stone while trapped in DC at a mandatory meeting, give yourself two points.
If you answered you get a kidney stone while trapped in DC at a mandatory meeting while giving a presentation and feeling like you will either pass out or throw up in front of a co-worker and two rival companies, give yourself three points.

Seriously, they should come with an alarm bell.

Luckily I've been through this before, so armed with a bridge prescription and painkillers I spent the afternoon in my pajamas wishing for death, and hoping to goodness that the rain would not mean evacuation again.

Now comes the question:
My beloved doctor who is also a runner, wants me to take Levaquin to protect the kidney from an infection. However, Levaquin has been linked to tendon rupture. And my bicep tendon is inflamed like 40% of the time now, and I have some pretty serious events coming up.

Do I shut my pie hole and take the Levaquin, or do I take the B team drug and wait and see if I get sick?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We. Are. Dead. And. This. Is. HELL!

Soooo, yeah. Rock N Roll was a bad day.

88 degrees. 85% humidity.

Everyone looked beaten. The spectators, the volunteers, the runners. All melting like a cheap bike bottle on the bottom rack of the dishwasher.

You know you've had a bad race when:

1. You finish a full hour after your goal time.

2. Your shoes look like Brian Sells'. http://dailyviews.runnersworld.com/2008/08/brian-sells-adv.html

3. You aren't sure you can even walk to the finish.

4. You cannot identify a single location in your body that doesn't hurt.

5. You're glad you lost your timing "chip" since it's means this travesty is only further on it's way to being forgotten.

The only thing that kept me from bailing was that there were a ton of cancer survivors there, and if they can finish, I had no reason not to.

They finished ahead of me, by the way.

Perhaps attempting a half marathon the week after Iron Girl was not a good plan ...

Nor was continuing to race even after repeatedly getting sick.

It's a steep learning curve.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I love fall!

I just read this article in Runner's World and I couldn't agree more. This is exactly how I feel. Although I prefer UnderArmour gloves. And I need more gear like I need a hole in the head.

Incidentally, I also agree with his views on pancakes.

Don't get me wrong, I love the baking heat of summer, but FALL!

Football games, cool crisp runs, leaves crunching on the trail, head races, apple cider, wine tasting, tailgating, joy!

Cool enough to wear snuggly pajamas, bake cookies, eat oatmeal for breakfast, and cover all that goodness up with a sweater or run it off and not get sweaty fall!

Halloweeen! Dressing up as Silk Spectre or Wonder Woman, Thanksgiving, Fantasy Football leagues, back to school super fun fall!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

IronGirl and a rusty shoulder

Thursday night. My shoulder hurts so bad it's shooting hot bolts of lightning down my arm. One of these days I will have a heart attack and think it's just my shoulder. Icing it not helping. Can't sleep. Take 3 Vicodin on an empty stomach. Finally get to sleep.
Wake up Friday, yak a few times. Pain comes back, take more vicodin. Stay home from work.

I don't know if the return of the pain is from the increase in swim volume (minimal) or thanks to the weather shift (probable). The weather here has turned and you can feel the wistfulness of fall in the air.

I decided not to go home, and go to the IronGirl practice since I had to either pick up my uniform or race naked next week.
Turns out it would be about the same. The shorts are a bit shorter than I would ever choose to wear in public. And it will be a miracle if the zipper in the top survives.

The group was doing a brick of the 18 mile bike course and the 3.4 mile run course. I made it through the bike course, with a slight detour adding yet another hill and a little more mileage.
Waited for B to finish so I could give her a bike bottle since she didn't have one. I have an entire huge storage thing of them plus like another 30 of the ubiquitous Gatorade waterbottles, so I was fine letting one go. Even if I was a little sentimental about the NJ State one. She'll give it a good home.

Later I met J at the pool to swim a few laps and be lazy. Right around dinner I realized I had tried to fuel two workouts on a latte, a croissant, and spanakopita. That was right about when I got the world's worst headache that would not go away. I so hate gym hangovers.

Sunday I slept in instead of doing my long run or North East. And spent the whole Nats game in search of salt, I mean a curly "W" pretzel. Ate an obscene amount of bread at Macaroni Grill trying to stuff the hole I dug myself into on Saturday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hellllllo Bella!

Velo Bella is an all-women's cycling team. The Mid-Atlantic Bellas are geographically dispersed throughout the region, from Pennsylvania down to North Carolina.

For 2009 Nikki of fellow blogging fame is making a push to grow the DC-region team. Why? Velo Bella is about to announce that for 2009 we are going to have an official Triathlon Team! Kona Bikes is working with us to develop a prototype timetrial bike, made exclusively for Velo Bella racers, and we are looking to field an elite/professional team, focused on the Olympic distance. (for a sneak peak at the TT bike: http://www.velobellabb.com/forum26/1695.html, but it will be blue, not white).

So, what is Velo Bella? Well, besides having the absolute BEST kits in the country, our mission is to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle through cycling and laughter. We inspire women to get out and ride a bike, race a bike, and to eventually grow the pool of talent and have a lot of fun along the way.

Not everyone is a racer....we have recreational riders, the racing team, and the pro/elite racing team.

How much does Velo Bella cost? Here's the best part......it's FREE!!!!! Okay, there is some fine print.....

--To be a "recreational" Velo Bella, there is no fee, and no requirement to purchase anything.

--To be an "amateur racer" or "pro/elite" racer, you are required to buy 1 jersey each year (~$65). BUT, you get access to great discounts to a ton of sponsors (such as Kona Bikes, Zeal Optics, FSA, SRAM, Patagonia clothing, Crank Brothers, Sidi, Cateye, Giro). As a racer you can get deep, deep discounts, sometimes over 50% off.

What does it mean to be a Mid-Atlantic Velo Bella? Well, this is the best part. We can make it whatever we want the team to be! Maybe that means a weekly group ride, maybe it means a monthy team dinner, maybe just coordinating races together, or supporting each other across disciplines (we have roadies, tri-gals, MTB and cyclo-crossers here).......it's up to us all to decide!

Please take a few moments to check out our website and forum blogs, and stay tuned for a Happy Hour in the next few weeks (we're targeting Sept 4th or 5th).

I hope you consider riding with Team Velo Bella!

http://www.velobella.org/ or http://www.velobellabb.com/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cancer to 5K Version 3.1

Cindy and Jess, third time is the charm!

I've volunteered with the previous two cycles, and I can vouch for the fact that this is a great program.
Please consider volunteering as a sherpa or passing along to anyyoung adult cancer survivors you know.

We are proud to announce that the Fall 2008 CANCER to 5K training program will begin on Saturday, September 6, 2008. The program will end on Thursday, November 27, with Runner and Volunteers running inthe VA Run Turkey Trot 5k in Centreville, VA at 8AM.

The CANCER to 5K Training Program is a free 12-week training program designed to introduce and/or reintroduce cancer survivors to physical activity by providing them with the training program, coaches, encouragemnt, and support necessary to complete a 5K (3.1 miles) distance road race.
The program is FREE to cancer survivors, ages 18-40,(and beyond as room allows) and includes:
- 12 week training program
- Registration into a local 5K distance race
- 2 weekly group training sessions with a coach for 12 weeks(1 weekday evening, 1 weekend morning)
- CANCER to 5K ™ technical T-shirt & water bottle
- CANCER to 5K ™ Program Certificate of Completion
- CANCER to 5K Race Day Sherpa ™ to run with you on your big day(if you want one...)
- CANCER to 5K ™ Official Finishers Medal (upon completion of an official 5K distance race)
Registration is open through Tuesday September 16 (beginning of Week 2 of Training) so make sure you get ONLINE and REGISTER NOW!

INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING? Check out the website and learn how you can help!
Life is Good! LiveSTRONG!
- Holly

"Young Adult Cancer Survivors giving new meaning to the wordENDURANCE...One Mile at a Time!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just Peachy

This past week I had the brilliant idea of despite being sick for like 2 weeks straight, to tackle the hilliest bike course like ever. And since misery loves company, I sent out a call to tons of cool tri people.

Well, D doesn't like to bike in groups, a bunch of people were doing the training tri, some were up in Deep Creek tackling their own nightmare bike course, R didn't have a car, so it just ended up being me and Tamara.

My thought process had gone something like this: The Eat a Peach bike is hilly, but supposedly do-able. We would do the 33 mile route which would justify the 3 hour round trip drive. It would be fun, there would be pie, I would get to touch a jello brain, it would prepare me for the IronGirl bike course, and it supported a good cause- essentially traumatic brain injuries. I would come home and shower and nap before my swim lesson. I would be tired, but in a good way, I would not eat pizza, and the world would be full of sunshine and lollipops.

What actually happened:
I woke up late. Rushed out the door. Did not realize it was really cold for an August morning. Just wearing my tri top and bike shorts, brrrrr.

Get call from Tamara, she gives me a heads up on some of the directions. She got there early, I am running late. She graciously waits for me.

Tamara also mentions what I am starting to notice. It is extremely hilly, not "rolling" hills. We discuss our wuss out options. Settle on riding the 12 mile course, and we can always ride it again if we feel we didn't get a work out.

I get there, we register, I get my bike checked out.

Here's where it gets interesting:
My chain is skipping gears, which was causing the baseball card in the spokes sound I heard at NJ.
The lovely bike people tighten some things up so I can make it through the day. Turns out it was quite tight. Took some getting used to. Especially up the first hill.

We take off, and holy cow. My spirit was almost immediately broken. I finally get the gears sorted out and have a better time of it. We pass donkeys, and a cow that moos at us, and roosters.

Then we get to the real hills. Tamara who had been doing the Conte's hill rides was in much better shape than I was. I had to get out of the saddle a few times, and I admit I totally walked part of it. Tamra was a rockstar, biked the whole thing, and even waited for me at the end of it.

You should not be able to go 35mph on your bike. All I could think was "If you hit your brakes, you'll flip your handlebars, don't touch your brakes. This is so not how I intended to die".

Thank you Cliff Shots for making margarita flavored products.

We decided after one particularly spirit breaking hill that one loop was enough, it being the longest 12 miles of my life.

We wandered throught he farmer's market, I got some specialty honey for friends, Tamara got corn for later.

I stopped at a gas station on the way back that was selling biodiesel!
Across the four lane road were a couple stranded cyclists. I waved and motioned did they need a pump (picture jack hammering pantomime here) or a tube (drawing a big hula hoop in the air)? They drew a hula hoop back so I grabbed a tube out of my bike bag and gave it one of the girls who red rovered across the highway. I think they were okay in the end and I got in my good deed for the day.

Later that day in another fit of genius, I scheduled my swim lesson with Coach Alan. We talked about the possibility of doing Sandman. I haven't brought up the whole Ironman thing yet, not sure how to broach that without sounding insane.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A rose by any other name

I got majorly sick after NJ, so this week was just a bike ride and a swim, nothing of note. I did get a throat infection so bad the nurse took a step back and said "Whoa!" when she went to swab me for the strep culture.

So using my evil powers of persuasion, and thanks to Holly's race report extolling the fun to be had at Muddy Buddy I have successfully suckered Jess into doing Muddy Buddy with me next year.
Much like IM is all about the tattoo (sarcasm), Muddy Buddy is all about the offensive names and funny costumes.
A little background, Jess is a fellow Team Z'er who is recovering from breast cancer. We really got together thanks to Holly's Cancer to 5K program. This time Jess will actually finish that program, provided she doesn't sacrifice any more ankles. Really the most accident prone people ever.

So knowing that, here are potential (offensive) team names:

Team Real and Fake
Don't you wish that you had Jessie's girls
Saving Second Base and Sliding into Home
Team All the Same in the Dark (goes with the real or fake)

And the more PG:
Team Hills and Veil
Bosom Muddy Buddies

I know there must be other names which would be funnier and could make for a good costume, so I open it up to you all. This is public though, so don't write anything you wouldn't want your mother to read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NJ Tri Death

Someone died during the swim on Sunday and I thought it deserved it's own post rather than being lumped in with my race report.

Okay first of all Holy cow! How did this happen? There were a ton of kayakers on the course, and it was an easy, simple swim course.

Things that are really disconcerting:
This poor guy was a newbie, as were a LOT of people at this race. Kind of scary, this could have been one of ours.

They were looking for the body while we were all there for the awards ceremony and no one knew. Great job by the Race Directors.

Condolences go out to the family, that must have been horrifying to find the body that way.

I'll post more information as it is released.

Article 1:


Triathlete disappears in lake
Rescuers unable to find body of W. Windsor man

Monday, July 28, 2008

A township man who was participating in the New Jersey State Triathlon at Mercer County Park yesterday is missing and presumed drowned after failing to finish a swim of Mercer Lake. Fire, emergency medical services and county boats searched the lake yesterday afternoon but could not find a body. Police have said the man was 52 years old but are withholding his name pending notification of his family. The man was reported missing by his fiancée just before 11:30 a.m., when she became concerned that she could not find him. Police said the man and the fiancée had talked around 7 a.m., when he called her to say he was at the park and getting ready for the race. She then left for the park to cheer him on. Police said the man, along with about 1,100 fellow racers, was participating in the sprint course, which involved a 0.31-mile swim, followed by an 11-mile bike ride and finally by a 3.1-mile run. More than 1,300 others raced the longer course. About 10,000 spectators were on hand. The 1,100 racers on the shorter course entered the lake in 10 separate groups to prevent overcrowding. The missing man was wearing an athletic tracking device issued by race operators and designed to monitor the time he entered and left the lake. The tracker noted he went into the water at 7:53 a.m. but did not have a time for his departure. The device could not be used to find his exact location. "That was my first question," West Windsor Police Chief Joe Pica said. "Apparently, it's not that easy." According to Pica, the tracker operates much like the security system in a store, where passage between two monitors activates it. Lt. Carl Walsh said it was possible, but not probable, that the man could have slipped out of the lake without being seen or reactivating his tracker. The course, following a diagonal trail from a sandy beach, then across the breadth of the lake to an exit at the marina, was monitored by 25 lifeguards stationed in the water in kayaks. Two EMS boats and two county park boats also policed the activities. Those same county boats were called back into action later in the day as the search for the man began. Police said the fiancée first approached a race official, who in turn notified police. The man's bike, cell phone, shoes, and other effects were found in the bike transition area set up in the marina's parking lot. Emergency personnel were contacted, both from West Windsor and from Trenton, where divers from the water rescue unit were sent to the scene. They began a search of the lake that was hampered by severe weather conditions, with operations suspended for an hour during a violent thunderstorm that began around 2 p.m. That weather, police said, interfered even after the lightning and thunder had passed. The water was relatively rough, and silt had been churned up from the bottom making it more difficult for rescue personnel to see. Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot, who was monitoring the teams' progress from shore, said visibility in the water was down to 2 feet. The lake's deepest point is only about 15 feet down, Willmot said. The five boats on the lake were using a combination of technology, muscle power and human senses in the attempt to find the missing man. Basic sonar equipment was used to scan the lakebed, and several emergency workers wielded long poles used to feel around for anything underwater. All eyes on the boats were gazing at the silvery surface of the lake, which was peppered by raindrops, as a small one-man craft from West Windsor EMS slowly cruised along the shoreline. The difficult conditions, officials said, contributed to the search being called off as of 5 p.m. The boats returned to their staging area at the boathouse across the lake. Operations are scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. today, with police saying a more advanced sonar system will be employed. West Windsor police, fire and EMS will be on the water, and Trenton's dive team will return as well. The lake will be closed, but the park will remain open. Pica said that if efforts to find the man's body are unsuccessful today, other agencies, including the State Police, will be contacted for additional assistance. Willmot said Mercer Executive Brian Hughes has spent the evening on the phone with State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes and Mercer Sheriff Kevin Larkin attempting to garner state assistance. Willmot said Hughes, who was on hand yesterday morning to kick off the race, has faith in West Windsor authorities but wants all resources to be at the ready. Yesterday's race was operated by the county in conjunction with CGI Racing, which also operates the Northeast Maryland Triathlon, Philadelphia Women's Triathlon and Black Bear Triathlon in the Pocono Mountains. A CGI representative at the scene declined comment. Police said the triathlon, now in its third year, was fully approved by authorities. "It's very well-planned out and extremely well-organized," Walsh said. "Everyone who needs to be notified of the event was notified."
©2008 Times of Trenton
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Article 2:

Family finds missing triathlete
By: Andria Y. Carter , Online Editor

Triathlete John Hobgood of West Windsor was recorded as going into Mercer Lake for the one-third-mile swim, but never recorded having emerged from the 85-degree water.

The Mercer County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy on a missing triathlete John Hobgood whose body was discovered about 1 a.m. today by family members.The Hobgood family was conducting a late night vigil at Mercer Lake when the body was discovered.The 52-year-old township man went missing on Sunday during the 500 meter swim sprint event of the New Jersey State Triathlon. The amateur sporting event had about 410 people in the water when Mr. Hobgood went missing, said Lt. Pat McCormick with the West Windsor Police Department.AdvertisementMcCormick said extreme precautions had been taken for the event with 24 lifeguards station on the lake in kayaks and four patrol boats with two EMS personnel."A lot of precautions were in place to make sure the triathletes were okay," McCormick said.Hobgood's finacee notified event officials about 11:30 a.m. that he failed to emerge from the swim event. He had been registered to also participate in the 5k run and 11 mile bike ride. Officials suspended the search for Hobgood's body when weather and darkness. The search was to resume this today about 8 a.m. The initial search turned from rescue to recovery when emergency personnel determined that Hobgood had not gotten out of the water when they found his bicycle in take for the next event and his parked car.Family members extremely upset that Mr. Hobgood had not been found decided to hold a vigil for the missing triathlete and noticed something that appeared to be a body in the water, McCormick said.The family members called township police right away and upon arrival determined it was a body and had it removed and taken to the coroner's office, McCormick added.Results of Hobgood's autopsy should be known within a couple days, he said.John Hobgood was a lifelong New Jersey resident who worked for National City Mortgage and helped customers with loans in Mercer and Somerset counties.


Lakeside vigil ends in sadness
Friends recover the body of drowned triathlete
Page 3 of 1
WEST WINDSOR -- The tragic moment when novice triathlete John W. Hobgood drowned beneath Lake Mercer Sunday morning slipped unnoticed by the thousands of people who had gathered at Mercer County Park for the New Jersey State Triathlon.
When Hobgood's body finally resurfaced on the lake in the still of night more than 15 hours later, almost no one was around.
The crowds were long gone, the park closed until daybreak yesterday. And the search of the lake for the missing 52-year-old from Princeton Junction had been suspended Sunday afternoon until the following morning.
But authorities let two of Hobgood's close friends -- Charles Voigt and Colleen Dunne -- keep a lonely lakeside vigil for him into the wee hours, just in case.
"We just didn't want him to be alone," said Dunne, who lives in Princeton Borough.
Carol Stasko, Hobgood's fiancee, wanted desperately to keep vigil at the lake, too, but the couple's friends thought she would be better off trying to rest at home while waiting for the official search to resume in the morning.
So for almost three hours, Dunne and Voigt waited by the water's edge near Voigt's pickup truck, scanning the lake.
At times they prayed or spoke to Hobgood as though he were there to hear. They reported on the outcome of Sunday's baseball game between his beloved Yankees and the rival Red Sox.
Voigt at one point turned the truck's lights onto the water -- "not really to search, but just be cause we were there by ourselves," he said.
"We were all hoping for the best turnout ..." Voigt said, letting the sentence trail off unfinished. Then, a little before 1 a.m. yesterday, Voigt and Dunne spotted the body floating near the surface.
The red swimmer skullcap Hob good had been wearing was still on his head -- and the first thing to catch his friends' attention, said Voigt, who lives in Montgomery.
They said they immediately called 911 for West Windsor police.
Officers responded to the lake and police summoned the county Medical Examiner's Office. Person nel from the Medical Examiner's Office recovered Hobgood's body from the water at about 1:30 a.m., police said.
Preliminary autopsy results show the cause of death as accidental drowning, said Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot.
There was no indication of trauma that might have suggested Hobgood collided with another swimmer before he died, authorities said.
Hobgood's relatives, friends and his fiancee said they are at a loss to explain what went wrong for the former longtime Lawrence resident and avid long-distance biker.
Although Stasko said Hobgood had not attempted a triathlon before Sunday, he was athletic and had been training for Sunday's event for three or four months simply as a personal challenge.
"He was in great shape and went into it wholehearted," Stasko said yesterday as friends and family gathered with her inside the Princeton Junction home she and Hobgood shared.
The couple's wedding was scheduled for Sept. 13.
Hobgood, a divorced father of two adult children who worked as a mortgage banker, didn't have any known medical problems and wasn't taking any medication, Stasko and their friends said.
A photo snapped at the park less than an hour before Hobgood entered the lake to start the 0.31-mile swim leg at 7:53 a.m. shows him smiling and looking relaxed alongside a cheerful Stasko, who was there with a group of their friends to root him on.
His fiancee and friends said they didn't hang around by the starting point because they were hoping to spot him coming out of the water for the 11-mile biking phase.
But none of them became alarmed right away when they didn't see Hobgood because there were so many swimmers coming out that they at first figured they just didn't notice their man.
Stasko reported Hobgood missing just before 11:30 a.m. after she became concerned that he still did not show up, authorities said.
Hobgood was participating in the seventh wave of the shorter, sprint course of the triathlon. Each wave consists of about 100 to 150 racers, according to CGI Racing, the firm that co-organized Sunday's triathlon in conjunction with Mercer County.
About 1,100 people competed in the sprint course, which wraps up with a 3.1-mile run, according to race organizers.
Hobgood's daughter, Ashley Carunchio, who lives in Delaware and works as a trauma nurse there, said she didn't have any real worries about her dad attempting a tri athlon -- although she did jokingly tell him that he was crazy to try it.
Carunchio recalled how her dad came to encourage her in rowing competitions at Lake Mercer when she attended The Hun School of Princeton.
She said he was a generous man who was very supportive of her and her brother, Bryan Hobgood, who is studying chemical engineering at Columbia University.
"He could be stubborn and difficult at times, but he always showed how proud he was of us," Carunchio said, her composure faltering.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes called Hobgood's death tragic for the family and community.
"My heart goes out to the family," Hughes said.

Staff writer Alex Zdan contributed to this report.
©2008 Times of Trenton
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 28, 2008

NJ Tri: Did the course get shorter, or did I get faster?

This past weekend I trekked up to NJ to hang out with M and try my first real triathlon since the surgery.

Getting there:
Four painful hours including a stop at the most poorly staffed Starbucks ever. Seriously, what happened to Starbucks? They used to be the last bastion of good customer service, now they are barely able to communicate with you and the last three times I've been to one they've had to re-make my drink order multiple times. Glad I don't have stock in them.

Realized after I sat in traffic that I didn't actually want to get on the Jersey Turnpike. Oops.

Got to NJ just in time for the pre-race briefing, said hi to the DCTri folks, picked up my stuff which did NOT include a technical t-shirt as promised, grrrr.

Left and met up with M at his house for Princeton fun.

Why I love Princeton:
Princeton Running Company where they carry my favorite socks and have my Shot blocks in Margarita flavor.

Red, Green, Blue where you create designs in glass and they fire it for you. One of my favorite things to do. This time I was overflowing and Matt was stumped. So soon I will have a fruit bowl with an abstract turtle (I wanted to make a school of fish, then just one big fish, but it kept turning into a turtle, so I just let it be a turtle) and a plate with a bursting heart design. Woot!

Olives: Spanikopita, baklava, yum.

Driving back from the downtown I was reminded of a key point about Princeton: crazy deer population. A mama deer and three tiny fawns bounded uncertainly across the street in front of us. They truly were tiny deer. Not the awkward spindly weeble wobble fawns you usually see, but like teacup deer. Like they should go in one of those dog purses.
Anyways, I put that away to be mindful of when I was leaving at dawn the next day.

Saturday night was spent shoveling in cheese and bread from Whole Foods and watching Vantage Point (save your time, all action no point).

Went to bed early, set the alarm for 4:30. Transition opened at 5:30.

Sunday morning:
Slept until 5:30, oops!
M's mom and the puppy got up to wish me luck :)
Grabbed a banana hoping I'd be able to eat it, my stomach was a nervous tank of churning acid.
Didn't see or hit any deer, waited in line forever to get into the park, made it to transition in time to set up my area and get out.
Forced down the banana and a luna bar. Waited in another long line for the bathrooms. Tried to decide whether or not to throw up.

Walked down the painfully rocky path to the swim. I forgot to buy cheap flipflops to wear on the way down. Doh! Luckily didn't hurt my feet too bad, but I have some odd blisters.
Waited in huge cluster F to swim. At about this point I started thinking: 1. I am in over my head. 2. Why the F didn't I sign up for a relay? 3. I definitely should have thrown up.
I started praying to God, not to let me have a good time, or even to not embarrass myself, just please do not let me drown. Especially in an aqua tri top.

The race was definitely in Jersey, looking at you zebra print swim suit.
Also funny, several of the girls had put on their DC Tri temp tattoos as tramp stamps. Classic.

Okay the swim:
I am a notoriously bad swimmer. I once swam to the wrong pier at Lake Anna. Thank goodness for this course, it was idiot proof.
Tried to think about Coach Alan's advice, of just racing my own race and practicing drills on the swim. I had done a super sprint the week before and tanked on the swim, also digging a hole that I never recovered from on the bike and run.
So I thought about pulling myself past my arm rather than pulling the water, I thought about what the regattas on the lake must be like and to keep myself light on the water, kicking with a straight leg, and wow, I'm not the last person! Some girl from my group had clearly gotten into the water and panicked. She ended up holding onto a kayak. I got my back clawed up by some girl, brifely considered stripping her goggles, decided to let it go, a rare nice moment for me. Finally got to the end and stumbled up the ramp. I knew my HR was going to be pretty high, so took my time getting into transition. Stopped and told the EMS people there was a swimmer on the course they needed to watch out for. The girl never came in behind me, and I'm pretty damn slow. They shrugged it off and said there were plenty of kayakers out there. Grrr.

Transition: took forever. I swear I did not stop and take a nap.

Went out and noticed a weird sound coming from my back tire, feels awfully squishy, did I flat already? See the Sag Truck and pull off. Very nice guy from Knapp's who must have thought I was an idiot pumped up both tires and pointed out that my rear derailleur was rubbing on my back tire. At some point either when I took my bike out of the car, or something happened to my bike in transition, either way that was the noise. Note to self, check gearing.

Well that made my bike a hell of a lot easier. I got passed some and passed some people. Ate a bag of shot blocks, yum. I even managed to take 10 minutes off my bike time.

Rolled in and started the run.

The Run:
Damn, it was hot. Pretty course and a lot of cheering, great aid stations. Walked a lot trying to keep my HR down. But thankfully it never got over 180. Traded places a lot with a 22 year old girl. This was her first tri, she came from a swimming background. Ran the last half mile in with her.

Hit the finish line and saw MIRA! Yayyyyyy!

Stuck around to cheer for the rest of the club. The OLY people had a really tough day, it was like a million degrees out when they were out on the course, just so. freaking. hot. I was SO happy I had bailed into the sprint.

Saw Jeanne of blogging fame come in, who says you aren't born to run!

Things I was thankful for:
Having a good swim. Slow by other people's standards, but good for me.
The Knapp's people for saving my arse on the bike, and magically being right there when I needed them.
The volunteers, especially Mira! Short of Jomomma, she was the person I most wanted to see at the finish line.
The club for staying to cheer EVERYONE on. Thank you for not bailing on the slow people.
Shot blocks for making such yummy food, and for being finally confident enough on the bike to eat them.
K for keeping me calm pre-swim.
M for letting me stay at his house.
M's mom for getting up to wish me luck and for calling me Wonder Woman all Sunday :)
CGI for putting on such an awesome race.
C for talking me down on Saturday and asking how it went on Sunday.
That I drove home later that day missing the wrath of God thunderstorms.
For having EZ Pass which works all along the Eastern Seaboard. Cash toll suckers!

Now all I need is someone to tell me not to sign up for North East what with it being a week before Iron Girl.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Post Secrets

Last week the Runner's World Daily Views Blog had a post about shameful activity. Either on the trails and roads, or most often relating to food. Some of the comments were funny, some flat out disturbing. Most disturbing was the guy who said he likes to give blood because of the high he gets post donation running. Best quote: "What ever happened to vomitoriums? I think they were on to something there." Funny but kind of concerning. Not as disturbing as the actual Post Secrets blog, that stuff is seriously dark.

And if this is you, they even have a t-shirt for it:
"I'm using my marathon training to get some time away from my girlfriend. I mean, I luv her, but it's just sooooo hard to ask for a night alone at my place just httin the remote.I should talk to her but really hate fighting anyways. So every other night it's a: "aaaww, not tonight honey, it's just that I have this long run tomorrow"

Your t-shirt: http://www.gymskinz.com/store/index.cgi/trashtalk/gymskinz/1207061/triathlon-apparel

I figure what with all the pop-tart and calzone eating people blog about, there should be plenty of you to post.

And DC Rainmaker, blueberry eating is NOT shameful enough for this.


My shamful behavior, lest you think I am an angel (snort, giggle):
  • I routinely call people out on trails for talking on their cell phones, not yielding, etc. just see last year's RNR half post.

  • I have in the last week: eaten an entire pineapple and olive pizza in one sitting, twice.

  • Last night I ate and entire calzone, again.

  • Last week I carb loaded with a box of ginger thins.

  • I ran last week in a tri top that I had worn to the beach, swam and ran in, and not washed before the last run.

  • I frequently pee while running in races.

  • I don't train with friends who are faster than me because I'm embarrassed about my pace.

Post your sins then say ten Hail Marys and watch the Tour for an hour.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Triangle Man

Last week I decided to give my gastric pyrotechnics a break after an evening treadmill run resulted in run 2.5 miles, puke, run 2.5 miles, puke.

Coastie Dan took me on the Arlington Triangle route.

A little background, I am kind of a freak about biking. I'm very claustrophobic, and I don't draft when training. You can't do it in the race, so there's no point training that way. Not to mention people are idiots, and I don't trust anyone with my collarbones. And trails are crowded, and DC drivers suck, so you need all the reaction time you can get.

So I had requested that we go on a trail that would not be super crowded. Dan picked the triangle.

When I first started riding, I trained with a friend who was either completely selfcentered, or just insane. Running stop signs and lights, no qualms about darting in front of cars. No warnings about stopping. I commute in the morning, and generally drive a lot. I know EXACTLY how annoying it is to wait for a light, maybe through 3 cycles, only to have some biker dart in front of you against the light so you have to slam on your brakes. I also know a fair number of people who have been hit by cars while biking, resulting in some serious injuries. So in general, I try to be good about that. I'm not an angel by any means, but I try to respect traffic laws.

Dan, in general super considerate, and a great person to bike with. All around the nicest person ever, signaled stops and safety points on the trail, let me set the tempo, signaled passing when I forgot, and didn't slap me when I asked where the turnaround was. Duh Xena, it's a triangle.

Meanwhile, I am working on developing my Weirding/Jedi voice that makes people with baby joggers or trip-wire dog leashes yield on the trail. I have however cultivated a super bitchy tone which allows me to yell "On your left" in such a way that conveys "Move your ass".

We'll see whether Dan will be seen with me on a bike again.

Highlights: flying down one of the hills at like 30 mph over poorly maintained trail. Scouting several good places to dump a body. Finally getting over post-surgery bike fear.


Friday, July 18, 2008

People who are worse than dopers.

So if you know me at all, you know I'm usually fundraising for something, usually children or cancer, or children with cancer.

One of the charities I've supported in the past is the Food and Friends Dining Out for Life campaign. I missed it this year since it was the same day as my last surgery, or really close to it. They also have a bike ride they hold sort of like the MS bike ride.

Anyways, their mission is preparing and delivering meals to people who are fighting serious illnesses like AIDS or cancer. And to qualify you essentially have to be below the poverty line. A very worthwhile cause.

Now I had checked into their finances when I first started volunteering for them. I don't really want to work with anyone who has an overhead of more than about 20%. I had asked about this, and was told theirs was running about 23% because they just moved into a larger facility in DC and that number should come down in the future.

Or maybe it was just the astronomical paycheck they were cutting for their executive director:

Chief's Pay Criticized As Charity Cuts Back
By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 17, 2008;

Food & Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and other nutritional services to homebound HIV-AIDS and cancer patients across the Washington region, is scaling back its services, citing declining donations and rising fuel and food costs.
The cuts come as the District-based charity is facing criticism from some donors, AIDS activists and nonprofit group watchdogs, who say the compensation awarded to the group's longtime chief is too high.

Food & Friends paid Executive Director Craig M. Shniderman $357,447 in salary and benefits last year, and Shniderman, 60, said his salary has increased 4 percent this year. "Food & Friends compensates all of the staff appropriately, and that compensation is not, shall we say, fluctuated according to the momentary circumstances," he said.

There is no legal limit to how much tax-exempt charities can pay their executives, but two charity experts who reviewed Food & Friends' federal filings at the request of The Washington Post said they believed Shniderman's compensation to be unusually high relative to the organization's size.
"It appears excessive in relation to other nonprofits in related fields," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Shniderman's pay is substantially higher than the top salaries at many comparable area charities and has risen steadily from $145,000 in 1998, according to federal tax filings reviewed by The Post.

Food & Friends' board of directors, to whom Shniderman reports, defended his compensation, citing his decades of experience in social services and his role as chief fundraiser and manager of the nonprofit group, which has an $8 million annual budget and a staff of 58.
"We are lucky to have him, and we should pay him at the top of the range in order to incentivize him and retain him. And that's what we've done, and we think it's completely justified," said Christopher Wolf, a past president and current member of the charity's executive committee.
Last year, Shniderman received a salary of $270,290, as well as $31,318 in various insurances and a pension plan and $55,839 in deferred compensation. He said he has not considered taking a pay cut.

Many similar area groups pay their executives less, according to those organizations' most recent federal tax filings. At Capital Area Food Bank, whose $33 million budget is about four times that of Food & Friends, president and chief executive Lynn Brantley received $127,756 in salary and benefits. At Bread for the City, which has a $3.9 million budget, Executive Director George A. Jones received $102,627. And at D.C. Central Kitchen, which has a $6.7 million budget, President Robert Egger received $81,457.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic, a nonprofit group that has a $22 million budget and is the region's largest community-based provider of HIV-AIDS medical services, paid its then-top executive, Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, $169,524.
Shniderman's salary is comparable to those of the top executives at some AIDS and food nonprofit groups in New York and San Francisco. But many of those organizations are larger, and they are in cities with higher costs of living.

"This is way out of whack, and the board really ought to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him," said Doug White, a nonprofit management adviser and author of "Charity on Trial," who reviewed the group's records at The Post's request.
Shniderman's pay is set every few years by the board of directors, which hires an independent consulting firm, James E. Rocco and Associates, to advise it.
In a memorandum yesterday, Rocco wrote that Shniderman's compensation falls between the 50th and 75th percentile of salaries in the competitive labor market and reflects Shniderman's experience.
Food & Friends received three stars out of four from the online watchdog Charity Navigator, largely because the group has reported relatively low overhead costs.
Shniderman's compensation sparked an outcry last month, after the charity announced it was scaling back services, including putting new patients on a waiting list and reducing the number of meals provided to family members of ill patients.
Since then, the Washington Blade, a gay-oriented newspaper, published an article detailing Food & Friends' cuts that included criticism of Shniderman's salary. And gay rights activist and blogger Michael Petrelis has seized on Shniderman's pay in several provocative postings.
"He has no shame about taking yet another increase in compensation while people with AIDS are having nutritional services and food cut," Petrelis said from his San Francisco home. "As a person with AIDS, I'm appalled by this."
Peter Rothberg, a D.C. businessman who said he has donated to Food & Friends, was also disturbed by Shniderman's salary. "I feel like nobody should be getting rich off of a charity," Rothberg said.
But William Z. Goldstein, a former board president at Food & Friends who still donates to the charity, said Shniderman is an "amazing administrator."
"His compensation on its own merit seems high," Goldstein said. "But I think one needs to look further into some of his additional responsibilities or achievements."
Wolf and Shniderman, who was hired as executive director in 1995, said the cuts are unrelated to Shniderman's pay.
"We're not cutting back because of our executive director's compensation, I can tell you that," Wolf said.
This year, Food & Friends received about $300,000 less in federal AIDS-related funds allocated by the D.C. government than it did last year, Shniderman said. Wolf said the charity hopes to resume its full level of service.
© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Really? I call bullshit. How on earth can you deny a terminally ill economically disadvantaged person services and live with receiving over a third of a million dollars in salary?!!!

In all fairness here is their (non)response:

Dear Supporter,
You may have read recent press coverage of nonprofit executive compensation. Here at Food & Friends, we are proud of our financial practices. It is our mission to strategically maximize the number of people we serve while ensuring the best quality service for our clients. We take budgeting and the setting of salaries very seriously, undertaking a long and detailed process to determine appropriate and competitive compensation for each staff position. The Board of Directors rigorously reviews the quality of the work of our Executive Director, Craig Shniderman. Unlike many organizations, our board brings in a highly-regarded national consulting firm to conduct a very focused review to ensure that Craig’s salary is in line with that of other, comparable nonprofits. Since 1995, when Craig joined us, Food & Friends has grown from the basement of a church, serving 995 people annually, to a service that will provide more than 850,000 meals this year from a new $9 million kitchen and distribution center – all of which occurred, and in large part was made possible, through Craig’s tireless leadership. Our budget has grown from $2.2 million to $8.2 million, allowing us to serve more people each and every year. Craig is an executive director of the highest quality, and we have taken steps to ensure that he stays at Food & Friends.Food & Friends works hard to ensure that administrative expenses are very low. Fully 78.92% of all money raised goes directly to caring for those facing life-challenging illnesses in our community. Likewise, we leverage the support of more than 6,500 volunteers each year to stretch every dollar we raise. Of course none of what we do at Food & Friends would be possible without the support of our community of committed donors and volunteers, for which we are truly grateful.We know that there are many competing interests for your charitable dollar -- and those dollars are even more meaningful in this challenging economy. We pledge to continue to be good stewards of your confidence and support and to continue to provide the highest quality nutrition services, with compassion and love, to our friends and neighbors in need.

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff or me:

John Barnes , Deputy Executive Director for Program & Development, 202.269.6870

George Bednar , Deputy Executive Director for Finance & Administration, 202.269.6838

Lisa Bandera , Communications Director, 202.269.6875

Thank you for your continued support of Food & Friends,
Robert Hall III

President, Food & Friends’ Board of Directors


Needless to say, I won't be supporting them again anytime soon. The saddest part is that it's the clients who will pay for the board's bad judgment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blinded with science

Fellow tri clubber C posted a job opening for Discovery:

Wanna be on TV and travel to exotic places? We're looking for a fit, adventurous, and science-savvy host for a new documentary television series (think "Dirty Jobs" but for hard scientific expeditions). Feel free to forward around to any good candidates you know.


National Geographic Television is looking for a science-savvy, outdoor adventurer to host a new television series. Our host will travel to remote and dangerous places to help scientists gather data in order to find answers to some of the world’s most puzzling questions. You don’t have to have a science degree. Just prove that you are charismatic, adventurous, and have a broad knowledge of various branches of science. You’ll be talking with teams of scientists in the field, and translating what’s going on to our viewers. The ideal candidate will have a diverse range of experience in fields such as animal tagging, scuba diving, cave exploring, and rock climbing. Our host will be able to combine adventure with cutting edge science. Experience with high-tech equipment is also a plus.

Deadline: ASAP

The sooner it’s in, the more likely we are to consider you!

Send resumes, informal photos and/or headshots, video of yourself, and inquiries to:hardscience@ngs.org (electronic submissions preferred)

Send hard copies to:
Coordinator, Series Production
Attn: Science Series HostNational Geographic Television
1145 17th St. NWWashington DC, 20036

Okay, I had been job searching anyway, but wow, this looks so super awesome.

My dream job list now includes:
1. Pirate Ninja
2. Funded Mad Scientist
3. Gladiator on American Gladiators
4. Host of geeky science show.

I realize that I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning or actually finishing an ironman or really of both happening at the same time than getting this job, but why not at least try?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Runtime Failure

DC Rainmaker has been talking up the Tuesday and Thursday night Pacers runs. Since I'm staying in that area for the next month, I thought I'd check them out.

With one run under my belt since finishing the good drugs, I headed over to Pacers to check out their runs. Double checked the time and location. I had been reassured that there were multiple pace groups, even one for slower than molasses in Siberia.

Too bad I didn't realize Tuesdays are the hill runs.

I got about halfway done when I started to feel like projectile vomiting was imminent. Then I got passed by my D-bag ex and his girlfriend. I should have expected that, after all it's the same route he and I used to run together when we were dating. Hopefully history only repeats itself in that manner, and he's not cheating on her with multiple girls.

Anyways, there was one big plus, I met two really nice girls who were doing the Galloway method who let me pace off of them.

Eat more during the day to make sure I don't tank.
Fill up Gelbot.
Go to Pacers.
Flat run, thank God.
Mizuno is offering to let us try their shoes for the run. I know I can really only wear Saucony, so pass.
Get to the turnaround point at Belle Haven, so hot I can't stand it. Take a field shower at the bathrooms.
Walk a mile trying to get my HR down, no matter what it never gets below 160.
Feel so nauseous I contemplate forcing myself to yak so I can feel better.
Get leers from fishermen on overpass, keep walking.

All I can figure is that I am not genetically engineered to run in the evenings. I almost exclusively run early in the morning. Or maybe it's the steroids?

I'm going to run Saturday. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

Okay so just to catch up on a few things:

1. I mentioned the most awesome bike gearing system ever. The Fuji automatic touring bike has come to my attention as well. Different gearing system, but still an interesting concept.

2. I have not yet checked out the Ellsworth bike since I've been saddled with bronchitis. Turns out the doctor was right. The antibiotics and the steroids kicked my ass and it was all I could do besides wheeze for the last couple weeks.

3. Leading designs for tattoo:
a. 140.6 with the Swim, Bike, and Run stick figures around it.
b. Compass Rose with 1, 4, 0, and 6 at the points.
Now to just train for the race and become a superhuman in the next year.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Friday, June 27, 2008

But what about the tattoo?

There's been a thread going on the DC Tri website about Ironman races in 2009. Since I have no actual training to entertain you with, I present to you the following puff piece.

I've been wanting to do an IM for a while. The spirit is willing but the flesh is, well, mangled.

In moments of delusional optimism, I've been eyeing the Beach 2 Battleship.
B2B is an iron distance race put on by one of my favorite race companies, Set-up Events. They're nice, their races are well run, they have a user-friendly informative website (I'm looking at you, Piranha Sports, seriously).

The biggest question is not how will I manage over 2 miles of swimming on a damaged shoulder, or how will I handle training for an IM when I've only (barely) done sprints, it's what to do about the tattoo?

It's not an IM branded event, so the M Dot isn't really appropriate. Not to mention it would involve explaining to everyone who asked that I would (in my dreams) have done an ironman distance event, that wasn't an actual Ironman.
I'm automatically nixing the idea of anything beach themed. 18 years of living at the beach has translated all dolphins, seahorses, and starfish into tourist trash.
And I kind of feel like a battleship could be badly misinterpreted, WUBA, etc.

So I will now open this up to discussion, if lightning strikes, and hell freezes over, and I get into and finish B2B what should the tattoo look like?

I'm aiming for something on the shoulder to cover all the surgical scars. Submit your designs now and keep me entertained on a Friday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Legally taking steroids. But not the fun kind.

Running outside+ asthma + swimming = bronchitis.

After missing quite a bit of training and fun, and OD-ing on zinc, I gave up and went to the doctor's.

Dr. P: So what are you training for this time that you got sick?
Me: Oh not much. Maybe a couple tris and a marathon.

Dr. P: Take the inhalable steroid.
Me: But they give me throat infections :P
Dr. P: Are you gargling afterwards?
Me: Yeah.
Dr. P: Are you spitting or swallowing?
Me: Bahahahahaha, cough cough cough.
Dr.P: Take the steroid and swallow when you gargle. Sigh.

So you have it straight from a medical professional. If you aren't swallowing, you aren't doing it right.

Me: So what kind of training am I allowed to do?
Dr.P: Sleeping
Me: Does that include biking if I keep it in Z2?
Dr.P: Sigh. Take the next couple days off.
Me: Can I run the 10K on Saturday?
Dr.P: How much longer do you want to be sick?
Me: Is this a trick question?

What's the fun of being on steroids if I'm not allowed to train?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talk Nerdy to Me

Dan of Dan's Coastie Fun/ the RFD came by today and asked if I had heard about the new gearing system used by Ellsworth bikes. What followed was a bike nerd geek out of epic proportions.

I hope I am smart enough to do this justice.

Ever wish someone made an automatic transmission bike?
The gearing system for The Ride (angelic choir) uses ball bearings in a gel solution instead of cogs, etc. By twisting the grip on the handlebars, you shift the channel the ball bearings rest in, causing the ball bearings to put more or less pressure on the magic goo. This in turn makes the magic goo solidify or liquify transferring power.

If I understand this correctly, this is how the new bullet proof vests work.

Ripped from Popular Science:
The Infinitely Geared Bike
Cyclists have been waiting a long time for this one. Based on a 1490s sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, The Ride’s rear hub mimics an infinite number of gears, rather than the mere 21 offered by the usual chain-yanking transmission. So you can always find the perfect gear ratio, whether starting from a stop or speeding down a hill. Twist a dial on the handlebar, and ball bearings in the bike’s NuVinci transmission tilt between two rotating metal discs. (Your pedaling turns one disc; the other transfers power to the rear wheel.) As the balls tilt, they touch the discs at varying angles. This changes how fast the wheel spins relative to your pedaling—slowly for low gear ratios, where pedaling is easy but the wheel doesn’t turn much, and quickly for high ratios. The balls can roll to almost any angle, giving you precise control over the bike’s torque (and your exertion). This latest take on da Vinci’s continuous transmission has potential uses beyond bikes. Within four years, expect to see the NuVinci in cars, tractors, even wind turbines —the possibilities are nearly as limitless as the gear ratios.

I might have just wet my pants. When they make a racing road bike, I'll be selling a kidney on Craigslist to buy one.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Team Fight

After doing Holly's Cancer to 5K program, which is funded through a grant from the Ulman Cancer Fund, I decided to join Team Fight.

Team Fight is the fundraising training program for the Ulman Cancer Fund. Sort of equivalent to Team In Training, but so far a much more positive experience.

So about the Ulman Cancer Fund and why you should care:
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates as of January 2000 there were approximately 9.6 million cancer survivors in the United States. Within that number resides the second fastest growing population of cancer survivors in the country, adolescents and young adults. Each year, 70,000 people between the ages of 18-40 are diagnosed with cancer. Currently, more than one in every 900 persons in the United States between the ages of 20 and 45 years of age are survivors of childhood cancer. Cancer is the leading disease killer among 20-39 year-olds. Moreover, the young adult population is the most likely to be uninsured or underinsured - too old for their parents plans and not established in careers with full health benefits.
Young adults and adolescents continue to be challenged with countless issues specific to their demographic making them one of the most underserved populations of people affected by cancer. However, of the more than 400 cancer organizations in the U.S., very few to none focus specifically on cancer survivorship issues faced by young adults and adolescents.

The Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults and its network of friends, survivors, and other support organizations in the cancer community, wish to provide a place the young adult population can call home and find support for these growing issues.

So what is Team Fight?

TEAM FIGHT: Training Together to Help Young Adults Fight Cancer
Compete in a run, walk, bike ride or triathlon with a group of teammates or on your own in your community - everyone working towards the same goal - to help young adults fight cancer.

I'm a big wuss so I chose Iron Girl. But they also have groups for you hardcore people who do longer distances like Eagleman. I have no desire to race Eagleman, ever. But if this year goes well, I might train with the group again and try to race White Lake next year. We'll see.

Anyways, so the latest and greatest fundraising site is posted to the left. And as always, there isn't much I won't do in the name of fundraising. The minimums are really low as opposed to TNT, so consider it if you think you'd like to turn a race into something more.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bike, run, swim

Saturday morning I had a brick with the Team Fight hope to be Iron Girls.

I was kind of dreading both driving up to Columbia and getting on the bike for the first time in a year. Brock, our coach from the Ulman Cancer Fund sweetly helped me get my tires pumped up and my wheels set up.

We rode the 2.5 mile Gateway loop and then ran/shuffled one loop. They call it a brick for a reason. The biking went great. I feel a lot better about it, and I think I'm going to try to start riding regularly with a beginner group. I met some cool people including a lady who rows for Annapolis, and got a low-fat cake recipe :)

In a stroke of genius, I had scheduled my first swim session later that day.

Coach Alan is DC Rainmaker's new coach. He graciously agreed to take me on as a swim (head) case.

How to explain Coach Alan:

He's a retired Air Force Colonel. He talks a LOT. He absolutely knows his stuff. And thankfully can mostly explain it to me in a way I can understand. I love military people, they just make sense. Them and engineers. Just in case you need proof that Coach Alan is awesome: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060917/news_m1sc17triath.html.

A one hour introductory session turned into a two hour swim session. And I really think it will help. I have three pages of homework which include drills, drills, and more drills. And they involve fins and a pull buoy. The co-worker I've been swimming with has already refused to be seen at the pool with me. Although the stylish accessories should hopefully ensure that I won't do any more damage to my shoulder.

The nose clip is out though. It's uncomfortable and for some reason makes me want to panic. I'll risk the chlorine cold.