Wednesday, April 30, 2008

These 20 commandments ...

I had signed up for the GW 10 miler with S on Sunday. Given the bad Juju of our floor, she wound up with a knee injury, I had another shoulder surgery, and neither of us could recover for that distance in time.

I had planned to give my race number and stuff to A, but she flaked out on picking it up from me the two times I went to DC to get it to her. So now I have an extra t-shirt and green grocery bag. S didn't understand why I couldn't wear the shirt, and I couldn't adequately explain how this is against the unspoken code of running geek ethics/superstitions. So I bestow upon you "The Rules":

Ripped from Big Bad Ben's Blog and edited as necessary:

In the running and triathlete community the wearing of race T-Shirts has become a sign of accomplishment and fashion. Choosing just the right T-Shirt for that special occasion can be a daunting and difficult task. The following guidelines have been compiled (in fun), to help the responsible T-shirt wearer avoid potential embarrassment and/or elevate their perceived status in their athletic community.

1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. There is an exception, though: volunteers are exempt.

2. Any race tee, less than a marathon distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultramarathon event. This goes double for the wearing of sprint-tri shirts to Ironman and Half-Ironman events. It simply doesn’t represent a high enough "cool factor " and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight. It's probably best just to wear a generic name-brand athletic shirt, and go hide in a corner until race time.

3. When you are returning to a race in which you have previously finished, then wear the shirt from the first year you completed the race. Don’t short-change yourself by wearing the shirt from the year before. It doesn’t adequately display the feat of accomplishment or the consummate veteran status that you are due.

4. Never wear a race event shirt for the (same) race you are about to do. Only rookies do this. It displays a total lack of integrity and might put the bad-heebee-jeebee-mojo on you for the race. Wearing a T-shirt of the race, while currently running said race, is discouraged. It’s like being at work and constantly announcing "I'm at work!". You may not wear the race shirt until 30 days past the date of the race.

5. Never wear a shirt from a run that you did not finish. To wear a race shirt is to say "I finished it". Exceptions: see guideline #1.

6. A DNF’er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie or a Marks-A-Lot). It is also acceptable to have a large-X across the name of the race on the T-shirt. While an X on your race number is associated with a drafting penalty in a non-drafting, typically Ironman races, it will stimulate discussion and you get a chance to explain why you DNF'd.

7. During a race, the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have from that race (see guideline #3). This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuse to drop out since you’ve done it before.

8. Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto. So there. Remember, you can always volunteer for a race and get a shirt. I encourage this as your civil duty to be a member of the running community. Races don't happen without volunteers, folks.

9. No souvenir shirts: therefore, friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If your mom thinks that your Boston shirt is lovely, tell her to QUALIFY for Boston herself, & send in her application early for next year, so she can earn her own shirt. A downside to this: she still has plenty of time to write you out of her will between her training runs for the big race. Note that your mom CAN wear your finisher's shirt under one of these 4 conditions- 1) you still live with your mother; 2) she funded your trip to the race; 3) she recently bailed you out of the slammer; or 4) All of the above.

10. Always wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race’s pre-race briefing. The more recent the race, the better. This is a good conversation starter. However, avoid the tendency to explain how that it was a training run for this, and this is just a training run for the next, etc. It just sounds like your rationalizing mediocre performances. Sometimes it’s best to live in the here and now.

11. Your t-shirt should be kept clean, but dried blood stains are okay, especially if it is a trail race or a particularly tough event. If you're an ultrarunner, you can even leave in mud and grass stains, (and porcupine quills). Not washing-out the skunk scent is pushing the macho thing a bit too far, though.

12. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly out-classes the event you're running. It’s like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or like unleashing an atomic bomb among aboriginal natives. You get the idea.

13. Also: never wear a blatantly prestigious T-shirt downtown or at the mall among non-running ilk. People will just think you have a big head, which you do. You'll also get stupid questions, like, "how long was that marathon?" If it's a shirt to a 50 or 100-miler, they'll think it's a shirt for a cycling event or just think you're totally nuts, which (of course), you probably are.

14. Never, ever, borrow a race finisher's shirt from another runner to wear to an event that you didn't run. If you do, remember that in Dante's Inferno, he wrote about a special Hell for characters such as you; right between Tax Collectors and Lawyers.
Corollary- no purchasing race medals on e-bay either.

15. Never wear a shirt that has more sponsors listed on it than people that ran in the event. (Are you listening, race directors?) A shirt with too many sponsorship logos on it is just plain ugly. If you're a race director, and have scored that many sponsors, how about sharing the wealth? By the way, you can let ANYONE wear this ugly shirt; non-finishers and distant relatives, alike. If you respect your friends, kids, spouse, or mother, though, you won't let any of them wear it. It would serve well as bedding in your kid's gerbil cage.

16. Never wear a shirt that has any sponsors on it that you don't agree with. For instance, if you're a Vegan, you shouldn't wear a shirt that proudly advertises "Omaha Steaks" on it. If you wear this shirt, the "Karma Gremlins" will catch-up with you . I swear that's why I fell and broke my nose in my last 50-mile trail run, or why I had plantar fascitis for most of '99. I never should have ran in the 1998 "Fantastic 4-Miler." Why would they enlist a sponsor from an North Korean land-mine manufacturer, anyway?

17. If an event is cancelled at the last minute, but the event shirts were already given out, you can't wear the shirt unless you actually ran the race on that day. This means you will have to run your own unsupported event, through snow storms, hurricanes, or whatever lame excuse the Race Organizers came up with for cancelling said event. If you still want to wear the shirt, you have to mark it with a sharpie, "I didn't run this lousy event, and I'm all the better for it, thank you," across the front of it.

18. This next one is a big one, and has something to do with the need for more good taste and asthetics in this sometimes ugly world. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin, and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair through it. This seems to be just a "guy thing," especially and old-codger-runner-guy thing. Here's the test guys: if you're too scared to machine-wash your 1978 Tab Ten-Miler shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as meer subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public. If you can (still) remember your great performance at that particular day and you want to save it for posterity, PLEASE have it framed so that you can keep it on the wall of your den or your "I love me" room, and (at least) out of public view. Better yet, have it sewn into a quilt. You can then sit on your couch and read back-copies of Runner's World, cuddled up with your "runner's binky," with a glass of warm milk.

19. By the way, if you don't know what terms like DNF or volunteer are, then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you know what they mean, and you shouldn’t have any meaningful relationships, either. You should probably become a hermit and/or New Age "Tantric" runner, sitting at home in the lotus position performing virtual marathons in your mind, while sniffing used GU packets, incense, and patchouli.

20. If you've finished the Longest Day, or any full Ironman distance event, then wear the T-shirt as often as possible, since these races are so damn hard.

T-shirts must be used sensitively. Worn responsibly, they can help expand one's consciousness and immerse you in a great conversation with your running brethren. Worn stupidly, they can cause fright, horror, vacant stares, sprained ankles, and general social unrest. Don't be a "T-shirt Terrorist." Follow proper T-shirt etiquette to do your part for world peace.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Linked in

Sunday I had a group golf lesson through Things to Do DC. I had played a few times then I got into triathlon. Triathlon turned out to be a jealous girlfriend who demanded all sunny weekends. Now that I'm trying to restore a little balance, I wanted to get back into golf.
So Sunday morning I trekked up to Olney, MD to meet up with Max and get some pointers.

Our instructor was an adorable New Zealander who even had a Kiwi (bird) golf club cover. He did a great job explaining things in plain English, or at least simple terms :)

Kiwi: So what other sports do you play?
Me: Well I come from a hockey background.
Kiwi: Yeah, I can tell. You have the Happy Gilmore swing.

I had no idea but apparently I was taking a step every time I drive. So unless I'm going to chase someone after I take my shot I should quit doing that.

My other favorite moment:
Apparently some people lose their balance after driving so they stumble backward, pretend they did it on purpose and put their hand on their hip to watch the ball. This is called the "I'm a little teapot" finish. The name alone is enough to shame most people into fixing their weight distribution.

Putting and chipping were easier as those are pretty close to hockey. The pointers on where to have the ball in relation to my feet, and whether to put my weight on my front foot or my back foot helped a lot.

Sunday was cold. And misty so I never really got warm since I was damp the whole time. And since I got lost in Rockville on the way there, I didn't have time to stop and get Starbucks. However, you could temptingly see Starbucks from the upper deck of the driving range. Calling to us like a beacon in the cold.
After we were finished, Max and I agreed that food would be good, and coffee was imperative. We stopped at a hole in the wall Greek place where I was able to get decent spanikopita, and baklava to go. I was happy with my cardamom tea until we were leaving and realized they had turkish coffee. Doh!

Today I am sore in random patches of my shoulders and back, but I'm ready to go again soon. Maybe not until next week though.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunshine and lollipops

Yesterday was the start of marathon training. I signed up with the Arlington Road Runners, which is sort of like the running equivalent of beer league softball.
I had kind of a rough start to the morning- my Irish oatmeal turned into a grenade, I triaged my microwave, grabbed a yogurt and ran out the door.
Luckily they started a bit late so I had time to down a couple gels before we started. I had never eaten dinner the night before, so my 60 calorie yogurt wasn't going to cut it.

It was warm, but not too hot, sunny, and honeysuckle was in full bloom.
We ran a short 3 miles down around Georgetown and Rosslyn mostly along the water. Either Potomac's club, or Georgetown's team was out on the water so I got running as well as vicarious rowing. It was heaven. I can't wait until I can row and the sun comes up earlier, the water looked beautiful. And I forgot how much I love running. It's still the beginning of the season so everyone was really friendly and polite. I didn't break any records, but I did manage to hold my own and I can't wait for next week.

On the way home I stopped at Starbucks and tried to decide what to make for lunch. I should have learned from DC Rainmaker's post about shopping while hungry. Once I got home I settled on pasta pesto salad with pine nuts. Mmmmm. My whole house still smells like garlic and basil.

Later, I took a friend to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. If you haven't been you should go. It's Vienna's best kept secret. The azaleas and tulips were blooming and we even saw a few turtles which were hiding the last time I was there. And in case you're wondering why I've sounded like a pack a day smoker this week, we watched with shock and awe as pollen blew off the pine trees in clouds so thick the trees looked like they were on fire.

Last night was a date auction benefitting the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to hot girls from the Hill and beefcake from Ft. Myer, they had some items to bid on as well. Nikki's bad influence means we wound up with 5 luxury box tickets each to a TBD Nats game :) Who wants to go?

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm a Winner!

No giant checks or Ed McMahon required.

Washington Running Report has a weekly trivia contest where the prizes are race entries.
The latest one was: Who is the oldest person to have won the JFK 50K?
Answer which won me an entry into the Rock N Roll half: Barry Salisbury
Marathon training starts this weekend, so hopefully I'll be in good shape to PR at RNR.

This in my inbox this morning. I'm famous!
"In the last issue, we asked, "Who is the oldest runner to win the JFK 50 Mile?" (Yours Truly) was the first to respond with the correct answer: Barry Salisbury (female, 50, who won in '06 with her time of 8:00:31). This week's question: What is the oldest continuously run race in Montgomery County? If you think you know the correct answer, be the first to respond to with the word "Trivia" in the subject line. You can win a comp entry to the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach! We will announce the winner in the next issue."

If you know the answer you could win a free entry to smoke me at RNR!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Weebles wobble but they don't flip over

This morning brought another exciting day of coxing.

Weird numbers meant we took out an eight and the new four and a few people stayed inside. I volunteered to stay in or cox since I wasn't feeling stellar and wound up coxing the new four.

The new four:
Someone from our team conned someone into donating the money to purchase a new four. Since the lobbying came from our team, we get to use the boat.

One caveat: Either it's rigged super high, or the gunnels are really low. Either way, there's not a lot of freeboard. It's like being on a very unstable see-saw.

On top of this, for some reason, our coach put our 230 pound power house at stroke, and a lightweight at 3 seat. So every stroke the boat flip-flopped with the weight shift.

This morning was the first time since I learned to row that I thought that we might flip.
We got waked by our coach twice and by the cops majorly once as they were speeding through a no wake zone to get to National harbor.

When you get waked, good physics says to keep going, and to try to be perpendicular to the wake. I did my part, the ladies did theirs, and we all stayed dry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Soft" in the head

Monday I went to the orthopaedist's. He cleared me to be as obnoxious as I want to be, run, row, or ... play softball!

I joined my church's softball team, which is part of a larger church league. One advantage is that no matter how bad I am they can't be mean to me. Also, I'm there to fill the female quota, so expectations are low.

So post ortho appointment, I came home, logged in for a bit, then slept through dinner. Which meant my blood sugar was nice and low for the game. I woke up just in time to make it over to the fields which were back in Alexandria.

So what position do you play when you are a token girl who hasn't played softball in years?
I'm still sore from crouching for 45 minutes. Although it did such a nice job on my thigh adductors, I'm tempted to volunteer to catch again.

As I said, I hadn't played in a very long time. And to be honest, I was a little fuzzy on the rules. I hit a pop-up, rather than run like a person with common sense, I looked up to see if it was foul or fair. It hit me right in the forehead (I coulda had a V8).

Do you know what you should not do when playing in a church league? Yell "Jesus Christ" is in the top five, I think. Awkward.

I did manage to catch a throw to home on a run. Too bad I forgot I had to tag the base.

Sigh. Note to self: go to batting cage, eat dinner, keep mouth shut.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Good" friends

During a horrific fight, I walked away from New Boy and our year together. I would say that it broke my heart in half, but it was more like the way really stale bread implodes into dust.

Big thanks to everyone who kept me busy and for assuring me that I am not a bad person, aside from my taste in men.

Huge thanks to DC Rainmaker for the donation to the Race for the Cure and for generally being awesome.

An especially huge thanks goes out to Holly who sent the perfect email on my worst day. I'm glad to be of service at any time. Nothing that I've done in promoting the program compares to her having the strength to turn lemons into lemonade and get the Cancer to 5K program running.

Speaking of friends who are and do good, I will now shamelessly promote other people's events.
  • I used to volunteer regularly at the Veteran's hospital in DC. Nothing is sadder and more of a reality check than to see a Vet who is younger than us who is now disabled. Imagine the shock of returning home after being overseas coupled with the shock of adjusting to life with a disability. I'm not racing, but have offered to help out in a den mom capacity.

    Want the fastest swim split of your life? The Hudson River Olympic swim course is the fastest in the World! No one swims in the Hudson on purpose but you can! (Don't worry, it's perfectly safe--probably cleaner than the Potomac...)Want to be part of America's largest triathlon? Join Team PVA in raising funds for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Heritage Fund (! We have entries available, which include olympic-distance training plan/coaches, round-trip travel from Washington DC to NYC, your hotel room, and Team PVA racing kit! All we ask in return is that you raise $1600 for the PVA Heritage Fund. If you are not sure if you can raise that much money, contact us anyway!!

  • Fellow blogger and Team Z'er Iron Casey is raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I can tell you just how hard it is trying to come up with 4 grand.
    After you do your taxes Tuesday, you'll appreciate that donation to charity that much more. Plus, trivia!

    Hey folks! I'm holding a raffle/trivia night at O'Sullivan's next Wednesday (the 16th), beginning at 8:30.
    Prizes for $10 raffle tickets include gift certificates for local restaurants, gear from Lululemon, a signed Redskins picture and more.
    Twenty dollar tickets can be entered to win either an iPod Nano or a boat trip on the Chesapeake Bay.
    You can puchase tickets even if you won't be able to attend.
    Just make a donation to my site and email me to ensure I enter you into one of the raffles. In your email tell me which raffle you choose:#1: prize pool ($10 each)#2: iPod Nano ($20 each)#3: boat trip--
    Donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Things I've Bought That I Love

I have a lot of suits, and a lots of bike shorts, etc. but not a lot in between. I guess that's why they call it the Gap.
I posted to the Tri Club to ask the other ladies for advice.

My requirements were as follows:
  1. Dresses had to have built in bras. (No explanation required).
  2. Skirts should be skorts.
  3. Easy care fabrics.
  4. Must be pretty- no hippie swamp colors.
  5. Must fit well. I love LL Bean, but their clothes are seriously frumpy.

Mainly I was looking for stuff I could play golf or tennis in and then go to dinner. I have a few items from Skirt Sports, but acid pink and 16" skorts are rarely appropriate for public places.

Here are some of the best recommendations I received:

  • Title Nine
  • Athleta
  • Lululemon
  • Aventura
  • Boden

and my new favorite- Victoria's Secret!

Who knew? They have a whole line of bra top dresses. Lots of cotton stuff means no dry cleaning and easy to take on vacation. I think their dresses paired with Skirt Sport's Spankies will be perfect.

Plus, so many pretty colors. Like tons and tons of them!