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:

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.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Survivor Harbor 7 (or 5K)

Sunday was the Survivor Harbor 7 mile and 5K race benefitting the Ullman Cancer Fund.

In case you didn't notice, it has been ungodly hot. Like crazy hot. Training on the sun hot.
I had already run a 5K on Saturday, then spent the rest of the day outside. I tried really hard to convince everyone to help me hydrate and carb re-load with margaritas and fajitas, but for some reason no one else was up for that plan.

The Survivor 7 was the culmination of the Cancer to 5K program that Holly heads up. I was supposed to sherpa Jess, but then she broke her ankle. I was then supposed to sherpa Cindy but she came down with a knee problem. At this point I was free to enter the 7 miler and run a longer but not long run for the marathon training program. All I thought about Saturday was 1. sucks to be the people at Eagleman. and 2. thank God I didn't switch into the 7 miler. I like the heat. I like running in the heat, but I am so happy I didn't have to on Sunday.

Anyways, the race was in Baltimore. Same deal as Saturday, wake up, force myself out the door. Remembered the HRM this time. UnderArmour tank top and Adidas running skirt easy, breezy, beautiful. I met up with the CT5K people at Can Row after taking a detour through a rather "scenic" part of Baltimore. Then we piled onto very late and oddly not staggered buses to head to the start line.

This is where I had to will my patience into existence again. We hung around at the start line for like an hour minimum waiting to start the race. By the time we started I had already drank my entire bottle of water I had brought with me, and there was no water available there. Everyone else was in the same situation. Already hot, sweaty, and not really feeling great. And, I was starving. I had wolfed down a Luna bar and a half plus half of a Nutrigrain bar on the way there. I didn't bring anything with me, thinking hey a 5K, can't take that long. I didn't plan on sitting around for an hour and a half before running.

In the meantime, we took team pictures, they warmed up, we cheered on the wheelchair racers, and the front runners for the 7 miler.

Since I didn't have a plan other than not to get heat stroke, I tagged along with Beth's entourage. We joked about it being like running with the president since she was protected from all angles. And met an awesome girl I'll hopefully get to run with out in Alexandria sometime.

Several issues for the race directors to think about for next year:

  • Point to point races are a logistical PITA. Please rethink this.
  • Maybe it's not a good idea to have everyone sitting around in the heat for an hour before the race starts.
  • Really ridiculously cruel to make the wheelchair participants come screaming down the hill towards the water then have to make a left hand turn. Over cobblestones. Kind of a dick move. There were several times when I thought someone was going to fly into the water or slam into the stone wall. Really it sort of says, we have a category for you, but are going to make you wish you hadn't signed up.
  • Thank you for adding the extra water station. However making it more obvious and putting on the RIGHT would have averted some of the incidents.
  • Perhaps directing everyone to park in the garage and then routing all of the runners in front of that garage is unsafe for everyone involved.
  • Making people run over speedbumps at the finish line is also kind of asking for trouble.
  • Maybe you shouldn't start the 5K at the busiest point of the 7 miler.

I am happy to say that both races learned from the ATM's mistakes and had extra water stops, misting tents, and seemed to be aware of the heat danger. There were no less than three people who crossed the finish line only to projectile vomit.

The race finish was thankfully across the street from a Coldstone and a Starbucks. Coldstone would have made bank had they been open. Starbucks had a continuous line for like three hours. Nothing like a latte and a croissant for the long drive home. And thank you race director for giving me directions home that did not involve parts of Baltimore I have no business being in, I'm looking at you Yahoo maps. One other cool thing about the Survivor 7, they have categories for cancer survivors. I think one of the CT5k'ers won their age group.

Thanks to Holly for a great program, always being Susie Sunshine, and organizing everything. Congratulations to all the CT5K participants, you guys are awesome for finishing on such a tough race day.

Too hot to warm up, and too cool for school :)

Getting a pep talk from Holly

Group photo: Can you spot my cell phone in this picture?

Bringing up the Rear :)

The Running Juggler!

Don't trip over the speed bump,

don't trip over the speed bump,

don't trip over the speed bump!

Finished! Where's my bagel?

Giving Mother Hen a heads up on one of her chicks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Petty in pink

I apologize in advance for the crankiness of these posts. I really did have a fun time, just a little snarky lately :)

Saturday was the Race for the Cure in DC.

I got up at 5:30am, argued with myself for a while about going or not. Finally decided it was unacceptable to bail on the race, and to just go, and quit whining. A 5K takes under an hour and I can suffer through anything for an hour.

I tend to side a lot more with getting up and training now that I'm single ...

I put on my hot pink Skirt Sports tri top, and my pink camo Skirt Sports Gym girl. It's appropriately camo since that thing has more pockets than cargo pants. Grabbed a couple bottles of water and ran out the door.

The Race for the Cure is smack dab in DC, so no driving. Caught the Metro at the end of the line and it was already packed. Now why at this point, they didn't just shuttle us to the race, or run a lot more trains. If you're going to encourage people to take the Metro, and "partner" with Metro, shouldn't they adjust to shuttling 25,000 people into the city?

Looking around at all the people wearing their race day shirts (free pass on this one) that I had left my bib at home. With my heart rate monitor. Doh! Well, what with all the hot pink I was wearing, I think they'll recognize me as one of theirs. That or I'm headed to a Barbie convention.

So most of the people were neophytes of some sort- new to the Metro, new to running, new to the civilized world ...

I was trying to be patient since everyone was there for a good cause, and these people are either survivors or someone who knows someone who has breast cancer.

However: do not try to shove into an already packed train. When they announce that some jerk is leaning on the doors preventing us from leaving, yes they are talking to you. You cannot use your paper card at the Smart Pass lines. It's been like 3 years people, get on board.

And my personal favorite, the lady leaning on the OUTSIDE of the train, as we are jetting away from the platform. Sigh.

I let the herd flood off at Federal Triangle, and committed to sprinting to the start line from the Smithsonian Mall stop. It's about the same distance away, and my sanity was worth the sprint.

I met up with my team just in time, and saw my friend Karl who was running with some of his class from the fire academy. He was wearing a t-shirt that said "Saving Second Base". Ahhh, that never gets old :)

There were supposed to be two waves, the run wave, and the walk wave. I was in the "run" wave, which became a game of human frogger.

Again, I was working to be nice, but seriously:

  • If you have a baby jogger, you belong in the walk wave.
  • If you signed up to run, but decided 98 was too hot, you belong in the walk wave.
  • If you are carrying a large banner, you belong in the walk wave.
  • I am not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination, you have to be pretty slow to be a human speed bump for me.
  • And seriously people, run left, walk right, stop off the course, just like on the beltway.
  • And if you hit me with your baby jogger, next time I will throw an elbow. There are thousands of people running. If everyone else had to stop to walk because of crowding, it is not acceptable for you to shove everyone with your baby jogger. You get to walk too.

I will say that the race directors handled the heat pretty well. They seemed to have added an extra water stop, and a misting tent. And they were handing out water immediately once you stopped. The finish chute was the worst possible scenario. People were forced into lines, which became a full standstill. Going from a full sprint to the finish then stopping dead is not a smart plan in the heat. I have no idea how people didn't pass out right and left from the change in blood pressure.

All in all, kind of a frustrating experience. I didn't mind the heat and had a pretty good run, but I will sign up as a walker from now on.

Thanks to everyone who sponsored me!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

I got called out for not posting in a while. I've done some training here and there, but nothing really noteworthy. And I've been a little cranky, and posting snarky is okay. Posting flat out bitchy, kind of over the line.

Previously, on Iron Panda ...

I started swimming again. I'm still swimming about twice a week with a co-worker that I'm trying to sucker into doing a tri with me. I think he's coming around. It might help that he beats me down the lane every time. And racing him gives me a welcome distraction. The latest twist is movie trivia. You get a quote at the start, have to come up with the movie by the end of the lap. I desperately need a coach, but I'm kind of afraid at the same time. I put on my big girl pants and contacted DC Rainmaker's new coach. I'll report back later.

Marathon training is still going on. I missed some time to the trip home. I didn't run the RNR course like I wanted to, but I think in the future I'll be happy I spent the weekend cheering up mom, and not regretting the lost training day. I tweaked my knee somehow last week, so I laid off running for the week. I did run two 5K's this weekend, and those went well. "Race" reports to come.

Still not biking. There is something unique about the pressure that puts on my shoulder. I made it through about 30 minutes just on the spinner before I gave in. This will be an issue to discuss with the new coach if he's amenable. He's only supposed to be talking to me about swimming.

I go back to crew this week. Hoping everything goes well. I've already missed one regatta and will probably miss at least one more. Keep your fingers crossed that I have finished with bicep tendinitis and the dreaded ice cup therapy.