Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sesame Street and Running

Shouts to Runner's World for posting it first.

BTW, Big Bird? Not the best training partner.

"Brought to you by the letters "R," "U," and "N," and the number "26.2""

Don't Be That Guy

Occasionally, we've all been "That guy". Mine was when I posted an online sale on Zipp wheels to a listserv for training rides run by a local bike shop (oops).

In an effort to save you from yourself, check out the following from VeloNews.

The pictures are priceless, so hit up the original when you get a chance.

Don't Be That Guy
By the Editors of VeloNews VeloNews

As the new season approaches and you begin thinking of all the things you'd like to do—train smarter, lose weight, win a race or two—it might be wise to consider a few things you shouldn't do.

Over the years we've seen our fair share of stupid moves. Heck, we've committed more than a few of them at some point ourselves. To help you on your merry racing way, we've compiled a few things to avoid, and added a few suggestions on what to do instead.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who ignores pointing out debris and potholes on the road. There is all manner of danger out there, and those behind you can't necessarily see it.» Instead, honor the golden ruleR ide like the person you like riding behind. Assume anyone riding on your wheel is blind to anything in front of you, and err on the side of caution when it comes to anything that could cause a crash or puncture.

...who warms up obliviously on a mountain bike or cyclocross course while others are racing. If race officials allow it, warming up on course is fine. But not paying attention will put you in the way of those who are racing.» Instead, get to the race early With enough time, you can properly scout out the course and master any specific technical sections by riding and re-riding without screwing up someone else's race.

...who is unnecessarily sketchy in a race.» Instead, learn how to better pick and hold your line through corners and in the pack Keep in mind, however, that riders with well-honed skills can find holes and take lines that other less adept riders may find sketchy. If you have the skills, then exploit them. Unnecessary sketchiness happens when you take chances without the proper skills and put yourself and racers around you in danger.

...who highlights every single race on the calendar. Remember, rest is just as important as training and racing, and unless you're paying for "training supplements" from Eufemiano Fuentes, chances are your body can only peak a few times each season.» Instead, choose three or four races you want to be in peak physical condition for Use the other events as training. And don't be afraid to take a weekend off now and again.

...who takes a King-Kong pull at the front and then gets dropped. If your aim is to impress your fellow group riders, then not dropping yourself is a better option.» Instead, take a seamless pull Gauge your effort on the front and then drop back into the draft while you still have something in the tank.

...who waits until the morning of the race to fill out registration.» Instead, take care of everything possible prior to race morning Online registration saves time and eases stress, allowing more time for warming up and porta-potty lines.

...who turns up late for a three-hour training ride sans water, food, spare and money, then tries to dictate the day's labors.» Instead, be prepared and flexible Be that guy who's on time, ready for anything and flexible about training. And bring a little something extra just in case that other fellow shows up, too.

...who does the same ride over and over. And over again until you're on a first-name basis with all the potholes and could ride it in your sleep.» Instead, take that carbon wonderbike down a new road, maybe even a dirt one, now and again. Rekindle the spirit of adventure that got you into this sport in the first place. Besides keeping you mentally fresh, the variation in terrain will be good for your training.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who flogs himself in training when he can feel a bug coming on. Your immune system is like your legs—if it's tired, it's not going to spring into action.» Instead, check yourself If the sickness is above your neck, then going out for a ride is still in the cards. If it's below—stay in bed. Don't forget, the deeper a hole your immune system falls into, the longer you're out of action.

...who wears arm warmers with a sleeveless jersey. Do we have to explain this one to you?» Instead, regulate your temperature wisely This isn't the NBA. If it's cool enough to wear arm warmers, it's cool enough to wear a regular, short-sleeve jersey. Likewise, if it's warm enough to wear a sleeveless jersey, it's warm enough to skip the arm warmers.

...who races with untested foods or drinks. If you don't know how it's going to react with your body, the last place you want to try out a new food or drink is in a race. If it's going to add tension or anxiety, or affect your perspiration or respiration rates, you've got the recipe for a bigger problem. And it's not always the item itself; it may also be the quantity or the mixture. If you mix up an energy drink in a weaker or stronger solution than you're used to, you can find yourself with unexpected digestion issues or the dreaded bonk.» Instead, try everything you plan on eating or drinking in a race ahead of time For long, hard training rides, mix up drinks just like you would for a race. Take them from the same kind of container, drink them along with the same foods, and try to consume them with the same haste and under the same conditions in which you would in a race. Try eating combinations of foods as you'd want to in a race. Fueling yourself should be simple; don't complicate it by trying the latest energy food or miracle drink for the first time in an important race.

...who slams on his brakes in the middle of a group ride to pick up stuff on the road. Maybe you really do need that quarter, that bungee cord, or that screwdriver lying there, but you certainly don't need it so badly you have to endanger anybody else's life to have it right then. The same goes with dropping something out of your pocket; your energy bar or jacket will still be lying there, and your cell phone will not have hit the road any less hard if you wait a few seconds.» Instead, let everyone pass before stopping to pick something upIn many cases, you could also leave that wrench or leaf rake for the next guy; do you really need another one? But if you must stop, let everyone pass, look around for traffic, and then go back and get it.

...who creeps up and drafts off someone riding on the road or bike path without saying anything. Yes, it is more efficient to draft off someone else. It is also costs less to drink if you put your drinks on someone else's tab. But it doesn't mean you should just creep in uninvited.» Instead, just ask "Hey, mind if I sit on?" Conversely, if you find yourself being drafted anonymously, do treat the offending party civilly. "You're welcome to sit on, but you should know most cyclists take offense at strangers jumping on the wheel without saying anything."

...who yells obscenities and throws his bike in front of kids and other fans after a flat or a mechanical.» Instead, learn from an untimely mechanical how to be better prepared the next time. Whether it's better attention to bike maintenance, learning the right tire pressures or when to use sealant in your tubes, figure out what went wrong and why—and apply the lesson before the next race.

...who wipes his rear tire without hooking a thumb around the seatstay. We don't need another story about the inevitable consequences to tell the grandchildren. We already have several.» Instead, hook that thumb It may require some twisting of the elbow and shoulder, and it's especially hard with unistays...but it's better than winding up on the ground with your hand jammed between the seat tube and rear wheel.

...who tilts his saddle more than a few degrees up or down. Aside from looking dorky, it's really an indicator that something else is wrong with your bike fit.» Instead, get a professional bike fitting if you are uncomfortable or find you have to do dorky things to your bike to make it comfortable.

...who forgets his shoes. All the technological benefits of that $5,000 bike won't do you much good if you can't clip into your pedals.» Instead, establish a pre-race routine Have a dedicated place for your shoes in your gear bag, and double check your bag every time before you leave.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who half-wheels his training partners. If you want to continue to have training buddies, don't continually do things that are likely to annoy them. People have only so much patience for a half-wheeler. Unless the plan is for a competitive group ride, don't make it one.» Instead, stick to the plan If it's a recovery ride, relax and take it easy, and let your buddies do the same. If it's a long ride, do longer pulls if you want more. If it's an intensity ride, do your intervals full out, and do your rest periods fully as well; base your speed on what your body is up for, not what your buddy's is.

...who gets to the race right before the start.» Instead, show up early Get there with enough time to calmly register, pin your number, check your bike and warm up properly.

...who overcooks himself with mega-miles too early in the season. Great racing form is great—during the racing season. Going too hard, and doing too much intensity too soon could mean you're fried to a crisp by the time July rolls around.» Instead, follow the tried-and-true rules of periodization It's easy to let our legs replace our brains during those early spring days, when the motivation to shed the winter cobwebs is at its highest. But many others before us have already learned the lesson—gradually build into your season with adequate time for base miles. Don't know the word periodization? Go online right now and buy the Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel before you do another ride.

...who yells at his spouse or better half. Whether she's standing around in a sweltering feed zone in the middle of nowhere to give you a bottle, or just patiently waiting for you at the finish, the important thing is that she's there at all. She is not your soigneur, and you are not a pro.» Instead, be grateful Even if your better half drops a bottle in the feed zone or doesn't understand your over-caffeinated ravings in the parking lot, keep some perspective. It's best to act is if people are watching; they are.

...who rides through red lights. Not only is it dangerous, but it's also against the law. Maybe you can get away with it when you're riding alone, but nothing angers motorists more than watching a group of cyclists jump past them at the lights when they are patiently waiting for them to change green.» Instead, stop and waitEven if the group goes ahead, you'll get in some extra training as you work to catch back on.

...who fiddles with bike set-up the night before. Handlebars coming loose, shifting going south, seatpost slipping...these are but a few of the possible outcomes that could pop up during a race after a late-night mechanic session the evening prior.» Instead, carefully check your bike well ahead of time Don't wait until the night before to make sure everything is dialed. Make bike maintenance a regular part of your weekly routine. This way, most of the jobs will be minor, and you won't end up in some comical worst-case-scenario during the big event.

...who gets upset at people for being competitive at races. We paid to pin these numbers on, Mr. "Chill Out, Why Don't You?" Guy.» Instead, keep some perspectiveRemember your sense of humor, courtesy and safety in races. It is just a bike race, after all. But you know what? It's also a freakin' bike race! Let's have fun. Let's race. That's why they painted a finish line.

...who finishes a spirited group ride by terrorizing small children and commuters on the multi-use path.» Instead, use the last few miles to warm downEnjoy a few minutes of easy riding while you flush out the nastiness from your muscles. Treat others on the path as people, not obstacles. Use the path to represent for your sport (and your team, club, gender, etc.).

...who pins a number on like a parachute. In a road race, criterium or time trial, it's an aerodynamic hindrance and an actual detriment to your performance. In any event, though, it's just ugly.» Instead, pin it flat like a pro Start with eight safety pins and your jersey flat on the ground. Starting at the top of the number, pinch the number and fabric together, then poke the pin through the fold. This way the pin will hold the jersey flat since it goes through the paper and fabric twice. Following around the edge of the number, attach the rest of the pins. Pull the jersey on, and re-pin where necessary to keep the number flat.

...who takes care of ill-timed business at the front of the group. Don't wait until you are at the front of the paceline to blow your nose, remove your arm warmers, fuss with your shift cable tension, dig food out of your rear pocket...You get the idea.» Instead, act like the captain of the good ship Peloton Keep the pace steady and the line smooth. Warn us of sand, glass and other nastiness. Take care of that other stuff when you are at the back.

Got a "Don't Be That Guy" suggestion? Send it to us at with the subject line "That Guy." We'll be running a smaller version of this column in coming issues, and we may pick yours.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Sweet Sixteen

Sorry that I suck at blogging. At least with these posts I'm at least blogging once a week.

1. I managed to at least bike once and row a bit.

2. This minor workout meant that the next day I woke up with my hip partially dislocated.

3. You know how the heel of your shoe sometimes folds in on itself? It felt like that.

4. I have yet to check out the gym at work.

5. I made it to the Gold's gym mecca in Maryland once.

6. Where some old guy coughed all over me for the entire workout

7. Apparently he missed the day in kindergarten when they go over "Cover your mouth when you cough".

8. And every CDC warning for the last like year.

9. I'm signing up for Team Fight again.

10. I'm doing the Half Full Triathlon.

11. Give me money.

12. Good luck next week at IMFL and B2B.

13. I've rediscovered a love for soup.

14. While yummy, not so good for fueling workouts.

15. I'm thinking about getting into trail running or hashing.
16. 2 Weeks until Suntrust, and the half I've been the least prepared for all year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Sweet Sixteen

I thought I should start blogging more often (as in more than once every quarter).
There's a group of people who do the whole Thursday Thirteen thing. But Thursdays are crappy days for me to blog, and I don't really care for the number 13.
So in the immortal words of Cartman, "Whatevah, I do what I want!".

1. I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon again.
2. It was slow but good.
3. I still hate crowds. And people. And crowds of people.
4. Someone ran as Woody from Toy Story.
5. My thyroid is all screwed up.
6. The doctors have no idea why.
7. One possible theory is iodine deficiency.
8. I would be the only person outside of the Ozarks to have that, if true.
9. And it's more proof that I need to live near an ocean.
10. I started a new job.
11. There's a gym in the bottom floor.
12. Which has a rowing machine!
13. Which is awesome because today started a new rowing challenge.
14. I think I'm going to go back to rowing next year.
15. I'm also leaning towards doing the Half tri with Team Fight.
16. But I'm not going to train for awhile, I'm super burned out.

Monday, August 3, 2009

More swimsuit splitting fun ...

Maybe *now* they'll stop cheating, I mean wearing, the outlawed suits.

From Everyman Tri:

American swimmer Ricky Berens is a Beijing gold medalist and now he's also an internet sensation since he revealed his tush at the the swimming world championships in Rome this weekend.
Berens was swimming the 4x100 relay but shortly before stepping onto the starting block Berens stretched and tore his suit.
The University of Texas swimmer said, "I kind of freaked out for just a second,I felt like [the split] was almost down to my knees. I felt like I was putting on a pretty good show."
Apparently Beren's tush must be pretty hydrodynamic as the rip did not slow him down much because he, along with the rest of his American relay team, took the gold medal in the event.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swimsuit Malfunctions

Top Italian swimmer's horror as her £318 bathing costume bursts open in a very unfortunate place at championship meet
By Mail Foreign ServiceLast updated at 3:22 PM on 01st July 2009

It's the wardrobe malfunction to end all wardrobe malfunctions.
Italian Olympic swimmer Flavia Zoccari was forced to sit out a championship race at the Mediterranean Games yesterday after her bathing costume burst open in a very unfortunate place.
Flavia, 22, was wearing the controversial £318 top-of-the-line Jaked J01 swimsuit when disaster struck at the Games in Pescara, Italy today.
Italian swimmer Flavia Zoccari is forced to step down from competition after her Jaked bathing costume burst open at the back at the Mediterranean Games yesterday

Flavia - understandably - burst into tears in embarrassment and frustration at the incident
She burst into tears as she was forced to stand down from her race.
Jaked boasts that the full-body swimsuit - complete with back hinge - is 'more than skin'.
However the aerodynamic costume has been the subject of controversy after it was banned by FINA (the International Swimming Federation) earlier this year because it gave swimmers wearing it an unfair advantage.
FINA lifted the ban on the swimsuit a month later, in June of this year, after Jaked, which sponsors the Italian national swim team, protested the ban.
Zoccari - who is nearly six feet tall - later apologised for the embarrassing incident.

The suit was a Jaked J01 - a controversial bathing costume that was banned by FINA, then approved

Flavia tries to recover from the event. Jaked sponsors the Italian team

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where I’ve been

Sorry for being gone for so long.

I’ll post this first and then a couple shorter ones on my recent adventures.

About two months ago I got some zit looking things on my tonsil along with a bout of tonsilitis. It went away, then about six weeks later I got a couple more zit-like things on one of my tonsils. I didn’t feel full-on sick, but didn’t feel good either. Papa panda insisted I go to the doctor in case I had a latent case of strep. Apparently this can lead to all sorts of doomy things like heart infections, something, something.

I went to the doctor where I had gained another 5 pounds despite efforts to the contrary. They swabbed my throat like 3 times for strep. No go. Tried pressing on it with a Q-tip, no movement. The doctor thought I might have a cyst, and referred me to an ENT.

A week later I saw the ENT. In the interim, the tonsil zit burst, and some sort of object came out of it. I figured this was not normal. Apparently I had tonsiliths, which are tonsil stones. All these throats are yours except Europa … Four days later I got my tonsils out. That was two weeks ago.

Why the evil tonsils were removed:
Every time I get remotely sick, get near something I’m allergic to, or breathe wrong, they swell up.
Once, in college, my tonsils got super infected and swelled shut overnight and I spent the night in the hospital.
Lately my tonsils are in league with my kidneys in producing stones.
ENT said when he clamped them for the surgery, they oozed stuff. Gross.

About the tonsillectomy:
The person who drove me to the surgery and took care of me is a Saint. Canonized here as Saint Tonsilitis. His three miracles were not killing me when I was whiny, not killing me when I randomly started snoring post-surgery, making magically healing ice packs.
Also, running for Boston market, taking me to get pain meds, more jello, etc, not commenting on the ammount of ice cream I ate, letting me eat the mac and cheese and tiramisu myself.

Day before, go to gym since I won’t be able to work out for a while. Buy supply of soft food- jello, pudding, applesauce, supremed oranges, ice cream, etc.

My surgery was at 1pm. I was not allowed to have any food or drink after 8pm the previous day. I was borderline homicidal.

We got stuck on the Wilson bridge for almost an hour panicking that I would miss my surgery. Thank you WTOP for not reporting that both the local and the through lanes had construction work.

Anesthetic in, ow, hey my arm’s hanging off the tabzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Wake up. First blazing red thought- OWWWWW. Bang on gurney, attract nurse, sqeak/whisper out “HURTS!”. I get pain meds. Danger of crying like a little girl over.
Really want a hug. Puppy eyes alternating with lemon face.

Go home, encamp on sofa. Star Trek, Star Trek, movies, Star Trek.
Read both Sookie Stackhouse books Saint Tonsilitis got for me.

Sleep on deck. Discover medication causes instant sunburning and removes ability to thermoregulate.

Everything hurts. Carbonation hurts, anything remotely acidic hurts, food hurts, breathing hurts, pain med burns like FIRE. Sucking on ice, icing outside with bag of corn. Chasing pain med with jello.

About three days later I con the person taking care of me to take me to the gym. I am very bored. Turns out the reason you are not suppose to work out is that is makes the surgery site swell. This hurts a LOT. Also you have a lowered immune system and gyms are filthy. This does not go well.

Run out of pain meds TWICE.

Go see ENT for follow-up. Get steroid shot. Get Rx for more pain meds. Better but now puffy and sleepy.

Ten days after surgery. Still really, really hurts. Still unsuccessful in eating green beans, or really anything other than applesauce and mac and cheese.
Develop relationship with Boston Market.

Finally two weeks later, able to eat adult food again in very small bites. Not counting the hours until I can take more pain med. Thoroughly bored. Decide to decamp and go to work again.

Someday I hope to be able to eat Luna bars again. And Coke Zero that hasn’t been shaken up. And to stop yawning.

They didn’t tell me when I could start running again. I put a call in, but oddly, they haven’t responded yet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fits and Starts

A few weeks ago I opted to back off on my running 1. to give my body a break, and 2. to taper for the Dorchester half marathon. The race follows the Eagleman run course so it would be a good opportunity to check out if I want to do Eagleman on a charity slot.

I did not plan on it pouring enough to float an ark on. Dorchester is a good hour and a half away, from both here and really anything (sorry Dorchester, but seriously).
Driving 1.5 hours in the pouring rain to run 2.5 hours in the rain then drive 1.5 hours back in the pouring rain sounded … not fun. And like a good opportunity to get bronchitis to go with my tonsilitis.
I chose French toast instead.

This week was filled with an emotional rollercoaster and not enough ice cream. I did actually buy the single serve kind this time so if I want to eat 500 of ice cream in one serving I at least have to run the stairs a few times. Drama at work and the potential for having to job search made me a little crazy.

Saturday was the tri club bricknic and I was sorry to miss it, but personal life won this round. I had intentions of running the Clyde’s 10K this morning, but the impending emotional meltdown hit and I spent the morning watching 90210 instead.

Eventually I’ll get around to running so I can keep my sanity.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You’ll go blind!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that.

Friday I had my second swim lesson, where I learned that having boobs does not in fact help you breast stroke. Kind of gets in the way, actually. I also learned that breaststroke seems to make my goggles leak more than freestyle, and I almost lost my right contact once.

I struggled with said contact all weekend. Sunday I got annoyed and threw it away, the left one got to stay in.

Monday, I put a new contact in, but something wasn’t quite right. Left side, fine. Right side, kind of fuzzy. Double checked the prescription, it was the same as the other one. I managed to drive to work. Threw it away in case it was just a weird one. New contact not better. Tried it in other eye, right eye still weird. I lived with the funky vision for about an hour before I gave in and called the eye doctor. Dealing with it gave me the worst headache all day.

Woke up today and my vision was fine, but I was overdue for my eye appointment anyways. Somehow I remembered not to put on mascara. Mentioned to technician that I’m swimming. I was chastised for not bringing glasses, and then again for not owning glasses. My job has vision benefits but good luck trying to get a claim filled.

A few drops in the eyes to make me look like a blinky Anime character and then back to the waiting room. Meanwhile, inexplicably, the fire alarm went off. The fire department showed up with two trucks and everything. According to the old ladies in the waiting room, the firemen (they were all men) were hot. I can’t vouch for this since my pupils were the size of dinner plates, but I have it on good authority.

Then I got to see the doctor where I was told that wearing my contact overnight was bad, and I needed to get glasses and clean my contacts overnight. Then he recommended that I not wear my contacts while swimming and that contacts are like sponges that soak up all the nastiness and hold it next to your eye. He gave me a prescription which I was supposed to use to get prescription goggles, which I planned on getting filled the 10th of Never. I must have had the "I’m totally feeding these lima beans to the dog the second your back is turned" look, because then I got a prescription for daily disposable contacts to wear while swimming. He also said something about increasing my chances of getting a corneal infection by like 20 times, but by that point I was thinking about cupcakes.

Opening Day

Crew started today.
I didn’t get up at 4am.
I didn’t drive to the boathouse.
I didn’t watch a 20 year old safety video from when they still had wooden paddles that could be used for flotation devices.
I didn’t take an erg test.
I didn’t Simple Green the boat.
I didn’t do all these things before dawn.

Because I’m not rowing this year.

I knew rowing for my own team (snicker) would be a bridge too far.
Annapolis has a Sunday recreational rowing program I considered, but they had a weird volunteer requirement and I like my lazy Sundays.

I’m already thinking next year will be a crew year with triathlon taking the background.


I came, I swam, I conquered

I finally accepted that I am not going to be capable of swimming the IM swim leg unless I get serious help. So I signed up for an endurance lap swimming class through Parks and Recreation.

No, my swim instructor is not Amy Poehler. Although that would be awesome.

The first night there was only one other girl there, did I mention my class is at 8pm on Friday nights? I always forget that while I suck at swimming by competitive standards, I’m actually decent compared to the average American. It was nice for once not to be the worst person in the pool. And it was really, really nice to be able to comfortably complete the drills.

The other girl was really nice and I like her a lot, and the coach is really cool. He told me to kick more and harder which was interesting since my last swim coach told me kicking was essentially a waste of energy. The new coach also taught me this bobbing bubble thing which might be my new favorite thing to do in the pool.

After every lap I’m supposed to bob underwater and blow all the air out, repeating ten times. It gets rid of that tightness in your chest when you don’t breathe completely and properly the way I don’t.

While we were having our lesson the high school(?) synchronized swim team was practicing. It was bizarre and fascinating. All in all an interesting way to spend a Friday night.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lucky Number 13

Unlucky Number 10

First of all, I apologize for the lameness of my posts lately. I am super burned out. Work and the increasing miles are sucking my life force, and the diet is preventing me from replenishing those stores with ice cream and pizza (my version of dilithium crystals). Coke Zero consumption is at an all time high though.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

I need to run 10 miles this weekend. This is assuming I ever complete my 9 miles from this past weekend. I’m giving the sore throat another day to make up its mind then I’m proceeding with running regardless.

The problem is that 10 miles is possibly a cursed number for me. I really like running 5 milers, 10Ks, and especially half marathons. 10 milers have historically been disastrous.

Let’s look back:
Cherry Blossom, a few years ago. Saturday is spent on a walking tour of the Tidal Basin and at the Smithsonian. Sunday I get up to run the race and feel like death. I bail. Sleep a lot and barely eat. Monday- kidney stone.
Cherry Blossom last year. I optimistically sign up. I get in. Unexpected Third Time’s The Charm shoulder surgery. I offload my race number and take walking tour again.
GW Parkway 10 miler. Supposed to run with S. I can’t remember what my issue was but I didn’t run it. And S got runner’s knee.
Baltimore 10 miler. I don’t remember what happened last year, just that I bailed on it for injury or illness again.

I really want to run the Baltimore 10 miler and I need to run 10 this weekend. I’m just worried that I’ll twist an ankle, tweak a knee, or blow out a kidney or something.

How do I break a running curse? Burn some sage? Throw a pair of new running shoes into a volcano?

Friday, March 27, 2009

It takes a week to run 8 miles

The final event of an Ironman is a marathon. That’s 26.2 miles for people who are too lazy to Wikipedia it or big fat cheaters like Dane.
Anyways, I’ve never run a full marathon. I’ve run a baker’s dozen of halfs (halves?), but not a full. I decided I need to run a full so I’ll know at IMFL that I can do it.

Originally, I had planned on running Shamrock. It’s pretty there, it won’t be too hot, and I’d have people who are obligated to take care of me there. Even though as they frequently remind me, they have a lot of life insurance on me.
I did not plan on getting sick twice and food poisoning so that plan was kind of screwed.

I got on and checked out other options. My logic was, I should travel for it, since it’s a cool way to explore the city. And I don’t really like to travel too far for tris, since it involves packing the bike and a lot of other gear. Running just requires shoes. Although I heard TSA will confiscate “The Stick”.

So I settled on San Francisco. It’s in July which gives me enough time to get settled in my training, not too close to the IM or any planned training halfs. And even in July it’s 50 degrees, so it won’t be miserable. And, you get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Awesome!

I hit both Hal Higdon’s site and the RW Smart Coach and came up with what I felt was a reasonable plan. Mostly cross training, since I do have two other sports to work on, with a medium run and a long run each week.

I’ve been sticking to the plan pretty well, not always on the day they’re scheduled, but gotten them done. Then came last weekend’s 8 miler. My last long run before recovery week. I so needed recovery week last week. I had that irrationally cranky burnout feeling.

I should have run on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling it. Biked instead. Went to Cheesecake Factory.
Sunday, woke up late. Abandoned plan to run loops at local park with friend. Watched Psych. No gym.
Monday, sleep deprived. Cranky.
Tuesday, intended to run on treadmill. Instead conference wore me out. Who knew standing was so exhausting?
Wednesday, should have been medium run day. I didn’t have to be at the conference until 10. Planned to get up at 7 and run before conference. Slept until 9.
Thursday. Migraine. Light hurt. Sound hurt. Moving even fractionally made me nauseous. Managed to drive home and ordered Angelico’s. Also, Smucker’s makes the best sugar free fudge ever.
Friday. Gave in to the recovery week. Researched possibilities to run on Saturday or Sunday. Went to swim lesson.
Saturday. Tried to run with Tri team. Made it three miles. Confusing course left me feeling unsafe. Also, eating Friday night and more Saturday morning would have been a better plan.
Sunday. Should have run 15K. Beautiful outside. Swam instead.

Monday. Finally freaking ran the F-ing 8 miles. On the TREADMILL. Really, painfully boring. Took two episodes of CSI Vegas to do it. Came home. Ate leftover Chinese food, ice cream from the carton, Smucker’s from the bottle, and fell asleep in my gym clothes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things I’ve Bought that I love Too

Last year I bought a Danskin tri kit. It was aqua with an aloha print, and possibly one of the most comfortable outfits I’ve ever owned. It’s soft. It never chafes. There are lots of pockets in good places, and breathes even on the hottest of days.

Last week, REI sent me a 20% off coupon and notification of my member rebate. What to spend it on? More water bottles for my protein shakes? New snowboarding goggles? Or the new Danskin tri suit. In PINK!!!

The patterend top was a bit busy and the totally pink top was too pink even for me, and I like pink. So I got the black top and shorts with a hint of 80’s pink printing. Pandarific.

Take another little piece of my heart

Since I decided to sign myself up for an Ironman, making sure I got my annual physical seemed like a good idea.
I’ve also been super prone to getting colds and other fun stuff from all my filthy germy friends, and I’ve been tired a lot. Like I’m good for about 3 days and then I need a break from life to catch up.

Yeah, that would be because I’m mildly anemic. And that was before they took what felt like a pint of blood out. I’m sure it was really only an ounce, but I swear I could hear the slurping straw at the bottom of the glass sound.
Problem (hopefully) easily solved. (Provided it’s not the result of a giant hole in my stomach).

The other news is my cholesterol and triglycerides are through the roof.

Let’s review:
I’m vegetarian
I do a cardio workout for at least an hour 4 times a week.
I almost exclusively use EVOO in cooking.
At home, I only eat low-fat cheese.
I only eat sugar-free low-fat ice cream and yogurt.
I rarely drink.

What. The. F?!!!!

How did this happen?

Am I sleep walking to McDonald’s?

Is Coke Zero made with lard?

Now I’m on a semi-restrictive diet for the next six months. Apparently if you have blood sugar issues, you can convert carbs to triglycerides instead of making them available for use. Awesome. So no bagels, no pasta, no Angelico’s for a while.
Oh and I’m physically incapable of carb loading.

Angry Panda.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

If I had a million dollars, Second Verse

In wanting to get updates on the Tour De France a couple years ago, I wound up on the Carmichael Training System’s emailing list.

Weekly, I get emails about climbing and biking camps all over the country. Since I don’t live in Boulder, it would require travel, hotel stays, etc. in addition to the (high) cost of the camp itself.

But if I ever became a lady of leisure, I would:
Hire a full time coach
Go to various sports camps for stuff I suck at
Pay someone to wash my hair once a week. Seriously, that’s divine.
Laser etch the Jolly Roger on the moon.
Get massages twice a week.

I would also do this:
“Welcome to The Surf Diva Costa Rica Surf Adventure!

Surf Diva School has enjoyed its reputation as the world's #1 surf school for women for more than 10 years! The original surf school opened in La Jolla, California in 1996. Since then, Surf Diva has taught thousands of women, men and children from all over the world how to surf. Based on this success, Surf Diva Surf School opened The Surf Diva Costa Rica Surf Adventure in 2004. Now in its fourth year, the all-inclusive surf camp for women and families is ideal for surf enthusiasts of every level from beginners to experienced wave-riders.”

What's Included:
Ground transportation to and from San Jose, Costa Rica
7 days, 6 nights accommodation
2 surf lessons each day, including equipment usage
Light, Surfer's Yoga 4 days a week
One massage for the week
Pre-surf fruit and coffee each day
Post-surf Costa Rican brunch each day
Dinner at a different restaurant each night
Surf Diva goody bag, including: Surf Diva tote, Surf Diva rashguard, Surf Diva flashlight, currency conversion chart, Surf Diva baseball hat, Surf Diva t-shirt

A crew teammate went, it was an anniversary gift from her husband. I looked it up and have been daydreaming about it ever since.

I’m from the beach, and I never learned to surf. And this just sounds like paradise.
Maybe next year. One fantasy at a time and this year is Ironman.


I used to love The Biggest Loser.

I know reality television is trashy. I know that the contestants represent a small, unrealistic population, I know the methods used are completely unreasonable. I loved it anyways.

I was especially happy with this season’s cast since they seemed to be in it to truly lose weight and get healthy, not for the money.

Apparently the black team missed the memo.

A little background:
Each week after a contestant is voted off, there’s a “Where are they now?” segment which shows how they’re adjusting to life at home, and incorporating their weight loss routine into their life.
Dane and Blaine are cousins who made up the original black team. Not to be confused with Jillian’s black team.

After Blaine was voted off, in his WATN segment he said he was training for an Ironman triathlon. Too bad his race is an F-ing OLY.

Let’s be clear about this: An Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a marathon which is a 26.2 mile run (paying attention to that last one Dane?). Period.

Wanting to sound cool does not justify flat out lying about what you’re training for. And NBC needs to get some integrity and find a fact checker.

After Dane was voted off, in his WATN segment, they depicted him finishing a marathon in 3:53.
Two problems:
The clock didn’t actually read 3:53. It read 5:53. NBC blamed burned out bulbs (snort), other sites say it’s obviously photoshopped. Draw your own conclusions.
They didn’t run the entire marathon. I don’t mean they took walk breaks. I mean they pulled a Rosie Ruiz, and were given a ride (some say for 3 miles) and then dropped off so NBC could get their money shot.

Dane gave a statement saying how proud he was to have run the entire marathon with his wife, and how proud he was to have finished in 3:54. Kind of shoots a hole in the burned out bulb excuse.

After several people who really did run a full marathon complained, Dane and later NBC came out with apologies over misleading viewers.
Dane said he went back later and ran the ridden miles so he could say he finished the whole marathon, but good luck trying to get anyone to believe that. He also blamed producers for pushing him into it.
Dane, you are a grown adult. YOU choose how you live your life and how you are perceived. YOU are responsible for your actions. The “Producers made me do it” excuse might have worked for the first reality show, but by now we’re all aware of the game.

The worst is the explanation that the film crew wanted a shot of them finishing, and they were worried they wouldn’t finish in time. Seriously? I think when you come with cameras and a big name network, the race will work around that for you. Or you could film the finish before the marathon starts- provided you actually run it. This is some f-ed up Jeffrey Dahmer logic.

Dane’s actions cheapened the accomplishments of people who actually did gut it out to the finish, regardless of how long it took them to finish or how few people would still be around to see it.
It’s offensive to the people who ran the race and finished fast. Their accomplishments have been overshadowed by your reality show media circus.
And it’s offensive to those who really did go home and achieve dreams they had put off while struggling with their weight.

They both disgust me.

Blaine can have a karmic misdemeanor for his offense, since it might have been an honest misunderstanding. Plausible, but I still call bullshit.
Dane has continued to display a lack of integrity previously only seen on episodes of “Rock of Love”. And I’m being generous here.

He refused to return the medal for a race he didn’t finish. And his wife made statements saying it isn’t a big deal since they received a ride for “only” three miles.
So, Dane, if I show up to a college football game, can I say I won the Heisman? Or does that only work when it’s you.

His wife also referenced “being in the industry”. I can only conclude that it was a publicity stunt from the beginning, and they never intended to finish the whole marathon.

Usually I have to have dated or worked with someone to hate them this much. You’re lucky it’s Lent or I’d put you on the Christmas List.

Links to form your own opinion. Feel free to cheer for anyone else if you decide to watch the finale. The thought of one of these cheaters winning $100 grand makes me want to vomit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fat bottom girls you make the biking world go round

I might have gained a tiny bit of weight in the offseason. A number of things contributed to this: tons of job stress, bagels, cold part 1, discovery of Birthday Cake Remix at Coldstone, cold part deux, lime taco chips, Angelico’s, Angelico’s, Angelico’s …

Luckily, I’m not alone. My tri team has started a challenge to lose the off-season weight. Starting March 15, running through June. Using a truly awesome website.

Funny stuff on their website:
Lady __ Ladies' Man __

User agreement: won’t sell your personal information or invade your privacy. We just want you to lose some weight and have fun in the process. Honest. In exchange, we ask you to agree to the following:
I understand that I should seek advice from a medical professional before embarking on a weight loss and/or fitness program. I understand that the creators of are not medical or weight-loss professionals. I’m not sure they’re even professionals.
I am responsible for what I write to other members of my Fatbet group(s) in the message board area. If someone gets upset because something I wrote was mean-spirited, I will apologize and try to make it up to them.

The Fatbet wager or penalty
Fatbets are about losing weight and competition. All who hit their goals get bragging rights, and those who don't nurse bruised egos until the next round. A Fatbet wager is an additional motivator. is not a gambling site, so if money changes hands in a Fatbet, we don’t really want to know. Here are some Fatbets that do not involve cash:
Losers sing in a Karaoke bar; winners pick the songs
Losers let facial or leg hair grow unchecked for 30 days
Losers run naked through Seattle Center
Use your imagination. We admit that embarrassing Fatbet losers doesn't exactly follow a supportive weight-loss group model, but it can work for the hard core among us who grew up when gym teachers were still mean.

Unless otherwise stipulated in the Fatbet, losers pay the stated wager or penalty only once. For example, if the wager states that Fatbet losers must pay 10 goats, the losers do not have to give each winner 10 goats. The 10 goats would go into a kitty (or in this case, pen) to be split among the winners. If the goats cannot be evenly divided among the winners, the remaining goats shall be slaughtered immediately and the meat divided by weight (use your digital scale).

How can I change my start weight?
If you guessed at your beginning weight or for some other reason (like you're a Big Fat Cheater) you need to adjust it later:
How can I change my goal weight?
If you have a legitimate reason to adjust your personal goal weight up or down (usually before the bet is underway):
Your new goal will now be reflected in the Leader Board table and in your progress chart. If you have cheated, you may burn for eternity in Hell.

It’s like the Psych writers created a weight loss site. They need more 80’s references though.
Anyways, we all know I love an online challenge. It’s an addiction, with doctors and everything.
And I definitely grew up when gym teachers were mean. HATED gym.

So I’ll endeavor to post results (assuming I have any), feel free to play along. Rainmaker you’re not allowed to play since you have 5% body fat. Unless you want to lose and run naked through Seattle center.

Night and Day

I might have slightly overtrained last week. I worked out 6 consecutive days, ending with a 7 mile run at the GW marathon relay (ask me about that race I dare you).
So all last week I felt like death. Just tired and worn out and like I was getting sick. I backed way off and ate a bunch of Cold Eeze but didn’t sleep much. I attempted to hit the gym Saturday and trying to run resulted in dead legs and wheezing. I traded in for the elliptical and ab work, and chased with Chinese food and Coldstone.
Sunday morning I had the 3 hour spin class. Can I say how bad I DID NOT WANT TO GO. But I had bailed on the last two classes and I didn’t think I could in good faith bail again. I ate my French toast and dragged my ass to class.
On the beltway. It’s snowing. Kind of a lot. Call R, no snow day. Class is still on. Sigh.

Get to class. The theme is Night and Day, so we heard songs like:
Midnight Train to Georgia
(BYO Pips)
Every Day is a Winding Road
This is the Night

It was kind of a sparse class Sunday, apparently quite a few people were sick, yet another cold going around. But the quieter group actually let me zone out more and just spin. It’s the best I’ve felt spinning in a while. And definitely better than I felt at the body parts class. When I got home, I was tired but definitely felt a lot better than I did Saturday, you could say a night and day difference.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cast Iron Panda

Even though this is a remarkably ambitious goal, I signed up for Inside Out Sports’ Cast Iron Club. What can I say, I love online challenges. Mmmmm, metrics. Plus- free t-shirt!

Here’s the straight dope:

Cast Iron Club
Inside-Out Sports is proud to offer our “Cast Iron Club” for the second year. This club is for those of you who are hard headed and committed enough to swim, bike and run through the equivalent of 30 Ironmans in one year. Whether you are an experienced Ironman or a novice triathlete training for your first race, don’t stop now….if you keep reading and you will see how easy and rewarding this program can be.
The program is simple:
Register for the program at Cost is only $7 and the deadline is April 31st. When you sign up, you will receive an Inside-Out Sports 28 oz water bottle.
Record your swim, bike, and run mileage and report it monthly using this form. We use the honor system so if you cheat, we leave your fate up to karma. For convenience, we offer a yard to miles calculator for swimming mileage.
At the end of the year (Dec. 31st 2008), if you reach the goal of:
72 miles of swimming
3360 miles of biking
786 miles of running

You will receive:
A Certificate of Achievement
A Tech Running Shirt commemorating your incredible achievement
Rights to brag to all your friends

If you think the goal mileage is out of reach, think again. If you swim 0.75 mile (or 1320 yards) two times per week, if you ride 35 miles two times per week, and run 5.5 miles 3 times per week, you will reach your 30 Ironman goal in 48 weeks, or 11 months.
We hope that you will see The Cast Iron Club as a fun way to keep you motivated and consistent throughout the year.

So based on my laziness in January, I have to accomplish the following per month to stay on plan:
7.2 miles of swimming.
289 miles of biking.
And 70.8 miles of running.

We’ll see how it goes.

If you want to play along:

Rank and File

USAT rankings came out.
In order to be ranked, you have to participate in at least three triathlons in the year. Last year, I did exactly 3. One of which I won my age group by default. Somehow, I still managed to get ranked, woot!

Order First Name Last Name Age Score Gender Grading
1 Iron Panda Old 41.86057 46.04663

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hearts Afire

This week is the Valentine’s Day rowing challenge. Since I tanked on the Winter Holiday challenge thanks to being sick twice, I’m starting again with this one.

The rules:
The goal is to row a total of 14,000 meters between 12:00 a.m. Monday, February 9th and midnight on Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 2009.
This is an individual challenge. (You do not need to belong to a team to participate.)
Meters must be entered online.
Only indoor rower meters count (no water meters please).

Heading to the gym tonight to get started.


This past weekend I ventured down to the USAT Mid Atlantic meeting in Richmond. Mainly to help the club out by providing an extra body for the club challenge, the club with the most people there wins cash. We won for the second most people there, and apparently donated the money to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It’s a great cause, but if I had known we were going to do that I probably wouldn’t have gone.

There was supposed to be a silent auction for various race entries. However, in true USAT fashion, they waited until the last minute. I didn’t even know about it until I walked past the table and asked about it.
And the opening bids were all set for the price of the entry. FAIL again.
When you set up a silent auction, you set the opening bid for about half of what the item is worth. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve advertised what is being auctioned off so people are excited about the items and you start the auctions with competition for the items.
Most people already have planned their race schedules by now, and their budgets are set. This would have been a good idea to have online probably a month ago.
Anyway, the auction was supposed to support the CAF, so it’s doubly sad that it was handled so poorly, and I didn’t like feeling like the club donated our winnings to cover for the USAT’s F up.

Bob Babbitt, one of the original Ironmen gave a fantastic talk. It was all about the early days of Ironman where you had two days to complete the course, and he did it on a beater bike in a long sleeve cotton t-shirt. It was fascinating. Apparently, his support crew, which was legal in those days, brought him a Big Mac, fries, and coke to eat on the bike course. And he took a 45 minute nap during a massage in transition. He actually gained weight during the event from eating so much sweet bread. I love him. He was a great speaker, just told stories without pushing anything on us, if you get a chance to meet him or hear him speak, GO!

Unfortunately, they ended his talk to let a guy try to pitch his mental coaching services to us. Mental coaching is the new Fauxhawk. Everyone is talking about it or trying to sell it to you, but there is very little accreditation or education supporting their advice. I cannot stand when people try to sell pop psychology bullshit. I tuned out and read my Self magazine in an effort to keep my mouth shut and not out this idiot.
Just a piece of advice: you probably wouldn’t hire a coach who hadn’t ever completed a triathlon himself, would you? Same goes for mental coaching. And this should be their primary business, not some side effort to soak money from patsies who don’t check credentials.

Later, we heard from the Duathlon Nationals guy. There will be a keg, and a club challenge, and amazing swag. The race is cheap too, only $35 so it’s looking pretty tempting. Did I mention no swimming?

In other news, don't stay at the Omni. The staff is impeccable. Amazing customer service. But they can't make up for the fact that the walls are paper thin, and the facilities have not been kept up. Bed was soft, noise incessant, toilet ran ... it made for a very cranky ride home the next day when neither one of us had slept more than a few hours. And we were both too tired to run the du course like we would have liked.

If you get a chance, eat at the Tobacco Company. Mashed potatoes where you could taste the heavy cream. Great martinis. Yummy tiramisu. And there's an atrium that runs up the center of all three floors. Awesome.


Sorry for not posting much lately. I was sick right before Thanksgiving. Sick over Christmas, in a minor car accident after New Year’s, and then sick again.
Coincidentally, there’s a warning out regarding peanut butter products. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and missed it, here are the details:

Guess who ate a Kashi chewy peanut butter granola bar a week before they showed up on the list. And spent the next week being violently ill on and off. It was the same time frame the Norovirus was going around so they’re not 100% I had salmonella, but my symptoms lasted a long time and seemed more consistent with salmonella.

I am finally back to eating mass quantities of pizza, so everything is okay.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Body Movin

Saturday was the return of the 3 hour spin class. At least for me. People who didn't have evil colds over Thanksgiving and New Year's and get into car accidents started a few weeks ago.

The theme was body parts so there were a lot of songs with heart in them, Betty Davis Eyes, and You Were Always on My Mind (disco version). The only thing on my mind was my very, very sore saddle.

Meanwhile, the bike shop guy had given me a bottle of goop to try out. It come in a bottle that looks like a Fifth, and is curved to fit well in the back pocket of your jersey. It's supposed to shoot out one serving of this really liquid goo every time you squeeze it, sort of the bastard child of Gatorade and Gu. However, like a mule it got the worst of both parents. It was supposed to be orange flavored, but tasted more like orange peel. it was oddly bitter. It also leaked over EVERYTHING and is stickier than Superglue. I gave it to one of the guys in the class to try and he literally couldn't swallow it.
I dutifully called the bike shop to let them know how it went over and apparently there has been some similar feedback, great idea, but tastes like (insert body part here). I'll stick with Hammer gel and my Gelbot.