The Sound of Sunshine

It’s suprising to  write two posts in less than a 48 hour span of time, but I just came back from a swimming lesson with my coach and heard The Sound of Sunshine playing on the radio, which has a couple lyrics about learning to swim, and was inspired to write a post on swimming (my thought process is odd). The swim lesson was good. I continue to learn so much about swimming and how important it is in a triathlon race.

In all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. In fact, I think I tend to err on the bipolar side whenever anyone asks how swimming is going.

“Oh, it’s great–best activity and sport out there! Works every muscle in your body, I feel fantastic after a workout.”

Or, quite possibly less than two hours later, my response could be:

“F—ing stupid sport in water, whoever invented it should be PUNISHED. It’s stupid and I hate it! Who works out in WATER?”

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to meet up with my coach atleast once a week for a swim lesson. Yes, I am not ashamed to say that I have swimming lessons and am in my 20’s.Had I continued with the swim team/spending time in a pool after the age of 13, I wouldn’t have needed the lessons. Then again, pool swimming and triathlon swimming are quite different. Main difference is that triathlons are usually in open water, and the water is not chlorinated. Right now, my sessions in the pool on my own are still composed of doing drills, and then some are just LSD (long slow distance) swims. I have no plans on ever becoming a member of another swim team again in my life, but do plan on continuing to do triathlons in the future (if, that is, I don’t die doing Mooseman, which is a possibility).

What are the drills?
  • The one arm drill: where you have your left arm extended underwater and then just stroke with your right arm, making sure you have a high elbow and enter with your arm above the head  doing that for a hundred or so yards, and then switch arms.
  • Catch up: where both arms are still below the water, but when you go to stroke with your right arm you reach past the left arm under the water, and then when you stroke with your left arm, you reach past the right hand. There is a lot of extension involved–extending the stroking arm past the other arm.
  • Swimming using Finis Forearm Fulcrum Paddles which helps your arm entry form ( whenever I use them feel like I am drowning) and hand paddles (which show you if you are bending your hand or not in water–you feel resistance if you are doing it wrong–I was always meeting resistance).

Swimming is simply hard. Trying to remember to pretend I’m diving into a barrel but keeping my elbows up our of the water (who does that?) then having my fingers impact the water first–and fingers snug against each other. Using my abdominal muscles to keep my butt up so that my legs don’t sink when I take a breath (she notices these things). Whenever I go to take a breath, one goggle should be in the water, and I need to look back behind towards my armpit while breathing and doing the stroke. Remembering to keep my legs together, and kick from my heels, not my knees. It not only takes being in good shape to be a swimmer, but being mentally capable of remembering all these things whilst doing them that gets to me.

My coach likes to end sessions on a good note, and as time was running out, i just swam fifty yards, which, she said, was perfect. “It looked like you were just swimming, not thinking about everything I was having you do, like your brain turned off, and, you just swam.”

Yay!

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When Is Too Much, Too Much?

I think there is a fine line between when you do something because you love it, and when it becomes a (healthy) addiction. And, I crossed that fine line last night at work (however, some would argue I crossed that line months ago).

I’ve joked about it before–my quote-en-quote “fascination” with races–which really only started in 2004 when I ran my first 5k and got third for my age group, although thinking about it, growing up I was always doing something competitive.

So, when is too much, too much? Is it,

  • When you schedule all your weekends off work around races for the next year, including running races, triathlons, and duathlons–not only in the state you live in, but other states? “Oh, I know I cannot work the third weekend of September 2011 because there’s a tri Sunday morning at 0830”
  • When in the middle of writing a nursing note at the end of a shift, after coding patients, physical and mental exhaustion, feet killing you after being on them for thirteen hours, you begin to wonder how long a certain run will take you when you get home from work?
  • When you kindly decline people’s offers for incredibly delicious looking cookies at 0500 because you are getting back to your “peak racing weight”–and you actually have no idea what your racing weight should be, but know it’s just less than what the scale says.
  • When co-workers at the hospital have nicknamed you “the TKH’s very own little ICU racer”?
  • …And they cannot believe you spent two hours on a trainer before coming on to your third night in a row, or wonder how you can devour 5 hour old stale coffee black with no sugar or milk, or exist on three hours of sleep.
  • …And they know not to mess with you if you only got a 3 miler in before work?
  • …And when your fellow cycling buddy/ colleague talks about Graeme Brown after handing off report, you know exactly who he’s talking about?
  • When you spend non-working hours studying past race results, and figure out how fast you need to be this year to beat other people in your age group–just incase they decide to partake in that particular race this year as well.
  • …And, if your body can tolerate it, when you can visit family members (but really, are traveling to those places because there’s a certain race going on at that time…and it just so happens you have a family member who lives in that city)?
  • …And are glad you are still young, because the majority of people racing in tri’s are ten or more years older than you, so you still have time to do well…And wonder, “Woah, what will I be like in ten years?” Now, that is a scary thought.
  • When your doctor tells you it’s okay for you to exercise again, in hopes you will stop pestering him about when it’s okay for you to train?
  • You see someone with an IM tattoo on the back of their calf at the gym, and wonder how his swimming skills are, and which IM he has completed (and you feel a pang of jealousy that he has such a tattoo, and even know what the IM stands for, when the majority of people at the gym probably have no idea)…And then wonder if he will marry you.
  • You regret getting that tetanus shot in your deltoid the day before because it really messes up your stroke when swimming the next day.
  • You know three weeks in advance you cannot do anything on a certain Friday night because you have a brick workout scheduled the next day?
  • The majority of your clothes are either cycle wear or exercise attire, could cause blindness to people in the sunlight, and have special “sweat-wicking” properties?
  • …And other than scrubs, that’s basically the only thing you ever wear?
  • …But just found two boxes of high heeled boots and drop-dead gorgeous shoes this complete ex-shoe addict completely forgot existed, thinking, “Man, how did I ever walk in four inch heels?”
  • …Then look down at your really pathetic looking feet, thinking purple/back toe nails falling off is really a turn-off–even to podiatrists.
  • The only thing left in your kitchen is zero-calorie gatorade, powerbars, sports recovery drink powder, your newly discovered and favorite Honeystinger products, and decaf coffee (that you refuse to make, because it is decaffeinated)

Completely normal, right?

But, Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It really was cold outside. And is today. I don’t quite understand why banks in the U.S. tell you the time and temperature outside on those flashing boards, but it is handy in reaffirming the non-welcoming idea that it is becoming too cold to ride outside.

Then again, 35 isn’t freezing yet.

It’s almost the end of my first week of training, which was not too bad. As my trainer said, it won’t be too bad until the weeks in April when I’ll be spending 15hrs a week either bike/swim/or running when I’ll be re-thinking why I’m doing such a race. Thus far, I managed to STICK to the plan, and might I add, is the first week I’ve ever stuck to a training plan in my LIFE. Ok, well, I followed the swimming and running, but did a bit more on the bike rides, just because the inability to feel my extremities was so fun I needed to be on my bike more than 60 minutes. To be honest, I do not think I’ve ever gone for a 6o minute bike ride, unless under racing conditions. I simply don’t feel like that is a workout, same as I feel a 3mile run is nothing–except, again, under racing conditions. However, racing is different. You are pushing yourself beyond your natural limits, with your legs and body despising you throughout the whole race…If you compete in races, you know exactly what I mean. There is no other feeling like finishing a race exhausted, in pain, and feeling like you are going to puke your guts out.

 

"Mol, what are you doing?" "I lost a screw for the odometer." "I think you've lost screws in your head."

Swimming

My time at Bard has been getting better and better. Despite my watch breaking, so it’s harder to keep track of lap/lap time, and consuming too much chlorinated water, I think I’m improving. First two times in the pool I despised it. Now, I don’t mind heading to the pool, especially when the weather is horrible outside. I still suck at the sport, and while I’m gasping for air, the 70 year old lady in the lane next to me is (1)swimming faster than me and (2) makes it look so natural. I kick myself now for stopping swimming when I was thirteen years old. I’ve learned to completely shut off my brain (which, for me, who thinks 24/7, is pretty impressive) when I swim, and just concentrate on strokes…And not drowning, or swimming into the person next to me.

Biking

My rides this week have been going well, no change there.I went for a training ride yesterday and passed a sign declaring it was only 35 degrees out. For some odd reason, my frozen fingers and toes could have sworn it was more like 32. I guess if I want to spend as much time as possible off my trainer, the inability to feel your phalanges will be a phenomenon I’ll need to get used to. Unlike the running and swimming where I’ve followed my plan to the T, my rides have been a bit longer, simply because I hate my trainer. Despite my three layers of socks and two sets of gloves, I still get cold. Just a helpful hint, it’s a bit dangerous riding with your hands in fists to try to gain feeling back into your fingers, because when you need to break or shift….Just trust me on that one. Don’t do it.

Running

The running is fine. I’m actually getting better at that discipline, I feel the burning-of-thighs-and-lungs by doing hill work on my bike have definitely helped my tolerance for pain running up hills. My pace is actually quicker than it was before I had begun cycling again, as seen by the 5k race I did last week.

Random Thoughts

Food

I’ve heard hardcore endurance athletes concerned about what they eat–glycemic index of foods, people who watch their carbohydrate/fat/protein intake. At one point in my life, it was an obsession, I admit it. Everyone has that phase. Then I realized I love food too much to worry about what I eat.

Until work the other night, when I found myself looking at the carb content, fat, and protein of peanut butter (graham crackers and peanut butter seem to be my staple meal while working…we never had peanut butter at the Children’s Hospital where I used to work). A colleague of mine noticed me looking at the Nutrition label and stated, “You are one of those athletes who is concerned at the content of food, aren’t you?”

I jumped at first, not because of his comment, but because he scared me. Then, it dawned on me, “Holy crap, I’m looking at the nutrition content of food.”

Have I become a crazy, obsessed, nutritional freak?

No, not yet. I’ll start becoming concerned about my “peak racing weight” after the holidays.

I did notice that on little containers of peanut butter there is a warning that the “Product contains nuts.” So, for those of you who are allergic to nuts, please, do not eat PeaNUT Butter.

Men

Apparently, according to a friend, I intimidate men. Honestly, I do not understand how I am intimidating. I’m the most approachable, non-intimidating person on the existence of this planet. But my friend noticed a conversation I had with a male the other day, and brought it to my attention that some men do not find it attractive when your response to their answer is a long sigh with a frown on your face, or when you try to contain your laughter after they speak.

“Mol, your obsession with racing is just intimidating to men.”

“It’s not like I asked him what his PR for a mile is or anything.”

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Do you run at all?”

(Let’s call him B): “Ugh, please. I don’t understand how people find it appealing to run for no reason.”

Me: “Do you like to bike?”

B: “Mmm, no, not really.”

Me: “What’s not really mean?”

B: “I hate it.”

Me (feeling like someone just jabbed me in the heart with a knife and, according to my friend, had a “disgusted” look on my face): “Oh. How about hiking?”

B: “I did once this summer when it was warm.”

Me: “What do you do for fun then?”

B: “I whittle.”

Me (after trying to contain laughter and, I guess, too long of a pause, and deep inhale): “Oh…”

B: “What do you like to do?”

Me: “Everything you hate.”

How is that intimidating? Okay, in all honestly, he lost 175% of my attention when he said he hates biking. But, I was able to hold a straight face when he said he whittles for fun. Please, no offense to you whittlers out there. I give you lots of credit, because you are able to carve intricate items out of wood. I cannot slice tomatoes without somehow slicing my finger by accident. Just fair warning, my life revolves around running, cycling, and swimming. You’re digging yourself a bigger grave when you say you hate one of those activities.

More Randmoness

Below is a short video; I cannot help but laugh when I watch it. No, I’m not training for a full Ironman. I need to conquer the HIM, and just triathlons in general without dying, before that can happen. Although, I do know when next years Lake Placid race is…

Yes, I’m crazy.

Watch Out, Lance….

…Molly G. is speeding up.

Following my recent post about the three tests I had to do for my trainer/coach Dorothy, I have now completed two of them–the bike 10mile time trial, and the swimming test. And, I’m going to tell you about them. The times, however, are between my coach and myself.  Maybe one day I will share them with others.

1. Time Trial: Pro Cyclists- be warned!

Lance Armstrong on a Time Trial during the TdF a couple years ago

 

The weather, thank goodness, was bearable–it seems like forever since I have ridden outside (have I mentioned I dislike riding on a trainer indoors? Does not even come close to being outside). It was chilly, but I kept bundled up, and did not have to worry about my water getting warm! I started off on route 308, just outside my house to the “fork in the road” (literally, there is a fork in the road in Milan) for my time trial. It was the first time I’ve done a time trial, other than my racing in duathlons, and first time I’ve gone out on a bike ride specifically to go as fast and push as hard as I could for ten miles.

Milan's Fork in the Road

It was painful, not going to lie. If I had aero bars, and a TT bike, and an aerodynamic helmet, I would have been faster (ok I’m done making up excuses for my poor time). It was windy. Bodily fluids were flowing from my nose and eyes with no plans on stopping. If you’ve ever run or biked or hiked or done any physical activity outside with me, you might have noticed that I carry wads of tissues with me. My nose just starts running whenever I do anything, and I am either constantly sniffling or blowing my nose. Really attractive, right? I’m a sad miserable mess in spandex when I ride– nothing attractive about it.

My best friend when doing anything active

At any rate, I did it. And after the ten miles, I decided to continue for a little further, because the weather was so nice. And, as a result of having issues with runny noses, I have mastered the art of removing gloves/blowing my nose/ applying chapstick all while steering clear of cars whilst riding–I’m pretty sure if you pass me while I’m in the midst of it, I look like a clown. And probably do. But those things are small accomplishments in my eyes.

2. Pool

I spent my third morning ever in Bard’s pool yesterday morning, doing test numero deux for my coach: a  2x 100yard fly  sprints. It is amazing how different the muscles used in swimming are. I know in running, you use your legs, as well as arms. And for road cycling, you have to have powerful legs (have you seen the the pro cyclists’s thighs? You can see their rectus femorii, vastus lateralii, and vastus medii–in non-medical terms, thigh muscles, with no problems. Pro cyclists are incredible incredible shape!) But I never realized how much you use your legs in swimming either. And, you use your upper body much more as well. You can sometimes tell if someone is a swimmer by looking at their upper body–they have muscular, broad shoulders. And, now I know why. Swimming is all about upper body, too.

Let me stop here just say, pro athletes in general are in amazing shape. Whether cycler, swimmer, sprinter, triathlete. You can look at them in spandex or swimsuits and say, “Wow, you are in amazing shape. And, attractive. And, can bike, swim, and run. Will you marry me?”

Sorry for that little side note. Back to my swimming. I went to the pool when it just opened for lap time at 0730 and shared a lane with a nice older lady. I warmed up with a couple slow laps (100 yards) and then did sprint numero uno. Holy cow. By my fourth lap of that 100yards (I swim in a 25yard pool), my legs were  burning like they do when I am riding up mountains, and I had to breathe for air with every upstroke. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing when swimming (I know nothing about the sport, except for how to spot a swimmer, as I mentioned above). When I got to the wall, my heart rate was 188 (somewhat on the higher end of my heart rate training zone for my age) and the time was 2:10–other swimmers, please, no laughing. I could have been faster had I known how to do flip turns. This is the third time I’ve been in a pool for over 13 years, let alone doing laps.

I waited three minutes, as told by Dorothy, and then did the second sprint. She was right when she told me I would hate it. It was horrible. But I did the second one and completed it.

After the two sprints, I decided I needed to spend more time in the pool to get somewhat of a workout in, so I just did laps (total of 20x 100yards, so 2000yards) alternating sprinting and using kickboards. Yes, if you are a swimmer, or coach, or know what you are doing, you probably think I am doing my swim workouts all wrong. That’s why I have Dorothy.

At this time, I’m not too fond of swimming in a pool. Yes, you can stay warm when it is cold outside, and do not need to worry about blowing a flat in your tire (that story will come shortly). But, in a pool, I feel I am getting nowhere. On a bike, or on a run, I am going somewhere, getting close to some destination. But in the pool, you are swimming from one side to the other. Back and forth. Ohh boy, this training for the race in June will be fun fun fun.

And So a New Chapter Begins…

Yesterday afternoon I made my way down to my old ‘hood of New Paltz to meet with the woman who will be training/coaching me for Mooseman in June. Yes, I said it, coach me. For the first time in my life, I have decided to actually train for something. I know in my other posts I’ve written about training. And, I guess it is safe to say that I have attempted to stick to training plans in the past, for marathons, or duathlons, but life just got in the way, and would throw my schedule out of whack and even though I’d continue to run and bike, they were never considered really training. I’ve touched upon that subject mutiple times in posts in the blogs. This daily look into the life of Molly will look at my first meeting with the woman who will whip me into triathlon shape, and prepare me for the hardest race I have yet to compete in.

After looking at different training plans, all of which are quite overwhelming, I came into contact with a fellow night shift nurse who trains for triathlons too. I knew it was possible for people with my schedule to participate in endurance activities (just a couple years ago, a local ER nurse won the S.O.S. Triathlon).  Knowing of someone who is training for the same distance race-a half IronMan, gave me even more hope that I will be able to compete in it.

Our meeting was super–my coach, D., was enthusiastic and full of energy, asking me about my prior races and about my life, trying to grasp a picture of who Molly is. We spend an hour together, going over how the training plans work. Unlike most training plans for ironman distance races, my training plan will be customized to fit my schedule. I told her, days I work, I dont have more than 1-2hrs to train if I want to get any sleep (since I have to work 12hr night shifts). I then told her on my days off I can train longer–3-4hrs. I’ll be giving her my weekly schedule and around that she will figure out when my run workouts will be, my biking, and my time in the dreaded pool. The weekly total of hours spend training will vary, between 10 and then 12 hrs closer to race day. I’m not sure if I am terrified of what I have gotten myself into, or excited, or a mixture of both.

Until next year (in Jan 2011), i’ll be working on base training, getting more time in the pool which is my weakest area of the swim-bike-run race. I might consider getting a coach to help with my swimming technique. Then come early spring, the real hardcore workouts will begin.

I am actually training for something. And I am terrified.

The training will actually start after Thanksgiving. Before then, I was given three tests to do, which can help give D. more information about the person she is working with.

1. I’ll need to do a 10mile time trial on my bike. The only time trials I know of are from watching the pro’s completing their time trials in the Tour De France. Move over Lance Armstrong, here I come! This is so she can get a feel for my speed and heart rate min/max/average throughout the trial.

I'll be getting lots of use out of my Garmin Forerunner

2. I’ll need to complete a one mile sprint, which I can do at Rhinebeck’s High School on their track (that was the first time I found out Rhinebeck has a high school track ). It just so happens D. spent years working out of Rhinebeck, so she knew exactly where I could go to do these tests. With this one miler, I’ll be clocking how fast the  mile is, as well as each lap is (one mile is four laps), and my max and min heart rate.

3. I’m to go to Bard and do 2x 1oo yard sprints at a perceived exertion of 8, time them, and, again, record what my min and max heart rate are.

I have only been in the pool three times in the last month, so this last test should  be really interesting. Even still, watch out Micheal Phelps!

Target Heart Rate Zones

It’s happening! My life for the next 6 1/2 months will be swimming, biking, and running.

Splish Splash

Last week I returned to my water roots–the pool–for the first time in thirteen years. I know, long time to be out of the water, right? I’m not saying I have never gone swimming since I was eleven–I’ve fooled around in lakes and small bodies of water, but never entered the water in order to have a workout.

As many know, over the past couple of months, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting to swim, because that is a vital component of triathlons. Commentators say that you can’t win a triathlon by the swim, but you can definitely lose the race because of the swim. It is the shortest, fastest portion of the triathlon distance wise, and is where the race starts.I have no idea what the commentator meant, but am thinking it is going to be a difficult leg for a non-swimmer like myself.

Back and forth I’d debate the pros and cons of swimming and doing triathlons. I’m perfectly content doing Biathlons at the moment with just the bike and running.I was able to stay away from pools for so long because many local triathlons had duathlon options. Now, after signing up for the Ironman Mooseman 70.3, I need to go into the pool, and live there for the next couple of months in order to become a more proficient swimmer in what is my weakest part of the race.

It was saturday afternoon and I worked the night before, so I was slightly tired after taking a nap from getting home from work. And I thought, I really should try out this swimming thing now. Not just dip my toes in the water, but dive right in. So I packed my gym bag and headed over to Bard university, which has a small pool–25meter I think. After changing quickly out of my clothes into my bathing suit,I walked over to the showers and sprinkled under the water to get wet, and opened the door to the pool. Ahh,  the sweet smell of locker room mildew mixed with chlorine and perspiration–nothing like it.

There were a few empty lanes to chose from, and  chose the  middle one, #4, to reintroduce my body to the sport.

I put on my swimcap (havent had one of those on in yeaaaaars) and googgles and jumped right in, not noticing I was on the short end of the pool, where the depth is 5 feet deep. I would suggest knowing the depth of the water you are jumping in before going in.

Unfortunately, I was not really prepared with drills or what I was exactly going to do in the pool, and considered this a pre-test to my soon-to-be swimming career. I made it for about 30 minutes, freestyle, breaststroke…staring steadily at the black line down the middle of the pool.

It is always important to bring a bottle of water with you to sit at the end of the pool somewhere so when you need to drink, you can do so. Swimming is different that in running and cycling, you can sweat, and you can sweat a lot and become very dehydrated. Now, you can still get dehydrated swimming, because you sweat just as much as if you were say, walking. When I swim, I bring a sports  bottle with water and leave it close to the lane I am swimming in.

I’m glad to say I passed the pre-test and did not drown, and can start doing swimming drills when I next go.

Running, check. Biking, check. Swimming– ehh, needs more work…

So, Bard, I’ll be seeing more of you in the near future.

What It Takes to Be a Triathlete

Tell me, how can you not want to do an IM after watching that?

**

It’s a completely different kind of test, one where passion has a funny way of trumping logic…

Are You Nuts?

 

Chrissie Wellington, one of the top female triathletes

 

“Okay, Mol, what did you do?”

“Umm, signed up for a Half Ironman in June.”

“Are you nuts?”

“It’s not a full one.”

I actually think I passed “nuts”  and plopped myself right into the “almost-crazy” category today. After lots of searching and researching about triathlons and races, and knowing that I really want to start doing tri’s next year instead of only duathlons, I decided to sign up for a HIM, or Half Ironman 70.3 as they are more commonly known as. It’s been on my mind lately, and after following the Kona Ironman, which was last weekend, I decided it’s something I want to do. Well, for me to do a full IM I’d really need to be crazy, and rich. Plus, you need to start somewhere. Yes, yes, I know, a start would be a sprint triathlon, but my brain does not function in that manner. It does not know what the word “moderation” means. This will be a springtime destination race–I’ll make a mini vacation out of it. The weather should not be too ridiculously hot at that time of year either. I’ll need to keep my sanity somehow this winter, and having something to work towards is just what I need.

They are referred to as 70.3 because that is the total mileage of the race: a 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride, and half marathon (13.1miles).

What does this mean?

Well, for one, I need to start swimming.

Two, I need to start running again on a more normal schedule. My bike has been stealing all my attention as of late.

Three, find a training plan and stick to it.

Four, find another job so that I can fund this new addiction of mine.

Five, maybe I should consider therapy?

You know you are a triathlete when…

When asked, how old you are you answer 18-29

Your idea of a great b-day is to run your age in miles with a couple of friends.

Your idea of a great date is to go for a 10 mile run with your date.

You try to impress girls with your marathon time after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles.

When asked how long your training was today you answer: three to four hours.

Your traning is more limited by available time then how far you can run.

Your first thought when you wake up is how high your rest HR is.

You go for a run eventhough there’s a thunderstorm and you enjoy being wet and dirty.

You think an Ironman is easier then a Marathon because you don’t have to start by running fast.

You think it’s natural to do your ‘business’ behind a tree in the woods.

Nobody believes you when you say ‘Never again’.

You take part in the corporate challenge to improve your base speed.

You go for a 5 km cooldown run after a 5 km race just so that you can call it a training session.

You consider work, regeneration time between training sessions.

You co-workers don’t ask you if you’re going to train this weekend, but how long and how far.

You have a water bottle when you drive your car.

You spend your 2 weeks annual vacation at a training camp.

During the vacations, when everybody else is partying, you go to sleep at 10:00pm because you’re going for a long ride the next day.

You know inside out how much Protein each energy bar has.

You seriously consider applying for citizenship in Tonga, Jemen or Tschad so that you can participate in the olympic games.

When people praising you for being able to run 15 miles you’re feeling insulted.

In the summer your legs are smoother then your girlfriend’s.

Your kids grab water bottles and energy bars when you suggest a family stroll.

Your wife is not worried if you left for your run2 hours ago.

You need a picture for a job application and you only have race pictures.

You use running T-shirts to clean your bike.

You are up everyday by 5:00 am, but never in work before 9:30 am!

that charming “cologne” you wear to work is chlorine

you take more showers in a locker room than at home

6:30 am is sleeping in

the dog runs and hides when you get the leash!

You think there are only two seasons during the year, racing and off.

you can’t change the oil in your car but you can completly rebuild your bike in 45 mins

you spend more $ on training and racing clothes then work clothes

you spend 7 days going to 8 stores in 4 malls before buying a pair of running shoes but you take 1 afternoon to go to 1 car dealership and walk out with a new car 4 hours later.

when you see some lady watering her flowers and ask her if you can borrow the hose for a minute so you can fill up your water bottles.

You clean your bike more often than your car

Your car smells like a locker room.

You have everything needed in your car to be Swimming, Biking or Running with 5 minutes notice.

When asked to mow the lawn in 90 degree heat, you say that its too hot to do that (and you mean it) and then an hour later you go on a century ride because its so nice out.

you mow your legs more often than your lawn.

You tell your co-workers that you are going to “do a long brick” on saturday and just expect that they know what you are talking about.

When a co-worker asks if you are racing this weekend, you say “yeah, but I’m just running a 10k, so that is not REALLY a race”.

You have more water bottles than glasses in your cupboard

You consider you bike saddle your “couch”

You consider Clif Bars as one of the four food groups

you are sick to your stomach at 2:00 in the morning and check the back of the Pepto Bismol bottle for caloric content and grams ofcarbohydrates, fat and protein.

you have plenty of water bottles, safety pins, and t-shirts.

you have trouble keeping lunch under 2000 calories.

you usually wake up at 4:00 in the morning but do not get to work until way after 9:00.

you have a $4000 bike strapped on top of your $2000 car.

you have no trouble pushing a day’s caloric intake to over 8000 calories.

your area needs rain real bad but you’re mad when it does cause it screws up your run and bike schedule… ,actually, you might be mad, but you still go out for your ride or your run in the rain…
you’re always wet! Either sweat water, pool water, sea water, shower water, bath water or its p*****g down outside!

your bed-time reading on your night stand consists of a pile of: DeSoto catalogs; InsideTri; Triathlete, VeloNews, USMA Swim, etc.

you haven’t bought work clothes in two years, yet you own bike shorts made by every manufacturer under the sun and can recite the merits of CoolMax, Supplex, etc. in your sleep!

your car has at least one Power Bar wrapper and two sets of work out clothes!

you know you could make a killing at Jeopardy if only the categories were: – Past winners of Hawaii Ironman – Legs shaving techniques – 40-30-30 diet – Aerodynamics racing wheels – Gastrointestinal problems and long runs – How to justify a 4000$ bike

your kids idea of playing is a bike and run race followed by clif bars, water bottles and awards ceremony.

your laundry continually smells like someone locked the cat in overnight…

you leave your apartment or house in the morning with your swim bag on one arm, bike on one shoulder, a change of clothes in another bag, and your running stuff in another bag in case you can get away at lunch for a workout.

you look like a pack mule wherever you go.

you wave at other cyclists, because all triathletes are friendly and if they are not, they are probably purist cyclists trying to get intotriathlons and they do not know that triathletes are friendly.

you can’t decide what tee shirt to where to your next race.

you no longer take vacations but weekend triathlon junkets.

you have far more pairs of shoes in your closet than your non-tri wife does in hers

the one “suit” you own has a QR on the chest.

you think about having sex, but you don’t want it to effect your morning run splits. (Or if you do, you wear a heart rate monitor and measure your recovery time afterwards)

your living room has the “swim pile” and the “bike pile” and the “run pile” and the “weight room pile” and you pick and choose kind of like a cafeteria on your way out the door.

your kitchen cupboards are organized into “protein”, “carbs” and “etc”

your breakfast consists of enough bagels that the bagel guy hands you a freezer bag with your order.

you’re tempted to do your long rides in a speedo so that you don’t have a stupid tan for your next race.

your bath towel is never dry.

you bring bottled water to a party so that you’re properly hydrated for the next morning’s long run, everyone else at the party also brought their own bottled water because you don’t have a social life outside of triathlon. Oh yeah, and they all showed up by 7pm and left by 10pm.

your company announces mandatory unpaid shutdown days – every other Friday thoughout the summer – in order to cut costs and stay in business, and your response is “Great – now I can do two long workouts on the weekends and still have an easy day.”

you buy a separate dresser for all your race t-shirts.

your 8 year old comes home with the school record for the mile and says, he took it out in a nice pace he could hold…..everyone else died.

you fill your kids’ water bottles with Cytomax instead of blue gatorade.

you can ask your mom and your sister and all other girlfriends for shaving advice!!!

you say that you went to a race last weekend…and somebody responds “running or biking” and you are again forced to explain….

your co-workers catch you with a ‘King Sized’ meal deal from Burger King, and you can smile and tell them that you will have no problem working this off on the way home.

you started the day with a protein shake, had a scone and latte after swimming and commuting, then head out for coffee with the coworkers and have a a bagel and cream cheese.

you wear your bathing suit under your work clothes to make a fast transition from work to swim on your lunch hour.

you name your two new puppies Kona and Hawi

your RST time is cut short by training.

the dog hides until you’ve showered.

your spouse wants dinner out and a movie, so you agree, but fall asleep during the previews and catch hell.

mowing the lawn really smarts after being aero all morning.

you show up at the neighborhood pool on your bike in a speedo and embarrass your teenage daughters.

you’ve spent more on bikes in the last 10 years than you have on clothes for the past 50!

your hair is never dry.

you were awake for the Northridge quake (4:30 AM) because you were out running … and you showed up for 6 AM Masters swim workout and wondered where everybody was.

somebody hands you a cup of water and you have to restrain yourself from pouring it on your head.

you forget that talking about daily LSD [Long Slow Distance] and speed weirds some people out.

you have no FRIGGIN idea what to do with yourself on your off day. Damnit, I mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, washed the car, and there’s STILL 4 hours of daylight left! Aarrgghh!

you come into the office every morning and check RST before you check your email.

you return from your *Mini-vacation* more exhausted than before you left!

you feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000 yards.

You get done with a hard workout and drink a recovery drink while on the toilet and in the shower.

At any given moment you know exactly where your heart rate monitor and your swim googles are, but cannot remember where you left you car keys. (turns 90% of the time they are in your bike bag

When non-racer friends tell you they ran/rode you automatically calculate their pace to see if you’re still in better shape.

Cars pass you on the road when you’re driving and you either drop back to get out of draft zone or speed up to attack!

A walk along Millbrook Ridge/S.O.S

Showing Danielle some views of New Paltz

“What? You are dragging a guest for a hike? What if she doesn’t want to?” A friend of mine asked. Unfortunetly, or fortunetly depending on your point of view, my thoughts of “fun” revolve around outdoor activities, and if you are someone visiting me, I do hope you like spending time outside, too. ‘Cause whether you like it or not, I’ll be showing you around nature.

Yesterday I brought a visiting friend over to Mohonk Preserve to go for a hike. And, thankfully, she was a guest who enjoys being outside. I think I have mentioned the preserve in the past– it is a fabulous place for hiking, rock climbing, rock scrambling, and mountain biking. I think I put a link on my front page for the Mohonk Preserve. You can get a yearly membership for $55 which gives you unlimited access to the preserve and all the paths and hiking you want. Otherwise, I think for a day there you need to pay $12 (which is expensive for someone who is on a “money diet” after spending too much on an amazing bike).

There are paths with different difficulties and of different lengths that can go into Lake Minnewaska State Park, or up to the Mohonk Mountain House, which has a great rock scramble to get to Sky Top Tower. If you are familiar with the New Paltz area, Sky Top Tower is the tower you see on the horizon, perched on the Gunks. It’s the “mascot” of New Paltz, if you will.

The hike went quickly, and only one encounter with a non-poisonous snake. A nice feature of the Millbrook path is it’s stunning views of New Paltz and the valley–perfect for showing off the natural beauty of upstate New York to a visiting Australian.

I could not help but notice bright pink signs with “S.O.S.” upon our return to the parking lot.No, they were not distress signs from Australians visiting the area, but signs for competitors in the well-known triathlon of the area– the Survival of the Shawangunks.

The race is similar to XTerra races, if you are familiar with those; they are off road triathlons. The S.O.S. entails different stages of running, biking,and swimming– all in the ‘Gunks. It’s not a triathlon for the faint of heart, nor for beginners like me, who is still on Duathlon stages of racing. Ohh no no.

The Survival of the Shawangunks course map

Looks intense, huh? That’s because it is. Not as simple as the swim-bike-run of normal triathlon (not that those different stages of a race are simple, either). In S.O.S., the athlete bikes, then runs, then swims, then runs, then swims, then runs again, ending up at Sky Top Tower. While living in New Paltz, I did have the opportunity to meet some crazies who have completed the race–more than once  –and they said it was amazing. I must admit I’ve studied the map and website for the race, gawking over the different stages, and give any athlete who has completed the race my utmost respect.

If you are an experienced triathlete, perhaps consider the S.O.S.? A test of off-road endurance and strength.

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