Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not exactly priceless

I am going to cry when my credit card bill comes.

Verona Triterium Registration $90
Door County Sprint Tri Registration $90
Lodging in Door County $350
Army 10-miler Registration $65
Airfare to DC for Army 10-miler $220
NYC Marathon Lottery Registration $11
NYC Marathon (if I get in) $170

TOTAL ====> $996

Those finish lines are not exactly "priceless."

Weekend of Perfection (aside from the actual running part)

This weekend is the beginning of a very busy week of events, with the grand finale being my little sister's wedding. But I have to say, if the start of the weekend in any indication, this is going to be 9 days of awesomeness.

Friday night I enjoyed a near-perfect evening at the Union Terrace, warm sun slowly setting, sailboats bobbing on the water, music, a table full of pitchers, and a group of fun and crazy girls that I haven't seen in a very long time.

I absolutely adore fun and crazy.

From there I moved on to some more al fresco dining that included one very delicious double taco and a margarita.

I adore margaritas too.

This morning started with a stop at the local coffee shop (love), a nice little 6.2 mile run/walk on the "arb loop" of THE BEST running routes in Madison (love - never mind the blisters, hills, giant welt-leaving bug bite, and start of some shin splints), with some exceptional company and very inspiring conversation (love great friends and inspiring conversations).

And then, as if the start of this weekend was not superb already, it was topped off with a leisurely stroll around the capitol square for the farmers market (the best farmers market in the US), where we ran into more awesome friends and one super adorable kiddo.

I mean really, does it get any better? Well, actually....the sun just came out. So ya, it gets better. Add one perfect, sunny, 70-degree, cool-breeze afternoon to this already perfect weekend and I am one happy girl.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The chlorine, it burns man, it burns....

So guess what...? My town still has a pool. And I can confirm this fact because I went there. To swim. No lie.

It went something like this....

Step 1: Hunt down workout suit. Think back to the last time you remember wearing it. Look frantically in every nook and cranny of your closet wondering why you have no recollection of wearing suit in the past year.

Step 2: Attempt to put last years workout suit on this years no-workout body. Inspect for opaque quality. Wonder if they make Spanx one can wear under a bathing suit. Vow to never eat again and commence marathon training at once.

Step 3: Take a moment to ponder what else one needs when heading to the pool. Wonder why this process seems so foreign.

Step 4: Begin hunt for goggles. During the process find approximately 7 swim caps, including your Ironman 70.3 cap. Take a moment to reminisce about what it felt like to be in shape. Wipe tear realizing how far you have fallen and how much you like to eat Cheetos.

Step 5: Pack up shower stuff, goggles, and all 7 swim caps....because you just never know with the swim caps.

Step 6: Arrive at pool. Try to hide mild annoyance at the number of small children present. Tug at sausage-casing-like bathing suit numerous times. Hope that, like walruses and other sea faring mammals, you will feel much more graceful and adept when you enter the water.

Step 7: Feign excitement when friend arrives and states "I brought a workout!" Spend the next few minutes clearing toys out of your lane and wondering how you got suckered into an actual swim workout.

Step 8: Wonder how it is that you are getting lapped in the pool by someone who PR'd a marathon mere days before. Also wonder why all those parents are sweating in the bleachers watching their kids swim lessons when they could be getting a few laps in.

Step 9: Become painfully aware that your swim stroke currently maintains neither grace nor adeptness. Continue to flail through the workout unable to find rhythm.

Step 10: Enjoy finishing realizing you swam probably twice as far as you would have thanks to there being a "workout."

Step 11: Vow to be more regular about the swimming. Even consider an early morning swim later in the week.

Step 12: Realize you are clearly suffering from the delusional side effects of chlorine, remembering that early morning swimming requires getting out of bed at 5:30am. Wonder how long it will be until the burning in your eyes and throat subside.

Step 13: Crawl into bed thankful for a great workout. Wonder what your wet hair will look like in the morning. Sleep like a baby.

Can I have three wheels and a steep hill please?

I have never been good at the downhills. But this even makes the five mile downhill off the backside of Spooner (Lake Tahoe -- probably the biggest decent I've done) look like pie.

You can file this under "things I wouldn't do even if you paid me a lot of money." But thanks to the invention of the nifty video recorder, we can all still enjoy the rush without fearing for our lives. This video totally made me laugh. No idea why. Complete absurdity maybe? I love how the other rider disappears off into the gravel a couple times and then just seems to magically reappear like nothing happened. Its like a racing video game come to life....complete with slack steering and oncoming traffic. Awesome.

**incidentally, totally impressed with myself for finally figuring out how to embed video. little blogging victory. go me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

long weekend of lazy

My biggest accomplishment of the weekend appears to be getting my personal email inbox down to under 250 messages. You may not think this is an accomplishment but if you got an email from me responding to a subject line about CHRISTMAS you understand the magnitude of the problem. And I've got the carpal tunnel to prove it.

I would love to post the report on all the fabulous workouts I enjoyed this weekend, but that report had some problems getting through the fact checking stage of editing. Strange.....

What I can report from this weekend is socializing. A fun, formal fundraiser on Friday -- oh how I love to put on a party dress and drink champagne. And don't forget the dancing. There was definitely dancing. (So you see, I guess there was a workout in there somewhere. ;) There was also a fun night that started at the Union Terrace (the first of the season!). And the highlight of the weekend -- an evening Gator ride with my father where I got the inventory of downed trees on the property and the status of the monumental brush pile. (its the little things that make me happy)

But overall I felt fairly sloth-like the entire weekend. To the point where I wondered if I was coming down with something. Though I have come to the recent conclusion that its allergies. I have gotten used to feeling like poo in the fall....but have recently started to feel equally as poo-like in the spring. When I mentioned this to my doc a few years ago, thinking that a lingering sinus infection was the culprit for similar symptoms, she informed me that its not uncommon to develop additional allergies in your adult life. Super. Is getting old fun or what?
And speaking of birthdays....plans are in the works for a little birthday getaway, which makes me super excited. I mean, as excited as one can get about getting another year older anyway.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A few more pics....before they're gone

And idea how to really use my camera. But aren't the flowers pretty? :)

A little riding on the agenda for the weekend -- new headwear in full effect. Maybe even a little running. And on Friday I get to put on a fancy little party dress and some high heels. Seems like its shaping up to be a fabulous weekend. Cheers!

Therapy is expensive, blogging is free

"The grass is greenest where you water it." -- Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Not necessarily limited to career applications, I thought this was a good reminder that the things that flourish are the things that we put the most energy into. Sometimes its good to stop and take a realistic look at where you are really spending your precious time and energy.

In other news, I've recently become a regular reader of the blog Up in Alaska. Although Jill is not currently in Alaska....she's on sabbatical from work, having many mini-adventures throughout Utah, all while getting re-centered after a very fresh split from her longtime boyfriend.

And last night, in addition to a new helmet, I managed to come home with four new pairs of shoes. Four.

And that should pretty much sum up my life lately. Feel free to draw any conclusions you wish from this random assortment of information.

Something new for my noggin

OMG I love new gear. Especially when it replaces old, and slightly painful gear. You see my previous helmet could not adequately accommodate my apparently GIANT HEAD, leaving me with little, red "devil horns" where my forehead was being squeezed into the plastic.

Not very attractive post-ride. Also, kinda painful.
I put this new helmet on tonight -- in a restaurant (yes, I was that excited. no, i didn't really care what anyone else thought.) -- and was immediately in love.
No more devil horns. This helmet is like clouds from the heavens. So comfortable. And so CUTE. Love. I'm in love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Because that's normal...

No lie. This morning I saw a bicycle commuter with a pitchfork across his handle bars. And not the "I'm a sexy devil" Halloween costume kind. A real farmer-endorsed pitchfork. As in, three very sharp metal spears at the end. And he was transporting the pitch fork for what? Feeding the cows in downtown Madison?

I know this is Wisconsin and all, but this was downtown Madison. Why do you need a pitchfork ON YOUR BICYCLE? I guess they left that out of the bicycle safety manual. Be advised, transporting sharp metal objects that could pierce through your vital organs may be hazardous to your health.

Let this be a lesson to you all. Next time you need to transport your pitchfork, please, fire up the tractor or something.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What gets done when you're not working out

While my workouts have been diminishing, I have become increasingly productive in other areas of life. In addition to happy hours and social events...which are fun, and seem to be plentiful lately, but are not all that productive.....I've been taking time to figure out the camera that I've now owned for a year.

This weekend I spent some time hanging out with a friend and using her kiddo as practice for my new camera lens. So much fun, but who can resist that face.
I've never been a big fan of kids but this little guy makes me melt.
But I'm going to have to keep up with the workouts if child photography is in my future. These little ones are speedy buggers once they get mobile. I was crawling all over trying to get a better angle, better light, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of whatever he was going to do. And its hard to predict what they're going to do.....

I've also been doing a lot of reading. Catching up on magazine subscribtions, and even managing to read a book or two. I finished the last book in under two weeks. I'm not even going to have to renew or pay late fees at the library. If this keeps up my local library may need additional sources of funding.
If you're's what I just finished --

A Pearl In The Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
by Tori Murden McClure, the first woman to row alone across an ocean

Let me start by saying, I don't relate to this woman at all.

First, no way do I have any desire to be alone in a boat in the middle of the ocean. Ever. The ocean freaks. me. out. I'm oddly facinated and yet completely terrified by large bodies of water. So I just don't get why anyone would want to row a little dingy across the Atlantic. Alone.

Second, she's a lawyer, and she writes like one. That is not to say that it is bad writing. I just found it a bit...well, factual. It seems through most of the book that she is simply spouting facts at me. Even when she's talking about emotion, its all very matter-of-fact. Which made it hard for me to really feel for her. I grew to understand her, but I never felt like I connected with her.

One of the few times I felt a bit of kinship with her was when she talked about rowing alongside a giant turtle and realizing the turtle was faster than her. Ha....welcome to the feeling I have every time I race!

That said, it was an interesting book and a fast read. So if you're looking for a leisurely book to take with you to the pool this summer, I'd reccomend it. Its got a little bit of adventure, that "human spirit" vibe that might just motivate you to do that crazy thing you've been dreaming about, and even a little bit of romance. The summer reading trifecta, no doubt.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Motivation for the weekend

Jamie Donaldson, an ultra runner, posted this fun little video on her page. Watch it. It'll make you want to go for a run RIGHT NOW. If my backyard looked like ANY of those places, I would run a lot more. Those trails look amazing. It makes running look fun!

UltraRunning from Matt Hart on Vimeo.

Hope everyone can get outside and enjoy a little fresh air this weekend. I'm hoping to. I'm also hoping to get to the bottom of a very long "to do" list. So much to is a small random sampling:

1. Wash car (no idea how I can get caught in two torrential downpours in a week yet still have a very dirty car, but I do)

2. Ride bike, preferably for 40+ miles (Late breaking news that this bike ride may be combined with a swim. yikes! I hope I remember how. And more importantly, I hope my suit hasn't disintegrated to obscene status over the winter. I really don't want to have to buy a new one.)

3. Run, doesn't matter how far. Just run.

4. Write out a training plan for Triterium in June

5. Drink margaritas (an integral part of any successful training plan, all that salt is for electrolyte replacement you know)

6. Order trailer hitch gizmo for car (for future purchase of totally awesome bike rack, now that I've cleaned up the seats after the winter the bike is no longer allowed inside the car)

7. Shop for shoes (really, I need new shoes....I'm not a big "shopper" so when I say I need shoes, I really need shoes.)

8. Buy ticket to DC for Army 10-miler (yay girls weekend!!)

9. Register for Triterium, and Door County

10. Find a big fall goal race (dare I say marathon?)

11. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up, or at least what I want to work toward for the next two years (this one should fill up any free time I might have had left in the weekend)

Happy weekend! Hope you all make it to the bottom of your "to do" lists too!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Welcome to fat camp

I just watched the biggest loser and now I'm all motivated. Um, some of these people weigh less than me now. And they started WAY BIGGER. Perhaps it is time I get off my bum and pretend I'm an athlete.

Now where's my personal trainer? Oh ya, I can't afford one of those. And my personal chef/dietitian? Oh ya, can't afford one of those either. Oh, and I have this thing called a JOB that they expect me to show up at which means -- I can't do two three-hour workouts everyday and still have time to grocery shop for produce and cook my own healthy meals.

Reality TV my ass. That's not reality. That's glorified fat camp.

I mean, it still makes me cry. And I still think what they've accomplished is nothing short of amazing. But then it just makes me frustrated. I mean why do you think the older people were the winners....? The one dude's gotta be retired. What else does he have to do but workout and eat right....oh, I guess that whole getting enough sleep thing might really knock a few hours off his day.

I wish I had a few months to just sleep, eat well, bust out some epic bike rides, do regular yoga to work the kinks out, maintain a strength training regimen.

Good thing I can retire in exactly, oh, 537 years.

All whining aside, I did get motivated. There are exactly three and a half weeks until the wedding. And more importantly....there are only SIX WEEKS to the first triathlon of my season.

I don't even know where my training suit is. And I recently found out that my pool didn't have water in it for a number of weeks recently due to some pipe fixing. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW.

Now that's reality setting in. Holy crap. I need to get to work.

Hello Spring

I was a day late on my tulip photo taking. The rain had its way with them yesterday and they were not in the best shape. But I wanted to try out my new camera lens so I snapped away like a tourist anyway.

Incidentally, I tried a 24mm 2.8 AF Nikkor lens (there was a limited rental supply and this seemed like the most interesting option). Not all that impressed, but it has convinced me that I NEED the 50mm 1.4. I really don't even know how to use my camera, but I NEED that lens. Kind of like how I am the slowest biker ever but I really NEED a new tri bike. Its ridiculous.

Mother nature, you have my attention.

So I was going to run last night. I was. But then I had to go to a meeting after work. At a bar. And it really was a meeting, I swear. And we really did do some business. But when you can have beer while doing, why wouldn't you? This is Wisconsin, is it not. We drink beer here. That's what we do.

So I had one. One beer. Thinking that I could actually still bust out a couple miles after one beer. Except that mother nature decided to host the inaugural thunderstorm event of the season on my way home. OMG.

I love me a good thunderstorm and all. I do. But not when I'm DRIVING IN IT. And the lightening. Wow. It was quite a show. The sun setting. The orange glow crowded with ominous charcoal storm clouds. The deadly cloud-to-ground electric bolts interrupting the scene every minute or so. And then the torrential downpour.

Needless to say, I let mother nature win that round. No running. I was just happy to be alive when I pulled the car in the garage, I didn't feel the need to tempt fate any further.

Now if mother nature could just get to work on all the spring blooming instead of spring booming....that would be great. The lilacs in particular. Those are my favorite.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


This is what The Slowest Triathlete will be wearing when she is NOT riding 100 miles around Lake Tahoe. Probably a little cuter than spandex. And there will be champagne instead of Gatorade. Scenery won't quite compare....but all in all I guess its not a bad trade off. I do like champagne. Lake Tahoe will still be there next year.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why a three week taper is a bad idea

I went on a little bike ride this weekend. A little FORTY SEVEN MILE bike ride.

One should not go on a 47-mile bike ride when one has not been on a bike in three weeks unless one would like to become painfully aware of one's bottom. Needless to say, my butt and the bike seat are taking some time apart this week.

The ride was scheduled to be 60 miles. I figured 60 would be a stretch what with my excessive taper and all, but when at mile 47 we realized we had taken a 7-mile wrong turn making our ride a 72-miler....I had no reservations about calling the SAG wagon. I was done. I was already a good 6 or 7 miles past bonk at that point and I knew I didn't have another 25 miles in me.

For as frustrating as it is to become acutely aware of your loss of fitness, it was still an exceptionally beautiful day on the bike. One of those really perfect spring days. Warming gradually from a mild chill at the start to a sunny 60 degrees.

Top it off with a few Colorado beers, good food, and great friends, and it all added up to a perfect spring Saturday.