Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alexa the trip planner

My trip planning for Coeur D'Alene is going really well! This is not really the sort of thing that I am good at because I tend to procrastinate.

I found round trip flights from Buffalo, NY to Spokane, WA (with only 1 layover) through Southwest. Southwest is one of the better airlines and they have a really good baggage policy. Two checked bags are free - and I can take my bike box on the plane for only $50 each way (counts as a checked bag but since it's oversized - there's an added fee). I haven't booked the flight yet, but will do so soon. I also found a shuttle service from the airport to my hotel in Coeur D'Alene (I have to give credit for the shuttle service knowledge to someone else because I had no idea that this existed) which is really convenient - it's $45 and they come and pick you up after you arrive at the airport, then they deliver you back to the airport before your flight out.

Also, apparently like 20 members of QT2 (Coach Mary's tri team) are doing CDA so she is going to hook me up with them. I will have 20 babysitters while I am there! Hopefully some of them are young, hot, single tri-dudes. :) And hopefully at least ONE of them has a rental car so that I can bribe him or her to take me through the bike course. Maybe I will have someone to hug at the finish after all!

All I can say is.. I can't freaking WAIT to go to Idaho in June. I wish it was June right now. I have never been there and I like going to new places! Depending on who you ask, Idaho is sometimes included in the "Pacific Northwest" and sometimes it isn't. Either way, the PNW is someplace that I have been dying to go to for years, and I really hope to eventually relocate there. I like NY and PA and Rochester is fine, but.. I was made to live in Oregon. Seriously - temperate rainforest, hippies, it's super liberal, there are tons of bikes.. I could go on and on about why I need to be there.

I wish I had more time when I'm out there so that I could actually go places in Washington (other than the airport) and actually go to Oregon.. but I just don't have the vacation time. Soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

back to work

family Christmas photo
Unfortunately, after a wonderful 3 day weekend spent celebrating Christmas, I am back at work. I am alone at work all week and the factory is in "shut down" this week (because nobody with any sense is actually here) so I get to do things such as: clean, make buffers, look at equipment manuals, etc. What fun.

I had 10+ hours of workouts last week and that is even with a skipped swim! I did ALL of my workouts over the weekend - including my Christmas trainer ride. Also, I am running again! Last week I did one 20 min run and two 30 min runs. This week I have two 30 min runs and one 45 min run! I am definitely out of shape, but I am keeping my pace under 10 min/mile which I really don't think is too bad considering I have barely run since mid-September.

I watched "A Christmas Story" Sunday morning during my 90 min trainer ride. I FINALLY WATCHED IT! I've seen most of it in bits and pieces but this was the first time I have ever watched it the entire way through. I made it back to Rochester at about 7:30 on Sunday night after a detour through Tioga Co., PA (AKA an even MORE rural part of the state than where I'm from) so that I could attend my family Christmas party. The roads were kind of nasty out there and my car barely made it up my uncle's steep driveway. On my way back to Rochester, the drive got better the more northwest I drove. I was so happy to be back in my apartment and had my cat as my welcome wagon.

me, wearing actual real clothes
and hugging my new Pillow Pet!
I went to Mary's yoga class last night. I find myself REALLY looking forward to these classes. I bought a yoga mat last week as my Christmas present to myself, because renting a yoga mat was grossing me out. Besides that, I have been REALLY good about not buying things. I actually went into the Lululemon showroom, tried on clothes, put them back, and just bought the $30 yoga mat (instead of the $65 one at Breathe). That is some serious self-restraint for this sister! There are some things that I could use - like a new winter coat - that are on my birthday list. I would also like to find one nice winter-ish (think, wool) skirt.

I am already halfway through "The Girl Who Played with Fire." I have also been watching Season 4 of Dexter. I have ALSO been trying to clean a grease(?) stain off my carpet which got there thanks to my trainer. I guess gross bike dirt/lube flies off the chain and onto the carpet, and left a streak, which I didn't notice until I took my bike off the trainer. I've tried putting baking soda on it for 15 minutes then vacuuming it up. I've tried scrubbing it with a toothbrush and dish washing soap. So far neither have really worked - I am open to any suggestions.

I have Friday off because it's New Year's Eve. !!!!!!!! (That's me being excited about a day off that I don't have to spend driving somewhere). I doubt I will make it to midnight. Honestly, I probably won't even TRY to make it to midnight. I just.. don't care. I've had ~1 really fun NYE in my life and that was spent at a club in NYC a couple of years ago. Nothing that I could find to do now would top that! Hopefully everybody else is less lame than I am!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Yes, it is Christmas!

We started the morning with some delightful present-opening. Some of the highlights - I got my big suitcase for Coeur D'Alene, a Kindle (YES!), some books (yes I got actual, tangible books AND a Kindle.. don't ask me!), a Pillow Pet (yes, I am a 26 year old with a pink and purple unicorn Pillow Pet), and some other things! My dad got a camera, my mom got an ipod nano, my brother got a Flip Video camera. I also got a $50 pre-paid Visa card so I am now taking suggestions on how to spend that! I'm thinking maybe a trip to Lululemon, or Eddie Bauer!

I did my Christmas trainer ride after opening presents and watched the first disk of Season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (another gift) while doing my trainer ride.

Now we just finished eating dinner. I brought home a bottle of wine from a local winery. Everyone had a glass.. and then there was at least a 3rd of the bottle left so I am finishing that up! AKA.. I'm drunk. My friend Eddy says that I'm not drunk, that it's "Christmas cheer" and I like his way of thinking about it!

We still need to take a family photo.. so I am dressed nice in a sweater and boots - usually I spend all time at home in my pajamas.

My brother catches a bus back to Brooklyn later today.

I head back to Rochester tomorrow, after the yearly family Christmas party. I'm sure I will be able to regale you with tales of my relatives asking me why I'm not married, or if I have a boyfriend, or if I'm a lesbian now. Laugh if you want, but those questions happen! Maybe I should get drunk tomorrow too..

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

crazy Christmas-time

It's going to be an absolutely crazy week. Because Christmas is on Saturday, I work Mon. - Thurs. and I am driving home to my parents' house on Friday morning. In order to get my 3 swims in this week, they have to be Tues., Wed., and Thurs. (I'm being honest here - I think one of those swims is going to get skipped). I have bike rides Wed. and Fri. - Sun. Oh yes. On Christmas DAY I will be doing an 8 minute balls out lactate threshold test in the middle of my regularly scheduled trainer session. I'm sure my parents will love me setting up my trainer in the middle of the living room and blasting the volume of the TV! But hey.. at least I am going home!

So much for relaxing during the holidays. But I'm looking at is as: if I do big workouts on Saturday and Sunday, I can eat big meals Saturday and Sunday! :)

Then it's back to work on Monday.

My official apartment search begins after Christmas, because my lease is up at the end of February. I look on craigslist every day but I haven't made any phone calls. In theory, apartment hunting could be fun, but with my limited budget, it blows. What I want and what I can afford are very far apart. My apartment is small, but I don't think I'm going to be finding anything that's any bigger. What I do want to find is something in a better area, where I don't have to worry about what's going to happen when I leave for the weekend. I guess if I have to compromise some space, then oh well.

All I can say is.. it's very frustrating.

Monday, December 20, 2010

more swimming, less whining

Does anyone remember last week when I was whining about my horrible swim test time and several people told me to STFU because that is how periodization in training works? Slower in the early part of the season after taking time off, then spending several months building a base, and then progressively getting faster as the season progresses? I know that, but it still sucks being slow in the off-season - hence the whining.

Anyways, I need to focus less on whining and more on swimming, because yesterday I broke 6 minutes for my 400 yd time trial - twice! I swam a 5:59 and then a 5:58. That is 4 seconds faster than my fastest-ever swim test from last season before Lake Placid! I swam myself into major oxygen debt and was basically seeing stars for the last 50, but I think figuring out how to push myself to that point is also part of the test. As much as I hate, hate, hate swimming 3x per week, I definitely think it's going to help!

I also stepped out of my comfort zone yesterday (my comfort zone consists of swim, bike, run, and that's it) and went to my first ever yoga class at Breathe in Pittsford. It was a Power Vinyasa Basics class. For those of you who are not familiar with yoga (this includes me - I had to google "power vinyasa"), vinyasa yoga, or vinyasa flow yoga refers to yoga where you change positions in relation to inhaling and exhaling and the power means that this yoga class focuses on strength and flexibility. So basically we were almost constantly moving through poses in a hot room that smelled like incense. I was concentrating so hard on figuring out what I was supposed to be doing that I didn't concentrate at all on my breathing - I'm sure this goes with the learning curve. I went with a teammate, Jill, and I think we were both surprised at how physical it was. Also, I'm glad there was no crazy yoga stuff like chanting because I would have straight up busted out laughing. Even just trying to get the hang of these poses that I had never heard of before, I was giggling. Anyways, the class was definitely challenging, which led to me being very, very sore today. My arms, my sides, and my abs all feel like they got a major workout - I love it!

I also met another teammate at yoga, David, that I have only "met" on the google group. Which basically means I have seen his name attached to emails. I'm pretty active on our google group so people tend to know who I am when they meet me, AND he said that I crack him up, so thanks for that David!

The biggest problem with going to Breathe is that not only am I going to spend money on yoga classes (that is fine), but they also sell Lululemon workout clothes AND they have regular clothes that are EXACTLY my style (total hippie girl clothes) but are expensive. I'm doing good though - no shopping - must pay for 2 Ironmans!

I went to Mary's yoga class tonight. I was hemming and hawing over whether I should go when I opened my training peaks and instead of seeing a 60 min spin on the books for Monday, I saw 75 minutes of yoga. So I went! It was hard because a) my arms and core are jello and b) because it's a more advanced class. But I think I did ok.

I also saw 1 pink yoga mat for sale that has Alexa written ALL OVER IT. Must buy pink yoga mat!

I will be back!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

mopping = a triumphant feat!

I cannot BELIEVE how productive I was today! I attribute that to a solid 12 hours of sleep. After going to see Black Swan (more on that later) Friday evening, I crashed at no later than 8:30 pm (but remember, I was up all night working) and got up at 8:30 am. I proceeded to do laundry AND clean my entire apartment, including MOPPING MY KITCHEN FLOOR with an actual bucket of bleach (is that what you're supposed to mop with??) and spongy mop thing! This has never happened in the history of my life. Yes I have used a Swiffer, but let's face it, the Swiffer dries out after about 3 "swipes" and really doesn't do a great job.

I did all of this cleaning because my friend Ari was coming over today to help me flip my mattress (my chiropractor thinks that not rotating my mattress is not helping all of the weird lower body soreness that I have been experiencing). She showed up with her boyfriend Trevor and we flipped that shit in about 5 minutes! So now I will sleep on the side of my mattress that does not have a "divet" from sleeping in the exact same spot for 3 years. Apparently a mattress is supposed to last for 7 years IF you take proper care of it, so hopefully I will be good to go!

I am feeling very at peace in my clean apartment! I got all of that cleaning done AND my bike test in before 3 pm, so then I could curl up on my couch and watch the Ironman World Championships on NBC at 4 pm with a mug of hot chocolate. (Only after I drove to Rite Aid in my sweatpants and bought milk and chocolate like the single girl that I am! Buuut, better to be the sad, single girl in the sweatpants than the girl in line in front of me, holding a First Response pregnancy test! Haha!)

I am feeling pretty tired after such a busy day, so I am laying low tonight, especially in anticipation of my first ever yoga class at 8:30 tomorrow morning! I'm psyched! I also have a swim test tomorrow, an hour bike ride, and 15 minutes of running, so it isn't going to be a snoozefest on the couch either.. but I prefer to stay busy so I am fine with it!

Anyways, back to Black Swan. I linked the trailer in my last post. I'm not going to spoil it, but I will say that it was really good. It was also REALLY weird. Like, ballet + blatant sexual-ness + psychological + thriller + creepy = Black Swan. I get freaked out easily and this movie did freak me out. I am also fairly squeamish when it comes to blood, vomit, etc. and there is enough of that in this movie to make me a little uncomfortable. So while I liked it and thought it was REALLY good, I'm not sure if I would watch it again. Just like when I watch Requiem for a Dream and I have to look away every time they show someone shooting up, I had to look away during some of the scenes of this movie, because I am a giant baby. I WOULD recommend it - however I would not recommend it to anyone who is super wholesome or doesn't want to watch a film that is "gritty."

I am off to paint my toenails for yoga! Happy training everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

work and the weekend!

Dang. It's Friday. FINALLY! Last night at work was one of the craziest nights I've had. I was alone, on nights (which usually isn't the case) and I got slammed with work. It wasn't quite as stressful as the night that I cried in the lab (because a test I was trying to run kept failing over and over again), but for the first 5 hours I did not leave the lab, I did not eat anything, drink anything, pee, sit down, or even stop moving. I think my ankles are swollen! Then there was a lull for about 2 hours where I got all of my paperwork done, cleaned up the whirlwind of destruction that I left trailed across the lab, did a ton of dishes, and set up for tests that would be coming in a little later.

Just to give you a insight into what I do at my job without violating any kind of J&J "confidentiality" - I do quality control testing on a product (that is used on medical devices) that our company makes. The speed that I do my testing at DIRECTLY affects our ability to make the product and get it on the shelf. If I am slow, mess up, or don't know how to do something, I hold up the entire process - because the product absolutely CANNOT get made until my test results pass. And if we have to hold up making something, the company loses money. Which pisses everyone off, a LOT.

Hence - when I am alone and very busy, I get really, really stressed out because I'm afraid that I won't be able to get everything done in time, or I will have problems that I don't know how to fix (and who am I going to call at 3 am?) or (god forbid) something will require a test that I don't know how to do (because we have literally thousands of possible tests that we might have to run and it's just impossible to train on them all).

So if you're wondering why I once cried in the lab? That's why. Add to that the constantly rotating shifts, and you can probably see why my job contributes a giant amount of stress to my life. I try to control stressers but unfortunately, I can't do much about my job other than try to take deep breaths and have confidence that I can do it without screwing up.


The week is over. Our factory is basically shutting down for the next two weeks because of the holidays so I get to work days and not be as stressed. The week between Christmas and New Years I will be holding down the lab by myself because the other 4 lab techs all have vacation time left, whereas I do not.

So it's time to relax and chill out for a few weeks before we get hammered at work, and I get hammered by my training - starting in January.

I think I will start that tonight by going to see "Black Swan" which is directed by the guy that did "The Wrestler" and "Requiem for a Dream" which are both great. And the trailer looks freaking awesome! AND it's rated like 9 stars on IMDB. I also have my FIRST EVER yoga class on Sunday morning! Wow.. crazy weekend for this girl!

I will reward you for reading this rambling blog entry with a triathlon joke!

Q: How many Ironman triathletes does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, he holds the bulb up to the socket and the world revolves around him.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

rounding out 2010

This is my last rest week of 2010! Good thing I had a rest day on Monday because I went to bed at 8 am and didn't wake up until 5:30 pm - it was already dark out and I was pretty confused when I woke up! I had plans to go out to dinner with my friend Ari and I was worried that I slept through it. Luckily, I didn't, and she came and got me and we ate breakfast-for-dinner which is one of my favorite things ever!

Wednesday, it took FOREVER to drive home (traffic was literally moving 5 mph the entire drive home because of the snow) and I didn't get to bed until 8:30 am. I slept til 3, did some stuff, tried to relax by watching a movie but then gave up and went back to bed from 6:30 to 9:30 and THEN had to get back up to go back into work. I guess they call it a rest week for a reason.

It's crazy to think that Christmas is in 9 days, and we start a new year in a little over 2 weeks! I'm not ready. I haven't received any of the Christmas presents that I ordered (for other people) and the Christmas mood hasn't really "struck me" yet. I guess I should try a little harder to be festive, although I will be avoiding all mistletoe and 42 year old men that won't leave me alone.

A lot has happened to me this year. A new job, a new car, new friends, a half-IM PR, a podium finish that I'm really proud of, my first Ironman, more miles logged on the trainer than I care to think about, and a whole bunch of self-discovery. These are some of the better things - the highlights - if you will. June - July was the absolute peak of the year. I think it's better to dwell on the accomplishments than the low points, but truth be told - 2010 was a roller coaster of a year. I can honestly say that I'm happy to see it come to an end.. and I'm quite anxious to see what is up next for me.

Here's hoping that 2011 brings good things to everyone! Personally, I'd like to see myself having less of a love/hate relationship with my bike, more training miles, and an IM PR (can I go as far as to say 2 IM PRs??).

Is it too early to be posting this? I mean, we are only halfway through December...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

winter blues

I think a lot of people tend to get bummed out during the winter. I know I definitely do. I don't know if it's because it's cold and dreary outside, the loss of extra sunlight AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder, being couped up inside because of bad weather, or because the holidays can be stressful and overwhelming. It's probably a combination of these things.

Add to this the fact that we are triathletes, we're used to spending tons of time outside in minimal clothing, and many of us tend to have that ever-so-wonderful Type A personality.

Winter can get rough.

In order to combat the "winter blues" I have compiled a list of things that I like to do to cheer myself up! I used to go shopping.. but that is just bad news for my bank account so I don't do that anymore.

  • First things first, I force myself to do my workouts. Even if there's 2 feet of snow on the ground, I go to the gym and do my swim. I try to run outside when possible but there's always the treadmill. And winter is really the time to embrace the trainer! Even if it's freezing out and all I want to do is lay on the couch under a pile of blankets, I FORCE myself to workout because I know it will make me feel better, and not working out will make me feel fat, lazy, and guilty!

  • Another super important thing for me is to make time to see my friends. I live alone, and I have a tendency to be a shut in. I don't know if it's because I'm an introvert or what, but sometimes it's such a hassle to leave my apartment. And I HATE messing with my routine. (So you know I love you if I make an effort to see you!). I chat on the phone a few times a week with a few friends. I have one friend that I do a dinner date with pretty often, I have another friend that I do some workouts with, or I'll go see a movie with someone. Nothing crazy, just enough to satisfy my craving for human interaction!

  • When I was in grad. school in Syracuse (hello, horrible winters), I would come home after class/TAing/working on grad. school stuff, light some Nag Champa incense (yes, I'm a hippie) and attempt to do the Daily Orange crossword puzzle. I finished it ONCE (with the help of my 2 undergrad. TAs). I don't have a daily crossword anymore BUT I still like to light my incense and/or candles to chill out.

  • Drink hot chocolate. I like to make it with milk instead of water. It's warm, delicious, it has marshmallows, and it's still less calories than a giant Hershey's bar!

  • I pop in a TV show that I have on DVD (The Office, Friends, and GLEE are 3 of my mood lifters) or a movie (the LOTR trilogy is a favorite for crappy winter days because it's super long and I totally get sucked into it and wind up wishing that I was a hobbit living in Middle-earth, or that I could get married to Aragorn because he is HOT, and the King of Gondor!!!). <-- I am a nerd.

  • I curl up in some blankets, with my cat, and I read a book. I love to read. Hence the Kindle that I want for Christmas (hint hint to my parents).

  • Clean. I hate cleaning, but I like how my apartment looks when I'm done. Sometimes I play some Lady Gaga and dance around my apartment while I am cleaning. Or I'll just dance around to Lady Gaga for the hell of it!
Um, so this is probably what everyone else does too.. not very original. Workouts - increase endorphins. Seeing loved ones - makes us happy. Watching happy things on TV - makes us happy. Comfort food - makes us happy. I am sensing a pattern. Anyone have anything weird that they do?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

unicorns and rainbows

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?"
-Nelson Mandela

Every day, you wake up and decide whether or not you are going to be happy. It doesn't matter what is going on in your life, there is ALWAYS something to be happy about. You determine your attitude. You decide if you want to look at the positive, or at the negative. If you are always focusing on the negative, how do you ever expect your life to improve?

Every day, you make choices. Those choices pave the way for choices further on down the road. Those choices reflect on who you are as a person and how you are perceived by others. There is no sense in dwelling on a choice once it's in the past. It is up to you to correct it or accept it. Most of the time, second guessing a decision will get you absolutely nowhere.

Every day, you decide how you view yourself. You can choose to believe that you are worthwhile. You can choose to believe in yourself. You can choose to surround yourself with people who care about you. You can choose to do what makes you happy and what fills you with life.

Some of that crap those words of wisdom were ones that I paraphrased from an email from my coach. (Just kidding about it being crap!). Regardless, it's applicable. To everyone. Unless you are in the throes of an armageddon, shit is probably better than you think.

Sometimes I feels like things are out of my control, and that the world is going to swallow me up. When this happens, I need to remember that I control how I feel and how I handle overwhelming situations. I don't believe in fate. I believe that every choice that I make affects the direction that my life takes. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, hurt, or some other unfavorable emotion, I have two choices: I can either shut down and succumb to that emotion, or I can take charge and kick its ass. I can stop focusing on the negative (like in my last blog post) and instead, be happy that I CAN train and that I WILL improve. I might not be riding a pink unicorn and farting rainbows, but things will be a lot more fun if I stop dwelling on things that worry me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

swimming backwards

I just did what might be the most depressing thing ever.

I am at work, on nights, required to stay awake, so I figured I would create a table showing all of the "testing" that I did in 2010 (most of these are swim tests - I also found one bike test) so that I can track how I am doing this season against last season. Every time I do a swim test, I have to click back through tons of workouts in Training Peaks in order to see how fast I was last time. I decided to get organized. (Alexa-organized which means I will create this testing table but I won't clean my apartment for another 3 weeks).

I also created a table to fill in my 2011 testing so that all the times will be there in one place for comparison - i.e. my refrigerator.

What is depressing is how much I suck.

I am NEVER taking a 1.5 month off-season again. I don't care how glorious the laziness was; it's just not worth the backsliding in fitness that I am now trying to deal with.

For example. My first swim test ever was on 1/21/10. It's a 400 yd swim test that we repeat twice. Always the same. I swam a 6:20. This was after I had been training with Mary for 21 days. This improved to 6:02 by May, and has now backslid to the horribly slow time of 6:27 as of Nov. 9th. Granted, that 6:27 was like my 3rd swim after many, many weeks of NO swimming, but it's still discouraging. I test this weekend, and if that time doesn't drastically improve, I may drown myself.

I AM swimming 3x a week at the moment instead of 2x, and I'd like to keep that up as long as possible because I'm sure it will be a huge help in improving my swim.

As depressing as it is to think about the loss of fitness during the length of time that I was out of the pool and off the bike, it is even more depressing to think about how long it's been since I've really been able to run. We're talking 3 months. I ran today for 30 minutes. I can't even hold a 10 minute mile. That right there is enough to make me cry. I am not a bad runner - I should be able to pop off 8:00 - 8:30 minute miles without a problem, but I am so out of shape that I just can't do it. I'm starting to freak out because I REALLY want to see gains on the run in Ironman, and how is that going to be possible if I'm barely running?! I'm ready to say f- this injury, which is what's going to happen anyways because as of the first of the year, my chiropractor is no longer going to accept my insurance.

Going back through my training log also made me lust after high volume weeks. Screw this recovery week that I am on, give me more hours! (Ugh, I know, recovery is apparently IMPORTANT). Pssssh. And perhaps since I am on overnights, I shouldn't fight the recovery week because this week is going to be hell anyways!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

frozen toes

This weekend started off by getting my Cervelo onto my trainer. This is a big deal! My trainer has been set up in the middle of my living room with my crappy road bike on it for the past year. I was too lazy to set it up for the tri bike (the tri bike has smaller wheels) and it just made sense to leave the road bike on there for shorter rides during the summer. However, I think it would be really advantageous to do my long winter rides on the bike that I am going to be racing on, so I enlisted some help from a dude (because trust me, me using tools is not something that ends well) and we got my Cervelo on my trainer (with a trainer tire) with only a few issues.

I've done a few rides on it so far and all I can say is.. I hope my crotch can handle it, because it's in for a loooong winter of riding!

The old road bike is currently at the bike shop getting cleaned up, because I am going to SELL IT!

Today I was ridiculously busy. I decided to go on a group trail ride at 1 pm because it was almost 40 degrees out. Since I slept kind of late and didn't get anything done this morning, I figured I'd ride for maybe an hour and a half and then get my trainer ride done afterwards, and still have the evening to chill out. WRONG. We rode for 3 hours. I'm sorry, but 3 hours on a horse in 40 degree weather is not fun. The first hour was fun. Two hours in I was wondering which of my toes would need to be amputated. We rode from the barn, down the road, under the thruway to a local park - Mendon Ponds Park - which I spend a LOT of time in during the summer for workouts. We got to the park and it was fine, but then we would ride across these open fields and everyone else would gallop their horses across the field. I am fine with that, except my horse is 20 years old and slightly decrepit, and it would be good for no one if I galloped my horse across a muddy, snow-covered field because despite the fact that she has arthritis, she is nutso and thinks she's a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby. I'm sure she would be MORE than happy to oblige me with a gallop, but I don't want her to hurt herself, so I had to hold her back with a death grip while everyone else took off.

Needlesstosay, I got left WAY behind. Matt, the owner of the non-profit group that this barn that I board my horse at runs, waited for me and we rode back to the barn together. To make a long story short, this guy has been asking me out for at least a month and a half, and I have been trying to avoid situations such as this one.

First of all, guys never ask me out. So to have someone persistently ask me out like this is a little unsettling. Also, I can't seem to thwart it. First I ignored it. Then I told him that I was seeing someone. Now, he must have some kind of radar or something because I am no longer dating anyone and he swoops in and starts planning this non-existent date. Regardless of whether or not I actually want to go out with this guy, I need some time, man! He's asking me what time I am done working and training in the evening. This time differs every day depending on what shift I am working, what workouts I have, whether I have to go to the chiropractor, etc. This is why I never go on dates! I don't know how to fit it into my rotating work schedule/triathlon training madness. This is also why I thought that the deal I had going on before, where I was dating someone I could only see on the weekends, was good - because I didn't have to worry about getting done with my weekday workouts at 7:30 pm and trying to squeeze in some hangout time before going to bed at 9 pm. But that didn't work out for me either. So right now I am just SOL.

But at least my toes finally thawed out! And I am quite possibly going to bed now because I am tired and unfortunately, tomorrow night I go back into work on nights. :( But first I must do my Christmas shopping.. on amazon! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coeur D'Alone? (what a terrible pun)

I have been thinking a lot about Coeur D'Alene lately.

I might be worried.

Disclaimer: I worry about EVERYTHING. I am sure I will be fine. I worry for the sake of worrying. :)

Don't get me wrong, I am excited to race. I'm excited to go to a part of the country that I have never visited. I know that even though I am not running right now, that Mary will have me ready. I will be stronger for this Ironman than I was for Lake Placid because I will have two years worth of base miles in my system instead of one, and I am not going in blind this time!

I am worried about going alone. I registered for this race knowing that I would be going there by myself. It's not like I am being ditched by anyone!

I really like being by myself a lot of the time. I have no qualms about traveling to Idaho on my own. But 5 days is a long time to be somewhere and not know anyone. I'm going to have to find my way around, eat all of my meals, put my bike together, get my stuff organized, have my pre-race meltdown, get to the race start, and most importantly, get myself (and all my gear) back to my room after the race - all on my own.

Who is going to be there to yell encouraging things at me when I have 6 miles of the marathon left? Who is going to write me a message at the Ford motivational mile? Who am I going to hug at the finish line?

Mary knows a bunch of QT2 athletes that are racing CDA so if I need actual help (think: medical tent or worse) then there will probably be someone that can help me. But I highly doubt a member of QT2 is going to take my bike apart for me the night of the race (while I lie on the bed) because I have to leave the next day.

Part of what made Ironman Lake Placid so special was not just the fact that it was my first Ironman, but because I was there surrounded by people that I care about. CDA is going to be the total opposite of that. It's going to be me vs. the Ironman. Actually it's going to be me vs. myself because when it comes down to it, it's going to be a mental game. I won't get passed by half the team on the bike course. I won't get to run with Don at the final turnaround on the race course. I won't see Kim and Travis, or Jeremy and Glenn, and I won't have Mary or my parents to hug at the finish.

I will finish and it will be for myself, because there will be no one else there. Sure, there may be people curious as to how I am doing, but they can track me, they can call me; I can ignore them if I want to. There will be no one to face at the finish line if I do badly, but no one to celebrate with if I PR.

It's a totally different game.

I might be worried that if I die somewhere on the course - nobody will notice when I don't cross the finish line. But I am not worried about crossing that finish line alone. I need absolutely no external motivation to finish a race. It's nice to have and I'm sure it will be missed, but I'll be fine!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

giving thanks a bit late!

I'm finally getting around to my "this is what I am thankful for" post, even though it's a week and change LATE!

First and foremost, I am thankful for my parents. Regardless of how crazy they think I am for doing this whole Ironman thing and spending the majority of my money on it, they support it. They come and watch my races. They paid for the condo in Lake Placid because there was no way I could afford it AND they paid for my hotel in Tupper Lake. They took my bike with its flat tire to a bike shop that was over an hour away when I couldn't do it because I had to be at a wedding and I had a race the next morning. They humor me by buying me triathlon-related Christmas presents (in years past I have gotten a fluid trainer, running snowshoes, a wheel bag, lots of books, and more things that I can't remember).

My coach. Without her (and the rest of Train-This), I think I would have survived the Ironman, but it wouldn't have been pretty. And it wouldn't have been half as fun as it was just getting there. And I wouldn't have had a cool looking uniform to wear during the race. And I probably wouldn't have signed up for the IMCDA/IMOO duo for 2011. Need I say more? Plus in the year that I have been working with Mary, she has become a friend, confidante, and sort of a personal advisor. You cannot help but be happy and optimistic with a coach like Mary who is so positive all the time and who focuses on the good rather than the bad. Mary sees the good in everyone and everything!

My friends! They train with me, support me, listen to me talk endlessly about my training, kick my ass when I need it, and pick me up when I am struggling. They read my blog! They make me laugh. They love me and I love them!

The people in my life are what are important. Everything else is just stuff. Everything else could go away, and my life would not be empty. If everybody I cared about went away, I would have nothing.