Monday, March 30, 2009

New England Masters Swim Champsionships

Wanna be truly impressed?
Go read my friend Alina's report of this meet. She is scary fast. scary. She got first in her AG in like every event she swam. I've known her forever, and she still stuns me.

I signed up for this meet very late. It doesn't exactly fit in with my training right now. Still, I wanted to swim at a meet with Alina! She encouraged me to sign up with Maine Masters. So what if I am a MA-hole? I now belong to three groups: Greater Norwood Running Club in MA, Team Nor'Easter in ME (tri) and Maine Masters. I am just a Mainer at heart... I can't help it.

I signed up for the 500 free, the 100 IM and the 50 fly. I wanted to swim the 500, and those other two events immediately followed the 500, so I signed up for them too. I do love the fly and IM.

The pool, Blodgett Pool at Harvard, is gigantic and gorgeous. The water just feels fast. Alina let me borrow her fancy black skin suit for the 500, so I was feeling really fit and fast before the race even started. I did 1000 warm up and a few starts.

I was seeded 17th out of 25 in my AG, but oh well. The New England Championships bring out the best, right? I tried to swallow my pride. I found a new friend (Amy from Maine Masters) to count for me, and I headed down to the pool.

I was in a pretty early heat, given that I was so slow compared to the rest of these speed swimmers. This meet was so large that it was run like machine. As soon as the previous heat touched in, the gun went off for the next heat. No exaggeration. So, the girl in my heat touched, then the rest of the heat, and then BEEP! We were off.

I was like lightning.
For 100 yards.
Then I felt it.
So I slowed down.
Next 100
I kept hitting 50s in like 41 or 42 and I finished the race in 6:48. I think that's like 1:21/1:22 per 100. I was pretty happy with it, especially given that after the first 100 I thought I might vomit my Gu into the pool. This seems to be a theme in my racing lately. I had to be in the top 16 to get a point for the team. I was 17th. Damn!

Alina showed up a little while later. Yeah! My friend! We hung out for a bit, and then she went warm up. I waited, but then, reluctantly, went to warm up too. I was tired from that 500! I didn't want to get wet and cold and tired again! I did another 300.

Luckily, the 100IM and the 50 fly are so fast that the hurt barely registers before the event is over.

I still had on Alina's snazzy suit for the IM, b/c she didn't need it until the 50 fly. I was in the 10th heat of 21 for this event. Not so bad....
The previous heat was on the last length of the pool and I stepped onto the blocks. They touched and BEEP! Off again.
I love the fly.
Especially when I only have to do one length of it.
I love the back.
I was smoking everyone.
Until the breastroke. Who invented the breaststroke? I hate it. And I suck at it.
Then bring it home! I could hear Alina screaming at me at the end of the pool as I turned and started the free.
Not so bad....
A four second improvement over the last time I swam the IM in Feb, and I got 13th place! That's 4 whole points!

After the IM I gave that great suit to Alina, and put on my super shiny blue suit. Would I suck now that I didn't have on that magic suit?
Apparently not!
I'm sick of writing, so let me just say I did it in 33.9. Not so bad! A 2.5 second improvement over last month. Wahoo! I was 10th in the race, so I earned 7 points!
FYI, Alina swam this too and won it in 27.8. Oh yeah.

Maine Masters won the whole meet. I think they had like 4000 points. But hey, 11 of those babies came from me.

It was a great time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Think I'm happy about the PR? Thanks, Jen!

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Bedford Half Marathon Race Report

I had a great half marathon yesterday. It didn't feel particularly good, don't get me wrong. At mile 10.5 I seriously wondered whether I would make it to the end, or just collapse in a heap and start crying like a baby. It fucking hurt. It hurt, and today my body feels like it was hit by a truck.

I drove down with Kim and Paul (who has no blog, much to the confusion of Kim and me, right Paul?). I don't get to see them much (except for Paul at the pool, occasionally) so this was a treat. The conversation was lively and funny, and helped to keep my mind off the race. I always seem to do better if I don't over-think my racing.

This is a big race in terms of size. There were about 2,000 runners and the field was extremely competitive because it is the USATF New England Club Half-Marathon Championship. I actually like it for this reason. It's fun to see the elite runners come out in droves all sporting their club jerseys. I also like to see how I stack up against them big dogs. (Or little dogs. Runners are usually quite slight, if you know what I mean.)

One bad part about a large, competitive race is that the start is slow. In your everyday race I push right to the front. However, at a race like this it is downright insulting to the elite runners if runners like me try to start on the line. Plus, if you do start with the people aiming to do five minute pace, you get absolutely trampled. Of course, if you start too far back you also pay. It took me at least 30 seconds to get to the starting line, and once there I had to really wait and dodge until I could break free about a 1/2 mile into the race.

I took it out too fast, mostly because of the panic caused by being stuck in the cluster of runners at the beginning. First mile: 6:44. ummm. oops! Remember that the first half of this mile was pretty slow--so what was I actually running? I looked down at my Garmin: actual pace-- 6:22. Okay, then! (Little internal voice starts screaming--) Alert! This is a half marathon, and you are running 25 seconds faster than 5K pace! Slow down! Alert! Slow Down!

So I slowed down. A little. I just felt so sleak and good and fast, though. I am no longer Mary, I am SUPER MARY! I began to think it was a crying shame I didn't have a jersey that said Iron Fucking Matron on the back. But then, as I cruised along, I pondered whether people would think I was a Matron who fucked? Or whether they would realize I was simply using fucking as an expletive to emphasize my I'm going to kick your assed-ness? Should it be Iron Matron: Fuck Yeah? or just Iron Matron? or Fuck! There's the Iron Matron! Then I imagined someone stopping me on the course and saying, Hey, I read your blog!

Looked back down at the Garmin: 6:21 pace.
Fuck! Fuck ! Alert! Slow down!

(you are gonna pay, sister. no one gets away with running faster than 5k pace at the start of a 1/2. No one you, dumb fuck.
How about Iron Matron: Dumb Fuck who Took it Out Like A Cheetah?
Race. Race. Focus on the race.)

I knew I would pay, but I just couldn't convince myself that it was the right thing to slow too much.

I am happy to say that for once in racing life, my gamble paid off.

Obviously I did slow down some. Mile 2.5 took care of that with a big, beautiful, long hill. Then I began to clip off between 7-7:05. I could hold this. It was good.

I remembered this course as being really hard. Two years ago I ran in it freezing temps and with a wind that nearly lifted me off my feet and heaved me into the ocean. I kept thinking that I would get knocked down by a big hill, or by gale force wind. But it didn't happen. I just kept running along. Gorgeous day. Nice pace. In pain, but manageable.

At about mile 6 I saw my teammate, Maureen. I focused on her back and just kept trucking toward her. I knew I was having a good race if I was up to Maureen. The little fear that I was going to blow up began to surface again. I forced myself to stop thinking and just run--even, steady. I was all good.

By mile 10.5 I suddenly felt it. I wasn't just tired. I was really fucking tired. You know what I mean--the type of tired that means your body is getting ready to shut down on you and in a few moments you'll be running 12 minute pace and wimpering.

I ate a Gel. Who cares if there were 2.5 miles left? I needed something! Then I just talked myself through it. You are still keeping pace. You are not dying. You are keeping pace. Just keep pace. Shut up. Just keep pace.

Mile 11.5 to 12.5 is a long, rather steep uphill. I slowed and momentarily lost faith, until I noticed that I was passing people. I am in better shape than you. I am in better shape than you. Just keep running.

I felt a rumble in my stomach. I felt some bile rising in my throat. That Strawberry PowerGel was going to make a reappearance...

Just keep running. You've puked before in a race. Who cares. You are headed for a PR, so shut up and do it.

Ahead I saw another GNRC t-shirt. I realized it was my teammate, Tom. If I was running close to Tom, I was having a really, really good race. I just stared at his back and tried to draw myself closer to him. Close to the top of the hill I passed him. Was I actually going to beat him? This could NOT be real.

The last 1/2 mile is a downhill, and thank God for that or that Strawbery PowerGel bile would have just kept rising until....
As I turned the bend and began heading down the final stretch, Tom passed me back. I think I called him a fucker.
Hopefully he's not mad. Are you mad, Tom? Sorry. I didn't mean it...

Well, maybe I meant it just a little...

And then it was over. 1:33:37. My Garmin read 7:02 pace, but they had me had 7:09 pace. My Garmin also read 13.35 miles. Weaving. Gets me every time.
But who cares! Wahoo! That's a 2 minute 40 second PR for me!

After the race Paul, Kim and I got lunch and beers.
As we were eating, a guy came up to and said, "Hey, you're Kim! And you're Mary!" It was a weird moment until he explained he was SoloBreak--fellow blogger. So cool! Recognized! We're like, famous! Okay, not famous. Still, though....
Thanks for saying hi, SoloBreak. Cool to meet you in the flesh!

The End.
Pics to come.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Faith Proof Truth

I'm a woman with little faith.
I'm a woman who needs proof.
I'm a woman who believes that the most current proof is, in fact, the truth.

Whatever truth has just transpired, that is the one I believe. That truth is the truth. Last week's truth is not good enough. Last week's truth is no longer accurate.

This belief really isn't a good one to adopt, just in case you were thinking of doing so. Of course, if you are an OCD triathlete, and I know many of you are, then this thinking is familiar to you, I'm pretty sure.

You are only a good parent when the latest truth has revealed this to be so.
You are only funny, or interesting, or profound according to the last time someone else's response to you revealed this to be true.
You are only a good teacher according to the success (or not) of the last class you taught.
You are only as good an athlete as your latest performance revealed.

Show me the money, baby. The rest is bullshit.

The solution seems simple. If you have a good race, simply never race again. Then that truth, the truth that you are a superior human being worthy of worship for your athletic prowess, remains intact.

Alas, it doesn't work that way.
I think of it a bit like taking, say, a narcotic.

You race really well, or someone laughs when you are funny, or your child hugs you and says "You're the best Mom eva"--and in that moment YOU ARE. You get high with the truth of it. I really am! Proof! But then time passes and things get darker. You need another hit. You need more proof. You need to confirm that the last race, the last compliment, the last sign of affection from your little person was not a fluke. You stop believing in that last piece of proof. It can no longer be valid, because it happened too long ago--even if too long ago is only a few hours.

Unfortunately, negative proof works differently. Negative proof reinforces what you fear to be true, and that proof remains strong and fast until you can get a positive proof to knock it out of the way for a bit. Hence, proof becomes addictive. Hence, you workout 20 hours a week and do an Ironman. Hence, you are certifiably insane.

I know the real solution here would be to, you know, do some work on the old self esteem. When you figure out how to do that, let me know.

Luckily for me, I have a race this weekend. Let's hope I kick ass. I plan to kick ass. I need a shot of proof. I need it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lately, there appear to be recurring things from which I cannot escape, either in my mind or in actuality.


A: Ass. My ass hurts from too many hours parked on the bike. Also, I appreciate a nice ass.

B: Biking. Bacchanal. My destiny if things don't improve.

C: Control. I want more of it. Cleaning. I want less of it. Crisis. Enough already. Character. It appears mine is lacking.

D: Damage. I'm not going to explain that one. Dogs. My ancient Lab won't stop pissing on the floor. Desire for--see E.

E: Escape. Ennui b/c Escape is not--see F.

F: Feasible. Fortinbras. I remain hopeful he will show up. Fate. Lately, I've been a believer. FaceBook-- Fantastic and evil.

G: Guts. These are needed for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is waking up and charging forth on July 26, 2009.

H: Hunger. Ironman training appears to be a bitch that way. So is mid-life.

I: Ironman. Irritable. I need to work on this. Internet. I spend the half of life I'm not training on it.

J: Jordan. She's the #1 bambino. No need to escape her. Jaded. It happens.

K: Kainotophobia. That would be the fear of change for those of you too lazy to look it up.

L: Lara. The #2 bambino. Ditto per J. Library. I frequent the place for numerous reasons.
Laundry. I really, really can't escape that one.

M: Matron. Mid-life. Magic. Don't believe in it anymore. MPH. MacBeth. I know I'm getting carried away with my Shakespearean references, but well, they work.

N: Noah. The #3 bambino. Ditto per J, L.

O: Outrage. Outrageous. Ouch.

P: Pushing. As in the envelope. As in the next interval. As in...(fill in blank). Piss. As in on the toilet seats and the floor, courtesy of men/boys in the house and previously mentioned old man dog. Parenting. of course. Power. See previous post. Peanut Butter. CRUNCHY peanut butter. I go through a jar a week. Pacing. Never been my strength.

Q: Questing and trying not to have Qualms about it.

R: Running. RPM. Rationalizing.

S: Swimming. Also Sex, of course. Swearing. It's a problem for me, as you all know.

T: Triathlon. Tiredness. That would be from the letter I, and also the letter C. Tedium.

U: Universal. I know it is, but it certainly feels Unique to me.

V: Veiled. Vo2 Max.

W: Water. We all need that, right? Want. We need that too.

X: X-Rated. I admit, it's all I could think of for X. But it's a good one, right?

Y: Yes.

Z: Zatch. This one you do have to look up--unless you already know what it is, of course.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Yes, I know. I had a different post up. Now it's gone. Ho Hum. I've been thinking about power. I like power. I don't wield much power in my life, though, and it's high time I began wielding more of it. There is power in words, but sometimes there is power in silence. Have you noticed that? It's an interesting thing. I talk too much, confide to much, put too much out there. On the one hand this is good: when you are out there, people respond to you and befriend you and relate to you. In fact, by putting myself out there I made a great connection just yesterday. However, sometimes just keeping your trap shut has enormous power. You can bend people to your will just by being remaining quiet. Really! I've never done it, but it's been done to me. It's an interesting phenomenon. On to triathlon and power. I need more power there too. I need the power to believe that all my crazy training will translate into finishing IM. I need the power of will to get me through the next few months as I journey toward IM, and as I journey toward figuring out some pretty complex personal stuff. BUT most importantly, I need power in these quads. I need the numbers on the power meter to stop mocking me. I need to push more watts than my dead grandmother (rip). I need to do this or I'm going to be dead fucking last on the bike at IMLP. I know I'm little, and I know about weight to power ratio etc. blah blah. But my numbers are really quite embarrassing, still. My awesome coach, (jen), has me doing some great bike workouts that I know, eventually, will help me to increase my wattage output. But the journey is a slow one, and I've been wondering if a little person has a shot in hell at ever getting really, really good on the bike. Are there enough muscle fibers in my itty bitty quads to ever really put out serious POWER? That is the question. More importantly, if I can get some power in these little quads, if I can make them bigger out of sheer work-out will, will that power float through my body, into my brain, and make me a more powerful, not to be fucked with person?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Triathlon and Looks: A Mid-Life Reflection

I appreciate the male triathlete body.

I appreciate it on many levels. A body that's been working at triathlon for several years is generally quite taut and sports a nice ass, it generally belies its years, and it generally performs exceptionally well no matter what's thrown its way. A male triathlete body can often negate other, less desirable characteristics (in terms of looks) like an average face, thinning hair, too much hair or nasty feet. A really smoking triathlete body can even negate icky personality traits like vanity, smarmyness or geekiness.

This is all true of the body of the seasoned male triathlete.

Many of these things are also true of the seasoned female triathlete. She will likely have a taut body with a nice ass, she will often look younger (at least her body will) than she is, and she often will kick the ass of any non-triathlete male that challenges her. All good.

Unlike the male triathlete, the female triathlete still doesn't necessarily come out on top in the world of desirability. I try to explain this to my non-triathlete women friends who will not shut the fuck up about how nice it must be to be thin. Yes. It is nice to be thin. But that still doesn't mean hotness. This is why:

One, female triathletes are too busy working out to do anything but maintain their bodies
and two, the body of the female triathlete, unlike the male, actually takes a few hotness hits by training too much.

Let's start with the latter. Unlike males, whose chests get bigger when they train in the right way, female chests get smaller and muscular. Female triathletes often have no tits and the tits they do have are on top of rather strong pectoral muscles. Likewise, the curvaceousness of the female body is often lost with a loss of body fat. The really super fit female triathlete often looks more like a very strong pre-pubescent boy than a woman. In short, the really fit female triathlete would not make the cut in the song Baby Got Back.

Like most of you, I spend, right now, between 8-14 hours a week training. As I get closer to IM, that will increase to as much as 20 hours a week. Also like you, that means that I spend every waking moment that I am not working or taking care of my kids at the gym, the pool, on the bike or out running.

This leaves no time for the following things that women my age in my world take the time to do:

get a
shave well and consistently
shop for flattering and fashionable clothing
get a
hair cut
hair dyed or foiled or whatever they do nowadays
wear a watch other than an Ironman Timex.

Further, all of the female triathlete's extra money is spent not on
cool clothing
cool shoes
cool purses
hot underwear
nice jewlery
all of which could make her look hotter

but on

work out attire
running shoes every three months
energy gels, drinks, bloks etc
swim suits
triathlon accurtrements
race entry fees
triahtlon camps

I would not change a thing. I like my pre-pubscent boy body and my hang nails and my totally nasty toes.
And I love my body because it allows me to do something I love.

I don't work out a billion hours a week so I can be hot. Working out a billion hours a week does not make a female hot. I may be shallow, but I'm not that fucking shallow.
The women who I want to read this will never read it.

There's the rub.