Friday, August 28, 2009

Randomness that I Will Attempt to Make into A Coherent Post

Perhaps a list will work? I have little scraps of things to say. Alas, my profundity must be taking a vacation this week.

1. First, a shout out to my friends doing IMKY! Judi and Amanda, you two are going to rock! I can't wait to hear all about it. Velma, you'd best take good notes! I wish I could be there to witness the day.

2. That's my daughter Jordan in the new header at about five months. She no longer flips me the bird when I try to photograph her. Now she puts her hands on her hips, procures a sexy smile, and pretends to be a model.

3. This is my third to last day in Maine. I soon must return to my life as a Mass-hole. sniffle. sniffle. sob. breakdown.

4. I race on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Saturday Alina and I are competing in a 1.6 OW ocean swim in Rockland, Maine--just up the coast. Tropical storm Danny will hit on Saturday morning, so the swim should be--- interesting. Alina will probably still win, though she insists she will not. They are predicting winds of 25-30 mph. Oh happy day! On Sunday I will race the Kennebunk Fireman Olympic Tri. I cannot wait to get out there. I'm itching to race. I'm itching to suffer. I'm itching to do a race at which I can get off the bike at 25 miles. Wahoo!

5. I think my mid-life crisis is slowing. This is good news. Hyde wrecked a few things in the last nine months, but some good changes may have come as a result. Case in point, I'm not getting my classroom ready right now. I am in Maine, writing. I apologize to all of those people that encountered Mr. Hyde in full monster form. She is rather entertaining, though, as opposed to Dr. Jekyll who can be rather dull and rigid. Perhaps an apology is not required. I am rather fond of my alter ego, despite the trouble she may cause.

6. Yesterday I came back from an ocean swim to encounter Maria (Alina's oldest) and Jordan wearing MY BATHING SUITS. They found this amusing, and were especially pleased that the suits were not really very big for them.

Here they are imitating me. Apparently this is how I appear on the beach.

I need to admit up front that it's rather upsetting to discover that eight year-olds (and Maria is actually still seven) fit into your bathing suits, especially the bikini top.
They also decided to take a picture of the bear imitating me.
And here they are mocking me again. I certainly hope I don't walk around with that look on my face that Jordan is sporting.

Later that day they decided to go running. Jordan is in her own running clothes. She's been outfitted because we are running a 5K together on Labor Day. (a side note: Today on our 1.3 mile run she commented that next time she runs she'd like to wear my fuel belt. Running that far make one very thirsty. She also insisted on having a recovery drink after the run. And note, she is already wearing my Garmin.) Maria didn't have adequate running apparel for this run, however, so she is sporting mine. Maria is very, very tall for her age. Still, the fact that she looks fine in my running clothes is -- well, not right.

Before their run:

I hate to brag, as they are our kids and everything, but Maria and Jordan are excellent runners. They went 1.33 miles in 9:44 pace. Before they left they were having a serious discussion about how it's no surprise they are so good, since they both have runner and swimmer blood. SO FUCKING CUTE.

7. This is what I must leave on Monday morning. I make no secret of the fact that I am a child of privilege in many, many ways. My parents are incredibly generous--by first allowing me to live with them when I was the biggest pain-in-the ass of a teenager ever, and second, by allowing me, in the present, to live with them each summer--with my best friend and six kids in tow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Piggies. and The Waves

I love riding in Maine. Where else do you ride by something like this?

Last year there was just the one Mommy pig, but how awesome was it to ride by this year only to discover she'd had babies! Seriously, you only find this shit in rural Maine.

The ocean this week has been nuts here on the northeastern Atlantic coast. Hurricane Bill didn't actually hit us, but it was just off the coast and caused havoc anyway. The seas were outrageous. We came out Sunday morning to discover massive waves--8-10 feet tall, and that the tide had come all the way up to the dunes the night before. That just doesn't happen here--like ever. The ocean was so rough that the lifeguards (who maybe were just practicing last week when saving that buoy???) made 22 rescues by one p.m., and then closed the beach to swimming. We were told if we got in that it would be a criminal offense!

Later we found out that in Acadia National Park, just up the coast, 20 people were swept into the water by a rouge wave. Many made it back to shore, though most suffered broken bones from being smashed against the rocks, but six or seven did not make it back on their own. They were rescued--except for one little seven-year-old girl who didn't make it. Her father was swept in too, but survived.

My oldest daughter turned eight on Monday. And she swam on Sunday in that same rough sea.
makes. you. stop.

On Monday there was still a yellow flag out, which means , of course, CAUTION! There were still gigantic waves and a massive rip tide. People disobeyed the caution rule, of course. They came out in droves to try and surf. The lifeguards worked their asses off to keep people safe--blowing their whistles every 30 seconds, I swear. (What a week for that boy, huh?) They had to close The Pier in Old Orchard because waves were smashing over it.

Today we were finally able to get back in the water for real. I managed an OW swim, but it was rather, um, challenging. It was actually kind of fun to try to gauge whether I could swim over a wave, or whether I would have to dive under it because it was going to crash on my head and pummel my body. Good times. Alina and her friend Kathy swam too. We. Be. Tough. Mamas.

This is Jordan and me on her 8th birthday, August 24. We look alike, huh? I consider her birthday my birthday too... the birth of my entrance into Mommyhood--which changes a person unalterably and overwhelmingly.
She trained me. She trains me everyday. I'm super lucky that my first is so forgiving, smart and helpful. Your first-born just gets knocked around by the waves of her parents' inexperience. She appears to be surviving it with total grace.

Here she is with her little sis. Jordan dressed her--so don't blame me! In the background is her bro, who would have none of that shit.

I have a more substantive post coming. It's just not done brewing yet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Making the Save

Yesterday we were hanging at the beach with our tribe of bambinos when Alina and I saw this:
A really hot, young lifeguard! But, alas, the fact that he was young (like really young) and hot is not the point of this story. This lifeguard was blowing his whistle and waving his hands in the air. We scanned the ocean for the offending swimmer. Naughty Naughty! Someone was out tooooo far! We scanned some more. and some more. A crowd gathered. We all scanned together. We said to each other in hushed tones, "Do you see anything?" The lifeguard continued to blow his whistle, and he was soon joined by another lifeguard who also starting waving and blowing his whistle. We, the onlookers, were puzzled. We could see NO ONE. There was simply no one out there. And then we saw it-- a tiny, tiny white speck out at sea. Was that a person? It couldn't be! How the hell did someone get out that far? They had to be at least a mile off shore... The first lifeguard finally decided it was rescue time. He strapped on his orange buoy thing, ran toward the water and dove into the sea. Go, Lifeguard, Go! We were riveted. He began swimming. He began sighting. He began taking little rests. To be honest, he didn't look like he was working very hard. I mean, really. Here's this person way the hell out there and he's taking little breaks??? I told Alina I thought he surely wasn't taking his job seriously. Or was it that he was young and hot--but a weak swimmer? "We should go out and save that person!" I cried. "We could do it! Hell, we were once lifeguards! We are both strong swimmers! Surely we are better than him...". WonderTwin Powers, activate! Unfortunately, Alina wasn't too keen on this idea. I believe her reply was, Ummm... no. Eventually he became a speck in the distance. Would he get to that person way out there? Will he be okay? Then lifeguard #2 got into the action. He got his super long white surfboard and plunged into the ocean after lifeguard number one. Young, hot lifeguards fighting the Atlantic and making the save! He began paddling, and soon he too became just a speck. We waited--eyes latched onto these boys moving further into the sea. The surfboard lifeguard made it to the swimming lifeguard, but they were still far from the speck. We waited. The drama! Minutes passed. What was going on? Why weren't they continuing onward to save the swimmer? And then we could just make out the surfboard lifeguard turning and heading for shore. The swimmer lifeguard followed him, his orange buoy bobbing along behind him. What the hell? What about the person? After five minutes the surfboard lifeguard made it to shore. He stumbled in. The crowd swarmed. Alina and I sent Jordan and Maria (ages 7 and 7) over to find out the deal. Get in there! Eavesdrop! Ask that lifeguard what happened! Nothing like having your children get your gossip. Ten minutes later the first lifeguard swam in. The crowd hushed and parted as he trudged out of the water. And then applause broke out. No victim saved, but applause all the same. The lifeguard bowed his head. Did he feel pride? Gratitude? Fatigue? Humiliation? What did this young boy feel when he realized he had swum a mile into the sea to save a a fucking buoy? Sometimes we miscalculate. Sometimes we have to take a huge risk because we know something huger is at stake, and so we place our possible miscalculations to the side and swim out to sea. It takes a lot of courage to do that. The miscalculations we make along the way shape us. I have always known these are risks I shouldn't fear. Even if they turn out badly one learns from them, and becomes a more realized person as a result. But for some reason I stopped taking those risk in my thirties. There was too much at stake. I couldn't fuck anything up--or? My stable world would wobble, or crack, or worse, totally fall down. But we can't live that way forever. If you stop allowing yourself to engage in the struggle of making the save or not, then you experience psychic death, I think. And I did. So I swam out to sea this year. I rocked my own world. I think I'm probably not as likable as I once was. Certainly I don't look as good on paper. But at least I'm alive. I haven't reached the person drowning out there in the ocean yet. But the girl I'm saving isn't a buoy, that I know for sure.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Checking the Ego By the Door

Yesterday I had a 9.5 mile run planned. It was a regular run; no pick-ups, no tempo pace, just running in zone 2/3 and chilling out.

I got up at 5:15 am and lingered a long time before I headed out. This has become a general practice of mine. Before I became a triathlete and was still just a plain old runner, I used to roll out of bed, put on my running stuff and just leave--maybe taking a gel on the way out, maybe not. But this spring Jen kept asking me to have my regular pre-race breakfast and race nutrition during my rides as I got ready for IMLP. I was like, pre-race breakfast? Race nutrition? Do you mean like when I have a gel before I leave and a peanut butter mini-bagel on the ride?

So I started getting up 15 minutes early and eating a bowl of cereal and drinking a cup of coffee before I left for the workout. That didn't work out well. You can imagine why.
Milk + Leave immediately for a run = OMG kill me now I need to stop.
So I started getting up a 1/2 hour early and having toast and coffee and maybe some sports drink.
Then I started getting up 45 minutes early.
Now I'm up to an hour.

The problem is that I like the a.m. pre-run chill time so much I have a really hard time getting my ass out of the door at the prescribed time. Coffee, breakfast treats, quiet house, reading blogs or a magazine or a (gasp) book with no children in the background screaming MOMMY!!!! I POOPED! (Do any of the rest of you get that? WTF? My 7-year-old still calls me!) My delay wouldn't matter so much except that generally I am on borrowed time--somebody must deal with the kiddos when they wake up. Usually that's Andy. When I'm in Maine it's my mom or Alina. No matter who it is I have this sense of urgency--get home get home get home--constantly paranoid that the person in charge will freak and decide never to help me out again.

You moms (and some dads) out there know what I'm saying.

I digress. In fact, I'm way off topic. I did have an idea where I wanted this to go.

So I had my java, my toast, a banana, and my hour of reading and making obnoxious comments on blogs. And then I forced myself to get out there.

And I was slow.

Oh my God was I slow.

I looked at my Garmin five minutes into the run and noted that I was going 9:25 pace.
Um, what?

My first thought was, well, clearly there is something wrong with the Garmin. I can't be going that slowly. Then I looked at my shadow. She was shuffling. She looked like a grandma.
And I thought, Imagine that--my Garmin is not working and I have someone else's shadow this morning.
That is truly bizarre.

I tried really hard not to care. But of course I DID care. So I picked up the pace. A little. Then a little more. In 15 more minutes I was down to an average of 8:45 pace. I did a few pick-ups so the number would go down. 8:35 pace. I decided to end my run with two marathon pace miles at 7:40. Down to an average of 8:20 pace. Okay. Acceptable. I don't have to hate myself. I can live with 8:20s.

This morning during my oh-so-lovely pre-workout hour I read Matt Fizgerald's newest post.
He had just gone a ride with Eneko Llanos. Right. That Eneko Llanos. Anyway, he had expected he would have to kill himself to keep up; that it would be amazing to just keep on the wheel of such an accomplished pro. But it turned out that Llanos wasn't interested in keeping an unreasonably fast pace. He was out for a long ride, and the pace, (which, btw, would have still been next to impossible for someone like me to keep) was simply fine for Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was complimentary of Llanos in general, but his central compliment stood out to me. (Probably because it was like, central. ) Anyway. Llanos seemed like "he had nothing to prove." He was "not tempted to put me in my place."

Llanos leaves his ego at the door.

Except --he doesn't.

The fact that he has nothing to prove is proof that his ego and his id are aligned. His id (or his instinctual self) wants to be good, and his ego (his organized, realistic self) knows he's good, so his whole psychic apparatus is like, cool. He is so confident in his ability that he doesn't have to worry that Fitzgerald will think he's a putz by going only 19 mph on a long ride. The guy's one race away from World Champ. What the fuck does he have to prove to anyone?

(And furthermore, did you notice his name ALMOST anagrams to EL-Kona-No-Lose?)

In the expression "to check the ego by the door" the word ego doesn't, of course, refer to Freud's concept of the word. It is a word used in common parlance as having to do with inflated pride and an assuredness that one is superior to others. Llanos, at least according to Fitzgerald, doesn't project that outwardly, so in that sense he does leave his ego at that door when riding. However, I would argue that he is likely so assured of his superiority that he simply does not need or want to project it. He knows who he is. He knows what he is. He knows he can kick everyone else's ass even if he DOES have milk for breakfast.

No, Llanos's ego is not at the door. It's tucked neatly into his Bento Box and comes along for the ride every time. It's people like me--and you, and maybe Fitzgerald, I don't know--who leave our egos at the door. If we had them with us then we wouldn't have to constantly prove to ourselves that we are good enough to go slow--by going fast enough.

Llanos may be able to run 9:25s. He can do this because he knows damn well what 9:25s are to him.
I'm not so sure what they are to me, though.
See, 9:25s may mean that my body is still feeling a little sleepy. They may mean I am having a nice, slow recovery run. They may mean I'm tired, and it's time to just go slow and enjoy being a turtle.

or they may mean I SUCK.

They may mean that though I think I can pull out a 3:20 marathon this fall, there is no way in hell I actually will.
They may mean that all those times I have run 8:10 min. pace in zone 2 for hours on end were all a big joke played on me by the GOD OF RUNNING and he has now put me back into my proper place--at the back o' the pack.

My Freudian ego--the one who is realistic, and worried, and aware--knows I'm no Llanos.
Likewise, my common parlance ego has always had a bit of a limp. If it didn't, I surely wouldn't leave it at the door. No, quite the opposite. If my ego could run fast I would take it with me on every run, and I would let it run slowly.
And then, like Llanos will surely do, I would go to Kona and kick some serious ego-carrying ass.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happiness and The Why

A little while ago I was asked why I want to qualify for Kona. It was one of those questions where the answer seems so obvious as to defy explanation. Easy. I want to qualify because I want to qualify. I just want it. I spend a lot of life wanting. I want the cake, I want the toy, I want the prize, I want the attention. I want all sorts of things, many of which I really shouldn't want. It's kind of a human nature thing. I just want to qualify for Kona. But that wasn't a really good answer, and I wanted to provide this person with a good answer, so I decided to ponder a little more deeply. I thought about it. And then I thought some more. And then I thought some more. Ummm. Because trying to get there makes me happy? But saying because it makes me happy is not a robust answer. So I came up with some better, plausible answers that I have used in the past, which are all sort of true, but not really completely true. 1. It's time away from being a mom, wife, teacher, launderer, food preparer, vacuumer, counter cleaner, picker-uper of abandoned socks, toys, dog kibble, clothing, couch cushions etc. etc. etc. and general slave to the needs and wants of my progeny. 2. Because I don't want to look like the middle-aged mom that I am; I want to look like the twenty-year old lassie I wish I once was. 3. It gives my husband an opportunity to spend lots and lots of time with his wee ones. And Dad time is like, wicked important in terms of kids' psychological development, right? 4. Because I like to exercise. A lot. 5. Because I like to shop for triathlon accoutrements--especially Splish bathing suits. 6. Because I need something about which to blog. 7. Because I want to model "healthy living" for my tots. 8. Because I like to compete. 9. Because I enjoy pain, suffering and extreme fatigue. 10. Because male triathletes are generally hot, and I find it enormously satisfying to ogle them on a regular basis. These are all excellent reasons. I spew each of them freely when asked why the hell I train so hard and so much. They aren't lies either. There is some truth in each reason. None of them really get at the real WHY, though. The real WHY is more elusive--especially the why of I want so desperately to qualify for Kona in a sort of sick, obsessive kind of way. I read an article by Ben Greenfield in last month's Triathlete called What Really Motivates You? Because I had just been contemplating this very question, I read it with relish. In it Greenfield suggests we look a little deeper to find out our true motivation for competing in triathlon. The article was interesting but not really right on, in my opinion. It suggested that we may be driven by "some illogical reason, a highly emotional want or fear." Yes. I agree with that. But then he goes onto say that if we discover this reason --the ultimate answer he calls it--then we will, perhaps, be on the way to our "greatest race ever." I totally disagree with this premise. I know, for example, when I look deep within, that one reason I work so hard at triathlon is because I'm trying to prove that I am NOT that fat, lazy teenager who smoked dope, loafed in swim practice and who feigned pride in her lack of commitment to pretty much anything. Deeper and uglier still, I'm trying to prove this to certain people in my past who didn't care then and don't care now whether I can run 10 feet, let alone complete an Ironman. This "reason" is deeply rooted enough so that it is surely a driving force in my subconscious motivational landscape. It's always there--a little hum in the background that keeps me moving. But it doesn't get at WHY I want to qualify for Kona. It explains, in part, why I work hard at things in general--but not why I find happiness and satisfaction from triathlon specifically, and why I want to qualify for Kona in particular. And at any rate, consciously acknowledging that I work hard because I'm trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I can work hard just makes me feel like a dumb ass. If I hit a big hill in a race and ask myself Why the hell am I doing this? the answer--because you were pudgy and lazy as a little girl and you need to prove that you're not anymore--surely isn't going to get me over that hill. It's not only illogical, it's also full of adolescent drama, self-pity and is seriously fucking stupid. So at this point I was left with ten or so socially acceptable (except maybe number 10), conscious, sort of reasons I do triathlon, and one ugly, subconscious reason I do triathlon, but the larger WHY, the Big Kahuna WHY of wanting to qualify for Kona, still remained unclear. I recently read this interesting article in The Atlantic entitled What Makes Us Happy? In it this journalist Joshua Wolf Shenk describes a longitudinal study that has been going on at Harvard for the last 72 years. In 1931, two researchers selected 268 "well-adjusted" Harvard sophomores (including some future big wigs like JFK) and decided to follow them throughout their lives, in hopes of learning from them both the secrets of happiness and the ways to avoid despair. The reasoning was that by studying these men throughout their lives, one could analyze who managed life successfully, and who didn't, and why, and could thereby come up with a set of guidelines by which people could live to ensure a happy, successful life. Sounds good, huh? It didn't really work out as planned, of course. Turns out that the lives of these men were "too big, too weird, too full of subtleties and contradictions to find any easy conception of successful living." Nevertheless, the trajectories that these lives took from their "well-adjusted" youths to their last years on Earth were fascinating to read about. Some of the men who appeared most together early on ended up psychologically damaged and depressed in their later years. Many were alcoholics, one didn't admit he was gay until 70, and several committed suicide before hitting middle-age. Why am I writing about this? Well first, the article was fascinating to me. It hit upon many truths about living that I have been unable to articulate. One truth, though, hit me like none of the others. The researcher who took over the study 20 years after its inception described the process of living as one that entails adaptations to pain. We experience something painful, and the way we react to it determines whether we navigate that pain successfully or maladaptively. Our patterns of dealing with these painful episodes over time determine our ability to make it through life with relative psychic success or, conversely, on suicidal row. I was quick to discern that many, many of my ways of dealing with pain are "immature" adaptations according to this researcher. For example, I tend to be passive aggressive, I tend to project, I tend to fantasize. Others adaptations of mine are apparently more developed, but still not super, like my habit of intellectualizing painful experiences, or repressing or temporarily disassociating when things get super bad. But I noted I do have TWO adaptations to pain which are supposedly mature--. 1. I use humor. 2. I sublimate my unproductive feelings, like aggression and anger, into sport. And then the insight came to me. Triathlon, and Ironman in particular, is like this way of bringing on stress and pain in a controlled way. This I have talked about before. But what came to me is that by doing it over and over again we can practice at dealing with the painful vicissitudes of life--and eventually, hopefully, get it right. In other words, we can find just the right set of adaptations and have the perfect race. And In my case I believe getting it right will produce a Kona slot. A Kona slot, you see, would be good proof of a race executed using mature adaptations. If I can get a Kona slot, then perhaps I cab execute my life perfectly, using the perfect adaptations, as well. Think about the pattern of pain and struggle in an IM race and see how nicely it fits with the pattern of dealing with pain and struggle in life. The Swim--Childhood In retrospect you hardly remember it, and further you remember it as relatively painless and easy even though as you went through it it was actually pretty hard. The Bike--the Bulk of your life. You have highs and lows, but hopefully and usually you emerge from the bike still intact and ready for old age, or the run. The run--Old Age: If you fucked up your bike, you're dead on the run. You have major setbacks and it takes a lot to recover from them, and sometimes you don't. Some people DNF before the race is over. If you have played your IM right and you have had good luck, you will end the race with grace and strength. You can also compare IM to major life practices like: Marriage The Swim--You Still Have Sex like every day. Compared to other parts of marriage this part is unfortunately wicked short. The Bike--You have ups and downs; stresses are added after time, like kids; a few who have really made mistakes in their race or who have had really bad luck drop out of the race entirely. The Run--Many more DNF. You have major ups and downs throughout, but if you are seriously mentally tough, and also somewhat stubborn, you power through them and move forward. If you have played your marriage right you will end your race again with grace and strength. If not, you limp to the finish line or don't finish at all. or Child-Rearing The Swim--The kid has tons of potential, you're not tired yet; you feed your child all the right foods and keep him away from TV. The Bike--You get increasingly tired. You try for good technique but sometimes you just cave and let the kid have Froot Loops for dinner, watch Star Wars for the 100th time, and you fail to check his homework. The Run--Your kid is an adolescent. If you had a superb bike than your kid may still talk to you. If not, you will suffer as he slams his bedroom door in your face. If you handle adolescence well, you will end the race with a good kid who has not DNF'd in his own race, and with your own grace and strength intact. Okay. That was fun. So, I do Ironman so I can practice at life's pain and suffering. Yeah, well, it was fun to develop the theory anyway. By now you're sick of reading this, I'm sure. You may have even stopped reading a long time ago. That's okay. Because in writing all this and blathering on and on, I have finally come up with THE REASON WHY. and it was right before me (and you) the whole time. It is, as I stated in my first paragraph, because I just fucking want it. It's true that our most profound yearnings are born out of our most basic fears. But taking apart the Why and attempting to trace it to its origin is futile and ultimately unimportant. Not everything can be explained cognitively; not everything can be reduced to a rational process. The want I'm describing is visceral and volitional--it is a product of the spirit. It is a want like falling in love, or deciding you want a child (or three), or knowing you need to strike out on your own. The want is the reason. It is what gets me up in the morning to run in the cold, it's what has me kill myself to do better on the next set, it's what has me pushing and pushing to make it all the way across the Pacific. This want, these wants carry us through life--happiness or despair be damned. They are the stuff of life. They enable us to create meaning out of nothingness. That's why. Took me a long time to get there, huh.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Life When "Resting": A Photo Diary

When you last heard from me I was finishing up IM Lake Placid in fine style, with a smile, a shuffle, and a UTI.

Here I am, just lifting those knees, sprinting away. Oh happy day! Well, actually, it was a happy day. Especially when it was over.

So, what have I been doing in celebration of successfully conquering my IM debut?

I am writing about The Rest in retrospect because it ended today. Thank God for this. I was well on my way to degenerating into full sloth-dom. Lest you think I'm kidding--let me just say that I managed to gain 6 pounds in two weeks. That's like a record for me. I am a competitive athlete, but I am also a competitive rester. No one rests (read eats and sits on her ass) like me.

Rather than detail the last two weeks, which, I fear, would bore you to tears, I will leave you with a few photos. We spent last week on Cape Cod. It's a beautiful place--and a perfect venue for sitting on one's ass.

This is not a flattering picture, but it does capture nicely the week's activities--going to the beach, sitting, eating.

Ice Cream was another theme of the week.

I also watched everyone else run, from the safe confines of my beach chair.

I watched Andy run a 5.2 mile road race (The Brewster Brew Run).
He made running sub-six minute miles look easy, which I find very hot. I am very much a sucker for fast, in-shape men.
He was 3rd AG in a race with more than 1600 competitors.

I also watched from my perch as my family swam, collected seashells, rode motorcycles and rested.

I admit it, though, I did get in one little ride.
This is sunrise in Chatham, taken from astride Mrs. Z.
It was a lovely week.
And now I am home.
Today I went for a run in the 95 degree heat and humidity. It was ugly. I was sweaty and disgusting 2 minutes into the run.
However, I will say that although I felt disgusting and was moving a bit like an overweight slug, I got some serious attention today.
It was hot and I wore just a bra and hot shorts. I never do this. But it was HOT, so off the shirt went. I am an old lady, and my thought, I believe, was who gives a fuck. I did not realize that just wearing a bra and little shorts is the key to receiving catcalls, however. Now I know.
A group of construction workers paving the road stopped, watched me run by, and then began applauding. I kid you not. I wanted to stop and say thank you--that really there's nothing better than that when you are 39 and have three kids and the stretch marks to prove it.
Later in my run I passed some guys doing lawn work and one of the men stopped as I ran by. He waited until I was in front of him and then said in a loud, deep voice-- Thank you-- and tipped his baseball cap.

Jesus. Am I hot or what?
The correct response, by the way, is YES, of course you are. :)