Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Review

First part of two of In Review.
(bet you can't wait for the second installment.)

2009 Workout Totals
(According to my log which is imperfect in terms of my own recording, but whatever. Close enough.)

Total Miles for S/B/R:                                            5,652 miles

Total yards of swimming:                                        370,376 yards

Total miles spent astride Mrs. Z:                             3,042 miles

Total miles on the road pounding my metatarsals:    1,225.2 miles

Total mileage of brickage:                                       1, 113 miles

Total miles Racing                                                  403.5 miles

Total Hours spent sweating this year, not including racing: 590  hours.

Of course, all the racing, walking, carrying my kids, "mountain" biking, and so on are not included in that, so I'm making the executive decision to call it 620--at least. So there. (IM alone needs to add on 11:45 hours, right?) :)

Okay. I'm still in the midst of my lifeguarding/water safety instructor training. Eight long days in a row, baby...
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Guard

This week I am training to be a lifeguard.
I've done this several times.
My first foray into the world of guarding was when I was a mere teen--fresh, young and innocent, ready to rescue all in peril... or read my book in the guard chair. One or the other.

I took guarding again in 1993 after I stupidly allowed my certification to lapse. I planned to use it so I could guard in the summer--get a tan, teach a few kids to swim, make a few bucks when I wasn't teaching in the summer months.

But then I got offered a job as director of music at a la la day camp. Director + la la  = more mula. So I never used that hard-earned re-cert and taught wee tots to appreciate music instead while I tooted my French Horn and played the piano etc and so on and forgot all about my tan and my quest to save all those in aquatic peril.

And now... at nearly 40-- I am here again. I, my friends, can save YOU. I am a professional. Me--and the dozen other teens I took the course with this week.

Let me just say that my perspective taking the course was different this time around than my perspective taking it as a kid.
I'm older. I'm wiser. I recognize the importance of listening and learning, because really, if I do guard and some nasty shit goes down, I definitely want to know what the hell to do. You know?

However, that is not the only way in which my perspective has changed.
We had to watch videos of life guarding scenarios for four days straight as part of the class, and with almost every video I just kept thinking, Holy shit! This one is definitely going to morph into porn! I just know it!
Yes, you read that right.

Really, I kid you not. The beefy lifeguard leaps into the water to save the blond in the bikini. She's a passive victim, perhaps one that his hit her poor head when diving in the water. He surface dives, and the video shows him underwater, grasping her across her chest (boobs) and pulling her in all his manly strength to the surface. She bobs helplessly as he places her limp body across the red life-saving flotation device, and then he puts his giant arms around her tiny shoulders, leans her atop his body, and begins kicking gently to the pool side...

Tell me. What do you imagine next?

I felt like the whole class was encouraging the teens in the class to just go for it -- or at it. or whatever.  Some of the saves we had to perform were just   --- so wrong.
Like this.
I have to pretend I'm a child, terrified and grasping onto the neck of my --- daddy?  I am instructed to grasp him tightly around the neck, my boobs in his FACE--and Mary! Please try to pretend  you are really a victim here! You need to grasp him like you mean it! Meanwhile, the guard jumps into save us, and he pulls Daddy-O onto his flotation device. AND THEN the child (me)  lies atop her dad (sixteen-year-old boy-man) , as she is carried to safety, boobs and face mashed against him all the while.

Does this seem RIGHT to you?

I'm just seeking a little confirmation here. What is UP with these Red Cross people???

Well, anyway. I'm off to start my Water Safety Instructor class now, which meets for the next four days.
I'll let you know if it's as interesting as life guarding was.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On Sunday afternoon I drove home from Maine with the family.
Then, on Monday morning, I left for Maine again.


In high school I had five very close friends. Two of those friends, Ange and Alina, you hear about all the time.  The others, Heidi, Julie and Chris rounded out the rest of our group.  We were very close in high school, and at the time I knew I was lucky--that not everyone could boast such great friendships. But if asked, I probably wouldn't have guessed that we would all be in touch 20 + years later. I did not marry my high school sweetheart. ( This is likely because I had like a dozen of them.) I didn't marry my college sweetheart either (even though I had just one of those...) But I did manage to maintain my friendships from high school and college. I haven't always picked well in the boy department, though to my credit I did in the end, but I sure know how to pick friends.

Anyway. We all got together on Monday night. Chris was in from Chicago, and Heidi offered to host if we all brought cookies and wine. What's funny is that despite all the time that's passed--it's like no time has passed at all. We have 15 kids between us. We all have homes and jobs and husbands... but being together is magically easy and right. I'm lucky.

I'm not sure what's made me so soppy and sentimental of late. But I need to say--I really cherish those friendships.

Summer 1990. We were all nineteen/twenty.
from left to right: Chris (pink), Ange (purple), Heidi (red), me (purple), Alina (red), Julie (white)

Christmas 2009, at 39. From left to right, Julie, me, Alina, Ange, Chris, Heidi

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blizzard Running

We had our first blizzard on Sunday morning. I was in Maine at my parents' home on the coast. We came up to celebrate an early Christmas with my parents and my four sibs, and my sibs' families.

It wasn't gigantic as blizzards go. We had only a little under a foot of snow dumped on us. But it was still a blizzard, with raging winds, whipping snow and negative digit temps with the wind chill.

I had a 9 mile run on my schedule.
I don't need to explain to most of you why I felt the need to do it despite the raging snowstorm. 

2009 is drawing to a close.
For me, this is a good  thing. I've been in a blizzard for nearly all of 2009.
 I created the blizzard, of course. I looked 40 straight in the eye and created a storm so large in scale that it nearly took out those closest to me. Actually, it nearly took me out, too.

Yesterday as I ran into the wind the snow blinded me and burnt my face.  I couldn't take the pain, so I turned around and ran loops in a sheltered neighborhood cove. At mile 7, though, I had to face the wind and get back to the house. There was no other way to get there but directly through the storm. I left my little cove and was immediately blasted by a wind much stronger than the one I had started in. Oops. Guess the storm had gain some strength in the hour I chose to stay somewhat sheltered. This was going to hurt.

My folks live on the ocean, and those of you who grew up by the sea know that the closer you get to it, the angrier the wind gets. As I got closer and closer to the house, my cheeks hurt so much from the slap of the snow that I kept having to turn around to gain composure.  With about 1/4 mile to go, I began to cry. Why was I doing this to myself? Why hadn't I realized that if I got myself out there, into the storm, it would be nearly impossible to find the strength to get back again? I wanted to give up, but you can't give up when the wind and snow are seriously threatening to build a grave for you.

I finally made it up the long driveway. The snow was whipping across the ground and up into little cyclones that burst and sprayed. The ocean was pissed--steely gray and crashing on the rocks. I stumbled to the door, but it was locked. I rang the doorbell desperately, over and over again, and banged on the door, not caring how childish my impatience might appear to be. Jordan came to the door and struggled with the lock. I continued to bang and whimpered please,  please! Then Odessa, my brother Jordan's wife, came to the door and got it open, and I pushed my way rudely inside.

In retrospect, the run doesn't seem so bad. I handled it. I ended up fine. Despite the white patches on my cheeks, I didn't actually have frostbite.

And more importantly, after a year of battling that kind of wind and snow, I'm okay with turning 40. And the life I turned upside down is damaged, but still intact--somehow. Miraculously.
FYI, no matter how big a tantrum you throw, you can't get youth back. I've had my first kiss, covered my gorgeous sixteen-year old body in shame, applied to college and left my home. I've traveled with my best friend across the country, run my first 5K, my first marathon, my first IM. My puppies have lived their lives from beginning to end in front of me. I've lost one to cancer and will soon lose another to old age. I've found the man I am spending my life with, I've gotten pregnant on purpose and by accident, I have had my children, and I'm watching them grow. I've gotten my degrees. I've worked hard and I've become jaded and blown off work. I have a home with more than one bathroom and pictures on my walls of the life I've lived.
I did those things and I can't do those things again. Not really. Trying to doesn't work. As I said, the storm I created trying to get back youth that isn't mine to have simply doesn't work. I regret that a lot of my youth was wasted on my youth.

After running all  year in a blizzard, after crying and flipping the bird to the snow and wind, I think I get it.
Just because I didn't appreciate it, doesn't mean I can get it back to do again. And maybe, amazingly enough, I don't even want to. My first kiss wasn't that great anyway. All tongue and slop on a Tuesday night with Jeopardy on in the background.

I plan to relish my middle-age. I will not be wasting it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

testing testing

This week is a week of tests.

They are as follows:

Test 1: the bike test. On the trainer. After a half hour warm up, bike 30 minutes at max effort. Then keel over and die. Record average watts, heart rate, and all that shit, if possible, even though technically you are dead.

Test 2: the swim test. Warm up.  Then swim 1000 yards as hard as you can. Don't worry if you hurl in the pool. They are friendly and will clean it up just fine.

Test 3: the run test. Warm up 30 minutes and then go 30 minutes all out. Then try to make it home. Then take a hot shower because it's 16 degrees outside and you may freeze your ass off. Record pace, avg. hr, and max hr.

Test 4: Doctor Chokalingam tests
Fast for 12 hours. Don't come to the doctor's office until noon. That's as early as she can take you, and don't complain, you ingrate, just suck it up and don't eat. I really don't care if you feel like you're going to pass out and it's only 10:16 a.m. When you arrive we will give you your favorite test of all--the pap smear. Then we will weigh you on our scale that invariably weighs one 10 lbs heavier than the gym scale. Then we will take your blood pressure and all that other shit, and then we will draw ten vials of blood so we can make sure your cholesterol is just as high as it was the last time. Then we will tell you to go on Lipitor, which you will refuse, because you are not yet 40 and you know damn well that your cholesterol problem is genetic and you have no other risk factors for heart disease.
Then you will get in the car and stuff your face because you are freaking famished.

So far I have completed test numbers 1 and 2. On test number 1 I managed to average 170 watts for the final twenty minutes of the test.  No comment on the lameness of that, por favor. It's not that bad for moi.

I didn't barf following the swimming. Fresh from my meet, I'm currently adjusted to that kind of pain.  Not an improvement over last season--but not bad either considering I have been swimming very little.

The run. I was supposed to do it today, but there are three things preventing me from doing so:
a. I'm starving and I can't eat until after my physical.
b. After my physical they will  have drawn quite a bit of blood. Not sure I should do a max running test after that.
c. Mostly importantly. It really is 16 degrees. I might have to park my ass on the trainer instead.

I will let you know the results of all my testing in a future post.

If I ever get my act together enough to write a holiday letter, this is the picture I'd include in it for 2009.

FYI, I'm so fucking hungry right now I could eat this computer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Short Course Meter Championship at Boston University RACE REPORT!

Last weekend I competed in the Short Course Meters Masters Championship at Boston University. Awesome pool, eh?

I love swim meets--especially big swim meets. There were 800 competitors this weekend in total. Jarrod Shoemaker, Alicia Kaye, Jacob Shoemaker and Ethan Brown came to swim--and it was cool to watch them tear up the pool. What's even more cool, though, is that they weren't the fastest swimmers this weekend. Not even close. Karlyn Pipes-Neilson was there too, and she broke several world records in the 45-49 age group. My friend Alina came down from Maine with her team (and mine, actually, since I swim for Maine Masters!) to compete. She broke New England records in the 35-39 AG in three events (50 M fly 29.85), 200 Medley relay,  and the 100 M free 1:02.49) and was only .3 of Neilson in the 50 free. That's pretty damn impressive if you ask me. 

The weekend began when I met Alina and another good Maine friend Katie out to dinner on Friday night. Katie swam the 800 late Friday afternoon and did awesome (11:42 with perfectly even splits) and so we had a beer and some victuals to celebrate. (Beer is definitely good pre-race food, I've decided.) Alina and Katie slept at my house, and the next morning we headed to BU to compete in some sprints! And when I say sprints, I mean SPRINTS. My longest event took me just under 6 minutes and my shortest only took me 33 seconds. Wahoo! When do we endurance folk get to that?????

Masters meets are interesting because the range of ability and experience is so far-reaching. You have beginners (and I mean total beginners) on the one end and then former high school, college, and former pros on the other. The heats were seeded from slowest to fastest seed times. By the time you got to the final heats the competition was sick. Every competitor was tall, ripped and just looked ready to kill it. A ton of meet, New England, and WORLD records were broken at this meet.

In the swimming world I am truly in the middle in terms of my times. I'm not a beginner, but compared to real swimmers I am very average. After placing in the top of my AG for the last few years in tri and running, it's a tough pill to swallow to suddenly be barely in the middle...especially since I really do consider myself a swimmer.  The good part of being in the middle, though, is that the pressure is OFF and you can just have fun. No one expects you to win--and they are psyched for you no matter how you do.

On Saturday I was scheduled to swim the 50 back, the 100 IM and the 50 free. I also got suckered into doing a 400 free relay.  The 100IM was my first event. My seed time was a 1:26 (translated about a 1:16 100 yard IM). This was ambitious. Of the eight events I swam, this is the one my kids and Andy came to see. I had a good start, and doing the fly I felt so strong. The back I could see I was falling behind a bit--and this surprised me b/c back is my strongest stroke and I usually make up time on it. By the breaststroke I was definitely behind (I so suck at breast), but I was still having fun. I brought it home and finished in 1:27.68--which in yards is about a 1:17. Not a PR, but not bad either. Unfortunately, I was DEAD last in my heat--which my kids saw. They were very sweet about that, though. To them it looked as if I had lost the whole race! A bunch of my friends also swam the IM. Alina, as per usual, killed it and went a 1:13, which in yards would be about a 1:03. (I don't swim a 100 free that fast, FYI.)

Next up was the 50 back. My biggest fear was the start. You are no longer allowed to curl your toes over the edge of the gutter, and so pushing off to do an arch is like--. Well, it's impossible for me, let's just say that. I managed a really sexy back flop.  My kick underwater was great though, and I came up close to the center of the pool. When I got to the turn I flipped on my belly too early because I am used to swimming YARDS! and the flags were about a half a stroke further down than than my usual four count. Argh. But I just glided and flipped, and it was okay. I got a 40.2, which translated is about a 35, and was good enough for 5th AG. Not bad!

The 50 free is NOT my event at all, but it's fun so I wanted to try it. I seeded myself too fast, just like I had in the IM, and so I feared the girls in my heat would once again kick my ass, as they had in the IM. This time, though, I was pretty close to my seed time, coming in at 34.2 (about a 30.5 in  yards.). And I wasn't dead last!! I think I may have been second to last, though...but I made sure not to notice. I was 8th in my AG.

Before leaving for the day I was convinced I should swim in a 400 freestyle relay. My teammates were so enthusiastic--I just couldn't say no. I anchored the relay and went 1:17 for a split--which is about a 1:08 in yards. We were second to last in our AG (they combine everyone's age and put you in a category according to that number), but we were still proud--and importantly, we still earned some points for Maine, which is what matters, right?

Alina and I were positively wiped out by the time we showered and were ready to leave. We debated going out to eat, but decided to just get burritos at Whole Foods because we were so spent. Meets are interesting in that you get unbelieveably tired--but not the same tired you get when doing an endurance event. Those tiny sprints take a ton out of you. The day goes somethign like this: sit and sit and sit and then SPRINTTTTTTT and then sit and sit and sit and SPPPPPPRINT! all day. By day's end you feel like you could sleep for a month.

But we didn't sleep for a month. We got up the next morning and powered on for day 2 of the meet! On day 1 I had competed in a bathing suit, but on day two I was able to borrow a Blue Seventy suit from one of Alina's friends on Maine Masters. Thanks, Cheryl! I was psyched! My first event was the 400 and I felt I needed all the help I could get, so the speed suit was a welcome welcome welcome. Alina agreed to count for me, and I decided I would just go for it, even though I'm out of swim shape AND I was pooped from competing the day before. I took it out conservatively--or so I THOUGHT--but my first 50 was a 37. My second was a 42, and then I just kept hammering out 44 and 45s until the end. I finished in 5:53, which translated to a 500 yard free would be about a 6:40 -- or about 1:20 per hundred. I'll take it! I was 6th in my AG. Not too shabby!

The 50 fly came immediately after the 400 free. I LOVE the fly, so I didn't care that I was tired. I crushed it (as best as I was able to, anyway) and finished in 36.8 which is about a 33 in yards. Not a PR, but pretty good just the same. I was 4th in my AG.  I should mention here that Alina won our AG and got a New England record in this event. She went 29.85 which translated is about a 26 in yards. Yep. That's fucking fast.

My last indiviudal event was the 100 back. I was psyched. This was my best event in high school, and I was eager to see what I could do, even out of shape and minus the ability to do a good start. Again, I oh so gracefully back-flopped on the start, but I was nevertheless able to make it to more than half way down the pool before I came up. My turns were pretty spot on this time (as opposed to the 50) and I was able to kick it up a notch on the second 50. I went a 1:22.48 which translates to a low 1:13 in yards. Again, not P.R, but actually, damn close! I'm going to get my high school self yet!! I snagged 3rd AG in the back--my best showing of the weekend.

Before I could leave I was convinced to do ANOTHER relay. (Really, it's very hard to say no those eager Maine folk.)  I swam with three Mainers who were all between 61-74 years old, so I was the only  young buck (well, sort of) and we were the 240-279 AG as a result. We killed it and won(our AG that is....) ! I anchored the relay and went 33.7, which is about a 30 flat for yards.

Alina and I on Sunday.

And here's another of Alina and me. (I still like the other one better, Bean.)
and, finally,
Alina, me and Maine Masters captain, Son!

(and I contributed 70 individual points to that win, too!)
Thanks for reading. I know it was a long one. (And yes, I still like you very much, even if you totally skimmed.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Latest

I have been spinning my wheels.
Big Time. Even though I have Big Ideas and Big Plans.

 But each day I fail at accomplishing anything toward those plans and ideas. I wake up full of optimism. The day is before me! I want to work on this and THis and THIS! But then I don't get anything done and by the end of the day I'm totally grouchy and defeated.

There are contributing factors to this problem:
First, it's December--and in December I must prepare for Christmas, which can be an overwhelming holiday when you have little kids. Also, there are holiday get-togethers galore that are fun, but suck up time.

Second, the needs of those little kiddos just suck up time, too. A good portion of last week, for example, was devoted to my  youngest's opthalmologic needs... the end result being this:

Glasses! Her left eye hasn't developed the sight/brain neural pathways because the right eye has dominated in the vision department for the last four years. In other words, she has a lazy eye which is starting to cross. One of her glasses' lens' has no correction, the other is +4.5 diopters (far-sighted) and makes her eye looks like it's being magnified. It's super cute--as in "Do you know the weight of a human head?" cute. In a month, we will begin patching the good eye, basically rendering her blind until her left eye picks up some slack and starts to develop some brain/sight connection.

Finally, I have been wasting time trying to get into things like the USA Trialthon Level 1 coaching clinic. Ange and I were going to go to North Carolina in Feburary to do this, but we didn't get in, despite the fact that we clicked to sign up for nearly two hours straight starting at the exact correct time yesterday.

That. made. me. really. really. mad.

But I'm over it now. Really. I really am.
(Get ready for the rant!)

I realize, in retrospect, that there are some good things about being denied entrance by virtue of not having good enough luck. First of all, it will save me about $1000--maybe more. Second, it means I will be home for three days during my kids' February vacation that I may have missed. Third, being denied made me so pissed that I have come up with excellent reasons to say FUCK YOU, MAN! I DON'T NEED YOU! to USA Triathlon and their coaching certification clinic.

I think its important, though, to give credit to USA Triathlon--because really LUCK is an excellent way to determine who gets certified and who doesn't. LUCK really separates out the wheat from the chaff, the talented from the inept, the intelligent from the dumb-fucks. It's really a great way to decide who gets certified and who doesn't.

According the USAT the problem is being worked on. I'm sure it is.You work on it, USAT. You work on continuing to find a way to monopolize the entire triathlon certification routine so that suckers like me pay your outrageous clinic fee and fly to any part of the country to take your course, just so we can stick a little USA Triathlon Certified Coach emblem on our websites. You work on that.

All right, I'll stop with the sarcasm.

The whole experience really made me think, though. First, it really did make me realize that USA Triathlon has the monopoly on certification at this point. But why? You attend for one weekend and pass a test, and shabang! You can brag you are a certified coach. This is rather ridiculous if you think about it. A weekend? A 100 question multiple choice test? Shouldn't a future coach be required to do something a bit more comprehensive before she gets "certified"?  Isn't it kind of bullshit to separate those who are qualified from those who are not by their attendance (or not) at a $525 weekend workshop? (yes.)

So, after having the door slammed in my face yesterday I decided to see if there are other triathlon coaching certification programs. And you know what? There are. And you know what? They are way more comprehensive than that of USAT. And you know what? I don't have to leave my house in order to get certified--I can actually take sixteen weeks of courses and then take a test to get certified, without having to fly anywhere.

I have decided to view the USAT certification as a designer label. Does having acquired the label make me a better coach? No. Does actually investing serious time and energy into the study of triathlon coaching make me a better coach? Yes, likely--even if I don't get the designer label as a result. The frustrating thing is that we get caught up in these labels--you know? For example--to site one from our field--it's not good enough to do a race that is 140.6. People want to do IRONMAN. They want the M-Dot. The label. The symbol. It's dumb. This from the girl who has a modified M-Dot tattooed on  her ankle...

So, in short, I'm probably NOT going to get certified by USAT any time soon. Maybe not ever. I will get certified by the I.T.C.A , however, which offers a 16 week course that covers a  huge amount of ground--far more ground than can be covered in any weekend clinic.  And when and if I am ever asked by a potential client why I am not certified by USAT I will simply say that I chose to be certified by an organization that provided me a more comprehensive learning experience than that offered by USAT. And that would be the truth.

And if you are thinking about becoming a coach, I suggest you do the same.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

GNRCYO Ho-Ho-Ho 5K Race Report

No, I didn't race this weekend.
I didn't even want to, and that's extremely unusual for me.
No, I am enjoying my time off from the competitive world -- for now. I've even been less competitive with myself for the last month or so, which is truly strange. I haven't even been using my Garmin, but rather my modest Timex that simply tells me--well, the time.

(Andy would add that the reason I am not using my Garmin is because I lost it. Or it got lost. I'm not sure if the culprit is man, child or beast--or me (unlikely since I'm perfect). In any case it is, in fact, missing.

Anyway, my blog has been rather dull in its content lately.  It needs a race report. So, I'm reporting on a race that I didn't run.
Andy ran it, though. And two of my athletes.
Good enough.

When I rose this morning it was dark. My plan was to get my run in before the race so that it wouldn't be hanging over me as I watched others nobly exert themselves to the point of hypoxia. Unlike the racers, though, I ran slowly and without vim. And did I mention it was dark? And cold? And at one point I had to cross the path of turkeys? Turkeys, I've mentioned before, make me uncomfortable. They are ugly and make ugly noises and they are big, and I just know they are waiting for a cue from their leader to attack me.

Nevertheless I made it home, and when I got there my daughter handed made me a delicious fruit smoothie she had made with raspberries, strawberries, banana and protein powder. (I tell you, it pays to let them have full reign in the kitchen. She is quite the little chef.) I then showered and went off to help out at race registration, since this is my club's 5k.

Registration was tres exciting.
I registered people.

Soon after my arrival to help with registration, Andy arrived with the kidlets in tow. My friend Michael (race director) led them outside for the kids' race while I continued to register away. Thanks Mike! When I finally emerged from my registration duties, the kids' race had finished (everyone won and got a medal--although Jordan wanted me to add here that she did, in fact, win it really.) and the 5K was just about to begin.  I snapped a few photos of the pre-race excitement.
Here is the line-up.

And here is the start.If you look closley at the right side of the picture and back a few people, you can see Andy, in the red.

The problem with offering up a race report on a race you didn't run is that you actually have very little to say about it.
So, I asked the man who won the race:

me: How was it?
him: Fine.
me: Any details you want to add other than 'fine'?
him. no.
me: snort.
him: shrug.
me: Okay, so was it a battle to the finish?
him. No. I passed the guy ahead of me at mile 2 and that was it.

So that is the riveting report from super speedy himself--the winner of the whole shabang--aka, Andy.
Don't underestimate the middle-aged man in red, that's what I always say. 

He ran a 17:30. That's 5:39 pace. He won it by over 20 seconds.
I am a very proud wife. (And maybe a little jealous. I can't even run one fucking 5:39 mile on the track.)
I analyzed his Garmin data and I noted that he warmed-up for the race in 7:02 pace and warmed down in 7:22 pace. I will add here that I find that very annoying. I likely would have run the fucking race in 7:02 pace and nearly puked trying to do so. But again, I am a proud wife. A happy wife. A non-competitive wife. A wife that would like to remind everyone that I have beat Andy in triathlon on two occasions. two. TWO.
Just in case you were wondering.

Here he is finishing in all his red-shirted glory!

I know it's a lame picture. I only had my I-Phone with me.
Here is how his family responded to the great news that their father is a WINNER.

me: Where were you?
Jordan: Right here!
me: Did you see Daddy won?
Jordan: He did?

me: Lara, look! Daddy won!
Lara: silence.
me: Lara, look! Daddy won!
Lara: silence.
me: Lara, look! Daddy won!
Lara: I got a medal. Did you see my medal?

And I couldn't even find Noah to interview him. Glad we went out to support Daddy in the race. Family support is everything, you know. I'm quite sure that if asked about his win by Mike, the race director, Andy would have warmly thanked his supportive family, noting that he couldn't do it all without them. He would have said that, I'm sure, except he was warming down when his award was announced.

(Umm.... Who does that? Had I won I would have been all jumpy and like, Look! I won! I won!)

As for my athletes....
(I love saying that.. MY athletes... ) bahahaha!
They both had good races. Honestly, I've only been coaching one for a week and one for a few more than that, so how they did doesn't have much to do with me. It was still fun to see them kick some ass, though. Great job, Ladies.

We then all went out to breakfast. My kids had some syrup and whipped cream with a little pancake. I had a lot of coffee and some tasty victuals that I won't write down for fear Jen will read this post and reprimand me for partaking in such greasy and disgusting fare.
It was a great morning.

And now, I must go. My little chef Jordan has just removed cinnamon-sugar rolls from the oven. The girl is going to make me fat. But how can you say no to an eight-year-old cutie who wants to know if this batch came out better than the last one?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Judi Will Like this Post

I think I'm going to commit to Cross Fit

The more I read about running and cycling, the more convinced I am that my biggest limiter is not my aerobic endurance but in neuro-muscular adaptation and in muscular strength. I'm one of those athletes who has built aerobic endurance over years and years. I could develop it further, and I will, of course.  My running economy has improved over the years just by virtue of the fact that I have built that aerobic endurance. My running and biking economy could be improved further, though.  My lungs are ready to go, but my tendons, joints and muscles need work in order for me to get better/faster/stronger.

Functional routines and plyometrics have become increasingly in vogue over the last few years because exercise scientists have realized that running economy can be improved by doing neuro-muscular work--or work that cues the brain to ask the body to move in a certain, more economical way. The fastest runners are the most efficient runners. They are able to run fast without wasting energy with movements that don't help to propel them forward at a quick pace.

The easiest way to incorporate neuromuscular work into your training diet is to do things like short hill sprints (on the bike or run), running/biking drills, strides or short sprints on the bike and lots of jumps. Just today Jen had me doing all sorts of quad jumps with weights in my hands.I anticipate that I will curse her tomorrow when I can barely walk as a result of this little jumping frenzy.

The Cross Fit folk are pretty hard core. They advocate a palieo-diet, which, I will add, I have tried and failed at several times. I like nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies and meats just as much as the next girl, but not eating anything at all processed, not even bread, is just a little too psycho for moi. As I often say, life is too short to deny one cake. or beer. or pizza. Of course one shouldn't eat that stuff ALL the time--but permanent denial is just, well, too permanent.

For training, the Cross Fits don't use weight machines of any kind. They use barbells and discs and one's own body weight to build strength. This means things like pull-ups, push-ups, hand-stands, lots of jumps. I actually don't know what else it entails, which I why I'd like to try it.

I know a few of you have tried Cross Fit. Tell me your experience with it if you have.