[code"> [/code"> Courtenay Brown: May 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Attack of the Singing Lifeguard

I really do wish I had a few photos to go with this post. Ah well.

Anyhow this morning I swam at the indoor pool (the outdoor pool opens at 9:30 a.m. this week, and I start work at 10 a.m., so I can't start swimming in paradise until June 1 when it starts opening at 6:30). I walked out of the locker room and onto the pool deck and there is one other swimmer and one lifeguard and the mysterious sound of Celine Dion (or maybe Whitney Houston, I get their stuff confused) a cappella really loud.

It was the guard.

For her entire 30 minutes on duty, she paced around the pool singing the best of 1990's Soft Rock. Apparently earlier in the morning, a few patrons asked her to stop. And apparently, it didn't work.

Also, the *creepiest* thing is that she is up there singing and smiling down at the swimmers while she's belting out "I will Always Love You" or whatever. Yikes. She must be on meds.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

When Greg's Away, the Cat will Play

Kitty when Greg is not around:

Kitty when Greg is around:

So Kitty has never really been a big Greg fan. I don't know whether it's Greg's 6'5" height, his tendency to be loud when he does basically anything, or the fact that he thinks it's funny to hiss and/or growl at kitty, but the end result is that 7 months after we adopted him, kitty loves me more than ever and runs and hides as soon as he hears Greg. He's actually turned into a bit of a watch-cat, he knows Greg is coming home before I do.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going forward...

...I plan to inflict some serious ass-kicking on myself in the pool. I know, I know, I should have adopted this attitude a while ago. But somehow I slipped into the mindset that 1 or 2 semi-decent swims a week and 2 or 3 sessions of diddling around doing backstroke kick would be enough to help me improve. Plus I was getting so frustrated with bad workouts at our pool in Incline, and frustrated with my lack of improvement all winter, that I decided to just stop struggling with it and save the tougher workouts for Carson City, where it's possible to swim more than a 150 without dying. It's definitely helped my workouts be less stressful, and I have improved a bit over the past couple months, but it's time to get a bit more proactive and agressive about it.

The outdoor 25 meter pool here in Incline just opened, so that should help, but if I have to drive down to Carson three or four times a week then that's what I'll do. I'm really sick of sucking.

Also I have a bunch of new swimsuits and pool accessories arriving this week, a prize from my win at Silverman last year! (And yes I am secretly hoping that a new suit will help, my current suit is so stretched out and saggy that it's sure to be slowing me down, right?)

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Basically Back to Normal

After a few days of being so very tired, I got my head and legs back on straight, just in time for the weekend!

So my training was actually pretty decent.

Friday was a nice run and a long course swim down in Carson, where I ran into an Exterra triathlete who lives in Incline just like me - we are going to try to start carpooling down there once or twice a week, since we seem to have compatible work schedules and 60 miles round trip alone is kind of silly. According to my mom, I can't afford that gas cost anyway (see yesterday's freakout topic).

Yesterday was just a bike day, 2:30 on the trainer with 1:45 of that being interval work. The time flew by, first due to *sigh* Jason Bourne (who BY THE WAY swims breastroke with scissors kick, JUST LIKE ME!!!! He's so great), and then due to my awesome new iPod. Why I ever defected from the iPod Classic to the measly Shuffle remains a mystery. I am glad I regained my senses.

Then today I swam in our gross dumb indoor pool here in Incline, although I was very happy to notice that they seem to be vacuuming it more these days, so there are way fewer hair clumps and bandaids than there used to be! Still a bunch of kids running around though, including two girls whose mom ignored the "no food" signs and let them open a tube of Pringles in the locker room which they promptly dropped all over the floor and a bunch of them shattered and started turning into mealy globs because of the water from the pool and people showering, then of course the trio hightailed it out of there without telling the front desk that they ruined the locker room floor for all the other patrons. Gross. Sometimes people with kids really amaze me.

And finally, today was long run day! I headed out for 90 minutes after my swim. I haven't done a long run since Wildflower three weeks ago, and technically my last long training run was 5 weeks ago, so it felt great to get out and run long after taking a break from it. I missed the feeling I get after an hour of running, when I start to feel really good and really efficient and a little dose of soreness from muscles working hard and adrenaline from knowing I still have a ways to run. Also the sun made an appearance so there were lots of tourists walking around on Lakeshore Drive taking pictures of the big houses and wearing goofy "Lake Tahoe Hyatt" sweatshirts they must have bought from the giftshop because they came here unprepared for the cold - kind of like those dinky "San Francisco" sweatshirts you see walking all over the city in July on people who are clearly out-of-towners who didn't do their research... "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Supposedly Mark Twain said that but there isn't proof that he really did.

Anyhow, so that's that. Now I am sitting here goofing off on the internet, trying to make a somewhat cool-ish website for myself because on a whim a couple weeks ago I decided that blogger was dumb and I am sick of having two blogs and wouldn't it be way better to have just one site with my journal and artwork and race stuff all organized so I dropped more $ than I should have on all that hosting domain-name nonsense. Groan. I am determined to make it look like I want it to but it's taking me forever!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still Snowing

It is still snowing up here in the mountains, and it's actually starting to stick! Yikes! I am gearing up for a longish indoor bike ride. I'm kind of relieved about it, there's no need for me to sit and debate whether to try riding outside, the snow made the decision for me. Somehow cold+wet up here feels ten times worse than cold+wet at sea level... although maybe I am just looking at the Bay Area winters and rains of my past through rose-colored glasses!

Separate matter: I found myself chuckling yesterday about the $4+ gas freakout. I shouldn't be laughing, it's a serious matter I know, but I was thinking about how it's not like gas prices suddenly doubled or something. We've crossed the $4 mark here in Incline many times already, although we have generally hovered right below it. But suddenly gas is 10 or 20 cents more, and it's freakout time... OMG I can't afford to drive down to Carson to swim, OMG I have to combine all possible errands for the month into one trip, OMG OMG OMG. My friends, family, and TV are all reacting the same way - everyone is.

I did read Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, I understand and agree with the concept and it certainly seems to apply here. $3.99 gas is annoying, $4.09 gas warrants revision of travel and vacation plans, slapping a "For Sale" sign on the Ford Expedition, and Freaking Out. (Seriously in the past week I have seen an exponential increase in the number of gas-guzzlers sporting for sale signs. I have also laughed at the commercials on TV advertising "deals" on Toyota Sequoias, Ford Turbo Truckmonsters, etc.)

For now, I am glad I have a fairly gas-efficient Honda Civic. But I am saving my pennies for an electric car.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

And How Did I Look This Time?

Time for the Thursday-After-The-Race Photo Review... Although for Columbia, I did have the benefit of a couple of digital images that my mom took at the race, so I wasn't quite as anxious to see my photos as I was after Wildflower!

I generally like these photos, probably something to do with the 6:50 a.m. start and 9:15 finish, morning light is definitely more flattering than glaring mid-day light. I will say that I was disappointed that they only seemed to have one photo location for the bike, near transition, so there's lots of shoe-grappling going on in the photos and not a whole lot of wattage output! But at least you can see my nail polish if you squint...

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You call this Beach Weather?

I really would not have believed you if you told me that on May 22, 2008, two days before Memorial Day Weekend ushers in summertime, I would be riding my bike inside due to snow and hail and general unpleasantness. It's supposed to be like this until early next week.

The good news out of this is that I am expecting the holiday weekend to be a fairly quiet one around here, not too many tourists and beach-goers. Last year, Memorial Day was actually my first trip to Incline Village, I headed up here to spend the weekend with Greg before driving North with Hutch to the Mt. Hood stage race. A year ago, the weather was good and the tourists were plentiful.

Anyhow, in other news, my new iPod arrived today! I just ordered it yesterday, and I got free shipping! How cool is that! Now let's just cross our fingers that a. it works and b. I don't go and introduce it to any major home appliances.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So Totally Tired

Something about/from the last three weeks has suddenly caught up to me and thrown a bunch of big rocks at my head or something. I am sooo tired. I am not that confused about why, it's been a long few weeks and I should expect to be tired. Two tough races, two trans-continental flights, erratic sleep pattern, stressing about one thing or another... But really life would be nicer if I weren't so tired!

If I weren't so tired I'd be working on some art this week. I'd have gone for a ride yesterday. I'd have swum this morning. I'd go for a run, I really want to. Also if I weren't so tired I wouldn't be tempted to fall back into a $5 a day Starbucks habit. I might not have convinced myself that dropping $200 on a new iPod was a good idea. I'd be writing all the overdue emails I want to send to friends, instead of sitting here re-reading blogs and reading race websites I've read 20 times already and dinking around on facebook oh and leaving incoherent comments on peoples' blogs.

Also I wouldn't be watching TMZ on TV!? Who really cares about Paris Hilton! God! But getting up and looking for the remote and picking out something else is just way too involved.

If I weren't so tired I'd order a GRE study guide and start working on practice tests. I'd be reading The Economist instead of the ever-disappointing Inside Triathlon. I'd remind myself that I am smart, at least I used to be anyway.

I'd be daydreaming of something more exciting than a nap.

I'd also be working on my swim, getting faster.

Bleh. Maybe tomorrow I will get some of this stuff done. Now I am just eking by, grateful at least that it's no longer thundering and lightning-ing outside. The storm scared Kitty.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That was fun!

Greg and I got home from to Incline Village last night, after a full day of travel. Southwest Airlines is sneaky with their "non-stop" flights, which would more accurately be called "several stops but you can't get off the plane so bring 2 days' worth of water and snacks and entertainment!" Thankfully we had plenty of snacks and entertainment so the 9 hours flew by. Literally.

Also, for those of you who are wondering about my new bike case, I successfully avoided the bike fee on the way home. After a bad lying attempt on the outbound flight ("um, it's equipment?") that didn't work well at all, for the return flight I brushed up my lying skills and kept my $50 thank you very much.

I will be needing that $50 because my mom and I broke my iPod shuffle this weekend... It had a very short 4 month life! First I put it through the washing machine by accident, then my mom put it in the toaster oven to "dry off" and it exploded! Now the debate is whether I should replace it with another shuffle or with a proper real-deal iPod that can hold my 40+ gigs of music and playlists. I am leaning towards the latter, I don't work out much with music anyway and that's the true purpose of the shuffle.

Speaking of my mom Sal and silly things, on Sunday, my aunt Glenn came over for dinner with me and my mom and Greg. It was tons of fun, in part because she brought over a photo album from the mid-1950's that had lots of photos of my mom, my grandparents, and my mom's six siblings in various stages of coolness and ragamuffin-ness. I look a lot like my mom but so does my sister. Also we had some wine with dinner. As Glenn was leaving with the album:

Glenn: Well, I'm glad [the album] was what it was...
Sal (interrupting): It is what it is...
Me and Greg: AHAHAHAHA

The two sisters, using basically the same meaningless catch phrase that topped the San Francisco Chronicle's list of dumbest phrases of 2007.

I am heading back home in 2 1/2 weeks for the family reunion. I am looking forward to it! Maybe I will get on a horse I hope.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Columbia Triathlon Race Report

I need to stop leaving races before results are posted... Yesterday I raced the Olympic-distance Columbia Triathlon here in Maryland. I was really pleased with my race and was curious about how my times were compared to other women, but it started to rain right after I finished and with 2000 participants, the race was a total mob scene, plus I was of course starving, so we opted to get out of there pronto and just "check results on-line in a few hours." A "few" turned into many which turned into me waking up several times in the middle of the night to hit refresh... finally saw the results at 8 this morning!

I had the 3rd fastest woman's bike split of the whole day (all divisions) at 1:09:14, 2 minutes behind Amanda Lovato and 1:15 behind race winner Rachel Wassner, and ahead of the rest of the Pro and Open and Age Group women. Woohoo! I thought I had a good ride but I didn't know it was that good! I am excited because since switching to triathlon last fall, I have focussed my cycling training solely on time-trialling, and it seems to be working. I feel much better about this ride than my ride at Wildflower, where I finished the race feeling like I went too conservatively.

I felt decent about my run yesterday too, there were 4 women in my Open division who ran faster. My time was 42:48, I wish I could say I ran faster than that but I have to remind myself that I have been training my run since only this past August. I have already improved a lot and I am actually really excited that I feel so good with my run at this early stage of my multisport career!

As for the swim... I swam a 29:33, which was :27 faster than my goal of 30:00. Oh and my wetsuit zipper split apart 8 minutes before my wave start! Thank god my aunt Glenn and a very kind stranger helped me get back together, I would have swum without it but I would have been a bit cold and I definitely wouldn't have made my time goal.

So my overall time was 2:24:48, good for 10th in the Open division. I am psyched about that, I knew that in such a strong field I would not be able to make up my swim deficit so the goal for the day was to have a good-for-me swim and then tear it up on the bike and the run. Also to have fun, which I totally did, especially thanks to my mom and my aunt cheering for me and taking pictures, and Greg greeting me at the finish.(Me with Aunt Glenn)

Anyhow, I really like the Olympic distance, and I can't wait till my swim improves even more and I can feel even faster out there! My next race, Battle at Midway, is another Olympic distance race and I am really looking forward to it.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

More Barnyard Video Footage

Munchie gets to eat grass for an hour or two a day. The spring grass is really rich and ponies are prone to laminitis, a hoof disease, and nutrients in the grass are a direct cause. So Munchie's grass is rationed, and his feet are healthy.

Anyhow he gets pretty pumped for his couple hours of grass.

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My Mom and Her Tractor

I was laughing way too hard when I took this. It's a bit blurry because she was mowing really fast, like 20 mph. But then I felt bad for laughing, so I went out and picked up sticks that were in the way.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Home [from] Collage

I got home to my mom's house in Maryland last night. I feel like I have been here a week already, we did so much today! Put the bike together, visited with friends, visited with other friends, said hi to approx. 7 horses and ponies and the same amount of cats and dogs, swam, went to a bike shop, rode the bike, hung out with mom, watched Sarabi's flatwork, etc. Oh and had several conversations about where I am going in life. Thus even though it's been a good 7 years since I've come home from college, something about this trip is making me feel like I am a slightly aimless 22 year-old again. Anyhow here's a sampler of the day...

Here is Home, view from the bottom of the driveway.

Here is My Main Competition this weekend: Sarabi. Or in this case, Slobberabi. Again, I say to my mom that the choice is OBVIOUS!

No, they aren't twins! They actually aren't even related, although both are Thoroughbreds. On the left we have my perfect angel Sijui, who my mom got for me when I was 13 and she was 8. She is Sarabi's mom. On the right we have my mom's incorrigible monster Fox. Actually he is not a monster, I kind of like him, he and I spent 3 months together in Charlottesville before I moved to San Francisco and now he is my mom's and she lets him get away with murder because she thinks it's "cute".

Speaking of cute: Munchie goes for the good stuff.

My Blue checking out the scenery from the porch.

Munchie munching on more appropriate pony food: grass!

Also for those of you who are curious, my mom is still leaving notes all over the place especially in the laundry room.

One of the only reasons why I hate Maryland: developments are growing like weeds. The potentially funny thing about this site, which is about a mile from my mom's house, is that much of the 69 acres which was zoned as agriculture but somehow got to be sold for housing because of a state law that allows parcels of land exceeding 50 acres to be subdivided, anyway a lot of the land is very swampy and therefore has drainage issues, so there is debate as to how many cookiecutter plots of 4-car garage ugliness they will actually be able to put there.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Me or the Horse

Now we all know I love ponies. And horses. But when my mom says "I don't know if I can watch your race on Sunday because Sarabi is competing that day," I temporarily don't love them. (Sarabi is her horse).

Are you kidding me?!?!?!

She wasn't kidding me.

Nevermind the fact that I am her first-born daughter. Nevermind the fact that this is the only race I am doing all year that my mom can attend. Nevermind the fact that is the reason I have been planning to do the race for the last 6 months. Nevermind the fact that even though it's going to be a great race, there were definitely plenty of events much closer to Lake Tahoe than Columbia, Maryland that I could have chosen for this weekend. Nevermind the fact that she can cheer for me but you are not supposed to cheer during dressage. Nevermind the fact that Sal goes to see Sarabi all the time!

GROAN!! I can't believe this is even an ISSUE or a QUESTION! I am the OBVIOUS CHOICE here!!

After I questioned my mom's rationale about this, she pulled a typical let's-overcommit-myself-even-more maneuver and "maybe" she'll "come watch me start the race" and then hightail it 75 miles down the road to Fair Hill. If that's my only option though, I'll just tell her to go play with her pony. Having her there staring at her watch waiting to leave after seeing me leap into the water like an overstuffed whale isn't my idea of quality time with my mom OR of fun stress-free racing. Or of her watching me race for that matter.

I'll let you all know how it goes of course.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Some Lessons

Today I learned two great lessons that I'd like to share.

1. Splish says that their white suits are not see-through, because they use a liner. So if I decide I want a white birthday suit to race in, I will not be indecent!

2. Pomeranians are vicious and apparently don't like bikes. They are also embarrassingly fast over short distances... one tried to eat me today on my ride and I only barely beat it to the top of the hill. (I was laughing while sprinting though, if that counts for anything).

In other news, I am basically just plugging along, getting ready to race again this weekend, and relatedly, getting ready to fly with my bike for the first time since Nature Valley last year (incidentally, I laughed as I just re-read that post... wow, the foreshadowing. I really didn't know it at the time that I'd be sitting here nearly a year later with exactly one bike race on my calendar). I got myself a spiffy new Akona Biospeed Bike Case and this will be its maiden voyage. I predict that I will be quite pleased with it, with my bike inside it will weigh less than my old case did when it was empty! I am crossing my fingers that this slim little case will help me shirk the bike fee. We'll see. I think it's totally bogus that they charge for bikes but not for golf clubs, so I have no moral dilemma here about whether or not to lie at the checkin counter. I doubt I can convince anyone that my bike is golf equipment but I might be able to say "massage table" or "paintings and art supplies" and get away with it. I will let you all know.

Additionally, I just realized that mathematically speaking, even in the *totally unlikely* event that I swim as un-stellarly at Columbia as I did at Wildflower, I will still get in under 30 minutes, which was one of my early-season goals: olympic swim in 30 mins or less. Because 39:39 for 1.2 miles is the same as 29:46 for 0.9 miles right? Yes I did take Calc BC... God if my teachers could only see me now, the 1996 GFS Top Scholar (girly version of Valedictorian), twelve years later she's pursuing an athletic dream and occasionally thinking on the side.

Maybe I should volunteer to visit the school and give a school talk about Your Future After Boarding School, I wonder if the administration would take me up on it ;)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

And that's all I have to say about that. Thankfully my mom sees Mother's Day for what it truly is, a marketing scam courtesy of Hallmark, Hyatt brunches, and 1-800-Flowers.

Today I swam short-course down at the Carson pool. I did a set that I last did about 3 weeks ago, and was pleased to note that the intervals seemed easier and I finished the set way stronger. That was a nice way to start the day, especially considering I was up for two hours in the middle of the night with some weird chest pain that made me afraid to go back to sleep in case if I was having a heart attack (I wasn't). Then I went to Target to return some of the clothes I bought Greg and to buy a bunch of stuff for myself. I got two new hoodies! Naturally I forgot a lot of the stuff I wanted, I got bogged down in the creams and moisturizers section for a good half an hour and started seriously running out of steam so I busted out of there, forgetting blank CD's, dish soap, razor blades, and toilet paper.

Then I went to Trader Joe's and again I regret my newfound aversion to list-making because I got all the way home and realized I didn't get pasta or pasta sauce or sweet potatoes or eggs.

But I did get wine. Two bottles. Also at Target I got a fancy cat-scratch post for Kitty. As of now he is avoiding it but I hope hope hope he starts to like his present.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

My Birthday Suit - UPDATED!

With Greg still on the east coast, I have a lot of time on my hands. Favourite activities seem to be photographing the cat, talking to the cat, doing Sudoku puzzles (yes I know they are so 2005) and planning my Birthday which is 4 months from this past Wednesday.

When I registered for the LA Triathlon which is the same day as my 30th birthday, I was dismayed to see that the entry form didn't have any of those nosy questions that I typically leave blank because I think they are annoying - "is this your first tri", "are you any good and do you have any notable results", "can the announcer say anything interesting about you", etc. That would have been the perfect opportunity to tell them that race day is my birthday and I'd really like to hear them announce that at the race. Multiple times. But no, I had no means of making such a request.

So I'll have to inform everyone in LA myself that it's my birthday.

What better way than to wear a super cool custom-designed birthday suit?! Here's what I have come up with so far:

I am open to suggestions. Keeping in mind that the main objectives here are 1. to tell everyone in sight that it's my birthday and 2. to not look bad (i.e. to look good).

White might not be the best color choice, I am not sure. Since it's basically a one-off race suit though I don't need to worry too much about it getting stained or dirty. I did a version in Black but it looked a little severe. I also did one with the big lettering in Blue but that one failed in objective #1 (not too easy to read).

(Side note: Why doesn't splish have a balloon graphic?!!? Or customizable graphics??!)

What do you all think?


O.K. thank you to everyone who pointed out how, um, appropriate white would be as a birthday suit. Or inappropriate as a race suit! I'm not interested in being see-through on my big day, so I redid the colors. Here is the latest version:

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A Note About Swimming

My plans to unveil a wicked fast swimmer (me) next weekend are already feeling a bit foiled. The Carson pool has a big swim meet this weekend, so no long course at all till next weekend. They actually said Monday was a "maybe" but I have learned not to count on "maybe" under any circumstances, be they swimming or can-I-get-a-puppy or otherwise.

I also called the Arundel Swim Center, a big 50-meter facility about 15 minutes from my mom's house in Maryland, where I'll be next week. "Long course?" the guy sounded way too confused to be a real live employee but he was indeed a real live employee. "You mean like 50 meters? No we don't never do that. We got diving boards and stuff all in the way." Why would you build a 50 meter pool but have it permanently set up short course? Is there a real reason or is it just a mixture of redneckness, laziness, and low demand?

I even looked into swimming here at my [sort of] beloved lake. Current Lake Tahoe water temperature is in the mid to upper 40's, depending on where you are. That's a bit cold for me in the context of a quality workout.

Oh well. I can still get in a decent short course workout. I just like the long course for longer sets - for one thing I am much less likely to lose count and get confused! (This is yet another reason to be permanently mad at my mom for not putting me into a swim team program as a child. Swim team kids know how to do long sets.)

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Moment of Truth

I have been hitting "refresh" on the race photo site for Wildflower all week. Well lo and behold, my wishes were finally answered. I got to see what I *really* looked like out there.

Here I am on the bike...

And here I am responding to a complete stranger ordering me to smile 30 seconds after an only moderately glorious finish:

So the answer to "how did I look?!" is basically the same answer as "how did I race?!": not bad but definitely room for improvement. (I did not post the photos I didn't like, you know the ones with one short leg all pulled up, my face all scrunched, inadvertent belly shots, etc). I am not a fan of my hairdo. What do you long-haired ladies do with your hair on race day? My last two races I have done a low braid but UGH. Yuck. Feels like a mullet for girls. Maybe I will go back to my old bike racing standby, a half-pulled-through ponytail and just take the extra 5 seconds to pull it through my helmet.

This is a very important issue so stop laughing at me Greg, Loren, etc.

Also after looking at my photos I am wondering how my big old arms and shoulders could possibly not swim fast. Hmm. I am going to Columbia with the attitude that I am a speedy swimmer just waiting to be unleashed.

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My Best Pillo

He is also my favourite let's-have-our-own-personal-speedracer-derby
-around-the-apartment-at-5 a.m. kitty... Good thing he is cute!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Really Bad Joke

Did anyone else see this article on Inside Triathlon's website today?

The first half of it, written by Jeff Henderson, is spot-on - the discussion of how we can reduce the waste and pollution that are produced in even the smallest of local triathlons.

What I don't understand is why the editors had to effectively downplay such an important issue by turning it into some ridiculous debate. Editor Timothy Carlson wrote the second half of the article, which I guess is supposed to forecast what triathlon could be like in the later half of the century on a fully polluted planet, but honestly his tone and jeering reference to locals-only aid station volunteers with Priuses, and his reference to Calfee's bamboo bikes and their hefty price tags, really just make it seem like he hates environmentalists and that he doesn't want the sport to be inconvenienced. Somewhat appropriately, in his closing statement he reflects exactly what Henderson identifies as a major problem in individuals, the interest in short-term gratification, the here-and-now over the future, as well as a hopelessness that any individual effort can make a difference.

I'd write them a letter but I am a. too angry and b. too baffled by their intention.

What's wrong with a simple healthy discussion of how triathlon can be greener? Why can't we talk about Chris Lieto's Green Athlete campaign, wherein he is driving to [almost] all of his races in a van that is powered by 100% biodiesel? Why can't we talk about how Wildflower had both recycling and trash bins everywhere? Why can't we talk about how 5430 Sports is pursuing full sustainability and zero waste in their events? Wouldn't it be WAY more positive and productive to address real ways in which we can all work to protect the sport and the planet that we all love, than it was to basically make a joke out of green initiatives? Inside Triathlon and other magazines have the power to influence a lot of people. Give readers something positive, equip them with both reasons for and methods to help the environment and make their triathlon experience a sustainable one. Don't give them some big semi-sensationalistic argument for why the green effort is pointless and inconvenient. Even if it is meant as a joke, is it really the most effective way for the magazine to reach its readers about this subject?

I am curious to hear what others think. Maybe I completely misinterpreted the article, who knows.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Neoprene and Birthdays

I realized today why I love my wetsuit so much. Not because it basically prevents me from drowning, although that is a nice perk. Nope, I love it because of its wondrous smell. Mmmm, neoprene! Even more specifically: many horse boots are made of neoprene. You put them on their legs for protection. When you take them off they are usually a little sweaty or perhaps a little wet and you really smell the neoprene. So my wetsuit reminds me of the barn and of PONIES!!!

Thusly I am very excited to don my wetsuit again in less than 2 weeks, at the Columbia Triathlon.

See, he is wearing boots on his legs!

I'm not sure how hot this look is.

A second thing I am very excited about is my upcoming 30th birthday, which is in almost exactly 4 months. I've just confirmed plans for the day and it's going to be awesome.

September 7, 2008 will start out with me racing the L.A. Triathlon. After the race I will be socializing with Greg, Jaffa, my aunt and uncle, Paula, and perhaps a few other lucky invitees (let me know if you will be at the race and want some celebratory swill). AND THEN, that evening, I am getting on a plane to HAWAII for a WHOLE WEEK!!! Wooohooo! Big family trip. My sister Scare is turning 21 this year so since it's a big year for more than half her kids, my mom convinced all of us to get together for a vacation. I just got my plane ticket.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Wildflower Pt. 2: The Gory Details

The results page is currently a bit convoluted, times are all up there but it took some craftiness and persistence to deduce my overall results.

Swim: 39:39
Bike: 2:49:47
Run: 1:39:30
Total race time: 5:13:27

This put me in 4th for my age group and 9th overall. I don't know how many racers there were.

Anyhow let's start with the bad... I am capable of much better, not just in theory but really on Saturday I had the physical ability to go faster, particularly in the swim and the bike. I am not happy with my mental toughness because even though I pushed myself, I raced with fear and self-doubt in my head. I should not be handicapping myself in that way (don't need my mind to be a liability in addition to my swim!). I know that the mental side is the hardest, anyone can go out and train like mad but putting it all together come race day and really leaving everything out on the course is another thing entirely.

On the plus side though, I know I have improved a lot. My times were all better than my Silverman times, and both are hard courses. I am really pleased that I did not have a single panic attack during the swim, which is a major step up from my previous 3 races. On the bike I learned a lot about pacing and being too conservative. And on the run, I felt great for the last 6 or 7 miles and found myself smiling a lot. I had fun.

So now I am resting up and thinking a lot about the mental side of the sport in preparation for my upcoming races! Also if anyone wants to come hang out and keep me company up here in Tahoe please let me know. Kitty and I are running out of conversation topics, although he is being a very perfect furry companion by sitting with me wherever I am and letting me hug him and squeeze him and he's purring and generally being cute. He likes me.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wildflower Pt. 1

Yesterday was kind of awesome. I raced the Wildflower Long Course triathlon, I am basically pleased with my race - I saw improvements in every single area, including transitions - but I am pretty sure that my results weren't as good as I'd hoped they would be relative to other racers. I had a 7 hour drive home by myself yesterday after the race, so I didn't stick around for results and they don't have overall results posted on the internet yet. So, I'm not going to get all psychoanalitical on the blog just yet when I technically don't even know how I did.

INSTEAD, I'll share with you some thoughts I had during my 12ish hours of solitude yesterday (5ish hr race plus 7ish hour drive with mostly no cell reception)!

1. Highway CA-25 between Bitterwater and Hollister is pretty much the prettiest 40 miles of road I have ever driven. Right up there with Highway 1 in terms of scenery and twisty rolling fun-ness of the road, but superior in terms of how many other people are on the road. There was no one out there, on either day I drove it. It was great.

2. I missed Greg this weekend for both moral support reasons and convenience reasons (pros and their girl/boyfriends get *significantly* better treatment than the cattle amateurs), but the good news out of it all was that I spent a ton of time with one of my best friends from San Francisco, Jaffa. We had so much fun. Also after the race when he was all changed into fresh clean clothes but I was still in my sweaty soaked race kit because I'd forgotten a change of clothes, and I started to cry because I am prone to crying, anyway he gave me a big hug and let me get him all gross with sweat and tears and then he let me wear his spare t-shirt which I also got all gross with sweat and grossness, AND after that he carried my backpack for me, so his back got all sweaty in addition to his front that I had already gotten sweaty. This is the definition of a true friend.

3. I need a third hand so that I can carry visor and race belt and gels AND sunscreen out of T2. I got burnt to a fricking crisp, despite 3 applications of sunscreen in the morning. There has to be a solution.

4. Wildflower is to Triathon as Sea Otter is to Cycling. Both have a ton of people camping for the race weekend. Both have big vendor expo areas. Both make you park on top of big steep hills and race at the bottom of them so you have to trudge all the way back up the steep hill after your race with all your crap. Both have uncanny amounts of dirt and dust everywhere. Both have limited/no cell reception. Both charge you an arm and a leg for the privelege of leaving blood, sweat, and tears all over their courses. Neither gives you anything in the way of shwag or food in return, and since I am a big fan of free prizes this bothers me. Both attract tons of people, which is super cool from networking and hearing-random-friends-from-your-high-school-cheer-for-you standpoints (this seriously happened to me yesterday, I hadn't seen Suzette since 1996 and there she was shouting "Go Courtenay!" on the swim ramp?!?!?! Cool!). Both are SERIOUS MOB SCENES that foil even the best of logistical masterminds.

The only differences I can think of are that Wildflower has more shade (Sea Otter has exactly none) and that Wildflower (like all Tri-Cal races) pummels you with all kinds of religious stuff that amuses me mainly because I just don't associate racing with church. They have God rock playing over the loudspeakers, pre-race prayers, and signs about Jesus and Salvation all over the bike and run courses. They might have had scriptures on the swim buoys but since I didn't spend much time grasping/hiding behind buoys yesterday, I wouldn't know.

Anyhow, I realize that this comparison will resonate with the 3% of my readership that has been to both events... but since approximately 90% has been to one or the other of these two events, maybe now you can each get an idea of how it is for the other half?

Also, if I had to choose between the two events, I'd choose Wildflower. No question. The course is fantastic, competition is top-notch, and I met lots of cool people. I can't wait for next year! And I really can't wait until my next race in two weeks (and my next half-iron distance race, in June! Woohoo!)

OK more later!

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Thursday, May 01, 2008


So I drove down to King City today from Tahoe, 338 miles, the first and last 100 miles of which were really beautiful. I write to you from the local Motel 6, actually from the parking lot where I am scalping wireless from the mildly nicer Courtesy Inn next door. And the only reason I feel comfortable sitting in the middle of a Motel 6 parking lot at 9 p.m. is that there is a California Highway Patrol office right next door. I already went and introduced myself and asked them for directions.

The raceday forecast is sunny, low 70’s, with 15-20 mph winds. Yeesh. I am actually glad I sucked it up and did some long rides into major headwinds down in Reno, Carson City, and the Pacific Coast highway. But just to make sure my wind-leaning skills are fully honed I headed out for a little ride in a 30 mph crosswind when I arrived in King City this afternoon (hence the CHP visit for directions). The road I took heads towards the race site at Lake San Antonio, so I saw more than a few suckers in cars laden with aero equipment driving down there to CAMP. Gross. Although the terrain here is just gorgeous, lovely soft rolling hills and smatterings of trees here and there, grass, cows and ponies! So maybe camping would be sort of fun I guess.

So anyhow, I feel ready. Bike ride was good, legs feel good, lungs are stoked to get full breaths of real air, and most importantly, my nails are totally race-ready:

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