Category Archives: Triathlon

Back in the Swing of Things

I took yesterday off and spent most of the day on the couch. I went through my unwieldy Domestic Bliss folder and got myself organized in the recipe and pattern departments. It was a task I’d been meaning to do for a long time. Yesterday all I wanted to do was sit — so it worked out perfectly.
I also found a couple of patterns I’d been wanting to try. First, this triangulated zipper pouch tutorial from Craftster.

triangle zipper pouch, front

In theory, it is perfect. It gives depth to your pouch and the tutorial is well written. However, it is tiny. Next time I’ll double the dimensions to make this a more useful size.

bottom of triangle zipper pouch

I also tried that plastic fusing tutorial that’s been receiving rave reviews. It takes a bit of practice figuring out the right heat and timing, but the result is pretty cool. I’ve had a bag idea floating around my head for about a month and I plan on using this for the lining. I need to sit down with my journal and put my ideas into workable sketches.

On a completely different note, saw Lars and the Real Girl last night. I am torn on whether to recommend this movie; Ryan Gosling is so, so good. However, it is one of those movies that makes you incredibly uncomfortable to watch. I felt the same way watching Robin Williams in One Hour Photo. If you are a Ryan fan, I say go for it. If you are looking for an odd, off beat film that is sweet, it is worth the money. If peculiar films aren’t your thing — steer clear. Three out of five bananas, absoloodle.


Race in Photos

My friend Amanda was out at the race from 6 am to 4 pm, rooting me on at every turn and taking some fantastic photos. She really captured the day:

pre-race prayer
No wetsuit -- no problem
Off for the bike
my neck and back hurt after 56 miles
1800 bikes and gear
half-way through the run
finish line in sight
woo hoo
saving this medal forever

And the celebratory margarita:

Celebratory post-race margarita

And that is the last tri post for a while, I promise. Thank you again for all your kind words. Soon we will return to our previously scheduled crafting/cooking/political ranting.


Tall Ironwoman, hold the half

I finished! In 7 hours flat, I finished the 1/2 ironman this afternoon. It was — gasp — actually much easier than I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, there was a considerable amount of walking toward the end, but my brother jumped in (wearing flip flops no less) and kept me company for the last 3 miles. It was incredible. And when I saw the finish line, I let out a little shout of joy that couldn’t have been more sincere.
The number of people I had out there cheering for me was impressive. Several other competitors mentioned my cheer squad. I really am one of the luckiest people; I am surrounded by great friends.
I can’t wait to do a full Ironman. 2009, Tempe. That’s the plan. Tomorrow may be another story.
I’ll post photos soon. Thank you again!!


On Your Marks

decorated office

I came in this morning to a decorated office and an email box full of good luck wishes for this weekend’s race. To say the least, I am excited. I’m a bit nervous because this is such a new experience, but also confident that I am well prepared for the challenge.
It has been a year of crazy, clutzy training. A year during which friends lent me their husbands for long weekend bike rides so I wouldn’t be out there talking to myself. A year of understanding coworkers who smiled as I hobbled around a flexed schedule and came in late after a 10-mile morning run. A year with a friend who patiently taught me how to maintain a bike, even a bike as temperamental as that sassy Ruby. A year when friends nodded and waved me away at 7 pm from countless happy hours and dinners. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten here alone.
Tri-training routines are certainly counter-cultural. I haven’t been the life of the party, but I have often been the first one to the gym. My priorities shifted sometime in the last year, making a great night sleep, a post-workout massage and a box of Clif Shot Blocks exceptionally valuable.
When the going gets tough out there, I’ve already got my visualization tools in mind. I’ll think of Lance Armstrong, when he returned for his opponent who’d fallen — a fantastic sign of sportsmanship. I’ll think of the triathlete father who accomplishes these races with his autistic son in tow. He doesn’t want his son to miss out on the opportunity. I’ll think of Rex, my running buddy. He survived cancer and is now out on the canals running again.
Come Sunday when I cross that finish line, I know I’ll be able to say regardless of my time that I gave every bit of me to this race. Hopefully I’ll also be smiling and plotting the next competition.

A shout out to everyone who has read these posts and cheered me along this year. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your kind words!

Now, off to conquer 70.3 miles…


Giddyup in Your Skinny Pants


You know that pair of pants that haven’t fit for a while, but you can’t bring yourself to throw them away? They are your skinny pants, the ones you’ve been thinking about getting back into, and on some over-confident days, you pull them out of the closet and consider wrangling them up over your hips?
On super confident days, you pull them on, suck in your gut and measure your improvement in the dietary department. Well, today I have a pair of those pants on. They don’t fit perfectly and are a bit tight in the thigh region, but they fit around my waist and by golly, I’m pleased.
Chalk one up to all that darn tri training! Yippee. Training is going very well, I am happy to report. No recent bike crashes, and I managed to change a flat last night all by myself. This is a huge accomplishment because my instinct in the past has been to throw the suspect wheel in the trunk and drive to the local bike shop for a $14 fix. The tube only costs $3, so it is much smarter financially (not to mention the fact I’ll have to change it on my own should something happen during the race) to suck it up and do the chore myself. Thankfully this weekend my friend JT walked me through changing tires. The timing was perfect.
I’ve got two more weeks of hard training, plus a lengthy ride this weekend, and then a week of rest before the big race. I was talking to my mom this morning about the pleasure of surprising yourself with newfound strength. I’m no dummy — I figured I’d get stronger through all the biking, swimming, running, weights, pilates, blah blah blah. Yet all the same, one day recently I woke up and realized — dude! I’m in shape. I can do this. I’m consistently cycling 60-plus miles, running 20-plus miles and swimming 3-plus miles every week. Thursdays are my brick workouts — where these all get stacked. I figured out over breakfast and essentially I finished a sprint triathlon this morning before the sun came up. Yep, I’m officially wacky.
I am going to rock 70.3 miles. I can’t wait.
Thank you for all the sweet emails and cheering you’ve done along the way. This is going to be a ton of fun and I can’t wait to pick out the next race (and potentially, and upgraded bike. Don’t tell Ruby. The moody bitch will more than likely pitch me again if she finds out.)

Later gators!

Gratitude Friday

if I were Jessica Simpson for a day...

A few things I’m thankful for today:

1. Bike helmets. So glad I had a helmet on when I hit the ground last week. So glad I am on the mend and feeling remarkably better. My finger is still swollen, but otherwise I’m good to go.

2. Brick workouts. I completed my first brick yesterday — meaning I stacked two workouts. I cycled for 45 minutes (Ruby and I have decided we are no longer seeing other people and are in love again. I haven’t told her about my side loves: the running shoes and Speedo.) and then ran for 30 minutes. The first mile of running was, to put it nicely, horrific. My legs were screaming, “NO! This is not what you do after you ride. What you do after you ride is you sit on the couch. And you feed us. You do not run. You do not collect $200. Please get us back to a resting position pronto.” Then the second mile was easier. And by the third mile, I’d found a groove and was smiling from ear to ear, imagining the finish line at the race.

3. While I’m boring you with my tri-training gratitude, I’m also thankful for Finny. She’s a runner and we’ve been encouraging each other. Even though we are about a thousand miles apart, we are both running 9 miles tomorrow morning in support of each other and training. I really wish we lived closer, although I’m pretty sure my liver is thankful we don’t.

4. Napping. I’ve recently mastered the 2-hour afternoon nap. No kidding. I come home from work, jump under the covers and conk out for 1.5-2 hours. Suddenly, I am able to go out with friends past 8 pm and not fall asleep at the table. Who knew you could train and be social? This is entirely new to me. Jeepers, I’m still talking about training. I’m annoying myself.

5. How about that photo? I am thankful I’m not carrying those babies around in real life. Yikes.

Happy weekend y’all,


at least my pedicure looks okay

Yesterday Ruby and I had an early morning date. I thought we’d cruise up through Ahwatukee for an hour or so, getting in some hills and giving me ample time to catch up on podcasts. (I also needed to shake off two nights of shenanigans not conducive to tri training. I swear the best way to get over a hangover is a long, hard workout. Or greasy food.)

fixed my chain

The first hour was perfect; the weather was warm, but not abusive. The hills were tough, but conquerable. I was feeling strong and glad I’d gotten up to see the sunrise while pedaling like a madwoman.
It wasn’t until I made the final turn heading home that things went awry. I had already biked 30 miles and my shoulder and neck were starting to ache. Instead of looking up, I looked down at my knees, glancing up every now and then to provide my back with some relief. Dumb move.

hurts like you wouldn't belive

I didn’t see the large, orange metal merge sign until it was too late. I was about two feet in front of it, going 19 miles per hour, when I barreled into the sign and went flying out of the bike lane into traffic.
Thankfully, there wasn’t a car there to run over me. I hit my head on the asphalt, the sign came toppling down on me and my legs, of course, were still stuck in my pedals. When I finally sat up straight and realized what had just happened, I noticed I was bleeding. And my head really hurt.

that morning

A man who was driving behind me stopped and ran over to see if I was okay. The police were called and it quickly became an embarrassing scene I wanted to escape. I told them I was fine and I didn’t need paramedics, but, “Could you just help me get my chain back on my bike?”

which handlebar is not like the other

My hands were cut and bloody, but I got the chain back on, got back on the bike and thanked everyone who had stopped. It wasn’t until I got about a mile away that I realized my bike took a serious hit too. Poor Ruby needs new handlebars. And I need a new helmet. And to pay more attention. It is going to hurt to spend another $200 on tri gear this month.

i get in bar fights

However, the irony of crashing into a merge sign? Priceless.

Water — my new best friend

Guess what I did today? I apparently dehydrated myself and truly thought I was dying. I’m not kidding. There was crying, a bit of moaning and a fair amount of embarrassing myself in the workplace. It was the most pathetic, painful experience I’ve been through in quite a while — and this is a girl who isn’t a stranger to the painfully pathetic experience.
I got up, went to the gym, ran and lifted, headed to the bagel shop to check with with the gang (no bagel, but two cups of coffee later), commuted and sat at my desk for about an hour before the wrath of God came down on my left temple. I was suddenly nauseous, dizzy, cranky and sleepy. My nose began to run, my head was throbbing and every. single. noise. in the office sounded like an opera of jackhammers. On meth. Thankfully I made it home, drank my weight in water and Gatorade, and went to bed. Three hours of insanely mid-day deep sleep later, I felt like a human again.
Lessons learned:
1. Travel makes me thirsty. Don’t reach for Diet Coke with this thirst hits.
2. When the computer screen gets blurry, take a break and drink a lot of water. Then drink some more.
3. Don’t run outside without water. You may be a native, but that doesn’t make you a saguaro.
4. Rejoice when you are able to think without screaming. Promise yourself you’ll never do this to yourself again.

Training in Phoenix, oh the joys. No wonder so many people leave this time of year!

Prickly but not dead,

Living In Between

summer cooking

I had a chance to catch up with myself this weekend. I went for a long morning ride through Ahwatukee Saturday morning, managing to return to do the hills a second time through for good measure. Just like running, it always takes me 20 minutes to find my groove. My muscles stretch out a bit, my cadence falls into the right place and my shoulders relax. The first morning light is my favorite time to be swimming, riding or running. There is such potential to a new day that starts with a heart-pounding workout while watching the sun rise.

tomato feta tart

I found some time in the kitchen too, which was also long overdue. A girlfriend decided to throw a tomato-themed dinner party. Her husband’s garden was overflowing with tomatoes and they didn’t know how they’d use all of them. I could have suggested making and freezing the best marinara recipe on earth, but instead I graciously accepted the invite and brought along a few tomato creations of my own:

phyllo dough tart

Phyllo tomato and feta tart

cheese, tomato corn muffins

Spicy cornbread muffins with diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese

Several of you have asked how I am feeling post-trip, and honestly — I’m doing great. There was some initial shock to my system, which is par for the course after two weeks in Africa. I’ll never be able to reconcile that the biggest news in Mozambique is poor families dying of HIV and the biggest news in the United States (in the same week, mind you) is Paris Hilton going to jail, being released from jail, and oh wait! There is the CNN helicopter again. She’s returned to jail.
Rather than throw my hands up and cry over such foolishness, instead I chose to celebrate the good. I took two friends to Mozambique who’d never been to Africa before. I know without a doubt, their friends and families are more connected to the issues of the poor abroad than ever before (as are mine).
As for those “stars” who can’t seem to get their DUI butts out of trouble, I highly recommend mandatory hard labor in an African orphanage (although I’m not sure I’d really want them around the kids.)

So, I’m not living in poverty. And I’m not returning to rehab for the third time before my 20th birthday. Life in this in between world is pretty darned good.


A Few Other Things I’d Like to Tri

When poster board becomes art

I pulled out my yard stick and poster board yesterday to create my triathlon schedule. Yep, I need to be that focused to be mentally prepared come race day. Several of you asked which plan I am going to use, and the answer wasn’t easy. There are so many options and of course, each author thinks his/her method is the best. I’ve been reading The Woman Triathlete and recommend it primarily because it has kept my interest. I have serious attention deficit issues when it comes to nonfiction, but I busted through this book in no time and have decided to give their schedule my best effort — including one crazed, giant schedule of the next 20 weeks of my life.
Come October 28, I’ll be 1/2 Ironwoman. The other half is up for conversation. Crabby? Sore? Tired? This week all three. Hopefully fit, happy and ready for a giant margarita come race day.
With all this tri nonsense, I’ve been thinking about other activities in triplicate. The crafty triathlon, for instance. One must knit, sew and embroider. The cooking tri: baking, broiling and basting. The traveling tri: packing, photographing, journaling. The summer fashion tri: flip flops, skirts, tanks. The summer media tri: reading, listening, watching. The Ikea shopping tri: in white, just right, the perfect Dutch.
What kind of tri would you like to compete in?