Thursday, July 24, 2008

And now for some random facts from Recovery Week

Words I refuse to say out loud (and would just as soon no one say them to me):

BRA - In junior high, my friend Debbie and I used to say, "arb." Mortifying whenever I'm required to state the reason I'm going to Macy's.

PANTIES - I swear, I'm not underwearphobic. These two words, though quite related, are not hated as clothing items - they just won't be uttered out of my mouth. Extra credit if this or the previous word is uttered by a nurse at a doctor's office. As in, "Please remove your ___ies and the doctor will be in shortly."

CORNUCOPIA - This started in elementary school around November when the hand/turkey projects started going down. The cute little window ornaments started to get stuck on the panes, etc. This was always a classroom project offering. As in, "You can trace your hand and make a turkey OR you can make a ____copia."

Words I can't get enough of:

CREAMY - Has always been my favorite and will continue to be. It's just like what it sounds like. A good match for "creamy" is. . .

ICING - Now, unlike the first two lingerie words that are independently nauseating, pretty much any word associated with a vanilla cupcake or buttercream icing (there it goes!) is utterly and completely intentional.

For some reason, my mind is occupied with baked goods and I can't think of anymore words.


Since I quit my job, I'm reading like a psycho. It truly is my goal to read all of the stock of Austin Public Library. Today I achieved what I previously thought impossible - I maxed out on my holds on books. I think the message that blooped up on the library's My Account screen said, "User has too many books on hold." What it really wanted to say is, "Loser. I hope you're at least reading these books while you're sitting outside. In fact, you're getting so obsessed, we're not going to let you reserve anything else until you read the five books you've already checked out, freak."


I'm starting a new Rehab Program for People who Cannot Live Without Caffeine. If I was Lindsay Lohan or whoever checked into one of those things this week, it would involve a place in the mountains of Colorado that offers massages, facials and Swiss Caffeine Counselors. In my case I'm trying to drink a whole lotta tea and decrease my coffee intake because rumor has it that tea has less caffeine than coffee. Consequently, I've learned that I don't necessarily need a huge tree to hide behind when I'm running. I've become much less discerning. I mean, these houses in the suburbs have fences the height of the Great Wall, right?


And finally, there's some sort of small mosquitoish, gnattish thing of indeterminate origin and they're all biting me and/or threating to bite me. I'm scratching myself like one of those people you see on Oprah or 60 Minutes or something whom you look at and say, "I had no idea these things existed." I swear there's little things landing on my face with their tiny little bodies and I have to swat them to keep them away.

This? Is why I hate camping. There's always something buzzing or biting or creeping, crawling and generally freaking me out.

But I have proof of my current condition!! I've got these tiny little bites appearing on my arms and toes and thumbs (I am not kidding). They itch and they gross me out. I'm using the Costco-sized Cortaid. I'm not admitting to any relation to caffeine withdrawals.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who are you and what did you do with my coach?

This week I have what they call in the Olde Language a "Recovery Week."

To be truthful, I totally forgot such things existed. I've gotten used to chronically sore muscles, sleeping=coma and a stomach that is never satiated.

Hence, this blog will be sooper boring.

Things I can write about:

1. My new freakin' aerobars I'm getting fitted for on Friday!!! Yes, finally. Even my bike is excited about this. I have this beautiful Litespeed Blade and, honestly, he looks a little, um, dated. I just figured I'll need my back for awhile.

2. Speaking of backs, more work got done on my tattoo (this would be Dragon who currently occupies most of my back, my ass and part of my leg.) Go visit "Michael Norris" on my links and see his coolio new Website.

3. I get to go to the dentist today. For some reason in Texas, you have to go to an initial inspection under the hood by the dentist and then, at a later date, to the hygienist for the dirty work. I'm pretty sure this guy used to be a horse dentist at some point because he lifted my lips up similar to when the vet puts my horse under (sounds sad but my horse is in happy land) and lifts his top lip to look at his choppers. I wanted to whinny.

4. Segueway to my horse - he gets his first refresher course from a trainer at his barn. Yes, he just turned ten but there are times I'm interested in the toll-free Alpo number. Seeing as I've been working in a sh*thole for the last year, I haven't been there to reinforce table manners. Mwah-ha-ha.

5. My goal of checking out half the stock of the Austin Public Library.

6. I'm considering painting this room what could turn into a disasterous shade of purple. (But it could be cute!)

7. Organizing my sock drawer(s), filtering happy underwear from sad and tossing the early-90s could-be-retro-but-not-in-a-cool-way triathlon clothing. Maybe going through the mountain of non-fitting shoes that live under the bed with their friends, the Dust Bunnies.

8. Learn the words to "American Pie."

So, it looks like I've got the rest of the week ahead of me. Next week - the continuation of Pain n' Suffering.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'll have a Dirt du Jour with a side of small Concussion

Every time I set out on a mountain bike, the Las Vegas bookies get busy.

If you bet on the possibility that I'm going to have a crash of sometimes epic, always embarrassing proportions, you WIN!!

Don't get me wrong - I love mountain biking. The dipsy-doodles, the hopping my bike over roots and even the occasional screaming downhill. It requires concentration, strategy and the knowledge of the nuances of the situation vs. gears.

BUT, mountain biking reminds of a quote by the awesome comedian, Eddie Izzard when he talks about snowboarding, "There's two positions when you're snowboarding - either riding downhill looking cool or DEAD."

Scenario #1: Butt in the air, going downhill leaning back on the pedals, wind in the hair.

Scenario #2: Wheeee! Down the one side, up the other and swing around a switchback.

Scenario #3: I don't remember.

But I wake up lying on my left side still clipped in, the last noise I remember is the "crrrrack" of the left side of my helmet, my left shoulder seemingly pushed into my body like the "diet" or "root beer" tabs you can invert on the plastic lid of a fast-food soft drink cup. (Not that I go to such houses of ill repute, Coach.) There are rocks stuck into my skin like push pins and I'm emitting a sound much like the braying of a donkey. "Uuuuugghhhh."

The screwy part is not that I stand up as best I can listening to the rhythm of whatever makes my head throb like that, pluck most of the rocks from my body, ride another 100 yards and burst out crying but that after about five minutes of losing it having the brilliance to say, "Let's not end the day like this." And from there hopping on my bike, happy as a clam and finishing out my ride.

This, of course, is followed by Meltdown #2 in the truck and a request for the closest bakery.

Oh, and the last two days wondering if I can possibly get my head and neck somehow returned to the center of my body from the unwieldy place they now sit somewhere over my right shoulder.

Today the Wile E. Coyote bump is receding and my muscles stopped begging for an entire bottle of, in lieu of Vicodin, Extra Strength Tylenol.

I do, however, look like I've been used as a goalie sans protective gear for Tiger Woods, Sammy Sosa, the entire team of the Chicago Blackhawks and both the Williams sisters.

The upside of this whole adventure is that I feel like I truly became one with nature and took some of the wilderness home with me, probably in places I have yet to discover.

As for mountain biking (here comes another nugget from the sicko triathlete mind), it represents something to be revisited, conquered and overcome. In other words, I'll be back in the saddle next week probably crunching about a cup of sand (use a high gear but pedal fast) in my mouth and leaving bits of souvenir flesh as evidence of my stubbornness to simply admit defeat.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Sometimes I like to let others do the writing and I'm a sucker for a good quote. Lately, I've been focused on what is now my full time job - becoming an athlete, becoming a triathlete and becoming a winning triathlete.

Anyway, here's some I like:

The success of us human beings remains in how far we can see ourselves & work backwards to reach there.
-Ashish Kerkar

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
-Beverly Sills

Others have done it before me. I can, too.
-William Faulkner

All big things in this world are done by people who are naive and have an idea that is obviously impossible.
-Charles Hamilton (1876–1961), English writer

In good days, no one can beat me, in bad days, no one can beat me
-Alexander Popov

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having put forth the best within you
-Henry J. Kaiser

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.
-Jesse Owens

The road to glory would cease to be arduous if it were trite and trodden; and great minds must be ready not only to take opportunities but to make them.

And THIS ONE, an oldie but a goody, is my all-time favorite:

Never, never, never give up.
-Winston Churchill

Friday, July 4, 2008

41. Forty one. Cuarento Uno. Quatre et un.

It shouldn't be a surprise that I'm addicted to the Olympic trials.

I never really watched track and field before and since running will always be something to be enjoyed vicariously (bring on the bike), I love watching the strong athletes. Especially my fast twitch sprinter friends.

It should definitely be no surprise that I never leave the TV when the swimming trials are on as they have been for almost a week.

Michael Phelps, Ian Crocker (go Longhorns!!) and Dara Torres.

Who is 41.
She's 41.
Did you know she's 41?
At 41, she's an amazing athlete.
She's 41 AND a mother. How amazing!!!
And she won!! At 41!!

I cringed more and more each time Bob Costas said this. Which was a lot. Probably twenty times or more but I think I'm going to count next time. Since when did 41 and/or parenthood become such a show-stopper? I was sure that someone was going to offer her a cane to help her get out of the pool.

Let's do a little research here:

2006 Winter Olympics in Torino - Scott Baird, a curler - 54
Anne Abernathy-luge - 52

The average age of a first-time competitor as a masters swimmer is 64.

Ruben Berg - 91 - masters swimmer in Minnesota - 253 medals since starting masters at 79

And you know I couldn't let this rest without triathlete data (of which there is a lot):

Mary Stroebe - 88 (first triathlon at 75 - competed with son and granddaughter)

Bill Bell As of 2000 (when this article was written) competing in his 30th Ironman - oh, wait: 155 marathons, 225 triathlons and two ultramans (look up the darn distance on that, will you?)

Why must we qualify age as the deciding factor as to the athlete's talent? Furthermore, why is there a line that we apparently cross when we are no longer allowed to fulfill our dreams? It's pathetic that age (either under 18 or over 30) is food for sports announcers. It also produces little sympathy when I hear someone tell me, "I can't do that, I'm too old." Who perpetuates this myth?

I wish I could count on one hand the times I've watched someone twice my age toast me during a triathlon.

But what's impressive (and it seems something the announcers as statisticians don't bother to analyze) is when athletes, regardless of age or sport, put in their time - their LIVES - to reach their goals. Whether it's just to finish or to get to Kona. Or, hey, the Olympics.

Isn't the Olympics about people doing amazing things? And it's our responsibility to watch and appreciate and be inspired - by EVERYBODY.

Happy Fourth of July, Baby

My cats were starving. They acted like they wanted serious attention, only it was a ruse. Their bowl was empty and what was worse, there was no cat food in the bag, either. I know this because had there been food in the bag, the one cat not chubby enough would've jumped on top of the washing machine (the location of said bag), spilled the contents and then, just to show me that they do not mess around with an empty bowl, shredded the bag to bits.

In order to prevent this, I decided to go to the store. The store not 1/4 of a mile away. Five minutes away.

Well, it being the Fourth of July, my subdivision has a parade. The "floats" consist of people sitting on benches on top of a U Haul trailer pulled by one of any number of giant Ford 150s in the neighborhood. The float-bound celebrities (I think they just took volunteers from the crowd) golf-waved to the spectators.

And here's my point.

I've never seen so many babies in my life.

Single strollers, double strollers, strollers hooked to other strollers creating a train-like parade of infants not yet able to golf-wave.

They all look to be the same age and they all look to be the same baby. They may have been dropped from a helicopter hovering over my subdivision, dropping babies like rice on a poor nation.

All I can think of is there was a Neighborhood Fertility Day. I was most likely on my bike. (Although I would rather pull my toenails out one-by-one than celebrate THAT holiday.)

To make this cat food journey all the more interesting, I was nearly side-swiped by any number of mini-vans and giant Suburbans containing more babies. Here's an idea: walk the two blocks from your house!

Mommies overweight and dressed in blue capri pants and red short sleeved blouses with white stars all over them. (Rework the color scheme however you wish, just make sure to keep the stars on the blouse.) Daddies in khaki Bermuda shorts and tennis shoes and red or white or blue polo shirts. Babies dressed like other babies in little sailor suits or whatever is going to be most embarrassing when they're teenagers and having babies of their own.

Me on red scooter with short black shorts, loose red t-shirt, tattoos of phoenixes going up my calf meeting an unfinished dragon tail crawling down my hamstring. Oh, and let's not forget my pink and white Converse that have "peace and love" painted on the heels and flipping the bird to every gas sucking minivan trying to smoosh me like windshield garnish.

Anyway, the white baby population is taken care of in the south Austin suburbs.

Hobbies, people. Try one.