Friday, August 29, 2008

Fountain of Kickass Swimming

Yesterday I swam with the Longhorn Masters swim team in what has to be Mecca for swimmers, the Lee and Joe Jamail Center at University of Texas.

Let me put it this way. The Olympics? The ones that just happened? Piersol, Crocker, etc. train here. They train here. They swam (and will hopefully continue to swim there so I can catch whatever it is they have) in the same water I was swimming.

Let me gush about this pool. (Swimming pun - haha - pfft! Is this thing on?) It's the deepest pool I've ever swam in. I feel like a polar bear or an otter because they actually have windows below so little kids can bang on the glass. Sometimes, I hear, they wake up Ian Crocker who's napping on the bottom (breathing through his gills). Children, it's not polite to bang on the glass.

Anyway, it's so deep that it makes me want to just dig my arms in and scoop water out on my stroke. The good part: That makes you go faster. The bad part: My triceps feel like beef jerky.

Even walking into this building makes me feel like a badass. Although this is quickly put aside as I make my way to the pool and see people who beg the question - How can they move in the water so easily without using any movement or breathe ever? Anyway, the magic pool is housed in this huge, windowless building. Inside are bleachers all the way around. Then there's the diving pool with all the different springboards, platforms, etc. Every movement echoes because the building is the size of like, three Costcos.

I'm not a starstuck person. I could care less if Brad Pitt, with or without Angelina, walked by me. But Aaron Peirsol? Kirsty Coventry? Ian Crocker? Eye contact. . .forget it.

Here's a link: Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center, University of Texas Feel free to ogle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Will beg for comments

It's not that I'm unhappy that the three of you are taking a moment out of your busy (read: employed) day to read my blog but:

I'm needy.

I speak of "comments." Send me some please. It's easy. Just take that mouse thingy, move it over "comments" (this is usually preceded by a zero) and give mama some love.

You can stay "anonymous," you can be a prison inmate, you can be an employer immediately dissing me for my plea of employment.

I'm desperate for anyone.

I'm Tamirra and I approve of this message.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hearts and flowers and butterflies

If you don't want to read whiny and bitchy, feel free to link to Disneyland.

Because I'm frosty and I need to let it out.

Feel free to: Let loose with the hearty "thanks for letting get in front of you" wave. My theory is this - if this is done in the morning, this person (me, in this case) will be that much happier and will pass this happiness onto someone else, who would then...etc. And, just think, all of humanity will be happy and you're responsible. What could be better?

Spare me: With your thumping, pollution-causing smokestacks cutting me off as if a turn signal is now an optional feature in late model automobiles. (OK, a little break here with a Nugget from my Knapsack of Knowledge - cars are the downfall of civilization. Why? How often do you yell "you asshat!!!" at the guy in front of you? Would you really do that to someone in line at the H.E.B.? We now think of cars themselves as entities. We are enclosed in them like our own fortresses, which gives us permission to be hostile to anyone/anything in our sight. Thank you. I'll now accept my Pulitzer.)

Feel free to: Be wonderful and move to the other side of the road or at least away from me while I am riding my bike.

Spare me: Re: Zooming one foot away from me squealing your tires, yell "get off the road", throw a bottle/can/shoe/anything at me. These are unoriginal. You don't need a graduate level marketing class to know you've got to get their attention with exciting, colorful, ORIGINAL gimmicks. So why not throw a gift certificate for DSW? I'm probably uber-thirsty so a 64-ounce Big Gulp wouldn't be unwelcome as well as making an excellent, accurate projectile. Remember, we'd just as soon you not be there, either.

Feel free to: Not smack me in the face with a door you failed to hold open for 2 seconds while I try to get into the store, too. This has nothing to do with chivalry. I'm equally upset with a woman who fails to hold it open. Whenever a woman/man holds the door open or *gasp* makes eye contact, I get obsequious. "OH, THANK yooooouuuuu!!! You have a pleasant day." I then produce a document that doesn't differ much from a diploma rewarding them for their contribution to the well-being of society.

Spare me: OK. Repeat after me: "Please." "Thank you." "Excuse me." "I'm sorry I ran over your foot with my shopping cart." "Can I help you with that?" Oh, and the biggie - "Miss" not "Ma'am."

Feel free to: Take full advantage of the childcare resources at Lifetime Fitness. No, your child is not "cute" when there's five of them and they are all squealing at ear-shattering volumes and playing tag at the entrance of the locker room while you're talking to the friend you take yoga with. No, I will not make eye contact with you and roll my eyes, smile as if to say, "Ohhh, kids."

Spare me: Letting your child push the other set of younger children in their built-for-three super off-road SUV of a baby carriage in front of me so I can neither get to the pool, get to the restroom, get to my locker. Oh, and while we're on the subject of lockers, it is sincerely not cool to change diapers on the tops of the benches by the lockers. I realize I put my butt down on it, too, but hopefully it's poop-free.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Miss Lazy McSleepy Pants

I love getting my workout done in the morning - it gives me all day to feel smug about what a good triathlete I am and grin at all those poor saps who are sweating their whatevers off in the middle of an Austin August Day of Humidity. "Ooooo, I've already done that. . ."

Sometimes I am the poor sap, the smug-ee, if you will.

I loooooove to sleep. I have this reputation of not waking up early enough to get to the race site and both use the bathroom AND start the race on time. I have heard the cannon go off and I'm sitting and reading the newspaper. Then I have to run and dive into the water.

Then there's the Austin 1/2 marathon last year where, again, I was in the bathroom. I ran to the race start and realized I was in the 1-minute mile group. Then the gun went off and I was the world's most panicky salmon screaming, "Where's my pacegroup!!!" And the Chicago Marathon. Hmmm.

Ok, right. The potty doesn't have anything to do with sleeping. But if I could sleep in the potty, that's where I would be.

I'd rather sleep than eat. I require at the very least one nap per day. And none of the wimpy 20-minuters either.

So off I go into 150 percent humidity, drinking fluid that started out as iced-down Carbo Pro, now living as hot tea in my fuelbelt.

Alarms are useless. I don't even remember getting up and slamming the damn thing into the wall. Even if it does permeate my Wall o' Slumber I become a bi^$# on wheels.

FYI, today was a good morning day. I got my workouts in and it was in only 85 percent humidity. I'm counting the days until September.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stepping outside the comfort zone

I haven't written anything since last week because I've been enjoying eating a fresh helping of crow.

I went to my first criterium race with Team Hotel San Jose.

Me? Prior to that? Badass cyclist. Pass people at Ironman with the greatest of ease. No problem at upcoming races. If anything gets dropped from my schedule, it's cycling because I am THE BOMB.

Me? After that? Slow as snail. Head up ass. Humble and humiliated and the rest of those "hum" words.

In other words, spinning my fool head off to even get to the back of the pack. Oh. You don't use the big gear constantly? Not even out of desperation? Oh. You really have be strategic and non-afraid of leaning my oh so experienced body practically into the pavement and not be paranoid of a scortching case of road rash?

Now. I've signed my slow ass up for a 62-mile road race this coming Saturday. I am fully prepared and expecting to make an Idiot Supreme out of myself.

My coach? Totally aware that was going to happen. "So how good a cyclist do you think you are now?" Ummm. Errr. Yet if he had shared this knowledge with me ahead of time, I would have gotten cocky. I think that would enlarge the slice of humble pie that I'm now consuming so, in a way, I'm glad he kept his little secret.

So now? Start at square one.

Despite a HUGE case of embarrassment, I learned a lot the other night. Most important, I learned that I need to train with the best to be the best. Here's what I'm up against at Ironman.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three cheers for me!!

The preamble goes something like this: I don't like to brag about myself but. . .


Yes, this is a major milestone in my life. One my favorite places to be is on my bike. I get to "become one" with the wind, concentrate on strategy, feel myself push and pull on my pedals and, in Texas, dodge a wide assortment of road debris.

I don't mean to sound pathetic but I don't have many friends here in Austin. Since I was young, I can't stand cliques. They're toxic and exclusionary. But now I believe I've joined a great group of women who can most definitely kick my butt but who can most definitely kick my butt.

I'm expecting to learn so much from them and feel very proud to be included. And I feel proud that they don't exclude people because of what branch of cycling they're into.

Triathlon is by no means a thing of the past. I'm using this as an extraordinary chance to improve my cycling by leaps and bounds and make me a contendah.

My first race, pending coach approval, will be September 14 in Chappell Hill, Texas. It's a 50 mile road race and will involve a much different strategy than what I'm used to.

This is the most exciting day I've had in awhile and I'm just going to bask in it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'd rather be a live tool than a dead stud

I know it's hard to believe but cyclists have ego problems.

No, wait. It's true.

Read ego as several things: Macho problems, talking loud needlessly problems, roadie v. triathlete wave-and-be-friendly problems. You get the idea.

Specifically, I'm addressing road against sidewalk usage problems. I believe this would fall somewhere between "ego" and "macho" but that's just a guess.

Anyway, there's a road nearby called, appropriately enough, Slaughter Lane. This road leads to a suicidal, busy highway that we use for a time trial area. There are two ways to get to the TT area from my house: Either down the sidewalk or down the street.

"Real" cyclists do not use sidewalks. At least that's the common thought amongst those on two wheels. Instead, the "GENUINE cyclists" use the street where there's no more than a foot between you and the speeding high school kids in thumping cars, the big dump trucks that are headed to the 23rd Walgreen's they're building in this area and/or rednecks in environmentally conscious Monster trucks who'd like nothing better than to knock them cyclists deader'n a doornail.

Or there's the sidewalk.

There's a high school on this route to the time trial road. It's supposedly a "quality" school (since I happily own only the four-footed brand of child, I have no solid proof but that's what I hear.) Quality school = rich suburban parents. Rich suburban parents = big wide smooth sidewalk that the 10 kids who don't drive their BMWs two blocks to school can use.

This is the nicest sidewalk I've ever seen. It's also the one I use so I can get to the TT area with all of my body parts. Most important, my bike won't get mangled.

Oh, I've seen the smug looks from the morons riding on the street. That's when they can look up instead of concentrate on riding the pencil-wide white paint on street so they don't DIE.

Another bit of proof that I'm smarter? There's at least two of those remembrance cross things on the middle of Slaughter Lane. Cyclists? Dunno.

Are there any on The Sidewalk? No.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Uncross your eyes - they're going to get stuck like that

I'd hate to disappoint my legions of fans so I figured I should write something.

Last week was the opposite of recovery week. Although I discovered where to find the best drafts from the air conditioner when stretched like a corpse on the ground, I also found that I can survive some pretty grueling stuff.

I've noticed that I've gotten better. My cycling is stronger, my running is faster and, ok, I'm no Michael Phelps but my swimming is coming along.

The thing that I noticed the most was that I could ride my bike for four hours and not want to die. I enjoyed it in spite of myself.

Anyway, yesterday and today I've been sick. Like, SICK sick. I think it was rather prescient of me to write about dreading to go to the doctor with frequent tonsil ailments since that's exactly. what. I'm sick. with.

I had to call Zappo's (another story, another day) to return my Ugg's (I am absolutely aware that these went out with, well, I'm so out of it that I don't even know what's been out lately) but I love them.

Anyway, their customer service is awesome but I know they were thinking, "This old lady needs to stop smoking."

My eyes are that rheumy red and they feel like they're crossed. This morning, I wanted to pretend that I was alright and put my contacts in. Add that and the fact that I can't stay awake for more than an hour at a time - well, you do the math.

I managed to discover a new workout yesterday - you can lift a full laundry basket just a little bit off of the ground and work your abs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On grape lollipops

When I was a kid, I used to dread going to see the doctor.

I don't think I feared anything other than shots except for the idea of simply going to the doctor's office. Even the issues of Highlights and the book of the illustrated Bible stories seemed sinister. Then there was the smell, antiseptic and waiting to penetrate my skin with a needle that seemed more enormous the more I thought about it.

In my case, there was something special about getting a shot and it happened every time I would go get one - and as a kid who got throat infections every other day, there were quite a lot. (Also this nasty "orange" flavored throat stuff I keep have to swallow as best I could with tonsils coming through my ears.)

Anyway, I would pass out. I would pass out so hard that my doctor would panic. Then I would be moved into an empty exam room where it was cool and comforting.

I tried to be tough. When my mom and I first stood in line, I would try to feel unaffected by whatever infectious disease was just injected into my shoulder. (Never had to have butt shots, thankfully.) I would try to will my brain into thinking I was tough and passing out would not happen to me this time. I would even joke about with my mom saying something nonchalant such as, "Remember when I was little and I used to pass out when I got a shot?" WHAM.

But then came the colors. Then the cold sweat. Then the air conditioned room. Then the extra lollipop (grape, mmmm).

I bring this up not because I've recently had strep throat but because today, I passed out.

There were no needles in my future or recent past. I just came back from my run of 1 hour, 15 minutes. I started seeing the colors about five minutes before I was finished. Then, just like when I was eight years old, I tried to be stoic.

Only it wasn't an air conditioned room, it was my air conditioned house. And I wasn't lying on my back with grape lollipops being offered to me. I was lying on the floor with the same cold sweat, the same desire for sugar.

MEDICAL FACTOID: It's not a seizure if you're conscious, which I was.

Theories are: 110 degrees outside; no salt intake; not enough hydration between workouts.

Anyway, I slept for about three hours and now I've got a pounding headache. But I've got a bag full of lollipops in the pantry.