Friday, December 11, 2009

Unemployment as writing material

After two years I got a job and not one involving a decision about with or without fries.

This is a job where I write. I knew this place was real when (a) the editor had an actual physical copy of my resume printed and in her hands and (b) she was excited about the three degrees (implied was the vast amount of loans to obtain said degrees) I've collected over time.

But I worry. Unemployment was good fodder for my writing. Will I be witty with a job? What now will I write about? Even now I search the toys on my desktop, looking for something to write about. Severus Snape? A dish of Red Hots that have been sitting here for four months? A pen cup containing pens of which only 2 percent actually write?

Oh yeah. This is supposed to be a blog about my training, which has turned into a blog about my back injury.

Well, I'll have to worry about this later. My dog needs to go out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

List of house selling

Things I will not miss after the house buying and selling is over

1. The intimate knowledge of "short sale", "foreclosure", "mello roos", "HOA" and "contingency agreement".

2. Having those words take up the space in my brain where the bad 80s songs used to reside. I never thought I'd miss Madonna.

3. Having the phone surgically implanted for immediate notification of home-related issues. (Note: I will now give the benefit of the doubt for the poor slob whose phone rings at the restaurant. If he looks like he's about to have a heart attack, he's selling his house.)

4. Having said phone stay as silent as waiting for the person you really liked in high school actually call you when you gave him your phone number. "Is it working??" *pick up receiver*

5. Living in a museum - i.e., no socks left on the floor, no imprints on the vacuumed carpet (requires levitation), god help you if you left a coffee ring.

6. Feeling really super duper strung out - lack of sleep, dreaming of life in a cardboard box, constant sweating, sailor mouth at inappropriate times, all conversations with friends containing "Take it easy. . ."

7. A diet of Hot Tamales and pita bread because of the need to keep the house ultra-bare since real people don't actually eat - they just keep the cereal boxes lined up in alphabetical order and soup arranged by type (chicken v. bean) and can size.

8. The immediate and essential washing of workout clothes since no one in THIS house smells like feet after riding or running.

9. Until a permanent residence presents itself, the closet is stripped of most clothing, leaving like five things hung in a tasteful manner to show potential Buyers that this room? Is a closet. These rods? Where the clothes hang.

10. The raging desire for perfect strangers to call causing maniacal cleaning, dog walks in the 100 degree heat and picking up of rice grains and, one-by-one, animal hairs that just might have fallen to the ground - and the urgent desire for this to happen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Le Peuwww

I woke up this morning and I'm on crooked. My head is going one way, my shoulders the other. My lower back is heading the other way entirely. This? Is the last time I don't see my chiropractor every week.

But more dramatic than that? I'm out of deoderant.

I turned the knob and it was all "clickclickclick."

Why is this so traumatic? Let me put it this way, I wear the clinical sport strength in the hope that I will win the Battle of the Stinky Triathlete.

I hate stink. Always have. Since my injury, I have the MOST sensitive sense of smell. I can smell people on the side of the road and in other cars. Cigarettes four cars in front of me? Yep.

I hate stink.

We all have stinkiness. I hardly expect anyone to not curl my nose hairs (including myself) by mile 120 of an Ironman.

So until I get to Randall's I will walk around with my arms stuck firmly to my sides.

I'm also going to visit the chiro.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Everybody needs a dream

I am determined to do a handstand.

Yes, my main goal is to qualify for Kona. But I've always admired those people (they are usually gymnasts) who can push themselves up from a seated position into a handstand.

This all started because I grew a core. Find the irony - I first got the idea at physical therapy. Don't even ask me to explain the Pilates funky thingy with springs on it that I started doing pikes on.

Then I got the idea to push myself up. More. More. And now I've gotten as far as my feet going to my head.

Here's where I start to need a wall. Here's where I really need a brain. A brain that will tell me exactly how badly I will ruin my race season by snapping something in two.

I'm practicing on the kitchen cutting island. While I'm making coffee. I've determined that this is a good idea by not trying to get upside down.

Another goal more conducive and less health insurance premium raising - to swim at all the public pools and swimming holes in the Austin area.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

70.3 Florida Half Ironman

With being a triathlete who maintains a blog comes the responsibility to write a race report.

That being said, here's the preamble - race reports are usually ungodly boring, too long and contain a lot of bad grammar. So in the interest of maintaining attention spans, I try to cut mine from a different cloth.

Orlando 70.3 Ironman

My pre-race nerves are things of legends. This year, however, the mind genie was kept in his bottle with a bottle of passionflower (a foul tasting concoction mixed with water).

My chiropractor, and I mention him frequently, is not just a bone-popping kind of guy. His name is Chandler Collins and not only does he keep the usual body parts from falling to pieces, he heals the rest of the stuff as well.

So, passionflower it was. And it helped! No miserable week before where I wished I had a time machine. I even gave attitude to my competitors.

Ah, yes. My competitors.

Perhaps now is the time to describe a "tri-weenie". We've all seem them. They are male and female but that's where the difference ends. These are the people who wear a matching tri kit during the race even if they're sponsored by no one. They've got 8 percent body fat and believe they're racing this race by the grace of God.

They hang around in flocks and try to outdo each other with their tales of doing 200 mile bike rides two days ago as a warm up for the race. You can see them race morning sprinting around the race site. Actually, you can see them sprinting from the hotel room to the breakfast buffet to carbo load; from the car into the 7-11; inside the grocery store. There's nowhere they don't sprint.

Best of all, come race day they break every rule set by the USAT.

Swim - It was like swimming in shark infested waters. I understand aggressiveness in the water but, come on, we're supposed to sight. We know when we're about to goose the person next to us in the water. So we should know that we're about to dunk someone's head under the water (mine) and then do it a second time (mine again) and act accordingly. We've all been touched in a not-ok-way during the swim and swam behind someone who was a little passionate about kicking. But my coach got punched in the neck (on purpose, might I add), which pretty much made the use of his aerobars nonexistent. His race? Ruined.

Which leads me to bike.

Here's where the tri-weenies shined. Drafting: check. Passing you as you are passing someone else: check. A total lack of "on your left": check. Here's where my favorite story of my race comes in.

I was passing someone while maintaining the proper bike length between the two of us. From my left side - "watchoutwatchoutwatchout." The carbon from his disc rubs the carbon on the rim of my front wheel. Understandably, I was pissed off and more than a little aware of how close this dorkmunch almost caused me to crash.

At the top of my lungs: "ON YOUR LEFT, MOTHERF*CKER!!!" He turned around in what I think was a bit of surprise and up went my tried but true middle finger. The best part is that I passed him in the headwind - thanks to training in the Texas headwinds BTW.

This aside, I was pleased with my bike. Truly the easiest 56 miles I've ever done. I didn't just sail like I was on a townie bike picking up groceries but I maintained my HR according to Kevin's plan and lookee what it got me - 28th place in my age group - missed the lead by 13 minutes.

But what goes up must come down.

The Run.

(1) After the first of three four-mile loops, the course is then familiar for the second and third loops (2) during which was this amazingly grassy area with hidden ninja-like tiny potholes that feed off of exhausted feet (3) and a steamy swamp bringing the humidity to 250 percent but (4) I ran the whole thing (5) very, very slowly (6) which made my excellent bike time irrelevant.

But still. I'm proud of this race. My bike was the highlight of my season thus far. I've got such great coaches and although we've got a ways to go for Kentucky, I'm a true believer that we'll get there.

As for the tri-weenies - you'd better work on your skills in the headwinds. HAH! HAHAHA!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"a" and "b" do not always equal "c"

It's hot in here.

So get up and turn the a/c on.



Because if I'm not working out, I'm a big fan of sitting on my ass in front of my computer.

But you're sweating and grumpy, which means more typos, which means you're angry and pounding on the keys. Which expends more energy and makes you sweat more. You've been sweating all morning in 200 percent humidity for your workouts. You've got modern technology just ten feet away.

My right foot is twitching for some unexplained reason. It's annoying.
Also, I've got a necklace of bug bites because I seem to be tastier when I sweat humidity.

What does that have to do with the a/c?

I'm burping tacos.

Get up and turn on the a/c.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hamstring stretching and other lies

"Stretch" sounds like such a comforting word.

The first stretch of the morning - (almost) as good as a cup of strong coffee.

Streeeetchhh. Ahh.

Reality? Think of those medievil tortures. Wasn't one of them where they strapped the offender's legs and arms to four horses and have them gallop off? That. Is stretching.

I'm under strict orders from my physical therapists to do 20 minutes of stretching per day. I'm supposed to stretch between sports. Haven't they heard of transition times? I'd rather the extra minutes being used in a Porta Potty (I refuse to take care of business on my bike. Really. Would you pee on $12,000?).

So I diligently stretch my hamstrings, calves, feet, arms, eyes, earlobes - everything.

I guess I can't prove this hasn't been working because I've been doing this regularly and it's impossible to prove it if I'm doing it. Or not doing it. (What exactly am I trying to say? I know what I meant but I'm still confused.) All I know is my hamstrings feel like pulling stale string cheese.

But stretching has become my body parts' crack. (Ha ha.) Following my long ride or run, my legs want to be stretched more that I want a gallon of icewater. Or a donut. Is that what this stretching thing is all about? The encouragement of addiction? Does this make my physical therapists my enablers?

My muscles don't just yearn for the stretch in the Computrainer room or beside my truck with bike leaning against it to prove that I know what I'm doing. The grocery store, Blockbuster, in front of someone whom I'm trying to interview for an article.

At least I don't do the quad stretch where people lift their leg by their foot in the least effective way possible. That's just cheesy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bike saddles - a case of nerves

My ass has occupied more bike saddles than can be counted.

They say that first impressions are formed within seconds of meeting somebody. Sometimes a good time is had by all and other times it's been a bad relationship the first time buns touched leather.

There's lots of friendly advice - most of which has been considered. "Try Terry." Check. "Selle Italias - I swear by them." Oh, those have been worst of all.

Leather, faux leather, plastic, yak skin, sheepskin, human skin (or removal thereof.) - they've all been under my ass. Everyone loves something and hates something else. At times one person's ass's favorite is another's worst enemy.

I've recently, much to my bike coach's delight, changed from a saddle that he terms "The Sow" for a Fizik triathlon saddle.

Unlike most of my exes, The Sow and I continue to have a good relationship. It lives in the retiree bike saddles' equivalent of a mobile home in Florida - my closet. The Sow and I had our days in the sun. Actually, about 1 1/2 years in the sun. Then, one day, my butt and it had a falling out.

And that's another issue entirely. Why are saddles so fickle? For an undocumented period of time, could be months, years or days, that saddle is The One. You love it. Your butt loves it. Your bike time loves it.

Then, poof. They never call, they never write. The relationship becomes adversarial and the saddle turns into a bed of nails. You have to break up. A race, just like Valentine's Day, is a really bad time for your saddle to tell you this.

What I figure is this - a relationship takes work. There are going to rocky roads where the two of you can agree on nothing. What is comfortable in some areas of, let's face it, a very very close relationship, will be downright icky in others.

And who wouldn't be crabby and sick of each other after 112 miles? It's like having your sister poke you with a needle through the entire State of Iowa.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Triathlon is no place for nostalgia

Most people have heard about this triathlon season as one that is dedicated to my family - a thank-you card by seeing their daughter/niece/sister through a life-threatening stint in a hospital materializing in a slot in Kona.

This is the season that's closest to my heart. But as noble as this effort seems, there's a lot of frustration and self-doubt involved in this endeavor. Possibly even more than in previous seasons. And not just the thought that the stakes are high.

As every triathlete knows, there are great days and there are bad days.

There are days, like today, where I feel like chucking it all and New Zealand starts to look like a great place to live. My face gets red, the animals get scared as the volume goes up and there's a possibility something will be hurled against the wall and broken.

Then there's the other days.

Such as Saturday on my long ride, on which I rode the Livestrong course. A year or two ago, I had to do the walk of shame up a couple of those hills. Saturday I climbed them like there'd never been a problem. This wasn't luck. This was the combined effort of a lot of training and instruction of my coaches.

Then there's the week before's long ride on the roads of rural farmland. A farmer and I had a "race" between me on my bike and he on his tractor. By the time we reached the fence marking the end of his field, we were both laughing so hard. We waved and went our separate ways. We never said a word to each other but I bet he was telling people about "the funniest thing that happened today".

I know I was.

On the frustrating days I swear I'll go back to boxing or figure skating and I question why anyone with an ounce of sense in their body wants to do triathon.

But then I wonder why I always retreat to the nostalgic, positive parts of past experiences to try to convince myself that I'm justified in my decision. What I forget is that nostalgia is as misleading as hindsight. And that I don't believe that either contains 20/20 vision.

Instead, I'm left with the thought that with all of the sports I've done and all of the endeavors I've made career-wise, I quit right on the brink of possible success.

Can I, because of a day or week of complete frustration, look back on what was shaping up to be an excellent and promising triathlon season and realize it's just history repeating itself?

Frankly, I'm tired of nostalgia.

So tonight I'll steam and swear to god that this will be my last season. I'll sit here and pound the keys so hard that a quick run to Staples for a new keyboard will be necessary.

But tomorrow, or possibly later tonight, I'll return to my sport with my tail between my legs. I'll look at my workout and, tomorrow as I'm running or swimming or cycling, see why I learned to walk and talk again. And, with continued effort through good days and bad, be able to look my family in their eyes in August and say, "I love you all. Let's go to Kona."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pain vs. pain

So not a whole bunch of working out today. So no working out today. Fighting every natural instinct I've got, I lay around like a muscle-relaxed slug today. Flat on my back. Working my way through a book. I think it helped the sad muscles on my back.

In a sick way, inertia, ennui and a whoppin' big back injury teach me to appreciate my workout pain. Workout pain - as opposed to normal, run of the mill, injured muscle pain-pain.

Workout pain is wholly self-inflicted. It's predictable - my knees hurt if I run like this, my throat gets sore when I'm panting too much, etc. It's expected.

Athlete pain is a different animal than normal person pain. Burning your hand on the stove? It's different. Bumping your head on the hanging lamp in the dining room that for some reason hangs five feet off of the ceiling? Different. Hamstrings popping out from climbing too many hills? Getting warmer.

So tomorrow morning after the coffee is consumed, the ClifBar eaten and long after the muscle relaxants wear off, I'll be back on the bike for a day of CompuTorture and running. Willingly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The magic land of Photoshop

In the morning, as well as the 26 other times I go online during the day, there's an order to my surfing. Email - FacebookFacebookFacebookCrackbook - email again (In case anyone has send me earth shattering news sometime within the 15 minutes since the last time I checked it.)

Yes, I'm on Facebook a lot. In fact, I must assign blame to checking the status updates as the reason I'm writing on this blog so inconsistently. I mean, if I update my status, what else is there to tell? One little sentence and there you go.

Worse than Facebook is Photoshop. I got Photoshop for Christmas for the simple reason than it's cheaper than plastic surgery. Kidding. Sort of. Anyway, I'm taking an online class because I'd sooner get an A in Calculus than know what I'm doing with Photoshop.

Photoshop = Black hole time warp. I swear I sit down at 7:00pm and when the smoke clears it's midnight. I'm not even doing anything amazing and this is only the basic course.

But I'm so proud of my little creations. I want to post them every time I finish one. It's like macaroni pictures you made at school. All you want is to achieve a gallery show on the refrigerator.

Two years of a minor in illustration. Two years of endless nib problems and covering my hand and ruining my pictures with black, inky blobs. Now? One click and my minor is as useless as my major in journalism.

Must go back. . .must click on photo. . .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coffee break sans coffee

I'm here writing a buncha stuff anyway so I might as well blab on here as well. Hey, I don't have it too bad - I'm writing about cycling. Just what's up with everyone thinking the 15th is a great day for a deadline?

One of the sponsors for Team Hotel San Jose is Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop here in Austin. Wowwww, this store contains nothing but bike porn. And the coffee is pretty good, too! Cyclists are picky about their coffee. Unless your legs are dying during a century ride. Then the Shell station becomes the new Starbucks.

I've start doing Computrainer training (Computraining?) at MJ's with Kevin Livingston. If you've never trained on Computrainer, it's a trip. It's like a video game only the controller is you on your bike. There's a cartoon dude, too, but I was this cartoon chick in yellow spandex. (Not 80s spandex, true, but definitely not something I would wear in a race.)

Then you follow this real life course only drawn cartoon style. They actually have real courses from Ironman races and stuff. I still don't understand how the telephone works so this techno stuff is going way over my head.

There's also a sad, depressing screen that he switched over to that shows your pedal stroke and the push v. pull. He asked if I wanted to keep it there and I told him that I'm aware of my mashing problems but I just didn't want to face them at the moment. Now I need Computherapy.

I went to an endocrinological nutritionist (probably not the correct term) as the last step of Send Tamirra to Kona. She's got me on all these weird supplements. Do NOT look at the ingredients. There's a whole lotta bovine in one of them. One got stuck on my tongue when I was trying to wash it down. Gross.

One reason I went there is because of my massive sweet tooth. She gave me this stuff called Gymnema, a pill made of an Indian root that's supposed to help with cravings. They've been using it to cure diabetes since like the year 3 or something. She said it worked best if you chewed it and I know why. Peoples' diabetes was cured because they cut their tongues out once they tasted this. It cured them with nausea followed by unhealthy doses of mouthwash, dish detergent, two-year-old Harvey's Bristol Cream - whatever was readily available. You don't touch sweets again because God forbid you have to put this in your mouth again.

Ok. Time to write for real.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I had the strangest dream - I was writing a blog

There's a few things that justify not writing in this blog for a month:

1. The most obvious would be alien abduction...such a cliche that I'm not going to talk about it.

2. Training at a level I didn't realize I could train. And this is just the leetle bebeh beginning.

3. Laziness created by #3. Let me rephrase - too tired and worn out and sore to be able to sit upright without those metal things that hold up mannequins. Draw your own conclusions.

4. Around-the-world trip for research into outdoor photography and a fulltime gig working for National Geographic. (I had to stick in a little fantasy.)

5. Practicing for my swim in the bathtub warm and clear waters of Lanzarote. (I think I spelled that wrong so that, obviously, is false.)

Going back to the couch to eat meal #8b.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two-wheeled evil staredown

My bicycles are giving me the Hairy Eyeball.

They live in the hallway. Peanut, the triathlon bike, lives against the stairs. Little Red Bicycle, the road bike, lives against the wall.

I rode Peanut for two days last week. He got hopeful. Then I got Anthrax or whatever the hell it is I've had all week. So there Peanut sits. He's even got his racing wheels still on him.

LRB sat for two days with a flat that didn't get fixed. It's a sad state of affairs.

I can feel their snubbery every time I walk by them.

But it's not my fault! They saw me with my pukey fever and my demonic chest cough! Why should I feel so bad?

Is is because nearly all of my Facebook friends are cyclists and they're always talking about how weary they are after their rides? Or taking pictures of their bikes while they're on a ride or getting ready to go on a ride and mine are just sitting there, remote control in hand and a bowl of potato chips?

Take care, my friends. For Tuesday we shall begin again.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Because I can't fit all this on my Facebook status update. . .

1. I have the gnarliest cough right now. It's a souvenier from my near-death experience involving a weird scientific experiment that combines the flu AND bronchitis simultaneously. My cough is causing the neighbors to herd their offspring indoors to avoid the Lady with The Bird Flu.

2. My arms are shaking from too much Moose Munch and too little actual food for five days.

3. I'm stressed out from playing (and failing to play correctly) Ozzy Osbourne on Guitar Hero. Not to mention the crippling carpal tunnel syndrome and over enthusiastic pick-grasping with the right hand.

4. I know I'm getting better because the igloos of strewn Kleenex (including what the cats have shredded) is really beginning to bother me.

5. I know I'm getting better because I'm actually getting tired of reading.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I *heart* emo vampires

Most Twilight readers admit to their dorkitude. And the first step to healing is admitting something. (BTW, if you're a grown up who actually reads books for adults, the following paragraphs are not for you.)

Here's my opinion(s).

The main characters? I think Bella's a drama-queen whiner with extraordinarily poor decision-making skills.

I can't keep up with Edward talking like a sophisticated 18th century kind of guy one minute then a skater dude the next.

Bella and Edward together make me think of that annoying kissy-smooch sound that movies like to blast acapella for five minutes. (To me this noise is akin to nails on a chalkboard to some people.)

And WHY, HOW do you have this much lovey-ness for someone when you're 18 unless your future involves a double-wide.

Jacob. Jacob. What else can I say? He's smart. He's nice. And I root for him in every paragraph.

And I like Alice because she sounds like someone with cool hair.

And I just redeemed my American Express Rewards Points for a Barnes and Noble giftcard so I can buy the last book.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

My kinda evening

New Years Eve: Dancing dressed in a glittery gown with great looking hair and perfectly applied makeup - a flute of champagne (or, in my case, Head Injury Champagne = sparkling apple juice), a countdown and a kiss at midnight.

This? Is not how I spent my new year's eve.

My new years eve was spent with farts and d*ck jokes coming from my DVD player in the form of Superbad.

I was dressed in my flannel pajamas with the pictures of a cow jumping over the moon.

No makeup whatsoever.

Glasses on.

Coughing/sneezing my head off with a Kleenex shoved up each nostril and really hoping I could stay awake until midnight.


Earlier that day I completed the longest workout I'd done in six months - Pilates, swim (for the 1st time since injury!!! I never thought I could miss drinking chlorine so much), bike (45 minutes in a delicious head wind) and run (15 minutes in a glorious bonk.)


Tonight? The same thing minus the fart jokes.