Friday, November 07, 2008


It's been a while!  So long, in fact, that I realized that half the links on my blog list are dead.  Oops.  

I'm not sure whether this marks my return to the world of blogging.  I may pick things back up here, or I may find a new online home.  Either way, if I continue it will be somewhat different than in the past.  A lot has changed in the past year.  I am no longer doing tris, because I realized after I started working that I just couldn't train as much as I wanted to or needed to in order to do well.  So for now, I'm just running, and preparing for a big (and somewhat terrifying) move.  I did set a giant PR in a 5K in July, but unfortunately my racing since then has been less than stellar.  I'm okay with that, though - I can call this a rebuilding year.   :)

What has really brought me back to the blog, though, is the amazingness of this past week.  I am a huge Obama fan, and I was so happy and proud that he was elected.  In fact, I have gotten a little catch in my throat quite a few times this week while thinking about the election and his speech on Tuesday night.  But this cartoon appealed to both my Obama support and my not-so-hidden law-nerd side, and it actually brought a tear to my eye.  I thought I would share it. 

I hope you are all doing well!! 


Edit:  I think the image isn't working!  Here's the link if you're interested.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All Is Well

I'm just really busy.

Things are slowly settling down. I still really enjoy work, and am finding that I enjoy certain aspects of the practice group more than others (I really like one area of law and the other is not really my cup of tea). My training is going mostly well; my volume is higher than it's been but is well-balanced, and my coach is thoroughly kicking my ass but I can feel myself getting stronger already. I raced in the Baltimore half-marathon a few weeks ago and demolished my old PR by 20 minutes. And I think I can go even faster in the Philadelphia half-marathon next month.

Being in school and basically setting my own schedule was such a luxury. I could work out, or go food shopping, or do whatever, in the middle of the day and do my work at night. That meant I could work out when it was light out, or go to the store when it wasn't super-crowded. Now that I've joined the working world I'm running when it's dark out and going to the supermarket (and standing in the check-out lines) with everyone else. Ah, well - not much I can do about it besides get used to it.

I'm really fortunate that Speedy and I share this triathlon habit. Instead of one of us running off to get a workout in after work, we can go together, and it's so much better than going from work to workout and having even less time together. Because we can work out together, we can spend more time together. Corny? Maybe. But it seems to work for us :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm Looking for Inspiration . . .

. . . but really, it has to come from within. Because I've got plenty of external motivation, like all those people about to rock out at Kona this weekend. They're about to race at freaking Kona, and I'm bitching about a 3000-yard swim workout in a nice heated pool. Sigh.

Anyway, I've been having lots of trouble getting my ass in gear, especially when it comes to swimming. Even with workouts that mix things up, I can't get the motivation to go get in the pool, especially when I get home from work.

And I blew out the back tire on my bike last week, and still haven't replaced it. Or gotten the wheel trued.

But running is going well; I'm feeling good and have the Baltimore half-marathon coming up this weekend, which should be a lot of fun. It'll be me and 5,500 of my closest friends. And we're staying in a hotel right near the starting and finish lines, so we don't even have to leave too early to get to the start in time, nor will we have to travel far back to our room. Which is good, because that means I can save my legs for the walking around the Inner Harbor we're going to do Saturday afternoon :)

It'll come. Maybe I need to start planning my races for next year; that might get me going.

But, work is awesome. I was assigned to my first choice of practice groups, and the people seem wicked smart but also a ton of fun. Not only that, but they're not laughing at my stupid questions, but are giving me the time and direction I need to figure things out. Today, I had a (very basic) question about a (very basic) part of our practice, and instead of pointing out a book I could use to find the answer, one of the senior associates sat in my office and explained it to me. And then he pointed out a book I could use to get more info, but that he took the time to sit down and talk to me was great. But I'm freaking exhausted every day when I come home, which I'm sure isn't helping my workout motivation at all.

It'll come, though. Things will calm down, I'll learn the ropes at work, and things will come together again. It's just going to take some time.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Excuse me . . .

That's Cheaper Than Therapy, Esquire, thankyouverymuch.

Which means . . .


Monday, October 01, 2007

Of Blown Tires, Broken Bones, and New Jobs

My weekend started out fine.

I hadn't been on the bike in 3 weeks or so, and on Saturday morning Speedy and I went for an easy ride near our house, and it was great. My legs felt great, but my aero endurance was gone and my, um, nether regions had a rather rough reintroduction to the saddle. But it was a good ride. Until about 10 minutes left, and I went over something small and metal and had a blow-out flat in the rear tire, with a shredded tire and tube and a slightly scratched (but not severely damaged) rim. Oops. Fortunately, we were close to a shortcut home, and only had to walk ~0.5 mile back to the house. In our socks, wheeling the bikes.

From there, we were planning to go to Speedy's parents' house for the day, but as we were getting ready my phone rings. It's my mom, saying, "First, she's okay, but [Youngest Sister] is in the hospital; we think she broke her leg." She was playing rugby, and fell while her foot was planted. So I headed over to my parents', brought them dinner since they were in the ER all day, and ended up staying the night to help out because my sister was in a full-leg brace (not to mention a lot of pain). They went to see an ortho surgeon today, and it turns out that she broke her leg in 3 places, tore a stabilizing ligament, and dislocated her ankle. She's having surgery next week.

It definitely deserves mention that my sister is one of the toughest people I know. She walked off the field after getting hurt. With these terrible injuries to her leg. And wanted to stay and watch the game for a little while before heading to the ER (at that point, they didn't know how badly she was injured). Are you kidding? I'd have been curled up in the fetal position and crying like a baby if that had happened to me. She's unbelievable.

And today was my first day of my new job. I've only been working towards this for the last three years. Unfortunately, this is just orientation and is pretty slow, but I'm sure I'll be pretty freaking busy very soon.

Oh! I have a new coach. I'm quite sure she'll kick my ass from here to next Tuesday. I think I should be worried :)

Whew. What a weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I first noticed this problem at a race this summer, when I saw three friends standing at the starting line of a race, waiting for their wave to start. Something was clearly not right, and when I realized what it was, I made a mental note of it, and filed it away in my "That was strange" mental file. But I saw it again in the pool today, and people, this has to stop.

MEN: UnderArmour boxer briefs, like these:

ARE NOT SWIMSUITS. OR TRISHORTS. They are underwear, designed to be worn under clothing. Yes, I know they are black and tight-fitting, and therefore resemble most jammers or trishorts, but it seems to me that the material would be less that ideal for swimming or biking, or heading into T1 soaking wet. And the seams!!

So please, do yourself and your fellow racers and swimmers a favor, and invest in some jammers or trishorts. Or both!!

. . . The More You Know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Hmm...apparently the resolution on these photos isn't great when they're uploaded to Blogger. Sorry for the blurriness.



Lake Geneva:

I've been trying to get these photos up for a while, but I wasn't able to figure out the embedding and I finally decided to just post them. So without further ado, here are photos of Paris:

And Now Back To Your Regularly-Scheduled Programming

After two weeks away, coming home and leaving the next day for a wedding 4.5 hours away, we are finally home and settling back into our normal routines. The trip was awesome, but it's so nice to be home.

My run today was, I think, specifically designed to kick my ass. And kick my ass it did. And Speedy's as well. It was the longest run I've done in a while, but it wasn't your standard LSD weekend run, and it was freaking hard, and I crashed and burned at the end. But you know what? It was great to get out there and run myself into the ground.

And my dad is still kicking ass in his running ventures. What a freaking rock star he is.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rules for International Travel

During our journey, we've come up with a few 'Rules for International Travel.' Without further ado:

1. When lost, walk to the top of the hill.
2. Once there, get coffee.
3. Re-evaluate the plan while drinking the coffee, and if you still don't know where to go ask the barista.

3. When learning/practicing a foreign language, have no shame. Bring afraid of getting laughed at is no way to learn how to speak a foreign language. Besides, people are generally nicer when you try to speak their language, even if your pronunciation is awful and you get laughed at by the waitress. Not that that happened to me or anything. Oh, and don't sneer "I don't speak French!" when you're in Paris and someone asks you a question, like the woman next to me did to the poor guy trying to ask her to move her car.
4. Bring an umbrella. It's small and doesn't take up much room in your bag.

That's it. Obviously, these rules only apply when you're travelling in big cities, because the coffee rule won't help if you're in the Amazon wilderness. But aside from that, we think they're pretty solid. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adventures in Travel

The masses (okay, it was like 9 people) spoke, and here we are on our fabulous journey. We started in London, and walked from Harrod's to Tower Bridge. We made it out without getting hit by any cars while crossing the street, which was fortunate because remembering to look right-left-right is not nearly as ingrained as left-right-left.

We're currently in Moscow, which is an adventure because neither of us speaks or reads Russian. But we're working on it; we know the basic words and I'm picking up the Cyrhillic alphabet pretty quickly, which should help with navigation. And once I get the alphabet down, we can use a Russian-English dictionary, which should also help a lot.

This morning before setting out for touristy things, we went for a run through a park near our hotel. It seems that working out is not something that people around here really do, and we got lots of strange looks. It was also about 45-50 degrees, and raining by the end of the run, and we were each wearing shorts. It was chilly. And deserted, and really sort of surreal, almost like we were living in a B-level spy movie. We ran by one man and practically scared the pants off of him; as we were about to pass him he caught us in his peripheral vision and jumped about a mile, dropping his bag in the process. I apologized in English, and as we kept running I could hear him yelling at us in Russian.

We got down to the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral today. I took some photos which I will try to post later; I'm not sure how they turned out because the weather has continued to be cold and rainy so the photos may be pretty dreary. Hopefully those competing in IMMoo have better weather than this!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Seeing the Forest

We get so caught up in the minutia of races that sometimes, we forget what really matters and how what we do can affect others.

This weekend, for the first time, my parents came to see me race. I didn't know they were coming. Apparently they were there for the whole race, watching the swim start, T1 and T2, some of the run, and the finish line. They said they didn't cheer for us at all because they 'didn't want to distract us,' which Speedy thought was hilarious because his parents scream their heads off whenever they see either of us during a race.

Anyway, I came across the finish line and had just taken off my chip when I heard my mom's voice, and I was totally that person in the chute who stops on a dime and I probably caused a minor traffic jam behind me. Um, yeah . . . sorry about that.

My dad was walking around the finish area, watching the competitors and interactions, and heard the finish line spectators explode a couple times for certain finishers. Now, Dad has been recovering from some health issues that gave him some problems. He's always been overweight, and these recent issues totally sapped his motivation to continue losing weight or be active, which he had been doing, and he started gaining again. So when he started talking about the different body types of the competitors, or the camaraderie among members of my tri club, or the general supportive nature of the sport, Speedy and I chatted with him about it but didn't think of it as more than general curiosity. Imagine my surprise and delight when my dad asked us if we thought that this race was something we thought he could do next year!!

That's right. My dad was so inspired by the race that he wants to do a triathlon next year. How freaking great is that?

It's been a while since he's done anything more active than walking, so he's starting with the Couch to 5K, and called me to tell me about his first day back on the treadmill. I've also sent him links to forums and blogs of people who have done the same thing (ahem, Dan) in hopes that seeing people who have undertaken the same goal and are succeeding will provide some lasting inspiration for him.

I'm so proud of him for taking the first steps!! (And yes, I've told him that.) And I think it's a great reminder that you never know who you can inspire, even when races/training seem to be going poorly. If anyone has any advice about how I can keep encouraging him, I'd love to hear it.

And . . . big changes coming my way on October 1!! Stay tuned for more details :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Marlton Lakes Tri

I don't have much to say in this race report.

This was a very disappointing race for me. Things just didn't come together the way I had hoped they would. I'm not sure why, really - whether I ate something that didn't sit right, or or drank too much lake water, but my stomach was off during the run and really slowed me down. And I felt good on the bike but it turns out I was much slower than I thought I'd be. And my swim was just a mess.

But the good news is I finally got my transition act together, and managed to recover some time, especially in T2. Too bad my overall rank didn't match my transition ranks!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Operation Keebler

I need to preface this post. Before you say "Oh, cry me a river" or anything like that, hear me out. And if that doesn't work, well, I apologize for the general obnoxiousness that follows.

When I am on a schedule, my nutrition generally clicks along nicely. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, dinner, snack. There are some meltdowns here and there, like a big chicken cheesesteak, fries, and a beer for dinner, but these are generally few and far between because they wreak havoc on my training the next day. Lately, though, there has been no schedule, because I have not yet started working. I wake up whenever I please, which is generally around 10:00, putter around for a bit, go do some training, work on projects around the house, and so on. But because there's no schedule right now, my eating has totally gone off track in a big, major, catastrophic way.

Here's my issue: I'm losing weight, and have lost about 10 pounds since graduation in May. Big deal, right? But I don't have much room for error - at graduation, I was 118 on a 5'6" frame, which means that a few days ago I was 108. This is as bad as if I had gained 10 pounds, but instead of carrying around extra weight, I feel like I am losing strength, especially on the bike. I feel like the endurance to push the big gears isn't there like it should be. My long ride this past weekend wiped me out far more than it should have for the speeds I went. My clothes are falling off, and I refuse to buy anything new because I shouldn't be this light. This has to stop, and NOW.

Bring on Operation Keebler.

I can 100% attest to the fact that if you stop snacking and keep up your workouts, you will lose weight. Doing so in the weeks before your new A race, though, is a bad, bad idea. So I am making a giant effort to make sure I get those snacks and extra calories in. I'm taking all the diet tips and turning them on their heads - drink only water? I'm drinking as much juice as I can. No mid-morning snacks? I'll have two giant handfuls of trail mix, thanks. No eating before bed? It's Ben & Jerry's for me.

And it seems to be working. I'm up a couple pounds over the last few days. Hopefully in the next few days I can rebuild some of my calorie stores and get my act together. Because this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Overcoming Doubt

As I've said often, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to sports psychology. I don't need Athlinks, or competitor lists, or really anything in order to get psyched out about a race or my speed/lack thereof. I can get into my head better than any competitor.

I think there are a couple of explanations for this. First, I've never thought of myself as anything other than the 'long slow distance' type. I was on soccer and crew teams, sure, but I was a goalie and coxswain. When I finally got into running, I did it for the physical benefit but also for the mind-clearing aspect of it as well, and I immediately pushed out any thoughts of competition/pressure/anything that would make running anything other than relaxation. I was also slow. The second possible explanation is that I have asthma, which I control with multiple medications, and this recent change to speedwork has left me unsure of how hard I can push without getting into trouble.


Every now and then the stars and planets align, the birds sing, the flowers bloom, and things fall into place. This past weekend was one of those times.

My swim on Friday was the best swim I've had in months; I felt strong and set a new PR for 200 yards.
On Saturday, Speedy and I went out for what we knew would be a tough brick, with intervals on the bike and a race-pace track run afterwards. We had a tailwind on the way out, and since the intervals didn't start until we turned around, we knew we'd have a tough ride back into the headwind. And it was tough, but we actually upped our average MPH during the way back, despite the headwind. Maybe we were just dogging it on the way out :) The run kicked my ass; I got through the first 5 of 8 laps without too many problems and then halfway through the 6th felt that familiar tightness in my chest. I told Speedy that I wasn't sure I'd be able to hold the pace. Instead of letting me stop, he all but tied a rope between us and towed me around the last 2 laps. He lived up to his nickname, pacing me around the second mile 10 seconds under race pace, and I didn't have an asthma attack. I can push the "how far I can push" line back just a little more now.
On Sunday, we went out to Wissahickon to run some trails, and I felt great. I led most of the way on the single-track trail. This was the first run ever that Speedy has told me that he almost had to tell me to slow down. (Note: he didn't tell me to slow down, but just the fact that he was willing to tell me he was considering it was pretty cool.)

Weekends like this help me to remember that I am not, in fact, turning to mush, and even though I no longer have Iron ambitions, I am making some great progress towards my new goal. These training sessions go straight into the bank, sure to be withdrawn during my next tri-related existential crisis.


SiteMeter lets me see the general traffic on my blog. I don't have ads or anything fancy; it's mostly just for my own curiosity, and is generally boring. But sometimes it's funny or weird.

Here are two recent searches that have led people to my blog. Suffice to say that I doubt either person found what they were looking for:
  • "Driving a Porsche in the rain" (Thank you, Speedy-as-contributor)
  • "Young Speedo Pictures" (um . . . ew?)
Like I said . . . I doubt either person found what they were looking for.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Shout-out to the Small Ring

I was out for a ride today on a loop close to home that I know well. Its a four-ish mile loop that runs alongside a river with wide shoulders on one side and fairly minimal traffic on the other. There's a small bridge crossing the river at each end, and both bridges are on fairly busy roads. So as you can imagine, this loops lends itself well to interval rides.

Today, it was 4 minute intervals. Ride up the North side, recover on the bridge, ride down the South side, recover on the bridge, repeat. As usual, the wind was blowing down river. Headwind on the first, tailwind on the second, and so fourth. Makes for an interesting interval workout, because its difficult to maintain a similar level of effort from one interval to the next.

The intervals on the North side were fun. Cruising along in the big ring, goin fast, the scenery is a blur; this is what riding a bike is all about.

The intervals on the South side were just hard. Spinning in the small ring at over 100 rpm, just trying to keep the pedals turning over, sweat blowing in my eyes, hunching my shoulders down to get them out of the wind; its the anthesis of the other side of the river.

Somewhere in the middle of a four-minute slogfest into the wind, I got to thinking about what what makes me stronger as a rider. The answer: the small ring. Its not entirely intuitive until you do a ride like today's, but its an inevitable truth.

The big ring is a luxury. When the conditions are nice and the road is flat, nothin beats the big ring. Its like driving a Porsche with the top down.

But lets face it, the small ring is the workhorse. When the going gets tough, you're gonna be in the small ring. Riding up a mountain? Small ring. Twenty-five mph headwind? Small ring. If you're facing adversity on the road, chances are you're in the small ring. Races are won in the small ring.

And you're not gonna be driving that Porsche in freezing rain.

So, Small Ring, here's a shout-out to you. Thanks for making me faster.

Karma is a Bitch

A couple of years ago, I volunteered to adopt a dog from a friend of a friend when she could no longer keep the dog. This dog came with warnings: he was on Prozac and something else (I don't remember what), wore a choke collar and an electric shock collar, and had a behaviorist. I gave it a try, and collected the dog, crate, remaining food, various collars and leashes, medications, and so on, and brought everything home. That night, the dog was (voluntarily) in his crate, and when my cat approached the crate for a sniff he nearly bit the cat's head off. Later that same night, while the dog was laying on the floor, I approached the dog to pet him, and he growled at me. I called the friend-of-a-friend to ask about this and whether his growling was common, and she proceeded to blame his growling on me because, obviously, "Everyone knows you shouldn't go up to a dog that's laying down!" She also promised to call the dog's behaviorist to try to find some explanation. Later that same night, the dog again growled at me, and I ultimately decided that this pairing wasn't going to work. He just had too many issues - after all, what sort of dog needs Prozac and a behaviorist?

About that karma thing: Meet Sadie:
We adopted Sadie in late December, when I saw her at the shelter and just had to take her home. She's a great dog; she's smart and loyal and makes funny faces at us. But she's also got ridiculous separation anxiety. And by 'anxiety,' of course, I mean 'unholy terror of a dog who rips apart our house when we're gone.'

Her haul, so far, includes:
  • 4 throw pillows (including two nice big Crate & Barrel feather pillows)
  • 2 couch cushions
  • 2 TiVo remote controls (both replaced via overnight shipping from Best Buy)
  • the corner of our couch
  • multiple flip-flops (and generally only one of any given pair)
  • 2 coasters
Why don't I just keep her in a crate? That would solve all the chewing problems, and give her somewhere secure to stay while I'm gone. Right? Well, no. She's also chewed up two of those plastic pans that line the bottom of dog crates, and has tried to bite through the wire crate, and I'm worried she's going to seriously injure herself in a fit of panic. So no crate.

So my options are: crate her (not really a viable option), make sure one of us is home with her at all times (not practical), or keep her confined to one room while we're gone and hope that she does not destroy anything or injure herself while we're gone (currently the frontrunner). Because we don't have any good options, I've been talking to her vet, and while they've been great, they finally told us that they didn't think they could be of much more help (which is okay; they're really great in all other respects). They referred us to the veterinary behavior clinic at Penn, and in the meantime, to help with Sadie's panic when we leave, have prescribed her an anti-anxiolytic. On the plus side, though, when I talked to the people from Penn they sounded like they see cases like this a lot and can probably help us. Which is good, because the other alternatives are not so appealing.

My dog has a behaviorist and takes drugs. That karma; it'll get you every time.

Straight Out Of A Commercial

I recently ordered a new suit from Splish, and knew from the tracking email that it would arrive today. I've been waiting not-so-patiently for the FedEx truck (I love Splish suits).

A small-ish Budget rental truck pulls up to my house, and a uniformed FedEx guy gets out and drops off the package on my front porch, ringing the doorbell and yelling "FedEx!" through the screen door.

Yes, FedEx is delivering this route today with a Budget rental truck. How long before this becomes a commercial?