Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Landlord

Have you seen this yet? Will Ferrell's landlord wants her rent.


The Landlord

Monday, May 28, 2007

The (Really) Long Version

The Night Before:
While getting my things together, I found I wasn't able to fit quite everything into my bag.

Fortunately, the dog decided that he didn't want to race, after all.

That Morning:
We left early enough to get to the race just when packet pick-up started, and found that there was (of course) already a decent line. When we finally got to the front of the line, we found that my number and chip had been given away to someone else. So I got everything else and Speedy and I headed out for a bike warmup. It felt good to get my legs going, and when we got back to transition I went back to the registration table. There was no sign of my number or chip, so I had to stand in the day-of registration line to get a new number. This was pretty annoying, because by this time the start time was getting pretty close and I still had to put on my wetsuit and do my swim warmup. When I finally got my new number, I ran back to the transition area, gave the number and race belt to Speedy to put it together, and put my wetsuit on in record time. We headed down to the lake for a quick warm-up, and as soon as I got in the water I heard the announcement for the pre-race meeting. Crap! But all was well and I got in a quick swim warm-up anyway, and was feeling pretty good by the time the race started.

The Swim:
My swim training this winter and spring has made me a lot stronger in the water, and I'm not so worried anymore about being kicked/hit/generally beat up in the water. I started front and center, and while a couple people got out faster than I did and I got knocked around a little, it wasn't long before I found some clean water and was able to pick people off. The swim was a straight out-and-back, and I think I swam more of a teardrop shape around the buoys but still got out of the water somewhere around 10th or 12th place, which was fine with me, even though I think I could have gone faster.

T1 took me longer than planned, because it took me too long to get out of my wetsuit. I've been wondering for a while if it's worth the extra time to wear the wetsuit for these shorter races, because I think I lose more time taking the darn thing off than I save wearing it for the swim. Time: 1:50.

The Bike:
Went really well. I had set myself a goal of 20mph average, and most times I looked at my computer I was somewhere around 21-22. I passed quite a few people, and got passed by a couple hotshots with disc wheels and aero helmets. I drank Nuun and had gels with me but didn't take any. Towards the end, I got passed by a girl who stayed just out of reach until we reached a short climb at an overpass, and I passed her on the hill and was able to stay in front until T2, which went pretty smoothly. My official average was 19.3, but my bike computer recorded the course as being a little long and had my average as 20 even. I'll take it.

The Run:
I came out of T2 neck-and-neck with bike girl, and complimented her on her strong bike and she said she was having fun racing me. That was pretty cool. She and I went back and forth for the first mile or so, but she pulled away and I wasn't able to hang with her. The run was really painful; I definitely went harder on this bike than I usually do during bricks, and my legs were not happy. It became a mental game for me, and I kept reminding myself that it was painful for everyone and that if I wasn't hurting by then I wasn't going hard enough. My goal pace for the run was 8:00/mile. My official average is 7:52, but the run time includes T2, so my pace was more likely something around 7:32, assuming T2 took about a minute.

Overall, I was really happy with my race. I wasn't tapered for the race, and in fact did some pretty hard bike workouts last week, and I still ended up at my bike goal, and beat my run goal. I ended up 6th female (I think) and 3rd in my age group. My age group turned out to be pretty strong this year, and much stronger than it was last year. My time from this year was faster than my time from last year by over 12 minutes and would have won my age group last year by over 5 minutes, and this year places 3-7 overall for the women all came out of my age group. And I still placed in my AG, for the first time. Not bad. And Speedy knocked 3 minutes off his time from last year and got 2nd in his age group!

Me and Speedy, post-race:

I wanted to use this race to measure my speed against where I was last year and see what I need to work on, and it turns out I got a lot faster. I know I need to work on running hard off the bike, and now have some triple bricks in my future (future, of course, meaning tomorrow - ouch!). So all in all, definitely a good race. Whew.

Next up: Philadelphia Olympic!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Short Version

6th female overall (I think), 3rd in my age group.

Full report to follow :)

Friday, May 25, 2007


...have taken over my stomach.

Tomorrow is my first race of the season, and I'm absurdly nervous. Why? I'm not sure. I know I've gotten a lot faster, but I'm willing to bet that everyone else has as well. This is a tiny local race. My coach doesn't see this as a big race; he has me training through it, but I'm still sweaty-palms, knotty-stomach nervous.

See, it's the same race I did last year as my first tri ever, so I'll have some real, concrete, same-course comparisons to use to measure my speed. Which is good.

But last year, I just went into these races thinking that if I didn't panic or drown on the swim, fall off the bike, or have an asthma attack on the run, it would be a good race. And fortunately, every race was a good race. This year is different. This year I think I can actually be competitive, especially at the shorter distances, and that has created a huge knot in my stomach. I also feel like I'll have a target on my back, since I'll be on my sweet new bike (whoo-hoo!) and wearing sponsor gear.

I know I have to race my own race. I've set time goals for myself, and if I meet those goals, I should do pretty well based on last year's results. Yeah, I know, you never know who is going to show up, and how fast they've gotten, but I'm hoping that my increases in speed from last year to this year prove to be pretty good. I've put the time in and done the training, and now I just have to trust my training and put my head down and go. Right?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And So It Begins Again...

Exams and graduation have come and gone, and I've had two glorious weeks of sitting on my ass and doing nothing. But, all good things must come to an end, and so I am back in class. Studying for the bar. With 100 of my closest friends, sitting in a dark room for 3.75 hours per day, staring at a videotaped lecture being projected onto a screen at the front of the room.

Can you say snooze-fest? Today was only the second day of class and the guy next to me was giggling uncontrollably every time the lecturer said "duty." Why? Because duty = doody = funny after 3 hours.

Like thousands of other recent law school grads, I am taking a class run by Bar/bri. There is currently a class-action suit pending against the company for violating antitrust laws and charging students a ridiculous sum of money to take this class. Because we don't have any other options, we take the class. And pay dearly (over $2,000) for the privilege of sitting in a cramped classroom, staring at a video, trying not to fall asleep because our only chance of passing the bar is to listen to every word that comes out of these floating heads' mouths. Ah, scare tactics. Mention the bar passage rates, and law students will pay for anything.

Yeah. That antitrust suit is making a lot of sense right now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

You're Not the Boss of Me!!

Well, no, I'm not. But I know a good thing when I see it. And so...

Get thee to IM Able, pronto, for a great post on the Girls on the Run event yesterday.

And, if you're a dog person and looking for a laugh, go here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Girls on the Run Rocks!

As a member of Team Stayput, I went to a Girls on the Run 5K in Baltimore today. I had the good fortune to travel down and spend the morning with my fellow team members IM Able and M., a local ultrarunner. They made the ride so fun (hopefully they didn't mind that I like to drive fast - oops!), the atmosphere at the race was great, despite some rain, and overall it was a great experience.

Speedy and I took a trip out to San Francisco last May, and I did a Girls on the Run 5K out there with a friend. It was her first race ever, and when we went out to dinner that night she showed up wearing her race t-shirt. That was awesome. The race last year was fun and well-organized, and I was really impressed with the GOTR organization and mission, and by how many girls were out participating in the race. With the minor exception of fewer participants, today's race was no different.

These races have an energy and friendliness that is not present at too many other races. People are cheerful and having a good time, and the biggest concern is making sure that the participants enjoy themselves. The snarkiness and competitiveness that runs rampant at many other races is not there; people are not looking at each other evaluating their probable speed before the race. Instead, it's a pretty supportive environment, with lots of people who are happy to see young girls out being active and having fun. Yeah, it's touchy-feely, but that's what makes it a nice change from other races.

As Team Stayput members, we had a table with Goody samples and Sharpie markers (what's the connection between Goody hair products and Sharpie markers? The girls use them to sign each other's race shirts). The girls swarmed the table, carefully picking out hair elastics and Sharpies for themselves, and invariably reported that they were having a great time and the race was a lot of fun. As I am usually on the other side of the table, this was an interesting experience. [vent]The people who stroll by the table 20 times, casually lifting a Sharpie/hair elastic for their bags each time they pass, are not nearly as subtle as they think they are. Also, we mean no harm when we ask you, the race volunteer, not to take any samples before the first finisher has even come in. We just need to make sure that we have enough for the racers. Come by later, and if there are extras we'd be more than happy to give you as many as you'd like. [/vent]

It was really a lot of fun. IM Able and M. are very cool and I had a great time with them (and it was nice to spend time with other women who get it, and not feel like you have to explain exactly why it is that you 'exercise so much'). The participants seemed to have a lot of fun, and loved the free hair elastics and Sharpies. The Girls on the Run organization has such a great mission, and gets huge props for getting girls out on a rainy Sunday morning to run a 5K and have them smiling and cheering afterwards. If you get the chance to go to one of these races, don't be scared off by the name. Go and check it out, see the girls out there doing something great, and have a great run. Trust me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hill Rides

Speedy and I went out for a hill ride this morning. It ended up being 40 miles (longest ride yet!) with 10 climbs, some worse than others.

For a 40-mile ride, it went by really quickly. The climbs were mostly fun, we were on and off the bikes to go around barriers often, there were tons of other people out (including lots of cyclists, some riding in giant peloton-like groups, all decked out in team kits), and there was a huge regatta taking place, so there was no lack of scenery.

The climbing itself went pretty well. When we did the Taxing Metric last month, Speedy had to wait for me at the top of each hill, while I went 5 mph grinding my way up on steel frame with an 11-21. Yesterday, I took out my new bike (whoo-hoo!) and it was a different story. I was right there with him for most climbs, and felt much more efficient and much less trashed after each climb. Now, part of this was definitely that the climbs weren't as bad as they were at the Taxing Metric, but I think between continuing to get stronger and having a lighter bike, I will be able to climb much better overall. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Holy Graduation Gift, Batman!

In a shocking yet awesome display of generosity, my husband got me a freaking amazing and unexpected graduation present. He let on a few days ago that he had gotten me something, which was a surprise in and of itself because I wasn't expecting anything. He also hinted that the gift would be pretty cool, but didn't tell me what it was and didn't really give me any hints that would give it away. I knew he was getting it yesterday, but had no clue what it was. My guess was that it was the classic law-school graduation present, a briefcase.

So imagine my surprise when I walked in from coaching yesterday and saw this leaning against the wall:

Speedy wasn't home at the time but my sister was with me, and not being a triathlete she didn't understand why my jaw dropped and all I could get out was "Holy.....crap." When she asked what it was, I told her that I thought it was my graduation present.

It wasn't long before Speedy got home, with a huge grin on his face. Not only had he gotten me the bike, but he had made a fit appointment for me for today because he knew I would want to take it out ASAP (of course he was right). So I went for the fit today, and it. is. AWESOME. This bike is a 51, while my trusty steel-frame is a 55, retro-fit with things like a forward seatpost and a short stem to be as small as possible. The smaller frame is really comfortable. I love it. I took it out today and it's like butter.

Oh, and when we went to the bike shop a couple nights ago to ask about wheels, they knew about the gift and totally didn't let on. They rock.

I'm in shock, still. I didn't expect anything, much less a freaking awesome tri bike.

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Someone pinch me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wheel Shopping

We went to the bike store last night to ask about my rear wheel and what they thought I should do - fix it, replace the wheel only, or replace the whole wheelset?

So the guy at the store, who was super-helpful as always, had a few suggestions. He nixed the idea of fixing the cracked hub; he didn't think it would be worth trying to find a new hub and getting it fixed when a new rear wheel wouldn't cost too much more. So he suggested the Mavic Aksium, which is Mavic's entry-level wheel and about $140. He then went on to give me some more options, including the Zipp 404 and the Mavic Cosmic Carbone, both of which are more than ten times what the Aksium costs.

Now, don't think I didn't oh-so-briefly consider it. The idea of riding Zipp 404s is really freaking appealing. But really, I'm not riding a P3C or anything like that, I'm riding a second-hand steel-frame bike, and the Zipps and Mavic Cosmic Carbones are nearing 3x what I paid for my entire bike. If I actually had disposable income that would allow me to really contemplate buying one of those wheelsets, I'd be so much better served putting the money towards a new frame, right?

So I'm getting the Mavic Aksium rear wheel, and it will certainly serve me well for the rest of the season and on the trainer this winter. It won't match my front wheel, but that's okay. That just means I have to go fast enough that people won't notice my wheels :)

And maybe once I start working and (gasp!) getting paid, the new bike and wheelset will be a more realistic option.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rear Wheels

I'm going through these things like they're candy.

I had an old but fairly nice set of wheels, which came with my second-hand bike. The rear wheel went out of true, so Speedy brought it over to the bike shop, where he was told by the fairly surprised mechanic that the hub was actually cracked, and since it's an older wheel that's no longer made, finding the replacement part would take some effort. (This also explains why my last trainer ride was so crappy; the wheel was rubbing against the brake the whole time.)

So, for the long ride this weekend, we swapped the cracked wheel for my trainer wheel, which has served me well thus far. But, lo and behold, 28 miles into a 32 mile ride I got a flat. Fortunately, it wasn't a blowout or anything, but a slow leak, enough that it had to be changed before I could continue. Which brings me to...

Changing a flat tire in a gravel patch on the side of the road is a whole hell of a lot different than changing a flat tire in your kitchen. Especially when there are two people watching you and waiting for you to finish.

Needless to say, it didn't go quite as smoothly as I would have hoped. I promptly overinflated the first tube, which exploded with a spectacular bang. By this point, the nice guy who had latched onto Speedy and my wheels for the first part of the ride took over and ran a quick Flat Fixing 101 clinic for us. He got the (now-shredded) tube out and a fresh one in in just a couple of minutes, and we were back on the road. No problem, right?

Two miles later, BANG! My tire goes again, and this time it was a blowout. Yikes! Fortunately, it was the rear tire so I didn't lose my steering or anything and was able to stop safely. It took a little longer to get this flat fixed, because it seemed that the problem was with the wheel itself and the way it was rubbing against the tire valve. But, after a little while longer, and all of the cartridges and tubes that all three of us were carrying, we were back on the road to finish out the last 2 miles of our ride. Whew! We got back safe and sound and no worse for the wear. My rear wheel, on the other hand, will be getting a good once-over with some sandpaper and may be heading back to the trainer soon, if I can find a cheap-enough replacement rear wheel or wheelset.

So flatting at any time sucks, but this wasn't too bad. It was a nice day, we weren't in a huge rush, there was someone more knowledgable than us who was totally willing to teach us, and we all finished in one piece. And now I'm much more comfortable with fixing a flat. Not bad, not bad at all.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Newest Obsession

I can't get enough of Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream ice cream. It's so freaking good. It's vanilla ice cream, with chocolate-covered waffle-cone pieces and caramel swirls. It's awesome, and I just bought another container tonight and it's a struggle to put the spoon down.

It is excellent. I highly suggest you try it. Like, now.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Feed Me! (aka Nutrition Questions)

Okay, I have a problem. I like my Gatorade and gels, but it's just not working for me anymore.

Here's the issue and some background info. On Thursday, I cramped up during a swim. I thought it was just a fluke thing, maybe my wetsuit wasn't fitting right or something, so I didn't do anything to address it. During my brick on Saturday, I got a splitting headache while on the bike, and was feeling a little nauseated as well. This wasn't the first time I've gotten terrible headaches during a long bike. And then yesterday during Broad Street (10-mile run), I felt my legs cramping during the last 1.5 miles, and had to keep moving after the finish to stave off what I knew would be awful leg cramps if I stopped.

During Saturday's workout, I had diluted Gatorade in my bottles and had a gel (Raspberry Hammer Gel) after about 45 minutes. Speedy thought maybe the headaches were from a salt deficiency, so I had two Endurolytes during 'transition' and headed out for a short run. My headache seemed to go away and the nausea passed as well, leading me to think that there was something to the sodium deficiency theory.

During Broad Street, I had mostly water, plus a Rasperry Hammer Gel at about the halfway point and some sips of Gatorade at around mile 6 or 7.

I'm looking for some advice. My nutrition strategy, which is not even a strategy but more of a 'what do I feel like drinking today?' method, is not working anymore. What works for you, nutrition-wise? I tried Accelerade (orange) and thought it tasted awful. I'm not sure I could stomach it during a workout. I've heard good things about some different products, including Heed and Perpeteum, and Amino Vital, and also other flavors of Accelerade. Nuun looks like it could be good for maintaining the electrolyte balance, but it has practically no calories, so even if I try that, I need something else for calorie replacement. Same for Endurolytes. The problem is that this stuff is not cheap, and I don't really want to go buy five hundred different things only to find that Product X is gross or Product Y upsets my stomach. So for now, I'll ask those who have gone before me: What do you use and why? Where do you get it?

No More Pencils, No More Books!

Wow, what a great weekend.

Thursday: First open-water swim of the season! Did ~2000 continuous yards at a local lake. The water temperature was cool but not unbearable, although there were some cold spots that took my breath away, even with a wetsuit on. It was GREAT to get away from staring at the black line in the pool. My calves cramped up pretty badly though, which was a bummer, but the rest of the swim was great (more on that in a later post).

Friday: My sister's 21st birthday, celebrated with our siblings, cousins, and friends at a local bar.

Saturday: A Cinco de Mayo party, followed by a brick. While quesadillas, taquitos, and margaritas may not be ideal pre-ride fuel, it worked well enough. The brick was supposed to be in the morning, but was pushed back since we overslept after Friday's festivities.

Sunday: Broad Street Run, with 17,000 of my closest friends. I thought it was a great race, but I was just looking for a fun training run, not a PR. If I had been looking to test myself, I probably would have been unhappy with the craziness.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


That's all, folks. I no longer go to law school.

I went to law school.

All I have to do is put on the cap and gown and collect my diploma. Oh, and study for the bar, but I'll worry about that in a few weeks.

For now - ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.