Friday, July 27, 2007

And I'm Spent

Okay, so I know that the bar isn't supposed to be easy. But the practice exams are wayyy easier than the real thing. But it's over, and now I just have to hope that I passed and won't ever have to take it again. We'll see, fingers crossed.

And now I can get back to the people, places, and things I've been neglecting for the past two months. I can spend time with my oh-so-patient-and-understanding husband, and I can go see my family, and we can travel, and I can train. All without that cloud of "I should be studying" guilt hanging over my head.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's HERE!

I'm leaving today for the hotel. Tomorrow is Essay Day #1, Wednesday is multiple-choice questions, and on Thursday I'll be back here for Essay Day #2. And then it will be over. And I can't wait.

Yesterday Speedy and I raced - I did a sprint, and he did an Olympic. I considered doing the Olympic, but was concerned that I would have too much residual fatigue leading into the bar if I did, so the sprint it was. We did pretty well! I won my AG (whoo-hoo!!) and Speedy came in 2nd in his. I had a brief moment of disbelief and euphoria when the unofficial results placed me at 3rd woman overall, but as the wave times got worked out I was actually 5th or 6th. But I will definitely take the AG win. I'll put up a race report later this week.

See you on the other side!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Four Days and Counting

I want it to just be over already.
Crap, I need more time to study!
I want it to be over already.
Crap, I need more time to study!

Yeah, I'm feeling a little nervous. I go between 100% "Okay, let's get this show on the road" and 100% "Shit, I am SO going to fail." There's no middle ground.

Given this possibility of traveling, and my general training over the summer, I think I'm going to refocus my efforts onto a late-season sprint race, instead of a Half-Ironman. So no, I am no longer chasing Iron dreams. Yeah, I know - Half-Ironman to a sprint? Come on now.

Well, as you can probably tell, I may have been a little over-ambitious with my goals this summer. The bar exam, and then a Half-Ironman 5 weeks later? Noooo problem. Anyway, since my priority had to be studying, my training has suffered. My long workouts have been slogfests (and I didn't even finish my bike ride this past weekend), and my speed workouts have been less than 100%.

I have no doubt that I could have gone out to Diamondman and finished, but I don't think I would have been happy with how I did. I won't be as ready as I could be, and that would be incredibly frustrating to me. In contrast, though, I've made a lot of great gains in speed over shorter distances this year. Thus, my coach suggested that I focus on a sprint race. He thinks I can do more for a sprint distance race in the 5 weeks after the bar than I can for a Half, and I agree.

Is it an ideal solution? No. But as I get faster, it's kind of fun to see where I stack up against local competition. I had a great time in my first race of the season, which was a sprint. But in my Olympic race, I felt like I was dragging my ass along after a while. And that would almost certainly be the case if I continued with my current plan to do Diamondman. And that's no way to end a season.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


First, while there is one person who thinks I should race, most people say go travel. That is my feeling as well right now, even though the trip is not a definite by any means.

On to spoilers. Unless you've been living with your head under a rock, you know that the Harry Potter book is coming out this weekend. As you also know, I am taking the bar next week. These two facts do not go together very well.

I've bought into the Harry Potter thing - not in the huge costumed fanfic way, but in that I've read them all and did at one point own them all, until I loaned them out to various folks, the books never to be seen again. I love a good read, and am of the sort who will stay up all night to keep reading a good book. To avoid any temptation, I'm having the book sent straight to my in-laws, where we will be the day after the exam.

Thus, I cannot be anywhere near the new Harry Potter until, at the earliest, next Thursday night. This puts me almost a week behind every 13-year-old girl who will go to Barnes & Noble on Friday at midnight, stay up all night to read it, and be squealing about the ending by noon on Saturday.

Let me say this: I'm gonna be pissed if someone spoils it.

Well, I'm going to be pissed if someone intentionally (with malice aforethought, if you will) spoils it. When I was in high school, I took a class on "Analyzing Influential Films" or some such. We went through lots of the classics and well-knowns, including, of course, Citizen Kane. We're about halfway through the movie, and my mom makes some comment during a conversation about (SPOILER AHEAD) "That's like saying Rosebud is a sled!!" MOM!!!! But in her defense, that was a totally unintentional disclosure on her part. Unintentional spoilers, or spoilers online that are labeled as such, are not my concern.

Next week, I'll be spending two nights in a hotel with hundreds of stressed, angry, nervous bar applicants. It is not unimaginable that someone who has totally freaked out will try to spoil the book for everyone else. That will suck. A lot. For said applicant who's flipped her shit, and for the rest of us who are waiting not-so-patiently for next Friday. But for the time being, I've got enough Crim-Con-Evidence-etc. to worry about that I can't even think about the book.

Maybe I should just go stick my head under a rock.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vote - Travel or Race?

Blogger has made it easy to put polls on blogs, so check out the sidebar for my poll - should I travel or race?

Yes, I'm procrastinating.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Keeping Perspective

I (may) have the opportunity to take a very cool international trip in September before I start working in the fall. This cool trip, however, will necessitate that I miss my planned A race (ahem...that is, my triathlon A race), a half-ironman.

My view right now is that there are more races, and I can do a 70.3 next year, but I might not get this chance to travel again. So I should take it, and if I miss the race, then I'm out the entry fee but plus one (hopefully very cool) experience.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the Rollercoaster

My "A" race is coming up quickly. I've been training hard for a long time, putting in long hours (years of base-building and more recently, some hard intervals) and I think I'm ready, but there's still that lingering hesitation. Did I do enough? Will my training come through when I need it? It's going to hurt, that's for sure. But I'm lucky. Speedy has been the greatest sherpa I could ask for, willing to put up with me, cook for me, and take care of me. He listens to me complain when the training gets hard and I get tired, and then he encourages me to take a break or push through, depending on which he thinks I need more at the time. Hopefully, all of his work and mine will be rewarded soon, and then the rest and recovery season begins.

Yes, that's right. The bar exam is in 12 days.

I am going back and forth between, "I've done lots of hard work and will be fine" and, "I wonder what kind of jobs I can do with a law degree that don't involve passing the bar . . . ." This is standard taper talk, right? For the most part, I am sticking with the more positive view, but it's tough when burn-out starts to set in. As anyone who has taken the bar exam knows, studying for the bar is a job in itself, and it's not one that you can leave at the office. Fortunately, only a little longer and it will all be over, hopefully with good results.

In the meantime, I'm trying to fit in my training around my studying. The workouts I'm really enjoying now are the hard intervals, because I can't think about studying when I'm too busy trying not to puke. That's not to say long rides don't have their advantages during studying. For instance, during my ride this past weekend I finally made sense of a minor issue of Constitutional Law that had been confusing me, but my hard workouts are the ones that really help me clear my head and get ready for the next stretch.

This is the final push of a more-than-three-year season. I just have to keep at it for a few more days, and rock out when it's time. I'm trained. I'm ready. Now I just have to pass.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Does Your Family Get It?

This whole tri thing. Or even general fitness and working out. Do they come to your races, support your training, or just understand why you do it?

Mine doesn't.

I had a short conversation with IM Able a few weeks ago, a couple days before the Philly Tri. She asked me if my family was going to be at the race cheering for me and Speedy and I told her no, that they really didn't get my triathlon habit. And that got me thinking.

Of the six people in my family, all were athletic in some way at some point, mostly in high school. My mom played raquetball, my dad wrestled, all of us kids played soccer, and my brother and two sisters ran track. We weren't great athletes, but we were out there doing something. Today, though, I'm the only one is committed to something active. And it sort of bothers me that they aren't, and that they really don't seem to understand it. Right now, and likely for a long time in the future, triathlon is a big and important part of my life, and it stinks to feel like it's not supported by the people who are most important to me.

I'd love to see them start working out again. Even walking the dog would be a great start. But they're not interested. Actually, though, my brother's girlfriend recently started running again and is training for a race, and my sister's boyfriend has been making some noise about getting back into running (he ran in college). Hopefully they'll bring my siblings along with them for the journey.

I've tried to get them involved. I've invited them to races, but they're not really interested in coming. I've offered to run with my sister, but no go. Add to that a dose of, "Have you lost weight? Your belt looks tighter," from my Italian, food-is-love mother. No, Mom, it's in the same hole it's been in since I got it.

These conversations are really frustrating. Maybe I'm just not trying the right methods to get them going.

But even more than that: My grandmother's health has recently deteriorated a lot. She has never been very active, and part of me thinks that if she had been more actively engaged in some healthy habit she would not be going downhill as quickly. Knowing that these genes have likely been passed onto my mother and me and my sisters worries me, and while I feel like I'm trying to put up a good fight against my genetics, it worries me that they aren't. (Yeah, I know, they'll probably live till they're 95 and I'll keel over of a heart attack at 50. We'll see who's worried about whom then, right?)

I've sort of lost my point, I think. But if you have a good support system, don't take it for granted. Realize how lucky you are and be sure to tell those people what their support means to you and give them big thanks.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Swimming Lessons

First, Happy Fourth! We got a lot of rain here, but hopefully some of you were able to enjoy some fireworks.

Today I was back in the gym pool for the first time in a while. I feel like I haven't been there in weeks. I am a total creature of habit, and it showed today. Usually, I grab my towel, suit, and flipflops, put them in my bag, and off to the pool I go. But recently, I've been doing lots of open-water swimming and long-course meters, and haven't been to this pool in a while.

Walking in, I realized I forgot my watch, and my workout today was timed intervals. Unfortunately, my pool has no lap clock, just two standard analog clocks high up on the walls, and I am blind as a bat without my glasses. So after each interval I stood at the end of the lane squinting up at the clock, trying desperately to find the second hand so I could head out for the next interval at the right time. Later, I finally figured out why my bag seemed less bulky than usual - no towel. So yes, today I was 'that girl' standing there drying off with paper towels. Yuck. Fortunately the locker room was basically empty. It's not likely I'll forget my towel again anytime soon.

During my absence, I'd forgotten what sorts of characters this pool attracts. While I was swimming, two different people got in, did 50 yards of breaststroke, and got out. A third person was doing some sort of lunges in the water. A fourth got in and looked like he was flailing around doing freestyle, but was actually moving really fast. He swam 25 yards of really fast, splashing everwhere freestyle, and then 25 yards of very slow breaststroke. Continuously. For a while. It was interesting - I'd pass him while he was doing breaststroke, and as soon as he turned and started swimming crawl again he took off past me like a shot.

All that said, it was good to get back into a measured, controlled environment again, just for comparison purposes. I have no intention of spending too much time there this summer when I have a long-course outdoor pool I can use. But I found that while I'm able to get down the lane in fewer strokes these days, I still need to work on my endurance at speed. It didn't take me too long to fall apart in the water, with my stroke count shooting up and my kick not getting me anywhere. I was okay for the first of two sets of 150s and 50s, but the sets were broken up by a 500 and I generally find it really tough to get back into a groove for faster intervals after something longer. In fact, I barely made the interval for the last few 50s. Like I said, I've got to work on endurance at speed.

Say it with me . . . If you don't do it in practice, you can't do it in a race. If you want to race well, you have to train well. I'm learning. It's just taking me a while.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Photo Essay

Cheaper Than Therapy, usually:

Cheaper Than Therapy, during studying:

(Make your own here.)

Be Nice!

This week is "Be Nice to New Jersey" Week.

So no "Jersey - Only the Strong Survive!" t-shirts this week, okay? Thanks for your cooperation.