31 July 2008


I know this sounds cliche, but seriously life is all about perspective. I always tell my brother that when he starts to bitch about things that aren't the way he thinks they should be etc. I really believe that we have a choice in life; well many choices but overall we can decide what life is going to be like. You can be happy if you choose to be happy. In spite of all the bullshit, you can truly make the best of things and maintain a generally sunny outlook. I think it does wonders for your state of mind. However, dwelling on the shitty things that have happened to you over time doesn't really get you anywhere - except more unhappy.

Two weeks ago, I woke up and felt overwhelmingly content. Just satisfied. Of course there are things that I would change if I had a magic wand, but in general I just felt so good about where I am in life right now. Two days later I found out I wouldn't have a job at the end of the month. You know what? That didn't change how I felt.

Charlie asked me the other day if I really spent close to a half hour in T1. Yes! I did! FOR REAL. lol We both just laughed. My goal wasn't to break any records or kill myself on the race but to enjoy every minute of it. Just soak it in and have a blast! And I did. All 2 hours and 33 minutes of it! ;)

For the most part, the people that I've met from the tri club, racing and blogging are very welcoming and just all around great supportive people. I feel so so lucky to have them in my life and I know the friends that I've made as a result are ones that I will have forever.

That said, there are quite a few people that sometimes let the competition get the better of themselves. I remember this past winter. I was at the Chili Bowl. Charlie and I were stretching and getting ready for the race. Janet popped by and said hello and we wished each other well. Then someone came up who I had never met before. We chatted with Janet and then she went on to her warm up. He looked at me and said what is your goal for today. I laughed a little and said that I would be happy with a 13-15 min pace. Instantly, he said WHAT!?! that is sooo slow! I'm definitely going to be faster than that. I just smiled and said well good for you, I hope you have a great race! He kind of shook his head and went on his way.

The Chili Bowl was my first race after my hip flexor injury. I didn't have any great expectations for that day other than just racing and having fun. I knew that my hip would probably bother me and that I would end walking most of it. However, I didn't care. I was there and I was doing what I could and I was finishing. That's all that mattered.

This is just one example of either comments made directly to me or things I've heard people say about others. When I hear statements about people walking during races or rides, or using what is considered to be an easier gear or swimming without perfect form and struggling, I get a little disappointed. The whole point of triathlon is to compete with yourself. To love every minute and see how far you can push yourself, becoming better every time. Every race I do is MY race. I do it the way that feels best for ME. Because, God willing, there will always be another day and another race.

I think of how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to participate. How even though I might not be in perfect shape, my body works and I CAN test that. We are all works in progress, that is what life is all about. Growing and becoming more than what you are today.

I can physically, emotionally and mentally push myself to go places I've never been and see what I can accomplish. It is a feeling like no other I've experienced.

When I volunteered at the Rite Aid marathon this year, I got to see something I had never seen before, up close and personal. It was dreary and rainy and cold. We were setting up the cups, preparing for the runners. Suddenly, Monica said, "Oh oh here come the wheelchair racers." We both stopped and watched and cheered as they went by. I remember looking at her both of us with tears in our eyes. I had so much emotion, even today, I felt so proud of them. They didn't give up. They were still racing even though their legs weren't the mechanism propelling them forward. It was one of the most inspirational things I've ever seen.

Please remember as you embark on your journey, that it is YOUR journey. You might share it with someone but ultimately all that matters is how you are traveling. Be kind to others and you will find the same kindness throughout your journey. Only measure yourself against your actions and goals, not the actions and goals of others. Make sure that at the end of each day you are thankful for that day and you are happy to wake up with yourself the next morning.

Keep perspective and you will have light shoulders and an open heart.

27 July 2008

Fairport Harbor Race Report







I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post! I had too much fun today not to write about all of it!!!

Last night I spent several hours preparing my bag for the following day's festivities. I'm one of those people that likes to be prepared. Whenever I go on a trip, I bring two pairs of underwear for each day and then throw in four more. I'm just always worried that I will need something and not have it. Soooo, I packed all sorts of stuff that I might want or need just in case.

I got up early enough and then of course had a few delays that were annoying so I don't need to go into the details, plus I'm over them now! As a result, I was running late (I know, SHOCKER!). I got there just in time!!! 7:55am to be exact.

As I was heading towards the water I saw JenC and her friend Hallie. She asked me to keep an eye on her at the start so we waded in the water and I chatted her up a bit. Then we ran into Beth and the three of us chatted till it was time to begin.

the SWIM
Things went better than I expected. (sshhhh, I haven't been swimming - pool or OW - for over two weeks!) As I was getting out of the water my watch said around 20 mins so I was pleasantly surprised! I'm not sure I would say it was harder than I expected, more like around what I thought it would be like. I had to rest more than I'd care to admit and doing a modified backstroke saved me ALOT of time for sure. I had a boat ask if I was ok and I instantly thought of Matt C's quote: "I'm not drowning, that's just my backstroke." I couldn't help but smile! :)

Here is where things get a little well, totally weird and totally me. I was so excited that I was doing my first tri and that I had made it in time and that the swim wasn't nearly as bad as what I had prepared myself for so I kind of lost track of time. I went to the bathroom because I had to pee SOOOO bad!!! Sat down and chatted with my 'fan club' aka mom and gram, had some sport beans and a ton of water and then all of a sudden I realized that there weren't any bikes left in the transition area!!! WHAT!?!

the BIKE
My last encounter with the hill at High Street had me slipping, falling and landing on the ground. I totally did NOT want a repeat with all the crowd support. So I walked from the transition area up the hill. When I got to the top I waited for a few cyclists to come in and then the woman looked at me and said, "Wait are you in the race!?" I just laughed and got on my bike.

I couldn't believe how great I felt! I was trying to remind myself not to start off too fast, which I ALWAYS have a tendency to do regardless of event. I got to see some of my gals coming in off the bike which was great. I felt awesome the ENTIRE ride. I was shocked and surprised and thrilled. :) The bike was about 50 mins total (including walking up hill). My avg speed was 13mph and my max was 20.6mph, my best speeds EVER! I caught up with 3 or 4 people and passed them. One of the guys I passed I saw just before the turn around. He had already gone through the turn around and I passed him on my into the turn around. As I caught up with him, I said hi and great job and passed. I was about 5 bike lengths ahead and I heard him exclaim, "C'mon, you've got be kidding me!!"

I came in off the bike feeling strong but tight through my hamstring. I grabbed one of my water bottles and changed my socks, threw on my shoes and went. I was at 1:39 when I left.

the RUN
I walked up the hill and my legs were feeling tight. I figured that if I did run, I probably wouldn't be any faster than if I walked. So I just walked at a good pace and enjoyed the day. This young kid I passed that was struggling with his mountain bike caught up with me about 15 mins into the run(walk) then the man that I passed caught me around 25 mins in. I just kept up the walking and tried to stretch out some.

I seriously had such a GREAT day. Things went better than I expected. I learned alot and enjoyed every minutes of my day. I was able to check my HRM and BS, although I would have liked to check in each transition, and tried to make sure I was keeping things in check.

Here is the breakdown:
SWIM: 20:00
T1: 27:30
BIKE: 50:00
T2: 1:30
RUN: 55:00
total: 2:34.51

BS prerace: 97
BS postrace: 98

HR avg: 163
HR max: 180
cal: 3691

bike avg: 13.0mph
bike max: 20.6mph


22 July 2008

on your LEFT, no the other left

After a very hot and very long week, I was looking forward to the weekend; which in fact turned out to be just as hot and long! Steve's grad party was Sunday so we were prepping for that all weekend and the day was spent running around trying to make sure everything was done and all the guests were happy. We finally got home around 10:30pm.

Last night Steve and I rode the path at Euclid Creek. It was fun except for a few things. I only got in about 5.5 miles because after walking up the giant hill, I was faced with another small hill and was thinking that I couldn't do anymore hills!

So we were riding along and I swear, everybody and their brother was out last night. I mean seriously you'd think they were giving out free stuff or something!

After my frustration of conceding to the hill (without trying for fear of falling over), I stopped at the top and had some water and caught my breath. We rode up a bit further did one smallish hill and turned around. Steve is always concerned that I will fall and spends a ton of time looking over his shoulder. I told him to go ahead that I would be fine and to look AHEAD!

I left myself get up to 18 mphs and I had to slow down a bit. The hill is pretty steep so I was just coasting for some time with light pressure on the brakes to maintain 18mphs. It was pretty funny because I felt like all I did on the last mile or so was coast because of the momentum from the hill. I was trying to make my presence known without being too obnoxious so I would just let all the walkers know that I was coming and then thank them for moving.

Everything was fine until I caught up with these three kids.

The oldest was probably around 12 and then there was a little girl (?) around 5 and then a boy around 9 or 10. So I say, "on your left" and she moves all the way to left and stands there. Then the boy who has this huge stick (like 5 feet tall) is on the right. So I try to split the difference and ride in the center. As I move to the center so does he! Seriously, I slam on the brakes and am almost at a complete standstill with him inches from my front tire. I didn't really know what to do. I mean I'm clipped in and going pretty fast and he is just standing there like a deer in head lights!!! So I seriously thought I was going to hit him. Finally, at the last possible minute, he jumps out of the way and I kept going.

As I continued, I thought about how things would have played out if I had hit him. I mean how do the police handle something like that. I could just see it on the front page of the Plain Dealer, "Boy killed by over-zealous cyclist; charged with vehicular homicide."

As I continued, I kept up my notifications and one group of older women responded in a way that made me go, "Hmmmm." As I passed I said excuse me and thank you and they said, "No problem, thanks for letting us know you were there!!!"

Obviously, we all know who they were referring to. So as I caught up with Steve, I recounted my almost crashing and killing a kid story and then said, "Have you been practicing good cycling etiquette??"

He looked at me sideways and stumbled a bit and said, "Um, yeah, why?" I told him what the ladies had said and he looked at the ground for a minute and said that he thought he had been good at notifying everyone that needed to move. Suuuuuurrreee! ;)

All in all it was a good ride. I practiced going fast and not getting scared AND I practiced shifting which I think I'm finally getting the hang of! Oh and I was clipped in on both feet and didn't fall! :)

Baby steps!!!

18 July 2008


Things have been crazy for me lately and not in a necessarily good way. It is a long story but to sum it up, I'm getting laid off at the end of the month. So as a result I've had to change things up a bit in terms of my expected season of sorts. I'm pretty sure that this means Great Lakes Escape is out. I just can't plan on the entrance fee, accommodations and purchasing a wetsuit right now. :( So I'm bummed but what can you do right?! I will do Lighthouse and GCT and see if I can fit one more in before the snow falls.

I'm not opposed to change I just feel uneasy about the uncertainty. I know things will work out in the end and remind myself that I don't have to have an answer for everything, that some things just are and we have to adapt. Obviously, I'm back to a full force job hunt but there aren't alot of prospects right now in my field. I'm hoping I can increase my hours at the tutoring center but that still won't bring me up to where I'm at now in terms of a paycheck. Thankfully I still have two more paychecks from due to me! :)

In other news I saw the coolest thing last night. Something I haven't seen in a long time. And it served as a reminder.

I'm warning all you bug people now that it relates to a creepy crawly-ish thing. So I was outside at like 11pm and I was walking down this little path on the side of the house to grab some of the Fresh Stop stuff to put in the basement and I saw this.

I know what you are thinking, WTF? Right? Well it was a huge garden slug. Steve wasn't at all fascinated and he said "Make sure you don't touch it! You shouldn't touch things like that!!!" Seriously, sometimes I wonder if he is really the girl! Anyway, I hadn't seen such a big slug in a long time so I just had to snap some photos. :P

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, first of all it was a reminder to be aware. If you aren't paying attention, you can miss so many things in life! I know most people don't find it exciting to stumble upon a common slug, but if I hadn't been paying attention I might have stepped on the little fellow. Also, to appreciate the little things. Life is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it journey. So often we move so quickly we forget to take time to look and observe and listen carefully to ourselves, each other and nature. I will need to practice this as began my new job search.

14 July 2008

lessons learned, except for the sunscreen one...

This Sunday I met up with BH, JE, and MN for a ride of the Fairport course. I didn't get to do the entire course but all in all it was a good ride and I learned alot. Here are some things I identified as needing to work on:

1. clipping in and out - Seriously folks, I HATE my stupid shoes and my stupid pedals. I totally wiped out right at the beginning of our ride because I was so busy worrying about clipping in my damn right foot that I couldn't get up the hill. So then I just gave up and put down my right foot and as usual slid across the pavement and fell. Oh well, I haven't fallen in a while and at least I got it out of the way early! :)

2. gears - I'm still working on what is the right 'place' for me gear-wise and knowing when to change.

3. mileage - Practice, practice, practice! Nuff said.

4. hydration - My cages are pretty tight and as a result you really have to yank hard to get the bottles out. Therefore, I don't usually drink while riding cuz the last time I tried it, it felt like I was trying to rip the bike out from under me. I have a camelback that I might start wearing because not hydrating is just plain silly!

The girls were great, as usual, and Monica was my personal coach! She kept trying to give me hints on how to ride better and was the perfect, Momma Hen as cars approached.

Also, as Beth's email stated this AM "Holy head wind Batman!" Seriously, going down Fairport Nursery Road, sucked major ass on the way back in. The wind was pretty strong and I felt like such a weakling.

I still am not sure what the rest of this season is going to bring me (yes I know it is almost over). I often feel as though I will NEVER be ready to compete and the times when I say I can I feel like I just might be in denial. Basically, I just need to focus more on getting my mileage up and becoming more comfortable.

Oh I almost forgot!

5. sunscreen - It isn't that I never learned this nor that I choose to not do it on purpose, but in my defense, I couldn't reach all the areas on my back that needed sunscreen and didn't think to ask any of the ladies before we got started. So as a result, I have a completely bright red upper back with a LOVELY white racerback design. Gotta love it! ;)

11 July 2008

what's in a name?

So since I got my bike, waaaaay back in January, I've been thinking of an appropriate name for it. Alot of my fellow Triathletes have chosen names that encourage them to accomplish great things, remind them of a person they admired or embody his/her racing style or personality. I have been thinking alot about what my bike means to me and all that stuff existential stuff and then this morning it hit me.

dah da dah!!!! [those are trumpets sounding in my head, oh you can hear them too? good! :) ]

Redd Foxx!!!!!

It's ok you can be mildly disappointed. I don't mind. :) I had hopes of some wonderfully inspiring name but this morning I was thinking about how I'm super dramatic when it comes to riding and Redd Foxx instantly came to mind.

I still feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing and while I enjoy every minute of it, I still waiver between feeling accomplished and triumphant to completely insecure and totally freaked out. Every time I embark on a ride, whether it is from the side door to the end of the driveway or around the block or 20 miles, I always say something along the lines of, "Well, this will be fun, unless I die!" Or "See you later, unless I'm dead!" In fact I just left a voicemail message the other day that went something along the lines of: "I was wondering if you wanted to join me on a ride, that way someone will be there in case I die."

It of course is mostly in jest that I say it. There is only a small part of me who is convinced that I will get hit by some huge SUV and die.

Yes, I can be over dramatic at times, but this really isn't about dying. It is really about the fact that I'm still uncomfortable being clipped to a super fast, super light bike with nothing to insulate me from things that might run into me or me into it. I have fallen several times. Not lately but, when I first tried the pedals and the clips, it was one continuous falling frenzy. I didn't have a plan on how to get on the bike and clip in and start going. I was trying to do what 'felt' right but I couldn't find it, so as soon as I would get back up I'd start to move and then fall. Up, moving, down. This repeated about 8 times and I finally gave up, covered in mud from my multiple falls INTO the bushes, I trudged up the stairs, defeated.

Since then, I have been able to finally develop a strategy with help from my SUPER patient friend Beth. And I haven't fallen again and I can finally ride and I finally feel like I kinda know what I'm doing. I still sometimes feel like an impostor on a fancy bike but hey.

Those of you that know me well, are aware of the fact that I have a very healthy self esteem. Part of my thinking that I'm wonderful ;) (which is very tongue-in-cheek) is also a reminder of all that I have to learn and how far I have to go. If I can't laugh at my insecurities and remain light hearted, how will I succeed in conquering my fears? Taking life too seriously really bums me out! Laughing makes everything manageable. :)

I figured this morning that since Redd Foxx, as Fred Sanford, was always letting Elizabeth know that "This is the big one!" How could I find a better person to name my bike after!? And obviously since it is red I opted for Redd Foxx instead of Sanford.

Now my bike is just as over dramatic as me! ;)

07 July 2008

yummy weekend!

First, many thanks to all of you! As always your comments are great and help me stay motivated!

This weekend, I volunteered at the Summer Tri in Lorain. The event was fun and overall it seemed like people enjoyed it. The run was pretty tough though as there wasn't a BIT of shade! I worked the water stop with fellow CTCer Patrick. Pretty much EVERYONE looked like they were struggling a bit from the heat/sun/humidity. I seriously felt horrible for them! After clean up Beth, Brandon and I headed over to Lucky's in Tremont for some super delish food!!! Mmmmm, I think I could eat breakfast there everyday! I had an awesome omelet with spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and cheese. It was enormous, so I did my best! You know when you eat something that is super yummy and you start to get full but you so much want to finish it because it is just that good?! That is EXACTLY how I felt! I didn't succeed in eating the whole thing but I managed a good half to two-thirds! :)

Then for dinner I made this awesome pasta I picked up at the Farmer's Market in Tremont. Ohio City Pasta makes some really great stuff! I used some green and yellow zucchini from my fresh stop share and threw in some yellow and red peppers, pasta sauce (also local from Little Italy) and diced up some chicken. It was tasty! (If I do say so myself. ;) )

I have been riding around the neighborhood lately and am beginning to feel more confident. I still freak out if I have both feet clipped in and I have only worked up to 15 mph before I feel like I have to slow down. It is so weird! It isn't like I don't have other bikes to ride or that I've never ridden, I'm not sure if it is just the clips or also my seating. The other bikes I have(had), I have always been more upright so this is a definite switch.

I'm hoping to get out to ride the Fairport route this week/weekend to prepare for the tri at the end of the month. I was going to go out with my brother yesterday evening but I was beat after being outside all morning and then returning home and cleaning and doing laundry. The course has three separate crossing at railroad tracks. So I'm not looking forward to going over tracks six times but at least I won't freak out on race day when I have to do it!

I ran this morning. Only 1.5 miles on the treadmill, but it is something! :) I am so blah when it comes to running. I really enjoy swimming and cycling, but running I'm like what-ev. I have to change my attitude about it. I will say this, I'm not concerned about the runs. Even for GLE, I figure my main goal is to finish, if I'm happy with my swim and ride I could care less about how the run goes. If I have to walk the whole thing, so be it. Finishing is my goal! :)

The whole reason I began triathlon was to have fun and have goals to work toward. So for this year just completing the race is really enough for me to be satisfied and happy with my performance. Next year I can work towards breaking some major PRs. ;)

Oh, any suggestions for crossing the railroad tracks??? I'm kind of afraid I might fall over. :P