Sunday, May 15, 2011


I was late again this morning.  I was supposed to help set up the booth at the kids triathlon at 5 and rolled in at 5:20.  Why, you ask?  Because I got lost.  Lost in my own neighborhood.  Lost going to a park 3 miles from my house. 

I hate my gps.

If I am going to suffer the humiliation of being late (a feeling I am well acquainted with), I should at least get the benefit of some extra sleep!!

Still, the kids event was fun.  It was crawling with children which is always uncomfortable for me but actually, I really enjoyed it.  The kids ranged from completely focused and impressive to absolutely entertaining.  I mean, seriously, if you have never supervised 5 year olds in the transition area of a race, you haven't lived.  And watching these kids be so fierce and comptetitive on their pink Barbie bikes with streamers and training wheels, that's enough to put you over the edge. 

The best part was the little boy who finished way behind the others because he was the only kid in his division still on training wheels.  When he got to T2, I took his bike and helmet, and members of our Tri Club ran with him, everyone cheering the whole way.   It was like living a lifetime movie.

Oh and the girl who's mom ran her through T2 holding her hand.  She had the biggest grin on her face!!

It was cool.

Now I want to race really badly.

C'mon foot, it's just a little running!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day To Day Today

Today, and the last couple have been blissfully routine.  Totally, completely, wonderfully uneventful.

I just completed my ride... 30 miles in zone 2... and choked down a glass full of strange, green recovery stuff, propped my feet up and pulled out the computer to upload the Garmin data and generally waste time.

You see, I need to grocery shop, so right now I have all of the unflavored essentials for a recovery shake, but nothing that would give it any substance or a decent flavor except a handful of raw spinach.  Raw spinach does not a tasty shake make.  I could be shopping right now, this instant but noooooooo... I'd rather be reveling in my ability to piss away time waiting for the sorry little blended spinach thing to wear off so that I am ravenous when I do shop.

Indeed, the fact that the most interesting thing I have to say right now is that I have nothing to say more interesting than the contents of the above paragraph, should say it all.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ocean Viewing Vs. Ocean Swimming

Don't get me wrong... I LOVE swimming in the ocean.  I feel totally comfortable there swimming around, diving down, or even gearing up and diving to the legal limits of my SCUBA certification.  I am the first to jump off the boat and go for a swim and the last to grudgingly climb back on board. 

I also love pool swimming.  Long course, short course, deep or shallow, sprint or distance, intervals, whatever.  The dense quiet of the water and immersion into a focused mind frame, feeling the water and how the body moves through it.  I don't get that anywhere else.

I have done quite a bit of biking along the ocean lately, since most of my runs have been replaced by rides.  Foot injuries will do that.  The weather has been stellar.  The ocean has sported a tempting turquoise.  The wind and waves have been minimal.  That is about all I could take.  So I added some open water swims into my schedule with the blessing of RW.

SO.. I headed to that oceanic wonderland, Garmin and goggles at the ready.  And well, it doesn't have to look like much to feel like the inside of an old washing machine!  I still enjoyed myself and swam about a mile and a quarter, but it was far from an easy little add-on workout.  It was an intense session that required total concentration and a fantastic, great leap outside the ol' comfort zone.  After I finished, having worked on sighting, swimming across currents, and not being disturbed by losing sight of land between swells, I was ready for a short nap in the sand!!

Okay... yeah.  Life is pretty good.

Off to the track to humble myself, as usual.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stoopid Foot!

Actually it is not my foot that I am angry with but rather the intruding Plantar Fascitis that has reduced my otherwise dependable wheel to a pitiful, pulsing appendage of misery.

As I write this, I am again disappointed by a shortened Wednesday night run.  I am once again dealing with acute pain in my arch, heel and ankle.  I am reclining on the couch with my leg propped and a bag of frozen soybeans tied to my foot with an old ace bandage.  Pretty picture, eh?

Dinner?  Lima beans.  Plain, unadorned, unaccompanied lima beans.  Ok, so they were supposed to go on a beautiful salad but that requires standing for ten minutes.  That will not be happening!

Still, I am hoping that with my soybean-y diligence and this fancy tape I spent a ridiculous amount of money on this evening, I will have a functioning foot tomorrow.  That would make me happy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Duckie Lama and the Garmin Overlord

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. 

I officially began zone training using my handy-dandy Garmin 310 XT (known henceforth as the Garmin Overlord) today.  I had to do 25 miles while keeping my heart rate frustratingly low... as in under 121 bpm.  Whenever my hr went outside the prescribed limits... BEEP!  The Garmin Overlord would BEEP my punishment.  At first, I could only(BEEP) maintain 13-14 mph without my heart rate(BEEP) winging skyward like a happy little lark (BEEP).  I truly though my brain was going to (BEEP)explode!  I rebelled. (BEEP) I bitched. (BEEP) I whined. (BEEP) I got mad. (BEEP) I got bored. (BEEP)(BEEP)(BEEP)


Then I started focusing on being the most efficient cyclist I could imagine.  I really wanted to get this over with.  (BEEP) Knees in, elbows in, head down, engage the hamstrings, accentuate the backside of the pedal stroke.  That earned me about 1 mph.  Better than nothing.  Keep it up!  Focus!  Focus!  Fo.... ooooh... something shiny!(BEEP)(BEEP)

I started getting caught up in the scenery.  The beautiful, magnificent ocean, palms, houses, the stunningly perfect weather, the dappled afternoon sunlight and early evening shadows.... and the really great song coming through my earbud.  (Only one, the left ear is dedicated to traffic sounds.) 

Slowly, slowly, I felt myself relax.  I let go of the tension in my jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, hands... and realized that I was holding speeds over 17 mph with a heart rate of around 116.  I accelerated slightly and held at 17.5-17.8 and if my heart rate crept to 120, relaxing again was all it took to bring it down. 

And then this random biker passed me.

ARRRGGHHHH!!(BEEP) (BEEP) (BEEP)I don't do "passed". (BEEP) As I struggled (BEEP)with the need to bolt off after him, my heart rate(BEEP) shot way(BEEP) up and nothing(BEEP) I did would bring it down. (BEEP) I had to slow waaay down to a turtle's pace to bring it back under control. (BEEP) For a number of miles, I was harboring so much tension(BEEP) that 13 was about my top speed.  Finally, I relaxed again (or I would still be out there finishing my mileage at midnight!) and was able to finish the ride at a 15-16 pace, never quite finding that slightly zen pace.(BEEP)

And now I know that I waste an awful lot of energy to tension. My coach has now added meditation to the list of things I need to do to be successful in this sport.  I am reminded what a beautiful place I live and how much I enjoy my training.  My bike is always my happy place and today's moment of clarity made it even more so.  And I know that I really hate the Garmin Overlord!!!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Today is a new day.

I woke up this morning to be reminded that while I lounged in a little cloud of self-absorbtion, the world marched on. 

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  There was dancing in the streets.  The nation celebrated.  Facebook, the media, and the rest of the internet was on fire with the news.

Yeah... I missed that entirely.  Oops.

Still, it reminds me of two very important points.

1.)  My life is small in the grand scheme of things. 

If I do not look after myself, I will get swept away like "just another grain of dust".  No one really cares if I am successful, happy, healthy, etc. but me.  I am the only one that will benefit from tending that garden, so I am its sole proprietor.

2.)  Life marches on. 

If I spend it hiding or procrastinating, dreaming or sleeping, I will miss it.  Everyday not utilized in the pursuit of my goals is lost forever and the window of opportunity for even trying is always closing.  Even if today is not perfect, it should never be wasted... only savored as a unique moment in time.

Turn the lens outward.


Sunday, May 1, 2011


Now that the pity party has been put to "paper", let's hope the duck remembers how to swim. 

I wanted to post again because while this mornings post may have been a little whiny, it was fairly important.  It proved to be a launchpad for a very honest conversation with my sister where I let fly with all my anxiety about the situation. 

Cathartic.  Very cathartic. 

I actually feel a little more in balance with the world and had a very productive day sorting through some paperwork that I do not care to carry with me to my new nest (wherever that may be).  That little bit of organizing alone gave me a little more control over my out of control life.  And that little bit helped.... tremendously.

So aside from a few ruffled feathers, I think there is little harm done.  The duck will be back on her schedule tomorrow.  I am taking the rest of today for cleaning and then relaxing.

The Duck is Stuck.

The turmoil ridden events of the last several months have caused a big setback in my fitness.  Overwork and stress led to exhaustion and depression.  All this led to an injury that has kept me benched in the running department for a while. 

But that is not it.  That is what I tell myself and others, but that is not it.

My new job is prompting a move to California.  I love Florida and have known greater happiness and success here than any other place I have lived.  My old job caused me great injury and the horrendous schedule damaged my life, my body, and my training, but it was also something I understood.  I knew how to be resourceful and make a living with that job.  As much as it sucked, I trusted it.  My new job requires me to expand and grow to be successful.  I have to master new skills and live a forward thinking life.

  I read somewhere that all endurance athletes are running from something.  I can't say that I am the exception to that. 

California is where I grew up, so going there is a little like going back... something I have never done.  I have to go back and the only thing I associate with my past is pain.  I have been paralyzed in my own life lately.  I am not earning (though it is the off season down here and my earning potential here is small.... hence the move, but I am not trying either).  All I can think about is the move but I feel like I am encased in cement indecision. 

The worst part is that I realize that I am not going to be able to do the move without help.  I don't know who I will ask, or for what, but I will have to hold my hat out and ask for aid.  That is not easy for me. 

The last week has been an exercise in the art of escapism.  Thankfully, I have not decided to go on a whiskey or cookie binge, or something equally self-destructive.  Rather, I am hiding.  I am watching TV (on the computer).  I never watch TV.  That is why I don't have a TV. 

I thought about cancelling Netflix, but then I would just pick up a book, or a magazine, or something.  It's not about the escape vehicle, it's what you are running from that needs to be fixed. 

Normally, I dive into my workouts but this time I am avoiding them.  Not the solo workouts, the group workouts... the workouts that I live for... the ones I love. 

I think I am pulling away from everything because I am scared.  I am scared of the pain I am going to feel when I tear myself away from everything I love here.  I am scared that I will fail and yet that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy soon if I do not get my shit together.  But then I think that is it.  I am scared.  So scared that I am putting my head in the sand.  I am pretending that life is not marching forward with me in tow.  I have emotionally curled into the fetal position and declared that I cannot do this.  I am not this strong.

Problem is that I am also a master of putting one foot in front of the other.  Moving like a zombie through the hardest parts of life just to keep going.  And I am continuing forward.  I am slowly packing.  I did put in notice with my building.  I am severing ties with the life I have here. 

The problem is that I am waiting on something to begin establishing ties to my new life there, starting with renting an apartment.  That is the reason for the increasing sense of both panic and rootlessness. 

Why am I not renting an apartment and booking the move?  Because I am waiting on my boss to provide the trailer I am supposed to use to transport my things across the country.  Until I know when I will have that, I don't know when I will move out.  The trip across the country will take about 8 days and most landlords will only hold a unit for 7-14 days.  After that I am paying rent on an empty unit which I cannot afford to do. 

So, it is like I am stuck at the starting line and the race just won't begin.  The pre-race jitters are starting to overwhelm me.

That is it. 

But my foot also hurts, which hardly helps.