Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stack Food, Herd Cats.

While I wish I could say that I had a miraculous turn of fortune in the last 24 hours, that is not the case.  Since I realize that I am probably looking at a reduced training volume for a little while, I am trying to find ways to keep my focus.  I have been throwing myself into other projects and making a quality diet a priority.

Lately, I have been into stacking my food.  The whole meal gets stacked into some kind of food Jenga.  I then have all kinds of fun figuring out how to get it into my body without letting half of it fall to the floor.  This picture is one from the other day.  The base is an organic brown rice cake with hummus "mortar", then avocado slices, followed by an egg over hard and topped with a big handful of sauteed salad greens.  OK, actually the greens just get tossed into the pan after the egg is done and are more wilted than sauteed.  It's yummy, I promise.  Stop laughing.

Eating one of these stacks is more complicated than the transition area of a popular sprint tri.  First, have you ever eaten an organic brown rice cake?  Unlike the conventional kind, the ones that do a great Styrofoam impersonation, these are much crunchier and fall apart at the mere mention of teeth.  The hummus is there to help hold it together.  It does not.  The avocado adds a slippery layer to the crumbling base and acts as a launchpad for the egg.  The egg never wanted to be involved in the first place and exits stage left.  The greens end up everywhere and the process of getting them to your mouth is slightly more difficult than herding cats.  Still, I love it and it keeps popping up as my go-to meal.  It's food and a logistical challenge all in one!

less complicated than breakfast
Tonight, I was invited to go out with some co-workers.  There would be food and drink that is not in my game plan.  I was tempted since the frustration of the last month has left me feeling a little like all the work is for nothing.  (Don't panic.  It's just the pain and frustration talking.  I know better.)  I was tempted but honestly realized that I didn't truly want that.  I wanted to heal and heal fast.  I wanted to be back out there soon.  I sauteed a bunch of veggies (a baby eggplant, some mini peppers, garlic, and a whole mess o' kale) that I picked up at a farmer's market and mixed it with a couple of eggs and a small amount of kidney beans.   Since I still wanted an indulgence, had some chia pudding spiked with a little honey.  Then I drank my one and only gluten free beer.  It's been hanging around in the fridge waiting for a night that I wasn't working or training the next day.  Yeah, it's been there since last winter.  I am pleased that the choices I made were not hard to make.  Good diet and exercise have become a lifestyle and I realize that I do not feel deprived.  If I want something, I have it.  Mostly I want things that pay dividends to my health.  That is good.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Forget Running... The Duck Can't Breathe!

Where am I with my training?  Good question.  After the crash last week, I have been dealing with a number of issues from confidence on the bike to some really serious breathing issues.  I am about to break down and see a doctor again for the breathing problems but it is difficult for me to determine where one issue ends and another begins.

Since the last time I crashed in June, I have been dealing with some orthopedic issues that are proving difficult to manage.  My shoulder has been a problem as has my IT band.  While they have improved since June, much of the progress has come about as a result of other problems.

During the month of August, I pushed through fatigue.  I pushed too hard and too long.  I ended up with a case of exhaustion that set me down for two full days.  I couldn't get out of bed.  I barely had enough energy to feed the dogs.  It went far beyond just a little tired and felt like something seriously amiss.  I don't know if that carried a fitness price beyond a few missed workouts but I have been a disaster ever since.  My endurance and strength evaporated and even my motivation has been sporadic.

In addition to that, I crashed again, as you know, last Tuesday.  In addition to losing a pound of flesh, I badly bruised/cracked my ribs.  (The official diagnosis was fractured but with all the old injuries to the area, they couldn't really tell on the x-rays.  They might just be bruised.)

At the crash, I had an episode that I refer to as hyperventilating, although I am not sure that is really accurate.  I couldn't breathe.  I couldn't take in air.  I felt like I was breathing through a straw and as a result a manic, rapid breathing pattern (picture hyperventilation or asthma attack) developed followed by major dizziness.  Since then, I have had one of these attacks nearly every day.  With each one, it takes less to trigger the next.  They are terrifying and completely shut me down, not to mention I am walking around slightly short of breath with a sharp ache in my chest all the time.  I am also seriously fatigued and my limbs feel like lead.  It's not really making for a great quality of life.

I can barely run.  Wednesday, I tried to run and had an attack on the Town Lake Trail after just seven minutes.  Tonight was a dramatic improvement due to being a little more tuned in to the early signs.  I can only go about 5 minutes holding ~11:00 pace before I have to stop and walk.  Worse, I am having trouble getting through a night of work.  I feel awful, exhausted all of the time.  

At this point, I am trying to get through this horse show and get home.  I have a few weeks off in October which will give me both rest time and a chance to see a doctor if necessary.  My background in horses means that I will self treat a lot of things (cuts, injuries, etc- don't judge.  That is just how horse people do things.) but not this.  I am completely baffled by this, not to mention more than a little concerned.  I am concerned for my health and concerned for my training.  I seem to be losing fitness at an alarming rate.  I am really concerned that if this drags on very long, I will be forced to start over from scratch.

Some of these things were do to crashes, some due to fatigue and overload.  When all the books and websites tell you to guard against overreaching...  When they tell you to rest your injuries... When they carry on about recovery... LISTEN.  The price of this mistake is WAY to high!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Duck is Nothing But A Big Chicken!

Wow, so today's long ride was an epic FAIL!  I picked out a 40 mile route with a 10 mile option and headed out to ride on a beautiful but windy afternoon.  I climbed aboard and took off.  I was probably 500 ft. from the car when the first big wind gust caught the bike (remember those BIG, aero shapes on the ultra-light carbon frame?) and it got a little squirrely.  Before long, every little twitch from the wind and every imperfection in the road surface was contributing to a mounting sense of panic.  After very few miles, I turned the bike around and gave up on the ride.

Sunday I did a group ride and I suspect that the group setting kept me from focusing on the fear.  I did have moments of panic, especially if I was close to the edge of the road and there was another rider to my left.  I simply rode on the left and stuck close to my friend TM who knew I was riding wounded.  The pace of the ride meant that I never really had a chance to get my head too far up my....

I sent all my riding buddies messages, checked the bike shop and meetup boards, and finally called a bike shop and admitted what was wrong.  I need to get on that bike.  I need to get out there.  I am too afraid to do it alone.

The first crash this summer meant that I got a lot more cautious about cornering and braking, not entirely a bad thing and not ultimately debilitating to performance.  This crash wasn't a mistake.  It was a big, nasty freak circumstance that flew out of a cow pasture and hit me in the face.  

I have always had total confidence on the bike.  I'd talk smack and back it up with a powerful performance.  I rode that bike like it was an extension of me.  Clipping in was like locking into a cockpit of a jet fighter.  When I ride I feel powerful, fast, free, AWESOME!!  Not timid, tense, scared, clutchy, panicky.

I have done the only things I know how to do.  I asked for help.  I called the people I know, admitted that I was scared, and asked for someone to ride with me.  I sent DW a message.  I am writing about it here.  Hopefully, I can find a riding buddy for tomorrow, then I can do the rest of the week on the trainer if I need to.  Next week, I should be able to find people to ride with me and I am hoping that at some point, I will relax and remember that I love this.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Texas The Beautiful!!

So I started back into training yesterday with a group ride and then a run today.  The group ride was lots of fun.  It is sponsored by the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse who opens their doors early to serve brunch to a bunch of sweaty cyclists in spandex.  Good people.  Good Ride.  Good food.  'Nuff said.

Wonder what usually comes in that glass... good times!!

I chose not to get too upset about the fact that I had to turn early and avoid the one big climb on the route because I had no wind due to my ribs or the fact that my confidence was thoroughly rattled.  I was shaky enough to be a little grabby with the bike every time I got close to any thing suspicious on the road.  I could really feel the psychological effects of crashing twice this summer.  Still, I got back on the horse and Seabiscuit was able to get out of the barn.

Today I had a 45 minute easy run down.  DW suggested I go find a trail and leave the pace tracking devices at home.  He wanted me to just go relax and feel it... feel my body and listen to the signals.

I honestly felt it.  I felt it piss and moan over very little effort.  I felt weak, winded, heavy, leaden... anything that falls in the "opposite of awesome" category.

FORTUNATELY, I had taken his advice.  I went to a nature preserve down the road from the campground called Reimer's Ranch.  It is very hard to obsess over a weak performance when the world around you looks like this.  I did my run but I also did about an hour of light free climbing, exploring, and picture taking.  I have covered a lot of places I go... today I want you to see what's at home.

THIS is Texas!

Hill Country

Not FLAT!!

Pedernales River

Pedernales River, you can swim in it if you can get yourself down there!

Climbed down Climber's Canyon to get to the river.

Yup, more canyon

Yet more canyon.

What passes for a trail here.

running here is pretty amazing!

The trees here have old souls.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Injury Update

Seabiscuit's injuries have been declared superficial and cosmetic by the good wrenches at Austin Bikes.  What a relief!!

I, however, am not so confident about my own status.  The road rash is doing what road rash does.  It's healing the messiest way possible. But, all things considered, it is not torturing me much as it goes about it.  My legs, neck, and back all feel pretty good.  The contusions on my hand are proving to be a non-issue.  My ribs... well, this is where the news gets less cheery.

Yesterday, because my pain levels have been completely manageable and with DW's blessing, I went for a run.  I started off okay.  My ribs hurt with every breath but not at an unmanageable level.  I left all the technology behind so that there would be no pressure to ignore the signals coming from my body.

About a mile in to the run, I had to go up a little hill.  I was not pushing it at all but it did increase my respiration slightly.  That was all it took.  In an instant, the pain levels returned to 30 seconds after the crash, all of the air was forced out of my lungs, and I hyperventilated right there on the trail.  When I had finally recovered my breathing, I started walking back to the car.  My pain at this point was about an 8/10 but I could breathe, sort of.  I had several more episodes where I started to hyperventilate but was able to recover and keep walking.

For the rest of the day and into this morning, my pain levels have suffered a significant set back.  My frustration levels have gone through the roof.  I came to terms in the car with the fact that I will not even attempt my last two races of the season.  The bottom line is that if I did that on the bike, I would crash and if I did it in the water, I would drown.

This is not something I can push through.  I am not sure exactly what is happening in my body but it feels like the intercostal muscles are seizing up and clamping down on my lungs.  I can't breathe through the pain.  I can't breathe at all.  It feels exactly like when the wind is knocked out of you and I wind up with a hyperactive pattern of fast, shallow breathing (what I have always known as hyperventilating).

It's the third and fourth ribs under the pec that are affected.

The ER doc said that it could take months for the ribs to heal.  At least my other injuries will get the R&R they need.  I am going to give it a few more days and hopefully I can revisit the issue.  I need to at least find out what I CAN do, even if it's just minimal.  I realized when I stepped on the scale this morning and another pound had crept on, bringing the total to three since the initial injuries and consequent disruption in training consistency, that I am going to have to start keeping a food journal and get fairly restrictive with my calories if I expect to get through this without a major weight gain.

To keep my mind on track, I have gotten involved with a local tri group.  Ok, in honesty, since I can't do anything incrementally, I took over organization of a  large local tri group.  This should keep my mind busy and my brain in the game until my body is willing.  This morning I am meeting with a few people that want to see this group develop into more than it currently is and discuss it's organization/direction.  I am looking forward to it and the potential  social and networking opportunities it could provide.  It is always nice to keep a side project that lets me be a part of the human race.  I just hope that I don't try to cluck to anyone, feed them carrots, or put them in crossties and play with their hair!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

UFO's and High Speed Crashes.

Speed.  I like speed.  I like cornering at speed.  I like descending at high speeds.  I like climbing at whatever speed is possible.  I get on my bike with one thing in mind.  GO FAST.

Bugs.  Big bugs. REALLY, REALLY big, black, buzzing bugs.  Really big, black, buzzing bugs that hit you in the face....

At top speed.  On a corner.  With no shoulder and a drop off.

Bad.  Things.  Happen.


poor Seabiscuit!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Devil is in the Details and My Shorts!

Today I learned a valuable lesson.  Open your possibilities and wonderful things can happen and quality of life matters.  I also learned to check where you sit down to change your flats.

Normally when I come to Austin, even though I have a place, I find it easier to stay in the camper.  At this point, it is my odd little home, the tiniest of duck ponds.  I have traditionally parked in an RV park very close to downtown but in an ugly, nasty neighborhood.  I don't think it was particularly unsafe, just depressing.  This time, I could not reach anyone there and had to book at a different park.  I settled on one that is to the west of the city on the edges of Hill Country.

I got lost coming in last night and parked the camper in the dark.  The campground seemed fine, normal, dark.  When I got up this morning and walked outside with the dogs, my jaw dropped.  The park is beautiful with trees everywhere, flower beds and granite retaining walls lining the drive ways, and astonishing views of Hill Country.  The vistas allowed me to see for miles.  A camera cannot even do it justice.

I drove into town and got where I needed to go in a very respectable 25 minutes (as opposed to 15 at the other park).  The road in feeds into the side of the city that I utilize most.  The drive was beautiful, astonishing, breathtaking.  Every bend offered scenic views of this unique, rugged landscape.

The feel of the park is wonderful, friendly, healthy, and the owners like to swimbikerun.  Nearby there is a vast reserve of multi use, hike/running, mountain bike, and equestrian trails with access to open water swimming.  Also I am right in the middle of the best cycling area central Texas has to offer.  I guess I didn't realize until now how unhappy I had become with my surroundings.  Austin I love... but that RV park?  Not so much.  In a single morning, I switched my whole list of priorities and will be calling this new RV park home from now on.

 I did my swim (a great consistent effort- the kind I have struggled to produce with this shoulder) and then drove some suggested routes to find a good three hour long ride.  There is an amazing 50 mile loop that starts two miles from my door.  I decided to do that, packed up the bike and drove to the starting point.  I would have ridden out but it was getting close to rush hour and the two mile stretch gets a little dangerous.

As I aired up my tires, I realized I had a flat.  I took the wheel off, sat down and set about changing said flat.  Lots of experience with this; nothing to worry about.  As I tried to put the new tube on, I realized that the valve was much shorter than the one I had taken off.  (Ow!  scratch) Sure enough, it was too short for the rim depth on my training wheel.  (Ow dammit, scratch, scratch) Now I had a half changed flat and no tube. I knew that the tubes back at the camper were all the same.  I resolved to go home, do my tomorrow interval work on the trainer with my race wheel on the front.  (OW OW OW!!  Scratch butt furiously in a public location.)

OOOH, the Devil is in the details.. and my shorts!

OOWOWOWOWOW!!!  ANTS!!!!!  I have ants in my tri shorts... LITERALLY!  The mean, red Texas style ants that raise a cattle brand welt on your backside!  ARRRGHHHH!!!!!

I had plopped my happy, flat changing ass down in an big ol' mess o' Texas fireants!

Now my ant- bitten ass is smarting and I am looking forward (ahem) to spending the next couple of hours in the saddle.

As a follow up to my last post which was written about a week before I was able to publish it, I have been feeling much better.  My energy returned slowly but fully.  By the weekend, I realized that I felt better than I had in months. DW said that the energy that I had now was what I should have had all along.  Accepting a fatigued state as normal was actually undermining my training and my life.  It all caught up to me but now that I have bounced back, I am truly on my toes.  He is letting me race this weekend and I am looking forward to my first Olympic distance of the year.  My endurance is a bit damaged but overall, my base should be good enough to go and get familiar with the longer distance.  I may not race it, but it should provide a nice bump in fitness and set me  up for the next and final race of the season.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tri Rock Austin Race Report and Follow Up Reflections

Duck in Austin!

This post is very much a hindsight 20/20 post.  I made some mistakes here and while they are all part of the learning curve, I am still looking hard at them since I still can't say if I would make the same choices again.

After Bowling Green, I displaced my right lateral meniscus.  It was one of those unquestionable moments when you know you are f*****!!  I had been sitting at the computer with my legs crossed and when I stood up, the meniscus which had worked it's way out of place was pinched between the leg bones.  The pain was immediate and blinding.  My first thought was that I had just torn it, but honestly, I have torn a meniscus before and it didn't hurt this much.  Initially, it was a non-weight bearing injury and I immediately scheduled an appointment to get it addressed.  The doc was able to put it back in and I began to heal but there was a period of time where training came screeching to a halt.  In all, the injury cost me about 10 days of training.

The following week I came home from Kentucky to Texas and had given up all hope of getting to race in Austin on the 3rd.  After talking to Dr. Z and DW, I was cleared to race the sprint distance but not the run for the Olympic.  DW suggested that if I could not switch to the sprint, to race the Olympic but leave the running shoes at home.  He didn't even want them in the transition area.  NO TEMPTATION to run, but go kill it on the swim and bike.  In the end, they let me switch so I raced in the sprint after all.
Sporting the groovy race tattoo

The drive home had really taken it out of me.  I couldn't find an acceptable place to stop and ended up grabbing a couple of hours of shut eye in a Wal-Mart parking lot around 3 am.  By the time I got home, I had taken the fatigue of a few hard race efforts, a summer on the road, and an injury and seriously compounded it.  I was really tired going into the labor day race.

I arrived at the transition area around 5:30, ridiculous since my wave didn't go until 8:46 but since sleep was a no go, I figured why not.  My stomach was starting to sour on me and by 7, I had given up on eating and drinking.  I had eaten a good breakfast around 4 but by race time, I was already getting a little low on fuel/hydration.  It was also really, really hot.  They announced the temps shortly before the sun rose as 85 degrees.  By the time I was out on course it was soaring into the 90s and topped out at 99.  My desire to race was diminishing by the minute and I was having serious misgivings about being there.  I felt sick, flat and tired, not at all ready to give a race effort.
It's 5:30.. Why is there a camera in my face?

I did not warm up at all.  Not only was there no real place to do it, I had no fire, no energy, no desire.  My shoulder was screaming and my IT band was tight.  There was no swim warm-up and I knew a running warm up was a bad idea.  I went into it cold rather than make one of the injuries worse by trying some random calisthenics moves.  I would say that was the right choice.

I started the swim in a front and center position.  It was an in water wave start with 50+ people in my wave.  A few people streamed out ahead of me but I quickly fell into a nice rhythm and headed for the first buoy. I was in clear water by the time I got there. I swam really wide around it since it was a right turn and my left shoulder is still very weak.  After that my line got better, and I began passing people in the waves ahead of me.  I exited the water calm and somewhat optimistic.

There was a long run to transition and I basically jogged it.  My transition times were terrible.  I had time to knit a sweater there.  I felt out of it and apathetic.  I didn't do anything in hurry and trotted the bike out of transition, mounted carefully and pedaled softly out onto the bike course.  Someone behind me was screaming at me to go faster and I got instantly grumpy.  I said a few colorful words to him and suggested that he pass or shut up.   I felt compelled to point out that since he had been in an earlier wave, he might want to swim faster if he did not want to be behind me.  I am sure I made a lasting friend.

Once out on the bike course, I started to feel OK.  While I never REALLY fired, I did turn in a solid performance.  It was good enough to be second in my age group but it was also the first time I have ever NOT been first.  That was a little bit of a bitter pill when I saw the results.  I have gotten used to that position and even though I knew this day would come, I did not like it much.  I also was unable to stomach my hydration/nutrition.  In sprint races, I carry one small bottle and my nutrition plan is to drink it on the bike.  It has calories and electrolytes, enough for the whole race.  Unfortunately, my stomach was not interested.  I got maybe 3 oz out of 16 down and that was it!

Seabiscuit and I on the hunt!

T2 was about as pathetic as T1.  There was a bottle neck going back into transition and I ended up having to walk and wait for a bit.  Once through the gate, a sad little jog was about as much as I could give.    I headed out on the run and just tried to find a nice pace.  It was blazing hot and there was no shade.  I began to overheat and fade quickly.  My knee started to scream in the first mile and every step after that was torture.  I broke to a walk several times and by the end, my overall pace was off by about 45 sec/mile.  At one point a lady was standing at the side with a cooler full of ice.  I grabbed a handful and shoved it into my sports bra.  I then got a chuckle out of the fact that I clinked with every step for the next mile and a half.  It helped and that portion of the race was the best for me.  Sadly though, it eventually melted and so did I.  I got to a point where I just told myself to get it over with and that is what I did.  I stopped caring about the race and just finished the workout.
One of the better moments.

When it was over, I made a pass through the massage tent and then collected my bike.  Later I returned to check the results.  I got my printout and was a little puzzled by my results until I zeroed in on the swim time.  They had recorded my swim time as over 1.5 hours for a 700 meter swim!!  Now I was tired but seriously…. not that tired!!  In the end, they made an adjustment that corrected it more or less.  I suspect that the swim time was still long as they had me placing near the end of my wave and I am pretty sure I finished near the top of it.  I can't imagine I would have missed 50+ people swimming over the top of me and at a pace that was close to :45/100 slower than my usual times.  In the end, with the slowish swim, I placed fourth place out if 52 in my age group missing the podium by one place and less than the time wasted in transition.  Considering how lousy I felt, I can't help but be pleased with my final position.
Really showing the hitch in my giddyup here.

Spotted the finish and the head came up

I came out of that race exhausted.  Tuesday the fatigue was so bad it hurt.  I had to drive to Tyler and work that night so there was no sleep in the cards for me.  Wednesday, I skipped  my workout in favor of more sleep but I still felt like a zombie all night.  The rest of the week, discipline kicked in and I got my workouts done, including a tough set of run intervals in 95 degree heat followed immediately by two hours of power based bike intervals on one night.  I was late for work every night though (fortunately I am the only person I answer to there) and was braiding very slowly. Movement was becoming harder with each night.  I also began having drops in blood pressure that were causing pretty serious dizzy spells.  By the end of the weekend, I was totally trashed and I couldn't get out of bed.

I slept all day and night Sunday night.  Monday morning I ventured into town to go to the bank, grocery store, and get gas.  I was freezing.  A cold front had moved in and it was in the mid 80s as opposed to high 90s but I am not sure that really warranted running the heat in the car and wearing a jacket.  I felt like I wasn't going to survive the grocery store experience.  By 11 am, I was back in bed and stayed there until Tuesday.

DW was in Vegas watching his wife place second in the Pro race (CONGRATULATIONS!!), so I didn't bring my situation to his attention until Monday.  His take on it was that I was suffering from exhaustion.  As much as I have always thought that was something reserved for celebrities who didn't feel like doing their hair for a few days, I am now aware of how crippling it can be.  I could see how someone might end up hospitalized.  Fortunately, it did not come to that for me.  Once again, I am two weeks from a race and sitting on the bench.  I am not sure how Galveston or Dallas will play out.  At this point, I guess I am okay with it either way.  If I race, I will do my best.  If I don't, I realize it might be for the best.  Which way it will happen will most likely be decided at the last minute.

This is a good place to be!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Well, my Internet capabilities here in Tyler are still... Um, non-existant. Presently I am typing on my cell phone using an app for blogger. I have posts all typed out and ready, complete with race pics and all that is needed is a decent wifi connection. Stay tuned as I head back to Austin, land of good connections, tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Old Kentucky Airstream Home and Farewell To A Good Friend

Over the last two weeks I have been a bit delinquent about posting.  I left Kentucky and headed back to Austin for a few days at home and the Tri Rock Austin event.  I can't believe how HOT it is here but still, it is good to be back home in Texas.  My body is still resisting though I am making slow progress and still on track for upcoming events.

I wanted to backtrack a little with this post and show you the absolutely stunning scenery that I enjoyed for the entire month of August.  The farm is old and full of History.  I was parked under an enormous walnut tree beside the farms original house.  It was built in 1795 and overlooked rolling hills and beautiful ponds.  There was a grave marker built into the walk leading to the front door.  In all, it was an incredible place, full of history and bustling with the activity of several training operations, and a wonderful setting for the Airstream and I.

On a sad note, I sold Trigger.  A group of friends got together and bought the bike from me as a gift for another braider.  She is going through a divorce and has two kids in college.  She desperately wanted the bike but could not justify the expense.  A number of people, most of whom know their trades (myself included) due to her tutelage, chipped in to give her one wicked 50th birthday present.  I donated the tune-up.  I got a call after she got the bike.  She was so excited I thought she might cry.

The first couple of weeks that she had the bike were spent in Kentucky.  She rode it nearly daily and we spent a lot of hours talking bikes.  There had once been a bit of a rift between she and I, but that was clearly gone.  When the show was over, she packed the bike up and headed home to Florida.  She stopped in Gainesville to visit her son and while there, the bike was stolen.  I posted information online and have been watching the usual sale sites; she called the police.  Sadly, to date, Trigger has not been recovered.

It is amazing how much emotion came up when she told me it was stolen.  I cried.  I felt like I had lost something important.  I changed my life on that bike.  It was my partner through so much.  Holidays spent alone and lonely were spent on that bike, miles to ease the discomfort.  I lost more weight than I ever though possible.  It was the first shred of athletic confidence (I may be fat and slow everywhere else, but I can fly on a bike) but safe, smooth, and tractable in it's handling.  It was pretty but not pretentious.  It did it's job without bravado or pretense.  I will miss that bike.

Trigger, I will miss you.

I was driving back to Texas when she called.  After we got off the phone, I looked in the rear view mirror at my new bike (it was in the SUV with me and the dogs) and said out loud "It's just you and me now Seabiscuit."  It felt significant for some reason.  It was like the safety net was gone.  The entry level road bike, the Athena division, the comfort zone.... all gone.  It was time to show up, step up, and start carving out my spot in this weird little world.

Next up:  Race report from Tri Rock Austin!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tri Rock Austin Update

In the 11th hour, so to speak, I got cleared to race the sprint or do the Olympic if I promised not to do the run.  In my conversation with DW, prior to receiving an answer from the race organizers about switching distances, I had to promise that if I did the Oly, I would leave my shoes at home. He didn't trust me to not run unless it was somehow impossible.  There is a reason why he is a good coach.  He is well aware of when I might try to be crafty and nips in the bud.

In the end, they are allowing me to switch, though given the late notice, I will have to wear my Olympic bib and use my rack spot in the Olympic transition area.  That might be a little weird but I'll manage.  I keep telling myself that so soon after being a little broken, I won't be racing it.  I'll just be running it.  Save the race effort for Galveston and Dallas.  I just keep on telling myself that... Yah.  Sure.  Really.

It is about 40 hours until showtime and the race nerves have shown up right on schedule.