Pants

February 20, 2008

fly.jpg 

I could blog about my 90 minute run in last night’s blizzard.  I could blog about having my eyebrows and eyelashes caked in snow.  But it is evident from the resounding cries of tribloggers everywhere that we probably don’t need another blog about the miseries of winter training. 

So I will write about a different problem: my pants.  I forget to do them up.  Like ALL the time.  I go to the bathroom, I pull my pants up, I do up the button, I wash my hands, and I WALK OUT OF THE BATHROOM WITH MY FLY AND BELT UNDONE!!!  Regularly.  Maybe half the time.  THAT IS A LOT OF WALKING AROUND WITH MY PANTS UNDONE!  I think in the beginning of our relationship GB took this to mean I was always ready for any romantic action that might be lurking around the corner.  But recently we had a sit-down about this problem.  It is serious.  GB is worried.  I routinely come out of the bathroom in this semi-dressed state to see GB staring at me and trying not to laugh.  “YOUR PANTS!!!!  AGAIN!!!”. 

Sometimes it’s not that serious.  Sometimes I remember to do up my belt.  But then there’s still the fly – this combination seems to happen most often at work.  And here’s the kicker: NO ONE ever tells me about it (except GB).  I usually notice well after the fact because of a certain winter draft blowing through my pants.  Come on people!!  Help me out here!!  It happens in front of important people, during meetings, at the grocery store, at home, in airports, pretty much everywhere.  Most of the world has seen my underwear at this point.  Which makes me wonder why I bother with the pants at all.  Except that it’s winter and it’s cold.  Maybe I need velcro pants. 

Or a big sign that hangs in front of my face and says: “do up your damn pants”.

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Digging Deep

February 19, 2008

You know those days when all you want to do is crawl back into bed?  Yesterday was one of those.  I started out the day with a conflict at work that resulted in tears on my part and caused me to entertain the thought of just going home.  Except that my car got plowed in at home so GB had given me a lift to work.  No escaping work without a car. 

I plodded on through the day until it was finally time to leave.  GB (who was home sick) had arranged to meet me at the parking lot to pick me up.  It was raining and I didn’t have a raincoat and it was really really warm – it actually felt really good to be out in the rain.  So I stuffed my laptop inside my non-waterproof coat and recognizing that I couldn’t stand being at work for another minute, I just started walking in the direction of home.  I no doubt looked quite a site with my laptop in my coat, my empty coffee mug in hand, and my extra change of clothes that I always seem to have with me piled up in my arms, hair dripping from the rain, walking down the street.  By the time GB got there I was quite wet and feeling a little better about life.  I decided to check in with my coach to see if I could scrap my swim and run instead – all I wanted was to be outside in the warm rain wearing shorts and running off my stresses.

However, by the time I got home, I realized I should quit trying to juggle workouts and just do what was prescribed to me.  So I drove to the pool and forced myself to do my workout.

You know those days when you just PRAY that your goggles will break so you can quit with a reason?  That’s what yesterday was.  I even carefully inspected my goggle straps for signs of weakness.  No dice.  They were not going to give up on me.  And then there was the angry old man who was yelling at the lifeguard because they wouldn’t let him swim in the kids’ lesson lane.  I considered graciously getting out of the pool and giving him my swim space – isn’t that a legitimate reason for quitting a workout??  Okay, no it’s not.  I realized I was hungry.  Reason enough?  Not really.  So I dug deep and I hung in there and I finished the workout.  It wasn’t even a hard workout – actually, it was a pretty mellow one.  But the challenge of yesterday was all in my head.  And I think it might have been the toughest one of 2008.  Tougher than my TT.  Tougher than last month’s test week.  Just plain tough.

You know those days when you battle with your demons and rise victorious?  That’s what yesterday was.  GB commented at dinner that I have been really consistent with my workouts and I am even inspiring as a result of my dedication.  I responded that as silly as it might sound, I feel like my motivation is coming from 2 places:

1) the community of tribloggers that have been so supportive and inspiring (Marit, Beth, Jen, Elizabeth, IMAble, Danielle, Kodiacbear, Bree, Alicia, Mary, Bri).  Living so far from a significant tri community makes this particular community even more important.  It’s amazing how much all of you and your stories have the power to affect me in really positive ways.  So often when I struggle with a workout I just think of you women out doing your thing and it gives me the boost I need.  You are all amazing people, so thanks for sharing your stories and your energy!

2) my new coach.  Who really isn’t that new to me any more.  I’m so grateful for having found a coaching “fit” like I have.  I feel like I am in exceptionally good hands and I completely trust my program because I completely trust her.  That feeling of peace around a training program is invaluable and something I really appreciate.

So, although I am pleased with myself for getting through a tough workout, I also recognize that a big part of the reason I did, had nothing to do with me.  Thanks Dudes!

A Whole New Level

February 18, 2008

I have a tendency to imagine there are about 6 more hours in a day than there actually are. This has the negative effect of making me far too ambitious about what can be accomplished in a given day. Yesterday was no exception.

I slept in until 8am which may have been my first mistake. I had decided I would get my workouts done before skiing so I didn’t have to ride and run on already tired legs. By the time I got up, however, there was not really time to ride so I opted for a relaxed and delicious breakfast prepared by GB. (I am spoiled beyond belief, I know). Then GB gently suggested that we go for a hike with the dogs because it was beautiful out. We had a really fun hike marred only by Finn discovering a (deer?) rib and running off with it. You could almost hear him cackling as he ran away when we called him. Through some stellar team-work we were able to corner him and nab said bone at which time he got escorted home and dove promptly into his crate, knowing he was in the doghouse, so to speak.  I do not look forward to the day when he brings home the rest of the deer.

Then we met our neighbor and a friend of hers for a midday ski.  It was really a great time and felt good to practice all my skills from Ski Camp 2008.  By the time we got home it was 5pm and still had 2 hours of workouts to do.  I convinced myself that a run was out of the question since it was sleeting and unpleasant outside – not to mention it would be dark by the time my ride was over.  But during my ride I decided to HTFU and go for my run anyway.  So I donned my tights, warm clothes, headlamp, trail shoes, and get this….my dog’s reflective vest(!) and headed out into the ice.  The driveway was treacherous and glare ice so I skated that part and was happy to discover that in spite of the sleet, there was just enough traction on the roads to make running possible, if not easy.  So I got my run done and only had a near-spill at the turnaround point where my feet slipped out from under me.  Thankfully there were no cars at all on the roads so I don’t think a single person (besides an amused GB) saw me out running in the dark in my dog’s vest.  I am not sure if wearing a dog vest counts as a whole new level of committed to my sport, or a whole new level of freakish.  But who cares?  I got it done.  HTFU, Baby.

Shadow Fright

February 16, 2008

I was pretty much a big grump today. GB and I went out for breakfast at a new cafe which was great fun and I managed to be a nice person during that activity. Then GB went to work and I did a little in-home procrastination before going for my run. I had an hour-long run today and was not feeling particularly motivated to begin with. It was one of those deceptively sunny days where it LOOKS like spring because the sky is blue and the sun is out and you get that spring feeling. But then when you get outside you realize the “feels like” temperature is in the single digits and what you originally thought were smiling trees were actually grimacing and that it is not so pleasant outside as it is from the window. But you run anyway, because it’s part of the bigger plan.

I decided to bring Finn along for some company and to tire him out. That was a fine idea and I was doing well until I stumbled upon a fairly significant problem: Jack. Jack who is in the midst of transitioning to a senior dog. Jack with the pleading, pleading, eyes that can break even the most stoic of hearts. Jack who whines when I take Finn running without him. Jack who I know should not be taken on hour-long runs at his age. But I made the mistake of making eye contact with Jack and then it was over. I grabbed his leash and off we went.

There were several things I had not accounted for when I left for my run. The first of these was my dog’s fear of his own shadow (literally). Finn is terrified of….well….everything. And it has been a long time since he and I went for a run on a sunny sunny day. So the little man has not seen his shadow in a while – months in fact. As soon as we turned the corner out of the driveway his shadow fell into his peripheral vision and he completely freaked. And then of course, no matter how he jerked and jumped, he could not escape it. This was nearly enough to send him into a complete anxiety attack and I think the only reason he survived was because Jack was unperturbed, so eventually Finn followed Jack’s lead – and kept clear of Jack’s shadow.

The second problem I had not accounted for was the glare ice that was on the road for several miles of the run. Living out in the country where I do, the back roads often get semi-plowed. This week we had a big dump of snow followed by some rain, and then some very cold nights. Which of course amounts to icy roads and acrobatic running. I ended up letting Finn off the leash because it was altogether too much to stay on my feet with the dogs also sliding all over the place.

Eventually we made it to some actual tarmack and settled into a bit more of a groove. I was annoyed with the wind and the fact that my head was too warm for my toque but when I took it off my ears started to harden and drop off so I cancelled that plan because I am not a good listener with my ears and would surely not fare well without them.

As we got close to home Finn started having panick attacks about the gutter grates – winter is a hard time for doggies who are afraid of anything dark since several feet of snow looming over a gutter grate looks like the gateway to hell if you’re a big 50 pound chicken of a dog. So each time we encountered a grate Finn would slam on the breaks, freak out, and refuse to go forward. This involved a lot of patience on my part as I tried to reason with a dog and demonstrate to him that a ten foot berth would be sufficient to avoid imminent death by gutter grate. He was not easily convinced and I thought several times that I would have to carry him around the grates. Needless to say, being in a rather unpleasant mood to begin with, this did not improve things and I was unable to see the humor in the whole scenario.

When we finally got past the last of the grates I breathed a sigh of relief and just as I did, Jack breathed out his breakfast. This was a very clear message that said: “It was not a good idea to take me on this run”. Luckily I was one minute from the end of my run so I got Jack to boot’n’rally for the last minute and we walked the rest of the way home (with our shadows behind us, thankfully!).

I was grateful for my daily dose of sunshine, but today made me yearn for warmer days. I know, I know. HTFU.

Movin’ Up

February 15, 2008

I hope everyone (and by everyone I mean both of you who read my blog) had a great Valentine’s Day.  We had an unexpectedly perfect evening.  I picked GB up from work at 7.30pm and we stopped on the way home to pick up dessert and a bottle of wine.  Being the nutcases that we are, we got bundled up, grabbed some chairs and sat out on our snowy deck in 25 degree weather to watch the stars.  If you ask me, the fact that we both wanted to do that and that we had such a good time hanging out in the freezing cold on purpose is proof that we are a perfect match.

 This morning I went to masters swim and [gulp] moved up a lane.  I busted my butt to keep up for 4500 yards and I have the useless arms to prove it.  I don’t know if there will be space for me to stay in that lane in the future, but I hope so because it was a really smart move for me.

That’s all the news from the snowy Northeast.

TT Bliss

February 14, 2008

Yesterday I went to a computrainer center and put in a solid 10k TT effort on the bike.  I was a little nervous during the day in the way that you get when you have plans to dive headfirst into the Hurt Box that evening.  The weather was definitely working against me since the driving conditions were abismal, but I borrowed GB’s Subaru and was able to make the 45 minute drive in less than an hour.

I was really looking forward to the time trial and to pushing myself HARD.  The guys at the center kindly agreed to let me use the treamill so I set up my little T2 area while one of the staff set up my embarrassingly dirty bike.  I am ashamed to admit I have not cleaned it since the road trip to Maine so it is still caked in dirt.  I am a bad person. 

The first few miles of the ride were fine.  A little pain, a little sweat, one or two grunting noises.  But I was really excited to get to the 4 mile point so I could LET LOOSE and throw down.  It was pretty great because I had the two guys that work there standing over me saying “come on Ness!  GO GO GO!” and I had my printed workout in front of me from my coach that also said “GO GO GO!” that I was dripping sweat all over, so I went.  And I went hard.  The final half mile was an uphill climb during which I was standing up and cranking like I never have before.  When I finished I had that feeling like I was very very close to fainting and I just laid my head down on my aero bars – I always wondered what those things were for – now I know!  The even have those nice soft forehead pads on them.  How thoughtful of the bicycle designers.  If I could be so bold as to make a suggestion (if you are a bike designer please consider): how about putting one forehead pad in the middle of the bars instead of one on each side…??  Eh???

But I digress.  So the ride was great and after I did 10 minutes of spinning I T2-ed right onto that treadmill and ran for 20 minutes.  If you want to impress a bunch of pure cyclists, run off the bike.  They will think you are God.  They all stared at me like I had possibly lost my marbles and when I got off the treadmill they said “wow, that was fast, I don’t know how you could run after riding”.  The funny thing was that it was not fast.  Not for me and not for anyone really.  But they thought I was fast and they thought I was cool so I did what any self-respecting triathete would do.  I shrugged.  I ate it up.  I pretended I WAS God.  Because after diving so deep into the Hurt Box and then getting on the treadmill, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  And because they didn’t know that I had been pushing about 200 watts less than they had.

When I got home and pondered the wattage I was feeling a little disappointed.  I don’t really know why because I didn’t have ANYTHING to compare it to.  But I had just imagined higher numbers, I guess.  My coach had quite the opposite reaction and assures me the numbers were good news.  Possibly even very good news.  So today I am walking around with that stupid grin you get from knowing that you laid it all out there and left nothing behind in yesterday’s workout.  And anyway, GB (although as ignorant as me about the significance and meaning of wattage numbers) thought my numbers were sexy.  Which is worth entering the Hurt Box for any day. 

Good Timing

February 12, 2008

I do not often have good timing. My worst timing is usually with come-backs. I very often come up with exceptionally good and biting come-backs about 8-24 hours after I need them. Oddly they most often come to me in the shower. But tonight my run timing was perfect. I had a 50 minute run and I knew the storm was on its way so I made sure to get out the door soon after I got home. I did an out and back run. On the way out the roads were clear. By the time I turned around the roads were coated in a wispy, transluscent layer of snow and it was starting to fall hard. I made the classic mistake of not realizing I had a tailwind going out, so running home was a little colder. I did however, manage to complete my run at exactly the time when the roads were starting to get slick with snow and the traction was dwindling. It was a great run and I love the invigorating feeling you get when you arrive home to defrost after your face has been iced over.
It seems like we are about to crawl our way out of the depths of winter. Well, sort of, since we have a big snow storm going on as I type this. But maybe after the snowstorm – maybe then. In the spirit of this upward crawl, I have composed a list of things I am looking forward to:
1. shorts
2. flip flops
3. that feeling you get when the sun completely heats up your skin
4. daily activity sweat – that is, breaking a sweat without being on a treadmill or on a bike.
5. early morning sunlight
6. early evening sunlight
7. driving with the car windows down
8. sitting on the deck decompressing with GB after work
9. my running shoes contacting actual dirt instead of snow and ice
10. sleeping outside
11. going to the local swimming holes to cool off
12. being barefoot
13. lower heating bills
14. leaves
15. screen doors

GB is working tonight and I am home alone now that the gaggle of moms has departed. I have big plans to park myself on the couch and get caught up on my Netflix. Ho hum.