Bachelorette Party

July 10, 2008

I am throwing myself a bachelorette party.  Tonight.  And again tomorrow night and probably for 8 nights thereafter.  I returned safely from camp and I have to say, returning to work was a little bit of a let-down after a week of pretending to be a professional triathlete.  It has been a whirlwind since I got home on Sunday afternoon, and GB left town this morning.  That left us with three days to get reaquainted, organize our lives, and finish up some wedding planning.

So GB has left town for a well-deserved vacation and now I’m home alone for ten days with Jack and Finn (and another dog who seems to have temporarily joined our clan – I think she belongs to the neighbor who is away for a few weeks and asked us to dogsit).  And not only has GB left town, but apparently so has my training motivation.  After a week of hard work and solid recovery, I am coming up a little short this week which also happens to be a build week.  I even took today off to see if I could boost my energy a little although I’m not sure it was successful.  I did however, manage a swim this afternoon and will get a bike ride in before dinner, so all is not lost.

I am having bizarre pain in my lower leg/ankle that seems totally unrelated to my IT band issues.  This is bumming me out in a big way now that I am able to run for longer periods of time on my knee.  My ART-ist thinks it is bone related so I am seeing an orthopedic doctor next week and having x-rays just in case.  I am trying not to think about it too much because whatever it is, it clearly won’t go away by worrying about it.  Unfortunately it means that I’m back to pool running until there is more information about what it is.  Bleughh.

On a positive note, the weather has been fantastic lately.  I’m one of those people who loves the heat and generally tolerates humidity well, so this has been a good weather week for me.


I Love Beth’s Draft

July 5, 2008

This morning we swam with masters. Liz was still pissed that I beat her at mini golf so she made me swim in Chris’s lane. It made for a fast ninety minutes, I’ll tell you that. That closed out the week with a record number of weekly yards for me. Not too shabby and I was still standing afterwards.

We came home for a quick refuel and recharge and then drove across the state to some of the best roads I’ve seen in a while. Elizabeth, Beth, and I rode the first hour together and then Liz went off to do whatever it is that professionals to do make themselves fast, and left us amateurs to do our thing. I essentially drafted Beth for four hours which is how I survived the ride. How my crotch survived a four hour ride is something I cannot fathom. Beth was so gracious to drag me around for all those hours and was very good natured about me freeloading like that. And thanks to Beth, I believe I have now logged my biggest ride week in history also.

Now I am tired, sunburned, and psyched about having survived a week-long play date with the big girls. Tomorrow it’s back home to GB and the doggies, which, although I have had an amazing week, I am excited about.

Well, after four days of camp, I have finally found the one arena in which I can backup my smacktalking.  It’s not running.  It’s not cycling.  It’s not even swimming.  And Liz will assure you after spending some time with me in the gym today that it is NOT core strength.  In fact I believe she waited until the very tactful moment when I was pinned to the ground by a 16-pound medicine ball to say “it’s good to work out with you because it gives me a chance to see your weaknesses”.  Nice Liz.  Thanks.

ANYWAY.  My niche.  Mini Golf.  One word: “ass kicking”.

I am learning something interesting about Elizabeth: She can’t settle for the challenge placed in front of her. She needs to up the ante. All the time.

Case in point #1:

We went to masters swim this morning. Liz, Beth and I shared a lane. I felt like I had some swimming fuel left in the tank so I led the lane. The intervals were fine. Nothing too burly, but challenging enough. Until Liz decided the intervals weren’t tight enough and called out some faster intervals. So off we went. Then on the next time around she wanted them faster. I shrugged, asked if she was sure, and Liz assured me that she was. Then she offered to lead on those intervals while wearing paddles. Well I’m sorry, Coach, but you don’t lay down the challenge for Ness and then offer to pull me through it with paddles. So I swam my butt off to nail those intervals and I will say, we came fairly close. Impressive (albeit unnecessary) performances were had by all.

Case in point #2

Mini golf. After a little nap and some food, we went out for an epic “game” of putt-putt. I won’t go into the details of who kicked who’s asses because I’m sure it’s obvious who won. But the noteworthy part of the “game” was how after the first few holes (and we played THIRTY-SIX of them!), Liz started adding things like: “if you lose this hole you get an extra stroke” or “you have to shoot this one through your feet” and other nonsense like this. She was obviously trying to throw me off my game but I remained composed in spite of her taking pictures of me on every bad shot I made. As part of her ‘screw with Ness’s mental game’ tactics, she even made me play with the pink ball, but even with that I forged ahead unfazed.

Chris had a disappointing day on the mini-golf course and after a stellar first 18 holes completely bonked and fell from a very close second place to last place. And it wasn’t a close last place either. Clearly he went out to hard and had nothing left in the tank for the second half. As a result he had to buy us all cake after dinner.

Beth pulled her usual not-much-smacktalk combined with high quality performance and had a very good day on the course in spite of having to fork over 50 cents for a lost ball – but not before Chris put in a valiant effort at retrieving it.

Liz had at least 2 hole-in-ones on the course and rallied after a difficult 18 holes. Sadly her efforts were too little too late and although she didn’t get shouldered with cake expenses, victory was not hers. I keep checking my training peaks account to make sure she’s not taking the loss out on me in the only way she can.

We had a lovely dinner after golf and if you want to know about the after-golf dinner antics, check in with Elizabeth for details about that. Unless they have photographic evidence, anything she and Beth say about boobs and thongs is a total lie.

Crazy Laps for People

July 4, 2008

This morning we ran. Then I tried my hand at archery. Then we relaxed and stretched and iced and I had a nap with Boss. It took him a while to realize that the point of the exercise was not for him to lick the inside of my nostrils clean, but he eventually did settle down and we both got some good rest in.

Tonight we went to a group ride. Beth and I were asking Liz and Chris how many riders would be there. When they said “lots” I was thinking around thirty. But I guess in Chicago “lots” is more like seventy-five to a hundred. Hmph. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of spandex. And frankly, that’s a whole lot of testosterone.

The ride was an interesting format with a three-mile lap repeated many, many times – this is why Beth dubbed them Crazy Laps). One way was hard effort and the other way was easy. Until someone yelled “double” and then we would ride two hard ones in a row with no easy one. It took me a while to figure things out but I managed to finish the ride unscathed. Then once I had caught on I wanted to yell out “triple” or “quadruple” but it’s no fun being an instigator if you have to suffer as a result.

Anyway, it was a fun ride and I think I’ll be feeling it in my legs tomorrow. There were plenty of funny moments tonight but since it is so late, I’m going to head to bed.

Day 2: Humble Pie

July 2, 2008

Before I say anything else, you should all know that I kept up with Beth and Jen on the track today. And those were possibly the most glorious 20 meters of my running career.

This morning I had a healthy dose of humble pie. A big, fat piece of that pie, in fact. I think it is funny that Elizabeth and Jen who claim to be the elderly here at camp, insisted on a swim at an elderly-friendly time – which oddly turns out to be 10am in the dead heat of the day in a place where there is no shade. None.

I resisted getting out of the car for as long as possible but it became eventually evident that I would melt to death in the car which would be far less austere that a well-earned death on the track. Take a moment folks, to imagine my mindset. I arrived at the track with Beth, Elizabeth, and Jennifer. These girls can run. These girls “love the track” and say all sorts of peppy things about the track. I don’t even know the rules of the track. I’m not even sure if it’s legal to spit on it and I’m too embarrassed to ask. But I spit on the track anyway because if these girls can pee in my holy place (the pool), then I can spit on theirs. Fair is fair.

Back to my state of mind…no track running for weeks and weeks due to injury. Not much running at all anywhere. No way I’m breaking out the racing flats after a period of injury. So there I am in my big, heavy running shoes with no confidence and the knowledge that I am slower than last time I graced the track and my knee is still not 100%.

So off I go with my little run workout all fired up to run like the big girls and of course I went out too hard and too fast and my knee was screaming by the end of the first mile. There were tears of frustration for a little bit followed by some good stretching and a much less painful next few miles. I won’t bore you with anymore unpleasant details of my running today, but lets just say it was a truly awe-inspiring experience to watch those girls run.  And also there is no substitute for having an awesome cheering section while you’re finishing up your 800s.

We have not done much since then although I did have the honor of going to dog park with Boss and Liz. It was nice because I got a chance to run around and play off-leash which is always a big relief.

Our open water swim has been cancelled due to thunderstorms and it’s looking like I might be stuck swimming at what is usually my bedtime. Should be interesting. No doubt someone will blog about it but it’s not likely to be me because I’ll probably fall asleep on the way home from swimming.

Camp Day 1

July 2, 2008

Hi, my name is Ness and I’m the ordinary mortal designate sent to camp STFU to keep these athletic maniacs from going outside of their heart rate zones.  I’m the one walking around with these svelte, muscular triathletes trying to act like I belong.  So far so good, but my cover could be blown when I wake up tomorrow after today’s “easy” workouts and can’t move.  Whether I can move tomorrow or not, I am officially done with the smack talking.  From now I will be humble and gratefully accept my own ass when it is handed to me.

This morning started out with a swim.  Well for me it started out with GB devotedly driving me to the ariport at 3.30am, but six hours later it started with a swim.  We swam the quarry which is a giant outdoor toilet in which millions of children swim all day during the summer.  They have 50-meter lanes set up so we got to do a little long course swimming.  Jen H was there and schooled me over and over again.  I would also like to state for the record that Beth seriously downplays her ability in the water.  We had a good time goofing off doing some mock race starts and it was really great to be swimming outdoors and long course.

Then we put on our biking gear and drove to the famous Fermilab to ride and Jen departed to go and pick up her wee campers.  The Fermilab is this amazing flat, windy area that seems to have endless roads and not much traffic (not to mention the occasional buffalo).  I will tell you that while those girls were riding what are probably standard intervals for them, I was thanking Jesus and all the other holy guys for the gift of draft.  Like a starving infant yearning for the breast, I knew my only chance at survival was to suck onto their back wheels like my life depended on it.  Thankfully riding with other people makes the pain seem short-lived and I managed to stay close by for the whole ride.  There was supposed to be some zone 4 stuff in there I believe, but I was definitely hanging out in zones 8 and 9 for those intervals.

After that ass-whooping, we came back to the house, Liz whipped up an amazing dinner in under 25 minutes, and Beth went about the business of icing her body with dozens of bags of frozen peas.  She won’t be blogging this evening because we’re still trying to thaw her out from all that icing.

Now I am off to get some much-needed sleep for what promises to be another fun and hard-working day.

Incidentally, Beth and Liz are even cooler in real life than on their blogs and we have not had to email each other as a communication method even once.  And Boss is every bit the adorable little maniac that Liz reported him to be and has been hleping me wtih my tpiyng.

Stay tuned for more exciting reports from Day 2…