Sunday, August 31, 2008 of those...

When I was a kid, my parents, (especially my mom) would always tell me how my sister had to work so much harder than I did for her grades. This was how my mom explained the fact that my sister basically hated me; because I was, in theory, smarter than she was. Maybe it was true. I certainly never studied. I barely did homework and would easily manage a B in most every class. Every class except P.E. that is.

I hated P.E. I hated the way I looked in that stupid gym outfit and I truely and with passion hated running around that stupid track, especially in front of boys. I sucked at any sport we were forced to learn and in true pity party fashion, was always the last one picked for any team. Really, LAST! Adults called me an "underachiever"; Loser girl in my head called me a loser.

Of course with each passing decade perspective changes. I've read enough books, sat through enough sermons and even had enough therapy sessions to realize that we all have different gifts and talents; no one is a "loser'. I just haven't got much inherent talent as an athlete. Like my sister in school, I have to really really work for any tiny gain. And I'm not just talking just about intervals, stroke focus and base building. I still have to work to stifle the voice of Loser highschool girl who took up residence in my head some 30 years ago and has, despite the books, sermons and therapy sessions, refused to leave. Unlike my sister, I don't hate athletes who are more talented than I am. That would be unproductive. I've got my sights set on that damn "Loser" girl in my head.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hill of a good time!

So I decided to head west with friends anyway, brought my Giant since my cervelo is out of commission for a while. The Giant is a decent bike, it even has a triple chainring. But I decided epic climbing was not how I wanted to reaquaint myself with it. So Giant and I rode the Blue Ridge Parkway. That turned out to be an absolutely wonderful choice. I got up there at 7 a.m. and had the entire place to myself, just me and the butterflies, for two hours! The BRE century folks started showing up going in the opposite direction at around 9:30a.m. or so.

As a cyclist, I really like acknowledging other cyclists on the road; a wave of the hand, nod of the head, something that shows some solidarity in the face of what seems like constant harassment from non cyclists. But Sunday's crowd on the Blue Ridge took the 'cyclists' wave' to the extreme! Every single one of the approximately 100 cyclists heading south as I was heading north waved, nodded, some even hollered 'hello'! Which was great, except they were descending a particularly long climb, I was ascending that same particularly long climb. I felt obliged to return the acknowledgment because its one of my pet peeves when cyclists don't return that wave!! I was pretty damn happy when I finally turned around and was heading in the same direction as all my new cycling friends!

The Kevlinator had managed to score a beautiful condo at the top of Wintergreen and when I returned at noon I had the whole place to myself for about two hours. I'm sure the place is beautiful during ski season but I have to think it was even better when it's not cold. Great workout, a deck with beautiful absolutely perfect Sunday!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grating Guerranimals...

Lately I've been having trouble distinguishing a:

From a:

Now I know that might seem a bit strange. You might be thinking, Gee I knew she was getting older, pulling out those reading glasses more often, but a Rhino and a Jackass? Not to hard to tell apart right? Let me tell you my friend, truely that depends on the circumstances. In certain circumstances, a Rhino has an uncanny ability to resemble a braying Jackass; identical twins even.

Let me give you an example (to truely comprehend the Rhino/Jackass connection, you'll have to read both pages; but its a good read)I can't seem to create a clickable URL so you'll have to cut and paste till I figure it out:

Fork'd up!

How could something this beautiful be bad? I was supposed to ride it this weekend; the Blue Ridge Extreme. Not sure I want to be doing anything extreme on a bike whose steering tube could break at any minute. I'm already a big time DC (descending chicken!) without having to worry about whether I'll be able to navigate an S curve at 30+ miles per hour. I have the Giant, it even has a triple; but it also does a pretty scary version of the Harlem Shake on every descent. Not good if you're a DC!

Sarah and Shane are counting on having a "let's pretend the condo is ours" night and will be really bummed when I say I'm not going. (I understand the whole "Yea! Parents out of town!! thing, I really do. but it is sort of disheartening when I tell her we're going out of town this weekend and she says "Really!" with the enthusiasm of a lottery winner.)

Maybe I can plan a 'forks fixed fall fun ride'?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Never Ending Story.....

When you have kids, you have this idea that there is a beginning and a sort of end to parenting. You spend lots of years raising them and then they go off and finish the job themselves. Well at least that's what I thought. Not so! Two beautiful daughters; I'd take a bullet in the face for either one of them; still it would be nice to feel like I had gotten to the point of a 'job well done'.
There are times when it feels close, Shannon's marriage, the first three times Sarah moved out. A teasing taste of real freedom. Things are looking up I guess. At least I can bike/run/swim without having to get a babysitter. It's a start..

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Race Day!

Arriving at a race at 5:00 a.m. when your wave doesn't start until 7:55 a.m. is just insane. So we decided to get here at 4:30 a.m. so we could catch the extra half hour sleep in the car!

Swim start was cold, temps in the upper 50's and windy. Steve was nervous. I could tell because he put on his wetsuit, told me he was going in the lake to warm up and when he turned to go I could see that his wetsuit was velcroed at the neck but was also unzipped! I said "honey, don't you want to zip your wetsuit up?" The he went in the woods to pee, and came out without his cap and googles. He was definitely in airhead mode this morning.

He had a great swim though. I didn't have my watch but I'm thinking he finished in a little over 30 minutes. He was only 1:30 down from the leader in his age group getting out on the bike. The leader who, as it turns out, is some french canadian guy who was in the cabin right next to us! I heard his wife talking to Steve our first morning here. As soon as I heard he had won his age group at IM Brazil I was checking results. His times are so close to Steve's that it is unreal. He is a bit faster in the swim but not on the bike, and not on the run. It should make for a very exciting race.

I'm heading out now to catch the bike finish. I can hear the pros finishing and I was so excited to see Chrissie Wellington and Simon Lessing but honestly once the race got going the only racers I'm even thinking about are Steve and the guys in Steve's age group that are ahead of him.

Pics to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things are getting tense.

I've lived through plenty of pre race weeks with Steve by now. The little races aren't too bad. The ironman races were the worst.

Anyway, I know him now and I'm used to the routine so I no longer automatically assume that he has come to the realization that he actually hates me, feels the walls closing in and probably won't come home from work tomorrow...or ever!

It's not personal, I see that now. He's actually stressed over race day. Cool Hand Luke, former Marine Corp Pilot and 4 time IM finisher is apprehensive, anxious, tight and uneasy!
Me, when I'm stressed, unhappy or not feeling well, my mouth runneth over. Steve is the opposite, his mouth closeth up, in a sort of straight, tense line that opens only slightly so that he can tell me, through clenched teeth, that he has to be in bed at 9:00 p.m. sharp, that we'd better be packed and ready to leave at ____ sharp; (the time mysteriously seems to get earlier every time he announces it), that I need to be quiet, the cats need to be quiet, that the world had better just stop whatever it's doing because otherwise we are all going to RUIN HIS RACE!!!

Pre race nerves are a definite part of my lexicon now...let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Edge of the Cliff kind of guy...

Timberman Taper Time!

Not for me, but for Steve. He's ready that's for sure. I don't want to jinx him at all but I've never seen him look stronger on the bike, faster on the swim or more relaxed while running at super speed. He took this year to focus on speed and intensity - no ironman for the first year since I've known him. And boy has it paid huge dividends.

He's been on the podium in 99% of the races he's done this year. I'd tell people "Steve won his age group or Steve was 2nd overall!" and they'd practically yawn..."yeah what else is new". I don't care if he does it a million times, to me it's always impressive and amazing.

Maybe it's because I do what he does and I know how hard it is to do it well. Okay I don't know how hard it is to do it well, I know how hard it is to TRY and do it well! I see how hard he works at it and how disciplined he is about planning and executing all his training. I've suggested a coach before, just because it seems like the thing to do. He refutes the idea. He plans all his training and he wins! That alone is impressive and amazing.

Maybe some of the "yawn" attitude comes from a lack of knowledge about the sport. At church Sunday a woman from our gel group asked me if Steve was "running in that race" this weekend because he wasn't with me. I feel like sending an email to everyone in the group explaining that he's not just 'running in a race'; he's swimming 1.5 miles, then he's going to bike 56 miles and then he'll run a half marathon. Not only will he finish; (that in itself is a pretty underappreciated feat!), he will finish well.

I've noticed that when you love someone people tend to tune you out when you talk about the person's accomplishments, wonderfullness, etc. It's like they think that just because you love them you are automatically unable to be objective. I don't believe that. I am objective about the people I love, I know they are not perfect. But I also am well aware of their virtues and achievements.

It can be hard sometimes to live with someone who is as focused, disciplined and goal driven as Steve; especially if you are the spontaneous, happy go lucky type like me. But I am also quick to realize that it is his ability to focus on the goals he sets for himself and his willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve those goals that makes him the man he is. So yeah, I see the ying and the yang of it. I know he's not perfect. But I also know that he is an amazing man and an amazing athlete.

Come Sunday, the folks at Timberman are going to know it too!!