Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adorables...

This is just too cute not to post...
That's Lindy, one of my favorite running bloggers/blogging runners. This was taken shortly after she, then I, crossed the finish line at the Soldier Field 10 Mile race last weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Sports

Last night at swim practice I was singled out by the instructor. I’m in a beginner class; a class which requires you to just sort of make it from one end of the pool to the other, 25 meters. No technique necessary, and sure, you can be gasping for air when you reach the other side.

I signed up for the class knowing I was a little ahead of the game simply because I can swim, but I reasoned that it’s been a decade (at least) since I swam laps, and about two decades since I swam competitively (dear God, am I really that old?), why not start at the beginning and make the effort to do it right and be efficient as possible in the water.

Lat night we were practicing kicking and side-stroke drills -- we haven’t made it to freestyle yet. While all of these drills are new to me and often uncomfortable, there are certain aspects of swimming that do come naturally to me -- like the part where you breath out through your nose underwater. During one such drill, when I reached the other side I felt someone touch my swim-capped head. Startled, I looked up to see the instructor.

“Do you mind demonstrating that drill for the class? I’m going to ask everyone to get out of the pool so that they watch you do it right.”

Uh. OK. I was immediately struck by the fear that I would experience performance anxiety -- what if I totally blow it while everyone's watching -- but put it out of my mind.

I mean really, what could I say?

The instructor announced my demonstration, and I felt like I was back in grade school. I felt even more like I was in grade school after class in the locker room when the other women joked around about me making them look bad and not needing to be in the beginner class. Whatever it's no big deal. But, without fail, my internal dialogue sounded a little more like, I’m the best swimmer, nah nah nah nah nah. Again. Grade school.

God, that was annoying.

Seriously, though. I’m going to be 29 in a few weeks, and I’ll take the little praise, the inconsequential moments of being “the best” because, let’s face it, those moments are few and far between. In that group of men and women adult athletes - most of whom are marathoners training for their first triathlons - I will never be the fastest runner. And let's face it, I will also never be the hotshot cyclist. But there’s a chance I could be the strongest swimmer. Or, at the very least, just a strong swimmer.

I also realized last night that I really like swimming -- really like in a way that could eventually become love. Yes, I know that this may very well be the after glow of playing teacher’s pet for a brief moment. Regardless, I have high hopes. Swimming and me, though, we’re just getting reacquainted. I mean, when you’re nine, you don’t know what you love. At least, I didn’t. And, while I tend to get ahead of myself when it comes to matters of the athletic heart, I’m going to try to take it slow with swimming. However, it occurs to me, now three years sick with running love, if this romance between me and swimming works out, triathlons are the obvious outlet for the threesome. I guess me and my bike are going to have to learn to get along.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Full of Something

Remember in my last post when I wrote that @ and I would be running together in her first distance race, the Soldier Field 10 miler? Remember how I was all, “she’ll bring the speed; I’ll bring the endurance.” Turns out I brought a whole lot of nothing.

Bummer.

Don’t get me wrong I was there. And it all started out great. Lindy and I managed to find each other at the start line (which we tend to have trouble doing), @ was pumped, I punching the air and doing little dance moves. God, I am so weird sometimes. So the three of us started, and I was playing part cheerleader/part pacer/part storyteller, and I felt great. We were spot on pacing an 11:30 minute mile. Lindy dropped back after mile 3, and @ and I kept going. Then came mile 5… and I became quiet and tired and just kind of sick of running. I kept going. I took a GU. I kept running. The way I remember it, somewhere after mile 6, I said, “@, leave me behind. You must go on with out me.” Only it wasn’t that dramatic.

I walked a little. I ran even less. Lindy, who was also not super pleased with her race either, found me. I told her to leave me behind too. And I crossed the finish line at 2:03:40. Ug.

Well, @ had a great race, easily keeping pace and crossing the finish line alone. And really, that’s what matters.

I, on the other hand, do not have one solid excuse for my performance. I might have felt a little queasy or tired or dehydrated. I wasn't properly attired (I was convinced it was going to be cold and overcast, despite the fact that Weather.com kept telling me the opposite). I don’t know. I think I just kind of gave up. In reality, I didn’t treat Soldier Field like I treated my last race. I just kind of showed up thinking I could do 10 miles, no sweat. I mean, I can in theory, but everyone has a bad day, a bad run, a bad race. One cannot discount that every race is separate from the last, and distance is still distance.

We move on -- to marathon training which starts in a couple of weeks (holy hell!).

The aftermath was fun though. @ and I had breakfast with some friends from the neighborhood at my personal fav, Heartland Café. After that, much is a blur.
There we are, all shiny and something... :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Send Me Home

If you, like yours truly, are at work today and bored out of your mind, then let me make a few suggestions. First, L Sass has a really great post up today. I enjoyed reading it so maybe you will too. Don’t worry; it’s not about running, racing, triathlons, swimming, biking, or the gym.

Second, I have added a new blog to my must read list. Run Bitch Run. RBR probably thinks I’m crazy because I keep leaving comments along the lines of, “You are my hero,” which makes me sound a little off and like a groupie. She writes about training for triathlons and marathons and she's kind of a total badass. Anyway, it’s like my new favorite blog.

Other stuff... I am running the Soldier Field 10 miler tomorrow. This will be @'s first distance race, and I have promised to stick by her side for the duration. I’m providing the endurance; she’s providing the speed. Together, we hope to cross the finish line in about 1 hour, 50 minutes. That’s reasonable, I think.

Yesterday, Meg talked me into signing up for my first organized bike ride, Bike the Drive. Not really sure how it’s going to work, but it involves me getting up very early on Sunday morning.

Speaking of bikes, I tried out MM’s tri bike for the first time last weekend. When he’s around, there’s a lot more whining that happens. So, upon “mounting” (heh) the bike, I was all “wahhh… I don’t know about this…” and “wahhh… I’m going to fall off.” Once I managed to start moving, I realized… holy hell, this is so much faster and lighter and awesomer than my bike.

I rode it to work today to get a little more practice on it before I use it for Sunday’s event. It kind of makes me feel like a badass because it’s so light I can just pick it up and walk around with it, and when people do that it makes them look totes professional. So I imagine people who see me carrying my bike around think I’m a “cyclist,” and not some idiot who falls off of her bike and gets honked at in traffic.

But probably not. They probably just think I'm some jackass who's carrying her bike around, trying to look cool.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Fitting

All right people. Before I receive one to three emails and/or G-chats telling me things I already know (what do you mean I haven’t posted in a week?!?!?!), I’m going to go ahead and blog. Think of this as a preemptive strike. Of sorts.

Today, I took the bus to work for the first time in about two weeks. It was kind of nice because public transportation time basically doubles as Lou reading time. I’m still slogging through Triathlons for Women: Training Plans, Equipment, Nutrition by Sally Edwards, which I really wanted to love, but I’m finding a bit tedious -- particularly the heart zones training nonsense. Reading about heart rates and training wheels seems a little too out there for my brain to wrap itself around.

So, I’m riding the bus and reading the book, specifically the chapter about nutrition, and I realize that I’m in the midst of giving myself a bit of a mental pep talk. I mentioned a week or so ago, after the Flying Pig, that I was trying to focus on a weight loss while I trained for my first triathlon. I decided to set my goal as a 10 percent loss, since that seems to be the weight loss world “buzz” of the moment. Loss 10 percent of your body weight and have more energy, lower various health risks, blah blah blah… etc., ad nauseam.

Well, I had a decent two weeks focusing on that goal, and I now only have about 10 pounds to lose, but I’m still hanging in the lower end of the five pound range that I consider to be “my weight.”

So this made me realize two things. First of all, for about two weeks, I have been feeling really good about myself. I think it’s because I have been sticking to my diet, but also because all of this swimming. Forcing myself to get into a swimsuit day after day in front of -- oh dear lord -- my boyfriend, my trainer, everyone in my swim class, and everyone at the gym has forced a level of “just get over it” to happen. Bathing suit shock therapy if you will.

Second, it occurs to me that all of my clothes fit. Now, for those of you who have not struggled with weight loss, this probably seems like an obvious statement (Well of course your clothes fit, why wouldn’t they?). But for those of you who have… you probably know what I’m saying. For nearly two years, I have been approximately the same size.

Initially, when I started with my trainer, I dropped somewhere between 10-15 pounds, which equated to fitting into one size smaller than what I had been wearing. While I haven’t lost any more, I also haven’t gained it back. But I think what’s notable for those of us who tend to ride the highs and lows of the scale is that not gaining weight is sometimes a victory in and of itself. I don’t have a closet full of clothes one to two sizes too small, which has happened many times in my short life. As I have started to mix spring pieces back into the wardrobe (albeit slowly), I have not had to face the prospect of buying new clothes simply because the old ones don’t fit. And while putting on a pair of pants or a dress and realizing it’s baggy is a great feeling, realizing that you can still button buttons and zip zippers without a struggle -- if you’ve been where I’ve been -- is a pretty nice feeling too.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Take It from the Pros

Here’s the thing about me. I’m a joiner. I rejected that label for a long time (read: the tumultuous, angst-filled teenage years) because I was, in fact, “too cool for the school.” Enter running. Running changed everything for me -- including, and maybe most importantly, it stopped me from trying to change me. Among other things, I accepted and embraced my desire to join, to be a part of something, to belong. I can explain it in many, many paragraphs and even more words, but I’ll spare you -- this time.

The truth boils down to this: I want community and camaraderie. I want a shared experience, and I want that experience to be about pain and pushing the limits and elation and all kinds of awesome.

That’s right. Pain. I said it.

This triathlon stuff is new to me, but I have so already drank the Kool-Aid. In other words, I’m way ahead of myself. However, I made myself one promise when I decided to do the triathlon -- do not spend money on tons of triathlon related shitz until you know you love it. No new bikes, no wetsuits, no $300 fees to join a training group.

No group?!?!

So, I’m left to my own devices deciphering training schedules, fitting in workouts, and figuring out my damn bike. Stupid fucking bike. But because I desperately want to join something, I’m supplementing my training with small group activities here and there -- like swimming lessons or the lecture for first-time triathlete wannabes I went to on Wednesday night.

It cost $10 -- the lecture did -- and while I feared it may be money not-well-spent, I was glad I went. I learned so much! First and foremost, I learned that I have no idea what I have gotten myself into. But I actually learned some other stuff too:

Panic Stroke
A whaaaaaa?

OK. So it didn’t actually occur to me that I might panic while swimming in open water. I mean, I could be the best gosh darn swimmer this side of the Mason Dixon line (I don’t know where that came from), but if someone kicks me the face, I could totally lose it. And even if I don’t lose it, the woman next to me could. Or the woman in front of me. And what the hell am I going to do to keep myself above water and (hopefully) moving forward when someone else starts flaying about a couple of feet away?

Breast stroke. I’ll do the breast stroke. I think.

Wetsuit
Um. Hi. I’m Lou. Three time half-marathon finisher, one-time marathon attempter. Quick question: my wonderfully loving boyfriend keeps telling me that I’m totes crazy if I go in the water without a wetsuit. I keep telling him that’s he’s totes crazy if he thinks I’m going to buy/rent/put on one of those monstrosities. Who’s right?

He is. He is? Well, sort of. Ultimately, I can do whatever I want. But, the woman gave me a really good suggestion: Email the organizers and ask what the temperature of the lake has been the past few years. Then you can get an average temperature, and make a decision. If it’s lower than 70 degrees, wear a wetsuit.

Huh. OK. I’ll wear a wetsuit. See how that works? I will listen to a stranger, but not MM. Cute.

Bike Clips/Straps
You know how all those nutty cyclist folks show up to Spin class with the funky shoes that snap into the pedals and look all professional and stuff? And you know how those of us who are wearing our running shoes just “strap in” to the pedal? And you know when you bike for leisure, you just pedal and you don’t even think about clips and straps?

Soooooo… apparently those clips and straps aren't just there for decoration or to complement pro-cyclist dude’s neon spandex apparel. Nope. They actually have a purpose, and without getting too technical, it’s basically so your legs don’t have to work as hard. What does that mean? That means you’ll actually be able to run when you get off your damn bike.

Oh.

Ohhhhhhh… Ahhhhh…That's right, you have to run after you bike.

So those were my three key takeaways other than all the fun transition stuff (swim to bike, bike to run). Luckily, I think I am going to be able to stick to my whole “Don’t go buying a lot of triathlon shit” rule. Why I am lucky? Racing bike with pedal straps? MM's got one. Wetsuit? MM’s got one. And because we are so close in height and -- ahem -- weight (oh shame!), I’m going to see if his stuff will work for me. And then, once I know I love it and decide that 2010 is my Ironman year, I’ll go buy my own.

What? Ironman?

Nevermind.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Onwards and Upwards

MM and I have clearly hit the point in our relationship when one of us never goes home. That’s him. He hasn’t ventured back to his condo since before we left for the race in Cincinnati.

I think it’s normal for a couple to favor one person’s house over the other’s, either because of convenience or space or that’s just where everyone’s stuff ended up. But when our dating reached the point of regular sleepovers, I always assumed we would lean toward staying at his place -- in his shiny and fairly new two-bedroom condo with laundry in unit, central air, and a dishwasher. Sure, it’s a little less convenient than my place, but seriously -- Laundry in unit! Central air! Dishwasher! My one bedroom apartment doesn’t begin to compare size-wise or amenity-wise. People, I don’t even have an outlet in my bathroom! But as it turns out, we’ve taken up couple residence at my place.

I only became aware of this within the last month or so, when I finally realized that I’m regularly trying to find an appropriate location for the duffel bag he’s been living out of. When we returned from Cincinnati, I told him, “I might be able to clean out half of a drawer for you.” I’m so giving.

This morning, he told me he was going to hang around the apartment for awhile and get some work done. I responded, “Do you live here now?” Not in the “go home” tone, but in the “maybe it really is time to do something about this” tone. Frankly there’s not enough room for us in my place, and I’m not super comfortable with his nomadic tendencies.

The truth is we’ve already started talking about living together. I’m not sure I should post this on my blog, but what the hell, right? There are various logistical concerns beginning with him owning and me refusing to live in the area of town where his condo is located. And, I’m not exactly sure where those concerns end. But, we’re moving forward to see if there are feasible options.

The point is, it may not happen, but I think he and I are “there.” “There” being that head space where we are both ready to make a place our home. That’s my girly interpretation anyway.
No more living out of duffel bags, no more half of a drawer propositions. If living together doesn't work out at this point, I'm going to have to buy a second dresser and he's going to have to start forwarding his mail.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Getting Back Up

On Friday, I fell off my bike on the way to work. It was totally stupid; I tried to follow another biker through a very small space -- to the left, a car, to the right, a curb, and me on the bike with approximately a foot of space in between. Being the inexperienced rider I am, nerves got the best of me and I teetered a bit in the saddle while I attempted to decide which way I should be leaning. In that moment, my front tire scraped against the curb.

It was one of those falls that happened in slowly -- slow enough that I convinced myself three or four times that I could stop the inevitable. I couldn’t. Eventually I had no choice but to give in to gravity, and landed right knee first on the sidewalk. Another biker stopped to see if I was OK. I was fine -- on the verge of tears due to the shock of all it -- but fine.

On Friday, I fell off my bike on the way home from work. I stopped at a red light while riding in traffic, put my left leg on the ground to steady myself, and subsequently felt an intense pain shoot through my calf. Leg cramp. A bad one. Like, my-calf-was-sore-for-two-days bad. I attempted to hop off my bike, but in the process, I just crumpled to the ground.

I went around like a five-year-old for the next 24 hours saying things like, "I hate my bike," and "I'm never riding again."

You know what scares me about triathlons? It's not the swim. I know how to swim. I'm a decently strong swimmer. Sure, I'm going to have to learn how to make my way through open water, but I have confidence in myself as a swimmer. And it's not the run... obviously. It's the biking. The thought of having to be in control of something other than my own body scares the hell out of me. Why? Plain and simple, I'm afraid if I go too fast, I will lose control of the bike and crash. And mess up my face. I really don't want to mess up my face. And the truth is, I really don’t get it. I don’t understand how to train on the bike. How fast am I supposed to be going? Does my six mile ride to work count? Can I just take a spin class? What if I ride a stationary bike at the gym?

Other than the whole biking head fuck, the other part of the training is -- dare I say it? -- not terribly taxing. Easy if you will. I’ll probably be kicking myself when I actually do the triathlon for putting that statement down in black and white, but the truth is the truth. I imagine that two years worth of distance running has given me a decent base for all this nonsense.

Anyway.

Tonight I have my first swim lesson. I am doing this partially because I want to capitalize on what I think has the potential my strongest sport in the triathlon (I mean, let’s face it, I’ll be lucky to run the 5K at a 10:30 pace after biking 12 miles) and partially because I want to have someone who knows what they are talking about say, “Yes. You’re doing it right,” or “Fix this.” Tomorrow, I’m going to a lecture for first-time triathletes. This weekend, Meg and I will be attending a morning long seminar about our marathon training program. It’s all training, all the time ‘round these parts.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Miles of Stones

Yesterday, I began triathlon training. My first workout called for 300 meters of swimming and 15 minutes of running. No problemo, am I right? Well…

I told MM about my Tuesday training plans, and he immediately responded, “I’ll swim with you.”

I’m sorry. What? That’s not part of the plan. The plan is to swim alone so that you never, ever, ever see me in a swimsuit. You being MM of course. Others are decided on a case by case basis.

Yes, I understand the absurdity of my reaction. Yes, we’ve been dating a while and have seen each other in at least a little less than bathing suits, but seriously, let me reiterate… he wanted to hang out with me while I was wearing a swimsuit.

Does anyone else think they look better naked than in a swimming suit?

OK. Fine. Come to the pool with me. Whatever. But you’re not aloud to look at me. Or talk to me. Or even pretend like you may recognize me from sometime in the distant past.

My coworker told me, “I’ll pray for you.” Swear to gawd.

Anyway, the scene was not as horrific as I expected. MM and I swam together and it went well enough. We shared a lane and only almost ran into each other like three times. And, I might just be a better swimmer than him, which is awesome for the obvious reasons. Did I fail to mention those formative years I spent on swim team? Sure, I was like 10, but I was good.

In other news, I’ve tried to refocus my eating habits for my break from distance running. As many of you know, it’s very hard to lose weight and train for things like marathons because dammit, I’m hungry. I have decided that my 10 weeks of sprint triathlon training will also coincide with an attempt to lose approximately 13 pounds.

Additionally, I think I’ve decided to stop attempting to eat vegan and just go back to tried and true portion control, WeightWatchers-style. Today, I was in Trader Joe’s and was all in my head like, “Remember Go Lean bars, Lou? You love those, and they were satisfying and not terrible for you.” So whatever.

This doesn't mean I won’t eat vegan from time to time or even often, but honestly, I think I’ve burned myself out on my ability to think about it. This also does not mean that I’m going to go all carnivorous on your asses either. I’ve really never been a big fan of meat, which is one of the reasons I decided to try eating this way in the first place. But, being that there are many ethical reasons for eating vegan, I do not want to pass myself off as dedicated to eating a certain way that I am not actually eating. Also, I am really glad that I took myself off of dairy for awhile, it seems to have cleared up some skin issues I was having in late 2007. I will probably continue to not drink milk, and go light on the cheese and eggs at home.

Hopefully, I will start posting some new recipes soon, less because you want recipes, and more because I need to start cooking again… but I think last night MM and I finally broke our “What should we eat?” rut. We’ve been eating out a lot simply because we’ve been busy and exhausted and traveling and [insert other good excuses]. Last night as rode our bikes home from the gym (the scene of the infamous bathing suit sighting), we again started debating about where to eat. I kept saying, “I have pasta at home,” and he kept saying, “I’ll take you out.” Finally, in a moment of complete, uncalled for pissy-ness, I said something along the lines of, “Fine, I guess I’m just never going to be able to lose weight because you want to eat out all the time.” I don’t know. I’m fucking crazy sometimes.

Anyway, we made spaghetti, salads, and some other fixings, and he was glad that we finally broke the cycle of going out to eat. We do really enjoy cooking together, but we just haven’t done it in a long time. Romance, consider yourself rekindled.

OK… so maybe that’s not really “romance.” Whatever. I’m going to stop talking now.

Monday, May 05, 2008

This Little Piggy

First thought... I wonder how many blogging runners or running bloggers titled their post-Flying Pig race report "This Little Piggy."

Before I launch into my Flying Pig race report, I want to congratulate my friend Lindy who ran her first marathon this weekend in Cincinnati. Lindy is BY FAR one of the most dedicated distance runners I know. She has a full-time job, two adorable little girls, a husband, and various other commitments, and yet she is able and willing to make training an important part of her life. She never makes excuses to slack (despite what she’ll tell you) and honestly, she has a lot of good excuses. She works incredibly hard, and I am so happy for her. I think her two girls are very lucky to have a mom who is a marathoner.Anyway, back to me. ME ME ME.

In case you haven’t heard, I went to Cincinnati this weekend to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon with MM, Meg, and MM’s running buddy D. Initially, we planned to have six of us travel together from Chicago to Cincinnati, but do to illness and injury, two of our party didn’t make the journey. Worse yet, Meg, the week before the race, had some issues with her shin and after a visit to a physical therapist decided it would be prudent to skip the half marathon in order to heal quickly and be healthy for marathon training. However, because she is the best running buddy ever, she came to Cincinnati to morally support both Lindy and me in our respective races. Finally, midway through the race, D dropped out due to back pain. So, that’s all the bad news.

Regardless, I don’t think I can say enough good things about this race. Sure, there was a fire on the marathon course early in the morning (according to my mom, she talked to some firemen or police officers and it was a meth lab that exploded?!?!?!), and it was so packed at the start line that we couldn’t even get into corral until the gun went off, but overall, the race organizers did just about everything but hold your hand on the course. Well done Cincy.

In addition to top-notch organization, it was a beautiful day to run. I would guess that it was in the 40s at the start of the race, and probably in the 60s when we finished mid-morning. The course was spectacular – the rolling hills provided excellent views of the city and the Ohio River Valley. There were approximately 13,000 half marathon and marathon participants, which I now believe is just about the perfect number for this type of race. You certainly didn’t feel alone on the course, but this was no packed-in-like-sardines Chicago Marathon.

I started the race with MM and D (Lindy and I attempted to find each other, but we were unable to due to the crowd at the start). As soon as we began, MM turned around, said, “Good luck,” and took off. It hit me, “Holy shit. I’m alone.” For the first time ever, I would run an entire race by myself. In that moment, I was a bit freaked out about my chances of running 13.1 miles solo, but I turned on my iPod and somehow quickly found a groove.

One of the reasons I am super proud of myself in this race is that I paced myself incredibly well. My goal was to keep at least a steady 12 minute mile pace, speeding up slightly when the course was flat, which allowed me to slow down on the hills (and there were a good number of ‘em). I knew that a straight 12 minute pace would mean setting a personal record. I ended up pacing myself at about 11:00 to 11:15 on flat or downhill portions of the course, and 12:00 to 12:15 on the uphill portions. For the first time ever, I ran through every single water station, except for one. I’d grab a cup of water, take approximately 2-3 sips while jogging along, and toss it. Around mile 9 I noticed I was a little chilled and that the hair on my arms was standing on end. I decided that I would walk through the next aid station and drink an entire cupful of Gatorade. Behold, within 2 minutes an aid station – fully stocked – appeared. I walked through it, drank my Gatorade, and took off again.

Meg met me around mile 12, and I was going strong and still able to chat, but my legs felt like rocks due to the hilly course for which I had not trained. Truly, it was uplifting to have her jump in with me and see me through to the end.

So the good news… both MM and I finished, and both of us finished with new personal records. MM blew through the course in 1:43:06. I, as I mentioned in my previous post, came in roughly 45 minutes later at 2:31:58.

That's Meg, her good friend from college, me, and MM, wearing our shiny half marathon medals...

It was an incredible race for me. I’m very proud of my time (and of course convinced that I can do a flat course at least 10 minutes faster at the Chicago Distance Classic this summer), but I’m also very excited that I’m truly starting to understand how to hydrate and fuel my body appropriately for distance races.

As for the hills, I am shocked that I fared as well as I did, but once I was done, I was D-O-N-E. My legs were on fire when I finally crossed the finish line. There is no way I would have been able to run all of the hills in the marathon course.

Also, I poked some fun at the amount of emails the Flying Pig organizers sent prior to the race, and while it was annoying, the effort that went into this race being well-organized, well-stocked, and well-run cannot be underestimated particularly by those of us who experienced the Chicago Marathon fiasco last fall. That said, I am beyond pumped for marathon training, for my first triathlon, possibly my first trail run (more on that later), (hopefully) another PR this summer at the Distance Classic, and my first real marathon.

Good times!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

PIes in the Skies

Alternatively titled "Close Enough..."

2:31:58

And that is good enough for me.

Pictures (my mom's got 'em so it could take days) and a race report to come...

Good times in Cincinnati!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Slack Attack and I Need Advice

OK. I’ve been slacking on the blog this week, but oddly no one has been so kind as to point out my lack of posting. Perhaps everyone has stopped reading? Hmmm…

Anyway, quick updates, some goals and a story for your reading pleasure. Actually, I’d like to get your opinion on something. So blogosphere (who am I kidding... there are like seven people who read me) -- rather, hey you seven people, help me out with some, k?

First thing first…

The Flying Pig is this Sunday! I am very excited -- to say the least -- in part because I just found out this week that two of my best friends from college will be joining the crew in Cincinnati for dinner the night before the race. That’s KD and Annie who visited me over the summer... a race and a reunion to boot!

I haven’t mentioned any race goals yet, partially because of “the thing I don’t really want to talk about,” which is a big ass, three mile hill climb in the middle of the Flying Pig course. Um... Chicago… flat my friends. Ain’t no hill training here. So, a PR is probably a pipedream, but I would love to see myself finish in around 2 hours, 40 minutes -- similar to my showing at last year’s Distant Classic. If I were to set a pie-in-the-sky goal, it would be 2 hours, 30 minutes, but that would be knocking nine minutes off of last year's PR. We’ll see.

Lastly, I had a little incident at the gym this week. I can best describe the situation as surreal, given that I wrote my first “comedy” script (for my Second City class) about an “average-sized” woman signing up for a gym membership while the sales guy and a trainer try to convince her that she needs personal training to lose an inordinate amount of weight.

So here’s what happened: I’m at the gym, lifting some weights, jamming to my iPod, doing my thing, minding my own business when a 20-something male, obviously an employee of the gym approaches me.

DOUCHEBAG
Can I ask you a few questions while you’re between sets?

ME
(startled)
Uh… well, I guess so.

DOUCHEBAG
How long you been a member of the gym?

ME
Oh I don’t know… maybe six months.

DOUCHEBAG
Great. What would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?

ME
Uhhh… a six.

DOUCHEBAG
That’s not good.

ME
Well, it’s always crowded. And it’s really humid.

[What I wanted to say was “It’s always crowded with douchebags.”]

DOUCHEBAG
(scribbling incoherent notes onto a clipboard)
Yeah. I know. We’re opening up some new locations, so hopefully that will help.

ME
Awesome.

DOUCHEBAG
So, can I ask you how much you work out?

ME
Well, I probably come here twice a week, I go to a trainer once a week, and I run about four times a week.

DOUCHEBAG
Great. What are some of your goals?

ME
I’m training for the Chicago Marathon this year and my first triathlon.

DOUCHEBAG
Wow. That is great. And you said you have a trainer? Is he here?

ME
No. He’s not with this gym. I’ve been with him for two years.

DOUCHEBAG
Oh great. That’s great. I’m a trainer here, and I’m giving away free sessions. Are you happy with your trainer? Do you think you’d be interested in trying a free session with me?

ME
I’m happy with my trainer. He’s coached me through two running injuries, and we’ve been together a long time. I really have no plans to leave him… sooo…

DOUCHEBAG
Has weight loss been one of your goals?

ME
Well, I guess so.

DOUCHEBAG
How much have you lost with your trainer?

ME
I don’t know, about 15 pounds.

DOUCHEBAG
In two years?!?!? If you were with me, you would have lost 40 pounds by now.

[emphasis mine]

ME
(completely caught off guard)
Uh… I don’t think I need to lose 40 pounds…

DOUCHEBAG
No… no… that’s not what I’m saying… How much are you looking to lose?

ME
I’m not focusing on weight lose right now. And, I’m not going to leave my trainer, and I can’t afford a second trainer, so I’m going to have to decline your offer.

DOUCHEBAG
I totally understand. Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

OK… first of all, reading that, I feel like I come off as a total loser/pushover for not saying something a bit more "in your face" right then and there. Like a big "Fuck you."

Anyway, running buddy Meg thinks that I need to go to gym management like STAT and report this douche. I was so confused and bewildered at the whole thing that I really didn’t even consider taking action while I was still at the gym, but after the fact, I reconciled that this young dude probably just doesn’t know any better. There’s a good chance he didn’t actually mean that I needed to lose 40 pounds (and trust me 40 pounds lighter, and I would airing on the side of anorexia), but rather used a “BIG” number to impress upon me his skillz as a douchebag trainer. Me bringing this exchange to the attention of gym management will likely make no difference whatsoever. In fact, there’s a good chance that gym management has impressed upon these young, frat loving, internet-certified trainers that the don't-take-no-for-an-answer hard sell is the way to go and appealing to my inner body image issues will close the deal.

Oh what to do. Internets? Can you help? Ignore or demand justice?