Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Survived My First Triathlon

I wasn't sure I'd live through it, but I did!

My friends and I have been taking a triathlon training class since January.  The training started as a simple desire to get fit.  We didn't actually think we would compete in a triathlon.  We just thought the class itself would be good for us.  But our wonderful trainer was dogged in his belief that we could actually do a triathlon.  We also felt like competing in a triathlon would prove that we "passed" the triathlon class.  Who wants to take a class, do all the homework, and then skip the final exam?   Not us!  Although I felt like a total triathlete imposter, I registered for a triathlon despite my better judgement.

Race for a Reason is the largest charity-­based race event in Athens, Ohio.  The race raises funds for several amazing causes.  Race participants pick the cause they believe in, and a portion of the proceeds go to that cause.  There are several race events including a 5K, a mud run, and a triathlon.

I was so on the fence about my prospects of surviving the triathlon, I actually painted my nails and colored my roots the night before.  I didn't want my husband and the mortician to overlook those fine details.  I imagine there aren't many triathletes out there that have those tasks on their list of pre-race activities?

I woke up the morning of the triathlon feeling ill.  If I didn't already know I am a complete psychosomatic mess, I would have thought I was getting the flu.  Alas, I've lived with myself for over 40 years so I've come to better understand what my anxiety levels can do to the rest of my body.  It's pretty incredible stuff, people.

Overall, the race was a complete success!  Sure, I was passed in the pool by a 9 year old, but that future Olympian is part fish!  He should probably be disqualified for having gills, right?

I still managed to miraculously not die.  That was my goal.  To not die and finish the race!  My training has taught me it's important to set reasonable goals.

Most importantly, over $100,000 was raised for 87 different causes!  That's amazingly awesome!

I did not imagine how much fun finishing would be.  The relief of being finished is a glorious thing.  The homemade granola bars at the finish-line didn't hurt, either!  I am also pretty tickled with the medal as evidenced by the 32 million pictures of it I posted on Facebook.

When I really stop and think about it, what could I have possibly enjoyed doing more on a beautiful Saturday morning than consecutively swimming 500 meters, biking 15 miles uphill, and running 3.1 miles?  Gardening, grocery shopping, laundry, painting a fence, 5th grade algebra homework, a root canal, giving a cat a bath, cleaning the house, cleaning the oven, cleaning anything, really.

Nope.  There's really nothing I would have rather done on a beautiful Saturday morning than to Race for a Reason.

Congrats to the organizers and all of the volunteers.  It was an inspiring and blessed day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Doggy School

My pooch, Sandy, attended her first day of doggy school.  It's safe to say she will not be graduating with honors.  In fact, graduation may not even be in the cards.

There are approximately 20 other pooches in her class.  They range in age, size, color, intelligence, and manners. You'll soon figure out where on the spectrum my dog falls.

Sadly, this first class reminded me of one of many a fraternity party I attended about 20 years ago.

You know that awkward moment when you arrive at a frat party and you wonder where you should stand so to avoid getting any bodily fluids on you?  It is kind of like that.

Sandy and I gingerly make our way over to a corner and stand between a wolf-like creature and a dog that resembles a cotton ball.

We all stand in a circle sizing each other up.

Remember how there is always one guy at the party who is boisterous, drunk and obnoxious? Well, there was a German Shepherd there playing that role.  He was all bark.  By the end of class he is passed out and insignificant.

You know how there is always a blond at the party who acts like a total ditz? Everyone wonders how much she's had to drink when really she is completely sober, and is just naturally scatter-brained, high strung, and clueless?

That is my dog.  Seriously embarrassing.

The class focuses on sitting.  This is a concept that 19 of the dogs come to understand.

Not Sandy.  Nope.

Sure, at home she delights in sitting on command.  Ask her to sit during doggy school and she looks at you with her big brown eyes, cocks her head to the side and seems to say, "Huh? I have no idea what you are saying. Let's go run around."

The other dogs eventually learn they are in class and should pay attention.

My dog seems to believe she is at a fraternity party, and it is her sole responsibility to get the party started.  My dog is a party girl.

This may have been the longest sixty minutes of my life.  I may also have tendinitis in my left elbow from pulling on her leash and trying to get her bum to touch the ground beneath her.  I get to do this again next week.

When we get home, Sandy and I have a little heart to heart.  I tell her she needs to focus.  I tell her I expect more from her, and that I am not going to pay for college school if she doesn't focus and work harder.

Ironically, she sits during my rant.  I think she's going to do better next week.

To be continued....

Thursday, April 3, 2014


(Part 7 of my escapades in triathlon training)

Ok, people, it's getting serious now.

The triathlon is on April 26th, and although I have not registered yet, I am training like weird people I typically mock a wannabe triathlete.

For quite some time, I believed training involved swimming OR biking OR running.  Sure, on triathlon day you do all three, but it didn't really occur to me that you might train by doing two or three of those activities in one work out session.  Sure, I thought you might go for a swim, eat a cheeseburger, and then go on a bike ride, but I never really considered doing those things without taking a lunch break or a nap in between.  I did mention that this is my first triathlon and I'm an idiot, right?

I recently learned a new word associated with triathlon training.  It's called the BRICK.  It may be an acronym for something, but basically it's just another way to make your legs feel awful.

Here's how a BRICK works:
Bike hard for about an hour or until sweat drips from pores you didn't know you had.  Just before your thighs literally burst into flames, jump off your bike and immediately run 2-3 miles.  The odd sensation in your legs while running is how the training exercise got it's name.  Your legs feel as if they have been deboned and then filled with bricks.

As you might imagine, this is a delightful experience which makes you beg for death about 10 seconds into the run.

I imagine BRICK is an acronym for the following:
B:  Bike (until your legs disconnect from your hip sockets)
R: Run (because who doesn't love a good trot after a long bike ride?)
I:  Interval (there is just the tiniest of pauses while you transition from your bike to your run)
C:  Cry (for your mommy)
K:  Kickass (After biking until your legs nearly explode, you do feel a perverse sense of pride in your ability to run on two seemingly boneless legs)

All of this to say, I did it.
I did a BRICK.
I survived.

I was particularly good at the "C" part.