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Posts from July 2009

A Magical Machine

It's kind of amazing what the human body can do with a little dedication.  My friend Heidi lent me Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, where he describes running an ultra-marathon -- a sixty-two mile race -- during which he literally feels that his body is a machine, just going through the motions to get him to the finish line. 

As for me, a theatre and stage band geek has become a triathlete -- not a minor transformation.  I'm also amazed at my body's uncanny timing.  I am currently fighting a fairly nasty cold, complete with a runny nose, sore throat, and low-grade fever, but I am so very thankful that it came this week rather than last week, right before my race.  Maybe this is my body's way of letting go of all the stress I've put it through over the past few months -- my friend Erika tells me that it's fairly common for marathon runners to get sick right after their races.  I would chalk it up to picking up something during my dip in the Hudson, except that I know a handful of others who seem to be fighting the same cold this week (feel better, gang!), and none of them did the triathlon.  Whatever the reason, I thank you, magical machine, for waiting until after the tri.


Inspiration

Once again, I'd like to thank everyone who has sent me good wishes before, during, and since the triathlon on Sunday.  Many people have said to me how inspiring my completing the race has been to them (more here on my thoughts about that).  I've had two incredibly inspiring moments recently that I wanted to share with you.  First, as I was walking back to pick up my bike after the race, wearing my Team in Training shirt, a woman stopped me and said, "Go, Team!"  I smiled and thanked her.  But then she said, "No, thank you."  She then turned to her daughter, who was probably about 12 or 13, standing next to her.  "She's a leukemia survivor.  Thank you for raising money."  "Absolutely," I replied.  "My pleasure."  As exhausted and sore as I was, that one moment made me realize that I had done something incredibly worthwhile in addition to giving myself a physical challenge. 

I also received an email from a reader, who has apparently been reading my blog for some time, but who has never commented. She wrote to tell me that my life has been inspiring to her. "[Y]ou have some amazing adventures and it has helped me to read about you and given me the courage to take some leaps when I would have stayed home instead.  I saw on your post that you did another triathlon and that you had so much encouragement from your readers that I thought I'd send you a quick note and tell you that I also think you are helping others to live a better life."  It's hard to describe how that makes me feel -- I was really quite shocked, but pleasantly surprised.  I do push and challenge myself sometimes, but I have never once thought that it would have an impact on someone else -- but I am so happy to hear that it did. Both of these experiences reminded me that your choices can have an impact on others, and in these cases, a positive one.


A Very Twitter Evening

What better way to celebrate finishing a triathlon than with a few tweetups!  First, the Rum/Tiki Tweetup at Elettaria, followed by a night with @The_Nose tasting The Dalmore.  Luckily, the evening started early, so I was still able to get a solid night's sleep.  Thanks to @livethelushlife for organizing, and great to meet everyone!  I posted the few pics I took here, but @shotsandcuts put a bunch up here and here.  I love being a dork. 

NYC Tri, Take 2

Tri

This time, no jellyfish!!!  I have to say, between that and the comparatively cool and overcast day, this year's race was much more pleasant than last year's!  Despite that, I managed to finish in 3:27:06, which was 2:15 longer than last year.  Still under my goal of 3:30!  For me at least, it was interesting to compare my two time breakdowns:

2008: Swim 24:30 T1 10:55 Bike 1:36:47 T2 4:00 Run 1:08:40

2009: Swim 24:30 T1 10:17 Bike 1:40:57 T2 4:01 Run 1:07:22

(the T's are transitions)  It's funny how consistent I was from year to year.  My swim was exactly the same, I managed to shave a few seconds off that first transition, which I was trying to do, but my biggest shock was that I was four minutes slower on the bike this year, and a tiny bit faster on the run -- not at all what I expected. If I can, next year, I would love to buy a new bike.  I'm currently riding a bike with a compact frame, designed for shorties like me, but unlike some compact bikes, it also has smaller sized wheels, which I firmly believe slow me down.  We'll see if it's in the budget! 

Thanks to all who I saw along the course -- Mom, Stephen, Bill, Marjorie, and Regina.  Thanks also to Tiffany of Team Lipstick, who ran with me for most of the run leg and pushed me on the bike leg.  And a huge thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes and Facebook comments -- I am so lucky to have you all in my life!!!  Pictures to come as I get them.


By This Time Tomorrow

I'll be finished with the NYC Tri!!  If you're an early riser and would like to come watch, here are some details.  I'll be starting my swim wave at 6:35 a.m., wearing a silver swim cap, and it'll take me roughly 1/2 hour.  Then, on to the bike leg from 72nd St. up to Mosholu Parkway and back, which should take about an hour and a half.  Finally, the run, across 72nd St. to Central Park, following the loop clockwise around, and on to the finish line, which I should hit about an hour after I start the run, somewhere in the ballpark of 10:00 a.m.  It's on Dead Road, just west of the bandshell on the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park.  Here's the whole course map.

According to the website, good places to watch include:
1. Swim Start - Riverside Park & 98th Street on the Hudson River.
2. Swim Exit - Riverside Park & 79th Street on the Hudson River.
3. Run Course along 72nd Street from Henry Hudson Parkway to Central Park West
4. Race Finish - Dead Road in Central Park near the bandshell off the 72nd Street Transverse

Also got more info yesterday that suggests a few other spots -- for the bike, there's a great view in Riverside Park from 83rd Street to 106th Street.  For the swim finish/bike start, Riverside Park at about 81st Street or wherever they let you go.  For the run you can try the West side of the Park, Park Drive East (I'll stick near the spectator side) or Cherry Hill before we head to the finish on Dead Road (this appears to be just north of the bandshell).

If you're looking for me on the course, I'll be wearing black tri shorts and a purple Team in Training top.  I ride a royal blue road bike wearing a white helmet, and on the run I'll have on a white Jackrabbit visor.  I'll be sporting a yellow number -- 2178.

Thanks again to my friends and family for all the support and good wishes along the way, with an extra thanks to all who donated a total of over $3,000 to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Best of luck to all of my fellow Team in Training members, especially to my mini-group, and also to Amy A., Gaby, other Team Joe members, and all the other crazies who are willing to swim in the Hudson.  LET'S KICK SOME ASS!!!!  Have a fun and safe race.


Plums

The CSA bounty is steadily growing.  Here's my portion (1/3) of this week's haul:

CSAbounty

Last year I was drowning in plums, and if this week is any indication, I think that trend will continue this year.  So, in light of that, and of John's mention of it, I now share with you my favorite poem about plums, "This Is Just To Say," by William Carlos Williams:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Thoughts on a Morning Run

- It's muggy out, but at least there's a breeze.

- This feels okay.  Not great, but not bad.  I still don't want to run for more than 20 minutes.

- That guy is still there.

- I'm hungry.

- Will I be able to squeeze in a short swim sometime tomorrow?

- Crap, I'm out of milk.  Need to pick some up before I head home.

- Central Park is more scenic.

- Still hungry.

- I need to make a new running mix.

(see why I get so bored while I run?)


Preparation

I'm still pretty anxious about the tri.  That said, I feel somewhat more prepared this year than last, which I'm hoping will mean I'll beat my previous time.  I have done two full mile swims in the pool, which takes me about 43 minutes -- in contrast, that same mile took me 24 minutes in the Hudson.  Thanks, current!  I have run the actual run course, or parts of it, many times now -- I know the landmarks in the park, where the hills are, and how far I really have left to go at any given time.  This week is all about tapering -- small workouts, hydration, and plenty of rest.  Today I'm opting for rest, weights tomorrow, a light bike or run on Thurs, and a light swim on Friday.  That's it.  But I'm feeling well-prepared.  Even so, feel free to send a little extra luck my way!