Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vegas and Vagabond Ways

Walking Down Wanderlust Memory Lane Sitting on the plane I was reminded of my once itinerant ways. I was the girl who always took a weekend trip every month or would spontaneously fly somewhere at a moment's notice. But with training for an ironman this year, not so much. For the first few months of 2007, sure I took a few little trips (Phoenix, LA, Colorado), but that all ended by March, when triathlon "season" kicked off with a half ironman on April 1st. Priorities. So booking a last minute, surprise flight to see my parents was also personally nostalgic. Not to mention one of the best surprises for my parents. Good Karma

Figuring my parents were at the chinese/vietnamese restaurant they own and run, I cabbed it there. Isn't my dad silly?

And nothing beats a mother's love.

Travel Training

Before I left monday morning, I did a 70 minute hot as sin run at the park. But since I am SIX weeks away from the race, this week calls for mucho training. So here was my 29 hour, Las Vegas whirlwind game plan: Get to vegas (did it) See the parents (did it) Find a pool and swim (did it..it was one of the murkiest, overchlorinated I have ever swam...the worst 24 hour fitness pool..) Eat and see the parents (did it..and did it.. and did it.... this is every meal I ate...) Head back to the pool (didn't do it) Instead, still on my nostalgic high, I decided to rummage through family photos..which got me into a .... Sentimental State Pictures chronicle life. Mine and those of my family members were far from storied. But it reminded me once again, that all we have in this world are the people who love us and the ones we love. Okay now you can wipe the tears away... Pinkgurugal leaves you with one of my other Vegas moments... A Shaq Sighting Yes that's him playing pickup at the 24 hour fitness. And these are little Shaq kiddoes watching their dad. Viva Las Vegas! Cheers and happy training! "Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” Vincent van Gogh

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tortuous and Torturous Observations

The Road Less Travelled Life is difficult. Such are the first three words written in M. Scott Peck's venerable book, The Road Less Travelled, a perennial New York Times bestseller and one of my all time favorites... a must read for the soul. I reflected on that simple yet profound declaration while riding my usual 53 mile country ride. It was a strange feeling riding alone, without Kelly. As I have written, she was hospitalized with a virus and is still on the slow road to recovery. It's been a tough few weeks for her. And I won't sugar coat things .. she's got a lot ahead. Life has been anything but easy these days for my Kelly. Heading Out After sleeping for only about 5 restless hours, I got up at 7 this morning and rushed out the door. Stuffed the bike and things in the pinkgurugal mobile, then made the drive north 60 miles! That's what my odometer clocked from my house to the country. Never knew that. God was on my side during the ride Riding through the stretch that winds through forest is my favorite part of the ride, made bettter today by the fact that traffic was lighter than your usual sundays.

Maybe people stayed away because of rain. For me, it was hot, but I was saved from any sort of deluge. Then... It started pouring after my ride, as I was driving home. Again, God gave me a break. Get your head IN the Gut'r

My friends used to make fun of me, but I swear by this ridiculous looking thing. It's a contraption I found at Luke's Locker you put on you forehead to wick the sweat from your eyes. It works like this: *sweat trickles down the forehead like a waterfall (in my case) *sweat beads fall into slit of the gut'r (like a real gutter would do *that sweat drains to each side AMAZING! Isn't that silly? Say goodbye to tear stings. The Gut'r works. Just make sure you place the thing along your eyebrows to save from a funny tan line. Vegas Baby Pinkgurugal is heading to sin city for the next few days. No I don't plan to party or gamble, I'm surprising my parents (they live there). I spent a fortune on last minute tickets, but they are my parents. And they are worth it. Priceless. Let's hope I can find a decent gym to train...it's frappin hot there right now! Cheers and happy training! “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” Dale Carnegie

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Getting Punked and Girl Power

Angry White Male That's how I would describe my "in career transition" friend Terry. As you can see, Terry is sporting the life of leisure look these days.

And to explain his contrived, unceremonious gesture, I'll preface by saying as a confounded child might say: TERRY STARTED IT Since this is a PG-rated blog, I will speak in code (figure it out) about my friend's surly look.

Some months back, over a few margaritas, Terry "confided" to Mike that Terry and I had... ahem... engaged in a clandestine carnal affair. I guess to get a rise out of Mike. Mike believed it. Because Terry is GREAT LIAR. Trust me, he could sell you the sun, which last I checked was free. Terry told me. I pretended to not care. Then I started plotting...with Mike. MIKE AND I ARE HAVING A BABY! Not really, but it's what we told Terry. Spawned by an "about last night" dalliance... seven weeks ago. And since I have been sick, the timing couldn't have been better.

Terry believed it. He counsoled both of us when we arrived to his house Friday morning, holding hands. And putting on our distressed look, poker kind of faces.

We talked up marriage. He would be the godfather. We would all share responsibilities. There was a group hug. And then there was

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Pinkgurugal punks! Push up! (my new euphemisn for "raise the roof"! ) Terry, we had you going, and you had it coming! *** BONITA HOUSE BABES ***

Last night I had the honor of speaking at a graduation ceremony at Bonita House of Hope. It's a women's shelter, and every month, women graduate from either their 90 day clean and sober program , or move to the next phase of their lives.... getting back on their feet and into the real world. Putting down in words what I witnessed last night can't describe the inspiration, pride and strength felt in a packed room. There were 14 graduates, joined by their 80 or so Bonita sisters, and friends and loved ones. Each shared their stories and donning their graduation uniforms, they received diplomas. For many, this was the first time they had ever accomplished anything. There was singing, dancing, chanting and praying. I was moved. These ladies have come a long ways. Giving back is really what it's all about boys and girls. Try it sometime. It will change you. Cheers and happy training!

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

Anne Frank

Friday, July 27, 2007

Influential intents

Caffeine-less and Claritin to the Rescue Even though I am NOT a morning person, under normal circumstances I manage to crawl out of bed 5:45-6am ish. Not these last several days. Especially not the last few. It would be TWELVE hours before my eyes really opened this morning. That "head is going to explode" feeling subsisted. Not to mention the fatigue. Once again, I stumbled through the day feeling crappy. Then I rediscovered Claritin. Then I remembered around 5 today I FORGOT to drink coffee. Oh that's right, it's not just your sickies, it's the frappin caffeine withdrawels!!! How I manage to maintain a steady job still amazes me.

Training Mad?

So at the urging of my roommate Liam, (see his perfect aero position) I decided to ride with him for 1 1/2 hours around the loop. I had not planned to train at all, so in retrospect I am grateful he was around to say, "hey, let's go ride man!" For those of you who don't know the Memorial Park "picnic" or "fruit" loop, it's a 1.1 mile circle sans traffic on the south side of the running trail. Safe and easy. But makes you feel like a lab mouse after awhile. Pathetic but true, Liam and I actually trained on a Thursday night. We also went for a 30 minute swim, only to be followed by a ....

Post Training Treat We went for drinks and pizza. You know, like normal people. Only we weren't in our post-work corporate neckties and suits...we were in our flip flops and t-shirts. And my hair smelled like chlorine. And I had no makeup on. Oh and I'm not in my 20s there to pick up boys. And this was my post training drink of choice. So this is the second night in a row, but I deserve a margarita...or two... I'M SICK (in the head)! It tasted soooo good when it hit the lips. How could I resist? Maybe the sickies are finally leaving me. Or maybe I am a true triathlete alcoholic? I have promised myself I am off the sauce come August. That's going to be a tough one.... Cheers and happy training! “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Laozi

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Feel Needy

Restless Rumblings I woke up to another head throbbing, faint feeling morning. Great. So I slept as long as I could, crawled out of my bed and slugged my way into work. Halfway into the day, I felt like I could puke. But I managed to make it through the afternoon, leaving promptly after five. Today's schedule calls for a swim. A swim? I couldn't even fathom the idea of getting into a pool (see the other day's blog about my pool nightmare) tonight, so I turned to the things that soothe me most in these ailing times. My Comfort Foods Homemade chili. I whipped together an all protein, low sodium, lean turkey meal. Good stuff. My roomie scarfed it, and Ryan even came over for a bite.

A sugar free margarita. I know, I know. I'm weak. I'm sick. But I was also craving a little pick me up. This blend is made of Splenda, so you whip it together with a shot of Jose Cuervo, and you're set. I figure this will help me sleep. Okay, so really I need to take the edge off of my anxiety of not "peak performing" in these waning ironman training weeks. A Wet(suit) Dream This was the closest I came to swimming tonight. My Xterra wetsuit came in the mail. Like an excited child opening a christmas gift, I ripped the thing out of the box and promptly tried it on. Then I modeled it. I will definitely swim faster now. Riding High A big congrats to my roomie Liam for 1) getting into the ITU worlds championship in Hamburg Germany next month 2) finishing second in last weekend's webster duathlon. POW! SHAZAMM! White on white. This guy intimidates Because he really "is" serious (see photo) about his training, tonight, he declined a margarita from me and opted instead to go for a swim. Sorry I couldn't join you Liam

Cheers and happy training!

"We are very near to greatness; one step and we are safe; can we not take the leap?" Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Progress, Distress and Digestive Diuress

Kelly Update #2 My dear friend Kelly remains in the hospital, albeit she has made progress. It appears her fevers have ceased, though she is still stiff, tired and unable to keep down solids. She was in great spirits though, when I spoke to her and says she feels like she's ready to ride her bike. Isn't she a stud ?

Back on the Training Wagon Last week was supposed to be the first of our "ironman specific" or peak performance workouts. Translation: The training was supposed to get doubly hard. But an annoying illness got in the way, so I was reduced to three lackluster workouts last week. Since I still feel the lingering effects of whatever has been keeping me down, I am using this week to train "recovery" style and will pretend last week never existed. In other words, I'm taking the "easy week" schedule. Yesterday was not so good

I headed to the pool to swim with my roommate. No problem right? Easy 3500 meters? WRONG. I got so nauseous about 30 minutes into my swim I had to stop. In retrospect, I wonder if it was the flip turns that made me dizzy and my brain feel like it was going to combust? Tuesday morning Still a "triathlete in progress", I decided to throw the bike onto the trainer for 80 minute workout. Well... I forgot I had not changed the back tire. It took me 45 minutes to figure the damn thing out. Changing the back tire involves getting your hands on that greasy chain, or at least in my case. Then it was time to go to work. So I was relegated to doing the 80 minute bike trainer spin followed by a 40 minute run tonight. Oddly, I felt okay. It was nice to run after a hiatus. Can Someone Suggest a Good Soap? One of the sacrifices of being a bikey-phile (you'll see, it will become a word) ... is that the nails take a beating. I'm always a greasy mess after changing a tire. I used to always get cute manicures. I like clean, probably more than most. Now I just cut the damn things and hope people don't think I'm unkempt.

A Twisted Appetite

Since the beginning of last week, just as I was getting sick, I started munching on pretzels from this huge canister. It's what sounded good. It's what I could stomach for the most part. I was struck that in a matter of seven days... I ATE THE ENTIRE THING Out of morbid curiosity I decided to see what exactly that amounted to. So doing the math I ingested: 3 1/2 pounds 5720 calories 52 grams fat 1092 grams carbs 156 grams protein 24,440 mg sodium Empty calories I have no self control. Cheers and happy training! “Defeat doesn't finish a man – quit does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits.” Richard Nixon

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kelly Update

Kelly Firstly, thank you so much for all of you who have posted your prayers and well wishes to kelly. I had the chance to visit her at the hospital, and in spite of being sick, her spirits are very good. The doctors believe she caught a bad virus, but they are still monitoring her. She is expected to be in the hospital for a few more days. Again, thank you. Training without Kelly Last week seemed like a big blur. Kelly is sick, I still can't shake whatever it is I have, meaning my training has suffered. Even though I still didn't feel 100 percent yesterday , after leaving Kelly at the hospital I headed to Twin Lakes to attempt a loop (990 meters-ish) and a 40 mile bike ride. It has been a long time since I did Sunday alone, and particularly without Kelly in front of me on the bike. The swim went okay. I was surprised I still remembered how to do it quite frankly. A Flat Situation When I loaded up my bike that morning, I notice the front tire was flat. Of course, I thought I'd just pump it up when I got to Twin Lakes. Nope. There was a tear. So I changed the flat. Good thing I knew how. The Ride Riding from Twin Lakes is a relatively easy and safe path. You head about 5 miles west on Highway 6, then south of FM 521 and keep going until you feel like turning around. The roads are flat, smooth, and for almost all of the way, the shoulders are wide. I decided to take things easy. But not soon after I started, I felt awful. So I started playing the usual mind games. "This will pass...what are you made of?... mind over matter...blah blah blah..." But it didn't, and I felt terrible. And I felt even more miserable when at mile 38, about two miles from Twin Lakes.... I had ANOTHER FLAT And I had no tube since I just changed the front tire. So there I am, standing along this busy highway, a little girl with a pink bike, and NO ONE pulls over. There was a gas station about 1/4 mile up, so I managed to bike with my flat there. Derek to the Rescue. A really nice gentleman named Derek swooped up the bike and brought me back to Twin Lakes. It turns out he's a 22 year veteran with the Houston Fire Department and works at station 93 in Clear Lake. There are good people in this world. I plan to send him a thank you card. Yesterday WAS NOT my day. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, July 20, 2007

Please say a prayer

I know that most of my blogs are fun and happy, but this one is serious. My training partner and best friend, Kelly, has been hospitalized. She has taken very ill and we are hoping for the best. She has been having flu-like symptoms this week, only her conditioned worsened in the last few days. She has a round of tests tonight to see what might be wrong. I know she is strong. She will get through this Please say a prayer for my friend.

In Recovery

The End is Near I can't believe it is Friday. I can't believe I am still not fully recovered. This is a first, usually I can fight off whatever I have within a couple of days. Not this time. My head still feels like someone stuck a bunch of pins and needles in it. HOWEVER, I am feeling MUCH better than the last three mornings, so today I am going back to work... In the Rain I never thought I would say this, but I would take the heat and humidity over this rain any day. Hey, we have to train. I'm not a big fan of riding in the rain, nor running in it, nor getting struck by lightning in the swimming pool. So God, if you are listening, I choose sweat over wet, because I know I can always jump into my pool afterwards. For now though, the tri commune pool is closed until further notice Iron Babes Last night, I was invited to attend and speak at the local "Iron Babes" get together. This is a neat group of women from all walks of life who are training for their first triathlon slated for next month. Their organizer, Jana Landry, asked me to come to share my experience. So there I was, recounting my first triathlon 3 seasons ago...how I couldn't swim, my fears with open water, my first kids bike, etc...etc... etc... (just about everyone has a similar story right? ) I was struck by how long a ways I have come, but how my journey still continues. Triathlons are very personal. Everyone has their reasons for doing them, and I know mine are complex and indelibly imprinted in my soul. So you go Iron Babes! Whatever your purpose, you will do great! Cheers and happy training! "Delight in the little things." Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I just want to ride my bike

Waking up this morning I felt like Bill Murray from a scene in Groundhog Day. Today is exactly like yesterday. Eyes open, 6:30am, head throbbing, body aching, bed in a puddle of sweat. Can't I just get better? Am I not I doing the right things? Sleeping, drinking water, taking my vitamins, staying in bed, reading?

Yes, these are my creature comforts when I get the sickies. Piles of magazines, a vitamin shot (courtesy my girlfriend lisa) and a bottled water laced with two tablets of Airborne. Oh yes, and quality time at my computer to blog. What would I do without this outlet to express myself? I would probably...

Aim a gun at my head and pull the trigger

So I am going a bit stir crazy in the tri commune. To top it all off, it's pouring outside. What is up with our weather? Is this really Seattle? I'll be pulling that trigger now...or reading the 30th back issue of Time. I have a headache.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The sickies and training guilt

Someone help me I was hoping that when I woke up this morning, I would feel refreshed and ready to attack the world. Instead I felt much like my dog Ally, slumped over and looking sullen. I'm not sure how she feels, but if you put my picture next to hers we'd bare remarkable resemblance right now. Rest, rest, please let this be the last day! Sans Training Since I feel like someone pounded my head with a hammer and shook my entire body free of energy, I am taking my second day off. I know, the experts say listen to your body, but with an Ironman eight weeks away, it's difficult not to obsess and think "OMG, what if this makes me weaker? What if I have a tough time getting back on track after feeling better? What if...what if? The mind goes racing. Fear overwhelms common sense. Anxiety supercedes calm. But there's little I can do about my fragile state of being. Just tough it out. I'm pretty good at this. Let's hope my body will cooperate. Cheers and happy training! “He who fears being conquered is certain of defeat.” Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Not so Happy Camper

A Restless Storyteller It's amazing how the body can quickly go from feeling strong and fit to feeling downright weak and tired. Back at work, today was a major struggle. I went to bed freezing my tail off and awakened in a puddle of sweat. So this is how I spent much of my work day. How did I get sick? Did I overtrain? Maybe it was the alcohol? Was it all the running I did to get to my airline gate? All these questions raced through my feeble mind. Internal inquiries aside, I am sick. Of what, I am not sure. So since today I had to refrain from my scheduled killer bike trainer workout, I think I will write about my most recent race. Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half Ironman MisAdventures Recap My training partner Kelly and I headed out Friday night. Our strategy: drive halfway, spend the night, and get up the next morning to make it to Lubbock. It's about an 8 hour drive from Houston, and we decided breaking it up was not a bad idea. No tell Motel After getting to the tiny town of Comanche, we spotted the Comanche Motel and decided to sleep there for the evening. Of course, all they had available was the workers room. But it was late, and Kelly and I were desperate. We agreed this was about the worst place we both have ever stayed. Even my trekking days in Asia couldn't compare. It was enough to just get through the night and get the hell out! Saturday morning, we happily headed out in the pinkgurugal mobile, stuffed to the rim with all our tri crap. When we got to Lubbock, we picked up our race packets and headed to the course for a little prerace swim, bike and run. Striking a Sugar Mamas pose The hams we are, Kelly was approached by a man who said he was taking pictures from Ironmanlive.com. He happily took photos of us in our "Sugar" finest, and it appeared on the website. Needless to say we were ecstatic. Race Day I've said this many times, but I really mean it. How Kelly and I manage to get our act together and race is short of a miracle. But once again, we made it... barely of course. The wake up call was slated for 5am. Somehow we both slept through it. Good thing Kelly woke up at 5:20am. So once again, here we are, struggling to get everything together. The race is about a 15 mile drive. And when we drive up, there was an "oh s**t!" moment. That's the line of cars heading to the same place we need to be: the frappin' race! So we finally park at 6:30am and roll our bikes uphill to the transition area minutes before the 7am start. Of course, I forgot the all important nutrition powder. This is the crazy part. The previous night, I stared at the ziploc bag full of the powder, that mind you I packed, and wondered what it was. Again, I never professed to be smart. Okay, so we race. It was hot. It was hilly. I made the dumb mistake of ingesting two tylenols during the bike and was delirious getting off the bike. But we both finished, Kelly finishing way strong. Post Race Relaxation Since Kelly and I had never raced in a "sanctioned" Ironman event, the medical tent where athletes can get saline IV's was something new to us. Sounds like a good idea to get hydrated. Why not? Our rationale was this: if we are hydrated, we can drink more! Yes! So there we were, iv's in one arm, a beer in the other hand. Crazy girls. Kelly's BFF There was a nice massage therapist who gave us a free rubdown after our race. Kelly, who can walk into a room and make a million friends, made friends with Derek. Apparently they bonded. Derek imparted words of wisdom to Kelly about life and relationships. He was her yoda. "Derek said...." she would later share with me.

Me: Who?

Kelly: You know, Derek, our masseuse, the one I spoke to for about 5 minutes. He said....

It's become the running "Derek said..." joke. He was nice though.

Kelly's Going to Worlds!

This is Kelly getting an award for placing in our age group. And as fate would have it, the spot was enough for her to get a slot in the 70.3 world championship! You go girl! Florida here you come! Work Hard, Play Hard That's how Kelly and I roll. Sure we race, we do our best, we train. But we also know how to relax and live a little. That evening we joined other triathletes from the race for some post race cocktails. Yeger shots. It's a pattern. To wrap things up, it was a great weekend. Kelly and I laughed incessantly and had so much fun. There were so many moments, so many silly phrases, so much talk about everything and nothing. I would put this among my most memorable gal pal trips. Salud!

Cheers and happy training! "Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance." Bruce Barton

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back to the Real World

The Last Day in Madison It was so nice to sleep eight hours and wake up refreshed. Fine, I had a few glasses of wine, and I was a littly groggy, but I was still on vacation, right? With help from the Sheraton front desk (they were so hospitable all weekend), I headed to a place called the Princeton Club to get in my pool swim. Now I've been to many, many gyms in my time, but this one took the cake. It was HUGE. There was the 3 story open floored gym. The roof had several tennis courts, and there were six wide indoor swimming lanes. not to mention a huge spa, sauna and resistance running pool. More proof that Madison is a town that values fitness. Flight Fluster I have never been one to make it to the airport early. Today was no different. After I checked out of the hotel, I went to a suggested restaurant called the Old Fashioned to try out its infamous burger. I was happily enjoying my food, until I looked up at the clock and realized my flight was in 50 minutes! After eating just half my burger, I rushed to the Dane County airport, dropped off the rental car and ran to the counter. I made my flight by five minutes. Can't repeat this behaviour for the Ironman... Read this One of the simple pleasures of travelling for me is reading. It seems I never get enough time for it between work and training. Reading about something new, whether it be about an issue, a person, or an event, escaping in a book or magazine has always been a personal enjoyment for me. If I can exercise my body, then I can exercise my brain. I need to make more time for this. Eight weeks from the Ironman and I'm feeling the sickies tonight. Let's hope I can beat this. It's a hard training week... Cheers and happy training! "Love generously. Praise loudly. Live fully!" Elias Portor

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Very Happy Tri Camper

Tri Camp Wrapup

On the eve before today's official end of boot camp, and after doing a test swim in Lake Monona, some campers and I decided it was beer time at the Sheraton bar. We were joined by a few of the MultiSports guys, including Jimmy Riccitello (among the best triathletes of our time, great guy) and San Diego triathlete Jay Kederka. We commisserated, we laughed, and of course, we drank. I convinced Jay that the end of tri camp should be toasted, so in all my "tri lifestyle" glory, we both took a yeger shot.

Not so good for the head
Okay so that shot sounded good at the time, and it even tasted yummy. But I paid the price the following day. Rise and shine 6am. Push snooze. 6:15am. Snooze again. 6:30. SH*&^T!! Get up, go downstairs! Look presentable, and pretend you feel great (I'm a good faker). Then we were off for our half marathon run. Not so good in the beginning. But it's strange what happens to your hangover after about an hour of cardio. The endorphins kick in, which overtake the head throbbing. That's my guess anyways. Buh-Bye After finishing our run, which winded its way from the capitol through the University of Wisconsin campus along the lake and back, we headed back to the hotel to chow and have our final lecture about race rules. As luck would have it, Jimmy is this year's head referee for the Madison Ironman, so we got the inside skinny. Not really, but many questions were answered for us first timers. I should also add that the evening before, Paula gave a great lecture on the mental aspects of "Ironmanning." Very thought provoking. If anyone knows the struggles of Ironman racing, it's Paula, who has 25 wins, including 8 Kona wins under her belt. She's my hero. We were all then given parting gifts. I got a big bottle of CarboPro, a Timex watch and some Ironman Arizona License Plate Covers. But the best part was this: I actually WON a free Xterra wetsuit. Way cool, way cool!
Jimmy and Paul helped take my bike apart. And as I learned this weekend, sometimes Jimmy can be just a plain ass. :)
Tooling Around Madison
I am so glad I gave myself an extra day before heading home to take in the town. I spent most of the day simply walking around the town square, walking into small shops and stopping in for coffee and a little New Yorker reading. It was a picturesque day. Tons of locals were out for an outdoor art fair. Strolling along, I played observant tourist. Madison is truly midwest in many respects, but I was surprised to see the number of ethnic stores and restaurants, like Kabul, an Afghani Cuisine, or the Nepalese deli. I suspect like most towns, the immigrant communities always find their ways into cities where they can do business, regardless of cultural diversity. Not to mention the university probably draws students and professors from all over the world. The bike path winding through town was swimming with cyclists, walker, runners and families. It was refreshing to see people enjoying the outdoors rather than malls.
Sunset Ski Show Walking back to my car this evening, there were droves of people parked lakefront. Apparently every Sunday night in the summer, the city's waterskiing team puts on a show. Yes, there is a team. And they were good. And the crowd loved them. More the reason Madison was voted one of the best places to live.
Date Night
Since this was my last evening in Madison, I went on a nice date with me. I found a great seafood restaurant call Sardine right on the water. I had wine, salad and an amazing trout. Not to mention I continued my New Yorker marathon reading (on to a glorifying piece on Barack Obama). This was the best date I've had in years.
And this was among the more enjoyable "alone trips" I've had in awhile. I'm glad I did it. Cheers and happy training! "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tri Camp Day 2

Ride Baby Ride There are many reasons I chose to attend Tri camp, and among the top...test ride the bike course.. So at 6am, I woke up and headed downstairs. After an informative lecture on nutrition last night by Paul Huddle, I decided that today I would experiment with my nutrition while riding the course. CarboPro: my new favorite bike "food" It's amazing the stuff on the market for endurance sports. Carbo Pro acrually dissolves in water and tastes kind of like sugar. Only it's pure complex carbs. So using what little math skills I have, since two scoops equal 224 calories, I used nine scoops in an 18 ounce bottle. Using a marker I marked off 5 equal parts on my water bottle. I guessed my body needed about 175 calories an hour. So I gulped each "mark" per per hour. It worked. At some of the stops I did nibble on pieces of twizzlers and "swedish fish" (gummie type candy) and had a few bites of other riders bananas. Remind me the next time not to to take a bite directly from the banana in the face of several men(insert blushing here...) God's Country With little knowledge of the bike course but what those have told me (it's hilly, it's hilly, it's hilly), we set out in groups of about 8. Paul was our group leader. The ride was surprisingly scenic, mostly made up of lush farmland amidst rolling hills. For some reason, all I could think about was John Steinbeck and his novel, the Grapes of Wrath. Then when I looked at the vast corn fields Stephen King came to mind (you know that Children of the Corn thriller) . I think in time in some ways, stood still in this part of greater Madison. The numerous corn fields, farms, silos... it couldn't get more bucolic than this.
Of course that was all erased when it was time to attack a few of the hillier hills. I renamed one of them the Madison Monster. All told though, the ride is not all too bad, just a little huffy and puffy at times. My favorite parts of the ride included the downhills, cruising at 35. Nothing like that wind in your face. And it was windy! Perfect weather, good times. Power nap. Now it's time for some open water swim. Yahoo!

"Dwell in possibility" Emily Dickinson

Cheers and happy training!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tri Camp Day One

People Watching I have to say in all the years of telling stories, it is rare that I am star struck. Whether it be a famous politician or celebrity, little do I admire figures in these public domains. Tri Camp is different. Paula Newby Fraser, arguably the great triathlete of all time. Paul Huddle, her husband and also a great triathlete in his own right. (google them, you will see), Jimmy Riccitello, John Duke... publisher of the reknowned "Triathlete" Magazine... whoa! Can you believe it? Here at Tri Camp, we are hanging out and training among the BEST in this very tough sport. Great athletes, great support staff of coaches, its better than sitting in the front row watching your favorite band perform live. VIP pass? Better. You spend three days with them up close and personal... well, not that personal. So far the training has been great. We rode our bikes to see the transition area and swim course . Then it was off to the pool for a not so mild key swim workout (two miles, intervals...poop!) Okay that's it for now... running late for nutrition lecture. More to come....