This weekend, we had our first brick workout.  Don’t feel bad if this term means nothing to you – I had to look it up when our coach first emailed it to us.  A brick workout is doing two sports back to back – stacked, like bricks.  This weekend, we had to ride our bike five miles, jump off, change our shoes and run about a third of a mile.  We repeated this cycle three times.  Since it was the first such workout, the goal was mostly to get the feel of quickly switching muscle groups.  It feels really strange – I’ll probably write more about this in a future post.

I missed the team workout because I had to work on Saturday, so I did it on my own this morning.  I figured out a five mile loop that started and ended at my house and a much shorter loop for the run.  This had me coming and going from the house many times in a short period of time.  During one of the times, I rode up to the back of the house, put my bike away and emerged wearing my running shoes.  I heard a neighborhood kid say to his friend, “Hey, I just saw her . . .”

I didn’t hear the rest of the statement, but I could easily finish his thought.  It made me think about how I would explain a triathlon to a kid.  I’d say something like this: “You see, it’s three sports back to back.  First, we swim, then we ride bikes, then we run. ”  A kid would probably think I was crazy – that’s not a triathlon, that’s a normal day during summer vacation.

This put me in mind of one of my favorite children’s books, Grown-ups Get to do All the Driving by William Steig. It’s not a story, but rather a compilation of observations about grown-ups from children’s point of view.  If this book is to believed, we can appear pretty ridiculous to kids. Here’s the image that particularly came to mind:

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Something one might not consider before signing up for a triathlon – the effect it has on one’s hair.  If you scroll down to my March 19th post, you can see a picture of me with the hair I had when I signed up.  Genetically, I hit the jackpot in terms of hair.  It’s thick, dark and has lots of natural curl but I can straighten it if I want.  Hair like this is happiest when not washed every day – I usually wash it every other day.  Or I did, until I started working up a good sweat every day.  The sweating necessitated washing and the over-washing left my hair frizzy and dry.  On top of this, the chlorine from the pool left the ends feeling slightly crunchy.  After about two weeks of wincing every time I passed a mirror, I said, “Enough, already.  Off with the hair!” 

Here’s the result:

 

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I believe the style is called “Triathlon Chic.”

Long time readers might remember this post, referring to how my team became the “Mi Humps.”  On Tuesday, Sean (also the person responsible for the team name) sent me a link to Woot’s spin-off site shirt.woot.com.  For those of you unfamiliar with Woot, they sell one product per day until it runs out.  If you don’t buy it on that day, you are out of luck.  They started a similar concept with t-shirts and deals on wine.

Tuesday’s shirt is titled “Without Porpoise.”  Aptly named, since the shirt has no porpoise on it – it does; however, have a big whale and some words very appropriate for someone training for a triathlon.  Here it is:

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The uber-nerds out there might protest that this is not, in fact, a humpback whale.  Give a girl a break, will ya?  It’s hard to find a t-shirt with any kind of whale on it.  Needless to say, I bought one.  I can’t wait to wear it to practice!

Do not try this at home

March 24, 2009

A few days ago, my mother sent me this video:

Looks pretty cool, right? I like hard boiled eggs, but I hate the unpredictability of them. Sometimes, the shell slips right off, but sometimes chunks of the egg white stick to the shell, leaving a pitted mess and a frustrated Joy. I find this especially maddening because I cook them the same way and get different results. So, when I saw this video, I thought, “Aha! The answer to one of life’s great mysteries.”

A colleague is retiring so the library hosted a potluck lunch in her honor. I had two dozen eggs in my refrigerator, so I decided to make devilled eggs – use up some eggs and try out the incredible method showcased in this video.

Well.

I did everything he said but my eggs did not pop nicely out the other end. In fact, they were the worst case of the whites sticking to the shell EVER. Plus, the eggs tasted slightly of baking soda. I got so frustrated that I threw away the whole dozen eggs. And when I say “threw,” that’s not just a figure of speech. I hurled them into the trash can to vent some of my frustration.

Then, I took the second dozen eggs out of the fridge and cooked them using the best method (but still not 100%) I’d found – poking the blunt end with a pin before submerging them in the water. This allows a tiny bit of water to get between the shell and egg, resulting in generally easy-peel eggs.

I devilled the eggs, topping each one with a slice of pimento-stuffed green olive. I felt like a housewife from the fifties. Actually, the olive slice was supposed to look like an iris and pupil – the woman retiring loves dragons, so I called them “Dragon Eyes.”

A Discovery

March 20, 2009

Yesterday, the team headed over to Point Defiance park for a running workout.  We jogged from the entrance to Owen’s Beach.  The beach’s parking lot is on a steep incline that my coach calls the “Hill of Love.”  We spent the next fifteen minutes running up the hill and walking back down.  Then we jogged back to the entrance and stretched.

Usually, when I run, it takes me a good while to regulate my breathing so I feel like I’m getting enough.  Even when I hit that point, it feels somewhat unnatural.  Yesterday, running the hills had me really huffing and puffing.   Perhaps that got extra oxygen into my blood/brain – during the cool down run, breathing was no problem.  I didn’t need to think about it at all – in fact, I was halfway through before I realized that I *wasn’t* thinking about breathing.

After the workout, I stayed up until midnight sewing nylon patches onto N’s uniform to make a squirrley suit.  Sewing at midnight is not such a good idea.  Tasks that would present no problem to a well rested brain become incomprehensible and frustrating.  I soldiered on (har har) and finished the job.

You’d think after a hard workout, mental exhaustion and two glasses of wine, I’d sleep like a rock, but no.  Oh well.

As promised . . .

March 18, 2009

a picture of me with my niece, Leela Joy Oliver, in her baptism finery.

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I will wear my neon green swim cap to the coached swim tonight.  My coach gave it to me after I announced that I had hit the $1,000 mark in my fundraising.  That was a few weeks ago – I’m closer to $2,000 now!  Every day I open my mailbox and one or two of the little envelopes I included in my fundraising letter tumble out.  It warms the heart!

As impressed as I am with the sound of $2,000, that is only a little over half way to my goal.  I have some fundraising events in mind including a garage sale, selling cycling jerseys and a Kentucky Derby party.

I am most excited about the Derby party.  Of course, we will have plenty of mint juleps.  I don’t think I’ll do a betting pool, but guests will be able to predict the winner and I’ll have some kind of prize for that.  Also, I plan on having a hat contest with prizes for the best, craziest, etc. hats.  If the weather cooperates, we will extend the party into our back yard.  It should be a great time!