Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Give and You Shall Receive

My Mom has always told me that my greatest quality is my willingness to give to others. She said I never had a problem with sharing when I was little. She likes to say I'd give someone the shirt off my back. My response is "If I had my jog bra on."

It makes me feel good to give. Sometimes, my husband gets frustrated with me because I'll give soap, lotion, lip balm, bath bombs and eggs away which should be sold. So, I'll never be wealthy but my heart is rich. I really believe this quote by Madeline Bridges, "Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you."

I brought some eggs with me to the gym. I see this lady swim every morning and speak in the locker room when she is getting ready for work. She is from Spain, has a 2yro daughter and works full time. I used to live in Madrid and loved Paella and Spanish omelets. I told her I was proud of her for working so hard and gave her a dozen eggs. This morning she wanted to know if I'd be swimming on Friday because she was going bring me breakfast, a Spanish omelet!

I met another woman in the weight room. She's training for the Boston marathon and her husband is in Iraq. She wants to do a Tri after Boston but doesn't know how to swim. I told her I'd help her with swimming. I brought her some eggs too, good protein after lifting. I have wanted to try the Clif bloks(gummy type thingies) for a long time. We live in a small town and I never can find them. Guess what Runner Girl brought me today? Clif Bloks, Gu and Cytomax recovery drink. She didn't even know I wanted to try them. I believe in Karma!

Speaking of Karma, I almost died yesterday. I was riding to the bike shop and had to cross US 1. It's a real busy highway that I have never crossed alone. Guess what almost ran over me? A freaking Purdue Semi Truck stuffed full of chickens. Talk about poetic justice, me getting hit by a chicken truck. It's pay back for all the little roosters I have killed. The rooster God was trying to strike down on me!

I have some goslings hatching. Farming can be heartbreaking at times. Not every animal born is perfect and healthy. Two goslings have hatched so far, one was having a hard time hatching. If I didn't help it out, then it would die. The reason it was having problems hatching is because its feet are deformed. It still has some egg shell membrane stuck around its head but I don't want to get the little thing too wet and cold trying to pick it off. Hopefully, his legs will straighten out as it gets stronger, it's sibling is cute, fluffy and full of life. Most farmers would cull this little goose because it takes extra time to care for, I have to help it eat and drink until its legs are stronger. I can't kill it though, it's fighting so hard to stay alive. That's all that counts in my book, trying.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Base Building Phase = Beware! Bitchy Personality!

Last Saturday, one of my bike friends invited me to his place near Morrow mountain. We did a 3 hour ride which included climbing the mountain. The climb was the steepest I have ever attempted since I started riding in November. I know this will sound psycho but I'd rather climb hills than go downhill. I have this fear of flying over the handle bars and knocking my teeth out when I'm speeding down the hill. I was squeezing my rear brake so hard going down the mountain that my hand started hurting. I've got to get over this fear, my top speed down the mountain was 32mph. I'm such a wimp! I've gone faster down the rolling hills around my house. You should have seen the guys flying down the mountain, it looked like a lot of fun. My friend complained her quads hurt after that ride but my saddlebags(outer thighs/hips) hurt more. Not sure what that means. I slept really well that night.

Sunday, I had to run for 85 min. which was about 11 miles. This is the longest I have ever run in my entire life too. After my run, I went to the grocery store and spent $130.00. After my shopping binge I was really tired. Just the thought of unloading all the grocery bags from the van seemed like a huge challenge. I had already decided on this gourmet meal I was going to prepare. Chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and feta and pasta salad.

My husband came home after I unpacked the groceries and was working on dinner. He asked me what was wrong because I was so quiet. I assured him nothing was bothering me, I was just really tired. He asked why was I preparing such a complicated meal if I was tired. "Because I require high quality food, not crap like burgers and fries." He probably should have realized I wasn't in the best of moods by that response. Guess he didn't get the clue because he then told me he wasn't going to eat any of the chicken because he didn't like mushrooms or feta. This stopped me pounding the chicken breasts with my metal mallet. I felt using the mallet on his dome piece for a brief second. Instead, I went on a rant about not understanding what tired really feels like. How much planning it takes to prepare a healthy meal. How I'm sick of complainers and if he doesn't like something he should keep it to himself. I really lost it, my heart was beating faster ranting than during my 11 mile run.

I talked to my friend about my attitude the next day. Small things seem to set me off. I joked that I'm afraid my husband will divorce me before my Half Ironman. She told me about the training plan she is following. She told me to look up what it says about completing the base building phase. Here is what I found:
"By the end of the base building phase, some of you may start to get a little grumpy and irritable. This is due to the fact that you are pushing that overtrained state. Fortunately, the speedwork phase begins the following week. During this period you will be cutting back on the mileage/yardage while maintaining your overall endurance. This will also provide you with the added rest for which are looking. You will probably experience an increase in energy and your attitude will start to err towards the positive side!"

A little grumpy and irritable? I'm not following the same plan but now I know that I'm not alone with the bitchy feelings. I don't get a day off this week so I'm not expecting to feel a lot better. I do think there is a need for a "Spouse of a Triathlete Sanity Bible". I don't think my husband understood that training can affect my emotional state. I honestly didn't realize it either. I'm making a effort to hold my tongue and stay away from others when I'm extremely tired.

Even though I'm a grouch, I'm excited that I'm completing my goals. The workouts I finished last week were tough and I never thought at this time last year possible. I'm still growing and surprising myself on a daily basis.

Thanks for loving me grouch and all, honey.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I Have No Patience For Humans

Another reason I farm is I prefer working with animals rather than people. My goats listen and mind me better than most children. I am not cut out to be a human mother. People always say that it would change if I had my own children. Yeah, I'd change all right. I'd lose my mind and independence. This is why I have the utmost respect for GOOD parents. It is the hardest job in the world.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling annoyed. I went and ran for an hour and I felt better. I went to the grocery store after my run. When I was leaving the store, there was an old, drunk, toofless man in the parking lot watching two sparrows. I stopped to watch too. These sparrows were on the pavement fighting over a piece of bread. One sparrow was stronger and kicking the smaller sparrows ass, jumping on top of him and doing skull crusher moves. Old, drunk man yells at the top of his lungs "Them birds are having some SEX! I think that boy bird is stuck!" It was freaking hilarious. Everyone in the parking lot stopped to watch the kinky sparrows. They were not really having sex, I have over 100 birds. I know what bird sex looks like. For the next few hours, I'd bust out laughing thinking of toofless and bird sex.

I'm seriously thinking of starting to charge people to come to the farm. People want to bring their kids out here for tours and camp out. I don't get paid to do 2-3 hour tours and answer hundreds of questions. People are lazy, they want information handed to them. They don't want to go to the library or research raising animals on the internet. They can't even read the information sheet I give them about caring for young fowl. A woman that came out here last week wanted me to give her my soap recipes. She was thinking of raising goats and making soap too. I laughed and told her if I gave her a soap recipe, I'd have to kill her-it was top secret. It makes me angry because everything I have learned has come from hard work and studying. I have made costly mistakes, emotionally and financially. I was not raised on a farm. I knew nothing about animals when I started this, my Dad was a General in the Air Force. If you told me 10 years ago I'd be farming, I'd laugh in your face.

My worse nightmare family came to the farm two weeks ago to decide which breeds of chickens they wanted. They toured the farm for two hours. The parents, a 10 year old girl and twin 5 year old boys. The boys were totally out of control, chasing the birds around, throwing rocks and ripping limbs from trees. My male Doberman(Monty) is an 8 year old certified therapy dog. He likes to be outside when I am caring for the animals. The girl was petting Monty and he rolled over on his back to have his belly scratched. One of the evil twins comes over and starts slapping Monty's chest. Monty jumped up because it scared him. I asked the evil punk to stop hitting the dog. Then, he decides to jump on Monty like he's a horse. I'd had enough and decided to lock Monty inside. The Mom asked me why I was making the dog go in. I said I didn't want her son to get bit, Monty is old and doesn't like to be mauled. She said "Well, if he gets bit he deserves it." I thought, yeah lady, your kid does but I don't want to be sued. It didn't end there, they proceeded to get into the goose nest and mess around with the eggs. Then, they starting taking apart the chicken pens. I wonder what their house looks like.

I knew they were coming back yesterday, they were supposed to be here at 3:30pm to pick up the baby chicks. I was meeting some friends at 4:45 to go on a bike ride. They don't show up until 4:20, I'm pissed. They get out of the van and the Mom is toting a 35mm camera. No freaking way we are going to have another two hour farm tour with pictures today. I march my pissy butt outside and say "Sorry, we only have 10 min. I have a a bike ride." She looked all sad and disappointed. I lead them to the chick building so they can pick out their babies. They want me to take the brooding box and put it on the floor so evil twins can pick out chicks. I remove the heat lamp and place the box on the floor. I tell them they need to keep the door closed because baby chicks must stay warm. Evil twin is opening and closing the door over and over. I ask him to stop and he doesn't listen. Then, he pushes the door open too hard and starts falling out of the chick building. It was in slow motion, he falls to his knees and then starts rolling down the stairs and finally lands on his stomach. I thought "See, God's striking down on you kid!". He's mad and decides to pick out his chicks by their feet. He said out of the blue, "Your chickens are going to die." I know I shouldn't have said this but I couldn't control myself, "Yeah, I know, you probably will kill them." Have fun raising Jeffrey Dahmer Jr. Mom! I know, I shouldn't be so bad, I'm probably going to hell.

I sold them 15 chicks and made $30.00. I'd rather watch sparrows having sex and chill with toofless any day.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Guilty Pleasure: Toenails and Tea

There aren't too many things that I'm picky about in life. I'll get a cheap haircut, I make my own soaps, lotions and bath products and I'll buy clothes at WalMart. Two things that I splurge on are my toenails and loose leaf teas(oolong and green). I even have a special Dragon teacup and have been known to buy tea samples that cost over $100.00 per pound. I'm not your traditional farmer.

I think the toenail fetish started while I was going through chemo. I lost all my hair, so I couldn't play around with new hair styles. I lost my eyebrows and most of my eyelashes, so makeup looked weird. Clothes didn't really matter because without any hair and being sickly thin I looked like a boy. I had my toenails and when I would paint them, I felt pretty like a girl again. I called them my "jewels". I still remember how outraged I was when I was going into surgery and they made me remove my toenail polish. They said they needed to see my bare toenails because if they turned blue, I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I know I shouldn't have cared. My toenail polish was the only thing I had left, it made me feel feminine.

This toenail fixation has carried on. It is only my toenails, NO fingernail painting. I have short and yellowed(from the iodine in the goat's udder wash) fingernails. My hands are abused too much on a daily basis to look pretty. A few years ago I started going to an Asian woman for pedicures named Paula. Paula doesn't bullshit around and is a very honest person. My Mom refuses to go to her shop because Paula offended her by saying her ring was fake.(It was too) It sucks because my Mom would pay for my pedicures but I won't go anywhere else. Paula told me three years ago I would look better if I lost ten pounds.(she was right) She told my step daughter she was acting too masculine and boys don't like that. So you get the drift, she doesn't mince words.

I have never met anyone that can paint toenails like Paula though, she knows exactly what I like. She is truly a gifted artist. She really concentrates and puts lots of thought into her work. It reminds me of the eggs I paint. Every three weeks, I go to Paula and she creates a new design. We have developed a friendship so she will do special designs for me for free, I pay for the basic pedicure. I'll bring her eggs(her favorite are duck) and I made her a Buddha soap and incense for Christmas. We talk about her past in Vietnam. I sat and listened to her cry when her son died tragically a few months ago. When I got my toenails done a few days ago, she surprised me by sharing a pot of her own green tea with me. It was heavenly, pretty toenails and green tea at the same moment.

So, Paula's paintings are my guilty pleasure that I splurge on every three weeks. When I walk out of her shop with my freshly painted toes, I always feel more beautiful. I normally wear tennis shoes but when I take off my socks and see the polish it brings me happiness. The early mornings that I have to swim and feel cranky, I look at my toenails and snap out of the funk. What is your guilty pleasure?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Incredible Edible Egg

More chicks are hatching today. It got me thinking about silly questions I'm asked when I'm selling eggs at farmer's markets. Some facts about eggs:

A hen will start laying eggs at 20-25 weeks old.

A rooster isn't required for a hen to lay eggs. A rooster is required if you want fertile eggs. So, city folk that are worried about noisy roosters can have laying hens and still collect fresh eggs.

A hen will consume 3.8 pounds of feed to produce a dozen eggs.

It takes 25 hours for a hen to produce one egg.

If a hen doesn't get enough calcium, she will lay soft shelled eggs.

Egg color is determined by breed of chicken. There are over 100 breeds of chickens. Most white eggs bought at the store are from Leghorn crosses, brown grocery store eggs are usually Rhode Island Red crosses.

Hemoglobin produces brown toned eggs, bile produces the blue and green eggs, and no pigment in white eggs.

The healthier the hen, the darker the egg yolk. Yolk color is determined by diet. Our eggs have deep orange yolks because the chickens are fed a high quality feed and are free to forage on pasture. Most grocery store eggs are from caged hens that never go outside, their yolks are pale yellow.

A hen will lay the most eggs during her first and second year of life. As a hen gets older she lays less eggs but they are larger.

Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch in an incubator or by a hen. The temperature is kept at 99.5 and the humidity is increased the last 3 days of incubation. Higher humidity helps the chick pip through the shell membrane.

The stringy piece of material in the egg is not an embryo but a special protein called chalazae which acts as a shock absorber for the yolk so it doesn't break.

I have shipped hatching eggs as far away as California. Some of my eggs were hatched by monks in Utah and now the chickens live at the monastery. Do the hens cackle or chant?

Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has the perfect mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissue. Eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals.

I used to do a type of artwork on eggs called Pysanky. It's a Ukrainian method of waxing and dying eggs. It takes many hours of intricate, tedious work. Here's an egg I worked on at Christmas.

A fresh, boiled egg is almost impossible to peel. That's because the air cell, found at the large end of the shell between the shell membranes, increases in size the longer the raw egg is stored. As the contents of the egg contracts and the air cell enlarges, the shell becomes easier to peel.

For easy to peel boiled eggs, steam them. Place eggs in a steamer basket and steam for 20 min. on high. Even just laid eggs will peel easily.

A hen that's hatching her own eggs will turn them 50 times a day. The incubator turns the eggs every half hour. If not turned to a fresh position frequently during the early stages, the developing embryo touches the shell membrane and sticks to it causing abnormal growth.

A fact I just learned last night while the chicks were hatching. White eggs hatch first, then blue, then light brown and last dark brown. I think it's actually the size of the egg because the white eggs are the smallest.

More than you probably ever wanted to need to know about chickens or eggs.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Could Eat a Goat, Guinea or Goose

I have become an eating machine. I'm not real sure what is it, the increased training or PMS but I feel like my life is revolving around food. Or workout-eat-sleep. Last week, I rode over 100 miles, swam about 3 miles, ran 20 miles and lifted for three hours. By this weekend, I was starving. On Friday night, we went to a new German restaurant, it was yummah! I ate salad, schnitzel, red cabbage and spatzel. I proceeded to order an apple streudel to take with us. I did resist eating the streudel the entire car ride home, I may have drooled on the box. Once we walked in the door, I ripped open the box and ate streudel with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday night we went out again after my bike ride. We went to Ham's and I ate fried flounder, french fries and coleslaw. I was still hungry. So off to Sonic and I ordered a Hot Fudge Cake Sundae. I ate it all before we were half way home. Guess what? I was still hungry! I came home and ate three homemade oatmeal sunflower seed cookies and eight pieces of chocolate. I finally started chewing gum so I would stop eating. It's like my stomach is the great abyss. People jokingly ask if I have worms because they can't believe the amount of food I can consume. I know I am worm free because when I worm the goats, I accidentally worm myself. The wormer used on the goats is put on the back of their neck(like Frontline for dogs or cats) and absorbed through the skin. Somehow, I always get the stuff all over me. So, no I don't have worms!

I started to feel bad that I ate so much junk over the weekend. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and bought Tuna and Salmon steaks, fruits and veggies and brown rice. I grilled the fish, made stewed okra and tomatoes and boiled the brown rice. I ate a healthy dinner but wasn't satisfied. I broke out the ice cream, cookies and chocolate. Then had to chew my gum again to stop eating.

I brought a banana with me to the gym this morning. After swimming for an hour, I ate the banana, did weight training for my legs for an hour and ran five miles. I think that banana helped sustain my energy. Normally, I'd have to go home to eat then run later in the day. Now, I'm planning what else to bring to the gym to eat after swimming. I'll probably start dragging a cooler around with me for my beloved snacks. I just called my husband because I have a craving for macaroni and cheese and I need three different types of cheese to make the "gourmet" one. The boxed type will not fulfill my desire. If he doesn't pick up the cheddar, jack and mozzarella cheese on his way home from work, I may have a melt down. I can't stop thinking about this macaroni and cheese! I fear we will go bankrupt feeding me before I finish racing this season. Then, I'll start slaughtering the farm animals to feed myself. First I spent money on the bike, then the clothing, now the food. Sheesh, this sport is expensive!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Peep Peeps

I have been busy spring cleaning and training. Getting the baby chick brooders ready, replacing bulbs in heat lamps, tilling the soil in the brooder runs. Remember those eggs on the table in my very first post? They started hatching on Monday night, here are the first chicks of the season.

It's always exciting to watch the first chicks hatch. It's nice starting the year with a clean chick building. I love the smell of fresh pine shavings. I enjoy watching excited customers pick out their chicks and getting enthusiastic phone calls when they find their hens' first egg. I get sad phone calls too, when chickens are found killed by predators. I try to be sympathetic but farming has made me jaded. I am used to death now, in the beginning it would tear me up. I have to choose which male animals will live or die. It's almost like playing God. "This rooster will be spared because he has the best comb." In farming, the female animals are so much more important than males.

By July, I am tired of baby chicks. I am tired of milking goats. I am tired of cleaning coops in the 95 degree heat. Small scale farming is dying out. I have watched farmers my age come to a market one year and quit the next. They don't have the money to fertilize the fields or have enough saved for black plastic. In all honesty, my business is not profitable. If my husband didn't have a full time job, I wouldn't be able to support this farm. The soap making keeps my business afloat but most of that money is spent feeding the animals. It is emotionally and physically tiring work.

Why do I do it? Because my work is never boring. I may get tired but never bored. Something new happens or changes on a daily basis. Because I truly love animals, their beauty, their innocence. Because it's made me stronger mentally. Because I am protecting rare breeds of animals which one day may be forgotten. Because I am constantly learning. Maybe I got into farming because my Dad was in the Air Force when I was young. I moved around all the time and never had any animals that bonded with me. Farming "grounds" you. I have to be homebound. I can't travel around all the time because the animals are depending on me. I enjoy the security of knowing this is my place, my home.

The best parents on the farm are goats and geese. The geese are extremely devoted to their goslings. They are mean as a snake if you get too close to their young. The flock will form a barrier around the baby geese while they are grazing with the young in the middle. The geese have never lost any young to predators. They would risk their life to protect their offspring. I have a Mama goose that is setting on her eggs right now. She was smart and built the nest in a saw grass bush, it's sharp! She is like a snake too, here she is hissing at me because I'm in her space.

On the training front, I have been working hard. I have been following my training schedule too. Yesterday, I used my heart rate monitor for the first time. I was doing 6, 5 min. sprints in zone 5. Wow, I didn't know how difficult workouts could be using a heart monitor. I really pushed myself and got my heart rate to 194. I think my max heart rate is probably 200. I don't really understand heart rate yet. For example, a max heart rate of 200 sounds high. Is that bad?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Split Times Posted

Swim Time: 8:59 Novice rank #2, overall women's rank #50
The swim time surprised me a bit, I thought it would be much slower because I freaked out so bad.

T1-1:44 I thought I would hate feeling wet while riding my bike but I didn't even notice. Funny what happens when you are all psyched up, you just don't give a damn about comfort.

Bike Time:39:16 Novice rank #2, overall women's rank #45
I thought I was faster than that on the bike. Maybe because I enjoyed riding the most so it went by fast.

T2: 1:40 I don't know why my T2 was so long. I do remember fumbling around tying my shoes. I remember my husband was taking pictures and I was yelling "I can't tie my freaking shoes! Help me!"

Sucky Run Time: 26:56 Novice rank #2, overall women's rank #50
OUCH! This was painful to look at, I was running about 9 min. miles. Very sad..

I am consistent I came in #2 Novice and I was 2-2-2 for each leg
Came in #46 Overall women and again pretty consistent 50-45-50

Things I learned: I should have practiced running after riding my bike. I really wasn't prepared for my legs to feel like tree trunks. I felt like I was running in slo-mo.

I should have practiced running on different types of terrain, grass and gravel.

I should have practiced drinking fluids on my bike. I think I bonked on the run because I didn't drink anything during the race.

Things I question: Do you consume fluids during a sprint? Do you eat a gel?

I drank about 48oz of coffee before the race. My friend said this was a bad idea because coffee dehydrates you. Do you try to limit coffee intake pre-race? (It's wasn't my fault! Starbucks was giving out free coffee at the race! Maybe this is why it felt like my heart was racing.)

Don't know if I ate enough pre-race. One banana and three bites of a muffin. Do you try to eat some protein pre-race?

Next race is in Cheraw, SC- 4/29. I am going to learn from the mistakes I made this first race. It will be my first open water swim at Cheraw, I'm excited. It's only one week before White Lake Half. I won't go balls to the walls but I really wanted to get a open water race in before the Half.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

One Down, Seven To Go

I finished my first ever Triathlon and first race of the season today! It was an experience I'll never forget. I went through so many emotions- fear, competitiveness, joy, relief, calm, anticipation, excitement, dread.

Fear- My heart was racing out of my chest when we were lined up for the swim start. I was very scared about my first ever race. I swear, my heart rate was over 150bmp just waiting to swim. I don't know my split times yet but I don't think my swim was very good. I couldn't ever recover from freaking out and I didn't feel smooth. The pool was huge! As big as our small goat pasture! There were no black crosses on the walls and this screwed me up. I would slow down when I got near the unmarked wall. I think I have a depth perception problem. I was breathing nearly every stroke. I think I will enjoy the open water swims more. I passed four people on the swim.

Calm- Surprisingly, I felt the most comfortable on my bike, I was really thinking I could love the swim.. Hubby and I drove the bike course before the race, so I knew what to expect. I felt really good on the bike, maybe it was the jersey! I passed the first woman novice that started the swim in the middle of the bike course. Bike shop friends told me not to "blow myself out" on the bike. Also, stretch my legs out one mile before finish. #1 novice swim lady passed me, the last hill on the bike and I let her. She was breathing really hard. I was trying to listen to bike shop friends. At that moment I realized I was competitive. I was determined to chase her down on the run.

Dread-I saw the run course before the race too. I dreaded it! It was mostly grass and gravel roads. The gravel road was a hill, we had to do it twice! Out and back. I chased down swim lady because she started walking. I think she blew herself out. I'm glad I listened to bike shop friends!

Excitement- Me and Jessica before the race. I am so glad I had someone to help me through the race. Jessica was a wonderful friend. My husband yelling at me every time I would take a breath at the wall of the swim, "Maguai". The ladies handing out water- yelling at the bottom of the gravel hill "475- You rock girl, you look great!" The lady with her child "Way to go 475, you are almost done be strong at the finish!" I smiled at her. "Keep smiling your beautiful smile. " she yelled back. These experiences were all exciting to me and were very encouraging. I can't say enough about the volunteers and spectators.

Relief- When the run was over. I thought I was going to throw up the last mile. I also broke out in a cold sweat and goose bumps.You see, I didn't drink anything during the race. I was too busy on the bike ride and I tried to drink a cup of water running but choked. I learned a lesson, I need to drink on the bike. I think my run time suffered.

Joy- When I crossed the finish line. A few times in the race I felt doubt within myself. I would not stop or quit. When I crossed the finish line and saw tears in my husbands' eyes. When I felt so happy to be healthy and alive to experience this moment. When I placed second in women's novice and won a red pull-over vest. When Jessica won third in her category.

My time was 1:18. I don't know the split times yet, they'll be posted Sunday night. Swim lady didn't beat me. I forgot, this race is based on time- not who's in front. The #1 female novices' time was 1:15, she started behind me. I think the 1st Elite woman's time was 1:03. She was so great in the swim, I timed her at 5:55 but that didn't count running to the mat. I spoke with her husband and she swam in college.(she had two beautiful little girls too) She came out of the pool 1st! She beat all the men!

I screamed "You Go Girl!"

Anticipation- Do I have to spell everything out for you?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ready As I'll Ever Be

Except I still need to pack. I'll do that after my last swim this morning. I practiced transitions yesterday at the bike shop. It was good to set everything up so I have an idea what I'll be doing. I still feel like I look like a spaze trying to do transitions, I feel like I'm in a cartoon character. Bike shop owner gave me a bike jersey to borrow for the race. I feel embarrassed to wear it though. It's all professional looking with his race sponsors. It's bright red and white, it does match my bike at least. I'm a novice though and I don't think I rate to wear this nice jersey. I don't want people to think "That slow chick sucks, why does she have that nice jersey on?" My husband will have a fit if I don't wear the damn thing, he said it looks "hot". I'll wear it to please him because he's a great man. I think he's more excited than I am about this race. He's my #1 fan, I've never had someone love me so much.

I decided I'll just swim in my Tri shorts and swim top. I'll put on the jersey I don't rate to wear during T1. Then, take it off to run since it will be warm. The less clothes I have to worry about changing into the better off I'll be. I was going to wear a baseball cap to run but I normally don't run with a cap. Bike shop said it wasn't a good idea, the cap may annoy me during the run. So I'll be running with Buckwheat bike helmet head.

The swim times were posted last night. It's so cool that I know I'll be swimming at exactly 10:37:20. These triathlons seem to be organized well. I'm swimming close to last, I guess all the novices go last. I'm relieved about that, the goats probably aren't. They will have to wait over 24 hours to be milked. So another reason to race fast is for the goats. We don't want their udders to explode! Kidding! They will only be fed hay after the last milking before I leave this afternoon. If they eat only hay, they won't produce as much milk.

I'm a little uncertain what I should eat in the morning since I'll start so late. I thought we'd start at 8am so I'd just have some coffee and toast. I think I'd need something more than that to eat.

I will know someone at the race. A girl that sometimes rides in our group is racing at MAP too. She has been really helpful and went over the transitions will me too. She has been doing Tri's for four years. She gave me the best advice "You will only have one "first" triathlon. You will want to remember this one, try to enjoy it." So I'm gonna Tri!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tunes that Pump You Up Pre-Race

I was going to burn a CD and put some new tunes on my MP3 player for this Saturday's race. What songs do you like to listen to before a race? The top three songs that motivate and inspire me to kick ass are:

Only the Strong: Flaw
Right Now: Van Halen
Enemy: Sevendust

I'm getting more and more nervous. Why oh why did I give up alcohol for the New Year? I could really use a drink or five tonight.

Swam 1,500 this morning then ran four miles. I trained my triceps, biceps and back today. This will be the last lifting I'll do this week until the race.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming

My husband forgot to set the alarm clock when he came to bed last night. I normally get up at 5:15 on swim mornings so I'm in the water by 6:00. I woke up at 5:50, I hate feeling rushed. I almost decided to stay in bed and swim later. I knew my swim friend wanted to time my 500 this morning. This made me want to stay in bed more because I have the fear of the "in your face time facts". I put on my new flying sheep swim suit from Splish and headed out the door wishing it was "Sheepy Time".

I got to the pool at 6:20 and did a few warm up laps. My shoulders felt tired from running and lifting. When swim friend said "You ready for me to time your 500?" I tried to talk her out of it. "You don't have to time me this morning, I know I'm late and I know you want to get your drills in." She insisted she didn't mind. I was scared because the race this weekend is in a pool. I had to submit a time to be seeded when I registered. I made up a time because this race fills up within a day after the New Year. I thought 9:30 was a good time, it sounded good when I signed up. This morning it sounded too fast. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of swim friends.

I was supposed to have lap cards but because I woke up late, I forgot them. Swim friend said she would put her hand in the water on my last lap. I started off taking a breath every 4-6 strokes. I wasn't counting my laps but around lap 6, I was having to take a breath every other stroke. I kept waiting to see swim friends' hand in the water. I started to think she miss counted, I had to be on my last lap. I was trying to look at the clock, it felt like I had been swimming for over 10 min. Then I started to think about Dora on finding Nemo' "Just keep swimmin', just keep swimmin', just keep swimming!!" On lap 8, still no hand and breathing hard- Dora wasn't cutting it anymore. So, I thought about the times I was in pain. I decided even though I was getting breathless, I have been through worse. Only the strong survive. Funny what our mind does to help us succeed.

On my way back, I see swim friends hand waving at me. It was the most beautiful hand waving that I have ever seen. I could hear my swim friends as I touched the wall and took a breath telling me to "GO goat girl, last lap, you're doing great!"I forced my legs to kick harder and took a breath every 4 strokes again. Amazing what a little encouragement can do!

I swam 500 in 8:02. I was very relieved! I was scared I submitted a time that was too fast. Now, I'll have to worry about passing people because it's too late to submit a new time. I feel more confident now though, I rather be faster than too slow. I learned a few things with this 500 practice. I probably need to breath more often when I first start out even if I don't need the air. I also was depending on the wall too much. When I got to the wall, I would hold on and take a BIG breath. I hesitated on the wall too long. I'll practice on improving these things the next couple days.

I'm still concerned about what to wear for this race. I was going to just wear my bathing suit and pull on my tri shorts when I got on the bike. I'm afraid only a bathing suit top will be too cold on the bike. Any ideas?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Help Me Become A Smart Ass

This guy that is a great cyclist loves to piss me off. He says people do triathlons because they aren't good enough to compete in a single sport. I need a stinging come back because I'm tired of just ignoring him!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

First Sprint in a Week, Sounds "Scarwy"

The last time my 2 yro nephew visited, my Mom said she offered him shrimp with the shells still on for dinner. Wilson looked at her like a cannibal, "Eat that? No way it's scarwy!" If you think about it, unshelled shrimp is pretty scary looking. All those little legs and the sharp tail, weird things we eat.

My very first sprint is on March 11th. I know I can finish but I'm worried about others' expectations. I feel like people think I'll do really well and I'm afraid I'll disappoint them. The other night in bed, my husband was rubbing my back and I was just about asleep. Then he asked out of the blue "Are you getting excited about the race? I'm excited and I'm not even the one racing!" Nothing like going from an almost peaceful slumber to wide awake in five seconds. Thanks a lot hun for snapping me out of la-la-land real quick. I couldn't fall back asleep because I was stressing about my first tri race. It's gonna be "scawry"

I have entered all races this season as a novice, with the hope of people will help me. I'm worried about transitions. I'm worried about what to wear. I'm worried I'll go too hard early in the sprint and burn out during the run. I'm worried I'll get lost. I honestly just want to get it over with so I'll understand what triathlons are all about. The next one will be more fun because I'll be more comfortable. I remember when I was on swim team, I hated the pre-race feeling. Waiting on the bench for my race, I'd get these horrible butterflies in my stomach. I was so nervous and I didn't want to talk because my mind was too busy chattering. Once I dove off the block, it all disappeared. I thought of nothing but swimming my heart out. I could only hear cheering when my head would pop out of the water for a breath. All my worries were gone and before I knew it the race was finished.

I am always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time. Anna Freud