Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cheraw Sprint Results

What a difference ten weeks of training can make. When I finished my first triathlon, MAP, I was gasping for air like a large mouthed bass. I was so scared when I started that swim, I thought I was going to drown in a swimming pool! I was calm during this swim start and I was talking to people during the run at Cheraw!

I was having a difficult time deciding wet suit or not at the swim start. Some other ladies told me to wear it, that it helps you go faster. When I was walking to my van to get it, I saw my husband and Snaggle! They drove to SC early that morning and surprised me! They couldn't come because they both had to work but it turns out they had the day off. It really lifted my spirits knowing I'd have my own fan club!

I got my wetsuit on and headed to the swim start. This was a small race, so there were only three waves. Men, women and novices. I went last, with the other handful of novices. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared about my first open water race. I had little moths in my stomach when they said 15 seconds till my swim start but once I jumped in the water, I thought of nothing. That was until I made my turn around buoy #1. The water got shallow and I was swimming through aquatic plant life called hydrilla. Every time my arm went down to pull, it would get caught in the hydrilla. I had hydrilla stuck on my goggles. I think people started freaking out when they were swimming through this because I had to dodge swimmers that were floating on their backs. I don't think they even wanted to look at it. It just made me swim faster because I wanted to get out of the crap and the life that lived in it. My goggles fogged up twice so I had to stop and get them wet. I think I did pretty well sighting for my first open water swim, I didn't go off course. Someone was there to unzip my wetsuit when I got out of the water. 750 meter swim time- 14:22

T1 went fine even with my wetsuit on. I used my feet to pull it off my legs. I had to run my bike up a grassy hill. I was worried I would get mud stuck in my cleats and not be about to clip in. All was well and off Clifford and I went. T1 1:37

We drove the bike course Friday night. Let me tell you, this bike course makes the last 15 miles at White Lake look like heaven. The bike course was the worst I have ever seen. Riding out of the park, it was a packed gravel road, it was pothole city the entire course. My fear was crashing my bike and hurting myself before White Lake. I was also worried about hurting Clifford. If I popped a tire, I knew I'd be out of the race. (I'm going to tire changing school this week, Nancy!) I took it easy on the bike. The course was hilly, so I was only in my aero bars 35% of the race. I drank my fluids on the bike this time(unlike MAP) and stayed alert, watching for holes and bikers that took up the entire lane. Jessica and Meg started ahead of me on the swim and I caught up with them on the bike. I decided to joke with them when I passed them and screamed, "Novice on your left! Move over you bitch!" I think I scared the shit out of Jessica because she jumped off the bike seat and laughed. I usually like the bike leg the best but I just wanted off the bike in one piece this race. 15 mile bike- 53:01

T2- When I got off the bike my husband(who thinks he's my coach) was at the dismount line yelling at me to "Hurry up, get off that bike and run!" He knew I was disappointed with my T2 time at MAP, I was dicking around and watching other people. Jessica gave me a pair of Yanks, the elastic shoes laces. I didn't have to tie my shoes which helped my time. I grabbed my number and ran off into the woods. Snaggle ran along with me down the chute screaming, "You fucking rock, run, Mojo, run!" I felt like Forrest Gump for a moment. She said someone got mad at her for her colorful language. She just got caught up in the excitement and forgot to watch her mouth. It made me laugh! It's good to be smiling on the run. T2- 1:08

I was glad I'd been doing some trail running when I saw this run course. It was through the woods, over a wood boardwalk and through sand. I didn't really feel like I got into the run until mile 2. Ya'll would have been proud of me because I had a quick response to a lady on the run. When I passed her on the run, she looked at my calf and said "You are a novice and your flying past me like a little bird?" I replied, "Yes, this is my second tri and first open water swim. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!" I was amazed I was talking during the run, I guess all the training for the Half has paid off. When I crossed the finish line, I wasn't breathing hard at all. I was more interested in getting back to the finish chute to watch Jessica and Meg finish, they were close to each other when I saw them on the run. 3.1 mile run- 22:58

My final time was 1:33:04. I won first novice and got a plaque, it was a small race. Overall results 15/40 Overall swim 10/40 Overall bike 17/40 Overall run 18/40

My favorite part of the race was watching Jessica and Meg at the end. I realized I like to watch people compete. I have never seen Jessica run so fast in my entire life. It was a sprint to the finish and it was exciting. I kinda had wished I had someone to compete against because I didn't push myself this race. I probably pushed 70% effort. I saw Jessica push 100% at the end and she said she wanted to throw up. She got 1st Athena too but I'll let her tell ya about that. It was a thrilling finish, I want to dry heave too. :) Guess I'll have to wait until White Lake.

Friday, April 28, 2006

See Ya Later, Alligator

Jessica and I are getting ready to leave for Cheraw, SC. I bought her this race for a birthday present. This will be my second tri and my first open water race. We used to go camping at Cheraw State Park and I saw alligators in the lake a few years ago. Pray that this sinner of a goatlady doesn't get eaten!

Anyway, they say the water temperature is 73 degrees, doubt the gators will be too active. I don't really like wearing a wet suit. Do I wear the wet suit or not? I'll call home tonight and have my husband tell me what you experienced tri-bloggers say. Thanks for any advice! I'll give you a report tomorrow evening!

My Goats Are Heathenish?

The other morning at the gym, a woman asked me where I worked. I told her about farming, raising goats and making soap. She got all serious when I told her I had 20 Oberhasli dairy goats. She asked me if I knew that goats were evil. I get asked silly questions on a daily basis. Like, do goats eat garbage? I thought this was another silly question.

I told her that goats are not evil, they just have their own plans. She gets more concerned, "Your goats will go to hell when Jesus returns. The shepherd will separate the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. The goats will be headed for eternal damnation."

My goats can be stubborn at times but they are not going to hell. I told her I'd talk to them about getting saved. If they agreed, I'd baptize them in the plastic swimming pool that I use for young waterfowl. She looked at me like I was the crazy one. Whatever!

I started researching this when I got home. I guess goats are considered evil because they are ornery and do their own thing. Sheep are gentle and obedient, they follow the rules. I thought God loved all creatures when he crammed them into Noah's Ark. Why did he allow the goats on board if they were Satan?

The reason I like the goats so much is probably because I'm so hard headed too. I can't tell you how many people have told me I'm hard headed, ornery, difficult and disobedient- especially my father. My dad was a general in the Air Force and I think he expected me to obey to him like a soldier. I think there were times when he wanted to throw me across the room when I'd look at him and say "NO!". Not many people in his life told him "no" and this would make him livid. "Why can't you just mind?", he'd asked me. "Because I have my own mind." was my response. Still today, my husband says my favorite word is "no".

I could never be a sheep, I cannot follow someone else. Guess that means I'll see ya in hell my little goaties! I'll be dancing with Pan, playing my flute.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Butterflies Are Going To Kill Me

I have this love for butterflies ever since I read this passage in the Tao. All the lovely butterflies have been flying around lately and I fear for their lives. I watch them happily floating around the pasture while I milk the goats. Sometimes, when I'm lucky, they'll land on me for a moment. You don't know how many times I've almost crashed my van trying not to hit the butterflies. When I was on my long bike ride the other day, I saw so many that had been hit. Their little wings would be slowly fluttering while they died. In honor of the beautiful butterflies:

We should remember the innocent in life. The delicate, the gossamer, the beautiful. A butterfly lives for a few days. It comes into the world with very little reason except to fly and mate. It does not question its destiny. It does not engage in any alchemy to extend its lifespan or to change its lot. It goes about its brief life happily.

A butterfly is always attracted to the beautiful. Whether it is the sun on a blade of grass or the edge of a deep ruby rose, the butterfly spends its brief time dwelling on loveliness.
Even the angry and insane leave the butterfly alone. Why can we not learn to honor the innocence in one another? Maybe we spend too much time dwelling on the ugly. In the name of practicality and realism, we think about strategy, defense, territory, gain, and advantage. We are too late to be like the butterfly. But at least we can honor it, and move as closely as possible to its simple existence.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Sound Like a Baby Elephant

I had to run on the treadmill tonight because of rain. I never run on a treadmill! It was embarrassing, I sounded like a lonely elephant running to find it's herd. WHOMP,WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP

I had to turn the volume up to 30 on my mp3 player just so I couldn't hear myself run. I had to do intervals too. When I cranked that puppy up 8.2mph, people started looking at me like they were annoyed by the sprinting elephant.

Why am I so abnormally loud on the dreadmill? What's wrong with my stride? Nobody else was THAT loud.

Sobering Solitude

"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past week, I have wanted to be alone. I feel like I have nothing to say which is very unlike me. Maybe because I feel like the more I share with others', the more ammunition they have to hurt or judge me.

A few weeks ago, I was on a long ride with someone and she asked me how many hours I worked on the farm. I replied, "Yesterday, I only had to work for two hours. It was an easy day." She broke out in rant about I'm a better athlete than she is because I don't have a real job. She has a desk job from 8am-4:30pm. It makes her angry that I'm lifting weights in the morning when she has to go to work. It makes her mad when I say my house is dirty because I should have time to clean it. It makes her mad that I have the time to cook meals for my family. She told me she rants about me to her husband. I was shocked. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't believe the amount of hatred spewing from her mouth. I said nothing, just listened and continued riding my bike.

She's continued to belittle me and my work to other people. It's shaken me a bit, I started to question if I am good enough. If my work means enough. If my job is real enough. I'm not going to even go into all the stuff I do on the farm on a weekly basis because it will make me feel like I'm trying to prove myself. I'll just say, my job never ends. I don't get to leave the office at 4pm. My work is always here, even at 3am if a goat is in labor. I don't complain about it because this was my choice.

At first, I was very hurt by the comments. Why would a so called friend say such things? Then, I was very angry. I just kept thinking about beating her races. Now, I just feel sad. I feel sad for her because she must very unhappy with her life. She must be unhappy with the choices she has made. Because quite frankly, where we are in life today is from the choices we have made in the past. The next time she says something cruel like, "You have time to cook because you can go to the grocery store everyday." I won't attack her but I'll ask her a simple question. "Do you feel better about yourself when you belittle me?"

I guess this experience has changed me. I'm the type of person that would share my thoughts, feelings and dreams with others. Maybe I was naive and trusted too much. I went for a two and a half hour bike ride yesterday by myself. Normally, I would dread a long ride alone. I would be afraid and lonely. My ride alone yesterday was great, I was with nature. The sights and smells kept things interesting. When it was time to meet up with the group for another hour of riding, I wasn't excited like I thought I would be. It can feel like a challenge to talk and share myself. I'm tired of opening up and being vulnerable. Because in the end, like on race day, I'll be in the game alone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Giving and Compassionate: Ben

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. Charles Du Bos

Ben, you make me so proud. I'll never forget the day you graduated from boot camp at Parris Island. I didn't know if you'd make it because you are more loving and sensitive like Snaggle. You made it through boot camp and surpassed all of my expectations. When you left for Djibouti, Africa I was scared but at the same time, my heart was bursting with pride. You were about to make the ultimate sacrifice for your country.

Through all of this, you were able to keep your loving, sensitive and giving heart. You were always one of the first children to hug me and tell me how much you loved me. Still today, when you are able to come home, you will hug me and tell me how proud you are of my work on the farm and training. You never act like you are better than others or have sacrificed more. I know you have though. I almost feel embarrassed when you tell me you are proud because I don't think I deserve it.

When I think of you, it makes me stronger. I am going to carry you with me when I run my race at White Lake. I bet you were hotter than I'll ever know while you were in Africa. I'm sure you have been more tired than I know when you had to fly night missons. You have probably been dirtier and have sweat more than I will during my race. I'm sure you wished for a glass of cold water in the desert and knew real thirst. Every time I got to talk to while in Africa, you never complained once. Not one time did I ever hear any bitching come out of your mouth. Amazing!

I'm so sorry you won't be in Ohio with us this weekend for your brothers wedding but you will be in my heart. We love you very much Benji! I don't think you'll ever know how proud your Dad and I are of you. Ooh-Rah! Stay strong you little Devil Dog!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Are Triathlete's Head Cases?

I have been pondering this question for a couple of days. I think it's because the Half is getting closer and I'm questioning myself. In the beginning, I wanted to do the Half Ironman to prove my oncologist wrong. It's become much more than that now.

When I was running around Camp Clearwater this weekend, I saw people having fun. They were napping on the beach, playing in the water or drinking beer on the porch. My friends and I were running around in the 95 degree heat. I started thinking "What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I doing this?" Last year, I would be laying on my blanket on the beach and snoozing in the sun. I could be happy as a clam because I didn't know any better.

I sometimes feel like people aren't always happy about this new "Tri Mojo". The other day, Snaggle asked me if we'd ever have an X-Box marathon again. In the winter of 2004, we were snowed in during Snag's winter break. An X-box marathon consisted of playing The Simpsons video game for 8 hours straight. I'm not kidding! My ass hurt from sitting on the floor in front of the TV for so long. We ate junk food and played X-Box all day. When I think back, I laughed really hard. Especially when we were trying to drive the car. It was fun and I didn't feel bad about sitting in front of the TV all day, because I didn't know any better.

My mother-in-law has a place at Camp Clearwater, that's were my friends and I are staying for the Half. When I talked to my MIL about the weekend, she told me she didn't want to come down until after I started the race. She didn't want to be there to see me pre-race. It scares her too much and she thinks she'll have an anxiety attack. When I tell her how far the race is, she gets a little spastic. She'll ask "Why hun, do you want to do this to your body?"

I know I'm not doing this just because a doctor told me I can't. Part of it is for myself too, to see if I'm tough enough mentally. Now that I'm training so much, I'd say part of it's an addiction. I'd venture to guess that lots of triathletes have an addictive personality, have been through a traumatic experience in life or are over achievers.

You see, now I know better. I know the feeling I have on days when I have trained for 4 or more hours a day. I know what it feels like to feel REALLY tired. I know the feeling of disappointment when I miss a workout. I know the natural high I can get from working hard. I know the pride I feel when I flex my bicep and it's the biggest bulge ever on my arm. I don't know if I can go back to my old self. The old self that was okay with just living. I miss being that simple sometimes.

I worry about what will happen when the Half Ironman is over. All the races I have after the half are sprints. Will they be enough? Will my desire to train continue to grow? If it doesn't, will I turn into a fat cow that sits on the floor, eating bon-bons while playing X-Box all day? Or should I think about training for "The Full Monty" aka Ironman 2008?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Bane of my Existence

I was lying in bed last night thinking how much my life has changed in one year. Last year at this time, I couldn't run one mile without walking. Last year at this time, I had an Australian Cattle Dog named Lexi. Lexi was the bane of my existence and almost drove me to the nut house.

Lexi came into my life because I wanted a herding dog that would help me with the goats. I sometimes need help to worm them or move them to a new pasture. I had heard cattle dogs were tough and that they were excellent herders. I needed a tougher dog because the goats are smart and know when dogs are push-overs. The goats will sometimes chase and head butt my Dobermans. Cattle Dogs can take kicks from a thousand pound cattle and keep working.

I found a breeder of ACD's in North Carolina and waited for Lexi for months. She was going to be my belated Birthday present. I went to the breeders home and visited Lexi's parents. There were some clues that should have warned me about this breed. First, all the dogs were in kennel runs. This can be normal if you have a lot of dogs, intact males and bitches in heat. Which the breeder did. Their water dishes were made of cement blocks. I asked about this and the breeder just told me it was so they didn't spill their water.

Lexi was finally born and the breeder sent me this picture of her. Who could resist this adorable face? She looked like a baby bear. I was so excited to bring her home. I got out the puppy crate, bought her new toys, made her home made dog food. I couldn't wait to train my new helper.

Things went pretty well the first week that Lexi came home. She did good with crate and potty training. She ate well and was very healthy. My Dobermans were really bent out of shape about this new puppy. Lexi would try to play with them and they wanted no part of her games. I think they were trying to warn me because they never would accept her the entire time she lived on the farm.

By week three, Lexi became more comfortable with her surroundings. She started eating chicken shit. Around the farm there is a lot of bird shit. There was no stopping her poop fetish and I didn't want anymore puppy kisses. The Dobermans acted like she was the most disgusting creature on the planet. She became more persistent with trying to play with the Dobermans, jumping up on them and biting their lips. They were patient and didn't bite her head off. After all, she was just a puppy and we thought it was just a stage.

When Lexi was 12 weeks old, she started her metamorphosis of becoming the devil. She didn't listen and when she was corrected she would try to bite your arm off. She was never still, you couldn't hold and pet her fur. She had two gears- crazed, rabid dog or sleeping at night. I would try to find outlets for this energy because when I trained the Dobes, I knew a tired puppy was a good puppy. I would play ball with her but then she'd get bored and want to chase chickens. Then, she would get corrected and she'd lash out. After trying to bite by arms off, I'd have to get away from her to cool off. She would know I was mad when I'd lock her on the porch and go inside. She'd look at me through the window and tear the screen off.

At 20 weeks old, my life was hell. The Dobermans wouldn't let Lexi even touch them anymore. They were so upset by Lexi, they started withholding their love from me. Lexi was literally bouncing off the walls when I let her inside. I have a hole in the wall to prove it! She'd run circles around the living room on the furniture, knocking the recliner into the wall. Remember the cement water bowls in the breeders' kennels? Well, Lexi wouldn't just drink out of the water bowl. She would swim in it and splash every bit of water out. I was constantly mopping up the floor and refilling bowls. Finally, she could only have water outside.

I started calling her "Experiment 666" and saying she'd never die. I'd take her down to the pond every evening to swim because this was the only thing she could do without harming something or someone. She loved to swim but she did this violently too. She liked to attack the splashes she made. She'd bite the splashes and consume so much water, she'd pee gallons of clear fluid after her hourly swim. One evening, I asked my stepson to take Lexi to the pond for a swim. When he brought her back, he was concerned. He said when he was driving her down to the pond in the golf cart, she jumped out. He thought he killed her because she landed on her head but she got up and started biting the tires. I told Nick not to worry because she'd NEVER DIE!

She started attacking the animals. I caught her trying to catch chickens and would correct her. We knew Lexi could never be trusted alone with the livestock. One evening, I took a bath and asked my husband to keep an eye on Lexi because I let her inside. When I finished my bath, the house was quiet so I knew something was wrong. Lexi never was quiet. I asked my husband "Where is Lexi?" He said she was right there a little while ago, maybe she went out the dog door to potty. At that moment, Lexi comes flying through the dog door with a chicken in her mouth. I start screaming at her and she drops the chicken. Remarkably, the bird is still alive and runs around house trying to find safety. I put Lexi in her crate and get the chicken out from under my bed. When I take the chicken back outside, I find the massacre. She killed seven birds and threw them into the ornamental pond in our backyard.

I don't need PETA people on my ass about this but I lost it and tried to kill Lexi twice. The first time was when she was in her pen, dug out and caught my favorite Exchequer Leghorn hen. I caught her in the act and tried to strangle her to death. I don't beat animals but in that moment I thought strangling was okay. Snaggle, my stepdaughter was outside and stopped me. I was crying and screaming, "Why are you so bad? I'm gonna kill you! You are Satan!" Snaggle took Lexi out of my grasp because she said I'd regret it. She didn't think that for long because then Lexi bit Snaggle. Lexi never would die, I tell you! The other time was when she bit a baby goats' tail off through the fence. She had a leash and collar on so I just strangled her by hanging her in the air. My husband stopped me that time. He told me that I was starting to scare him. He'd never seen me act so angry and violent. He was probably thinking he was going to have to take me to a nut house if Lexi stayed in our lives. He probably was right, I was starting to crack.

We placed Lexi on a farm with only horses. She started attacking the horses too. The new owners have to have a shock collar on her at all times. This was the last picture I took of Lexi, I did manage to teach her to sit. I feel bad sometimes when I think of her, she was the only thing I have ever quit. She was too much for me. This may be one of the reasons I'm scared to have children. I would probably give birth to a human Lexi and go to jail for child abuse.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hot as a Pile of Chicken Poo

In North Carolina, it seems like we miss spring. Mother Nature just skips over that season. I went to White Lake again on Saturday to practice and it was 95 degrees. It's only mid-April! Yesterday was 92!

Amy, Meg and I got to the lake around 11am. I kinda felt silly putting on a wet suit because there were little kids swimming in the water without any protection. I doubt wet suits will be legal the day of the race if the weather stays so hot. Here we are, in the boa constrictor suits looking all professional.

On Friday, Meg and I went to Jordan Lake to practice open water swimming. That was a new experience. Jordan Lake is nothing like White Lake. You can actually see things such as turtles, algae, wood and trash while swimming in White Lake. Being able to see things helps my mind while swimming in open water. I guess it stays busy and occupied "Oh, I see a Bud Light can! Good-bye Bud Light can!" I feel like I'm moving and going somewhere. At Jordan Lake, the only thing I see is green water. I started feeling a wee bit panicky when I got into the middle of Jordan Lake. "I can't see anything..I'm going to drown.. I'm too far out.."Maybe it was the dead catfish I saw on the shore. I felt like an arm was going to reach up and grab my ankle and pull me under. I had to start singing Mindy Smith's "One Moment More" in my head because it's the most calming song I have heard lately.

Meg, Amy and I swam about 40 min. at White Lake. I really don't know why they have their arms over their heads' in this picture. I look weird though with my arms down. Like I'm not part of the shaved armpit club.

After our swim, I took off my wetsuit and got back into the lake. I'm glad I did too. I decided I'm not going to wear a wet suit for this race. It squeezes me too tight, I don't like how it feels around my neck. The wet suit prevents me from getting good reach. It feels like it pulls down on my shoulders. I will lose time trying to get the damn thing off too.

After our swim, we did the sprint course on our bikes. I'm happy to report I haven't had any problems with my bike lately. I'm comfortable with the aero bars. The only thing I'm nervous about on the bike is nutrition. I know I've got to eat during the bike course but I'm not sure what and how. I'd like to eat a cheeseburger, I actually thought about having my husband hand me off one. Then, I thought I could have a basket installed on the bike for my groceries. I'm not so good at riding and eating at the same time. I can't be spreading mustard on a burger while driving. I'll have to keep it simple. I'm anti-Gu though. You'll rarely see me squeeze that stuff into my mouth. I almost feel ill when I see people eat the chocolate ones. It looks like they are eating watered down poop. I want real food!

When we finished the bike ride, it was around 2pm. It was hotter than goat balls. Did I mention that I didn't wear any sunscreen? This may have been one reason I felt so hot too. I had to run for 50 min. I'm running around Camp Clearwater, it's a little trailer park at White Lake. There are toddlers driving golf carts. I'm serious, I saw a 4 year old kid driving a golf cart! It's golf cart heaven. Teens pimpin' around in golf carts with their cd players. Nascar fans driving around in golf carts smoking and drinking beer. I had to keep alert so I didn't get killed by a golf cart. I'd amuse myself by running through sprinklers that were watering lawns. I kept running past pre-teens that were listening to Tim McGraw and Nelly's song "Over and Over Again". Country meets rap which sounds like crap. I was overheating and feeling grouchy. I thought I may have a meltdown and grab their CD players and start smashing them "Over and Over Again". When I finished the run, I was bright red. I can match my bike! Stick a fork in me and flip me over because I'm done!

I have this bizarre craving for beer when I workout over three hours a day. It's all Jessica's fault. When we finished at White Lake, this smoking and drinking golf cart dude stops to talk to us. I told Amy that I had a beer craving a few min. earlier. She said "Look, that guy has beer in his golf cart." My mouth starts watering and I look at the open beer bottles in the golf cart, then at him. I almost asked him for a sip but I see he has cold sores on his mouth. My beer craving vanished, I don't want herpes. I settled for water until I got home. At home, I opened 3 herpe-free bottles of Yuengling. I was still burnt but when you have a buzz, you can be a lobster and still smile.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I'm Not a Saleswoman Either

If I had a job in sales I would starve to death. I suck at selling things, even my own products. I enjoy going to the first farmer's markets' of the season then I don't want to go anymore. I hate standing behind my table and having to smile at everyone that walks by even on days I don't feel happy. I really don't like small talk either. I have made some great friends since I've been at market the last two years. My favorite vendor is tomato man.

Tomato man is an older hippy that only sells his greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers. That's it- tomatoes and cucumbers. You should see the lines he has at his table every market! He has been doing this for 20 years and has a loyal customer base. I think he told me he sold over 600 pounds of tomatoes in the three hour span of market. Tomato man kinda took me under his wing when I first started selling. He'll save me a spot so I can park next to him at market. I think he does this so he can sell my products for me. He knows I suck at sales. He would try to give me advice at the beginning such as- smile at people and say "hi", offer people soap samples or say something nice about their kids. I think he's figured out I'm a lost cause because now he just sells my shit for me when he isn't busy with his own customers. I think tomato man could sell a flea ridden dog if you asked him. He'll say "You've got to try her eggs, they are the best eggs in the world. The yolks are the color of oranges and stand high." or "We only use her shampoo bars, they last over 50 washes and my wife has color treated hair." He probably sells 20% of my income, I'm afraid one day he will ask for commission.

I tried to think about why I hate sales so much. I think it's because I hate bullshit. I saw this little girl at market yesterday dressed up in a Cinderella costume. She was running around(tiara and all) thinking she was a princess and her costume was getting filthy. One of the vendors said "Oh my what a lovely dress, could I borrow it?" Number one, the dress wasn't so lovely. Number two, there is no way this vendor could fit into this 4 year olds dress. Number three, I don't think the Mom should let the kid be Cinderella when it's not Halloween. Halloween won't be special if you can be Cinderella every day. I can't just say things just to make a sale, I don't want it that much.

I also need to go to a smart ass/quick comeback school. I am not good at thinking of witty things to say when people are rude. For example, I sell bath bombs in big glass jars. People can choose which ones they want and I wrap them up. Some guy comes up to my table and says he wants to buy a "couple" of bath bombs. I say, "So you want like three of the "rise and shine" ones?" He responds "Three? I said a couple. You must be kinky." Okay, this is when I about lose it. I want to hurl a bathbomb at his dome piece and yell "You perverted shithead. Just give me a number!" But oh no, I've got to smile and wrap his bathbomb while he's having some sick fantasy in his mind. I come home and tell my husband about bathbomb manage-a-trios man. My husband rattles off ten stinging comebacks in a matter of seconds. I'm slow in the witty department.

Because I was rushing to get to market yesterday, I left my bike in the van. A male customer started talking to me about his younger days and bike riding. He happened to come right when we were closing and I am so ready to leave. I'm packing up my stuff and half listening because I don't really like small talk. He says "Did you hear me? What's the PSI on your tires?" I start laughing because it's the funniest question anyone has asked me all day. Maybe he thought I was a dipshit and didn't know. Who really would care about my tires and PSI? Once again, I was racking my brain for a witty response but "120 psi" was all that came out.

People really wear me out. When I get home from market on Thursday nights, it's difficult for me to talk. I'm tired of talking. I make my husband answer the phone and take messages. He understands about my people problems. He'll always have a meal prepared for me on Thursday nights and a bottle of red wine opened. I usually drink a lot too on Thursday nights, then I start talking again.

Just so it's clear: Mary Kay would never hire me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Priceless Snaggle

Blogging can make me feel selfish sometimes because I'm talking about me, me, me. I have decided once a week, I'm going to post about a special person in my life. This week, I'm posting about my step daughter "Snaggle".

Heheheeee... Bet you didn't know I found this self portrait of you on the digital camera, did ya Snag?

It's hard to believe that you have been in my life for over ten years now. I was only two years older than you are now when we met. You were such a sweet, loving, little girl. You were always ready to hug and kiss me. I hadn't grown up with much affection and I wasn't sure what to think about all the love you had to offer. Your innocent, unconditional love overwhelmed and scared me. Sometimes, it made me feel bad because I didn't know if I could love as much as you. It scared me because you loved so openly and deeply, I knew one day someone would take advantage of that love.

I have never hurt for anyone as much as I hurt for you when your heart got broken from that little punk of a boyfriend. I would have done anything to shield you from such pain. What saddened me even more was knowing you would change how you loved after that experience. I knew you wouldn't throw yourself into someone again and always hold back parts of you. You built up a wall and became more like me. You started hugging people less and "I love you's" came out of your mouth more infrequently. Always remember that there are safe people you can love in your life(like family) that will never hurt you. I think one of your greatest qualities is your loving heart and I will always cherish it. You have taught me not to be so cold and tough. You would force me to hold you for at least eight seconds. You made me learn to be more loving.

I know your junior year in high school has been tough and you are confused about your future right now. It is okay, you don't have to know what you want to be forever. You are very intelligent and I have confidence you will figure everything out. You are a hard worker in both school and your job. You are making more money waitressing right now than I make farming! Instead of being so frustrated with life right now, you should be proud of yourself. You manage to get great grades while working a tough, part-time job. You also are a wonderful help to me. I wouldn't get to train as much as I do if it wasn't for your help. Doing the chicken chores after school and folding mountains of laundry in the evening is a huge help. I probably don't thank you enough, I'm sorry. I appreciate you everyday although it may not be said.

I'm not going to sugar coat the truth though, being a teenager can suck balls. I hated it and wouldn't go back to high school even for all your tip money. I just want you to know that I will always be here if you need me. I know I can't change everything for you but I will listen and do my best to understand your feelings. The way you feel about life isn't going to last forever, I promise it will get better. Here's a good quote for you:
"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

You are growing and learning on and daily basis. I'm proud of the beautiful woman you have become. Oh, the places you will go! I love you, Snaggle!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Riding with the Big Boys

I took my bike back to the shop on Monday to see if I could solve the burning feet issue. I guess this can be normal during long rides and it's actually called "Hot foot". I was told to wear thinner socks not my beloved Thorlos, which I have preferred for running. I also got a new Tri seat and bike shop owner moved my cleats back just a smidgen. I was all set for the Tuesday evening group ride.

On the Tuesday evening group rides, there are two groups: slow group(usually women) and fast group(usually men). The fast group is saturated with testosterone and at the end of the 25 mile loop, they "balls to the walls" race to the finish. My husband has tried to talk to me about changes that will happen as I train and improve. He said training friends are going to come and go in my life. As I improve, I need to train with people that will challenge me that may mean not spending time with friends. If they are real friends, they will understand and encourage me to push myself. Since the group rides started last week, my husband has been bugging me to ride with the big boys. Yesterday, I threw myself into the testosterone driven pack.

I rode my bike for about 90 min. before the group ride to try out the new adjustments. I didn't have any problems with burning feet. Hurray! I made my way to the bike park and met up with Jessica and some other friends. I said before we started out "I am growing balls and I want to try to keep up with the fast group." I saw the lead group start to pull away so I knew I needed to quit screwing around and REALLY RIDE the bike. No more chit-chat, I put my game face on! I tried to catch up with them because I knew I needed to be in their draft. I left my comfort zone, the friends that I have been training with for several months. I left Jessica and worried about her because she hadn't ridden the course before. I didn't want her to get lost. There is a shift that has occurred during this training, I used to worry what others would think of me too much. In the past, I wouldn't push myself because I didn't want others to judge me. I didn't want them to think I was showing off or a bitch because I left them. I don't really care now, I train to reach my goals.

I could never catch the very first group of men but I caught and stayed with the second pack of men almost the entire ride. It was pretty funny when I started passing the guys. Mojo and Clifford, they'd do a double take. I think I hurt their pride because that's when the second pack formed behind me. I passed the four men in the second group they all filled in behind me, so I tucked myself down in my new bars and tried to keep a steady, 21mph pace. I was starting to breathe like never before on my bike, kinda panting like when running. Finally, the man right behind me said "I will lead for awhile". (This is when I feel like a blond) Remember, this is only my second "big group" ride and last week, I stayed with the slow group. The big boys have a totally different way of riding. No sex life stories or swapping recipes, it's shut up and ride the bike or be left in the dust. I had no clue what this guy meant by "he'll lead for awhile". I thought he was going to go around me and lead me, so I kept pumping my legs to keep the 21mph pace. After a couple min. he said again louder, "I said I would lead for awhile". I was like "Okay, dude go ahead!" and I expected him to pass me. No skin off my back because I could draft. He still isn't passing me and yells at me "I SAID I'LL LEAD!" Finally, I realized I wasn't doing something right so I ask him what I'm supposed to do. He tells me I'm supposed to fall back to the end of the line. After that, I understood the game that was being played. We all took turns leading and the leader would fall back and we'd go around in circles. It was fun and it challenged me.

With five miles to go, I got dropped. I watched them leave me and I felt defeated. I so wanted to keep up with them the entire ride. I watched them pull farther and farther away from me. I tried my best to keep them in my sight so I wouldn't get lost. I felt alone. I felt scared when the three, frothing at the mouth, polar bear dogs were chasing me and nobody was there to help. I survived and screamed at them "No!NO!Bad Dogs!" trying to sound like Satan. I kept thinking to myself what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I was the first woman back to the bike park.

The men that left me were really nice to me when I got back. Probably because they still had their pride because they did leave me. They told me I did great and I was strong. They said if I hadn't lead the group for so long, I would have been able to keep up. They also didn't know I had done a 90 min. ride before we ever started. Next time, I won't ride before the group ride and see if I can stay with the pack. My goal is to one day is to not only keep up but race them to the finish line and give them a little dose of estrogen.

Then, I worried about Jessica and the other girls. Did they get lost? Was she going to be upset with me for leaving? A little while later, she and another group of men and women pull into the park. Jessica said she had a great ride too and pushed herself hard. She gave me a ride home and stayed to drink a few beers and eat some Mexican food I'd made before the ride. She told me she was happy for me for trying to keep up with the men. With that statement, I knew Jessica is a true friend. She only wants the best for me and there is no jealousy between us. So we laughed and ate Easter candy. A perfect ending after a hard workout.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Aero Bars of Fire

I think I made a mistake by getting aero bars on my bike. I may go 1-2 mph faster with aero bars but it's not worth the pain. I don't like my bike right now. I'm so upset with my bike I decided to name it. It's name was Lightspeed Vela, it came to me with that name and I didn't want to give it an identity crisis. After a horrible ride at White Lake, I'm calling it "Clifford" the big, red dog when it's bad. Yesterday, I was saying "f&cking Clifford!" during the last 10 miles of our 56 mile ride. I don't care if I hurt my bikes' feelings anymore, it can go Sybil on me for all I care.

On Friday, I picked up my bike with new aero bars installed. The aero bars were wrapped in pretty, red tape to match my frame. My bike was adjusted for the new aero bars. I think my seat was moved up, the handle bars down. I was so excited to go ride the flat, 56 mile course at White Lake. Everything was going well for the first 25 miles, I loved the flat land but it was windy. I didn't feel comfortable staying in the aero bars when it was really gusty or a semi truck passed because I don't feel quite as stable in the bars. My crotch really started hurting around mile 26. I was wearing my really padded "diaper" bike shorts too. I'd scoot back on my seat to try to feel better, then forward. I'd try the aero bars, then sit up. Nothing really helped. It was like the bike seat was determined to destroy my sex life with my husband. I tried not to complain too much to Jessica and just kept cursing at Clifford in my head.

When we got to highway 53, it was about the last 15 miles of the course. This wasn't like the nice country roads we were riding on before. This rode had all these filled cracks so when you are riding you are going "Clunk-clunk, Cluck-clunk, Clunk-clunk" every second. The sky was starting to get dark and looked like rain. My feet started to feel warm around mile 40, I thought I was just getting hot and sweaty because it was a warm afternoon. At mile 45 the outside soles of my feet felt like they were on fire. I'm talking about hot pokers being stabbed into the bottoms of my feet. Then, it started to rain. For a moment, I was excited about the rain. It will cool off my feet! It didn't help the fire blazing outer soles, the rain only slowed us down so I could suffer longer.

At mile 50, I was soaked and thought I may be a baby and stop to hitch a ride. I have this mentality about never quitting though. I only had 6 more miles to go. I was in agony. I couldn't decide if a vagina transplant or foot amputation would be worse. I half expected to see flames whipping up from my cleats during the last three miles. The next time I am driving in my "luxury soccer mom van" in the rain and see cyclists, I will have respect for them. I will pull over and see if they'd like a ride. I kept watching all these cars pass us, splashing more water on me. If someone would have stopped, I would have jumped into their car even if they were Jack the Ripper. Slash my throat, I don't care. Just get me off evil Clifford.

We finally made it to White Lake, I have never been so grateful to get off my bike. I could hardly walk because my feet of fire. I took off my cleats and thought I would see bloody, burning feet but they looked normal! I'm telling you there is no way I could run 13 miles when my feet felt this awful. Something is wrong even though I have no evidence. I hobbled inside and peeled off my wet diaper shorts and tank top. I have the loveliest tan, a bright white butt, white feet of fire and a T on my back.

The first 25 miles of the ride, I noticed the beautiful things. It is a wonderful bike ride if you aren't in pain. There are blueberry farms galore, bushes in full bloom. Little bee hives strategically placed to pollinate the blueberry flowers. The dogwoods and azaleas were flowering. We didn't have to fight off one loose dog. Little lizards would dart across the road. There was minimal traffic. Something has got to change with my bike so I can enjoy the entire ride. I want my old bike back, the good red Vela. I will give up the aero bars. I hate this new Clifford! He needs to be euthanized, I think he's rabid.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Chicken with its' Head Cut Off

That's what I have felt like this week, running around like a chicken with its' head cut off. I have been crazy busy this week because Farmer's Markets have opened. I am a procrastinator and wait until the last minute to wrap soaps, shampoo bars, lip balms, milk baths and put the eggs into the clear cartons. Yesterday, my favorite market opened so I was frantically wrapping things from 7:30am-1:30pm, got to market at 2:30pm and got home at 7:30pm. I was so rushed I didn't have time to strain and bag the goat's milk so I fed it to the chickens yesterday morning. They really loved it too, had it all over their feathers. Good thing that I had the day off from training yesterday.

I had to move goats into the other pasture, worm and trim hooves this week too. The worst smell in the entire world is impacted goat hoof crap. Just thinking about it can make me gag. When I trim their hooves, I have to scrape out all the dirt, poop and whatever resides in there. Think toe jam x 1000. Not a pleasant job. I also culled about 15 little roosters this week. I'll be watching for the chicken truck rooster God when I'm riding this weekend. I probably pissed him off again by killing those 'roos.

I have been training my butt off. I have been following my plan like a good triathlete. I hope all this work pays off, I'll have about 17 hours of training for this week. I'm going to White Lake this weekend with Jessica for a practice bike and swim. I finally got a wet suit, half the workout is getting the wetsuit on! The wetsuit is so tight, it actually makes me look like I have boobs because it squeezes them out the sides. I get hysterical trying to put the damn thing on, I fear I have to take it off because I'm laughing so hard I have to pee. Aero bars are also being installed on my bike so I have to go to the bike shop today to get fitted.

Better go do my swim at the pool. I'm not dead yet, I feel fine, I feel happy!