Sunday, March 01, 2015

let it go

(I'm sorry. I like that movie.)

One thing I've noticed about triathletes: The vast majority of us are Type A control freaks who get off on solving problems. And because of this, when we encounter something we can't fix or change or help in some way, we have an extraordinarily difficult time letting it go. (Don't believe me? Read everything that exists in the "Archive" section of this blog.)

Anyway, I'm currently six days into an eight-day, multi-city stretch of travel that started in New York with a wine event, a FOX News interview (I know, right?) and some quiet time remembering my cousin on the one-year anniversary of her death, which was Wednesday.

This girl was fierce. Terrified of chickens, but still fierce.

I met one of her best friends for breakfast. We talked for a long time -- sad, funny, honest conversation. (Death is so strange -- it hurts so much, but at the same time, you don't want the hurt to stop because you don't want it to become a blip, something that just "happened that one time.") I drank a glass of fresh-pressed green juice and ate half a bowl of soft-scrambled cacio e pepe eggs. Then I went to the airport to catch my flight to Phoenix -- the next stop on this whirlwind trip -- where I'd pick up a rental car and head to Tucson for bike camp with the tri team.

But there was something horribly, horribly wrong with that green juice and those eggs. Let's just say I now know what it is like to puke in an airport bathroom, attempt to get on the plane anyway, immediately puke in the airplane bathroom right after boarding, get escorted off the plane in front of everyone for being a "liability," watch the plane pull out of the gate with my luggage still on board and then spend the rest of the afternoon sitting on the floor of a bathroom stall at EWR, puking non-stop. (Don't worry, germaphobes -- I picked a freshly-mopped stall and made a little spot for myself with a pile of toilet seat covers so I wasn't directly sitting on the bathroom floor.)

I never want to see this bathroom again.

It was so bad that I was fantasizing about a gurney and an IV bag, with my mom standing next to the bed, holding my hand. (I told you it was bad.) Finally, there was a break in the purging, so I picked myself up, got a plastic bag from a Hudson News store, called a cab and went to a hotel. (Cab driver: "Do you have luggage?" Me: "No. Long story. Please just drive.") 

I got to my room just in time for Phase 2 -- a.k.a. The Pooping -- to begin. (Honestly, I would much rather deal with poop over vomit any day.)

Eventually the horror ended, and I made it to Arizona on Thursday night. I was a day late, I arrived in the same clothes I had spent the previous day puking in and I hadn't eaten anything for more than 24 hours, but I was there. And I wanted to get as much out of camp as I could.

Friday started with a swim. 

Four words: Outdoor pool in winter. Bonus word: YES.

I made it through -- had a really strong swim, in fact -- but as soon as I got out of the pool, I started feeling shaky. I took a gel and some water and got on the bike anyway.

Calm before the storm.

I lasted six miles. My heart rate skyrocketed, I couldn't catch my breath and I thought I was going to hurl. I had to get off my bike and walk, stopping every few steps to heave a little. (Confession: I also cried. A lot.) I ended up in the SAG vehicle with water in one hand and Gatorade in the other. It felt humiliating.

And even though the coaches and my teammates told me over and over again that it was not my fault, that food poisoning was beyond my control, that it was better to have this happen at camp than in a race, I still felt like a failure -- so much so that as soon as I had downed some liquids, I got back on the bike and rode another 11 miles. (Which, in hindsight, was probably really stupid considering how dehydrated I was. But I felt like I had to do it or I would've kept feeling terrible about myself.)

The rest of camp turned out to be a wash for me. I couldn't run, either, so I ended up hiking a lot.

At least the scenery was pretty. And there was sun. And good people. And I wasn't on the floor of a Newark bathroom anymore. But the frustration: When your mind and heart are there and you want something so much, but your body has a different plan.

How to let go, when to know it's time for that to happen ...

Thursday, February 05, 2015

everyone loves a good package

I came home from a work trip to New York (yes, the insane amount of travel continues) to find a package full of this:

My Team Coeur kit!

Of course, I immediately put these goodies to use. Because if I'm going to eat hot dogs wrapped in pancakes for post-run dinner (don't judge -- I've been traveling too much to go to the grocery store), I might as well do it with heart and courage. 

Also, the hat matches my bathrobe. And yes, that's the poop bathrobe.

And in case you are wondering, the kit is very good for carrying large ginger cats like they are infants. No chafing, and the top does not ride up. 

No angry kitty!

In all seriousness, though: I'm beyond stoked to be part of Team Coeur. And I can't wait to represent in New Orleans. The race becomes more and more real each day -- in fact, I had a brick workout today, and I have one again Saturday and another Sunday. And Coach Mark is pushing me in the pool -- lots of emphasis on sprinting and hard efforts. I still feel like a crazy person for having signed up for a 70.3 so early in the season, but a little insanity keeps life interesting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

recent conversations

I can give you all kinds of excuses for not writing.

For example: It's only January, and I've already spent 12 days living out of a suitcase -- which, if you consider today's date and do the math, is 43 percent of 2015 thus far. (You may want to double-check that number, though. Remember, I was an English major.)

My cats apparently really hate my schedule; they pooped in my bathrobe, which I did not discover until I tried to wear said bathrobe, and two turds came tumbling out. The cats also enjoy knocking the kitchen trash can over and spreading garbage all over the floor. And they seem to be using the contents of the litterbox for an avant-garde art project on the walls, water heater and wine refrigerator.

Look out, Damien Hirst.

During a recent trip to Walla Walla, I found myself explaining what a typical day is like for me: "I travel a lot. I train. And when I'm home, I spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning up poop."


What's shocking: When you review your planned workouts for the week and it suddenly hits you that you have a 70.3 coming up in less than three months. (Someone please remind me again why I signed up for New Orleans. Oh wait, I remember now: Sazeracs, fried food and that dive bar with the French doors and the woman who calls me "love.")

It's tough easing back into training. The travel doesn't help. But I do my best. Track last night, pool this morning. And apparently a double trainer ride tomorrow:

Me: "Do I really have two bike workouts in one day?"

Coach Mark: "Yep."

Me: "Sweet. More hot dogs."


And finally, I ordered a (gluten-free, duh) pizza. And it took a very long time to arrive.

Cheap bastards.

And finally: