october together. with cats.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We briefly interrupt this Ironman training to bring you two things.

First, National Cat Day:

Uber was delivering kittens to raise funds for the Seattle Humane Society ...

... and we were lucky enough to schedule a visit.

Then: The World Series. (And you guys know even though I live in Seattle, I'm a San Francisco sports fan, and the Giants are my absolute favorite team. I love those boys and how scrappy they are. I love that ballpark. And I especially love eating all of the baked potatoes at that ballpark while watching those boys.)

And maybe this is too much information (but hey, when has that ever stopped me before?), but I get a little superstitious with baseball. So this happened:

Like you don't text on the toilet, too.

Yes, folks: I make a powerful poop.

on building character. or something.

Let's just say this past weekend was, for lack of a happier term, character-building (as my dear friend Layla, recipient of all my 5 a.m. freak out texts, would put it).

After an unnaturally long and gorgeous summer that lasted well into mid-October, Seattle finally unleashed the fall fury. In other words: The weather was absolutely craptacular all weekend.

I had a three-hour run Saturday, and Coach Mark wanted me to do an out-and-back, completing the second half five minutes faster than the first.

After much bitching and moaning ("Goddammit, cats, why is your life so easy? Why don't you get off your butts and do an Ironman? Why do you poop so much?"), I sucked it up, donned my ridiculously fluorescent water repellent running vest and nailed the workout. And there was actually a lull in the weather for most of my run, with no rain until the end.

Pretty -- in a gloomy, foreboding, Pacific Northwest way.

Then that night, there was a crazy wind storm. And maybe this is just me (actually, this most likely is just me), but every time the wind starts howling, I'm totally convinced it's the end of the world and I feel like I should go to the store and buy all the Spam and toilet paper and start filling my bathtub with water.

But like I said: Just me.

Anyway, so there was a crazy wind storm. And I got up the next day to ride my bike for seven hours. (So clearly the world didn't end.) I decided to stay on the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River trails because I was afraid of crappy road conditions and getting hit by a car in the bad weather. Also, I thought doing out-and-backs on the trails would be good mental practice for the loops of IMAZ.

Yet even on the trails, the debris was bad. 

Downed tree? I guess I'll turn around here.

And then about 60 miles in, I got caught in a torrential downpour. (Nothing like the feeling of backtire splash seeping down your buttcrack.) At first, I thought: No big deal, I'll be careful, this is nothing. But then the rain came down harder and harder, and the drops actually physically started to sting. 

I took shelter in a public bathroom.

Still, I powered through and finished the ride -- it was a slow, wet slog, and I ended up with only 87 miles when I had been hoping for 95 or more. (And at some point, I must've run over a pile of dog poop, too, because there was poop on my tire and on one of my pedals. I'm going to just keep telling myself this was dog poop and not human poop. And that it was only on my bike and not actually on my body.) And then I did a 30-minute transition run.

"Ironman training is super dumb!"

Hooray for massive volume.

excuses, excuses

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'll tell you a secret: Ironman is an excellent excuse for behaving like a horrible, socially inept human being who smells funny and dresses a lot like a sorority girl doing the walk of shame.

This giant pile of dirty dishes on my desk? I'm not a slob; I'm doing an Ironman! All those calls I let go to voicemail? I'm not really ignoring you; I'm just doing an Ironman! This mountain of dirty laundry and the mold growing on the toilet and the cat puke stains on the living room floor? Can't keep up with the housework, too much Ironman! This ratty college sweatshirt and pajama bottoms in public? All Ironman!

Man, I should've signed up for this shit ages ago. This is a way better excuse than the microchip in Amanda Bynes' brain.

All joking aside, Ironman is also the best way to hide from the world when you've got a lot on your mind and need solo time to sort through it all. It's a lot easier to say, "I'm in the final weeks of Ironman training and there is massive volume" (seriously, never pass up the chance to use the phrase "massive volume") than it is to say, "I'm really, really sad, and I can't even look at you right now without crying, so please leave me alone." 

This grief thing. The therapists aren't lying when they tell you it comes back like a tidal wave about 6-8 months later.

So I am thankful for the massive volume. (See how I did that? Never pass it up, I tell you!) I am thankful for Training Peaks and how my day's tasks are outlined in simple language and I can just do them. I'm thankful Ironman is a thing I can understand, a thing with a finish line, which is so much less daunting than this terrible grief tunnel that seems to stretch on endlessly with no indication of what's on the other side.

And so I went to the pool this morning for the fourth time this week. 

I guess Halloween is a thing here.

And then I drank green smoothies with the kitten.

Trying to find some way to blame that on Ironman, but really, I'm just a cat lady.

the grey

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One of those days when the events mirror the weather. I am reeling from this news. Because when someone is there, even if that someone is on the periphery of what you know as your reality, you tend to assume that someone will just always be there. But that is not the case. And maybe you shouldn't be shocked because these things happen and there is no way of knowing and it is the ebb and flow of it all and sometimes the wave is just too overwhelming, but you still wonder why. 

Even though you know it is so pointless to ask.

This year. Everything about this year.

More and more often, I wonder what the hell we are doing. It seems like an elaborate guessing game at best. We stumble around. Run into each other. Hold on. Let go. Break each other in the process. And it all happens so fast. And sometimes we heal. And sometimes we don't.

Yesterday I went to the museum on my lunch break. This piece by Alwar Balasubramaniam spoke to me:

The in-between space, where nothing is definite.

setbacks, burnout

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I've been so good about staying positive and motivated throughout this entire training cycle. As in: Training Peaks was my freaking bible and I was the prophet in spandex. Hallelujah, praise god, I get to do an all-day brick workout! 

That changed this past week when burnout hit in a major way.

First, there was Tuesday's track workout from hell. My heart rate was skyrocketing, I couldn't catch my breath and I could barely maintain half marathon pace. And then I got hit by a soccer ball. (Seriously.) And then I rolled my ankle on -- wait for it -- a buckeye. (The symbolism here is not lost on me.) The workout was so miserable that my teammates actually hugged me afterward. And then I skipped the swim I was supposed to do that evening and sat in bed with an ice pack instead.

The irony of Mr. Happy.

And then Wednesday I left for the New York Wine Experience. And even though I had big plans to run and go to SoulCycle and maybe even try to find a pool, none of that happened. Our flight was delayed and we didn't arrive until 1 a.m. Thursday. And then this was the view from my room: 

All daylight, all the time.

And I had zero downtime. Zero. It was non-stop, back-to-back-to-back appointments and events, and I basically had to choose between working out or sleeping. Since fatigue lowers your immune system and I'm terrified of contracting Ebola, I chose sleep. But even that was sub-par -- I probably averaged 3-5 hours each night.

So exactly how did I spend the past few days? Tasting wine under giant vaginal lights:

It's like all these people were just birthed.

Dining with master sommeliers until 1 a.m.:

Freaking out over this:

And this:

Yes, that's a 1982.

Catching up with old friends:

Hosting luncheons in hotel banquet rooms:

Hanging out at the Saveur test kitchen:

When I grow up, I want appliances like this.

Being a test kitchen guinea pig:

And then waking up before dawn this morning to fly back to Seattle:

I did manage to get some pool time in today, so I'm back at it, but my ankle is still angry. I could feel it in the water: Kick, kick, kick, ache, ache, ache.

I'm hoping I snap out of this funk within the next 24 hours because this is the e-mail I got from Coach Mark:

Massive volume. Of course my first reaction was: "That's what she said."

Four weeks.

this is what insanity looks like

Monday, October 13, 2014

While you spent your Sunday watching football, eating nachos and drinking adult beverages with all of your best friends, I rode my bike and ran for almost eight hours. Eight hours

Sometimes I think this whole Ironman thing is really dumb.

Other dumb things I think about while I'm swimming, biking and/or running for hours and hours and hours:
  • At least when there is a Seahawks game, I have the entire trail to myself.
  • The real swimmers definitely take me seriously because I'm wearing an awesome metallic tiger print bathing suit right now.
  • Peanut butter Hammer Gel is the best flavor ever. I could eat a tub of this stuff.
  • Hey, squirrel. I dare you to dart in front of my bike. Remember, I stuffed your cousin and put her on my bookshelf.
  • This is lap 17. Lap 17. Don't forget. Lap 17. What do I want to eat after this? Why is that guy doing the butterfly? How do you learn to do the butterfly? Shit, what lap is this?
  • Is it possible for your head to literally shrink or expand from ride to ride? Because my helmet never feels like it fits the same way it did last time I got on the bike.
  • I hope I don't look like I'm in pain. 
  • Running in pouring rain is refreshing, swear to god. Now please don't let me get splashed by a bus.
  • I don't know how people deal with significant others who are training for Ironman. Because if I were dating me, I'd call me a crazy bitch and file for divorce.
  • Peanut butter Hammer gel again?! Why did I buy so much of it? Montana Huckleberry is so much better.
  • It's amazing how you never truly forget all of the words to every song in "Beauty and the Beast." 
  • Why isn't my heartrate monitor reading my heartrate? Am I dead?!
  • Are we there yet?

Highlights from this weekend's insanity:

At Mile 14.5 of my long run, the heavens burst.

Fuel for the bike. (Dead serious.)

Ran to the paper crane statue at Peace Park.

Post-brick, wanting to eat the entire Greek Festival.

I'm at the point where I'm really, really tired. And there are so many water bottles all over my apartment, which happens to smell like a combination of giant cat turd and huge pile of sweaty laundry. And I can't stop eating. And I practically faceplant at 8:30 every night. And I actually did the thing I swore I'd never do this weekend and wore leggings as pants because the thought of wearing real pants made my body hurt and I went out to lunch like that and I was late to lunch because I had to do bike stuff first so I had to apologize for both my tardiness and my lack of pants.

Thirty-four days.

gorgeous gorge

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I spent Sunday afternoon through yesterday morning (back in Seattle just in time for track) in the Columbia Gorge, taking media on a tour of several wineries in the area. 

Unforeseen adventures included one writer coming down with a fever. Another one slammed the car door on her leg, so many bags of ice and a search for arnica cream -- not easy when you are in the middle of nowhere -- were involved. Thus I found myself shutting car doors the rest of the trip and saying things like: "Watch your fingers and toes, everyone!" Ah, the wine life. So glamorous at times. Also, if I ever have kids -- which at this point, is highly doubtful -- I'm going to be an awesome mom.

But I digress. What really matters is how beautiful the Gorge is. 

First thought: Gah! Second thought: Where's my wetsuit?

Hood River Bridge

Look! I grew a tree out of my head!

This way to AniChe Cellars.

Tasting lineup at Syncline.

Yes, he's real. And you'll find him at COR.

I regret not buying a case of this.

With Rob McCormick of Memaloose. (Arnica cream not pictured.)

The view from Maryhill. I know, right?


Sunrise view from my room at Skamania Lodge yesterday.

I wish I could've stayed longer. There were so many hiking trails and waterfalls. So many places I wanted to run through and swim in and ride down and experience. But all of this will have to wait until after IMAZ. Countdown: 39 days.

party animals

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

This is what happens when the tri team goes to the bar after track workout (which was 1.25-mile repeats tonight):

Can we get another round of water?
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