Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not beating myself up over not beating myself

238.2. Here I am again. I've done a LOT of bike riding, even more so because my car's in the shop, so those last few things I've done by car have succumbed to the bike, and days where I wouldn't have felt like riding I was forced to anyway. The car's out of the shop today; after work I go to pick it up.

But still, it was a good thing, in terms of this. It's forced me to re-evaluate how much i drive, how lazy i get, and how easily lazy I get. I've been cooking for myself, too -- not eating out has saved me money and pounds. But I'm still in a high stress time, and I still find myself eating to combat the stress. The answer isn't to wait until the high stress eases off. The answer is to deal with it better.

Still, my ego was bruised at the tri last weekend, and that's kind of a good thing. Yeah, I finished, but i didn't beat myself. That's the thing about things like Triathlons. My tri buddy Jen commented last week that i still beat her in time, but that's not what i was going for. As far as I'm concerned, she beat me, because she beat herself. I remember doing cross country running in high school (and track team people were the same about this): the ultimate opponent in any race is yourself. It doesn't matter if you were first or last: if you beat yourself, you've won, and if you didn't -- i don't want to say you've lost, but at the same time... ugh. That's what's getting me. I didn't beat myself. But I'm not beating myself up over it. I just didn't hit an unwritten goal.

So here I am, working out better after this race than before it. Go figure.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2nd Gig Blues: Free Your Mind

OK, numbers first --I'm still hovering around 240, so weightloss hasn't been a priority lately. I ran the Danskin Triathlon this weekend, and I finished almost exactly with the same time 1:47:20 as I did last year (1:46:51), but with improvements and disappointments.

Improvements and disappointments:
  • I shaved off about 3 minutes from my transition time.
  • I massively improved on the swim. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that we weren't swimming against the wind this year, but still. Still,I shaved 2 minutes off my time, putting my swim rank in the top 28% overall (up from being in the top half last year), and the top 20 percent of my age class. So, I really improved in the swim, and I think I'll attribute that to really concentrating on staying on course, and not starting off so hard that I poop out a quarter of the way through.
  • On the record, I only improved my bike run by 10 seconds, but my chain fell while upshifting, and got stuck in the spot between the front chainring and the crank. That took about 1:30 to repair, plus about a half minute of regaining my momentum. So had this not happened, at the pace I was at, i would have improved greately. And I'm still a bicycling badass, in the top 11% overall and top 12% of my age class. In fact, at least a few women spotted me at the end and told me they though I was an awesome cyclist, which was a bit of a rush. So I bet I would have finished in the top 10% (which was my goal) if not for mechanical failure. I hope I inspired others, as we climbed hills together, as I told them, "Keep Pushing" or my favorite, "Uphill and against the wind! Are we loving this, girls?" There was one woman whose gear kept clicking clicking clicking and I learned by overhearing another telling her, "Downshift and then shift back up, you'll expend too much energy trying to pedal like that!" It was good advice, and the woman followed it. It was advice I was about to give myself, but I didn't want to come of f as too know it all. That advice giving woman taught me there's no such thing. Advice given with a true heart is not a bad idea-- the recipient can either take it or leave it.
  • OK, all that gain in the transition and the swim was lost on the run. I was up by 3 1/2 minutes this year, but at least I still ran (if you want to call what I did running, OK) the whole thing, which was my goal. I did not walk a step. I have to figure when you weight 20 pounds more than you did the last time you did this, you're going to be slower on the run. But I still ran it.

OK, here it is. I just didn't train as hard for this year as I did for last year. For one thing, I've been super busy, and had the accompanying stress. Just this past week, I was considering blowing off the tri, dealing with a major financial setback (the transmissions on BOTH our cars went kaput this week) but ol DH said, no, you need to do this. And so I did and I'm glad, even though I didn't show an overall marked improvement. I had Second Gig Ever Curse. Last year, I used a band analogy to describe the waiting for the race to start, this year's band analogy will be used as an excuse for my performance. Let's face it, I did it last year, was quite pleased with myself, and didn't take the second gig as seriously. As a result, results were not as satisfactory. Those numbers posted in the run are the kick in the ass I need.
That's my problem with weightloss in general. I get a little success, I get cocky, and then I get lazy. Look at my photo this year -- I even know, on that bus, that this year I didn't deliver with my whole heart. Although, that last stretch of the run, my heart was the only thing that kept me going. In fact, God bless the women who had En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" blaring from a boombox at the last turnaround. I belted it out with em, using George Clinton's original lyrics -- Free your mind and your ass will follow.

A few other highlights, musically and otherwise:
  • Every heat gets an inspirational word from Sally Edwards, that you should chant to yourself. This year, my heat's word was "The Best." As in, "I am The Best Swimmer." "I am The Best Cyclist." "I am The Best Runner." However, all I could think of was the scene in Men In Black, where Will Smith is being recruited, and he's in the room with all those military guys, and they're asked, "Do you know why you are here?" and they answer correctly, "Because we are The Best of The Best of The Best! Sir!" and Will Smith is laughing and going, "Yeah, these guys are cracking me up with all this best of the best of the best stuff and they don't even know why the heck they're here, really." And then i remembered that the reason Smith is ultimately chosen is that, in addition to being street smart, he also chased a major bug through Manhattan on foot, and that's what i had to imagine myself doing if I was going to finish this race. Yes, Sally, *I* am The Best of The Best of The Best! Sir! I laughed all the way to the finish line.
  • My pals Jennifer and Peg improved on their times, and i was secretly jealous of them for that.
  • This race, however, has got to figure out parking. Normally, everybody parks at Dairyland Greyhound Park (a few miles away, but can accomodate 5,000 racers and their families a lot better than the Kenosha Rec Plex, which is kind of a sad statistic), and then you catch a shuttle to the race, and then afterwards, you catch a shuttle back to Dairyland, and then drive your car to the Outlet Mall, catch a shuttle back to the Rec Plex, and then ride your bike the one mile to the mall. I know this sounds convoluted, but it worked. This year, they cut out the shuttles from the mall. So where were you supposed to park to get your bike out of transition? We ended up on the greass out in the country, and without instructions to tell me otherwise, I managed to flag down a sympathetic shuttle driver, because nobody else seemed to know what was going on. Not the Kenosha Police (and I have too many friends in the Kenosha Punk scene to have a fundamental respect for them to begin with, but I've tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and they once again have lived up to their reputation of cluelessness. One more strike, Kenosha Blue, and you're out.). Not even the guy in a van marked "Kenosha Rec Plex." WTH? Huge event at your facility and you know nothing? Whassup with that? And I will whine about the Kenosha hospitality industry on my other blog.
  • The above is really sad, because it put a major damper on an otherwise wonderful event and day. OK, I didn't finish as well as I would have liked, but I still finished, i still did something practically everybody else I know drops their jaw over ("Half a Mile swim? I'd quit right there") and I still improved my times on some things, despite a 20 pound weight gain this year.
  • Oh, please, for the love of all that's holy, please no horrid nu-country music or sappy R&B or worst of all, "Eye of the Tiger" while I'm crossing the finish line, and my prayers were answered. I got some unidentifiable, but unmistakably Gay Bar Music! Yes! 120 BPM, high energy, wailing female vocals, where's-my-amyl-nitrite, DANCE MUSIC! Yes! Followed by YMCA! Thank you Jesus!
  • I will mention the wonderful Crocs shoe company, not because I love their shoes, but because they sponsor an ice bath foot soak for athletes, that pretty much ensured that my plantar fasciatis would not kick in so nasty the next day. God bless 'em. They pretty much justify their existence for that ice bath, and I was only happy to say so on video for them.

OK, so that's this year's tri. I'm glad it did it again, and I'm doing it next year. I will shake the 2nd Gig Blues, and I will Free My Mind, and my ass will indeed follow.