Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Swear I’m Doing Stuff

I am not writing, not because I don’t miss you but because it’s been busy and of course, I’m getting my calves photo ready for their summer 2010 photos.  Over the past month I’ve had the following:

The All School Jazz Musical.  Had to attend 2 of these.  I broke the ‘supportive parent’ rule and bolted after Sada was done singing “I Love a Piano”.  We love pianos, just not that song anymore.  See below. There’s also always 1 kid who didn’t get their parents the memo about dark pants, white shirt.  The highlight of the kindergartener’s program was the little boy who decided to throttle the little girl next to him with a 1 min long bear hug mid-song.  She never stopped singing or doing her hand motions.  He had red hair and glasses, you decide what he becomes….

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Then it was the last day of school and probably 2-3 parties, then of course everyone under 10 was born in June, so that means 32,981 birthday parties to go to, hang out for 2 hours and then go to the next one.  They did have beer and wine at one of the parties, the kids just drank lemonade.  You have to appreciate the wine & beer birthday parties. After about an hour one of the mom’s sort of bee-lined me and started with ‘OHHHHHH you SHAVE YOUR LEGS’.  She wasn’t as enthusiastic the next day at the next birthday party at 10am or something like that.  And Chuck-e-cheese on a Sunday morning for a birthday party is as bad as you can imagine.  I think Greta would equate this to spectating a long course triathlon, but no whack-a-mole there – she’s mostly right.  And some kid told me that my kid wasn’t allowed to wear shoes in one of the play things, I told him to worry about himself and gave him the stink eye.  He’s clearly destined for a lifetime residency in Seattle where they worry about everything but themselves and of course the stupid Seahawks. 

I only saw one kid having so much fun she peed her pants.  It was not my kid.  In California, you’d go to a birthday party and there would be drinks and cocktails and after an hour or so you’d remember that there was a birthday party going on.  Someone’s mom would end up wrecked but honestly, people were a million times more friendly there.  I don’t get what is wrong with people here (note my anti-Seattle sentiment). 

Then my kids had birthdays.  Sada turned 7 and Piper 5.  We’re never having separate birthdays again.  Our kids never cry, but they do when it’s their sister’s birthday.  We cried about balloons, not sharing the Barbie, who gets to sleep in bed with mom while dad enjoys a wonderful evening on the bottom bunk, who is allowed to touch the Hello Kitty Water Cooler, who is not sharing Ken (actually, no one wants to play with Ken – so he’s always the first doll to be shared), who isn’t sharing the Barbie scooter, who is touching the new markers and so on.  See: birthday cake for Sada, then one for Piper and then a naked Piper playing with naked Barbie and she’s crying because Sada wouldn’t share her BRAND NEW Barbie, like 3 seconds after opening it.  I don’t condone this sharing business – they learn that crap at school.  I wish they wouldn’t.  It makes the kids not try so hard.

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Then I got bronchitis and took 10 days off of doing everything, then the pool got the chemicals out of whack, so I missed 4 MORE days there, then I thought I had bug bites EVERYWHERE and it turns out I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics and just about scratched all of my skin off and no bugs were to blame.  The worst is the itching on the bottom of the feet and palms of my hands.  It’s not funny and it’s not fun.  Then Greta scratched me in the eye with a yoghurt.  Don’t ask.  I’m fragile.

Note that the new Barbie on a scooter comes with a cocktail.  I think I told the girls that Barbie just gets her Jamba Juice in a fancy cup.  She did have a helmet but I couldn’t find it.  I think we now own 2 dozen naked Barbies.  I should never get crap for owning more than 3 bikes. Or 32 pair of Under Armour running shoes. 

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-------------------TRIATHLON TALK INTERMISSION -------------------

In between all of this, I really did train and that includes swimming, biking and running.  My biking is continuing to be awesome and I’m on pace to move my LT (lactate threshold) up another 15-20 watts in late July (I ride 5 hours a week and still keep seeing solid improvements)- even now recovering well into the 200w-240w range.  I just started doing some much harder efforts – so I’m sure to see results from those.  Once  I figured out that I was constantly running 10 beats over, my running has also taken a turn for the better.  It’s true that you have to slow down to go faster.  Most of my runs have a HR around 158, but the tempo and hill repeats are into the high 170’s and 180’s.  I did do 4x3 min hill repeats on a hill here that’s about 10% and it was horrible, I did it – losing maybe 4 seconds per repeat and the downhill was a nice trail that took me about the same to go down.  The last 30 seconds of each one were probably some of the worst seconds I’ve ever trained.  So of course I’m excited to do that again this week!

See – here’s my hill run chart:  HR is blue, altitude is red. 

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-------------------END TRIATHLON TALK INTERMISSION -------------------

OH and I cannot forget Piper’s ballet recital which we DID stay for all 402 acts of 3 mins or less.  Some takeaways:

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  • You can tell talent at a very young age, we should learn something from the Russians here.  There were plenty of little girls more than talents for field and plow work, but certainly not for the stage
  • America’s got talent but not necessarily in big numbers.  Even with spotlights, sparkly outfits and loud music – it doesn’t cover up the fact that you have to know the routine you’re dancing, it’s a real give away when you are watching the kid next to you – doing what they do, just a second later.
  • Tap dancing should be a licensed event.  Even better, it should only be performed for the first 20 years for people in retirement homes.  There’s only so much arm swinging and hands on your hips you can do that disguises the fact that you can’t really tap dance. 
  • Like my favorite Olympic sport – Ice Dancing, ballet is a contact sport.  We saw a pretty sturdy Sugar Plum Fairy bite it within the first 3 seconds of her solo performance as well as another half dozen other glittered girls. It was like watching a World Cup match, except these girls got up again and without the drama.
  • There is a reason ballerinas have eating disorders.  This is of course cruel and awful of me to say, but really, the ballerina with more rolls than a school lunch program on a Thursday in November was just not artistic, try triathlon, because it’s ok to slam that girth into 3oz of spandex for all to see, trust me – I do it all THE TIME, plus we’re not judgmental and you wouldn’t be disrespecting art and you wouldn’t be distracting from the other 1,000 other participants because I would be doing that for you. 
  • My kids was the best in her class, which is good because she’s the tallest and stood in the middle of the stage.
  • Piper is still working on her excited inside voice, which she forgot as she shouted ‘that ballerina has a Chinese face’. Well, that ballerina with the Chinese face bit it nicely. Silk shoes + shiny floor = dramatic public beefing.
  • Never underestimate the need for solid ankle strength.  Trail running ladies! 
  • Unlike triathlon, the dream to become a ballerina should be dropped pretty early. Like right around the age of 6.

And oh yea – it was Father’s day:

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trophy Wives

I don’t have a whole bunch of anything but I’ll be forgotten or something if I don’t write regularly. 

I got sick, which I think means I’m done being sick again until January – but it also means I’m back on antibiotics and I missed a week of riding/running/swimming and I’m probably ‘off’ my regular plan for a good 14 days total.  After a week of nothing, I did run today.  I’ll also miss 2 tris as a result of being sick or being on antibiotics (which if you didn’t know, take the edge right off of your ability to swim/bike/run or even play pool with any vigorous effort). 

I went easy in Z2, which I found out after running for 6-8 weeks in Z3, that I was off by 8 beats, which doesn’t sound like a lot but running at HR 158 beats is a lot easier than running at HR 166 x 6 times a week for 6 weeks.  It sort of explains why I wasn’t really feeling awesome running and why I have gone a bit flat lately.  It’s like finding out you can drive with more than 2 gears in the car.  Soooooooooo…..

I ran, HR 158, sort of easy but since I’m sick and it was hot this sort of changes things and so I mix HR with ‘feel’ and I felt like it was easy and it was 160. 

Ok, then I ran for like an hour and it was warm out an I saw a guy ahead of me and then I went just a little faster and it felt a little harder, like ‘a little’, not ‘a bunch’ and my hr was 180-185 and it still felt ‘easy’ and this is how you know you’re sick or you’re going to die. 

But I did catch and pass him. 

And I ran around Medina, which is where Bill Gates and all sorts of fancy people live. 

It’s sort of like Tiburon, but smaller and no one seems to go outside of their car and because it’s the Seattle area (yeah for cars!), no one says hi even if they’re out running in the sun because MOST people lack something here, manners or just general ‘niceness’. 

Then like Tiburon, there are a lot of Range Rovers with kids in them and the trophy wife at the helm.  Except in Tiburon, they are Trophy Wives, blond, fancy and nice looking and 30 something. 

In Medina, where people made their money in software or Seattle start ups, they’re Trophy Wives but more like bowling trophy wives.  Getting dressed to go out here is just a short hop from putting on pajamas. 

I’ve got a trophy family btw. and they’re blonde and pretty. See, she’s 4 in this picture.  Trophy kid.  Our dog is not included in that grouping.  He’s a moron but very good at bacon detection. 

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Don’t Count on Me

If you had kids or were a kid, there’s a pretty good chance (assuming your parents could count to 3) that you’ve been counted on.  By this I mean you are told to do something and probably by the 32nd time the person asking (mom or dad) got tired of asking and began to count: 1…..2…. 3 and presumably by 3, you’d get beat or hollered at or you did what you were supposed to do. 

So I say, please clean up your shoes, socks and coats.  89 times.

Because as soon as our kids get home, they thing it’s a strip show or transition area and they shed the coats as they run then immediately after come shoes and socks – all while running so like the Gulf oil spill, the stuff is everywhere. 

So, I have to count to get them to clean this stuff up. 

So after getting on Piper’s case about 302 times in one day for not doing ANYTHING I start counting: one……..TWO………..and THRRRRR, she gets tired of me counting down and yells ‘Don’t count on me daddy’.  Which I thought was funny.  Because I barely can.  Unless I suddenly need someone to yell ‘pee’ or ‘butt’.

It’s also the last week of school and the kids have lost their minds. 

I try to remember this and how much fun and how exciting is was but sometimes I forget.  I can tell how excited Piper gets because she says ‘pee’ and ‘butt’ with greater intensity as her general excitement about anything grows.  HEY LOOK AT MY BUTT or I THINK BARBIE HAS TO PEE, SHE HAS TO PEE OUT OF HER BUTT.  YOUR BUTT.  THERE IS PEE.  SEE HIS BUTT, I THINK HE HAS TO PEE.  And so on.

I would not recommend adopting this way to express your excitement unless you’re around 5 year olds a lot. 

They also get weird and this morning they were playing dog and I hear the girls telling each other to ‘quiet bark’ (which is a trick I taught Jack the wonder dog) and were scratching each other on the stomach and panting.  See, that’s weird.

Then for a Father’s day thing at Piper’s school, we did a scavenger hunt and then played on the playground.  Her special event is the swing.  I took about 100 pictures and noticed all of the funny expressions she makes while swinging – it’s clearly not just going back and forth but more of an emotional journey.  Most of the pictures are blurry but you can get the gist of what she’s doing.  It is amazing how insane someone looks swinging.  The 2nd one is my favorite, clearly this is the devil who has taken over her body.

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And I’m sick. 

I had sort of a rotten swim just 1 day after taking 30 seconds off my PR for the hilly trail run around our neighborhood (2.5 miles).  It’s about 500 feet of elevation in 2.5 miles and muddy and with lots of roots, rocks and things to jump over. 

Then I felt like I got hit in the head with a bat on Tuesday night.  And felt worse since.  

So at this point, I’m not racing a double triathlon on Saturday AM unless I feel ridiculously better in the next 24 hours. 

Pee. Butt.


And yeah, this is how Greta dressed Sada for her track and field day:

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NOTE: Greta said she had sporty shorts on underneath and to be fair, they did call it a picnic and not a track meet.

This is how Dad does it:

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Monday, June 14, 2010

I’m a Bacon Girl

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For those of you who know Piper, this wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary that comes out of her mouth – but this was her claim on the morning of her 5th birthday ‘Daddy, I’m a bacon girl’. 

Part of this comes from her observation of this sort of new thing I’m testing for a group – an athlete’s version of the Paleo diet.  The basics include replacing most of the empty calories with ones that provide more satiety and less likely to cause big changes in the insulin response – which is an issue for me.  So this includes eating things like bacon and eggs for breakfast – a new tradition that she loves.  I dropped 3lbs in a week with no drop in watts or pace or speed in the pool (I’m calling it speed). 

Anyhow she’s 5 and amazing.  And she loves Barbies.  So she got more Barbie stuff.

So this new Barbie stuff includes some sort of apartment and nearly every Barbie thing includes a Barbie cocktail glass.  This new thing includes a bar, a mixer, a flat panel TV, a bed and a shower/toilet.  If people are concerned about the message we send girls by idolizing Barbie, they should really be looking at this apartment of hers not her boobs, waist and shoe size.  With guys like Ken (btw the Ken in our house is wearing pink silk culottes because we don’t have Ken clothes) Barbie needs to pretty much keep the blender mixing in order to live with herself. 

The best part of her new Barbie apartment is of course the toilet. 

In about 5 mins of listening to the girls play, every Barbie (there are 17 of them on the floor) has gone pee at least twice – I suspect there’s a line like at any concert with people just about ready to die to get into the next Honey Bucket but I can’t see around the corner.  They’re well hydrated at least either that or they’re all pregnant. It’s possible that they’re pregnant because they’re always naked and only have cocktail glasses around except there’s that whole Ken wearing the pink silken culottes issue….  The two can’t mix for long before trouble starts.  This house would also be a reality show except Barbies never fight.

Regardless, Piper is awesome and she’s 5 and for anyone who has met her, they’ll probably agree that she’s unique and amazing.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The 2010 Issaquah Triathlon

There wasn’t a warning for folks on the sign up page about having to swim, bike AND run – in a row, on the same day.

I thought I would have remembered some of this from training for the past 6 weeks (AND 3 weeks of swimming).

But between Friday and Saturday I lost my ability to swim and run.  My goal was 1:05.

Let’s start at the beginning.

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I got set up, like at 5:45am, because I have to warm up for these short events, just easy jogging for 20-30 mins with a few efforts to get the HR up.  Then slap on the wetsuit and go act a manatee and roll around in the lake hoping not to get hit by any small boats or other swimmers warming up.  I can swim, sort of, and figured I could swim this 400 whole yards in 56 degree water or whatever it was (try Oceanside 70.3 if you think anything you’ve swam in was cold) in 7 mins or less.  Even with 3 shots to the face of arm driven waves – I still thought it was possible, but it wasn’t and I got out of the apparently 75 yards too long a swim in under 9 mins.  Caffinated lakes would be more awesome to swim in. 

I did see a whole rack of swim noodles next to the swim start – I was hoping they were handing those out for my wave.  They didn’t.  I’m guessing the men 40-44 would need them.

In the final 100 yards I think I figured out what goose-poop flavored water tastes like.  It wasn’t good and I doubt they’ve got that at Jamba Juice, but I know they’ve got stuff close to it.  Yes, I’ll take that free energy boost now.

I missed my goal by about 1:30.  Poo.

Then onto T1

SURPRISE: I’m really good at getting my clothes off fast in public or more accurately, a wetsuit, cap and goggles while running from the water with cold feet, like that crazy bride to be woman who had really big eyes and said she was kidnapped but really just had cold feet.  See, her:

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But I really think my transition times has to do with my ability to hit land and run at a 5:30 mile pace or so and still get my wetsuit off while everyone else says their ‘hosannas’ or whatever they do to thank the Lord they’re back on land – I’m grateful but always remember it is a RACE PEOPLE.  I did this in 1:12, which I believe out of nearly 1,000 people was the fastest.  Small victories. The avg seemed to be almost 2 mins.  So there mom, I’m above average for taking off a wetsuit, running and getting on a bicycle while wearing spandex.

I got on the bike and found that there was about a mile of single file no-passing zones or whatever it was.  This was sweet since my wave was behind the 30-34 women (or actually 6 mins behind them) and I found myself coasting behind 2 ladies on cross-bikes looking scared as squirrels as we made our way to the main road.  I had a small picnic on my bike, a gel, a sip of water and I got my shoes snugged and had half of this post and 32 facebook updates written in my head.  Then the lanes opened up and I got up to the pace I wanted to hold – somewhere around 24-25mph or around 300 watts or HR 168 or faster than hopefully most people were going.  I never got passed and got all the way up to the 4th woman on the road who had started a few waves ahead of me (not getting passed isn’t really much when you’re starting at the BACK of everyone who got out of the water before you).  I got to the turn around and figured I’d turn around the first person standing there – who told me AFTER I went around him that the turn around was actually 10 ft in front of him, no cone but just sort of further.  I didn’t see any arrows or cones but apparently I’m special.  So I did the turn around twice – see, 2 loops. 

I should get special credit for doing that.

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Once again, I’m good at the stuff between the swim/bike/run – so I got off the bike, ran through the mud to the safety of my transition towel, slipped on the super clean and brand new Under Armour Illusions and got running.  I forgot something, oh yeah – my lungs.

I missed my bike split by about 1:30 too. 

These were brand new when I started the race.

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I run after every single workout – so this wasn’t new but I felt like the mud was in my lungs and I couldn’t get my HR up.  See – I swam, ran like a streaker to T1, got on my bike, rode a bunch then ran.  I tried a good 7-8 times to push it but it didn’t work.  Cue Salt N Pepa music.

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Here’s my HR from a race I did (and won) 1 year ago.   Despite having an extra 15 watts at threshold on the bike the extra 20lbs I’m racing with negates it and I possibly could have used a few more hours rest or just less egg nog. Or maybe not taking 6 months off.

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Then Tremonte said I looked “thick”.  Then he said, “you look thicker than I remember you looking”.  Which is probably true as I’m 190lbs and not the super sexy 174lbs I was last season.  We’re working on dealing with managing some insulin levels and trying a few tweaks to my carbs and sugars.  He came in 2nd but due to the wave starts, he finished right in front of me.  I missed my run split by a bit, I thought I could run 6:30-45 at worst, because I can run that in training after riding for an hour.  Shame. On. Me.

So there’s that. 

Then I had a bratwurst because that’s what they had at the finish and it was 9:30am. 

It was a little muddy in transition.

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So I finished 11th in my AG which was TERRIBLE and 48th out of about 1,000 people.  Which sounds nice but terrible for me.  I’m thankful I have a few more weeks of training and a few B and C races before I get serious or really serious.

The Stats of Shame:

Swim: 311th OA/50th AG

T1: 1st OA/1st AG (I use this stuff on my arms and legs under the wetsuit to get it off easy – yea ALCIS!, Tremonte also gave out samples of it after the race – I also learned from Ben Collins how to get a wetsuit off in 5 seconds and 3 simple steps)

Bike: 28th OA/5th AG

T2: 22nd OA/3rd AG

Run: 144th OA/ 26th AG

Final: 48th OA/ 11th AG

Then last night Greta made me watch the VH1 countdown of the top 60 hip hop songs of all-time.  There’s a reason there is only 60 and someone decided it should take 3 hours to get through.  I chose Ricky Bobby (Talledega Nights) but although I have 100% control of the remotes at home, I don’t get to decide what we watch when VH1 comes up with crack like this.  I now know a lot about classic rap and hip hop.  I also got to take the girls to 2 birthday parties. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My First Grade Field Trip and Underpants

So I thought it would be fun for Sada and me to join her class for a trip to the zoo.  I was pretty glad when I only had to keep track of 4 kids.  I instantly made a kid responsible for another kid which meant all I had to do was carry the first aid kit. 

I thought it would be an awesome day to do a 10k before walking around the entire zoo sans compression socks. 

We also didn’t have to stay with the class, so we played speed zoo – visiting every animal in the zoo in under 4 hours.  With 4 kids.  They can’t stand still, even for a picture.

Ever. 

Here are some things I learned:

  • if your parents send you with a thin plastic bag for your lunch, probably don’t use it as a weapon. 
  • also don’t spin it around as if you’re a helicopter, you’re not a helicopter and your apples will end up in the bushes along with your powerade
  • when a kid tells you he’s eaten poo before, you don’t engage him in long conversations – especially when he follows it up with ‘LOTS OF TIMES’
  • kids basically hate any sandwich that gets smashed, even a little.  They won’t touch it.  Hello trash.
  • if they think they can climb on it they will
  • the kids who listen and behave do, the ones who don’t require a bloody knee or a tasty fall into a tropic pricker bush to remind them
  • if you have 4 bandaids, you’ll use 2.  They also will fix just about anything on a kid, except if they’re thirsty
  • kids don’t understand personal space, even when going pee – I didn’t really care for the ‘well hello there’ moment as the little kid says ‘hey, I can see your pee’
  • don’t joke about using the bushes to pee because they will 
  • kids will brag about how old their moms are, they also will share everything they know about their moms even if you don’t ask
  • one kid of the 4 will lose their jacket
  • 90% of the animals will not be out, the kids don’t care.  WOW, THIS IS THE LION’S CAGE.  No lion, who cares.
  • don’t give your kid milk on a field trip.  it goes in the same place the smashed sandwiches do. Le Trash.  They don’t even think twice about chucking it. Or bartering for someone else, like a brown apple slice that was recovered from the bushes
  • the orangutan peeing in front of everyone will pretty much be the best part of the whole day
  • kids think that recess is a God-given right.  Even at the zoo. 

IMG_2991It was fun, but more fun in 1st grade I think.  Bus seats aren’t as big as they seemed when I was 6. 

Little girls are clicky and can be mean and little boys are mostly retarded, though some are thoughtful, good listeners and can read a map.

I got caught between 3 girls trying to figure out who was smarter – it starts with simple stuff

“what is 1 times 1”

then quickly escalated to “what is 87 times 87.” 

It’s pretty easy to see that this also works in the real world where you can hammer someone with a tough question so ridiculously awful that everyone knows you’re the loser of the math-off (or geo-political stand off) – the person asking the question doesn’t even have to know the answer.  Sadly, first graders never think to say, “well how about you tell me if you’re so smart.”  I might do ok in first grade politics.  This math-off ended when Sada, my amazing daughter, fired off “well what is 80 + seventy hundred?”.  Sweet.

I got asked if I wanted to see the bumpy rash on the kid’s leg next to me.  He said, “it’s eczema”.  He asked if I had it, but I didn’t want to explain why I shaved when I was cold and just about removed all the skin from my goose-bumped legs.  But I said no.  I think mine is just a rash.

I also got to hear a pretty compelling conversation between a 4 and 6 year old

“we can’t sing that underwear song at school”

“I don’t like it anyhow”

“I see lots of underwear at school, they boys always have their underwear out”

“I saw Jackson’s underwear, he had Lightning McQueen on them”

“I don’t like Lightning McQueen”

“I don’t like any boy’s underwear”

“Hey dad, do you know what a crush is, I think there might be a boy who has one on me”

“I think I need a cell phone, a blue one”

These of course were my kids going back and forth.  Good times.  Where’s the Tylenol.