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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My B-Fit B-Day Challenge Report: The Big 3-9

Alternatively Entitled: If only little things like “Work” and “Sleep” could be taken off the table, this thing would be a piece of (birthday) cake!

For most of the things I have undertaken in recent years, I have committed myself to completing something without putting forth a lot of thought about how to complete it. My philosophy has been to give myself a goal and figure out along the way how to live up to it. The B-Fit B-Day Challenge was no exception. After reading through that first email from Roman, I immediately thought “Absolutely- Sign Me Up!” and I did. That was months ago.

Thinking through a little bit later, I emailed him and asked if I could do it early, with the intent of completing the challenge in like July or August while the days were still long, the temps were still warm, and I was training for 2 half-iron distances anyway. He said sure, but I still managed to procrastinate it until October, the month of my real 39th birthday on October 25th.
As the big day approached, I started thinking more intently about how and when I could get it slipped in with minimal disruptions to my work and home life, not sure if I would really get it done. Early in October, my son’s football team was finishing up their season, necessitating a lot of energy focused that direction. Later in the month, I had a week-long seminar to attend a long daily commute away. And the wintertime-is-upon-us blues were settling in, with windy, cold, rainy weather and shorter daylight. The bike and the run could be diced up into manageable chunks I thought after some careful consideration, but the swim was the monkey wrench in the equation. With the onset of cooler temps, the outdoor pool has been closed for several weeks and the indoor pool hours through the city are very limited, with just 2 hours available in the evenings Monday through Thursday. To me that meant that in order to meet the 24-hour timeframe for the Gold Challenge I wanted to do, I either had to figure out a way to do the swim on an evening the pool was open and then finish what I could that evening and the following day, or start the bike/run portion the night before a pool day and finish up the challenge with a swim.

My birthday came and went this past weekend, and I was in a funk. I wanted to do the challenge, but just couldn’t get motivated enough to start it off. Then the email came from Roman again, with a last call for B-Fit race reports. “There is just 4 days left to submit,” he wrote. That was the kick in the pants I needed so I started that evening.

The Report

(I forgot to take the obligatory picture of myself at the pool looking down the lane and putting on my goggles. This one will have to do ..... just go with it)

Run Leg #1:
Monday, I got home from work and quickly changed into my run clothes. I thought I might be a little insane because as I drove home there were flurries of light snow all around me, the first snowflakes of the season, and it was windy as hell outside. I dressed in my warmer gear, found some mitties and I was out the door. Those of you that know me, probably know that I am slower than snot on the run. It is my least favorite of the tri legs, and therefore I don’t spend as much time at it as I should a lot of the time. I ran my cold slow little run until it was starting to get dark outside, then I headed for home.
Run Leg #1: 5.42 miles in 1:18. (Don’t calculate my pace, just trust me that it was turtle speed)

Bike Leg #1:
Once home from the run, I got my buns warmed up, dumped the data from my Garmin into training center and changed into some bike clothes. It was dark outside, which took biking outdoors off the table, and to be honest with y’all I am not much of a snow/cold weather cyclist. One of the things I got for myself for my birthday was a cadence sensor for my Garmin Forerunner and I thought that I could test it out with this ride on a trainer and get my miles on for the Challenge at the same time.
Although there is nothing too exciting to report about a trainer ride, I forgot how nice it is to be able to hop off the bike and switch the laundry or watch TV while still getting miles in the saddle. (BTW: Cadence sensor review: It seems very accurate and was extremely easy to use. Highly recommended so far!)
Bike Leg #1: 23 miles at 1:38

Bike Leg #2:
After a quick night’s sleep, I was up bright and early to get some more bike time in before work. Watched the morning news and warmed up the Trakstand’s bearings for as long as I could until it was time to shower up and go to work.
Anyone who knows me well knows what a colossal achievement it was to get my crack out of the sack at 5:30. I am NOT a morning person, so this was a supreme sacrifice for the cause!
Bike Leg #2: 7.01 miles in :33

Run Leg #2:
After a late meeting that ran over, I hurried home to get the remainder of the run done. Thankfully it was marginally warmer than yesterday and no longer snowing, but still a bit windy. The legs were a touch sore from the previous day and morning bikes/run, so I was not speedy again today. Forward motion is still forward so I just took it easy and slogged out the last 3 1/2 miles.
Run #2: 3.6 miles in 51.32

Bike Leg #3:
What can I say about another trainer ride?
Bike #3: 9.01 miles in 35.38

The Swim:
The plan was to arrive at 6pm sharp when the pool opened and get in as many yards as I could in the 2 hour timeframe or 3 swim miles, whichever came first. Wasn't sure I could do it all in the allotted time, but gave it a shot.
There isn't much to say about lap swimming except I went back and forth lots of times. I watched the waterwalkers in the next lane (I nicknamed them the Solid Gold Dancers because they did all their walking on tippy-toes in the swimsuits with skirts). I chatted a few minutes with Alison, and a few other folks I knew there. Mostly I did lap after lap. Had a few problems with foot and calf cramps that responded well to switching to pull buoys when I had problems and it all just worked itself out.
Swim: 3 miles in 1:41

FINAL TIMES: 6:36 Total Time
3 Mile Swim: 1:41
39.01 mile bike: 1:38 + :33 + -:35 = 2:46
9.02 mile Run: 1:18 + :51 = 2:09

Closing Thoughts:
This little exercise in triathlonism, was for me a vivid reminder that I need to find a way to achieve my goals and live my vision by whatever means possible. I had envisioned doing this in one warm, sunny, single monumental day. In reality, it became a goal that I chipped away at a little bit at a time, working around my need to work and collect a paycheck and a need to sleep at night, little by little in manageable chunks, until I had it done. It was an illustration of how I need to fit triathlon and health into my life by whatever means I can and just make it work and be creative in fitting it in.
Four years ago, I weighed in at over 300 pounds and would never imagine myself displaying this amount of tenacity in reaching a fitness goal. What a long, strange trip it has been so far….. and thanks for coming along on the journey!

Many thanks to Roman for dreaming this up and making it a reality. And thanks to all of you for keeping it evolving and growing, and for motivating me to make myself better by sharing your own experiences and goals.
January 1st is all of our “Triathlon Birthdays” as we call it in my house. This is the day when many of us have to report ourselves when we register for events as the age we will be at the end of that calendar year. It will be my 40th triathlon birthday, anyone interested in completing a “Triathlon Bday” challenge in January?

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Whiny Week in Review

The disruption of the week has been that I spent the week in Union Grove attending a certification course for advanced wound care. I learned a lot this week, some of it even pertained to wounds....

1) I could never, ever, ever work somewhere where I had to commute.
Many of you know that my usual commute to work is 1.75 miles. Sometimes I drive, sometimes I take my scooter, and sometimes (when there is not a lot of school traffic) I walk. This week I commuted 127 miles round trip every day. There are a million windy twisty, rural roads, which totally suck to navigate. And the Interstate is not much better.
And then there is all the dead air on the radio stations. The rate a radio station gets reception is inversely proportionate to the degree to which I am enjoying it. We'll just call that Wimmer's Law.
Is it wrong that I entertained myself by evaluating all roads and crossroads by how fun (or not fun) they would be to bike on? Come to think of it, maybe if I had biked to the class, I would have enjoyed the ride a little more.

2) Every road in Eastern Wisconsin is apparently always under construction. ALWAYS.
I went to the same place every day. I was not ever able to take the same route twice and often my way home was different than the way I got there in the morning. Off ramps and on ramps were closed with no notice from day to day. Traffic was re-routed due to construction, accidents, tree removal services, changing light bulbs in the traffic lights, ..... you name it and a road block was thrown in my way. I have never in my life been re-routed so many ways and forced to punt on directions.

3) The GPS unit is possessed by something that seriously wants to mess with my tiny head.
I was endlessly given directions that I KNEW were not the fastest or best way to go, and sometimes roads did not show up on the map, or it tried to take me the wrong way down one way streets, mostly in the Burlington area. And let me tell you that the little guy who tells you what to do has a bad case of Tiny Man Syndrome. He is BOSSY and gets really really pissed if you don't do what he tells to.

4) My family gets WAY to much pleasure from me getting a ticket.
Thursday morning, Exit 29 on I-43 was closed for construction. I read the sign the day before and planned to get off at Exit 28...... which was closed too and didn't know it. So I got off at the next exit after 29, which routed me all over the frickin place. I would through tiny town after tiny town and wound all over the place. As I pulled into the tiny town of Honey Creek (Population 50) I thought "what a quaint little town......where the hell am I? And how am I going to get back to where I need to go?"
as I pondered it, looking all over the place for signage, driving 55 mph, I noticed that the speed limit dropped to 25. I never saw a warning it would happen. As I lifted my foot from the accelerator, I saw barney Fife sitting in his squad running radar. I held my breath and as I passed by, the lights started to spin. I still had no idea where I was.
He swaggered up the car window, looking every bit like Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit, complete with the little mustache (no lie!). He asked where I was headed, which cascaded into a blubbery meltdown about how I was lost, frustrated, and just basically trying to get the hell out of Honey Creek and to where I was actually headed and was now going to be late getting to. He asked if I had ever had a speeding ticket before, and I told him truthfully I had not.
As he walked back to his squad car, I was crossing my fingers that he felt bad for the lost, crying lady, with a 25 year clean driving record.
Before long he came back. He handed me a ticket for going 43 in a 25 zone, gave me some la-ti-dah speech about protecting school kids, and said he did me the "favor" of ticketing me for 43 since he had clocked me at 44 first and it was apparent to him I was in the process of slowing down (Um, thanks. Makes no difference in my ticket, points, or insurance, but um, yeah.)
Then he gave me directions to get to Union grove. I was about 3 minutes away. Rats.
Needless to say, I have taken a fair amount of crap from Mike and the boys. Bastards.

5) The content may change, but every class/seminar is basically the same.
There are basically the same few people in every class ever.
There is the lady who asks the same dumb questions all day long. I know they say there are no stupid questions, but trust me there definitely are dumb ones. And it makes you look stupid for asking.
There is the lady that has an example to share about "what our facility does" in every situation. The story is never short, barely on topic, and just ties up my time.
There is the person who always says "YES!" when the teacher asks if we need to take a break, even if w just took one like 20 minutes ago. Really? I think we should be ok without one....
There is the person who talks to the presenter at every break using every big word she knows on the topic and inserts her opinion on everything throughout the presentation. She.Knows.Everything. which makes me wonder - if you know freaking everything and want to argue with the presenter about the content because you are always right, why did you take the class? If you know it all, you should just take the test for $75 and save your employer $4925 for the certification course! But then you would not get to show off how smart you are. (She actually asked one day "So are You lying or is the workbook lying because the workbook says ___ and you just said ___.." I think my jaw hit the floor.)
And then there is the person who just sits back and stays uninvolved, and wants to get through the day as quickly as possible, doesn't make a lot of conversation and gets annoyed more easily every minute she has to hang with all the others. That would be me. Miss anti-Social.

6) I could not do something where I had to do the same thing over and over again.
If I had to deal with all those people in every class day after day after day, I think I might poke some eyes out with a sharp #2 test pencil. Seriously. Give me a good old week on the nursing unit with something different to do every day, makes me much happier. And sane.

7) The more I have to sit still, the crankier I get.
By lunch time, I could not stand to be still anymore. Most of the days I was able to walk around the grounds for 45 minutes or so, which helped a bit, but it was jut not enough to totally take the edge off. By the time I got home I was a royal witch.
It was kind of a strange place to walk around since it was also the grounds for one of the state prisons, so I was walking around lovely brick buildings with little gardens, all surrounded by high fences topped with coiled barbed wire. Kinda creepy.


Anyhow, the week is done and I am glad. I took my certification test today and in 4-6 weeks I fully expect to be able to add WCC to my credentials ("Wound Care Certified"). And the best part is I don't have to go to the recert class again for 5 YEARS!!!
Now I will just have to pay my ticket to Racine County as a reminder of all the fun I had there.

(I forgot to mention this but during all the fun of looking at grody pictures and learning all about sterile maggot therapy and other biosurgical interventions, I also managed to break off one of my teeth. It's a molar and it's not painful but I have managed to rub my tongue on it enough times to make the tongue bleed. Best part? I can't get into the dentist until Monday because I was too far away to get to the office before it closed ........ That's just choice.)

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