Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Leak Detecting Dog!

My little pup Harvey (who is not so little anymore) has proven himself to be quite the character,  a wonderful blend of stubborn and sweet.  He's a smart little dog (yeah I know, all dog owners say that about their dog but this one really is) and he's very willing to work for food.
He's got a lot of energy that walks around the neighborhood don't seem to do much to dampen. I've taken him on a few jogs and he starts out great, but grows tired quickly.  I guess Harvey is more of a sprinter, so we play a lot in the back yard, jumping, fetching and bouncing around.

The other day I was home alone and working on getting the pool back into service after a long winter of beeing a little on the green side.  With all that algae in, I was having to backwash the pool filter quite a bit. We had been struggling a little to keep the water level up in the pool, but I figured it was just because of the frequent backwashings, and also it had been really windy and dry.
Once I was done cleaning the filter I put the system back to filtration and was tossing a ball for Harvey whilst I waited for the pool pump to prime up - and it was sounding a little weird.
All of a sudden the dog completely lost interest in the ball, and the ears perked up.  He then ran to a certain spot in the yard and launched into mad digging mode, dirt flying everywhere.
I ran over too, going "what the eff do you think you are doing, you damn dog" wondering what had gotten into him.
Once I got to the hole, I saw that the Harvey had exposed a small cave that was making gurgling noises and at the bottom of the "cave" was a pipe.  Hot damn!   I ran back and turned the pump off, and the hole immediately filled with water.  

Once Cute Boy got back from his trip he dug up the pipe and replaced it, and now we have a beautiful crystal clear pool with happy pipes.  And a dog that got his fill of treats that day :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ack ack ack

Been a rough couple of weeks and the blog-lust has been minimal. I've been slacking both writing my own blog and reading others, which goes to show the sad mental state I've been in.
I had a whole post started (titled "the dumbest thing I ever did") about my lifeguard training, which I ended up cutting short and thus not finish - but just like the training I don't seem to be able to manage to finish the post. So I'm moving on, such is life.

It was a great time though, endless ass-kickings on the beach and in the ocean, and even in the classroom. I really liked most of it, but since I wasn't able to commit to a full time schedule and work weekends and holidays all summer, I realized that it wasn't for me.
My respect for ocean rescue lifeguards has increased leaps and bounds though, these people teaching the course were dedicated professionals that really know their stuff.

But, hanging with a bunch of 16 year-old kids for the better part of a week also evidently exposed me to a wide variety of high school germs that slayed me. I came down with a cold of the nastiest sort, stayed in bed for a couple of days and then it has taken me a whole another week to crawl back to a state of normal (more or less).
A couple of my friends and Cute Boy also got ran over by the same flu bus, so it's been a sad little squad in DeLand lately.

I've been swimming and biking as usual, and since summer is just about here it seems only logical to step it up a little bit.
I have a couple of events coming up, nothing really major though, just fun stuff.
My first relay ever is in Siesta Key in a couple of weeks - doing that one with 2 of the girls from my swim masters team. Should be awesome - and since I'm the only one with a bike in the group, the cycling fell to me. It will be kind of nice to be able to treat the bike like a 25 mile time trial - just plop it in the big ring and push hard, no need to worry about the run afterwards, yay! Just have to figure out the warm-up, maybe I can do a little jog or something as I doubt they will let me out of transition to tool around on my bike :)
Then there is a pool meet - long course (gulp) and at some point either an open water race or a sprint tri... plenty going on.

Then at some point I should probably get going with planning my wedding that is in a couple of months - but I'm sure it will all work out :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Head-on collision, bee-ware!

Went for a short bike ride yesterday with my friends. Pam and I rode from my house and pick up Mikey on the way, which gives us a nice 15 min or so to warm up at an easy pace before Mikey kicks it up a notch.
It was pretty windy, but keeping in line with my new motto of quality workouts, I figured the wind was just one more way of making sure I worked hard. There is a short stretch of rolling hills where we like to try to kick it up a little, and it starts with a nice little overpass. I was doing good, feeling strong and happy and powering my way up the hill when all of a sudden *THWACK* smack middle in my forehead.
Was it a bird? A plane? Superman? None of the above, it was a friggin bee. Or a wasp or something of the sort, equipped with a stinger. I yelped and then tried to yank my helmet off (the creature was still in there), but Giro does its job well so the lid sat on tightly. I squealed something to my riding buddies about pulling off, ripped my helmet off, had a small panic attack when I discovered the sting was still firmly lodged in my head. Mikey came over and was able to yank it out, much to my relief.
I don't seem to be allergic to bees, so we slapped the helmet back on and kept on going.
I now understand much better about the mesh I sometimes see in the front, there is a good reason for it folks, seems like I'm not the first one to have a high speed collision with an insect.
My forehead hurt like hell for the rest of the ride, but we managed to keep a good pace and had a blast, until Mikey almost got knocked off his bike by a giant dog that decided to bolt right in front of us - and then there was the giant 3-inc beetle bug that flew like it was drunk - I think that thing would have knocked me right off the bike had I hit it!

One way ticket to Bonktown, puh-lease!

Better preface this post explaining a term well known to most endurance athletes, the dreaded bonk.
Runners World website has a great bonk article here,  and the Urban Dictionary touches on it too (NOT talking about definition 1).
There are many versions of bonking and many levels, but they all have a similar end to the story: public embarrassment as you stumble off the course barely in control of your limbs or body, but your brain is still with it enough for you feel every painful moment in astounding clarity.
Or so I'm told.  See, I have never bonked, or really come that close.  And this has been my Achilles heel in races & competition, I hit the course so bent on conserving energy for what is to come that I move like an 80 year old on a walker (a feisty 80 year old though).  And as a result, I have had some of the must humiliating race passes in history.  Once there was an 11 year old kid that skipped past me (that was my first tri), then there was the 72 year old woman that I finally passed on the last meters because she had to stoop down to tie her shoe laces.  The list goes on, but to preserve some of my dignity I'm going to stop here.

At the Miami Int tri the other day, my friend and training buddy Sue beat me on the bike.  Not by much, handful of seconds, but still - she beat me.  The funny thing is that I am a stronger cyclist (not to mention 10-15 years younger), so I should have beat her. Right?  Wrong, she proceeded to whoop my ass.  Granted Sue is a phenomenal runner, but I should be able to at least keep up on the friggin bike.  I did good on the swim, and then for reasons unbeknownst to me, I sat back on my bike and watched all the other pretty bikes, the nice scenery, the friendly volunteers - basically did whatever I could to distract myself from actually pushing it.
I don't know why, but this time around being passed got under my skin.  I stewed on it for a couple of weeks and ended on having a bit of a "come to jesus" talk with myself last Thursday. 
A talk about goals, commitment, racing truly, about finding my fighting spirit and bringing the heat.
On Friday I had my last class of the Taste of Vision Quest coaching on the bike.  The classes have been awesome - the goal was to come out of there with more power, upping our wattage.
I tested in at measly 137 watts (average over a 40 min time trial hilly course) - and as usual had plenty left by the time it was over.  I didn't bonk, but I didn't do what I was capable of either.
So on Friday morning, when it was time to test out, I came to class with a new found resolution in my belly.  I was going to race this test, and I was going to give it all I had. Sue was in that same class, and there was no chance in hell I was going to let the woman whoop my ass once again (I could really learn from her when it comes to racing).
We set up the bikes, warmed up, and then I popped my Gu and toed the line. 
Off we went, straight up the first steep virtual hill.  Caution to the wind, I hit it hard.  The downhill came, I popped in the big ring and raced my ass off down that hill too.  For the first time, I was completely focused on the bike, in the zone.  For the first time, mind wasn't monkeying all over.  It was just me, my Orbea bike, the music and the course ahead of me.  Zen.
At the end of the time trial, my heart rate was starting to hit the red zone, slight tunnel vision setting in, the chilly goosebumps made an appearance - and I was happier than pig in shit.
I had upped my watts average to 160.  The coach was blown away, said it was one of the biggest jumps they had seen and was really happy that I had stayed strong the whole way through.
I smiled big as I walked over to Starbucks to claim my reward latte - I smiled big the entire day.
I smiled even bigger the following Monday when we tested into another round of VQ - this time coach said I was allowed to recover some on the downhills - and I ended up with an average of 168 watts.

I found the fire within.

So now I have a new policy.  Every workout I do, I do to the fullest. No more tooling around the block or the loop, no more junk yards in the pool.  Each workout is a sacred privilege and will be treated that way.  I'm on a mission to reach my potential.  
I just bought a whole block of tickets to Bonktown.....