Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Generally these little slices of Heaven occur about once per mile. However, at Gulf Coast a few weeks ago, someone's placement strategy was off, and we had a few miles with aid stations every half mile. This completely messes with my pacing strategy, and I place sole blame on the aid station coordinator for my terrible run split.
When I saw this picture of me at mile 12 at GCT, I had to wonder, am I too relaxed during the Water Stop Walk or is this really a time to ponder the importance of hydroxy acids in preventing neck skin sagging?
Monday, May 19, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
My sub-4:55 aspirations. Didn't quite hit it. Much slower. Maybe next year. I didn't even continue the trend of my last 3 races there: 4:59, 4:58, 4:57.
Confidence in my open-water swimming ability. Yeah, the surf was crazy, the current took me off course, all of that usual stuff. But my swim was a lot worse than usual. Maybe I swam an extra half mile? It's not entirely impossible; each time I got to a buoy I ended up making a 90 degree turn...
The skin on my bottom lip. Each time I've done this race, I've woken up the next morning to an incredibly swollen bottom lip. It gets sunburned during the race, even after I slather layers of lip balm on. Then there's the beach the next day, which seems to worsen things. Maybe that's what happens to groupers.
My salt intake strategy. I manged to misplace my Salt Stick, a handy little salt tablet dispenser, so I used a tiny plastic bag to hold my salt tablets. It was so difficult to get that thing open that I only did it once on the bike, never on the run. Hooray for normonatremia!
The smooth surface of my goggles. I mentioned the surf. On Friday during my practice swim, I was proudly standing up in the shallow water, an air of satisfaction that I'd made it out alive, when I was tackled from behind by a large wave. I tumbled over, head first, finally landing on my stomach again. Planting my feet on the bottom, I tried to reach the air above when it happened all over again. When I did crawl to shore, I realized my goggles had been stolen off my head by these waves. I searched to no avail. Later in the afternoon someone found them on the beach and got them back to me. I'm going to keep them for a swim in Sardis Lake, where I can't see anything anyway.
The hair at the nape of my neck. Darn it, I'd just gotten this patch of hair grown out to about 4 inches. Now I've lost half of it again. For some reason, there's a reaction going on between my swim cap and the neck of the back of my wetsuit that vaporizes this hair. No matter what I do, no matter how many inches of Body Glide I cake on there, I can't avoid it.
My pride in being able to race hard. I've always thought that I can really put it out there on race day. I make myself hurt and leave it all on the course... right? I'm not so sure anymore. I was getting on to Andrew after the race. He's an amazing athlete; he's been doing triathlons less than 2 years and has won half of the races he's done, including everything from half-Ironmans to sprints. Right before entering the park during the run, we passed each other. "JOHNSON!!! What's up? How's it going? Run fast!!" he says as he practically leaps into the air. I reply with a mumble and a smile. I have no extra breath for more of a response. Later, after I had explained my theory of his race pacing to him, Mary Cay comes out with a "Joy, you don't race very hard." What!? Me? But I'm sore! How can this be? Maybe I just don't LOOK like I'm racing hard: But Andrew, I'm not so sure about. :)
And finally, the first of my four May races. I have over-scheduled myself for May, but I'm up for the challenge. Coming up this weekend: the Memphis in May double. Saturday is the mountain bike race, Sunday is the olympic distance. Stay tuned.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
But then there's my hibiscus. She's not too fond of Memphis winters, even though I bring her inside and put her right next to the huge westward-facing window of my bedroom. She just loves the sun and heat too much to really thrive. I took this photo of her recently, and look, she's waving at the setting sun, her source of food and happiness.
I just repotted her this spring in a larger home with her favorite treat: nutrient rich, decadent "horse dirt" that Mom gets from the barn. [Side note: we don't like to say that we put manure (albeit composted) on vegetables, so we just use the ambiguous "dirt" term.] I'm excited to see how she fares this summer, and I hope that my 4 1/2 days out of town won't start her off on the wrong root.
So here in my photo is proof of my little Duzi and her number (ok, so it's obvious that I still have more cleaning to do...). It shall now be known across webland that she is mine.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I'm scared because...
* The swim is in the ocean, and I just read a crazy thread on the Slowtwitch forum that now has me scared of being attacked by a shark (or a mountain lion, or a yeti, for that matter).
* I haven't worn a wetsuit since last May. Not sure I'll remember how to get it off.
* Last time I tried to pump up my race wheels by myself, I ended up $150 poorer because the pump got stuck on the valve (bad experience to have 2 days before an IM).
* The weather forecast looks great-- partly cloudy, high of 83 on Saturday. But it always looks better than it is. They forecast for 83 degrees, then it's 101 in the park.
* We run through St. Andrew's Park.
* The wind can be pretty strong.
* Every muscle in my body will be sore the next day.
I'm excited because...
* The swim is in the ocean, and in contrast to the lakes around here, you can actually see your hand in front of your face while swimming.
* I get to wear a wetsuit. ...unless some weather phenomenon occurs in the next 4 days and raises the ocean temps by 7 degrees.
* I'll be at the beach!
* You could say that I'm familiar with the course. I've done the run loop 14 times. Yes, literally.
* We get to run through St. Andrew's Park. It looks like a beautiful beach from the pictures I've seen. Of course, you don't see the actual beach while on the run course. The photo is from a rare moment when I'm actually smiling in the park. See, it can be fun!
* Since there is guaranteed to be a good wind, at some point during the bike ride we will have a tailwind. Maybe it'll even cool us down during the run. Ha.
* Did I mention I'll be at the beach? There will be plenty of time for some R&R on Saturday after the race and all day Sunday.
The actual race seems like such a small part of the weekend, but without it, it just wouldn't be the same. Two days and counting until I'm on my way.