Thursday, May 15, 2008

I think I need professional help.

I'm sick of people stealing my stuff. My kids' bikes. My identity. My purse. My iPod, most recently. (really torked about that one).
Caroline's bike got stolen from school last week. Right out of the bike lot. I blame myself. I picked her up early from school with a scathing case of double pink eye and took her to the McDonald's drive-thru with nary a thought of her bike at school for the entire weekend.

Fast forward to yesterday, 6:00pm. Caroline and I on our way to the mall to scout out modest dresses for 8th grade graduation for my niece Deven. (good luck).

Caroline: "Mom, that bike looks a lot like my bike!"

Details become a little blurry here. I pulled over towards the sidewalk, and sure enough, some teenage vato loco was riding my seven-year old's turquoise bike with pink decals. He looked like a idiot. Wouldn't you steal a boy's bike if you were a teenage boy? This chap has the common sense of a speed bump.

Me: "Get off my daughter's bike."

Nothin. I repeated the request in a more commanding "I'm-a-mother-of-four-I-just-did-a-triathlon-don't-mess-around-with-me, Beto!" tone. So he looks me in the eye, and takes off on the bike the other way, down a sidewalk.

{Embarrassing vigilante stint follows}:

Did he really think that my 2005 Ford Expedition couldn't jump that ridiculous curb and apprehend him through the greenbelt? Was it wrong of me to have chased him down with my car until he looked back in abject fear, saw me barrelling towards him in a very large SUV, freaked out, ditched the bike, and started running?
Well, carpe diem, Chato. I suppose I can't blame him for not knowing of my lust for all things off-road. He couldn't possibly have known that I've (so far) wrecked a snowmobile, three-wheeler (remember those?), quad, jetski, and even sank my dad's boat. Now THAT'S a good story. It's a crying shame that we all drive around in these great sport utility vehicles with four wheel drive and never really USE them for what they're intended. It makes me sad, really.
Here's where a little remorse sets in. Perhaps it was over the top to slam on the brakes, throw said SUV in park, leap out of the car, kick my flip flops off and haul after him like a woman possessed. By this time, several families had wondered why an SUV was tearing through the greenbelt in back of their homes as they dined outside on their patios. Before I knew it, and thanks to my incessant shouting "GET THAT GUY!" I had several dads on foot and even on bike chasing the perp, as well as a couple of ladies with cell phones telling me that they had the police on the line. Would I like to talk to them? Not now, please. With newfound physical confidence that only completing my first triathlon could have infused into me, I kept running, until his mangy friend gave him his bike and he rode off.
After several "You go, lady!" whoops from the neighbors, who are also sick of getting their crap ripped off, I went back to the car, consoled Caroline, and let my heart-rate stabilize.
I thought I might need the paddles.

I know I snapped. Anybody know a good therapist who specializes in "post-traumatic stress disorder/general bad judgement"? I'm so tired of being victimized, that this poor acne-ridden nitwit with multiple ear piercings got the brunt of my psychosis. What would I have done had I actually caught him? Lecture him? Hug him and forgive him? Citizens arrest? Dunno.
I slunk home knowing that I would catch heck from McRuleKeeper. He just laughed and shook his head. He knows not to mess with Texas.

Caroline: (a little freaked out) "Mom, I've never seen you go crazy like that before."
She was OK after some rootbeer floats at home.

Good news: I got my daughter's bike back. Caroline loves that bike. Plus it wasn't cheap.
More good news: The cops did NOT cite me for driving like a maniac through the grassy greenbelt, rather they smiled and said: "Ma'am, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do".

Bad news: He got away.
More bad news: Chasing him through the park was delightful.
Told you I need therapy.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

She Swims. She Rides. She Runs. SHEROX.

She collapses. Not really. But it's finally o.v.e.r. No more pre-race jitters, no more worrying whether I'd get up in time (I did), no more worrying whether or not I'd even go to sleep the night before the race, (I got five hours), or get McGermy's cold before the race (I didn't).

Seriously this gig was one of the hardest things I've ever done. People kept telling me "JUST HAVE FUN!" and I think I had fun maybe twice (for a cumulative total of 3 minutes) on the bike portion when I was passing slower people on their mountain bikes (I have a spiffy road bike, remember?). I'll be brutally honest. Not so much fun huffing and puffing for 1 hour and 39 minutes, never once really catching my breath and feeling flu-like afterwards. My dominant thought throughout much of the race was "WHAT WAS I THINKING?"


This sport is EVERY BIT about mental strength as it is physical stamina.

Spandex is a VERY unforgiving fabric. I really do not like it.

I made it through the swim without a major panic attack, although there was a fair amount of breast-stroking so I could keep my face out of the water and catch my breath.

After the swim I ran to the transition area to put on my bike shoes and grab my bike. Next time I will rinse off my feet with bottled water before shoving my grass-encrusted feet into socks and shoes--VERY uncomfortable riding and running with tons of grass in socks.

Bike portion was easiest for me, a chance to "recover" for awhile and eat those little JellyBelly caffeinated/carb sport jellybeans. I think I ate too many.

Loved seeing my kids at the transition areas along the way cheering me on. Did NOT forget to put on my visor/sunglasses/race number this time.

Was totally perplexed as to how I was going to run a 5K after an exhausting swim/13 mile bike ride. Luckily my rockin' cousin Jill Wright was there for me to talk to for awhile, until I couldn't talk from breathing too hard.
Surprising FACTOID: Body type (and age, for that matter) did not seem to be an indicator of speed, conditioning, or success in this race. Sure, the top 10 (there were 400 women in this race)were elite muscular athletes, but it was interesting to see how many heavier women could run like crazy and bike strong, and how many girls that looked like they had near-perfect bodies were towards the back of the pack. Then again, some of the littlest women were utter powerhouses. That was surprising to me. Goes to show you can't judge a book...or fitness, by its cover. For example, while I was running, I could NOT pass the heavier-set lady just in front of me who was 53 years old. (they make you magic marker your age on the backs of your calves so you know the ages of your competitors).
I'm embarrassed to have discovered a fairly fiery competetive streak in me. I didn't think I was very competetive, but when I realized my pal was on my tail, my first thought was "h*ll, no!" (never said I was proud of this first thought), and I hightailed it to the finish line and made myself practically sick. Is this healthy?
I think I suffered from mild dehydration for a few hours after the race, but surprisingly no muscle soreness other than a sore neck/shoulders. I felt a little flu-like but last night I felt fine once I got hydrated. Today (Sunday) I feel like a million bucks. Or at least a thousand. Still taking the week off of training to rest and regroup.

It meant the world to me to have my dad come from California to see me do my tri (my mom was tending to my sister Sus who just had a baby girl). He drove with me at 6:15 am to get all my gear set up and stayed with me while I brooded in my anxious silence. He said he was proud of me. My in-laws all came to support me and I love that they revel in my success. THANKS for your support, everybody, and Steph, for some amazing photos. I do feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, as I well should, I suppose. And 177th (out of roughly 300)place ain't nothin to shake a stick at.

Cousins Jill Wright and Jill Wright. No kidding.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Keystone Cop(s)

Last Saturday. First "Splash and Dash". 500 meter swim in Tempe Town Lake followed by a 5K. Just to "practice" for my upcoming race this Saturday (tomorrow!?!).

No biggie, right? Frank Lloyd WRONG.
A few helpful/pragmatic tips for tomorrow:

* Do not, under any circumstances, do yoga for the first time in months the day before a race. My arms are still semi-paralyzed. Just trying to calm my pre-race jitters got me arms that were barely functional in the water.

* Do not back into ex-flame Nathan LaDuke while treading water waiting for the starting gun to sound off. This induces a mental state of "WTH?" discombobulation. Plus I looked like a fugly freakazoid peering through my goggles with my swim cap on. Very awkward conversation ensued that I think went something like this: (in my mind)

NL: "Hey! So what are you up to these days?"
Me: "Um, surviving this moment--treading water, talking to you, adrenaline overload, not much. Please get out of here. And you?"
NL: No reply from NL because gun went off and he left me in his wake. Literally in my mouth. Kinda choking-like.

* Do not hyperventilate and wish for a speedy death in water because your breathing is jacked because you're having a full-blown panic attack. Get it together, sister.

* DO Practice shimmying out of wetsuit a few times so you don't waste over 6 minutes and accidentally strip your bike shorts semi-off too.

* Don't forget to actually put on your neatly-laid-out-in-and-ready-to-go sunglasses, visor, and race belt/race number. Squinting during an entire 5K sucks.

* Do NOT cross finish line with victorious relief only to be shuttled back to the race course by head-shaking officials and told to complete ONE more lap.

* Do not wear very-cute-new-runningskirt-from-Target over running shorts to minimize saddlebags. Fabric gets bigger when wet and running while holding skirt up is not good form.

* Do not assume that wild clapping as you approach finish line (for the second time) is for you. It's for the cute bent-over 80-year old woman who passed you right at the finish line in an all-out sprint. I wish I was kidding.

*DO learn from mistakes and gain experience from these things. Experience begets wisdom, no?

*DO be grateful that I have a healthy body and strong legs, hips, lungs, heart, and mind to even be able to run, bike, and swim.

McSilverLining keeps telling me how proud he is that I completed the thing despite my disappointing swim, and reminds me that I could not have done this four months ago.
He's right.