Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Tri: Swim, Bike, Eat

I temporarily re-joined the New Triathlete's Program for the traditional three sports with which to celebrate Memorial Day: swim/bike/eat throwdown at Sandy Point Park, just outside of Annapolis.

(I apparently need to actually buy a camera, because Someone decided she wants her own camera back. Sheesh. Kids.)

Maybe you've heard? Swimming isn't my strong suit? I kind of sort of actually hate and detest it? Maybe I haven't actually blogged about swimming. I think maybe I only FaceBooked about the hate-on I have for swimming. Well, to make a long story short: I have this swim coach, she's great, she kicks my ass, I'm tossing up a lung in her workouts, I almost quit, I didn't, things got better, and well, we'll see.

I mean, I want to be challenged in my swimming. But there's challenging and then there's impossible. It's as though my track coach just suddenly told me to run 7 min miles. That's a fine goal, but you know, I'm not going to get there for a long, long (REALLY LONG) while. So I explained all of this to my coach, and voila, or viola, at last week's swim lesson I got to wear flippers. (And those things rock.) So, we'll see.

Anywho, I had to FORCE myself to do this open water swim thing, as usual. We had some nice OLDTP-ers on hand to guide us (thanks Ed and Simon!) and they gave some great pointers. I worked hard on sighting and on swimming, and on swimming, you know—near other people. Like REALLY close. We practiced Mass Starts, which I have successfully avoided up til now. It wasn't so horrible as I thought. We did variations of swimming from this buoy to that one over and over, gradually increasing distance, culminating in a nice long 800 m swim in the lovely Chesapeake Bay.

As usual, it was awesome. I didn't drown (my latest new terror? That I'll be the one who has the heart attack in the water that you read about at every triathlon. It's always something, isn't it?), and I kept a decent pace. It's possible that the wetsuit helped.

After all of that fun, we had a leisurely transition and hit the bikes for another FANTASTIC ride. We did about 16 miles, headed towards Annapolis. Beautiful day, birds singing, the smell of honeysuckle, cut grass, and barbecue in the air. What made this ride fun and different? Well, I kept up, for one thing. And we rode in a pace line for another. These are monumental things in my puny little life. I remember this trip last year, when a 40-mile-bike ride pretty much broke me. So great to see progress. Plus? The New New Triathletes were terrific.

On the way back, one of the NTP-ers got a flat and a few of us stopped to help her fix it. I provided the tube, Simon provided the brawn. And the skill. (Although I could have done it. Eventually.)

Anyway, the point of this little story is, I fell behind everyone, but I was determined to catch up, and catch up I did.

After a mile or so, I met up with Simon, who was nicely waiting for me and then?

It. Was. On.

It. Was. So. On.

(Simon is half my age and an Ironman. So yeah. It wasn't really on.)

Simon at New Jersey Tri last year. Sorry big guy.

I needed to catch a few people. I needed to SHOW a few people how to do this thing. (Heh.)

Apparently I started riding. After a bit Simon pulled up to me and said, "You know you're doing about 18 mph?"

What? Exsqueeze me?? This thing only goes 15 mph. (And no, I don't have a bike computer. On purpose. Why depress myself more?)

I kept going. It felt great!! Simon told me later I hit 20mph (and if he was lying, I don't want to know). Ed even told me I had a nice cadence! (Some women like to be told they're beautiful. Then, there's the rest of us.)

I say it over and over: It's the little things in life, people.

These little victories and people telling me I'm getting better just mean the world to me. I mean, I was high after hearing that!

I just hope I remember to do the same for others.

Afterwards, we headed to Cantlers for the traditional crabcake feast

Me, Ed, last year at Cantler's. Yum.

No better way to spend a Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

You Should Have Seen the Other Guy*

Setting: One fine May evening.

Activity: Short (but hilly!) 11 mile ride out of Conte's Bethesda.

Partner: The long suffering Michelle from GoMDgirlGo

Location: Second hill, of many.

I am pathetic. I cannot get this freakingfracking chain back on! But I'm digging this greasemonkey look.

You want grease? I got grease.

Cute cyclist-dude stops to help. Takes him 10 seconds. I am happy happy happy! Is there anywhere I don't have grease?? (No, not really. You'd be surprised.)

We cut our 11-mile ride very short. I left the bike at Conte's Bethesda for their spring race tune up ($75!), but sadly, did not remember that I was wearing bike shoes and my car was parked 6 blocks away.

So I did what any normal person would do: I walked 6 blocks in my socks, past the tony shops and chic diners lining the sidewalks of Bethesda Row.

What, you think that's WEIRD?

*No, really, you should have!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Columbia Triathlon 2009 Relay Report

The Cast:
The Swimmer: Carolina. C. had parked outside of a friend's house til 11 p.m. the night before, waiting for the friend to come home so she could borrow her wetsuit. The friend never showed. C. showed up at the race site at 6:30 a.m. sans wetsuit, but with the hopeful crazy idea that our runner would be bringing one.

The Runner: Sheriece had fallen down a flight of stairs earlier in the week, spraining both ankles, giving me (it's always about me!) the scare of my life as I contemplated the horror of having to ride AND run this race. (Oh, and I was really worried about her too. No, really!) Plus? She was graduating on Saturday, the day before the race. (Let's just say that S. is not known for her teetotaling ways, even on a normal weekend.) Saturday morning she wrote to tell us she would indeed run. I was off the hook and giddy with gratitude.

The Cyclist: Yours truly. I had managed to fall off my bike on Thursday night, landing smack on my right hand, outstretched to catch all <cough> lbs of me. I seriously thought I had broken my wrist, and it was still sore and swollen on race morning. Then, while walking down a very slight very muddy hill into transition at 6:30 a.m., I managed to slip and fall down boom. An omen?

The Weather: Rainy, windy, cold, cold, cold.

Thus began the Columbia 2009 Triathlon!

The wind was blowing. The rain was raining. The feet were freezing. The bitching was in full force.

I set up what I could in transition, feeling confident that the rain would stop at any minute. Swimmer C and I walked about 10 million miles to the D.C. Tri tent over by the finish area, where we found our peeps and saw D.C.'s Perpetual Racing Mayor Fenty, and tried to stay out of the off-again on-again rain.

And the wind.

S. was supposed to arrive at 7. We called her then, only to discover she was sound asleep. FAIL! So, no wetsuit, and no runner. FAIL!

Our swim wave was set to go at 8:15. Carolina was cool as a cucumber. I was, as usual, one big mess 'o nerves.


Somehow—don't ask me how, I have no idea—S. got there around 8 a.m., found parking, walked a trillion miles wetsuit in hand, and our race commenced:
L-R: Sheriece, Carolina, Julia in triathlon's first event: Putting on the wetstuit. I directed. Photos courtesy the lovely Sandy.

While former water polo player Carolina was bringing home the swim, I was standing by my bike changing my clothes a few dozen times. Short or long sleeve? Jacket or no jacket? It was blowing. It was raining. I had cleverly left my helmet upside down on my handlebars so that it made a lovely rain catcher. I finally settled on short sleeves no jacket. I was worried sick about the notorious hills in this race, especially the slick downhills. My goal was to complete the 41k in under 2 hours; my happy goal in 1:50; but mostly I wanted to prove to myself that I could survive with no falls.

It took me about two minutes to get on the bike and clip in. (Don't ask.) You know how at the beginning of a race how you kind of know whether you have it or not? Yeah. I wasn't feeling it. I was tired, cranky, wet, and did I mention cold? (I don't honestly think I've warmed up yet.)

After about 30 minutes I settled into a groove, my heart calmed down and I made a mental decision to give it my all—whatever that looked like.

The worst thing about the wind is the nonstop noise. It's really loud! It was incessant, except for maybe one mile-long stretch where I immediately noticed something was different: It was quiet, almost peaceful. No wind!! It didn't last. The course winds out into the country, past goats and sheep and cows and horses. The roads are not closed to traffic. Spectators are sprinkled throughout the route, particularly along the hills, giving lots of encouragement. I saw one mom and her daughter sitting in the back of their station wagon, legs hanging over the edge, half-heartedly waving flags back and forth while stifling yawns, as I ground my way up a hill at -10mph. I said to them, "You two looked bored silly!"

Just doin' my job, people.

I made it up every hill. And I tried to let lose on the downhills despite some hairy curving descents over wet leaves. There were times—I SWEAR I'm not making this up—when I had to peddle on the downhills because the headwind was so strong I would have ended up standing still. I got passed by several people but I also passed a few folks, including one guy decked out in full aero-regalia. Heh. I even managed to pass a few people on the uphills. (Believe me, I'm shocked too.) And then, like the great racer I am, I passed a few people along the last mile-long straightaway to transition. That felt great!

Total time according to Columbia Tri people: 1:57 (including T1 which is really not fair!)

Sheriece, God bless her, I don't know how she did it but she pulled off a quite respectable 10k with two swollen ankles and a snoutful and no sleep.

TOTAL: 16/20 3:37:44
SWIM: 9th 30:54
BIKE + T1: 14th 1:57:27 (13.014671198978291 miles per hour)
T2: 7th 1:12
RUN: 17th 1:08:12 10:59 min/mile


And thus begins triathlon season.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Will the Real Mrs. O Please Stand Up?

We are practically twins! Rockin' the J. Crew.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

67 Miles and a Massage

Enough fooling around, it's back to the fitness front (and front is the correct word, because it certainly feels like a war):
Saturday, I ran 4 miles in the a.m. with the HIPsters. This might not sound like much, but I must confess, since the 10k debacle I have been REALLY mad at running. No kidding. I boycotted it for 10 straight days. (Which, for the record? I don't really recommend.)

I gave in to its whimpers on Wednesday, running 3 miles in the rain, and it was back to its usual tricks of letting me know that it would take another 10 weeks to regain what I'd lost in 10 days. Another 3 on the treadmill on Friday morning brought me to a whopping total of 10 miles last week.

Saturday: Pre-Mothers' Day:

Number One Daughter was out of town, cavorting with some astronauts down at Cape Canaveral on Mothers' Day weekend, but sent me a mysterious e-mail with these directions
btw...3:45 pm Saturday you are going to this address:
2471 18th St NW
(between N Adams Mill Rd & N Belmont Rd)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 320-0250
BUT don't look up the address or anything ahead of time! i just watned [sic: we're authentic here at NBTR headquarters] you to have it in an email!
Fun! I adore surprises! Was it botox? Liposuction? BACHELOR #3?????

Even better! It was a massage, from here. Hot stones, and a masseuse who worked on my shoulders and neck until I thought I would cry. In a good way.

Sunday: Happy Mothers' Day!

Then it was early to bed so I could get ready for an 8 a.m. clip-in, to ride the Eagleman bike course, some 2.5 hours away in beautiful Cambridge, Maryland (land of the Tobymeister). What better way to celebrate Mothers' Day?

There was a 37-mile option, or a 56-mile option. My longest ride to date has been 30 miles...and that was just last week! Of course I chose 56-miles. (I have a blog to write, people!)

Things were good for 30 miles. I hung with the pack, we practiced drafting (this is actually hair-raising) we were talking, laughing, taking in the sights, nature, osprey, butterflies, frogs, turtles, peacocks. Life was good. Except for the wind.

It was windy.

OK, I know people say "It was REALLY windy," and you know, they mean the wind was blowing.

This wasn't like that.

This was the kind of wind that makes you wonder WHY THEY AREN'T EVACUATING people. But don't take my word for it, let's ask Tuan, who can actually, you know, ride:
The ride was a 56 miles single loop ride on as flat roads as you will find. The wind was just relentless. Is it possible for the wind to blow in 4 different directions at once ? There were parts where the headwind was so strong that when I turned to my left, the headwind followed my head to become a left crosswind. I turned to my right and it followed me there too. I turned around to look behind me and you'd guessed it ... son of a gun was waiting for me. It was like getting bitch slapped by four women at once.
Like that.

We all had cue sheets (bike talk for "directions") but there were also bright pink fluorescent markings on the pavement all along the route that said "EM thisaway" or "EM thataway" ("EM"=Eagleman, "thisaway"=arrows pointing the way). At 30 miles the cue sheet said turn RIGHT, and the pink fluorescent marking said LEFT. Some of us went right. For 4.5 miles. Until ONE of us (THANK GOD—and SHANNON!) realized, um, this is the wrong way.

Oh, how innocent and carefree we were pre-mile 30!

And then there were four. I was still OK, amazed that I could even turn the pedals. Still in relatively good spirits.

It's amazing the panoply of emotions one goes through when stuck in a (somewhat) desperate situation. Resignation, denial, acceptance. Bargaining with God. ("Please just stop the wind for a minute and I promise to join a convent!")

And tell me please, WHY I had to have the refrain from this song playing ENDLESSLY in my brain? For four solid hours.

I started wondering whether it was possible for the wind to actually read a map. I mean, maybe when man created roads, he altered the wind currents. It's a theory I entertained while riding along (the appropriately named) Egypt Road for 7 long, endless, slogging miles, where I think I entered another realm. No matter which way the road went, the wind came directly at me. It was ALIVE!

I fell way behind. I couldn't take it! But I had the best bike buddies ever, and they had all waited for me as I made the long Exodus out of Egypt (Rd). We had 10 miles left. I almost wept for joy. My thoughts turned to pancakes. And crabcakes, chocolate milk and ice cream sundaes.

I don't know how but I finally made it back. I peeled myself off the bike, anxious to see which parts of me would remain on the bike. Luckily, everything was intact.

We high-fived. Some crazy people went for a run. We drove to Paneras and I got a PB&J sandwich and chocolate milk off the kids menu, and then suited up for the long long ride home.

It was the best day of my life and I can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Dating Game*

Circa 1970

Ah, back then life was simple. And all you had to do to get a date was be a big pop star and go on TV and ask a bunch of questions of guys you've never met...hey, wait a minute!


A few posts ago, I promised you an update on my life LOVE life.

First, let's review:

A while ago, I signed up for and this happened.

A while after that, I signed up for e-harmony and that happened.

And then? I gave up.

But a girl gets...lonely. And dreamy. And whachagonna do? I signed up yet AGAIN for

But ... believe it or not... I got no response. Zero. Crickets. Moths.

Knowing FULL well there was NO WAY this could be due to MOI ... I turned to the one person who is my resident expert on... well, just about everything: fashion, wine (that would be her every other post), closet-organizing, rolling, and of course, men: Runner Susan. I begged her to examine my match profile and to BE BRUTAL. (Not that I was desperate. But still.)

She did not disappoint.

Here's what she said (I am NOT making this up):

Have you ever watched matchmaker millionaire? [Ed's note: Sadly, I have.] All men are pigs. Even the smart ones. And no matter who they are, how much money they have, how cute or how sophisticated they are - men want boobs and legs. And, OMG Jeanne, you got all the right assets we just gotta work it into a picture without making you look like a whore. That's one of my best talents.
Can I just say here that I ADORE Runner Susan???

Wait, there's more!
Also, men are really going to be intimidated by your intelligence. You list of achievements is gonna make any man feel under-accomplished. They say they want the smarts, but that is not what they look at first. Boobs. You got 'em, lets work them. Don't take this the wrong way, but the first thing Michael said was when I showed him your picture was "I love her face, but does she have boobs?". It's a sad, sad thing - but give the men what they want then you can reel them all in and weed out the bad ones. Because even the good ones want boobs. I totally sound like a prostitute. I swear, I'm not.

Also, I was a bit surprised to see Sarcasm on your turn-offs. Jeanne and sarcasm are like PB & J sandwiches. And you might want to rethink erotica and flirting as turn-offs. I know what you are thinking, but some men may see it as someone who never ever wants to have sex. And everyone wants sex. Everyone. And all the time. I don't make up the rules, it's just a fact of life.
Who am I to argue??! Clearly I am a rank amateur when it comes to these matters.

So I hunkered down and tweaked my profile. I removed my college degrees (why not, it's an experiment people!), and I took off any mention whatsoever of sarcasm, flirting and erotica. (For the three of you have yet to experience the joys of, the way it works is you get a pre-defined list of "turn-ons" and "turn-offs"; you can check the box under "turn-on" or "turn-off" or "no opinion". If you check no opinion, that item doesn't appear.)

I didn't have time to go get a boob shot (I have my limits).

I hit publish.

The next day?

FIVE E-MAILS. Like, from real guys.


FIVE! Coincidence??? I think not!


So, after a bit of e-mailing and phone calls, I winnowed it down to three guys—one of whom grew up one block from me in New Haven. What are the chances??!

All three are into either running, biking, or swimming or some combination.

And tonight I screwed (careful) up my courage and had my VERY FIRST MATCH.COM meetup. We met at a local pub, chatted, blah blah, etc. No sparks, but I got the first one out of the way. It's possible I had a drink. Or two. Which may or may not have been a good idea. Still, I was on my best behavior; I followed all my friends' advice: Be yourself (only not too much); don't tell him you FB-stalked him; don't talk too much; don't interrogate him; don't talk too little, etc.

$%#!@ It's worse than a freakin' job interview! Which is of course, pretty much what it is.

Guy #2 is set for Saturday. Of course I've found all of them on facebook, and googled them and know more about them than they know about themselves. (People, you should really protect your online info. Just sayin'.)

These three guys are all my age or older, so of course are looking for 35-year-olds. This should be interesting.

Huge shout-out to RS for saving my love life.

She just might have to officiate at the wedding.

*Currently accepting applications.