Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


February 2009


Okay, when I began this blog, I wrote that I would tell the circus story at some point…here it is:

I have no memory of this event, but it is a story my parents have told over and over through the years.  When I was a little girl, 4 or 5 years old, my parents took me to a circus.  It was a traditional event:  big tent, elephants, trapeze artists, lion tamer, clowns – the whole package.  My parents say that in the midst of all of this, I turned to the two of them and asked:  “When are we going to do something?”

I know I’m high maintenance…just ask my husband and family.  I know I need more stimulation than almost anyone I know.  I know I cram more into one day than most people do in a week.  But seriously, how can I possibly sit there and pedal that bike inside the gym for TWO AND A QUARTER HOURS?!  I tried.  I really did.  I watched every channel on the screen (admittedly, each for about two minutes at a time), I listened to my iPod, I people-watched, I went through my to-do list in my head, I even tried to remember poems/passages I memorized in high school (O Captain, my Captain, The Highwayman, Puck’s speech, the Gettysburg address), which led to the sad realization that my grey matter is not retaining all it used to.

So at mile 29 of 35, I walked away.  Keep in mind this was after a 3/4 mile swim, and it wasn’t fatigue that sent me, disgusted, to the locker room…it was utter, sheer, absolute, mind-numbing, soul-killing boredom.  I couldn’t even get to an even 30.  I take heart in the fact that it seems like spring is on the way, and the number of workouts I have to do inside is getting smaller and smaller.  I plan to ride outside tomorrow if the temperature cooperates, and I’m using this blog for accountability’s sake.  Give me the worst you’ve got.  Bring it.  I know I’m a slacker.  A bad example.  A fair-weather athlete (well, that one’s obvious).

Glad to get that all out.

Best random song:  F**k her gently, Tenacious D

Thanks for reading…

Best. Swim. Yet.

If you’re following, several weeks ago I had this run from heaven where every step felt strong, light, and right.  Today was the day for the swim to do the same.

As in the run, there was no real reason for it to be so good.  Nutrition was good, rest was good, mood was good, but nothing any more so than any other average day.  Today was a 3/4 mile swim (26 laps) – the longest distance so far toward the 1.25 that the actual race will be. 

I started the swim with a little chat with Jim McCarrell, Sean’s uncle.  He’s training for the Tullahoma Sprint Tri and the Chattanooga Olympic Tri.  We shared training updates, then I put in my tunes, turned on my Ironman watch and got started.  My focus today was to get away a bit from “lap mentality”, and more into continuity of stroking; to allow my sprint/recovery/sprint sequence to be based solely on breathing and stroking rather than the length of the pool. 

It seemed like the swim was effortless.  Every song that cycled through the random selection was perfect for what I needed.  The water felt like it was helping me along, and my lungs were cooperating with whatever I gave them.  On days like this, you just have to thank whatever aqua spirits are guiding you along, and be grateful by giving all you can.

Favorite song:  no way I can do this today…here’s a few of the selections:  Rock Steady, Aretha Franklin; That’s the Way, Led Zepelin; Yellow, Coldplay; We are going to be friends, Jack Johnson; Cell Block Tango, Chicago; Melissa, Allman Bros;Who’ll Stop the Rain, CCR…am I right or am I right??

Thanks for reading…

In the pool

Great swim today…

It was a manageable half-mile swim, and I got it done in under 30 minutes.  I squeaked into the pool just in time to get it done before they closed for the afternoon.  There are the usual lap swimmers there almost every time…it’s a strange phenomenon that we recognize one another, enough to nod and smile, but have no idea the identity/name/backstory of each other at all.

Still wiggy about the ocean swim, and looking at the calendar to get to Panama City Beach before the race for a little wave/current/temperature exposure. 

Fave random song:  Dane Cook, Retaliation…Jelly Bit (Hard to swim and laugh at the same time, tho)

Thanks for reading…

another brick down

Remind me, next time I’m contemplating it, NOT to do a strength training workout the same day I do a brick. 

I am so sore, I can’t move off the couch.  The strength training workout was great, the ride was great, and the run was great…just not such a good idea to do all three in the same day.

The weather was crap…what a shock.  It was overcast, cold, windy, and, in the midst of the ride and run, rainy.  It was 25/6, so it took a while.  Jesse, in a show of solidarity, did both events with me (he passed on the weight training).  We took ourselves out for Mexican food afterward…by then I’m chilled because I’m all sweaty, and I wasn’t crazy about my fajitas, so we didn’t linger…

Now I’m ensconced on the couch, my coffee/ibuprofen snack by my side, enjoying Biggest Loser.  It always feels good to have the brick down for the week. 

Too tired to blog…now that’s tired…but it’s a good kind of tired (isn’t that the expression???)

Favorite random shuffle:  Bobby Brown, Frank Zappa

Thanks for reading…

what a run

Several days ago I blogged about a training session that really sucked.  Both the ride and the run were a struggle, and I wasn’t able to attribute it to any particular reason. 

Today was the polar opposite.  There was no reason it should have been such a good run.  It was a 6-miler, and I decided kind of on the spur of the moment to do it.  It was a little cold and windy, and I headed out at about 12:30 or so.  I did my little country lane first, and then headed out onto 96 to clock the miles. 

I don’t know if it’s the planets aligning, the weather, my mood, my nutrition…it just was spectacular.  I felt like I could run for miles more.  My breathing was calm and controlled, my body felt strong and capable, and my spirit responded to all of that.  I even had a little surreal, nike-commercial moment of feeling like every time my back foot left the ground, it fell away beneath my sole, collapsing under my pace…kind of the Lord of the Rings moment when Gandolph meets his temporary end.

Ours is not to question why…I’ll take it. 

Favorite random play:  American Pie (long version), Don McLean

Thanks for reading.

a perfect day to ride

What a beautiful day.  What a glorious change from all the cold and wind and rain!

This was one of those days when you don’t want to stop riding.  The sun was so warm and bright, the sky was blue, and it just felt so good to be outside.  Had I planned the morning a little better, I would have continued riding for much longer than my prescribed 25 miles.  I chose to head into town and then hit the Greenway for a few miles.  I rather meandered, taking whatever direction appealed to me at the moment.  The Greenway was in use, but not too crowded.  I did two laps around the loop at the battlefield, then headed back off, back through town and toward home.

It was as pleasant a way to spend an hour and a half as I’ve ever had on a bike.  It didn’t remotely feel like training, and the pressure of the race was miles and months away.  I guess I have to admit that today would not have been quite so sweet had we not had all of this hideous cold and wind…there’s the lesson learned yet again.

Favorite random song:  No Woman No Cry, Bob Marley

Thanks for reading.

swim day

If you live in Murfreesboro, you know what was going on with the weather between 11 and 1 today…huge, high winds,  massive thunderstorm, heavy rains.  I missed all of it.  When I ducked into SportsCom at 10 minutes til 11, the winds were gusty, trash was blowing all about; I knew the system was coming, but I wasn’t sure of when.  I was in the pool by 11, shooting for a 3/4 mile swim, which I did in about 32 minutes.  It was a great workout, I felt strong the entire time, and it was as fast as I’ve ever done that distance.  Afterward I got out, went straight to the shower and was headed out the door by about 12:30.  The storm had obviously come and gone:  there was debris everywhere, big puddles of water, but the sun was actually trying to peek out. 

One of the girls who works for me called to say the weather was a big concern for her to drive from Manchester to Murfreesboro for our bimonthly staff meeting, so it must have been hitting that city right at that time.  We decided to change the meeting til tomorrow, I called the rest of the staff to let them know, then with that change in plans, I headed back to the house to regroup.

Now you remember from yesterday the adventure I had with Miss Uga and her vanishing act.  Today I get home, Uga is there waiting for me…we’ve had sheetrock work done recently in the garage and it was left open about 2 feet to keep air circulating so the mud could dry, and that’s where she came waddling out from when I drove up.  However…no Boo.  Now you need to know that as great as Boo is, she is a big, fat chicken when it comes to thunderstorms.  Last year on a bike ride in Iowa she slipped her collar during a fireworks display and had to be sprung from the pokey the following day.  When we’re all home we just let her in the house and she cowers under the table until it’s passed, but when we’re gone she manages to hide in the shed or garage.  Not today.  No Boo.  I call and whistle, I call the neighbors, I drive up and down the road.  No Boo.

I call Jesse in Detroit – like he’s going to be able to do anything from there; he thinks she’ll turn up soon.  I wait a bit, go to work, come back home near dark…still no Boo.  I drive the road again, calling and whistling, no Boo.  I call the pound (by now it’s “after hours” and the recording tells me that they do not handle lost pet calls over the phone; I’ll have to go there tomorrow morning and look for her).  I’m not panicked, but I don’t like the idea of her not sleeping in her spot on my bed tonight.

Around 9:00, Fez (my college student/renter/neighbor/third son) calls…what a surprise…she’s at his house.  He owns her daughter Nala, and the two of them hang together (Boo and Nala) all the time.  I drive the car across the cow pasture, bring her home, she runs into my room, onto my bed, which is where she is right now.

So today’s entry is another lost dog story…haven’t lost a dog in years, then we have three “misadventure” in one week.  Not directly related to triathlon training, but infinitely more interesting than:  “…and then I swam down the length of the pool, then turned around and swam back, then I swam down the length of the pool, then turned around and swam back…”

Favorite random song today:  Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, Meatloaf

Thanks for reading.

Today’s adventure

I’m gonna tie that dog to me next time I run.

If you are keeping up, you know that yesterday’s bike/run was kinda crappy…headwinds, bad mood, all that.  Today, in a effort to change things up a bit, I decided to run on the property.  It’s a trail run, but it’s truly my favorite place of all time to run, it always puts me in a good mood, and it was only 6 miles, so I laced up my trail shoes and headed out.

You also know that my golden retriever Boo, and my bulldog Uga usually run the distance with me.  Just to refresh, Boo is perfect, wonderful, brilliant – absolutely everything a dog should be.  If I could clone her, I would make my first million…everyone loves this dog.  Uga is…entertaining.  She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she is covered over with personality, and lives life with abandon…always happy, always curious, and has no idea that her short, squatty, bulldoggy stature is comical no matter what she does.

Anyway, we headed out – Boo runs ahead, smells all the delicious farm smells, runs back to check on me, then runs ahead again.  Uga is along for the ride.  Sometimes she follows Boo, sometimes she runs right along with me, sometimes she chases a rabbit, quite literally.  I call her name when I can’t see her, and she always trots back from wherever it is she’s adventured. 

Today, I’d run for 20 minutes or so, around the open part of the farm…the ponds, the pasture, around the house.  Then we headed into the woods and as we approached the area of the back 40 we call the campsite, Boo ran up three deer out of a thicket – beautiful whitetail, 2 does and a buck.  When Uga saw those white flags running, she took off at a dead sprint.  The deer gracefully cleared the fence at the edge of the property, and Uga wriggled her bulldog booty under the fence and never slowed down.  All the while I was yelling her name and whistling – to no avail.  Boo, of course, stayed right with me, in a move I swear was designed to remind me how a good dog behaves. 

In an effort to salvage the workout AND retrieve Uga, I climbed the fence after her, and if you can call crashing through the overgrowth a jog, I kept running, whistling, calling her name.  I was on someone else’s land, moving in a zig-zag pattern, thinking of all the ways I was going to NOT let her run with me again.  This might be a good time to tell you that we lost her 2 days ago when Jesse and I were walking the property, and found her hours later hanging out at the rock quarry that borders our land.  This time I had no such luck.  I did the entire remaining 40 minutes or so – an unending barrier of briars/twigs/branches/leaves, trying to yell, whistle, breathe, and trying to sustain some semblance of an elevated heart rate.  I gave up when my session time ended, and walked back to the house with Boo, replanning my entire day in my head to include a car search/phone calls to find her. 

As I got back to the house, and was grumbling about how high-maintenance she is, there she was, wagging her little bulldog booty, her face in its bulldog smile, wet and filthy.  I have absolutely no idea what her adventure was, and she wasn’t telling.  I was so glad to see her, and because I know the Cocoa-Puff-sized nodule of nerve tissue that serves as her brain wouldn’t understand it all, I didn’t even fuss at her.

All’s well that ends well?  Okay, we can go with that.  And I actually even got the workout in…

Before we started that adventure and I turned my iPod off to listen for her, I did have a great random song turn up:  you don’t know motivation until you’ve had Sheryl Crow singing in your ear:  “Run, baby, run, baby, run, baby, run” (Baby loves to run).  I know it’s not about literal running, but it sure pushed me along for 3 minutes or so.

Thanks for reading.

Not my day to brick

It was bound to happen.  It has taken until week 6, but it always happens.  Sometime during the training, against all reason, you just stumble upon a day that totally eats your lunch.  Today was just such a day.

I know that I just did a swim/ride brick on Saturday, and now here I am doing another one just two days later.  This is almost entirely weather-related; but schedules factor in as well.  So today was a simple 20 mile ride/4 mile run.  They both sucked.

There was an 18 mph headwind, but that wasn’t it.  I didn’t sleep well last night, but that wasn’t it.  My nutrition for the preceding day was adequate, so that wasn’t it.  I struggled with every mile on the bike and every step on the run.  I wear a heart-rate monitor, and it was slightly more elevated than usual, but I knew that.  I was crabby about the whole headwind thing, and worried about loved ones, but I try not to make excuses; to just accept that there are bad days during training, and today was one of them.

I got it all put down, but it was ugly.  The ride was weak but I finished it in about an hour 20, but the run was were it got really bad – I got to the halfway point…22 minutes to the turnaround (from my house down DeJarnette just past the light at the new elementary school), and then it was walk/run to get back home.  The trip back took over 30 minutes.

Oh well, it happens.  Tomorrow is a 6 mile run and it will be better.  Or it won’t.  That’s the way it sometimes is.

Random iPod song:  Masters of War, Bob Dylan…good for my angry mood.

Thanks for reading…

Blog at

Up ↑