Still waters run?…

It’s a song.  It’s a proverb.  It’s confused.  It’s an oxymoron.  As you may recall, I recently became FB friends with running.  Well, OWS and I are FB, IG and Twitter friends.  We follow each other regularly but our interaction is spotty.  Life Tri lesson #1093:  All water does not swim the same.  Yeah, I’m fully aware of currents, etc., etc., but what completely went over my head was the expectation of said current.  Mmhmm.  No such expectation when swimming in a lake, as I found out this weekend.  Nothing more frustrating than swimming and going nowhere.  There is, at least for me, a difference and the mystery lies in figuring out what and how to tweak it.

My weekend was filled with bumps, bruises, aches, disappointments and lessons. The ride home is never so long as when a race doesn’t go as one hoped.  Adapt, adjust, keep it moving.  Except when you, literally, physically aren’t.  It is laughable now, wasn’t then but a probable reason dawned on me as I stripped out my muddy, wet gear:  Dinkus, you can’t swap training/race gear.  Classic rookie mistake.  That was part of the mental breakdown.  The physical breakdown was mother nature.

Being a woman can be so inconvenient sometimes.  I’m no amateur to this womanhood thing but you can’t control what you can’t see and you just don’t know what or how a period is to be.  Add to that a nice jab to the jaw from my bike fork when unloading my bike and my face bobbed when it should have weaved.  Adrenaline kept me from feeling it then, felt it when I went to put my face in my hand.

My Chaperone, Cheerleader, Carrier was maneuvering rocks, slopes, mud and dog poo and ended up aggravating a knee injury.  Limped along the rest of the weekend, loading that leg in and out of cars, up and down stairs and wherever else it was needed.  This race may have been “picturesque” but the conditions were a bit brutal.

The bright side of all this was/is, my new transition set up worked for me.  It really is the little things.  I prefer my waters running, period.  Even dish water isn’t still.  No one really likes to work harder but at times, it’s what’s called for and it’s what’s called for to address Still Waters.  Trying to move something that is Still obviously requires hard work but once you know the issue, the idea is to work smarter, not harder.  I learned from working hard and not getting the results desired.  Now, time to work smarter. #whatailsya #RealAthleticWoman doing some Real Adjustments.

Trail and Error

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It’s been a while since I’ve written here.  I’ve written but through the FB page but this achievement deserved to be told at home.  In honor of a part of my childhood, this will be told in a non-traditional fashion.

 

The Evolution of E:  I’m a girly girl, a prude at times (who am I kidding, I still kinda, sorta am) but since I’ve become a Triathlete, I find myself doing things that I would have turned my nose up and so judged you for.  Now, I will change ALL my clothes in the car.  When you are wet, sweaty, gritty, dirty and just ugh, you want to put on some dry clothes/underwear.  It’s like taking a dry shower.  Hey, they have dry shampoo.    I felt like KastOut – the Bizzaro Outkast:  not so fresh and semi clean.

 

I go get my post-race glazed donut (for later) and head to get something to eat.  This is the best part.  Now, I’m a persnickety, picky eater.  After a race, it’s hard for me to eat.  One or two bites and then I’m full but an hour later, my belly is growling like rabid dog.  We had to eat at the bar due to the small space and limited seating.  A woman came and sat on the opposite side, she ordered the club sandwich.  Now, traditionally, a club sandwich is a 3-layer sandwich with the bread lightly toasted, cut in quarters.  Her food arrives and she proceeds to take each quarter apart.  I thought she was removing the middle layer of bread.  Nope.  When the waiter inquired, she stated “I didn’t know it came toasted.”  They offered to remake it, she declined saying it would be wasteful.  There she sat, removing every piece of bread from each quarter.  A waitress asked again to have it remade, she declined.  The offered to bring her untoasted bread.  The bread arrived and she asked for a side of mayo and proceeded to make a sammich.  You know, a sammich like you make in your kitchen.  I could not stop laughing but you know G-d don’t like ugly because I caught a cramp in my left hamstring.  It put its hand over a hot flame and grabbed the muscle and held on tight.  I discreetly slid off the stool and attempted to massage the cramp out.  Can’t straighten it, can’t bend it, can’t move it.  I have to get out of here before I cause a scene.  I broke leg bird hop out of the restaurant and wobble, shake, jump, skip and hop down the streets of Richmond in an attempt to keep the cramp from spreading.  At the cross street machine it decides to give me a reprieve.  I was mad, I made sure to hydrate.  I’d been peeing like American Pharoah, getting in my electrolytes, salt and magnesium.  Plus taking the HotShot, there was no way I should have cramped.

This race was tough because it was my 2nd Duathlon and my 1st Trail run.  My performance was below sub-par but in my defense, I’m a Trail Virgin, so the fact that I finished, upright and uninjured deserves a high five.  I’m used to working hard.  The fog, roads and trails made me work extra hard.  I wasn’t prepared.  I need to analyze my training and add in a trail or two if I’m going to continue.

 

There are times I want to say FTS and go back to riding my bike with a basket and bell but then the realization that I’m capable of so much more keeps me coming back.  I want to retire, I placed 3rd in my AG and that’s like winning Olympic Gold.  What else is there?  Lots more.  I’ve only scratched the surface, not sure if the scratch is poisonous, I’ll find out in the AM or tonight if I wake up itching but the fact remains, I finished my first trail run. No experience, blind as Stevie Wonder and I got it done.  It was not pretty, my gloss was low and I felt like a loser.  Not only that, I do believe I was the only BBOT, I didn’t see any others, so finishing DAL didn’t help the cause.  But you know what, somebody has to finish last, so why not me.  I finished strong.  I finished upright, injury free.  I. Finished.

 

Takeaways:

1 – re-evaluate and up my run game

2 – go for a trail run

3 – never doubt yourself, there are enough people doing that

4 – G-d is always with me, even in the fog

5 – I really am a #RealAthleticWoman,  #SizeMattersNow

 

It’s a good thing my sunglasses are kinda big because I had a TV cry moment when I crossed the finish line and while talking with a friend.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed about my performance but as the shirt says, “I’m more than a pretty face.  I came here to win” and WIN I did.  EVERY time I cross the finish line, I win.  At home, watching the Olympic trials, it sunk in and hit me.  I actually finished my first trail run.

 

The Run:  So, as in all Triathlons, the run is the do or die event.  You’ve already done 2, so what’s one more.  Well, when it’s on a trail AND it’s your first, well, that one more can be your undoing.  All that was missing was a basket and a red cape.  I surely felt like Little Red Riding Hood going over the river and through the woods, literally.  There was a 1 mile run through a neighborhood and I was actually glad to see asphalt.  My left-knee was still whining after a stumble on a few roots.  There’s nowhere to go and so when you stumble you either have to catch yourself or go down in the DM (dirty mess) and you KNOW, I was not going down.  So I did the drunk walk lean to gather myself.  At the turnaround in the neighborhood, there appeared a G-d sent human.  There was a woman, Debraunda I believe she said her name was, standing on the sidewalk cheering when she comes out in the street and says I’m going to run back with you for a bit.  When I TELL you she gave me LIFE.  I wanted to drop down in the street and cry.  I was so grateful.  We ran, we chatted, we laughed.  She was the energy I needed and G-d gave me exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  We joked about Moses, who walked everywhere and how I needed to borrow his sandals.  Once I got back on my way to Grandma’s, we hugged and she left.  G-d bless her.  There is human compassion in the world after all.  The last mile was so interesting.  I went from Red Riding Hood to Paul Bunyan because you have to be a lumberjack to do the lumberjack logroll.  The was a path of sticks laid out on the trail like a log road/stick bridge.  And just HOW am I supposed to get over that?  The grass was so high, I knew there had to be a lioness lurking, waiting to prance.  I did my best Misty Copeland to get across those sticks and keep it moving.  I got scratched by some branches and thought about every itchy, scratchy, poisonous leaf ever created.  I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.  I didn’t and don’t sprint.  I kept my stride and the crowd support was amazing.  Grateful for the big sunglasses.  I finished DAL but I finished.  Lot of things to rethink but then again, I did go against Triathlon rule 101 – never try anything new on race day, i.e., Trail running.

 

The Bike:  This was an 18.8 mile ride in the Swiss Alps.  It was so foggy, it was something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  Any moment I was expecting a crow to swoop down and caw and peck on my head.  This ride was scary for me because I couldn’t see too far in front of me.  I didn’t have my blinky light so how would cars see me.  Black girl, black bike, yeah, you do the math.  The fog didn’t let up until around miles 8-10.  No crows but plenty of pot holes and street crumbles.  The roads were like those fancy crumble donuts Krispy Kreme offers once in a while.  Between the crumbles and the fog, I was riding like a kid.  I was frustrated.  I’d ridden a hybrid on longer, hillier and crappier roads.  I have a better bike, stronger legs, WTH EJ.  Right let started to cramp so I took a HotShot and hot it was.  That shit was like drinking hot sauce, black pepper, and habanero and jalapeno juice with a shot of whatever liquor you have on the bar.  Kevin Petty didn’t warn me about the taste.  On my way back, down the winding country road, I go got buzzed by a silver Mazda.  I wish I had a brick because I’d have blown a lung to catch them and bust their head to the white meat.  Just uncalled for but Jesus loves me and kept me safe.  The driver is lucky Jesus loves them too and told me, I’ll take care of it.  Made it back and let me say this.  I love spectators but if I’m coming down to the dismount and you’re crossing the path and the volunteers are telling you “Biker coming” and you still stroll across.  If you cause me to crash, I promise you, there is going to be a misunderstanding and you will need medical attention if you make me crash my bike.  #movebitchgetouttheway

 

The Run/Swim:  Ok, so, I arrive early to get my transition set up and settle my nerves.  Get my bike racked, chip, bib and I’m all set.  I set people still have their shoes on but think, ok, there is a bucket so they are going to put them there.  I’m sitting on a banister, waiting for my assistant and a man walks by and says “You’re going to run in flip flops?” It’s race day so I’m in my own world and give him the RBF.  I’m walking around and I see my friend Jen.  We’re chatting and she says something about my flip flops.  Turns out the swim was cancelled and it’s now a Duathlon.  I do my best Sonya Richardson Ross impression back to transition and trade my flops for shoes and socks.  Now, the would be swim, let’s talk about that.  The river was high, I mean HIGH, HIGH, HIGH.  So high, I think they sent a distress signal to Noah.  In addition, the current was moving so fast and there was so much debris in the river, it looked like something off of National Geographic.  The fog didn’t make it any better.  It was so thick, you couldn’t see across the river.  It was Olympics on Ice fog show thick.  I was actually thinking of skipping the swim because I couldn’t see but again, I need to visit my neighbors every once in a while to hear the latest news and gossip.  So, this initial run.  Yeah, have I mentioned I don’t like running.  Nope.  And it’s a trail run.  What?  I thought it was part trail.  Nope, 95% trail.  Who said this was a Great beginner Tri, even though I’m not a beginner.  LIES.  I survived the swim/run but starting off running throws off my game.  Yes, I can adjust but virgin trail running isn’t the best way to adjust.

 

 

 

 

I AM…Human Unlimited

 

Disclaimer – I didn’t not create that name, nor am I stealing it.  Rather, I’m paying homage.

 

I came across HU on FB and while I am not the first to jump on anyone’s bandwagon, I saw their shirts and commenced to obtain all sorts of splinters and scrapes.  But it wasn’t until their latest email offering up their, IMHO, epic shirt that it  would resonate so well.  FAIL (First Attempt In Learning)  I love love love a good play on words and let me tell you, this is the epitome of being an athlete.  Myself and hundreds of others this weekend undertook tests of our training and even though we’d done them before, there is nothing like that “now or never” moment.

My FAIL moment came during my 58 mile bike ride.  See, where I live, it’s flat.  Oh you MAY catch a slight roller but that’s only due to a bridge or overpass.  No humps in these thar hills but Richmond, VA is notorious for their hills and I found out the hard way, just how disadvantaged my hometown is.

See, I can’t practice hill riding, so I had to Nike the entire thing.  I had my nutrition down (every 45 minutes) my hydration down (H20 every 15) but nothing prepares your legs for hills, when you haven’t trained on them.  I was making good time but then, there was this hill.  I won’t even call it a hill.  More like a steeple with an angled slope that had a long crest at the top.  There would be more, lots more, the entire ride in fact.  Oh, down hill was great but it was cold, so my first FAIL was (#1 – need to buy toe covers and wool socks and a cycling jersey).  I wasn’t freezing but I don’t like my arms to be cold.  Yeah, I was layered up but that wind can be biting.

My next FAIL was cramping.  Now, I have never cramped on the bike, ever.  Never, ever.  It was the hills, so I chewed a few fruit bits, sipped water and it slowly worked itself out.  Note to self, always keep more fruit bits.

The next FAIL was my compression.  I’ve ridden with and without them before but never will I ride with them on hills again.  Nope, unh uh, not doing it.  I’ll get me some leg warmers.  All in an attempt to be fashion forward.

All in all, my FAILs provided me a wealth of information.  Sure, I’d ridden before, and even did a few slight hills but this FAIL showed me I’ve got work to do in the hill department.  The funny thing is, I passed some and I was passed by some.  I didn’t and never will care about people passing me.  Lady with a basket with flowers and food passed me and I almost crashed laughing so hard.  I later found out, she passes most people.  Hills are her thing.

I can’t wait to order my FAIL shirt and wear it proudly at my next race.  For me and my fellow athletes who were out giving it our all, we all, hopefully learned something that day.  We should all remember, that even when you FAIL, it not necessarily needs to be epic, so long as it’s educational.

Congratulations to M. Hicks. I. H. and the rest of the athletes that competed the PPD Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 and 140.6 and those who completed IMMD, and all those who completed races and events in a city/state near you.  We all showed just how Unlimited we Humans are, when we put our minds to you.   Thanks HU!

What ails ya?60 miler post race

E-disHarmony

This is my Richmond Rox race report.

We’ve all seen the commercials but I must say, we had absolutely nothing in common.  Well, maybe the fact that we were both strong willed is something but not enough.  I’d heard about him and to be honest, my interest wasn’t there.  EVERYBODY was talking about him but I was like, eh.  But the FOMO – on what exactly I have NO idea – crept into my usually impenetrable mind and thus I drank the Jim Joaquin Jones kool-aid.

I should have known this date was going to be a disaster.  I didn’t even do my normal primp prep routine.  I even wore a cut-up bag on my head for pete’s sake, but that goes to show you how I was feeling about this date.  Another clue was the fact that I had to drive to meet him.  Not that it was an issue but he didn’t even offer to come and pick me up.

We had reservations but there was a mix-up.  We had to wait to be seated.  I got bored.  I wanted to leave, I really did, but I stayed.  Didn’t get started until almost 10:30am and my enthusiasm floated down the James like all the debris and unsettled earth that Joaquin kicked up as he tried to stop me from leaving.

The appetizer:  The 1 mile run was, eh.  My mind and worse yet, my body was soo not into it.  If this had been an intimate moment and if I cared, I would have been embarrassed but such as it was, trot, trot, on I went, all the while trying to re-engage myself in this date.

The main course:  12 mile bike was, doh (Homer Simpson voice).  I’ve ridden in the rain.  I’ve ridden in the wind.  I’ve ridden in the wind and rain but THIS, well, let’s just say I would have slapped Joaquin for his behavior if I could have caught up with him.  I actually hated this ride.  In all fairness, I have to give it up to Richmond Multisports.  They took the worst lemons and made the best lemonade they could under the circumstances.  The organization was pretty much non-existent and they didn’t have enough volunteers, thus leading to my adventures on the bike.

Technically, I didn’t get lost but why must these thing always take place in the most remote of places.  I was alone.  No birds, no bugs, nothing.  Just me and I could feel the darkness coming for me.  I berated myself for not changing into my cycle shoes.  My feet kept slipping off the pedals and my shoes were so wet that I had to give serious thought as to whether or not I’d wet myself.  The lack of volunteers and signs made this ride a nightmare.  In all fairness, Richmond Multisports took the old lemons they had and made the best drinkable lemonade they could.  I respect them for that but this ride was taking it out of me.  My foot slipped, my pace slowed, my thigh cramped (due to shoes) and then…I stopped.  Yep, just got off the bike and walked.  No particular reason other than the fact that I was a 5 year old, throwing a fit in the supermarket.  As I crested the top of the hill, I saw the flashing of blue lights.  I hopped back on my back, thanked the officer for direction and assistance and splashed my way on.

I wanted to quit. Mentally, I did, more than once to be exact.  I felt shame, then nothing.  I wanted to call someone but I had no idea where I was.  No street signs around and the maps (no offense RMS), were crap.  I made it around a bend and came upon a familiar structure.  Ok, this must be the loop around.  Keep pedaling.  I see other cyclist.  Please don’t talk to me because we are not almost there.  I say nothing, they don’t deserve my wrath.  I see the race area and OF COURSE it’s all down hill, I mean really down hill.  I dismount and make NOOO attempt to run into transition.  For what?

Dessert:  5k run.  I felt like I was left holding the check.  I ran around in transition looking for the “run out” and even the volunteer didn’t seem to know.  After doing our best Hokey Pokey and turning ourselves about, I was pointed in the right direction and off I went.  I tip toe down the steps, stop to apply by lipgloss – hey, no need in being mad and looking busted – and stride off.  I see a few familiar faces running in.  I smile, wave, high five, you know, the PC BS you do and say when you see someone about to just say PUCK IT.  I trotted on.  The wind blew, the rain came and I, we, ran on.  There was shelter for about 3/4 of a mile and I took advantage.  I walked the aid station – oh you can have people there but not out there for the bike huh!  The run was like a maze, a steeplechase even.  Running through puddles, jumping over small lakes and climbing steps and ramps.  Best of all, I was once again not technically lost.  I wasn’t the only one this time.  There was a clusterpuck of runners, from seemingly all 3 events, wondering, exactly where the hell am I supposed to be running.  There was a kind woman at the top of the stairs/ramp who noted she wasn’t a volunteer but she’d seen a few people go -> thataway.  What is this, a cartoon?  I’m resigned myself to a walk/run but umm, where exactly am I going.  Wait.  What’s that, off in the distance?  Is it that mythical creature?  Yes, it is.  It’s a VOLUNTEER.  I’d hit the turnaround point, so around I went.  As I’m heading back, I see 2 volunteers on the opposite side of the street running.  I mumbled something negative but chastised myself and kept it moving.  Back down the steps/ramp and uh oh, I came out on the wrong side.  This doesn’t look familiar but I’m still going.  I see where I need to be but umm, exactly how do I get there.  I see a runner on the correct side and then there’s me here.  I Usain Bolt it across the water grid and over a small moat to end up where I was supposed to be.  This.  Is.  Some. Bull.

I’m back to the shelter and calculate that I’m almost at the finish line.  I make it back to a portion of the capital trail and of course I enter the wrong side.  “Stay to the left” he yells.  Well why the F didn’t you say that when you saw me approaching?  Dinkus.  Now, I’m running in the street.  I hear a fire truck coming and I’ve got NO PLACE TO GO.  I look back and see the officer has blocked the road.  Whew.  Check myself for any accidental soilage – nothing.  I walk/run on.  I see the runner from the water grid dash and he’s running through the grass.  I shrug my shoulders and laugh.  I see the finish in the clearing so I stop, pull out my hanky (a lady is always prepared), wipe my face, reapply my gloss and stride down the chute, flashing all my 28 chicklets.  You’d never know from the look on my face that I was absolutely miserable.  I collected my medal, my things and headed back.

After dinner drinks:  Arriving at the hotel, Joaquin took, his leave.  He left while I was in the shower.  He left no note just a few rays of sun shadows behind the clouds.  I wasn’t even mad.  This will teach me to go on blind dates.  And to top it all off, the Cowboys lost.  I’ve never looked forward to a Monday so much in my life.  No, I didn’t die.  Never even felt like I was or wanted to but man, did I want to go home.

What doesn’t kill you may, eventually, make you stronger, but damn if you don’t experience some weakness on the road back.  I ran, I biked, I ran again and I grew weary.  But He kept me, so I wouldn’t let go.

What ails ya?

RVA race collage 2

 

 

 

Living in my truth

As my slogan says, we ALL having something that needs to getmended.  Well, today, I put a few stitches in myself, thanks to the help of some wonderful seamstresses.

The hardest thing I think people have with getting mended is threading the needle.  In E speak, it’s facing your fears and doing battle with that which needs mending.  I’m a little fearful of drowning.  Yes, I can swim but I need a safety stroke, a recovery stroke, a stroke I can go to when I get tired or scared buuuttt I’m too scared to try it.  How crazy is that?!  Anyway, today, my new BFF (best fitness friends) helped me, well, we helped each other, getmended.

See, for me, being a #RealAthleticWoman is about My Real, not yours.  IDK how much you can lift, how fast, you can swim, how fast you can run because your effort will not/does not benefit me to the extent that my body will benefit.  My mind will and I appreciate that but people looks at chunkmunks like myself and we and out preconceived notions of what Athletic or an Athlete looks like fills our brain.  I’m doing me and if that means, I have to use a pull buoy and fins to acclimate myself to swim across the pool then so be it.  I’m not ignorant to the fact that you can’t use those things in a race but in the words of Allen Iverson – “we talking about practice.”  Can’t get better without confidence and you can’t build confidence without tools.  Hell, even babies use a walker to build their confidence.

My second mendation came in the form of CrossFit knees to elbows.  Now if you don’t know what that is, Snapple it.  Now, I only use my hands for writing, typing, eating, bathing and anything else that will not leave any marks or pop-up veins on my hands.  My hands resemble those of an 5-9 y/o child.  My fingers are bones wrapped in prosciutto thin skin. I don’t even open twist bottles or soda cans – I have a thing about my hands/fingers hurting.  Well, that will never do in Crossfit, especially when doing knees to elbows or pull-ups.  Needless to say, those 4 rounds of 8 were-not-pretty.  My hands burned, through the gloves mind you and my fingers were getting tight and the entire experience was so unpleasant but I fought through those 4 rounds of 8 and after those and WBS, I dropped down from the bar, finishing in 05:32.  There were some in the class who finished in 3 minutes, good for them.  I have no desire to compete with you because that’s not my purpose.  This is MY Real – 5 minutes and 32 seconds, over half spent on 4 rounds of KtoE and wringing my hands out.

In the wintertime, have you ever hit your hand on something and the pain just seemed to stay there FOREVER?  Well, that’s how I feel about my hands/fingers.  I know it’s something I need to rid myself of but the process is going to make for slow progress.

I’m no small chick and I’m ok with it.  Not asking anybody else to be.  Those like me, both male and female are doing our best to mend #whatailsus in our own way.  Society wants everyone to look and do everything the same – well wouldn’t that be just boring.

Me and my BFFs, we swim different, we have different body types but the effort we all put in is Real and it is all our own.  So shout out to every #RealAthleticWoman and #RealAthleticMan who are getting it done apologetically and with style and finesse.

What ails ya?