Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crash shatters triathlete's dream

I used to train with Keri. When I got hit by a car, she let me borrow her bike, so I could still compete at Mooloolaba. I know the exact spot where she got hit.

She is probably the most dedicated triathlete I have known. Her coach would send her 13 work outs a week and tell her she could skip one. But she never would. She never wanted to take the easy way. She saw that as a slippery slope. If you skip one work out, then you've given yourself permission to skip another.

They're apparently keeping her in the coma until her back is healed enough for it to be moved. The whole situation is just horrible, and I can't stop thinking about it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Race Report: BAA Half Marathon

In keeping with my "who needs training" philosophy, I ran the BAA Half Marathon this past weekend without running longer than a 10K practice run. My final time was 1:53:09, so almost spot on with my first half marathon. Though in actuality this one was about 2.5 minutes slower, since I didn't stop to pee 4K in.

The extension of my "who needs training " attitude leads to forgetfulness for the race itself. Sunday morning I forgot to change out the laces in my shoes. This sounds funny, but for tri's a wear elastic laces, and the previous weekend I had had issues with the right one loosening. I was able to force them closed, so it wasn't that big of a deal in the end. I also managed to forget my pre-race water bottle, my post-race snack and my sunnies. To be fair, it's tough to remember sunnies when it's still night outside when you leave the house, but I really did look at my visor and think, I need to bring that, then promptly left without it.

One thing I didn't forget was my ipod. Other races have rules against ipods, and this one does too: you can't win the race wearing an ipod. Since there's a very low risk of that I opted for the tunes. Getting to the start line, I pop in the headphones and hit play. Mmm, great song... that is not on my ipod. Turns out I had grabbed Paul's ipod (they are exactly the same model - why did I get him a different color?) So it was sorta like having Paul run along with me. Biggest surprise on the playlist: the Devil went down to Georgia. Loved it.

The race started near fenway and wound it's way along the parks of Boston's Emerald Necklace to the Franklin Park Zoo. We even did a small loop through the zoo. I didn't see any animals there, but I did note that we ran along the "outback trail," which made me smile.

What does one think about for two hours of running? I do math. I know, not a huge surprise, right? But I find that my poor ability to do math in my head is severely hampered when I'm running. This means that math can distract me for quite a while. So, I manage my watch, compute splits, convert to metric, convert back. (There is something that makes 10 miles seem so much closer to 13.1 miles than 16K does to 21K.) And though I was ready to be done running around mile 9, I maintained a really consistent pace between 8:25 and 8:30 minute miles.

Finally, two days after the half marathon my knees hurt. In fact going into the race my left knee was hurting (I blame sitting at my desk so much with this broadband paper). But coming out of the race it was the IT band connections to the knee that really killed me. Now that's settled down, left knee is still sore, but I'm pretty happy about that. Why? Cause my shins don't hurt. I ran 21K and not even a twinge. I don't think I'll ever be 100% shin splint-free, but I think having some really long recovery has made a lot of difference.

The US through Austrlian eyes

Well, it's been a while. Life's been busy. A very large report I worked on is being published on today for public comment. It's very exciting, but it's been taking up almost all of my spare cycles. In addition to that, my friend Lauren from Australia was visiting and I took some time off to hang out with her. And other than that, my life just doesn't seem that exciting: work, the occasional training session, football on the weekends, repeat.

It was fantastic to see Loz again. We did some shopping, visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History (which had a giant whale skeleton from Queensland), sampled some authentic (or as close as you can come) Mexican food, watched a football game (well, ok, she took a nap through the third quarter), enjoyed some Karaoke (thank you, Boston, for verifying that the appropriate response to the lyric "Sweet, Caroline" is "Bah, Bah, Baaaaaaaaaah"), checked out the Topsfield Fair (the US's oldest fair - not all that different to Australian Shows - sans show bangs), and took a walking tour of Back Bay.

I still wish we had fit in jackolantern making, but somehow it just didn't happen. Overall though we tried to do more "authentic" American experiences than tourist ones. Still my favorite moments were ones where something American would surprise her. For example, at lunch one day burst out, "Oh, look, there's a squirrel out the window!"

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