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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Party's over

What a great Christmas. Santa brought a new camera!*
After accidentally going to an Italian-language Mass (don't ask) we had a sit down Christmas dinner for 6 with the flash china and all the festive table decorations. In keeping with the spirit of love and joy of the day I refrained from murdering my mother-in-law.
3 hours later the rest of my family arrived for the present-swapping extravaganza and verandah chillout, including my parents and their astonishingly tall new dog. It was great fun to see everyone, catch up and just be together. Like most families we've had our share of tensions and rows over time: this year was a wonderful blessing. Especially the news that there will be a new niece or nephew arriving in June! Congratulations M and L!Boxing day was a haze of cuppas, the Sydney-Hobart and the Test. There was a lot of sitting down and eating another mince pie.
The 27th, J's birthday, was another cleaning-and-cooking endurathon - but get this - I burnt the birthday cake! I couldn't believe it! Good thing no-one knew or I'd have had to kill them. It was a great party, loud and silly(this is not me. It is my tiger suit) and packed with good friends .The 28th was spent destroying the evidence by more or less upending the house into the recycle bin then hosing it out.
Now the party's over and I'm glad. December was so crazy that there was no time for a Plan, only exercising when it fit in. I managed 5 times a week of this and that, but now I am thrilling to the sweet call of crossed-off boxes and quiet sunrises. It's time for a new Plan.
BTW, is anyone up for a New Year's Day Tri? I did one last year as part of an online event and it was so much fun I think I'll do another one to kick off 2008.

More anon, enthusiasts!
*Ans you have no doubt noticed.
My younger bro gave me the complete set of Fred and Ginger movies! Bliss!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

HB 2U SU!

Happy Birthday to the Spousal Unit!

*Normal services, including moderation, real food and intentional exercise, had better resume shortly or I might pop.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Joyful and triumphant

Wishing you a happy and safe Christmas full of love.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Unbelievably relaxed

is the zeitgeist here at chez LBTEPA this post-thesis pre-Christmas week. Finish up work? Clean the house, shovel out the study (cause it's the spare room as well), catch up with the mountain of washing, train every day and get enough sleep? Christmas lunch with the in-laws segueing into dinner for fourteen as the family wanders in? Easy peasy when you're fuelled by post-thesis, pre-Christmas, summer holiday smiles. And mince pies. And the cd player stacked with carols. Sing it with me, you know you want to - O tidings of comfort and joy!
The best surprise of all is that my best, oldest, funniest friend A is arriving from Perth tonight! I am officially Over Excited. I hope you're all enjoying the lead-up to Christmas . If you're not, I can recommend a very good book .
UPDATE: that story everyone tells that the first and probably only didn't-clip-out-in-time fall from your bike will be at a virtual stop, at a crowded intersection next to a car full of jeering hoons, and nothing will be damaged but your ego? TRUE.

More anon, choristers!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time

to celebrate the end of the academic year with a 4km swim...
and it was!
I was going to do a race report but you've all been so sweet about the last one LOL and the technicalities of open water swimming - sight up-swell of the bouys so you're using the swell direction to keep swimming straight, for example - are a bit esoteric and lacking in that pep and punch with which I try to endow my posts.
I had such a good time I don't feel like thrashing the details to death - it was well organised, the rain wasn't too hard and flattened the waves down a bit, I was pleased with my time, and the sausage in bread (with onions and sauce) I had in the warm car afterwards as the rain poured down was one of the yummiest things I've ever eaten.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The thesis has landed


Let the happy dance commence!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The epic adventure of the Comeback Kid

Race report: Gatorade Tri series race 2 Elwood
500/20/5
Warning: VERY LONG. VERY VERY LONG. I’m not joking. Really, bail out now if you’re not feeling up to a full-on endurathon

Pre-race
You will be unsurprised, yet thrilled, that I worked out my Nutrition Plan - all hail the mighty Nutrition Plan! - and had my stuff all packed/laid out for the morning by 9.30 on Saturday night. This was (let me pop in a quick Parental Advisory Warning here) without even writing a list! Shocking. I’m such a rebel.
There was one crisis – what to wear. Planned garb was a navy and white sleeveless running top, but the Nutrition Plan called for eating on the bike. I have yet to succumb to temptation and get a bento box and I couldn’t think how to attach a sports bar to my top tube. The Spousal Unit said, why don’t you wear that yellow bike top? I said, oooh, it’s not very flattering. So I tried them both on and the Spousal Unit thought they were equally flattering (bless him). Then it occurred to me that racing in the running top was APOLOGETIC. It said, I have flab on my waist so I have to hide. It said, I’m sorry I have double digit body fat, I’ll get out of your way. The yellow it was.
Sunday morning I woke up and rolled out of bed just before the stupid o’clock alarm and was out the door by stupid-45. Getting up early most days has had the unexpected benefit of…er…how can I put this?...training my digestive system to cooperate when required. Very handy indeed, and that’s enough said about that.
I raced at Elwood last year so I had my magic-secret-parking-place all cased out.
Check in, stickers on, find wave start time, transition set up, off down to the beach to watch the mini-sprint swim start. Did you notice forget to note transition rack number? So simple to do, yet so tiresome!
The atmosphere at these things is brilliant. The field for both races reaches 2,500 so transition covers a footy oval and the place is abuzz; the big clubs and some schools have marquees and everyone seems excited and pleased to be there. Down at the beach I ran into M and her boyfriend G. M was upset because she wanted to race as an Athena too but the change wasn’t processed in time. G was trying not to be too excited because he was in the final three for the pro-for-a-day prize – and ended up being chosen! Go G go!
I also went up and introduced myself to the CEO of Supersprint, who was as charming face to face as he was on the phone. As per the Nutrition Plan I sucked down a breakfast drink and kept sipping water. Soon it was time to traipse back to the bag compound and suit up. The water was quite warm, although a bit choppy: I contemplated ditching the wetsuit but decided to stick to the plan cos it was miiiiiiiiiiiiiles back to the bag dropoff and I wanted to stay cruisy.

Swim: apart from a recent precipitous decline in training – the thesis came first, alas! – there were no problems. It was a bit crowded around the buoys and choppy as it got deeper but the ride home on the swell reminded me why I love ocean swimming.

T1: I’d been mentally rehearsing this all through the swim. Rip down the wettie, off with cap and goggles. Where the f*&%is my bike? What’s my f*&%ing row number? Found it! (phew) Out of the wetsuit (thank you cooking spray), food out of helmet (where I put it so I wouldn’t forget it) into pockets, jam on helmet and sunnies. The two-towel-trick (two towel trick …that’s fun to say!) worked well again. My stuff is laid out on the first towel; I put the second one on top of it all, then flick it out and stand on it while I put my socks and shoes on. Whatever grass and sand doesn’t come off from stepping on the towel stays on – and before you cry ‘precious!’, my ankle is still very tender around the scar and a sock protects it a bit. My bike shoes have laces and Velcro – don’t ask, I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought them – so I tied the laces very loosely when I was preparing so I could just jam my feet in and zoom off. I velcroed my gloves onto my handlebars so I could put them on when I got going. I might not bother with them next time though.

Ride: My race plan for all three legs was ‘don’t get comfortable’. I tried to go just a bit faster than felt good; no saving myself, no doubting myself, just go. If I blew up in the run, stiff bikkies. The Nutrition Plan called for half a sports bar and a whole bottle of water on the bike, so that’s what I had. Next time I’ll open the bar beforehand cos it was a bore getting it out on the move. It was a bit disheartening to be passed by so many people, but that’s what you get when you ride like you’re tied to a tree, eh? Actually I was quite pleased with the bike time as for me it was pretty fast. Being passed by the big boys on their carbon-fibre wheels was wild – fwoom fwoom fwoom and they were gone in a blur. My legs hurt a bit in the second loop but I told myself they were supposed to and that once I finished all I had to do was run a 5km, just like I do three mornings a week, rain, hail, shine, heat or hangover.

T2: I have no idea why this took as long as it did, apart from having to find my f*&%ing bike rack arrgghh! Helmet off, hat on, bike shoes off, runners on. Note to self: buy some elastic laces. Run run run. Did you notice forget to take off bike gloves? Thank goodness for those pockets, eh?

Run: Plan A was to try and maintain 9:1 run:walk for as long as possible, walk through the water stations, and eat a mouthful of sports beans at the first water stations (thus spaketh the Nutrition Plan). To my surprise I didn’t have to use Plan B (4:1 run:walk) at all! I kept repeating to myself, just relax, just hold your form, your form will get you home, just the way I’d practiced on my morning runs. It was so gratifying to be able to keep going, never too comfortable, just keep going, all the way home. I was pretty tired in the finishing chute but was startled from my concentration by M (whose wave was 40 minutes before mine), bellowing encouragement. Bugger this, I thought, I’m bloody going for it (a bit of tiredness Tourette’s there, sorry). How fast could I go? Could I catch the woman ahead of me? The answers to that were: a bit faster, and yes I could!
In honour of the lovely Wes – who ran his first marathon this weekend, huge congratulations mate! – I raised my arms in triumph as I ran under the arch. Then a very nice lady took off my chip and J and Lara were waiting for me.

Post race: drink drink drink water water water.
We met up with M and G and toddled over to the awards area so he could get his prize. I told J and M I was tired and didn’t need anyone sneering at me so I’d just go home and they could post me my medal. They threatened to drag me up if I didn’t go when I was called and J is very strong so I gave in. Part of me was proud and thrilled at my PB and how strong I felt and how my ankle didn’t give a single twinge; part of me was frightened in case someone from That Forum was hateful to my face, and a bit angry that I couldn’t enjoy it all properly because I was frightened. I got up when they called my name, but then they started calling the next group (the Clydes I think) to the podium so the helpers just gave me a medal (and a very nice new bike jersey which I wasn’t expecting), promised to send me a medal with Athena on it and that was that. M was cross (she’s a very good friend) but I was kind of relieved.
When all the other competitors had gone I got on the podium with my medal and J took my photo.
After a sleep in the afternoon we went to J’s work Christmas party which was a complete hoot as usual. Monday morning my feet were tired from dancing so much. A good day.

Important things to remember.
Consider going without the wetsuit.
Note bike rack row number!
Don’t bother with bike gloves for a sprint distance
Open energy bar package beforehand
Vaseline prevents chafing ow ow ow ow ow.

The End.

Geez I’m glad this is over. Bring on Christmas – that’s if my supervisor ever reappears and reads my thesis so I can hand it in.

More anon, pontificators!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

172, 129, 77, 7

172 - days since ankle reconstruction surgery
129 - days since plaster was removed so I could swim again
77 - days since I got the all clear to run and ride
7 - minute PB today for 500/20/5, yeeeeeee haaaaaaaaa!


Do you like my medal*? Even though there weren't any other Athenas, I think I earned it! BTW that thing Noddie is holding and in which she is so very interested is a sandwich.
More anon, darlings.
*It has "women's 65+" engraved on it cos they weren't expecting me, but they promised to send me another one ROFL

Friday, December 07, 2007

move along, nothing to see here

*picks self up, brushes self off, pretends nothing happened*
My uni supervisor rang me and said I could have another couple of weeks to finalise the Thesis that is Eating My Life and since I have already done my Christmas shopping I am going to take it.
I wish wish wish wish wish, oh how I wish it was OVAH but as a long-time mark-slut (no comment from you please Eat 'em), if I can get a few more points by dragging this out into eternity (Dec 20th) then I will. At least now I'm not so frantic; it just means I'll do the swim next Sunday on practically zero preparation cause I had scheduled my last, ok my only >2.5km swim for next Wednesday and now I'll be holed up in the stats lab instead. Such is life, eh? They can't close the course on me LOL
I tried a 9:1 run:walk interval instead of the usual 4:1 yesterday as a practice for this Sunday's triathlon TIANLFTBADBITRT*. Verdict: doable, especially if I remember to eat on the bike**. My orthotics have arrived back too, right in the nick of time! My life is so dramatic!
I'll probably have to think about cleaning the house too - in the tunnel-vision get-it-done-this-week existence from which I have just emerged, vacuuming and toilet scrubbing have been the least of my worries. Now as I look about me and survey the squalor I realise that this Cannot Continue. I'll just have to move to another house.

more anon, treadmill-escapees!

*That I Am Not Looking Forward To But Am Doing Because It's The Right Thing - and will no doubt end up enjoying hugely.
**Sprint shmint, it will take me close to two hours and I can't do that without fuel.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Conversations

Now I promise I haven't been wallowing in things and feeling all bullied and sorry for myself or any of that namby-pamby la-la B.S. That is Not How We Do Things here at Chez LBTEPA. However, I was rabbiting on to the Spousal Unit the other day that I knew I should do the triathlon this Sunday, even though I hadn't planned to, but I didn't want to because I could just imagine being jeered by nasty types from That Forum and it made me feel sick. The Spousal Unit answered, well, that means you have to do it then.
He often irks me beyond measure, but by crikey times like these prove the Spousal Unit is rock-solid gold (and how clever I was to marry him). It is that simple. I have to do it, and I'm going to, ready or not (and that would be 'not').
I smsd my friend M, who is doing the whole series, that I was coming along on Sunday. She rang back to see what was going on because I hadn't planned to race until next year. I outlined the ...er...background to my decision, and her first words were, right, I'm changing my entry to Athena.
So there will be two of us. M may be as mad as a meataxe* but what a good, true friend she is.

Now all I have to do is finish revising my thesis, get it bound and hand it in. THAT'S ALL?
Oh, and do some washing so I have something to race in on Sunday, run in tomorrow and ride in on Friday.
And plan my transitions
And my nutrition
And pick up my new orthotics
And run in them at least once
And pack my race bag
And work out family logistics (are they coming? Are we all going in the same car? etc etc etc etc)
And decide what to wear to J's work party on Sunday night (always a top do, and worth frocking up for)
And maybe buy some food
And did I mention I have to finish my thesis? AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
*laughs hysterically, slaps self on face, tells self to please GET a GRIP*
Excuse me while I go and have a little lie down....no, no time! Onward!

more anon, noggin spinners!

*M completely smegged her knee snowboarding in August yet is adamant that she WILL complete the whole series even if she has to walk all the runs, and even if she is risking chronic injury. Her boyfriend and I are beside ourselves, but what can you do? We love her.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

SUB women's bike ride

That was SO MUCH FUN!

55 km, 2:32. Just the thing for the first day of summer - 700+ happy, friendly women enjoying cameraderie and adventure on a beautiful Saturday morning. Nancy please note matching lippy and nails, I'm keeping up the standard mate! I was thinking of it as a bit of a practice for the Olympic tri I'm vaguely kind of sort of at the back of my mind considering in January, so my nutrition strategy was water every 15 minutes, and starting an hour in, half an energy bar every half hour. It worked really well; I never had that awful, morale-sucking weariness and finished well capable of tackling the rest of the day - I went straight from the ride to a 4th birthday party (arrgghh), then our friends had a sherbet-fuelled barbecue in the evening. Thanks to my good planning I was able to tough it out :P
We are having a lovely quiet morning after yesterday's craziness. Christmas carols are on shuffle on the cd player and J and Noddie are decorating the tree. I'm thrilled to state that Noddie is vigorously spurning the tasteful, less-is-more approach to tree ornamentation.
I must get back to the bastard thesis (I'm hoping to knock it over today, then next week will be a matter of small revisions and formatting), but first must share with you the utter fabulousness of Geekgirl and SB : they are running the Las Vegas marathon dressed as Elvis, helping to set a world record of running Elvi!More anon, grinners!
BTW, I just turned over my calendar and found this.