Monday, April 30, 2007

Heavy Equipment

OK, I have to admit to feeling more than a little funny writing a post about GEAR for a BIKE. But I promised Lisa and took the pictures, so here goes...

Everything you need in order to be a utilitarian biker goddess...

Quick Mtx Track trunk bag that slides into grooves on the QR Beam Rack Mtx. The rack supports 20 pounds and attaches to my seat stem with a quick-release adjustment thingy. (As opposed to the old bike racks with supports that reached down to attach to my rear hub.)

(Do I sound remotely intelligent here??)

Trunk bag with side pannier unzipped. Ooh, spacious...

The whole kit 'n' caboodle with the trunk bag open to show room for swimsuits, shoes, goggles, groceries... the possibilities are really endless, Ladies and Gents.

Hope this helps you out, Lisa! (And any others.) I'm off to clear my head with a good poem or two.

Thoughts on Speed

(This first number sung to the tune of "PFFT You Were Gone")

Speed, oh speed, where are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?

I've run the world over
Thought you were my true love
But you've met another... met another...met another (record skipping)
You were gone.


(Next: An Interrogation)

Speed, where have you gone to?
I dunno.

When will you be back?
Couldn't tell ya.

I want you... Immeasurably - to the tips of my toes.
Pfft, come off it!
I've left you with joy,

and drive.
Now really,
shouldn't that be enough for you?


(Last: An Update)

Tomatoes 1

Triteacher 0

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pine Line Marathon Relay

"If it is to be, it is up to me."

This quote greeted me five minutes into my leg of the Pine Line Marathon this morning. There were several other quotes posted along the course, but this one stuck with me because of my reaction to it. I smiled and thought, "It already was." All else - e.g. meeting my goal time - would be icing on the cake.

What could put such a crazy thought in my head?
  • Meeting Rural Girl before the race. She is the real deal - funny, enthusiastic, down-to-earth - just as I knew she would be.
  • Messing around with our team costume (filmy scarves) last night and hearing my pink-scarf-clad father proclaim that, had he the audacity, he would always wear just such a cravat.
  • Driving around to the checkpoints with my niece and catching up on her life as an 18 year-old. - Not to mention scheming all the devious ways in which we could catch up to the other relay teams.
  • Taking pictures of my brother who sprinted the first 2 miles of his leg with the big-hearted spirit that personifies him.
  • Disobeying Strong Sister's strict instructions to just get my niece to the exchange point. Her sole response to our cheering was a stern, "See you in a few minutes." (She had five miles to go yet! More bonding with my niece over that one.)
  • Racing - at last. The trail and weather were divine, my endorphins were pelting my legs and splitting my face into the goofiest-ass grin you ever did see...

And these will have to be IT for now. No icing on my cake today. My time was much slower than I'd hoped for. I did the 10.1 miles in 1:21 - far from the smokin' 1:11 I'd hoped for. One minute per mile off, in fact. (Eeks!)

In retrospect, I see that it was an unrealistic goal given my current level of fitness and my running times so far this season. I'm just not as fast as I was when I ran 7:09s in 2003. (The times upon which I based this goal.) So for me, today was a checkpoint, a dipstick into the well of this growing season. And happy as I was to just be out there with such good people today, I learned something too...

If it is to be, it is up to me.

I, my friends, have some work to do.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Feel Pretty

I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

"Ms. Triteacher, that's a pretty dress."
"You look nice today, Ms. T."
"We're not used to seeing you in purple."
(Actually it's lavender, but I'm not about to point that out.)

I'm all dudded up for the kids' concert tonight, and they noticed.
It feels oh-so-pretty to be me today. :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ladybug Soul

I swallowed her tonight
She went down whole
Now I'm ladybug
to the core of my soul

My helmet protected my hair
My glasses fought for my eyes
My hairs hid my nose in a weave
But my jaw gaped wide

I came on at seventeen
She had to be doing twenty
The tailwind gave her a boost
She found a new place to roost

Then at home
I spied my tulips
freshly-opened today
Instead of flowers
I saw a tomb
and knew there was only one way.

My two lips I did part
and relinquished her to her grave.
She now has a happy heart
in that sunlit yellow place.

As for me
I'll remember her.
For this clinging
bitter taste.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Growing Season

I spent an afternoon and a morning with a fork in my hands, mired in compost and garden soil. Right now I have dirty fingernails and aching muscles. But in a few weeks time we'll have spinach and lettuce. In a few months we'll have broccoli and tomatoes. At this point, it's hard to believe.

Bet you can't see where this post is going.

I've spent afternoons and mornings on the bike and in the pool. My weeks have seen progressively longer runs. Right now I have sore muscles and magnitude 8 doubts. In a week's time, I'll have the results of my first running race. In a few months, my Tri Nationals fate will be written history.

In my garden and to the toes of my running socks, I have the excitement of a season getting underway. It is the growing season, and I - like the spinach and tomatoes - will grow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Sleeper

She slips in in the morning
a bright smiling face presented to the world.
The smiles and nods continue,
punctuation in all the right places
throughout class.

Finally she slips her test into my basket
and slides back to her seat.
I wonder if it will reveal
the 60% of last time.

She's sliding along.
The smile is vacant,
the nods for the trees.

Well, wake up, Little Sleeper,
Your teacher is calling your name.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Bike

The bike is just different for me.
I ride it to get me to school,
to get me to the trailhead so I can run,
or to the pool so I can swim.

I need to expand my horizons
to go beyond the utilitarian
to go beyond accomplishing training.
I need to make the bike about biking.

How the hell am I gonna do that?

My trainer lays dusty in my closet -
still in its plastic.
I, the one with the vocabulary,
mentally block on words like cadence and wattage,
gears, parts vs. components, derailleurs
= Derailed.

But hey, I got bottle cages and seats downpat!
Er - or was that saddles?

How do you retrain a brain,
create a proclivity?
Woefully, willfully ignorant.
Is there hope for me yet?

Yes. I will find a way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Hurt, But I'm Getting Faster

Yes, my quads hurt. I've taken a page out of Lisa's book and am tackling this little nemesis of mine called...


It gets the least play in this blog because it is my least favorite. Oh sure, I enjoy it and all, but it ain't swimming - and it cannot touch running.

But, Lisa's honest appraisal and reporting of her biking - as well as her steadfast efforts to improve - have inspired me. So, bottoms up:

Here's where I've been - 14.9 MPH
Where I am - 16.5-17.5 MPH
Where I'm going - 19.5 MPH
(All done on my usual 19 mile route.)


How I'll get there:
In spin class, we used to count our RPMs. We were always aiming for around 90. I have started doing this now on my roadbike. With an evil Triteacher Twist.

I count my revolutions (one leg) for 10 seconds out of every minute. If I don't make the requisite, magical 15 (Yep, 15 x 6 = 90 RPM), I have to count again in that same minute. (The Twist.) I try to maintain that 90 RPM for 5 minutes straight. Repeat 4 times per ride.

Though I can't say I've isolated this as THE variable, I attribute my increased speed to this drill. Hey, if it makes you hurt, it has to make you faster, right? ;)


Also on my mind... Virginia Tech. See these blogs for more thoughts:


Monday, April 16, 2007

Back Away from Your Screen


Don't say I didn't warn you.

And I always thought they were exaggerating when they said:

watery eyes
itchy, runny nose
stuffed up head

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gods Behaving Beastly

Shiva and Shakti
took my legs for a run
this morning.

Ten miles on a crushed gravel path
in 60 degree sunshine -
you would think they'd be kind,
kick back and enjoy the weather.

But nooooo....
not those two.

They frolicked with each other
as they rampaged through my body,
vying for my misery.
I swear I heard them say,
"Screw 'What Would Jesus Do.'"

They tightened up my quads
and pinched my piriformis.
They stuck Gatorade bile
in the back of my throat
and pushed my legs to pulp
on a Long Distance Slow.

But I fought back
caving only to the secret thought
of a negative split.

As I sit here now
with an ice pack under each cheek,
my piriformis is not purring.
But I am.

My watch has told me the score:
Miles 1-5: 45.04
Miles 6-10: 43.38

I have earned my smile.
I went for a run today
and negative splitted.

Oh, and Shiva & Shakti?
They're busy rolling out my quads.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Call Me Shiva

- Hindu Destroyer and Creator

AM: Treadmill 45:00 - 9 x 400
PM: Bike 1:09 Average 16.6 mph
Swim 1:10 Chasing Coach again

Recovery - I can feel those microscopic muscle tears sewing themselves back together, making me stronger and more whole.

How's the Shiva in you?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hallway Duty

How do Kindergarteners Come back from Lunch?

Like you've opened up a bag of popcorn
and sprinkled it liberally throughout the hallway.
They hop and they skip,
they gallop and they sashay.
They twirl and they twitter.
One little boy announced, "I'm poppin' wheelies,"
as he wove back and forth across the hallway.

So - from a technical standpoint - I've still enforced "No running in the hallways," right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Beast

The Beast resides within me
It gets a notion
and like the cat at the door
howls for release.

I try to outswim it.
An hour & ten chasing Coach's toes
leave it untouched.

It wriggles through blogging,
Won't be sated by dishes, cooking,
or even vacuuming.

At 9:13, I admit defeat.
As I reach for the running shoes
it has the audacity to whimper
and curl its jowls into a canine grin
that leaks out onto my lips.

A puzzled look from husband
provokes maniacal laughter
that I only barely suppress
and manage to supplant
with "Just going for a run."
The beast divines well
and diverts my attention
with another ripping YOWL
before I can be reached
by the Voice of Reason.

Our feet hit the pavement
and we are in church.
The thunk of our feet
calls out "Hallelujah!"
The beating of our heart
whispers "amen."

The Beast is irrepressible
Dashing and mad
My brain tries to train it,
pulls back on its leash
Tomorrow is 9 x 400 day
Cool your jets!

I feed it 4 hungry miles,
the cool night air
our only companion,
but companion enough
to soothe and smooth
the beast into submission

Shhhh... It now lies sated
snoring at my feet.

But Beast be warned:
Should you try to snooze through 9 x 400,
I will not hesitate to prod you with a stick.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Drive Stuck in Park

I think my drive is stuck in park. Here's how it goes in Triteacher Land...

1) Getting back into the pool after my vacation hiatus was bliss. I promptly promised myself that next season I would sign up for the master's swim meets in my area. I even added an extra swim on Friday.

2) Did I mention that I wanted to try to qualify for Nationals? Oh yeah, I probably did. BUT I cannot decide on a distance. My heart says Half Ironman, but my brain says, "You've only done one and it was done as training for IM. You have no idea of how to pace yourself competitively at that distance! Nor do you have any idea if you can be competitive at that distance."

Sprint? - Smarter choice but heart says, "BLAH. Not long enough. Why even get into the water if I'm only getting out 8 minutes later?"

Oly? - You might just have something there. Long enough to warrant getting my feet wet and definitely a challenge. Most of my experience is at this distance so I have a clue about pacing. But (in the same breath) HIM would be better!

I think Ironman has wrecked me. I like going long.

3) I went for a trail run this weekend (inspired -thank you very much - by Bubba and Marty) and was convinced that I wanted to become an ultra/trail runner. I even ran extra and was late for Mom's Easter dinner. I fell hard for the Chequamegon National Forest - and running through calf-deep streams.

4) My siblings twisted my arm (yee-ouch!) and I am now signed up for two relay running events. One is taking the place of the half mary on April 28th. We're going to do the full marathon as a relay. I get the last 10.1 miles. Yahoo! Bringin' it home on a relay is fu-u-un. BUT that means changing my half mary 1:33 goal. I think I'll keep the per mile pace goal: that's 7:09. OK?

Do you see the evidence of Triteacher Drift?

Um, how many lifetimes are we allowed in which to chase our dreams?

That's not even mentioning that I love vacationing with my husband and puppy... and at those times, my training plan goes out the window. Did you notice the absence of any biking references in my posts this week? It's indicative of exactly that - NO biking.

I know that I cannot possibly meet all of these goals simultaneously. Excitement is nice, but I feel as though I stymie myself at every turn with yet another new adventure. My drive is stuck in park just because I can't consistently answer one question:

"What do I want to be today?"
Last season, I had a consistent, clear answer to this question. I woke up each day and knew that I wanted to be an Ironman. Drive.

This season is different. My answer to that question changes every day.

Can I have a whole season governed by whim?

  • Yes. I have in the past. In fact, with the exception of last year, all of my triathlons have been whimsically chosen and completed. Training equally so.

  • No. Not if I want to reach my competitive edge.

There's the rub. Any thoughts out there?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Red River Gorge, KY

This was our final hike - and it was the jewel in the crown.

Cave Entrance
Stony Limbs (I could relate!)

Sworls in Sandstone

Sweet, Fresh Water

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Notes from Lexington: Kentuckians

Those Kentuckians shore know how to drawl. In the land where "Share the road with Horses" and "Horses have Right of Way" signs dominated, I spent the greater part of every conversation restraining myself from repeating their words, trying to corral those long, long vowels for myself.

Friendly to a one (does that famous Southern hospitality still exist?), they seemed to look for any excuse to converse with us. Among conversation-starters: our Wisconsin license plate, my hiking hat, the reusability of the deli containers - you get the picture. And once they got us started, they played the game I often play (and will only admit to here in the safety of blogosphere). I love to hear people with accents talk. I engage them in conversations of inconsequence and try to stretch out the experience to some level of (unattainable) saturation.

I'm a linguistic geek. But I'm not alone! Those Kentuckians and fellow tray-yul (trail) hikers are guilty too. Even the ones who've moved "up here" to live with their grandmother who's "fixin' to pass" wanted a piece of these Northerners. As we hiked through their hollers (hollows) and basked in their sun, I noticed our commonalities.

The three sixth grade boys hiking in front of us filled the bill of sixth grade boys everywhere. They giggled and exclaimed at the copulating stick figures drawn on a rock wall, "Somebody was rotten up here!" (Rotten??)

They jostled their fellows for the chance to lap at the water dripping down from those same rock formations and successfully ditched red-faced moms who huffed up the trail behind them. ("You go right on ahead, Hon'.") They scoffed at dads and younger siblings who'd opted to ride the lift instead of hike up the trail.

They gaped at spiders,

pretty views,
and natural sandstone bridges.

Yep, I reckon they'd make sixth grade boys anywhere proud.

Notes from Lexington: Fluid Motion

OK, I'm not quite done "conquering the world," but I'm afraid of losing my vacation zen, so here I go; world-conquering delayed, story starting...

Sunday, April 1, 2007 - Lexington, Kentucky

I sit in the car with Piper while Chris goes into the store. I observe a couple entering the store behind him. They are dressed alike - in beaded 70s apparel, two heads of straight and longish hair done to the same level of coif. Seamlessly, she pauses before the door and he opens it for her, then lock-steps in behind her. Inside the foyer, she clamps a cuff at a time and pulls on a denim jacket. Meanwhile, he acquires a cart and wordlessly pulls up alongside her. They slip from view, but I imagine them sweeping through the aisles together, deciding on purchases with the minimum of murmurings. Everything will be accomplished with the fluid motions of a couple long acclimated to each other, with the automaticity of compatibility.

If I had to describe this trip so far, I'd say that we'd accomplished it this way. Fluidly. It's as though you read each other's minds. If there is contention, you sense when to push the point - and when to just fall in line with the will of the other.

There is peace of mind, there is comfort, there is serenity. There are views that you wordlessly share. Later they drift into conversation and you realize that he was thinking the same thing as you when you rolled into Kentucky's blossoms and greenery.

You see him in front of you running through the University of Kentucky's arboretum and later, hiking in front of you on Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. Piper turns and runs back to bridge the distance should anyone interrupt the invisible tether that joins you as a unit, a family.

So much is made of the drama of falling in love, the passion of couples. (Rightfully so.) However now, as the other half of an "old married couple," I see the joy of the still waters of coupledom. The deep and enduring mind-reading sharing of a life. The trust and togetherness that imbues every waking moment. Fluid motion is very nice.


We're back and I feel great! I didn't even realize how rundown I was until comparing it to how energized I feel now. I feel like conquering the world. Or at least doing laundry, scrubbing the house, starting my garden, swimming tonight... Life is good.

We came back to find that Chris's family had cleaned my car, taken superlative care of our kitty, and genuinely missed us. They soaked up our stories and told us theirs. Funny how much you take for granted the good vibes of the people who are always there. They rock.

I have stories for you-all too - "Notes from Lexington" soon to come! Plus I need to catch up on commenting. I quickly skimmed through everyone's blogs - you've been busy! All in good time... gotta conquer the world here first. :)