Saturday, September 19, 2009

the casual triathlete

yes, that's me...

The philosophy is that if one pays the registration fee for an event, there is a certain level of commitment towards staying in shape for said event. While many use the word "hardcore" to describe me in the context of triathlon-doing, I keep the viewpoint that it's just swimming, biking and running. Breaking that down, once you know HOW to swim, then swimming is like riding a bike - you know HOW to do it, so even if it's been a while, your body still remembers what it's supposed to do. Biking, well that IS riding a bike, so there you go. And running, well, running is really just a bouncy walk of sorts - right?

Of course, there's all kinds of obstacles that can get in the way of the theoretical simplicity of a triathlon: flat tire, blazing heat, unforgiving hills, waves, opaque water, lack of aid stations, etc.

I really have lucked out quite a bit with the triathlons I've done over the last couple of years, and with minimal effort in the training department I've accomplished surprising results. We can look back on the Bakersfield Sprint, Las Vegas Olympic and Shaver Lake Sprint for examples.

Anyway, today's event does not rank up there with the others. My colleague, Air Pollution Control (APC), does the Bakersfield and Shaver triathlons annually as part of a relay team. Early this year it was apparent that his swimmer was not going to be able to do it, so he asked if I would swim for the team. No problem, I needed to get in an open water swim anyway to prep for Santa Cruz next weekend. Later it was determined that his runner had cracked his knee cap and would be unable to do the run portion either - so I agreed to do that as well, mostly because the Bakersfield triathlon long course run had been shortened to "10K". The Bakersfield Long Course is renowned for its difficulty because of the run, this is for two reasons: the run includes some of the steepest hills imaginable (a comparable slope can be seen here), and because of the late start to the race, the temperatures are usually pretty horrific.

While our relay team finished 4th in the open mixed category, I can't say that my race times were even remotely worth being proud of. Let's compare them to my Las Vegas Olympic times and throw some gripes and excuses that account for the difference in speed:

SWIM (1.5K): today 37:29, Vegas 24:25. Yikes! Issues - nasty weeds that tangled around me throughout the swim were slightly distracting, sun in my eyes in the direction that I needed to see where I was going was most distressing, opaque water also problematic in being able to see - seeing is not usually a complaint in the swim for me because when you start in a big mob there's lots of people to follow - in the relay event there was no mob :( and in the end, quite frankly, I was just plain SLOW in the water (I am also suspicious about the true length of the course).

RIDE (40K): today 1:26:05, Vegas 1:36:25 - so clearly the best part of the race, but I wasn't riding! That gloriousness was all APC, who, in his modesty, claimed that he "wasn't much help". Pffft! He clearly was responsible for us finishing 4th in the open mixed, I contributed nothing to help there!

RUN (>10K): today 1:30:26, Vegas 1:04:46. Ok, major factors going on here: 1) the 10K was significantly longer than 10K. The race director said "it was more like 11K" - for sure, if not longer! 2) the temperature at the time that I was running was 36 degrees C. Gah! 3) I tripped on a petrified item of clothing that was stuck in the trail and somehow wrapped itself around my toe causing me to do a superman face splat, additionally, my ipod rocketed out of my sport bra and died. This would have been less bad towards the end of the run, but, as my luck has run out, it was within the first 500m. *sigh*

So there we have it, some personal worsts to go on the record, and hopefully next weekend will only be an improvement! Apparently there's a photo or two of me during the race kicking around. If they're not horrendous when sent my way, I'll post them here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I had this idea some time ago to make a modular wine rack out of fabric. This morning I messed around with some felt and constructed a couple drafts of it. One idea is a series of triples like this that can be placed side by side and then stacked. The other idea is rows that stack into a pyramid, a 4 bottle row, 3 bottle row, etc. I like the triple better myself.

And while I'm on here with photos, here's a kitten update: Loki is ridiculously hyper and the rest of his food energy seems to go into growing a giant tail so he's pretty skinny still, but he's catching up to Kiki in length surprisingly quickly.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Hooray! I'm in KNITTY! So exciting! It's been a surprisingly long and difficult process, but a great learning experience, and all in all I'm pretty psyched!

Meanwhile, in other news, I'm an alternate for tomorrow's roller derby bout. Wish me luck. And that actually means: luck that no one hurts themselves so that I don't have to play!!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

off to the races!

So, you thought this would be a post about my upcoming triathlon events that (as usual) I am unprepared for... does buying a new bike saddle count as training?

No, this is a post to share two FABULOUS e-mails that I received today. Both made me laugh, sigh and curse a little.

e-mail 1:

I was just wondering on the Exam we are having next week it says we have to define 5 words (out of 10), so what 10 words are they? I would really appreciate some help, thank you.

e-mail 2:

I would like to know what we have to study for the next class's quiz. I looked up the on-line information regarding the class and it said scientific method and geological time. Dose that mean the quiz will include chapter one only? I would greatly appreciate if you can answer this question since i am confused about whether to study mineral or no.

Friday, September 04, 2009

eat's shoot's and leave's???

I received a flier in my mailbox at work this week. The above image is the top 1/3 of it. Before reading any more than that (normally I'd be sold on "free dinner"), I growled aloud in my office. They're sending THAT out to EDUCATORS at a COLLEGE??????????? Where's the proof-reading? I could never bring myself to go to some sort of "educational workshop" where they can't seem to differentiate between PLURAL and POSSESSIVE.

I thought about calling the reservation number and pointing that out to them. I thought about not doing that. Then I noticed that there was fine print beside the reservation phone number that said "24 hour automated message system" - perfect.

I called... and then, to my surprise, a human answered.

"Hello" he said
"Uh..." I replied and paused, "I'm not exactly calling to make a reservation - but ummm I guess I'm calling to be somewhat obnoxious"
"Okay" he replied somewhat hesitantly
"As an educator," I started, "I just wanted you folks to know that you have an error at the top of your flier - "educators" should be plural"
"I know," he said with the annoyance of someone who's already been called about this several times, "we used a comma"
"Actually," I said stifling an explosion of appalled laughter, "it's an apostrophe, and that's why I won't register for the workshop, but I hope you have a great day"

Then I hung up the phone and a little part of me died at my desk.