Friday, December 3, 2010

And . . . and . . . and

A few months ago, my wonderful husband Craig started making some noise about goals. He's always been active, and we spend a lot of time doing stuff that is likely to wear out our kids, but this was different. Finally, one day, he came right out and said it: "I want to do a triathlon."

Well, okay. Sounds great. But I am the CFO of our family, so of course, my first question was, "How much is this gonna cost?"

"Oh, not much. I already have a mountain bike, so I'll just switch out the knobby tires for some skinny ones, and that should do it."

I was really supportive of this $40 investment (thank you, Craigslist).

Then he told me he needed to improve his swim time. (Since the last time he did anything in the water other than A. toss around children or B. water ski was, like, in high school, I would assert he had a bit more to do than just "improve" his time.) So we joined a local fitness center with a pool, and he started training a la Michael Phelps (minus the weed) immediately.

After that first swim, Craig came home and said, "I need some good goggles. And if I really want to be competitive, I need to get triathlon trunks so I can go from the water to the bike without having to change."

So he ordered his little triathlon suit. Turns out, the triathlon suit is not recommended for use in chlorinated water. So then he had to order a Speedo (feel free to laugh . . . I do every time it puts it on) to wear in the pool.

And then he decided his mountain bike was just not going to cut it. After a long ride one Saturday, Craig came inside and said, "My mountain bike weighs, like, 35 pounds. I could go so much faster on a road bike!"

Okay, I said. See what you can find on Craigslist.

Have you seen my husband? All 6'5" of him? Let's just say there aren't a whole lot of second-hand bikes around made for giants. He gave it his best effort, but to no avail.

So he bought a new one. We call it the White Beast. I need a step ladder to sit on it.

And then he had to have a jersey that wouldn't show his . . . crack while he was riding. And then he had to have zip ties for his running shoes to "improve transition time", plus pedals he can clip into, and the special shoes that go with them. Did I mention the speedometer for the bike, and a new helmet, and the little nasty gel things he eats while he's biking?

Finally, one night we were out to dinner with my sister, Jenny, and her husband Josh (who also competed in the triathlon with Craig). We were talking about all the gear required and suddenly, it dawned on me: I have given the mouse a cookie. As well as some milk to go with it.

When all was said and done, Craig lost 25 pounds and finished his first triathlon with a more than respectable time. He plans to do another one in the spring. And he only has to do 47 more before I'll be satisfied he's gotten his money's worth out of all of that gear.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help Me, Karma

I went for a run on Monday morning at the park. I just discovered we have a greenway, and while I appreciate the blessing of having both a treadmill and a place to put it, I am SOOOO much happier running on the ground, counting species as I go.

So I was running along, minding my own business, plugged into Muse and Chris Isaac, thanking God for the miracle that is my husband (who used his unexpectedly long lunch break to mind our kids at the playground while I ran) when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge hornet attached itself to my right index finger. Apparently, I distracted him from something extremely important because he stung with one end and bit with the other until I flicked him off, and then ended his short life with my brand new running shoes. It hurt. I cried out. But I kept going, because, you know, I was running! I was high on life! And I was way far away from the van, and Mason had to be picked up from preschool in a half hour!

To add insult to injury, as I danced a tarantella (hornetella?) down the trail, trying, I suppose, to shake the venom out of my finger, I realized that if I didn't find a way to empty my bladder pronto, I'd be jogging back to civilization in need of a diaper change. (Curse you, stress incontinence -- you are my least favorite side effect of childbirth ever.) So I waited until there were no other people in sight on the trail, and ducked into the cornfield where I actually considered peeing on my throbbing finger, a method that according to both Survivor and Friends (my favorite sources for first aid advice) works on a jellyfish sting. I put myself back together and finished my run, and by the time I met my family at the playground, my finger was really beginning to swell.

By the next day, I looked like I had hijacked the entire right arm of a much larger woman -- one with sausage fingers and a killer case of pitting edema. I couldn't hold a pen. I couldn't open a bottle. I couldn't take Benadryl because, well, I have four children and must remain awake and standing for most of the activities required by their care. It took a solid week for the itching and swelling to subside.

Lately, it seems like every time I make an effort towards better physical fitness, something goes wrong: iPod battery dead as a doornail. Baby nap over before I can even get through the first mile on the treadmill. Rain when I plan to run out doors, kids too sick for the gym when I'm ready for a class. I just can't seem to get into the groove. I'm trying, but I think the groove hates me.

I'm ready for some karma. I need a tailwind the next time I hit the trail for a race -- Saturday, maybe? How about an unexpectedly warm 8AM temperature so my fingers aren't frostbitten at the finish line? A little bit of instant gratification would go a long way towards motivating more hard work: a faster time, a pound or two lost, a second wind, an improvement . . . help me, karma.

Unless, of course, it involves hornets.

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