Chlorine is put in pools to sanitize it — it bonds to the gunk you leave behind (you do know you leave behind gunk, right?) and turns the gunk into organic  “Chloramines“, which sounds so much nicer than gunk.  Those organic compounds then ostensibly get filtered out so we can all go enjoy the pool.

Chlorinated pool water tastes awful, by the way.

I checked out the Mercer Island pool this morning (at 6:30 AM, yo!) and did some laps; as I suspected I am woefully out of swim shape. While I actually can be faster (with my lap time I could get a half mile done in 16 minutes!) I don’t have the endurance (that would be 16 minutes plus another 16 worth of breaks!) and I have but four weeks (oh, slightly less now) to get that in gear.

I will note that the Mercer Island pool has just enough chlorine to sanitize and not so much that it makes your eyes horribly red; and unlike the LA Fitness in Bellevue it does appear as though they clean it occasionally. The locker rooms leave much to be desired — body consciousness is not a privilege you have there — but they are serviceable. There are actually seven (7) signs in the locker room reinforcing basic hygiene (wash your hands, wash your kids butt after diaper changes and before putting them in the pool, and – I kid not – do not let a kid with diarrhea swim).

Biking is still my favorite.

Swim Bike Run… more Bike, less Swim and Run?

Today I went on a lovely figure-8 jaunt of Lake Union with Ms. Krieant that featured brunch at Dish. I could rave about Dish, and I should, given that a garden omelette with eggbeaters was clearly so awesome that I scarfed it in seconds (note: Dish does not take cards. I do not carry cash. The bar next door has a cash machine, and sells Bitburger. Ok that’s enough plug there.)

Biking is now my favorite of the three pieces of a tri. Running is to the state where I am having to tape, and whine, and I suspect new shoes will be purchased and ibuprofen and glucosamine will feature as regular items in my morning routine. Swimming is not hot either, what with the hair messiness of it all (I just got it did, okay?) Also, swimming isn’t nearly as social. If you think it is, I invite you to go swimming laps with a friend and carry on a conversation. And I don’t think you can bring your tunes with you.

I am realizing though how much better a day is with *some* form of exercise. It’s better than coffee… (yes, I really did just say that).

Glub Glub

Very little in my life is safe from the rationalization that an Excel spreadsheet offers. Within rows and columns, little formulas and “if” statements valiantly try to take the somewhat-partial data I have and render a decision for me. The spreadsheets are rarely seen by anyone other than myself, as it would be akin to airing my entire thought process — even those thoughts that you don’t tell anyone you have but you actually have. I have a coefficient for budget splurges based on average monthly temperature, for example.

The spreadsheet has had me purchase a triathlon wetsuit. I’m totally blaming the spreadsheet.

Renting a triathlon wetsuit is $40 for a six-day span (Thurs-Tues). Purchasing a decent one is about $160. I have 6  weekends of swimming ahead of me, and more if I end up doing the Black Diamond. $240 being patently more money than $160, I caved.

Would that it were that easy to get back in the water again. Swimming laps in a pool is a semi-boring chore that offers at least the diversion of the occasional mouthful of chlorinated water. Swimming in the open water means that occasional mouthful is of something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike water. There are *things* floating in there. It doesn’t taste good. 

The thing is,  having done a tri before, I’m shirking more than I ought. Even though my first few runs have been at a pathetic pace, I’m still in the “oh three miles no big deal it’s not like I have to actually *train* or anything” mindset, and this is naturally extending to my lack of workouts (only 2 in the last 4 days) and thusly the scale making noises at me.

I need to build a spreadsheet for that, I think.

Fitness in the Hairdryer

In Phoenix, Monsoon season begins in mid July, which means we’re just before it. This also means winds. Winds, in 110 degree heat. It’s like living in a hairdryer.

Living in the hairdryer isn’t all that bad, in and of that you actually spend the hottest part of the day indoors in lovely ubiquitous air conditioning. You slather yourself with spf 1000, wear sunglasses and hats, wear loose cotton clothing, and learn to accept that tile is in fact a good floor covering. Phoenix is the exact opposite of where I live: dry and hot means no wood floors, no pine trees and ferns, my hair BEHAVES, my skin BEHAVES, and buildings are low and long. I wouldn’t retire here but am glad to have a second Casa Conti to go to.

Working out in the hairdryer, however, is a whole other kettle of fish (or terra cotta pot of lizards, I guess). Yesterday I got up at 6:30AM to run — because by 7am it’s too late. I ran a mere mile, and I did it at more of a “jogging” pace (we’re at 1,700 feet here and my parents have somehow managed to purchase a home in an area full of mild uphill grade cul-de-sacs), but imagine running face first into a hairdryer. It was great in and of that I didn’t perspire, water wicks away near-instantly. However, breathing in hot air while running uphill? Not so much. I plan to get up at 6am tomorrow in hopes of a 5-degree difference.

Swimming in the hairdryer is also interesting. My parents have a pool that is about 30′ long and I swam very small laps this morning with a small child wanting to occasionally be tossed about in the water. So it would be swim swim swim pause throw child swim swim swim pause throw child swim swim. After 40 minutes of this you get out of the pool and are COLD because somehow the 80 degree pool water in a 95 degree blowing heat evaporates and makes you cold, for the first five minutes.

And then you’re back in the hairdryer.

Back Anywhere But The Saddle Again

Having just completed 160 miles on a bike I really am not sweating training for the 12 cycling miles of the Danskin. I *will* get on the bike, I just haven’t this week. I also haven’t run, or swam, this week either. This week I was very very very lazy, workout wise. This week was full of travel (coming back from Vancouver, to/from SF, and now to Phx), full of food (Mom’s house, a beer tasting, Chupacabra’s baby-size burritos, etc.), full of drinks (well, naturally), and full of work (which is fun).  That said, I will shortly (erm, 2 hours?) be in Phoenix, Arizona, and must correct all of this laziness.

It is 110 degrees F (43.3 degrees C) in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a dry heat.

This means if I want to run (and I need to do it at least twice while there) I need to do it at 6am. If I want to swim (and I need to do it at least once while there) I need to do it in the early morning or late evening.  I have 4 days worth of regular clothes, workout clothes, miniature toiletries (this trip’s forgotten accoutrement? Hair goo), sunscreen (spf 50 for us pale types), and the last Harry Potter book all crammed into my carry on, and I’m optimistic that I can actually, you know, get a workout in on this trip.

Moving On

I was going to have a whole series of little vignettes about the Ride — about the guys playing soccer at camp, about the awful food (but you’re so hungry you don’t care), about how they insisted I bring my own food and then I didn’t need it (or they didn’t have it), about the back pain and yet surprisingly no leg pain, about the endorphin rush and near-wall-hitting, about the simple pleasure a hot shower can bring at the end of a long day.

There really isn’t a place for all of that. None of those things translate well, and they were little events that were part of a much larger event; in short, you don’t care, and I’m not sure how much I’ll remember or what weight I’ll put to it in future. If something strikes me as particularly funny or poignant, then I may. But right now, nothing comes to mind: it was a good ride, I want to do it again, and that’s about it.

I haven’t been on a bike in three days, nor have I done any real exercise beyond some brisk San Franciscan walking. I have a triathlon in seven weeks, though, and I need to start training for that.  So if you’re up to listening to me blather about swimming (and possibly a swim coach), biking (hah! what’s 12 miles?!), and running (let’s hope the knee doesn’t die) then tune in.

Otherwise, move along, nothing to see here 🙂

PS — very glad I didn’t do my planned run in SFO today. They are not kidding about the cold fog early in the morning, and I foolishly packed shorts and a tank top.

T-5 days, and Counting

Eek. 5 days. 5 days to pack, get geared up, buy the food for the ride, get last minute equipment, etc. I’ve spent the last five MONTHS with the attitude of “just survive until the 21st”. Well, the 21st is next week, and I have a triathlon to start training for.

It’s a good thing I got on Hamish (the Schwinn) yesterday as I’ve discovered his front gears are all fu-bar’d. I leave for Vancouver on Thursday, his timing is spectacularly bad. However, Performance Cycle is close and I needed to get a cushier bike seat anyways (I’m sure to be sore, sore, sore…), so this is not awful.

What is awful is getting biker’s burn. Do you know what biker’s burn is? It’s like a farmer tan, except we’re talking about yours truly, and yours truly BURNS before she TANS. Ergo, I have redness of the skin in patches. And not in normal patches.

When I bike, I wear longer bike shorts (let’s prevent chafing, shall we?), a tank top, fingerless gloves, a watch, my helmet, a pair of wraparound sunglasses, short socks and my shoes (natch). Therefore, I have a burn on my arms down to my wrists and then completely white hands, a white strap where my watch usually is, and on my legs from about mid-thigh to my ankle. Oh, and my nose (not anyplace else on my face).

What is most distracting is the “red thigh-high” effect of the burn on my legs — the bike shorts are longer than regular shorts, so it’s a bit distracting seeing shorts, patch o white skin, then red. I feel like I should make some sort of weird garment such that I can get strategically burnt in all of the white bits, but something tells me that won’t really work out as intended.

Yet Another Event

I signed up for the Danskin Triathlon.

Last Tuesday (yes, I’m blogging about something a week old, get over it) I sat at my computer, angst-ridden and hitting “refresh”, so I could be one of the participants in this August’s Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Seattle. Apparently it sells out right quick and I had promised not one but TWO ladies I know I would do it, and so I have signed on to Do It.


I can tell you authoritatively that unlike my training for the Trek Women’s last year, the 12 miles on the bike are not making me nervous. I did 51 last weekend and it is true what they say about the best way to get better at riding your bike: ride your bike. Ride your bike. And, ride your bike.

However this means I will need to get up early on Fridays to add swimming back into the regimen. I signed on to the only gym within miles of my work that has a pool, now only if they’d clean it occasionally.

I wonder when I’ll stop signing up for these things, and what I am trying to prove to myself.