Sunday, March 16, 2008

Changing the Team

A few weeks ago I registered one of my sisters and I as a relay team for the Hy-Vee Tri. My other sister has decided now she wants to participate, too, and she's offered to do the bike part. When I'd mentioned it to her before, she said she had to work (she's a nurse), but she's found someone to take her shift. She has ridden a bike 24 miles before, but she's a triathlon novice (for that matter, so's my other sister, but I think it's easier to be a "newbie" on the run). I'm concerned that she doesn't really understand what she's getting into. It's not like we're intending to win any prizes, but I don't want her to be overwhelmed by the event. And, anyway, assuming she can join us now, I have mixed feelings about changing the team. On one hand, to date, I've not ridden more than 18 miles at one time, but I'd figured I'd be ready for 24 by June. Also, having only the swim to concentrate on would not be a bad thing, because I'm still getting used to the Oly distance (.9 mile). I'd wanted to use this event as a precursor to doing a complete Oly by myself in September. Will doing only the swim be enough of a test? But, then, doing the tri with both my sisters would be special. We live in three different states and don't all get together but once, maybe twice, a year. Our recent gatherings have been shadowed by parental illness, so a sister reunion held just for fun would, indeed, be fun. "The B----y Girls" on a new adventure sounds promising. Here's to Beat-Bun-Uniq!


A woman I know recently set three records for her age group in a masters swim meet in the 100 free, 200 free, and 100 IM (butterfly, backstroke, breasttroke, , and freestyle). Her times for the 100 and 200 were 50+ seconds faster than the previous records, and there was no existing record for the IM because no one had done it before. This woman is 95 years old! She plans to keep on swimming as long as she's able and can drive herself to the pool. She also goes to work everyday at the family business. We used to swim at the same pool, but then she moved to a different part of town and a different pool. Year for year, she's a better swimmer than I am. What inspires me most about this woman, though, is her attitude. I am similarly inspired by another 92-year-old swimmer I know, who logs one-half mile per swim several times a week. And, of course, there's a fellow triathlete who started doing triathlons in her 60s and still competes at age 82.

I aspire to age as well as these women. But it's hard when I see little progress in my training. I feel stronger, but my times are abysmal. And it's depressing when my teammates are lamenting they only managed to run a 9-minute mile, when I'd be happy to do one in 12. Last year I could occasionally manage an 11- minute mile, but these days, it would be a miracle to go that "fast." But I'm keeping at it. Maybe someday I'll set my own record and inspire someone else along the way.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Something to "tri" for

Our team psychologist recently talked about the importance of setting goals. The essence of his theory is that having too many complex, specific goals creates stress, and fighting stress wastes energy, so a person should set one main goal, with some subparts, that is doable. I see the merit in this principle, even if I do tend sometimes to get bogged down in details. My ex-husband called this tendency "making everything too complicated," but he was a procrastinator par excellence, so .... Anyway, my goal for this season is to earn an age-group award given by Setup Events. To do this, I have to compete in (read, enter and finish) four triathlons in their state series. I've signed up for the first one on 3/29. I anticipate doing one in July and one in September, so that leaves a choice between events in June and October as the fourth one. Either one of those (or both) would likely require a wet suit, which I don't have. I could rent one, or buy one. This is where over-thinking comes in, as I mull the merits of having my own suit v. the expense of buying or renting. Then I have to consider how, even if , my pear dumpling body will fit into one, and if I could get out of it in T1. It might be easier to get Setup to change the rules so that only three events would qualify. From one simple goal to many tangents -- it really is all in the details.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

That certain language

A blogger I know often uses the "f-word" in her blog. I can't say I'm offended -- I hear that word frequently from other people. But I rue the growing, everyday usage of profanity as one more strike against the few remaining bastions of decency in our lives. According to my high school English teacher, Rhett Butler's famous line at the end of the movie version of Gone With The Wind ("Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.") was the first time such a word was spoken in a movie. It was 1939, and viewers were shocked. If the movie were remade today, Scarlett would likely reply, "Go f--- yourself!" and few people would even notice. Certainly, strong language is sometimes appropriate, but overuse diminishes its potency. I'm not advocating a return to the days when such language was not used in polite company, but I do think a little less vulgarity would improve us all.