Pain in the Ass

Oct 10

Pain in the Ass

I’m currently sitting on a flight from Seattle to New York (well, Newark) feeling fidgety and uncomfortable. No, it’s not because of your standard “sardines packed into a tin” dread of being crammed into a metal bird with a couple hundred of your closest germ-riddled stranger-neighbors. My constant shifting and pained expressions have to do with something horribly awful and appropriately Mediocre.

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Sorry, That’s Not Real Food

Nov 29

Sorry, That’s Not Real Food

I love me some food. I know triathletes and endurance athletes often boast about how much they eat, but I’ve read the SlowTwitch “shame eating” threads and they’re pretty weaksauce. Admitting you ate two huge bowls of cereal or a Krispy Kreme donut pales in comparison to the splendid displays of fat-assery Jason and I have embarked on time and time again. One time we went to Claim Jumper and each ordered fried mozzarella sticks as an appetizer before polishing off fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, extra biscuits with honey butter, and dessert. (Okay, I lied…we’ve done that more than once.) So you’ve got the faux-pig triathletes who are all “Tee hee, I ate so much yesterday” and then you found out it was something bullshit like an extra helping of quinoa or farro or some other dumb grain that sounds made up. And on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got lean, stringy-looking endurance athletes who you know are fast just by glancing your fat eyeballs upon their striated, beef jerky-esque frame, and those folks are so uninterested in food that sometimes they “forget to eat” and only do it because their bodies need sustenance. Forget to eat?! Who does that??? When I’m eating, I think about other food I want to eat, and when I’m not eating, I think about all the food I can’t wait to eat. I love food so much. Soooooo much. I consider myself an equal-opportunity food lover, meaning I’m just as willing to drop a few hundred bucks at a Michelin star restaurant as I am to gorge myself at the sketchy cash-only taco truck parked behind a Home Depot. Despite being a mega-huge carnivore, I’ll also be a good sport and hit up vegetarian or vegan places with my friends. (Though the last time I did that, I promptly came home, picked Jason up, and drove to get meat-filled deep dish pizza. Deep dish pizza is muy tasty.) I’m willing to try pretty much anything, whether it’s foo-foo holistic or offal-tastic. However, some of the stuff my teammates insist on passing off as real food has me unconvinced. Some examples: 1. Kale Chips Everyone seems to be on this...

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Why Would You Invite Me to Swim 6.2 Miles for “Fun”

Nov 07

Why Would You Invite Me to Swim 6.2 Miles for “Fun”

I received an event invite on Facebook from a triathlete friend named Laura (not the same Laura who monologued me at Ironman Canada this year), who I highlighted in my Futile Quest for Abs post for having one of the most glorious set of stomach muscles I’d ever seen. She and I often overlap in age groups, meaning I get my ass kicked six ways from Sunday (or is it to Sunday? I get my ass kicked, that’s the main thing) in every race we both happen to be at. She’s raced at Kona and above all else is a seriously sick swimmer. I was hoping the event invite had to do with a brownie eating contest or perhaps a “Celebrate the holidays with a Christmas Story marathon and inappropriate amounts of yuletide booze,” but no, it’s some bullshit swimming thing. Correction, it’s not some bullshit swimming thing, it’s the ultimate bullshit swimming thing; specifically, the “Fourth Annual 100×100/10k Swim Holiday Extravaganza.” Never mind the fact that my brain cannot comprehend the notion of swimming 6.2 miles in a single day (or week, or month, for that matter, but I digress), or the twisted idea that this is supposed to be a “fun” gathering. No, what I don’t understand is why the hell someone like Laura would invite a swimmer like me to this horrible, horrible event. Is it like hazing? Some sort of sacrifice, maybe, where a fast swimmer must offer up a slow lamb to the Swimming Gods every year so she can continue to bust out sub-55 minute Ironman splits? Because I really don’t understand why this fast pod of swimmers would want to invite a manatee to hang out with their dolphin group. To get an idea of why this event is utter crap, here’s how Laura plans to organize the swim workout: Here is how the breakdown will work (tentatively set to be TWO pace groups, Group A and Group B). Please RSVP with your Pace group selection. If there is enough demand for a faster/slower sendoff, then we will have another lane…first come first served, 40 PEOPLE MAXIMUM…don’t miss out! SENDOFFS MAY CHANGE DEPENDING ON GROUP. In the past, we have done: 10×100...

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Boston Deferrals Need to HTFU

Apr 20

Look, I get that it was unseasonably warm on Monday and that it made for hotter than usual Boston Marathon race conditions, but deciding not to race or deferring to next year because you didn’t like the temperature is just laughable. If you’re elite or athletic enough to be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you can deal with a hot race. There are thousands of runners who would have killed to race on Monday, regardless of the conditions, and you’re telling me that you’re too big a diva to run when it gets to the mid-80s? Gimme a break. A higher than usual percentage of racers (3,863) didn’t even bother showing up to pick up their numbers this year. Obviously a portion of the no-shows could be folks who had injuries (as was the case of a friend of mine who tore her hamstring and was unable to race) or had a situation pop up where they couldn’t race (a family emergency, work conflict, etc), but the rate was higher than in previous years. Of the 22,426 runners who did show up to pick up their numbers, 427 deferred, which is even worse than not bothering to show up in the first place. You travel all the way to Boston, pick up your number, and then decide that you’re going to chump out and run next year in the hopes that temperatures will be more to your satisfaction? Ridiculous. Yes, I know it was hot. I know it was uncomfortable. I know that overall times were slower than previous years and that more people were treated for heat-related ailments (cramping, exhaustion, overheating). But that’s the nature of racing. You sign up for a race not knowing what’s going to come your way. You can do the training and prepare for it as best you can, but there are certain factors you can’t control on race day that you just have to deal with. Do you think the 2011 Ironman Canada athletes wanted to race in upper-90 degree heat all day? Obviously not, but they showed up at the start line and powered their way through like champs, and they raced 140.6 miles in adverse conditions, not just...

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Triathlete Woe #2: Chafe Me With Your Best Shot

Feb 15

Triathlete Woe #2: Chafe Me With Your Best Shot

Forever ago I introduced Triathlete Woes. My first woe experienced by triathletes, cyclists, and runners alike was the friggin’ bugs that you encounter when training. This time I wanted to talk about the bane of this damn sport and of being active in general. Of course, I’m talking about everyone’s common enemy: chafing. I’ve gotten chafing everywhere. And by “everywhere,” I mean everywhere. My ankles, my armpits, my sternum, the small of my back, my inner thighs, my ribcage, the back of my neck, and yes, the demoralizing “are you freakin’ kidding me” spot known as the asscrack. This diagram fully illustrates which parts of my body have been rubbed raw from friction, clothing, or some other random bullshit while training or racing: I’ve gotten ankle chafing from timing chips: I’ve gotten thigh chafing from a pair of shorts I had worn a hundred times before, but when I wore them for a half marathon, they inexplicably tore my legs up so bad that I had to cover the scabs in gauze for a few days. I’ve gotten pelvis chafing from swimsuits, which is just mind-boggling. I’ve developed thick neck scabs from wet suit chafing. If you threw a dart at a diagram of a body, chances are I’ve gotten chafing there. Here’s a chafe mark along the lower part of my stomach that looks like I got slashed by a knife-wielding maniac: And here’s a chest chafing that looks like the shape of New Jersey: This past weekend my sternum got torn to shit during a hill repeat run: My sternum has gotten chewed up so much from heart rate monitors that I have resorted to covering the spot with a Band-aid before workouts (which has led to Jason calling me King Hippo), but even that failed me on Saturday. Chafing sucks. It has no pattern, no rhyme or reason. I’ll use a crapton of Glide and will still get it. I’ll wear a tried and true pair of shorts and will still get it. I’ll have a short workout and will get a mark out of nowhere. But the worst part of the chafing isn’t its randomness. No sir. That I’m getting used to. I’ve grown accustomed...

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