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. Nor is it because I’m a nervous flier (though I don’t take descents well). My constant shifting and pained expressions have to do with something else, something horribly awful and appropriately Mediocre. Allow me to rewind to yesterday afternoon. I was at Elite Fitness (they must have relaxed their standards as I am elite in nothing but extreme nacho consumption) getting my strength on with one of the trainers. One of the sets he forced me to endure was a circuit duo consisting of a 5×5 set of bench press followed by weighted crunches. I wimpily grunted my way through the bench press (and managed to burst some blood vessels near my armpit during the process — lovely) and made my way onto the floor to hug a weight and knock out some sit-ups. Set #1 was fine, Set #2 okay, Set #3 a bit fatiguing, etc. Towards the end of my mini sufferfest, however, I noticed that my crunches were starting to feel uncomfortable. Not on my abs, mind you, or my back, or even my hands that were sweatily clutching a weight to my chest. Rather, as I progressed through each set, I noticed my ass was becoming less and less tolerant of the constant up-and-down motions to which I was subjecting it. I snuck a couple fidgets and wedgie picks when my trainer wasn’t looking while mentally shaking my fist at what used to be a tried-and-true pair of workout shorts that had never previously given me any issues. By the end of the session I was sweaty and tired and had momentarily forgotten about my butt discomfort. And then I stripped down and got into the locker room showers. Having realized that no, Elite Fitness did not actually replace their water with jalapeno vinegar-soaked knives, I realized that my badonkadonk had somehow accumulated an impressive amount of chafing during my strength workout. Now, I’ve written about chafing before and...

Read More

I Hate 5ks

Jul 25

I Hate 5ks

After threatening to sign up for three or four different marathons since last fall, I finally pulled the trigger and plunked down the registration fee for the Tunnel Lite Marathon September 15th. It’s a point-to-point with a net elevation loss, so pretty easy-peasy as far as marathon courses go. My running volume lately has thus increased as Coach T has started prepping me to haul my chubby ass 26.2 miles. Fitness-wise (and weight-wise) I’m still not where I was last season, but at least now I have a race to train for. My return to a regular training schedule got my coach’s seamless, sweat-wicking undies in a twist and she excitedly instructed me to find two 10ks to run as part of my marathon training. July has been a hectic month for me — Jason and I traveled to a wedding in Philadelphia earlier this month, plus he’s racing his first 50 mile ultramarathon this weekend — so I only had a couple weekends free to find a potential race. After informing Teresa of my dilemma, she said I could find a 5k to run this month and a 10k in August. Crap. 5ks suck for one reason: they hurt. If you’re intent on doing a 5k as a fun run, that’s fine, 3.1 miles is a fine distance for a walk or a jog or a combination of the two. But if your coach wants you to “race” the 5k, you’re essentially tasked with sprinting the entire distance and are a half-burp away from horking up one or both lungs at any given moment. There’s nothing “aerobic” about a 5k. From the moment you take off to the moment you cross the finish line, you feel like you’re going to die. Another reason I don’t like 5ks is because my SALS (Stumpy Asian Leg Syndrome) don’t make me much of a sprinter. I always tell people that I’m built for duration. I’m not terribly fast, but when you stretch out the distance long enough, my sheer stubbornness pushes me to maintain a somewhat decent pace until I manage to finish. For short distances, however, I’m no Usain Bolt. Whenever we do sprint work at track, teammates who I’m...

Read More

You Win This Round, Squak Mountain

Dec 31

You Win This Round, Squak Mountain

My BFG has taken an interest in trail running and has set his sights on tackling the White River 50 mile ultramarathon summer 2013. He’s been running with a teammate of ours who unfortunately was unavailable this past weekend for a trail running dude date with Jason, so I cautiously accepted my boyfriend’s invitation to run “with” him at Squak Mountain. Of course, by run “with” Jason, I mean “trudge far, far behind him” because he ran a 2:57 marathon in October and I have gained back a demoralizing chunk of the weight I lost earlier this year and have been intermittent with hitting my workouts lately. Nonetheless, I knew this excursion would make Jason very happy so I tagged along to tackle a 2 1/2 hour run in the wilderness. As far as trail running goes, I’ve only ever run at Cougar Mountain and Discovery Park (which isn’t really difficult trail running, but it does involve a lot of stairs), so I’m still a bit of a trail running noob. I do enjoy running on trails, though–I feel like a kid again, splashing through muddy puddles and trying to hurdle logs–so I’m making a half-ass New Year’s Resolution to do some more trail running in 2013. Unfortunately, I hate trail running just as much as I’m starting to enjoy it. It’s fun to feel like a child again, but I often forget how stupid and hard trail running can be. In Squak Mountain’s case, since I’ve been feeling down about feeling chunkier and less active lately, what better way to feel supremely dejected about how much fitness I’ve lost since Ironman Canada than to wheeze my way up a goddamn mountain at an average pace of 15 minutes/mile? Seriously, this mountain’s elevation profile is dumb. There were some hills so steep that I resorted to walking them since my walking pace was no slower than my sad attempt to jog. Jason, naturally, gazelled across the trail with his 8 ft long legs while I stub-legged a sad trot behind him, my heart rate in zone 4. I briefly thought of murdering my athletic, chipper boyfriend on numerous occasions as he’d make empty promises to me like “Take this...

Read More

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...

Read More

This is Why I Hate Swimming

Aug 20

This is Why I Hate Swimming

Earlier this summer I wrote about the day I finally liked swimming. It was a magical morning in A Bay on the big island in Hawaii, and I saw tons of dolphins frolicking in the ocean all around me while I treaded water for 45 minutes and marveled at how I would have missed out on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I hated swimming and refused to swim out that far. My swim on Friday couldn’t have been any further from that moment in my life; in fact, had I seen a pod of dolphins during the Friday Night Swim race (which would have been peculiar considering the race was in a murky lake in Kent, Washington), I would have kicked them all in the face with my non-cramping leg while screaming about how much I hate swimming. Let’s back up a smidge. I was scheduled to do the Swim for Life swim across Lake Washington on a decidedly inconvenient day of the week (Wednesday) at a decidedly inconvenient time (7:30 am). The last time I participated in the swim was two years ago. It was the last big swim before Ironman Canada, and it was mostly a disaster due to how gloriously awful the swim conditions were (wind, heavy chop, strong waves). This year I wanted a better pre-Canada last hurrah swim and hoped to tackle the distance in under 1:30, which would give me a nice little confidence boost going into IMC. Unfortunately, I had to be at work early that day for meetings so I wouldn’t be able to do the charity swim. I told Teresa I was bailing and begrudgingly said I could probably do the Friday Night Swim race later that week instead. This “Plan B” swim option was a bad idea for the following reasons: It was an actual swim race, meaning I’d have a finisher’s time and would be pitted against people who actually enjoy swimming to the point that they sign up for standalone swim races, instead of folks like me who hate it but understand it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep doing these silly triathlons. It was at 6:00 pm on a Friday… …in Kent. So I...

Read More