Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Closer to fine

Last Saturday

Okay, so you know how on SNL, back when it was funny, there was Gilda Radner (also afflicted with The Cancer) and her different characters, one of whom was Emily Litella? Who’d go off on some rant about, say, whirled peas, screeching about why the HELL would anyone want to whirl their peas, wouldn’t they then get all MUSHY and so on.....until someone would point out that no, the issue is actually WORLD PEACE. At which point Emily aka Gilda would ever-so-sweetly say – “never mind!”

So picture me kind of doing an Emily Litella. Because after all my ranting in my last post, the wailing and gnashing of teeth at my level of suckitude, I decided to forge on ahead and do my long-ish run. And you know what? It wasn’t half-bad. It’s kind of odd, but I’ve found that if I stick to a diet by which I might actually lose a pound or two over a month (aka the 600-calorie one), my workout the next day pretty much sucks. And if I foolishly throw caution to the wind and eat more (aka the 1000-calorie diet), my workout isn’t as torturous. Imagine. I know, I know, I don’t quite get it either, but it’s true, that’s what happens.

So our run. Yes, ours, because I go with Kona. Which means that a) I have to run faster, and b) I also have to take enforced breaks, since he has to stop and greet everyone, get petted and told how handsome he is, etc. I guess those two things even out somehow. I also take a water bottle for Kone, and once I realize that the water fountains aren’t turned on yet, I start scouting around for a convenience store. Which I eventually find, but will they let me go in there with a big dog? This is another bit of serendipity, as the owner not only lets us come in, but just chuckles when Kona closely investigates the loaves of bread and candy bars. (Note: to anyone who bought that bread and found dog drool on the plastic sleeve, so sorry. My bad.)

All in all, for a 2-hour run, it felt pretty good. And then I got home and did a lot of sleuthing, and found a video that someone had shot of the IronSpud bike course. Now granted, it’s on fast-forward, and I have crappy depth perception to begin with, but to my untrained eye, it didn’t look too heinous. At least I didn’t see any cobblestone streets going straight up into tiny Spanish villages – something that I hear is quite common in Idaho. So that’s something. In any case, I decide that the course is doable – as long as it’s a sunny, warm day, with zero wind. Hey, a girl can dream.

And then I got an email from my dear friend George from Canada, which reminded me of why I’m here, relaying my exploits and passing on fitness tips to my tens of readers. Yes, George the cyclist has decided to venture into triathloning. He’s taken the first step and purchased a swimsuit and googles – yet, heeding my advice, he’s put them aside for now, following my advice of (as he put it) “not going overboard with needless miles.” Ah, it’s enough to practically make me weep with pride – especially since I presume his next step will involve ramping up with abandon, in the remaining weeks (or days) before any race.

Finally, the comments or emails from my last post really honed in on why I have the friends I do, and why I love them dearly. George again had lots of sage advice and wisdom, recommending a protein formula I might want to try and other helpful hints. Deirdre was also true to form – I believe her comment was “yeah, cancer, blah blah, I WANT A DINO TOO! ME TOO!” Leave it to Deirdre to get to the heart of the matter. And while this recalls the epic quest that it was to find my little co-pilot, I will do my best, Deirdre, to get you his Canadian doppelganger. No promises though.

Tomorrow, my plan is to ride in solidarity with Stacey, who’s doing some System of a Downs ride in the U.K., which is apparently 100 miles of abject torture, as she’s been describing it. Accordingly, I too plan to ride 100, though in the bucolic countryside. I’ve been studying meteorological charts and phases of the moon, and have determined that tomorrow there should be no wind whatsoever. I’m going out to my mom’s tonight so that I can get up early and just hit the road right away. It’s going to be a perfect day for riding – I can feel it.

Sunday – 5AM

The alarm goes off at this godawful hour, and I go to the window to look outside at the temperature gauge. 33 degrees? Surely you must be joking? Kona, who’s all snuggled under the bedcovers, barely lifts his head. I hop back into bed to wait for it to warm up at least a few degrees.


Okay, it seems to have gotten up to a balmy 34. I get up, get dressed, have my coffee/oatmeal/banana. So now I have to go riding – not that I was thinking of skipping it – because I can only have carbs if I’m actually going to work out, so we’re at the point of no return. I take Kona out for a walk, and upon our return, he goes and jumps back into bed. Hmm. I think that says something, not sure what. Best to not contemplate it too much.


Still waiting.......


Dun da dum dum (drumming fingers on table).....guess I’ll check my email......


Okay, enough of this happy horseshit – this is defeating the purpose of staying out here so that I could head out early. I set off......and fuck, it’s cold. I briefly contemplate turning back and layering on more clothes....I slow down.....nah, I’ll warm up eventually, right?

45 minutes later

Cold cold cold coldcoldcold.....I think my hands and feet are frozen. At least I took care of the wind-generated headache, with my Craft thermal cap on underneath my helmet. One problem down. Damn, why don’t I have warmer gloves? I’ll make myself wait until the hour mark to stop and try to warm up.

5 minutes after that

Forget it, my hands are killing me. I stop, pull off the gloves, rub my hands and do what I can to dethaw them. Start up again.

5 minutes later

Note to readers: My frozen thumbs snapped off somewhere on Harmony Road near Huntley, IL. If you come across them, would you mind sending them to me? Thanks.

1 hour in

I have to say, even cold as it is, at this insane hour it’s a nice feeling to be one of the few people out on the road, zipping along in the country. Haven’t even seen any other cyclists yet. Gee, I wonder why – could it be because none of THEM signed up for an early season Ironman, so they all looked at the temps this morning and thought......ech, forget it. Maybe? Yeah, I think so.

The rest of the ride – idle musings

Note to self: Get new music for iPod – or at least figure out why iPod won’t sync with computer. Remove Dancing Queen permanently from iPod library.

I figured out one reason why it’s so damn cold out here compared to everywhere else – it’s because it’s the fucking PRAIRIE! Duh! And there’s no corn growing yet, not even sprouts, so I don’t even have the cornfields as a windbreak, not that they’d be that tall yet. Plus where am I supposed to pee? Farmers, could you please get on this? Thanks.

Hmm, as I’m biking north, i.e into Wisconsin, it’s getting noticeably colder. And windier. Note to self: Next time, bike south.

Ugh, this road really sucks. I really need to start writing on my maps which roads are unrideable. This one is just one big patchwork of seams and bumps. It’s even worse than the roads earlier, which had gravel and huge craters – at least those I could go around, albeit slowly, though that road really was just one step above a cowpath.

I stop to adjust my saddle, and lo, there’s a cyclist coming up behind me! A cute guy, who slows down to see if I need any assistance. Dumbass me, I tell the truth, that I don’t need help. Damn. Note to self: Next time, make up some faux-helpless thing, something completely asinine, like my tire is leaking air, complete with sad doe eyes. Oh, and try to go riding looking a touch less like Jabba the Hut. I mean really, could I possibly be any more bundled up? Sheesh.

Note to readers: My nose froze and fell off somewhere on State Line Rd. in WI – if you happen across it, could you please send it to me? Thanks.

Why the hell do I have to pee for about the 5th time? I never have to go during my bike rides, no matter how long they are. I’m always an efficient, finely-honed machine, using exactly what I take in. The only thing I’m doing differently is that I didn’t put Nuun into my water bottle, so I’m just drinking water with my GU. Hmm. And when I have the constantly-having-to-pee problem during the run portion of my triathlons.....I’m getting water from the aid stations. Hmm. I think I’m having an epiphany here. Note to self: do NOT drink water only during rides/runs/races!

I wonder how my mom is handling Kona – he can be quite a handful. I hope he hasn’t torn up the house yet...

I make my usual stop in the town of Capron, to refill my bottles, stopping at the usual pizza place. Rosa’s Pizza – I really need to get pizza there sometime, because it smells pretty damn good. The town consists of 3 bars, an antique/junk shop, and the pizza place. A veritable bustling metropolis. I start heading back, might add some roads to my route, but there’s no way I can get lost. I know this map practically by heart.

I’m hopelessly lost – going north when I need to be going south. Maybe if these roads didn’t wind around aimlessly, and maybe if they had, oh, shall we say, STREET SIGNS on them on occasion?? I know, crazy talk. As I’m riding about aimlessly, I sometimes glance down and see how battered and scratched up my bar-end shifters are....on TOP. What the hell did that crash look like, that the top of my shifters got so beaten up?

Barking, running dog starts chasing me down the road and startles me slightly, and I’m totally unprepared. Luckily, firmly saying “shoo! Shoo you!” seems to work. The dog stops, and looks confused.

I finally get around to trying the Black Currant Powergel that I got in Mallorca – figured I’d see if a new flavor was any better than the tripe they’re trying to push off on us now. I used to love Powergels – that is, until they turned it into a watery salt lick. Yuck. This one.....good GOD, how did they make it even more heinous? Did their product development really think to themselves, hey, let’s make this taste like salty rotten fruit bundled into an old undershirt! That’ll definitely be a winner!

One last stop to pee – right in some brambles, which cut up my legs. Figures. Hey, that reminds me, the blackberries should be in season soon. Sweet! And the lilacs are in full bloom – I can even smell them as I ride by. Beautiful.

I pass a turkey vulture hunched over road kill. I hope that’s not symbolic of my Ironman efforts....

Am I the only one who looks at the Harley riders as they go by and thinks: “Lazyass!!” Okay, I only think that of the surly Harley riders, which is most of them. The middle-aged or older couples on their motorbikes, they generally wave. As do the farmers on their tractors. Fat chain-wearing grizzled Harley riders do not, and neither do the yuppie wannabees on their McMansion property out on the prairie. I’m glad they’re stuck out on the windy plains - contemplating the futility of their fiefdom-building efforts now that housing prices have tanked and oh yeah, people have realized they don’t want to live out on the TUNDRA - since people who don’t wave annoy me. The wind has picked up even more now – I barely notice. Okay, I do, but also realize the pointlessness of noticing something that will ALWAYS be there.

I come around the corner onto my mom’s street....and there she is, talking to her neighbor, with Kona on a leash and just sitting there patiently. My mom then tells me how well-behaved Kona has been, calm, not jumping, and I dog is a master strategist. First he conned me into keeping him, and now he’s following yet another principle of Sun Tzu in the Art of War: “appear ill-behaved and wild, so as to make all later better behavior a cause for celebration and praise. You will be rewarded handsomely for your cunning.” Clearly, I need to be taking lessons from him.

I go inside and take stock. My face is sunburnt and yet at the same time frozen, as if it’s been Botoxed into submission. Legs, a bit stiff. Feet, can’t feel them. 100 miles, done. Other cyclists spotted, just one. WTH? Don’t they realize, it was a perfect day for riding?


D said...

Who is Gilda Radner? (heheh heheh)

So it has become quite apparent that you are doing significantly more training and eating less than me. All with cancer. Wait... do you have cancer still? Or is it just brain injury these days? I can't keep up. What I do know, I need to get up off my fat, lazy ass and earn my dino!

PLEASE tell me you're bringing Kona to IronSpud? Oh wait. You're flying in, aren't you? Damn.

stacey, who persists at idiotic rides in extreme weather conditions said...

next solidarity ride on may 31 -- but this only requires a 6 am wake up, 90 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing (vs. 100 miles 9,000 feet downgraded to 50 miles 4,500 ft due to flash flooding and hail) -- get psyched!!!! and i found some australian goo for you ... will send asap.