If you live with someone long enough, you automatically get in-laws

… except without the legal bit.

I had a conversation with my mom this past week during which we were trying to schedule some family activities that are in the works for this summer. She wanted to schedule plans with us two weekends in a row. I said that was fine.

Mom: “Will Kass (Roomie) come too?”

Me: “Umm, I’ll ask. She’ll probably come one weekend. She might not want to be visiting out of town for two weekends in a row though.”

Mom: “But it’s her family. We’re doing FAMILY things.”

Me: “… you do realize she’s not ACTUALLY related to us, right?”

It’s okay though. We’re in Philadelphia at Roomie’s parents’ house this weekend helping them move–an activity I hate less than most people, because it actually puts all my crossfitting to good use–and I keep doing the college-student thing that I usually reserve for my own parents: “Are you keeping this (insert whatever object I want)? Can I have it??” 

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I might need some swimming lessons or something

By this time, we’re all aware that I don’t really prioritize personal hygiene. I usually DO shower anyway; it just cuts into my sleeping hours and seems like a terrible chore. But this time, I had an ironclad reason not to: what was the point, if I was going to be shoving a swim cap on my head and jumping into a smelly lake in less than 12 hours?

It was one of the only good things I could think of about having to swim the 0.62 miles required in the triathlon I had entered. It was 0.62 miles more than I had really prepared for.

I don’t think I’ve been that nervous for an athletic event since the last time I sat in the start box waiting to gallop my horse around a cross country course (and at least that was a more legitimate fear of death and dismemberment—horse trials rarely wrapped up without the paramedics scraping at least one rider off the course and carrying her off in an ambulance).

Nobody’s words of encouragement were really making the butterflies any better, until I came home and found a note on our dry erase board on Saturday night, “Out with friends for the night. Good luck tomorrow. Just don’t drown and don’t quit.” Well, if you put it that way. Surely, I could manage those two little things. I suddenly felt better. Shortly after that, another friend texted me some more sagely advice for my first tri, “Don’t worry about leaving time to pee before the race. You can just do that when you get in the water.”

There you have it. The three most important things to remember when completing a triathlon: don’t drown, don’t quit, and feel free to pee in the water. I had this thing in the bag.

The next morning, I gave myself the usual lecture required to get out of bed at 4:30am, made it to the park (mostly) on time and (somewhat) awake, and was greeted with a smile and a hug from L, who is almost scarily perky prior to 6am.  Thank goodness one of us was awake though, because without her, I would probably have forgotten to pump up my bike tires and gone into the water with my goggles on upside down, among other things. And without her, I would have had nobody to introduce me to all of the wonderfully kind people I met throughout the course of the day.

This post is already showing signs of going on forever, so I’m just going to hit the highlights like I did for the Tough Mudder. You might still want to get a snack and a pee break at this point, just to be safe.

SWIMMING: Once I had got my goggles the right way around, I tried to enjoy the last few moments during which everyone might still be under the impression that I knew what I was doing, because once we officially started swimming, it was abundantly clear that I did not. To be honest, most of the swim is a blur in which the only things I clearly remember were how beautifully bright the sun was on the water and how much I was gasping for air the ENTIRE time (because, as I’ve mentioned before, I just CANNOT learn how to breathe and swim at the same time).

 I had a quick discussion with my shoulder and we decided that freestyle was not going to happen. After about five minutes, I decided that breaststroke wasn’t such a good idea either. Thank goodness for backstroke. If you backstroke, everything’s quiet, and you can breathe. At least, you can breathe until the fast swimmers from the wave behind you catch up. And the wave behind them. And the wave behind them. Then you inhale a lot of delicious lake water, which I’m choosing to believe must do wonders for your immune system.

At one point when I was spluttering around, making almost no progress, and trying to hack the water out of my lungs, I noticed that one of the kayaks positioned along course seemed to be surreptitiously following me. Yes, I was that girl. The one who looked like she needed to be rescued. Good grief.

STILL SWIMMING: The swim seemed to take FOREVER. Actually, let me rephrase that—the swim DID take me forever, compared to almost everyone else. But at least I never thought, “I can’t finish this,” and I never thought, “I wish I hadn’t signed up for this.”

However, thoughts such as, “When the hell is this swim going to be over?!” and “This sucks,” drifted though my head on a regular basis.

FLYING: Of course, I wasn’t really flying. But after struggling in the water for almost 40 minutes, being on a bike felt like the most amazing thing in the world. I was cruising too. Every time I passed someone, I would studiously say, “On your left,” just like L had instructed me to, and I seemed to be saying “On your left,” an awful lot. Fantastic. Look at all these people I was passing. I must be fast.

Or not.

It only took me a few miles before I began to recognize the bikers I was passing. I could recognize them because I kept passing the same few people over and over again. I would overtake them on the way up the hills and they would catch me on the way back down.  Oh well. I still FELT like I was going fast. And at least I looked like I might have ridden a bike once or twice before in my life. Things were looking up. This was much better than swimming.

TOO MANY HILLS: Actually, after having heard a lot about the terrible hills, I wasn’t finding the course to be unreasonably difficult. But about 10-15 minutes into the ride, my lower back started to hurt every time I would go up a hill. This mysterious back pain happened the last time I rode my bike too, but then I just blamed it on heavy deadlifts at crossfit less than an hour beforehand. This time, I had no such excuse and was kind of confused. But I couldn’t get too worried about it, since the rest of me felt great, and biking was still so much less miserable than swimming. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

The only thing that made my back feel better was to sit up absolutely straight and take my hands off the handlebars every once in a while. So much for looking like I knew what I was doing: “Why yes, this unicycle-type seat is extremely speedy despite its deceptively non-aerodynamic appearance.” I kept reminding myself that I didn’t know any of these people, so it didn’t matter. Although I strongly suspect that one of the photographers managed to snap a picture of me riding like this before I realized what she was up to.

BIKES ARE COMPLICATED: It’s a good thing I’d given up on disguising the fact that I had no idea what was going on. I may have looked a bit foolish taking my hands off the bike on the way down the hills, but I had to deal with the complicated procedure of gear changing on the way up. Now, I am aware that my bike has gears, and I even know how to use them. But I kept forgetting which way was up and which was down, so I’d get half way up a hill, try to switch to an easier gear, and get a lurch and a wobble as I accidentally made it harder.

It would make sense if this had happened about 50 percent of the time, since I was basically just guessing. But instead, I turned out to be the worse guesser in the history of incompetent bike riders, and switched it the wrong way on almost every hill. I promise, I’m not exaggerating even a little bit.

HOBBLING: I was relieved to get to the run, since it was the only element of the race that I actually train for on a regular basis, and since it was only three and a half miles, I was pretty sure I could make up some time and blow through it quickly.

If swimming before the bike made me feel like I was flying, biking before the run make me feel like I was wading through cement. To her credit, L did make me practice this bike to run transition once before, but I must have forgotten how much my ankles and shins hurt during the run (or, more likely, mistakenly attributed the pain to recent crossfitting like I had done with my back), because they hurt a lot. So I ran slowly. REALLY slowly.  Okay, maybe I was shuffling. I think there was a speed walker who may have been keeping pace with me. It took at least a mile and a half for me to get my legs back. But I didn’t mind. The race was almost over, and I was so thankful that I didn’t have to swim anymore. I would happily take running with the most excruciating shin splints over another swim any day. Have you guessed what my least favorite third of the race was yet?

TWO HOURS TWENTY NINE MINUTES: The nice thing about taking forever to finish a race is that all of your friends have finished it first. Even people I had only met a couple of times were cheering me on at the end. People are lovely. So is finishing a race.

I know I usually write about the ways in which I mess up and embarrass myself. And I do it because we all need a reminder that life is a lot of fun, even if you flub it up most of the time. So most of my race highlights might look more like low lights, but the race as a whole is wonderful and entirely worth it. Every time. 

I haven’t written a list in a while

Embarrassing things that I’ve done since the last time I wrote (this doesn’t mean I’ve had an especially embarrassing week though—I manage to do a great deal of dumb things on a fairly regular basis):

1. Signed up for a triathlon even though, when other people are swimming, I flail around vaguely in the water making a general ruckus and frightening the other swimmers. Despite L’s most diligent coaching, I simply CANNOT manage to swim and breathe at the same time; it’s basically an either/or situation right now.

I recognize that just signing up for the race is not exactly an embarrassing move. But it will probably lead to some highly embarrassing antics on Sunday. I’m nervous.

2. Found out that I should probably have a hearing aide. During a conversation with a couple of friends, one said to the other “I like your outfit.” Pretty straightforward. What did I hear? “I like your magic marker.” What the heck?!

Of course, I couldn’t just say “What?” like a normal person find out where I’d gone wrong. Instead I blurted out, “What magic marker?” to make sure that everybody in the vicinity knew just how far off base I actually was.

3.  Decided it was alright to turn the floor of my car’s passenger seat into a dumpster. (But at least it’s littered with remnants of Larabars, water bottles, and protein packets –I’m a HEALTHY slob. That makes it ok.) I offered to give someone a ride, realized that I had too much trash and other crap in the front seat and that I couldn’t move it to the back seat because my bike was back there, and had to rescind my offer and make them ride with another friend.

 4. Ate bacon for a snack at work and got greasy bacon fingerprints all over some signed paperwork that had to go into a binder and get shipping out that afternoon. We were in a time crunch and I didn’t have time to reprint it. Also, didn’t really want to ask my boss to resign the papers in case he asked what went wrong with the first set.

5. Just thought of something good for this list and forgot it before I finished typing the last paragraph.

6. Forgot to bring a sports bra with me to crossfit last Friday. Instead of calmly checking to see if the other girls had any extras, I proceeded to make a public announcement of my forgetfulness and then—when no extras were forthcoming—to bounce up and down whining, “But look how much my boobs bounce in this one!”

To their credit, nobody really looked terribly uncomfortable during this demonstration, not even the guys. Coach just rolled his eyes, and Alex assured me that everyone there had definitely seen boobs before, so I shouldn’t worry.

7. Forgot how to spell MY OWN NAME on some insurance paperwork I had to fill out this week. I had to white it out and try again. It’s not a good sign when there’s white out in the NAME section of your paperwork. On the bright side, I also forgot my address and had to white that out too, so maybe they’ll just think I can’t read and that I filled the right information into the wrong boxes. I hope.

Okay, I’ve done a lot of other embarrassing stuff, but it’s either so bad I don’t want to write about it on here (I know, it’s shocking that there’s anything I won’t write about, considering exactly how much I like to overshare) or else not embarrassing enough to have stuck in my head.

I promise there will, eventually, be some sort of race report about Sunday. As long as I don’t drown, that is. If I do, somebody should probably track down L and Doc (who treats my shoulder), and possibly Paul and Maryanne, and peer pressure them into doing something highly embarrassing in retribution.

I’m tired, so this post is all over the place

I’m not one of those people who needs something to drink when I’m eating. You know, to sort of wash down the food or something. I can blow through an entire meal, distracted by how happy I am that I have food in my mouth, without even thinking about needing a drink. But if I DO reach for my glass and realize I don’t have any water in it, I’m suddenly parched, and I must go find something to drink immediately. Even if it means leaving my half eaten lunch on my desk to get cold and tromping all the way back downstairs to the kitchen. Which is what I just did. I bet you’re just SUPER interested in all that.

I’m on my lunch break at work, but I should really still be working because I have shit that’s due tomorrow that isn’t looking like it’s going to be finished by tomorrow. But it’s not my fault I started it late. I had other shit that was due two days ago. Having too much shit to do tends to make me swear a teensy bit.

Topic change! Have you even used the same small hand towel to wipe sweat FIRST off of your arm pits and THEN off of your face? No? Why ever not?

It occurred to me, about half way through drying my face, that I might want to rearrange the order of that process. But I was partway through my mad dash from lunchtime crossfitting back to work yesterday, and I couldn’t get too fussed about it.

I realize that I write about my (lack of) personal hygiene a lot on here, but everyone in my life seems to find it extremely hilarious, so I feel like I should spread the joy. Maybe I just make everyone else feel better about the way they look and smell during most of their day. Still, everyone wins, right? Except maybe the people who have to sit near me at work.

I had to do crossfit for lunch because I had stacked up way too many chores for last night. I feel like such a grown up. Such a boring grown up. Coach asked me if I was coming back again that night (I do this two-a-day thing fairly often when I have the time) and I had to say, “No, I have to run errands.” It sounded like such a lame reason when I said it out loud. I’d much rather exercise.

My errands turned out to be really frustrating too; I could have used some crossfit after all that. Mostly it was just one errand: bridesmaid’s dress shopping. I am not a fan of this process, largely because it’s very complicated, and I feel insanely uncomfortable in a store where all the employees have perfect makeup and impeccable fashion. Nobody else had dried sweat in their hair OR those bottom-of-the-drawer extra baggy pants that you only wear when you haven’t done laundry in a year. And I bet nobody else was going commando because they forgot bring an extra pair of underwear to the gym and didn’t fancy wearing the sweaty ones all day. But you never know about that. They might have been.

Here I am back to personal hygiene again. Probably I should just stop talking now. Besides, one of my co-workers is walking around in swimming flippers, and it’s very distracting.

regionals

So. Coach is going to the CrossFit games this year. No big deal. 

I was already going to write about regionals before I knew that. About how inspiring it was to watch some truely ridiculous feats of athleticism. About how much fun it was to hang out with my crossfit buddies, sneakily drinking the sangria we weren’t supposed to have in the building and seeing how much free stuff we could collect from the vendors in a single day. But now, I’m not entirely sure what to write about. 

Gary and Alea have left me speechless. 

I wish I had been there for all three days. Unfortunately, I happened to have made pricey and non-refundable out-of-town plans for the weekend before I even knew regionals existed. So I had only one day to take it all in, and then spent the rest of the weekend completely out of the loop (no smart phone, remember), until fairly late on Sunday night.

I was in the middle of putting away groceries and folding laundry, trying to squeeze a week’s worth of chores into a couple of hours, when I remembered to turn on my computer and check the leader board. And I saw Gary’s name near the very top with a (2) next to it. And I started to cry. 

What the heck is wrong with me? I don’t ever cry about happy stuff. Actually, I mostly don’t cry much at all. When I changed the filter women’s scores, I started to cry even harder. Alea had a (4) next to her name. At least there was something marginally upsetting about this one; I couldn’t tell if I was crying because she had done so extraordinarily well or because she hadn’t quite done well enough.

They’re celebrities. Or they should be. I feel like I need to ask them for an autograph or something. But that would be weird, because they’re still just my friends.

I confessed to Alea last night that watching her compete made me wish I could go one day, which, is, of course, about as likely as, uh, something that’s really unlikely to happen (sorry folks, the simile suggestion portion of my brain is apparently off work tonight). But because she’s Alea, she assured me that I totally could.

I love my CrossFit family.

my accomplishment of the weekend: not drowning

It’s funny, the more things I have in my life to write about, the less time I actually have for writing. Summer just isn’t meant to be spent in front of the computer. It’s meant to be spent sweating, and getting a suntan, and training for a marathon, and trying not to drown while L teaches me how to swim.

Yup. That’s my current project: somehow, figure out how to swim well enough to do 0.62 miles without drowning. And I must do this with the next three weeks. I DO know how to swim, but at this moment, I have to admit that 0.62 may as well be 20. I feel like I will never make it.

I’m very easy to talk into things. And the more I love the person doing the persuading, the less persuasion is necessary. Ask me about the first time I signed up for a half marathon. The longest race I’d ever run at that point was a 5k. Okay, I’ll just tell you. I was running with my PA running buddy, and the conversation basically went like this.

M: Some friends and I are running a half in Philadelphia this fall, if you want to come.

Me: Okay!

M: Really? Great. Um, do you want to know when it is and what it’s called and stuff?

Me: Oh, right. Yeah. That would probably be good.

I should have realized that being best buddies with a triathlete would inevitably lead to the situation I now find myself in. Within one day of suggesting that I sign up for a sprint tri at the end of June, L began introducing me to all her triathlete friends as, “This is my friend Anna from CrossFit. She’s going to do the Celebating Heroes tri with us in June!”

The idea of this race has grown on me so much that I’m now absolutely determined that I must do it. But I haven’t signed up yet. Because I am an abysmal swimmer. L and I and a gang of our crossfit friends decided to have a trip to the lake for some open water swim practice yesterday. Mostly, we just wanted to hang out and get our tans on, but the trip quickly turned into a swim test for me.

Swimming is really hard, y’all.

At least it’s tough for someone who’s entirely uncoordinated and has a bum shoulder. Yesterday’s trip was supposed to make me confident enough to jump in and pay my $130 entry fee. All it really did was make me confident that I need more practice. I STILL haven’t signed up. Gah! What do I do, what do I do? Can I make it 0.62 miles without drowning?