Monthly Archives: August 2009

Serving my Civic Duty

I promised I’d stop blathering on about Iron Girl and so I’m going to write about something I’ve been meaning to write about for the last 2 weeks… my worst nightare, jury duty.  Wow – that was quite a run-on sentence, huh?

I live in Baltimore City.  While they city claims that they don’t just pull people for jury duty based on voter registration – I call shenanigans on that because the week I changed my voter registration was when I received my jury duty notice.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I’m not sure why I dreaded jury duty so much.  I love courtroom drama shows.  Jeremy is going to school to be a lawyer and as much as I don’t enjoy hearing about 80% of his schoolwork, every so often a case intrigues me.

Plus – I have an opinion on everything.  I love judging people.  Its what I do best.  Clearly – jury duty was something that was right up my alley.

But still – I dreaded it.  It just seemed like such a hassle.

Anywho – I ended up going 2 weeks ago and loved it.  While I’ll agree that the majority of time is spent sitting around in a waiting room – if you actually get called into a case for jury selection… its really quite fascinating.  And talk about some great people watching! 

I’ll try to keep this brief.  I spent the morning reading David Sedaris’ “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” (I recommend it) and half watching “Meet the Parents”.  I later learned that they play “Meet the Parents” everyday and felt very very sorry for the employees of the courthouse.  Its a funny movie and all… but every day?  Ugh.

Anywho – to make this a quick read, I’ll just list the highlights of my jury duty experience.  And no, sadly I was not selected for the jury. 

1.  They pay you $15!  In cash!  And okay – that basically covers the cost of lunch.  But I got to eat lunch with Jeremy since he works so close to the courthouse and we ate a Suzy Soba and that place is like crack cocaine if I knew what that stuff was really like but I imagine that its addicting because its usually the reason people end up on intervention.  Anyways…

2.  I got to finish my book.

3.  I got a paid day off of work.

4.  The people watching is top notch in a courthouse.  Its amazing to see what some people deem appropriate courtroom attire.  I saw people in t-shirts, cutoffs and flip-flops to stripper-wear to a man wearing ALL WHITE (no joke… he must have thought he was Diddy). 

5.  Watching people do everything in their power to avoid being selected for a jury is entertaining too.  One woman kept rambling on and on about her cataracts despite the judge instructing everyone to hold their explanations until called to his… judge’s table?  I don’t know what that’s called.

6.  The judge asks the potential jurors a series of questions that you are supposed to stand for if your answer is yes.  When the questions are done, he’ll call you up individually so you can explain your story.  I stood up for, “Have you ever been the victim of a crime?”

Well yes – yes, I have.  I was held up at gunpoint about 6 years ago in Baltimore.  No biggie.  But the judge – I almost heard his heartbreak.  His apology was so sincere that I actually responded, “Its okay.  I’m okay.”

7.  Did I mention Diddy was there?

When all was said and done, the jury was filled before they even reached my number.  I was bummed.  The judge kept referring to the case as a “fascinating” and “interesting” case.  I really wanted to be a part of that!  But alas – the prosecutor and defending attorney had used all their “strikes” (something I was familiar with from Runaway Jury!  haha – I love movies and tv) before they got to me.

So there you have it.  This isn’t my best post but I said I’d blog about something other than Iron Girl and I’ve been meaning to write about jury duty for quite some time. 

Poop!  (sorry – had to throw that in there)

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Lessons Learned From My First Triathlon

Last post about Iron Girl… I promise!

This is just a list of my lessons learned from my first triathlon. 

1.  Triathlons are fucking hard.

2.  Just because you are a “runner” and can run 10 miles does NOT mean that you can handle the endurance of a triathlon.

3.  You should actually train for a triathlon outside of just running.

4.  Your training should consist of more than a handful of swims and bike rides.

5.  Attend a dress rehearsal if the event offers one.  I missed the dress rehearsal because I was on vacation but I think it would have been helpful to anticipate how awful I’d feel in the swim surrounded by people.

6.  Find a training buddy!  While I managed to convince a girlfriend to register, she did not end up competing.  I spoke with a woman at work that trained with a team and she loved it.  I think it is probably helpful to have people to keep you motivated.  I probably wouldn’t have quit swimming if I had people I was training with.

7.  Triathlons are really fucking hard.

8.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  I saw women of all shapes and sizes at the Iron Girl.  Just because a girl doesn’t look “fit” doesn’t mean she won’t kick your ass in the triathlon.  I got creamed by many girls I would have assumed I could beat.

9.  Offer encouragement along your race.  I was blown away by the overwhelming support and encouragement from other competitors during the course of the race.  It was infectious.  I found myself offering encouragement to everyone too.  It fills you with a warm, tingly sensation of being a good person.  I don’t get that feeling often.

10.  Thank your friends and family for their support if they come.  Seriously – shower them with hugs and kisses because their cheers will boost your energy like you wouldn’t believe… that and you don’t want to look like a complete ass in front of them.

11.  I was going to try to keep this to 10 but I remembered an 11th lesson.  If you’re a woman interested in competing in a triathlon, I highly recommend an all-women’s triathlon for your first one.  To reiterate #9, the support amongst the women was amazing.  I’ve never seen that sort of encouragement in co-ed running races. 

A woman in my department participated in Iron Girl and she shared a great story with me.  She trained with a team and during her swim wave (she was a 50+ age group), her friend started to panic and had difficulty carrying on.  This woman swam with her friend the entire leg of the race… completely unconcerned of her time.  She wanted to make sure that her friend made it through.  She stayed on her friend’s breathing side so that everytime she looked up, she’d see her.  She shooed away other swimmers when the other waves were released so that they wouldn’t swim into her friend.

I thought that her story was an incredible example of selfless love and support.

I on the other hand would have ditched my friend because hello?  I’m competing! 

I’m also an asshole.

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How I Measured Up

This week might be dedicated to the Iron Girl.  Sorry if that bores you but you can always just click that little “x” in the right hand corner if you’re not into it and check back with me on Monday where I’ll talk about farting, pooping and hating people.

Aaanywho…

Just to put things into perspective in terms of my performance at Iron Girl, I thought I’d compare my split times with the best and slowest times, as well as do a comparison against age.  Fun stuff!

Overall Finish

My Time: 2:41:14 (Age 29)
Best Time: 1:29:13 (Age 44)
Slowest Time: 4:37:20 (Age 57)

Swim Time

My Time: 36:16
Best Time: 14:11 (Age 44)
Slowest Time: 86:14 (Age 37)

Swim to Bike Transition Time

My Time: 5:20 – WTF?
Best Time: 1:21 (Age 43)
Slowest Time: 32:51 (Age 47) – okay, I have to wonder if something went wrong here.  The next slowest time is 15:39.  I’m thinking something happened to this woman between events…

Bike Time

My Time: 1:21:07
Best Time: 44:50 (Age 44)
Slowest Time: 2:34:12 (Age 57)

Bike to Run Transition Time

My Time: 2:50 – I chugged a bottle of Gatorade.
Best Time: 0:33 (Age 40) – WTF?!  This woman was FLYING.
Slowest Time: 61:15 (Age 44) – this time also has to be wrong.  The next slowest time is 10:02 so, again, something must have happened to this woman at this point.  Or maybe she had to use the restroom?

Run Time

My Time: 35:44
Best Time: 21:44 (Age 28)
Slowest Time: 1:14:18 (Age 33)

Oldest Iron Girl’s (Age 79) Times
Swim: 25:05
Transition: 2:57
Bike: 1:20:28
Transition: 2:31
Run: 47:14
Overall: 2:38:13

Beat me by: 3:01
(In all fairness – this woman does triathlons all the time.  I HOPE to be just half as active as she is at her age.  Holy crap.)

Youngest Iron Girl’s (Age 12) Times
Swim: 17:34
Transition: 1:49
Bike: 1:04:09
Transition: 1:00
Run: 28:24
Overall: 1:52:54

Beat me by: 48:20
(When I was 12, I couldn’t even run 1 mile.  Ouch.)

Fastest Iron Girl in my Age Division’s Times (Age 25)
Swim: 20:59
Transition: 2:46
Bike: 55:36
Transition: 1:38
Run: 26:30
Overall: 1:47:27

Beat me by: 53:47

Slowest Iron Girl in my Age Division’s Times (Age 29)
Swim: 28:36
Transition: 5:11
Bike: 1:59:49
Transition: 2:36
Run: 53:04
Overall: 3:29:14

I beat her by: 48:00

I placed 138th in my Division out of 179 (ouch!)
I placed 1340th overall out of 1723

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My Iron Girl Experience

What can I say about my experience?  I’ll try to keep this relatively brief.  I went into the triathlon completely naive to what it really takes to complete a swim, bike and run.  I really thought that my running would carry me through the event. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The morning of the race, we woke up at 4am.  All of the meetings stressed the importance of getting there as soon as possible (gates opened at 5am).  I packed my stuff the night before based on suggestions from the meetings (extra water bottles to rinse my feet, lots of towels, energy foods, etc).

I didn’t eat much the morning of – I had a banana and a bagel with peanut butter.  I drank lots of water.  I went to the bathroom 100 times.

When I got to my bike (I had racked it the night before), I realized that the tires were low.  I didn’t know how to pump them (the bike wasn’t mine).  I start to panic a little.  Some ladies around me agree that my bike needs air badly and point me in the direction of the bike assistance folks.  THANK GOD.  They pump my tires and I got there before the line became insane.

I am body marked.  Butterflies are fluttering in my stomach.  Either that or my intestines were freaking out.

Time FLIES by in the morning.  Before I know it, the Pro/Elite swim wave begins (and it has been delayed 25 minutes). 

This picture doesn’t do them justice.  These women were ripped.  Insane. 

My in-laws came shortly thereafter and we watched as the first pro/elite triathlete finishes her swim.  It hadn’t even been 15 minutes.

At this time, I also realize that my trisuit happens to be really popular.  I see it EVERYWHERE. 

I keep staring at women’s calves to see who is in my age group.  I am often intimidated, sometimes relieved but always nervous.

By the time I line up for my swim, I want to puke. 

The swim was an in water start.  I was in the middle of the pack and knew that as a courtesy I should stay towards the back of the swimmers since I’m not a strong swimmer.  I didn’t realize that I’d be treading water for 3 f’n minutes. 

My concerns about the swim were getting worse.  The turnaround point looked like it was a million miles away.  Then the countdown began.  5… 4… 3… 2… 1… GO!

I take a few strokes…

and then I freak the fuck out. 

I was paralyzed with this fear of drowning.  I could hardly move.  The idea of putting my head under water makes me feel like I’m drowning.

But could I quit now?  I just started!

So I ended up side stroking and back stroking about 90% of the entire swim.  Ridiculous.  I try the breast stroke a few times only to realize that putting my head under water AT ALL causes immense fear and anxiety.

I am nearly the last person in my wave to exit.  It took me 36:16 to complete the swim.  Other women I knew that competed beat me by at least 10 minutes or more.  WTF.

I was so relieved to finish.  But I was NOT prepared for how awful my body would feel going from the water to my bike.

There were a TON of great supporters along the way that got me going.  Hearing my family cheer me on (I couldn’t believe I could hear them!) really pushed me to go go go!

Trying to rinse my feet off from grass and dirt, then dry them enough to put socks on was no easy task.  Neither was trying to FIND the damn bike.  I had gone to great lengths to memorize where my bike was but was so out of it by the time the swim ended that I wandered around for a minute… and was apparently always near the bike.  My transition time was 5:20.  Reeee-diculous.

And I’m off!

I was slightly relieved to be sitting but was a bit discouraged to see a ton of women ENTERING the park after completing their ride.  I was so far behind.

And now enter the part where I begin to loathe Columbia, Maryland.  Who knew there were so many STEEP hills?  I definitely made up for some lost time during the ride and managed to pass quite a few people. 

All along the way, I was amazed at the fantastic support from spectators and other racers.  Everyone had words of encouragement.  It really helped.

But by the end of the ride, I could feel every rock and bump in the road in my butt.  I’m almost crying in pain.

But despite my pain, I managed to muster a dorky smile for my family.  Seriously – their cheers really lifted my spirits and gave me the boost I needed.  Plus it made me realize that they were watching me.  I couldn’t quit or admit pain at this point.

I finished the bike in 1:21:07.  Not too shabby.

My transition from the bike to run is 2:50.  Seriously – what the hell was I doing?  Other women finished their transitions in under 2 minutes.  Was I having a picnic?  Geez…

Then the run. 

I was NOT prepared for how my legs would feel.  I felt like gumby.  My brain was telling my legs to move but my legs were thinking, “go fuck yourself”.  I am crying inside as I take each step…

But then I see Jeremy.  He was like a ninja with the camera.  Him calling my name picked up my spirits and the fact that he was photographing this part made me not want to look like a complete douche and keep running.

This is when I see Smack!  Crap – more people are watching me.  I have to keep moving!

Factor was also cheering me on.  His sister and cousin were also competing and were incidentally in my swim wave!  I’m sure they beat the crap out of me though.  Did I mention that I almost DIED in the swim?

Hi, Guys!

So, even though I ran 10 miles the week of… and I had been running 3-5 miles at least 3 times a week for the last month… didn’t mean that I’d be able to run after a long bike ride.

Also at this point, families are walking along the path leaving the park.  I’m not surrounded by other runners (and that is what usually gets me going in races).  The competitors near me are all walking.  I jog about 1/2 mile and realize that I just.can’t.do.it.  I start to walk.  I pick it up to a power walk.  I decide to walk up every hill and run the rest.

I finished the run in 35:44.  Not great but not terrible.

Towards the end of the run, the path was surrounded by spectators and Iron Girls.  They were so encouraging.  Every race bib had the racer’s name printed largely enough for others to read so each cheer was personalized.  “Kim – you’re almost there!”  “Kim – you’ve got this… you can do it!” 

As dorky as this sounds – it was awesome.  It was motivating.  It was fabulous.

And I’m so glad that its over.

My overall finish time was 2:41:14.  I really wanted to finish in 2:30.  Maybe next year?  Who knows. 

But I’m glad I didn’t quit.

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Preparing for Iron Girl

I wish I had a clever post title but I don’t.  This post is precisely about what I did to prepare for my first triathlon that also happened to be the all women’s sprint triathlon, Iron Girl.  I’m trying to think of the best way to make this easily readable because I really feel like I could dedicate a month of posts to my Iron Girl experience.  Let’s start at the beginning.

October 2008 – my office posts a story online about several women in the company that did the Iron Girl.  I think, “Hey – I could do that!”  I convince myself that a 0.62 mile swim, 17.5 mile bike and a 3.4 mile run won’t be that bad.  I also convince a friend to sign up with me.

November 2008 – registered.  I didn’t think I’d need to start training seriously until the summer.

February 2009 – decide that I should build up some strength and take a stab at p90x.  I thought I’d end up super strong and in Michael Phelps/Lance Armstrong shape.

May 2009 – Hurt my back.  Don’t finish p90x (in the final week!)

June 2009 – Realize that I haven’t done shit to prepare for the triathlon.  My amazing triathlon/marathon friend tells me about a club that does twice weekly workouts at a pool.  I go to my first one and hate/love it.  Realize I am an awful swimmer and that I need more work.  Convince myself that I will stick with these twice weekly workouts until the triathlon.

July 2009 – Miss my first swim workout and then stop going altogether.  Go to 1 tri-club practice workout in open water.  Have a panic attack in the water and have to stop.  Spend the next 2 weeks avoiding water.  Go swim in a pool for a pitiful workout (apparently I can’t motivate myself to swim for a long time).

August 2009 – Holy shit, Iron Girl is this month.  Where the fuck did the time go?  I haven’t done anything!  Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit fart turd yarg narf.  Crap.  My awesome triathlon/marathon friend convinces me to do a mini triathlon workout with her in open water.  We take it 100 yards at a time.  I am able to swim 1000 yards with a lot of coaching from my friend.  Bike 8.5 miles.  My ass hurts.  Want to run 2 miles, can only do 1.

Holy crap – I am unprepared.  Go on one more bike ride the day before to the farmer’s market.  This doesn’t really count as practice.

To sum up how I trained for the triathlon:

I swam 4 times in a pool (3 of which were triathlon workouts) and twice in open water (with one ending quickly because I freaked out). 

I biked twice and only once was a semi-serious ride. 

I did, however, keep up with running.

That brings us to the week of the triathlon.  I start to panic.  I didn’t prepare.  I stress out so much that I make myself sick.  Crap!  I’m sick.  I have to run 10 miles for my marathon training.  Push myself to cover 10 miles 2 days before the triathlon (wtf was I thinking?!)

I attend a few meetings about the triathlon.  I realize that I am SO unprepared but check out the other ladies and think, “well they don’t look like serious triathletes… I can do this.”

I learn that the oldest Iron Girl registered is a 79 year old woman (that does it every year).  The youngest competitor is 12. 

I learn that the best way to pee while competing is during the long bike ride.  Just pedal and pee.  Or stand up while riding and pee.  Apparently most people know this, do this and then don’t really talk about it.  I’m advised not to wear white socks.

… the next post is about my actual Iron Girl experience.

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Fun at the Park

So I know I said I’d blog about jury duty and a bachelorette party… and perhaps I should even write about the Iron Girl triathlon coming up on Sunday and all that I’ve done to NOT prepare for it.  But you know what?  Its Friday.  I’m working from home.  And I just want to post pictures.

Last Saturday, as part of my 101 in 1001 and just to do something different, Jeremy and I (and the dogs) went to North Point State Park in Sparrows Point, Maryland.  I’m always amazed by all of the parks Maryland has to offer and how many of them happen to have water access.  Who knew?

This park was nice and had a little beach area that we were not allowed to check out because we had the dogs with us but we did walk through some interesting paths filled with fields of corn, abandoned buildings (covered in graffiti) and weird marshes.  It was also REALLY hot so I’m pretty sure the dogs did not enjoy the park as much as we did and spent most of the time looking at us like, “I f’ing hate you both” despite all the water and treats we gave them along the way.  Anywho – enough chatter.  Here are some pics from the park:

Jeremy and the dogs

Jeremy and the dogs

This is one of the very few times Ive managed to capture a cool glare

This is one of the very few times I've managed to capture a cool glare

Me with the dogs.  And okay, I posted this because my legs look lean.

Me with the dogs. And okay, I posted this because my legs look lean.

Creepy abandoned building.

Creepy abandoned building.

Some graffiti in the building.  There was a ton.  My favorite was of a cartoon cat missing an eye.  Too bad Jeremy didnt take a picture of it.  I have no idea what this crap graffiti even says.

Some graffiti in the building. There was a ton. My favorite was of a cartoon cat missing an eye. Too bad Jeremy didn't take a picture of it. I have no idea what this crap graffiti even says.

A beach!

A beach!

A field of corn!

A field of corn!

A family portrait.

A family portrait.

Butterfly in the sky...

Butterfly in the sky...

... I can fly twice as high!

... I can fly twice as high!

Petie rolling around in the grass to cool off.  He did this a lot... and did it once in some super stinky grass/mud.  Fun!

Petie rolling around in the grass to cool off. He did this a lot... and did it once in some super stinky grass/mud. Fun!

Look at those eyes.  Emily is saying, Please end this death march.  And we did.

Look at those eyes. Emily is saying, "Please end this death march." And we did.

A good indicator of when the dogs are exhausted is when their tongues hang out of the side of their mouths.  So cute although it indicates that weve kind of tortured them.

A good indicator of when the dogs are exhausted is when their tongues hang out of the side of their mouths. So cute although it indicates that we've kind of tortured them.

Aaanywho… this might be multiple post day.  Who knows! 

But if you happen to live in the Baltimore Metro area, you should check this park out.  There is a $3 charge per car but it is a big park with a lot of different paths to hike, a beach and corn if you’re hungry.

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Still Here

On top of wanting to write about my jury duty experience (much more pleasant than I anticipated), I have a bachelorette party to discuss that included running into one of my managers and awkwardly hugging her… and I can’t for the life of me remember what we chatted about.  Yikes!

I think the fact that Iron Girl is THIS Sunday, I’m starting to stress out.  My lower back is starting to ache, I’m freeeeeezing today (despite the fact that I was hot in our house yesterday and the thermostat is the same), I just feel achy all over.  I think my brain is freaking out and causing my body to shut down.  So – my brain is also shutting down from things like stringing together coherent and entertaining blog posts.  Apologies for that.

I also think my Nano is freaking out because I cannot get iTunes to sync with it.  I swear that I will have my revenge on Apple someday. 

Annnywho – I’ll leave you with this picture from the bachelorette party and let you figure out how the evening may have panned out for me:

wow

I keeps it classy.  I’m also getting too old for this shit.

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