Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to even start saying what I want to say... lots of thoughts going through my head right now... so many that I have a hard time gathering them into anything coherent for this post! But I guess I'll just start from the beginning. I did a 20K TT on the bike yesterday. It was very hard. As all TT's are. I did fine- rode faster than I have all year, found out what my current max HR is on the bike, avg something like 23mph for 12 hilly miles and placed 3rdOA. I should probably have felt pretty satisfied with that. 

But I didn't. Hmmm.

I haven't talked to coach about it yet- though I know he'll just tell me to get over it and that I did just fine- and he will be right... and really, I'm over it now... mostly... but it's an interesting feeling to do well yet not be satisfied and I think it's probably something blogworthy to explore, don't you?

And now I'm stuck again, because as I try to write that what I did yesterday wasn't good enough, I find it silly to feel that way. But is it wrong to just want to be faster? I mean, we all want to be faster, right? And is it ever the case that we would have a super race and think, That's it! I am as fast as I ever want to be!? Or do we finish all races, even if we did our best ever and yet still think I want to be faster.

Maybe its insatiable. 

The feeling silly part comes when I think about the type of training that I have done this year, and my actual goals for 2011, and that it is FEBRUARY... If I take a step back and look at the Big Picture I see that I am doing very well- right on track- and should be happy. And when I look at it that way, I am. But yesterday was a race. A short little local race that means absolutely nothing, but a race nonetheless. And I got beat. Handily. But when the warm up you do for a race is the hardest riding you've done all year, is it reasonable to expect to be able to go out and win? To beat people who actually train fast several times a week? Um, not likely. So why does it feel shitty? Silly, no? I think we can agree on that.

So how do we fix it? Is it fixable? What do you do? Shy away from races if you're not going to be 100% satisfied with the results? That would probably mean never racing if it's actually insatiable and we're never truly satisfied. Or do we lower our standards and stop worrying about how fast we are? Is that even possible? Not sure it is for me? It's likely a matter of changing perspective and something that clearly I need to continue to work on because I have not mastered that.

This is where my athletes come in handy. In an email exchange with one of them yesterday, I was asked what I would tell one of my athletes if it was him/her who had done that TT yesterday and performed that way. Yep. Duh. I would have said, "Smokin'! Awesome job!" So why can't I tell myself that? This is why even coaches need coaches- to keep things in perspective in a way that is hard to do when it's you. It's so much harder for me to be objective and rational when I think about myself and my training and my racing-  yet so easy when I'm talking to one of my athletes. Of course.

Then this morning I got emails from two other athletes I coach who also raced yesterday. This is what I read:

Great job this weekend, I’m proud to call you my Coach. And,

Thank you so much for guiding me and celebrating in my successes and helping me through the hard times. Seriously you are such an excellent guide and inspiration. I really really like working with you and knowing you are out there kicking ass and loving the sport too.

Reading that washes it all away. All better. Mostly.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Moana Chronicles, February 2011: My Opinionated Sporty Princess

It's so fun to watch Moana grow up. She's almost 2 1/2 now and she's not just a princess anymore. She's an opinionated sporty princess.

My mom sent Moana some new running shoes... the princess ones of course that light up when she runs or jumps. She thinks that is insanely cool so she insists on wearing them quite often and she's got the velcro straps mastered now so she can do it herself. (That's also one of the important things for a 2.5 yo. "I do it myself!" Ok then. That is fine with me.) Anyway, Scott started telling her that her shoes were on fire every time she would run. It was funny. But not as funny as the scene in the Honolulu Airport where Moana was running after us and yelling, "My shoes are on fire! My shoes are on fire!"

Of course it makes me quite happy that she loves swimming too. And it doesn't matter ocean or pool- she's a fan of whichever is available. Today I got home from my brick and right away she was insisting on going swimming. And it wasn't a request like "I want to go swimming"... No, it was a demand... "I NEED to go swimming!!" she wailed. Of course I understand that feeling quite well so we took her over to the pool here at our condo complex and she got her swim on.

Last weekend we took her to a different Big Island beach every day. It didn't take her long to figure out that once her bathing suit was on she was free to get on the water... so as we were walking toward the beach, as soon as she could see it or smell it, she was digging in the beach bag looking for her suit (while I was carrying it)... then she found Scott's surf shorts and grabbed them and shoved them at Scott instructing him to put 'em on, daddy. Put 'em on! In good news, she stands still patiently waiting  for her sunscreen application.

Last weekend in Kona we stopped in Bike Works because I needed some new bolts for my bike. (That bike has been so used and abused and the ocean air and rain I ride in all the time does not help. When I disassembled my bike to pack it I was acutely aware of the completely rusted out and almost stripped condition of most of those bolts. It was scary.) Anyway, while in there Moana was instantly drawn to the products that were most appropriate for her... the small purple helmet with the flames on it and the matching little purple push bike were items she just had to have... funny that she found them in that big store too b/c there were so many bike related items to look at and the ones she wanted were not at eye level. But she spied them anyway and pointed and insisted I want THAT one! We had some extra time so much to the amusement of the staff in the store I'm sure, we let her ride a bit. She was stoked.
I knew that getting her out of that store was going to be an issue... She was ignoring our warnings that it was almost time to go (NO! I don't want to go now!)... I told Scott we needed to do it quickly, like just rip the band-aid off, so as I carried her out the door she was wailing "I NEED TO RIDE MY BIKE!!" I just smiled and said, "I know the feeling, sweetie."

So with all that it sounds like Moana might grow up to be a little triathlete. Then again, maybe not. Maybe she'll be a surfer?
Or maybe a gymnast?
Whichever sport(s) she chooses, she'll let us know her opinion I'm sure.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Notes From My Birthday On da Big Island

I love the big Island. And our trip there this weekend may have been the best ever. Kona is such a nice sleepy little town when it's not October. I am paralyzed trying to  write about it so I think my only hope is to do it bullet point style with pictures... so here goes...

~Nalani is awesome. But you knew that.

~Moonlit water is a real thing. And it is even more beautiful when the moon is full on your birthday and you see it lighting up the ocean in Kona as your plane lands.

~I set a new record assembling my bike. Got it together in 11:34. The record lasted about 8 hours as Nalani broke it when she was packing her bike that afternoon. I think she packed her bike in less than 10 minutes. Impressive.

~We got in the water to swim just a minute or two ahead of the Trek/K-Swiss squad. That's about the same amount of time we managed to hang in their draft when they passed us a few minutes later. Humbling.

~Dolphins! Dolphins! Look Nalani! There's dolphins! I might have completely freaked her out when I grabbed her arm to point them out. Our swim was temporarily interrupted while we played around in the water with the dolphins. How glad am I that I brought my underwater camera? Happy Birthday to me. :)

~I am in my natural habitat riding my P3 on the Queen K. I can't remember a bike ride where I felt happier. Climbing to Hawi...

~I can run the same pace at the same HR regardless of if I roll out of bed and go or bike 109 miles first. While this might not bode well for an open marathon, it might serve me well in an Ironman.

~Beach park showers are just fine. Cold, but just fine. I will say though, it sucks when they lock the bathroom doors at 5:00 and you have to deck change right there on the pier. But whatever. Look at my underwear. I don't care.

~Beer never tasted so good. And Kona Brewing Co really is my favorite. They brewed a special firkin on Friday- one night only "red ale conditioned with cinnamon". I enjoyed it very much.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mama's Going To Mecca...

Tomorrow is my birthday! And we are going to Mecca Kona!

Scott actually suggested the idea of spending the 3-day weekend in Kona a few weeks back. Of course I was all over that. I just love being in Kona, and Moana would have a blast (she might only be two but she's been there 3x already)...

If you're a triathlete you know what I was thinking... how can I possibly go to Kona and not take my bike?? Wouldn't that be like committing some kind of cardinal triathlete sin? But then of course at the same time I was trying to figure out how to justify being on a family vacation in Kona but spending all day away from my family on my bike. That wasn't really going to fly either. Hmmm.

Alas, I am a resourceful triathlete and love solving problems like figuring out how to fit in training without sacrificing too much family time. My solution? Duh. Friday is my birthday. How about I fly to Kona early, spend my birthday doing what I love, then Scott and Moana can fly in Friday evening and family vacation time can start? I am a genius sometimes, no?

And while I would be perfectly happy spending all day training in Kona alone, it did seem like something that would be fun to share with someone else... someone who would also enjoy the heck out of the day with me... Hmmm. Who might also just love that?  I sent a quick text to Nalani and planted a little seed about possibly coming with me. Less than 3 hours later her plane ticket was reserved. Have I mentioned how much I love that girl?

So then I put a note in my TP calendar for Tim. It read: "It's my birthday. And I'm going to be in Kona. And I'm going to have all day to train. Plan something good." I think I've mentioned that Tim does not shy away from volume so it will indeed be a long training day. This should be fun. But the best part? His post workout recovery instructions said: after ~30 minutes try to get ~50-60g of carbohydrate in liquid form. Nalani, being such a stickler for always following directions, did a bit of research and found out that Kona Brewing Company's Fire Rock Pale Ale has ~20g carb/pint. So don't worry, coach. We'll be sure to get about 3 of those down as soon as we're done.

So how much fun is that going to be? On my birthday, I get to fly to Kona, swim at the pier, bike the Ironman course, run along Ali'i Dr, drink a beer (or three?) at Kona Brewing Co, drop Nalani off at the airport to fly home, pick my husband and daughter up at the same airport, then recover from my awesome day by playing in Kona for the weekend. Happy Birthday to me. Indeed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bullets In My Ears

Remember a few weeks ago when I went to that Pro Bowl Party... alone... well, it wasn't all that bad. See, one good thing about putting yourself out there is meeting new people who rep different products... and then having the opportunity to get your hands on those products...

Yep. That cool rep I met from Munitio mailed me a pair of titanium coated 18K 9mm gold bullets. For my ears. "The baddest earphones on the planet." That's what she said.
Check those things out. Pretty awesome, huh? They come in silver and black too, but gold matches my necklace so she sent me the gold ones. It is very important to match, you know.

I told her that I use headphones all the time... like everyday... when I'm out training... since so much of my training these days is dictated by my heart rate it can be tough to find training partners willing to go your speed for the duration of a workout. So I love to train with my iPod (Sorry- If you don't I don't want to hear it... :) I make myself good playlists and place songs strategically on them so the fast ones come on at the right times during my workout. What can I say? It's my thing.

But I'll tell you, I never bothered with earphones other than the ones that came with my ipod. Yeah, so they crackle sometimes. Whatever, right? And then the left one stops playing sound altogether so you feel all lopsided and dizzy. Which didn't really matter b/c they rarely stayed in my ears anyway. But I'm easy going. That stuff never really bothered me. It didn't used to, anyway. Before I knew better.

See, now that I have tried these I'm like, all spoiled with the good sound. These things play the bass. Clearly. The sound penetrates your body, without making your eardrums ring, and makes you want to moooove. In a word, awesome.

You know, before I started working for a great coffee company, I couldn't say that I really knew the difference between good coffee and cheap coffee. I mean, add some cream and sugar and it's all the same, right? Um, no. It's not. Now I drink good coffee. And I drink it black. Because good coffee you can drink black. Because it tastes, well, good. Without adding any crap to it. See? I'm a converted coffee snob. And now, it seems, I'm a converted earphone snob too. What is becoming of me??

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finally... Back To Work!

Last night I checked Training Peaks to see what was on the schedule for today... The title of this morning's swim said, "Rest week is done... swim with something to bite on."

Coach is getting to know me better and better every week. I read the workout, thought holy shit I'm pretty sure I can't do that and then got the biggest genuine grin on my face. Ok then. Let's get back to work!

After 2600M this morning, 2100 of which was at or very near t-pace, when we still had 900M at better than t-pace to go, and I was pretty sure that someone had dumped a couple boxes of cornstarch in the pool, I could no longer feel my feet and I thought I don't need a stick to chew on, I need a bucket to puke in.

It was awesome.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Goofy Files

Well, I am not feeling any better physically, but I am feeling better mentally/emotionally. Mostly b/c I have these awesome athletes here who Several of us went to run a 10K this morning. Nalani had a super day, winning her age group with a 1+ min PR, and Karen, who is training for Boston, was not far behind her in 2nd. When I saw them both on a little out and back toward the end (they were ahead of me) I pointed and smiled (that was all I could muster at the time) and felt like a very proud Mama. But better than the fact that they are good athletes is the fact that they are just super awesome fun people!

Anyway, I feel no need to share the story of my lack luster race and I am not dwelling on it b/c I've just been 'off' for the last few days so I just need to let it go and wait to feel better... No, the good part came during the photo shoot post race. Nalani was behind the camera and giving instructions to Karen and me to pretend to be different animals. The only one I could really do without just totally cracking up was the fish. Don't you think I look like a fish? Maybe not quite as good as Karen though. That would be the theme for the remainder of the photo shoot...

I don't know what we were supposed to be here?

 Laughing too hard to even try... Is she a prairie dog?

What are you doing on the ground?

One leg? I think she was pretending to be a flamingo.

You'd think maybe this one was a lion or a tiger or something but why so serious, Mama?

No wonder Karen is a better surfer than me. Clearly I do not have the correct form.

Tah Dah! Was that the best race report ever or what?

Friday, February 11, 2011


Question: What do you get when you combine an addicted long course triathlete with a low volume rest week and then add a bit of PMS?
Answer: A husband who can't get out the door quick enough to go to work.

It's amazing, really, the effect that all this has had on my mindset. I've been in a complete funk for several days now. Contrasted with the flying high feeling of nailing a long weekend of solid Ironman training I had just 5 days ago.

I'm guessing the PMS hormones are not helping. Since I've started seriously training by heart rate I've noticed that indeed, once a month my HR goes nutso and I just feel like a horrible heavy blob. I was supposed to do a run test this morning... got up to do it and knew I felt like crap, but hoped irrationally that once I got going I'd be ok. (Irrational is something I do really well when I'm PMSing.) So I started jogging down the hill from my house and glanced down at my HR to see it at 146, which is 10+ beats higher than it would normally be at this point. I did make a rational decision at this point (2 minutes into my run) to scrap the test today. I went through this last month- coach has an amazing ability to pinpoint when my worst day of the month is going to be and plan a run test that day. Last month I went through with the test anyway and then felt shitty about it for the rest of the day b/c I *knew* it was not representative of what my training had been... repeated the test 3 days later and got the results I should have had- a difference of ~35 sec/mile at the same HR between the 3 days. That is significant.

Anyway, this morning I jogged over to the track anyway b/c I had a couple of pace 200's on the schedule so I figured at least I would do those. But then of course my dirt track was like a mud pit from all the rain we got last night and those 200's were like running through quicksand. Then I found myself incredibly pissed off at the little rock that found its way into my shoe... and even Miley Cyrus couldn't get me to put my hands up they're playin' my song.... couldn't nod my head like yeah, movin' my hips like yeah... You know if you can't smile at that song that something is seriously wrong.


In a bit of good news, when it started raining on me while I was walk/jogging home, I looked up and saw a rainbow, and made a mental note that this too shall pass, and at some point in the near future I'm going to be back to feeling like me again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resting and Testing

You know how they say, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person?" Yeah. Well, that totally applies in my case. Seems I need 100,000 things to do in a day, and if I have them, I make a list and check check check all day long until I get it all done. Mama might be tired, but I'm efficient and I get 'er done.

Then comes a rest week when I have like 10 extra hours on my hands... but it seems like WAY more than that and I suppose it is when you factor in time spent getting ready to train and time spent recovering from training... blah blah blah... my point is, I can be the Queen At Wasting Time sometimes. Interestingly, I don't think I even posted anything on FB today? Rest assured though, if you did, I read it.

I guess I did get a decent amount of work done today. But I don't know. It's like I'm not complete if I only did one short easy workout. I'm like a drug addict in rehab on rest weeks. Restless and just not satisfied.

In good news, I'm through the first two days of it already and I still have all my hair. And tomorrow I have a swim test that should seriously kick my ass so it's all good. Then I have a HR run test on Friday so while that will not be hard, I'm expecting to see some nice improvements. That is, if I can avoid stuffing my face with food this week. What is it about rest weeks that makes us want to EAT?

In other news, I solidified some awesome plans for next weekend that I'll tell you about later. Mama is excited about it though! Verymuchso. AND, I picked up another athlete to train for IMCdA and I'm quite excited about working with her. Verymuchso. Seems I have a very good crop of athletes to work with this year.  Athletes who are hell bent on following instructions. Athletes who are extraordinarily dedicated...   Like I'll walk 2.5 miles through snow and ice in the dark to make sure I get my swim in coach dedicated. Shoot. I'm not even sure *I* would go that far? Maybe I would if I was in the middle of the desperation induced by a rest week though.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where's My Limit?

Anyone else have a coach they think should be Certified? Like, Certified Insane?

That's what I thought of my coach this week. Seriously. I had my hardest ride so far this past Wednesday- you know that if it looks hard on paper it's going to be hard on the road... got home from that and checked my schedule and saw that he wanted me to back that up with a long ride on Thursday... What? Seriously? Ok. I did that and thought for sure it would mean at least I was going to have a rather short/easy weekend... (I love guessing what my next workout is going to be- I am almost always wrong.) I came home from that long windy ride and reported back that while the ride was mostly fine, my legs were too tired to get my HR up even to the top of zone 2 at the end... even while standing and climbing short steep hills... surely it was time for some recovery, right?

No? Not time yet? Really?

I'll admit I did have a rather easy swim yesterday but then yet another 5 hour ride today with 20 min tempo section at the end straight into a 30 min T-run today. You've got to be freakin' kidding me. I've never ridden this much in my life.

OK, truth be told, I've always thought that high volume training would work for me... I do tend to feel my best when I am training a lot... but high volume means different things to different people and my version of high volume is not as high as coach's version of high volume... I never should have written that blog last week about how much I love my long ride... I was thinking of drafting a letter to Tim that said something like, Dear Coach, I am sorry that it is -29 degrees where you live but I don't think that's a reason that I should have to ride mileage for BOTH of us this week...

BUT, in good news, we did have some rather amazing weather today and I wasn't actually making that up that I like long rides... so... I actually stopped and snapped for some pictures for you guys to show you why. I skipped the sunrise shot, which might have been a mistake b/c it was the coolest sunrise maybe ever in the history of sunrises...

This is my view about 35 miles in... Waimea Bay. We do swim races here all summer.

Look across the street and this is Waimea Valley. The picture totally doesn't do it justice.

At the top of a 5ish mile climb I do... the Waianae Mountain Range...

Don't worry coach, I did not eat lunch at Macky's.

While it appears these windmills are not moving, well, know that is only because this is a still shot. These windmills always give fair warning... and the faster they are spinning, the harder it's going to be going home.

That was the end of my stopping for pictures because the wind was just getting stronger all day and I still had my tempo interval to do... I had been worried about this tempo section for two days since I'd read it on my schedule... (here is the positive thing about not knowing your schedule too far in advance!) I had no idea how I was going to get my HR that high and keep it there for 20 full minutes when I couldn't even get it to spike there 2 days earlier... hmmm. I really needed my legs to show up for this ride. What would help my legs show up? Ah ha. Mama had the answer.

You'd think that since I am not only sponsored by Recovery e21 but also am the Triathlon Team Coordinator that I would be taking these pills religiously every day. I have to admit, tail between my legs, I don't. I do take them on longer/harder runs if I remember but honestly, most of my training lately has been too cruisy for me to feel like I would notice an effect so I haven't bothered. Bad athlete. I know. BUT, see the positive thing here is that when I do take them, I have real evidence of the difference. I knew that the only way I was going to get my HR up to where it needed to be today was if my legs showed up to ride, and I've known from my past experience with taking e21 that it somehow helps my legs work more effectively. So I gambled on the notion that e21 might somehow magically help me get through this workout today. I took 2 before starting and 2 at each water stop and 2 prior to running (10 total).

And you know what? It worked. In fact, I'd say (bold statement coming!) today was the best long brick I've ever done. I felt super strong all day and was chomping at the bit to get to my tempo section (SO different than just 2 days ago)... got my HR up right to where it needed to be... I'd say "no problem" but that would imply it was easy, which it was not... I felt like I was flying along at 40K pace during that section... got home, put my dorky compression sleeves on and went running... felt light and fresh. Seriously. Amazing. Who feels light and fresh after a ride like that? Um, I DO! :) The only thing I can credit this difference to today is e21* because my hydration/nutrition were same as always and if you look at my week, well, I should have been thrashed today. As it ended up, I felt absolutely super. And mid-run when I was flying high I decided that hiring my should-be-certified-insane coach was the best triathlon related decision I've ever made.

The second best decision? Drinking this post-workout. I figured since I rode right past Pipeline today, I deserved this one. Why is it that beer tastes so much better after a long workout??

So now I find myself wondering, Where's My Limit? It's not where I thought it was, that's for sure. I haven't found it yet. How cool.

*If you want to try e21 yourself, use promo code 'mamasimmons' for 20% discount.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stay In Your Bed

I just had to have a stern 'Stay in your bed' talk with Moana.

I was putting her to bed tonight and asked her, "Do you remember where you woke up this morning?" She smiled and pointed to the couch (also in her room) and said excitedly, "On the couch!"

Um, yeah. So this morning I went into Moana's room to check on her before I left for swimming... her room was still rather dark and all quiet and her bed was empty. Um, pause for moment of FREAK OUT for Mama. It didn't take long for me to see her on her couch, sound asleep, sprawled out on her back with her doggie pillow and blankie nearby.

So I'm not sure what happened last night? She didn't make much noise getting out of bed... she's stealth, that one. I'm guessing she just woke up and wanted to play in the middle of the night and fell back asleep on the couch before she had a chance to get back in bed. But whatever it was, it made me think that I should shut her door at night so she doesn't come wandering downstairs or anything.

I might not sleep so soundly tonight since I've been alerted to the fact that I need to listen for the sound of little feet wandering around...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mama Can't See Straight

~I woke up this morning with my right eye completely swollen shut. Damn bee sting. I wrapped an ice cube in a wash cloth and held that on my eye until I could see at least a little and then went to the pool to swim. Nalani said it was hard to look at me. I looked like I'd been punched in the face. Excellent. I put my goggles on though and the problem was solved. No one had to look at me.

~Now my whole eye area and forehead itches like mad. Kind of a funny reaction to a bee sting, no? Maybe I need some Benadryl.

~I get such a kick out of watching Moana socialize with other little kids. Kirsten (our day care lady) has done such a nice job in teaching these kids how to interact with each other and it transfers over to other kids outside daycare. This afternoon I took Moana to the playground. There was another little girl there (almost 3yo) and Moana walked right up to her and said "Hi Friend!" She's such a cute little social butterfly. The two then climbed and played together and had a blast. At one point the other girl offered Moana some of the chips she was eating. Moana reached right into her bag and grabbed a few and then said, "Thank you for sharing!" She's so polite. :)

~I don't get a kick out of grown ups smoking near the playground. Really? Is that necessary? I actually asked a woman that today. I can keep my mouth shut in some situations but when someone is smoking at the playground around my all those kids, well, my mouth opened right up. Is it really necessary to smoke right here at the playground? Seems like maybe if you're going to smoke it would be better to go over there (I pointed far away). And the rude woman had the audacity to say "there are no kids right here" and she pointed to her immediate 2ft area. I just shook my head and said, astounding, and then walked away. She stood there right next to the climbing equipment and continued to puff away. Isn't there a law or something about smoking within a certain distance of playgrounds? If not, there should be.

~Yesterday I found out what the effect of too much caffeine actually is on HR. Usually I get up and run first thing in the morning and just have a shot of espresso first, but yesterday I waited and ran Moana to daycare in the jogger. This gave me a more leisurely morning around the house which included time for actual coffee. A whole french press of it in fact. In my defense, it was like the best coffee ever on the planet and I drank it black. SO, turns out that 2 big cups of coffee increases my HR by ~5 beats. Maybe not a big deal to some people, but that made my run awfully slow yesterday because when you're working within a low and narrow HR range, well, 5 beats is huge. Lesson learned, save the real coffee for post run. Except for Nalani. I found out that when she has a bike workout where the HR ranges look like they might be hard to hit, she drinks more coffee first. Um, I think that's called cheating.

Ok. I think that's enough random nothingness for tonight. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Trying to manage this tight pesky calf while simultaneously running jogging ~40 miles/week has been like a full time job challenging so I'm pulling out every trick in the book and applying it. Massage, Acupuncture, Bio Freeze, Po Sum On, Trigger Point, stretching, strengthening, ice, heat... pretty much everything (except rest). Last time coach and I were talking he asked if I had compression socks. Yes, I do. And I wear them around the house and to bed sometimes. And I did wear them for the marathon and I did make it through 21 miles before my calf tightened up then so maybe they helped? But I still don't want to wear them out in public. Like, never, out in public. He suggested I try training in them to see if they might help.

Ok, but see I train in public. So this wouldn't that be like, well, breaking some rule about the level of dorkiness one is willing to go to?

I was going to wear them for my long run on Saturday. I really was. But then my friend Sarah called and asked if she could come run with me. Sarah is a runner. And in classic runner style she arrived at my house wearing a sports bra, shorts, socks, and shoes. That's it. Then there's me- the dorky triathlete. I've got my gels and my water bottle and my visor and my heart rate monitor, and well, I just couldn't pull out the compression gear on top of it all. So I didn't. And I made it through the run just fine without any calf issues.

But as an aside... I honestly don't know how Sarah did it without a single gram of carbohydrate or a sip of water? That is the runner vs the triathlete thing for sure. Why is it that a triathlete can't run long without consuming gels but runners have no problem with it? I've always found this quite baffling. It's like we truly are a different species of athlete. Moving on...

I gave in and wore my compression sleeves on my run this morning. And, um, I so hate to say this, but WOW. I didn't just manage to get through the run. I didn't have any tightness at all- not even the manageable kind. OH NO. You know what this means, right? While I have gotten through 15 years of being a triathlete without training/racing in compression gear, all that is about to change. I'm having visions of becoming a full fledged complete TriGEEK who might just never take these sleeves off my calves. Dorky? Whatever. Mama can run without tightness! I give in.

You know what calf sleeves don't help with? Bee stings. Picture the scene... I'm finishing up my run this morning with a set of strides. Talking myself through them... stay relaxed and quick... light and easy and fast... and then WHAM. I run straight into a bee. Or maybe it flew into me. My first thought as I felt that stinger pierce my forehead? Sweet! I was running fast enough that a collision with a bee caused a sting! (Yes. I am a full fledged Tri-GEEK. We settled that mater already, didn't we?) I had about 10 seconds left on that effort so I kept running... when I was done I felt my forehead and squeezed the stingy spot pretty hard and ended up with the stinger in my hand. Nice. I finished off the set of strides before jogging home and man, it stung something fierce. Look! I even got a picture for your viewing pleasure.

Nothing says Tri-GEEK quite like a girl who takes pictures of the bee sting she got on her forehead while she was out running in her compression sleeves. Ha!