Oct 17

She is an Ironman!

Saturday in Louisville. Sunday in Louisville. Today in Louisville and then back in the car. But yesterday, let me tell you about yesterday.

A person doesn’t enter into endurance racing lightly. Well, sure, we were at an Italian restaurant several years ago and decided we’d try some triathlons. But there are different lengths. And you train differently for all of them. Some of them require more time. And you don’t enter into that kind of commitment lightly.

The Yankee ran under a banner last night that she’s been working for for over six months.

Along the way, there has been a marathon and a national championship in the Olympic distance and some smaller tuneup races and hours and hours and hours and hours of training. You don’t enter into these things lightly.

These events, these long, physically and mentally grueling events are achievable, but they take a person doing the work. And then doing some more. They take time to figure out. How will your body react in the heat? How will your guy feel with this fuel or that fuel? You have to learn about what your body is really telling you, how to listen to it and when to ignore it. You put some things on hold and you hit some benchmarks that you wouldn’t have previously considered. You keep doing that until some of those achievements almost become a matter of course. And then you wind down in preparation of the big day.

And on the big day you wake up very early. You’ve lugged all of your stuff down to the starting area, you wiggle into your swimsuit and put your cap on and you wait for your part of the race to start. And when that happens, you swim. At this distance that’s a 2.4-mile swim, this time in the Ohio River. You climb out of the river and run up the ramp and get peeled out of your swimsuit. You throw on your helmet, your bike shoes and set out on a 112-mile ride. There’s wind and rain and dogs and hills and you come in off that ride, which is no small thing on a bike, and then you take off your helmet and change shoes. And then you set out for a 26.2-mile run.

And you smile a lot.

That’s The Yankee’s experience. She had a great race. I saw her all of those times and jogged alongside her for a few moments. I caught up to her again halfway through the run and gave her a great big hug and a kiss. She was in great shape, so it was just down to wait at the finish line, for her and two of her friends.

And speaking of the finish line, this is what some people did when they got there:

Even if you aren’t interested in doing these yourself, you should go and watch the finish line sometime. The energy is palpable, and incredible. And you’ll see there a lot of friends and family looking like this:

None of them entered into this lightly, but many of them felt light on their feet when they finished. It was later, and today, and for the next several days, when they’ll feel the extent of such an impressive accomplishment.

Aug 17

What we did this weekend

Last spring The Yankee qualified for, and this weekend participated in the USAT Olympic Distance Triathlon National Championship. She’s awesome. Here are a few clips from the big race:

She almost hit a PR, and finished with a smile, despite some serious sun and legitimate heat. It was a great race!

Aug 17

You just think you know square jaws

I’m not seeing things, right? You’re seeing this too, aren’t you? There’s a face in that shadow, yeah?

Which led me onto a long series of thoughts about the impermanence of shapes in clouds and the more permanent but still shifting nature of the shadows of buildings and maybe how the buildings are wiser, but the clouds have it better. So that was lunch.

Also, I meant to order the bourbon chicken, which is a sweeter dish. But I instead ordered the first chicken item I saw on the menu, which was the voodoo chicken. That was red and spicy and the word “voodoo” should have been the clue, dude. I wondered if the shadow man somehow knew. His jaw was jutted out just so, in that brutalist blockish manner. I strolled back by later but the sun had moved over by about half an hour and the shadow man had moved on for the day.

We’re moving today, too:

We are in Omaha this weekend for a race and fun. Lately I’ve come to realize it is difficult to travel and eat. Something about the schedules and the options and habits. It is a challenge. This was dinner:

We had a burger at a pizza joint when we got to The Big O.

At the pizza joint, which was using a Chicago theme, because it is pizza in Omaha, one surmises, there was a claw machine. You remember claw machines. Those were the games you couldn’t win no matter how good your manual dexterity was on its own. You couldn’t win at it such that you began to think, and then watch, and then know, that no one could win at the claw game. And then you saw the little feature on that one guy cleaning up at the claw game and you thought “Huh, why does one guy need that many stuffed toys and obviously cheap watches anyway? The claw game. It was waiting for you, at the Chicago-themed pizza joint in Omaha, Nebraska.

I’m not sure if it was a sad game because someone had been so successful or if someone was so successful because it was a sad game. When you see them near empty like that, it effects you. Probably it was sad no one was pumping quarters into it at the moment.

That was at about 11 p.m. and thus it was the best burger possible. Probably because I didn’t ask for the voodoo anything.

Jul 17

Your Monday status report

It was a successful race on Saturday. Everyone got finisher medals. Everyone set new personal records. Seventy point three is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve done it once. (Once.)

Afterward we sat in the shade and had burgers and told stories. Here are some of the visuals:

And then the long drive home. It was a sunny day, much improved from my drive up the day before. But I was tired and had a headache and passed actual Waffle Houses. So I stopped at one. And while weaving my way into the parking lot I saw this thing:

Now, their website says they have blacklight mini golf, laser tag, pizza, a game rame, playground, arcades and, coming soon, bumper cars. That all sounds fun. I’m sure that it appeals to children of all ages. But that guy on the roof is kind of terrifying. And the car doesn’t really scream “Demand mom and dad take me there.” But that’s just me.

Saw a bit of graffiti on the walk into the office this morning:

The lane is closed because the world needs more condominiums, and this construction has meant work crews and heavy equipment and Jersey barriers and cones and signage. And, apparently, a contribution from the commentariat. The only problem is we don’t know if this message was added for this job or some previous lane closure. Such is the problem of the application of permanent marker on temporary, and moveable, signage.

And now I’m hanging out with Allie. She’s in her box:

We’ve taken to interpreting this as “Time to play, hooman.” She attacked a ribbon toy for the better part of an hour, until I finally had to hide the thing while she was distracted. Then she sat on me so I couldn’t eat dinner. So pretty much a perfect evening for her.

May 16

Pictures from the weekend

What we did this weekend:

Well, what she did:

This was a short race. I’m not fast enough for the short races. Instead of swimming and riding and running, I volunteered. My job involved standing in the road, stopping traffic and directing runners. I stood just down from these trees, listened to the breeze and yelled “Run to me! Run to me!” a lot.

Then we went here:

For these:

I recommend these two:

(The best thing about square doughnuts is that you get four extra bites.)