School's Coming

My predetermined plan was to have two weeks completely off of any sort of exercising, except walking to and from work which I have to do. Week 3 would then be optional and Week 4 would officially start my off season training. During the weeks leading up to Timberman, I could not wait for a break. I was physically and mentally tired of training. Now, only a week into my two week break, I am already going nuts. It feels like I have not worked out in a couple of months. Pending my MRI results, I may have to refrain from running for even longer than the two to three weeks. I never thought I'd miss workouts this much.

Yesterday, I started my rotation at the Student Health Center. It is a part of a class that I am taking. Once a week, I help out the sports medicine physicians by helping them evaluate patients. After my evaluation, I'll tell the doctor what I found, what I think is wrong, and how I think it should be treated and the doctor takes over from there. I was only supposed to have an orientation session yesterday, but due to a lack of staff, they asked me to actually help out. I ended up being there two hours longer than expected, but I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I saw a couple of really interesting and different case.

Two days till my parents are in town. Two days until Buckeye football!

Two days until school starts :-/

I'm a little nut[s]

Timberman is over and August is nearing the end which means one thing, summer is almost over and fall is almost here. Before I know it, school will be starting, work will be ramping up, and I will be a complete nut case until May. On the other hand, this is my last year working for Boston University (at least for now). I already have one of my ten months done. This realization led me to come up with a really lame joke, but where would be the fun in saying it right now? I would rather keep everyone in suspense.

Wait for it...

In other news, I heard back from the doctor and my MRI is scheduled for Tuesday night. I won't know the results from that until Thursday. Hopefully, its good news, or at least non-surgical news. I wouldn't be too terribly upset if the doctor told me not to run for a couple of weeks, but if weeks were months, I would be pissed.

Keep waiting for it...

Also, for those of you who don't know, I did my undergraduate work at THE Ohio State University which means that Thursday is practically a holiday. In fact, Ohio State doesn't even have school on Thursday. Not that it means anything as school doesn't even start until September 22, but there is no doubt in my mind that they would cancel school if it was in session. What would be the point when all of the professors would be tailgating by 4AM anyways? What can I say, we're all a bunch of nuts. Go Bucks! Thank goodness for the Big Ten Network.

*We're the three best friends that anybody could have*

Still waiting...

And I talked to my mom the other day. She had been planning for a while to visit us over Labor Day weekend. Turns out my dad has decided to come visit as well. They fly in on Thursday (coincidence? I think not). The only plans we have so far is to take them out for a nice dinner at the Boston Chart House on Friday for my mom's belated birthday.

Is the wait over yet?

I think so. So I have nine more months of work left at Boston University. That's the same amount of time as a pregnancy, except that I will be in labor the whole time. *ba dum ch* Oh boy, I crack myself up sometimes.

The "I" Word

Its only four days after our first HIM. There are still lingering aches and pains. I still don't have an official diagnosis on my knee. I don't even have an MRI scheduled yet (hope they call me back soon). We don't have many triathlons planned for next year as I don't know where I will be working and when. We have a few we would like to do which includes the Patriot Half Ironman. Through all this, Benny insists on bringing up the "I" word and "next year" in the same sentence.

Don't get me wrong, I would like to do one, one day. And if its next year, I can, and would be willing to train for it. However, the memories of Sunday are still too fresh to even comprehend the "I" word so soon. And with so many uncertainties going into next year, I would be hard pressed to put down that much money for it.

Benny did some research, albeit quickly, and came up with the Revolution 3 series in Sandusky, OH. It cost the same as an "I" race, but because it doesn't contain the "I" word *phew*, the September 2010 race hasn't sold out yet, so we have time to consider it if we want to do it next year.

Currently, my plans are to take two weeks completely off from training. After two weeks, I have a week of optional workouts that I'll do if I have time and feel good enough to do them. I am refraining from all running for a minimum of three weeks, if not longer pending MRI results. At the end of three weeks, I'm starting off season training (plus or minus running...I may take a fourth week off of running if the MRI results are negative just because it can't hurt). I'm looking at a winter maintenance program from Beginner Triathlete for athletes who have completed at least one Olympic distance triathlon this past season. They didn't have one for those who have done a HIM, but this is good enough. I don't want to reinjure myself, or get burn out. I am going to chop it down to five days per week instead of six, at least for the first couple of weeks. It is a 20 week program.

After that begins the 20 week HIM program for the Patriot Half. Then maybe...the "I" word...

Rest of Timberman Weekend & Knee Update

I thought my Timberman post was running a bit long, and I wanted it to be primarily about the race, so I omitted Sunday post-race and Monday. After the race on Sunday, we went back to the hotel to drop off the bikes and to change into dry and not smelly clothes. We then headed over to Gunstock for the post-race dinner provided  by the race organization for an additional cost. Ben had a steak and a hot dog. I had lobster with mussels and steamers. I also had the drink that I have been craving for so long, a glass of Guinness. It tasted so sweet. It was well worth every one of 70.3miles. Shortly after, Ben and I went back to Sawyer's for more ice cream and then headed home for an early night to bed.

Monday morning, we woke up early after a restless night. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of the day or the soreness of our legs, but neither one of us could sleep. We went to a diner called Cravings for breakfast. We obviously weren't the only triathletes with a huge breakfast in mind. The diner was packed and it was clear that about 90% of the people there had done the race the day before. I had a really delicious and unique breakfast dish called "Pig Pile". It was home fries and a biscuit topped with a sausage patty, an egg, and gravy. After breakfast, we went to another outlet mall, more specifically to visit the Pearl Izumi outlet store. We also went to the Christmas Loft in North Conway. They had a huge variety of Christmas decorations in addition to a cheesy, yet fun Christmas scene which included talking cows and trees and a nativity scene complete with giant rooster.

The annoying talking cow

The rooster looks like its eyeing up Jesus for his next meal

After eating lunch, we headed back home to Boston as Ben and I both had classes we had to go to.

I have an update on my knee. I visited an orthopedic doctor today who specializes in knees and shoulders. He thinks that I may have a patellar stress fracture. I need to get an MRI next week to verify it, but at least if it is a stress fracture, I won't likely need surgery. That was what I was really worried about. He told me to not run in the mean time, which were my plans anyways now that Timberman is over, but that I could continue to bike and swim if I wanted to. Although, even when it comes to swimming and biking, I'm still taking some time off.

Acting Class #3

After a three week hiatus, I had another acting class Monday night. Two students did not show, so we had a small class of five students. We started with some hatha yoga for relaxation. It was much needed, especially because of the race on Sunday. After about 20 minutes of yoga, we did an exercise in which we would pretend that the air was made of various substances. We started with air as it is, then moved to thick air, then water, than rubber, and finally stone. At the end, he told us to imagine the stone air turning back to regular. It may not seem like much, but its quite a workout just pretending like you are trying to move through thick air.

Then we did a couple of exercises focused on emotions. One exercise, we did on our own. We had to walk across the room, without speaking, displaying an emotion that would gradually get stronger and stronger. After this, we did an exercise where everyone was involved. We had to pick an emotion and interact with everyone else while portraying that particular emotion. It was weird portraying one emotion when someone else is portraying a completely different, unrelated emotion.

After a quick break, we did an exercise called "machines". One person would go to the front of the room and perform a repetitive motion with a repetitive sound. One by one, other students would add on to the make believe machine. In the end, it sounds like a really whacky machine. Then our teacher left the room with instructions to make a real life machine with our bodies using the same rules of the "machine" exercise. He would then return to the room and try to guess which machine we were. We picked out a computer. I was the mouse. We then had to pick out an emotion again and pick out a word or phrase that is associated with that emotion. We then had to pick out a movement that is associated with the movement and repeat the word or phrase and movement over and over like in the machine exercise. It sounded really interesting, but it also sounded really fluid and orchestrated.

Finally, we had to make an assembly line in which we are still following the rules of the "machine" exercise. We decided to make an assembly line in which we were making Jack-In-The-Box's.

In the end, the class went by way too fast. I am already half way done with the series of classes. I don't want it to end. It is fun and relaxing at the end of a busy day.

I am [Half] Ironman!!

To put it simply, this past weekend was really, really long. Everything about it was long. Waiting for the race was long. The race itself was long. Waiting to write this blog post was long. The only thing longer is now waiting for the next triathlon season to start. Really. I am still feeling the aches and pains of having just completed a half Ironman, and I can't wait for the next one.

Going into the weekend, I was super excited about the race. It was like waiting for Christmas to come. This was what all of my training and hard work was all about and I couldn't wait to finally put it all together. We drove up to Gilford, NH on Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel and then headed over to Gunstock to pick up our swag bags. Of course, no swag bag pick-up is complete without perusing, and ultimately shopping, at the race "festival", if you will. Normally, we don't buy anything and just grab all the freebies we can, but this time, because of the enormity of the race (its not just any half Ironman distance is A half Ironman race), we went shopping. Unfortunately for Benny, whose clothing size is usually in limited quantities anyways, a good number of people had already gone through the race shop. However, he did find a sweatshirt and socks that fit him. I got a sweatshirt, t-shirt, socks and a shot glass (I collect shot something about a shot glass with the Ironman logo on it amused me). Following our shopping spree, we went to a local Italian restaurant where we were going to meet up with some people that Ben had met through Beginner Triathlete, but he failed to get any contact information including names of any of the people we were meeting there. In the end, we went to another Italian restaurant where the wait was far less than 1 hour and followed it up with ice cream at the local shop by our hotel called Sawyer's. Ben was unsure of eating ice cream this close to race day, but it turned out that I wasn't the only triathlete with an ice cream addiction.

The calm before the storm

We focused on ultimate relaxation on Saturday. We went to a small diner for breakfast. Afterwards, we drove up to an outlet mall. On the way, we stopped to play mini golf. Despite my various putting strategies, which included walking up to the hole and deliberately kicking or dropping the ball into the hole, I still lost.

I got a little Captain in me.

Once at the outlet mall, we were both thirsty and decided to get some smoothies from Starbucks where we met some of our teammates who had just gotten into town for the race. I did some more retail therapy (got a Coach card holder for $20), and we headed back to Gunstock for a pre-race presentation for newbie half Ironman racers which was shortly followed up by the mandatory meeting for all athletes. It was at the presentation for newbies where I really started getting nervous. The speaker spoke of choppy waters, a hilly bike course, and a double loop run course (how I didn't know it was a double loop course before is beyond me). The "mandatory" meeting was to go over the rules of triathlons *Zzzzz....* After our nap, we dropped off our bikes in transition and then met up with our team president, Sunny, and her friend for the spaghetti dinner that was provided by the race organization.

That night, we went to bed early in anticipation of our 4AM alarm. I wasn't too sure about this whole getting up early to have a really long workout thing, but I went with it. It wasn't until we arrived at the course when we saw the people in the car parked next to us drinking Bud Lights that I knew I had the wrong idea about what I should be doing at 4AM. Since it was still three hours till race time, Ben and I ate breakfast in our car and got our stuff ready for the race which including slapping race numbers on everything. At 5AM, transition opened and we went over to get body marked. After getting our temporarily permanent tattoos, we grabbed our stuff and set up our transition areas. Everyone in my area was also in my age group. It was comforting to know that most of them had not ever done a HIM before either. After finishing up my area, I went over to check on Ben, who was unfortunately disorganized all weekend. We walked back to the car to pick up my wetsuit and to do our last pees (its like the last supper, only more nerve wracking because you know you'll have to go in five minutes anyways). We paused slightly on the way to watch my idol, Chrissie Wellington, set up her transition area. She is gorgeous in pictures, but even more so in person. And we weren't the only ones gawking. Everyone was stopping to take pictures.

Reason #3071 why triathlon is the best sport ever...what other sports have pros and weekend warriors alike competing in the same event at the same time?

After much waiting, and nine months of training, the time had finally come to start making the walk to the starting line. One by one, the waves started going off. First, the pro men went, then the pro women, then three age group waves, and then finally my wave. They let us into the water five minutes before our actual start time. It was the longest five minutes. At least during the wait, I got to become acclimated to the water temperature and was able to lessen my nerves some by goofing around with some of the girls in my wave (of which there were fewer than I thought there would be, maybe around 60 people?). I was glad to find out that I was not the only one with "survival" as my main goal for the swim. Shortly after the start, I needed a quick break to regroup my mind as I did not mentally adjust to the chop very well. After a minute of hanging on a noodle, I was off and quickly (much to my shock) passing people I had started with. I'm glad I took the time to adjust my thoughts on the chop as it only got worse the further out we got, and the more people that took to the water. The swim out was by far longer than the swim in. By the time I had turned towards home, I had become so comfortable in the water, even with hundreds of people trying to karate chop my feet, that I actually tried to swim more for speed than survival. My time goal for the swim was 55 minutes, so I definitely did not shake my head at the 57 minutes that I did put up.

Like I had planned, I took my time in transition, making sure I was really ready for the next stage. My goal time was 5 minutes and my actual time was 6 minutes.

Once on the bike, I mentally chopped up the course into 4 pieces of 14 miles. It worked out perfectly as I wanted to finish the course in 4 hours. Going into the first piece, I knew that this would be one of the hardest parts of the race due to hills, so my goal was to just take it nice and easy. As I was going up Marsh Hill, which is notoriously the hardest hill on the course, we saw Andy Potts going down on his way back. By the time I hit one hour in, I had only done 12 miles, but at least the hardest part was over. From there until the turn around at mile 28, there would be a gradual downhill. It was the best part of the race for me as I was able to maintain speeds of around 20 miles an hour for the whole piece (which is unheard of for me). I got to the turn around at 1 hour and 45 minutes, and so I promptly rewarded myself with a quick bathroom break. The third piece had us going back up the gradual downhill. It was then that I found myself considering quitting multiple times. It was so deceiving because the course appeared to be flat and I was working really hard and was only able to go between 14 and 15 miles per hour. I finished the third piece in 2 hours and 50 minutes, which gave me an hour and 10 minutes to do the final and yet another hilly section of the course. The more I biked the fourth piece, the closer my time was getting to 4 hours. I was nervous that my time might be slightly over, but to my benefit, the final stretch going back into transition was downhill. My actual bike time was 3 hours and 54 minutes.

After another restful transition and potty break, lasting six minutes, it was time for the final event. Running is by far my most favorite event, but considering my recent knee problems, it was the one I was most unsure of going into the race. I decided to just start with a nice easy jog and see where it takes me. Much to my excitement, my knee did not hurt much at all and I was feeling amazing. I made sure to stop at every aid station and fuel up on fluids. As I was finishing the first lap, I saw Ben starting his, so I made it my goal to catch up to him and walk with him a while. I finished my first lap in 1 hour and 5 minutes which was much faster than I was expecting. However, by the time I caught up to Ben, the 64 miles that I had already completed were finally starting to catch up to me and my knee. I walked with him for a while before continuing to run/walk at a rate of 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking. By the time I reached the turn around for the run, I was just flat out exhausted. I started running one minute and walking one minute and walking up all the hills. I can't tell you what a welcome sound it was to hear the announcer's voice getting louder and louder as I got closer to the finish. Finally, I was almost there. I was really going to make it. No matter how tired I was, I was going to run the last 0.1 mile. Before and during the race, I had tried to come up with a celebration dance to do as I crossed the finish line, but by the time I actually got there, I was so tired, I couldn't even think anymore. I just smiled and raised my hands above my head, making sure of course not to slip on the rubber mats as it had been raining for the better part of the second half of the race.
How not to end a race...

My goal run time was 2 hours, 30 minutes and my actual time was 2 hours, 29 minutes. My goal time for the entire race was 7 hours, 35 minutes and my actual time was 7 hours, 33 minutes. Holla!

The biggest tease of all time

After receiving my medal, I went back to transition and packed up my area while waiting for Ben to finish. I knew it would be at least another hour. I headed over to the food area in an attempt to eat something. I have GI problems when I participate in longer events or workouts and have really bad nausea making it difficult to replenish everything I lost. I was able to eat a couple spoonfuls of chowder, a small yogurt smoothie and a quarter of a banana. I tried drinking some Coke, but only got about two sips in. If anything, I definitely was not thirsty. My belly had so many fluids in during the second loop of the run that it had been sloshing the whole time. I then changed into my dry, not sweaty clothes and headed over to the team tent. I hung out with Sunny and Stephanie for about half an hour when I got a text from my mom. I was about to respond to her, letting her know that Ben should be finished any minute when I hear my name over the sound system, "Rachelle Berry, please come to the announcer's podium." My heart stopped. I immediately thought the worst. What was it? What happened? What am I going to do? I ran up to the announcer's podium and nervously said, "I'm Rachelle Berry." Another woman had also been called to the podium, and she was clearly as nervous as I was. The announcer told us to go over and talk to the man in the blue hat and rain poncho. We both ran over and the man quickly told us that they were beginning to close down the race course. Of course, then my thoughts went to, "Well, at least Benny is ok, but are they not going to let him finish?" The man continued to tell us that our husbands would be the last two competitors that they would let finish the race and that they wanted us to present them with their medals. I felt so relieved and so happy. I didn't even know that they allowed family members to present medals. The man ushered us to the finish line area and handed us the medals. It seemed like forever until we finally saw our husbands coming down the finishing chute escorted by one of the race personnel, but it was so amazing (I'm glad I had my camera as it was probably a once in a life time experience). There may not have been many people left to cheer them on, but we were the loudest people all day, I'm sure of it.

Post Race/Pre-shower picture

There are a bunch of people who made Sunday amazing. Obviously, the Ironman organization. Not only do they put together a good race, but they make the race more than just a triathlon. They make it about the people and the competitors. They realize what a big deal this is to everyone who participates and actually finish, and they make it possible for the athletes and families alike to enjoy the moment.

The volunteers and all the family, friends and neighbors that showed up that day. They were all fantastic and the cheers definitely helped to keep away a lot of the doubts that tend to creep up during events like this. It was amazing especially to have random people cheering on you specifically as you went by and to see them there all day. Thanks in particular to all of the people in the neighborhood who set up sprinklers for the athletes. You are amazing!

Thanks a lot to our families and friends for putting up with us and for sacrificing precious family time so we can get in our workouts. Thanks for cheering for us from afar. Just knowing that you were watching is hugely motivating. When all is said and done, there is nothing worse than a disappointed parent.

And there is one group of people we would like to apologize to...the beer companies. We know that we haven't quite been doing our fair share of drinking, but we promise to work extra hard now that the season is over.

Edit: Thanks also to the Wheelworks Multisport team. Ben and I could not have done it without you guys. You're awesome and we're looking forward to cheering you guys on at Cranberry next Sunday!

Till I Collapse

" 'Cause sometimes you feel tired,
feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse

Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out - am I high? Perhaps
I'ma rip this shit till my bone collapse.
Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out and my high burn out
I'ma rip this shit till my bone collapse.

Until the roof
The roof comes off
Until my legs
give out from underneath me

I will not fall,
I will stand tall,
Feels like no one could beat me"

Good luck to all soon to be Timbermen and Timberwomen!

Dr. Visit and Timberman Goals

I had my doctor's appointment for my knee this morning. I saw a nurse practitioner as the physician's assistant who I normally see wasn't in today. It definitely did not go as well as I thought. I told her about the swelling, pain and crunching. She looked at my knee for about one minute and determined that my ligaments and menisci were fine (which I pretty much knew already anyways). She also stated that I had obvious swelling in the joint which is probably where the knee pain was coming from. She said that joints just naturally crunch, and that its nothing to worry about and that everything should be back to normal in a week and that she would refer me to orthopedics if it wasn't. The problem I have with it all is that she couldn't explain where the swelling was coming from, especially considering it was in the joint. Also, my pain is coming from the crunching. I think she maybe thought that it was just your normal cracking like when you crack your knuckles. She is also convinced that there is no way this is an overuse injury and that it has to be an acute injury and that I'm just not remembering it. The good news in all of this, if there is any, is that she said that I could continue to participate in triathlons as much as I could tolerate, but then again, she thinks this is just going to go away in a week. I really wanted to say to her, "Ok, will be talking to you next week then for that referral," but I refrained. I think instead I will send a message to my regular PA via their online "Ask Your Physician" system letting her know about my appointment and asking her for a quicker referral. She knows I'm an athletic trainer and I know what I'm talking about.

A completely unrelated side note that I am super excited about. I have been entering daily the Home Sweet Dorm sweepstakes through Bed Bath and Beyond. The grand prize is a $5000 gift card to BB&B, and every hour a $25 gift card is given away. Today, I won one of the $25 gift cards! I am super excited. I have a long laundry list of things I still want to add to our kitchen, so I can't wait to get it. Thanks BB&B and HGTV!

Now, about Timberman...

I found out a couple of days ago my bib number (545) and my swim wave time (7:20AM which is a whole hour before the last wave). Please, follow me and cheer for me at the Ironman Athlete Tracker.

So without further to do, here are my time goals for Timberman (keeping in mind that finishing is my #1 goal and that meeting some, if not all of the time goals are just a nice added benefit):

Swim - 55min (This is probably a fairly accurate time considering that of the numerous times that I've swam the race distance, pool and open water, I've been between 55min and 56min each time)

Transition 1 - 5min, I normally take less than three minutes in T1, but I really want to make sure I'm ready for the bike. I'm actually going to force my self to slow down, take a quick break, eat a bar, and get a good amount of fluids in before continuing.

Bike - 4hr, The distance in this time means my pace will be 14mph. Not knowing what to expect from my knee or how fast my body will tire, I'm expecting a longer time than normal. However, with each triathlon I do, even though the bike course got longer with each one, my bike average speed has been getting faster (if you take out the time I stood around for the flat, my pace at the last race was 16.2mph). I joked around with Ben about this, wouldn't it be funny if this ends up being both my longest bike in a race as well as my fastest? 

Transition 2 - 5min, Again, normally this only takes me about 2 minutes, but I really want to take time to rest and recharge. I also want time to take pain meds and rest my knee if need be.

Run - 2hr 30min, This is the hardest for me to predict with the recent problems with my knee. This is the only event that really gives it issues, so its hard to say how its going to react. With my training runs so far, it hurts for the first half mile, but then gets better, probably due to adrenaline and endorphins, so maybe by the time I get to the run in the race, I'll be fine. The slowest half marathon I have run so far is 2hr 22min, and that was in a hilly course, in 90 degree heat, with the worst IT band pain I have ever had, only a week after doing another half marathon. So I figured this can't be much worse. I would love to finish closer to 2hr 15min, but I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.

And just a warning to the competition, I'm coming prepared. I have rocks.

And Then There Were None

Tomorrow marks a very important mile stone in my family. My brother, my youngest sibling, thus the last one to go to college, is being left in the Middle-Of-Nowhere, Kansas to begin his college career. His plans currently are to study meteorology in hopes of becoming a storm chaser. And then there's something about Rock Chalk. I don't know, but when I was his age, it was called sidewalk chalk. Kids these days...

I attempted to make myself feel better (about having to start school again myself, not about my youngest sibling starting college...I'm not old enough to feel old...yet) by telling myself that I'll be finishing college just as my brother starts. I'm finally almost done. I'm going to be the first one in my family to be done with school forever. Just when I felt like I had sufficiently inflated my ego, I realized I was wrong. My sister, if everything goes according to plan, will graduate two weeks before me. Also, when you really think about it, the joke is on me. I may be wrapping up my college career in 2010, but it will have taken me six years (4 undergrad, 2 grad) to get there, whereas it will take my sister five years, and my brother four (again, if he doesn't change his major (or school) a couple times first).

I guess its just that much more motivating to finish this year and finish strong. I wonder how my parents are holding up...





One Week and One Day...

Here is a quick recap of what I have been doing to train the past couple of days. Thursday, I rode for 20 miles, dropped off my back at home, and then went for a 7 mile run. Yesterday was a scheduled day off, so guess what I did? Nothing! Today, we were scheduled to ride for 40 miles, but due to fatigue, a blown spoke on Ben's bike, and general not feeling like doing anything, it was shortened to a 20 mile ride and we added on a mile open water swim (the more time I can get in my wetsuit, the better).

Unfortunately, training the past couple days hasn't been all sunshine and roses and cotton candy. I had been having a general ache in my left knee for the past couple of weeks that is slightly worsened by running (so I have been running drastically shorter distances by stopping when it starts hurting). On Thursday, I had planned to run 7 miles, but was only expecting to get 2 to 3 miles out of my knee. Surprisingly, I was able to finish the run no problem, but finishing the run was the end to my lack of problems. As I walked home, my knee finally started hurting, and by the time I climbed up the stairs to our apartment, it was excruciating, worse than it has ever been. As if the pain wasn't bad enough, it was crunching so loud that it sounded like someone eating a Rice Krispies bar. I took it relatively easy for the rest of the night by going out for dinner and drinks with friends. Yesterday morning, it was still pretty bad, but fortunately, I didn't have to work, so I spent yesterday nursing it. When Ben came home, we re-evaluated the crunch level. There was enough crunch to keep cereal companies in business for years, so we made the decision to call the doctor. My appointment is set for Wednesday morning, so I am hoping for the best. Regardless of what the doctor says, I am competing in, and more importantly, finishing Timberman. I can take or leave the Cranberry Olympic triathlon a week later, although, I would much prefer to take it. Fortunately, August 29 marks the end to our triathlon season, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Even knee pain and crunchiness aside, Ben and I both decided that we are both mentally tired of training and can't wait to be done with the season. Don't take that the wrong way, we are both still uber excited about Timberman, but we're equally excited about the day after Cranberry. Knowing me, I will be bored of the offseason about a week later, but I'll have to find another means to channel my energy just so I'm not sick of triathloning before the start of next season. I think a little cross training will do me and my knee well anyways.

This morning, my knee pain had gone down significantly and the Rice Krispies had gotten slightly soggy. My knee held up well during the swim and felt slightly stiff at the beginning of the bike, but loosened up as we went on. Looks like I am subjected to swimming and biking until the race to keep my knee in check. Being a good runner, I'm not too concerned about having to walk every once in a while in the race, but more than likely, the adrenaline will keep me from noticing it in the first place.

One week and one day...

This Ain't Sea World, It's As Real As It Gets

This past Wednesday was my third favorite day of the year, behind Christmas and my birthday (March 28 so you can start saving up now). Each year at work, we receive a new supply of clothes. We may not get paid much, but they definitely take care of us when it comes to clothes. Even as an undergrad student, we estimated that the net worth of our clothes our first year was about $500, with an additional $100 to $150 more each year after. Now that I am certified, I get even more as I get not only my athletic training gear, but also clothes from the hockey team. Last year from athletic training, I received a winter coat, spring jacket, three short sleeve polos, three long sleeve polos and a winter cap (all Nike branded). From the hockey team, I received Asics tennis shoes, two hooded sweatshirts, a jacket and two t-shirts (one of the t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts were Hockey East championship gear).

Now, presenting the 2010-2011 athletic training gear...
My giant, giant (giant) sweat outfit

Nike Dri-fits

The annual (which is a synonym for stereotypical) polos

We thought we would be working with collegiate athletes,
but instead, they handed us these and told us we would
be working with the Deadliest Catch crew.

The approximate cost of all of this year's gear, so far, is between $400 and $450.

Last night, I went out for dinner and drinks with some of my coworkers. It goes without saying that athletic training is a far, far different job than any other. One of the things that makes it different, and its a good difference, is the family-like relationship that develops. Most people view their coworkers as just that, people that you see at work everyday. Athletic training is such a small and close knit profession, its hard not to feel like you are just part of a huge family. Plus, it is such a challenging and stressing job that it is nice to know that there are others who are going through the same thing and are more than happy to help you get through it. We are each other's biggest cheerleaders, while also being each other's tear-downers. Then again, what's the point of family if you can't pick on them? Like my dad always says, "We pick on the ones we love."

Weekend Recap

As I stated before, I will be updating every so often on my day to day tasks pertaining to my job. Recently, not a lot has been going on. Last week, we welcomed the new graduate assistant athletic trainers. Between last week and this week, they are participating in various orientation sessions and the athletic trainers that do not have obligations to their teams are required to attend and help out with the sessions. My team doesn't start practice until September, so I have been helping with orientation.

In addition to the orientation sessions, I have begun to start preparing for the upcoming season. In my opinion, the worst time of the year is the pre-season and post-season as there is a lot of paperwork and loose ends to tie. The pre-season consists of making sure all of the necessary medical paperwork is submitted by the student athletes, setting up times for the student athletes to take a baseline Impact test (this is a cognitive test that helps in determining presence and severity of a concussion in comparison to the baseline test), figuring out anything that the team needs for the season (such as coordinating ordering of energy bars and Muscle Milk with the strength and conditioning coach), and any other loose ends that can and do come up.

As far as triathlon training, Ben and I spent Saturday scoping out the Timberman swim and bike course. We didn't actually go swimming (except to test the water temperature), but we did bike 12.5 miles of the bike course. It would have been more except that we had already bike 11 miles the wrong way and our entire bike was through the hilliest part of the area. We did drive the rest of the bike course to get a good idea of the lay of the land. The first and last part of the course was really hilly, but the rest was generally flat. I just have to survive the bike within the time allowed (which shouldn't be beyond reach if I don't have yet another technical difficulty...hopefully, I have them all out of my system). I just need to remember to trust my training, talent and endurance to get me through this race. This is what I have been working towards since December. I can't wait to see all of my efforts turn into success.

Following our reconnaissance mission, we stopped in Nashua, NH on the way home to attend a fundraiser for my cousin's charity, Cure With Hope. It was at a pottery studio where you pick out a piece of pottery and paint it. All of the studio fee from each person goes to the charity which then goes to the oncology ward of Children's Hospital of Dartmouth. After the fundraiser, Ben and I went to dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousin. It is nice to have family only an hour away. When I was in Ohio, my closest family were my parents in Wisconsin, eight hours away. That changed when I started dating Ben as his family was only a three hour drive away, but that still makes for a lot of driving if you just visit for the day. My aunt, uncle and cousin have lived in Nashua for around 18 years, and until now, did not have any family nearby, so I think they like seeing us and much, if not more, than we like seeing them.

Two Love Letters

First Love Letter ~

Dear Owners of Small Dogs in Boston,

I am overwhelmed that you have decided to share your little bundle of joy with us on the Charles River bike path. In general, I find them to be very cute. You must be proud parents.

However, it has come to my attention that some of you have not yet seen the "Please keep your dog on a leash or you will be fined" sign, or you have seen it and have not yet or cannot read it, or you have read it and just don't care. I, like you, am a dog lover, but I don't think it is wise to avoid obeying the signs, especially while walking them on a bike path. While riding my bike over the past two months, I have seen numerous unleashed, small dogs and have nearly hit three of them. This is especially problematic as they are small and thus harder to differentiate from the squirrels which I intentionally try to hit. Thus, I have come up with three reasons why you should keep your dog on a leash (as if the $200 fine wasn't motivation enough):

1) Like I said, I like dogs just as much as you do and I would hate to see your precious child injured, or worse.
2) Bikes are expensive. And not to mention, I just had to replace mine less than a month ago because it was stolen by one of our unkind neighbors. I really don't want to (and can't afford to) replace it again, especially over something like hitting your dog.
3) Medical bills are expensive. That in addition to possibly not being able to compete in a half Ironman, would make for one really expensive accident.

To clarify for the first and final time, I will no longer risk my and my bike's safety to avoid hitting your dog as it is cheaper to replace your dog and I don't have to pay for it. I know you, like many others in Boston, feel like you are exempt from following most, if not all, rules, but rules are rules for a reason. If even after reading (assuming you can read) and considering (assuming you can consider) this letter, you feel like leashing your dog is just not for you, then I beg you to please walk your dog somewhere else. After all, it is a bike path, not a dog path.

Baffled Boston Biker

Second Love Letter ~

Dear Lexus Owners Everywhere,

It is clear from your choice in a car and/or SUV that you have good tastes. It is also safe to assume that you are fairly successful in life and have a good deal of money. For this, I congratulate and idolize you.

However, that's about where my idolization of you stops. After too many near misses to count, I am officially calling you out. I would hate to assume that you are an arrogant, entitled asshole, but you certainly drive like one. Just because you drive an expensive car, doesn't mean you can drive recklessly. Sure, there is the occasional bad BMW driver, but it doesn't run rampant among its owners like the plague as it seems to do among Lexus owners. I would have thought that if you owned something expensive that you would treat it like it was expensive and not like you're in a demolition derby. Let me clarify that it is obvious that you are intentionally an obnoxious driver, and not just unknowingly bad like some poor, unsuspecting 16 year old. Here are three real life examples of ignorant Lexus driving, but trust me, I could easily think of 10 just from today alone:

1) I was sitting at a stop light that was legitimately taking a while to change. There was an SUV next to me and a Lexus car behind them. The light had not yet changed, but the lady in the Lexus decided she had waited too long. She floored it and ended up rear ending the SUV in front of her. Just where she thinks she was going, I will never know. All I know is that the lady in the SUV was pissed!
2) My husband was driving our SUV with me in the passenger seat. There was a Lexus SUV driving in the lane to our right. We came to a curve in the road that went right. We turned right with the road. The Lexus did not. Had our mirrors been in line with each other, they definitely would have more than touched. How else was he going to merge into our lane? Using a turn signal and waiting your turn is for the poor folk. The entitled Lexus drivers own the road and do what they want. It makes more sense to make traffic stop so they can get where they need to go.
3) I was biking down the one way street (going the right way) by our house. To set the scene, the street is one way with parking on both sides and enough room for a car and a half to still drive down the middle. So there is plenty of room for a car and a bike to ride side by side down the street. Now, it is also the middle of the day, so the right side of the road, the side that I am on which has parking meters is mostly empty because no one likes to feed the meters. So I am riding down the street when a car drives up behind me and abruptly slows down to the same speed I am biking. I thought it odd at first, but then figured they were trying to avoid a pothole or a pedestrian or something. But then the odd behavior continued down the road. As if that wasn't bad enough, the vehicle then pulls up next to me and slowly starts moving over towards me. The closer it gets, the further I move over into the lane where cars normally park. As the shenanigans continue, I am slowly running out of road to my right and my front as we are coming up to a huge Ford pickup parked at a meter. The car quickly zips back into the road to avoid hitting the truck itself, and I try to attempt this maneuver as well. However, right as I'm about to clear the truck, the car that has been inches away from hitting me this whole time comes to an abrupt stop in front of me, leaving me no choice but to slam on the brakes myself. With my face inches away from the car, I notice that it was a Lexus. Surprised? I'm not.

Now, I'm sure that most of you are really great people off of the road, but for the rest of you, I have this to say. Yes, you own an expensive car. No, I do not. In fact, I personally do not own a car at all, meaning I usually walk to work and school. So as you are sitting there in your Lexus at a stop sign, waiting for me, the pedestrian (because I can't even afford a car), to cross (because I do have the right of way), tell me, do you feel entitled, punk? Well, do ya?

Last Laugh on Lexus

Core Catch-up (Week 2 and 3)

Here's an update of the core exercises I did last week, and which ones I'm doing this week. I'll probably do this week's exercises next week as well as I've only done them one day so far this week.

Week #2
Long Arm Crunches: Get into the standard crunch position, but instead of putting your hands behind your head, straighten them above your head, and perform the crunches. This creates a longer lever, so they are slightly more difficult than regular crunches.

Vertical Crunch: Keeping your knees straight(ish), bring your legs up until your hips are at a 90 degree angle. With your hands behind your head, perform crunches in this position.

Double Leg Bridge w/ Kick: Get into a crunch position, but with both arms on the ground by your sides. Tighten abs and lower back muscles and lift hips up until your knees, hips and shoulders are in line with each other. While in this position, straighten right knee, hold for one second, return right foot to the ground and then slowly lower hips back to starting position. Repeat again on the left side. In addition to working your abs and lower back, this is a good exercise for your gluts, hamstrings and quads.

Sideways Crunches: Start in the standard crunch position, then roll to your right side (keeping knees bent and hands behind head). Once in this position, lift upper body as if you were trying to touch your left hip with your left arm pit. Perform 2 x 10 and then do the same thing on the other side.

Week #3
Forward Planks: Yes, the ones that everyone hates doing. If you have never done them before, get into the position below, and hold. I am doing them 2 x 30seconds.

Side Planks: Same thing, but get into the position below and hold.

Backward Planks: Essentially the opposite of the forward planks. Rest on your elbows with body straight with your back facing the ground instead of your front.

Quadruped: Position yourself with hands and knees on the ground. Keeping back, neck and head in a straight line, contract abs and lower back muscles. While doing this, lift alternate arm and leg slowly at the same time (lift L arm and R leg at the same time, then switch to other side). Keep back very steady while doing this. Imagine there is a glass of water on your back and you don't want to spill it. If this is too difficult, perform by lifting one arm at a time only (no legs).

Pictures are from,, and

Next time, I hope to stop borrowing pictures from the web and take pictures of me performing the exercises.

i-own i-an i-touch

Over the past couple of weeks, Ben has been participating in a "Walking" Challenge through work. This "Walking" challenge consisted of tallying up all of the miles you walk each week, in addition to how many miles you ran, biked, swam, crawled, etc. At the beginning of the challenge, they were told that the winner would receive an i-thing (yet to be determined). Benny had speculations that ranged from i-pod shuffle to i-pad. Whenever he brought up the i-pad, I had to bring him down softly and tell him not to get his hopes up. He's been wanting i-everything since, well, for forever. I keep telling him there are products that are just as good, and a lot cheaper, that aren't preceded by "i". But he has openly admitted that the only reason why he really wants them is because of the Apple label. Yes, Apple owns my husband. But when this challenge arose, I saw this as an opportunity for him to get more i-things without wasting our money.

Turned out, after eight (or was it nine?) grueling weeks of "walking" (which would have been grueling anyways due to Timberman training), Benny prevailed and walked (this time literally) away with an i-touch.

I've been saving up my money (rather, my MyPoints to redeem for money) to buy an i-pod. I already have a great MP3 player that I won in a City Says contest (like Simon Says, but the DJ's name was City) at a Columbus Crew game (Benny cheated, so its sweet sweet justice that I won). It still works really well, but it won't let me put any new songs on it now, even though I have plenty of space left. After being subjected to listening to the same 200 songs over and over again for a couple of months, I figured this must be a sign to conform and get an i-pod nano.

Now, after winning his challenge, Benny has an i-pod nano, i-touch, Google's Nexus One, and immunity going into tonight's elimination. Being the kind, generous person he is, he told me I could have his i-pod. This baffled me as the i-touch and Google Nexus One are essentially the same thing, but with two small differences. The first is that the Nexus One is a phone and the i-touch isn't. The second is that the i-touch was made by Apple and the Nexus One wasn't. I didn't need phone capabilities as I already have one that I just got less than a year ago, but I would like the ability to download app[etizer]s and play games during class...and by that I mean check my email. After much persuading, I finally talked him into giving me the i-touch instead (and no, that was not a sexual innuendo).

I haven't used it very much yet, but I like it so far. The only thing I don't like about it is that all the songs on it are Benny's, and I can only listen to so much a cappella before I fall asleep walking to work ("so much" averages about 8.3 seconds).

Next mission, download songs on i-tunes.

Romeo, Romeo, Where For Art Thou Romeo

Last night was class #2 of my acting class. It consisted of more acting without words, but now it was more about facial expression and body language. We started the class with a long game of "Zip, Zap, Zop" (long because it took FOREVER before the first person got knocked out...once one went down, the rest went quickly). Then we sat in a circle and practiced memorization. The first person would say, "I'm going to California and I'm going to bring..." and they would list one item. The second person would say what the first person is bringing plus what they are bringing. It continued like this until there was about 40 items/people going on a trip (guess who's bringing the Jersey Shore cast?).

Next, we did a scene improv skit. A person would get up and go to the front of the class and would act, without words, like they were in a certain scene. Once the class figured out where they were, or thought they knew, they would go up into the scene one at a time and continue to act it out. It was pretty funny as some of the scenes were mistaken for something else (one girl was pretending to sit on a park bench, but the class thought she was sitting on a the park became a public restroom).

Finally, we were each given a piece of paper with a scenario written on it. When our turn comes up, we would have to go to the front of the class, use any props we wanted, and act out the scene for one minute, without words. The class would then try to figure out what we were acting out. My scenario was to pretend like I am waiting in a hospital waiting room to see a friend dying of cancer. As I have had two close family members die of cancer recently, it was really easy to feel and portray the emotions of someone who is possibly seeing a friend for the last time, especially due to this terrible disease.

It was definitely the best class to date. Unfortunately, we don't have class the next two Mondays, so I have a long time to wait for the next one.