M. gets to do her peds rotation is sunny Great Falls, MT in a few months. Usually this isn’t a town that I would take note of, but as I walked past a TV last night I noticed the weather for the northwest, including montana. The coldest city, by a good few degrees, was none other than Great Falls which clocked in at a balmy high of -7 degrees F. I did a little digging around and discovered, much to my surprise, that it gets cold there. Very cold. Very very cold. Even the national weather service thinks so. Here is part of their forecast:

My favorite part is their detailed description of the weather for Saturday and Sunday: COLD. Further down the page they state that while the high will be near -4 this afternoon, with wind chill that number could go as low as -31! Thats negative THIRTY ONE degrees! I’m pretty sure our brains freeze around -20, and M’s is a little less tolerant of the cold than regular warm blooded mammals. The low overnight is -35 with wind chill.

Ok, so everyone likes a little potty humour from time to time. Here’s your fix for the day. I hadn’t heard about this previously, but find it both funny and disturbing at the same time. If I ever do a marathon I’m going to have to carry a baggie with me, as I’m sure pooper-scooper laws apply to humans as well as canines:

Quote from her wikipedia page:

The race however is remembered more for a notorious moment towards the end when Radcliffe, feeling hindered by bowel discomfort and in need for a toilet break, stopped and defecated on the side of the road in view of the crowd and TV cameras which broadcast the incident live. After the race she apologised to viewers and explained what happened, “I was losing time because I was having stomach cramps and I thought ‘I just need to go and I’ll be fine’. I didn’t really want to resort to that in front of hundreds of thousands of people. Basically I needed to go. I started feeling it between 15 and 16 miles (26 km) and probably carried on too long before stopping. I must have eaten too much beforehand“. In November 2006, the incident was voted top running moment in history in the UK from a choice of ten ‘unforgettable moments’.

I finished my second triathlon and qualified for national age group championships by winning my age group last saturday. M. was a stellar support crew, making sure I got to the race with plenty of time to set up and warm up this time. We did manage to take a wrong turn on the way there, but that seems to be normal for us now. Although in her defense there are about twenty roads named “Lake Samish” in the area.

I managed to register and get a good spot in transition with all of my stuff set up to what I thought would be a good order. After that we just milled around while most of the other racers showed up. Everyone seemed to know each other and they all had very expensive bikes. But what they seem to forget is that this is a TRIathlon. You do have to swim in order to do well.

The scenery was beautiful, a mountain lake basin surrounded by douglas fir lines slopes. The water was a comfortable 72, with no milfoil! Warmed up with a bit of swimming and came in to shore after missing the bike directions. Oh well, I wasn’t going to win anyway so I figured I’d just follow someone. The swim started well, I got out fast and was in 2nd or 3rd at the first of two buoys. After rounding the second buoy the lack of swimming in the few days prior started to catch up to me and my arms blew up. I got dropped by the lead group but managed to come out of the water in 5th or 6th.

Had a good transition except for my shirt getting bunched up while trying to put it on, just like it did at Seafair. There was about a 50 yd. run with the bikes over rocks and gravel to the mount line. All the people who thought they were being slick by leaving their shoes clipped in and running barefoot were in for a pleasant surprise.

I started the bike right behind someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, but quickly fell behind as my quads and gluts started burning as if I were lying on a bed of hot coals. There was no one behind me for a while and the guy in front of me was starting to dissappear behind some turns in the road. I managed to watch him take an unmarked turn that I would have missed otherwise. I was alone for the next few miles until the cyclists started passing me like I was sitting still. A group of four or five went by on their titanium and carbon bikes in a flash of inappropriately tight spandex. I had to guess where the next turn was at a fork in the road and guessed correctly. Three or four more people passed me on the second lap. At this point I was starting to pass the people on their first lap, so this was nice.

The bike to run transition also went smoothly. I passed a guy running barefoot carrying his bike from the dismount line across the rocks. He had just passed me on the road. I managed to get my shoes on with little difficulty and the number belt that M. whipped up the night before worked like a charm.

There was a big hill right at the start of the run, but was relatively flat after that. I started passing people immediately. I haven’t been running that much in the previous weeks due to some IT band trouble, only once or twice a week for no more than 20 min. at a time, so I was surprised at this. These guys can ride a bike like crazy, but can’t swim and can barely run. It was an out and back so I started counting people ahead of me on their way back. I think I started the run in 18th or so, but finished in 15th, 3 minutes ahead of the next person in my age group. Afterwards I took a nice cool down float in the lake.

The person in charge of entering day of race registrants into the database managed to get everyone in there but me. I found this out at the awards ceremony when I didn’t get my ribbon. I managed to confirm with the race director that my overall time would be reported with the final results, so that I could qualify for nationals, but my splits were lost in the aether. Oh well.

Overall I’m pleased with my performance given my drastically reduced training in the few weeks leading up to the race. Now I start training in earnest for september and hope my knees hold out.

I just picked up my race packet and got body marked for the seafair triathlon tomorrow. I could probably use a few more weeks of training to do as well as I want, but this whole thing was kind of spur of the moment. I definitely could use some more time with my new stupid/awesome clipless pedals. I rode from the train, through downtown seattle, through eastlake and into wallingford with no problem on thursday. Then, at the second to last intersection I had to wait for a car and was feeling confident and just decided to trackstand for the half a second. Well I forgot about the 35 lbs on my back and fell directly over like a freshly chopped redwood. Luckily no one saw it, so I get back on the bike, clip in and go. Or try to at least. My chain had somehow gotten mangled in the mix up and refused to go, so down I went again. This time I was too confused as to what my chain was doing to realize I was about to fall over. I didn’t have time to prepare and bore the brunt of my weight directly on my knee. It did not feel good. It was that kind of pain where you can’t move your leg or put any weight on it, or even speak. Unfortunately for my self esteem, a mail carrier had pulled up behind just in time for the show. I had to look up, smile, and give a I’m-not-dead-just-severely-injured-but-pretending-not-to-be thumbs up, and drag myself, my limp leg, backpack and bike to the curb until the pain subsided.

I had M. do a knee exam and she said there’s just some fluid in there from the impact that is pushing on the tendons. Nothing to worry about. We’ll see tomorrow.

After pondering why in the world my waistline isn’t as slim as it was when I was 20 I remembered that, “Oh yeah, I’m lazy and sit at a desk all day.” It’s no wonder that nobody has ever used theoretical science as a weight loss program. Between the skipped meals, free cookies/pizza/(insert highly processed food here), and highly unnatural caffeine intake I’m surprised I haven’t swollen up more than I have. Looking around the halls, it seems some of my classmates aren’t as lucky.

So in order to combate my slowly inflating spare tire I have, in a momentary lapse of reason, decided to start training for some triathlons this summer. I’ve only done one or two before when I was 15 or something, so those don’t count. I’ll have a distinct advantage in the swim, which I’ll need. I ride a bike everywhere, but slowly. I can run for a long time, but slowly. Now try doing all three back to back to back, and fast. I’ve been swimming just about every day and alternating biking and running. I can tell I haven’t ridden for more than 2 miles at a time when I go on longer rides. I feel great for about 10 minutes, but then it feels like someone rubbed wasabi all over my legs and filled my tires with mercury. It’s not pretty. I even lost control and took a spill today trying to go around some inconsiderate pedestrians.

But no matter how bad I feel, it’s got to be light years better than these two:

Nils came out to Seattle while on leave last week. We had a blast. This is a clip from our adventures. I’m on the left.

Who cares what people look like anyway?

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