Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Pesky RBCs

Rood blood cells.  Who else has a tough time keeping these little suckers from escaping your body?  What are your tricks and tips?

Ever since I took up endurance sports, I have struggled with being anemic.  The cycle looks something like this: train my ass off for a few weeks, start getting really cranky, fall asleep in inappropriate places such as the bathroom and work meetings, isolate myself from the world because I'm so incredibly tired, start getting dizzy at odd times, and then the lightbulb goes off.  Then I start taking ridiculous amounts of iron supplements, multi-vitamins, and inhale red meat like a proper cavewoman.  The side effects of the extra iron are unpleasant, so as soon as I start feeling better, I quit taking them.  Rinse and repeat.

This isn't working for me.  So, interwebs, whatcha got for me?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshots

Time for a weekly photo upload to clean out the phone.

1) Florida sunrise from my hotel a couple of weeks ago.
2) Long run last Saturday through industrial downtown Vancouver.
3) Long ride last Sunday - the view from Women's Forum in the Columbia River Gorge.

4) Sunset at Pearson Air Field during a mid-week run.  It's awesome to watch small planes like Cessnas buzz just overhead for the landings.
5) The pool where I pretend to swim.
6)  Me hiding dirty Ironman-training hair, and getting ready for some "fake golf" at Edgefield.
7) Ken looking for his errant golf ball in the bushes.
8) Julie and I bored with fake golf.

9) Long ride this week - the view from Crown Point. We're pretty lucky here in the Pacific NW!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Big Boobie Challenge

Sorry guys, this post is for the ladies.  The challenge is on.  I need a new sports bra.  I have only one single style that works, and I'm ready for something new.  The problem is that I have some pretty big girls, and taming them is no easy task.  So here's the deal.  I'm going to do all the hard work for y'all.  I'm going to thoroughly test up to 10 different styles of high intensity sports bras and post in-depth reviews here.  But I need your help.  Send me suggestions - bras you loved, bras you hate, and maybe some that you've been dying to try but for whatever reason haven't done so yet.  Either post in the comments section, or send an email to

The criteria...bras must be:
* Designed for high intensity.
* Made in larger sizes.  I'm a 34DD, so if it only goes up to a D, it's a no go.  Specific bra sizes are preferable to S-L type sizing.
* Be made out of synthetic material.  I'll be swimming/biking/running in this thing, upwards of 17 hours at a time, and wet cotton won't mix well with that kind of activity.
* Any style will do.  Straight straps, racer back, under wire, soft cups, etc.  All styles welcome!

The categories:
* Comfort.  Number 1 priority.
* Overall support and fit.  Bounce control.  Smooshing.   Chaffing.  Lift and separation.  You get the idea.
* Wicking and breathability.  See category above regarding chaffing.
* Durability.  This might be hard to evaluate with only a few wearings, but sometimes it's obvious.
* Style.  For those of you brave enough to go topless and actually care what this thing looks like.  I don't.  But you might.
* Value.  When you go through 7-10 sports bras per week, money is certainly a concern.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Open Water Fear...I Get It Now

For as long as I can remember, I have had a crazy love for the water.  I learned how to swim in the bay off the Washington Coast.  Many of my childhood memories are of diving into campground pools, jumping off docks at local lakes, or getting tossed in the ocean waves on both coasts.  Even as an adult, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to play in the water.  I'm not a huge fan of grinding out difficult sets at the lap pool.  But put me in some open water and I'm a happy girl.

A lot of my triathlon friends have struggled with the fear of being in open water.  I never really understood those emotions, but I'm sympathetic to them.  But not being able to relate, it makes it difficult to help.

This past week I was visiting the St. Augustine area for business, which is right on the eastern coast of Florida.  One night after work I headed into the Atlantic Ocean for an hour workout.  While I'm fairly comfortable in the open ocean, it is a little unnerving to be swimming solo in unfamiliar waters.  Especially since it was approaching dusk, and somewhere in my life I heard that is when the sharks feed.  Sounds reasonable I guess.  It also happened to be Shark Week on Discovery Channel, and we all know that's when they come out and patrol the crowded beaches looking for their next meal!

Note: I usually would not endorse solo swimming of any kind in open water.  Especially the ocean, where conditions are not necessarily obvious to us above water.  However, the beach was lined with many people, including life guards.  And since I was the only dork wearing a cap/goggles/functional swimsuit, I had a lot of eyes on me.  I was also swimming parallel to the shore.

The Florida shores are fairly shallow, so I had to go out a ways to reach water that was deep enough for consistent swimming.  I start swimming laps parallel to shore, trying not to think about what might be lurking a few feet away in the opaque water.  Then suddenly I saw a splash just off my left side in slightly deeper water.  Gah!  What was that?!?  I keep swimming, breathing to that side to keep an eye on the water.  SPLASH again!  And then SPLASH, SPLASH, SPLASH.  Dozens of fish were jumping out of the water.  Some inches from my face.  Some were even TOUCHING me!  I try not to go into full freak-out mode, but I'm thinking "Why are they jumping?  Are they running from a shark?"  My heart starts racing and my mind is running out of control.  "What are these things?  Piranhas?  Am I going to get gnawed on?"  Don't judge.  Once panic sets in, the mind just isn't very rational.

I stop swimming, pop off my goggles and look around. No one else seems concerned. They are all just standing and staring at the flying fish.  If the locals are cool with it, then I must be good to go.  I side step a bit closer to shore and resume swimming.  But now I'm swimming with my eyes open underwater, because if I'm going to become someones dinner, I want to see it coming.  Besides, maybe I can punch it in the nose like they do in the cartoon's.  Again, the mind isn't reasonable when you're scared.  I'm starting to get a bit nauseous from staring at the moving sand, but it's worth it.  I've gotta be able to fight that shark.  And then UP comes the pre-workout banana.   Yuck, but wow I feel better.   However, I've now chummed the water for Mr. Shark and all of his buddies.  I've gotta get out of here fast.

So I'm swimming along, alternating my breathing, focusing on form.  Wow, I'm really going fast.  I rule!  I breath towards shore to the right and the buildings don't really look familiar anymore.  I stop swimming and I'm still hauling ass down shore.  Oh dang, I've landed myself in a rip current.  I stand up. Because, remember, I'm in Florida and even though I'm a hundred meters off-shore, I can still touch the ground.  I turn around and start swimming back up.  No progress.  I try just walking through the water.  Ugh, that's hard.  Light bulb!  I'll practice my dolphin diving!  So I start diving down and launching myself up out of the water.  Over and over again.  I'm getting somewhere now.  But so is my stomach.  Again.  I finally get to a point where the rip isn't as strong and I can resume swimming.  I finish off the workout and haul my battered ego out of the water.  Vowing never to swim in the ocean during shark week again.