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Now I've Really Seen Everything

In my over a decade of exercising and competing in races, I have seen a lot of crazy thing, but my spinning class last night ranks right up there with them. One of the ladies in the class was knitting. Yes, I said knitting. I guess you're still getting some of the workout in with the leg movements, and it was an endurance ride, but still. I'm afraid I'm turning into a workout snob, but I really don't think it was appropriate. Am I wrong?
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The Donnings of a Minnesota Runner

Boy have I had some extremes in apparel in the last couple of weeks!

Two weeks ago, we were having “high” temperatures in the range of 0 degrees here in Minnesota, not counting the wind chill. So just for the heck of it, I decided to make a post out of all the clothes I was slapping on.

Here’s the list:

- Enell sports bra – hideously ugly but amazingly supportive.
- White tank top, tucked into my tights to avoid the updraft
- Thick long-sleeved technical shirt
- Thick long-sleeved technical shirt with a half zipper, just in case I need a little ventilation.
- Two pairs of spandex tights
- Smartwool socks. They’re like little massages on my feet while I’m running.
- Ski mask to keep as little skin exposed as possible
- Ear band on the outside of my ski mask for additional coverage on my ears and forehead.
- Running shoes
- Watch
- Mittens
- Reflective vest. It still gets dark very early here.

Wouldn’t you know, after 20 minutes of getting dressed, I had to pee. Then I redressed, retucked, and headed out. I was a little chilly for the first mile but the next 7 actually felt pretty good. It was afterward that I had a problem.

You can't really see it, but there are icicles on my eyelashes.
I had to lock myself in our bathroom in front of a heater drinking hot chocolate for 45 minutes before I started to warm up. Those post running chillies are a be-otch!

Fast forward one week. Orlando is having a cold spell, the chilliest it’s been in a long while: record lows. It was in the low 50s when I got there for my business conference, but it warmed up to 80 by our last day. I totally took advantage of it! I ran every day there, except for the one where I did a long swim in an outdoor pool. It felt so good to run free, and it’s unbelievably easier to get dressed when you only need shorts and a tank top. I ran 6,8, and 4 miles in the sunshine and even got a little pink on my shoulders. I came to the conclusion that my recent funk really has been the lack of sun and the crappy cold weather. Can’t wait for spring…

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The Benefits of "Grab Bag" Swimwear

In the last 2 months or so, I've given a lot of blog time to First I wrote about the gigantic purchase I made there. Then I wrote about Steph's ugly suit. I really do love the company. They've always treated me great. I've recommended them to lots of people, and yesterday, they made a lifer out of me.

I got home to find that a package came in the mail. I was at first a little confused since I hadn't ordered anything. Then I looked, saw that the sender was, and became really confused. I opened the package and found two swim suits with this letter inside:

Dear Sarah, would like to thank you for being such a loyal customer. We were utterly enthused by your recent blog post "The Dangers of 'Grab Bag' Swimwear" and we would like to express our gratitude for your excellent coverage on the suit, regardless if "crazy, cool, hot" isn't so cool. As a token of our appreciation, we have enclosed an XD Skin for you and our very own ClubSwim lap suit for Stephanie.

They sent me a $100 rockin' suit. I cannot wait to try it out, and needless to say, Steph's new suit is super cute! I never expected to get anything out of that post (except for maybe a laugh). I knew that with the grab bag, you are just supposed to expect a size and a brand. The print is up to them, so we never complained to the company. I cannot believe that they did this. I've been smiling for the last 2 days. Now that's great customer service!
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Tagged Times Two

I’ve been double tagged! First of all, can I just say that taxes totally suck when you actually have to pay? The last couple of years, we’ve had easy street since one or both of were grad students. This year, we could only claim 1/2 of a year of student-dom for me, so we had very few deductions. The damage? Not only did it cost us over 400 dollars to get our taxes prepared (we have a LOT of W-2’s, student loan forms, and there’s Steve’s home business stuff), but we actually had to pay in an extra 2000 dollars. Ouch. Definitely no bike shopping spree this year.

So… The first tag was to describe 6 weird things about me.

1. I love to go grocery shopping. I find it relaxing. I think it all stems back to my time in undergrad when I was really broke. Grocery shopping was one thing I never had to feel guilty about. Hey, you gotta eat, right? Also, I’m a huge coupon freak. I saved over 45 dollars on our last grocery bill.

2. I have never taken a puff on a cigarette or used any illicit drugs. I don’t think I’ll be starting anytime soon.

3. I have been riding a bike since I was 6 years old. I have competed in numerous triathlons. I am an Ironman, but I still cannot pop a wheelie to get up onto a curb.

4. I have a strange tendency to get goosebumps on only one side of my body at a time. It usually happens when I get a funny kiss on my cheek or a nuzzle to my neck. It also happens when Ella the Cat sticks her wet nose in my ear.

5. Up until my sophomore year of high school, I thought that running was only for people being chased. I first started running to get through the mile we would have to run for PE that spring. I guess it stuck.

6. I am a dog person. My first marathon training partner was my parents’ dog. She ran a couple of 15 milers with me. I cannot wait to have a dog to train with again sometime. Since we don’t really have the time or space for an 80 pound dog right now, we got two cats and trained them to be dogs. They now greet us at the door when we come home (including strangers!), fetch, eat dropped things off the floor, and run to the door when we get their harnesses out of the drawer. They step in them so they can go outside. I’m not kidding.

My second tag is all about tris.

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever

I trained for months. I had everything planned out. I had chunks of power bars cut up, put in a Ziploc, and twist tied to my bike. A few hundred yards into the bike, the whole contraption fell off. I considered it for a second and decided to keep going. Soon after that, I realized that something didn’t feel quite right. I soon found out that my timing chip had fallen off during the swim! I went on to finish somewhere around 3:30, I think, and when it was all over, I was so hypoglycemic that I almost threw up in the finish line food tent.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon

IM Wisconsin. I don’t even know where to begin. I remember the pain and the elation. Most of all, I remember how lucky I felt to have Steve, Steph, my brother Matt, Jess, Maddy, and all of my blogger friends there for me all day in the rain.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?

I have a couple, although neither of them are really that embarrassing, just gross. During my half IM at Chisago Lakes last year, I got to T1, set down my wetsuit, and realized that I really needed to pee, so I did. Standing up, I just let it run down my leg before putting on my bike gear. It was a grass transition area, and I just kept thinking, God, please don’t let anyone see this.

A close second: during IM WI on the bike, I looked over my left shoulder to check for any other bikers. There were none, so I haulked up a massive loogie. Just as I was letting it fly, I realized that a pro had sneaked up on me. I think I hit him. I let out an apology, but I was mortified.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?

Mile 25 of Ironman Wisconsin, I realized that I was actually going to finish for sure. At mile 26, I took off the plastic bag I had been sporting and ran the last 0.2 in the drizzle. When I finished, people all around me were trying to hold me up. I didn’t need it. I felt so alive that I could’ve done just about anything at that moment.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?

So many of them - that I have the most supportive husband in the world, that God has blessed me with so many gifts, and that my butt cannot withstand 112 miles in the rain without acquiring massive scabs (I’ll be researching Chamois Butter for next year).

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

IM Wisconsin 2007. The Big Goal is to get both Steve and Me across the finish line.

I’ll leave all of the tagging up to Steve since he got them both too :)
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I Fell off the Wagon, Then it Ran Me Over

9, 10, 12, 12, 14. I wish I could say that’s the number of hours of IM training I’ve put in the last five weeks. Unfortunately, it’s the number of hours I’ve worked the last 5 days. We’re going through some really big changes, which means a lot of extra hours. I’ve been coming home and crashing in the evenings. In the mornings, I can’t pull myself out of bed. When it comes to exercise, I think I’ve come down with rationalization syndrome.

In the mornings, it’s easy lately to tell myself that I’ll work out in the afternoon. When I get home at night, um, it doesn’t happen.

It’s going to be 20 to 40 below this weekend. It takes a whole lot to get all dressed up. Then, if I do go for a decent run, it literally takes me hours to warm up afterward. It’s post exercise chillies on steroids.

I’m supposed to be training 7-8 hours a week right now. I’m lucky if I’m getting in 3 or 4. I know it’s just a funk. I know things will get better. I had just hoped to be doing a better balancing job of all of this right now.

I am SO excited for this weekend. Tomorrow is day 12/12 of work, so in come my 2 off. Sleeping, a few hours of exercise, and some general catching up on phone calls, emails, and snail mail letters. It’s also tax time! In the past, our returns funded our bike addiction. This year, we may have to pay in, so there will be no bike shopping spree :( It’ll be good to get it done, though. My next weekend off will be spent in FLORIDA. Hooray! I’ll have to do a little research in the next couple of weeks to find out how I can fit in my workouts at the resort. Maybe I’ll just run and enjoy the sun for all 5 days.