Monday, February 25, 2008

Tastes Like Triathlon

Last week Amy spent 3 days with the flu, which sucks, but she asked me to pick her up a few bottles of Lemon Lime Gatorade. I don't know how it works for you, but for me, for 8 months out of the year Gatorade is a staple item. When we lived in Minnesota, and I'd drive to my favorite running/cycling spot, I'd end up with a tidy little mountain of empty bottles in the passenger seat floor. And, since I generally stick to the Endurance formula, of which there are only two flavors (Lemon Lime & Orange) and Lemon Lime is my favorite, that particular taste sensation is uniquely me.

But then comes the offseason, and by that time Gatorade is usually the very last thing I'm interested in. In fact, at Ironman '06, much earlier in the run than I would have liked or expected, I had a sudden revolt against Gatorade. Just...took a sip, and my body said "no more". Which made for an interesting hydration/sodium situation the rest of the race, but I digress. Anyway, it's been since summer that I've drank a Lemon Lime Gatorade, and since last summer was such a wash with the injury and all, it's really been since '06 that it's been the Official Drink of Me.

So it was Thursday, I think, and I had been working late, and had a million things on my mind, none of which were related to the game, and I opened the fridge and thought a shot of Gatorade would be tasty. I was distracted, though, thinking on a work project, as I mindlessly opened it (by the way, what's with the welding-on-of-the-lids with Gatorade?) and poured a bit into a glass and raised it to my mouth.

BAM. It's hot, it's August, and I'm 3 hours into my 4 hour ride, on the home-stretch, and just stopped at a gas station in the little town of Isanti (holla, Mike!) for a refuel. I'm trim and cut and my legs feel like pistons and I'm wondering if I can average 20mph the last mile home. I am becoming Ironman, and the deep green of summer is the backdrop to these epic days of my life. I can even smell it; fresh, organic, thick.

It actually kind of startled me, this reaction simply to a drink - first, that I was so easily interrupted from my other trains of thought back to the summer of '06. Second, that my reaction was what it was - of all the things, that's what came to mind for me. I wonder why. Could be countless other memories and experiences tied to the green elixir, but there you go - this one ride, this one day (I even remember the gray cycling jersey I was wearing) came in loud and clear, like some kind of ethereal radio transmission. But suddenly I wasn't thinking about work, or that it was 10 at night, or that I've been living in some snow-cursed version of Narnia under the White Witch's thumb. Just then I would have given just about anything to throw on some lycra, jump on Ol' Blue, and ride the wind like we have done together so many many times.

All from a sip of the green stuff.


Stop me if you've heard this one:

There's a storm coming.

In fact, headline today from The Capital Times website: "Another Monday, Another Storm Coming"

The (previous) record for snow around here is 73-something inches. This winter we have high 80's-something inches of snow. Last weekend we had rain, which laid this perfect foundation of slick, thick ice on the world, then 6 or 8 inches or something of snow, and a few more inches throughout the week. We finally had temperatures in the 30's this weekend, so a bit of thaw could get underway, but that bottom layer of ice has just made everything treacherous. It's been impossible to neatly clean up or shovel, so sidewalks and streets are these jagged, rutted things with maybe an occasional clearing here and there. It'll take several more days of warm to get this stuff melting away - and those days aren't coming this week, at least. My walk wasn't even a walk - it was like walking on embers, each step taken carefully to seek balance before the next one. And the roads are no more clear. It's awful. Impossible.

I had hoped that maybe this week it would all start to wind down, and maybe a guy could start to get into the groove again - but this morning (again, stop me if you've heard this one), we'll have rain, turning to sleet this afternoon, turning to snow, then to heavy snow, then to flurries. 6-8" of the white stuff possible.

My entryway during the last storm. That was fun to shovel.

But - what can I do, but bitch about it? I realized while walking the dogs that this is like a forced injury or something. I feel as helpless for the elements as I did when it was my body making me incapable of routine. So - you do what you can. Exercise where possible. I may start hitting the water earlier than I'd planned, just to be doing something. I'm so ready for spring. So, so ready.


So hey - have your own Gatorade story? Or Clif bar story, or GU story, or smell-of-chlorine-story, or whatever? I'm interested if you feel like sharing, here or at your blog, just let me know. Cool though, isn't it? Like we all have the same songs on the radio to take us to the same general place.

I love this game. Here's to the days we get to play it.

Apple Duathlon 2005

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Stop me if you've heard this one -


ALL it has done since November is snow here. Honestly. I've been out a minimum of twice each week with a full-on snowblower agenda. It's rarely a light dusting or a few flurries - it's like 3 inches minimum. It's actually been record snowfall here, so I'm not just wussing out. I'm so sick of winter I could throw the hell up. It's killing my mojo and boring me senseless. Cabin fever isn't even the right word - I feel incarcerated. And it's only mid-February.

It makes running no good. Not because I don't like running in winter - I do - but because if you figure 2 majorish snow events a week, that means the day of, and the day after - while the city cleans up - are really no good for running, unless I'm up for a sand-like workout. And it's been cold as hell, too - like, below 5 degrees. I'm not having it. This sucks.

So - I've actually taken this time of forced solitude to get some other things done. I'm working on a huge work project that's a lot of fun and also pretty cool. Dakota is, of course, a ridiculous blast. I've redone my office. It's meant less running than I wanted - but I can cope with that - the offseason is for offseasoning. I'm not going to beat my head against the wall with this stuff, or get myself into the trouble I did last season, when I wasn't doing enough and got injured. If I need to wait it out a little until it warms up just enough for major snowstorms to bypass us and streets to be clear, s'okay - I'll push my season back accordingly. I'm not going to fight mother nature here - life is too short. But that doesn't make me any less sick of winter.

The grand eating experiment? Interestingly, the weather is another significant factor in its success. Besides affecting the exercise schedule, which is symbiotic with the healthful eating, it's harder to get out and do the right shopping when the snow in my driveway is literally mid-torso (like it was on last week's storm). But there's also a mental disengagement - you want to kind of curl up with comfort food against the elements. Or, you get to what's convenient, which if that doesn't mean ordering something up, it means "whatdowegot around here?" It was another thing where I came to realize - this isn't the right time, or battle to fight. So. I finished my 6 weeks with a B-. BUT, I learned what to do to accomplish an A, and that's harder than I would have thought. I intend to try again when the sun comes out. Meanwhile, I'll stay hibernating for a bit longer, physically. Mentally, and emotionally - I'm ready to roll. So let's bring this springtime on already!

Meanwhile - hello everybody, a few new faces introduced lately, and it's lovely to have you here. The faces logo seems to be of interest, so stand by on something exciting that I'm brewing up with that. For now - back to my hole for a little while longer, lest I see my own shadow and freak myself out.