Monday, February 26, 2007


I went for an absolutely dreadful run yesterday. It was my long run day, 36 degrees and raining outside with wind whipping the rain into my face seemingly from every direction. I stepped in a puddle almost immediately and had wet socks, got a blister underneath my toe that split my toe open. I only discovered this later when I was scrubbing my foot with my lovely Grapefruit Chamomile sea salt scrub that I use after running and realized I'd just poured salt into an open wound - yeeeeow! Not recommended.

The run just never materialized into anything resembling fun, and I was starting to feel pretty damn sorry for myself when I passed this spot on the running trail, near the University football stadium and was suddenly taken back over twenty years to a November day when I was in college. On the way to classes in the nearby art buildings, I heard something that sounded like gunfire. We later found out that a student had taken up a position in the stadium with a sniper rifle and was firing at people. He shot and killed an Olympic runner who had also competed on the University Track team: Chris Brathwaite, near the spot I was running past yesterday.

I hadn't thought of that name in decades, but it came immediately to mind. He was a sprinter, originally from Trinidad & Tobago who had competed in two Olympic games. It's not unusual when you're out running on the paths in our town to be overtaken by Olympians past and present. I've been blown past by some of the best runners in the world out there: Marla Runyan, Alberto Salazar, and Mary Decker-Slaney to name a few. Twenty-three years ago, Chris Brathwaite was just out doing exactly what I was doing yesterday (only probably a good bit faster): going for a jog on the beautiful bark trails envisioned by Steve Prefontaine that pass along the river. He didn't know it would be his last run, and probably never knew what hit him.

From that point forward in my run, I vowed to stop whining and letting the weather get me down. I had let the rain bring my run down to a drudgery, but I squared up my shoulders, concentrated on my form, and tried my best to ignore the cold. A funny thing happened: my run got a whole lot better. It felt more like a gift to be out there running, even in the freezing rain, than a chore. As the legendary Prefontaine once said "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." I had definitely not been giving my best, but the memory of Chris Brathwaite's last run on that spot had brought back how precious it is to have this gift at all. As I've been struggling this last week with appreciating the gift of the last few days of my dog's life, this lesson seems to be one I'm destined to be presented with again and again.

This is not to say that I hope fervently that my next long run is not going to be accomplished in sleet and freezing rain, but even if that's the way the cards fall, I'll try to keep yesterday's lesson in mind.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hanging In There

Thanks to all for the kind words and thoughts on my dog. He's still with us, possibly until tomorrow (the uncertainty is the worst part right now, trying to find a time when the vet can be here, my husband can get off of work, and the kids can have a friend's house to go to.)

In the meantime, my sister came to visit this weekend and we had a great time. I went swimming with her and realized again what a natural athlete she is. She hasn't swum in a year and she got in the pool and knocked off laps faster than many of the Master's swimmers and triathletes in adjacent lanes. Must be something in the ol' genes (and her feet aren't even a size 11 like mine)! She and I have done triathlon relays and triathlons together (including one notable one in Seattle with absolutely pouring down rain in August where we wore garbage bags around the race start for an hour or so.) and maybe we'll get to do that again, she's a bunch of fun to hang out with.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Saying Goodbye To A Good Friend (And Running Partner)

I used to have this great running partner, the best kind: energetic, fun, always up for a few miles no matter what the weather. He was young, just a teenager, and he could literally run circles around me, but he never minded that he was so much faster than I was, and I always felt great when I ran with him. Now he's an old man, almost 100, and he can barely limp around the block. His hearing is going, his eyesight too, hips are arthritic and mostly he sleeps. When he sees me pick up my running shoes, he sometimes gets momentarily excited, forgetting that he'd be wheezing before we hit the corner stop sign.

There are few beings on this earth as unerringly kind, forgiving, loving, protective, humbling, thoughtful, and faithful as my friend Sabre. I love him so much. The hardest thing about loving a dog though is that their life is lived on fast-forward. Just as you get used to their puppy antics, they're heading into middle age, and by the time you take for granted that they'll run another 10-miler tomorrow, old age is just around the corner. Then it's here.

Today we took Sabre to the beach for the last time. I have to admit that I've been secretly hoping he'd die peacefully in his sleep, because this is a decision I didn't want to have to make for him, but the time has come. My husband got him for my birthday the year we met, and that was fourteen years ago. We have had Sabre as our constant companion for our entire married life, and the kids have always known him as their friend and protector. If you ever wanted to see an agitated dog, all you had to do was have one kid running in one direction and one in the other. As a herding dog, Sabre's one life mandate was "look after your flock" and he would anxiously sprint from one to the other if they were ever separated. On family hikes with friends, he would constantly run from the front of the line of hikers to the back, ceaselessly ensuring that we were all safe and accounted for. Though he now walks with difficulty, he still followed the kids everywhere they went on the beach today, no matter how long it took him. Even now, I think it is his noble sense of duty that keeps him hanging on, long past when it seems that his body should be giving up. I'm pretty sure that in his doggy mind, he's convinced that he simply must look after us or some great harm will fall upon us. He has kept us safe for all of these years, and sometimes when I look in his eyes I know he will not let go, no matter how much pain he is in, if only for this reason.

So the time is upon us when we have to make the decision to say goodbye. There is not a dog on this planet who has had a better life, been more loved, gone to more beaches and forests and snowy mountains, camped with and been loved by more kids and adults, been cherished more by his family. If you look back through our family photo albums he is a constant, always by our sides. He's lying next to the kids as they read a book on the couch, he's next to the campfire or walking next to us, no matter where we are. Sabre's spirit has touched everyone he has met. Even walking him down the street, people would stop and comment on what a kind face he had, what a gentle spirit. If you are reading this blog and have a prayer or a good thought to send this way, let it be that I have the strength to say goodbye to a good friend who deserves an easy and peaceful end to a life well lived.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mind Games

I did all the right things yesterday morning: ate a good breakfast and got my running gear together with plenty of time to spare. The weather looked terrible so I even took the time to hunt down my ear warmers and waterproof gloves. I dropped M. off at his friend's house and A. at her dance class. My usual Tuesday run is right from the dance studio parking lot because the bike path goes along the river there and it's a beautiful run. But it was incredibly cold out and the freezing rain was just pouring down. Thanks to a recent entry by J. at Ironmanlife, I also know that the Mind Chill factor was not to be discounted, it felt ten degrees colder than it probably was in reality. In short, I just didn't want to run.

This is a pretty unusual thing for me. As a person who treasures her time alone, my workout times are usually sacred. I don't miss one unless I'm on death's door or the sky is falling. But the yuckiness of the weather can't be minimized, it was really ugly out there. I knew that regardless of how much Goretex I stacked on, I'd be wet to the skin and freezing in minutes.

So it was time to bring out the mind games. When your brain is resisting doing something, you can often get yourself to do it anyways just by turning things around a little. I do this sometimes in the middle of a workout ("I'll just swim another 10 laps and then I can stop", repeat as necessary) but this time required some creativity. I decided to drive to my gym, where I could run laps inside or even just sit in the hot tub if I wanted to. Once I was at the big parking garage for the gym, I knew I still wanted to run, and a solution presented itself to me. After 9:30 and before the lunch rush, no one really comes in and out of the garage, so I decided to run laps up and down the circular levels of the garage. It was still cold, but at least I wasn't getting rained on, and I told myself I could stop at any time and go in and sit in the hot tub. It was actually kind of cool and novel, so I enjoyed the first 15 minutes or so. Just when I was getting bored, the rain miraculously stopped and I headed out on the streets.

Just a few blocks away on the north end of town, I discovered a trail up a small butte that I hadn't known about, with rock steps leading up to a great view out over the city. So I got a lot of unexpected hill work in between the parking garage and the butte, and ended up with an easy jog along the river. When all was said and done, a hot shower was waiting for me and as usual, I was glad that I'd taken the first step after all.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's Just a Shirt

It's Friday night, the end of a long week. The stacks of clean clothes have gotten smaller, the laundry pile looms larger. I'm heading out to a volleyball game and go to grab a clean t-shirt. None of the nicer ones will do, I don't want to get those sweaty. None of the tight ones, I want to be able to move easily. None of the really ancient spotted ones, those are for gardening. My stack of loose, reasonably clean comfy t-shirts is down to one. The one I never wear. My Ironman finisher's shirt.

I don't fully understand why I don't wear it. Much of the time it's because it's a pretty ugly grey shirt with big black and orange words on it: not the type of thing I'd wear anyways, regardless of what it says. But tonight that really doesn't matter. Who cares about aesthetics when you're dripping sweat and diving to the floor? Tonight it's because of the what it says: those gigantic orange letters saying that I'm an Ironman Finisher. And while I'm very proud to have done an Ironman, I guess it's not something I feel all that comfortable proclaiming to the world like a big flashing sign that says Aren't I cool?. I have the same problem to a slightly lesser degree with my marathon finisher's shirt, which is at least quite nice looking. But every time I wear it, I get those "Wow, you finished a marathon!" comments which make me feel vaguely uncomfortable.

In a related incident, at karate the other day we sat down in a circle for one of our sensei's mini-lectures on the Theme of the Month. This month it is Fight. Not fight as in putting your fist through someone else's solar plexus, but fight as in fighting for your goals. Sensei asked us to raise hands and to tell about some goal that we really fought for. I never raised my hand. What can I say? I dislocated my foot in the first thirty minutes of a twelve hour race, and then biked 112 miles and ran a marathon. Finishing was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I smiled all the way to the line. That's fighting for my goals, but I am always cognizant of that feeling of one-upping when I talk about the things I've done. It's nothing new, I've spent a lifetime doing the things that many people dream of, and some things that most people would never even think of trying. I've been exceedingly lucky to have the opportunities I've had, to survive some of the crazy stunts, and I've also worked hard for many of the things I've really wanted. But in a group of people, I often keep my mouth shut until I know them well enough to feel comfortable sharing my experiences.

When it comes down to it, that's probably why putting on The Shirt is difficult. It's like shouting out to a crowd of people you don't know that you've done something so hard that most people find the thought of it intimidating. It makes you sort of intimidating yourself and perhaps unreachable. Yet in the end, I wore The Shirt, it being the only clean one in the pile that fit the bill for an evening of volleyball. I got a couple of double-takes from the opposite team and no comments whatsoever. After awhile, I more or less forgot I was wearing it and ceased to think about it. I probably ponder these things far too much anyways. After all it's just a shirt. Maybe I'll even wear it again some time.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Running, Anyways

I spent the last weekend at my mom's house near where I grew up. When we visit, I usually bring at least my running shoes, and often my bicycle as well. She lives on the edge of the Rogue River Valley in Oregon and there are many beautiful places to bike and run around there.

So on Saturday, when I laced up my runnning shoes to go out, I was really looking forward to a nice medium-long run through the hills near her house. Although the weather had been beautiful all morning, some storm clouds moved in and a few sprinkles of rain had started falling. My mom asked me if I still planned on running, and I said of course. I live in the Pacific Northwest and if I didn't run when it was raining, I might not leave the house for months.

During the run, the rain came and went, sometimes lightly, and then one quick downpour. Eventually it went back to sprinkling and then disappeared entirely. A rainbow appeared over the oak trees on the hill, so dazzling that I stopped to take a picture. I ran by some goats who bleated and came to the fence to greet me, so I had to take another brief stop to pat their wooly heads and feed them some grass. The air warmed up and that feeling overcame me that happens on the best of runs. The French have the best phrase for it: Joie de vivre, joy of life. The feeling that all of life is flowing through you and it's all good.

I think that there's a fundamental change that happens when running (or bicycling or swimming or canoeing or skiing or whatever your sport of passion happens to be) becomes an integral part of your life. It's no longer something that you look for an excuse not to do, it's something you seek out and want to do. It's something you're disappointed if you don't get to do. There have been spates of bad weather where I didn't run. I won't run if it's icy and dangerous, and I did take myself to the indoor track at our gym one day to run dismal laps (sixteen of them makes a mile, so you can imagine how monotonous that gets) but even then I ran anyways. I ran because I always feel worse if I don't, because even when it's hard to get going, it always feels better to have finished. So yes mom, I'm going to run in the rain. See you somewhere over the rainbow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To the Ones I Love

My husband knows just what this woman likes for Valentine's Day. No, I don't need a big bouquet of roses, no diamonds for this gal, chocolate - well, he went by my favorite local company and brought home truffles for all of us. But he knows what I really like. Like when he calls home and says "I noticed it was sunny outside and I have a few hours off. Why don't you get your bike ready and you can go for a ride before it gets dark." He knows how to get our kids to the right place on a course to give me a boost of cheering and enthusiasm right when I need it most. He has even learned to operate a camera in a reasonable manner and get some great shots along the way. He stands behind my dreams and aspirations, finds a way to make them happen. He was the one person who knew my dream was the Ironman, years before I would reveal that to anyone else.
My kids are the most awesome little things on the planet. Their smiles could carry me through anything, and they somehow never stop believing I can walk on water, even after they've seen me at my best and worst. They're willing to support me in my goals, just as I support and help them achieve theirs.

And I just spent this weekend visiting with both of my parents. Sometimes it really strikes me just how much I owe them, both what I learned from them and what I inherited from them. They're both such go-getters, dreamers, hard-workers, people who get enthusiastic about life and the endless possibilities it offers. My mom has done a half-marathon with me, she kayaks and walks and is never afraid to try new things. In the first throes of retirement, she's already got two trips planned and a host of activities lined up. My dad has an easy smile and a big laugh, I inherited my love of flying from him and probably a big sense of adventure (not to mention thrill-seeking - my dad took me on my first flight and gave me my first motorcycle). Both of my parents have gone skydiving with me. They're young at heart and still so youthful that I can't believe they're in their 60s and 70s already.
We're not big on Hallmark Holidays in our house, not a lot of fuss goes on with cards and presents and big boxes of chocolates. But where it counts, in our hearts, it's Valentines Day every day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Now Here's A Sport I Can Really Suck At

Bowling. Yep. Bowling. My mom is in an organization that sets up a charity bowling event every year and this time around the kids and I joined her as a team. Let's just say that bowling isn't our forte'. I had the high score after three games: 111 (you can quit laughing now.) The kids beat their grandma in almost every game (bumpers helped) and a fun time was had by all. Sometimes it's nice to do something that is so ludicrous you really don't care how it all turns out.

I actually grew up just a few houses down from one of the greatest bowlers of all time (Marshall Holman), and he's probably part of the reason that my relatively small hometown has one of the best bowling alleys on the West Coast (complete with Marshall Holman trophy and photo corner.) and they now host the PBA tour there. I think I need to rent Kingpin again to round out my week - that slow-mo of Bill Murray bowling with his custom bowling ball and his comb-over flying up in the air is priceless.

Unfortunately, my right arm was really sore for swimming tonight, undoubtably due to flinging 14 pound balls down a lane for a couple of hours. So I don't think I'll be aiming for the PBA tour anytime in the near future.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


My mom likes to tell a funny story about when I was born. I had such big shoulders that when I was about halfway out the doctor said "Look at those shoulders, this one's a football player for sure!". Except of course I was a girl. He was close though. Not a football player but a swimmer was born.

The water has always called to me. As a child, I dreamed I was a dolphin who'd been born into a human's body. I read Jaques Coustaeu and watched his TV specials, I cried when I listened (over and over and over) to John Denver's song "Calypso", the only song that moved me to tears. My parents knew that if I got into a pool, or river, or lake, or ocean, that they would have to drag me out by my heels to get me away from the water, and one of our most memorable family vacations was spent at a hotel complex in San Diego that had seven swimming pools. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Unfortunately, I lived in a reasonably small town and there was only one swim coach for both the city team and the high school team. A grumpy man with a loud shout and constantly-blowing whistle, he did not so much inspire as berate his swimmers into performing. I dropped off the city team after than one season, tried it again in high school and only made it a week or two. I always swam for pleasure, but did not seem to be destined to become a competitive swimmer.

Luck was on my side though, because in college I took a swimming class for credit that was taught by the assistant University team coach. He convinced me to walk onto the swim team, and I met the head coach who would turn out to be the single most influential person in my life, outside of my parents. After taking one look at me, he said "Shoulders. Feet. You're going to swim butterfly."

"But coach, I don't really know how to swim butterfly!"

"That doesn't matter. With shoulders like those, you're a butterflier." And so I was. That photo is me at age 20. No kidding, those are butterflier shoulders.

My love for sport was born. My coach insisted we all do a triathlon as cross-training and I found my true passion there. But although I've had twenty years now as a triathlete, running and biking as well as swimming, I will always be first and foremost A Swimmer.

Some people say biology is destiny and from a sports viewpoint I can't argue with that. This year I'm trying to become a faster runner, but one look at my body and you can see I'm optimized for water, not land. For starters, I have an extremely short torso. I can stand with my hips level with a friend who is 5' tall and we're the same height, yet when I stand up I am 5'7". I pray that high-waited pants never come back in fashion, because my waist is roughly one inch below my bust and I look like a total gomer if I ever tuck a shirt in. When I was pregnant, I looked like I was carrying a missile silo because the baby had no place to go but straight out. Along with my lack of torso, I have massively long and flexible arms and legs, capped by enormous hands and feet. I wear the same shoe size as my husband, and a full glove size larger. I can span an octave + 2 easily on the piano. Hands like shovels, feet like flippers. I trip over them running, but I can kick 50 yards in 55 seconds. Couple those long arms, shovel hands, and flippered feet with the fact that I can rotate my shoulders 360 with ease and bend my arms around like a pretzel, and you've got one swimmer's body.

My children have inherited much of my physique as well. My son at age 10 can already borrow my shoes. Yep, never let it be said I didn't give my kids a solid foundation in life (that's actually my dad's joke, he used to say that when I'd complain about my big feet). My son's shoulders actually got...ahem.. stuck during childbirth. Luckily for him, he's a boy. Boys with big shoulders are complimented, punched roundly on the shoulder with a "he's a big tough guy" kind of bonhomie. Big shouldered girls are another story. Actually, I was fortunate to hit teenagerhood in the eighties. Those of you who lived through that era of big puffy-shouldered jackets and blouses know what I mean. I just took the shoulder pads out of every shirt and jacket I bought and was happily in style for a few years. But in general, shoulders like a linebacker are not what every girl dreams of. My daughter has inherited my shoulders and I am very cognizant of the words and messages she hears about her body.

It starts so young. Carrying around my solid bruiser of a baby boy, I got no end of compliments: "What a sturdy fellow you've got there.", "That kid'll be a bruiser for sure.". Carrying around my sturdy infant girl, I got "Aren't you concerned that she's a little too chubby?" I'm not kidding! The messages we get about big strong bodies start in infancy, and that to me is sad. So when my daughter mentions that she has big shoulders, I say "Yep, you've got a really strong body like I do, and I bet you'll be a great swimmer too!" (she already is, and I can't get her out of a pool without pulling her out by her heels like my parents experienced with me). I don't tell her "you've got a figure like an oatmeal box" , which is what I was told at a young age.

And truth be told, it's not a bad thing, these big shoulders, these long legs, the hands that span an octave+, the feet big enough to ski on. I know I will never break 6 minutes in a running mile in my life, but I'll see you on the other side of the lake in no time.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Killer Swim Breakfast

Here's my best breakfast invention for the cold winter months. This is great about an hour before a cold morning swim:

Cook up some steel cut oats, add chopped pecans, walnuts, raisins and dried cranberries. After the oats are cooked and slightly cooled, mix one raw egg and some milk, stir into oatmeal mixture and cook in pan or microwave until mixture custardizes (if that's a word). Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. It's kind of like rice pudding meets killer oatmeal. Yummmmm!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Karma's Kick and Life Lessons

So maybe I felt a little too sorry for myself over the last couple of weeks. Husband gone, one mom staffing this lone parenting outpost and urban farm by myself, trying to do it all, not exercising as much as I usually do, and that always puts me a little more on the edge. But underneath it all is the layer of knowledge that I have a good life, a wonderful life, a filled with abundance of family, friends, activities, good times, and yes all the things that make life easier (money, a roof over my head, healthy food to feed our kids, that kind of thing). But I was feeling sorry for myself, and that's probably why I got a swift karma kick to the rear this week.

In one day, an amazing number of things happened to remind me of all that is truly important. It started in the early afternoon. After our morning karate class, I stuffed my van full of 4 families' kids and took us all to the park to enjoy the sunny weather. We had so many kids in the van that my friend K. (whose kids were part of the menagerie) rode her bike and met us there. The kids ran around like crazed animals and a good time was had by all. On the way home in the middle of the road, an older gentleman had fallen out of his wheelchair, so we pulled the car into an alley and K. and I got out and helped him back in.

Lesson #1: Can you imagine how helpless you would feel if you fell out of your wheelchair in the middle of the road and couldn't even stand up to get back in? So Robin, you've been complaining about how hard your workouts were this week, how tired your legs were feeling. Don't you really think you should be appreciating your long, strong, healthy, go-the-distance legs?

Later I went to work at the pool with one of my coaching clients. After I was done with coaching, I donned my cap and goggles and settled in for a few laps. Because I've been a lifeguard and swimmer for more than half of my life, there's a third eyeball somewhere on my head that always keeps track of where people are in the pool area, especially kids and elderly people. A kid that was bobbing up and down in the hot tub disappeared from view and I stopped mid-lap. His mom was in conversation next to the tub, and I couldn't see his head. Turned the bubbles off in the hot tub and sure enough he was under water. There's a ledge that goes around the outside of the tub and he had probably just slipped off of it and into the water that was over his head. With the jets on, the water is so bubbly you couldn't see him at all. He was fine, just a momentary scare. I'm very grateful for that 3rd eyeball.

Lesson #2: Do you really take the time every day to appreciate your kids? I feel so lucky that in my unschooling life with them, we spend a lot of time together. I get to be involved in their projects and passions, watch them play and interact. But even so, in two weeks of solo parenting, I probably snap at them more, get irritated at the constant chaos and mess that is living with young, active, eager and curious kids. Every day is a gift. Even every mess is a gift. Every blob of toothpaste spilling out of a tube with no lid. Remember that, Robin.

After swimming I go into the locker room and shower. There's a wallet and keys on the counter when I go in, still there when I get out of the steam room and then the shower, still there after I get dressed. After calling around to everyone in earshot, I take them up to lost and found.

Lesson #3: Don't forget to be thankful for the life you're able to live and the money that makes it possible. You might be alone Robin, but it's because your husband is out there somewhere flying, making a living that enables your life to be relatively easy. You know what it's like to live with no money, and even with no house and no food other than some Top Ramen and government-surplus rice and cheese. Like that lost wallet, such things can come and go quickly in life and you know this too.

I ride my bike towards home, I stop at my friend's house to pick up my son. We start walking towards home in the dark. Up ahead in the round spotlight of a street lamp, a man staggers into an intersection, face bloody, and falls down in the middle of the road. We rush toward him, pulling out my cell phone and dialing 911. The man is about my age, crying, face a bloody mess, smelling of alcohol from 10 feet away. He's sobbing something about his wife and kids leaving him. I don't know how or why he's injured, or what his mental state might be (other than distraught). I move my son a safe distance away, and every time the man's hand goes toward a pocket, I tense. Another cyclist stops, then a motorist, three neighbors come out of houses, one goes back for some blankets. We use our blinking red bicycle lights to keep traffic away until the police and ambulance arrive.

Lesson #4: Tragedy and sadness abound in life. Everything we think we have is temporary. Today is what matters. Even in the face of tragedy, the kindness of people can become a healing balm. Feel thankful that you live in a city where people come out of cars, homes, off of bicycles to help a drunken bleeding man in the dark of night. Community and basic human kindess are the answers to many things.

It was a long day, and at the end of it my mind felt more blank than anything. The day swung from beautiful sunshine in a park to blood and vomit on a dark roadside. It has taken a couple of days for the lessons to be revealed to me. Today, I hope I can walk forwards with a new appreciation for all that I have.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ready, Aim, Fire

My target this year is to become a faster runner. I know I've been a triathlete for 20 years, and have managed to avoid working hard while running for all those years. That's pretty impressive, no? Actually, that's not entirely true. In the last two years, I've been gradually changing my running style, based upon the book ChiRunning. I've been increasing my cadence, and changing my stride from a heel-striking forward-reaching one to a mid-foot striking stride that lands underneath me. While I haven't seen huge speed gains, I've seen my previous IT Band pains disappear.

So this is the year when I really need to focus on my run. It's frustrating to be out in front only to lose the lead time after time to faster runners. One look at my last few sprint triathlons shows a pretty dismal 8:30 - 8:40 pace on the run (you can stop laughing now), even with total times around 1:15, which is reasonable for my age group. In the last few weeks, I've been biting the bullet and working at my run, thanks to some excellent advice from the folks on the triathlon boards at . I've been incorporating cadence work, strides, tempo runs, and trying to ease up the pace on my long runs. Today I warmed up easy for 15 minutes, then did 3 miles at a pace that felt like a sprint tri race pace. 8:32 miles made me pretty happy because I've never run that fast this early in the season before. I think if I keep at it, I might be able to take a minute or two off of my sprint times.

So here, I state it out loud: I'm making a commitment to becoming more of a runner, less of a jogger. I'm considering trying to qualify for the age group Nationals, so a faster run will be imperative!