always lube

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

Always lube. More importantly for me, always lube the boobs. I need to remember that. A couple weeks ago I did a sprint triathlon and chaffed a tad in the boobs and thought “man, I should’ve lubed”. This past Sunday I did an olympic distance triathlon (a longer distance), I didn’t lube.  I remember thinking, “meh, it will be okay”. It wasn’t okay I chafed the hell out of my boobs this time. When I saw my doctor Monday, she asked during the breast exam if my partner had done that to me or if I’d done it to myself.
I explained that, I had done it to myself, as an idiot for failing to lube on race day.

the triathlon running that caused that boob chafing

the triathlon running that caused that boob chafing

Truth is, however, I don’t feel like a total idiot, I feel hardcore.  Just like the new calluses and dead skin falling off my hands, the blisters on my feet, the lack of toe nails, I love all of it. I love what my body is capable of. I love the formation of it becoming a stronger person.  I was showing off my scars to my friend Hannah, a power lifter, and she “ewwed” and told me to put my boobs away (in her defense we were in public on the TRX machine).   I explained that no, I would not be ashamed of my boob gashes. My wounds are impressive and magnificent just like the fact that she has bruises up her legs and no skin on her shins these are things to be proud of.  We are living life fully, pushing ourselves, and it is awesome.   All of this, reminded me a great article I read  When Women Wear Bruises to Work,

Almost every bruise, scrape and scar on my body comes with a fond story. The dent from that tree I didn’t quite dodge, the scar from the scrappy rappel, the bump from that confoundedly sandy 5.10 sport route. They are the marks of living life passionately. And the women I want to spend my time with also proudly bear the marks of living in pursuit of adventure.

Like the author, I am glad I am finding adventure and surrounded by other women who are too.

Tri for Joe 2014

too tired to write but want to remember some points for future reference/lessons learned.

1. Adjust boobs better in this suit or else the right boob will come out during the swim.

2. Do not get over confident about my time/place.  This is why I got second.  I thought I had it, and I took my time in transition and look where it got me?  I am a first place loser.

3. Be nice to children. That mom almost made me cry, thanking me for helping her daughter; remember her words and be kind to others.

4. Always bring extra of everything not just a suit (this includes running belt!).

5. Train harder, race more. Push my race limits.

6. Pack instant coffee.

7.  Have more confidence in my ability to adapt to the cold weather.

8.  I don’t need music, I just need my mantra.

9.  Stop thinking I run 10 minute miles—  I don’t.  If I can do 9 minute miles after swimming and biking surely I can do that when training?!

10.  Enjoy it.  This is a good life.

Race Karma

Elenamary in Tunchang, Hainan International Mountain Bike Riace

Elenamary in Tunchang, Hainan International Mountain Bike Race

I was very angry after participating in a mountain bike race, where I’d spent most of the race encouraging a woman who had all but given-up and cried through most of it.  Walking the course was worse than riding it but I couldn’t convince her of that.  As we came to the end of the course a straight away to the finish line she jumped on her bike, cut me off along the path and rode to the end leaving me to come in last.  I figured that was fine, it really didn’t matter but I did expect that when I crossed she would thank me for hanging back with her but she didn’t.  My friend Norm also competed in the race. It was to Norm I ranted about my frustration and he convinced me to let go of the anger,  that in helping her, I had just earned myself “race karma”.  That people were going to help me out, and that I would be grateful for that “race karma”.

It has worked out that way, before and since that race.   The first 1/2 marathon I did took me 3 hours to finish.  I was (still am) sloooow, very slow, and my friend Yoni ran with me the whole way.  I am sure Yoni was bored.   I am sure it would have been easier for Yoni to speed-up than to stay at my snail pace, but I would never have finished without his encouragement.   There was the Carlsbad race where Nathan stayed with me the first 10 miles and kept me motivated. There was my first olympic distance triathlon, where the fork of my frame rubbed into my tire, my chain kept popping off, and by the time I got to the run they had shut down all the water stations.  I met a stranger, a man named Rick from Loveland, he biked next to me offering encouragement.  Rick waited for me at the end of my run, when no one else was left.

Erick, Elenamary y Black

Erick, Elenamary y Black

There was Black and Erick in Mexico. I had never met them before, when I competed for a national triathlon slot, and without their encouragement I wouldn’t have even made it to the race.  This is to say there are lots of people who have helped me out in multiple races, and I feel like I’ve never been able to return the favor.  That was until yesterday.

Yesterday, as per my usual May ritual I got to run the Columbus 1/2 marathon. However, this time with my undergraduate students.  We were running as part of a group, LEAP (Latinos Empowering Action and Perseverance), that through athleticism raises scholarship funds for DACA students.  For the first time,I got to be the strong one and lead.  A couple of the students wore the gift bags we’d been given for the race, to the race.  This wasn’t going to work, and so we put everyone’s stuff together in one backpack and I carried it for the 13+miles  (around mile 7 we passed one student’s car and dropped off his stuff).  It felt so good to motivate and to carry the weight. It felt almost as wonderful as if I’d set a personal best.   I felt like a proud mama hen seeing the students meet their own three hour goal and watching them cross.

students LEAP race

 

Packet Pickup

I’m in Coyocan, a comfortable middle class neighborhood in Mexico City, which is good since I have no idea where anything is in this city or how to get around.  However, I left my comfort zone this morning to take three metro lines, although only about 7 stops away, to go to David‘s place.  I love hanging out with David and every time I’ve hung out with him here in Mexico City it has made me want to move here.  Today we went to the Buena Vista neighborhood to pick up my triathlon registration bag for my “big” race.  I got a long sleeve black running shirt for the race itself, and because I am now, officially affiliated, with the Mexican Triathlon Association I got to get my national Mexican tri-shirt.  Just standing in front of the organizers getting my race numbers and goodies made me nervous.  The adrenaline started to rush and I told David that I couldn’t believe how nervous I was already getting.  He asked me isn’t this why you race?  To push yourself to your limits, to get that rush of excitement?  He is of course right, but I wish I could enjoy it without the anxiety but I guess they go hand-in-hand.

Mexicanos al grito de guerra

Mexicanos al grito de guerra

After picking-up my tri stuff.  We went and explored a beautiful library near Chopo.   I’d only ever read about Chopo—the punk neighborhood from Daniel‘s book Down and Delirious in Mexico, which at this point I’ve probably bought about ten copies of the book to give to friends.  We listened to a punk band, people watched, and I got a giant agua de tamarindo.  Sadly, I’ve no pictures of David and I together but I do have one he took of me in front of the band.  While we were there I told David, that 14-year-old me would have been really excited about being in Mexico, watching punk music hanging with an amazing friend…and what is even better is that current me is really thankful for it too. I’m lucky to have a friend like David and experiences like today’s.

Elena Mary en el Chopo con agua de tamarindo

Elena Mary en el Chopo con agua de tamarindo

family pressure

Elenamary, Tia, Abuelo, Abuela

Elenamary, Tia, Abuelo, Abuela

I can’t begin to explain how frightened I’ve grown over this upcoming triathlon.  Two weeks from yesterday, It’ll be all over.   Part of my fear now, is letting my family down.  My mama told my abuelita that I was set to compete in a triathlon in Valle de Bravo.  I didn’t know that my mama had told my abuelita this, nor that my abuelita remembered where it was located or that she even understood what kind of sport it was but she has because the moment she saw the commercial on tv for a triathlon in Valle de Bravo she became super excited.  The Triathlon is officially called Triatlón Banamex Televisa Deportes Valle de Bravo 2013.  Because it is in part sponsored, by Televisa, a national television corporation, they have been heavily advertising the race.  My grandmother has told the neighbors, her church friends, her elderly ladies society, anyone that will listen that I am going to be on television winning a triathlon on February 23rd, and they can all come watch because she is going to make my uncle put it on the TV.  No pressure whatsoever right?  At least, as my buddy Franz said, I don’t have to worry about being on TV if I am losing because they don’t televise losers right?
I am not sure what advertisement my grandmother has seen but here is an older advertisement:

I am worried not just about failing but about coming in fourth.  I need to come in the top three to qualify.  I also don’t want to refer to myself in any context as winning, because that seems arrogant.  I can’t find a happy medium where I can imagine myself winning but also not over estimating my abilities and underestimating the difficulty of the course.  Although, at this point there is way more fear than pride in me.   The only thing that has helped was re-reading a blog entry I wrote about a triathlon I did last May where I also wanted to come in the top three and was wondering if I was overestimating my abilities—and as I got to blog about it, I was able to happily state I came in first place for my category.   I can do this…right?

triathlon friendships

I’ve always said that triathlons have the most supportive athletes.  Your competitors genuinely want you to do well and will encourage you with a great sincerity.  They want you to be the best against yourself, no one else matters, only you.  We each have different struggles and goals, and your triathlete competitors are there with you, never wishing to hold you back or see you fail.  It is something I have never experienced in any other sport, and am thankful for the people who have come into my life because of it.

I am reminded of my friend Norm who told me that as long as I had music or sports I would always have the ability to make friends easily.  I am thinking about that as I get excited for this weekend’s indoor triathlon at OSU.  I’ll be volunteering as a pool timer most of the morning, and am looking forward to mentally pumping up the swimmers.  If you are in the area, come on by and see this triathlon, I think seeing it will help you believe that you too can do it.