A little more than two months left until the half-ironman.  I am scared.
However,  two weeks ago on Tuesday May 31st rode 85 miles with Andy and Ben to Yellow Springs.

Ben, Elenamary, Ela, Ellen after completing first triathlon of June

Ben, Elenamary, Ela, Ellen after completing first triathlon of June

June 8th did a Sprint Tri (1/2 mile swim, 21 mile bike, 3.5 mile run) with Ben, Ela, and Ellen.  Ben and I have trained together but I think this maybe the first time we’ve competed together.  It was a really fun race and one of the best parts was there were sample wetsuits you could borrow for free.  I am short and fat and when I’ve tried on suits in the past, they always ended up putting me in a men’s suit for those 6 feet (1.8m) tall.  I am 5’4 that is an extra eight inches, and while I do appreciate an extra 8 inches and manly cut in other situations, this is not one of those.   It also sat weird on my boobs.  Anyway, at this race they had Athena suits and it fit perfectly! Now, I actually want to get a wetsuit—some day when I have a disposable income or a sugar daddy.

John, Ant, Jess, Elena

John, Ant, Jess, Elena

June 13th rode 85+ miles with Antonio, John McPocho, and Jessica.  John and I have ridden a lot together, and Jess and I have trained and done triathlons together—they both know how to ride and came prepared. Antonio is a totally different story. You may remember Antonio from Shark Week. Antonio is the kind of dude who is very much “Meh, why the fuck not? Let’s try this” kind of dude. Antonio showed up on a mountain bike with no support for his bottom bits, no gloves, no long rides or any training under his belt, and with a backpack full of water. The man is a beast.  We had a good ride from Columbus to Yellow Springs most of it on the Rails to Trails path.  I am in love with that path because it is well maintained, has water every 10-12 miles, is quiet and my favorite flat!

I have good friends, who are a great support in my training.
I’ve another Sprint Tri (same distance as above) in less than a week and Andrej and Ben will be doing that one too, and Matt C. will be joining me for an Olympic in July.

This is exciting.  I am thankful my body is letting my attempt all this, thankful this is how I get to spend some of my time.

Ich habe die Qual der Wahl

There is a phrase in German, I absolutely love, “Ich habe die Qual der Wahl” it would somewhat equate to “I am being tortured by the choices I have”.

I am very thankful that I have two great opportunities one professionally and one personally but Ich habe die Qual der Wahl. I am unsure which to choose, and I must choose as they are happening on the same date. I have the opportunity to travel to South Carolina and compete in triathlon at the USAT Collegiate Nationals with the OSU team, which I have never done before and may never have the opportunity to do so again. I also have the opportunity to create a summer program for Latino high school students on heritage language development in the medical fields that will give these students access to college credit and exposure to a university campus, and as part of this program am being invited by my department, expenses paid, to the “Midwest Heritage Language Summit: Fostering the Languages of Your Community” conference in Michigan.
Both the triathlon and conference are on Saturday, April 23rd—Ich habe die Qual der Wahl. Yesterday, after talking to my friend I had decided I didn’t want to die having missed out on the opportunity to go to nationals but I am totally okay dying and not having made it to another academic conference. Then today, after talking to my academic mentor I felt I should go to the conference. The conference will have direct impact on the work I want to do not just in the next 3 months but the next ten years.
I am trying very hard to be thankful that I have both professional and personal opportunities but this decision is torture.

2016 tentative races

A tentative list of some bike tours, USAT sanctioned triathlon races, and 1/2 marathons for 2016.  I would still like to add a push-pull competition, maybe a full marathon in the fall, and really anything to fill in those empty months.  As always, I love it when friends join me and if there is some kind of sporty thing you are already planning on or would like to plan, I’m all about adding and adjusting this calendar.

17th, Columbus, Ohio, USA, Half-Marathon
Broke Man’s Winter Warm-Up: This is a no frills race with multiple options on distances from 3.5 miles to 13.1 miles.  I have registered for the 13.1 mile course.  I have done Broke Man races before and have really enjoyed them.

6th, Columbus, Ohio, USA, Indoor Triathlon
OSU Indoor Triathlon:  This is a pretty chill triathlon, and is memorable to me as the one my wonderful friend Melanie did with me while she was nine months pregnant.  It is completed within the OSU gym and is completed by time and then afterwards the distance with time is calculated to estimate time needed to complete a sprint distance triathlon. In total this is a 10 minute indoor pool swim, a 20 minute stationary bike ride, and a 15 minute run on an indoor track.

6th, Bogotá, Colombia, 10km run
Run Tour Avianca: 10km run in urban setting of Bogotá Colombia. Totally just doing this for fun if I make it down to Colombia in March.

9th, Valle Del Bravo, México, Olympic Distance Triathlon,
Triatlón Valle de Bravo 2016:  This is a sanctioned race, which I have competed in before.  Last time, I over swam the swim and swam off course.  This race does have shorter and less competitive distances for those who are interested.  It is only a little over an hour out side of Mexico City.  Course was well maintained and decently well marked.

17th Cincinnati, Ohio, 1/2 Marathon
Cincinnati Broke Man’s Half Marathon: Another run in the Broke Man series.  I figure this is just part of good training for the 1/2 Ironman in August.

1st Lorain, Ohio, 1/2 Marathon
Lorain Broke Man’s Half Marathon:  Again a no-frills race, 1/2 marathon…using it as a training run for the bigger races in late summer early fall.

7&8th, Columbus, Ohio to South Portsmouth, Kentucky, Bike Tour
Tour Of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV):   This is a fully supported ride, our gear is carried for us, we camp out on the Ohio River and then turn around and come back the next day. I’ve done this ride a few times and find it very enjoyable.  There are awesome SAG stops every 25 miles and the route is pretty flat.  It is approximately 105 miles each day, so a total of about 210 miles.

20-22, Little Smokies, Shawnee, Ohio, USA,  Triathlon
American Triple-T:  “3-days, 4-triathlons, 140+ miles, 1-epic event”  It is a sprint distance tri, two Olympic distance tris, and one 1/2 ironman distance tri.  I am unsure about this but need to decide by January 5th…because then the price will go up. I’ve really wanted to take part in this but there is a Mexican sanctioned race I can do in my home state of Guerrero this same weekend and try to qualify for worlds…I am unsure so including both.

21, Ixtapa, Guerrero, México, Olympic Distance Triathlon,
Triatlón Ixtapa, 2016: This is a sanctioned race.  I have not competed here before and am a bit nervous as it is supposed to be very humid and hilly.  However, it gives me one more shot at worlds.

5th Füssen, Germany, Bike Tour
Allgäuer Radltour 2016:  This is a 120km supported bike tour.  This area is mountainous
and I hate hills but the timing and area is perfect.  From Füssen to Moosburg (where I studied) is only 180km so I can also visit my friends before/after the ride.

30th, Teques, Morelos, México, Olympic Distance triathlon
Triatlón Tequesquitengo 2016: This is a sanctioned race.  I have competed here before but only as part of a relay time–it was really hot.  It might give me one more shot at worlds but depends on the cut off date for qualifying.

12-14th, Nashville, Indiana, USA, Bike Tour & Camping
Tour de Upland: “The best weekend of the year is back August 12-14 2016! All the biking, camping, beer, and live music you can handle.”  It is put on by the Upland Brewing Company.  I’ve done this weekend trip a few times now and found it to be quite enjoyable.  Biking is only supported on the Saturdays and all SAG stops have beer.  They have different routes you can take varying in distance usually between 10-110miles…I imagine because I have a 1/2 ironman the following weekend I will only be cycling about 20 miles (it is also very hilly) and I won’t be drinking…so lots of time for me in the pool and just hanging out.

21st, Delaware, Ohio, USA,  1/2 Ironman Triathlon
Ironman 70.3 Ohio:   1.2mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1mile run.  I hope to seriously train for this race and do the course multiple times before the race, as I live maybe half an hour from the site.  If you want to go out and do this course with me, at any time, holla’.

11-18, Cozumel, Mexico, Triathlon Worlds
World Triathlon Age Group Championships:  This only happens if I qualify and I make the team.

2nd, Columbus, Ohio, USA, 1/2 marathon
Columbus Broke Man’s Half Marathon:  Again a no-frills race, 1/2 marathon…using it as a maintaining run.

8th, Acapulco, Guerrero, México, Olympic Distance Triathlon,
Triatlón Acapulco 2016:  I am looking forward to this because hopefully I will be in good condition from a solid spring, summer and fall of training and if I can do well at this race I can qualify for 2017 worlds.

In The Fall

I have some great news.  After a little more than a year of having my first full-time 9-5 job, I quit.  I am glad to have had that experience and to realize how wonderful it was to not have ever done that before.  By leaving work, I am also temporarily leaving my PhD program, this is good news. I have been in desperate need of a break, to read more, to write more, and to finish this damn book. I am excited for this time.  I’ve already started reading more books of transcendentalism, self-reliance and coming-of-age stories—as I develop into a new phase of life.

I had not written as much this year, afraid to share about that which has taken up most of my time and any repercussions that might come from sharing.  My time being occupied also limited my exercise and training.  I still want to go to age-group worlds.  Now, I get to focus on that as well.  I get to focus on me and the things that give the foundation of me.

This reminds me of a short video, Lonnie sent me, that on occasion I watch to remind myself what is NOT the point of life.

In The Fall from Steve Cutts on Vimeo.

A short hand-drawn animation created in Adobe Flash and After Effects about one mans reflection on his life. Music by Guided by Voices.!/Steve_Cutts

UD Tri 2015

Did a modified Sprint today, 0.5 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 3.5 mile run, at Caeser Creek in Dayton, Ohio that was a fundraiser for the University Of Dayton and was, I would say, at least 90% collegiate.

OSU Tri Club

OSU Tri Club

Generally in triathlons I come out middle of the road or higher for the swim portion.  Today, I think I came out in the bottom 10%. Those collegiate athletes sure are fast swimmers.

Onto the bike, generally my strongest leg.  Perhaps it would have been my strongest leg if I hadn’t felt so alone on the ride or if I hadn’t gotten lost.  In total I did a little over 25 miles…or in other words 25% more than everyone else.

By the time I got to the run, I was almost dead last.  The run is generally by far my weakest event but I think since I had already accepted this wasn’t going to be a strong race or a personal best, I allowed myself to enjoy the run and talked to people along the way.  All in all it was a pleasurable race with a great team.

‘Athletes come in all shapes and sizes’

While seeing the awesome pictures of Amanda Bingson: ‘Athletes come in all shapes and sizes’,  I am glad because it is something we all face with social constructed ideas of what does fit look like and what should it look like.  Although,  the images are empowering, make sure you read her interview too.

Amanda Bingson - Competes in the Hammer Throw

While ESPN’s coverage and writing is unsurprisingly problematic, I am still pleased as Bingson generally has an attitude I much admire: “You might be prettier and skinnier than me, but I’ll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one.”  Which is for sure how I felt yesterday (minus the pretty part—I know I am the prettiest ;-)   )

I had a woman I’ve never met, come-up to me yesterday in a ropes class during the water break and tell me to “not give-up” that I could “do this” and I wanted to respond “Bitch, do I look like I’m giving-up or doubting my own abilities?”  I turned to the instructor and asked “When is the warm-up over? I am ready for the real stuff to start.”  Also, that was my third hour of exercise at that point in the day (each a different training).

The women I train with have given me lots of confidence, like National Strong Woman Sharon Moss and World Champion Power Lifter Hannah Ghindea; but not just my competitively elite friends but the numerous badass women around me who set personal goals and train to become fiercer for themselves. Those goal setting women invigorate me. The stronger we women become the more we give zero shits about what others think and the more we love what our bodies are capable of—it is liberating.

Sharon and Elena Mary

Sharon and Elena Mary

Amber, Elenamary, Hannah

Fierce Women (Amber, Elena Mary, Hannah)

No athlete I’ve trained with, no coach, no physical therapist, has ever expressed doubt in my abilities because of my body (this isn’t to say I haven’t encountered douchebags).  I’ve been lucky but generally those who are good at knowing how to push their bodies (and others) know that much of what we push our bodies to do is mental.  Yes, of course physical training and ability is necessary but at some point, it becomes wanting it more than anyone else, working harder than anyone else, and being in the right place at the right time–and none of those have to do with body size or type.

Which also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“I’m just into physical intensity. I’m not saying, like, clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts. Because that’s like some passive please-hurt-me thing. Ask any Olympic athlete, they’ll say, ‘God it hurts, but it’s awesome.’ It’s the pain that comes when you try to achieve.” – Henry Rollins

Also, speaking of  “clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts”, remember my boobs last summer after a triathlon?

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)