Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The other day I came home from a hard ride and immediately scarfed down some food and took a shower. I executed these tasks in a hurry.  My next mission was crucial to my well being. It was nap time. I am a serial napper (I don’t nap daily, although I wish I could) and I take this assignment seriously. I do not take fake naps by turning on the TV and lying down on the couch (people that nap that way have nap denial). No, I dress for the occasion in my jammies, crawl into bed, and pull the covers over tightly. Usually I set an alarm, but from time to time when nothing is pressing, I sleep until my eyes open naturally.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heavy Breathing

Do you experience wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and excessive chest congestion and tightness during or after exercise? If so, you may have exercise induced asthma (EIA). I have had a formal diagnosis of EIA since 1993. As a swimmer, the asthma episodes were sporadic and explained away as working really hard. Once I started running, it was quickly apparent that something was amiss. I remember early in my running career huffing up a steep hill and being greeted with freshly cut grass at the top. I was hunched over, scared and unable to breath. Thus began my education, frustration, and sometimes denial about EIA. Daily medications remind me that EIA is serious; workouts are sometimes hampered and I have dropped out of numerous races.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sick Day

This week my daily routine was thrown off by illness. Not only did I miss workouts, but I neglected other tasks, such as work, laundry and errands, as I lay about nursing my throbbing sinuses. I didn’t leave my house for over two days. Here is what Wednesday looked like:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tough Decisions

What is even harder than the actual training for an event? Did you guess that it is showing up to the start line healthy and uninjured? Before every Olympics headlines abound with tales of athletes unable to compete due an assortment of injuries. Who can forget Deena Kastor pulling out of the Beijing marathon at 5K unable to even walk (she must have known that something wasn’t right before she started)? The travails of Paula Radcliffe were chronicled for months prior to Beijing, her health in question and her valiant effort during competition showed her utter determination. Year after year, the sports websites run stories about injured and ailing athletes and the speculation about whether they will recover in time for the big day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

When I moved from Chicago to Baltimore I was confronted with a major topographical challenge: hills. I spent the first 18 months of my cycling career doing laps along the flat path that parallels Lake Michigan. I only needed two gears, one for the headwind and one for the tailwind. Baltimore, on the other hand, offered terrain which required every gear on my bike. Rides ranged from slightly hilly to very hilly with steep, quad busting grades. The hills were generally short; it was the sheer number on every ride that presented the challenge. I was grossly unprepared for this type of riding, but I ardently chased my new friends up the hills hoping that one day I could ride the hills as fast as they did. It took me many years and a Power Tap to realize that the Kamikaze style of climbing, while ego boosting, is not the most efficient method to approach hills, especially when there is a run off the bike.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Flipside

My last post and many of the posts preceding it lauded exercise. In order to restore some balance to the universe, or at least to the blogosphere, I have come up with some things I find objectionable about swimming, biking and running.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are You An Exercise Addict? Take A Quiz to Find Out.

My work at the University of Colorado entails finding causes for drug addiction and other drug use behaviors. I am in the process of writing a grant and in the course of my research I happened upon an article dealing with another type of addiction, exercise addiction. I eagerly read the article to determine if my self-diagnosed exercise addiction is indeed a clinical condition. Of course, it is easy to explain away the hours of exercise as “training” for the next big event, but, truly, wouldn’t I be out there logging miles anyway?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Peek Behind the Scenes

When 4x-Olympian Sheila Taormina competed in her first drafting race, she came out of the water with a huge lead. She ran to the bike transition, slipped on helmet and shoes and ran for the mount line. Partway there, she looked down and realized she had picked up the wrong bike and gear. How embarrassing. Here are some of the crazy things I have done, seen or heard.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Most Memorable Training

Spring was in the air this weekend. Cool mornings gave way to warm afternoons, the sun shone brightly and to make things even better, the wind was calm. It seemed that everybody in Boulder was out on their bike on Saturday. Where were they on those crisper days when we had to dodge snow and ice? I guess they stayed home, but they were the people we saw weaving from tiredness and lack of fitness. The opportunity to train on regular routes was irresistible, so we did our long ride to Masonville and headed up the mountain to Magnolia road (a run made famous by the book Running with the Buffaloes). Over the years, in the many places I have trained and raced, I discovered rides, runs and swims that no matter how often I do them, I am still happy to get out there and experience them again and again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's Your Favorite Sport?

Given that there are three main components to triathlon, it is only natural that people wonder which sport I like best. I often answer sarcastically, “Whichever feels the best on the day.” Truthfully, and perhaps why I have been in the sport for so long, I relish all three sports equally, but for different reasons. Swimming comes the most naturally, but biking and running are sports whose skills I have eagerly spent time mastering.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Nothing is worse at the end of a long trip than getting on a plane to travel back home. Teleporting or clicking the ruby slippers three times has always been a fantasy. It’s 2010 for goodness sake, why can’t we do this yet? As I snake through the line with my luggage bogging me down, I hope the check in attendant won’t weigh my bike case and I optimistically imagine the extra fee might be waived this time. All the while, I am eagerly anticipating my return home.