Things I Googled Before & After the Ironman Syracuse 70.3 Triathlon

Before:

  • “Triathlon transition tips”
  • “Change clothes during half Ironman”
  • “what do you wear under a wetsuit”
  • “Syracuse 70.3 race report”
  • “Ironman Syracuse bike course”
  • “Ironman Syracuse bike elevation map”
  • “Prospect Park elevation map”
  • “How to not die on hills cycling”
  • “Syracuse weather forecast”
  • “Cycling in the rain”
  • “Ironman DNF”

After:

  • “Ironman weather refund policy”
  • “I did my own half Ironman”
  • “Victory GIFs”

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Full race report to come.

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Race Report: Brooklyn Half Marathon, 5/16/2015

The Brooklyn Half this year was one of the goofiest races I’ve ever done.

I signed up a while back, excited to finally be able to run it after several years in a row of inconvenient scheduling (travel, May marathons, etc.). Following my Ironman training calendar, I had originally planned on running it comfortably hard. That plan went down the tubes the night before the race with my second or third happy hour margarita. Much like all those margaritas ended up down the toilet tubes. Twice.

5 AM and the resulting hangover came really fast.

Then at 6 AM there was a broken rail on the 2/3 train to the start, so I was rerouted and underground for an hour despite being in the same borough. Then, since we had to get off a different stop, I had to walk an additional mile or so. Missed my original wave 1 start. Fortunately, this gave me plenty of time to rehydrate and contemplate the last time I had gotten that sloshed. (Don’t worry, it was a long long time ago. I only had so much fun because an out-of-town friend was visiting and we were celebrating his recent promotion and he holds his liquor much better than I do and SURE A PITCHER OF MARGARITAS SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA!)

So there I was, in the wave 2 start line, having finally cleared the bag check, metal detectors, and porta-potties, when I turn around and spot a giant Maggie Simpson head.

I rubbed my eyes. I can’t still be drunk, can I?!

No, it was a giant Maggie Simpson hat, upon the head of….my running teammate Dana!?

I look next to her and there’s my teammate Jess, wearing a bee costume that I had definitely seen before.

And next to her were a group of other Team in Training friends.

And at the other end….our teammate Mara. Dressed in a full-body cow suit.

I elbowed my way through the crowd and hollered, “Hi guys!”

“Hi!” they all said. “We’re doing a 3:1 run/walk. Want to join us?”

NEW RACE PLAN ACTIVATED.

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Everyone in the group had a reason to take it easy, whether it was illness, a recent race, injury, or wanting to relax and have fun during a backyard race. So we ran for three minutes and walked for one minute the whole way. We stopped at every mile marker and body-spelled “GOING HALFSIES.”

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Not wearing a costume, I felt a bit like the nerdy girl who crashes the cool kids’ party. SO many people pointed and laughed or said something. I get that some athletes get annoyed at the costumed runners, the run-walkers, or those who otherwise don’t appear to take things seriously. I’ve been stuck behind the cast of the Wizard of Oz in a race, I get it. But this was HILARIOUS. People buzzed and mooed at us. Nobody could remember Maggie Simpson’s name and kept calling Dana Marge or Lisa. Or “chickenhead.” We spent many miles coming up with cow and bee puns….dressed in all our bovinery, this is udderly fantastic…..running too fast would certainly sting, but we have to bee aggressive (be! be aggressive!)….

Relaxing during a local race means you can stop and hug and high-five any friends who are out on the course. Including our teammate Flegar, whose tradition is to hang out around mile 11 dressed in little else beyond an American flag Speedo.

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Despite feeling like bollocks (although the hangover did melt off somewhere in Prospect Park), I had the best time. I think I spent most of those 13.1 miles laughing. We finished in some absurdly slow time that was certainly my personal worst. But I consider this one a PR in fun for the half marathon.

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Adding to the fun? The afterparty was at MCU Park, the ballfield, and the band was Slavic Soul Party! One of my favorite bands, and a thrill to my Balkan-brass-loving heart!

When I got back home, I remembered that this wasn’t the first time I had experienced costumes at the Brooklyn Half. Here’s the 2013 race, when I cheered for friends after a tapered long run. One of those friends was Pam……dressed as a Nathan’s hot dog.

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Diabetes Blog Week: Cheese and Other Things I Eat

In honor of Katy and her birthday, today’s prompt is hers:  Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)

There’s only one thing I eat almost every day.

CHEESE.

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I actually found this image on a site for vegan cheese, SSHH DONT’ SPEAK OF THE ATROCITY

I love cheese. Diabetes plus Scotch-Irish guts means that I can eat pounds of it and be the happiest camper. I love hard cheese, soft cheese, packaged deli cheese, fancy cheese that gets paired with wine, fancy cheese that gets paired with beer, gooey melted cheese on sandwiches, string cheese in cute packages, stinky cheese from France, an entire plate of fried cheese that’s meant to be an appetizer but really I can devour it all myself…..

I’m salivating just writing this.

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PARADISE

So I’ll eat cheese and deli meat for breakfast if I wake up with a high blood sugar. I eat cheese on sandwiches for lunch. 75% of my life, lunch is a sandwich from Subway. Because it’s tasty and moderately healthy and carb-countable. Coworkers make fun of me but HATERS GONNA HATE, PANCREAS NOT GONNA PAN-CREATE INSULIN ANYTIME SOON.

I eat cheese as a snack when I get home from work because I always want something to nosh on then, even if I’m not hungry.

Sometimes when I get home late from choir rehearsal or running practice, I’ll eat a snack beforehand and just have cheese and crackers for dinner.

As for Actually Cooking Food, I’m not blessed with much talent or interest in that department. I do it so my dude and I can have dinners together. Bless my lucky stars, he LOVES to cook and will often whip up delicious Asian food for us to eat.

Or we just get noveau-Mexican delivery from up the block and veg out.

I really like food, I’m just bad at planning for it, making it, or eating the leftovers of it before they start to go bad in the fridge. To inspire creative use of food, and also because I LOVE CHEESE GUYS, here is a picture of a cheese dress.

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Dress courtesy of http://www.facepalm.com

Read more Food on Friday posts here.

Things I love this week (5/7/15)

      1. It’s amazing to watch this video of the recent Chilean volcano eruption.
      2. Scully talks candidly about diabetes and anxiety. Read part two of her courageous step forward here. I don’t love the combo of physical and mental health conditions….but I love that she writes so directly and compassionately about a usually hidden topic.
      3. Forget relationships, Psychology Today says– you may benefit more by cultivating “emotionships.”
      4. Twitter is full of lies and misinformation, but also sources of wisdom. I have been learning a lot from following @BmoreDoc Lawrence Brown in the midst of the Baltimore uprising. Highly recommend reading his timeline even if you aren’t on Twitter.
      5. Woman does a 180-lb snatch lift in the gym. Everyone’s reaction (including hers) is fantastic.
      6. And upon Mark Hamill’s recommendation….puppies and kitties celebrating Star Wars Day.

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The X-Files: Season 1 Review

I recently started working through the X-Files archive on Netflix. Did you watch X-Files when it originally aired? Did you watch it more recently and point and laugh at the hokey 90s technology? (Speaking of technology, I’ve had even more time to watch X-Files recently after spilling wine on my laptop, killing it, having to buy a new one, and thus being computer-less for a few weeks…..)

I watched bits of seasons 1-4 when it was originally on TV. My older sister was into it and I think I started sitting on the couch with her out of curiosity. Trouble is, curiosity and a desire to emulate her older, adolescent coolness did not get me very far. Every night I was either scared out of my wits or peppering my mother with so many questions about the plot that my sister Meg would roll her eyes in older, adolescent disgust and say, “Ugh, Caroline, BE QUIET!”

The epic eyerolls did not stop me from a fit of nostalgia when my man and I were sitting down with a pile of takeout and Netflix on browse. “Can we watch X-Files?” I begged him. Lucky me, my favorite nerd did not require extra guacamole as a bribe to say yes.

And so it began…..

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Obviously a lot is different now as an adult in the 10’s vs. a kid in the 90’s. The computers and clunky cellular phones are charmingly antiquated. I am able to grasp the ambiguity and plot twists involved in chasing unexplained phenomena. And I have a better appreciation for the FBI bureaucracy and obstruction now that I am a mature human with work experience. But I confess: this stuff still scares me. I keep having to take a deep breath and tell myself, “It’s okay! Mulder and Scully have to survive until the next episodes….” (The random side characters, on the other hand, you learn not to get attached to. At least 50% of them are surely toast by the end of the episode.)

Since I love taking to the internet and reading reviews after each episode of TV I watch, here’s a recap. Season 1 of [however many we’ll get through]! Obviously, spoilers follow.

The Gist: Mulder and Scully are thrown together by the FBI. Shadowy government forces being all passive aggressive, wanting to destroy them but kindasorta keeping them around too. So many ghosts and reincarnations of dead people! And of course, aliens.

Things I Learned: Doug Hutchinson was creepy before he married a porn star 35 years his junior. Alien spacecraft can fly really fast. From his ex-girlfriends to former perps to his fear of fire to his (of course) sister’s abduction, Mulder’s past sure does come back to haunt him a lot. And cute little girls are often not to be trusted.

The Mythology: Just getting set up, obviously. I forgot that Deep Throat got offed so I screamed when he was shot. The alien conspiracies are gripping and intriguing, though I know it’s going to get real messy in later seasons.

The Best: My favorite episodes were “Beyond the Sea” and “Eve.” Both featured magnificent acting. (Question: is Brad Dourif more or less creepy than Doug Hutchinson?) Both played my heartstrings as well: “Beyond the Sea” featuring the loss of Scully’s father, and “Eve” featuring the delicious creepiness of both the child and adult clones. Honorable mention goes to “Ice” for the suspense factor. (No, I have never seen “The Thing.”)

The Worst: “Space.” Space ghosts? Huh? Low on scares and high on boredom.

Episodes I’ve Already Forgotten About: “The Jersey Devil,” “Miracle Man”

Most WTF: “Genderbender.” Seductive murderers, okay. Seductive murderers…who morph gender presentation….okay. Seductive murderers….who morph gender presentation….who are Amish…..who are actually bizarrely sexy morphing Amish alien cultists?

Overall: I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been a little older when this came out. I would have eaten this stuff up as a sixteen-year-old. Oh, but wait….I already spent my Friday nights online reading fanfic as a teenager. Maybe not much was different.

Call this a listicle of the things I have done in the past month

Hello blog friends! I took a nice little hiatus that started with the holidays and went straight through until the next year. What happened in that time?

  • Drinking
  • Snowy bus rides
  • Christmas with family in Pennsylvania
  • More drinking
  • My sister, dad, and I went on or first run together….ever
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  • And drank to celebrate
  • Seeing my extended family in Virginia
  • Drinking there too
  • Going to Chicago for the Alpha Phi Omega National Convention 2014
  • SO much drinking
  • Presenting workshops, seeing old friends, going to the Bean and eating deep dish for the first time
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  • And definitely not drinking for the first time
  • NYE in Chicago…..guess what that entailed
  • Returning to New York and soothing my liver
  • Wait, marathon training? In 8-degree weather?
  • Taking my pants off in the No Pants Subway Ride…..in much warmer (22 degree) temperatures
  • Returning to baseline liver abuse….I mean drinking

 

Meeting Meb

Two days after volunteering at the NYC Marathon, I caught word (via my fabulous running teammate Sam) that Meb Keflezighi was speaking at a FREE event at the New York Running Company that night. I had just enough time after work to prep dinner and vote in the midterm elections before heading up there. Score!

For those of you unfamiliar with running celebrities, Meb is one of America’s finest. He won the Boston Marathon this spring, as well as the NYC Marathon in 2009. He earned the silver medal for the marathon in Athens. And he was the top US finisher in NYC this year, finishing fourth.

He is also– despite being THE BEST MARATHONER IN THE COUNTRY and SHORTLIST FOR ESPN SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR and WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER etc– totally humble and down to earth.

Meb took plenty of time to answer our questions, share stories, and offer his personal tips for success. Here were just some of the highlights–

  • On NYC race day weather conditions– “It was so windy, I lost my hair!”
  • On his first thought upon completing the 2002 NYC Marathon, his first– “This is my FIRST and my LAST marathon!”
  • On his competitors in the race this year– “I was in eighth place. I saw the next runner up ahead and thought, I wonder if I could convince that guy to do what Mike Cassidy and I did last year…
  • For reference, this is what Meb and Mike Cassidy did last year. You may need tissues for that one. As a bonus, Mike was in the audience and was called forth for a hug with Meb.
  • On how he went from 8th to 4th– “I went after people, one at a time.”
  • How he handles pain in a race– “Temporary discomfort is something we all go through. I chose this discomfort. Others do not.” (He was specifically referencing people in Eritrea, where he was born.)
  • How he mentally prepped for Boston– “I was spectating and taking pictures on Boylston Street [in 2013]…for the next 365 days I thought, How can I positively change Boylston Street?
  • How to not slack off, part 1– “Just put your shoes on. If you can’t run, do pushups or situps while you watch TV.”
  • How to not slack off, part 2– “Get an accountability partner. Make appointments to train. And don’t text them that you can’t make it!”

Afterwards, Meb spoke a little bit about his fuel (and event sponsor) Generation Ucan, signed autographs, and posed for photos. I use Generation Ucan for marathon training, and it has helped me a lot. When I shared this with Meb, he was pleased and smiled big for a photo.

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As Greg McMillan says in his excellent three lessons Meb teaches us, how lucky we are to share the roads with him.

It’s Up to You, New York….New York!

Marathon day in NYC is one of my favorite days of the whole year.

Ever since I moved to the city in 2009, I’ve spent the day either running, cheering, or volunteering (whether for the race itself or for post-Sandy cleanup in 2012). This year it was mostly option c, with a little bit of b thrown in.

My running group, South Central Brooklyn Runners, had elected a group water stop at mile 7 on the course. Honest to God, volunteering at a water stop is a race unto itself. As Joel– a TNT coach, multiple marathoner and Ironman triathlete, and co-organizer of the whole thing– said, “I gotta say, volunteering for 7+ hours, setting up, handing out hydration, fighting the wind, trying to keep up with the volume of runners, and cleaning up was exhausting. I think it was harder than some of the marathons I’ve run.”

So here is how you spend your day when you volunteer at a water station in NYC: Continue reading

Getting Scary in The Zombie Run (or, BRAAAAAIIIIINS)

Halloween means zombies! Unless you are a cast member in The Walking Dead, in which case your paycheck means zombies. (Awesome.)

Back in January, I received an email for a 50% off coupon to participate as a zombie in The Zombie Run. Get pro zombie makeup and chase after people? For cheap? Sign me up! I registered, along with my beau. Then we had to wait very patiently, as the race was rescheduled from May to October. (For maximum holiday potential? Bureaucratic snafu? The world will never know.)

Race day finally arrived last Saturday, though, and we hiked out to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Once checked in, we were directed to a tent area with rows of makeup artists. We eventually got split up into 2 lines, one for volunteers and one for people who paid to be zombies. Not sure if this is the case at every event, but there were a surplus of volunteers in NYC so many were directed to get zombie lite makeup and, uh, course marshal.

We then moved through stations, like an assembly line of the living dead. The first makeup artist sprayed my face with gray airbrush foundation, giving me a delightfully dead pallor. Then the second station added blacks and blues. There were dabs of chunky blood at the third, and finally a little kid at the fourth station gleefully doused my face with corn syrup blood. (Corn syrup blood tastes delicious, as you can imagine, but did you know that airbrush makeup kinda tastes like….bubble gum?)

While we waited to be transported to the course, a couple volunteers came out on the grass and pelted people with blood all over clothes. So this was the final result.

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Eventually a race crew member picked us up in a pickup truck and drove us out to our designated kill zone. All human runners got 3-4 life flags, and as zombies we were to lurch as quick as possible and snatch their flags off their belt. Undead flag football, if you will. Humans count as survivors if they finish the race with at least one flag left.

We were near some large bushes, so I went hunting for a stick I could brandish. When I dug up one that was appropriately threatening– and about six feet long– I decided that I would forget about chasing people and instead try to scare them with the stick and be a little different from all the other zombies out there. The stick was my schtick! (HEY ZOMBIES CAN STILL MAKE BAD PUNS.)

Once the runners started coming, so did the range of reactions

  • “What the……?”
  • “Is that a gun? Oh no, just a stick.”
  • “Zombies cant use tools!”
  • “What? That’s all you got for us?”
  • “OH JESUS”
  • “Hey! Time to walk my invisible dog!”
  • “Wait, if she’s got that in both hands, she can’t take our flags!”
  • “I m dead already, don’t bother.”
  • “Thanks, I can take that from– AHHHHH” (silly humans who tried pull the stick out of my cold dead hands)
  • “Grrr to you too!”
  • “Are you going to whip me with that? Kinky!”

 

I was in a stretch of the course that included an incredibly fast zombie dodging after people’s flags, my Walking-Dead style boyfriend, an excellently creepy teenaged zombie prowling as if Linda Blair were on the ground instead of the ceiling, and an abandoned school bus humans had to run through while also dodging the undead.

After 90 minutes or so, the final runners had gone by. We zombies quit being scary and instead convened around the school bus to beep the horn and compare notes. How many GoPros did you see? Who screamed the loudest? Any humans try to steal back their flags? The crew guy drove around to pick us up, and we returned to the start area for finishing beer and 90s music with the living.

I doubt the Zombie Run will return to this particular location in Brooklyn. The crew guy alluded to many bureaucratic and financial headaches with Floyd Bennett Field, and a giant parking lot doesn’t lend to awesome obstacles like a suburban forest might. But if it does, who knows? Maybe this time I will dwell among the living and take a chance at running the course.

 If you are interested in some BRAAAAAAINS of your own, go see if The Zombie Run is happening near you!

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S*** Patients Say, the Comeback Edition

Old Lady Frantically Waving to Me in the Waiting AreaCarolina! Caaaaaarolina! How are you, my dear? So long time that I don’t talk to you! I say to her, (jabs home attendant in the knee) I say, “Why Carolina no talk to me? It is like…..she DIVORCE me!

I didn’t divorce you, Abuela. Nor you, dear blog. Let’s give this a whirl again, shall we?

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