feb 14/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

Another 30 minutes on the bike in the front room. I watched the Women’s Tri at the Rio Olympics while I pedaled. So awesome. I’ll never forget watching it live (at least I think it was live) when Gwen Jorgensen won. Maybe because she lives in St. Paul or because she seems to have a great combination of humility, dedication and talent or because it’s satisfying to watch someone consistently succeed, I had become invested in her and really wanted her to win.

I was into watching that race, totally lost in the drama of her battle with Nicola Sprig during the bike and run. When I wasn’t chanting very loudly,  “Go Gwen! Go Gwen!,” I was yelling race updates to anyone else in the house, freaking them out with my intense declarations, “SHE’S IN SECOND PLACE ON THE BIKE!” or “SPRIG IS MESSING WITH HER ON THE RUN” or “SHE’S PULLING AWAY! SHE’S GOING TO WIN!!” When she actually won and broke down at the finish line, utterly undone by joy (and probably relief), I broke down too and started crying. And, unlike what I usually do, I didn’t try to stop or hide my tears.

My reaction to Jorgensen winning wasn’t just because I was happy she had won. I cried because I was moved and inspired by her effort, her dedication and her belief in herself. I cried because I was happy that she was able to achieve her goal and that I could bear witness to the moment she fully realized that she had. I cried because it had been a rough year– I had just found out that I had a degenerative eye disease that would make doing triathlons difficult and potentially too dangerous–and I needed to see her succeed. And I cried because the sappy shit gets me every time.

feb 7/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

Watched two thirds of the 2016 Island House Tri on YouTube while I biked for 30 minutes. Fun to watch Gwen Jorgensen racing (and winning) just a week before competing in the NYC Marathon. Wow. She’s amazing.

20 degrees
longfellow neighborhood
freezing rain

Took the dog (Delia, aka “dealz”) out for a walk this morning. It didn’t feel too cold and it was nice to be outside, moving slowly (very slowly, so I wouldn’t slip. think I might want to get some yaktrax). I don’t get too contemplative when I’m running, but I do when I’m walking. Nice. Walking past a yard I heard and then saw something rustling. Sensed that it was too big to be a squirrel. After a second (and third) glance realized it was a possum. Wow. I’ll add that to the list of things I’ve seen just a few blocks from our house, which is in the middle of the city.

list! critters spotted by/near the mississippi river

  • fox
  • coyote
  • wild turkeys (rafter of them!)
  • beaver
  • muskrat
  • possum
  • raccoon

What’s next? Hopefully not a bear. I’d rather not see a bear.

jan 31/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

Another bike session. 33 minutes. Watched the men’s 10000 meters from the 2012 London Olympics on YouTube. Chose it because the video was 39 minutes long and because I like watching running when I’m biking. What a great race. Not fast, but very strategic. Mo Farrah won gold, Rupp silver. Runners were bunched up for most of the race, with the announcer warning that they could easily get tripped up in such close proximity to each other. When I run in a race, I’m not usually around other runners. Most of the time, it’s deliberate. I like the solitude of running and I don’t always trust other runners. They flail their limbs, jab their elbows, spread out and block the road or dart out unexpectedly.

As I prepare for running a marathon, I wonder if this strategy of isolation is harmful.

jan 25/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

Rode my bike for 30 minutes in the front room while watching the rest of the men’s marathon from Rio and a condensed version of the women’s marathon. Biking felt good after spending too much time reading the frightening headlines about the multiple executive orders being issued this week. Strength, endurance and a physical outlet for anxiety and rage are essential for surviving the next four years.

29 degrees
mississippi river gorge

As a bonus, took the dog (Delia, aka “the dealz”) out for a walk in the freshly fallen snow. We hiked down in the Mississippi Gorge for just a short stretch of the Winchell trail. Beautiful. I like when the trees are bare and you can see further into the woods. I scan it reverently and anxiously, wondering what might be sharing the woods with us. Last fall, I saw a fox, just 20 feet away. A murder of crows (I’ve always wanted to write that!), circles above us, cawing furiously.

I need to take more walks like this one. It’s hard in the winter, when there’s so little daylight and I’m spending so much time running.

 

jan 17/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

XT = Cross Training. Biked for 30 minutes today while watching the men’s marathon from the Rio Olympics on YouTube.

Biking for 30 minutes on a stand, in the front room, seems like it would be tedious. And it has been in past winters. I’m not sure why it’s easier this year. It’s ironic that I’m biking more this winter now that I’m not planning to do any big triathlons this summer–just a super sprint with my 11 year old daughter in August.

Biking with Best’s?

I’ve struggled with biking lately, even before I was diagnosed this past August with Best’s disease (vitelliform macular dystrophy). I’ve had trouble seeing the path when it was too sunny or some cars when I was trying to cross the road or bikers approaching me on the path. When I learned that my central vision was seriously fucked up and that I couldn’t see those things because my rods and cones were scrambled, I lost the little bit of confidence I had in biking with any speed. How can I race in a triathlon if there’s a chance I won’t see another biker or a pothole or anything else that first appears in the parts of my central vision that are already totally scrambled?