Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ironman Woes

Before I rant and rave about my most recent rantworthy rave, I want to let those of you in or near the Provo area know that I will be telling my story of having major surgery in Eastern Europe on The Porch this Thursday (Jan. 12) at Muse Music at 8:00 PM. For the event page, click here. We would love to see/meet any of you who can make it.

Now to more important things: the ever approaching doomsday, May 5th, 2012. Several months ago, in a panic, I went through the 275 step process to register for an Ironman (I found it quite fitting that the registration process itself was like an ultra-endurance event--one which I felt like I deserved a medal of honor for completing). At the time I thought this was a fantastic idea, partly because May 5th seemed like an eternity away. I have the unfortunate habit of considering anything that takes place no sooner than two seasons in the future to be "an eternity away," which very tragically diminishes my ability to make good decisions at times of great pressure. For this reason I have committed myself to "survive" (the term I use instead of "run") multiple marathons and miserably endure several camping trips in my life. But the moment of panic that led to Ironman 2012 was unprecedented, as was the fruit of said panic (I think it may have all been part of an early mid-life crisis (I hope "early" is accurate)).

After registering, I immediately began inserting myself into and violently flapping around bodies of water (without floaters!) as I understood that I will be expected to propel myself forward halfway across the ocean at the beginning of said race. After several months of doing this with some regularity, the "progress"  in the pool has been such:

1. I have come to understand how to very efficiently move to the side to let people pass me.
2. I now wear tighter swimming shorts so I appear more competent when standing on the side of the pool while stretching and making my serious face.

On the list of things I've yet to accomplish:

1. Swimming.

And swimming isn't my only problem. As it turns out, after completing the swim across the world, I'm expected to load myself onto a bike and ride it for the next five or so hours. Fortunately they say that riding a bike is just like riding a bike so I fully expect all of my skills from 1994 when my friends and I started a temporary bike gang (with an anti-drug message) will come flooding back to me. I need those skills to come flooding back to me because currently my exhaustive list of experiences on an actual bike since 1994 consists solely of a very long day on a two-wheeled purple contraption with flat tires, a large basket full of bread, a bell, and brakes that only worked if I was going up-hill at the time of use (true story). I have had some experience on stationary bikes, forced to ride them for several months in 2002 when I developed a running stress fracture. I lovingly referred to the two bikes I used as "Chester the Molester" and "Curious George," for reasons you don't want to hear.

To begin to combat the biking problem, my friend and I attempted to attend a spin class this morning that started at (brace yourself) 5:45 A.M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know what you're thinking, "isn't that illegal?" My understanding is that it is not, although I've yet to research this. But this could be a good time to start calling your representatives to demand change. And it gets worse: as we approached the spin room at 5:40 A.M. (!!!!!! :-( !!!!!!), we were greeted by an already completely saturated class of go-getters who had apparently all been there to claim their bikes since sometime before Hanukkah. What this means is that I got up around the witching hour just to get rejected in front of 3 dozen people who are more motivated than I am.

Unfortunately my big mouth has told every single person I've come in contact with about the upcoming event so now any repeat encounters with anyone inevitably turn into the Spanish Inquisition about how my training is going, which in turn invokes CTSD (Current Traumatic Stress Disorder--that's a thing, isn't it?).


~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. "I think it may have all been part of an early mid-life crisis (I hope 'early' is accurate)." I sure hope this doesn't do you in. Good luck!

  2. Fear not! It's not too late to fool people into thinking that they imagined you signed up for the Ironman. (Trust me, I'm an expert. I have this chronic illness where I sign up for Miss Rexburg every year, and then don't actually end up doing it. Three years and they haven't found a cure...)
    The first step is to stop talking about it. Immediately. You've still got a few months left, so this is good.
    Second, erase all written evidence (contracts, emails, messages in bottles) that you were ever involved.
    By the time May rolls around, people will say, "Say, weren't you signed up to do the ironman around this time?" At this point, imagine what they would look like with three heads (or the First Eye, if you rather). Look at them accordingly. They'll feel embarrassed and won't bring it up again.
    Also, I'm from Coeur d'Alene, ID and have been to a LOT of Ironmans (Ironmen?). By the time they reach the finish line, the runners look more like spaghetti noodles than actual people anyway. Not worth it.
    I think it's best to pretend you never actually signed up while you still have time...

  3. you are the funniest person EVER. hahahahaha.

  4. As a lover of Boot Camp but work with a bunch of Marathon Runners my advice is to "Just Do It". Just kidding! Actually, get out while you can. I recommend faking an injury. An IT Band problem is a good one, it doesn't require limping.

  5. I think Hailee is my new secret internet girlfriend. (You should both be receiving your secret internet boy/girlfriend paperwork shortly. Please fill out in triplicate and return via carrier pigeon as soon as mentally possible.)

    I don't normally advocate quitting something, but honestly? If you haven't been seriously training, this will kill you. We don't want that. There's a reason it's not called "Averageman" or even "Aboveaverageman." It's IRONman.

    I heartily concur with Hailee's plan.

  6. Uh, yeah. That swimming part? Right at the beginning? Might LITERALLY kill you.
    My recommendation is to continue 'training' (read: going and having a cup of coffee) until about a week before the event, at which time you have an unfortunate accident while practicing biking with some other people (fictional people) in which you sprain your ankle/throw out your back/aggravate your patello-femoral syndrome/ torn ACL. Too close to the race to do anything about it, and now you're upset (and an invalid). So they have to PAMPER YOU. So really, lying is the best option here.

  7. Congrats on the Ironman, we'll be competing in the same one! I'd suggest training with a partner. I would train with my best friend, but he lives out-of-state, so I train with a friend near me (though I wont use his name here so as not to exploit him). Great posts, don't die, and think of the great crack in the sky whenever in doubt.

  8. So, I did my research (read: went to Yahoo! answers)... And all you have to do is be stronger than the ACTUAL properties of iron, which are:

    1: Solid substance
    2: High melting point
    3: Good conductor of heat and electricity
    4: High melting point
    5: Easily corrodes (rusts) in water or damp surroundings (this one, obviously, may be a problem.)

    So... take it as you will... And good luck!

  9. Awesome. I said #2 twice. It must be super important, or else it's code for "High strength". So start lifting fridges or something. You might need it. The strength. Not the fridge.

  10. I remember Chester the Molester. One of those memories (quite literally in this case) seared in my, uh, ahem, head.

    Having run a few marathons (though having never swam and biked the equivalent before running said marathons), I suggest:
    1. claiming your blog was hijacked that day and a very unfunny person from Milwaukee wrote all ironman related blog posts and blackmailed you into acting the part for a while.
    2. only speak in Russian for the entire month of May (might want to throw April in there too).
    3. take out a contract with the transformers (the cartoon, not the movies) and turn yourself into a submarine that can transform into a bike and then suffer through the running.
    or, pay a body double to do it all for you.

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  12. I hooted and choked on my drink while reading about "Chester the Molester" and "Curious George".

    The 1994 biking experience painted a very unique picture also. Loved it!

    Where do you come up with this stuff...!?

    You forgot our bike ride together (returning a movie) which included a near fatal wreck...

    xo, Mom

  13. Oh man. I have to say, I have been stalking your blog since your Snuggie Texts post was re-posted by a friend on facebook and I think you are amazingly hilarious.
    That said, I'd like to share with you a couple tidbits of awesome from my childhood in learning how to swim.
    1- My cousin taught me how to swim by pushing me in the deep end of the pool when I was 6. Surprisingly, it worked! If you'd like, I could take you out on a boat to the middle of the lake and push you in to help you learn forward momentum.
    2- When I couldn't hold my breath underwater without using one had to plug my nose, my same cousin held both my hands behind my back and then pushed me under water and held me there. Unfortunately, that experience didn't work quite as well and I surfaced from the water 26 seconds later nearly 7/8ths drown and still unable to submerge without plugging my nose.
    All in all, good luck! I'm impressed that you had the courage to sign up for an Ironman. Go Team Eli!

  14. The day before, just say: "Something suddenly came up". It worked for Marsha Brady.....

  15. As a single, working mom with NO social life I thank you for your craziness....you make me laugh so hard! (and your posts are often our "bedtime stories") you are gifted and blessed with an amzing sense of humor and view on life!!

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  17. I don't think I'm the best to give you advice for the swimming portion.... I never could quite figure why I was never able to tackle the art of swimming....until one day someone pointed out that my need to plug my nose anytime I was in water created a "Nemo-like" effect as I tried to swim forward. My only problem was that unlike Nemo, I was incapable of propelling myself with only one working fin....or arm if you will. Not only did this destroy my dream of becoming the next Michael Phelps, but I became the blunt of all the jokes on my street as the neighborhood bully would only refer to me as the Nerdy Nemo...which also had to do with the fact that at that time I was sporting large round glasses, braces, and never left home without my trusty pocket protector. Ironically, around this same time, I developed a rare disorder now termed the "one armed pirate" that left one of my arms completely limp unless I was in the water. At which point I had to plug my nose, leaving me yet again, with only one accessible arm.

    Luckily for you, I had a friend that loved biking....she loved it so much that her garage was full of bikes, she literally had something like 40 of em. One day, after taking a break from biking, she decided to enter a long distance race, for old times sake. Since she was away at school, she didn't have anytime to train or get ready for the race. I told her not to worry, I would create some sort of "crotch pillow" that would help to keep her comfortable, and pretty much eliminate any type of chafing.

    Well, it was a good idea....just didn't have the time to get it into production. The race came and went, and let me just say, she sure wishes I would have made that happen.....So, now with your upcoming race, I have 2 words of advice for you..... Crotch Pillow.

  18. Congratulations on entering the Ironman competition! It takes someone of great strength and lack of common sense, or fear to get even that far ;) I do not know you, I can however tell from reading several of your blog entries that you will finish what you start; or at the very least, have an incredible story to go with the efforts put in.
    SOME THINGS YOU ALREADY KNOW (but I felt I should share anyway):
    1.While training, remember to push yourself just enough for improvement, not enough for injury.
    2.I know (not from iron man, jut because i enjoy pushing myself) running that running that last mile, swimming that last lap, biking that last stretch after you've already done so much is not a pleasant feeling. And yes, saying no to that delicious brownie (or whatever your treat of choice is) in order to maintain the proper nutrition and fuel for your body in training isn't such a hot feeling either. But nothing, nothing, is worse than feeling like you've failed. Nothing feels worse, than knowing you could have, and didn't. I'd wager that you would rather look back and say "I did it!" than "I gave up."
    3. You are going to rock this! You will accomplish an amazing amount of things during your life;more than you have already done. This will simply be one of those items at the end of 2012 that goes on that list. And there will be no end to the "strange" encounters along the way!
    I wish you all the best of luck, and can't wait to hear about your experiences in it!

    1. This message is helping me get through hard times. Just FYI.

  19. I am a former swimmer and one time as a teen I did an "Ironkids" triathlon (baby triathlon, including laps of an indoor pool) so this qualifies me to give advice.

    You've hit on the importance of tight swim shorts in swimming competence; this is good. Do not overlook, however, the importance of a good silicone swim cap and comfortable goggles! I am serious, if your goggles are filling with water, how can you swim, much less do anything else but try to make it stop?

    Also, you have to figure out whether you have "fast-twitch" muscles or "slow-twitch" muscles. This, everyone will tell you, is the difference between a sprinter and an endurance athlete. You had sure better hope you are the second, because if you are a sprinter, you're basically dead. If you can jump up to some point higher than most of your friends, you probably have fast-twitch muscles and you should try to get out of this triathlon . . . you have no business doing it. If you do proceed, your strategy will NOT be to save your energy till the end, because that is pointless: instead, count on exhausting yourself within the first few minutes of the race and spend the rest of the time surviving.

    If you are a slow-twitch muscle kind of person, I guess you just plod through the mileage for training, set a good pace, and be happy. I don't know, because I've never been this person. :)

  20. Slow-twitch and fast-twitch is also the difference between light and dark meat in birds (the ones we eat like chicken and turkey and eagles). I'm a fan of light meat, myself, so once you find out, let me know eh? I think we could really make this work.

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  22. I feel bad that I missed the chance to meet you! I assume you were mobbed by adoring fans from the world over so maybe another time. I'll have to keep more up to date in the future...

    1. Also sad you didn't come say hi! Will be doing another event soon, so stay tuned.

  23. I feel bad that I missed the chance to meet you! I assume you were mobbed by adoring fans from the world over so maybe another time. I'll have to keep more up to date in the future...

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