Thursday, January 31, 2008

To Take Your Husband's Last Name or Not

Stressed Woman

Triathletes tend to be independent, progressive thinkers of fairly high intelligence. I’m not saying every triathlete fits this description, but more of my triathlete friends do than don’t. And most of them who didn’t get married young before they were set in their triathletic, independent ways have not been too successful at holding down a long-term relationship. They have a standardized routine, their own space, and a hard time allowing anyone to mess it up.

So what does this have to do with my ambivalence about taking my coachancĂ©’s last name? CoachancĂ© and I have been conditioned on the “give-and-take” side of life through college living; we didn’t have much trouble continuing to live this way as graduation wasn’t that long ago. We’ve never really had our own spaces, and have been changing up our routines on a semester system for several years. I want the heater on, coachancĂ© doesn’t want to pay for it. So the heat comes on in one room of the apartment, designated as “Celia’s Sauna”.

So with all this lovey dovey give and take stuff, it seems like the issue of the married last name shouldn’t be an issue. Traditionally, the man gives the name, the woman takes the name. Case closed. But being one of those difficult people who’s a feminist when it comes to women’s rights, but likes dudes to open doors and lift heavy things for me, I can’t just accept this societal convention.

As far as I can tell, the tradition stems from the fact that a woman was once seen as a man’s property. When she married him, she became his, and the last name change signified just that. Their children were also his and took the man’s last name.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Does Triathlete Magazine Dislike the Phoenix Triathlon Club?

Triathlete Magazine logo The February 2008 issue of Triathlete Magazine had a surprising addition to its "Mail Call" column: a letter dissing the Phoenix Triathlon Club for not having a single kind, friendly human being on their team. I grew up in Phoenix and actually agree with the letter's author, Jake Hamby. The thing is, when I was last living there (in 2001), everyone was still pretty friendly. It was a strange case when someone I'd wave to on my daily bike ride wouldn't smile and wave back, or offer a kind "Hello!" Maybe it's because I looked like a goofball, wearing Adidas soccer shorts, a cotton tank top, a Camelback, and lace-up mountain biking shoes to ride my full-suspension mountain bike all over the roads. Whatever it was, people then were just the way triathletes should be: friendly.

However, riding in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley during trips home over the last year, I got the feeling Hamby described in his Triathlete Magazine letter. Hardly anyone waved, nobody smiled, and the few people that did talk to me seemed like they only did so to size me up at stoplights, then try to drop me when the lights turned green. And I certainly got passed several times on the Beeline Highway when I was changing a flat, without a single "Got everything you need?" or "You OK?" I never thought I'd say this, but cyclists in Los Angeles are a million times friendlier than the new breed of transplanted Phoenicians. I'd like to think that people who grew up there before it became another tabloid-obsessed mini-Hollywood would still smile and change Jake Hamby's tire if they saw him.

The question remains, however, why did Triathlete Magazine choose to run this particular piece of mail? They only ran 4 letters in the February '08 issue--one promoting their magazine, two promoting Ultraman events, and Hamby's disillusionment with Phoenix Tri Club members. Perhaps an editor felt the same way? Or some Phoenix Triathlon Club charter member really pissed someone off? Whatever the reason, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who was saddened by the behavior of other athletes in Phoenix. I'll stick to riding up PCH where almost everyone waves, if only in acknowledgment that you have something in common: a dislike of all drivers on PCH, and the feeling like every one of them is plotting to take you out.

Happy Training! And smile, for goodness sakes! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Triathletes and New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

It's 2008. How are you going to improve this year? My friends and I have come up with several immensely lame mottos for 2008, including: It's gonna be great in 2008! Don't be late in 2008! Get a hot date in 2008! Don't overcompensate in 2008! Find a mate in 2008! and Loose weight in 2008, which we're sure every weight-loss program is already touting, thanks to the immense imagination of their advertising agencies.

So what's your New Year's resolution? Got a motto? If you haven't resolved to do anything differently this year don't despair! Our lame rhymes actually offer some good tips to make 2008 great, in regard to triathlon:

  1. Loose weight. Seriously, this sucks, but if you want to go faster and you're pushing the high end of the Clydesdale spectrum, try dropping some lbs. If going faster and feeling faster aren't enough of an impetus to shed those Xmas cookies glued to your stomach, get engaged. The thought of whale-ish wedding photos is keeping my post-holiday season eating regulated.

  2. Find a mate, in the Australian sense of the term. If you have an exercise buddy, you'll be less likely to miss workouts, thereby improving your overall fitness. You'll also have someone to talk to on those long base rides so you don't go insane, and you'll have someone to complain to about everyone you know who won't ride or run with you.

  3. Don't be late! Punctuality is a sign of dedication and good manners. If you've been allowing yourself to hit the snooze button in the morning, get back into the routine of getting up on time, and getting to workouts on time. If you're routinely punctual, you'll be less stressed, you won't loose workout time, your friends will like you more, and so will your boss.

  4. Don't overcompensate. Ever seen those nerdy guys driving around in Hummers like they're the coolest shiz around, then think to yourself, "Geez, he's compensating for something!" Same goes for dudes who drop $10,000 on a bike and still can't beat their neighbor's 11-year old kid around the block. Want to shave some time? Work on a solid workout routine. Don't drop the money you should have spent on your wife at Xmas on carbon fiber pedals.

  5. Get a hot date. Given that you are now a punctual, fit, non-overcompensator with friends, because you've followed the previous 4 tips, you should have no trouble getting a hot date in 2008. Just don't try to do so if you're not single, unless you want to return home to find your bike cut in half.

Happy New Year!