Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is Your College Douche-y?

Mine made it onto GQ's "America's 25 Douchiest Colleges" list. Did yours?

It should no longer perplex anyone why no straight girl attending Vassar College ever had a boyfriend during her undergrad years.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Run Like a Man

Perhaps you've been reading about the case of South African runner, Caster Semenya, who won the 800 meters at the track & field World Championships on August 21st in Berlin. She crushed the women's field by over 2 seconds.

Basically, due to Semenya's masculine appearance, and ridiculous speed (she won in 1:55.45. I was psyched to run an 800 today in almost twice that!) the IAAF (International Assoc. of Athletics Federation) is conducting an investigation into whether or not Semenya is, indeed, female.

Aparently, a trip to the loo doesn't cut it anymore. They're getting all fancy and scientific, looking beyond the obvious junk-or-no-junk evaluation into blood tests, and tests conducted by an gynecologist, an endocrineologist, and even a psychologist. What's the psychologist going to ask, "Do you think you're a girl?"

(For a full evaluation of this incident, including it's implications in the World's apparent prejudice against South Africa, check out this NYT article.)

I realize this is a sensitive matter, not only for Semenya, but for her family and for her country, but I have one thing to say:

If someone thought I was so ridiculously fast as to accuse me of being a man, I'd gladly take the compliment while grabbing my air balls and flipping my accuser the bird.

What do You Suffer From? Need a Cure for Cankles?

A friend recently sent me this WSJ video. Unlike yesterday's WSJ article, this "health" video serves no purpose to help further your well being whatsoever. Kudos to WSJ for trying to serve up lighter fare, but when you start insinuating that people "suffer" from things that might just be annoying, your video may be ridiculed.

Perhaps if you have "cankles", you might have felt compelled to watch this video. Far from being an ailment, however, it's simply a body feature that is most likely 85% inherited, and 15% fixable with a good calf-strengthening / body-fat reducing routine. (Numbers based on no scientific data whatsoever.)

What bugs me is the suggestion that there's something wrong with a woman in the first place if she doesn't have well-defined, skinny ankles.

Fitness guru, C.J. Ong, Jr., worries that the fitness industry's exploitation of the "the desperate, overweight American public" is only perpetuating the American health issue of being overweight, by constantly "feeding upon the lost consumer as the proverbial cash cow." Probably by making them think they "suffer" from issues that do not actually cause suffering.

A person can suffer from arthritis, for example. She cannot "suffer" from being tired when she gets up in the morning. Although I'm sure something will be marketed for that "ailment" before too long.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Society's Silence

I read this WSJ article on our society's lost art of communication this morning and it got me thinking about how much I let modern technology influence my emotions.

The answer: Way to freaking much.

I realize what has got my underwear all in a bundle lately is, at once, a need for quick communication and a depressing disgust with it.

Let me explain. As a journalist, I propose articles. Articles are either favorably received, and I get a job, or they're not, and I either reformulate, send to a different publication, or scrap the idea and start anew.

This all requires 2-way communication.

I never get upset when an idea is rejected. In fact, if it's rejected with any inkling of a reason why, I'm quite grateful for the info--it could help me write a better proposal the next time around.

I get really upset when I receive NOTHING.

And here's the double-edged sword: I rely on quick communication to keep my work flowing. But this type of communication has made it easy--and even acceptable--for people to completely ignore each other.

I hate that. When my proposals are rejected, somebody has acknowledged my existence. I am thankful at least for that. When absolutely nothing comes for weeks on end, I cry for humanity. And for myself.

If society still favored "slow" methods of communication--a phone call, for instance--I doubt many editors, who I am sure are usually totally decent people, would give a caller the silent treatment. Rejection? Sure. But not a total lack of acknowledgment of the caller's efforts at communication.

Should I ever be in a position where people are proposing ideas to me, I vow to send a response to every one of them. Even if it only says: Thanks, but no.

Should someone put effort into a proposal, and put themselves out there for an editor's scrutiny, the least the writer deserves is some acknowledgment of their existence. Not only does it make the writer happy, it gives a more favorable impression of the publication's ethical standards, and reputation as a publication worth pursuing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yoga for Dummies- The 3 Commandments of Yoga

I am getting older.

I can tell because the days when I thought people were crazy for expending any extra energy before workouts and races "warming up" are over.

I had convinced myself while on the high school swim team that every extra 100 yards of race day warm up was sapping me of potential forward thrust in sprint freestyle events.

That belief has been crushed by injury and age. The ominous hambutt injury from last year has left my right hamstring quite tight. Still unmotivated to stretch alone, I decided it was time to try yoga. Thus, over the course of an hour, I loosened up my hammie and discovered some very important truths about the ancient activity.

The Yoga Commandments

1. Thou shalt not wear short shorts or loose t-shirts. Unless you want to lay out your nether parts for all to see, wear something capri-length on bottom and form-fitting on top. That way, you won't offend, or eat your shirt.

2. Thou shalt not eat too much fiber before class. Should you disobey this commandment, downward dog will haunt you forever.

3. If seeking tranquility, or your own personal zen, thou shalt not practice yoga in a free class at 24-hour Fitness, where you will be separated from the meatheads by a paper-thin wall, and subjected to hearing their evenly-spaced grunts and the subsequent slam of heavy weights on the ground while you are in the (somewhat morbidly named) final resting pose meditating on the hour you have just spent with your bum in the air. (See commandment #1.)

Happy trying-to-achieve-your-teenage-flexibility!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Burned Out? Shorten Things Up!

In the weeks following Race Across Oregon, I experienced a burnout worse than anything I could've imagined. I thought I'd never move again. I hated everything about sports. My body was beyond sore, but my brain was fried. I never thought it could get so bad, or last so long. A nice wallop of depression, surely mostly from endorphin withdrawal, sealed my fate as a zoned out, down-on-myself, anti-social couch hugger.

But I am moving again!

And what got me going? The thought of racing again. Really racing--not just outlasting--my competitors.

I want to be fast.

It's a goal of which I will never tire. Probably because I am not innately so.

Just like that, short triathlon is back in my life, because it's possible to see measurable improvements week after week without expending too much time working at it. Which means a lot less time forcing my brain to focus, which means hopefully, it'll come back around soon. Switching it up between sports helps, too.

Ironically (or probably it was planned this way), Triathlete's "mental issue" (aka sports psychology edition) came out right when I was in the throes of mental attrition. I'm taking this as a sign that I'm not the only athlete who has burned out mid-July-August. I'm just surprised at how long the burnout has lasted.

We triathletes are strange and amazing. Most articles on athlete burnout pertain to young athletes (10-20 years old) who are on teams with crazy coaches and who have no control over their schedules. Amateur adult triathletes, like myself, compete only at their own will and have only themselves to answer to at the end of the day. There is nobody else to dissapoint, and participating at all is our own decision.

It is incredible that we can push ourselves so far as to become burned out on a sport, that for many of us, we got into to stay in shape, meet new people, have fun, see new places, and set athletic goals.

If you've committed to racing longer than 24 hours recently, it may seem like training as little as 7 hours/week is failing.

What helped me destroy that thought is realizing that I can still reach a goal (in my current case, an olympic distance tri) training just as little as my brain will currently allow, even if that means it wants to take off 2+ days in a row.

So if you're racing sprints and Olympic distance races this year, please look for me and give me a cheer--my brain could use the boost!

Perhaps this burnout was a blessing in disquise so I'd be psyched for collegiate racing this year and not attempt anything crazy for the duration of my masters' program.

Bring it, collegiate triathlon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

California Triple Crown Results Are Up!

If you somehow ended up riding 3+ Planet Ultra double centuries this year, you have become a Cal Triple Crown Winner! Woo hoo!

Check out your stats here.

Then figure out how many more doubles you have to do before you've done them all.

There's always another mountain to climb.

A big congratulations to Robyn Dunn, who did three doubles with me to help me train for RAO, and although she kicked my butt in every one of them, crewed for me at RAO instead of kicking my butt there as well. Thank you, Robyn!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things You Don't Want to Know About Your New Apartment

Besides the obvious:
"it's noisy",
"it's on a main street",
"your neighbor's welcome rug smells like pee",
"oh, there is no mailbox",
"no parking either",
"no dishwasher!",
"oh yea, and no washer/dryer",
(but it still costs more than the average American's mortgage!)
"your bathroom looks like the one in SAW",
and "you're within a 2 minute walk of a huge porn store",

it struck me as odd that two people, who do not know each other in any way that I know of, told us,
"Hey! I did mushrooms in that living room a bunch of times!"
and "Hey, that's where my brother hung out during his 'drug phase'."

So said an old neighbor when we told him where we were moving.
And a girl I had never met in my life before Friday night, who is dating a friend of mine.

I suppose in a city that is only one square mile in size, all residents are only a few degrees separated. But with almost 20,000 people smushed into that space, there's still room for a bit of anonymity.

Not so for our little apartment. Apparently, he gets around.

When I came back from a run to find a cop parked out front, chillin' in his cop car, I began to wonder how hard it would be to obtain pot from my neighbors.

I'll be bolting the door at night. And stacking bikes in front of it.

Because there's no where else to put them.

Performance: The Cycling Video of the Summer!

To see the original on YouTube, go here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Things Not To Tell Your Athlete While Crewing at an Ultra Race

Mike Deitchman, who crewed for fiancée, Joan Grant, at Race Across Oregon, compiled an excellent list with recommendations from otherworldly ultracyclists.

Check it out here!

Why Hello Officer! Admiring My '96 Raleigh M7000?

Why, hello, ociffer!

Don't ask me why, but that's what I had imagined I'd say if I ever got pulled over.

Instead, it went something like this:

EXT. Day. A deserted beach street.
Erin rides her 13-year old mtn. bike into the left turn lane of an intersection. She is wearing sneakers, a t-shirt, and a black back pack. The light turns red. She patiently track stands for as long as possible. There is nobody anywhere. (I know, hard to believe in LA.) She looks left and sees the light in the other direction turn yellow. Rather than destroy a fab track stand by letting a foot touch the ground, she proceeds before her light turns green.

She makes her way down a side street. A cop silently rolls up next to her, and hand motions for her to pull over.

COP: Do you know why I'm pulling you over?
Erin: Because I turned left from the left lane.
COP: On a red light.
Erin doesn't say anything. She's watched enough COPS shows to know that cops basically want you to call yourself an idiot in front of them, then appologize.
COP: You just want to be a pedestrian and get to use the road, don't you.
Erin: That was a dumbass move. I'm very sorry.
COP: Where do you live?
Erin: 21st St.
Gut-wrenching pause.
COP: Watch out for traffic.
Cop drives away.

Erin almost pukes.

Aparently, the streets weren't entirely deserted after all. And it was a dumbass move worthy of getting pulled over. But I figured it was like farting when nobody else is around; nobody's going to call you on it. Plus, I had just read about Idaho's cycling laws, where stop signs mean "yield" for cyclists, and red lights are like stop signs. I want a piece of that heavenly cycling pie.

Thank goodness I looked like a ditzy beach bum instead of a cyclist. The Raleigh's state of rustiness, my sneakers, and shabby t-shirt saved my financial life. Either that, or the cop didn't want to follow me all the way to 21st street to see my license.

To conclude, I am an idiot, and I appologize for making bikeists look bad.

Now let's pass some Idaho-inspired cycling laws!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pulling a Double Move

Coachubby and I live together.
We won't when I go to school.
Therefore, he must move into a smaller apartment while my rent goes to school housing.
Therefore, we're moving him in this weekend--with all of my stuff!
Therefore, I will have to move twice within a month.
Therefore, I am currently trying to purge our current place of as much stuff as possible in order to fit el remaining stuff-o into the tiny place.
I've thrown out a lot.
Now I'm staring at a box full of race t-shirts.
I am now stumped.
Please, Lord, give me strength!

And now some pics from our Race Down Oregon aka drive down Highway 1 back to Lalaland. (And one more RAO pic.)



Riding the Oregon dunes.

In compression tights. Stylin'.

Grin and bear it.

Lombard St., San Francisco


Ghirardelli Chocolate!

Grandpa's 86th Birthday! birthday!