You know how you think you know how hot is hot? You race in Hawaii and promise yourself you’ll never complete about hot again? You should come to Texas. It’s hotter than Hawaii hot.
How hot is hot?
We got into the car last night at 5 pm. The thermometer read 115 degrees. I realize the car does not have pores and cannot cool itself while baking there. But still – that’s hot. We drove over to a lake for a short run. If you find yourself in a new town and you want to run, here’s a tip – go to Map My Run and browse through the local routes. I located one that included these words “flat course, scenic, low traffic and a strong methane smell if the wind is blowing from the south.”
It actually was beautiful. An oasis surrounded by windmills rising out of the flat dusty plains by name of Dunbar Lake. There was a 2.84 mile paved loop around the lake. A few cyclists out there and plenty of other nonathletic riff raff. We started out thinking we’d be ok without water on a 2.84 mile loop. What is that – 20 minutes? Plus the temperature had cooled off to 97 degrees. Surely we can survive. I got about 14 minutes into it and the survivalistic thinking kicked in – I will die out here and crust to the pavement. Chris assures me the water is just ahead. It’s not. How do I know? Because there was a GIANT windmill near our car and I can see it around what looks like 10 miles away.
I got my water bottle in hand and clutched it for the next loop. I set off on my own. As I was running, a woman on a tri bike rode by. I thought to myself what are the chances that I know her? A few minutes later, she pulled up alongside me and said Elizabeth?
What are the chances that she knows me?
It was Elizabeth Rich! Yes, I know her – we met at Ironman Arizona. She’s from Arizona so she’s used to the heat. I am too, now, I think to myself. If I can get through 40 minutes of this NOTHING will ever feel this hot again. I did this run for the mental perks, the idea that you can keep moving forward when the heat presses on you. It’s just mind of matter. It usually is these conditions.
On the way back I did some pick ups – yay for telephone pole fartlek (I just love being able to say that and know that even though it sounds ridiculous it was very purposeful). I saw Chris going the other way, gave him some water, he told me “You’re ok, Liz. You’re ok.” Then he winked at me. Oh god - the heat is getting to him. Then he warned me that up ahead there were some kids passing the Dutchie on the left hand side in the woods. Good for them, they’re probably having more fun than us. When I finally passed them they whistled, I woo hooed and wanted to note that they were just passed - by me - on their left hand side.
After the run we headed out to the grocery store. There’s a really great market here with a healthy variety of foods. I made a giant salad but I also took time to check out the not so healthy foods. There were plenty. There was an entire CASE of brownies. I have my eye on the Texas Turtle Brownie and…Peanut Butter Brownie. That is an entire brownie made of…peanut butter and topped with a peanut butter cup. I won’t even tempt Marit and D with all of the sheet cake varieties. It was like cake in a box overload. I didn’t even know where to begin. On Sunday evening you’ll find me there very sugar intoxicated.
This morning we went to the grocery store again. This time for breakfast and Peet’s coffee. I like Peet’s coffee! On the way down the elevator, I noticed something in Chris’ hands.
What is that in your hands?
He started to unroll what appeared to be two crumpled plastic balls in his hands.
He looks at me with plastic bags in hand like he just did a very bad thing.
Why do you have plastic bags?
We both know what is going on here. You see, Chris’ grandma is OBSSESSED with plastic bags. You cannot take anything from his parents house without it leaving in a plastic bag. You want mango? Ok. Get a plastic bag. There’s a running joke that if you can’t find something in their house chances are it is hidden in a closet wrapped in three plastic bags. When you say to her 'where is the so-and-so' she says look in the closet. When you tell her it's not there she says you no good at looking.
Chris tells me he saved the bags in case we wanted to go back and buy something. I’m thinking that if my helmet goes missing later I might find it in a hotel room drawer wrapped in two plastic bags.
Someone remind me too that I need to hide the orange race t-shirt that Chris insists on wearing. Does your husband have one of these shirts? Chris actually has two shirts that I would like to make go away. One is the BattleBots shirt that was given to him by Leslie Curley after she and her husband went to a machine show in Chicago. This BattleBots t-shirt is part of Chris’ normal weekend wear. Um, BATTLEBOTS!!! It’s dorky but I’m ok with it because it’s at least a normal (blue) color. This other t-shirt is from an adventure race and is bright orange. It’s just not a good color. ON ANYONE.
So we are at the grocery store, eating - and drinking coffee – of course – when I realized there are TWO other men in the vicinity wearing orange shirts. Then I look outside and see a woman walk by with an orange shirt. What the hell is going on?
It’s the new black.
Later on we will drive the race course. I remember bits and pieces of it from 3 years ago; the big climb out of transition. Descending on my road bike wishing I had my tri bike (turns out it decided to vacation without me in Ellenwood, Georgia – go back to the June ’06 blogs for that story). Seeing Natascha Badmann fly by in the other direction exuding nothing but grace and confidence. Watching Heather Fuhr work hard up a hill on the run. Hearing Jerry McNeill say “Liz Fedofsky, you’re going to Kona!” That was pretty exciting. Of course this time around there is not chance for Kona qualification (pros need to do a full IM to qualify) but there are plenty of other chances. Actually racing is not about chances at all – it’s about choices. You make choices out there. To be at your best or to be beaten by the race. The goal is to do your best by choice not chance.
Still, the race will be hard. They all are, aren’t they? I revisit my best swim, bike and runs from the past few weeks for a reminder that yes I can handle the hard. Hanging on JH’s feet for 1.5 laps at Lake in the Hills. The other night bolting to jump on to Liz D’s feet for the perimeter swim then hanging there for 100 yds. The women’s race, not letting up for one minute. That 3 x 20 hard ride with Chris. The other day loops at the lab doing 5 x 5 and Chris telling me “you’re not that far behind” (when riding with Chris that IS a compliment). The 6 x 2 hard at Herrick Lake. The 10K – besting my expectation by over 1 minute. There have also been some not so good workouts but that’s just part of being an athlete. The only thing I remember about those is that I got up the next day and kept working toward my goal.
Chris is sleeping again. Snug in his orange t-shirt. The only man I know that can drink 16 ounces of coffee and fall back to sleep. I think though it was the heavy cream that put him out. Leave it to Texas to have Heavy Cream available for your coffee. I wondered why there were chunks floating in his cup. Of course the Heavy Cream was right next to the Agave Nectar.
Which I found a little disturbing…?
Anyways, I’m up. That’s all that counts. It’s 10 am! For PEET’S coffee sake. Give your coffee some respect and look alive, boy, LOOK ALIVE!