Friday, November 25, 2011

burying Wongstar 1.0

Ok, this is it. I turned 30 today. Hello, Dirty 30's! I'm hanging out in an airport...WITHOUT A BIKE BOX, on my way to chill for four days at a beach in Florida, where temps will be in the 70's (both highs AND lows!) while Delaware's impending winter looms and I try to figure out what to do next.

People keep asking what I'm doing next year, regarding races. I don't know. They tell me once I get over this injury, I'll be motivated again. That if I still had the passion and desire, the best is yet to come.

Confession #1: I never ordered the Wongstar fan club stickers. My knee hurts right now and it felt wrong to a) promote "make pain your bitch" and also b) take your money when I don't know if there is anything worthwhile I'll be doing that would require fans or a fan club.

Confession #2: My knee still hurts. (Wait I said that already.) Maybe I've been downplaying it because I'm from the school of "having a good sense of denial to achieve things you're not destined for" but I honestly can't tell if it's getting any better. There's the questions of "will it ever get completely healed?" and "how long until it gets better?"

So in the meantime, I stopped doing things that kept hurting the knee.

I put White Tiger away in the garage. And put all my biking things away.

I stopped running too, since that even flared up the knee. How did I get through a marathon on this? Was it because I took ibuprofen during the race?

And I don't see the point of swimming if it's not followed by biking and running. What, did you ever think I actually swam because I enjoyed it, or even wanted to?

Sometimes I feel like I went through what Buffy the Vampire Slayer did, when she died in season 5 and her friends brought her back in season 6...against her will and back into a new world strange and unfamiliar to her. Sometimes I think too much about my bike accident and how close it was to being fatal. How I swerved into the glass at the last moment, which probably saved me.

How maybe I got the option to return, but the trade-off was to return in a body with a bum knee. My new life is so different from the one the previous Wongstar knew before. I did go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

It's been a strange year. I'm not one to just sit around and get fat. I'm looking for another sport to do, that doesn't hurt the knee. So that's what's next. I just don't know what.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy Muppet Thanksgiving!

I saw the new Muppet movie yesterday. It was hilarious! and awesome! I grew up on the Muppet Babies cartoon TV is a link to their Saturday Night Live hosting intro with Jason Segal. There is even a cameo with Sheldon from Big Bang Theory! (in the movie, not the clip.)

One of my favorite quotes towards the end was: "Growing up is becoming who you wanna be." Good advice for my upcoming birthday tomorrow, entering the Dirty 30's!

Happy Thanksgiving! eat lots and don't feel guilty about it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

an eventful 2011

This weekend is Ironman Arizona weekend--last year, it was my season finale. Next weekend is Ironman Cozumel, which I originally planned to do, and was 2009's season finale. The daylight savings time change has come and gone too...all signs point to the end of the 2011 triathlon season.

On Friday I am turning 30 years old. Just like that, it's the end of an era in the life of the Wongstar, and the beginning of a new one. But more on that later.

So 2011 in terms of triathlon turned out to be rather eventful despite being lacking in events, if you know what I mean. Let's have a quick overview:

April: Samui Triathlon in Thailand is cancelled due to severe flooding.

May: Ironman China has its swim cancelled allegedly due to some permit fiasco...then the entire thing is called off just DAYS before I'm supposed to fly there. Instead I get a last-minute entry into Ironman Texas.

June: I decide to split from teamTBB, get a job offer to return to my career as a CPO, and start working with Beck Preston as my new coach.

July: Ironman Korea was supposed to be my last race as a TBB'er and BAM! I swam a 1:02! then BAM! I smashed into a minivan on the bike course!

So I decided to skip Full Vineman.

August: still recovering...Ironman Louisville is out too.

September: I finish ChesapeakeMan on very little training and super sleep deprived going straight from a medical mission in El Salvador.

October: My health insurance kicks in so I finally get an MRI on the knee that got bashed up in Korea. I learn that I've been training on a torn quad muscle, partially torn knee ligament, and bone bruise on my femur. Beach2Battleship is a no-go then.

November: Decided to call it a season and focus on healing up. Ironman Cozumel is out.

Really not the triathlon season I was looking to have: two races cancelled, hit by a car in one, 4 races skipped because of the injury and one of them completed without knowing how injured I was...well...surely there is something in all this that I can be somewhat proud of or happy with???

Being annoyingly positive at times, I figured I should at least make a list of my favorite performances that I'm most proud of for 2011. Here goes nothing!

2011 Highlights

  1. Winning the 20km road race at the Penn Relays (back in April), and winning a gold watch just like the sprinters get!
  2. Swimming a 1:02 at Ironman Korea!
  3. Running a 3:56 marathon at ChesapeakeMan--even with walking a mile and having two long potty stops, not to mention being WAY undertrained AND unprepared and well, injured.
Honorable mention: my 5:17 bike split at Ironman Texas off very little outdoor training and 200+ hours of  indoor riding on the trainer over winter. I was crying for the first hour too because I was so upset that I swam like crap.

What a mind trip. Just goes to show Ironman is not just about your physical health and preparation...there is the mental and emotional side too.

Anyway, good riddance to 2011. There were ups, there were downs (well mostly downs), and you will go down, hands-down, as my worst triathlon season in all my 12 years of triathlon.

We can only go up from here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter = cute hats

My first winter in the first state left me grumpy and hateful. I decided to have an attitude adjustment this year and EMBRACE winter. First cute warm hats. Happy early birthday to me! This one has a unicorn, a castle, a kitty, TWO fairies, magic mushrooms and butterflies! Who could resist?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Park Place & the Boardwalk

Last week I was in Atlantic City for the first time for a work conference. Our host hotel was at Park Place and the Boardwalk...sound familiar???

When I played Monopoly as a kid, I was always the sister was the top hat...and my brother was the race car. What were you?

My sister wasn't there, but I took a photo in case she wanted to photoshop herself into it.

I did in fact find the shoe!

and the race car!

I thought it was really cool actually. I've been to Vegas several times (and lived there one summer)...this was like a more condensed version right next to the beach. Another hotel we were at was decorated all Roaring 20's like...just like being in Boardwalk Empire!

I did lots of learning on this trip. (Aside from all the work stuff, obviously.) I learned you can actually win $1,246.88 on the penny slots (!!!)--wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. I blew a whole $7 on those stupid penny slots before I womanned up and starting betting some of my big girl money. This was NEW & EXCITING since I've never really been into the whole gambling thing.

This was the new-ish game "Blackjack Switch". I liked it because I doubled my money one time (from $50 to $100!) and also because there are two wizards on the is Dumbledore and one is Gandalf. They are twin brothers, didn't you know?

I also learned that there are certain rules in the women's bathroom (but reportedly not the men's):

Also, there were a ton of Asians and they are the best at gambling. Because we are super good at math. I ended up winning because I made sure to sit next to other Asians and they were happy to help a sister out. In fact there is a whole marketing department devoted to us:

I did start to get tired of my blood pressure staying up so high from betting $20 per two hands (Blackjack Switch makes you play 2 hands at a time for a minimum $10 bet each, but you're allowed to switch the top cards if you want), and I wondered why they don't have a casino where you get to play fun games like Connect Four or Chutes & Ladders or Operation for money. I heard a rumor that some casinos have UNO tables. Reverse! Skip! Wild card DRAW FOUR! If I opened up a Casino, I'd totally have a Connect Four table!

So instead my coworker took me to an arcade where we got to play with quarters. So many games and fun for under $5!!! I played Skeeball and other silly games (there was punch-the-alligator-heads too) and won enough tickets to trade them in for a rubber ducky.

I was pretty excited.

Monday, November 7, 2011

bigger My Little Ponies!

Yesterday's Operation T-NET adventure was...horseback riding! I rode this gorgeous horse. His name is Ace!

I borrowed Woody's cowboy hat...which threatened to fly off my head whenever Ace went too fast. (And yes, I totally yelled "Whoa, horsey!") Apparently foam hats do not stay on very well. And I wore the cowboy boots I bought when I was in Cozumel two years ago to race Ironman. I also learned the real purpose of spurs. I didn't wear spurs.

The "new & exciting" was in full force as I have NEVER ridden a horse before...unless you count that one time, at summer camp, when I sat on a horse for a few minutes while the horse handler person led us around the ring. (This was actually when I was 23 years old and volunteering as a counselor at a kids' camp.)

The cowboy in charge handed me a brush to brush out Ace before we saddled him up. I said "oh yes, I had a whole stable of My Little Ponies when I was a little girl, so I am very experienced in brushing horses." The only difference was that his eyeball was as big as my head, and ok...he wasn't blue or purple.

Someone else took pictures of me actually ON the horse, with my hat and cowboy boots on, I promise! but I'll have to acquire those and upload them later.

In other news, I realized I am suffering from a combination of "injury brain" (arguably different than brain injury) and "impending 30th birthday brain" (similar to quarter-life crisis). I was watching last week's episode of How I Met Your Mother and there was this sideplot on Lily and Marshall being given a house in the suburbs...but they determined Lily wasn't allowed to make any big decisions, because she was suffering from "pregnancy brain," which affects her judgement on EVERYTHING.

I've been trying to make some big decisions on the triathlon career recently, and have decided to chill out for now. The combination of being injured and turning 30 this month has me changing my mind every other week. The best advice I've gotten from people (you know who you are!) is to heal up first, and then figure it out.

In the meantime, doing new and exciting things is pretty fun. And exciting. On the horizon next for Operation T-NET is Atlantic City on Wednesday! Monopoly here we come!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Operation T-NET" is under way

After a decade of triathlon, 21 ironmans and many more shorter tris, the whole swim/bike/run thing is not very new or exciting for me any more.

One of my favorite greetings whenever I see a friend is to ask them "soooo, what's new and exciting?"

Sooooo I asked myself the same question and came to the conclusion I needed to inject a gigantic dose of "new and exciting" into my own life. Enter Operation T-NET: Try New & Exciting Things!

The first thing I did was head to Zeke and Tory's store, Out There Outfitters, in Wayne, PA and buy my first pair of toe shoes. (Uh oh, I said "first pair"! That means I might get another!!!)

I couldn't decide between the red or white. In the end I went with the white...because the tie-up laces felt nicer and snugglier than the elastic laces (silly enough after the whole triathlon E-Z laces thingy). Also Zeke told me that I can just throw them in the washing machine (but air dry) if they get dirty or I felt all right going with the white pair!

Zeke and Tory both train with Mac (coach and owner of the Bike Boutique here) and I used to swim with them all the time up at Mac's pool. Zeke just did his first IM at Lake Placid in July, and I hadn't seen them in a while! I made sure to bring them an autographed magazine of course. ;)

Obviously (or maybe not obviously), I'm not planning to actually RUN in these. I just wanted some because they look cool, in a creepy Ninja Turtle kinda way, and I like the idea that they will strengthen the instrinsic muscles in my feet. Walking has gotten boring (since that's one of the activities I can do now) so I thought I'd throw in the barefoot element to it, and hit the trails.

I also plan to do other new & exciting things while wearing my new ninja toe shoes! Stay tuned for the next phase of Operation T-NET!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Be true to who you are.

I bought this giant canvas print at Target. I kept walking away, because it was sort of expensive, but I kept coming back. I probably did this like 5 times while I was there.

Pretty much every line in there goes along with what I believe in. This injury has really forced me to step back and re-evaluate what I want to do next, after being on autopilot with triathlon for so many years. I was surprised at what the voice inside of me said, once I started listening...

I've definitely been doing the whole "DREAM BIG" thing with "FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS" and "NEVER GIVE UP" ...but....

...right now I am having some trouble with "BE HAPPY".

The "DO WHAT YOU LOVE" has become a challenge, as well as "BE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE".

But, this is my life, and I only get one. I would very much like to "MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT".

It might be time to "TRY NEW THINGS" and "EMBRACE CHANGE".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ironman lottery's new Legacy Program

The Ironman Lottery just opened today! New this year is the "Legacy Program" to reward... frequent customers. Am I eligible?

What is the Ironman Lottery Program?
Beginning in 2012 the Ironman Lottery will select 100 general Age Group athletes, 100 Legacy athletes plus five Physically Challenged athletes, to compete in the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2012 at 12 p.m. ET on One entry per athlete, duplicate entries will not be valid.

When does the Ironman Lottery open?
Registration for the 2012 Ironman Lottery and Legacy Program will open at 12 p.m. EDT on November 1, 2011.

What are the eligibility requirements for the 2012 Ironman Legacy Program?
To enroll athletes must meet all four of the following requirements*:
1. Athlete must have completed a minimum of twelve (12) full-distance Ironman-branded** races (includes existing and past events) by December 31, 2011
2. Athlete has never participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i
3. Athlete must have completed at least one Ironman event in 2010 and 2011
4. Athlete must be registered for an Ironman event in 2012
*Legacy athletes will be required to submit their information during online registration.
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

Soooo, am I eligible? Let's see....

1. I've done 17 Ironman-branded "full-distance" events.
2. I've NEVER raced the world championships in Kona.
3. I did 8 Ironman events in 2010... I did ONE this year (IM TX...and more than half of IM Korea!) in 2011.
4. Hmm. I'm not yet registered for an event in 2012, but I could be...

There's no rule that says pros can't apply to the Legacy program. I mean, there are the 100 spots specifically for "general age group" and 100 spots for "Legacy athletes". But it doesn't say Legacy athletes have to be age group. Maybe they assume pros wouldn't want a lottery slot? :)

I was always against the idea of going to Kona (personally, for myself!) by random selection and kept trying to go on performance merits. Well, that hasn't happened yet. Of course, I could always go back to racing age group and snag a spot. With my current injury, by the time I start training again, half the year of points-chasing will be gone to qualify as a pro, and to be honest, I don't feel like racing as frequently as I have in the past any more.

I'm kind of curious as to how many Legacy athletes are out there in the selection pool...

Part of me is just tempted to sign up for this to see if I get a slot and find a sneaky sneaky loophole in this whole "qualify for Kona" thing. It would be totally hilarious, no?