Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Quarterly Recap

It’s about time for a quarterly update/recap.

This year I’ve been accepted as an ENELL Race Ambassador to promote my favorite athletic gear, and ENELL is sponsoring me in my first Olympic-distance triathlon (happening May 22) and at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon this fall. The Olympic distance means I’ll be swimming a mile in a lake followed immediately by bicycling 25 miles and then running 6.2 miles. I’m definitely nervous about the undertaking, but training is going well so far.

I’m looking forward to a Labor-Day-weekend family reunion (that’s Mom’s mom’s side of the family) in Nebraska and taking a few extra days to visit my best friend in Omaha. I’m still living in Richardson with two housemates and three cats and loving it.

December marked four years working for my company. This year I joined the health and safety committee at work to generate ideas for workplace wellness and safety initiatives. As fond as I am of fitness in my personal life, it’s especially important to me to make sure the company’s ideas are safe, inclusive, accessible, and equitable for everyone interested in participating.

After performing in the DFW Vagina Monologues stage production for two years, I chose to work behind this scenes this year as a producer for the show, submitting promotional information to local publications and helping out with our fundraising events. This year we raised $2,300 for Hope’s Door, a domestic violence shelter and community outreach organization in Plano, Texas, putting our total fundraising in the last three years at over $6k!

            I just went to Galveston this weekend with little brother for a beach getaway. We had a blast at the Moody Gardens ropes course and zipline, got ice cream at the old-fashioned ice cream parlor and confectionary on The Strand (La King’s), swam a bit in the ocean, and visited the Pirates! Museum and its neighboring haunted house. I also got up early Sunday for a long training run along the seawall. There are many more attractions we’d like to see, so I hope we get to go again before summer gets too hot.

How is 2016 treating you so far?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Flexible Training for Real Life

I set up a pretty intense training plan for myself leading up to the May 22 Olympic triathlon. I never follow training plans religiously, but I’ve been sticking pretty close and enjoying my workouts this year. I may go to bed at 8 PM most nights, but I still make social plans when I can, and I have a life outside my sport. So I plan for flexible adherence as well.

Saturday I was supposed to run 6 miles for the first week of Hal Higdon’s marathon training plan, but I had signed up to run the Dash Down Greenville 5k. I planned to run an extra 3 miles when I got home that afternoon, because it can still count even if you split up your miles across the day. But I walked a mile to the start, ran the thing, walked a mile back to my car, and walked an additional 6 and a half miles that afternoon and would not run any more that day. I was certainly active enough on my feet, and one day isn’t going to have a negative impact on my plan to run a marathon 9 MONTHS from now.

Sunday was busy with socializing but not physically demanding. That night I had an especially wicked migraine and went to bed before 7 PM without setting an alarm. I woke naturally at 4:45 Monday feeling surprisingly decent, so I jumped out of bed and went to Camp Gladiator. My performance felt a bit weak and slow, but I finished every task and felt okay about it.

I went to bed early Monday and set my 4:30 AM alarm but was really tired and slept instead of working out Tuesday morning. I often have trouble identifying the difference between actually needing a little more sleep some days for recovery and just wanting to stay in bed because of my depression. The migraine hangovers can last a few days, so I’m not going to fret about needing an additional rest day so soon.

I’m confident that I'll hit it hard tomorrow.

Beating one’s self up over a missed workout doesn’t accomplish anything and is more likely to lead to more missed workouts. Life happens. Let it go.

There’s always tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Race Report: Dash Down Greenville 5k

The Dash Down Greenville 5k takes place before the annual St. Patrick's Day parade and starts and end on the parade route. The announcer said that over 6,000 people registered for this year's race.

Yet AGAIN, Run Project only offered unisex t-shirts and yet again let me order an XS at registration but didn't ever provide any XS shirts. At early packet pickup, they didn't even have any youth larges but said there would be at race-day pickup.

I parked and walked about a mile to the start, loved walking in the street with traffic because the barricades for the parade forced it. I was indeed able to get a youth large shirt, and it fits me mostly well, except for the part where I have a decidedly mature bust.

The morning was cold and windy with the wind chill just barely above freezing. The course was unremarkable. I was there alone, so I was kind of bored with the whole thing. One runner passed me with Flogging Molly playing from a speaker in his backpack, and I wish I'd been able to keep up.

As much as they'd been talking up the free beer at the finish line, you'd think there would have been something more palatable than PBR. But the event raised over $16k for the NT Food Bank, so yay charity.

I won the Instagram contest and got a check for a hundred bucks. I think I was the only one who entered.

I thought about spending it on another Run Project race, but there's only one that promises women's shirts, and it's in July. Which is unbearably hot.

Friday, March 18, 2016

What about the rest of us?

According to a 2013 survey by lingerie retailer Intimacy, the average bra size in the US is 34DD.

Why, then, are so few sports bras designed for any size larger than that? Do manufacturers not understand the meaning of "average"?

Even Competitor Running, in its current issue all about the best running gear, only offers sports bra recommendations for A to DD cup sizes. What about the rest of us, Competitor?

We already know that women DOMINATE this sport in participation. When is the industry going to start acknowledging this and our bodies?

Let me help you out. I may not have a whole team of athletes and contributing editors to source, but I've been a 34DDD runner for 6 years, and not without some serious support.
  • has a catalog compiling different brands and sizes beyond DDD with reviews and ratings based on the level of support each bra provides. Its aptly named Last Resort offering is the ENELL sports bra, which is available up to a 40DDD from Title Nine and from size 32C to 54G (and custom sizes!) at This is BY FAR my favorite for running and triathlon.
  • The Shock Absorber supports 30B to 40HH for high-impact activities. The band runs a bit tight, but the design perfectly encapsulates, separates, and compresses. Title Nine also lists this bra under the name "Trade-Up."
  • Though Moving Comfort offers sizes up to DDD/E and is recommended by Competitor Running, I find its support wholly unsuitable for running but would consider the brand for low-impact activities.
Sourced from the Fit Fatties Forum on Facebook, below are their recommendations for fellow fathletes:
  • Wizard of Bras lists all kinds of bras and brands: nursing bras, front-closure bras, minimizer bras, and sports bras by high, medium, and low impact.
  • Lauren Silva offers sports bras up to a 56G.
  • Glamorise offers various functional, stylish, and sports bras for larger busts as well.

There is CLEARLY demand for bigger and better sports bras, and they're out there! . . . if you know where to look.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Web-dating whinge

This is just a complaint about modern dating and how inconsiderate some people can be.

While I'm mildly irked at the trend of my last 5 dates canceling on me with short notice, I'm honestly thrilled to have that time back for myself. I really like Netflix and cats. Now I actually have time to pick up my race packet, buy groceries, run laundry, clean my room . . . all that good shit.

I see there might be something intrinsically wrong with the way I view dating if I consider it as taking away time from myself.

Initially I wanted to downplay my irritation lest it be seen as insecurity resulting from rejection, but the truth is that this shit pisses me off because it's fucking rude. I am a busy woman and my schedule is often full at least a week or two in advance, and it is not easy to make time to go out with ANYONE. Triathlon training is no joke; I’m doing 10 workouts most weeks.

And while I understand that sometimes things come up, this shouldn't be the norm for how people treat those with whom they've made plans.

I COULD HAVE GONE BACK TO BED after this morning’s grueling hour-long Camp Gladiator session and following 2.7-mile run if I’d known that TWO people would cancel on me for coffee and drinks in the span of 20 minutes today.

One had something with work come up and the other needed the whole two weeks we’d been chatting to decide the day of our plans that he’s just not ready to get back into the dating world after a recent breakup. Another did something similar last week, deciding to cancel on me the morning of concrete plans to meet after we’d been chatting for a week and a half. Another ghosted after a great first date and plans made for a second. All this in about a month.

Like, why make plans if you aren’t sure you even want to? The reason it takes 2 weeks to get a date with me is not because I’m going on so many (though I could if I wanted to). But aside from triathlon training, I work full time and have real-life friends and interests, house-hold chores and races.

Respect other people's time and honor your fucking commitments or don't make any.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Race Report: St. Patrick's Sprint Tri

Yesterday I participated in Dallas Athletes Racing's St. Patrick's Sprint Tri, consisting of a 300-meter pool swim with live bagpiping; a hilly, 3-loop, 12- to 14-mile bike course; and a really short 5k run. Sponsored by Shannon Brewery, they ran out of beer before I and at least fifty other participants finished.

Training and challenges:
Since January, I have been consistently swimming several times a week and have knocked a minute and a half off my 300m, which is a hell of a lot, even though I'm still slow. I'm also a lot stronger and finally at a point where I don't feel like I'm going to die after I get out of the pool and don't need to go back to bed for another hour to recover. However, I've barely spent 3 hours on my bike since my race in September because I hated it so much and cried through almost the entirety of the bike course. At least I've finally gotten a bike fitting, so I shouldn't be crying over my aching vulva anymore. And my running is stronger, if not faster. So I had a few things going for me going into this race and hoped to finish in less than 2 and a half hours.

Race morning:
Transition was only open one hour, so there was a line of a hundred people before it even opened. Once I finally got in and got my gear set up, I got in the long-ass line to pick up chip timers. As advised at every race clinic I've been to, I put my number on my bike the night before, but this day I lost it somewhere on the 25 miles of highway between home and the event. So after getting my chip, I asked what to do about the number and was told I'd have to get a new number entirely. I changed out my numbers, scrambled to move all my bike and gear to a new rack after the transition area was supposed to have closed, and pretty much just threw all my gear down in a random lumpy pile. Then I had to get in line again for a new chip; the line had tripled by this point. The announcer kept announcing every few minutes that we were on-track for a 7:30 start. I laughed every time I heard it.

I got my new chip and after having spent the whole hour rushing to get ready, I settled in for an hour-long wait from the first swimmer until my turn to enter the pool. The good thing about this is that I get to use the restroom as many times as I need, and a woman complimented me on my new green ENELL sports bra at the sink, where the mirror showed me that I'd hilariously mismatched the hooks; the bad thing is that I don't get to warm up, and I spend an hour standing on concrete before I have to go run a fucking race. The event had a live bagpiper standing on the diving board playing for us the whole time. I really thought he'd quit long before I began.

Though in practice I can swim 300m in about 7 and a half minutes, it turns out that I really struggle without a warmup, and my race time was 9:01—an improvement of 13 seconds from this time last year.

My T1 was garbage, but it is consistently garbage, and this one was actually my second best of four races even though I put on my first sock twisted and had to take it off and do it over.

The event page said in one place that the bike course would be 12 miles, but the linked map of the course was marked "13.8 miles," and the two mapping websites I used measured it at 14.4 and 14.45 miles. I finished it in the same amount of time as my best-ever flat course training time, so, who the hell knows?

This was a 3-lap course with two beastly hills each length: 6 fucking hills total. And really tiny, tight turnarounds. Now, I have not trained on hills . . . because I live on the great plains and there are none.

As I struggled up the slopes in the first lap, I thought, "I'm gonna die." I'd already seen at least a handful of other athletes having to walk it up the hill and worried I'd join them on the third lap. But on the second loop, I glared at the first incline and thought defiantly, "Fuck YOU, hill!" as I clicked into my hardest gear and pedaled fiercely down the preceding slope, determined to take as much speed and momentum upwards as I could possibly muster on this short, shallow downhill. And it worked. I sped past others already laboring and made it two-thirds up the slope before I was back in my easiest gear, breathing hard and pedaling slowly up the last bit. I reminded myself to just keep spinning and that no matter how slow, this was still faster than walking. I hadn't the energy to accelerate any as I reached the top, and several people I'd just passed then passed me by. But I'd catch them again on the next incline. This plan of attack worked for me and I stuck with it through the remaining laps, surprised to find my strength and energy seemed steady throughout.

T2 was not my best nor my worst as I rummaged through my messy pile for my visor, race belt, and running pouch.

As I crossed the timing mat to begin the run, I uttered aloud a relieved "Thank god." My legs felt okay and this was my favorite part. The event's webpage had promised us a "virtually flat," "beautiful, tree-lined course." I rounded the corner, rolled my eyes, and and cried out half serious, "Not more hills!" A runner near me chuckled. I ran a good bit of the course at a very slow and steady pace but took a lot of walking intervals because I was tired. I passed the mile 1 marker at about 12 minutes and grimaced in disgust; this was going to be a very short 5k. I knew I was moving at closer to a 15-minute pace. The volunteer at the turnaround was very cheerful and energetic and encouraged us with promises of beer at the finish line. I finished the run in 40 minutes and 20 seconds, which is about what I've been doing in training on FRESH legs, confirming my suspicions about the poorly measured course. My total race time was 1:57:4.7.

A friend who lives nearby came to wave at me as I finished and gave me a hug after I turned in my timing chip. I picked up a shiny new glass beer mug and asked if she had seen where the beer tent was. We made our way over there and were informed that they'd just run out of beer. I pouted and my friend said she'd buy me a beer if she could, but it was Sunday in Texas and we can't do that til noon. This is the event's 10th anniversary and its 6th or 7th year selling out; organizers know in advance exactly how many over-21 participants there are. How does this even happen?

I grabbed my stuff and left, uninterested in staying to hear the awards announcements with an empty glass. We went to a cafe and saw that it had the same Shannon beer on tap as the race was supposed to have had but were informed that they don't serve it there anymore. I had a Shiner Bock with my eggs instead.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Is blatant online sexism ever surprising?

CN: ableism, sexism

My coworker was just telling me about how she commented on an online article from The Observer about poor voter turnout. She commented to describe how she and four other coworkers, very intelligent, college-educated adults who work with computers and the Internet daily, struggled to find their polling places, coming up short after dedicated googling efforts until one person found a direct link to share around the office. She said how surprised she is at how difficult it is to vote in Texas since she moved from New York, where they mail out detailed voting packets with sample ballots including the items you will be voting on and directly listing your polling place. About a dozen other people responded with similar stories and anecdotes about obstacles to voting in Texas.

One commenter singled her out and tagged her to say 'Voting is literally the easiest thing you can do. If you're too stupid to vote, how do you even pay your taxes?' She couldn't understand why that person singled her out among so many similar commenters. I asked her if any of the other commenters were men.

Can you guess the answer?

She paused a moment in contemplation before saying, "Yeah, actually. They were ALL men!" That's why you were singled out, I told her. "Oh my gosh! I hadn't even thought of that!" she exclaimed.

It's as if this nonsense is so normalized as to go unnoticed by most.

Positive: She has no desire to get into a debate with that jerk, isn't especially bothered by the interaction, and received several private messages of vague support telling her to just ignore him.

No public responses to that effect, though. We really need male allies to call out this shit publicly.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

On misandry and sexism

Other writers have done a better job of explaining misandry than I can. Here's one particular piece I highly recommend.
 "No, I don't hate men. It would, however, be fair to say that I don't easily trust them."
 "There are the jokes about women, about wives, about mothers, about raising daughters, about female bosses. They are told in my presence by men who are meant to care about me, just to get a rise out of me, as though I am meant to find funny a reminder of my second-class status. I am meant to ignore that this is a bullying tactic, that the men telling these jokes derive their amusement specifically from knowing they upset me, piss me off, hurt me. They tell them and I can laugh, and they can thus feel superior, or I can not laugh, and they can thus feel superior."
"There are men who will read this post and think, huffily, dismissively, that a person of color could write a post very much like this one about white people, about me. That's absolutely right. So could a lesbian, a gay man, a bisexual, an asexual. So could a trans or intersex person (which hardly makes a comprehensive list). I'm okay with that. I don't feel hated. I feel mistrusted—and I understand it; I respect it. It means, for me, I must be vigilant, must make myself trustworthy. Every day."
Read the full post here.

Another good one:

"Consider that while you’re just joking around, a woman might actually be doing some quick mental math to see if she’s going to have to hide in a fucking bathroom stall and call someone to come help her, like I did three days ago."

Full post: Tips to Men I Love About Men Who Scare Me