Where is My Mojo

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Swimming with the Sharks

In Swim, Triathlons on June 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I work in advertising, and normally when you present a case study you leave the results for the end. For this post, I’m not. I’m too damn excited to do so…

Results: I swam 400 meters in 13 minutes freestyling without stopping… nor panicking nor drowning. Yeay for me!

Yesterday was the Trilogy #1 Tri-race and I participated. This was my third tri-race ever. I was both excited and anxious to really see how far I had gone with my swimming. To me it was something like a mid-term exam. “Let’s see how you are performing so far, Ms. Chaurero”. Surprisingly, on Saturday I was not anxious. Only by night time I was just a bit. Butterflies were doing their usual thing. Now, Sunday, was different animal, but nothing comparable to my second race when I was hoping something insignificant would happen, but significant enough to avoid showing up at the race… e.g. my  car tire exploded; Socrates vomited; I woke up to a very bad hair day…

But this day was different. It was the day where the big girls were separated from the little ones. Boys with one hair on their chest no longer played with the hairless ones. It was THE turning point.

After the regular things I do before being able to leave home, I went to pick up Karla, a high school friend and tri-buddy. By 5:35, we were parking the car and heading to get ourselves marked and pickup our ankle chips so we could get into the transition area to set up our gear. Because of our race numbers being so close, she and I ended up on the same bike rack, so we set our stuff next to each other. Yeay! Upon completion and meeting our other team members, we headed to the beach area from where we would begin the race.

Once there, I got into the water for a quick warm up and I started feeling much more confident. I was thinking “You can do this. You can do this”. It was just a matter of waiting for our 40+ women group to be called into the water. We wore purple swimming caps, and there were many of us… 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. and then the sound of a bull horn, and off we were. I went out smoothly but firmly. Just like in meditation, where you listen to yourself breathing to be able to focus, I do with swimming. I focus on the water bubbles coming out of my mouth. I always let them go out at the same pace, almost creating a repetitive sound, a song if you may. Something that has a certain rhythm that keeps my mind on track… if possible.

My first impressions were incredibly enlightening to me, but probably foolish to you, because I couldn’t believe I was swimming next to soooo many people. I would touch some of their feet. Some of them would touch mine. I could see feet and hands and arms and legs. I could see entire bodies swimming next to me. I was not alone as I had been in my two previous races. This was it. I was swimming with the sharks. Finally! And still I kept it calm. I continued to follow my breathing pattern and have happy thoughts of getting to the shore. I didn’t want to go faster in fear of getting tired. The objective was clear from the beginning: do the entire swim in freestyle and without stopping. As we turned the first buoy I realized many people stop there to rest, without noticing that they become obstacles for the rest of the swimmers. At this point I pushed myself so I could avoid getting stuck with them. Passing the second buoy was most exciting because you start pointing your body towards the direction of the finish line. At this stage I was getting excited, to a point where I was starting to get tired, but I really think it was more mental than physical. So I started thinking about the Dude and how proud he would be of me; of my Coach who has helped me getting where I was and who for sure would be happy to see me come out of the water; and my training buddies who have always been supportive and helping me either by giving me tips or just kind words.

I swam until I couldn’t any longer because my body was touching the sand in the water. I got up, and as I started to run out I had to look back. I had to make sure I was not the last one out of the water. And surely I wasn’t. There were plenty of sharks with different colored caps trying to make their way to the shore. As I was running I saw my Coach with a big smile. I have no clue what I told him, if I indeed said something. We hi fived, and I went straight to transition.

Once on the bike, and heading out to the course I was still in awe, overly excited and almost teary eyed. The race could’ve ended for me right there and then, and I would’ve been a winner in my little own world!

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Good night everyone!

In Triathlons on June 18, 2011 at 10:11 PM

I’m going to bed very early tonight due to the race. Otherwise I’d be doing some none sense stuff (“hueveando”) around the house or surfing the internet, and going to bed very late. Wish me luck! Tomorrow is D-Day and am very excited!

Ready for tomorrow

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on June 18, 2011 at 6:22 PM

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My car looks like a transition area

In Triathlons on June 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

If you don’t know what a transition area is within the world of triathlons, it looks something like this. It’s the place where you place all the gear you need for your race. Just as you, everybody else is placing their gear. There’s a bike rack to hang your bike, and underneath it you have a very limited area to place your bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, and everything else. It’s pretty messy by the time the race is over.

These days my car looks like that. If I’m lucky, everything is inside the trunk. But days where we train and do all three disciplines I try to group the gear accordingly. On one side of the back seat floor I’ll gather the biking gear, and on the other side the running. As I change I start throwing stuff in and taking stuff out. So by the end of the session my car looks pretty much like the picture.

Luckily, it stays like that only until I get back home. That’s when everything goes back in place. Kinda like Cinderella’s carriage turning into a pumpkin by midnight.

Changing wardrobes

In Triathlons on June 17, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I remember the times I would go out shopping for shoes and bags… and pants… and tops… and silver rings… and… yes, my spare money was destined to these types of items. Those that would probably make me feel prettier, or nicer, or just more presentable. The type of items I would convince myself to buy, because God knew I needed my 10th Longchamps “Le Pliage” bag in the color and model I don’t have.

It’s important to note I’m not that 100% girlie type. The type that each strand of hair needs to be in its place, or that needs to have an impeccable makeup before going to work. Actually, as a teenager I was fond of Margaux Hemingway, because back in the late 70’s early 80’s, she was popular for sporting thick eyebrows. To me that was fabulous because it meant I didn’t have to go through the painful experience of plucking them.  But yes, in a different time and space, I did pay more attention to the makeup, the hair, the clothing, because after all the 80’s was happening, and who didn’t splatter a rainbow of colors on their eyelids? Or wear the BIG shoulder pads underneath blouses? I’m guilty your honor. So guilty, I felt weird going to the beach and not being able to wear my shoulder pads. Yes, it was that bad!

With experience (not “age”) I became more relaxed. And switching from the Venezuelan Corporate world to American Ad Agency one, also helped tremendously in changing my looks and dressing down. Style, I don’t have. I don’t think I follow any, but in general I’m more on the bohemian end of the spectrum. Now-a-days my closet is composed of a small collection of jeans, way too many t-shirts, and sandals, moccasins, and any other pair of shoes that yell “COMFORT“.

Now, since I’ve been submerging myself into the tri world, my shopping priorities and my looks are changing once again. To say that I’m dressing down even more so is an understatement. I shop for equipment, apparel (especially trying to find the right shorts for a pleasurable bike ride, if that is ever possible), gels, socks, swimming caps. I want to have it all, and I continue to convince myself that my life will positively change when I buy that 2XU cap, because the two Nike ones I have make me look odd. But as I just wrote that last line, I realized that even when dressing down to the minimum expression, getting dirty and smelly, I am more girlie than I ever thought I was and in my own little world I want to look good. 😉

Trilogy Series – Race #1

In Swim, Triathlons on June 12, 2011 at 4:20 PM

And so I registered today for the first race of the Trilogy series. D-day: 6/19/11. Yes, next Sunday. As done with my other two races, my goal for this one is to be able to swim my 400 meters without stopping, freestyle… not back stroking like last time. As you can see, my goals are not too aggressive, and they are all related to the swimming portion of the race. And that’s because I came from doggy paddling and absolutely having no interest in water sports (unless I’m sporting a life jacket!)… I’m sure I drowned in a past life. Seriously. Going to the beach for me was more about hanging out on the sand and pouring some weird concoction onto my body to get super tanned. Now I actually love getting in the water and swimming.

Today, I went all by myself to Key Biscayne, to the exact location we normally do our group swims. The water is always flat and there’s a lot of people, so I didn’t feel I was swimming by myself. I did approximately 600 meters (probably less, cause no one is certain about the distances between the buoys), but I certainly did more than the 400 I need to do for the race. I kept a calm and steady pace, which felt very comfortable for me. On the last lap I increased my speed a little bit more, and it too felt very good. I think my strategy for the race will be something similar, so I’m not just cruising in the water like atourists on South Beach amazed by all they are encountering. My strategy in prep for the race will be trying to get my butt to the pool every single day of the week, starting tomorrow.

Today’s swim felt good. I had my doubts on doing Sunday’s race, but as soon as I got home I registered. I think I needed this little “swim test” to give me the final confidence push to register. I know I’ll be dreading the race on Saturday night, asking myself “Why am I doing this to myself?”… and paying for it, I might add. But I also know that come Sunday at the finish line I will feel like a million bucks, even if in reality I’m worth a penny. And that will be enough adrenaline rush to keep me on cloud 9 for a couple of hours or days, until once again the post-race blues kick-in, and then… and then, I’ll write that story when it happens.

For now, I just want to thank my coach, Andy Clark, for his help, dedication & patience in getting me in a better swimming shape! He knows how to kick our butts when it’s needed.

Enjoying my last day of being 45.

In Triathlons on June 4, 2011 at 5:46 PM

That’s because tomorrow I will turn 46. Yes, I was born on the glorious June 5th of 1965 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. A Saturday, that was. Tomorrow, a Sunday, I decided to leave the entire responsibility of celebrating my day to The Dude, and he has cordially accepted the challenge… so I have no clue what we are doing, although he did mention perhaps going out swimming as one of the things to do on the itinerary. I’m guessing it’s open water, so that means beach so I think I’ll wear a bathing suit so I can start fading out this trucker’s tan I have on my body.

Anyway, today we went out on a group ride with our coach Andy, from Coconut Grove to Black Point Marina… a 30-something mile ride south. I’m pretty proud of myself because I think I worked hard to push myself as I had never done before on the bike. At least it felt that way while riding, and even more so, now as I write. My legs a sore… but you know… the “good” type of sore! After the ride, a group of us including our coach went for breakfast in the Grove, conversed and joked. Our coach was kind enough to pick up the tab, and we can only say THANK YOU!!!! We need to treat him next time!

From there I went over to the Dude’s for coffee, conversation, and a short “movie nap” with him and his little girl. I love this man. I love his family. I love that he’s in my life.

Now, after a hard day of cycling, I will make my way to a much needed and deserved mani and pedi… from there on the celebrations for my big day will commence and honestly I cannot wait.

BTW, the combination of Hooha and the DeSoto 400 mile shorts was awesome. I started feeling somewhat of a discomfort by the last couple of miles. Also, the Dude had an excellent idea last night… he suggested putting some HooHa in a ziplock bag, storing it in one of my pockets, and doing a “tune-up” upon arrival to Black Point Marina… it was a success!

Bye you guys! I don’t think I will be writing tomorrow…

Pre-Clipping your Shoes to your Bike

In Triathlons on June 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

In watching some tri races both on video and live, this has always amazed me… I read through half of it, and just couldn’t follow it anymore, because my brain could not process the instructions. How triathletes pre-clip their shoes to their bike pedals, run barefooted, mount their bikes and then slip their feet into the shoes, is mind boggling to me. If I EVER do this, that day, I swear, I will not sleep! On the meantime I have to focus on grabbing the water bottle while riding, without falling or loosing the bottle… BTW I already dropped one… my favorite one.

Watch this video I found on youtube to see this in action. I’m sure there are better examples, but this one was the first one I found.

Have fun and have a great weekend! 🙂

Looking forward to a Saturday of cycling

In Triathlons on June 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

So tomorrow we are off on a 30 mile ride from Coconut Grove to Black Point Marina. Our coach says it will take us around 2.5 hours to complete the journey. While these numbers (30 miles & 2.5 hours) go round my mind, bouncing back and forth from every corner, the only thing I can think of is “submerging” my parts in HooHa and wearing my new DeSoto 400 mile shorts. I am relying on these two things so badly it’s not even funny. I’m sure my coach is more concern about the fact that I still have to master (actually try) drinking fluids while riding. Me? Because the path will take us through stop signs and traffic lights, I can always take a sip then, leaving me just to worry about the aftermath of the impact of the saddle.

I wish I could just strap an arm chair on my bike, sit comfortably and enjoy the ride! However, I have to come to peace with my uncomfortable friend, Mr. Saddle (yes, he’s a guy), try to numb myself as much as I can and pedal away with my coach and training buddies.

Sharing an article on Cycling

In Triathlons on June 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM

I just found this article on cycling. Thought it was an interesting read. Enjoy! 🙂