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A Party in the CDA

22 Jul

(Race report one of many; intended to be set to THIS…the karaoke version also exists)

I hopped on the beach in Idaho with a dream and my goggles on
Welcome to the Lake of Coeur d’Alene. (Whoa) Am I gonna get in?)
Jumped in the water, here I am for the first time,
Breathed to my right, and I don’t see a lane line!

This is all so crazy, everybody seems so nervous
My arms are turnin’ and I’m feeling hypothermic
Too many stressors and I’m anxious
That’s when I reached the land and hear “Go! Go!”

And a Survivor song was on
And a Survivor song was on
And a Survivor song was on

So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
The butterfly (stroke’s) not okay
I’m noddin’ my head like “Blah”
Pickin’ up my kick like “Yeah”

Got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
And now I’m gonna be okay
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!

Get to the transition area in my swim cap
Everybody’s cheerin’ for me now
Like “Who’s that dude with the bad ass kick?
He’s probably a pro we’ll see around.”

So hard with my race support not around me
It’s definitely not a Chapel Thrill scene
‘Cause all I see are Cervelos
I guess I never got that much dough

My legs are turnin’ and it’s feeling kinda artic
Too cold of weather and I’m frantic
That’s when the temp went up and the sky was blue

And the cloud cover was gone
And the cloud cover was gone
And the cloud cover was gone

So I sped up, the clouds are gone
The sun was here to stay
I’m pedalin’ my legs like “Yeah”
Poppin’ in Clif Bars like “Yeah”

Got my pace up, I’m movin’ along
And now I’m gonna be okay
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!

Feel like I’ve been moving all night
Want to slow down on the bike
Nothin’s stopping me any time
The transition area’s here again and I feel alright!

So I put my bike up, its way past noon
The jello thighs are here to stay
But I’m noddin’ my head like “Yeah”
Movin’ my legs like “Yeah”

Got my heels kickin’ up, gotta run a marathon
I know I’m gonna be okay
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!
Yeah! It’s a party in the CDA!


Track Tim and Ryan on Race Day

20 Jun

June 21 Update: You determine how Tim will cross the finish line! This maybe a shameless, arrogant gesture (assuming I’m finishing, making light of this accomplishment, possibly coming across as mocking those around me, etc.), but whatever. Please take 60 seconds to VOTE HERE –  a la Choose Your Own Adventure – on how I will finish the race. Whichever style gets the most votes will be the way I cross the finish line…crawling is not an option. Documented pictures will be shared here post-race. By the way, Anna does not approve of this idea, as she thinks it’s “too much,” as she put it.


“Have fun and find the humor in the absurdity of self-inflicted physical abuse.”

This quote is a bit of wisdom from one Ray Reid: philosopher, inspirational leader, cyclist.

According to the Roman, solar, Mayan and fiscal calendars, there are approximately four days until the Ironman event in Coeur d’Alene…give or take a few hours/moons, depending on which calendar you celebrate. If you don’t know which event we’re referring to, please go back and reread all 60 or so blog entries to get well acquainted with what we’re talking about. I’ll give you a minute to do that…

You’re back! Now you’re all caught up on what has been going on with Ryan, Abby, Anna and me for the last 12 or so months. What did you learn? Were you astonished to learn how creative Abby was in the kitchen? Were you impressed by my Photoshop skills? Did you gather that Ryan is a substance abuse counselor through his constant use of addict terminology? Were there any take away points that caused you to get out a pen and paper and take down some life lessons? If so, I’d like to hear them (and I’m worried about you).

If you’re interested in following our progress on Sunday, June 24, I am 80 percent sure you can do that by going to the Ironman website on Friday or Saturday and info will be there then. For being a big, well-funded organization, their website makes about as much sense as explaining how Heather Graham continues to get acting roles. My assumption is that there will be an opportunity to click on the athlete tracker in the upper part of the page (see insert) and follow the directions from there…but not until a day or two before the race.

Click to enlarge…I’m pretty sure the Ironman website will say something like what’s listed at the top.

If you choose not to follow the athlete tracker to find us, that’s fine (but why not?). If you’re the type that says, “I’ll just check the Ironmannaise website again to hear how it went,” that’s fine too. But know that all four of us are going to Glacier National Park for the week following the event. So unless Abby or Ryan feels like blogging in Montana, you’ll be left in suspense until we get back. Either way, you’ll get a full race report around July Fourth…which is appropriate, because we’ll be celebrating our independence.

Lastly, remember my “Everyone Poops” post? Well, for those who were offended, you should know it’s normal and read THIS (thanks Mark!). I hope this doesn’t mean 83% of the people doing this Ironman will pull over to “stretch out a cramp.”

Missed Connections

13 Jun

Please forgive me, as I’m going to use this medium as a place to store my thoughts. Imagine yourself coming into my room, tripping over what looks to be a journal with a broken clasp, and you (being the nosy person you are) proceeding to read what you just tripped over. Don’t worry, this is a win-win: I get to use this forum as a substitute for a therapy session (saving me a $52 copay), and you get to be the voyeur you’ve always wanted to be. No one gets hurt.

As an extrovert, I’m starting to recognize the opportunities that I’m NOT having by doing this Ironman thing. This has become more and more evident over the past few weeks, most notably when Anna and I have attended social obligations, family functions or I’ve been at large work meetings. You may be thinking I am referring to the time I am training when I could be doing something else. And you may be right to think that, but not just that.

Even more things I am missing out on!

I’m also referring to opportunities to learn about people, have meaningful conversations about what they’re doing or simply ask them “what’s new?” Instead, it seems the conversation lately has always led to “You’re doing what?!” and “Why?!” I get it. An Ironman is a big undertaking,  and most people don’t know or think about it. But I’d like to talk about it the way someone talks about a 5K running race. It’s a race, it’s taking X amount of time to train, and I’m looking forward to doing it; now let’s move on with the conversation (without you looking at me like I just told you I have a Pauly Shore tattoo on my back). I don’t say this to be humble, but to point out that there are other important and conversation-worthy topics to discuss. This is especially true at weddings, where you may not see someone regularly and you’re trying to catch up on one another’s lives. Depending on who I’m talking to, I’ve been using this line: “Enough about me, let’s talk about your new job/baby/Bible study/house/tattoo/girlfriend/black eye/bike.” Come to think of it, using at least one of those nouns covers 90% of the people I know…most of the time.

I will be the first to admit that doing something like an Ironman is a selfish endeavor and I recognize this is the lot I’ve chosen for myself, so I shouldn’t vent. But I talk and think about the race enough in my own head that when I have opportunities to connect and engage with others, I’m not interested in talking about it more. This may spark some controversy from readers, but I’d go as far as to say most any ultra-events of this nature are selfish endeavors. There is nothing noble about doing an Ironman. Unless you’re simultaneously raising awareness or money for a cause (which I am not), it’s not like I’m saving the world  or making the world better in any way. I’m helping myself. And I don’t feel guilty about this, because it’s a one-and-done ordeal. I can do my part saving the world later. And this goes beyond just the “helping humanity” scenarios, because there are other hobbies

I could be doing too. Here’s a list of other things I’m interested in doing post-Ironman (i.e. things I now daydream about while I’m training): learning Spanish, woodworking, renovating the downstairs bathroom, nothing, eating doughnuts with bacon on them, completing my manifesto about the conspiracies within Trader Joe’s, alphabetizing the shirts in my closet, working more, creating ironic t-shirts, calligraphy, going to trivia night at Linda’s, podcasting and memorizing all of the lines in “Encino Man.”

And there is a more obvious set of missed opportunities too. The training time is truly limiting my ability to hang out with people I care about. Luckily, there is less than two weeks of this crazy journey left and Ryan and I are in full taper mode. Anna and I went to visit my parents last weekend, and due to my high maintenance training needs, we had to renegotiate the time spent with them. In doing so, I missed seeing my sister and our overall time was cut short. There are numerous stories like this that have happened lately, but I recognize it’s not uncommon to every one of us about making trade-offs and figuring out what we do with our limited amount of time on this planet. If only I am lucky enough to be frozen in a block of ice, buried in a spot where people of the future will find me while attempting to dig a swimming pool and reanimated, I could get a lot more done.


29 May

(Guest author: Ali G., PhD candidate in Public Health from UNC-CH, friend of Anna and Tim, wife of Matt, mom of Neko and Humphrey and one on the way, world traveler, friend to over 500 people on Facebook and Scrabble expert)

I just got up from a nap and polished off a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce, which probably mirrors the Saturday afternoon activities of my friend, Tim Schwantes (give or take a five hour training workout that one of us has surely engaged in at some point today). You see, Tim and I are both prepping for a big upcoming event in our lives, an event which has altered our physical and emotional state over the past nine months and one which gets just a little closer with each passing day.

As you well know (oh, avid blog reader), Tim’s altered state can be attributed to his quest to complete an Ironman. My altered state can be attributed to pregnancy. Our due dates coincide, which means there are just four weeks left to prepare for our respective d-days. It may surprise you that the blogosphere has not yet wrapped its head around the obvious similarities between these two events, so we thought we would dedicate today’s post to describing the overlap between training for an Ironman and being pregnant/preparing for birth.

You know you are pregnant (or training for an Ironman) when:

1)      You have trouble sleeping.  The number of pillows on your bed grows exponentially with each passing week as you try to reconnect with your dear friend, sleep. I am currently using five (two at the head, one behind the back, one to buffer the belly and one for good measure) and haven’t seen my husband on the other side of the bed for months.

2)      You are always tired. Now the fatigue could be due to #1, but in general, your body is just plain tired. Tim is tired because he is running his body into the ground. I am tired because I am now carrying a little person who weighs approximately 6 lbs and he is running me into the ground.

3)      You can never feel too hydrated (and you ALWAYS feel the need to have a bathroom nearby). Your lips always feel a little chapped and your throat a little parched (warning: it has been said that both sensations may be amplified on d-day). Close friends are well aware of my intimate acquaintance with my Nalgene water bottle and this constant need for water has only increased with pregnancy. That, coupled with a little person resting directly atop my bladder means that it is best that the toilet and I remain in close company at all times. One advantage that I have over Tim is probably in public establishments – I have yet to have anyone refuse me the use their bathroom. I’m not sure if Tim has the same ability to make his needs so outwardly obvious.

4)      You are off-balance (or even more off-balance than usual). Even if you started off as a coordinated human being, your changing body and increasing fatigue might make you a little wobbly. Those of you who know Tim know that he has always been a little off-balance (case in point: he fell twice while running in some crazy long endurance run last fall, at the very beginning of the race, while Anna just gracefully waltzed on by). As for me, my center of gravity has totally changed. I now trip while walking upstairs and spill food on my belly when eating; both of these things occur on a regular basis.

5)      You are almost always starving. Seriously. You will be hungrier than ever before and it can be dangerous to you and those around you if you go too long without feeding the beast. That said, I still don’t think I could eat two Carriburritos in one sitting, which I have heard is not a problem for Tim.

6)      You realize that you are going through noticeable weight changes from even a few weeks ago. This is true for both of us, though admittedly we are going in the opposite direction. I imagine that the amount I have gained is greater than the amount Tim has lost. I wonder if the amount I will lose after giving birth will be similar to the amount he gains after he swears off exercise and for the rest of his days?

7)      You are finding it to be more and more of a chore to shave your legs. For me, it is getting harder and harder to shave my legs because of the whole balance thing and the ever-increasing belly. While Tim used to love the feeling of a good shave, he is just too tired these days to do the job right.

8)      Your partner is tired of catering to your every need. Matt and Anna are both saints. Granted, they both have a vested interest in seeing us succeed, but I don’t think they realized at the beginning of this path just how little fun their partner could be. Our ‘fun-factor’ continues to plummet as d-day approaches and I won’t even begin to talk about how these upcoming events has affected our sex lives.

9)      Your dogs look fondly back on the days when you used to have time for them. Since my dogs Neko and Humphrey do not speak English, it is difficult to explain to them why both the quality and the quantity of our walks together have gone downhill. Nor do they understand why I plead with them NOT to poop during our walks but rather request that they save that duty for their walks with Matt (picking up dog poop is difficult just like shaving). Quincey feels abandoned by both Humphrey and Tim, and frankly, she is still trying to determine which feels worse.

10)   When d-day comes, your goal is to make it as quick and painless as possible without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Literature suggests that a woman’s first labor can range (on average) between 12-18 hours. I am not sure what the average Ironman time is, but I did read that most Ironman competitions cut-off their athletes at the 17 hour mark. Without knowing Tim’s race day goal, it is possible that we will finish our respective events with similar times. I think I’d be pretty happy if I am close to Tim’s time, since I have friends whose labor has lasted days. Of course, our paths on d-day itself will differ vastly. First, I have substantially less control over when my actual d-day will occur than Tim. Second, I will not be barred from completing my event if I haven’t crossed the proverbial line at 17 hours…even if I am ready to stop. And finally, while we both may end our respective events numb from the waist down, my numbness may be attributed to the use of an epidural, which is not regularly offered at any of the Ironman refueling stations.


Neither of these events are for the faint of heart (there is a reason women used to go into ‘twilight’ sleep during the labor process, even if they weren’t allowed a ‘twilight’ pregnancy). Both pregnancy/birth and the ironman take months of preparation, some willpower and a small dose of crazy. And since there is no backing out now, we look forward to seeing you on the other side. At that point, you may buy each of us a margarita.

Promise Land Race Report: What Happens When a Jew (Abby, not Tim) Runs a David Horton Race

7 May

This is Abby.  I know that Ryan’s last post was a real cliff-hanger and you have been sitting on the edge of your office chair/couch/bike trainer/wall of the pool for the past week, wondering about my near death experience.  This has absolutely nothing to do with Ironman CDA, but bloggers can’t be choosers (what?) and I will write a relevant post next time. 

Anyhow, now that my fingers have warmed up enough to type…I’ll give you a brief overview of key players.

David Horton: a sadist race director who teaches at Liberty University.  One of his course requirements is to run an ultra.  He RDs a series of ultras in Virginia.  This race is called Promise Land and is supposed to be between 50k and 34 miles.

Liz, Kyle, Sam, and Rob: friends and/or people I just met at the race.

Ryan: you know him!  C’mon!

I shall begin this epic at the very beginning, not quite in the Garden of Eden but more along the timeframe of when the animals hopped onto the Ark, two by two by two.  Anyhow, in the weeks leading up to Promise Land, I was plagued with a lot of guilt and self-doubt.  How could I do this?  Did I really just register?  What had I gotten myself into?  How did I, a liberal, feminist social worker who lives in Carrboro, send money to David Horton at Liberty University?  Am I that much of a sell-out for a supposedly “best 50k on the East Coast?”  What did this mean for my karma bank, my morals, and my ethics?  To make myself feel better and assuage some of the guilt, I voted early against Amendment One (and will use this as a platform to tell you to do the same TOMORROW) on my way out of town.

Oh yeah, the race part.  Most of the runners camped next to the start the night before.  The boxes of Dominos pizza, Horton’s pre-race talk consisting mainly of inside jokes with his students, lack of alcohol, and a definite “cool kid” scene brought me back to the days of my growing up in Utah and always feeling like the dorky outsider.  Nova, Sam, Rob, Ryan, I all huddled in the outsider circle while Ryan tried to not get caught drinking a beer.  My one moment of personal connection with Horton was when I thanked him for putting on the race and he asked my name.  “Zeveloff???  What is that?  You must have married into that one!”  At which point I had to admit that a) Zeveloff truly is my last name and b) I kept my maiden name.  My response was met with crickets…

Morning started at 3:30 am when the tent next to us got up and got noisy.  My pre-race jitters were somewhat calmed by literally rolling out of bed and being at the start line.  I safety-pinned my yarmulke onto my running cap, per Goofus’ suggestion and we were off.

It was really hard and really beautiful.  The first mile was like the Franklin Street Hill and the next two were even steeper.  A highlight was the sun coming up over the Blue Ridge Mountains and fair amounts of very runnable trails along the side of the mountain and alongside a stream.  Things were hard and fairly uncomfortable until I got to the last hill, which is basically two unrunnable miles studded with rocks and stairs carved into the side.  The temperature dropped and it started thundering.  I realized something was wrong when I gave a fellow runner all of my S caps due to not being able to open the little baggie with my frozen hands.  Then came the hail, followed by more rain, lightening, locusts, wild beasts, and darkness.  I would give you more of the 10 plagues, but I really haven’t gone to synagogue since I graduated from Brandeis.  At that point I started shivering and slowed down.  I made bargains with God: If you get me to the aid station and there is a plastic bag to wear, I’ll finish the race and maybe consider fasting this Yom Kippur.  If you get me to the aid station and there is a plastic bag and S caps, I’ll take those, eat a bunch of Pringles, finish the race, maybe consider fasting for Yom Kippur, and maybe have a Passover Seder where we actually get through the seder instead of just eating dinner…

Behind me, a fellow shivering runner was stopped on the trail, taking off his shirt and not moving.  Another runner came up and told the freezing runner, “You’re okay.  Keep moving.  We’re almost at the top.”  Once out of earshot, the encouraging runner told his friend. “Man, we are no where near the top.  Poor guy.  He needs some help.”  The same encouraging runner passed me and reached into my pocket to give me my bar, as I couldn’t use my hands or arms very well.  He zipped my hand into a plastic bag and said, “You’re fine.  You’re not mumbling or stumbling.  Just keep on moving.”  However, I heard him tell a non-runner on the trail, “That girl needs some help.  She’s getting hypothermic.”  That kicked off my panic and hypochondriasis, at which point all bargains with God were null and void.  I was shivering and hungry and decided that I would quit as soon as I got to the aid station.  I couldn’t wait around for the last plague – the death of the first born.  (Seriously, I have two younger sisters.)  The aforementioned non-runner stopped me on the trail and asked me if I wanted his sweatshirt for the last mile to the aid station.  The proverbial angel was out to meet his fiance on the trail. He put his Liberty Sweatshirt over my head and I had to ask for assistance in getting my arms through the sleeves. 

I made it up to the top of the hill, which just happened to be one of two aid stations with vehicle access.  Kyle nicely handed me my rainjacket and I told him I was dropping out.  I saw Ryan, and per my usual at trail races, burst into tears.  We didn’t get a picture, but I like to imagine what I looked like – blue-lipped, drenched and shivering, wearing an enormous Liberty University sweatshirt and a soggy yarmulke.  Once in the car, it took me a good 5-10 minutes to get my body to stop uncontrollably shaking.  I wore my sleeping bag home and decided that karma is a bitch. 

Triathlon at Beaverdam Recap

6 May

Let me start by saying I hope everyone had a Happy Cinco de Mayo. Now it’s time for your Sies de (Iron)Mayo!!!

The American Evaluation Association is holding its annual conference this November. In honor of that – and if they’re looking for any unconventional and non-boring presenters – allow me to introduce you all to my geeked out approach to slicing and dicing last weekend’s race. To paraphrase Fred Barnard from about 90 years ago, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The second part of that quote, that most people omit, is “and a bar graph, histogram, line graph, table or other visual representation of data is worth two nickels.” That may not sound like much, but factoring in for inflation, that’s at least 50 cents by today’s standards.

That’s not the point, the point is that instead of giving you a race report, I’ve put together some bell curves (I just learned how to do this on Microsoft Excel) to show where I fell in the overall field. I came in 13th overall and feel pretty good about that (all the results are HERE), especially since I took enough time during the transitions to watch a couple YouTube clips on how to make bell curves and histograms using Excel. (The dot on each of the lines represents what my time was for this particular piece of the race)

If you cannot figure out what the numbers mean, please go to the American Evaluation Association conference in Anaheim, CA in early November. If you don’t see my name and presentation on the agenda to ask specific questions during my session, just print out these graphs and take them with you. At that point, I’d suggest walking around asking people what the numbers mean. After a while, they’ll notice how incredibly brilliant these graphs are, and they’ll invite me to present the following year, I’m sure.

One more thing, I felt really confident after this race. But that confidence waned a bit when I realized I did pretty well in a race distance I’m not training for. That’s like training for a marathon and, during the training, killing a 5K. It’s not that impressive when that’s not your goal.

Abby Nearly Dies, Tim Wins Big, Ryan Disappoints: Your Monday News Roundup

30 Apr

I see that Tim finally blogged. Thanks for joining the party, Tim! Last week was a down week for training. My bike rides, swims and runs were all shorter and easier rel

Movin' on up (in elevation, distance and time)

ative to the week prior. I am

hoping that this means I will have more energy to take on the workouts scheduled for this week. Tim and I are biking 85 on Saturday and I have to run 16 miles on Sunday. I also have to swim to Raleigh at some point. Luckily I think the down week did me some good. I no longer feel as though my life has been distilled down to exercising, sleeping, eating, and cussing at Tim for talking me into this. Now my life feels as though it consists of exercising, sleeping, eating and cussing at Tim for getting faster while I hover at about the same ability as when I started. Seriously, my swim, run and bike times haven’t budged in quite some time. I’m hoping I begin to get faster during my taper week.

I have an urge to tell you all about Abby’s race this past weekend but I think I will resist for several reasons: 1.) Abby is the only person who reads this blog

so she already knows what happened, and 2.) Abby may want to blog herself about her experience and she is a much better story teller than I am. If she doesn’t blog about her near-death experience, make sure you stop her in the lunchroom and have her recount the details in that low-pitched, staccato style of hers. Goosebumps.

Okay back to me. Tim did a triathlon this past weekend. He came in 13th overall. I will let him tell you what happened. I don’t want to steal his thunder.

Where was I? Rambling. I suppose this is what happens when my readers demand that I blog more. The posts get more useless, less informative and even more anticlimactic. Kind of like the ending here.