Friday, September 29, 2006

A Spherical, Frictionless Chicken

So, based upon Nytro's shot across my bow, I am apparently supposed to concede two things: (1) well, how exactly do I say this without being unseemly about an ironman's wife . . . let's just say . . . lycra is flattering to her assets, and (2) I have chutzpah . . . or as she put it, "great big hot wasabi balls."
Both will I graciously concede. My big, hot huevos are usually not the subject of polite commentary, but whatever. Nytro tends to redefine everything, including polite commentary, and I concede their weighty profundity. As for any commentary about how va va voom the former Athena is becoming, that would be tacky. So I will not wax eloquent, as it would be so obviously easy to do, about the shapely Nytro's lycra clad . . . um . . . **cough**, . . . .
What were we talking about?
Anyway, I thought I would look at the physics of this SOMA experiment. Brett of the Zentri Army recently noted the joke about physicists. You begin any experiment in physics completely divorced from reality: "Assume a spherical, frictionless chicken." Let's apply the logic to SOMA, shall we?
If Nytro were a spherical, frictionless chicken, at 169 poundaroos and clad in her fetching lycra, she would need over 31 million foot/pounds of force to propel her the 185,328 feet in her half of a half that she is racing. To be precise, she would need 31,320,432 foot pounds of force.
If Greyhound were a spherical, frictionless chicken, at 143 extremely taut and ripped poundaroos and clad in his team kit, Greyhound will need over 53 million foot/pounds of foce to propel me the sly dog the 370,656 feet in SOMA half--the longest event offered on the day. To be precise, Greyhound needs 53,003,808 foot/pounds at his disposal.
This is where it gets interesting. With friction as a constant, I only need to use 84% of the power that Nytro uses to maintain the same velocity. As svelt as Nytro is at 169 poundaroos and at 9 feet tall, I am only 84% of her 169 poundaroos and approximately half her height apparently.
If I add friction into the chicken equation, I would have to start comparing swimming efficiency in a medium that is denser than air, and talking about aerodynamics on the bike and stide efficiencies on the run as a function of weight. It might devolve into comparing body shapes and name calling, which of course would be unseemly, even in a "salad dressing."
But . . . . . it comes down to the run. Ah, there's the rub. That is a matter of heart in addition to the percentage of VO2 max or lactate threshold required to get to the run. Even putting out 84% of the power, will the mighty Greyhound run like the mighty Greyhound after mile 60 of the race? Or instead, will he get his neck wrung like a middle-aged, spherical, fritionless chicken?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Smells LIke Athena Spirit

"You smell that smell--that charcoal smell? That's Athena.

"I LOVE the smell of Athena in the morning. . . . . Smells like . . . VICTORY!"

It is SO on. SOMA is so SO ON!!

For any newcomers to the blog, my friend Nytro and I have a thingy. We are both racing SOMA and she thinks she can hang with me--my poor old 40 year old self. Nytro is like all "Miss Podium Finisher." She's all svelt and taut at 169 Poundaroos. But let's face it. She's hasn't raced against a chiuaua class triathlete like me before. Her competition typically blots out the sun or changes weather patterns. The chiuaua class racer slices through the water, defies the wind, and springs off the bike like a pistol shot. And she can't beat me by having some Iron ringer hubby swim and bike for her like some Xterra relay. She has to do the whole thing herself.
And you can't use that scooter either, Nytro. Internal combustion engines are against USAT rules.

So yeah, I had a good brick in the park this morning. At 0445 the temps were (finally) down in the 60s, and I ripped around the picnic loop for two hours worth of two mile intervals. The Ipod was blaring Siegfried's Death and Funeral March (right before Brunhilde casts herself on the funeral pire) and Ride of the Valkeries when I started to smell that smell.

Roasting Athena. VICTORY.

After two hours of hammering, I sprang off the bike and ripped off a 5k at about 8 minute pace and felt like I could have gone on forever. Athenas and Cruiser class dudes were falling into the ditches after being pelted by the mighty greyhound's slipstream. We are the Cowboys from hell.


Welcome to the jungle, Nytro. We got fun and games. Fun and games indeed. One hour of powerlifting with Miki, and I'm not done. I'm off to the pool tonight. Yes, that's right. 4.5 hours of training in one day.

And I feel good.

Wait--you mean it's not going to be 60 degrees on the run in Tempe?

And she's only going half as far as I am? I have to maintain the same pace over a half-iron as she does for the quarter?

Oh, snap. Never mind.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Whiskey and Chocolates

Last night, it broke. The Houstonian death grip of heat and humidity broke, hopefully for good. The radar last night showed a line of thunderstorms stringing from the northwest tip of San Antonio to Lufkin. From dusk until the storms arrived at 9 p.m., you could see the lightning over the pines. The flashes of power told the story. Off in the darkness somewhere was the line between Houston summer suffering and autumn. The summer resisted. Waiting for the front to arrive, just standing there on the front porch, clammy sweat rolled down my spine and beaded on my forehead. I hate this place sometimes.
This morning, we were on the other side of the line. Instead of fetid, the air was fresh. Instead of wind from a convection oven, a cool breeze. Church, then a long run along the bayou--a pleasure in the middle of the day where 24 hours earlier it would have been hazardous due to the heat. End the day with a long, steady swim at dusk in an outdoor, olympic size pool with only three other swimmers. I almost shivered.
Sunday nights are a treat because the training for the week is done and Monday is a rest day. This night, two chocolate truffles and Tyrconnell single malt Irish whiskey, a reward for the progress so far, total relaxation after some long training. Tonight, they were particularly sweet.
Life is good.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Bolder. You better sit down. In fact, you might ought to skip this post altogether. I don't think you can handle it.
For the past several weeks, I have been riding naked.
No. Not that kind of naked. I'm haven't suddenly gone all kinky. I mean without technology. **gasp** Oui, mon ami. Quelle horreure. Sans le technologie.
First, my rudimentary bike computer needed a battery. Then after replacing the battery, I needed to reset the wheel circumference, and none of the little numbers in the book matched the little numbers on my tires or rims. And then I forgot my timex heart rate monitor one week. It was just a human being and a bicycle. No satellite imagery. No numbers. No graphs.
But today, the minimal electronic gizodry that I have was present and working, but I did not get the heart rate monitor started and stopped at the right times, so there is no accurate heart rate data from the ride. **gulp** I don't know if western civilization will continue. More to the point, while I was involuntarily old school, mother nature was full on intentionally old school. It was about 90 degrees, 90% humidity and winds gusting to 90 miles per hour.
Okay, so the winds were 30 miles per hour, but they would not be denied. Most of the second half of the ride involved climbing hills into a wind either straight in your face or off your front quarter. Stay down on the aero bars to avoid the wind, and the lack of stability blows you off line an interferes with your climbing. Sit up or stand to climb or gain better balance and you become a sail blowing your little boat the wrong way.
Odd, though. Last year, under conditions like that, I would have become worried whether I was going to finish the ride and would have been angry at having to ride in those conditions. Now, it was just, "so, this is the way it's going to be, is it?" Shrug, find a gear that I can spin at 85+ rpm, try to relax, and focus on that little white line. "Oh well."
Speed was way down, but effort was way up. The run-off was a death march, but . . . that's the way it's going to be.
I can't change it, but I can push through it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You Are Not A Pro

You know you're not a pro when you have to skip you're workout, even though your packed bike shoes, running shoes, shower shoes and appropriate gear, but your bags do not contain black, wingtip dress shoes that go ever-so-professionally with the suit hanging in your car.

Nothing like doing the morning commute twice and missing the single best morning of weather since last April.

Plan B: 10k at lunch and swim after the day job.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh, Snap.

So, this was at the top of my computer screen this evening. It is what you get in response to successfully completing an Ironman registration. It seems so easy. You fill in the little boxes. You tell them what size t-shirt you want. You let them know of any medical conditions that might endanger you on the course. Fork over a wad o' money, then hit "submit."

Oh, wait. Did not check the waiver box. Let's see . . . I agree, warrant and covenant as follows:

"Doing an Ironman or Ironman 70.3 is a large commitment on the athlete's time and lifestyle. It is a serious venture that involves sacrifice and some risks." Duh.

"Doing an Ironman or Ironman 70.3 is a serious athletic endeavor." Duh, again. Hopefully, I am becoming a serious athlete.

* * *

"I am physically fit and have sufficiently trained for this competition and that my physical condition has been verified by a licensed medical doctor." Ok, perhaps it is time for a physical.

* * *

"I HEREBY RELEASE, WAIVE, DISCHARGE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE FORD IRONMAN WISCONSIN, IRONMAN NORTH AMERICA TRIATHLON, INC., The WORLD TRIATHLON CORPORATION, USAT, . . . herein referred to as "releasees", from all liability to me, my personal representatives, assigns, heirs, and next of kin for any and all loss or damage, and any claim or demands therefore on account of injury to me or my property or resulting in my death, . . . ." **blink**


OK, they are really starting to annoy me with the whole "death" thing. And why do I keep envisioning the swim start every time that word comes up?

First in . . . .

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Nuclear Proliferation

I am told that, in Ironman, your cycling should be like Nuclear weapons--you have to have a large and powerful arsenal in hopes that you will never have to use them. Since the person who made the statement is Chivalry Chris, a three time Ironman Wisconsin finisher--who PR'd in those hellish conditions--I am listening.

In theory, with the a huge nuclear cycling arsenal in the silo, one enters T2 with enough in the tank to tackle a marathon. And, if mother nature tries to spoil the party, there is a deep well from which to draw.

That is the theory. Today, practice started.

At 0430 this morning, it was pitch black, 80 degrees, not a breath of air moved, and the humidity was so thick that every window was opaque with gooey condensation. When the sun came up, I knew it would top 85 degrees with high humidity. A cyclist who wants decent conditions would have stayed at home.
Me? First in. Last out.
The ride started with the tri-club at 0700 on the Ironstar course. After spending last weekend in the cold rain, this weekend was 65 hot, very hilly, windy miles . . . . . and a run. Those hills will be done and re-done in all weather for the next 357 days, because that is how an arsenal is built. One weapon at a time.
Only time will tell if the arsenal is sufficient.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Miki y Ja (Miki and Me): First In, Last Out.


Thus bellowed the voice of Miki, my Serbian strength trainer Thursday morning.

"Huh??" was my uber-articulate reply.

"You arrrrrrrrrrrrrre . . . **pause grin** . . . . dah MAN! Firstone een da gym. Last one out."

Of course, it would be Miki who coins the phrase that will be the motto for Greyhound 2.0--the training. That is what I want my training to be. First In. Last Out. It is the mantra I repeated to myself this morning when I did not want to go to masters swim practice. "First In. Last Out." Swim, I did.
And in breaking news, Greyhound's workout yesterday included 5 sets of heavy lifts, in which Greyhound benchpressed 5 sets of 5 using the same weight that was his one rep max earlier this summer.
Greyhound started referring to himself in the third person when he began completing Eastern Bloc powerlifter workouts and asking his Serbian trainer to add some weight to the bar in the last sets.

Monday, September 11, 2006

IMWI Weekend

The traffic lights on East Washington were blinking yellow in the predawn hours. There was no one to whom a signal would have been relevant. I was alone with my coffee, moving toward the State Capitol illuminated in the distance. I was not nervous, because I was not racing. I was there to have fun and enjoy my friends. I had never seen an Ironman race before, but I had some idea what the day had in store. Boy was I wrong. Ironman is real. Real does not confine itself to predictable outcomes.

It was hard to tell when daylight actually began at Monona Terrace that morning. The overcast was so thick and persistant that we never saw the sun or knew when it came up. As 0600 passed and race time got closer, it did not become light so much as it got less dark. Even that changed so slowly that you almost did not notice. The terrace was nevertheless awhirl. With all the athletes and volunteers and family members and the voice of Ironman stirring the organized chaos, I was lucky to run into Trisaratops and Iron Wil on their way to body marking. With a thumbs up and a hug they were off into the vortex.

As the appointed hour drew near, one got to see how people handle stress. Some people talked. Some were completely silent. Some sought out strangers. Some sought out solitude. With Reilly urging reluctant athletes into the water, I saw one male competitor who was obviously very fit and obviously had absorbed much training; yet he sat with his back to the wall of the Monona Terrace, his eyes fixed in a 1000 yard stare straight ahead as if he had a date with a hangman’s noose.

With much cajoling, all the competitors finally made it into the water. About this time, Trimama and Trihubby showed up for their volunteer station as wet suit strippers. For those of you who have met them, you will understand what I am about to say. I fell completely under their spell. Trihubby is a mensch who drinks my brand of scotch and Trimama simply rocks. Coolest mom on the block. No doubt. The whole long day we were together, I had only one complaint: they did not bring the tribe with them.

Soon thereafter, the gun went off. My first thought at seeing more than 2000 competitors clawing through the steel grey chop was base and simple. “[Expletive deleted], I’ll never be able to do this.” Although I went to Madison intending to register, I started to reject the idea out of hand. At one point, the swimming “peloton” stretched nearly all the way around the two loop course. I was on top of the terrace at that point and had time to think. That sight was early 1.2 miles of human beings representing countless hundreds of thousands of training hours and all the dreams invested in them.

As age groupers started to emerge from the water, I went to the swim exit looking for Wil and Sara. In an ominous omen on the day, the wind picked up and a drizzle began. The lake lapped at the rocks on shore and the weather began to look hostile. It was impossible not to shiver, both from the damp chill, and from anxiety. 138.2 miles left for these athletes, and conditions were getting worse, not better.

After the swim champs, the “ordinary” Ironmen (if there is such a thing) started to emerge from the water. From the fright of seeing the swim start, this was all encouragement. It makes you think, “maybe I can do this.” I kept an eye on my watch and kept looking for Wil’s telltale red, Orca wetsuit. (I looked hard for Sara, but did not know what her wetstuit looked like. I thought I saw her, but I was not sure.). Orca after Orca came out of the water as Wil’s top swim time came and went. I started to worry for her, but then I saw one last set of red, Orca arms. Her face turned toward me as she breathed and I recognized her at once. The volunteers grabbed her up out of the water like a baptism at a camp revival meeting and she was all smiles. Trihubby and Trimama yanked the wetsuit off her, and with a huge hug and an even bigger smile, she was off to T1.

I snagged some coffee and cookies for Trihubby and Trimama, because they were all wet from their duties, and there was still 40 minutes left in the swim. The emotions were raw as the swim cutoff approached. Out in the water, you could see the last few sets of arms cycling through their strokes, trying to make it in. With each swimmer, you wondered, “Is that the last guy? Or him? Will he make it?” Very soon we found out. With less than one minute to the cutoff, a female age grouper wept tears of joy and relief as she was informed that she made it. A spare few seconds later, two or three others wept tears of heartbreak when their chips were removed and they were not allowed to continue. The weeping was not in solitude. The volunteers cried. I cried.

Here, the weather really started to turn foul. The wind continued to climb as the temperature and the rain continued to fall. Trimama and Trihubby and I hopped in the car and took off for Verona to catch some of the bike route. The drizzle was now an honest rain. Elites and age groupers alike were suffering from the cold. You could see the suffering. Some, you could tell, had not gotten warm since emerging from the water. Yet, on they rode.

I got the tribe leaders back into town for their volunteer water stop duty and actually had to buy some sweats and another coat at the expo, just to keep warm. I saw the first two men out of T2 and cheered the incoming bikes for three hours. The suffering was right on the surface, even on the best athletes. Elites had been caught by some of the uberstrong age groupers, and some of the age groupers who are normally strong were limping in with blue lips and early hypothermia.

Then it was on to my volunteer station. I saw the first men and first women finish, but that is not nearly the most rewarding part of Ironman. I saw the middle and end of the bell curve come cross the line, and I was honored to carry their weight until they met weeping or cheering or screaming family members. A few just hobbled off into the night, alone and looking for dry clothes. I don’t know if they were lonely. It made me lonely.

These ironmen came in all types. The whooping 30 year old tri-stud, the dad who carries the kids across the line and collapses, the Irongrandpa, and the competitors who could not tell you their names and did not know where they were. The rain fell heavier and the temperature dropped further. Athletes who did not get inside were getting shocky and occasionally falling over. This was real. One young man sprinted for the line to break 11 hours, made his goal, and then promptly collapsed into our firemen’s carry. He did not open his eyes in the medical tent, but he could stammer that he had broken 11 hours. That was all he knew.

In the midst of this, all of us that were within electronic communication saw that Sara had made it in from the bike, but her time told the story of the day. Her average speed revealed just how hard the course was in those conditions. She was not far in advance of the cutoff, and still no news on Iron Wil. 5:30 came and 5:30 passed. We thought Wil had timed out and were crushed for her. Five minutes later ironmanlive (may it rot forever in hell) springs up with her bike split--just under the wire. Down turned to up. Trihubby ran out, saw her, and ran with her to the first breakpoint.

Somewhat later, we projected a finishing time for Sara based on her half-marathon split. We positioned ourselves so that she would have her own, personal, TBC finish line catchers. Those of you who know her in real life will not be surprised that she was all smiles, all gratitude, all grace. On a very hard day she did some very hard stuff. Wow. Just. Wow.

But by this time. Up had turned to down again. We knew Wil’s split for the first half of the marathon. We knew that hopes were dim, and we were extremely thankful that Stu was right along with her. She would tell you herself that she was in very good hands with Stu for the entire race. I know she must have been hurting much, much more than we, but we felt a sliver of the disappointment for her. She worked so hard. She did everything right. She was prepared. But there are no guarantees. You can do it right and still not finish. I sent her a text that night. I don’t know if she received it, and I don’t even know if the attention from out-of-state internet strangers was even entirely welcome, but the sentiment was as real as the race conditions that day.
Trimama and Trihubby and I are feeling it with you, at least in a small way. Love and admiration are not born of what you do [or fail to do I will add now], but of who you are.”
I don’t really know Wil; but, I know who she is. Wil “is” a benediction, a “good word,” a blessing in motion. There are literally heart attacks that will not happen because of who she is. Her readers are inspired to “get on the bus” every morning, promptly at 4 a.m. There are pounds and eating disorders that no longer exist because of who she is. There are friendships that have formed, both with her and in her orbit because of who she is. That is “who” Iron Wil is.
Wil’s gravitational pull drags us along with her. It also continues to push her on. By 9:30 this morning, after her long, hard day yesterday, she stood with Run Bubba Run, Stu and Trihubby for a picture, all holding vouchers showing that they had signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2007. Unfinished business.
Oh. And I stood with them. I have one of those vouchers too. Thanks, Wil.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Growing Pains

Any of you who have children already know the first thing my child asks when she is told she is going to the doctor. Say it with me now, "am I going to get a shot?" Trimama, I am sure, has heard it four times over as compared to me. Yet, at a very young age, we learn that sometimes the things we need will hurt. Mom or dad takes us to the doctor or the dentist, and we are told, "this might sting a little."


I tried to be brave then, and I try to be brave now, but there is still that inner struggle. Part of me intentionally seeks out those new experiences that take me out of my comfort zone. The pain or discomfort I experience tells me I am fully alive and still growing. Another part of me, though, likes things warm and comfortable.
As I write this, I am in a Panera Bread in Madison, Wisconsin, mere hours before my tri-blogger friends will plunge into Lake Menona at the sound of the gun for Ironman Wisconsin. The question on my mind is whether, next year, I will take the plunge with them. I have talked to the Stu-meister on the phone, and I have actually met Trisaratops. She is so infectiously high spirited, she made me want to grab a wetsuit and start right then and there.
Yet . . . this is going to hurt a little. Perhaps the greatest portion of the pain is just the anxiety about whether I can finish what I start, especially when I am not acting in secret, but someone like you is watching. It is one thing to burn out and give up anonymously. It is another to face the music and have someone know it.
I guess part of being a grownup is making the choice that is best, not just the choice that is easy.

Tomorrow, a gun will sound, a couple thousand people will take a great leap toward the fulfillment of a dream, and many hours later I will catch them at the finish line. I know I will feel like I am in the company of heroes.
Then . . . stay tuned.

Friday, September 08, 2006

For My Friends

Those of you toeing the line at Ironman Wisconsin this weekend, I have never yet been where you are going. But I offer a thought from someone who knew something about staying the course--the lion who roared when Britain stood alone.

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
  • Sir Winston Churchill

I admire you guys so much, and hope that I may some day stand with you in the company of Ironmen.

Your Friend,


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Are You A Triathlete?"

I went to my third masters swim workout this morning, and there was a new coach to whom I had to introduce myself. She was a tough old grandma who obviously swims like a fish and diagnoses stroke deficiencies with the precision of a surgeon.
She asks me, "are you a triathlete?" and thinking she might have observed my lack of speed or lack of flip turns, I sheepishly answer, "yes" and kind of hang my head a little.
Then I realize that she had not seen me swim, but was looking at my newly found, 91% fat free, body-by-Miki physique.
"I thought so," she says. "You look like you're really in good shape."
Grandmas rock.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Hill In Front of You

Sometimes it's good just to go back to the beginning. Years ago, when a friend of mine took me on my first "real" bike ride, I rode a relatively hilly route between Montgomery and Richards Texas, through the Sam Houston National forest. Although I was at least five years younger than I am today, and the weather was a lot cooler that October morning, I had to be rescued from the predictable "bonk." I thought I might never ride again.
Today part of my long ride covered that very same route, and a lot more besides. The morning woke warm and humid, You could almost see the air, especially when the newly risen sun sliced through pines of the forest. Sometimes it was so still, not a twig stirred. All I could hear was the sound of my chain, my tires, and my breathing.
This ride not only covered more miles than my first trip down that road; it covered more mental real estate as well. I've got a decision to make. Some of you who know me (or at least the blog me) might have an inkling what that decision is. For me it's a tough decision because it is dream and an effort I don't know that I am ready for. Moreover, it is a commitment that will affect other people besides myself. I haven't made the decision yet, but the ride gave me some tools that might come in handy.
1. Start where you are. It's the only place you can start. Watching the clock or wishing you were closer to your goal is wasted energy. Goals are only reached if you start. Ready or not, you can only start where you are.
2. Use what you have. Sure it might be nice to be bigger, stronger, faster . . . but all I've got is me, my bike and the stuff I brung with me. Waiting for perfect conditions results only in waiting.
3. Climb the hill in front of you. There are a lot of rollers and hills between Montgomery and Richards, but thinking about the one you see down the road or the one you know round the bend does not serve to get you up the hill that is under your tires. Those hills can only be climbed one at a time, and the best way to climb them is to have your brain and your body both climbing the same hill at the same time.
If I can manage that, maybe . . . just maybe. . .

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Part 2

Number 3 is also true, but unfairly crafty. After I was 35, I had a case in The United States Supreme Court (capital "S" capital "C"), but attention to the docket would reveal that I did not argue it. It was argued by Miguel Estrada. Before I was 35, I had a case in another supreme court (lower case "s" lowe case "c"), i.e. the Supreme Court of Texas, which I was fortunate enough to argue. Iron Pol, who has devined my real identity, found my resume online and had all the facts in front of him, but alas, the devil is in the details.

By elimination, number 2, which sounds true, is false. Mrs. Greyhound was not my high school sweetheart, nor did we go to the same college. And this is a story in itself.

When I was a kid, we visited Mrs. Greyhound's home town once each summer for a family reunion. I dissed that little town once, and my mother, the Baptist prophetess remarked, "You don't know, you might actually marry a girl from this town some day." Moms are scarry, because through an improbable turn of events, that statement came true.

Mrs. Greyhound and I were both high school, classical instrumentalists in the State of Oklahoma. Given that we did not play steel guitar and sing about prison, trains and life on the farm, that is a fairly small circle of folks, so it is highly unusual that we never crossed paths. I was in the Oklahoma City Junior Syphony, and the year after I left to join the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, Mrs. Greyhound joined the Junior Symphony. I was in the All State Band or Orchestra for three years. My senior year, Mrs. Greyhound was also in the orchestra and we knew some of the same people, but we never met. After graduation we went to different schools. Mrs. Greyhound went to OU, I went to Wisconsin.

After years of passing like ships in the night, we finally met through a mutual friend at the Aspen Music Festival, where we were both student musicians. It was an instant love affair of the deepest and most meaningful level (i.e., she thought my tookus looked cute in those 1980s little black running shorts and I thought she was hawt--we were only 21 after all). Although you might like to think I'm all Alan-Alda-kind-of-sensitive, at age 21 I was hearing no wedding bells. I was only slightly less disgusting than the average 21 year old college kid. But the age of miracles is not yet passed. For one brief shining moment, this introvert had enough game to get this hawtty interested in me instead of her grad student boyfriend back home.

We kept in touch, grew a relationship through correspondence, visited when I was home for hollidays and returned to Aspen the next summer. About 10 days after I graduated from UW Madison in May of 1989 we were married and have remained so ever since--mostly through her tolerance and longsuffering nature. In introverted type A perfectionist can be a prickly life partner. Add triathlon to the picture and you have extended absences, but at least I'm usually too tired to be mean.

Congrats to Danielle and Tri-Mama who nailed the answer. Contact me by e-mail and tell me where to send the schwag. (I can deliver yours, tri-mama, at IMWI if you like). 21st Century Mom picked the right statement for the wrong reason and Fe-Lady picked the right statement with no specification of the falsehood. If you contact me by e-mail, I'll send you some schwag anyway, because that's just the kind of guy I am.

And now you know . . . the rest . . . of the story.