Monday, February 28, 2011

"Mountaineer" wins Associated Press award

That's me on the right.
The Associated Press Society of Ohio announced last week that "The Iron Mountaineer" is one of three finalists for Best Blog.

(Here's a link to the full story.)

I am completely humbled and honored - and excited!

I am also pleased to be a finalist for Best Online Photojournalist, as is my colleague John Cropper at the Wilmington News Journal. Meredith Creek, a colleague at The Times-Gazette, is also a finalist in the Best Blog category for her blog "This Side of the Creek."

The Times-Gazette's website, which I administer with my colleagues, is a finalist for Best Website. Congratulations to the Wilmington News Journal and to the Record-Herald on their many nominations, too!

Thank you, thank you to the readers of this blog for taking time to stop by and read my thoughts. Your visits make it all worthwhile!

With gratitude,

- Lora Abernathy

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The top 5 swimming pet peeves

I was visiting a friend's blog earlier today, and she mentioned how annoyed she gets at women who are afraid to get their hair wet in the pool. It served as a source of pet peeve inspiration for me, and I thought I'd share a few of mine when it comes to swimming in the pool.

Please, stop trying to smell good
I'm referring to the men and women who wear cologne or perfume to the pool. When I'm swimming, I get the pleasure of swallowing their Old Spice or Halston when I come up for air. I'd just rather smell any BO they're trying to cover with it. Really.

The splashy flip turn
I've been in lanes next to people who barely move the water when they flip, and then I've been next to others whose splashes are so huge, I wonder if they aren't making some kind of political statement. It doesn't bother me when I'm swimming, but when I'm taking a break at the end of the lane and have to take cover as they approach, that's when it gets annoying.

I haven't mastered the art of a flip turn. Perhaps I don't fully comprehend how difficult barely splashing is to master, and maybe I'm being too judgmental. If that's the case, I'm sure someone will let me know.

Forgetting a key piece of equipment
You gather all of your belongings and gadgets and double-check your bag. You get in your truck. You drive across town to the Y. You trek across the long parking lot - more often than not in extreme cold or extreme heat. You swipe your card and sign in. You walk to the locker room. You find an empty locker. You open your bag only to discover that you should have triple-checked what you brought because you forgot either your goggles or your swim suit.

No problem. You can go for a run on the -- oh, wait. You were wearing high heels and didn't bring your running shoes. Because of time lost, you now no longer have the time to train.

Kids hanging out in the lap lane
If no one is swimming, I don't mind kids doing handstands or chatting about their boyfriends. If they're using the only other empty lane, I'll kindly ask them or their parents if they would mind moving. They move, but not without getting huffy with me like I've done something wrong.

The goggle marks
No matter the type of goggles or how loose I can make them and still seal out the water, I look like a freak for the half hour following my swim. Luckily, I can toss on a pair of shades and usually go straight home after I train.

I'm very fortunate in that I've only had to share a lane a handful of times during the two years I've been going to the Y. I'll take one side and the other individual takes the other. I haven't had any problems with this like I know a lot of other folks do.

Out of all of these pet peeves, though, that first one is easily the one that gets me choked up the most.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Are you in The Black Hole of training?

As a result of my purchase of a bike trainer from Nashbar back in September, I received a one-year subscription to Outside Magazine. I really enjoy the magazine, and though they'll only have an occasional reference to triathlons, I still enjoy a lot of its content and features.

One particular story got my attention.

In this particular issue - which features an always stunning James Franco on the cover - this feature tells the story of Norwegian rower Olaf Tufte as it relates to what is named in the article as The Black Hole.

The premise behind the story, as can be found in its caption, is this: "Middle-of-the-dial efforts produce middle-of-the-pack results."

I'm a complete back-of-the-packer to sometimes middle-of-the-packer ... depending on who shows up on race day. Speed has not been a big priority to me - yet; my focus has been on distance.

Check out the story.  Do you agree with the premise? Do you have any personal experience? I'm really curious.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The quote that's keeping me going

Enough perusing on the Internet on triathlon-related sites would nearly guarantee that you've come across this quote. I believe its meaning underpins the attitude most triathletes have about life and about their training.

As I consider the fright of the Ironman race, especially in these winter days, as training volume is lower and I wonder how I'll ever have the time to build up, this quote is an affirming pick-me-up.

It reminds me to soak in this amazing world God has created and to appreciate all of the blessings in my life - even when the blessing of warm weather is months away.

Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming: "WOW! What a ride!” - Unknown


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