Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Putting the Rain in tRaining

In case you haven't heard, it's kind of wet up here in the Northeast. On Sunday I was supposed to do a brick consisting of a 25-mile run with some hard efforts, followed by a progressive 3-mile run. I got home after our Commencement ceremony, and it was raining lightly. For reasons that are still not clear to me, putting the bike on the trainer never entered my head. I looked at the radar, saw a mass of rain hovering over us, with another big mass headed our way, and did some serious magical thinking to tell myself, "I think it might clear for my ride."

Thirty minutes later, the trainer was looking, in hindsight, like a terrific idea. The ride was beginning to feel more like a swim. I had to ditch the glasses pretty early on, and I got such eyefuls of water that eventually it started to feel like I'd been crying. My eyes were still puffy the next day. Come to think of it, maybe I was crying. Nah, but I did think a lot of curse words to myself as I struggled to get my heart rate up while not wiping out as I careened through massive puddles. The run was fine, although my transition was a bit of a lollygag, because I had decided that if I didn't change socks, I would totally lose my s***. Somewhere around mile 2.5 of the run I could even feel the soles of my feet again.

The good new is that my bike wasn't all that filthy, because it was sort of getting a constant hosing down during the ride. Apparently my frame has several drain holes in it, so it seems unlikely I'll be carrying extra pounds of water around during my duathlon this weekend.

This morning I went to my club's 6:15 track workout, and hardy souls that we are, 6 of us showed up in the rain to do 1000-meter repeats. I blame myself for the rain, because one of the thoughts that kept going through my head Sunday during my ride was, "Running in the rain isn't so bad--it's just the biking that sucks."

Of course the rain also sent our Commencement ceremony inside, which is always a slight disappointment. I sort of like the indoor venue, though, because it's the indoor track, where my freshman year of college I qualified for ECAC's in the 600. In fact, I think the whole procession would be much more fun if we did it as a run. And maybe we should also award faculty raises based on finishing time.

This might have been my favorite Commencement yet. Last year Rachel Maddow was our speaker, and she was terrific, but our speaker this year was quietly inspiring in equal measure. We had a fantastic crop of graduating seniors, including some who've worked with me for multiple years and/or taken multiple classes with me.  Here I am after the ceremony with a very cool young woman who graduated cum laude; she was a student in Smith's program for non-traditional-age women, a single mom, and did so well in my class this semester that I could pretty much use her exams as answer keys.

Here I am with two of the students from my lab, plus one of my colleagues, who has a much cooler set of robes than I do, because she got her PhD in Europe:

The leis are from the student on the right; she's from Hawaii, so her family draped us all. I am keeping my lei at work for now, because if I take it home, it will be 2 minutes until my kids start fighting over it, and a matter of hours before our younger cat starts obsessively eating it.

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