Friday, September 21, 2012

USAT Nationals

"I thought you were going to slog? wtf. YOU are the one racing and haven't slogged all season. GET TO IT! :)"   
                    - LAHP

To spare you more stories from an exercise-crazed pregnant woman, I’ll get on with a race report from USAT Nationals which was in Buffalo.

I have been in Cleveland with my boyfriend, Kevin, in the weeks leading up to Buffalo (enjoying free housing and daily, fresh-made salsa, compliments of Joe Jerdonek) which made for an easy 3.5 hr drive to the race. We stayed with my amaaazing homestay from last year—Frank and Mary Pat, who made us a lovely sign:

Eggbombers--easy prep in a kitchen fo sho:

The swim is held in Lake Erie inside the breakwall and includes an eastern bloc backdrop. The men's start:

We lined up by ITU ranking. I donned #6, the highest number I’ve worn in an ITU race.

Individual athlete intros:

The color pink enhances my feminine side.

I started out conservative with the intention of swimming strong throughout (instead of fading). Although, I found myself in the throng of the near-drowning to the first turn buoy, so I still need to find the ideal get-out speed. The course was a 2-lap swim where we run up/down a boat dock between laps. After lap one, I straggled the main pack and regained contact with them at a turn buoy. It was easier once I was on feet again, but I separated from the pack when we hit choppy water toward the end. It surprised me how fast it happened (and how far away the pack got!), but I latched back on once on the bike.

I was in a pack of 8 girls who trailed behind Haskins and Duffy (1st and 2nd) up the road. The wind made it tough even though it was a mostly flat course. 15x 180 degree turns over the 40k:

I had the fastest T2 (SEVERAL seconds faster than Kevin's--dawdle dawdle dawdle) and was on the run first from my pack.

Shiver and the Canadian bridged up to me quickly and were gone just as fast. Anna and Spiel passed me not long after. On the final lap, when it seemed like I would be caught from girls in a chasing pack, Kevin’s coach, Jennifer, got my ass in gear with her relentless cheering: FIGHT FOR ITTT!!!!  She convinced me I could hold them off and I finished on a strong note, running hard into the finish. I was 7th OA and 5th American, and double dipped into 2 prize purses. TG.

Race director Dan Horan, probably congratulating me for finishing this time. I crashed out last year.

The race was a family affair--my Uncle Rich, Aunt Laurie, dad, Aunt Joan, and a sheep-herding relative (my mother) showed their support!

My homestay: Mary Pat, Frank & doggie Peyton:

I'm building momentum from early in the season when I got spanked at St. Anthony’s… and again in San Diego... Margie is pleased with the result and we're looking forward to the sprint distance Cancun World Cup with a Rev3 half (or 2) to follow.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to the 90s

I'm still here and alive. I think LJ is alive as well, somewhere in the hills of Asheville or perhaps in the Potomac region. I'm almost 31 weeks pregnant at this point and up until this past weekend I've just been rolling along quite dandily.

HOWEVER, desperate times call for desperate measures. Due to an appallingly crappy immune system  I have developed an infection in my foot which has precluded me from any swimming, biking, or running with a normal shoe for a bit. I find it crazy that pregnancy can kill my immune system more than racing 3 Ironmans and multiple halfs in a year, but I'm learning each day that pregnancy can and will take much out of me! I've been fine up till now swimming slower and slower each day, "jogging" slower and slower each day and riding on the trainer slower and slower each day, but when a doctor commands me not to do any of these things the pregnancy hormones plus lack of endorphin release leads to all hell breaking loose in my head.

Never fear. I have found a way to continue on with my exercise and this solution includes a combination of crocs and the StairMaster. Yes, I have found a way to incorporate bad 2000s fashion with bad 1990s exercise equipment in order to create a perfect system for endorphin release. 
My battle station. And yes, there is a piece missing in my croc. Ronin decided to bite off a bit just to taste it as a puppy.

I may not be able to swim, bike, and run, but I can manhandle that StairMaster like an elite, one foot croc-wearing StairMaster champion now. 

Here are a few explanatory tips for the unenlightened:

- A croc is an incredibly ugly plastic "shoe" worn by triathletes pre 2009. You might find this species in airport kiosks, mall stores, or a random garage sale. Nurses and doctors may sport the "business croc" with its closed toe, while athletes typically prefer the sling back croc or the pseudo soccer sandal croc (copy of the very popular Adidas sandal of my high school era).

Standard issue backless croc.
Holy Crap...Crocs now makes a sporty "heeled dress croc." I might have to buy a pair for when I next get to a podium!!

- A StairMaster is a piece of exercise equipment that harkens back to the days of Jazzercise, leg warmers, sweat bands, and New Kids on the Block. I remember riding my first StairMaster at my grandparents house while watching track and field at the 1988 Olympics. StairMasters can now be found in the dusty corners of most athletic clubs or in disrepair stuffed into high school gym closets.

Example of my latest ride.
I don't use this model because I don't like being all up on display for the entire YMCA Mountain View population.

Benefits to sporting the croc, StairMaster, pregnant chick look:

- You will not have to wait in line or fight anyone for one of the 3 StairMasters at YMCA Mountain View. Ever.  Even at peak time. Even if every other piece of equipment was taken.

- The fact that nobody uses the StairMaster means that it is probably not an easy workout, if utilized correctly. Do you ever wonder why those elliptical machines fill up more quickly than a One Direction concert? This is because they are EASY. One can wear makeup and not sweat on an elliptical machine. One can read the small-print Wall Street Journal on an elliptical machine. One can sip a latte on an elliptical machine. One can do NONE of these activities on a StairMaster. Hell, I'm just happy to not fall off the Stairbomber when I put it on the highest level.

- You will spend countless hours at the gym where people-watching will keep you entertained and your mind off the fact that you are a one-croc wearing, basketball for a uterus pregnant chick. My favorite people to watch are the high school girls who spend more time looking at their butts in the mirror then paying attention to their level one elliptical workout. I also love the weightlifters sporting Vibrams or Nike Frees and doing 100 reps per second while making sounds similar to Olympic shot-putters....the real ones, not the decathletes.

- People offer you water and towels while viewing you as some type of circus act. Really, people. I'm just a pregnant athlete with a healing foot. I'm not a Zoo exhibit.

I only have a few more days of this routine before I can get back to the pool and running and seriously, I have NEVER BEEN SO EXCITED about swimming and "jogging" with a 3+ pound child inside my womb in my entire life. BRING IT ON!!

28 weeks pregnant. The end is kind of almost encroaching upon being nearer.

Friday, June 29, 2012


The second grouping of pregnancy test sticks.

Yes, you are all still waiting for LJ's sundry race reports but in the meantime I'll provide an update on my personal life. If you couldn't tell due to the lack of blogs on training and racing, I am taking the season off because I am pregnant and due mid October! Matt and I are super excited for Mini Matt to arrive and if his incessant kicking of my lower ribs is any indication, this kid is going to be a handful!

In the weeks and months leading up to the pregnancy test I took in February, I had thrown myself into a frenzy about whether I'd be able to get pregnant. Pataky finally forced me to take a test and I set it on the counter to wait for the requisite 5 minutes. After .01 seconds,  I saw nothing but the test line and immediately devolved into a rage of hormones. A few minutes later, however, he approached me with the errant stick. There, through the power of binoculars, we saw an EXTREEEEMELY faint plus sign. OF COURSE this test was lying so I quickly took 100 pictures from multiple angles, ISO settings, and lenses and sent them to my great and patient friend Jill, who CONVENIENTLY happens to be an OBGYN. She told us to be "cautiously optimistic" in her stern doctor language, so Matt and I sat around for the next 5 days being cautiously optimistic (terrified) before I took 500 additional tests which confirmed it.

Needless to say our lives have already changed tremendously, and mini Matt has not even arrived. The first trimester for me was not awesome. I went from training 17-20 hours a week to curling up in the fetal position after work (and during work), only to have Matt come home and ask me what was wrong.  In addition to barely being able to move, I could barely eat. Veggies and eggs were out. LJ came to visit for a few weeks and I even banned her from making her acclaimed egg bombs. I feel she is still bitter about that one. The only foods I could stomach were dairy products. I was a walking advertisement for organic dairy farms. Weekends consisted of attempting to get up for masters swims at Stanford. When I did make it to swim, I'd come home afterwards and immediately resume the fetal position on the couch for the rest of the day.

Thankfully I hit 16 weeks and felt awesome, or as awesome as one can feel while pregnant. I'm now back to "exercising" (not training) 1-2 times a day, depending upon how I feel and am just happy that I can actually eat normal foods again.

A few things I've noticed:

It is hard to get my competitive juices under control when pregnant: While I’ve had to physically slow down, that doesn’t mean my annoyingly competitive ego has melted away. I still hate being passed or “beaten”, yet this is really a foregone conclusion now. I am not going to be able to maintain the same pace as I did while not pregnant. How do I combat this?

  1. Run with a dog: Dogs poop and stop to smell things. When I hear the labored breathing of a weekend warrior sprinting to catch me as I lumber along at pregnancy pace, praying to God my bladder will remain intact, I simply command Ronin to stop and conveniently smell something. That way, I am not technically being overtaken and can blame Ronin for everything. 
  2. Ride a mountain bike on the road – I’m pretty much banished to the indoor trainer most of the time, but occasionally I bust out my mountain bike and ride it on the road or trails that do not include the threat of cliffs or mountain lions. I don't worry about being passed on the road because I can always blame the stubby tires of the mountain bike.
  3. Ban the power meter from my bike: As I watched my wattage on the bike drop precipitously, I realized there is no reason I should be tracking my watts. There are no “which pregnant woman can average the highest watts” contests. I finally pulled off my power meter and banished it to the post-birth box, along with my skinny jeans.
  4. Declare to all my lane mates at masters swimming that I am pregnant – this immediately enables me to swim last in the lane and trumps all other excuses, such as the ubiquitous “oh I haven’t been in the pool for 2 months and can’t possibly swim without floaties” line.
  5. The fake spin class “twist of the dial.” When the spin instructor tells everyone to turn up the resistance and I’m not feeling so hot, I just fake a turn and continue on at my negative 200 resistance. While everyone else is climbing Everest, I’m pretty much freewheeling – and some days lately that feels like climbing Everest to me.

- Why do people insist on pointing, poking me, or examining my abdomen? This has become my new pet peeve. Do I really need to hear for the zillionth time that my boobs have grown? NO SH*&! I am not the first woman in the world to be pregnant. Nothing new to see here. MOVE ALONG.

- There are far too many advice books out there on pregnancy.

- I will never take for granted riding outside in the sunshine again. EVER.

- I have become incredibly adept at finding make shift toilets. Perhaps this was a skill I had previously honed on race mornings with porta potty lines 2 hours long?

- Avoid the pregnant or wanting to be pregnant forums at all costs.

- Maternity jeans are a very good investment in one’s sanity and well-being.

- Body image issues do not miraculously go away when you become pregnant.  The purgatory of not looking pregnant but not looking normal is quite a character-builder.

- Do things you normally wouldn’t do when not pregnant:  Meditation is awesome! Cleaning my closet?  Not awesome. Trips to London with  my sister during May are normally inconceivable as I cannot be without my bike for more than 24 hours. 3 hour nature hikes into rattler and mountain-lion infested territory with fellow pregnant friends are good times.

Hiking with Nina, her Matt, Pataky, Ronin, rattlers, and Mtn lions.
- It pays to have a close friend who happens to be an OB. My previously mentioned good friend and college roommate Jill is an OBGYN in SF. She is the recipient of endless calls from the Patakys. These calls range from: "Does a smiley face on an ovulation kit truly mean I am ovulating and could it possibly lie?" to "Jill, can I do a 50 mile ride?" to “ Jill, can I do a 2 day hike at altitude while 7 months pregnant,” to "Jill what happens if I can't eat one vegetable during pregnancy. Will my child have scurvy?" She deserves a spa vacation after all of this. Pataky allows me to do any activity as long as I do it with her. This will include a trip to the Madonna concert a few days before I'm due!

-It also pays to have a friend going through pregnancy at the same time. There is nothing like being able to complain via text with someone else at 7am on why nothing in our respective closets fits, or what types of maternity clothes are the best, or “OMG I literally ripped a hole in my tight swimsuit in the middle of Stanford masters swim.” Empathy is awesome.

I'm sure I'll learn many more things along the way and am just trying to live in this moment of pregnancy, as I’ve learned in my meditation classes, and not keep thinking about what is next around the corner. Racing and training will come back soon enough, but most importantly, we'll have an awesome little boy to add to Team Pataky. HOW COOL IS THAT?! And yes, we shall add him to the local swim team at 6 months, so that he will not suffer from my "I learned to swim at age 27" malady.
A Ferrari F1 "onesie" - my first baby purchase -go figure.
A burberry mini jacket - Matt's first baby purchase - REALLY go figure.

Yes, it's a boy.
He has a head!

The first glamor shot of mini matt. Looks more like a piece of rice.
Salisbury Cathedral outside of London - awesome!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Girls Should Play Sports (and a rant on Rush Limbaugh)

By Lauren:

I’ve been forced into some downtime lately from triathlon and seeing that the "The Slog" was launched as a “triathlon” blog, apparently I thought that meant I must remain silenced. I find it really easy to write about epic training and racing, as does the entire tweeting triathlon population, but difficult to write about all the other stuff that really frustrates me. As Matt will tell you, I am easily riled.

Anyway, I recently overheard a story in the bathroom of my club pool and felt the need to break my silence.

Here goes…

While busy lathering up with my Aveda shampoo after an“epic” 3k pull set, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of some 12-year-old girls. In the high-pitched cacophony that only pre-teen girls can make, I heard them discussing their love interests and recent trip to a mall to buy new outfits for some dance. Much to my chagrin, one of the girls, who was about as skinny as a stork, announced that her boyfriend had suggested she lose 5 pounds before said dance. The other girls (none of them weighing more than 50 pounds) then started an entire discussion about their dieting, and the rest of the conversation was drowned out by my rage.


What 12-year-old boy would suggest that a highly underweight girl LOSE five pounds?

Overhearing this chat brought up so much from my own past that I spent hours seething over it. It is hard enough growing up in a society that idolizes airbrushed models and personal trained and then drugged to death actresses, but to have young boys suggesting skinny girls lose weight just blows my mind. Where did they learn this? As a parent, what would I do to protect my daughter from such ridiculous, yet vicious and biting words?

When I take a step back, though, why does this even surprise me? We live in a world where it is (almost) perfectly acceptable for idiotic, blowhard political pundits to call a girl “slut” for taking a stand on women’s health. Despite so much progress for female equality, women are still made to think that their value is in how hot they look or how to please the opposite sex. You can see this on any reality show out there (hello bachelor pad). It’s enough to make me pray I only have boys.

What can we do about this besides hide under a rock? How do we as women protect ourselves and our children and friends from this? As I found out, once we have been exposed to these lies, it isn’t easy to get rid of the accompanying thoughts. In my own life, I realize that involving myself in sports from high school volleyball and tennis, early 20s professional elliptical machining (yes, I was an expert), and finally to professional triathlon has really helped me combat the negative thoughts that come up. Sports has given me a way to find value in myself beyond what a 60 year old former-oxycontin addict with a radio show thinks about my intelligence and purpose as a female.When I’m more focused on daily training, I am less focused on the outward crap. I eat to fuel myself and am more confident with my strong body and mind.

For this reason, I think it is so important to continue to encourage female involvement in sports at a young age. I see people like Lindsey with her swimitude (see below) seemingly not bothered by what others might say about her and I attribute much of this to her dedication to swimming beginning from the womb itself. I am so happy when I see the young kids of our friends sweeping the podium at the Wildflower kids triathlons each year. I applaud all of those organizations out there that really focus on getting girls involved in sports, such as Girls on the Run. Hopefully by growing these organizations and continuing to help girls in their developmental and impressionable years, we’ll be able to help them learn to protect themselves from noisy jackass pundits, as God knows this crap will continue on as long as we have 24 hour news shows and a misinformed population.

CHEERS to all the girls out there who are learning to play sports and all the parents out there who carpool their girls to all of these practices. AND, while I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs in my short period of forced off season, feel free to harass me and I’ll share the carpool burden after work or take your girls on a run bike or swim if you live in my hood.

Wildflower Kids Triathlon Domination
+swimitude: (noun) an attitude of invincibility (not necessarily steeped in reality) developed from years of swimming in the pool;exemplified by any kid who has developed through age group swimming in the United States. example: see Lindsey Jerdonek.

My first and unfortunately last swim meet. I wasn't too proud of that green "participation" ribbon but hey, winning requires training.

My first bike - rocking the dress because I wasn't yet into spandex.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Snowbird Flees DC to Florida via Cleveland (Part 1)

I am writing a column for the DC Triathlon Club and my first post is about abandoning the ranks of part-time-pro triathletes by leaving my "real job" to become a professional triathlete. There will be no more dragging my ass to the track in Ballston from Cleveland Park at 5:29 AM after 6.25 hrs sleep... even if it is to be in the presence of greatness.

Here it is:

Bonus material for the cross-post complainers:

The empty nest:

Padonek showing off his guns.

Of course, my share of the drive took place on the PA turnpike, 90 minutes of which was in a snow squall. Our dialogue looped through this:

Dad: You're fine.

My health declined precipitously over the day, so once in Cleveland, my dad ordered me not to train, or else I would be worthless at unloading the truck. My Uncle and one of my dad's friend answered the call of duty to help unload. My bedroom furniture will be 'stored' in a spare bedroom, thus we moved this hand-made bar to the basement, rather than the curb, despite my protests.A Jerdonek family heirloom.

Here's a saw that careened down the stairwell as we moved the bar downstairs. It really had no place in the stairwell, and no place in this post, but look at how scary it is.

While in Cleveland, I titled my car and must show all you DC-ers the parking lot outside the motor vehicle's bureau which is a stark contrast to the thousands who descend on the Georgetown DMV on an hourly basis.

I like the trend on blogs where the author poses a question to their readership and encourages comments. SO, how many more hours per day will I dawdle between workouts, now that I am full time?

Thursday, January 26, 2012



CONTACT: Lauren Harrison 
CEO, of her life


(Los Altos, CA; January 26th, 2012) I am relatively happy to announce that the Costco of the DC area will soon be sorely missing the daily random purchases of one young Lindsey Jerdonek. Yes, as of Friday, LJ is quitting COLD TURKEY her long-lasting "spreadsheet addiction" (read: current job) to become a real pro triathlete, the type that takes naps during the day and does not have to get up at 5am to jam in a swim session before a long day of work and other obligations.

Yes, my slogmate has moved on and is moving up and I congratulate her on making this huge decision as she takes the necessary steps to reach her goals. No longer will she find the need to resort to motivational quotes on reaching her potential..she is living it..down and dirty.

One fall-out from her decision is that I no longer will have someone with which to commiserate virtually on the stress of training, working, mountain lion spotting, and the complete and utter lack of creativity in my daily chickenspinachhummus lunches (I'm taking applications for this internship). On the other hand, Lindsey's recent freedom means that perhaps the Pataky home will have a visitor from time to time who will provide cooking and dog walking services and let me win during swim warm ups.

Kidding aside, congrats Lindsey. While you may never beat me up Soledad canyon road, I have full confidence you will go far and am so happy for you. :)

For those of you lucky enough to live within a 100 mile radius of LJ,  you can join her this Saturday afternoon to say goodbye. She promises she won't try to bum a ride off you afterwards or make you move 10 boxes. Read future cosmonaut Jonathan Snow's much more creative announcement below for the details.
70.3 "World Championships"...100 yrs ago.

Strategizing on how to find some random spectator to pack her bike and take her to airport post race.

Need I say more?

Cheating on Costco with Walmart in LCNM

Gratuitous dog shot of the month.
From Snow....

"Sayonara," she says.  "Greener training pastures await!"

Your friend and mine, Lindsey Jerdonek, is leaving DC for... she's not
sure, but somewhere.  And unlike countless precedents, she's not asking
one of us for a ride, but is high-tailing it out of here on her own,
hitting the road with everything she'll need -- primarily a stockpile of
nut-butters, a bike, a mega-supply of hydrogen peroxide and bandages,
and a mind-reading, automatic egg-scrambler-- to take her to the next
level in her quest for triathlon glory.  She leaves town Sunday,
possibly bound for a snowbird winter in Florida, to be followed by
nomadic spring of chasing training partners and training camps all over
the US of A.  A shaded spot down by the Homosassa River behind a Costco
has been reportedly identified as the likely temporary location of her
VW-based living/training camp.

We'll all miss Lindsey, so we've coordinated with Her People on an event
to bid her a happy and successful farewell until we see her again (rumor
going around is that she'll make an appearance at the DC Triathlon in
June).  We're thankful for the time she's spent with us in DC on her way

WHO: You and the rest of the DC triathlon / GRC hanger-on / work /
Lindsey community.  Lindsey also told me to tell you that, as rapper
T.I. would say, "You can bring whoever you like."
WHAT: Fair winds and following seas to LJ
WHEN: THIS Saturday, the 28th, 3pm to 6pm-- whenever you can pop in
WHERE: Buffalo Billiards, right off DuPont Circle
WHY: To grab a pint while recounting some story about Lindsey running
late / getting injured / asking for a ride / talking incessantly about
the merits of gmail/gchat...  Oh, and to wish her well!

A quote from her royal tri-ness, herself: "I'm telling you, I sincerely
apologize for the short notice and hope that as many people as possible
can make it out.  I'll even try to be on time for my own farewell."