Triathlon #2 recap – Girl Power

10354156_10152508670346725_9178356250560875686_nToday, my friend Heather and I finished our second triathlon. I had high hopes that I’d do better this time, for a few reasons.

  1. It’s September, not July.
  2. I spent a week in the mountains doing a 5k, a 20 mile bike ride, a Crossfit class, a Barre Method class, and hiking. (Fine. Eating and drinking too.)
  3. I knew what to expect.
  4. I knew what to do and what not to do, based on what I learned last time.

Alas, in some regards I did do better, and in others, I did worse.

My official results:

Screenshot 2014-09-28 11.37.57

So, the swim was further, the bike was shorter, and the run was the same length as the Rocketchix triathlon.

I picked up Heather at 6 am, and we headed across town to the UNO campus where the race was being held. We’d been keeping an eye on the weather, and the chance of rain was hovering around 50% for the morning. I was glad for the clouds, but nervous that it would start pouring.

We got there, got our bikes set up (with a tote bag this time, not a crate) and set up everything in the transition area. I appreciated that this race had specific spots for each of us, not just “find a spot on the rack.” Made things a lot more organized.

Soon enough it was time to go inside to the aquatic center. Just like at Rocketchix, we were self-seeded. I thought I might be able to finish the swim in about 9 minutes, based on my previous time. So basically, I headed to the back of the line. There were about six women behind me and 340 in front of me. Yeah, it took a while to get in the pool. Heather went in very early, so I was able to watch her swim, which was nice. Forty-five minutes, later, it was my turn. This pool was 50 meters long, not at all what I was used to. And let’s face it, it’s not like I’d done much swimming before this race. But I got in, and since the timing chip around my ankle wasn’t too tight, my foot didn’t cramp up.

I had plenty of room, and I even passed some women without too much trouble. I did a lot of backstroke, though, which probably explains why my time was a bit slower. But I felt so much stronger and less panicky, so I’ll take it.

Funny aside…Heather and I were really dismayed by our swim times. We were comparing our pace to the last race, and it just seemed way off. Turns out, the first race was 200 yards, and this one was 300 meters. Whew. In the end, I figured out that for Rocketchix I swam 1 yard every 1.63 seconds, and this one was 1 yard every 1.89 seconds. I think I did the math right. Hmm.

After the swim, I got out of the pool and walked to transition. It had started sprinkling, so the concrete was very slick. No biggie. I don’t care that much about transition times. Nevertheless, I shaved a couple of minutes off. Got my damp socks and damp shoes on, threw on my helmet, and off I went on the bike. Right up a hill and into the wind. Fantastic.

The bike course went along the lakefront, and remember, it was a cloudy day. A storm was rolling in. The wind was fierce. The course was a lopsided T shape. We turned right onto Lakeshore Drive for about a mile (into the wind), then we turned around with the wind at our backs for about 5 miles. Ahhh, that was nice. But every foot I rode I knew it was going to be hellish coming back. And so it was. At the turnaround, the wall of wind hit me like…a wall of wind. I mean, no point in being poetic about it. It sucked. Oh, and there were hills. I mean, technically they were levees and overpasses, but hills nonetheless. Going up a hill with the wind pushing you back is pretty sucky.

Since we couldn’t have music or anything, I spent the time making up songs about how much the wind and hills sucked. I wonder how many people were singing “Against the Wind” to themselves? Probably a lot. I also made up songs like, “Stupid Hill,” sung to the tune of Garbage’s “Stupid Girl.”

But eventually it ended. (Not until the person in front of me took a wrong turn and led me UP A HILL WE DIDN’T HAVE TO GO UP. That was suboptimal.)

fakest smile ever.

When I got to transition, there were people all over the place who had already finished, getting their bikes and generally being in the way. I don’t think they realized that the swimmers from the back of the pack were only just then getting back from their bike ride. A little crappy, but whatever. I chucked my helmet off, racked the bike, and off I went for a very slow run/walk.

Well, I say very slow, but it was really faster than at Rocketchix. I managed to finish the run with faster than 12 minute miles, which surprised me. I felt like I was running through sludge. Anyway, before too long (the run was only two miles, after all), I was done! My friend Robin (who sang the national anthem at the beginning, beautifully) was there at the finish with her husband and their triplets, cheering me on. That was nice. 🙂 And Heather was there too, of course. She had finished about an hour earlier, so I’m sure she was glad to see me finally cross the finish line. Ha!

Next up I have a four mile race in November, and I might try to find some 5Ks to do in the meantime. I just rejoined Weight Watchers so hopefully by next spring I’ll be better shape for another sprint tri. We’ll see…

No more contacts! (Need some?)

Today is the last day I will ever wear contact lenses. Hopefully. Certainly these contact lenses.

My LASIK procedure is in three weeks, and I have to stop wearing my lenses today to prep for it. And I have five pairs left. So I thought I’d post the prescription here on the very very very off chance that someone here wears the same type and prescription. If they work for you, you can have them.

They’re Biofinity Toric lenses (for astigmatism) with these prescriptions:
Photo Sep 28, 12 10 16 PM

I am also more than happy to send them to a charity, if there is one that accepts contact lenses. So please let me know if you know of one. Googling wasn’t a ton of help.

Please share this with anyone that might be able to use these.

Things happening soon

All of my energy for the past month or two has been focused on the Grand Meetup. Now that it’s over (sob) I can start thinking about what’s coming up next.

Girl Power Triathlon

Oh, that’s this weekend. Which is pretty good, actually. All of the exercise I did at the GM (which was a lot) at 6900 feet will hopefully help. Yesterday I went for a run on the treadmill and it seemed easier than before. It could be psychological, or it could be something about being back at sea level, oxygen, etc, etc. Doesn’t matter, honestly. I’m hoping I do better than I did at Rocketchix, that’s my only goal.


That’s in less than four weeks now. Sunday (the triathlon) will be my last time wearing contacts ever in my whole entire life (I hope!) This makes me very happy. I am definitely avoiding thinking about anything involving lasers and my eyeballs.


The boys don’t seem to care about what they’re going to be this year. This dismays me. Not that I get super into it (except for the candy part), but aren’t they a little young to be jaded about it already?

Their birthday

Likewise, they don’t seem to care about their birthday party. As long as they get some form of Nintendo DS, they’re good. Considering how much three of those suckers cost, I probably should just forego a birthday party altogether. I’m sad how much this prospect appeals to me.

In other, more current news, I have to share this little story. I was helping a user a few weeks back, and it turns out their website is for a podcast they do for kids. The subject of the podcast is video games, toys, etc. Um, I might know three little kids who would enjoy this podcast. Anyway, the user was so happy with my help (pats self on back) that the boys and I got a shout-out in this week’s episode. Check it out. And, they want the boys to be guest hosts one day. Ack! I cannot imagine anything more adorable. Love.

Park City trip wrap-up

I can’t possibly recap the entire trip, but I’ll write about some of the highlights.

It was incredible, spending time with all of the people I’d been working with over the past year. All these amazing people, finally getting to have a conversation in real life and put a voice to the face. We worked, we learned, and we had a lot of fun. I’ve already posted about some of the things we did.

I gave a talk about how to tell the boys apart (here’s the video.)

I ran a 5k. At 6900 feet.

I got another tattoo.

I took a Barre class. It hurt.

I took a Crossfit class. It hurt even more.

I went on a 20 mile bike ride in the mountains. Ouch.

I went on hikes. Beautiful. Less painful.

I rode terrifyingly high gondolas and chairlifts up mountains and across alpine meadows.

I got out of breath climbing up a flight of stairs (that altitude, man!)

I won a round of Cards Against Humanity.

I lost a round of Mario Kart.

I talked and hugged and ate and drank and laughed.

And I took lots of pictures.

Terrifying gondola ride:

It’s just ridiculous

A couple of coworkers and I went on a hike yesterday. We took the world’s scariest gondola ride (I’m guessing. It was also my first) up the mountain and then “hiked” a little nature trail. It was just unutterably, insanely, ridiculously gorgeous. A little over-the-top, if you ask me. I mean, ENOUGH ALREADY with the beauty! You’re just showing off now, mountain!

PS I didn’t edit these photos at all. That’s exactly what it all looks like.

Number three

So this happened yesterday.


I make it sound like it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. It wasn’t, I’ve been thinking of getting three bunnies for a while, but kind of vaguely. And then the opportunity came up to go on a tattoo outing at the Grand Meetup and I decided to go for it. (Yes, at a work conference, we had an outing to get tattoos.)

Why bunnies? I wanted to get a tattoo to represent the boys, and I wasn’t sold on their initials (I tried, but couldn’t make LOM look not weird.) My other idea was three bunnies, because I’ve always called them my bunnies. It’s a bit more vague than initials, I think. But definitely not badass. Everyone who saw it today said, “awww, so cute!” so maybe I should have gotten fangs on them or something more hardcore. Then again, my other tattoos aren’t exactly skulls and daggers, so this is definitely more me.

(Sorry Mom.)

A year at Automattic

A year ago, I had my first day at Automattic. Mind you, it wasn’t my first day as a full-time employee, but it was the first day of my Happiness Engineer trial. A few weeks before, I’d sent in my resume at the urging of a friend, and the intervening days had been filled with checking my email obsessively, hours-long Skype interviews, and hopes that I’d move on to the next step. And here we were, the first day of my trial. I’d spent the previous nine years at a job I didn’t love, but with coworkers I did. It felt weird, not being able to share this huge thing with the people I was so close to. I’d taken off two days from work for the training, and on September 9, 2013, off we went!

11828688176_7d86442cc7_zIt’s impossible to describe how full your brain gets in those two days (and the weeks afterwords.) So much information. As a trial, you’re given almost all of the same rights as a full-time employee, so you’re given immediate access to a vast well of information and people and animated gifs. You have to jump in and swim around and soak it all in and various other aquatic metaphors.

It was an exhilarating but exhausting time. I would come home from my day job, take an hour or so to hang out with the boys and George, and then log in and work on support tickets for four or five hours. George took over all of the parenting in the evenings during this time, and without that support, I never could have made it. I couldn’t sleep well at night, because I’d been staring at a screen all evening. I’d just lie in bed, exhausted, unable to close my eyes. And then when I did finally fall asleep, I’d dream of domain expiration and upgrades and how to set featured images. But I was so happy. So thrilled that I was using my brain at last. And helping people with something I’d always felt passionate about. Blogging! WordPress!

My trial went on for weeks. About three weeks into it, the entire company went to the Grand Meetup in California. It was up to us, a small band of trials, to hold down the fort. It was a Sisyphean task. No matter how many tickets we answered, more came in. Every afternoon, I’d log in, and there were more and more tickets. But we survived, and nearly all of us who worked through the GM got hired.

11845504486_25176b6a73_zNext week is this year’s Grand Meetup, in Park City, Utah. There’s a new crop of trials who will be battling the tickets this year. I was leading a training session for them a few weeks back, and I felt like a war veteran, reminiscing and showing off my battle scars.

After seven weeks, I had a chat with my hiring lead, and the words that I’d been dreaming of flashed across my screen. “I’d like to pass you along to your Matt Chat.” The Matt Chat is the final stage of the hiring process, and probably the most nerve-wracking. You basically wait for a Skype ping from the founding developer of WordPress. I’ll admit to a tiny bit of hyperventilating when that “Howdy” popped up one evening. I locked myself in my office and told George I’d see him and the boys in a little while. A few hours later, I emerged from my office with a huge smile on my face. I was officially an Automattician!

Man, that was good times. And in one week, I’ll be attending my first Grand Meetup with most of my 250+ coworkers. This past year has been amazing. I can’t believe this is my life. I work from home, for an amazing company, doing a job that challenges me with incredible people. I get to travel several times a year. Pinch me!

And if I didn’t frighten you too much, we’re hiring!

Other Automatticians have written about their experiences on trial and working at Automattic: