Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bourne, Duck!, Pod

Today has been an interesting day. I'm a person who tends to follow the Greek ideal of "balance, order, symmetry" - a unique rule of three. Weather or not this translates to my day-to-day life is another matter entirely (it usually doesn't). But occasionally, the stars fall in alignment, and things happen in three.

Like today.

1) The Full Bourne Marathon
2) Duck!
3) The ipod

Not really sure if the aforementioned three have anything in common aside from me... I suppose one could argue that Jason Bourne probably at one point ate duck, and used cool technology. Or that Bourne had to Duck! after getting a lot of different gadgets thrown at him. Or even that Jason Bourne got all of his ducks in a row with the accompaniment of really cool music.

But anyway, I found these three themes prevalent throughout my day.

1) The Full Bourne Marathon

Last night at the Lauterbachs, we started something that we couldn't stop. We began watching "The Bourne Trilogy" - a feat impressive by any standards. The longest DVDs that Nathaniel and I have previously managed to watch (in a row...), were 2 and a half episodes of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The extended editions. Yeah.

We got through the first two episodes in one day, and started the third with the intention of finishing - but had to give up. Not moving for that long of a time was awful (one of the OTHER reasons why I hate long plane trips. Staying put and staying still was never my forte). Well, for that reason and the fact that our eyes were turning red and whenever we looked away from the TV, we saw white stars.

For future reference, we decided to avoid long term eye damage, and stopped watching (but we did finish #3 on day two. It took a 3 hour bike ride on my part to get back on track).


So yesterday, Nate, Jim, Barb and myself settled in for a "Bourne" marathon - but only got through the first two episodes. The great thing about watching the first two right in a row, is that it makes the series a whole lot easier to understand! There were bits and pieces that didn't make sense before, but now (for the most part) they fit together pretty well.

Which makes watching the third "Bourne" a heckuva lot easier. Because I actually know and get what's going on. Hurrah!

And that's also why I still get what's going on in the movie AND I can write at the same time. Sweet. (Then again, when I re-read this tomorrow, I'll probably be horrified at all the mistakes, errors, and bad punctuation. But rest assured that I had a blast.)

Oh yeah, and quotes and phrases that were mentioned in the first two movies, play an important role in the third - my favorite being said by "The Professor" (another Treadstone production who Bourne had had a showdown with). Just before The Professor's death, he uttered, "Look at us. Look what we've become. Look what they've made us into..." and then he dies. Okay - a little grim, but certainly philosophical... At the very end of the third Bourne movie, Jason is on the roof top, unarmed, and facing off against yet another assassin who he (Bourne) refused to kill in an earlier scene. This guy was pretty perplexed by Jason's refusal to pull the trigger, to which Bourne replies - nearly ver betum - the comments of "The Professor".

Then Jason jumps off the 10 story building into the Hudson River. Just goes to show... brilliant philosophical moments CAN be followed by crazy and daring escapes.

Alright, one down, two to go.

2) Duck!

On my run this morning, I was hit by a flying duck.

I'm not kidding.

I headed out to the Fox River trail, a 1.8 mile loop around a section of the Fox river in Waukesha. It was a grey morning, but the snow sparkled beautifully, and the black branches of the trees shone starkly against the sky. The contrast was like a well filtered black and white photograph. And I was just about the only splash of color along the water's edge - my blue hat with red hearts bobbed steadily, along with my cadence. The path was a beautiful combination of white, grey, black, brown, and more white. A winter wonderland on the Fox River.

And my steady breathing helped keep my company.

I choose the river path because I knew it would be well plowed, and possibly salted. After all the snow we had gotten (6-8 inches, yea!), there were still a lot of slick spots, and I didn't want to chance a fall on my derriere. I was doing a few sprint sets, and figured that I would be slipping and sliding around enough without the added snow and ice. And while there were a few slick spots along the path, for the most part I handled myself reasonably well.

During my run, I was accompanied by the incessant quacking of ducks. There were literally hundreds of ducks, just hanging out on the shores of the unfrozen river, just before the small waterfalls. Okay - not hundreds. But certainly 40 or 50.

There were a lot of ducks!

With the finish of each lap, I would pass by their hang-out spot, their incessant chatter and loud quacks keeping my company and bringing a smile to my face. They were so cute, just doing their own thing. And it was a good distraction to look forwards to after each and every lap.

On my final 2 minute sprint, I rounded the edge of the bridge and saw the ducks covering the middle of the path. Near the lamp post and park bench seat, a little old man was scattering duck food along the slushy ground. The ducks were very happy, and their quacks seemed happy and conversational. The little old guy was having a blast feeding his duck friends, and it seemed such a shame to plow through them in the middle of my sprint set.

For Pete's sake, if I was a duck, I wouldn't want to get interrupted by some crazy runner while I was trying to eat. Sheesh! Who do they think they are? Always plowing through our turf, no regard for us or our needs.

But being the animals lover that I am, and remembering all the good times I went out to the lake with my parents and fed the ducks, I decided to stop my run mid sprint (a very big deal here...), and very carefully tread past the ducks. Hopefully they wouldn't notice me, in their haste to gobble as much duck food as possible.

That was the idea, anyway. Unfortunately, it didn't work.

I entered the feeding duck pack with the utmost caution. The old guy feeding the birds apologized, but I laughed it off. "Ducks need to eat - they're so cute!"

I guess that was my mistake. Calling them cute.

No sooner had the words escaped my mouth, one duck flew off, away from me, angrily quacking in his wake. That caused another and another and another to fly the coop, and before I knew it, I had no less than 20 ducks surrounding my person. Not on the ground - no - that would have been too simple. No, these ducks were all taking flight, and I was in the middle, stuck, in a virtual tornado of ducks.

And in my effort/hast to avoid getting hit by one particularly large duck, I bet over. And because I bent over, I was thwacked very soundly across the face by a fat winged duck. At least it felt like it had a fat wing - because the smack that I received smarted. Luckily, because of the "cooler" temps (still a balmy 26 degrees, but as I was sprinting, a bunch of perspiration had built up on my nose and cheeks, and then got really cold and numb every time I slowed down) - the blow was pretty well insulated. It just left a red mark across my nose and right cheek.

Next time you find yourself running through a bunch of feeding ducks, I advise you to either stop and go around them completely, OR sprint through before they realize that you're there. Otherwise you too, will get hit by a duck.

And now, for numero three.

3) The ipod.

First, I need to mention, that Nathaniel and I have been the proud co-owners of a 3 year old ipod. It's survived deployments, field exercises, treadmill drops, sweat from bike trainer workouts, and other odd assortments of uses and abuses.

These past few months, our ipod has taken a turn for the worse. There have been a few moments where it's crapped out all together - once during a particularly difficult bike workout (which turned out to be okay, as I managed to look at the workout as an "opportunity" instead of giving up because the ipod had quit before me).

Nathaniel has been gently suggesting that we invest in a new ipod. But me, being the penny-pincher that I am when it comes to electrical gadgets (tvs, dvd players, computers, etc... stuff that we have, that works okay for the most part, but should be replaced one day - just not yet), have refused to budge.

Nathaniel kept hinting, though... how wonderful a new ipod would be, how much "more fun" my trainer rides could be, how much more relaxing air travel, car travel, any kind of travel would be with a shiny, new ipod... he kept mentioning all the really cool music I could download, and how I could make my very own play lists, rather than listening to "On-The-Go 2" for each and every workout.

I just couldn't be bothered to upload new music, and didn't really have the patience to take the time (translation: Marit didn't quite know how to used the ipod site).

Now, things have changed.

In the airport on the way to Minnesota, I let out a string of curse words... what would cause me to do this in a non-race situation??? I realized that I had forgotten our trusty old ipod, and was dreading Sunday morning's (December 30) 3 hour bike ride in heart rate zones 3-4. (Yep, my coach is evil. But then again, the training for Ironman is more difficult than the race itself...according to Bree Wee. I'll take her word for it, and it's helped me on more than one occasion at this point.) The real kicker about this workout? It'll be on the trainer. My favorite.

It would be one thing if the workout was zones 1-2, just sitting and watching movies or TV. But zones 3-4... shoot - that means that I have to work and concentrate on maintaining my heart rate. (Past experience has proven to me that Me + zone 3 or zone 4 heart rate assignment + TV or DVD player = workout end heart rate that ends up being in the mid to upper zone 1 or - if I'm lucky - zone 2)Not the kind of thing I'm aiming for in an Ironman build, eh?

And it's not that I can look back on past IM training - because thus far my furthest distance has been the half ironman, good old 70.3. I'm finding that the training is very different, but if my coach calls for 3 hours in zone 3-zone 4, then by God, I will do my damnedest to make it happen.

It would have been a lot easier with an ipod, though.

Until last night...

I walked into the kitchen, and Nathaniel came in, a mad gleam in her eye, and promptly said, "Colder."

I looked up at him, befuddled by his statement. I made a move towards the fridge, and he said, "your getting even colder."

Water bottle half way raised towards my mouth, I made a move closer to him


And so the game was played, until I found myself standing in front of the Christmas tree in the dining room.

"You're burning up!"

But hard as I try, hard as I may, I had no idea what I was look for OR at. I gave Nathaniel a wary look, but he just laughed and encouraged me to keep looking. Finally, hidden deep within the branches, I caught a glint of silver reflecting beautifully off the twinkling lights.


I reached in, a slow grin spreading across my face, and triumphantly pulled a brand new, shiny blue ipod from within the branches. It was smaller than a credit card, a beautiful metallic blue-color and extremely light. I couldn't believe it! An ipod of my own... very cool. Okay okay, so I'm not totally anti-technology. I would just rather spend money on tri stuff. Or books.

But I have to admit, this was pretty neat. I gave Nathaniel a huge grin, and then said that he shouldn't have done it, "because we've already got an ipod..."

He gave me a blank look. "Maritka," he said (my Czech name that he's heard my Mom call me). "Maritka - you yourself say that it's the hundreds, if not thousands of little decisions, little things on a daily basis that make a difference with your training, racing, and overall results. An ipod will help your training - especially with a 3 hour ride in zone 3 and 4. You need this, and I'm happy to give you things you'll love and enjoy. No complaints!"

I gave him a sheepish grin, and then a huge hug.

Unfortunately, Nate's timing was a bit off, as I was headed out the door for my Duck! attack run. But we decided to make a "date" on the couch, and spend part of the afternoon downloading music.

After the run, I spent 3 and a half hours picking out music, listening to various clips, playing around with the new toy, and enjoying myself tremendously. Who knew that ipods could be so much fun! Nathaniel could tell that I was really enjoying myself, as he would hear random humming from behind the laptop screen, where I was seated in the overstuffed arm chair. I was in my own world, listening to the likes of "Cowboy Junkies", "Korn", "Aaron Lewis (unplugged)", and "Dido". Very odd assortment.

Going from Korn to Dido was pretty interesting.

Nathaniel even let it slip to the rest of his family that I've got Brittney Spears on the ipod. Oops! (And now you all know as well. Track 8 and 9 from her new CD are great. Very fun to work out to - if you like that kind of stuff.)

So that's it. My own personal Greek "three" for Saturday. Not exactly the ideals of "balance, order, symmetry", but it still held value for me. Bourne Duck! Pod was a great way of spending a long Saturday. These things in "threes" are pretty cool.

Then again, I am a triathlete. Swim, Bike, Run. Duh. I think that I've been up North a little too long. I seem to be forgetting my sport. I could be doing the winter triathlon thing - run, mountain bike, ski... or something like that. Then again, the theme for most Wisconsin weekends are: Packers, beer, cheese. So there you have it. For now, I'll stick to the swim, bike, run. Well, that and the Bourne Duck! Pod. Luckily I've already experienced the later!

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