You Talking to Me?

Most of you don't look at my online training diary, but if you did you'd notice I'm in the throes of another online rowing challenge. This is my first since February and it requires me to row 31,000 meters between Oct. 25 and 31. Doing this using gym equipment creates an additional challenge because sometimes both machines are in heavy use and sometimes the 30-minute rule is enforced. So I'm essentially doing this in four days instead of seven.

I took on the challenge because, after almost a full year without racing, I need new spark plugs and this is the best way to get a cheap tune-up. And, if this morning is any indication, my body's running much better already.

Usually if I'm going to row long, I run short. But I woke to perfect 45-degree weather and decided to run 5 miles around Lake Miramar first. A mile into it, a guy in a warmup suit heading my way did a U turn in front of me, and I figured I'd use him as a rabbit. Only I caught him a half mile later and did what any woman twice his age and half his height would do: I chicked him.

He didn't like it and started a chase and that's how I ended up finishing that run a minute per mile faster than usual. He never did catch me.

Then an hour later I am rowing away, listening to my iPod and watching the closed captioning for "The Early Show" when I realize the trio next to me is talking about me. One's a personal trainer and one's on the rower next to me, trying to match me stroke per stroke. She gives up in less than 10 minutes.

Afteward, as I wiped down my machine, she and another woman asked me if I always row like this. "No," I answered. "Yesterday I did 10,000 meters but today, because I ran for five miles prior, I stopped at 7,000 meters."

"Oh," the woman on the rower says to her friend on the elliptical. "I should have known; she's a badass."

"Yep," the other woman says, "I told you that's why you couldn't keep up. She's a badass."

I thought of setting the record straight. I really did. But instead I smiled at them, wished them well and thanked my badass for such a great jump start to the day.

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