Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Slacker

I've been drawing, but I've been slacking in daily postings - mostly due to holiday slacking. Here are my most recent two daily drawings. At some point I promise to do more with my new pens - hoping to work with different size lines and some stipple in the future (if my patience holds out).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hands and Knees

I got a new set of pens from my husband for Xmas - it's a 9-piece Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen set the nib sizes range from teeny-tiny to huge (.13mm to 1.2mm). And the best thing about them is THEY WORK. Using these pens is like drawing a dream line. (Compared to my old Rapidograph pen that only produced an ink-flow when it wanted to.) I've only used two of them so far - the .3mm and the .25mm but I love them and I worry that, as an artist, I'll never be worthy of having a pen set like this. The set (see photo) came from a local art supply store called Utrecht:

So, over the last few days, I did three new drawings. Nothing unusual, just the same old thing. Yesterday, after leaving work early to avoid the disaster of having to drive in a blizzard, I fell down the stairs and did more damage to myself - to my right knee and to my already-screwed-up right shoulder. I fear my disaster magnet tendencies are ramping up for 2013 and that the coming year will hold little for me in terms of racing in triathlons. Anyway, here are my latest drawings - I guess they're collectively called "hands and knees":

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Injury and Pain

Today (well, actually yesterday) I decide to go back to drawing pain. This drawing is what my shoulder injury feels like. I don't have a clue what the MRI showed, but this is what I think is wrong.

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Streaming

Today's drawing was similar to yesterday's in that I drew some random ink lines on the page and went with whatever conformed to those lines. It wasn't as successful in my opinion but I don't have time to do another one tonight.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today's Drawing

This was the most stream-of-consciousness drawing yet since I started the daily drawing series. I didn't have any specific thoughts at the start - I just drew some light lines on the page and went with it from there. All pen, so I had to incorporate all the original lines - no erasing could take care of it. The problem area was the bottom left - I didn't know exactly how to bring it all together so I just sent the tail-like thing behind the main object. (Poor planning - but it was just a sketch, right?)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuck again

I drew this today after going through yet another disappointment. It seems like every time I drag myself back up onto my feet, I get thwacked back down. This drawing is what it feels like to be down and considering staying down.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Connective Tissue

Today's drawing has something to do with all the pain I'm having in my legs from trying to shock myself back into training (mostly running) after the downtime during our all-nighters to get the museum's new website up and running. And my shoulder is still causing pain at random times (for instance, during both running and sleeping).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Low Motivation - Crap Drawing

Today my motivation to draw hit the lowest point since I started the Daily Drawing series. My energy and focus today has been affected by nine days of non-stop work, very little (and fitful) sleep, trying to get back into training, applying for sponsorship for 2013, wine, and watching the concert for Hurricane Sandy relief. So I started this drawing and finally just gave up because I didn't really like the way it was going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today I felt completely tied down and strangled. I've been panicking regularly while working about 12-14 hours per day to launch a new website and it finally went live but with little fanfare as I still have an extremely large amount of work to do to get everything working the way it should. My head hurts and my hands hurt and that's what went into this drawing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's a Wrap: 2012 Season Review, Cliffs Notes version

Despite what seemed like a crap season, this was a highlight,
talking about my flat on camera after IM 70.3 Vegas.
I always like to write a post-triathlon-season review blog, mostly to reflect on the lessons learned and decide where I want to go the next year. But this year, I find myself in a 24/7 crunch time at work as my cohorts and I have been feverishly cramming (seriously, it's like we're college students doing all-nighters) to put the finishing touches (or at least some kind of touches) on my employer's - The Cleveland Museum of Art's - updated website. The reason for the cram is that the museum is launching an iPad application which plugs into our website content management system - in order to launch the iPad app by the deadline, we have to have the new website (my responsibility) done. Why did I tell you that? Because - despite the fact that I have been keeping up with my "Drawing of the Day" blog series - I hope it explains why I've not had much time to write a blog post.

But I HAVE had an enormous amount of time to think about the past year. Every time I run or get on my trainer or (very infrequently) visit the pool, I relive the pain of my 2012 season. And even though it doesn't feel like unfinished business, I still want to put it to rest and not have it float like a specter above everything I do in 2013. I'd like to avoid living next year like I have something to prove.

I've decided to make a quick list of the disappointments and then try to focus on the positives. In the disappointment category:
  • Based on my memories of a great race in 2011, I started my 2012 tri season with very high expectations at Ironman St. George in May. What actually happened was a two-week upper-respiratory infection followed by a second infection that hit Monday of race week. I spent the week in bed with a 102-degree fever, started the race only to be hornswoggled by horrific race conditions (high surf, 40-mph wind), constant bouts of coughing, and a broken shifter cable around mile 70. I managed 16 miles of the marathon with a antibiotic-compromised digestive system, and finally threw in the towel - claiming that I was no longer having fun. (I wasn't.)
  • I tried to make a comeback in early June at Ironman 70.3 Mooseman in New Hampshire only to end up crumpled over in respiratory distress (again), but this time due to a severe allergy-induced asthma attack.
  • Ironman 70.3 Racine proved yet another disaster, this one of my own making - a major mistake in sodium intake found me crumpled on the side of the road (again) with medical personnel. This time the diagnosis was the opposite of my usual nutrition problem of hyponatremia - it was severe dehydration.
  • As the defending age-group champ in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Vegas, I was the first age-grouper out of transition for the second year, but this time, I ended up on the side of the road (yes. again.) with a blow out at mile 3. After watching everyone go by while changing my tire, I managed to race myself back to a third place finish in very tough (100-degree heat) conditions.
  • And finally, feeling in the best shape of my life, my trip back to Kona turned all wrong when something went terribly awry with my biomechanics. After pushing through severe hip and groin pain for 90 miles of the bike leg, I found myself in the Kona general hospital for x-rays and a potential stress fracture. I was discharged with a cane only to hobble around airports the next day.
There was a point in 2012 when I thought I would never again see an Ironman finish line. But where would I be if I weren't stubborn? There were several experiences in 2012 that lifted me up enough to fight another day:
  • The biggest one was that I finally found the right products to solve my nutrition issues once and for all. I switched to all Gu Energy products - Roctane drink and gel are what I now build my entire Ironman fueling regimen around. And Gu Brew has become the savior of my run special needs bag.
  • On the racing front, I won the overall women's race at the GNC Pittsburgh Triathlon with my fastest time ever on that particular course. The most enjoyment came, however, in passing women on the run who were less than half my age - and knowing they were not happy about it.
  • I set the age group course record (just recently found out) at Ironman Louisville. It was hot, it was hard, I was nursing a shoulder injury, and I went out too fast on the run. But I fought for every second of that race, I made it fun, and it paid off.
  • In Burlington, VT, I raced my way to a spot on Team USA for next year's ITU Age Group World Championship in London, England, one of my favorite cities. I will now have the opportunity to swim in my favorite urban park in the world - Hyde Park - and race in the tracks of Olympians.
  • Oh yeah, and it seems like a long time ago, but also I got a Masters Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention from USA Triathlon.
In retrospect, my year wasn't all failure like I had originally thought. It just wasn't the year I wanted it to be. Especially after a stellar 2011. My biggest races ended in disaster, and I had to regroup mentally several times. Most strikingly, I didn't run any marathons this year. Running marathons always keeps me a little more sane because it puts me in my athletic comfort zone (it's my endurance racing macaroni and cheese).

Although 2012 made me consider it, I guess I'm not ready to throw in the towel on triathlon yet. Amidst the turmoil of work and the frenzy of the holidays, I have found myself thinking about next season. Although I may not be talking about it just yet. Ask me in January.

Running Hallucinations

While I was running yesterday, I swear I saw this in the tall grasses by the roadside. I don't even know what it is but my husband says it's "scary." It's more likely that I was hallucinating from a severe lack of sleep and waaaay too much work in front of a computer. Seriously, something's gotta give.

Friday, December 7, 2012


After one more very long work day (12 hours of struggle in front of a computer), I sat down on the couch and started drawing what my head is feeling like - both the pain and the stress of upcoming unrealistic deadlines. I'm tired of hearing twisting words and having to deal with underhandedness. It grows like a fungus an affects everyone. Here's my drawing, I was having trouble stopping the growth, I could have filled the page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All Work

This is a drawing of me becoming my work. Not fully realized but I'm too tired to finish it. I did finally get to the pool today after about a month of no swimming. It wasn't as scary as this drawing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

In the Dark

Tonight I had to run in the dark after a long day of work. But it was unusually warm for December (60 degrees) and it was a good for stress relief. I noticed a tree that was pitch black against a sky filled with reflected light (but it was only slightly brighter than the tree in the foreground). I tried to draw it, but I'm way too sleepy to do it right. Anyway, here is what I drew.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Armageddon

I drew this after riding my trainer and then another bout of watching TV programs about prophesies, the Book of Revelations, and the end of the world. Not much about the end here, it seems to be more about my physical issues.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Apocalyptic Vision?

I drew this while watching two TV programs about December 21, 2012 and the end of the world. The solar flares, the Nostradamus predictions, the Mayan calendar, and the galactic alignment. All this crazy stuff about the apocalypse with fire and famine and floods and violent weather and how the crises might hit us completely out of the blue even though we should be aware it's coming - and the use of the word extinction all over the place - and this drawing was all I could come up with.