Boxes and Lists

By day, I’m a researcher, and that didn’t happen by accident. I’m the kind of person who believes the answers to everything are out there if I just read more, dig deeper, Google harder. Combine that with a ruthless sense of efficiency (e.g., I hate doubling back during everyday errands and plan my routes accordingly) and a love of to-do lists, and I often feel like my brain is a little buzzing hive of boxes and arrows and timetables and schedules and budgets, all whizzing around each other until finally they fall into their properly aligned places.

I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, but triathlon training is taking it to another level. It’s not just the workouts — in fact, it’s not the workouts at all, as those come to me in their own little boxes. It’s everything else — the scheduling, the getting there, the buying stuff, the life-calendar-shuffling:

  • What of my remaining gear can I put off buying until my REI dividend gets here?
  • Which of the things on this shopping list will take advantage of Daily Deal X at Store Y? Daily Deal A at Store B?
  • Should I bike Thursday in the dark and wind, or Wednesday in the daylight and wind?
  • Which bus will get me from my office to the pool the fastest? (Answer: none of them; it’s Muni, duh.)
  • Where can I park that will maximize efficiency for both workout-driving and street-cleaning-related car-moving?
  • Do I have to buy my bike shoes and pedals from the same place?
  • Can I squeeze in a shopping trip before track on Wednesday?
  • Will my bike rack fit into the parking garage at the bike shop?
  • Oh god, what if I have to bike to the bike shop? Is there a route I can feasibly ride?
  • Wait! I get 25% off something at REI in, like, a week. Can I just get shoes then?
  • What can I cook on Sunday and Monday so I’ll pack lunch this week and have a quick dinner we can eat after track on Wednesday?
  • When am I going to try on wetsuits?
  • Does REI even carry wetsuits?
  • What’s the absolute latest I can get in the water to finish this workout before the water aerobics class takes over?
  • Is this store going to count bike shoes as “footwear” or “apparel” or “equipment”? Which coupon should I bring? (Answer: all of them.)

It’s a little chaotic in there.

But then sometimes I hit on the answers — bike on Wednesday, and drive to REI after work, and then take the bike to the bike shop on Thursday because somehow the PT clinic scheduled your appointment for a week later than you thought they did and might as well take advantage of the free time, and rest on Friday, and buy the tri shorts and the helmet during the REI sale, and it’s not like you’re not going to come up with something else expensive and fancy to spend the 25% off on anyway, and if you’re in the pool by 6:45 and don’t mind the water aerobicizers staring while you swim you’ll have plenty of time for the workout, and turkey burgers! — and I feel superhuman.

In grad school, planning my thesis research, I dubbed this version of me ACTION KIMRA and imagined myself as some sort of superhero octopus with a zillion hands all doing different things. I have a feeling ACTION KIMRA is going to be here at least through Wildflower, if not through Berlin. She’s a little exhausting, but at least she gets things done.

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