Sunday, December 28, 2008


As in, I can't wait ... it's been nice to visit with family and relax a bit, eat too much, not exercise, but I want to go home now. I want to move, get some exercise, eat something that doesn't have chocolate or sugar or butter in it. I need vegetables and workout schedules, swim routines and weight lifting, yes, even running. So here's hoping that by tomorrow the roads will be clear, the ice will have melted, the slush will be gone, the wind will have died down and I can go home - workout, take a shower with actual water pressure, and oh yea, go on a date! :) Here's hoping!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In the spirit of trying new things....

I've been inspired once again. Inspired to get my act together, get in shape, go out, get out of the house, MOVE, try new things. So today, I tried something new. Running in snow shoes. One of my friends talked about this the other day and I thought, holy cow, you're a stud! Snow shoe running? Seriously, that's got to be the hardest thing ever! Then because some were available, I was bored, I needed to work off some of those peanut butter balls and cinnamon rolls... I decided to try it myself. Strapped on some brand new snow shoes and trudged up the hill in the deep snow for the warm up (almost fell in the creek - whoops!) The dog stepped on the shoes more than once and down I went - laughing in a pile of snow, covered with dog! Then for good measure I thought well, I've got these things on, let's just try the running. Boy! Tell you what, if you want to raise your heart rate, strap on some snow shoes and start a jog down the driveway. Crap! I was right, that was HARD! I want to do it again!!!

So here's to new friends and trying new things, mixing it up, having fun, and just enjoying life. Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 14, 2008

inspiration comes from unexpected places

Back at the pool. I had a wonderful swim today. Followed the workout to the letter... wanted to quit a couple of times, but I was determined to do at least one of my workouts this week. And I did it, suffered a little a couple of times, the thought of Marit in the pool and her monster sets in Masters. I thought if she can tough it out through that, I could certainly get through a few good form hundreds and other simple things. So thanks, Marit, for the inspiration.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It's all about sleep. These days I'm only doing about half of what's on my workout schedule. On the positive side, work is a bit slow with all the vacations that everyone generally takes over the holidays so I'm able to catch up on my sleep. This, I've decided, is what I really need. I'm trying one thing at a time and sleep is first, then I think maybe I'll get better at the food stuff again - you know, after the holidays.... and play around with some strength training and such. Hoping around the time the snow melts I'll be excited about running again and ready to train for another marathon :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yesterday I quit

It's true. Yesterday I wrote the coach a nice long email and told her I quit. She admonished me later for using that term and she's right. It's really more about re-prioritizing my life, searching for balance.... and to be honest it's not like I'm going to be sitting on the coach getting fat. It's just that I'm not specifically training for anything. I am no longer "being coached" to improve my times, my form.... I no longer have marathon goals. At least not right now.

Right now I'm focusing on sleep, trying not to stress out at work, and maybe, just maybe finding a social life for the first time in YEARS. Still working on that last one. But work has been so stressful for the last 6 months - do I have a job? Will I have a job tomorrow? Blah, blah, blah... and it promises to continue to be stressful, but in a slightly less negative way. There's the promise of something new to do, something perhaps more interesting, a new person to work for, a new team to work with... a promise of something better on the horizon. So I'm re-prioritizing because, frankly, I need a break.

I'm no longer exciting about running - ever. I'm no longer excited about getting faster or going longer. The mere thought of running more than an hour makes me cringe. So I decided to stop fighting that feeling, pushing myself toward something that is no longer a dream of mine. I decided to do something different. What? I don't know, but it will involve strength training, maybe kickboxing, maybe yoga, maybe swimming. It will surely involve some running at some point because I know I won't ever get away from that, but I want the running to be something I look forward to again, not something I dread.

And in other much more entertaining news - at least in my opinion....
I bet not many of you know how long it takes to purge your body of an ENTIRE BOX of metamucil cookies. This week my dog decided to take it upon himself to conduct a little experiment. He at an entire box of these delicious little treats. While results may vary as this was a very small experiment, his results showed it takes about 3 full days and 10-12 poops to rid yourself of the whole box of cookies and remants of foil. How do I know? Well, the evidence is in the poop. You see, apparently after eating 5 packages or so of cookies, you get this uncontrollable urge to eat the rest in a hurry.... such a hurry that you can no longer be bothered with unwrapping them. So the poop comes out foil lined, foil wrapped, shiny. So there you have it - 3 days. There's a reason you should take these things in small doses. There's regular and then there's a bit too regular. You CAN have too much of a good thing!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One minute writer

I found this site, referenced in a previous post, where someone gives me ideas to write about each day so once in a while you might see something new and unusually.

Today it's a question of growing older.

Older is relative when referring to a group of people, but when referring to one self, older is what we get every day if we're lucky. As a teenager, older seems like a curse, why would I want to do that. As an adult, someone who's felt the pains of loss, older seems like a blessing. Growing older is our reward for making it through yet another day. In this day and age, when we take such good care of ourselves, watch what we eat, exercise, have the benefits of advanced medicine, older is not as old as it used to be. 40 is the new 30 and so on. Good thing, cause even though the calendar says 40, I sure don't feel it most days. I'd say, overall, 40's not so bad after all. Certainly not ancient, life is over, like I thought when I was 16 :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

More firsts

Things that have shaped my life... the monumental firsts, days of remembrance both good and bad.... in no particular order
My first wedding.... not so good. My husband forgot to pick me up on the way to the church. Not the best beginning.
My first day as a divorcee ... free, scared, excited, broke.... but so happy to be out, to be on my own, to be moving forward instead of stuck in limbo. (hopefully the LAST divorce as well)
My first day happily married (that would be my second husband!)... we got married in Key West and it was fabulous. Woke up the next day and took a walk to the beach where we gave the left overs to all the homeless people. In case there were any doubts.... I knew he was the one. I knew then and there that we would have a wonderful life together. And we did.
The first time I saw the cabin in the snow... there must have been 15 feet on the ground... it was the day I got to California as a married woman
The first time I left my husband... after our honeymoon, I had to go back home. We went our separate ways... living in different states for the first two months of our marriage while I looked for a job that would take me to California
The first day I met my college roommate... excited, scared, speechless... there was talk of marijuana, alcohol, and sex ... she hardly waited until my mother left the room. Boy did I feel like a small town hick :)
First Christmas in the new house.... there were no floors yet, just concrete, but we set up a Christmas tree and some music.... it was the only Christmas we ever celebrated in that house... by the next one, my husband was gone and I was trying to hold it together for my family
The first day without him.... lonely, empty, tearful.... in physical pain from grief
The first marathon I ever ran.... scared, melancholy, painful! You see, almost 16 months to the day prior to that, my husband lost his life on almost the exact spot of the start of that race. It was a race of remembrance, in a place I had once called home, with an old friend, and a big roller coaster ride of emotions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The first time I saw my husband was a company outing. We had spoken on the phone too many times to count before we finally met. That day we finally did meet, we just knew it was meant to be. Wherever he was, I knew he was there without looking. I could feel his presence within my world. We couldn't stop looking at each other. There were tons of people around but it couldn't have been more special, more personal if we had been there all alone. For the entire time we were married, we felt this way - we could be alone in the midst of millions, everyone else disappeared.

The first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, I was in awe. I'd read about it, heard about it, learned about Paris, about France, the French language, the French people for years. I first saw the Eiffel Tower in the dark on a drive up to Paris from the coast. It was amazing, all lit up, welcoming me to my home away from home.

Things to think about when I'm feeling blue... moments of happiness... little joys that meant the world... memories that I can almost touch because they were such phenomenal experiences then and still live within me even today, years later.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's winter

That means snow. While this isn't the first snow of the year, it looks like it might be the first one to stay around. It was definitely the first time I went running while it was snowing this season. And it was a struggle. I got dressed then got curled up on the couch under a blanket trying to convince myself to go out and run - for an hour.

I used to like snow a lot more when I was living in California. It was something to look forward to because my husband was such a little kid when it came to winter and skiing and Christmas. Rain in the valley in the late fall meant winter in the mountains. It was so exciting to think just a couple more days until the weekend and then we can go skiing.

I remember Friday afternoons being full of packing for the trip to the cabin, stops at the grocery store and the gas station on the way up. Arriving in the dark and unloading the car. Turning on the heat and starting a fire. Taking the dog for a walk in the neighborhood in hopes the cabin would be warm by the time we came back. If we got there too late for the heat to really make a difference before bed, we'd get dressed in long johns and cuddle under ice cold blankets to fall asleep. Wake up in the middle of the night sweating and run down the stairs to turn the heat down.

Saturdays we'd be up early for a pancake breakfast before hitting the slopes. So exciting when the sun was up, the ski was clear. Deciding what to wear - trying to get just the right combination of clothes layers so you didn't have to take something off midway through the day and carry it around in the back pack. Giving people tours around the mountain on skis. Going on some crazy runs, sliding on our butts down a ravine because it turned out to be too steep and narrow to make turns. Having lunch on the deck at Sugar Bowl, enjoying a bloody mary made special my Reb. Going back to the cabin feeling exhausted and exhilirated all at the same time. Reliving the days turns, runs, falls (not many usually), guests, and weather. Having a drink by the fire while we waited for the homemade pizza to finish cooking. Or walking down to the neighbors' cabin for dinner and a movie. Or hanging out at the lodge, sharing stories of the days skiing.

Sunday getting up to do it all again and then clean up, pack, and go back down the hill. Leaving the snow behind like some magical mystery, knowing it would be there when we wanted to go back again in a few days. Hoping we'd get there right after a big snow fall and enjoy first tracks in the sun out on strawberry fields. Knowing where to go off trail to get the best snow.

Yes, it's winter. Somehow this time of year isn't as much fun as it used to be. It's kind of bittersweet. There are lots of good memories, but sometimes those memories make me sad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Radical Steps

I admit. I'm obsessed. And I've finally decided to go to the experts for help. I need it! You see, I want flat abs. I look at my stomach every day - first thing in the morning when I get up and last thing before I go to bed. Am I skinny this morning? Is it flat? Ridiculous? Yes, a bit. But I'm 40 now and it's not getting any easier. It gets harder and harder to maintain weight, let alone lose it. I know my problem isn't my exercise routine. It's not like I sit on the couch all day. I workout 6 days a week. I know it's the way I eat. I know it's in my head, getting my head wrapped around food as fuel not friend.

Now I recognize that I'm not fat by definition. I have muscle. I am within a healthy weight range for my height - barely. But I'd like to be lower within that range. I want those flat abs :) So I took radical steps. I joined weight watchers this week. I thought what the heck. These people have helped LOTS of people lose real weight, change their lifestyle, get on track. Surely they can help me figure it out, get back on track, learn to focus on things other than food.

I signed up and chose the flex plan. This seemed like a good option. You count points, but you can eat anything you want. I've written down my food intake in the past for various nutritionists, the coach, my own piece of mind. I like to record things so this shouldn't be a problem. On Monday, my first day, I ate DOUBLE the amount of allotted points. And that was just a normal day for me, nothing too radical, nothing too out of the ordinary from what or how I normally eat. Hmmm... I might have found the problem right off. By Thursday, I had exceeded my WEEKLY extra points allowance. This takes into consideration the workouts I've done for the week. You see, these get allotted points as well.

Normally, I'd crawl into a hole about now and give up. Sit down with a bunch of chocolate and a bottle of wine. I decided to take a different approach. This is, after all, not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. I decided to carry on. To at least stick it out through these three months. Try not to gain any weight over the upcoming holidays. Try to stick to points - or at least get closer to the daily allotment and see what happens. Adjust my thinking. So that's where I am.

I'm afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of getting fat. Afraid of having to change my lifestyle. Afraid that if I don't I will be unhealthy. And there must be some part of me who is afraid of success as well because in the past every time I've gotten on a roll, lost 5 or 7 pounds, I've rewarded myself with food. Dug into a bag of potato chips or a batch of brownies. I have to slowly make these changes, slowly change the course I'm on. Slow is hard for me. Slow means baby steps, not seeing immediate results. But if I don't do this right, I'm afraid I'll have to continue to buy bigger jeans. And that, is NOT acceptable!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

300 pushups

Seriously... 300! We did 300 pushups and 110 sit ups today in bootcamp. The instructor just about flipped out when I decided to do a cartwheel after class - then another woman did one too :) Sometimes it's fun to be goofy even at 8 in the morning!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I'm Not a Triathlete

10. After getting up early for running and then bootcamp, getting up even earlier to get to the pool just never seems to happen
9. My goggles are too tight (are those bruises under my eyes)
8. My goggles are too loose (seriously, is there any water left IN the pool?)
7. Transition?????
6. After 45 minutes on the bike, I have bruises on my sit bones.... I don't like bruises on my ass
5. I don't like running when it's 100 degrees outside - haven't you heard that can kill ya?
4. My skin is so dry from the pool that I think I'm starting to shed
3. I like to watch tv
2. No one else will go to work to pay the bills or feed me so I have to choose work over training sometimes
And the #1 reason I'm not ready to be a triathlete today
1. I like to sleep

All of you triathletes out there amaze and astound me! You are both inspirational and crazy! When I get past my "problems" I want to be just like you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A run in the woods

There's something about almost 60 degrees and sunny in November that brings out the couch potatoes and their un-socialized dogs. You know the ones, the dogs who haven't been on a walk since Bush took office? Yea, those dogs. I will grant you, it was a beautiful day for a run. I decided to take advantage of it by going for a run in the woods. After a nice little warm up to the park, I arrived under attack - attack of the Jack Russell terriers and Irish Setters (and the surprisingly friendly greetings of the German Shepards). There I was jogging along, minding my own business when suddenly there were dogs running at me full throttle. Okay, I'm a dog person, I can handle this. The Jack Russells scratched up my legs as they jumped on me, attempting to bite my heels. The Irish Setter appeared to be a much bigger threat as I was afraid it would knock me over when it hit cause it was going so fast. Luckily there was no impact, but it was also under no apparent control. The owners gave a fleeting apology, "Sorry. We didn't see you." And I waved it off. "That's okay." As I tried to regain my stride after they had finally gotten the dogs under a bit of control.

The thing is, it's not okay. So why did I say that? Why did I let them off the hook? Because, you see, I hate conflict. I avoid it like some people avoid the dentist. Unless I know you very well and am very comfortable with you (i.e., I've seen you naked) or you're a complete stranger who I know I will never see again and am confident that you can't physically hurt me, well, I'm just going to let it all pass. This isn't always the best solution, but it's the one I've used for years. I know in some cases I need to be more assertive, but was this one of them? Was it more appropriate to stop and give these strangers a piece of my mind or at least a suggestion on how to actually maintain a bit of control over their dogs... or perhaps socialize them more... or, I don't know, actually pay attention????

Like I said I'm a dog person and I have a very friendly dog, one who LOVES people so it's not beyond the realm that he'd go say hi to someone, but he wouldn't if I told him not to. And later in the woods I ran into a couple of nice, well behaved German Shepards, under control but problem. But all these dogs made me jump like a wild boar was after me the first few times I heard a squirrel scurry through the woods. Guess I'm not a country girl anymore.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The challenge is on

One of my facebook friends led me to this... I think everyone should try it out. It's a six week program to get you up to 100 consecutive pushups.

I'm hoping that will help with the new endeavor I tried this week. On my schedule the coach said, do something new for cross training. I thought about it... bike? not new. swim? not new. elliptical? not new. Stair master? not new and I'd rather pull out my teeth. Ah, got it... rock climbing. I thought I'd go kick some rock climbing butt cause they have this easy looking wall at the gym - and it's free to members. Woo hoo! I thought that would be a great way to spend an hour. Turns out it was a great way to spend a half hour! I made it to the top on the first level. The second level put me to shame. I have scraped knuckles and elbows along with bruises on my knee to prove I was there, but I failed to make it to the top on the second level. I know it can be done because I watched boys and girls of about 10-12 years old doing it... I'm going to conquer that wall! (after that there are still two more levels of difficulty to tackle)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What a good day!

Slept in - 10 hours! It was a REALLY stressful week. Did a nice snappy run this morning.... almost afternoon really ... in preparation for a 10k tomorrow afternoon. The sun was out, the wind was blowing and it was almost 70 degrees. Then after a shower and lunch, I went someplace I've passed a million times over the years, but never stopped. I finally made it to the Cider Mill. This place is amazing! All these years, I've been driving by and here I thought they just sold apples (to be fair, they really did just sell apples and cider the first few years I was driving by on my way to college - at least I think so!) This is a destination! People drive up on Harleys, in Mercedes and Buicks, in big giant camper trailers - and everything else you can imagine. People camp over night here. They stay and sample wine (I couldn't even bring myself to go into the building where the wine tasting was - but rest assured there was a long line waiting to get in). They have lunch or donuts, buy cheese and jams and candies, ride wagons pulled by horses or in a crop-duster airplane or on a "train" pulled by a tractor.... And of course there are tours of the cider mill and plenty of cider and apples to go around. It was packed! And amusing. And one of those places that Dennis would have insisted we stop at more often. It made me smile. (didn't see any Triumphs in the lot, but there were lots of Harleys and Hondas)

Then to top off a really good day, the Spartans won ... and the Wolverines lost (to a MAC team no less). All in all, a pretty good day. Now I'm watching the results of the ironman, glad I'm not running in 108 degree heat, cheering on some of my internet friends from afar. Go Rachel. Go Chris. Go USA!! You are awesome! Inspirational! Amazing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thoughts on the run.

I wish I could tell you about all the cool existential things I think about while I'm running. I wish I could say I have all these deep, smart thoughts while I put one foot in front of the other during a workout. The sad fact is running is my time to de-stress, to empty my mind, to let things go. Today was no different. My most profound thought today on my very HARD run (besides I think my legs are going to explode) was damn it, I forgot the body glide.

This is your warning to stop reading...

There is nothing worse than getting a mile or so away from the house and realizing you forgot the body glide. Nothing like the feeling of your thighs rubbing together to remind you to go faster. Does more friction mean thinner thighs in the long run? Or just more painful chafing... I can tell you the unfortunate answer.... it's the chafing. It's all about the chafing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friends and other thoughts

Sometimes when I'm feeling sad or alone, I start to think I have no friends... whoa is me, I'm so lonely, life is depressing, blah, blah, blah... and then something happens. I check a blog and feel connected. I get an email from a long lost friend, a phone call with plans to go do something... and I realize, I'm not alone. I do have friends, some pretty good ones. They are a VERY diverse group and offer so many things in so many different ways. A wonderful group of people who would NOT all get along under one roof, but like other people I've known, I seem to collect them. And I love them all in their own special, unique ways and for their own special, unique qualities. My biggest problem is I've lived and traveled in too many places so the friends are in many cases far away. I need to fix that. I need to get out of the house and meet some new friends.

In that vein, I've begun taking a few classes just for fun. I enrolled in a Russian language class that is quite entertaining and very difficult. It's quite a mix of people in that class, most of them younger, but a few professionals in their 40's and 50's as well. The class on India I signed up for is another story. This class is mostly retired folks getting ready to travel to India or just trying to quench a never ending thirst for knowledge. Another entertaining class in a very different many.

Now one of other reasons I signed up for these classes was because I was bored. I wanted to use my brain, think a little. Work has been very boring and unchallenging for about a year and I'm just tired so I thought, I'm not travelling, I'm not busy, let's sign up and do something different.

Then Murphy stepped on my plans. The boss called up and said, hey, how would you like to work on this project (not truly an option to say no even if I'd been so inclined). Of course, I said, sure, what do you need me to do? That was on Wednesday. I haven't had a moment's peace since. It's been go, go, go... a million new things in my mind for work because there is a ton of information to internalize and analyze... and then come up with a solution for in very short order - and of course new people who need to know that I am capable. New people to impress, great!

And just for kicks, I'll share this... Thursday, a million things to do, my mind going a million miles an hour trying to keep up, trying to find a place to land for just a few minutes to actually accomplish something. In the midst of this, several meetings, a doctor's appointment that lasted FOREVER, more meetings, .... rest (ah) for about 10 minutes until the dog came in all happy and wanting to see me. "Hi, mom. Whatcha doin? Aren't I cute? Want to pet me?" Me: "What is that smell? Why is your (supposed to be white fur) collar all black? EWWWW. What did you roll in?" 20 minutes before I have to leave for class, my dog decided it was time for a bath!

So I chased him around the yard with a pitcher, shampoo and a hose. Catching him occasionally for long enough to wet - away he goes - shampoo - away he goes - rinse - away he goes... keep in mind he likes to shake off on me before running too far away. Rinse and repeat, then dry, dry, dry. I'm sure I was a sight by the time I got to class. Good thing it was dark.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race report

Or... running in the rain.... the day started with a 45 minute drive in the rain that turned into an hour drive (and then some).... Luckily I always give myself plenty of time to get new places - especially when I'm going to be racing. Granted this was only a 10k and I was really looking forward to it.. just something fun, no stress, no worries, but still I like to be prepared. (turns out I wasn't quite the girl scout I thought - more on that in a bit)

After several wrong turns and back tracking, I finally found my destination and was a little surprised to note that I was driving in mud by the time I got there. This is not a large race and I've learned that around here small races mean fast paces. Doesn't matter the conditions, the people that typically come to these races are fast. Faster than they were when I first started running races. Middle of the pack is faster than I am and I'm faster than I used to be so once again let's try not to finish last. There was a little added pacing confusion because this was a looped course. We started 5k and 10k runners together and once the 5k finished, there were like five people left on the course to go around for that second loop of the 10k.

So I did most of my warm up like a good girl and by the time I finished that I was completely soaked. Well, not completely, my shoes weren't soggy yet, but I took care of that in quick order at the beginning of the race by splashing in mud puddles that couldn't be avoided. Now these weren't just puddles, but truly mud puddles because this part of the course was dirt transformed to so much mud that my car traction control came on when I drove through it :) Lovely! But it was fun because I do like running in the rain and there were women there who obviously didn't.

The loops were a mix of dirt and pavement, lots of up and down hills most of which were very long with some short steeps at the top. Not exactly what I'd signed up for but I was in the moment and having fun. I determined after making it around the entire course once that this was NOT going to be a PR day - not going to happen, but it could certainly be a PR on a hilly course in the rain - and it was.

After the race, still raining .... harder now.... Got back to the car and realized I'd lost my girl scout badge for being prepared. No towel. I'd brought clothes to change in but no towel. Hmmm... what to do. Well, I did the only thing I could. I climbed in the back with the dog blanket and stripped and towelled off with that. Now you might imagine a dog blanket would be furry. You'd be right. So when I finished I was no longer wet, just mildy damp and very furry :) Then not wanting to face the rain again in mostly dry clothes, I climbed into the front seat. It pays to be small sometimes because I know the big guy who beat me for instance couldn't have climbed the seats of my VW :)

Now what's for lunch?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm having fun again. I've been running more this week. Fast runs. How fun! And back in the pool. I didn't know I'd missed it until I got back in yesterday - the pool was closed last week. Yesterday I went back and swam an actual swim workout - did the actual rest intervals I was supposed to, did the time splits I was supposed to... and finished the entire thing five minutes sooner than I had on the schedule. This is a big deal for me cause I'm still getting used to the pool. The pool is becoming my friend - even though it felt like bath water yesterday - 87 degrees! Whew! Just a tad warm.

Today was a swim and a run - both short, both fun. I've started running with music again - when I feel like it. I've started doing more of that when I feel like it, what I feel like.... It's nice. I'm going to use that small bit of motivation and momentum to get myself away from the no bake cookies (seriously been eating way too much sugar lately) and wine, stop feeling sad and sorry for myself and bored. Start doing instead of just being. Start living in the present instead of the past or the future. I've found that both have the ability to make me absolutely miserable. That's just no way to live life. So accept what is.... enjoy today, right now... this is life! Live it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A change in plans

I really wanted to do another marathon this year. I really wanted to try to qualify for Boston. Then life and work and stress got in the way ... and training became one more thing I had to do rather than something that energized me. So the coach and I talked it out and agreed that perhaps two marathons in one year just wasn't in the cards for me - at least not this year. So I'm focusing on getting fast. And I've got to say, I'm totally re-energized. Fast is so much more fun than LONG.... Now my workouts are generally not more than 90 minutes. And I get to do things like farleks and track workouts. This weekend I did one of those fabulous track workouts with everything from 800 to 200 repeats. How fun! And at the end, the second to last repeat - a 200, I actually did it at my high school mile pace. Granted it was only 200 m, not a whole mile, but still, it was at the end of a workout and I have to say I was feeling pretty excited about it. It's the little things :)

Last week I ran hardly at all - only once. Maybe that is another reason that I'm feeling re-energized. And this week it's all about running - no swimming this week because my new friend the pool is closed, but I'll be back there next week I'm sure. Trying to figure out what fast is in the pool :) Now there's a little chuckle for you!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Challenges and uncertainty

It seems life has been full of these lately. I'm not sure why, but I haven't been completely stressed out or depressed... not that I'm complaining!

First it was the puppy. He's easy to worry about because I care so much, but it's also relatively easy to make decisions where he is concerned. What's best for him? Okay, then that's what we'll do.

Then the job. Still so much uncertainty there. Because of the big merger, no one knows who long they will remain employed, where they might have to go to do it, what they might be doing when it's all said and done and who the boss will be. It's a bit frustrating. More than that I've been bored and unchallenged in my job for about a year. On the outside, my job might seem ideal to some, but from where I sit, I need something new, something more exciting, something that makes me feel like I'm contributint to something... oh, and I'd like to be able to pay the bills, eat, have fun and go on vacation once in a while... Asking too much? I've heard of people who love their jobs. I've even met a few, but I have to say it completely baffles me. I'm constantly trying to figure out what the heck it is I'm meant to be doing - because one thing I know for sure... this isn't it.

Tied into the job bit because well, it takes money to own a house, is the house bit. The bit where I put the house on the market in anticipation of having to move for one reason or another. Don't know where I would move just yet. Don't know when I would move just yet. Haven't had any offers on the house just yet.... Uncertainty. Should I start that class that sounds interesting? Sign up for boxing at the gym? Try to meet new people when I know I might be leaving soon? What I do know is this: I can't completely put my life on hold so I'll sign up for that boxing class cause it sounds like so much fun and if the opportunity arises to meet new people - that's great. I have friends all over the globe. It's okay to add a few more even if they do become long distance friends like so many of the rest.

And then there's the new challenge, the new uncertainty in life. This one should be freaking me out completely. It's not. I'm surprisingly almost serene about the whole thing at the moment. I had an MRI done the other day and when I went to the doctor to get the results the first thing she said was I'm glad we had the MRI. The next thing she said was I want to send you to a neurologist because there is according to the radiologist an indication of possible dyemelinating disease. What's that now? Neurologist? That's never good. And what the heck is a dyemelinating disease? Well, she said, that's like MS or ALS. Oh, just that. Okay, no problem. Because she said it like it was no big deal. Are you kidding me? So in the meantime, I wait for the neurologist to call to set up an appointment. And I've decided that there truly isn't any reason to worry.... yet. It truly could be nothing still. I don't know. I don't have all the facts and until I do, I'm just not going to worry about it. I feel fine so I am fine. So there!

Uncertainty and challenges. Everyone has these things in their life. It's all about what we do with what we know and what we have. It's all about how we act and react to the "events" in our lives. This is what defines us and what makes life worth living. Honestly, I truly believe I've already lived through the hardest thing a person could be asked to live through... so bring it on! This too will pass. And really, it could be nothing. It might not. I'll deal with the answer to that uncertainty when the answer actually comes. Until then, I have other things to worry about... like what's for lunch :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To the big guy in the pool

I was there first. I don't mind sharing, but I'd prefer sharing with someone who understands the concept. I am not the best swimmer in the pool, but I do know how to stay on my side. I know I'm only half your size, but please I would still like my HALF of the lane. I don't appreciate being drowned by your tidal wave splash or being hit in the head by your meat cleaver arms. I don't want to hug the rope. I'm not training for a triathlon and I don't particularly want the practice of trying to breathe while engulfed in a wave that just shouldn't be seen in a pool. If you don't know how to share, get in someone else's lane. I was there first!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More olympics

Whew! I'm tired. And all I've been doing is watching. So many amazing moments in the Olympics already this time - and we have a week left. I can't imagine how they do it - these athletes who give their all day after day - year after year just to get there. I love the games! I've been making the dog crazy cheering for some of those close races. And crying along with them in their triumph. I don't know if I can handle much more, but I'm going to try :)

Monday, August 11, 2008


I'm definitely relaxing... I've been glued to the tv since the Olympics started and how exciting they've been! Thank God for VCR's since I don't have TIVO and I can't possibly stay up until midnight every night and still workout and actually keep my job. That swim relay (men's 4x100 free) was absolutely amazing! And I've been studying all of them in the underwater shots to see if I can pick up any pointers on form. They are incredible - all of them.

So this morning I went to the pool and practiced what I'd been watching. I'm never going to the Olympics, but I do feel like I'm slowly improving. Swimming used to be really scary and as I keep practicing it just keeps getting more fun and just a little bit easier every day. It's nice to learn something new and feel the improvement.

I can't say the same for my running. I've felt off lately, like there just isn't any spring in my step, certainly no motivation in my head. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with work, selling the house, the "anniversary" and just overall stress. I'm working through it, but I have to say I read through a few other blogs over the last few days and am almost happy to say I'm not alone. It seems like this motivation thing (or lack of) is something of a small epidemic at the moment. Maybe we've all just been training too long, maybe it's the economy or the price of gas and food, maybe we know that summer is coming to an end.... who knows? whatever it is, I am hopeful that we will all get past it in our own ways and in our own time... but can it be soon? Please!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I don't know how else to describe it. I'm just not feeling it today - or this whole week if truth be told. I had a 10 mile race today and I just didn't feel like it. It was all I could do to get out of bed at o'dark thirty, drive an hour and then wait around for the race to start. I swear I almost just left. I was THAT down on the whole thing. But I did it anyway. I've never DNS'd, never even DNF'd but I thought about it today - through most of the race. Once I got to around 6 miles I thought well.. over half way there, might as well finish it. But my heart wasn't in it. I could have easily gone faster, but I didn't. I just didn't care today. I didn't check my watch, I didn't push my pace. I just relaxed and stayed loose. I finished the last mile strong - at about the pace I should have been going around mile 7 - and passed a few people, but I purposedly didn't pass the girl who'd been pacing me for the last 4 or 5 miles. She'd kept a steady pace while I'd walked some of the hills, surged down some of the easy parts.... it didn't seem fair to pass her at the end even though I could have. I just didn't want it as much. So now my muscles are wondering - did we run today? My head is wondering - what is your problem? My stomach is wondering - are we going to eat some ice cream or something to make ourselves feel better?

So next week is an easy week. Maybe I'll get my mojo back. Maybe I'll be able to relax and enjoy life for a few days. At any rate, the olympics are on so at least there will be some fine inspiration coming my way.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics are here!

Every four years we get the pleasure of watching the world's best athletes compete in summer sports and every four years I am rivetted to my tv. I LOVE the summer olympics! Winter is okay too, but summer is where it's at! I love the drama and the excitement. I love hearing the national athem. I love when the athletes peak at just the right time on this biggest of international stages. I cringe when some poor little girl falls off the balance beam, some runner pulls up lame with a cramped or pulled muscle... I cry for them in their disappointment and cry tears of joy when the national anthem is sung. It is such an inspiration to watch these people who have devoted their lives to their sport living out their dreams. Getting to know them through the stories and the performances makes the games that much more enjoyable. Watching people from nations around the world come together to share the experience is incredible. Some of these athletes have no chance at winning a medal, but they are proud to be there to represent their countries - and once in a while one of them surprises the world - and THAT is phenomenal!

So you know where I'll be for the next 2 weeks... glued to my tv at every opportunity to cheer on the US and the underdogs, to root for record makers and come from behind finishes, to laugh and cry and cheer for the dreams of individuals, teams and entire countries.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Patient update

Well, today was the day we've been counting down to for eight weeks. Our re-check to see if we could increase activity, get out of the house more, see people. The answer was a disappointing no. The good news: Willie has lost almost 4 pounds. The bad news: he broke a screw in his leg and has "delayed bone healing". Together this means he stays on his diet AND he is once again limited to the back yard - for four more weeks! No walks, no friends, no playing. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. I thought he was doing well. Granted I didn't think he was doing as well as he could be because he is still limping, but he is putting significantly more weight on his leg than before. They were pleased that he was putting weight on it and even walking, but more importantly, the internal works should look better on the x-rays. So we're reverting back to strictly following doctor's orders - except for that cage bit. I refuse (and so does he) to put him in a cage, but once the drugs from the x-ray wear off he's going to be very disappointed. Right now he's just stoned - and NOT happy about it. My dog is not a happy stoner, but a tired, disoriented, confused one. Sorry Willie. I guess I haven't been as good a mom as I should have been. I thought you were doing well and I wanted to make sure you didn't get depressed, but somewhere along the line something went wrong - not irrevocably wrong, but it is a bit of a delay.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Good job Steelhead finishers!

Yesterday I watched my first 1/2 Ironman event, really the first triathlon event I've ever attended, Steelhead. It was a pleasant day although I'm sure the wind was hard on those people with disc wheels. And the wind did cause a change in plans... there was no swim due to currents and waves, so my first triathlon was really a duathlon. It was an educational experience none the less.

I watched people of all ages, shapes and sizes, change from runners to riders, back to runners before my eyes. There was excitement, pain, triumph. There were ambulances, potholes, volunteers. Gatorade, water, gels and bars.... It was an amazing experience. As we watched and cheered on the riders we witnessed some people having really good days, smiling, going fast, enjoying the sport. We saw others struggle with flat tires, crashes, and too many cars on the course.

Then we changed our venue and set up camp to cheer them on as they ran loops around town. I've participated in many running events and cheered at one or two, but I've never seen so many runners who looked so beat up, so worn down, struggling to maintain a pace of any kind, shuffling along, barely picking up their feet. It was reminiscent of those back of the packers in a marathon - only there were more of them and fewer people really hitting their stride. It was discouraging and painful to watch. But we cheered and made fools of ourselves to distract, to entertain, to hopefully make their experience just a little less painful.

Then again we changed our venue. We moved to the finish line and watched people coming in who had been on the course for 6 to 7 hours and more. Some of them sprinted to the finish, some of them shuffled, stiff legged and obviously in so much pain they could barely walk. Others grabbed their entire families and jogged across the finish together, triumphant. Winners one and all, absorbed in the moment, the achievement, the accomplishment, the knowledge that all of the training and hard work had paid off, they had crossed the finish line.

And it was at that finish line that I thought, I want to do this. Not forever, probably not even more than once, but just once I want to feel that accomplishment. This is such an amazing feat, such an awe-inspiring moment. These "ordinary people" did extraordinary things (many of them completely out of their comfort zones I have no doubt) to get across that line. They were inspirational!

I've watched my sister train for and complete this event and I have a vague understanding of the level of commitment, of sacrifice, of desire it takes to get to that finish line. I am so proud of her for sticking it out, for running through the pain, for getting across that finish line. Good job!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Get it done

Today started off with my first post-lesson session in the pool. All on my own at 6:40 in the morning, I stood beside the pool, looking over a swim workout, trying to commit it to memory, trying to figure out if that was REALLY the best thing for me to do, trying to decide which lane was the slowest and ask that nice person if I could join them. I know nothing about pool etiquette. I am a novice. It's one of the things I liked best about swim lessons. A lane and an instructor to myself. All on my own time... all about me.

So as I stood around, I must have looked lost because this nice older gentleman told me I could swim in his lane - he was going to be walking in it for another 30 minutes and we could share. This seemed like a really grand idea because well, there would be little wake, there would be no "competition" or feeling like I was going to get run over, drown, hit, etc... I jumped in and swam off. I did the swim test that was prescribed on the "swimplan" site I downloaded - so they could give me a program more appropriate for my ability next time. I was completely winded after 100 yards. (Have I mentioned I'm a beginner?) With the oxygen deficit, I promptly forgot what was on the schedule along with how many yards I swam. So I just did a little of this, a little of that, some drills the instructors had taught me, some breast stroke, some back stroke when I got tired, practiced some flip turns. I was so excited when I actually was able to execute a flip turn AND continue breathing for an entire length of the pool. Baby steps! I did it twice. Maybe tomorrow I can go for three times!

After about 40 minutes, I'd had enough of the pool. I said goodbye to my lane partner and the football players next to me who provided plenty of wake (thank you very much) for triathlon training. Then it was home in time for an ab workout before shower and work.

This afternoon it was onto the nutritionist. Surprisingly he told me I was doing pretty well - with balance and intervals and intake. I just needed fine tuning (and what he didn't comment on, but I know to be true - CONSISTENCY). My body fat percentage was much better than I thought it would be so now with a "test" date lined up for 6 weeks from now, I have incentive to stay on the plan and make that number better - thus (hopefully) improving my performance along the way.

This is all seemingly good news. Except I'm anxious about it. Anxious that it's so close that the small changes won't make a difference, that my performance just is what it is... sorry that's all you get... that my weight, my body composition are as good as they are ever going to get... sorry that's all there is.... But rather than defeat myself before I get started, I'm going to try because I want to see if a difference can be had. I have a test coming up and I usually test pretty well. I've always thrived in that type of situation, that type of stress is something I understand.

So.... let's forget about the weekend and the bad diet choices and the consequently less than stellar performance on the run. Let's go get it done!

It's all relative

We had a family reunion this weekend. It's been a long time since I saw many of these relatives so it was with mixed feelings I went to this event. My sisters couldn't make it so I was left on my own with a multitude of cousins, aunts and uncles along the space time continuum. We come from a very large family so we have more than our share of "individuals" to choose from. And this time, they came from near and far. All the surviving aunts and uncles were there with their various significant others, their broods of children and even their grandchildren. Grandma and Grandpa didn't live to see some of these kids, but that's probably for the best.

I won't name names because that would be well, rude, but I will say I had a great time with some of the cousins who are my age. We were able to catch up after years of living thousands of miles apart only to discover we have a lot more in common that you might imagine. We discussed how scary it is to come to these family gatherings and discover where some of our mannerisms and idiosyncrasies come from - and what they might lead to.... We marvelled at some of our younger cousins who were busy showing their children how to multi-task (climb trees and smoke at the same time) and introducing those same children to alcohol in the form of jello shots and beer.

Yes, I come from a long line of questionable characters, most with more intelligence than they ever put to good use and several lacking any kind of common sense. Most are funny, kind, quiet spoken, and more than a little bit sarcastic if you get them started. Some of them even try to eat sensibly while holding a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other... irony at it's finest. But very few of them do much more than walk as exercise... unless you count pool and bowling. I think they must think my sister and I completely crazy. We don't talk about our athletic dreams much in that crowd. It just boggles and confuses. Leaves many people asking why?

But they are family and for all their human faults and missteps, they love us and we love them in our own way. So here's to the family. You may not always want to take them out in public, but they're always there if you need a good chuckle or a hug.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Little improvements

Woo hoo! I'm so excited. I did THREE flip turns in a row! Good ones - not perfect, but good. I even swam off a few. That's a bit harder cause I'm still trying to get the breathing down right - and still sucking in too much water on the turn, but I'm so psyched. There's hope. I can do it!

And freestyle is coming along, lots of little things that need to get fixed. I've got some drills now to work on improving. Breast stroke is okay, but not pretty. Still need to figure that one out. And butterfly. I made one pretty futile attempt before I decided that I could spend my time more wisely on other things.

Now I need to figure out when and how to fit more swim improvement into my running schedule - class is over and I'm on my own.

On another note, a patient update. The puppy is doing very well in his recovery. He continues to put a little more weight on his knee every day. We are now taking two short walks every day - down to the end of the block and back. He always thinks he wants to go farther, but we're taking it slow so as not to re-injure anything.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Manic scurrying

Is scurrying a manic activity no matter what? I don't know, but I do know it is what happens when you get home from a long swim workout at 9pm to find a message from the realtor saying they want to show the house in the morning... and you've had extra people and dogs in the house in the last 24 hours or so. Yikes!

So scurry I did.... from room to room, picking up, washing, vacuuming, straightening... and then running back to the last room I was in to do something I'd urgently remembered before I forgot again. Like, darn it, I still have to wash the windows off from all the dog slobber. And now I have to get the dirt out from under my nails from pulling weeds in the dark. That was fun!

So I sit here icing my shoulder, worrying about whether or not the house will sell... whether or not selling is a good thing, how much should I negotiate? How long will I be able to stay? What time do I need to get up for breakfast in the morning so I can get my run and a shower in before I go to my first meeting and then have to leave the house with the dog? Where am I going to go with the dog for an hour? Dog park is out cause he can't play yet - poor baby.

And yes, I'm borrowing trouble, worrying about things that haven't happened. I try, lord knows I try, but it's in my DNA. Hard wired right in there to worry about tomorrow.

In the meantime, my shoulder is getting very cold. After about 5 minutes in the pool, I had completely undone all the work the massage therapist put in this morning. So I'm back to icing. I trend I've come to love more and more lately - shoulder, calf, hip, knee... hmmmm I might just be falling apart. Or maybe I'm just finally getting smart.

Time to see if I can shut my mind off for a few hours and get some rest.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Can I?

Can I really qualify for Boston this year? I've been getting kind of fed up with my training lately. Not the schedule or even the individual workouts, but with my performance. It seems I'd forgotten what coach told me at the beginning of our adventur together almost 7 months ago. I forgot that I wasn't supposed to win all of my workouts. I forgot that the slow steady zone 1 and zone 2 workouts were for a reason and that the produced results. I forgot. So I did what any good athlete would do. I reviewed my previous training logs. I went back in time to check... was I really this slow at this time during my last training base phase? Was it really this tedious and this frustrating? The answer, was a resounding YES! Much to my amazement and relief. Ok, I guess I'm on track. I guess I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. This is good.

Now, can I really qualify for Boston? Earlier this year I tried to cut 26 minutes off my personal best to reach a time goal. I cut off 11. That was a damn fine accomplishment and I was very happy with it, but it wasn't 26. Now I find myself in a similar position at least at this juncture. In order to qualify, I have to cut almost 26 minutes off my new personal best. If I'm doing the math right, that would be about 37 minutes or so total to cut off a marathon PR in one calendar year. A lofty goal. I've set lofty goals before, albeit never in anything athletic, but I'm up for the challenge. I'm going to keep working toward this new goal and see what happens. And heck, maybe I'll run Boston next year, maybe I'll even be in a skirt!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hot and Humid

Got up extra early to eat so I could get out before the heat got too intense. But still - it was pretty hot and humid as I went out for my run. The run actually went pretty much according to plan. Of course, I wish it had been faster, but then there was a lot of time spent in zone 1 today - interspersed with hill repeats and spurts of zone 3. So it was kind of meant to be slow, but hard. And it was. I'm hoping the hills will help on the monster 10 miler in August. It's called the Run thru Hell for a reason afterall. We'll see how it goes.

In other news, I had my initial meeting with the nutritionist this week. That means I've given him lots of information and now he's working on putting together a plan for me to improve performance.... in conjunction with the training plan coach hands out on a weekly basis. Between the two of them I'm hoping they'll whip me into shape. In the meantime, I have no plan so as I was strolling through blog land today I ran across a simple pastry recipe that sounded divine. The dough is chilling in the fridge as I type. I can't wait to put it all together and try it out. Who knows? This might be my last slice of pie (so to speak) for 4 months. I hope it's a good one.

If you want the recipe, go to David's blog. And if you love chocolate, be sure to buy his chocolate lovers cookbook. It's fabulous - but decidedly NOT low fat - so only for base phase or AFTER that big race. Happy baking.... and training.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Peace in the pool

I find peace in the pool... and laughter (completely at myself - which is a good thing)... and a huge learning curve. But I continue to be amazed and pleased at how much I am enjoying the pool. I wish I could say it was relaxing - in some ways it is, but it is such a challenge for my mind that I never get to that zen state - roll, reach, exhale, inhale, elbow up, hips up, change stroke, hips down more, what the heck are my feet doing, turn, push, float, glide.... but I'm enjoying the process and hoping that in the long run it just makes me a better runner.

And tomorrow, it's a nice early day - try to get that run in before it gets so hot and humid that it's completely unbearable - the weather being what it is, "before" might have actually happened yesterday. Tomorrow is a killer run - a hill workout with lots of repeats, zone work, fun stuff. But with running I don't have to think. I know to breathe, I know to put one foot in front of the other. And I know that I've already programmed Mr. Garmin with the various repeats and zones and intervals... so tomorrow no thinking, just doing. I will conquer the hills in the heat in preparation for yet another hilly 10 mile in my not too distant future.


Monday, July 14, 2008

swimming? skiing? hurdles?

I've figured it out - swimming makes you blog :) I had another great time at the pool this evening. Different instructor, but I still learned a lot. I think it helps actually to have more than one point of view when learning something completely foreign. Different things stick in my head from different people and then suddenly (hopefully) they all come together. At least that's what I'm hoping. That's what happened for me when I learned downhill skiing. Wow! In less than an hour, I've compared swimming to skiing and running hurdles... :)

Anyway, I had a glimmer of what its supposed to feel like today, maybe even two glimmers. Just a glance, a feeling, a whisper... call it what you will, but I think I almost had it.... once. So I know it will come down to repetition. So I'll keep chugging along and see if I can conquer this beast. It's so much fun to learn something new. It makes me feel like I used to as a kid, like I can do anything if I put my mind to it, like I can conquer the world, like life is completely what I make of it.

I walked out of the gym smiling today. As I left the locker room, I walked past the raquetball court. (That looks like fun. I haven't tried that in years. I think I could do that.) I walked past the basketball court. (I haven't done that in forever. That's something I've always longed to be good at. I love basketball, but it seems like you get to a certain age - especially as a woman, where that's just not something you do. Is it too late?)

I went to the coffee shop still thinking about these things and the girl asked me what I was doing this evening. Well, now know this... it's 8:30 by this point and I did strength training this morning and just finished an hour in the pool. I'm going home and going to bed! But I told her that I'd just been swimming, taking swim lessons even. What the heck? She's like half my age and probably going to think I'm a total freak. Oh well. Instead she was impressed. Impressed? Really? With me? So I walked out of the coffee shop with my swim head, wearing my latest 10 mile t-shirt thinking you know what? I'm pretty cool. This is all I've ever wanted - to be an athlete. I've always wanted to be an athlete - for as long as I could remember.

But there comes a time as an adult where you can't be an "athlete" per se unless you're getting paid for it. I mean we all have other jobs and responsibilities and things to do and take care of and running and such well, that's just to relieve stress or get away from the family for a few minutes, put off house work, lose weight, etc.... We can't possibly be athletes. Or can we? Can we in our 30's or 40's or 50's or beyond be considered athletes? Is an athlete only a profession? Can it be how a project manager or a housewife or a vice president defines herself? An athlete first and then all that other stuff? Is the other stuff who we are or just another label we've given to ourselves - or worse that someone else has stuck on us?

What does that label mean? Surely it doesn't define who we are. Not completely. For we are so many things. It's so complicated and yet so simple. We are exactly who we want to be. We define ourselves. We decide what face we want to present. And sometimes we present a different face to different audiences. It's situational. I think it has to be in the society we exist in. But I think that's okay. As long as we can reconcile it all - as long as we can figure out a way to be comfortable in our own skins, our own heads.

So I would be excited if someone considered me athletic, maybe not an athlete because society after all has rules and ideas and definitions, but I think I could qualify for athletic in the minds of many. And I want to try so many different sports. I want to see if I can become at least proficient in many, well-rounded if you will. And if I can become better at things like flip turns and free style, endurance running, bicycling, moguls, hiking, maybe rock climbing and tennis.... I will be an athlete. If not in the minds of all, at least in my mind. And that is all that really matters in the end.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

whew, I'm tired

I wanted to practice swimming today and flip turns :) So I got up earlier on a Saturday than I did during the week to make it to the pool during lap swim. It wasn't nearly as fun without my cute little boy toy instructor (hahahaha). But it was good for me to get in the pool. I went to a different Y today. This one had a "real" deep end. (the one I usually go to has a 5' deep end). I hadn't anticipate the deep end and I kind of freaked out when I started to see the bottom drop away from me. This is a problem I've experienced in the past so it wasn't new to me, but I really wanted to get past this fear. So rather than doing a flip turn that first time down (or I should say attempting one!), I just got to the end wall and hung on. I caught my breath and told myself this was no big deal. It wasn't like I needed to touch the bottom. I can swim the length of the pool. I had to talk myself down while taking a few deep breaths.

To my amazement and delight, it actually worked. I got over myself. I swam back to the other end, caught my breath again, then continued. Next time down I actually tried to do a flip turn. It wasn't pretty, but I tried - and I tried, and I tried. I ended up swimming 500 yards today. Not a lot if you know what you're doing. Quite a bit for me. But it was good practice and I good mental exercise, getting myself pulled together.

Then I did the impossible... I changed into my running clothes. I kid you not, even a little damp, changing into a jog bra is the hardest thing known to woman-kind. I swear I just about approached a complete naked stranger and asked her to straighten me out. Picture it, naked in the locker room, the jog bra twisted around my clavicle. Seriously! If someone were going to invent something worth while, it would be a jog bra that you can actually get on and off without having to do naked gymnastics. And I don't want one of those with the industrial size clasps on the back. It's truly not necessary for an industrial size anything in that department!

So the run was a little more difficult than usual cause well, I went for a swim first and it was hot and it was humid... the fartleks were okay, but I couldn't really get my heartrate under control. Then it started to rain. I was so wet went I got back to the gym that the girl behind the counter kind of snarled at me as I handed her my gym card. Well, SORRRRRY but I have no control over the weather... and I'm working out here!

Now it's time for a nap

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And other big decisions

Seems like this week is big decision week - or rather big action week. First off, put the house on the market. That was a little frightening and exciting all at the same time. It was a decision I had to make on my own. Now, I know I'm not some simpering girl who can't do anything by herself, needs a man for validation, etc, etc...

BUT I do miss being married. I do miss having someone to talk to, share stuff with - both the good and the bad. I do miss having someone to bounce the decisions around with and come up with "the best solution for us right now". But alas, I am out here in the wind, so while I did bounce some thoughts off friends and family, received some good advice and some helpful words of caution, in the end, the decision came down to me. What am I willing to deal with? Do? Cope with? Experiment with? How am I prepared to live?

And then I started swim lessons. Why? In part because I've been reading all these blogs, but in truth because I know as I get older I need something that will allow my body to recover and exercise more gently. I need some relief in my knees and my hips and my feet. And if I'm going to swim, then by god, I want to learn how to do it right. So I'm swimming. And absolutely loving it.

Yesterday was another big action day for me and the beginnings of another big decision. Yesterday I called a cemetery. I know, there could be lots of jokes there, but people really do work there and even occassionally answer the phone. And for the most part, they're really nice. Anyway, I called to find out about plots and headstones and options. You see, it's coming up on the five year anniversary of Dennis' death and I still haven't done anything about a headstone or any kind of remembrance. I have wanted to, but I've just never been ready to deal with it, to face it - and to face his family. Plus it's a long distance thing. He should be remembered in California where his family is and where we lived. I now live on the other side of the country. So now, I have to decide what to say.

What do you say in a limited space about a person that was your entire world? What do you say that will literally be carved in stone for all the world to see that will speak to many different people about this one fabulous person that we all had in common? What do you say?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So maybe I'm not a stud

But I am still an athlete! :) It took one flip turn (attempt) to put me firmly back into reality. I swear there is no more water left in the pool. Flip, flip, flip... I never got my hands in the right place. I did manage to actually push off the wall. I never actually got to the twist part - you know where you actually turn over so you're going in the right direction. I did manage to get water up my nose more than once - or 100 times!

Despite it all, I still had a blast! I guess it could have been the cute young instructor, but I think it's more likely the challenge of learning something new and using different muscles and the giant improvements you can make when you first learn something.

I'm so glad I made the decision to actually take some lessons. I love learning new things. And apparently the instructor I had today is more into form and technique - which is good because these are things I need to work on. He had me working on body roll - in between flip turns of course. It's amazing how much easier it is to breath once you get this roll thing down better. How much fun is that?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Swim lessons

I had so much fun today at the pool. Today was my first day of swim lessons. I've never had any, but I've taught myself the basics along the way. Without any formal training or really knowing what I was doing, I've always been a bit apprehensive in the pool. I have always felt like I could do better. I've always had trouble getting my breathing under control, always struggled with form and strength and endurance and speed.... In short, I've never been friends with the pool.

So I decided to rectify that. I signed up for swim lessons ... beginner swim lessons... and they started today. So I went to the pool with a little trepidation, but a lot of excitement, ready to learn. And I did. I got better breathing. I had to swim with the little barbell thingy and practice breathing for entire lengths of the pool ... it was easier when I got to use my arms. I got some pointers on making my kick stronger. And I got to practice my stroke. Even got a compliment on my stroke. Now I just need to figure out how to get in more air - or not let as much out so I don't feel so winded at the end of a darn length.

I didn't know what to expect today going to swim lessons. I didn't know if I'd be as good as everyone else. I didn't know how many students would be in class or what the instructor was like. But I was pleasantly surprised. The instructor was a nice young girl who knows the basics and was able to give me a few tips that helped immediately. There was only one other person in the class and I have to admit I was a bit more advanced than she was. Now, that's not bragging - cause lord knows, I'm no shark in the pool. But this girl was a true beginner, trying to learn how to float and kick and turn her head to breath. She never left the edge of the pool. We spoke after class and she said this was her sixth lesson. Wow! I felt like a freaking stud! :) (well, not including the part where I tried to do breast stroke - you're kidding right? people actually DO this? in races?)

Overall, it was a nice way to end the day. Because today I acted on a really major life decision. Today I put the house on the market. I don't have a plan beyond that. No plan for what I will do if or when it actually sells. And I AM A PLANNER. Heck, planning is part of my job. It's certainly part of who I am, but I don't have a plan. This just seemed like the right thing to do at this time - so there you have it. I put the house on the market and learned how to swim better today.

Quite a day. I am an athlete :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I got up early this morning to get ready for a killer training run. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I couldn't do that cool 15k I'd planned to do because of Willie's recovery. SO in it's place I found a 10 miler - a week earlier - a trail run. Sounded like a good idea at the time and coach said sure, but it's not a race, it's a training run. Okay, no problem.

So I drove about an hour to this beautiful park where I met up with about 100 of my craziest friends. I say crazy because, well, only crazy people pay to do this kind of stuff. It was really a beautiful run, but I'm not used to trails - not like this one, not this long, and steep and, well, difficult. It's been a while since I hiked in the mountains - and that was what this trail run reminded me of. There were steep up hills and down hills. Rocks, sand, roots, trees, blackberry bushes. One of those blackberry bushes had the nerve to actually untie one of my double knotted shoe laces. one of those roots tried to send me sprawling into the mud. (I won that one) The sand up the hill they called T Rex was killer, but not as bad as the roots and loose rocks on the downhills.

I'm still icing my knee (which tried to give out around mile 4), even after sitting in the ice cold creek at the end of the trail. And after all that, I have to add. I had a blast! It was nasty! It was scary in places! It was fun! Now, if I can only walk tomorrow, I'll be all set.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm in a mood

Man, got the cranky pants on nice and tight this morning! Don't know why exactly. I do know it's not PMS, so cross that off the list. Maybe it's the fact that I did such a good job cleaning yesterday I couldn't find my water bottle handle-thingy for my run this morning. (Since been found in the place I looked three times!) Maybe it's the fact that I had to move a bunch of furniture this morning in preparation for the carpet cleaning guys. Maybe it's that property tax bill that came in the mail yesterday... or the fact that people were talking over me in the first meeting of the morning... or the number on the scale this morning. In all likelihood, probably that last one. And why do I let those kind of things ruin my day? Cause I know I didn't eat "right" all day yesterday - not completely over the top bad, just not perfect. And I know that I can't eat perfect all the time so am I destined to just weigh more than I want to, never have those washboard abs, always struggle to fit into my jeans?!?!?

And why is it that when you hear or say, "I'm in a mood" it's never a good mood? It's not a precursor to and I feel so good, life is great, the sun is shining, I'm happy to be alive. It's a precursor to doomsday, my life sucks, I'm pissed, people are stupid, why did I get out of bed today. It's a warning to all who approach. Beware, cranky pants on nice and tight. Don't get too close, bark is not necessarily worse than the bite.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Improvements can be seen in many ways. I like tangible things - like better numbers, faster, farther.... Sometimes those numbers are harder to interpret than others. Yesterday I did my second HR test. This one in a 5k in the humidity. The first one was in controlled environment on a treadmill in January. This was the first time I was running a race as something other than a time trial, a chance to get a PR. This was not what this race was about. I had to start off slow, get in a groove, save my energy for the all out effort I was going to put in for my HR test. So I didn't get a PR in the race - a whole minute slower than my PR earlier this year. BUT I did improve. I ran a whole .1 farther in the 20 minute HR test than I had earlier - or almost 10 seconds faster average pace... in nasty conditions. Hey! That's not bad. Now, I want a do over in better conditions cause I think I can do better :)

There's always room for improvement, but we have to take the time to enjoy the accomplishments along the way. If we don't enjoy and appreciate what we've done then what's the point? We're always living for tomorrow and that's not healthy either. It's great to have goals, but every once in a while, let's just sit back and enjoy today. Enjoy the journey of accomplishment, the small steps of improvement, the hard days when nothing goes as planned, the rainy days, the sunny days, and everything in between.

Here's to now.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I know this will sound silly and just a little bit needy, but I'm going to put it out there anyway.

I want to go to camp! I know I can't hang with any of these awesome triathletes out there - except my sister - but that's ONLY on the run. She'd kick my ass on the bike and drown me in the pool. Oh, she'd pull me out and make sure I was still breathing so she could tell me how great I did and how much she beat me by :)

I just want to go to camp. I swear I want to go so bad that I'm willing to take up triathlon.

Ok, that's going a bit too far. I have been thinking about it for a while - triathlon that is. So much so that I've been out on the bike several times over the last few months - for the first time in years. AND... big pause for effect.... I've signed up for swim lessons!

Wish me luck. Maybe one day I'll grow up and figure out what I want to be :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Abundance and Loss

Over the years I've thought a lot about food - what should I have for dinner? Which fabulous restaurant(s) will I visit in the next vacation city of choice? How about dessert? Is there any chocolate cake? I've never been fat, but my BMI and body fat percentages are higher than I'd like. They are certainly higher than they should be for running. So when I asked my coach what it would take for me to qualify for Boston, to get faster, I wasn't too surprised when she said I needed to really focus on my diet. Not diet as in, starve myself per se, but diet as in LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

Not surprised, but disappointed. I would have been happier with a response of train more hours, do doubles, get new shoes. Anything but change my eating habits. But there it is.

And I wondered as I have before, why is it that if there is a brick of cheese in the house, I think about it until it is gone, I fear for it's little life that it will get moldy and I will have to throw it out. Why is it that if there is pie/cake/chocolate (you fill in the blank with something that is fattening and/or sweet), I must finish it - maybe not in one setting, but certainly in two or at the outside three?

In a moment of enlightenment I came up with the following theory. This problem has gotten pronouncedly (is that a word?) worse since Dennis died. Then I would sit down with a box of Hershey bars (you know that box they sell at Sam's of the regular sized Hershey bars?) and that would be dinner for today and lunch and dinner for tomorrow. Then it was time for a new box. I moved away from the Hershey bars over time - though they are still a source of comfort in extreme stress. But I haven't gotten over, in fact in some ways it's worse, that need to "finish the box." So I think maybe this has something to do with loss and abundance. I had an abundant life - from the outside it probably looked damn near perfect. From the inside, it almost was. And in an instant it was taken away from me. I went from everything to nothing... or so it certainly seemed. And not to trivialize any of this, because it is far from trivial, but I think that I am using food as a crutch. Ok, I know I use food as a crutch. What I really mean is I think I look at that bag of cookies and think in my subconscious somewhere that I have to eat them all right now before they're gone. Enjoy life right now while it is here because you never know when it will all be taken away.

Now in my rational brain, I know this just isn't true. No one is going to eat my food if I don't. It will be there tomorrow if I want it to be. If it goes bad for whatever reason, I can buy new. It can be replaced. But I think I'm onto something here. I think maybe this can be the beginning of the end for me. The end of my obsession with/dependence on food. I know it's not over. I know I still have a lot of work to do in this department and I know that work will continue every day, but I think I finally have at least part of an answer.

Funny how the human mind works.

Nothing much

Today we get the staples out. Just a couple more days of cone head and then we're onto more recovery. I won't feel quite as guilty leaving him if I don't have to put the cone on his head. He's still limping and not using his leg as much as I'd like, but I'm sure it's all normal. He is using it more each day so that's all goodness.

And I know I've been remiss in writing about my training. I have to say it's mostly because there isn't much to report. I haven't run much since the race. I'm back into a routine, but it's slow going - not just the increase in mileage, but my pace. I feel like a slug, a toad. I can't seem to get the rhythm. I can't seem to keep my heartrate down. Blah! This weekend is a 5k that I'll use as a new heartrate test. What will it tell me?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I want to play

We're 5 days post surgery and today the boy said, "Mom, I want to play." He picked up his toy and tried to run (he was on a leash so that didn't work). He saw his "cousin" rolling on the ground, moaning and tried to charge her, engage her in play. Again, he was on a leash so this didn't work. But I have to say, even though his leg isn't fully functioning yet, his mind has come out of the drug induced fog and now he's ready to play. Only problem is, he can't.

He still has one week until staples come out (which means 9 more days of cone head - got to do two days post removal). Then another 6 1/2 weeks for his post-surgery x-rays that will tell us if the bone is healing as it should. Then, maybe then, we can go on a short walk, no playing, no darting, no running off leash... for another two months AFTER that check up if the check up goes well.

Have I mentioned I'm going crazy?

I just about lost it this morning when I heard a thump in the bedroom. I can't be sure, but I think he attempted to jump up on the bed. Damn it! Did I forget, did I really forget to close the door? For crying out loud! So I've been watching him like a hawk all day. Is he limping more? Is that screw by the ankle more pronounced than it was yesterday? Is he in pain? He's a dog. I can't ask him. Well, I could, but he can't tell me. So I'm just going to wing it... and keep that darn door closed!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 3

Otherwise known as stir crazy. I never truly appreciated how independent my dog has always been. Now if he wants to go to the bathroom, he has to be accompanied by an adult - only one around here is me. If I want to give him some relief from having the cone on his head, I have to be constantly vigilant so he doesn't sneak a lick or a nibble at the staples. And since I can't be constantly vigilant at night, on his head goes the cone. Then he scrapes around the house looking for a place to get comfortable. I'm tired.

On another note, I actually ran yesterday for the first time since the marathon. It was good, but not great as far as pace v effort goes. It was great as far as attitude. I have secretly been dreading running again, dreading the thought of more training, another routine, another big race with high personal expectations and goals. I went through the motions all week doing my cross training, hating every step and pedal stroke. Then Saturday morning rolled around, time to run. I looked down at my running shoes and felt myself grinning. I couldn't wait to go out for a run - a nice easy zone 1 run, no expectations. Just trying to get my legs back under me, see if I still enjoy it, see how I do in zone 1. It was great! A little humid of course, but so nice to be out on my feet, in my running shoes. No terrible aches and pains. Just me and the sun and the grass. Beautiful.

I just might be able to do this after all.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Imagine if you will....

You have major surgery where they put metal objects in your leg, keep you in an enclosed area with strangers or no one overnight (knowing you hate enclosed spaces), shave off your hair, give you drugs, put a cone on your head, and send you home. In the meantime, they've told your caretaker that your diet needs to be restricted so you're getting no good treats and your movement needs to be restricted so you're only allowed outside for mere moments at a time. Now imagine you can't tell anyone what you want or how absolutely crazy these circumstances make you.

This is the little bubble my dog is currently living in. He went through surgery well. He's putting more weight on his leg than they usually see. He wants to run, and of course chew off those annoying staples in his leg. And oh man, is he unhappy! He can't possibly understand why mom hates him suddenly or who the awful food nazi is who replaced his mom. Dog food? All I get to eat is dog food? And carrots? I mean carrots are great, but what about those dog cookies in the cupboard or that plate you just finished? Can't I just have a small lick? A little taste?

I feel for him. You see, we're both trying to lose those pesky 5-10 pounds that have snuck up on us in the last 4 or 5 years. The difference is he has someone (me) to control his food for him so he's got it made IF I can be strong. The difference is, I have to be strong for both of us. Heaven help us! Don't come visit anytime soon cause we'll have our cranky pants on nice and tight for a few weeks while we adjust. I have a feeling it's going to be a painful adjustment period.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Surgery today

No, not me, worse. My dog, known in our family as my "son" is having surgery on his knee today. He hasn't run any marathons, but apparently those sprints after rabbits, squirrels, deer and such have caught up to him. He has a torn CCL (ACL in people terms) and hopefully no damage to the meniscus. He's getting a metal plate and screws put into his little leg. Poor thing. And worse, recovery is 8 weeks of limited activity followed by gradually increasing physical therapy and activity for another 8 weeks. I am somehow supposed to keep a border collie from doing anything except going out to go to the bathroom for 8 weeks!

I have to say when I asked the doc what he meant by limited activity/leash walks, I was disappointed to hear, "You can take him out in the backyard on a leash to do his business then it's back inside." Willie is used to walking 4 miles a day. There's going to be some serious withdrawls, depression and overall moodiness in my house for the next few months. Just like there would if it was MY knee. The worst part is after a few days, he's going to think he's fine and I have to be the bad guy. How do you explain to a dog that he can't go for a walk?

And it's not like he can drown himself in ice cream and french fries. To add insult to injury, he has to go on a diet. He needs to lose 5 or 6 pounds and he's not going to be getting any exercise. YOU do the math! That's going to make for one unhappy puppy! Well, two if you count me. No more trips to the neighbors for treats. No more licking plates. Not even full serving sizes of dog food for crying out loud.

It's going to be a long summer.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Home again

It sure is nice to be home again... even though the weather is a bit less than desirable. Had another fun drive this afternoon in thunderstorm, tornado weather. Luckily I didn't see any hail or thunderstorms, but some of the time the wind was 50-60mph and the rain was coming down sideways at times. So to say it's a bit humid would be an understatement... and lucky us, it's going to be like this all week.

I love to travel, but sometimes it's just so nice to get home and sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, lay around and do nothing in my own space. Today is one of those days. Now if only someone would bring me some groceries....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take a deep breath

We often read about people taking things they've learned from training and applying them to every day life. I've read these things in the past and thought, I wish I could do that. I wish I could apply things that way, feel like I've learned some big life lesson that makes me a better person, a better employee, a better world citizen. But I've also realized that I've taken things I've learned in life and applied them to my training.

I've learned over the years since my husband died that I'm no pansy ass :) I've learned that I'm tougher than I ever thought possible and for this marathon I finally figured out how to use those things I learned in life and apply them to my race. It was a wonderful feeling to not give up on myself. And now I think, I can reverse that learning and apply it more consistently throughout the other areas of life. I still miss him and I still wish he was by my side in all of these adventures, but I know I can do things myself and still gain pleasure from them. I also know that he gives me strength in any number of things I have undertaken since... just because I knew him.

So I got a little off tangent there, but I guess it needed to be said. At any rate, this week I took something I learned in training and racing and applied it to real life. You see, I went on this drive across the country. No big deal - just the state of Oregon, only 400 miles or so. It should have been a piece of cake. Beautiful country that I stopped to enjoy and take pictures along the way. It sprinkled off and on at the start but no big deal. About 2 hours into it, it started to pour. I don't mean kind of rain, I mean the kind that you can't see much past the front of the car with the windshield wipers going at warp speed. And of course it being a rental, it was a car I wasn't familiar with. And being Oregon, it was a mountain road I wasn't familiar with... filled with semi-trucks. So while I hung onto the steering wheel for dear life, I thought to myself, "You can do this. Just focus. Just a little bit farther. Just BREATHE!" And I did. Mind you, I got off that road as soon as it was safe and had a nice long lunch in hopes it would pass. It did for a while, and then another hour or so after getting back on, it was the same thing. Nothing to do, but keep going. Take a deep breath and keep the forward momentum going. And I did. It was scary, but I did it... all on my own.

And now, I'm here in Boise with some family. They are a trip. I'm grateful to be visiting and to be entertained. I'm grateful to be able to see more of the west that I love so much, but I have to say breathing has a whole new meaning here.

You see, they're smokers. I, as an athlete, am decidely NOT a smoker. Never have been. Can't really stand the stuff. So I'm trying not to be a whiny baby, but I'm going to have to go into detox when I get home. Do you know how hard it is to hold your breath for three days? Can't be done, but on the other hand, I haven't been able to take a deep breath since I got here - it hasn't been three days yet, but I'm dying. I can literally feel my airways shrinking, my fitness level dropping, my eyes burning, my throat burning. I don't understand the appeal, but I do understand why many smokers are skinny. Food mixed with smoke tastes like shit. Who wants to eat?

So while I'm enjoying the scenery and looking forward to a tour around town (OUTSIDE), I am also desperately looking forward to going home and taking a shower and disinfecting all of my clothes. There are some things that won't be allowed in the house for a while - like that pretty leather jacket and my suitcase. Yuck!

Until I can take a deep breath, please someone, send me some oxygen, say a prayer or something. Good thing I'm not running this week. I hope I have enough air to do my workouts when I get back.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In my travels

Yesterday was pretty fun. I spent the day touring around Portland - first in the car to get a lay of the land and then on foot. I went to this bookstore that is apparently famous here. I could see why. It doesn't have all the old world charm of Elliot's in Seattle, but it is HUGE. It's an old building, laid out a bit like a library with really tall shelves crammed with books - used and new, on THREE levels... and these aren't just small bedroom sized levels, these are rambling, color coded areas of pure literary bliss. So I bought a few used books to read throughout the rest of my trip - and the best thing - no sales tax in Oregon. Cheap on top of cheap. :)

Of course the bookstore wasn't the highlight of the day. I had a fabulous lunch at a local micro-brewery. Apparently Oregon has more micro breweries than any other state - or something like that. My sister and brother in law would LOVE it. The beer was very good and so was the food. My wandering continued and led me to the Chinese gardens - right in the middle of the city. This was a place that made me think of my mother. She would have loved the meandering paths, the blooming orchids and other plants I simply can't name, and the tea room complete with several periods of antique Chinese furniture - and tea of course.

But I still had more to do. I was on the hunt for something chocolate, not just any old chocolate. I wanted dessert - and some good red wine to go with it. Where to find that on a Monday afternoon? I stumbled across the answer to my prayers, a chocolate and wine shop. I kid you not! Sweet treats, or something like that. It had chocolates (you know, cream filled, nut filled, fruit filled... and better yet, it had chocolate desserts. Flourless torte, pies, cookies, mousse. I had a to die for chocolate mousse and a lovely Carmenere from Chile. It was the perfect combination and a great place to spend the afternoon reading a good book and people watching. Never let it be said that all the good people watching takes place in the midwest. There is some good material here too!

Now today I'm off to Boise in the rain. I'm hoping to stop at a few wineries on the way and sample the fares. Don't worry, no swallowing today. I have a long way to drive, but I do want to taste and local wines and see if there is anything worth bringing home. Now, hopefully I don't have any mountains to go over today cause I heard there might be snow at higher elevations. (It's not very warm and it is raining pretty heavily.) Going to be a slow drive east.

Happy trails....

Monday, June 2, 2008


I made it back to Portland. It was a long slow drive with many stops to stretch my legs and explore. Stopped at this cute cafe in the middle of nowhere and had a FABULOUS lunch with a nice glass of wine. I went exploring wineries and discovered that Napa doesn't have the market on snobbery. I never would have thought it, but I found a snobby winery in Oregon. Oh well, I guess it can't be perfect :)

Still sore today and I'm suffering not only from cramps but some pink eye type thing in one eye. (Looked beautiful at breakfast this morning.) But none of that stopped me from heading down to the pool first thing this morning. I just needed to get moving a little bit and I'm definitely not up to running yet. (My quads are still making me walk like Frankenstein.) I haven't been in a pool in two years??? And I've never been a strong swimmer so this was sad, but I found I can actually breath on both sides - although I have no endurance AND I sucked up half the pool water through my nose. (Got to figure out how to stop doing that) Maybe I'll sign up for those swim lessons when I get back home.

In the meantime, today is going to be about exploring. I'm looking forward to finding out a little more about this city... see what it has to offer and if it's anyplace that I might be interested in hanging my hat. I sure liked the coast and the areas in between. With work up in the air and the distinct possibility that I'm going to be putting the house on the market when I get home, I might just need a new place to call home. I sure do miss the West and you can't get much farther west than this.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh the pain

Did I say I'd be fine? Was that just yesterday? I underestimated.... the guy who said this course was flat was NOT a runner. He drives a car! He averages out the fact that there are the same number of uphills as downhills and says that equals flat! That does NOT equal flat. THAT equals quads, knees and hips. Ohmigod. It's been 8 hours since I dragged my sorry ass back from the race (up and down those short steep hills I wrote about yesterday) and up the stairs into my room to collapse into an ice bath... and it HURTS!

But you know what? That's okay. Because I made it hurt. The reason it hurts is because I tried. I set a goal, I worked my ass off for five months in ice and snow and wind, and I showed up on race day. I believed I could make that goal and I pushed myself through the pain, whimpering as I did it, but I did it nonetheless. I do have to admit that I was laughing a bit to myself at mile 24 where coach had said if you have anything left, give it a little push to the end the last 2.2 miles. HA! You're kidding right? I was into marathon shuffle mode at that point. Walk breaks at every mile marker and SERIOUS whimpering a few hundred yards past that when I started running again.

Now I usually cry when I cross the finish of a marathon, but this is the first time I was crying because I was in so much pain. This is the first time some strange volunteer at the end of the race put there arms around me and asked if I was okay, if I needed to be escorted out of the finish shoot. PAIN.

So, I didn't meet my goal, but it was a rather lofty one for me. I was trying to shave 26:30 off my best time for the marathon. A time I achieved in my first effort, but which had deteriorated significantly in subsequent attempts. I did, however, get a PR... by 11 minutes! And you know what? I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, feel guilty over, etc.... I left it all out there on the course. There was nothing left. There is still nothing left. I'm not really sure about that long drive to Portland tomorrow. I wonder if they'd let me stay here another night :) It sure is peaceful. At any rate, I'm proud of my accomplishments today. Sure I'm disappointed that I didn't meet my goal, but you know what? There's always next time :) And I've proven to myself that I can run through the pain.

But does it have to hurt so much?

Friday, May 30, 2008


It is SOOO nice to be here, to be on vacation, to be THIS close to the race. I hear it's nicer today than it's been all year. It's lovely. The sun is shining, the ocean is calling, it's a beautiful 55 degrees. It's the first time I've been back to Oregon since I moved from California 4 years ago. It's just as beautiful as I remember. I've learned a lot about Oregon in the 24 hours I've been here. It's windy by the beach - good thing I've been running in the midwest all winter. (We know something about wind!) The marathon is "flat", but that is a bit of a misnomer. I'm so glad I drove the course today so I wouldn't freak out tomorrow. True there aren't any mountains, but there are some short steep little hills in the first four miles - then it's flat until you come back on the out and back - a slow, gradual incline most of the last mile or so. But I know and I've been training on hills so I'll be fine.

Now I know we aren't at altitude because if I walk down 90 short steps, I'm 100 yards from the Pacific ocean where the kite surfers are putting on a show, but seriously... NOT flat. There are mountains here (luckily we won't be running any of those), steep sharp inclines, but they probably don't get past 3 or 400 feet in height. I think of them as mountains when you drive along the road and there are rock slide signs on one side of the road and steep 90 degree cliffs on the other. But then I'm from the midwest so my definition of a mountain is a bit jaded. Let's just call it the coastal range, like they do in California.

You can't get anywhere fast around here because of said mountains and ocean, but that's quite okay with me. I'm on vacation. I stopped at no less than 3 overlooks and took pictures like a damn tourist. I could live here! I swear. At least I think I could. It is just so beautiful. I know, however, that there wouldn't be a lot to "do" - work wise or culturally, but who am I kidding exactly? I'm not exactly the opera going type. The biggest down side would be the distinct lack of shopping malls, but hey, maybe the local stuff would be cool. I don't know. I was too busy looking at the ocean and the birds today to really worry about retail.

I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I am confident I can reach my goal. I will have a good time. The weather is going to be perfect. The course will be fun. The people are terribly friendly and seem to be pretty well organized. I can't wait. Looks like it will be another beautiful day in paradise. Now it's off to bed cause breakfast is at 4am!

As Jimmy would say, the weather is here, wish you were beautiful!