Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Grocery Shopping: An Intervention

Today I had to go grocery shopping--you know, there's a potential ice storm.

It is Georgia.
I must go buy bread and milk.
Glenn Burns says it is not as bad as originally expected.
Ken Cook says it is worse.
(They're the local weatherman--too lazy to Google links.)

Sigh, but I had Beau with me.

However, he was sitting, quite unusually, in the cart.

He was-- even more unusual-- being a very good, cooperative, boy. This almost never happens when we grocery shop--especially if Carmella is with us as they will compete in their naughtiness. Beau excels at the naughtiness in public event. Carmella does not. I guess it is an attention thing on his part.

Whatever, who cares. It is always embarrassing and very annoying. See,I'm one of those moms in the grocery store (also on the plane, in the waiting room, at the restaurant, where ever, I am always THAT mom.)

Anyway, I said to him, towards the end of our unusually uneventful shopping excursion:

"Oh yeah, I want to get some orange juice. I love orange juice!"

Beau, correcting me: "No you don't!"

Me, correcting him, as I place fresh squeezed with calcium Publix OJ in my cart: "Uh, yes, I do!I love it after my runs"

Beau, oddly, now angry, "No you don't! Mommy! YOU drink BEER!"

Me, glancing around to see who heard and sigh as it was several people who I see covering their snickers so I quickly concede that: "Yes, I do drink beer-- but only occasionally and never,ever, for breakfast."

And Beau in his impatient, angry voice proclaims: "Mommy. Yes. You. Do! You drink BEER for breakfast. " (For the record I do not drink beer for breakfast--or for any meal for that matter)

As I quickly rush my cart to the check-out line and try to salvage my dignity, I correct him that it is "COFFEE Beau. Coffee. Oh, look there's Scooby Doo. . ."

Monday, January 29, 2007

On why you should not come to me for medical advice

Right now I am feeling a little like the writers at Grey's Anatomy must have been feeling when they wrote the script for this Thursday's episode. I say this because I am having little trouble getting started. I am having some problems organizing my thoughts. This might be more because of the kids running around and the dog howling than true writer's block --especially since I do know what I want to say. Just having some trouble getting it out.

I am certain that if I were a more gifted writer I could tie it all together in some witty and bright way but alas. . .( And no, I am not tossing out a baited hook. Really, I'm not.)

So, anyway, I noticed in the preview for next week's Grey's it looks like it is going to be a quarantine episode.
The quarantine episode? You ask?
The quarantine episode is the cliche episode of medical dramas.
All the medical dramas do at least one--ER, House-- and it is always so, so predictable.

It seems that the writer's pull out the quarantine episode when they have reached a point in the story line that has left them stuck or for whatever reason they have to get all the characters trapped together. However, whatever; it is a weak device and not very original.

And I always imagine the writers of the shows as sitting all Dorthy Parkeresque Algonquin Round Table-like hashing out banal ideas and everyone going-- no,no, no that won't work. And then from the quiet corner comes the "Well, hey, how about this? We could do a quarantine situation. . . "

I remember once in one of my undergrad lit classes it being said that Shakespeare has already written all the original plots and everything modern is just that-- a modern twist on an old plot. Now I don't know about that but I do know that the quarantine is the staple of all medical dramas on TV and that the writers parade it out when they've got no where else to go. Even still, who doesn't love the thrill of a good Hazmat/CDC situation? And usually they reveal some cool new virus or bacteria that I have never heard of and has disgusting, dire and creepy symptoms. So for the sake of some delicious new dramatized disease being revealed I will watch. I mean, that is assuming I can stay up for it this week like I was able to last week.

And that is the long winding road that brings me to what I really wanted to talk about: last week's episode.
Did you see it?
It totally had me peaking out from behind my hands.
You know, that scene? The one where Calli and Christina slash open the marathon runner's legs sans anesthesia?
Freaked. My. Ass. Out.
And after my OHMYGOD scream I asked why the hell they did that and more importantly, how can I avoid having that happen to me?
Unfortunately, they skipped right over the medical tutorial and went straight to the smoochy kissy kiss stuff.
Do these people not understand that I watch these sorts of shows (House, ER, Grey's et all) for the obscure medical information they provide?
How else I am I to sound knowledgeable at the Doctor's?
Or, when friends ask my medical opinion on stuff-- just like someone did on Saturday night about what happened to that runner.

Well, I finally remembered yesterday to Google about it. And apparently I wasn't the only runner slightly wigged out by that scene. Amby Burfoot had already blogged about the same thing on his Runner's World blog. Some fine Md's came along to comment that the marathoner's glossed over condition was probably this.

And, so it would seem, that probably isn't something I am going to have to worry too much about. In fact, I should probably focus more on what is going to happen when my tightly wound Achilles finally pops.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Long Run: 8 weeks and counting down.

Sunday is 8 weeks til ING and I finally got a 20 miler in. But damn did it suck. I don't know what my problem is but today was really a struggle. And I can't blame the weather today. It was a beautiful day--an almost spring day-- and if it hadn't been so nice I am sure I would have bailed.

After the first 6 miles I actually altered my course--it should have been a 22 miler--just in case things got worse and then I could cut my losses and make it a 15 miler.

But I hung in there and I am glad I did--just for the sake of getting it done. It worked out to be a little over 3 hours which is really surprising considering all the walking I did.

And my calves and Achilles? Yeah, they bothered me for, oh, about 16 miles. I found it funny--not funny haha but funny peculiar-- that the last 4 miles felt the best. I ran the last 4 in under an 8 minute mile pace-- go figure that. Who knows, maybe if I had stuck it out there another few miles it could have been even better. Yeah right, I know when to call it day and end on a high note.

After the past few weeks of training not going as well as I think it should I just have to tell myself that it is better to struggle in training than in the race. And that is what is getting me through and keeping me from quitting completely.

Anyway, not a completely terrible week:
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 6 outside and then 5k speed workout on the treadmill. I think I did weights--I can't remember. I think I did weights twice this week.
Tuesday: 10 miles general aerobic run
Wednesday: 10 miles general aerobic run
Thursday: 13 sucky miles--long run I cut short. 4 mile speed workout. Weights.
Friday: Rest day but did take the kids and Lola on a 3 mile walk at the trail. I am not counting that in my mpw though.
Saturday: 20 miles in 3 hours.
Total MPW: 66--not too shabby . . .

Friday, January 26, 2007


Beau and Carmella are very competitive with each other. Everything is a race: Who can get up the stairs first, get dressed/undressed first, brush their teeth first,get in the car, finish breakfast/lunch/dinner first and so on and so on.

The one who wins screams "I won! You lose!" Then taunting begins: Carmella is a loser, Beau is a baby etc. Carmella, being Carmella, usually feels badly afterwards and consoles Beau that next time he can win. Beau, being Beau, never feels badly.

All this competition is very advantageous for me as it is a way to get them to get stuff done. And while I admit that this may not be the best parenting approach it does help me get crap done without having to blow my stack.

So today, to encourage Carmella to finish her breakfast (she always loses the breakfast competition but always wins the dinner), I pointed out that Beau was winning.
This is when she matter-of-fact told me: "Mommy we don't do that anymore. We do pattarins. And it is Beau's turn to win."

"Pattarins?" I asked.

"Yes," she said, explaining: "I win, then Beau wins and then it is my turn again. Pattarins. I won last so it is Beau's turn to win. I lose."

"Carmella, just finish your breakfast."
Carmella's vocabulary has always been larger than her understanding but she fakes it well. I love how confident she is of her word comprehension. And I admire her for being so adventurous and using the big words in new and unique ways.

But please tell me this; how in the hell am I suppose to get them to do anything if the spirit of friendly competition is dead in our house because of the "pattarins" movement?

Sigh, as always, Mommy loses.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Cold; the Bitter, Bitter Cold

Yeah, so my long run didn't go so well and, as it turned out, it wasn't actually long.

When I heard on the morning news that they had a wind advisory for this morning I knew then that I wasn't going to have the run of my life. Maybe the negativity is to blame. I don't know, but I do know it is just really hard to stay postive when you are bone cold and uncomfortable. What can I say? I'm a southern girl and I guess I am just not all that tough when it comes to the cold. I tried though.

The temperature when I started was 33 degrees with wind gusts. I can't remember what the mph were.

And, the first mile was okay but then my Achilles tightened up. I had to walk, stop and stretch it, massage it, and walk. This went on for a few miles and then I had to pee. But my pit stop was still 4 miles away. I have mentioned before how difficult it is to run when you have to pee right? We won't visit that again.

Then the wind really kicked in. Did I mention that the first part of this course has some monster rolling hills? That was not fun running against the wind. But my Achilles though was finally warm, so at least that was good--- or maybe it was that I couldn't feel it.

I stopped around mile 7 and got water and a potty and then continued on. Around mile 10 a gust hit me hard as I was coming down a hill and I got tossed a bit. I guess it looked funny because the guy stopped at the stop sign was laughing at me. At mile 11 I had the option of going left and running 10 more miles or going right and running 2 more. I took a right. I finished the run at 13 miles and just under 2 hours and it sucked.

But I went to the gym tonight and ran 4 miles in 29:18 on the treadmill so I feel better about that. I plan on trying to do my long run on Saturday. I already mapped out my route and it is just shy of 22 miles. So I am taking tomorrow off from running and resting up, so hopefully it will go well. No excuses. I'm sick of them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What 20 buck Happiness Bought

--Can of black beans to go with the rice that went with the chicken enchilada dinner I made.
That was the kids' Happiness. They love them some rice and beans.

--Package of Goodnight pants for Beau who is not night trained who I will not considered night trained until he goes a month straight of waking up dry.
I am only washing sheets once a week and I am sticking to that.
That is my less house work is more happiness Happiness.

---Cheap bottle of pinot grigio.
Okay, so this is where I found my Happiness. Wait, I'm sorry, let's call this one my bliss.

Had a good run today too. Did 10--about 5 minutes faster today --in just under an hour 20.

I hope tomorrow's long run goes as well. I'm sort of dreading it. I am just hating the cold. Mostly, I really am not liking how cold my ass gets. And it make my legs hurt and feel all stiff. I have tried walking the first 1/4 mile but it hasn't made a difference. I have even tried doing some yoga. Nada. Still stiff.

The cold really isn't so much an issue for shorter runs but the longer runs get pretty uncomfortable. I am thinking I might try long johns under my tights tomorrow. Today I ran in my fleece pants and my ass was still cold. Everything else is fine but my butt is an iceberg. Not comfortable, at all. I just can't figure out why I can't keep that area warm--especially since I do get hot everywhere else. I even took off my mittens today but my ass was still chilled.

Sigh. Sorry, about the bitching. I should be happy, grateful that I am at least able to run outside. And I am. Surely someone else has had this problem and has a suggestion. . .

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Twenty-buck Happiness

I once wrote a short story that I could never reconcile called "Twenty-buck Happiness".

It became a joke in my undergrad creative writing class-- the title that is. The guys in the class were eager to get my story for critique because they felt certain it would be about a blow job.
It wasn't.
And it was sort of hard to go back and edit after learning that what the title conjured in the mind was some sort of jack shack plot.

At any rate, my story, was about this guy who went AWOL and with $20: bought some fabric and made a dress and stole a moped and wore a football helmet (a la Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider) to drive from Utah to Minnesota to give the dress to the love of his life and propose marriage. Little goofy, I know, and I won't tell you how it ended.

But I will tell you the story was drawn from family lore that I borrowed greatly from. And, imagine that. Here I am calling you out, uhm Vinton-- should you be reading-- to tell what the true story is. . .

I don't know guys, maybe that one involves a blow job . . .

Anyway . . .I am having a better week. Back to feeling like myself and for the past 2 days I have gotten shit done. Some of you may recall that I was whining here about how I miss the Nat that gets shit done. Tentatively, she seems to be back. I am feeling less like Atlas who shoulders the world on his back and more like a DJ diva that spins it. I most definitely prefer the diva. She's got dance hits.

This is not to say there still isn't this huge mountain sitting in front of me stacked high with financial woes and emotional roadblocks-- not to mention some mild injuries-- but I just feel stronger about scaling and conquering it than I have for the past few months--well, I should say that at least for today I do.

And hey, things have to be looking up.
You see, I found $20 bucks on the sidewalk this afternoon!
I feel like the universe is saying: yeah, I'm sorry I've been robbing your ass for the past few months. Please accept this small token as an apology and know that things are going to get better.

Okay, yeah, I know; I am reading way too much into 20 bucks-- But people, I'm that desperate for any kind of positive sign.
And hey! It's 20 bucks.

So, running this week is going better. Yesterday I ran 6 outside in the morning and then did a 5k speed workout at the gym and then did a full workout of weights: arms, legs, back, abs-- the whole Nat and caboodle.
Today I ran 10 outside and it wasn't easy because it was cold and windy and my ass was numb but I got it done.
Later, I even took the kids and Lola for a walk at "the trail". Then we indulged in hot chocolate at Starbucks.
So it was a good day.
Tomorrow I hope to do 6, maybe 10 again if I'm feeling good, and then 20ish on Thursday and either rest, cross train or 4 on Friday and then 13-15 on Saturday.

I am of course, hesitant about this optimism: but what the heck, I found 20 bucks.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why we don't bother buying them toys anymore

Mama got a new broom!
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mama got a new broom.
She's sweepin the dirt to its doom.
Yeah, Mama got a new broom.
Ba nair na nair na nair nair

I saiddddd. . . . Mama's got a new broom. . .

Red hot, fancy and new.
Ain't no vaccum gonna do!
Mama's got her a new broom!
You hear me!
She is sweeping that dirt to the tomb.
Oh, yeahhhhh.. . Mama's got a new broom!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mama got a new broom!

Go Beau, break it down:

I said, Baby! Yeah, baby!
My Mama's got a new broom.
She's sweeping up all the gloom
Our house is shiny and new . . .
in each and every room.
I said! Baby! Yeah Baby, my Mama's got a new broom.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. New broom. New broom. A zoom zoom new broom.
Go Mama go.

Thank you, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Talking of Michelangelo

Or, so they say the women do as they come and go. . .
And then there are those mermaids . . .
And, yes, I've heard about them.
So it is said: They sing each to each.
Do they sing to me?
Ah, who cares.
What matters is that Carmella loves to draw.

Since she was 2 she could spend hours drawing, coloring or painting. It is fabulous to have a child that can entertain herself so well and so easily. Maybe she has talent, maybe not. But I think at the least she would make her Lala proud, who, by the way, definitely does have talent:
Here is some of her recent work--and by her, I mean Carmella. Lala is busy in her studio toiling away, not babysitting for me, doing her work--right Lala?
A rendering of Madame Blueberry.

A mermaid and a rainbow:
At dinner last night I mentioned that I use to like to do sketches of dresses. So here is what Carmella came up with :
It is a drawing of her "dream closet."

Okay, so that last one is mine. But I should point out that hers was the inspriation for mine and I think hers is better.
And that brings me to my favorite poem. (Okay, so I should say my second favorite poem. Really, this, is my favorite.)
But the following poem by Frank O'Hara makes the most sense to me and and it explains everything--at least everything about the artistic process:
Why I am not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Running log: 9 weeks to go

What a frustrating week. I definitely lost my mojo. Uhm, running mojo that is. . .

But today I seem to be over the ailments that humbled me early on in the week. I fell way short of my 63 mpw goal and didn't even remotely follow the Advance Marathoning training schedule.

Really, I think I should give up on that.

I don't think it is right for my body or my lifestyle. I think the mileage is fine but the schedule of how he gets to it doesn't work for me. I need to be more flexible since with 2 small kids who knows what is going to happen. It is stressing me out trying to follow a specific plan.

Apparently, I have issues with setting goals, making plans and then not being able to live up to them. Goals? Plans? I guess they don't jive with my under-over achiever mojo. And although I know most definitely that not following a training schedule religiously for a marathon is not the end of the world; it does mess with my psyche and leads to ridiculous and negative, self-sabotaging thinking.

In other words, I am better off without a plan, without a schedule. I just hate failure too much. Even small, insignificant, meaningless ones.

So here is how my week broke down: --And if you didn't know that I was trying to follow the Advance Marathoning 12/70 plan then it would of come off as a decent week rather than a dismal, complete failure of a week. wah wah wah, I know.
Sunday: rest
Monday: 7 miles general aerobic run on a hilly course. (And I should point out here that all my runs outside are on hilly courses.)Then 5k on the treadmill--speed work. Can't remember the time. Weights.
Tuesday: Nothing
Wednesday: 10k in 50 minutes on treadmill.
Thursday: Nothing--I tried though. I went out but came back after a mile. My Achilles felt like it was going to pop. I am thinking this isn't so much tendinitis as it is just being cold. This was a really rainy and cold day. I need to figure out how to keep it warm or maybe start off slower in the colder weather. The Achilles doesn't seem to be a problem at the gym or on warmer days.
Friday: 10K on the treadmill 46 minutes.
Saturday: 19 miles at a 9:05 pace. A bit off goal but the course was very challenging with lots of hills, then some flat stretches and part on a trail and more hills. Neither my back or my Achilles bothered me. I just felt tired.
Total miles: 41

Looking to get my mojo back on next week.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday Morning

Carmella last night wanted to wear dress up clothes for pajamas.
This morning Beau wanted to get dressed immediately and wanted to dress like a pirate today.
So. . .

Singer song writer

As I have mentioned before Beau has some sort of speech problem. At first he was slightly delayed and then they decided he had Apraxia. Then they decided he talked too much and could imitate too well for it to be Apraxia. Now they waffle between an Articulation disorder and a Phonological disorder. We are leaning more towards Phonological because it seems to be more of a motor planning problem since sometimes he gets it right and sometimes not and he can imitate and make all the individual sounds. He just sometimes gets it wrong when using them in words.

Basically what this means is that he not delayed in what he says but rather is just a bit more difficult to understand than other 3 year olds. He leaves the first constant off words or uses the wrong one in substitution--like he might say "boor" for "door". This can it make it confusing sometimes to figure out what he is talking about when he uses words that have the same end sound but start with different constants--like: bad, mad or sad. However, he use to not put any sound in the front of a word so now that he is getting all the syllables and sometimes a the right sounds he is much, much easier to understand. As I said before we call it Beau Latin and you learn it.

The only problem is that sometimes he makes up his own words and I have no idea what he is talking about. He has always done this--even when he was one and just starting to say words. Lots of kids do this. Beau use to do it when he couldn't say a particular word at all. So would make up his own. We generally knew what he was talking about from context or his pointing and showing would explain it. He rarely uses any of those early made up words anymore. That is except for "Hare Na".

Hare Na at first was his word for Batman. This stemmed from him calling Batman "Na na na na na"--as in "Na na na na na . . . Batman!" But now Hare Na, I have figured out, can stand for any superhero. At least I think it can because he now can say Batman, Superman, Spiderman etc rather decently. It just seems that he likes to use Hare Na. He even has a song he made up:

Hare Na
Hare Na
hiya, hiya
(then repeat)

There are dance moves that go with the song too.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Two Tuesdays ago
I went into my mother's studio
to ask her where she kept the light bulbs.
The closet light had gone out.
She said,
--I am going to call this painting Rescue.
I couldn't see who,
needed rescuing.
Nothing seemed threatened.

I am standing on the side walk
in front of my great-grandmother's house
under hanging Spanish moss
that clings to century old oaks
lining the always empty street.

I survey the houses
that I imagine
no one lives in anymore.
I watch my reflection
in the tinted windows
across the street
of Brown Glass Co.

It is a brick brown building
that stands next to a flea market
that was once a church.
Before we leave we will buy pecans there.

I drop a light bulb.

It shatters
and a million glass slivers
pop the rays of the sun
that hangs high
in the brilliant blue summer sky
scattered with heavy puffs.
Later, the heat will turn these to rain.

Light filters through the oak branches
forming strange shadows on the sidewalk.
I see myself splintered
in the broken shards of glass.
I see the tangled moss
reflected in the glass.
And I imagine
I can see the red bugs
reflected in the glass
that my mother says lives in the moss
--so I won't play with it.

They get under your skin,
she says.
They make you crazy,
--with itches,
she tells me.

I stop thinking about bugs
and I pick up the broken bulb.
I study the filament,
something from Mrs. Fitzgerald's science class.
I turn.
Holding up the bulb,
I look
through the space that was once a vacuum
at the Southern Bell Building
surrounded by palm trees
that make me believe that Florida is one street over.

I remember the ruby ring
my mother said she lost
as a child
playing in Ebie's yard.

I abandon the filament
and broken vacuum
to search for other lost treasures.

I look again at the painting.
In the background,
I see Ebie's house
her porch
her swing,
her yard.
I stare further,

I stop looking at the painting
and go in the kitchen,

I call my sister
and ask her
when is she coming home.

Some days you need more than just water . . .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grr, Back Pain

This is not my week.

Warning: Much bitching, moaning and belly aching ahead.

First off I have a mild sore throat.I've had it since Monday. Hasn't progressed to be much more than that but it is sitting there just waiting to be a full blown chest cold. I can feel the heaviness in my lungs. And I know, all too well how it goes: first the sore throat, then the head cold and then it all drips into my chest and then wham: Bronchitis. I use to think if I took it easy I would avoid getting all that but that has never proved to be the case. So my general course of action these days is to ignore it and run until I am forced a few days in bed. No sense missing workouts until I really have to and even then I can usually still cross train.

But now I have lower back pain too. I have never in my life had back pain--hip, hamstring, butt pain? Yes. Back pain? No, never. Not even when I was 9 months pregnant and running did I have back pain--bladder distress? Most certainly but back pain? No, absolutely not. Not even after my car accident when I broke my pelvis. (Okay, maybe I had a little pain when it was broken but not since they put it back together and I healed--and that was almost 17 years ago.) So I am a little, tiny bit freaked out.

My first thought, of course, was cancer but I don't think cancer comes on suddenly with mild annoying lower back pain on only one side that is most bothersome when you bend over or sit. Luckily, I don't sit too often. But bending over? I do that all day long. It is called picking crap up off the floor because I am a Mom. It is my job. But, again, lucky for me I have rather dexterous and strong toes and I am able to pick up most objects that way. I think if Carmella and Beau weren't so squirmy I could pick them up with my toes and toss them up the stairs or the car or wherever, but alas, I need my feet to chase them down.

Needless to say all this has greatly compromised my training this week and it is pissing me off. I get really cranky anyway when I don't feel 100% and then even more bitchy when I can't run.

Foolishly, I took Sunday off from running. My thinking was that I needed a rest day. Idiot! Then on Monday I ran a 7 mile general aerobic run and then went to the gym and did 3 miles on the treadmill of speed work and lifted weights. The plan was to run 10 miles again on Tuesday. But then I had some stuff I had to take care of in the morning that required my attention and that is when my back started to bother me. I tried to run in the afternoon but wasted my time hunting for my headphones-- which I never found-- and by that point my back was really bothering me so I just stayed home. Wednesday morning I knew I wouldn't be able to run anyway because I had an errand to do that took up most of my morning.
My back was feeling even more uncomfortable than the day before so I orginally thought running would be out of the question. But then, as the day progressed, I decided that I probably could run since when walking around my back wasn't really bothering me--just bending, twisting and sitting was painful. I figured if I could avoid those things while running I should be just fine.

So I sucked it up and ran 6 miles on the treadmill, 4 of which were speed work. I did some ab exercises for good measure and came home. My back didn't really bother me too much during the run but I was afraid to make sudden movements for fear of the shooting pain or that I would end up stuck in some half-bent position because of a muscle spasm. Not that this has ever happened to me but I have seen it be the base of many comedic plots on television--so I know it can happen.

I took some Motrin and iced the area when I got home to see if it would help. No dice. It seems to be most bothersome sitting, bending or laying down. It is really hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. Hence why I have been up since 3:30 this morning.

And, upon my late night Internet diagnosing I have pretty much decided I have some form of sciatica or pseudo-sciatica. I am not going searching for the links. Just take my word for it. And, right: I am not a doctor. (So Carrie, please don't call me and ask me to diagnosis your back pain as I am not, in fact, a doctor.) But I am a person who will avoiding going to one if I think they will tell me to rest and not run for x number of weeks. Why would I waste my money on advice I don't want to hear or plan on following?

Yeah, so right now I am thinking I will be scrapping my plan of a 16 mile run this morning. It could still happen but with the icy, rainy weather, my sore throat and geriatric back problem I kind of doubt it. Looks like another treadmill day for me.

Okay, I need to go stand up. My butt and back are killing me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Format and Puppy Girl Update

Following in the blogsteps of Anne and Steph I updated and changed my blog template. I also added AdSense. If you click on the ads I get to make a little money. Money that could fund things like Boston 2008, a kicky new skirt, and other cool races and cute running attire. Thank you in advance should you choose to click. And even if you don't thanks for just coming by to read.

Also, as requested, are recent Lola pictures. She is 9 weeks old and already is twice the size she was 3 weeks ago when we got her. I took her to the vet last week and she was 13 1/2 lbs. Funny how she is exactly between what Beau(14lbs) and Carmella(13lbs) weighed at their 2 month check ups. The vet and I talked about a lot of puppy things and he said I could start running her. I was surprised as I thought it would be a year. But he said short runs and building up over the next year would be fine. She is doing very well on the leash so over the weekend I took her for a 1/4 mile run. She did great and loved it. And it did not wear her out at all. But we will stick with the 1/4 mile jogs for awhile just to be safe. She has gone on a 2 mile walk and did fine with that. She is endurance puppy.

And I know some of you probably spit all over your keyboard to see her on my bed. I promise you that she definitely does not sleep there. And besides, I gave her a bath yesterday so she is very clean. Also, it seemed only fair that I take her puppy portrait on my bed. That is what I did with Carmella and Beau when they were around the same age.
Carmella 8 weeks

Beau 6 weeks
Next up? The Angel portrait, what else?
(Beau 6months)
(Carmella 11 months)
Coming soon the Angel Puppy Lola.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Day.

So tomorrow is MLK Day. It is a pretty big deal down here in Georgia. I only mention that because I have heard it is not a big deal in other areas of the country. The kids have off school and the banks and federal buildings are all closed.

The kids in the public schools--I can't speak for the privates--have been learning about Martin Luther King Jr. I know this for two reasons: the first is because I grew up going to Georgia public schools (I know when you read that sentence you thought: that explains everything) and second because Carmella told me on the way to dance class Friday that she learned about King at school last week.

Wow, a history lesson for the kindergartners. That is great.

So I asked if they talked about his I have a Dream speech. I even quoted a few lines for good measure. See, I can do that because I had to memorize the speech when I was in school-- along with the Gettysburg Address and the General Prologue to the The Canterbury Tales (in middle English no less. I hope you can see my eyeroll: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote/The droght of March hath perced to the roote.) In undergrad I even had to learn how to correctly pronounce the middle English. Waste. Of. Time.

Anyway, I didn't quote any of that stuff for her. I'll save it for a later, more apropos time. No need to show everything I've got right off the bat. The plan is to reveal slowly that I know everything! It already annoys her when she asks me if I can spell certain words and I can. She is asking because she wants to show me that she can. And I know I should pretend that I don't know how to spell dog but I am such a show off by nature I am spelling before I realize why she asking me. Just yet another reason why I am not in the running for Mom of the Year.

Yeah, so . . . about the speech. Did she learn that?
No, she said.
Wow, okay, did you learn that he received the Nobel Peace Prize?
What prize did you say Mommy? Is that a trophy?
Sigh uh no, not exactly, it is better than a trophy, bigger. Never mind. Did you learn that he was major leader of the Civil Rights movement?
Then she asked me to repeat the speech. I complied:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, " I said, trying to intone King's booming and passionate preacher voice. For good measure, I added, "Let freedom Ring! Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee . . ."
Sound familiar, I asked?
Uh, no. Never heard that.
"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last?"
Okay then exactly what did you learn about Martin Luther King Jr.?
That he died.
And I had no response to that.
My guess is that they told all these little 5 and 6 years old about all the highlights of King's life and probably even showed them a tape of his speech. At least I hope they did. And then they probably talked about how he was assassinated.

And I am guessing that was the last thing they told them and it was the most dramatic and that is what they remembered from their lesson.

I am not worried though.
We aren't moving, so I know she's got many more years to learn about King. She'll get it eventually. I do, however, wonder how her generation will process the racial issues of the past when they get their history lesson. And brace yourself, I am about to make one gross political statement that has the potential to offend but from my side of the fence I stand by it: I personally don't believe that there are races issues or even gender issues in this nation any longer--okay, wait, let me say for the most part I don't believe that there are racial issues. Yes, I will concede, that there is a select few that attempt to persevere the racist thinking of the past but by in large I think the race issue has evolved into an economic issue that divides people socially, culturally and politically--at least when it comes to the black/white race issue. So, I just wonder what it will be like for Carmella and Beau's generation to try to understand the struggles of the civil rights movement and the racism that once so violently pervaded the thinking in our country.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

10 Weeks 'til ING

I have to say I am very proud of my first week of official marathon number 3 training. I loosely followed the 12 week 70 or less mile plan from Advance Marathoning. (I started in on week ending 10 --the plan begins on week ending 11 (counting down to marathon day) but I only have 11 weeks, well now, 10 so I started the second week in. Hope that makes sense. Don't think about it too much because it doesn't matter.)

Here is what ole Petey said to do this week:
Monday: Rest or Cross training
Tuesday: Lactate Threshold 9 mi w/4 mile @ 15k-half marathon race pace
Wednesday: Medium-long run 11 mi
Thursday: Recovery 5 mi
Friday: Medium-long run 12 mi
Saturday: Recovery 5 mi
Sunday: Long run 17 mi
Total miles: 59

Here is what ole Natty did--and when I said "loosely followed" I meant not really at all:
Sunday: ( see, unlike Petey,I start my weeks on Sunday, like my calendar does) Rest--took kids to see Happy Feet. It was a workout to muddle through the Hollywood liberalism that was bitch smacking me throughout the film. Uhm, it was cute and all but made absolutely no sense to me.
Monday: 10 mile run. By accident this actually turned out to be like Petey's Lactate Threshold 9mi run because the first 5 miles mile were slow and painful but I started feeling good and made up time in the last 5. So yeah, a negative split. And the last 5 were under an 8 minute pace but the first 5 were almost a 9 minute pace because I had to hobble, I mean walk a bit on the hills. Then in the afternoon I went to the gym and did the elliptical for 30 minutes and did weights for 30 as well. So see, I even got cross training in too.
Tuesday: Rest. This should have been a Recovery 5mi run but I choose to not run because it was windy and cold and I wanted to eat popcorn. I have a popcorn problem. It is my favorite food. I know popcorn isn't so terrible for you but I like mine with butter, real butter--none of that fake crap or margarine, blech!. And I need a Coke. And it definitely better not be Diet, gag, Coke.
Wednesday: Long run 17 miles at an 8:29 pace. Then I went to the gym in the afternoon and ran a 5K on the treadmill at a sub 8 minute pace. Not sure of exact pace but I finished in just under 24 minutes. 23 something. Thought about weights but decided that really; 20 miles for the day? It is enough. See, sometimes I do know when to say when.
Thursday: Recovery 5 mi run. Pace was 8:20. So easy and I almost went longer but decided to go shopping and have lunch with best friend.
Friday: Medium run-- 7 mi. Pace was 8:10. It was fine. Thought about going again in the afternoon but decided not to wear myself out. Met some girlfriends out for dinner. Had a margarita, a beer. Got really puffy from the salt.
Saturday: Medium-long run 14 miles. Pace was 8:44. And it was 70+ degrees. Hot compared to my long run on Wed when it was in the 30's. 70 degrees is nice and all in January but it makes it really hard to get use to running when it is cold, like it normally is in January, February and God help me, March.
This was a tough run today. The margarita last night was strong and despite all my water consumption it really dehydrated me. I was doing okay until I hit those hills in the 2nd and 3rd miles. Then I answered my phone and stopped to walk a few minutes. I looked down and saw I was way off pace at 9:06. I really struggled the whole run to push it down. By the 6th mile I was at 8:59 and then at 8 miles 8:54 for the average pace. Finally around 10 miles I started to get below 8:50 and then this guy on the other side of the street passed me. We, I mean me, started racing. I caught him but he stayed right with me so I really think he was racing me too and then I had to stop to cross the street to get over on his side and he got a huge lead and I was never able to catch him again. Bastard. I know on a better day I could have totally blown him away, or so I tell myself. But he did help me to push my average pace down to 8:44 which I maintained the remaining miles home. So it turned out to be a good run after all. Note to self though: No margaritas race night.
Total miles: 56. I was only 3 miles off Petey's plan and I only ran 5 days instead of 6. Also, that was a pretty big leap to 56 mpw from the 43 mpw I managed last week on 6 days of running. I am feeling pretty good about being able to meet the prescribed 63 miles for next week-- assuming I run 6 days.

Friday, January 12, 2007

GA ING Marathon and Half Marathon Filling up!

So. . . those of you planning on running or are on the fence about running it and are planning to wait until last minute to register you better go ahead and register. The race is now 80% filled with 10,000 registered. They will close the field out at 15,000 for the half and the full combined. In case you guys have doubts remember that every year the Peachtree sells out before everyone can get their applications in and that race has field of 55,000 runners.
So go do it! Sign up! Do it here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Better Run

I did my first long run of this training cycle today. And it was much better than I thought it would be. The book, Advance Marathoning, says I should I be doing my long runs 30-45 seconds slower than marathon pace. At least, I think that is where I got that from. As I said here, I haven't really read the book. But I have, since my last post, skimmed it.

I started in on the second week of the 70 or less peak mile 12 week program. It said to do a 17 mile training run this week. So that is what I did and it was spot on at 8:29 pace per mile. And damn, it was pretty hard but I could have gone a few more miles if needed. I just have this habit on my long training runs of zoning out and it is hard to zone out when I have to focus on maintaining a pace. When running, I like to think about everything but running.

Being ambititous though, and mostly because the kids begged me, I went to the gym and did a 5K on the treadmill a few seconds below marathon pace (which is just shy of an 8 minute mile, btw). So a double today.

Now, I am beat and I doubt if I will even hit the projected 55 mpw for this week--having taken Sunday and Tuesday completely off. I am at 30 mpw now having done 10 miles on Monday (and another double with cross training and weights in the afternoon). I think I followed the subscribed workout that day but really, if I am being honest, this book is way more technical than I care to be: VO2 max, lactic threshold, general aerobic runs and all that.

And, I really hate it when they talk miles for the most part but then put these interval or speed workouts in meters. I don't do metric. It makes me have to think more than I want to (see a theme here?). Give me a poem to deconstruct but to have to pause and do meter vs mile math in my head? No thanks. Why can't they just say run a 1/2 mile at 5k pace? I feel like they asssume everyone has come to marathoning from a track. I totally lose interest when I see the meters or anything having to do with VO2 max or lactic threshold workouts.

I love to run but books like Advance Marathoning; I am thinking take the pleasure out of it. I guess maybe I like to be surprised at what I can do. You know, train all helter skelter and show up race day and kick ass or if not; not care because it wasn't like I really tried.

Oh well, still pushing on with it though. Maybe if I have sucess I will be more of a believer.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

La la la Lola

As I mentioned here Santa brought Beau and Carmella a puppy for Christmas.

These are some of the pictures from Christmas morning.

What Santa left Beau:

What Santa left Carmella:

What Santa left everyone:

Puppy wakes up Carmella with her howling.

Carmella wakes up Beau and tells him she thinks Santa left them a puppy.

The kids come downstairs and are shocked to see a real live puppy in the living room:

We discuss names.
Carmella suggests Samantha--a good choice but I think Samantha is too common a dog name--not to mention Beau isn't too good with the s sound or tri-syllabic words.
Beau, of course, predictably suggests Parker.
I explain to him the puppy is a girl.
He then suggests Dee Dee.
Dee Dee, he says, is his girlfriend.
Dee Dee is Max and Livi's mom.
Apparently both son and dad think Dee Dee is hot.
They are right, she is.
I suggest Lola-- per Aunt Pookie-- and everyone agrees.
Lola does have a middle name.
If you ask Beau it is Lola Parker Blue.
And if you ask Carmella it is Lola Grace Pink.
And Lola Parker Blue Grace Pink is having absolutely no trouble figuring out who is the Alpha dog around here:

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Return of the School Day

Hip hip hooray!

I am sure that in 15 or so years I might lament the days when my kids were little and yummy and home all the time but right now I am so happy that winter break is over. And believe me, they are just as excited as I am. Both kids were quite eager this morning to get back to school and to their friends. Though, Carmella did briefly worry that she might have forgotten all the rules. As if.

At any rate, I like to think that we love each other so much we respect each other's need for space.

And with the return of school I officially started training today. I can't really say that I haven't been training but I can say that I have not been wearing my watch or blogging about my runs. And I know that some of you, Lala, are happy about that. But your running log vacay is officially over.

I have less than eleven weeks until the GA ING marathon and my first attempt in 2007 of meeting my 3:30 marathon goal. After my run today though I am not feeling terribly optimistic about that goal. I think it might be a tad too ambitious but lofty goals and all that; I'll aim high just this one time. I am telling you right now come March 25th and even if it is a perfect day I won't be surprised if I can't do a minute faster than 3:37. And, honestly, I will still be pleased with that as a 3:37 marathon will be 15 seconds faster per mile than I did at Outer Banks. I think 15 seconds off a mile for 26 miles in 4 months would be pretty darn good.

Still, I am pressing forward to push those miles down to an eight or sub eight for the marathon.
I even bought a book.
Haven't read it yet but I do feel faster just owning it. Even a tad superior.
It is called . . . Advance Marathoning. The hoopla around this book and those that follow its marathon plans religiously tout faster marathon times. However, since here I am 11 weeks out and the shortest plan in the book is 12 weeks with the 18 week plan being the ideal I am obviously not going to be following it religiously--and that is assuming I actually get around to reading the book before GA ING. So, yeah, it probably won't work as well for me. But again, having it sit there on my bedside table is making me believe I am getting faster and as I've said before 90% of running is mental.

As usual I don't have much of a training plan other than to run and run a lot and hope for the best results. The most sound advice I have been given is to do what I did for Outer Banks but maybe peak the weekly mileage a tad and do my longer runs faster--as if I don't try to do them as fast as I can manage anyway. And that is probably what I will end up doing.

Here is what I accomplished in the past 6 or so weeks of maintenance and recovery:
Long runs: 12, 16, 17, 15, 10, 10. All at a 8:00-9:15 pace. The 10 milers might have been sub eight as they usually are.

MPW: 38, 42, 45, 46, 31, 43 with 4-6 days of running.

Cross training and weights: 3 times a week of 30 minutes on the elliptical and 20-45 minutes of weights.

Speed workouts: On the treadmill; 1-2 a week of 4 miles in roughly 30 or less minutes. All negative splits--runs of increasing intensity. I start at a 8 minute pace and push it down to finish doing 6 minute mile pace. Some mile sprints sprinkled throughout the week too. Those are in under 7 minutes.

Mid length runs: 6-10 mile runs about 2-3 times a week 7:30-8:15 pace

My Achilles tendons have been bothering me off and on. I think I have a mild case of Achilles tendonitis. I am just going to push through it since a few days rest didn't seem to make a difference. Tendonitis in various places seems to be my body's injury of choice. I have pretty much had a case of "tennis elbow" in every tendon in my leg and foot at some point since I started running. That and piriformis syndrome and Mortons Neuroma seem to be my biggest running complaints but none have ever been serious. Ignoring it, ignoring all the injuries has been my treatment strategy thus far and I see no reason as to change that. I will admit that the Achilles is proving harder to run through than when the tendonitis was on my foot or hamstring.

The way I figure it is that there might be people out there who run completely pain free-- and sometimes I am even one of them-- but I know more runners running through an injury than not. So, I figure who am I to complain? And I have to say that normally, after the first mile or so the pain dissipates. Endorphins make everything all better. And if they don't? I cut the run short.

So, how are all my other running compatriots doing with their training, recovery or maintenance?

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Pink Pig and Santa Claus

Everyone has holiday traditions. My favorites are the Loser party-- which I will get to in another post-- and going to see Santa and the Pink Pig with the kids.

Every year I have taken the kids to see Santa. And except for the first year when Carmella was 10 months old and I went alone I have gone with Dee Dee and her kids. Sometimes others go with us: Lala, Bubbles, Tara and Chase, Stacie and the girls etc.

Going to see Santa is always an exhausting experience for which Dee Dee and I reward ourselves with a long and leisurely lunch afterwards-- a lunch where we share a bottle-- or 2-- of wine and turn a blind eye to the shenanigans of our wild bunch. And yes, on that day we are one of those mothers who let their kids do whatever. And yes, it is partly because the wine makes us not give a damn what anyone else thinks but we are also too tired at that point to reprimand. And since we lunch so late the only people who are bothered are the servers-- who are generously compensated with a big tip for their patience. At the very least, we have yet to be asked to leave a restaurant. And, that is something.

However, Dee Dee and I did not share a bottle wine the first year we went together. Carmella was 20 months old and Max 2.
I remember Dee Dee's crest fallen face when I said I would have to pass on the wine. I was newly preggers and keeping my secret. I was surprised she didn't call me out right then but she just seemed mildly annoyed that we couldn't be festive and didn't press for a reason.
Carmella did not sit on Santa's lap that year. Sure she talked a big ole talk about sitting on Santa's lap but when sit came to lap she melted. She even cried hysterically when Max lapped it up with Santa.
This was also the only year that we went to North Point Mall so it is just as well that I didn't get a picture.
See, then my Santa's would not have matched.
For Carmella's first year--when I did get a picture-- and for subsequent years when I did too we went to see the Lenox Santa.
And it was just this year--5 Lenox Santa pictures later-- that Ryan asked me: Did you know that Santa is the same in all these pictures?
Did I know?
Honey, I planned it that way.

The hardest year . . . okay, wait, let me make that the most humiliating year was the next year when Carmella was almost 3 and Beau was 4 months old.
Dee Dee and I went to Lenox and Tara and Chase joined us that year.
This was also the year Rich's, now Macy's, reintroduced the Pink Pig.
But most importantly it was the year that I bought matching Christmas outfits for my kids and was the year that Carmella completely wigged out about Santa and a homeless lady in the mall screamed at me that I was a horrible, neglectful and uncaring mother who did not deserve to have children. That last part might be true, but tell me this?
Tell me.
Does this look like a picture of a neglected child? Beau? Maybe. Carmella, no way.
For the record I did not make Carmella have her picture taken--just Beau. She was screaming, clutching the railing because she was just that close to Santa and was also petrified for Beau. At that age she was very dramatic and I just pretty much chose to ignore it rather than pander to it. And that made me a horrible mother in that crazy lady's mind. Whatever.
And Beau? For the record? Was thrilled to sit on Santa's lap. But then again, Beau at 4 months of age was thrilled with everything. I mean, I was actually a bit worried because I didn't think it was normal for a baby to be that happy all the time about everything. I even brought it up at his 6 month appointment.
How I miss those days . . .

So I didn't get a picture of Carmella and Santa that year either. Just Beau. Which I think is okay since Carmella's first Santa picture was solo and they had the same set for Beau's solo picture. See how it worked out perfectly for my Santa picture menagerie that the sets match for when I had a solo kid picture vs the 2 kid pictures? Yeah, I know that probably only makes sense to me.
The next year was understandably less eventful and I really wish that the crazy mall lady could have been there to see how Carmella calmly and willing climbed into Santa's lap and told him every thing she wanted and gave him a picture and hugged him. But she wasn't there. And here is the proof positive of that event: Okay, so I will admit that Beau-- who was 16 months-- was a little freaked out but a few tears isn't even worth mentioning next to the Santa antics of Carmella that I had endured in past.
And here are some pictures of the next year when both kids smiled cheerfully on Santa's lap:

I think the easiest Santa expedition was this year by far. It was just Dee Dee and the kids and I.

And while the kids are still like a pack of indians when they are together, Dee Dee and I waxed hopeful over our bottle of wine that in just 10 short years the kids--at least Max and Carmella-- will be able to drive us home from the Santa trip and we will be able to get justifiably tipsy. They will still want to see Santa and ride the Pink Pig at that age, right?