Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mommy, smell my breath . . .

Growing up I use to call my sister a yucky dog girl because she would let our husky Bob lick her face. It totally disgusted me.

Lately, Beau's newest charming boy thing to do has been coming up to me and asking me to smell his breath. He does this after he brushes his teeth, after he eats Cheetos, after a lollipop, and various other tasty treats.

The past few days the new one he has said, after I stick my nose way too close to his mouth, is that Lola kissed him. I've sort of ignored him and not thought too much about it. I just figured that Lola licked his face and he thought I could smell her puppy-quickly-becoming-dog-breath on his face.

Uhm, no.

Apparently Beau and Lola are closer than I ever imagined.

And with that I leave you. The kids and I are off to the beach for a few days. Ryan, a little too happily, is staying behind. I'm not sure exactly who it is that is getting the vacation but my suspicions say it is not me. . .

PS. Regarding recover-ING: I got in 50 mpw of running (one of those runs was a 7 mile run in 53 minutes!) and 2 35 minute sessions on the elliptical and 3 days of upper body weights---I do have to put on a bikini next week you know so the abuse was necessary but tomorrow is a well deserved day off.

On perpetuating this mortal coil

Not shuffling off, mind you.

See me rolling my eyes at Hamlet? Whining, melancholy, tragic hero that he is. He knows nothing of Denmark or what is rotten in it.

And to be or not to be is not the damn question when you are a parent. More accurately it is to sleep? Ah, perchance to dream . . .

And the answer?

Not fucking likely ever again.

And yes this post should scare the bejesus out of any would be, or current, yet hopeful, parents of infants that sleep will once again play a role in your life. Well, it might if you are the husband but then again you probably won't be getting laid because your wife will hate you so much for snoring blissfully beside her while she does not sleep. So yeah, a good night rest is not really in your future either.

Hold on. Crap, I just burnt Carmella's toast. Good news is the smoke detector works!

Sorry, had to make more toast as she refused hockey puck toast. Gotta blog here and there while I half ass parent and do housewifely things you know. So anyway, the subject of parental sleep deprivation? Just like those black toes are a runner's badge of honor so is the ability to function on no sleep is a parent's.

Right after I had Carmella I got all these wonderful, well-meaning cards that said cleverly funny things like: Don't worry you'll sleep again . . . someday! Not! or you'll get use to never sleeping. . .

At the time I was completely puzzled over these statements of sleeplessness because I was getting more sleep than when I had when I was pregnant. I really felt well rested, I mean for a new mother. I was getting at least 3 straight hours of sleep not the 30 minutes I had been getting because I had to pee that often when I was pregnant.

And while Carmella was always a terrible napper she always slept great at night. So I totally missed out on putting that "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice in practice during the day. Beau was an even better sleeper. It was like he invented sleeping and eating he did those things so marvelously well. But I missed out the napping in the day with him too since I still had Carmella who most definitely was not taking any naps now that she was 2.

All that by no means is to say that either of my kids were one of those mythological babies who slept through the night right from birth; but they did sleep for 3 hours and then by a month old were going for 6 straight hours at night. And then by the time they were 3 months old they went 8 hours. By 6 months old they both slept for 12 straight blissful hours at night. Sure there were the occasional bumps in the road of sleepless nights here and there from teething, night terrors or sickness but by and large I have found out that we are the exception at having kids who consistently sleep well through the night. I'm not kidding I have friends with 6 year olds who apparently do not regularly sleep through the night.

Before you think that for one second I am bragging let me quickly get to my point. You see, I don't sleep through the night so it totally doesn't matter that my kids do. So for all my being blessed with kids who go to bed and sleep at night without issue still hasn't allowed me to get a good night's rest. Why? Because I hear everything. Being a parent has turned me into the lightest sleeper ever. See, now I finally get what they were saying in those wonderful, well-meaning cards. And here is yet again another instance of my smugness coming to bite me in the ass and humble me. Please, take my advice, anytime you find yourself in the middle of smug moment as a parent close your eyes as hard as you can and wish it away because if you don't you will be getting yours in spades. Parental karma. It is real and it will happen. Be humble, be very very humble.

So back to my point, if my kids get up in the middle night I know it before they do. Every cough, sniffle, turn in bed-- I hear. Heck I even wake up when Lola stirs and wait, all tense, to see if she is going to whine to go out. Ryan never hears anything-- even on the rare occasions when the kids come in our room. Even last night he didn't wake from Carmella and I's lengthy conversation about ear bugs at 2 in the morning.

I woke when I heard her whine. Then I heard her feet hit the floor and come padding in my room. Then she is standing by my bed. Whenever she comes in our room in the middle of the night she never says anything. She just stands there and waits for me to say something. (the kids never go to Ryan's side of the bed.) Even though I am trying really hard to fake asleep she seems to know that I am not asleep and is waiting for me to say something. So I do:

Me: What's wrong Carmella?

Carmella: I had a bad dream.

Me: About what?

And here I think she says a scary chicken.

Me: A scary chicken? What did it do?

And here I think she says no, not a chicken, a donkey.

Me: Okay, a scary donkey. What happened?

Carmella: No not a donkey! An ear bug.

Me: Oh. Well what happened?

Carmella: Are they real?

Me: What? Ear bugs? No absolutely not! Totally made up.

Carmella: I saw an ear bug in my book at school. Here I remember that they are learning about insects. Recalling earlier in the week Carmella's princess ant. Fucking kindergarten teaching them shit. Making them all smart so I can't just lie and make stuff up anymore. I am so screwed.

Me: Right, those ear bugs. Well they are nothing to worry about go back to bed.

Carmella: But can it happen?

Me:What?

Carmella: Can they get in your ears?

Me: Only if you live in Africa. Never go to Africa and you will be fine.Surely they haven't learned about Africa yet and I can still use this one.

Carmella: Oh, but not here in the United States? Crap she knows this is geographically related.

Me (worried now that this is going to take another turn): Right, not in the United States and definitely not in Georgia. Now go to bed and you are not allowed to get up until the sun is up in your room and mine. Remember, we sleep until the sun is up on Saturdays.

And she shuffles back into her room. And Ryan snores on beside me.


Last week it was Beau that woke me. Beau talks in his sleep so he pretty much wakes me up every night. But at this point I ignore the screaming demands for "Mama! I want a peanut butter sandwich! or " I want my Batman shirt now!". I figure if he is up and it is important he will come in my room.

So the other night when I heard him scream out "I want to kiss you!" I assumed he was talking in his sleep again. But his demand to kiss me persisted and I told him to come give me a kiss. And he said "Oh, okay." I was happy that the idea of getting out bed hadn't occurred to him and he waited for permission.

He padded into our room dragging Blue (his blanket--he is the quintessential Linus) and kissed my leg and went back to his room.

Easy enough, I thought.

Then I heard him: "Aw! Damn it, my light is out. Mama! My light is out!"

Me: So turn it on.

I hear him trying to turn on his light. And then "Aw! Damn it! It is broken!"

Me (determined not to get out of bed because if I get up and walk around there is no hope of going back to sleep.): Sleep without it. Dark is good. Makes you taller.

Beau(starting to whine): I'm scared. It is scary. I want my light.

Me: Just go to sleep. It is all fine. Don't you want to be tall?

Beau: Light! Light! Light!

And then the snoring lump beside me moves and says, "Oh for Christ's sakes!"
And stomps down the hall to Beau's room and turns on his light.

And me? I am smiling as I settle to go back to sleep. I am proud that Beau? When he said "damn it"? Got the d in the first syllable every time. But in my heart I was most thrilled that Ryan? Finally got woken from his peaceful slumber.

Ay! Now, there's the rub.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bad News

During my fall training for OBX I had this problem. And I ended up losing the toenail. It had finally grown back and was long enough that I had to clip it before the marathon on Sunday. I had even given myself a pedicure the day before since I once again had 10 toenails and could sport open-toed sandals. Apparently the clipping was a waste of time because I think (and think because I can't find my polish remover to check for sure but it is bruised around the nail bed just like last time)I have the black toe again --on the very same toe.

This really sucks because on Sunday? I'm going to the beach for 4 days. I apologize in advance about the state of my feet but no way will I be wearing closed toe shoes-- even if it does look like one of my toes is rotting off of my foot. This also means I cannot go get a professional pedicure because no way am I letting those Korean women anywhere near my toe. It hurts! Not to mention I know they will laugh at me.

In other marathon related news--for those interested-- here are my race day photos. I can only do a link since I don't plan on paying money for pictures where I look so hideous. I can get those for free.

I want to point out this one in particular. This is in that final sprint before crossing the finish line. The photo completely belies the early stages of death that I was experiencing. The other photo with my arms thrown up and doing the peace signs--that was on Freedom Parkway right after passing the 19th mile marker. I just wanted to point out that I was feeling really good there. It was a few miles after that point that I entered Dante's rings of hell.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Recover-ING


Slowly feeling better. Still a little more tired than usual and the quads are not at all cooperative about walking downstairs. Very stiff in the morning--think Tin Man. Feet though are feeling much better and the swelling in my hands is nearly gone.

Yesterday I managed 35 minutes--easy-- on the elliptical and 20 minutes of upper body weights and lots of stretching. I felt better right afterwards but woke up feeling tighter and more sore this morning than yesterday. As the day went on I felt better and this afternoon I ran a 5k in around 25 minutes and then jogged/walked another mile or 2. I wasn't really paying attention because I was chatting with my gym buddy Mike. Everything felt pretty good considering. Funny how running feels more comfortable than walking right now. I stretched again tonight and my legs are still way tight. I also find it strange that my Achilles and calf's-- that gave me so many problems in training-- haven't bothered me at all or even during the race.

So still working the kinks out over here. How is everyone else faring?

Monday, March 26, 2007

GA ING Marathon Race Report

For those that want to skip all the boring details of my 26.2 yesterday here is the gist:
Official results:
START 7:07:14 AM EST
10K 48:07
Half 1:43:20
20Mile 2:43:52
FINISH 3:44:15
TIME Chip Time: 3:44:15 Clock: 3:47:47
Pace: 8:33
Place Overall: 499
Gender place: 82

I woke up yesterday at 3:52 am. The alarm was set for 4 am but no matter what time I set the alarm for I always wake up before it goes off. Upon stepping out of bed my ankle felt weak and hurt. I had not run or done much of anything for 2 straight days so there was no reason for it to hurt and I chose to ignore the pain and went on getting dressed. The stiffness and pain either worked itself out or I forgot about it because after awhile I was unaware of it.

I left the house at 5:15 and headed downtown to my sister's house in Atlanta. I got there at 5:50. She was, as usual grumpy--so not a morning person-- and even my ING shaker and little cheer didn't rally her. It is kind of a downer to be all happy in the morning when everyone else is sour grapes.

I brought her outfits and she picked black skirt and declined visor. I also discouraged her from the cotton tank and later she thanked me for my wise-- although less cute-- recommendation of a technical singlet.

Wes showed up and was all tired and whining and hungover. I am not sympathetic. He is the one who volunteered to take us to the start so he knew what he would be doing and at what time and besides it wasn't like he was running. We took my car and I found some of the kids' candy in the car so I ate a blow pop and showed my blue tongue to Sarah several times. She was unimpressed. See how fun I am in the morning?

Wes dropped us near Underground and we ran to get in line for the port-o-lets. The lines were ridiculous. We got in line at 6:30. At 6:48 I started timing people. My sister was a bit mortified at this and that I was being very vocal about my impatience. But seriously, I know I can pee in less than 15 seconds so I don't see why everyone else can't too. I mean do you really want to spend anymore time than that in the portapotty? And the men? They took the longest to pee! Averaging about a minute--some even took 2 whole minutes. That is just wrong. With that equipment I should think you would be much faster. Most women took about 40 seconds. Sarah beat me with a record 12 seconds. It was because I fumbled with the tp. I should have just dripped dry and then I would have won.

At 6:56 we ran to the start and I pushed my way through the crowd trying to get with my pace group. I apologize to all the people I shoved out the way to get through the crowd but I did not want to be way in the back. I was very annoyed to find that they were not corralling people and even worse that they--the volunteers--would not let me cut through to my pace group. Though one volunteer did relent and I got as close as the 5 hour pace group. I never heard the gun and had to ask if it had started realizing it was now well past 7am. Then the mass of people finally started moving. I started Garmin as soon as I crossed the mat and wanted to shove all those people walking out of the way. IT IS A RACE!!! After jockeying a bit hopped on the sidewalk and sprinted it. My friend said she saw me go by in pink skirt like someone was chasing my ass.I am sure I looked ridiculous but I wanted to get away from all the walkers and hopefully catch my pace group.

As I was running down the side walk I saw an older woman who had fallen in the middle of the crowd and was being dragged out of the mob before she got trampled. See, that is is why you should run at the race start and if you don't plan on running get way, way in the back and let the runners be ahead.

Okay, please let me rant on here a second about this: Even in the Atlanta half marathon-- where you are also not corralled-- people still start running once they cross that chip mat. You can visibly see the wave roll ahead of you and then you are running. That did not happen yesterday at all. I was passing walkers in the those first 2-3 miles. I should not have been passing walkers at all after that first mile if they had placed them self appropriately in the line up. And let me also say that it is very hard to stop when you come running down the road at a sub 7 minute pace and find yourself directly behind someone walking a 16 minute pace. That is how people get hurt. So in case this was lots of peoples first race ever and they just didn't know any better let me be the one to tell you that unless you are in the way, way, way back that when your foot hits that mat it is time to start running. Otherwise, please, step aside.

Okay I feel better having said that. So anyway, I know this is where I went wrong but I started chasing down my pace group. I passed the clock at the first mile split and it said 10 something. So I think my first mile was well under 7 minutes. 3 miles was 22 minutes, way, way too fast. This is where I saw Bubbles, Lala and Pop (Poppy ran the half!). They were surprised to see me as I blew past them and mom said I was already glistening. I was hot and I think it was barely in the 60's. I started to slow a bit and around the 5th mile I finally caught and passed the 3:40 pace group.

I think around the 6 mile mark I realized that I was actually ahead of a 3:30 pace time wise but not physically on the course. I had banked about a minute 15. I was hot but I feeling really good. I ate a few clif blocks in the first 10k and stopped at 2 water stations. Then I didn't see another water station til the 11th mile. Not good. But I was still feeling really good.

Somewhere in Decatur-- I think that was in the 11th mile maybe earlier-- a man called out that I was in the top 75 women. So to entertain myself I counted down as passed the girls 74, 73, 72 . . . Later though I would be too confused to count back up as they passed me on Peachtree.

Around 15 miles I still had just under a minute in the bank to be on target for a 3:30 marathon. I knew that I was slowing and would continue to do so considering the course and rising heat. I decided to stop and go to the restroom as I felt that nagging feeling in my bladder. But I couldn't go. I briefly thought this was odd because I am one of those people that can always go but didn't worry about it too much. I was drinking water at every station I came to and I was eating my shot blocks and had had a gel earlier. That was more that I took in my last 2 marathons so I figured I was fine.

I was really enjoying myself. The course is amazing and rolled through the old Atlanta neighborhoods punctuated buy the blooming cherry, dogwoods, pear and red bud trees. Everywhere green with cotton candy like blossoms and pretty bungalows. I thought of e.e. cummings poem anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) as ran through Druid Hills and Inman park. Anyway, just gorgeous. I loved it and didn't really mind all the hills until we hit Freedom parkway. I think they should take this part out. I think it offers nothing and is just a 2 1/2 mile stretch of concrete and asphalt. This was when I really started to feel the effects of the heat.

It was going up Freedom Parkway, right before the 19th mile marker, that I saw the second of the 3 downed runners I came across during the race. This one brought me to a walk. It was a young, fit looking guy. He was already off the course, surrounded by other runners and he was unconscious when I came upon him. They were trying to turn him over and he was just out-- totally floppy. There was nothing I could do so I kept on running. The firetruck going to him passed me at the beginning of the the 20th mile so I hope they got to him in time. I have heard no reports of anyone dying so I have to assume everyone I saw went down was fine. I am sure this being the inaugural run they are downplaying any major glitches. But let me just say it was a tough course anyway and people were struggling big time from the heat. I mean, hello, nearly every year someone dies running the Peachtree and that is only a 10k. Yesterday felt hotter to me than in any of the years I have run the Peachtree and that is on July 4th.

I was still feeling good and realized that I was about 2 minutes behind a 3:30 marathon goal and I was fine with that. I really was not set on getting a 3:30-- just a sub 3:40-- or at the very least a PR. I figured with a 10k to go and how I was feeling it was in the bag. I even cheered at the 20 mile split and yelled out "Last 10k, woohoo!" Those around me weren't quite as cheery.

Coming up Ponce De Leon I ran up on a weaving runner with 2 cyclists on either side of him. They were medics. The runner, a man in his late 40's I'd guess, who looked to be quite fit, raised his hand to wave them off and then went down. He just crumpled into himself right before me. As I went around him I saw him trying to stand and the medics pushed him down and pulled him off the course. That was very unnerving to see but I was still feeling good and not worried.

I turned into the Highlands and was feeling great. I mean, yes, my feet were hurting and I was hot but you know that was not surprising considering I had just run 21 miles. I saw my uncle in front of Limerck's Junction. He jogged alongside with me with his laptop and said he was tracking me. I asked where I was and he said I was predicted for a 3:34 finish. Awesome, a nine minute PR.

Then after I passed the Inman park middle school I saw Ryan, Beau, Carmella and Lola. They didn't see me and I had to jump off the course to get to their attention. I gave out sweaty kisses and forgot to tell Ryan to get orange juice and Motrin for the end. Oh well, I would be okay. As I came down a hill there was a guy setting out beers in front of his house. I called out to him-- but I don't think he heard me-- that after 21 miles I wanted something better than Miller lite. I know, gift horse in the mouth but Miller lite? Gag.

As I entered Piedmont Park I started to get really cold. I had goose bumps and my hands were very swollen. I also wasn't sure where I was. I couldn't figure out if I was still in the 21st mile or the 22nd. I started to feel a little sick and dizzy so I slowed down. Then this guy in a yellow nut hugger (a.k.a speedo) ran up beside me. This made me feel sicker. It was just obscene and I picked up the pace a bit because I sure as hell didn't want there to be any race pictures of me next to him. I couldn't shake him and my feet were absolutely killing me. Every step felt like my bones were being crushed and I felt so sick. So I stopped and walked and creepy speedo guy passed me and went on his jiggly sweaty way. Finally I saw the 23rd mile marker. I was so happy that I was where I thought I was but time was really slipping away. I made a deal with myself that I would run the flat and downhill parts and could walk/jog the hills. This was a good plan but the last 3 miles? Yeah, they are uphill. It was Atlanta all over again.

And here is my other rant, and I mean no offense to the walkers doing the half marathon, but after busting my ass on 22 grueling miles, hitting the wall and suffering early signs of heat stroke, and then find myself having to walk among half marathoners with canes-- okay they were walking sticks-- was very demoralizing. Not to mention when I was struggling to run I had weave around them. They should have had the half start later or well before so the marathoners don't have to tango with them at the end. Just seems unfair to the winners of the marathons to have to cross the finish line with the half marathoners and also not fair to the halfers who are struggling after 2+ hours of running and have marathoners blow past them.

So yeah, I really wasn't feeling well and my feet were just killing me. I figured my choices were to just quit right then, run and be like one of those runners who pass out on the course and maybe not finish and seriously hurt myself or conserve my energy and walk so I could finish. I really wanted to finish and knew I could but it was hard getting past having to walk after having run so strong for 22 miles. I was so angry that I wasn't finishing strong. I even said out loud as I came up on the Fox Theater that this was just mean--referring to the hill, to the heat. Those last miles were a blur and I think I probably talked to myself. I felt very out of it.

Once I got to the last mile I knew I could finish it running and really busted it out the last stretch to the finish. I must have looked strong and impressive because Lala said I was "flying". It was a total rouse but none of the people at the finish had seen me humbled and crawling up Peachtree so-- at least to them-- it looked like I kicked hill ass. I even threw my arms up and smiled for the photographers.

I was very confused after I finished and I have never, I mean never felt as bad after a race as I did then. The volunteers just push you on through the finish maze. I felt like I was drugged and was still really cold as volunteers pointed me this way, and wait, stop here and let me take your chip. Here, hang on, congratulations, here is your medal. Then someone pressing water into my hands and another putting a space blanket around me. Wait. Stop, Natalie, (my name was on my bib but it was weird that everyone knew my name)let me take your photo. Hold up your medal and smile. Medal? When did I get this? Then people offering me food and somehow I ended up with pretzels. I was just wandering through this maze not really seeing, hearing anything. Just sort of sleepwalking awake. I saw the medical tent and decided I should ask them if I was okay.

Apparently not because the next thing I knew I was laying on a cot getting my pulse and bp taken. Then they placed ice on me and on my hands and propped my legs up. When I wiped my face I brushed off salt and realized that I was covered in it. They kept asking me to eat or drink and if I was going to throw up. And they must have asked me my name about 15 times and after the first few time of telling them I just started pointing to my bib. I tried to tell them that I was feeling much better now that I wasn't running. 3 different medics also asked me how hot it was. I kept saying I don't know the temperature. I felt like I wasn't understanding the question. But looking back on it now I think they were asking me how hot I felt it was. At the time though? I thought they were just trying to make small talk about the weather with me and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and rest for a moment.

I don't know how long I was there when Wes found me in the tent. I was feeling better by that point and told him to tell Ryan where I was but not to come since I didn't want the kids to see me on a cot surrounded by people with IV's and in wheel chairs. They took my pulse and bp again and moved me to a blanket and had me sit up. Lala and Pookie showed up then and helped me take my shoes off. We all marveled at how swollen my feet and hands were and put more ice on them. Bubbles and Poppy came by and took pictures and then left. Shortly after I was feeling better even though I was starting to have bad stomach cramps but they passed and I was able to walk to the car.

Ryan and I went to Sarah's and I tried to use her restroom but still couldn't pee. I was feeling like I could finally eat something so I had an olive and cream cheese sandwich on toast. I know that probably sounds gross but it was just what I needed.

After that Ryan, the kids and I left. My Dad drove my car home since I felt too shaky to drive. Once I got home I was finally able to pee-- and I know you really wanted to know that. Then I took an ice bath and had a big glass of orange juice and Motrin and felt eight million times better.

Today I am feeling tired and my quads are sore and I think I have tendinitis or possibly a stress fracture on my right foot.We'll see. Sometimes these things just take a few days to work out and are not really injuries. I am feeling well enough that I may go to the gym for some cross training to work out this soreness in my quads later today. I don't know what is up with Peachtree but the only time my quads ever feel like this is after I have run a race that has Peachtree Road in it. Bitch. I'll kick her ass one of these days.

Thank you to everyone for your support and well wishes. ING wasn't what I had hoped it would be but I am glad I finished and I don't regret running it.

And I do recommend this marathon. It is a challenging and beautiful course (except Freedom Pkwy) and yesterday was unusually warm. It is normally 20-30 degrees cooler. I believe we set a record high of 87 yesterday. So don't let yesterday's heat detour you from signing up for next year's ING. I am sure they will have the start logistics worked out by then. And maybe even tweak the course a bit and stagger the half marathon and start times so the marathoners--especially the winners--don't have to dart around the half marathoners.

And you know, next year, I may be one of those half marathoners since I'll be doing Boston as my spring marathon.

Lastly, props to all my friends who ran:
Pookie--half--1:58
Fishstick--half--2:27
Danielle--half--2:19
Tracy--half--2:27
Poppy--half-- 2:02
Paige--first full!--4:33
Toby--first full!--4:53
Steph--half--1:54
Virginia--half--2:03
Jason--half--2:01
Also Wes and James

I am so proud to have such great runner friends. You guys did fantastic!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Marrying Type


See that guy there?

That is Wes.

And guess what.

He is going to be my brother in law.

Yeah! He FINALLY asked Pookie (my sister) to marry him.

Look, here I am with the happy couple. Psst I'm the blond. Pookie is the brunette though lately I think she is red. She switches her color a lot. And her hair cuts. She is a hairdresser. It is what they do. Me, who had to pretend all day that I didn't know this proposal was going down--pretend to Wes and Sarah. Wes who drove us to the race and Sarah who spent prerace with me. Wes who found me in the medical tent after the race. Wes who drove my car and who I always ask shamelessly when is he going to pop the question. I am good though and didn't say anything all day even though there were a lot of times I could have. But see, that is because I am so self involved--especially today-- that it really isn't hard for me to keep a secret since often I am too busy thinking about myself to stop and spill the beans.

Lala though? Yeah, don't tell her anything. She tells everyone. It is funny to me that she makes these sculptures. They are called Secret Keepers. Only thing she knows about a secret is how not to keep it. That, and make funny little stone heads that apparently keep secrets.

Anyway, here is the happy couple:
Congratulations. I am so happy for you guys and please don't make me wear an ugly bride's maid dress.

Race post tomorrow. I am going to bed. I just had to share the exciting news.

PS. Here is the rock and the date!:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ga ING Marathon Plan


I went to the expo this morning. It opened at a 11 and while I got downtown around 11 it took me a little driving around to find parking. I would have happily parked at the $5 all day parking a half mile away but I had Beau with me. So we parked less than a block away and got there a bit before 11:30.

OhMyGod! The line was sooooo freaking long just to get in. It just kept going and going and going and finally towards the end I saw my friend Danielle who is doing the half (like everyone else I know is) and hopped in line with her. She was freaking out a little since she had to be back in the burbs before 12:30 to get her little girl from MMO. I offered to take her ID and get her number for her. She pretty much lives around the corner but she got on her cell and 911'd her mother-in-law to pick up Jackie. Then she ranted, as only an expert who does trade shows for a living can, that she could give the Ga ING some tips on how to better run things.

After her rant we chatted while we waited and waited and inched along and finally got in. Here is a tip--go to the expo knowing your number. It will save you some time. You can look it up here. If it wasn't for Wes I might not have happened to know mine.

Once we got in Danielle and I went our separate ways to get our numbers. She was still waiting to get hers when I went by to get my shirt and other swag. I wished her luck in the race.

Then I set out to find the sign-up for pace groups. This by far is the biggest race expo I have ever attended. The one at OBX and for the Atlanta Marathon are teeny tiny and I have never been the Peachtree Expo (but you can betcha I will be going this year to make sure my chip is mine).

After wandering around I found the pace group sign-up directly across from the Big Peach check out. Of course, this was after I asked the boys at Big Peach where it was. In my defense I had asked 5 other people prior to them who didn't know. I think it made Steve feel good to have a chuckle at my expense.

I optimistically signed up to go out with the 3:30 pace group.
I probably won't make the whole race with them but my other option was the 3:40 and I feel fairly confident I can get under that. We will see how much those hills undo me. I am predicting a 8:15 pace overall.
Oh yeah my 3 goals:
The eh, okay: To finish and have fun
The Realistic: To PR or do the same (under 3:43)
The having my cake and eating it: 3:30 or less (yeah, right).

Beau didn't want to leave and since we had time we wandered around a bit. I bought a new pink visor-- which Beau tried to dissuade me from doing as he doesn't like pink. Look Mommy, purple. I like Blue, Mommy. Blue is awesome. Then Beau had a great time collecting all the freebies he could find: orange sunglasses, Saturn bag, ING bag, cowbells--which he rang all the way home, water bottle, I heart Waffle House pin and coupon for free waffle--this is his most prized possession, blow up ING shakers that he uses has a weapon and to torment Lola with, and every bit of free food and drink that was offered to him. I should say that he wore most of his swag as we walked around. He really thought the expo was awesome. And yeah, that is his word du jour--along with "Moose!" which is some sort of insult. I haven't figured that one out.

Okay, so, I've got my number, my pace group, my outfit and new visor and shoes with 100 miles on them. And here is my play list for that last 10K--no I will not be unplugging:
Til Kingdom Come--Coldplay
Unguarded Moment--Her Majesty's Finest (on i-tunes--couldn't find a link. It is a cover of the Church's)
Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood--Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah!
Lose Yourself--Eminem
If I Should Fall From the Grace of God--The Pogues
O'Valencia--The Decemberists
Under Pressure--Queen
A Good Idea--Sugar
Closer to Fine--Indigo Girls
Jesus Walks--Kanye West The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now . . .
Laid--James
The Devil Went Down to Georgia--Charlie Daniels
The Sikbed of Cuchulainn--The Pogues

And did you see this?
I hope to finish before the temperatures get too far into the 70's but otherwise it looks pretty damn near perfect.Gosh and what an amazing day for friends and family to come cheer on their marathoner or half marathoner. Wow.

And Lala, here is the link to track your marathoner and your half-marathoner. Plug in the appropriate information. Get Pop to help you. Same for you Bubbles, but get Poppy to help you.

Good luck, best wishes and I hope everyone running with me on Sunday has an amazing race but most of all has a great time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pretty Things on a Shelf


I.
A Faberge egg
More than itself, an opalescent hidden life that never begs.
Then maybe a geode--split and revealing millions of dazzling crystals--
A hidden mystery of complex and beautiful design
Juxtaposed in a menagerie of frivolity.

Scattered in shapes and sizes
Photographs of smiling family, friends, and
Laughing children framed in glided wood and shining glass.
Happy waltzing families, as Tolstoy once told,
Really are not all happy in the same way.

Left off center a delicate flower
Cut down in full glory bloom.
Maybe a lily in an heirloom vase
Or perhaps an exotic orchid
Set upon the shelf, equally doomed.

Spined out flat
A tattered antique diary of Anais Nin.
Confessions fictionalized in a misbehaved, romantic and eroticised life.
Or maybe some darker tale of reveling sadness, lost dreams, wasted ambition--
The Bell Jar or The Sun Also Rises.
Whichever, whatever--confessions or roman a clef—
It is bound and forgotten in old leather
With water stains on the cover,
Flaking title on weathered spine.

II.
On a dark shelf in a secret corridor
With buried echoes of mourning,
The divided chambers of my heart implode.
Breathless now and out of miles and broken walks
Comes the sadness; splintering out of despair,
From the weight and this pain of loving you.

Like Isis in the underworld
Trying to find the pieces to make Osiris whole again,
Or as Artemis running over punishing hill chasing not deer or wild boar
But to save Horus and Iphigenia
From the fragments of tomorrow, yesterday and today--
I go on and on and on, running.

The cherry blossoms cut the brilliance of the morning that rushes past me.
I watch as a hawk swoops down to catch its prey--
An unaware mouse shuttled off to its doom.
On and on and on I run.
Pounding out the miles and broken walks until
the salt I taste is no longer sweat but tears.

On and on and on I run and the miles fall away.
I put my dark things back on the secret shelf and lock them
In the furthermost quarter of my heart.
I run until I come home happy,
Loving you all again, and place myself
Like pretty things on a shelf.


* The photograph is a self portrait and is old. It was my very freshman attempt in the darkroom trying to do an Ulesman. The poem is new, I wrote it this morning after my run. I am sure it could use a million edits and paring down but I doubt I'll ever get around to it.

Kitty Poop

I know I have mentioned a gazillion times about Beau's speech disorder. I can't really call it a delay since what he says is actually ahead of the "average" kid his age--which is 3 1/2 by the way. He has appropriate sentence structure, uses plurals, articles, past tense and has a rather large vocabulary--when you can understand it. Not to mention, he talks. A lot.

His speech continues, although slowly, to improve. A year ago he had no syllable at the beginning of words. Then he had a syllable-- usually an h sound. Then he started putting constants, though sometimes it is the wrong one and sometimes he still uses an h sound. This is where we are today. And the good news is that he can make all the sounds he is suppose to be making-- it is just getting the right sound in the right word and in the right place that is the difficulty. And I admit that I am really bad at understanding him. I do not have a very good ear. Other people often understand him better than I do. I know, poor kid.

Okay, I promise to not explain that to you again. Just keep in mind that basically what it means is that often times with Beau? There is an awful lot of misunderstanding. And Beau? He is amazingly patient and forgiving--especially for a three year old who just wants to be understood. I mean, I know adults who throw huge tantrums when they are misunderstood. So for Beau to take it all in as much stride as he does, well, let's just say I think he is a pretty awesome person.

Here let me illustrate a sample exchange with Beau:

He just came and told me that "Lola licked my face and gave me kisses! Aw!"

Really, it sounded like "Lola hit my face and she gave me hisses! Aw!" But licks and kisses make more sense because Lola is a dog not a snake and why would Beau, weird as he is at times, think hits and hisses are cute? So I repeated that Lola licked his face and gave him kisses? And Beau, thrilled that I got it the first time, happily confirmed that she licked and kissed. See, lots of educated guess work and knowing the context are key to having a successful conversation with Beau.

Now that I have explained all that I will get to my story.

Yesterday I picked up Beau and Parker from school. And as usual they called me poopy Mommy and as usual I scolded them that they were not allowed to say potty words. Really, I don't care but they get in trouble for this at school and some other Moms get all sorts of bent out of shape and whisper behind your back or-- worse--call you at home because your child called their kid a poopy diaper head. I told my kids that they can say all the "bad" words they want in the bathroom. Of course, this has come back to bite me in the ass when Carmella said "fucking damn it" in the public restroom.

Yeah, well anyway, Beau immediately started saying "kitty poops" while we were still in the school. I quietly reminded him that we don't say "poop" unless we are in the bathroom. To which he responded more loudly and chanting: "Kitty Poop! Kitty Poop! Kitty Poop!"

I ushered the boys across the parking lot, shushing Beau who still chanted of kitty poop, and buckled them both in their seats. As I drove out of the parking lot Beau still called out kitty poops, trying it out in many different voices: sweet polite kitty poops, teeth gritting impatient kitty poops, and finally, top of the lungs punctuated KIT-TY POOPS MOMMY! All the while I kept telling him how he was going to have to have some alone time in his room and think about why we don't say kitty poop.

And then, at the stop light, I happened to glance down on the front passenger seat. That is when I saw them: the bag of cheesy poufs that my neighbor had given Beau that morning as we walked home from walking Carmella to school. The very cheesy poufs that I had promised Beau he could have after school.

There is no words to describe the all kinds of terribleness I felt as I asked Beau, finally getting it and holding up the bag, "Cheesy Poufs?"

"Yay!" he cheered. "Kitty Poops!"

I ripped open the bag and tossed it back to him. Which he judiciously shared with Parker who said he wanted 3 Cheetos. And Beau said "No Cheetos Parker! Kitty Poops!"

And Parker conceded, "Beau, I want 3 kitty poops!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Badda Bing Badda BANGS!


Guess who got a new hair cut?

Well no. Not Ellie.
Tara?

Yep. Highlights too.
Carmella?


Yep.
She was disappointed that she didn't look any different. Honey, it is your legacy. Embrace it.

Beau and Chase?
Beau yes.

Chase no.

Tara's sister Melissa came over to Salon De Nat to let Pookie wield her magic on her too. But she left before I could get a picture. I was off getting the boys and then Carmella from their schools. I totally missed out on all the kid free fun.

And what about me you ask? Yep.

Carmella snapped this picture of me in foils.

Yes, I know, hideous picture. I didn't have time to shower and change before they all got here and then I had to run off and do the carpool shuffle and my errands.

But in all honesty, this is pretty much how I look everyday. Just substitute a visor for those foils and you've got me on any given day.

Pink skirt is cute though, isn't it? Pookie, who made fun of skirt at the Atlanta Half marathon, now openly covets skirt for ING marathon. I may lend her one. Still deciding which one I will wear.

But yay! Another convert.

Anyway, I really, really hate having my hair cut. I go way too long between trims. I am totally not adventurous when it comes to my hair. I have pretty much had the same hair since high school--blond, all one length long. And I am talking about the hair I had after I set aside the Clairol mist and stopped competing in who had the biggest, tallest, hardest hair ever contest. I have tried out many colors: every shade of blondness, red and brown. But I have been settled on dark blond for awhile. My sister calls it mermaid hair. I think it of it more as Captain Cave Man hair.

So this whole day of beauty got started because I called my sister over to cut my hair. Then everyone wanted cuts. So everyone one got cuts. And me?

I got some little blond streaks and. . . . BANGS!

Pookie was quite reluctant to cut them as she thinks I will spend all of our upcoming beach vacation bitching and moaning about them. And fair enough, she is probably right. But today? Today I love them. And yes, they will probably irritate the crap out of me running. Oh well. See. See how the taper really is madness.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Póg Mo Thóin

That is Gaelic for "kiss my ass" and it is directed at the wind.

It was bitterly windy on my run this morning. It didn't get me down though. I buoyed on my run with happy thoughts as I remembered that last night I dreamt of Behan and he told of his life's philosophies. I took them as my own and kept that light inside of me because I am going, no matter which way the wind is blowing . . .

Okay, maybe whiskey or 15 pints of beer is not entirely recommended during the taper but it is St. Patrick's Day and I am going to embrace my quarter Irishness (and my Irish man who will drink the whiskey) drink a few beers and thoroughly enjoy the day.

And not just because of the beer or my soon to be drunk Irish man but because I get to listen to Shane and Pogues all day long. I love the Pogues. So this is my Ode to the Pogues and all things Pogalicious on St Paddy's Day Post. So happy St. Patrick's Day and I hope you all are out celebrating the Irish and the punch drunkenness that goes with it.
Here is more to help you toss it back and dance a jig:


This is my kick it in song when I am running. Does that trick every time:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Taper Methodology by Nat: Cookies, Kids, Wagon and Dog workouts

Follow these tips and you too will find yourself stronger come race day!

Sorry about the lack of posts. I have been way too busy these past few days eating cookies to blog much. Plus I was thinking that maybe my consumption--aside from a little embarrassing-- might be a tad boring. But the good news is that we have broken into the last box of Samoas. Tagalongs and Thin mints still remain but those I have no problem resisting so the posts about the cookies should be waning soon enough.

I admit it. I am no good at the taper. I never know what to do and training pretty much falls apart. Basically I just cut out the long run the last 2 weeks before a marathon and just do the runs I like to do at a comfortable pace or whatever the hell I feel like doing. I did go look at my Advance Marathoning book for Petey's suggested taper and yeah, well, I'm not going to do that. So here is how I have tapered so far this week:

Sunday: 2 1/2 mile walk with the kids and Lola. I know that doesn't sound like much or worth mentioning as a workout but I count it because when I go for a walk with the kids I end up carrying Beau on my shoulders for part of it while Lola pulls me in every direction. I "wear" her via a leash wrapped around my waist so I am hands free for the kids but my whole body gets twisted and tossed around as a result. It really is quite a workout since I am always so exhausted after one of these outings, physically and mentally.

Monday: 6 miles in 48 minutes

Tuesday: 10 miles in 81 minutes. In the afternoon I pulled the kids in the wagon-- little over a mile but it was hard as shit. See how when you are mom your training is a little less traditional? I am thinking that in that last 5k of the marathon when I am running up some hill on Peachtree I will be reminded of trying to run up the hill in front of my house while Beau and Parker scream at me to go faster and I will remember how I survived, preserved and conquered that hill. Peachtree? Well, let's just say that I happen to think the marathon will prove easier. I'll let you know how this comparison plays out.

Wednesday: 10 miles in 88 minutes in the morning. Did the elliptical for 35 minutes at the gym in the afternoon. Thought about doing weights but didn't. And here is an example where the thought does not count.

Thursday: 6 miles in 52 minutes.

Friday: 5k in 21:09 on the treadmill. I think that is the fastest I have ever done a 5K. It felt great and probably should have been faster. I really think in a race I could get that under 21 minutes. I started running on the mill at 7:45 pace but it takes a while for it to get there so I lose time. Then I pushed the pace through the run and finished at 6:15 pace. So a negative split. Then I ran 2 more miles and finished the whole run in 38:22 so not a negative split there but that was just cool down. Did a few weights and found that I have grown weaker. The 15lb dumb bells felt heavy after just a few reps. Generally I can get through a couple of sets before they even remotely feel heavy. Sometimes this happens because I am just worn out but I think yesterday it was because have been bad about doing weights lately and really am weaker. Whatever the reason--tired or muscle loss-- I don't really care as I can get my upper body strength back after the marathon fast enough. However, I am looking leaner up top so maybe I don't want it back. I like looking like a weakling. Last summer my sister commented on my "guns" and asked if I was "tossing Ryan around." Who wants to look like they can toss their husband across the room?

Saturday: I don't know yet. I am going to finish my coffee and call Lala and Pop and see if they will watch the kids so I can go do a 7 or 10 mile run. If not I guess I will go torture myself on the treadmill for a shorter distance and maybe try the weights again. Or maybe I'll go real crazy and do a yoga class. What I do know is that I will be eating a Samoa or two before I do anything else. They seem to be helping.

PS. Good luck Charlie!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More on Nat getting Fat

Funny--not funny ha ha but funny peculiar-- how the only thing tapering is my running and caloric burn.

My waistline?

It is in a reverse taper.

So, yes, those damn Girl Scout cookies arrived. The neighbor girl had come by in January on a day I had done a long run. On a day that willpower and worries of getting fat were far from my mind.

I asked, maybe a little too eagerly, when they would arrive. March, she said. And I don't know why I was thinking they would get here before the taper. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Neighbor girl called last week asking when she could deliver them. I returned her call and left a vague message that I am home most days in the afternoon but sometimes I am not so she should call before she comes by. Then I made an effort to not be home and not answer the phone.

That bought me 6 days.

But yesterday was such a nice day so Beau and Parker (Parker's Mom and I carpool now--her morning, me afternoon-- and he is over here now twice a week for a play date) walked up to the school get Carmella and her friend Abby, who was also coming over for a play date.

And when I say we walked I should clarify and explain that I walked and pulled Beau and Parker the 1/2 mile, uphill, to the school in the wagon and then back home. All the while they yelled at me to go faster! I did the best I could but running up hill pulling a wagon with what, I don't know, 80lbs? Ain't all that easy.

On the way home we ran into neighbor girl who asked if we would be home today.

Yes.

Can she bring the cookies by?

Sigh, if you must. I mean, absolutely!

So she brought the cookies. And I, of course, immediately tore into one of the 3 boxes of Samoas. And after inhaling 3 cookies I remembered the children in my backyard.

I called them all in and thrust 3 cookies in each of their dirty little hands. They all looked at me baffled and disbelieving their good fortune. I could tell from their stunned silence and side ways glances that in each of their little minds they were wondering if this possibly could be the same woman who only 30 minutes before brought them a snack of apples, carrots, pretzels and peanut butter finger sandwiches. Testing if I really was still Miss Nat they all asked for another juice box. I told them that was too much sugar and gave them all water. Quickly, almost too quickly, they all readily accepted the water and scattered outside to inhale their cookies on the swing set before I could come to my senses and snatch them back. Watching them, I had another cookie.

One box of Samoas almost gone. Two to go.

The really sad thing about all this is that I am trying to control what I eat . . . and failing miserably. It seems like the more I think about not eating the more I end up eating. This is why I never diet because dieting means I gain weight.

So yesterday I was off to a good start:
Breakfast: Bowl of Uncle Sam's cereal with skim milk. Coffee. Couple glasses of water. Glass of OJ. Most days I have a cookie or 2 after breakfast but yesterday I was good and refrained.

Ran 10 miles.

Lunch: An orange, cottage cheese and lots of pretzels. Green tea. More water. (And yes, I do spend much of my day peeing.) Oh yeah, the chocolate chip cookie I skipped at breakfast I had now.

Generally for lunch I have something pretty substantial like a bowl of pasta with veggies and shrimp or a salad with grilled chicken or rice and beans with cheese and tomatoes but in the taper I trying to go lighter, trying to eat less. . .

After lunch I had to go get the boys. I got them ice cream on the way home. I had to. Why? Well, they screamed. And yes, I totally regret having just last week taught them the "I scream and you scream for ice cream" song. They took it much too literally. But they were good on our post office and bank errands. I was good too and had no ice cream.

See how I was strong and resisted temptation there?

See how I was doing okay until the cookies came? It is the cookies fault.

Dinner: Spaghetti with turkey sausage, bread and a salad. Not terrible but not great. Oh yeah, and red wine. I don't even try to cut out my wine.

And today, you ask?

Well, same as yesterday's breakfast but I did have a Samoa. Someone has to eat them you know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Silver Comet 10k Race Report

Bad news first: no sub 42. Not really a surprise though.

Good news? PR and age group first place. And the rain cleared up. So while the ground was wet at least it was not raining, windy or too cold. It was cloudy and a nice 50 degrees --about as close to perfect weather that I am ever gonna get.

Oh yeah, and I unplugged.

I got up at 5 am and did my pre race ritual and got dressed. Decided on black skirt (though the silver would have been more apropos) and blue singlet. Didn't have safety pins, of course. The rain started falling right before I got on I75. Rain became torrential downpour while on 75. I couldn't see the white lines on the highway to know where the lanes were the rain was so heavy. I didn't freak out or curse the heavens but just felt resigned to my fate. When I signed up the other day at the Big Peach I warned all present in the store that me doing so meant it was going to rain. I have that kind of power. But by I285 it was easing up and the rain had stopped completely by the time I got to the parking area.

I ran into my pal Joe from Big Peach Running Co in the parking lot and we walked to the start together. He is the shoe savant. He has not only helped me with shoes but is an indispensable fount of running knowledge. He also lets me bore him while I run on at the mouth about anything and everything. Even better, he thinks it is funny when Beau does stuff like pulls his pants down in the store and say he has to go pee pee. I know he does all this because it is his job to be nice to customers and a customer, albeit an annoying one, I definitely am. He just sold me my ninth pair of Adrenaline's in the past 11 months. He also found some pins for my number and was gracious enough to chat with me pre race today. Oh yeah, and Joe? He won. The whole race. He called this a "tune-up" run. See me rolling my eyes at his modesty.

Pre race I also ran into my friend Karen--yet another employee from Big Peach (See, I'm not kidding. I totally annoy all of them at Big Peach and yet they still talk to me. They are so nice. So go buy your running gear from them.) She ran the OBX marathon last year too. She decided not run today as she already had her Peachtree qualifier and sent me on to line up for the race. She said I needed to be at the front of the line with all the boys and show them how a girl really runs. So that is where I went. I was smack in the middle, one person back. This positioning stressed me a little as I generally like to be to the side and worried briefly that I might get trampled.

Maybe a gun went, maybe not. I don't know. I can't remember. I think I heard: "Runners. Take your mark!" and then "GO!" So go I did.

That first mile was hell. At first I couldn't figure out what was so wrong. I realized that hearing myself-- and everyone else around me--breathe instead of hearing Coldplay's "Clocks" was what was wrong.
I pretty much begin every race and most runs to this song. It is my mental que to start running and to get ready to go long and hard. Not hearing it made me feel weird and off kilter. And then hearing all that heavy breathing and the pounding of feet? Well, I seriously thought everyone was going to drop dead right then--myself included.

And then there was that I was going out way too fast but, like I said, I didn't want to get trampled so I kinda had to run a little faster than I was comfortable with. The first split was 6:23. I didn't know I could run a 6:23 mile. Garmin had my fastest pace as 4:30 mile. I am guessing that pace happened in those first few minutes of running. Once I heard that first split called though I began to pull back. Second mile came in at 14 minutes. 3rd mile came in at 21 minutes. And even though I began to feel more comfortable with the pace I knew then that I wasn't going to get my sub 42. I stopped somewhere in that first 5k for water but I can't remember which mile.

I kept pushing though and maintained pretty close to a 7 minute pace for the rest of the race. I got a lot of great jobs, nice pace, and way to go from the other runners who passed me or I passed. Mile 4 was 28 minutes. That is the fastest I have ever run 4 miles so I was pretty impressed by that. Mile 5 was 35 minutes and then I stopped at an aid station for a drink of water. I just can't run and drink. Yes, I've tried squeezing the cup. I have no problem getting the water in my mouth. It is swallowing it once it is in my mouth that I have trouble with. So I lost a little time. I came up on mile six at a hair over 42 minutes. I knew sub 42 wasn't happening so I slowed a little knowing that a PR was in the bank already.

I looked up at the clock as I ran under the finish: 43:41 and I stopped Garmin at 43:45--so official time is somewhere in between there/around there. Last I checked they hadn't posted the results so I don't know for sure but I am guessing pace was somewhere around 7:02. PR was 2 minutes off William's run that I did in November 06, 4 minutes off my 06 Chattahoochee Challenge time. So really, I can't complain. I am getting that much closer to my goal.

A guy afterwards came up and said he was using me to pace. I remember when he passed me. It was when I stopped in the 5th mile for water and then I couldn't catch him. I asked him what my pace got him and it was just over 43 minutes-- so maybe next time no water stops. I also think that next time I will wear my ipod because I don't like hearing myself, or all those other people who sound like they are dying, breathe. Seriously, it freaks me out.

I also think I need to practice running faster. I have been suspecting for awhile now that I am not pushing myself hard enough in my speed workouts. I was not comfortable sustaining the sub 7 minute pace. And by not comfortable I am referring to breathing. I had no problem with my legs--they felt fantastic--no lactic acid burn, no heavy feeling, no cramping. My breathing though felt a little out of control--especially that first mile.I know I was running harder than usual but since my body seemed fine with it I think part of it was mental. I really am just not accustom to hearing myself breathe. It was quite strange and I was way too conscious of it. Once I stopped running I felt totally fine and could have probably run another 10k--albeit at a slower pace. I can definitely push myself with the distance but the speed is something else entirely. Guess it is time to reevaluate my speed workouts.
Thanks again all for your support and well wishes.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Counting down 17 days to ING: Mid week Training Update

I am actually feeling pretty good about my training. Not 3:30 marathon great but sub 3:40 good. If nothing else I know for me the biggest factor will be the weather as to how well I do. I don't run well in really cold, really hot, really windy or really wet weather. It pretty much is going to have to be perfect for me to PR this time.

Last week I forgot to do a final weekly update but I did get a run in Friday--it was 7 miles. So MPW were 45. I rested Saturday for the race on Sunday.

And by rested I mean I went to a baby shower attended by-- except for the pregnant mama and recent post-partum women--ridiculously thin women. I say ridiculously thin because they made me feel fat and I wear a size 2. That is why I had to have the wine. It is their fault. And then I ate everything on my plate, even the dessert--decadent strawberry shortcake-- and I never eat dessert. I had to be extra gluttonous in the face of such thinness. I mean, maybe if I don't eat or drink wine or have a chocolate chip cookie as my mid morning snack then I too can be a double zero but then again where will I get the energy to run 26.2 miles? Whatever, I like cookies for breakfast and food in general and wine way too much to give it up just to wear tiny clothes. Bitches.(and I say bitches because I am jealous I can never be so lithe. Too sturdy.)

Anyway, here is my breakdown for the week:
Sunday--half marathon at a 7:46 pace
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 10 miles an 8:24 pace
Wednesday: 6 miles at a 8:30 pace and then a one mile cool down walk. Then in the afternoon I took Lola, Carmella and Beau and wait for it, Parker--that's right, Parker of Parker eats turkey fame, to the park. I include this as workout because when you take a puppy, 2 3 year old boys and a 6 year old girl to the park for 2 hours your heart rate is up, way up.
Thursday: 16 miles at an 8:33 pace

My plan for Friday is rest but Beau might talk me into going to the gym for cross training. In the afternoon we are to meet the Grandmas for a walk. Saturday is the 10K.
So MPW should come in around: 51

Help Me Out

I am having a debate with myself.

So yesterday, like the other Atlanta Track Club members, I got my early application for the 2007 Peachtree Road Race. This means I don't have to wait until the AJC March 18th Sunday edition to get mine. This means I can send mine in earlier and have a much better chance of being one of the 55,000 runners for the annual 4th of July race.

Problem?

The Silver Comet 10K is this weekend. My sources have told me that it is boring but flat and fast with a downhill slope at the end. Great PR potential.

Yeah so? Point?

Well, as I have explained on numerous occasions, if you can run faster than 42 minutes for a 10k and get proof you can get sub seeded for the Peachtree. Anything between 42 minutes and under 55 minutes sticks you in time groups A and B. I have 2 half marathon result cards with a recorded pace of 7:46 and I can print out my results from William's Run 10k that says I have a 7:15 pace. So I can definitely get in Time Groups A and B. But I really want to be sub-seeded. That means I need a 6:45 pace or better. 30 seconds off a mile for 6.2 miles is a lot to shave off so I don't know how likely it is that I could get that on Saturday anyway.

So the debate is do I hold onto my application, race Saturday and then send in my application next week when the race directors promise to have my result card to me? Or do I just go ahead and send in my application now because there is no way in hell I will break 42 minutes and I am just kidding myself? And, to throw a wrench into this quandary, I have another dilemma.

What?

Ryan is working Saturday.

And?

Well, that means I need a babysitter for the kids on Saturday so I can race.

Oh that is a problem. I know, maybe one of the Grandparents-- like Lala and Pop or Bubbles and Poppy-- will want the kids to have a sleepover on Friday? Then you and Ryan could even have an adult evening out on Friday. Wouldn't that be great. And then you could go get the kids Saturday morning after the race. I mean you would be done and home before 10.

Gosh, that is a great idea . . .

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Daily Shannigans Year to Date

Mommy 2, Kids and Puppy 5,886

This be the Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
--Philip Larkin

Oops, too late.

Okay so if I am doomed to fuck my kids up and they are doomed to be fucked up I might as well have a little fun here and there. Right?

Just say yes.

See Beau there with his arm up? Wanna know why he is looking so pitiful with his arm up?
Well I'll tell you.
And this is an example of how you as a parent can have a little fun in a situation where it may not seem possible that you could have a little fun. This is also where you will see my true genius as a person really shine through.

Beau hurt his toe, you know just knocked against the table--nothing serious. But he fell to pieces over it. I told him to get his arm up quick. He looked at me like what the fuck are you talking about Willis (People, I know Arnold didn't say "fuck" but everybody knows that "Whatchoo" is really slang for "What the fuck".)

So I helped Beau raise his arm and sat him in his chair and told him to keep it up until the pain went it away. I told him it would make the pain go away faster. So he sat there with his arm over his head until the pain went away. See how genius I am? I totally distracted him from the stubbed toe pain and since it isn't terribly comfortable to hold your arm over your head the pain miraculously, and the thus the tears, stop much sooner than they otherwise would.

Okay and the next has to do with Lola. Need a picture for reference? Okay, it has been awhile. She is four months old and I don't have a great one of her because she moves so damn fast. But here she is.
See her on the couch? Yeah that is all Lala's fault(--see how my mum is still fucking me up??) She encouraged Lola to snuggle up on the couch. Now Lola thinks she owns it.

But that isn't what I want to tell you.
A few minutes ago Beau came to me, you know after he finally got his arm down, and told me, very excitedly:
That Lola. Mommy. When she gets bigger? She is going to have PUPPIES!!!!!!!
Really, I said.
YES!!!
No.
No?
No we are going to get her a little operation next week so that won't happen.
Beau, stunned silent, just looks at me for the second time this morning with that What the fuck are you talking about Willis look.

Carmella, over hearing, pipes up: So the puppies won't get out of her?
Me, pausing because I am trying to decide if it is better to explain that the puppies won't be getting in her at all or if it will be more fun to let them think that Lola will have puppies trapped in her for the rest of her life? Thinking, thinking, thinking. . .
Right, so the puppies can't get out.

Carmella, of course looks very disturbed about this but doesn't question it.

Then Beau says he is going to tell Lola and Carmella yells, chasing after Beau: No!Don't! She'll freak out like ice and scream.

And so then I sent them off to school with the new found wisdom that you have to put your arm up and hold it over your head whenever you get hurt and that their puppy? When she gets bigger? Will have puppies inside of her forever.
Mwhahahahahaha
Oh shut up. Common sense and seventh grade science will eventually set them straight. Until then though I am having my fun.
And yes, I know this will somehow come back to bite me in the ass.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Awesome Alpharetta Half and Marathon Race Report

Or alternatively: What happens when I don't wear make-up?

Bill Rogers doesn't chat with me even though he ran right next to me for two straight miles and then off and on the entire race.


This was the inaugural race for the marathon. They did a half, same course in October and a 10k. I didn't do either of those. I did run the Alpharetta Half marathon 2 years ago in October but it was a different course. This one was better, but only slightly.

Anyway, I guess to get more of a draw and to look like a serious race they had Boston and New York Marathon champ Bill Rogers come and speak. He ran the half. I think I can be pretty confident and say that even though he is 60 he wasn't racing --unless he was specifically racing me because he finished less than 50 seconds before me and ran most of the race with me. And when I say with me I mean he ran next to me. He never said a single word to me. See? See I told you people don't talk to me when I go naked face.

Unfortunately I am not going to have a lot of positive to say about this race and I apologize in advance to Alpharetta for that. I like Alpharetta. I have friends who live there, work there. I even like to shop there, lunch there, occasionally run on the Greenway. Sometimes I even wish I was rich enough to live there but then I remember I like our schools and cheaper taxes much more than Alpharetta's.

The course is not "awesome" in any way I could figure so I am not sure exactly what they are referring to when they call it the Awesome Alpharetta marathon.Maybe it is the marathon that is awesome. I ran the half and know for a fact that it was not awesome.

For those not from here let me explain that there are 2 Alpharettas: There is the Alpharetta of quaint shops set up in old cottages and farm houses, wide spacious farmland and country like roads with multi-million dollar neighborhoods with 2 acre lots. These are some very beautiful and ridiculously large houses. It is nice; pretty, in an interesting way.

Then there is the Alpharetta of the Mall. It has the big mall, a bazillion smaller strip malls and chain restaurants and gazillion office parks-- albeit beautifully landscaped and pristinely maintained office parks--basically it is a landscape of unprovoking and bland concrete,glass and stone buildings framed by stretches of fescue that are punctuated by azaleas, pear trees and crepe myrtles. And that, unfortunately, is the Alpharetta that the half marathon and marathon dominated.

Oh yeah, and Alpharetta? It is really hilly. But the whole North Atlanta metro area is rolling hills. I know that, run that and am use to that. These are the foothills to the Appalachians. You know the Appalachians? Those little mountains in North Georgia? James Dickey wrote a book and then the book became a movie, and here is where I am going to be evil and strike a chord of fear in my male readers and mention the name of the movie don da da don . . . Deliverance that set the stereotype for who/what Georgians were for the rest of the country. queuing dueling banjos. . .

Ah, good times. Just makes you want to go up to Clayton and go on a back country canoeing trip . . .
Anyway, if you want flat you gotta go run by the river or sink below the gnat line into South Georgia. But yeah, that is too far for me to drive. This was a race of convenience: conveniently it is 3 weeks out from ING and the proximity was good and the course, most likely, similar.

So here are the positives: Organization was fine. Aid stations great, frequent and well stocked. The course was clearly marked for the most part until the final miles. I got confused at the end. Garmin, of course, failed me. The GPS didn't kick in until I was a 3/4 a mile in. It always throws me off when Garmin is off. There was no mile 12 marker or 13 and while I had an idea of where the finish was I wasn't certain and then I saw runners going down the road up ahead--I realize now they were the full marathoners who had turned off but were going into their second loop. From my perspective at that point, even though I thought there was only about a 1/4 mile left,those other runners made me think I had 1+ miles left. It is easy to get confused once you start piling up the miles. I slowed and almost started walking but then I saw the finish banner and picked the pace back up. So I never really gave that final kick.

Negatives: Boring course. I didn't like that I had to pick up my packet Friday or Saturday but had to wait until race morning to get my chip. That makes no sense and is inconvenient. But then again it was nice at the start that they had free lattes, coffee and doughnuts. Spectators rather sparse. This doesn't bother me since I run alone all the time but I add this because I know some people really need those cheering throngs.

But all that aside. My major complaint was the weather and I can't blame the race directors on typical crap shot North Atlanta weather. It was cold. It was 30 degrees at the start and I swear it got colder. 30 degrees isn't terrible but the wind. OH. My. God. The wind. It really kicked in after mile 4 and was just brutal by the 8th and 9th mile. I guess there is a reason it is called Windward Parkway. I didn't have my mittens--I couldn't find them. It has been in the 50/60's lately and I haven't needed them. Then I think maybe I didn't choose my outfit so wisely: grey just below the knee tights (my calf's get hot), long sleeve technical shirt, shiny pink windbreaker and pink hat. I don't know. I thought I would warm up after the first mile or so and that might have happened had the wind not been a factor. I really don't know what would have been a better choice as it was just the force of the wind and the chill on my face and hands that was so horrible.

Okay, I'll stop whining enough to give you my mile breakdown. Keep in mind my times are approximate and from my sketchy memory since Garmin thinks I only ran a little over 12 miles today.
Mile one: 6:54 split. Too fast but this was downhill and I was fucking cold.Trying.To.Get.Warm.
Mile two: 14 minutes flat. Slowing as we are climbing.
Mile three: Just over 21 minutes. I had stopped and took off my shoe. It felt like my sock was slipping and was bunched up. Turned out that my feet were just really numb and I was only feeling part of it. Put shoe back on and kept running thinking I hate not feeling my feet. Shortly after this time Bill Rogers showed up. So did the hills. Even still I kept pace with him for several miles.
Mile four: I think around 29 minutes.
Mile five: Right around 37 minutes.
Mile six: 44 minutes--downhill. I lost Bill when I stopped for water. But he kept stopping too. He seemed to be having some problem with his shoe. I swear I wasn't stalking him. He was just the most recognizable person around me. There seemed to be a lot of men who all looked the same age--40's, around the same size and all wore black and had hats on. Bill had a bright yellow shirt on and track pants and was taller, thinner. I only saw a handful of women the whole race. It seems I always run with the boys.
Mile seven: Just under 53 minutes
Mile eight: 61 minutes the wind is just killing me. I think I muttered holy mother of fuck and I saw Bill turn to look at me. Still, he never said anything to me. Maybe, even in all my pink, I was invisible. Really, I know it was the lack of make-up. I am so much hotter with the make up.
Mile nine: I can't remember. Cold,windy,sucking hill ass--or something like that.
Mile ten: 77 minutes--really this is fine and I kept thinking if the course gets more forgiving I might can kick it and do under 1:40. But not really knowing the course made it hard to gage. I really didn't care except a PR would have been a nice boost. I knew I wasn't going to win. Around here I need to do sub 1:30 for the half to win--in the women. Men usually do under 1:15.
Mile eleven: This ran me past the children's boutique where I have spent a fortune on dresses for Carmella and gay boy outfits for Beau. I had brief moment of shopping nostalgia. And after I passed the mile eleven marker I stopped paying attention to time, topography and Bill Rogers. I decided to think about Evan instead.
Miles twelve and thirteen: I said a prayer for Evan and asked him to get me through this hellish wind tunnel of a race and asked again for peace for Justin and Pam. I think he maybe heard me because then the race sloped down and the wind was finally on my back. Then there was finish line confusion and then I was finished.

My watch said 1:41 and 45 seconds, chip time is 1:41 and 51 seconds. I was 15th female overall and it looks like third in my age group. Pretty consistent with my half times of late and I suppose I could consider it a PR if I compare it to the Atlanta half since the course was probably more equal. My 1:41 PR is from the Silver Comet and that is by comparison a pancake flat race.

After finishing I had thought to stick around and see if I placed. But I got ridiculously cold and decided that even if I did place I doubted if they were giving away the fur coat or fleece jacket that I desperately needed. I must have looked in the early stages of hypothermia as several people advised me to get warm. Where they thought I should go I have no idea. One very kind and nice guy said he would give me his sweatshirt but he didn't have anything on under it. He laughed when I good-naturely told him that good intentions were not going to keep me warm. Together we looked and asked about for the shuttle bus and I also waited for the New Orleans coffee cart to make something warm to drink other than gumbo. They kept offering me benignets. Doughnuts and wind proved the theme du jour--neither of which am I terribly fond of.

Finally some hot chocolate and 20 minutes later me and my sympathetic companion finally located the shuttle. I almost started to cry when I saw the driver shut his doors and pull away from the curb before I could get to the bus. But God bless, he pulled back over and let me on. It was the best post-race shuttle ride of my life.

PS to Wes for linking me from his blog. I appreciate the props. And hi to all who stopped by. Hi! Please keep reading and commenting.
PPS Sorry about all the typos. I am tired of editing and writing this. Some are writers, some are editors and the latter-- I know beyond a shadow of a doubt--I am not.
Cheers and onto to taper mania. . .

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What happens when I wear make up to the gym

I figure I'll go ahead and do my update now since I can get it in.

I have kid who is napping, puppy who is napping and sick kid who has spent all afternoon coloring and drawing.

And I should say that I really appreciate that she can entertain herself so easily and has so much focus. Really, I do. I even admire her for it and wish I had a quarter of it. The problem? You ask? Well, everything is a master piece. Do you know how small my house is? How I am suppose to save every. single. masterpiece? I am always relieved when she tells me some of them are meant for others. Then I won't have to wait until she is at school or in bed to throw out the masterpieces nor will I have to deal with the subsequent and inevitable guilt of throwing out a masterpiece.

So I digress. Anway . . .I am probably not going to get much running or writing in Friday or Saturday since Carmella has to stay home from school and I have social commitments on Saturday and a race on Sunday.

Sunday: Rest, went to Monkey Joe's, jumped around, took kids for a walk.
Monday: 4 miles speed workout on the treadmill 31 minutes--little slower than usual. 20 minutes weights.
Tuesday: 10 miles-- no idea about pace or time.
2 mile walk with kids and Lola
Wednesday: Long run. According to Garmin it was just under 19 miles in 2 hours and 51 minutes. But I didn't think that was right so I checked the route again here and it was just under 20 miles. My GPS kept going out the first 8 or so miles and I made lots of turns. It is frustrating that I can't really depend on Garmin.
1 mile walk with Lola to work out the kinks in the afternoon.
Thursday: 35 minutes on the elliptical and 4 miles on the treadmill in 31 minutes.

Today I went to the gym around 2pm. I never go at this time since the nursery is not open but Ryan was home today and watched the kids so I could go. Since I had to take Carmella to the doctor today I put makeup on and fixed my hair. Normally I spend my day in my running attire with wildly knotted hair and no makeup. Doing hair and makeup takes time away from running or doing one of the other million, I think, more important things I have to do. However, I do try to make an effort to look good whenever I need to be my child's advocate in person. Going to doctor's appointments is one of those times. I think people are more apt to listen to me if I looked pulled together (even if, really, I am not). Plus I have found that I never run into anyone I know when I do look good. I only see old classmates, ex boyfriends, old co-workers when I am hideous and disheveled. So getting dressed up when my kids are sick assures me that while I am tending to sick kids I won't also have to worry about making social niceties and small talks with blasts from the past.

I know, I know, get to the f-ing point. Sorry, like I said I have sick kid who is entertaining herself and napping kid and napping puppy. I can afford to be slightly self indulgent right now. Go write your novel you say? Shush, I am being frivolously self indulgent not lofty pursuits indulgent.

Point is that I went to the gym today looking much better than I normally do when I am there. For the most part there was no one there. I was on the elliptical and this guy came over and started talking to me. He offered me a magazine first and this forced me to take my headphones off. Then we started a conversation. We talked for the 20 minutes I had left on the elliptical. All the while I couldn't decide if he was hitting on me or not. I kept thinking either he was or that he was just trying to figure out the appropriate moment to ask me if Jesus was my personal Lord and Saviour? And would I? Like to come to bible study with him?

But that never happened and instead he offered me a pamphlet on triathlon training. Mmm, the cult of tri-ing. Interesting and very nice and all but I am a runner and an idiot on a bike and while I am a good swimmer I don't like getting kicked in the face or swam over or peed on. I even told him all this.

Then I went and did my treadmill run and afterwards he called me back over to chat. After dropping the husband and the kids and puppy into the conversation several times he asked if I had a sister. So I don't know maybe he was hitting on me, maybe he was selling me on some tri program, maybe he was just being friendly. All I am saying is that no one ever talks to me at the gym--except my pal Mike and that is because he is friends with everyone at the gym and feels sorry for me because I have no gym friends(even though I have been going regularly for over 3 years)--I am persona non grata. I am gym loser. See? Amazing what a hair brush and little make up can do for a girl.

Well, yeah, so anyway I don't know if I am going to get run anymore this week. I'd like to try and get to 50 mpw but it isn't looking hopeful. I am at 37/38 mpw. A few rest days is probably a good idea though if I want to do well in the half on Sunday. So I'll just be okay with whatever.

As far as novel pursuits go . . . it is coming along, slowly. Not sure how much I got in today-- at least another page, maybe 2. My time got cut short and I find I spend too much time editing, reworking what I did the day before. This has always been a problem for me. I know it is probably a better idea to just keep writing and then go back but I like to work stuff in, change it, move things around every time I come back to it. So at this rate I am thinking I will be finished in a year. Nora Roberts? Joyce Carol Oates? Obviously, I am not.