Monday, October 29, 2007

It is only easy after you know how . .

Yesterday Ryan and I took the training wheels off the kids bikes. Beau was very excited about this. But, then again, Beau is pretty much excited about everything--at least until he learns more about it. Everything is awesome with Beau until he gets burned. Yeah, it's gonna be a tough life for him--you know, learning everything the hard way. And trust me, I speak from the perch of experience on this one. Been there done that and now I am chicken shit about everything and to which way from last Thursday.

So yeah, we took the training wheels off the kids bikes and Beau was excited and Carmella was most definitely not --and not just because she is, as general rule, suspicious of everything. I swear, she was either poisoned or was a spy in a past life because "trust no one" has pretty been her motto since birth. But you know that might be because I am her mom and really, who can blame her? Anyway, my point is that she was not excited specifically because she clearly recalls 2 years ago when I tried to take her training wheels off. It took all of 10 seconds on the bike and falling over to convince her that uhm, yeah. Mom? I'm not doing that and, by the way, I really don't like bikes and so long as those two little wheels are not attached to that big back wheel I will not be riding a bike. Ever.

Nevertheless, yesterday she did not argue or utter word as we took off her training wheels. I guess she had come to realize that maybe six was getting a bit old for training wheels and decided that she would suck it up. I did hear her trying to warn Beau of what was to come. He did not listen. At all.

Beau watched giddy with excitement as Ryan took his wheels off. He joyously asked if he could have the wheels to play with. Later, he would come to cling onto these in such a pathetic manner that we had to wrench them away and hide them.

Beau tried the bike first. And he fell right over.

We all laughed.

Beau laughed too. Because to Beau being funny pretty much trumps everything else. He may be the biggest pain in the ass ever but I gotta say the kid knows how to laugh at himself and that makes him completely charming. However Beau's ability to laugh at himself was pretty much shot after he found out that, seriously; we are not putting the training wheels back on. Then he didn't think that was so funny. At all.

And then instantly he was no longer so excited.

And that pretty much sucked for everyone because Beau is really good at throwing a tantrum. Apparently the same gene that allows him and the world to laugh with him also carries a similar trait of suffer and the world must suffer with you. So while the world may not stop or even give a rat's ass that Beau is upset; Beau does make it pretty damn miserable to be on the same planet when he is not the one laughing. So we did what we always do when we reach that point with Beau: lock him in his room.

Next it was Carmella's turn to try her bike. She had a little more success but was quickly frustrated and done trying. So when Carmella started melting Ryan lost his patience and sent her to her room too. And for the record we almost never have to punish Carmella but even on the rare occasions that we do she just sucks it up and sits there. Ryan told both kids they could stay in their rooms until they adjusted their attitudes.

After awhile I went in and we all had a discussion about how everything is hard the first time and then it does get easier. I explained to them that all we were asking is that they try. And if after a few days of trying to ride without training wheels and that if they still couldn't get it after giving it a try that Daddy would put the training wheels back on their bikes. I told them that I thought with just a little hard work they would get it and then it would be easy and they could be faster and riding a bike would be even more fun.

Carmella listened.

Beau did not and commenced the tantrum of the training wheels. This earned him more time in his room to adjust his attitude in the correct direction.

Carmella and I went out and worked on it.

Eventually Beau came out too.

All afternoon Ryan and I alternated between teaching them how to ride bikes and watching them lose their shit over not being able to do it. Carmella, on the few instances when we were trying to persuade Beau to give it another chance, went in the backyard and practiced in secret. She use to do this as a baby--not in the backyard but in her room when she was suppose to be taking a nap, which by the way she never did. With Carmella it went like this: we would be at playgroup and would reach the point in playgroup where all the mommies showed off their genius kid tricks. Whenever it was my turn Carmella would just blink and look at me like she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I quit participating in the genius kid tricks until Beau came along--who was always willing to perform-- but then those were more in line with the stupid pet tricks. Anway, after playgroup and while she was suppose to be napping I would hear her in her room ordering her doll Bobby to do all the genius kid tricks I had wanted her to do at playgroup that day: Bobby say Daddy. Daddy! Okay, Bobby now clap your hands. Clap! See, even at a year old she thought I was an idiot. I may not be as smart as her but I can tell when I am being patronized.

Beau, on the other hand--who does absolutely nothing without an audience-- did not practice in secret. Instead he went and found his tricycle, saying he did not love his Bee bike anymore. But after a few spins on the "baby bike" he begged for his training wheels.

The rest of the afternoon we focused on Carmella and ignored Beau. A few times he did try the bike but would say he was scared and quit. But his quitting and failure only encouraged Carmella. After several hours in the driveway and cul-du-sac I suggested we drive up to the school and practice on the track. I also innocently suggested that we make a "movie" of the event. This quickly proved to be the absolutely most wrong idea ever to suggest to Carmella. Because the frustrated six year old learning to ride a bike instantly morphed into the frustrated diva actor/film maker.

No performance was the right performance. A million "do-overs" were necessary. She pounded her fists, cursed her bike--yelling things like "my bike is controling me!" and this is "all too hard!" And that she "just wanted to make a movie!" And even after it was clear that she had the hang of riding her bike she would not be satisfied until she made a perfect loop around the track. And even when we thought the loop perfect she did not deem it so. We finally left her on the track and waited by the car until she got the hint.

So here a few of the 20 or so clips I took. There were more but she made me delete them on the spot.
Take 1:

Let's try this again:


And again:

Getting better--"I can't get back on the road! The bike is controling me!":


And, by the way, all her hard work did pay off. After only one afternoon she is totally proficient. She even rode her bike to school today. Of course this was the biggest we are never doing this again ever mistake. Between Beau and his training wheels, me pushing him up the hill and keeping him out of the street, Lola tangling herself in Beau's bike or around my legs and thus tripping me and all while I scream at Carmella to slow down and wait for us--well, let's just say that is a little more parenting that I care to do before 7:30 in the morning. Not to mention walking proves faster.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Silver Comet Half Marathon 2007 Race Report

First thank you all for your kind words and prayers regarding my other post bemoaning our business situation and the drought. All businesses go through bad times, I know. I just hope this is one of those times and not what ultimately does us in. I really appreciate the good thoughts.

Now on to my report.

Last week I was emailing with my new brother in law--Wes--about various things. They are having a "gathering" (read wild blowout party, who are they kidding "gathering") for the World's largest cocktail party--Go Dawgs. I told him we probably wouldn't make it as today is packed with my race and Carmella's fall festival. He emailed me back " What race? Oh yeah, the world's most boring race ever."

Don't listen to him. Wes is a man on a bike whose only road race ever is the Peachtree. I am sure a bike race on the Silver Comet would be mind numbingly boring but really, he is a crit bike guy who does forty loops around Athens. Seems like that would be boring--even if it is super fast. So really I have no idea why he thinks Silver Comet is boring but I told him as a runner who never gets to do a flat race (or really a flat run) I think it is a super fun race.

And today was fun.

I carbo-loaded last night with beers and pasta. I always say that I won't have any alcohol the night before the race and pretty much the only time I've done that was when I pregnant and ran the Atlanta Half. Yeah, so what if I am an alcoholic with a running problem--they say--they being all those people who write articles about running-that you shouldn't try anything new before a race. Do what works.

I finally went to bed around 11 and slept fitfully--as always. I got up at 5 am and changed my outfit 6 times-- walking outside to figure out if I was going to be too cold or too hot. I really wanted to get it right. The weather today was perfect racing weather. The temp at the start was mid 40's. At best the high at the finish would be only 10 degrees warmer. Ultimately I decided on a blue/pink running skirt and a light weight long sleeve technical shirt. The decision not to wear a hat was a good one and while mittens might have been nice I was fine with out them. In retrospect I probably could have gotten away with my pink "Run Like A Girl" short sleeve shirt but the sleeves were nice at the start.

This year I left a little early so that I wouldn't have to miss the start while I tinkled in the portolet. I ran the .8 mile from the middle school parking lot as a warm up. I felt a new and unfamiliar ache in the arch of my left foot that worried me a little but it proved not to be a problem in the race. Maybe I was just cold.

I made it to the starting area around 7:15ish (race started at 7:45) and hopped right in the portolet line. This is where I met a guy who actually out talks me. Yeah, I didn't think it was possible either. He was very sweet and will be doing his first marathon in December at St. Judes. Never got his name but we'll just call him Chatty Doe. He ended up beating me by 4 minutes. Bastard.

I still had 5 minutes until the start and I found some of the Big Peach peeps and lined up with them at the starting line. I was so excited to actually be at the starting line this year since last year I was totally unclear as to where it was.

The gun went pop and all the runners went. I sort of fell in line behind Kate, whose recent finish at Twin Cities marathon got her $500 and 2:56 finish, so I knew that wouldn't last long--despite her saying she was going to "take it easy." Her easy is still impossible for me. Garmin was reporting a 6:20ish pace. I backed it off since, after all, I did want to finish all 13.1 miles of the race. And then I got passed. A lot. Oh well. Start in the back, sure I get to pass a lot of people but my time is less accurate (no timing chip for this race). I'll take a more accurate time over a falsely stoked ego.

Here is how the splits broke down as I recalled: First mile marker I never saw so I don't know. I think it was under 7 minutes. At 2 miles I was 14:10. At 3 miles 21:22. 4 miles was 28 something--which I thought was too fast so I pulled back. Wasn't getting passed as much any more. 5 miles was 36 something. At 6 I was right at 42 minutes. Shortly there after I had my Expresso Love Gu. Missed 7 and 8 splits. Mile 9 was 1:04 something. I was feeling pretty decent. I smiled at a lot of people. But somewhere in the 10th mile I started to feel myself fade. (Two women passed me during this time and I didn't think much of it but later it would come back to bite me in the ass.) I did some quick math and even if I ran 9 minute miles for the next 3 miles I would still beat my time from last year and have a new PR. So I hung in there the best I could. Garmin had lost the GPS signal so I was little confused on how much further I had. Once I saw marker 12 I picked it up.
I crossed the finish line in, wait for it . . .
That is almost a 5 minute PR!
Yeah me!
I had no idea my pace till I came home and checked it: 7:23. Wow. I am pleased.

I ended up being 3rd in my age group. A little disappointing since I was 2nd last year but my age group is the largest and from what I can tell the fastest overall. (Those two women who passed me were 1st and 2nd in my age group. Fast bitches!)

So I am happy.

I am going edit this quick because I have to go get dressed and take the kids to the fall festival.

Last weeks totals were this:
Run: 43 miles
Bike: 13 miles
Swim: none

PS Charlie I hope you had a great race too at Marine Corps Marathon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The ways in which I screw myself

Okay, here's the real deal: I am trying daily--pretty much every second of the day-- to distract myself from the devastation of the drought.

Okay, I know that sounds sarcastic but I am not joking.

Really, I cry a little everyday.


You'd cry too if your bills were piling up and you weren't sure you could pay them-- or the 8 employees you had-- because your business, your livelihood was going to pot because of a lack of rain; because of a water ban.

A level 4 drought.

And yeah, you would be pretty annoyed about all those people in Alabama who are sucking our water out but don't have a water ban like we do. There is no outdoor watering here, ever. And you see, that is a pretty big problem for those of us in the "green industry". It's a big problem because we don't really make any money if stuff doesn't grow and people don't want us to plant flowers or mow their lawn. And who can blame them because really? Who wants to pay someone to cut a dead lawn or pay for flowers and landscaping that is just going to die? So, go ahead, call me petty but if us landscapers in GA have to go broke because of our diminishing water supply then so do those in Alabama if it is our water that they are using to water their lawns.

And don't even get me started on the Floridians and theirs mussels. Because, really? You know what? The ecosystem I'm most immediately concerned about are named Carmella and Beau I am little more worried about keeping the shell over their heads than what the hell happens to a bunch of way too fragile mussels in some drying up river. My kids? Way cuter and worth more to this world than a bunch of mussels. So call me selfish (not shellfish, mind you), I totally don't care that I am not seeing the "bigger picture."

Selfish and petty is what happens when climate change fucks with you so personally. You start thinking really small, not globally. At all.

Honestly, this pain and suffering from the drought isn't new for us-- like it is for most Georgians. Ryan and I have been keenly aware of how much it sucks when you can't water your lawn--never mind that our drinking water may soon dry up. It was bad in the spring and we weathered it but we thought surely hurricane season would drop a ton a rain and fall planting season would be good--as it always has been--for us. But fall is worse than spring. So, yeah, like I have been saying for the past 6 months; the landscaping business is the wrong one to be in. Insurance? Now there is the one to be in. Or so it seems, since a good chunk of our change goes there.

Truthfully. I am devastated daily.

And being in the taper and not getting my recommended daily dose of endorphins is making me feel totally crazy.

I have been way down this week. Way down. Like, I've been thinking I should download some Bob Mould on to my ipod so far down. These little 4 and 6 miles runs aren't cutting it. Today I promised Steph I would ride with her but then I bailed because I felt I could squeeze a 16 miler in today before my half marathon on Saturday.

I need to give HUGE props to Steph. I think everyone deserves to have a friend like Steph. This morning when I set out on my run it was in the high 50s--prefect running weather. That is until it started raining before I even hit the half mile mark. By the 5th mile of steady rain I was ready to quit. I pulled out my phone to call Ryan to see if he was home and would come get me since I've already had my long run in the rain. I felt I had nothing to gain but misery by plodding ahead. But before I could call I saw I had a text from Steph.

She said the icky weather was trying to foil her bike and she wished I was there. Sheesh! How could I quit my run after I bailed on her and she was still riding in the cold and icky weather? I tried my best to hang but after another few miles I was too cold and my shoes were too wet. I called Ryan and he picked me up right as I hit 10 miles.

Guilt. Sadness. Anxiety-- plagued me all day. I really needed to feel good--even if it was just for a second and was about nothing-- so I went to the gym. The air conditioning hasn't been working too well there lately so it has been way hot but tonight they had a giant fan out pointing right on the treadmills.

It was so nice. The wind on my back. The whole time.

I surprised myself with a great treadmill run. I wasn't expecting much since I had already run 10 and they weren't an easy 10 since I had gone out with the plan of 16 miles at marathon pace. Despite the rain and misery I still finished the 10 in just under an hour 24.

My 5k on the mill came in at 21:38. I slowed it down thinking that would be it but then I rallied and ran it out to the 10K. I finished in 44:07. Now, I feel all giddy from the endorphin flood.

Not to worry though, I am sure at 4 am I will wake up--like I have every single day this past week--stricken with anxiety about our business situation; that really I can't do anything about but nonetheless pray and hope and wish and dream that everything will be okay. And tonight when I wake up inexplicably in the middle night I can add to my worry list the wonder of if maybe I screwed myself out of a PR this weekend because of my treadmill fun tonight.

Yeah, I know, who cares.

The weight of the world on your shoulders? Come on. Who doesn't have that?

And yes, no need to point out the obvious: I know how damn frivolous my running seems in light of our current situation but running right now is the only thing that is keeping me sane. Yes, I love my kids--little spots of happiness-- but everyone knows small children are not exactly what keeps one sane. God love them but more often than not they are known to do the opposite. So yeah, the running, it helps me be all chipper and prevents me from transferring my stress onto them. Everyone else though? Watch out.

You know, if I could just figure out how to make all this running and fitness crap pay the bills then we'd be golden. And then it would actually be a real bonafide--something to worry about, whine about, bitch about and lose sleep over--problem when I screw myself by running too hard before a race. Right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We are old We are young . . . We are in this together?

Emphasis is on the old part.
Damn my memory is shot.

Any guesses?
I've had this song in my head, on the tip of my tongue for months now.
No kidding.
All I could remember was vaguely the tune, the lyrics We are old. We are young. We are in this together. I knew there was definitely something to do with vagabonds and that the band's name had something to do with military and that there was a violinist in the band. I even remember that I saw the band at the 40 Watt-- I think my freshman year--so 1990.

It has been driving me crazy. I think about it on almost every run. Totally maddening and until this afternoon I have not been able to figure it out.

Can anyone else guess the song and the band before I tell you in the following post?

My bets are on that Anne will definitely know if she is reading. Kevin will most definitely if he ever reads here as I know I saw this band with him. Maybe Jason too. I bet Steph or Doug knows. Steph just cause she has a better memory of those UGA days than about anyone else I know and I am thinking her roommate Yvonne went with us to the show.

No peaking!

No Cheating!

No peaking.

No peaking.
No peaking


Okay this is the band. This is the song. Der, Vagabonds. . .

Here is the Youtube clip:

Thanks for playing!
BTW, this is a very good song to run to. Well, at least I liked running to it today after I downloaded from itunes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tao of Pooh. Oh Bother.

For those that don't know my familial nickname as a child was "Pooh"--as in Winnie the Pooh. But only Aunt Boo stills calls me "Pooh."

I have 21 days until the Chickamauga Marathon.
I have the Silver Comet half marathon next Saturday.
Uhm, so yeah, I guess I am in the taper.

Ready or not I better be trained.

I am a little disappointed in my running mpw totals this training go around. For the most part they were in the mid 50 range but I was hoping/planning for them to be in the 60 mpw range.

Didn't work out that way.

And so, I worry that I am a little under trained.

But maybe not.

For my first marathon I think I only peaked at 40 mpw. For OBX and ING I did hit the 70 mpw range a few times but I also struggled (read hobble) a lot with over training injuries. Right now I feel pretty good but I also feel like maybe it has been too easy, like I didn't work hard enough. Like yeah, I know I can do 26.2 miles but I don't know if I can do 26.2 miles faster or even as fast as I have done.

So I worry.
I fret. That what if I have already peaked and now I am on the downhill spiral into slow, and next thing you know I'll be doing a half marathon with a walking stick?

So yeah, I am not too optimistic about a PR at Chickamauga or at Silver Comet. But ever the optimistic pessimist I am still hoping and aiming for a sub 3:40 nonetheless. And aiming for sub 1:40 at Silver Comet.

Okay. For shits, giggles and reassuring pats I need to do a check list real quick, bear with me:

So we have speed work, right?
Almost every week at least one run on the treadmill in the 5K-8 mile range @7-7:30 pace.
About 8 or so 12-16 milers.
And then there are the 5 long runs: The 21 miler, the 20 miler, the 23 miler, the 24 miler and the 21 miler (in the rain, ugh!)

I'm good, right? No? Yes?

What I am worried about: I have no runs at projected marathon pace. All my mid length and long runs are all about 45 seconds to a minute 15 slower than marathon goal pace (8 minute miles). Maybe recovery runs were at marathon pace. I don't know since I run those however I feel like.

SEE! I've been too lackadaisical about all this.

Oh, and then there has been my cheating heart doing all that biking and swimming.

Self sabotage?

I don't know. I don't know.

Okay, shaking it off;

Doesn't matter.
What will be will be come race day.
I will run.
And there might be terrible hills.
There might be horrible heat
Or humidity,
Or cold,
Or rain.
And, I've tried my best to prepare for all these possibilities.
But race day has always proven three things to me:
That there is magic.
That there is unexpected obstacles.
That no matter--however, whatever--I get through it. I get it done.

"Oh, bother," says Pooh.

I'll get it done this time too.

But really? I still hope that the planets will align and it will be that perfect race.
But no matter.
When I am done with it? I will still be happy however it all goes down just because I am done.
That's the beauty of 26.2.
Just finishing it makes you proud; even if it sucked ass the whole time.

So my last week of training finished up like this--no not ideal but it is what it is and I did my best:

Sunday: 6 miles general aerobic run. Then 2 cool down with dog. Puppy girl is lazy except when she sees another person or dog. Otherwise I pretty much have to drag her.

Monday: So fun. 5 or so miles easy. 36 rocking bike miles on the greenway. 20 minutes weights and then 1 mile swim.

Tuesday: Work day. No fitness.

Wednesday: Sad day where I bailed on my mid length run. Bad. Bad. Bad. 3 miles run of shame. Blech.

Thursday: 8 miles: 6 rolling and then 2 easy with slow puppy girl. And then 7 hours of hard landscaping labor hell. Dirt. Yuck. I'm a princess and I do not like yard work or dirt.

Friday: 21 unspectacular disappointing miles. First 8 or so miles was in the pouring rain. Then the next 6 or so I was getting splashed by the water on the roads and the humidity was just yucky and then the last bit was just bleck. Finished in 3 hours and eight minutes. I wanted to quit every single second of it. Then I had to go help set up for the garage sale.

Saturday: Did a garage sale. Mentally and physically draining. Had optimistically thought I could rally afterwards for a run but after all day on my feet and haggling I just wanted to crawl into bed. Which is pretty much what I did. But fabulously enough I got rid of stuff and made dollars--so, absolutely worth it.

Le totales:
Sie Run: 45 miles
Sie Bicyclie: 36
Sie Swim: 1 mile
Now? Le taper.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On having no Gojo and being all squirelly . . .


Like shit. It happens.

And, I guess this is how it happens:

I had an awesome workout on Monday.

So fabulous and fun I would call it a playout, not a workout at all: 5 mile run, 36 mile bike (at the Greenway, with my ipod-- 126 minutes of music joy. I am totally living in the past of it--it was that delicious), and then 20 minutes upper body weights, and a 1 mile swim. So yeah, about as much time as my 24 miler took me last Thursday.

I think maybe I kicked it a little too hard.

But hey, I was having fun.

And really, if I think about it, I've had some spectacular workouts lately: 24 mile run 6 days ago, double 5k's (and weights) 5 days ago, a bike/run brick 4 days ago, 8 miles 3 days ago. . .

And so, I suppose, I really shouldn't be surprised that when I went out for my planned 16 miler today I had no mojo to get my gojo go go a going. I ran a total of 3 miles and said; screw it. Okay, really, to quote my buddy Stephan,I said "Fuck this." (You need to know my nose was all crinkled up when I said it because that is how he does it.)

At the time I thought I might rally and make it to the gym for a speed workout and a swim but no, instead I am enjoying, very much, some Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale and Harpoon Oktoberfest. I heart beer. No beer diet for this chica.


So what if the beer it isn't stoking my gojo but just maybe it is my mojo, er uhm , if you know what I am saying. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

I don't know what is up with me. There is no physical reason I couldn't/didn't suck it up and do my run. I have no sore muscles and I have run much further when I have been sadder/sorer/tireder/stressed etc. There is, of course, the fact that I had no Espresso Love Gu's to which absolutely I am addicted to. But that is silly. Right? I use to run 16 miles with just water so that's no excuse.

And, admittedly I am a bit bothered by the recent attacks on female joggers. Very close to home. But seriously, I run 20+ mile runs so I am bound to be close to some of these attacks even if they don't happen right next door. So not much of an excuse either.

So maybe my mojo is off because we are so poor and everyone but the IRS knows it. Please rain, please rain, please rain. And yes, it is more than the just the drought that is making it impossible to be in the landscaping business. But I am use to things sucking, so. . .

Really, there is no excuse.

I just bailed. Plain and simple. I am totally unapologetic about it.

Oh, and, by the way, tomorrow I am going to work with Ryan.

You read that right: Moi. Work. Ryan.

That's right. My princess ass will be out pulling the deadheads and planting the pansies and getting myself elbow deep and personal with roly-polys and worms.

But hopefully the beer and hard labor will get me outta my funk and on the straight for my last 20 miler (this Friday) before I embark on the dreaded taper.

Oh, and I am having a garage sale again this weekend too. So please, wish me unburdening of my junk and money in my pockets.

Hope everyone had a better run/bike/swim than I did today.

PS: Sorry Lala for all the unlady-like cussing.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Wedding of Pookie and Wes

Click here to see the wedding photos the photographer took.

Bee Bike Break Through

Beau has had this bike since he was one and half. He has long wanted to ride the bike but gave up figuring out how pretty soon after he got it. Periodically we would revisit bike riding but he couldn't figure out the pedaling and steering. He was very frustrated by this so I haven't pushed it since I figured it had something to do with motor planning. His speech problem is a motor planning issue so it made sense that being able to pedal a bike wouldn't come easy for him since it--like speech--requires bilateral thinking--or something along those lines. Of course him knowing how to swim and swim well kinda throws a wrench in that theory.

But Beau has a history of not being able to do something at all and then in the span of an hour being able to do it and do it well. He went from not crawling at 7 months to crawling and crawling up the stairs in an afternoon. Same with walking. He waited until he could run to even bother with walking. And it was the same with swimming at the age of 2. He jumped in the pool and just started swimming. What I am saying is that there is never really a process that you see. It is like something clicks and he can do it. And yesterday the bike clicked for him. He and Parker spent the afternoon having races with the bike and the big wheels. And Beau was pissed that Parker beat him. Every time. He actually started crying and told me to tell Parker to let him win. I told him that wasn't how you win and that he needed to practice until he could win. So he practiced riding all day yesterday. Ryan was blown away when he came home from work and saw Beau flying down the sidewalk on his bike. This morning Beau woke up demanding to ride.

Pop and Lala took both kids to the Greenway and he rode a little over 4 miles. I finished up my bike ride and set out on a short brick. I caught up to them and ran back with them. Beau could totally keep up with me. I am so excited that I finally have 2 kids that can ride bikes. This means that they can ride their bikes and I can run along side them. This has long been my dream.
Now to get rid of both their training wheels. I am going to work on Beau first because he is the natural daredevil and Carmella will get rid of hers if her little brother rides without.

And, yes, they do both have helmets. We left them in Pop's truck. So they are resigned to riding in the driveway til I get them back.

And yes, I know they need new bikes. Santa's elves are working on that as I write this.

But enough about the kids. Let's talk about my workouts this week. I think, I had a great week. Maybe could have run a little more but I think the runs I got in were very good quality:

Sunday: 6 miles moderate pace. Rolling hills course.

Monday: Suppose to be a run bike swim day but the bike didn't workout. So I did my speed workout: 10k on the treadmill in 45 minutes flat--no incline. Then I swam a little over a mile.--35 minutes total. I typically turn out a mile in 26-30 minutes in the pool. I sprinted out the last 100. It felt fabulous. I love how efficient I feel in the water. The problem with the swim is convincing myself to get in the pool. The whole getting wet part bothers me. But once I get in the pool it is all good.

Tuesday: 10 miles--I don't know the pace. Rolling hills course. It was easy.

Wednesday: Sick kid day.

Thursday: 24 mile at 8:48 pace. Rolling hills course. Then I took Lola for a mile easy jog/walk cool down. And then Beau and walked to the school to get Carmella from Brownies. There and back it is a mile. It was very tired and kinda done with being on my feet but I think walking after a long run is important. It seems to help speed my recovery. I had also done an ice bath.

Friday: Little stiff in the leg and had a lot of work to do. Walked Carmella to school. Beau wanted to race. I couldn't run. At all. Decided a bike ride would be best. But as it worked out I only had time for a quick run before getting the kids from school. So I put in 3 miles in 26 minutes--flat out and back with 2 little hills course. Not enough of a workout. So later I went to the gym and turned out a 5k--no incline. I started out walking and then gradually increased. I hit the 1 mile at 9:13. Kept increasing and hit 2 miles at 15:58. Kept pressing I finished up at 22:28. A true negative split. Then I hit the weights for some upper body toning. Got in shoulders, triceps, biceps, upper and lower back. Finished up with stretching out the hips and legs.

Saturday: 24 miles on the bike at the Greenway. I don't know my time but it was pretty crowded so I couldn't really kick it up. I finished up with a 2 mile run--flat out and back.

Swim: mile+
Bike: 24 miles
Run: 54 miles

Good, strong week.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Night at my House

Ryan and I just had this exchange:

R: Guess what we (he and the kids) are watching?

Me: What?

R: Austin Powers. (rolling his eyes)They totally don't get it.

Me: Really? That is surprising since Beau has been studying Ecology and Carmella has been reading from my Norton Anthology of Postmodern Poetry today. I totally thought they were high brow enough to get Austin Powers.

R: No. Carmella keeps saying "Daddy. His tummy is really hairy. Gross." And: " Look at her. She has really big boobies." And I'm like, yeah, that's what I'm thinking. And Beau says " Yeah! Baby!."

Me: Uhm, yeah. I think they get it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting all technical and making predictions. . .

Whew, I got it done!

Here is the USTAF map and elevation of my monster run yesterday.

I took the roads off because I am paranoid. It could all be in my mind but yesterday a man in a black pick up truck passed me 3 times in the span of 4 miles. Sure he may have been lost but it seems I only notice men driving slowly past and looking at me--never women. But that is probably because the women asked for directions and know where they are going. At any rate, if I see the same car 2 times in less than 20 minutes I pull out my phone. I know that isn't a huge threat but I do call someone and give a description of the car/person so that if I go missing there will be clues.

Like I said, I'm paranoid.

But for those from the area to get an idea of the scope I started from an area close to Hwy 92 and ran out to the Lower Roswell Road area and then looped back.

Please note elevation chart.

This course was the most forgiving of the 3 24+ milers I mapped out when planning my run. Honestly, I am not really sure exactly what this chart is telling me but it looks like lots of rolling hills and few steep climbs and some nice downhills--at least that is how I remember it going. Not certain what the total climb of 1668 ft is referring to--the whole course? Or the total elevation change: 3,363 ft. Thoughts? Like maps, I'm not so good at reading charts either.

Okay, let's look at Chickamauga's elevation chart for comparison.
Can anyone by looking at these two charts tell me which course seems harder? Are they similar? It looks to me like Chickamauga is more forgiving but it could be that how the elevation is shown is deceiving. It does look like from the data that I have that I had greater elevation changes in my run. Is that right? Thoughts? Opinions?

Are you wondering why I am so preoccupied with the details of this particular run and not the others?

It is because the 24 miler is the bench mark run of my marathon training plan--and yes, I am using "plan" loosely. It is pretty much my "dress rehersal." I test out my nutrition--yesterday was 2 Expresso Love Gu's (these are the best!) and one vanilla Gu and about 50 ounces of water. For the race I will probably do 4 Gu's. I might use some electrolyte drink but they tend to give me dry mouth and make me want more water than I need.

The 24 miler is also important because the past marathons I have trained for the 24 miler generally tells me what I will do in the full 26 of the race. For example, for my first marathon I ran a 25 miler a month out. I finished it in 4 hours and 20 something minutes. I ended up running the Atlanta full in 4 hours and 8 minutes. For the OBX marathon I ran a 24 + training run in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I ran the full at OBX in 3 hours and 42 minutes a month later. I do think had it not been pouring rain I might have been faster. I can't recall if I did 24 miler for GA ING but I don't think I did.

So I am cautiously optimistic about what yesterday's 24+ miler is telling me. I finished in 3 hours and 36 minutes. An 8:48 pace. This time is of course minus the 3 times I stopped to refill my water bottle, have a GU, go potty and buy sunscreen. I always subtract the pit stop time since in a race I won't have to stop nor will have to stop at street lights. Experience has shown me that my time actually spent running is what really matters. And, for what it is worth, I think all the stopping makes it harder to get started. Just feels easier to keep going. But since I don't have a sag wagon or aid stations in training I kinda have to stop.

I should also say that yesterday was pretty much-- for me-- about as perfect weather as I could hope for--60's, breezy and sunny. This run was at least 20 degrees cooler than my other 20+ milers. Only thing better would have been if it had been overcast. Ever with the picky, I know. Anyway, experience has also shown me that I always get to have a perfect weather day for my 24 miler. Unfortunately experience also tells me that I always have horrible weather for my marathon.

So knowing all this and adding up my helter skelter training methodology I come up with a predicted marathon time of 3:35 for me. But we'll see how the rest of the training goes. I still have 30 days until the race for things to go from good to bad or from good to better.

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

Oh, one final post script: A big ole congatulations shout out to my buddy Joe at the Big Peach Running Company. He was the 4th American at the Chicago marathon. And get this, it was his first marathon. 2:29--very impressive.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sick Day

No, not me. I am still well. But when you are mom and your kid is sick you might as well be sick too. This is why I don't like to rest when I am sick.

But damn. Does this phlegm have an end?

I have had the kids on a strict regime of Claritin since I first got sick. I ran out the other day so I guess all it took was a few missed days and phlegm made its move on Beau. Carmella is still in the clear. But really, she is the better patient.

Beau sick is like me sick. He pretty much has to be totally lethargic to recognize that he may not feeling so great. Therefore he is hard put to accept his fate as a sickie. There is no wanting to lay around and just chill and watch TV. So you see, really I am just keeping him home to spare myself the lecture from his teacher. Because neither me nor him want him to miss school.

See yesterday at school when I picked him up his teacher said he was coughing really bad but she thought part of it might be dramatics--which I know Beau loves to exaggerate his cough. Because, really? Why bother to cough if doesn't sound like you are trying to throw up your stomach? Or sound like you have been smoking for 60 years. No one would notice-- pay you any attention. And if that is the case, why cough. Why bother?

He did have a little cough on Sunday. It was the first time I heard it. It isn't a deep in the lungs I-pleurisy-sort of cough but more like quarters in throat--you know, post nasal drip, choking-on-the-snot-running-down-the-back-of-your-throat cough. I know it well as I finally got rid of mine last week after what felt like a month of living with it.

I asked Beau where he got this cough and he told me it was from Tarak--a friend at school. He explained it was from when Tarak was choking him last Wednesday. I told him you don't get a cough because someone chokes you--especially 5 days afterwards. I mean, if you are going to get a cough from someone choking you it is going to happen immediately. Duh!

But more importantly, I told him: What I want to know is why Tarak was choking you and why this is the first I am hearing about it? Did you tell your teacher?

No. We were playing a choking game!

Oh okay! That's great! Hey, Beau?


Let's not play the choke game anymore--you know, just like we don't play the pee on each other game anymore. Okay?

Okey dokey Mommy.

Sheesh. Boys. The surprises never end for me and the seemingly obvious things I have to tell him not to do boggle me daily.

So anyway, Beau last night had a little fever--barely hundred but he looked sick in the eyes--heavy lidded, red rimmed, tired. So no school today. But apparently some Motrin, Sudafed and Claritin has been the miracle cure for him that it wasn't for me as he is much better this morning. However I still kept him home in case the fever came back. It hasn't. And even though 100 hardly registers as a fever I can't risk sending Beau to school who when healthy canbe the problem child. I can only imagine the talk I would get.

Carmella and I tried to sneak around him this morning so he would sleep in. My plan was to wake him and throw clothes on him right before I had to take Carmella to school as I had to go in to help her carry her project.

Which okay, quick aside, my kids have way too much homework. They are 4 and 6 and they have more homework than I did in high school. Well, at least more homework than I actually remember doing. Did you see that? See what I wrote. No, not the part about me not doing homework. Who cares. The part about Beau. Beau? Who is 4. Has homework. Several times a week-- and projects too.

And did I mention all the reading they want us to do with them? I think reading is great! I mean seriously, who thinks literacy is a bad thing? But do you people have any idea what a pain Beau is to read to? Sitting still? Listening? Not beating the crap out of Mommy while she reads out loud? All very challenging for Beau.
And then there are his book choices. . .

Yesterday we went to the library to get books for Carmella's project (research, at 6!). And they both got to pick out books --Carmella to read to herself or with my help and Beau for me to read to.

Carmella picks normal story books, easy grade 1 and 2 readers etc. Books like Mouse Soup and Pish and Posh and Lulu and the Witch Baby

Beau though.

I try to steer him towards picture books about dinosaurs and trucks but no. Beau goes to the nonfiction juvenile section and picks fabulously technical books on insects, ecology, weather and dinosaurs. Books that have hypothesis and theory in the first paragraph. Books with giant pictures of the creepiest insects. Books with diagrams and charts. I mean it is great that he has an interest, you know, in ecology. But I just think it a little too high brow for a 4 year old and much too boring for mommy to want to read. Not to mention, I don't care so much about what the world's ugliest bugs look like. The ordinaray run of the mill bugs give me the heebie jeebies. I don't need to see the ugliest ones to get the creepy crawlies.

But Beau's reading choices and homework pale in comparison to Carmella's homework. Really, what I think is going on is retribution for me having not done my homework as a kid. I thought I had gotten away with it. But you know what? Now I definitely do not regret not doing homework because as parent? I get to do it again. So unlike some of you other suckers I only have to do it once-- or until they are old enough that they surpass my knowledge and will no longer require my help. Wait. Okay, seriously, who are we kidding? Like that is ever going happen. What, with my superior intelligence? I'll totally be writing and compling their PhD's.

But, yeah, in case you were wondering. Homework still sucks.

Oh, my point. Okay, really, my whine. Beau is home sick today. And after an hour and half of arguing, flailing on the floor and begging me to take him to school Beau finally agreed that he is sick. This was of course after I pulled out the play dough. See I never pull out the play dough. I hate it. I try to hide it but they always find it and beg to play with it. So I reserve it for when I am desperate for them to be compliant. I hate play dough because they make the biggest mess and it is too much of mess for them to handle cleaning up on their own. And I have to clean up enough messes around here that I am really not inclined to welcome any more.

But today play dough was the only thing that made him stop crying about having to stay home so I got it out. I tried to make it so he would be neat about it giving him paper plates and only gave him a few tools and a couple of colors. But the plates remained untouched and he went and found the other colors, tools and even dug out my cookie cutters. I don't care though.

Because for almost 2 hours this morning Beau happily married all the play dough colors and made "poopy" and scary bugs and monsters with it. And anything that occupies Beau for 2 hours and doesn't involve him getting hurt or doing permanent damage can only be a good thing.

The magic ended though when I told him I thought it was time to clean up. He asked me, "Why? Are we going Taco Mac?"

Huh? What? Why would you think that? You are sick. We have to stay home.

Immediately he abandoned play dough in optimism that we were going somewhere and upon finding out that we were definitely not going anywhere the whining commenced. And it has not stopped. For one single second. About all the places he wants to go: Lala's, Meme's, Chase's house, Monkey Joes, the pool, the bank, the accountant, grocery store, just anywhere, please, but here. . .

I should have just kept my mouth shut.

Anyway, I suppose-- if I must search for a silver lining-- a sick day is probably just as well. In the past I would get all frustrated when my workout plans got waylaid. But really today I should probably rest. I've been going at it everyday since last Wednesday when I finally started feeling better.

Today was suppose to be a bike day with Steph. I missed Monday because of a flat tire. Roswell Bikes fixed it and Lance right up. So I am bummed I haven't gotten to ride this week. But I guess if anything has to go or be skipped the bike or the swim would be it.

And now I am thinking-- since I am having a forced rest day-- that I might move my planned 24 miler up to tomorrow rather than wait until Friday. Just go ahead and get it done, you know. . .

Truthfully though? I am having long run anxiety. 24 solo miles is somewhat tortuous and quite lonely and it is hard to psyche myself up for it. I really don't want to do it and I waiver a bit; trying my hardest to ignore the voice in my head that says just do a few more 20 milers. But I know from experience doing 24 will mean I will have a better marathon. And I will gladly take sucky lonely runs in training if I can trade it for a triumphant race.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Soul Crushing Sinus Infection

Alleluia! Praise antibiotics I am healthy again. I can breathe! I can breathe! I can breathe!

After only one dose of antibiotics I was no longer all stuffy sounding and after 2 I was able to breathe through both nostrils and I woke up for the first time in almost 2 weeks without joint pain. I think, I was really sick.

But now I am well! The snot is gone!

So well and optimistic do I feel that not only did I sign up for the Silver Comet half on Oct 27th but also the Chickamuaga marathon on Nov 10th.

I am very excited.

Now it is crunch time. So far I have managed a 20, a 21 and a 23 miler. I think I have time to get in a 24 and one or 2 20 milers before I taper for 2 weeks. Next week, if I am going to do it I have to do my 24 miler. Otherwise I won't have enough time to bounce back and get stronger before the races.

My run yesterday was very optimistic considering that on Tuesday (pre antibiotics) I was so exhausted from just carrying the groceries inside from the car that I had to lay on the couch before I could muster the energy to put them away. I've eased back into the workouts and woke up Friday morning feeling 100%-- unfortunately the weather was kinda sucky: raining, humidity and high 70-low 80's. Still though, certainly no where near as terrible as last month when all my long runs finished up in the high 90's. But I am still holding out for that brisk long run when the air feels thin, cool and delicious and I feel like I am flying. Feeling like I am breathing with a sweater wrapped around head and that lead, not blood, is coursing through my veins is getting a little tiresome. Come on fall. Get here and stay here.

I put in 16 but could have easily run 20. Only had time for the 16. I felt amazing at the end. I didn't run it as fast as I would have liked but 16 miles in 2 hours and 16 minutes--not too bad considering how I felt only a few days before. Today I am headed to the gym for a speed workout. Less concerned about the distance than running some fast miles since my runs the past 2 weeks have all been recovery or general aerobic run pace. I will probably hit a 10K but may go for the whole hour and do a little over eight. I was hoping to swim but I have company coming this afternoon so I need to clean my house because I feel it is important for the kids to see an accomplishment when they trash it. That seems to be a big part of the fun for them in coming to my house.

This week:
Sunday: Nursing Patron hangover. Congestion and fatigue one step above death. Fun day, really. Payment for way too fun of a night.

Monday: 5-6 easy miles that were not totally terrible. A 20 mile bike with Steph where I dragged and felt like I had vertigo.

Tuesday: too sick to even make across the parking lot with out a break.

Wednesday: 20 AWESOME miles on the bike with Steph. I loved this ride even though the hills in the end killed my quads. We must do again and add on more. Miles--not necessarily hills.

Thursday: 10 miles at an 8:20 pace.

Friday: 16 miles at 8:30 pace. Great! Little sore in the right hip today but otherwise fence posts feel pretty fresh.

Saturday: planned 10+K at a 7:30 or faster pace. Some sub 7's thrown in there too, hopefully.

Le Totals:
Running: 37-39 (depends on Sat run)
Bike: 40 miles
Swim: nothing

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Universe is NOT Conspiring Against Me!!!!

At least for today it is not.

Okay. Seriously. Who did it?

Okay, seriously, I don't really don't care who did it but please do it again.

So today I am backing out of my driveway and I notice something in my driver's side rear view mirror. I am in the middle of the street not completely sure what I am seeing. I know what I think I see-- but it doesn't make any sense. Still in the middle of the road, I roll down my window, adjust the mirror and low in behold I pull out from beind the mirror a one dollar bill. Upon closer investigation I also find a ten dollar bill. I check again, hoping for a hundred, but eleven bucks was it.

How weird is that?

Wait, I'm sorry. How cool is that?

My car? It makes money!

I check the left side mirror but no money.

Still $11 I didn't have earlier today. I'll take it. For sure. I'll take every red penny the universe is willing to toss my way.

I guess today was a good day.

Because then later I went to TJMaxx. You know, just pursue the racks because I was in the shopping center buying Dags-- Steph's youngest a really cool birthday gift.

So anyway, I found on the clearance rack a pair of Seven jeans. Unlike my new brother in law Wes, it is rumored, who buys $400 dollar jeans for himself. I don't know what $400 jeans do for him but I would never spend more than $50 on jeans. In fact usually I find most of my jeans on the clearance rack at the Gap for under $20. At any rate though, Seven jeans are legendary amongst the young suburban mommy set. But personally for me to shell out over $100 for jeans I'm going to need them to work a miracle and make me look like Gisele Bundchen. So while in the past I thought Seven did nice things there just wasn't the magic I was looking for to justify the price tag. See, I can be reasonable.

It doesn't matter though. Even if I could afford it most of the time I can't get my calves into these designer jeans anyway--and even if I manage that I still have to fight them over the my casting-shadows-on-the-knee-quads. And if I manage to pull them all the way up usually the only thing holding them up is my thighs and my butt, waist, and hips are swimming. Way too much ass-mo-phere, if you know what I mean.

Jeans, I have found, are not made for the runner.

Anyway, I figured what the heck. It won't hurt to try them on.


They were a size 24.

I know I was really reaching here and being ridiculously optimistic. I think I am a 26, maybe on good day a 25 and some days probably a 27. But really, what do I know? Remember, I buy my jeans at the Gap or Express and they are sized 0, 2, 4, 6 etc.

So I pulled a bunch of other jeans back there with me. Rock and Republic, Guess, Antik Denim, and other brands I had never heard of. I saved the Seven's for last. I guess I was having a good or wait, really, magic dressing room day because everything fit. Well except those Antik Denims. Which upon further inspection I found they were a 29 not a 26 as I thought. Even still they were totally tight in the leg and wouldn't stay up.

I am so wrongly shaped.

So finally I pull on the Seven's.
They slide easily over my calves.
Then over my thighs.
Okay, maybe not slide-- who am I kidding, all my jeans are tight in the thigh. Like Johnny Cash wears the black there's a reason why I wear skirt.
Then wonders of all wonders right over the butt and hips and low slung on the waist zipper up, no sucking in and button fastened. Holy moly. They FIT!

Clearly, these jeans are marked wrong because I have never been 24 in the waist but who cares!
I scored $150 jeans for $40!

They are awesome and now, after 6 years I feel like true suburban housewife!

So I am guessing tomorrow they probably won't fit me and the magic will end. But whatever today they do and today I got eleven dollars.

Oh, so really, if you think about it; I got Seven jeans for only $29!
Yeah me.
Of course, this probably means tomorrow will suck. I hold no illusions about how the universe works.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

'Nother update

I have the drugs.

I tried to run today but my head is so congested and I am so tired and dizzy I gave up a mile in. I decided to clean the house.

While vacuuming the furniture with the upright's attachments Lola's leash somehow got sucked into the upright and tangled in the thingy that spins. I didn't notice it so I have no idea when it happened and my sinuses are so congested I didn't even smell the motor burning. I didn't even realize there was a problem until I saw out of the corner of my eye smoke billowing out of the vacuum hood. I am hoping I did not burn the motor out but my vacuum is not working now.

I quit cleaning and went straight to the Minute Clinic at CVS. The nurse practitioner agreed with me that I have a sinus infection and also said I have an ear infection--hence all the pain in my face and dizziness. So she gave me a script for antibiotics and Flonase.

I expect I will feel better tomorrow. And maybe tomorrow I will be able to smell the burn smell that Beau keeps asking me about. Heck, maybe I'll be able to taste my food again.

Sinus infections suck.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Quickie Update

So I am still sick.
Virus my ass.
I feel like it is going to be me and the snot forever. I can't even remember what it was like to be phlegm free. But sometimes I am blessed and can breathe through one nostril. All that oxygen is wonderful. I can't even imagine what breathing through both sides of my nose would be like. I'd probably be high or something.

Anyway, powering through it. I did manage to run Friday and Saturday last week. 8 Friday --very slow-- and 6 Saturday a little better. 19 total for the week, 24 for the bike. Nada for the swim. So sad.

Today I got in 5 miles for the run and then Steph and I got in 20 or so on the bike. I hope I didn't hold her back, Ms. I got second in my age group at 2 Bridges. Way. To. Go! Hopefully, next week I will be back kicking some Roswell hill ass.

Stopped by Big Peach and got new shoes, new socks and new gu. I signed up for the Silver Comet Half. So I am very excited about that. Still no marathon yet. I heard that Chickamuaga was hilly. ING is going to be my hills this year. I really want a flat-- or at least, gentler--marathon this fall. Seriously, the hills? They get old. I am still wanting to do Rocket City but I really want something in November too. I mean, assuming I ever get rid of this cold . . .

So the wedding was fabulous and very, uhm, hysterical. I promise to share all the wild tales shortly. I was so busy last week at Lala's that my house is sorely neglected and I am playing major catch up here. I will try to upload some pictures to Flicker so you can take a peek and I'll fill you in on all the crazy details soon-- as presently they are still slowly filtering back into my mind. Let's just say this was a wedding where pretty much every one-- except those that do not ever drink (who are these people anyway and why would they do that?) or are pregnant-- was completely and utterly shit-faced. So pretty much everyone is filling in everyone else's blanks. I still have a few more people to call and get their version. Will report back. Hug and kisses all. I say this as I blow tons of snot out of my nose. So very pretty.