Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 2 and I still have running partner

I have to admit.
I was worried.
I know I can be a bit intense. A little too enthusiastic at times but Sam was there waiting just like yesterday at 5 am on the dot as I came running down the hill.
So yay!
I didn't scare her off.
At least not yet.
And this was even after I mentioned yesterday at swim practice about getting up even earlier and running 10 miles. She laughed and said yeah, maybe. I didn't press it about marathon training. Ease her into it. Plant the seed. Let it germinate. . .

We did the same run today, a few minutes faster. It was much cooler this morning and a little rainy. Very nice. I tacked on 2 miles after she left me and I was only a little scared of kidnappers, coyotes and raccoons. So 8 miles for me around an 8:50 average pace.

We aren't running again together until next week. Hopefully time apart really does make the heart grow fonder and doesn't let her brain come to its senses.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

10 Year Anniversary

10 years ago I started running. Not certain of the exact date but I know it was end of May beginning of June in 1998.

I started slow, very slow. I couldn't run a mile in its entirety. I would have to stop and walk. So I went by time. I would run/walk 20 minutes in one direction and then turn around and come back. By the end of June I able to run for an hour or 6 miles. In November I ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. I finished in around 2 hours.

And for the past 10 years I have been running solo. But now, after 10 years of running, I have gone and gotten myself a running partner.

I am so excited!

Her name is Sam and she has 4 (!!!!!) kids. Ages 10 to 1. She was a runner and has even done some triathlons. But has gotten out of shape since baby #4. Her 6 year old was in Carmella's class last year and is on the swim team with her. She also has a 3 year old and a 10 year old.

Yesterday at swim practice she approached me and said "I need to talk to you." Immediately I look around to see where Beau is and ask, "Uh oh, am I in trouble?"

She said maybe. And then said she sees me running all the time. I immediately relax having had this conversation before about how far and how often and how crazy I am.

But that isn't the conversation we have.

Instead she tells me that she wants to run and needs someone to run with, but it has to be early. My heart almost leaps out of my chest with love for this woman. Someone else, who lives close to me, that wants to run at the butt crack of dawn? Be still my heart.

Before she can even finish I say "I can meet you in at the front of your neighborhood at 5 am tomorrow. Can you run 5-6 miles?"

She hesitates, saying that she is only up to 4 miles but is certain she can do a 9-10 minute mile (her best half time is 1:53). I say that is fine-- if you can run 4 miles you can run 5 or 6. I assured her the pace would be fine. My body has no desire to run fast in the morning and I need days to run that pace anyway. I can go hard other times and besides, she will get faster. I told her that so long as she can go for about an hour we are good.

And at 4:54 am I bounded out my door, sans ipod, with Lola and my pocket knife and ran the 3/4 mile to meet her at the front of her neighborhood. As I ran I worried that she wouldn't be there. I was nervous that I would have to run in the scary morning dark all by myself. And let me say, that yesterday? When I ran at 10am for the 2 miles I ran in the woods during my 9 miler I sprinted because I was so freaked out by the possibility of rabid coyotes and raccoons. So yeah,running alone in the predawn dark is just not something I want to do. At all.

But as I came down the street there she was: standing under the street light with her dog waiting for me. See, not only do I have a running partner but so does Lola! How great is that?

And we ran the entire hilly loop and she did great! No walking. Just chatting the whole time. The miles flew by!

And now, I am thinking that, in a few weeks, I bet I could convince her to get up at 4:30 and we could do 10 miles. And yes, I have already thought that by the end of the summer we can get up even earlier and get a jump on marathon training. (No, she hasn't said that she wants to run marathon but I can tell. She will want to.)

Of course, she did mention that they might be moving in 6 months back to Canada but whatever 6 months of morning runs is plenty of time for me to get over my fear of the dark and possibly even recruit another running partner.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Last Week Re Cap

Boring stuff--just my workouts last week.

I had a very nice week and made the best of my last week before the start of the kids' summer vacation. I wish every week could be like last week but it can't. I do get spoiled by it.

Sunday: I can't remember what I did last Saturday but whatever it was the accumulation of the week before hit me on Sunday and I had that heavy/tight calf issue. Ran/walked my way to 4 miles that average about 10 minute miles.

Monday: Steph couldn't ride so I hit the Greenway and did 4 laps (12 miles each) and then 4 more miles to make it an all time longest ride ever of 52 miles. MPH came in just under 17. I got a scolding from an acquaintance for going that "fast" at the Greenway. Yes the post limit sign is 10mph but trust me, I see all sorts of guys out there in their fancy spandex and jersey in aero killing it. I at least brake when I go around/encounter people.

Tuesday: Again with the tight/heavy calves. Run/walk hobble of six miles on rolling hills. Probably 10 minute miles again.

Wednesday: Got up early and was on the treadmill by 5 am. The kids had end of the year parties that I volunteered at so I couldn't get my workout in then. Have I mentioned before how much my body disagrees with running at 5 am? I had to walk that first half mile. Was able to get the pace down to 7:10 ish by the end of the third mile and then climb the ladder back to walking. Did 5 miles. Average pace was 8:20ish.

In the afternoon it turned out that the kids had play dates so I took advantage of my found time and took a leisurely spin on the bike around my house. Let me just say that it is not ideal to ride when the high school gets out. Lots of getting yelled at but hey, at least no one threw anything at me. Ride was 21 miles, 15mph.

Thursday: My last day that both kids were in school. I made the best of it. Unfortunately I had some stuff to do around the house so I didn't start running until 10:30 and the temps were in the mid 70's. Was a very solid run: 22 miles at an 8:50 pace on a hot and hilly route. 85 degrees when I finished. Heat was starting to bother me at the end. But yay me on the run!

Friday: Legs felt really good so I ran 9 miles: 7 on the road (hilly) and 2+ on the Leita trail (also hilly). 9ish pace. Felt very nice. Was also 60 degrees and overcast. If it had been hot again doubt it would have been as nice.

Went to the gym to swim late in the afternoon. Friday afternoon is NOT the time to go. Wait. It is if you like swimming in bleach. I do not. Made it about 20 minutes-- which usually works out to at least 1000yds for me. Was all sorts of terrible and I smelled bleach for 2 days after.

Saturday: No childcare. Took the kids and their bikes to the Greenway. They rode and I ran along side them. I did sprints while they took breaks. We all walked about mile after for a cool down. Total mileage was about 6 miles probably. But since it took well over an hour I am just calling it 4 miles.

Week end totals:
Run: 50 miles
Cycling: 73 miles
Swimming; 1000 yds

Sunday: My longest, hardest bike ride EVER! Got a group together to ride in Roswell. There were 20, 42 and 63 mile options. 3 of us hung for the full 63. I do the 40 frequently and it isn't that tough so I just didn't think the full 63 was going to be so hard. I was so humbled. My legs were toast. I was so worried that I held the other 2 back and ruined their rides (since I was the one who knew the route they couldn't really drop me) but they both said it was indeed a very challenging ride. It was 62.4 miles at about 15mph pace. I do plan on riding it again. I like a challenge and it was a lot of fun and a gorgeous day for a ride.

Monday: Greenway with the kids again. Beau rode a lot faster and they only took 2 breaks--which I did the sprints--. About 5 miles for me, 4 for them. Total time was about 45 minutes.

Then I swam about 2000 during adult swims while we hung out at the pool and drank beer.

Tuesday: Got up early and hit the gym pool at 5am. About 2000yds in 35+ minutes. Great start to my day. Not sure what else I will get in today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kindergarten Get Your Bad Self Ready

Beau is coming . . .

Yesterday Beau graduated from PreK. No he didn't sing any of the songs like he was suppose to and no he didn't shake Ms.Connie's hand when she gave him his diploma. Instead he picked his nose during the program and rolled his eyes and then told Ms.Connie that he was going to Parker's after school for a play date. If I wasn't already accustom to such antics I might have thought I should be mortified. But Beau? He is his own person.

Ms. Connie though assures me that Beau is ready for Kindergarten. And I am sure he will do fine so long as he does not have to take a nap (which he will but it will be 30 minutes instead of an hour) and sing songs (which he will once a week in music). Everything else he is cool with.

Obviously we are expecting great things next year from Beau. If nothing else it will be an entertaining year for all involved.

Word on the picture: Is that not the corniest most hysterical thing ever? I have been laughing about it since I saw the proof for it a month ago.

The day Beau got his picture made I had asked him if he smiled or did he make a silly face. He said he did great and explained they made him wear a silly hat and a dress and hold a piece of paper. I was like, what in the world? So I asked his teacher and she explained and then told me he did the best for the photographer. But of course, it was a costume.

Generally, I never buy the school pictures-- they are always terrible and cheap looking. But as soon as I saw the proof I knew I was ordering a package. Not the regular one in his polo shirt though. I am glad it was only $25 for a package but it wouldn't have mattered if it was $100 because that picture is just too funny to pass up. It is a keepsake. You can betcha that I will be dragging this one out when he brings dates home and stuff.

Every time I look at it I giggle.

In other news I bid adieu today to the 3 hour run. I ran 22 miles at an 8:50 pace. It was more than a little steamy since I ran late morning/early afternoon but as much as I struggled with the heat my muscles and joints were very happy for it. No aches and pains and stiffness. I am sure the new shoes helped too--I have been way past due for some. The run was pretty good but I am happy to say I will not do a run longer than 16 miles again until the kids go back to school. And I am very proud of myself for squeezing one last one in. Now it is time to get fast.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in a group ride Sunday morning in Roswell let me know. Trying to get something arranged. Thinking about the 60 mile route but at least 50 miles. If you want to do less that is cool.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Toughen Up Buttercup

Carmella is on swim team. She's a Gator. And she does not love it.

Carmella never embraces anything that is difficult. It makes her stand out because she is not perfect or proficient. But swim team is the one sport my kids will do. I don't care if they compete, win or lose but they will learn to be excellent swimmers. I don't care if it makes them hate me now; someday they will thank me. Swimming is not only a life skill but is a fitness gift. It is an excellent foundation for any sport because it builds all over strength and endurance in spades. So whether Carmella loves it or not is really a non issue.

Carmella is not terrible she is just inexperienced and lacks endurance. The coach even commented that her stroke is pretty good. This is huge since she has never had swim lessons--well except 2 weeks at camp last year but she could already swim. In my mind both experience and endurance are hers. She just has to practice.

Really, both my kids are natural swimmers. Carmella started swimming the summer she was 3. She probably would have at 2 but I was pregnant and didn't want to go to the pool so much. Not to mention her cautious nature holds her back sometimes. She has always been a cautious child. At 6 months old when I bathed her she would hold tightly to the side of the tub, never letting go.

Beau, on the other hand, at the same age would lay flat on his back under the water and smile up at us blowing bubbles. He has always loved water and started swimming when he was 2-- like Carmella, self taught. Although he is 2 years younger he is almost as strong a swimmer as Carmella and in some ways stronger because he has much more confidence in his ability. Unfortunately for Beau you must be 5 by May 31st to be on the swim team. So he is on the Little Gator team that will begin "practices" next week. Neither he or nor I (or the coach, who of course has come to know Beau by name) can wait.
Oh, and today was hat day for Beau at school:
Today was Carmella's 3rd practice she has been able to attend. And today was the first time she did not cry. Partly this was because it was in the 80's and the pool wasn't freezing. But also because, just like I told her, it is getting easier.

The first practice she started crying upon realizing she had to swim the whole 25yds. I told her that she could do it and she was very happy to find that she could do it--with no stopping I might add and doing an almost correct crawl stroke. Of course, upon finishing that first lap she was dismayed that she had to go back. And back again and then back again. But that day she swam 4 laps and was very proud of herself even though I had to walk along the pool the whole practice screaming "Put your face down and swim! Kick! Your legs are your motor."

I am that mom. I am even that mom for the kids who want to quit but their moms aren't there to stop them. So far I have badgered and encouraged no less than three kids to hang tough and see it through. I tell them about how quitting always feel bad but finishing--no matter how hard-- always feels fantastic. I think they just get in the pool and swim to get away from me.

Whatever works I say.

So at the second practice it was way cold--68 degrees and overcast. Had this been an open water swim at a triathlon everyone would have been in wet suits. Carmella cried and hung on the rope and hated me but was so proud of herself with her six laps.

And today? Today she came up to me at the start of practice and said she had a tummy ache.
I said "No you don't. Get in the pool and swim."
She said "But. . ."
And I said, "Buttercup get your butt in the pool and swim!"
And she did and, better yet, today she didn't cry.
She even went first and finished with her heat (this is huge to not get swam over by the more experienced swimmers). I cheered her on and called out to her that she was a Rock Star! She swam a few more 25's and 50 without having to grab the rope. They finished up the day with a 100. All the kids--at least the 7-8 year olds were hanging on the rope by that 3rd lap. Her buddy Reina passed her in the first lap and said "We have to do this 4 times." I died laughing because if Carmella cussed her face said some very choice words but nevertheless she tucked head and swam on.

I think today they swam about 300 yds. Maybe 400. Since I didn't have to walk along the deck until the end to do my encouraging I wasn't keeping lap count.

So . . . Check. Her. Out! This is her on her first 100 ever!
My little buttercup is getting all tough and sucking it up and I just couldn't be more proud!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beauhawk: Crazy Hair Day, again.

He's Beau. His hair is crazy. All the time.

So technically we didn't have to even do anything but you know Beau. When there is an opportunity to take something up a notch he turns the volume up. Way up. This was a last minute, finish your breakfast and I'll do your hair do.

Side view:
Beau was very specific. He wanted a mohawk--which he calls Ho hawk--but I just didn't have enough product to do that.

There use to be this guy in high school. Dan. I had super secret crush on him (super secret because I had a boyfriend and because I was totally not Dan's type anyway. But we were school friends). He was in a band. He was punk rock. I was most definitely not. He even once told me I had the curviest legs he had ever seen. He did not say this as a compliment or as a come on but rather said it like he was marveling at something bizarre. He made it sound like I was a complete freak because I had muscular legs. Dan did not have muscular legs. He was just skinny.

Anyway, Dan had an amazing fish fin mohawk. It was tall: a piece de resistance. He had to use A LOT of hairspray. I know this because Dan and I had talked hairspray. I had big hair too--not cool tall hair like Dan's-- but he could tell I had special knowledge about hairspray that could hold.

These days I never use hairspray so I couldn't do Beau's hair like Dan's (he had told me how he did his hair: eggwhites and hairspray.) Hence all the rubber bands.

In even more boring news here is the breakdown of last week:

Sunday: 15 miles on the bike at the Greenway. Had an asthma flare up and had to cut it short.

Monday: Still struggling with the asthma and just walked for 3 miles.

Tuesday: Optimisitcally thought I could do 16 miles. Had to use my inhaler and struggled a run/walk for 5 miles. Disappointing.

Wednesday: Got on the Claritan train. Ran 5 hard miles, 2 on the Leita trail. Raced some guy who didn't know we were racing. I kicked his ass.

Thursday: Still riding the Claritan train and got in 17 miles on rolling hills at an 8:20 something pace. Very happy.

Friday: 12 miles in an hour 37 at the Greenway trail. Then hopped on the bike for 20 miles for 70 minutes. Again, happy with day's workout.
Saturday: 7 miles on rolling hills at a general aerobic pace. 2 miles were on the Leita trail.

Bike: 35 miles
Run: 46 miles
Walking: 3 miles

Sunday: Legs were dead. Had that tight calf, cramped calf issue flare up again. I walked/ran and did 4 miles in 41 minutes. Whatever.

Monday: Bit of foot tendinitis rearing it's head. Legs are clearly not up for running so I hit the bike. Bummed that Steph couldn't join me. I hit the Greenway again. I did 52 miles at just under a 17 mph pace. I could have kept going but I ran out of time. It was a nice ride and gives me optimism that maybe I can probably do a half ironman. I'd still like to do a 100 mile ride or 2 before I attempt a half iron. I want 56 miles to feel like nothing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

So Chris, I Checked the Rule Book

And first rule of Cuddle Club is not don't talk about cuddle club.

I wasn't sure so I managed to get my hands on the rule book. I am sure this is all top secret but my thinking is that since Carmella left it in her backpack--which I check everyday--that she wanted me to post it on my blog.
Apparently, in case you can't read what it says below is that:
Friends are friends forever even if there is a new one in the club.
Earlier last week there was some very serious drama that went down between Reina and Nazneen. They were no longer friends. Even though, as revealed to me by Carmella, that they have been friends forever--like, you know, since preschool. I told Carmella she better get that crap cleared up before the sleepover because I don't do girl drama. So she made the above rule and everyone loves each other again.
It also says that small kids are allowed in the club only if they are 5 and 6. Oh, and that the team colors are green and blue. Which totally explains why Carmella's favorite color is now green.

In another covenant it is revealed that only 6 people can be in the club. Katherine and Katriana are also members. Not sure what is going to happen on Monday when they find out they were not invited to the sleepover. I am certainly sorry for any injured feelings but 4 little girls was all I could handle. I am thinking with 6 things might have gone to fisticuffs.
This is the final page"

Just to be clear:
Great people are nice.
No hitting.
Be a nice friend.
To be exceptional. (that last one I needed help translating.)

Carmella is totally going to hate me when she is 13 and I post pictures from her diary.

After the sleepover it has been determined-- at least by me--that The Cuddle Club is exactly like all the other girl clubs with the drama and bossiness and silliness but hey, at least their intentions are in the right place. However, for now, all the little girls loved me taking their pictures as they kept bringing me my camera so I could photograph them. I didn't even have to ask them to pose. They seemed to totally know how to strike one naturally.

So I don't know when the next cuddle club sleepover is going to be but it isn't going to be anytime soon. Though Carmella, yesterday, kept lamenting that she wanted to have her friends stay All Day!

You are out of your mind child.

Did I mention that they didn't go to sleep until after 11pm and only after I made threats of separating them? (And yes, I was like , Geez, whose Mom use to say that?)Then they got up at 6:45 and ate like 500 pop tarts and wanted to go outside and play.

So yeah, I am exhausted! I did a 7 mile run yesterday morning and I felt half asleep the whole time. Cuddle Club is messing with my workouts and that? That is a problem.

Friday, May 16, 2008


That's the pollen count for today. The offenders are Hickory and Grass. Looks like I only have problems when the pollen count is in the high to extremely high range with grass being listed.

I checked the pollen count this morning before I planned my workout. I figured it would be low with all the rain we had yesterday but sometimes that can kick it all up and make it worse. But apparently we had enough yesterday that it washed it all away. At least that is the story my lungs and sinuses are sticking to.

But since I did --in my opinion-- a rather hard run (17 miles) yesterday I figured my legs might not be too enthusiastic about another hard run.

So I went to the Greenway and took hills out of the equation. It was in the 70's--which isn't terrible-- but it was very muggy down there. Even still I ran the whole trail out and back (12 miles) in an hour and 37 minutes. 8:10ish pace. That is a guesstimate since I stopped twice at the light at Kimble Bridge and for water 3 times at the water fountains--I didn't carry anything with me --well except my knife from which I have a lovely abrasion from. Oh and, of course, my ipod and cell phone and inhaler. My holy running trilogy.

The first mile felt horrible and it didn't help that before I even got to the first mile marker 2 people passed me. They only got about 100 feet in front of me and it made me feel better that the guy turned off before the 2 mile and then the girl turned back at the 2 mile--it would have bothered me to chase them for the whole 6 miles out and I would have risked blowing myself up.

Anyways, after they turned off I was alone for awhile and found my pace. I stopped at 3 miles for water since that is where the facilities are. And note, the fountain at the North Point trail head (where I started) does not work. Even though I thought I was going slow I was still at the 3 mile at 23 minutes (which, I know that is still slow to some people but I was aiming for 25 minutes). So I pulled back and at the turn around I was at 50 minutes. I stopped at 7 miles to get another sip of water and ran on. Stopped again at 9 miles before crossing Kimble Bridge.

In the 10th mile my mind started to wander--I was thinking about when I use to be a gymnast and how graceful and powerful I use to feel when I did flips and leaps and stuff and how I don't feel that when I run but was thinking how cool it would be if at the end of a marathon I had the energy to butterfly across the finish line. Not that I can do two aerials in a row anymore but it could be something to work towards. Of course, this line of thinking had everything to do with the song I was listening to: Another Scarlet Butterfly.

Right, I know. Definitely a caterpillar these days.

So anyway while I was off in reverie this guy passed me. And I looked him over: a bit heavy, little older, very sweaty. And first I thought, oh just let him go. And I considered it while I picked up the pace and hung on his heels. Yeah, sorry buddy, I thought, I got too much left in the tank. But then that good non competitive angel on my right shoulder (evil is always left--psst, re the part on etymology) said Nat remember that you want to ride your bike. . . Yeah whatever, (brushed her pansy ass off my shoulder) dude is going down.

He seemed honestly surprised to see me. I knew that he was going to try and put me back in my place just from the sideways glance he cast me. And everybody knows that if you pass someone after they passed you then you better be ready to bring it. snap, snap

So now my run became serious work. It was hot and I was thirsty.

I passed a few other people but started to feel myself wanting to fade to that comfortable pace again. Then all the sudden I realized I was being harassed by a bee. I am so scared of bees. Both my parents are allergic and since I seem to be allergic to most things I just assume I am also allergic to bees.

I swatted it away. It dive bombed me. I picked up the pace. It whipped in front of my face. Damn bee. I tried slowing but then I could actually hear the buzzing over my music. So I started sprinting--all the while I am whipping my hands all around my head. I think I was yelling too. I kept pushing and pushing the pace. I totally felt like my lungs were going to burst but I was so worried that if I got stung I would go into anaphlytic shock instantly because of how hard my heart was pounding. I assured myself that my inhaler would most definitely save me. Then I chided myself that is it an inhaler not an epi-pen. Idiot. You are going to die. Run. Run. Run!

I don't even know when or how or if I out sprinted the bee but when I got to my car it was gone. And when I looked behind me I saw none of those other runners. Not even the guy who probably didn't know that we were racing but we were. And at any rate, seeing how to them it probably looked like I just up and started bolting down the trail while wildly waving my arms it is probably a good thing no one was there when I finished.

Since my time was limited I got my bike out, pulled on my bike shorts, traded running shoes for bike shoes, grabbed my water and Cliff bar and took off down the trail. I gulped down half the water instantly, ate half my Cliff bar and relaxed. I am telling you. Run first, then bike. Feels like a nap by comparison when you get on that bike after running. It was so nice to sit down. Yeah, my quads were like what the fuck are you doing woman but they chilled after a bit and I enjoyed my ride.

I did one loop (12 miles) and realized I had time to do at least to 18 maybe 24 if I pushed it. I had finished my Cliff bar and refilled my water bottle so I just tried to maintain. It was getting really tough. The cardio was there but my legs started to feel heavy. The wind started kicking up and the sky got a little ominous. There had been tons of people out earlier but is was getting quite sparse. I checked the time and gauged my energy and decided to turn back at 4 mile marker which when I was done would make my ride 20. I pushed as hard as could and made it back to the car in plenty of time. I could have gone to 24 but I figured now I will have time to eat lunch. There was no one in the parking lot when I racked my bike so it is just as well as I left. I don't like being out the trail by myself.

At any rate I am very happy with my workout. 2 hard days in a row in the peak of allergy season. Maybe 13 isn't such an unlucky number after all.

Oh, and pray for me. I have the Cuddle Club here for a sleepover tonight. That's right, four seven year old girls. They have only been here an hour and every single one of them has cried at least once and there has been 2 twisted ankles, a skinned knee and not nearly enough kindness or "respect" going around--at least that is what I heard Carmella say. Oh geez, they've got Hannah Montana blasting. . .

Miracle Drug?

Or maybe a lower pollen count? Yesterday was 54. Every other day this month has been in the high or rather, in the extremely high range. For me it doesn't matter what the range is unless the offensive allergen is grass and then of course the higher that is the worse it is for me.

Whatever the pollen count, yesterday was my second day in a row of Claritan. I swear, I know it says non-drowsy but I think it makes me feel a little sluggish. Maybe I am just looking for excuses for getting old. You know, I will be 37 in July. The 7th to be specific. You know, in case you want to get me something. . .

Anyway. . . I had a FANTASTIC run yesterday. Well, that probably isn't entirely true but it was definitely one of the best in a while. 16.82 miles in 2 hours and 21 minutes. An 8:20ish pace.

I have been trying for about 2 weeks to get myself to do a run longer than 10 miles-- well this week just try to run. I have to be honest. I have been on the verge of freaking out about it. Woe is me I am no longer a runner, sort of freaking out. Snap. Just like that. I go from marathoner to couch potato. Rationally, I know it does not happen like that but that is how my mind works. There is not a lot of gray. It is runner or not runner. And right, I did just run 40 miles last week but until yesterday this week I had only run 5 miles. Well 10 if you count the 5 on Tuesday that I had to walk/run. But I could tell. I was going the way of the non runner. Even worse, I was going the way of chubby Nat.

So yesterday, I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated, made a play list and finally sucked it up and left. I brought $2 and my handheld water bottle. I am officially off the GU since Country Music Marathon. Even on the bike. I am now an official Cliff Bar convert. Peanut butter Chocolate Chip, if you must know. I might go back to Luna moons or Cliff Shots for longer runs but No.More.GU.EVER! Ever!

I mean it.

That shit is evil.

But yes, yesterday I was minimalist with the fueling. And for me I think this is better. I know I can run 26 miles with just water if I had to. No, it won't be fast but it is doable and slow is better than tummy ache any day.

I have been worried I have lost all sorts of fitness but I made it to my 7 mile pit stop in 58 minutes. Generally I am there in 58-62 minutes so this was spot on. I bought some Gatorade, dumped out my water and ran on. About 2 miles later, as I was running up the 2 mile long hill it started raining. I started to worry about "severe" weather and what I would do if I got caught in a thunderstorm. Torrential downpour is one thing, lightening and wind another.

I figured my best hope was to get to the Walgreen's 3 miles away so I could duck in there. Really, nothing I could do but run on since I was in a residential area. I wasn't going to go knocking on stranger's doors. Especially when I looked like drowned rat. Don't think they'd let me in anyway.

Happily the weather didn't turn nasty. Just a steady rain and I ran the rest of the way home. I did have a coughing fit in mile 15 and I had to walk a bit. It is very hard to run up hills when you are choking on mucus. Why make it hard? I really don't think there is reason to train yourself to cough and run up a hill. So I just walked a bit. I do hate walking in the rain but it really wasn't so terrible yesterday. I must say I rather enjoyed myself.

So today I feel like a runner again. I know it is silly that I have to go out and run for a few hours to reassure myself but I have been marathon training since last August. I suppose it is a hard habit to break. But I am going to break it next week. Time to switch gears to shorter and intense runs, long bikes and long swims. Hopefully I can squeeze in a 20 miler next week and then I will bid adieu to any run longer than 2 hours til August.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Cuddle Club

I know.

My mind went the way of the dirty side of a double entendre too.

But, you know, that is just yet another example of "where does she come from?"

Right, not me.


Alternative post title I suppose is: The Good Girl Club And My Mommy Was Never In It.

I kid.

I wasn't a bad girl.


I have never been arrested and only got detention once because I was chewing gum in Spanish class. You could chew gum in every class but Spanish class (I mean I could chew gum in Latin so it wasn't a foreign language thing; just a Spanish class thing). I had forgot I had the gum. So I got busted. It was embarrassing. I mean if I am going to get in trouble it isn't going to be for something dumb like chewing gum. If it matters the teacher rescinded the detention because he didn't want to have to stay after. So technically, I have never actually had detention.

But nevertheless, I definitely wasn't a good girl either. Oh, but I have lots of friends who are good girls--Tara, Steph, Meme, Mel--if that counts.

I guess you could say I was in the Pot Stirring Shenanigans Club.
Yes, Beau is a member of this club too.

And yes, we know where he comes from.

On Saturday when I picked Carmella up from her sleep over and I mentioned that she should have an end of the year sleep over with a few friends. Her eyes got all big and dreamy and she said "Oh yes! We could have the Cuddle Club!"

Me: I'm sorry, the what club?
My mind flashed to that day where Dee Dee (fellow Pot Stirrer club member) and I sat in the Barnes Noble kids section reading to Max and Carmella. And how we could not stop giggling about the line in The Runaway Bunny where the Mommy bunny says something like "I'll be the wind and blow you. . ." And I won't even tell you which line from The Owl and The Pussycat that we laughed so hard we almost wet our pants.

Carmella further explains: The Cuddle Club. It is me, Ashton, Reina, and Nazneen. We are good girls.

Me: Uhm, so what do you do in this club-- cuddle and hug each other?

Carmella: No we are just sweet girls and we have a secret handshake.

She then eyes Beau--who is not paying attention-- and shows me some of the motions in the secret handshake and the chant. (hugs, kisses, "love" "love")

Carmella: And we believe in being kind to everyone, eating our fruits and vegetables and loving each other.

Me: Wow. That sounds like a very nice club. Who thought this up?

Carmella: Me.

Later in the day I tell Ryan about the Cuddle Club. So when Carmella brings him a toy to change the battery in he tells her he will only change it if she lets him in the Cuddle Club.

Carmella leaves the room for a minute--I guess to consider it-- and then comes back.

"Okay Daddy. You can be in the club. But you should know that our leader is Mr. Apple and you are going to have to give up junk food."

Ryan: Oh, well, then I'm out.

Yesterday I received an email from Carmella's teacher saying the principal was going to honor my sugar and spice and everything sweet girl with the Award for Outstanding Character. When I asked Carmella if she knew she was getting an award she said no. Then she asked if everyone else was getting one too. I told her I didn't think so. Of course this worried her and she said "Oh, I really hope everyone gets one."

And see, I am not sure if Carmella was worried about having to be the only one getting an award and the attention that would come with that; Or because everyone else's feelings would be hurt because they didn't get an award too.

At any rate I can assure you that I never got an award for Outstanding Character or anything close to that but if I did I probably wouldn't have been concerned about other people.
Which, then again, might be why I have never gotten an Outstanding Character Award. But you know, I feel like somehow, surely, I must have something to do with my daughter getting one. And at the very least that makes me believe that maybe there is still hope of me getting an invite to the Cuddle Club.

Then again, I am sure I would get bored of all that kindness, eat some sugar and create some pot stirring shennigans.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The talent I do not have. . .

That's right,there is acutally one.

Saturday night Ryan and I got a sitter and drove with Meme and Pat a million miles out to Cumming (Boondocks, literally, as it is near the lake.)to attend our friend Eric's 40th surprise birthday party. I have known Eric about 10 years. He is really Pat's friend from middle school but is part of the loser clan. Despite knowing him this long I have never met his parents-- or, I come to find out-- a lot of his friends. You know, different groups and I guess he keeps his separate. And I think, after Saturday, he may never mix groups again.
Despite not knowing many people I, of course, had a blast. But not knowing people never gets in my way of good time. Really, let's face it; not much gets in the way of me having a good time. When Eric's mother Edie introduced herself to me she confided that Eric hated things that put attention on him. I told her not worry because I am entirely comfortable with attention on me and would appropriately divert any attention Eric did not want onto me. I don't think she really believed me but I was, as always, true to my word. You know, that "all the world's a stage" mentality. I fully embrace it.

I made Eric's sister Dana make him a fancy hat that he kept taking off and I kept putting it back on his head.

Then we gave him a really great gift--a nose and ear hair remover and Meme also added some Prostate health herbs. I even made him card and wrote a great poem about ear and nose hair and a healthy prostate. I really think it made him feel good to know he had such great friends looking out for his prostate and embarrassing nose and ear hair. See, that's just the kind of friends we are.

A bit later at the party I was with a group of girls and I don't know how the subject came up but we started talking about what I call Meme's poker face. It is so not a poker face. Meme is always very polite and proper but you can always tell exactly what she is thinking because of her wild arching eyebrow that belies every word out of her mouth. For example Bubbles will say something like, "I am going to have Easter at my house and serve lamb and mint jelly,"gag. And Meme will say "Wow, that sounds awesome. What can I bring?" But what she is really thinking and what her one raised eyebrow is saying is: "Oh my God. I hate lamb and everybody knows that mint jelly is the most foul, green gelatinous substance on earth."

Me? I just say exactly what I am thinking because-- and I have to think it is because my face is so perfectly symmetrical that my facial muscles can't help but work so beautifully together-- I cannot do the one up, one down. And of course it annoys me that Meme has this talent so I always rat her out when I catch her making the poker face. Like, I'll say, "Wow Bubbles that would be great! I think lamb and mint jelly just sounds delicious but you know, Meme's eyebrow doesn't think so. I think maybe some roasted turkey might be nice. You know, to make Meme's eyebrow happy." That's right. I toss her under the mother-in law-bus and I have no bones about it because trust me: She does the same thing to me given the chance.

So at the party we were discussing Meme's poker face and I started asking the girls if they could do it. Some could, some couldn't but everyone's face was absolutely hysterical while trying to find out if they could. So me? I took pictures. Of everyone. And everyone obliged.
The shy birthday boy:


Rachel, Eric's wife:

Other party guests:

The next day at Bubbles house-- where we celebrated Mother's Day with, Praise Jesus! Not lamb and mint jelly but hot dogs and hamburgers--everyone gave the ole one up one down a try:

The queen herself of the wild arching eyebrow, Bubbles:
I try again:

Little Pat:
And Beau:
Ryan, again. Clearly, the master archer.

Somehow Poppy escaped as I don't have one of him but I bet he can do it. But what I want to know is can you do the wild arching one eyebrow raise? If so I want to see proof on your blog. . .