Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This Stuff of Which Dreams are Made of . . .

Is a little bit of bs, I think.

Or perhaps I am even more two dimensional than I thought. Well, no surprise there really.

But for certain there are zillions of books and websites on dream interpretation and symbolism. I am sure you a familiar with the genre on some level. Maybe you had a dream dictionary yourself in high school or college (or now) after your first introduction to Freud and Jung. Maybe you even spent time at parties looking up the prominent symbols in your dreams. Or perhaps, at some point, you marveled at the collective unconscious and the commonness of some dreams--anyone ever have the I missed a test or class dream? How about one with your teeth falling out? And who at some point has not dreamed about being naked in some form? mmm, naked. . .

At the very least, I am almost positive that you have had a conversation with someone-- or even initiated it yourself where you said "I had the weirdest/most bizarre/crazy dream last night. . ."

And for sure I have had those crazy why-am-I-riding-a purple-bicycle-backwards-on- broken-highways-while-tiny-dogs-dance-by-with-parasols-and-oranges too. But more often than not I have dreams where I know I am dreaming and why I am dreaming about this particular thing and I am laughing--while dreaming-- at my mind's attempt at obtuse symbolism. Silly dumb stupid brain-o-mine.

Last night I dreamed one of those my-brain-is-but-a-shallow-reflecting-pool dreams.

I dreamed I had measles.

And while I was completely involved in the dream, I knew that it was a dream. And I was amused at the places it was taking me.

In the dream I kept going to different doctor offices, clinics, hospital Er's etc and showing the nurses, receptionists, doctors a rash on my thigh. It was itchy. Very itchy. And I would ask, holding my bare thigh rashy thigh up to them: Is this measles? Does this look like measles to you?

I never made it past any of the reception areas and everyone I asked would half recoil and lean forward and look at my thigh. Yes, they would say, quickly pulling away, scratching themselves in response. That does look like measles, they would agree. Then they would say: But you can't come here. And it was then that I would notice that they too had some rash of a various form and that they too were itchy and scratching at themselves.

It was like a pandemic of people with itchy rashes.

And I would say, being persistent, are you sure? I think it is measles but I've had measles. Not the German Measles; Rubella--I would say, being specific. Could be Rubella someone at some clinic would offer and I would say it better not be. I've been vaccinated 3 times for Rubella in my adult life, I would tell them. I should be immune.

And I have been vaccinated 3 times. I never show up immune to Rubella but I have had the vaccine many times--as an adult and as a child. It annoys me that I keep having to get the Rubella vaccine. And in my dream I am greatly offended that I might actually have Rubella. I muse that it isn't fair and what's next? I'm going to get chicken pox again too. So I keep going to different clinics. It is the same everywhere I go: measles, people with rashes, I can't stay.

Then, suddenly, I realize my lips are dry. In my dream I have dry lips. This is serious. Because my lips are dry. Slightly chapped and I am being vigilant about keeping lip balm on them so to prevent the dreaded cold sore that always seems to happen if my lips get chapped. And while I was having this dream about measles I knew why I was having it and I was just going along with it. But the fact that now my dreaming self has dry lips my conscious self takes that as the cue that the dream is over and I need to wake up.

And I wake up and I start looking for my lip balm.

So what was this dream all about?

Well it wasn't for sure about me being worried about something or having anxiety like the dream interpretation site says. For sure, I am a natural worrier and slightly anxious person but no this dream was all about mosquito bites.

I have at least twelve bites on the top of my left thigh alone. It is driving me crazy how much they itch. See, if you and I are standing outside next to each other and neither of us is wearing insect repellent I will be the only one who gets bit. And even if I do have repellent on and you don't you probably still won't get bit because the mosquitoes will be swarming around me trying desperately to find that tiny spot on my body that I failed to cover with repellent.

So what this dream is telling me-- and you too-- is that if you want to go on a canoe trip to the Okefenokee swamp for a few days you definitely want me with you. And also, that if I'm around? You don't have to worry at all about West Nile.

So this stuff of dreams? Yeah, my little life isn't rounded with sleep at all but rather with the mosquitoes. And you know what? I want insomnia because I freaking hate mosquitoes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not in a long, long time. As Beau would say a SUPER long time--

Has it happened.

Like since I had Beau has it happened.

Okay, no, that's not true. But definitely not since Beau turned 2 has it happened.
But on Sunday night I got one.

What? A compliment on my children's behavior.

At a restaurant.

No, not a restaurant that is kid friendly. That wouldn't really count now would it?
I am talking about a nice restaurant. An adult restaurant.

And yes, there was absolutely bribing involved.
When we first had Carmella we could go anywhere with her-- and we did. We took her places like the theater for things like the Lion King, the Nutcracker and Radio City Rockettes (at 10 months old no less). Once, in New York--and this is totally Bubbles fault-- I took her to a bar when she was 11 weeks old. That was the same trip I took her to a full on Catholic mass wedding in the city. She was great and slept soundly until we walked outside and there were bagpipe players.

Carmella, as one acquaintance once told me, was a "good baby." I didn't really believe him since she was my first and I thought she was hard.

But now?

Yeah, he was totally right on. Carmella was a good baby. And she is an even better kid. You can take her anywhere and count on her to behave better than you probably will.

But this is not to say that occasionally I would be horrified that Carmella would do something child like and you know make a child like noise but now. . . Looking back?

I know I was being ridiculous.

Because Beau?

Beau has shown me how most children act in public places that they don't want to be in and probably shouldn't be in.

The learning curve with children is a circle you know. The teaching is a shared experience. You, as parents, try to pass on some knowledge to them and in the process you get schooled right back. Again and again you are reminded that you don't know jack. . .

So anyway, back to my story.

Two year olds--in general-- make it impossible to take them anywhere that isn't geared towards kids. And just as Carmella out grew the terrible that is twoness (that was not so terrible after all) Beau turned 2 and, well, his twoness has persisted well past two.

Oh, but now he is 5 and maybe a new light shines on us. Maybe. . .

Sunday night Ryan and I were desperate for some decent food.
See, we love Hilton Head Island. The reasons we love Hilton Head are because it is relatively close to Atlanta (5 hours), the beach is long (unlike the Gulf), the beach is hard sand and you can ride your bikes on it. There are miles and miles of bike paths. There is lots to do besides go to the beach--like ride your bike.
Or have the whole beach to yourself because everyone else gets all chicken shit at a little rain and thunder and vacates. Then you can fly your stunt kite to your ( or your husband's)heart's content.
And you can ride your bike to the forest preserve or the ruins or Harbor town and look at birds and alligators along the way(and forget to bring your camera).

And you can walk on the empty beach at night and it is totally dark and spooky and very cool and it is fun because your kids are scared (Carmella) of the darkness and coolness of the beach at night. And again, you also forget to bring your camera. . .

And, so far, Hilton head has been mostly immune to hurricanes-- compared to other beach areas in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

And, speaking of Florida (no offense, I like some parts of Florida too) . . . Hilton Head isn't tacky resort like with huge highways, towering condos and flashy strips malls.

Yes, it has its kitschy tourist like stuff but all beaches have that crap. And it can be annoying with all the Lily Pulitzer (gag) and little girls with giant bows (yes Carmella was a bow head too. Apparently it is what you do to little girl's heads). And the men in their madras and brooks brothers--don't even get me started on the crocs-- but eh, you see that everywhere in the South. The only real fault that I find with Hilton Head is the that for the most part the restaurants are not good.

In fact, I would go so far to say they are as a whole, terrible.

Terrible in all categories--food, price and-- worst dining offense of all-- service.

So not only is every thing way, way over priced it doesn't even taste good and the service is antithetical to service. It is non service.

However, this is not usually a problem for us since when we go to Hilton Head we cook our own meals. But this time it was just a short trip and we stayed at the South Beach Marina Inn. Our suite did not have a full kitchen so we had to go out to eat.

By Sunday I couldn't bear another night of shelling out the bucks for a crappy over priced meal. So I convinced Ryan to go to CQ's.

CQ's is a Hilton Head's anomaly. It is good food and good service and you definitely pay for it. But it isn't that much more than any of the other restaurants in Sea Pines that are decidedly not good.

I won't rave and say this is the best restaurant ever but it has consistently been good the now 4 times I have been there. So that is something.

After a day of biking and hanging out on the beach we dressed and hopped on the Sea Pines trolley to CQ's.I can't tell you how cool it was that we didn't have to drive anywhere for 4 days.

I should point out that Carmella decided she wasn't comfortable riding in the back of the trolley with us so she sat up front by herself. She also held on to the rail the whole ride. And Ryan and Beau and I giggled at her. So typical Carmella. I should also point out that we had the whole trolley to ourselves for the ride to Harbor Town.
Even better.

I took the opportunity to tell the kids (Beau) exactly what sort of behavior I expected out of them. Carmella also offered some tips of her own to him for clarity.

So with the kids threatened within an inch of their lives and promises of special treats for good behavior we went to CQ's.

And while there was a time that I frowned on people who allowed their children to play video games at the table I now understand that they have kids like Beau who can't sit still and that not only do they value their dining experience they also value the other patrons. So needless to say I was quite grateful to Carmella for bringing and let Beau play with her Nintendo. Carmella and Ryan played a cut throat game of tic tac toe. Because while CQ's is definitely more adult than other restaurants on Hilton Head it does not alienate it's main clientele (families) and has a kid menu with little activities (activities which do not interest Beau in the least).

And I should say that there was one other child in restaurant but he looked about 10 and way bored. So this is not a fun restaurant for the kids in general but mine had an okay time and I got a yummy meal.

Oh what did I have?

Well, I had a very delish dirty Grey Goose Martini with blue cheesed stuffed olives and Ryan had a Knob creek bourbon. Ryan had the caviar crustini. And we shared a Kobe short rib appetizer that was just out of this world yummy and then split a wedge salad. I had the lobster pasta with an Oregon Pinot Gris that I can't remember the name of but was really good and Ryan had the venison with a beer (of course). Kids had chicken fingers and were very happy about that.

After we were finished and were waiting for the check an older couple stopped by our table on the way out and said what polite and well behaved children we had. Moi! With well behaved children. Wow.

And the real kicker here, as Camille or Anne or Carrie can attest to is that last year when we were on our girl's trip I made an absolute fool out of myself at CQ's. See that picture under the "I am Nat and this is my blog"?

Well that picture is fake.

I had the waiter pretend to throw me out because I knew I was being such a fool and Carrie snapped a picture of it. So my kids behaved better than me. Which when it comes to Carmella that is more the rule than the exception but Beau still beats me out on number of daily tantrums. And hey, at least I've got that.

We had a great trip and I wish it had been longer.

Here are some other pictures of our long weekend:

Which, BTW--Stoph, Tara-- I don't know what you two are talking about. Stoph, you went skiing and to Kansas (snicker). And Tara haven't you been to the beach 3 times since May? I do not go on vacay all the time. Just as much as I can finagle. Who wouldn't? Really And btw, anyone else wants to take me to the beach I am game. I love the beach, the ocean, the sand, the hauling tons of crap to the beach just to sit there, drink beer, read and watch my kids play. All good. All good. Could do it everyday.
Beau took this picture of Ryan and I. Ugh, them are some drunk eyes I have.:

Ryan with Beau's shark goggles.

Carmella got all brave and had her hair painted.
She doesn't do the face painting thing as Cappy the clown freaks her out.

Unfortunately Beau does love Cappy and she wasn't doing face paint that night so he had t0 settle for hair painted. He was not happy and went back to get more. He tried to convince her to paint his face but she didn't have her stuff with her.

Playing in the ocean.

Beau trying to scare the other people in the water. It was really funny to watch him swim up to them and think he was really going to scare the crap out of them and that they just laughed at him.

Okay, well looking forward to Sunday with BeauPOOLooza and getting some good workouts in this week. I'll try to get around to post all the boring ones I've been doing. Gotten in some good runs, swims and bikes (well not the last 4 days per se but the other times since I last posted). Getting ready and more nervous about the half ironman. . .

PS. Sorry for all the typos and misspelling. Blogger is not being very cooperative in the editing process. I think all the pictures wonks it out and it does funky things. Best I can explain it. Because some of my edits don't go through and it won't let spell check or some of the other "tools" work. Whatever. You get the gist: I went to the beach. It was fun. My kids didn't embaress me too much and I didn't embaress Ryan too much either.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bird-brained Dreams and Birthday Wishes

It is almost time for BeauPOOLooza V. Crazy man turns 5 on Monday and his party is next Sunday.
Beau has been talking about his birthday since the day after his birthday last year.

And he has a long list of birthday wishes. Because when you are 5 birthdays are all about the presents. Wait. Who am I kidding? Birthdays are always about the presents!

And Beau?

Yeah, he has some birthday requests.

Unfortunately it is unlikely he is going to get any of them for his birthday or, well, ever-- or at least not until he is an adult and can purchase them for himself and he isn't living with me anymore. (Please Jesus say Beau will not be living at home as a an adult).

Beau's Birthday Wishlist:
1. A Bald Eagle.
When I explained that you are not allowed to own Bald Eagles he decided he wanted a parrot. If you don't know Beau LOVES birds. He has several bird books and carries at least one with him everywhere he goes. Almost every conversation we have is about birds.

So it is really no surprise that he wants a bird. But me? I don't want a bird so we are not having one. I told him parrots were too big and way too expensive.
So then Lala told him about parakeets. They are little parrots, Beau explained to me. No, I told him. We are not having any bird. We have Lola. She is enough pet for us.

But Beau persisted with, "I want a pet of my own."

2. A Pet of My Own. Like maybe a rabbit, a hamster, or a turtle (cause according to Beau turtles don't poop.)

And again I told him no.

So he began to devise a plan to get rid of Lola.

I am going to feed her bad food, he said. He lit upon this diabiolocal plan because I have told the children that dogs cannot eat the same food as them, that it will make them sick. While some people food does make dogs sick I mostly told them this so they would not feed table scraps to the dog because nothing is worse than a dog that begs. Marlow.

Instead though, he ate Lola's food. Poor dog. She is so confused on exactly who is the dog and who is the kid in our house.

At any rate we are thinking of getting him fish. And by fish I mean a gold fish and most definitely NOT a koi pond.


A koi pond?

Right, and that brings us to wish number 3.

3. A Koi Pond.
I have no idea why Beau even knows what koi pond is but that is what he asked for. Ryan said no. I am thinking that he wants one because he thinks he can fish out of it.

4. Fishing pole. A professional fishing pole.
We pointed out that he has a fishing pole. But apparently it isn't the right type.

5. Bike
Okay, so Pop and Lala bought him a new bike so this one he actually got. But he does really want a road bike because he wants to ride on the road with me.

6. Bike Jersey and Gloves.
Like me. And this one he might actually get because it is reasonable and I saw some at Roswell Bikes.

7. His own house.
Just a little one, he said. In the backyard.
And I do kinda wish I could afford that but no, he isn't getting his own house either.

8. A real 4 wheeler.
Not like the little kid one he already has. You know. The one he got last year for his birthday when he was 4 but a real adult one.

So far that is all he has asked for. And hopefully having a goldfish will make him happy cause he ain't getting any of that other stuff.

And by the way, we are at Hilton Head. So at least he is happy about that, cause Beau? Beau loves the beach. And me? I love the beach too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

50 min swim, 37 min run

Look at me, I'm Joe Reger.

Just kidding.
You know me.
I'm not the less is more type.
I am the there may just be a tiny little bit to say but I have a lot to say about that and then whole bunch to say about a lot of other unrelated tangents too type.

On with the logging. . .

So like I said in my last post kids and I were off for a 12 mile they ride/I run at the Greenway Trail. Deja vu. Let me tell you. There is some bad bad voodoo on me. Bad. And when I figure out exactly who has the me doll there is going to be some hell to pay.

Lala has said run around a tree backwards. Maybe I should get some crystals and bury them in the backyard too. I'll have to call Pookie and ask her advice on that. . .

So yet again today Carmella dropped her bike chain. We had almost made it to the 2.5 mile marker. This was of course after I spent the first 2 miles giving pep talks to Beau-- who just wanted to lay down, and did, and then was mad because he wasn't first and also; he was just tired today. Everything was stupid. Finally I get everyone all happy and on track and then catastrophe strikes in the form of a dropped chain.


Maybe the voodoo doll isn't me. Maybe it is Carmella's bike.

Who the heck is f'ing with a seven year old's bike.
That is not cool.

Not cool at all.

So Carmella and I walk her bike back to the car. I am fuming. Not at Carmella. Just the situation. I explain all this to her. And she is like "isn't your race at the end of September?" And, I'm like "yes." She is like, "well you have plenty of time. Chill." I try to explain that I am not young, like her, and I have to practice so I don't embarrass myself. She is all "whatever woman. September is like forever away. Chill." And then she says, "besides, I don't know why you want to run anyway. It makes you so sweaty."

So we go to Roswell Bikes and they fix it, again, and again, swear it is not going to happen again. I am thinking maybe they are the ones with the voodoo bike doll.

I am all pissy the rest of the day. I have been robbed of my 12 mile run. And I still want to swim.

Kids misbehave left and right and embarrass the crap out of me everywhere we go. I lose my marbles and yell after they act like maniacs yet again at the last store we have to visit today. During my adult tantrum on the car ride home I ask Beau if he wants people to think he is stupid because that is what they think when he acts like such an idiot. And he responds with: "Well, what do you expect Mommy? I've got a coconut brain." And then he and Carmella dissolve into hysterics about Beau's coconut brain filled with coconut milk as he knocks on his head and makes that cross-eyed, open mouthed look on his face.


I am mean mommy and punish kids in their room and make them clean everything I can think of. After a bit I relent and take them to the pool but tell them they only have 40 minutes (opposed to the 90 minutes pool time I had set aside today for them) so hurry up and have fun. They do. And when I say it is time to go Carmella explains to Beau-- who begins to balk-- that it is their fault because they were naughty at the stores and that is why they don't have as much play time. Next time, she tells him, we will think more carefully about how we behave in public.

And I am wondering at this point if I am even necessary. Carmella seems to have better control over it than I do.

So we rush home and change out of clothes and get to the gym right as the gym nursery opens.

I hightail it to the treadmill. I have no love for the treadmill today. I want my 12 mile run. I can't let it go. First mile totally sucks. It comes in at 8 minutes and I am dying. I am hating it and negotiate down from 7 miles to a 5k and agree to a progressive run. Push push push the pace. Finish the 5k in 21:29/6:56 pace. Walk it for a few minutes and rush down to the pool to change.

Upon changing I realize I have left my towel in the car. The threat of Aquafit looms and the clock is ticking. I decide to worry about my lack of towel later.

There is only one other person in the pool. I've seen him before. He swims well and I am glad he is there. Someone the swim against. Makes it more fun.

Unfortunately he is finished when I am done with my 500 w/up. I go in for my long set. Works out to be 2350 yds in 40 minutes and change. I am disappointed that I have to stop but all those Aquafitters are sitting there staring at me swim. I know they are staring at me as I am the only one in the pool. Even if they are not discussing me they are all looking at me and it just weird to have an audience.

I get out and quickly leave the pool. I am sad that I don't have my towel but I think that maybe if I sit in the sauna the dry heat might dry me. So I bring my clothes in there and sit for a few minutes. Trying to dry. Another woman comes in. She is in her underwear and has what looks like a winter hat and honey. She sits and I sit and I realize that I am not getting dry but not only am I still wet I am now sweaty and really uncomfortable because I don't really like saunas so much. But I really want to know what she is going to do with that hat and the honey so I slowly change out of suit into my clothes. I watch her out of my peripheral vision. But the only thing she does is put the winter hat on and lay out on her towel. Very disappointing. The honey just sits in its container next to her. And I leave disappointed and am left wondering what she was going to do with that honey. My bets are on some sort of facial but I can't figure out how the hat played into it.

I suppose it will just have to remain a mystery.

So for the day: 5 + miles running, swimming: 2850 yds. Sucks.

And I am not going to tell you what I am doing tomorrow so no one can work their voodoo on me.

So, I'm a logger

**Warning: Boring workout log post.**

Since I am signed up for South Carolina Half Ironman I need to get back in the habit of logging my workouts and taking things a bit more seriously.

So, yay! I have a race and I am very happy about that. Looking very forward to it. I've been feeling a bit wayward since my next marathon isn't until December (maybe November) and that was just too far away for me.

Admittedly though, I am nervous as crap about how long it is going to take me to do this half iron man. I know I said I would never say never but I am almost certain I will never do a full ironman because I just can't imagine wanting to do anything for that long. The idea of starting something at dawn and not finishing until it is dark does not appeal to me in the least. But a half seems doable. Still long, but doable. I am worried though that it is not going to be as much fun as a marathon. People keep telling me that a half iron man is much "easier" than a marathon but I have my doubts. I do like that I get to change outfits though in a triathlon. That is definitely appealing to me.

But I am worried about this half iron man because I know in a marathon that I will be done in four hours or less--even if I walk. Half Iron man? I think I am looking at 6 hours. Holy crap. Me. Do something for 6 hours. Right right right. I did that century ride and that was 6 hours. But remember. I was sitting down for that.

Sigh. I would feel much better about all this if I was faster on the bike. Really fast. Like 20+ mph fast and I can hop off and run a my regular one forty half marathon. That would be great. And then it wouldn't take 6 (or God forbid more) hours.


But even if I work my booty off I think the best I can hope for is 17 mph and a one fifty half marathon. And, I think that would be okay. But really. I should be realistic: 15mph and two hour half marathon. Gosh. I really hope I don't have to run for more than 2 hours. That will pretty much kill me. I'll be fine however long the bike takes because most important to me on the bike is-- as is always my main goal when I am on a bike-- not wreck and not fall. Second to that is not get a flat tire. Slow, I suppose, I can deal with. I am use to it, after all.

What? The swim? Oh well, I am working on that. I'm a decent swimmer. A guy did ask me on Sunday if I was training for the Olympics. He seemed super impressed even if he was totally creeping me out because he was just sitting in the pool doing nothing but watching me swim (at least as far as I could determine). Despite the creep factor it certainly made me feel pretty confident in my ability. But I think Dara Torres can rest easy. Her position on the team is secure. And I think I will improve some. Assuming I actually make myself get in the pool and you know, swim laps and stuff. That is always the hard part. Swimming back and forth and back and forth for an hour or more gets very boring. Sure you can try to break it all up with drills and what not but still, it is more of the same thing: back and forth, back and forth. The only excitement is the flip turn. Which, right, I know as a triathlete you are not suppose to do them but whatever: I am a marathoner and I like my flip turns. Like I said, they are my excitement in the pool.

But boy. I think swimming a mile+ in a river is going to be A LOT different than swimming 2 miles in the pool and getting to see the wall every 20 seconds. Yeah, I'll just try not to think about that when I am out in the middle of the river. But I am almost certain my first thought will be after about 20 seconds and no wall is forthcoming: What the fuck was I thinking? But those are thoughts for another day. A day say at the end of September. Say the 28th to be specific. . .

So here is my very sad log from last week:
Sunday (July 6th): Kids and Ryan and I went to the trail. Ryan and kids rode their bikes and I ran. Beau decided to hang with Ryan and so I got the best pacer ever: Carmella. She negative splitted it for me: 23: 12 for the first 3 and 21:13 for the last 3. 6 miles @ a 7:25 average pace.

Monday: Birthday run. Got pushed a bit late in the morning so it was getting hot. 80 degrees for whole run. I incorporated 5 miles at the Leita Thompson trail. It was super muggy but cooler in the woods. Run was 13 miles @ an 8:20 pace.

Tuesday: Ugh. Bit of a hangover. 4 miles at the Greenway Trail with the kids (them on the bikes me in my running shoes) 8:37 average pace. Continued to feel worse all day. Low grade fever, tummy issues, aches and horrible headache. Not a hangover after all.

Wednesday: Headache and fever persisted for most of the day. Waste of a human being. Took a Motrin and rallied for the kids. They rode their bikes around the neighborhood and I chased. We went up to the local track and I ran many laps. Forgot my Garmin but we were gone about 50 minutes so I figure easily this was 5 miles.

Thursday: Since it is summer and I only have Lala to help me out I am hard put for babysitters. Lala agreed to watch the kids so I could ride my bike (read Lala does not have Bikram Yoga on Thursdays). But since there have been afternoon storms everyday the kids and I went to the Greenway so I could get a run in. We did 8 miles at an 8:04 average mile. It should be noted that the average is time actually spent running. There are multiple breaks: Beau falls, someone needs a sip of water, someone needs to have an argument about not being first, someone needs to look at Bamboo, someone needs to look at what might be a scary bug, a turtle or a fox. So I only count the time I am running but we pretty much stop for 30-60 seconds every 2 miles. They are getting better though and not stopping as much.

Afternoon rolls around and the thunderstorms hit. I headed out once they cleared. Or so I thought. Around 6 miles it started lightening so I stopped by Steph's and waited it out. I lost about 30 minutes. I decided to just take the long way home and cut it short since the roads were very wet and I didn't want to risk getting caught out in a storm again. So I got in 15.6 miles for at blazing 15.9 mph pace.

Friday: Hit the pool. Hello pool. It has been awhile. I've been meeting with my other favorite lovers: Mr. Running Shoe and Mr. Bicycle. They are more exciting. Sorry.

And I was duly punished for my neglect:
I started out with 2 400's that I timed (45 seconds rest in between 400's):
1st 400yds : 5:52
2nd 400yds: 5:45

Next I timed some 100's with 30 seconds rest in between.
1st 100yd: 1:22
2nd: 100 yd: 1:25
3rd 100 yd: 1:24
4th 100 yd: 1:27
Mess up 50: :42--my cap kept coming off.
5th 100yd: 1:29

My cap kept riding up and it was driving me crazy. So I bailed on the "speedwork".

Closed with a 2000 yd steady swim. I timed the last 400 and it was 7:18. Didn't think to time the whole set so I have to assume that was somewhere on the slow end of the average. Total 3350yds in an hour.

Saturday: Again with no sitters and Ryan was working. Off to the Greenway so the kids can ride and I can run. 10 miles for an average 8:13 pace. Again with all the stops but I needed them today. It was muggy and in the high 80's. Heck, it may have even been 90 since it was around lunchtime when were there. Hot, hot, hot.

Run: 46 miles
Bike: 15 miles (hangs head in shame. Kids rode more than I did last week.)
Swim: 2 miles

Run is good but the bike and swim are not.

And this week is off to a better start:
Sunday: Rain, rain and more rain. So swim.
200 yd w/up
450yd: 6:40
45 sec rest
450 yd: 6:36
30 sec rest
100yd: 1:26
Long set: Planned 2000 yd/35 minutes.
Creepy man in pool watching me swim made me lose count during 3rd 400--about 15 minutes in.
Swam to 41:39 figure 2200-2400 yds.

Need to be better, faster.

Monday: Kids and I went to the Greenway.( seeing a pattern here? Sam has been out of town. I hate the treadmill.) Was thinking 12 miles. Carmella dropped her chain right after 2 miles (which we blazed in just over 14 minutes) so I had to walk her bike back. Sux.

Ryan came home early from work and since there was no storms I rode my bike for an hour. People on Sandy Plains rode are very very mean. Do not ride there. Even if there is a bike lane people yell nasty words at you, gun their truck engines and honk their horns at you. The result of this is that you pedal really really hard. 19.52 miles at 17.22 mph.

Hopped off bike and took kids with me on a short brick. This run was surprisingly good. I didn't even notice the heat which is a good thing. Normally it is all I can think about. Starting out was very rough (read up hill with jello legs). But when I hit that track at the school my jello legs knew not what they were doing with a 6:25 pace. Cranked it out for 2 miles and ran home for a 5k with a 7:34 average pace. First brick of the season. Pretty happy with it. Now, to add on 36 more miles to the bike and 10 more miles to the run and keep the paces and I will be all set race day.

Sam is back in town so tomorrow I get to get up at 4:30 to run and Thursday-- hopefully it works out-- and I get to ride my bike for 40 or so miles AND do a little brick after. Today? Kids and I are going running (hopefully 12 miles) and then swim in the evening. Evil Aquafit is at 6 so I have to try really hard to get to the gym at 4:30 otherwise no swim.

Boy. I have lots of work to do before I am ready for the triathlon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Food that is NOT Good

Recently it has come to my attention that I might need to compile a helpful list of food that is not good. The reason for this is that some of my friends unfortunately have handicapped taste buds and seem to think some things are good when in fact they are not.

I want to help them not eat yucky food. I want them to know what really tastes good and what does not but most importantly when I go to their house I want them to not try to make me eat the bad tasting food. Because me? I know what tastes good.

I am sure you are wanting to know what makes me qualified to make such assertions and certainly it isn't scientific but I am basing my superior palate on the fact that when I cook something everyone always says how fantastically delicious it is. Be certain. This isn't bragging. I do not love to cook so really I could careless if I am a good chef or not but the fact is I am. When I make something it tastes good. People eat it and ask for the recipe. Which there is not recipe because usually I made it up. Also, I have noticed that when we go out to dinner with people often times they copy my choices. Wanna know why that is? Because me? I know what is good.

So in no particular order here is my list of food that does not taste good:

1. Brussel Sprouts
Thursday I got caught in a storm while riding my bike through Steph's hood. She graciously let me wait it out at her house. But I think the whole time they were really trying to get rid of me. Why? Well because that is the only reason I can come up with as to why they kept offering me brussel sprouts. This is really pretty smart on their part.

I mean I ride up and see Doug out in his very cute and flourishing garden. I saw corn growing there--an exotic and very tasty food by the way, and other tasty pickings. There were many good tasting choices.

I call out to him and he comes up to the house and all the sudden he is like "Hi Nat! We are having brussel sprouts for dinner. You should stay!"

See how that really is an uninvitation?

I just don't think you offer something so bitter and horrible tasting to someone you really want to stay for dinner. I do feel badly that they probably had to eat the brussel sprouts just to keep up the rouse. Poor Annika and Dags. Hope they don't hold it against me. I did take the hint and left right before they ate so hopefully they just threw them out. I'd feel badly if they made their kids eat brussel sprouts just because I stopped by uninvited.

Really, I've tried brussel sprouts. Not only do they look like tiny green brains they taste even worse. Not that I've eaten tiny green brains but brussel sprouts taste exactly like I imagine tiny green brains might taste. Which is, not good.

2. Black licorice

This is suppose to be a candy?

I think that if you don't want your kids to eat candy you should give them licorice. They will never ask for candy again.

I shudder just imagining the taste of licorice in my mouth.

I should add under this the German cookies Pfeffernuesse. I don't think there is actually licorice in them but that is what they taste like. I think it is a crime that they even call these a cookie. If I was a cookie I would form a union and would not let pfeffernuesses in. I know that might sound really extreme but these cookies tricked me. I bought them once-- you understand, spent money on them-- thinking that they were Russian tea cookies--which is a GREAT cookie--and thought I had eaten rotten Russian tea cookies. It was a very sad and bad day for me. Even though it was 5 years ago when this happened the bitter memory is still very vivid.

Yes, I know they are a very popular breakfast food but they are not good. Sorry. They smell and taste bad. Boiled eggs are the worst. They smell like sewage. Why? Why would you want to eat that? It has only been since I had kids that I can even stand to cook scrambled eggs because while I think they are completely foul tasting I do recognize that they do have some good qualities. You know, like protein. But I don't eat them. I'll feed them to my kids though.

4. Lamb
I just don't understand why people say lamb tastes good. I will concede that it does smell like it is going to taste good but it always tastes like rotten meat. I try it almost every year and it is always the same: rotten meat. Not good. Even worse is that mint jelly. Rotten meat with green gelatinous stuff on it. Yeah, that's gonna taste good.

5. Gin
Is not good. Unless you like turpentine. Why would you drink gin when you could have vodka?

6. Fish
Okay, I will give you that maybe I find fish so gross because I am allergic to it so maybe the fishy taste is extra strong to me. But it is foul. Smells bad, tastes bad. Shellfish though is good. Eat that.

7. Oysters
Okay, I know I just said eat shellfish it is good and it is EXCEPT for oysters. Seriously. People. A food that carries a risk of hepatitis is not a good choice. Besides it looks like snot and tastes like snot. And snot? Also not good.

8. Bananas
Are creepy. Bad taste. Bad texture. BUT they are good for you so if you are immune to the foul banana flavor you might should eat them, occasionally. Like in a cramp emergency or something.

9. Goat Cheese
I continually try this one but it is always so gross. Tastes like sour, turned cheese. Not. Good. Stop putting it on pizza. Ruins it.

Okay. So those are my main bad foods that people think taste good but absolutely are not. Certainly there is other stuff I don't love but the above listing I just can't understand how people can willing put this stuff in their mouths and then claim that it tastes good. Because I know it doesn't.

And for the curious, in regards to Carmella's allergy testing she tested negative for all food allergies (she is very allergic to almost all tree pollen and, like me, grasses. Which I already knew.). They didn't have a test for cashews so they took her blood (not all of it, just a tiny bit) and are testing for that and again for the other tree nuts. So we still don't know what caused the reaction but it was definitely something she ingested.

Anway, I am sure my list is incomplete so feel free to add your own list of foods that are not good.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Reiterating Lessons in Redundancy

First word of the lesson is stupid.
The second word is dumb.
And the third?

Wait, maybe that is should be sub categorized under lessons in oxymoron . . .

So Beau's word du jour is stupid. This is a taboo word-- just like poopy is among the preschool/kindergarten set. Saying it is their equivalent of cussing. For real cuss words or phrases they actually have cute substitutions: tarter sauce, cheese and rice, chicken nuggets, moose etc. But saying stupid and poopy is thrilling for them. Saying it always garners them much attention--both negative and positive.

Me? I try to ignore it. When Carmella went through this stage I just had to tell her using stupid to describe everything was unimaginable and using poopy all the time unseemly. She stopped saying those words.

Beau though only cares about the attention getting part. Being unseemly or unimaginative is inconsequential to him. Being funny is more important. Recently he added dumb to ever so expansive vocabulary. Just so you know it is a vocabulary that only includes 3 adjectives: stupid, dumb and boring.

After yet another morning of waking up to everything being stupid and dumb I intoned my best Charlie Brown's teacher voice and told Beau that it was redundant to say something is both stupid and dumb. Explaining that to use two words that mean the same thing makes him look, well, dumb. I told him he should try to be more creative with his descriptions.

To this Beau told me that I was stupid. And dumb.

And I told him this was his warning: Call me stupid or dumb again and you will be punished in your room.

Of course Beau having to test it muttered, stupid, under his breath.

Off to his room.

Crying, screaming and pleading ensued.

Are you going to be nice? I asked through the door.


Are you going to say stupid or dumb again?


Okay, 2 more minutes and you can come out if your room is perfectly clean.


You said stupid. 4 more minutes.

Screaming, toys being thrown around, kicking, everything is stupid, dumb or boring. Rinse and repeat.

I had to let him out because I wanted to swim this morning and my time spent punishing my 4 year old had met its limit. Unlike some, I can't sit around and play super nanny and the naughty chair all day. I's got things to do.

This week has not been my week as far as workouts are concerned. This is especially troubling since I need to get on it because I am officially signed up for the South Carolina Half Ironman at the end of September.

My workouts have been thwarted all week. Various reasons: Sam's out of town (no 5 am running), Ryan coming home late, unavailable sitters, afternoon thunderstorms, melting down children, fever, headache etc. Only on my birthday did I get 2 hours to run--by myself-- but even that kinda sucked since it was 80 degrees by the time I finally got to start my run. Rest of my runs have been with the kids while they ride their bikes. This is okay but they still have to stop a few times during a 6 mile run. I don't usually stop at all unless the run is over 10 miles. Then yesterday my only planned bike ride got rained out and I only did 15 miles of the 40+ I had wanted to.

So I was optimistic about a good swim this morning. Swimming Friday evenings is more like getting a chemical peel than a workout so I try to avoid leaving my swim for Friday evenings. The thought of Aquafit did enter my brain but I thought surely the gym didn't offer Aquafit everyday. Who could possibly want to take that stupid class everyday?

I only had about an hour window since Carmella has her allergy testing appointment at 11 am this morning and the gym nursery doesn't open until 8:00. I wanted to be home by 9:30 so I could shower and get us to the appointment in time. However Beau and I's ongoing battle of wills ate into my time and we didn't make it to the gym until 8:40. I checked the schedule before heading back to the pool. Aquafit 9 am. Argghhh....

So we left. You'd think by now I would know to check the freaking schedule. This is not the first time this has happened.

Talk about stupid.


Oh and don't you know it. Of course when I told Beau we had to leave he wasn't happy and had a fit (not an aquafit, mind you).

Stupid! Dumb! He said.

So now he is again in his room; being punished for saying stupid and dumb.

Stupid is as stupid does . . .
Like stupid like dumb . . .
The best laid plans of stupid and dumb . . .
The stupid leading the dumb (to aquafit) . . .

If it rains again this afternoon I guess I will be getting a chemical peel after all.

You know what they say: If the stupid fits . . .

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Peachtree Road Race 08 Race Report

I love the Peachtree Road Race!

Not because it is a sure fire PR (see Silver Comet 10k and half marathon for that). But as a native Atlantan I've grown up with the Peachtree. I love it's tradition and that every year there is something new to experience.

When I was a kid my dad ran it every year-- you know, way back when it was a tiny race, not the 55,000 human tsunami that rolls down Peachtree Street race that it is today. He would proudly don his t-shirt when we would go watch fire works at Lenox Square. And that was back when there was green space in Buckhead and no sky scrapers. Told you guys I was getting old.

In 1985 Lala even ran it. I remember that because I loved her Peachtree t-shirt. It was gray with just a peach on it and had the BMW emblem on the back (I had thing for BMW's). Best of all it was a real small t-shirt not the small race t-shirts you get today which are really more like mediums.

But even though I have grown up with the Peachtree tradition this year marks only the 5th Peachtree Road Race that I have run in. Remember though, I wasn't a runner until I was almost 27. And the only race I ran in the beginning was the Atlanta half marathon-- which, by the way, is my favorite race. In case you were asking.

The first year I ran the Peachtree was right before I turned 30--2001. I was still fat from having Carmella --recall that I gained 60lbs with her. She was 4 months old and I had about 10 or so lbs still to lose. However, I had been back to running since she was 3 weeks old and had been working my butt off (literally) to get my body back and be back in shape. Trust me on this: Running after having a baby while carrying around 35lbs of excess weight and nursing equals months of crappy runs. It was hard!

I don't really remember much about running the race that day. As a first time mom who was nursing exclusively pretty much around the clock I was so focused on the logistics of how long I would be gone. Certainly running 6 miles didn't take much time but running the Peachtree involves much more than just running. Getting to the start, waiting in your corral, running then 6.2 miles and then navigating back from the finish can be a 3 hr ordeal if not longer. Seriously, I spend more time at the Peachtree than I do any other race and that includes marathons.

Ryan had driven me to the race that morning and we parked at hotel Nikko (now Grand Hyatt). I nursed Carmella in the parking lot at the very last possible second and then ran to get in my corral. I was very stressed out about not making it back to my baby in time. My boobs were a 3 hour time bomb as Carmella nursed every 2-3 hours during the day. As it was it turned out it didn't matter how quickly I got back to her. The adrenaline and the heat caused me to leak the whole race. I was totally grossed out by my sweaty milky stinky self. Honestly, I have no idea how long that race took but I think I came in under the hour. And that year was by far the hardest 10k I have ever ran.

Here is a picture Bubbles took of me running that day (please note the old school headphones and radio). They were spectating over by R Thomas:

Here is Carmella spectating the race with Ryan:

I didn't run it the next year because we were out of town. And then I didn't run it the next year either because I was 36 weeks pregnant and couldn't run. My bladder could only take running until I hit the 34th week and then it was done. Running is not so much fun when you are peeing all over yourself. That just kinda takes all the glory out of it.

I was out of town again in 2004.

But the next year, 2005, I ran it. I ran under someone else's number. I believe I was back in the 7's corral again. I met some guy who said he was gunning for around 48 minutes. I thought that sounded good so I drafted off him. He was like 6ft 5 and I just tucked in behind him and followed. I don't know if he even realized I was there until I breezed past him in the final stretch. Came in right over 48 minutes.

In 2006 I got a qualifying time by running the Chatthoochee Challenge in February in 47 minutes and change. Finally, I was in Time Group 1A. Wow. What a different experience. Biggest perk is getting to use the potties at the Ritz. Unfortunately I didn't know to check my timing chip and apparently I ran under someone's name. That sucked because I actually ran a 10k pr that day.

In 2007 I was trying to get a sub seeded number but came up short with PR time of 43:47 (you need 41:49 or faster). So still in Time Group 1A. I knew that a PR wasn't going to happen so I didn't even try. I was just jockeying to get to the Park Tavern in a timely fashion so to reserve tables for all my friends. I ran it that year in 44:45. Not too shabby and my fastest Peachtree yet.

This year I wasn't planning on running. I really want that sub seeded number and I want to wait to run again until I've got. Also, they changed the course this year--which I give a HUGE thumbs down to.

And, lastly, as much as I love the Peachtree --let's be honest--it is a pain in the ass to get up at the crack of dawn and deal with getting downtown just to run 6.2 miles. I pretty much run that far-- if not further-- everyday.

But my father in law (Poppy) had an extra number in the 3's and I figured oh what the heck. Then my neighbor had an extra number she wasn't using so I asked Sam (running partner) if she wanted it. No. So I half jokingly asked Ryan-- as I am always trying to get him to do stuff with me. He said yes if I promised to run with him. So I did and I got to experience a Peachtree I have never seen since usually I am so focused on getting from point A to point beer as quickly as possible.

Before I show you my photo journal of the race I want to yet again say that MARTA sucks. It was the only bad part of the whole race. Which in my experience is almost always the case when I take MARTA. I HATE MARTA! It is not smarta. I'll get to why Marta pissed me off later but really Marta pisses me off just thinking about it. Makes my blood boil just going into their parking decks.

Ryan had a very unpleasant experience involving Marta and now I think he is on board with me as to why Marta sucks. When we finally arrived at the Buckhead station he needed to use the restroom and went to wait in line. This is where I left him since I needed to head south down Peachtree and him north anyway.

Let me cut to the gist. Basically the men's Marta station restroom has 2 potties but no stalls. All open. So Ryan is in there peeing and another guy comes in and starts laying paper on seat to sit down and. . . well you know, the only reason men sit down on a toliet and it isn't to pee. Needless to say Ryan rushed out there ASAP and was certainly not loving his Peachtree experience thus far.

Though I must say I did warn him that Marta never proves a good idea.

Okay, now that I have gotten the obligatory Marta rant out of the way, let's move on.

Since we had numbers in the 3's and 8's I gave Ryan the 3's and I took the 8's and decided I would jump in past the start. I've seen other people do this in past years but I was still very worried that this was going to be a problem. But apparently everyone and their brother does this as there was tons of people around me jumping in.

I am glad I did this because I got to see the race from a perspective I never get to see it: as a spectator--however brief. Here all the high lights (as I didn't take any pictures on MARTA so I have no low lights):

Getting to see the male leaders. Lala calls them animals because how effortlessly and fast they run doesn't seem human. I blinked and they went past.
The women leaders. I think it was the the girl in black with white shorts in the middle that you see that won for the women:
People that were jumping in. : Critics, please note. I do not advocate jumping in a race post start. In any other race that is known as cheating. But the Peachtree for most is just a cattle call and you are not timed or recorded. So if you paid your entry fee and you want to jump in, just be sure to do after all the people who worked their butts off to get a qualifying time go by. They are running a race. Don't ruin it for them. Wait until you see the 2's or 3's to hop in and for crissakes don't jump in and start walking. Walkers in the back please.

After the leaders and the seeded and sub seeded comes the wave of humanity:
I was surprised. 2 people called out my name. John, a triathlete that I see all the time, everywhere (gym, trail, road, pool) training. I was really surprised he picked me out and called me by the right name since about half the time he thinks my name is Melanie. And Kevin also saw me and called out to me.

As the early time groups passed I yelled out to friends who I knew were in those groups: I yelled for Steph to beat Doug! And when the 2's went by I yelled out for Fishstick and Mr. Stick.

I was lucky and caught Poppy going by. I almost missed him:

Tara had come down from the start to jump in with me. We had some guy take our picture. He didn't have a number but wanted to jump in. Someone had given Tara an extra number so we passed it on to him and told him now he could get a t-shirt.

Finally we started seeing the 3's go by and started looking hard for Ryan. When we saw him, after a quick picture we jumped in the rolling wave and started our race.
Shortly after that I saw Tracy:
Tara and Tracy.

I spent a good bit of the race running backwards so I could get pictures. I also tried to collect as much swag as possible. I got a Moe's t shirt (which I threaded through my top, V8 hat and some mardi gras beads (no I didn't have to show my tatas).

We lost Tracy when Ryan and Tara stopped to grab some water. Then, awhile later, Tara needed to pee so made good use of the porto johns. I am so glad we did because otherwise I would have missed getting this gem: That is one brave dude.

I missed getting a picture at Jesus Junction. I did see the priest in front of St Phillip's sprinkling the holy water but we were on the otherside. I wish we had been able to run over there because we could have screamed "It burns! It burns!" when he tossed the holy water on us. Oh well, next year.

Then we started our decent down Peachtree to Peachtree Hills. This is a great down hill. No matter what race I do I am always feeling awesome at this point. Then right after you get all those hills that take you into midtown and downtown and you start seeing smiles turn to frowns.
See how estatic Ryan looks:

Tara snapped one of the two of us:

Around here we lost Tara. She ended up meeting up with her sister and they finished together pretty much right after we did.

I had started looking for beer in mile 2. It wasn't until after mile 3, maybe 4 I found some. These people gave me some:
I kept running back and forth up and down the hills to encourage Ryan. I know I annoyed the crap out of him but he kept running and ran up every hill.

I saw these people right before mile 5:
By this point their body paint was melting off of them. It was getting very hot.

Finally in the last mile I found the Holy Grail of the race. PBR!:

I drank it that last mile. It tasted great! I toasted a few people around me that also had beers. Ryan had a sip but later said it was the worst tasting beer he has ever had.
Ryan approaching the finish. He isn't sure when he started but the clock is gun time. I think we were 65-70 minutes.

Me after the finish:

The party this year was O'Terrill's. It was fun but not as much as the past few years at Park Tavern. The Tavern is just bigger and the spread better. New this year you paid your $10 and got 3 tickets. I guess the days of drinking 10 beers and eating as much food as you want are over.

Steph and Doug had met some guy, Bob, that was so inappropriate in his humour ( I thought Ryan was going to kill him) but he had snagged a table and offered to share. He was a seeded runner and ran in 37 minutes. I teased him about his "tiny number" for quite awhile. He tried to get us involved in his ticket stealing scheme but it fell apart. I felt like we were underage teenagers up to no good shennaigans not 30 and 40 something year old adults who had just finished a 10k. Keep in mind all this is well before 10 am.

Here is (from left to right) Tara, Katherine, Ryan, Bob, Doug, and Steph (note how no one really wanted to get too close to Bob and his tiny number):
Katherine, Tara, Steph and Me:

Guy who's name I forgot, Ron and Steph:

We left O'Terrill's after our tickets were used up and started the death march through the maze of Atlanta streets to a Marta station. I saw this guy who had recently finished his race: Again, this is a race very few people take seriously. This race is Atlanta's Mardi Gras.

As we were walking to Marta I spotted an old friend. Laci. She grew up right up the street from me. I knew she was running but havent' seen her in years. And half the time I never see anyone I know at local races so it is pretty funny that I ran into her and so many others.

And Laci, if you are reading, Tara and I are definitely up for getting together for some drinks.

Finally we made it to Marta but a train was broken down and no trains were getting through. There was a huge delay. Not to mention it was 8 million degrees. On a cold day Marta stinks so you can only imagine what it was like with 100's of runners in the station.

So Katherine called her friend Lindsey to come pick us up. She said she would meet us over by the Aquarium and to call her when we got there.

We all went into some bar--which I can't remember the name of-- to wait for our ride and had another round. It was finally 11 am. Just before leaving Ryan insisted I go check out the men's room. After startling some guy who wasn't quite finished, I went and took a picture: Those are TV's over the urinals. I really don't think you need to be encouraging men to hang out in the restroom so I totally don't get the purpose of it.

And thus ends this year's Peachtree tale. Lesson this year is (again) to not take Marta and to (again) definitely send in a qualifying time so I can be in Time Group 1 if not (hopefully) sub seeded.

Last week's totals:
Running: 40 miles
Cycling: 71 miles
Swimming: 1 mile
Hiking: 2 miles

Previous week:
Running: 43 miles
Cycling: 100 miles
Yoga: 1 hour