Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I think, this is what is meant by looking a gift horse in the mouth . . .

So today, Steph, my darling cutie of a bike buddy invited me to her day of fantastic fitness.

Steph had an all day pass. As a better mom and athlete than me because, not only does she do it with 2 kids, she also does it while working part time. Which btw, when you are lawyer is really full time. She is also a lot nicer than me.

I had to do the reading centers in Carmella's classroom this morning so I couldn't join her for her swim portion of the day. Since she was nearby I stalked her at the pool and suggested we do the Comet rather than battle the mean streets of Marietta and Roswell. She readily agreed.

However it took us longer than I thought to get to the Comet. So I called on Lala to pick up Beau from school since Carmella would be at dance until 4. That would give us even more time. Greedy greedy, I know.

Lala agreed. And I told her if Beau got no checks (he is allowed 2 but usually gets in the neighborhood of oh, 12 or so for various infractions.) to please get him a treat--say McDonald's fries or a toy at the dollar store. See, Beau is on a one day streak of no checks and I promised a special treat if he got no checks again today. Lala agreed to see to a special treat.

Steph and I had a great ride and rode 40 miles-- which is definitely further than I have ever ridden and I think so for her too. And, I discovered that after, oh say 30miles-- that padded bike shorts? Yeah, they might be a good idea.

My poor smushed girly bits. Don't know how you boyz do it.

Hmmm. Maybe men are tougher than women.

Yeah, right.

Hello. Childbirth?

Then we ran a 3 mile brick.

Eh.

The run was not so great but after 6 straight days of running and a 2 and half hour bike I suppose that is okay. The calf cramped up and I had to walk. Steph was suppose to reign me into a recovery run but at the half mile she report a 7:29 pace.
Sheesh. My legs have no idea what they are doing after they get off the bike. It felt like a 12 minute pace. Like we were wading through molasses. So she graciously walked with me for a bit and at the turn around we ran back--slower. Everything was starting to feel better but I was glad to be done. She also, rightly so, insisted we get powerade. I even bought a Cliff bar-- even though I was not hungry-- since I would not be able to eat until at least 6pm.

We parted ways and I drove to collect Carmella and Abby from dance and then Beau from Lala's. We dropped Abby at home and I hit the gym for a 30 minute swim to finish off Steph's fantastic fitness day.

And yes, Lala was true to her word as Beau did have another no check day. He insisted on a Happy Meal and she obliged. With a coke to boot. And this is that horse's mouth part that I am looking into. I am seeing all those dirty horse teeth as I never give the kids coke. I mean, you know, unless they are going to grandma's--not the other way around! And as if the coke wasn't enough caffeine Beau also indulged in handfuls of chocolate covered espresso beans.

And that my friends is why my 4 year old is sitting in his bed right now--an hour past bedtime, talking about imaginary spiders on the wall.

And I am thinking that tomorrow?

Tomorrow will not be a no check day for Beau.

His streak ends and possibly mine too.

But for now: 30/0.

Maybe

Maybe it was the playlist:
1979 by Smashing Pumpkins
Love and Memories by O.A.R
Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park
The Comeback by Shout Out Louds
Lazy Eye by Silversun Pick-ups
Don't Go (Tee's Freeze Mix) by Yaz
Breathe by Prodigy
Kissing Families by Silversun Pick-ups
Vagabonds by New Model Army
Best of You by The Foo Fighters

Maybe it is because I am no longer PMSing. I'll spare you the details of that.

Or maybe it was that the Orthopedist called me yesterday. My xrays, vascular study and blood tests were all normal. Well, normal for me. As I suspected my muscle enzyme was elevated and since every physical I have had for the past fifteen years has shown an elevated muscle enzyme I am not too concerned. What this means is that obviously I was/am a bit over trained. So you were right. And backing it off last week was the right thing to do.

But maybe it was the over the calf compression socks (thanks Dani for reminding me about them) that I wore. They came yesterday. I put them on and Ryan's comment was that it is unfortunate that I have let my love of running get in the way of my sense of good taste. But I long ago reconciled that to have the legs to look good in short skirts and heels and to avoid the "your ass after 40 syndrome" some time spent in uglier than sin running shoes and apparel is necessary. The running aesthetic is blind. You gotta look the ugly to get the pretty is how I see it. And in regards to the compression sock dorkiness I will for once concede to comfort over fashion.

So I don't know what it was but I had a great treadmill run. 10k in 45:06. Average 7:15 pace. Range was 6:30 to 8:30. Certainly not my fastest ever but it is my regular range. And today, hopefully a bike and a brick with Steph.

29/0

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Adult Evening Part II: Counter Culture

It is so unfortunate (or perhaps it is fortunate for some) that I forgot my camera last night. I heard Ryan mutter "thank God" when I realized I had left it behind. We were already running late because I was having one of those fat days.

I am certain-- whether you are female or not-- you are familiar with what I am referring to. If not, please, let me elaborate. It was one of those times where I have no clothes! Nothing! To wear. And yes, all those clothes crammed into my closet? I hate them all. Every last one of them; even though last week? I liked them. And so, you see, I have to try everything I own on but in the end I will decide to wear the first thing I tried on. You know, the outfit I had on 30 minutes ago. So. Annoying. . .

This fat, I know,-- even knew in the throes of the fat fit-- that it is the direct result of my crappy exercise this week. Well, that and PMS.

See, if I run 40 miles a week I don't feel fat. Ever. I know technically I am not fat and probably haven't even gained a pound. But when I don't run my regular mileage the hormones totally mess with my psyche. I know rationally that it is ridiculous to let few pounds of bloat get the better of me but that is what happens when I run less than my regular mileage. Sigh, this was just an unfortunate week to nurse an injury.

Are we clear?

Good.

So back to my trusty camera. It is totally unfortunate because the following are the pictures of Ryan and I's adult evening that I would have taken had I had it with me.

And just to be clear there are no pictures, only descriptions of the pictures that I would have taken had I had my camera.

You with me?

Here is the picture of where Ryan and I go to the adult novelty shop to get Wes a birthday present.

And here is the picture of the cheetah print G string that I still sort of regret not getting him because I think that would have been even funnier than what I did get him. Which sorry I am not telling you what I got him.

Here is the picture where I scream at Ryan to stop telling me how to drive. I don't know. We have been married what? 9 years? And yet, he still doesn't get that one: I.HATE. To. Drive. And two; I know I am a crappy driver. And three, most importantly, I hate hate hate to be told how to drive. I. Know. I. Suck. I am only driving so while you can indulge in drink I will not so that we can remain card carrying members of the I-have-never-had-a-DUI club. Because jail? Is something that I don't want for either of us baby. So shut up already.

Here is a picture of us eating at the worst restaurant EVER. It is called Zocalo. (I didn't link the actual restaurant because I think you should click on the review link.) It is next door to the Brickstore Pub where Wes's 30th birthday drinking fest was going down. We had planned to eat there but there was a ridiculous wait for a table and I was so hungry I was about to chew my arm off or kill Ryan because when my blood sugar gets low everything in the world pisses me off. Even the belt you are wearing. I don't care if I did buy it for you. It pisses me off. Give me food and I will be nice again.

So what was wrong with Zolcalo? Well they were in the process of "renewing" their liquor license and could not serve alcohol. Which really means that either they are in arrears with their GA taxes and had it revoked until they are paid. Or they got busted serving minors. Or, even less likely, they are total morons who let their liquor license lapse because making a profit isn't that important to them. I was like whatever; I just want to eat.

So not only did they not have alcohol they also had the worst food ever and the most terrible service I have ever experienced. So horrible that I actually thought that maybe we on that old MTV show called Boiling Points.

The final straw came when I got up to go to the restroom and Ryan said it was out of order. I thought he was kidding. Because Ryan, who had had a few beers thought all this was totally hysterical. So I ignored him and stomped off to relieve my bladder. And yes it was true: the women's room was out of order and they had put up a home made sign on the men's room that said "Unisex". I'm sorry. You can not have a unisex restroom with open urinals and stalls. That is just wrong.

Moving on.

Here is the picture of me happily back at the brew pub saying hi to our friend Brad who Ryan and I went to elementary school with and finally enjoying one of two beers I had. I was much happier after a beer. My sense of humor was once again intact.

Here is the picture of Wes opening his inappropriate gift that is in a bag that says "Super Stud". Don't you just love how embarrassed he is? Isn't it funny how red his face is? I love people whose faces gets flushed when embarrassed.

Here is a picture of Wes and Pookie at the end of the night. See how glassy their eyes are? See how they sway and are holding each other up? Cute aren't they. And today they are both understanding why I said I wasn't going to drink the Belgian or high gravity beer. "What do you have against the Belgians?" they foolishly asked me.

Here is the picture where Ryan leads Pookie and I lead Wes to my car.

And here is Wes sitting in Beau's carseat. Yes, Wes is thin but the carseat only harnesses up to 48" and 100lbs.

And here is how we left the happy couple. Passed out on their living room couches.

Happy Birthday Wes! Welcome to your 30's.

Last week totals:
Yoga: 1 hr
Walking: 1 hr; 4 miles
Running: 28 miles (Ran Mon 4, Th 6, Fri 8, Sat 10 miles)Pathetic.
Cycling: 100 minutes/29 miles on indoor bike. Level 11 hill workout.
Swimming: 95 minutes; about 4000 meters.
Today's workout: 7 mile trail run. Felt great. Best run in awhile.
Streak: 28/0

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adult Evening: Part I The Getting of Culture


As any parent of young children will tell you the adult evening is rare luxury. Okay, maybe not rare for some. I am sure it is quite a common occurence for those that have lots of disposable income and many available babysitters.

And I personally don't know anyone in that category because I am in the other category. The one of poor and desperate for a night out. Those in the other category tend not to hang out with me. But I am lucky in that Ryan and I have both set of grandparents close by who we can guilt trip into watching our little darlings.

Some how the planets aligned and I managed to finagle an unheard of two adult evenings in a row. I know. I can hardly believe it myself.

Last night the kids stayed with Bubbles and Poppy and Ryan and I attended Lala's art opening. See, that is the getting of culture part. Right. My tongue is placed firmly in cheek.

And since I know you must be tired of looking at my fat veiny legs I will post some new pictures. Because an adult evening? It must be documented.

And here is the artist known as Lala:

Here is Ryan and Colby discussing one Lala's paintings. Or wait, maybe they are discussing their unfortunate choice in turtlenecks . . .

Here is Wes. I am pretty certain that he is reflecting on the conversation he endured where Barbara and I expelled the virtues and problems (read narrow shoulders) of vintage jackets.
Pookie:

We then enjoyed mojitos and tapas at Eclipse de luna. And Ryan was driving Ms Drink (me.) And quite drink I got.

Tonight I am the dd and will be driving Mr. Drink. We will be celebrating Wes's 30th birthday at some brewpub in Decatur. He, Wes, says he is going to drink a beer for every year of his life. Last night he was bemoaning how he is trying to gain some weight and that this week is a recovery week for him. I am thinking that with 30 beers some weight gain is certain and that next week will also be a recovery week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My legs.

Are swollen.
I don't know why and it isn't a lot since I can still see some muscle definition. But that picture above? Is not how my legs usually look.
Look at my calf:

Look at it.

It is HUGE.

It doesn't usually look like that. I mean yes, I have some big calves but normally you can see all the muscles--even the one that splits and divides the calf. My legs? They are cut. But today my legs look chubby. I don't know what is up.

I did not run today. And maybe that is why they are swollen. I also took the anti-inflammatory the orthopedist prescribed me. I did swim today but normally that flushes out all water retention. So I don't know what is up. Nothing hurts.

So what did the Dr say?

Well, he took xrays of my spine and pelvis and everything is perfect-- no stress fractures or anything. I was quite happy to find out that my legs are the same length and my leg flexibility is apparently not as terrible as I think it is.

He sent me to have a vascular ultra sound of my legs and my veins are great. No blood clots and the blood flow is normal and there was no sign of varicosities, well other than the one I've had but that is a superficial one.

I have an order for a bunch of blood tests but I haven't had a chance to go yet. Not sure what they are all for but I think he wants to rule out a bunch of stuff and said he wanted to see is some muscle enzyme is elevated. I am betting it is because every blood test I've ever had that is the only out of the ordinary thing.

He mentioned compartment syndrome but not the scary surgery or tests. He just talked about rest and stretching.

So I don't know. It is puzzling and I felt very out of place at the orthopedist's. Everyone there was limping or had a cast or was old, very old. So I felt a little silly being there just because my calf muscles seize up when I run. The people there can barely walk and I'm like, no I'm fine I just can't run fast or far.

So no answers and no running. Well, no running for a few days at least. . .

You know how I mentioned the tile Ryan was putting it the other day?

Wait, here is a picture from Sunday:

And you know how I optimistically said I was sure it would all be done by Tuesday?

Yeah, well I was wrong.

Yes the tile is all put down but it is not grouted.

Why?

Well because, apparently, you can never just put tile in. Of course there must be painting too.
This morning after dropping the kids at school I met Ryan at church.

And by church I mean Home Depot.

I picked out grout and paint.

So today we painted. And it is not finished. So tomorrow we will also paint. And maybe the next day we will get to grout. Not to mention there is still the stair treads that will need to be stained (ebony) and installed. Not to mention, but I am anyway, that I totally need new curtains. Slowly breaking it to Ryan. Can't overwhelm him with too much at once.

Ryan has been complaining before we even started to put the tile down that it was going to be so cold. He put a heater under the floor but decided that the heated tiles weren't warm enough. So he decided we also needed a faux fireplace.

And so we bought one. And the kids are so excited. Beau especially. He sat next to it for an hour this afternoon and talked non stop about his pretend fire.

And Ryan thought I was crazy when I told him that kids would be excited about it. They can't stop talking about it.

Okay.

Just to be clear.

You do know when I say "we" I mean Ryan?

I did help paint this afternoon and I will stain the stair treads but I am absolutely not allowed to do anything that requires precision and detail. You know, like trim work,or painting near the ceiling, or floor, or doors or outlets. And I am most certainly not allowed to lay or cut tile. See me? Just to be clear about my role in the "we"; I am the part of "we" that thinks up all these projects for us to do.

Right. And you know by us? I mean Ryan.

23/0 but my intensity and duration is way down. :(

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Easy Like a Sunday

Wait a second. It is Sunday.
Today was an easy day.

Of course, I would rather it wasn't but, sigh, it had to be.

You know, the leg--eye roll.

The leg actually feels fine but I decided today I would not run. I have run a little, sometimes even a lot, everyday for 3 weeks. So I think it is time to see if a day off will help the old sticks.

And see.

I listen.

Pam, I think it was, and possibly someone else, suggested yoga. Really, I don't like yoga.

Wait, let me be more specific. I don't mind the actual doing of yoga; I just don't like yoga classes. You know, yoga classes where you are asked to free your mind and focus on the "breath."

Shrug, I guess I like my exercise to be a little more intense. Not to mention, if I am being honest, I get a little competitive in the yoga class. First I think that is just part of my make up--whether I like it or not I am a competitive person.

Second, I blame gymnastics. I mean, we spent the first part of every practice stretching. I mean we spent the first part of every practice seeing who could twist themselves into the tightest pretzel while doing a middle split. And I gotta say, for what I lacked in talent and experience I definitely made up for in flexibility. And, yes, it was about the only part of practice where I shined. Yes, stretching. We won't even talk about my beam performances.

Today's yoga class wasn't so terrible because it wasn't one of those yoga instructors who insist on pretending they are a yogi and say all those Hindu phrases. This girl powered through the moves without a lot of commentary or once reminding me to find my breath. I definitely appreciated that.

And I excelled at the poses that involved core power or twisting the upper body into awkward positions. But man. I was taken down a few notches with anything that required me to engage a hip flexor or hamstring. Definitely tons of room for improvement there.

I know I shouldn't be surprised as running is notorious for shortening the leg muscles but I still thought I would at least be middle of the road and not like the tall men in class. You know the ones. The ones who hide in the back corners of the class and grunt and moan through every pose. Just goes to prove you can't bank on your natural flexibility forever. Use it or lose it. And, I have lost it.

But, again yay me on the superior quad, back and upper body strength. Those push-ups? Child's play. The instructor said, "Okay, we are going to do 50 of these!" And I was like, yeah whatever.Everyone else audibly groaned. Then she said "Kidding! We are only doing 10." Easy peasy.

We'll see how much I regret the class tomorrow.

But yes. I definitely should make an effort to go on a regular basis and you know, not like twice a year and then I might see some improvement. Heck, with some effort I might even be able to medal again in the she who is most flexible category. At the very least I might not have so many issues with my legs.


After yoga I hit the pool for an easy swim. Just 30 minutes continuous swimming. I had thought I might try a harder workout with some drills but for some reason the pool was so freaking hot it made me want to throw up at my easy pace. Not to mention I felt a little jelly like from the yoga. Ha! Jelly fish.

After the gym I had to find something to do with the kids today (Ryan is still tiling). So after a shower and some lunch we headed over to the Leita Thompson trail for a hike.

I love to run on this trail. It is very well maintained and though a bit gravely, definitely less treacherous than some of the others in the area.

So that is what all the pictures are about. I took pictures to assuage my frustration at not running.

Of course, I still had the kids with me; who as kids couldn't resist running up and then sliding down the biggest pile of dirt they could find.
You know. The kids who got in a fight over whose turn it was to hold Lola's leash.

The kids, one of who had a screaming fit in the middle of the trail because it was no longer his turn to hold the leash. Then, because it was Lola's fault he threw a rock at her. And then the same kid who had the fit, whose turn it wasn't and threw the rock, walked the last .25 mile yelling at me that he WAS!NOT!GOING!TO!HIS!ROOM!.

Meanwhile the other kid-- the one who clearly needs her bangs trimmed (hint hint Pookie)-- I mean, the one whose turn it was to hold the leash, pointed out that since she was so good could she pretty please have hot cocoa and cookies upon our return while her brother was being punished in his room? Because, you know, she was good and not naughty and waited patiently for her turn. So she? She deserved cookies and hot cocoa. For being good.

And then the kid who was to be punished screamed and cried even louder that he WAS!NOT!GOING!TO!HIS!ROOM! And that he also wanted cookies and hot cocoa. Because he? He was not naughty. And he? He told Lola sorry.

The dog just wanted it all to be over.

As I said, easy like a Sunday.

And, obviously, it depends on who's Sunday we are talking about.

21/0. The streak continues. Of course my trip to the orthopedist will probably bring it to a screeching halt tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Playing in the Snow


Ryan took a break from the whole laying of tile process to play in the snow with the kids.

I went out and documented it.

We played for about 2 hours while Ryan and Poppy waited for something or another to dry. There is still no tile on the floor yet but the furniture is out of the room, the carpet is gone and cement is primed, leveled and ready for tile in the am. I am optimistic that we will have tile and the room back in order by Tuesday at the latest. But most off all I am so happy because my dream of a carpet free house has finally been realized. Hardwoods and tile and a few area rugs. Yippy skippy, I am a happy woman and that means, well, never mind to you but we'll leave your minds to dirty places and just say Ryan is a very lucky man.

Neighbors built a kick ass snow man:


Our yard is where the snowball fight went down.

Ryan getting reamed

Beau laughing, saying "Good one!"

Carmella tossing a snowball.

Beau with monster snowball.

Carmella posing before she gets smacked in the head

Beau and Ryan on the 4 wheeler. Ryan took me for a spin and Carmella took a picture but all she got was my arm. He took me where he took Beau and I was scared. I think I might have needed a little liquid courage (read shot of bourbon) before taking a spin on the 4 wheeler. At the very least I regretted not wearing my bicycle helmet like I made Beau wear. Here is Ryan and Beau headed out of neighborhood. See I thought he took him just around the neighborhood. No. He took him about a mile or so down the road and did doughnuts in a new neighborhood. He said Beau was all woo hoo but I'm betting he poo'd just a little in his pants.


Hope everyone else had a fun and fantastic snow day!

Snow Run


I took this picture with my camera phone. It doesn't do the scene justice. It is from the end of my 5 miles in the snow run. When I started out the snow was just starting to fall. When I returned white was inching out the grass and red Georgia clay. I love how the road curves here. It always makes me happy to see it.

This morning Lola and I were going crazy and couldn't wait to go out to run. Ryan didn't want me to go and Lala was down right against it. But Ryan is laying tile in the playroom this weekend and more than not wanting me to run he wanted the kids and dog gone for awhile. So I called Pop and pleaded with him to watch the kids while Lola and I ran. He agreed. Lala of course tried to discourage me. Pop then got on the band wagon and lectured me and Lola and I ran out the door into the snow leaving Pop and the kids to play in the snow.

It was absolutely fantastic. Sadly though the snow wasn't magical for me like it is for Frosty. My calf tightened up about a half mile in but then relented by the end of the first mile. My leg felt a little heavy and awkward but it didn't hurt so I kept running. I thought Lola and I would hit the Leita Thompson trail but there were no cars in the parking lot when we got over that way. It was sort of freaking me out to run along the road there. I kept thinking the cars were going to hit ice, skid and plow into me. So I ducked back into the neighborhoods. There are few rollers in there but nothing too terrible except the hill that tops out at Carrie's old house. I have a hard time with this hill when feeling fresh so I just walked it. At the top of the hill I checked my calf and the vein was bulging and green again and it looked bruised around it. So I walked/jogged that last mile back to Pop and Lala's. I didn't care. I had low expectations for this run and it was nice to walk in the snow and just be out there in the Atlanta Blizzard 08. Besides I totally missed the mark for dressing for a snow run. For some reason it didn't occur to me that snow? When it melts. Is water. Yeah, waterproof, duh.

I showed Lala my leg when I got back. I was thinking maybe it was a blood clot. Both she and Pop have had problems with blood clots and even though I tested negative for all those markers--as did Pop-- I am on birth control so I was a little worried maybe that was the issue. She noted the bruising and agreed that the leg was swollen and felt different from the right leg but didn't think it was a blood clot. And after a few minutes the bulging vein and bruising subsided. Now it is completely gone. Hopefully the Dr will have some insight on what it is. Like I said, it doesn't hurt. Just pressure and tightening in the area and a sort of dull vague ache--but not now, only when running.

Oh well. Off to play in the snow and on the 4 wheeler. . .

PS. Welcome to The Clyde. Thanks for delurking. I totally see how snow might not seem so fantastical if it was an everyday thing but here in the South it is a rare and precious gem that causes mass hysteria and hysterics.

PPS 20/0 and 41 miles for the week. Eh.

Uncle

I am so frustrated. My running has absolutely sucked this week. My energy level is up, way up. But my legs, my body is not keeping up with what I want to do. And I know what this means.

It means I am not the kitten I think am. I am, after all, a cougar. A slow cougar at that. A lame old cat! Ugh. I so want to be the frisky little kitty.

It's hard when your age finally catches up with you.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while then you know I am no good at following a marathon plan. But nevertheless I do have loose notion of plan: an idea of how I want my training to go. And I get really pissed off when I can't adhere to this no plan plan.

Last week my "plan" was to hit it hard and jump start my training after a lazy month in December. I seriously can't imagine I lost that much fitness. I still averaged about 40 miles for each week even with one week where I only ran eight miles because of that blasted bronchitis. Not to mention in September, October and November my weekly average was fifty+ miles. And I was also swimming and biking.

So I am puzzled why my legs are shot this week. I figured that my legs might need a break from last week and I planned accordingly for this week to be a cut back week. But maybe my idea of cut back isn't cut back enough?

This is what I planned: 2 speed workouts, 2 2 hour runs, 1-2 easy runs and some biking and swimming. I wanted my mileage to be around 40 miles--which I consider my base as I have been average at least 40 miles or more for nearly 2 years now. Today I am 36 miles and I will probably run today too so I should hit 40 but not the way I planned to hit 40. All my workouts this week are failures.

This is what I accomplished:
Sunday: 6 mile trail run that proved extraordinarily painful in my calves.
Monday: 1+ mile treadmill run where my legs were just too tired, too heavy. So I did dead leg swim for 30 minutes.
Tuesday: 10 mile hilly run where I walked the uphills and sprinted the downhill and flat areas. This was to relieve the tension in my calf muscles.
Wednesday: Same 10 mile hilly run but I ran the whole way at an even pace. Calf muscles felt better but I had some hip/butt tendon/nerve pain. Probably sciatica or piriformous issue rearing it's head. I generally don't pay this much attention as it has long been an issue for me and wanes and waxes throughout my training.
Thursday: Hit the treadmill thinking optimistically that a short quick treadmill run would prepare my legs for a 2+hr run on Friday. I did one mile at 8:30 pace. 3 miles at an average 7:20 pace--maxing out at the end of each mile at a 10mph for one minute. Half mile cool down at about 10 minute pace. I think the whole 4.5 miles took me about 33 minutes. (So overall slower than the 29 minute for 4 miles I typically get on the treadmill.)
I then stretched for 20 minutes. And I can't believe the amount of flexibility I have lost. Everywhere: legs, groin, hips, chest, back etc. I couldn't even hit my bench mark split. No where close and I can always do a left leg split. The right leg and middle take a tad more work but with effort I can usually get those. I didn't realize I had been so neglectful of my stretching.
Friday: Woke up feeling good. No stiffness upon waking and I always have stiffness. So I surprised when I headed out for my run that my left calf started knotting up. It isn't painful like it was earlier in the week and that is somewhat puzzling. The best I can explain it is that the muscle just isn't cooperating. I pulled up my pant's leg and was somewhat alarmed to see that the veins on my lower calf were bulging and greenish. Now I am fairly veiny and my veins do tend to bulge in my arms when I lift weights and in my lower legs after running but they are never green. I have no idea what this means but it is a little frightening looking. But maybe they always look like that. At any rate both calves still loook a little swollen and feel harder/tighter than normal.

I rubbed my leg and decided to give a bit more. I started on the uphills and I had to walk. The calf was so tight. I even yelled out in anger. About a mile and half in I turned around jogged/walked home. I felt so defeated and was so mad. 3 miles, ugh.

I called "uncle" on my calf and made an appointment with a orthopedist for Monday.

I was somewhat lost on who to call. I looked up the orthopedic surgeon who did my pelvic surgery 18 years ago.

For those that don't know-- which I don't know how you couldn't since apparently, according to some, I mention it a lot, all the time even-- I broke my pelvis in a car accident. And I know some of you are rolling your eyes but breaking your pelvis is pretty serious and 3 weeks in a hospital bed is something that kind of sticks with you. Not to mention the scars. And, I did have a severe and unusual break.

The easiest way to describe it is that my pelvis was broken in half and the left side was smushed over on top of the right side. It had to be reconstructed and at the time the surgeon's best possible prognosis was that I might always have a slight limp but I would definitely walk again. You can safely assume that running, much less running marathons was not mentioned. He did say that my gymnastic career was officially over--not that it was a very optimistic career anyway.

So lately, since I have been having pain mostly on the left side it has occured to me that maybe somehow this is related to the break.

And since the surgeon that repaired my break is the only orthopedist I have had experience with and that I leads to believe that he must be good since I have not only managed to walk without a limp but have been able to run and, I think, run well. I Googled him and called his office. I explained to the receptionist my calf problem, mentioned the past pelvic break and my current nonspecific butt/hip issue and that I was hoping to get an appointment with my old surgeon. She conferred with a nurse practitioner and decided that I needed to see a different doctor. One with a specialty in spinal issues.

I am a little frustrated as I do not think my calf issue is a spinal issue. I personally think my calf issue is a muscle deficiency of some sort and it is throwing off my stride and thus causing pain and discomfort in other areas. But I am no doctor. Also, if I am being completely honest, I am afraid to go to this doctor because I think he is going to say "Don't run." And I really don't want to pay someone money for what I don't want to hear.

And so, since I am probably going to be told not to run I plan on spending the weekend running before I get my death sentence.

Yes, I am being a tad melodramatic. Are you surprised?

Yesterday afternoon I hit the treadmill hoping to get a good run in but again my legs were not cooperating. It isn't painful, they just feel tired. But I don't feel tired. I ran 2 miles at an 8:30 pace. I couldn't even get my heart rate over 125. So I while I felt like I could run faster, further my legs said otherwise. I just don't know what is going on. So I quit the treadmill and lifted weights for 30minutes then stretched for 15 minutes.

I will say that I looked back at my posts from last winter and it seems that I had some similar issues with my training. Maybe it is just the cold and my body has a hard time adjusting as it looks like I struggled through winter training last year with calf and Achilles issues.

So now I am thinking maybe I jumped the gun with calling the orthopedist. Any thoughts, tips? Yes, I know. Rest. Blah, blah, blah. Na na na na. Any other thoughts?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just Before Bedtime and the Magic Melts

My front yard 5 minutes ago . . .
Oh, Frosty, the snowman, is a fairy tale they say. He was made of snow but the children know how he came to life one day.
There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found. For when they placed it on his head he began to dance around. . .



That's right. There is snow in Atlanta. And, it is sticking. And the kids are out of their mind excited. So I let them go out in their pj's and no shoes to dance in the falling the snow for just a minute.The first time Carmella ever saw snow she was just a year old. We came downstairs in the morning and she pressed her face against the glass and said "Look. It sugared."

And Beau told me just a few minutes ago that snow was like cold sand. . .

And I say snow makes the world look magical.

I hope the magic stays so we can make our very own Frosty in the morning.

17/0: Ten miles again today. Calf is much better. This time I ran the hills, even pacing. Very nice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hot Meal



I think one of the best things in the world after a long hard run or workout is to come home and find waiting for you a nice tall pint of your favorite beer. Say it with me, now, Mmmmm, beer. . . Now wipe the drool off your lip.

The second best thing in the world is a shower.

And the third? A prepared meal.

I sometimes get number one if my workout is on Saturday afternoon or in the evenings (rarely) and most of the time I get number two. Sometimes though I have to decide between lunch or shower and depending on just how gross I am and where I have to go after getting kids from school I will choose shower over food. But most times I pick the food.

At any rate number 3, a hot meal waiting, never happens for me. Some of you are lucky in that you have wives or girlfriends that do all the cooking and cleaning so the only thing you have to worry about after a hard workout is exactly which pillow on the couch you are going to prop your foot up on.

Okay, maybe that sounded a tad bitter and I know it isn't true for all men as Wes often blogs about all the delicious meals he makes and Steph is always rubbing in on our Saturday rides some tasty meal Doug has waiting for her at home. And believe me, I am working on getting my invite to Casa de Doug. I mean really, I have-- technically but never carnally-- known him longer than Steph. That should count for something, right?

I know Wes and Doug do the cooking because they have the working wife package. Ryan has the housewife package. That means he works and does the yard and I do everything on the inside of the house. But you know, even way back when I use to work--before we had kids --I still did all the cooking. And that is because he can't cook. Well, technically he can but it involves a lot of hand holding and directing on my part so I might as well do it myself. Honestly though, what it really boils down to is that I am a pretty good cook--Carmella even calls me a "chef". So it just makes more sense that I prepare the tasty meals rather than Ryan do it and we have to eat something barely edible just because I am too tired to cook. Of course that might prove a really good way to lose weight . . .

I do try to simulate the hot meal waiting thing by doing some preplanning. On days I do long runs I try to make life simple. My energy level after a my late morning 3 hr run tends to wane throughout the day and by dinner I am of the mindset "let's just order pizza."

Nothing wrong with pizza but I like to save pizza night for the weekends when I really don't want to cook. So usually after a long run I make my specialty and I thought I would share it with y'all.

But first, let me give you my after long run lunch. Let's say I just finished running 22 miles. I come and pour a big giant glass of OJ and run an ice bath. While the tub fills up I throw a bag of Success Boil-in-Bag Brown rice, cup of frozen peas, cup of chopped carrots, cup of frozen baby lima beans, and teaspoon of crushed garlic in a pot. Fill it with water and set it on the stove to boil. Then I go and muster the ice bath for as long as I can and then take a quick hot shower. Dress and come down stairs and viola!; lunch is ready. I drain and divide it in half--saving the other half for next day's lunch. I add some fresh chopped tomatoes, sea salt, cracked pepper, tsp of olive oil and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Then I inhale it.

Okay so that is my favorite after run hot meal. I know it probably sounds yucky but it is really good.

But my specialty is a Pot Roast. Anyone who has had it will tell you it is very very yummy.

Here are your ingredients:

A Roast (the mooing kind) (2-3lbs, any cut will do-- go for cheap. Do not spend the big bucks. Get what is on sale. Generally it is around $2-4 a lb.)
flour
salt
pepper
Olive oil
2 tsp garlic (crushed/fresh is ideal)
Can of beef broth (14 oz)
3 bay leaves
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 med sweet onion- coarsely chopped
baby carrots
8-12 red potatoes halved or quartered--depending how big they are
*Dutch oven. You can use a crock pot but then you will have to clean 2 dishes.

First step. Get rid of your assistant:

Next salt and pepper meat. Rub a little garlic in there too. Roll in flour.

In dutch oven, on stove, heat a tbsp of olive oil. Brown meat on all sides. Add garlic, onions--let saute/soften. Add the can of beef broth, Italian seasonings, and bay leaves.

Arrange carrots and potatoes around roast.

Cover roast, carrots and potatoes with water.

Bring to a boil on the stove.

Now you can either transfer it to a crock pot at this point or pop it in the oven. I usually put it on 300 degrees and leave it in there for 5 hours. You can cook it longer; you will just need to check to make sure there is still some liquid in the pot--you want to have some of those juices--there should be about a 1/4 of what you put in left. If not, add a little more water and turn the heat way down.

Do not even bother to make this if you can't give it 5 hours. It won't be good.

Your end result will be the most delicious melt in your mouth meat. I serve it with steamed green beans or broccoli and some of that tasty Boil-in-Bag brown rice. I put a little bit of butter, salt and garlic in the rice.

You will have left overs. Left over are great for tacos the next day or BBQ sandwiches. You can also "re fry" the potatoes in olive oil if you have a lot left over.


And yep, still a streaker. Nope Wes, not the naked kind. Maybe in the summer. Too cold right now.

16/0

Today's workout was a 10 miler. One of my Team Tough Chicks compatriots alerted me to the possibility of compartment syndrome in regards to my calf muscle issues. My right calf seems to have taken to the muscle the come to Jesus conversation we had with some ice, massage and stretching last night. Lefty, of course it is the sinister one!--seems to be holding out again. The pain is gone but on the uphills today I was feeling it get tight again. So I took it easy, cut the run by 4 miles and walked the steeper parts of the uphills. I sprinted the flats though. Lefty seems to be coming around.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dead Legs

I have been streaking now for 15 days. This might be a record for me, though I might have gone in the past for as much as 3 weeks. Generally speaking though I am good for a 10 day streak and then I need to take a rest day. My workouts of late have been pretty hard and long so I am a little surprised to still find myself hanging in.

Here is how last week broke down:

Sunday: 6 mile run~ about 48 minutes/general aerobic run on hills

Monday: 105 minutes of swimming. 65 minutes of hiking and running with the kids in the afternoon

Tuesday: 15 minutes of walking/running with the kids. 120 minutes of running (8:38 pace--little over 14 miles)--hilly

Wednesday: 120+ minutes of biking/ 17 minutes of running (2 miles) (ugh, hills!): 1 mile walk with kids in the evening

Thursday: 30 minutes of running on the treadmill (3 miles between tempo and marathon pace. .5 mile walking), 30 minutes of swimming

Friday: 180 minutes of running for 21 miles at 8:50 pace (yep, more hills!)

Saturday: 40 minutes of running for 5 miles recovery with the last mile at tempo. (relatively flat, one hill)

Totals:
Running: 51 miles
Swimming: 4 miles
Biking: 28 miles
Walking/Hiking with kids: 6 miles

And the reward from this is dead legs.

Okay, really just my calf muscles--now known as the giant lead balls on the backside of shin.

I am not exactly sure what the problem is. Definitely not a joint/bone issue and doesn't feel like tendinitis. Really it feels like the muscle is in a knot--or has a knot in it-- and it makes the rest of my leg hurt because of all the tension in the calf muscle. It isn't bothersome on the downhill or flats but on the uphill it can stop me in my tracks. My guess is calf strain. Seems I had this problem last year when I was hitting the 70 mile weeks doing doubles and taking no rest.

Yesterday I hit the trail for 6 miles and my calf muscle was super tight on the left leg. I thought it might loosen up but no dice. I think maybe there were just too many hills. The run was rough and that was very frustrating for me.

Mondays are usually a 5 mile easy run while Beau is at speech, a 2 hour bike ride with Steph and then an easy 30 minute swim in the evening. This morning I woke up and both calf muscles looked a little swollen and felt hard--particularly the left one that is giving me the most trouble. Steph is sick (feel better soon!) and it was too cold for me anyway to bike so I figured I'd hit the gym for a treadmill speed session and a swim. Then tonight I figured I could hit the bike trainer.

I got about a mile and a quarter into my warm up and my legs just felt dead. I am sure I could have pushed it and gotten at least a 5k done but tomorrow is the first of 2 2 hour runs I have planned this week. The longer runs are more important than the speedwork outs. My speed is fine for my marathon goal-- I just need to get the endurance to catch up so I can hit a sub 3:30 (McMillan says I can do 3:20 based on my 10k and half time. I say, yeah right.).

So while I hated to quit my run it was necessary in the scheme of my training plan. I suppose I could have walked but I can barely stand running on the treadmill and I really dislike walking in general--it just takes too long.

I went and changed for the pool. The whole time I kept thinking how what I really needed was a full rest day but damn blasted streak. BUT, I am not giving up on the streaking. Not yet anyway.

I walked out to the pool and I saw a guy in another lane with a buoy between his legs and a band around his ankles. And that gave me an idea.

A dead leg swim.

Sure it probably would have been easier with a buoy and the band but I didn't have either. I really had to focus on not kicking but at the same time keeping my hips up and legs afloat. I had to push my chest a little lower in the water than I normally do and pull harder with my arms but it really helped keep my legs from dragging. It was kinda neat to tweak my stroke and see how just the tiniest body adjustments would make it easier or harder. So today's workout was a modified workout in the spirit of active recovery to keep me in the streak:

30 minute swim using only my arms. I know, it is ridiculous how little it takes for me to be impressed with myself.

So just 40 minutes (10 minutes from treadmill) today but nevertheless the streak continues! 15/0

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Pain You Start With . . .

Is never the pain you finish with.

And then there is the saying I hear tossed around by runners all the time: Pain is the weakness leaving your body.

Well, I can tell you that a whole lot of weakness left my body today.

Don't worry, I've got weakness to spare.

But my first 3 hr run of this training cycle is in the bank.

Whew!

I was quite apprehensive about it because I haven't run any runs longer than 16 miles since the Chickamauga marathon 2 months ago. Now, you know, if I was one of those rule followers I would be wise and follow that 10% rule people are always talking about and increase my runs slowly. But I don't have time for that--well I do if I just stick with my original plan and do GA ING marathon but Albany's promise of a flat and potential PR is calling me. Not to mention all those Snicker's bars.

My calf muscles have been so tight since my 14 miler on Tuesday. Not sure what the deal is but I thought maybe my shoes were the culprit. (psst, it is never the running.) So I went to Big Peach yesterday and got some new Adrenaline's.

A fresh shoe for my long runs is always nice. I haven't bought new trainers since Nov 6th. I've been rotating my Oct 1st shoes with my Nov 6th shoes and both are spent. Supposedly I should be able to get 500 miles out of my shoes (I think they both have around 400-450 on them). I think I could be fine with them for 500 miles so long as I don't do any runs longer than 12 miles. I can run in almost anything for really short runs or runs on the treadmill. But those long runs require a fresh shoe and for a shoe to be fresh it has to be under 300 miles. So that means a new shoe every 5-6 weeks for me. So you see how I've stretched them past their prime. And I was worried that was why my calves were giving me trouble.

Just to err on the side of speedy recovery I finally broke down yesterday after my treadmill run and swim and took a Motrin. I still had some residual chest and flank soreness yesterday from all those damn push-ups and dragging myself out of the pool to do them. The pain was quite acute when running but otherwise pretty unnoticeable. One Motrin seemed to do the trick because by evening all soreness was completely gone.

I also spent an hour last night, while being bored out of my mind with Grey's Anatomy--is it me or does TV really suck lately-- twisting myself into various yoga poses. I massaged the heck out of my ankles and calves and hips. I did splits and back bends. I did all those silly moves you do in Pilates like roll like a ball and the Hundred. And I was rewarded this morning upon waking with zero stiffness and no soreness.

Huh. Stretching.

Who knew?

So I thought my run today was going to be fantastic.

And it was absolutely brilliant for the first mile. But then I hit the second mile and the start of my serious uphills. Mile 2 until about mile 5 is pretty much climbing. It felt like there was a vice on my calves, like the muscle couldn't expand. The muscle was so unbelievably tight. I tried to focus on my breathing, relaxing my body--you know, as much as one can relax as they run up a long steep hill. Finally I had to stop and stretch it. I contemplated turning back but decided to push through the hills and see if the problem would resolve itself.

Sure enough as soon as I got to the 5th mile my legs felt great. I swear it was like someone finally unshackled me. Generally right before the 6th mile I stop, drink some water and take a GU. I decided not to stop since I finally had my rhythm. I stopped half way through the 7th mile: had my Gu, got some water and ran on.

Finally I was feeling good. I powered along: happy to be running, thrilled at what a perfect day it was, optimistic in my abilities. Around 14 miles I had another Gu and then around 15 or 16 miles my hips started to ache. It isn't a joint pain and it isn't sharp, just a vague ache and stiffness. Annoying and uncomfortable. The world dimmed on me and suddenly things weren't so great and I was no longer so certain of my abilities-- not really even sure I was really a runner.

At 17 miles I stopped and did some squats at a stop light. The light changed and I sucked it up and ran on. I tried to think about other things, anything other than running. I tried picking up the pace and that felt better for a few minutes but I pulled back, worried I would wear myself out.

Around 19 miles I found a little groove again and I was happy and thought maybe I should tack on 3 more miles and take it to 24. But then in the 20th mile I decided I was tired of running. I was fine, just done, bored with it all. And then at the end of the 21st mile, right before I came up on my house, I thought: if only I had time this evening I could go to the gym and do a little run on the treadmill. . .

Endorphins? They really mess with your head.

And you know what? I think that run was probably the easiest, most relaxing part of my day.

Normally on days I do long runs I try to make life simple. But today I had promised play dates at our house for Carmella and Beau. So Parker and Abby came home with us. My plan was to mop all my floors, fold laundry and the kids would play quietly and sweetly together. But then our neighbors Matthew and Julien showed up and suddenly I was home with 6 kids and our crazy dog. Six kids ages 4 to 6. Bikes everywhere. Toys everywhere. I was running up and down stairs, inside and out and yelling at kids to stop walking on my freshly mopped floors and to please stop bickering and to eat that snack outside! And please! Throw the trash in the trash can not the floor and not the lawn. I took toys away, threatened time outs and sending people home.

It was nearly 3 hours of complete chaos. It was an out of control party.

I finally kicked everyone out around 5, drove Parker home and dropped Beau at Meme's so Carmella and I could go to mother/daughter BINGO.

Two hours of BINGO!

And you know what?

There were not drinks at BINGO.

Talk about pain.

Because today? Today I really could have used a drink.

But now? Now that I am home and the kids are sleeping I am too tired.

Tomorrow then.

Tomorrow I will do an easy run and then I will have beers and it will be all good.

Still Streaking 12/0: 3 hour run at an 8:50ish pace.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Satan's Mama


A few years ago I wrote a post about the evil that falls upon us in March of each year.

Well, guess who is Satan's Mama this year?

That's right I am. And I am the evilest of evil. I am the Cookie Mom.

A few words.

Samoas . . .


Tagalongs . . .

Thin Mints . . .


Carmella and I will be available to meet all your Girl Scout cookie needs.

Cookie sales will begin next Friday, January 18th.

Unfortunately I am not permitted to actually sell cookies over the Internet but if I know you; you better buy some cookies from Carmella. And if I come to your house and find that you have purchased cookies from someone else, well, there will be trouble; remember, I am Satan's Mama. I have powers.

With all these cookies that are going to be taking up space in my garage-- tempting me--well, thank goodness I am streaking. 11/0.
Today's workout:
3 miles at marathon pace on the treadmill: (mile one 8:30, mile two 7:00, mile three 7:50 and a 1/2 mile walk cool down to get me to 30 minutes)
30 minute continuous lap swim
Gearing up for a 20 miler tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Routines keep you regular

I am, if nothing else, a woman who likes her routine. I feel anxious and out of sorts when I don't have my schedule--even if it is a schedule I make up. Christmas break--while a very welcome reprieve-- had me very out of sorts.


Yesterday the kids went back to school and I dived right back into my training regime with a 14 miler. It has been almost a month since I last ran that distance and I won't lie: it was tough.

Mostly because I was so unbelievably sore from my Suicide swim the day before. Those push-ups did a real number on me. I didn't think my sore chest muscles would be a problem since I was running. Wow. I was wrong. It felt like someone was going at me with a jack hammer. And thank goodness Ryan was home when I finished because otherwise I would have remained stuck in my sweaty sports bra. Apparently lifting and pulling it over my head was not something I could manage alone yesterday. But regardless of my upper body handicap I still came away with a respectable 8:37 avg pace. Well, at least respectable in my opinion. Certainly I would have prefered sub 8minute miles but eh, another day.
So yeah, not ideal.
But not terrible either.

Getting the kids up and going yesterday wasn't easy either. We had been backing ourselves last week into their 7:30 bedtime/6:30 wake up routine. But nevertheless it is still hard to go from no routine back to a routine. I read somewhere once that it takes 3 weeks to break a habit but only 2 to form one. Lucky for us we were only off our routine for 2 weeks so it didn't totally wreck us and our morning went fairly seamlessly. But we were well on our way to a habit of sleeping past 7 and doing nothing until 10 am.

Okay, you know what I mean. As seamless of a morning as you can get with a 6 yr old and 4 yr old.

Of course there were snaggles.


Carmella had a bit of a melt down because she felt her shirt-- from her most favorite outfit, an outfit which she picked, not me-- was too short. When she lifted her arms you could catch the teeniest glimpse at her tummy. I told her for me that was usually a selling point in a shirt. She pleaded with me to make her shirt longer. Understandably, after seeing me stitch Ryan's Santa sweater, she sees me as a gifted seamstress who can fix/make anything. After I explained that I couldn't make it longer and she would either have to deal or wear another shirt she decided to stick with her outfit and just wouldn't raise her arms all day. It completely amazes me that I gave birth to such a modest child. Hopefully this modesty will out last her teenage years.

Then there was the task of waking Beau. Really this can ruin my mood for the whole day if he proves particularly difficult. To say Beau is not a morning person is like saying I'm not more than a little self absorbed.

Surprisingly when I went in his room he was already up. But upon seeing me told me "No clothes today! Clothes are stupid."

After a good bit of arguing--on his part-- and a lot of threatening--on my part-- he put his clothes on. But not his shoes. He wasn't ready for shoes.
Whatever.

Amazingly they both ate their breakfast without any prodding so as it turned out we had extra time. Extra time means we get to walk/run to school. Beau mistakenly chose to wear his cowboy boots. I advised against it and told him not even cowboys go running in their cowboy boots but he reminded me that he did win the Chimney Springs tot trot in them.

Halfway to the school Beau told me his leg hurt. I told him that was just the weakness leaving his body and to keep going. Carmella said it was probably the cowboy boots.

We got Carmella to school and on the way back Beau insisted on taking Lola and I's picture--a picture in which I clearly look still half asleep. Hey, looking good takes some effort. And as Steph and I discussed today; often times this effort is not a priority for me. Especially when all I am going to do is run or swim or bike.

Oh, well, at least Lola looks good.

During the photo shoot Beau fell in the mud.

Sigh.

So after an outfit change for him and putting the dog up I was able to drive and drop him at school and get on with my day.

And today I finally got to enjoy some of this awesomely weird and wonderful weather we are having with a bike ride. Hooked up with Steph and we rode around Roswell for 2hours. She is claiming she has a bad attitude lately but don't listen to her. She is always a delight to be around and complains way less than anyone else I know. We finished up our ride with a super short 2 mile brick. The first mile was terrible for me with my calfs all crampy on all those darn punishing hills in her hood but the second mile came in faster and once I finished I felt absolutely fantastic.

I am so happy to be back in my routine of run, swim, bike, drive kids around and do errands. But most of all I am so happy to be feeling healthy and much like my normal self again. I need to remember to try to be careful and not wear myself out too much in my exuberance. Tomorrow I will do an easy day. Probably just a swim. Okay, and probably a really short treadmill run. Really short, like 2 miles.

And yes, I am proud to say I am still streaking. Today makes 10 days of consistent workouts for the Kindzia Challenge.

And at midweek this is where I find myself:
Running: 22 miles
Swimming: 3 miles
Biking: 28+ miles
Kid running/walking miles: 6 miles

Not too shabby for mid week if I do say so myself.

Best wishes to Wes and Dee Dee at Disney! Kick some Mickey ass guys!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Death by Push-up. Not Noodle or Coyote

Today was a spectacularly brilliant day here in the ATL burbs. Hello? January? Thursday--15 degrees. Four days later it is in the 70's.
What can I say? Welcome to Atlanta.

Sadly my kids don't go back to school until tomorrow and Ryan had to work (someone's got to earn a living around here). So if I wanted to stick to the Kindzia challenge I was resigned on this beautiful day to the gym. And after 7 straight days of running (one of those days was a double with 2 runs and swim, btw) I really needed-- for the sake of my sore hammies-- do something different. So swim it was.

My swim workouts are almost always hardly worth mentioning. Since I started back swimming last spring I have been in the 30 minute just over a mile rut. Occasionally I might get a wild hair and push it to 40, maybe 45 minutes.

Really there hasn't been a reason for me to go longer in the pool. The only triathlon I've done was a sprint and the swim there was a measly 400m. You blink and you are done. Swimming a mile once or twice a week was more than enough.

But then Steph had to go and throw out into the ring a 5k swim which for some reason confused me at first and I thought it was a mile and half. That would be a 3k swim. I appreciate that Steph is so patient with me. At this point I think she is only hanging with me to see what dumb thing I am going to say or do next.

My stupidity aside I did have a great swim workout today that I thought I would share.

My plan was a 90 minute swim.

I should mention that the last time I swam longer than 45 minutes was the day before I had Beau. And those were desperate days. I was trying to encourage his exit and I'd already worn myself and my bladder out with running. Swim was all I could manage at that point. And the last time I swam over an hour was back in those old Swim Atlanta days when I was 12. So we are talking a long time ago.

I told myself that if I can run for nearly 4 hours and ride a bike for almost 3 surely I can manage to swim for an hour and half.

I planned my workout before I went. I figured I'd get bored with a steady swim so I thought up 2 drills to at least kill some of the time. I also really hoped that nobody was going to be at the pool. Sadly this was not the case.

I got to the pool just as Aqua fit was clearing out. I totally feel ridiculous doing my drills and laps swimming when the only other people in the pool are floating on noodles. I know I shouldn't feel like I am the ridiculous one but I just feel out of place working so hard while everyone around me is lounging.

I started with a 600m warm up. I finished this in just under 9 minutes.

Next up was the 10 x 100 in 2 minute intervals. The plan for this drill is 1:30 per 100m with 30 seconds rest. Usually I blow myself up in the first one because I feel so fresh and do that first 100 in under 1:20. Today, knowing I wasn't going to be done after the drill I purposely reigned myself in. Even still every 100m came in around 1:25. All were below 1:30 none faster than 1:20. This probably means that I should start doing 30 seconds rest instead of waiting until the 2 minute mark. Really this workout was no where near as challenging as it usually is. This tells me that running before swimming isn't doing my swimming any favors.

My plan after I finished the 10 x 100's was to do a 400m easy swim and then go into my next drill and then a steady mile swim. But I realized that only 29 minutes had passed and that I would be done with the 400 and the next drill well before the hour and even with the mile cool down swim it still wouldn't get me to 90 minutes. So I went ahead and swam for 30 minutes.

I didn't count the laps as I always lose count but I can always hit a mile+ in 30 minutes.

My next drill was my most hated workout from my neighborhood swim coach--not Swim Atlanta. He called them "Suicides" and they definitely made my 10 year old self want to die. I would have gladly taken 100 laps of butterfly any day. But my 36 year old self figured my 10 year old self was just a whiner.

And today I learned that my 10 year old self kicks my 36 year old self's ass. In fact 10 year old self wipes up the pool deck with my sorry 36 year old fat ass.

Suicides are fucking hard as shit.

I don't know if Coach Jones made up Suicides or if this a legitimate drill that other swim coaches punish their swimmers with or not but I am going to assume that you have never heard of them.

A Suicide is 10 push-ups done on the pool deck--no girly push-ups allowed. Gotta do it the manly way. Then you dive in the pool and sprint 25m. That is one suicide. You need to do that 10 times. And at the end you will have done 100 push ups and 10 25m sprints.

I know. On paper it doesn't sound hard. But I challenge you to go swim for an hour and then do 10 suicides. The sprint will feel like relief, like you are light as a feather. But then when you hop out to do those push ups you will see somehow you've gained an extra 50lbs. Your muscles just feel all sorts of wrong.

Please note that I did not dive. I just got in. There is no diving allowed at the La Fitness pool. Not to mention this would have drawn even more attention to my foolish antics.

So yes, I seriously underestimated how difficult this drill was going to be. And I use to be in the habit of doing 2-3 sets of 25 push-ups on a regular basis without much effort. It is a habit I have, especially after today, regretfully let lapse.

How this drill played out was so ugly. Going in I knew I would feel totally ridiculous jumping out of the pool to do push-ups, especially if there were the noodle floaters in there. But worse of worst case scenarios happened and there was not only noodle floaters to witness my death but also other triathletes.

The first 2 suicides went down just fine. But by the fourth one my sprint was not much of a sprint and my push up form was failing. At that point I decided I would only do 5 Suicides but I got to 5 and said screw it I am seeing this through to the end even if it kills me. ha ha ha So I kept going and handicapped my way through rest of them with piss poor form and copious amounts of rest (you are not suppose to rest at all. You are suppose to get all 10/100 done as fast as you can. Definitely in under 10 minutes)

I think the guy in the lane next to me was pretty embarrassed for me but whatever, next time I'll do better. I rested for a minute--chatting briefly with the tri guy next to me and the guy that works at my gym and does triathlons. I finished up with a solid 30 minute swim and could have kept going but I had to get my kid's out of gym hock. I think I was in the pool for a little over an hour 40 and I think I will be just fine for the 5k swim.


In other workout news. . .

I took the kids trail "running" this afternoon. Beau has begging to go with me so I agreed to take them. We walked/ran on the Sope Creek trails for about an hour for a little over 4 miles. There was much whining and complaining. Much running ahead and then much sitting in the middle of the trail claiming to be too tired to take another step and then more sprinting ahead.

Carmella said it was boring. Not enough hills! And for God's sake she needed a walking stick! How about this stick? Nope too heavy. This one? Too ugly. This one? Too big.

Beau said I was too fast. Too slow. He was dirty. (Uhm yeah, that is why I was telling you not to lie down in the mud) It was too far. This is definitely the wrong way. He wanted to go to the factory (there are Mill ruins on the trail). Where are all the wild animals? There aren't any, Carmella told him. There are probably coyotes, he informed her.

And at the word "Coyote" Carmella lost it. A scuffle broke out in the middle of the trail. Beau kept shouting Coyote! Coyote! as Carmella tried to cover his mouth saying Don't say it! Don't say it!

And then at the end, once we finally got back to the car, they didn't want to leave. But I was done and I felt like how my Dad must have felt all those times he took me backpacking and I laid on the trail kicking and screaming that it was too hard, too far and I was never doing anything like this again . . .

Last week totals:
Running: 43 miles
Swimming: 1 mile
Biking: 0
Weights: 20 minutes

Kindzia's Challenge:
8/0

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hope and Optimism in 2008

New Year's Eve Ryan and I dropped the kids and Puppy girl at Pop and Lala's and headed in town for an adult evening to kick 2007 to the curb and throw open the door of unbridled optimism to 2008.

While Ryan and I celebrated the traditional New Year way with some dinner, lots of champagne and a trip to the Clermont Lounge (okay maybe that part is not so traditional but that is where we went to my dismay) the kids enjoyed a more pagan celebration in the suburbs.

Upon dropping off my bathed, fed and ready for bed kids Lala announced that they would be burning the Christmas Tree and making New Year wishes. Hearing this Carmella informed Lala that she is the "dangerous grandma". Lala, taking offense, asked me just what I had been telling Carmella. And I quickly explained to Lala that Carmella is six not an idiot. She's got a pretty good grasp on the obvious: Grandma that has bible study in her living room or Grandma that sets fire to her Christmas tree in the front yard? Yes, you are totally right: hard call on which one is the dangerous Grandma.

I digress, yes, even in the New Year some things won't change. But while I stood in the door way of the Clermont Lounge--I had to stand in the door way to catch breaths of fresh air. I had no idea that you were still allowed to smoke in bars. My lungs still hurt from the exposure. --Anyway, while stood in the doorway of a bar/stripclub/dive--how do you classify the Clermont?--I contemplated my . .. uhm,resolutions, goals, ideals. . . for 2008.

The word resolution doesn't work for me. It implies to me that you are eschewing something old for something new and different: adopting new habits. For me this is not the case. I think I am on the right track, moving in the right direction. God forbid, dare I say it?Evolving. Ugh, gag--too cheesy. Even though I feel I continue to move in the right direction this is not to say there isn't room for improvement. I think the word "goals" might possibly be more appropriate but maybe "ideals" is an even better word. Or maybe just continuum? Okay, now I am juggling semantics. Maybe I should just say my hopes for 2008. I think that makes the most sense.

If hope sounds too non-committed believe me it is not. It is just being realistic about what I can accomplish given the restraints of being wife and mother. This is not to say those titles weigh me down but they do bind me to certain responsibilities that take priority over my personal desire. Everyone has boundaries in which they must operate and those are mine. C'est la vie. Que sera sera . . .
My first hope is to make more money. This should not be too hard since I really didn't make any last year. But I need to help Ryan make more so our life is less stressful and more comfortable. So if I can help by investing more of my time in our business or by getting a side job to bring in extra cash flow then that is what I will do. However whatever, more money is the plan and I vow to do what it takes to get more of the green stuff. But I will have to draw the line at working at the Clermont. And I only mention the Clermont as it is obvious that compared to other strip clubs their standards are nonexistent so I assume I could get a job there. But really, as much as I have the penchant for stripper shoes and costumes I would never actually be a stripper. Just wanted to be clear on that point.

My next hope is to remain a present, active and supportive person in my children's lives. I think I am a pretty good mom and I volunteer a lot of my time for the kids classrooms and extra curricular activities. I would like to still be able to do all that but I know if I work--even part time-- that I would have to sacrifice some of that volunteering. So I just hope that I will be able to reconcile that with myself and my kids.

I have many fitness hopes for this year. I am disappointed that I did not meet my time goals last year though I did make gains by having new personal bests at the marathon, half marathon and 10k. So last year's time goals of 3:30 for the marathon, 1:35 for the half marathon and sub 42 minutes for the 10k still remain. Inching closer. But you know just seeing improvement really means more to me than a specific time goal. Because once I break down one time barrier I just have to set another anyway.

And of course, it should go without saying but I'll say it anyway: I'd like to see my swim improve but more importantly the bike. As Steph said we suck on the bike. Okay, she didn't exactly come out and say I suck. She said she sucked and since I think she is stronger on the bike then me then therefore I suck too. I will say it is good to not suck alone if nothing else.

My hope is that my bike ability will at the least be on par with my run and my swim and right now I don't think it is. I base this on the one triathlon that I did. My swim and run put me at the back of the front pack but my bike put me smack in the middle of the pack. Not that middle of the pack is bad I'd just like all things to be equal and it is frustrating because I think I put more effort on the bike than the swim and therefore I want to see that effort reflected. I like to see results when I put in the effort. Pisses me off when I don't.

aside Oh, hey Pop, I've been meaning to ask. Can I borrow your trainer if you are not using it? See, borrow, not have. I know it is just sitting there in your basement, taking up space . . .

My race dreams and hopes this year are as follows:

For spring I am trying to decide between The Caramel and Chocolate and Peanut Marathon and GA ING. The Snickers has become appealing--aside from the prospect of chocolately peanut goodness-- because it is flat and also because Wes (brother in law) will be doing the bike races that are also happening that weekend in Albany. Could be a family fun racing spectating weekend for all! Go Nat! Go Wes! It is just going to depend if I can get marathon ready in 8 weeks. Probably but that is contingent on not getting sick at all and after this past fall I am just not so optimistic about that.

I am also thinking about this marathon. Geez that sounds tough so I might be smart and just do the half.

In the fall I will either do Chickamuaga again, Atlanta or Rocket City. Then next spring Boston.

I also plan to do all the local half marathons that I can manage. But it will probably work out to being 2-4 this year.

My only 10k plan is the Peachtree but I may sign up for a few last minute if it works out that I can do them. It is hard for me to justify getting up early and driving to a 10k. I like more miles for dollars and time than a 10k provides.

Okay, triathlons. Ainsely asked me to do the Ryka Irongirl New Year's Eve and I said I would. That's a sprint and that is in June. Hopefully it won't conflict with the 5k swim Steph wants to do. I'd also like to get in an Olympic tri this year. Not too picky on which one just don't want to travel for it. And like Steph I want my crown jewel to beSouth Carolina's Half Iron distance.

Finally if somehow the stars align and I can manage it I would love to try an Ultra in 08. Probably a 50k but maybe even 50 miler. I have no designs to run a 100 miles.

Whew. That is a lot and quite ambitious if I do say so myself. But ultimately, my real hope for 2008 is to find myself at the end of the year living a negative split. That will make me very happy.

Kindzia's Challenge for 2008:
5/0 (I counted today which technically hasn't happened yet but will: a trail run for 7-9 miles)