Friday, August 28, 2009

Excuses Are Always Easy to Come By

There are always reasons why we can't do something, don't do something or didn't do something. Reason is just a kind word for excuse though. There is a saying: The person that really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.

I am the queen--okay princess, of finding excuses. I just can't help it: they come so easily. The tough part is seeing past the excuses to the object of my desire and reconciling what I have to do (and don't want to do) to make it happen.

A long time ago I dated a man who said to me, probably during some fight; "You always get your way." Now, I will maintain that this is absolutely irrefutably not true but yes; I do strive to get my way. I am sure he was trying to hurt me or make me feel guilty by making such a comment but mostly I was just perplexed by it: as I've always been under the impression that everyone wants to "always have their way". Why would you fault them for that--you know on being human? At any rate I didn't do the girl thing and apologize or feel guilty for "always wanting to have my way". I just said, "and your point?" It is easy to see why that relationship didn't work out.

Oh, and this is most definitely not to say that Ryan lets me have my way all the time. Most times I think we just agree or we bicker until the most stubborn one wins. And trust me, Ryan is more stubborn than me. I will admit though to being the more manipulative one.

I am getting off topic and taking this in a different direction. The point I am trying to make is that I struggle every second of the day with excuses to not do something. My inclination is ALWAYS to take the easy or lazy way out. I can always come up with an excuse. But I am certain that the path to success is not paved with excuses. As a result I have to have not daily but pretty much minute to minute pep talks to keep myself on track--on that path towards success.

It is no secret that I want to be a better a runner. There are certain things I am not willing to give up to be that better runner (beer) but I am willing to work really hard in training to get myself there. Right now that means consistently running and running more than I ran last year.

I have been on my way to 70 mile weeks and I am looking towards later this fall for some 80 mile weeks. I was hoping that this week would be my first week in the 70's this year (I had 2 weeks last fall in the 70's and ended up with an over training injury).

Unfortunately having a sick child this week derailed my run 70 miles plan. I tried my best to not use that as an excuse but fact of the matter is that my kids take priority and everything else has to fall to the side when they need me. Running is important to me but I am not so addicted that I can't separate out what should (and does!) take priority. And just because I do know where my priorities are does not mean that I will not grumble when I have to miss a run. I just cannot help that I am a little childish. In the end I do the adult thing but I do it pouting and stamping my foot. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to say that I am immature at 38 so I think we should all agree that this is just a less than glamorous aspect of my personatalie.

And btw, Carmella is MUCH better. Thank you for your concerns. The tamiflu is working. She still has her cough but she has her appetite back, energy back, has no fever, no vomiting etc. And Beau luckily has not gotten sick-- nor me. Ryan is out of town so I assume he got out before the sickness got him.

So back to the point (I am getting there! You know it takes me forever)--I was on the right track to hit 70 miles this week. Sunday was a rest day. Monday I ran 15 miles, Tuesday I ended up running 10. My plan had been 6 and a swim but my shoulder still hurt (from trying to ski) and I figured if it was bothering me while I ran it was going to hurt like hell trying to swim. So I ran the time I would have spent swimming. Wednesday I was suppose to run with Kate for 10 or so miles at Kennesaw Mountain but I took Carmella to the doctor instead. Ryan was home in the afternoon and I managed to get 12 miles in. I had to bail on my planned 7 miles for Thursday since she was still sick and Ryan was out of town. And because of that I knew there was no way I could reasonably squeeze 43 miles in 2 days to hit 70 miles for the week.

And that's okay, I still have plenty of time to run 70 miles other weeks. But I still needed to stay on track and I couldn't afford to cut back mileage too much this week. Luckily Lala offered to watch Carmella today so I could get my long run in after all.

My plan all week had been 21 on Friday. Maybe a little more if I felt up to it. Last night my sleep was interrupted by my dog (who never barks at anything) barking her head off at 2 am. I got up to investigate and nothing. Crazy dog. Last time she barked--a couple of months ago--it was at a plastic bag blowing through the yard. Huskies are so weird.

At any rate I was up for a few hours trying to get back to sleep. 6 am came extra early today. I could already feel the no way can I run 21 miles today on so little sleep excuse forming. And then as I checked the morning's weather I could read the I do not want to run for 3 hours in the pouring rain and potential lightening excuse underneath the 100% rain and cloud with lightening icon. And the litany of excuses began to flow easily, quickly into my psyche.

They even came with a rant: I am so freaking sick of running in crappy weather! I have endured 6 long runs this summer in the heat, rain, humidity etc. I am tired of running shoes that are wet from monsoon rains or from the ridiculous amount of sweat that streams off my body. Wet shoes at the end of three hour run are freaking heavy. Not to mention the humidity makes you feel like you are running with 20lbs of wet towels draped over your body. I am tired of sucking it up; hardening the fuck up. Not to mention lightening storms are kind of a deal breaker for me. I am just scared I am going to get struck the whole time--because I do have that kind of luck--and I am, after all, a mother! I can't be risking my life like that.

So see, there was even the I can bail on this run because I hardened the fuck up all those other times.

Lala graciously offered to watch the kids Saturday so that I could do the run tomorrow in better weather. And see that right there is an example of an enabler of excuses. And enabler lets you feel okay about making excuses. And I will tell you it is okay to make excuses; you just need to own up to them and recognize them for what they are.

Luckily, I realized-- considering how this week has gone--that something else is bound to happen so I wasn't comfortable with my excuse being enabled. I could already see the potential building for more excuses. See, I do like sticking to my plan even if I constantly seek out reasons to not have to stick to my plan. I know. It is all very confusing!

It occurred to me-- as I weighed it out--that I did have another alternative; the treadmill at the gym. The longest I have ever run on the treadmill was about an hour and fourteen minutes. I was in a pinch that time and I needed to get a 10 mile run done. I think that was the fastest I have ever run 10 miles in training. Now, I do like the treadmill--for short runs. But I rarely make it an entire hour on there.

So the possibility of me ever doing a long run on the treadmill was an impossibility. I have often marveled at those that can do long runs on the treadmill. I have done marathons and long runs in every kind of weather: sub freezing, hot, humid, rainy, snow, ice --even under the threat of tornadoes. I think that alone says how much I do not want to do a long run on the treadmill.

I debated for an hour. Back and forth with rain, tomorrow, treadmill. And finally the treadmill won out. Today I decided that being bored for 3 hours sounded better than being wet, hot and miserable for 3 hours or potentially risking not getting it done tomorrow. Once I made my decision I made a deal with myself: 3 hours or 21 miles--whichever comes first. And quite honestly I didn't know if I had the will to do either.

I was very slow going getting to the gym. I even drove the speed limit. I walked as slow as I could possibly manage through the gym up to the treadmills without someone thinking I was injured. I even made eye contact with strangers hoping someone would chat me up--no one did. I kept looking around, hoping someone was there that I knew and I could stall even longer by passing more time making social niceties.

Then, once I made it to the aerobic area, I was like Goldilocks trying to find the absolute perfect treadmill that I would be able to stand for 3 hours. The first one I tried I wasn't happy with what was on the TV and got off after a minute. So I moved to the other bank of treadmills.

My gym is kind of hot--not as hot as outside but not as cool as I keep the air-conditioning in my house. And it gets kind of humid--all those sweaty people. And the treadmills are upstairs. But they do have these giant fans set up here and there around the aerobic equipment to help cool it down and circulate air. When I have the opportunity I will commandeer one and position it so it blows directly on my back. These fans are big and cumbersome and not at all easy to move. But they are totally worth it. They also keep the treadmill from looking like it is sweating right along with me.

There were two treadmills that would work that had view of the TV station I wanted to watch and close to a fan.(I of course had my ipod to listen to and all the people pretending to lift weights to watch but I need MANY distractions on the treadmill.) The only problem was that there was a woman on the treadmill next to my first choice. The fan I needed to use cord didn't quite stretch to my second choice. But I didn't want to bother the lady on the treadmill next to my first choice. In the past some people have gotten mad at me when I turned on the fan. They are the people who walk on the treadmill and read a book so I don't think they understand exactly how hot it can get. And the woman was there first. Also, since she was there first and I didn't know how long she was going to be there I thought it would be even more rude to get on the one next to her (when there were plenty of empty ones available) and sling my sweat all over her. Of course she probably would have gotten off sooner . . .

So I got on second choice treadmill with less ideal fan wind. I ran for about 6 minutes and the lady on the other treadmill left. So I switched and started over and adjusted the fan. Perfect.

I have to say once I finally got everything just right this turned out to be the most luxurious long run I have ever done. I didn't have to carry anything since treadmills have cup holders. I had the wind at my back. It was 15 degrees cooler than I have been running in. And, best of all; there were no hills! Save the Museum of Aviation marathon I have NEVER done a flat long run.

From my vantage point I could see the rain, which is always lovely to look at--I just don't enjoy running for several hours in it. I could also see pretty much the whole gym. And then the show The Doctors was on. I really didn't pay much attention to it but I do like looking at the hot doctor that is on that show. I don't know why the doctors I go to see don't look like that. Makes me feel a little cheated. I also had a view of Fox News.

The only real downside to this was that the treadmills at my gym shut off after 60 minutes. But this wasn't a huge problem since on my long runs I have to stop for water breaks, to pee or buy Gatorade. Lately, because it has been so hot, I've been stopping 3 times--sometimes for up to 5 minutes just so that I can make sure I don't spontaneously burst into flames. I am not kidding. 3 weeks ago I spent some extra time in Walgreens with as much of my body as I could get into their freezer.

My goal was 7 miles an hour. This is faster than I have been running 21 miles this summer but not faster than I was running 21 miles last spring/winter/fall. So it was a little optimistic and hence the "3 hours or 21 miles" deal.

First hour--once I finally got the right treadmill--was awesome. I tried to be conservative because I didn't want to wear myself out in the first hour. My first mile was a little over 9 minutes. And would be the slowest mile I ran today. The hour ended with me running 7.37 miles. About an 8:10 avg pace.

I hopped off because I dying to pee. Unfortunately the bathroom at my gym is down stairs but I figured that would help keep the blood flowing. I peed, ran back up stairs, did a few lunges and hopped back on.

Since I was good and warmed up I didn't need to start with the nine minute mile. I started at an 8:34 pace and pressed buttons up and down for the hour between 8:34 and 7:20 pace. I started having the GU I brought. I do better if I take it over a few miles. I had finished it by the time I got to 10.5 miles and I was super excited to be half way done.

I was feeling really good-- so good I started to get some wild ideas. I was thinking about how Joe Reger had run 23 miles the other day in 3:21. I started think I could totally beat that today! Kick his skinny, younger and fitter Ironman ass with my awesome treadmill in air conditioning run. Then I had the even grander delusion of running 26.2 miles, musing that maybe, you know if I really started to push it I could run a marathon PR today. On the treadmill! How cool would that be?! Awesome.

There was still that part of my brain that wasn't yet totally stupid and it finally piped up with a "why don't you wait until you start the 3rd hour before you think about such things."

I ended the second hour at 7.52 miles for an average 7:58 pace. I was pretty happy to be at that mileage and still felt pretty good. I hopped off the treadmill and did a few lunges. My quads were starting to sing a little and my knees were missing the hills but other wise I felt pretty good. No different than I have been feeling at that point on my long runs this summer.

I got back on and started into the 3rd hour. I started out at an 8:44 pace and it felt horrible. It made everything hurt. After the first mile I sped up. The 7:53 pace felt best; most natural but I was having to work kind of hard--harder than I normally work in the last miles (but then again lately I have not been running 7:53 pace at all during a long run). I played around the pace--going back down to 8:20 for a few minutes and then back under 8 minute miles towards 7:30 pace. It really felt more comfortable at a sub 8 pace than at 8:20ish. But it was hard--my heart rate was creeping up. I was getting tired and was getting "done" with being on the treadmill.

I started doing the math. How much longer and how much further? I added up the first 2 hours miles: 7.37 and 7.52. So 14.89. So 6.11. At first I estimated that I would probably hit the 6.11 that I needed to get to 21 miles in 53 minutes. Let tell me you at 23 minutes-- another 30 minutes sounded like an eternity so I started running as hard as I could manage just so I could get done.

I was getting sloppy. I kept spilling my Powerade all over me every time I took a sip but I still was holding the sub-8 pace. I was a constant clock watcher. My eyes darting from the minutes to miles and then pressing buttons and changing the pace, then changing the song on my ipod, back to changing the pace--anything to make it feel like time was passing faster. Finally I was almost to 6 miles and started to speed up and kind of just closed my eyes. Not really, but maybe. When I allowed myself to look I was at 6.07. It was like counting down to New Years Eve. I hit stop at 6.12--just in case my math had been a little off. Time? 48 minutes and 22 seconds. 7:54 average pace.

Holy Negative Split BatNat! 21 miles in 2:48:22! 8:01 average pace. I think the fastest I have ever run a 21 mile training run was in 2:53. So maybe, just maybe 3:20 at Rocket City isn't so unrealistic after all. But we'll see. I am just happy that I did not let the excuses win today. I know this is a tiny victory over them but hey at least I got one battle won this week. Now, I've got 15 more weeks of battles to wage.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School is Definitely In and So is the Flu

If you are privy to my facebook page (or know my mom) then you already know Carmella has the Flu--mostly likely the N1H1 strain-- or, more commonly known of as the swine flu.

I figure I might as well blog about it so I don't have to tell the same story to every person I know. Which btw, no one ever calls me but my phone has not stopped ringing since noon. I have personally called everyone that I thought might have been exposed but since the H1N1 is going around the Cobb schools most people we know have multiple sources of exposure and quite a few people were already sick anyway.

I am not going to go into a medical discourse on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the Swine Flu. I am absolutely not qualified to do that and do not want to be accused of handing out medical misinformation. In real life I only play doctor for my mommy friends who are too afraid to Google or read the Merck Manuel on their own and don't want to seem like panicky moms dragging their kids to the doctor for the common cold or heat rash. For the record, I have never been afraid to be that mom. And also because, next to running and talking about myself my 3rd greatest passion is reading about diseases and medical conditions.

However, you can read up on the symptoms of H1N1 and peruse other links here at the CDC website. Or I suppose, call me if you don't want to read it and I will impart all that I know because I also like pretending I know everything (I don't).

This all started last night at bedtime--8pm. As I was tucking Carmella in she said her chest felt tight and it hurt when she tried to cough. I immediately gave her an expectorant/decongestant/cough suppressant. Monday I noticed a little girl she played with had a cold so I figured Carmella probably caught it. No biggie. I also figured maybe her sinuses had been draining and she was starting to get some chest congestion. With no fever and she had been running around playing outside all afternoon I really didn't think too much about it and planned to send her to school the next day.

At 2 am she was up and her coughing woke me up. I went ahead and gave her more medicine so the coughing wouldn't keep her up.She was also worried that she was going to throw up. Carmella has always freaked out about throwing up. She gets really creeped out by all things human and gross. So after consoling her and reassuring her I couldn't go back to sleep. Finally sometime after 4 am I went back to bed; realizing that it would probably be best if Carmella stayed home from school Wednesday.

At 5:30 am Ryan's alarm and Carmella's coughing woke me up. It was almost time for another dose so I figured that was why it was bothering her because she was again worried about throwing up. Beau of course heard all the commotion and was up. Early start to the day.

Beau, of course was quite pissed off when he learned Carmella would not being going to school. He first tried to claim that he was sick too. He might have a sore throat he said. He was feeling like he was going to have a headache. His tummy might not be feeling right. Then he tried to assert that since he wasn't sick he got to chose.

What this means is that he thought he was entitled to dictate how our morning would go: we would most certainly walk to school, we would have waffles for breakfast etc. No on both accounts. Luckily though my neighbor was kind enough to walk him to school so Carmella didn't have to go any where. I also sent a note to Beau's teacher to be on the look out for a fake out. Beau loves to visit the school nurse.

After Beau left I let Kate know that would be unable to meet her for our planned trail run at Kennesaw Mountain. Bummer, but hopefully next week. I do plan on getting my run in this afternoon (in the heat of the day, of course) and in another blog post I will carry on about my current training--or rather anti-- regime, whichever. Whatever.

The next hour or so of my morning was then spent trying to do house work and console Carmella that coughing up phlegm was a good thing. Explaining that she needed to cough and that if she coughed so hard she threw up that was okay too--better to get it all out I told her. Child was utterly freaked out about not feeling herself. I personally just wasn't all that worried because she had no fever and did manage to eat breakfast. I saw no signs of serious illness.

But then again, it has been rare occasions that my kids have shown signs of serious illness. Carmella had pneumonia few years ago but had no cough or fever. I took her into the Dr because she was complaining of hearing an echo. Ended up she had double ear infection and pneumonia.

And my kids maybe get sick once a year. Allergies we suffer from half the year but true sickness for them is a rarity. They have both been antibiotics less than 5 times in their entire lives.

Around 9 am she came up stairs and again complained that she "wasn't doing so good." I asked her to explain and she said she felt like she was having a hard time breathing. Observing her this did not seem to be the case and I really couldn't hear wheezing but nevertheless gave her an inhaler. Before she could use it she started to vomit. And since the vomiting was not coughing induced I decided a trip to the doctor was now on our agenda.

Around 10 we left and she started to look noticeably sick for the first time. She said she had a headache--which I assumed that meant fever was coming. Then on the ride she complained that she couldn't stand to read the food establishment signs. I found a cup in the car and asked her to vomit in that if she needed rather than all over the car.

Walking into the Dr's she said she didn't think she could make it and I asked her to try but right outside the door she started throwing up. Luckily there was a drain in the pathway and she had the good sense to aim there. I poured water over the drain to clean it up before going in.

The receptionist giggled at me and asked what we were doing in the bushes. I told her Carmella had gotten sick--that she couldn't make it to the bathroom and they sent us straight back to a room. And that folks, apparently, is how you avoid a long wait in the waiting room. Another trick is to show up with hives and wheezing. That works too. What doesn't work is coughing until you nearly pass out or having an open bleeding wound or being pregnant. Those situations seem to induce extra long waits.

I told the nurse Carmella's symptoms and when she first seemed sick. The nurse took her temperature--99.1 and pulse ox--97. I brought up my strep and flu concerns and also reminded them that Carmella is allergic to every grass and tree that blooms upon the earth so it might be a secondary infection.

The nurse whisked her off to blow monkeys out of the tree--that test they do to test your lung capacity--me and my kids never do well at this test when we are sick. After that test they swabbed her throat for strep and her nose for the flu. Carmella surprisingly only gagged a little. I thought for sure she'd lose her cookies to those test.

And then we waited.

When the nurse came back she was wearing a face mask and handed one to Carmella to put on. I did not get one but knew that a face mask was not a good sign.

She told me Carmella was positive for type A influenza. I asked if it was H1N1 and she said most likely because that is what is going around. Apparently they are no longer sending it out to be tested since the treatment is the same.

A little while later the doctor came in and she examined Carmella and determined that she was also wheezing. A breathing treatment was ordered.

While they did the treatment Carmella seemed cold and was falling asleep. I was worried her fever was spiking so I had them take her temperature. Just 99.9 but up a bit from earlier.

After her treatment she went to blow the monkeys out of the tree and did not do any better on the test but I was told she did better than the other child in the office with the flu (score!).

So the doctor gave us a prescription for Tamiflu and for a new inhaler and prescriptions for Tamiflu for Beau and I to (hopefully) prevent us from getting the flu. Ryan did not get one because he is not fortunate enough to asthma.

And I apologize to anyone going to my pharmacy because I wiped them out of their Tamiflu stock and have dibs on what they get in tomorrow to finished filling our prescriptions ($260.00 Thank you very much. What would it be if I didn't have insurance?!)

Carmella still doesn't have much fever (still 99) but is very sick to her stomach and not keeping food down. That is a bit worrisome but when her tummy isn't bothering her she seems pretty okay. I gave her some Motrin and the Tamiflu. She threw up a little while after so I don't know how much, if any she actually got in her. Thinking though she will start feeling better if I can get her to keep some medicine down.

Beau seems fine but is knocked out napping on the couch (small favors!). So other than taking a nap (which is a little weird but he was up late last night and up early this morning) he is showing no symptoms.
As for me I am fine-- tired and cranky from lack of sleep and no running and a little stressed about it all.

Hopefully we will all soon be well because none of us are so good at being sick and sitting around.

Back Blogging: Reviving The Lost Blog Files



Is anyone still reading???
Is anyone still reading???

Stoph was right. On two counts. One that me having nothing to say just isn't something that happens. Ever. And two; the longer I waited to write the worse the pressure was to write.

I have been meaning to blog for, well, since June. And I absolutely have things to say. I don't know why I didn't. As anyone who spends any amount of time with me will tell you they can pretty much see me composing my blog posts in my head. At this point, I think they see the blog moments at the same time as I do.

So I can't really claim blogger's block or lack of inspiration as I think if nothing else this blog has demonstrated my knack to write about pretty much anything and my ability to draw out lengthy discourse on the most mundane of subjects.

I will admit to feeling a bit lost after my winter/spring marathons--having met that long chased sub 3:30 marathon goal-- and suffered a bit of "what's my scene" this summer. Cue music:

And well, yeah, can't say I have "my scene" totally figured out but I do know am still focused on improving in the marathon.

While I don't have much else figured out my point is that I will be posting all those blogs that I never took the time to actually write. I feel like I can't move forward without letting them have their say. And believe me, I am not so vain to think that anyone gives a rat's hairy ass whether I write them or not. Lord knows that there are always new and even more prosaic things for me to write about. But for me it will be like missing links in the chain of continuity to NOT write about them.

The good news --and I say good because I have to assume that if you read my blog you do so because you like it for one reason or another--is that there should be lots of new posts because I have a lot of catching up to do.

Stay tuned.