UPCOMING EVENTS: Hartford (RI) marathon, Newport (CT) marathon in October,
Soldier (GA) marathon, Pensacola (FL) marathon, and Pilgrim Pacer Marathons (KS) in November

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

cough, ack, sniffffffff.


Right now, I feel like Bill the Cat looks. You remember him, right? From the eighties, mostly.

If you're too young to remember him, I don't want to hear about it. Go back to your blanky. Anyway, I feel like he looks.

Not because of a cold. I stopped getting those when I started running. Not because of the flu, for the same reason.

Because of the wind. Yes, that's right, the wind. I'm allergic to the $%^@# wind.

The thing is, I'm allergic to dust mites, various types of pollen, and mold. Most of the time that's not a problem here. However, we've had unusual circumstances here in New Mexico, namely, 1) lots of moisture and humidity (more than the usual 18% that generally exists here) to create lots of dust mites, pollen, and mold spores and 2) lots of wind lately (gusting up to 30 mph and beyond) to blow it all around.
The result is a sore throat, congestion, tight chest, and general feeling like I'm going to hurl in the evenings when I try to late flat. Oh, and lets not forget the heartrate the spikes into zone 4 the moment I even look at a treadmill. Crap. I'm going to try to get through another speedwork session this afternoon - I wanted to get at least two in for the week since the Stealth Duathlon is coming up.

I'm going to have to start taking Benedryl tomorrow. I HATE taking Benedryl, and its cheap generic counterparts: Wal-dryl, costco-dryl, and K-dryl. Taking it before teaching is like taking sleep medicine and then trying to herd thirty cats into staying in one spot. For three hours. And no, teachers are not allowed to call in sick during testing weeks.
There's no moral or question here. I'm just whining out loud.
As Nytro often says, I. Hate. Everyone.
...

Monday, February 26, 2007

??

I'm working on this new speedwork plan and I implemented it tonight at the gym. The trouble is, we had high winds (that means slightly sub tornado in intensity) over the weekend - read Sweet Baboo's post about his Saturday ride, which isn't up yet, but should be - and whenever that happens, a bunch of stuff gets to swirling around in the air that doesn't agree with me, and my throat gets sore, and my chest gets tight and my heartrate stays elevated for a couple days. This is something that I inheirited from my mother (Thanks, Mom). But anyway.

So I started this speedwork thing today, ducking out of work early to go to Sam's Club to get cracker/peanutbutter package snacks and apple juice because we're starting the first of SIX DAYS of mandatory federal/state testing (thanks, George) and you'd be astonished how many people don't care of their kids eat breakfast.

ANYWAY as I said I headed for the gym where I was hoping also to hit the Monday night spin class, but as I said, the heartrate thing, and so I did my speedwork, spent some time on a trainer and headed home. I'm working on bringing my speed, at least per the treadmill, up to a stead 9:13 or so. I'd so love to break the ten minute barrier. Not that it's a barrier for everyone. It's just a barrier for me. I'd like to break it.

I have to alter my trianing plan a bit for this week because I have yet another dental appointment on Thursday - something you don't already know about me if that I have dental enamel that's about the consistency of bread, and I've had nine root canals and nine of my teeth are capped and all the others have had multiple fillings in them, something that I got through the gene pool from my Dad along with my nearsightedness and alarming tolerance for alcohol (thanks, Dad) . But I'm rambling.

SOOOO, ANYhoo, here's my question.
According to the treadmill, et al., I burned about 450 calories.
According to my Timex IM heartrate monitor watch, I burned 888 calories.

I'd like to know who's right? Do any of you know? Are either of them right?

...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The men in black.

There are people following me.
They watch what I eat and drink and wear and take careful notes. They report back to headquarters, or the home office, or wherever, and records are kept.

I know this, because whenever I fall in love with a product, it is immediately disontinued. I'm serious. If you love something, don't you dare tell me about it, because if I love it too, the men in black will make it disappear.




Case and point:I discovered a Maybelling foundation last year that was the perfect color and type of coverage. I mean PERFECT. COLOR. Mock me if you will, but such a thing for those of us to whom it matters is a blessing. I managed to get through two bottles before the men in black noticed, and then when I went to Wal-Greens today to get my favorite makeup I saw, with sinking heart, that the rack was nearly empty and contained only shades that I will never be tan enough to wear. "Discontinued," the makeup counter lady said. Ugh.
This is what has set me off on my rant today.

I've also had similar problems with lipsstick and eye pencils that last too long - heaven forbid something last a long time because somebody finds out and POOF! It's off the market.
Case #2: Splendor Perfume.
This delightful perfume smells like hycinths and lilacs. In the 2 years that I enjoyed it, at least half dozen strangers asked me what I was wearing. That has never happened before or since with any other perfume. Most of them were men, and loved it so much they wanted to get it for their wives. I would advise them, Go to Dillards, to the Elizabeth Arden counter, and don't tell you wife you smelled it on another woman. There was lotions and cremes and powders in the same scent, and different sizes of the stuff. I fell in love. I bought the largest bottle they had, and then the Elizabeth Arden minions sprinted to have it discontinued. Now, like many discontinued items I love, it lives only on Ebay.

Case #3: Hanes Sport Bra
I purchased this very simple, comfortable sport bra at Target. It was reasonably priced. At some point after I decided I loved it so much that I'd like to wear it every day, and went to buy more. Before I could do that, however, the evil monkeys at Hanes hurridly snatched them off the market. I can't even find a picture of them any more. They're replaced them with some horrid cheap thing that's thin and uncomfortable.

Case #4: Morning spark.
This caffeinated sugar-free beverage is AWESOME. I love the cranberry and grapefruit flavors the most. I hate most carbonated beverages, and don't care much for coffee (I go through phases, and this is currently a non-coffee phase), so this instant stuff, which I found at WalMart, has been a blessing. I wrote the company and said as much, and was immediately informed that they were going to dicontinue those flavors. They'll still carry the ones I don't care much for. When I found out they were dicontinuing it, I bought about a case of it. I have some at work and some at home, but some day I'll run out.

Case #5: Honda's hatred of me.
I bought my first new car in 1998 when I was in grad school. At the time, I was driving a 1987 Hundai that had been rolled. The windows were held halfway up with wire so, you could never roll them up or down. There was no radio, just a jumble of wires sticking out of the dash.Anyhoo I bought a red Honda Civic hatchback. I really wanted a Del Sol, but the salesman pointed out that I had three children. What-EVER. So, I bought the hatchback with the idea in mind that some day, SOMEDAY, I would have my Del Sol.Well, of course, they stopped making it. THE FOLLOWING YEAR. Not only THAT, but the little hatchback that could was discontinued in 2006, the year that I decided to replace it. I bought a Honda Fit instead.
I adore my Honda Fit. It can carry me (5'6" and 155 pounds) Sweet Baboo (6'2" and 210 pounds,) Mini-baboo (5'10" and 190 pounds) and 2 tribikes INSIDE IT and gets 30 in town and about 35 on the highway.
I'm sure they'll stop making it soon.

Other things I love, that I'm sure they'll stop making soon:

Builder Bars
Carb-Boom Gel
Replenish sugar-free electrolyte drink.
Shhhhh! They're listening...
...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

on Planning.


So there's this girl, Krissy, who was talking about me on her blog not too long ago, and she said, "She trains, for cryin' out loud!" and, well, I thought that maybe it was time that I did. Train, that is.

Every week I put my plans on the side bar, but I rarely say much about my training. Mostly because I don't do it.
Oh, I can plan. Baby, can I ever PLAN! I can make FABULOUS plans! Wonderful, training plans! I can plan out the wazoo!
Follow through, however, it something else entirely.

I usually run once or twice during the week (lately, I've been good about getting in at least 2 runs during the week) and I almost never miss my long runs on Sundays, but the rest of the stuff, BAH.

I'm too tired (you have to imagine me saying this in an insufferably whiny voice) The kids were too hard on me today, a parent yelled at me, it's too nice out, it's too cold out, whine, weedle, whine...

But, no more. Krissy has called me out, so now I have to train. I also have my secret nemesis in my sights. She reads this, and doesn't know who she is...but some day, I will beat her...and it will be completely unmarked and unheralded and unmentioned since we're not even in the same division...but I'll know. Oh, yesssssss, I'll know.


Anyhoo, so I've decided I really, really really need to get serious about the whole, you know, training thing, especially before, um, triathlon season begins. So I sat down and took an honest appraisal of what days I'm usually the most tired, and what days I usually have errands, and the days I have to pick up Mini-baboo from track and field practice, and here's what I've worked out for the rest of February and March:
  • Mondays - spin class, upper body work (gym).

  • Tuesdays - Lower body weights (home) I sponsor my club at work and get home late on Tuesdays.

  • Wednesdays - I have afternoon obligations, but then I can hit the gym and run 3-4 miles easy and do spin class. Mini-baboo has to find his way home by himself on Wednesdays (it's 2 miles - no big deal. Sadly, Sweet Baboo and Mini-baboo have to fend for themselves dinner-wise on Wednesdays.)

  • Thursdays - 4 miles race pace/speedwork (home, on the treadmill) and upper body weights. Occasionally to be interrupted by a scrapbooking club meeting.

  • Fridays - Lower body work (home)

  • Saturdays - for now, it's too cold to do long rides, so this will be my day to clean, work on my--shudder--paper, (working title: Using exercise in Individual Therapy) and REST. Watch chick movies, whatever, while Sweet Baboo does his weekly 800 mile ride, or whatever insanity he has planned for the day.
So there it is. Let's see if I stick with it.
On a positive note, according to the way cool route tracker that's in Beginner Triathlete, I ran 12.16 miles today with no walk breaks and maintained a pretty consistent pace - the furthest I've ever done such a thing. I need to bring it--my pace--down a bit, though. However, I think I'm on track to do my first half-marathon in April without walk breaks, which is one of my goals.

Today's run on the Bosque trail was marked by me trying to lose as much of my equipment as I could. I dropped my gloves, my fluid bottle, etc., and didn't realize it until I was quite some distance away. Ya gotta love other fitness nuts, though. I hollared out to one guy as he sped by on his bike, "hey, if you see another glove, it's mine!" On his way back, about 45 minutes later, he yelled back, "it's at mile marker 4.75!" and it was. Thanks, cycle guy, whoever you are! I'd hate to lose these gloves. They are my favorite running gloves. I never did find my missing fluid bottle, though.
...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

In case you were wondering...

Hey, did you get to the half-price Valentine candy sale yet? There's still time!

Just for fun, I did some mathematizing today. Here's the number of miles you'll need to run for each serving of valentine chocolate consumed (based on an average of 110 calories burned/mile; it varies from person to person):
  • Hershey's kisses (per 5 pieces): 1 mi.
  • 1 pkg Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares: 6.9 mi
  • Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Hazelnut Ball, per 3 pieces: 1.8 mi.
  • 1 Dove Double Chocolate Truffle: 1.6 mi
  • Whitman's Sampler (per 3 pieces) 2.3 mi
  • Chocolate-covered cherry: 1 mile each.

Yeah, I know. I nag because I care. No need to thank me, or to send me hate mail, either.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, CD.

You know I had to recognize it...being a science teacher and all...

A couple of links

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” --Charles Darwin

...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday long run.

As I've mentioned, my new goal is to complete a half marathon without walk breaks, so I'm working my long runs up again. Today's run was about 11 miles or so, a little under 2-1/2 hours, running the whole way.

It was grey, cold, and drizzly (very MISTY) - my favorite kind of running weather. I finished it a bit slower than I'd like, but I ran the whole way, my quads screaming obscenities that only I could hear.

Whatever I had left in the way of strength, stamina, and energy after yesterday's embarassment is now gone. Whipped, I am. I haven't been this tired and out of it since the last time I took a whole load of cold medicine. Usually this level of relaxation comes as a high price. Today it was free. I'm headed up for a soak and a nap.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

John Stermer '07 Duathlon - race report

The ending of the story is this: I got second place, I was dead last, pedals are for going, and brakes are for stopping. Get that? Good.

Now having said that, I will tell you the beginning of the story. This could have been an altogether satisfying race. Pleasant weather (40's to start, upper 50's to finish) with no wind. But of course, we are fallable people, some of us more so than others.

Today's race report is brought to you by the letter N.

is for Nauseated, which is what you are if you run a 5K (admittedly, flat) trail after slamming a soy toffee-nut latte from Starbucks within a half hour of your race. Not that I acually threw up. I do a pretty good job of just heaving and feeling miserable until it passes...eventually...the end result was an altogether miserable run in which I could not catch my breath and my heart rate sored up into the upper 170's through most of the run.

Then finally, the bike. Ah, the bike! I knew it was 30K, slightly downhill all the way out, which meant that my poor heart might get a wee chance to slow down a bit before I had to work hard again on the slightly inclined return. But that's where things went terribly wrong. (Sudden, dramatic music)

is for Neurotic. Being neurotic means that you assume that all causes of your problems are internal, and your fault, and thus you avoid looking at potentially extrenal sources of your troubles. So it was with no small amount of my normal neuroticism that I noted that my progress on the bike was much, much slower than I would have liked, and that it must be my fault because I haven't really trained much on the bike since my last event. Therefore, I suck. I felt like I was working my BUTT off, but I watched the speed on my cyclometer inch downward ...14.2...13.6...11.7...

Everyone who had been behind me passed me. By the time the former last person in the race had passed me, I was exhausted and thoroughly humiliated, discouraged, and dismayed. I knew without turning that the follow truck for the last racer was right behind me, but I turned anyway, and sure enough, there he was. By the time I reached the turnaround at 15K my thoughts were pretty fixated on how much I sucked. I sucked mightily. I was the suckiest sucker that ever sucked.
I'm not cut out for this. Everybody probably already knows this. They're just too nice to say anything, but I bet there are lots of sidelong looks whenever I show up, looks that say, "who is she kidding?" Really, it's embarassing, how slow I am. I wonder if Sweet Baboo is embarassed at how slow I am. I should just stop now before people get tired of offering conciliatory "Woo-hoo's" and "You go, girl!"'s


Told you I was neurotic.

is for Not Nice. I passed two people walking their bikes after flatting out, and I was so discouraged by then that even though I made noises of sympathy, inside I was thinking, "well, there's two people who won't beat me today". Yeah, I know. Not Nice.

By the time I'd gone about 15 miles, I was exhausted, and tooling along at about 9 miles per hour, wondering why the hell this was so hard? Was I this out of shape? I just ran 4 miles the other day at a 10-minute pace and it seemed like it was getting easier! wHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

is for Noise. Like the kind of noise that tires can make - a noise that they shouldn't make, because it indicates some kind of friction. Problem is, that kind of noise occurs at a frequency that I can't hear, as part of my hearing impairment, so I didn't notice the noise until I finally bent around mile 15 to try to get a good look to see if maybe I had a flat, and was that why I was going so damned slow?

I finally came to a stop, got off the bike, and grabbed the tire between my thumb and forefinger. it was iron hard, no flat there - Sweet Baboo had just changed it the day before. Then I lifted the back of the seat to see how the wheel was spinning, something that, in retrospect, I might have done before the race, because when I grabbed it and spun it, hard, well, after I let go, it moved an inch or so before completly stopping.

Yes, you read that right.

I had essentially ridden about fifteen miles with my brakes on. WITH. MY. BRAKES. ON.

I swore in a most uncivilized and unladylike way - I won't even tell you what I said because my mother-in-law reads this blog and it would freak her out completely - and then flipped the lever all the way up, disengaging the rear brakes.

I should like to say that after that, indeed, I was much happier, because this all meant that I didn't suck as much as I thought I did, and it was so much easier to pedal now that I finished the race whistling a happy little tune as I rolled back to the finish line.

Yeah. I'd like to say that.

I was so pissed when I got back on my--admittedly, much easier to pedal bike--that I was too busy trying to find someone to blame for this and still swearing. I was exhausted, having blown out my legs completely while trying mightily to overcome the force of friction for fifteen miles, something I was just teaching my students about last week.

and of course, eventually, there was nobody to blame but me.

So I rolled into transition, the last person to do so, a little over 2 hours after I'd started, far slower than I did it last year.
is for None. As for riders in transition - there was none when I finished. However, there were none but the two of us in the 40-44 age group today, so in spite of my alarming lack of foresight, I got second place anyway. I have mixed feeling about this. I was dead last (not including the people who walked their bikes in). On the other hand, I worked my ass off. I would have gotten second place ANYWAY, because I would not have beaten the person in front of me, although I might have actually seen her in front of me at some point.

Anyway, now you know the rest of the story.

If my Dad was still alive, he would have used one of his favorite expressions, "That's the breaks, kid," and laughed like hell at his little joke.

...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Who is Donna Herp?


Tonight I'm straightening up my side of the room. Our bedroom usually looks like some weird 'before/after' illustration of a miracle cleaning instrument. With Sweet Baboo's side representing the "after," of course. My side of the room usually looks like my closet threw up.

This is just another of the many reasons why I'm so fortunate that Sweet Baboo puts up with me.

I usually know its time to clean up my space when, 1) I lose more than three items that I consider to be very important, and/or 2) the cats keep me awake all night making rustling noises as they walk around.

Anway, I found this piece of paper with the name Donna Herp on it and a phone number. I rarely write down phone numbers, but this one is clearly in my handwriting. I sure wish I knew who she was, and why I needed her number. Does she sell Avon? Do triathlon coaching? I just don't know. If you know her, or if you are her, please email me and let me know why I needed your number.

I'm hoping to find the as-yet unfound SportSpecs that I've been missing for nearly two weeks now. Sometimes I find lots of stuff that I've been missing, like forms and rebates that I should have sent in weeks ago; but then again, I often find stuff I forgot I had. It's like Christmas!

Somewhere in the pile of books I haven't read yet, magazines that I've spilled Crystal Light on, five or six different su-doku books, and clothing that made me look like crap on the particular morning that I tried it on, so I punished it by then draping it over an open drawer, I may find not only my missing sunglasses but my missing spare regular glasses, and perhaps even the mp3 player that Sweet Baboo gave me for christmas, which I haven't seen since my marathon 3 weeks ago. Ya gotta think positive.

I just wish I knew who Donna Herp was.

...

Football scenerio



This conversation took place this past Friday.

Student A: Mrs. P., who do you want to win this weekend?
Me: To be honest, I don't even know whose playing.
Student B: It's the colts and the bears.
Me: Oh. I don't know anything about either of those teams.
Student A: The bears are the best. Just say, 'the bears'.
Me: I'm not going to say that, because it isn't true.
Student B: Why do you hate football?
Me: I don't hate football; to hate it, I would have to care. I just don't care.
Student A: Is that why you didn't wear a football jersey today?
Student B: Yeah, how come you wore a triathlon team jersey?
Me: Because I only wear jerseys for teams I'm actually on.
Student B: So you must really hate football.
Me: No, I just don't care. I only watch sports when I know the people who are competing in them.
Student A: What kinds of sports are those? I mean, besides triathlon.
Me: I watch our school compete in sports, because I know some of the players, and I watch my son compete, and I watch some of my friends compete.
Student B: That sounds borrrrring.
Me: I think sitting in a chair instead of being outside is boring.
Student A: Is that why you hate it? Because you think its boring?
Me: I told you; I don't hate it. I just don't care.
Student A: But it's easy, though. It's a lot easier to watch football than go out and run around.
Me: You got that right.

...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A confession

I've had a lot of people email me privately about a certain subject and I feel it time to come clean about something.

I'm still, technically, an athena.

I know there was that one time when I got down to 149.5 early one morning after I had peed, pood, and exhaled all the breath out of my body, was slightly dehydrated, and wasn't hungry at dinner the night before, but since then SAD and off season lack of training laziness have hit pretty hard, along with my northern European ancestors genes which refuse to starve, refuse to starve.

The truth is that I've been firmly at 155 or so ever since about two days after that day, with little variation. However, I've continued to sign up in my age group for stuff because the unreasonably optimistic part of me that wears rose-colored glasses is firmly convinced that once I get into the heavy ironman ironman training beginning in late March/Early April (help me) I'll be dropping back down. Since I compete in the southwest challenge series for points, if I change from Athena to Age-grouper mid-season I'll lose the points I've accrued if, indeed, I accrue any.

So there (deep exhalation) I feel better now, getting that off my chest.

What a FABOOLUS day!

Okay so it's GORGEOUS out. It's sunny and it's about 65 degrees out and I've already gone for a moderate sort of run. In a SINGLET and SHORTS, which I don't think I've done since September. The birds are singing so loud it sounds like springtime. There's one outside the window that trills every once in a while like an old opera singer clearing her throat. I went running for about 50 minutes, and eventually found my way back early because I forgot sunblock.

No, I'm not on drugs. I'm in PHOENIX. And it feels like springtime in the 'Burque. Other than getting lost, it was the next best thing to getting spring early.

Yesterday at work no less than nearly every single one of my students noticed that I'd cut my hair, except for one who shrugged and said, "it doesn't look different to me." Another student, a 13-year-old girl, waved him away and whispered to me, "Gawd, he's such a GUY."

Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, still insists that my hair looks exactly and precisely the same as it did the moment before I went to the hair dresser and had about 5 inches cut off. This from a man who will frequently glance at something I'm wearing and say, "Mmm. I don't remember those socks. Are those new?" He says he still can't see that my hair is any different.

But I don't care. All that is very far aways because I'm in PHOENIX and it's GORGEOUS out. I'm here while Sweet Baboo and our friend Andy are out on their 190 mile brevet (bike tour). While they're gone, I'm hanging out in Andy's condo. I won't leave again, even for a run. I almost didn't find my way back. Along with peri-menopause complete loss of directionality.

So right now, I'm sitting hanging out in the doorway in the sunshine eating Paul Newman's Own Wild Blueberry Pecan Cluster cereal, which I've decided is the closest thing to proof of the existence of God on this earth that I've experienced lately, straight out of the box. Our host has two Italian greyhounds, nervous little dogs that make little clicky sounds on the tile when they scamper around, which is often. They aren't much for sitting still. Ahhh. I needed this weekend. Maybe when I get older I can winter in Phoenix and summer in Albuquerque.
Ahhh. Only 13 more years to go until retirement.

...