UPCOMING EVENTS for 2015: (Under consideration) BigHorn 50K, North Carolina/DC Marathon Doulbe, TURNING 50 (not in that exact order).

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

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure.
This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, triathlete, and *sigh* student.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just what I need.

It was a nice morning for a run, about 50 degrees, my favorite.

Quiet, and black as pitch.

I turned on the iPod to my favorite run mix, and started out, getting my heartrate up and myself warmed, hitting the go button on the Garmin as I headed out.

I'm not fast, but it doesn't matter.

There's no offspring out here asking me for money or a ride or just being ornery.

There's no papers out here to grade. Or to write.

There's no students asking "why do we have to learn this - my mom says it's stupid and I'll never need it. "

Yes.

This is what I've needed.

This.

...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Soma


So, well, here it is.

First of all, my heart just wasn't in it.

I've been feeling kind of burned out since Ironman Louisville. I know this because I've been looking for reasons not to do ones as they came up. I found them, most of the time. Even as I toed the start line, I just didn't feel like it.

I had a slow swim and went wayyyyy off of a course that was apparently as much as 300 meters long. That was somewhat discouraging. Also, during the swim, I got smacked, which happens, but when it happened I then choked on some water. Once I choke my asthma kicks in and starts producing lots of flem and I spend the rest of the swim trying to clear it out of my throat and windpipe, and my throat got sore, but that wasn't why I quit.

In t1, I used my inhaler. A lot. This may be why my heart rate wouldn't come back down later on. It was a long, slow bike. For some reason, even though there is a cutoff, they send off the women ages 30 and up last. Throughout the bike I felt my confidence and enjoyment lagging. My stomach felt bloated. I would wait until it felt less bloated and then drink some, but I know I wasn't drinking enough. I finished just in time, as usual. It was almost 1:00 when I reached mile 1 on the run.

At that time it was around 93 air temp, but 99 closer to the ground. My legs felt strong, but, every time I started running, I would heat up fast. There was no relief from it, and I knew that there was no shade to run in.
I started getting goosebumps, which means hyperthermia is on the way. I stopped at the first aid station and put ice in my bottles, and then ice in my bra, and when I stood up, got a sudden head rush that almost knocked me over. I was dehydrated.

I contemplated 12 more miles in the heat, even walking it seemed like a miserable prospect. Then, in a surprisingly unemotional moment, I said to myself, this isn't fun. I'm not enjoying this. This sucks.

I took a deep breath, walked over to a guy with a radio, and handed him my chip.

It was supposed to be a dramatic moment. But, he didn't know what to do with it. "I don't know what to do with this," he said, and handed it back. He asked if I wanted a ride back. Yes. I waited about 20 minutes for that, sitting in the shade, and considered briefly going back out onto the course.

No. I just didn't feel like it. I'd stopped having fun.

They asked if I needed medical attention. No, I said, but if I stay in this race, I will. Plus, I was hating every second of it. All my training for the heat was out the window since it was Autumn in New Mexico. I just wasn't used it.

Could I have finished safely? Probably - by walking 3 hours or more in the desert heat. Did I care enough to do it feeling miserable? No. I have a SOMA medal from last year. I don't have anything to prove. So, I headed back to the hotel for a shower.

So that's it. I got a ride back with fellow Outlaw Hartley, who pulled a muscle on the run. That sucks for him because it was his first half iron. I felt bad for Pirate, too, who had a mechanical failure and stood around forwever waiting for help. I'll let her tell you about that, in her time. Another fellow Outlaw, Seth, had a bad cramp and had to leave. But Sweet Baboo had a great race. I'll let him tell you about that.

So, I don't feel bad about it. It was a pragmatic decision. As many of you had pointed out, it wasn't fun anymore, so what's the point? I wasn't trying to win; I wanted to have fun, and I did, the night before at the dinner where I met Stronger, Momo, Commodore, and said howdy to several other bloggers: Duane (who finished the quarterman!) Bolder, 21st century Mom, and many more. I enjoyed that. I didn't get to meet Nytro, but am MUCHLY impressed by her 3rd place finish among the Athenas.

One thing I did learn, though. If I'm going to do more triathlons, I really, really need to work on my bike. The Royal Gel seat cover that Pirate found was great. This winter, I'll be doing lots of strengthening stuff that I think will help. Lunges, squats, and such.

...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

DNF

The temperature was 93 degrees and rising at 1 pm when I walked off the course at SOMA, one mile into the half marathon.

Even a stubborn Athena has her limits.

More later.

Friday, October 26, 2007

10 things to be happy about.

1. I figured out I can sit on the ice pack at an angle; I don't have to put it between my legs.

2. I love my hairstylist. For about 7 years now, I see Tammy every 6 weeks, and every 6 weeks I'm happy. She's also honest: She tells me if my idea for my hair is a bad one.

3. I have the day off today. Baboo and I are going to go see a movie.

4. I'd rather have an injury from hill running at 5100 feet than an injury from being too fat and out of shape to make it up the stairs. Plus, it's an injury found in distance runners and not some kind of ballerina injury.

5. Britney Spears' new album is, apparently, a hit. (I know we've all been worried about that.)

6. Best husband evar is pretty close to having a 1 in front of his weight for the first time since high school. I'm really happy for him. How does one celebrate losing a total of 60 pounds? Eating a lot of food? Women celebrate by buying clothes.
What do men do?

7. My teenager could be stealing money for drugs, instead of just wiping out my stash of toaster streudel. And clif bars.

8. Sure, I'm stressed at work, but at least I have a job.

9. My new admin is kind of strange in a mostly good way. She's real big on the "high five" thing, and super enthusiastic. She's also a runner, which makes me feel less like a freak.

10. I've found almost everything I've lost this month. i've got 3 of my 4 pairs of glasses, i know where my Garmin is (and it's not under the wheel of my car) and I'm just about packed for Soma.

...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the Jimmy speaketh

The moral of the story:

You don't need to have "equipment" to not enjoy ice between your legs.



Now here's the rest of the story.

So, I'm at Wednesday night bricks with The Jimmy. He's having me do various movement, stretches and extensions so he can identify where the pain is coming from.

"Does this hurt?"

"No."

"How about this - feel anything?"

"Nope."

"What about now. Any pain?"

"No."

"How about now?"

"nunh-unh.

"And now?"

"Nope."

"Anything?"

"No."

"Now?"

"Nope."

"Anything? "

"Nope."

By now, I'm on my back on a PT table with one leg raised. Then the Jimmy pushed his elbow into a spot at the base of my buttock, where my left sit bone is.

"What about now?"

"OWIE OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW!!!!!!"

The Jimmy thinks it's the very top of my hamstring, strained when I took a wrong step and then twisted to compensate for it. I read some about it, which never helps. I think he's talking about this: Hamstrong Tendon or this: High hamstring tendinopathy.

I, of course, am running all the worst cast scenerios through my mind. Thanks to having an active weight-lifting, cross country teen, and a husband whose childhood nickname was "zipper" due to all the stiches he had growing up, and everyone who gets injured and blogs about it, and too many episodes of House, and the Internet, I have a an array of frightening possibilities in my head.
Hip stress fracture. Avulsion fracture. Ischial bursitis.

For now, I am ordered to ice the area. To reach it by ice, the pack basically goes between my legs. 4 minutes on. 4 minutes off.

That's a long 4 minutes, as you can surmise.

You don't need to have "equipment" to not enjoy ice between your legs.

And now you know the rest of the story.

...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Misc.

Dood. I'm tellin' ya.


Thirteen hours of work and straight back-to-back parent-teacher conferences? Cha, it's like the best diet EVAR.
I forgot to schedule in some breaks so in between conferences I microwaved some Thai peanut noodle stuff and then about an hour later I ate it. That was lunch, at about 7 pm, giving me about, oh, 800 calories to that point.

Today's weight: 157 pounds. That's, um, x stone and, uh, y kilograms. You do the math. And don't ask me why we have to learn this or when are we ever going to need it.

I think I've injured myself. I have a pain that's kind of deep inside, toward the middle, on the left side where my leg beds. It's so deep inside it feels like it's almost into my buttock. It's a pissed-off tendon kind of pain. It started a couple weeks ago, but was just an occasional twinge. Then it became more incessant, and this morning, during morning PT (that's a euphemism, by the way. You figure out for what)
Anway, it (the injured tendon said, at the critical moment, said, "Uh, HELLO? PISSED OFF TENDON HERE!" Completely ruining my concentration.
I've been looking online, and I'm worried that it's whatever tendon is at the end of something called the adductor muscle. or the Psaois. Or something like that. It's more toward the front.

I don't think it's enough to keep me out of Soma. I'll take Vitamin I for the run and pretend I don't know all the horror stories. Then after Soma, I'll rest it a bit. If I have to, I'll head to my family doctor and get an injection.

But it's all good. After all, I'm eating EasyMac and wearing a skort. I don't care what you say, life's just better in a skort with a belly full of simple carbs and powdered cheese.

I need to eat more.

Never thought I'd say that.
...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bitchy and moody.

The opening to Kashmir by Led Zepelin makes a really horrible ring tone. I know this now because I heard it several times yesterday. Sure, it seems like a cool idea, but reality is often a kick in the ass.

The More You Know.

Today was the first of several days almost designed to make me bitchy. First, after work I waited for a parent-teacher conference attendee who did not show up.

Then I went to NM Highlands U so that my prof could pointedly remind me, with barely concealed digust, that my title page was still not in proper APA format (because the title was not vertically centered, and because I had supressed the page number on the first page) and, just generally rip apart my paper.

I suppose it is possible that some future client will ask me, Before I decide to make you my therapist, I have to know: Are you well versed in APA format? Because I just can't do therapy with someone who has title pages that are in some other, lesser format.

Another benefit of the meeting is that it's always useful for me to get lots of negative messages so that I can remind myself of how much I suck.
Because, you know, there just aren't enough opportunities for one to be reminded.

Oh, and guess what. The paper is due MONDAY. It's due MONDAY.

It has to be FINISHED. COMPLETELY. ON MONDAY.
So much for Friday off.

I'm cranky.

Also, I'd forgotten to eat most of my 11-hour day. I wasn't hungry, of course, but I was bitchy and moody. And sarcastic. (Sorry, Sweet Baboo) Turns out I only had about 700 calories today. Not. Good.

Hmmm. bitchy, moody, with low blood sugar: Gosh, it's just like being a teenager again! without the boyfriend drama and the chain-smoking!

Oh, yesssssss. I was so cool. Me, my drama, and my scarred lungs. Were. Sooooo. Cooooool.

But anyway. Tomorrow I have 14 (yes, FOUR. TEEN.) conferences after school, in a marathon of another kind, from 2:30 to nearly 8:00 pm. I'm going to run first, and then pull a 13-hour day, and then go home and collapse.
6 days to Soma 70.3
Am I ready?

...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Accountability and dieting drivel.


Today's weight: 158 lbs. Here's data for the past two weeks or so. A few slip ups, but overall, I've done well. My new breakfast indulgance is a strawberry creme cheese toaster streudel, but only on exercise days, and I skip the icing.

Favorite Food of the week. Try this: 3/4 cup of Better'n Eggs, which are much cheaper than egg beaters, mixed with roasted pepper, garlic and onions and 1/4 cup of fat free shredded cheddar. After cooking, a dollup of Salso Roja roasted red salsa medium (or green chili sauce) and a dollup of fat-free sour creme. Oh. My. God.

I've decided on The Runner's Diet, (you can read a little bit about it here or buy the book)which advocates a 25-25-50 split of calories, but I can't really hit on that until after Soma. It's fat-burning diet, which I kinda need. For my off season (November and December) I'll be run and swim focused, with weight training and spin classes replacing long rides, punctuated which occasional looks of hatred at my bike.
[I was traumatized by IM-LooAvul. 112 miles of sore ass will do that to ya.]

Hey. speaking of sore ass, why is it you can't type almost anything into Google image search without getting miles of porn?

Okay. Now that all the guys are gone, well Ladies, Pirate has purchased for me a gel seat and I'm going to be using Sportslick (stuff does NOT go away) for this Saturday. Cross your fingers for a pleasant ride. Believe me, I do not like talking about my ladyparts in public. I only do it in the hopes that 1) it will help someone like me, and/or 2) someone can help me. Okay. Enough about ladie issues today.

As for this winter, I do want to do spin classes though. We're a mile above sea level, which means that summer ends dramatically with all manner of wind and chill and, of course, (all together, now,) looks of hatred at my bike, because winter in the high desert means that not only does the bike hurt like hell, but it's cold out, too.

Now, gather 'round and prepare to join me in the insanity that Sweet Baboo has inspired. He gets to join the marathon maniacs because he did 3 marathons in 3 months. I, of course, am insanely jealous; I want to be a marathon maniac. He already gets to lord it over me that he has Ph.D. and I don't*, so I'll be doing one in January, February, and March (see my updated race plan for 2008 on the left) at my usual blazing "speed of smell" pace. This will result in no less than 5 marathons in 2008, including the one at the end of Ironman CDA.

Of course, this will give me an excuse to go crazy at RunningFunky, where I can get all sorts of crazy running apparel, including gators and a matching headscarf! Yay! And, shopping for trail shoes! Yay! Look for a new post soon: "Gear whore hits the trails!" Yay!

Completely, well, not completely unrelated, Pirate sent me this link to a place where you can get custom made swimsuits with all sorts of crazy patterns. (She was kind enough to point out to me at the gym that my swim suit was nearly clear in the back. I hadn't realized how bad it was.) But back to the Splish website. As for the silicone caps, though, I can't decide between the one that says "Eat my bubbles," or, "Swim Diva." For the suits, I think this one is my must have, although Pink Bling is a close second. I'd put the picture in here, but my computer is low on resources and wants me to reboot in order to do that.

6-1/2 days until Soma. Yikes.

*Not really. I just added that dramatic effect.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things I just happen to know today.


1. They opened up a limited number of parking spots visitor's lot at my school for teachers. First come, first served. This is HUGE because it means I can haul my crap a much shorter distance to the classroom I don't have. So I speed in every morning to get one of these highly coveted spots. It is, at the same time, pathetic, because it means that my major perks are now a parking spot and a padded chair.

2. I'm SOOOOO not ready for Soma next weekend. I haven't been able to stay on a bike more than 40 miles at a stretch without getting completely bored, and besides, my ladyparts hurt all over again. The only thing that helps me with that is estrogen creme. But estrogen is a performance reducer, and packs on fat. So my choices are between thickening and moistening up the skin in, um, the area of interest, which makes cycling more pleasant but adds extra bodyfat and slows me down, or skip the estrogen and have a very sore hoo-hoo. I haven't decided yet. I was hoping to beat last year's time, but hope is fading. I just want to beat the cutoff.

3. I've bought a motherboard for Sweet Baboo's computer. Now I've gone and done it.

4. Now that I'm in my 40's, I don't lose pounds per week. I lose ounces per month. Being in my 40's sucks.

5. My arm hurts. Yesterday it was my lats. Today it's my bicep. The upper body stuff is new to me; on Pirate's recommendation I'm working on the assisted pullup and assisted dip thingy, and various other exercises. I can only describe them as bicept cable thingies, tricep pull-down thingies, and various bendy things on a half ball thingy. As I said, I'm new to this.

So my upper body workout goes like this: I walk over to a machine, say, the assisted dip/pullup thingy, all butch in my tank top, bandana, and m-dot tat. I set it on nearly the most assistance one can possibly get (because I'm just a T-rex. You know the ones, they have a huge rear end and legs and tiny little noodle arms? Yep, that's me.)
So, after I struggle through half of them, stop for a little while, panting, and struggle through the other half until my vision is sparkly and I feel dizzy, I get down. I drink some water and do some assisted pushups, because damned if I can do the "real" ones.
Meanwhile the 70-year old woman who's been knitting takes the machine I've abandoned, resetting it with far less assistance/more weight.
Last night I tried to swim. Nungh-unh. I did about 10oo meters and quit, because my arms were just trashed.

6. I'm enjoying my hills runs. I've started running hills around where I live. I miss the flat, beautiful bosque, but I think the hills will be good for me. My legs hurt like hell for a couple hours afterward, but then that fades and I just walk stiffly for a couple days. The mornings are crisp (30's and 40's) and it's awesome.

7. My students asked me how old I was this week, so I told them. The look of horror on their face when I said, "forty-two and a half" was priceless. As though I told them I had leprosy. One of them finally said, "Gawd, you're older than my mother!"

8. Tomorrow I'm headed over to Pirate's house of illness to do some spinning and get some saddle time in and watch a movie. Sweet baboo is worried about the illness thing, but I work around teenage germ factories all day so I'm pretty sure my blood serum is about 99% antibodies. I'll be fine. And if not, I'll have a ready-made excuse for doing poorly at Soma.
...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Teaching and triathlon.

Okay, I don't mean to whine so much. I know that every job has its crazy time. I just use this place to vent. Accountants have tax season; food service workers have rushes during the day. Retail workers have Christmas. Engineers have...what? I don't know. Do they have a crazy time? Is it when the computer is down? The slide rule is stuck?
(I poke fun because there's a lot of engineers in triathlon.)

My teaching year is like a long, hard race triathlon.

I start the year with a combination of trepidation and excitement. This time it will be different. This time I'll do things right. I'll push through the pain. I'll plan the greatest lessons evar.

Report card time is like that long hilly part of the race (for me, it's the bike) when I ask, why on earth do I do this? I'm all alone, at the back of the pack. This is insane. I'm not cut out for this.
Parents and students complain. You must have lost my work, because I know I turned it in. Administrators ask you to explain your Ds and Fs.
Look at all those people ahead of me. It's easy for them. It's too hard for me.

There are the frustrating, hopeless moments. Parents accuse you of picking on their kid. They want to know why you don't stay after school every afternoon. Your admin calls sudden meetings, sucking up what little planning time you have. You have another thing you have to write to justify your position. You get a flat in the middle of the race, and you watch everyone speed by while you're unrolling the tube from your flat kit.

I. Hate. This.


So you talk to other triathletes, or teachers, and find out it's hard for them, too. Your kids might mouth off, but her kids pushed and threatened her. Even those who make it look easy have their difficulties. You pick up a few tips and tricks along the way. Use body glide.
Get the kids to do some of the work.


In between, there are those moments when you crest the hill and get a breathtaking view that you wouldn't have gotten any other way but in that particular race. That kid that comes back to see you that you'd just about given up on. A former student, now grown, that you run into somewhere who says, "Remember when you showed me those statistics about education and income? I never forgot that. I'm going to college this fall." Or, maybe it's that parent (or even student) who says, I appreciate you.

Sometimes you have make your own moments. For instance, when I have a really dark, angry, hopeless moment, I like to pick one or two kids, not straight A students, but earnest, hard-working kids who are nice and work really hard for their Bs and Cs and call tell their parents what great kids they've got. No, he's not in trouble. I just wanted you to know what a hard worker he is, and I sure wish I had a classroom full of kids like him. (If you're a teacher, try this some time. The astonishment and grattitude you get from parents will make you day, maybe even your month.)

Then comes May. The finish line is in sight. There! Whew. Just in Time. Hey, that went by fast...

Of course, summer, is my off season. I lay around and taunt my friends at work who aren't teachers. The difficulties of the race start to fade and soften. I attend a few workshops and think about how I'll do things differently next time.

Then in August, toe the line again. Yes, I hopefully tell myself. This time will be different. I'll push through the pain. I'll plan the greatest lessons evar...

...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sorry.


I've gotten really behind on my blog reading. That's me, at the right --> showing how sorry I am. How can you resist my sorry furry little face?

Anyway, sorry about that. I'm trying to get caught up and leave some comments and encouragement. Lots of people are doing lots of interesting things.

It's just that it's the end of the 9 weeks, which means that I'm trying desperately to get caught up on grading, while also working on revisions to my master's paper.

As an aside, I'd just like to say that, Boy, nothing quashes interest in a subject like a nice long paper on the subject. (there's just no pleasing some people; why can't they just recognize my brilliance and give me my damned master's degree? Jeesh.)


OH, and also working on the dreaded dossier. Because, as I've mentioned, I need to be able to show that, after eight years of teaching, that I can 1) read, 2) write, and 3) teach.

NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING.

Several teacher friends of mine were grand-fathered in just weeks, nay, days before the dossier became a requirement. My license renewal occured 2 months after the dossier became a requirement. Which means my friends got to go to level 3 without having to prove that they could 1) read 2) write, and 3) teach.

NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING.

Meanwhile, grades are posted tomorrow, report cards come out on Monday, and I have 18 parent-teacher conferences scheduled for the 17 students I advise each year (yes, you read that right - one of the students has parents who can't be in the same room with each other since the divorce, so parent teacher conferences have to be conducted seperately. Also, the inquiries have already started, e.g., "is there anything I/she/he can do to bring up my/her/his grade? This started YESTERDAY. It started YESTERDAY. Two days before grades were due.

Of course, it goes without saying that if they are asking the question chances are that they are not going to understand the explanation, that 99% of their grade is a 62, or whatever, so no, there's not much to be done

This is also the day that I have to call parents and give them the heads up that their son/daughter has a D or F coming on their report card. Joy. So far, the calls have gone well. Parents either have been 1) not at all surprised, or 2) not home when I called.

So, in closing, I hope to get caught up my blog reading soon.


Thanks for reading my whining about work. Again.

...

teenage grade girls at lunch. Haiku.

"When she heard it she
was all, 'Oh my gawd!' and I
was like, 'Oh my Gawd!'
...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

in which I am the Goddess of Geek. Almost.

I'm typing this post on Sweet Baboo's laptop. This is HUGE, because for about two months his keyboard hasn't worked. Baboo, normally fastidious in his habits and routines, for some reason got into the habit of placing his laptop on the floor.

Next to the bed.

Directly under and in front of his night table.


On which rests a cup that holds at least 20 ounces of ice water at night.

Aiyee. Do I need to tell you what happened next? I felt bad enough for him not to say anything. Myself, I keep my lap top on my dresser at night. I'm afraid I'll step on it when I get out of bed to attend to my middle-of-the night pee or dealing with a hot-flash.

Anyway. The laptop was off but open when the water hit the keyboard. As soon as I realized what happened, I yelled, Don't turn on the computer!! Unplug it and take the battery out!! Luckily, the computer was off. Whew! But just then, as Sweet Baboo lifted the computer to take the battery out, he hit the "on" button by mistake. That was the end of the keyboard. The computer would turn on, but the keyboard didn't work. I connected an old keyboard to the laptop, and it worked fine, so I knew it was just the keyboard. Well, hoped it was just the keyboard.

When we took the computer to CompUSA, they wanted $140 to replace the keyboard, and that was if nothing else was wrong. I was offended both as a geek and former poor by that price. I told Baboo that we'd get him a wireless keyboard for now, and I'd see if I could get one online and put it in myself. Then I found on on ebay for $20, and got it. Then I stalled for a while.

The thing is, I really hate working on computers. It's nerve wracking for someone who is not detail oriented to do something that requires careful attention to detail. Plus, I kinda sorta said that I could fix it the same I say things like, "Ironman? Why not?" The words just leap out of my mouth before my brain can say something like, SHUT UP! The last time I removed or added components to a computer it was a first generation Pentium. That would have been in, let's see, 1999 maybe? I have NEVER worked on a laptop before.

So, I put off Sweet Baboo for quite a while. Then I said I'd take it in. Then I stalled on that. For two months he carried around a laptop and a wireless keyboard. Poor Baboo. Bad wife. No biscuit.

Finally after coming back from officiating at the olympic triathlon championship in Dallas he told me that because he'd been carrying an extra keyboard they pulled him aside and made him undergo extra security checks. Plus, it was kind of sad seeing him there, with his laptop at the end of his knees, tapping away on his extra keyboard.
So today, finally, I decided to sit down and figure this out. I found a service manual online (I'm the Google Queen) and greedily saved it to my hard drive, and had that open whilst I removed the tiny little screws and--WTF, what is a ZIF CONNECTOR?

Soooooo, I looked that up. Oh, okay. But I had to fiddle for a while to figure out how to open and close one. My tecchie days are long behind me.
The first time I put in the keyboard, I had to remove the battery and then remove about nine tiny little screws with a little tiny screwdriver. Then I put in the keyboard, put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

They keyboard did not work.

$hit.

So, I removed the battery and then removed the nine tiny little screws with the tiny screwdriver and stared at the ZIF connectors. Ooohhhhh, I get it. It goes like this. I put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

The keyboard worked! For about five minutes. Then it stopped working. So, I removed the battery and then removed the nine tiny little screws with the tiny screwdriver and and retightened the ZIF connectors. I put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

Again, it start working. Then it stopped again. I hit some of the F buttons at random, and then it started working. Then it stopped again.

$hit.

I started this on Baboo's computer, but had to finish it on mine. I'm still trying to figure out what's up, and hoping it's not because when you by a used keyboard off ebay, this is what you get.

Still, I've earned the GeekGirl nickname for today.
...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busy day.

Busy day planned.

I'm taking Sweet baboo to the airport this morning so he can officiate at a triathlon in Dallas. Then, I'm taking mini-baboo over to the high school so he can go to his cross country meet. This means I'm home alone for nearly an entire day.

It's rare that I'm left with nothing but the ticking of the clock and the sound of the cats scratching in the cat box. At least, I hope it's the cat box.

But I have so much to do. I figure first, I'll take an 8-hour nap alternate between working on my paper (yes, The Paper continues to plague me and haunt my dreams in its unfinished state) while taking periodic breaks to Eat some macaroni and cheese work on cleaning my room. I vowed that I would clean this the last time Sweet Baboo was out of town, but then something terrible happened. I got lazy.

Around noon I'll wake up, maybe get dressed take a break from cleaning and the paper to head over to NMHU to see what my professor has to say about it. So far, all I've gotten is an ever-unhelpful, "your title page is not in APA format." Who gives a $hit about that? Formatting your TITLE PAGE should be the last worry or concern. I hoping that she has comments about the content when I pick it up.

Anyway, All this while an assorted of old movies and "House," season 3 uplifting music plays in the background. After I've gotten tired of watching TV for 6 hours finished the first two sections of my paper and cleaned my side of the room, I'll probably take another nap be on the trainer most of the afternoon, while waiting for Mini Baboo to call and say, "come pick me up."
If I get the first two sections done before 2, I'll watch some more TV start working on my dossier.

FYI, My "dossier" is this nightmarish thing that the state of New Mexico came up with a few years back so that anyone who has been teaching for at least 6 years and has a master's degree can prove that they can 1) read 2) write, and 3) teach. In other words, I will write a very long paper, complete with examples of student work, that I can do what I've been doing for about 8 years. I don't have to do it. Unless, that is, I want a raise. Meh.
Since it is such a big undertaking. I've taken a leave of absence from the counseling center where I work part time until after December to give me time to finish the dossier and the paper and defend my paper.

My incentive to getting all this done today is so that Sunday I can go to the Church of the Dusty Trail. In other words, after a solid breakfast at 3 am or so, I'll lay down for a couple hours and then around 6 am, head for a 15-mile run on the mean (graded, but unpaved) streets of Rio Rancho.

At some point, I'll turn east and watch the "Farewell Mass Ascension." This week has been the balloon fiesta, and Sunday is the last day. It's supposed to be clear, and in the upper 30's or low 40's. Bliss!

After all that I shall celebrate with a margarita, cookies, and a can of frosting by making myself a Recoverite smoothie. With ice creme. With sherbert.

...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Return of sexy toe socks.


So I work at a high school and one of the other teachers' daughters was running the Chicago marathon (the one they just had) and asked if there was anything she could do for her daughter because she heard it was "going to be warm."

Now, take a smug moment to notice that she did not ask this question of the myriad of coaches, athletic trainers, physical education majors and PE admin and teachers running amok...Oh no. For this kind of advice, you go to the resident endurance freak.

Oh, yeah. they may roll their eyes about that crazy weirdo and her ironman thing and what have you... until they need advice...

So I said, get your daughter a hand-held water bottle, some Nuun and some sexy toe socks, baby! She headed to REI and did just that and later said, "Hey did you know? That Nuun stuff is expensive!"

So today I asked her today how her daughter did...and was told her daughter took a hand-held bottle per my advice, and mixed her own Nuun on the run, didn't have any trouble with the heat. But most of all, "MOM! NO BLISTERS!"

Oh yeah, baby. Sexy toe socks strike again.

Every office environment, school, and neighborhood ought ot have its own resident endurance freak. No need to thank us. We're here to help.

Meanwhile, I've sort of kind of started my building up for my marathon in Mississippi. Of course, I'm still doing Soma at the end of this month, but then I'm "off season" and I'll switching to spin class (because I'm a cold weenie) while keeping up with the swimming, and being run-focused.

Update: I am now registered for the Black Warrior 50K trail run in Moulton, Alabama, my first ultra.

It's so weird that I like running as much as I do when I'm so damned slow at it. But, there it is. Yesterday, for instance, I found a great 4.25 mile loop near my house for my short runs. It starts off at a low downhill grade, ends with a low downhill grade, and in the middle, has several rollers. It was nearly the perfect run except that I forgot my inhaler, and the temperature has dropped sharply here which makes me weaze a bit. Yeah. Asthma slowed me down a bit.

Oh, and the glasses. it was pitch dark, and I'm near sighted. But I only tripped once.

I do the weirdest things to myself sometimes. Running in the dark cold morning with no asthma inhaler or glasses is just one of them. Another one was accidentally dropping my Garmin on the driveway before I left for work a couple weeks ago and then, not knowing it was there, running over it.

Yes, you read that right.

My Garmin has been replaced twice now. It is the world's most expensive wristwatch, ever. How can Sweet Baboo stand me, I wonder sometimes. And then I remember: there's not too many strict veggie over-edumacated Ironman chicks running around to replace me with. And, I'm low drama.

But I still feel bad about the Garmin.

Anyway. This weekend I have a 15-mile run, which I'll be doing around Rio Rancho, where I live. I'm sticking to the neighborhood from now on because of the abundance of hills and roads that are graded but not paved. I'll get lots of lovely hill work in so that I'll be ready to do my first ultra-marathon.

Meanwhile, I'm looking to buy my first pair of gators to train for my first trail run and, I suppose, I'll need some trail shoes. Any suggestions? As for gators, I've been looking here, where I can also get matching accessories, like a head scarf and such. I especially like the pattern called, "Aztec" and for some reason, the purple snakeskin.

Of course, they'll have to match sexy toe socks. Unless, of course, I can find some other toe socks at even sexier than the ones I have.
....but wait, now there's Feelmax, in stripes! ohhhh. My. Gawd.

...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Got time for my whining and rant?


So, it's official. I'm signed up for the inaugural Mississippi Blues Marathon, in Jackson. In my quest to do a marathon in every state, this will give me state #3, y'all.

In my traiing, I missed my long ride last weekend because it was cold AND windy. Cold and wind make GeekGirl a weenie. I'm not as ough and butch as Pirate is.

For instance, Pirate tortured me tonight in the upper body workout thing she does. She kind of dances through it making it look pretty effortless, and then when I step up the machines all mysteriously get much heavier and harder to move around. She has assured me that all that will change. I did pullups, tricep dips, bicep curls, tricep pull-downs, crunches, some side oblique crunch thing, and pushups.
(Sort of. I'm not strong enough to do the pushups without modification yet. Right now, I'm kind of kind of in pushup special ed.)
All this after swimming 2000 meters. She's a sadist. But, like a good friend says about climbing hills, I may not like lifting, but I'm pretty sure I'll like like it does.

And now, my weekly rant. The following is exerpts from an email that I received from a parent:
It has been brought to my attention that you are unable to hear out of one ear. (Sorry to hear about that). I would like you to know a little bit about my daughter. She is a shy child and doesn't ask a lot of questions. For her to get to the point of raising her hand is class and asking for help is a "huge" step for her, ...I'm sure it can be frustrating handling all the kids, let alone, have trouble hearing some of them. ...I would just ask that if you see her hand up or notice she has a question please answer her.... It has also been brought to my attention that you are allowing the children to listen to ipods during tests! I must say as a parent, I DO NOT agree with that...Mrs. P., I'm just wondering if the principal is aware that you are allowing the kids to do this.

(Signed) Mrs. Busybody.

Of course, I responded with my usual teacher-speak and assurances and explained things so that she thanked me for my response and went away.

But here's what I wished I could really say...My fantasy reply...

Dear Mrs. Busybody:
Thanks for your disengenuous 'sympathy'. I wear a digital hearing aid that cost more than my first car. Do you really think I would be partially deaf and teach in a public high school without one?
Gosh, does your request mean I have to give up my strict policy of ignoring all questions? Or could it mean that, perhaps, I was already trying to help some of the other 31 students in the room. Your daughter is a great kid. If you want, I'll move her closer to me. But honestly when helping students, I go to the first hands that go up. I'm sorry I can't do more. I would love to be able to intuit who needs me most, but I don't have that kind of power. Listen,
I'm sorry you got kicked out of teacher's college or had a mean teacher or WHATEVER it is that you feel gives you license to harass me... But don't insult me by suggesting that I'm ignoring your daughter on purpose.

As to the ipods, it is perhaps possible that in 8 years of teaching, 23 years of raising children, and a preparatory education including a master's degree in educational psychology, that I might ctually make decisions because I think they help kids. Not listening to the person next to you nervously digesting their lunch or breathing heavily or tapping their feet during a test is one of those things that might help. Hearing the music that you identify with when you're in an institution that does not have the time or space to truly honor your individual tastes might be one of those things, too.
Lady, I will do anything I can to bridge the space between the best needs of students, high-stakes testing, administration, and my professional ethics even if it includes--shudder--listening to an iPod during a test. I know it means the end of the world as we know it. I imagine that people said that about the evils of Rock-n-Roll 50 years ago.

Finally, as to your last comment, uh, is that some kind of threat? Do you even read the papers? I'm pretty sure that, if given a truth serum, the principle would say she's pretty damned thankful I don't steal from the school, molest students, or end up in the police blotter after a weekly barfight and DUI charge. She's thankful that I am serious about my job and that I sincerely believe in trying to keep students in school. I don't cause incidents. Hell, I don't even park in the visitor's lot, even on the really icky weather days.
But, let's pretend for a moment that she did care. Let's pretend there's no union and that I got FIRED for it. Lady, look around. I'm pretty sure that any of the local districts which post year round openings, and have to hire long-term subs to fill Algebra positions would be happy to employ someone whose only incident in 8 years was letting kids listen to iPods during a math test.

If I may say so, you need to get a life. Whatever it takes. If you've got time to compose angry letters to overworked public servants, then you've got time to volunteer, run a few miles, or get laid.

So, in closing,

Bite. Me.

================================

thanks for reading my rant, ya'll.

...

Friday, October 05, 2007

More prep for the off season goals.

So, they don't call me GeekGirl for nothin'. When I was working on my first master's degree, I loved my statistics class. I loved my research class. Wanted to marry my research class.
I especially love 'elegant' social science research studies, those very simple experiments that have powerful and compelling results.

E.g., this study, which was reported on CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/diet.fitness/09/21/kd.mindless.eating/index.html?iref=newssearch where they painted chips red and watched how it affected people with the munchies.

I totally dig this! I found that whenever I pull a handfull of stuff out and put it into a bowl, I'll eat it until it's gone...and then that's it. But if I eat out of a bag, I'll eat the bag until it's gone. I just become this mindless automaton, digging handfuls out of whatever and then munching it...digging and munching...digging and munching....

So I headed for WalMart tonight and got another refill of snacks for keeping at work, my last 2-month supply having run out. If I don't have something there, I will lose my willpower and head for the school cafeteria. And you know where that leads. Nachos, cheese pizza, little debbie nutty buddies (otherwise known as, "food of the gods")...

I also picked up some Southwestern egg beaters, on advice from J-Wim, and will be trying it tomorrow. I'd already tried the Vegetable (it has bells peppers and onions in it, yum) and been eating 2-serving little "omelets" which are actually more like flavored scrambled eggs in a cup that I zap, for about 100 calories.


2 minutes in the microwave, 2 minutes to cool down, and I've got breakfasty goodness I can nosh on while I put on my makeup. I finish off with a nutrigrain cereal bar and finish with either coffee or sugar free.

(And, nooooooo, I'm not interested in hearing your opinion on the evils of caffein, no matter how well intended. I love caffein. I may start a caffein cult. It would be called "M-M-M-M-M-MORNING~!" or something like that.)
But anyway.

So the thing is, the little 100-calorie packs? Work. They totally work, at least for me, anyway. Everyone's different.

Pirate has agreed to be my Accountability Czar and I'm probably going to be following the "Body for Life" thing for the winter (My goal: strength training, lower bodyfat ratio, so that even if I weigh the same, at least what I've got is working tissue instead of jiggly, floating in the bathtub tissue) Baboo used to have this job, but I think it's unduly burdensome for him to be in that role. It's a dual role thing...ethical conflict...those of you who are involved in behavioral health understand...

I use a program called LifeForm, which I love. It's cheap and easy, as all good software should be. It doesn't nag. It just lets you record things and best of ALL, it gives you a way to make all kinds of graphs.

What GeekGirl wouldn't love that?

So, here's today's graph:

...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Off season goals 2007-2008

In 2005 I decided to lose some weight because I was depressed and disgusted at how parts of me would flap and move when I ran down the stairs (Yeah. I know. Ew.)

I don't know what parts of me were doing running up the stairs because at the time I could barely walk up the stairs.

So now I'm ready for the next level, and I think it's for the right reasons. Well, first off, I'm just freaked out by the way my belly fat floats in the water. (You're welcome for that visual). I magically managed to put on nearly 15 pounds during Ironman training and oh, aren't you nice to say that it must be muscle? but unless I gained all that muscle in my ass and stomach and thighs, I don't think so.


Secondly, I think changing my bodyfat percentage and lightening up a bit would make an enormous difference in the comfort with which I experience running and cycling since, um, that's a lot of stuff to haul up and down hills, ya know?

I'm no longer vegan. I've made that statement before, I believe in honesty concerning such things, because I am personally annoyed by people who say they are vegan "except sometimes I eat fish"

or a vegetarian who "sometimes eats chicken"
After 7 years as a vegan, I got to looking at our diet and quite frankly, it was very high on refined carbs and very low on protein. Our diet was fine for day-to-day being a human being, but no so much for endurance athletics. So we tried Soy protein, which was making things, um, difficult in the GeekGirl/Baboo realm, as well. Finally, traveling was extremely difficult.

Even more pressing was the presense of Mini-baboo, who is 5'10", 180 lbs and still growing AND in cross country AND weight training.

It was clear that some allowances had to be made.
I pride myself on never stubbornly just staying with something that isn't working just for the principle of the thing, so, we brought eggs and whey protein back into our diet. I found "cage free" eggs which makes me feel better--HEY, DON'T MAKE FUN OF MY LOW THREASHOLD OF GUILT, MAN--and then I taught Mini-baboo how to make scrambled eggs in the microwave with soymilk.

I'm curious as to how the extra protein and, what is it, omega whatsits will affect his mental focus and cognition, if at all. I'll keep you posted.

As for me, I'm using egg whites. Today I started my day with a quick run (3.8 miles) followed by a 2-egg white omelet and cereal bar.

In all, I'm aiming for a diet that is 65 percent carbohydrate, 20 percent fat, and 15 percent protein, one of the recommended divisions for endurance athletes.
So here's today's graph. For a first day, it's not bad. I'm kinda close, I think...

It's my impuse control that's a killer. I've been stopping by and getting chips and candy and gatorade and everything, and I don't need them.

I need to drink more water is what I need to do. I've made this commitment before and always failed, usually getting 2-3 glasses a day.
However, this time I seem to be succeeding. Yesterday, for instance, I forgot my water bottle and could really feel the difference until someone took pity on me and gave me a bottle of water from the fridge in the office I share.

So anyway here it is. My trying to be a healthy eater instead of a vegan junk food junkie. I'm still not eating meat. Ew. But I'm coming back toward a middle path that I think is more doable.


If I replace some fat with muscle in the process, great. I'd rather have tissue that works for me instead of just, uh, floating in the water.

If not, well, there's always Photoshop.
Meanwhile, I'm going to be run-focused and do some strength training in the off season. I'm a noodle. I need some power.

Thanks for letting me think out loud.
...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's an "I hate my job" day.

So, I have inservice coming up next Tuesday. This time I get to choose three of the following:
  • How to do data analysis of SBA scores (I taught data analysis. For two years)

  • How to use Power Point (been using it since 1997, and taught it at the university level)

  • How to use Excel (Again, been using since 1997, taught to college freshmen)

  • How to use a document camera (I don't have one)

  • How to use a Smart Board (I don't have one)
Then I got an email saying that crisis intervention training was being offered that day to counselors and social workers and certain special education teachers. Now, there's something I could use! Mental health issues are rising among teenagers.

I wrote the principal and asked her if I could take this instead.

Her answer?

"No."
According to district, it's not training that teachers need. I must take the "approved" training for teachers.
Crisis intervention will be offered again, so I can take it then, I was told,

I've been given this same answer the last four times I asked to take this training. "No. Just wait. We have far more useful things for you to learn to do, like use programs you already know how to use, or how to use items that we can't afford to buy for you."

Your (and my) tax dollars at work: mandatory, useless training.
I know this is a common problem in a lot of workplaces, so I'm curious...

What's the dumbest mandatory training you've ever had to undertake for work?
...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cheater!

While on our way to LooUHville in August, Sweet Baboo studied hard the rules for his USAT officiating test. And some of the behaviors of other racers I thought were just annoying? They're deal-breakers, y'all!

After the Prairieman, I excitedly asked the Baboo if he got to hand out any penalties on the course and he calmly informed me that it's not about handing out pentalties, it's about making sure that everyone has a good and fair time.

Yeah. Whatever. So did you write any penalites?
Officiating cult mantra aside, I have started to notice the things that he talked about when I was asking him about rule, rules, rules.

Even more awkward, I've seen friends of mine break the rules. I recently saw friends of mine applying body glide to a family member when she came through an aid station, something that they did not offer to other racers on the course, and I've read race reports about people having family members hand them things on the course and seen people whose parents or friends walked parts of the course with them.

I figured they probably didn't know that they were doing something that, if an official saw them, would get them not penalized, but disqualified. The big D-Q. Why they might have done that? Well, the options are
1) They didn't read the rules (stupid), or
2) They read the rules, and decided they don't apply to them, (Jerks) or
3) They read the rules, and didn't understand them (understandable) or forgot them.

I like to go for option 3. You can't teach teenagers who's favorite classroom questions is, "Huh? How what again? What are we doing? I don't get it" without learning to be infinitely patient and assume the best, so here I am, and it's a teachable moment.

Here are some things that can get you penalized or disqualified, if someone sees you doing it. And, they don't have to give you a second chance. This isn't high school, folks. You were supposed to know the rules. All they have to do is see it, and write it down:
.
.
.

  • Riding alongside your very bestest friend or sweetie, chatting away. (Dangerous and annoying). Drafting
    D
  • Getting up on the pedals as that chick was passing you or right after she passed you, Mr. or Mrs. Thang, instead of dropping back out of the draft zone and waiting. Overtaken
    .
  • Spitting out the top of your goo pack, or dropping anything (even a water bottle or jacket) anywhere other than outside an aid station and not picking it up. Littering
    .
  • Having someone, like a friend or relative hand you things on the course. Outside help.
    .
  • Having someone, like a friend or relative, do something for you at an aid station or or hold your special supplies for you, when they don't do it for anyone else. And, yes, that includes salt pills, body glide, or tampons. Outside help.
    .
  • Swearing at another racer, a rude spectator, or an official. Unsportsmanlike behavior
    .
  • Having anyone who is not a registered racer walk or run with you anywhere on the course or run with you through the finish chute. Outside help/Pacing.
    .
    Often the finish chute thing is overlooked, but you know what? It really screws it up for the woman/man finishing right behind you.

    Don't believe me? Watch IronmanLive sometime! Awwww, wasn't that sweet the way that guy, his fiancee, or their kids to run with him or her through the chute? But wait, see that guy running behind them? S/he had to actually stop running and wait to cross the finish line because of you, you inconsiderate idiot. At the very least, you ruined his/her finish line shot!
    .
    Sorry, but there it is.
    .
    Tell your families to stay out of the finish chute!

    .
  • Wearing your ipod on the run. Wearing earphones.
    .
  • Calling your husband or sister from the bike course to bitch about how hard it is (Are you kidding me? No. People I know have actually done this. I don't know the name of the rule it breaks, but I think it's actually a rule against using cell phones on the course. Maybe there's just an overall stupidity or whining rule)
    .
  • Cranking the ac down to 50 degrees F the night before a race so that your spouse wakes up stiff and freezing (Okay, well, it's not a rule, but it oughtta be...)
So there it is. Commonly broken rules. If you're breaking them after this, then you'd decided to risk a penalty, and you've given up your right to be in a fair race, as far as I'm concerned, and you aren't a better athlete if you took unfair advantage or made it harder for others.
BTW, This picture (below) has absolutely nothing to do with triathlons, rules, or racing. It popped up in an image search of "regret", and I realized it was just too good not to share.

I include it without further comment. Enjoy.