NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

In which I honestly appraise my 2007 resolutions...

...and attempt to make new ones for 2008.

I don't hate the idea of resolutions any more. I think it's a fine idea to have goals.

here were my goals for 2007, and how I fared:


I resolved not to eat any chlorella this year.

Result: Check. You see, it's my firm belief that you should always include goals you'd do anyway. Makes you feel good about yourself. Things like, I will not eat a bug. I will not pet a rat. I will not eat chlorella. Stuff like that.

Also on the short list of virulently green things I did not consume this year: wheat grass juice. Along those same lines, I also resolved not to try to best Dean Karnazes' 50-in-50 feat (check) or run slower than I already do. (check) or eat disgusting water chestnuts (check).

I resolved not to punch out the next person that insists to me that whey is the superior protein and I'm really missing out. Okay, well, they were right, it turns out. I apologize to all the people to whom I've given dirty look over the years. Whey protein's really the shiz.

I resolved not to buy any more equipment for my tribike with the goal of saving weight until I've taken more weight off me. Okay, I *sorta* did this. I did not buy any more equipment for my bike.
I did, however, buy a new bike that weighs 19 pounds fully loaded. Does that count?
As for my weight, I am holding steady at somewhere between 158 and 162.

I resolved not to be so bossy in public. Check. Now I just give people "the look." Unfortunately, I have found that the same look that has frozen kids in their tracks for 8 years straight is completely useless in the real world outside the classroom.

I resolved not to go on, ad nauseum, about my sexy toe socks. Okay, I didn't keep this resolution. I just can't help it. In fact, it scored me a free pair, because I couldn't shut up about them to the Injinji people that were at the Las Vegas marathon expo, where I gushed nonstop about how wonderful I think their socks are and practically threw my panties at their tent. They invited me to select a pair, FREE, since I wrote about them on my blog. Or maybe to get rid of me, since I'm clearly disturbed. Whatever. Free sexy toe socks is free sexy toe socks.

I resolved not to criticize every west Texas town about how it smells. Check. I LOVE west texas. Every month except July. And, um, when the stockyards are thawing.

Now, some goals for 2008. Hmmm.

1. I want to do become a "marathon maniac" this year. I'm signed for five marathons in five different states, and if I do the Duke City marathon in late October and then do 3 more in 3 different states in 2009, I can join the 50 states club.
I don't know why that's important.
IT. JUST. IS.

2. I'd like to do a 50K run this year. I'm already signed up for one, a 50K trail run in northern Alabama. Now let's see if I finish it. Before dark.

3. I'd like to finish Ironman Couer D'Alene before midnight, and this time without crying.

4. I'd like to get down to around 150 pounds this year. (That's 68 kg to our international friends and 10.7 stone for our friends north of the border and across the pond.) My actual goal is to have a lower bodyfat ratio.

5. I resolve to get my professional counselor's license this summer.

6. I resolve to lower the amount of fat in my diet. On the short list of things that must be avoided: Cheap nachos. The siren song of their cheesy-saturated-transfat goodness calls to me each and every time I go to the gas station. And then Pirate says, horrified, You run on that stuff?


Gratuitious boobs shot and humor, for the guys-->


7. Once again (3rd year's the charm?), I'm shooting for a 30 minute (or less) 5K. This year, I was able to do a sub-10-minute pace for one mile on 3 different occasions. Now I'd like to do it three times in a row, in the same event.

8. I'd like to bring my run volume up to at least 20 miles a week, consistently, for 3 weeks each month.

9. I resolve to clean out the den/study.

10. I resolve to write more silly haikus. Like these:


All these New Years goals
take all the good parking spots
in front of the gym.



Maybe the gym will
thin out if I put free cake
in the locker room

11. I will not consume wheat grass juice and chlorella, no matter how good woo-woo people claim they are for me. >shudder<

12. I will, as my very learned father used to say, $hit or get off the pot. In other words, quit complaining about my job or get another job.

13. I will try to talk more like a grownup and less like a high school freshman. I will say intelligent things like, "that's quite commendable" instead of, "that's the shiz" and "I don't care for that," instead of "that sucks."

14. Oh, yeah...be a better person, make the world a better place, yada, yada, yada.
...

Things I do to stall for time.


I received a sign from my deity today.

You know how some people see Jesus or Mary in grilled-cheese sandwitches and other random patterns? This isn't like that. At all. This is real.

My deity formed from a waterbottle I poured out. The Nuun inexplicably formed a solid on the ground that remained for 2 days, and then miraculously disappeared and left this image on my driveway.

I enhanced the photo so that you can see his wonderousness clearly.

It is clearly a sign. With His noodly appendages, he is sending me a message, quite clearly: Get off your butt and run, girl.

It's finally above 40 degrees outside, perfect running weather. I've got my route all mapped out.

And yet I continue to seek out all things fleece (they have made wonderous advances in fleece now, haven't they? Like my huge pink fleece robe from Costco. It feels like rabbit fur.) and stare outside.

I've been surprisingly lazy this week, considering that my next marathon is less than a week away. That's right, the Mississippi Blues Marathon is the 5th, Saturday, and I've been laying around all week like a hybernating sloth.

(Hey, Do sloths hybernate? I mean, how would we know?)

I've been too lazy to go outside and run, and as a result, I have no energy to go outside and run. I would have more energy if I went outside and ran.
And there you have it, the big-butted lazy runner's paradox. Right up there with, "If I had my glasses on, I could see better and find my missing glasses."

Sigh. I've got all my stuff laid out. My new pink Nike hat with the built-in earphones is the same shade of pink as my sexy pink Injinji toe socks. Niiiiiiicccccce. If only I could find my Garmin. Where the hell is it?

Alright, alright. I'm going.

...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why I missed the morning workout: Excuse #293



I don't care who ya are, "10 degrees F" and "swimming" just do not belong in the same sentence. Or day. Or place.
It's just not natural.

Especially when it's my day off, and there are flannel sheets, and an espresso maker, and a nice smoochie Baboo to snuggle with.

It actually dropped another couple degrees after I did this screen capture.

Oh, and Kevin, in South Dakota is hereby uninvited to comment on how big a weenie I am.

...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A very special holiday piece of unsolicited advice.

dis·ap·point·ment - dɪsəˈpɔɪntmənt [dis-uh-point-muhnt] (noun)
1. the act or fact of disappointing: All of his efforts only led to the disappointment of his supporters.
2. the state or feeling of being disappointed: Her disappointment was very great when she didn't get the job.
3. a person or thing that disappoints: The play was a disappointment.

[Origin: 1605–15;
disappoint + -ment]
—Synonyms 1. failure, defeat, frustration.


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

You may have some relatives. I'm talking about the ones that snub you, year after year. Holiday after holiday.

Every year, you hope against hope that they'll be more welcoming, more interested, and are consistently disappointed. This is especially so if you are the hopeful type and, year after year, hope that they want to do family things with you. Instead, they demonstrate to you yet again that they don't.

✗ They don't invite you to birthday parties or to dinner.

✗ They may or may not return your calls or your emails.
✗ And they won't tell you why.
They're very attached to their grudges and their perceived wrongs. They do not want to let go of them. That way, they'll always be right and you'll always be wrong (See how it works?)

Now chew on this: The fact that you're hopeful, and want their acceptance, and that you are willing to let bygones be bygones, means that you're better than they are.

But now it's your turn to let it go.

Trust me, it's not you: It's them. You're pretty awesome! The fact that they don't want to be with you is their problem, and their loss, and let's face it, why do you want people in your life that don't treat you with respect and admiration?
Ask yourself, honestly, if you weren't related to them, would you worry as much as you do about what they think?

So how about this: For 2008, make it your goal to cultivate the closeness of friends who you respect you and care about you and want your companionship. Drink in the warmth, the welcoming, and the caring from people who already know how awesome you are.

To heck with the relatives.

...

I've got them Triathlete-In-The-Winter blues.


It's 30 degrees here (but "feels like" 25, according to NOAA).
I know from experience that, because of the nagging cough I can't quite seem to get rid of AND asthma that I can't run outside comfortably until it's about 40F.

Bah.

I really, really, really want to go try out my new Brooks Adrenalyn 4 road/trail shoes, my new running tops, the new band I got for my Garmin (the old one hurt like hell) but most of all, my new Nike Hatphones. They sit in a fleece hat.

Whine. Wheedle. Whimper.

I want to run. Outside. Without coughing up a lung.

Will it ever be warm again?

...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holiday!

~~.~~.~~.~~.~~
My holiday Haikus, just for you:

Holiday Haiku #1:
Non-fat soy nog and
espresso make a nice drink
sipping in flannel.


Holiday Haiku #2
I liked the presents
and christmas breakfast, but where's
the christmas 5K?

This Holiday will be much better than the one I had last year.


I hope it is for everyone else, as well!

HAVE A GOOD COUPLA DAYS, Y'ALL!!!
  • And, hey, don't take everything too seriously.

  • Be ready to laugh at yourself.

  • Take many deep breaths, and smile a lot.
Ignore taunts from your family to drag you into old habits, patterns, and drama.
(Okay, maybe that's just me.)




Happy Winter Solstice, and Merry Everything else!

From me.

...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The GeekGirl, Home Alone.

Thursday night Sweet Baboo and I sent Mini-Baboo, my last-born child, to Dallas, Texas to spend two weeks with his birth father.

After I talked myself down from the inevitable near-panic attack that threatened, I had a very tense day until said birth-father and my daughter called to tell me that he'd arrived safely. I imagined all sorts of things. Vagrants robbing him. Crashes. Him missing a connection and being stranded and frightened.

A little background on this, but just a little: his birth-father and I split when he was 9 months old. Since then he's visited with him 3 times, each visit initiated by me. Since entering his mid-he teens, he's been getting more and more curious about the guy, so we set up another visit. He'll split his time between him and his sister.

This means that for the first time since I was nineteen years old, which was twenty-three years some time ago, there are no children in my house.

Which means that when Sweet Baboo isn't here, I'm HOME ALONE.

So here's what I did when I was HOME ALONE yesterday: I set up a rarely-used desktop computer and moved it into our exercise room with a medium-sized flat-panel LCD monitor and a decent pair of speakers so that I can watch movies and exercise DVDs on it, as well as listen to music or audio books while I work out.

After I set up the computer, I started ripping nearly every single CD we have into the hard-drive and copying all my Mp3s to it. I have a considerable collection, and since the exercise "room" is actually the dining room right off the kitchen and living room, I can now listen to whatever music I want, whenever I want, while cooking, etc.

I set up the system while drinking pink sparkling wine and listening to a CD of "Romantic Sax" chrismas classics. The sparkling wine was my "trophy" for winning the championship in the athena division in the SWCS. Instead of tropies, we got customized magnums of sparkling New Mexico wine.
This was refreshing because Mini-baboo has been heavily indoctrinated by DARE,.all well and fine for him. The problem is that I get "the look" if I decide to have a glass of wine and it kind of kills the buzz.

Next, I removed the PASSWORD. That's right, the PASSWORD. Then I installed a compact wireless network adapter that plugs into the USB slot. When Mini comes back I may have to put the password back on, but for now, it is gloriously without password OR screen saver, since I just turn off the monitor when I'm not using it.


Next I'll be removing old programs that I won't be using, and have never used. Quicken, money, etc. Then I'll defrag the hard-drive. My next step is to install a TV card into one of the empty PCI slots.

Anyway, it worked splendidly. This morning I watched one of my favorite movies while I ran on the dreadmill - a movie called FREQUENCY, which has my favorite movie scene ever, and if you've seen the movie you'll recognize it: it's the moment when John's dad Frank, the fireman, changes his mind and exits the burning building safely, thereby changing the future.

Also, last night before I went to bed I set a box of Quaker "Breakfast cookies" on the table. Just set them there, out in the open, unprotected, all night. Then, I went to bed. When I got up, they were still there, all of them. Blissssssss.

So what does this mean to you. Hmmmm. Well, I think it means that just the two of us, while you're all stressed over your holiday meal and stuff, we're just hanging out and eating whatever we rustle up from from the local Coop.

Happy Winter Solstice, by the way, although I'm a day late!

...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santa came early, and he looks like an elephant.

I just have to share my excitement over my new Christmas present: A zojurushi Neuro Fuzzy 10-cup rice cooker.

It is the CADILLAC of rice cookers. It has 10 different settings for 10 different types of rice, all digital, and uses "fuzzy logic" to create just the right cooking environment. VERY high tech.
Plus, it's cute. It's a cute happy bug sitting on my counter top, and now I can make brown rice whenever I want, 10 cups at a time and then frozen to suit my convenience. There's few things that give me greater pleasure than properly cooked brown rice.


What's that you say? Making rice is as easy as boiling water? Problem is, I'm not much good at waiting for things to happen...like...cooking.
I get bored, and find something to do while things cook....then the smoke alarm goes off...

AND I can make my own sushi rolls again.
Vegetarian, of course. I don't put parasite infested raw anything in there. I'm happy enough to have my rolls with avocado, carrots, cucumbers, whatever strikes my fancy. Then dip it in lovely soy sauce and there you have it, lots of complex carbs and lovely sodium. Voila, the perfect pre-worktout meal.

Okay, I know you're probably not as excited about this as I am. But I'm excited, just the same.

...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Strength training observations

Ever do a new strength workout for the first time? You know the kind - you do it for the first time and are sharply reminded that you are NOT STRONG.

I did the Wednesday circuit class for the second time tonight. It left me all weak, sweaty, and trembling. Not the attractive, come-hither kind of weak, sweaty trembling. The smelly, dizzy kind of woman.


Anyhoo, I've discovered several things about my fitness, particularly when it comes to strength:

1) I'm hoping I looked just like this -->

2) My upper body strength is for $hit. I am the original 160-pound weakling. I started out doing things with 8 pound hand weights, and promptly switched to 5 pound weights after nearly hitting myself in the head with one. At one point, I switched to nothing. That's right, I was pumping some serious air, y'all.

3) I cannot do a pushup. Not that I didn't try: I assumed the plank position, and did one pushup.
Then I had to hit the mat with my knees to do two more. I had to stuck my big butt WAYYYYY up in the air in what I'm sure was a very attractive series of pushups, pausing between each one long enough to catch my breath, okay, pant deeply--OH and for future reference, do not ever look back to see what you look like in the mirrors that line the wall of the studio when you're in this position.
Just. Don't.

4) I respond very well to group pressure, even imagined group pressure. This particular teacher, when we didn't call out the number of whatever-we-were-doing-at-the-time reps loudly enough, would threaten to give us more to do, and we/I would hastily comply by yelling out as loudly as I/we could, even while the small, still, rational voice in my head was saying, "I'm a grownup. She can't make me do them."
No matter. I was taking no chances.

5) I probably look more like this -->

6) Oh, and here's a weird observation: whenever I see someone who's as heavy as I used to be in the locker room, changing off in the corner or the shower, hoping nobody will see her changing, I want to go and give her a big hug.
Is that weird? I want to tell her how great it is that she's here and that is she keeps at it, she'll feel better about herself. I want to, but I don't.
I'm afraid that I'll come off as condescending.

So I guess my goals are to do a real pushup and maybe use the medium weights in class. And maybe get up the courage to say something encouraging to those girls I see hiding in the corner in the locker room.
...

Haiku for Holiday Spirit at the Office



Stop forwarding crap!


Your feel-good, shmaltzy emails


won't change my life!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Haiku to Semester's End




Heads bent over tests

wired on Red Bull, boy it

smells nervous in here.



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Koo-koo for Special K.

It's real.

Oh. My. Gawd.


So of course, I bought a box. I like special K cereal anyway, so this is an added bonus. This morning, I was pouring it, and Baboo asked casually, "whatcha got there? So what flavor is that one?" and I responded, "chocolate."

That got his attention.

I like to think its slightly better for me than coco-puffs and chocolate rice crispy things. Nevertheless, I'm koo-koo for it. In a bowl, with vanilla soy milk, it feels, somehow, more grown-up.

mmmmmmmm.

It makes a couple specialists cranky, though. Like this guy, and this guy.

What do you think?
...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tagged!





Rules: I am to tell 5 unusual things about myself. To be honest,
I've been waiting for my turn at this, >sniff<>

Also, coming up with five things I haven't already revealed, in no particular order....lesseeee.......


1. I'm really annoyed by people who don't stay to the right. I don't mean just in road racing, I mean on sidewalks, hallways, whatever...were these people NOT in ever in elementary school? I've been known in the not so distant past to deliberately walk smack into people and then feign a look of astonishment, and say, "Oh! I didn't expect you to be there. You know, on the wrong side of the sidewalk and all."


2. I am an extremely messy person. It's beyond clutter. I hope that doesn't crush all the neatnicks out there who have been fantasizing about me.


3. You know those tec-dec things that kids are playing with? The miniature skateboards? I hate them. I hate them with the white hot, violent, passionate intensity of a thousand suns. When I hear the noise they make when kids play with them, I want to crush them under my heal. Seriously, when did manipulating a miniature skateboard with your fingers become a skill?


4. I am a serious fan of pop culture. Pop icon drama, psychopathology and just plain bad behavior is my absolute fav. Britney is my very favorite trainwreck. I can't wait to see what she does next. I check the news for her every day.


5. Sweet Baboo told me when we were courtin' that I have pretty feet. (he'd already gotten lucky, so there's no other reason for it other than it must be true)

And one more for luck...

6. As little as three years ago, I declared that I would *never* get a tattoo, because, well, that's just *tacky*.

I don't know how long this particular tag has gone on, so I'll take a shot and tag Skoshi, ShyTriGirl, CrazyJane, Jenny, and BikingBrady

...

Teacherisms

Understanding your child's teacher comments: a Guide for the layperson.


We don't call home or write things on report cards that get us pulled into the principal's office.

And YES, we do get pulled into the principal's office. I got pulled in there twice during my 8 years of teaching. Okay, three times.

1. Once, I left my classroom too messy after a class party on 'Pi' day. 'Pi' day for the uninformed, is held on March 14th (3.14, get it?) which also happens to be Einstein's birthday. The rules are: bring food that is round, and we measure the radius before eating it, and then calculate circumference and surface area from that.

2. I once called a parent for a month getting no response. Her son was failing and poorly behaved in my classroom, and likely involved with all the wrong sorts of people.

Finally in desperation, I left a message with her boss, please tell her to call me, and said, "I'm concerned about her son's grade and behavior."
Her response? She called the assistant superintendant, who I believe was a distant cousin of hers, and said that I had 'humiliated' her to her boss (she was a night clerk at a hotel).
I was asked to apologize, and I said bitterly, to my boss, "Can I say, 'I'm so sorry your kid is such a loser?'" Barely hiding a smile, my principal said, "NO."

I'm a good sport, and never one to stand on principal when I can make a problem go away. I apologized, appropriately and in person.

3. I mentioned off-handedly to a bunch of teenagers a You-tube video called, "Shoes" and how the song was stuck in my head. I was asked after that to confine my comments on videos to those with 'educational' content. I agreed that this was best.

So where was I? Oh, yes. Ya know, I could lose my summer priveleges for telling you this, but the truth is that over the years, most teachers learn to be diplomatic. It's hammered into our heads to always stress the positives. The strengths. But unfortunate this doesn't do you, the parent, justice when you really need to hear the hard truths. So I submit to you, the parent, translations and iterations and definitions of commonly-spoken comments from teachers.

So hear goes:

Gets along well with others/A little too social.
really means: I asked if I could use duct tape to get her to shut up, but my principal said No.

Not as motivated as I would like.
really means: I've almost got him trained to show up with a pencil. Next week, I'm hoping to start working on bringing paper or a book.

Much more capable that what his grades show.
really means: He's lazy.

She requires frequent redirection.
really means: I have to remind her constantly to get back to work/sit down/shut up/stop bugging people.

He has a very strong personality/is very independently-minded.
really means: The other kids think he's bossy and he backtalks me in class.

I think she gets too much help from others, and I'm concerned that this interferes with his/her ability to work independently.
really means: She cheats off the smart kids.

I think he tries to hard to please others, often at his expense.
really means: He's the smart kid the other kids cheat off.

(On a math paper) Your work doesn't make sense.
really means: You copied the answer form somewhere, and made up all the work in between.

Quite a sense of humor she has. She keeps the kids in stitches, although I've been trying to temper her sense of humor.
really means: I want to throw things at Miss Entertainment's head. Daily.

On occasion, your daughter/son wear clothes that are inappropriate.
really means: Your child is dressing like a gang member or a gang member's bitch.

I've spoken to your child's other teachers, and...
(Stop! This is ALWAYS BAD NEWS. Teachers usually don't make a point of standing around venting about the "good" kids. They vent about the badly-behaved ones, if for no other reason than to find out if they are ill-behaved in all their classes, and what things each other has tried that works.)

on a brighter note:

I wish I had a whole class full of kids like your kid.
really means: I really wish I had a whole classroom of kids just like your kid.

There. My holiday present to you, the parent.
No need to thank me. I'm here to help.

...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007, the year in review. And 2005. And 2006.

It's been nearly 3 years since I started in my attempt to overcome genetics AND nearly a lifetime of crappy habits.



Here's what's happened during that time:

  • My resting heart rate has dropped about 20 beats per minute.

  • I've lost about 40 pounds, and gone from a size 16/18 to a size 10/12.

  • I'm the 2007 Athena Champion in the Southwest Challenge Multipsport Series.
  • I can now climb the stairs at work with ease. And chase down 8th-graders.

  • There are far fewer days that I hate myself. In fact, I can't remember the last time I thought about it.

  • I'm not afraid of leaving the house any more. I don't feel panicky when I'm in traffic. I just sing along with Britney. I mean Bach.
  • My son, who used to whine to me about picking him up from the high school (2 miles from home) called recently to tell me not to bother giving him a ride to an appointment he had, as he had found out that it was only 8 miles away and he was going to ride his bike.
Things want/need to work on in 2008:
  • What my mother charmingly referred to as my "apron," that vestige of child bearing, i.e. my middle. (Ew).

  • Pack-rattedness.

  • Truck stop nachos (as in: avoiding). They are my Kryptonite.

  • FINISHING MY PAPER

  • Finishing my Level 3 licensure dossier.

  • Passing the National Counselor's Exam (more on this later)

  • Getting to sleep earlier.

  • Sticking to my training plans.
  • Lowering my bodyfat/ratio.

In other news, I went to a new class at my gym. It's a "circuit" class that combines spinning and weighlifting for an hour. Then I did an hour of spin. The results, 24 hour later:

OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW, OW.

My hammys hurt.

My quads hurt.

My arms hurt.

Am I gonna go back? You betcha!

...




Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rambling thoughts on a long, slow run.


Pirate did a 5K with her mom yesterday, her mother’s first one.
Pirate mom had apparently had, to put it mildly, a good time. I’ll let Pirate tell you about it. If she hasn’t, she should. Soon.

One of the things she told me about over the phone was her mother asking, after it was over, I feel so happy. Is this why you do this? How long does it last?

It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm thinking about this while running--okay, jogging--in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains just east of Albuquerque.

I looked at my Garmin. I felt pretty breathless, so just out of curiosity I paged through the screens. 6217 feet of elevation. Well, that would explain things. I hiked along, pondering the meaning of happiness.

My runs slow down the swirling thoughts in my head. Peace. Which, for me, is happiness. Most of the time, my thoughts are a tornado and I'm in the vortex with random thoughts swirling around me—thoughts, feelings, emotions, images of the past, ideas—they spin around me and sometimes I can grasp a few at a time but the another one blows in and I’m distracted.
Slap any label you want on it: Busy mom, Adult AD/HD, that crack on the head with a ball bat when I was 11.
It is what it is.

I stop to photograph a snow-covered cholla. After that I stop several times wondering if the pictures will mean the same in still life as they do right here, now.

Running slows down the cyclone of thoughts, images, flashes from the past, worries…they slow down so that I can reach out and select them, turning them over, considering them--and let them go again. Study them. Put them back. It slows things down. I hold onto ideas. Crystallize them into plans. Think things through.

I have never felt the "runner's high" but thoughts that flow languidly, instead of their usual frenetic pinging...this is the gift.

I thought about Pirate’s mother again. How long does the happiness last? and crossed my fingers for her. Maybe she’d found a whole new dimension to her life. Just one more person to find the happiness. I envy Pirate that experience. I wish I could have done that with my mom. I don’t know if it would have changed things; her particular heart disease probably started before I came along at age 28.
But maybe if I’d somehow been able to influence her, she might have tried harder to stay alive. Maybe she wouldn’t have turned down that clinical trial I was going to get her into.

Or maybe she would have. You can’t second guess yourself all the time, I guess. I release the sad thoughts about my mother. The wistfulness and longing spin away.

The path in the foothills is on an alluvial plane, naturally hard-packed dirt covered with crushed gravel. It’s a satisfying noise under my feet. From time to time I slow down as I become breathless. Sometimes I pull the balaclava over my mouth. Other times I pull it down. Sometimes I jog. Sometimes I walk “Briskly.” Many times, I stop and look around.

I look at my Garmin again. 6479 ft. A new plan forms. I will jog until it reads 6500 and then turn back.

People pass me, running, or on mountain bikes.

I bend down to tie my shoe and for some reason, decide to take a picture of a puff of snow on a tuft of grass, even though I know that what it is about the snow that made me take a picture of it probably won’t show in a photograph. I can see the individual snow flakes. I want to save it before it gets added to the mind/memory cyclone.


I step lightly to avoid a pile of dog mess in the trail, and another thought emerges from the whirl. Why would people deliberately leave that there? Dogs aren't horses, you know when they're "going." Of the 14 people with dogs I’ve seen, three of them are using a leash (as required by the park).

A thought occurs to me. People think they’re the exception, all the time. Their dogs are special. They are good drivers, other people are terrible. Their jokes are funny. The truth is, most people are neither terrible nor terribly special. They’re someone in the middle. The people who leave those messes probably think they aren’t doing anything bad. They aren’t gleefully laughing about it somewhere.
I forgive them.
I let my annoyance float away.

6482 ft.

I capture another thought. My daughter. She’s nineteen years old, 5’5”, and 230 pounds, sedentary, hates to exercise. She already has high blood sugar. I’ve already buried both my parents. Will I bury my daughter?
I consider this. I can be an example, gently suggest and give advice when asked, but I can’t live her life. That’s what it’s about, after all. They stressed me out and I couldn’t wait for them them to grow up. Then they do, and the worrying begins.

I turn the idea and the worry over in my mind, then let it go. It floats away

6505.

Damn. I missed it. I wanted to turn back at EXACTLY 6500.

Well, okay. I’ll just maybe go up to 6600. Then maybe I’ll stop.

Or, maybe I won’t.
...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

07, Polar Bear Triathlon.

Okay, well, intresting start to the 2008 triathlon season this morning: I finished this race in the same time as I finished it when I first did it back in 2005.

The good news is that the run was a mile longer that it was back then, I have a bad cold, and I ran a marathon 6 days ago. So my performance was better than what might have otherwise been expected. Also, I passed about ten people in the pool, in spite of the fact that I haven't been in the water for about a month. (It was 7K run, 30 k bike, and then a 400 meter swim.)

Results: I got 3rd place Athena. Baboo, running as an age grouper for for the first time in a Southwest Challenge Series event, also got 3rd. Mini-baboo got 2nd in his division. I STILL HATE WIND.

White Sands always has lots of wind at their triathlons. My average speed on the bike was a bit over 14 mph, and a 10:40 pace on the 4.2 mile run.

Afterwards, Sweet Baboo, Mini Baboo, and I went to the annual Soutwest Challenge Series Awards picnic, and picked up our champion awards. They were customized bottles of sparkling wine. This means, of course, that Mini Baboo can't "have" his award for a bit over 4 years.

We'll save it for him. (Pictures soon)

...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is it me? It's her, isn't it?


Okay, so the phone rings. My heart sinks as I realize it's my newly married 19-year-old daughter.

Let me explain why by telling you how this conversation goes.

Daughter: Hi, Mom! I'm at a chinese, or something, store, and I was wondering--what are those noodle bowl things called that you used to eat all the time?

Me: You know, sweetie, I 'used to' eat those because they are really high in calories and saturated fat.

Daughter: Oh, really? Wow. So, do you remember what they're called? HEY! Wasabi cachews! Mom, do you know anything about cachews?
Me: I know they're really high in fat. I'd stick to wasabi peas.

Daughter mumbles something.

Me: What?

Daughter: I was talking to some else. So, what are you doing?

Me: Cooking sweet potatoes. and talking to you.

Daughter: Cool. (Mumbles some more)

Me: What?

Daughter: Sorry, Mom, not you. Ow! Hey! these are really hot! Oh, my GAWD. These are so hot. (Laughter) You are so mean!

Me: Pardon?

Daughter: Not you, Mom.

Me: Perhaps this isn't a good time...

Daughter: (Mumbles to someone else again. Covers the phone with her hand)

Me: Hello? Hello?

Daughter: (Still muffled conversation)

Me: HELLO?

Daughter: Sorry. Sorry, Mom.

Me: Perhaps this isn't a good time for you to talk?

Daughter: I called you, remember? Of course I want to talk to you!

Me: Yes. I do remember.

Daughter: (Begins another conversation with someone else. This goes on for several minutes) Just a minute, Mom. (Talks to more, and then covers the mouthpiece with her hand.)

Me: HELLO!!!!

Daughter: (Still talking to someone else)

Me: SORRY, RENAE. GOTTA GO.

Daughter: (Still mumbling to someone else. Laughter)

Me: BYE!

>click< >ring, ring<

Daughter: Hey! Why'd you hang up on me?

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

Okay, so it's not me, right? Does this happen to you? This happens EVERY TIME my daughter calls me. I want to talk to her, but golly, this happens three or four times a week, and actually goes on for an hour, if I let it. I say, 'if I let it' beause I happen to have caller ID.

Am I making too big a deal out of this?

...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ending 2007 on a naturally high note.

I wanted to report an unexpected side effect of the heavier training I've been doing during the past two months. It's kind of taken me by surprise, and I wanted to share it with anyone who might have similiar experiences.

My mom died of obesity related to an eating disorder, and my father committed suicide. Depression and anxiety is pretty wrapped up in our family. I have had other suicides of people close to me, including an uncle. Nearly all of my relatives are obese, or alcoholic, or dead. So I had, genetically speaking, a good head start on anxiety and depression.

It's called "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" and it's a bit more than the usual "bad day" or, " I hate my hair" and "Gee - I don't like crowds" stuff. It morphed into an agorophobic life where I hated leaving the house and hated myself whenever I looked into the mirror. I was more or less diagnosed in my mid thirties.

I would avoid errands that were pretty close to the house, even. I had the panicky feeling that I would get stuck and unable to get home.

Just think of bad PMS, but all the time. All the time hating yourself. Thinking I was worthless, in Pirate's words, constantly "crapping" on myself, putting myself down, the creeping feeling of dread that something terrible is about to happen, and somehow, it's my fault. An edgy feeling that a bad day is coming on, every day.

I also have adult ADHD, which is manageable, but, well, you stick anxiety disorder on top of that, well...and...well, you get a scattered, anxious woman who feels super bad about the fact that she's lost her keys. I covered it with humor, but it would get to me.

I'm trained in counseling, so I would feel bad about the fact that I couldn't "talk my way out of it". I'm also married to a psychologist. We have a lot of tricks up our sleeves. So, finally, I went on medication, about 6 years ago.

The pills make a huge difference. However, they have some side effects. One of these is a horrid queasiness if I don't take them exactly x minutes and y seconds after my morning meal. I couldn't take them later in the day, becasue I couldn't stay asleep.

So, anyway.

So I decided after my apalling bike splits at IM Loo and Soma that I would return to spin. For me, spin is a hard workout, much harder than I'll do on a bike. I'll work it in a spin class until a small puddle of sweat has formed (ew) on the floor under me. I also started running more, with longer runs. Most of them 6-8 miles (short runs) and longer runs on weekends.

The thing is, I've never really worked out consistently. I make GReAT training plans. Terrific training plans. I even signed up with the Jimmy but then I'd think about how I'd really rather be home. I hated going to the gym (the agoraphobia thing) and I joked about being lazy, but really, I hated leaving the house. I would have a really heavy week, followed by a week of doing almost nothing. But as I said, I really wanted to increase my leg strength so that cycling was more comfortable.

So, in November, I started forcing myself and for about 3 weeks I was working out heavy and steady,

I started a regimen of working out, HARD at least 4 days a week after work, then, another 2 or more hours spread out over the weekend. Mondays (and sometimes, Fridays) off.

By Thanksgiving, I noticed something. I was--how shall I put this?--calm. Not just calm, but thinking things seem funny. I looked forward to my time alone at the gym, and didn't avoid it. At work, even the most annoying kids stopped bugging me. Oh, they didn't change their behavior, mind you, but it all affected me differently.

I was calm and felt wonderful about myself and life even though I was running low on my meds and needed to see the doc before getting more. I was taking 3/4 my usual dose, but felt great. I discussed this with my doc. He enthusiastically (he's a runner, btw) worked up a schedule to start tapering me off the pills. That was two weeks ago. Now I'm down to less than half my usual dose, and I still feel great, other than the crappy cold I have comoing on.

By the end of December, I will have taken the last of my pills.

I don't know that this would work for everyone. I worked in cooperation with my primary care physician. I don't know why, exactly, but I suspect that I've finally reached a "therapeutic level" of exercise, or if it's the "me" time I'm taking 4 days a week, but holy cow, it's worked. I feel great. i like me.

Hell, I may even love me. It's like my Christmas present to myself.

So the other day, a guy I work with asked me if I ever felt a "runners high"

All the time, man. All the F$@KING time.

Look out, 2008!


...

Monday, December 03, 2007

What happens in Vegas...



...gets blogged about.
Lots of details are posted on Sweet Baboo's blog. He, by the way, made a smashing Elvis. And a fast, one, too. Compared to him, the other guys were clowns with wigs.

Wingman, meanwhile, was a small, Columbian, extremely hyper Elvis.

I started the Las Vegas marathon conservatively, er, run-wise, that is.

We were sent off just after 6 am with an Elvis impersonator singing "Viva Las Vegas" and "A little less conversation" and fireworks. And, hey, what other marathon has Robin Leach as a comentator?

(That was all after we--all 200 of the running Elvi--were led in a processional a block or two from the hotel through a parted crowd to our own special starting corral at the beginning of the marathon. Flashbulbs!! The crowd goes wild!! It was awesome.)

I got to start near the front of the mass of over 16,000 runners (!!!!) and I then scooted off to the side and got the hell out of everyone's way.

Good thing, too, because people were passing me for about 13 miles.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

At mile 1 or 2 was the Blue Man Group, playing, "It's Time to Start" I tried to take a pictures. You can just barely make them out in the center just above the pink-shirted guy in this picture.

Now, at mile 5, they had the now traditional Las Vegas marathon run-through wedding ceremony, where Sweet Baboo and I have decided we MUST, MUST, MUST renew our wedding vows some day.

Several marathoners were wearing running "wedding" regalia, and my favorite was a woman and her husband who had written, "25 years and still running" on the back of her little white running dress and his black tuxedo shirt."

Anyway, I stuck around and watched the running weddings, which included guests (!) and then took off.

After the full split off from the half marathon, I was feeling really good. Really, really good, so I decided to run 10 and walk 5 instead of my original plan of running 5 and walking 4.

Did I mention it was cold? It was! Gloriously cold. No wind, just enough cold (40s) to keep me from stripping off my clothes and wig. The wig was surprisingly comfortable. It was pretty close to wearing a running hat. However, the running tights I had ordered did not arrive, and so I wore regular tights. BIG mistake. They wore through quickly, given my lack of, em, inner thigh clearance, and then it was chaffe city, baby.

On the course there were several bands, several extremely enthusastic cheerleading squads, a Frank Sinatra impersonator, singing, and a Dean Martin impersonator.
Other details: porta potties galore. After the first 5 miles or so, they were several per mile. Aid stations every mile. And entire run course free from cars, and the most enthusastic police I've ever seen. Seriously, I've never seen police cheer like these guys did. They kept us safe, and encouraged us on.

I also did this sans ipod. And, it was no big deal, really. I always wondered, what would I listen to for 6 hours? The time goes by faster than you'd imagine.

By mile 12 the crowd wasn't passing me with such vigor and speed any more. I'd settled into a group of "regulars" that I stayed with for about 8 or so miles.
By mile 13, I'd decided that I was not going to take 5 minute walk breaks any more. I felt good, and wanted to bring my average (13.5 minutes per mile) down.

<-- LONG UPHILL - about 6-7 miles long (see run profile, below) and about 2-3% grade. Luckily, I studied the run profile in advance so I knew what was going on.

My split for the 2nd half was about 12.5 minutes per mile. I ran hard, for me, and I've got the pained, hobbling gait to prove it.

Now, mile 20, if you've never done a stand-alone marathon, is interesting.

After mile 20, people are walking.

(Shhhh. We triathletes know how to pace, so we negative split it and start passing people. I was running about an 11 minute mile in the past few miles. )

The last band on the course was this super cool drumming thing. I know there is a proper name for it. I think it's Japanese. It was awesome.

I rounded the corner and finished in 5:44. Not my goal of 5:30, but considering that my first marathon a year ago was 5:59 and my Ironman Louisville marathon was 6:20, it was not bad. I ran hard, for me, and my legs feel it. Oooo. They feel it.
I got a rose and a finisher's medal (pictures on Baboo's web site)

Anyway be sure to check out Sweet Baboo's blog for details I may have forgotten!
PS DO THIS, DO THIS. It's a blast!
...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday in Las Vegas

So, there I was: 9:45 am on a Saturday, and I'm standing in the middle of the street...

...dancing the Majarena...

...in a Santa Suit...

..among people who are similarly dressed...

...many of whom are drinking beer or bloody marys...

...and then we are led to the start line by Sigfield and Roy riding in a Smart Car....

...Only Vegas, baby!

Wait, let me back up. So, we arrived yesterday and immediately headed for Santa Suit and packet pickup for the Las Vegas Marathon. They had a pretty good expo going on, so we mosied about. I picked up a great running jacket (brooks) and then, I saw a woman, talking on her phone, holding a clear shopping bag, with a brand new pair of Injinji socks in it.

oh,

be still my HEART,

I started leaning over and pointing to her bag frantically and making what I hoped was a "where is that?" sign - I don't know ASL, so I'm just guessing - where upon Miss THANG pointedly looked ignored and turned away from me and HEY, just as an ASIDE here, if you're ever out in public talking on your cell phone, I will not give you the privacy you crave. Because, after all, you are OUT. In. PUBLIC. TALKING on your cell phone

I eventually found my way, however, and there it was--the Injinji booth. (If I'd KNOWN there would be an alter to sexy toe goodness I would have brought some sort of OFFERING.) I confess; I GUSHED to the people in the booth about how much I loved my sexy toe socks and how I told everyone about their sexy toe goodness, that the woman actually GAVE me a pair of Injinji socks.

Ohhhhhhhhh....

So anyway, all the free stuff from the expo and the packet is shown here.

We're staying at Johnny -Tri's condo and we're honored to have a very special roommate - there he stands, in the corner, staring straight at the bed, admit it,
haven't you always wanted to DO IT with John Paul staring at you?

(I'll leave it to you to contact JT and ask him about the story behind this special little bit of His Holiness kitzch.)

Today, of course, was the Great Santa Run. At last count, there was 7800 signed up to run and our closest competitors are Glasgow and some other city in Great Britain, but I'd like to step forward and say with pride that HEY, we may be far from the top in math and science in the world but when it comes to sheer SILLINESS, well,
WE'RE NUMBER ONE!
WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

There were skinny santas. Large santas. Old, young, and even doggie santas. He and she santas.

I ran about a 10:40 pace, slower than I would have liked, but I didn't want to all out sprint with the marathon coming up tomorrow.

Tonight: the special Running Elvi pre-race all-you-can-eat pasta dinner.










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