Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Moving, Cats, and Finally Being Healed.


Okay, so we moved into the new house last week. Here are some pictures, from the web site. I haven't taken my own pictures yet. The furniture in the pictures isn't ours, and the Darth Vader fridge has been replaced with a white one.
The guy that sold us the house left us a bottle of champagne and a note that said, "Welcome home, we hope you'll be as happy here as we have been." They also left us a map of the back yard, and where all the stuff is planted. How nice is that?

So. We're living here temporarily while Mini Baboo is in Texas. When he returns, we have to return to the other house and stay there until he 1) graduates, or 2) I find someone in his school district who doesn't mind having a surly teenager staying with them. Uh-huh. Good luck with all that.

In any case, we moved starting last Saturday, and the second trip included me, my Honda Fit, assorted small boxes and bags and such, and THREE COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT CATS. Oh, yes.

Have you had the joy of traveling with three cats in a tiny little car? Then, my friend, you haven't lived. We had one cat carrier, and Hissy went in there. The smallest cat, Whitney, hid in the litter box in the back and mewed quietly, continuously, and desperately. And then Lily. Lily the Hysteric, the largest and heaviest cat screamed at the top of her lungs: a loud, desperately hysterical scream that was like a car alarm going off while she climbed on my head and tried to figure out WHY she was stuck inside this tiny, moving box with me.

When we got to the house I let them out into the master bedroom and closed the door for a while so that they could calm down. They ran under the bed and didn't come out for nearly 12 hours. Yikes.

Our new house abuts open space and the Cibola forest and every once in a while, the cats suddenly all look up and out toward the back yard, ears perked, listening intently, and then I think to myself, what's out there? never mind. maybe I don't want to know what's out there.
<-- Now, this is an aerial view of the house. This map is maybe 3/4 mile long. See the red A? That's our house. See the area to the right? That's open space, for about 1/4 mile, and then there's the Cibola National Forest boundary. See all those paths? Those are running and mountain biking paths, which is how we found the house: they put a "For Sale" sign out facing the path.

It's at about 6000 feet above sea level, and climbs up within a mile of the house to about 7000 feet, unless you count Sandia Peak, which is a couple miles off, and goes up to 10,000 feet. I'm not converting any of that to meters today. I'm feeling lazy.
We've been living here all week with the cats. I bought a bag of cereal. Frosted Mini Wheats. This is a tremendous thing - I rarely buy cold cereal because Mini-Baboo will pour it all at once into a large mixing bowl and eat it in front of the TV and then it's gone, so what's the point? But I bought some, and it was with no small amount of glee that I got home and--it was still there.

Wow. And the peace, my God, the peace. I won't go on and on. But my God. The. Peace.
I did an 8-mile pavement run, the longest run on pavement that I've done since August when I was injured. There is a wide, paved running path about 1/4 from the new house that goes upgrade for several miles, and I ran it for 4 and then turned around and ran back. I felt fine, no pain, no worries. Finally! We have a 4-day weekend coming up, and I'm planning a long combination trail/pavement run as I ramp up for the Ghost Town in - ulp - three weeks! The only question left is, did I heal in time? Will I be able to do this 38.5-mile run??
Famouser: I will say Happy New Year on Bigun and Tacboy's Podcast. I'll post a link when I get one. I have no Internet at the new house so I'm out of a lot of loops.

My Christmas Wish List, Mostly for Myself.



  • I with people would stop looking at my tattoo and asking me if I'm a Broncos fan.
  • I wish companies that sold women's athletic wear would use women models with some muscle tone. Seriously. I think I could take most of them, and I'm not that strong.
  • I wish I liked my belly.
  • I wish my left big toenail would grow back. I want to go get a pedicure, but I'm too self-conscious right now.
  • I wish I didn't like mayonaise so much. Or fried food.
  • I wish they let us on Facebook at work. "Misty is missing the daily deluge of people talking about themselves in the third person."
  • I wish Rio Rancho Public Schools would get a clue about how badly they treat their teaching staff.
  • I wish my two older children could put the drama in their personal lives to rest.
  • I wish everyone could put their drama to rest. Seriously. Life is short, I've learned this since losing both of my parents. The stuff you think matters really doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things.
  • I wish all athletic events had plenty of nice, cold water and well-marked courses.
  • I wish my mother-in-law a pleasant and relaxing retirement. She's earned it.
  • I wish everyone could spend the holidays around people they love and respect who respect and love them back. Friends and clients have shared with me how they dread the holidays. They're your holidays. Don't feel obligated to suffer just because it's "tradition."
  • I wish my sister would go back to the gym, and dedicate some time to taking care of herself, now that her daughter is about to graduate and go off to college.
  • I wish people would stop being so paranoid about President Obama. He's not coming to take away your gun.

  • I wish for my youngest son, who is in the Delayed Enlistment Program for the Navy and about to graduate from high school a wonderful life and all the opportunities afforded to a young man.

    I wish everyone would have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, and Wonderful New Year full of swimming, running, and biking, walking, snoe-shoeing, and skiing.
  • A Holiday Haiku:

Too cold for running

Guess I'll sit inside and eat

Yeah. That will fix me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gear Review: the Merrill Cruise Control (Mens)


Note: I had the name wrong. I've changed it.

The challenge: a heavy female runner (my weight fluctuates between 160 and 170 over the course of a year) with nearly completely flat feet. I some cushioning, for the 480 to 510 pounds that lands on each foot when I run. I've done all my training on my flat feet, so too much arch support actually causes me pain as it shifts my weight onto the outside edges of my feet. For a woman, I have stubby, wide feet and so I need a wide toe box, and I need soles with traction and breathable uppers.

At first I thought these trail running shoes by Merrill were the Merrill Vibram because of the VIBRAM tag that was under and on the sides. Then I found out that there is something called a "Vibram sole," that is made to be rugged but flexible.
In any case I found these shoes purely by accident while waiting for Sweet Baboo to decide on his shoes at Dillards, of all places. We were at Dillards on a surprise shopping spree that Baboo took me on: we now pratically a whole new kitchen that has NEVER been touched by teenage hands. They sit in boxes awaiting their final destination, which we are closing on Friday.

I love to cook, as our bathroom scale will attest. I have a background in chemistry, and love to create vegetarian comfort foods. However, in the last few years I've kind of given up in despair because Mini Baboo rearranges my kitchen without warning, care, or any sort of logic whatsoever, and ignores things like, "Don't put these in the dishwasher," or, "don't use metal tools with this," or a final, desperate, "JUST DON'T USE THE STOVE. EVER. JUST USE THE MICROWAVE!" and then finally, "PLEASE clean out the microwave; it's disgusting."

<-- Here's a picture of my new kitchen. The decorative stuff is the old owner's. I'll put my own little touches here and there. But note all the white. I would never have that much white with Mini-Baboo in residence. I'd heard legends of white kitchens owned by people with children, but I can't be either authoritarian-directive or that OCD.

But, I digress.

Back to the shoe thing. So, Sweet Baboo never needs my help to dress; he has pretty good taste, and so I let my eyes wonder over the selection of >yawn< mens shoes, until they settled, quite by accident, on a shoe that someone had turned over and then walked away from:


Now, to give you some perspective on why this might interest me: I've tried two different trail running shoes. The first one was by Brooks, and it may or may not have been a coincidence that within a week or so of switching to them, I developed IT band issues that took two months to heal but never came back once I tossed those shoes. The second one was a New Balance model that I think I wrote about earlier, but even though they had terrific traction and were relatively comfortable (and isn't it every long distance runner's dream to be relatively comfortable?) the toe box was cramped. I need a nice wide toe box. I haven't had a full nail on my longest toe since March. In short, I need a large toe box for my big feet. So, up to now, I've just been running on an older pair of my usual road shoes, the NB768, which are comfy but don't offer much in the way of traction.

So, this shoe. Well, I mean, look at it. It's got this huge manly toe box.

Wow. There's another one of those phrases that I bet never was uttered before I said it.
Huge. Manly. Toe box.

Anyway, when I slipped on the man's size 8 (I wear a size 9 woman's running shoe) and cinched up the tie thing, and walked around on it. Then I bought it, and gave it the best test I could give it: a 2-1/2 hour trail run/hike in the Sandia foothills.

The run climbed from 6000 up to about 6600, I think. I have to check my Garmin. There were rocky parts of trail, soft sandy parts of the trail, parts covered with "decomposed granite" and some with snow where no one else had run recently. The wind was howling, and I finally asked that we turn back because my face was cold and I was getting chilled, but the shoes are awesome. The part around the ankles, which probably has an official name but I don't know it, was soft and didn't rub. My feet didn't hurt because the arch support is minimal, nor did they get cold. The cinch-type ties kept the shoe firmly anchored to the mid-part of my feet, leaving my toes free to spread out in their sexy Injinji sock goodness. I was wearing my purple wool-blend ones. But anyway. The plastic cover that allows you to cinch these (they come with regular ties of you don't like that) has a little protective cover that folds over it and hooks underneath, if you choose.

Now, the Cruise Control is probably for a neutral runner, which I am, and has minimal arch support. They also do not provide any ankle support whatsoever, which I don't want or need. But the traction was spot on. They even come with a loop for your favorite gaters. I think I found my perfect woman's ultra trail shoe: and it's a guy's shoe.




...

Monday, December 15, 2008

PSA: Where to Shop for Big, Fast Girls.

and even the ones that aren't so fast, but they're out there anyway, trying.

Oooohhh! What did you do? Did you just agonize for so long over what to buy her that you haven't bought her anything yet?

Never fear. There's always federal express, and gift certificates. But you need to move now.

These are my favorite active-wear vendors. They make clothes not just that are bigger, but are functional and comfotable, with an eye on things like support and chafing. And, they (usually) don't insult us by using size 2 models for their larger-sized items. If it makes you feel less anxious, you could buy a gift certificate for her to one of them.
  • Moving Comfort (they sell of their stuff online at Amazon)
  • Athleta - they use skinny models, but lots of their stuff comes in 1x and 2x, so they can be forgiven. They also put out a catalog.
  • Junonia - active clothing size 14 and up. They also put out a catalog.
  • H2O wear. Swimsuits for EVERYONE. They even sell neoprene tights and vests, which might be a viable wetsuit option. They sell chlorine-resistant swimwear in ALL kinds of sizes. Seriously. ALL KINDS.
  • Injinji - not just for big people, but for all people with big, sweaty feet. And now they're making sock in girly colors, too. They should pay me for all the times I've recommended them. With, uh, stripy rainbow socks. Yeah, that should do it.
  • Almost forgot: RaceReady. Pretty much anything for endurance runners is great for the larger runner, because it takes things into account that affect us at shorter distances ;-) I recommend their fitness ld shorts and knickers.

...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

In Which I Learn To Walk Fast.

"There are two rules in racewalking," Lenny told me. "First rule: one foot must always be on the ground. Second, when the foot strikes the pavement in front of you, the knee must be loacked."

Hmm.

Yesterday I met with a small group called "the New Mexico Racewalkers" in the parking lot between a library and a senior citizen's center. This location was important, because it is right on one of the main east-west bike/running paths running through Albuquerque.

See, Albuquerque, standing as it does between the mountains and the Rio Grande, has a series of engineered and cemented arroyos that divert water safely through the city toward the river. Along most of these are dedicated black-topped paths that, for the most part, don't interface with traffic. At most they might cross a boulevard from time to time. The result is that you can get pretty much anyway you need to safely throughout the city. You can see part of the trails system here: (WARNING, this is a huge file, use your right mouse button and download it instead of loading it into a browser window)

So Lenny, who is a retired picture-framer, asked me what my background was. Apparently, most of the people who show up get about a mile-into their first "racewalk" session and then have to quit because it wears them out. "What's your experience as a walker?" He asked.

I resisted the urge to say, "well, I've been doing it almost all my life," and instead mumbled, "I, uh, I've done a couple marathons," I told him.

"Really, which ones? Have you done anything this year?"

Deep breath. "In January I did the inaugural Mississippi blues marathon. February, my first 50K in Alabama. March, the Grasslands Trail Marathon in Texas. May, Ogen, Utah. June, I did the marathon at the end of Ironman Couer D'Arlene--" he interrupted me.

The Ironman? The one with the 2 mile swim?

"2.4 miles," I continued: September, I did the New Mexico marathon, and October, I did another 50K in Texas."

There was a long pause, and then Lenny said, "I think you'll be able to keep up with us today."

We only did a few miles, and my heartrate stayed pretty low, but it was interesting getting used to the stride. Mostly, I could see that it involves training some muscles to move in a way, and your leg turner has to be faster than your usual walking pace. My legs got a bit burn-y into the 1st mile, which is a new sensation I've had since I got back into training, but I think that will pass with time. I'm not sure what the cardiovascular benefits are to me, since I could carry on a conversation during most of the walk. Lenny seemed confident, upon hearing that my average marathon pace is about 13 minutes/mile, I could eventually walk that fast.

Now, I don't plan to switch to walking. But I do like to alternate, and this is also good cross-training for me. If I can speed up my walking (currently, my pace is around 15 or 16, depending on my focus) then I could speed up any event in which I alternate walking and running, no?

So, Lenny loaned me a couple of books and I promised to be back next week. I'll come back a couple more weeks, and get some pointers, and then strike out on my own.

...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So I started doing the 5 or 6 small meals a day thing, which helps me control my eating more. I'm less likely to eat impulsively if I have a small amount of food throughout the day, and my willpower is stronger. I know it's healthier, but I've never been able to pull it off because I'd be teaching classes all day, so it was HUGE breakfast, small fast midday meal, HUGE FATTENING and DESPERATELY LARGE AFTER WORK SNACK, and then supper. I could maintain this crappy eating style because I was on my feet all day. Now I'm on my butt all day.


So far, the scale hasn't budged. But I feel thinner. Maybe that's just hunger. Couple of things.

1) There are two required meetings that I go to each week and so far, everytime I've gone they've had some sort of food there. It's not, like, low-fat yogurt and granola. No, it's like muffins, or bagels and Shmear or birthday cake. Yikes. I've found that if I eat a quick snack before the meeting it's much easier to say, "No thanks," I'm tempted to say, if asked, for my birthday, I'd like a nice tofu salad and bowls so that everyone can share.

2) There are a distressing amount of people here with large bowls of candy on their desks. It's always a huge variety of candy, too, meaning that no matter how quickly I avert my eyes, they are bound to settle on something that I truly L-L-LOVE. Everytime I see one of these bowls, I want to throttle their owner.
DON'T YOU KNOW? Can't you tell? How poor my willpower is? PUT THIS AWAY!

Or, maybe I'll just put on my big girl panties and deal with it. It's temptation. When I'm not trying to cut 15 pounds for a 64K run I might try one now and then. Meanwhile, I have to learn that not everything that tastes good has to be eaten nowNOWNOW and, I can abstain.

3) The way the small meal thing works is that you don't skip the small meals. EVER. Yesterday I was to have lunch with a friend, and she was about an hour later than I expected. By the time she showed up, I was ready to gnaw on my arm. I felt sick and angry at the world and thinking to myself, Oh, so this is hunger. Hunger sucks.

4) I had SparkPeople to make a little quick strength routine for me, using my bodyweight. It includes exercises I have traditionally avoided, like lunges. So, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I shut the door for 15 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon, and do them in my 6 x 12 office. Everything thinks the decorative rug I put down is just pretty, but what it is is very cushiony for doing floor exercises. I've arranged furniture to do this. The routine is simple, 2 sets of 12-15 reps:

  • Pushups, Plank (60 seconds hold, not reps), back extension, crunches, and crunches with a twist (morning)
  • Forward lunges, squats, Calf raises, then stretching (afternoon)
Tuesdays and Thursdays, I run during lunch. M-W-F I'm going to try to speedwalk during lunch. Sweet Baboo insists that I should be running more, but I'm also running Friday evenings and Sundays, so I'm okay, I think. Occasionally, I'll probably miss a workout, and once the days get longer and start heating up I'll have to switch running to the morning before work, I guess. For now, this works.

BTW, Sweet Baboo did get the promotion. Shhhhhh. It hasn't been formally announced yet.

I bought this new oatmeal that we found at the local grocery story, it's Kroger brand Active Lifestyle Oatmeal. It had a lot of fiber and was on sale and had enticing pictures on the front. Go ahead and skip it; it's fairly bland. I'll finish what we bought, but I like Quaker's Simple Harvest oatmeal much better.

I'm learning a lot about psychotic disorders and symptoms, and pretty soon they'll begin training me on doing neuropsychological assessment, which sounds very cool. Meanwhile, I accidentally left my door open about a foot today and SMILE! guy stopped and talked to me for nearly 20 minutes. Of all the skills I've learned so far, extricating myself from conversations for which I do not have time are not one of them. Need to study this.

...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Willpower, Come Find Me!

The school year is about half over, and Mini-baboo has half of his senior year left. He is scheduled to ship out June 14th. He's leaving next week for 2 weeks with relatives in Dallas, and after that, there will be only 6 more months left. I took this quiz today on the "Empty Nest" syndrome at iVillage. Here are some excerpts from my results:

...Before you leave skid marks flying the coop, however, remember that you're still a mom, even if you officiate over an empty nest. It's important that your kid not feel rejected or abandoned while you cavort all over the world and savor all this new freedom (Italics mine)...So relish this fabulous new phase in your life, but don't forget to check in on your little chickadee -- even if you're calling from a cell phone as you sail down the Nile.

I don't know about you, but that seems like a mile rebuke, doesn't it? My kids all have cell phones now. I send them a text now and then, but if they need me, they can call me.

Anway.

I ran today during lunch and got in about 3 miles. For the first time since I went back to running almost 2 weeks ago I didn't have burning legs. Up to now, the first 2 miles they burned so much I almost couldn't walk. Today, there was some momentary discomfort but then after about a quarter mile, it was gone. I ran a few intervals on the magic .9 mile dirt track that Sweet Baboo and I discovered near work. In fact, it's a bit over 1/2 mile run from our offices, so that running out and back and doing 2 loops around gives us about 3 miles. I'm planning to do this for lunch 3 times a week.

I've gone back to tracking my food, and also to eating a package of oatmeal in the mornings for breakfast, which seems to make it easier for me to stick to my diet, for some reason. This morning it was someone's birthday and I allowed myself 1/2 piece of pumpkin bread. For two days in a row I've actually stuck to reasonable eating, and usually once I get this far I can get back on track. Believe it or not, to this point, I haven't been able to muster up enough willpower to get through one day of sensible eating, not since September.
So my routine now is, I have a sugar-free soy latte for breakfast, and then when I get to work I have one serving of instant oatmeal, and then around 10:30 or so I have a small BocaBurger, and the after my noon workout I have a small snack. Supper is light. I was inwardly blaming Sweet Baboo for my diet foibles, since he takes us to restaurants after our long workouts that have some of my favorite foods, but what can I say? I can get low-calorie meals there. I can't blame him for my lack of willpower!

When I'm at my fittest, I weigh about 15 pounds less than I do now, but I'm also doing a lot of hill climbing and I muscle up fast, so I can't really depend on my scale for the story of how I'm doing on my diet. Also, the scale makes me feel bad about myself because well, I don't know; 170 pounds just seems hideously heavy. So, since my scale is largely unreliable as a measure of fitness AND makes me feel bad about myself, I'll pay attention to how my clothes feel instead. I have certain clothes that fit well when I'm at my fittest, and I know what they are, and if they don't fit right they'll be no way around it because I sit a lot now, and you know how tight clothes feel when you try to sit in them for long periods of time.

This Saturday, I'm attending a meeting of the New Mexico Race-walking Association. I'm pretty excited about it. I have no illusions of being able to race-walk a half-mary in 1-1/2 hours, like the champion race-walkers but I do plan for this to provide to very excellent recover and cross-training skills, and to speed me up during my walk intervals in marathons.
So that's it, so far, I guess. Tomorrow Sweet Baboo finds out if he got the promotion he was hoping for. Cross your fingers, or whatever works for you, and send good thoughts his way. He's worked a long time for this, and of course as his completely unbiased mate I believe he is the very best qualified :-)
...

Monday, December 08, 2008

In Which I Feel Vindicated. Sad, But Vindicated.

So here's the thing. Last may in my position at RRPS, they sent around a proposal for some of their ideas for the coming year. I read through it, which I actually rarely do (I just sort of sail through life and do things impulsively, without giving much thought, except for work.)

Something didn't seem quite right. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but their problems-suggestions-expected outcomes didn't seem quite right. I spoke with the head of the union about it, who agreed with me, and then she mentioned that she was moving to a different school and asked if I wanted to be the union rep.

"No," I replied. "I'm not coming back next year."

Since that time, especially with not receiving much of an income during September and October while my work situation shook out, I'm gnawed at the skin on the side of my thumb as I worried that I had brought us to financial ruin by doing this. Even though Baboo makes a good living, I have years of struggling before I met him that gave me a permanant anxiety about such things.

Then, in October, when I started my new job, I sent emails to some of my old teacher friends giving them my new email address. They responded with congratulations, "howareyou"s and then proceded to tell me how awful things are. How many teachers had already quit, and then there was a hiring freeze, leaving the remaining teachers over their legal limit on classroom size. In addition to that, I already knew that they had reworked the schedule so that I would be teaching nearly twice as many students the same curriculum in half as much time.

Then, today, Baboo heard about this: http://kob.com/article/stories/S691678.shtml?cat=504

This is one of those times that I'm not happy to have been right. But I'm relieved that I apparently saw the writing on the wall and got out in time. This, in my opinion, is at least one of the end-products of NCLB.

...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In Which I Am A Team Player


So that THAT, Mrs. Eikin*

Wednesday I was sitting around, wistfully wishing that I could participate in this weekend's Jingle Bells triathlon. It's about 2-1/2 miles from my front door.

I emailed Cindy and Courtney and effectively drafted them to do this relay with me, and they were quick to let me know that they didn't want to do the swim. It was like they raced to yell "NOT IT!" but I was fine, because I wanted to do the swim.

Cindy kicked ass with a 28-something minute 5k run, Courtney did the VERY difficult, hilly 18 mi bike, and I swam the 400 meter in 8:57. I have to say that this may be the best way to do a triathlon if you are under trained...the best way to do one is not to do one.
or more accurately, don't do the whole one. I'm totally fine with doing the swim.

Courtney, who is not supposed to run right now (owing to having blown her knee out while swimming, and I'll let her explain that if she chooses to do so), and I discussed even doing a team sometime where I run and swim, and she bikes, which of course results in far less glory but would be my dream event.

*Mrs. Eikin was my third grade teacher. One of many who used the word, "but" in my report card. You know what i mean. "Misty is a delight in the classroom...BUT her achievement would improve if she would...( choose one:) sit still...stop drawing all the time...visit less with her classmates...pay attention...
...also, it should be noted that although Misty gets along well and has many friends, she is not a team player. When working on group projects, she is often bossy and will frequently insist on doing all the work..."


Annoying happening of the day: Terry, DOGS do NOT BELONG IN THE WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM!!

Teamwork is kinda fun. Who knew?

RESULTS: 3rd place female team, at a very fun little triathlon, their inaugural one. My only two suggestions would be that marshals keep spectators from wandering in and out of transition during the race, looking at people's stuff, getting in the way while they take pictures of their friends...and maybe the water doesn't have to be warm enough to make tea (it wasn't in danger of freezing).

Also, Pirate's mom was there, doing her third event, and winning her age group. Kick ass. She looked unbelievably fresh coming off the run, and had so much energy coming out of the pool that the guy taking the chips had to chase her down to catch her!

...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

In Which I Suck, Suck, Suck. And Am Discouraged.

I went for an 8 mile trail run today, and it sucked, sucked, sucked. It's like I have to start over again. My legs felt old, heavy, and tired. I felt old, heavy, and tired. I was breathless and slow and everything that I didn't expect to be.

I would have thought I'd be bouncing back faster than this. And I'm not. In fact, it seems to get worse every time I run. I was beginning to wonder if I am going to be back in shape for the Ghost Town 38.5 in about 5 weeks.

It doesn't help that I'm up 14 pounds from my August weight, and that I was carring a 10-pound pack.

This was the longest trail run I've done since Palo Duro in October, nearly two months ago, and I was about 20 pounds heavier on the trails today than I was then.

Plus, all my climbing muscles and tendons and such as soft, and need to be reconditioned. OW.


>Heavy Sigh.<

The good part of today's run was that it was in the hills near our new house. The more we run out there the more I'm starting to learn loops and routes for easy workuts, challenging workouts, and workouts with a view. Now, I found out that there is this racewalking club here in Albuquerque. A woman I work with, her spouse is a competitive racewalker. I looked up some stuff and did you know the champion racewalkers can WALK a 5K in under 21 minutes? and a 10K in under 42 minutes?

WOW.

I'd never give up running. But in those moments when I can't run, or if I need a break from the pounding, I'd like to be able to walk quickly. I think it would be great crosstraining. I'm not saying it woud be easy. Just different.

So, I emailed a guy in the racewalking club here and asked him for information. Like, is there someone who can teach me? Coach me?

Maybe it will be a new adventure. racewalking the hills of the 'Burque. Cool. I'll be sure and share everything I find out.

...

Friday, December 05, 2008

In which I Find Another Reason to Avoid NA Sports.

I got this email today from Roman, who runs the website, EverymanTri. Seems that Ironman North America has decided to do away with the Clydesdale and Athena divisions.

Now I guess we'll just be those big and tall guys and gals huffing and puffing our way to the finish line.

Yet another reason to not do NA events any more. As if I needed another reason. I've sent them emails about various things from time to time and have never, ever gotten any kind of response. They have become prohibitively expensive, as well.

With regard to the Clydesdale and Athena thing, though, I wonder if this is a trend? Perhaps companies like Athleta will fade away? In the meantime, most of the smaller, mom-and-pop races still have Athena and Clydesdale divisions. I'm going to work on just enjoying a day in the country swimming, biking, and running.

~~~

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In Which I Submit My Shameful November Miles.

Bike: 63 Mi
Run: 29.35 Mi
Elliptical Training: 13 miles, according to the machines.

This Sunday is the first annual Jingle Bells Triathlon which is a reverse-sprint tri practically in my back yard, at least of the old house. I'm still having some significant discomfort, so I've decided to do it as a relay. I haven't done any swimming in a month, so of course I'm going to do the swim portion. :-) This will be a new experience because I've never done a relay before.

Thus far, plans are: Cindy run, Courtney bike, Misty swim. For some reason nobody ever wants to do the swim? which is fine with me, but I'm still curious as to why everyone hates the swimming so much.

(Not me, if I could skip the bike and do a swim-run or run-swim, I'd be happy as a hog in, well, you know.)

Anyway. My plan is to go ahead and take off with the run, even though I'm not actually going to be in that event, just for the workout and the warmup. Then I'll go hang out and wait for Courtney to come back from the bike and then jump in the pool. Wheee!

...


Monday, December 01, 2008

People, and the Dogs That Own Them.

Sometimes I fantasize during long runs. Of course, I'm doing much more trail running lately, so what I'm experiencing has changed my fantasies somewhat. Here is a few of them:

Fantasy #1.
I'm running along nice, wide trail, when a dog comes running up to me. It nearly trips me by running up to me and jamming his nose in my crotch. He's not on a leash, even though we are in a city open space where leashes are required. Their owner comes into a few seconds later, calling out, (somewhat impotently) Now, BOYD, stop that.
I reach into the refrigerated bag I've brought with me for one of the objects inside, and fling it at the owners face. It hits his cheek with a splat, sliding down slowly and dropping onto his shirt. HEY, WHAT THE HELL?!? he screams.
"It's a cat hairball," I explain. "I figure that if I have to put up with your pet's behavior, then you should put up with mine. I'll meet you by your car in an hour so I can claw the crap out of your upholstery."


Fantasy #2
In this fantasy, I'm running along nice, wide trail in Sandia Wilderness area, when a couple of dogs come running up to me, and I nearly trip over them. They are not on leashes, even though we are in a national park. I point this out to the owner, and she puts them on leashes. Although annoyed, she is adult enough to recognize that it was she, not I, who ignored a posted rule, so she doesn't scream, hiss, call me names, call me a dog-hater, or insist that I should be on a leash. We exchange pleasantries, and go our separate ways.


Fantasy #3
A man/woman is running along behind their dog, who is several hundred yards ahead, chasing squirrels, other runners, etc. A ranger comes along and writes the man a ticket for ignoring the posted leash rule. The owner decides to fight it. He gets Judge Judy, who says, "So what are you bothering me for? You chose to ignore the posted rule. Leave me a alone, and pay your ticket."

(Notice that in none of my fantasies are Mr. Doggers hurt. I don't believe in hurting animals; they are being themselves. Nor do I fantasize about bad pet owners being hurt.)


Fantasy #4
In this fantasy, I'm running along nice, wide trail, when a couple of dogs on leashes come running up to me with their owners. We exchange pleasantries, and I ask if I can pet their dogs. I rub Mr. and Mrs. Doggers behind his ears, but not too much, because I'm allergic. We go our separate ways, the owners happy because it's beautiful and they're outside and they won't have to worry about Doggers bolting and possibly scaring up a bear or mountain lion, and the dogs happy because they've been taught to live within boundaries set by their owners. I'm happy because I wasn't tripping over someone's dog going down a steep and rocky trail.


Fantasy #5
Two people are sitting in their living room. "Hey, I'd like to let Mr. Doggers run free today," one of them says. Since dogs are required to be leashed due to a county ordinance, they work together to find the locations of city parks or private land where that is allowed. I never see them, or their dogs, that day, because they made the responsible choice not to force their pet ownership choice on other people by breaking rules that they don't like.


...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

In Which I Feel Encouraged.

We interrupt this work day for a nootime run.

Sweet Baboo and I did a lunchtime run today - I had tried it Wednesday and couldn't believe how deconditioned my legs are for blacktop. By the time I got 1 mile into it they burned, and I felt like there were bricks tied to my feet. Know how sometimes when you're headed up a hill and your quads burn like crazy? My legs did that on Wednesday, from about hip to toes. Ow. Discouraging.
As a result I was reluctant to go back out. I haven't run on blacktop since September when my injury really barked at me and said "NO, I DON'T F'N THINK SO!!"

So today as noon approached I started coming up with all sorts of reasons, in my head, why I wasn't going to do this run. Of course, I had been stupid enough to mention my planned run to Baboo on the way in so that about 11:30 Baboo messaged me and asked me when I was going, because he thought he'd go too. What could I do? I can't say I'm too busy. Having your spouse/carpool partner/workout partner means they know. Oh, THEY KNOW. Baboo knows I'm neither so important or busy that I can't go for a run at lunch. All I've been doing these days is training and learning about how the brain functions.

Besides, I can't look Baboo in the eye and make my crazy excuses. I just can't do it; it's like lying. Baboo gets all uber-reasonable and says things like, "well, if you think that's what's best" and then he acts all trusting and reasonable until I want to scream STOP TORTURING ME WITH YOUR TRUSTFULNESS!! My threshold of guilt is too low and besides, I SUCK at lying, although not always to myself, so it's easier just to not go through that, y'know?

Stuck, I was....Running, I would.

SO we headed out, and of course I got the burning legs and it hurt like crazy but after about the first 3/4 mile we found this really cool open area that borders a city park right next to where we work. It's kind of hidden. It has a nice, wide path around it that is just sandy trail, and it's nearly a mile around. As usual, once I get my legs under me, I enjoyed my run.
Once I got into my 2nd mile, the burning S-L-O-W-L-Y went away. Very encouraging. We did about 3.25 miles, leaving ourselves time for a walk cool down and to change back into our "professional" clothes, or whatever suffices on Black Friday in which half the staff is on vacation.

Very happy I went on the run. Here's hoping the conditioning comes back fast! I've got about 6 weeks until the Ghost Town 38.5...no time to waste making excuses.
Training from here on out will probably consist of at least twice a week where I run at lunch and then an evening trail run, then a short trail run on Saturdays and a LSR on Sundays. Saturdays I'll spin, and I'd like to fit in a spin once during the week, if I can. We'll see. We found a master swim class that meets once a week in the evenings, too.

~~~

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Which I Are Grateful.


I'm grateful that it is raining outside; it's a nice, steady soaking rain that'll help the plants during the dry winter ahead.

I'll be grateful when it stops.

I'm grateful for keys that don't break off in locks.

I'm grateful for engines that start.

I'm grateful for light switches that, when flipped, bring light into the room.

I'm grateful for second chances.

And third.

And, well, fourth ones.

I'm grateful for my kids, and for the time I got to spend raising them, and the lessons I've learned from that.

I'm grateful that they're all pretty much independently living their own lives now.

I'm grateful for our cats.

Even Lily, the really noisy bossy one.

I'm grateful for my friends who may not always agree with me but continue to be my friends, nonetheless.

I'm grateful that, actually, off the top of my head, I can't think of any enemies.

I'm grateful for all the years that I got to spend knowing my mom and dad. I miss them. I've seen some pretty awful parenting and I'm grateful that I was raised by parents who taught me some pretty darned important stuff, like how to work hard, be smart, have fun, and love well.

I'm grateful for the Baboo family who is my family now.

I'm grateful for my feet.

Even the one with the big, black toenail.

I'm grateful for all the miles I've traveled on my feet.

I'm grateful for hills.

I'm grateful for flat, open spaces.

I'm grateful for my new career.

I'm grateful for my favorite carpool partner, who is the best of all partners in everything, ever.

I'm grateful for coffee.

And lovely, flavored coffee syrups.

I'm grateful for sweet.

I'm grateful for salty.

I'm grateful for all of it.

I'm just, well, grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~~~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In which I'm not a big fat lazy butt. UPDATED


Okay, so I've just been running just a tiny bit for the past 2 or 3 months. Okay, well other than the Colorado Relay. oh, and the 50K I did a couple weeks later. Other than that, I mean. I just haven't been doing steady running. There aren't any trails around where I live now, and most of my evenings aren't free. So, mostly, I've been sitting around puttin on fat. Or losing muscle. Or something. All I know is my pants are tighter.

The past week or so I finally feel like my leg is healed. There is still actually a tender spot that I can poke with my finger on the front of my shin down near the foot, but when I walk, even in heels, I don't feel it any more.

So tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up and do a 5K run around the neighborhood streets. Hoping to find my ipod and head out on a training run, around my neighborhood. I've been putting this off because I'm worried that it will just hurt like hell. Again.

So, we'll see how things go.
================
Next day, 1:04 pm. Okay, so I didn't do the morning run, in the cold and dark. I did, however, do a noon run. I decided late before I went to bed that it made more sense to run in the daylight after it had warmed up a bit. I changed in my office and hobbled out on a run that was mostly blacktop, with some trail off to the side.

Msr. GarMEAN says that I ran 2.81 miles. I ran 1-1/2 loops around the 1500 meter blacktop track out front, and then out and down the boulevard and back on a blacktop path. It hurt like hell, too, but not necessarily because of any injury: it felt mostly like I have some very, very stiff legs. I walked a bit here and there, but what the hell, I did it. I got off my widening butt and did something to keep it from getting wider.

AND I answered my own question: can I work out at noon without being thoroughly whipped or (what's worse) disgusting and stinky for the rest of the day? Answer: yes, I can. I can work out and still be productive and avoid stuffing my face with impulse foods from the Canteen or the Exchange.

In other news
, there is this guy at work, an older guy who I think is one of the building engineers, who is very nice. He walks by my office every morning and says, cheerily, SMILE!

At first it was charming, and I laughed. Sometimes I waved at him.

After hearing it every day, though, the charm started to wear off.

Now I've heard someone yell, SMILE!! appoximately 24 times at about 7:55 am every week day.

I think I may actually hate the man now.

...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fat Thoughts.

Weight: 168.
Mood: Sassy.
Music: Britney Spears, Circus, which has not been released yet. C'mon. Who do you think you're talkin' to? I'm the GeekGirl.

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...right after work, to join Sweet Baboo in Arizona. My plans for this weekend are simple: 1) Don't do an Ironman 2) Watch other people do an Ironman 3) Volunteer at IMAZ 4) Perhaps meet other bloggers.

On a slightly related note, I've been reading a research report on BMI. It all started when I was printing off charts to stick all over my desk area. I'm supposed to be searching medical records for people who meet a certain criteria to recruit them for a study, and one of the criteria is related to their BMI. I looked at this chart. THERE'S some good newss: According to this chart, I'm overweight with a BMI of 27.

Oh, LIKE I NEEDED TO READ THAT. Like I don't have enough issues with body stuff anyway that I struggle with, one day really liking myself and one day hating myself, one day starving myself and another day eating two lean cuisine entrees at lunch instead of one and then going and getting desert AND a candy bar mocha latte and yes, I know most us women, we do it to ourselves but I still blame men. All I've been feeling fat lately because I need new pants. I'm sitting a lot now and pants that you sit in require a certain amount of shall we say, "relaxed" fabric content.

But seriously, I can't be that unhealthy, right? I mean, how many pre-obese girls can run up a mountain (and crawl back down, but that's besides the point) or run 31 miles before sundown? I wear a 10/12 depending on the time of the year and how many times I've eaten Chinese food that month. Certainly, I'm bigger and slower than the tiny bird people I train with and hang out with but still, I hold my own.

So I looked, and I found this study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise [39(3):403-409]. Thought I'd share. What they did was look at BMI according to a height/weight chart, and then compared with skin fold test and the test where they dangle you in water, to see if the BMI chart was accurate in predicting fatness. The following was observed:

1) Athletes whose BMI classified them as overweight on the chart (over 25 bmi) were incorrectly classified as overweight 77% of the time (female) and 87% of the time (males).

2) Non-athletes, meanwhile, were incorrectly classified around 44% of the time for both groups.

Then I discovered Whitney Thompson. She apparently won "America's Next Top Model" which I've never seen. She's a size US12, or 10, or 14, depending on who you read. She's tall, but just look at those full thighs and healthy cheeks.

So there ya go.

Food for thought.

Think I'll go get a latte now.

...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hrm. Misc stuff and Random thoughts.

Weight: 168.
Mood: Fat.
Music: Nora Jones.

I would really love, love, love to share all the cool things I've been doing and learning this week but it involves real people and real lives and their confidential medical and behavioral health history soooo, nope. Can't do that. The only thing that I can share is that I was doing some computer stuff this window flew up:
****************************************
THE FOLLOWING RECORD IS CONFIDENTIAL
AND IS PROTECTED BY SOME ACT AND LAW
SOMEWHERE AND YOUR ACTIVITIES WILL
BE LOGGED YOU MUST BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN
WHY YOU NEED TO ACCESS THIS RECORD AND
BE ABLE TO PROVE YOUR NEED TO DO SO.
DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE? Y/N
******************************************
oH, $HIT. So, I called the Dude Who Is Training me, and he explained that it was okay, and that it would generate a printout somewhere but go ahead, because my use is legitamate. Still. It freaked. me. out. I'm being LOGGED. Me and MY ACTIVITIES.

Oh, well, I can tell you that part of my job involves recruiting research subjects and I'm not allowed to approach them directly, but I can approach clinicians and ask them for help, which involves ingratiating myself to others to a degree that I'm actually pretty comfortable with.

So. Anyway.

Countdown to graduation for the youngest Mini-Baboo: 6 months left. We just paid lots of money to fix our 4-year old dishwasher and I can't prove it, but I'm sure Mini-baboo broke it. We only communicate by texting now. I worried, for a while, that he is lonely. I remember when I was 15 and my mom got her first full time job since I'd been born, and I hated coming home to an empty house. Or did i? Maybe it's just mom guilt making me remember that.

No, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I liked being alone in the house, raiding my mom's snack closet. (Mine is locked)

So, last week I texted back and forth with him, who I desperately want to graduate on time and get on with his life somewhere else, and it went something like this (I should explain first that Mini just got a cell phone a couple months ago and is still playing around with a feature that lets you put a "signature" in all your text messages):

Me: NO MORE TV OR INET ON SCHL NITES!
Him: WHAT? WHY? >HAVE NO REGRETS<
Me: YR GRADES SUCK FIX THEM
Him: OK. >HAVE NO REGRETS<
Me: & CLEAN KTCHN 2NITE
Him: OK >HAVE NO REGRETS<

This, then, is the meaningful communication that now exists between my youngest and me, but it's more communication than we used to have. I have to say it's handy to be able to call him and say, "Now, what was the only flavor of bagel that you'll eat for breakfast these days?" while at the grocery.

And, fix his grades he did. He'll do anything for Internet.

....

I got home last night and ate, and ate, and ate. I'm still trying to figure out how to do the workout thing. I'm starting to feel a lot like the zeftig WonderWoman I've seen on the Internet. I was worried that I would find myself unable to fit in decent workout, and indeed this has happened, and I'm freaking out because I'm afraid that by December I won't be able to fit through the doorway of our new house.

And I've decided to let my hair grow back out. Maybe to my shoulders. I'm sure that when I do let it grow out I'll be starkly reminded of why I cut it in the first place but all I can remember now is how handy it was to be able to tie it back while still damp and get on with my day.

That's it, I guess. Nothing exciting. Just ordinary, working mom stuff. Oh, and this Friday, I'll be flying to Arizona to volunteer and IMAZ and watch Baboo do his, uh, what is this. I think it's his 8th Ironman.

...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Be a no-cheat triathlete.


Interesting story about this picture, taken at Ironman Florida, here.
You may already be sick of this story, or if you're a beginner, you might not have heard about it yet.

Apparently this guy was DQed from IMFLA and banned from competing in USAT events for a year.

To read the post, click on the link.

Oh, how I've been tempted....times when I noticed nobody was manning the turnaround, or how many loops you ran was on the "honor" system. When you're as slow as I am, there are many, many times where the course is pretty much empty. I could just run across the street and head back, I've thought. Nobody would ever know I didn't finish this out-and-back part.

I've also noticed shortcuts when driving bike courses, and goodness knows I'm a terribly cyclist. I'm so slow, in fact, that I could probably cheat and still finish in the lowest 25% of the field.

But what good is it to "finish" something that know that you haven't followed the rules? Are there people actually feel entitled to being a "finisher" when they haven't competed following all the rules? I know that if I did it I'd be wracked with guilt. I have a low-guilt threshold. Triathlon is that important to me that I have to feel like I've finished it honestly and completely.

Does cheating diminish us? I think it does. How meaningful is it to finish a multisport endurance event if "anyone" can do it by wearing fins, or drafting on the bike? I'm not talking semantics, here, like walking in the water instead of swimming. I'm only talking about people who violate clearly published rules.

Just my two cents.

...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Didja ever...

Climb up a hill without paying attention to how you get back down, so that you have to spend about 3 times as much time getting down as you did getting up, and it's so steep and rocky and loose that you just kind of inch your way down, one tiny step at a time, pretty sure that at any moment you're going to lose your footing and fall ass over elbows down a VERY steep incline?

And as you were trying really hard not to fall, did you think to yourself, crap, I was SURE I thought I saw a trail on this side, why oh why didn't I go down the OTHER side where there IS A PATH?

And then as you were doing all this did that did you realize, oh hell, this hill is way higher than I thought it was and OH MY GOD those people look REALLY TINY DOWN there in that parking lot?

No?

Oh.

Well, me neither.

...

In which I devise a stupid-leg training plan


As much as it pains me to admit it it's alltogether possible that at least part of my leg pain has to do with the extra 12 pounds I put on in the interim before I started my new job. Regardless of all the causes and aggravations, it is getting better.


It's too dark to run in the mornings and at night right now (I'll do dark or cold, but I won't do dark AND cold) Whenever I try to run on the dreadmill I must be overstriding or something because I get instant pain in my tibia that I don't get when I trail run.


So we are slowly getting in the habit of getting to the gym a couple days a week, where I hit this: It's a new elliptical trainer with "variable stride geometry". Simply put, it means I have control over house deep/shallow, high/low, long/short my stride is. It works more of the leg muscles. It takes more work to do it, but once you get used to it it's a hell of a workout. I feel a lot of the work in my upper quads place muscle thingies, the ones that lift your leg up and down, but that's me.


Baboo and I have started a weekly post-work trail run in which we run near the house we just bought like a couple of stalkers. I wonder if they know it's us.

Mini-baboo asked if he would get to live in the new house, and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and then he said, no, seriously. Will I?

Sooo, here's my workout for at least next week:
Mondays, off.
Tuesdays, Elliptical, 45 minutes.
Wednesdays, swim, noontime jog around the track in front of work??
Thursdays, Elliptical, 45 minutes.
Friday, short trail run
Saturday, 2 spin classes
Sunday, long slow run. I need to start working my mileage up again. I'll start this week with 8 miles on a flat trail and see how it goes.

HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE for this. I keep planning my weeks but I never follow through.

Oh, and eat less candy, fried food, etc., blah, blah, blah.

...

In which I have a stupid leg.

Back in August I did a sprint triathlon and then started doing some heavier training and it was then that my left leg first started whispering to me that it might have had enough, thank you very much. Then on August 31st I did the New Mexico relay it turned into a loud murmer. As a former teacher, I've learned to ignore loud murmers and so in mid-September, I did another run - the Colorado Relay - and it seemed to be annoyed, but I could still run at my usual pace.

I was banking, of course, on the fact that my legs seemed to be invincible. Slow as well, yes, but sturdy. That's me. Sturdy. Every woman's dream is to be described as "sturdy" isn't it? But anyway.
Then, of course, I tried to do a teensy weensy run in my neighborhood about a week later, and, well, that was it. Pfffttt. Game OVER. Stupid leg.

From then on, it's been this pain that is very localized in my left shin, a bit toward the inside, about 3-4 inches above my ankle. I've had it x-rayed, but is was negative, which means it's either broken or not broken, according to what I've read and heard from people who know a lot and people who know a little. Helpful.

The problem, as many people have unfortunately discovered, with a leg or foot injury is that you develop all sorts of ancillary problems. You hobble a bit, so maybe your hip gets sore, or maybe your knee aches, or your back gets spazzy from the uneven gate. The possibilities are endless.


In any case I in October I did a 50K on an injured leg because YES, I'M JUST ABOUT THAT STUPID and after that my feet and hips hurt like hell and, well, I couldn't do much of anything, except hike on trails. Stupid leg.

So I've finally taken it easy during the rest of October and finally, now, it's November 12, and I can still feel an ache there when I walk but I can finally run, at least. I'm only running on trails until I can't feel that ache any more. Sunday I ran 5 miles continuously, about as many as I've run since I did the 50k at the beginning of October, and a fairly decent pace for me, but my hips and feet hurt.

So now I'm back to building up endurance in all those other places: hips, knees, back, feet - that go with running long distances. I doing the elliptical hopefully twice a week and running twice a week and spin, as well.
I did the elliptical before work this morning and it was AWESOME - I watched the news and worked out and now I'm all informed and hyper and feeling good about myself. I told Baboo I want to do it as often as possible.
Then I went and had a huge gut-busting lunch but, ok, I'm still on the right path.

...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In which we get our dream house.

Well.

Of course we got it.

You really think a couple of realtors and a pair of homeowners would stand in the way of two Ironmen who know what they want?

It looks ordinary, but it's not. It's a sage-green, stucco home with a brand new roof and brand-new stucco. It has a brand-new interior all chosen and decorated by people with taste. Not that we don't have taste. We're just not creatively tasteful, most of the time.

Our new cottage sits on a huge, 1/3 acre pie-shaped lot, and on the other side of the back fence is open space, where we go trail running a lot. A bit further beyond that, maybe a mile, is a national wilderness. We'll cut about about 30 minutes off our work commute, once we move into it. This has nothing to do with the wilderness thing and more to do with the fact that we'll be on the complete other side of the city from where we are now, which is where work is.

Sweet Baboo has always wanted land to run around on, and now he has it, I mean we has HAVE it, without the hassle of maintanance and taxes. I have always wanted to live in the city, meanwhile, so living on the very edge of the city, abutting the Sandias, is going to be really, really great.

So there it is: our "adults only" (not in the bowchicaBOWBOW way, but in the all-the-kids-are-grown-and-have-lives-of-their-own sort of way, although I'd never rule out bowchicaBOWBOW way) home. 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with a nice little wood stove to cozy up to on winter days. Otherwise, I 'spect we'll be hitting the dusty trails that run by our back gate. Often.

...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's a soap opera.

At least now, at this point, the biggest drama in my life is whether or not we'll get a house we like, and if that's all the drama I have to deal with, I'll take it.

We went out today, on our day off (Now that we work in the same placeI figure that everything, I mean everything, will be "we" until we're talking simultaneously or sequentially in a cute or slightly creepy way) and looked at houses.

We've found houses near trails. (Funny, so far every house we've looked at has involved us looking at aerial photographs or walking up and down streets to see how close the trails were.)

We've found houses that were cute.

We've found houses that were in nice neighborhoods.

We've found a house with a decent-sized yard.

We saw houses that were closer to work.

But we didn't find a house that encompassed all these.

In fact, most of the houses we've seen have had tiny little yards and at least one of them desperately, desperately needed to be saved from the seventies and at least one house that was so peculiarly modified for its owners tastes that it was just plain weird.

>Sigh.<

So, we went back to the house on the hill near the path that got our attention in the first place. Walked through it again. Noticed how cottage-like it felt. Walked around the huge back yard. Noticed, for the first time, that it had brand-new stucco, as well as the brand new roof. Noticed that, when you're sitting in the living room, it feels like you're outside.

Remarked about how nice it was, after all, to see people headed up the trail, that was so near the house.

And then, well, we made another offer. We've decided that, well, we want this house. It's probably the last house we'll ever live in, and it's turn key. At this point, there's no question of buying it, it comes down to how much of a deal we can get on it.

As soon as we have some sort of deal, I'll post some pictures. Until then, I'm too superstitious to do that.

~~~

Oh, Well.

So, the people weren't ready to accept our price. They counter offered with a price that was still about 40% above market value. Their agent sent us several comps to justify what they were asking, but all her comps were custom homes, and this is a nicely updated late 80s tract home. Big difference. We said no. Their "counter" was pretty ridiculous. They'll sell it, eventually, but probably not for that price. Meanwhile, they'll be paying utilities and payments. More power to them.

So, we'll keep looking around. We are still getting this house ready for an eventual transition, and that includes 2 estimates each from roofing companies (we have a couple of broken roof tiles, no leaking or anything), and some painting and other odds and ends. Today will be a parade of workers trooping in and out to provide estimates. One of them will be answering the burning question: why is there water in the bottom of my dishwasher AND my refrigerator?

I know that appliances, "aren't made like they used to be" but these are 4 years old. I suspect that the fact that Mini-Baboo's main chores are kitchen-based this has something to do with all this. For instance, he made eggs while cleaning the kitchen, in the microwave. Didn't put anything over them. They splattered all over, and then he just left the bowl and splattered egg in their to dry. And don't get my started on his bathroom. Teenaged boys, I'm sorry to say, are disgusting. But you know, it's all good: just 6 more months and then it's "Anchors aweigh, my boys, anchors aweigh!"

Weight: 168
Mood: Cranky.
Other stuff: My back hurts and I feel old.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The house Saga.

So, here's the situation: Baboo and I found this house, well actually he found it, while were out trail running. It backs up to "open space" which is localspeak for designated park land.

It's a good house for us, since we'll be empty nesters in a couple months. It's single story, smaller, which I'm wild about, but nice with recent updates inside. Best of all, it's right off the trail where we like to run, and has a large backyard - did you know Baboo likes to garden? I love, love, love to watch him putter around the garden, putting out birdseed and such. I've missed that in our current house, which has a little walled back yard that is about 20 feet wide and 15 feet deep and COMPLETELY surrounded, mostly by people who don't care about back yards, and are satisfied to just have a back yard full of sand and tumbleweeds.

So anyway.

So this house. Well, it's also about 9 miles from work. We currently live across the Rio Grand about 23 miles away. There are four roads that cross the Rio Grande from home to the VA, so as you can guess, it's about a 45 minute drive, at best.

We did some digging, and figured out that the owners probably originally built it back in the 80s. So maybe they are sentimental, which might explain whey the owners have priced it about 45% above current market value. My wise, analytical husband found out that in this zip code, of all the houses that have sold what the average price per square foot is.

Pricing that high up over is not the way to move a house these days, folks, because I'm telling you that just in Albuquerque alone, a city of just under 500,000 people, there are over 2800 homes on the market, and those are just the ones listed with agents.

So Saturday, we made an offer. It was based on the average price per square foot of recently sold homes in the area, with an additional 25% thrown in for the fact that it borders open space. 2 hours before the deadline, we were asked for extra time, as the owners had been gone all weekend, and said they wanted to comp homes that had sold locally and were near open space so that they could see about a counter offer.

Our realtor did that for us and and sent the results.

There were four.

They average price per square foot was below what we'd offered.

We also know that ours is the first offer they've gotten in the over 70 days the house has been listed.

So, we are waiting to see if they are serious about selling the house or not.

I want this house. We, want this house. It's nice and clean and updated and in a decent little neighborhood. I can totally see myself in it. I love the idea of running, literally, through a small gate in my back yard and hitting some good running trails. I might even get a mountain bike if it call comes together. But we're not going to be stupid about it.
So have you ever bid on something on ebay and then waited, waited, waited?
This is like that. But way more exciting/terrifying/fearful/fullofdreadandworry.

What will they say? What will they do? They can just say no and hold out, if they want.

Aaaggghhh! I hate waiting. I'm just not very good at it.

...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Things I just happen to know today.


  1. I started this post during lunch at work on Friday. Right now there's a kid out in the lobby that is one of those kids that, when they're happy, they make that really super high-pitched screaming screetching noise. I tried closing my door but high-pitched sound waves are high-energy. I learned that as a science teacher. Anyway, the screaming comes right through.

  2. I've lost 5 pounds since I started working here. Kick ASS. One of the things I do about 4 or 5 times each day is run up a flight of stairs and then back down, either to get supplies, or photocopy, or what have you. My butt is going to look GREAT!

  3. Somebody asked me on my blog about how I consider myself lazy? well, here's your answer: Sometimes I just don't do anything. Nothing. Nada. I didn't do any working out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...I'll try a trail run tonight. I'm REALLY GOOD at it, too. I can do nothing and look extra, extra like I'm doing a whole lot.

  4. After 2 weeks at the VA, I'm just about detoxed from FaceBook, but I still have the occasional craving.

  5. We cleaned out from under our bed. Oh. My. God. I mean, we've only lived here for four years, but: Oh. My. God. There was a lot of loose cat hair, pennies, and for some inexplicable reason, a lot of benedryl tabs.

  6. I've learned how to estimate market value on a house that's for sale. We looked at ones that sold recently in the same area, figured out the average per square foot, and then offered them about 25% over that to make up for the location of this particular house we're looking at.

  7. I also learned that when a "used" house sells, it's appraised. If the appraisal is way below the agreed upon price of the sale, the seller has to be willing to negotiate.

  8. I had a great trail run today (Sunday) . It's the longest continuous run that I've had in about a month. The left leg still hurts, but I can run. I managed about a slightly sub 12 minutes pace over a little over 5 miles, with no hiking or walk breaks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gosh, when I see it written down like that...

October's totals:

Bike: 15 Mi Can you tell I got pretty sick of the bike? This past Saturday was actually the first time I got into a saddle since AUGUST. I had several back bike experiences that really kind of freaked me out. First, there was my tire blowing up at Barb's race. Then there was several times that I fell over while trying to clip in going up a hill. Then there was the couple times I got ditched on rides with other people. I'm going to do indoor cycling for a while. I predict a better season next time.

Run: 52 Mi - My injury is slowly getting better - in fact it felt better this past Sunday than it's felt in weeks. I'm planning to start bringing this up soon, to get ready for my first 50-miler in February at Rocky Racoon.

Swim: 4700 M - I'm in a master's swim class now. We do a minimum of a couple thousand, so look for this number to increase pretty fast.

Wrapping up the 2008 Triathlon season. What did I accomplish?
I did a 25K midnight run in Texas.
I did a 25-mile trail run in Colorado.
I did four marathons, in Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah.
I did a 50k ultra marathon in Alabama and one in Texas.
I did five sprint triathlons in New Mexico
I did the 1.2 mile swim and the half marathon run at Barb's race.
I did one ironman triathlon in Idaho.
I lost ten pounds, and gained thirteen back. (170 lbs right now)
I lost a dress size, and then gained that back, too. (size 12)
I can do 8 pushups in a row now. (I've been slacking on this. I'll have to get back on the ball if I want to meet my year goal of 10 in a row)
I've just about got my last kid graduated and gone.
I got four black toenails.
I got my first over-use injuries!

Here's my 2008 totals, so far:
Bike: 1644 Miles (2740 km)
Run: 669 Miles (1115 km)
Swim: 32 miles (51,541 M)

Apologies to my international friends. I'll put up KM and KG up soon.

Not bad for a big girl who hates to exercise!

...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shameless promos from my blog.

1) We're selling our house. Mini-baboo is graduating and joining the Navy, so we no longer need this big old house in the suburbs, and we work completely on the other side of town. We're looking at a house very seriously that is smaller, flatter, backs up to an area that we do trail running on, and has a much shorter commute. I'll have pictures up soon. Of the one I'm selling, I mean. It was built in 2004.

"Staging" is going to be a challenge. We have personalized this house quite a bit, and selling means de-personalizing. And cleaning. Where did all this STUFF come from?

Looks like we'll be buying boxes. And bubble wrap. And tape. And maybe getting a storage shed. I'm actually kind of excited about playing the game, "how-badly-do-you-want-this-nickknack-do-you-want-it-badly-enough-to-pack-it-in-a-box-and-move-it-and-unpack-it?" I played this game ten years ago, and it was liberating. In 1999, I rented a dumpster and filled it three times.

2) I'm flying to Arizona for IM Arizona, so if you want to meet up I'll be there. I'm planning on doing the Gatorade swim the morning before the race before the mandatory volunteer meeting. I'm doing the bodymarking and thenthe women's T1 changing tent, and then I'll spend the rest of the day screaming like crazy, eating junk food, and waving a cowbell.

3) Hmm. There was a third thing, but I can't remember what it is right now. I'll think of it soon...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Foothills Trail Run

Last week I discovered I still can't run on pavement. I did a 3 mile power walk Thursday, and then a 3 mile power hike on Friday.

Today I finally, finally, finally got a decent run in. It was a trail run, so a lot of it was hiking, but still - it's the longest run I've done since the 50K 2 weeks ago. My leg appears to be nearly healed, too, so I was actually able to RUN.

This is in an area that we've discovered we can get to pretty close after work. We came out here Friday, but my leg hurt like hell and I could barely walk. I did a few hill repeats and worried, worried, worried.

This morning, miracle of miracles, I barely felt a thing. We were at 6000 feet up, about 1000 feet higher than usual. I climbed up a ways, and got about a 200 degree view of the area.

The goal is to be ready for the Ghost Town 38.5 in January. I'll need to get in some more climbing and hiking along with running before then. Also, if I can't run on pavement at some point between then and now, I'm going to be in a world of hurt. The trail runs will get longer, in the meantime. Today I was only out for about an hour and a half or so. That sounds like a long time for 5 miles, but I was taking it easy because I was nervous about the neg, and also there was a LOT of climbing, stopping, and looking around.

Then we went to look at a nearby house for sale. Mmmm. How cool would it be to have trail running in your back yard? More on this as it develops. I'm just happy to be back on the trails again.

...

2016

Even though I was in awful shape in 2016 I was still stubborn and foohardy...so I spent a year running down whatever fitness base I had left...