Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'm planning to try to go out there twice next week and do the full swim each. I feel what I can only describe as about 1000% better about the swim at CDA.
I did my long run today using the Galloway method, which I've been practicing on my intervals. I had read an article a while back that suggested that based on my current ability, I should run 1 minute/walk 1 minute. I never did this because I figured, I already walk 5/run 5, so what's the difference? Well, the difference is that I can run much faster for 1 minutes intervals that I can for 5, with means that the proportion of time that I spend running will have a lower overall pace. Also, I'm finding that my pace on my running intervals is coming down.
My average pace for 15.3 miles was --tada-- 12:46 per mile.
BOOya!! I have NEVER gone under 13 at that distance before!
This is what the Galloway method looks like on a Garmin readout:
I figure at least part of it is the interval training, and the other part is the ten pounds of jiggle I've lost.
With regard to my feelings about Ironman CDA in THREE WEEKS there is a continuum from "feelings of impending failure" and "very optimistic." I have now moved past "freaked out" and and more toward the "Cautiously optimistic" about finishing comfortably before midnight.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I spent most of last night staring at the bike profile for Couer D'Alene looking for some clue, any clue, that it was going to be easy. I didn't find one. Then I compared it to Ironman LooAvul:
The blue jagged line is the Kentucky Ironman profile. The grey one is is CDA. What I see is that neither is necessarily easier, and the distance between the lowest and highest points is similar. However, it looks like CDA gives more recovery time, whereas LooAvul was just unrelenting hills. Anyway, that's my take on it. Don't burst my bubble.
Then I got all panicky and decided I needed to climb Tramway again this morning, but then when I woke up I realized: My legs are tired and I need a day of rest. I haven't taken onc since last week. I'm going to hit a Yoga or Pilates class, and I also have to get my books for my classes next week - I'm taking classes this summer on PTSD and substance abuse.
I was at 156 lbs this morning (that's about 11 stone and 71 kg for our international friends). Dood, I feel ALL small. The good kind of small. But, I'm noticing all this loose skin. I guess if you blow up a balloon enough times it's just not gonna go back to i's original size, is it?
Pee ess: Mike's hard lemonade is 5 WeightWatchers points. In case you wanted to know.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I was looking most forward to the exit interview. where, ostensibly, I would have my say. I would be pleasant, diplomatic, but be clear on why I was really leaving. Because, you figure, an organization wold want to know why it was losing an empoyee that had been with them for eight years, right?
In a nutshell, I was planning on saying this:
I've worked hard and never caused problems; the worst rule I've ever broken was perhaps parking where I shouldn't. Every year I have received the high ratings on my evaluations. Every school counselor I've worked with thinks I'd be really good at counseling, and I hold a master's degree in educational psychology, and a second master's degree in counseling.
I've applied for ten counseling positions. Of the ten applications, I've been interviewed twice. The rest of the time I wasn't contacted, not even to be told when the position was filled. Five positions were at the school where I've taught for six years.
Whenever the people they hired (from outside the district) left, I would reapply for the same opening that I hadn't been hired for--only to hear about the new hiree when it was announced at the next staff meeting, usually someone from outside the district. At least two counselors of the ten had never even worked in a school.
So I went to district, loaded for bear.
And then, well
and then, they handed me my exit questionnaire.
It wasn't an "interview at all". They don't really want to know why a veteran employee is leaving. It's all just bullshit. They asked questions such as:
- Do you have any problem with any of your supervisors?
- Do you have any problem with your pay?
- Do you have any problem with your benefits?
- Do you have any problem with your leave?
I answered no, no, no, and no. And then I summarized a little of what I said above, adding this:
I have no complaints about any aspect of my employement here: I liked all my supervisors and my pay was fine. I live in and care about this city. However, Rio Rancho appears to have a policy against promoting their teachers and frequently hires support staff from outside the district. If I were afforded the opportunity to work as a school counselor I would have stayed indefinitely.
I got to look in my file. No letters of incident, nothing but good evaluations and rehires.
I turned in the questionnaire to a junior member of HR who appears to have just graduated from high school herself. I have no expectation that it will ever be read, or that if it is, that anyone will care. I think I saw her put it in my file.
I'm just one person of about 20 who quit just at my school alone.
I doubt that I will be missed - they'll just hire another teacher. One who knows her place and stays there. We're expendable, I guess.
And then I turned in my badge.
And then I left.
And now I'm crying and I don't know why.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I'd like my entry cast.
But I fear that that I was not fast
So here is my rhyme
and just like every time
I fear I'll be Dead F*****g Last.
The Story of GeekGirl
This Athena was just such a mess.
And ate way too much, I confess.
I didn't like sweat
But to get thinner, I bet
I'd rather move more than eat less
Most of the weight I've now lost.
And emotional baggage I've tossed
And you know that i'm slow
But you'd better know
The number of finish lines I've crossed.
So anyway. My run was 6 miles, and had about 1200 feet of climbing in it. I took off at sunset and it started out pretty normal - I slogged it up the first upgrade at my usual blistering 12 or 13-minute mile pace, and then headed downhill for a ways, and then turned into a long 2-mile uphill.
When I got to the top of the hill I looked down at my watch and it said that my average pace was about 11:15 for the 3 miles I'd run so far. I stopped for a few seconds to drink, then decided to do sprints all the way back. I would walk fast for a minute and then sprint for a minute. When I got back, my overall average pace for the whole 6 miles was 11:42. And that, for me folks, is supersonic. I've never done a training run that fast in my whole LIFE. I kept staring at the Garmin, thinking it was malfunctioning.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The lake was around 57 degrees, and I wore my long-sleeved wetsuit for the first time.
I turned back and only finished a mile of the swim. It was my first cold open water swim of the season, and every year the first one of the season is always shorter than I planned. That first time your face goes into the icy water and takes your breath away. Oh-h-h-h-h-h-h!
Cold water, when your face hits it, causes your breathing and heart rate to increase, which your brain reads as panic. When that happens, you're supposed to relax and just concentrate on swimming smoothly and slowly and breathing slowly and deeply. Usually within the first 400 meters you body starts to adjust to the temperature but oh, how long that first 400 meters seems!
Your brain's first line of defense in protecting you from dehydration, low blood sugar, or hypothermia is to start send you a message: STOP THIS! STOP NOW! TURN BACK. QUIT! TURN BACK NOW! Each of us hears this differently. For some of us, it's a tiny voice of despair that whispers, "Oh, I can't do this! I'll never be able to do this!" I at remember my first open water swim, I actually forgot how to swim at the start.
You can practice to overcome it and become mentally strong. Every now and then, it gets the better of me, like today, the first cold open water swim of the season. But Friday is a different day, and then there's the Friday after that...with practice, you learn to overcome the despair and the freakouts.
I'm going to be doing it every Friday until we leave for Coeur D'Alene, and at least one time there, too. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I'm saying this directly to anyone who has freaked out about swimming in open water: I promise you it gets better. The best part is that the side effects from being mentally tough are that you start getting mentally tough in other situations, too. You start thinking things to yourself like, "I swam a mile in an ice-cold lake! I think I can start that training course! I can tell that jerk that I don't like the way she talks to me!"
Or change jobs.
But anway. Another reason for practicing long swims are that there are some unpleasant aspects to doing a forward crawl in a lake for 4000 meters. You have to practice long, open water swims so that you can experience and deal with them. Friday I'll be administering body glide in strategic places, and cutting two slits in the front of the neck of my suit. I did this in my old sleeveless wetsuit and it made a huge difference in my comfort.
Added later: I should have asked if anyone has any open-water swim advice to offer, go ahead and put it here.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Sweet Baboo works these routes out for me. Our training rides nearly always begin with a trip to San Felipe Pueblo and back for the first 60 miles. Today, we followed that by a loop around Albuquerque. It was a GORGEOUS day, and now that I've been doing these century rides my plans for a the bike at Couer D'Alene are crystallizing.
First, clothing: I've found through several experiences that two layers of pants works best for me on the bike. When I wear a snug-fitting layer covered by a slightly less snug outer layer, any friction occurs between the layers instead of against my skin. At IM-CDA I'll wear my tri-shorts on the swim and then pull on my cycling shorts over them. (I first read about this idea because ultrarunners will employ the same idea and wear two pairs of socks) Rounding out the lower-body comfort plan is my Specialized Dulce saddle, with which I can spend oodles of time in just about any sitting position because the cutout allows me to learn forward without a lot of pressure on my, em, frontal lady area.
I'll be testing a final upper-body combination next week, but so far it looks like I'll be wearing a sleeveless bike jersey over a bra top. Depending on the temperature, I'll probably start out wearing my Terry bolero, which I can take off an wrap around my waist if it gets hot. Boleros are awesome for big girls that heat up. They keep arms and shoulders warm while letting your core vent. Finally, I have some nice Pearl Izumi gel gloves.
Second, nutrition: I will be drinking sports drink throughout the bike, and be supplementing it with 2-3 fig newtons about every 30 miles or so carried in my bento box. At the halfway point, in my special needs bag, will be a Red Bull. Red Bull rocks. I won't be carrying a hydration pack this time, because I didn't use the one I carried at LooAvul. I'll rely on the bottles passed out on the course and carry them in my flatwing, which I've practiced using and is now my preferred way of carrying bottles.
Tomorrow: the Baboo, myself, and friends will be taking our long sleeved wetsuits up to Lake Cochiti, which is still pretty chilly, and I'll be doing this every Friday from now on until we leave for CDA. I need to practice using my long-sleeved wetsuit, and this is the only place to do it.
On an unrelated note: Riding my bike 100 miles around Albuquerque earned me 50 WeightWatchers points. If you'lle excuse me, I'm going to go eat a pizza.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
— Alan Cohen
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.
— Anatole France
So, I started my shiny new life yesterday the day with a crack-of-dawn spin class at the downtown gym, some swim drills, a shower, and then a 5 block walk to the counseling center. In my previous life I had to report to work by 7:10; the counseling center doesn't don't open until 10, so counselors start showing up at 9:30. Ish.
If I show up earlier, I risk spending quality time with Evil Bill (new reocurring character), who is the Type A boss of everything. He's an ex-counselor whose with abysmal people skills. Even Dr. Ken is afraid of him, but for all his unpleasantness, as office manager, the place runs smoother and more efficiently when he gets his way.
Anyway. There's a 13-page application for licensure that requires signatures, a sealed copy of my college transcript, a notary stamp, and a detailed explanation and court records of a misdemenor incident from my past (1991).
Sigh. Stupid misdemenor. It will haunt me forever. Take it from your Aunt Misty, kids: all your dumbest mistakes will wind up on your Permanant-nant-nant-nant-nant Record-ecord-ecord-ecord-ecord.
After submitting all this paperwork I get permission to take a test called the National Cousenlor's Exam.
Then I joined the American Counseling Association, and purchased professional liability insurance.
Meanwhile, I've begun listening to the 17 hours of NCE audio test prep on my iPod. I have fantasies about phrases like, 'highest posted score evar!' but really, I just want to pass it. (There's a marathon analogy in there somewhere.)
I got a line on a second source of work: an agency closer to my house that works with the county juvenile justice system. I took a DSM class with the woman who that runs it and she remembers me, so I'm waiting to hear back from her about this.
And here's another thing: today I sent my youngest son off for 6 weeks with relatives in Dallas.
For the first time since 1984, I will be an adult living in a home with no children in it. Sweet Baboo is beyond excited because he gets to have me all to himself.
So anyway I started cleaning house, and I'm stunned at the havoc that a teenage boy can wreak. Is EVERTHING a trashcan to teenage boys? I found trash in the umbrella holder, the couch, under the couch, under two rugs, behind various pieces of furniture, tucked into the crevices of the kitchen chairs, and in a cabinet that we use to hold our Costco overflow. Oh, and also, EVERYTHING is apparently a laundry hamper to teenage boys, as well.
Tomorrow: I do my final "checkout" and the exit interview for my old school district, where I answer the question, "why did you quit?"
What ever will I say? Or not say? Hmmm...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Item #2: Today I turned in my letter of resignation. I got lots of hugs and exortations to keep in touch. A couple ignored me. I ignored them, too.
Item #3: I'm starting a new job at a not-for-profit community counseling center I've written about before. It is a a colorful place full of colorful characters, downtown, and it's two blocks from a branch of my gym, a couple blocks from one of the main bike paths that goes through town, and near the light rail station. It's very low budget. Frequently there are not enough rooms to counsel a client, so we go for a walk, or get coffee, or sit in the park. You get paid when clients show up, and then you don't get paid a lot, and it is run by Dr. Ken.
Item #4: Introducing: Dr. Ken , my new boss.
Dr. Ken is an enigma. At first glance he is an old hippie, with his white ponytail, but is deceptively sharp given his penchant for pretending to be a doddering old guy. He's the clinical director and a professor at the school where I got my counseling degree. He's worked in mental health for over 30 years, has a PhD in counseling psychology and an MSW, and he knows a lot of stuff and has a lot of great stories. I did my internship at the center he directs.
Dr. Ken has white (formerly red) hair and light blue eyes. He is of Jewish ancestry and yet, somehow, also descended from Baptist Indian missionairies. As a result, he is third generation born and raised on the Laguna Pueblo Indian Reservation, and is a full member of the Laguna tribe and speaks fluent Laguna.
Then there's this: the counseling center is run by a Greek Orthodox church, where Dr. Ken is some sort of priest or something. So, every once in a while he and a bunch of the other guys that work at the center stop by on their way to services, and so they're four guys in a small white car wearing large black pointy hats. It always brings to mind the Elbonians, and yes, I've shared this with Dr. Ken.
Dr. Ken tells great stories. He also enjoys lying about me for some reason I cannot fathom. He'll introduce me to someone who's never met me, with a perfectly straight face, and say something like,
"When I first met Miss Misty she was pole-dancing at a place on Central, and had just been arrested for punching a cop. She's come a long way."
Which leaves it to me to shake my head at the astonished stranger:
"He's lying. I'm from the suburbs. And I've never even been to jail."
So Dr. Ken was on my thesis committee, and after I presented my thesis, he wanted to know when I was coming to work for him. This was perhaps the ninth or tenth time he's asked that. And I always used to laugh and say, "you can't afford me."
but this time, well,
I took a deep breath, and I said, "Wednesday, May 21st,"
and he was delighted. Delighted.
So, welcome to my new life. Teacher Misty: exit, stage left. Enter: Counselor Misty.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I've always been whatever it is I'm currently working at: student, teacher. I've never really just been me. And now, well, and now the last kiddo is heading into his senior year of high school. And I'm packing up my room. I have my master's degree. Not a student, or a teacher, and the kids are moving out.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I'm going to bed.
Marathon #7 is done!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Without a lot of uphill climbing, I won't heat up as much as I usually do. I'll wear a long-sleeve meshy-wicking shirt to wear at race start, over which I'll wear over my meshy wicking Marathon Maniacs singlet. If I get warm, I'll take off the shirt underneath. As this is a well-supported course, I'll not be carring much other than a waist pack with my inhaler in it. My trusty New Balance 768s and my moving comfot Fitness Shorts complete the ensem.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Also making me feel good today:
the instructor was even out of commission - she just had major knee surgery - but is so good at what she does that she can instruct without having to actually do it herself. As for me, well, something about that little flashing number on the display made me work harder that usual. I had sweat pouring down me, something that I normally hate and avoid even while knowing it's good for me.
So I know what I must do now.
- 3 more full days of teaching left (Goal: stay calm as the days wind down and the kids become increasingly destructive and sullen. At this point, they are peeling the edging off the tables and putting holes in the walls in the hallways.)
- 4 days to marathon #7, the Ogden Marathon (Goal: 5:30? Is that even possible for me?)
- 25 days left to my next sprint triathlon. The last time I did this one, it took me 1:47. My goal would be to do it faster than that.
- 40 days left to the ice bath Ironman Coeur D'Alene. Goal: A far less dramatic finish than IM-Loo, in under 17 hours. My cold water swim training begins May 25th.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I try not to make too many judgements about people who do this sort of thing even though, quite honestly, I think it looks stupid and the thought creeps unbidden into my brain that, perhaps, the wearer might be, too.
- THESE TWO IDIOTS PUNCHED HOLES IN THEIR EARS AND NOW THEY NEED SOME ICE FOR IT. 1:45 PM, ROOM 29, MP.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Last year, and every year before that, members of the Student Association went around with a little cart and offered us coffee and/or orange juice and/or a pastry. They showed up at our door and made a production of pouring us some coffee, and asking if we wanted creme or sugar or lo-cal sweetener, and announced to the class that it was National Teacher Appreciaton Week.
This year was a bit jarring, and a reminder of the current budget crisis: we got an email notifying us that there were four or five dozen plain glazed donuts in boxes in the activities office; if you want one: come get it, first come, first served (there are over 100 teachers at our school.)
I was all excited when I got up today. , because when it comes right down to it, all I really ask for what I do is a place to park, a padded chair, and the occasional chance to wear jeans.
Then Sweet Baboo put the kaibosh on my morning jeans dance by asking me, don't you have an interview today?
Crap. Well, of course, he was right. I did have an interview today, for a school counselor position in my district, possibly working with elementary-aged children. I went in search of one of my feel-good outfits (you know the one, it's comfortable and whenever you wear it people tell you how fabulous you look?)
My feel good outfit is one of several 2-piece jacket-dress sets that we teachers are famous for, from Pennys, which Pirate loves to mock. (Some day, I will be chic. Today is not that day. I work with kids. )
But anyway. I put on the teacher-dress, and it was then that I realized, lo and behold, it's far, far too big.
I took a spool of thread and a needle to work with me and I had to move the buttons on my little jacket over three inches.
Not quite as dramatic as punching holes in a new belt, but I'll take it!
As far as the interview, I alternate between feeling like things went well and thinking, oh, crap, I should have said...
So, it was a structured interview. I sat behind a table, facing about 7 committee members behind a different table who where all wearing teacher jacket-dresses (go me!) and took turns asking me nine pre-scripted questions designed to reveal the most capable candidate.
My favorite scripted question, after I told them I'd been a schoolteacher for nearly nine years was: What, if any, classroom experience have you had?
I felt like the interview went well.
All the people interviewing me seemed perfectly professional and reasonable and pleasant, and I would enjoy working with and for any and all of them.
I'm not just saying that on the off-chance that one of them happens to read my blog.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
So in my ironman I forgot my bike. And my wetsuit. I had nothing to wear and nowhere to go AND I was late for the swim. I had my fastskin, but the water was going to be really cold.
Anyway, in the dream, I still couldn't figure out where everyone was, and I was afraid of being trapped underwater in one of the conduits going the wrong way. I asked the spectators where everyone was, they just looked and me dumbly and said, "they all left all ready. You need to hurry!" So there I was, no bike, late start, still hadn't started swimming, but then, for some reason, I decided to go shopping and buy some Ironman stuff.
Monday, May 05, 2008
But I did.
And I shouldn't enjoy the news that you'll be a freshman again next year.
But I do.
Just not for the reasons you'd suspect.
See, you're a beautiful, smart, talented upper middle-class kid from the suburbs, from a nice family that dotes on you. You're not abused or neglected. So, why are you like this? Not because you have some dark tragedy in your life. No, the real tragedy is that nobody ever said 'No' to you before. You failed nearly every class last year, and were promoted to 9th grade anyway. Despite your Fs and school suspensions, you still have a cell phone and an ipod and a car.
You've been given chance after chance after chance, and what have you done with it? You're intelligent, and have only managed to pass choir and PE. You've gotten over two dozen office referrals this year. Many of these were for bullying other students. Nearly a third were for swearing at your teachers when they asked you to settle down and stop being so disruptive, and cussing out substitutes and office staff: All people who were just doing their job.
Now here's a newsflash: At the end of the day, I get in my car, and drive home. I sleep well. We all do, we "losers" with our degrees, our jobs, our friends and our families.
And you, well, you'll be a freshman again next year. That fact is fundamentally unchangeble. No amount of summer school will save you. Your friends will be moving to another school, and you'll still be here. Hopefully, you'll learn something from this very painful lesson. Hopefully, that "NO" will be meaningful enough for you to make some changes. We'll see.
Oh, and one more thing: if and when you reach "Step 8," don't pick me. I'm not interested.
Oh wait, one more thing:
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Anyway. This race was well-run, with a well-marked course and super nice voluteers (aren't they always?) BUT it was a difficult race for several reasons.
First, it was 28 degrees at the start. My new rule: If you're comfortable at the start, you're overdressed. I wore several lightweight layers: a wicking thermal l/s shit from REI, the kick-ass shirt that you get from signing up for this race, my favorite Brooks hoodie with built-in mitties. I carried a small pack with some carbo-pro 1200 and assorted sundries, like TP, bandaids, advil, eye drops, and a water bottle. The race provided HEED and assorted trail foods, aid stations between 4 and 6 miles apart. For breakfast, I had 2 quaker oatmeal-to-go bars, some coffee, and some Hydrade.
This is one tough course. Over 4000 feet of climbing, much of it over ATV-torn very sandy ground and a couple of wet stream crossings. Also, high altitude and I do not get along. The race started at over 8000 feet above sea level, and before long, I was breathless and bitchy, which gave way to despair as I settled to a very dark place
E.g., I hate everyone. I hate colorado. I hate mountains. I hate people on ATVs. I hate sand. I hate that bird. Stupid bird. I hate that rock. Stupid rock.
I managed to catch and pass a few people at the end, so I think there were a half dozen or so people behind me.
My results: finishing time was about 7:02 or so, and I wasn't last. So, go me.
Then I got an egg-salad sandwitch loaded with veggies and it was the best egg salad sandwitch EVAR.
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