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

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

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More progress.

I went to Cochiti yesterday with Cindy. I cut a couple slits in the neck of my wetsuit, and took some advice: I stood in the 58 degree water and let the water fill my wetsuit, and then waited for the water to warm up inside the wetsuit, and then stuck my face in the water and blew, to get over the shock of the cold. And then, I was fine. Holy cow, that wetsuit is snug, but I can move in it. Baboo asked if I needed a larger-sized wetsuit, but I told him what I really need is a smaller-sized me.

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

Better now.

I'm over my hissy fit. I guess, deep down inside, we all fantasize that we'd be terribly missed and that people will chase after us: "No, wait! Give us another chance, PLEASE????" By the way, thanks for all the nice hugs, blogger peeps. You guys are awesome.

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

Thanks for the memories, now go away.

So today I went down to the district office for my final "checkout." This is where, I've come to realize, that they make sure you aren't taking off with all manner of equipment, such as, who the hell knows. Textbooks? Wire in-baskets? AND they wouldn't check me out until I turned in (yesterday) my annual reflection of my year as a teacher. I'm not making that up. I was tempted to just type, "I'M QUITTING. HOW DO YOU THINK IT WENT?"

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

My limeric - late, as always...

Here's my entry to the tri-blogger limeric-mania. Such as it is.

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.

...

Milestones.


Every notice that you're just slogging along at your usual pokey pace, and then one day you have that workout that's just WOW! so awesome and you realize the hard work actually has a payoff?

I had one of those last night. It's weird how, when it happens, I don't have a clue that I'm about to have one of the best workouts EVAR. In fact, I was being such a lazy butt that I made the decision to put off my morning run on the pretext that, really, I should run at night because, you know, I'll be running at night at Ironman CDA...yeah, whatever.


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.

Then, for some reason, I was actually running up the hill instead of shuffle-jogging it. I was also doing something I rarely do: breathing big and deep from my belly.

I kept waiting for my legs to get tired. They didn't. I kept waiting for my breathing to become labored. It didn't. You know, I don't think I've been breathing right. I think I've been breathing too shallow from my chest because I worry so much about not getting enough air--does this make sense?

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.

Then this morning Cindy and I climbed Tramway. Tramway is about a 1000 foot gain of elevation over 6 miles. Not monstrous, but a steady climb. I kept waiting for the fangs and the claws to make their appearance and then, there we were: at the top.

I climbed Tramway. What was I so afraid of?

A side note: According to Weight-Watchers, the Tramway climb doesn't burn off a medium carmel machiato and large cheese danish. Next time I'll skip the danish and get a small machiato.


...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Open Water Freak-Outs PSA

Today I went with SW Tri Gal, Bones, Sweet Baboo, and others to Cochiti Lake to get in my first long open water swim of the season.

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.

or Whatever.

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

Tour d'Albuquerque

If you live in Albuquerque, as with many cities, in order to do a century training ride you have to go outside of town or ride loops around the city, or live in a city whose distance across is 100 divided by pi. You're welcome for that math moment.

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

Shiny new lives require a lot of paperwork.

The mysterious and supportive MJ sent me a couple of really great quotes, which I intend to print out nice and big in a nice, fancy font because I found them encouraging and also because they are entirely appropriate for a therapeutic environment:

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.

Six. Weeks.

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.

Ugh.

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

It's nice to be wanted.

Item number 1: This is not me. I never thought I'd see someone with the same name as me.

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,

this time.

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

So...now what?

Tomorrow I'm going in to school and pack up my stuff, and do my end-of-the-year checkout for the last time. And then...well...then...I won't be a teacher any more.


This is proving to be surprisingly difficult for me. Yes, it's become hateful and tedious, but it's familiar hatefulness and tediousness. At least I knew the routines. For the past 9 years, I've identified myself as "a schoolteacher". Many positive assumptions are made based people knowing you're a teacher (patient, nurturing, likes kids, needs some free office supplies) who teaches ninth-graders (really patient) and teaches math (must be smart, too).

Before I was a teacher, I was a college student studying to be a teacher.

I think like a teacher. I boss people in public. I give other people's children scolding looks. I dress like a teacher.

So...how will I know what to be?
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.
What do I do? I'm sort of in a transition phase, right now.
Gawd, that sounds weak. I've worked since i was 15, with the exception of one year that I thought I'd try to be a stay-at-home mom and BOY, am I not cut out for that...my Dad pounded it into me: You are what you do, and if you don't do anything, you aren't anything.

And I'm not really doing anything. So am I nothing? I've spent my entire adult life, since age 19, taking care of mine or someone else's kids.

Well, then, what am I?

What will I do with my shiny new me?

Sigh. More stuff to think about, I guess. During a run, or something.

...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finished - Ogden Marathon


I still smell like wood smoke from the warming fires they put at the start line. So the volunteers were fabulous. Lots of potties, and plenty of aid stations.

The course was gorgeous - it starts out as lush pasture land ringed with snow-capped peaks and a soft, cold breeze blowing. The race ran around a small lake and then up a hill and down a canyon, and you saw a gorgeous waterfall. and desperately wished you were in that cold mountain stream. It would just take a minute, the little voice whispers. and it would feel oh, so good.

The locals were happy and supportive; my only complaint was the genius around mile 14 who thought that the same day that 2000 people ran past his property would be a good day to do a controlled ditch burn. Thanks for the smoke, pal!

My time was around 5:50, one of my slowest for this 26.4 mile course. I wasn't DFL, either. I saw a busload of people being taken down past me around mile 18, but I don't know if they were relay runners or people who didn't make the mile 17 mile cutoff (more on that later). It was pretty damned hot at the end - mid eighties, which is great for hanging out but hot for running. I don't know if that affected my time, but by mile 15 or so I was running comfortably under a 13 minute mile pace...

And then, there was this hill. THE HILL. It shows up as a blip in the course profile, but make no mistake about it: its purpose is to suck the life out of you and take away your will to live. After you've climbed this hill, you'll never be cool again in this marathon. After hiking up this hill, my pace just started climbing. I stripped off my shirt and then my singlet and was just bakin'.

This would be a good race for beginners, with just a couple caveats:

1) You must, must, must do some training on downhills. You will discover muscles you didn't know you had, otherwise, and they will be angry, those muscles. Oh, yes, they will.

2) There is a cutoff at mile 17, I think it's 4:20. This isn't a problem for most; as slow as I am I hit mile 17 about 3:15. But, it's not a course for walkers. Race-walkers or walk-runners, yes. Walkers, not so much.
Sweet baboo ran an insanely fast 3:46.

I'm not sure I want to keep doing road races. The trail runs take longer and the climbing makes for a hell of a workout, but I just feel so beat up after a road marathon. My knees ache. My right archilles aches.

I'm going to bed.

Marathon #7 is done!

...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Adventure Begins.

I'm sitting here on my bed multitasking: writing this, eating a chocolate Quaker rice cake, drinking a [small] margarita, and packing for this weekend's marathon. This will be my 7th marathon in my quest to eventually do one in every state, and the 6th I've done in the past ten months.

Okay, today isn't really margarita day - I didn't even know that existed until I found this picture; apprently it's February 22nd. But today is margarita day for me.

The thing is, today was my last full day as a teacher. It's just two 1/2 days of final exams and then I return to the life that I put aside.

I had my first child at 19. Then in 1991 (with #3 on the way) I looked over a small pool of careers I knew I'd enjoy and be good at, and chose the one that seemed the most responsible given my three children. I don't hate kids, or schools. It's just that I've spent the last 25 years taking care of children - mine and other people's, and now I'm ready to do something else.

So yesterday, I had my final annual review as a teacher, where I was pronounced "awesome" and my evaluator hugged me and said that if I changed my mind about leaving, to let her know. I feel good about leaving teaching after nearly 9 years without burning any bridges.

At the same time, change is scary, for me. I'm verrrrry nervous. I know the ins and outs of my school and most of the people in there. I'll be going to a newish place with newish people and newish policies, both written, unwritten, spoken and unspoken, where I don't have a reputation as a veteran anything. Yikes!

But anyway, the marathon. The weather forecast for Ogden: Mid 50s (F) at race start, and highs in the lower 80s by the afternoon.

Here's the course profile:
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.

But of course, it goes without saying that I'll have the insanely sexy toe socks in attendance.

My goal: beat my Mississippi and Las Vegas times (about 5:45) We'll see. My next post will be after the marathon, so cross your fingers for me, and will the clouds to cover the Utah sun.

...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ways to feel good again.

Okay, so I have some rotten students. But then I hear about the really, really, really good kids that I know are out there and then I feel better.
Have you heard about this girl who was carried around the bases by the opposing team after hitting a home run?
Be prepared to seriously sniffle:

I mean, am I like the last person in the world to know about Quaker Chocolate Rice Cakes? They're 60 calories, about 1.2 WeightWatcher points each. I've already had four of them.

Okay. Maybe that's defeating the purpose of low-cal food to eat half the bag of it, but I needed some feel-good stuff.
Two more days of teaching left.

...

Heart Zones Workout

I did a heart zones spin class last night for the first time in a long time. And, I sweated buckets in that class, for the first time in a long time. It. Was. AWESOME.

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.


I must avoid this class like the plague because I hate sweating Make sure I go to this class weekly, and see if there are other heart zone classes I can attend.
--> Okay, completely off topic as images go, but I found this by putting "sweaty" into an image search and I had to include it. (At least one person will find this appealing)
Count downs:
  • 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.
Current mood: anticipatory

Current weight: 157. And holding. The mother's day pizza didn't help, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. As my weight goal for IM-CDA is 145, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll make it.

...

Monday, May 12, 2008

LOOOOOOONG DAY.

AAAAGGGHHH!

rottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrottenrotten
ROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTENROTTEN
KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so thankful for spin class.

I'm so thankful for sweat.

...

You must have holes in your head.


Friday at work I got to say something that I have never said before. Did you ever have one of those moments? You say something, and then you think to yourself, Hey, I bet nobody has ever said that before.

It happened like this: Carlos (not his real name) came up to me and asked me if I had any jumbo-sized paperclips he could have.

Normally, this is not an issue. I am a teacher. Carlos is a student. There are papers. Hence, paperclips.
However, Carlos has a 17% and an announced intention not to do any work and just chill until he can get his GED. He also likes to fling and shoot things. So I asked, trying not to sound too suspicious, What for?

"To put through my lip. This is irritating it." He gestured to what appeared to be a small zip tie he had somehow threaded through his lip piercing.
Carlos, you need to disinfect that. Paper clips aren't hygenic. You need something make from stainless steel. It's not a good idea.

He thought about that for a moment. Then,

"So you're not going to give me a paperclip?"

The ASL interpreter coughed to cover her laughter.
And that's when I said the sentence that I bet nobody else has said. And here it is:

"No Carlos, I will not give you a jumbo-sized paperclip to stick through the hole in your lip."

Now, earlier in the week a couple of kids were comparing gauges - in case you don't know, there is a whole speciality of products designed for making you look like a member of African tribe. There are, for instance, special tapers for gradually making the holes in your ears bigger, because when it comes to holes in your head perhaps size does matter, and as you may have seen at the local coffee house or grocery store, you can also buy little plates that snap across the large plastic holes in the ears. Perhaps that's to stop the whistling noise, I don't know.

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.

So Carlos and one of his buddies were daring each other to extend their gauging, and eventually approached me and asked if they could go to the nurse's office because, oddly enough, their earlobes hurt.

Let me get this straight: you've spent this class period trying to stretch even bigger holes in your head instead of working, and now you want me to send you to the nurse?

"Yeah, that's right."

I pondered for a moment and realized that legally and ethically, I had to send them, and so I wrote this pass out:
  • THESE TWO IDIOTS PUNCHED HOLES IN THEIR EARS AND NOW THEY NEED SOME ICE FOR IT. 1:45 PM, ROOM 29, MP.
I heard that after the nurses finished laughing, they put the pass up on the bulletin board for display.

...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Misc. teacher stuff.


Today was the last day of National Teacher Appreciation week.

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.)
Then, we got another email telling us how much we were appreciated, and that in honor of this week, we could wear denim on Friday.

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.


Really, I'm not.

...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Iron Anxiety.

I was reading Neoprene Wedgie's blog about his Iron-mares and it reminded me of the nightmare I had a few days ago.

I used to have nightmares about not making it to class in time, or suddenly realizing I'd 'forgotten' to go to class all semester long and showing up on final exam day. Baboo and I referred to these as the "graduate school dreams." I've come to appreciate that pretty much anyone in a long=term, high-anxiety situation has dreams that are similar in nature.

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.

So, in the dream, I showed up at this small lake, which was connected to a fountain at the mall. That's where the swim took off from. The swimmers were already gone. These fountains where people were swimming were all connected by underground conduits and you had to hold your breath and swim underwater to get from one to the next. Since I was late to the swim I didn't know which direction the swimmers had taken...so was running through this MALL in my fastskin asking people, 'which way did the Ironman swimmers go?' and everyone was like, 'what ironman swimmers?' and I was thinking, in the dream, how could you miss a couple thou swimmers?

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.

Stupid anxiety. Stupid dreams.

Like I need another reason to be freaked out about this whole thing.

Current estimates are that the lake at CDA may "warm up" to 57 or so degrees. Okay, the only thing I have to say about that is: maybe I should hang onto some body fat. I will be working on speed and practicing in my new long-sleeve wetsuit soon, and starting around the 23rd, I'll be heading up to Lake Cochiti every week to do a 2.2 mile swim. I think the lake at Cochiti is into the 50s now.
In other news, I put in over 400 miles on the bike in April. For me, who is lazy and dislikes cycling, that is unheard of. I'd like to finish the bike in 8 hours this time, if possible. It's going to be cooler and less humid, which is a plus.
...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dear Princess...

Okay, I shouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did, that moment when you shouted at me about what a bitch I am, in front of the vice principal.

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

Collegiate Peaks 25-mile Trail Run Race Report

I debated for a moment whether to call this a race report. It's not really a race for me, after all. not really. But then I decided that, most of the time, it's a race not to be last. So, I'll go with that.

This race, in Bueno Vista, Colorado (and you must, you MUST pronounce it "BEYOONA Vista" to the locals, because I guess it sounds Hispanic or something otherwise...)

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.

Then,

Why, oh why did I think I could do this. I can't. I'm too out of shape, I'm too heavy, and I'm not trained enough

And eventually,

I suck.

One thing I did try was what Doc suggested: deliberately hyperventilate, just a little, before climbing those hills. So for most of the race I went up the hills breathing deep and fast, trying o get as much oxygen and trying to ignore my rapidly swelling fingers and hands.
Here's my annotated course profile:

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 goal for the day: Finish the 25-mile trail run about 7 hours or so, and don't be last.

My results: finishing time was about 7:02 or so, and I wasn't last. So, go me.
Dontacha JUST love those feet?
I'm a dirty girl, all right.
I got to finish with Sweet Baboo, who was gentlemanly enough to let me go first and officially "beat" him. He does that sometimes.

Then I got an egg-salad sandwitch loaded with veggies and it was the best egg salad sandwitch EVAR.
Then I had a little Ben and Jerry's and it was the best Ben and Jerry's EVAR.
Then I had some Lays chips and--you guessed it.
The best.
EVAR.
Sweet Baboo and I were running together because of an incident on the trail. He started out and, of course, wound up well ahead of me pretty quickly. I was perhaps 3rd or 4th from last. So I was surprised when, just after the 2nd aid station, around mile 11 or so to see Sweet Baboo hauling ass up the hill toward me.
"You on your way back already?" I asked, surprised, since his original plan was to finish the 25 mile run, then backtrack and do the course backwards, which is the 50-mile course.

"NO - THERE'S A RUNNER DOWN AND I'M GOING TO GET HELP!" He shouted this breathlesslessly and red-faced as he tore up the hill past me.

After a while, a search and rescue car passed me. Or maybe Sweet Baboo caught up to me first. I don't remember.
From what we heard, the guy didn't make it. He may have taken his last look at life facing the snowy-peaks of the Rocky Mountains. I don't have the details yet.

So that's it about that run, I guess. Bittersweet.
I suppose that, if I were to go suddenly, I'd like it to be on a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, with perhaps my last thoughts being about the cold drink I'm going to have at the finish, surrounding by like-minded people.

...