UPCOMING EVENTS: Hartford (RI) marathon, Newport (CT) marathon in October,
Soldier (GA) marathon, Pensacola (FL) marathon, and Pilgrim Pacer Marathons (KS) in November

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

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Well, now, that's just sad.

Not that I was laid off, me with my teaching credentials, AFTER school had already begun...

Not that Baboo has been gone all week and I've been lone-lone-loney, bored, and eating too much...

No, this is what's just sad:

AUGUST TOTALS (Might go up before September 1st)
Bike: 41 miles
Run: 63 miles
Swim: 2600 M

That's just sad because I really had thought I'd put out an effort and make this a pleasant marathon (yes, the one that's in 1 week) but noooooooo...... I sat on my ample behind and studied and read and emailed.

Well.

I thought about my alternatives, bag it and do the half marathon (kind of defeats the purpose of it starting 3 blocks from my house, since the half mary starts 15 miles from my house) or looking like a total badass (or idiot, depending on your point of view) and doing it anyway.

Since I'm into self-punishment I opted for the latter. Oh, no, there will be no PR next Sunday, my friends. In fact, it will most likely be a PW (Personal worst). But it's all good. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?

...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1. Yesterday, while on the phone to DP (who was collecting her health food at "chick-fil-a") I reached into a box of ace bandages and tape that I keep high up on a shelf in my laundry room. In it were my lost keys that I misplaced in June, and have already replaced. I knew I'd find them, I just figured it would be in a place that made sense.

2. I figured out that the climb at Ironman Utah isn't as

bad as I thought it was. It climbs 1800-2000 feet over 30 miles, which is a grind, but not as bad as a local climb I practice on; Tramway climbs 1000 feet over 6 miles which is considerably steeper

3. Yesterday morning it was 54 degrees out. Ahhhh. This is my favorite time of year in the Land of Enchantment: chilly mornings and warm afternoons.

4. It's probably presumptuous of me to say it, okay write it, out loud, but there it is. My hair, my skin, myself: I Look Cute Today. I don't even feel fat.

5. My left foot hurts. I'll be wearing ugly shoes until it stops.

6. My law class is pretty interesting, but the textbook is the world's most boring book. Psychopharmacology is, HANDS DOWN, the coolest, most interesting class I've ever taken.

7. No job callbacks yet. I'm giving myself 2 weeks from today to start getting interviews, and if there are none, then I'll start taking on more clients at the counseling center. Something is better than nothing, even if 40% of the time clients fail to show. I'm really PISSED at the center director for changing his mind about the intakes position AFTER school already started.

8. A few men have shared with me that when they took a class in multiculturalism, they were terrified to open their mouth to contribute opinions, as they get shouted down as the "oppressors". It's a shame, too.
I've been doing some reading of published research, and although most adults in need of social services are men, only 15% of social workers are. I'm working on a project for advanced research class on "Men as an underrepresented population in social work." I expect it to be politically incorrect and draw the ire of several angry women. Bring it on. In my opinion, being a feminist means paying attention to all populations in need of help, not just the ones you think should need help.

9. Favorite line from the new "Hoarders" series: I wouldn't classify myself as a hoarder...I'm a saver" Um, yeah. And I don't have anxiety, I'm just a bit edgy.

10. One of our favorite (Sweet Baboo and I) favorite things to watch is the evacuation of the hills. This is the phenomenon that occurs during a sudden downpour. Hikers, walkers, mountain bikers, and runners come pouring down out of the hills running like hell for their cars. There's always that one person who saunters. Usually a man, he's all, what the hell - I'm already wet. I'm unemployed; this is cheap entertainment.

11. I've worked since I was 15 years old, and the last time I was unemployed was in 1990, when I spent about 14 months to see if I'd like being a "housewife". I had three children under six and thought I would lose my freaking mind. So I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.

12. I need to come up with a schedule, while I'm home, to keep me on task and organized. I need a system.

13. Take a look this woman, who is featured in a recent copy of Glamour magazine. DP sent me this link, and when I first saw her, I was startled: hey, how did that stranger get my ruined stomach? Kinda puts things in perspective, huh? She is a "plus-sized" model. I mean, She's gorgeous.
...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Training blahs.


So, I'm following this training plan, or trying to, anyway. Problem is, it isn't a training plan for someone who does high-altitude, hot races on the day before I'm supposed to do my long runs. EEP. There's something about a real hot workout that just wears me out. I wind up napping most of the rest of the day, and I never get to that long run the next day...I do all the short ones, so my volume is up. Well, sorta. The truth is, I'm sick of the heat. It's got me pretty uninspired.


Just in time: it's finally cooling off. Still...

remember: I. am. lazy. I'm also deep into feeling sorry for myself for losing my job. And, I've been fooling myself in believing that moving boxes of stuff out of the garage equates to training for triathlon.

So far, for August:
Bike, 41 miles (oooh. pathetic.)
Run, 51 miles.
Swim, 1600 meters.

Anyway, my longest run to date since the "Run the Caldera" marathon in June has been 13 miles, and I'm doing the New Mexico marathon in 2 weeks. Gonna be a Long. Day.

I just set my almost finished bowl of cereal next to me to start writing, and realized that my cat was not snuggling and purring, she was finishing the bowl for me. And purring. Dammit. Does it every occur to anyone except me how odd it is, on occasion, that there are animals living in my house?
Animals. In my House. eating and peeing, and not always what and where they are supposed to do these things, which since the day we moved out of caves and into houses, are OUTSIDE.

I'm cranky.

I'm optimistically hoping that the triathlons that have been preempting my long runs are doing something to help me in the area of endurance, even though they've all been sprints.

and Baboo isn't here. He's somewhere else, on business, which means I'll eat badly, stay up too late, and generally take crappy care of myself. I'm pretty certain at this point that if he wasn't in my life, I'd be huge, miserable, tired, and depressed. We take good care of each other.

Gonna go eat some eggs now. I should go out, even for a quick run. Oh, wait...the hummingbird feeder needs filling...

...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Formula 1 Triathlon at the Bottomless lakes

800 m swim, 14k bike, 4k run, 14k bike, 4k run. It is essentially the Bottomless Lakes Triathlon course, done twice.

Draft legal.

Expected high: 99 degrees F.

So the first thing I noticed when I came into T2, after completing the first loop of this evil, weird, hot, fun little sprint was Sweet Baboo's bike, parked opposite of mine. This meant he was out on the first loop of the run. This, in itself, was not unusual. What was unusual was that his bike did not have a seat.

To be more precise, the seat and its attached post were lying on the ground next to the bike. It seemed to me that this was not the best way to be prepared for loop 2 of the bike.

As I was switching my helmet for a running hat, my bike shoes for running shoes, and grabbing a water bottle and race belt, I asked a volunteer standing nearby about the bike. Oh, that guy - I guess he lost a part and his seat came off. He rode his bike in on his pedals, holding his seat.

Well, of course he did.

I went out onto the first loop of the run, wondering if he would continue the race. Well, of course he would, I thought. I saw him, coming back on the out-and-back 4k run, and yelled out to him: If you pull this off, you're going to be a legend! He whooped at me.

Of course, of course - when I came back into T3 (you read that right - T3) and switched back into cycling gear to do the 2nd 14k loop, of course, his bike was gone. This is an extremely bumpy ride, by the way. Sweet Baboo did half of the first loop of the bike standing up, ran 4k, did the second loop of the bike on his pedals, and then ran the 2nd 4k, and got 2nd place Clydesdale. I married a stud.

I'm a studdette, I guess. I got 2nd place Athena, and a darker tan. I'm SO not going to have the same youthful, lily-white skin my mom had when I reach my 50s. But I got me some bling.

...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Special Anti-Hoarding Edition

  1. My biopsy results were benign. Doc wants to keep an eye on it, but apparently, many people get lumps on their thyroids as they age, for no reason.

  2. I've spent my week off throwing things away. Our new house is much smaller, particularly the garage. My natural tendency which is to hang onto things, but I'm boxing, bagging, donating and tossing. Very proud of myself for this.

  3. Me throwing stuff out and clearing out the garage makes Sweet Baboo very happy. I think it makes him happier than anything else I could do.
    No, seriously: I know what you're thinking. ANYTHING.

  4. Since I've lost my office, I need a place to study and do my assignments. Before Monday, the #2 bedroom in the new house was full of boxes of things that needed to be organized into it. Monday, I cleaned it out and organized it and now I have a place to work.

  5. Food is a challenge. We shop at Costco. We have cases of stuff, but no pantry.

  6. As I lighten the house, I am also lighter. After lunch yesterday, I weighed myself. 168.8 lbs. The weight is finally coming off. Just in time for WINTER. No, no, no, no! Must think positively.
  7. So here's what I hear and see all day while home: THUD! *feathers wafting down outside the window* THUD! *more feathers* THUD! et cetera. The windchimes have stopped working. This morning, I found a lifeless body outside the window. Next step is a specially constructed screen to protect the birdies.

  8. Sweet Baboo and I came home not too long ago to find a headless dove on the sidewalk in front of the door, with no blood anywhere, and a desert tortoise right next to it, with a bit of down under his chin, looking at us. He was like, "whut?"
    This scene, I'm convinced, could be an analogy for something, but I haven't decided what.

  9. My black cat, who pees everywhere, insists on trying to sneak out every open door. I'm inclined to oblige, except that there are lots of coyotes around here. I want her out, but I don't want her eaten.

  10. The quail that live in our yard are very fat. They are so lucky I'm a vegetarian.

  11. This weekend, I'm doing the "F1 Triathlon" at Bottomless lakes in Southern NM. It's a draft-legal triathlon, with an 800 meter swim. You do a 400 meter swim, get out and run around a timing mat, and then repeat it. Then you bike 9 miles, then run 2.4 miles, then bike again, then run again. It will start as soon as it's hot. Traditionally, few women do it. I expect to be dead last. I'm okay with it.

  12. Dr Ken informed me Tuesday that he had decided, after all, that I would not do intakes. I'm still invited to see clients full time. The problem is, the intakes were a sure thing, and the clients have a 40%, on average, no-show rate, and several area mental health clinics have closed down, throwing counselors out of work. I lack the entrepeneurial spirit, and do not considerable variable paychecks any kind of 'fun' adventure.
    Well, I mean, what would you do?
    --if you were licensed to teach math, science, or be a school counselor...
    --if you knew that at any given time, within a 15 mile radius in most urban areas, some principal, somewhere, was desperately looking for staff because the head count had just come in and school starts THIS WEEK...

    well, what would you do?

  13. Yeah, me too. I've applied for both teaching and counseling positions this week. Fingers crossed.. . :-)
...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A backwards post for a mixed up triathlon: Los Alamos Sprint Triathlon 2009


So, after the the triathlon I stood in a long line where they had post-race donuts, bagels, cream cheese, cheeses, and home-made potato chips. Twice.


My diet guardian angel lighted gently on my shoulder. She looks and sounds, a lot like Glenda the Witch of the North. She said very sweetly, Oh, but you know sweetie this isn't diet food, but I just slapped that bitch away.

I checked before we left for coffee, and found out that I got 2nd place Athena. I don't feel too bad about that because the 1st place Athena was an ex-pro cyclist.

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

The run was disappointing. Not because it wasn't well marked, it was. Not because it was hot, because it wasn't; the swim had made me nice and cool and I enjoyed the mountain air and piney scent. There were cars all over the road, which was surprising since it was listed as a "closed course". Most of the volunteers were doing their best to direct traffice with the exception of one volunteer at the corner of 8th street who stood, motionless, reading a book. She was doing that on my way out. She was doing that on my way back. The rest, though, were working hard.

No, what was disappointing was that on the way out, I didn't realize it was slightly downhill. If I had, I might have picked it up a little. When I'm above 7000 feet, though, it all feels hard to me. It was the longest 5k I've ever done, and when I finally turned around, I realized that it was uphill most of the way back. THAT was disappointing. No idea what my time was. I didn't wear a watch. I didn't care; I just jogged it out.

I came into the finish line, which was slightly uphill, to find that I'd taken nearly TWO HOURS to complete this triathlon. Holy hell, that was hard!

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

The run to the swim from the bike, I swear, had to be a quarter mile long. The swim, in the middle, was nice, but I could feel my slowness. More people from later waves passed me in the water. I got out of the pool, and headed to the T2 transition area, which wasn't on the same sided as the T1 transition area. I wiped off my feet, took off my goggles, put on my hat, and shoes, and headed out.

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

I was a bit nervous about the mass bike start, but they did it in waves. I was in the first wave, charming referred to, by Tina, as the "geriatric wave," and it had its good points and bad points.
BAD: when you're in the first
wave, you get passed. A LOT.
GOOD: if it's an out-and-back course, as this one was, you can see all the people behind you and pretend that they weren't in later waves; you just rock that much.

Now, I didn't travel all the way to Los Alamos, New Mexico, with that thought that this wasn't going to be hilly. I knew what I was getting into, alright. The way out was mostly uphill, or felt like it. Then it was rollers for a while heading gently down, and then you climbed up after the turnaround, and came screaming back downhill. Which sounds like fun. Unless you've seen unexpected potholes, haven't driven the course, and don't know what to expect. In any case, on the uphill parts, being as it was so high up in elevation, I was moving incredibly slow. So slow, in fact, that I got off my bike at one point to see what was wrong with it. Nope, that was allllll me, you betcha. I worked very hard to pass a girl on a mountain bike, becuase I can't stand being chicked by racewalkers or mountain bikers, but it was a moot point since she passed me easily on the run. Meh. Whatever.

=======================================
Well-organized, and the ONLY RACE IN TWO YEARS THAT ACTUALLY WEIGHED ITS ATHENAS AND CLYDESDALES! Yes, when I went to step on the scale, instead of actually weighing you (it was a balance scale) the woman set the scale to 150 pounds, and then if you were heavier, it was obvious when the metal arm tipped over and hit the other side. She set it for me. I stepped on it. CLANK!! She set it for 200, for Sweet Baboo, and he stepped on it. CLANK!! and then she checked us off.

I wasn't sure what to think about the format: the race, supposedly the oldest triathlon in North American, was bike-swim-run and had always been that way. No reason to change it.

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

I got up at 4 am this morning to drive to Los Alamos with Sweet Baboo for the 35th annual Los Alamos Triathlon.

...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

  1. I was just telling DP, I THOUGHT WE HAD A DEAL, US AND THE WEATHER GODS: We overlook the obvious downfalls of long periods of no rain, and in exhange we get low relative humidity. Someone's not keeping up their end of the deal if it's really humid AND it's not raining. No fair.
  2. I have to go online and get assigned a provider number so that I can bill clients for therapy. I feel all professional an' sheeit.
  3. Running uphill is getting easier.
  4. I have to admit I do enjoy having a bit longer in the mornings for my workouts.
  5. I have a sprint triathlon this weekend. It should be interesting: It's bike, swim, run, and 7000 feet above sea level.
  6. I just got several huge boxes in the mail.
    Seaman Jon not only ordered a full picture packages of himself in uniform, but frames, too. While I appreciate the gesture, he needs to spend less money. One of them is a 16 x 20. I'm not sure where to put something that big.
  7. My house is like that commercial where the hotel is a black hole for cell phones. Even standing outside doesn't work. I don't understand it; I'm higher than most of the city so there should be a line of sight straight to the nearest tower. Can anyone tell me if they make booster antennas?
  8. Okay. This is a new paraphilia I hadn't heard of before. I give this link with no further comment. I looked this up out of curiosity while watching an episode of CSI.
  9. The best time to get one's neck biopsied is not summer. I've had four people ask me what happened; it's a red puncture mark surrounded by a bruise. I was tempted to say that Sweet Baboo gave me a really big hickie.
  10. Where the hell is my iPod Nano??
  11. There is likely to be some hard feelings at the counseling center when I'm given an office space. It's supposed to be given out on the basis of seniority, and one person there in particular has been under contract 2 weeks longer than I. However, before I was under contract, I did pro-bono work for 2 years, and before that, I was an intern there. I paid my dues, so she can just bite me. There. I said it.
  12. My classes start next week. I'll be taking classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings.
  13. I have the oddest craving for cherry pie.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...but then it stops raining, and eventually, the sun comes out.


I want to thank everyone who have been nice enough to write me personally and wish me well, as well as to share their stories of thyroid madness with me. I gather, from what I've gotten, that if I DO have thyroid cancern (very big IF) that it's like, the BEST CANCER EVAR. I've heard that so many times now that it makes me smile whenever I hear it again.


I've read the most people have lumps on their thyroids as they get older, and it usually is not anything serious. Like the rest of us, our innards get lumpy, too. Meh.

SWTriGal took me down there and then back home. At first, they were describing "a needle the size of a hair" which was an optomistic statement, but I saw the needle, and I said, "my hair doesn't look that that. Who has hair like that? Not me!"

The biopsy was not painful, but it was creepy - it's disturbing to feel something fishing around inside of you. I get very bad nerves in cases like this - I shake, and my teeth chatter, and I figured that shaking was not a good idea whilst a needle was in my neck, so I popped a couple of benedryl and some Valerian beforehand, which took the edge off. The procedure felt not unlike I'd swallowed a potato chip that was too big - vaguely uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I've donated blood and suffered more. My neck is sore today.

So, good news: I'm starting a new job next week at the counseling center that I've worked in on and off over the past 4-5 years. I'll be taking over the clinical interview/intake, which is where I sit with a new client and interview them about their life history, current problems, et cetera, and then put down a diagnosis and recommended treatment. I'm looking forward to this. It's interesting, and uses the skills and education that I've been collecting over the past decade. In addition, I'll be seeing clients for individual therapy. The pay will be less, but we'll get by. My project this week: creative belt-tightening.

Redman has been postponed until next year. Meanwhile, a few days off as I straighten things in the house and reorganize things. I'm actually kind of relieved because it's been unusually hot here, and the heat training is exhausting. Every time we do one of these long bicycle rides in the 99 degree heat, it knocks me out for a few days.

We still have boxes and boxes of stuff owing to our move from a house with 800 more square feet and my general laziness. I've been wanting to do is clear out the garage, but it's just so hot! I'll work on organizing our 2nd bedroom back into a study/office. Oh, and I'm training for the Palo Duro 50K in October. I have a personal score to settle with that race that I need to address which I'll write about later.

...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Full Moon Half Marathon: Plymouth to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Race Report

We started off our Saturday by meeting Iron Snoopy for coffee, who was nice enough to drive all the way out from Chicago to have coffee and a nice long conversation, swapping traithlon war stories and finding out that she got to be, like, thirty-feet from the president of the United States this week.


Then we headed North to Sheboygan, Wis where we met up with JWim and Mike and swapped more stories, and then the four of us ran the Full Moon Half Marathon.

This was a well-coordinated, friendly volunteers, nice course. The course was about 99% protected from traffic, as you ran along a paved recreation path. Blacktop, except for a small amount of cement running. You park at the mall, and a bus takes you to the start line, which has porta-potties, drink, and shade, to wait for the 6:30 pm start.

Sometimes when I first start running, I get this awful, awful burning pain. It's in both legs, where my legs turn into feet, in the front. I'm going to ask my podiatrist about it on Tuesday. I had to take a couple of walk breaks the first 2 miles because this awful, burning intense pain ceases abuptly somewhere between mile 2 and 2.5 - after that, I ran continuously, the first time I've ever run continuously in a half marathon. WOOT!
The humidity was high - I'm not sure how much, but as the sun went down, and the temperature drops and approaches the dew point. It was forecast to be 89%, quite damp for us peeps from the dessert. By the time I finished my clothes were heavy with moisture and my hair was soaked. It wasn't hot, just very, very humid.

Nice countryside with lots of "Queen Anne's Lace" growing along the side of the road. Apprently, it's a weed here, but I looked it up, and it has lots of cool medicinal properties, as well as an edible taproot. Oh, and corn. There was lots of that.

Now, about mile 4, I noticed that, for the second time, a dark blue (I think, it was dusk) suv-type vehicle was parked by the time of the highway, and people were standing up near the fence. A mile or so later I saw it again, and saw a woman refilling a couple of bottles, and then I got it: Someone ahead of me had their very own aid station, following them around which of course is cheating. So I knew what I must do.

Must. Beat. Cheating. Person.

Eventually, I saw that the person ahead of me whose family was following her around, giving her fresh bottles, was a girl, so then I knew what I must do.

Must. Beat. Cheating. GIRL.

Which I did.

At one point, I came upon the family, and gave them a withering look. But then the next time I saw them, looking past me, waiting...I'd summoned the courage to asked them, "Did you know that what you are doing is cheating?" and they laughed, and replied, "Oh, yes."

Nice.

Anyway, I beat cheating girl, who wore a white shirt and black shorts and whose number may have been 351, but I'm not positive about that, and I felt really good, too. I ran the whole race, with an average pace of 12:05, which is phenomenal for me, a PR. I met Baboo, who'd finished nearly an hour before me, at the finish line, and he gave me a G2 and cookies. Then we cheered in Mike and J-Wim.

Nice little race, I recommend it! If you're a slow runner, like me, get one of your fast friends to snag you some cookies in advance when they finish. They go fast.

We got back to the hotel about 11:30 and hit the sack...and then got up at 4:30 to catch our early plane. So now, I sleep.


...

the Mother of a Sailor

Once the pomp and ceremony of graduation was completed, he joined us for
the day. We ate, walked through the mall, saw a movie, and then ate again. He checked his balance in his bank account, and experimentally withdrew $20 of his pay, just because he could.

As we were walking through the mall, a cell phone salesman struck up a conversation with the young sailor fresh from boot camp, asking his about his division, et cetera. I started to warn him about these sales tactics, as he was listening and answering the questions politely, but warnings died on my lips as he assured me that he knew the guy was "just buttering me up".

"They warned us about that. On base. They talked to us a lot about something called 'predatory lending,' too."

He said that this weekend, they were forbidden to drink, smoke, get a tattoo, or sign a contract. He thoughtfully informed us that in the case of his death, we'd get a nice windfall, because of his life insurance.


He talked nonstop about all things Navy; in particular, he talked about how to put out fires. He talked about getting bronchitis, and how they took him to the VA and put him on bed rest for several days. My fears of the military chewing him up and spitting him out were allayed. They took care of him.

I asked him about the many women I'd seen at graduation. Some of them were tiny, barely 5 feet. He told me that some of them were under 5 feet, but they'd done the work, and that everyone treated them with respect - nobody picked on the girls. Everyone was treated fairly.

I asked him about the guy I nick-named "the sidler" who slid sideways up and down the rows when they stood in formation, leading with his shoulder.
"Oh, him - He's checking to see if anyone is about to pass out." He described people who got sick or dizzy when they stood in one place for too long. Nobody was thrashed, they were made to sit down.

He nodded and greeted other sailors walking through the mall with their families, and continued talking about the various simulations and drills they went through. He talked of the kids that could not pass the physical fitness tests, and the one that tried to climb over the wall, past the barbed wire, to get off the base, and another one who tried to run out the gate. Everything, all their training, eating, sleeping - was all done in one building, to simulate life on a ship.

"I don't know why they did that. I mean, was hard, but geeze, it wasn't that hard. I paid attention to everything. I learned a lot. I never really tried that hard in school, you know, so I had a lot of room in my brain." He recounted much of what he'd learned about military history.

He was happy when he saw us at graduation. He was happy when I hugged him good bye. He seemed anxious to be back on base a little earlier than his scheduled watch that evening, so that he wouldn't be caught late, but also to check out the recreation hall, which he hadn't been allowed to visit during boot camp. He didn't linger, but he didn't sprint away from us, either.

No longer Mini-Baboo, the kid whose name I didn't use of concerns of predators. He is an adult now. He is Seaman Jon, with 3 bars that I don't remember the meaning of on his sleeve. And I, his mother of a sailor, am relaxed.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tardy Thursday Thirteen.


1)It is surprisingly cool here. I had to buy a lightweight sweater. Coolish, low 80s, a bit of a breeze. I imagine it does eventually get windy here, because it is so flat. So very, very flat. You know how when you land in a plane, and you suddenly become aware of hills as you are landing because things are blocked from view? That never happened here. It is FLAt, flat, flat.

2) Traveling gives one the chance to see just the very worst of humanity. Weird, freaky people, people full of self-importance and entitlement, and people who didn't learn manners in school. HEY, NO CUTTING!

3) There is a badly needed and sorely missed missed development and marketing opportunity for safe and effective methods to dose children for traveling.

4) The Kansas city airport is sadly lacking in planning. It's just sad all
around. And kinda bland. Even the pizza was bland. The airport is tiny, and to get a decent bite to eat, you had to leave the secure area, meaning that one had to go back through the metal detectors and scanners again.

5) What Chicagoland lacks in hills and altitude it makes up for in humidity. Still....I PR'd at the "Elvis is Alive" 5K. WOOT! IN a wig and a dress (the wig came off at mile .5) I ran a 9:55 5k. I've never been so sweaty after a run before. *Respect*.

6) We were interviewd in custume for the 5k by a reporter, filmed by another reporter, and photographed. I don't know if those will show up anywhere. This was teh best supported 5k I've ever seen. They had an aid station, and a stand-by group of EMTs, and there were constant warnings about what to do if one was "overcome". There was a party afterwards with all runners getting a free beer. Beforehand, everyone got free clif products (builder bars and Mojo bars--yum!) and free muscle milk and gatorade.

7) The graduation ceremony was very military. Still, and I hope nobody takes offense at this: The Navy recruit uniform? The nautical pajamas? A bit silly, as uniforms go.

8) People who have been in the Military take military heroes and history very serious. Very, very seriously. When Sweet Baboo mentioned a particular hero I'd never heard of named Chesty Puller, and I said that sounded like a stripper's name, he was very offended. Well, how did I know? (But I mean, seriously, doesn't it?)

9) Not everyone looked like people who would have a child in the Navy. Some people looked like someone the child in the Navy was escaping. But most were proud and attempted to dress for the occasion. This guy, for instance, wore his best Thug suit, complete with a matching ball cap, which he did not remove for the entire ceremony -->.

10) They showed us a slide show of boot camp while we were waiting for the recruits to enter the hall. The most emotional moment? They showed several slides of recruits folding their clothes tightly and storing them, and making their beds, eliciting "oooooh" and "aaahhhhhh" from the audience.

11) Young Seamen Mini-Baboo talked nonstop about the Navy, and bootcamp, and it seems like we made an excellent choice in the Navy for young Baboo. It was hard, but at the same time they took very good care of him, including when he came down with brochitis. He learned about fire-fighting, which as Baboo sensibly pointed out, was important: on a boat, if there's a fire, you can't evacuate. You have to put out the fire.

12) We took him to Chipotles for "non-chow" food, and to see the new

Harry Potter movie. He also informed us proudly that nobody in his division had ever done a marathon, as he had, and only one other recruit had done an Olympic distance triathlon. He also demonstrated to me his shirt-folding prowess. Apparently, efficiency and compactness of movement and actions is a very big deal, which makes sense when one is confined to small quarter on a boat. He looks unhappy in this picture. He's not. Apparently, when one joins the Military, it's no longer cool to smile for pictures.


13) This is a brief clip of Mini-Baboo's division coming into the hall. video
You'll hear the announcer say, "Halt" in a very calm voice. Everything was calm. The Navy seems to be less about yelling and screaming and fear and much more about stern reprimands.

Next up for Mini-baboo: Sub training school in Connecticut. Next up for us: The Full Moon Half Marathon in Sheboygan, Wi.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Your call is important to us.

Start: at 8 am, with a cup of coffee in one hand, Go to the web site and begin filing a claim for unemployement.

Step 2: GO gather some pertinent information to answer their questions.

Step 3: Get timed out, and not allowed back in the system.

Step 4: Call the local unemployment office and talk to some who--I swear--is on ludes, who promply transfers you to voice mail that asks you to identify by name the person you are calling. Hang up. Call back. explain the problem AGAIN. Be told that "Oh, you won't be able to finish online now. You'll have to call the number.

Step 5: Call the number. No ringing, just a voice that immediately informs you that due to the high call volume, you'll need to call back "later". Press send sixteen times before getting through.

Step 6: Be informed that there are 56 callers ahead of you, and your wait should be less than 20 minutes. The music is loud, hideous and cuts in and out. You cannot leave this one spot in your house in which you know that your cell phone calls will not be dropped--the rest of the house is a black hole and you do NOT WANT TO LOSE THIS CALL.

Step 7: Twenty minutes later, be informed that there are 32 callers ahead of you, and your wait should be less than 8 minutes.

Step 8: Fifteen minutes later, be informed that there are only 23 callers ahead of you, and your wait should be less than 2 minutes. Decide that this must be an alternate universe, where a minute is 120 seconds.

Step 9: Determine also that "number of callers" and "estimated wait time" is not a direct function.
Decide that you will be very, very nice to the customer service rep when they get on the line, because after all, it's not their fault you got laid off, and besides, they could hang up on you, forcing you to spend another 40 minutes waiting on the phone.

Step 10: Worry that your phone battery will die before the customer service rep comes onto the line.

9:28 Your cell phone notifies you that your call has dropped.

Scream loudly. Hope nobody calls 911.

F*ck this Sh*t.

...

Thank you for your time, and good luck.

About 8 months ago I accepted a position for a private non-profit foundation that administrates research at the VA, as a research coordinator in psychiatry. At first, it was great - lots to learn, and the promise of admnistering neuropsych evals. I thought I'd be working with patients and people. Eventually, though, I spent more and more time in my office, doing paperwork and computer work. In 8 months, I worked with one patient.

I kept my counseling job for Dr. Ken, seeing patients for individual therapy every Tuesday afternoon. I worked out the hours by working a bit longer at the research job.

My interest in the new job dwindled. I began to resent it. The pay was great, but I wasn't really doing anything other than occasionally looking for patients for studies, and waiting for things to be approved by an internal review board that moved with geologic speed.

Then, Tuesday morning, I was asked to report to Human resources. At first, I was puzzled, surely I couldn't be in some sort of trouble - I was doing what was being asked of me. I reported to HR, where I was, in effect, handed this letter:

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

Due to lack of funds available to your supervisor, we are notifying you that your position is being terminated today, August 4th, 2009. We are giving you two (2) week severance pay, as well as pay for your unused vacation days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your time, and good luck,

XXXX, Human Resource Administrator.

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

Yeah. That was my notice. Oh, and take this sheet, get it initialed by the end of today, turn in your keys and your badge.

Huh.

Well.

Never had that happen before...never had someone just flat say, "we don't have any more money, so go home." I knew it happened, but I was always in public service, under contract. Public service generally doesn't give people the axe, they just have hiring freezes. This was to be a 3-year position. It fell about 2 years, 4 months short. A lot of funding had fallen through, grants not approved, et cetera.

It's ironic that just a couple weeks ago I finally whispered to myself, I hate this job. I thought I'd be working with patients more. But, I figured, I stick it out for the next 2 years, until I was done with social work school.

The HR officer told me to "be sure to check the listings for openings". I found out that my supervisor wasn't even allowed to warn me that this was going to happen. It's against policy. He'd wanted to tell me himself, to assure me that it had nothing to do with my performance, but was not allowed.

Translation: Not only are we giving you 1 day's notice, but we're making it sting as much as possible, and don't sit around waiting for a phone call, either. You can just hope that we'll have an opening.

I'm luckier than most, it seems. When I reported to the counseling center for my usual Tuesday afternoon IT sessions, Dr. Ken brightened and informed me that he needed someone to do clinical intake interviews. It pays less than what I've been making. I've always wanted to do these, but another guy had that position locked. He seems to have left, though, and now they need someone.

So, the NEW plan:
  • Work mostly full time at the counseling center.
  • Get paid (far) less, but probably like my job a lot more.
  • Use severance pay to pay for tuition for full time schooling this fall.
  • Train for an Ironman. Possibly cancel Redman. We'll see.
...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Yeah, that thyroid thing.

Yesterday I went to an imaging place and had an ultrasound of my thyroid. If you've ever had an ultrasound, it's no less disgusting when they quirt KY all over your neck and roll that thing over it...but it wasn't too unpleasant, and I fell asleep, as I am want to do if I stay still for too long in a prone position (I've fallen asleep during root canals).

Afterwards, they said I was a good girl, and gave me m&ms. I'm not making that up.

The sonogram specialist said, probably Hashimoto's Disease, which doesn't change my treatment or anything like that; just gives us a "why."

This morning, however, the endo Dr. read the results and apparently, it's not just patchy and enlarged but also has a couple lumps, which he wants to biopsy. It's called a "fine needle aspiration" and apparently, according to him, not too bad. As for the possible results, "it's probably nothing," he said. In fact, it's more likely than not "nothing," but better to be safe, and just in case it is "something," it's very early.
He just kind of shrugged when he said that, so I was somewhat reassured, but it's the first time I've ever heard the big scary C word uttered--and uttered oh, so casually--in a doctor's office. He further said that everything about me, other than my thyroid, is excellent: calcium level, blood pressure, lungs, eyes, cholesterol, et cetera. I put aside the immediate recollection of comments about my mother before she died if it weren't for her heart, she'd live forever and focused on the positive. I'm in excellent health, except for my thyroid.

He gave me a new prescription for 1.0 of the Synthroid, which seems to be working for me. My Free T4 and Free T3 are right smack in the middle of their reference ranges, and my TSH is now 2.03, which is "excellent. " Everything about me excellent, except for my poor, enlarged lumpy thyroid, which seems to be under attack from--get this--me. That's what an autoimmune disorder is, after all.

We discussed my weight. Actually, *I* brought that up in the context of having had some very poor self-image problems and how I'd realized that this was a problem for me, but he seemed to miss what I was saying, because he said, "well, you're not ugly, you're just overweight."

Oh, yes he did. I put aside the shock of hearing those words to segue to the fact that I'm running 10-20 miles a week and biking 40-80 miles a week and haven't lost an ounce in over 16 weeks, and he said, okay, lets do some blood work. He asked me, was I was thin most of my life? Yes, I was. I was a boney kid, but filled out when I was a teenager; still, I was 120 pounds when I graduated from high school. I was 135 pounds after recovering from my third childbirth. Now here I sit, at 175 pounds, averaging 1500 calories a day. He gave me orders for blood work, specifically, Cortisol and ACTH hormone.

Time to Google. And obsess. And worry. And reassure myself.

...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Everyone has a bad day, even the ones who were already slow. A race report

I had a warning that things were not going to go well this weekend when I did a 1.8 mile run Thursday night that wore me out. My legs felt heavy, and I was puzzled, but didn't worry about it.

So the Socorro Chili Harvest Triathlon. This is a fabulous little sprint in Socorro, New Mexico. It is usually unpleasantly hot on the run. This year, it was very nice, cooler and breezy. It's well-supported, lots of great volunteers, food at the end, nice hardware and shwag. It's an athlete-friendly race that I highly recommend.

Let's take a look at my historical performance on this race, shall we?
2006: 1:38:10.8 Swim, 9:38; T1, 2:17; Bike, 47:32; T2, 1:08; Run, 37:38 No place.
2007: 1:36:12.5 Swim, 6:40; T1, 1:13; Bike, 53:20; T2, 1:02; Run, 34:00 3rd place(2007 was a different venue)
2008: 1:35:20.8 Swim, 9:27; T1, 2:13; Bike, 47:23; T2, 1:48; Run, 34:31 3rd place
2009: 1:45. Bike was somewhere around 53 mintues, I think. Run was around 36 minutes. I did not place.

Yes, that's right. I managed to add 10 minutes to my time this year. I felt horrible, and couldn't get moving, and finished far behind several people I've usually managed to beat.

After the swim, which is about 400 meters in a pool, I hit the bike, and my legs said, oh, no, you don't. They were heavy on the bike and refused to cooperate with my orders to pedal, damn you and by the time I got to the run, I had nothing left to give. I finished the race on sheer will power, dragging my big-assed self across the finish line and collapsing to the curb.

NOW, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Misty, how can I be just like you, how can I make myself even slower, by at least ten minutes in a sprint?

I've talked to several people, including Andie, a personal trainer and coach, whose first question was, "how's your nutrition"? and several educated, experienced triathletes. Ummmmm....

So here's what you do:

1) Make sure you are calorie deprived in some sort of insane one-thousand-calorie-a-day diet in the three weeks prior to the race. Now, you MUST do this for two weeks to get the full, running-in-molasses affect. Recall that I did very well two weeks ago at a high-altitude sprint. The diet hadn't worked it soul-sucking magic yet. YES, I read the advice. but of course, like a lot of stupid people, I just knew it didn't apply to me...

2) Make sure you do #1 while you're also training for an Ironman, so that you completely deplete (and don't replenish) your muscle glycogen stores.

3) Fool yourself into thinking that you can severely deplete your body in this way and make up for it by eating a normal breakfast 3 hours prior to the race.

There you go. Follow that advice, and by race day, you'll be all ready to lose.

Geesh, I'm dumb.

...