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

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

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

I ran today.

Today is a holiday, and today I ran.

I figured I should, being as I have a marathon in less than 2 weeks.  Not only do I have a marathon in less than two weeks, but I'm not prepared for it.  My longest run would be, well, let's see.  It would be the marathon I DNF'd at last weekend - I ran about 15 miles that day.

I've been kind of piddling about and not doing any long runs this spring.  But I feel like, maybe I need to get on the ball and start training.  I've been recovering from slowly, too.  My legs have felt tired and heavy ever since.

Boy, am I under-trained.  I was so tired after running.  Then I looked down at the Forerunner - oops, that's about the fastest I've done that run.

BLAH.  What's the point of running fast if it's so exhausting?

So anyway.  I ran today.  I have this new part of my run that I like to do that consists of about a 2 mile climb that rises 500 to 600 feet in elevation.  I piddled around until after sunup (mistake #1) and wore a long-sleeve shirt (mistake #2) that was black (mistake #3).  I got in about 5 and a quarter miles.  It was a nice morning.  I came home, discouraged, until I realized that I'd done this one faster than usual.  I'm posting the map and profile for herself the Elf so she'll know what she's in for on Thursday.

Or maybe not.  I think my internship class starts on Thursday.  Crap.  I need to change my Thursday night run to Thursday morning, I guess.

So anyway.  I ran today.  I was supposed to do a long run, but I didn't feel like doing a long run, so I didn't do a long run.  I won't be able to get away with that much longer.  This next weekend  I have to start doing long run training, and then long bike training starts soon after that.  I'm going to be focusing on Redman in September.

I may still play around with the Javalina 100k in October.  We'll see.

So anyway.  I ran today.  It was a nice run.  It was a hard run.  I'm ready to train now.

...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Loss and love and DNFs: Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13.  Since February, according to WeightWatchers, I've lost nearly 15 pounds.  I've been doing some training, so I feel pretty good that I've been replacing none-working flab with working muscle.  This adds up to :
waist -1.8 inches
arm -0.7 inch
hips -2.0 inches
bust -1.2 inches
thigh -2.0 inches
and one pants size.

So far, I feel better.  160 pounds is a good weight for me.  If I lose more, fine.  I'd liked to get down to what I was ten years ago when I married Sweet Baboo: 145 pounds.  That's 15 pounds away.  I think that's reasonable for my 5'6" frame.  It's a good weight for hauling up and down mountains without getting too cold.

12.  Well, of course I'm going to try to do the 50K again.  Have I ever let you down?  It's my A race for next year.  i hate DNFs. They're like a sentence without a period on the end.

11.  JUST SO YOU KNOW: This monday, memorial day, is an all-day Hoarders marathon.  Check your local listings.  WOOT!  There is not a single other show that I can watch that makes me feel good about my housekeeping these days.  I can sit there, snort, and say, Well at least I'm not THAT guy.

10.  I do self-experiments, so here's my experiement for the next month:  I've gotten into the habit of having a glass or two of wine most nights.  It occured to me that this might be why I'm having problems getting rid of this gut fat.  My experiment is that I'll only have wine 1-2 days a week.  I'll let you know how it goes.

9.  I found this thing on Amazon: It's a presto PowerPot microwave popper.  No oil.  I love this thing.  You have to put little inserts in it that are refillable, but they last me through several batches.

8.  I hate Ca$h just a little less this week.  What I've done is indulged in a Buddhist letting go of his half of the yard.  It isn't there.  It doesn't exist.  Thus, I cannot be upset when what isn't there is chewed on and dug up and crapped all over. 

7.  But while we're on the subject, I got an idea off the internet.  I put a little of Jake's ahem poop in 3 holes he keeps digging, and then replaced the dirt.  He hasn't touched those holes since. 

6.  With respect to the lost inches, above, I'll be hitting the consignment stores soon. My clothes don't fit. This is complicated by the fact that I don't have much of a summer wardrobe to begin with, being as I didn't work for 10 summers in a row.  It's not for lack of clothes: you'll recall the policeman who said, while investigating our break-in in February, "gosh, they totally trashed this side of the closet."
This monday, I'm going to "shop my closet" and create three piles:
1.  I'll never wear this again, and it needs to go to someone who will
2.  I'll wear this again, but it needs to be altered
3.  I can wear this now.
The plan is that I'll have clothes that I can wear.

5.  I've decided I have to find another job.  Not because they treat me badly here, because they treat me wonderfully.  Not because I hate my job, because I love it.  It's the best job I've ever had.
No, what it boils down to is the lowest pay I've had since getting out of college.  I was making way more as a high school teacher, AND I had 3 months of vaca a year.
Like I told DP earlier this week, if I can't get my hair done, all bets are off.  Of course, when I say "all best are off" that means I may go back to teaching for a while until I can find a decent-paying job in mental health.  It's not like I'm leaving human service work permanently.

4.  I just found out that a local triathlon, due to construction, is going to be an aquathon this year.  7K run, 400 meter swim, 5k run.  BLISSSSSSS!  

3. Meanwhile, I was asked if I'm going to do the Santa Fe triathlon this year.  I am not.  The Santa Fe triathlon does not recognize the Athena or Clydesdale category, so I don't recognize them.

2.  This weekend herself the Elf is celebrating her 29th birthday, so I've agreed to do 3 Boulevard loops (75 miles total) with her.  So, I'll be doing three 1000-foot climbs and three 1000-foot descents.  I'll post the profile when I'm done.  My next race is a sprint, in a week or so.

1.  My therapist has prescribed "worry runs" for me.  The idea being, I put off I worrying except for once a day when I schedule a time to run and worry, for about one or two miles.  I tried one yesterday.  It turns out that I don't think of much when I run.  I'm pretty n the moment.  There's not time to worry.  In all like, should I run up there?  How about over there?  I think I'll run downhill for a while.  Oh, there's some people.  I have to speed up and look fast until I pass them.  
So maybe the point to the exercise is just to practice puting aside worrying.  Which, in itself, is useful, especially if it's unproductive worrying.  Hmm.

...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blue lips and fingernails are no fun. A DNF report.

Yesterday morning, I woke up at midnight.  I've had some problems sleeping lately, where I've been waking up 3 hours early and not been able to get back to sleep.  Waking up too early is called terminal isomnia which is funny because it sounds like insomnia that can kill you.

So anyway.  I was supposed to get up at 3 am, so I woke up at midnight.  I took a benedryl.  I took another one.  I took a hot bath. I lay down and stared at the ceiling for hours.  Finally, at 2:45 I gave up and started getting ready for the Jemez Mountain Trail Run 50K.

Baboo was doing this one with me, as he is with all my runs this year.  He and I started out at a pretty good pace.  I covered the first 3ish trail miles at a pretty good pace.  This is, by the way, a superbly planned and executed trail run.  They take good care of their runners. Despite trying to kill them with the course, they take care of them.

And then, well, then we got to the base of the first climb.


The next 2-3 miles were pretty awful.  They went up...and up...and up...over 3 miles, it became increasingly steep.  It took us 2 hours from start until we reached the 6 mile aid station at the peak of the first climb.

My fingers were swelling, and my nails turning grey.  I was panting, and hauling myself uphill at about a 30+ minute pace.  I had a pounding headache and my heart was pumping like crazy.  And remember, I live at 6000 feet.  But by the time I got up to 8800 feet, I could trot or run on flats and downhills, but when I had to use the big muscles to go up--wasn't happening.
I knew things weren't going to get any better, or easier, so reluctantly I told Baboo, I'm done.  I kissed him goodbye and decided to continue on the half marathon course.  Before I left, though, I had some Nutella on a graham cracker.  Well, wouldn't you?  You know who puts Nutella at a trail ultra aid station?   The best aid station volunteers in the world, that's who.















So, I turned right, instead of left, and headed down on the half marathon trail:

  See this part way over on the right?  
Yeah. I forgot about that.
The downhill, but the way, is not as nice as it looks.  There is no shade, and lots of loose ground and bare boulders to go over.  Plus, I forgot that after you reach the bottom, there is yet MORE climbing.  And due to lack of training, my legs were toasted.  I kept repeating to myself Don't forget how much this sucks.  Don't you forget about how much this sucks and sign up to do it next year.  DON'T DO IT.  don't you do it.  

I finished the half marathon, but of course I'm not listed as a finisher because that's not the one I started.  

One thing that was fun: The half marathon actually started at 8, and I had started at 6.  About 2 miles from the finish, the front runners caught up to me.  So the moral of the story is, you can give me a 2-hour head start and still beat me.  :)

Baboo, went on to finish this in just under 10 hours.  

And, yes, (sigh)  I'll probably try to clear up my DNF next year.  I'll have to run up and down the 10,000 mountain near my house to do it, but I have to do something.  I hate have DNFs. I always go back and clear them.  

IF YOU GO: 
Take a tank of oxygen.

...  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cats are not dogs, and I'm getting faster. Thursday Thirteen.

13.  I decided to give Diet Power a try, but I ditched it after 2 days. According to Diet Power, I was right on track.  I'd consumed 1400 calories on Monday, on Tuesday 1300 calories.  It gave me an A+ for nutrition.  Then I entered the exact same information in Weight Watchers, it told me that on Monday, I ate 31 points.  (I'm allowed 21).  On Tuesday, I ate 27 points.  At this rate I'll be gaining in no time.  So, DietPower: FAIL.  (at least for me).  I'll be doing extra runs this week to burn off those extra points.

12.  After doing a personal best on the course at Buffalo Springs last weekend, I'm ready for a personal worst (50K) this weekend.

11.  After having surivived the pummeling at Lubbock, and PR-ing by 15 minutes, I wonder how I'll do at the Milkman sprint in a few weeks.  Milkman is a very nice little sprint I've done several times.  The lake tastes like crap, the road is rough, and the run is hot, shadeless, and on trails. Oh, and there's ice cream after.  Hence my continued participation.

10.  It's not quite Ironman training, but it's ramping up.

9.  Hissy is our gray tabby.  Hissy isn't trainable.  She comes and goes as she pleases, although in general, she prefers a lap, but only on her terms.
Hissy, however, doesn't eat her own crap.  She also doesn't drag my soiled feminine products out of the trash and chew on them.  She also has never torn a main drip line in half, after tearing all the side drip lines out of it, dug deep holes into 30-year-old sod, torn out several large sheets of weed fabric from under the gravel, tore out and then chewed up a small dog door out of the shed wall so that it can't be reinstalled despite a larger, new opening 5 feet away, and then then chewed around the remaining hole to make the hole bigger, leaving a large, jagged hole.

She's scratched a few chairs in her day.  But she's never climbed into the upper part of the pond, grabbed the potted filter plants, shook them and thrown them out of the pond, tried to dig a Japanese maple out of its pot, torn and chewed several pieces off a railroad tie retaining wall, or tried to tear an oak sapling out of the ground.

I've caught her licking my food before.  But I've never caught her grabbing and carrying off whole ingredients for what I was cooking, she's never chewed up at least a kitchen utensil until it was unusable,or eaten food OUT OF THE POT WHILE It WAS COOkING.

I don't know why anything thinks dogs are smart.  Cats are smart, and neat, and after the past three months, I'm willing to overlook a shredded chair if it means the rest of my life and home is intact.

I am at this point looking for a ranch to send Jake to.  He's a good working dog, and needs room to run and things to do.

7.  However.  Chloe, who is part ridgeback, and I have bonded. (At left is a picture of a male.  I haven't taken pictures of the dogs recently).  I adore her furrowed brow and ever-present worried expression.  She stands next to me when I cook, looking very concerned and wagging her tail furiously. I sometimes "accidentally" drop bits of food on the floor.  For some inexplicable reason, I keep wanting to call her Sadie. 

6.  Only one more year of social work school left.

5.  So now that I've stumbled upon the idea that I can actually get faster, I'm wondering what I can do.  In grade school and middle school, I made teams because I could run fast.  Unfortunately, I suck at team sports.  I more than once dribbled the ball, fast, the wrong way on the court.  Then, in high school, I was too cool to run, or do anything, so now at the age of 45, I want to know, how fast can I go?

4.  This is kind of macabre, but here it is: my ex's, who mocked me severely for being a "health nut" all seem to be on an increasing downward slide towards an early grave.  While I was being a "big drag" by trying to avoid a dangerous life, going to school, eating healthy, and exercising, they were associating with hookers and thugs, smoking, drinking, eating red meat every single day, and ignoring sunblock.  The results, before even reaching retirement age, are one of them has been shot, has skin cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  The other has had a stroke and a heart attack.
I'm not happy about others suffering.  I'm satisfied not to be joining them.

3.  I've discovered why older people are cranky.  It's because they've endured a lifetime of waiting for serviceman, sales representatives, and other people who make an appointment to come to your home and never show up.

2. At this time, I have a nearly fully operational sprinkler system.  There's no reason why this should matter to anyone but us, but it makes me pretty darned happy.

1.  Timex sent me a watch to test out- puportedly, I can "tap" on the watch face to hit laps, and I thought this would be useful during a sprint, when I don''t want to fumble with buttons.  I'll write a report soon--I'll be testing it out at the Milkman sprint.  I still also have to write a report on the Tech4o watch I was sent 5 months ago.  So far, the results aren't good, but I need to do more tests.

...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Survived a Pummeling by the The Beach Strollers of Lubbock and all I got was a T-shirt (a race report)

in

The plan was simple.  We would camp.  We would take all our camping gear - we did a lot of hiking and camping before going crazy with multisport - and we would camp over by where they were having the doghouse sprint at Buffalo Springs Lake outside of Lubbock.  I guess we were expected the kind of camping that takes place at ultras.  In those situations, the campers band together, and as they all competing the next day, quiet down and get to sleep at a decent hour.

When we arrived at the camp site, I was looking around to see if we had landed in rural Appalatia by mistake. Scores of men in wife-beaters wandered by scratching, wearing camouflage accessories. Dogs and children ran loose, barking, driving a 4-wheeler through the camp sites, or both.  There were 8 large tents set up nearby a large congregation of a particularly bawdy and loud group of 40 or so of these folks were were clearly gathering steam in the early evening.

Three monster trucks full of fishermen showed up, parked on the manicured grass and spun their tires, tearing up the grass, then sat about 30 yards away, sharing one pole, drinking beer, and smoking.  When the unmistakable scent of burning marijuana wafted our way, Sweet Baboo was desperate.  "I'm in hell," he said, "what would it take to get a hotel room right now?"

"An internet connection," I responded, zipping up part of the tent.

Baboo whipped out his Blackberry, flipped through it, made a phone call, and ten minutes later we'd loaded the address of the hotel into the Nuvi, packed up the tent, and were en route. You gotta love technology.  It was a kind of a miracle given that it was graduation weekend at TCU.
There were facilities.  There were walls.  There was a bed.  Ahhhh.

So, the race.  I've done this course a couple times before, in late June, my best time being a bit over 2 hours.  500 meter open water swim around a small island,  17.9 mile bike, and 5K run.  It was a perfect, beautiful day for a sprint, lightly breezy, nearly completely overcast, a bit humid.  Perfect.

When I headed into the 63 degree water, I had decided I would stay close to the edge of the island as I swam around it to minimize my distance.

What I didn't count on was the walkers, sauntering around the edge of the island like they were walking with their honeys, and as far as I could see, every single one of them were men.  I was surrounded, trying to swim through a dozen or more men strolling along the beach for the entire swim.  I'd try to swim between them, and something about hearing me swimming would cause them to try to swim, or rather to try to beat the water into submission, and sometimes me in the process.  It may have been the most brutal swim I've ever endured, and I've done two ironman swims.
After I got hit in the mouth, the sheer frustration of it all got to me and I screamed in Fisty McStroller's face, F***, MAN!!--and he was so surprised he stopped dead in the water while I swam away, because, after all, I was in God's country, and I'd just shouted the F-word at him.

I'm not proud of myself.  It was wholly unladylike.  But the anger got me swimming faster and and I finally was up and out of the water and running into transition.

I learned something from SWTriGal once, and I'll share it with you - I pull off my hat and goggles first, and then hold them in my hands as I pull my wet-suit top down.  The goggles and cap stay caught in my sleeve.  I managed to get the rest of me out of the neoprene and then grabbed my bike and headed out - without glasses - but it turned out to be okay because it was humid enough not to dry out my contacts, and it was too overcast to need sunglasses.

The Bike.

Before today my average speed on this course was about 14.7 mph.  It's a nice out and back course, but immediately after you leave transition you're heading up about an 8% climb, then a short flat, screaming downhill back into the canyon, and a second climb, about 7% grade, then you're finally on a long flat out-and-back with a couple of turns.  I had a chance to wave to wave to Sweet Baboo when he was on his way back and I was on my way out.

There was this one guy who seemed pretty determined to pass me, and then he would immediately slow down, and I thought, what is up with the men at this race?  I finally passed him a third time and worked hard to stay ahead of him.

The bike course is nicely marshaled and traffic-controlled. When you head back into the canyon there's a screaming downhill followed by a last nasty 9% climb back up and then a last heart-in-your-throat downhill back down into the canyon again.

The Run.

I felt pretty good about my run.  I'm not sure what my time was, maybe, 32 minutes and some change. The run is  an out-and-back and it rolls gently upward on the way out, but I wouldn't really call it hilly.  I got another chance to see Sweet Baboo as he was on his way back in.

I'm not sure what all my times were, because I can hit lap on my watch, but haven't figured out how to scroll back through it, but my overall time was about 1:48, I think.

And then, you won't believe this, for the second week in a row the timers couldn't come up with my time for the awards.  They asked me what I thought my time was.  So I told them it was 1:48 or 1:49 or something.  So, that's what they went with, and I was first Athena overall.  If my time is correct, then I've PRd this course by about 15 minutes.  Sweet Baboo was first Clydesdale overall.

Mike and Marty Greer, who also put on the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake on June, put on this race. There is an Oly at the same time that I've done twice, as well.  It's a fun, friendly race, well-organized by people who really lover triathlon and have a lot of fun with it.  If you have the means and the time to get out to Lubbock, I recommend adding this to your calendar, or either of the two they put on in June.

And now I"m home, back in Albuquerque.  I'm eating a Dominos pizza, as I'm addicted to their online ordering thing.  A glass of wine, and then I think I'll sleep pretty well tonight.

UPDATE: I looked up my times this morning and they said "incomplete" under swim and bike.  I emailed the timing company and asked them about this, and they wrote me a confusing email in which they 1) claimed I wasn't wearing my chip (I was) and 2) at the exact same time sent me a copy of my times, in a picture file entitled pilgrim_times.png, which I've included below.  What they sent matches all the times I had estimated on my watch as I went along,

What I'm proudest of is that I was apparently the first place finisher in the 70-74 male division. 


 
Next up: The Jemez 50K (see profile, below), in one week. This is the 50K that caused herself the Dread Pirate to look at me with concern when I announced I was doing it.  I am in no way properly trained for this; I'll be running on whatever base I have leftover from the 38 mile run I did in January and the 50 mile run I did in March.  Eep!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Epiphanies.

I'm not talking about teenage girls with creative mothers (yes, I've met a teenage girl named "Epiphany."  I've also met one named "Candida".  but I digress)


The first one was when I PRd at the Atomic Man a few weeks ago.  I had the sudden realization, which I shared with Sweet Baboo and Dread Pirate, that in order to get fast, you have to be uncomfortable. Baboo grinned and I could see the wheels churning in his head--all the uncomfortable runs he was planning for me.  DP said, "you didn't know that?"
Well, no.  I have always avoided being uncomforable.  It's so, well, uncomfortable.

So the thing is, that most of my runs were always flat, and I won't push too hard to go fast flat.  But running up hills, well, you have to get up those hills, and it's uncomfortable, but you gotta do it.  So without meaning to, moving out to the foothills forced me to learn to go fast.

The second one was at the Jay Benson triathlon last week, when I did my 9:30 pace - and for many people, that's their pace when they've sprained their ankle - but for me, it was blazing.  But it didn't feel blazing.  I always imagined that you'd feel fast.  Like, your hair would be blowing back and you'd be cooled by the sheer force of running against the air, and you'd feel light and swift and sleek.

"Oh hell, no," Sweet Baboo said, with another of his grins.  "It always feels hard."

My next thought was well then what the hell is the point?  But as soon as I had that thought, Sweet Baboo continued, "but when you're faster, it's over with sooner."  So okay, that's a good point.  Well worth the discomfort of hill running is the prospect of being done sooner.

And there's this: for every hill I run up, I get to run back down again.  :)

There was some hypothesizing between me and Baboo once that maybe the reason I avoided the hard effort stuff was because of my history of asthma and panic.  The high heart rate and shortness of breath was just too threatening.  But I feel like now I can face it.

So I was thinking about this as I was running along in the foothills on Thursday.  I was headed back in after a short run, and my thought was, holy cow, my legs feel heavy.   My lungs burned, and I thought my heart was about to explode.  Man, why do I feel so slow?  Why does this feel so hard?  Then I looked down at my Garmin, and the the pace readout said 9:23.

Oh Gosh!  I turned back to see where Courtney, my running partner was - she was quite a ways back.  That was the third epiphany - all those times that my friends were ditching me, they weren't ditching me.  They were just having a good run.  Or ride.  Or whatever.

Well, the 9:23 was for only about a quarter mile, but it was exciting, nonetheless.   Meanwhile, I guess I'll tolerate some discomfort.

I've done a lot in the past few years, always with the thought in my head, I wonder what I can do next?  


Now I guess my new thought is and I wonder how fast I can do it?


...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What works: a Thursday 13.

13.  GUILT WORKS.  After raising hell when my kids ignored me on my birthday, all three of them acknowledged me on Mother's day.  Sailor Jon called me.  Miss Thang left a post on my facebook wall.  Sweetface bought me white chocolate to make up for some that he stole when he was a teenager.  I didn't remember this, but he did.

12.  HILLS WORK.  My favorite tradition for this day is the Jay Benson triathlon, and then a potlock afterwards with my tri-peeps.  Afterwards, oldest son informed me that my run had been 28something.  


I waived at him dismissively.  Oh, don't be silly.  I've never run 3 miles that fast in my life.  
Sure enough, the results were posted, and I had pulled a 9:30 pace on the run.  After wishing for years to break the 10-minute barrier, I'd managed just barely to do it only once before, at sea level.    

11. BIKE WORKS. As in,my bike works.  It's still where I'm getting my butt kicked, though.  I still need to work on my bike.

10.  WORK WORKS. This conversation occurred in my office this week:

Parent: You know, another thing that I'm really concerned about, all he cares about is playing.  He rushes through his school work so he can play.

I waited for a moment for him to finish - you know,  I was thinking that maybe the parent might say something like and playing for him is pulling the wings off baby sparrows but no: he was actually complaining to me because his son spends a great deal of time wanting to play.  The parent said nothing, and stared at me expectantly.

So I finally said, "Well, I mean, he's seven.  That's what they do"

Parent: Yes, but it's like he doesn't care about his academics at all.

I took a drink of my coffee to formulate a response that would be calm, instead of snarky.  I finally said, with my best neutral therapy face, "So, well you see, that's actually developmentally appropriate.  I don't think it's anything to be concerned about."

Parent: yes but.....


Geez.  Let it go, dad.

I'm trying to remember what I thought about at seven.  I'm reasonable certain I wasn't focused on my academics.  I think it was stuff that was more like, I wonder if I can climb that tree?


9.  HAVING A WORKOUT BUDDY WORKS.  I live with mine.  Tuesday morning, Sweet Baboo and I ran a couple of miles.  Then he convinced me to go for a ride after work Tuesday  night.  It was the usual ascent/descent that I liked to do that goes 1000 feet down over 5 miles of unprotected alluvial plane.

Tuesday night, there were 30+ mph gusting crosswinds as I was heading downhill over 5 miles.  I nearly freaked.  I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE.  I think I said that to Sweet baboo as he was riding around me, hands-free, in cheerful circles.

He suggested I loosen my death's grip on the handlebars, but it seemed like whenever I did that, a huge gust would come up, or large trucks would blow by, creating another large gust.

It's hard to let go of your handlebars when the wind is trying to shove you off your bike, and the bike off the road.

It really sucks that I'm big enough to catch that much wind.

Ow.  My hands hurt.

8.   POST WORKOUT MEALS WORK.  My favorite is a Kraft Easy Mac cup with tuna mixed in it, followed by cheese popcorn and wine.  Hey, I'm not saying it's healthy.  I'm just telling you what I like.  


7. TECHNOLOGY WORKS.  The in-ground "invisible fence" thing that we got for Cash seems to be working.  It's by PetSafe.  The dogs stay in the yard, and their destruction is limited to a small amount of the yard.  We're still working the bugs out, but I think it's the solution we've been looking for.  


6.   COFFEE WORKS.  Which makes it all the more painful that my espresso maker doesn't work.  I need to figure out who fixes them around here.  I descaled it, and it hasn't worked since.  The pump makes a noise, but doesn't draw any water.  If there are any coffee nerds out there with ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them.  I don't expect a lot of sympathy for this, but SrSLY.  I'm suffering.  I have developed a fondness for Hills Brothers Sugar Free Double Mocha instant, which totally rocks, and one can that makes about 15 drinks is about the same price as a Starbucks Latte.

5.  FRIENDS WORK.  This was the best part of Sunday, the annual post triathlon potluck meal.  I like my friends.  They're interesting people.  I don't get to see enough of them, I think.

4.  MUSIC WORKS.  This week, I'm listening to the soundtrack from The Legend of Bagger Vance. I like it.

3.  SCHOOL WORKS.  For all my kvetching and bitching, I have a 3.88 GPA overall in this round of graduated school. 


2.  BARKING DOES NOT WORK.  Cash thinks it does, though.  Right now he's standing outside the picture window, barking at me.  I ignore it.  If he really bugs me, I have a little remote control that I can push a button on that sounds a small alarm on his collar.  I don't shock him.  The little beep is enough to make him stop barking and look around.  Wouldn't it be great if all problems could be solved like that?  Like, that guy who's tailgating you.  You could just push a button and it would give him a warning that told him that if he continued, he might get an "corrective electostimulant."  Well, we can dream.  


1.  COURAGE WORKS.  Remember: Do one brave thing today. And then run like hell.


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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Jay Benson needs to get their timing act together. (Race Report)

This is the fourth time I've done the Jay Benson triathlon, and they are really starting to piss me off.
Jay Benson is doing a very good job with the waves - I'll give them that.  They course is closed, which is awesome.  The field was evenly spread out.  There was little congestion in the pool.  The refs reported that it was much easier to marshall the course.  It's a good course, not too hard, not too easy, and it attracts a lot of newbies every year.

The packet pick-up is well-organized, other than the weird idea of marking me the night before (hello, for a sprint?) and you always get a nice T-shirt.

So what is the problem?

The problem is that they absolutely refuse to put a timing mat at the start line.  As a result, if they screw up the wave time, or if the racer screws up their wave time, their entire race is timed incorrectly.  So, as a result, my finish time was listed at 52 minutes.  Yep.  According to my bike calculator, I did the bike in about 45 minutes, so that means I did the 5k run and the 400 meter swim in about 5 minutes.  Don't get me wrong - I'd love think that I could pull off a sprint triathlon in 52 minutes, but at the present, it ain't happenin'.  Their screwup, I figure, is due to them having me listed in the next wave, which took off 20 minutes later.  Why, I don't know.  They told me to start in wave 5, so I did.  Who knows how many other people's times they screwed up?

Last year, they recorded a 10 minute 5k for a relay participant.  They also reported a 20 minute 5k for a 40-year-old Athena, and don't get me wrong - she's talended, awesome cyclist, but her 5k has never been less than 30 minutes.  There were a great many other mistakes, which I know of because I know the people involved, and how fast they are.  Many of the ones from last year they've never corrected.

I went to the officials after seeing my posted time told them, that's not my time, and they said these were all unofficial times, and they've be fixed.  Immediately after this conversation, they had the awards ceremony.  WtF?    Why have an awards ceremony if you know the times are all wrong?  And when they called my name, and said, "52 minutes" I went up there, shaking my head, saying, "I told you that isn't my time."  So then they asked me, well, how do you think you placed?  How do I think I placed?  Isn't that what the timing chip is for?

Now, having said all that, I think I did pretty well.  I may have a personal best on this course today.  I'll find out for sure when they post the "corrected" times.


Get it together, Jay Benson.  You've got a good race going, but if you don't get the timing right, it's not really a race.  It's just an expensive workout. 


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Friday, May 07, 2010

You can't spell CRAMPS without CRAP.


I am going through a movie soundtrack phase.  Specifically, the sountracks from "A beautiful mind" and "The legend of Bagger Vance."  So people walking by my office often do a double-take, because there's always music coming through the door, with swells and choruses, and it's dramatic, but peacefully so.  I already have a reputation for having a very peaceful office, mainly because, well, if you work with mentally ill children or children who have had horrific lives, you need some place of refuge; and 2) I figure if you're a parent bringing your child to a psychiatric hospital, maybe it's nice to have a peaceful place to gather your thoughts together while you formulate an answer to the question, did he tell you why he tried to smother the baby?


(the answer to that question, by the way, is very important.  There are good reasons to try to smother a baby, and bad reasons, diagnostically speaking.  and then there are just reasons.  And if you are seven years old, the answer to that question can make a huge difference in your future.)  

But I digress.

Thursday morning Sweet Baboo informed me that a couple from where he worked was coming over to do a trail with is.  Tonight.  uh, okay.

I really just hate, hate, hate it when my attempts to be extremely lazy are thwarted, don't you?  it's like, you are all ready with your stock of excuses of why you can't do your workout, and then, WHAM! Someone or somebody shows up  and you're stuck, so you can't get out of it: you must do something active.  


The problem with Thursday, however, was that it was another super busy day when I wasn't able to eat.  I need to start packing cold sandwiches, so that I can grab a bit or two between families, because honestly, it's a bit crass to sit across from weeping parents with a mentally ill child and be stuffing a fork full of stuff into my mouth while I'm saying something like, and what were the voices saying to you?  


Suffice to say that about a mile into this little 4 mile run I was thinking, who tied these bricks to my feet? and slogging it up and down the hills, several cramps and stitches in my side.  Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, I shit you not, was doing this: he would run ahead about a few hundred yards, and then turn around and run back to where I was, and then back behind me to our guests, and then up ahead a bit more.  Over 4 miles, he logged an extra mile point three doing this.  I'm not making this shit up, Mr. Injured knee thing was scampering around the trails like effing Pan.  


I was seriously thinking about tripping him.  I go to very dark places when I'm bonking.  At the same time, there was a swarm of mountain bikers flying by us, and WHY DO I HAVE TO GET OUT OF THEIR WAY? but so anyway, I couldn't possibly communicate to you how temping it was to trip him.  He was just too happy.  Is it just me?  Am I just sick, sick sick when I want happy cheerful energetic people to suffer?    Please tell me it's not just me.  


So, it's not like I bonked during a 4 mile trail run.  It's like I had a 4-mile-long bonk.  

And, I have been extreeeeemly lazy the past couple weeks. It's distressing how fast that fitness slips away, but even so, without any fuel - I'd had 1 cup of instant coffee with creme and one small healthy choice fresh steamers meal about 11 am for the day - and to drink, and I worked hard.  On that I ran 4 hot, dehydrated, hilly 4 miles.  


As RBR says, boo-fucking-hoo.  4 miles.  I know.  So maybe tomorrow, I'll actually eat something before I run, and I'll know how well I'm really doing. 

This Sunday, I'll do the Jay Benson sprint triathlon for the 4th time.  We'll see.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Glass Fills up again. Thursday Thirteen.



13.  Tuesday night, I took my last final for the semester.  I can't believe how I feel.  I'm practically giddy. I came home, and had a glass of wine...or three...and repeated to myself, "It's over".  Then I took a picture of myself and then edited it in Photoshop so show how happy I am.

12.  I have started training for the Redman Full Iron distance triathlon  Essentially,I'm mostly following a 50K training plan from the Santa Clarita Trail Runners website, which you can find here.  Add to that 2 swim workouts each week, and replace the Saturday run with hill repeats on a boulevard with wide shoulders that descends into the river valley, about 1000 feet over 5 miles.

11.    Here's how much stress affected me this semester: I spent a lot of time this semester listening to a CD that has songs that I'm hoping to be played at my funeral some day. Yeah, I know.  DARK.  
So this weekend, I tossed that CD and burned a "Happy" CD.  Here's the songs that are on it:
I'm Yours Jason Mraz
Lucky, Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz
There She Goes, Sixpence None The Richer
Dandy Life, Collective Soul
Beautiful World. Colin Hay
Dracula From Houston, Butthole Surfers
Hooch, Everything
Good Time, Leroy
Sun Comes Up, John Legend
Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
Ordinary Morning, Sheryl Crow
Shoop Shoop Song, Cher
Return To Innocence, Enigma
Lazy Days, Enya
Get Out the Map, Indigo Girls
Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield
Steal My Sunshine Len
Higher Love, Steve Winwood
Beautiful Day, U2

10.  Oh, um.  Did I mention I'm doing a trail mountain marathon in less than 2 weeks? It goes up to 10000 feet, too, I think.  Should be pretty interesting to see how I come out on this, considering my lack of training this semester.

9.  Wednesday morning, I had a great run.  It a mile.  Yeah.  THAT'LL get me ready for that marathon!  I don't care.  I squeezed it in.

8.  Tuesday I slew (slayed?  slaid?) an evil corporate dragon; the medicaid aminstrator in our state has a doctor who approves or disproves payments, and they want to reject a request I made to get help for a mentally ill teenager with a cognitive disability.  (how do you decide to do that for your job? what rationalizations do you make?)  Anyway, he thought he could talk over me--big mistake.  few people can pull that off.  My recommendation was approved, but not without him nattering on and on about how unhappy he was about approving it.  I don't give a $#it.  I don't need to hear your feelings.  Go talk to your dog.  So anyway.  I'm feeling sassy about that.

7.  It's awfully handy having a computer nerd for a son.  I asked him for the mp3s to a CD that is no longer being produced, and he had it for me within a few hours.  I don't ask questions about where, or how.  Remember: plausible deniability.  


6.  This weekend, for Mother's day, I'm going to do the Jay Benson spring triathlon for the 4th time.  It's here in town. It's one of my favorites.  Here's how well-trained the Army turned out Sweet Face, my oldest, I asked him, "What are you doing on Mother's Day?" and he responded, "Um, whatever you tell me to do."  Good boy.  So I told him, "you're going to come cheer for me at a local triathlon and meet our trigeek friends."

5.  Sweet Baboo's knee.  Tuesday night, I was shopping for wine after finishing my final exam, when our family doctor called - he called me because he had my number instead of Sweet Baboo's number - and gave him SB's number and then said, "Hey, are you allowed to tell me the results of his MRI?"

Baboo and I spent quite some time staring at pictures of his MRI sent home on a CD from the place.  It's like a Rorschach ink blot test.  It reminds of when I had sonograms of my kids.  What?  an arm?  whatever you say do.  

Anyway.  He's been our doctor for a decade, so he knows us both pretty well...so he told me that Baboo bruised his bone.  I didn't know you could do that...but if anyone can do anything exotic or unexpected to his body, it would be Baboo.  So, anyway, he said: Lay off the running for a couple months.  As if.

So of course Sweet Baboo heard the words "no tear" and "no damage to the meniscus" he was all happy and ready to get back to training again having completely blocked out the words "lay off the running for a while."  I'm torn between wanting him to truly rest and between sending his cranky ass back out onto the trails.  He hasn't been able to run for 2 weeks.  Maybe I'll make him run with me, which will force him to take it easy.  That seems like a good compromise.

4.  This Sunday, I $#it you not, as I was sitting inside, it started snowing outside.  What.  The.  Fuck.  I keep wanting to complain about the endless winter, but in truth, it's now become the endless spring. If we end up having lazy hot, horrid summer, I"m going to be pissed.

3.  Monday night I got a cryptic text from Courtney, who may have been drunk, or had a low blood sugar episode, or both.  Courtney has done a lot of mountain hikes with us and bike rides with me.  Anyway.  Her text said something about wanting to "do a run in the dark over the course where we almost died on the bike." at the end of August.  The only thing I can remember is the ride we did on South 14 from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, and I'm not doing that.  For one thing, it's 65 miles.  So I told her to start without me, and I'll catch up.

2. I've been very bad about logging WW for the past couple weeks.  I gained a pound.  Back to logging points.  I needed the break.  I spent it eating bad food, just the worst.  I'll spare you the gory details. But seriously.  The worse.  


1. Did I mention how happy I am to be done with this semester?  Ohhhh yaeahhhhhh.

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