Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pay backs

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I know we did. I'm so thankful for my family even though at times I would like to not claim them as my own. My mom is retiring this year. Infact, tomorrow is her last day. 30 years at Drs./St. Vincent's Hospital. She has absolutely run herself into the ground working and her body forced her to halt this evening. She started getting a headache and claimed it was because she waited too late to eat and drank wine on an empty stomach. Very valid, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. She started to look extremely tired and holding her stomach. I kept asking her if she was okay. She eventually decided to lay down for about 30 minutes and when she got up she looked refreshed. Then it started over again and I started to question her about being dehydrated. After all, I am an expert in this department now! I gave her some Endurolytes and offered to go get her some Pedialyte (that stuff is magic). She took the Endurolytes and promptly offered them to the carpet in their bedroom. I told Terri, my sister who is a nurse, that she was dehydrated and needed some fluids. So she left to go to the hospital where she works and get a bag or two (or six). While she was gone, I laid down next to my mom in their bed and put my arms around her just like she used to when I was a kid and not feeling good. I stroked her hair and felt her warmth and the weakness of her tired body. It felt weird to have the tables turned. I liked it because I got to thank her a little for all the times she took care of me in that moment. I gave her a massage and she started to relax and even fell asleep for a few minutes. My sister returned with the fluids which was my cue to leave (no needle going under the skin watching for me). I realized just how important my family is to me tonight. Both of my parents have worked their fingers to the bone and never really enjoyed life at all. They got to raise three children and struggled to make ends meet. Somehow they always managed to do it. We had everything we ever needed. We understood that the 'wants' never matter. We turned out pretty good if I do say so myself and I attribute all the good things about myself to them. It just took 37 years to figure out that they really do know a thing or two about life. Who knows what the future holds? We may not be here tomorrow, but we have so many opportunities to let people know that we love and care about them. I don't want to let those precious moments slip away anymore. How about you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sin-amon Rolls and Other Deadly Sins

Can you believe that we are in the thick of the holidays? It just seems to have slapped me on the back of the head and said, “Ya bloomin’ idiot! I show up every year at the same time and you still act surprised to see me. Amazing!”. So here I sit at my little laptop unable to focus on any one thing for very long. I’m just about to lose my mind from not running for almost two weeks and I am passing things through my lips in mass quantity that I would never eat during the season. Why just today, I’m ever so proud to tell everyone, that I devoured an entire cake pan of homemade yeast cinnamon rolls one of my evil clients made for me. Isn’t that spectacular? I had a fleeting (and I do mean fleeting) thought to just eat the middle (the best part in my opinion) out of one of them and throw the rest of the pan into the trash upside down. That way I wouldn’t be tempted to say to myself, “They’re still in the pan and I haven’t thrown any trash on top of them. That wouldn’t be unsanitary.”. But noooooo! I had a more brilliant idea! I’ll just eat the middle out of all of them to make myself sick and not want cinnamon rolls ever again. So that’s exactly what I did. I was even two fisting it. It was a cinnamon roll orgy! My God, it was beautiful and ugly all at the same time. Nothing but cinnamon roll shrapnel left. I’m seriously glad no one was here to witness it. I did manage make myself sick…for about an hour. I will always love the cinnamon roll, though. I just need to learn to respect the cinnamon roll. Thank goodness I was strong enough to turn the remnants in the pan upside down in the trash or else Chris might have come home to me on the couch with Princess Leia on a leash.
Chris and I decided not to go out to eat for 2 weeks after this past Sunday. Well we made it to this evening. He had pizza and I had pasta. We agreed that it perplexed us that we crave comfort food more when we are dormant. Why don’t we want that stuff when we get done with a long training or an intense workout? Are we distant relatives to bears with their hibernation phase? “Better stock up, we’re not gonna move for a few months!”.
Since I haven’t been running, I’ve been swimming more. I may not be the most graceful swimmer, but it’s a great cardio workout when you are unable to run or ride. So they’ve seen my face quite frequently at Jim Daily Fitness and Aquatic Center. People are so funny to me in justifying what is in their diets (see above paragraph). I walked out of the gym on Sunday morning and the trashcan was overflowing with sacks and wrappers from every fast food joint known to man! Pizza Butt, McFunnel’s, Taco Hell, etc… A sacred temple of crap! People eat this stuff on a daily basis and tell themselves that it’s okay because they will be spending 30 minutes (reading a magazine) on the treadmill or elliptical not pushing themselves because it’s all they could do to even stick their big toe on their right foot in the gym. Someone asked me once what my idea of junk food is and the first thing that came to mind and out of my mouth, honest to goodness, was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, I used to live on fast food and grease laden, cheesy concoctions. When you are young and wait tables for a living you learn to conserve your money for more important things like liquor and cigarettes (yes, I even smoked for 10 years – 10 years ago). The nutritional value, quality and taste of food was somewhere at the bottom of the list of important things.
So I start officially being coached on this Ironman in KY on December 29th. I’m pretty excited about all that I will learn about myself and my nutritional needs. I’m supposed to get on the elliptical on Thursday for 30 minutes and again for 45 minutes on Saturday and report on how I felt. Until then I will try to veer from this self destructive path of eating, but in the meantime I’m pretty sure I will be enjoying a cinnamon roll or six…

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't think about it, just do it!

Another week has come and gone. Where does the time go and what have I done productively with that time? These questions sort of scare me because that means I've been on auto-pilot this week. The fact that I have to look at my calender brings about awareness that I definitely need more sleep!
Monday was actually a pretty significant day and is most likely the culprit for walking around in a haze. Jo had sent me a text that she was probably going to sign up for Ironman KY that day. I told her that was pretty exciting and didn't give it another thought. Now if you follow Chris' (Luvbug) blog you already know this story, but this is my perspective of the whole roller coaster evening (roller coaster for me). So I go on about my day and when Chris gets home and before we go get something to eat I tell him, "Jo is going to sign up to the IMKY.". He responds with, "Really? Well I think I need another year of 1/2 Ironmen to feel like I'm ready.". Uh-oh! He threw the word "think" in there. I know what this means...he's thinking of doing it. That's what it means! All I could think about is why the hell did I open my big mouth? We had a plan. That plan was originally to wait until we are 40 which somehow got changed to 39. I was comfortable with this plan and nobody - I mean NOBODY - was going to change up this plan. DAMMIT! Do you all hear me?! I am NOT veering from my course of action! So the fact that I knew he was thinking about signing up made me dig my heels in and I was prepared to hold my line. He starts talking about it more and more and by the time we get to the restaurant (5 minutes from our house and 15 minutes from when I mentioned Jo's decision) he was 50/50. I knew that he had already made his mind up he wanted to do this. He had asked me several times if I really didn't mind if he did it. I had mentioned it earlier that I wasn't ready and he was asking me every 5 minutes if I was still okay with him doing this without me. Each time he asked me my resolve was weakening. He was so excited and I didn't want to throw a bucket of ice water on it. So I just kept saying, "Yes, I'm fine.". But I wasn't fine. We were suppose to do this together and I felt like I was being left behind. I wanted to cry so I just kept looking away. I knew he was onto me when he said I seemed pre-occupied at the grocery store. I was trying to be excited for him, but I was never a good liar. So we get home and I go to the bathroom and proceed to bawl my eyes out. I didn't want to hold him back and I didn't feel like I was ready to do an Ironman. I felt pressured and that made me angry. I was pretty much running the gammut of emotions right there in the bathroom. I finally gathered myself and splashed some cold water on my face. He was going upstairs and change clothes and told me he was going to sign up after that. I just told him, "Well, you may as well sign me up too, then." . There was complete silence (you know like in the song the 'Gambler' by Kenny Rogers? "You could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door"). I can't really remember what was said immediately after that except for the, "Did I just say that out loud?" in my head. I sure did and it was like the vice was removed from my heart. I could breathe and relief washed over me. Maybe I really am ready and I just needed that nudge that he has become so great at giving me. At any rate, we are officially signed up and it took until Thursday of last week for my brain to "thaw".

Time to get a serious, well organized training plan together. All kinds of thoughts started running through my brain like a herd of elephants. Like the fact that my nutrition sucks and I've pretty much reached a plateau in my knowledge of training. Time to bring in some professional help!

I've started following a blog of a pro-triathlete named Elizabeth Waterstraat that Chris told me about. It's freakin' hilarious! I had noticed that she is a USAT coach and didn't really think too much about it...until we signed up for the IMKY. I contacted her last week and started "talking" via email about retaining her services starting in January. She agreed to take me on (Yesssss!) and sent some forms to fill out. I had mentioned that I was having a hip issue so she started asking me a series of questions to see if she could help. She deducted, through my responses, it may just be bone related and not muscular. She suggested that I find a good Sports doc and I may need an MRI. YIKES! I was afraid she was going to come back with that. I sent an email to Mira to see what her opinion was and she suggested a bone scan. Hmmmmm....I guess there was just no way around this and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I have a client who's husband is an Orthopedic Surgeon so I asked if there was anyway I could talk to him. She called him right there on the spot (it was 6 a.m.). He agreed to see me last Friday at 3 p.m. What a guy! I said to him, "You must hate this. It's like you're at a party and there's a guys that says 'Hey, you're a doctor right? Well, I got this pain right here...'.". I guess it sort of helped that I used to work for his brother at a coffeehouse so I've know him for 14 or 15 years and he's just an all around great guy.

Chris and I went to a swim clinic about stroke efficiency on Thursday night and I talked to Gary, another USAT coach and the head of our multisport group at CARVE, and asked what he thought. He said that typically stress fractures are in the pelvic/groin area. Mine is actually where the IT Band attaches to the iliac crest (the arch at the top of the hip). So I started to feel better about this not being a stress fracture.

I went to my appointment and got there about 2:50. They took a couple of x-rays. It was about 4:15 when Gordon entered the treatment room. We looked at the x-rays and he said I was very structurally sound. We came to the conclusion that it was the IT Band fired up. I can put my fingers right on the pain. So ice, stretching and 2 weeks off (per Elizabeth's instructions) running and cycling. I'm already starting to feel like a caged animal......GGGGGRRRRRRRR. Oh well, maybe my swim stroke will improve!

I spent Saturday until 2 p.m. in my PJ's and got some holiday baking done this past weekend. We even went to see a movie and try a new restaurant. I don't know, maybe this won't be so bad ;-). I still have swimming and strength training. At least it happened now and not halfway through training for the Iroman. I'll come back stronger and more ready to kick my own ass with training than ever! I guess if you can't find a way around it, you must go through it.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Land of the Lost

Okay, so mountain biking is not natural to me. It's not the end of the world. No big deal. I bow to you, Sarah! I don't know how you people do this and I am in awe of you. Doing a 1/2 Ironman is way easier than that "focus-sucking-energy-draining-oh-my-gawd-I'm-going-down-and-the-big-sharp-rock-on-the-ground-is-coming-fast-at-me" shit is! And that's exactly what I thought several times yesterday.

It had been sprinkling off and on yesterday morning and the temp was in the 30's, but Chris loaded the mountain bikes up anyway. We were being held accountable by John so the show must go on! On the phone to Chris he said, "I thought you were adventurous people". We are to a certain extent. What the heck? It wasn't like it was pouring rain, right? I put on 2 long sleeve base layers, a long sleeve jersey, tights, bike shorts and grabbed my wind breaker, ear covers, knit $1 pair of gloves and we hit the road. Well, would you look at that? SNOW! The only thing that gave me comfort is that once I heard that it doesn't have to be 32 degrees to snow, the temp can be higher. In the 40's even. So I just try to ignore the "feels like" on the weather report. I used to love cold weather - when I weighed 50 lbs. more. Now it just makes my whole body one big muscle contraction and refuses to relax. Unless you want to count the shivering as a muscle spasm.
I proceeded to call John and give him my latest observed weather update and he laughs at me. He tells me that he is 2 minutes from the gate of Camp Robinson and he will be waiting in his warm truck when we get there. No turning back now! DRAT! I'm a woman of my word and unless I have a really good excuse I don't usually back out. Suddenly I feel like the postal service - wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow...
We pull up and just like he stated, he was in his warm truck and waiting. Chris tells me I can just wait in the truck and he will unload my bike, so I immediately jump out of the truck. No way were these boys going to tough it out more than me, damn it! Chris and John talk while we get ready to go get lost in the woods. I wanted to ask if anyone had a map, but Chris usually does so I didn't ask. When we take off I discover that my $1 pair of knit gloves are exactly worth that. You get what you pay for. I'm no wuss! No siree! I'm hanging with the boys today.
We head into the woods on a fairly sane trail. Well, I may have a very skewed view of sane, but big sharp rocks under my tires doesn't seem like a very calm ride to me. I think part of the reason my fingers were numb is because I had a death grip on the handle bars enough to cut off the circulation. Every time I go out on a mountain bike ride, I want to be at the back and far away from the person in front of me. Never mind that I've only been on about 5 mountain bike rides in my entire life. I just like staying upright with my skin in tact on my body, but mountain biking doesn't lend itself to stability. I can just hear those rocks that probably weigh more than me laughing at the novice. I swear some of them move into the path just because riding a bike on dirt and slick leaves uphill is not quite challenging enough. Then you have tree roots, which I don't mind as much as rocks. They are long and thin and you can just roll right over them pretty easily. It's taking every ounce of concentration that I can muster just to keep it rubber side down. All the while John is just talking away - man can he talk! I'm really starting to feel like I can't walk and chew gum at the same time. I feel every bump and crevice. I can only imagine what this does to a person's spine and neck...well, pretty much their entire body. No wonder Sarah needs 2 hours on "the rack".
I'm now going through periods where my teeth are clenched so tightly it would take the jaws of death to open them if I died on the spot and periods of totally enjoying the ride. Unfortunately there were more moments of teeth clenching. I don't really like to grind my teeth in my sleep. I prefer to do it when I'm totally awake! So we're going along and I come to one of these lovely rock gardens and get a knot in my stomach when I hit the side of one and start going down. I tried to unclip, but I guess I just thought I would wait until I hit the ground. I thought that I would also slam a sharp rock into my shin to really initiate myself into the world of mountain biking. Do you know how many times you can say the F-word in 3-5 seconds? A LOT! If I was going to fall I was going to do it in true mountain biker fashion. Unfortunately, I didn't draw blood, so technically it wasn't FULL mountain biker fashion. Now I'm just pissed off and trying to keep from crying about the throbbing in my shin. I wasn't going to cry in front of the boys!
So I get up and get back on the horse - a little on the shaky side. We start riding again and every pedal stroke feels like Tonya Harding has her thug hitting me in the shin with a metal pipe. I have now decided that these rocks aren't going to get the best of me. Noooooo! I'll show them a thing or two! I'll just get off of my bike and walk over those babies. Take that, you stupid rocks!
I'm starting to get a vibe that we are lost. I'm cold, I'm in pain with my hip and brand new shin bruise, I'm frustrated, I'm cranky, my eyes have been gooping up since the beginning of the ride and I have to piss so bad I think I can taste it. So I tell the guys they can keep riding, just show me how the hell to get out of there and I'll be the one waiting in the warm truck this time. John instructs me that if I just stay on this path off to his right that it should take me straight out to the dirt road we came in on. Chris asks if I want them to come with me to make sure I don't get lost. I thanked him, but if the dirt road was just ahead, I thought I'd be fine. So he asked again to be sure, but I needed to be alone to express myself properly and not let them see me fall apart. So he told me that if I did get lost just turn around and come back to that road because they would be coming back that way. With a kiss I was off. Looky there! A small bed of water. How fabulous! At this point in the ride it might as well have been a rushing river with big currents to pull me under. I get off of my bike and cross it because quite frankly I'm sure I would have fallen in and gotten frostbite. So I see off to my left a trail called "Airport Loop" and over the horizon in front of me I see a fence. I decide to put my bike down and investigate the fence option.
There was a dirt road alright! But should I go left or right? He didn't tell me that. I've got a bad feeling about this, but at least I had my cell phone. I opt to try the trail instead. So I grab my bike and take off - cussing everything in the woods. "F-in trees, f-in rocks, f-in leaves!!!!! It all looks the f-in same!". I've been riding for about 10 minutes and I start to hear voices. I decide to keep riding because if it's Chris and John then they will call. Well how about that? My f-in phone that's in my f-in Camel Back in a f-in ziplock bag is ringing. Of course I totally miss the call. It was John and he's left me a message to call if I'm lost. Pretty sure that he was saying "Um, I told you the wrong way and I know you're lost.". So I call, no answer. I call again and some one's beeping in. I wonder who that is? Hey it's John! He tells me that they are coming for me and that I should just turn around. Okie dokie! I turn my bike around and head back. I see Chris and not John. Well he entered the other end of the trail to come looking for me. I send him a text telling him to meet us at "Two Bridges" trail. I hand my phone to Chris because he has a front pocket. Meanwhile Chris is apologizing to me for letting me ride off and not making sure I was okay. I honestly thought I would be fine and assured him it was my choice and not his fault.
John makes it back to us and they tell me that this is definitely the way out as Chris pulls his map out (told you he would have one) to make sure. Chris says he's going to blaze this trail and I should just stay on it because I wouldn't get lost. He takes off and by this time my head is pretty heavy and I just want to go home. I thought I was going to puke at the thought of taking one more pedal stroke. It starts snowing and raining again at this point. As I'm riding I notice that I can see daylight and a skyline. Then I look at the trail and it curves around and is taking me back into the friggin' woods! You gotta be kidding me! Now I'm just talking to myself in disgust. "Look at you! You're lost again and you're NEVER getting out of here!". "Oh, suck it up sister! You came here on your own free will.". Then it occurred to me that Chris had my phone!!!!!! Then the panic set in. "What if I really am lost? I mean they would send someone out to look for me for sure. But how long will I be out here before they found me? Should I keep riding or should I stay where I am?". We are talking Cybill here! I thought I just need to pee and life would be so much better, but I also don't want to ride home in my pee pants. I really have to go though and get off my bike and throw it on the ground. Earlier in the ride, John had mentioned that if you're ever lost and there's not a soul in sight, pull down your pants and someone will appear out of thin air. And you know what? He was right! There was John looking at me and thinking I was throwing my bike down in disgust. As he started to approach me he realized what I was doing and just said, "See! What did I tell ya?". It seemed like I was squatting for 10 minutes. I did feel much better even in my pee pants. We finally see the edge of the woods - Thank ya Jesus! John informs me that if it's any consolation I was cute as a bug on my mountain bike and I looked like I know what I'm doing. I think he was just trying to make me feel better. This time I gladly let Chris handle the bike loading and get myself into the truck as fast as possible. As we were driving away it starts raining and snowing harder and we decide on grabbing some dinner at Lilly's. Chris told me he loves me and that one of the reasons he married me is because I'm a trooper. He said that a lot of other women would have been doing nothing but bitching the whole time. That's just a waste of energy and solves nothing. It also effects the people around you negatively - what's the sense in that?
I'm not sure about this mountain biking thing. I will get back out there, but I guarantee that I will be armed with a map of my own, a flashlight, extra clothing, more food and if I see one single snowflake or drop of rain - FUGIDABOUDIT!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not feelin' too "hip", just one hip right now...

We were supposed to do a 12 mile run today. That's what the training schedule said. I really wanted to run 12, but my hip was on fire from the beginning. I settled on 10. I'm okay with it, but this is getting pretty frustrating. I mean I've had aches and pains before, but this feels serious and I'm reduced to taking my own advice (which I don't normally do). I told Chris that I hate it when I'm right and he agreed! I just have to back off a little. Which I've done and it's better, but I will probably never take more than a week off. Massage seems to irritate it, probably because it is so inflamed. I did take a cold bath after the run. I always tell people to do that when they are feeling achey and gimped up after an activity. I've only done it a couple of times before during a four day, 325 mile, 20,000 ft. of climbing ride called North West Arkansas Challenge and it really worked. Another friend told us to try Epsom Salts. That's next. We're supposed to go mountain biking tomorrow so we'll see how that goes and the swimming is really the only thing that is giving me a good cardio workout right now. Thank goodness for multisport and cross training. I guess I'm going to go conform to the couch and watch a movie for now. Dang, recovery sucks!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Baby love and the "Functional Season"

I have a friend and a past client who has just had a baby – McKenna Lauren. In fact I got her in shape and fitting nicely into her wedding dress a little over 2 years ago. I also worked with her for about a month toward the end of her pregnancy. We had decided that Madame M (as I have deemed her) thought that her mother’s ribs were like monkey bars because she always seemed to be “climbing” into them during the workouts. Well, about 3 ½ weeks ago, Madame M made her debut and mamma is finding out how challenging it is to be responsible for a little princess. I liked the first text message she sent out after she had given birth. It ended with something like “I can’t believe how much I love her”. I thought that was the sweetest thing I’d ever read! She apparently has long hair already that she loves to have washed. Daddy says it’s an early sign of high maintenance – a certain payback if you will! I recently sent an email to ask how things were going and she replied that they were surviving, but McKenna had started crying more (another sign of high maintenance?) and “woo – this is tough stuff”. My response was:

That's what I hear about babies! You think you know 'em, they're all quiet 'n stuff then - !WHAM! - they start crying like somebody set their feet on fire or somethin'. Woo is right!

I did get to babysit my 1 y.o. nephew, Reid, for a few hours recently and I gotta tell ya he is the BEST baby. He's usually smiling and when he's not, he's asleep. The child will eat ANYTHING you set in front of him and A LOT of it! I gave him some bread with peanut butter on it and you would have thought he hadn’t eaten in days; his eyes got really big and he was reaching desperately for the rest of it. Chris and I are fully convinced we can turn him into a pro-triathlete. He is so much different than my other nephew, Graham. He's 5, a little taller than waist level on me (yes, that's tall for a 5 y.o., no short jokes) and weighs about 40, maybe 45 lbs. at the most. He is a string bean because he's a very picky eater. He will eat oatmeal, mac-n-cheese-spaghetti-o’s, chicken nuggets and chocolate milk and he loooooooves mochas. In fact his Thanksgiving dinner was spaghetti-o’s and chocolate milk. Aaaahhhh to be 5! Then you have my brother, James, and sister-in-law's, Lisa, child they just adopted from China, Avery. She is 5 as well and even taller than Graham. My sister, Terri, said she walked into the airport on the night they arrived and saw Lisa’s entire family hovered around the screen that shows the escalator in the Starbuck's cafe. Apparently they were a little eager to meet Avery because no one was speaking to each other. They all swooped on her when they arrived. Terri said Avery just kind of tucked her arms in really tight and braced herself. She recognized Terri and Lisa's sister, Suzanne, from pictures. At least she had a couple of familiar faces. I got to meet her on Thanksgiving; the first thing she says to anyone is “Hi! Bicycle.”. All she wants to eat is watermelon and Pringles (although she is expanding her diet little by little) and detests brushing her teeth. In her defense though, I'm pretty sure that tooth brushing wasn't encouraged in the orphanage or her foster home. Lisa has told her that the only way Santa will come to their house is if she brushes her teeth. Obviously she wants a bicycle for Christmas after seeing Graham’s and now she is brushing her teeth about 15 times a day.

I haven’t been blogging lately partly because of being busy and partly because I’ve been battling a hip issue. The last time I ran was over a week ago and it’s absolutely killing me, but it kills me more if I try to run. Chris and I tried yesterday and oooooh-weeeee, it hurt. I’ve been doing a lot of swimming lately, but it seems to be working just as well. I just love to run and when you aren’t able to do what you love it’s like someone has you tied down. I’m going to try again tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it goes.

So now it’s the season of giving. Giving rude people the finger in traffic, giving up your sanity when you know exactly what you want in the store and there are people standing exactly where you need to be not moving when you say “excuse me”, giving stuff you have around the house as gifts because you don’t want to leave your house (just kidding about that one). I like Christmas, I just hate traffic and don’t really care for crowded stores. Thank goodness for online shopping. I don’t like the whole gift exchanging idea though. I always have a fear that I will open a gift and have “that” look on my face. I know you know the look I’m talking about. I suck at buying gifts so I have a tendency to buy people what I would like to receive - functional and practical things (I’m pretty partial to pens and paper). Not because I want them to think of me each time they use it, but to make their lives easier. If your life is made easier because of something that is as simple as being easier to carry then that makes you just a little less stressed. A little more happy even. Happy is gooooood! I’m very into making people happy and being happy myself. Of course you can’t be happy all the time; you would lose appreciation for the times when you are on some level. I personally like running the gamut of human emotion and it seems like I run through them all at some point every single day. I like to think that I am happy for the most part, though. I had a friend tell me that they had told someone that I laugh more than anyone they know. I think that was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten.

Well, I’ll get more into training and really make an honest effort to blog more often even if it’s just a paragraph. I know, I know! Promises, promises! People start to talk about you if you have a blog and it lays dormant for awhile. I just never realized that my life was so darn fascinating. I just appreciate that people like reading my blog and find it interesting. Come to think of it, I really like reading other’s blogs and I’m sad when they don’t update it. I think that’s part of my problem. I’m so busy reading other blogs I run out of time to blog. Maybe I’ll just take a speed reading course…

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zone 5 Heart Rate Training

I had a bit of an adventure this morning. I usually start work at 6 a.m. at the gym, but I had a client that had cancelled so I didn't have to be there until 7:30. Well, I had already had coffee and about 20 oz. of water so needless to say, I needed to make a pit stop before I started work. The bathroom in is the common hallway shared by the businesses in the building. The past 3 mornings I've tried to get into the bathroom and it's been locked - at 6 a.m.! No one else is in the building that early in the morning besides the fact that the door automatically unlocks when you turn the handle. It's almost impossible to lock yourself out of the bathroom, but nothing is totally foolproof. Amy had told me a couple of weeks ago that there was a way to unlock the door if it ever happened. Again the door was locked so I once again used the men's bathroom. I walked back into the gym and asked Amy the magic door opening trick. Of course it involved an Allen wrench; I should have known. I go back out into the hall and proceed to unlock the door. I thought it was weird that it was fully locked so I knocked before I opened it. No answer so I turned the knob and started to push on the door. I was having a hard time getting it open - I was really having to push hard. I looked up and thought maybe the hinge at the top of the door was stiff from the door being locked for that long. When I looked down on the floor there was a soda can and at the same time the door gave suddenly. I saw someone move behind the door and the lights were out! I felt all of the blood rush out of my extremities and I was sure that everyone could hear the pounding of my heart. I released the door and walked back into the gym probably as white as a ghost. I looked at Amy and said, "I think there is a person sleeping in the bathroom". Amy's client looked at me and said, "I can see your heart beating", they were about 10 feet away from me. It turns out that Amy has had her suspicion about this homeless woman using the bathroom to at least clean up. I guess since it's gotten colder outside she must be using it as a hotel room as well. After I could feel my toes and fingers again, I started trying to find the humor in the situation to further calm myself. I said, "Well, she didn't have the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the doorknob. How was I supposed to know she hadn't checked out yet?". A client I relayed the story to later in the day said, "Well she must have forgotten to set her clock back and she's over sleeping.". I mean I know homelessness is a terrible and serious thing, but with the recent events (Ann Presley) everyone is on high alert and afraid. I'm just glad that it was a live person on the other side of that door. I refuse to be terrified and tortured by all of the horrible things that go on in this world today. As long as people are living in fear, the bad guys win. Don't get me wrong, I am not invicible or untouchable and if something happens to me I know it was meant to be. It will have nothing to do with what I was wearing or that I invited it in anyway. The only pain and torture I invite are the pain and torture I inflict upon myself in doing crazy events where I push my body to the limit. My friend David has a t-shirt that reads "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body". If that's the case, I'm pretty darn strong and I know I can and will get a lot stronger!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fall rides, good friends and bad runs

Not too much going on lately, but I thought I'd try and keep my promise to blog more. Even if it's not "wow" material.
We did go to John and Diane's again this past weekend. We got there about 8:30 Friday night. It was Halloween and we usually just turn the lights off, hide upstairs and pretend not to be home. You never know who's going to be on your doorstep these days. Now THAT'S scary! Diane had made this awesome Tamale Chili Pie and it was soooooo yummy. Perfect for a Fall evening. We visited for awhile then made our way to the "Love Nest". I can't remember the last time I slept so hard. It's also really weird for the sun to be up before I'm up. We suit up in our cycling gear and head across the street to have a light breakfast. I think I eat more for breakfast than anyone else I know, even with the understanding that after our ride we'll have bacon, eggs, toast etc... Everyone else had toast while I had cereal with a banana and toast. I just couldn't help myself and I know I'm going to probably use up most of that fuel anyway, so it doesn't bother me. We had a pretty relaxing ride even though there was some climbing involved. However, this time I hadn't run 14 miles the previous day, so of course it was easier - DUH! The Fall color was good, but we agreed that if we had ridden a week later it would have been absolutely bursting with color. Mother Nature is truly on her own schedule.
Here's my missed photo op from the Longhorn 70.3. Pretty sure I didn't want to get close to this big fella though. He probably would've used me for a hood ornament!
We finished up our ride and we all felt great. I'm really starting to enjoy the social rides. Chris and I headed back across the street to gather our stuff so we could come back and take advantage of the outdoor shower because it was really nice outside. I started up the stairs and looked up and I was in the middle of a swarm of red wasps! Of course it didn't take long for me to warn the tribe with my battle cry. Nor did it take me very long to get inside. Even though the door wasn't open for every long, we ended up letting about 10 wasps in. I'm pretty sure it was the warm temps outside that brought them back out, but I'm also sure that there were some already inside the "Love Nest" (now known as the "Wasps' Nest"). We grabbed ALL of our stuff and made a mad dash out the door. I wish I had gotten a picture of my Knight in shining armour armed with a fly swatter in each hand! We told John about it and he said that he would go over and take care of things. Meanwhile, I was enjoying the outdoor shower and heard the screen door open out to the back yard and turned to see John pouring out bacon grease and as he headed back inside he said, "Don't worry Rebecca. I didn't look...much". The thing is that now I am not even close to as self conscious as I used to be. It just made me chuckle. What's a little outdoor nakedness between friends, right? We had "breakfast" and decided that a hike might be nice. John started some pork tenderloin on the smoker and we set out once again. The colors and views were awesome. Zulie (sp?) is a really great dog and climber. Not sure she knows she's a dog though.
I especially liked the Mt. Dew hood ornaments. Very classy!
We went back to the base camp and I proceeded to make the most divine cookies on which we would all make ourselves sick before and after we had the awesome pork tenderloin. One thing I can say about John and Diane is these people know how to cook and feed their guests well!
After dinner we watched the Texas and Texas Tech game. Okay, I watched the back of my eyelids more than the game - major sugar crash! We braved the "Wasps' Nest" and still slept pretty good with one ear open. We left about 8:30 (yipee for the extra hour) and Chris went on a mtn. bike ride in Cedar Glades with a group and I went for a 10 mile run. The run went pretty well and I managed an average speed of 8:53. That was one Roctane and about 20 oz. of fluid. I followed that up with these new little cookies from Fig Newton. They are not very sweet and only have 100 calories and about 2.5 grams of fat. They sit well in my stomach, too.
I worked chest/back/abs on Monday and we went for a 30 minute walk that evening. I did intervals on Tuesday afternoon on the bike then went for a very painful 2.5 mile run and when I met up with Chris I walked the other 1.5 miles. I worked legs/back/abs on Wed. I went for a 3.25 mile run this morning and it was a bit better. Leann came and worked on my legs and got most of the hip pain and shin splints calmed down. I'm feeling pretty good right now!
I should probably wrap this up; got a client in 30 minutes!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yada Yada Yada

I have to once again pre-empt this with the fact I started this blog about a week and a half ago. I think my promise in the new year to myself (I don’t like to call them resolutions) is to keep better track of time and try not to take on so much. Don’t get me wrong, I like being busy and active, but the everyday stuff just piles up in the meantime. We always have an excuse to let things fall by the wayside.
Zheesh! I think I even needed recovery from my Longhorn blog. Time just gets away from us and before we realize, it’s been a week or more since we blogged. I try to keep it up, but it seems that I have too many Irons in the fire (pun intended). Anyway, I’m just going to hit on some highlights from the past month or so in this blog. I know myself well enough that I have a very short memory and, at times, questionable about details of things that happen. So I have to either write it down or relay it immediately to someone else. My poor husband is the recipient of a lot of these stories and gets a little frustrated with me if my story is too long. So in respect to that, I have learned to condense things a little more and just relay the important happenings. Not to say that I don’t still get a bit wordy at times. My friend Sarah once commented on one of my blogs that I can be as long winded as I want to in my blogs, because they are mine! So true, Sarah!
Chris and I went to John and Diane’s river house in Heber Springs in late September. They have a barn on a separate part of their property in which the second floor is a small living space, sort of an apartment. Diane refers to this as the “Love Nest”. This is where we and all the other guests who will be there more than one night stay. I have to say it’s pretty groovy and it comes by its name honestly! I won’t go into detail about how I know such things. Anyway, Diane was getting ready to do her first triathlon the next weekend. We did an abbreviated race rehearsal to give her a feel for transitioning and she really wanted to ride the bike course to see what she was in for. It was a pretty good course with a severe climb right before the turn around. Coming back down was a little sketchy around a certain switchback that brought back memories of descending Mt. Nebo. She did great and was really glad she got a preview, but unsure that she was fit enough to complete the whole thing. I, on the other hand, was 100% sure she would finish and she would be hooked. I’m psychic like that. Or maybe that’s psychotic. We took it easy for the rest of the day and even helped clean up the yard a bit while John was getting ready to start dinner. We had a fish fry that night and Jo and Matt joined us. We had a great time! The next morning we walked over from the “Love Nest” and we all went for a run. John says he’s not fast, but he was really moving. He was talking and didn’t seem to be out of breath. I, on the other hand, was gasping for air. When we finished our run, we had a little breakfast and were slotted to go floating before we left to go home. I’ve never been floating and was curious to see what’s involved. I’ve heard, on more than one occasion, that you should, under no circumstance, get into a canoe or kayak with your significant other or best friend. It can be the cause of great friction in a relationship. So I got into the canoe with Diane and Chris and John were in separate kayaks. Diane has been teaching people to canoe and kayak for about 12 years so I was fairly certain that I would be enjoying my drift down the cold, but calm waters of the Little Red. Chris sort of looked like a deer in headlights because he was so afraid of tipping the kayak and dunking himself the 54 degree water. I can’t say I blamed him. There were several flyfishers out with a fog hovering just about the water. It looked like something out of a photo or painting. We did get to see a beaver out for his morning swim. He just swam right through the middle of us like we weren’t even there. We really enjoyed ourselves and John and Diane are great hosts.
Okay, I have to tell you about my sweet, new ride! I can’t even believe she’s mine. Chris and I were on our way back from Austin and I was emailing back and forth with Pat about my new tri bike. We thought (hoped) it would be in before the ½ Ironman, but it was probably just as well that it wasn’t here. I wouldn’t have ridden it anyway, I don’t like to change stuff right before an event, it’s just taboo. It’s a Guru and I am in looooove. Most people say that climbing is difficult on a tri bike. I didn’t find that to be true. We did a ride that took us over Wye Mtn. last weekend and she performed beautifully. Although I’m having to get used to a standard double up front. I had to stand while climbing for the most part. This weekend we are supposed to go back to Heber Springs to John and Diane’s place to do a Fall Foliage ride. It’s a pretty hilly course so I’m sure I will have an even clearer picture of how she performs.
Friday of the week following the Longhorn, I accompanied my sister and nephews to the pumpkin patch. She had volunteered to be a chaperone for my nephew Graham’s class field trip and needed someone to watch my other nephew Reid. She gave me the option of either watching him at their house or going with them to the pumpkin patch. No way was I going to miss the pumpkin patch; that seemed like too much fun! We arrived and the first activity was the pig races. I think this was more for the adults than the kids. It was really funny. Then we went on a hayride, pet some goats, played in the haystack and had lunch. I’m glad I opted for the pumpkin patch!
Last Saturday, Chris and I ran the Soaring Wings ½ marathon in Conway. It was the best run I’ve had to date. It was in the low 40’s when the race kicked off at 8. Quite a difference from the upper 80’s of the Longhorn. Chris wanted to do a sub 2 hour race and I just decided to use this for a marathon training run, but if I could do it in less than 2 hours that would be a nice perk. It was rolling hills pretty much the entire time, but no severe climbs. I stayed with the 2 hour pace guy until about 2 miles out and decided I was ready to take off. The last downhill was pretty painful, but I rounded the corner and saw, guess who….No really, guess! Yup, you got it, Mr. Christopher Irons! All I could think was, “Did he finish or did someone pick him up and bring him in?” I’m so proud of him; he finished in 1:56:24! I finished 1:59:30 and was really pleased with that. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Between the event about which ended this blog some other things have happened. I’ll try to catch up in a day or two (weeks). Rrrrrriiiiiight!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Longhorn 70.3

Here it is! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long, but life and work have gotten in the way. Quite frankly, I was dragging my feet. I think it's part of my recovery process too. Nonetheless, I've been working on this blog when I found time. So without further ado:

Okay, I have to pre-empt this with “The Bet” that Gary and I had. First I must tell you that Gary is British (I think). We were all having a conversation via email about final details of the race. David had suggested we call ourselves the “Arkansas Mafia”. Gary had wanted someone to bring an Arkansas flag to hang at our team tent. David volunteered and I made the comment that I couldn’t wait to hear Gary use the word “Y’all”. He wrote that he didn’t think he had ever used that word before, but if I broke 6 hours in the race, he would use it for the rest of the day. Famous last words: “You’re on!”

Oct. 2
We get on the road by 10:15 and the drive is pretty uneventful. At some point during the trip, Chris informs me that instead of having 1:10 after the LAST wave goes off, each wave has 1:10. I lost it! I just started crying. I’m so insanely petrified of the swim that I was counting on having the extra time. I explained that to Chris and said that I would be fine in a few minutes. We got past Dallas right after 4 as the traffic was stacking up on the other side of the interstate. I talked to Jo while they were driving the bike course – rough surfaces and lots of turns. She reported the water was very “weedy” and worse than Lake Beaverfork in Conway. I’m sooooo looking forward to this swim now. I can hardly wait to jump in (so I can drown myself). Traffic was very bad coming through Austin to find our exit (turned out to be the wrong exit). I mean it was 7:00 p.m. for the love of God. We had quite a bit of trouble finding the hotel, which David and Jo talked us through it. We finally found it! We walked up to the room and had a beer upstairs then one downstairs waiting on dinner which made me tipsy. Slept pretty good, probably had a little something to do with the beer.

Oct. 3
Slept in and had a good breakfast at the hotel. Then Jo was off to work. I was bummed out that she wouldn’t be hanging out with us all day. Chris, David and I drove the bike course. He had already seen it yesterday and fortunately remembered the course for the most part. They were right about the surface being pretty unstable. As we were driving the bike course David pointed out the part of the run that was on trail and got a good gander at “Quadzilla”. We were planning on swimming and running just a little, but decided against it. I was hungry and starting to bonk. We got back to the hotel and had a little lunch and I had decided that if I was going to have to endure sleeping on something that felt similar to a bed of nails that I could at least have a better pillow. So off to Target we went. We bought a shirt for Jo (which you really need to check out David’s pictures on his blogsite to understand). With pillow and various other things in hand we trekked back to the hotel. We headed down to packet pick-up and it was a little chaotic. Really nice schwag! I decided that I needed to go back to Target because I had forgotten razors. Chris opted to stay at the hotel and David decided that I need to be put on a leash because I almost got hit by a car. This time turned out to be a chocolate run as well. You know I was a bit stressed out and I needed something to comfort me. Jo met us at a restaurant across the parking lot and we had a pretty nice dinner.

Oct. 4
MY BIRTHDAY!!!!! I finally got Starbucks and all will live. This was not the best birthday I’ve ever had, but understandable considering that it’s the day before a big race. Jo had to work for a few hours again. When she got back to the hotel we headed back downtown so she could pick up her packet. It seemed more organized this time. We went into the Pro Panel meeting and athlete briefing. Where I found out that we would, infact, have 1:10 from the start of the last wave. Okay, that’s good news. We were walking back to the Mom Bomb (I love that) and Jo gave me one of her LIVESTRONG bracelets that she bought at the expo for my birthday! It is my first one and I love it! We went back to the hotel and it was time to load up the bikes to go rack them. Chris, Jo and David checked out the water and said it felt great. I opted to stay on shore and watch everybody’s stuff. We dropped the chairs off at CARVE tent and chilled out for a few minutes. I was starting to feel like I was bonking again. I was cranky and ready to get this over with. I tried to be optimistic about it, but I was having some looming feelings. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on with me and that was making it worse.

Saturday, Oct. 5th RACE DAY!!!!!!
The alarms start going off at 3:30 a.m., but I started waking up every half hour at 2:00. I think it was a combination of nerves, which was worse than usual (wazzupwidat??!!), and sleeping on a hide-a-bed. I was really glad that I had a pillow similar to mine at home. I had waited to take my shower until this morning and it was a good thing too as there was no hot water the night before because the hotel was full. I ate my breakfast and I felt pretty good. Out the door and off to the races.

I was unusually nervous for some reason. I mean, I’m always nervous, but I can usually joke around a little. This was on the verge of being deer-in-headlight-full-blown-I’m-going-to-throw-up-for-real-terrified. I didn’t know what exactly was making me feel that way, but I needed to get over it QUICK!!!! I hadn’t felt my best on Friday or Saturday nights (I felt like I was bonking). It was almost like a premonition and I hate it when those come to fruition. Most of the time when I get bad feelings it’s something small and doesn’t pan out. This time it was different and I told Chris that.

They had everyone park offsite about ¾ of a mile from the race site at the expo center. You could either catch a shuttle or walk to the race site. We chose the shuttle. Next was the body marking. The woman asked my number and I rattled that off with no delay. When she asked my age, I totally spaced. I’d almost forgotten that my birthday was the day before. The woman behind me said, “Oh just tell her 18.” I said, “Oh no, I think it should be 84. I could win my age division that way.” Okay, sense of humor still somewhat in tact. We decided to hit the port-a-potties before the lines got too long. Once again I felt my stomach tighten yet another notch when we entered the transition area. WTF!
I got to my spot and I thought back to Arkadelphia and the brawl that almost broke out about the proper side to set up your gear. So I turned to the woman on my left and asked, “So what do you think? Left or right side?” She said that it was usually on the left but there was a person in between us missing so it really didn’t make any difference to her. Left it is, then. We talked a little more while we were setting up and before I knew it, I was done. I almost asked her what her pace was going to be just so I could try and find her out on the course; maybe she could talk to me and take my mind off of the pain.

The next 1 ½ hours was sort of a blank. I just remember walking and talking with Chris while it was still dark. All of the sudden it was light and I found myself taking off my running shoes in the transition area and grabbing my swim cap and goggles to head down to our team tent. I think my brain had shut down and I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I finally see Gary walking up to the tent. He, of course, looked cool and calm. He even made the comment that right before a race is when he is the calmest. He has done everything he could to prepare. Man, I wish I could say those words to myself and actually have it sink in because it’s so true. I just feel like I fall short every time. There is always some good advice I hear right before an event and all I can do is play it over and over in my head during the event or else it just gets lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately when I do that I lose focus on the task at hand and leave something vital out.

I see Chris walking up to the tent and I want him to just sit down with me, stroke my head and assure me it’s going to be okay. He tells me I look really scared. I really am and I start to doubt my abilities and think, “Should I get in the water?” Ahhh, the dreaded swim…Look at all these women with the fluorescent pink swim caps on!!! The first wave went off at 7:50, two minutes later the second then there were three minutes in between the remaining waves. I think there were 14 waves all together and I was in the sixth; meaning there were a lot of fast swimmers to knock me around like I’m a hockey puck. I get in the water and make my way over to the outside trying not to think about the hydrilla tentacles grabbing my ankles. I found myself asking the universe to please help me stay calm through this leg. Here we go! After I escape from the hydrilla, I find myself sticking with my plan and telling myself not to panic when I feel a hand brush me. I would take ten strokes then I would look up quickly to make sure I was staying the course. This was working really well. Then something very interesting happened. I actually thought I was drafting off of someone to my left for a long time. I finally realized that there was no one there. I don’t know if it was divine intervention, the way the light was hitting the water or something on my goggles. It really didn’t matter because I was calm and it was getting me through the swim. Personally, I think it was literally a guiding light. I rounded the last buoy and this turned out to be the hardest. I have a tendency to veer to the right and the buoys were angled in toward the left. It sort of seemed like that scene in the movie ‘Poltergeist’ when the mother is running down the hall trying to get to her children and the hall keeps getting longer and longer. I zig-zagged all the way in. Out of the water and the crowd goes wild!!!!!

Okay chip is still on, check. Found bike, check. Helmet on, check. Feet muddy, double check – YUCK! Okay, wipe mud off of feet. Shoes on, check. Garmin on, check. I take off and I feel pretty good. The ride is fairly uneventful, but it was hard not to draft because of the amount of people on the course. It was also really windy. There were people jumping over the yellow line and coming in between other people to pass. It was a little sketchy and I played leapfrog with about three other people. Even though the last stretch was flat and fast, I was happy to see the transition area.

Time for the run. This course was tough and had it not been for the support and 16 aid stations I’d probably still be out there. There was trail running involved and I’ve NEVER done any trail running. They cleaned the trails very well, so it was smooth sailing for the most part. It was still overcast and felt pretty good. I took off way too fast and I knew it at the time, but I didn’t have any time to lose because I wanted to win “the bet”. More so for getting in under 6 hours than really to hear Gary say “y’all” even once. I was making good time and feeling okay, but my hips had started to feel a bit like bone grinding on bone and a little achy. I shook it off and dismissed it as sleeping on the hide-a-bed. I mean, I’m not Grandma Moses, but I’m no spring chicken either. Aches and pains are no longer from hangovers and dancing all night long. No, they are now from causes like sleeping in a strange position and injuring yourself training. I had a client that had just turned 50 and she started calling these years the WTF years. She wakes up in the morning and says, “Now, WTF does that hurt for?” I’m starting to understand that on some level.

So here I am running. Then here I am walking. I don’t know if it was because all of the people around me were walking or if my body was forcing me to do it. I gave high fives to my fellow teammates as we ran/walked in opposite directions. We had disco dancers, superheros and live music on the course which was very motivating and entertaining. I filled my bottle at every rest stop and took my Endurolytes like a good girl. At times I could feel and hear the fluid sloshing around in my stomach.

I was going along pretty nicely and then all of the sudden, there it was…Quadzilla. Wow, I get to do this twice??!!! Really? That’s fantastic! Well, I guess I better get started. Yeah, baby I’m walking this puppy. I wasn’t alone in my choice of walking. With each step more and more heavy, I finally reach the summit. I can’t even bear the thought of having to do that one more time right now. I say to myself, fugitaboudit (for now).

Round two! I run through the left side of the chute heartbroken that I can’t go to the right. I will get there. They may be packing up everything when I do, but I’m going to make it. This second loop starts out MUCH harder. I find myself walking pretty much from the get-go. The harsh reality of me not breaking six hours is starting to sink in. So I try to enjoy myself as much as possible for the rest of the race. Only now the sun has decided to come out. How lovely! 300% humidity and now the fireball in the sky peeks through just as I’m entering the newly paved asphalt. All I can think about now is my friends already sitting under the team tent enjoying beer and how good that Coke is going to taste once I get there. David passes me going the opposite direction and says, “Chris is right ahead of you. Not too far.’ I get excited at the prospect that maybe we could come through the finish line together holding hands. That would be really cool! I start running with the hopes of catching him. I see him up ahead finally and catch up. I’m relieved that he is walking because that means I get to walk for a little while too. He tells me that I don’t have to walk on his account. I inform him that it’s not a choice at this point. We walk and talk for a bit longer then my legs let me know they are ready to run again. I’ve decided that I’m going to try and run the flats (as if there are any) and downhills and walk the uphills. It turns out that the uphills were much easier to run than the downhills. Too much pressure and pounding on the knees and feet. I make it to Quadzilla the second time. This time I decide to try and run it just to get it over with. I made it about ½ way up and petered out. I walked until I got almost to the top and decided to resume running. This time I kept running and I was so happy to be able to run down the right side of the chute. It was a glorious feeling to hear them announce my name! They didn’t do that in Arkadelphia and as you know (if you’ve been reading my blog) they called the race before I was done in Kansas.

I decided to wait for Luvbug so I collected my medal and handed in my chip. I stood there for about 20 minutes then decided that I needed to find a port-a-pottie then I would come right back. I wanted to be there to see him finish. I turned and walked out of the finisher’s tent and entered the Twilight Zone. I became completely disoriented and forgot what I was looking for. I got that familiar feeling of passing out. I looked at the food tent and said to myself, “I don’t think that’s was I was looking for.” I looked at the medical tent and thought, “Maybe that’s what I was looking for. I think I should go there.” I put my hand on the shoulder of a paramedic with his back toward me and he turned to me as I was sitting down next to him and said, “Oh hey! Do you need some help.” I said, “I think I might.” I sat down, he started checking me out and he asked if I felt like I was going to pass out. Again I responded with, “I think I might.” In reality I was certain that I would at any second. Then he asked if I thought I could walk to the cot to lie down and I responded with, “I think so.” Not so much. The next thing I know I’m being carried to the cot. They start an IV in my right arm and start taking my blood pressure. The doctor asked me to stick out my tongue and immediately told them to start an IV in my left as well. They announce my blood pressure is 66/40 and that was the only time I freaked out during this whole experience. All I could think was, “Is that MY blood pressure? Isn’t that sort of LOW? Holy Shit!” While all this is going on all of the sudden I see a familiar face over me. It’s Gary and he asked me if I was okay. I said that I thought so; I was starting to feel better. He told me he was going to get Chris. I wanted to cry because I didn’t get to see him cross the finish line, it was so important to me. Then there was his beautiful face looking down at me. He looked so scared and worried. At that very moment I got very calm and realized how much I need and love him. They had an oxygen mask on me by now and had started talking about taking me to the hospital right before he got there. I was feeling much better, I’m fine, really! I don’t need to go to the hospital! All I could think about was how expensive that was going to be and would insurance cover any of it. I know it’s silly, but I worry about that stuff. Gary’s face is above me again and he says, “Well I guess you’d go to any lengths to hear me say the word Y’all!” Then I see Jo smiling down at me…what happened to her tooth?! Has it been like that? She had done an endo last Christmas and broke her tooth off and got it fixed. She said that she thought it had re-broken off opening a gel. David was busy documenting the occasion with pictures. He always says if there aren’t any pictures it never happened. They had decided that I definitely needed to go to the hospital. All of the sudden I was freezing and started shaking uncontrollably. They covered me with towels and transported me to a stretcher. Into the first ambulance I went. They put me in another ambulance to take me to the hospital. Jo and David had gathered our stuff out of the transition area and brought Chris’ truck to the hospital. We have the best friends in the world. I ran the gamut of the ugly scale. I told Chris that he has officially seen me at my worst. I was nasty and grimy from the race. I had lake water and sweat in my hair. I had to use a bed pan for #2 (very humiliating if you’ve ever had to do that) and had the dry heaves. I felt so sorry for Chris. I know he was tired and hungry and he was drained from worrying about me. The nurse finally brought in two sandwiches and I ate about ¼ of one. She started explaining about heat stroke. Heat stroke??!!! Four hours later, a total of three bags of fluid and a heat stroke diagnosis they were going to release me. I was really impressed by everyone who had a hand in taking care of me that day.

We left the hospital with instructions that I was to do nothing strenuous for at least a week. We got back to the hotel, got a nice hot shower and ordered pizza. It was nice to sit around with my sweetheart and better friends than I deserve. I felt good when I went to sleep, except for this little sore throat. I woke up the next day and felt like I had swallowed broken glass. In fact I didn’t sleep very well because every time I swallowed I woke myself up. I chalked it up to the oxygen that was shot up my nose and ragweed. We gathered our stuff and packed up the cars and headed to Mellow Johnny’s to spend some money. We said our goodbyes to Jo and David. Chris and I started our search for a hotel. We decided to stay until Wednesday. If you’re ever in Austin, three restaurants to hit are South Congress Café, Magnolia Café and Truluk’s (I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on dinner in my life). We visited the Zilker Botanical Garden which was nice, but this late in the year there is nothing really in bloom. We did see a snake which I almost crawled onto Chris’ head after I noticed it. We had a nice time in Austin (for what it was worth); it’s a really neat place. Maybe we will do this race again someday. If for no other reason than to prove I can do it minus fallout (or falling out).

Final thoughts:
*What I saw in the water, to me it was something beyond the realm of what happens here on Earth. I do know it was what I needed exactly when I needed it
*I know now what I did wrong or rather what I didn’t do. I failed to hydrate myself before the race. Very stupid yet an honest mistake with the temps so mild and the air so dry on my taper week. I’ve been consuming fluids like there is no tomorrow since then. I will not let that particular mistake happen again.
*As long as my body is moving I’m fine. It’s when I stop that my body realizes that it’s time to cease and desist. Sometimes a bit too much.
*When the day is over it’s all been a learning experience, right? I don’t think I’ll ever be totally prepared, but


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gettin' around to it is hard

I know, I know, I know! I'm working on it. Busy, Busy, Busy...
Things to report on:
*A canoe trip
*Longhorn 1/2 Ironman (and the days leading up to it)
*The pumpkin patch
*The new machine - VROOM!
* Various and sundry other things in there

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the Long Run...

The date may say that it's from the 14th, but I actually finished it today, the 16th.
I did it! I did my first 16 mile run Saturday! I'm very excited, if you couldn't tell. Friday night and before I started on Saturday morning I told myself I couldn't think about it so I couldn't talk myself out of it. I had everything laid out on the counter and a note to myself for last minute things.
I woke up at 5 a.m. to eat so I would have time to digest my breakfast. Then back to bed for an hour. Back up at 6:30 to get ready and head out. I got to Cook's and started my run by 7:30 a.m. I intended to start by 7, but it was not to be. I have been getting nutrition advice from different people, so I'm trying what sounds like it would work for me. I took a package of mini Fig Newtons, a Special K Chocolate/Orange Bar (very yummy, BTW), a Roctane Vanilla-Orange (it Rock-tanes!), my hydration drink and an extra bottle of water to drop off for on my way back. I said hello to a few people and took off. I felt pretty good, but I had already promised my legs that if they started to ache that I would adjust accordingly.
The run was fairly uneventful, but I saw lots of people on the trail trying to get their exercise in before Ike blew through. I dropped my water about 4 miles out which turned out to be right when I needed it. Chris pointed out that there are water fountains along the River Trail. I just don't notice them when I'm doing something like a long run. I'm usually thinking through something or focusing on how much my knees are aching. I'm glad I lugged it along with me anyway. I took in my gel about 5.5 miles in and had my Fig Newtons at about mile 11. Marianne told me she likes Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies - gonna try that next time. When I got down to the bicycle rental place I was disappointed to see I only had about 7.25 miles, so I ran in a few circles. I headed back when I got bored with that and decided I would be satisfied with just under 16 if it came to that. NOT! Most of the time I can't say I'm going to do something and be satisfied if I just fall short. I have to follow through no matter how much physical pain or emotional discomfort I put myself through.
I had to run past Cook's about .25 miles to get my full 16 in. After I limped back to the parking lot, I stretched and took in an Ensure and my second dose of FRS. It's really hard to eat anything after putting my body through something like that, but I know I just have to force something down. I didn't have any digestion problems this time and my legs felt great for the rest of the day. Pretty groovy and also I sign that I will be able to push myself a little further next time and be fine.
I rested on Sunday. I'm trying to get used to "rest days". It's really hard when it's as pretty as it was to not go do anything. I worked chest, back and abs, swam 1500 yards in the pool on Monday and we rode 13 miles on Monday evening. I plan on doing a brick this afternoon. Letcha know later how that goes!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Distractions and Great Causes.

Okay, I've been slacking on the blog front. These little everyday things just keep piling up and it's so very hard to get things crossed off of your list when you suffer from AOADD (Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder). The whole cycle begins when I get home from working at the gym. I walk through the door intending to start washing the dishes and lay my "stuff" on the counter. I walk over to hang up my keys and look in the laundry room and think to myself (although at times I do this out loud, but the cats don't seem to mind) that while I'm over here I can just throw the clothes from the washer into the dryer before I tackle the dishes so that can be going on while I'm doing dishes. Okay, so I get the clothes in the dryer and look down to see the litter box needs to be cleaned while I'm thinking (at this point out loud; next step is to start making a list on a post-it) that I can get another load of laundry going in the washer. I look at the pantry and decide I need a few Goldfish and Craisins, so I get some and think that I need to organize the damn thing to find stuff easier. I bypass the organization for now and on my way through the kitchen I look at the dishes and the computer and decide I need to check my email (spam doesn't come in on the Blackberry and sometimes the spam really isn't spam). I check email then I look at the toolbar and see blogs listed up there so I decide to see if anyone has updated lately (because, ya know, I really don't have anything else to do). I am a very slow reader, so there is no way to "quickly" check out the blogs - I want to absorb the main story line, after all, in each and every one. After reading blogs I look down on the desk top and decide to pay a few bills that are laying there. I get bored with the computer and decide that I need to eat before I make a really bad decision and have ice cream with hot fudge for lunch. I look at the dishes again and decide that I will wait to do them until after I eat because I like consolidation. I hear the dryer going and I remember that I wanted to get another load going in the washer. I head upstairs (next house I promise will be a single level) to get some dirty clothes. I see a Tigger on the bed so I have to go love on her for a sec. Then I notice that she has puked on the comforter and the sheets need to be changed - BAD KITTY!!!! I go to get toilet paper to clean up the "gift" and see that the toilet needs scrubbing so I throw a little cleaner in there and close the lid. After I clean the comforter off, I have to change the sheets (well, at least I know what to put in the washing machine now). I look in the toilet to throw the "be the mother bird" substance in and now I have to hold it in one hand while cleaning the toilet with the other. I finish that and change the sheets. Go downstairs to the laundry room and start the wash and notice the litter box again. I really should eat or someone might die! I then clean the litter box and after washing my hands what do you think the last thing I do is....the friggin' dishes. I know there has to be others that are afflicted with this terrible disorder. I bet we could have a fundraiser and organized ride for it!

Anywho, I have been keeping a food journal and carrying it around with me. I have never been successful in doing this. Who has the time to write down what they eat every single day? I didn't ever think I did. I just had to force myself to do it and now it's a habit. I make time to write that and my training down. It really does work at keeping you honest - "I had how many chocolate chip cookies today?!!!". You either develop better eating habits or you lose interest in logging everything. Well, I have persevered and the ugliness reared it's head! I have changed a few things, but I feel that if I deny myself certain things that I will gain all that weight back by sitting down at the fridge with a fork. So I have to come to terms that my body craves certain things especially during certain times (if ya know what I mean) and give it what it wants when it wants, just not the whole package.

This past weekend was the Bike MS Pedal the Peak. We had absolutely gorgeous weather! We arrived a little before 8 pm and Chris checked us in while used the facilities. Chris decided that he would wait to eat until we got to Mather Lodge only to find out the restaurant closes at 8 pm. I see JBar and he told me to go get Chris if he wanted something to eat. I ran as fast as I could and fetched him. They were so patient and the waitress was really great! Thanks Theresa! They even warmed up my food that I brought and gave me another to go box just in case I couldn't eat it all. That's the way you get good tips. Although I have been on the other side and it's really frustrating when people come in right before you close, are total buttholes and don't leave you jack for a tip. I think everyone should be required to wait tables at least for a month out of their lives. Gives you a whole different perspective.

We finish eating and go down to the AR Room to sign in. Sarah had asked if I wanted to be a Ride Marshall and tempted me with a free jersey. I turned in my form and they gave me my jersey. It was a large. Since I would be wearing a parachute, I was hoping for no headwind this weekend. We told everyone goodnight and headed to our cabin. Back at the cabin, I got a call from Sarah saying that Arron, her husband and a Ride Marshall too, would trade me his medium jersey for my large at breakfast the next morning. There was hope that I would finish before sundown now! Thank you Arron!
Neither one of us slept very well, but what do you expect when you are sleeping essentially on a piece of foam. I had gotten everything ready the night before and I was very calm about what lay ahead. If you know me, this is a rarity. I'm usually as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs about this stuff. I guess once you do an open water 1.2 mile swim with 1299 other people and survive, doing anything on dry land is a snap. We get down to the start/finish line and see several members of Team Fast Girls Slow Guys. I decided I would just ride easy and not care how long it took to finish Sat. I wanted a good social ride so my legs would be good to go for day two.
I gave Luvbug a kiss, told him I love him and I would see him later. With that he was gone. I had to yell at some people and even had to chase some guys down. I think I depleted my glycogen stores and all my ATP in that one burst, so I knew the rest of the ride was not going to be quick or painless. Thank goodness for the downhill! The best part of the ride probably is descending Petit Jean. It's fast and curvey and not for the faint of heart. Kind of makes you want to raise your arms in the air and yell out "WAAAAAHOOOOO!!!!". Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long.
Sat. I decided to stop often and just enjoy the company, scenery and weather. I always have to stop at the first rest stop and visit on the first day. The first year I was any part of this ride was in 2005 as a volunteer. I was stationed at rest stop 1 and made Rice Krispie Treats (chocolate and peanut butter, I think). There was also another woman, LaDonna, with her 3 daughters and a friend of her oldest daughter. They were a hoot! Her husband Mike rides every year. In 2006, he was the only reason I made it through the second day of riding. The second day is much flatter and less scenic than the first, so it gets a little rough if you get caught out there by yourself. Especially if you've ridden the first day. Each year at this rest stop they have Rice Krispie Treats because of me! I love that!
Well, I was feeling pretty good when I got close to Perry County, remembering the email that Lisa had sent out that there would be a parade going through. She had gotten permission from the parade director that we would be allowed through. Much to my chagrin, we were halted by a Deputy. Now I have respect for the law, but he was acting like Barney Fife (sp?). Telling us that we would be stopped on the other side if we went around the back way and he had his orders, dammit! Well he didn't say that, but you could just hear him thinking it. I finally called Lisa and her first words were, "I am so pissed". I tried to get the Deputy to talk to her, but he stood there all serious and not saying a word. I handed my phone over to one of the support guys for the ride. Meanwhile I finally turned around and all the cyclists that had been behind me were riding back up the hill and around the block. When the support guy handed my phone back to me (I had been there for about 10 minutes-enough time for my legs to get stiff), Barney looked at me and said, "If ya went through this parkin' lot and around that white buildin' it would come out on the other side and ya could just ride on the shoulder through.". He had a half smile on his face I wanted to wipe off with my bike tires. What a jerk! Instead I told him to have a nice day and saddled back up.
I tried to forget about, as Lisa refers to it now, "The Parade Incident". I was just so happy I wasn't going to have to wait out the entire parade! I knew I shouldn't have stopped so long at the first rest stop! I rolled along and saw several people I knew and socialized for a bit before taking off. I get frustrated sometimes because I'm slower than the fast people, but faster than the slower people and end up riding by myself alot. I just try to convince myself that it makes me stronger and it's good mental training for triathlons. I finally come to the lunch stop and see my friend Geo! I fix myself a sandwich and get some plain pasta and sit down across from him and next to some super nice and funny people. I tried to make quick work of lunch and refill my bottles to be on my way. As I'm getting ready to take off I see an old friend of mine. I used to work for his brother as a baker at a coffeehouse. I now train his wife and have done some plyo training with 2 of their kids. They are genuine and down to earth. All 4 of their kids are well-mannered and sweet natured. His is an Orthopedic Surgeon and I usually see him in scrubs. I didn't recognize him at first in his bike clothes. He said, "Thank you for getting my family into shape.". I told him it was my pleasure to boss them around and make them sweat ;-) !
I caught up with Geo and rode with him for awhile and we talked. He asked me nutrition and fitness questions. I told him I would bill him later! I stopped at rest stop 5 and was ready to be done at that point so I decided to skip the last rest stop. The road leading up to the climb up Petit Jean is always so hard for me. I don't know if it's a mental thing or if by the time I get there I'm just so whooped. I finally start the climb up and get almost all the way to the top and I see this guy running down the mountain. Now, my husband said he was going to run after the ride, but he's usually spent after a hard effort. This guy starts coming into focus and I discover that it is, in fact, my husband. He looks fresh and like he hadn't ridden 78 hilly miles. Like he just decided that he wanted to run in that bike jersey. Our friend Marvin said he thought Chris had lost his bicycle and went back to look for it. I said that he had lost something, but it wasn't his bicycle. I'm so proud of him for his recent weight loss and fitness gains! Welcome to the world of fitness fanatics! We are the few, the proud, the lunatics!
I decided after I ate, I would get in line for a massage. I've never taken advantage of this before and I'm so glad I did this time. I'm sure it did alot of good and it felt great! Chris finds me and we stay and talk with some friends. JBar introduced us to a woman named Dell. She wants to do a triathlon, so of course I'm more than happy to dispense advice on this. Once you get me talking about something I'm passionate about, good luck on trying to shut me up. Lucky for Dell, I remembered that I was sweaty, grimy and tired. We headed back to the cabin to shower and nap for a bit.
Winrock Foundation always provides us a place to have our Awards Dinner and they own really beautiful land up there. The food was tasty and the MC was entertaining as always. Our team usually takes biggest team trophy, but this year I was not the greatest team captain and I'm sorry for that. This year a very well deserving Team CARVE took it. Good job, Sarah. Even with bronchitis she comes through. I've gotten to know Sarah a little better this year and she is one of the most upstanding, funny people I know. I certainly respect her knowledge of the sport. If I ever decide to do more mountain biking, she will be the one I call on to give me advice and ride with hoping that she doesn't laugh at me too loud or get too frustrated with my 'like a 4 year old' bike handling skills.
Chris told me that he had decided not to ride the second day because of his near 20 mph average and 5 mile run. Smart choice and understandable. JBar told me that he was going to wait for me at the bottom of the mountain because he didn't want to get stuck without a paceline to grab onto. Sure enough there he was in a sea of Megasoreasses waiting on me. I was already in a paceline so he just jumped in. I had decided I only wanted to stop at a couple of rest stops today. We bypassed the first one (while the rest of our paceline stopped) and I told him I really needed to stop at the second because I forgot to blasted pee before the ride got started. He pulled me for a good while and the Megasoreasses paceline came by. We grabbed on and held on to them for most of the ride. We all worked together and everyone pulled as much as they were comfortable with. I felt good all day! It was nice to have people to ride with consistently. We stopped at the second stop and the lunch stop. I gulped down my food and was ready to roll, but no one seemed to really be in a hurry. So we hung out until our group was ready. We were going at a pretty good pace down a straight stretch and all of the sudden there was alot of commotion. All of the sudden, I saw on of the riders head on the asphalt to the right and riders scattering. She overlapped wheels with the person in front of her and down she went, HARD! The guy behind her ended up running right over her and then going down. Double ouch! We avoided the mayhem and assessed the situation. Nothing broken, lots of road rash. The guy that ran over her had a big hemotoma on his hip. She laid in the grass and said that she wanted to ride and started crying because she couldn't. Both of her break levers were bent in. I felt really bad for her because she didn't have far to go. I bet she was really sore the next day. We got back on our bikes and took off after support took care of things. We saw the CARVE paceline come by us while we were on the side of the road. We ended up catching up to them, thanks to JBar. Sarah advised us to go the front as the guys in the back were a little sketchy. When JBar was a little more rested we went to the front. We dropped the CARVE group without realizing it and the Megasoreasses caught back onto us again. I was pulling when JBar got my attention and said that there was no one with us, but a guy named David. Why the heck was I working so hard? I guess I needed to prove that I could hang. So JBar, David and I rode together and prepared for Cove Mountain, a monster of a climb! We rounded the corner and took a deep breath. Who do you suppose was sitting on the back of his truck halfway up Cove Mountain? None other that Christopher Irons. He looked like he was enjoying himself thoroughly. I'm so glad that I have a triple on the front because no way in hell am I EVER going to walk my bike up any hill. At least that anyone will witness. We made it and enjoyed the descent on the other side. We stopped at the last rest stop and got ready to make that not so final climb up Petit Jean. The last 2 miles is probably the most grueling in my opinion. It's right at that point where you want to throw your bike in the ditch, but you're almost done! You just know that the finish line is around the next corner when really all it is, is another climb. It's so good to round the corner and see the finish line and that's the point that you remember why you do this stuff to yourself. You stop whining and grab your finisher's medal.
It's really not that big a deal when you consider that there are people who would give ANYTHING to ride, but can't. You remember that this is temporary pain for you and they must deal with physical limitations everyday. This is one of the best supported, organized and beautiful rides in the state. Especially if the weather cooperates like it did!
I will stop here. I will be attempting a 16 mile run tomorrow morning and I have to prepare for it. Thanks for reading and maybe the next one won't take me three hours to write and you an hour to read.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trial, error and experience

Just wanted to touch base while I have the time. This time of year is typically slow for me because of end of summer vacations, kids back in school and trying to get back into a routine. I use to panic because I was pretty much flying solo before Chris. I'm still learning to relax and not freak out when I don't have a lot of business. Over time I have realized that the universe gives you exactly what you need when you need it. There is no use in trying to fight it or control it. It is what it is, period. So that being said (or typed), I have a little free time to catch up on some things. Very seldom do I feel comfortable sitting on the couch with Winston (our alpha cat) not doing really anything productive. Just kind of being, ya know? It's a foreign concept to me. I'm more of a doer, but every once in awhile I like to give being a whirl.

In my extra time, I've also found that I'm more relaxed when I'm training. Somehow that translates into being a little faster. My body also hurts less. The only thing I'm having trouble figuring out is how to keep my gut from rebelling on me after a long run. That's the only time it happens. Not riding or swimming. My guess is that it's because running burns more calories. So I should take in more calories - pretty simple. Or is it? When one takes in solid food, the digestive tract needs the extra blood flow to do its thing. The extremities also need that blood flow to do what they need to do. You can only take in so much gel before it starts just hanging out in your stomach and the same goes for fluid. There have been times when I could hear the fluid just sloshing in my stomach and not being absorbed. So what's a gal to do? Not sure, but I'll just keep collecting data from different people until I find something that works.

Summer is almost over and I really am looking forward to the off season. Even though training will never stop completely, it's still nice and necessary to give yourself a break. I have been doing P90X for essentially 5 1/2 months now and it has sincerely done wonders for me. I'm ready to switch gears and start integrating what I was doing before this program to see how much progress I've made. I like to do that with my clients. The look on their faces is priceless when I have them do something they were struggling with in the beginning and they realize they really have made progress. It sort of fires them back up. They are more motivated than ever at that point. It's so interesting to me how much negativity we are exposed to on a daily basis and how easy it is to turn people around with some positive reinforcement. I can't believe how many times clients tell me how grateful they are for my belief in them and the encouragement I give. Like they've been conditioned to that negativity. I don't know about you, but I respond much better to someone being sincerely supportive of me than if they tell me I'm just not working hard enough. So that's how I talk to and train people. I want people to succeed. If they don't do as well as they would've liked to the first time, I encourage them not to give up. Some things just take practice. It's important to not compare yourself to other people all the time. It's also important to have goals. Push yourself and try to find someone who is just a little faster than you on the days you don't have it in you to push yourself. Take rest days (personally I struggle with this one). Eat right, but allow yourself a little wiggle room. Remember that you can't be "on" everyday, so give yourself a pat on the back for just getting out there and doing it anyway instead of getting frustrated (calmly back away from the ditch and put the bike down - you paid a lot of money for that bike).

I could go on and on, but I'm tired and I really do have a little work to do. Otherwise, I could surely sit here and do this all night. The cats would love it. Cats got it going on! What a life....

To be is to do - Plato

To do is to be - Socrates

Do be do be do - Sinatra