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!