Thursday, August 31, 2006

IMWI Volunteers Needed

I'm sure it's true for a lot of the stations, but I happen to know they are short a few bike Sag van drivers. If anyone is thinking about volunteering, now is the time to decide.

This is the kind of thing it's probably monumentally stupid to say into cyberspace, so I'll say it with a bunch of caveats...

If you think you want to volunteer to drive a shift BUT
don't have somewhere to stay and/or a van AND
are a girl (or a non-lecherous, nice guy) AND
I know you from your blog AND
you don't seem like a serial killer THEN
get in touch with me, we can talk about you crashing in my extra bed and maybe driving my van while I'm working a different station.

If you're interested, I've got the shift schedule and the bike sag captain's direct email.

Test Results

The vet called last night with Sable's pathology report.

The growth in her mouth - the one they were most concerned about - was benign. (For those of you medically inclined, they said it was hyperplastic tissue.)

The lump on her side, the one I thought came out of nowhere and rushed her in for, is another story. The vet said I probably saved her life.

The pathologist report said it was a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.

Couple of good things:
1) this type of cancer is very slow to metastasize
2) we appear to have caught it pretty early
3) pathology report indicated that the margins were sufficient and exicision was likely curative (translation: we got it all and she doesn't need further treatments)

The not so great thing - this type of tumor is highly likely to recur locally. That means we have to watch that site very carefully from now on and get her seen immediately if we notice any changes.

She had 4 lumps removed last Friday and came home looking like Frankendog. She's taken the whole thing very well and is only mildly irritated by her stitches.

The one on her neck looks the worst (it's an enormous, roughly 6 inch incision with huge stitches) but was really just a benign cyst in an awkward location. They took it out because it was getting big and could cause trouble later. The one on her side was the cancer. Cant's see the other two - there was a lipoma (benign fatty tumor) inside her armpit and then the one inside her mouth.

We're very happy to know our baby girl is going to be ok. She's our only dog now (more on this later, good news for the foster monster) and we've had her longer than we've been married. We can't imagine life without her just yet.

Monday, August 28, 2006

An Ironman is Born

Congratulations to Puddyrat for finishing Ironman Canada!!!

You can check out her splits here.
Just click "track an athlete" and put in bib 2483.

Way to go Puddy! Can't wait to read the report!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I went, I rode...

I damn near got my ass handed to me by the biggest hills I've tackled so far.

I drove out to the country for my favorite ride, the one where the urban world falls away in favor of fields and farms, the one where I get to fly around nearly empty, corn-lined roads with nothing for company but the wind and the warm scent of distant cows. The one that's a roller coaster with barely a flat to its name.

To be honest, I wasn't sure where I was going, only that I needed to go. The loop I know well is only about 8 miles, and I wasn't in the mood to ride in circles. I started down the regular route just to get going and was delighted to find that miles and miles of my rural Roubaix, the hand-numbing, teeth-chattering, tire-flatting road I love to hate, had been recently blacktopped, the surface perfectly smooth, the asphalt so fresh it was still sticky in places. I felt like a kid putting tracks into fresh snow.

Four miles in I climbed my nemesis, the moderate hill that's come to be my personal yardstick. Today wasn't the best trip up, but was a far cry from the first time, the worst time. I was content with today's meeting.

When I reached State Line Road at mile 5, I paused. I could turn left, follow the road I knew, finish the loop, then do it again. Boring, predictable. A safe bet when I haven't ridden since my race, haven't broken a sweat in nearly a month. But I wanted to know if I could trust my training.

I turned right. West. Rode the rolling tightrope between Illinois and Wisconsin. Each intersection torturing me with temptation: Left, south, Illinois, downhill.

All other roads lead to Wisconsin.

And so I kept on, talking myself into the next hill, and the next. I soon crossed the invisible jurisdictional line where the fresh blacktop ended and the dangerous pitted patchwork resumed, making each crossroads that much more difficult to push through.

Just before mile 9 I saw the road disappear and had to choose. If I went down that hill I was going to have to turn around and go right back up it. It was the biggest hill I'd ever contemplated on a bike, and many a lesser hill has turned me back at this point in a workout. But not today.

I announced to the cows that I might regret this, picked the cleanest line I could find through the cracked asphalt, crouched low over my bars and let it all go, my cries of joy lost in the wind. I hit a new high of 36 mph.

My momentum wound down right around mile 10 and I turned around to face the hill, only to be greeted my old buddy Mr. Headwind. To be honest, I think he was really Mr. Headwind's little brother, because he was just enough to be a nuisance but not enough to cause me pain, unlike this ride. Or this one. Either way, I wasn't exactly thrilled to see him.

Considering I was at the outer edge of mileage for any ride since last year, I found a lot to throw at that hill. And I made it up - teeth gritted, sweat pouring, breath labored, grinding my granniest granny, HR spiking at 198 (!!). But I made it.

The rest of the ride was tough but uneventful. I was tiring quickly, my quads turning to jello around mile 15. I realized sleeping in and having a light breakfast was a monumentally stupid mistake when I noticed, according to my Polar, I was officially at a calorie deficit for the day. Then I felt even stupider as I tried to take in some more calories and realized I'd headed out for a 20 mile ride with only 20K of fluids on board.

Because I'd forgotten about a scenic little side loop I took on the way out, the ride wasn't quite what I thought and I found my van at 19 miles. I was thirsty, saddle sore and my right knee was starting to talk, so I didn't even entertain the idea of turning back to capture that last mile like I normally would.

Because I was satisfied. See, I thought I'd lost my happy place and I went out today in search of it. But I found it inside the first mile, and the rest was gravy.

Getting Lost

Having all but given up exercise the last several weeks for work, I'm quickly becoming a miserable human being. I'm cranky and tired and mopey and bitchy. My mind is flitting from project to project, trying to find a way to get it all done in time, and I can feel my heart racing and pulse pounding from the stress just sitting in front of the tv on Saturday night.

Even though the sun is refusing to show its face and the gathering clouds feel like an unnatural roof on the world, I'm getting on my bike and I don't want to stop until I've gone at least 20 miles. I think I lost my happy place out on the road somewhere and it's time to go look for it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Taking My Lumps

I wanted to tell my blogger buddies that I miss you all terribly. I miss starting my day reading all of your funny anecdotes and motivating stats and inspiring race reports. I miss hearing about how your bikes and pregnancies and kids and dogs and goats are. I didn't realize how much a part of my day you all had become until I got so busy that regular training and blog reading - not to mention routine eating and sleeping - went out the window. I gained 3 pounds back and it makes me crazy that I want to work out but for the moment, am entirely unable to do it more than once or twice a week, which just doesn't cut it.

It's funny because this is what I wanted - to be a successful writer - but after 18+ months of barely scraping by (not that the money's rolling in yet, just the work, with luck the money will follow soon), there were no way I could predict it would take off like it has. I literally went from, in July, having one sad website the clients have been dragging out for months, to now, when I've got.... (counting, counting... oh dear) six websites, some brochures and a bunch of stuff (PSA radio spots, newsletter, a brochure and website in dire need of an overhaul, etc) for this charity I just joined the board of, plus 2 more sites that are almost guaranteed jobs plus one more that just hasn't started yet plus leads on at least 2 more. And the six websites and one brochure are pretty much all due within a few days of each other (end of next week). No, I'm not that stupid... I get most of my web work from development companies who don't have a writer on staff, and the sites are already in progress and the timelines are already established. So sometimes it just works out like that.

And that's just work.

My mom had to put her dog down last weekend, so I'm trying to schedule a trip to spend some time with her real soon. My Grandma (with the still-broken arm) was just moved from the hospital (after 2 months) to a short-term nursing home situation while she continues to heal and relearns how to dress herself with the newly stiff arm, so I need to travel to see her too. My aunt, who's been primarily helping Grandma, is recovering from back surgery and I feel awful I wasn't there to help (travel). I barely spent 2 hours with my nieces and nephews the entire year (travel yet again). My grandparents-in-law just moved into assisted living and we're trying to help as much as we can - the house needs a bunch of repairs before it can sell. Travelling to Minnesota next weekend to help with that - we want to help the family up there as much as we can, they've been bearing the brunt of this complex and painful process. Was in Montana last weekend for a wedding - our first vacation in 4 years - and Scout the foster monster got extremely upset when we left and freaked out the poor petsitter by regressing after 5 months of good laundry behavior and eating a sock and some underwear. So I got to spend the morning of my one true day of vacation on the trip trying to locate enough of a cell signal to talk the the doctors and stuff to make sure it all worked out (gotta love peroxide!) Walking around the lovely hills in Montana, my calves seized up on me very painfully - guess that injury isn't entirely healed yet! Spent yesterday (and today is shaping up the same) trying to work with a migraine. Just got back from the vet with my dog, found a lump on her the other day. They not only checked that one out, they checked every inch of her and found two more I wasn't aware of (I love these doctors so much) - one of which is so scary (and so hidden! inside the fold of her upper lip - did I mention I love these doctors!?) they want it off immediately to send in for biopsy. So she's going in for surgery tomorrow. I can't think about it too much or I'll lose my mind - I can't imagine losing both my dogs to cancer inside of a year. And there's still the might-maybe-who-knows chance of us being handed a baby in December, depending on the whim of the pregnant child who keeps vacillating. Nothing like 5 years of infertility, followed by getting a nursery ready and lining up adoption attorneys and such but having to remain completely detached because it all depends on the mood of a 15 year old!

Phew! There's more, but you get the picture.

I'm really really, really really really looking forward to my weekend at IMWI in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Calling All Seattle Area Athenas

Jayne Williams, the Slow Fat Triathlete herself, is going to be in the Seattle area this week/weekend. (Can I just tell you how jealous I am you west coasters live so close to Jayne you can see her at events?)

Thursday, August 17th 7:00 PM
Center Cycle3950 Lind Avenue (Near IKEA)
Renton, WA 98055
- Giving a talk, chatting with fans, signing books

Saturday, August 19 11 AM - 3 PM
Danskin Seattle Expo
Sand Point Magnuson Park Hanger
277400 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 981151
- She'll be at Sally Edwards' booth (Heart Zones) signing books, hanging out and chatting with triathletes
She said if you're going specifically to meet her, contact her just to be safe, in case they move her location at the expo.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It IS possible...

... to find a tri other than Kona on TV!

Husband was channel surfing late this afternoon and he found coverage of the Spirit of Racine Half-IM!

I kinda can't believe it - a triathlon in my neck of the woods, that I'll probably do sooner rather than later, on TV. Sure, it's on a lame channel (ComCast SportsNet) but it's still TV!

The cameras were all over this poor guy (an elite, I think) whose came into T1 way at the front of the pack but lost the lead because his wetsuit zipper got stuck and he couldn't get out of it! Add THAT to the list of things I'll worry about in future races.

Lead woman out of the water in about 25 minutes. DAMN. Lisa Bentley was 4th out of the water - wow! Who knew a champ like her did little races like this? (By the time I finished typing that she'd pulled up to 2nd on the bike.)

The irritating thing is that the announcers are total idiots - one of them was informing the viewers that the racers use Vaseline on their bodies to help them exit their wetsuits. Now they've got an overzealous twit explaining about "elastic shoelaces." I'm thinkin' I'll have to watch this on Mute to reduce the risk of throwing something at the talking heads.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dear Cycling and Running

I'm so sorry. It's not what you think.

It was just a fling - a silly little summertime dalliance. It meant nothing, I swear. You know I love you, right? I'd never break up with you for swimming, I promise. You know better than to even think that.

I know, I know, it's been a couple of weeks. But I'm confident we have a strong enough relationship to survive spending a little bit of time apart. Anyway, there were extenuating circumstances. School is starting again and that means Swim Coach Marcy is going back to being a swim coach for while - I had to practice with her as much as possible. See? Not breaking up with you. You need to know that I love swimming too, and understand that we've had such a rocky relationship until now it was important I spend this extra time with it.

Tell you what, let me make it up you.

How about a nice 20 miler in the country this weekend, cycling? Huuuuh? Doesn't that sound like fun? Lots of fresh air in your tires and extra lube on your chain. We'll take a couple bottles of Performance and a Luna Bar - it'll be like a picnic!

And running.... how would you like to go to Montana with me next week? Yeah? Shhhh... don't tell swimming and cycling, they can't come along. This will be our little secret.

Are we cool now? Good. I've got plenty of love to go around for all three of you. I promise.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Could someone please tell me...

... when, exactly, swimming 1000 yards went from being my ultimate killer workout to being a compromise workout on a bad day? When I'm tired from work and have to force myself to the gym, when I put off going for hours and still find the pool full of obnoxious, lane-ignoring kids at 8 pm, when my shoulders are still aching from massage therapy, when my eyes itch and throat is closed from hay fever, when my head is pounding from allergies and the stench of an over-chlorinated pool.

When did that happen? I haven't been swimming more than that on a routine basis - too be honest I've been swimming less. But it suddenly seems like the easiest thing in the world.

Something's happening in my mind. A paradigm shift. I can't figure it out and maybe I'm not supposed to. But distances - in all three sports - that used to seem unconquerable now feel mundane. Routine. Not worth getting wet if I swim less than 1000 yards. Not worth dragging out the good bike if I'm doing less than 20K. Even running a 5K - which I can't even run all the way yet - seems inadequate.

I forgot my lap watch tonight, so only timed a few laps on the wall clock. I was clocking around 40 second laps and I was disappointed. Disappointed?! Two months ago I'd resigned myself to never reaching that speed and now it feels slow even as I'm swimming it. When did that happen?

As I approached 1000 yards I found myself doing Iron math. 4000 yards. Swimming that workout 3 more times. And you know what? I could get on board with it. It no longer seems like an impossible dream.

Something's happening to me. I'm improving exponentially at a time when I'm consciously holding myself back from the sport, when my focus is on healing. On getting down the basics. And I don't understand. Maybe it's the amount of weight I've lost. Maybe it's because I'm Type A OCD over-achiever and can't leave well enough alone. Maybe it's just part of a triathlete's journey.

I don't know. But maybe it's time to let go and see where it takes me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Have Officially Seen It All

Beer. Flavored. Ice Cream.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. I mean that literally and figuratively - I am as of this moment, eating it. And I'm not sure how I feel about. The flavor is... hm. Odd, maybe? As a concept... well... I don't love it, but figure it was just a matter of time. If somebody was gonna do it, better that it was Ben and Jerry.

Why did I buy it, then, you ask? Two reasons. First, it was on sale. Second, it's beer freaking flavored ice cream. I challenge any of you to resist the temptation under the same circumstances.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Am I official now?

Today I got my first blister from running : D

It was my first real attempt at running since my injury and it went great. I stuck with the heart rate monitor for the first 2 miles or so, which for me right now means jogging with short walk intervals to bring HR back into range. But for about the last 3/4 mile I turned off the annoying little 'out of range' beep and just ran to see how long I could keep it up. My HR was awfully high, but I felt fine and when the 3.1 rolled around I didn't feel like I had to stop.

Noticeably slower than I was before the injury and starting to train with a monitor - the final run varied between a 13:20 and 14:30 pace - but feels better overall and it's easier to go longer, so I guess I'm doing something right. Dunno why I got a blister - didn't even notice it until late tonight - but I don't care. I was actually excited to have the proof I ran today.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Happy Little Swimmers

I finally got the pix from the swim race on July 15th. The quality isn't the best - they're scans of copies of prints (I now officially, with a tearful heart, reluctantly admit I prefer digital over film, at least for everyday applications) - but I'm happy to have any record of such a great day.

Me, Regner and Swim Coach Marcy showin' off our race numbers.

The big start.

View of the course. It's a biiiiiig lake. Still can't believe I swam it without a hint of panic.

My big finish. (The clock time is slightly off my officially recorded time of 47:17)

Happy post-race swimmers. There are no words for how happy it made me to come out of the water to the cheers of the two people responsible for teaching me to swim.