Thursday, November 30, 2006

To Buy or Not To Buy

Since I'm still kinda sick I've got training-free time to surf the web for gadgets and gear, and I came across an ad for something I've been wanting for a while, so...

I'm looking for thoughts from seasoned athletes on whether or not it's practical to purchase my own timing chip.

When I first started I had no intention of ever buying my own ChampionChip, but the more races I do the more I kind of want one. I've been putting together my 2007 race schedule and once again am confronted with screens asking if I have my own or need to rent one.

They're only $35 bucks and it seems like such a cool thing to have. I was thinking about asking for one for Christmas.

What do you think? Do you guys have one? Do you think it's a good thing to have your own or a hassle to deal with? I noticed when I worked chip removal as a volunteer that not many athletes owned them, but then again I was at an entry level, mostly-first-timer race. I have no idea what the percentages are at events with seasoned racers.

It just seems so darn cool. But if your experience has been that it's impractical I can see not bothering to buy one.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Small World

I just found out a very sweet Athena blogger to whose blog Wylee had recently introduced me lives just about 20 minutes down the road! Yaaay!

And we've got at least one race in common for 2007! Double yaaaay!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Race Report: Turkey Day 5K

Event: 5K Run/Walk
Date: 11/23/2006
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

I went to the race with no particular plan, especially considering the tickle in my throat from the night before had developed into a little cough. It's unusual for me to not know exactly how I'm going to do a distance - how long the run intervals will be, when I'll take walk breaks. I knew I was probably coming down with something so shouldn't expect to run, but aside from my throat I felt perfectly fine. Besides, my goal had been to run it... so why plan for anything else?

I took some cough suppressant, checked the temperature, geared up accordingly and was out the door by 7:20. It was 31, sunny, no wind.

I feel pretty good about my upper body cold weather gear now that I've got gloves, a good base layer and technical fabric pullover. I wore a long-sleeve t-shirt over the two technical layers and I was fine. I still haven't found running pants, so I wore my cool weather cycling tights, which had worked out well on last Sunday's 23 degree run. They look enough like running tights, and I figured I'm a triathlete so am used to running with some cycling padding in my pants. They worked great as an interim solution.

Since I require a long time to warm up I made sure I arrived with time to walk around a stretch a lot. I was hoping Monday's visit to the therapist and a lot of stretching would keep me from needing to stop along the run to stretch out my cranky calves, and this time it worked like a charm.

I was thrilled to see a full parking lot, because there had been a tiny voice in my head saying "what if only Hard Core Runners run this and they all go home before you're finished?"

It was nice to see such a wide cross-section of people at this event: Runners, runners, Team Runners (junior high, high school and college kids bearing XC shirts from local schools), Junior Runners (kids as young as 7 sprinting around the course), Walkers and walkers. There were even families with kids and dogs. As I was greeted exuberantly by many a happy dog while warming up I wished more than once I'd known they were allowed. Definitely bringing Kona next time.

It was also great to not be the only one decked out in technical gear - more than half the racers were and except for the fact they they all left me in the dust I blended right in. A good number of gazelles were wearing shorts, and a couple were wearing nothing but. (I later heard one of these nearly naked men report their time as 16:32... and he wasn't the winner.)

I felt kinda cool as we got started and the beep of my lap watch one only one of many. That feeling quickly dissipated as the entire pack thundered by, leaving me ahead of only a few walkers. I resisted the adrenaline rush that comes with every race start and initiated a sustainable pace.

I forced myself to a frustrating, ridiculous slow pace because, aside from not feeling my best I knew I'd never run farther than 1.5 outside (and 2.5 indoors). I really wanted to see how far I could go.

At the half mile marker I was feeling noticeably warmer and took off my gloves.

As I passed the 1 mile marker I remembered to hit the lap button, then I took off the t-shirt layer, tied it around my waist and unzipped the pullover as far as it would go. It was maybe 35 degrees now, but I was suddenly understanding how the Nearly Naked Gazelles (who, btw, had already lapped me several minutes earlier) could do it.

At this point I did a little survey and liked what I found. Legs - fine. Lungs - fine. Heart - fine. I picked up the pace a tiny bit.

As I passed the 1.5 mile marker I briefly channeled Veeg, thinking, happily - this is the farthest I have ever run outside. AND I FEEL GOOD.

A few minutes later I passed a lone woman with a little boy, maybe 3 years old. They were sitting on a park bench watching. She was teaching him how to cheer for the runners and shake cowbells like it was a real race. I laughed and we exchanged 'Happy Thanksgivings' and then they were lost around the bend, but they kept me going for a little while.

Next I passed a woman walking with her daughter. We chatted briefly and I learned she's a long-time runner and was trying to get her clearly reluctant daughter to catch the bug. She congratulated me on my progress, then turned her attention back to the daughter who had stuffed her hands into her pockets and was stomping dejectedly along. I wished with all my heart I could convey to this overweight little girl how good it feels, and how it changes your life, to embrace exercise. But I knew there was nothing I could say because this is a lesson we have to learn on our own. I kept going.

I found myself looking hard for mile marker 2 and inordinately happy when I was finally able to mark it on my watch. Things were definitely not as easy as they had been. It wasn't quite as easy to breathe, my legs didn't feel quite as light. The crowd had thinned considerably and the first of the gazelles who were running a 10K just for kicks had passed on their way back through the course. And I was starting to get the first of many "good job, you're almost there's" from finishers who had come back through.

On the way to the 2.5 marker my legs piped up and asked 'would you like some lead with that Jello?' But thankfully the feeling passed quickly and they came back to normal. But as I passed the 2.5 marker my breathing was noticeably more labored and the voices started up.

This is the farthest you have ever run. EVER. That's great... you can STOP NOW.

My lungs seconded the motion. As did my heart.

But I kept telling them that it was only another half mile, maybe 7 minutes, and we can TOTALLY keep it together for 7 minutes, right?

The angry chorus reluctantly calmed and I returned the focus to my breathing. I noticed right away it was no longer the smooth in-two-three out-two-three hypnotic rhythm I have come to know when running without headphones. There was a ragged quality, with extra beats here and missing beats there.

Then I came around a curve, the 3 mile marker came into sight and Legs made a break for it. I felt myself speeding up and had the eerie feeling I couldn't do anything about it even though I couldn't breathe enough to keep it up.

I decided to let them go - my legs clearly wanted to run even though the rest of me wasn't on board. I hit the lap button as I passed the 3 mile marker and as I turned toward the finish line I broke into the closest thing I could must to a sprint. My face was hot, my heart racing, my breathing ragged, but I couldn't slow down without stopping, and I hadn't run this far to walk the last 25 yards.

I remembered to look at the clock when I crossed, remembered a second later to stop my watch.

I was such a wreck I couldn't speak to thank the volunteer who handed me a finisher's card (no chip timing or bib numbers at this informal event - you mark your own time on an index card and turn it in). I made myself walk until my heart returned to normal and my breathing was controlled.

Then I took stock and was amazed as how normal I felt. My legs weren't tired at all and it took me a minute to remember it's because they're used to going on a bike ride before a 5K. But the next day - same thing. Not a hint of tiredness or soreness from the race.

Clearly my body is ready for this now. I just need to get in some solid base training this winter to get my heart on board.

Mile 1: 15:04:13 (this includes the time it took to reach the starting line from the back of the pack, 10-20 seconds)
Mile 2: 14:25:44
Mile 3: 13:27:30
Last .1: 1:02:72
Total Time: 43:59:59

Goals Met
- run a 5K
- in under 45:00
- by the end of 2006

Next Steps
The Shamrock Shuffle in April is an 8K. I think I'm going to sign up, it's the perfect next step towards my 2007 half-marathon goal, and perfectly timed to keep me running through the winter.

[Post-script: That tickle in my throat turned into a nasty cough with some kind of raging chest infection. My throat's on fire and I've got no voice. Calling doctor tomorrow, expect to be out of commission for a week.]

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I DID it y'all!!!


Don't have time to elaborate, must get showered and make stuffing, will do a proper write-up later.

For now - thank you all SO MUCH for all your kind words and encouragement. This was a huge personal goal and your support helped me achieve it.

Time: 43:59:59 (PR, and below 45:00 goal)
Distance: 5K (distance PR)

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Resistance was futile. I have been assimilated.

I am now: One Of The Crazy People

Today's subset: Crazy People You See Out Running On A 23 Degree Sunday Morning

Got my OOTCP badge just in time too, 'cause the Crazy People You See Running a 5K on Thanksgiving team is getting together in just 4 days...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Am I Doing This Wrong or Does It Really Suck This Bad

Yesterday I did an LSD workout.

I remembered not liking it the few times I tried it earlier in the year, but now that I've got the HR monitor I REALLY don't like it. In fact, it's awful and miserable and frustrating to the point I'm almost in tears just thinking about it.

I read other bloggers talking about how they hate going so slow... but so far I've never heard anyone talk about the misery of running/walking/running/walking... and everybody makes it sound like going slow keeps their HR around a target rate. Really, everybody makes it sound like running at a particular pace, whatever it is, keeps their HR in the general vicinity they were planning for that pace.

But mine soars when I start even the slowest little jog and I must walk to get it down. This yo-yo effect drives me crazy because I don't get to run for any amount of time, which I figure can't possibly be getting me anywhere.

Based on advice from my doctor (a marathoner) and information I've learned from various places, I'm pretty sure the Zone 2 limits set on my Polar are reasonable. But it is all I can do to stay in them for even a minute at at time. I suppose I should admit that all the recent running successes I've had are because I'm either not wearing the damn thing or ignoring it, because if I follow it I don't get to run.

Yesterday the longest running time I managed before it left the zone was 1 min 18 seconds. The shortest was around 45 seconds. I did every single "run" at a ridiculous slow 15:00 pace. (That's the speed at which a fast walk becomes a slow jog for me and my short legs.) I should note I'm trying to keep it between 135 and 155 - yes, I get that's ridiculous - and yet am still failing miserably.

My calves were a problem so I had to drop the walks down to a 20:00 pace (zone 1 speed) - they're just too tight to speed walk right now so I couldn't test a theory I've got.

I'm wondering if I find the right speed, will I be able to sustain my HR in a more reasonable manner? I understand that HR drift is normal, but I don't think "drift" means "jumping 20 bpm in 45 seconds." I know I'm super slow, so I wonder if the reason it seems to work for everyone else is that their Zone 2 speed is just that much faster than mine, so much so that maybe mine's a walk?

I figured I should try something in the high 3s (3.6-3.9 mph) to see if my HR is happier in Zone 2 at that speed. Problem is, that pace falls smack between "walking comfortably at a brisk pace" and "starting to jog." It's a kind of tortured super-fast walk and does awful, painful things to my already stressed calves so I avoid that speed range altogether.

Everyone says that LSD improve your speed and stamina in the long run (no pun intended.) But I don't know how to make that happen if even the slowest, shortest jog makes it soar out of control. I have had no noticeable improvement in keeping it from spiking so high at such a low intensity. (Last week when I ran outside it did seem to say in the 160s-170s for much longer than usual before it spiked into the 180s and 190s; that run was at low-moderate intensity, but in the last quarter mile of the 1.5 I wanted to DIE.)

I will say there has been a dramatic improvement in the speed at which it falls back into range - when I first started it could take several minutes, now it takes about 30 seconds from when I drop to a walk. Not much, and maybe only because my calves are so sore I'm dropping to a much slower walk than I normally would.

This has got me really upset. The more I learn, the more I understand that I cannot successfully continue my journey up the race ladder without getting this basic thing under control. Right now my heart seems to be stuck in sprint mode even though the rest of me seems to showing a preference for longer distances. The way I feel after going a long time at a reasonable pace is miles better than how I feel after anything short and fast (OK, "fast")... in fact, once I finally get warmed up and get into a groove (in all 3 events) it's already over and I want to keep going. I have a feeling I'm really going to come into my own as I increase distance because it appears I'm inclined to excel at the long slow burn. Which is why I want to get this whole LSD thing worked out.

So am I doing it wrong or what?!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You Might Be a Triathlete If

You pack a transition bag with swim and run gear because you want to get in some workouts... on a weekend trip for a family wedding. 14 hours of which will be spent driving.

The way my shoulder feels (mental note: playing with 85 pound puppy + already strained shoulder = bad idea) I have a hunch the swim gear isn't going to see much more than the hotel hot tub. But I really would like to sneak in a run, if for no other reason than to get a little more acclimated to running in the cold. I figure if I can run in Minnesota cold the week before Thanksgiving, I can run in Chicagoland cold on Thanksgiving.

I just hope I can find somewhere to run around Forest Lake that isn't the highway by the hotel. It's hard enough to run without breathing car exhaust.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Try Explaining THAT to the Doctor

The ouchy shoulder problem (supraspinatus tendonitis) that plagued my swimming this summer is back. 'Cause I, um.... well, ya see... I kinda reinjured it. In a grown-up, happily married, sometimes it's nice not to have kids yet, x-rated fun kinda way.

Damn. I was SO looking forward to doing drill sets today...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Procrastination and Irony All in One Morning

You know you're not in the mood to go to the gym when the following activities are not only more appealing, you actually do them (while of course, dressed in full gym regalia and running shoes. Because you're going. Really, you are.):

- Cleaning the litter boxes
- Hand washing bras
- Scrubbing last night's roast pan
- Returning movies to the video store
- Returning what was obviously a sales call dressed up as a pretend potential client call from a commercial realtor

I was contemplating painting the basement when I accepted I was being ridiculous, set aside my fatigue and general crabbiness and went. It was pretty busy and the good treadmills were taken, but thankfully the one I got has an interval program so today's workout could proceed as planned.
I have a terrible habit of falling into a rut of the same workouts, and I've been consciously trying to mix it up a bit because it's obviously what works for all y'all experienced athletes. Hence today's speed intervals.

Long story short - it SUCKED. Not the running part - that was fine. My calves froze up on me pretty bad, hurt quite a bit, made me stop quite frequently to stretch out the pain - that's what sucked. (Hot wasabi balls, in case you're curious as to what, exactly, it was sucking.) My best workouts always start with 10-15 minutes of easy walking and then some good stretching before I can even think about running. I blew that off today because the interval program allowed for 5 minutes of slow walking warm-up... clearly I won't make that mistake again. (OK, yeah, I know - I'll TOTALLY make it again. But not for a while.)

One nice surprise - the interval program on this machine very different from my favorite treadmill (which is 2 min run/2 min walk ad infinitum) and I really liked it. This was sets of 1 min intervals of run hard/walk fast for 5 min mixed in with longer 5 min sets of moderate jogging (total 45 minutes). Because of the stiff calves I had to push the fast walk way down to an easy walk, but I (easily!) pushed the run intervals to an 11:30 pace (fastest yet), with the very last one at an 11:10 pace just to see how it felt (surprisingly comfortable, but 40 min into a 45 min workout I couldn't keep it up more than a minute).

Oh yeah, wait. I had a point but I lost it. Stu! It was about Simply Stu. I'm out of GYGOs so have been going back to catch up on the early episodes of Simply Stu. And as irony would have it, he was doing a speed interval workout and talking about how you really need to feel good - to really feel your best - when you're heading out to do a speed interval workout.

I decided to relish the irony and consider it a lesson learned. But it's good to know what kind of workouts to avoid on the days when I feel so pissy and tired that scrubbing baked-on grease is more appealing than fresh air and exercise.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's That Time of Year Again

Goal setting. Race schedules. Fa la freakin' la.

This is the time of year I cave to the 4:30 darkness and get sad and wallow in self-pity about how slow my progress has been considering I've been at this whole weight loss and exercise thing for 3 years now.

This is the time I year alternate that with yelling at myself about how I need to get over myself because I'm doing great - I've lost 50 pounds, I made huge progress in my swim, I learned to run for goodness' sake - while stuffing myself with homemade dressing instead of the turkey.

This is the time of year I do things like adopt 85 pound untrained puppies and act like it has nothing to do with still being childless.

This is the time of year I realize I'm THAT MUCH CLOSER TO 35. My scary age. The age before which I had decided I would be done having children. The age at which I promised myself I'd run a marathon. The age at which I theorized I might tackle my first half-Ironman. The age that is ONLY A YEAR AND 6 WEEKS AWAY with none of those goals feeling any closer.

So. Yeah. Been doin' some math.

My birthday is at the end of the year, and even though I weasel-worded the terms of my marathon goal to buy an entire year ("WHEN" I'm 35 vs "BEFORE" I'm 35) the voices in my head are still freaking out.


This year there's a new voice in my head - one that I can't seem to drown with gravy. She has been helpfully pointing out in a nauseatingly cheerful way that I've come an awfully long way and I'll be disappointed if I don't push myself harder next season.

So I took the aggressive stance that I would do an Oly next year. (OK, maybe it's just aggressive to me. I have a feeling it's more of a "DUH!!" from the outside looking in.)

Then I started playing with the schedule and it hit me hard that in order to meet my marathon goal I really should put a half-marathon into my 2007 race plan. Which means I really should put a 10K in the plan for early in the season - which I should really do anyway to help prepare myself for my first Oly. And call me an incrementalist if you must, but I figure if I'm really gonna run that half-mary late in the season I should probably stick a 15K in the middle somewhere.

And well, this "haven't even done a 5K yet" girl is feeling more than a little bit freaked out about that.

'Cause ya see.... that's a LOT of Ks.

I think I can do it. Hope so, because I'm not the sort to back down from a challenge. I'm already weasel-wording my half-mary plan with terms like "finish" instead of "run"... but considering I'll still be dragging around at least 75 extra pounds (and that's being very, very generous about what I might be able to lose in the next 10 months) I'm not going to set any crazy expectations about running the whole thing. If I do, GREAT. But this is hard enough without setting myself up for failure.

So. It's that time of year again. I pick races. I get freaked out. I sign up for them anyway. There's just a whole new level of freak-out going on because I'm contemplating a whole new level of scariness.

Unlike 2006, I'm not just trying to improve my sprint time in 2007. I'm trying to simultaneously meet my holy grail sub-2 sprint goal while moving up to Oly distance and adding distance running in a serious way. Just contemplating the idea of me and those races in the same context at this point is pushing my rational mind a bit far.

Guess it's a good thing I'm a little bit nuts.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What I Learned Today

1) I can be too rigid, in that I will follow plans I've made when even I see they should be changed. Case in point: today I drove to the gym for my planned treadmill interval workout even though this glorious - and completely bizarre in a "proof of Greenhouse Effect" kind of way - November day is sunny and 65.

2) Sometimes the Powers That Be will reach down and break my favorite treadmill to save me from myself.

3) There is no shame in walking right back out of the gym without working out if you're leaving to go for a run outside, like nature intended.

4) Going for an impromptu outdoor run means I do not have certain things with me; specifically, my Fuel Belt. That means I can't carry my car keys, cell phone or drink bottle.

5) I've lost enough weight that I can fit my car key/opener in my sports bra.

6) It turns out I can go 3 miles without carrying a drink bottle when it's only 65. (I'm used training in July when I need a sip every quarter mile.)

7) There is something indescribably wonderful about running with leaves crunching under your feet.

8) You can still sweat and get sunburned in November.

9) Sweat will short out electronic door lock openers.

10) Always bring the key as a back-up to the electronic opener unless you want to walk home.

11) What turned out to be the same pace feels slower without Kona's company.

12) When I think I'm going slower I can run farther.

13) If I listen to my Polar I will never get to run because it says I'm ALWAYS out of my target zone. It's routine for me to be running easy and feel great and have my HR in the 180s. (My doctor told me to just run as long as it feels good and ignore the monitor for now.)

Walk (warm-up): .5 mile - 10:00 min
Run: 1.5 mile - 19:33 (Half mile splits: 7:17, 6:30, 5:56) (Outdoor distance PR)
Walk: .5 mile - 10:15
Run: .5 mile - 6:54

Total workout: 47:39
Total distance: 3 miles

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Christmas Came Early

Earlier this year I volunteered to help RTP work on a foreclosure she was rehabbing. I've been a homeowner long enough that I've picked up a few skills, and I really wanted to help, especially when the property's issues turned out to be of the 'worst-case-scenario' variety. After they got a few quotes and found out the cost of hiring painters was equivalent to the entire budget, I was put in charge of painting the interior.

It was a lot of hard work and the running joke was that she was getting me back for making her do a triathlon last summer. I never expected anything out of it because she's my best friend and I was happy to lend a hand. She said more than once she wanted to pay me something for my time but I always brushed it off because I knew their budget was too tight to be paying the volunteer labor. I'd move mountains for this woman, so I didn't getting sweaty and covered in paint was that far-fetched a thing to do for a friend. Especially the friend who stood by my side the entire year it took me to train for my first tri.

Imagine my surprise when, after the sale closed about a week ago, she presented me with a check. A check which is now burning a hole in my pocket in the shape of a bike trainer.

So here's the deal - I need advice on bike trainers!! I know less than nothing. I didn't think I could afford to get one this year so I haven't even looked at any.

I'm really excited about the idea of riding indoors but like I said, the only thing I know about them is that we use them when it snows. It's a lot of money, so I want to make sure I am well informed before I spend it.

What kind do you have? What kind are most quiet? Is that something to worry about - are the noisy ones all that noisy? Which models are easiest to use for a clueless newbie? Are there things I should know about size? (I've got 650s on a 47cm frame). What about maintenance? What features are critical and which ones can you live without? Do bike trainers even have features?

Please help!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Breaking a Mental Barrier

Isn't it funny when you catch yourself doing something you didn't think you could?

My training runs the last few weeks have all started in the 14-15 range, easing into the 13-14 range. I find it hard and my average for the 2-2.5 mile runs I've been doing is around 14ish. My big hope for the rest of 2006 was to work up to a 12-13 pace. When I'm running indoors (which honestly, I really like because it feels safe and predictable and is so much easier on my body), even though I know my pace is slow, for some reason it feels pretty quick.

Today was a great day for a run - 49, cloudy, no wind - and I had just enough time between my morning chores and dentist appointment to get in a quick 2-mile loop around the neighborhood. So I grabbed my shoes and my dog went for a little run.

Since I didn't have time to do my normal 15 minutes of warm-up walking and stretching I decided to walk/run half-mile intervals.

I could tell Kona was pushing my pace a little. I held him back, but not too much because I felt great and I knew the distance was shorter than usual. I even found the floaty place in the last run interval, and was shocked when I came out of it to find I was coming up on my house - the easiest half mile I ever ran!

Luckily I'd remembered to time that split, so I eagerly checked my watch when I hit my driveway. 5:55. I was on pace for an 11:50 mile! I felt great and wanted very much to tack on another half mile so I could confirm the pace but alas, the dentist couldn't wait.

I'm definitely going through another paradigm shift. Pacing progress aside, even six months ago I would have thought of today's weather as "chilly" and "depressing" and would either have gone indoors or blown off the gym altogether. Now I'm excited about cool days and eager to go out in them and push my limits.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Be Just Like Matt and Trey

Create your own South Park character!

Nine Lives

Thanks to everybody for all your support - I was feeling alone and overwhelmed and you have no idea how grateful I am for your words of encouragement.

Ongoing family dramas aside, things at home are coming along literally as well as they possibly could be. Kona's taking to obedience like a champ and Bogart is taking to his insulin regimen like it's second nature. In fact, he's pretty sure he's a rock star now that he gets special food served like a prince in a private room. When he sees the food coming he runs into the bathroom yelling for it. Needless to say giving the injection while he inhales his (apparently very tasty) special diet food is anticlimactic.

We can already tell the insulin is helping and he's feeling like his old self again, which he amply demonstrated in the middle of the night by knocking a plant over onto the white carpet.

It's great to have my cat back : D

On a related note... I have a new mantra. There's a wonderful woman at the Chamber I just adore - she unwittingly gave it to me. Friday morning, as I was late and rushing to the event I was supposed to help run, all I could think was that what I really needed was a hug from Bonnie and everything would be fine.

After the event was over she pulled me aside, concerned because it's not like me to be late (not to mention be late in a suit covered in cat hair.) I told her what was going on and she gave me a great big hug. Then she told me I was obviously going to be fine and now that I'm past the initial shock I can just stand up and say: Watch me handle this.

And she's right. There's nothing here I can't deal with by itself, therefore there's nothing here I can't juggle as a matter of course. So, here we go...

Watch me handle this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

This is Why I Love Him

While we're watching a special called Einstein: Exploring the Genius that discussed, among other things, how his theories on light were the basis for Quantum Mechanics, he turns to me and says:

"You know, I'm just not certain about this Heisenberg guy."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Race Day!

Here's wishing best of luck and a great race to all our Tri-Geek Dreams Ironman Florida Athletes!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just One More Thing

My youngest cat was diagnosed with diabetes today.

I just left Walgreens for the FOURTH TIME today because they are apparently incapable of locating a box of syringes and slapping a label on them. (I wish I was kidding.)

Part of the reason this pisses me off so badly (aside from 4 trips in 8 hours because of their incompetence) is that I have worked in a Walgreen's pharmacy and I know how it works and it should not require 4 trips and multiple doctor phone calls to obtain a bottle of insulin and a box of insulin syringes that are pre-labeled and pre-packaged.

The chick tonight tried to blame it on a "problem with the scrip." I read the prescriptions carefully and there was nothing wrong with them. The only thing I can fathom is that perhaps there was a problem with how the idiots ENTERED the scrip into the system. (These are the same people who have never once - in 3 years - gotten my thyroid prescription right. I don't even let them ring it up any more before I check the fill because I'm sick of getting it home and finding it wrong.) And before you suggest I change pharmacies - it's because they're in our insurance network. Our options are extremely limited (but believe me we're going to check the fine print because I am DONE.)

This changes EVERYTHING in our lives and how we plan things. He's an aggressive, difficult cat and not just anybody can do his injections. Twice a day. 12 hours apart. And he has to have eaten first. And the other 3 cats have different food (or we spend a mint on the special food for all of them, but they could lose too much weight on it.) Forever.

I can handle this. I was a vet tech. I wanted to be a vet. I have had a diabetic cat. I can handle this.

But I don't know if I can handle anything else at the moment (85 pound puppy and mother melting down about her divorce and if I have to smile childless through one more goddamn baby shower which, incidentally, is where I'll be the next two Sundays and really that's just the tip of the iceberg...). I am hereby imploring the Powers That Be to back the fuck off for a little while because pretty soon I'm gonna start blowing shit up.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Found Another Training Tune

I'm a big Green Day fan and one of the biggest original U2 fans so I couldn't resist passing this one along.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Spell is Broken

It's November first and I just finished taking down Halloween. I only did the yard this year since we didn't have a party so tear-down was quick and easy - all that's left is to carry the graveyard to the basement.

I have no idea why I developed this obsession with Halloween because I'm the girl who still can't watch even the tamest horror movie. But come August you'll find me immersed in Google, eBay and my collection of Halloween catalogs, heatedly arguing that $600 is perfectly reasonable for a custom-ordered rotted corpse while simultaneously drafting plans to build my own guillotine in which to pose it.

I have a wide variety of props both purchased on home-built. If I can make or build something cheap then I do. I try to do things that are general enough I can use them in multiple ways because I decorate differently every year. I do it because it's fun for me, but I have to admit I love it when the neighborhood kids give me compliments and the moms ask for tours (when I do the inside on party years).

This year the entire display had a spider theme, inspired by a 3-foot foam latex tarantula I found in a catalog and couldn't live without. The details aren't clear in the picture but you get the idea.

Front porch display, complete with two life-size skeletons, various large spiders, a giant spider and a hanging cage full of heads.

Tree decorated with shrunken head "ornaments."

I love my cemetery - I made it all from scratch.

I love to do complex pumpkins and I try to make the image coordinate with the decorations.