Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I got tagged by the uber-cool Habeela. I hope my answers do justice to the inspiring entries for this meme I've seen around our little alliance.

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever.
Realizing a mile out from the finish line that, not only was I actually going to finish, I was looking forward to doing another one. And another after that, ad infinitum. It was the moment I became a triathlete.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon.
Absolute elation when I found, after the calf injury took me out of my other races, that I could still run, and I ran for longer than I'd ever managed before. It was then I understood what it means to trust the training, and the moment I knew I could move up to longer races.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
My swimming was extremely weak in my first race. Even though I'd done a little bit of open water training and practiced sighting, I couldn't swim in a straight line. I bounced around the course like a pinball, at one point swimming directly into a cement lifeguard stand. It was covered in balloons so we would see it. At least they protected my head from the cement. : )

Close second... my swimming was not much improved by my second race. I was so bad the lifeguards and Swim Angels felt the need to check on me periodically.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
Looking up from my transition setup to see Nicole DeBoom doing hers 10 feet away. She was very nice - I couldn't believe an Ironman champion was encouraging me!

Close second... (but it wasn't my tri, I was just a volunteer) meeting all the Tri Bloggers at IMWI last fall and feeling like part of a family.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
That I deserve to want this for myself without feeling guilty about it. That there is nothing I can't do if I work hard enough for it. That I am stronger than I ever imagined.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?
Putting the daily reminder of my health condition behind me by completing my weight loss. I hope to celebrate that milestone with an Ironman.

Ok.. I'm gonna tag Wylee, Veeg, Lisa and TriSaraTops. You're It!

Monday, January 29, 2007

All in the Family

This has nothing to do with triathlon. I'm just incredibly upset with my brother right now and needed to vent a little.

I am the only kid in my family who made much out of my life. One brother dropped out, spent some time in jail, etc. For a while there was a restraining order against him for me. The other brother barely made it through high school, messed around for a few years, then tried community college and dropped out.

The first brother is actually pretty smart but seems incapable of applying himself. He lives hand to mouth, never holds a job for more than a couple weeks, doesn't take care of himself (is 32 and already missing many, many teeth) his wife (whom he married a few weeks before the baby came - his first, her fourth) is off living with another guy now. She just had her fifth baby. At one point the family called in DCFS because the kids were filthy and their beds had roaches crawling all over them, but the agency dropped the ball and didn't follow up while my brother and his wife disappeared. Everyone assumed the agency would remove the kids so we were prepared to take in his son, my nephew, when they disappeared. He was 3 at the time. Thankfully, the mom is always in dire need of money and stays in touch with my biological dad and his wife, who go far out of their way to take an active role in my nephew's life and make sure he has what he needs. It's a shitty situation, but I know the kid is going to be ok because my dad's watching out for him.

My other brother is a highly skilled welder but has a hard time finding work just because that's how it goes sometimes. His wife took classes in child care and babysits for extra cash. I think she also works in the elementary school cafeteria sometimes. They got married so young they couldn't drink at their own wedding. Everyone adult in the family begged them not to have kids until they were better off, but you know how that goes. They have three.

To sum up their situation: they can't always pay their rent but they've got a plasma screen in the living room and the kids each had a personal DVD player before their ages were in the double digits (they're 7 and 9).

These kids don't appreciate what they've got and have no idea about the value of anything. Last time I visited Rylee (7, the girl twin) was screaming about how she wanted an iPod for Christmas. I told her I'm 34 and I don't have an iPod because I can't afford one, so she's not getting one either. This was followed by Tori (9, the oldest) demanding a digital camera for Christmas (she's played with my digital camera before, without permission mind you, and dropped it, almost breaking the brand new $500 piece of technology.)

And they have doting grandparents who have no sense of "enough," so the kids are drowning in toys and movies and useless crap they can't even identify half the time.

I'm Cool Aunt Michelle From Chicago in this little scenario. I'm the one who jumps on the trampoline and crawls into whatever secret for they've built in their closet this week. I don't have a ton of money so I've never bought them extravagant gifts - when I do get them gifts I try to get something useful or meaningful. Not that it matters, because I inevitably feel like I've thrown my money away.

So I decided to open 529 accounts for them. My mom agreed (not that she EVER would have stuck to it, but I wanted some kinds of grandparent buy-in) that she would also stop buying them random toys and instead put the cash into their college accounts.

I met with a financial adviser, she found the right plan for us (I needed to be able to control the money because the parents will just take it and use it) and I got in touch with my SIL to get the kids information (I need their socials) so I could open the accounts.

I got a response this morning. It was, in a nutshell, take those accounts and shove 'em up your ass.

She gave me a very long list of reasons why, all of which were based on willful ignorance and the short-sighted, instant gratification attitude I was trying to circumvent with this gift. My personal favorite from the long list of stupid reasons she gave for why they will not allow me to open these accounts was, and I am quoting exactly, "it's not fair to the kids."

These are the kind of folks who are proud of not knowing things, who refer to me derisively as a high class broad or citified bitch and mock me when I use "them fifty cent words". They spend whatever money they have in hand with no regard for what tomorrow, let alone next week or next year, will bring.

Honestly, it's what I should have expected from them but I'm hurt and stunned nonetheless. I told her that I love her kids and that the best way I thought I could show that was to think about their futures instead of adding to the pile of meaningless gifts they forget about after a few weeks anyway.

She said the only way she'll allow this to happen is if I open the kind of account where the kids get handed the cash when they're 18. (Incidentally, this kind of account is also under direct control of the parent or guardian, neither of which is me.) Hmmmm.... seeing as how them not having the faintest idea - or desire - how to handle money properly is why I was doing this in the first place, let's just see how cold it's got to be in hell before I open that kind of account.

Here's the kicker - my brother is not my blood and his kids have no biological ties to me whatsoever. He is my half-brother, I was adopted by his father, by mother's second husband, when I was about 6. His mom is an ice cold bitch who hasn't even bothered to see her grandkids since they were born. He openly refers to my mom as the only mother he's ever known. I love him, his wife and his kids like they were my own and I've never cared we weren't, technically, related. We are legally related, on paper, but that doesn't matter either. He's my little brother and I love his kids and why the hell is he being so fucking stupid?!

Husband and best friend have both told me they are just being plain stupid and that I have every right to be furious. But I'm mostly just distraught - to the point of nausea and shaking hands. I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me, technically this is not my problem.

I'm trying to remain calm in all my communications with them just in case they see the light and have a change of heart.

In the meantime, since one of her big sticking points was that this would deprive the kids of years of gifts from me... from now on, in their birthday and Christmas cards they'll be getting shiny new photocopies of the savings bonds Aunt Michelle is holding in a lock box for them.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Calorie Nazi Status Report

It's been one week since I adopted the Calorie Nazi software.

The first few days, as y'all know, were just awful. I was hungry and crabby and had a migraine almost every day (not definitively related, but suspicious).

But the more data you feed it the more it tweaks your caloric budget, and to my utter relief it decided pretty quickly I needed to eat more. By yesterday it was giving me nearly 300 a day more than when I started. So much so that, if I make good choices during the day I can even have a little bit of sour cream on my roasted potato at dinner and sometimes have a cookie or little bit of ice cream for an evening snack.

Long story short, in this first week I lost 3.5 pounds!

This isn't the first time I've done this (counting calories, not the software) so the old habits came back pretty easily - choosing high-quality, low cal foods to feel full instead of going for the quick and easy calorie bomb for lunch, etc. But with the software there's an element of accuracy I never had before, due almost entirely to the recipe function. It also keeps me honest - for some reason it was easy for me to lie to myself when I used to do this on paper but I can't lie to the Calorie Nazi.

The goal I selected is based on me losing about 85 pounds in the next 23 months - less than a pound a week. The software rates this effort as "fairly easy" and I'm starting to believe it. Obviously I had the typical first week water weight loss thing (fleeting but still motivational). I don't even want to try to lose more than a pound a week, because (to beat the dead horse) this is about sustainability, and to me dropping 1000 calories a day for a 2-a-week loss is not even in the ballpark of sustainable.

Keeping in mind I want to keep this manageable so I don't go postal and hold hostages to exchange for Ben & Jerry's, with the increase in my budget I'm also aware that I've suddenly got some breathing room I didn't have before. So rather than revel in the extra ice cream for the next year I pushed the goal date back from 12/31/2008 to 9/30/2008.

The effort is still rated as manageable - fairly easy and the calorie recommendation is still doable. For example, if I do even a moderate workout on a given day I'll be allowed to eat around 2200 calories - not bad, right? BTW, I picked that date because it's right before my 10th anniversary. I figured the best thing I could give my husband for that anniversary is me looking like I did when we met.

I can't possibly be perfect for the next 18 months (for example, I'm already giving myself a free pass for the day of our Super Bowl party), but for whatever reason right now I'm more optimistic than I have ever been. Probably because what I'm eating hasn't really needed to change much - the real eye opener has been how many calories I was eating without realizing it, generally when snacking on stuff like yogurt or a handful of walnuts while I was preparing meals. Just being conscious of this and drinking a big glass of water to replace the pre-meal snacking seems to be the key for me, at least until I reach the next "omg I can only eat HOW MUCH at this weight?" plateau.

I honestly thought it would take me another 5-10 years to lose the rest of this weight, so to have something telling me that I can do it by next year, and for it to feel this simple and doable, is nothing short of miraculous. I've resisted counting calories for the obvious reason that it is (to quote Veeg) The Suck. But I realized over the last couple months, as I've watched my weight creep back up by 5 pounds, that my shoulder injury had reduced my training to the point I was no longer working off enough to eat like I was used to. So I decided, considering I might need a surgery that will remove me from training for weeks, possibly months, that if there was ever a time to get a handle on calorie counting it was right now.

OK, so enough gushing about the obligatory first week's extra lost poundage. Let's see how I feel about it in another week.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Mind Fuck Courtesy of Friendly Bike Professionals

Wednesday the shoulder was feeling closer to normal than it has in a long time, so I decided to spend some time on the trainer. Had yet another migraine most of the day, so it was getting late and I was thinking about bagging it since I still had to make dinner.

Plus there was crucial American Idol watching to do.

I ended up making the quickest, easiest thing I could for dinner - Biscuits 'n Gravy. (Mmmmm.... brings back memories of Grandma hollering out the back door at Grandpa to get his ass down off the combine to come eat breakfast)

Like a good girl, I put all the ingredients into the calorie software and let it work its magic. Then I had a heart attack when I saw the calorie count - not unlike the one I'll have, I'm sure, if I continue to consider Biscuits 'n Gravy an option for dinner.

But the sausage was defrosted and Husband had already caught wind of it and was grinning this goofy grins he reserves for when I'm making Biscuits 'n Gravy (it's his favorite, right after Italian Beef sandwiches). Besides, I didn't want to wait 2 hours for the pork loin to roast and the only other option was frozen pizza.

So I ate it and then I HAD to work out because I was 300 calories over my allowance.

[To quote Bill Cosby, I told you that story so I could tell you this one...]

Last time I rode the trainer, the cleat came off my left shoe when I tried to dismount. It was hanging by a single screw (this is an important detail because it proves it was this way to begin with and we did not do the stupid thing).

The day I got my cycling shoes - and the obligatory set of Speedplays because I had SPDs before - I also got a bike fitting. So of course, Cool Tri Shop Guy put the new pedals and cleats onto my new shoes in order to properly do the fitting.

I struggled and struggled that day and simply could not clip in my left foot. He took my shoe repeatedly and loosened the screws until, finally, with a ridiculous amount of effort, I could clip that foot in.

But then I couldn't clip it out. I had to take the shoe off and two different guys tried to unclip the damn thing.

I practiced like crazy just up and down my block trying to get comfortable with that damn left clip, but it never really felt right and caused more than one tense, almost-keeling-over-into-traffic moment from repeatedly getting stuck.

First time I rode the trainer it went in pretty easily and I figured the spring had maybe been too tight originally and now it was wearing in. But then I tried to get off and, like I said - the cleat was not longer what you would call "attached."

So Wonderful Husband went to Home Depot with the one screw we did find on the floor to get matching ones. And some Loctite.

Now we can actually return to Wednesday...

It's 8:15 pm and I want to get in 30 minutes on the trainer. I cannot clip in.

I'm frustrated beyond belief. Husband brought up a screwdriver and loosened the screws because I insisted that's what Cool Tri Shop Guy did to make it clip in, and he owns a tri shop so of course he knows, right?

We were at this for 20 minutes. I start crying.

I JUST HAD TO WORK OUT. Because I'd eaten too many calories and I had to face the Calorie Nazi Software and it was going to tell me that my Projected Weight is 847 pounds if I don't work off those 300 extra calories and why the hell won't my left fucking shoe clip in???

To help you along with the comical tableau we had going - I'm short and my bike is small. My front tire is on a riser block, which is on top of a dictionary, and there is a step stool nearby I need to climb onto the whole mess. (If I pedal really hard the block slips off the dictionary.) I'm still sitting on the bike this whole time, bent over the aerobars half-sobbing, because it's dangerously difficult for me to get on and off, while husband is sitting on the stool with my leg bent behind me like he's shoeing a horse.

He kept insisting the screws do not impact the mechanism. I kept insisting that's how Cool Tri Shop Guy got them to work.

I finally got off the bike and sat on the bed, defeated. Husband takes both shoes and turns them over. I said, half to myself, "ya know, I always thought it was kinda weird that both cleats face the same way."

He looks at me. Looks at the cleats. Looks at the crank.

Removes the offending cleat. FLIPS IT AROUND TO THE RIGHT WAY. And puts it back on.

And now it clips in just fine.

[In case you're trying to visualize the original set-up... basically, Tri Shop Guy loosened the screws to the point that the entire cleat lifted partially from the shoe, which is why it could, with enough effort, clip in, because it was angled enough away from the crank. This ridiculous amount of looseness is why the screws eventually fell out. What pisses me off is that he should know damn well that the screws - as Husband said - have nothing to do with how hard it is to clip in and WTF was he doing?!]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Attitude Adjustments

Sorry for such a long post - I've been sorting through a lot of things the last few days and it felt good to write them down.

Calorie Counting
I've been counting calories for a couple of days now. I've been through every emotion that I'm sure anyone who has tried counting calories goes through - anger, frustration, astonishment. (I never thought I'd find myself in the kitchen at night, weighing an apple to find out if I can fit the calories in for a snack. I couldn't -man are apples high in calories!!)

And, of course, peeing 42 times a day because you're drinking so much water to feel full.

I hate the software's interface but upon experimentation have learned, to my very pleasant surprise, that the back end is seriously robust. It calculates things other calorie programs don't even consider. It has a serious food "dictionary" - several thousand items - and you can put in your own (I've been typing in the info from all the foods in my pantry). I was blown away when I tried to log one of my pantry items and it came back saying that the calories entered didn't match up with the actual calories it calculated based on all the other nutrition information (there's nearly 40 fields of data) and would I like to use theirs? Hell yeah! If I'm gonna do this, let's do it right . (This has happened several times now - apparently the food companies round the numbers down, sometimes by a LOT.)

Quite possibly my favorite feature is the Recipe Box - you can drag and drop individual items into a recipe and it will calculate the nutrition information for individual servings of that recipe. That's pretty much the holy grail of calorie counting for me, for whom the exercise inevitably dies when I make a nice casserole for my husband and realize I have no freakin' way to figure out what I just ate.

I found the company's website and learned the software and the bad interface has been upgraded. Several of the things that irritated the crap out of me have been fixed and several more functions have been added. It's so smart that, if you log weight lifting as an exercise, it will take the probability of increased muscle mass into account for the BMR calculations when adjusting your calorie recommendations (which it tweaks every day).

I got used to it, am impressed by the science behind it (it appears several PhDs had a hand in it) and am probably going to fork out the $50 to buy the upgraded version.

Weight Loss Expectations
The most I've ever lost in a single year since I started this 3 years ago was 25 pounds. So I set a private, inside my head goal of losing 25 pounds this year, for several reasons. 1) It will get me to the half-way point of 75 lost. 2) It will get me below the psychological barrier of 200 pounds. 3) It would do those things riiiight before my 35th birthday.

This program makes you put in a goal weight and a date, then it calculates the calories recommended to get you there. I tried to set it up with a goal of 25 a year for the next 4 years but it won't go more than 2 years out. So for kicks, I put in my goal weight for 2 years. It came up with a shockingly reasonable calorie recommendation and rated the potential effort as "manageable." (Yes, this shockingly reasonable calorie count and manageable effort is what's had me in tears the last couple days.)

My mind is reeling to think I could theoretically be near my goal weight by the end of 2008. I know me and I know I can't possibly stick with this every day for the next two years - I said from the very beginning this was not about "dieting" but about sustainable lifestyle changes. But if I even stick with it most of the time I'll be closer to my dream faster than I imagined possible.

Goal Weight
This morning my husband pointed out that I'd set my goal weight as my actual goal weight, when the reality is that I'm going to need a body lift when it's done. You just can't gain/lose 150 pounds and not take this ugly truth into consideration.

This basically means I'll probably be at my goal weight on the inside but until the surgery is done will have many pounds of extra skin (yuck, right?). My weight loss has been slow enough that my skin is rebounding relatively well, but there are a few spots where surgery is simply going to be required.

So in keeping with this reality, I reset the goal weight on the software to 15 pounds over my goal weight because that's the weight at which I need to consult a plastic surgeon.

(I was really kind of hoping for an extra 200-300 calories a day out of this adjustment, but I only got an extra 75 - not even a whole apple's worth!)

Success Does Not, In This Case, Beget Success
It finally hit me over the last few days why this is suddenly So. Damn. Hard. I have not been exaggerating all this time when I say I generally don't count calories, generally make good food choices and generally have a handle on portion control. I seriously lost this first 50 pounds simply by making incremental changes to my diet and exercise habits. (And taking my thyroid medication.)

I knew when I started that eventually it would get harder - i.e. when I weight less I will have to eat less and less calories to continue losing weight. I'd lost sight of that until now. I'm still so overweight that it's hard to logically accept the time has already come, but my body's going "helllooooo - you weigh 50 pounds LESS!! Of COURSE you need to eat less now."

That's why this last couple days has been such a kick in the head - I've never had to cut calories to the point I was hungry to get weight loss.

I've been making the mental shift from "OMG this season is RUINED!!!" because of my shoulder to "those races will be there next year."

I still won't know for a couple of weeks what the future holds. I could be in for a season-ending shoulder surgery or I could be in for a few weeks of physical therapy and a gradual return to the pool.

Either way, I'd already planned on making this a year to focus on running and had only scheduled 2 triathlons. If I can't swim at all those races will still be there next year. Of course I'll be upset if my 'Marathon and HIM when I'm 35' goal is pushed back to this year's Half-marathon and Olympic but I have to remember that racing is a joy and a privilege - but not remotely worth risking permanent injury for. If I have to miss this season in order to continue racing in the future, so be it.

I just hope if that happens the other triathletes will let me have honorary status until I can get back to the starting line.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Daaaaaaaa BEARS!!

*cough cough*

Was that a heart attack 'cause Da Bears is goin' to the SuperBowl after 21 years?

Nope - just gotta piece a sassage stuck in my heart. Doc says I gotta cut back on da sassage - hows about we have chicken wings at DA BEARS SUPER BOWL PARTY instead?

Necessary Evil

Whenever my weight loss stagnates or (*GASP*) starts to creep back up (like I'm denying it's done over the last few weeks) I always hem and haw about going back to counting calories.

'Cause I HATE doing that. I don't know why, but there is something inside me that rebels against it like nothing else - which is completely against my nature because I normally face things head-on. I'm afraid of open water? Swim in every lake I can find! Nobody can handle this crazy dog? Let him live with me until he's trained and adoptable! I can't run? Marathon it is!

But for some reason I can't find the same tackle-it-head-on enthusiasm for calorie tracking. I've tried many times to do a food diary and I always have a brief window of "Hey! Look at that! I track what I eat more carefully and I LOSE WEIGHT. What a concept!" And then I get sick of it and give up.

But I don't have the easy-breezy kinda life (who does?!) where tracking my food is a simple thing, because on a bad work day I'm not chopping and measuring perfect portions of a health variety of veggies, I'm speed-dialing the pizza joint to pick up dinner on my way home from whatever client meeting just made me want to climb a clock tower with an AK47 before I face piles of dishes and unfolded laundry and dirty litter boxes and a few more hours of work that I'll probably just blow off because I'm getting a headache.

Guess what I'm saying is, my life is normal, just like everyone else's.

But I'm really getting sick of this piddly 1 pound a month crap and I KNOW it's my own damn fault, because I'm not being very careful about what I eat, especially since the holidays. This has never happened before - the last several years I've actually lost weight around the holidays, but this year it was like a gluttony trigger went on in my brain around Thanksgiving and here it is nearing the end of January and I haven't found the Off switch.

So, my friend has this nutrition software that she's been raving about. I got a copy of it yesterday. After spending the first 20 minutes being irritated at the dated, poorly written software (digging through the Help is particularly enlightening - they took time to document issues and how to work around them rather than just fixing the damn issue) I finally figured out how to enter what I ate yesterday and got a wakeup call - I had a migraine, felt like hell all day, ate what felt like next to nothing... and I was 700 calories over my allowance. Hmmm. Guess I do need the damn software.

Sidebar: Me not being able to figure out a simple application like this is a serious indictment of the design, seeing as how I have built some software on my own and my last job included writing test documents for some newly developed applications and writing user manuals for all the existing applications in my department. If I can figure out a 20 year old mainframe application consisting of cryptic 6-letter commands and not your supposedly user-friendly GUI diet program written in 2000... it sucks. Pure and simple. In design and function. (Husband said it looks like someone wrote it in VB 2.0.)

I'm motivated enough by what it can tell me to keep using it for now. I'm motivated enough by the crappy design to look around for what else is out there (I'm not fond of the idea of logging into a website to do this, but if it comes down to it I'll consider it.) This one does have some neat features (like comparing your caloric intake against your weights, calculating your metabolic rate and adjusting the stock calorie recommendations to suit you) I'd like to keep. And I dig the charts - there's lots of charts. But I'm already beyond irritated that you can't enter anything in for prior dates (I got in yesterday's by pretending it was today's) - which means I can't enter any of my paper diet logs and I can't enter in my starting weight, both of which would be solid data for it to work with in terms of said metabolic calculations.

*SIGH* Now I'm off to have a late breakfast of 1 piece of whole wheat toast (100), a teensy weensy bit of butter (50), 1 egg (70), maybe a small glass of V8 (100)...

Friday, January 19, 2007


Talked to the doctor today about my shoulder. 'Cause today was theoretically the day I should have been able to attempt a return to swimming.

Instead I was calling to say that it feels funky and if I do anything even a little bit outside a basic range of motion I get stabs of pain.

He said rest two more weeks to give it more time to heal.

If it hasn't healed by then, he'll do another cortisone shot.

If it hasn't healed after THAT, I'll have to go for an MRI.

Guess I won't be doing that indoor tri in February after all.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Reason I've Got No Excuse

I've got this friend with a heart problem. Her whole life doctors told her to take it easy - most people would love the excuse to be lazy. Not her - when new research indicated that exercise would actually be helpful for her kind of heart problem she took up running, then triathlon.

Actually, she's the one who got me into it. In fact - she's the one who suggested I try it when everyone else thought my efforts to get my life back through exercise weren't going to go anywhere. She believed in my ability to do this long before I did, and there will never be words to convey my gratitude for that.

She couldn't race last season because she was pregnant. Now the baby's here and I was thrilled when she told me over the holidays she was planning to sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle, also my first race of the season.

But today I learned that her race comeback is going to be put off for another season. Because it's time to replace the leaky valve on her aorta. So instead of a triumphant return to running in 2 months, she's going for open heart surgery in 2 weeks.

She said she's in good health and in good hands, that she will be fine and not to worry because it's just part of her life.

In fact, she said, she's optimistic that getting this little problem fixed just might enable her to break ten-minute miles once she gets back to running.

Now that's a triathlete for ya.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shut Up Dawn

I'm pretending I don't have a headache, cramps and overwhelming desire to crawl into bed. Instead I prefer to focus on happy things (like the 3 precious chocolate truffles I have stashed in the pantry) and eventually the crappy stuff will go away. I worked too hard running last Wednesday and Thursday, so went to yoga Friday (ever try to do yoga without using your arms?) and ended up overstretching, so I've been soaking in epsom salts and sitting on a heating pad for 3 days. I did get in a quick 30 min on the bike today and feel pretty good. Shoulder feels fine as long as I don't, ya know, USE it. Another week to go in the doctor-enforced activity ban.

The Buffy Sing Along was AWESOME. We had a great time, laughed our asses off and sang until we were hoarse. (The hoarse wasn't helped by the fact that they didn't start the show until 1 am and we sat in a smoky restaurant for 2 hours before the theater opened.) As I suspected, they did a bit more than just show the episode to give us our money's worth - for example, they had audience members acting out key scenes from the series for prizes, which was cool (funniest bit - one guy ad libbed a line for Angel as he stormed out of the scene "I'm gonna go brood." We were dying). And our friend Alanna wore the Vampire Willow costume she'd made for last Halloween - she won a prize!

Turns out this whole thing is actually a show that originated in New York (where it's held monthly) and they were experimenting with it in Chicago. Since both nights sold out and people were lined up around the block in 20 degree, rainy weather at midnight to get in.... well, the guy said he's pretty sure they'll bring it back again. (Sidebar: Someone wrote GRRR ARRRGH on the sign that said it was sold out - hilarious.) Oh, and at the end the founder guy said this we sang the loudest of any audience he'd ever had. So, we're either WAY cooler than the New Yorkers oooooor have a much lower threshold for acting shamefully goofy in public. Either way - Go Us!

What they've done is essentially create a Rocky Horror for Joss Whedon fans. We even got Interactive Goody Bags - with a party popper, kazoo and (the BEST PART!!) monster finger puppets. For the GRRR ARRRGGH part. (Joss Whedon fans are now nodding in complete understanding while the rest of you are wondering what kind of drugs I'm on.) There were cue cards for stuff like chanting Burn! Burn! Burn! for the Self-Combusting Tap Dancer Guy and screaming SHUT UP DAWN, well, pretty much every time she opened her mouth.

I particularly loved that the Shut Up Dawn part actually started because the first audience did it spontaneously.

It was ROUGH getting home at 3:30 am and then paying for it with a migraine Saturday. But we had a blast and I would probably do it again.

Husband, Me and our good friend Heidi eagerly awaiting the start of the show.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Event of the Season

I'm so excited about tonight I can't STAND it!!

We got invited to go downtown for a thing with some friends and the minute I heard about it I was all over it.

Of course, I wasn't thrilled when I found out it's at midnight, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

And I'm not totally in love with the idea that I'll be in the car for 3 hours tonight to see a 45 minute show.

And we can't even go downtown early enough for me to take care of buying new running shoes because we can't leave until after Bogart's insulin shot, which means we won't get to Chicago until 9:30 (when we're meeting friends for drinks).

But I'm still super, super excited.

Because... (you're gonna love this)

We've got tickets to... (you're not gonna believe what a total dork I am!)

wait for it.....

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - The Musical: A Sing Along!!

(and the crowd goes wild...)

I. Can't. WAIT!! The Music Box Theater has a midnight show series and this came up on the schedule. It's actually one episode of a TV show and yeah, I own the DVD. And have the soundtrack in my car. But come on, how do you not go to the public Sing Along with hundreds of other dorks who also know all the words?

Some of our friends are even going both nights :D

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breakin' Out the Credit Cards

Woo hoo! It's that time of year again - race registrations are upon us!!

As soon as I can remember to get my wallet and my computer in the same room at the same time, I'm ponying up for my first goal race of the year, the Shamrock Shuffle.

And I just got my Medical Rollover registration email for my favorite race, the Subaru sprint in Naperville, the one I was forced to miss last year with all the painful calf muscle ickiness. (In light of the new painful shoulder ickiness, here's hoping I can scrape out a 750 yard swim by June!)

Wylee, Meepa - ?? You guys still coming with me? It's gonna be great!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Obligatory January Post

The gym was crowded with New Year's Resolutioners. It was hard to get a treadmill. The pool had more people than usual. Maybe by the time I'm allowed to swim again it will have settled back to normal.

Now that I've done my January blogging duty... here's the real post:

I went to do LSD but couldn't make myself stay that slow today. Instead I did a 50:00 5K, jogging most of it at a 15:50 pace with a couple of 4 min walk breaks. HR was still too high (160s-170s) but better than it used to be, and my breathing was almost yoga easy for most of it. I know I shouldn't cheat on the LSD, but I'm happy to have run and now I fell all relaxed and noodley.

Mmmm.... noodles. Think I'll go eat now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


As I pause my typing to reach for my cup o' tea, it hits me just how long and how bad this shoulder problem went when my reaction is surprise that it doesn't hurt to reach for or lift the cup.

The cortisone shot did wonders for the pain in my shoulder. It still feels a little funky, but it no longer hurts.

My doctor said that's a really good sign. He said I am limited to "normal" activities only (normal for regular people, not normal for triathletes) for at least a couple of weeks - and he specifically forbade swimming and lifting.

In a couple of weeks if there has been no recurrence of the pain I can ease into swimming. If easing into swimming doesn't cause a recurrence I can gradually work back up to distance. If it causes a recurrence of the pain I have to stop swimming again and he'll refer me to a physical therapist.

He did say (to my relief) the cortisone shot was a one-time thing and not a long-term solution. It also seems (also to my relief) he is trying to do everything possible before considering a surgical consult.

I am banned from lifting weights indefinitely, which is frustrating (not that I've been a demon in the weight room or anything lately, but I did want to get back into it soon.) My biggest concern right now is yoga - can't do much with overhead arm lifting, putting weight on them, etc. After my two week enforced ban I'm going to try class just skipping anything that uses my arms and ease back into it from there.

He said I can still run, so if I can get rid of this migraine I'm hoping to get in a little LSD today.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Got That Pesky Deductible Out of the Way

What a week!

It started with my first official visit from the candida family (thanks girls, btw, for your great advice - Husband was LHAO. 'Get some air down there' was his particular favorite).

Before that had necessitated a doctor visit I'd already made an appointment to discuss The Shoulder That Won't Heal. It's been six months since the original injury and nearly 3 months since the latest flare-up, which never subsided and has basically been 3 months of pain every single day, although the severity varies dramatically. I have days I feel like I can try swimming again and I have days I can't even reach for the mouse. In general it hurts to basic life stuff like put away groceries or reach up to get the milk out of the fridge. You can image the giant stabs of pain when I am trying to control the 85 pound Kona Monster.

This also means I've only been able to swim maybe 1000 yards in the last 3 months, each attempt aborted after just a few laps (the GYGO NY Tri was the exception, but I did limit it to a 400 yard easy pace).

Oh, and just because the Universe hates me right now my period started this morning too, which thankfully I noticed before going to the doctor, because it took far longer than planned.

He said we've waited long enough for the shoulder to heal and that it's clearly not going to get better on its own. Then he talked about expensive things. I blanked out a little bit after "cortisone shot" (scared of needles, which is silly because I give myself allergy shots all the time) but I got the gist of it - sit tight while I got get something big and scary to poke you with.

While he was gone I was looking at my chart and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I will turn 35 this year. (It's not the number that bothers me so much as the 'still obese' and 'still childless' part of the equation.) I went cold and lightheaded and could barely keep from crying (remember the part about the period starting this morning?). But I didn't have time to freak out too much before the nurse came back in with a very big, very scary needle. I made her promise to hold my hand.

She thought I was kidding.

She held my hand. The shot wasn't great but it wasn't bad. My arm went all numb and tingly (the injection also contained a local anesthetic for the pain) while the inside of my shoulder went all warm and burny.

Then he talked to me about next steps. X-ray today (just got back from the hospital getting that done) to rule out bone problem. Meantime, give the cortisone 3-4 days to work.

If the bursa is just inflamed, the shot could reduce the inflammation and I could be swimming pain free in a week, though I will likely need to do several months of physical therapy to get it back to normal.

If the pain hasn't subsided then it's evidence of a possible rotator cuff tear and he will immediately send me for a consult with an orthopedic surgeon, who will likely order an MRI to decide if I need surgery.

I saw my dad after his rotator cuff surgery last year. He's the kind of tough guy who can whip out his a suture kit and sew up his own leg after a power tool accident. He was crying like a baby from the excruciating pain. Needless to say, both my shoestring budget and my inner crybaby are hoping like hell I won't need surgery.

Right now my inner triathlete is jumping up and down with her eyes closed and ears plugged yelling "LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bound to Happen Sooner or Later

Mind: This is so great! Got my trainer, got my videos, can't wait to get back into things! HEY!! Maybe we should look into those single-leg drill thingies we keep reading abou...

Body: *ahem*

Mind: YEAH! And I'll get some Spinnervals! I saw a triathlon training pack on eBay!

Body: *ahem* Excuse me...

Mind: Wha...huh?

Body: I hate to interupt, but I'd like to you meet someone. A lot of someones, actually.

Mind: What are you talking about?

Body: May I introduce... the candida family?

Mind: But... never... not once...

Body: Yeah - you have any idea how lucky you are? These guys are the scourge of women cyclists and here you've been, merrily riding along for 3 years. They were bound to pay you a visit.

Mind: Awwww shit. There goes my training schedule for the week.

Body: Wanna here the best part?

Mind: I doubt it.

Body: The doctor gave us a nice little brochure with helpful information. It says to avoid swimsuits, tight fitting materials and sweaty gym clothes.

Mind: Where's the punch line?

Body: *silence*

Mind: Yeah. 'Fraid of that. Guess we're screwed, huh?

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 Race Schedule

Proposed 2007 Race Schedule

Bold denotes a hard date/race.
Italics indicates a hard commitment to find a race in that time frame.
Regular type indicates a flexible/droppable event.

December 31/January 1 - Tri Blogger Alliance New Year's Virtual Triathlon (DONE! 1:12)
March 4 - LakeView RecPlex Indoor Triathlon
March 25 - Shamrock Shuffle 8K
May TBD - 10K Run [Probably Lake Geneva 5/12/2007]
May 27 - Bike the Drive
June 24 - Subaru Sprint Triathlon
July 14 - Tour de Donut (30 mile bike race with mandatory donut stops)
July TBD - Splish Splash Dash (1 mile open water swim race)
July or August TBD - 15K Run
August TBD - Olympic Distance Triathlon [Possibly the Lake Zurich Triathlon]
September 7-10 Volunteer at IMWI
September or October TBD - Half Marathon
October TBD - Fat Tire Memorial Bike Tour (20 mile charity ride with bar stops)
November TBD - Turkey Trot 5K

It seemed like a lot when I was writing it all down, but when I look at each event they all seem reasonable. Most of the events are either for fun or are training for my goal races - the Olympic and the half marathon.