Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happiness is...

... awesome friends who make me feel better when I lose sight of the big picture.

... awesome husbands who record the Accenture triathlon even when I don't know it's on.

... awesome yoga classmates who arrange to host our class in their homes during the two month gap between our gym session closing (this Friday) and Yogini's new sessions starting up in January at Parks and Rec.

Life is good. You guys rock. I love Halloween candy.

(Oh, and for those who've been asking... never fear! A self-indulgent, not-remotely-triathlon-related baby stuff post is coming soon.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Recipe for Disaster

Halloween candy + 36.5 weeks pregnant = "How Much Weight Can I Really Gain in 3 Weeks?" Attitude

I have been pretty good. OK, not about exercising. I've pretty much SUCKED at that and haven't seen the gym in 10 days. (It's the insomnia, it's killing me.) I've been feeling so guilty about my general state of sloth that I haven't even been able to bring myself to read the tri blogs in a week because seeing how great everyone else is doing will just make me feel worse.

However, I will say I have been eating relatively healthy and still reporting (most of) my sins to The Calorie Nazi. My weight gain has been extremely controlled and is honestly pretty minimal.

But today all bets were off. Not only did I dive into the Halloween candy, I chased it with a Big Mac and fries.

Maybe I need to join the cult of Tanita. At this rate I think she may be the only deity to whom I can appeal for forgiveness of these heinous transgressions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

That Was Almost Too Easy!

He didn't freak out. He wasn't scared. He just GOT IT in a big way and happily trotted around the yard with the trailer in tow. He even instinctively put his head down and dug in when it got stuck in the rough spots.

That's the great thing about working breeds - even if they're like Kona (a poorly bred, probably puppy-milled pet-shop specimen who's not too bright for his breed) when their DNA for a job kicks in and they not only know what to do, they're clearly having a good time doing it... it's a thing of beauty.

Of course, we weren't taking any chances and tested him in very controlled, fenced-yard conditions. But it went so well that once we get another nice day we'll move out to the street and see what happens.

He's nowhere near well-trained enough for me to run behind the trailer - I'll still need to run beside him holding a leash. But, the way the trailer hitch is designed I can easily stop it with my foot to keep it from rolling into him. Just to be safe, we're still going to take a look at real dog-carting setups to see if there's a better way to brake.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just When I'd Given Up... A Glimmer of Hope

My gym has a sister facility in the next town over (not the bigger town to the south with the snooty expensive gym, a smaller town to the west I almost never have reason to visit). I never bothered to check it out - it's farther away and besides, I heard from multiple people it did not have a pool.

And because it's a sister facility with the same set-up - small and inside an apartment complex, I assumed they were also shutting down and kicking everyone out because they've always shared management and staff.

But today I was informed otherwise on both counts, by none other than the outgoing manager of my current gym, who has worked for these gyms for 12 years. I trust her information over the random reports of other members.

It turns out only the apartment complex in MY town went condo and shut down the gym - the apartment complex in the next town over is still apartments, and the gym will remain open.

She warned me "it's not the same." Which scares me, because how much worse can it get?! My current pool is 44 feet long and requires 60 laps/mile. Reports differ - some people say it's just the depth that's different, some people say the pool overall is smaller.

Regardless. It's only 20 minutes away (as opposed to 30 for the place I can't afford or 35-40 for the place that's booked with 4 swim teams).

They're a small, older facility in a not-so-central location, and they're losing members hand over fist to the shiny new strip mall gyms. Their solution is to chop the monthly dues in half!

That means I can afford the additional cost of taking yoga elsewhere!

So. It's not a sure thing yet and it's still mighty inconvenient, but after all this frustration it sounds promising. They're even waiving the join fee for anyone coming from my gym. I'm going to pay them a visit in the next few weeks to see just how "not the same" the pool is, but if it's water and it's enclosed in 4 walls, I don't see how I won't just take it.

Stymied at Every Turn

Just got off the phone with the woman who runs the swim program at the local high school. Turns out I know her - she's the woman who teaches (aaahh... I guess that would be "taught") the children's swim lessons at my gym!

Ya know, the one that closed and kicked our asses out. And fired all the instructors.

She remembers me because I'm the one who always slipped in as tight as I could against the lane rope she set up to cordon off her lesson area, fighting amongst all the rotten brats being ignored by their moms while trying to get in some semblance of laps.

She's even more upset than I am, with great reason. Aside from the huge loss to the community - she was the only person teaching kids to swim around here - she's a teacher and counted on that gig for what was a sizeable chunk of summer income. She already had quite a few people signed up for lessons next spring that she's being forced to cancel. And she's got moms of toddlers from all over town calling and asking her where she'll be teaching next summer. And there is no answer for them. Because there is no other pool.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but more than one person suggested to me I check out the Holiday Inn pool in the next town over (yes, the situation is that desperate). She informed me she's looked into it and that pool is also closing to the public. I mentioned the Y in the next town over (very close to the Holiday Inn, i.e. just as inconvenient) and she told me not to bother, because they've got 4 swim teams who practice there (3 local high schools and a community team) and the pool is almost never open for regular lap swimming.

She understands my frustration and was almost apologetic when she gave me the run-down on the high school pool's availability:

Fall Semester (pool available October 7 - holiday break date?)
Sunday 2-5 pm

Spring Semester (pool available January 10 - April 27)
Sunday 2-5 pm
Thursday 7-9 pm

Season Pass $60 or $3/swim. Two lanes are reserved for lap swimmers.

The entire pool is shut down from April to October.

She also mentioned the local outdoor public park pool does have an adult lap swim (one!! pathetic!! lane!!) from 5-6 pm when it's open (June - August). Whoo. Freakin. Hoo.

I thought I had a handle on this, but even my last resort options are turning out not to be options. I'm crying again from the sheer frustration.

I already turned in the client work due today. I think I'm gonna skip out for a bit and get in a swim. Ya know, while I still can.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gratuitous Girlfriends Pic

This shot from my shower on Saturday came out so great I couldn't help but post it for the world to see. That, and it's a great excuse to put out there how much I love my girlfriends and how grateful I am that they gave me such a mind-blowingly awesome shower.

From L to R: Kathy, Angie (who almost signed up for her first sprint this summer and will probably take the plunge in 2008!), me (at 34 weeks), Ann (who's seriously considering doing her first sprint next summer!), and Bek (AKA The BF, FKA Reluctant Training Partner)

Sometimes the best gifts...

weren't even on the registry.

My insanely fabulous baby shower was this weekend. (Buffet dinner for 60. It was from "3-6." People started arriving at 2:30 and the last left around 11. It was unbelievable. Some family came from as far as 500 miles. I'm still overwhelmed with all the love and support.)

Among the incredibly cute, generous and fantastically practical things I received for the baby, two stuck out in particular.

1) An R.E.I. gift card, from my husband's cousin who wanted to treat the Triathlete Me to something because the Future Mommy Me was already getting what she needed.

2) A 2007 IM World Championship event t-shirt from my girlfriend who just got back from her honeymoon in Hawaii!!

Have I got the coolest friends or what?!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Potentially Insane

But the idea has got potential!

What do you get when you mix...

One goofy Shepherd with too much energy

One carting harness

And one children's bike trailer?
(not this exact model, but you get the idea)

OK, well, I don't know exactly what you get yet either.

BUT!! What I'm HOPING to get is a way for me to simultaneously run with the baby and the dog while draining more of Kona's boundless energy that I can by running alone (let alone by running and pushing a jogging stroller).

The final ingredient (the harness) for this potentially explosive combination just arrived today, so weather permitting we're going to start experimenting very soon!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Moving Right Along

Thanks to everybody for your kind words the last couple of days. It might sound incredibly stupid to some people, but losing my gym was a sudden and traumatic change I simply did not need right now, seeing as how it happened to be this enormous rock of stability in my life I planned to cling to as I adjusted to new motherhood.

I did some lovely wallowing and had a couple of good cries, and now I'm ready to do what needs to be done.

Swimming - This is the biggest problem. The closest pool is 10 miles away (~30 minutes), in a gym I can't even pretend to afford (Single membership: $500 join fee, $100 a month) that is so snooty they wouldn't even TALK to me on the phone about my membership inquiry until I gave the contact information of a personal reference who's already a member. They discourage day-passes, although if they're in a good mood and you're with a member you can swim for a mere $10. So. You can see how well THAT option is going to work out.

There's a rumor the local high school sometimes lets people swim in its pool. I happen to know they do not allow people to run on their track, so I'm not getting my hopes up about the swimming pool. I also heard they only let people in on weekends, which interferes with the traditional long bike and long run on the weekends. Although I am lucky enough to have a flexible work life, so maybe I'll have to suck it up and do my long stuff mid-week sometime. But the swim is my weakest event, I can't imagine how I'll be able to progress if forced to dial back to once a week (and only on the weeks they're not hosting an event). Someone is checking into the details for me, fingers are crossed.

Biking - Because Wonderful Husband got me a trainer for my birthday last year, this is not a problem. I hadn't touched the stationary bikes at the gym since last year. Case closed.

Running - A problem with an expensive - but logical - solution. I'd already started moving more of my run workouts outside anyway, and have even invested in some pretty decent cold weather gear. But I relied heavily on the gym's treadmills for running in bad weather (that includes extreme heat and cold) and for speed interval training (which I simply am not yet skilled enough to do outside). Plus, when you're overweight, it's strongly recommended to do a good portion of your run training on a treadmill to save your body from some of the pounding it gets outdoors.

Considering the baby is going to make it much harder to get out of the house regardless of the weather, I think it's time I bit the bullet and bought a new treadmill. I used to have (cheap, crappy, used) one and got a lot of use out of it before it died. Having one again would not only solve my indoor running problem, it will make it easier to sneak in a workout on crappy days or between baby feedings when there simply isn't time to get to the gym and back.

I also need to invest in something like a Garmin 305. I've been limited in my outdoor running because I can't track my speed or distance except on the boring 2 mile loop in my neighborhood, and even that data is sketchy because I currently suck at pacing myself. A Garmin would certainly solve those problems.

Not that I can afford either item, but at least I've got something specific to save my pennies for.

Strength Training - I hate this with a passion but I get that it's necessary. I've been in heaven since my physical therapist banned me from lifting, but next season I need to ease back into it. I will admit I feel pathetically weak since I stopped lifting - the muscle is just gone. I used the gym heavily for weight training before. My best friend's parents have a small weight lifting setup at their place and I've been invited to use it. Not great, and a far cry from my weekly weight training class taught by the personal trainer who's been helping me for 3 years, but at least it's something.

Core - I hate core work (who doesn't?), but I didn't mind the Pilates class at my gym because Yogini taught it, and it was free. I'm not going to pay for a separate Pilates class with some random teacher I'll probably never had time to go to after the baby comes. I should incorporate it as part of some double workout anyway, which makes a class illogical from a training standpoint. I've got a sports-oriented Pilates reference book and I can maybe buy the Core Performance workout dvd and just suck it up and do it at home.

Yoga - Yogini is working on finding a place that will let her teach at least a session a week. No word yet on when or where. Current options are looking like they'll cost me as much just for yoga as my whole damn gym membership did before. But I desperately need yoga and finding a way to continue it is a high priority - I simply can't beat my body up with all the other training and not give it something back. And a class is important to me because yoga is something I simply don't do even half as well, or as often, when I'm by myself. I very much need the guidance of an instructor.

So. That's the plan, if you can call it that.

Is it going to be all-in-one-place and 5-minutes-from-home convenient? Not remotely.
Is it going to cost more? Boatloads.
Will I have to completely rearrange my training schedule in incredibly frustrating and sub-optimal ways? YES.

But am I going to stop training because of it? HELL. NO.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Context is Key

Crawled out of bed late this morning, still exhausted from yesterday's long hard day of cleaning out the basement and garage (fall cleaning/nesting), organizing anything I could get my hands on (nesting), scrubbing (nesting) and disinfecting (nesting) and mopping (nesting) and general party prep mayhem (baby shower is next Saturday, nearly 70 guests expected, some of whom are family traveling 500 miles who have never seen my house... perfect excuse to let the OCD loose on the house cleaning). Throw in a little awake-since-4 insomnia and I was so not ready to face the yard work this morning.

Cause that mulch? It ain't gonna spread itself. And that dead lilac just keeps looking deader. At least the weeds seem to be doing just fine on their own.

Besides, it's nearly 80 damn degrees at 9 am! In OCTOBER!!

So instead of strapping on the garden gloves and hauling out the wheelbarrow, I plopped down in front of the Chicago Marathon coverage. They leaders, of course, were already at mile 14. (I figure I'm doing better than last time I watched it, when I made it out of bed just as they were crossing the finish line. If I'm not careful, at this rate I'm going to turn into one of those "morning people.")

As I dug into my Nutella-schmeared bagel I heard this little nugget...

Announcer #1: The lead pack is down to 6 from 11. How far back have the others fallen?
Announcer #2: Oh, they're WAY back. At least 25-30... (My brain inserts the word MINUTES)... seconds...

He said "seconds" as seriously as if it HAD been minutes.

I laughed so hard the dog looked at me funny. Were I running on this lovely fall day (*insert dripping sarcasm here - those poor guys are running in record high temps*) I'd be roughly 5 hours behind. THAT'S whatcha call "way back," Mr. Announcer Guy.

A few minutes later he was talking about their pace and saying how the lead pack had done the last several miles at a sub 4:50 pace. My first thought was "hey, that's not all that far off my marathon goal..." THEN it hit me. (Feel free to laugh at my idiocy. But in my defense, I'm on like 4 hours sleep.)

Yeah. 4:50/mile is SO TOTALLY DIFFERENT from my dream of running a sub 5 HOUR marathon. Hee hee. But for one brief shining, millisecond my hormone-addled, sleep-deprived brain fancied itself in the same league as the Kenyan pace bunnies. And that's not a bad way to start the day : )

Friday, October 05, 2007

Gut Punched

We were informed when we showed up for yoga this morning that the gym is closing to the public. The manager has already been let go. All the classes have been discontinued and the instructors fired.

My beloved Yogini couldn't bear to desert us so abruptly and has permission to continue yoga through the end of the month. We are allowed to continue using the facilities through December... but it will be unstaffed, no towels, no water.

Several people just walked out. I sat down and tried very, very hard not to lose it. I cried a lot during class today, quietly, pretending I was drying my forehead as I dried my tears.

When class was over I barely made it to my car before I broke down and I haven't stopped sobbing since.

It's not just that this is the only gym in town that has a pool. It's not just that this was the only gym in town that included yoga classes free with membership. It's not just that it's the only gym within a 30-60 minute radius I could remotely afford. And it's not just that it's less than 10 minutes from my house.

This gym has become my refuge. It's my home away from home and the people there have become a second family. When I found it 3 years ago, I had barely gotten started yet had already lost my way. I was struggling, had gone as far as I could take myself, and had started to despair of ever losing the weight. The instruction I got there put me back on the right path, and the friendships I made there kept me on it when things got rocky.

Without this gym I would almost certainly have failed. I'd have gained back the little weight I'd lost and certainly more. Without this gym I'd be a 300 pound invalid with diabetes and high cholesterol and hypertension and I sure as hell wouldn't have healthy baby on the way.

I feel like someone just tore a gaping hole in my life. Like I've been tossed into a deep, dark pit with no way out. I have no idea where to go from here. All I know is that there is no reasonable substitute, and whatever I'm forced to do is going to be inconvenient and cost more than I can afford.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wonderful Husband Strikes Again

If the first anniversary is paper and the tenth is tin then the ninth must be.... iPod?!
Seriously. Do I have the best husband on the planet or what?

(I've been complaining for a while that my long runs had gotten longer than the amount of music my old MP3 player holds. And even though I won't be running for a while, he said he wanted me to have it now so I could do music mixes to help relax me when I'm in labor. I Love. This. Man.)

Congratulations are in Order

Last night, one of us became a mommy, official news of which I'm sure will be posted on her blog soon enough.

Until she's home and ready to post I don't want to share details that are hers to announce. I only want to say that I'm so very happy for her, that I'm honored to have been able to share the experience of a first pregnancy with someone as amazing as her and I can't wait to move forward with my training as a new mom with someone like her in my corner.