Thursday, December 31, 2009

All Kinds of Awesome

A few minutes ago Bear noticed I had juice. He came over and very nicely signed "drink." I told him yes, I would share it with him.

He waited quietly for a few seconds, then signed "more." I told him wait just a second and he could have some.

Then he smiled that killer smile and started signing "please" over and over.

OMG. I don't know what got me more - the crazy amounts of adorable, that he wasn't crying and grabbing at my glass or that he was correctly signing all those words without being prompted.

I love that my nearly nonverbal little Bear just talked me out of my juice.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happiness Is

... scheduling 2010 race meet-ups with tri peeps!

(It's what I needed after the last couple weeks of us all being sick. Again. Way too sick to travel to family, spent Christmas with kleenex and frozen pizza. Bleh.)

Now that Bear's therapy schedule and spring daycare schedule is set, I can start trying to figure out how to make training a regular part of my life again. Which will be next to impossible, since those two things = 5 mornings a week, and I'm home with Bear every afternoon. (At least the daycare morning is for me to work. Now I just have to figure out how to fit a whole week of work into one morning!)

But I'm determined to figure something out. Cause this whole no energy, sick all the time thing? I'm So. Over. It.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Don't you just love this time of year?

The twinkling lights... the glittering, snow covered scenery... the Kona broadcast....

Dec 19 at 4:30 eastern. Set your DVR!

Cosmic Balance

I must have angered the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because...

- we have 10 inches of snow on the way
- my sprained back is still on the mend
- the snowblower is in the shop until next week

I know the doc said I could do gentle activity, but I'm thinking shoveling snow for 6 hours wasn't what he had in mind.

I think it's time to go knock on the neighbor's door and see if his teenager feels like earning 20 bucks to bring their snowblower over...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Little Ray of Sunshine

Due to a fortuitous rescheduling of Bear therapy and the MIL actually keeping appointment to sit, I had an almost decadent block of time open up on Friday morning.

I got to ask myself the greatest question I've asked all year: swim or yoga?

Considering current back problem (doc says I sprained it and put me on relative rest/active recovery), floating by myself in my gym's overly warm swimming pool sounded divine.

But I really miss my yoga peeps. So that's where I went. And it was wonderful.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Speed Bump

Today was the day I was going to get back on track.

I wasn't (completely) freaking out about the sudden, inexplicable 6 pound gain over Thanksgiving (OMG I didn't even have seconds and only ate ONE. PIECE. of pie. TOTAL. For the whole 4 day weekend. But I digress.)

I was calm and ready. I turned in my temporary License To Eat without batting an eye and started paying attention to my calorie intake again like it was second nature.

Today I was going to report for duty with The Calorie Nazi. Today I was going to organize my calendar to accommodate a workout later this week.

As a concession to the recently flaring up foot pain, I even got my bike all set up in the bedroom.

And then.... I did something to my back.

Not sure what, but what started out last week as a leeetle tweaky feeling in my low back has ballooned into an OMG I can't move owowowowowOWOWOWOW kind of thing.

Never experienced anything quite like this before.

Show of hands... how many people think this might have something to do with my complete lack of training and the fact my core muscles now have less structural integrity than last week's failed cranberry jelly?

It doesn't help I have a clingy toddler with a neurological dysfunction that partly manifests in a desperate desire to be carried all the time.

So, yeah. Got a doctor appointment tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shifting Mental Gears

I've pretty much been stuck at the mental place I was back in 2004, before I started my journey to health and happiness through triathlon.

In that mental prison I'm still 270+ pounds. Huge. Sick. Miserable.

I've heard a lot about body dysmorphia, where people don't see what they really look like when they look in the mirror because their brain is stuck on an internal image. Mostly you hear about it with anorexics and such.

I think I had that a little bit, because no matter how much I lose and how many sizes I've dropped I still see that same enormous person in the mirror.

But when I saw this picture from Halloween, I got the shock of my life.

For the first time ever I saw - really, truly understood - that I've lost almost 60 pounds. That I have a waistline. That I'm down to a single chin. That, 5 years after squeezing into size 26 jeans in despair, I slipped on a size 16 Halloween costume and looked good. (In case you're wondering, I went as the Fashion Police.)

It blew me away.

Granted, I still need to lose another 80 or 90 pounds to be at a reasonable weight for my height. But seeing this picture made me feel what that means. It made me get in my gut how far I've come and how great it will be when I find the end of the path.

It was what I needed, when I needed it. Suddenly, getting back on speaking terms with The Calorie Nazi and finding my way back to a training schedule doesn't seem so crazy. It's going to be incredibly hard. And I'll probably be an emotional wreck. But it feels like the right thing to do again. And that's what I was missing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two

Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Bear!

Still can't believe how fast you went from this...

to this!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Didn't Expect This

I'm tired all the time.
I'm bitchy all the time.
I just spent 6 weeks sick.
I've started crying a lot.

When I was training regularly I felt great, was always in a good mood and almost never got sick.

I know I have to get back to it, but I find myself scared to death.

I don't have any time.
I don't have any energy.
I don't have any aerobic capacity.
I don't have any strength or flexibility.
My foot still hurts every. single. fucking. day. (It's been 18 months)

I feel like after all triathlon has done for me, I've failed it and don't deserve to come back. I'm scared of starting over from scratch. I'm scared of not being worthy all over again. I'm scared of sucking all over again.

After so many years and making so much progress, I never expected to feel like a terrified beginner again. And I don't know how to handle it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Early Birthday Present

After hearing the recommendations for Bear's sensory therapy, we decided to scrap the plans we'd made for his birthday gifts and get him a trampoline instead. I felt really bad about it, but we can't afford to do it all, and the trampoline is what he needs.

Dudes. I need not have felt one iota of guilt over this decision.


It arrived Sunday. He hasn't stopped bouncing since. As far as he's concerned, it's the best birthday present in the history of birthday presents. He doesn't know or care that it's supposed to be "therapy." He just knows it's full of awesome.

The only down side - aside from the conspicuously ginormous trampoline in my front room - is that it's a toddler model with a weight limit of 60 pounds, so I can't bounce with him. But that problem will be remedied by the birthday gift my mom is sending... a full size outdoor trampoline. Hopefully it will arrive in time for his actual birthday in 2 weeks. YAY!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Growing Up So Fast

This was taken about a week ago, the day Baby Bear turned 23 years months old.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Small Victory

I decided there's too much going on in my life. Even though I'm terrified of the potential for stupid emotional eating with no accountability, I need a little break from The Calorie Nazi.

I am currently alone in the house with a hormone surge, my emotional shitstorm and 20 bags of Halloween candy.

I just had a handful of diet rice cakes and a cup of herbal tea.

I think I get a gold star today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Survey Says

Four different evaluators from Early Intervention (not to mention the Pediatric Neurologist who mentioned the possibility in the first place) overwhelmingly agree that Baby Bear has a Sensory Integration Disorder.

It's a neurological disorder that impacts how they process sensory input and can - if not addressed with therapy - severely impact social and learning abilities. Basically, in the last two days I've spent about 5 hours with various specialists and have come out understanding that every single difficulty Bear is having is rooted in the sensory disorder. (Even the speech delay, which with this disorder is often caused by their inability to properly feel their mouth and tongue, so can't control it to speak.)

The only thing that probably has nothing to do with the disorder is the screaming nighttime freakouts, which the behavior specialist said are almost certainly night terrors. Bottom line: horrific for parents to witness, no big deal for the actually still sleeping toddlers who have no awareness or memory of them. Just a brain development thing with synapses firing all wonky. They grow out of it.

Starting next week we'll be starting therapy 3 times a week: one session of speech therapy, one session of occupational therapy (essentially 'sensory therapy') and one session with the extra special, we're lucky he took us on behavior specialist. After 3 months of that they're recommending we add a 4th session a week to get him into group OT.

Plus I have to start incorporating sensory and speech activities into, well, every waking moment.

And I thought I was having trouble getting to the gym now...

Monday, October 19, 2009

She Makes it Look Easy

I still can't get over the awesomeness of it all. Chrissie Wellington is so totally my new girl crush.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Erma Bombeck is Smiling Down at Me from Heaven

Thought you might like to enjoy a laugh at my expense...

Bear slept unusually late Friday morning. As I enjoyed brushing my teeth sans the soundtrack of a child screaming to be released from a plush nursery bigger than my first apartment, I was already thinking I should have gotten up a little earlier to enjoy a shower by myself.

Because I had to attend a business meeting at noon. One that's already been rescheduled 4 times.

Typical game plan for showering without Husband to run Bear interference is to gather his bath stuff together and let him play in the water when I'm done. He usually plays in the tub the entire time I'm getting ready.

I open the shower curtain to discover that Bear had been playing on the tile floor with the water glasses (actual GLASS glasses) his parents had been too tired (read "too sick and spaced out on narcotic cough syrup") to put out of his reach before going to bed. And that Kona - who had already been out at least six times - had peed all over the bathroom floor. And that Bear had abandoned his attempt to shatter the water glasses in favor of splashing in the giant puddle of urine.

I could tell where Kona had wandered because Sable was gleefully running around the bedroom sniffing his footprints.

I piled on some towels and stripped Bear down to get him in the tub. At which point I discovered he had a poopy diaper. So - still naked and dripping wet - I scoop up the Bear with one hand, hold the diaper closed with the other hand, and rush him to his changing table in search of wipes.

It's worth noting at this point I'm on my period and - because I've only been to the store 3 times in the last week - had run out of tampons. So as I was running naked down the hall holding a half naked baby I was also hoping there wasn't blood running down my leg.

There were10 people coming Saturday to process 100 pounds of apples and I'd been sick for a week and the toilet's growing mold and the carpets were a lovely shade of German Shepherd.

So what I'm saying is, I hadn't had time to run downstairs to steal the last box of tampons from the extra bathroom so I certainly didn't have time to clean blood off the carpet.

I took him back in the bathroom and he saw my toothbrush, at which point he decided he had to brush his teeth again or the world would end. So I gave him his toothbrush and went into the closet to grab some underwear.

When I came out he was missing. I went looking for him and found him coming back upstairs - naked, and with toothbrush still in hand. He got to the top, pointed back down and said "uh-oh." Translation: I peed down there somewhere. Good luck finding it.

Then, while Bear played in the tub I desperately tried to get my hair under control. I got it cut by a new stylist Thursday. One whose name I'd be hard pressed to tell you. Because my regular stylist had to have emergency surgery and my other regular stylist was too booked taking appointments canceled by the other stylist. And I was a few months overdue for a cut and had already been forced to reschedule 3 times.

What I learned is, you have to be very specific about what you mean by "structure" when describing the cut you want to a new stylist. She gave me so much structure the Empire State Building is jealous. I've got more layers than an onion. Problem is, it's one of those cuts that requires a trained stylist and specialized equipment to style. Training and equipment I lack. It looked GREAT coming out of the salon. But when I tried to do it, I got something more along the lines of Holly Hunter meets the Shaggy DA circa 1987.

So as I'm trying not to have a hair meltdown the Bear climbed out of the tub and wraps his dripping wet body around my legs. The legs clad in brand new, just got 'em back from the tailor dress pants. So it's on to Plan B - the jeans I wore yesterday.

He goes back in the tub. I go back to my hair. In the mirror I see a naked toddler streak behind me into the closet and slam the door. I followed him immediately, but was too late. I found him hiding in the back corner of my closet under my dresses, gleefully playing with his own personal fountain of urine.

I got him cleaned up and dressed. I got my portfolio for the meeting. He hid under my desk.

I went back to finish my makeup. He wandered off with the toothpaste and toothbrush. I decided I didn't care.

When it was time to leave I found him hiding in the dog crate, sucking on the toothpaste, showing the dog the cartoon train on his toothbrush and excitedly explaining that trains say "Woo Woo!"

I may or may not have left a pile of urine soaked towels on my bathroom floor. But I made it to my meeting on time, so we're putting this one in the Win column.

Post Script... after all that, my meeting stood me up. I decided it was a sign I deserved a nice quiet lunch by myself.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Silver Linings

Schedules are about to get awfully complex around here because Bear has been referred for Speech Therapy due to a "significant" speech delay. Because he's about to turn 2 and - aside from "uh-oh" - is essentially nonverbal. (He doesn't even call me Mommy, people. It's HARD. To have a kid. Who screams all the time. And can't even say Mommy.) Based on his behavior issues he's also being evaluated by 3 other specialists. They suspect possible sensory integration disorder along with a sub-niche of that called self-regulatory disorder. The 4 specialists will be spending several hours with him next week to work out which of them he needs and to develop a treatment plan. At which point my life becomes about therapy appointments.

But on the bright side... my Bear will get what he needs so he can be happy and healthy and theoretically resolve all these issues before they can impact his education. And so he can call me Mommy.

Bear is sick. Again. As am I. And Wonderful Husband just came down with it today. Just the nature of flu season and having a child in daycare.

But on the bright side... I'm sick late enough I've got the Halloween event prep handled and early enough I've got time to recover before the events (personal and professional) I'm hosting. And work is really light right now, so keeping Bear home from school isn't hurting my business.

With everything going on I think I've worked out once in the last 2 months.

But on the bright side, my plantar fasciitis seems to appreciate the break and is gradually improving. Some days I don't even limp.

My beloved Kramer was missing for a week and returned unscathed, but it's still costing a small fortune in vet bills to recheck his blood and get his meds back on track.

But on the bright side... since his little adventure he's redefined what's scary, and no longer cowers in the basement all the time. Now he just tells Kona to back off so he can get all the love he needs.

I'm miserably sick with what I think is the flu.

But on the bright side... I'm losing a little more weight because I'm the kinds of sick that makes food totally unappealing.


Life was good before this temporary trip to crapsville, and it will be good again. I just have to put my head down and work through it.

Apple picking on a perfect September afternoon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby Bear Brick

Bear insisted on going outside to play before dinner, so I brought the trike out and he climbed right on. With the help of the slanted driveway, he totally pedaled all the way down to the sidewalk and partway down the block!

Then, of course, he lost momentum and couldn't keep it going so easily. After trying for a while he gave up and went all Normann Stadler on his bike. It was hilarious.

After he threw his bike, he took off running. It's a great day, so I figured I'd see how far he'd really go and trotted after him.

Dudes. He ran. I mean, RAN. Around the whole 3/4 mile block! In a totally haphazard, adorable toddler, splay-legged, flailing arms, Phoebe in the park kind of way.

It was awesome.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Calorie Nazi Status Report

Just told The Calorie Nazi about the curried alfredo pasta I had for dinner. Flames shot out the back of my computer.

Note to self: when in doubt - and if the entree is based on butter and heavy cream, go with "doubt" - calculate the calories in a dish BEFORE eating a big plate of it.

In other news...reached another low weight this week - haven't been this since before I was married. Was really excited about it and refused to say for days for fear of jinxing it. Then I had to tell my husband and best friend. And then promptly gained 4 pounds in water weight. Apparently Aunt Flo doesn't like braggers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Doctor Visit

I'm sure I've hinted here and there that Bear's not the easiest kid to live with. I love him more than life itself and I wouldn't change having him for the world. But there are days - and they're more often than I care to admit - that he reduces me to a sobbing mess. When he hasn't reduced me to a shrieking shell of my former self.

His daycare teachers half-jokingly refer to him as the kid they had to make special rules for. My best friend -a former child care professional - frequently reassures me that his behavior is atypical and it's not because I'm a bad mother.

It takes sharing his care with daycare, grandma and close friends for me to maintain my mental health. My best friend calls me almost every morning and evening, partially to make sure I'm doing ok after a day alone with him.

Seriously. He's THAT hard to take care of.

He's 22 months old now, and for the better part of this year everyone who's ever had contact with him has asked or suggested if he's ADHD, autistic or hearing impaired.

I basically blew it off because, well, he's 1. But now that he's almost 2 and had a frightening number of behaviors on an autism checklist, I decided it was time to bring it up with his pediatrician. She told me she doesn't feel qualified to diagnose these things in such a young child and referred me to a pediatric neurologist for evaluation.

We just got back. He said:
- Bear's definitively not autistic. (PHEW!)
- Bear is much too young to diagnose anything like ADHD (that's what I figured... but it's not ruled out)
- certain behaviors aside, Bear does not appear to be hearing impaired (I didn't think so)

What Bear IS, the neurologist feels, is "significantly speech delayed." He recommended immediately getting him into speech therapy. The goal is to keep him from backsliding from crazy smart to developmentally delayed by the time school rolls around.

The good news is that his 'receptive' speech is age appropriate (and possibly even advanced). It's his 'expressive' speech that's behind. Basically, he understands everything you say, he just doesn't talk back.

It doesn't explain the outrageously challenging behavior that characterizes my Bear, but at least it's a plan. It beats crying from frustration at the end of the day and not knowing if there's anything I can do to help him.

Open Letter to the Powers That Be

Took my measurements so I could order a Halloween costume. Because we all know they run about 3 sizes smaller than the size on the label, and if you don't order by measurements... and the individual manufacturer's randomly generated size chart... and then still order a size up... you're likely to get an outfit that will look lovely on a doll, but has no actual connection to clothing an adult could get into.

Anyway. I discovered I've lost 4 inches off my bust.

Yeah.

So THAT'S where that last 10 pounds came from. Well. At least it 'splains why my shirts suddenly fit so much better.

But if I could make a request to the Powers That Be... next time you're carving 4 inches off my bod, couldja please take a whack at my ass?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And now for a little Geek Out

Not sure if it's more geeky to admit I read XKCD or that I find this particular strip LOL funny...


(If you're new to XKCD... read the hover text. It's the best part!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Missing Madison

This is the first time in 3 years I'm not heading to Madison to work IM Moo.

Been thinking about it for a few weeks. Wondering who's going to be there. Wishing I could be.

But if I don't even have time to keep up with my buddies' blogs to know who's gonna be there, I clearly don't have a weekend to devote to actually being there. Just not the right thing for me to do this year.

Part of my heart will be in Madison this weekend. I hope everyone there has an amazing time and I can't wait to read all the race reports.

We'll be here instead, taking Bear apple picking on a local farm.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Different Kind of Fitness

I remember about 10 years ago - before my diagnosis and meds and lifestyle change - giving up on planting a single bush after only 2 or 3 shovel fulls of dirt. Simply could not do it.

Last Friday, I installed 4 bushes. After which, I felt tired but fine.

Monday, I installed 8 more feet of retaining wall. After which, I felt tired but fine.

Tuesday, I installed 8 bushes. After which, I felt tired but fine.

But. Dudes. Went on a 2 mile, 10 minute bike ride with the family this weekend and wanted to die. Was actually thankful Bear threw a tantrum and we had to go home.

I've got enough base fitness left over from a few years of training that I'm cool with a few hours of hard landscaping work now. But my cardio fitness has fallen farther than I thought possible.

Well. At least I know what my new priority is. (After I get those last few bushes in...)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Evil Cross Training

Actual tri-oriented workouts are still scarce because of Bear logistics, but to my surprise it's been easy to keep up with Evil Cross Training. Specifically: landscaping.

I can do it when he's napping because I'm still home, and he sleeps longer and better because there's no noisy treadmill. And there is no question I'm getting a good workout.

Sometimes it's just weeding (because OMG, the WEEDS!). Yesterday it was 2 hours of planting 4 new shrubs. Most weekends this summer it's been a couple hours of building the retaining wall.

Ironically, The Calorie Nazi says I'm burning twice the calories with trench digging and wall building than if I'd jogged on the treadmill for the same time. Who knew?

And with that... I'm off to dig a trench work out.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Confessional

The week Kramer was missing I was all 'Calorie Nazi WHO?'

I wasn't a total idiot about it, but even that short break in diligence made me gain back almost 5 pounds.

I guess some of it was water weight, cause after only 2 days back in his controlling arms I've dropped 2 pounds.

I'd gotten lazy before that little drama anyway. Now I'm trying to be good again. I'm even pretending there isn't 3 kinds of ice cream, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream and maraschino cherries in the kitchen (for a birthday this weekend) and am forcing my poor PMSing self to go here:

Mmm... chocolate flavored styrofoam. I just looove my Calorie Nazi.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Biker Bear

One day a couple weeks ago, I noticed Bear studying the neighborhood boys very intently as they rode up and down our street. It was a nice day and we'd been outside trying to teach him to ride his trike (he's *this* close to pedaling). A big honkin' light bulb sent on that day - his trike did not look like the big boys' bikes.

He can't even ride it yet, but he was officially DONE with the trike.

He has another bike. But we didn't know he knew that. A good friend found it at a garage sale the day of my baby shower and got it as a joke. It's been hanging from the ceiling waiting for him to grown into it.

He went in the garage and proceeded to point and grunt at his other bike until we finally got it down to humor him. He climbed on like an old pro and looked at us like "well, make it go!"

Someone should tell him if he's big enough for the bike he's too big for the pacifier.

When Bear gets something in his head there's little to do but go with it, so Wonderful Husband set it up for him.



Like any good cyclist, Bear double-checked his mechanic's work.

Bear putting the final adjustments on his brake. Note the total ignorage of a perfectly nice trike.

Now every time we open the garage Bear rushes over to his bike and demands I get it out. Here's hoping he'll master pedaling before the weather turns this fall!

(And yes, I did go out the next day and buy him a helmet. I just can't get him to sit still long enough to take a picture of him wearing it.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Ending

My precious Kramer is home safe and sound!

At 8 Saturday night - just a few hours after I'd given up hope and cleaned out his things - the doorbell rang. Some neighbor kids found a cat in their yard and had seen the flyer we put up at the park.

Wonderful Husband went down the block to their house and sure enough, it was Kramer.

After a week off his meds and running wild we need to get him to the vet, but aside from being thin he looks none the worse for wear.

He's been insatiably snuggly all night, so I'm gonna assume he's as happy to see us as we were to see him.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Annoying But Effective

My foot hurt so much after dancing at last weekend's awesome wedding I almost got out crutches. So when I had a little time to squeeze in a workout Thursday morning, I wasn't going to take any chances with a run, it was pouring rain so I couldn't bike and going to swim would take too long.

But I was determined to work out. So I rooted through my very small, very dusty collection of workout videos and found this:


No idea where it came from, because I find her annoying as hell and I certainly didn't buy it. Probably a gift from the MIL somewhere along the line.

Anyhoo. She's still annoying. And while there is some actual yoga in there, it's more like someone nostalgic for the 90s realized they can rebrand the same old videos by throwing a few yoga poses between elements of an old school cardio and toning session. Aside from that, the only real difference was the background folks traded out neon spandex for yoga wear and someone was apparently off camera with a cue card reminding Denise to say "yoga body" once in a while.

It was kind of like getting a side o' cheese with the annoying.

So. REALLY. Hate to admit this. But it was a good workout. Good enough I'll probably try to learn it enough to mute her annoying voice and play my own music.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Missing

My beloved 14 year old Kramer is missing. I raised him from a teeny little 4 week old kitten. I'm a wreck. Neither of us can remember seeing him for sure any more recently than last Thursday or Friday. We had company all weekend, plus hosted a big brunch on Sunday. He's shy and we figured he was hiding until everyone left. But there's been no sign of him since.

He's a strictly indoor cat but occasionally tries to sneak out onto the porch for some sun. We wonder if that's what happened when we had company and no one noticed. We've done the awful searching through the basement ceiling to make sure he isn't up there. I think it might be easier if I had found his body in the basement. Then I wouldn't be tortured with wondering where he is or if I'll ever see him again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Subtle as a Train Wreck

One morning last week I told Bear we were going to the park as soon as I got my shoes on. Then I went upstairs to get my shoes, and took an extra minute to apply some sunscreen.

This was waiting for me when I came back down.


He managed to extract this stroller - which weighs as much as he does - from its entanglement with the other stroller in the foyer, drag it all the way across the house, partially unfold it and get it wedged in the sliding glass door. Which he opened.

Let's hope when he grows up he will use his powers for good.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Calorie Nazi Status Report

I officially reached a new loss level today - that's 55 pounds, baby!

I haven't been this weight since the mid 1990s. As this last few pounds came off I've noticed a difference in my face that makes me happy when I look in the mirror. That last extra chin is practically gone!

Technically I did get down 10 pounds lower than this - to 207 - while I was pregnant. But I think it doesn't count when weight loss is due to possession by an alien pod person who makes you puke your way down the scale.

All in all, I'm a happy camper. I got past the endlessly frustrating plateau that was spring 2009 and calmly accepted I won't be making it down to 190 this year. But if I keep working at this very manageable pace I could still see 210, or maybe even 205.

I know that's ridiculously slow to some, but between work and Baby Bear and life in general it's what I can manage right now. It's still progress. The numbers on the scale - and in my closet - are still getting smaller. And my paces on the workouts I can squeeze in are still getting bigger.

I'm the tortoise, not the hare. And that's all kinds of fine with me.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Run on Tuesdays

Between the car accident and a two day migraine, I've been feeling less than stellar since Sunday. This morning I was feeling dazed and befuddled and sliding towards depressed.

This morning it hit me that I was supposed to do a triathlon this weekend, but I'm not. And not just because I haven't worked out once since the race in June.

It's not that I don't want to train and certainly not that I don't want to race. I miss it terribly. I just don't know where the time goes any more.

Work has dried up like it always does in the summer. So this morning - after oversleeping and making the Bear late for his ride to school - I found myself with zero motivation and a mile long To Do list.

Then I remembered it's Tuesday. And I run on Tuesdays. At least, I used to.

So I blew off my list and geared up. Almost made it out the door. Remembered my foot. I never know if it will let me run 5 minutes or 5 miles, and I've got no exit strategy if I run outside. You could see the disappointment on Kona's face when he realized we weren't going out. So he did the next best thing - he sat on the treadmill waiting for me to start his workout. I seriously love my dog, even when I have to fight him for a turn on the treadmill. Especially then.

I plugged in an interval session and went to town with my Oldies playlist blaring. Still mopey, still depressed, still not wanting to do it. But it's Tuesday. And if I want to stop feeling like this that has to mean something again.

I leaned on Bill Withers. I Do Run Runned with the Ronnettes. I got me some Respect from Aretha. And by the time the Five Stairsteps sang things are gonna get easier, I believed them.

I went aggressive, pushing myself with a 4.5 mph (13:20) pace on the run intervals. Not long ago 4.3 mph felt really hard, so imagine my delight when I was able to bump up and hold a 4.7 mph (12:45) pace for the last 3 intervals.

Then Kona got his turn running while I stretched.

It's Tuesday. And I ran. So that's something.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I've recently become a big fan of freecycle because I'm all about keeping things from being unnecessarily landfilled and finding homes for items that still have life in them.

So I posted my retired vacuum and someone wanted it. She had no transportation and requested I deliver it. This is not cool. But it was on the way to somewhere I was headed anyway and I really wanted to get the vacuum out of the house, so I reluctantly agreed to drop it off.

We take the damn thing over and drop it off at this person's apartment. Because I figure if someone is in such a bad financial way they need to ask a stranger to bring them a free vacuum, it's the least I can do. I get that my life is blessed and I try to never take that for granted.

As we're leaving the parking lot, we got hit by someone who didn't bother to look behind her while backing out of a parking space.

A non English speaking, unlicensed, uninsured someone. Who - through a young boy who got dragged into the conversation to translate - kept trying to talk us out of calling in the accident while telling us she had a friend who could fix it cheap and that she could get us the money 'manana.' (No, I can't find the fucking tilda right now, I know it's not right, I don't care.)

The passenger side of my van is all smashed in. The side, incidentally, with Baby Bear. I'm not sure I'll ever forget how helpless I felt as I watched that car back into the exact spot my baby was sitting.

Wonderful Husband and I had just spent the morning going over our less than fabulous finances and planning to look into a refi to see if that would make things a little less tight. Now we're on the hook for the $500 deductible and a rental car while the van gets fixed.

Oh, and the officer told us if this had happened on the road she'd have been ticketed and arrested. But because it happened on private property he can't touch her. Bottom line - the chica at fault walks away scott free.

I don't want anyone arrested over a repairable incident with no injuries and I'd have been mortified it that had happened to her. But I'm furious to the point of tears that she can't even be issued a ticket and we're stuck paying for the whole goddamn thing.

I am making no judgments about this young girl's situation. I'm just sayin' if you're illegal, unlicensed and uninsured, please look the fuck behind you when you're backing out of a goddamn parking space.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Business is summer slow, so for my first hour of Bear Freedom this morning I was going to treat myself to either a bike ride, an open water swim or some Evil Cross Training (garden wall building - I'm halfway to my goal of getting it half done this summer). Or maybe 2 out of 3, if I was feelin' sassy.

It literally started raining just as I buckled Bear into the car seat for his ride to school. Bleh.

It's 7:58 am. I can't believe I'm fully dressed, ready to do ANY of those things, and am being thwarted by the weather.

***later this morning***

I went with Evil Cross Training because it was closer to home in case of lightning. I got 7 more feet of retaining wall installed. Go me!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Money Well Spent

After Bear hated the rough ride in the cheap bike trailer we got last summer, we got rid of it and started looking for a used high end model.

There were plenty on Craigslist, but we never managed to be first in line. Then we got lucky and stumbled across this Burley DeLite in darn good shape at a neighbor's garage sale. At $150 it was less than any of the Craigslist offerings for the same model, and well worth it.

Bear absolutely loves it and Wonderful Husband has already taken him for several rides. We're really happy that we can go biking as a family now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shuffling Priorities

Had to drop my September sprint in favor of a friend's baby shower. I'm cool with that - your friends only have their first baby once.

After consulting with my friend who was to race it with me, we're fairly certain we're going to drop the August 9 sprint in favor of reality and common sense.

There's that I haven't had a chance to work out - unless you count Evil Garden Wall Building Cross Training - even once since my sprint in June. But the bigger issues are that money is tight and the foot is still a real problem.

It makes more sense to put the money I'd have spent on the race entry on - as my doctor, my PT and many of you have recommended - into another pair of high quality arch supporting shoes. Aside from the logical medical reasons, the leather Burks need a chance to, um, breathe a little, if you know what I mean.

I've been doing some reading (thanks for everyone's tips, btw, these are shoes I've known existed but could never find). Based on reviews containing phrases like "wide feet," "great arch support" and "helped my plantar fasciitis," here's my wish list ...

Keen Venice Sandals


Chaco Unaweep Sandals


Teva Open Toachi Sandals


Chaco Flip Flops


*** Update***
Tried on a pair of the Keens today. They seriously felt like walking on air and I almost got them, but held off because they're $100. Now I'm glad I waited; I did some more searching and found a blog post from a woman with "insanely high arches" who wrote about her comparison test of Keen vs. Chacos. She bought the Keens and had to return them because the arch support wasn't robust enough.

I also tried on some Tevas. Definitely wide enough and the arch support would probably be great for a normal person, but it didn't feel robust enough for me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

So, it is a bad thing...

... if I don't get in a single workout between my last tri and the one I'm supposed to do on August 9th?

At this rate I'm going to have to count bouncing around with Bear in toddler swim class as training sessions!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Race Report: 2009 US Women's Tri Series

Event: Sprint Triathlon
Swim: 750 meters
Bike: 14.1 miles
Run: 3.1 mile (5K)
Date: 6/14/09
Location: Naperville, IL

Pre Race
I cried as I pulled out of the driveway. First time I've ever left Baby Bear to do something for myself. I know it's good and healthy and the way things ought to be and I didn't think it would bother me. I had no idea it would make me cry. But I soon got over it and went on my merry way.

Pulling into my hotel after hitting a nicely empty packet pick-up 20 minutes before it closed, I noticed the sign said "Welcome DucKon." Which my husband had recently been talking about because we had friends in attendance - I just had no idea it was in the same hotel. A quick phone call and a couple of texts later, I had dinner plans with some non-tri friends. Awesome.

The coolest part was that my hilarious friend Marianne dragged me around to her friends at the con, introducing me as "my friend Michelle who's doing the triathlon." Like it was my last name. And they all seemed So. Impressed. She made me feel like a rock star. I guess it takes a convention of (in my friend's words) "overweight sci-fi geeks" for me to come off as athletic. But I don't care - I heart my sci-fi geeks. I AM a sci-fi geek - just not convention-attending caliber. It was a wonderfully bizarre feeling to be surrounded by my peeps from two completely different worlds - one in which my athletic aspirations are almost comical, and one in which I seemed to be some sort of athletic goddess.

Didn't even flinch when I scheduled the wake-up call for 4:20 am. Thanks to Baby Bear, dark o'clock no longer holds any fear. Was ready to fall asleep by 8:30, but there was a Singing Tesla Coils show starting at 9 in the hotel parking lot. And who wants to be the chick who blew off the Singing Tesla Coils? So I went down long enough to get the gist before I turned in.

Singing Tesla Coils. Totally worth staying up an extra hour.


Race Morning
My stomach was unhappy from the moment I woke up and I couldn't choke down one bite of my ritual bagel. I forced myself to nibble Shot Blocks and sip Recharge all morning. Eventually I managed to get down half a Clif Bar. I was very worried about having enough gas in the tank to get through two hours of racing, but was more worried about throwing up so I didn't force it. In retrospect I'd been a bit off all week, so maybe it was just a virusy thing.

Arranged to meet my friend Aimee in transition because we were in the same wave again. This is where we met in 2005, and we've kept in touch ever since. She's as sweet and wonderful and - in spite of being out of the sport for 4 years due to major health problems - as ridiculously fit as ever.

We meet again in Wave 17

Also managed to see tri blogger MommyMeepa as she went zooming past to set up her transition. As luck would have it, we were also in the same wave this year. Turns out when you get older and the age groups get smaller, there's a much better chance of being in a wave with your friends. Another great reason to stay in the game.

Between the nervous peeing and the upset tummy, I got an outdoor potty reminder why I haven't worn the one piece tri suit in four years. But it does stay put under the wetsuit, so the jury is still out on whether or not I'll race in it again.

There's a large percentage of first-timers at this event, and while chatting in line for the loo more than one asked me for advice. I told them the one thing I wish someone had told me before my first race - be sure to smile for the photographers. This got a lot of laughs, so hopefully I managed to ease up some first race jitters for a few sweet women.

Thanks to a couple of practice runs and a handy-dandy grocery bag, the wetsuit went on without incident.

Aimee rocked her racing bikini in spite of the frigid water.

Found Meeps at the last minute before our wave was called down to the water and she grabbed a camera from her family on the sideline to catch this shot...

Me and Meeps - between us we've lost a hundred pounds so far. Go us!


Quite possibly the most unflattering picture of someone in a wetsuit ever taken. At least I've got something to post on the fridge to stave off those mid-summer ice cream cravings.

This is also the point at which I realized I'd put my goggles over my cap instead of under, but it was too late to do anything about it. Thankfully it was fine.


Swim
Race morning they announced the water had warmed up slightly from the dire mid 60s predictions the race directed had emailed the week before. But my gym pool is kept in the mid 80s for arthritic retirees, so as far as I'm concerned 71 degree water is borderline brutal. I stuck with the wetsuit plan, and was very glad I did.

I loved the extra buoyancy, and in the future I'm sure I'll love how it improves my position in the water. But I was so busy not being able to breathe I was almost irritated at how well my legs stayed up. Pre-race wetsuit swim practice plans A, B and C had gotten nixed, so this was my first time. Not that I was all that worried about it, but it would have been nice to know that it's hard to breathe with the tourniquet running bra under the wetsuit. Combine that with water cold enough to take my breath away every time I tried to put my face in it, and I wasn't having the best time of my life.

But. I stayed calm and kept moving and never freaked out or flipped on my back. My time wasn't good, but still a PR by a few seconds. Chatted with Meeps a bit until I had to give up talking to focus on breathing, because I knew I wouldn't be able to put my face in and swim right until I got my breath under control. I wasn't one bit scared - I mean, look at this gorgeous swim venu -but it was still very comforting to know a friend was close by.

Centennial Beach, Naperville, IL

I got a big reminder of how friendly this race is as I got close enough to the finish to stand up in the water and remembered to start undoing my wetsuit. The women to my left saw me feeling around for the zipper pull, stopped her race and offered to help unzip me! I have no idea how I'm going to handle the transition to co-ed racing, because women's events really rock.

No, wait... THIS is the most unflattering wetsuit picture ever taken.

T1

I took it easy and walked T1 because my foot always seizes up when I'm barefoot, especially after taking weight off of it for a while. I left the arch brace in transition because I didn't want it to get sandy and be useless the rest of the day. I was a little concerned about my first wetsuit exit, but it was uneventful.

Bike
This was my first event since I started riding my bike with A) any idea how to use gears the way they were meant to be, and B) a cadence goal. Since I started training to a cadence I've been enjoying rides more in general, but this was great! My legs never got that awful dead, burny feeling. I passed people. Me! Passing people! I more or less kept my cadence in the 80s. And except for a few little uphill grades and a healthy headwind to boot, I stayed almost entirely in the big ring. That was a major accomplishment for me and I was all kinds of happy about it. And then there was the gorgeous day and the friendly people. I'd have had to try awfully hard to have a bad time on that bike ride.

Wheeeee!

Partway through the second loop I looked at my time and thought I might PR this leg by a good 10 minutes, but the headwind on the return portion had other plans. I still had fun, felt great and managed my effort well, so I can't complain about a 4:30 PR.

T2
My bad foot really doesn't like walking in bike shoes on a good day, plus it was seizing up after being non-weight-bearing for nearly an hour. So I got over the side of the bike chute as soon as I could and pulled off the shoes. Other than the limping, T2 went the way T2 should go. Even remembered to send husband the text I'd promised to let him know I was starting the run.

Run
Got the best surprise ever about 50 yards after the run start - Wonderful Husband was waiting with Baby Bear! So I got hugs and kisses before getting to work finishing the last leg.

They changed the beginning of the run route this year, apparently because the rich people didn't like their street being closed off on race day. But they re-routed through a lovely shady park, so except for the part where a good bit of the first half mile is a gradual uphill, I love the new route.

The fabulous new portion of the run course

Wasn't able to maintain a jog for very long, but got back to it whenever it felt good. And it felt good a lot more than I expected. Got a good dose of 'you're almost there' syndrome from a well-intentioned but moronic spectator who lived near the beginning of the route. As we came out of the park and rejoined the course on the street, she was on the corner shouting 'The first mile's done! Only two more to go!" to all the racers. Since this was a new route for the course, I totally believed her. I was looking at my watch and thinking "Wow! I totally rocked that first mile!" That really should've been my first clue - since when do I pull off a 10 minute mile?! Clearly the morning's calorie deficiency impacted my sanity.

Of course, the Mile 1 marker was nearly half a mile down the street. But that's a minor thing - I should know better by now than to listen to the 'you're almost there' crowd anyway. Lesson re-learned.

Chatted with some nice women, cheered for the ones who passed me, jogged as much as I could. The weather was so nice I got brave and for the first time did not carry my own fluids on the run. I sipped water at the mile 1 and 1.5 aid stations and was feeling good. But the day was getting warmer and I started craving the mile 2 aid station sooner than I'd have liked. I'm glad I learned I can pull it off on a mild day, but will plan to go back to carrying a run bottle until I'm considerably faster between water stops.

Finish
Less than half a mile from the finish I started to get really weepy. This was the first time I was going to cross a finish line with my son waiting at the other end. I love that he will never know a time in his life that triathlon wasn't a part of mine. I love that he only gets to know the happy, healthy me.

Feeling great and happy to be alive!

Wonderful Husband, Baby Bear and our (former triathlete) friend Ki were waiting for me just before the chute. They were pushing me away and yelling at me to go finish, but I didn't care about my time and gave them all a big sweaty hug and kiss before moving on. I'm used to doing these alone and it means the world to me when my friends and family make it.

Triathlon number 5 is on the books!

Post Race
We were on the way back to the finish line when I thought to get a family picture. This was right before he lost it completely and we had to make the call to head home.


I'd assumed I would wait to see Meepa's big finish, but Bear was at his limit. A 90 minute drive and sitting around in crowds for hours is a lot to ask of an 18 month old. I felt really bad for not being able to stay for her, but she's got kids and knows what it's like when their needs have to come first. We managed to catch up on the phone while I was driving home.

Obligatory Epiphany
I went into this race knowing it was all about fun. I wasn't nervous or afraid. In fact, until I started to great really excited two days before, I was starting to wonder if I was going to feel anything at all, and that bothered me a great deal. I was going into it on 0 - 3 workouts a week... and there were a lot more zeros than threes in the last year. So, I knew I had nothing like a big PR to look forward to. But I was worried it meant I was losing my love for the sport.

I couldn't put my finger on it until I read one of Pharmie's recent race reports and she nailed it. So I'm going to blatantly plagiarize her (except for the part where she did a HIM) - I realized I'm no longer afraid of the distance.

I'm happy that means I've achieved a baseline fitness level that allows me to knock out a sprint just for kicks. But I also get that it means that I'm not pushing myself hard enough, and it's time to find the fear again.

It's time for me to get my act together, work out my foot problem and pick an Oly. The lack of a wetsuit used to be an issue, but I no longer have that excuse. I had originally decided not to pursue an Oly until I could break 2 hours on a sprint, but I'm obviously not pushing myself hard enough for sprints any more and need to rethink that milestone.

I'm realistic about the chronic plantar fasciitis, so I get the Oly will probably have to be next year. But even saying "next year" sends a shiver up my spine, so it's a good place to start...

Results Swim (750m): 21:43 (30 second course PR)
T1: 8:03
Bike (14.1 mile): 55:42 (4:30 min course PR)
T2: 5:17
Run (5K): 51:00 (5:42 min course PR)

Total: 2:21:43 (22:28 min course PR)

Age group: 350/356
Overall: 1643/1705

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Secret Formula

After a year of chronic pain that just kept getting worse, I think I've found the secret formula to resolve my plantar fasciitis.

THIS

plus

THESE

The velcro arch support wasn't supportive enough, and was too bulky to wear with shoes. The stretchy bandage version is fabulous. The pain relief from the moment I put it on is almost too good to be true. But it's just a pain mitigation measure - it doesn't seem to address the source of the problem.

So I finally caved to conventional plantar fasciitis treatment wisdom and dropped $110 on a pair of Birkenstocks. Birkestock Florida in a high arch, to be specific.

Oh. My. GAWD. My foot felt so much better just trying them on I wore them out of the store.

In just 3 weeks of owning them - and wearing them almost exclusively, just about every minute of the day - my PF pain has diminished dramatically.

So dramatically, in fact, that yesterday I was able to wear a cute pair of strappy sandals for a few hours at a business thing with no pain. The foot was somewhat sore later in the day, but nothing like it has been.

I did see my doctor, and he told me to stick with wearing only super arch-supportive shoes (i.e. my Birks and running shoes with inserts) for the forseeable future. He actually recommended I give up all my other shoes permanently, but, well, we know THAT'S not going to happen. But I am officially a Birkenstock convert and have decided to give up all my flip-flops. (Except for the ones I wear in the locker room. A girl's gotta have standards.)

So.... I guess.... yay for clunky sandals that make my legs look fat?!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Race Report - Cliff Notes Version

Had a blast. Finished feeling great. Wetsuit worthy every penny. Foot unhappy. Got too much sun. Life is good.

Swim (750m): 21:43 (30 second course PR)
T1: 8:03 (what can I say - limping on bad foot & first wetsuit exit)
Bike (14.1 mile): 55:42 (4:30 min course PR)
T2: 5:17 (still limping!)
Run (5K): 51:00 (5:42 min course PR)

Total: 2:21:43 (22:28 min course PR)

Real report to follow once I get all the pictures.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out Shamu

I'm not sayin' it's pretty, but the wetsuit fiiiiitttsss!!!!

I was pleased that the hips went on a bit easier than I'd feared. Not that I could squeeze one extra pound into it, but it went over the hips without too much drama, so that was all good.

I do have to say, without my trusty tourniquet Enelle smashing the girls back a good few inches, I'm not sure it would have zipped all the way up. But it did. And I always always always wear an Enelle for races, so that's all good.

Next step - finding someone who's not at the Cubs game to watch Bear while I take it for a test swim.

Pix to follow...

(and for any of my curvy girls who might be looking at wetsuits as well... I'm 5'2" and currently weigh 218. I wear size 18/20 pants, 14/16 top and 40G bra. The wetsuit is a Blue Seventy Reaction, size Women's Large Athena.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Customer Service

Was super disappointed today to get a notification my wetsuit order was canceled. Called customer service to find out why and was told they found a defect in the suit (a large rip) when they were packing it up. (Bonus points for them catching it and not screwing me over by sending it anyway.)

It was the last one in stock, hence the not just sending another.

The customer service rep at Wetsuit Wearhouse was polite, professional and extremely helpful. He apologized profusely for them missing the step where they're supposed to call me about the order problem. Then he spent 15 minutes on the phone with me trying to solve the problem.

He wanted to help me get a comparable suit, but he let me know I probably wouldn't be happy with another brand because most base their designs on a male figure. Blue Seventy is apparently the only company out there cutting suits for girls with hips and chests.

The managed to be polite and sympathetic while acknowledging the fact that my wetsuit options are limited. This impressed me because I've heard some horror stories about women in my position being openly insulted by wetsuit salesmen.

He said I was on the right track looking at sleeveless if I have broad shoulders and a big chest, but the problem was there was nothing comparable to the suit that was out of stock for me to get instead.

So he knocked a big honkin' chunk off the price of the full sleeve suit to bring it closer to what I'd planned to pay for the sleeveless, and overnighted it to me.


I feel more like an athlete just looking at this picture.

I can't remember the last time I got anything close to this kind of customer service. They've pretty much won me over as a customer forever.

I should have it in my hands by 3:00 tomorrow afternoon - plenty of time to do a proper try-on and, if it's a good fit, to sneak in a quick open water test over at my buddy's lake.

Life is good. Now here's hoping this gentleman's efforts were not in vain and the darn thing fits!!

Routine Reverence

And now we pause for a moment to salute The Ceremonial Printing of the Race Checklist.

Dot xls, of course.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Turbo Boost

Yesterday I realized my faaahbulously painted toes (OPI's My Big Break) were an exact perfect match for my berry purple Speedo.



CLEARLY. That is why I felt so good in the water and dropped my pace by 15 sec/100 yds.

Now I just have to figure out what nail color will turbo boost my royal blue tri suit for this weekend. Because that will totally make up for my complete lack of training, right!?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How Dumb Would This Be?

We were just notified by the race officials that the water temp this weekend is predicted to be in the 60s and wetsuits are recommended. On account of they don't want us dying from hypothermia and stuff.

Here's the thing... this is a beginner-friendly sprint race in a glorified swimming pool (tiny quarry "lake"). The water is traditionally close to 80. Few of the 2400+ participants have wetsuits and I'm betting none of the 1000+ first timers have them.

And y'all know I sure as hell don't have one.

So how stupid would it be to order one today to wear this weekend?

I realized I'd be breaking several rules...
- buying a suit without trying it on
- wearing a suit first time in a race
- spending money I (technically can but) shouldn't

But that hypothermia is such a bitch!

Here's what the voices in my head are saying about the rule breaking:
- If it doesn't fit I can always return it (or worst case, resell on ebay or craigslist)
- I have read the forums and begged for advice from other curvy girls to learn there are a bare handful of options I can even think about ordering, so it's not like I'm shooting in the dark.
- Most places I've talked to don't have the size I'd need to try on anyway, so I'd probably be stuck ordering online regardless.
- This race doesn't matter. With my foot problems, I shouldn't even be doing it. It's like an extra long workout with a few thousand of my closest girlfriends. So who cares if wearing a wetsuit for the first time messes with my swim a bit?
- I just landed a project last night that will cover the cost.

So, seriously. How dumb would I be?

(In other news... snuck in a swim first thing this morning and averaged 3:11/100 yd pace. I know it's slow overall, but that's a 14 second/100 yd improvement over my last workout!)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Number One Sign It's Been Too Long

I was being all proactive and stuff today and since I haven't actually worn my tri suit in 4 years, I decided to try it on just to make sure it was still in good shape for next week's race.

What I learned was that I weigh 16 lbs less now and it fits better than ever.

*ahem*

Even backwards.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Repurposed

I finally found a use for that ridiculous insulated bag the hospital passes out as a "gift for nursing mothers" from The Makers of Enfamil...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It Really Can Happen To Anyone

PT Chris called today to let me know about (her family friend) Dave Scott's car vs. bike incident.

Holy cow. If the Ironest Ironman of all is vulnerable, what chance does clutzy old can-barely-clip-in-without-falling-over me stand against traffic?

As if I wasn't paranoid enough about riding my bike off the path!

(Warm healing thoughts going out to World Champ Dave Scott and his various broken bones...)

Evil Cross Training

I was supposed to go for a bike ride Sunday. It was GOR. GEOUS.

But it was also the best chance I'd had with all the rain lately to tackle the monstrosity that is my landscaping bed. The grass has encroached 18" in some places, and there are weeds taller than my lilacs. I basically let it go last year - The Year of the Clinging Screaming Baby With All The Screaming - and it's become an embarrassment in a neighborhood of folks so anal about their lawns one neighbor even just had his yard re-sodded to eliminate the dandelions.

I pretty much hate gardening and take a 'however long it takes me to fill one lawn bag with weeds' approach to things (which given the state of things is about 6 minutes).

But I discovered the bottom few inches of mulch (which I'm pretty good at keeping fresh) has - as it should - decomposed into lovely earth full of fat, sassy worms. Which the encroaching grass is having a party with.

So my 10 minutes of weeding before my bike ride turned into 90 minutes of tearing out massive blocks of what's basically sod. Except with weeds and crabgrass. For every handful of grass I tried to pull out, the mulch came up - with varying degrees of resistance - in a 3 inch thick mat, courtesy of the weed blanket.

I pulled grass and weeds in massive mats until my quads were trembling and I got dizzy. Then I spent some time working on installing the retaining wall base because I could sit. (I got in all of 4 bricks out of what will probably be 90, but it's a start.)

I thought I'd put a wall in a few years from now, when money was less of an issue and I could do cosmetic things. Now I need it to be my Maginot Line against the encroaching grass so in future summers I can actually go on my bike rides.

It's worth noting for illustrative purposes that all this effort barely made a dent in the appearance of my poor neglected planting bed.

My legs were so blown at that point I had trouble walking into the house. I thought I'd rest a bit then hit the bike, but I never really recovered and spent the rest of the day assuaging my guilt and OCD by trying to finish small inside projects.

Two days later my hamstrings are still singing the blues - which I find odd considering it was my quads that gave out on me Sunday. I'm irritated at myself for missing the bike ride so soon before the race I haven't trained for. But I'm also oddly proud, because it doesn't just mean I worked hella hard, it means my concerted efforts to remind myself to lift/pull with my legs worked, and that dorky diligence saved my back from untold misery.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

At Least I Look Good in Green

Calorie Nazi Status Report... broke that frustrating plateau. I'm still about 6 pounds above where the Nazi thinks I should be by now, but I'm (very) slowy and (kinda sorta) steadily moving in the right direction again.

Upcoming Race Status Report... um, yeah. I have a race in 2.5 weeks. My foot, clearly, did not get the memo I should have been ramping up my workout frequency to prepare for this. Nor did my motivation level. Or my toddler's sleep habits. Or my work schedule. But I'm going and I'll have fun and I'll probably even finish, as long as I stick with the plan... slow and steady.

I'm trying to let go of my typical obsessive perfectionism and am all about being the tortoise amongst the hares at whatever I manage to achieve this summer. But that's ok, because green is a good color on me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Worst Workout Ever

Took Bear downstate to visit my mom and the rest of my family this weekend.

Drove 250 miles through storms so bad I repeatedly questioned my sanity for making the trip, arrived to 14 inches of water in Mom's basement. My mom who's clinically depressed and has a hoarding problem and never lifts a finger to do even the most basic housekeeping task. (My SIL goes by EVERY SINGLE DAY to try to keep a handle on the insanity. And the smell.)

The SIL and I put at least 40 hours into cleaning her house out this weekend... only about half of which was related to the flood.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Friday, May 01, 2009

Best. Therapy. EVAH.

Life has been getting to me lately, so this morning I developed my own private counseling regime to do with my treadmill the therapist who lives in my bedroom...

1) Drop the Bear off with a responsible adult. Or if really desperate, with his grandma.
2) Plug iPod into treadmill speakers and crank volume to just shy of rupturing eardrums.
3) Cue up Theory of a Deadman's I Hate My Life.
4) Set therapist to fastest sustainable pace and scream song at top of lungs while running ass off.
5) Replay song as necessary until the endorphins make you happy enough to hug strangers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

AUUUGGHH

BabyBearbrokethespacebaroffmycomputer!!AAUUGGH!!

That'swhatIgetfortryingtotakeashower.

Monday, April 27, 2009

PSA - Junk Mail Reduction

Got a link today regarding an online petition to support legislation to create a Do Not Mail Registry for junk mail (similar, obviously, to the Do Not Call registry for telemarketers).

In addition to the petition...
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/281/t/5980/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=941
(sorry for the crap links, too much migraine to do good ones)

Most companies allow you to opt out in writing, which is a pain because there are a zillion companies. This site provides a slick little opt-out tool that - after providing the name & mailing address you want removed from the list - gives you a 9 page PDF containing 17 form letters, pre-populated with the address to be removed and addressed to each of the various junk mail houses. I was THRILLED because this exact thing has been on my To Do List for ages, but it's such a PIA to figure it all out.

With this all you have to do is cut them in half (in keeping with their goals of reduction in paper waste, there are 2 printed per page), sign the letters, address the envelopes and stamp 'em. It took me all of 10 minutes. http://donotmail.org/form.php?id=50

And for the places that insist you call to opt out, they provide that info too... http://donotmail.org/article.php?id=50

It was so quick and easy I'm also going to do it for my mom.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Calorie Nazi Status Report

I can pretty much sum this one up with one word: frustrated.

Right up until the day my cat died, I was perfectly on track. My weight loss was following the exact path predicted by The Nazi, and I was reporting every bite, every day.

My cat died on a Saturday morning. I gave myself a free pass for the weekend. I was just too distressed to give a damn about reporting my food.

Even with a free pass, I was still pretty cautious with what I ate. I did a lot more extra snacking - like an extra handful of peanuts mid-afternoon - and I even had a soda or two, but in general I did pretty well. I bought a package of cookies on a whim, and never even opened it. I couldn't help doing the math even though I wasn't officially tracking, and I ended up with maybe 2000 extra calories for the whole weekend. That's really not THAT bad.

But, somehow, it derailed everything.

When I weighed in on Monday, I had gained back 5 of the 7 pounds I'd lost. And it wasn't temporary water weight. I've spent the last month fighting the 5 goddamn pounds back off. Now the Nazi says my "projected weight" is 17 pounds higher than my goal for the year.

It takes 3500 extra calories to gain one pound. So, I know that it's not even physically possible to have gained that much back with that few extra calories. More frustration,.

I've been counting religiously, have even managed to squeeze a few workouts in here and there, and still have another half pound to lose to be back where I was a month ago.

I'm still counting and sometimes being hungry and always being frustrated I can't find more time to exercise. And with every day that passes I get more depressed and more angry and more frustrated that it's so. damn. slow. I've basically been at this size for going on 3 years now, and that is completely unacceptable. In fact, I've had to re-buy clothes in the bigger size I'd cleared out of my closet before the pregnancy, because even though I'm the same damn weight I've lost all my muscle tone and got physically bigger.

Yes, I could set more aggressive goals. And yes, I could probably live with being hungrier, (though I'd have to be even more cautious about migraines and my husband wouldn't want to live with me). And yes, I could skip that carefully measured and recorded dollop of low fat sour cream on my low fat chicken taco. If I decided I could accept having a few migraines a week, I could even get up at ridiculous o'clock to work out.

But this has always been about living a new way of life. And compromising my fragile health and giving up every single little comfort is no way to live. In the long run I know I'll be happier - and be able to maintain the loss - if I do it slowly, methodically and with an occasional (carefully weighed and recorded) cookie.

But for right now, I hate everything about it. I hate my body for its weakness. I hate my food scale. I hate my husband's refusal to be willing to eat the way I need to, and for making me provide foods that are hard for me to have around. I hate my health problems that make it so freaking hard to do this. And I hate myself for being too weak to do it better.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So I Accidentally Went for This Two Hour Ride

Or... I think I broke my crotch.

Or... Who knew I still had THAT in me?

Or... Sometimes it doesn't suck even when I'm an idiot.

Or... I heart endorphins.

Or... Hey, I CAN transition in under 10 minutes!

Or... I think I heart my new running shoes.

Or... Holy cow I sweat a lot.

I've got this friend training for one of those two day breast cancer walks, and she was planning a 9 mile training walk for Saturday. That day I had planned an hour bike ride because A) the weather was perfect, and B) I have a race in 7 weeks and haven't been on more than a 3 mile bike ride in 2 years.

Where I live the paths are pretty much all 5Kish loops in a forest preserve, so when she said she was doing a loop in a preserve and asked me if I'd like to drive down and come along I jumped at the chance to work out with some company and try a new bike path.

Now let me make this clear... this is the point at which I should have clarified how long the loop in the new park was.

I assumed she was going to walk a 5K loop 3 times. And that I'd be able to loop around it a few times on my bike, stop at the car for snacks, stretch at my leisure, and probably walk the last loop with her depending on how I felt. Because the tiny part of my brain that was working at this point did realize she was looking at a 3 hour workout, and I had no illusions about my ability to pull that off in my current state.

I assumed wrong. She was going to walk a 9 mile loop once. And this park is in an extremely urban kind of suburban area, so the trail wasn't contained in the safety of a single park environment. There were many crossings of many big, busy roads full of big, scary cars. And me with all the sucking at riding my bike - especially that whole starting and stopping bit.

Oh, and just for fun it turned out to be 9 miles of rollers with a few looooong, gradual, omgjustkillmenow inclines thrown in for good measure. But see it wasn't just 9 miles, because my friend was walking and we were in this together and I'd promised to circle back and check on her periodically.

The magnitude of my mistake only became clear to me as I was fully geared up and standing at the beginning of the loop, reading the map. There was no backing out. My options were to completely ditch my beloved friend or suck it up and see what happened with my sad, haven't spent more than 15 minutes on a bike in 2 years, out of shape self.

I sucked it up.

(And can I just say at this point thank gawd I compulsively over-prepare for everything?! While I had no idea I'd be embarking on a 2-3 hour hilly brick workout, I had packed enough nutrition and hydration for just such an ocassion. Plus, my friend is a novice and had brought - for a 3 hour workout - nothing more than a camelback half full of *shudder* tap water. So, I was able to meet both our needs with half a bottle to spare. Being OCD has its uses.)

I managed to make that 9 miles into 20. When she was at mile 3 I was actually on track to triple her mileage, but things went downhill pretty quickly after that. In that the trail starting being a lot of uphill. So it could have been a lot more, if not for my copious suckage. And stopping to cross at lights. And pausing to drink from my seat-mounted bottle so I didn't break my neck. And there was that surprisingly refreshing 5 minute break I took at mile 12 to stretch my poor, screaming quadriceps.

In spite of a few miserable moments, I easily found that happy land where my brain gets quiet and all I can do is focus on breathing and shifting. Mostly on shifting. (Silver, spinny. Silver, spinny. Silver, spinny. Silver... crap not again omg that's the wrong lever GAAAH. Seriously, you'd think after 4 years with this bike I'd be able to keep the shifters straight.)

Around mile 17 I was SO. DONE. I'd reached that point of discomfort where all you can do is keep gearing down, keep spinning and keep telling yourself what a great blog post it was going to make.

So I pedaled my half-bonking self back to the van, transitioned in under 4 minutes, grabbed a Clif bar and jogged back down the trail to meet her.

OK, so, I was only able to jog for about 5 minutes before my calves tightened up and cried uncle. But I jogged after 2 hours on a bike, and I'll take the small victories where I can get them.

My friend held a killer pace (she pulled off the 9 miles in about 2:40) and I met up with her pretty quickly, so I only ended up doing a 1.5 mile run leg for the brick. But it's all good, because I still got to log a brick on the books.

And I got to spend a few hours afterwards in loopy, giggly endorphin land, which always rocks.

By the numbers...

miles ridden: 20
hours on bike: ~2
mph I need to improve to be even close to IM time cut-off: 3
miles wogged: 1.5
minutes wogging: ~20
minutes stretching: 20
times I seriously considered ditching my friend: 1
shot blocks: 6
clif bars: 1
ounces of Nuun: 40
ounces of Water: 24
of times I had to pee: 0
burritos as big as my head devoured post-workout: 1
mg of ibuprofen ingested before bed: 800