Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fueling

On Wednesday when I rode my bike, I forgot to take a gel with me. Since our bodies contain 2,000 calories and I was drinking water and Nuun (electrolyte drink), I decided upon realizing my error that I would be OK. I rode down to the river and back. Usually on this trip, I would have a gel at the turnaround point and possibly another on the way back. However, it wasn't hot and I wasn't going super fast so I thought it would be fine. This was a solo ride but I told myself that Nat would have agreed.



Normal people might be OK to bike for two hours without fuel. Those of you who've been around when I haven't eaten know that I tend to get very cranky. So, I was on my way home and crossing the big road when a guy in an orange Honda Element thought he wouldn't yield like he was supposed to as he turned onto my road. I gave him some lip and told him to yield (he as inside the car so he didn't hear me) but thought I would pass him without incident. He had his own lane, so it should not have even been a concern except if he didn't see me when merging into the main lane, which is always a danger.



Unfortunately, just then I hit a hole in the road and it knocked my shakey hands (the shakes happen when my sugar is low) off of my handle bars. I was not using the aero bars but was holding onto the "horns" where the brakes are. Luckily, I caught myself when my forearm hit my aero bars on the way down because I would have hit my chin on them except that arm stopped the fall. I have a very nice bruise there now. Anyway, I veered over in front of the guy by accident but remained upright and moving during all of this drama. Thank goodness the guy was paying good attention or I would be flat. I'm very sorry orange Honda guy.



After the adrenaline wore off, I decided that this was a sign that I did NOT need to add a loop down the "other" side of the subdivision as I had planned (to get to 2 hours - I like a round number) and instead I headed home. Pshew!

So, the moral of the story is - a girl has gotta eat.

Here is the weekly report, which I am thinking of omitting from the blog and posting on the Beginner Triathlete forum instead. They have cool graphs and I like graphs. Any objections?

Sun: Nothing. Had big plans but life intervened. Big Christmas dinner with my family.
Mon: 3.51 mile run at 10:10 pace (10:39 pace if you count the 1/2 mile walk at the end). Lunch with Doug's family and Christmas Eve Mass in the gym. Note to self, 3:15 is not early enough for the 4pm Mass. There was no room in the sanctuary and we got the last non-bleacher seats (important since my Grammy is 87) in the gym.
Tues: 3.54 mile run at 10:45 pace (10:52 pace if you count the walk). IT band issues today - I think Nat is right that my legs don't like the cold. Santa came! My family came for lunch and Doug's parents came for dinner. Doug cooked the feast and we were going to eat without guests but thought they might be lonely.
Wed: 26.95 mile bike to river and back at 14.4 mph avg
Thurs: 2,500 yard swim. 5x500 in 50 minutes - all easy except for the last 500.
Fri: 3.51 mile run at 10:15 pace (10:39 if you count the walk). Lovely morning - one of the other members of the dark-30 club and I were congratulating each other on the beautiful weather. Then, the skies opened up while I was in the shower. Good thing I ran because work was stressful this day.
Sat: 32.42 mile bike at 13 mph avg. Nat and I both forgot our Garmins so this time and distance (and therefore speed) are estimates. It felt harder than 13 mph but we did ride for 2.5 hours so maybe that was it.
Totals: 2,500 yards swimming, 59.37 miles biking and 10.56 miles running. The running was actually only 9 miles and the rest walking fast. I'm trying to take it slow with the running comeback, but next week - 4 miles! Whooo!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flight of the Bumblebee


Here are some videos from the loudest toy my kids got for Christmas this year. Thanks to my family for that. This is a beehive-shaped skipping device that plays "Flight of the Bumblebee" at full volume. It is a variation on the Skip-It toy from the 1980s (found that out on wikipedia). Here is a photo link so you can see what I'm talking about - link. Do you remember friends having the Skip-it? I loved that thing. This new toy is actually not as easy as the Skip-It, but boy do the girls ever like to have it on. It could drive a certain someone crazy, if we let it. You can't really hear the relentlessness of the song on these videos because they are from my phone but that's not bad video from the phone!

Oh, and Dagny and I enjoyed looking at all of the versions of "Flight of the Bumblebee" on YouTube. The one we picked was the most fun so you should check it out.

I get to bike with Nat later, so happy trails. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Eat too Much

It seems like, in between presents, we cooked, ate and cleaned-up all day yesterday.

For breakfast, cereal (for me only - I love cereal), bacon, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, pineapple.

For lunch/brunch, my family came over. I thought I would share the fabulous new recipes I found to make them. Alas, Cook's Illustrated does not let you link to or even view their recipes without joining their site. I hate that, but may have to renew my subscription anyway just because these recipes were so good. If you see the Christmas baking issue of their magazine at the store, it is definitely worth buying. The menu: again with the bacon, french toast casserole with walnut topping, toasted oatmeal scones, sectioned oranges and grapefruit. Don't forget the mimosas and the tarte d'alsace from Trader Joes for appetizer. We forgot that we had bought the fruit from the kid in the band next door. It was a big surprise when the big box arrived on Friday. We've only now (after three large family events) eaten enough to put the remainder in the fridge. I managed not to slice my hand doing the grapefruit this time.

Doug has been looking forward to making Christmas dinner for weeks. Turkey (brined and roasted), stuffing with apples and walnuts (not supposed to be cornbread stuffing, but I didn't know that. oops. Shopper error), green beans, Emeril's cheddar bacon mashed potatoes and the leftover casserole from lunch for dessert. I did peel my fingers more than three times while doing the potatoes. Grammy always says that everything is better with a little blood in it.

Whew. Better start running now to get working off all of that bacon and cream!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Aside - today Doug and I compared the tread on my new and old (retired) running shoes because I accidentally tried to wear one of each and noticed that the wear is already starting to show on my new shoes.

"How many miles on them?" he asked.

I just did a lot of number crunching on my Training Center program and the answer is a whopping 66.6 miles. Yep, since October 26. Nat runs that many miles in one week. No wonder I was slow in the race today.

Back to the topic. Stay on task! That is our new mantra at home because Annika can't concentrate long enough to put her shoes on, brush her teeth or use the bathroom. Stay on task!

Anyway, triathletes and runners, have you ever noticed that sometimes people take your fitness for granted? Like, it's just luck that you aren't obese? Or that you can eat whatever you want because you exercise? I have a friend that does this - she always (in a very nice way, because she really is a sweet woman) mentions that I'm so lucky that I'm small.

Well, let me tell you folks. I'm not small. I'm not saying I'm fat, because that isn't true. But small, no.

I know this because I went to a certain underwear store recently. Because of my build, I have a hard time finding bras that fit so I asked for help. The woman eyeballed me and said "what do you wear now, 32?" Um, no. She measured me and insisted that I had to be a 34 at most so I tried that. My skin and whatnot leaked out the sides of the garment so I asked for her to take another humiliating look. I'm a 36. Pair that with the "nearly don't need one" cup size and it makes for difficult fitting.

Anyway, I have a point here beyond my stupid boobs.

I think that people (and by people, I mean women) would be more satisfied with their bodies and themselves if they could focus on their overall fitness instead of (a) dress size, (b) weight, or (c) body mass index, which is just a function of weight. Sure, there are people who wear size 0 and 2. I am not one of them - my frame is larger. So what. My 36 inch chest will not go into a size 2 shirt without the "fat-man-in-a-little-coat" feeling. Those strong bones and muscles mean that I can heft both of my kids into my arms and carry them (sometimes kicking and screaming) at the same time. And, you know what? The more expensive the clothes, the bigger the sizes are. A 0 at Nordstrom is a hell of a lot bigger than a 0 at Kohls. Buy what fits and clip out the tags! Sure, there are women who weigh 100 lbs. Also not me. So what. At 100 lbs, I would look like a skeleton. I don't know what a good BMI would be but my guess is tall and willowy is better than short and stubby. Bad news for the 5 foot 3 inch world. Again, who cares.

At the risk of sounding like I have a complex (which I clearly do - and what woman doesn't?), I think that this short and sturdy (my Grammy's word) body is pretty good. It sure does a lot of fun stuff even if the knees are sketchy. I think that perhaps people would enjoy their bodies more if they just used them more. It's hard to think your body is "wrong" when it will take you on a 5K or a 30 mile bike ride or a mile in the pool.

But is it luck that my body will do this stuff? Heck no. It's hard work and a lot of it. And some hefty denial of yummies. Sarah and Wes and Anne will tell you that. The hard work allows you to eat the yummies and drink the beer, but it doesn't give you license to go crazy.

Um, maybe I didn't have a point after all.

Anyway, here's the report:

Sun: No exercise. Baked 2 batches pumpkin bread, 3 batches cookies. Feet swollen and hands cracking by the end.
Mon: 3,000 yd swim. Done as 1x2,000; 2x500. There was a woman on the BT board who mentioned that she swam her first mile so I had to see if I could do it too. Not that I'm competitive or anything.
Tues: 3.52 mile run at 10:41 pace in the flats. This was actually at a 10:10 pace plus a walk for a half mile at the end.
Wed: 3.52 mile run at 10:19 pace - actually 9:50 pace plus same walk as Tues. I got up at 2am this morning because the dog had to pee and then I just stayed up because I had to do a bunch of work before taking the girls to school and then I had to do some Santa shopping. Then, late in the afternoon while we were making dinner, the guy on the other side of the deal that I worked all morning on changed it all around so that we had to redo all of the work. Sigh.
Thurs: 2,500 yard swim. 5x500. Shoulder still too sore for speed drill. Or, just too lazy and snotty. I forgot to go to my car appointment this morning. oops. Might need to bake them some cookies for that.
Fri: Nada. Got up at 4:15 to pay bills so I'd have time to run before work. Went upstairs to run and found out that the nanny had called in sick. Doug and I played tag-team with the childcare instead of working out. 1 batch brownies and 2 batches cookies to complete the baking extravganza.
Sat: 3.18 mile run at 8:49 pace. Doug and girls and I ran the Virginia Highlands Christmas 5K. It was nice race - challenging hills and pretty neighborhoods. Doug had informed me that we would run 9 1/2 minute miles because I'm still healing. Then, the crowd was really thick at the start. We bobbed and weaved a lot the first mile and I lost Doug/Annika in the fray. It's hard to maneuver strollers in a crowd. At the 1 mile mark, I still hadn't caught Doug and noticed that we were on an 8:15 min/mile pace. I decided that Doug meant that I was supposed to be doing the 9 1/2 minute pace so I slowed down and allowed them to accelerate away from me. Then, Dagny's hands got cold because they were exposed. I stopped, put her hands and her Teddy under the bunting and restarted. She hurled Teddy from the stroller and started to cry. She wanted Teddy but not in the blanket. Sigh. Then the hills. They were tough. I passed many people as I bumbled down the hills but they all passed me back on the uphills. I finished in 27 minutes, XX seconds. Not a PR, but still a fun race and morning with my peeps. Thanks to Sara and Pete for the loan of their stroller.
Totals: 5,500 yds swimming, 0 biking, 10.22 miles run/walking. This running fitness is going to take a long time to come back. Maybe I'll get so much faster in the swim that it will even out. NOT!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let the Baking Begin

This is the last week of school, of Dagny's sports class, of Annika's basketball, of the garbage guys, mailman, etc before the Christmas breaks/vacations. That means only one thing - baking. Thank goodness that the room moms in both classes have collected money for the teacher's gifts. Now all I have to do is the cookies, breads, etc.

I've perused the cookbooks and recipe box and the girls and I will hit the Publix after basketball. I cut my run/walk short today because I'll be on my feet all afternoon while the girls nap. That is OK -I have learned that supportive shoes are important for long recipes. Is that silly? I don't think so. When I was pregnant, I had to put phone books on the floor to elevate one foot to relieve the pressure on my back. Compared to that, wearing cushioned shoes is nothing.

Annika is going to see "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" with my mom tonight. She is so excited, she can't stand it. :) Dagny is hanging with us while Lotzie and Mrs. Lotzie come for dinner. Dagny is not ready for prime time yet so we can't take her for an evening at their house. I think it's going to be a nice day.

All this optimism and good cheer - because I RAN TODAY. That's right - RAN. It wasn't my fastest and I'm a little stiff and will be applying the frozen peas after my shower, but still. Endorphins, you are my friend. Dooce has an excellent post this week about doing what it takes to appreciate your life. For me, that is running. And beer. If you tend towards the blues or nerves or anxiety or rage, you should read the post and the comments. Heck, you all should read it. She says what needs to be said.

Here is the report for this week:

Sun: 3.07 mile run/walk at 12:05 min pace
Mon: 26.3 mile bike with Nat. Biker B*tches are Back! We rode up to the bike store and around the Roswell route. It was a beautiful day.
Tues: 3.11 mile run/walk (mostly walk) at 11.31 min pace
Wed: 29.78 mile bike at 14.1 mph and 1.09 mile run at 9:24 pace in the flats. I rode the reverse of the ride Nat and I did on Monday and then added a loop out to Nat's folks. This is a longer bike than I thought it would be, and also faster because the 2 hrs 5 mins includes one potty break and one replacing of dropped chain. Doug was worried that I might have messed-up my chain, but I said no - it was shifter error. And I ran! Wooo! So, so happy with that.
Thurs: 2,500 yard swim. Lazy lazy 2 x 1,000 and then a 500 to finish. My shoulder was sore so I didn't attempt Nat's fast drill.
Fri: 2,500 yard swim. Shoulder didn't want to do the fast drill today either. 2 x 1,000 and then a 500 to finish. I think the first 1,000 came in under 20 mins, though, so that is something good. I've found that it takes me many laps to get warmed up and work out the kinks. Right about that time, my googles fog up. Weird.
Sat: 3.64 mile run at 10:06 min pace in the flats. Actually, I ran 3 miles at 9:30ish pace and then walked the last half mile to cool down. I replayed Doug's voice in my head so that I didn't overdo it and mess up my knee on my first run back.

Totals: 5,000 yards swimming; 56.08 miles biking; 10.91 miles run/walking. I'm very pleased with this week's activity. I'm not feeling so fat and my mood has improved greatly. : )

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back II Life

Can anyone guess the title reference? No, it's not Prince. He would say "Back 2 Life."

So anyway, I ran/walked yesterday! Whoo hooo! : ) So awesome. And, I turned my dad on to "Map My Run" for his walk routes and he told me that he's been running a little too. To get his wind up for the tennis, don't you know. Still - that is great. He kicks ass.

Last week was Doug's birthday and we went to F.A.B. for dinner with a bunch of dear friends. Do not be put off by the dippy name (stands for French American Brasserie) or the downtown location. Yes, it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there (rush hour) and 1 hour 30 minutes to get home (road work and Thrashers game), but the food was awesome. I found this place on TripAdvisor and the reviewers did not lie. Yummo. Joe ordered our appetizers and we had a potato dip that tasted like heaven. OK, heaven sauteed in bacon fat. Mmmmm. Everything is better with bacon. It went perfectly with the wine, not that I had much because I was driving, but still. . .

Here is the weekly report:

Sun: 3.12 mile walk at 13+ pace. Garmin has this on Monday but I think it is wrong.

Mon: 3,000 yard swim. Had to leave early for shopping but still a good swim.

Tues: 3.07 mile walk at 13:45 pace. I was trying to go faster, but couldn't do it on the hills.

Wed: 14 mile bike in one hour. Nat and I rode and both forgot our Garmins. I used "Map My Ride" to determine the mileage and since were only gone an hour (because I had to go to the office), I know the speed. It was fun and my knee didn't hurt at all after.

Thurs: 2,500 yard swim. 500; 1,000; 1,000. Someone actually spoke to me at the pool! Whoo! He said that they have tried to recruit him to the masters team. I was jealous that they wanted him on their team. He's a good swimmer, though - passed me a bunch of times. My hairdryer died at some point prior to me using it this morning. SIGH. Good thing I had a clip so that I didn't have to detour back home.

Fri: 19.97 mile bike at 14.4 mph. Had the day off, so I rode down to the river and then back. Note to all in the area - Wileo Road is closed and the detour has you go west on Hwy 120 to Coleman Road. The hill is loooong, but gentle. However, the speeding traffic who uniformly failed to merge into the empty left lane (going in the same direction because this is a divided road) were really scary. And some woman in a red Expedition decided to take me out on Coleman. Hmm, my bright yellow bike and red helmet must have distracted her from the fact that she didn't have the right of way. SIGH. I skidded sideways but managed to recover and not say any bad words. I did yell at her, though. On second thought, I might have said some bad words - or at least one really bad one.

Sat: 4.01 mile walk at 13.23 mile pace. I did this walk in shorts while everyone in our neighborhood was putting up their Christmas lights! Holy cow, the weather is weird this week.

Totals: 5,500 yards swimming, 33.97 miles biking, 10.20 miles walking. This is such an improvement. I feel like a new woman. My knee is sore, but not the sharp pains I'd been having. I think it really was the seat position - Colin was right. I may need to move it down even further.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just Makes Me Stronger?

Yeah, so, I'm walking. And it's sucking.

But first, here are some photos. The first two are of the turkeys we made for Dagny's class Thanksgiving party. Annika helped me so we made some for her class too. Thanks to Linda for giving me the instructions. Here is a link to the book they came from, which her sister-in-law wrote. Very fun project with 4-5 year olds. The top is the second batch, which were better because we had determined that we DID need the second caramel for the head and that the beak needed to be up there and not below.





Here is Dagny in the first of our many attempts to get a Christmas card photo. She loves the puppies on her shirt, which I just noticed that you can't see. Rats - they are really cute.



And, Annika in her new jammies. I just wrote that I don't know why we were taking photos in our jammies, but I remembered that I was taking pictures of the girls playing hide and seek (HILARIOUS!) and Annika found such a good place and looked so devilish that I snapped her.




Here is a photo of Dagny counting. 1...2...3...789 He-aah I come!




Apparently the other photos in this series got corrupted or I accidentally took movies. Oh well, they were awesome. We can use this as an opportunity to see if I can do the movie upload. Here is Annika doing ring-around-the-rosy with Dogarita while we make dinner.




Weekly workout update:


Sun: Nothing. Not even church. We were so whipped that we couldn't make it to anything.


Mon: 3,000 yard swim. I did Nat's fast 10 x 100 drill and a 1,000 plus 500 w/u and c/d. I might have done 3,100 yards because I lost count while trying to figure out how many laps were in 2 miles.


Tues: Again with the nothing. Thought that I'd rest the knee for a run on Thurs.


Wed: 3,600 yard swim. 1,000 w/u, 600, 1,000, 2x500. See, Jerry said that 72 laps is a mile so I thought I would make it my goal to swim the ironman distance (2.4 miles). This is two miles so I'm pretty pleased with that, especially since I have no other outlets for my tension and craziness. Doug suggested that I get to 2.85 because that is the distance around our block - it would take significantly longer to swim, though - like 2 full hrs.


Thurs: 0.38 mile walk. I thought I'd do an easy run and walk if necessary. My knee had other plans and even walking hurt so I bagged it after just doing the warm-up.


Fri: 2,500 yard swim. All 500s - as fast as possible (50minutes or a little less) because you have to finish early to beat the high school girls to the showers.


Sat: 3.08 mile walk. 13.42 minute per mile pace. It was a beautiful day and running hurt so I walked. Sigh.


Totals: Last week was negligible except for the race. 9,100 yards swimming, 0 miles biking, 3.46 miles walking. Baby steps, baby steps. I hope to walk today or tomorrow. Cross fingers.


OMG, that video was so fun that I have to put another one on.




Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good Day, Sunshine

Yesterday, I slept in and awoke to watch the sun rise at 7am. Beautiful pink puffy clouds.

After drinking some of the coffee Doug had already made and eating some cereal, I got Dagny from her crib, dressed her and combed her fuzzy baby hair into pigtails. Baby hair is so delicate and sweet. And the pigtails are priceless.

Doug made cinnamon rolls for breakfast (Annika ate TWO!) and we took the girls food shopping together. Dagny lost her marbles at Harry's but was better after she had some downtime in the car and ate some lunch. Sometimes the baby cart is just a little too much freedom. Dagny found the bear at Trader Joe's so there was candy for all.

Annika helped me put the lights on the Christmas tree and we decorated it together while Doug braved the cold to put on the first batch of lights outside. I got to make hot chocolate as a reward.

Doug and I cooked pasta amatriciana for dinner (mac and cheese for girls) and shared a lovely Malbec. Then, I took the girls to mom and dad's for a few minutes of fun with cousin Sophie.

It was a good day. : )

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Can't Get No Marathon

Last month when I was feeling great like Superman, I registered for the ING Atlanta Marathon - the WHOLE marathon. I've never done a marathon before and I picked this race because I did the half last year and it was fun and because it is close to home. I was on track to begin training after today's Atlanta Track Club half-marathon.

Then, my limiting factor kicked in. I don't know if it was the raising of the bike seat or the too many new miles too fast or the recumbent (torture device) bike but I hurt my knee. This put my training out of commission for the last two/three weeks. Gamely, I soldiered on. I'm in good shape from the summer of triathlons so I thought I could gut it out slowly without too much trouble. I did a 10.6 mile training run in the heat with no problems.

Then came the rain.

We rode to the race with Nat and parked at the finish. I have to second what Nat said about MARTA. It sucked today. They were supposed to run a Sunday schedule today, which means trains every 15 minutes. Since we ran from the car to the Five Points station, we should have been able to get a train in 15 mins max and ride the train for 23 mins and arrive at the start in PLENTY of time. Alas, no. The first train was more than 13 minutes in coming. It was a North Springs train and didn't go to the Chamblee station where the start was. Hmm, a zillion runners are all going to Chamblee but they don't send the trains there. Whatever. We waited for the next train forever and then rode to the appropriate station. Then, we sprinted to the set-up area and had already missed the start. I had to wait in line for a porto-potty anyway so it was no skin off of my nose.

Anyway, the first mile was bobbing and weaving. I went out a little hot but figured it was OK because (1) the last part would be slow, and (2) might as well get to the right paced-group for my run. Mile 1 was 7:54.

Somewhere in mile 2 it started to rain and my IT band started to act up. If you've been reading this blog since last year, you know that I battled IT band problems while training for my first half last winter. There are too many posts about it to link them, but if you care to listen to whining - feel free to visit the archives. I tried to vary my gait to find the most comfortable position but no dice. Luckily I met a nice runner (Phillip from Gwinnett Cty) to chat with during this mile. Phillip was doing his first half today, just graduated from Auburn and is thinking about getting into triathlon. I had to let friendly Phillip go so that I could stretch my IT band, which is too bad because he was a talker and a good running partner. No dice. I couldn't even get it to ease a little. Miles 3 and 4 were approx 9 minute pace and I was able to speed up a little after some walking for miles 5 (9:33), 6 (8:35) and 7 (8:29). It was during this period that I realized that there is no way that I can do the ING marathon. I can probably train enough to do the half comfortably but the whole is out of the question. I'm very disappointed but I have to give in to the knees - unfortunately, they are the boss of me.

2009, though, ING is toast.

Then the tummy issues reappeared. I had eaten some immodium in the car and had some more after the stretching in mile 5 but I still had to stop in mile 8. Waited forever for the potty and got back going. Luckily, my Cliff Shot kicked in mile 8 and that great Foo Fighters song came on my i-pod. It was lovely. I lost some pace in mile 8 (10:23), but got back going in miles 9 (9:57) and 10 (9:12) while I talked with another runner who was using this race as a tune-up for the Arizona marathon later this winter. He made a snide remark about me wearing cotton and didn't seem to want to chat while I prattled on about how I wasn't wearing any cotton (despite the fact that my technical shirt and running skirt were hanging way low and dripping water) and how he needed to start doing triathlons.

After that I was able to turn it up for miles 11 (9:34), 12 (8:51) and 13 (7:54) and sprint it in to the finish. Boy, am I ever sore. I'm hobbling badly and am not foreseeing any running in my near future. Doug did great and beat my time in his very first half despite having IT band issues too. He rocks. Nat ran under 1:50 despite wheezing and a startlingly bad cough. She is hard core.

I finished in 2:02:12 (chip time) or 1:58:40 (Garmin time). Garmin stops when I stop moving so that is why there is a difference. Stretching and porto-potties don't count as movement. Oh well. Better race next year - WITH tights and not in the rain.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One of These Days

Today we rode the Pink Pig at Macy's in Lenox Square. When I was a kid the ride appeared every Christmas on top of the downtown Rich's store. It hung from a track and swung back and forth a little as it went around the tree. Before my time, the pig was inside of Rich's and circled the toy department. Here is my friend Tara, her stylish and sweet daughter, Erin, and Annika as we waited in line to ride the pig. They still have the pink metal pig (Petunia) with the barred windows and the hook on top, but you get to ride past it on a small pink train in a tent in the parking lot while Petunia's daughter tells about her life. You can see it in the background below.



The seats on the train were comfy and child-sized so Annika had to ride in between Tara/Erin and Dagny/me. She was OK with that because we held hands. A nice man took our photo after watching me try to do it one-handed.
The tent is crappy, the scenery is cardboard and the voice-over is pretty annoying. But the kids loved the ride. They would have gone again and again if we had been willing to shell out for multiple rides and there had been less of a line.

They even got the "I rode the Pink Pig" stickers just like we used to get. It just goes to show you, though, that sometimes we (I) have expectations which are too high. When you are 16mos to 4 1/2, the pig is fun wherever it is. Thank you to Tara for suggesting it and driving to meet us. I would have said "we should do that some time" or "I'll do that next week" or "too busy today" or "one of these days" and we would never have gone but it was really fun. Thanks, Tara.

We lunched afterward at The Clubhouse and it was lovely. All children were well-behaved and the food was pretty good - the bags they give the children say "where kids belong" and have goodies in them. I will definitely go back there with the girls. Anyplace that caters to children is good for me.


Weekly update:

Sun: 12.11 mile easy bike ride at 10.9 mph to the bike shop to buy tubes since I used the last one. I was so proud of myself for changing the tire so easily and popping it on without the wrenches like the Vulcan Bike Wizard. Unfortunately, I didn't check the brakes before I left the house and I rode to the bike store with them rubbing. Then, I nearly bit it on a turn and noticed an odd noise had developed. I thought it was the brakes but no. The bike was really hard to pedal, though. Realized when I got home that I had not tightened the wheel well enough and the almost-wipeout knocked it out of position so that it was rubbing on the frame. Yep, I'm a genius.

Mon: 20.30 mile bike at 13.8 mph and 2.36 mile run at 9:48 pace. I was Nat's anchor as she recovered from her marathon on Saturday. She would have gone much faster had I not held her back. Thoughtfully, I didn't do any snot rockets when I was in front. She's nearly convinced me that we should all do the Chickamauga marathon next year.

Tues: 3.11 mile walk at 12:45 pace. I've got the race coming up so I didn't feel good about running. I still passed the ladies with the red armbands - they were not breathing as hard as I was, though.

Wed: 23.03 mile bike at 15.3 mph and 3.18 mile run/walk at 10:32 pace. My goal was to do a short hard bike and then as much of a run as I could. The knee gets better with walking breaks and I had to use the porto-potty so I did both.

Thurs: 2,000 yard swim. 500 w/u; 10x100 on 2:00 drill (avg 1:45 but last one was 1:40); 500 c/d. It is hard to get more than this much swimming in because the high school girls hit the showers just before 7:00 so I had to hurry out and still had to wait for a shower and a hair-dryer outlet.

Fri: Nothing at all. Saving my running for the race and the pool is closed all weekend - a meet, I think.

Sat: Nothing again. Doug had a tournament so unless I was to brave the cold for a walk, I was SOL.

Totals: 2,000 yds swimming, 55.44 miles biking, 8.65 miles run/walking. I think the knee could be that I've adjusted my bike seat too high so I'll be moving it back down tomorrow. I won't run again until the race on Thursday but my goal is to run the whole thing. I'd really like to break 2 hrs, but that is a really long shot given my current joint condition.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex

Just because she hasn't eaten anything other than Cheerios in three days (not even Greenwoods pie at our first family visit there), Dagny has the low-fuel crabbies and is screaming at Annika and me. "I STOOOOPPPPP CRYYYYYYIIIIINNNNNNNG" and "I WAAAAAANNNNNT BREAAAAAAAAKFAAAAASSSSSSST" while she pushes her milk and Cream of Wheat away. Good times.

In the meantime, Annika and I have the following conversation:

"Have Sex, Have Sex, Haaaavvvvve Seeeeeeeex"

"Have Sex?"

"Yes - Have Sex!" "Haaaavvve Seeeeeex, Haave Seeeex, Haaaaavvvvve Seeeeeeeex!"

"Really?"

"Have! Sex!"

"Sex?" Thinking, 'holy cow - shouldn't have let her play with the older girls yesterday afternoon.'

"Yes, Sex. Look at my feet"

"OK" Looks under table at feet where Annika's socks are halfway off of her feet.

Half. Socks.

Phew!

I Just Want to Thank You

Thanksgiving is coming up, so I'm thinking about all of the good things in my life.

This was particularly hard yesterday because I was foul. Originally I wrote that I was "in a foul mood," but the word "mood" seemed to temper the foulness so it is more descriptive to say that I was foul. I hadn't showered or brushed my teeth, so I probably smelled foul. Goodness knows I looked foul. I missed my swim window in the morning and there was going to be no afternoon swim because Doug was busy and I'm not ready for a run yet plus no childcare, and Dagny is still sick, and my work isn't done and Annika is talking back. And, and, and.

So, here is a top ten of good things that I'm thankful for:

1. Doug and our beautiful girls. They are marvelous, even when girls are sick and crabby.
2. Our parents and their close proximity. And, the successful cancer surgery.
3. Reasonably good health. Even with the crappy eyesight and glass knees.
4. Sweet friends. Sisters, bike-buds, sisters-in-law, cousins, internet and in-person.
5. Decent job. Sometimes it is hard and thankless, but mostly it is good.
6. Exercise wins the race from the fat Steph and the crazy one.
7. Crusty wheat bread with olive oil.
8. Big fat red wine.
9. Hot coffee and the newspaper.
10. Featherbeds and a warm Doug. Did I say that one twice? Yep, double-thankful for him.

Weekly totals:

Sun: 3,000 yards swimming. 500 w/u, 10x100 free, 3x500. After reading Nat's blog, I noticed that the 10x100s were supposed to be in 1 min 30 secs instead of the 1:35/1:40 I was doing. She left that part of the instructions out last week. So I tried - and got 1:35s. I worked hard, though - you could hear my gasping all the way across the pool as I waited for the 60 second hand to come around for the next start (you wait until 2 mins and then start the next 100). I was consistent across the 100s so that is a good thing. Also learned that too much drinking during those sprints makes a girl feel a little pukey. And, I'm feeling thankful for all of my stupid "breathing-on-the-wrong-side" drills because it's nice to be able to breathe on both sides now.

Mon: Nada - drive to Florida for work. Gainesville, Florida. Home of the Gators and not the beach.

Tues: 2.3 miles walking in 30 minutes on the treadmill. Got up late so not so long as I would have liked but it helped my day.

Wed: 20.71 mile bike with Nat at approx 12.7 mph pace. This seems really slow because we were going an avg of 17-18 on the flats but maybe I was slower on the hills. Knee hurt but not too bad. Thankful that Nat was tapering and didn't mind a slow bike.

Thurs: Nothing. Dagny sick - thought I'd leave work early and swim in the afternoon because I was up all night so I didn't get up and go in the morning.

Fri: 3.12 mile run at 10:21 pace. Knee hurt the whole time, but not horribly. Probably shouldn't have done this run but I went to bed after Doug was asleep on Thursday (stupid bills) and didn't set-up for a morning swim. And, there was work I had to do. I'm thankful for Katie, who reminded me that I could run during Annika's gymnastics - otherwise I might have lost my marbles.

Sat: Had consoled myself yesterday with thoughts of swimming today. Alas, the pool is closed all weekend for swim meet. SIGH! Got a very excited email from the Swim Atlanta Masters club and they want me (and you) to join them. 2 free weeks to try it out and then $40 per month. Too rich for my blood, but it sounds really cool. I plan to walk the girls to my folks house this morning to see my dad as he still isn't allowed to drive so 2.4 miles walking.

Totals: 3,000 yards swimming, 20.71 miles biking, 7.82 miles run/walking (if I get the walk in today). Sucky week. How I should have been thankful for my painless knee this summer!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chicken Dance

We don't watch much TV around here. The only things that we watch reliably are Top Chef and any IronMan that happens to come on. Thank you, Tivo! Anyway, this season on Top Chef, there was a challenge in which the teams competed to see who could complete a food-prep (chopping) series the fastest. The "dream team" folks were handily bested by the underdog scrappers. The challenge included oyster-shucking, onion chopping - 5 lbs and chicken butchering - 5 birds. The underdogs' guy (Howie) had a hard time with the oysters and finished just behind the dreamteam's guy (Brian). Then underdogs' Saira chopped the onions with lightning speed - she made the female favorite (Casey) look dumb. Then, underdogs' Hung (self-proclaimed C.P.A. - certified professional asshole) cut up those chickens like they weren't even made of bones - just like butter. It was beautiful to watch.

I butchered some chicken wings on Sunday and let me tell you - cutting up birds is not like butter. My tricep was so sore that it hurt throughout my swim and I only did 13 wings (that's 39 joint cuts, in case you were counting). The kitchen gods were smiling on me, though, because I didn't cut myself. See, we now own a deep-fryer because Doug has decided that frying is the next culinary mountain he wants to climb. We are slowly learning to use it. And, then, one day we might get to make those fried olives that we had in Venice years ago.

So, my point is that Hung should have won that show based simply on his ability to cut up those chickens. He won anyway, but it's hard to know where to put the knife to cut cleanly though a joint because (1) chicken skin and muscle is not transparent, (2) chicken is slippery, (3) cold chicken makes your hands numb, and (4) you can't be a candy-ass and cut up chickens - it's hard work.

Maybe it's a gross generalization, but I think that if you know your way around a chicken that well, chances are that you are pretty darn good cook. I've read a billion books and articles on how to cut up a chicken or parts of a chicken and I'm a decent cook but those wings were still hard. You don't get good at it without practice, a lot of it.

In other news, I'm still walking - but was able to bike today. : ) Whooo! Thanks Nat for slumming with my slow knee.

Good luck to Nat in her big race this weekend.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Halloween







Here is a photo from Katie's camera. Mine are still in our camera.
All kids had a great time. When Doug skipped his run on Wednesday, I should have known that we were in for a wild night. This was my first actual trick-or-treating since I went as a kid. I had forgotten the energy!
We went to Katie/Dana's house for photos and to pick up Clay and Sarah Anne after pre-trick-or-treating at my parents' house. Much excitement and running around. Dagny got all sweaty and crabby - Tigger is hot. Then, as dusk fell, we were off . . .
Annika and Clay ran from house to house with the rest of us trailing in their wake. Dagny couldn't keep up but didn't want us to carry her. Instead, we would run up behind her, scoop her up and run screaming to deposit her on the step with the other kids. She was the most polite of all - quickly running through her Halloween vocabulary with some prompting from mom/dad: "twik-tweet" "shank ooo" and "appy lalloween." She didn't want anyone to touch her candy, even when the pumpkin was full and really heavy. I tried to support it on the bottom as I ran with her from house to house (just to take some of the weight), but she wouldn't have it. "Mine, no touch canny Mommy!"
Note to all others, politeness and cute-tiggerness garners way more loot than being first or the crappy rhymes about the underpants 0r the smelling of feet. Do you remember the comics from when you were a kid, where one of the adults would have a little arrow pointing to them that said "urge to kill"? Every time one of our crowd would burst into one of these rhymes, I had that arrow pointing to me. Not that I'm on a short fuse or anything. Good thing I'm not allowed to thump other people's children.
Doug was right about the resting, though. We were all exhausted after the marathon trick-or-treating. Dagny was so tired she couldn't even talk. Luckily she was perfectly happy with raisins while we sorted the candy so we avoided the Halloween night candy-induced poopy blow-out. Good times.
In other news, Annika went sans pull-up last night. When I got up this morning at dark-thirty to run, I thought I would put her on the potty just in case. Too late. Already wet, but still asleep. We will be showering and commencing the laundry shortly. Cross your fingers for this.
Weekly update:
Sun: Still hurting and Doug was in the golf tournament, so no running or biking. Changed my tire and could have gone for a ride but it hurt a LOT so nada.
Mon: 1,900 yard swim. 400 w/u, 10x100 on 2:00, 500 c/d. Conned Nat into swimming with me and she made me do the 10x100 as punishment. I was a good 10 secs per 100 slower than she was but it was a good workout. Better for Nat because she had already run and rode her bike to the pool.
Tues: 0.3 miles running. Nope, knee not ready yet.
Wed: 2,500 yard swim. 500 w/u, 10x100 again (was 5-10 secs per 100 slower today), 500, 500 c/d. I found the tri-peeps at the pool! Yay! They didn't talk to me (maybe it really is the goggles) but it made me happy to see them there in the midst of the aqua-therapy crowd.
Thurs: Nyet - recovery from Wednesday. Saw another tri-peep at Starbucks with a kicking Cervelo bike. He was busy showing it off to another guy so I didn't get to say hello. Maybe tri-peeps really are infiltrating.
Fri: 3.16 miles at 11:27 pace in the hood. Run/walk, obviously. This was supposed to have been a swim but I was up late on Thursday (Doug's fault - I got lured) and overslept. Does moving 300-odd boxes of files in the office count as a workout? If so, 2 hours of that.
Sat: 3.32 miles at 15:07 pace in the hood. Long run, schmong run. How about a freezing cold walk instead? Note to self: walking requires way more clothes than running.
Totals: 4,400 yards swimming, no biking, 6.78 miles run/walking (mostly walking). This knee crap is frustrating. I'm going to have to take it even easier next week - maybe walking only. Hello, pool! Less running and no biking sure does give me more free time, though. I went turbo-shopping on Wednesday and had time to clean a potty Friday and make pancakes this morning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ask Me, Ask Me, Ask Me















This morning at breakfast, Annika wiped her marscapone cheese covered mouth on her sleeve AGAIN. We've been working hard at using actual napkins instead of our arms, our sleeves, our bibs, etc. "Annika!" I exclaimed, "do you know why I'm mad at you?"





"Because I fed my breakfast to the dog?





"Um, no . . . but that was wrong too."

Since no one will be checking my blog BEFORE they go trick-or-treating tonight, here is the sneak preview photo. Both girls are napping and we are starting dinner now. Brace yourself.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Whoops

Wes mentioned that I wasn't very clear in my last post about how, exactly, I was/am a dumbass.

There are many ways, but the one I'm most upset about is injuring my knee. It still hurts, even just walking around. I have no idea what caused the problem except Thursday's run in my shoes that have approximately 270/300 miles on them. Still, with my optimistic training goals and increasing stress level, this is not the time to be punking out my knee because I'm too lazy and cheap to get to the store.

In other news, today I took Grammy and both girls to church. Dagny made it quietly (mostly) until the homily (the preaching part, for you non-Catholics), at which point she took a trip to the other end of our row to visit a young girl down there. She also tried to escape me and run screaming with laughter back into the church after we left. Good times. Annika was really good, though, and went to children's liturgy and sat with Grammy after I had to remove Dagny. Annika is a good girl.

Friday, October 26, 2007

That's [NOT] the Way I Like It




First, here are some photos from the Higginbotham's annual Halloween party last week. Thanks to Lotzie and Mrs. Lotzie for the costume assistance. The photos are of Doug and John in swashbuckling glory and Jerry, who looks suspiciously like Jack Sparrow. I never knew that pirates wore eyeliner, but it's very becoming. Anyway, the party was lovely and we had a great time despite having to bail to relieve our sitter at 11.

But the other, what I don't like . . . there is no other way to say this, except I'M A DUMBASS. And that's not the way I like it. Here are the weekly totals, I'll explain later. So frustrated:

Sun: 2,200 yard swim in the afternoon. 200 w/u, 2 x 1,000 I should have biked but was tired from Saturday's long run and my unending phlegm. Sorry to co-opt Sunday's space, but Saturday's run was 10.39 miles in 88 minutes. Whoo hoo!! : ) I think that is 8:28 min/mile pace - I listened to my tunes and ran fast because of the great music. That new Foo Fighters song rocks. Seriously, it rocks. I love the Foo Fighters.

Mon: approx 30 mile torture otherwise known as the recumbent bike in 1 hr 54 min. That is about a 15-16 mph average for the hill plan x2 at level 6. The recumbent bike at our workout room sucks. I have a giant bruise on my back from the seat and my arms are sore from holding the handles. They don't have a regular bike in there. And this may have contributed to the big problem.

Tues: 3.03 miles in the hood at 8:50 pace. First mile was slow and the other two were in the 8:25 range. Again, contributors.

Wed: 31.11 mile bike around Roswell at 14.3 mph in the cold rain. First, don't try to bike on an early release day. Bus drivers are almost as scary and disregarding of the law as people in Cadillacs. Nat was running so I was cold and lonely. Still, biking in the rain is better than that recumbent shit. Next time, I'll just swim or run - I was so dirty that I had to shower before picking the girls up from school.

Thurs: 4.77 mile run in the flats at 8:31 pace. I felt good on this run and would have gone further but I ran out of time. I couldn't be late for work because of all of the meetings about the big report. I was nervous about not getting to 20 miles this week but figured I would swim Friday and do my long run on Saturday before the Habitat for Humanity project (with work). However, on my way into the office, I noticed a twinge in my right knee - the original bad knee.

Fri: 2,300 yard swim in about 45/50 minutes. 200 w/u, 100 time trial, 4 x 500. This was a lovely swim and I practiced actually kicking from the hip after reading about having good swim form in my Triathlete's Training Bible. OK, not really on the lovely part. It didn't start getting lovely until the 3rd 500 and I think that was because I was loopy from dehydration. A third swim team is now practicing at this pool for the winter so the pool was rougher, but that was kind of neat in a strength-building way. My knee hurt the whole time. It still hurts now.

Sat: Planned to do my long run (to 11 miles!), but now I will be making muffins for my girls instead. Did you know that marscapone cheese just tastes like butter? I was expecting a taste sensation when I bought it to put on some other muffins, but no - it's delightfully creamy, but not flavor-ific. Disappointing.

Totals: 4,500 yards swimming, 61+ miles biking, 7.82 miles running. From my friend the internet, I have deduced that my knee pain is probably tendinitis. A stress fracture is unlikely so my guess is that the odd exercise on Monday, together with hours of sitting criss-cross-applesauce working on my giant work report this week caused a flare-up. SIGH! See what happens when you write (or even think) about the glass being half-full or even on a filling trend? The universe kicks you in the ass - or the knee.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leave the Light On

The light is on because I'm putzing when I should be sleeping.

But, just let me tell you, Dooce's post from today is hilarious. I laughed out loud even though Doug is sleeping and tears are rolling down my face.

I'm Looking Up

This week started out crappy, but things are [getting better] I can feel it.

How's that for two song lyrics in a row?

I'm really a glass half-empty kind of girl. Why not just assume and prepare for bad stuff so that there will not be big disappointment or crisis later? So, with all of the stuff going on, it was looking bleak.

Sunday, I felt like ass (we're all still fighting the phlegm over here), so I didn't feel like biking and everyone was nervous about my Dad's cancer surgery on Monday. Monday, it rained so I had to go indoors to work out/relieve stress/maintain sanity. I hate indoors. Uncle D's doc appointment for his prostate cancer was scheduled for Tuesday. My yearly reporting project at work has moved forward (or doubled, depending on how you look at it) to October from end of the year. We will now do the report after October and then update it for year-end. Today it rained and I got really wet and cold on my bike. All of these things were pretty crappy, but look how they are turning out OK . . .

Dad's surgery went fine and his pathology report was great - only 2% involved and nothing on the edges. For those of you who have not yet experienced cancer, this is a very good thing. He's home now and feeling not too bad, considering. Uncle D's appointment is actually on Friday - ooops. Good father/son bonding on the not-really-an-appointment day.

I have realized that there is no need to bike just because it is usually a biking day for me. If the weather is crappy, I can swim or run. Grammy also reminded me today that I can take her with me when I swim. Instant swim buddy!

The work project has actually gone OK so far. I've been up late the past two nights and have a bunch of meetings to get through tomorrow and then the updating/creation of the report after month end, but it's not been the hair-pulling-out, desk-pounding ordeal of last year. I really did pull my own hair in frustration last year.

And, it's raining! There is water in the creek again.

At this rate, the housing market should be turning around any time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Anticipation

Halloween is coming up. We've been ghosted and ghosted others in return. This is a Halloween tradition in which someone leaves candy and a ghost-shaped note on your doorstep and runs away. You are then obligated to post the ghost on your door and return this favor to two others who have not yet posted ghosts.

On Thursday, we went to ghost my parents and Grammy. I made sure that the bag contained lots of Heath bars (Grammy's favorite) while the girls made beautiful ghost drawings to put inside. Annika made a rainbow ghost and we aren't sure what Dagny drew. She only ruined two markers during this process, though, so it was a win. Anyway, after we got to mom and dad's house, we placed the bag on the porch (hastily removing Dagny's teddy bear from it on the way down the steps as she howled in protest), rang the doorbell and hid behind the car in the driveway. My dad, who had miraculously been alerted to be on the lookout for ghosting children, opened the door and started his "wow am I ever surprised, someone left me some candy!" routine. Dagny could contain herself no longer. "PAPAAAAA!" she yelled as she broke free of my arms and ran up to the porch. When you are two, some things are more important than a surprise.

I have a teaser photo of the girls in costume, but I think it would be cheating to post it before the big day.

In other news, I haven't yet done my long run. Doug talked me out of going at dark-thirty this morning by swearing that I will have time to go this afternoon. It could be the coffee, but I'm completely jittery about not having done my run yet. What if something comes up? What if lunch doesn't agree with me? So, anyway, here is the weekly rundown in anticipation of the run this afternoon:

Sun: Rest - bagged the bike ride because it got too late to go and I thought I'd get to go on Monday.

Mon: 4.08 mile run at 8:38 min/mile pace. Dagny was sick so I missed my bike with Nat in the morning. I thought I would go in the afternoon (Doug was home) but Dagny wasn't napping well and I didn't want to open the door (it beeps) and wake her. Turns out that she didn't sleep anyway. Rats.

Tues: 5.09 miles in the hood at 8:32 min/mile pace. Last week's runs were all at 9 min pace. Doug remarked that I was going slow so I went faster this week - not sprinting but pushing it more.

Wed: 30.69 mile bike at 14.9 mph. This includes the time on hold with the school and subsequent phone call to Doug to let him know it was OK to drop the girls off after their flu shots. Doug needed his shot too so he had doc duty. Upshot, I actually rode faster than 14.9. I did fall over, though, after swerving to go over the sensors as I stopped at a stoplight. Oops. I'm sure the driver of the car on the other side of the intersection thought it was hilarious. Lotzie, I did bring kleenex on this ride and it wasn't enough - rockets will have to be mastered. I think Colin might be right about the looking up (says the woman with snot on her legs).

Thurs: 2,200 yard swim in 40-ish minutes. I think. I did a 200 w/u and either three or four 500s. Since it took more than 40 minutes, I'm guessing it was 4 500s. This was my first swim at the "real" pool with lights and people swimming next to me. SO much fun. Nat and I will have to do this some day when it is too wet or cold for biking. I raced the guy in the lane next to me on the 3rd (or 2nd) 500. He was wearing baggy shorts and didn't flip-turn, but he was still pretty fast, so I thought I'd try to stay with him. This was on about lap 15 of the 20 after I had adjusted my googles for the millionth time. He sped up, so I thought "game ON!" and turned it up a notch. He sped up more. With a giant grin on my face, I started kicking and hitting the gas in laps 17-19. Whoo hoo - I love to swim!!! Lap 20, I went all out. We were neck and neck. I stretched out my arm to out-touch him (swim team trick), but when I lifted my head, he was out of the pool and heading to the shower room. I was all ready to have the post-swim bonding that Nat says is common at the pool. He must have been intimidated by my googles. I didn't even get to tell him thanks for the race or the great pacing.

Fri: 3.18 miles in the hood at 8:30 pace. Just putting some miles in the bank because of my long run on Sat. Since there have been attacks on joggers in the nearby area recently, I was especially watchful on this run. I passed three walkers and three joggers, not counting Dale - who jogged past my house while I was taking out the dog. I love our neighborhood.

Sat: Hopefully 9 miles at 10:00 pace. You never know how the body will hold up and I'm a little stiff (which is why I should have already run because I wouldn't have been awake enough to notice the stiffness), but maybe I could even go longer than that. Emily is keeping the girls for us on Thanksgiving morning so I get to do the 1/2 with Doug. : )

Totals: 2,200 yards swimming; 30.69 miles biking; est. 21.35 miles running. Cross your fingers for the running.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kyrie Eleison

Today I took Annika and my Grammy to Mass. Grammy moved in with my folks last weekend and I've been picking her up when we go because her car isn't up here yet. We've never been so early to church in our lives! Annika had PSR today, but she still picked where we sat (right up front) and walked us in before I took her to class. PSR means Parish School of Religion, which is the Catholic version of Sunday School - CCD for those of you in my age group, catechism for those in my parents'. Anyway, the front is good because (1) my Grammy can hear some of Mass, at least - she is pretty darn deaf, and (2) I can see what is going on.

I don't know if you all know this, but because Pope Benedict has said that the Latin Mass is OK to use (broad brush paraphrasing, here - actual letter is here), it is coming back into vogue at some churches. A translation between Latin and English is here. There has always been a Latin Mass church in our area but I've never been to it because I don't understand Latin. Anyway, there are a lot of people (here and here, for example) who would prefer to hear Mass in Latin because it is the original way, before the changes of Vatican II. Our church has even started saying three of the regular prayers in Latin - they provide laminated sheets with the Latin words so that we can follow along.

I don't mean to offend anyone who wants to hear the Latin or to denigrate their opinion on what is the "right way" or the most meaningful way to hear Mass because boy, are there some opinions out there. However, it occurred to me the other day, that for those of us who grew up post-Vatican II, Latin is uncomfortable and foreign. Using the Latin prayers may feel like coming home to those who have attended Latin Mass before, but for me - it is intrusive and breaks my concentration on what is being said. I'm busy trying to figure out what the heck the words mean (which, if I had a better knowledge of the Mass - I would just know, but bear with me - the point is coming) I wonder if anyone ever thought about that part - that the Latin might alienate (even for a few minutes) those with no background in it.

Meanwhile, I'll keep brushing up on my Latin. It's good that Grammy is going with us now, because she asks about the gospel in the car (like Grampy J. used to, but without the cursing) so that helps me remember not to zone out during the Latin and never come back and to pay attention better to what is going on. She is really just making conversation with Annika, but still.

Oh, yeah, and Kyrie Eleison (which means "Lord, have mercy") was also the title of a song that Mr. Mister sang in the '80s. I have the album.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Girl Who Knows Everything

So, my sister-in-law knows everything about being a mom. She should give seminars or send out a quarterly "you need to be doing this" newsletter. Whenever we have a problem, I call her first. She should be on the emergency list like 911 and Poison Control. She told me when it was time to register my kids for pre-school, how to sign-up for sports, which grocery store has the good employees, how much fever reducer is OK for an infant, how long to let a baby cry and when to call the Dr. for head injury. She has an easy dip for every occasion. Everyone needs a Katie.

Anyway, this morning the girls and I went to the Roswell Youth Day Parade. I had planned to go watch at the point nearest to my house. I made muffins (thank you Trader Joe's delicious pumpkin cake mix), packed those, cereal, milks, waters, stroller and blanket and stuffed the girls into jackets. As I passed Katie's house, I called to see if they were going to the parade. "Yes," she said, "but wow are you early and you need to park by the water tower."

"Huh? I was going to park by the elementary school."

"No," that is near the end and it takes forever for the parade to get there. You need to park by the water tower and sit at the gas station place in the sun."

"Well, (resisting the directions) I have to go to Starbucks to get the h-o-t-c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e special surprise, so we'll see where I end up." Then, while in line at Starbucks, I thought, "what the hell - might as well go where she says."

So, I parked at the water tower and proceeded to the designated sunny area. As promised, it was only a short walk from the parking area. Our spot was sunny and perfect. The parade was lovely and fun. The girls ate too much candy and ran around like wild animals. We sat in a group of other moms who were also drawn by the force of Katie's tractor beam and had a blast. My kids are whipped. I'll post the photos from the twist contest when my photos migrate from the phone.

Photo Catch-Up





Here are some representative photos from the last few months. In the first one, the girls are dressed-up to go to my folks' house for a party (4th of July, maybe?). The second is a mug shot of Annika on her first day of school. Next is Dagny on her first day - note the school bag, which you cannot pry out of her hands even though she can barely lift it. The last photo is the reason our markers are now stored high, high, high in the pantry. No writing on your sister!
The delayed photo show is because I finally figured out how to move photos from our camera into the new computer. There is a place to plug the card from the phone in - right on the front of the computer! Convenient! Now I know how everyone else can upload so many photos because it's easy! Sometimes technology is my friend.
Here's the weekly stats:
Sunday: nada, unless you count the many flights of stairs in preparation for Dagny's party
Monday: 27.98 mile bike at 15.5 mph, 3.18 mile run at 9:14 pace
Tuesday: 4.05 mile run in the hood at 9:01 pace
Wednesday: 31.22 mile bike at 16 mph
Thursday: 5.1 miles at 9.04 pace; frustrating meeting with the shysters at LA Fitness to discuss whether Doug, Grammy and I are willing to pay a king's ransom to swim in their pool. The dude I was scheduled to see was not there and the price magically increased and was suddenly per person and not per family. Jerks.
Friday: Too much wine, cheese and steak for my own good. Our friends Bill and Tricia came for dinner and we stayed up until after midnight. Bill is the best dinner guest ever - he eats mass quantities of whatever you make and tells you it is good (even if it isn't). This dinner actually was really good, though, because Doug made it and he knows steak. Next time we'll have to do the steaks with the leeks and vinegar syrup.
Saturday: 8.54 miles at 9.26 pace. As Nat has said before, sometimes the hangover run is a good thing. It was 50 degrees this morning - delightful! It took all I had to get my butt out of the bed on 4 hours of sleep but I did it.
Totals: no swimming, 58.70 miles biking, 20.87 miles running. YES! I got to 20 miles this week at last! I ran out of time but could probably have done another 2 miles to get to 10, but there is always next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rocket Girl



I'm tired and it's late and I should be doing work. But, Nat requested the bike blog so who am I to disappoint? And, here are some lovely photos of my sweet girls.

Monday, I rode solo from the school. Nat had a flat and rather than watching the Vulcan Bike Wizard, she used her powers of persuasion to get the Roswell Bikes guys to fix her tire on the spot. It usually takes them a week for me. "That's because your skirt wasn't short enough," she said. Is that wrong? To use a little leg to get fast bike work? I recall that the bike dudes were mighty helpful when I showed up in my bike clothes. Hmmm. Must remember this theory next time I want assistance.

Anyway, Monday I did the usual tour of Roswell near Nat's folks and had planned to loop back to do the Bike Roswell route and then go through the land of hills to the neighborhood where I get lost and then home to my car. I was aiming for 30 miles. However, there was a flagman on Jones Road. I was not too delayed by the flagman, but drivers freak out when there is a flagman, so I decided to avoid them rather than braving their insanity three times and head backwards through the hills and past my house since I was running low on water anyway. Whee! Those hills were awesome in reverse. My top speed was 34.9 mph but it felt like I was going way faster. However, on the way to my house, another flagman! Drat. I breezed into my driveway, filled up with the hose (no keys on me, because they are in my car) and continued on my way. It was really hot. I drank 3 bottles of water during 1 hr 4X mins of biking and was parched. I had planned to do the 30 miles but I realized after about mile 20 that I was too loopy to do 30 miles. One Cliff shot and a Nuun tablet in one of my bottles was not enough fuel for nearly two hours of riding, even with a good breakfast. Lesson learned. So, I ate a Soyjoy bar (a remnant of some long-ago race that was in our junk drawer) and drove to Target to get the t-shirt for Dagny's school project that I had forgotten to buy the many times I was at Target over the weekend. Refreshed, I had time to try out a new 5K route before it was time to pick-up the girls. Next time, I'll fuel better and run first because the other moms thought my copious sweating was a little gross. I'm not the hit of the preschool crowd because I'm always there in my bike stuff - I think the ladies find it intimidating.

Anyway, on Wednesday the allergies hit. I ate a mini Cliff bar (another schwag remnant from the junk drawer) on the way to school and hit the road after dropping off the girls. I thought I might go down by the river to see how it felt to do my 30 miles in the flats. Once I got there, I went down Wileo to the bike lanes and just kept on going. My head was getting stuffy from snuffling all of the snot so that it didn't run out of my nose. Did I remember a kleenex? No! The phlegm showed no signs of abating - it just got worse. There was more snot than I could wipe on my sleeve. "What the heck," I thought, "all of the real bikers can make snot rockets - why not me?" So, my whole ride, I practiced whenever my nose started to run. I left a trail of boogers. Yes, I still got a bunch on myself (maybe because I didn't try the across-the-body-blow recommended by the article) but no one seemed to notice later. Good thing snot blends into road dirt. Bike gurus (Colin?) - if there are magic secrets to this art, please fill us in.

I passed the river and kept going on Wileo right on past the Nature Center and the water treatment plant. The road turned into Lower Roswell. Pretty soon, I knew I was getting close to Mark and Robin's house. Could I ride all the way there? Why not? It was a little dicey getting there because the cars on Lower Roswell are fast, but I made it and waved as I did a turn around in their cul-de-sac. Hi Mark and Robin! It's way more fun to ride with a destination in mind. : ) I'll ride back there again. Maybe they wouldn't mind if I used their hose. Then, I went back the same way (downhill this way!) and turned down Riverside to enjoy a fast trip on those bike lanes. I am fairly sure that I saw the 64 year old guy from the 2 Bridges Race twice on this part of the ride. He's still kicking my ass. Because I still had the climb back to school to worry about, I didn't venture up the Eves hill. I ate two gels on this trip (at 45 mins and 1.5 hrs) and that was plenty. I hardly got loopy at all. My legs did get tired though and that caused me to fall over when I forgot to downshift when turning onto Shallowford from Pine Grove. Oops. I got one foot unclipped, but couldn't shake the other so down I went. Luckily no one saw. I nearly fell twice more trying to get shifted into an appropriate gear - my legs were jello. Next time, I'll downshift before turning. And if that doesn't work, I'll dismount and shift into a decent gear by hand. I almost passed a guy on Shallowford, though. Whoo Whooo! I followed him all the way up Wileo gaining slowly as we struggled up the hill and would probably have passed him close to the end of Shallowford (unless he decided to race me, which would have left me in the dust) but he pulled over to take a pee and I never saw him again after that.
So, next week, we have lots of new places to ride. If I can ride out to Mark and Robin's house, then we can definitely make it to the Big Peach to return those shirts that I've been carrying around for the past month. I need some new shoes anyway.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Another Ironman post

There is a guy from the Beginner Triathlete board who is in Kona. His name is Josh. He won a lottery spot at the Ironman World Championship and is blogging his adventures in Kona here. Kona sounds so neat - it's just amazing to read about Josh's adventures there.

Josh mentioned a bracelet in the Livestrong tradition, which appears to be based on some Tour de France riders. You can read about them here (4th story down). However, when I googled the motto, I got this guy. Hilarious. Harden the @%$# Up!

In other news, Dagny's birthday is coming up so stay tuned for photos from that and our preparation adventures. Watch out bird poop on the deck, I'm talking to you.

This week's playtime:

Sunday: 400 yard swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run in 1 hr 25 minutes. As previously mentioned, I think the run was short, but whatever. I'm counting it as 3 miles in my weekly totals.

Monday: 20 (ish) mile bike at 14.1 mph. I forgot to restart Garmin after the gu break so we lost a bit of mileage in the ether. 3.54 mile run at 8:47 min/mile pace

Tuesday: 4.12 mile run in the hood at 9:01 min/mile pace

Wednesday: 20.6 mile bike at 14.1 mph. This includes stopping twice to listen to voicemail and some monster hills.

Thursday: nada - couldn't make myself get out of the nice warm bed to swim

Friday: 3.04 miles in the hood at 8:53 pace. Lured myself out of bed after 6 hours of sleep with the promise of snacks. We know what motivates me. Took this easy and only did three miles in preparation for Saturday's long run.

Saturday: 6.06 miles in the flats at 9:53 pace. I ran in front of the house today because I wanted to be close to the house in case of a potty requirement. The debilitating heartburn (unalleviated by maalox) from yesterday seems to have eased, but I didn't want to be far from home just in case. My "plan" (if you can call it that, because it's still in my head) called for 10 miles today but alas . . . the tummy disagreed. Stupid tummy.

Totals: 400 yards swimming, 53.6 miles biking, 19.76 miles running. Rats! I had planned to run 20 miles this week - as part of upping the mileage for the half-marathon training and consoled myself with reaching the 20 mile/week goal when I stopped my 10 miler at 6 today. Sigh. Next week maybe I can hit both.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Dance

My folks agreed to take the girls, Doug and I signed up for the race and were looking forward to a good date night last night before the race this morning. We had a family birthday party in the afternoon and my folks were late leaving from it. So, we didn't hit the road sans kids until after 7pm. Probably I shouldn't have had the margarita and enchiladas for dinner. We skipped dessert because it was race eve. On the way home we stopped at Target to get a new trashcan (because I broke the old one) and some liquid bandage for Doug. He cut his thumb clear through his thumbnail while making lunch yesterday and was worried about getting lake water in it. We got to bed at about 10pm. I got up about an hour later and set my phone to wake me at 4:30. Annie kept scratching, whining and waking us up during the night. Sigh.

We got on the road only a little late (5:40) this morning and arrived at the lake at about 6:30. My tummy was acting up and I got to the ladies' room not a moment too early. Little did I know that my nervous tummy would be the least of my worries.

I ate my immodium and munched some sports beans while setting up my area. I met a nice man who won an award in his age group. I didn't catch his name and I'm sure he thought I was an idiot. When he asked how the race went while we were in the t-shirt line after the finish, I just stared blankly at him. "OK, I guess?" I had no idea. The race was just crazy.

The swim was a triangular course running counter-clockwise from the beach (buoys on the left), east into the sun and then back to the beach. Dee Dee warned me that the lake had a spongy, muddy bottom and dropped off fast as you left the beach. Good to know. We found out later that the swim was around 500 yards (instead of 400) because they had a hard time securing the buoys in the deep water. Anyway, I secured my Garmin in a baggie beneath my hat and practiced turning it on while bonding with the other ladies in my wave. Wave 1 (Doug's wave) went off. Before the first buoy, one guy (a very fit-looking guy) returned to the beach. Hmm, his googles must have broken, we thought. This might have been Wes before he gave it another go. Wave 2 went off. We saw two guys clinging to one of the canoes, but blissfully unaware, we worried about our placement for the start. One woman said to breathe to the left to avoid the waves. This flew right over my head. I can (mostly) do either side, no problem. The waves comment didn't register at all. Then we started. The breeze that was gentle on the beach turned ugly. The women who were near me and I exclaimed at each other in amazement. Holy shit - there are waves in the lake. Big ones. Are there always waves in the lake - I can' remember ever seeing them before. As I motored along with my side-stroke recovery stroke, I heard one woman proclaim that she was going to do breast-stroke. OK, I thought, because I'm trashing my legs with all of this kicking. After what seemed like an eternity of flailing, we got to the first buoy and turned into the sun and the waves. I worried about Doug but comforted myself with the thought that (1) he was wearing his wetsuit, and (2) his stroke may not be pretty, but he can tough it out fine in recovery mode. I worried about Wes because he didn't have his wetsuit. I tried to do freestyle, but couldn't see and kept breathing the waves. Side-stroke was too taxing on my legs, so I settled into the breaststroke. Wes said there were 1-2 foot swells, but I estimated 2-3 feet during the swim. When I was in the troughs, I couldn't see the sun. I am a drama queen, though. Anway, it seemed like that long leg before the last buoy would never end. After the turn and midway through the final leg, I resigned myself to a crappy time. "Just think of it as another workout," Doug always tells me, so I abandoned hopes of kicking ass and just tried to get to the finish. The waves were at my back, so I finally did freestyle. I couldn't see where I was going and the guys in the rescue canoe hailed me and pointed me back towards the flags because I was way off course. They keep the canoes on the outer edge of the swimmers but I must have missed them because I swam way wide of the buoys and the canoes.

I found out later that Doug had to hail two canoes during his swim because the guy in front of him was in bad trouble. The people in the first canoe were idiots and weren't trying to help - just yelling at the guy, but the second canoe was able to pick him up.

I was molasses in transition - always am. I did put a shirt on, though, so that I didn't freeze. I exited the transition area to start the bike straight uphill. I realized about a mile into the bike that I had never turned on Garmin. Oops. Turned it on finally at the 2 mile mark and had my Cliff gel at mile 3. Mental note, make sure that I don't leave the timing chip under my sock ever again. Ouch. The hills out of the park just never ended. I thought there would be more downhill on the second half of the course, but no, it was just as hard. I saw Doug just before the turn. He was in a group that was just after the super-fast leaders. He looked good. I yelled to a woman who I thought was Dee Dee. She looked good too. After my gel, I drank a few more hits of Heed drink and water. Nothing helped. I was sucking. I tried to gain as much speed as possible on the downhills to make it back up the other sides. On the way back into the park, I played cat and mouse with a guy who was 64; he kicked my ass. The last person I passed was a woman in an orange tri-suit who I only chased because she was in my age group. I totally would have given up on her otherwise.

Back into transition, I racked my bike, shucked the shirt and left with my race belt and visor in my hand. I left transition to return back uphill for the run. Chuh, chuh, chuh. It was just as hilly as the bike. I tried to shout encouragement to the other racers because this was a much more positive race than the one in Cordele. It was all "go girl!" and "looking good!" and "you can do it!" I love that about triathlon. I told one dude (blue and aqua tri suit) "we can do it, let's go as we went up a hill." Little did he know that I really was muttering "I think I can, I think I can" as I passed him. A couple of studs in tri-club suits passed me but no women and I made decent time. I passed that darn orange tri-suit woman only to realize that she was a man. Oops. Still, a rabbit is a rabbit, just the same. Garmin says my first two miles were in the 7:30 min/mile range, which is great. After mile 2, I sped up to bring it home. I reeled in the woman with the long red hair (winner of the 25-29 age group) and sprinted in. Doug cheered me in from the bike area. It was nice to be done.

Whoo, this race was exponentially harder than any other I've done (in my limited experience)! Doug agreed so it wasn't just me having a bad day. I finished the swim in approx 12 mins and the total in 1 hr 25 mins and won second in my age group! The official scores were posted onsite and said that my run was 21:XX and a 6:XX per mile pace which would be a PR for a 5K. I'll update with official numbers when they appear. Unfortunately, we think the run was short so I wasn't quite that fast, but still. Hardware. Can you believe it? Just wait until next year!

Edited to add:

Official results: 12:19 swim (4 in AG/15 in women); 2:11 in T1; 47:24 bike (3 in AG/12 women, 16.5 mph); 1:37 in T2; 21:37 run at 6:59 min/mile pace (2 in AG/4 women) for a total of 1:25:05.35 (2 in AG/6th woman). I've also posted a report on Beginner Triathlete in the "Race Logs" section. For those of you who do triathlons, the format of these reports (whether you choose to make them public or not) is really helpful to identify your strong areas and where you could do better.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Last Race Tomorrow

Doug and I are racing in the 2 Bridges Sprint tomorrow. It is our last race of the season because the Emerald Pointe race filled up (and we are ridiculously busy this month).

Because I was up until midnight on Wednesday reading my book and then until 11pm on Thursday paying the bills, I took Friday off instead of swimming. Then today, I slept in until 7am! LAZY! We've gone to the soccer game and are preparing for the birthday party this afternoon. I'm getting my ducks in a row for Dagny's party next week. Whew!

This week's workouts:

Sun: 9.19 mile long run at 9:48 pace. I was ready to be done after 7 miles, despite my good book on the i-pod. Good thing I'm skipping the long run next week.

Mon: 4.06 mile run at 9:19 pace. It was hot, damn hot, on Monday but I finished and thought I would be able to bike after fixing my flat tire. No dice. Tire repair took a LONG time and Doug did a mega-brick so he was late coming home and I ran out of time for biking.

Tues: 1,900 yard swim. 2oo w/u, 3 x 500, 200 c/d. This was not hard but if I'm going to go longer than 2,000 yards pre-breakfast, I'm going to have to fuel because I was LOOPY at the end.

Wed: 31.54 mile bike at 15.1 mph avg pace. Doug suggested that I ride up to the bike store to pick up my race packet, so I rode a scenic tour of Roswell before going up to the Roswell Bikes. This was my longest bike ever. I did have a break while going into the bike store, but I didn't count that time. The backpack was not a problem and I didn't even remember it was there - that weightless, even with a thing of wipes in it. I forgot my gel, so I bought a fresh one while I was at the store and refilled my water. : ) Note to all, they have repaved in Waverly Hall and thus the road markings are erased - I got lost, so I saw many cul-de-sacs in there.

Thurs: 4.14 miles in the hood at 9.12 pace. Same run as on Monday, just reversed. Not exciting but I got some miles done.

Fri and Sat: Taper or lazy, you tell me.

Totals: 1,900 yards swimming, 31.54 miles biking, 18.39 miles running. Not as far as I'd planned for the week, but not so bad either. Next week I'll get to 20 miles running. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Merchandising

Here are Annika and cousin Sarah Anne at the soccer pictures last weekend. Dagny and Sarah Anne really were smiling - I just didn't catch it.

Below are photos of the girls playing in the super-cool playground at the Baytowne Wharf section of the Sandestin resort in Florida. This playground rocks so we go to theBaytowne Wharf for dinner every time we go to the beach. There is a video too, but I can't get my computer to read it.

The merchandising is that Annika has just started to notice characters on various items at the store and tell us that she wants them. Sargento has "Shrek" string cheese, for example. I don't mind buying the stuff that I would ordinarily buy if it has a character on it (so long as there is no premium for the character) but I think some stuff is garbage. Dora cereal, for example, is a star that looks suspiciously similar to King Vitamin cereal. It's not horrible cereal, but wow - way to capitalize on Dora. Thank goodness these fall into the "vacation cereal" realm and therefore I don't have the buy them. And, the commercials! Annika wants to buy cereal straws so that she can "sip and then crunch." And just now, she told me that there is a Blues Clues movie about Little Red Riding Hood. It's "exclusively at Target." "You have to get it now." Scary.
In other news, I've learned to change a tire on my bike. As those who are close to me know, I am the master of changing car tires (stupid low-profile tires made sure of that!), but had never done a bike tire. Then, on Monday, I got to learn how instead of doing my fun bike ride. I tried to watch the video on the BT board, but it wouldn't download, so I found this guy on You Tube. He's the vulcan bike wizard. Very cool. After I exploded the first tire (scaring the crap out of the painters next door) and made the "I have a stupid tire question" call to the bike store, I put foot powder on the tube and that helped a lot. Now my tire won't have athlete's foot either.