Friday, March 30, 2007

Hodgepodge

Here is a link to a photo of Jennifer, Joe and me (R to L) on ING race morning. I'll have you know that Jennifer looked just that good after the race too. The rest of my photos (with many of Joe, too) are here.

After the urgent care clinic visit on Sunday (post-race and pre-shower, mind you) to cure the Scourge, two checkups (regular and allergy) on Tuesday, Annika had a full-blown allergy attack on Tuesday afternoon. Her face swelled up and turned red and she itched all over. I had to call the doc to see how much Benadryl was too much because enough had stopped working. At the checkups we learned that Annika's height, weight, hearing and vision are normal. She has finally broken into double-digit BMI, which is nice. I forgot about picture day that day and it will be interesting to see what a lovely photo combination the allergies and a dumbass mother make. Wouldn't you know that she gets allergic AFTER the two doctor visits.

At Annika's school Easter party, they did the Easter egg hunt and subsequent egg redistribution (just like Annie described) but the cool thing was the cake. One of the party volunteers ordered it and it was HUGE. The cake woman made the most delicious white cake with frosting and two layers. She decorated three large round tombs with brown frosting, brown dots and crosses made from pretzels. Upon further inspection, I discovered that she had also made a recessed tomb for Jesus, with a chocolate chip bar cookie "stone" covering half of it and the tomb was EMPTY. How cool is that? You would never get that stuff at public school! I tried to find instructions for making this cake online so that you could link to a photo, but no luck. There is, however, an Easter cake contest and I suspect some variation of this will win. If so, I'll post.

Doug found something cool for me on Audible this week. Audible is the site where he downloads books to listen to on his long commute. I listen too, since we share the i-tunes account but I don't have as much kid-free time in the car and our books tend to be murder mysteries or have lots of bad words. Anyway, the cool thing is called podrunner and it is a bunch of mixes for running that are centered around a certain beat-per-minute. I listened to one with Doug the other day that began and ended with the USMC cadence - "got to keep on rolling." Today's mix did not have that at the beginning and I didn't get to the end, but it was pretty good. 176 BPM is a bit fast for a recovery run, though. I did my 5K in 26:25. Unrelated to the music, I rolled my ankle on a pinecone (not looking where I was going when exiting the bathroom area) - it's swollen but clearly not broken. I think this podrunner thing would be good for outdoor tempo runs, if you are the kind of person who has to get in step with the beat. Which I am. And what is more fun than a cadence, anyway?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Play it Again, ING

I am SO signing up to run the ING half again next year. The course was beautiful and the crowds were awesome. I expect that the start and water difficulties will be ironed out before the next one - maybe they can consult the track club for some advice.

Here are my stats:

Official time: 2:00:18
Chip time: 1:54:06
Garmin: 1:54:24
pace: 8:42

The PR time was due to our friend, Joe, who ran with me and kept the pace. He kicks ass.

Here are my friends and their times - all halves, except SuperNat:

Chris: 2:15:37 (first race EVER)
Susan: 2:28:52 (my boss)
Virginia: 2:03:46 (first half - my training partner)
Joe: 1:54:06
Jason: 2:01:39
Jennifer: 2:13:12 (first half)
Nat: 3:44:15 (heatstroke and a BQ)
Wes: 2:07:45

Here is my report:

My alarm was set for 4:00am, I thought. Apparently, it was not because I woke up at 4:14 with no alarm and my watch reading the wrong time. I'd cooked my oatmeal and set out my gear the night before and Doug made the coffee while I was in the shower, so I wasn't too far behind. Joe overslept too, so he was a little late picking me up and we were late picking up my friend Jennifer. We flew down the highway, so we got on MARTA at the Medical Center Station where it would be less crowded. MARTA was a breeze, we got to Underground at 6/6:15. We applied the vasaline, changed shoes and put on my knee-braces and checked our bags. Awesome job on the bag-check, UPS.

We finally found the huge wall of porto-potties and blanched at the lines. No matter, we waited and headed for the start. There were no signs, we just followed the masses. Because of the huge crowd, we knew not to try to go in at the back. Instead we walked outside the barricades until the 5:00 marathon pace group. At that point, we started to worry that we wouldn't get into the road. We went just behind the 4:30 pace group sign, and jumped (with help from those around us) the barricades. We helped several others do the same thing. I never heard a gun or a starting whistle. The crowd just started moving and we went with. We accidentally started Garmin at the finish line mats instead of the start, but quickly switched off - hence the 20-odd second discrepancy in the times. While waiting to start, I asked Joe his pace - "I don't know, what are we doing?" So, we ran together, even though Joe is MUCH faster and a better runner.

Jennifer had her own pace and so we parted at the start. The first 2-3 miles were bobbing and weaving as dawn broke over the city. The expo article about the views in those mile was not kidding. It was gorgeous. My knees felt OK but my toes got sore from sliding to the front of my shoes when tiptoeing between the other runners. We went through Inman Park and Little Five Points at or below my goal pace (9:09). I watched for running skirts (yes, I have skirt envy)pointed them out to Joe - he's not in the market for a skirt, but maybe for a skirt-wearing runner. We went through Little Five Points, which I haven't seen since Doug and I took my sister to see Dogstar 15 years ago. Then, we went down the Freedom Parkway - I remembered to eat my Sportsbeans during this stretch and on the way back we saw Jennifer and waved. She looked happy and chipper andwas running fast. Others have complained about this section, but it was still shady when we were there and was pretty pleasant. Then we ran up through Virginia-Highlands and I started to get a little tired. I was waiting for the post-beans euphoria. Some guy was handing out bottles of cool water from a grey trashcan and we got one. Thank you guy - we shared that water for the next two miles. It hit the spot. We went around through Piedmont park and I started to fade a bit. I was still with Joe, though, and we were doing about 8:20s at this point.

Then, the hills. On the back of the map that they gave us at the expo, it showed 3 big inclines. I kept thinking that we had finished the last hill, but no - there were more. I think that map was lying. Joe stared leaving me at this point. I caught back up and gave him a punch after the last out-n-back into the cheering zone. Then, going back up the hill to Peachtree, I stared to flag. My gut grumbled ominously. I looked in vain for a potty. No dice. This is a bad situation for a girl with pelvic floor issues. I stuck my earbuds in (had been only wearing one and switching ears so I could talk to Joe) and soldiered on. I kept Joe in sight and told myself to keep moving. Several times, I wanted to walk. The devil on my left shoulder kept saying "you can walk just a few steps, it will be no problem to catch back up," while the angel on the right said "no, sister, you better catch back up NOW." At the mile 1 sign, which apparently means one mile to go, Joe said "we're at 1:53" - I was a little loopy by this point and running with my eyes closed. I thought he meant that it was 1:53, which meant no way for the two hour goal. No matter, we pressed on. Those last two miles were in the 9:15 range and were not at all fun. The crowd started counting down as we approached the mats - I made the first mat before 2 hours, but that was the start mat. Oops - so I finished at 2:00:15. We got bananas and water and made the requisite pitstop - sorry to the guy who walked into my portopotty because I forgot to lock it. I felt like ass - not at all like Superwoman. After some curbside relaxing and ice shrink-wrapped to my IT band knee, I felt better. We limped to the UPS trucks to find Jennifer. There she was, at the appointed location - chipper and bouncing with glee. She finished in great time and at the same time as the marathon finisher.

It was a great race. I still have some muscle soreness today, but the knees are fine. I'm definitely there next year with more hydration and hill work under my belt. Thanks Joe, for keeping the pace. 65 Roses.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Full of Nerves

Annika's teachers told our sitter that they thought she had the Scourge on Thursday. After a
nervous phone call with Doug's sister Katie (who knows everything), we've decided that she does not have pinkeye, but does have allergies. Luckily we are going to the allergist on Tuesday anyway and Katie's daughter has allergy eyes too and had been for her four year checkup last week and they recommended some drops. We've purchased the drops (the name starts with a "Z") and they are working pretty well. We did have to go to both Walgreens (they were out) and Publix with Dagny clad only in a pair of shorts, but you gotta do what you gotta do. You can just call me Britney.

The nerves are about the big race tomorrow. I went to the expo today and got my number and cool Mizuno shirt. The expo was nice and though it looked like chaos, it wasn't bad like it was yesterday. Watch for #16060 - I'll be smack dab in the middle of the pack, hopefully not hobbling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Better

When Doug first started playing golf in our neighborhood, he took me to the parties and I didn't know anyone - those golf guys all looked the same to me. Gradually, I started to make some distinctions by associating one fact about each guy with his face - names came later. My first two facts were: (1) the bartender who made everyone feel liked and important and (2) the singing guy.

"The singing guy," you say, "that sounds bad".

But he was a marvel. The singing guy would talk the band or DJ at whatever party it was into giving him the microphone and maybe some backup music (not always) so that he could sing a love song to his wife. And he could sing! He sang ballads, like "The Way You Look Tonight" or "Unforgettable" and his wife just looked embarrassed and gave him a hug when he was done.

Later, when I came to know the singing guy by his name, I also noticed that when you asked him how he was, he always said "Better than I deserve!" with a big smile.

At the church service on Saturday, the preacher said that this was a great reminder of the Lenten season. I thought he was just strange until I had some time to meditate on the idea. Lent is a good time to remind ourselves that we are all really better than we deserve. That is the point of giving things up and foregoing meat and all of that. I know that my spouse is better for and to me than I deserve most of the time. And the kids are better than I could even hope for. How about remembering to be grateful for that and reveling in it, instead of bothering to think about how they could be doing it "better" or "my way".

We lost the singing guy last week. The preacher was speaking at his funeral. Our friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about six months ago. For those of you that don't know, there is not a good prognosis for that kind of cancer and though he fought the good fight, it was too strong. He was grateful and friendly to the end - sending out updates full of sunshine and any good news he could think of. It was almost as if he were keeping our spirits up, instead of the other way around.

As the preacher said, we are better for having known him, much better than we deserve. We will miss you, Cary.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Frustrated

So, I wrote a nice post while at my continuing education class on Tuesday, but it was lost in the ether when the hotspot at the Sheraton went out on me. Then, I was going to write after finishing my work on Friday but the internet at home went out. It turns out that my moden was not on "bridge mode" despite the nice Bellsouth customer service rep's assurances to the contrary. I didn't believe her anway because her grasp on the English language was tenuous at best and she kept blaming it on my router, which is brand new. Luckily, the D-Link customer service rep was (1) a speaker of English, (2) knowledgeable and (3) helpful. There were long pauses in our conversation where I thought he was reading the instructions, but when he was probably surfing the internet and lost focus with me. No matter, the internet is up. It only took ALL of Dagny's nap and the 2 hours that Annika was being punished in her room. No work was completed and no blogging done. Stupid Bellsouth.

Annika was punished because (as was revealed when Doug questioned her about it) she was having a parade with Dagny while I was on the phone with a work colleague on a business call after I told her that I was going to take the call and that she needed to be quiet. I had just thought that she was following me from room to room with the loudness to get attention. Silly me - who knew it was a parade?

On the running front, I think I've solved the problem. My shoes were old. I knew that they were getting old, but I was waiting until the new Brooks Adrenalines came to my running store. If I was to buy shoes, why not the latest technology? Because waiting for the new technology will @#?*& up your knee - That is why. Stupid. Anyway, long story short, I bought an interim pair of new Adrenalines while waiting for them to come in at my store (because they ordered them especially for me) and now I have two new pairs of shoes. They won't go bad, though, and I'll hopefully get more mileage out of them if I rotate pairs - especially in the sweaty summer months.

Sun: 5 miles with knee brace on non-IT knee at 9:45 pace. Could have gone longer if I would have had both braces.

Tues: 4 miles in the flats at unknown pace. Could have gone longer if I would have remembered to wear any knee braces. You can't re-enter the house after leaving at 5am because the alarm beeps and will wake the babies. It was a joy to run without anything though - I felt like a gazelle.

Fri: 3 miles in the flats at 9:00 pace, cut short because of potty break

Sat: 6 miles in the nasty wind with both knee braces and no tunes at 9:09 pace. This run sucked; the wind, silence, cold and bad Mexican food for dinner on Friday combined for a lot of misery. The cardio and the knees were fine though. This is my race pace for ING if I'm to hit my goal time. I think, with proper fueling, hydration, both braces and some tylenol, it might be possible. Cross your fingers.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm Not Trippin'

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said "Faith is a journey - not a guilt trip." I think this was a slam on the Catholic church because there was also another church (protestant) sticker on the car.

I know that it's the conventional wisdom that the Catholic church is all about guilt. And, believe me, Catholics carry a lot of it. However, since I've been doing the regular church attendance thing while Annika is in religious classes, I've thought a lot about this guilt and whether the Church puts it on the parishoners or if the parishoners put it on themselves. The priests joke about it a lot, so it's not news to them.

Here is what I think - there is always a "better" Catholic. For folks who don't make weekly Mass, it's the regulars. For the regulars, it's the Eucharistic ministers or ushers. For those folks, it is the folks who do adoration. For those folks, it is the daily Mass attenders or the Deacons or whoever. Someone is always commenting favorably on all of the ways that you can give of yourself (time, talent, $) to the church and there are always opportunities to do it. So, it's only natural for we competitive creatures to want to be the best at any or all of these things. The failure to do so causes guilt.

So, I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. If a rational, thoughtful, adult feels guilt because he or she COULD be doing more volunteer work or giving more money or attending more activies, that is not a bad thing - especially if it impels them to do good things. I think, though, that the words "rational" and "thoughtful" are the keys, though, because a person can do only so much.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Isn't She Lovely


Annika spent Tuesday afternoon playing dress-up while Dagny napped and Doug and I played dueling laptops on the porch in the beautiful weather.
You can't see the many back-view photos that I was required to take so that I could capture the fairy wings and fireman hat at the same time.
She might be a big pain in our bottoms right now, but Annika sure is cute.
I reread my post from this morning and apologize for the negativity. My lack of getting out and running or doing exercise has got me in a funk.
Tomorrow, swim lessons. We are already talking about how tough Annika is, so cross your fingers.

Issues

When I worked at the law firm, we used to call things that sucked "issues." There were title issues, contract issues, marriage issues, job issues and personality issues. We've had some issues at our house this week.

Annika went to Grammie/Grampa's cabin for the weekend last weekend and has been a bear ever since. I don't know if being the center of attention for two whole days spoiled her for the week or if she is just having a rough spot. Sunday, general bad behavior and failure to listen or follow directions. Monday, in addition to similar behavior, refused to eat dinner then whined about being hungry/thirsty. Tuesday, hit Dagny and then lied about it after bad behavior and waking Dagny from her nap. Wednesday, refused to use the potty for me and the sitter. Peed in the car on the way to dance class.

Doug had to plug two of his tires on Tuesday. He was in the driveway with the tools and the car jacked up when I returned home from picking Annika up from school. He is good at this and gets a lot of nails in his tires at work. While on the ground, he noticed that MY tires had the metal showing. "Have you seen your tires?" he asked. Clearly not. I left work early and got new tires (4 of them) yesterday.

And my knee is still bad. Despite the mileage scheduled for this week and next week (16 and 20 miles per week, respectively, plus speed work), I've done the following: Monday, Pilates. Tues, 6 miles too fast and hurt the knee. Wed, Tae Bo. Thurs, Pilates. Sat, 4 miles at 9:30ish pace. Sun, Tae Bo. Mon, Pilates. Tues, 3.1 miles at approx 9:45 pace. Wed, tennis - I don't think this counts. Thurs, does Peachtree application count? The tapering is supposed to start next week. I think that I've already started tapering. SIGH. The good news is that my Tuesday run at the park was without a brace on my IT band knee and despite some stiffness, it didn't hurt. Or maybe the other one just distracted me.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Now THAT is Creative

So, have I mentioned that I'm not creative?

Doug is a much more creative and adventurous cook and Annika can draw circles around me. And, Corinne, she can knit a billion things 40 times faster than me and with less mistakes and more importantly, she knows how to fix the mistakes.

But this woman, takes the cake. . . or the muffin, if you will. The link is courtesy of my sister, Emily. She is pursuing graduate school in psychology, with an emphasis on sex disorders.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

So, this was the third hard week of training in a row. I was even having delusions of marathon possibility (not this year, but ever). Instead of relaxing and enjoying the easy running, I pushed through that tempo run on Tuesday (8-ish min pace because of the 9s last week) and hurt my knee. No, not the IT Band knee, the original bad knee. Dumbass.

It's feeling better now, and I may even get to run this weekend so I'm not worried about my race except that I might not be as fast as I could have been. Sigh, sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back.

And, in other news, if work asks you to come in on your off-day for a 30 minute meeting, the answer should be no. Otherwise, your whole week is shot to hell because the day off that you were going to get to make up for the extra workday will be lost to a meeting (cancelled) and the original 30 minute meeting will be moved to 5pm - on Friday.