Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good Enough

Some time ago, Nat wrote a post about how activity has always been valued in her family and her amazing stamina was probably hereditary (because Beau is tireless too). Quite the opposite is true in my family. In fact, my prior titles for this post were "What are You Running From?" and "That Shit Ain't Natural."

Prior to the marching band in high school and summer league swim team, my only athletic endeavors were the alternate years of summer tennis camp at our local rec department. Our afternoon workout during the school year consisted of three hours of intense TV scrutiny with microwave popcorn ladders (that's a running joke, people). Once my dad remarked about my expanding girth (after some school friends had already done so), I realized that I had to get moving. I wasn't one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted and remain a normal shape (like my sister or Whitney Houston - who was all over the magazines at the time talking about her thinness). Fine. I kept busy with after-school activities like the band, joined a tennis team (at which I sucked) and the swim team.

It wasn't until law school that I started running. After the fourth in a series of unexplained weirdo illnesses (all-over body rash, eyes rejecting contact lenses, neck stuck on one side, long-term diarrhea) a nurse at the health center said "uh - have you considered exercise?" I had taken classes and joined the gym while in college, but I was too poor and too busy (I thought) to do it during law school. Wrong. The stress was too much for my body. So, I started to run. I started at the track on Lumpkin Avenue in my old tennis shoes (the ones you use for tennis) going one mile. Then I rode the bus to the Student Activities Center and ran around the indoor track three days a week. I'd come back to school for class and tell Doug my progress on that new-fangled email. I ran my first race. Other than some minor falling off of the track when work pressures got too great, I've run or gone to the gym for kickboxing ever since. It keeps me sane and keeps Fat Stef away.

Anne commented on a previous post, asking who I'm doing the triathlon for, because I wrote about how I'm disappointed in my estimated finishing time and how I'll never catch Nat. It's not just Nat that I'm trying to catch. I'm trying to catch the good Steph. The one who is strong and happy. And who is good enough not to care where she places in a race.

This week:
Sun: 20.71 mile bike at 14.9 mph in the hills
Mon: 1200 yard swim
Tues: 1200 yard swim, 400 yd time trial in 7 mins; 13 mile bike at 16 mph pace at the river
Wed: 4.01 mile run at 8:01 min/mile pace in the flats
Thurs: 1200 yard swim
Fri: 3.1 mile run at 8:20 pace at the park with stroller
Sat: 7.02 mile run at 10:23 min/mile pace while listening to the new Harry Potter

Totals: 3600 yds swimming, 33.71 miles biking and 14.12 miles running

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good as New

Dagny fell and broke her tooth two Saturdays ago. The corner of her left front tooth snapped right off because she hit it on the bucket she was carrying.

Once we determined that she was not going to die, we began the search for the dentist. Katie (who knows everything) was thinking of switching to a pediatric dentist near our house so I called them. We went in for an exam on Friday and then returned to repair her tooth on Tuesday. Usually they wouldn't repair a baby tooth, but since we had to seal the broken area anyway (to protect against infection) it made sense to make it look nice too. The other option was to wait two years and then go back for the cosmetic part. Two years of snaggle-tooth. Not an option. They used a papoose to hold her down, which is basically a body board for babies with a head immobilizer. She hated that part, and returned to me all sweaty and mad but cheered up immediately when they gave her a balloon and a bag with stickers in it. This doctor is big on making the dentist as pleasant an experience as possible, which is awfully nice. We go back for Annika's exam and cleaning on Tuesday.

So, as you can see from the photo, Dagny looks good. Sorry about the color - that sippy cup in the left corner threw my color and focus off. Her teeth are not snaggly any more. Yes, she is wearing a sweater in the middle of summer when our air conditioning is broken. We've apparently entered the "terrible twos" a little early and she would not be dissuaded from putting on her "coat" (which sounds like "goat").
In other news, Doug found a cool link to view all of your race times. It appears to contain all or most races that I've run with a chip or with an official time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not Going to Kick Ass

So, Doug sent me a link to this site to calculate my approximate race finishing time for the Hansgrohe race. I had to guess at the bike time trial number because I've never done such a thing, but the end result was 1hr, 22mins. Less time if I run the 5K flat out. Why wouldn't you run the 5K flat out? There is nothing to hold back at the end, so my time could be 1 hr, 19 mins.

It looks like my dreams of triathlon glory (or just keeping Natalie in sight) are not going to happen this year. That's OK -if I can get this race under my belt, I think I have room to improve on my bike skills and time so we can save the ass-kicking for later.

Last week:
Sun: 21.84 mile bike at 9.3 mph. This was the Silver Comet ride with the kids in the trailer. I'm going to count it as strength work.
Mon: 1200 yard swim - Doug is working on his swimming so my time to do this is cut shorter than it was before.
Tues: 16.69 mile bike at 14.6 mph on the Roswell Bike Route. This was fun, but not so speedy.
Wed: 3.71 mile run at 8:05 pace, sprinting up the hills and recovering down the hills. Every bit of this run was torture. Ugh.
Thurs: I had planned a long swim for this morning. Unfortunately, Dagny was up all night with a fever and I had to drive to Sandersville for work in the morning so I ditched the workout.
Fri: 1200 yard swim. Broke the 8 min barrier on the 400 yard time trial - finally! 4 mile run at the park with the stroller. This run was HARD. I don't know if it was the humidity or the stroller or me not being over the head cold from last week, but my heart rate was through the roof. I don't know exactly how high because Garmin ran out of battery, so the distance is approximate and the pace is unknown.
Sat: 6.23 mile run in the flats at 9:37 pace. Nice and easy, started listening to Harry Potter book #6 in preparation for arrival of the new book.

Totals: 38.53 miles biking, 2,400 yards swimming, and 13.94 miles running

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Scary



Yesterday, we went to the pool with my sister and her daughter, Sophie. We had a blast, picniced outside and tired the girls completely out.

However, on the way back up 400, we saw an accident. I was not paying super attention to the road because I was trying to keep Dagny awake, so there was a lot of tickling and rolling down of windows going on in our car. And, we were listening to Chapter One of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the FOURTH time. Each time we start, Annika asks me if we can listen to Chapter Two. I don't know - I think there is some problem with the audio file on my i-pod. We listened to Chapter One again this morning.

As we neared Northridge (I think), I noticed the folks in the lane adjacent to mine swerving over onto the shoulder. "Hm," I thought, "must be something in the road." I took a closer look as we went by and saw a red ladder in the right lane. It was a heavy-duty ladder, not very tall, with curved hooks at the top. I was trying to get another look at it in my rear-view mirror and wondering about whether it was the kind of ladder which should have been attached to a building (like on a fire escape) or if it was a fireman's ladder when I noticed a white Mercedes swerving back and forth in the lane as if shifting from the wheels on one side of the car to the other like trash cans do when you pull them too fast. I don't know if he hit the ladder or if his avoidance of it caused him to lose control. "Wow, I hope he holds it together." It looked like he might have been able to ride it out.

I don't know if he did or not, or even if it was a "he" because suddenly I saw a car behind him swerve out of that lane and spin across all of the lanes of traffic. It was a white Expedition/Suburban and it hit at least one and probably more cars on the way across. Glass and metal flew everywhere as smoke wafted across the road from the skidding tires. Thank goodness nothing was going on in front of me, because I watched it all in the mirror. Should I stop? What could I do? I said a prayer for the people, called 911 and reported the event.

Then I had to call Jen and made her talk to me on the way home until I stopped shaking. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.
Do you just hit something like that if it is in your lane? I've always learned that you try to avoid it (not that I've had any success with that), but what if an evasive maneuver will be dangerous. What do you do?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Superman

I'm still having issues with the seat on my bike. When I lean forward into the aerobars, my girly bits get all squashed on the seat, which is not comfy at best and quite painful at worst. Don't know how to fix this, except maybe (a) lower the front of my seat, or (2) get a new seat with a cutout for the girly bits. I've no idea which is better; I'll ask my friends at REI when I go back for my bike check-up in a few weeks. The consensus seems to be that I'll toughen up, so maybe that is option (c).

Regardless, I rode 16 miles yesterday and have to say that despite the sore bottom, I LOVE the aerobars. When I lean out over the wheel and steer by leaning, I feel like superman. And, in addition to the flying, it's also neat to feel your legs pumping while in that position - like they are a humming engine full of power. It's also a good motivator - if the tops of my thighs slapping into my tummy won't stop me from eating crap, nothing will!

Sunday, Doug and I took the girls to the Silver Comet Trail for a ride. We packed a lunch and planned to ride from the lot on Olivine Road to Rockmart for a picnic and then back. 'Lo and behold, there was no parking lot on that road, so we drove to Dallas and parked at a "beach" near a nice convenience store (foreshadowing here). We loaded up the backpack for me and Doug put both girls in the trailer and hooked it to his bike. The cool seat that we bought to use on my bike was not compatible with either of our bikes so it stayed at home and went back to Wal-Mart yesterday. On the way out, we averaged about 14-15 mph until after we passed the riverwalk and the hills began. Doug was tired - those girls are heavy! I coasted most of the way but tried to be stealthy about it because Doug was working so hard. We estimated that Rockmart would be about 10 miles from our start, so we could picnic there because the website says it is a nice place. Well, wouldn't you know it - we covered a lot of ground looking for a drop-in point, so that riverwalk place - WAS Rockmart. We didn't realize this until the return trip, but no matter. We road about 11.5 miles to a lovely campsite in the middle of a wooded area between cow fields and had our lunch. I had to pee so that was a good opportunity to teach Annika about leaving no trace. She was too nervous to pee, so she had to hold it until we got home.

Then, I suggested that I pull the girls on the return trip.

I've never pulled anything on my bike before. Oh my goodness. It was so hard. I learned really fast about the difference between "mashing" the pedals and making a flowing motion. Colin was right - Colin was right (dancing). Mashing = an odd forward/back motion from the trailer because of the changes in speed. Flowing pedal motion = no jerking back and forth, so it is way better. It's much easier to keep the flowing motion when in a seated position, but on a hill with 75-85 lbs of trailer behind you, sitting is not usually possible. I did well to finish and Doug got his turn to coast. Oh, and - if I tell you that an amount of liquid is appropriate for a ride, doubling it would be better and smarter. We ran out of water on the way back and found none on the trail or in Rockmart, which (by the way) is closed on Sunday. Luckily, we parked near that convenience store and were able to buy water there. So, in all it was a good ride and a great workout. I highly recommend the Silver Comet because it was SUPER COOL, but now I'm going to have to buy the book because those internet instructions are woefully out of date.

Last week:

Sun: 10.79 mile bike at 15 mph, plus 3.14 mile run at 7:46 min/mile pace
Mon: 1900 yard swim in 40 mins
Tues: 13.47 mile bike on Mayor's Route in the rain at 11.5 mph
Wed: 4.2 miles run around the hood at 8:30 pace
Thurs: 20.46 mile bike at the river (thank you, Doug) at 15.9 mph. This would have been faster except that I had to wait at one end of my route to cross the street for a LONG time. Since I did 3-4 laps of the route, this added up. Yeah, excuses, excuses.
Fri: 1600 yard swim in 35 mins. Later, 3.12 mile run in the park with stroller at 8:42 pace. I love camp. Dagny loved seeing the doggies we passed and the playground, as you can see from the previous post.
Sat: 6 mile run in the flats at 9:36 pace. Listened to more of my murder mystery while I ran. : )

Totals: 3500 yds swimming, 44.72 mi. biking, and 16.46 mi. running

My goal for the big race - try to keep up with Nat. I don't think I can, but it is worth a try - it is a sprint, isn't it?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It's Just a Number



I wrote a long post all about how weight is just a number. It was a lot of blah, blah, blah. I really do believe this, and that there are much better ways to measure fitness (especially given the wide variety in body types). However, the post was lame. If you don't agree about the weight thing, email me and we can discuss.

Instead, here are some photos of my kids. Annika had dance camp this week and Dagny and I went for a run, played on the playground and did errands during camp on Friday. It was a very fun day, despite not being on the beach with the hotties.
Bike gurus: Wes and Colin, if you know how it is for girls, please tell me where one should put their bottom on the bike seat when riding, particularly when using the aero bars. I'm having some issues with that and don't know if it's my seat position or just a princess-and-the-pea syndrome which will disappear with time.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Technology v. Steph




I have finally learned to use my phone AND hooked myself up to an email account - which I used to send myself the photos you see here that I took with my phone. Who would have thought that one might want to take photos with their phone? I never knew it would be important.


Well, let me tell you - it's lovely. Probably not necessary or even a must-have, but awfully convenient. And why not - if the camera/email phones are the same price as the others? We had big fun taking photos with Nat's phone and sending them to Ryan while at the post-Peachtree party.

As you can see from the photo, Dagny is thrilled with the Nemo jammies that Doug bought her from e-bay. She insisted that we help her don them immediately, which is why she is riding her trike with clothes and jammies at the same time.

Other interesting things going on here:

1. Annika wanted to know if we could take her to outer space when she is 5 years old. Um, no.

2. Not only did I have to miss Nat's birthday party because of Dagny's tummy bug, and have to bail on the long-awaited girls trip because of work and our busy month, I completely forgot our nephew's birthday party today. Katie called to remind us AFTER IT WAS OVER. I suck. The present is even sitting right here, waiting for me to re-wrap it (because Dagny thought it would be good to open it early).



In better news, here is the workout summary from last week:

Sunday: 10.31 mile bike at 15.6 mph and 3.21 mile run at a 7.37 min/mile pace. This was a very fun run/bike despite some tummy issues and my complete ineptitude with the new bike.

Monday: 1600 yard swim in 35 mins. My time trial for the 400 yards (race distance) is still stubbornly 8 minutes. I do it mid-workout, though, so maybe I would be faster if I were fresh or if I didn't still have the other half of the workout to do. Excuses, excuses.

Tuesday: 9.08 mile bike at 14.1 mph. It rained on me and Doug said to take it easy pre-race, so I did not kick ass.

Wednesday: Peachtree Road Race - 6.3 miles at 7:25 min/mile pace. I was finisher #1728 with a 48:01 clock time and a 46:45 chip time. Joe pulled me for the first three miles when I realized that I should have made use of the porto-potties in mile 2. I thought that I was pulling him up Cardiac Hill, but suddenly he was gone. Gutted it out alone (but for my tunes) for miles 4 and 5. My gut won in mile 6 and I had to merge right to walk on the fringe coming down 10th Street. Some nice guys (in dark red singlets) thought I was just tired and encouraged me and all but pulled me by the hand back running. Then, Joe passed on the left and I joined him for the finish. We met the peeps at the bar for beers post-race and that was very fine.

Thursday: approx 400 yards during adult swim and while watching Annika at the pool.

Friday: 8.68 miles biking around the hood at 13.1 mph. It was too foggy to go outside the comfort zone and my legs were still very sore. Maybe the gut was not my only limiting factor on Wed. after all.

Saturday: 1600 yard swim in 35 minutes. I felt good and could have gone longer but ran out of time.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Don't Discount Dad

A distant acquaintance of mine is moving away this month. She and her husband have been separated for some time and now she is moving out of state to be close to her family. I remarked to another friend, "wow, isn't she worried about taking the kids away from their Dad?"


"No," was the reply, "because he's not really working to be a part of their lives anyway. He just calls before bed." This answer was from someone who feeds her kids before their Dad gets home because he doesn't leave work early enough for her. From the days when I was home full-time, I know that it is easy to fall into the "I'm-the-parenting-expert" role because the at-home person knows the kids' rhythms, habits, routines and how to make them their most presentable. The parent who is home less is more apt to change the schedule, skip the nap, bestow the treat or start the wild game.

I don't pretend to know which is more correct, the rigid scheduler or the willy-nilly fun bringer. Regardless, to deny kids the ability to see their Dad, or to disclaim and discount his presence at dinner, in the house, in the state seems weird to me. Dad (and I mean that generically) is too important to be left out. It's silly pretentiousness to think that the stay-at-home parent's input is all that is necessary to help the kids grow up.