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.