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.