Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

It's time to start the Couch to 5K plan!

Two more recruits have joined since the last post:

Lauren (the "Butterfly") Starks from Transition - Here to Fe. Lauren is my internet and BT buddy and while she is not just starting out running, she is interested in the structure of a plan.

Barbara ("Crafty") Croft. Barbara is my doctor and is one of Jen's partners at Piedmont OB/Gym. Barbara has been out of running for a while and might want to get back in. We can certainly encourage her along the way.

So that brings our total number of participants to 12! Yay! It's still not to late to join in. And, if you know of any folks that might want to start (or start back) running, please feel free to forward the blog link to them. If they don't want to be included in the public group, I'll send encouragement privately too.

This week's plan is to switch the 30 minutes of walking on our 3 days to 27 minutes of walking and 3 minutes of running. All runners are supposed to report back after the end of the week on their progress towards the 9 minutes of weekly running and I'll update the blog on Monday with this information and a new chart.

I'm still not cleared to run so the pressure is off for everyone else. You can't do any worse than me. In fact, I'm still sore from a 30 minute walk on Friday, so it's not looking good for me to even walk 3x this week. But as soon as my foot is better, I'm going to catch up!

In other news, Santa brought a Wii to our house and we are all nursing muscle soreness from our virtual sports. Doug is the champ at boxing and tennis, but I'm killing everyone at bowling. I was the worst at bowling until I copied Annika's style and now I rock! She is not getting the "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" yet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Recruits!

So, we've got some new recruits for the couch-to-5K plan:

Michele "LSU Runner" C. Michele is my tennis partner and swimming buddy who recently moved away to Birmingham. She is a college runner and high school track coach, but has had a recurrent ankle problem and is just starting her recovery plan.

Aimee "new Mom" W. Aimee's husband is in my triathlon club and turned me on to the "Spinervals" DVD series. In turn, I gave him "Yoga for Triathletes". I think I got the better end of that deal! Aimee and Steve are adoping a child from Ethiopia this year so keep them in your thoughts.

Cindy "Apple Queen" Z. Cindy is my aunt from Ellijay, Georgia (Ellijay is the apple capital of Georgia, in case you didn't know). and she is getting back into running after some IT band issues and a running hiatus. Uncle Mike is out with plantar fasciitus or I would have recruited him too.

Charlie "the Engine" (get it? The little engine that could?) from Running Nowhere Fast. Charlie is my internet friend who is also on the recovery train, and is hoping to get clearance from his doctor to run this week.

Sara "Yule" H. Sara and her husband lived across the street from us in our first house in Roswell, when Annie was just a pup and nobody had any kids. Sara has lost over 80 lbs and runs and walks a lot. She is starting to train for her first triathlon this year so she thought the running plan would be a good starting place to build to her triathlon.

I'll send out emails to the lot of you as soon as I've created a distribution list. I'm still not up to walking yet but am hopeful that I'll at least be able to do the walking portions of the training after Christmas with anyone who needs a buddy. I visit the physical therapist tomorrow and am crossing my fingers for a shorter recovery period. The internet research on the subject of stress fractures generally and calcaneal stress fractures in particular has really depressed me today.

If you or anyone else is thinking about joining in, it's not too late! Send me an email or pmail on BT or a Facebook note. Heck, it's never too late!!! I'll egg you on whenever you decide to start running.

In other news, we've cleaned our ovens today and are recovering from two pee accidents last night. And, if anyone has suggestions on how to contain/govern a three-year-old during Mass, please let me know. Dagny was horrible today - we have to leave twice for time-outs.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Man with the Plan

Ta Daaaa! Here is the 5K plan. I figured that no one would want to start their plan before Christmas. So, our running weeks start the week after Christmas. If you are a type "A," get started now by walking for 30 minutes three times a week:




Our illustrious runners so far are:
  • Elena "the Boss" from my triathlon club. Elena has been sidelined with injury this year so she is in the same boat as I am and is just starting back running.
  • Jen "Doc" Williams. Jen is my younger and cuter sister, who has not run since college. She is ready to get back moving this year.
  • Joe "Sailor" Elswick. Joe is my internet friend whose plans to run the Currahee Challenge were thwarted by skin cancer earlier this year. He is healed up and ready to go.
  • Steph B. This is me. My December marathon plans were foiled by a calcaneal stress fracture. Boo. I'm fighting to get back on the wagon, into my pants and away from the crazy.
  • Steph "Sky" F. My best buddy from law school. Steph has been running off and on for several years now, but now she would like the accountability of a plan.
  • Trish "Organic Fool" Sharp. Trish has been a regular walker/sometime runner for a while but is ready to make the jump to running.
I borrowed liberally from the Beginner Triathlete couch-to-5K program and the Cool Running program of the same name to make this plan. Thank you, Beginner Triathlete and Cool Running.

And, because I'm a rules girl, here are the rules:
  1. We will do our walking (and gradually our running) three times per week. They do not have to be the same days every week.
  2. We are committing to thirty minutes of run/walking on these days.
  3. It's best to spread your running days out throughout the week, but it's not the end of the world if you do two days in a row. Pick whatever days work best with your schedule.
  4. It is up to you whether you want to do your running minutes all-in-a-row or spread them out throughout the thirty minutes. Either way, we will all come to the same place at the end, which is a conversion of the whole thirty minute block from walking to running. Because I'm too lazy to divide up the thirty minutes, I'll be doing my running all-in-a-row after a short warm-up.
  5. I suggest warming up by walking for five to ten minutes before starting your run minutes each day. As we get to weeks 14-15, that might mean five extra minutes of walking for the warm-up.
  6. Start slow. You should be able to talk (with a little effort) while you are running. This will get easier with time, but you can't be too slow to start.
  7. If it helps you to use an ipod or walkman, do it. I know that the sound of my own breathing (gasping) makes me feel awkward and out-of-shape. If you need music or a book to pass the time or mask the gasp, that is OK. Just do it with the volume low so you can hear cars or other people/animals if you are running outside.
  8. Run outside or on the treadmill. Does not matter. It's more convenient and pleasant for me to run outside, but do what you like.
  9. I'm available to do runs with anybody on the weekends - Annika will join in and make us feel silly and Dagny will yell encouragement from the stroller.
  10. Do not do your runs in old shoes. If you've never gone to a running store (Big Peach Running Company, Fleet Feet, Phidippides, Spikes Running Company), you need to go and have them watch you run and buy some decent shoes. This is the only required investment. If you are nervous about going to a running store, I will accompany you with two loud children to deflect any possible embarrassment. If you have decent running shoes that are newish and don't hurt your feet at all, we can put off the shopping until later. It's important to get the right shoes for you, and the running store folks will help you find these for FREE. I love my Brooks and have worn this brand for 8 years, but you have to get the right shoes for you.
  11. Please update me (email, facebook, pmail on Beginner Triathlete) with your weekly mileage on or after Sunday each week. Then I can update the chart and post it for all to admire.
  12. I'll post a survey to see what race (if any) we all want to do together. This is not a requirement, but I thought it would be fun. And, afterwards I'll buy the beer.
  13. If you are at all interested in logging your workouts, Beginner Triathlete allows you to log them for FREE if you join up (also free). And, there are cute little charts with different colors for each activity. I love a chart.

Any new recruits are welcome. Trish, Robin, Lotzie and Katie, this means you.

Hooray! Can we run it? Yes, we can!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lemonade, That Cool Refreshing Drink

Today I went for my x-rays with my cousin, Evander. He is an orthpaedic surgeon at Resurgens. We think that I have a stress fracture in my heel, which is not visible on the x-rays. This is what we thought before the x-rays but at least we were able to tell that there is nothing badly wrong with me. So, while we might know more about the stress fracture, if there is one, from an MRI - the recovery would be the same so I don't think we are going to bother with it. The plan is just more of the not-running. SIGH.


I did get some very comfy heel cups to wear in my regular shoes and a prescription for anti-inflammatories that I will likely not use. Ander said I might want it if the pain flares up. Also, I'm to do more stretching of the heel cords (those things that go up the back of the foot from the heel to the calf) and the hamstrings. I already do the heel stretches after every run because they feel really good but the hammies have been neglected. So, the new plan is to rest for a while (that means swimming, biking and core work only) and then start back again REALLY SLOWLY. Like only a half mile at the time.


So, I was on the phone with my sister later on and she mentioned wanted to get back on the exercise train.

AHA!


I can't run at all. Jen has not run since college. PERFECT!

So, I'm working on a 3 day per week couch-to-5K plan for us, borrowing liberally from the plans I found on BT and that I know from the Cool Running site. The only question is whether to start out on a run/walk plan or to run the planned minutes all in a row. Hmm. I'll have to ask Jen's preference, but I'm leaning towards the all-in-a-row. Then I need to identify a goal race for us. Something in February. . .

Yay! All of this running talk is making me feel better already.

Anyone else want to join us? Trish? Robin? Katie? Emily? The only apparent requirement is the ability to walk for 30 minutes in a row three times per week. Then, we begin to mix the running minutes into our 30 minutes of walking. I'll track our progress with a chart that I can upload to the blog on a weekly basis. : ) Fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

Since the economy is stagnating and no houses are selling, we have been economizing. And I, at least, have realized that there are many things that we have or do that just aren't that important. Here is a list. Feel free to add your own things if you are doing the same thing:
  1. Store-bought bread for dinner. Thank goodness Trish posted about the bread she makes. She gave me the courage to finally attempt baking bread again. Some batches are better than others, but the it's really empowering to master the yeast. And it only costs about $0.50 per loaf instead of $4.50. Now, I just need to learn to make sandwich bread.
  2. Friday night dinner out. We used to go to Mexican, Mellow Mushroom or Taco Mac every Friday for dinner. Mediocre food and crappy service but there was always beer. How else to celebrate the end of the week? Now, we make pizza (from scratch!) and watch a movie together in the basement.
  3. House cleaners. Sigh. I was sad to see this go, but scrubbing potties is easy and I can do a better job on the floor anyway.
  4. Fancy hair-dresser. After a couple of missteps, I've gotten the hang of coloring my own hair. And, when I took the girls to the Crossville Family Cuts, the lady who cut all of our hair (in 20 minutes flat!) told me that I didn't actually have any layers. Those folks at the salon had been charging me $50 to cut my hair straight across.
  5. Expanded channels on the TV. We won't get to watch Top Chef (Bravo) or the Ironman series (Versus) or Ninja Warrior (G4) anymore, but with some thoughtful Tivo-ing, I think we will be OK. Last night we even saw a "Keeping Up Appearances" that we'd never seen before.
  6. Grocery store produce. Doug planted a marvelous garden last spring and greens for the fall. The vegetables from there really make the other stuff seem lame.
  7. Buying less stuff means less garbage. Who knew?
  8. Doug is home more, so we get to hang out together. That's the best thing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Can't Get Enough

Running.

Just can't get enought running.

So, you know how my foot is hurt and I'm still not running regularly yet?

I hit upon the great idea that I could run with Annika. She is learning to run and I can't go very far so we are equally matched. I told Doug about this idea over dinner and while we were discussing how we could do the 0.4 mile loop behind the house once or twice, Annika piped up.

"I need to run by myself Mommy."

"Why? Wouldn't it be fun to run together?"

"Yes, but I'm FAST, Mommy."

Ouch.

So, for the Thanksgiving marathon, Doug is doing the full marathon. I'm going to drive him to the start and then volunteer at a water stop. I'm at water stop #2 for the marathoners, at the Artlite Supply store. Then, once my time is over, I will hightail it to the finish line to watch the half-marathoners come in. I'll miss all but the over 2 hr, 30 min crowd, but will be there for all marathoners. Anyone who has a friend running or wants to volunteer, here is the link. You can pick your time commitment and location from the list and register all on the convenient form. And, there is really good schwag. I tried to get them to let me bring the kids but they said no - the race is too cold and too long for kids. Luckily, we have an excess of family in town who are more than happy to have the girls for a couple of hours.

And for the ING marathon, it looks like I'll be relegated to the half again this year. Doug thinks I have time to train for the full, but I just don't think it is possible with the current heel situation. Seriously, my long run is 1.5 miles right now. I don't want to jump into training to far too fast and risk being out for next season. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Curses, Foiled Again

I got to run this morning, which was awesome and gave me a chance to scope out the voting line (already there at 5:45am). I wasn't fast, but that is OK. Running is so much better than not running. And exponentially better than not walking.


Meanwhile, Doug made waffles for the girls and fed them breakfast. Then, Doug went for his run while I cleaned up the kitchen, showered and got everyone dressed. While Doug showered upon his return, I went to vote. I counted myself lucky because I got a parking space and sucked it up with my audiobook for two hours. Standing around is tiring. We scrounged some lunch and headed to the movie theater to watch High School Muscial 3 with Katie and her kids. Ugh. It was terrible. They did reprise some of the better songs from the first movie, but not enough. I kept telling myself that this was no worse than Footloose or Dirty Dancing. Or any of the other crappy movies we liked as kids. On the way home, we dropped Doug and Annika off at the polling place so Doug could vote. The front parking lot was not full and when I turned the corner to see the place I'd parked, there was not a car in the lot. We turned around and went back for Doug and Annika to find exactly zero (0) people in line to vote. There was a line for check in, but that was all.

Curses. I should have voted in the afternoon too!

In keeping with the witchy theme, here are Halloween photos of my scawwy witches.

First is Annika at the Book Character Parade. Just the title of this event is reason enough to pay for private school. Sigh. If only it were that simple.



Next is Dagny, after she comandeered some kid's tractor. Note Doug chasing her around the cul-de-sac. Luckily, the parents disconnected the battery shortly after this photo.



And lastly, photos of my two friends, courtesy of Aunt Katie who remembered her camera (unlike me).




Annika was right that witches don't wear pony tails. I should have left Dagny's hair down too. Aunt Jennie couldn't believe this was Annika's real hair. Hee.

The girls had a blast at the pre-trick-or-treat party and then going around with their friends and all of the other folks we found in the neighborhood in Papa's truck. I had to put the kaibosh on the nasty halloween rhymes from the over 7 set but true to form Dagny was the big winner again this year. I think it's because she was so loud with the "thank yous" and the "Happy Halloweens" and not so quick to dash to the next house. We spread the wealth around and divided the total haul between the kids. It's open for discussion how long the candy stays, but our church is collecting any extra to deliver here, which is a really cool idea. Much better than leaving it at the office to tempt everyone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bread: 1, Steph 1

On Friday, since I'm not running, I thought I'd made a stab at baking bread. It's on my list, after all. My first attempt was many years ago and was a complete disaster. The bread looked lovely, but the sourdough starter had "turned' and therefore the bread was inedible.



Anyway, back to Friday. I gathered the ingredients and the Cook's Illustrated cookbook and got ready to make pizza crust for dinner. You see, the bread recipes all required bread flour and we didn't get to the store until too late to make them.




So, I started the pizza crust and made a list of stuff to buy at the grocery store. I put the pizza dough in the oven with hot water just like Alton Brown did the other night and we went to the store. Alas, when the rising time was over, it was not a puffy and delicious dough. It was some kind of gooey monster. We put in the garbage and had to go out for pizza instead.



Bread: 1, Steph: 0



Before realizing the crust disaster (while still full of confidence), I started a sponge to make bread on Saturday. For all of you that have never made bread before (me included), a sponge is basically a little bit of the dough that you make ahead of time and put in the fridge overnight to grow. So, on Saturday, we made the rest of the dough, added the sponge and some salt and continued with the recipe. There was not a lot of kneading. Apparently "Crusty Italian Bread" does not like be handled a lot.



Here are the results:



Top:


Bottom:
Yeah, you are supposed to let the stone heat up in the oven for an hour for a reason. Apparently this is not just a waste of energy and I shouldn't have skipped it.


Side view:

Check it out! Real bread!

How cool is that?


Doug had gone to the hockey game with the boys, so the girls and I did a taste test after taking the dog for a walk:


Dagny had Nutella and jam on her bread:



As you can tell, the Nutella was her favorite even though she also tried Annika's toppings.

Here is Annika making a thoughtful comparison of the bread pieces.

The honey chevre that I bought at Trader Joe's was her favorite. Trader Joes is deadly to the wallet if you go in hungry. Oh well. The honey chevre is awfully good. The plain honey is good too, though. I got to eat everyone's leftovers.

All in all, not bad bread. The loaf was huge, though. We've been eating it for three days. Next time I'll make three small loaves and freeze two. Also, you have to mix the salt in better than I did. Some pieces were pretzel-ish and some pieces were too plain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I wrote a very long and thoughtful post on the political situation and political philosophy (believe it or not). I spent a long time revising and rewriting so as not to alienate anyone.

Then, I had a work phone call and the next time I looked up, I had missed the bus.

So?

So, if your kindergarten or first grader comes home on the bus and you aren't outside - they don't get off the bus. Yes, gone are the days where kids let themselves into the house.

Panic ensued.

I called the neighbors and hoped against hope that the bus was late. As I stood in the driveway in the rain with the cell and regular phones and the directory in my hands trying to figure out what to do, the bus came back.

Our driver has a "layover" before his next route so he goes back by to catch any kids whose parents are late. Bless him. He will be getting some cookies for Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Annika was unfazed.

I took that as a sign that my post was doomed.

Go out to the internet and read what you can. Read Atlas Shrugged and think how many more burdens the workers in this country can bear before they just give up.

In other news, in all of the limping on the bad heel, I've injured the forefoot. There will be no running this weekend. Maybe not even next week. The endorphins are not flowing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

You Say It's Your Birthday!

Yesterday was Dagny's birthday. She is three and completely full of herself. Doug was responsible for getting her gifts - it was a Sleeping Beauty theme so she got a beautiful dress-up dress, a Barbie and the movie. We got pizza and watched the movie for dinner. What a fun evening! We will be having more family movie nights this year.

But TODAY was the party. Monster Party Rentals brought the bounce house, I borrowed tables from all of our friends and the usual suspects turned up for a fun party. It was a beautiful day and I think everyone had a good time.

This is my cousin, Fletcher. He is very serious about this cookie cake. I think he had two pieces because I remember giving him one with blue icing. Hee! : )

Here is a crowd shot. In the back row, from the left are Pete, my mom, Grammy and Robin (Fletcher's mom). At the tables are Carmella, Caroline, Annika and Sarah. Then Eve, Wyatt, Dagny (in outfit #3), Kate and Alex.
Carmella and Annika appear to be attacking Beau as Alex crawls in front of them. Yes, Annika has on the pig costume. It goes nicely with the dress, I think.
Ryan, Nat and Doug.
After calling Publix to get a quote for the cake, I decided that I'd be baking the cookie cake. Instead of one big cake, I made two. This is the "good" cake - I got better with the pastry bag with a little practice. Inexplicably, one of the first two burned on the bottom and sides so I had to make another. I decorated this morning with icing that I made. Note to self - next time buy the black icing because it really did take 2 packages of food coloring to make black. The other icing worked great, though, except that I made it a trifle too thin because I didn't account for the thinning that would occur with the addition of the food coloring. I'm all empowered now about the cakes.
Here is Dagny worrying about how I cut the cake.



Then, Dagny and her blankie enjoying some cake with Carmella.

It was a lovely day. I'm watching the Kona coverage while blogging and icing my foot. We are having Ro-Tel and other bar food for dinner with the new stout that Doug made. Mmmm. Tomorrow is cousin Slater's baptism. Never a dull moment!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hello Pool My Old Friend

Apropos of nothing, my foot hurt when I got up in the middle of the night to use the potty last night. This morning, it hurt to walk.


Not right, I say. I SWAM yesterday. No bike. No run. We did take a walk after dinner but it was slow because Dagny likes to dawdle and spit at the fish when we cross the creek.


"Maybe it will ease up and I can do my long run today," I thought. Doug and I dropped Dagny at school and Doug took off for his run. Alas, I made it as far as the bathrooms at the park before the pain got too much for me. It was not easing up, but increasing. I drove until I found Doug and handed off the i-pod and went home to ride my bike.


That didn't hurt as bad, but my foot still throbbed after I showered to get ready for surprise lunch with Annika at her school. As I was dressing, the phone rang. It was the school nurse. Annika had cut her ear and they wanted me to come and look at it. Surprise foiled.


And now, I'm icing. Ibuprophen is on the way. The internet may tell me what the problem is but I'm afraid to look. Afraid that I'll be stuck in the pool all winter. Again.



On a happier note, here are some more photos that my friend Rivi took of the race last weekend. First, I'm starting the run looking strong.
Our tri-club has their priorities in the right place. They wrote notes to every member on the run course. This one says "run like there is free beer". : ) Mmmm, beer.
Put your shirt down, woman! Yes, I'm dumping water on my head. It was hot and the sweating wasn't working enough. And the shirt, thin though it may be, was hurting my stomach. Same with the shorts - that is why they are rolled down. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
This is my good side. : ) Rivi ran up next to me to take my photo. He rocks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

South Carolina

Here are the pre-race photos from the camera that they gave us in the schwag bag at the race this weekend:

Nat and me, sporting our swim togs.
Nora, looking cute as always. She even looked cute on the run when I was drag-assing around the course with my belly hanging out.
Doug telling me not to take his photo - can you see his teeth are clenched?
Me, modeling my team ZootGu outfit.
Doug, getting in the race zone with some tunes.
Nat and Doug in swim gear. Look at that flexing.
So, I posted my race report on BT. Here is the link if you want to read all about it in nauseating detail. I had a marvelous time at the race. Sure, parts of the run hurt a lot, but the whole thing was fun from the time we started packing the car until we collapsed exhausted into bed on Sunday night. It has been awesome to share the experience with Nat and Doug and all of my internet (and real) buddies.
Soreness kept me to a walk yesterday and I left my i-pod in the car so I was alone with my thoughts about the race and triathlons in general. It seems like a longer distance triathlon is like a puzzle where you have to fit all of the pieces together just right (the swim, the bike, the run, but also the pacing on each one and the nutrition the day before the race, the nutrition the morning before the race, the nutrition during the race, the outfit, etc). Only, the trick is that first you have to make all of the pieces and then you have to grind or sand them to make them fit together and if you do it wrong it throws all of the other pieces off and you either have a complete mess or have to start over.

Given this complexity, it's a complete miracle that I was able to finish Sunday's race at all. I had the pieces - we knew I could swim and bike and run the distance. And, because of my GI issues, I knew what I needed to eat during the race and the day before. And, because we've practiced, a lot, we knew mostly what the paces should be. So, I had a good shot going in.
Then, I went faster than plan on the swim. That's OK because I didn't go hard. Wasn't breathing hard or feeling stressed at any point. I did sandbag a little on my goal pace for the swim. Then, I went out too hot on the bike. This is a common error and I tried to rectify it by slowing down for the rest of the ride. I tried to ignore my falling average pace because it was still above goal pace. This worked out OK. I finished only 0.2 mph over goal pace. On the run, I also started hot. It's easy to do this because you are already warm from the bike and the heartrate is elevated. I talked myself off of that ledge and was headed off just under goal pace when I was immediately slammed into reality with stomach distress. I don't have tummy problems on the run - it's the lower GI that gives me fits. My only guess is that I overfueled on the bike or the bike was too fast for my level of fitness or my run was also too fast for me. I dunno. Whatever happened, I was able to finish the run 10 seconds per mile over goal pace. However, when you add all that together, I came in well under my goal time.
Swim: 37:32
T1: 3:46 (yeah, wetsuit removal is hard)
Bike: 3:08:44
T2: 2:17
Run: 1:57:26
Total:5:49:43
Wow, it was so much fun. I can't wait to race again next year.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Last week, while I was trying to get Dagny's party invitations to print out, I said to the girls "cross your fingers."


Annika and I instantly crossed our fingers next to each other like you'd imagine.


Dagny quickly took the index finger from each hand and crossed them next to Annika's fingers. I tried to show her how to do it the way Annika was and she said "no, this way" and showed me again.


So, the workouts are all done.


The oatmeal is cooking on the stove.


Doug is in search of gas for the car.

The outfits are laid out on the bed, waiting for the kids to wake up so that I can retrieve the suitcases to pack us up.


I'm running transition plans throught my head - trying to decide if it's worth it to wear the wetsuit or not.

Natalie is coming in less than 5 hours. I've got to get busy. Good luck to everyone racing at SC HIM or the 6 Gaps Century or other races this weekend. Kevin and Wes and NAMC and Team ZootGu peeps, see you there!

Cross your fingers.





Will update with results and race report on Monday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Superstar

Doug and Annika are going to Cartersville this morning to ride in the Beautiful Back Roads Century. Doug loaded up the car last night while Annika and I washed a selection of sunglasses. Then, Doug and Annika filled their bottles and rustled up their gear this morning. Annika was briefly offended that she had to put a sweatshirt on over her Team Bachman jersey but was mollified with the idea that she could remove the sweatshirt before the ride actually started. Hopefully Doug thinks about putting the jersey on the outside of the sweatshirt if it's still too cold at the start.

As they walking out the door, Annika told Doug to make sure that he had her pink sunglasses.

Because those make her look like a movie star.

She is the cutest thing. Very excited to be going on a bike ride with Dad.

So, watch out for my superstar on her hook-up-bike behind Doug - wearing my new helmet and her movie star sunglasses.

In other news, Dagny and I are going to a jumping party this morning if her tummy is better. She had some kind of upset yesterday (my laundry area is still a biohazard zone) but I hope it has passed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Before I'm Dead

After law school, my friend Stephanie made a list of the stuff she wanted to do before she was dead. Then, she proceeded to check stuff off of the list. I never saw her list but I remember some of the stuff on it.

Fast forward to this week, when I found my friend Trish's blog here. Trish makes beautiful bread. Baking bread is on my list.

So, even though I don't think death is knocking on my door, here is my list, in no particular order. Feel free to comment with your own list or just ridicule my list:
  1. Watch my kids grow up, get married and have kids of their own. Sappy, I know.
  2. Actually learn to speak Russian. I took it in college and it didn't stick. At all.
  3. Learn to bake bread - the fat, floury loaves that you see in restaurants. Several attempts at this have turned out very badly. Did you know that sourdough starter can go bad? Well, it can. I even have a bread machine and that sucks too.
  4. Cross-country ski. Doug has always talked about this and regular skiing turned out to be fun so I want to give it a try.
  5. Move to Colorado.
  6. Run a marathon.
  7. Have a piano in our house and learn to play it better than a 10 year old.
  8. Learn to knit more than just a square. Learn to knit was always on my list and I can do it, but only in a square or rectangle - no turning or joining.
  9. Grow old with Doug. He won't be able to hear and I won't be able to see and we'll both have to get new knees but that's OK.

I haven't put an Ironman on the list yet. I have to wait and see how this Half Ironman distance race works out. There are plenty of places that I've never been but would like to go (San Francisco, NYC) but those are "it would be nice to-dos". I don't think I'd regret them if I got called home tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guardedly Optimistic

Today begins the 50% week of tapering for the half iron-distance race. 50% feels like a vacation for me so I'm enjoying the time to catch up on other stuff (like laundry, and Annika's art projects, paying the bills, actually writing on the blog). Next week is even less so I'll be coloring my hair and baking, I imagine. Doug won't even recognize me.

At any rate, here is my race plan for South Carolina HIM:

Swim: 40 minutes. This is slightly faster than 2:00 mins per 100. This is "forever" pace for me, so I don't intend to hammer the swim at all. It's the warm-up. 1 Gu pre-swim after magic oatmeal/coffee for breakfast.
T1: Under 3 minutes would be good here. Wetsuit removal could add time, though, so I'm considering going without it.
Bike: 3.2 hours (17.5 mph average pace). 3 bottles Accelerade, 5 oz Gu in the flask, and water in the aerobottle. "Pick-me-up" of fig newtons at halfway point or whenever I'm in the valley. This will be tough for me. I just have to tell myself that we've done it before with a pee break so I can do it now.
T2: Again, under 3 minutes is fine. If I can squeeze the potty break within this time, even better.
Run: 2 hours. This is just slightly above 9:00 min/mile average pace. So long as my GI cooperates, I can do this. 3 Gus and Nuun in my hand-bottle. I should only need 2 Gus but I'll bring the extra and an extra Nuun just in case.

Therefore, here are the time goals:
  1. Finish
  2. Finish under 6 hrs
  3. Finish without touring all of the porto-potties

Plan B is to average 10:00 min/mile for 2hrs 11 mins for the run and come in later. If I have to stop more than once at the potties and get behind, this will trigger a shift to Plan B. Plan B is just as good, but less fast.

And on the marathon front, last week my long run was 17 miles. Huge distance record for me.

I know, holy cow! And, it didn't even hurt.

This week, I had 12 on my plan but I think I screwed up the plan so I aimed for 14 at a 10 min per mile average pace. This is not a fast pace for me, but when you add in the potty stops and water breaks it really is. Combine that with regular milk instead of soy for breakfast (we were out of soy) and what you get is trouble. I had almost caught back up to 10 minute pace when I had to stop the second time and then I was behind for the entire rest of the run. Next time I'll go out a little bit faster so that I don't run out of real estate at the end to get back to my time. It didn't help that the weather was overcast and the clouds kept spitting rain at me. It's harder to run when you are wet.

This week, 8-10 miles (tapering!) and then the race so my long runs will start back on the week of Oct 12 (earlier if I feel good and the blood donation doesn't wipe me out).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What She Said

Or, On Breakfast At Our House.

We have new cereal at our house. It's called "Mighty Bites" and is produced by Kashi. I love Kashi. Their cereals have lots of protein and insoluble fiber, which are good for me. Anyway, I gave in to the pressure for the Mighty Bites because it has 4-5 grams of protein and some fiber in it so it's not all bad. It does, however, taste like marshmallows. Ick. But the girls like it. Even Annika. And, the cereal is shaped like little men.

Which has produced the following quotes of the day:

"Mom, I want MEN for breakfast!"

"Give me more MEN - I love men best of all!"

For the record, I mix the men with cheerios when I feed them to the kids.

Dagny, who only eats cereal for breakfast (because she loves cereal like I do) has eaten two bowls of "Os and men" this morning. And, Annika has eaten nearly a whole serving of oatmeal. She asked for oatmeal this morning so I made two servings for her, thinking that I would just eat the leftovers. What leftovers? There are about two spoonfuls left in the pot.

Best of all, it's after 8 o'clock and I haven't lost my marbles yet. Granted, our sole accomplishment of the morning so far is eating breakfast, but we did survive a poopy diaper accident and the preparing of breakfast (only 2 timeouts) so that is a victory.

In other news, I also survived my long run this morning (14 miles) but had to stop 4 times for potty breaks. I think I was dehydrated from yesterday and that made my GI issues worse. I mention this only because (a) it makes me feel better to confess, and (b) I know others have this issue and I don't want them to feel alone. Anyway, Doug and I wrote out my marathon training plan (just the long runs) last night and it was very daunting. There is no wiggle room or procrastination space if I'm going to get in enough training to finish without major strain. Gulp.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stephanie Bites the Dust

Or,

Why You Should Always Make Your Kids Wear Helmets

Today I rode bikes with Doug and our friend Neal. As we rode away from the park, Doug noticed that Neal forgot his helmet. "I'll be OK," he said. "Nah, we'll go and get it" said Doug. "Whew" said I. I didn't want to be the bossy mom. We looped back through Land O'Lakes and retrieved his spare helmet. The good one appears to be missing, which sucks, but at least he had a spare.

After the helmet application, we rode in the nasty drizzle all around Roswell and had a lovely time. I wasn't always able to keep up, but I always reeled them back in at some point down the line. You have to work really hard to REALLY drop me.

We took the big hill route down Pine Grove to turn right on Shallowford Road on the way home. Those of you familiar with the area know that the turn onto Shallowford is tight - you have to downshift in advance and slow down.

Apparently, you have to slow down extra when it's wet.

My rear tire started to fishtail a little as I crossed the bridge and slowed down to turn but I thought I had recovered. I turned my handlebars to the right and all of a sudden I was bouncing and sliding on the ground. Oops.

As far as I can tell, when I turned my handlebars right, my rear tire kept going forward so my bike and I laid down on our sides. As far as accidents go, this was really minor. I only have some road rash on my hip, shoulder and wrist.

However, I'll never forget the sound my helmet made when it bounced off of the ground. THWOP! It's really odd to bounce like that.

As we finished our ride, I was thinking to myself that maybe I wouldn't have to get a new helmet (it's not in the budget right now) because it didn't hit that hard. After all, it only has a minor scrape on the outside.

The inside of my helmet is all cracked, though.

At least it's not my head.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perspective

So, our friend Paul is racing Ironman Canada today. I've been checking online thoughout the day and scarily enough it is completely possible that Paul has been racing since before we left for church this morning (the race must be on Pacific time) and will still be racing by the time we get into bed.

Whew! And he is fast! That is one long race, people.

Off to bathe my kiddos. Race strong, Paul!

In other news, Dagny just told me that Annika was making her ugly (pronounced ughuhly) by calling her stupid. And that I needed to put Annika in her room. Ha!

And, I saw a snake at the Leita trail today. It was either a garter snake or a northern water snake. Watch out runners!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Keep Coming Back Again

Yeah, so we did the "race-plan-testing" ride/run in Cartersville today.

I packed all of the items mentioned in the previous post and we stopped at the clean and tidy truck stop near the Budweiser plant to potty. I also purchased and ate one of a two pack of cinnamon pop tarts. Doug ate the other. Nat had brought her own. I totally copied her because I had to buy something while we used the potty at the stop.

Upon arriving at the Bud plant, we (Nat, Doug and I) suited up and sallied forth into the winds. You could smell the wort from the brewing on the wind. Yummo! : ) That, and the fact that they let us park (for free!) in their parking lot made me really love Budweiser today. On the ride, I felt terrific for the first two hours. My Accelerade tasted awesome and I took a shot from my Gu flask every 1/2 hour. We stopped once to pee, but I didn't stop my watch. Doug was keeping the pace to see if I could hold 17 mph for a ride that long. Until the two hour mark, it was easy. I yelled "whee" down the hills and took in the sights on the beautiful ride. I saw a hawk at the Hawk's Heaven subdivision and a swan in someone's pond and mooed at lots of cows.

However, as we passed the crazy bike-chasing dog (who picked me to chase, by the way) and entered our third hour of biking, I faded fast. Doug had my third bottle of electrolyte drink and he was way ahead of me. I couldn't catch up and spend a lot of time saying bad words and thinking bad thoughts about myself and my riding. It was the Valley of Darkness. This happens to everyone in a race or during training but it happened in a big way today. I kept telling myself that it was just the fueling but upon further reflection, my fueling was fine until the 2 hr point and I still had plenty of Gu and water. Doug slowed and passed me my bottle at about 2hrs 30 mins so it clearly wasn't the fuel. So, the new plan is to (a) start the 3rd bottle of drink promptly upon the start of the 3rd hour and (b) bring some kind of treat to look forward to to help me avoid that bad place. I tried many things but I think an external stimulus (food) is probably better for this than what I tried. So, next bike I'll bring some Fig Newtons or pretzels or ginger snaps to help me snap out of the funk. I even thought about writing my kids' names on my handlebar tape. Maybe just their initials.

Then, even after the new bottle of drink, I got a cramp in my abdomen. Ugh! It could have been the fueling, gas, stiffness at so little change in position for nearly 3 hrs or the constant snot-rocketing that my headcold was requiring. I'm thinking it was the cold or gas. TMI, I know. Sorry.

So we finally finished and I tried to stretch out while Doug (thanks Doug!) loaded and locked the bikes onto our car. We started running and I let Doug and Nat run on ahead while I tried to hold a 9 min/mile pace. After about a half-mile I was able to drink some of my Nuun and even eat one of my run Gus. Therefore, I think the cramping wasn't a tummy issue. Doug and Nat turned around at the stoplight and I planned to follow them after reaching the truck parked on the shoulder. I had even identified a potty location on the way back. Then, I noticed that we were back at the truck stop. Da DAAAAAAAAA! I ran in, took advantage of the clean potties, washed my hands and ran back out, waving to all of the truckers as I passed. Whoo!

There is no way that I'll be able to do my whole race without a potty stop, even with the immodium. It's high time I came to grips with this. So, rather than feeling bad about it, I'll use it as a rejuventation break. Just like the Gallaway method. Perfect!

I was able to hold close to 9min/mile for the rest of my run and even talk myself into going beyond my planned 6 miles to an even 60 minutes, and then exceeding that to get to a good turn-around place. I ended up with 7.01 miles at about a 9:16 pace. Not too shabby. Using my perceived exertion, I could have continued at that pace for a good while.

We learned a lot today. I'm hoping that Doug and Nat got as much out of it as I did.

The girls had a fabulous time with Meghan today. Didn't miss us a bit. They are, however, exhausted from this week so we will all be going to bed shortly.

You've Lost That Bonking Feeling

Anyone who has ever been overweight is afraid of calories. Calories are the enemy. They are the deliciously slippery Hansel and Gretel slope on which we will slide back to the fat pants.

But in longer distance training, particularly half-ironman distance (which is where we are now), those calories are essential. They mark the difference between finishing the race still running and either not finishing at all or finishing in an ignominious shuffle or the dreaded tour of the porto-potties.

So, after the near-bonk on my bike ride a few months back (couldn't find it in the archives - will link if I do), I've been diligent about my fueling. You know the ride - the one where I hit a bump, my hands flew off of the handlebars and I nearly wrecked in front of a car?

Yeah, so, the fear of that condition (the shakes, bad mood, confusion and nausea that we call "low-fuel" at my house) keeps me bringing plenty of electrolyte drink and Gu whenever I exercise. This could be a contributing factor to my ongoing GI issues, but I get those even when I get up and run without consuming anything so I don't think that is it. And, when I eat a Gu, I feel better. Comfort eater, that's me.

But - I've not had that bonking feeling in a while so I think I'm doing OK. I usually bring water and a bottle of electrolyte drink and a Gu for every hour of my bike ride and that seems to work well for me.

Anyway, David Warden at www.tri-talk.com has a nutrition calculator for use in triathlon. You input your weight, your race distance and intensity and it tells you your caloric spend and how many calories you should take in during your race. It's fun to play around with the numbers and compare caloric spend at different intensity levels and race distances. I checked out my sprint numbers as a test and it seemed pretty accurate (given the fact that I won't burn up all of my stored calories in such a short race).

So, according to this calculator, Nat and I (because we weigh the same - I know she's 4-5 inches taller, shhhhhh - we weigh the same!) should take in between 200 and 280 calories per hour. Racing at a higher intensity (87%) gets you to 284 calories per hour and at a lower intensity (82%) is only about 235 calories per hour.

We are doing our training run-through today to test nutrition and clothing. So, here is my nutrition plan for today:

Bike
2 200 calorie bottles of Accelerade on my bike
1 100 calorie bottle of Gu20 on Doug's bike
1 5oz Gu flask with Chocolate Outrage Gu (5 1oz shots of Gu inside)
1 aero-drink bottle of water for sipping

Run
1 20oz hand-bottle of water/Nuun
2 1oz Gus in pocket of hand-bottle

This might be a little low on the calories if I go at a fast pace. If so, for race day I'll replace the Nuun in my run bottle with Gu2O because I can drink that without a problem on the run. The race has hand-ups on the bike but (1) I'm worried that I won't be able to do them, and (2) they are serving Gatorade, which sometimes upsets my tummy. Because I only have 2 bottle cages on my bike, I'll either have to carry the 3rd bottle in my jersey (not a problem, except that my Team Zoot/Gu jersey doesn't have a back pocket) or get a water from the aid station and add my G2O to it in the race. Gu2O comes in single-serving pouches for just this reason.

So, bring on the test.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grrrr

Just to prove how painful the last miles of my race were on Saturday, here are some photos that my new Zoot/Gu friend David took and sent to me. I met David at the race because we both had on our Zoot/Gu gear. He was practicing taking photos of folks at the finish so he would be ready when his son (also in Team Gu gear) came across the line, and sent these to me. Thanks David!














Racing for the Weekend

On Friday, we picked Annika up from school in the dreaded carpool line. UGH! And continued on our merry way (after the obligatory long wait and identification process from the school personnel) to Cordele, Georgia. We were on our way to the Lake Blackshear Resort for our second running of the Georgia Veterans State Park Sprint Triathlon. I think they've had a race here for several years, but we've only been going for two of them.


Doug's folks took the RV down again and the girls spent the nights with them, which was neat. Here is a photo of Annika playing with the toy RVs in the real RV and Dagny looking at me with binoculars.




That photo makes me smile every time I look at it because she was so happy to see me through the binoculars (which, as you might notice) are not connected in the middle.


Katie kept the dog, for which kindness we brought her a watermelon from the garden and some awesome beef jerky from the store located right outside of the park entrance. "Ew," you are thinking, but don't. These folks know their jerky.


This was Doug's first race last year and my second one so we were interested to see how we would measure up after a full year of training. Here are links to my race report and Doug's race report on Beginner Triathlete. And below is a list of my event times (wow, a blogger/excel interface would have helped here):


2007 v. 2008


Swim=> 8:41 v. 6:49


T1=> 2:21 v. 2:00


Bike=> 43:39 v. 39:16


T2=> 0:44 v. 1:02


Run=> 22:50 v. 22:47


Total=> 1:11:52 v. 1:18:13


Result 4th in AG v. 2nd woman overall



Overall, I'm very pleased with my race. The swim is a crapshoot because the distances change every year. I think this year's course was short or T1 included more of the run to transition because I didn't do my best on the swim even though my time looks faster. The bike was awesome - I'm thrilled with that. Almost hit a 20mph average!! I think I did OK on the run. I'd love to get down to 7 minutes per mile for the 5K but maybe later.


Then, we came home on Sunday and tried to catch up on the housework. Not so successful with that, but that's OK. I got the Mass times mixed up AGAIN (thought it was at 4pm, when it was at 5pm) but Annika, Grammy and I made it to our first Mass in the new sanctuary. It was beautiful and the coolness of having a kneeler helped Annika behave herself the whole time. We will, however, have to sit closer to the front next time because it was hard to hear the folks up front from the middle of the sanctuary. Oddly, the band and singers from the choir loft (it was the teen Mass) sounded like they were standing right at our shoulders.

Annika and I arrived home to find that Doug and Dagny had already eaten their dinner so we warmed up some spaghettios and watched the Olympics until bedtime.


Do you know what that means? It means that I didn't do any exercise for the streak on Sunday.


I'm souring a bit on the streak since Charlie broke his leg with what could have been stress fractures. I was up to 90 days again. Oh well. Nat is clearly going to win that challenge unless she gets sick. I'm thinking up a different idea for a streaking challenge next year and will post it in December.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Karma Police

There will be no more discussion about potty-training success here. After the last post, Dagny pooped on the floor in the bathroom (couldn't get her pants down fast enough) and the next day after ignoring my commands to sit down to dinner or sit on the potty, she dropped trou to poop on the stairs.

Nothing like picking up poop and disinfecting the floor to humble a person.

Seriously, though, it seems to me that every time I get excited enough about something to crow about it, I screw it up. So, there will be no more of tempting of fate on the blog. Dagny is working on her potty and some days are good. But some days still aren't. We visited the potty 4 times at dinner last night with no actual use of the potty.

And, on Friday I had to write my first "Dear Mrs. M" note to school to tell them that Annika would be picked up in carpool. Nothing like writing that note to make you feel like an actual adult. It feels very odd to be the one with the power to write the "Please-excuse-Annika's-absence,-she-was-ill." note - like they will notice that I've forged my mom's name and I'll be exposed as a fraud.

Um, not that I ever signed my own excuse notes so that I could have the maximum number of absences and keep my parking space, or anything like that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Begin the Begin

It's the first day of school! Annika started kindergarten and Dagny started the preschool program at a local daycare today.

As we trundled Annika out to the bus stop this morning, Doug remarked that it's the beginning of her time. It's no longer in our control and about what we are doing - it's the start of Annika's doings. As you can see, she was pretty excited about it when we left the house but a little nervous by the time we got to the bus stop. Doesn't she look tiny compared to those other kids? That's the Keegan's kid, the Thomas's kid and Maddie (Annika's idol).







Dagny was equally excited to help write her name on all of her stuff and put it in her Wiggles backpack. She digs a backpack.

Here she waxes contemplative in the car on the way to school. She insisted on riding with the backpack on her lap.




To update on the Potty Train, Dagny had zero accidents yesterday and is still wearing the underpants I put her in this morning (Elmo, by the way). If that is not a victory, I don't know what is.

She took to the school very easily and didn't seem to care that it was new or that I was leaving her there. She immediately jumped into the puzzle action and started checking out the kitchen center. The snack was goldfish instead of animal crackers, which was a disappointment but that's the only negative thing we've heard so far.


In other news, since Grammy was out of town yesterday, Doug and I skipped church and took turns doing the Roswell 40 mile ride with Leslie, David and Natalie. Leslie and David did 80 miles! Very fun. : ) I even saw Mark G. out for his run. He's signed up for Kiawah also. Come on, Lotzie . . . you know you want to do it! All of the cool kids are going.

And, I've learned from my social networking activities that two of my old friends are now doing triathlons! Whoo! And my friend Sara called to ask advice as she trains for her first race. I love to hear about the converts. Someone else starting to do triathlons is almost as good as them moving into our neighborhood. One of my cousins will be working at the Forsyth County Northside a few days a week in her new job - she is a more likely candidate for the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

The Tinkerbell underpants bit the dust yesterday.

Poopy.

Yeah, I know I should have washed them, but who has biohazard clean-up supplies on vacation? Not me. My mom only uses ALL (it's an argument that has turned into a joke, now) so I can't buy Tide for her condo and I didn't bring the Oxyclean. So, those poopy underpants went right into the garbage. Where (amazingly) they will take up less space than a diaper.

Dagny seems to be catching onto the potty for her pee, but not for poop. There is still a power struggle (sometimes physical) whenever we say "time to sit on the potty" but sometimes Dagny will just go in there and sit by herself, announcing "I have to go potty." So, that is good.

But the bad is that all of the "going with the flow" on the potty seems to be using up Dagny's capacity to follow directions. Even if I say "wait right here," she will keep walking as I repeat "wait right here" and "wait right here" over and over. Similar results for "stop touching your sister" and "put your bottom in your chair" and "that's enough crying". Frustrating.

However, if I had made a major life change, not gotten enough sleep and only eaten pistachios, cashews and french fries for two days in a row, I might have trouble focusing and following directions too.

In other news, it looks like a hot one here today. Maybe we will get to actually go into the ocean if those pesky jellyfish are gone. Annika has a new Hannah Montana wave-rider that we need to break in.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Under Pressure

So, the potty training.

It's going OK. Dagny has only peed in her underpants once so far. She's wearing a pull-up or diaper for naps and bedtime and has wet/pooped in those with no problem. Ha!

However, getting Dagny to sit on the potty to "try" is very difficult. She seems to have a lot of anxiety (uncontrollable, almost) about making anything.

This is the opposite of what we thought would be the problem. Dagny is, shall we say, strong-willed. She likes to be in control. We've been putting the potty training off because we were worried she would simply refuse to do it. And poop or pee in the underpants just to spite us. We can't be on the losing side of that equation, so we hadn't started at all.

So, we are being very supportive about sitting on the potty to "try" and repeating (ad nauseum) that it's OK if she doesn't have any pee. That it's important to try so that the pee doesn't sneak up on her.

No dice.

Maybe she doesn't need to go as often as I do or maybe she can hold it like a camel but it's very strange. We haven't figured out how to defuse the pressure of the situation yet. Singing works, sometimes. Distraction, too. But sometimes nothing does. Maybe some wet underpants will be the thing.

In other news, I rode 56 miles on my bike today. Which sounds a lot more impressive than it is because we are in the flatlands, but still. That's a new record for me.

Congrats to all of the peeps doing the Steelhead half-ironman today in Michigan. It looks like a super-fast race (Dan A. did the race in 4 hrs 04 mins) so we are hoping to see some race reports soon to see how the day went.

Friday, August 01, 2008

All Aboard!!

With apologies to The Gap Band,

Everybody All Aboard, the Potty Train is leaving the station.

Dagny and I went on a meet and greet trip to her new school on Wednesday.

. . where they told me that I need to have her potty trained in oh, 12 days. Yes, usually you don't have to have the kids trained until they are in the 3 year old class but they want to put the old 2s (Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec birthdays) together and if Dagny can't use the potty she will have to go with the younger 2s, whose asses she will promptly kick. Trust me on this.

So, before we went home after completing all of our errands, we assaulted the Target to buy the all-important Elmo underpants. Because, you see, it's important that the kids be invested in the underpants. Who wants to pee on Elmo? He's a good guy! We've had several meltdown-causing accidents but some good success so far. Dagny doesn't want to sit on the potty and she certainly isn't telling us when it's time to go, but this is a good start. We even achieved tinkling in the men's room at a Waffle House on the way down here. If she can pee there without touching the potty, we are home free.

In other news, we have the bikes and are at the beach for a last fling before school starts. Thank you very much to mom and dad for the use of their condo. It's hard to get stressed about school or work or potty training when you are sitting on the porch with an adult beverage listening to the ocean.

Doug and I talked a long time about the upcoming SC HIM race on the way down. He stayed awake while I took my turn driving and talked to me to keep me awake. We've concluded that I am unlikely to reach my 6 hour or less goal at this race. To do so, I'd need to go less than 3 hours on the bike and let's face it, I'm not there yet. Doug is closer to this goal, but not optimistic. I think he's wrong and he will kill it, but that's OK. And, Nat has put in nearly double the bike mileage that I have in the last two months, so I won't beat her either. Before anyone gets upset about the competition thing, please understand that Nat and I are friendly rivals - it doesn't really matter which of us wins. We will certainly share some nice frosty beverages to celebrate finishing and whoever turns out to be the winner. By the way, only 169 spaces left for this race, so register now if it's still on your calendar but you've not registered.

And, last but not least, we've taken the plunge and registered for the Kiawah Island Marathon in December. I've studied my running book and if I can get my long run up to 15/16 miles before the SC HIM race in September, I should be able to do the minimum number of 18-20 mile runs to finish the marathon. It won't be fast, but I think it's doable so long as I don't injure myself. So, speed work, schmeed work. I'm low and slow for the rest of the summer/fall. Anyone else in? Lotzie? Joe and Jerry are in.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ta Daa!

Dagny had her last day of camp today. They got medals and got to stand on a podium with them to say "Ta Daaaa" to their friends. Some of the kids were bashful, but not our Dagny. She raised both arms high in the air and yelled "TAA DAAAA" - I could hear her out in the hallway. Gotta love her.

So, yesterday, before our ride I asked Natalie how she got the RSS feed on her blog.

Once upon a time someone wrote "RSS feed. Get one." in the comments here. I don't know who it was but it was a little upsetting. I asked around but no one fessed up and no one explained what an RSS feed was. Then, Nat asked Anne about it on the mom's board. When Anne explained about the RSS feed and the Google Reader a few months back, I did what any good student would do. I checked on my Google and found the "wiki" for RSS feeds. After about two hours of reading, I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about feeds. The long and short of it was that I needed to set up my feed by (1) figuring out my feed address (different from the blog address), (2) uploading said feed link to my blog with some more involved code, and then (3) adding the orange satellite-looking thing or some other icon. There was some sort of debate about the merits of Atom v. RSS feeds. I don't remember which was better.

Anyhow, I ran out of free time that day and did not start the long and involved process.

When Nat explained last night that she just added the icon in the Blogger "Layout" menu, I was sure that was too easy. Not with all of the complicated strings of letters that I read about.

Yeah, so, I was wrong again. The Google folks had already done all of the legwork and code-copying for me. All I had to do was add the feed from the "Add Page Elements" menu. Easy Peasy. AND, it would have been easy to add all of the blogs that I read to my Google Reader with one simple button if I had filled the reader first. Alas, no. I created the blogroll (instead of the link list) first so I had to fill the reader manually. Oops.

But it's done and I'm back in the technology. Enjoy the feeding.

In other news, Annika and I did the ritual new shoe shopping and backpack buying today after the school supply shopping on Wednesday. She is getting pretty darn excited about kindergarten.

I, however, am nervous about the kindergarten. And, the 5.5 hours I slept last night was not enough and I am paying the crabby bill today. GRRR.

Oh, and, Jerry has decided that he wants to do the Kiawah Island Marathon in December. So, Doug, Joe, Kendra and I are joining him. Anyone else up for some lowcountry on December 6? That means that we will miss the Holiday Extravaganza at Annika's school, but I think it will be OK this year. Next year, though, we'd better be there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Circle of Life

We love the Lion King over here but that is not my topic.

Today, I took a rest day. Sure, I got up at 5 when Doug got up for his ride, but I had breakfast, paid the bills and surfed the internet until the girls got up. We went to church (just Annika, Grammy and me - Dagny stayed with Nana/Papa) and then hung out with my folks for a couple of hours. Then, more bill-paying and tidying. Our house is a complete disaster. I worked out 800 hours last week and that does not lead to a clean house. Then, I accidentally booby-trapped the fridge yesterday so that it avalanched on Doug prior to dinner last night. Ooops.

So today I decided that I would just walk. I sucked my dad into the plan until he realized that it was ridiculously hot and my sister might just stay at his house and hang out with him. So, instead of loading Annika up and heading to the Leita for a walk, I basked in the air conditioning and tidied up our office. I filed, I paid bills, I backed the computer up (it had been a YEAR!), I checked on Jen at Ironman Lake Placid. I watched the Hoyts on the Ironman website, which made me cry. Doug made an awesome dinner and I felt guilty for taking the day off.

Even though I did my 30 mins. I still felt guilty.

That is not right.

Anyway, after dinner, we leashed up the dog and went for a walk. Around the side of our house is an oak tree. This tree had serious caterpillars last year and I noticed an area where the leaves were eaten. Aghast, I went over to take a look. Those bastards had eaten up a whole limb, but I found them. Instead of sacrificing the one branch to the creek like I had planned, Doug carefully twisted it off and carried it with us on our walk.

We skipped the "over the dam" portion of the walk and went over the bridge instead.

So that we could drop the caterpillars one by one (or by the leaf, if you are Dagny) into the creek to the waiting mouths of the hungry fish. Don't you worry. Those caterpillars didn't feel a thing. The fish snapped them up almost before they hit the water.

Two birds. One stone.

So to speak.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Love the Waffle House

So, if you've been at work today, you've probably been forwarded a link to the Gwinnett Post article about the couple that got married at the Waffle House in Dacula - you know, the lone Waffle House that used to sit all by itself in between the turnoff for Hwy 78 in Winder and Athens. Dutifully, I followed the link and read the article after someone sent it to me.

Instead of the amusement and derisive laughter that I heard from down the hall, it made me feel sad. How nasty of the reporter to write a story about this couple's marriage and spin it to make fun of them. I hope they have a long and happy life together and make lots of money at that Waffle House now that they are famous. If you go by there, leave them a big tip.

In happier news, the girls had a blast at Nana and Papa's house while Doug and I drove to Chattanooga for the BMW Chattanooga Waterfront Triathon on Sunday. We had a great time even though we did not post personal bests at this distance. It was a beautiful and well-organized race, even though mother nature threw a wrench (or a big bucket of water) into the works. Here is a link to my BT race report. It was great to see all of the internet (Wes, Kevin and Sarah) and NAMC friends at the race. We had to leave pretty early to pick up the girls, but got to see almost the whole race and it was great to have so many peeps there.

Next up, GA Veterans Sprint race in Cordele. Possibly also the Hansgrohe Women's Sprint in Acworth.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Don't Care Anymooorrre

I love Phil Collins.

Anyway, this morning after I paid the bills and made the lunches and cleaned up the breakfast, I suited up to ride and took the girls to camp. After I dropped Annika off (Dagny was first), I made a quick pitstop at the potty.

Where I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

You know how there are good mirrors? This was a bad one.

And, my relatively-see-thru "Team Bachman" bike jersey was clinging to and lifting up to expose my "expanded to hold a human being twice" belly that was poking out over my pink bike shorts which are not low-rise. Note to the ladies, low rise are WAY more flattering to the post-childbirth belly and they don't press on the tummy to irritate the GI.

I did a double-take and mental "UGH!", finished my business in that room, hopped on my bike (time was limited because there was only 2.5 hrs between drop-off and pick-up time), and zoomed away.

Quick aside: while I loaded my gear onto my bike, I noticed lots of moms and dads dropping off their kids and donning their i-pods for a run. It was really cool. I always wonder why none of the parents that drop kids off to swim at 6am at the pool ever stay to swim. None do. Ever. It's really weird because I would be all over that.

Anyway, while I rode I decided that I didn't care if my gut was hanging out, it was a nice day and I was going to have a good bike. Who gives a crap what anyone thinks about my attire or the fact that I always drop my kids off for school/camp without showering and return to pick them up covered in sweat and dirt. They are just jealous of the fun.

I had an awesome ride (27 miles at 15.25 avg mph and 78 avg cadence) and run (20 mins at 9:10 pace) even if I did have to stop for a potty break. It was either the Accelerade or my tummy is still angry from yesterday. Regardless, the endorphins are flowing well today and all is right with the world. Doug has just announced that we will be having Taco Mac for dinner. I'll be having the nachos and carb-loading with some lovely frosty beverages.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

You Wear Me Out

This morning, Doug stayed home with the girls so that I could go on a long bike ride. I did the 40 mile Roswell Ride with a guy from my tri club. He was very nice and insisted that I wasn't holding him back speedwise - he said it was the blue margaritas he drank last night. So, we did the 40 and he left to go home because of the houseguests. I did 10 more miles on my own after taking a pit-stop at the park. Ladies, men don't ever stop to pee. I just don't understand this but it's true.

Regardless, that's a new world record distance for me. 50 miles! Whoo!

Anyway, after lunch (but still pre-shower), I took the girls to my parents' house because (1) they wanted to see us, (2) I had to pick up the beer cooler, wading pool and slip-n-slide from yesterday's party, and (3) Doug was brewing so I thought it would be good to give him a break. Note to self - no one drank the Hefeweizen. Apparently, no one else likes Hefeweizen either. I thought that we could foist that part of the Sam Adams Summer Pack off on my family because some of the other stuff looked good (Summer Ale, Pale Ale, etc). Not so.

While we are watched the girls run screaming around the house, my dad engaged me in the "wearing your body out" discussion. Again.

Dad: Aren't you worried that all of this activity (running, swimming, biking) will wear your body out prematurely?

Me: [thinking - "wow, I'm really worn out right now so it's not a good time to discuss this"] Well, theoretically maybe, but I think it's far healthier than being a couch potato and gaining weight.

Dad: Yeah, but couldn't you do some research on what happened to people who used to be athletes are doing?

Me: Well, triathlon is a young sport (30 years?) so there aren't that many old triathletes.

Dad: OK, runners then. There are lots of old marathoners. All of that pounding has to wear out your body. The swimming is probably OK.

Me: Sigh. Yeah, I could do some research on that.

So, I tried to do a little reseach on that and there is a lot of info on the internet about what older runners are doing but not much about whether they still run. Except for Jeff Gallaway, of course. I'm sure that www.tri-talk.com has done a show on this so I'll report back if I find anything. In the meantime, I might get Jeff's recent book for dad to read. Too bad I didn't think of it while we were talking. I'm bad with extemporaneous speaking - always have been. That's why I don't do litigation.

Anyway, I'm thinking that even if I have exercise-related problems sometime down the road, thoughtful training (not injuring myself, getting enough to eat and sleep, etc) is probably going to be a better thing for me in the long run than not doing the training. Of course, I do get crazy without my endorphins so that is definitely part of the equation for me. I should have mentioned that too. And the getting to eat whatever I want (within reason) because that is a huge motivator. I'll bet that elite athletes are not thinking about the delicious cereal and coffee or pasta that await them at the end of their long run or swim, but that is definitely what I'm thinking about.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

In the Map

Here is my official race report on BT, but let me just say that the 5K race was awesome. Lake Chatuge is beautiful, the water felt good and I enjoyed the whole experience. I finished, I wasn't last and I finished in under two hours. My super-secret goal was 1 hr 45 minutes - I didn't make that (only 9 minutes off) but I think I could come close to that if I did the race again.

I met some neat folks and it turned out that we all finished within about 2 minutes of each other. I guess hanging around in your bathing suit is self-leveling. In some ways, I'm disappointed that I swam the full 5K ahead of time because it took some of the suspense out of the race. There was no "maybe I won't make it" and no "wow, it will be tough to get to the finish before I run out of energy". Then again, it was a good feeling to be out there in the middle of the lake and have confidence in the knowledge that I could do the distance and not worry about the fact that I was completely alone and there were no boats within 200 yards of me. The boats were continually circling around to keep track of us and make sure we were on course but they weren't always within easy reach.

It was really hard to navigate in the lake. Because I'm so terrible with directions, when following a map I have to turn it in the direction of travel to know whether to turn right or left. Doug and I call that "getting in the map." However, in this race I really was "in the map". I think I'd do better with navigation if I were able to give the route another try - maybe even shave some time off. If anyone thinks about doing this race next year and is willing to practice to get comfy with the distance, I'd love to do the race with you.

In other news, I almost got run over this morning. A Honda Accord came up behind me so closely that my arm hairs got ruffled and I screamed. I knew the car was coming because I heard it but assumed (and you know what that means) that it would stay in the general vicinity of the correct side of the road and safely away from me since I was running facing traffic on the other side. Not so. I don't think I'll be going around the loop in that direction again for a while.

AND, as I started down the home stretch, the dog-walking ladies and I heard tires screech and a crash. A teenager had blasted through the stop sign at the dead end, jumped an earthen berm (and bushes) and hit a tree. The tree actually just stopped her because I think she lost a lot of speed going over the berm. So, I had a sprint to get to the neighbor's house to call the police and then some rest while we waited for the cops. As we waited with the clearly inebriated young girl, the neighbor and I were visibly uncomfortable (we didn't discuss this) with the fact that we were ratting her out. We didn't want her to leave until the cops came but we studiously avoided discussing the idea that we had brought the police into the picture and she was now in really big trouble. The kid wanted to walk up to her friend's house but we discouraged that idea. Should we have let her go (so she could possibly avoid prosecution for the DUI) or kept her waiting for the police with the car? I think I would have wanted my kid to face the consequences with the police but that is just me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crazy

So, I'm really nervous about my race tomorrow.

Big Props to all of the ladies who are doing Iron Girl at Lake Lanier tomorrow. Annika and I had a blast giving out shirts at the Expo today. It was so cool to see all of the excitement. We saw Wes and Dee Dee, Nora, Courtney, Harmony, Mrs. Jonathan, and Jamie C. Very fun to see all of the peeps.

And, Nat finished her 100 mile bike today - I'll let her tell the details, but it sounds like she did great.

Anyway, here is what I'll be doing tomorrow. And here is the map. I'm supposed to be down here printing out the map so that I can study it and have some hope at navigation tomorrow. My secret weapon is that Doug can paddle up to me and hit me on the head with his oar if I'm going the wrong way. Thank goodness that Jason mentioned that he paddled for his wife one year. It's really going to help knowing that Doug is out there watching out for me. And, since he is doing this big paddle, we get to eat an extra good dinner. : )

Seriously, though, I'm hoping that I'll be able to remember enough of the map details to judge my distance and position so that I can understand how far I've gone, where I'm supposed to go and most importantly - how much longer.

Despite what Nat has told me, it is highly likely that I will finish last. I'm OK with that because the whole point is to finish this endeavor - it's like a swim marathon for me. I'd really like to break two hours, though. I think it's do-able if I don't get lost and don't freak out. Cross your fingers.