Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not Crafty and I've Got a Gripe

Preschool requires homework. Really.


Monday morning, while I was checking my email, I read the reminder from Dagny's teacher and remembered that I was supposed to have covered a shoebox with paper for school - in addition to putting Dagny in her pajamas with her bear for her pajama picnic and Annika in her spirit shirt because it was early release. And, don't forget that I had to return the book of decorated foot shapes (homework from last month) from the whole class and their families.


Here is the result:







I suck at crafts. And interior design. And all decorative arts. So this was not a bad result, if I do say so myself.

However, it was very depressing on Sunday to drop off the food for the new moms in my life only to find their magazine-photo-shoot-perfect homes in complete, beautiful order (even the fridge!). No messes, no disarray, everything complimentary without matching, etc. Made me feel inadequate with my messy, non-matching, laundry not done, holiday decorations still up house.

I was down.

But, then when I got to school to pick the girls up, Dagny's class was having a parade with their boxes and stuffed animals. They pulled them along the ground with the strings. It was adorable.



Then, I got to ride my bike. OUTSIDE! I even wore sunblock. Craziness. I felt much better and happier after my ride. Seems I was just low on endorphins. In fueling news, I ate a Larabar before my swim and that went, well - swimmingly. HA! And for the bike, I ate a Powerbar gel and a mint-chocolate GU. I was worried that I might like the powerbar gel better than the GU, but that problem was solved when I ate it. Ugh! Mint chocolate is my friend. I always thought the choclate GUs would be gross, but I love them.

Here is a photo from this morning. The girls wanted to play in the snow flurries. I made them wear gloves and pose for a photo. My Grammy made the pink mittens for me when I was a kid. In a minute, I'll see if I can add the action shots of them doing laps around the car because I was trying to get them into our car by saying "OK, do two laps and then we have to go!"




Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feel the Burn

Did you know that you could chafe while SWIMMING?

Yeah, so I did my endurance swim yesterday and didn't notice any problems. I don't love the new suit, but it kept my bottom covered so that is something, anyway. Time passed. I picked up the girls and rode my bike in the beautiful weather (more on that later). We had dinner and I cleaned up. Jumped in the shower with Dagny and OUCH!

I have raw places on both sides of my torso where that suit rubbed my skin off. Almost didn't even wear a bra today but sucked it up for the good of the company.

The good news is that I did 4,500 yards continuously yesterday plus the 500 warm-up. : ) Whoo! The warm-up is not truly necessary because I swim so slowly. It is actually a fog-up because that is about how long it takes for my goggles to fog so I use the break to clean them, put spit inside and get a drink before starting my main set.

While I was lamenting my chafing in the shower, Dagny was counting her shower toys. "One, two animals!" "One, two, animals!" Then she counted to ten (there are four animals). After I explained that you only count each animal one time, she re-counted "seven, eight, nine, ten!" There you go. Who cares if you don't start with one?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roll With It

It was a beautiful day yesterday. While the girls were in school, I swam, ran two errands and had an abbreviated run. The run would have been fine except that I was starving after the swim and ate my lunch (PB&J) in the car while doing errand #1. PB&J, apple slices and an orange slice is too much to eat before a run. GI issues ensued. SIGH.

Anyway, Doug and I had planned for me to ride my bike in the afternoon. I picked up the girls, ran errand #3 and came home. We did the post-school recovery drill (emptying of bags and lunchboxes, loading of dishwasher) and colored until Dagny lost her marbles and went down for her nap. We also had an impromptu discussion of postage when Dagny found some stamps and stuck them all over her teddy and herself because she thought they were stickers. Annika wanted to do a little run with me so we changed our clothes and were on our way outside when Doug got home.

Now, the original plan was for Doug to get home at 3 and I would leave for my bike ride immediately. I even called Nat to see if she could go. However, we ran late, Doug got home early and Annika got it in her mind that she and I would ride together. She was so excited. How could I deny her?

So, my bike ride was abandoned. I ran/walked with Annika on her bike up the hills to my parents' house (they were not home) for water and then ran home (Annika is faster on the downhill). Next time, I think the Greenway would be a better venue because I had to push her most of the way up the hills. She kept pedaling the whole time, but I still had to add some force to keep her moving. We saw vultures and a very dead possum. The possum was a good lesson on why you need to keep to the side of the road and listen when Mommy is telling you to move to the side. Whew. Watching your kid on a bike is not necessarily a physical workout, but it sure is a mental one.

Annika was very envious when I told her that Chase could ride a bike without training wheels. Maybe that will be our spring project. . . after we get the Christmas decorations down.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Two Things

One:

My internet friend (Sarah) has made a video that you need to watch. She created it to enter the Evotri team contest, but it is inspiring whether you vote on the contest or not. It makes me cry every time I watch. Go and watch it here and follow Sarah's directions to vote for her. I posted this message to both of my mommy group boards, but it didn't seem to work right because my post never appeared on the "recent posts" lists so I'm re-posting here. I just love Sarah's message. She is a great ambassador for getting healthy and also for triathlon. If you are going to vote, go fast because the round one voting ends at midnight.

Two:

Doug taught me to do spin-ups this week on the bike trainer. There is a discussion of this biking drill here, but basically they are periods of high revolution riding sprinkled into your trainer ride with the goal of increasing your bike cadence (how fast you pedal). Doug's drill was to do 2 one minute sessions of this per ten minutes of biking. He alternated between increasing the RPMs by 10 (95 rpm in regular riding to 105 rpm during the spin-up) in the same gear and doing it in a gear 2-3 higher. Of course, I did one minute per ten minutes of biking because I misunderstood the directions. Seriously, this phlegm is making me stupid.

Anyway, the spin-ups were fun! Long-term, maybe they will help me get faster on the bike. Short term, they make the trainer ride go much faster, which is always a good thing. We DVR'd NBCs rebroadcast of the Kona race so that is a great thing to watch while on the trainer. Annika liked it too once she understood that no one was going to die. Seriously, this child is morbid.

Note to self - no pepperoni/cheese sandwiches prior to bike rides. It turns spin-ups into spit-ups. Ick.

In other news, Annika has a new chore (which she pronounces "cho"). She and Doug take the dog out for a pee/poo walk after dinner. This is good because if she behaves badly during the day, Annika does not get to do her chore. And, if you are Annika, that is bad. Really, really, bad. So the chore/cho is good. Really, really, good. Nat was right, Nat was right. La, la, la, la, Nat was right.

And, Doug has also started taking Annika for walks at the park while Dagny is taking her nap. She LOOVES the walks and comes home tired enough to sleep at night. Whooo!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a Small World After All

On Sunday, Doug ran in the coolest race. It was the Red Top Rumble - an 11.5 mile trail run at the Red Top Mountain State Park. The girls and I loaded up on snacks and drove up to watch Doug finish. You'd be surprised how much stuff you have to pack for breakfast and snacks on the road.

We found a good place near the finish and watched the front runners come through. While we were waiting, a girl that I graduated high school with came by (we were in the band together, even). We yelled for her and then a guy from law school came by before Doug showed up and we left to hang out with him while he fueled. We drove all over the park before finding the right place, so we got to see several areas of the run. It was awesome - you couldn't even see the trail from the road, just a line of runners looping up and down the tree-covered hills. Doug said the race was really fun and the park looked like a great place to go for a trail run or day hike. Really beautiful. They also have a lodge if you felt like staying longer.

Come to find out, the girl from high school (Maja) was parked next to Doug and her coach is none other than the famous Matt Russ (Paul's coach). Small world, eh? So, Maja has an ironman sticker on her car. She is a realtor and also a 5 time ironman! And also a coach at the Sport Factory (she didn't mention this - I googled). If you are looking for a house in DeKalb or the surrounding areas, or a life or athletic coach, click the links above and she can hook you up! She also introduced me to a bunch of the other Sport Factory folks who did not act like I was an idiot in my jeans with my snack-filled stroller and two rugrats in tow. Doug even snagged a hat in the schwag giveaway which I got to wear on my run today. Score!

I didn't see the law school guy again but he was really fast and so was Maja. Brian specializes in civil litigation and fiduciary law so again, follow the link if you need that kind of lawyer.

Today was my non-office day so I got to run at the park (AND, Doug watched the girls so I could get my long swim in this morning). I just love the trail running. So peaceful. I did two loops for 4.5 miles (forgot to charge Garmin so the mileage is approximate) and could have kept going but cooler heads prevailed and I quit while I was ahead. I can't go injuring myself before the ING race.

At Doug's race, we got flyers for a 1/2 marathon trail run in Conyers - the Granite Grinder. It is the weekend before our first triathlon of the year so we could not sign up. Too bad, because I love the trail runs. Next year, I will be on the lookout for more of them.

In other news, we are madly preparing for Valentine's Day over here. We've finished the cards and are now working on the cookies for the teachers. Dagny's teachers got candy from Starbucks because her party was today and I wasn't ready. You didn't realize that Valentine's Day presents for the teachers were required did you? It's competitive in the preschool. Those other moms will make you look like a jerk in a flat minute in you don't think ahead!

And, we had to do teacher appreciation day cards this week at school for the kids to present to their teachers in the morning of the big day. Annika did her own and wrote "i lav y" on it. Her teacher read it and said "did you write 'I Love You'" on my card? I know I love her just for knowing what Annika meant. Wait until she sees her Valentine's Card, labeled: "MES BACE." That's "Ms Betsy" to you without young kids.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Love to Ride My Bicycle

Sunday's high was predicted in the 60s. PERFECT biking weather. After Doug's race (more on that later) and lunch, I donned my gear and got ready to go. Doug pumped up the tires for me since the crappy bike tubes I bought have smooth nozzles so it takes two of me to pump them up. Note to all - don't let the bike shop people sell you the smooth nozzles. Take them out and look. I thought all tubes were the same, but it makes a difference.

When Doug came back in from the tires and I came downstairs, he said "you might want pants" so I reluctantly ran back upstairs and got some. Couldn't find the running tights to I put the capilene long underwear on over my bike shorts. What a looker!

Anyway, off I went. I rode out of the neighborhood (the most challenging part of any ride) and down to the river. It was a beautiful day and I was doing very well until the wind hit me. It blew me out of my lane and into the next one - I was a sail! Since there were three lanes at this point in my ride, this was not a big deal. I wanted to go to the left lane so I could turn, but figured it would be OK to just turn right and then turn around to get to my road. Some jerk in a gold/beige Honda Accord buzzed me here. He had two other lanes to use, but had to use mine. SIGH.

After about 45 minutes, I decided to eat something. I'm working on my nutrition for the race this fall, don't you know. I ate this bar and it was very tasty, in the way that rum balls are tasty. A bit thick, though, and I think I should have cut it in half or drank more water with it because it threatened to revisit me about 30 minutes later. Note to Clif, walnuts have peels that get stuck in your teeth. I finished the flat part of the ride after being passed only once and began the long climb out from the river. It was so hard. My legs felt like lead and I couldn't get any speed up. My plan had been to practice my aero position while in the bike lanes but it was just too windy. I had to let a nice guy in a blue pearl izumi shirt pass me at a light because I was toasted by the time I got done with the bike lanes. I decided to eat again as I followed the blue guy up the hill. Gu's Christmas flavor (Mint Chocolate) is really good. Mmmm. It stayed down fine. Maybe the other was just too dense.

My original plan had been to take a nearby neighborhood loop if I got back home early. I even wrote that in my note to Doug. However, wind = slow. I finished my ride almost exactly at the two hour mark (which was all of the time I had because of the internet vacation research I did before leaving). It was a lovely day and I was filled with endorphins from watching Doug's run and my nice bike. How great is that? A ride in February. Who gets to ride in February?

Wind, schmind. Just gave me a better workout.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

King of Wishful Thinking

In case you were wondering why folks who work in an office have such a hard time not gaining weight (with the obvious exception of sitting on our butts all day), here is a photo of one example:


We had king cakes in the office today. It's Mardi Gras, don't you know!!
I tested both and have to say that the one on the right was more my style. I don't know what king cake is "supposed" to taste like, but this one was yeasty and crumbly and only a little sweet. It was from Gabriel's Desserts in Marietta. My friend who brought it said that the Italian Cream Cake is even better. I don't know how you could top this, though. Mmm, delicious. The one on the left was not bad either. It had a more cinnamon roll-y texture, but was definitely prettier with more bling. Icing lovers would prefer the left one.
In all fairness, I have to confess that I brought more than my fair share of baked goods to the office before I had kids. I used to bake to calm myself before tennis matches and would bring the results to the office. Every week. Now, no time for such behavior!
In other news, while Dagny and I ate dinner last night, I browsed the foodie blog links from Anna's blog. I found one lady that makes some really cool stuff. Her blog is called "Not as Good as Pork Cracklins" (how could you not check that one out!) and not only can she make perfect loaves of bread, she is also a 5-time Ironman. And, she finished Ironman Coeur d'Alene with a broken finger last year. Tough as nails!
Both girls are home sick again today. Annika had a fever and felt rotten and Dagny's tummy was . . . unsettled. She may have drunk some old milk, though, so I'm not willing to say she's really sick. Before you freak out, please let me explain that sometimes Dagny hides her milks in the cabinets. We couldn't find her milk before retiring to bed last night, so I just made her a fresh one. But the old one is sitting on the little table right now. Ooops.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cry, Crybaby

I called Natalie today to say that I wouldn't be able to bike this week. I left a message and it was whiney. I was frustrated because my biking for the week is all messed up because of my schedule. There are some warm days coming and I'm going to miss them all. But, then when I came home from the errands and picking the kids up from school, Doug said "why don't you go ride?"


And my response was "Thank you, but I'm too tired."


Wuss.


I suck.


Now, as Doug and Annika left to go to basketball practice and Doug was preparing for his run, I wish I had biked. Sigh.


I did get a new suit:


It's not my favorite color but the selection of training suits at Dick's was minimal at best so I got the best I could find. Next time I'll order myself a suit online BEFORE my old one wears out. Let me tell you, though, that shopping for training suits is just as humiliating as shopping for regular bathing suits. At least I can swim tomorrow, though. Thank goodness the REI dividend is coming soon. I want a cuter (and preferably purple) suit. Maybe for Mother's Day, we can buy me one.

A note, though, on swimsuit sizing. Speedo suits have two sizes on them: (1) the dress size that you'd wear in the misses dept, and (2) the inches you are around your bust. Do not look at the dress size. It is a lie. Go immediately to the bust size that you are - that's your bra size. Those will fit. Looking at the dress size will just waste valuable time and make you feel fat.

I don't know why I'm so low today. I ran 4 miles this morning and it was lovely once I'd waited for the rain to stop. Maybe just tired.

In other news, my dad went to Annika's basketball game with Dagny and me on Saturday. He got to witness just how little she is interested in the game. Bless him for coming, though. When she pays attention to the game, Annika is really a good little defender but that whole attention thing is not happening right now. Anyone with advice on the attention-paying, please send it my way. Seems like my voice sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown so I need to do something to decode it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Here is yet another opportunity for you to laugh at me instead of with me.

However, if you are squeamish, you might want to leave now and come back tomorrow.


- - - - - - -

OK, wussies gone?

Here is the story.

For dinner last night, we had hamburgers and fries. I had gone to work early because of the rain and came home early so I could get my run in. My sweet Doug found some delicious plain curly fries in the freezer dept that bake nicely in the oven. He grilled burgers, and added cheese and bacon. He seasoned the fries with Lawry's Seasoning Salt. Yum. They were very good and the burgers were heavenly. Mmmm, beefy goodness.

Because he knows that I prefer crispy fries, Doug cooked the fries longer than usual. This caused the fry that fell on the floor of the oven to ignite and we had to open the doors and fan out the smoke. Ooops.

Anyway, the girls ate well and so did Doug and I. We cleaned those fries right up. I even ate the crunchy crumbs that fell off of the fries after dipping them in the extra salt on the plate. After a run, I crave salt.

While I was looking at the plate, though, I noticed some odd brown spices mixed into the salt. Hmmm. Those were weird. Maybe they were uncrunched peppercorns?

Then, one started moving.

This is what I thought they were. I've edited to add that further research indicates that these are more likely. Cigarette beetles - they like paprika. That salt went in the trash and now I have to examine the other spices and bread crumbs and what-all in the pantry to make sure that that was the only hiding place. Admittedly, the salt was probably well past its sell-by date (like 5 years past) but we know from my past pantry incident that these beetle eggs just come in the food (especially corn and spices) and eventually hatch if conditions are right. Bleaching of flour and spices and storing them in the freezer "neutralizes" the eggs, but doing that also make stuff tasteless. So, there you go.

Watch out for the moving peppercorns.

Doug was so grossed out that he nearly got sick, but I thought the whole thing was funny. Just can't think too much about licking tiny dead bugs off of my fingers with the salty fries.

In other news, I got to do a 7 mile trail run today, which was lovely. Our city is good with the parks. Now we are preparing to shower and go to Annika's basketball game. Cross your fingers for her.