Saturday, May 31, 2008

No Going Back

This morning, after my run while I was full of cereal, coffee and endorphins, I registered for two races. These have been on the radar and in the plan, but now there is no turning back.

I also registered Doug. So no turning back for him either.

The olympic distance race in Chattanooga is do-able, I think. We will know in two weeks after the West Point Lake race. The half iron distance race in September. . . another thing entirely. I will have to get my bottom on the bike to get ready for that one. I'll be hopping on the trainer tomorrow during Dagny's nap because I don't think it's a good idea to ride on the road in the heat after I give blood. That's OK, I have a movie to watch and a BT friend lent me some spinervals DVDs.

It was, however, nice to see at least 10 people from Roswell/Alpharetta on the SC half-iron distance race participant list and Wes and Sarah on the Chattanooga list plus some other NAMC folks. Inexplicably, it made me feel calmer knowing there will be "peeps" there.

And, while I'm on a registering tear, anyone with suggestions for a good December/January marathon, please chime in. Doug and I are considering a destination marathon if we can convince some peeps to join us.

Lotzie, I'm talking to you!

Otherwise, I think it will be Rocket City or somewhere else close.

In other news, we are finally rid of Doug's sister's dog because they come home from vacation today. Whew! I had forgotten how difficult puppies were. And this dog is a springer spaniel so she is high-strung. Having a nervous puppy here really made us appreciate our good old dog. Annie doesn't need for everyone to be seated before she eats, she heels, she knows not to eat crayons, she doesn't chew up markers, she understands the "give" command, and she doesn't bark unless someone walks by while she is looking out the window.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Like Cold Beverages

Here is a photo of Annika from her last day of school party. It was a picnic and we had a great time playing outside and eating pizza. Note the cool charm bracelet that the teachers gave everyone - quite a hit with the kids. And, here. Is what is going on in our bathtub. For those of you who don't know, this is the beginning of beer. : )
As you can see, it's going a little slow because it's chilly in the bathtub but in about 2 weeks we should have some beer to drink. When we went to my cousin's wedding in Orangeburg, one of my relatives by marriage made the BBQ and the beer and it was awesome. So, Doug's interest in making beer was reignited. Whoo! He is GOOD at making beer.

When we were in college, Doug and Mike used to get together every few months to brew together. Some brews were better than others (usually because of the amount of cold beverages consumed during the brewing process) but they got really good at making beer. When we were first married, Doug got the kegging system (using old Coke kegs) and we had lots of good brews for every holiday and event. But lately, no brewing.

So I'm glad that the yeast is back growing at our house.

In other news, I got new running shoes (Saucony) after a visit to the Big Peach. They tested me and said that my Adrenalines might have been a little too much motion controlling. So, check these out - they are even purple. First run was good. Tomorrow's long run will be the test.

And after that, the girls are running in their first race at Team Ford. Watch out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Three Hour Tour

We were supposed to load up the kids, the bikes, the trailer and the ride-a-long and hit the Silver Comet this morning.

Unfortunately, at 5am Annika came into our room to say that she felt like she needed to barf. We got her a bowl, put her hair up and she heaved a little but nothing came. Back to bed for Annika and me - Doug got up and did some dishes from last night's BBQ.

So, no Silver Comet. After we cleaned up from the festivities, Doug went for his run and I got to bike when he returned. I did a tour of the local area with the intention to hit 40 miles. There is a 40 mile route for our area, but parts of it are not appealing to me so I did a modified version.

I loaded 2 water bottles (one with water and one with electrolyte) and my aero-drink bottle, filled my newly-affixed GU flask, and ate a Cliff bar as I was leaving the house. Still, I ran out of fuel. Should have filled both water bottles with electrolyte and brought at least 3 GUs, possibly 4. That's OK - I'm going to get this one day. The aero-drink was great, though. I got splashed on some bumpy places but only right after filling and it felt good because I was hot. And, I only put water in there so I wasn't sticky - see, I'm trainable.

It was an awesome day. I saw a billion people out walking, running, biking, doing yardwork. One little girl doing yardwork with her dad yelled "go biker, go biker" at me. : ) There were tons of triathletes and bikes on the bike lanes down by the river and some passed me on the way there.

I decided to do the neighborhood portion of the 40 mile route first to avoid having to come through my own neighborhood twice (too hilly). Was doing fine and had my first shot of GU at one hour once I crossed 92 to head to the river. As I did the turnaround in Inverness, there was another guy in there turning around. I let him go first and would see him about three more times during the ride - not passing ever, just in the same vicinity.

I stopped to potty and refill all of my bottles at about 1 hr 40 mins. This was not a good sign. It was really hot. I stopped for a phone check at the place where Nat and I usually GU but I wasn't to two hours yet so it wasn't time for GU. As I did the big hill up Wileo, I was disappointed to realize that this ride was going to take me 3 hours. Well, duh! Of course it would - I usually do 3X miles in 2.5 hours so simple math should have told me this. The realization made me sing the Gilligan's Island theme all of the way up the hill so it wasn't all bad.

Anyway, I was (distantly) following a couple as they went up Wileo and Hightower (think I had the other GU here). I caught the woman on the way down the hill on Pine Grove - it's a great downhill and I know where all of the bumps are so I can fly. I fell in with the woman on Shallowford and joked about riding the brakes on the downhill since that is what Nat does. Turns out, the woman is on BT too (Aimster) and I know her in that world. I leave her but say that I'm sure she'll pass me on the uphill, which she does. : )

We hang out and chat all along Shallowford and I was trying not to hang on her wheel on Jones. I peeled off to do Nat's folks' street and lost her and the guy in there because I didn't want to draft all the way home. It felt like cheating - plus, what if they thought I was annoying?

Anyway, after I got back on the regular route, I had drunk all of my electrolyte and sucked every bit of GU out of my flask and I was cashed. Coming past the bottoms on the street, I stated to feel shakey. "Suck it up," I said. "Just one set of hills to go and then it's all downhill." I struggled through the last neighborhood and made it to my 'hood by talking to myself a lot and avoiding the brakes on the downhills (use the hill!). Whew! Once there, I found those couple of bikers again. They were having a drink break. Turns out the guy is also on BT (atl_runner). This was their first time on this route. How cool is that? I offered water/potties, but they declined. Apparently, not everyone needs to pee as much as Nat and me.

I didn't have the energy for a run-off but was able to rack my bike without incident (it's above my head so I have to lift the bike up really high) so next time I'll fuel better and do a run after the bike. I've showered and am clean now and I feel like $1M.

46 miles and change at a 14.XX pace (including the potty break, the water, stoplights, etc). Whoo! It's a new record distance for me!

Annika is feeling better now and is enjoying Miss Spider on TV. I had to put the kaibosh on SpongeBob. He's just not very positive.

Again, the most thoughtful drivers on my ride today were the landscapers. I'm guessing that this is because people buzz them or honk or yell at them too so they know how it feels.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood??

Tuesday, I was supposed to get up early and run so that Doug could swim. And I overslept.

I went to work, had instant noodles + frozen spinach and a banana for lunch and my tummy was off. And then I got tired. Luckily, the machines at work have Diet Dr. Pepper in them. Yum-o. Anyway, I drank my nice bottle of tasty but not caloric chemicals and felt much better. Caffeine is my friend. The tummy, not so much better.

So, when I called to tell Doug I was on my way, he said "why don't you come home and put on your running clothes and go out for a run?" "I'll feed the kids and we can eat together when you get home." Well, I certainly am not one to skip a gift workout so I changed clothes like Superman and went out on my run.

Into the blazing heat and humidity. Punishing. This run was punishing. The hill loops I did on the bike on Monday left me with aching calves and quads. The heat did not help the tummy. I now totally understand why everyone blew up on the run at the Gulf Coast Triathlon and Florida 70.3. The possibility of this kind of heat makes me glad that we are doing our first HIM in the fall. Luckily, on this run, I could stop at the clubhouse and again at home to use the potty. I wanted to quit for all of the first loop (2.85 miles). Then, I almost returned to the house after my short out-n-back at the beginning of the second loop for aoother "break" but told myself to HTFU. Clouds started to roll in just after that pep-talk and the run was instantly more bearable. Whew!

About a mile later, I was coming up a hill while a guy in a Honda waited for me to pass. "You didn't have to wait on me," I joked, "I'm not going to beat you." This is funny because I was sucking it up the hill. "No," the guy said, "I wanted to see if you needed a ride home - there is bad weather coming." Then, as he passed me on his way out the guy said that there was a tornado warning for Woodstock. I thanked him and said that I was close to home. After that, I picked up the pace. Fear is a good motivator.

With a mile to go, I passed another guy. This one was out walking his dogs. We chatted about the lightning and he, too, offered me a ride home. See, this is why I love our hood. There is the dark-30 club that says hello when I run in the morning (counted 7 this morning, not counting drivers and landscape/construction workers) and in the afternoon everyone wants to help out.

I had planned to run for 60 minutes with a goal of 6 miles. I got the 6 miles but only 59 minutes. The weather got so ugly that I couldn't even run right in front of the house so I raced inside. So I could have dinner with Doug while we watched the trees bending over and the hail raining down on the yard. It was a nasty storm. Will post the photo when it migrates from my phone - soo slow to do that!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Death of a Disco Betta Fish

Our fish Shelley passed over to the big flush yesterday. Here is a link to my only photo of him.

No one liked Shelley and he was regularly ignored at our house. I fed him every day, but his bowl only got cleaned on special occasions. He even spent some time in the wine chiller when I accidentally broke his bowl while cleaning it. But he really most preferred the plastic "O" bowl he started in - the one in the photo. We thought it was too confining for him, but those luxurious glass bowls were too spacious or too exposed or something. He didn't like them. I don't know why. He was a mystery.

So anyway, Doug changed his water and we dropped him off at Aunt Katie's house when we left on Friday. By the afternoon, the phone calls began:

"Shelley isn't looking good - he's just sitting there." He always does that. He doesn't move much.

"He's swimming upside down now." Really? Because his mouth turns up so he can gulp insects from the surface (or beta pellets, but whatever).

And finally, he was just floating. No tapping would rouse him.

He was a good fish and probably just got old. According to the internet, Bettas only live for 2-3 years and let's face it, a fish's life at my house is hard. You will note from my perusal of the blog archives that we have had him for 2 years.

HOWEVER, to further prove that we should not have fish. . .

Doug, Uncle Robbie and the girls caught a bunch of sand fleas, angel wings, what I think was a spindle and various tiny fish at the beach today. Aunt Jennie and I instigated a catch and release program which worked OK when Dagny and Sophie didn't drop the fish into the sand. But Annika wanted to keep the fish in her bucket until we went back outside this evening.

Fine. SIGH.

So, we went down to Jen/Rob's condo for lunch and upon our return tucked our exhausted children into bed for their naps. And went out onto the porch to find a bucketful of dead fish. Oops. So much for catch and release. Doug released them back into the ocean and hopefully we can avoid bringing any more away from the water.

They were really cool to watch, though. The spindle put out his foot and climbed up the top of the bucket and the angelwings opened and put out their stalks while we watched. And those sand fleas were fast! They can burrow into the sand faster than you can blink your eye.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Take It Easy

You know how I joined the streaking challenge on Paul's blog?

Well, I've been sucking at the streaking. Things come up, you know?

I exercised 11 hours the week before last, but still had a goose egg (that means I didn't manage at least 30 minutes of exercise) on Friday. I had to get up early to pay bills and didn't get them finished in time to do some working out before it was time to get ready for work. And then we went out for dinner after work and I was too tired to bother when I got home after bathing the kids. Dagny melted down when it was time to walk the dog so I didn't even get to do that.

And then, when I did my bills this past week I noticed that my computer needs backing-up and I haven't filed anything in about a month. And, I am short-tempered and had the freakout mentioned in the previous post when I wanted to pull my hair out. So, what I'm saying is, though I enjoyed the big training week and seizing the day when each swim/bike/run opportunity arose, I don't think I can sustain the 11 hour training weeks right now. When I read about evaluating your average training volume in Joe Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible, I didn't quite understand what he was talking about. But now I think I do. I can't do 11 hour weeks every week and still maintain my job and a reasonable degree of organization in my house. And that is OK.

Every hour spent training is good. Just like every hour with my kids is good. There may not be enough of either of them so it's good to appreciate what I get.

And, goose eggs on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday last week. Because of the packing and the wedding and what always happens at work on the day before vacation. But, you know what? This week is a whole new week and I got to run 6 miles this morning and it was lovely.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wastin' Away Again in Beer-ville

I had a whole bunch of posts in my mind on Friday, which I thought of during the trail run Doug insisted I take after I freaked out about not getting everything done in time to leave for our vacation on Friday. Sure, I got up at 4 and paid the bills. But I didn't get any of the filing done and there is that other pile of "things I need to address" plus the pile of work in my backpack and the suitcases that I hadn't yet packed.

But, he insisted I would feel better after a run and he was right. I ran up to the good park and ran around once (3 potty breaks because freaking out + nervous tummy = lots of stops) and then came back home. I ran almost 7 miles if you count the walking in mile 5/6 to get to one of the stops, which I do. I saw some runners who weren't very friendly to me, even though I said hello. Maybe it was because I took too long at the water fountain. Dunno.

Anyway, we made it. The suitcases were packed and we left right on time. Sure, we forgot some stuff but nothing huge. And, Annika was beautiful at the wedding even if she didn't stand still and the party was great. My aunt and uncle's house is a little bit of heaven for my family and they pulled out all of the stops to make a super party. Their nephew (Barney) made the BBQ and the beer and it was awesome. The bride and groom did a slideshow of photos from their lives and one of the bride's songs was "Boondocks". I was a little worried about her using that song since the groom's family appears to be from town but I think it says a lot about her and her family. Maybe we'd all be a lot happier if we'd stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and just be who we are.

And today?

We've made it to the beach after checking out all of the bikes driving home from the Gulf Coast triathlon (I asked a guy at the Whataburger how it was and he said "hot") and are gearing up to go to the Irish pub for dinner tonight before my sister gets here with her family, when we will switch to Margaritaville or Gin&Tonic-ville. And I haven't even checked my work email yet.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Tracks, Redux

So, today I rode past the tracks again with Nat and Doug.

It's unanimous. Those are bottoms.

Hope they washed off before getting back in the car!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Take the Dumbass Biking

Earlier this month, we signed up to ride in the Roswell Mayor's Ride - 20 mile loop. It's part of the Roswell Criterium festivities. Doug was going to take Annika on the ride-a-long and I was going to pull Dagny in the trailer.

So, you can see where this is going.

Dagny has been feeling icky since Friday. She has a cough and a lot of phlegm. On Friday at Annika's soccer game, she choked on the phlegm and vomited on the field. Oops.

This morning, she apparently choked again or she has some kind of stomach thing. It could be either one because she has a horrible, gagging, old smoker's cough and she hasn't eaten any appreciable amount of food since Thursday. Remember, this is Dagny. She eats everything.

So, after she barfed, I bathed her and put her back in bed. She seemed completely fine with no trace of fever, so Doug and I thought we could still ride. We readied the bikes and car and I went upstairs to get the girls ready. While I was braiding Annika's hair ("just like Aunt Matalie"), Dagny coughed and it made her barf again. OK, bike ride off.

But she was so excited about riding in the trailer. She calls it her stroller.

So, we decided I would take her on the 6 mile family ride in the trailer and just bring a bowl with me in case of more upchuck. She was fine. She is weak from the lack of food but she sipped her ice water during the whole ride with no sicks. Then, she ate a whole bag of cheerios while the I was busy doing some tire work. She is napping now after a cheese quesadilla so I'm hopeful we will be able to make it to the race and possibly the party at Nat's folks' house tonight.

So, the tire work. SIGH. Just let me tell you. . .

We were LAST on the family ride. There were 3 year-olds who passed us. My bike was so heavy and hard to pedal. I couldn't figure out where all of my bike strength had gone. And something was making a rubbing noise. I checked my brakes and the back ones were rubbing so I adjusted them to no avail.

Once we finished the ride and returned to the park (after enduring much ridicule from the other riders), I realized the problem. Not only was my back tire really low (so low you could see it poking out on either side of the rim), the whole wheel had come out of the bracket and was rubbing against the frame. Oh! So that was the noise. No wonder!

I took the tire off, checked the whole tube and reinflated it with my C02 cartridge after I read the instructions again. The repair kit tire levers were flimsy but I made them work. After I got the tire back on, Dagny and I decided to ride to Starbucks after a quick detour to the potty. However, when we went to get back on the bike after the potty, the tire was flat again.

Maybe I should have used a fresh tube. But it wasn't leaking! Ugh. I took the tire off and put the new tube in while other Bike Roswell folks walked around me in the set-up/potty area. Then, I got the tire and new tube back on the wheel and tried to complete the refilling. I was pretty pleased with my handiwork. However, as I was working on the refilling (with some difficulty), some guys came to my aid and tried to fill it for me. Oops. That didn't work - they didn't do well with the C02 either. One guy went and got his "real pump" and set me right. They put my tire back on and I was on my way. Back up the hill and to my car to go home because Doug and Annika finished the 20 mile ride about that time.

And, no ride tomorrow because I have a work meeting. On my day off. SIGH.

But, the family ride was a lot of fun and we will definitely do it again next year. And I've had a yet another reminder that I need to check that back wheel on every ride or at least if it's making a rubbing noise.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Tracks

HA! Dorothy asked about the tracks I posted a photo of last week. This reminded me of a song that my friend Yvonne liked in college called "The Slacks". It was by Trip Shakespeare, a band that she thought was the next big thing.

I wore the pants
I said relax
We did the dance
They call the slacks

It really was a good song, though.

Anyway, I thought the tracks were moons. If you know what I mean.

They looked like someone sat their bottom in paint, crabwalked forward and sat down. Again and again. I could be wrong and Doug thinks I am wrong but that is what I thought. They are on the way out the Hwy 92 entrance of Waverly Hall if you want to make your own inspection.