A House!

June 15, 2010

Well, it’s countdown time now!  GB found us an awesome little house in Minneapolis.  It has a fenced yard for the dogs, a garage, a patio, and even a dishwasher!!  It’s weird to have signed a lease on a house I have never seen, but I trust GB and the pictures look awesome.

School finishes this week and then I’m teaching swimming until August when I fly back to the US.  GB and I can hardly believe that after nearly two years apart we’ll be reunited again – EVERY DAY!  It’s going to be so wonderful to have my better half and my dogs back in my life.

Next weekend is my sister’s wedding, so GB will be flying out for that next week.  That in itself is something really exciting to look forward to!

Other than that, not much to report.  I had a moped accident and injured my shoulder, but it seems to have mostly recovered and I am still on track with my training.  Now the weather is hot and humid and just the way I like it, I am SO happy.  And I think I’m the only person on the island who feels that way!  Swimming lessons have started already so I teach at school until 3.30pm and then go straight to lessons which I teach until 6.30pm or 8.30pm depending on the night.  One thing is for sure, I’m sleeping like a rock!

I hope everyone is well.  I’ve fallen so far behind in blogland since I’ve been so busy!

5 Miler

May 10, 2010

I decided to run a 5 miler on Sunday.  Without shoes, with a cold, and without taper.  The result was pretty good.

The fun thing about showing up to a race barefoot is that everyone wants to be your friend, or at least talk to you.  People want to know if it hurts and if not, why not.  I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made that says “If it hurt, I wouldn’t do it”.  Which is not entirely true – except in the case of barefoot running.

Anyway, it was a fun run and a good first-of-the-season pacing experience.  I had a pace in my head that I wanted to run.  This pace was about the same as my A-race triathlon 10k run from last August which, in hindsight, was pretty lofty.  I looked at my watch at mile one and saw that I was nearly 30 seconds under pace and thought “uh-oh, that’s going to hurt later”.  I was right, and my pace definitely slowed as the race went on.

There weren’t many people in the race and I managed to hold the third place female spot for 4 miles.  But then, just as I was flagging, a woman from behind trotted by me looking strong and fresh and I knew I didn’t have a chance.  I dragged myself through the final mile finishing 30 seconds behind her and barely holding on to 4th place.  My average pace for the race was a min/mile slower than I was hoping, but still a decent speed for this early in the season and just enough for an age group win.

After the race everyone wanted to look at the bottoms of my feet.  Apparently expecting blood and gashes, people were shocked that my feet actually looked better than theirs (which were blistered from their shoes!) and no different from how they were when I started – except dirtier!

Next week is a sprint tri.  I haven’t decided what to do about shoes during the run, but I’m tempted to shave those precious second off during T2…!

Plastics

April 30, 2010

I went to the doctor on Wednesday.  To the plastic surgeon, to be exact.  For a consult.  Don’t worry, I’m keeping my B-cups, I was just there so she could advise me about two cysts on my neck.  They’ve been there for two years or so.  Large enough to bother me, almost small enough to deny.  From time to time (when life is stressful) they get infected and then I’m forced to take antibiotics.  That is not my personal favorite chain of events, so I decided to at least schedule an appointment to DISCUSS them.

Well, the surgeon looked at them and said “want them gone?”.   “Well sure”, I replied, but I start teaching swimming soon, so it will have to be in the next two weeks.  You probably don’t have time before then”.  [subtext: I should probably leave them for another year when I’m not as busy].  “Okay, says the Doc, let’s do it now”.

NOW??? While I’m awake???  Like RIGHT NOW???  HERE???

“Sure”, she says “might as well!”.

So while I am signing forms and busy panicking about whether she had a few drinks with lunch and might accidentally hit a major artery, she prepped my neck for surgery.  The awake kind.

Suddenly it hits me.  I’m awake.  This means that if things go bad and I need to take control of my own surgery, I can.  Because, you know, I have an extensive background in plastic surgery.  Well, at least I can try to hold a bleeding artery closed.

Anyway, she proceeded with the surgery and chatted all the while while I clenched my fists and sweated in angst.  In hindsight I’m SO glad she did it then and there since I KNOW I would have put it off for at least another year.  Intentional incisions to the body just scare me.  Especially the neck.

Halfway through the first removal I say “Hey, can I swim with these incisions?”.  She laughs.  In two weeks.  Oops, I say.  I have a triathlon in two weeks.  Is that cool?  She shakes her head and laughs: “I should have known you were that type”.  “Don’t worry” I say, “you can keep going, I’ll figure something out”.  She laughs loudly as I cringe, thinking she’s surely going to slip and nick my jugular.  “Well, a little late now” she says, “I have already cut you open.  But thanks for permission to continue”.

By the end of the appointment she has produced some magical sticky stuff.  This can go over my incisions in one week (see, we have negotiated now) and I can swim at that time.

Anyway, these cuts are on my neck.  In full view.  I am not going to rush into the water and risk unnecessary infection or scarring. Stitches out in one week.   So I’m cool.  Relaxed.  And I can run and bike to my heart’s content, so I’ll be ready to race.

Tropical

April 28, 2010

This morning my alarm went off at 4.30am and I’ll admit, I smiled.  I do enjoy an early morning bike ride.  Especially in the Tropics.  I was a little sore from last night’s intervals during which I chased a 13-year old up and down a dirt path while we ran “together”.  (It’s really good for me to have someone roughly my speed to chase, and really good for her confidence to know that she can leave me in her dust.  When you’re 13, confidence is everything).

After a quick breakfast I ventured out into the dark this morning on my bike which was wet all over from the humidity, in spite of having spent the night indoors.  It was a really peaceful ride and I just love it when there’s no traffic and it’s dark out.  Just me, my bike, and the heavy, warm, tropical air.

By the time I got to the meeting point I had already had thirty minutes of relaxing alone-time and felt totally chilled out.  We did a quick 60 minute tempo ride and then I biked to work.  My legs are feeling worked today, but that’s a really, really great feeling.  And it’s supposed to be seventy-five degrees today, so I feel like summer really is on the way.

Snail’s Pace

April 26, 2010

Last week a friend asked me if I would run a 10k with her this weekend.  I wasn’t planning on doing the race, but it seemed like a good idea so I signed up.  I didn’t really have any idea how fast or slow my friend runs, as we have never run together before, but she said she needed the company and I was up for it.

I decided to do it barefoot since I have been running barefoot for a while now and am really loving it.  The climate here has been perfect to experiment with it and since I only wear shoes for work here, it seemed like an obvious move.  This way I just leave one pair of shoes at work and besides cycling I don’t wear shoes at all.  Ever.

So off went the gun, and off we went, but not before several people had advised me not to run barefoot (as if it was just a random thing I decided to do and didn’t really think it through).  I assured them that I would be fine but there was still a lot of clucking of tongues and shaking of heads.  It turns out that my friend runs 10 minute miles or slower, so I had to REALLY dig deep to stay with her and not charge off ahead.  I kept telling myself that loyalty to a friend was more important than how disappointed I would feel with a time that was 20 minutes slower than usual.  Eventually at about mile 3 I convinced myself to relax and just enjoy the slow jog.  Anyway, as predicted, my feet were absolutely fine.  In fact, when you compare them to other people’s blistered feet (from their shoes), they actually looked better!

Afterwards I dashed off to the beach for a couple of mock-tri workouts with my young training buddy.  We did two mini-tris with 5 minutes’ rest in between and I was totally worked by the end.  It was especially fun because during the first one I had a TERRIBLE T1 and chased her for the rest of the race.  Then in the second race she ended up chasing me.  I think it was good for both of us to have a little healthy training competition.

This morning I joined my  morning ocean swim buddies for an easy breezy recovery swim.  Nothing like starting the day with a cold dip followed by some hot tea.

Back in the Saddle

April 22, 2010

I seem to be back in the habit of two-a-day training days.  And boy do I love them.  On the phone last night GB asked “how was your day?”  and I had to think about it pretty hard.  Eventually I responded with “well, it started with an awesome swim and ended with an awesome bike ride so all the stuff in between seems inconsequential: it was a great day!”.

This morning I had a much easier time getting up at 5am and even had time for tea before I left for my morning run.  I’ve been doing some pseudo-coaching with a local 13-year old triathlete who is pretty quick for her age.  She needs company for some of her workouts so I’ve been meeting her for a bunch of them to keep her motivated (and get me motivated!).

In spite of the fact that I teach in a  middle school, I’m never sure how to talk to a thirteen year old during a training session.  Even so, she’s great company and we both enjoy having someone to train with in the early mornings.

Island Sunrise

April 21, 2010

After several weeks of being wimpy, I braved a morning swim again today.  6.30am is looking much more like daytime these days and taking the plunge is a lot less frightening with a little bit of light.  The water is up to 66 degrees so today there were four of us without wetsuits.  But I’m not going to lie: it was cold.  And the air temperature was only 62, so it was pretty uncomfortable after we got out, too.  BUT, there was hot tea and laughter as always, and I’m really glad I went.

The sunrise was even more spectacular than normal and I was enjoying it for the entire swim.  One of my swimming friends referred to it as the “in-flight movie”, which says it rather nicely.  The colors were fantastic and it certainly took my mind off the cold.  It’s fun to be heading into summer and realizing that I can do this every day if I want to.  I think once it gets a little bit warmer I probably will.  It’s a perfect way to enjoy my last few months of living in paradise.