December 30, 2007

Finn and I went adventuring yesterday for run #28. I strapped my snowshoes onto my backpack, threw in some Nuun and a banana and off we went. The plan was to start out running to a campground and then snowshoe through the woods to a dirt road that would eventually loop us back around. It took a little longer than I thought it would and my calves were really burning with all the snowshoeing up the steep uphill portions, but Finn was thrilled to have such a long run and so was I. With guest doggie in the house, he’s been missing out on all the special attention he’s used to. I dashed to work afterwards and was jealous of Finn who took a much-needed nap after our adventure.p1000441.jpg


December 27, 2007

We arrived home last night to discover an empty bag of rice, taken off our food shelves.  Executing my fine detective skills, I (aka Nancy Drew) marched around the house with the empty rice bag in my hand asking in a low and angry voice “who did this?”.  Smokey (our part-time boarder) put her ears back first and definitely looked the guiltiest.  GB called Smokey’s mom and alerted her to the possibility. 

Then this morning, I caught Finn swallowing down the last of a small envelope which made me wonder if the rice thief might actually have been him.  And also made me wonder if I’m feeding him enough…!

After putting some time in on the trainer, I got dressed and took the pack outside for their morning play.  A walk was out of the question since we all wiped out on the ice as we stepped outside.  Poor Jack broke my fall and consequently ended up with the contents of my coffee cup on his back.  I laughed.  He looked entirely insulted.  Fortunately the coffee was not very hot.  He immediately set about rolling in the snow to clean off his fur and while I watched him from my seat on the ice-covered ground, I noticed Smokey depositing a cup or so of rice onto the snow.  So the perpetrator has been discovered.  I am relieved that neither of our dogs have taken up the new habit of removing food from our shelves, but a little concerned that Finn prefers paper products as a snack.

Boxing Day

December 26, 2007

My sister asked me last night what I was doing for Boxing Day – which reminded me of how long it’s been since I lived at home and recognized the day after Christmas as anything other than the day after Christmas.   

Christmas day came and went without much fanfare.  Both GB and I worked during the day.  I went for a snowshoe run with the pack of dogs that currently resides at Camp Hundred-Acres and took Finn (the youngest and most puppy of the pack) for an extra-specially long run so he would conk out in the evening to keep things calm.  It worked and he spent the rest of the night curled up by the fire.  We picked up a bottle of wine for Christmas and enjoyed a very picturesque evening admiring our giant Christmas tree, the fire, and the various dogs curled up around the living room.  We also succumbed to 2 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.  I would say that the only thing missing was a good snowfall….which we might get tomorrow.

I have now completed 24 of 30 runs.  I haven’t missed a day and it’s weird how it’s so much a part of my day now that it barely registers in my mind as a workout.  The next trick?  Get on the bike.  I put my PowerCranks on my bike at the start of the off-season.  It’s the first season I will have used them with any consistency whatsoever.  I’m getting acclimatized to them now, but there’s no question that I have to work harder when I use them and my motivation to work hard on my trainer inside my house in the winter is pretty low.  I think my coach is somewhat skeptical about them, but I just have a feeling that they could be the thing that pushes me to the next level (in combination with my newfound quest for consistency).  You know when you get that feeling?  Anyway, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they won’t push me to the next level by me staring at them.

I think my funk is officially gone.  I noticed last night that I was not feeling that weird cloud of unhappiness over me.  I think it’s because I picked a few long-overdue bones this week and did some of the interpersonal communication I’ve been dreading for ages.  It’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be.  Well, that’s all the news from Camp Hundred-Acres.  Keep your fingers crossed for some more snow.

Quality of Life

December 23, 2007

At my job we have a Quality of Life committee. This committee was formed on the basis that everyone’s overall experience of our community would improve if the smaller things were addressed and improvements were made. I am thinking of establishing a QOL committee for my life. As I look ahead to next season, next year, and the years to come I get overwhelmed with the vastness of it all and the enormity of some of my goals. After reading ELF’s post, I took some alone time in the woods yesterday at work to ponder some of my goals. The word that kept jumping out for me in all of my deep thinking was consistency.
I have always struggled with consistency and I think that addressing this may be the key to getting where I want to go.
At the start of December, I made the decision to run 30 times in 30 days. To be honest, I doubted whether I would have the follow-through for this. Part of what kept me going was that I had posted it here for all (three of you) to read and that I had told people about it, so the question of how my 30 runs were going was out there on a daily basis. I have not completed the 30 days yet, but I am a shocking 21 runs into it and haven’t missed a day. I feel great because I am right on track with a goal that I knew wouldn’t be easy. I have been 100% consistent so far and the feeling that accompanies that is pretty significant.

So with that in mind, I am going to strive for consistency in some major and minor areas of my life in the hopes that this behavior will perpetuate itself and permeate the fabric of my being. The following are a list of QOL issues I will be addressing using consistency as a tool:

1. I will close all the cupboard doors when I’m finished. This is both literal and metaphorical. For some reason when I’m done in the kitchen it looks as though a hurricane has passed through the place. Apparently I am lacking enough in mindfullness that I don’t even notice that I haven’t closed any of the cupboard doors. GB has tremendous tolerance for this, but it drives me nuts that I could do such a thing without noticing. This is symptomatic of moving through life without paying attention.2. I will try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. It seems like part of my problem with getting up when my alarm goes off is not that I didn’t get enough sleep. It’s that there’s no consistency to my bedtime from night to night. My goal is to go to bed at 9pm and get up at 5am.

3. I will arrive at work on time and leave on time every day. The fuzzyness around my work hours eats way too much time in my week.

4. I will deliberately drink water every day. 8 glasses at least.

They say it takes about 21 days to establish a new habit and my experience agrees. My thought is that these are a lot of new habits to implement at once and that my likelihood of failing if I attempt the all at once is high. With the 21 day benchmark in mind, I will choose a new habit to concentrate on every 3 weeks. I’m going to start with the sleep goal first since I think it will appease my overall craving for routine.


If I am successful, I will have made four really positive changes to my life in just under 3 months. Not too shabby.


December 21, 2007

I wouldn’t necessarily call my self suspicious, but it’s probably safe to say we all have our race-day rituals and habits.  These are often ridiculous borderline-superstitious behaviors that have absolutely no bearing on our actual performance except that they make us feel better.  (Which could arguably make us perform better). 

I didn’t used to wear socks when racing.  It saved time during transition and it looked cooler.  But last year I revised my transition dance to include the putting on of socks in T2 based on the fact that time lost in transition would be gained by not getting painful blisters on the run.  I don’t remember exactly the process by which they were promoted, but I somehow appointed one pair of socks to be my good luck socks.  I raced every race of the season in them, and to be fair, they performed well.  There’s nothing particularly special about them except that they’re thin enough to fit into my racing flats without wrinkling and they have blue trim (which is my favorite color).  Aside from that, to look at them you would say “those are just ordinary socks”.  But they were my good luck socks nonetheless and I managed to set a fairly significant PR in them at the end of the year, thus promoting them further up the sock ladder to Racing Only socks so I don’t wear them out training in them.

Yesterday however, in a laundry bind, I grabbed them and stuffed them in my gym bag to wear at the gym.  Imagine my surprise when I pulled them on to discover this….!socks.jpg

Naturally, because I have the best behaved dog in the world, I blamed mites.  And then mice.  And pretty much every other creature that could possibly have eaten my socks and is not a dog.  I’ll admit that Finn has eaten his fair share of socks, but I made the argument that he usually starts at the other end, so this was clearly not his work – and besides, he has grown out of the puppy phase…right??  And he’s my triathlon training buddy, so he would know better than to eat the racing socks, right?

Well, I brought it up to GB that mites are eating our clothing and we have a serious problem.  Fumigation may be necessary.  GB laughed and assured me that the damage was caused by my dog.  My  response: “you think it’s too much sock for mites to have eaten?”.  More laughter.  I am in denial.  My dog is a traitor.  He ate my good luck racing sock.

But I needed a good laugh this week and I got it when I put my socks on – so perhaps Finn had my best interest at heart afterall…


December 19, 2007

Last night on the way to dinner with friends, GB asked me if I’m going to miss my daily runs when I have finished my 30 runs in 30 days.  I paused before responding in a teeny tiny quiet voice: “wellllll….not if I decide to extend it to 100 runs in 100 days…?”.  (You know you are way off track when you find yourself ending a statement with a question mark).  Silence.  I peeked a look out of the corner of my eye to see if there had been any reaction.  It was not promising.  The silence was hurting my ears so I did the only thing I knew how to do…filled it with explanatory babble: “only of course if my coach thinks it’s a good idea and I would pay extra special attention to my knee and make sure it wasn’t hurting and well, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t a good idea and…okay, do you think it’s a bad idea?”.  Again, not a promising response.  I believe it was something sensible about a potential injury.  The worst part is that GB is usually right in such situations.  So I sheepishly reformatted my response to “yes, I’m going to miss my daily running”.  It is so irksome when I don’t get to be the smart one and yet so wonderful to have someone to run my outrageously stupid ideas past in order to get them shut down prior to enacting them.


Funky Tuesday

December 18, 2007

As a rule, GB and I do weekends exceptionally well.  We have always managed to balance fun and relaxation in ways that leave us refreshed for the work week.  This weekend was no exception, but I am nontheless in a funk this week.  (I hesitate to say “this week” lest I invite the funk to stay around longer than necessary).  I’m having a hard time getting my desired routine off the ground.  When I don’t have a routine, I never feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be.  Routines keep me grounded – and potentially boring, I know.  But boring or not, I need them.  The 30 runs in 30 days has been great for me in that respect.  Every day, without exception, I know there is a run in the cards for me.

My ideal work day would go something like this if I could get a handle on it:

4:45am – up and at ’em.  Start the wood stove, feed the dogs, grab a quick bite.

5am-5:45 – bike ride on the trainer

5:45-6:10 – shower, coffee, and maybe 5 or 10 minutes of sitting still and contemplating the day.

6:30-noon-2:30 – work

2:50pm – run, relax, shovel snow, play outside

4-4:30 – strength training

REST OF THE NIGHT: relax, cook, eat, play cards.

My actual work day looks something like this:

5am – alarm goes off, press snooze

5:08am – alarm goes off, press snooze

5:16am – alarm goes off, press snooze

5:20am – dogs stick their noses in my face, I tell them to lie down several times, eventually they comply

5:24am – alarm, snooze

5:32am – alarm, snooze

5:40am – more wet doggie noses, alarm, snooze

5:44am – frantically wagging tails sound like drum beat on wall, noises of exasperation from me

5:48am – starting to hate life, alarm goes off, press snooze thinking “last time, I swear”

5:56am – alarm, frantic tails, wet noses and I’m up.

6am – waste 15 minutes on computer

6:15 am put coffee on, remember to eat breakfast, start rushing to get ready.

6:20am – remember that car is not heated up.  Start car.  Wait using this as an excuse to grab another cup of coffee.

6:25 – dash to work annoyed.  Even more annoyed because radio and CD player don’t work in the winter and I don’t think I can take one more minute of the tape “you’ve got mail”.

7am-3pm – work

3pm -4pm – remember 10 things I didn’t do during the day and end up staying late at work accidentally.

4.30pm – run dogs in dark.  This is prime porcupine time and very bad.

5.30pm – start thinking about dinner, waste some time on the computer, wonder where my day went.

Do you see how this might get a person into a funk?  The ideal and the reality are so vastly different and I don’t know how to achieve the ideal.  This morning Finn vomited on the carpet at 5:30am, thus helping me move closer to the ideal…sort of. 

Negative Split

December 17, 2007

I’ve done it folks.  A new personal record.  The 44-minute mile.  This has got to be a world record for the slowest running mile ever completed by an able-bodied, self-ambulatory individual who is not participating in an ultra marathon.  Yesterday when I ventured out into the 3-foot deep snow I was grateful that the rules of the 30/30 were set in terms of time, not of distance.  3 miles would have taken me most of the day.

The good news?  I achieved a negative split run: first 1/2 mile, 23 minutes; second 1/2 mile, 21 minutes.  I was pleased.  I was also grateful for my snowshoes.  I’d still be out there if it weren’t for them.  I’m also grateful that I live close to no-one so there were no witnesses to my “running” in such deep snow or to my repeated tumbles caused by my snowshoes getting stuck at the bottom of knee-deep post holes.

Actually there’s more good news.  On Saturday I went into town for a group run.  I ended up running 8.5 miles and then limping back to the car dejected as I realized my knee had probably not been up for such a long run (this is not the good news part).  I was bumming on Saturday night and thinking I might be at a cross-roads with the 30/30 thing if my knee was going to start acting up.  I was delighted to discover (this is the good news part) on Sunday that snowshoeing doesn’t bother my knee at all.  This means that I can snowshoe on days when my knee feels questionable and still stay on track with my 30 runs.  Win, win.

Our pre-Christmas weekend was everything we had hoped it would be.  The four of us had a blast gaming and laughing for most of the weekend.  It turns out that I am the weak link in the game of Catch Phrase.  I blamed this on my sheltered island upbringing like I do with most of my shortcomings.  We knew things were bad and looks were exchanged when I repeatedly shouted out “BRAN OATS! BRAN OATS!” instead of the correct answer which was oat bran.  We played the game with every possible permutation of partners and my team lost every time so there can be no question about who the weakest link was.  But I can run a 44-minute mile, so I feel good about myself.

We also went and chopped down our very own tree from our friends’ farm.  This started out as an innocent family activity and spiralled quickly downhill when D pushed me, mouth open and face first, into a manure pile covered in snow.  All hell broke loose after that and the only safe one was GB who insisted on holding onto the saw for immunity.

Sunday morning was spent shovelling the driveway so that A and D could make their escape back to the city.  We were reluctant to let them leave but we kept their dog as collateral so we know they’ll return.  She’ll be staying at Camp Hundred Acres for two weeks.  Two days with our dogs and she is already exhausted.

Today is day 16 of my 30 runs.  I’m halfway.  Given the blustery winds, I choose the dreadmill. 


December 14, 2007

snowrunning1.jpgOver a foot of it.  The soft, white, fluffy stuff.  And my knees are thankful because it meant that run #12 was on snowshoes and it is likely that runs 13, 14, and 15 will be also.  The dogs are beside themselves with excitement and I’m not far behind. 

 GB’s sister and brother-in-law are coming into town so we can do our Christmas this weekend.  They are amazing people (I have to say that because I know they read this) and we are almost as excited about their arrival as we are about the snow. 


December 12, 2007

porcupine1.jpgI’ve been meaning to post this one for a few days.  Finn met his first porcupine last week.  It was not pretty.  I missed the actual event, which is probably just as well.  We were out running in the 100-acre woods with Jackthedog and suddenly Finn was missing.  Annoyed by his recent tendency to venture off during our runs, I kept going.  Eventually I started to think that something must be amiss and we turned around to go and find him.  Boy, what a site.  Littleman had about 50 quills in his mouth (some in the roof of his mouth!) and about 50 in his leg.  There was no way I could pick him up without making things worse, so I put on my best “everything is okay” voice and kept him moving in the direction of home which was about a mile from there.  Periodically he would bury his muzzle in the snow and paw frantically at his face, but of course it didn’t do much.  I pulled one quill out and that was about all either of us could handle.  I have always hoped I would be the kind of parent who could encounter such incidents without panic, so I chalked this one up to parenting practice and kept running.  When we got close to home, however, it got to be too much for Finn and bleeding in the snow he refused to go any further.  Panic rearing its ugly head (the vet was due to close in less than 30 minutes!) I glanced over to the driveway and saw GB had miraculously come home early from work and was standing outside the house.  Instantly I was transformed from a state of trying-to-be-calm into one of complete and utter uselessness.  I yelled to GB to call the vet and somehow got the bleeding dog into the car and the non-bleeding but extremely confused dog into the house and off we went.  We ended up having to drive 45 minutes to the emergency room of vet clinics because they were open 24/7.  Thank goodness for doggie health insurance.

I commented while we were in the waiting room that I felt pretty foolish in my running tights at the vet.  GB pointed out that I am probably not the first to get their dog porcupined while out running and likely not the first to sit in the waiting room in running tights.

Anyway, 2 hours and 7 staples later, the vet had removed all of the quills and Finn was released.  They say there are two kinds of dogs.  Dogs who learn from this experience and dogs who don’t.  Here’s hoping that Finn is the first kind.