Some Of Us

February 29, 2008

Since some of us are still here in the cold and some of us are not enjoying warm weather or riding outside, I have complied a list of things to make that some of us feel better.
The following, in honor of tonight’s impending snow storm, is a list of things that are absolutely wonderful about winter and about being in the cold and snowy weather.

Ahem….

Number 1 – When some of us want to take an ice bath, we only have to open the front door, bend over, and scoop up some snow. Others (say, those in South Carolina) have to drive all the way to the corner store to BUY ice. Shame.

Number 2 – While others are stuck outside under the heat of the sun in weather conditions beyond their control, some of us have our bikes set up in front of the fireplace where we can control the temperature by getting off our bikes and moving them forward or backward (closer to, or further from the fire).

Number 3 – The only traffic some of us have to contend with, is the occasional canine beast with wildly wagging tail wandering dangerously close to bike spokes. Others must stay alert for cars and pedestrians.

Number 4 – Okay, I have run out of things. But I’m sure there are more. I tried.

I came home early from work again today and again I am going to defer my run test. As long as it hurts me to climb the stairs, I think it’s probably best that I stay off the treadmill. Honestly though, after all this time of teaching my body to push through pain, it is a big struggle to let myself rest through this without trying to squeeze in workouts. Beth is right, this might be the hardest part of triathlon – listening to your body. Hmphh.

Trying To Be Smart

February 28, 2008

I was a well-behaved athlete today and only went into work for half a day so that I could come home and rest. Truthfully I knew it was time to leave work when I started to get pathetic and teary – that is always a sure sign that I am not well.
I had a nice nap from which I was rudely awakened by a certain someone’s cold wet nose (Finn’s – GB was at work at the time). I watched an episode of Six Feet Under, did some blog reading, rested, and had a generally mellow day. I should confess that the whole time my big plan was to rest up for my run test tonight. Of course, that plan went out the window when I tried to go upstairs and ended up doubled over from the sheer exhaustion of moving my body. The purpose of doing my run test is to acquire information about my training and current fitness level. I do not want to drive to the gym and run like hell for 20 minutes, only to acquire the information that it was a BAD IDEA to do my run test when I was sick. If I think hard enough, I can come up with that on my own.

So my run test will wait. Perhaps tomorrow. Or maybe the weekend. Either way, I am going to try my darndest to LISTEN to my body. Because seriously, when all you people were sick and I was reading about it, I was hollering at my computer screen “YOU ARE CRAZY. GO BACK TO BED”. So I should at least take my own advice. And Able’s advice from my previous post.

Anyway, I am feeling fine about being sick. Mostly because while I am battling a few wimpy germs, one of my best friends from high school is battling cancer. That has really put things in perspective for me. I’m struggling with wanting to write her a letter and not knowing what to say. If anyone has any sage advice on the topic, I’d love to hear it.

ps. if anyone wants to talk trash about those girls training in the warmth of SC, I’m up for it! It’s below zero here.

Retest

February 27, 2008

I was a little more tightly wound than usual today with the thought of my swim retest after work. I had a busy day at work and my mind kept straying to tonight’s test, which no matter how you look at it, was destined to give me at least some indication of whether all my training efforts are paying off.
When I was signing myself in at the pool I noticed (how can you not?) that I was dizzy. This is one of the symptoms that people at work have been complaining of prior to coming down with the awful thing everybody seems to have. I also considered that it COULD be a symptom of nervousness so I waited for it to pass and headed to the changing room.

I knew tonight’s swim would be good because I had a benchmark to work with. I had the knowledge of what I did six weeks ago in this test. I had the confidence to know I could push myself. I had experienced 1000 yards of pain and I knew I could survive it. I was also fairly confident I would live through the experience because (given my dizzy episode) I briefed the lifeguard on my plan and told her that an unmoving body in the water would be a sign that something had gone wrong and it would be appropriate for her to intervene at that time. I think I might have scared her a little because she watched me like a hawk after that and stood at the end of my lane with her lifeguard floaty-thing in her hand for the rest of my swim! I was glad though, because I wanted to be able to lay it all out there without having to worry about dying.

And lay it out there I did. There was no holding back tonight. I was not afraid of the pain. I am so much more familiar with it than I was last time around. Pain is like my new training pal. If I had not been nearly blinded by my efforts, I daresay I would have seen the wizard tonight. And not for naught. I shaved 38 seconds off my time from six weeks ago. 38 hard-earned seconds. Which ultimately meant I had 38 seconds less pain!!

Almost immediately after I got out of the water I realized I am definitely getting sick. My body revolted and within minutes I was achy and icky. So tomorrow I will consider a preventative sick day and hope that I have what it takes to lay it all out there in my run test. And in the meantime I will revel in the fact that apparently, all this hard work is paying off. Who knew?

Un-forgiven

February 26, 2008

Well, just as I had come around to forgiving my dog for eating a fresh-baked loaf of bread, he gives me another reason to fume. You know, the excuse “the dog ate my homework” is pretty bad. But I can go one further: “the dog f-ed up my workout”. Thank goodness it is a rest week or else I’d be carting this canine off to the pound from whence he came.
As I was leaving for work this morning GB said “hey, I’ll be walking the dogs late today so if you have things you want to get done before you come home, the dogs will be fine with a later afternoon walk”. Please pay careful attention to my selfless and canine-centered response which was: “That’s okay, I’ll come home and walk them. I don’t want them to have to wait until after my workout“. (Can you identify the love for my animals in that response? Well apparently it is unrequited…). So I worked longer than I would have liked and then came home to walk and feed the dogs. And at the end of a lovely long hike, my littlest dog decided it wasn’t quite long enough. And disappeared. Probably to go and snack on his dead deer stash.

Being the patient individual that I am, I decided he would come home like he always does so I went into the house with Jack to get some things done while awaiting his return. As the minutes ticked away, my opportunity to use the pool before it closed at 6.30pm dwindled. I went outside, I called, I whistled, I shook some dog food, I swore, I went back inside. By 5pm Finn still wasn’t home so Jack and I went on another hike to see if he would join us. I was just starting to get worried – what if he had run out to the road, or had another encounter with the dreaded p-word.  Sure enough, at FIVE THIRTY my delinquent doggie showed up, tail awag, eyes bright, excited to see us. Being ready to drop-kick him as I was, I kept a cool distance although my anger was clearly lost on him. I put both dogs back in the house and drove to the pool. Which was pitiful because I already knew I had run out of time. I was thinking MAYBE it would open again at 7.30pm and I could grab some dinner and then swim afterwards. Sadly, it reopens at 7.30pm MOST NIGHTS, but not Mondays.

So as not to ruin my entire evening with grumpiness, I decided to just make yesterday and extra rest day since my coach had given me that option anyway. So I called some friends and met them for burritos. I managed to turn my mood around and talked myself out of giving the dog away (I’m kidding, I would never get rid of that mutt).

I suppose the upside of all this is that we are expecting more “weather” and the LittleMan is far less likely to venture by his lonesome when it’s crappy out.  Either way, I think an obedience refresher is in order.

Jackpot

February 25, 2008

Training was not particularly exciting today I had a two hour ride that dragged on for ages but I did get to watch 3 (count ’em THREE) episodes of Friday Night Lights.  I cried through two of them which is pretty funny considering I was riding at the time.  I’m feeling pretty tired from training this week and even braved an ice bath in hopes of some relief for my legs.  Fortunately tomorrow is the beginning of a rest week.

For those who may be concerned, the dogs seem to have survived their exploits with a loaf of bread.  Finn was sick in the night (I was somehow blissfully oblivious to this since GB took care of the mess), and Jack had some unusually pungent gas today, but the worst of it seems to be over.  They were feeling very sorry for themselves this morning and weren’t even excited for their walk.  Too bad they can’t make the connections between illegal snacking and upset tummies!

Well, Beth hit the jackpot with her exciting mail deliveries last week, but I guess tonight was my night.  I went to my cycling/tri club party.  I arrived late and just as I was squeezing my way through the crowd I heard them announce my name.  So I went over to the announcer who congratulated me and handed me a check.  Since this is pretty normal for me when I arrive at a party, I didn’t think much of it.  Until I looked at the check.  My goodness, what a nice surprise!  I knew I had won the points award for the most points earned in races last season, but I didn’t realize quite how much that was worth!  I figure this check will cover most of my race entries this year and am VERY excited about this development in my financial life.  Oh, the possibilities….

Amiss(ing bread loaf)

February 24, 2008

I had a relatively uneventful yet exceptional day today. I managed to do my workout in the morning, which tends to be the key to having an awesome weekend day. My workout was a really fun multi-brick thing that kept me interested and engaged for the entire two hours. Now THAT is a well-written workout! I drove into work for it so I could set up my trainer right next to the treadmill. On the weekend I’m the only person likely to use the gym and I can sing loudly with my ipod which is a bonus.
When I got home I was pretty tired, so I laid down on the couch, read a little, and had an amazing nap. After a few hours of resting on the couch I walked the dogs and shovelled some snow – it was beautiful and sunny out and the recent snowfall is still fresh and powdery so the dogs had a blast playing outside. Then I drove into town and bought groceries, which was very ambitious for me who hates grocery shopping.
When I walked in the door from shopping I could instantly tell that something was amiss, but I couldn’t figure out what. Two guilty-looking dogs. One piece of torn plastic on the floor. I later discovered it was the wrapper from a fresh-baked loaf of bread GB had bought. The bread was nowhere to be seen. I searched the kitchen and then called GB to see if I was looking in the right place. GB confirmed that it had been on the counter which confirmed that someone had eaten THE ENTIRE LOAF! And it wasn’t me. I couldn’t even find any crumbs!! The dogs have been extremely docile this evening. As tired, in fact, as if they had eaten a whole loaf of bread. Hmmmm. Suspicious. And now Jack who has a wheat allergy is suddenly scratching his ears and rubbing his face on the ground. Hmmmm. Suspicious.
Well, I’m hoping the cost of this lesson (the lesson being that food belongs in higher places out of reach of doggie teeth) is only a loaf of bread and not a vet bill. I think it would be safe to say that at this point, I am feeling much better about my day than the dogs are about theirs!

Decompressing

February 22, 2008

It seems like everyone and their uncle are getting sick.  Work has been pretty stressful and I want to stay on top of my game, so I took a sanity day off work yesterday.  GB didn’t have to go into work until 11am so we went out for breakfast at 8am which was a rare treat on a weekday.  After that I went to the gym to do my run and a strength workout and then went home.  I did all sorts of administrative things I’ve been needing to do and managed to find some time to relax too.  GB called to say how stressful work had been and I was quite the happy contrast.  I believe the comment was: “wow, maybe you should stay home from work more often!!!”.  I had also found a $50 bill (with absolutely no way of finding the original owner), so I suggested we splurge and go out for sushi, which we did.  It was possibly the perfect day off.  A beautiful balance of productivity and pleasure.

This morning I swam with Masters before work.  Now we have six inches of new snow on the ground and another six on the way.  So much for Spring being around the corner!  I keep looking at the tenth day on the ten-day forecast to see if there is any chance of warmer weather.  No luck so far.  Oh well, at least it’s fresh snow and not that frozen icy stuff.  Maybe I’ll snowshoe tomorrow.

Pants

February 20, 2008

fly.jpg 

I could blog about my 90 minute run in last night’s blizzard.  I could blog about having my eyebrows and eyelashes caked in snow.  But it is evident from the resounding cries of tribloggers everywhere that we probably don’t need another blog about the miseries of winter training. 

So I will write about a different problem: my pants.  I forget to do them up.  Like ALL the time.  I go to the bathroom, I pull my pants up, I do up the button, I wash my hands, and I WALK OUT OF THE BATHROOM WITH MY FLY AND BELT UNDONE!!!  Regularly.  Maybe half the time.  THAT IS A LOT OF WALKING AROUND WITH MY PANTS UNDONE!  I think in the beginning of our relationship GB took this to mean I was always ready for any romantic action that might be lurking around the corner.  But recently we had a sit-down about this problem.  It is serious.  GB is worried.  I routinely come out of the bathroom in this semi-dressed state to see GB staring at me and trying not to laugh.  “YOUR PANTS!!!!  AGAIN!!!”. 

Sometimes it’s not that serious.  Sometimes I remember to do up my belt.  But then there’s still the fly – this combination seems to happen most often at work.  And here’s the kicker: NO ONE ever tells me about it (except GB).  I usually notice well after the fact because of a certain winter draft blowing through my pants.  Come on people!!  Help me out here!!  It happens in front of important people, during meetings, at the grocery store, at home, in airports, pretty much everywhere.  Most of the world has seen my underwear at this point.  Which makes me wonder why I bother with the pants at all.  Except that it’s winter and it’s cold.  Maybe I need velcro pants. 

Or a big sign that hangs in front of my face and says: “do up your damn pants”.

Digging Deep

February 19, 2008

You know those days when all you want to do is crawl back into bed?  Yesterday was one of those.  I started out the day with a conflict at work that resulted in tears on my part and caused me to entertain the thought of just going home.  Except that my car got plowed in at home so GB had given me a lift to work.  No escaping work without a car. 

I plodded on through the day until it was finally time to leave.  GB (who was home sick) had arranged to meet me at the parking lot to pick me up.  It was raining and I didn’t have a raincoat and it was really really warm – it actually felt really good to be out in the rain.  So I stuffed my laptop inside my non-waterproof coat and recognizing that I couldn’t stand being at work for another minute, I just started walking in the direction of home.  I no doubt looked quite a site with my laptop in my coat, my empty coffee mug in hand, and my extra change of clothes that I always seem to have with me piled up in my arms, hair dripping from the rain, walking down the street.  By the time GB got there I was quite wet and feeling a little better about life.  I decided to check in with my coach to see if I could scrap my swim and run instead – all I wanted was to be outside in the warm rain wearing shorts and running off my stresses.

However, by the time I got home, I realized I should quit trying to juggle workouts and just do what was prescribed to me.  So I drove to the pool and forced myself to do my workout.

You know those days when you just PRAY that your goggles will break so you can quit with a reason?  That’s what yesterday was.  I even carefully inspected my goggle straps for signs of weakness.  No dice.  They were not going to give up on me.  And then there was the angry old man who was yelling at the lifeguard because they wouldn’t let him swim in the kids’ lesson lane.  I considered graciously getting out of the pool and giving him my swim space – isn’t that a legitimate reason for quitting a workout??  Okay, no it’s not.  I realized I was hungry.  Reason enough?  Not really.  So I dug deep and I hung in there and I finished the workout.  It wasn’t even a hard workout – actually, it was a pretty mellow one.  But the challenge of yesterday was all in my head.  And I think it might have been the toughest one of 2008.  Tougher than my TT.  Tougher than last month’s test week.  Just plain tough.

You know those days when you battle with your demons and rise victorious?  That’s what yesterday was.  GB commented at dinner that I have been really consistent with my workouts and I am even inspiring as a result of my dedication.  I responded that as silly as it might sound, I feel like my motivation is coming from 2 places:

1) the community of tribloggers that have been so supportive and inspiring (Marit, Beth, Jen, Elizabeth, IMAble, Danielle, Kodiacbear, Bree, Alicia, Mary, Bri).  Living so far from a significant tri community makes this particular community even more important.  It’s amazing how much all of you and your stories have the power to affect me in really positive ways.  So often when I struggle with a workout I just think of you women out doing your thing and it gives me the boost I need.  You are all amazing people, so thanks for sharing your stories and your energy!

2) my new coach.  Who really isn’t that new to me any more.  I’m so grateful for having found a coaching “fit” like I have.  I feel like I am in exceptionally good hands and I completely trust my program because I completely trust her.  That feeling of peace around a training program is invaluable and something I really appreciate.

So, although I am pleased with myself for getting through a tough workout, I also recognize that a big part of the reason I did, had nothing to do with me.  Thanks Dudes!

A Whole New Level

February 18, 2008

I have a tendency to imagine there are about 6 more hours in a day than there actually are. This has the negative effect of making me far too ambitious about what can be accomplished in a given day. Yesterday was no exception.

I slept in until 8am which may have been my first mistake. I had decided I would get my workouts done before skiing so I didn’t have to ride and run on already tired legs. By the time I got up, however, there was not really time to ride so I opted for a relaxed and delicious breakfast prepared by GB. (I am spoiled beyond belief, I know). Then GB gently suggested that we go for a hike with the dogs because it was beautiful out. We had a really fun hike marred only by Finn discovering a (deer?) rib and running off with it. You could almost hear him cackling as he ran away when we called him. Through some stellar team-work we were able to corner him and nab said bone at which time he got escorted home and dove promptly into his crate, knowing he was in the doghouse, so to speak.  I do not look forward to the day when he brings home the rest of the deer.

Then we met our neighbor and a friend of hers for a midday ski.  It was really a great time and felt good to practice all my skills from Ski Camp 2008.  By the time we got home it was 5pm and still had 2 hours of workouts to do.  I convinced myself that a run was out of the question since it was sleeting and unpleasant outside – not to mention it would be dark by the time my ride was over.  But during my ride I decided to HTFU and go for my run anyway.  So I donned my tights, warm clothes, headlamp, trail shoes, and get this….my dog’s reflective vest(!) and headed out into the ice.  The driveway was treacherous and glare ice so I skated that part and was happy to discover that in spite of the sleet, there was just enough traction on the roads to make running possible, if not easy.  So I got my run done and only had a near-spill at the turnaround point where my feet slipped out from under me.  Thankfully there were no cars at all on the roads so I don’t think a single person (besides an amused GB) saw me out running in the dark in my dog’s vest.  I am not sure if wearing a dog vest counts as a whole new level of committed to my sport, or a whole new level of freakish.  But who cares?  I got it done.  HTFU, Baby.