July 31, 2008

Okay seriously.  I had NO I.DEA it would take this much energy and time to plan a wedding.  We are just over 2 weeks from the big day and I have very nearly lost my mind.  Of course this all happens at the same time as things get REALLY busy at work so I have been having my busiest professional month and my busiest ‘real life’ month at the same time.  I barely remember what it feels like to bike, swim, or run, but I can remember with horrifying clarity, the sensations of walking through a shopping mall trying desperately to find something to wear for my OWN wedding.  And why do 39 people think it’s a good idea not to RSVP?

Anyway, thanks to those of you who have been emailing to inquire about whether I was alive or not.  I am.  But I am not training, not sleeping as much as usual, and certainly not finding much time to blog.  I am optimistic that after a final pre-wedding visit from my future mother-in-law, all the details will be ironed out and we’ll have a week to get excited.

Hope everyone is well.

Trauma in the Woods

July 19, 2008

After a VERY busy, stressful, and dramatic week at work, I was very excited for a relaxing weekend without any drama.  The last few days of this week was so crazy that I was thrilled to climb onto the MRI bed yesterday for a little time to lay still and relax(!)  I won’t get the results of that until my next appointment but I was happy to check that off the list for this week.

This morning began with a relaxing walk down to the pond with my coffee and my dogs.  The sun had just come up and the morning was so darn fresh it was amazing.  Not surprisingly, D, our neighbor-friend was already down at the pond having just finished a morning kayak session.  We hung out for a while and then walked up to the house together.  While we were chatting on the front steps, Pumkin (D’s dog) and Jack and Finn were wrestling up a storm.  Suddenly there was growling and the most high-pitched blood-curdling dog screaming I have ever heard.  Jack had somehow gotten his teeth caught on Finn’s collar.  Finn in a panic had apparently done a 360, thus tightening the collar in such a way that he was being completely strangled and was making this crazy screaming noise.  Both dogs were in a complete panic and Finn was really struggling for air.  I was freaking out and D and I were trying to untangle them but there really wasn’t much we could do.  The collar was too tight to get anything in there to cut it off and the dogs were writhing all over the place making the most god-awful noises I have ever heard.  After a while Finn’s tongue started to loll out of his mouth and started turning  blue.  I was yelling that he was going to die and I couldn’t think of any way to solve the problem.  I’m not sure how it happened but during this enormous struggle, Jack eventually freed himself and oxygen was promptly restored to poor Finn’s body.  As you can imagine I collapsed in an emotional heap and I don’t think D knew who to comfort first – me, poor horrified Jack, or terrified Finn.  It was a pretty shocking event and made me realize how much these gosh-darn dogs mean to me.  I literally thought Finn was going to die right there in front of me while I was completely helpless.

Anyway, we all sat around and recovered for a while and at some point my arm started hurting.  I guess I sustained a puncture wound during the drama which I had not previously noticed.  Once the adrenaline wore off it was brutally painful and kind of nasty looking.  I went to urgent care just to get it checked out and they put me on preventative antibiotics given that it was from a dog’s teeth, albeit my own dog.  Unfortunately, the bruising is so significant and my movement is compromised enough that I do think I will be able to swim tomorrow and I’m sure I won’t be able to ride a bike, so that pretty much rules out tomorrow’s race.  I think the Universe might be trying to tell me to sit this one out and I think it might be time to listen.

The dogs and I are committed to a low-key day at this point and are hanging out comforting each other about this morning’s horrible experience.  The significant upside is that we are lounging on brand new, laminate flooring.  GB comes home tomorrow and we are all feeling happy about that.


July 17, 2008

Today was my half day at work.  That means I start at 6.30am and am done by 10.30am.  That leaves the rest of the day to get real-life things done.  First on my list after going to the dump was picking blueberries.  We happen to live next door to a blueberry farm.  Next door where we live is about half a mile, but it’s close nonetheless.  I only had $6 in cash so I decided to be conservative to avoid cash register embarrassment.  This was my first time picking blueberries so I don’t really have a sense of how much they cost.  It turns out that I was not able to avoid cash register embarrassment because the grand total of my picked blueberries amounted to 78 cents.  Then I just felt stupid for picking so few.  I can’t remember the last time I made ANY purchase for under $1 ANYWHERE!  I didn’t even think you could buy something for under $1!!!  So I left with enough blueberries for my breakfast oatmeal and for dessert tonight and still with $5.12 in my pocket.  Not too shabby.

I had a brick this afternoon which went very well considering I have not been enjoying training lately.  Afterwards the dogs and I hung out outside for a while and enjoyed the sunshine.  Then I picked lettuce for my dinner (I am just a regular Suzy Homemaker these days!) and made myself a delicious salad.

We have carpeting in our kitchen and I do not even want to talk about how disgusting that is.  The carpet is ancient and you just know there is so much ick living in there, I can barely stand to think about it.  Needless to say, the 5-second Rule does not apply in our kitchen.  If something hits the ground, it is finished , gone, no more.  No amount of rinsing or wiping can save it from 30 years of kitchen carpet floor grossness.  So I had to laugh when I dropped an entire raw chicken breast on the floor and my dogs just stared at it.  I think even they, who willingly eat animal poop, were disgusted by that now-filthy piece of chicken.  Once I gave it a little rinse they were happy to eat it though…their standards are a little lower than mine perhaps.

The great news is that we are getting new flooring in the entire upstairs of the house very soon, so carpet in the kitchen will be a thing of the past, thank goodness.

That about sums up my exciting day.  I am feeling better about racing on Sunday and I think it will be fun to do a race I’ve never done and go into it with a more relaxed attitude than normal and without big expectations.

Reading the Signs

July 15, 2008

Today was insanely busy at work.  The poor dogs were home alone for many hours more than they are accustomed to being.  I felt like a terrible doggie parent when I arrived home so late from work.  But they are dogs, and dogs are generally happy to see their people no matter how long it has been.  So I was instantly forgiven and took them on a nice walk and tacked on some hanging out time outside as a bonus.

I had a brick workout tonight and I changed my mind about whether I was going to do it about three times.  Eventually I dragged myself out the door for it and almost instantly made the decision that I simply didn’t have the energy for it.  When I feel that strongly about not doing a workout, sometimes it’s not a bad thing to pay attention to the signs.  I did not feel well rested when I woke up this morning and then had such a busy day that maybe what I need most is rest.  Certainly my entire left leg is not arguing with that conclusion!

I’m at a weird place right now where I am still dealing with my old IT band issue, having pain in my ankle, and feeling completely unmotivated.  I have the opportunity to race on Sunday since my leg is clearly not fractured and I’m still not excited about it.  And I LOVE racing.  Racing on a less-than-healthy body is getting old.  Having great race times but knowing that I had limiting injuries that prevented even FASTER race times is getting old.  I love to race but it’s kind of exhausting to go out there, bust my butt, and not be able to push through to the next level.  I also have a history of sabotage, so I have to always keep that in the back of my mind as a possibility.  Am I somehow creating injuries as a safety net for myself?  The injuries are real injuries, but sometimes the mind has tremendous power over the body and I often wonder if mental doubts have a way of getting the body to cooperate by instigating genuine injuries.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but I have to sit back and go “huh” when I am having an energetic low and my body is hurting too.  Working so hard on my run early this season and really tackling some of my mental demons has been huge.  It’s very frustrating to not be able to go all the way with it and haul ass on the run during races.  Well, this is part of what makes triathlon so challenging and so exciting.  Getting all the pieces to line up and paying attention to the pieces that don’t.

Finn is currently rolling around on his back whining and trying to convince me that what I need most is to give him a belly rub.  I wish I had a video camera right now.  That dog is priceless.  What would we do without our animals to remind us that we are taking life WAY too seriously…?

Game On

July 14, 2008

I saw the orthopedic doctor today.  Good news and a big question mark.  The x-rays were negative for a stress fracture, so I don’t have to worry about that as an issue.  He wasn’t really sure what it was and thought maybe some tendonitis.  He said I am cleared to run and to race on Sunday so I guess that’s what I’ll do.  He’s scheduling me for an MRI and will see me again in two weeks.  That’s the big question mark I’m not excited about.  I’m all about the plan.  Tell me what’s wrong and what I have to do and let’s get moving.  None of this namby-pamby ‘come back in two weeks and we’ll talk about it’.  That stuff makes me crazy.  But at least it’s not a stress fracture.

In other news, I saw ANOTHER bear today.  And it was another up close and personal encounter that lasted about fifteen seconds.  I’m starting to think there’s something to it, you know?  I don’t see a bear for thirty years and then I see two in three days?!?!  I know the bear can be a symbol of introspection which is something I’ve been doing a lot of with GB out of town for almost two weeks.  It’s an interesting thought, anyway.

So now that my pain apparently is not indicative of a major injury, I need to get my head around racing this Sunday – something that I had started to think would not be an option.  Good times.  Good, introspective times.


July 13, 2008

At 3pm today I realized that I had not seen another human being for twenty-four hours.  This is what happens when your spouse goes away and your neighbor goes away and you live in the woods.  It was quite enjoyable, actually, to have a day of quiet and not much else.  I can’t say I was especially productive today but I wasn’t aspiring to be which I think excuses the fact.

I slept in this morning later than I have in months.  Even the dogs were somehow amenable to this.  When I got up I made some coffee and headed out on a little hike with the dogs.  After resting for most of yesterday I convinced myself that my mystery leg pain had healed itself so I put on my running shoes and went for an easy run.  Stupid, I know.  But as I said to my coach, I am seeing the doctor tomorrow and in the event that he makes me rest it, I wanted to just have one more hot mid-day run under my belt.  I am not an idiot and I recognize that the injury doesn’t start when the doctor diagnoses it. I know that once it has begun, additional damage will add time on to my healing, but I am a little tired of juggling this injury and that one, and was just not feeling patient today.  The good news is that I applied my intelligence to this not-so-intelligent run and took preventative breaks before it started hurting.

I’m not sure what happened between my run and my swim, but there was lots of time on the couch, some on the back deck, and not much else.  I talked briefly on the phone with my future mother-in-law about wedding plans, walked the dogs, and made dinner.

It would be safe to say that I’m feeling rested and more or less ready to go back to work tomorrow.  I’ll be happy to see the doctor tomorrow and get some sort of diagnosis for my leg.  It’s hard to plan ahead if I don’t know what I’m dealing with, although I do have my suspicions.

Four Dogs and A Bear

July 12, 2008

GB’s sister and brother-in-law were here last night.  Two years ago they stayed with us with their big moving truck and dog when they were moving out to Boston, a mere two hours away from us.  It has been a great two years living so close to them and seeing them as often as we have.  Now that Dan is done with grad school they’re moving halfway across the country to live back home near their families.  They stayed here last night with their big moving truck and their dog on their way out of town.  I was really sad to see them go and although we plan to eventually move back there too, it’s hard to know that we won’t see them much for the next few years.

It was a fun few hours with FOUR dogs.  It was like dog park ALL THE TIME.  It was very tricky to figure out who was inside and who was outside and to make sure everybody ate their own food and only their own food!  They’re gone now so three dogs seems instantly much more manageable.  Pumpkin (our friend’s dog who’s staying here) and Finn are having a blast together this week and are always either playing hard or passed out from exhaustion.

Even though we live in the deep woods, I rarely have good animal sightings.  Recently I saw some foxes and the other night saw a beaver at the pond, but I have never laid eyes on a moose yet and until yesterday had not seen a bear.  While I was waiting for A and D to arrive last night I let the dogs out for a run-around.  As they were all coming in the house afterwards Finn suddenly perked up and darted into the woods.  I called him but to no avail and there was instantly a LOT of rustling in the woods.  Usually I don’t worry about him running away like that but something about the urgency with which he ran had me a little nervous.  I put the other dogs in the house and trekked out after him.  As I was walking and calling him I suddenly noticed something large in my peripheral vision.  I turned and realized I was face to face with a HUGE black bear.  This bear was on its hind legs and had one arm around a tree.  It was propped up almost like a human would be.  And it was ENORMOUS.  I just froze in my tracks and stared at it.  It had to have been well over 7 ft tall and was less than twenty feet from where I stood.  Close enough that I could see the details of it’s face as we just stood and stared at each other.  Oddly I wasn’t scared.  Time just stopped as we both stood there frozen and staring at each other.  Eventually I must have twitched or something and it turned and ran into the woods.  I took a few steps away and turned to see that it was watching me from between two trees.  My presence of mind now restored, I realized there might be cubs that it was protecting so I went home (all this took place near our driveway so I was not far from home to begin with).  Finn stayed away for about thirty minute and I was starting to worry when he showed up unperturbed.  Weird.  This dog is afraid of friendly people and his own shadow but apparently has no qualms about chasing a 500lb wild animal.

I keep thinking about the bear and how human and wise it seemed just standing there watching me.  It was the weirdest and most peaceful moment ever.  It was one of those events that leaves you wondering what it all means.