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.


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.

Finn Dog

April 19, 2010

After an amazing 21 cumulative days together during March and April, GB and I are on the final stretch of separation before I move up to MN to go to grad school.  Not that I’m counting, but that would be 16 weeks until we have our own home and I can make us coffee every day, and I can trip over the dogs when I get out of bed in the morning.  These are the things I really miss.

I’m pretty excited about the next four months.  I have already started giving private swimming lessons and these will get more frequent as the summer approaches.  I love coaching swimming, so it’s really a fun way for me to make money for tuition while enjoying myself at the same time.

In not-s0-great news, Finn bit somebody yesterday.  GB was a little reluctant to tell me about it given that I am all the way out here in the ocean and can’t do anything about it except worry.  I guess somebody walked onto the property (invited) at my in-laws and Finny took a bite out of his pants.  This is unheard of for Finn since he traditionally barks and runs away from strangers and never approaches someone he doesn’t know.

Perhaps he is taking his job as guard dog a little too seriously, but how do we teach him differently?  Obviously this is a major problem and a behavioral shift that worries me greatly.  Time to call Cesar Milan, I think….

I’m hoping that once we live in our own place and have our old pack dynamic back, Finn will remember who is alpha dog (me) and leave the biting up to me.

Fortunately he did not bite the person’s skin and only ripped his jeans.  And fortunately, the guy was an extremely good sport and laughed about it.  But still.  Not good.

Anyway, life on the rock continues to be good, especially now the weather is warming up.  Now that the days are getting longer, hopefully I’ll take more time for blogging and keeping in touch with blog friends.