Thursday, December 27, 2007

I think I lost my marbles...

Sometimes in life because you are brought up in a certain manner, it is just what you consider 'normal'. It is the lens you look at your life through. And sometimes you don't realize that that lens may actually be a bit warped and maybe not so 'normal' as you once thought. Time away from where I have grown up I have discovered that the way I grew up may not be as 'normal' at times as I thought it was. Don't get me wrong, it was a great place to grow up and I have fond memories from my childhood, but sometimes it doesn't fit the 'norm' expectation sometimes of the rest of society.

My dad and I were chatting today as we went downhill skiing. I was talking about the nuttiness of the fact I had signed up for Vineman 1/2 ironman and the fact I do triathlons in general and how that is a little, how shall we say...not really of the 'norm' per say. But as we got to talking about some of our skiing adventures and other adventures I realized that maybe my nuttiness is more just a product of my environment.

As we talked, the conversation brought up the time when I was 12 and my home town was having freezing cold weather and had one of the worst inversions going on at the same time (where you basically don't see the sun for weeks on end). The only way to get out of the inversion was to get up to the mountains and go skiing as it was sunny up there.

It was a toasty -25 F.

Yes...minus...The reason we had decided to go skiing was that it was in the sun and out of the inversion...but seriously, I don't know what we were thinking. I think we took a total of 5 runs that day...take a run...go inside warm up...take a run...ect.

And as I thought through our silly antics of my youth, it brought up the time we were skiing at Big Sky in MT...I think I was 14 at this time. Now...i'm a decent skiier...i can get down most hills but my dad seemed to think a double black diamond was in order that day. Let's just say I learned how to kick turn my way down a hill that day.

Or a time when I was 17 or 18 and my dad had convinced me to learn how to wake board behind our ski boat and then somehow convinced me that learning to 'fakie' (this is where you switch which foot is in front...so your non dominate foot is now in the back) was fun and me not being one to look like I couldn't try something new, did attempt such a move. I did such a bad face plant I needed muscle relaxants.

We also thought that waterskiing in April in a glacial lake in the mountains would be a good idea...we had a dry suit...we thought I would be golden. I.was.so.cold.

This is the short list. But as we were talking about the 1/2 ironman and I mentioned that maybe I had lost my marbles...he replied, "To say you have lost them implies you had them to start with". Thanks dad. Pot calling kettle...kettle come in.

So there we go...grad school didn't make me go crazy...I was just brought up crazy. At least that is sorted out.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Greensleeves

As I went for a 3 mile run today (quite painless during and after). I had this song appropriately stuck in my head.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Christmas as is a celebration of Christ's birth. I am forever grateful.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm off!

Woohoo...today was a half day. Basically at my work if you chose to take the day off you have to take the WHOLE day off, but if you come in, in the morning, you get a half day...free. Nice.

I've been packing and cleaning to get ready to go see the my family and friends for Christmas. Back to the great state of Idaho for Christmas and New Years...should be good. Although during the packing fiasco I started to realize just how much tri crap I need when I go home. That added bonus of it only going to be between 30-40 degrees all week and rain/snow. How easily I have selectively forgotten what winter is like. I just hope I pack enough warm clothes. My blood is probably thin now...so I'm sure I'll freeze.

But the fun part about Christmas is my nieces are 4 and my nephew is 10months...Christmas becomes so much more fun with little kids again. They are a riot so it'll be good.

Not sure how much I will be 'around' blogland over the next week and a half...it could go either way...so if you don't hear from me between now and 2008...Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I speak science...how about you?

Well..maybe that last post seemed like I was out to try to 'prove' my theory on trigger points. And while in a way I was, I think I merely proved that I like the scientific method in most every part of my life. If I'm not sure about something...i do a little experiment. I found Nitsirk's comment about placebo effects right up my alley. And the truth of my experiment is that all it *really* proves is my own personal insanity on the fact I do an experiment on most things in my life. I knew Nitsirk speaks scientist...so I thought she might enjoy my experiment.

At the end of any experiment in science everyone still has the choice to believe or not believe the results. The number of times i've read scientific papers and thought "that's a lot of hooey"...there are too many to count. Anywho...I was merely posting my 'results' from my experiments. Anyone is welcome to still believe its a placebo effect or a lot of hooey...i'm cool with that...that's how experiments go. But if you are a believer from my experience...buy the book. Its a good 20 dollars spent.

That being said...I made a new friend today. His name is ART. ART stands for Active Release Technique. It's sorta like PT mixed with trigger point therapy mixed with massage therapy mixed with stretching. It sorta hurts...sorta like PT makes you wonder why you are paying someone to voluntarily inflict so much pain on you. But the most amazing part about it was the change in my range in motion.

The guy doing the ART on me, checked my hip flexors, double checked to make sure it was a muscle injury and not an injury in the joint, looked at my range of motion and then went to work. It was a weird experience in one way because he's having me stretch while he's pushing on different points on my hip and Psoas. I'm mainly thinking "owch...this sorta sucks"...but dealing with it anyway because that's how PT can be. And then its over.

I'm thinking "what exactly did you do?"

He has me do some stretching again...this this time my range of motion in my hip has increased by about a foot. I'm pretty awestruck at this point, mainly because I'm thinking...what did you just do? At the beginning of all this I wasn't able to pull my leg very far back (during the point of the stride where I am pushing off and my leg is behind me) due to my hip flexors which would translate into loss of power in a stride. But by the end of the visit, I had gained back a lot of my range of motion and my pain had diminished some. CRAZY.

I'm sure I'll be conducting an experiment with this, because that's how I roll.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Experiments with Triggerpoints

Ok...so my last post you would think that my pain went away and never came back again, but while my hip still hates me, it only hates me when I haven't been massaging out the appropriate triggerpoints. But it's still not 100%, sadly. I just posted on the first day I tried it and amazingly ALL went away after that first try. I still recommend it to EVERYONE.

To answer fellow scientist Nitsirk's questions on "is this a placebo effect"...no, not a placebo. Why you ask? Because it has become a fascinating REPRODUCIBLE experiment. And us scientists...love reproducible experiments. Although i'm not sure I really like *this* experiment too much because it involves me being in pain a fair amount before I can get the pain to subside by applying an appropriate trigger point massage.

Previous experiments (~ 4 experiments) have looked like this:
1)Went to spin class
2) At some point in future after class the hip hurts
3) Attempt to stretch hip, this doesn't seem to help much
4) Find trigger points (painful knots consistently found on muscles in the Psoas). Still feel silly for rubbing my tummy for something on hip that hurts.
5) Hip pain dramatically lessens.

TODAY...was a new experiment. This experiment was "What happens to the hip when I run?" (I haven't run in over a week...so I was curious)

Here is how the experiment was set up today:
1)Go to the gym after work and sadly run on the treadmill because it is dark out and I don't trust myself to run 5 miles with the tri club. Also...Dr said to use a treadmill to try to lengthen my stride.
2) Run on said treadmill for 3 miles
3)Forget headphones for dreadmill
4) Remind yourself that you don't need headphones, you poo-pooed head phones for the first 2 winters you were in MA and running on treadmill and told yourself to get over it.
5)Thought of all New England souls on treadmills because of end of the world like snow storms out East and sent happy thoughts to them.
6) Ran on treadmill and thought what always comes to mind when on a treadmill "why does it seem 10X harder to run on these things than outside?"
7)Got bored so had to turn it into a tempo run just because time and millage NEEDED to go faster.
8)By end of run, hip hurt. Mission accomplished.
9) Tried to stretch out the hip...gave a few stretches. No help.
10) Laid on back, put my knees to the opposite side of body as painful hip. Found necessary trigger points on my belly and in less than 2 minutes I went from...OWCH to...mild pain, but now I can move and I doubt I'll be limping around tomorrow.

So...Dr. Nitsirk...I understand the concern for the placebo effect, and I myself thought the same thing initially, but currently it is a repeatable experiment. Hip pain...find trigger point and a dramatic decrease in pain is observed. Not 100% gone yet, but better. And considering I've been a bit of a doubter with this, I don't think a placebo works if the patient doesn't believe it will work. And considering I thought I was nuts for buying the book (but I listen to MD's when they prescribe stuff) and sillier for actually following what the book said to do...i don't think I would qualify as a placebo category.

And tomorrow the FUN begins. I have an ART (Active Release Therapy) massage with a PT scheduled. More fun with triggerpoints. I get the feeling I'm going to have some serious bruising.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook

Athlete?

Ever been injured?

Ever have a small nagging pain that sorta hurts but you don't want to see a doctor about?

YOU HAVE GOT TO BUY THIS BOOK: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Yes this post will be a shamless plug for this book but you have to understand where I am coming from.

So back in early '06 when 'Zilla was training for her first marathon, a friend of her's had referred her to this book. She gushed...i sorta nodded...she claimed it was better than sliced bread...i nodded again...i picked it up at Barns and Noble and read a bit in the store...I put it down...i thought about it some more...and then I thought about my non-existant bank account (as I was in graduate school at this time)...I thought "yea...i'm sure it is sorta a good book, but *how* good"?? I shrugged it off.

You see, I'd been down the trigger point alley (or so I thought). I'd been through two rounds of PT wherebye they dug into every sort of trigger point associated with an IT band. I 'got' it. Some overuse = some knots. That's all it is...getting those knots out. I grind my teeth LIKE A CHAMP...so i'm familiar with 'referred pain' from these so called 'trigger points'. When I get an ear ache like someone hit me with a baseball bat, I know what muscles to go after. And the pain will eventually subside.

When I thought about trigger points, I thought:

"I 'get it'. Referred pain = trigger point".

I rationalized that there was an underlying 'issue' going on. The ITBS... was over use and I'm sure sucky biomechanics. The TMJ, I have some sorry teeth that decided that they didn't want to be the same height on either side of my mouth, which resulted in teeth not in the same plane...which results in me grinding my teeth. Fun.

THOSE trigger point related issues made sense in my little brain. But last week when I went to see the doctor about my hip injury and he said that I may have some trigger points that were related to the fall I had a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to be honest, I didn't buy it. There was no physical over use wear, like with the ITBS and the TMJ that aggravated some muscles so I would end up with a trigger point. It didn't make sense to me that by falling I could get a trigger point.

(It was like the hippie-granola 'sports massage therapist' telling me that the reason that my hip hurts is because I'm not 'united' with my body. She believed that my hip pain was due to the fact that I am currently going through lots of big changes in my life. (new job, new city, new life).)

BUT...just because I didn't really believe the doctor when he told me that I may have aggrevated a trigger point when I fell and hence the hip pain, didn't mean I wasn't going to take his advice. He is a MD and a PT after all. And just because someone can call me doctor, doesn't mean I know anything about anything. (it just means I know a lot about a tiny tiny subject that no one really cares about, including me...but I digress). I'm a good patient, just because I am skeptical (i'm a scientist...would you expect anything less?), doesn't mean I won't go and DO what is prescribed.

So i pick up the book and look up 'hip flexor pain'. The book describes what may have brought on the pain, as IF the person who wrote the book somehow witness my accident a few weeks ago. So that immediately got my attention.

And I'm reading about hip flexor referred pain and it tells me to look for a trigger point next to my belly button on the side my hip hurts. And what do you know? Sore spot that upon rubbing the knot out, my hip starts to feel better. But the next day...it's not perfect. So yesterday as I dove further into the book looking up "hip pain", i see other areas of trigger points I should work on. And I go 'looking' for said trigger points (all on my stomach, so i'm hugely skeptical about this at this point...as it is not on my hip),and today....... NO PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven't run in over a week and have only done spin classes, yet the next day after spin class my hip would still be a little cranky. But NOT TODAY. After finding all the trigger points associated with the hip...I am in NO PAIN!!!!!!!! Not even a twinge.

Referred pain is so weird.

I think every athlete needs to own this book.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Keeping it simple

Well I got all my Christmas decorating done.














Trying not to let the hustle take away from the meaning...

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Update

So wednesday I got in to see a sports medical doctor. Granted I had to plead "urgent care"...but the way I was feeling on Wednesday morning after the run I had on tuesday I was verging on "urgent care". The sucky thing about this hip flexor issue is that when it hurts...I can barely sit up in bed.


So I went to the doctor...and the verdict: apparently when I fell last month I triggered some sort of spasm in one of my hip flexor muscles that was already crazy tight. I had started with tight hip muscles and the fall has caused some spasming that may have lead to a pulled muscle in my Psoas and Illiacus and is contributed to some increase in 'clicking' in the hip. (which hurts) Since we are getting into Dec and my good health insurance that would let me see some of the PTs i'd like to will kick in a few weeks...i'm going to wait it out. I've made an appointment to get some ART (active release therapy)...i will do more yoga like it is going out of style...look into some acupuncture, try to get a couple of massages in this month and use the book the doctor prescribed on Trigger Point Therapy. We all need more self inflicted pain right? owch.

The doctor said I didn't have to stop running unless I was getting pain while I was running...which I usually wasn't or it was at the end of the run. My plan is to dial it back to more like 3 miles x 3 times a week and skip the group running. The 5 miles on each of the runs I've been on in the past few weeks have taken too long to recoup from. So until I can get this strain/tight muscle under control, i'm just running enough so my body won't forget how.

Hopefully we can sort this out asap...its freaking me out a little since I just signed up for a HIM...i know I have time...but the doctor did say that soft tissue injuries can be hard to recover from. AKkkkk

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Taco Tuesday

Today apparently is taco tuesday...and I did enjoy some with some people from the tri run I went to today. Which was good. And now I 'understand' the love some people have for fish tacos. I used to think "Fish Tacos"...gross...that just doesn't sound good to me. Now I'm like..."ummmmm gimme some of those Fish Tacos" and I just had my first ones, ok not first, but first GOOD ones. YUM.

The run...ohhh, running near the beach by one's self minutes behind anyone...so much fun. But the only way to get faster is to run faster and challenge ones self. I'm kewl with that. (sorta). But the real reason I went was to see how the old Hip Flexor was faring. I had stopped running for a week, got in 4 (count'em) yoga sessions in one week...and tried to bike and swim instead.

The verdict: My hip hates me....boo

The main problem is that I signed up for the crappy health insurance when I started my job...and none of the main PT's that have been suggested to me work will take it. Double bummer. Sucky thing is if this had happened in Jan, insurance wouldn't be a problem as I would have the good insurance and could go where ever. I hate health insurance in the US. Don't get me started. I think i've sorted out how i'm going to deal with the situation...it is a little bizarre, but I'll still be able to get in (i hope). In the meantime everyone keeps telling me "hmmm hip injuries aren't usually the hips". Thanks...that helps me...ohnotsomuch.

And I tried out a Gravity/pilates thing at the gym this weekend. It looks a bit like this:





But while we were doing the exercises we did a lot of these:
and today I have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) . It feels like I got kicked by a horse in the sternum and my abs hurt when I laugh. I was going to swim this morning, but due to the pain the rotation and using my arms just wasn't going to happen. Such is life.


Well hopefully tomorrow I'll have more of an understanding of what exactly is freaking out in my hips. Hopefully.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The button is pushed

I understand and acknowledge the physical and mental rigors associated with triathlon, duathlon, or other multi-sport events, and realize that running, bicycling, swimming and other portions of such events are inherently dangerous and represent an extreme test of a personal physical and mental limits.

July 20, 2008



It s Dec 1, 2007 and the button is pushed. And while I finally sucked it up and knew this was something I wanted to do, I don't think that queazy feeling will go away from me me all training season. The funny thing is when I writing and debating about what HIM to do, the decision was made in my head. As I crafted that post I kept thinking " You are going to do Vineman 70.3". Maybe the race chose me. I don't know. I don't really know why this one. I don't really know anyone going to this one. Heck I don't know even know of any bloggers out there that are blogging about training for this one. So if you are training for this race or know a blogger training for this race let me know or if you have just read my post and thought "Maybe I should race this race"...come join the fun!

The interesting thing about a HIM is that since each segment in my head is do-able, the distance *seems* alright at first glance (stupid 'distance creep'). The only segment I haven't actually done by itself is a 56 mile bike (longest bike to date is 45 miles). So the distance is a little deceiving in a way because I break the whole thing down in my head and think 'well each of those on their own are fine'. And then I realize I will probably be out there between 6-7.5 hours and then reality sets in. That's a long time. I know I'm up for the challenge, but one must not forget to respect the distance. I'm also a bit excited too. New challenges are pretty awesome. Daunting. Maybe a little scary. But pretty awesome too.

So it's exciting. I know how to swim (basically), ride a bike and run...but there are other things that I plan to work on and learn this season.
1)I will join a masters swim team. Intimidating, but I will do it.
2)I don't have aerobars nor do I know how to properly use them (and i'm going to be honest...they slightly freak me out), but I will purchase, get my bike fitted for some, and try to get over the fear of them.
3) Nutrition is daunting, but I am already in the process of working with a sports nutritionist.
4) I will learn that 5am time of day that can be utilized while being awake, but that will mean that 11pm won't be available to me as a waking part of the day anymore.
5) I will try to surround myself with 'enablers' of this endeavor and try to eschew those with only negative words for my goals.
6) I will try to have as much fun as possible during training by meeting new people and enjoying the process of change that this challenge will put me through.

Now onto crafting a training plan.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moving forward...

Moving forward...or at least trying my hardest.

Thursday I did the "run for the hungry 10K"...and was wondering how my poor hip flexor may fare as it has been a bit cranky as of late. I stretched it, used cold and hot on it and stretched it some more but come Friday it was still unhappy. Since this is such a sudden onset of pain with no increase in training I have been a bit baffled. So on Friday I called a place to see if I could get a sports massage and maybe further determine the cause of what is going on.

I meet the woman who will be giving me a massage and tell her my tale of woe...she sorta half laughs at me and then says to me sort of airily: "So...tell me about what else is going on in your life. Have you had any life changes lately??".

Err...me...life changes...nooooo...none here. New Job, New City, New type of living situation, New decade in life...noooo...me...no life changes here....nothing major at all. ahem

She replies: "I don't think your hip pain has anything to do with your training."

This is me in my head: whatchatalkingabout Willis?

She goes on: "While life changes can be good...sometimes while our head is ok with a new change our body fights the new change"

Me (in my head): What lady?

She continues: " And when you fight the new change, most of the time you will hold it in your hips"

Me: Errr?

Her: "So really what is going on is that your body is not embracing and moving forward with your life. It doesn't mean that what is going on isn't something positive, it is just that change sometimes causes us to react in different ways and this is one way your body is reacting. Many times a person's body will fight a new change, because it is new and our way of 'protecting' ourselves. "

OK...so she got a little too philosophical for me about how I am not 'moving forward intact'...and then tried to say that most hip injuries have little to do with training (i'd like to run that one by a PT first) but I found her take on things very different and sometimes I find I need a different perspective and see things in a different light.Her comments were a bit too airy fairy at times, but she did have some good points on some things.

Either way you slice it, I think I'm going to stop running this week and instead do a lot of yoga, try out some pilates reformer, give biking/spinning a chance and swim a bit and see what happens. I will probably start to investigate some more 'western' takes on what may be causing this problem (most likely IT bands that have gone crazy once again) and see if I can't sort myself out.

Or maybe in the meantime I will be able to convince my body to connect back with my brain...whatever that means.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Run for the Hungry 10K

I think it should be called "Run until you are hungry 5 and 10K" or "Run until you think you might be hungry" or "Run because later you will be hungry and will eat that second piece of pie 5 and 10K". Don't get me wrong, it is all for a good cause, but many people are mainly out to burn a few extra calories before the big binge.

So last night I did get in a dosing of yoga, and am concluding that it may actually be my back and IT bands that are causing the hipflexor distress. That or the fact I bought new running shoes and have only been on less than 5 runs on them...and the shoes hate me. One of the two...or both. So i tried running with my older shoes today to see the effect. (I won't know the effect until tomorrow.)

The race went pretty well. It was two loops of 5K...as it was a 5K and a 10K....um...this pretty much sucked. The 10Kers started before the 5Kers...which I felt sorry for the speedy 5K people who had to pick their way through the 10K crowd...but on the second loop we had to navigate dogs, and people walking across the WHOLE road. There should be sign posted, or they should have to sign something that TELLS them...get OVER if you are walking. The second loop was a lot of weaving around everyone and their dog...quite literally.. as you could bring dogs along for this run.

Anyway, the goal at the moment was to break 1 hour...and I did. 57:07. First 5K 29:23, second 5K 27:44...nicely negatively split the race. 9:13mpm...avg HR 173 with a max HR of 191. I am starting to see some edges of my fitness come back...and it will with some time and consistency...so it is encouraging.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And more running...

Maybe one of these days I'll write a post about biking...but that would mean I would actually have done some of that...err...i need to get back on my bike. It is a bit sad and lonely in my living room...although I find the bike situation hilarious because it takes up one of the walls in my apt ...sitting there all by itself, you see I still have yet to buy a couch. At the moment there are only two places to sit in my living room, three if you think that sitting on my bike on its trainer is another place to sit. It's a bit, sparce...

Or...maybe I should write a post about swimming...And while I've still been swimming, that is never much to tell except maybe my childlike excitement of me swimming outside. So I don't know how many times I can really post about HOW exciting that is to me that I get to swim outside...ALL.YEAR.LONG. But seriously...i could basically jump up and down and write a post EVERY time I go for a swim in the outdoor pool, but I'll spare you. I'd roll my eyes too.

So...back to running...Tonight I joined the tri team for another tuesday night run. I've done this one another time so far. I've had no expectations of actually having speed, its good to get out and meet some new people. I'd say my biggest 'bummer' about last time was the fact that I ran with 2 other people and neither said much the whole time. That makes a long 5 miles. Running with strangers who don't talk. I don't expect you to chatter the whole time with a random stranger, but its sorta weird not to say anything to other people you are running with...at least to me.

So this time I had the exact opposite experience...no i'm not suddenly speedy...I'm still wicked slow, (like that would change over nigh)t...but I ended up with "Chatty Runner". So the miles clicked by which is always nice.

But the biggest concern at the moment is my right hip flexor. For no apparent reason it has been whine-y since last week. I'm not sure what the problem is...stretching my hips...hamstrings. I think I need some dosing of yoga...but any suggestions would be helpful. It is not stopping my runs, but it is slowing them down and making me wonder how long I have until it does stop a run. That makes me nervous. So if you have any words of wisdom on how to deal with a cranky hip flexor, i'm all ears.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Running with more strangers

I just got back from a business trip to Houston, TX...I'll sum it up like this...lots of big trucks and lots of traffic. That was about all I saw of Houston, trucks and traffic. I was there for some *facinating* training....um, insert some sarcasm now. But it was necessary stuff for work, so it was time well spent.

The biggest bummer of the trip was a fight with a cold or something I started to have. Despite my sluggishness and feeling pretty yucky I did squeeze in a nice 4 mile run at a park in Houston which was good.

This morning I could have done a club tri sprint race...and while it was quite tempting to do...feeling like my whole energy had been sucked out of me and the thought of swimming in the cold ocean mixed with feeling under the weather didn't really sit well with me. So I joined another running group...again, no one I knew...it was small, and only me and four other people were running the 5 mile loop. I absolutely could not hang with the other people running 5 miles, but at the end of the day, it didn't really matter. It is more about me and the run...the doing this with a running group is more for the meeting new people aspect. I had a pretty decent run, mpm about 10:30...pretty good for a girl feeling really crappy and sluggish. And I did meet some cool people, so that was good too.

I am planning on running a 10k on Thanksgiving. My friend whom I am going to the race with was funny about picking out a race. We were looking at some races and I thought I might do a 5K that day...but her feelings about 5K's are summed up as such " A 5K is such a short distance it doesn't really warrant getting up that early". And besides it is Thanksgiving...we gotta burn as many calories as we can before making throwing that down the tubes. As far as racing, I think the distance will give me at least a benchmark to see how my base is and go from there with plans for this next season.

I'm settling down from last week... my heavy heart and feelings of angst at 'being the new kid' have subsided...so that is a good thing. I knew it would pass...but that is the truth of moving to new places, some days it is a fun adventure while other days I just want to go back to being in a space that I know. I'm back to feeling like its an adventure. :-)

Monday, November 12, 2007

A new decade...

Ummm...the shoos. These are my 'birthday' shoos...I know you can't run in them or bike in them so on first glance they seemingly seem to have little 'value' to a triathlete such as myself. And only because they have a solid platform heel can I even attempt to walk in them. But birthday shoos were for birthday fun this past weekend...and fun it was. I have officially entered a new decade and 'aged up' even though all summer I sported that 30 on my calf...it now is official. And well...I don't feel much different than 3 days ago :-) aside from my friends making me wish they were all here with me to celebrate. I've been carrying a bit of a heavy heart since saturday and all the festivities and the cards in the mail. Sunday it really hit when I went to a new church and all I could think while I was parking my car was "I am SO tired of being the new kid".

I know, I know...its only been, what... 6 weeks...and I will be the new kid for another 6 months to a year (at least in my prior experiences). It takes that long to settle in and stop being 'new'. There are great things about being 'new' to a place and I do enjoy them but sometimes I just want that new place to stop being so new and start feeling like 'home'. My heavy heart will pass. Life is not static, it does not mean that we cannot live deeply and love those close to us, but change also stretches us and hurts a bit in the meantime, even though it can still be the best thing for us. And while I am extremely happy to be here, leaving friends is like leaving a part of my heart behind too.I always know that my heart will grow back, but I never stop missing those pieces I left behind either. Its a good thing, but can make my heart hurt too.

And a new adventure for the week...first time to travel for the company. I'm off to TX tomorrow for some training for the rest of the week. Have a happy week of training.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Running in the dark

It *seemed* like a good idea. You know...trail running...in the dark... with a head lamp and all...with other people of course. Granted it was just me and two other people who showed up for this group trail run...new day, new workout...never met these people in my life...and they were definitely faster. It was fine, i hung with them as well as I could and they were nice and didn't drop me.

We had deviated from the planned run that I think had more actual lighting and pavement and chose to do a trial that was supposed to not be so bad...pretty flat compared to the other plan that had a monster hills involved. I was game for whatever. I was barely hanging with the other two and actually was slightly concerned about the fact that one of them would sorta trip from time to time. In reality...that is usually me so I was feeling pretty decent by the fact that I hadn't tripped. Can you see where this is going?

So we do an out and back...we are *almost* back and the trail turns into more asphalt sorts of stuff. Yea, no big deal I'm thinking...this will be more level and all...so it should be less of a tripping hazard. And who MAJORLY BITES it...

ME!!

I can't find my camera at the moment or I would take pictures of my hands. They are shockers. One slightly bloody knee and the knee that REALLY hurts it more looks like a goose egg on top of it...i think it will be black and blue tomorrow.

It's one thing to totally bite it when you are with people you actually know...but I don't know these people. That's ONE way to make an impression...oh yea...*that* girl who totally did a huge face plant at the end of the run. At least we were really close to the end. It would have sucked if we were at the turn around point, because I couldn't really do much more than limp back.

Knee is feeling a bit better. We will see how it goes...i was hoping to do a duathlon on Saturday...but I'm starting to question the whole "is running a good idea thing"as in "will I be *able* to run by saturday?"

Here is my whinging for the day: "But it's my birthday...and what a great way to ring in a birthday than to do a race?"

Maybe its not as bad as I'm thinking it is...I'll just keep telling myself that.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just-push-the-botton

I'm currently making 'excuses' in my head over why I haven't made a decision about what was making me a bit ill to think about in a previous post. I've been telling my self that I can't 'decide' which race it is...but I finally realized it just freaks me out a bit ,which is why I have been avoiding it. So one of the races that has been making me ill to think about is doing my first 1/2 ironman. While I know many of you out there have done one...and for some...its something that you could almost do with out a second though...it is a bit daunting to me in an exciting...daunting...what-the-crap-am-i thinking kind of way. So...here are the races i'm looking at...and I have given myself til the end of November to decide and by Dec 1...I will have to put my money where my mouth is... so to speak... and make a decision. All the races have some pro's and con's...

Vineman July 20
Pro: I could drive to it (long drive...but I could if I wanted to ) I'm sure I could find people in this area who are planning on doing this race so I would actually know people at the race. Weather mid july in N.Cali isn't too terrible. I've been told this is a great race.
Con: Yet at this particular moment in time, I don't know anyone going there...but I think that would change in time. Hilly bike...but really what won't be.

Boise 70.3
Pro: My hometown...I KNOW these roads, even if I didn't bike them as a kid...which because I KNOW these roads that actually is a CON. (more on that later). I could see family...which I could arm twist into spectating...although I don't really know if they would be up for that. They think I"m weird enough with the whole tri thing with out adding something like a 1/2 ironman into the mix. They wouldn't really 'get it'. But that's ok.
Con: The first 20 miles of the bike course is something that would freak me out a LOT as the hills are pretty nasty. I grew up waterskiing where the swim is being held and on a weekly basis we would drive the what is basically the bike course. Lots and lots of hill training. The run isn't too bad though. Downside, Boise is at 3,000 ft of elevation...whether or not the fact I don't train at elevation would play a role...donno. Boise is very dry which is good and bad. And June 1 it can be either nice or it can be pretty warm in the 80s-90s.

I'm also considering trekking back to the North East...mainly because I'd get to see some friends so these are possibilities: Timberman (I did the sprint a year ago, and spectated for the 1/2), Patriot 1/2 (although reports after this year's event makes me hesitant) or Rhode Island 70.3.
But those all have the CON of having to schelp my bike cross country...and I will have been there a few weeks prior most likely as it appears I will be out in NE in May for work.

And also consider Lake Stevens as July in the Pacific NW can be nice. Pro: I have some close friends in that area, and I spent a good many undergraduate years in that area...so I like the area. Weather can be nice. Con: Shlepping the bike (although getting a direct flight isn't too bad). Weather has potential to be Seattle-y...which actually isn't too bad...that's more slightly raining and overcast which isn't terrible racing conditions.

Other major...MAJOR con with 1/2 IM in general is my work. I don't know how much i'll be traveling which makes me a bit nervous to commit to an 1/2 IM. And no one really knows how much I will be traveling until...well...it happens. Yeish.

This has been good...as I put this into writing, I am actually starting to make a decision. I'll let it sit for a few days. Any input on the races if you've done any of them is appreciated. Or thoughts for the nervous ninny i'm being of being reluctant to "JUST-PUSH-THE-FREAKING-BUTTON" on my first 1/2 IM. :-)

Its N-O-V-E-M-B-E-R!

I know I will be in awe with the weird S. California weather for awhile to come...but it is so weird to me to be NOVEMBER...five measly days away from my birthday...and what did I do this morning? I went to the pool at 6:00am (yea, me...i'm just excited I made it there). And I swam...yea no big deal...but in an OUTSIDE pool! I was super excited by that fact...and totally weirded out by it too. But aside from not a ton of daylight this evening, I'll take exercising outside IN-A-POOL during a month I'm usually waiting for the first snow to happen. I'm sure I will have a lot of posts about the craziness of the weather (as in there is only one season)...but i'm sure I'll adjust in time.

And in light of the upcoming birthday...aging up and into a new decade to-boot (The big 3-0)...I have been promising myself the past 6-10 months that once I was done with grad school...i would get my sorry eating habits to a nutritionist. And that I did today. It was just a brief initial consult but was informative of how she works with people and her perspective. I've been to a nutritionist in the past, so i'm more or less familiar with the set up...yet I am out of practice with the actual follow through. So...i'm gearing up for new thinking with food and new habits. I know what needs to be done. Bit by bit

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

running with strangers

So...i went to my first workout with the tri club here...and it was good. I met some new people which is good since I can be a bit of an introvert at times and sometimes meeting new people can be exhausting. So far I've found that in many spheres of my life, here in S.Cali everyone has made it really easy to meet new people, which has been great. I even ended up meeting Paul, fellow blogger who had quite the race at SOMA on sunday. (check out his RR for some awesome racing and drama).

It was a 5ish mile workout. I haven't been out for a run since my 1/2 marathon two weeks ago, so it was good to get out and the air quality was good and the weather was great. But I realized, I've never been to a 'group' run before...and in someways its a little weird to just run with random strangers. Over the past 4 years, I've either had a dedicated training partner who I did almost every work out with, or other running buddies, or I just ran country roads all by myself...but I've never joined a sports organization like a tri-team either. I've only ever played on sports teams so doing workouts in an organized way just has a different feel to me. I'll be back for sure...even though I'm super slow. It'll keep me running over the winter.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

what would you attempt...

I made it to a yoga class on Saturday...which is a start. My arms are sore as they always are when I start back into yoga, but I'm excited to start shaping up a schedule of sorts. I've found a pool and the sorts of things I'm looking for with a gym these days. I managed to make it to a tri-club meet some other members thingy which was a good way to meet a few people and I am planning on making a few workouts with the club this week so I'm looking forward to meeting a few more.

I've started to think/plan what my next season A races should be...but I'm going to be honest...the more I think about it the queasier it makes me. I've started to realize that when I hang out/talk with/read about endurance bla, bla, bla...i'm starting to discover I am getting what some people refer to as 'distance creep'. If you talk about/think about a particular distance long enough what once seemed insanity starts to seem almost reasonable. Here I'll say it...OK my thinking just freaked me out in the "what in the world am I thinking" kind of way. And then...i look up at this little metal plaque I was given, I don't know when that sits on my desk and says:

'what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail'

It doesn't say what would you do if you knew you could not fail...it says what would you attempt, implying that whatever deep down you are dreaming about has to be big enough that it is currently unknowable if you can achieve it on your first try. Your first attempt. It leaves enough room and grace that attempting yet falling short is still very noble...but it also leaves a sky full of possibilities to dance in your head and dream about and attempt.

So those thoughts echo through my head as I think about next season while I try to challenge myself to push my boundaries a little more and think further about things that would grow me as an individual as I try to plan some things that I can attempt and be brave enough to go for it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fires

The fires down here in S.Cali are raging fast. Here is a decent link to a map of the fires. To give you an idea of how fast they are moving, the large one up in Ramona started Sunday sometime during the day and has spread 30-50 miles to the west...in basically 24 hours. They have evacuated people to places they thought were out of the fire's way, only to have to re-evacuate again. The reason for the fast moving fires is because it is so dry down here combined with some gusting Santa Anna winds that have gotten up to 50+ mph today. It is a bit unreal how fast these fires are moving.

I live in an area away from the fires, so I haven't had to evacuate. But work is canceled (Although I already had taken today and tomorrow off before all this happened)...and I have no idea when we will be back to work as my work is in the middle of some of the evacuated areas. Many of my co-workers live in areas effected by the fires.

Even though I haven't been that close to an evacuated area it is pretty gross here. My eyes, throat and head hurt from the ash and soot in the air. I had a gross layer of ash on my car this morning.

>250,000 people have been evacuated and unfortunately the winds don't look like they will abate any time soon...many don't think they will stop gusting until Thursday. Many have lost their homes and many will be displaced for awhile as this firestorm rages. Keep those fighting the fires and who have lost their homes to the fires in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Beach Half Marathon RR

ALRIGHT ALREADY ! Paul and Benson are a little antsy to hear all about the race report ;-)...can't a girl lie around all day after the race not feeling like moving and then walk around all of today like an old lady feeling exhausted without having to turn around and write? OK...maybe not...so I need a little encouragement to get the report out. So thanks guys for reminding me.

Short version: Race went well, mentally it 'flew by'...it was my slowest 1/2 so far, but I've only run 3 so really who cares. And as a friend put it...I really was 'training for a dissertation' not a 1/2 marathon while I was training for this race. The main point of my training was to mitigate the stress eating weight gain of dissertation writing and it did its job. I only gained 5-7 lbs during dissertation writing which I have since lost due to being sick after getting back from Asia and returning to normal eating. So...final result: 2:25ish including a 3:19 minute "must pee" break...so without the break 2:22ish. Overall...reasonably happy with everything.


Long version
:So I realize I have been bemoaning this race for awhile. My thoughts have been focused on "not enough training" "not caring enough" "focus is elsewhere (dissertation/moving/traveling to Asia)" "Am I even going to finish on my training???"...I realize i have sorta gone ON and ON about it. But anyway...it went pretty well despite my huge worries of training.

I was staying with a friend up in long beach so I didn't have too far to go race morning. Got up early enough to sorta eat some food, I usually eat two Luna bars, a banana and drink some gatorade. Unfortunately I started to feel a bit ill. I felt a bit on the queasy side and did choke down one luna bar a banana and some gatorade, so I probably only had 350-400 calories on board. Unfortunately, my queasy stomach got the better of me at the race and I ended up actually throwing up part of my breakfast. Sorry if that grosses you out...it grossed me out too. Since I hadn't lost all my breakfast I really wasn't too worried about the situation...the whole thing was weird because it wasn't about nerves. I just felt a little yucky.

I had enough time to use the porta-potties, and warm up around the parking lot, but not too much time where you end up just wandering around trying to stay warm. So...we got ready, and go...the first mile I was flagging a little. I felt flat, but just tried to take my mind off of it. The race was a little warmer and more humid than I was expecting as it had rained a lot on Saturday. By mile 3 I realized I was starting to be uncomfortably warm and would take two cups at the water stops, drink one and pour one down my back. It wasn't super duper hot...but hot enough that if you didn't realize it was warm and do something early you could have overheated.

As the race began and I got into a grove...the time just started to click by and I realized the miles just flew by. UNFORTUANTELY right after the gun went off I realized I had to pee...again. I was mad because I thought I had timed the pre race porta-potty correctly...but I was wrong. I did have to stop between miles 5 and 6.

Mentally it was a 'speedy' race...the miles flew by and didn't take much mental effort. I had planned to run-walk the whole thing but hadn't figured out quite how to do the whole run-walk issue as I get a little too competitive with myself for my own good ...but I also didn't want to DNF if I could help it, injure myself so I was in PT for 6 months or get to the last 3 miles, completely blow up and want to crawl home and then not be able to walk for a week afterwards... so I wasn't quite sure what to do up until a few days before the race. I took a suggestion from Joe of walking the water stops and running the rest and seeing how it went and trying to control the 'damage' as I went. In the end I was able to run the whole thing and only walk the water stops. I only had two miles where I really was wishing for the next water stop so I could walk...miles 7 and 8...but I stuck to the water stop walking plan and that was the only time walked. My other part of the plan was for the first 5 miles to keep my hr between 150-155, miles 5-10...push it to 158-162ish...and the last 5K push it in as I could.

Mile Break down:
mile time avg HR
1 11:30 153
2 11:50 154
3 11:48 153
4 11:16 154
5...missed the sign...then I had to stop to pee and lost 3:19 of time (so subtract that from my final time)
So...mile 5+ was 16:51 hr156
rest of mile 6 was 5:47 156 (2 mile 22:22, 11:11mpm)
7 10:24 161
8 11:09 158
9 10:54 160
10 10:28 163
11 10:07 167
12 9:33 173
13.1 10:26 176
Total time including the break: 2:25
Without the potty-break included was: 2:22 which looking at my results, it appears that if you subtract the break I still was running 10:xx min/miles on avg....which is great. Nicely negatively split the race, pushed my HR relatively well. (although you can see in mile 7 and 8 where I was losing focus :-) but nicely gained my focus back)

My thoughts...maybe I could have gone a little faster...maybe not. But I learned a TON from this race. I am stronger than I acknowledge sometimes. I also realized how AWESOME last year's sub two hour result was when I was at the 10 mile mark and saw 2 hrs...and realized I still had a 5K to go. I realized how strong I can be with focused training(when I thought of my previous year's sub 2 hour race)...and I still had room for improvement last year.The main goal of this race was to aid in my dissertation writing as a way to mitigate the stress eating...so the training did achieve that end. I still finished the race and no seizing of the hamstrings. I realized how running also has a cumulative effect...if I had run my first 1/2 mary, 3 years ago on the training that I had this last time around, i would have probably been a puddle in the middle of the road around mile 7. I ran that one in 2:13:02, yes...almost 10 mins slower this year, but it still proved what I could "pull it off" with only minimal training.

Overall...i was happy with it. I was happy with how 'fast' it went by mentally...that really took me aback. Learned a lot and had a great day overall.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ONLINE!

YEA...my apt is finally wired for the internet. FINALLY...any how making me happy...so more posting from me...soon.

Alright...heading to Long Beach...getting excited for tomorrow...and hoping it won't rain.

It'll be an interesting race...that's for sure

Thursday, October 11, 2007

even BETTER

And after that post on Tuesday...YESTERDAY...the check engine light in my car came on. SUWEET. Unfortunately it actually appears to be something important...related to the catalytic converter....sometimes that light is just the gas cap not tight enough. But I guess I'm not lucky like that these days. :-)

But on a brighter note..second week on the job is going well. Although I've had a few days at lunch where I feel like a nerdy teenager with no friends because I have to sit by myself :-). It actually makes me laugh more than anything else.

Yea...tomorrow is friday :-)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bad day blues

So...YESTERDAY...I was swelling with pride over how much I got done after I got home from work. I mean, I picked up my nicely tuned up and assembled bike (as I just got it in the mail last week from shipping it from MA...not a new bikes...same bike, just didn't have it til now), got a run in, did two loads of laundry, went to the grocery store, got my laundry put away. I felt rather smug about the super focused and tons of things I got done yesterday....

But sometimes there is a certain 'balance' in life if all is going well...then some stuff needs to go bad too...and well...today I'm paying for my monday going so well after work.

Now...being a new person at work and only on my 2nd week I still have massive numbers of computer gliches...i've tried not to be too annoyed with them...but...sigh...today the system thought I was hacking it. I was just trying to take Lab training...and it thought I was hacking the system. Over. And OVER...same error...unless you kept pushing the button and well eventually it would stop being lame. But overall the servers have been...how shall we say...stupid.

And then there is that whole...signing up for benefits like health insurance. I discovered that apparently I have a husband/spouse who is listed on as a dependent...and is 207 years old. Yes...born jan 1, 1800...that was pretty funny.

Then today the internet person to help me be connected and online who showed up 'on time' at 330 but I was given the wrong appointment time of between 5-7 pm...yet when I confirmed what time my appointment was they said that my appointment was between 5-7 and claimed that the technician had come at the wrong time and my appointment was correct. Yet when i called back after NO ONE SHOWED UP, I discovered that the internet guy came at the right time he was scheduled for (they scheduled him between 3-5...but never told me this...not that I could make that time), .. and then the phone person went to the wrong house and therefore never showed up at MY house...and when I called and talked to the people on the phone...sigh...there was nothing they could do about the glich as by the time it was all said and done...it was after hours. Now I get to wait for them at 7AM on a saturday. WOOHOO.

Oh...and i'm trying to put together a desk and one of the parts of the desk got machined incorrectly and I can't put it together. nice

craziness.

On training notes: Sunday I'm running a 1/2 marathon up in Long Beach...and after being sick for a week right when I was supposed to be peaking my running...and then doing all that I have been able to do in the last week or so...which has been reasonable recently, just not steller, I've decided that I will do what I can come Sunday. I will probably run-walk a lot of it...and if my back or hamstrings start to act up...i'm going to have to call it quits. I've considered DNS the race, but i've decided that if I don't 'race' it...and merely use it as some training with the knowledge that if things start to go poorly I will call it a day.

Life can be a bit bizarre and out of control at times. I'm trying to learn how to just roll with it. Some days that is easier than others.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

busy busy

Things are well...busy and crazy and I can't really catch up with much of anything at the moment. Next week I will have actual internet in my apt, so then I can hang out and finally catch up on all blogs and maybe even leave a few comments on older posts....until then, it'll be sporadic.

I have a 1/2 marathon in a week and a half. I had done some great training while in Asia, got my running up and around 100mins...no idea how far (i'm guessing due to my currently slower speeds and the amount of hills...that was 9 some odd miles). And then I got an un-fun stomach bug. I'm over the bug now, and have been able to run this week....sigh..whatever...it is what it is.

I am now in day 3 of the new job. I am enjoying it...meeting new people, learning about what I will actually do. It's pretty cool so far.

All in all the move has gone well...still need a lot of furniture, but with time, with time.

Hopefully will be able to check out some tri club stuff here soon, i've been too crazy, busy and tired lately, that's how life goes sometimes.

Fun times.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

not off the face of the earth...just close

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...just come close. The last 3 weeks have been hectic. A bit of a synapse

I moved from MA to Cali...
and then spent a few days in Cali...
Found an apartment in the few days I had to look at apartments...sweet
Went to Asia for two weeks to visit my sister...very cool.
Got some great running in while overseas. Starting to regain my faith in my running.
Got sick...boo.
Got back to Cali a few days ago and have raced around the past few days trying to furnish my apt, coordinate with the movers, and get all necessary things before work starts next week...but I doubt i will get everything done that needs to be done by monday...but most will be done.

all in all...going pretty well.
hopefully my bike will show up here soon.

Very soon, i will catch up on the billions of posts i missed over the past few weeks.

have fun and train hard.

Friday, August 31, 2007

How did this happen?

It is Friday. How did we get here? Actually right now it is Saturday...again...what? Time does not sit still and wait for you...it keeps going whether you acknowledge the forward motion or hold the rails for dear life trying to get things to slow down. What I don't understand is how exactly after five rather slow years at times, that the past week flew by with out me as much noticing it...not good, not good. Somehow today happened...movers showed up, car was packed up...my life currently fits in two suitcases (barely). And now...

I'm in limbo.

I've moved, but not moved, I am going on vacation and have no real 'space' yet to call a new home...and its great. Actually freeing to just not be attached to any space for a little while. Soon i will want to have more of a grounding, but sometimes it's good to uproot and wander a bit before coming back to the nest.

Only bad thing is my training for my half marathon in Oct has been..how shall we say...ugly. I don't like it. But...whatever, it's more to hang with some family/friends and do whatever. It'll happen. I can't worry about the fact that it isn't what I wanted in my training...too much chaos in my life at the moment to worry about that. It is what it is...and that's that.

Ohhhhh...and TOMORROW will be a bizarre going away/graduation party. As i've said before, a triathlon of sorts will ensue. Details later.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It. Is. OVER!!

And the verdict is....I PASSED...and am done!! Woohoo.

The actual defense went fine. Hardly any insane people to ask inane questions were there, so it actually wasn't as horrid as I imagined.

Whew...i need a LOT of sleep now...5 years is a lot of time to make up for ;-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny people

People are bizarre. According to one of the most...ahem...goofy ones I know...apparently I am "Quirky, with a strong personality". Yes, i am a bit quirky...but apparently a "Get-it-done" sort of personality translates into a "strong personality"...whatever that means...

I'm still alive. I defend on Thursday and have oscillated between doing "OK" and wanting to puke all week. I attempted to run today and ran two miles...turned around and walked back home two miles. Could not put together the mental whathaveyou to run. Weird. Running is stressing me out on top of being way stressed out...therefore...not working for me. This weirdness better stop after Thursday.

My housemates are planning a going away party...and one suggested the theme to be "my personal psychosis's". It might involve triathlons, aliens, singing about food, dancing about plastic, singing about plastic, sports movie themes and I'm sure other weird things. OK when you put my psychosis just out there...i can see where 'quirky' comes from. :-)

Oh...but GUESS what!!...we are going to have a 'triathlon of sorts' at the party...i'm excited.

Still happy(even with the nerves)...i like the new paradigm.

Friday, August 17, 2007

IT.IS.IN...!!!

Yes, that is right folks the drama...the pain...the insanity...of graduate school is starting to wrap up.
The book (aka the stupid dissertation) has been turned in to my committee. I have less than a week until the public 'flogging' as I like to call it...or my public 'defense'...WHATEVER. People get to publicly be mean to me...that sounds like lots of fun. But it means that i am done! (except corrections for stupid dissertation)...so that's worth something too.

I am exhausted, but can't seem to sleep. Yesterday I even made it out to Boston to a friend up who was up for a conference and stay with some other friends...it was exactly what I needed. I needed to just turn the stupid thing in...and GET OUT and be gone...and while I was barely functioning it was worth it. Over the past five years people have asked me "Do you want to...(insert fun things to do)"...and I have had to reply "yes...i want to...but I cannot (because research is eating my brain out)". Last week I had people inviting me all over the place...and no fun was had by me. So yesterday, even in my utter exhaustion...driving almost 2 hours to go hang out with friends one last time before it became a lot longer of a trip to see any of them was...divine.

I think the best part was waking up this morning...and discovering a new outlook. I woke up...happy. I've been 'happy' about things during my past 5 years, but it's been awhile since happy was an actual constant emotion to just be happy. No reason needed. I know that might sound somewhat overly dramatic, but let's just put it lightly...it hasn't been fun. But somehow...the end is very, very near.

And as the end nears, i am reminded that I had 4 triathlon training goals from last year. My number 1 goal:

1)To graduate. Preferably in Aug, but if not by Aug, then DEFINITELY by Dec.

The amazing thing is that in order to achieve this goal I now have come to realize that what was actually necessary for this goal to be achieved was a whole lotta luck in the lab....and an adviser on my side. If those two are not on an experimental scientist's side 'forgettabout it'. Fortunately, once the opportunity of a job took form in Feb...my adviser practically shoved me out the door right at the same time of experiments actually working. It was a miracle and I am thankful.

The fact I did not come close to actually accomplishing any of the other 3...only proves that I am not a multitasker (and actually...studies have shown that most people are not multiaskers even if they think they are)


Now...i think I need a nap. :-)


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tagged

I am...err...supposed to be doing something else...but i need a break :-) (Yes dissertation turn in is TOMORROW...but i'm losing my mind...so here is fun break)

Paul tagged me...so here goes

Job's I've Held:

Quizno's amazing sign holder
Dorky Scientist I: (cardio toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs)
Supah Doopah inventor of fly fishing accessories
Clerk for a mortgage company
Dorky Scientist II: (research into how to make cardboard boxes more recyclable)
Crazy Grad Student
Instigator of Science insanity with K-12 kids

Movies I can Watch Over & Over:

X-Men...all of them
Miracle
Sweet Home Alabama
The Wedding Singer
Rudy
The Bourne Identity

Guilty Pleasures:

Chocolate (Dark)
Coffee
Ice Cream
Did I say Chocolate?


Places I Have Lived:

Idaho
Washington
England
New Zealand
Massachusetts
And Soon...California (less than 3 weeks!)

Shows I Enjoy:

X-files
Grey's Anatomy
Discovery Channel

Vacation Spots:
(is this favorite places i've been?)
Thailand
Czech Republic
Ireland
Mountains of Idaho...or any part of the Rockies
New Zealand

Favorite Foods:


Sushi
Pad Thai
Vientamese

Websites I Visit Daily:

Bloglines.com
gmail
news


Body Parts I have Injured:

Knee and ankle (ultimate frisbee accident)

IT bands issues

Awards I've Won:

hmmm...scholarships for violin, academics...

Nicknames I've Been Called:

other than my name shortened? none

ohhh, i'm supposed to tag a buncha people...but i'm too tired to think :-) (Motto of the week: Sleep is for sissies)

So i'll tag just one: Nistrik

Monday, August 13, 2007

Just when you thought...

Just when you thought...people couldn't get ruder, more insane or well...more delusional...they prove you wrong.

I tend to believe in the best in people...I never thought that trait could be such a detriment ...and then I came to graduate school...

Thursday is dissertation turn in!

And 10 days til defense.

totally in a cold sweat now

Thursday, August 09, 2007

essential

What I like about having a goal and training for it is that a workout on a schedule goes from something that I should do...or I need to get done...to something that is essential. It becomes a non-negotiable. I know what needs to be done in order to achieve a goal. I understand there is no 'cramming' when it comes to endurance sports. And then my training becomes something that must be done in order to achieve what I want to do and in a way becomes ingrained into me...and must become a part of my comings and goings because I think about it a lot and schedule it and dream about it. And then the training starts to become essential to me. Unfortunately it is too easy to be sidelined from these things and somehow I lose how essential it is to me...and I easily forget how much a part of me it is.

Got in some more runs this week, they weren't supposed to be anything spectacular...main focus is my endurance baseline on those ones. But they were good.

Few things I've noticed is that whenever I start a training program that first week...my goodness EVERY freaking bit of me that has ever had an injury thinks that it has some say in what I do. Sheesh. Stretching and evaluating has ensued...but i also know this always happens the first week of training. It'll pass.

keep on keeping on

Monday, August 06, 2007

tempo run of sorts

So i've sorted out my 1/2 mary schedule for my Oct race and have put together a marathon training schedule of sorts for a Jan marathon.

I had planned to have a 4 mile tempo run today with a mile warm up and a mile cool down. Well massive side stitch at mile 4 along with insane humidity sorta hampered the training...but it's early in the training cycle...and i've got tons of time to get stronger.

So the stats(although I erased them off the watch...so from memory):

Mile time Avg Hr
1 11:11 145
2 9:18 165
3 9:18 170
4 11:xx 153
5 9:48 170
6 cool down...run...walk...couldn't get my heart rate down as it was so humid out.


What's cool is that in a few weeks time...i am certain I will see improvement with consistency. I was being a little hard on myself today because I didn't finish all 4 miles the way I had wanted to at LT...but then I realized...it doesn't really matter. I split two evenly...and have room for improvement on the other two. Big deal. Training is cool in that if you apply consistency to your program you WILL improve. My goal over the next few weeks is to be able to do all 4 parts of the tempo part...evenly...and then work towards negatively splitting the last two...someday. That day doesn't have to be soon its just what I hope strive towards: To be stronger as I finish a run and not fade at the end. That comes with consistency...that comes with practice and repetition.

As my (very Italian) violin teacher in college said in a heavy accent: repetition, repetition, repetition.

It will happen with consistency and repetition. I know it will.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

and a runn'n

So curiosity got the better of me today. My training has been 'meeh' this summer with attention diverted elsewhere, and so i haven't been really that clued into my running. I'd been noticing my running was alright. I've been pretty chill about paces this summer, it's not my focus. Recently I've been seeing my long runs (of 6 miles) times drop between the 10-11 mpm pace. So I was curious how my cardio was holding and what I can just 'see' from how the 'engine' (aka...base endurance) is doing compared to the actual speed as speed will increase as endurance gets better (to a point) and then speed work needs to come into play. There is an interplay between endurance base and pushing the speed work.

I digress...anywho...basically the goal: 6 mile run, first mile warm up, next mile 150bpm, next mile 155 bpm, next mile 160bpm, next mile 165 bpm, next mile as fast as can I felt like dealing with...and a cool down.

It broke down like this
mile avg HR time
1 147 11:53
2 154 11:07
3 160 10:28
4 165 10:05
5 176 8:36
6 was more of a walk-run-walk for 13:50


I think this a great place to start from as I prep for a fall 1/2 marathon...and a winter marathon. I'm rather pleased considering everything that's going on.

And...i should add...it was WICKED hot...90 degrees...lots of humidity...shoulda run in the morning.

Got some choices...

So...i'm sorting out my choices for running and all that good stuff.

I do know this: in October I will be running the Long Beach 1/2 marathon

But as far as a marathon...the choices the choices. Thanks for all of you weighing in on the marathon debate...all comments even the cheeky ones are welcome (maybe ;-) )

I think i've tentatively decided on a winter marathon.
Anyway...here are the possibilities. Please feel free to weigh in if you have done any of them, or are familiar with any of them.

OC Marathon 01/06/08

Redding Marathon 1/13/08

PF Chang's Rock n Roll Arizona 1/13/08

Habitat for Humanity Diamond Valley Lake Challenge 1/19/08

Carlsbad Marathon 1/20/08

Surf City Marathon 2/3/08

LA Marathon 3/2/08 But...as No wetsuit girl pointed out in my earlier post this may be not advised by the surgeon general's warning...and it looks like you run right though a concrete jungle...not really my choice.

In the process of putting together a schedule for a race in roughly 24 weeks...

Monday, July 30, 2007

The debate within…

Lately I’ve been reminded that as far as an being an athlete…I am a triathlete. Not a swimmer or a cyclist or a runner…although I do have some tendencies to have a running ‘problem’ at times. But rather, I’d prefer to focus on doing multi-sport stuff with the end goal of a tri than be focused solely all the time on one sport and ‘cross train’ with other sports. I forget this sometimes…let me try to explain. If I’m debating about non tri races during triathlon season I have to stop and think really hard about it. I was contemplating running a marathon next june as there will be one basically in my back yard after I move. But the more I thought about doing that marathon…the more I started to be annoyed that it might screw with my tri season since it is at the beginning of June. The build...the taper...the recovery.

Granted the tri season in S. Cali is longer than up here in Massachusetts, but I didn’t really want my training focus during all those good daylight savings hours focused on an A race that wasn’t a triathlon AND it was during tri season. So I’m starting to contemplate a marathon that is in 6 months from now…the one I’m debating would be 3 months after my ½ marathon in October…

The whole debate makes me laugh because I know people give me funny looks when I say i'm thinking about doing a marathon...much less me saying that the reason I wouldn't do a specific one didn't have to do with it being a marathon...but that it interfered with my tri season next year. I think i'm just looking forward to having an actual tri season next year, THAT's what i'm looking forward to.

On other notes...sadly boredom of the dissertation has set in. I tend to get bored after awhile when I'm writing. I have my main things said...now i don't want to go back and re-write every little thing. It makes me want to SCREAM. Whew...that's out now. We can now move on.



Sunday, July 29, 2007

And...another tri

WoooHooo...i got a SECOND tri in for the season. Wow...i may still be a triathlete :-) A rather late in the game decision on my part (as in wedensday), but i decided that since I had finished a sprint two weeks ago and have gotten my running times up to at least an hour these days...I knew i wouldn't be scraped off the pavement at the end of the day, so I was in.

But what is a race without a little drama for me? I am not certain if I am capable of NOT having drama the day before a race. Last tri...it was a double flat tire issue...Hartford in the fall...it was drama in general. I have come to accept that bad pre-race issues can yield good race day karma...at least that is what I tell myself. That's how it rolls sometimes...This time the drama involved climbing through a window and falling in/on the window ledge and BRUISING the crap out of my legs is part of my pre-race drama, oh and being locked out...HEY, that's how it goes, right? At least I have some fun looking injuries on my legs. Yeish.

So fortunately this race was MUCH closer than two weeks ago, there fore it did not necessitate a 4am wake up and amazingly I get into bed so early that I almost get 7 hours of sleep. What is going on with me? Stranger things have happened, but lately things are a bit odd. Although I am greeted this morning with an UNHAPPY stomach that makes me start to question this whole endeavor (as I can barely get 200 calories in without feeling like i'm going to retch) I attempt to convince myself on the way to the race that I can eat more...um...notsomuch. Anyway, by the time I get to the race site, I'm feeling a little better.

Find my way to the race and apparently this one is advertised as a 'diamond in the rough' as it is it's first year. If they had said nothing about it being it's first year, one would never have known. It was tightly organized, the transition area was awesomely set up. Tons of room. It was great.

I get set up and saw JB the smaller and JB the taller who are doing the Oly and D who is also doing the sprint and meet up with them prior to the race chat a bit. We discover in the pre-race meeting that the OLY bike is now the same distance as the sprint. They 'claim' that both are 15 miles...but it didn't seem so much like that. JB the smaller thinks it was 13.5...me...uh...well...i think I finally realized my bike wasn't zeroed out until about mile 1...so i have no idea. But I can tell you one thing...the fact that I have NOT been biking, much less riding hills... showed.

The swim was fine, 0.5 mile, although at one point I realized I was having trouble breathing and reasoned that I could either take bigger breathes or slow down that might help. Got my breathing under control. Time 17:02...about the same as the last sprint two weeks ago.


The bike, it was an out and back course. The out...up, up, up...the back...a lot of down...but still amazingly some uphill too. Sadly due to the lack of time in the saddle and the fact I haven't been climbing much, my avg speed came in around 15.1mph. Meeh...not great, but whatever. I enjoyed it.

The run...came and went. There were no mile markers, just the turn around for the sprint's 3.1 miles...so I clicked my watch at the turn around 14:26, I thought I wanted to negatively split the run, but I think I lost track of my brain on the run too. Second split came in slower, 14:32.

Total time by my watch 1:43:xx...although I forgot to hit stop after I crossed the finish line so that may account also for the non-negative split on the second half.

Overall, enjoyable day spent with friends and meeting a few new faces too. Glad I was talked into the whole fiasco even after I convinced myself that there was a 10% grade on a hill...(notsomuch...but hey, it would have made a great story right?...nah...good stories are over rated)...

So at least I get to sport some insane bruises...too bad they are from my window sill and not from something more 'exciting' like a tri. But i wouldn't be me...if it had happened anyway else.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Angry Rain

I love this word:
whinge
intr.v. whinged, whing·ing, whing·es Chiefly British
To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner.

Americans don't use this word very much, (as it is chiefly british...see above)...but those that speak English and not American (as i've been corrected on many a time when I lived abroad...I speak 'American' or as some English speakers used to 'take the micky' and just say that i spoke 'Mer-y-CAN') Anyway, the american term that many use is whine. Yet whining is actually a little different than whinging, but anyway...that's not the point. The point is this morning I WAS WHINGING and I was annoyed with it.

Ever get that way? Where your own whinging is so annoying to you that you can't stand it? Maybe i'm the only one who ever whinges and admits it...but anyway...it was what it was.

The lightening and thunder woke me up along with the water pouring into my window because it was raining so hard and the gutters stopped working properly on the roof. Nice. I thought 'This is good...i can get a lot of work done today and tomorrow is my tri! Great...awesome". I get up, fix some breakfast and then the whinging begins. It was a weird battle this morning as it raged on (and I apologize to anyone who got in the middle of my whinging and ranting) because it became surreal at one point and I finally realized I was angry at the rain. At the rain??

I generally have two conversations with myself going on at any given time...no...those voices in my head are not talking back...no split personality (i don't think :-) ) Just the general back and forth a person goes through between the innerself and the ...hmmm i'll call it the rational/logical self.

But at one point...I had to have it out...all I could think to myself was "You are mad at the rain?? You have no control over that...and you are mad at the rain. Nice one there" And sometimes I have to talk myself through the stupidity of what is going on inside my head. Here's the conversation:

Innerself (IS): rain...bla...bla...
Logical self (LS): What is your problem??
IS: the stupid rain
LS: Stupid rain? What are you going to melt? You've done a duathlon in the pouring rain in April in Massachusetts, freezing your tights off where you thought you were going to be swept away by the flooding water and at one point were more worried that you would see Noah and his Ark floating down the road as you tried to ride your bike up it.
IS: (more whinging about the rain)
LS: And You did your first 1/2 marathon in situations that would have more been like a 1/2 marathon swim than an actual run. You've done triathlons in the rain to the point where you were afraid that your breaks wouldn't work properly and you are going to cry a river over some rain? Gimme a break. Really....what is your problem?


And then...breakthrough I suddenly figured out what in life was bothering me, yet I was taking it out on stupid things...I wasn't angry at the rain...I was frustrated with what was happening with my dissertation and my lack of an adviser who spends all of his time with students who aren't even going to graduate soon...and ignores those of us who are gunning for the door in the next 4 weeks. He just says "Let's meet later" and then...oh...notimeforyou. But my favorite thing is that he refuses to make an appointment to see me. "oh no...I will find you later"....sure...right...liar. I swear, I think i would have to light my thesis on fire and put it on his desk to get his attention. Ah...the joy. Only 19 days til I have to turn it in. "This too shall pass."

Sigh

Well tomorrow...another tri...and this time instead of just feeling mildly under prepared, i feel...REALLY under prepared. The hills look, um...how shall I say...scary (i pushed the 'register' button before I realized how big they were...although i'm still not sure if that would have stopped me.)...and I have been biking on not a single hill...so that just means...more FUN for me. actually...no sarcasm....it really does mean that...it's all about the experience....it's about being there, enjoying the day, seeing friends, and experiencing it. I have no expectations except to experience it all, stroke for stroke, pedal for pedal, stride for stride.

Fingers crossed that there won't be lightening.

See ya on the flip side.






Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To tri...

((OK I have a disclaimer before you read this post.
1) If you love Shakespear and cannot bear the thought
of someone using one of his soliloquy and modifying it...
well don't read on (and you should sue all those english
teachers who make students re-do
one in proper iambic pentameter too :-))
2) To dissert in proper definition means:
to speak or write at length...which is sorta what I mean.
Mainly I mean the whole process of crafting of a disseration...
so yes, i did sorta make up the word...but...anyway...)
3) I did actually attempt to try to keep
the iambic pentameter...hence the weird changes to words.
4) Why did I do this? um...i'm finding that in order
feed the 'creative' juices for my other analytical writing, i'm finding
I need to do creative things and other things...and well...i'm a dork. :-))




To tri, or not to tri: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler to dissert and endure
The slings and arrows of graduate school,
Or to take arms against a sea of swimmers,
And thus be swum over? To swim: to bike;
To run; and to tri is not to dissert
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That being passed is heir to, 'tis better
To commit to finish. To swim, to bike;
To tri: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in any tri what dreams may be born
When we have shuffled off this mortal fear,
Must give us pause: and a respect to tri.
This makes one see we are so short of time.
To miss the chance to spend with friends and race,
Or to stare at a screen and to dissert,
While fully knowing the pangs of missed chance,
Or endure the mock of conscience instead
That one would endure by choosing to tri,
When she herself knows which the wiser choice,
Being faced with the truth of a lost day,
And rather to push-on and sweat and tri,
But that the dread of lost chance wins against
The bearing of great angst of not dissert’g.
Know’g no one returns unchanged from a race,
Rather it makes us bear those ills we have
With others, as we see life must be lived
And not let conscience make cowards of us;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is marred by a small pale thought to dissert,
The enterprising company of words
That shall be chapters that few will e’er read,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you tri!
The fair race! Oi, it seems there is one choice
But to dissert like mad until the tri.

So...I am in...i have signed up...and
I am doing another tri this weekend! Yea.

why is blogger being a pain??

Friday, July 20, 2007

And dance...

"Dance like no one is watching"...

Slightly cliche...but here's why you should...you just might make someone's day.

I had a 'ho-hum' sort of day...nothing too exciting. A lot of boring reading...what's new. I went to the grocery store to pick up some dinner and there is this 70+ year old guy, driving his car...ROCKING out to POLKA music...he was singing and dancing (as much as a person can when they are driving a car)...and now...I can't wipe the smile off my face. It made my day, if not my week. Not because of what he 'looked' like while flailing about in his car (although it was humorous), but because he did it with such wild abandon.

It made me think about how little in my life I do with wild abandon. Just to do whatever, and not think about how I look or what others will say, or really care about whatever they think...so rarely will I just do something with everything I have and not care what other people think...I know that many times when I think about doing something with wild abandon, i begin to fear that others might judge me for my crazy behavior, yet many times it actually encourages others to try something new.

but in reality, most of my behavior is a bit erratic and crazy...so WHY do i even care anyway?

so strange

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What *was* I thinking?

"What was I thinking?" Coursed through my brain at 4AM Sat morning when the alarm went off. After the discovery of a flat tire as I was loading my bike on the bike rack on Friday night and two tire changes later ( worthy of pit crew status of course...OK...totally lying on that one.) due to one of my spares ALSO having a hole in it, I got to bed rather late on Friday. Sat morning's rudely early start got me doubting this whole triathlon thing in general. Really...'what was i thinking??'

OK i will admit it...this thought generally goes through my head at least once on race day. But generally it is reserved for the time right after I have gotten off my bike and I am attempting to run on Jell-o legs and I just feel the burn of the previous discipline course through my quads. So I figured, hey...let's get that comment out of the way early on...and early it was.

And yet another confession if you are already unaware of ...i am not a morning person. I want to be a morning person. But I am not one. Even if I had more than 4.5 hour of sleep on Friday night...hey even if I got 8 hours of sleep on Friday night, Sat's 4am wake up call would have still left me in a delirious stupor. It has to do with the time of day...not the amount of sleep I get.

It was my friend PH's first tri...and our friend KB wanted to come along and cheer us on. While having a cheering section is ALWAYS great...i couldn't help thinking "you want to get up at WHAT time to come WITH us...and stand around and cheer"? Obviously...an awesome friend. Anyway, PH showed at my house at 4:30...we loaded the gear and got on the road. The weather was PERFECT. High of 80...70 at the start, sunny...lovely...wonderful basically.

I've been so busy these days with trying to get done, that i haven't had time to contemplate the whole racing...training...ect. I knew that my endurance base was pathetic. I knew I wasn't super trained for the race...but I think the enthusiasm that PH had for the race was a lot to encourage me to give it a go and just enjoy. Since my training has been less than steller, i had no expectations...and that was really what I needed right now in my life. Trying to finish up before I move has held enough expectations...and recently I think what I needed was something that I enjoyed and could share with others to help put life in general into into perspective a little.

Anyway...we get to the race, set up...get geared up. No issues really. PH is in the first wave...i'm in the 4th or 5th. A lot of standing around and waiting. I realize i'm hungry at this point. It's been almost 4 hours since I ate. Although...maybe those are butterflies and not hunger pangs...:-)

Finally it's my swim start...and we are off. During the swim I make a conscious decision to just be in the race...fully...what ever I am doing. I tend to always think about "what's next" in a race...and hey let's be honest...how often do we just be in whatever activity we are doing in life. So I decided to be fully aware of the day...and just enjoy. Breathe, stroke, breathe, stroke. And finally...i saw the beach. It was actually a really good swim for me as far as my rhythm and sighting and not dropping my hips when I sighted...total time 17:00 for 1/2 a mile . The swim confirmed my LOVE of my new swim goggles.

T1 I managed not to hang out in too long...less than 2 mins. Nice.

The bike was a very undulating course...never really a time without a hill. It was an alright course...some areas a bit rough...I was please to see a final avg speed on my computer of 16.6mph. That's about where I finished up last season in my avg speeds...so to see that in a race that I haven't been in the saddle all that much for...is great...encourages me for when I have more time to devote to training.

T2...quick again.

The run.."i thought there were more aid stations" went through my head half way through mile 1 since there was one supposed to be at the 0.5 mile mark. Oh well..i'll live. The first half was up hill. My watch said...9:20 for the first mile, 10:30 for the second mile...and then 7:45 for the next mile and 4 something for the final .2 miles...looking at those time...mile markers MUST have been misplaced. Granted the 7:45 was on a down hill...but, honestly...no...my effort was not a sub 8mpm...fun to entertain, but more likely a misplaced mile marker. Over all pace from my final time looks like it was 9:40 something...

Final time 1:40: something.

I was pleased. I had no expectations except to have fun...and I did...sure it was definitely not my potential...but neither has my training these days. I wanted my friend PH to have lots of fun...and he did. His comment afterwards was "that was AWESOME"... that was the best part. My friend KB had a great time cheering.

The best part was just to savor the day...savor each discipline as it passed...I got to share a part of my life with good friends that many in my don't get to...and then to watch them find so much joy in it...filled me with joy.

So...what was i thinking?? I was thinking it was going to be an awesome race shared with friends...and it was.