Friday, December 29, 2006

lazy days and present run-down

lazy, lazy, lazy days. and yet, still amazingly productive.

Tuesday, the day AFTER Christmas, I spent most of the early afternoon doing a "Clean Sweep" on TDP DinoBoy's room. Had to make space in there for all the new shtuff he procured, even though the bulk of the pirate toys stayed at Grandma's. I put all the Little People in one HUGE box (Denise -- are Mark and Matthew interested??) and filled another box same size with random other toys that he's outgrown and/or no longer captivated by (dangling grammar-part, I know. Soorry). I also re-arranged the furniture to give him a bit more free space, and dusted and straightened the whole mess. It's much more functional now. And I have to say, the little one is really good about keeping things in their place once he's done playing with them. But he's got to have a dedicated place for everything first. So I think we accomplished that.

Wednesday, I set out to "Clean Sweep" the playroom. I had to clean it up so that Elder Child could use it as a bedroom for the next six weeks. With his foot in the cast, he can't get in and out of his captain's bed very easily, so he'll be bunking in the playroom for a while. I also needed to re-do the room so I could make space for this:
Doing so involved clearing out a futon mattress and myriad other schtuff out of the guest room closet, so I could move the 6-foot bookshelves into the closet. Then I went through all the crap on the shelves and culled and tossed and donated, so that the "shared" toys are now organized and readily accessible to both, yet out of the way. The "guest room" has morphed once again, this time from a playroom into an exercise room. So now all that's in there is the TV with cable, the treadmill, the body-shaping-gym-resistance contraption, and the futon.

and, the body-shaping-gym-resistance contraption thing? Wow. I have what I call T-Rex arms -- small, weak, and useless. But, with this thing? Move out of my way. The pull-ups alone will get me in serious arm definition territory. I'm still experimenting with the various positions and resistance levels, but with regular use, this is going to be a wonderful addition to the regime. Especially when coupled with these:

Of course, I don't have the Nano. Yet. Hub got a new Shuffle (the itty, bitty, clippy one) from his company as a pseudo-bonus, and gave it to me to use. But since my old one is fairly small, lightweight and unobtrusive anyway, I thought it would be better to exchange the new one and apply it toward a Nano. So. Schweet! Of course, I won't have nearly enough songs to come anywhere close to filling it, but it will be nice to have an easier way to upload run stats. I upload with the Garmin fairly rarely, only because I rarely think about it. This way, I might get some more useful information. And pretty charts. I lurves the pretty charts.

My brother, meanwhile, sent me Carmichael's nutrition/training book, to help with reaching some of the nutritional goals I'll need to meet to get me toward my goals. It's rather dense, though, so it may take some time to digest. heh. I made a nutrition pun! sorry.

All that's left is to put a new battery in the chest strap of the HR monitor, and I can resume base training. I'm still thinking I'd like to do another full marathon in February, but that is still to be seen, depending on how some other things shake out. At a minimum I'll do the Cowtown Half, but whether I do the full is still up in the air.

I have done pretty well on my goal of working out every day while on break. Wednesday was the exception, but with all the heavy lifting and cleaning -- it was easily a 4-hour job -- I don't feel like I slacked. I've been heavy on the treadmill, which has been good to keep me on pace with a bit slower run/jog than I'd do on the streets. That, and it's also been ridiculous weather-wise -- either too cold, too windy, too rainy, or something. But I have gotten it done. I've not paid nearly as much attention to my intake as I should, but I'm not going to stress over it right now. Just putting the other things in place, and once I'm back in the work rut/routine, it will be easy enough to police the food choices.

So, that's that. Got to jump in the shower and get ready for bed now. We left the kids at MIL's for the weekend, while we drive down to San Antonio for the AlamoBowl. Woo-hee. How the mighty have fallen -- last year, National Championship at stake, this year, we play Iowa. Whatever. It should be fun to cheer for the Burnt Orange Nation with Hub and our friends. Later!

PS -- Oh, and the Elder Child? Almost completely back to normal, with the exception of a the splint-thing. No pain overnight, which is a HUGE improvement over pre-surgery, when the pain from the coalition would wake him at least three times a week. And the swelling is receding already, and he's getting restless, so it's been hard to get him to rest and elevate. But he really is a good kid, and he's been a great patient. He's gotten the hang of the crutches pretty well, too. His biggest problem today were the storms that moved in and freaked him out. He'll be up and running around before we know it!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


So far, so good. Elder Child is home from the surgical center and he is doing as well as can be expected. He tolerated the anesthesia very well, and after the initial numbing shot for the IV was a pro the entire way through. He was on the couch watching Arthur re-runs on the DVR with a smoothie at his side, and he has his crutches at the ready by about two hours post-surgery.

We expected him to be groggy for the rest of the day, though, which he was -- he took about a two-hour nap earlier this afternoon. He woke up and took his pain medication mixed into some yogurt. Of course, they gave him the biggest horse pills ever, so it's nearly impossible for him to get it down just swallowing it whole. His foot is swelling some, but that's to be expected and is OK, as long as the capillary reflex is good. He'll also be in some amount of pain for the rest of the weekend
, which is to be expected. But he's getting along just fine on his crutches, although he's really only had to use them for trips to the bathroom. He was feeling perky enough to work on a Lego for a while -- I pitched in and sorted all those tiny little pieces. It was fun, if not a bit mind-numbing! But like I told him, I had nothing else planned today but to take care of him and make sure he has everything he needs.

He was in the operating room for a bit longer than we expected, because they ended up taking out the fibrous tissue between his bones and a bit of the navicular bone as well. The podiatrist who did the surgery said he's got an actual arch in there under all the bandages as well. But, the worst is over, and he was cracking smart-alecky remarks in the recovery room soon after they called us back there. And now he's home recuperating.

The best line of the day was his response to my MIL, who was quite literally hovering over him when we brought him home. I was helping him with the crutches, and she was standing behind him. After he stopped to rest inside the front hallway, she asked, "Does it hurt?" His retort: "Well, YEAH! I just had surgery, Grandma. Whaddyathink?" heh. I loves my kid!

Gotta run to Chick-Fil-A -- his appetite is back, and he's craving a chicken sandwich. And of course, I'm off to fulfill the wish. Such a good mom!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

From my elf to yours...

Santa 002, originally uploaded by ccervant_99.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful, healthy and happy holiday.

Merry Christmas!

We have three obligations today, and the rest of the day is ours to enjoy leisurely with the boys. And even our "obligations" will be fun and fulfilling, so pretty much the day should be wonderful. The schedule:

  • anytime between 10:00 and 2:00 -- Visit with Santa. Take photos. Eat bread and donuts -- we'll be visiting Santa at the Mrs. Baird's factory in Fort Worth. Yum.
  • 6:00 -- Christmas Eve Mass. All of us. Including wiggle-worm TDP DinoBoy. Who has assured us that his behavior during church will not make Santa skip right over our house.
  • Post-Mass -- Christmas Eve festivities with relatives at Grandma's house. Tamales. Mexican pastries (oops - I've got to pick up the pastries!!). Hot chocolate. Yum. Presents at midnight, unless my boys can convince Grandma to get going earlier than that.
I'm not sure how you can go wrong with a day like this. Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

oh, the children!

I must have really bad genes. Or my husband does. Or something about the unique combination of said genetic material resulted in some key-ray-zee-ness around here. Oy, the medical issues of these offspring of ours.

The thing is, they're really beautiful, strong, healthy children. They are bright and energetic (sometimes a tad too much), and I thank the Lord every day and night that He has graced our lives with them. And I realize every day that there are folks who only pray that their children had the "problems" mine do, and would trade in a heartbeat for the inconveniences that we're dealing with here. To complain about my kids' (like I'm about to anyway) is a little like whining that my Rolls Royce got grazed by a shopping cart -- boo hoo, I know. But, the little things, it's the little things that make us nutso.

Like this one, the little one: The one that swings from the chandelier like a monkey? And wishes with all his might to live the "Pirate Life?" Well, he's not too far off. The pirates, I hear tell, have only a few teeth in their heads, and the ones they have, well, they're not in too fine a form. So he'd fit right in. Dentist visit this morning revealed another THREE cavities. yep, in 6 month's time since his last cleaning, the child developed THREE cavities. And yes, he does own a toothbrush -- in fact, there are about four in his bathroom that are in current rotation. Yet, despite all our brushing, flossing, etc. the child still has holes in his teeth you can drive a truck through. Nearly all of his baby teeth, including the front top ones, now have some kind of cap, crown or filling. And of course, being the, ahem, "high-spirited" child that he is, they can't do any of the work without him being fully sedated. As in IV, anesthesiologist, HR monitor, the whole works. As I said, OY.

And then this one. The Elder Child. Hockey defensemen extraordinaire, homework-impaired genius, my little triathlete: He's got feet flatter than the Flintstones. And he's been in various levels of pain with them since about 2004. The day of his triathlon, he was limping and lurching through about the last half-mile of the run, and was in severe pain for about 2 days afterward. Skating is OK, for now, since his hockey skates pretty much immobilize his foot -- there the big problem is the grimacing and wincing as he puts his skate on. He's had custom orthotics for the last three years, and rarely a day goes by lately that he doesn't very nearly collapse when he puts his full weight on that foot. Basically, two bones of his upper foot are fusing together, as in bone-on-bone action, with some scar tissue thrown in for good measure. The x-rays we took two weeks ago showed noticeable decline when compared to the ones from 6 months ago.

So he's slated for surgery next Thursday -- his big Christmas present is that he gets to wait until AFTER Christmas to get his right foot fixed. He's getting the calcaneo-navicular coalition removed (say THAT three times fast), having a titanium implant inserted into his arch, and having his achilles tendon sliced to give him more mobility and flexibility. He'll be in a surgical splint for three weeks, with crutches, then a walking boot for the next 9 weeks. Then, in the summer, we get to do the same thing all over again for the left foot. Yee-haw.

The thing is, the little one -- perfect feet. Physically, the kid is lean, long and fearless. This one, he'll be my X-Games athlete, if I let him. And the Elder Child -- perfect teeth. As in no cavities. Ever. All but one of his baby teeth are gone now. He lost three in the last two weeks -- move away from the microwave, child!! And he's never had a cavity. But the feet. Oy.

So I'm wondering, were we to roll the dice and go for three mutant offspring, would the resulting child be the one with perfect teeth AND perfect feet? Or the one with bad teeth and bad feet to boot? I'm thinking we're not even going to consider trying to find out!

Gotsa run -- we've got tickets for a Night at the Museum at IMAX! Wahoo!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


are afoot. Much more detail later, probably not until the new year, but still, at least the promises of progress are encouraging.

Don't mean to be so cryptic, but I don't want to jinx it, so I'd rather not say anything until it's completely signed and dotted.

Meanwhile... how can I have put on 3 pounds in two weeks? I somehow managed to put taper weight on AFTER the race. I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the holiday crap around the office. Or the fact that I've been so busy at work that I've not actually eaten a proper meal in two weeks. But with vacation (which officially started today despite having to check email all day) comes free time. So I should be able to fit in a run or two or three. In fact, the goal is to do at least 30 minutes of running every day between now and New Year's. Starting tonight, after dinner settles some. And Rudolf is over.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Early morning meme

because Denise sent this to me in an email, but it's much too fun to do on email alone. all my bloggy friends would get left out. If you want to play along, leave a comment, or linky-link back to your place.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Bags. Bags. Bags. But no ribbons or bows if I do wrapping paper, because nobody in my house appreciates them anyway

2. Real tree or artificial?
I prefer real, but the pre-lit artificial tree is a thing of greatness.

3. When do you put up the tree?
After my December marathon, usually the second weekend of the month

4. When do you take the tree down?
Between Christmas & New Year's, before I have to go back to work.

5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The school-sized, flip-over blackboard we got one year

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes. My mother gave it to me - she used it the first year my parents were married. The sheep has a broken leg from when my sister pounded it on the hardwood floor.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
in-laws - they buy whatever they want/need throughout the year. 2nd hardest is Hub since he micromanages the checking account and I can't sneak in something from anywhere unique without it being a dead giveaway. This year, I got lucky and was able to stop at the University Co-Op. He knows its Longhorn gear, but exactly what kind, he'll have to wait and see.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Dread Pirate DinoBoy. Um, pretty much anything piratey or dino-ey and he's thrilled.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A set of magnetic letters suited for a three-year old. It would have been great, but I was 10.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Not a full-length movie, but the Charlie Brown Christmas. And Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey..

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
After my December marathon.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Nope. But I have bought early, stashed in the closet and then forgotten about it.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Tamales. Tamales. And then, occasionally, I'll eat a tamale.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
No matter. Just so they're little. The big ugly ones are hideous. .

17. Favorite Christmas song(s):
"Adeste Fidelis" and "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and I'll deny it if you call me on it, but the Bryan Adams' one

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Would rather travel, but staying home is nice, too.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Only if I'm singing. And you don't want me to sing.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star. Used to be a gaudy lit-up, ferris wheel star-thingy, but is now a sedate, lovely cross-like star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Eve at Grandma's, but we save my family's gifts, our own and Santa's for morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The mall. I avoid it all the time, but especially at Christmas

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
Burnt Orange baby! My mom's tree has Snow White and the 7 dwarves. We also have a nice set of Star Wars ornaments!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

25. Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas?
That's the whole reason we're here, no?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Is it the weekend yet?

just got back from a whirlwind trip to San Antonio. My elder sister received her Bachelor's of Education degree at age 41, after attending college off and on for almost 15 years. Go her. My parents were really pleased and proud, as were her husband and two kids.

I have to work a full day Monday, half a day Tuesday, then a last day on Wednesday before I get to enjoy the Christmas break. Elder Child was finished with school on Friday, and DPDinoBoy has 2.5 days left before he's done. I think Hub is trying to take a few days this week, and then next week we're all home all day, every day. I can't wait. I need this break in a big, bad way.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday already??

yipe! didn't mean to go so long without posting. it's just been hurry, hurry, hurry around here. no time to breathe, much less troll/peruse the internet/blogroll. I promise I'll make it up eventually.

The only big news around here, besides finally getting the tree up and decorated on Monday night, is that Elder Child will definitely need surgery on his foot, possibly on both. What kind of recovery he'll need and how complex it will be we'll find out next week at the follow-up visit after the MRI. He's not real thrilled (read: he's PETRIFIED!), but we've been assured that his arch will be nearly normal afterward, and it won't impede the growth of his foot, and he'll be clear to run, skate, etc., with abandon. Now to see if we can schedule it so that he doesn't miss too much school.

Not much else. I'll try to post a link to the marathon pix later, although I have to give you fair warning that they are mostly hideous. Wow. The Mom of Skate has a LOT of work to do, judging by those photos. bah.

Monday, December 11, 2006

oh, yeah, that!

Almost forgot (actually, I did, or it would have been part of the last post!):

I signed up as an Athena (rawr!!), and came in 7th out of 15 Athena women. Only 12 finished, so I technically was out of the top 50 percent of Athena finishers, but if you consider I was 7 out of 15 registrants, then I finished top 50 percent. Wahoo!

I find it hard to believe that only 15 women in the entire field of marathoners were Athenas. I guess most of them either didn't know about the weight class, or chose not to register as such. Hell, just like I claim my grey hair and upwardly mobile age, I also claim my Athena status, as long as I qualify.

The day after

Just to give you an idea of the conditions out there yesterday (second temp is "feels like"):
9:00 AM
Cloudy 47°F
41°F 30°F 52% 10.0
From S
10:00 AM
Cloudy 48°F
43°F 32°F 54% 10.0
From SSE
11:00 AM
Cloudy 50°F
50°F 37°F 62% 10.0
From S
12:00 PM
Cloudy 51°F
51°F 38°F 61% 10.0
From S
1:00 PM
Light Rain 48°F
43°F 44°F 86% 2.5
From SSE
Like I said yesterday, for most of the run, the cloudy and mid-40s was actually just about right. And I would say the rain started, for me at least, at about 12:05! I did end up putting my long-sleeved shirt back on at the end, because you could definitely feel the temps drop right in there, even before the rain started. But it wasn't too bad, and the aftermath isn't bad at all.

I had stopped by the office right after the race, to check in on the weekend testers that were there, and at least pretend to care about the quarterly updates/fixes that went in yesterday. While there I'd changed into dry clothes and fresh socks -- note to self: Never underestimate the power of dry socks!! By the time I got to MIL's, I wasn't as stinky as usual, and I'd washed most of the salt off my face, so I wasn't as offensive as I've been in the past -- being in the rain the last hour helped with that too, I'm sure. I met up very quickly with Hub and the Elder Child before they left for the Cowboys' Massacre/Saints game, and DPDino Boy was quite happily watching SpongeBob there on the big screen at Grandma's, so I propped my feet up and snoozed for a while before we headed back home. The first few steps off the couch were touch-and-go, with a bit of a wobble and a slightly loopy head as the blood rushed either to my head or away from it, I can't be sure. But after a momentary (2 seconds) wave of uneasiness, i was good to go. Nothing at all like what happened waiting for the train with Rebecca and Christy at MCM last year.

I got home and started a hot tub -- by then, I'd lost all interest in an ice bath, and decided to go for the bubbles and jets instead. Of course, even though I'd body-glided, I was still surprised by a few spots of chafing I wasn't expecting as I descended into the tub. The worst was around the back of my waist, where my belt pack rubbed against me the whole way. It's actually a pretty raw set of scrapes, about a quarter-inch wide and three inches long on either side of my backbone. The good news is it's above my waistline, since the double-barreled belt pack is wider than the single one, so it wont' bother my real clothes. I did have Hub put some ointment and a gauze pad on it before bed.

My feet were in remarkably good shape, considering that in addition to the usual swelling and sweating, I had also stepped in puddles for the last 3 miles. I've got a bit of a sore spot on the edge of my right foot, right above a callus/blood blister that's been there for a while now. It hurt last night some, but today it's OK. Just doesn't look pretty, is all. But my feet have been beyond pretty for some time now, so no worries. The left foot got away scot-free.

My hydration was good throughout the race. I drank both 20 oz bottles of half-strength Gatorade, plus extra water at about 8 of the aid stations. I kept pounding water after I left the course, so I'm not feeling any ill effects today for it, nor did I have any dehydration yesterday afternoon. My fingers didn't swell at all, and I was never sloshy. I'm making sure to keep an eye on it today, too.

My fuel for the day, pre-, during, and post-race included:
  • 1 bowl of oatmeal
  • 1/4 trial size Clif bar -- banana nut bread -- blech!
  • 1.5 packs of Clif Bloks, starting at mile 8 and taking 1 every two miles
  • three small cookies along the course -- most I took a bite or two and tossed the rest
  • handful of pretzels somewhere in there
  • 2-3 orange slices along the course
  • 1 banana
  • 3-4 bites of a frozen fruit smoothie - I'd have had more but it had mango -- blech!
  • 1 pack of PB crackers from the machine at the office after I changed clothes
  • 1 small orange at MIL's
  • a small plate of rice, beef-broccoli and orange chicken
  • fortune cookie and half-cup of chex mix
I was pretty ravenous right before I went to bed, which is why I had the chex mix then. Today I had a cinnamon roll for breakfast, and I'll have the rest of the Chinese for lunch. Tomorrow is the nutritionist consult, so I'll have to see what she says about here on out. I do know that I'm taking my staff to lunch on Wednesday for our holiday celebration, and I am SO having cheesecake then. A guy leapfrogging me for about the last three miles said he was thinking about the cheeseburger he was going to have -- I told him I'm thinking about the cheesecake I get to have!

I fell asleep on the couch last night -- too hyped up to sleep at my normal time, as is usual. When I woke up about 3:30, I was very sore when I tried to go to my bedroom. But after a few steps, I worked out the kinks and it's not bad at all. I'm thinking in a minute I'll head out for a leisurely walk around the block, or maybe head to the mall (!). It shouldn't be crowded there right now, and the walking will do me good to fend off any lingering soreness. For the rest of the day, I have to bring the boxes down from the closet so we can do the tree today, and I also have to make an appointment with Elder Child's podiatrist again. He continues to have serious issues with his ankles. Beyond that, it's me, the couch, and the new Dish hook-up!

Oh, and before I forget, this:

Sunday, December 10, 2006


So I didn't break 5:00 like I wanted. And somewhere around mile 20, that became OK. I still PRd, by about 10 minutes, give or take, crossing the line with a bounce in my step at 5:14 chip time. And I'm happy with it. Around mile 21ish, I had to step carefully and walk more than run, because the mist that started about mile 20 became full-out rain, and it was slippery and slidey. And that was OK. It was only a pain because I couldn't see with my glasses all sploshy.

I stuck with the 5:00 Clif Bar pace leader (Marie, who was awesome and incredible and inspiring, and who deserves a post of her own) until midway through mile 19. And then the same thing happened that happened last year (and the year before), and I hit that point in the course where i had to walk a bit, and they kept running, my group of 5:00 pacers. And Marie's little stick with her balloons on it stretched further and further away from me, until they were out of sight and out of hearing range. But I still felt strong, so I knew I'd PR even if I had to walk some, and I made peace with not breaking 5:00. And I ran more than I walked in those last six miles, and I sure ran harder and faster than I did at the end of the Waco race. I was strong, just not strong enough to maintain an 11:27 pace for 26.2. And yet, I finished. And I have the same medal and finisher's shirt I would have gotten had I come in 14 minutes faster.

It was a self-imposed monkey that I had on my back, this 5:00 or bust business. I thought I had to settle that score with myself before I could turn completely to triathlon training. But somewhere along there (around that damn freaking lake), I realized that just because I'm a 5:14 marathoner instead of a 4:59 marathoner doesn't mean that I can't train for a sprint tri. I'm visiting the nutrionist on Tuesday, and that coupled with the cross-training that a sprint tri will require will help me lose the last 26.2 pounds (yeah, don't think I didn't get the grand irony in being 26.2 pounds from ideal when I stepped on the scale this weekend!) to reach my goal. And by becoming a stronger athlete, I will become a faster runner. It will happen. And it will happen on my schedule.

I'm not ever going to break any land speed records. Or water speed records, for that matter. But by toeing the line and racing smart and getting to the finish, I will become a better athlete, and I will improve. My finish today is a full 15 minutes faster than my first marathon, and nearly half an hour faster than my last one. How can I look that horse in the mouth and be unappreciative? The weather turned sucky toward the end, and it was cold as hell on the start, but beyond that, it was a fairly good day for a run. And unlike a couple of folks I know, who really wanted to race this season and can't, I was blessed with a strong, healthy body that allowed me to cross the start line, and the finish line. Not as strong as I'd like, and not as healthy as I'd like, but stronger and healthier than I was two years ago, and sure as heck stronger and healthier than I was five years ago. And that's the whole reason I'm out there. That and the bling. :)

So I"ll take the PR. And the shiny, pretty thing. And the satisfaction of a run a little faster than my last, and that I put out all I had today on the course. Right around mile 25 and change, I passed a couple of girls, one of who was obviously struggling. And I looked at them, and I honestly meant it when I said, "This was fun!"

So I didn't break 5:00. That just means I have to try again, sooner than later. Somewhere I've got to figure out what happens to me at mile 19 that makes the wheels come off, and I might have to get some help to figure it out. It might just be running a few 22-milers in training, whereas I've been following a finisher plan that only has me running one 20-miler. It might be incorporating some actual speedwork. It might be getting back to yoga. Or, maybe just losing the weight will help. I'll figure it out, but do so, I first get to run another marathon!


  • Road ID -- with my motto "Through Sheer Force of Will" for inspiration -- check
  • BodyGlide -- check
  • layers, to better deal with the 59 degree temp -- check
  • LS Lady Longhorn tech shirt -- got me through the first 4 -- check
  • Bib and chip -- check
  • 2 water bottles loaded w/half H2O, half Gatorade -- check
  • swedish fish and Clif bloks -- check
  • oatmeal breakfast -- microwave just dinged -- gotta go.

Thank you so much to all of you on the sidebar over there who inspire me daily (most of you know who you are, Nancy Toby, Ellie, Richard, Ben, *jeanne*). Many thanks to those of you i know in IRL who come by here on occasion (Diane, Denise, Suzi, Marissa, Rebecca) who keep me honest, because when it gets tough out there, around that god-forsaken lake, I think to myself, "I have to finish this thing, because those people are expecting a stupid race report," and that keeps me going toward the finish and the pretty, shiny thing.

You, along with my family, keep me strong, and keep me going. See you on the other side.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I'm out the door to register for the marathon. I *love* paying full price for a race (NOT!) not because I wavered on whether to run it or not, but because I just let the online deadline pass me by. Eh, no worries. It's all for a good cause. And I get two shirts out of it right? An entry shirt and a finisher's shirt. Plus a pretty shiny thing. Yee-haw.

Also, we just moved the shelves in the corner of the living room to another spot (where they'll likely live full-time even after the holidays!) so there's a big bare hole in the corner. Where the tree will be! Maybe tonight. Possibly tonight. If not tonight, then tomorrow night. Or Monday for sure. Yeah.

What else? Not much. So I should head to the expo. I need to get a new sticker for my car. And maybe some new running tights. It's supposed to be cold tomorrow. Fun.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hi, there!

um, sorry. didn't realize it's been so long since a post. we've been dealing with that silly Arctic Blast (blast... blast... blast....) the last few days.

I didn't run on Wednesday morning because it was too hot and sticky, and I figured I'd just make it up on Thursday. Um. no. The differential between our high and low on Wednesday was 50 degrees -- from a high of about 80-something to freezing by midnight. Yowie.

Oh, and my oven is broken. It wouldn't turn off after i baked a frozen pizza and a batch of cookies for the boys (yeah, for the boys... 'cause I would never eat that stuff myself. Nope. Not. Ever...) on Wednesday night. So I ended up having to pull it away from the wall and turn off the gas and unplug the sparky-thingy. Which killed my kitchen clock. But, eh, no worries. It's not like I ever cook on the weekdays anyway.

Even though I haven't run since Tuesday -- I'm taking this "taper" thing a bit too seriously, I think -- I do have some running content to report. Check out these pix from last week's 10K -- in one of them, you can even see me grabbing some air, it looks like! I'm not sure what's up with the completely unattractive sweat pattern, though. How I can sweat on only one boob, I'm not sure. Maybe I spilled water on myself or something.

Gotsa run, seeing as how I'm at work and such!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


So, my new little girl, the sporty, spunky one with the sunroof? She was parked on the curb outside my office (not in the lot, because I'd gotten a stinkin' parking ticket yesterday for not having my staff permit, because I'd left it in the old car at the dealership) today and when I went out at lunch, she had a scrape alongside the driver's side, with a dent on the quarter-panel above the front tire. I noticed it first because when I looked in the side mirror, I saw nothing but sky, since it had gotten smacked out of position. Then when I got out after moving it to another 4-hour spot, I saw the damage.

The dent isn't really visible unless you're on top of it, but when you open and close the driver's side door, it creaks and rubs against the quarter-panel, so there is enough damage that it got thrown out of whack. The black molding around the wheel well is scraped to high heaven, and there is a 16-inch line scraped in the back-seat door, above the side molding. That might rub out, but still.

Wahh. I know it's not the end of the world, and I know I'm lucky to have had the chance to get my new car. But, still. Phooey. and lots of other bad, bad, bad words. I just barely filled her tank for the first time this morning, for criminy's sake. And the fool who did it didn't have the common decency to leave a note. I did go across the street to where a local PD officer was sitting in the bank parking lot watching for speeders and have him write out a report for the insurance company, but pretty much he said there wasn't a lot more he could do.

I'll have to call the insurance company in the morning and get the whole pain in the arse routine started, with taking it in to the shop, getting a rental, paying the deductible, wah, wah, wah. This hacks me off because the whole reason I got a new car was so I didn't have to mess with it being in the shop if something went wrong. Honestly, i could leave it, except for the rubbing on the door, and the fact that it's a brand-new car and it makes me wince every time I see it. If I'd done something stupid like run into a parking post (not that I did that with my first car...) or hit a guardrail on the one icy day a year we have here (Hub did that in my old Dodge Stratus), or even back into a car while parallel parking (ahem, Skatemobile did that a few times...), I'd be OK with that. But this just fries my bacon.

As my friends in Madagascar say, "Sugar Honey Iced Tea!"

ORN -- 4 miles today. I won't say it was HOT, even though it was. It was more humid, like inside of a tea kettle humid. But it's done. Six slated for tomorrow, and then by Thursday, we're supposed to get some kind of Arctic Blast that will freeze us under layers and layers of sleet and slush. Or at least drop temps below 50. Something like that.

Oh, and Ellie -- I can't normally sex a car either, but I knew she was a girl the minute I saw her at the dealership. She's the daughter I never had! And all scratched up and accident-prone like this, I now know for sure she belongs to me!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Picture Fun

Because I got nothin' else, you get Dread Pirate DinoBoy.

And the new, shiny, pret-tee car. Name TBD. But she's a girl, I know that for sure already.

And the boys, playing their traditional post-Thanksgiving-dinner-family-football. Followed quickly by the traditional-post-Thanksgiving-dinner-family-football ankle twist and the traditional-post-Thanksgiving-dinner-family-football ice pack.

And, for the ender, a shot of the Aggie Band, stomping all over the Longhorn logo at the 50-yard-line. Right before the Aggie football team stomped all over Colt McCoy and the reigning national champions. Phoo.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Trot Report

So, I didn't break 1:00. But I did string together some nice times on the 6+ miles, and ran harder and faster than I ever have in my life. And I feel very happy about it, even though I fell short of my unspoken deep-down goal.

I did PR, by about 2 1/2 minutes, and considering I've been doing very little speedwork (as in none, ever!), I was pleased. Plus, when I said yesterday that "The Trot is always fun, and the 10K course is not terribly difficult," that would be a big fat lie. There were hills and hills, and more hills. It seems like the hills have been my bane this fall, but I am proud to report that I didn't walk once, not even on the uphills, and there were several times where I reeled someone in front of me in slowly, passing them at the top of the hill. I slowed down only for the water stops at miles 2, 4 and 5, and then only enough to get the water into me instead of onto me.

The weather was typical for Texas, which translates into HOT. I wore a long-sleeved tech shirt over a tank top and my running skirt, and that ended up being a good choice. I wore the race tee while I watched the first 5K runners come into the chutes, and I needed it then, even though the sun was high enough by then to warm us up nicely. The men's winner came in at 14:45 -- wow -- and wasn't followed by second place for a good two minutes afterward. Lots of fun to watch the fast folks -- I never get to see them!

But after about 35 minutes, I walked back to the car to dump the race shirt and find the start line. I'd run this route before, so I knew we started at a different location than the 5K, and I timed it nicely so that I only had a few minutes in the crowd before we started off. My first half-mile pace was about 10:35, since the crowd was so thick and it was hard to get clear space in front. I had dodged a girl in front of me by cutting left, only to have to cut right again to avoid running head-on into a truck parked on the street. I was able to speed up to get my goal pace by the first mile marker. By then, the hills were coming fast and furious, and by the time we passed the second mile marker, I had already stripped off the tech shirt and wrapped it around my waist.

The third and fourth miles were a bit tougher, with the fourth mile really being a roller coaster of a route, with severe downhills followed immediately by some steep uphills. The crowd support was nice, with folks sitting in lawn chairs on the curb, and one little girl in particular sitting in a tree yelling "Happy Thanksgiving!" to everyone. I stayed pretty consistent throughout despite the hills, and my splits showed it, with all but one mile under 10:00. I considered skipping the last water stop and just cranking it up to the end, but figured that I best take in a bit of hydration, considering I wasn't carrying my own today.

I passed the 6 mile marker at a bit under 1 hour, so I was thrilled, but I also knew I had the last .2 of a mile and I wasn't going to cover that in the time I had left. Still, I knew I'd PR. As soon as I crossed Camp Bowie and had the chutes in my sight, I cranked it with all I had left. Which wasn't much. But, still. I crossed in 1:02:35. Immediately, I felt this huge bubble of air come up my throat, and I was certain I was going to lose it. But instead, it was just this huge burp. Now, you have to know that I don't burp. Ever. I just am not wired like that -- it grosses me out and feels one degree removed from puking. So I never do anything that's going to make me burp, including drinking carbonated anything, alcohol, overeating, or gulping anything. But apparently, I'd been swallowing air with my last half-mile's worth of breaths, and it was pressuring my stomach, and BRAAAPP. Ugh. It hurt and it was awful, but once I did it, and I knew I wasn't going to actually puke, it was OK. And then a second bubble came up a few moments later. Blick. By then, I made my way to the chip-rippers, and then I was good to go. The tables filled with Ozarka bottles were empty, and a little Gatorade cooler was in its place -- bah! But I made my way over to the tents, grabbed a cookie or two and an orange slice (I passed on the green bananas, as apparently did every other runner, there were so many left), and then a volunteer shoved a case of yogurt in my hands. Wha? Yep, 4 6-packs (or 6 4-packs, I can't remember) of Dannon Crave Control yogurt came home with me. I saw some folks carrying two cases. It was pretty good stuff -- Dread Pirate DinoBoy ate one immediately when I got home and I had one for a quick snack. I hope someone likes it, since we have a ton. :)

So, that was the run. Like I said, I'm happy with it. Leaves some room for improvement, but was still a PR. I felt like I left it all out there, and I didn't let the hills get to me.

We had a great dinner at MIL's, and then the boys played football outside before we watched the Cowboys win. And now we're home watching Survivor. A quite bit to be thankful for, if you ask me!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Trotting out the Turkeys

so, tomorrow I'm attempting the 10K Trot over in FW, hoping for a PR. I last ran a 10K in 2003, as the Elder Child has accompanied me to the Turkey Trot the last two years. My time three years ago was 1:05 and change, I believe. Based on today's 5-mile time, in which I was just out enjoying the brisk morning air, and last week's 6-miler, I should be able to cut at least 3-4 minutes off that, if not actually break an hour.

I'm really just using this as an excuse to get out with some folks again, as I'm finding my solitary morning runs to be a bit, well, solitary. The Trot is always fun, and the 10K course is not terribly difficult, if I remember it accurately. I'm not going to be doing anything silly just to break an hour, but it would be nice to do so nonetheless.

I'm mostly worried about what to wear, as it's always freakin' cold standing around waiting for the 5K start, and then once you get moving it warms up too quickly for whatever you had on at the outset. I'm thinking since we don't start until nearly 9:00 I'll go with shorts, tank top and a short-sleeved tech shirt, with the freebie long-sleeved cotton tee over it until I get going.

Um, let's see, what else? Oh, yeah! :) The Skatemobile got upgraded. Hub mentioned in passing last week that I needed to trade in my car, since I was approaching 90K miles on it, was going to be quickly upside-down with each passing mile, and would probably find a good deal with the end of the year coming up. Silly man! Does he not know that I am all about the decisive action!? And that by suggesting it that I would pretty much go out and "Make it so," as our bald buddy JLP likes to say? So, yeah. After looking at the new Honda CR-V and considering briefly the new Jeep Compass, I went with one of these.... which is pretty much the same car I used to have. Except in "Wave" blue, with a sunroof. And the new one smells so... NEW. And it had 20 when my friendly car saleswoman brought it to my office. WOW!

I looked at the CR-V and even drove one Saturday, but two things, OK, three things, put me off of that car. First, it seems way too big for me. The Vibe is small, sporty, and built on a car chassis. It's low to the ground, so there's no having to hike the skirt up to get in and out. Even though we drove the CR-V over and parked it right next to the Vibe, and side-by-side they seemed the same length and width, the CR-V just seemed more THERE, and I didn't really like that. Second, the mileage I get on the Pontiac can't be beat. Even with the automatic transmission, I average 320 miles on a 12-gallon tank, and I never fill it up past 11 gallons, so I get anywhere between 26 and 29 miles to the gallon. The Honda was going to be good, but not that good. And thirdly, the last reason I didn't go with the Honda is the frilliest, frou-frou-est reason ever -- they didn't have the "right" blue. Their "light" blue is more metallic silver to me, and then they go all the way to navy blue, which looked more black, even in broad daylight. I really like the "Atomic Blue Metallic" available on the Element, but I find the Element too boxy, and the same color isn't available in the CR-V. And I really, really wanted a blue car this time around.

So, then I thought about the Jeep Compass, but it's a new model, and that always makes me nervous -- gotta give these folks time to work out the kinks. And the second thing about it is almost as silly as the Honda blue -- those stupid ads. They're the ones with the bobblehead people driving the car. They make me insane. It's just stupid. And I had a hard time wrapping my head around supporting a sucky ad campaign by buying their car, even if their base model was so cheap that I could have gotten tons of extras, like a DVD player, for the same price as the base Honda. Then, Hub kind of sealed the deal there by saying, "Um, it's your car, and you can get whatever you want, but I really don't like Jeeps..."

And we were back at the Vibe. I LOVED my old car. it was only 4 years old, and had Hub not recommended it, i wouldn't have considered trading it in. It was sporty and cute and economical and not at all prissy or fussy. A workhorse, with a few nicks and scrapes to show for its adventures. Sound familiar? Yep. So I called my old dealer and she set me up. And I love my new car. Just like the old car. But shiny and clean, and!

Peace out -- gotta go peel apples for the cranberry-apple crisp I'm making for tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful, joyous and grateful Thanksgiving with the people you love.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

13 miles

I headed out later than usual, to simulate the time of day that I'll actually be slogging around the lake in three weeks. I did 13 miles, and it was alternately too cold, too hot, windy and still. It was a nice run, with nothing particularly dramatic or remarkable about it. Except that little section at mile 7 when Baba O'Riley came on the iPod and I ran along the street drumming the air with my hands, punctuating the rhythms with little jumps and laughing and singing like a fool. That was fun.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Who the f%#@ are you?!

Yeah, so Townsend's jumps are not as high, Daltrey's voice is a little more gravelly, and the other two, well, you know... But, dang, those boys can put on a show: the windmill arm, Daltrey in his tight blue jeans (rawr! wow!) banging the hell out his tambourines, the perfectly choreographed lights, flashing and strobing to the guitars and drums, and the whole arena on their feet. Good times. Even from the nosebleeds.

Of course, I can't hear for sh!t right now...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

still here

still breathing. still keepin' on keepin' on. If I can just hold on a bit longer, the light at the end of the tunnel may come into focus. Of course, it may end up being an oncoming train.

and just for arguments' sake, how many shirts does an 11-year-old boy need? We counted 12 that have buttons, appropriate for school, not including the 6 identical uniform tops, the sweaters, the plain sweatshirts, and the long-sleeved henleys. This count also does not take into consideration the drawers full of race tees and hockey camp shirts and Longhorn apparel that do not meet my standard for school clothes. Does this child *really* need MORE clothing? I didn't think so.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

oh, hell...

see, that's what I get for running my mouth over in the comments at Bear's. My 'Horns are in dire straits without their main man Colt. I'm hoping he's not seriously injured -- 'twould be a shame to end the season for him this way. That's more critical than the outcome of the game, for sure. Still, I'd hate to end a nearly 2-year winning streak with a lose to K State. Oy.

Gotta go -- I'll be doing the long run around White Rock Lake tomorrow mid-day. I hate that dang lake -- usually I start to despise everything about it 'round mile 16 or so. I figure I'll get a bit more familiar with the it by doing my 13-miler there in advance of the race.

Decisive Action & a new Attitude

Karen in Calgary is right -- if there is one thing I'm good at, it's decisive action. I have a knack for making up my mind about something, and then doing what it takes to back it up. It goes for the way I work at my job, the way I train, and especially the way I parent (not that I do that alone -- I have a fabulous partnership with Hub in that department).

The situation with the Elder Child has been brewing and bubbling for a while now, percolating up into the forefront every now and again, and then we managed it back down into a place where we were all lulled into complacency. But with this last outburst, I determined that we had to take decisive action, and place a line in the sand, and say, "This is where we stake our claim." We all want and deserve peace in our home, and we weren't getting it in our current situation. There was a lot of resentment and stubbornness (we like to call it "tenacity" when it works in our favor but "muleheadedness" when it runs counter to our desires) at play, from all of the players. But as I told my friend last night, as I told the private school principal -- I'd rather have this fight with him now, when the circumstances are in our control, and the worst-case scenario is that, GASP, he has to go to Public School (Oh, the horrors! whatever), than in a few years when he gets himself caught up in something that we cannot fix. So now he knows that he can dig his heels in and put up a hella fight, but on some things, he will not win. He fared better than I did -- he enjoyed the lunch at the bigger cafeteria, met some new friends at recess, and scored the highest grade in the class in his science class (something about velocity, and motion, and momentum -- I found it rather poetic). His science teacher was in charge of car line, and took a second to introduce herself to me, saying, "We had a GREAT first day -- this one is a smart cookie." Yeah, we know that -- that's never been the problem. If anything, he's too smart for his own good, and certainly he's too smart for me.

So, we have a new attitude around here, and that includes no fights with the kids. We say something, we mean it. It's not really new, since we mostly played that way before, but now, there is no doubt about whose will perseveres.

The other new attitude has to do with me and my running. When I woke up a bit after 7:00 this morning, my first thought was, "I have to run today." Then I quickly amended that thought to this: "I GET to run today." I never did Thursday's run Thursday or Friday, thanks to all the middle school drama, so I had a total of 6 miles on tap. It was chilly, finally, thanks to the cold front that blew threw yesterday, and I had a chance to wear some new gear I got for my birthday. I took the Garmin, but not the Shuffle (still MIA), and decided to just run. My reward was a 6 mile distance covered in 59:48. Go me. Amazing what a change of attitude will do for you.

Peace out -- I have a bowl of tortilla soup cooling down and waiting on me, and then I believe it's nap time.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Because your whole world can change in 24 hours

I have to make this short, because I have to go pick up the Elder Child from his new school. On Monday, he rides the bus there. By himself. And comes home on the bus. By himself. Holy crap, what have we wrought? I didn't know that making him understand the error of his ways was going to be so hard on me. As of this time yesterday, he was in a school with 500 Catholic schoolkids between pre-K and 8th grade. Today, he's in a school with 500 kids in 6th grade alone.

I'm sure we'll be fine. All of us. 95 percent of the kids in this state go to public school every day. I just didn't think mine would be one of them. More later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

some progress...

I called the nutritionist and set an appointment with her. first available is December 12th, I think, which is after White Rock, but that's OK. Just by being more conscientious (for real, for once) about what I've been putting in my mouth I'm down 4 pounds since the end of October. yea me.

I ran 6 miles last night while Elder Child was at band practice. It was hot again (mid 70s, but felt muggier because of the humidity), and in the neighborhood where I ran, there were hills. Hmm, sound familiar? Not really, because I ATE those hills for dinner. And wanted seconds. I ran 10K even in about 1:06 -- not blazing, but I kept a decent-for-me, steady pace. And I enjoyed my run. I've misplaced the iPod since the marathon (I think it may still be clipped to my beltpack, but where that's hiding I've not a clue), so I ran without music, without distraction. Just me and my breathing and my footsteps crunching the leaves and the acorns. And I enjoyed it like I haven't enjoyed a run in a while. It was hard work, going up those hills, but instead of retreating from them, I embraced them, I relished them, and I celebrated being able to run up them.

Nothing yet today -- I will probably do my 4 scheduled miles tomorrow evening after work. It will be a nice way to cap the week. Give me a little "unwind" time at the end of a crazy workweek.

In other news, we're pulling Elder Child from private school tomorrow. More instances of lying about finished homework, and grades in the mid-60s when he gets straight As without trying. But apparently, a few zeroes from missing assignments drag down the average. We're done fighting with it. If he's going to pull that bullsh!t, he can pull it for free at the public school. He's also lost all the Legos and Star Wars crap in his room -- his shelves are now free of everything but books. He didn't believe us when we said we were done fighting him on it. I think he believes us now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

um, about that post the other day....

I totally, completely, absolutely mean it. :)

The beginnings of the plan are in place. Among the action items to be completed between now and White Rock:

  • call the local swim school regarding coaching availability/rates -- I'd already planned to have them give Elder Child an assessment, so I'll go along for the ride
  • call the medical school's nutrition/weight control center for a meeting with a dietary specialist -- I've already got a referral from my endocrinologist
  • call the local bike shop for information on their clinics for bike maintenance and a beginner ride group. I'll probably not be able to join the rides until after the marathon, but at least I'll have the info handy
  • check the calendar, if available, for summer 2007 sprints in the area. I know there are a few to choose from. I know there is a Danskin in Austin, too, so that might be a good one to make a debut at, since they specialize in first-timers.

So, yeah, I was serious as a heart attack about it. The decision is made. The gears are in motion. Tick-tock.

Tomorrow, a 4-miler as I build up mileage again for White Rock. Time for bed now, even if Da Ali G show is on.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

and so it begins....

this is going to be long and rambling, because I've been writing it in my head since about mile 18 of last week's marathon. I've dumped it all out in my brain, and turned it around and inside out, and what you are about to read is the best I can do of making it all make sense. It's going to be sloppy and very stream-of-consciousness, which makes it not much different from every other missive I've ever posted, but, hey, you get what you pay for around here, y'know?

So, where to begin? At mile 18 last week, when I couldn't keep running any longer, because, really, it was hot? And the first two miles of the course had been downhill, so I went out too fast (10:00 and 9:58, I believe) and then I was totally, completely unprepared for the hills. The hills on top of hills, and at the top of the hill, another hill. And the heat, which was tolerable when you were in the shade, except that there was no shade to speak of. Through mile 14, I was on pace to shatter my PR, to come in close to 4:50-something. But I couldn't sustain it. And that, coupled with the heat, and the hills, partnered to drain my brain of any motivation to keep going. I can honestly say that had I had the opportunity to drop out there at mile 18, I would have. Had there been a water stop nearby, where I could have asked a volunteer to radio for a SAG wagon, I'd been on it. So what saved me from myself was that there was no water stop at that mile marker. And by the time I saw the next little cafeteria table with paper cups and two people manning it, I'd come to a realization. This realization:

If I quit this race, I will never be an Ironman.

If I can't finish a marathon when it's sunny and only 70-something degrees out, and I'm fresh and rested, I will never have the will and determination to finish a marathon after a 2+ mile swim and around 8 hours on a bicycle. And then I thought of the conditions in Wisconsin this year, when so many struggled with the cold and the rain and the hills, but mostly with the beasts within that either pushed them forward or kept them from the finish. And I thought, if I can't finish this stupid race, I'll never finish anything again. Dramatic? yes, but damn, it was hot, and just the fact that I was out there at all proves that I'm already a bit off my rocker, no?

So with that realization, I tucked in and decided that I would finish this damn race. I wouldn't PR, and that didn't matter. I would walk in the last 8 miles, and that didn't matter. What mattered is that I cross that line. I had to finish, because while conditions weren't ideal, I bet every single person who toed the line at Madison in September would have traded that day's weather for what I had in front of me. I had to finish, because my little boy finished his tri back in June, even though the other swimmers intimidated him, and there was a hill for him, too, and they cut his run lap short for him, but he finished, dammit, and if he can, I can.

So I just kept walking. One foot in front of the other, counting down the miles, talking myself into constant forward motion:
8 miles -- I do that on a weekday morning, and put in a full day of work afterward. 7 miles -- hell, that's to the park, around the trail near the roosters and back home.
6 miles -- a 10K. an hour at a good clip, 90 minutes walking it in.
5 miles -- recovery day. to the small park and back using the shortcut.
4 miles -- up the block, around to the Starbucks and back -- hmm, who put that hill here?
3 miles -- that's a short day -- to the fountain at the trails and back home again
2 miles -- around the neighborhood -- nearly there -- where is the next mile marker?
1 mile -- to the school on the corner -- no big deal -- I can do this.

And I did do it. It was slow, it was painful. There were times that I cried. Literally had tears rolling down my face, mixing in with the sweat and salt. I cursed that I wasn't more prepared, that I hit the wall so early, that I had to walk when I know I'm capable of running. I cursed whoever decided to put hills at mile 23, because by then it wasn't the uphills that hurt, it was the downhills that killed. The downhills that pounded my quads with every step, and while I thought, "Free speed!" it was tough to keep going because it hurt to walk downhill.

About .4 of a mile from the finish, a young man named Scott came toward me from the finish. He asked how I was, and he said he was to blame for the hills. I guess he helped re-design the course. He recommended that I exaggerate my steps to let some of the tightness out. He said it would be easier to run it in, that we weren't very far from the finish. He told me I didn't want to be the one walking it in at mile 26. He ran with me. He got me to the drawbridge right before the finish. He ran next to me until I could see the finish line and the timing mats at the foot of the bridge, and then he faded and left me to the bridge. To run it in. And cross the line, upright and in one piece. Not exactly smiling, but upright. And running.

The finish line photo folks were taking down their backdrop already. I wouldn't have stopped for one anyway, because I just needed to get to my car and sit down. And if I'd sat down anywhere else along the way, I wouldn't have gotten back up again, not for a while, and not without help. I got my medal and my finisher's shirt (very nice, both of them, actually -- with the drawbridge prominent in the design), and grabbed a banana. And I went to my car. And I sat there a while. And I realized that I'd finished what I had intended to do. Not in the fashion I'd intended, or at the pace I'd intended, but I'd seen it through. I was disappointed, but glad that I managed to keep going when I really, really, really wanted to quit. I've never wanted to quit a race before. I've never been so challenged mentally and physically that I just wanted to give up, to make it stop, to get where I could just sit and rest and not keep going. But now I know. I know that i can keep going, and make adjustments in the plan, and keep going. And I know now, that I have it in me.

So here is the point of this post. There are three kinds of people in the world -- those that have no idea what Ironman is, those that watch people cross the finish at Ironman and think, "Those people are crazy," and those that watch people cross the finish at Ironman and think, "I can do that." Well, friends and neighbors, I spent 5 hours last night glued to my computer monitor watching Ellie and TriMama and Bolder and Commodore and countless others cross the finish line at Ironman Florida last night. And I don't think they're crazy. So what does that tell you?

It tells you that I floated the idea last night of getting a swim coach to Hub, and he didn't blink. It tells you that at some point during the day, when I asked Hub what he thought about it, he said, "It's mostly mental -- if you do the training, you could do it." It tells you that when I was watching yesterday afternoon, DinoBoy saw them crossing the line and asked, "Is that your race, Momma?" (For the record, I said no, but some of my friends were racing).

I tell you what that means. It means that as of this week I have 2 years and 51 weeks before I turn 40. And I will not turn 40 without attempting an Ironman. It means these things:

  • I have to learn to swim, and get that swim coach for me and for the Boy, too.
  • I need to learn to shift gears on my Toys R Us piece of crap bike, but by next Christmas, on a real bicycle.
  • I need to finish a sprint tri by June, an Olympic-distance by next Christmas, and then spend the summer of my 38th year doing at least one half-IM distance tri.
  • I need to lose weight. Goal weight by the middle of next year (and this is not a joke, but some cosmic coincidence, I think) 140.6 pounds. If that means getting a trainer or nutritionist, then that's what it will take.
  • I need to re-align my life to allow for the training.
  • I cannot train for IM-distance with 11 hours a week spent in traffic, so that has to change. Somehow, I have to position myself to make that change in the next six months.
Everything I do has to contribute toward this goal, in some way, shape or form. Starting today, everything. I like Xt4's idea of wearing a bracelet, as a tangible reminder of what I'm working toward, so that when I think about doing something to sabotage my effort, I stop and remember my goal. I need to find something similar, to keep my goal front and center. I know I'll be changing the header on the weblog for starters, to visibly remind me of what I'm trying to do.

I'm not starry-eyed enough from watching last night to think this will be easy. I've read the training posts and the logs and I know it's hard work. I know people will doubt me -- doubt that I can do it and question my reasons why. I know this. I also know that people didn't think I could run a marathon.

My family is critical to this, and I know they're supportive. Except maybe DinoBoy, who crinkles his nose when I come in sweaty from running, but who likes my medals nonetheless. Hub is awesome in his total buy-in and indulging me in my whims. But this is not a whim, and I'm sure he knows this, too. He's known me long enough to know that I get what I want. What I need.

So, there you go. A week late with the race report, but really, I think to have hit "publish post" before now would have been incomplete. And I need to put this out there, into the ether, into reality, to make it happen. I have just under three years to make it real. The decision is the hard part. The planning comes next. After that, you just do it -- you just keep in forward motion. Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ellie's Done!!

Yippee!! Ellie crossed the line, smiling and looking great! Time was 16:2o-something -- I can't remember the exact time, but I've been watching and waiting. What an amazing feat, even if she has done it before! WOW!


Good luck, and god speed, to all IMFLers out there today. As a group, you are inspiring and amazing, and I'm jealous and envious, and I wish I could be like Dawn and have found a way to get there and cheer you on in person. I'll be tracking Ellie and Nancy throughout the day, and hoping that they meet all their goals and enjoy the day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Birthday Boy

Pump_It_Party 038
Originally uploaded by ccervant_99.
Because I don't have the energy for a real post, and still haven't really come to grips with the subpar performance I mailed in on Sunday, I chicken out and give you Birthday Royalty at the Bounce House Palace. I'd give you Dread Pirate, which was actually a back-up costume for the Kindergarten party only, but the camera is in my car. And it's too far to go out to the garage and get it. Getting the idea of how unmotivated I am? Yep. Sorry.

But, hey, Hub walked in the door a while ago, so things have got to look up, right?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hmmm, where was I??

Oh, yeah, that.... the race report. Y'know what? I'm flying solo right now, because Hub had to go to NYC for work. They closed the main office of his company, leaving only the Spanish-language branch in Dallas open. That cannot be a good sign. And, I'm also dealing with homework crap from the oldest child again. Damn, I thought we were done dealing with that BS last year, but apparently not. What I really want to do is to polish off the left-over birthday cake, but I know that won't do me any good. So I'm going to go to bed. Maybe I'll get back to the disaster race report later. But I know I can't relive that now. Sorry.

Edited to add:
BTW -- I did get on the TM for 2 miles at 12:00/mile today. I didn't want to, but I did. I do have another race in 6 weeks, after all. And it's not like I really "ran" 26.2 on Sunday anyway.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


5:45ish clock time.

I nearly quit twice.

It was hot. There were hills. And a massive, giant WALL.

But I finished. More details later. For now, the couch and a semi-coma call.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Holeeee Crap!

It's freakin' HOT outside right now. says 68 degrees; I call BS and call it at least 70. And it's supposed to be like this tomorrow, just a little hotter: forecast high of 82 tomorrow. Dang. I'm going to die out there. I'll be running as fast as I can just to get out of the freakin' sun.

Oh, and for my birthday, I also got a raging allergy flare-up and sinus congestion headache. I currently can't breathe through my nose, hear a danged thing, or keep my eyes open. pffffbt.

Friday, October 27, 2006

On this day...

37 years ago today, I was born in about 2 hours from first contraction to first breath. I was an easy birth, apparently, but made up for it by refusing to sleep during night-time hours. For the first year. heh.

On my third birthday, I believe, I got a little red Curious George for my birthday. I carried that thing around for a long while, until he was ripped and faded and pretty much loved to death. I have always been a Curious George fan, well before this recent spate of Georgeism spawned by the new movie (which I loved, BTW, and the soundtrack for which TDP DinoBoy and I procured this afternoon).

On my sixth birthday, I had the first party I remember at my house -- my brother, sister, me, and the family down the block. That was it. One present between them. I have a photo of me in my beige/guacamole green gaucho suit, blowing out the candles on my Mickey Mouse birthday cake. Not that I'm bitter about it or anything, but it was always rainy and cold on my birthday, and we could never have the big ol' parties with the outdoor barbecues like my sister (May birthday -- we have photos of her behind two 8-foot tables covered in presents!) and brother (August -- no school, but his whole BASEBALL team came). I always swore I'd never have a kid in October becuase the parties suck -- people always try to foist an orange and black cake on you, or pumpkin-shaped cookies. And everyone wants to wear costumes.

On my tenth birthday, I was told that I had to wear glasses. And that if I wore them every day, I'd be able to go without them when I turned 13.

On my 13th birthday, I still needed the damn glasses. Still do.

On my 16th birthday, my two best friends took me out to a grown-up dinner (with no other adults) and then we saw Stephen King's Silver Bullet at the movies. It was a fabulous adult evening.

On my 17th birthday, the New York Mets clinched the '86 Series, two days after Game 6.

On my 18th birthday, my eventual husband feted me with a fancy dinner out (meaning not the dormitory cafeteria) and tickets to the upcoming U2 Joshua Tree concert. I still have the t-shirt.

On my 23rd birthday, a student in the TV production class I was TA for had an epileptic seizure while at the mixing board. We called the ambulance, and after they took him to the hospital to check him out, I made the rest of the class resume the lab exercise. They hated me, and I'm sure they thought I was a stone-cold-hearted bitch, but I had to show them that if that were to ever happen in real life, they needed to suck it up and finish the show or have dead air. When my eventual husband came to pick me up for dinner, I had a complete breakdown.

Two weeks before my 24th birthday, my eventual husband brought me an engagement ring and asked me to share the rest of my life with him. He was going to wait until my actual birthday, but we'd been to his best friend's wedding on the 1st of the month and he couldn't wait any longer.

On my 25th birthday, the two of us sat in the ob-gyn's office and listened to the heartbeat of my first-born son.

On my 31st birthday, I checked into the hospital at 5:30 am. Five hours later (I'd had to wait while the doctors took care of an emergency case), I met my beautiful curly-haired boy for the first time. He wasn't pinking up right away, so they took him to the NICU and gave him supplemental oxygen. He weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces, and was by far the largest baby there. Later that afternoon, they brought him to me and I finally got to hold him.

On my 35th birthday, I was in the midst of training for my first marathon. Hub had to work late that night, and I spent the evening watching the Boston Red Sox break the curse, taking the Series in four games under a full harvest moon in total eclipse. Johnny Damon led off with a home run. Four days later, on my first 18-miler ever, I fell and broke my front tooth in half. I blame it on the eclipse.

On my 36th birthday, I was preparing to fly to Washington, DC for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Today, I slept late (or what counts as late in this house, which is to say 6:15), then took my six-year-old birthday boy to the doctor for his well-child visit. No shots needed this year, which was a welcome relief to both of us. Then, we went to school for parent-teacher conferences. Both children were confirmed wicked-smart by their respective teachers. Of course, they're my kids, so I always thought that, but having it verified by third parties was a pretty good present. Although, we did find out that the Elder Child is turning things in late again; even with incomplete assignments the turkey still made the honor roll. The little one has a hard time sitting still, and has an off-the-chart imagination, apparently. Good news (except for the incompletes, but we made progress from last year) all the way around.

Later, we had lunch and then saw Open Season in 3D. Hub was anxious to give me my presents, so I got a new Longhorn visor for the race on Sunday, along with some nifty longhorn logo sneakers, last night. Today, he surprised me again with a dozen red roses. Not a bad birthday at all. In fact, it was pretty dang great.

Tomorrow, the celebration weekend continues with DinoBoy's party at the bounce house place. We've invited all of the kindergarten kids, and about 1/3 will actually be there. No dinky parties for this October baby! Not that I'm bitter or anything!

If I don't get a chance to get online tomorrow, the next time I'll check in is post-race on Sunday night. They've adjusted the weather forecast, and it's now supposed to hit 80 by mid-afternoon. I guess I'd best be done by then, huh?! Eeeeeep!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call the POH-LEECE! (and Goals!)

somebody, quick! That girl is speeding! NOT....

Rather, someone should call me in on charges of impersonating a runner. sheesh. I did manage to get meself up out of bed this morning, and out into the chilly air (long pants and a long-sleeved tee required, thank you!). But, dang, as "fast" as I was on Sunday afternoon (at least for me), well, that's how SLOW I was this morning. Check out these blazing splits:

Mile 1 -- 11:25
Mile 2 -- 11:02
Mile 3 -- 10:52

So, yeah, I was anything but speedy today. And I felt fine. I just wasn't going fast. So any delusions of grandeur I was entertaining about possibly hitting 5:00:00 on Sunday just went "POOF" into thin, cold air. Bah.

OK, it's time to put the goals down in writing and out in the ether outside my head. I've really not thought about these too much (honest!). There's lots of reasons for that -- the biggest contributor is really that for the first part of this year I was so out of my groove because of work and stress and work. Putting on 15 pounds over my White Rock starting-line weight really played a number on me physically, but mostly mentally. I'm down from my mid-summer highest weight and have regained most of my fitness, but I've still not been able to shake the last 6-7 pounds to get back where I was when I toed the starting line in early December. We're not even going to talk about MCM, because that will just make me sad, to realize that I've slipped so much from a point where I was really at my leanest and meanest. But I'm as ready as I'm going to be, so we'll make the most of it.

I'm just glad that I was able to get back on board with the training and get the mileage in to be able to make it to the next race. Actually, I was reviewing my logs for this training cycle (after a comment I posted on Ben's site made me realize that I'm a bit OCD about them...), and I counted up the weeks, and I've put in just a bit more than 600 miles since May 1. That's about 100 miles a month, which is not particularly high, but I've been fairly consistent at least in that i've not gone more than 2 days in a rows without running some amount. I've certainly not been on the every day streak that I was before leaving for Disney last summer (again, leanest and meanest), but I've certainly not been slacking as much as I thought I was.

I've gotten slower this year, probably by about 5 percent, which is to be expected somewhat since I'm carrying about about 5 percent more weight than I was last year. But my 20-mile time this year was promising, as was my condition at the end of that sucker. So, all this blather and nonsense is just a long-winded way to say:

Dream Goal: 5:00 -- scientifically and mathematically possible if I maintain a bit faster than my 20-miler pace throughout; would be a PR by 25 minutes. So NOT going to happen, but if it did, I'd be doing a happy dance all the rest of the day/week/year.
Realistic Goal: 5:24 -- last year's White Rock chip time was 5:25; I'll take anything less as a PR; would need to maintain a pace of 12:20/mile, including walk breaks.
Bare Minimum Goal: 5:33 -- that's a 12:42/mile pace. I should be able to do that unless my feet fall off. Any slower and it would be my slowest 'thon to date.

I clocked a 5:33 at MCM, but that's because I was being all tourista during the race and snapping pix, enjoying the spectacle. Not that I won't enjoy the race and the scenery this weekend, but I dont' think Waco, Texas has as much to gawk at as Washington, DC.

so there. This post is subject to vaporize and self-destruct at any time if I come to my senses.