Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting ready for my triathlon

Wednesday's bike ride was canceled due to rain so I decided to swim. I was sore from my soccer game Tuesday night so running didn't sound so good, and with my sprint triathlon this weekend I figured a splash in the pool would be a good idea. Despite having to buy new goggles at the Y because mine weren't in the gym bag, I had a great swim. (Keep in mind great is a relative term, please. And keep in mind it is not synonymous with fast!) I started out doing alternating breathing, which last time really felt horrible and awkward. Surprise, it felt good from the get-go! Not like I was going to drown, much. I also tried to pay attention to my stroke when I breathed on the left (normal) and mimic that when I breathed on the right (awkward). There's some little hand swiveling thingy I do that I think helps my body turn to the side so I get more air, less water. I felt better as it went on. I did 12 laps 3 times (yeah, I took breaks) which equaled a half mile. Based on that, the half mile swim in the Schuylkill River Sunday should take me...gulp...18 minutes. Yet, in the few tri's I've actually done, usually I'm faster than that (not by much). So maybe I won't suck, and maybe just MAYBE the fastest swimmer won't finish in half my time (always how I judge if I belong in a given race...after the fact, though). I also think I was faster when I concentrated on having my head down, as in, looking straight down rather than ahead). Is that true? I have absolutely NO formal swim training past the 5th grade.

Questions...wetsuits will probably be optional due to the water temp. Given that I have no chance of any age group awards (you're not eligible if you do wear a wetsuit), any thoughts? Even though I've worn mine a grand total of ONE TIME (in a tri in 2007), I'm tempted to do it because I will feel a little more bouyant and psychologically I might feel better.

What I'm really excited about, though, is the bike. In my last Danskin tri in Massachussetts in 2006, which was the year I got my bike, I came in something like 1075/2000 in the swim, but 72/2000 in the bike. So, see, I really do suck at swimming, but I'm good at cycling! And I think this course is pretty flat, plus it's a double loop. 15.5 miles. I plan just to hammer it out, and if I get screwed on the run, oh well! Because of course, I have done zero real brick workouts. But I really just want to go as fast as possible on the bike and then pick up the pieces in the run.

I'm heading to Philadelphia solo...Fred and Andra are staying home. I'm kind of excited! I weaned her for good a few days ago when she put up such a fuss nursing at bedtime that I said OK, that's the sign! And that's been just fine, and Fred put her to bed Tuesday when I was playing soccer. So they'll be fine. I just have to make sure not to really check up on them, and just assume all is peachy. It will be nice to have dinner with my friend Lucy and then hang out ALONE!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Speedwork is fun too!

So after I let myself off the hook for not being into running, I went to the gym and did 5 miles of speedwork (well, only 1.5 were fast, but they were FAST!) and thought it was really fun! I think I like the treadmill more than outside right now...go figure. But, there I get to watch myself in the black TV screen and pretend I'm a rockstar, singing along to my music. Well, not actually singing because even in the best circumstances that would be awful, but mouthing the words. I just prefer going fast for short bursts...I've always been a good sprinter. Why don't they have 100m dashes for adults?? Why is the 5k the shortest common race???

I also did more weights that day (Thursday), then Friday did a fast 20 mile ride alone trying to beat the rain (done!), yesterday went back to boot camp (my ass is very sore, apparently thsoe muscles do not get worked in my normal life), and today am supposed to do a slow 9 miles with my friend in 2 hours. It's gross and humid out. But, she is excited about training for the half SO I need to get over myself and go with her.

After a few weeks of Andra sometimes waking up in the middle of the night (vacation, maybe teething, but no teeth), sometimes twice, she's back to her normal routine and we even got 13.5 hours (7-8:30) a couple nights ago. The only difference now is that she is finally doing those 180 turns in her crib. I had the matress elevated because of her congestion, but I guess that doesn't work as intended when the kid's head ends up at the DOWN end.

**Update: I did run 9 miles. My friend ran about 7.5. Once we got close to home, she was done and I felt good! Probably because we were going at about a 10:15 pace, which was slow but comfy! So I turned up the iPod, and even tried out some of the moves I saw on this now-famous video. Hard to do while running. But I was having fun so who cares!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weights are fun

My internal conversation about what I really want to be doing workout-wise continues. I should have run 8 miles this weekend, as I am supposed to be doing the 9 mile "race" this Saturday. I did not run. We were away in the Adirondacks, which was part of the problem. But when we got there, we spent a few extra minutes (to extend Andra's nap) driving an out-and-back course. Even planned where I could get water. was really hilly. Like, mountainous. And I kind of knew I just wasn't going to do it. Instead, I worked out in the fitness center and lifted heavy weights for 2 days (and ran one treadmill mile, I felt guilty). It was really fun and good. I have been really missing (mentally and physically) the boot camp and core classes I used to take religiously. Boot camp has just been hit or miss this summer between vacations and "races" which fall on the same day. I haven't been so good about lifting, and if I do, it's usually just upper body (which I'm happy with by the way, but my lower body is what needs the work). I miss the plyometrics, the lunges, the hurdles...things that aren't fun alone. Doing those things make me feel fit. Running, I guess right now doesn't. I don't want to abandon the half marathon this fall (and I REALLY don't want to abandon my friend who is doing these "races" with me, as this is her first half attempt and she's really excited about it), but I also just am not excited. I think I will try to keep up with the distances so it's an option, but focus on doing what is FUN. Which, right now, sounds like lifting, bike riding, and possibly even speedwork on the treadmill. Long runs, not so much.

(I think I've posted this exact same thing a while ago, but whatever, blogs are just kind of random trains of thought. It's nice to look back and realize I've felt this before!)

So the past few days in the Adirondacks we were basically at a church retreat as near as I can figure. My husband and his parents are Quaker (though Fred has been to "meeting" exactly twice since I've known him) and every year there's this thing where a bunch of Quakers get together and hang out. I'm not exactly a religious person myself (I went to church once, when I mistakenly slept over at a friend's house in 3rd grade on a Saturday night). And truthfully, there was nothing religious about this week unless you sought it out. So it was just a bunch of people at this kind of neat YMCA camp on Lake George, and everyone was super friendly and nice...and, kind of weird. In a crunchy, hippie, just plain odd way. But because everyone was very friendly, lots of people talked to Andra. She ate it up of course, just had the best time meeting new people. I spent too much time watching for people's reactions to her hemangioma. It was about 50/50 if adults asked about it, and about 100% if kids did (generally in the form of, "Why does that baby have a bump on her head?"). And while I assume the adults were staring at her because she's unbelievably cute and engaging, the kids were staring because she has a big bump on her head. So yeah, right now, who cares, but in a few years...argh.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Major working out this week. Double and triple sessions. Like Tuesday was a run to the Y (1.5 miles) with Andra, weights while she was in daycare there, walk back, and the core class I sorely needed later that evening. Wednesday, even though I was pretty sore, was a 3.5 mile run with the BOB and my friend Jessica (and her BOB) at a new beach park we found with a nice crushed gravel trail (3/4 mile, so we had to do like 5 loops), and then a 36 mile bike ride. I have to gush about the was SO FUN. Monday I had also ridden with Eric, we did 24 I think at a nice 16mph pace (not much but fairly typical for us, not killing ourselves but definitely a workout, it's hilly!). He said in 2 weeks we'd be ready to ride 40 with Bea (my former trainer, we all used to ride together but hadn't in like 2 years, and she's definitely faster than we are). So somehow 2 weeks ended up being 2 days, and it was such a great ride. Despite being sore and tired, it felt easy! We did apparently a scary hill (Mead Hill Road) that I'd done once, and there were a couple really steep parts but overall it was just so pretty (horse farms) that I didn't feel bad at all. I had to sprint past both of them on one hill, Eric tried to race me but I won (ok, he's like 52, but still...). In the end our average speed for the 36 miles was also 16mph, and though the last 3 miles I kind of just survived, the first 33 were awesome! So that just makes me feel all happy and stuff. Today was a day off, though Jessica and I took Andra and Kate to the town pool and splashed around a bit.

I had a girls night out tonight...I think the second since Andra was born, and certainly the most fun! Just 2 hours (dinner and then a drink, one was enough!) but fun to catch up. And dress up.

I made an appointment with the hemangioma surgeon for August 11 for a consultation. We'll see. I think my main question for him will be, in what situations would you NOT encourage someone to choose surgery? And to see if he would harbor a guess as to how old she'll be before the puffiness of it all would go away on its own. I think my husband is leaning toward having the surgery since it seems relatively minor (as much as surgery can be) but of course we'd have to see if our insurance would cover it, etc. etc. etc. I wish Andi would just go through a hair growth spurt or something so her bangs would cover it more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7 more and pondering...

I ran another 7 miles today (hadn't done ANYTHING since the last 7). Felt better, and I wasn't nearly as tired afterward. This week I need to ride my bike, lift, and do some speedwork. I find it super hard to stick to a running plan when I want to keep up with other things too. But I guess the big thing is just to get overall more fit, so it doesn't have to be all running all the time. I've missed boot camp the past few weekends, and will the next few, because of vacations and races (the "group long runs"). Plus I scrapped the core class when it started interfering with Andra's bedtime. So basically, I think I am just weaker than I should be, and that is affecting my running. I totally have noticed that my hamstrings feel much more tired than they used to. I need to make a much bigger effort to lift weights and do core stuff, some of which I can do at home so I have no excuses, but...I just prefer the classes. I actually think I can go to core this week since Andra's bedtime is later now thanks to summer and vacation.

I spent some time last week thinking about Andra's hemangioma. A few weeks ago I sent an email to probably the best birthmark/hemangioma doctor in the world, who happens to be right in NYC. He's a surgeon and he's done remarkable things for kids with dangerous and disfiguring hemangiomas. Now, Andra's is small, and purely cosmetic (not near her eyes, moth, nose, etc. all of which can be dangerous places for them). We are having it treated with lasers, but they've come close to doing all they're going to do at this point. They have greatly reduced the redness and probably helped stop the growth/spread of the tumor, but they don't penetrate deeply enough to do anything to treat the puffiness - hers sticks off her forehead about a centimeter, and looks not unlike the stump of a unicorn horn (in a good way!). Anyway, I emailed this guy a picture, and he wrote back saying that the lasers have probably done their job at this point, steroid injections (something our pediatrician had done to her daughter's hemangioma) would not really do anything, and the best thing to do would be to excise it - meaning, cut it out. Now, this guy is a surgeon. So of course he recommends surgery. And it wasn't like he was saying we should do it, just that we could. He gave me his phone number, and said to call in the evenings to best reach him (apparently he's a super nice guy, too). So I've been pondering what to do. I will probably call and talk to him at some point, that seems obvious. But the dilemma comes down to, is it worth it to have it removed? It will eventually go away on its own. But when? By the time she's 2? 3? 8? 10? There's no real way to know. It will start shrinking within the next year or so and gradually go down and away...but they all do it at their own speeds. Eventually she'll get hair enough to cover it. It's not really that big a deal, but would she want me to have it go away sooner? And (a question for the doctor) if we did remove it, does it matter if it's now or later, say at age 3 if it's still kind of big? Would it be easier and a relief just to make it all go away in a 2 hour surgery, or is the risk of the anaesthesia and just seeing her in the hospital for what is essentially an elective, cosmetic procedure not worth it? These are all basically unanswerable questions, and hardly a life-or-death situation. I have family friends who are in the midst of watching their second little boy wither away due to a mysterious mitochondrial disease, and so I'm hardly losing sleep over this decision, but still. The responsibility of parenthood is kind of intense sometimes.

Vacation Pictures

My niece Iris.
Iris not sure she loves second cousin Nathan quite as much as he loves her.
Aunt Mary, who named Pickle.
Loves her tongue still!
My favorite. Something about babies in hoods.
Swimming in the little lake.
Fourth of July parade.
Dipping her toes in Lake Huron.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I think this counts as a long run...

...and not a "long" run. I did 7 miles today, give or take at a 9:30 pace that felt agonizingly slow. My cardiovascular system is doing legs, feet, ankles, not so much. I know I haven't been running long in probably close to a year and so obviously my body needs to re-adapt to the stresses, but it's a little sad that 7 miles felt so tough! And I can't blame hills or anything as this part of Michigan is awfully flat. Oh well...if I stick this out hopefully I can stay in better long-run shape beyond this fall.

Saturday (my bag finally came some time late Friday night) I ran a quick 3 (8:00 pace). Sunday I guilted my 55 year old aunt into doing a Jillian (just level 1) with me and then she guilted me into swimming. Our cottage is on a small inland lake which admittedly is perfect for a scaredy-cat like me to practice open water swims. I made it a whopping 7 minutes before I called it quits. It's SO much harder than pool swimming!! Plus I was getting attacked by weeds. But I made myself do a little bit of the alternate side breathing thing and didn't die.

Pickle has been having a BLAST. She continues to smile 95% of the time at anyone and everyone. She's been swimming twice in pretty chilly water (her hands and arms turned blue) and loved it, hung out on the floor with her 2 second cousins (giggling nonstop, especially when one of them tried to take her toy, or accidentally kicked her...either she'll be a total pushover, or the kid everyone gets along with), and just had the best bathtime ever with cousin Iris.

I don't know where all her smiles come from, but it just makes me the happiest person on Earth.

Pictures soon I hope!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Long Day of Travel

So you might think that after a 17-hour day of travel, we'd be someplace exotic. Nope. We're in Oscoda, Michigan, which, though I love the place, is about as un-exotic as you can get. It's like a flashback to the 1980s, in the middle of nowhere Up North Michigan. We have a cottage-turned-year-round house here that's been in my family for 100+ years and growing up we spent summers here. So it's fun to bring Andra. My parents, aunt and uncle, and brother with his wife and kid are also here. My two cousins with their spouses and 2 kids each are coming today.

Anyway, yesterday was not a day I'd care to repeat. We had to wake up at 4am (yeah, some of you do this to train...I thought about that when I woke up, and it reaffirmed in my mind that you are crazy and that I do not have enough discipline to do that!). Andra seemed to know the shcedule, as she went to bed around 6:30 the night before (normal bedtime lately has been 8, too late probably but it's summer), and woke up on her own about 4:30, all smiles and ready to go. We missed our 6am flight anyway (I've never missed a flight before, and to do so with a baby in tow had me in a moment of panic) but turned out to be a good thing. Got rebooked on a 7:30am flight, and while waiting watched the 6am flight come back due to maintenance problems. So we left before them as it turned out. Missed the original connecting flight but were booked on a 4pm flight, so we had a 6 hour layover in the Atlanta airport. Andra took 3 30 minute naps throughout the day, but otherwise just had the best time being out and about. She cried for about 30 seconds on the second flight because I couldn't get her bottle ready fast enough for her, but that was it the whole day. Our luggage was still in Atlanta when we landed (and last we heard, 2 of the 3 pieces were on their way to us - we're hoping her car seat is the one left behind, as we have a loaner and would REALLY like our clothes, including my running shoes) so that was the icing on the cake. BUT, we're here, Gramma and Grampa are having a blast with the two granddaughters.