Monday, August 31, 2009

Faculty Cycling Club

Last week a few of us decided to ride together after school and see who else we could get to join us. Luckily, of the 10 or so teachers who said they'd show up, only 3 others did, and these 3 were very compatible with me! Expecting more slow people, I did a fast 11 miles before meeting them back at the parking lot. We did about 15 hilly miles together in an hour, and then I rode 5 miles back home. So I totaled 30 for the day, and was exhausted! We will try to ride together for an hour once a week! Thanks to Lisa for the above picture.

My dad is here for the week being daycare as our real daycare is closed. He's loving it, and Andra is having fun. We all went to the swings after my ride.

First day of school was so easy. I don't get nervous anymore, I did a slightly new activity that went well, the kids were so well behaved (that won't last, I know), and it was only a half day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

5k Race Report

After much hemming and hawing, and despite Fred not making it home in time to watch Andra, I went to the race. (Dropped Andra off at my friend's house for a baby playdate.) And it was great! I haven't done enough races of any distance to fully realize that not every race has to be all out. My goal here was to run STEADY. As in, not go out too fast and then die by the end. With my lack of training, I figured an 8:15-8:20 pace was the goal, with 26:59 the slowest I wanted to be.

Despite the rain, there was a good turnout, including many of my students and the whole girls' field hockey team from the high school. I lined up with about 30 people in front of me, including some kids who I knew shouldn't have been at the front. I didn't know the course ahead of time, but having done tons of running and riding in this town, I figured out quickly where it was heading so I knew where the ups and downs would be.

First mile 8:25. Good news is I didn't go out too fast! Second mile 8:50. Whoops. Third mile plus .1, 8:36 (7:49 pace), for an end result of 25:52, 8:19 pace. That entire last mile was downhill and I knew it, so it was easy to speed up. This is one of the only races I've run the end faster than the beginning! It felt good, and I chatted with another woman during that last mile too. All in all a fun race! 7th in age group and I won a raffle prize of lunch for 2 at some chic restaurant in town. I knew if I didn't go, I'd feel crappy. I did go, and I feel great! And, the third woman overall, with a 6:49 pace, was...11 years old. Holy cow!

My toe did great too. I got some "dancers pads" for my shoe, which basically cushions around the toe joint and takes the pressure off. It's great! I'm not hobbling around at all from my Achilles yet either!

I think I could get into the shorter races. Before, I definitely preferred halfs! But, since I can't seem to get my ass in gear to do long runs, this works, and having done more, I like trying to figure out strategy and stuff. So, I see lots of short, fast, lunchtime treadmill or track runs in my future!

Winging it.

Blah. Rain canceled a planned ride this morning with Kathy, who was going to take me on the course of the 20 mile race in a couple weeks. 19 years ago she won it with some insane pace (20 miles in 54 minutes...that's fast). She has a kid now and said she'd never be so stupid as to "race" that race again, but encouraged me to do it...which I don't get except that she must know I'm in no way going to be going fast. We drove the course instead of riding it (it's super hilly and windy through backcountry Greenwich, CT and she gave me a good idea of what to expect. It sounds a lot more competitive (and scary) than I was thinking! Of course, I could just hang out at the back and ride more solo, but it sounds like if I ride even a moderately speedy pace, I'll be with a pack of people (on narrow windy roads open to traffic), not all of whom really know how to ride in a group (umm, yeah, me too). Anyway, I want to do it so that I have a baseline if I get faster next year. We'll see, it's in a couple weeks.

I'm supposed to run a 5k tonight. It's raining. I have to go anyway!!!!! Hopefully. I will not be fast, not even close to shooting for a PR even if the course is all downhill. That's mental as much as physical. I am not on any sort of routine which has led to more missed workouts than usual. I'm hopeful that I'll kick my ass back in line next week.

I am also winging it in most other aspects of my life right now. I used to be super anal about balancing the checkbook and watching money - now, even though we pay our bills every month, I'm just not into trying to figure out how to spend less and save more. Probably because it's not just up to me, but still. And cleaning? Eh. If it's good enough, it's good enough.

Definitely in a slump. Yet, in a few days I could feel totally on top of things. Just gotta ride it out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the grind

Back to school in the morning...will see how the new routine plays out. Since Andra has been sleeping til 7:30 or 8 most mornings, I can't really justify getting her up just so I can see her in the morning since most days I'll have to leave by 7. I'm hoping to push her bedtime back to 7:45 or 8 so I can hang out with her from 3 or 3:30 til then, and hoping she keeps her one-a-day 12-2ish nap at daycare. Or, if she needs a second nap, I can use that for a walk or run with the BOB. Whatever, it will all work out, I just tend to stress about things when I try to plan.

I haven't been doing much in the way of running. I did the 10k on the treadmill last week, and ran 3 super slow in the awful heat and humidity on Thursday night (or was it Friday?), lifted a couple times, walked with Jessica to the mall on Saturday (I didn't know we lived within walking distance!) to get in a workout and air conditioning in the same trip. It's even been way too miserable for me to want to ride. So I feel a bit sluggish. Combine that with my foot/toe thing, and it's a bit annoying.

I can't decide for sure if my toe is RA related, or sesamoiditis. Maybe it doesn't really matter, the symptoms are the same as is the treatment. I've been taking it easy, icing, and just ordered some pads to put in my shoes to try and take the pressure off. Plus, I was in the bike shop 2 weeks ago to get new insoles in my shoes and have them adjust my clips (not that I've been able to test that out yet). I'm going to go see our trainer at school this week too, she always has ideas to help. And I'm skipping the last soccer game tomorrow, as that was definitely a big factor in the starting this problem.

Planning to cut out of our faculty meeting early tomorrow (I'm setting the bar high for my attendance this year, huh?). Turthfully, we hang out drinking beer on the porch of this mansion in the town park while the new teachers have to play stupid games in front of all of us. After 8 years, do I really need to see this again?? I'd rather go for a bike ride...and be back in time to get Andra by 3:30.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weigh in...

Double meaning in the title here.

First, my appetite has regulated (in some cases disappeared), and I've gone from 151 to 147 in a week, and stayed there. I wonder how much of the extra weight was water, as I think I've been peeing a lot more too! Whereas I used to have trouble with afternoon workouts because I'd always eaten too much, lately I find myself going into workouts realizing I am hungry. Not a better scenario! Need to get that discipline back.

Second, check out this post on Runners World's online forums, and the subsequent comments. Interesting. I have an opinion about the original poster, but I wonder if I would have had a kinder one had this been posted during my own pregnancy instead of after?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It is HOT.

Heat waves suck when you have no air conditioning. We've been hanging out at the pool and trying to find air conditioned places to spend the afternoons when it gets really bad in the house. Luckily, the gym is air conditioned!

Yesterday I lifted and today I went planning to run 5 miles, ended up doing 6 (plus .2 walking to cool down, just to make the 10k). I miss running! I like fall running so hopefully I'll start doing more soon. It's just been 2 days a week on average, plus a day or 2 cycling, a day or 2 lifting, and Saturday boot camp.

This is my last week of freedom! I have no real discipline right now, so going back to school won't be a bad thing. Plus, Andra has decided that one nap a day works best for her, so she's been waking up around 8am (goes to bed about 7:30), and napping give or take from 12-2:30. This is PERFECT for me to be able to work out for an hour after school, get her around 3:30, and not feel like I'm missing too much! Plus I think I have the same schedule as last year, which means I can squeeze in a lunchtime workout (longer now that I don't also have to pump then) once or twice a week, and once a week I'm done early and can get out for a longer run or ride. I'm ready...summer somehow is always just long enough.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Appointment

Today was our appointment in NYC for the surgical consult with Dr. Waner about Andra's hemangioma. We got there right on time...and then waited nearly 2 1/2 hours. It was a tiny waiting room with lots of people all waiting for one doctor. I expected to see more kids with hemangiomas, but this doctor treats all kinds of vascular birthmarks and tumors. Only three other kids had anything noticeable on their face. Only one little girl had hemangiomas (multiple, on her back). It was interesting talking to a couple other parents, eavesdropping on some other conversations. Not a bad wait...Andra of course was a champ, chatting up the other babies despite being on somewhat of a nap strike lately.

The short version (all I have energy for) is as follows:
  • Dr. Waner doesn't believe her hemangioma will ever go away completely. Ever. And it will likely be a slow involution at any rate, meaning yes, it'll still be obvious when she's 8, 9, 10...
  • Our laser doctor probably should have referred us to a surgeon (or at least discussed the idea) once her hemangioma got so puffy, as in beyond the scope of what a laser can really do. That irks me a bit. The initial laser doctor we saw (who ended up not taking our insurance) often refers patients to Dr. Waner. We looked into surgery all on our own. Not that it changes any outcome, just that it was a pain in the ass driving into NYC that much.
  • If we elect surgery, it would be an hour-long, outpatient procedure and after 24 hours Andra would not know the difference (as in, the recovery is minimal).
  • The best time to do the surgery is now up to 18 months (June) because the tumors (and/or the babies, I was confused) have more stem cells then and that will minimize any scarring (which would be minimal anyway).
  • We have to wait about 30 days to hear from our insurance company whether or not they will pre-authorize the procedure. Even if they do, that doesn't actually mean they will end up paying. But, supposedly the hospital is in network and they would pay the hosiptal costs, just not the doctor's fee, which is $8500. So presumably $8500 would be the maximum we would have to pay, 20%of that would be the minumum. Cheaper than we'd expected, not so expensive that money will factor into our decision.
  • Our decision is likely to go ahead and do the surgery. As early as late September, they said. We could have gone ahead and scheduled it...I needed time to just process for a few days. As much as I don't want Andra teased, etc., it's part of her and I will miss it, it will be gone so suddenly.
  • We liked the doctor. He has done a lot for kids disfigured by vascular birthmarks and doesn't turn anyone away if they can't pay.
  • Andra will be the same smiley kid with or without the hemangioma.
A quote from an article that kind of reinforces our decision that it's the right thing to do:

"If you came to me with a big juicy red thing in the middle of your face and I slapped you on the back and said, 'Don't worry, come back in five years,' how would you feel?" asked Dr. Milton Waner, co-director of the Vascular Birthmarks Institute of New York, at Beth Israel, which this month was host of a meeting of physicians on treatment and research. "How can you talk to a child that way?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Z-pack and electric blue

Went to the doctor today. Definitely not just a cold. Got a prescription for antibiotics. Hope they kick in soon! Besides some walks and one slow 25 mile bike ride Saturday I have not worked out AT ALL.

However, my boobs finally gave up and have shrunken down to normal or below-normal size. Which actually makes me feel much thinner! Even though weight still hovers about 4-5 pounds above pre-preg.

I got new handlebar tape on my bike today. Electric blue. I LIKE IT! Tomorrow I'm supposed to go in and have them fiddle with my clips to see if I can get rid of the pain on the ball of my foot. Or help at least.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wiped out

Sore throat since Wednesday, turning into a full fledged cold as I type. Swam half a mile Wednesday after taking Pickle into the little pool. (She has the cutest little frog kick and I wonder if I let go if she could actually swim. I am not about to find out though...although I have let go a few times when she's floating on her back, for like a second.)

Thursday I bailed on a ride with Eric as I was wiped out. Today an old acquaintance I was going to ride with bailed on me, which was fine as I still feel exhausted. Although Jessica and I walked for an hour today.

I don't like being sick. Makes me cranky and not enjoy things. And Andra decided she didn't need a nap today, after taking one 3 hour one yesterday. She was happy as a clam (and did have two quick car naps, just nothing real) so maybe she was right. But I like it better when she naps!

Also...I keep forgetting to put the minor RA things in here...the ball of my right foot has been hurting, maybe RA and maybe not, not sure. I need to have the clips on my bike shoes adjusted so riding is more comfortable. Hopefully I'll remember to get that done soon.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My first duathlon!

Although by the end we were all so wet it might have well have stayed a tri. Philadelphia had some pretty bad thunderstorms this morning. The first started around 7am, right when I should have been getting out of my car and getting my bike to transition. The thunder and lightning didn't actually produce much rain at this time, so I got my stuff and rode down, got my body marked, got set up in transition. Then the first (of many) downpours. Luckily there was a really nice woman two bikes down with a big umbrella, and she shared it with me. We chatted, turns out it was her first triathlon, her family thinks she's a little nuts for doing it, she was nervous, and she liked me giving her a little pep talk. Unfortunately for her her best sport is swimming. And after keeping us hanging until about 8:15 (race start time was 8:00), race officials canceled the swim. Now, I was not unhappy with that at all, but I know a lot of women were, and I feel badly that so many first timers can't quite call themselves triathletes yet (including my umbrella friend). But, with all the branches and debris floating in the Schuylkill, plus that whole lightning thing, I was happy.

So the course for the Philadelphia Danskin/SheROX Triathlon was now starting out with a 1.5 mile run. Nice! I was wave 10 (out of 16), so it was still like another hour til I started. I knew I was going to be hungry...I didn't bank on the start being delayed by an hour plus. Oh well. While I was watching the other waves start the run, in the first was a little girl (8, 9 tops) with a prosthetic leg (the cool running kind!) who I think was part of a relay team. She was running with an adult woman who also had the same prosthetic leg. It was cool! I passed her in the second run and had to tell her she was amazing. There was another little girl with a regular prosthetic leg, and an older (maybe teenager, maybe 20s?) girl with two regular prosthetics. It was neat that they were competing, although I think it's too bad there weren't more was a little weird that the 2 little girls were the only 2 kids in the whole thing.

My results.

Run 1: 1.5 miles, out and back. I set up very near the front of the group, and stayed with the first 9 people for probably half a mile. Then I slowed a little, but I did push this one and finished in 11:27 (7:38 pace), although I didn't have a watch and didn't know my times til I got home. Still, I figured it was a sub-8 pace, it hurt.

T1: Although I didn't let myself walk (it was a ways from the chip mat to my bike), I did take it easy to try to catch my breath! Had to change shoes, everything was muddy. I was slow.

Bike: Yay! So I love the bike part. Tris (and now dus) are the only time I ever race my bike, and I just love it. The course was 2 loops, fairly flat but with 2 good hills and some other smaller grades. There were plenty of nice bikes out there, lots of bikes with tri bars (and a few bikes with baskets on the front too!), but not many fast riders. The first loop, I was not passed by anyone and pretty much passed everyone. It was really annoying that a number of riders did not stay right and I had to yell and slow down a few times. I felt super hungry (I had one Gu I took in transition) but around mile 4 I settled down and felt stronger. It started raining around mile 6 or so. I NEVER ride in the rain, but it was awesome!! The second loop, I hear someone behind me say, "On your left." My immediate reaction was,"WTF?" and I sped up. Then I looked to see who it was, and in a glance I knew she was allowed to pass me. We actually rode side by side a few times and chatted, nice woman. And faster than I, and though I meant to remember her number so I could check her time, I don't. I almost dropped my chain on a hill, and was passed as I settled down and reshifted, but I passed her back easily enough (though she remembered me in Run 2, we chatted, and she passed me then!). Then there was some 23 year old chick on a neon green bike who passed me. We leap frogged for a bit, I was really annoyed at her (come on, she had sneakers and cages, she should NOT have passed me), but I did realize that she was on her first loop, so that made me feel slightly better, as she eventually stayed ahead. There were a number of crashes on the course. It was slippery, raining, there were lots of turns (and turnarounds), and a couple downhills. I would have had much more fun and gone faster had I a) not had to avoid crashes (including one woman sprawled in the middle of the road halfway down a hill around a curve...ugly), b) not had to slow to avoid slow people riding on the left, and c) not remembered that I drove Fred's car to Philly and had to have 4 working limbs to drive a stickshift. Anyway, 15.5 miles, 51:03, 18.2mph. I had secretly hoped for 20mph, but that might have been a little unrealistic in the best conditions, which these weren't.

T2. Why am I so slow?? I had to pour water out of my running shoes, and I couldn't get my right bike shoe off for the longest time.

Run 2: 5k. At this point, I am happy with what I've done, and as long as I don't walk in the 5k, I will consider it a success. Way to set the bar low! But seriously, I was there for the bike. And my 5k time reflects that! 30:01 (9:41 pace). Not even the progressively worse (and, frankly, scary) thunder and lightning could get my brain to force my legs to move faster til the very end. And it seemed everyone was slow, as very few people passed me even at that pace (and with wave starts, it's not like all the fast people were already finished). As I was coming into the chute, I heard them announcing that the officials were closing the course, not letting anyone else start the run, and presumably not letting everyone who had started finish. So at least I can say I finished the duathlon, some people not only lost the tri but also the du! Bummer, but the weather was totally scary.

I bee-lined for my bike to get the hell out of there, but before I could (remember how slow I am in transition!!) TORRENTS of rain started coming down. Seriously, I have never been outside in rain like that. There were lots of spectators (many with small kids) whom I felt really sorry for, and I was super glad Fred and Andra stayed home (and had a great time, by the way!). The walk/ride back to my car (I saw a big tree branch crack and fall on a car) was miserable...rivers of water running down the road, standing water in the roads, hail-sized drops (but luckily no actual hail).

For me the downside of today was that with the closed course I have no way to know how I ranked. The results appeared to place me #303 out of 1000+, but after looking at it more closely I realized that that is not accurate as some people's times were calculated with an incomplete 5k (meaning, if they were 3 minutes into the 5k when the course closed, their total time counts thier 5k time as 3 minutes making them appear super fast even though they didn't get to finish the race), and I think that those in the later waves who didn't even get to start the 5k weren't given finishing times at all. I wish they had also not given finishing times to those who didn't finish the 5k so at least I could see how I did compared to those who were able to finish (though again, it would've been a mix of fast and slow, and I'm sure there were fast people in the last waves who were cut off).

BUT, I like duathlons! I knew I would.