Saturday, December 31, 2005

overachiever...or just dumb

I'm not sure which one I am yet. Guess I'll find out when I wake up tomorrow!

Had a kickin' time at my buddy Pat's Second Sole shindig at his cool pad downtown last night. I love running with those guys--they are soooooooo fun. So I got up early this morning and headed to the Valley to run at 8am. I had every intention of running the 1:45 that I was supposed to at a nice slow pace.

Well, my buddies are all in training for the Little Rock Marathon (March 5) and some for Kentucky Derby 'thon in April, so they had to do 14 miles minimum. Hmmmm...a conundrum. I didn't want to be antisocial but I also didn't want to abandon my goals of a nice easy 1:45 pace.

I decided to just join them for the first 6 and see how I felt. I felt pretty tired since I've been hitting it hard this week. So I turned around and bid them farewell and ran the last 6 on my own. Actually, it ended up being closer to 12.6 miles. Arg. Soooooooo did not stick to my 1:45, either. 2 hours and 10 minutes later I got back to my car. Oops. I know this was MUCH farther than I was supposed to go, but I love to run so I figure it won't kill me this once. I do know I can't be pulling crap like this again's just so easy to get caught up in the group pace and distance and forget that I'm not training to run a marathon FAST, like they are...I'm training to run a marathon SLOWLY.

So we went to Caribou for coffee afterwards and I did some MAD stretching before I got in my car. I did rack up some major points for the Tri Club Holiday Challenge, more day left in the competition!

Now I need to help hubby with the carpet in the attic. He's so fricken handy and I'm so NOT. We're saving a ton of moolah by doing it ourselves though!

TOMORROW IS THE POLAR SWIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to jump into 39 degree Lake Erie with nothing but a swimsuit with 40 other wack jobs like me. Pictures to come....stay tuned!

On an exciting note, I decided to be a pace team leader for the Cleveland Marathon! Soooo pumped about this. I will be pacing the first half of the 4:45 if you're shopping for a marathon this spring and want to run in that time, come join me! :) Coach Kara said we should sign up for a pace that's at LEAST 15 minutes slower than our best half-marathon time, which mine is 1:54. 4:15 and 4:30 were already booked up, so I figured 4:45 would be good. I can walk through the water stops if I have a hard time slowing down too much. I was planning on doing the race anyway not as a hard race, but a nice training run, so this works out perfectly!!! I get free race entry and a sweet t-shirt, too. :) So I'll be carrying the balloons and hopefully leading people to reach their goals this May! Should be a blast!

Happy IM Year! (aka 2006)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

faster than I thought, but not as fast as I thought

I will explain.

Well, usually this past summer, I'd swim a mile in around 36 minutes. (Except for the half-IM, where somehow my time was 33 for 1.2?????? I still don't buy it....must have been a short course) So today (I thought) I swam a continuous mile in 31:15!!! Needless to say I was flabbergasted. Then I did the math again, and realized I made a mistake. But, I still swam it in 33:50. So, not bad, for me! An improvement--yay!

A few songs have been running through my head lately and I thought maybe I'd do an IM song of the week. I'll start off with a couple since they keep playing in my head when I'm working out:

"Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty--for some reason these lyrics just really get me pumped. I don't know why but it makes me think of how amazing it will be to cross that finish line next year.

"Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie--not sure about this one, but it is kind of mellow and good to run to. Sort of reminds me of Wil's posts about her mind, heart, and body all arguing sometimes! :)

"She's a Rebel" by Green Day--Okay, I've been a Green Day fan for quite some time. I went to their concert here back in 1993, wearing my flannel and moshing like a good little grunge Gen-Xer. So when my 9th grade students gasp with horror, "YOU like Green Day????" (as if no one over 18 is allowed to listen to them), I tell them, "I've been listening to Green Day since you were in diapers, allright?" This song is definitely a "theme song" of mine lately. You know, a great song that just sums up how you're feeling. Love it, love it, love it!!!! Pump it LOUDLY in my car when I head to the pool.

Polar swim is January 1!!! For those of you not familiar with it, basically, the Triathlon Club up here organizes an insane gathering where we jump into Lake Erie (no wetsuits allowed!!!!) to celebrate the New Year. I am soooooooooo pumped. I will put some pics up so you know I'm not full of B.S.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"WHAT? YEAH!!! O-KAY!!!!"

Alright, the above subject line is from the Chappelle Show Season 2, which I watched while on the trainer today. Fricken hilarious. I love it when he's Lil' John (the rapper)....cracks me up every time!!! I needed something good to divert me from the single-leg drills.

Had a really good swim today! Did 2700 yards--my longest yet. I've shaved a little time off my 500. That made me happy. Perhaps it was my new suit that I got for Christmas. hee hee This former sprinter (50 free and 50 breast--definitely NOTHING over 100!!!!) will somehow, someway turn herself into a distance swimmer.

My tri club is having a fun little contest here over 10 days to see who gets the most training points! It's been good motivation to get out there. You get 1 point for every 100 yards you swim, 4 points for every mile you run, and 1 point for every 3 minutes on the trainer or 1 point for every road mile biked. So far, according to my calculations, through 5 days I have 154 points! Woo hoo! Lots of good "competition," though. I don't think I have a shot at the "Holiday Training Camp Queen" title, but it doesn't hurt to try! :)

Next indoor tri is January 8th, and I think I can make this's pretty far on the east side, but I think it would be fun! I've always meant to try these indoor tris, but it's never worked out for one reason or another. Hopefully this one will and I'll get to see how I stand at this point.

49 DEGREES HERE TODAY!!!!!! THE SUN EVEN POKED OUT!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!! (once again--I'm not being sarcastic, but sadly I'm really just that excited to see the sun)

LeBron James turns 21 today! (just heard that on the news) Can you even imagine being THAT young and THAT rich? Geez....! GO CAVS!

'Til tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

VO2 Max

So I'm really pumped--just got back from our Second Sole time trial and found out that my VO2 is indeed pretty damn high. I had it done a few years ago by my boyfriend of the time, now husband, when he was in his Sports Management classes. It was 42 then. It's now up to 44.6 according to two different formulas that we used tonight, which for my age and gender puts me in the 90th percentile! Yahooooo!

Now, if I could just reach my so-called "scientific potential" that these numbers predict, I'd be in business. That is a whole different story! ha ha

Talked to a 2-time IM MOO'er at the meeting...he freaked me out a bit about the bike hills. Ugh. I'm such a fricken hill slug. I HATE THEM. He said what I already know, though--I NEED to hit the hills hard this summer. The sooner, the better. Now it kinda makes me want to live on the east side, as that's where all the hills are in this town. Guess I'll be spending a lot of time back and forth on I-90 from April on....

That's the biggest worry for me...I wonder if I can really make it on the bike. It's my weakest link. I guess the numbers say I can...I just need to get a little confidence and do some ass-kicking training on (gulp) hills to get there.

Sure wish I could double the swim and run, and cut the bike out or maybe at least in half....hee hee...I guess that's why I don't make the rules! :)

Monday, December 26, 2005

sooooooo excited

...OK, this is not tri related, but our good buddies just told us they're having a baby! I am so pumped. They are the coolest people and I'm really excited for them. She said she still doesn't feel "old enough" to be having a baby, and I can totally relate! I have some friends that are my age that have kids that are in school already, but for some reason the idea still is a little terrifying for me....guess that means I'm not ready yet! Hopefully you just know you're ready? I hope?

Then, I got to talking with her about my "baby" named IM MOO...a 9 month ordeal I'm about to jump I know it's not really a good comparison except that I am also anxious, nervous, and excited. I wonder if I'll really be any good at it and if I can make it through. In that sense, in some strange and distant light, I think it does parallel my thoughts on someday starting a family.

I guess it's not the kind of thing you're really ever 100% READY for. By READY, I don't mean ready. You definitely get ready. You read up, study, prepare, buy stuff, and get your body ready. But being READY means you know exactly what will happen at every moment along the way. This is really, simply put, unrealistic in both cases. I'm no expert, but from what I've heard from friends who have embarked on both ventures, is that you never know what's going to happen. You can't predict each moment in either case. All you can do is prepare yourself the best that you can and get ready... and take a certain leap of faith that your body will just know what to do and your mind and soul will get you through it, whatever it brings.

So I await with anticipation and excitement for July 26th--their big date--and September 10th--mine.

I hope they make some super small IMW t-shirts! :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

a silly penguin

Okay, so it's Christmas--yay!

Had a wonderful day and between gorging myself, decided to do my hour and45 minute run in the light drizzle. On the way back, I ran by this house that had one of those blow up Christmas decorations...and it was a penguin.

All I could think of was Billy Madison--"Lookit what we have here! A silly penguin!" And, "It's too hot for a penguin to just be runnin' around...I gots to send him back to the South Pole!"

Yes, I am a 13 year old trapped in the body of a 28 year old.

Got Joe Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible from my awesome bro--thanks Mike! Started reading it, there's a lot of science to this stuff! I need to do some of these tests to figure out my lactate threshold.

Rest day tomorrow and running time trial on Tuesday! Should be interesting!

Can't wait to try out my new foot-bath-massager thingy my parents got me. Woo hoo!!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

break out the tank tops and flip flops's sunny and 41 degrees here in C-Town!!!!!

Wooo hoooo!!!!

I'm not being sarcastic--I'm actually really excited. See, people in Cleveland really truly appreciate sun and anything over 40 degrees this time of year. That's one thing I've found by living here most of my life. I love it here, but even I must admit that our weather blows. Cold and snow don't bother me--I actually really enjoy them. I would rather run in 25 degree weather than 80 degrees any day of the week. But what I hate is the GRAY. We have GRAY weather from about mid-November to the end of March. So, when the sun peeks out here we all get ridiculously excited. Matt's leaving to go for a run as I speak, and he HATES the cold. It's even funnier to see people walking their dogs outside with t-shirts on, or when my students show up to school with shorts on when it hits 50 degrees for the first time. I love it. When we were in Phoenix 2 years ago getting engaged and stuff (man, it's already been 2 years!), it was 62 degrees and we had shorts and t-shirts on. We were like, "Woo hoo!!! It's HOT out here!" I KID YOU NOT, people had DOWN PUFFER jackets on with mittens! We got such a kick outta it.

So anyway, I love it when we get a day like this. I'm probably going to take Mugs for a walk here and I wish I had my 1:45 run schedule for today and not Sunday. Oh well--it's supposed to be 42 on Sunday so hopefully the sun will peek out for me then.

I had a great swim at the Y today--last time going to sketchy Y, yay!--and feel pretty confident about swimming. I LOVE swimming. I wish I loved biking as much. Hmmm...maybe that will come.

Had an awesome time visiting Tri-Shannon in Columbus yesterday and then hanging with Steph, Doug, Christy and Dave for dinner before making the trek back north on I-71. The drive went fast since I talked to Sammy for a while and got to catch up with her. Tonight it's meeting up with 5 other buddies for some beers and the Cavs game.

Gotta wrap some presents now...I'm such a wrapping slacker!!!!

Merry Eve of Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

oh geez...I've been tagged

Tagged a few days ago and I so didn't know it! Oops! I will blame it on the last few days of school and the subsequent insanity that it brings. I now need to reveal 5 things you don't know about me. Since I just started this blogging thing about 3 weeks ago, um, you probably don't know much about me at all except that I love triathlon and have a pug. So I guess I will list a few more than 5. Alright, let's see what I can do...

1. I absolutely love the movie Billy Madison. I am often found quoting it in my classroom. I feel that you can really apply any quote from this movie to any situation in life. eg. "Lookit what we have here! A silly penguin!"

2. I have a strange rule about eating food that looks like animals. But I LOVE meat. Strange, I know. For some reason, I can eat a square piece of steak, because it doesn't look like an animal, but I can't eat a chicken wing or drumstick. Huh?

3. I truly believe this with all my heart: The New York Yankees are the Evil Empire. Today's news of Johnny Damon crossing over to the Dark Side further backs up my claim. GO TRIBE!!!!!! I've been an Indians fan all my life, and YES, that includes when they were 50 games in the cellar in 1988.

4. This is an addendum to 3: In college in 1995, the Indians were in the playoffs. I was OBSESSED and watched them every night in the dorm basement. I talked about "my TRIBE" all the time. So much so that, due to my tan from the summer and long dark hair, my new friend from Cincinnati thought I was Native American until NOVEMBER. (SERIOUSLY!!!!)

5. I love White Castle Cheesburgers, but really only eat them once every 2 years or so.

6. Family is the most important thing to me, and I can count my entire family (extended, too) on two hands.

7. My husband's family is HUGE. I mean, they had to color-code t-shirts for the family reunion HUGE. It's been fun to join such a large family and have this new experience. Last Christmas Eve I got to join their festivities that he's been doing all 30 years of his life--getting together with all 17 cousins, 12 aunts and uncles, and his grandparents to eat pizza and pierogies. For this Italian girl, it was quite a change! :)

8. I absolutely positively love my career and love what I do. It challenges me every day and I can't imagine doing anything else.

9. Beavis and Butthead will ALWAYS, always make me laugh. Any time. Every time.

10. I really love cooking a great meal. I'm not much of a baker, but I will whip you up a tasty meal any day of the week. Good wine is essential, too.

11. I was president of my sorority in college. I swear I'm not a drunk sorority girl though. Well, not anymore at least.

12. My mom is my idol. No lie. She is a strong, amazing, inspiring woman. I also hope I age half as well as she is doing, as she is often mistaken for my sister and GOT CARDED at a bar last summer. She's 55.

13. I really wish I could meet Queen Elizabeth I. She fascinates me. Ditto for Thomas Jefferson. I've got a few questions he needs to answer.

14. I once got a detention for asking "What?" in 9th grade Geometry class. It was my one brush with detentions in high school.

15. I am passionate about 4 things: love, politics, teaching, and ice cream.

16. My husband was my 10th grade homecoming date but we never dated until 2001...and now we live in our hometown. Never woulda guessed this one--but we've got some great awkward pictures!

17. Just tonight we discussed possibly moving in a few years--it comes up every once in a while--to Arizona. LOVE IT there. Don't know if I have the guts.

18. I believe very strongly that everything happens for a reason. Everyone's path I cross and everyone who crosses my path can teach me something.

19. I love all kinds of music except country. However, I did listen to country the one year I lived in Cincinnati. Since I moved, I've never listened to it at all.

20. I'm a heck of a softball player. I gotta admit I can hit a ball pretty far. I play rough and love to get dirty, too.

21. This may sound naive and dumb, but I went into teaching because I really believed I could make a difference and change the world. I've learned a lot since then, but I still think I can.

Okay--I think I'm out for now. Now I need to tag 5 people--but I'm not even sure that 5 people read my blog. Hmmm...I guess I'll tap the only ones I know that have made an appearance...can people be tapped twice? Hope so...

You're it:



why, oh why?

Okay, today was the first day of vacation which was WONDERFUL. My regular YMCA's pool is closed this week for cleaning, so I had to seek out another Y to do my swim. Thought this would be a good time--however, my experience at the WestPark YMCA was less than desirable for the following reasons:

1. It's pretty gross. I mean, I know Y's are not flashy places. But this one had nasty black fuzzy mold in quite a few places. The one I usually go to is nice and clean...

2. Why do elderly people feel the need to walk around naked in the locker room? Privacy, people. It's a beautiful thing.

3. Another elderly woman in the locker room was HOCKING A HUGE LOOGIE into a clear plastic cup while I was trying to change from my swimsuit to my running clothes. I was practically dry heaving. WHY did she think that was a GOOD IDEA????????

4. After my 2600 yard swim, I had an hour run on the "dreadmill" with 10X1 minute pickups. I am such an outside runner, but thought well, heck, since I paid $6 to get in here and my hair is wet, maybe I should run where it's not 26 degrees. 9 minutes into my run my iPod shuffle ran out of juice. 51 MINUTES TO GO and what's on the only TV in the dirty cardio room?

Judge Joe and Divorce Court.

I had to listen to a man that said "cheating was in (his) blood" and he "couldn't help cheating" on his wife....grrrrr....don't even get me started on why this woman was still with him....but I literally could feel brain cells fleeing my cerebrum...I finally changed it to ESPN for the last 15 minutes of the run....ahhhhhhhh! Sanity!

So, I had a great workout in the sense that I swam hard and ran hard. But the surroundings were less than ideal. :)

Once again, trying to focus on the positive, though....better to be working out at the WestPark Y, despite it's nasty decor and naked older people, than to miss a workout due to health or other serious issues. Things could be a lot worse!

So pumped to head to Columbus tomorrow for the day to see Tri girl Shannon! My old tri buddy that moved to Colorado. We did our first sprint together back in 2001. We've come a long way since then! It will be great to catch up.

I can't believe Christmas is on Sunday! Man, 2005 FLEW by. 2006 will be so exciting that I can hardly await its arrival. So far on the docket are a trip to Denver, a week in Arizona backpacking the Grand Canyon, and taking part in 2 of my good friends weddings. And, of course, the biggie....September 10th...the date ingrained in my head for IM MOOOOOO!

I feel like 2006 is my Christmas present!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

like a kid on Christmas

That's how I'm feeling right now!

Possibly because I've STUFFED myself with so many freaking cookies in the past 48 hours. When students give me presents with candy and cookies I have a hard time not partaking...mmmm....good thing this usually ends today at 3:08!!!

Speaking of which, HOW EXCITED AM I that I don't have to work for 2 WHOLE WEEKS!!!! Woo hoo!!!! I love my job. (not just for the breaks--I really do love it, but hey, I REALLY love it this time of year) :)

So, why I'm sooooooo excited is because I just bought 2 tickets to head out west!!!! One for January, one for April for a week to go backpacking the GRAND CANYON! Thank GOD for Southwest Airlines. I'm such a cheapskate but you really can't beat a round trip, nonstop flight from Cleveland to Phoenix for $206. I know Southwest is the Greyhound Bus of airlines, but I don't care. "ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH....COLORADO....."

And yes, I totally should be teaching at the moment but I am typing as my students are working on a project. We're actually listening to the Jackson 5 Christmas Album while we work. hee hee

I can't wait to head to yoga tonight! I had to miss my swim this morning since my pool is closed until December 27th, so I may double up my workout tomorrow. Gotta find a cheap pool for a week...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Granola bar + 10 mile run

Not the best way to run.

Got up yesterday a bit later than expected and had to really hurry to head over to the Valley to meet some Solers for a 10 mile trail run. Of course, I was out of Clif Bars, my favorite pre-run meal. I thought, no problem--I'll just stop at the Speedway and get a PowerBar. I know they have them there.

Got to Speedway on the corner at 7:45 and they were CLOSED! Closed? You're a freaking gas station! People drive before 8am! Grrrrr....

Sped to another Shell station and all they had were rice krispie treats and granola bars. I opted for the latter.

Sped 50mph through the valley and finally made it there at 8:05. I felt sooooooo bad because I know how much people get annoyed when people are late. Apologized profusely and then started my run.

I love running with those guys! They are so much fun. About 45 minutes into it though I felt my gas tank running out. I of course was out of gatorade at home, too, so it was water and gu time.

It helped a LITTLE bit, but I was soooooooooooo dead tired. I felt like I couldn't keep up. Finally made it back to the car and headed home. I ate leftover brunch food from Saturday (yum) and tried to rehydrate. I took a warm shower, and then PASSED OUT in bed with Mugsy until 2!!!! I guess it was my body's way of showing me it was pissed off for making it move for so long with no fuel.

When I got my tired ass up, I headed straight to the wholesale club to buy a huge thing of gatorade and ClifBars.

Sorry, body--I promise I won't do it again! Please don't hate me. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I'm feeling really thankful today.

Mugs is sleeping on my lap after a busy busy morning for a dog's world. Matt and I made 142 buckeyes last night. You know, the peanut butter chocolate dipped balls. Sooooooooo good. Kinda an Ohio tradition--especially for my family at Christmastime.

Why was I making 142 Buckeyes? I was hosting my first cookie exchange this morning. I wanted to be sure I had plenty.

Cleaned up the house last night, Matt and I enjoyed a nice movie by the fire, and then we headed to bed. I got up at 7 to finish a french toast casserole thingy and hop on my trainer.

I watched the news and argued with the TV (damn political pundits don't know crap, I swear) about Bush's decision to use the NSA to "eavesdrop." I started to, in my bizarre history teacher mind, draw parallels between what I was hearing the stupid pundits say on TV to what people must have been saying during the 1950s in the height of the Cold War. But, that's a whole 'nuther topic...I digress...(sigh)

Had an ass-kicking ride of 1:15 with 5X3 minute pushes and 3 minutes of recovery in the middle. It felt great.

Matt popped my casseroles in the oven for me (what a great guy!) as I hurried up to the shower. Just as I finished curling the hair (it's getting really long and is taking a long time nowadays!), I heard Susan at the door.

As my friends and some of their friends started popping in with cookies and smiles, it really just made me happy. We laid out all of our Christmas cookies on the table and enjoyed coffee and the breakfast stuff I made. The 2 new recipes I tried from Cooking Light were a huge hit, which was great since I had never tried them before! (always a little nerve-racking to try a new recipe for friends)

We made a fire, shared some laughs, watched Brooke and little 11-month old Bridget giggling, and made fun of my Christmas tree with ornaments that I made in 2nd grade on it. (I mean, really, how could I have ZERO artistic ability? ZERO? It's true though)

As we shared cookies with each other I snapped a picture and it really just made me smile. Here's my buddies at my house to celebrate Christmas. I actually HAVE a house. How did this happen? When did I suddently enter adulthood? Or, am I not really there since I still make stupid jokes about BALLS every time I make or eat buckeyes? (huh huh...huh...uh...I said BALLS)

I just am having one of those moments when I'm really thankful for my friendships. My health. The ability I have to do what I do. Maybe I didn't get in line when God was handing out artistic ability, as sorely demonstrated by my reject Christmas tree ornaments. But he blessed me with great friendships and a great family, a wonderfully challenging career, and enough persistence and drive to become what I guess you'd call an "endurance athlete."

He gave me a sweet little dog that's snoring on my lap. He showed me that my husband was really my friend I met back in 10th grade when he asked me to go to Homecoming with him.

It's the little miracles that make Christmas magical. I think as I'm getting older I'm appreciating that more.

Off for a half hour run in the snow....but first a little nap. The dog's got the right idea.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Me vs. the Raccoon

Well, we caught him. (Or her, not really sure)

He's actually kinda cute, but REALLY smelly. He looked pretty pissed in his trap though. Now after we cap the chimney he'll be set free, as I'm a total bleeding heart and told Matt there's no way I want to kill him. Matt proceeded to tell me that he's just a rodent but I said I didn't care. :) So the animal warden will be back to pick up Mr. Coon after school today and the saga of the Chimney will finally be over.

Okay, onto tri hopefully I won't be scared to ride the trainer in the early morning down in the basement! Yay!

Had an awesome run last night and did my pickups really well. I did the last few stronger than the first so I felt good about that. This morning it was hard to get moving, but I made it to the Y and enjoyed just one other person in there with me at 5:45! Ahhh, peace and quiet swimming.

I felt a little sluggish in the pool today, but still did my 3X200s at a good negative split, so that felt good. Then I was totally running late at home because I sat down to eat some breakfast BEFORE my shower. Usually I do it the other way around but since Matt was in there I thought I'd eat first--big mistake. My lazy bum didn't want to get back up as I enjoyed my Berry Cheerios. TOTALLY running late for school and on the way out knocked over my full coffee cup onto the floor and my pants! Arggg....good thing the pants were black and not my white ones I almost wore!!! So I am caffeine-free at the moment and now that it's my planning period I'm off to Cravings. I need my "fix." :)

Feeling really good so far about how training is going. My back is much better, too, and I think PT Marie's exercises have really helped. Now if I could just get a snow day.....

Come on, freezing rain, head our way!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

much better, I think

Okay, so I went to yoga tonight. I felt really good and the back felt better so I thought I'd try it. My range of motion sucked but it felt even better when I was done. I'm going to do a little run tomorrow if I feel OK and see how it goes. PT Marie said that should be OK, and that I shouldn't have to take time off but rather should focus on good posture and doing my motion exercises to get things back on track.

Yay!!! No couch potato status for me. (knock on wood)

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited also when I got home to find my letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior that our application for a backcountry pass to the Grand Canyon was approved!!! We got our first choice of dates and campsites!!!!! Grand Canyon, here we come! (In now) I can't WAIT to head out there with Matt and 4 other buddies. I love backpacking and have done some of the Applalachian Trail but NEVER had the opportunity to enjoy the backcountry out west. WOO HOO!

So things are looking up. Now it's time to hit the hay before I push my luck. :)

a rough day

It's a rough day. I have come to terms with the fact that I am injured. I'm not sure what it is, but I am definitely in pain. See, I've been having lower back pain for over a month now, and I've just been doing what I do when my '99 Chevy Cavalier makes a strange noise...I ignore it. It'll be fine. Kept on keepin' on. Ran tons, swam hard, biked harder.

Last night on my freaking REST DAY, I was catching up on chores and felt a PULL when mopping the floor. Sharp, shooting pain in the back. I did some stretches Marie showed me, hoping that would be enough. Laid down and set the alarm for 5:15am. The pain was so bad, that I couldn't fall asleep. Matt brought me some Aleve, which helped a little, but I woke up in pain at 3:08am. Tears welled up in my eyes as I turned the alarm to 6:30.

I would miss my swim.

I am admitting that I'm hurt.

This sucks.

Maybe I'm lucky--I've been an athlete pretty much all my life and with the exception of catching a ball with my face in 10th grade during a fastpitch softball game (yeah, I don't recommend that), I've never been injured. I've heard my runner friends complain about being hurt and I really sympathize because I can't imagine missing more than one workout--let alone being out of commission for months!

I hurt. I don't know what to do. I can't deny it anymore.

I'm hoping that if I take 2-3 days off it will be fine. But I STILL hate missing these 2-3 days. I miss waking up and feeling that great feeling when it's 6:45 am and you've had an awesome swim. I miss coming home from yoga at night feeling totally relaxed. I think I will probably have to bag yoga tonight, which makes me really sad.

But the thought of missing 2-3 weeks, or even months, of these feelings makes me even more worried.

So, I'll have to do what the majority of Americans do after work anyway...sit my butt on the couch. Ugh.

What's on TV tonight, anyway?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Not fun.

But done.

Now, where's the Advil....

At least it was a decent temperature outside. However, I coulda done without the "snice" (snow/ice) that kicked in at the end there.

Ah, tomorrow is a rest day. What a beautiful thing.

Rollin' down the street...

....eating wedding cake, sippin' on gin and tonics....

OH, WHY did I have to have all those gin and tonics?




90 minutes




Saturday, December 10, 2005

Busy busy weekend!

Okay. I admit it. I played hooky yesterday.

Well, it's OK though. I took a personal day. No fake sick for me--this was legit I swear! I slept in until about 9 which was great. My back bothered me a bit so I decided to cash in on my free massage I won at the Runner's Workshop I went to back in November. It was awesome. I took the day off and didn't get my workout in, which made me the anal retentive one feel quite guilty, but my physical therapist buddy last night told me that was a good thing. She gave me some great stretches to do, too, while we enjoyed cookies at their place--thanks Marie! :) Always good to have a friend who knows how to fix ya up!

Matt and I headed out to the east side to do some Christmas shopping, and we got quite a bit done! Then went to Marie and Adam's new place and had a great night.

Today I woke up to go down into the basement to do my 90 minute ride with some of those oh-so-fun single leg drills...and lo and behold our RACCOONS were back again! Thankfully they were already gone, but they left a mess behind in their wake...paw prints all over the place. Ugh. Matt called Animal Control again and we have traps set up so now we actually have to hope they come back again to trap them! Creepy. Damn things keep crawling through the chimney. They are MEAN animals, too. I worry about Mugsy but I know he's safe upstairs. So hopefully we'll catch 'em tomorrow and then cap the chimney when the sweeper comes this week. Drama, I know! Oh the exciting life of homeowners....

So I was freaked out by Exhibit A of paw prints and woke Matt up to help inspect. He made an even better block of the chimney using an old table and some cinder blocks. Then I felt comfortable getting on my trainer and doing the ride while losing brain cells watching E! News Life. (ie. Did you know that Britney got mad at K-Fed and repossessed his Ferrari? But now they're OK. Um....yeah. That's what I mean when I say "lose brain cells")

Had a great ride and now off to a wedding-- and Matt the U2 concert! Sooooooooo jealous I have to give up my ticket, but I'm being a good friend and heading to Peter's wedding instead. (Damn, Peter, couldn't ya have gotten married LAST Saturday?) :)

Til tomorrow...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Challenge of the Thursday Swim

Thursday. The day before Friday. The end of the week, but not quite the weekend. By this time my teacher self is usually pretty beat and that's BEFORE the IM training started. So, I found it especially hard to get up this morning for the swim. Definitely not as easy as Thursday. I laid there for a few minutes and finally got up at 5:19. I was DETERMINED to get to the Y early so that I could secure a lane after Tuesday's debauchle.

Moving a little slowly, I headed out into the 6 degree weather. (Yes, that's SIX. Singular.) The morning is really peaceful though, and there's something about hitting the road while everyone else is still in bed. It's like it's my little secret.

Got to the Y and lo and behold--THERE WAS NO ONE IN THE POOL! I mean, zilch!

I thought for a minute that I was in the wrong it Sunday or something?

The lifeguard said, "This NEVER happens!" and I told him that I was shocked after coming on Tuesday and practically feeling like a salmon. I enjoyed a nice peaceful swim alone for a good 20 minutes. I made the first waves in the pool this morning. What a cool feeling.

Did my workout of 500 warmup, then 8X50s drill, then a 600 negative splitting on each 200, and then 6X100. I was pumped to do my last 100 even faster than my last one on Tuesday. Cooled down and headed to work.

Took me longer to wake up today at school--I still feel a little groggy but all things considered it was a great swim! I feel like I've got my game back in the pool. Now I just need to feel the same about my bike.

Newbies committee meeting for the Tri Club this Sunday--I'm pumped! It will be fun to be on a committee to help people experience their first tris and "catch the bug." It wasn't so long ago that I was in that position.

Looking forward to a massage tomorrow to hopefully help my hammys! I've been stretching at school a bit which has helped, but you can only do so much before the kids start giving me wierd looks. "Um, I'm stretching my your homework!" ha ha

Til tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Freezing Eyeballs

Well, hour run today. Got home from work and I was sooooo not excited about this run. Running's usually my thing--got started in the tri stuff by first doing lots of road racing--but not today. It was sunny and pretty out. And 12 degrees. Hmmm...decisions, decisions. Do I brave it or head to the gym?

God, I hate the treadmill.

Okay. I can do this. Layered up like crazy. Headed out.

DEAR LORD it's cold. And I LIKE cold. But this was almost too much for even ME.

The first ten minutes were brutal. I felt my chin go numb, and then my nose. My cheeks stung. The speedwork was outta the question today--too much ice and the sun was already setting when I headed out a little before 5. All I could think about was how much my face hurt. Is it possible to have cold eyeballs? I swear I felt it. The scarf thing around my mouth made condensation collect on my eyelids and I could literally SEE mini-icicles forming over each eyelash. I could only imagine this morning's mascara everywhere....good thing I don't care! :)

Then I started to just focus on my breathing, kinda like I do at yoga. It makes those wack poses we do seem not as painful. Before I knew it, my face accepted its fate of an hour of numbness and I was able to move. Hit 30 minutes and turned around. The heart rate moniter beeped whenever I went over 157, so that kept me in line.

People started turning on their Christmas lights. It was fun to see them and also to see the strange looks on people's faces as I ran by their cars. You could almost hear them say, "Nutjob!"

Finally made it home. I win. Cold loses.

Walked in to see my husband had made cookies. (Okay, so they were the pull apart kind but still yummy) "Honey, I'm hooooome!" Kind of a reverse 1950s thing. I dig it.

Now onto a nice hot bath....ahhh....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ruminations from the local Y

Wow--craziness at the Y this morning.

Well, first, let me say that some of the craziness stemmed from the fact that it was 8 DEGREES OUTSIDE. Yeah, that sounds like a great morning for a swim! Woo hoo! Let's go!!!


Anyway, it seems to be getting a little easier to get up in the mornings. The not-showering-the-night-before-a-morning-swim thing is working. Sneaking out without Mugsy hearing me and barking like crazy is the tricky part.

So I made it to the Y by 5:40 today and my jaw about hit the floor--there were about 10 people crammed in this little lane-less pool! People were swimming on top of each other, for crying out loud! Let's just say that some of these people are not the nicest to swim with, as I learned last year, when I asked an older woman if I could possibly share a lane with her. She jumped down my throat about how "she had every right to be there" and "of course she minds if I share a lane!!!" Jeez--okay. Chill out.

So I sort of found a spot where some friendly-looking people were talking on the wall and asked them if I could share. They weren't thrilled, but let me in. They said that "no one else here is in the sharing mood." For crying out loud! It's 5:45 am! We're all in this together, people! Can't we all be nice?


So most of the people that got in at 5:40 were out by 5:55 or 6. Then it was just 4 of us. How bizzare! Much nicer though and I didn't have to swim like a worm tunnelling through mud. :)

Had a great workout today: 500 warmup, then 8X 75 of drills/strokework, followed by a 500 pull, and 10X100 getting faster at the end. Did my last one the fastest, so I was pumped.

Came home to find my coffee already done--nothing better than that! Threw my ingredients for turkey-veggie-chili in that wonderful contraption called a Crock Pot. Now I'm off to home to enjoy a nice bowl of chili and then head to Yoga tonight....ommmmm...

Was it a full moon last night? My students were NUTS today. In one class a kid thought it would be funny to take a maxi pad (unused, thank GOD) and stick it on a kid's back. I actually had to say, "Rory, give ME the maxi pad!" Um, that's just not something they teach you about in education classes in college.

Thank goodness for good workouts, yoga, and Crock Pots.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Playlist

Thought I'd record my recent iPod playlist for future reference. It might make me laugh in a few years.

Let me first say that when growing up in the mid-late 80s, when most girls had pictures of New Kids on the Block in their lockers, I had posters of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. That might explain a few songs for those who think this playlist doesn't look like it "fits" me. :)

Dammit: Blink 182
Beautiful Day: u2
Under My Thumb: Social Distortion
Cherub Rock: Smashing Pumpkins
F*$%ing Hostile: Pantera
Master of Puppets: Metallica
Killing in the Name of: Rage Against the Machine
It'll All Work Out: Tom Petty
Middle of Nowhere: Hot Hot Heat
My Doorbell: the White Stripes
Such Great Heights: the Postal Service
Roses: OutKast
Golddigger: Kanye West f. Jamie Foxx
Rearviewmirror: Pearl Jam
Sweet Child O' Mine: Guns N' Roses
Best of You: Foo Fighters
Song 2: Blur
Dancing Nancies: Dave Matthews Band
Kill You: Eminem
Institutionalized: Suicidal Tendencies
American Idiot: Green Day
It Was a Good Day: Ice Cube
Burnout: Green Day
Chop Suey!: System of a Down
Blue Orchid: the White Stripes
Can't Truss It: Public Enemy
I Am Mine: Pearl Jam
Highway 101: Social Distortion
Jenny Was A Friend of Mine: The Killers
Right Now: Van Halen
BYOB: System of a Down

That keeps me moving for a while. If anyone's out there and has some suggestions of ass-kickin tunes to add to my list I'd love to hear 'em. No cheesy crap allowed. Ha ha!

The World is My Treadmill

Well, it's 28 degrees outside here in lovely Northern Ohio....but I love it. On the agenda today is a 1:15 run at Zone 3. When I woke up this morning and looked out the window before church, I thought, "Oh boy." About 3 more inches had fallen. It was beautiful, but I knew that no one would have their sidewalks done early today as it is Sunday. Should I go to the gym and hit the treadmill? It would be warm, sure, but I know my attention span. I think I have exercise-induced ADD. I'll get on a treadmill, go for what feels like three miles, and look down to see I've been running for 7 minutes and 14 seconds. Then I literally lose my marbles and jump from machine to machine every ten minutes just to keep my sanity.

Do they have places for people like me? Cardio-phrenics?

So I went to church and on the way home, thought long and hard. I love snow. I love running in this. If I go to the gym, yes, I will be warm, but I will probably go nuts and not finish the run.

So, I layered up, and headed out.

"It's a beautiful day...the sky falls and you feel like it's a beautiful day...don't let it get away..."

Just me, my iPod shuffle, and my fuel belt. The roads were freshly plowed but the sidestreets still had a layer of packed snow on them. My heart rate moniter was diligently beeping every time I went over 157 beats per minute. It forced me to REALLY slow down and run what I normally run as 8 miles in 1:15 to about 7 1/4. The slow pace let me really enjoy the fresh snow and I got to notice little kids in snowsuits. A happy golden retriever jumping in the snow. Kids at the sledding hill I used to ride down as a kid. An older couple all bundled up holding hands on a walk.

"You're on the road, but you've got no destination..."

At about an hour I chewed on 2 Clif Bloks, my new gummy-electrolyte snack of choice, and headed back down the street that leads inadvertently to my house. I took off my gloves for the last 15 minutes since I was so warm. The air was really crisp and even though it was a typical cloudy day, the white snow all around me was really bright. I was glad I decided to wear my sunglasses.

"You love this town even if it doesn't ring've been all over and it's been all over you..."

I was in the zone. I felt like I could go forever. Have I really been running my easy and long runs at the wrong pace all this time? The slower pace kept me in check and allowed me to fully enjoy the run more than I thought I would.

Thank GOD I didn't go to the gym.

"It was a beautiful day...don't let it get away."

Back home to see my husband had already shoveled the driveway. The Christmas lights were covered with fresh snow and the kids next door had made a snowman. I walked inside to be greeted by Mugsy and a cup of hot chocolate.

It was a beautiful day.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A nice little "ride"

Finally set up my trainer! Well, actually, let me rephrase that...Matt set up my trainer. I suck at following directions and putting stuff together. It actually wasn't as boring as I thought! Popped a movie in and started my workout: 15 min in zone 3, then 6X1 minute single leg repeats. I had never done single leg repeats before...they SUCK!!! Much harder than I anticipated! Hopefully I'll get better at them as I go on.

Then a short little 30 minute run in zone 3. I bundled up and headed out in the freshly fallen 6 inches of snow. I LOVE running in snow. Give me 30 degrees over 80 degrees any day. It was absolutely beautiful. So peaceful and quiet. I found that it was hard to keep my heart rate in zone 3...I REALLY had to slow down! No way I could run with my buddies and keep the heart where it needs to be. Hopefully that will help me in the long run, as everything I've read said it does, but I felt like a bit of a slug. No worries though, as the scenery was so pretty. I'm gonna get all sappy here, but I was very content and really felt like I am lucky to be able to train for and complete an Ironman. There are so many people out there that for one reason or another, don't have the time or ability to do something like this. As the going gets tougher (which it undoubtedly will), I really need to remember that I am lucky to be doing this.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Any substitute for sleep?

I'm serious.

Is there some kind of magical power or spell that can make me need less sleep?

After yesterday's 5:45am swim, that evening I decided to head out for a 40 minute run in the snow. It was really beautiful, but then again, I love snow. Just me and the mp3 player and snow crunching under my feet. It felt great! I felt like I could keep going for another half hour or so at least!

Got home--ordered a pizza and made a big salad--drank lots of water....and then CRASHED!!!! At about 8:45 I returned Sammy's phone call and left a message for her that I was going to bed. I went upstairs and tried to read Runner's World, all in vain. Turned the light out at 8:55. Matt and Mugsy came up to see where the hell I was since we usually watch the Cavs game together, and I was asleep!! I slept like a baby until the alarm went off at 6:25 this morning.

Now I'm wondering, is this what's going to happen to me every night? Or, will my body get used to this eventually? I feel like such a loser. Who goes to bed at 8:55???!!! Even my dog's up until 10. (Although, if I got to sleep all day and chew bones as entertainment maybe I would feel more peppy at night, too) I'm remembering days in college where we'd be up until 2 at the bars, then I'd go to student teaching at 6am, come home, take a quick nap, and do it all over again. Oh wait--I remember--there was no workouts to be had then, just many Natty Lights.

I usually require at least 7 hours but I'm fearing this IM training may raise that quotient a bit. How do people do this with kids and stuff? I can't even imagine...more power to you guys. I feel like I barely have time to do my job, and relax with my husband and dog with the 2 a day workouts...

Everyone says you need to listen to your body when you do this thing, though, so maybe that's just how it's gonna be with me.

I need to set up this trainer--I fear that road rides are done in northeastern Ohio until about March. I'm so bad with directions though...thank goodness Matt has more patience than I do with that stuff!

Until next time--at least I'm nice and awake/alert today!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December 1 is finally here...


Me: 1 Den of Slack: 0

Got up at 5:25am today and hit the pool at 5:45. Swam a mile and then cooled down with some fingertip drills and stroke work. Made it to school at the same time I always did....

Now I just gotta keep this up!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wake Me Up When November Ends

Well, December 1 is tomorrow.

Here we go.

I am a little nervous. It's been a nice month and a half of recovery, but I have felt listless. Shouldn't I be following some plan? I get so lost without a plan. Hurry up--someone, tell me how far to run today, what my cadence should be, and how many laps I need.

Back feels better now...still a little sore but getting there. I have a good plan in place. Now I just need to do it.

The first day of a plan always seems the hardest. It's like when I sit down to grade 129 test essays. Ugh. I dread it all day. Or when I have to run 4X800 repeats at a negative split. That's enough to have me dreading the track all day, too. But then I do the first 800. Grade the first test. Realize it's not as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. Start to wonder why I spent all day worrying about climbing a mountain I mentally created.

Will it be the same way here?

Regardless, I'm TOTALLY tricking myself tonight and NOT showering at night, after Tuesday's episode....

First test, here I come.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

me and the boys Posted by Picasa


Ommmmm.....just went to my 3rd yoga class ever and I think I'm hooked. It's great for inflexible people like me and seems to be doing a lot to strengthen my core. I hope I can fit it in when the heavy IM training starts--it seems like a nice complement to all the pounding on the pavement and stuff!

Morning people

I'm not a morning person. I need to start being one NOW.

I was supposed to get up today at 5:30 and head to the pool. It didn't happen. I hit the alarm and slept another hour. That felt good, but now I feel bad.

I know it was probably good for me...after this stressful weekend with Matt in the ER twice, and my back has been troubling me for 2 weeks...I know I probably needed it. I never give myself time off. Not since last January when I started training for the Cincy Marathon.

But I still feel rotten.

I think I'm going to need to play tricks on myself to get out of bed. For instance, last night in the shower (since I like to take my showers at night to sleep to the last possible moment), I thought, "You know, if I was smart, I'd NOT shower tonight so I HAVE to shower in the morning--and then I might as well get up and swim if I need to shower anyway." But I kept on showering.

And then I slept in.


I know it's just base month here before the REAL fun begins. What's making me nervous? The time commitment? The task looming over me until September 10th is over? The fear of failure? Maybe a little of each.

I just need to realize that I CAN do this but not in my bed at 6am. In the words of the great Gen-X film Reality Bites, I can't "turn my room into a den of slack."

I just gotta get up and get out there. I wish I knew how morning people did it though! They make it look so easy....zzzzzzzzz.........

Monday, November 28, 2005

Well, here I am...

Okay, post pressure or anything...

Guess I'll start with the race report from September 18th's Deer Creek Pineman Half-IM.

Okay, onto the tri....trained for 5 months for this baby so I was pretty nervous and excited. The weather report looked good Saturday night so
Sunday morning I got up and headed out for the 50 minute drive to the race site. Well, it became pretty clear to me that FOG was a problem. I could barely see the roads! I thought, "Now how the heck am I going to bike in this??" Consequently, as I got there, the race directors decided to push the start time back 15 minutes. That wasn't so bad, but 15 minutes became an hour....and then I thought, "Hmmm....this is going to be a hot run." I hate running in the heat. I tried not to think about it...
Saw Kara and Brady at the start along with Liz, Mark, and his 2 dogs. That was fun! Kinda got rid of some jitters. Found my buddies Lauren and Rob from the Tri Club, too, so at least we had someone to kill time with. We all said a pre-race prayer and then headed down to the beach. The race was extremely well-organized--I was very impressed.
The fog finally started to lift over the lake and lo and behold, it was
really pretty! But, they decided to change the course to Plan B. We would follow the shore and make a big rectangle, and wouldn't have to exit the water to make a turn around a trash can like we were going to before. (wierd!) It was an open water start and my first one like that. As we watched the waves ahead of us I tried to remember I've trained hard and will be OK....the water was very smooth, which I'm not used to with Lake Erie, so that was good news! Then the start was underway and time to go.
My first lap felt great...I felt like I was just coasting along. Gotta love that wetsuit. :) I resisted the urge to check my 1st lap split on my watch just in case it wasn't as good as it felt. Kept on to the second lap and then it was time to exit the water. I stood up and looked at my watch and about had a heart attack: 30:02 when I got out of the water. Now, I felt good, but there's NO WAY humanly possible that I swam 1.2 miles in 30:02. It MUST have been a little short. I was hoping for 37-42. So I'd like to think I was just that fast but who am I kidding!!!! :) OH well, better a short swim than a long one...hee hee
On to parents and husband were there, along with Kim, Jeff, and my in-laws Rick and Linda. You guys have NO IDEA how much it meant for me to have you all there! It REALLY helps when the pain sets in! :) I looked at my parents and said, "Now the hard part!" as I headed for the bike.
No wind and a sunny day---couldn't have asked for better conditions.
(Unless of course you ask my back, which may tell you it COULDA DONE
WITHOUT THE SUN--I got FRIED despite wearing sunscreen) First lap I cruised around at a good pace. It was very flat except for a few small hills but nothing too bad. That's good for me since I'm a hill slug. Did the bottle exchange and the volunteers were great. I was cruising at a fast pace for me and felt great! Then the 2nd lap hit and my legs started to get tired. I had to slow down quite a bit. I was sort of regretting doing the first lap faster. Oops. Live and learn I guess....after about 2:30 hours I found myself having mental conversations with my bike. It went something like this:

Me: Bike, I hate you.
Bike: You're slow.
Me: Bike, why are you doing this to me?
Bike: Hurry up, slowpoke.
I realized I must outwit my bike. At Shannon's advice, I ate as much as I
could stomach on the bike. I'm a HUGE fan of these Clif Shot Blocks...gummy bear consistency carbohydrate thingies. Those and all the
electrolyte pills I chugged seemed to help. Got off the bike somewhere
around 3:22?....that was close to my goal so I was OK with it, although I
was pretty tired.
Now back to transition for the run. This was the part I initially wasn't
worried about before race day, but then it was about 2pm, 80 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. Time to worry. I realized I wouldn't make my
initial time goal of 2:10-2:20 and just decided to do whatever it took to
KEEP MOVING. My first and last miles were around 9:30. Everything in
between was a blur of pain and hammer gels. :) I saw tons of people
walking but I really tried to just focus in my head of one foot in front of
the other. I kept shuffling along and at this point I could only stomach
e-caps and gels. The run was 2 loops, and the first loop went OK, but then I had to run past the finish line and KEEP GOING. Yeah, that was tough. The second lap was purely mind over matter. I walked through each water stop and then ran (if you can call it that) to the next one. Had a good kick at the end--not sure where that came from but I think it's because my dad told me the Indians were winning and the Yankees losing combined with the knowledge that Graeter's Ice Cream would be in my possession soon and I could finally sleep in on the weekends and during the week a little, too.....went for an all-out dash in the last 100 yards or so (a little help from the guy upstairs with that one) and crossed the finish line in 6:34.24 (by my watch). My half-marathon was somewhere around 2:33....all things considered I wasn't too far off my goal so I was OK with that, too. Total race time, I was shooting for under 7 and around 6:30 so I was really happy! I do think that swim was a little short but hey, I'll take it I guess! :)
So now I know what I need to do (more bricks and hills, especially in HEAT) and what I feel comfortable at (swim and hydration/eating). This was a great test of my spirit and what I was capable of. I feel like I really did the best I could. I couldn't have done it without the words of encouragement or support I received from you guys either at the race, or during my months of training with some of you! I am so lucky to have such great friends and family to get me through this! THANKS so much for everything you all do.
Sara :)
PS: On to Wisconsin....