Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's all in my head

In my cheek to be exact.   For the past few weeks I've been battling something I thought was just a standard issue annoying cold and a bit of ear-ache to go with it.  I even got properly sick for a couple of days, where my face proceeded to poof up on the left side, hamster style.
Eventually I went to see the doctor, who diagnosed me with a maxillary sinus infection and prescribed drugs to deal with it.  And gently suggested maybe not waiting 6 weeks next time before stopping by.  I think this is the first proper sinus infection I have ever had since I'm not allergic to anything (knock on wood). 
The sinus still feels swollen but now the drugs are kicking my ass. Just hope they are working so that I can start feeling normal again soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A letter to my cats

Dear cats.  I'm not sure if you read my blog, I doubt it.  But since you don't listen to me, I thought this was worth a try.  We need to clarify some rules and establish a code of conduct, so that all inhabitants of the little house by the blue lake may live peacefully.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please grow opposable thumbs and type them in the comment section. 
  1. All the animals should be friends, or at least tolerate each other.  iBite, no more assaulting Herman, seriously.
  2. Meals are served twice a day.  Period. Neither one of you can be trusted to free feed and both of you are on the chubby side.  Please note that increased meowing will not result in bonus food, so just quit it. 
  3. The dog is NOT a toy.  
  4. I am grateful for your litter box mastery, but please try to leave some of the litter in the box as you ferociously dig to cover the cat dung.  And a sub note to the dog here:  don't eat cat shit.  It's gross, I don't care how much protein is in there.
  5. My workout clothes are sacred.  Next cat caught sharpening claws on my technical fabrics is going for a swim.  
  6. My toes & feet are to be left alone.  Next cat to dart from underneath furniture and assault the toes might get stepped on.  Please focus attack instinct on the plethora of fake mice supplied.
That about covers it.  If you would consider living by those rules, that would be awesome. 
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lap flip lap flip lap flip lap

Did my first swim workout since July yesterday.  It was both awesome and ass-kicking.  We have a small group that mainly consists of triathletes with an unusual taste for swimming.  Remarkably enough we are also all women, in my community the guys seem to focus on either running, biking or duathlons.   I guess this is another testimonial to the female multitasking abilities ;)

Coach welcomed me back and announced that the days of my open turns were over (I've been a little lax flipping).  He went on to declare that we were now entering a phase where the emphasis is on core muscles, allowing us to be better balanced in the water and generate movement from the core, thus saving our legs for biking/running.  He swears it will also make us faster on the bike and especially on the run.  That's all I needed -  it will make me run faster?  Count me in!!

Coach Scott Bay is absolutely great.  He doesn't hesitate to hop into the water and demonstrate when needed, and his coaching comes with huge focus on technique.  We all came into the group with different swim-issues, mine lovingly termed "rainbow hand" (it looked I was painting a nice rainbow on the sky, rather than coming out with a high elbow and defined entry.... and it was only on my right side!).   We do a good bit of drills, but always individual specific, as we might be working on different things.  We also do a lot of swimming slow, working on that perfect stroke.
Having done a little bit of regular masters swimming, the swimming slow part was what I had a hard time with in the beginning - but I can't argue with the results.  My stroke count has dropped a good bit, I'm faster and wayyyy smoother.

But, today I'm tired - tired in the way only swimming makes you tired. It's a good tired, one you earned with your whole body.  So now I'm going to have a cup of tea, kick back and chill out for a little bit :)  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter is here. Motivation, somewhere over there. Way over.


Well well, it's that time again. The time of going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Getting up early to work out before work becomes just about impossible, and hot chocolate (and cold chocolate) become irresistible.
I'm going to allow myself to slack a little bit until January, do some biking and swimming and running, but mostly focus on going to the gym for strength and core. It seems to help me with everything else, and would prevent me from turning into a total and utter slob.
I need to keep the legs strong, since our first time trial race is in January. Which will also be my first TT ever, I'm excited about that one - I'm the only one on the team that has never done those before, so the goal is to just learn as much as possible and hopefully not embarrass myself. Fun times.
Then the first race of the season has been decided - Sue and I are going down to Miami for an OL distance tri on March 15th. I fear the water might be cold, but at least I have a wetsuit now so that should be ok. My big plan for the upcoming training is to focus on the run... I need a run coach. I need someone to hold me accountable and motivate me and tell me what to do. This weekend I'm going coach hunting, if anyone has good suggestions, drop me a line!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blisters: pop 'em or leave 'em?

Running this past weekend I got myself a couple of annoying rub spots on my feet that quickly progressed into blisters. That was uncool, as this happened on the first leg of the race. My theory is it happened because we were running on the shoulders of roads & highways that slanted a little bit. I had 2 pairs of shoes, one old and trusty and the other one fairly new - but a brand/type I have run in many times before and never blistered. Quite a few of us got blisters or sore spots that did not really make running superbly enjoyable.
But, when a whole team totally depends on you (hee hee), you can't let a few little inconveniences like blisters get in the way.
So I popped them (using the handy safety pins they give you for the race number), got the blister-juice out and let them hang out and air-dry between running legs. When it was my turn to run, I taped them up with cloth bandages that extended a little bit outside the edges of the blister, dapped body-glide around it and off I went. Really was not painful at all, and now 2 days later they are both 99% healed up, no pain, no issue.

There were some interesting reactions though, as some people that witnessed the popping seemed to think my entire leg would become immediately infected and flat out fall off. I discovered that there are 2 very distinct schools of thought when it comes to blisters:

a) the "pop and go" crowd
b) the "no pop but use body weight in neosporin" crowd.

Next time I get 2 matching blisters like that again, I am going to do a controlled comparison study on my own feet, popping one and neospore the hell out of the other one, and see what happens. My money is on the dirty safety pin.

How do you guys deal with blisters?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ragnar Relay: Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat

As a part of a 12 person relay team (TWSKA*), Cute Boy and I ran our way across the state of Florida this past weekend, taking part in the Ragnar Relay. We started in Clearwater and ended in Daytona Beach 32 hrs later.
The whole event was an absolutely amazing experience. The adventure began in Daytona early Thursday night, where we loaded the gear into the 2 team vans and drove across and spent the night in a hotel not far from the start on Honeymoon Island.
Bright and early on a very humid Friday morning we arrived at the start line, checked in and got our race numbers and fancy technical long sleeve t shirts. I'm not gonna lie, the schwag is always important.
Ahead of us lay 193 miles of roads, trails, paths, highways, dirt and uncertainty. Then the start horn sounded and our first runner Lani was off. Each one of us ran 3 legs, ranging in miles from 3 to 9.5 and from easy to moderate to hard in difficulty.
I had the easy spot on the team, my legs were all between 3-4 miles; easy-moderate*-easy. That was very awesome, since I had an ear infection that had me in bed all of Wednesday, plus my running schedule has been way off because of work travels & training for the century ride in the Keys.
My first leg was through New Port Richey and was a little challenging to navigate. I was nervous because they had told us at the start that whilst there would be good signage on the course we couldn't rely on those as someone (sometimes even other teams trying to beat out a rival!) might remove them, turn them around or try to confuse the runners. It did actually happen, so one runner got lost.
I wrote down all the street names and distances and carried with me on a soggy piece of paper, and then my Garmy and I dutifully checked off each waypoint, turn and twist. It was stupid hot, and both Cute Boy and I ran around high noon. Temps were near record highs and the humidity out of control.
The 2nd leg was in the dark of night, I ran along state road 50 in a straight line for the 3.8 miles I needed to get done. Nearly a full moon and perfect temperatures, but I didn't really enjoy on-coming trucks going a million miles an hour. Then there was this dead, nasty, smelly, bloated, ripe opossum that I almost stepped on.
The final 3.2m leg took me straight into Alexander Springs state park, which was awesome. It was really muggy and I kept hoping it would rain a little so I could cool down, but instead it just got muggier with every step. Overall I was happy that I ran at or faster than my predicted pace for each leg, the last one even at a 9:40 pace, which is completely unheard of for me (I had some nice rollers and a good downhill that helped).

My team was awesome. I still can't believe that all 12 of us got along so great, especially considering that we were very cramped in our minivans and that we went for 32 hrs with hardly any sleep, and I was meeting some of them for the very first time!
The best thing about this race was definitely being a part of team TWSKA. We had runners of all abilities, 7-8 minute milers and all the way up to 11-12 minute milers, and everything in-between.

My friends Mikey and Adrianne and Morten and Tammy met us at the finish - and went with me, Cute Boy, Lara, Denise and to dinner. It was sooo nice to see them when we ran across the finish line and big thanks to Mikey*** for snapping the photos decorating this post.

*Twelve Wild Soles Kicking Asphalt

**no hills in Florida? Really? Well then we have very tilted roads in some places and something should be done about that.
*** Now if Mikey would ever get going with a website for his photography, I could at least link to him!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Burrito strikes back


Cute Boy and I did some work around the house today, including re-grouting the tile on the pool. It's been leaking a little and we are hoping that will fix it. Crawling on your hands an knees with epoxy grout and chasing with a sponge isn't exactly a fun job, so by the time we finally finished we decided to reward ourselves by going out for lunch. We went to this nice little Mexican joint that usually has totally reasonable lunch portions, but for some reason during the weekend they insist on serving up gargantuan chimichangas/burritos.
But man did it taste good. I ate almost the whole thing, and lived to regret it when I went out for a run. I waited until I was almost out of daylight to allow the chimi time to evacuate my stomach, but it didn't want to leave. I HAD to run, so off I went anyway. The constant bopping up and down angered the chimichanga greatly, to the point that it threatened to return to the surface and kick my ass. I backed off a little bit and managed to keep the thing down and made it home.

I'm not having dinner. And I pledge to start eating healthier, because right now I'm experiencing bloating, cramping, acid reflux, irregular heartbeat, partial kidney failure and low brain activity, all at once. All because of one, super-oversized chimichanga.
Curse you, tasty food.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Demotivated

Does working inherently suck or do I just happen to work at a place that makes it a mission to every so often suck the last remaining little bit of motivation to do a good job right out of the core of your very being?
I hope it is option #2, because I distinctly remember having held 3 seperate jobs that I really enjoyed. One of them I left because I was moving to Florida, the other one I left for the job I left for Florida, and the last one was a project that just came to a natural end.
I worked my little tail off at all 3, worked with great people (for the most part) and had great bosses. But I have had some crappy jobs too.

This time around I am working a job that I enjoy for the most part - part working with athletes and part working at social media, establishing a presence for my company on the great big internet. I do work with some really great people, but there are some serious shit-bags too. Watching the infighting amongst the "higher uppers" is really disheartening.
Every time I see 2 or more of our managers interact, I am reminded that I have 2 insane cats at home that hate each other. The similarities are astonishing.

So, today I work on my resume. With the hope that maybe there is a job out there for me that I can work hard at, be good at and challenged by. I like working - I like having a purpose and a goal and I'm willing to put in the effort to get there. BUT. I want to be appreciated and trusted by my superiors and respected by peers. I don't even know if that is possible in today's America, or if I have to move to Utopia for that. We'll see. Wish me luck.