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Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm back!

I just got back from Dallas last night. I attended a work training session there from Monday night through Wednesday afternoon.

They had us scheduled from early morning to late at night, but I still snuck in some training. Most of the attendees looked at me like I had three eyes when I mentioned getting to the gym at 5:30 AM in order to get my workout in. Apparently, this is a big boondoggle for them and they expected to be nursing hangovers.

It was one of the nicer hotels I've stayed at, especially for work. The rooms had bathrobes, mints on pillows and big spa bathtubs. What was more thrilling for me though, was the state of the art fitness center than included a 25-yard pool. Heaven! I availed myself of the fitness center every opportunity I got including a 3100 yard swim yesterday morning!

I did attend all of the training and social functions. The training was so-so, but the social stuff was fun. We had a chocolate fountain on the first night, a progressive dinner on the second night (changed tables after every course in order to meet new folks) and a fun team building with prizes activity called "Deal or No Deal" (similar to the game show, but was more like Dare or Double Dog Dare). My team won overall, so we each got $50 gift certificates to Outback. Not too shabby.

The flight back was a little bumpy at first, but smooth sailing towards the end. We got out just in time. The rest of our group had to stay overnight, because their flight was canceled. I'm so glad I got to sleep next to my hubby last night instead of alone in a hotel room again.

This morning, I hopped on the trainer for 90 minutes before my dentist appointment. I got the dental appliance this morning. It is not the most comfortable thing, but luckily the change in my speech is not noticeable. I can't eat with it in, which means taking it out, eating and then brushing my teeth and it before putting it back in. I haven't determined if that will make me lose weight or gain weight. I am not interested in constantly going to brush my teeth, so maybe I'll eat less often. Or, when I do eat, maybe I'll eat more to make up for not getting to eat as frequently. Then again, maybe liquid calories is the way to go. It is only the first day. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holy shin pain Batman!

My run on Sunday was not pain free like I hoped. Sure, I was wet and very cold, but I can deal with that. But, my IT band was flaring again. Not so much that I couldn't run, but not so little that I enjoyed my run. At least my shins weren't hurting.

I got a massage last night and like every other time, it hurt like a bitch. I love my massage therapist, but she really is merciless at times. She does leave my feet alone though, because she knows I won't be able to walk when she's finished. Thanks for that Kristen!

When I woke up this morning, the outside of my right knee was burning and I was sore all over. I had a 50-minute run scheduled. Thankfully, my run partner canceled on me last night. I had planned to run on the treadmill (which I hate), but thought it wiser to get on the elliptical instead. After 20 or so minutes, I thought, "I feel fine now, so I'll go try the treadmill." Maybe not my wisest move. My knee was fine, but both of my shins were in pain. That happens to me a lot on treadmills. I decided to bump up the incline to 3.0 and decreased the speed to 5.0. That helped tremendously.

I wish my legs were back to "normal", but I'll try to be patient. I see the ART guy tomorrow and if it means increasing the frequency of my visits to him to get this resolved, so be it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


What is satisfaction? Mick Jagger sang that he couldn't get any. Like most subjective terms, "satisfaction" is whatever it means personally to you.

To me satisfaction is different than happiness. I can be satisfied with something and have no happy/sad emotions about it. However, I believe satisfaction to be a positive thing. Meeting expectations is still better than falling short of them.

Today, I volunteered at our third and final duathlon in the CTC's Fall 2006 duathlon series. Eight brave souls came out to compete in the 40 degree weather. Even better, nine brave souls came out to volunteer. I think everyone had a good time and would say they were satisfied with the experience. At least, I hope they were.

After the duathlon ended, I headed out on my bike with my pal, Sam B. She and I rode 1:45 together in the cold and then I headed out for the final 30 minutes of my assigned 2:15 ride. I can't say it was my most stellar performance. I averaged under 15 mph. But, it is only November 18, I got to hang and chat with my good friend and I was able to ride outside. After the ride, I took off for my 30 minute brick run. I don't know if it was the Ipod tunes or my fresh feeling legs, but I had a very good run off the bike. Yah, I averaged 10-minute miles, but I really haven't been able to pull that off in awhile. Overall, I'm satisfied with my performance.

Sam waited for me and we went for lunch at Fisher's Tavern. We both were craving chili (Sam is always craving chili - part of her charm) and we were not disappointed. Strangely enough, I was still hungry when I got home. I must have caught the parasite Jodi has. But, after a chocolate chip bagel leftover from the duathlon, I am quite satisfied.

I hope Liz and Lloyd are satisfied with their respective performances at the JFK 50-mile run today (I wish I knew how they did - Liz should be about done right now). I hope Suzi had a satisfactory run at the OSU/Michigan 5k challenge this afternoon (Go bucks!). Finally, I hope that Sara rocks the pants off of the Fall Classic half-marathon tomorrow morning. My friends, don't be like Mick, go get some satisfaction!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Too Little Sleep in My Bed

Sing the title of the post to the tune "Too much time on my hands". I have the song running through my head right now for some reason. I think I'm a little punchy from lack of sleep.

I know many do just fine on 5.5 hours of sleep, but I don't happen to be one of them. I'm so tired!! I almost killed my cat this morning, because she started howling/whining outside our bedroom door at 4:30 AM. I had to get up at 4:45, so it wasn't a big deal, but it was still annoying.

So, why did I get so little sleep? Well, I had dinner last night at Salmon Dave's with two of my college roommates. I just found the one. She was in the PDQ section of the Plain Dealer and through the power of the Internet, I found her. I haven't seen her since junior year of college (1991). She looks exactly the same. It is amazing how three people who haven't seen each other in years can get along like no time has passed at all. We had a fabulous dinner, then went back to her place to meet her husband/kids (former was nice and latter were very cute), look through some old pictures and catch up some more. I didn't head for home until after 10 PM, so I didn't get to bed until 11. It was worth it though to see them and I hope we don't get years again between visits.

This morning, I got up on time, but couldn't get my butt moving out the door. It was probably because I wasn't picking anyone up or meeting anyone to swim. By the time I got to the pool, all 4 lanes were filled. One lane had a floating lady with noodle and some sort of aqua tennis shoes. It was very bizarre. There was no hope of swimming with her, so I tried to get the attention of the other 3 guys. They saw me, but completely ignored me. C'mon! I'm small and swim with good etiquette. Finally, one guy stopped and told me we could split a lane. Phew! I was about to cry (exhaustion makes me over emotional).

The workout was okay. I gutted through the 3000 yards. I resisted using fins during any of the swim sets, although my brain was begging me to do so. I swam through a few cologne slicks and that made me want to gag (who wears cologne in a pool?!), but I survived.

I'm tired now, but I'm glad I went. Hopefully, I can keep up with Liz tonight on our run and then go home for a nice evening with the hubby.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mighty, Mighty Good Man Monday

I'm a big R&B fan. One of the songs in my Ipod is "Mighty Good Man" sung by En Vogue with Salt N Pepa. When I hear it, I think of my husband.

In the pursuit of athletic challenges, like triathlon and specifically Ironman, having good support at home is priceless. I'm in one of the special cases where both of us are training for Ironman. Of course, this is his 7th, while it is only my 1st. Still, he does most of the work inside and outside of the house. In a typical week, he cooks meals for us 4-5 nights, does the laundry, shops for groceries, unloads the dishwasher, feeds the cats, mows the lawn, washes the cars, etc.

My friends call me the Energizer Bunny, because while not fast, I can maintain the same pace for a very long time. I think that will help me at Ironman. Of course, once I stop moving, I'm ready for a shower and a nap. My husband is the true Energizer Bunny. He has this ability to get so much done with so little sleep and although he may be tired, he is almost always stoic about it. Yesterday is a perfect example. After his 2-hour bike ride, he spent over 4 hours raking/hauling leaves and mowing. We have a .25 acre lot, but it has a lot of trees on it. The pile of leaves he created puts the other neighbors' piles in our development to shame.

He is truly a mighty and good man. I love you Matt!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The richness of friendship

I woke up this morning thinking about all of my friends. When I was a Brownie, we sang the song "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." It is a good addage. I think I'm the richest person ever when it comes to friends.

When I was young, we moved around a lot, because my father was in the Army. You'd think that would make me outgoing and maybe it would have, but my parents split up when I was 9. After that, my mother settled us down in Canton, OH. I was the new kid in a school of kids who had been together since kindegarten. I was painfully shy and didn't really make any friends in grade school.

Then, my mother and step-dad moved to a new junior high school district. What kids I knew from grade school were going to a school on the other side of town. I was lucky enough to make a few good friends in junior high school and high school, including my fabulous friend Jen who I mentioned in an earlier post, but I was still painfully shy and quiet. My yearbook entries always included "a nice, quiet girl". I know this probably surprises those of you who don't think of me as such.

When I went to undergrad, I was still shy and quiet, but I managed to make a few good friends, who happened to be my roommates. As an aside, I'm having dinner with two of them on Tuesday night and I'm really looking forward to that.

I started to come out of my shell in grad school. I attended the same school (BGSU) for both grad and undergrad. I knew the campus, so didn't have to overcome that obstacle. My friend Sandy and I bonded over Elephant malt liquor one Friday happy hour. She was a big fan of the drink, Zima, which had been test marketed in her home state (PA) but wasn't available yet in Ohio (yes, I'm showing my age). I hope to see her in January or February. She now lives in Rochester, NY, so the visits are few and far between.

When I started my job as an actuarial consultant, I had withdrawn into my shell again. I don't think I said more than 2 words of my own volition for the first 2 weeks. I was married and didn't fit in with the single crowd. The married crowd was a little old or a little weird. But, gradually, consulting forced the butterfly out of the cocoon. I met Suzi at the beginning of my career and she has been a wonderful addition to my life, but we really didn't become close until after my divorce.

When my ex-husband and I split up, the metamorphisis became complete. I felt so free and happy that I knew it was time to shed the shy girl from the past. All of a sudden I was making new friends left and right. And, not just quantity of friends, but quality friends. I like to think I'm a good judge of character and every one of them completes me in some way.

Today, I am running with a few of them. It is easier for me to hang out regularly with the ones who train for running or triathlons. But, it is worth the effort to keep in touch with all of the friends I've made along the journey to becoming who I am today. Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am. I love them for that and for so much more!

So, thank you my friends for being part of my life and for sharing your life with me. I love you!


P.S. I should mention that I also cherish my best friend, lover and the most wonderful husband ever, Matt. This post was about girlfriends, but he should get a shout out too. : )

Friday, November 10, 2006


So, I'm not a fan of seafood, but I understand that fish should be a part of a healthy diet. I like Tuna salad (could be the mayonnaise), but that's about it. I told my husband that I'll give white fish a go once a week, so he's made it for me twice now. He's considerate and adds olive oil, lemon juice and spices to help mask the flavor, but the consistency of the meat still grosses me out. I've heard that it takes 10 times of trying something before you get to like it, so I'll keep trying the white fish. It helps when Matt points out that 8 oz. of fish has about 250 calories, whereas the pumpkin muffin I had yesterday had nearly 500 calories in it. More bang for your buck with the fish!

Speaking of fish, I swam with the CSU crowd this morning. The assigned workout covered 3100 yards and I made 3000 of that. A year ago, heck 6 months ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of going that far in one workout let alone trying to stay on the assigned intervals. I talk to my coach in person on Monday and may ask to swim more often.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Random Thoughts Thursday

I'm going to borrow the tag line from my pal Jodi. Hopefully, she doesn't mind. I just have so many random thoughts going on inside my head right now:

1. My friend Sam J. (AKA my lawyer) sent the letter to the dietitian today. Keep your fingers crossed that this will all be over soon.

2. Just because I don't have a dietitian, doesn't mean that I'm not trying to eat healthier. Yesterday, I chose to eat the CLIF bar I brought over the donuts, pastries and muffins offered for free at my training. Of course, today, I went for the pumpkin muffin at Au Bon Pain - it was begging me to eat it, I swear! All things in moderation, right?

3. My swimming is starting to come along. I don't know if I'm any faster, but I feel way more confident in the water. I enjoyed my 3100 yard swim yesterday with Sam J. even though we were in a 20-yard pool (that was my longest yet in such a small pool).

4. On my trainer rides this week, I watched the picture slide show playing on our home computer. It shows pictures taken by my husband over the last 3 years. There are tons of pics from Lake Placid and they really psych me up for my ride. I can't say my crotch is in agreement though. Give me real road any day. Stupid daylight!

5. I ran with Liz and some guy from London who will be moving to Cleveland in January (he's a research doctor). Sorry about his luck. At least London is cold then too. Liz was nice enough to take him back to his hotel, because he had run from his hotel near the Clinic to meet us for the run. I was a little worried about sending her off alone with him, but she called afterwards and let me know she was okay. Phew! He seemed like a nice chap, but you never know.

6. I'm absolutely exhausted this week. I had to take a nap last night before Lost in order to stay awake to watch it. I foresee a similar plan for tonight. I had to talk myself into getting up before 5 for the third day in a row this morning (a typical week for me these days has me getting up around 4:45 Tuesday through Friday). I told myself I'd feel much better after the trainer ride was over and I did.

7. I better get used to the exhaustion, because Ironman training is just beginning. I wish I had Matt's energy. He runs a marathon and then is out mowing the lawn when he gets home, while I'm snoozing on the couch from just running 10.7 miles in a relay! I have to tell you that I have been getting up before him most days the past month or so. Slacker sleeps until 5-5:15! : ) I have to poke him and say "are you going to sleep all day?!!"

8. This weekend looks like it will be fun. Matt and I are going on a fancy date on date night. Sunday is the newbies get-together. Sunday morning I get to run with my pals (Jodi, Sam B., Sam J. and Carie) and most likely get some grub after. Ah, good times!

Okay, I better get back to work. Those calculations won't check themselves!

Until next time...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend summary

The weekend was a whirlwind of activity for me, although I didn't get much "produced".

Saturday morning was the 2nd CTC duathlon. It was a little colder than last time, but we still got 8 participants and 9 volunteers. Janet (DaisyDuc) kicked some major tail and finished 2nd out of the 8 (there was only 1 more female in the group). I think everyone had a good time despite the cold, so hopefully, we'll still have a good turnout next time.

After the duathlon, I did my brick. The schedule called for a 2-hour ride followed by a 20-minute run. This is where I got to eat some humble pie. I went riding with my husband, Brooks, Tim and Bart (the duathlon winner). I'd like to think that I could keep up with them (at least hang on for dear life to the draft), but it wasn't in the cards. I'd like to blame donating blood or standing in the cold for hours, but I won't. No need to place blame on anything.

The guys were nice though and let me catch up to them periodically. About 1.5 hours into the ride, Tim suggests we ride up Columbia Road hill. Now, I've never done that one, but I've ridden out of the valley before. Whoa! I was so not prepared for the long, steep hill that greeted us right away. About halfway up it, I said "uh-oh and then unclipped and stopped my bike". I could barely breathe, but could have tried to make it. It just didn't seem worth it. My husband was a little ahead of me and I could hear him grumbling about something. When he heard me stop, he said "I'm not motivated to do this today. It is F---ing November!" So, we turned around and headed back to our cars.

After the ride, I tried to keep up with Matt on the run, but that wasn't in the cards either. My HR was out of control. I averaged a HR of 165 at about 10:20 miles for the 20 minutes. Not stellar, but it will do. My leg wasn't too bad.

After we got home, I went to see "The Prestige" with my brother. I would definitely recommend it. Great plot, authentic period wear and wonderful acting! It is an intriguing movie that keeps you guessing the whole time.

On Sunday, I went for a run with my brother and Sam B. Poor Dave was subjected to our girl talk - it is no wonder, he went to run by himself in front of us. My knee held up okay and it is always good to run with one of my pals and my little bro'.

That afternoon, I went for my swimming lesson with Laura. I am so sore today. She put me through a tough workout for an hour and gave me pointers along the way. My right arm enters too close to my head. My kick needs to be faster. I need to increase turnover to get used to swimming at tempo. I should be stronger - do pushups to build tricep strength. Work the drills, especially the ones that give you good "feel" for the water (sculling drills) and emphasize the catch (Popov drills). By the time it ended, my butt was thoroughly kicked, but I still had to put on my game face and go to Matt's mother's family get-together. It was a very nice time, but by the time I got home at 8 PM, it was all I could do to stay awake during the Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors before passing out on the couch at 8:30 PM.

Luckily, today is a rest day. : )

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fabulous swim

I had a fabulous swim this morning at CSU. I was able to keep up with the lane next to me and the dude in my lane for the most part. The coach had assigned many sets on timed intervals. The others were ignoring him and going faster than assigned, so I swam anaerobic for about 1500 yards of the 2800 I covered today. But, I survived and felt great!

I now have the Rocky theme in my head. Getting strong now! Won't be long now!

I used to dread going to masters practice, but I actually look forward to swimming now. What a difference a year makes!

I'm still going to get more official lessons, because there is still much room for improvement. I'm still the slowest swimmer at masters. My next lesson with Laura (she's fabulous) is on Sunday. She's going to assign me an hour workout and watch how my form progresses through the hour. I'll get tips along the way too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween pics

Here are some pictures taken on Halloween. I was Batman at work (I didn't win the costume contest - there were much better choices) and for trick-or-treating. Matt wore the funny clown wig, which the little kids absolutely loved.

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Silly BatJen
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Here's me in the clown wig.
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The pumpkin I carved
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Matt and his pumpkin (his group went with the animal house theme - he put those letters on the sweatshirt himself)

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Unexpected expenses

I went to the dentist yesterday to have my bite looked at by my dentist's partner (he specializes in it). Apparently, I have worn the teeth on my left side down by chewing on that side more often (I'm missing a molar on the right side, so I know I do this). This has caused my bite to be off. If I don't get it corrected, eventually I'll wear the right side down (of course I'm chewing there the majority of the time now) and will start chipping my front teeth. Fun! His solution is to fit me for a mouth appliance to wear for at least 6 months to see if my bite will come back to its natural state. After that, they will fix any damage I've done to my teeth and send me on my way.

The appliance must be worn most of the time, day and night. He says it might give me a slight lisp. Good lord! What are you going to do though? I don't want to lose my teeth. I have yet to ask him about wearing the appliance while swimming, biking and running. If the thing isn't supposed to be worn while eating, then I can't take it on a 6 hour bike ride. I don't have enough balance to take the thing out, eat while holding it and then put it back in. I'll ask him these pertinent questions at my appliance fitting appointment. It is supposed to last 3-4 hours, so I suppose I'll have lots of time to ask questions.

Of course, my insurance won't pay for this doohickey. Between the cost of it and the service charges, it cost me over $2,000. Yowza! I just hope it works. He says there is no guarantee.

In other news, I think I'm switching my ART doctor. The one I have now is okay, but he's a tad arrogant. He does a good job on the leg that he's been working on, but never listens to me about any other pain I have (like in the other leg). I feel like I'm in an assembly line - get my 20 minutes exactly and then shove me out the door. My massage therapist works for a real MD, who also practices ART. She recommend him, because she trusts him and I trust her. A bonus is that he's on the east side near where I live unlike the other guy, whose office is on the west side. Hopefully, this new guy can fix me up.

To end on a positive note, I had a good swim this morning. I followed a routine from my coach. Sam J. joined me for it and my husband was also in the lane doing his own thing. After practice, Jodi, Matt and I went to get our hand scanned in order to get into CSU from now on. How futuristic is that?! I just hope no one commits a crime, because if CSI is to be believed, I bet the crime investigators could get hand prints from CSU. Okay, I think I watch too much TV.

Okay, really finished now. Good luck avoiding all of the Halloween candy in your offices and homes!!