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Monday, January 29, 2007

It's our anniversary!

As After 7 sang "Today is a special day. Not just any day. It's our anniversary!" Matt and I have been married for 2 years as of today. The time has gone by so fast. I never thought I could find someone who is so wonderful every day! He is thoughtful, handy, intelligent, funny, caring, sweet, supportive, dedicated, athletic, handsome, etc. He is the Total Package and I'm the luckiest gal in the world!

Saturday, we continued our tradition of going to the place we got married (South River Vineyard) for a glass of wine. Then, we had a scrumptious dinner at Ferrante's winery, decadent dessert at the lodge and then enjoyed chocolate martinis in the jacuzzi. It is always fun when we "let our hair down" and eat/drink whatever we want. The next morning was a little rough for both of us (worse for him I think), but it was well worth it. Good times!

Here are some pics from the last two years:

Wedding day:


1st anniversary:

Matt took some good ones at this year's anniversary celebration that I'll post soon.

I love you Matt! Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

You are kidding, right?

So, as most of you know, I've been wearing an orthotic over my lower teeth in order to relax my jaw muscles. This, of course, is a temporary fix to the TMJ issues (A $2,400 temporary fix, but I digress).

The dentist presented his permanent treatment plan last night. It would involve putting veneers over my top teeth, putting braces on my bottom teeth and then eventually putting veneers on my bottom teeth. Now, he hasn't come right out and said the price for this plan, but he's alluded to it and I've done some research.

Finally, I see the cost on the paper. Drumroll please....$39,000! What?! You are kidding, right?! I said, there is no way I am paying that much for my mouth. My car doesn't cost nearly that much and I can't drive my mouth! The lady says, We have payment plans. Okay, ready for this? The monthly cost would be $851 for 5 years! Good lord! They must be on crack or think that I am. Who has that kind of money just lying around?! I make a decent living (probably better than most Americans), but I don't have that kind of monthly disposable cash and if I did, I'm sure I could find better uses for it.

I asked him if there were other options and told him that my research showed that veneers were just cosmetic. He said that other options would be more invasive or just wouldn't work for my teeth. Okay, invasive I can handle if it is covered by insurance. He seriously wasn't listening to me and told me that I could wear the orthotic for the next year or two while I thought about it. Looks like I'll be in the market for another dentist. I really like the lady that I go to for regular dental work in his practice, but I don't know if I can continue with her given the circumstances.

Aarrgghh! I wish I had just stuck with my old dentist who used to say Everything looks great and would send me on my way. This neuromuscular dentistry is too out there for me. I didn't even know I had TMJ issues until going there.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure something out. In the meantime, I'll keep wearing the orthotic. Good times!

On the plus side, it did give my mother, my husband and I a good chuckle for a long time last night. Crack, I tell you!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jack the Guard Cat

My cat, Jack, is incredibly neurotic and I swear she was a dog in another life. For example, she waits outside the door for me and greets me right away in the morning. She howls when I'm in a room that she can't get in. Once she gives up howling, she'll sit down and wait until I come out.

For some reason, she doesn't like to be seen by any people besides Matt and me. She's been that way her whole life even though she's never been treated with anything but kindness. So, whenever someone pulls in the driveway or comes up to the door, she growls. Now, I don't think she is growling, because she is worried about me, but instead is worried about herself.

This morning at 4:50 AM, I hear her growling in the front of the house. I go to see what is up and there are about 8 deer walking through our front yard (not a common sight in my neighborhood). For the next 30 minutes, even after they were gone, she walked around the house growling with her fur standing at attention and her tail all fluffed out. I think she was saying "Mom, why aren't you doing something about these interlopers?" Eventually, she did calm down.

What a funny cat! Now, if I could only get her to stop throwing up her food, then she'd be the ideal kitty.

Monday, January 22, 2007

6 months!

Six months from right now, I hope to be out on the bike course at Lake Placid.

I volunteered/spectated at the 2004 and 2005 Lake Placid Ironman races. I've swum the swim course a few times, run and biked the run course and have biked some and driven all of the bike course. Some parts are etched into my memory, so I think about them all the time. I also think about me being part of that madness.

When I watched Matt and the other competitors complete those 2 Ironman races, I never for a moment wanted to do it too. I thought "That is crazy! I could never do that!" But, of course, time and experience broke down those negative thought barriers and I signed up for the 2007 race.

Six months seems like a long way off, but the time will fly by. I'll put many miles onto my bike, into my shoes and in the pool. Before I know it, I'll be standing on that beach. Good times...Good times!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Recovery week, recovery week...

Recovery week, recovery week, wherefore art thou, recovery week?!

I'm starting to feel a need for a recovery week. I'm sore and tired. Yoga with Sara and E last night was wonderful, but I got to bed later than intended. This morning, at swimming, my butt was just dragging. I couldn't make any interval in a decent time and my arms felt dead. It didn't help that I couldn't kick with fins on. My chiropractor wrapped my feet in tape on Wednesday night prior to my 50-minute run. The right foot was fine, but the left lost quite a bit of surface skin (sorry Steve for showing that to you so early in the morning). It is healing well, but not well enough to allow me to wear fins. I'm interested to see how my run this evening goes. Lots of lube will be applied! But, I digress. I was supposed to swim 3500 yards, but I only made it 3300 in the time I had available. Oh well. I'm certainly not going to dwell on that!

So, the coach assures me that next week is a recovery week. She only posted the first three days of the week so far. Tuesday morning swim is 600 yards longer than last week. Tuesday evening ride is the same length, although at zone 1 instead of zone 1-2. Wednesday morning swim is the same distance. Wednesday night run is 5 minutes shorter. doesn't seem like a recovery week. Maybe the following days will be lighter. We'll see.

Last year, a recovery week was obvious, but I swear I haven't seen one since I started training in November. Must be subtle recovery weeks. So far, I haven't suffered and have in fact, improved. As always, I put my total faith in Angela.

On an unrelated topic, it was so nice to get back to Yoga class last night. Sara, E and E's co-worker went with me to Buck's class. I haven't seen him since March. I used to go every week consistently for the prior 2-3 years. Bad Jen! Buck said he could tell I've been practicing, because I was more flexible than I used to be. Twice daily stretching (including some Yoga asanas) has helped tremendously. It didn't hurt that it was evening, because I'm more flexible then. It seemed that the gals liked the class, so hopefully we'll make this a regular thing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sara had this on her blog and of course, it intrigued me enough to sign up and try it out. I used the picture they took for work (they use it for proposals). Apparently, I look most like Mischa Barton and Kate Bosworth (young-uns). People usually tell me that I look like Cate Blanchett or Caroline Bissett-Kennedy, but neither of them was picked (of course, the latter isn't alive anymore). Anyway, it was fun.

I found another usable picture and this time, Cate Blanchett showed up (albeit at 50%). Mischa was there again. I guess I never really looked at her before having never been a fan of the O.C.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm really fine

I must have seemed a little down in my posts lately, but I assure you that I'm doing just fine. This IT band stuff has been frustrating, but I know it will resolve itself eventually.

I discovered yesterday through on-line research that misalignment of legs, feet, etc. happens in the womb. I didn't do anything to cause this problem other than ramp up the mileage. My pre-existing bio mechanical issue had enough then. The orthotics should make things all better. I am running pretty much pain-free these days anyway from getting treatment, resting it and taking shorter runs. Before you know it, I'll be back up to 2 hour weekend runs. To tell you the truth, I like running, but it has been nice not having to run 1.5-2 hours every weekend. : )

On the swimming front, things are progressing nicely. Last night, I had a faster 3000 long straight swim than in previous weeks. This morning, I was a little tired at masters, but still banged out the 3500 yards in usual time.

On the biking front, I continue to post faster times and higher watts with lower heart rates. I definitely can't complain about that!

Overall, life is good: I'm going to my favorite yoga class with some of my favorite friends tomorrow night. My pal Sam J. bought me earrings that are small enough to wear while swimming and we proved it during our swim last night (I never wear earrings, because I don't want to take them off/put them on before/after workouts). Our triathlon club is having our annual holiday party on Friday and I can celebrate my pal Suzi's birthday with her then. I am still eating a square of dark chocolate every day and indulging in the occasional piece of pizza. My wonderful husband and I are about to celebrate our 2-year anniversary. Yes, life is good! I appreciate the kind words though!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


So, I'm getting orthotics for sure. That's fine with me, but I'm kind of bummed out by the conversation I had with the doc.

Me: Is there anything I can do..stretch, strength train, ice, help get this knee back where it is supposed to be?

Doc: No, once the ligaments are stretched out, there is nothing you can do to fix it and I will debate anyone who says otherwise.

Me: Seriously?

Doc: Yep, the easy answer is to stop running, but that obviously isn't the answer for you. The orthotics and treatment will get you through your race.

Well, I am happy that he is allowing me to continue running and riding. I'm also glad that the orthotics should ease the symptoms. I guess I just thought this would be like any injury - follow a prescribed treatment method and eventually it would get better. It has worked for every other injury I've had.

This is where perspective helps. 1) I still have my legs; 2) I am still allowed to run and ride; 3) The orthotics and treatment will make the runs IT band pain free.

I go in tomorrow afternoon to get fitted for the orthotics. Once they come in, he says it will take awhile before I can run in them (got to get used to them by walking first). I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yet another diagnosis

My IT band has been better since I saw the physical therapist, but it still isn't 100%. My LMT works for a D.C., so I took her advice finally and went to see him on Friday after work. (Edited to change his credentials to D.C. from D.O. - just found out from Kristen - am a little wary, but am hoping for the best)

He took some x-rays and hopefully I'll get to hear what they showed when I go back tonight. After the x-rays, he had me march in place and then stand still. Apparently, my right knee was obviously interiorly rotated. He then proceeded to tape up my foot to act like a temporary orthotic. I was instructed to get a run or two in with the taped foot and see how it went.

My Saturday morning workout called for a 30-minute run, 2 hour ride and 30-minute run. When I started the first run, I was amazed at how much stronger my right leg felt. I still felt a slight twinge here and there, but it is the best I've felt during a run in a long time.

Then, I hopped on the trainer for the 2-hour Computrainer ride through Lake Placid's hills. Matt assures me that the Computrainer is way harder than the actual course. Thank goodness, because some of those hills are a killer! I suppose it doesn't help that there is no such thing as a real downhill on a Computrainer. It is easier, but you still have to pedal. About an hour into the ride, my right calf started to threaten to cramp. I think it was due to the right foot being immobilized by the tape. I didn't want to take the tape off before the second run, so I prayed my way through the last hour. I made it thankfully! And, I averaged 16 mph, which is .5 mph faster than the last time I rode that course a month ago. But, I digress...

On the second run, I still felt good, tired from the first run and the bike, but good. Again, just a slight twinge of pain every now and then during the run. I took the tape off before my shower. Later, my knee was slightly sore, but the pain was manageable.

Yesterday, I hopped on the bike for 90 minutes (started at 4:50 AM in order to get it done, get clean and get to the Macedonia Rec Center to volunteer for the club's next indoor triathlon). After the indoor triathlon finished, Matt and I went to N. Chagrin for a quick run. I ran 40 minutes on the trail (which I love). My leg held up okay and was only slightly sore later.

Now, of course, I haven't run farther than 45 minutes at one time in the last month or so. We'll see what the doctor says tonight when I go back for the follow-up appointment. Hopefully, he'll be the last peg to get this IT band issue figured out. Of course, then he has to help me with my left foot pain. At least I've dealt with that kind of pain before. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Years ago, I used to give up chocolate candy for lent. It really wasn't that tough, because I wasn't a huge chocolate candy fan. I preferred brownies, cookies, cake, etc. I know, lent is supposed to be about sacrifice, which is why I've given up lent for lent the last few years. : )

Anyway, I've usually been really good about not getting candy bars from the vending machine or grocery store or... Then, at my old job, one of the interns maintained a candy drawer with all kinds of good stuff. I didn't go there every day, but it was frequent enough. Luckily, he didn't sit that close to my office.

At my new job, I maintain a candy jar in order to lure people into my office to chat. I figure it is an easy way to get to know them. Only problem is I can't stay away from the darn thing! To make matters worse, my company gave us each a box of chocolates (and nuts) from Malley's for the holidays and I've slowly been working my way through it.

So, today, I'm resolved to change things. I put the remaining chocolates out to share with my coworkers and it was gone within an hour. I had Matt buy chocolates that I definitely don't like to stock my candy dish. Just a few good ones left in there and then I will be free.

I need to bring some more healthy snacks to supplement my food intake, because the additional hunger brought on by training causes me to eat the bad items. Repeat to self, Must make better choices to feed Ironman training calorie deprived body!

Friday, January 05, 2007


I hit a new weekly mileage record this week - 10,000 yards! I swam 3,000 on Tuesday night, 3,500 on Wednesday morning and 3,500 this morning. What a difference a few years makes! I swam with Matt today and it was just so nice to swim with him. We did the warm-up (400 swim, 400 kick, 400 pull, 8 x 50 on 1:05, 200 drill) and then decided to swim a straight 1,200. It took him 750 yards to lap me (it used to take only a few laps, so I'm quite proud of that). I finished up with a 300 kick and 200 cooldown.

After this morning's swim, I reflected about my first days of swimming in 2002, when I trained for my first sprint triathlon. I didn't know how to swim freestyle, so I would alternate between side stroke, breast stroke (with head out of water) and back stroke. I felt accomplished if I made it .5 mile.

I got swimming lessons and three years later, I prepared for my first half-Ironman. I thought Matt was on crack when he told me I needed to swim at least 2,000 yards to prepare for it. That just seemed too far.

Even in early 2006, I couldn't believe Angela wanted me to swim 2,500 yards at one time.

I guess it is all about perspective. I still don't know how I'm going to get much more than 3,500 in during a CSU masters practice, because with all the stopping and starting, I run out of time. But, if she assigns more, then I will find a way to do more (like getting in early like Jodi does).

The IM swim doesn't seem so daunting anymore. I felt like I could do 700 more yards today. Now, doing that followed by 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running is a different story. But, I'm confident that come race day, it will be no biggie. Got to keep it all in perspective, right?! : )

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

199 days left and...

I apparently need more sleep. I slept on the floor of my office today and yesterday for a half-hour during my lunch hour. I feel better, but am still a little tired.

6.5 hours a night during the week isn't cutting it. Matt is resolved to get more sleep (he was only getting 6 hours a night) and I'm jumping on that bandwagon. The key I think is getting to bed earlier. We just got DVR, so now we can record those 9 PM shows that we like to watch. It is hard though when you don't get home until 8 PM and still have to eat dinner. I will try though.

In the meantime, I probably will keep sleeping on my office floor during lunch. Why not? I don't have anything else to do except surf the net. The floor is basically concrete with a thin carpet on it. I'm going to bring in a blanket and pillow to make it a little more comfortable (will store in a drawer out of sight). I wonder if my co-workers would notice an air mattress sitting around in my office? : ) Oh, if there only was a Cube Cot!

199 days... I can do this!

P.S. Check out my hubby's new blog (link on the right).

Monday, January 01, 2007

So much

So much has happened since my last post, so I'll just go in order to keep my thoughts straight. I figured out my new camera, so there are pictures to enjoy too!

1) Visit with Dad

My father lives in Alabama, so I typically only see him once a year and that is during the holidays. He came to visit on Thursday night. I told him that he could spend the night, but Matt and I would be leaving by 5:30 AM the next morning and wouldn't be there when he awoke. He told me that I could do my training on the weekend, but like most people doesn't understand that training happens then too. That's okay. Not everyone is as weird as us triathletes!

It was nice to see him. Hope he didn't mind all of the organic food options for breakfast instead of his preferred Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptarts. Oh, how I miss Poptarts, but I know that it is for the best that they are out of my diet.

Here is a picture of Dad and me. I resemble him, huh?

2) Trainer ride and run with the gals

My triathlon club is hosting a Virtual Triathlon Camp. This year, a la Survivor, it is the girls against the boys. So, we had some fun with it. Jodi hosted a trainer ride and run. The weather was beautiful and we probably should have ridden outside, but the run outside was wonderful (especially because I haven't run outside without pain in so long). It was great hanging with the girls and racking up some major points! Here are a few pics.

3) New Year's Eve

Matt and I headed to Gordon and Suzi's house for our third year of New Year's Eve festivities. The company is always nice and the trivia game playing is fun. We did well, but Gordon's (AKA master of trivia) team won. I took a few pics there including one of Suzi being domestic (must be the baby). : )

4) Polar Bear Plunge

The Cleveland Triathlon Club hosted its next Polar Bear Plunge today. It was my third. Today's temperatures (air and water) were the mildest yet. The water didn't feel much colder than in my 20-minute cold bath yesterday. It was shocking as always to get the upper body wet. One of these years I have to be brave and actually go under. I think I can do it if I wear goggles. I hate getting water in my eyes!

I actually went in twice. Sara showed up just a few seconds late and missed the fun. She loves the PB swim and I seriously wasn't cold, so a few of us went back in with her. Ah, good times!

We even got on the 6 PM news. I looked a little dweeby, but they did a good job putting the footage together.

Here are some pics from that.

Channel 3 anchor, Monica Robbins and her camera man.

Happy New Year! I hope 2007 is even more fun than 2006! And, I leave you with your moment of Zen (our fat cat laying on Matt). : )