Monthly Archives: April 2006

4/25/06 Bridge Over Troubled Water

Tuesday. Figured I better blog in now or I won’t get to it. Things have been hard. My foot is almost better but I still feel it. So let’s see, that was a week ago Friday and I was a slug for a couple of days before that so it is officially two weeks ago tonight when I did my last run. I can’t run tonight, it’s just not quite there yet. I am going to put my sneakers on and walk to my doctor’s appt. this morning as a test “run.” If I can make it there and back without any apparent harm, this afternoon I will take Tina out for a ride. I have to bring her to bike drop so I figured I would do a few loops on the way and see how I feel. I feel confident that my foot will be fine by Sunday (that will two and a half weeks for Chris’s sakes).

Of course I have a lot of anxiety and angst over all of this. I’m doubting whether I’ll be ready for the 1/2 ironman in a mere 3 1/2 weeks. But it’s paid for and what’s a little extra pain when you are already hurting? It like getting your new sneakers dirty. At first you try to avoid all the puddles and mud but after the first good dunk in dirt you don’t care anymore. I think if I go down to Disney with a really strong nutrition plan, I’ll do well on the swim and bike — those I’m no longer worried about (which is funny because before my foot went I was worried about the bike. And I have been swimming a lot so I’m not worried about the swim!) Now it’s just a matter of the run. I keep telling myself, “let it heal another day, another day — then you’ll be 100% down in Florida.” But now I’ve been telling myself that for almost two weeks and it’s getting redundant. Heal already!!! Today some of the pink is gone and the toe actually looks normal, I just can just feel the spot where it hurts. It’s not a sharp pain, more like a tugging and annoying pain. I’m just aware of it 24 freakin’ hours a day.

I’ve been trying hard to keep my spirits up, but frankly I’ve just been a big crank for the last week. I’ve had so much work to do that I’ve been drowning in reams of reconciliation reports and debugging programs from the middle ages. Nobody remembers how anybody ever decided to do anything so it is just one layer of legacy crap on another. It’s like a big fishing expedition. Every time we think we’ve caught a fish, though, it turns out we just pulled up another dirty old sneaker.

So I’m tired, I’m cranky, I’ve not been tracking anything but I have been watching what I’ve been eating so there’s something. In my head I’ve been counting points, but I’ve just not written a thing down. I guess I’ve been a little depressed with the foot. I had to give myself a good talking to last night — it went something like this.

“Nobody is going to pull you up but you.”

Yeah whatever.

“There is no magic pill that will give you a cure for your foot or your attitude.”

Yeah, shut up.

“The true test of your strength is not how well you do when everything is going your way, it is how you handle it when things don’t.”

blah, de blah, blah, blah.

“Things will get better, once you start moving around your mood will improve.”

who asked you? LEAVE ME ALONE!

Then I played Simon and Garfunkel all night until I went to bed singing “hello darkness my old friend” in a very dramatic Marlena Dietrich voice. That actually made me finally laugh out loud at myself. Ah the drama!!

Namaste

The Sound of Silence
Paul Simon

Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision
That was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
Beneath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed
By the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share…
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.”
“Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells of silence.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said: “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls,
And whisper’d in the sound of silence.”

C’mon now – don’t you just want to walk up to someone in the street and point your finger in their face and say “FOOLS YOU DO NOT KNOW!” Oh, okay, guess not, just me…..

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4/19 Waiting for The Go

Wednesday. Missed another practice yesterday because my foot still can’t fit into a sneaker. It is definitely better. The black and blue is moving away but the foot is still slightly swollen so putting it in a sneaker is painful and running is out of the question. I think by Saturday it should be fine but that would be a week without working out (except for Swimming). Maybe tomorrow I can fit it into a bike shoe and put in extra swims in the meantime. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to practice my swim?

My God, the weather yesterday and today is just beautiful. This is when I should be biking and running — kind of kills me to be stuck with this foot. Has it been only five days? Feels like fifty.

My spirit seems to be moving back towards a good mood but I’m a little swamped with work still and that is weighing a little heavily on me and causing me to slightly overeat. I have been tracking but I’m waiting too long to write things down. They say to write everything down within two hours. I notice I’m waiting longer and longer to write everything down and that allows for some oops-forgot-thats.

We had the St. Anthony’s sendoff last night. I can’t believe that a week from Sunday I will be doing an Olympic distance triathlon. Even more crazy is that I am not worried about it at all. I am feeling under trained for the 1/2 ironman — I am a little disappointed in the training we have (not) had. I feel like we should have some much longer bricks by now and I might take it upon myself to do one. But as far as St. Anthony’s goes, I see no reason why I should not break my 3:39 from last year. Heck I’m shooting for breaking 3:30 and barring a flat tire or injury I think I can do it.

Last year was a big breakthrough race for me. 3:39 was 34 minutes faster than my 2003 time. Wouldn’t it be cool if in 2007 I beat my 2003 time by over an hour? Here’s how I see it breaking down.

2003: Swim 48:02
T1: 8:19 (I have no idea what I was doing for 8 minutes — smoking?)
Bike: 1:40:25
T2: 4:31
Run: 91:51 14+ minute mile
Total: 4:13:06

2004: Swim 43:25:00 (Not sure why I took so long, my pool mile was 40 minutes)
T1 3:32
Bike 1:25:00 (Was a big improvement — can I improve even more this year?)
T2 3:14
Run: 83:37 13+ minute mile
Total: 3:39:00

2005: Swim 40:00:00 (I’m predicting only a couple minutes faster because my timed pool mile is the same)
T1 3:32 (T1 seems fine to me if that includes a wetsuit this year)
Bike 1:25:00 (That’s a 17+ mph bike — not sure how I did that so let’s keep the same estimate for this year)
T2 3:14 (3 minutes is fine — would prefer two but let’s not bicker)
Run: 74:00 12 or better minute mile
Total: 3:25:00

Okay, if I hit a 3:25 I will be beside myself with joy. I really will be happy with anything under 3:30. Okay, I’ll really be happy with anything under 3:39 but I am going to try my hardest to bust my butt for 3 hours and 30 minutes and just leave nothing on the course. (Tribute to my friend Amy who last year at St. Anthony’s said she had never just left everything on the course and was going to try to do it and she did!) I am going to hydrate and vitaminate for the next two weeks. I’m going to stretch and master my core (hey! core, there’s something I could work on while my foot heals!)

I am really looking forward to St. Anthony’s. Even though this is not my premier event, it is going to be a benchmark for me. Of course I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Everyone keeps reminding me that I will not be tapering for St. Anthony’s. Guess what? Turns out I am because my foot is causing me a pre-taper taper. Maybe I’ll discover some amazing triathlon training technique — taper two weeks before your event then start ramping your training the week of the event. Who knows? Maybe it will work.

I am also so excited for the new triathletes. It is going to be so much fun watching them come over their first finish line. I think I am more excited than they are! I can’t wait. After all of these months of training to watch some of these people who started out just like I did — couldn’t run a mile, couldn’t swim a lap and hadn’t been on their bikes since they were kids — who will now finish their first triathlon is a great thrill.

I remember so very clearly what my first tri was like. My first open water swim — how scary and how fulfilling to finish that. My first 26.2 mile bike ride (going over my handle bars and all). Oh and those two loops in Disney’s Epcot center around that stupid lake. I thought I would never be able to get around it the second time. I still remember that little green bracelet they handed you when you completed the first loop. I still remember reaching out my arms to that woman and grabbing it like it was a brass ring. I’m so excited for all the new people to have those feelings for the first time. Doubting that you can do it but knowing in your heart that it is all you want to do.

That doubt and thrill of anticipation will be with me again on May 21st — three years from the start of my triathlon training (we started in May of 2003 for Sept 2003 triathlon) I will be completing my first half ironman. It’s going to be hard but it will be another unforgettable experience. Can I do it? I believe I can, but things happen. Flat tires, pulled muscles, heat exhaustion. I don’t have the luxury of time. The top people will be racing against each other. I will be racing against the most formidable of opponents, my enemy the heat and my nemesis the clock. I can’t wait.

Namaste

“He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty”
Lao Tzu

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4/18/06 Playing by the Rules

Tuesday. Whew, tax day is over. This is always a busy time for me and yesterday was no exception. Managed to get through it and now onto better times.

Feeling better spiritually and emotionally today. My right toe still won’t fit into shoes, so no running for me today. It is definitely getting better, but the swelling is not down yet and it is still black and blue. But I can now wiggle it and touch it without too much pain and the black and blue has faded considerably. I think by the weekend I’ll be 100% so I just have to do extra swimming and biking until then.

Funny call from Melissa last night reminding me to take my iron pills due the unusual bruising. Seems I have a pattern of strange bruising when I don’t take my iron pills and I had forgotten about that. BUSTED! In CT I saw a box of my iron pills on my bedroom dresser and I thought “oh, yeah, Iron pills, haven’t taken those in awhile.” I know, I know — I’m pathetic. But I take them for a couple of weeks, I feel better and then I forget. I’m sure that had something to do with my tanking on Sunday as well. I am going to just take them every day between now and May 21st to be on the safe side. I know I am frustrating people out there yelling “what’s her problem? Just take the freakin’ pills!” I just forget, I’m not good at those rules like taking pills and, and well tracking my food for instance!

I worked really hard all weekend to track every thing I ate. It was hard because I was eating a lot (probably needed iron). But, I will say this — writing it down did make me more aware. It probably would have been worse if I hadn’t written it down. I know I was way over points, but in the end, yesterday I did fine, today I’ll do fine. The tracking reined me in. On Monday I did a huge grocery shopping run in CT and got everything I know and love to eat that is healthy. It is so much easier to make good choices when you have good things from which to choose.

Made it to my swim session last night and it was a very worthwhile effort. First because I finally practiced with my new inhaler and I think I did feel some benefits from it. And, second because Coach Neil pointed out something in my swimming that he thinks will make a huge improvement.

I took my inhaler about an hour before swim practice. I didn’t feel it make me too jittery or anything which is good. (Or means I didn’t do it right.) I didn’t have a coughing/choking episode and I’m not sure if the inhaler helped with that or not because the previous week I didn’t have one either. I noticed on the ride home, however, that I wasn’t coughing. I hadn’t noticed until that moment how common my coughing had become after practice. I always cough. Not bad, not a lot but enough that I was aware last night that I wasn’t coughing at all. As a matter of fact my breathing felt very clear. So I am going to try the inhaler at another couple of sessions this week including a running race on Sunday.

During practice Coach Neil stopped me and said — you are breathing too late. I had no idea what he meant. He tried to show me but honestly I just looked at his before and after and it looked the same to me. I couldn’t see the subtlety. He kept trying to explain it in a million different ways and I just couldn’t get it. (Akin to swimming past your hand which I never understood for three years!) Finally he said; just try to start to breathe as soon as you move your hand. I said I would try.

For the next half hour I just kept trying to breathe sooner, sooner. I kept saying inside my head, “now, now, Now, NOW!” I don’t think it was making a bit of difference. He kept saying too late — too late. ACK! Two weeks before my first race and NOW I’m learning I breathe too late?!?! He said this will be a hard habit to break. I didn’t know how I was going to break it if I couldn’t understand what I was doing. Frustrating.

Afterwards we all sat around and talked about what we were doing right/wrong. He kept trying to explain it to me. I kept trying to explain to him that I have to go on my side to breath and I don’t see how I can breathe any sooner. He kept saying that my arm movement shouldn’t be tied to my breathing. More blank stares from me. Finally he said “look, your arm probably weighs about 20 pounds. Your head anther 20 pounds. When you have your face up for air and your arm out of the water at the same time there is no way to be aerodynamic.” More blank stares from me. Then he said — “when your face is out of the water, your arm has to be in the water, period.” Oooh, light bulb, a rule! I do well with rules. I mean I don’t live well by rules, but I learn well by rules. That’s how I learned to play bridge. I just followed all the rules and then LATER I figured out why the rules worked. Cool, something I could hold onto.

So then I told him that I have my first race in two weeks. He said for me to come on Saturday as well. I asked him what drills would work and he said “the catch up drills.” “Oh” I said, “you mean the ones I was doing for the last half hour… WRONG!?!” “yep.”

I’m excited about this though. Finally something to focus on and practice. He said my breathing late was causing me to sink up and down ever so slightly and that will slow me down. Breathing earlier will keep me at the top. Okay, this is good. I’ll practice today again. I doubt I will break the habit by St. A’s, but maybe by Disney? If I practice hard enough?

One thing I have learned over the years is that everyone learns in a different way. Some people do well with hearing things. I don’t. I hear “wha, wha, wha, wha, wha, wha. Wha.” If the sentences are too long or complex I just don’t get it. People can repeat the same thing to me a hundred times and I just won’t get it. “The sky is blue.” “Huh?” “The sky is blue.” “Huh?” Then I look up and see the sky is blue and I yell out “Hey, the sky is blue!” As if I discovered it myself. That’s just how I learn. I am visual. That’s why I can read something and it just stays in my head. I hear a lecture and I can’t focus on it. I read a lecture and it stays.

I also do well with the rule learning. Here’s the rule, just memorize it and don’t worry so much about why. I learned computers that way. I just memorized all the commands and programming syntax. Then one day at different moments while programming or pulling apart a computer I would have an “Aha” moment and see it all very clearly. That’s how I learned math in high school. I just memorized everything. I can still recall the quadratic equation formula -b plus or minus… Unfortunately I don’t remember WHY I knew that.

Formulae, rules, guidelines. They help me move forward. They help me get better. I like learning how things work but then have the most fun in taking them apart and putting them back together again. I like dissecting tennis strokes and swim strokes and figuring out exactly that moment when you move from productive to destructive. Of course once I figure out a rule, it must be broken. That’s one of my own rules.

Namaste

“You are remembered for the rules you break.” Douglas MacArthur

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4/16/06 The Pobble’s Dickens of a Time

Easter Sunday. A day of rebirth. A new life. Wiping the slate clean and starting again. To be honest I don’t really feel like it is a brand new day, I feel like I’m still climbing out of that hole I talked about yesterday. Maybe today I’ve got my elbows up on the ledge and I’m peering over toward the sunlight, but I have one hard pull to haul my backend up onto flat ground again. I’ll be heading up to CT after my morning swim to have Easter dinner with my family. We’ll be going to the tavern and I hope that I can make some good choices. They have really good food there so with a little smart ordering I think I can come out okay. I will bring my tracker with me.

I have discovered a secret weapon in how to make myself want to workout. Injury!! Yes, on Friday night while walking through my living room in the dark, I stubbed my toe on an ottoman. It hurt like the dickens. (Does anyone know what are dickens and why they hurt? click here to find out.)

On Saturday morning I was to meet Michelle and Martha to ride to Rockland Park. 60 miles round trip and I was looking forward to riding without stopping and just seeing how hard that will be for race day. When I woke up on Saturday morning my little toe was sore and a little black and blue but it didn’t seem THAT bad so I put on my cycling shoes with a little wince and left the strap around my toes loose. I decided I would give the bike a try with the promise that if it hurt I would turn around and come home.

I met up with the gals and some of their teammates as well as some of the guys from Asphalt Green (the tri club that I joined last month). Everything was fine except I overdressed terribly. The week before, Michelle, Martha, Ilona, Jess and I rode to Nyack and froze our toes off it was so cold, so this week I felt I would rather be slightly warm than cold at all. I was so hot by the time I got to park that I knew that I would not be able to ride in all of those layers. First thing I did was toss my cycling booties. They were all ripped up after three seasons of abuse and it was time for new ones anyway. Then I saw my friend Linda running by and I begged her to take my jacket with her. God love her she did it and I don’t know what I would have done if I had to wear that jacket. The only thing left were my tights and headband — Michelle took my headband in her bike pack and I wrapped my tights around my waist and insto presto I was stripped down and ready to ride. Improvisation in its finest hour.

Was happy to see Ron and Cliff were joining us. I did races with both of them in the past and they are very nice guys — very supportive of my training efforts even though I can’t keep up with either one of them. So it promised to be a nice day. My toe was not hurting — almost at all — so I figured it was probably not hurt that much after all and was relieved.

The ride went well. I felt fine on the way out. By the time I got to Rockland Park, however, I was out of water — I had packed two water bottles but it was much hotter than I had anticipated and I was really sweating. I know, I know — another nutrition/hydration snafu. But, I found a machine in the park and bought two bottles of PowerAde so I thought I would be fine. I don’t usually have to drink THAT much water — or do I? I guess I started out a little more dehydrated than usual.

Martha and I groaned a lot about the big hill awaiting our climb out of Rockland Park and we were not looking forward to it. Right before we were to start up the big hill, Michelle got a flat. Of course getting a flat is everyone’s nightmare and we all immediately jumped into fix-it mode. While we were waiting for Michelle to fix her tire Donald and Julia were riding by (how funny to be 30 miles away from home and run into friends on some road to nowhere.) They stopped and chatted with us for a bit — Donald and I reviewing each other’s new bikes. Martha and I were bemoaning the upcoming hill and wondering if there would be some other way around it. Donald agreed it was a big hill but doable. “Connie, you have a compact crank set, you can do this.” I agreed that I had a compact crank set on my bike but alas, did not have a compact ass to put on it. No matter how good the bike is, hauling extra tonnage is hauling extra tonnage.

Martha and I decided we would employ the pebble by pebble strategy to get up the hill. (I promised Martha I would mention our strategy in the blog today!) It worked. Believe it or not it really wasn’t that bad. I was even thinking to myself, “Geesh, I really think I could get off and run right now.” (Words I would come to rue in another hour or so.) I couldn’t help wondering about those hills in CT I did in the fall — the ones that made me cry. Am I really in better shape? Would I be crying going up those hills today? I made a mental note to try them again soon.

We decided to stop in Nyack for a snack at the Runcible Spoon — the bikers’ haven. I always enjoy going there because it is so fun to see the hundred bikers having coffee in their brightly colored jerseys. It’s really like a big club and it is fun to see the same faces time and again. There are two guys there I swear must just get dressed up in the cycling outfits in the morning and hang out there all day long because no matter what time or day I go the Runcible Spoon — there they are sitting there having coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them ride in or out. But they have really fancy outfits including those little caps. It doesn’t feel like New York — it feels like some little cycling village in France.

At the Runcible Spoon I was aware that my toe was starting to throb. It didn’t like being off the bike so I was happy once we motivated and got back on the road and heading toward home. With a mile or two of leaving the Spoon I got very thirsty. I polished off the rest of the PowerAde and found myself almost beverage less. Uh oh. Not good. Once again improper planning coming back to bite me in my non-compact ass. Very quickly the dehydration headache set in. I knew I had to find water. I was starting to fade, had no energy and had a hard time keeping the pedals moving. I kept counting to 8 and then would pause, 8 pause, 8 pause. I told Michelle I had to stop at the golf course to find water. I guess I must have passed it because I never saw it. As we neared the GW Bridge I found a gas station. Normally I wouldn’t have stopped that close to the city but now my head felt like it was ripping open and I knew I was dangerously dehydrated. I bought lemonade and sucked it down like, like, well the dickens and immediately felt the sugar rush right to my brain. Whew, now I knew I could make it home.

I met back up with Michelle and Martha and headed back. While riding up Riverside my left quad cramped BIG TIME. I had to unclip and try to straighten my leg. That had never happened to me on the bike before — ever. I knew it was the dehydration. Suddenly all the wine and bad food I had been eating all week had come back to haunt me. I realized that when I am eating well — there are a lot of fruits and veggies in my diet which help in hydration. Poppers and Nachos don’t really help rehydrate your muscles. Nor is wine a good substitute for H2O. More self-flagellation — pedal to 8, pause, 8 pause, 8 stupid woman pause, 8 stupid woman pause. Once again I felt Tina’s embarassment at having such an undeserving rider as I weaved and wobbled her home.

Once in my apartment I almost fell into the chair — not because of dehydration but because my foot gave out. I gingerly removed my cycling shoe. “Oh My God” I gasped. It looked like gangrene. The entire right half of my right foot was black. “This can’t be good” I thought. I tried to move my toes. They moved with soreness. I could make out spots around my little toe that were very dark and then a larger patch around my three right toes that was less dark and red. For a second I thought — Emergency Room. But instead I decided to take a shower. After my shower I could see that bruise was really just around my little toe and the dark-red puffiness was probably due to having my foot in a cycling shoe for 7 hours. (It was 4 p.m. by the time I got home).

The funny part about my foot is that I immediately panicked about not being able to run. “Hey, you didn’t want to run on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, but now you want to run?” I admonished myself. I didn’t get my extra run workout in this week and now I’m screwed because I could tell that I will not be biking or running on that foot for at least three days if not more. Oh man, not now!!! Not right before my big race. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. All night my mind kept racing worrying about racing. I had a nightmare that our swim coach gave me an “F” on the timed mile and wasn’t going to let me swim. All of the people I had been helping with their swim all season passed the test but I flunked! “Earl” I kept pleading, “I’ve done 13 triathlons, how can you flunk me?” “I’m sorry, you flunked, nothing I can do about it” he replied in my dream state. I woke up in a panic. I must do my timed mile this morning. I can’t bike or run, so I’m going to swim every day until I’m better. Oh my God, I had no idea how deep this illness of compulsion runs.

I’m laughing at myself as I read this. Why must I make this so difficult for myself? What is so hard about eating right, hydrating, exercising? There is no cramming for health. A little every day goes a long way. I missed those three days of exercise and I could have had those days under my belt and not felt so terrible about now having to miss a couple of days now. I hope I can remember that any day that is a healthy day should be an exercise day since I’ll never know what day might be the one that gives me an injury or some other sideline. There is nothing fun about climbing out of a hole. Which is harder? Climbing out of the hole or avoiding it in the first place? Climbing out requires Herculean strength. Avoiding it requires a daily touching of the toes — preferably not black and blue.

Namaste

How many points do I get for the poem about toes and uses the word Runcible? As a matter of fact the Runcible Spoon gets its name from one of Edward Lear’s other famous poems “The Owl and the Pussycat.” This really should be read out loud, try it — shut your office door and read it aloud — it’s fun!

The Pobble Who Has No Toes
Edward Lear

The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said “Some day you may lose them all;”
He replied “Fish, fiddle-de-dee!”
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said “The World in general knows
There’s nothing so good for a Pobble’s toes!”

The Pobble who has no toes
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said “No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it’s perfectly known that a Pobble’s toes
Are safe, — provided he minds his nose!”

The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-blinkledy-winkled a bell,
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side –
“He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska’s
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!”

But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn,
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble’s toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps, or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away –
Nobody knew: and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska’s Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish, –
And she said “It’s a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes!”

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4/15/06 Climbing Out of the Hole

Saturday. Have been sooo busy the last couple of days I had no time to write — only eat and drink like a crazy woman! I am pretty disappointed with myself. I know I’m not supposed to criticize myself, but let me just say — “Gross” and that’s the end of my judgment of my behavior over the last three weeks. I have not been tracking. I’ve been self-sabotaging and I’m not sure why. I don’t feel anywhere as good as I was feeling 3 weeks ago. I feel bloated and groggy and uninspired. I have been drinking way too much so I may have to call a moratorium on that again. Remember that old song from the 80’s? “One thing leads to another…” by The Fixx? That was me for the last couple of weeks. Seems to have started with that stupid trip to Minnesota — I fell off the WW wagon and never got back on. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about who, what, where, why and I realize that there are definitely people who trigger certain behaviors in me and I’m marking it down as something of which to be aware. It is nobody’s fault but my own, but I certainly let certain situations and people influence my nutrition-making process.

I did not want to go to my WW meeting yesterday. I knew I was going to be up and I knew it was going to be bad. I REALLY didn’t want to go. I was out of control and I didn’t want to hear all the great successes all the people at the meeting were having. I just wanted to wallow in my own anger at myself. I was perfectly willing to sit here and beat myself up over my bad behavior of the last three weeks. I just couldn’t understand it. “What’s wrong with you?!?!” I kept asking myself. But I knew that missing my meeting was just not an option. As bad as I felt with the weight loss, missing the meeting would admit total defeat and would be in some way taking a step toward failure that I just couldn’t bear. I figured I’ll just go to the meeting and take my lumps — I deserved it after all.

I was up 5 pounds in one week. Unbelievable. That will take me a month to take that off. I told the woman to just rip the band aid off fast and don’t let me see it. But then I had to ask “five pounds, right?” She nodded solemnly in agreement. Well, there it was, my worst fears come to light. No hiding it now. The number was out there. Man that was painful and I just felt so terribly sad. Like I had gone and ruined everything good that was going on.

And for what did I sacrifice the wonderful high of feeling in control and on my way to meeting my goals? Some white wine? Some poppers? Some beer? Some Nachos? A wild Caribbean food fest? Coconut rum? My God I should be dead after eating all of that. Why in the world would I want to do that to myself? No wonder I didn’t want to write it down. Those were just the things I could remember and to see all of that in black and white would be so depressing.

I don’t even think it was the food or drinking that upset me. It was that I didn’t write everything down for 3 weeks. I know this is the key to everything. Writing it down, being accountable, and being aware. If I know I only have 3 points left for the day, I make a different decision than if I don’t know how many points I have left. Ignorance is my license to indulge. I know exactly what I’m doing. I think I’m being so very clever. Oh well, I forgot to track this morning, this day is shot so I might as well wait until tomorrow and start again. Oh well, it’s Tuesday, half the week is gone, might as well wait until Friday and start again. It just keeps going on like that. The very saddest part of all of this is the person I am tricking is myself. The only person being hurt is me. And it hurts me to think that I would do that to myself.

So I went to the meeting. And I was hanging my head as I had to admit to my friend that alas, I had no tracker for her. I had not tracked in weeks and I gained 5 pounds. Instead of looking at me in pity, she said “me too, I gained too.” She also had been away, not tracking, not looking. We both laughed a very sad laugh — we are in some strange kind of synch. But suddenly I didn’t feel so terrible or like such a grotesque beast — just pathetically human. I fessed up to the group. I bought a twelve week tracker that I can start carrying with me when I travel and I made a promise to start anew.

I would like to say everything was miraculously changed. It was not. I did track yesterday, but I didn’t exercise. This is part of the downward spiral. I took a couple of days off to throw a big pity party for myself. Probably part of the weight gain too as well as some hormonal reasons. I had some drinks last night too — I didn’t want to write it down so I didn’t. All night I tossed and turned, the guilt was just getting to me. I had gone out with friends and had some wine. When I got home there was some Malibu Coconut rum left over from my Caribbean Fiesta on Thursday night book club. So I made a big glass of orange/mango juice with a shot of coconut rum in it. I didn’t try the rum on Thursday, so I rationalized it by saying “I should try it since I bought it.” All nigth I kept tossing and turning, tossing and turning — “Why? Why? Why?” Finally I couldn’t go to sleep until I knew that Malibu rum was out of my apartment. So I got up at 3 a.m. and poured the entire bottle down the sink. I don’t even like rum. Why the heck did I drink it? Because it was sitting there.

So this morning I got up and I wrote everything down in my tracker. Even the rum. Of course I went way over my points for the first day of the week, but my only promise this week is to write everything down. That’s step one. Once I get that back under my belt I’ll start adding all the other things back in. I’m heading off for Easter weekend in CT. It is just too overwhelming for me to think that I won’t be able to eat or drink for the holiday. So all I am committing to is writing it all down. Every morsel. That much I can do. Exhale.

Namaste

Here is a little story our leader read to us at the end of the meeting yesterday. Corny but true.

“I was walking down the street and fell in a big hole, it took me forever to get out it was NOT my fault
I was walking down the same street and forgot the hole was there and fell in, it took forever to get out, it was not my fault
I was walking down the same street again, I pretended the hole wasn’t there, fell in — it was my fault and I got out immediately
I was walking down the same street again, remembered the hole & walked around it.
The next time I walked down a different street.”

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4/12/06 Hot and Cold

Wednesday. Busy day. Lot’s of work to do. Actually had to skip yoga this morning — would have preferred to have gone but something had to give. That’s allowed — it’s not skipping because I don’t feel like going. I will go to swim practice tonight though to get a workout in.

Went to see the pulmonary doctor yesterday. He said it was hard to diagnose the problem if he couldn’t hear it. He asked if I would start wheezing if I ran up 10 flights of stairs. I said “probably not ten, I do 17 fairly easily now and it doesn’t happen. Maybe 40.” He laughed and said I was fine. Very normal lung exam. He gave me an inhaler for exercise induced Asthma (EIA). He said the coughing is just an extension of the EIA and it is probably caused by the cold. He doesn’t believe it was the wetsuit. He said he guessed when I’m entering cold water it was probably causing a shock to my system and inciting the asthma attacks resulting in the coughing fits. I have to practice with the inhaler and see him again in two weeks. I also had to go get a chest x-ray and he took blood to check it out. He laughed again when he took my pulse AFTER taking the inhaler and it was still only 50. I told him my resting heart rate is like 30 and my other doctor is always knocking on my wrist saying “hello? hello? is there a pulse there?” I’m not sure the slow pulse thing is really due to my exercise — I just think I was born that way and I run cold — that’s probably why I have this reaction to the cold water.

As I think about it, cold was the one thing I never factored into the formula. It’s true that I’ve never had a bad episode in Florida — just in NY in the open waters and in that pool that I must admit is a little colder than Riverbank.

When I was a kid I had terrible reactions to the cold. I used to break out in hives at the slightest cold. In the winter when we went sledding or playing outside, no matter how bundled up I would get I would break out in hives from my neck down to my toes. It was very scary — scary to look at and scary to feel. One time I was out playing in the snow and my Dad was babysitting us. I don’t remember where my Mom was. I started itching like crazy and starting crying to my dad that my back was on fire and itching so bad – begging him to do something. He lifted up the back of my shirt and my entire back was huge welts of hives. They covered my entire body. Poor guy — the one time he had to stay home alone with the kids that’s what happened. He must have been totally freaked out.

I remember going to school one day and I had a coat on but left my neck open. They had to send me home from school because my neck swelled up so big due to the hives. It looked terrible. I was like a freak. I had been diagnosed as allergic to the cold and gave me some pills. I remember the pills made me so jittery they gave me a second pill to calm me down. My first foray into drugs. By senior high school I grew out of it and now it is only on a rare occasion when I get the occasional cold bump. I remain, unfortunately, cold all the time. (You’d think I’d love Bikram for that reason alone!)

Last night we had our group run practice. It was supposed to be a tough workout eight miles with 2 mile timed repeats so I was a little nervous about showing up. (I hate to look like a failure in front of everyone else). I started the workout 15 minutes early so when the workout out was over I wouldn’t be running alone. That actually worked out great. I saw everyone on the run. Eventually all the fast people caught up to me and passed me, but when I finished the slower people were still behind me so I was not the absolute last. I would have only been about five minutes behind the last person so that was not so bad, but it was much nicer to finish while my teammates were still in the park and to hear the coaches tips on nutrition. (We have to start practicing eating solid food on the bike. No gels or gus on the bike because if you take too many gus on the bike when you start the run you won’t be able to get one down. So PB&J is going to be my new best friend!)

I actually did pretty well for myself last night. I hit my timer at every mile but I didn’t look down to see what the splits were — I figured they were all about 12 minute miles as usual. But I really did try hard (particularly when I saw the Tri Life team cheering for me and then the Marathon team cheering for me and the TNT team cheering for me). After practice Ilona and I went out for some totally not WW allowed food. We felt we deserved it after a hard 8 mile workout so I had TWO pints of beer and we shared poppers and nachos. OMG, how absolutely decadent and wonderful!! Okay, I’ll pay for it on Friday, but really they were worth it. A cold beer never tastes as good as when you are hot and tired.

While we were eating I decided to check my splits — they were all 11:30’s or better! One was even 11:18 going up Cat Hill for the second time (that was when the Tri Life team was cheering for me!) I was really pleased with that effort. I even remembered to take a gel with me to practice. I’m still about 1 minute off the next slowest person (there are a couple of people running the 10 minute miles) but in the big scheme of things that’s not so awful for me. And I think I can see the possibility of hitting that 10 minute mile in the future — might take another year, but I think I will get there.

Of course the fast people were just whizzing by me in no time. The thing that kills me is that the two fastest guys (who are really super nice and supportive of me) kept whizzing by running faster than everybody else and they were talking!!! TALKING!! I was doing my penquinesque 11:18 and I assure you the most anyone was getting out of me was a grunt and a thumb up. No words were going to be coming out of my mouth. I just couldn’t get over it. They were having a full conversation at what must have been 7 minute miles. Unbelievable. There will always be lesser and greater, lesser and greater.

There was a lot of great vibes out in the park. Maybe it was just that I was in a good mood because I was finishing the workout and I had tried really hard. Maybe it was the great weather — everyone was all smiles and “good jobs.” Maybe it was the camaraderie from the zillion different teams out there. NY Road Runners, the Marathon Team, Tri Life, Team in Training — the park was just filled to the rim with runners. It was a nice night.

Upcoming training. Tonight I am going to swim practice with the team. Thought it would be nice since I’ve missed the last month of practice with them. Also it is the start of Passover so the pool will be not that crowded. Tomorrow I need to do a bike. It will be raining so I’ll have to find time or push it to Friday — I’ll watch the weather. Saturday we have another really hard run — those awful mile repeats over the hills in Riverside park –ugh but I’m going to attack them like nobody’s business. Sunday a big ride. I think I will try to take my bike to CT and try a really long route.

Easter is coming. Time for all things to resurrect. Time for everything to start to bloom. Time for everything cold to become warm. Next month time for everything to become hot, hot, hot!!

Namaste

“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.”
Chogyam Trungpa (aka Sakyong Mipham’s Dad!)

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4/11/06 Synchronicity

Had my second swim session with the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club. It went well for a couple of reasons. First, I did not have that coughing attack I had last week. And second they actually pointed out something that I think I may have been doing wrong all along!! (That’s big news for me.)

When I walked into the pool area I was determined to practice some of the Bikram deep breathing exercises before I got into the pool. As soon as I walked into the pool area the smell of chlorine really hit me. At Riverbank it never smells like that much chlorine. Also it never smells that bad at my pool. Both places where I have never had what I’m calling a Bronchial Attack. I started to feel a little difficulty in getting a clear breath and I wasn’t even in the water. So I just kept trying to breathe really deeply the entire time they were giving the pre-swim lecture.

When I got into the water and did my kick board session I immediately worked on exhaling under water. I kept concentrating on the exhale and it seemed to work. But I don’t know if 1) it was the concentrating on the exhale or 2) the morning Bikram session or 3) I wasn’t going to have an attack that night anyway. This is frustrating part of this whole thing. Today I go to the pulmonary specialist and I feel like my tooth has stopped hurting right before I have to go to the dentist. I just hope he is not going to send me home saying I’m imagining everything and to just “relax” before swimming. I do relax. I am relaxed. Relaxing is not my problem! Coughing is my problem.

We proceeded to do a bunch of drills — some of the same ones from last week and some new ones too. I was concentrating on my pull since that is what coach Ian mentioned to me was weak last week. A couple of times I really thought I was speeding through the water. Then he gave us a hip drill. He wanted us to concentrate on rotating our hips BEFORE the pull. Rotate then pull. Do not use your pull to rotate your hips. Three alarms went off in my head. OMG, I think that’s exactly what I do — I use my pull to turn my hips. He said if you are not already rotated when you start your pull you are not maximizing your efficiency. So I started the drill and you’ll never believe what happened automatically — I started breathing on both sides!!! I couldn’t believe it. It was the strangest thing. Could that really be the missing link I’ve been looking for?

Unfortunately I felt I was swimming much slower during this drill. Ian said “speed later, efficiency first.” Yeah, yeah that’s what everyone has been saying for three years. I think I’m efficient — can we work on speed please? I know, I know — if I was really as efficient as I think I am I would be faster. I’m just a little frustrated that it seems to be taking forever. They didn’t video tape us last night because there were so many people in the class. That was fine with me — I would rather work on some of these drills then get video taped. They did move me to a faster lane which was interesting because I thought I was the same speed as the people in my lane, but I always went first so maybe I was faster. They are a little faster in my new lane, but only when it comes to kicking drills. Everyone is faster than me in kicking drills. I actually think I go backwards in kicking drills.

At the end of class they had us do a couple of fast fifties. I timed myself. I did 50 meters in 55 seconds. I was really pleased with that but then I was suspicious because when I do 60 seconds up at Riverbank I’m not sure it is really 50 meters. I am suspicious mainly because in my pool I rarely get under 1 minute 5 seconds. I do lap after lap of 1:07, 1:10, 1:07, 1:10. It’s very frustrating. Yet at Riverbank I have seen 60 seconds for a lap. Now at Asphalt Green I’m seeing a 55? Of course I was doing that lap at an unsustainable pace so I think I have to do a little more testing to see. Maybe I can do 55 in my pool if I would ever light a fire under my butt.

I did gain some enthusiasm for getting back into swimming though. I get charged up by technique. When I see there is something technical to work on I am excited to try it. Even in cycling — I get through a lot of my workout by doing little drills with my pedaling technique. (One of my favorites is to start with concentrating on each position of the clock. Hit 12 o’clock 5 times, 1 o’clock 5 times, 2 o’clock 5 times, etc., etc. until you make it all around the clock. Then do the same thing on the other foot. Then get really fancy and try alternating 12 -12, 1-1 , 2-2, 3-3. Try it — you’ll find any dead spots pretty quickly.) So I ended up enjoying the swim session because I got a new drill out of it and one that I can work on mastering.

I found it interesting that a day I would called a “low energy” day and a day when I had really no interest in working out ended up having two good sessions — one Bikram in the a.m. and one swim in the p.m. I guess you never really know how you are going to feel. Last Monday I thought I was fine — never expected a coughing attack. Yesterday I thought for sure I would have one again. So I guess this week’s theme is to let go of expectations. Things will fall together when they are ready. Just do the work. Tonight we have a big run in the park. I am anticipating being slow and behind everyone else as usual, but for an experiment I am going to put all of those pre-judgments aside. I am just going to show up and do what I can do. Let my legs, heart and lungs do their thing. You never know what will happen when the planets align. It’s going to be a nice night out, good weather and who knows? Maybe everything is ready to come together and I’ll run faster.

Today I will work hard, do my best and let the results land where they may.

Namaste

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” Dalai Lama

yeah, that’s what I meant to say….

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