Thursday, February 22, 2007

Beware of Flying Bike Accessories

The warmer temps this week have gotten me so excited that I decided to ride my bike into work this morning. The trip is about 18 miles each way, maybe a little more if you figure in the detour to Briar's school (he rode his bike as well). The trip was....uh...well...let's just say maybe it'll be better the next time. Keep in mind my bike has been sitting on the trainer for over a month now. My main concern was the slick back tire, but it didn't give me any problems. The 3 miles to Briar's school went well, and after leaving there I started down McArthur Street towards Tullahoma. Mistake. It was 7:35 a.m., and all of Manchester's lovely high school kids were making their way to school.

McArthur street has no bike lane.

Manchester's high school kids have no respect for the biker slowing them down.

I actually refrained from screaming the explitives I was thinking and held off the heart attack until I got to a point where I could make a detour and get on the back road to Tullahoma. About a mile into it I noticed that one of the bottle cages had a lost a screw. And it was flopping over getting in the way of my pedaling. I tried to put up with it for a while, then decided it had to go. So I pulled off to the side, ripped it out, and continued on. About another mile and I see something fly off and hit my quad and fall down to the road. I wasn't sure what it was, but my computer was still intact and my IPod was still on my arm, so I just kept going. A few minutes later I notice that it was one of my aerobar pads. I knew these things needed replacing from all the sweat they had endured while I rode on the trainer, and I have a new set at home, but about 5 miles into my commute to work that doesn't help me. So I continue on, non-aero style. I finally make it into Tullahoma, only to be stopped for 8 minutes while waiting on the longest, slowest train ever. I finally get past the train, take a right into the wind, and finally make it to my office. As I walked into the locker room I checked my phone for the time, and saw that I had a meeting in 15 minutes. I showered, dressed, applied make up, dried and fixed my hair, and ran in my heels and dresspants across the parking lot and to my office. I walked into the meeting room 5 minutes late, but no one was in there yet....whew!

Hopefully the ride home will be better.

Yesterday was a good day. I got up in time for 5:30 a.m. toning class before work. Then I ran 4 miles with Holly at lunch. And since it was Wednesday, I went with Michele to our tri swim class in Franklin after work. Swim class was the toughest yet. I struggled to keep up as usual, but it was definitely a good workout and hopefully I'm improving. Hopefully time will permit me to get back in the pool a little more often than I've been able to do lately.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Step in the Right Direction

No early morning workout workout yesterday. I slept in because I needed to. No lunch workout yesterday; I had lunch with J.T. because I wanted to. So the plan was to swim last night. Briar had swim team practice at 6:00, so I figured I'd swim while he did. But at about 5:45 he informed me that he had a Social Studies test the next day. That in itself is progress, as I have thrown the gauntlet down on him for forgetting to inform me of, and thus forgetting to study for, his upcoming tests. So we got out his review sheet, and I see:

Legislative: blah, blah, blah...more blah, blah, blah...stuff about the House of Representatives and stuff about the Senate....blah, blah, blah...not my cup of tea...

Executive: blah, blah, blah....mostly common sense

Judicial: blah, blah, blah....more common sense.

He says he knows this stuff, so I quiz him a little. He knows about 80% of it. So here I stand at this familiar crossroad I've been at far too often. Turn left and go down the road of:

"Ok, Briar...hurry...go get your swimsuit on, grab your bag and lets go. We'll finish up this studying when we get home..after we eat, and after we shower." We'll go on to the pool, we'll try to study later that night, and he'll be up later than he should be. Then he'll be tired tomorrow. And rushed.
Or, we can take the right turn and go for:

"Ok, we're just going to have to miss our swim. Both of us. You don't know this stuff yet, and it's going to take a little time to learn it. If you wanted to go to swim practice, you should have already informed your dad or myself of this test and already studied." And we take our time, eat dinner, study as long as needed, and get in the bed early. He's rested tomorrow. He feels good.
I am done with those left turns. Bottom line -they cause too much chaos. So I changed out of my swim clothes, we ate dinner, and studied until he knew 100% of that test. We put Pirates of Caribbean Dead Man's Chest in the dvd player, popped popcorn and got out the V-day candy, and chilled until bedtime. And I think it was appreciated by everyone.

I am not Super Woman. I am not Super Mom. I am not a Super Triathlete, nor a Super Marathoner. And I don't have to be. But I do have to make the decisions that are best for my family. I'm not doing the Gulf Coast Triathlon. I may not do a half ironman at all this year, although I wanted to.

I called a meeting with Competitive Lana. We talked. We bargained. We compromised. I explained to her that she has many years ahead of her, and she doesn't have to do everything right now. There is time in the future for everything she wants to do. There will be a time when Briar doesn't need me to stay home and help him study for a test. There will come a time when Bo doesn't want me to sit down and watch him beat Super Mario Brothers or help him count to 100. Granted, Competitive Lana deserves time too. And I'm going to give it to her. I may even ask Briar, Bo, and J.T. to give her a little more than she deserves in the coming year or two so that she can do a few long distance events to keep her happy. But right now, she's agreed to take a back seat.

We have balance. Balance is good. ~Very. Deep. Breath~

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Against The Wind

A little wind never hurt anybody.

It’s amazing how little time you’ll actually spend in the valley when you quit focusing on it.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28

And so the morning comes. I’m better, it’s better, things are looking up. Thanks to all of you for the nice comments, all your warm thoughts, and your prayers. Valleys are necessary sometimes to get where you’re going. The good part is that they force you to reevaluate your path and make changes that have to be made in order to go forward. The bad part is, of course, they are uncomfortable. Just like Mile 22.5 of the marathon, you have to take deep breaths and put one foot in front of the other. You don’t visualize the finish line; you only focus on getting to the next water stop. There, you can take in enough nourishment to get you to the next one. You don’t make rash decisions, and you don’t act upon your emotion. It will lie to you. Every. Time. Instead, you rely upon the truth that you followed your training program, you put in the miles, and although you may have made some mistakes along the way - you will make it to the end, regardless of what your finishing time might be.

Saturday I went to the rec center, hopped on the treadmill and ran. I set the speed on that comfy 6.0mph and just ran. There’s something heart-warming about 6 mph, or 10 minute miles, to me. Not so much when I’m training for something or when I’m concerned about my pace, but just running for the pure enjoyment of running without trying to prove anything to myself or anyone else, 6.0 just feels right. I can still remember the days when 6.0 was hard to maintain. So, when I found myself at 4 miles and yet to break a sweat, I bumped up the pace a bit, to 6.5 mph, I think, and finished out 6.21 miles in one hour. Those last 2.21 miles I sweated out the impurities that needed to be left behind in order make it out of the valley. Then I did incline abs, shoulder press, butterflies, rowing machine, quad lifts, lunges, and even attempted a couple of chin-ups for my ego. That may be my next goal, to do one of those babies correctly. Then two, perhaps.

So Monday brought warmer temps to Middle Tennessee – INSERT HALLELUJA CHORUS – and a chance to run outside and breathe fresh air without feeling like my fingertips and nose will fall off. I suited up in shorts – shorts, I tell ya – and a long sleeve tech shirt.

The minute I stepped outside, the wind about knocked me down. I took off down between the hangers at the airport. I ran the first 2 miles against the wind, at times not sure if I was actually moving forward or not. But it was nice. The first steps out of the valley aren’t always easy or swift, but they are steps in the right direction. I reached the 2 mile point, turned around to head back, and felt like I was running on air. I sailed on the wind all the way back, at times looking down at my Garmin to see that my current pace was 7:19. I finished the 4 miles in 35:34.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Valley

In life, there are mountains. There are valleys. There are places in between.

I have stood on top of mountains...

I have made my way comfortably through those places in between...

Now, I am in the valley...

But The One who walks with me is The One who tells the sun to rise, the wind to blow, and the tides to turn. He's carried me through other valleys, he's watched over me in those places in between, and he's lifted me high atop the mountains. He will never leave me, and I am strong because of Him.

Psalms 91, according to The Message

You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

How beautiful is that? I am content in this valley because I know I am safe, and because I know that someday I will once again walk on mountain tops. He'll throw me a party. And you're all invited.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I Recommend...

Malibu Swim & Sport Shampoo and Conditioner

...for all the tri-females out there who, like myself, don't like the way the chlorine-filled pool leaves their hair dry and tangled. Atleast I don't think any of you males would be interested. I was using my $100 gift certificate that I won last summer from BeginnerTriathlete, and I decided to try this stuff out. My reasoning is because now that I have actually been swimming enough to feel the effects of chlorine on my skin and in my hair, I don't like it. I spend enough money on my hair every 7 weeks that a few more bucks for some shampoo that will allow me to work it through my hair without breaking off a few hundred strands each time is worth it. So I threw these in my shopping cart ($9 each), along with the rest of my order. The salon shampoo I normally use is great for every day use, and I love it, but I don't think it was made to deal with massive amounts of chlorine. This stuff is good though. I used it for the first time yesterday, and could tell a difference immediately. The shampoo worked it's way through my hair easily and smoothly, and then conditioner made it feel soft and smooth and tangle-free!

Should I ask for a kick back from all the proceeds????

Friday, February 09, 2007

Quck Update

I slept in until 8:30 this morning since I was ridiculously tired. Bo was appreciative as well. Around 10:30, after cleaning and doing laundry, we headed to rec center for a swim. I did 4 x 500 of the touch and pull drill. One of the 500 sets with a pull bouy. It was kinda hard. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but I seemed to get fatigued a lot faster than when just swimming my old, regular, bad form way. Gotta swim slower now to go faster later, though. ~Sigh~ Whatever it takes, though. Afterwards I worked with Bo on his kicking with the kickboard and floating on his stomach and back. We had fun!

We came home, and I did a 30 minute trainer ride that focused on high cadence. I actually did a little better this time than I have done in the past. Then I did arms with 8lb weights, step ups on my coffee table for legs, and abs.

Then Bo and I picked up Briar and ran into Game Stop and Wal-Mart checking for a new shipment of Nintendo Wii's. Briar went into Game Stop to ask and I saw them through the window shake their head no. I had already called Wal-Mart at lunch and they said no, but we had to go into there to buy a friend's birthday present anyway, so we walked through the electronics department just to check - AND THEY HAD 2!!! So I quickly grabbed the nearest worker and made the purchase! So, you don't have to ask what we've been doing tonight...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bronchitis No More, Touch and Pull, and a Mysterious Encounter

The bronchitis is gone. The 3 day Z-Pack did it's job, and I managed to only miss out on a Friday swim and a Saturday bike, but I made the bike up on Sunday. By Sunday I couldn't take the depressing nature of sitting around eating cough drops and blowing my nose any longer, so I did the 2 hour Have Mercy Spinnervals DVD on the trainer before the Super Bowl came on. And while watching the first half, I did some strength and core work. Felt much better. It was all downhill from there.

Monday called for a 40 minute run and a 3200 yd swim. I did the run outside during my lunch break and got 4.43 miles in 40 minutes for a 9:02 pace. It was cold, but it felt good to be outside running. I swam that evening while Briar was having his swim practice, but I only did 2750 yards - I shortened the warmup and skipped a couple 100 intervals - because I ran out of time.

Tuesday Briar and I got up and went back to the rec center at 5:20 a.m. We ran a mile together before I took off to the pool to do my scheduled 2000 yd swim. It looked like this:
WU: 300
10x50 FAST on 20" rest.
10x50 FASTER on 30" rest.
10x50 = sprint 25, easy 25 on 15" rest.
CD: 200

Last week at the triathlon swimming class I went to in Franklin, Coach Ashley had me doing lots of "touch and pull". So on all the "easy" 25's and on the warmup and cooldown, I did the touch and pull drill. Slowwwwly. And then that evening, I did a one hour ride on my trainer while watching some basketball with J.T. and Briar, and then practicing T-ball with Bo during my 15 minute cool down. Talk about multitasking...but hey, the season will be here before we know it. Bo threw the ball to me on the trainer, and I would catch it and throw it back. So we got in some good practice that would have ordinarily been a boring 15 minute cooldown for me. Wish I could figure out a way to work on the batting part while on the trainer....

Wednesday came and I elected not to go to 5:30 a.m. toning class, as I have gotten somewhat behind on my sleep by now. I decided it was a good time to catch up since Michele and I would be making the hour long drive to Franklin that evening for the new tri swim class we've been taking. So during the class, Coach Ashley once again had me doing all "touch and pull". And she explained that instead of gliding on my side while swimming, I am dropping my arm, especially on the side where I take a breath. And you know what, she is right. She says I have to retrain my body to swim without dropping that arm, before I can go faster. So hey, if "touch and pull" is what it takes, then touch and pull is what I'll do. I plan on doing all the touch and pull I can possibly do for a while. Another thing we did was drills where during one 25 meter interval we swam all the way across the pool without coming up for air. I thought "NO WAY"...and I didn't make it the first time. But with a little more determination, I made it on all the rest!! Once can do a lot of things you think you can't.

We got home around 9:10 p.m., I ate a bowl of Corn Flakes for dinner - have I mentioned that I love Corn Flakes? Absolutely love them. They are my most favorite kind of cereal, and I could eat a whole box during one sitting if I wasn't afraid of how many pounds I would gain from it. I so wish they were good for you like Total and Special K. But oh well. I finally got to bed around 11:00, and 5 and a half hours later the alarm rang to inform me it was time to run 10 miles. I really bundled up this time, as it seemed especially cold last night. So I took off from my house, hit the greenway at mile 3, and started getting a little concerned because there was not a single light on the whole way. So I run through the park, and come upon the ball fields where I see an old truck parked by the greenway. I think "hmmmm...what's up with that? Oh, maybe somebody just met someone and left their car there." So I keep running, and as I run by the truck I see a man squatted down behind the truck!!!!!! CAN YOU SAY ELEVATED HEART RATE?!?!?! In about 3/10's of a second, here's what goes through my mind:
  • take out an IPod earbud so you can hear - Sorry SteveRunner, I've got business to tend to
  • Can I outrun him? I've only gone about 2.5 miles so far, I believe I can if I need to
  • If I can't outrun him, I'm gonna have to beat the shit of him, so, Miss Adrenaline - I'm glad you are readily flowing now
I was very scared, but as it turned out, I think I scared him more than he scared me. Because as soon as he saw me he jumped up, quickly got in his truck, and sped away. Now what the hell was he doing in the park, in the dark at 5:30 a.m. squatted down behind his truck? He was fully clothed, so I don't think he was trying to take a bathroom break or anything. Was he doing some kind of drug? I don't know...but let's just say I won't be running through there alone again for a long time.

I've got to make some race decisions soon. What half iron am I going to do? What plan am I going to follow when I decide? What mtb races/rides will I do? And what metric and century rides will I do? Will my sub 4 hour marathon attempt be in Chicago this year? Or San Fran? Or Memphis? Can I even fit all this into my schedule with everything else? I believe that the time to decide is coming soon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

6 Weird Things About Myself

I've been tagged by Bob to list 6 weird things about myself. Ha! This should be the easiest tag I've had in a while. So here goes:

#6-I am very serious. And this really gets on my husband's nerves. But hey, it's just the way I am. This is not to say that I don't enjoy a good laugh or a night out on the town partying like it's 1999, but in general, I'm all business. I prefer to watch the news or documentaries over silly sit-coms or movies. I despise Jim Carey and can't stand his stupid movies. I just don't think they're funny(I could make an exception for "Liar,Liar" but that's as far as I'll go). I don't read fiction either; I think it's a waste of time. If I am going to spend some my time doing something, it better be productive in either helping humanity, educating myself, paying me $$$, or making me a better person.

#5-I am a loner. This is one even seems weird to me. Because I was extremely social all the way through school. I was even voted Miss Coffee County High School 1995! So maybe it's life, maybe it's maturity, maybe it's just change, but I am more of a loner now. Not that I don't enjoy hanging out with other people and stuff; I do. But I don't like to be followed around. I like to have my space. I like to do my own thing and have room to be myself. My best friends are the ones that I don't talk to daily, but that know I love them just as much and know I will be here without a skipping a beat when we do talk. A lot of this probably due to the busy schedule I lead with work, training, kids, etc. I have to fight for every bit of "alone" time I can get.

#4-I love Hank Williams Sr. and Nirvana. That's right. And just about everything in between, except 80's music - I'm not much of a fan of that. But I can quote almost every word of every song Hank Sr. ever sang. And then turn around and bang my head to "Heart-Shaped Box" or "All Aplogies" without missing a beat. I especially love almost all 90's alternative music. Seven Mary Three, Alanis Moresette, Candlebox, Pearl Jam...OMG I love Pearl Jam. But I love Hank Jr., too. And George Jones. And Johnny Cash. And Willie Nelson. And Don Williams. Is that so weird?

#3-I eat the inside of orange peels. I'm not sure if this is weird or not, but since I've never seen anyone else do this, I'd say it qualifies. You know what I'm talking about, right? The white part on the inside of the orange peel. I peel that white part off of the inside and eat it. It's good!

#2-I am obsessive-compulsive. You probably have already noticed this. It's all or nothing here. I don't ride the fence. I pick a side and stick with it. I don't halfway do anything, I go all out. This is probably not so weird to most of my readers, though, as I'd say many are the same. But it's weird to alot of people in my life. They think I'm just plain crazy. Run 26.2 miles?? "Well, who the hell was chasing you?" they say.

#1-I like the smell of a skunk. Do I need to elaborate? I don't think it's a bad smell. I tried to explain this to my 10 year old son the other day, and he couldn't quit laughing long enough to listen. What I was trying to tell him, though, is that just because other people say something doesn't make it true. You have to experience things for yourself before you form an opinion and make a judgement. Case in point, the smell of a skunk in the middle of the road, freshly run over. All you ever hear is how a skunk "stinks" badly. But have you ever really smelled of that skunk without judging it prematurely? It's not that bad. It's not bad at all! It's just another scent in the's not bad. Go ahead, call me weird. But give that skunk a fair shake next time.

So there you have it. A small sample of my idiosyncrasies. Now I'll tag TriSaraTops, Trimama, and Phil

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bronchitis and Guitar Hero

I awoke Friday morning at 5 a.m, to the sound of Bo's coughing, and found that my so-called "head cold" was getting some serious revenge. And when I attempted to tell it where it could go, I found it had already taken care of that problem - I couldn't talk. Actually, I could talk, but I couldn't make any sound come out. Love-ly. So I coughed and hacked and such, trying to regain my voice and get ready to go swim, but I had no such luck. Bo wasn't having any luck either. So, since this stuff has been hanging around over a week now, I made us doctor appointments and we got a diagnosis and some antibiotics. Bo just has a sinus infection, nothing in the chest yet, but I have full-blown bronchitis. Supposedly our "Z" packs are going to take care of this inconvenience in 3 days. I sure hope so.

Last night was the grand opening of the new "Coconut Bay Cafe" here in Manchester - oh boy - and let me tell you, only a tractor pull could have gotten more Manchester residents out of their houses on such a cold night. Not feeling well and having no desire to be crammed up in a bar like a can of sardines with Manchester's Finest, so to speak, we didn't attend the grand opening. I believe H was attending, though, so I'm sure she'll fill me in on the festivities. We did get out, though. We went to Game Stop and played the Nintendo Wii demo, and decided we need one. I've toyed around with the idea of it since Christmas, but with TacBoy recommending it and all, I decided to seriously check it out. So on the way, J.T. and I are in total disagreement. He wants to wait and get that ultra expensive PS3. But I think the Wii would be more fun for the kids (and myself ofcourse). So Briar and I start playing the Zelda demo and J.T. eases over to watch. Then asks to try. Then he hooks a fish, reels it in, turns and asks, "So, uh, are we buying one of these or what?" But sadly, they didn't have any in stock. Niether did Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart did have Guitar Hero II. Briar's been wanting that for quite a while now, so he decided to cash in his big of stack gift cards he had gotten for his birthday to purchase the wireless guitar and the game. And we played and played. I can even rock a song or two, man!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Snow! I can handle the cold weather if we get some snow. And we finally did. Briar and I raised the garage door this morning at 5:25 a.m. to find a thin blanket of white over our little part of the Earth. We went and worked out for a while - he mostly shot basketball with his friend - I did my 1500yd swim and he swam a few laps as well. Then we left and headed to The Donut Palace and brought back assorted donuts for the family. Great morning. J.T. was able to get his laptop and work at home, thus, I received this pic from all that hard work they're doing! Ha - around here you gotta have fun in the snow while you can because you may not see anymore for a couple of years. I am hoping it snows again tonight, because I'll be home tomorrow. I think mtn biking in the snow sounds fun, too. Does anybody have experience with that??

So last night Michele and I drove an hour to Franklin for the Triathlete Swim Class they have there at the aquatics center. It was a very cool class. But I am soooo slow. :( Michele did really well, though. I told her if I could just wear those fins in triathlons I might could keep up in the water!!! We both agreed that it was good practice having to swim with other people in the lane, though. Because we never have to share lanes at our rec center. Coach Ashley was able to give us a few tips. She told me to be doing the "touch and pull" drill as much as possible. So I did 500 yards of it this morning as part of my swim. I'm gonna go back next week and try out that class again. But I'm not not positive if I can pull that off every week. It's going to take some serious thought and consideration.

I have a 1 hour bike ride to do tonight, on the trainer, ofcourse. I may have to combine that with my watching Grey's Anatomy. We'll see. Happy snowball fights!! Happy snowman building!! Happy donut spinning in snowy fields or icey parking lots(Is that just a southern, redneck kind of thing, or do you guys up north get a kick out of that too??)!!!