Friday, January 28, 2005


The Week Without an Assistant is OVER!

Thank goodness.

Typing, filing, sorting timesheets, delivering mail, coordinating office parties and answering silly questions on top of my real work is killing me. Oh wait-- answering silly questions is one of my normal job duties. But the other stuff, while easy and low-stress, totally disrupts my train of thought from the budgets and other reports that I'm supposedly getting paid to do.

So here's to my assistant's meds kicking in this weekend so she can return on Monday!

Unfortunately I will not be able to make my uncle's funeral this weekend. My cousins on this side of the state aren't going after all, and round trip airfare is on the order of $500. Geez, I know the airlines need to make a buck, but it seems a bit steep just from Houston to either Albuquerque or El Paso, doesn't it? Especially when Southwest sends a plane that direction every couple hours.

It doesn't feel right that I'm not going, but that's how things work out sometimes. I still don't really believe that I won't ever see my Uncle Leo's smile again, so of course the notion of a funeral is just not working for me. Maybe if I could go it would make it more real. Because I know when I see the headstone in the cemetery this summer, it will just be a name. I think I'll be looking for him unconsciously at family gatherings for a long time to come.

I've done a lot of reminiscing this week about my relatives on my father's side of the family. Interestingly, it was in the company of my extended family that I first realized I was an adult. The incident happened at my grandparents' last anniversary -- their 65th. Me and some of my cousins had skipped out of the party early to go hear another cousin sing at a local nightclub. Then we went to a diner for late night breakfast. We started checking our watches anxiously around 2:30 and even though we were having a great time, we figured we'd better get back to my aunt's house where we were staying before our parents started worrying about us.

But when we got home... no parents. We were puzzled and settled in to wait. Time passed. More time passed. It was the early 90s and no one had a cell phone. We had no idea where our parents were, and soon we were pacing around anxiously. Should we go to bed or keep waiting? What if something had happened? Should we call the cops? Call the hospitals?

Finally around 4 am, our parents stumbled in the front door, all of them drunk and giggling. They were having a great time. And without thinking, like little chips of the old blocks, we pounced.

"Where have you been?"

"Do you know what time it is?"

"We've been worried sick!"

"You could've at least called!"

Oh my. Even as the words came out of my mouth and I saw my parents, aunts and uncles stumbling around for an explanation, I knew what was happening. I had become a grownup. And even as I joined in giving the older generation a thorough scolding, inside I was laughing fit to die. When had I grown up?

When, indeed? Some boundaries in life are so clear when we cross them: graduations, marriages, births and deaths, major life decisions. Others are so subtle you only know you've crossed when you find yourself a few miles down the road on the other side.

But hey, this is supposed to be a triathlon blog!

I've had a pretty good training week, although my speed is still off. I think my Monday massage will fix it this time, though. My legs feel training-tired, not sick and depleted-tired like those first few days after starting to work out again. I started to have a recurrance of the problem with my left rectus femoris, but I changed the muscle groups I train in the mornings and did some aggressive myofascial release with the massage ball and foam roller, so we'll see if that did the trick when I go for my long run in the morning. It's usually the long run that sets it off.

My plan for the weekend is to run long on Saturday and then ride Sunday. That's if weather and body permit, of course.

This Week's Workouts
Monday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 30 minutes elliptical at about 195 strides/min average
Tuesday: 45 minutes core and strength training
Wednesday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 45 minutes Spinervals 3.0 Suffer-O-Rama
Thursday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 15 minutes elliptical at about 180 strides/min average, 30 minutes treadmill at 8:30 avg pace
Friday: 45 minutes core and strength training

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

In Memoriam Posted by Hello

A very sad day

My mother called today to tell me my Uncle Leo passed away suddenly.

I was shocked. He was one of my favorite uncles and one of the younger ones. My father's parents had eight children. Seven boys and one girl. Leo and my father were about in the middle and when they were younger they were very much alike in looks and mannerisms. So much so that Mom used to kid Dad that if she had met Leo first...! When my sibs and I were minors my parents named Leo in their will as our guardian should anything happen to them. He was the one most like my father. We adored him.

Leo was a gifted handyman. He always had a project of some kind going on. My RX-7 was one of his projects. He saw the car sitting abandoned in someone's yard, bought it and fixed it up. He sold it to my dad who later sold/gave it to me. Leo also worked on homes. He helped my father enclose a patio and add an extension to the roof a few years ago. He repaired a butane line at my grandmother's place. He helped my aunt and her husband with their recent home remodeling. He fixed his daughter's Florida home after a hurricane. There was nowhere he and his tools wouldn't travel.

When Leo ran out of family members to help, he helped the poor. He bought old but serviceable appliances, fixed them up and gave them to people who needed them. If he knew of someone who needed an air conditioner, he bought them one. If a roof or a porch needed fixing, he and his tools were there.

And today he is gone.

After my grandmother passed away in November 2003, my cousins and I wondered, hardly daring to say the words aloud, who would be next. Whose death would shatter the monolith of these seven tall, strong men who had once been energetic farm boys and who used to play pickup basketball in dusty New Mexico railroad towns? Oh sure, they had their differences sometimes. All brothers do. But they were always there for each other. No matter your disagreements of the morning, if you needed a place to sleep that night, a brother would always take you in.

The boys (and one girl) taught me and my cousins the same lesson. You never turn your family away. Whatever they need, whenever they need it, you give. We don't talk to each other often, us cousins, but we stick up for each other and when we're together it's always a good time. When our grandparents were alive, we saw each other every few years for a big family reunion celebrating their wedding anniversary and it was the most fun ever.

And now it seems we get together only for funerals.

I knew this day was coming. I didn't think it would come so soon, though. And I didn't think it would be Leo. Pete, the oldest, seemed the most likely candidate. Do things in order, right? Or maybe Mike, who has had some medical problems and is temperamental. (Isn't a hot temper supposed to shorten your life?) Or maybe Bill, who carries a bit of a pudge. Maybe even my own father, horrifying thought. Dad's become spacey in recent years and his new job puts him on the road a lot. I worry. Who am I to assume it will be my father who is the last man standing?

But Uncle Leo the first? Not him! Why him?

It's so not right. It's so not fair.

No word yet on funeral arrangements, or if I'll even be able to go. Everyone is still in shock. How can there be such a sudden hole in the family? How did Death sneak in like that without warning? And what does it bode for the rest of us now that Death has entered my parents' generation?

It's all too much, too soon. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Death doesn't play fair. Not that I'm surprised, but I didn't need this sharp a reminder today. I don't need it tomorrow and I won't need it the day after that.

Go, Death. You've done your mischief. You've taken my sister's boyfriend, my techie's wife and the near relations of several other near aquaintances recently. Now you have my uncle. Be satisfied with your harvest from my neck of the woods and move on.

Godspeed, Leo. Keep Grandpa and Grandma good company. You are loved and missed desperately here below.

Billy Joel was right. Only the good die young.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Today's Run

I can't remember the last time a twelve mile run has been so painful! What happened to the girl who could run an easy twenty just a few weeks ago? I suppose adding some new leg work to my morning workout didn't help matters, but I still think the main culprits are those two weeks of suboptimal training while sick and while nursing that tight quad. I know I'll be back up to par soon, but while patience may be a virtue, it's not one of mine.

I'm not coughing today though, so there's always a bright side.

And it was a nice day to be out running. Not too warm, not too cold. Squirrels and robins bopping around in the grass getting their breakfast. Winter pansies. And cyclists. Lots of cyclists. I had never noticed it before, but you can almost draw a line on the calendar separating the "running season" from the "cycling season." It seems that the bikes come out just as soon as the last marathoner has crossed the finish line.

I hope the weather is good for FrostBike next weekend, and I hope my legs are feeling better. It's embarrassing to get dropped, although having been sick at least provides me with a good excuse. I'm trying to remember something about next weekend's ride, since I did it last year, but I'm drawing a blank. It must not be one of the ones with lots of homemade treats at the rest stops, then. I make a careful mental note about those! Who can resist a gooey chocolate-chip brownie at a tough part of a long course? Or the surprise of being offered a popsicle toward the end of a long hot summer ride? Of course there's also the downside of cycling, like long miles of headwind howling through the slots of your helmet, slowing you to 10 mph with 30 miles to go. There are a lot of days when the headwind seems to actually follow you, granting you the occasional blow-you-into-traffic crosswind but never providing a tailwind, even on a looped course. The wind doesn't read, apparently. But good scenery and a well-stocked aid station can make up for so much. Can make up for nearly all of it, in fact. The good memories are all we usually remember from out toughest endeavors, anyway.

But enough rambling. Tomorrow will be cold and since I can't seem to trust my legs these days it's the trainer and Coach Troy for me.

Today's Workouts
12 mile run

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm famous! Posted by Hello

Where have I been?

Wow, I can't believe I went all week without posting! I thought about it often, but I've been kept late at work every day, which makes me grumpy and puts me way behind schedule on everything else in my life. It doesn't help that my classes have started. It's all online, but it still requires a bit of time and effort.

I'm working out again, which is great. But I still have some lung congestion. Nothing major, just enough to make me cough. I've been hitting the albuterol inhalor pretty hard trying to bring everything up, and I suppose I'll be needing a new one soon. There seems to be just enough grainy, sticky stuff in my lungs to irritate, but not enough to keep me from doing things. Once I'm moving, the adrenaline brings everything up nicely. But I can't run or ride my bike forever and as soon as I stop, that annoying tickle comes back and I'm coughing again.

Oh well. It gets better every day.

Which is more than I can say for my job. I've come to the realization that it's the arbitrariness of all the silly new rules and the complete lack of control I have now that makes it all so frustrating. Nothing like being a middle manager with nothing to manage and no authority to make decisions. When it all gets to be more than I can handle I turn passive-aggressive and just shut down. Not good. I'm having to make a conscious effort now to do the opposite of whatever my first impulse is, just to keep things moving. Well, at least I'm not the only one in this boat. I have plenty of company.

I've had sort of a revelation about my running after watching the marathon last weekend. I couldn't help thinking about all the fast (okay, faster than me) runners out there, wondering what they've got that I don't. Certainly there are some who seem to have no business being faster than me, such as the age group winner for the women's 64-69 age group, who did her marathon in 3:33. Wow. I could only do that in my dreams!

Or so I think.

After considering the matter, I've realized that ever since my first season of distance running, my focus has been almost exclusively on endurance over speed. The experience of building up my distance that first season was so painful that I said "never again" and have been very successful in keeping a good mileage base for my long runs. I've gained some speed as a matter of course, but not a lot.

So okay, I've proven for several years now that I can run long. But I've done little to build strength or speed. So what would happen if I made this my focus? I've decided to find out. I've decided that being slow is simply no longer acceptable and I'm going to do what it takes to get faster. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to bring my times down and maybe get my Boston qualifying time next year. What have I got to lose by trying? I'll keep maintaining my distance of course, but it's time to push the envelope a bit.

In other sport news, I've been invited to a weekend bike ride. Unfortunately it's supposed to turn colder and I have a feeling I'll have to decline on account of my lungs. But all is not lost since the first organized ride of the season is next weekend! So here's to a great spring cycling season!

This Week's Workouts
Monday: 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes treadmill
Tuesday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 45 minutes elliptical
Wednesday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 60 minutes Spinerval (2.0 Time Trial Special)
Thursday: 45 minutes core and strength training, 30 minutes interval work on treadmill
Friday: 45 minutes core and strength training

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Houston Marathon

Since I couldn't run the marathon, I figured I'd go watch it as I have in other years. It's great living just a block from Mile 23. No worries about road closures or parking.

I thought I had calculated the best time to leave my apartment, but the lead runner was faster than in previous years and as soon as I was outside I heard the helicopter. Damn! Seeing the lead runner preceded by the time truck and camera crews, surrounded by police escort and with the helicopter hovering overhead is one of the best parts of the race!

So I dashed off toward the apartment gates and the road, feeling dizzy almost immediately from not being able to breathe properly. But hey, it's not far and I made it to the sidewalk and halfway to the corner just as the lead runner and his escort were turning from Memorial Drive onto Shepherd. There were a couple of runners a little ways behind him, but after that, no one. I paused on the sidewalk and watched them turn and head up Allen Parkway on the other side of the bayou. And then I walked to the corner, crossed the street and settled in to wait for the next runner.

It took a long time, but we finally started getting one, two runners. Then a few more. We clapped and cheered for all of them. Or rather, I just clapped. My sprint effort had set my lungs off and until the asthma meds finished clearing my lungs I was in no condition for yelling.

Finally the lead female came by, tall, thin, and looking very powerful. A little ways back was the second female looking spent, a short blonde with a gait that suggested she was either on the verge of collapse or she was trying to imitate Paula Radcliffe's famous head-bobbing style. From the glazed look in the woman's eyes I suspected the former.

Now there were runners coming by all the time and I had fun guessing about their finishing prospects. Here's an age-group winner. Here's the third place female, looking strong. First Clydesdale... first Athena... Hey! How come she's so fast and I'm so slow and at least thirty pounds lighter?

I hung out at my Mile 23 corner until about the time I would've come past had I been able to run. And then I decided to head up Allen Parkway and see the sights. I mostly wanted to see the Elvis impersonators. There were some pretty good ones, although I later learned that the best ones were further back around Mile 22.

The whole route down Allen Parkway was filled with music. No sooner would you be out of earshot of an Elvis when there would be Beatles blaring from some speakers, then an oldies band that had attracted its own crowd of groupies dancing like they were at a rave or something, then another Elvis, then some bagpipers. It was fun just to check it all out. Since when was the theme from "Star Wars" considered bagpipe music?

By the time some of my friends came along, the weather had warmed up a bit and the pace was slow enough that I could trot along. By the time I quit seeing people I knew on the course, I had run myself almost to the finish line. Oops. Better head back.

So I walked the two and a half miles back home, watching the stragglers who likely wouldn't make the finish line in time to get their medals. Some of them were upbeat, but most were just tired and a bit discouraged. The course was closing down and it was a long day for them.


Three men had chosen to wear Superman costumes for the race. They weren't racing together, either.

One spectator sprinted after her son shouting, "Slow down, I want to take a picture!" Geez lady, he's on track for a 3:30 marathon and you want him to stop for a photo op?

The Hashers seemed to have combined resources with the SCA for their infamous beer table near Mile 25. Beer, jesters, wenches and general weirdness.

Marathons sure bring out a taste for silly hats! I saw runners in grasshopper hats, propeller beanies, jester hats, cowboy hats, baseball caps with airplanes on them, hats with people's names in big glitter letters, hats that defy all description.

Many marathoners like to decorate themselves. I saw glitter, body paint, funky hair colors, wigs, ribbons and names written on shirts, an arm or even across the belly.

Elvis is a runner! One of the Elvii closed up shop early and ran in one of the back of the pack runners. Accompanying them both was a Little Elvis, about eight years old in satin, flares and rhinestone-studded glasses.

Wheelchair competitors are so cool.

General Thoughts
You can divide the character of the race almost along hour markers. Anyone coming in under three hours is going to be pushing hard, totally focused. These are the overall winners and age group winners. Money and prizes are on the line. These are strong, experienced runners.

In the sub-4 group, you see a mix of experience and talented inexperience. A lot of people in this crowd are suffering and have made mistakes. Some are struggling or limping off to the side of the road to stretch or rub out a calf or quad. These people aren't on track to win anything, but they are looking for Boston Marthon qualifying times and personal bests. They're driven, but many of them don't know their limits and blow up in the last few miles.

In the sub-5 group, you start to see more people racing within themselves. The mood starts to relax. No one here is going to qualify for anything and they know it. There are a few people who had hoped to be with the sub-4s and they're hurting bad, limping and in pain. But for the most part, the sub-5s know their limits and trot along with a sort of cheerful determination. They may stop and walk for a bit, but then they pick it up and start trotting again.

By the time the sub-6s come along, there is more walking and shuffling than running. You can tell the ones who are experienced but slow because they keep up a steady pace. But as this group moves through, more and more are just walking and often are just fine with that. They have cellphones and cameras and don't hesitate to use them. They're here to have a good time and just want to get across the finish line in time to get their medal. You see more wrapped knees, thighs and ankles here, too. Active injury or just a precautionary measure for one that is only newly healed? One always hopes it's the latter.

Finally come the ones who won't make the six-hour cutoff. They're slow, many are discouraged and many are either grim or simply dismayed that they've come so far and still have two or three miles to go. They straggle along past the cleanup crews, past Elvis wrapping up his mic, past the band putting up their instruments, trying not to get in the way of the cops and support vans. For them, just finishing will have to be enough.

In all, it's an interesting experience to watch the marathon. You see all ages, races and nationalities. Short, tall, fat, thin, everyone is out there. There are always suprises too, like the white-haired old lady who zips past looking strong and waving to her friends, on track for a 3:45 while two hours later a tall and healthy young man who looks every inch the athlete struggles in. Injury and illness can sap the strength of the most talented people out there. And even the mediocre can have a great day where it all comes together. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles and you just never know.

I'll be trying again for next year. In the meantime, the spring cycling season is getting started and for me it's back to triathlon!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday, and one of my presents to myself was the day off!

In spite of my recent frustrations, I had a fun birthday. I slept in a bit, then made a breakfast smoothie and read the morning news. After that I deposited a check for Dan and then did some thrift/consignment shopping. I found some great stuff, including sweaters by Abercrombie & Fitch and J. Crew. I also got a tall (about 4' high) wrought iron candle holder and candle, but Dan has some silly notion that Tidbit is going to knock it over and eat the candle, so this may not end up being a workable addition to our very humble abode.

After I finished my shopping I dropped by the expo. Am I the only weirdo who goes to a marthon expo and ends up buying a pair of cycling tights?

I saw a few of my friends, but not as many as I had hoped. That was probably because any of my friends not actually working the expo were at their offices today. I wandered around for awhile, checking out all the things for sale, looking for sport socks with bunnies on them (apparently none exist), sampling Clif bars, vitamins and anything else I could get. I picked up some info on the Austin marathon and they gave me a magnet, too. I looked at the Houston marathon merchandise for sale, but it only made me feel bad. It would really be nice if just for once I could have a normal healthy training season and be strong and ready to go on the day of my hometown marathon. You wouldn't think that would be such a tall order.

After I left the expo I went and sat in the steam room at the Y. I did three sessions, each time sitting in there for as long as I could stand it. By the time I was done my skin was pinker than a baby doll's. The steam did seem to help for awhile, but after I came home and took a nap I was coughing again worse than before. Well, at least I have my voice back and that's nice. I'm definitely on the mend and if the marathon were scheduled for Monday, I think I'd make it.

I bought some more of everything tonight at Whole Foods, then came home and took it all. But I'm really beyond the point of believing that herbs, vitamins and homeopathic remedies are going to be anything more than palliative. I did the research and there is nothing to be done for bronchitis but wait it out. I'm going to go downstairs to the gym in the morning and get on the elliptical trainer just to see how my lungs react. If I can handle it, I'll try the treadmill next and then go outdoors. But I'm honestly not expecting very much. I just want to know when I'm standing on the street corner Sunday morning waiting for the runners to come by that I did everything I could and it really wasn't possible for me this year.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Tired of being sick

Am I ever going to get any better? I've been sick for a week now and it's starting to feel like forever. I thought about going to the doctor, but after reading up on bronchitis and seeing that there wasn't anything a doctor would do for me that I'm not already doing for myself, I decided not to bother. I also read that bronchitis can last for two or three weeks!

Weeks??? I don't think my sanity would last that long! Doesn't my body understand that the spring bike ride series is getting ready to start? I have things I need to be doing!

On a somewhat brighter note though, Dan said he would pay my entry fee for the Austin or Surfside marthon if I wanted to try again next month. I don't know, though. Am I jinxed for all marathons, or just Houston? I don't know if I want to spend any more money (even if it's not my own) trying to find out.

I suppose there's still a small reason to hope my health will make a sudden improvement by Saturday, but I'm not betting on it. And even if things started looking up, I don't know if I would feel up for tackling 26.2 miles on Sunday. I might be just fine or I might get five miles into it and realize I've lost a lot of fitness and have made a terrible mistake. There won't be any way to know ahead of time.

In other news, work was a total disaster area today. I had several very complex projects to get to my business manager for signing before the end of the day and it was just one thing after another. People were nagging me, things weren't working right, I could barely speak above a whisper and of course not being able to breathe was very distracting without all of the other crap going on. I was so glad to finally get in my car and head home!

But I'm taking tomorrow off and Monday is a holiday, so for what it's worth I have a four day weekend. I had planned to go to the sports expo, but I'm not sure if I have the heart for it. What I am going to do though, is drop in at the Y and sit in the steam room awhile. Maybe that will help my lungs a bit. And when I return to work on Tuesday, I'll have new neighbors! Another department is moving into our building and I'm friends with just about all of them, especially their business officer. She's one of those people who can always make me laugh and that's a very fine quality in a human being.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I'm not sick! Leave me alone! Posted by Hello

Still Suffering

Well, here it is Tuesday and I still have this chest cold. Only now it's it's in my throat as well and I can barely speak. The mornings start out well enough, but by the time I take a few phone calls, talk to the boss, talk to my assistant and make the required hallway hellos, I'm barely able to squeak out a complete sentence by mid-day.

Mary says she had this a month or two ago and I'll be okay by Sunday but I'm beginning to have my doubts. I was coughing a bit this afternoon and my left lung was hurting. I feel better after a nap, though. I'll just have to keep plugging away at this because what other choice is there? I had hoped to be up for a walk-pace elliptical session this evening, but no chance of that. I really hate this. When your body is working right, it's easy to take it for granted. I'd be so happy to be able to just run down the block!

I'm having to start making a Plan B for the marathon, which means maybe I'll do Surfside or perhaps Austin next month if I'm not up for this weekend. I have my doubts about the wisdom of doing a marathon so close to my next triathlon date, but it's certainly doable. I'll just have to wait and see how this goes.

In other news, Tidbit went to the vet today. She had to spend the day there because neither Dan nor I could take time off. So I took an unwilling Tidbit to the vet at 7 am and picked her up after work. She was mad about the whole thing, but it's for her own good. No obvious problems were found, but some tests are being done. Hopefully if anything is amiss it will be minor. After she came home she spent a few hours hiding behind the sofa, refusing to be friends with us.

At work, we have a new silliness-- we are now being graded on our purchasing documents! I'm all for it in theory, but we're being held to such nit-picky standards that it strains credulity. I have moments when it's hard to keep from laughing, it's that ridiculous! I'm curious to see how this ends up playing out. I pointed out to the business officer that maybe with this new metric in place we could start sending our documents forward via interoffice mail in the usual, sane manner so long as we stay above a certain percentage of correct (by their standards) documents. Only people who dip below the "acceptable" range would have to go in person to get things signed. She agreed that I had a good point. If things end up trending in this direction, this will be worth every effort. Otherwise, it will just be more of the same-- bust your butt to get things perfect, then go sit for two hours a day to hear our co-workers get fussed at because of some made-up standard that no one else at the university has to adhere to or even cares about.

Oh, did I also mention that mine is the only department that has added employees in the past year while cutting business support staff? I'm supposed to do more and more with less and less. It's getting so old. I know I have days when my attitude totally sucks, but when they keep treating you like the red-headed stepchild, what do they think is going to happen?

Finally, is there a bad alignment of the stars these days? My department techie's wife dropped dead this past weekend, my friend and former temp down the hall had her father die and daughter run away, my counterpart in another department has kidney stones and the stepfather of one of his assistants died. It's enough to make you knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder and maybe stay at home with the covers over your head just to be extra-safe.

Recent Workouts
Monday: 45 minutes abs and stretch cord exercises
Today: Nothing-- had to get Tidbit off to the vet this morning and lungs haven't been up to par all day.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Frustrating Weekend

In spite of my best efforts I got sick.

I had been feeling stupid at work for a couple of days, but I attributed that to a combination of being back from the holidays, having people drop by my office all day long disrupting my train of thought, and spending most of my time on Thursday and Friday working on one of those endless budget planning spreadsheets that never seems to be quite what the boss wants. Heck, anyone would feel stupid after looking at the same data on a computer screen all day long.

But no, this was something more. By the time I got home Friday I was having trouble regulating my body temperature and was constantly too hot or too cold. I was running a fever and had a nasty headache. This called for serious action!

I opted to do the grocery shopping as usual even though the touch of my clothes against my skin was enough to make me want to jump out of my skin. But if I didn't do the shopping, how would I get all the weapons I needed to fight this bastard off? I could tell Dan to buy out Whole Foods' inventory of immune boosters and cold and flu remedies, but in cases like this it's best to go see what they've got for yourself.

So I loaded up my shopping cart with all kinds of extra herbals, homeopathic remedies, vitamins, teas, etc. The woman in the Whole Foods herbal department recommended fresh garlic in chicken broth instead of the garlic capsules I had been taking, so I got some broth and garlic, too.

And then the great battle commenced. Me against the germs. If there was anything I didn't try, I can't think what it was. And I felt a bit better Saturday. Even though I really needed to do a last long workout of 10 miles or the equivalent, resting and getting well was more important. No exercise. Just sleep and more pills, teas, lozenges and little homeopathic sugar pills. By Saturday night I was clearly on the mend, but I couldn't seem to get my lungs clear, in spite of my athsma meds. Great, the thing was settling into my chest-- a sure marathon-killer.

So today I bought an expectorant, but later realized that Dan still had a prescription expectorant from his October cold. So I took some of that in addition to everything else I was doing and went for a walk around the bayou. It was good to get out in the sunshine for a bit and move my muscles. Walking didn't bother my lungs at all.

After a late lunch and nap I felt pretty much cured except for my lungs. But I have to breathe deeper before they hurt, so I have reason to hope that I'll be okay in another 24 hours or so.

So doesn't it just figure that the first illness I've had in years would be now?

I promised myself after the 2001 marathon that I would never again do a marathon severly undertrained. And yet here I am. I'm not as badly undertrained as I was then, but I fully expect next Sunday to be a suffer-fest. But I'm comitted and there's no backing out now unless something else happens that makes it simply impossible, such as this chest cold mutating into bronchitis or pneumonia. Which is why I didn't work out this weekend, even though I felt well enough today to handle it. Never, ever do a hard aerobic workout with a chest ailment. Not even if you're asthmatic and accustomed to running with reduced lung capacity.

So that's my weekend whining. Hopefully I've got this chest cold under control and my lungs will be 100% by tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest. My legs could really use a short run and/or a hard elliptical session before Sunday just to remind them what they're supposed to be doing next weekend.

In happier news, they have finally set the date for my high school reunion and it doesn't conflict with any of my vacation or racing plans! Now what am I going to wear? Just 'cause I'm a triathlete doesn't mean I haven't got a girly-girl's love of pretty clothes. It's definitely time to start scouting for something fabulous!

Weekend Workouts
Saturday: Nothing. Fight Cold.
Sunday: Walk bayou trails, 5.5 miles. Walk with Dan at park, 3 miles.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Bundle up and stay well! Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Okay, so from now through January 16 I have one goal: to stay injury and illness-free. Simple? Not when my spouse comes home and announces he has a cold!

"Just stay away from me," is his answer.

Uh, right. And that would be by moving into a motel for the duration, or what?

What gets me is that he did this to me before the Iron Star Tri, too. (I'm not trying to suggest anything here, but the coincidence is odd, isn't it?) I didn't get sick that time and I'm using the same regimen now as before to try to ward off illness: echinacea, olive leaf, zinc, vitamin C, regular multi-vitamin, garlic extract, sleep, chicken soup, good nutrition and anything else my panicked little brain can think of. I'm also washing my hands like mad and wiping down doorknobs and other often-touched surfaces with 99% isopropyl alcohol. If he tries to tell me he's not that germy, like he did last time, he'll get an emphatic, "Oh yes you are!" from me.

Grrr.... Anyone got a spare bedroom my germy husband can live in for the next week and a half?

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 45 minutes core and stretch cords, 1 hour elliptical
Wednesday: 45 minutes core and stretch cords, 45 minutes Spinervals, 3.0 Suffer-O-Rama
Today: TBA

Monday, January 03, 2005

Starting off the new year

It was back to the office today. Well, it was fun while it lasted, but no vacation can go on forever. Not that I would really want it to, but it sure would be nice if I could be off work long enough to get bored.

I escaped for a little while and got my quads worked on. Mary and I have narrowed the problem down to the rectus femoris, and boy is it screwed up! It's so tight I'm wondering if someone didn't sneak into my bedroom while I was sleeping and switch mine for that of a much shorter person! I figure I have a few more days I can beat up on it and after that I'll have to do what I can with more gentle methods. This has not been one of my better marathon seasons. Then again, I don't think I've ever really had a good one.

Sometimes I wonder why I race. I don't do a lot of it, but I do enough that I sometimes have days like today, driving home from work and thinking what a pretty afternoon it is, perfect for a run... but I can't just go casually run because of my training schedule or because I need to speed the healing of an otherwise minor injury in preparation for a race. Going for a run is much more fun when you're not timing everything to your racing schedule. But then, racing is fun too. When I don't race I just end up envying all the racers. So I guess the moral is that whatever you do, there will be days it doesn't seem like the right thing.

In bunny news, Tidbit got to meet Grandpa yesterday! Dad came out to deliver some homemade posole and red chile enchiladas and he spent some quality time with Tid. This was her first visitor and I think she enjoyed the experience.

Even though I figure one day is as good as any other for goal-setting, here is my race list for 2005:

January 16: Houston Marathon
February 12: Surfside Beach Marathon and Half (very tentative)
April 3: Gulfman Triathlon (half-iron distance)
October 23: Iron Star Triathlon (half-iron distance)

I also plan to do a lot of the local bike rides in the MS-150 warmup series, but I won't do the MS-150. Too many people. I'll be doing a lot of the fall Hill Country rides, time and schedule permitting. I might also do a duathlon just for fun if I find one that looks good. What's not on my list this year is my beloved Covered Bridges Half Marathon. This would've been my fifth year and it was almost painful to watch the race fill up in only two days, and my name not on the list. I sure have grown to love that little race and I hope my schedule works out to where I can do it next year!

Don't tell my husband, but this year I'm considering an Iron Distance tri, depending on how I feel after Gulfman and when/if my high school reunion gets scheduled. Here is the list I will select from, if I decide to commit to this venture. Obviously all but the Redman Tri would preclude my doing the Iron Star half:

Redman Triathlon, Oklahoma City, OK, September 24
ChesapeakeMan, Cambridge, MD, October 1
Duke Blue Devil Triathlon, Raleigh, NC, October 8
Great Floridian, Clermont, FL, October 22

And since this is a good time and place for new year training resolutions, here are a few:

* Work on swim speed and do more open water practice. This should be easy because I'm very slow and I did no open water training at all last year. Anything is better than nothing, so I can only improve from here!

* Jump rope once or twice per week to improve strength in calves, feet and ankles.

* Run more.

* Take my bike out on the road more, weather be damned!

* Continue with general strength training and core work. Add some serious quad work.

That's it for now. And it's quite enough.

Today's Workouts
Morning: 45 minutes core and stretch cord exercises
Evening: Resting my beat-up legs!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year! Posted by Hello