Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dreary weekend training

The weather was pretty dreary here this weekend. And my training wasn't anything particularly astonishing either. Thanks to Bree Wee for posting some fabulous pictures of my man Andy on her blog site, I had plenty to smile about! Mmmmm, YUM!!!!

I was also clueless about the Ironman Underwear run and it's tradition. If I wanted to get to Kona before, it's nothing compared to how bad I want to go now. I just thought it'd be cool to hang out at Java Lava (reading all about it on ELF's blog) with all the elite triathletes. I had no idea they ran around in their underwear too!

I rode bikes yesterday with the "boys". Yes, me and 4 fast guys. I should get a bike shirt made with that on it "Me, and the fast guys". I just happened to be the only female there. Usually Jo is there, and Lisa, and then my shirt would say, "Me, and the fast riders". I basically sucked wind for 2.5 hours. We did a flat out and back route, with more wind than I cared for, and less drafting available to me than I liked. But, it was good training. It wasn't one of my best training rides, but that's OK. My 20 minute run after wasn't the best either. I almost thought I was getting sick, but I think that feeling in my chest was just from breathing in all that cold air so hard for so long.
As usual the temperature was much better today than yesterday. The trend seems to be that Sunday's are warmer here than Saturday's. I guess that's because we ride on Saturday. David joined me to run, which was a really nice change. I've been running alone all winter and that has been pretty boring, especially now that I'm running sans iPod.

This week should be nice. No more school, a totally different physical therapy environment to start working in tomorrow, and an easy week of training to get me ready for the 1/2 marathon next Sunday. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed I don't pick up any germs at the daycare/preschool. I think my own kids have done a pretty good job of building up my immunity to that stuff.

Friday afternoon after my finals Milan and I had the opportunity to see a movie together, alone, without kids. Milan gets every other Friday off from work since they work longer days so occasionally it works out that we're both home on a Friday and the kids are in school/after-care. We went to see Juno. Super cute! Can't wait to watch the Oscars tonight to see how it does. We also can't wait to watch the Miley Cyrus interview with Barbara before the awards. Nada is all about Miley/Hannah and the Jonas brothers.

For now we're just watching the end of the Tour of CA. Looks really wet and cold, but doesn't seem to be slowing those dudes down. It really does make me want to bike, not right now, but like in a few days or something. I've been beat this weekend! Even took 2 naps today! Or tried to. I feel better now though.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008


I actually have some fun training stuff to write about today.

This morning when I showed up at Masters we were given a workout format I am not used to seeing. Usually it's a bunch of ??x??? on the ?:??. Today, it said:
5:30-5:40 warm up, choice swim (that means freestyle for me)
5:40-6:10 T30*
*There was an explanation for what T30 meant: swim continuously for 30 minutes, count your distance. That all made sense, but I was slow on the 5:40-6:10. I thought that meant how many minutes/seconds, not realizing it meant 5:40am to 6:10 am. Oh!!!

I let Becky lead, I went second, Nancy went 3rd. I don't really know Nancy at all. All I know is that she hangs pretty good in our lane and she has to be at least 55-60 years old. I have to confess, the first time she got in our lane I thought, "Oh, great, I must look super slow if she picked my lane." I was totally wrong. Just goes to show, you can't judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to swimming!

I managed to keep good count until about 1600 yards. Then I just kept wondering why Becky hadn't stopped yet. Surely it's been 3o minutes? Come on, I'm getting tired here! I see Becky heading back to start another lap as I approached the starting wall. Just as we passed each other I heard her watch alarm go off. Yeahy!!! Becky stopped mid-lane and turned back around. I couldn't wait to hear "the number". I knew it was over 1600. She says, "35". I look at her like, "35 what?". She tells me, "Thirty-five 50's". I'm wondering why everyone is making my brain work this hard this early in the morning, before my last final EVER! So I let Becky do the math. She says it's 1750. I almost don't believe her, but I still can't think that hard. Plus I have no idea what that breaks down to for 100 meter pace so I ask the group in the lane next to us what their distance was. They say 1700. Hmmm, they're some pretty darn fast swimmers. Is it possible we swam 50 more? Maybe they didn't keep time as accurately as we did.

Naturally, the first thing I did when I walked in the door at home (after kissing the kids good morning) was get on my conversion calculator. 1750 in 30 minutes breaks down to a 1:52/100m. OK, all you fast girl bloggers out there, take a moment to stop laughing at how slow that is in comparison to what you all are capable of. To put into perspective my excitement, I swam 42:26 for 1.2 miles at the DeGray 1/2 IM last August, an average of 2:11/100m. That's a big improvement to be excited about, right? I still think Becky miscounted. Even if she miscounted by one 50, we still averaged 1:55/100m. I just did my swim test a few weeks ago and I averaged 1:49/100m. How could have I swam for 30 minutes without stopping (except at the wall to do my OPEN TURN) at that pace? I even had to break out my calculator as I was driving to school to make sure 35x50=1750. It does.

We followed that T30 test with 16x50 on 1:00 w/fins. Gees, even with fins I was feelin' pretty tired by the end of that. Then it occured to me that I swam 1750 without stopping, and in 6 months I will have to swim another 2,474 yards on top of that (WITHOUT STOPPING) at IM KY. Fun training days are ahead!

The other exciting news is that I took my last final, FOREVER this morning! I already said that, didn't I? When I said goodbye to Milan this morning, pointing out that I was getting ready to take my last final ever he told me, "You never know." I told him if I ever mention the idea of going to back to school for God knows what reason he has permission to slap me!

OK, so now someone tell me:

Who is GH? Is it George Hincapie? I'd rather have Bree send me Andy Baldwin, if she knows him and lives on the same island. He was The Bachelor, navy doctor, IM triathlete that ELF got a massage with last year post-Kona (they were on separate tables, but I'm not so sure I would have been!).

What is CP6, CP30, CP60? I thought they were Star Wars characters, but Luka told me it's C3PO, not CP30.

I was reading ELF's blog last night. I'm so jealous I won't be at the HTFU camp. Not that I'd ever keep up with them, in any of the 3 disciplines, but it'd be fun just eating their dust and drinking coffee with them after!

Have fun girls! Can't wait to read all of your blogs when you get back!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm supposed to be studying for the final exams I have tomorrow and Friday. There's only 3 of them, and one is open notes/books/laptop, and we've only had 6 weeks of lectures, but still! I was supposed to be studying all day. Instead, I got my hair highlighted and cut and wasted a lot of time on the internet once I got home. It's really hard to be motivated to study knowing these are the last final exams I will EVER have to take the rest of my life! The only other exam I will "have" to take is the BIG ONE this fall - the board exam!

Getting my hair done was a priority since I start my next clinical rotation on Monday and will basically be working Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. Oh, but no pay check. Us students are pretty much free labor at this point since we're supposed to be fairly competent PT's ready to graduate in less than 6 months. Actually, we're worse than free labor because we pay tution to work! But I'm pretty sure I'm going to get something for my money on this next rotation (I've gotten a lot out of all of them). I'll be doing pediatric outpatient PT at Easter Seals. We had one pediatric course with almost no hands-on experience with "real" patients. I'm expecting all kinds of light bulbs to start going off.

I hardly slept last night, which might be another reason for lack of ability to focus. Something isn't right with my GI system and it kept me up most of the night. Seems like my body is rejecting healthy eating. The healthier I eat, the more bloated I get. If I eat crap, it's all good. Well, I'm not giving in that easy. I've stocked up on Bean-O and Phayzme and I'll just deal with it. And so will the rest of the family. It's a good thing Milan slept with Luka last night. He would have been miserable. Even getting up at midnight to take the Phazyme didn't help. It wasn't until after my swim and run this morning that I got some relief. I can see myself telling my RD soon, "Sorry, I can't include vegetables as a food group because they make me explode!" I've already gone to soy milk and lactose free skim just so I can get the vitamin D I need. Last week I made the mistake of eating 23 almonds for a snack. Oh my, you would have thought I ate a quart of ice cream. Not good side effects!

That's about all the excitement going on here, and as you can see, there is no excitement so I've written about my digestive issues. Maybe by the weekend I'll have something a little more interesting to write about, and more prevalent to triathlons and training. Oh, I did do something a little exciting and triathlon related today. I registered for the Play Tri Int'l distance in Dallas on April 13!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

River Trail 15K

Before I write my race report, I have to mention that I just finished watching the 2007 Ironman Championships. Somehow I missed it the first time it was on TV last fall, and I foolishly thought the race took place on Sunday instead of Saturday, so I totally missed the race and didn't follow the athletes I knew competing. What a loser!

Is it normal for the Ironman to cause such emotions? I mean, I was choked up in tears several times. The pro's made me teary eyed, the blind guy finishing with his grandkids made me speachless, but the 21 year old guy who survived a horrible MVA had tears streaming down my face.

I thought the statement at the end of the telecast was pretty inspiring, "Impossible becomes possible with the IM removed". Or something to that effect.

OK, so on to the race report.

The weathermen were dead on for today's forecast. It was 40 degrees with few showers. I wore UA shorts and long sleeve shirt. The long sleeve shirt was one that Luka favored because he says it makes me look like a "super hero". Hey, if it makes me look like a superhero, it might make me feel like one too!

For the most part I was feeling a little supernatural this morning. I feared I went out too fast and would pay for it half way through. I kept trying to tell myself to take it easy for the first 5K and then let it rip. The pace I went out at it was more like "rip it for 5K, then take it easy!" I had a time goal in mind and I surpassed it by almost 3 minutes. I definitely underestimated my running ability for this early in the season. I couldn't wait to call Jen! Which is exactly what I did the minute I got in my car. I had her sit down to tell her the news. I new she'd be just as surprised, and excited, as I was.

I didn't stick around for the awards ceremony. It was too long after the race finished, I was wet, and I told Milan I wouldn't wait around. Plus, I could hardly wait to get to Starbucks for my (skinny) latte! The kids were so excited when I came home. Naturally, Luka's first question was "Did you win?" Milan was also impressed with my run for the 15K. He totally understands and thinks in kilometers, having grown up in Europe and using the metric system. Me, on the other hand, I have to think that 15K is a 5K+10K which is 3.1+6.2, oh, 9.3 miles!

I was the 4th overall woman to finish, first in my age group. My official finish time was 1:07:22, a 7:14 average pace. Ironically, the woman that finished ahead of me, who I followed for the last 1/2 of the race was Sarah. Sarah is an amazingly fast runner! And she also happens to be an extremely intelligent and experienced physical therapist! I thought to myself as I ran in her footsteps this morning, astonished that I was able to run so close to her pace, that I'll follow her footsteps any day - running and professional!

I'm looking forward to the Little Rock 1/2 marathon in 2 weeks. After today's performance, I've got high expectations for myself!

Friday, February 15, 2008

No school!

We're home today from school, me and the kids. The kids are off for "parent/teacher conferences" so I decided to skip the one lecture I had this morning to be home with them. It didn't seem worth it to pay for day camp (x2) for one lecture. Needless to say, they're thrilled! They slept in and are now plopped in front of the TV in their pj's. Nice, huh? I was up at the usual 4:30am to go to masters, but I do plan to nap at some point today.

Valentine's Day was uneventful, which is how I like it. I took the kids to get McDonald's for dinner (only for them, none for me) and then I made a nice dinner for Milan and I at home. We've found that dinner at home is a whole lot more enjoyable than going out with the kids (I have no sitters handy, and don't care to pay for them unless it's really necessary). The kids are old enough now that we can actually have conversations without nearly as many interruptions. Plus, we don't have to worry about them being antsy and loud and disturbing other people around us if we went out. I wouldn't even consider going to a restaurant on V-Day anyway. I remember one year when we were dating we waited for 2 hours for a table. No thanks. I'd never be able to wait that long, to eat that late. I always get jipped for V-Day anyway since it's 2 days after my B-day. Milan kept asking what I wanted (he's the worst gift buyer ever), but I told him not to worry about it. I got invited to "friends and family" at Lewis and Clark this weekend and I planned to get my own gifts! Not to worry.

So this morning we'll take it easy at home and I'll try to work on some projects I have due next week (only 4 more days of classes left - ever!), or I might just read blogs all morning (hopefully not!). We'll go to the runninng store later to pick up my race packet for the 15K I'm running tomorrow. Who knows, I might find a B-day/V-day gift while I'm there!

The forecast here today and tomorrow is calling for rain, more chance tomorrow (70%) than today (50%). But it's 50 degrees here right now, not 12 (sorry), and it will be at least 35 in the morning, if not warmer. Having done an Ironman in the rain, a 15K run in the rain won't be a big deal. It might keep the really fast runners at home in bed!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm 36!

It’s amazing, another year gone by. I suppose 35 was a pretty good one. But I expect 36 to be down right FANTASTIC! For one, I’ll finally finish PT school and be a “normal” person with a life! I started taking prerequisites for this degree in 2002, when Luka was 6 months old. He just turned six years old!

I’ll also complete my second Ironman this year, and this one will be for time, not just for bragging rights that I finished.

I was thinking about the list Jen did on her birthday, but I’m not sure what all I’ve learned in 36 years. So I thought I’d just make a list of 36 things about me that I don’t mind sharing with everyone.

  1. I was the first American born in my family (mother, father, all aunts/uncles and cousins were all born in the former Yugoslavia).
  2. I spoke Serbian before English (thank God for Sesame Street!).
  3. My husband was born in Serbia, came to America in 1988 for graduate school, and stayed until he got his PhD. We met in 1996 at the “Serbian Club” in Pittsburgh. We were NOT an arranged marriage.
  4. The first sport I played was golf when I was 9, and I got pretty darn good at it. It’s a handy sport to be able to play.
  5. I lettered in volleyball my freshman year of high school.
  6. I made it to honor’s band playing my clarinet, also my freshman year of high school.
  7. I quit #4 and #5 my sophomore year of high school. I found a boyfriend instead (ugh!).
  8. I lettered in track my senior year of high school, the only year I was on the team. They really needed someone that could just finish a mile run so the white girl with no speed got picked. Our team was full of super fast sprinters that won state championship events ALL THE TIME.
  9. I went to college in 1990. I started smoking in 1991.
  10. I quit smoking in August of 1996. I started running to fight the urge to smoke,
  11. I finished my first marathon in Pittsburgh on May 4, 1997. My time was 4:35.
  12. I finished my second marathon in Chicago in 1999. My time was 3:38. I qualified for Boston.
  13. I got married on May 23, 1998 in Pennsylvania. I had Nada on September 18, 1998 in Winfield, Illinois. You do the math.
  14. 1998 was the best year of my life. Until 2002 when I had Luka.
  15. As far as I’m concerned I’m not having any more kids. Hopefully the pill will continue to be 99.9% effective for me.
  16. I completed my first ever triathlon in June 2005 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was a sprint distance.
  17. I did my first ½ IM also in 2005 at DeGray (my 3rd triathlon ever) when it was 105 degrees in the shade. I met Liz and found out Jen was her coach. Small world.
  18. I attempted my first triathlon ever in August 2004 in Cleveland, Ohio, in Lake Erie, having never swum in open water. Big mistake.
  19. I actually did swim in junior high school and was able to do flip turns. I don’t know why I quit or when. I didn’t like boys yet.
  20. I graduated 3rd in my class from HS with a 3.8 GPA.
  21. I graduated college in 1994 with a 2.7 GPA. There go those boys diverting my attention again!
  22. I did a lot of strength training in high school and college. I realized the gym was where all the hot, buff guys hung out. It’s not hard to lift weights and still be a smoker.
    We have lived in 4 different states in the (almost) 10 years we’ve been married: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now Arkansas. I don’t miss winter up north.
  23. Milan and I have not had a honeymoon yet. I’m hoping we’ll do that some October in Kona :-)
  24. I still speak a second language, but at the level of a first grader.
  25. My dad had gastric bypass surgery last May. He weighed 400 pounds when he had it. He now weighs about 270. He goes to the gym everyday to walk around the track and do water aerobics. I’m SO proud of him.
  26. My mom occasionally asks me if I’m still running, and is surprised when I say “yes, and I’m biking and swimming too.” She must think one day I’m going to say I quit like I did all the other sports I tried as a kid. I should tell her boys don’t distract me as much these days.
  27. I grew up in a little town 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, Farrell. My parents and most of my relatives all still live there.
  28. My parents were never athletes and don’t eat healthy. I don’t know how became so active.
  29. I have one younger sister. She lives in NYC with her husband. Her husband is a natural athlete. My sister, not so much, but she’s trying.
  30. I got a new bike last August. The Cervelo P2C. It’s red and white, just like the one Chrissie Wellington rode at Kona. It’s BEAUTIFUL. I decided I’m going to look as FAST and SLEEK as my bike does this year.
  31. I love pizza. Lou Malnati’s in Chicago is the BEST ever!
  32. I love margaritas. Plain lime flavored, on the rocks, with salt. I love Mexican food too.
  33. I love wine. I love trying new wines. My favorite white wine is a dry Riesling. My favorite red is Merlot.
  34. I have probably owned at least 20 pairs of Asics Gel Kayano’s in a size 8.
  35. My wardrobe consists of predominately fabrics containing a polyester/lycra blend that promise to wick away your sweat and keep you dry. Nothing can do that in August in Arkansas.
  36. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve never lived this far away from my family and friends so I truly appreciate every chance I have to spend time with them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Birthday bash

We had Luka's birthday party here at the house yesterday afternoon. Six little boys and three little girls ages 5-6 showed up for the celebration. First thing I have to say is, I am so glad I only have ONE little boy. Oh my, they have way too much energy. Lucky for the cute little, calm girls that were brave enough to come, Luka's big sister helped entertain them with quiet activities like Littlest Pet Shop and coloring. The boys on the other hand were all about running around, screaming, and having lightsaber duals. Fortunately, the weather here yesterday was great - about 55 degrees and sunny at 4pm. Sorry Jen, and anyone else above Kansas that had highs of 5. I actually do feel a bit guilty that we're so lucky right now, but you know what I'm in store for here in a few months (heat and humidity!).

Luka has been on huge Star Wars kick for about the past 2 years. He has just about everything they make in toys and we now own 5 of the 6 movies. I never saw Star Wars until Luka came along and became interested, but now I can pretty much name most of the characters, and I'm pretty competitive with Lego Star Wars on Playstation. I do think it's ridiculous that Luka has 9 different lightsabers, in various colors and all with various functions. And for his birthday he got one those fancy, expensive models that looks like the real thing. I held out on that purchase for as long as I could, but it was his birthday, and I did find one for a pretty reasonable deal on eBay so I gave in. I mean really, I didn't hesitate too long when Nada wanted an American Girl doll when we were in Chicago so why shouldn't Luka have the best lightsaber out there? Turns out his abundance of lightsabers were handy yesterday because the boys were all about playing with them, OUTSIDE! Eventually they did get around to doing the little craft project I came up, but then it was back to Lego Star Wars.

This whole party lasted 2 hours. It was a long 2 hours for me. An hour into it the party, with one left to go, Milan and I decided some wine (for us, not the kids) might make all this craziness a little easier to tolerate, because after all, we still hadn't even given them cake so what was going to happen once they were all sugared up?

To start this fun day off I had a descending 8 mile tempo run. I wasn't quite feeling so energetic and excited about this run when I got up so I wasn't sure what was going to happen. To my surprise, I nailed it! I was amazed how well I was able to manage dropping the pace and my "all out" last mile was pretty awesome, for me. I'm hoping for this kind of good result at Saturday's 15K race!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The "m&m" ride

Yeah, it sounds like it should be something pleasant and enjoyable, doesn't it? Wrong! I have heard David talk about the "m&m" ride, and I too thought it sounded fun. I was actually very excited when I read that we were doing the "M&M" route. I was even willing to start this ride at 7am when it was 35 degrees instead of waiting until noon when it would be about 60. I asked David what this ride was and he told me its "Mayflower/Maumelle", or maybe it's "Maumelle/Mayflower". Either way, you start in Maumelle, go to Mayflower, and end up back in Maumelle. And all of that includes some SERIOUS hills! To start all this fun riding we went up my favorite street (not!), Remount Road. But today, I stayed with the group. I did like I was told, I stayed seated and I spun up the hill(s). I still haven't decided if it was me riding stronger that made me keep up with them, or if the group was being conservative because they were all very familiar with the "m&m" route. All I know is that I was not conservative because by the time we hit whatever that next segment of hills was, I was toast! Once we re-grouped (me, rejoining the group) and took it easy for a couple miles to hydrate and eat I took a look at my computer to see how many miles we'd covered. Seventeen miles! You have to be kidding me, another 30 to go? Well, I did remember that David said the first 10 miles of this ride would be hilly so surely the worst was over.

And for the most part, it was. In one of my moments of delirium during this ride I came to the conclusion that this is called the "m&m" ride because after you do this course you can sit at home on your couch and eat m&m's ALL DAY without feeling the least bit guilty. I actually look forward to doing this ride again, and hopefully by this summer I'll be hanging with the group for all of the hills, not just Remount.

Friday, February 08, 2008

New suit!

My new Splish custom suit arrived yesterday! I was going to post a picture of me wearing it, but decided I'm too white and pasty right now for that. We all know that fat doesn't look quite as fat when it's tan! My new suit gave me something to look forward to this morning when I got up at 4:30am (after sleeping in ALL week!) to head to masters.

I was supposed to be writing an ethics paper this morning. Eventually I managed to type up 3 double-spaced pages of something ethical (I hope), that I know I will need to revisit several times before I turn it in on February 22 (finals day). So what was I doing all morning instead? Reading blogs!

It's like a disease. I start on one blog and then I read more on that blog, and then I end up on someone else's blog, which just leads me to another someone else's blog, etc. And the funny thing is, I don't even know any of these people, yet I find the desire to read what they have to say very important. I guess it's because we all like surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, right?

Last night as I was making a post on my own my blog Milan walked upstairs and asked me, "What's new in the triathlon world?" He wasn't really interested, it was just his way of letting me know that he knows how I spend my time on the internet. We don't talk about my training or racing often. When he asks, "How was your swim/bike/run?" I typically give a pretty short summary of it (good or bad). Occasionally I'll get carried away and talk about swim practice at masters or the weekend bike ride, but I'd rather not bore him. I assume he finds it boring. I might be wrong. One day we went out to lunch and I started talking about a triathlon camp I was thinking of attending. He asked me, "What's your goal with all this triathlon stuff?" Hmmm, that's not a question I can answer easily or quickly. I've thought a lot about this question, I still think about it. I came to the conclusion that I just want to do it and I want to do it as well as I can. I won't be a pro, even though a friend just told me the other day that I act like I am (not in those words, and not in a negative sense). I don't plan to make it to Kona this year, or even next. But is it a possibility? I suppose it is. If I say that it isn't then it will definitely never be a possibility. Jen has been trying to break me of this negative, low self-esteem attitude. I even recall telling others that if they tell themselves they're not going to qualify for the Boston marathon, they never will. So much of our physical ability comes from our mental strength. I wasn't physically beat during that swim at IM WI in '06, I was mentally defeated. When I qualified for Boston in Chicago in 1999 I wasn't an extraordinary runner, but I was one very determined one!

I learned this week with all these tests and with the tempo runs I've been doing that training hard really requires hard mental concentration. Typically when I go out for a long run I take along my MP3 player. My iPod is an absolute MUST on the trainer! Those workouts are my own little dance party that I recall I once used to have in real clubs. Well, last Sunday when I went out for my 2 hour long run, guess what? I left my iPod at home! Actually, I left it in the car because I wanted to really make sure I'd be OK without it for those 2 hours alone with just my own thoughts. I managed just fine. I just focused on what I felt like for 2 hours. The last 30 minutes were a hard tempo run and I decided I can't have music blaring in my ears when I'm thinking so hard about pushing myself to run fast. I've realized that as soonn as my mind starts wandering my form gets sloppy and my pace gets slower. It's the same in the pool. On Thursday when I did my bike test on the trainer I did have my iPod on, for the warm up. I thought I'd want the music to motivate me through the test, but I soon found that it was just annoying me so I turned it off, and there I was, focusing on the pain.

The weekend should be good. We're riding at 7am tomorrow, on hills. It's "supposed" to be 35 degrees in the morning, but we'll see. Sunday will be a hard, but shorter run. And Sunday afternoon we'll have Luka's birthday party, which I need to go out and shop for soon! We invited 19 little six year olds from his class, but I have no idea how many will actually show up. Should be interesting!

Thursday, February 07, 2008


This is my rest week. This is also my test week. No, not tests at school (whew!), my training tests for swim and bike.

Tuesday was my swim test and this test probably had me the most nervous. I don't expect huge gains in time when it comes to the swim so I guess my worst fear was no improvement at all. I waited until Tuesday afternoon when I finished with class to do the test. I wanted to make sure I was wide awake and fully loaded with caffeine and food. But this meant I thought about nothing except for the swim test all Tueday morning. I have no idea what my ethics professor was talking about. Here and there I caught some things about affirmative action, racism, sexism. At times I didn't know if he was talking about the Democratic primary or our course. Anyway, I finally got to the pool around noon. There was one other man swimming. Another woman shows up just as I finish my warm up and am about to start "The Test". The test is 10x100 with 10 seconds rest, record your time. So being the achiever that I am I looked up my test time from last July, just so I'd know what I was shooting for. I finished the test, with arms feeling like they were swimming through mud, and am pleased that my time is less than what it was last July. It's hard to calculate just how much faster this small amount of time is without the help of a calculator. Naturally the first thing I did when I walked in the door was head to my computer to pull up my conversion calculator. And the result is...7 seconds/100 meters faster than last July! That's pretty big, especially for me. Especially since last May, less than a year ago, I improved 22 seonds/100 meters!

Today was bike test day. Bike test consisted of a warm up and then 20 minutes max effort, on the trainer, record average HR and distance covered, and notice what my max HR was. I'm still not sure how to intrepret these results. All I know is, riding all out hard on the trainer sucks! And it's much harder than riding all out on Highway 165 from Keo to Scott into the wind. Boy, was I glad when that was over.

Prior to my bike test I got started on some serious cleaning that I had planned to do today. I don't know why I picked today, but I knew when I got up today that it was going to be a productive day at home. I now have a very clean and picked up house, and unless I stop reminding my 2 kids and husband how hard I worked today on this house, it's not going to remain a clean and picked up house for long. And they're going to have one seriously pissed off mom to deal with!

Random thoughts I had while I was cleaning:

1. Why is it that the more you clean, the more things you find that need cleaned?
2. Why is this my job? Where in the marriage ceremony was it said, "You will clean the toilets, mop the floors, and pick up and put away everything that everyone else leaves behind."
3. Why do men get the "fun" house jobs like cutting the grass, raking the leaves, shoveling the snow (that we don't have)? When we first moved here my neighbor told me that her little 3 year old son saw me cutting the grass and asked her, "Why is Luka's MOM cutting the grass?" As if to say, "What's wrong with Luka's dad? Why isn't HE cutting the grass?" I almost told her that up north that's what the mom's do!
4. I hate cleaning the shower. I hate cleaning the shower. I hate cleaning the shower.
5. Where did all this dust come from?
6. Why is my bike cleaner than my house and my car on a weekly basis?

I have yet to start my school projects that I have planned to accomplish during my "3 day vacation". I have started one, and actually the crap I threw together in literally 15 minutes isn't too bad. Somehow my kids convinced me to bring them home from school yesterday and today. So instead of them going to afterschool and giving me until 4pm, they've been home with me at 2pm. That is not going to happen tomorrow! I gave in to the guilt trip and now they need to spend time with people their own age after school.

It's Thursday, the best day of the week. Not only is it the day before Friday, but it's the night that Lost is on. So I better get going because I think there's a double header on tonight with a re-run of last week's season premiere!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rest week

I'm going into a rest week and I am SO excited. Not only will it be a training rest week, but it will also so be a school rest week because no classes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and done by noon on Monday and Tuesday! The reason we're off from class is so that we could attend a conference in Nashville if we chose to. I went to a conference in Dallas a couple of years ago and decided it wasn't actually the conference that I wanted to attend, it was just being in Dallas. I just wanted to shop and eat and shop some more. So I decided Nashville was a "no" because 3 days at home, alone, with the kids in school and husband at work sounded MUCH more fun than going to Nashville to shop and eat, and maybe go to the conference.

I guess my biggest news is that I had my first flat this weekend. Yep, after riding for 3 years it was the first time I flatted out on the road. Watching me change this flat was probably pretty comical since it took me almost 30 minutes (I'm guessing), plus some help from Charlie. Our riding plan was to go out 15 miles and then do a time trial test. Since the wind was pretty crappy we altered the original plan and decided to do time instead. And so about 11 minutes into my TT I heard the sound of what I assumed to be a flat tire on my bike. Since I never had one I didn't know what it would sound or feel like, but there's pretty much no doubting the sound of a flat. So I pulled over, realized it was my rear tire, and decided I'd give it a shot. I knew Paul would be coming by at any moment, but I'd just tell him to go on because I was curious how well I'd do with this on my own. David and Charlie would be coming back down the road eventually since we were doing an out and back route, plus the weather was beautiful so I didn't mind sitting there in the grass trying to figure this thing out. I got the rear tire off, no problem, since I've been doing this pretty often. I got my little caliper thingy's out and pried off one side of the tire like I remembered I was supposed to, and eventually I did get the flatted tube out. All of that was fine. It was getting the new tube in that had me struggling. I had my little CO2 cartridge pump ready, but I was a little scared to use it. Those things look like little granades that could explode. Plus, I couldn't remember if I had the kind that I could gradually dispense, but I thought I did (I do). So I attempt to put the tube in without it inflated. Yes, I now know that this is much harder than if I had put some air in it. The thing was all wrinkled and twisted and stuck under the tire. I knew it didn't look good. By this time I could see a biker dressed in blue approaching, it was Charlie. He was nice enough to come over and see how I was doing. The first thing he did was take out the tube (that I worked so hard to get in) from the tire, blew some air into it (with his mouth), checked the inside of the tire for debris (good idea!), and then put the tube back in. And guess what? The tube went in no problem! Then I screwed the CO2 cartridge into the dispenser thing to blow up the tire, and it worked! And I rode back on that tire no problem.

So I was a little disappointed that I got jipped out of the ride I had planned, but I did get in some really good intensity anyway. I also decided that changing a flat tire is really valuable training itself and that if I ever have to do it in a race (like Ironman) I would hope I can get the process down to 15 minutes instead of 30!

The weather is much better here this weekend. The ride yesterday was about 50 degrees, but windy. My run this morning at 7am was also 50 degrees, with 90% humidity. At least I beat the rain that was accurately predicted to come.

Tomorrow is Luka's 6th birthday, which means 8 days later it will be my 36th. We're having an at home party for him and his friends next Sunday (it really is a good thing this is a rest week for me) so I guess we'll just share a cake because the less cake we have around here the better! Fortunately, this year he has agreed to just get a "plain" cake, which means I can spend good money on a good quality cake instead of lots of money on an average cake that's decorated with Darth Vader!