Friday, March 28, 2008

Feeling better

I ended up calling off work Monday, which wasn't so bad because it was pretty evident by my nasaly voice that I was truly sick. I went in to see my doctor at 10:40am and was given a steroid shot and a 5 day z-pack of antibiotics. I wasn't given a diagnosis, just told that this should dry me up pretty fast and if I wasn't better by tomorrow to call back. Since I never had a steroid shot before I did ask some questions about that, like was I going to have some crazy side effects? All he said was, "You might feel like cleaning out your closets tonight." What he meant was, "You'll have a horrific time trying to get to sleep." I think it was midnight by the time I fell asleep Monday night.

Tuesday night I took a child's dose of Benadryl. That worked. By Wednesday night I thought I'd be over it, but instead I awoke at 2am and never fell asleep again. Made for a really long drag of a day yesterday. Last night was a little better, but with the 80 degree temps we had yesterday here the house was way too warm and I felt like a fool cranking the AC on this soon. So I suffered and was uncomfortable. Yes, I have physically just about all recovered from the sinus junk, but mentally and emotionally I am just drained.

We picked up grandma from the airport on Wednesday night. That's been interesting. My mom has some issues. Right now she's extremely full of energy (did she get a steroid shot before she got here?). She has been cleaning my house, things I don't even think about cleaning, ever since she got up yesterday morning. Don't know how much time she's actually spent "with the kids", but she's been here in the house, and outside the house, with them. Although today we had an interesting and unnerving occurence. When I got home from work at 12:30 (early day) my mom asks if Nada called me to tell me she was going shopping with a friend. No, no message or call from Nada.

Who did she go with? Where did they go? What was her mom's name? What kind of car did she drive?

I got inconclusive answers to all these questions.

The one friend that fit all the answers I called and her mom was at work. The other I tried calling, but they weren't home and I had no cell phone number. Needless to say, I through a fit and went off that she should have called me herself to tell me. That she should have gotten more information so that I wasn't wondering where in the world and with whom my 9 year old was with. I realized that obviously Nada was with a friend, that she knows well, and that they were with a driving parent. Eventually I'd find out who, when and where.

I did. Nada called just before I left for my interview, which was good because I at least had that peace of mind. Everything was fine and she was with the second friend I guessed. Just an example that sometimes my mother is more childlike than adultlike and it scares me. But hey, at least I have a dazzling chandelier, a cobweb free garage ceiling and floor, and a sparkling clean oven and stove top! And yesterday she trimmed the bushes and raked all the leaves. Who knows what all will get accomplished by the time she leaves Monday morning.

Yep, I had a real job interview for a real paying job today. My first "official" interview and I still have 133 days until graduation. So nice to finally hear someone tell me how much I can make once I finish out these last few months of free labor.

As far as training goes, I had a fantastic hard tempo run yesterday in my neighborhood, I think maybe even setting a PR. And that was with only 5 hours of sleep and being up since 2am, and with some residual gunk still left in my lungs. But all good things must come to end. I went to masters this morning so any ego I had was instantly shot. I friggin' hate swimming! Yes, JH, you read that correctly. Stupid, stupid water. Stupid, stupid technique. My back isn't strong enough, my arms aren't long enough, my lungs can't hold enough air to swim that fast and still be able to breathe. Why does everyone else make it look so easy? Why can they hit the wall easily at 1:30 and rest for a nice long 20 seconds while I only get about 5-7 seconds to catch my breath, until I'm just right back to dying again. I have tried to figure out the physiology of the sport, the technique, the mechanics, maybe I have overthought it. My only conclusion is that you can only be smokin' fast in the water if you've been doing it since you were infant or at some point in your life you did it daily for 5,000+ yards per day. But that theory has been shot too by some of the blogs I've been reading. Depressing.

Oh, have I mentioned I have PMS too?

Long, hilly, bike ride scheduled for 7am tomorrow. Maybe that will rid me of some of the PMS and bring back some good endorphins. Who knows what fanatical pace pushers will show up for all the fun. Doesn't matter, I just want to get in my training safely. These days I'm not sure what's more dangerous, the other riders I'm with or all the unleashed dogs. I swear it must be a requirement that if you live in rural Arkansas you must own at least 1 obnoxious dog and you should never have it behind a fence, or even worse, on a leash! Just leave it out so it can jump out into the road and scare the shit out of all the cyclists when they go by.

Thanks for all the comments and concerns about me being sick. Hopefully I won't pick up any other kiddie germs during the remaining 5 weeks of this rotation. Yes, I'm counting.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Definitely sick

I don't know how I managed the 4 hour brick yesterday. Or maybe that was what I needed to unleash the misery in my head. Well, it's been released and my nose has been gushing since last night. No long run today. I can barely see straight. Plus, I would have had to shove tampons up my nostrils or something to keep from drinking all my watery snot. Seriously, I might as well have had a kleenex shoved up my nose all day because I'm just going through one after another. OTC meds have not helped a bit! Ugh, and I am supposed to swim tomorrow because I can't on Wednesday. I hate being sick! Thank God I did NOT have to work today. Please let me feel normal by the morning. I would dread calling in sick and having that "mark" against me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring break

I'm finally feeling better and was able to get my long ride in (with T run after) this morning. The ride actually helped get all that crud in my head flowing so hopefully whatever it was I had is on its way out. I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like I'd been out drinking all night. But I hadn't! I was in bed sound asleep the whole night, but I just could not get up. When the alarm went off at 4:45 for masters I realized there was no way that was going to happen. I went back to sleep and just hoped I'd be able to get up in another hour and make it to the preschool for work.

I got little sympathy at work. I still had a full schedule and stayed the whole day, no offers to let me go home early. I made it very clear that I was not feeling well. No, I did not have a fever, but I did have an on/off sore throat and the front of my head was killing me. I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was not up to par so that I wouldn't get harshly criticized when I wasn't feeling well. I considered going to the doctor to get tested for strep throat since one of the other PTs had it a few weeks ago, and you'd think that would have been encouraged since I spend all day working with kids, but no. I didn't know if it was just really bad allergies since all kinds of crap is blooming around here, or if I picked up something from one of the runny nose kids. Instead, I decided I would just rest and wait it out. So after skipping masters in the morning, a run Wednesday evening, and a trainer ride Thursday, I was finally able to swim on Friday morning. Thank God! I was starting to get depressed, which may explain why I ate so much stupid chocolate the past 2 days! At least it was organic dark chocolate (dairy free).

The 60 mile ride this morning really helped get the sinuses draining and clear. I sure do save a lot of kleenex by riding outside. I must be getting better at the bike nose blowing. I didn't have nearly as much snot on my sunglasses today as I have had some other rides. And I haven't sprayed anyone behind me...yet. I know, it's gross.

Other than my crud mess, we got my mom to get a plane ticket down here next week. The kids are on spring break and wouldn't you know it, that's the week Milan finally has to go to California for work. The day camp they usually go to when school is closed didn't have enough kids signed up for Thursday and Friday so they weren't sure they'd be open. I guess my kids are the few with a loser mom who can't spend time with them during spring break and take them somewhere fun. It worked out though. We were able to find reasonable air fare on short notice so grandma will arrive Wednesday evening and stay until Monday morning. Milan will be back Friday night. So spring break won't be a total bust for the kids, grandma will be here to visit, and I'll only be a single mom for 2 days instead of 5. Plus, Milan and I might be able to get a night out by ourselves while she's here! It was actually good that we called and asked her to come on such short notice. Usually it's such a big production to get her to commit to fly here. She's only been here one other time in the 3 years we've lived here. For some reason she thinks my 68 year old dad and their pug dog won't make it if she leaves town. The whole reason my dad had gastric bypass surgery last year was to improve his activities of daily living and so that the two of them could do things, like travel! But that hasn't happened yet. It will be a miracle if the two of them actually make it down here in August for my graduation. I've already warned them what they're in for in Arkansas in August. They don't know what heat is!

Speaking of heat, I'm not going to complain about it and you all up north can remind me of that this summer. My parents said they were getting 3-4 inches of snow today, Mel posted pictures of her snow, and Jen said they got like 8 inches in Chicago. What is going on up there? Is the winter every going to end? I won't even tell you how beautiful it's been down here yesterday and today (minus the pollen). I'm sure this has to be the LAST snow fall of the season up there and it'll be gone by Tuesday so you all can outside!

Happy Easter to everyone that's celebrating it! Ours isn't until April 27, the Orthodox Easter. Same holiday, just a later calendar.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For Marit

I rode my trainer tonight for Marit. I rode it as hard as I possibly could. Marit was/is (still waiting to hear) in surgery to repair damage to her sacrum from a bike accident she had yesterday in San Diego. She also has a fractured hip.

I don't even know Marit well. I've read her blog site, she's read mine, we've exchanged some emails and comments, and we're both coached by Jen. It's obvious from reading her blog, and everyone else's that has wrote about her, that she is a super sweet, kind girl. She's young, has so much potential as an athlete, and has such a great, positive attitude. When I got the email tonight from Liz I was so confused. I hadn't read Jen's blog since the weekend so I was clueless about the accident.

A bike accident is my worst fear. When I bought my first rode bike in 2004 I actually told the guy at the store I didn't care about going fast. I just wanted a bike so I could do something different (other than run) and one that I could race on IF I decided to. Well, you know how that goes. You do one stinkin' triathlon and you're hooked. And all of the sudden I want to go as fast as possible on my bike! But I am still such a nervous Nellie when I'm out riding, especially with other people. I didn't start riding with other people until last fall, or actually last summer when I did the CARTI ride. I was scared to death on the first group training ride I did with David's group. And you could tell because I stayed too far off the back tire of the rider in front of me to really get a good draft. I still get dropped when we descend big hills because I ride my brakes. My rationale is that I don't want to crash while training. I'll let the brakes go when I race, and what am I really getting out of descending a hill that fast? Increased fitness? So news of Marit's accident really shook me up. I'm still waiting to hear/read how the surgery turned out. I have no doubt she'll recover quickly, and when you put this into perspective, it's really not that bad. There are far worse injuries you can sustain in a bike accident.

I mentioned my trainer ride. My original plan was to do bike intervals again after work. Our forecast for today was 90% of rain, like an inch or something, with 20-30 mph winds, and severe storms. I still took my bike with me to work, but I told David I just assumed we wouldn't be riding with that forecast. The entire day it threatened to storm and down pour. It rained at 11:15am when I had to leave the building to go to a school to see a kid, and it drizzled again at 5pm when I left work. I just kept waiting for the big storm to hit. You know when it finally hit? The minute I got off my trainer! Thanks weatherman, you've disappointed me again. Had I taken my chances and tried to ride outside I'm almost positive the storm would have hit sooner. I suppose I shouldn't complain after reading that Katie woke up to 5 fresh inches of snow yesterday!

I guess I don't need to say it, but I will anyway - be safe out there training. Maybe swimming isn't really that bad?

Friday, March 14, 2008

146 days until 8/8/08

The snow came and went. The kids were actually outside first thing Saturday morning getting in last minute play time before the afternoon sun melted it all away. Hard to believe a week ago we had snow here since the past 4 days have been at least 70 degrees.

I haven't posted lately for a couple of reasons. One, I've been busy all week with work, kids, training, etc. Two, nothing especially exciting has happened. I haven't taken any fun training trips somewhere warmer and mountainous, nor am I planning to take one soon.

As far as training, the week started off slow. I missed my long bike ride last Sunday because of my own stupidity. I should know not to leave the house after dark on a Saturday night to socialize with adults. Since I rarely have these opportunities I don't know how to act and I try to make up for all the fun I miss out on. I stayed up too late, didn't eat enough during the day, and drank way too much. Sunday was not a pretty day for me. In addition, I knew that come Monday morning lent was starting and Milan and I already agreed no alcohol for 7 weeks. I also agreed to at least one week of no meat and dairy, then I'd have to see.

I did sort of make up for the missed long bike ride. I did intervals Tuesday night with David, which I've never done before. I've done intervals by myself, but it's a little different (and a whole lot easier) when you're trying to chase a friend down the road. Yeah, it kicked my butt. David said we were going to run after the ride, but he didn't tell me it was going to be race pace. I was unprepared for the 7:30 pace we took off on, but since he started it I figured we had to finish it. Plus, I owed him the favor for the misery of the bike intervals.

Wednesday's masters was pretty good too. I moved over to the "kick ass" fast lane and kept up pretty good. Managed 5x100 on the 1:50 without dying (but with a draft).

I have to say, this vegan diet has me feeling incredibly good. I have included fish, tuna and salmon, and I'm eating a lot of soy (Boca burgers, soymilk). I think I've been less hungry this week than usual too so I guess I'm getting all the right nutrients in the right proportions. I know I'm getting enough fiber! Talk about cleansing. I've never felt so "clean".

Since I couldn't come home and have a glass of wine to de-stress I went to the mall. I planned a trip to buy jeans for Luka since he has managed to rip holes in the knees of every pair he has. When I called Milan all choked up from my weekly meeting with my boss/instructor, he gave me orders to buy something for myself to make me feel better. I hate shopping for myself because I have no fashion sense what-so-ever. Like I said, if it doesn't have Coolmax in it, I don't know how to put it together. But I did manage to find a pair of jeans at the Gap and a shirt at Express to make me feel a little better. I felt a whole lot better when I was able to buy those new jeans in a size 2! I just might be showing off my Splish suit on this blog soon!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Snow day!

We finally got our snow day today! Don't ask me why because when we got up this morning there was nothing on the ground. Yes, it has snowed for the most of the day, but the temp is above freezing and the roads are clean. I went to Wal-mart and it was desserted. Awesome! I did over hear someone say that it was jam packed last night. No wonder, everyone was expecting a blizzard and that we'd be stuck in our houses for 1 day.

It's a good thing I went to master's on Monday when I wasn't supposed to because I didn't even bother trying to go today. I had planned for today to be my "rest day". I did do some "functional lifting" and core strengthening in the house this morning, but nothing crazy. After my first run of the week yesterday I realized that I really do need rest. My legs were sore! They stopped bothering me while walking and getting up and down off the floor at work, but running was another story. I also decided I needed to rest because yesterday I felt as if I might be coming down with something. It could have been all in my head as a result of finding out a co-worker who was out sick might have strep throat and a sinus infection. I feel relatively OK today. Plus I've been juicing! I decided I'm sticking with mostly fruit juices. I made some nasty concoction today with 4 vegetables that didn't taste too bad, but gave me horrible acid reflux. Fortunately, I had some OTC meds and it got rid of it pretty quick.

Today was a pretty productive day and I made good use of my "snow day". I dug up a presentation I did at school that I can use for an in-service at my clinical. I know I will be a whole lot more nervous doing a presentation in front of several "professionals" compared to 53 of my classmates and one professor. I also got a lot of shopping done, which I didn't intend to do, but somehow I can't walk out of Wal-mart without dropping $100. We made hummus and our own salsa when I got home. My hummus turned out great! Gee's, all this healthy eating today. I might just start feeling too good, and maybe I'll look it too! Oh, and I've tried the organic, no sulfites added wine made by Frey winery California. It's actually very good. I guess since we don't have easy access to my dad and uncle's homemade wine (no sulfites added) we have to buy it. I'm thinking it's probably best that we don't have access to all that homemade wine. If I think I might have an addiction now I'd definitely have one then. But as of this Monday, no more wine (alcohol) or meat or cheese. Orthodox lent starts. Milan will do the whole 7 weeks until Easter. I've been able to do that in the past, but haven't for a couple of years just because I haven't been that "into it". There actually is a lot more to it than just a dietary change. I'll try my best to stick with the vegan diet for at least the first week and the last (before Easter), especially now that I've been reading Skinny Bitch.

Since we're having all this snow today our regularly scheduled Saturday ride has been pushed to Sunday. That actually works out better for me. We're having our house "blessed" tomorrow by the Serbian monk priest from Hot Springs and he's going to be here sometime after lunch. Then Milan has to drive him back to Hot Springs. Remember I said Milan doesn't miss a Sunday of church? That he missed liturgy last Sunday to come watch me finish the LR 1/2 is a huge sacrifice. I made a point of thanking him, in several ways :-0

Each year after Theophany (baptism of Jesus) the priest goes around to people's homes and blesses them with the water that was blessed in the church for the feast. Even though we attend the Greek church here in Little Rock most Sunday's, we go to Hot Springs occasionally for a small, quiet liturgy performed in Slavonic and Serbian. It's so much different than the Greek church, but they're both Orthodox. I have had the thought that since we're having the house blessed and not the garage, that maybe I should bring my bike in so that it can be blessed too. After all, the bike is really the most dangerous part of the triathlon and the training. And since I'm a such a wimp in the water I think I might place my wetsuit and Blue Seventy Pointzero on it so that it gets blessed to. If you read my IM WI race report you will agree that I need to do something to help my fear of the open water. Anything to change my mental attitude will help.

So tomorrow morning I'll do my 1 hour, slow and easy run, and it might be in the snow! I doubt it, but it might be. Tomorrow evening I am supposed to go to "Swamp Stomp". It's a fundraiser for the PTA. When we first moved here Swamp Stomp was like a week away and Nada's teacher asked me if I was going. I thought to myself, "Is this the kind of events they have here in the south?" Aside from the name, I guess it's a pretty nice deal. For $25 you get food and drink (supposedly alcoholic) and then there's a silent auction and a live one where rich parents pay ridiculous amounts for elementary school art. Should be fun! I'm going with another mom because remember, we hate paying for sitters. Oh, don't worry, I'll be home and in bed by 9pm. I've already made that very clear.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend, and staying warm and dry!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It snowed!

Believe it or not, we got snow here last night in Arkansas and woke up to a white coveing. Yes, it's already gone, but at least we got to enjoy the pretty white stuff for a few hours. It made me home sick. For a few minutes. We thought for sure it was going to be a "snow day" off from school and work, but since the temps were still above freezing, no deal. You can imagine how disappointed the kids were to have to go to school. I was disappointed too. It would have been great to hang out at home on a weekday! I was going to throw on my Splish suit and make a snow angel - just for Mel!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Busy week

In case anyone was wondering (thanks again Katie), I'm still here and well. It was just a super busy week and a bit stressful adjusting back to a 8-5 daily schedule.

My first week with pediatric outpatient therapy went really well. Grant it, I do have an advantage being a mother of two, so handling the little kiddo's was not a big deal for me. I suppose what stands out the most this week is how many times I thought to myself how blessed we are to have healthy, physically-abled kids. I saw some pretty involved children who will probably never function independently in society. I also saw some little bitty ones who have struggled more with their health in the 2 years of their life than anyone should have to struggle in an entire life span. For the most part, each one of these tiny little people were smiley, happy, and a treat to work with. More of a treat than a lot of the adults I've treated on my clinicals!

As far as training goes, I still managed to get up every morning at 4:30 to train. Except for yesterday, which was my rest day, yeahy! Wednesday was a bit of challenge since I had a double scheduled. In addition to masters in the morning I had a short run later in the day. I was convinced Wednesday afternoon at work that I was NOT doing that run. I was beat. After all, my days were spent kneeling and sitting on mats on the floor, up and down a million times. I was tired. Every night was a rush getting dinner ready, making sure Nada got her homework done correctly, giving Luka a bath if needed, and getting the kids (and myself) to bed by 8:30pm. So Wednesday to me was going to be no different - dinner, spend some time with the kids, watch TV, maybe read a blog or two, etc. But somehow guilt got the better of me. So instead of putting my pj's on at 7pm and relaxing, I put my running clothes on and went out to do that stupid little run, in the dark. It was OK and I did feel better that I did it and didn't blow it off.

Reason #1 having a coach works: It really keeps you committed and honest. I didn't want to log that I skipped the w/o for no real good reason.

Masters on Wednesday morning was a challenge. For some reason we don't have assigned lanes, which I think would make things a lot easier. I always get in lane 4 and am always there early because I have to leave a little before 6:30. Lane 5 also always has the same group in it and they're always there early too. Usually it's me and Becky, most of the time Nancy, before it used to be Roy. Wednesday neither Becky or Nancy showed up and lane 5's group had some people absent as well. There's another group that always swim together in the same lane. Two sisters who are twins and at least 3 other guys. I wouldn't particularly care to swim 5 to a lane if not necessary, but they have their little clique and that's what they like to do. When they showed up there were no lanes open and I was still by myself. Lane 5 had two swimmers only. So being the nice person I am I offered to move over into "kick ass" lane 5 so that they could keep their group together.

Now, the problem with lane 5 is that they don't do the "triathlete" workout. They do the next one up which is usually harder because it includes IM stuff. Sure enough, on the workout was 8x25 2 each of IM. I still can't even remember the order of IM. So I tell Patty I'm just going to do free, but she convinces me that I should at least try. Oh, here we go again with that guilt. OK, I'll try 1x25 of fly, and maybe a back or two, but I refuse to do breast. Breast is the dumbest stroke every created in my opinion. I think I managed 2 fly's and 2 back's and the rest was free. Oh, did I mention these 25's were on a time interval? I don't remember what the time interval was, but it was too darn short, as usual.

Next on the w/o: 9x100 on the 1:50.

I'm thinking a) I'm going to drown at some point doing this, or b) I'm going to make it through about 3 of these and be done.

Mark led the group, I went second (bad idea), Patty went last. Well, I was doing fine with the 1:50's as long as I had a draft, but since Mark was so darn fast I couldn't stay close enough to benefit. So after two 100's I suggested Patty go second. That worked much better. Surprisingly, I actually made it through the whole set, and I didn't feel too horrible either.

Yesterday I went down to pick up my race packet for the 1/2 marathon tomorrow. I get off work at 2:30 on Friday's (thank God!). The Little Rock marathon expo is nothing big deal, which is a good thing because I didn't spend a dime on anything. Not even a gel. The t-shirts this year are a lot better than the ugly things they had last year, and fortunately they don't have anything about this year's race theme on it. Someone decided since this was the 6th year of the event they'd call it "Six in the City", so they have all these logo's everywhere with lipstick lips on it. It's pretty dumb and inappropriate for a race if you ask me. This is the second year they've done something "sexist". Last year they gave out pink and blue finisher's medals for females and males.

I have all my stuff here and ready to go (number, chip, outfit, gels). Weather forecast for tomorrow is about 50 degrees at the start at 8am with winds from the south at about 10-12. From the south shouldn't be too bad since we'll be running in the city so most of the time it should be shielded. It's supposed to get up to 70 for the high, but I'll be finished far before it gets that warm.

Check back tomorrow for the post-race report!