Wednesday, July 30, 2008
They took 13 totally sedentary people with a host of conditions that would be easy excuses to not run (overweight, diabetes, HIV) and worked with them for 40 weeks to train for a marathon. Damn if TWELVE of the 13 didn't finish, one with a freakin' piece of glass in her foot. The thirteenth only had to bow out because of stress fractures.
It was really lovely. I think I need to run at least a half. I really do.
Yeah, I still haven't left for vacation...but I was packing while I was watching the telly.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I got through 3 miles at 10:00 on the treadmill today. The last half mile was a little tough, but I'm on the mend. Yay.
The 5:00 paces on the workout list are bike rides, btw. I'm not doing THAT well.
After much struggle, I decided NOT to buy sock yarn and start a new knitting project for the long drive we have ahead of us, and instead to finish my giant embroidered quilt top while on the road. Wish me luck.
I will report, with photos, from Corvalis, OR on Thursday night. I'll let you know how the workout room treadmill is Friday morning, too. 'Cause I know everybody wants to know.
Monday, July 28, 2008
30 second vids are free, longer ones are $3.00. THREE DOLLARS to make a totally cool and professional looking video out of your snaps. Eeeeeee.
There's also a Facebook app, for those so inclined. I'm thinking, though, that at less than the price of a tall no-fat latte, I'll be making some fun stuff and saving the calories.
Here's the county fair in thirty seconds.
I *wish* it went somewhere interesting. The biggest thrill this month was writing a big check for orthodonture.
Unfortunately his interest coincides with the month that I cut back my hours at work and pay $7000 to the University of California (and that's just for the first semester). It wasn't a pretty bill-paying session, but we got through it, and even managed to have some rein-pulling-in about our upcoming trip expectations.
It's nice to do the hard stuff together. Sort of.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Little did we know, nor even suspect, how long it would be until we did something similar again.
But Thursday we said goodbye to the children and pets, left to their own devices with remote oversight by Grandma and Auntie Jan (along with two dinners fed and lots of entertainment), and headed an hour north to Petaluma for a two-night getaway from our normal lives.
- We slept in a 16 ft Airstream trailer.
- We ate weird and wonderful food (including oysters, Thai pumpkin curry, sweet potato fries).
- We hiked over 10 miles at Point Reyes Seashore without once hearing whining.
- We shopped at antique stores and boutiques for several hours (also - no whining!).
- We read books on lounge chairs for long periods of time.
- We chatted about politics, religion, aging, land stewardship, geo-cacheing.
- We did not see any action/adventure movies.
- We did not go to any amusement parks.
- We did not look at a computer.
- We did not worry about entertainment value.
- We did not find a swimming pool, a petting zoo or a beach with hot guys.
Not that those are bad things, they're just things we tend to do a lot of in our current life.
It was great. I wish I'd brought my camera, but that didn't make the packing cut. We also visited some in-laws on the way home and picked up a never-used good quality bike in just my size from them, which I shall use in my new life as a green graduate student temporarily non-competitive runner.
So today is a ride on the new bike to the new gym, for a poky workout, then coffee and a planning meeting with a school volunteer colleague, then more coffee with the sainted Grandma, then prep for my last week (my LAST WEEK) of my regular job and life. Thursday morning at 5am we leave for a two week vacay, and then I come back a part-timer at work and full-timer at school.
WeeHOO I'm excited.
Fortunately, I work with hematologists, lots and lots of hematologists (my job is in a sickle cell clinic). One came to ask me about something work-related, and ended up giving me a seminar on iron deficient anemia. I gots it, and that means my iron stores are shot, and my hopes of feeling better in a few days to a week are laughable. It'll take a good long while for me to be back up (and running) in high gear. Like, a month before I start to feel functional, two months before I feel recovered, three months before my iron stores are in good shape.
Want to know what probably pushed me over the line into IDA? Training! Who knew? The inflammation from training is a contributing factor to this, along with heavy periods (check), diet low in animal protein (check), and family history of low hemoglobin (check). This makes me feel a little better, knowing that I did it to myself by working hard.
I also learned that I need to take my little metal pills at night, with OJ, to help absorption and also allow me to sleep through the nausea that comes about 4 hours after I take 'em.
So. There we are. Cross-training and slow jogs for a while. Postponing the 10K 'til fall. At least my mental faculties will be back on-line by the time school starts.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
And better I do feel. I'm ready for a good night's sleep and then a run tomorrow morning.
I finished Anansi Boys this evening. Can't recommend it highly enough, although I'm sure it's not for everyone. It reminded me of a great roller coaster ride.
Also, I seem to have misplaced my breasts. Just in the last month, I lost two pounds (after remaining at the same weight since March), which were apparently one from each breast, as I'm now barely in an A cup. I'm not excited about this trend, but on the other hand I look more like a runner. I now have almost no butt, can't fill out even a pre-teen training bra, and am developing super-sized thighs. Yeah, it's a good look.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
One of the new routines I'm getting down is Long Run Sundays. These seem to be what Everyone does in the running world, and it makes sense in my world, too. So I either do a race or the longest run of the week on Sunday. Today was six miles. When I got back and entered all my data into various places (geek), and saw that I had burned about 2 billion calories on this run, I thought I might start another routine, to make Long Run Sundays more palatable. Real Breakfast Sundays.
Since I'm not running 20 miles on LRS's, I kept it reasonable. But for me, it was a FEAST:
Scrambled eggs with shredded light cheese, two slices high fiber toast with BUTTER (O. M. G.), and very watered down OJ. And a second pot o' Joe. Just to keep it real.
My heart rate is still too high for my pace, but it takes a while to make red blood cells, so I'll hang with the iron supplements and see. I do feel worlds better than a week ago, though, and even had a nice endorphin moment today, but not until almost the five mile mark. Still, better'n a poke in the eye.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Not bad for a garden we've neglected almost entirely since it went in Memorial Day weekend.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Today is "catch up" day - the house is getting a layer of grunge to it I'm not particularly pleased with, laundry is backing up, etc. I just got back from the grocery store and tea with a friend, so the day is off to a good start.
Neil Gaiman is my new favorite fiction author - I'm reading Anansi Boys, on the advice of my daughter, and love reading fiction that I have to work to keep up with. The last time I remember adoring an author was my first P.D. James novel, only she turned out to essentially write the same book over and over. Gaiman, according to his fans, changes what he's doing almost every book, so should be good for a longer fling.
I promised to read one of JMan's Terry Pratchetts after (they do all look very good), and then will give 21stCenturyMom's Goetzee a whirl. That ought to take me to the start of school, when I'll be reading things with titles longer than my blog entries.
It's a gorgeous day. I will try to get pictures of something, anything, up later.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
So. Two years ago I was invited to join a book club. I politely declined, I knew I wouldn't read the books. But I got to know the various members of the book club better over time, and I found out about the food part of the book club, and that they wouldn't chastise me if I didn't read the books, and I finally threw in and joined this last winter. I was crazy busy, but one of the books was a Billy Collins collection, and I love him, so that was OK. I didn't read the rest.
For summer, we were assigned two books, and I knew I wouldn't be very busy this summer, so I bought them both. The first was A Thousand Splendid Suns, which was fine. Not Hemingway, but I had no complaints, except my usual objection to male writers thinking they have even half a clue what goes on in women's heads (Memoirs of a Geisha was eventually thrown across the room for that crime). Several people told me I'd like the second summer book better, would love it, even, so I put it aside for vacation, and moved on to The God Delusion, by one of my favorite thinkers, Richard Dawkins (no, no, not the guy on Family Feud). This was a good book, it made me work to keep up, and seriously challenged my ideas about religion and spirituality.
So I finished that, and vacation is only two weeks away, I thought it'd be safe to start the second novel. I did. It is, was, The Pillars of the Earth, by suspense writer Ken Follett. It had a lovely preface, which I honestly found touching, and then a prologue that was promising.
And then it degenerated into one of the worst 100 pages of literature I've ever read. I only kept going that long because so many people promised me it would be one of my favorite novels ever.
I gave up when our hero, medieval mason Tom Builder (oh, my), finds himself freezing to death on the forest floor just hours after his beloved wife has bled to death giving birth to their son. Tom has abandoned the baby, due to lack of milk to feed the child. He has a change of heart and goes looking for the infant, who is now missing. He drifts in and out of consciousness in the snow, only to find...
...this happened ALL the time in medieval England, you know...
a beautiful naked woman, copulating with him in the snow. As if that weren't enough, he uses "pleasure" as a verb. There is a special place in hell for authors such as this.
So now I'm bookless. The Princess is recommending Neil Gaiman and JMan is pushing Terry Pratchett. On quick perusal, both look much, MUCH better than Follett. Thank goodness.
Now, what to say to the book club gals who loved Pillars? Can they still be my friends? I'm not sure.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
And, as always with depression and anxiety, there's just enough of a kernel of truth or reality in whatever one obsesses about to keep one from totally discounting it. But this evening the clouds are breaking up a little, and I can begin to see that there's a strong probability that not every single thing possible will go wrong for me from now until my demise. So I'm perking up a little.
I've also taken two days off from running, which was both physically necessary and probably not helping my head. Tomorrow I will go for a three mile galumph and see what happens.
In the meantime, although maybe not the best idea, I've been pondering and pondering what I'm going to do with my life. My friend Lori A. (who is, frustratingly, no longer a blogger, but who is to be congratulated on rockin' scores on the GRE today!) got me started a week or so ago on the long-put-off decision-making about which track I'm going to take in the program at Cal.
I attended a recruiting event put on by the CDC (that's Centers for Disease Control, for those of you not steeped in these things - it's the federal agency that either keeps us healthy or goes nuts about phantom salmonella on tomatoes, you decide) on Monday, and that got me going. I wish I could be 26 instead of 46, and unattached (although I rather like my attachments), 'cause I'd go work in Atlanta in a heartbeat. But alas, my aged self has responsibilities and a happy-in-California family and a strong need to settle into a career that's going to be both satisfying and provide some fundage for my woefully underfunded retirement account.
I looked for a long while at consulting, which seems to pay mighty fine, but also has one away from home 3 days out of five. Given that I generally need a week to recover from business travel, that's not seeming like the best fit. And there's the age thing. I do not do tequila shooters and all-nighters anymore. I'm in my flannel nightie by ten pee emm sharp, glass of warm milk at the ready. They also seem to want more business-oriented people, not number-oriented people.
And as I am a number-oriented person, I think I'm on the verge of saying for sure for sure for SURE I'm going to steer toward the biostatistics star instead of the epidemiology moon (looks bigger, more glamorous, but in the end less satisfying and useful than a star). I think, too, that I can open more avenues for myself with the stats skills than I can with epi knowledge. And there are spiffy if somewhat dull-sounding, well-paying jobs right here in the Bay Area with room for growth.
The decision comes not a moment too soon for me, either. I've been slogging through hundreds of old-fashioned paper medical charts the last two weeks (data collection on a study), and the dry skin is literally falling off my fingers in chunks. I want a nice job with a keyboard to use with PowerPoint and SAS, so I can have a manicure.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I went aGoogling "menstrual cycle athletic performance" today, after a ridiculous run this morning - it was supposed to be 5 miles at an easy pace, it was 2.5 miles at a near walk and 2.5 at a brisk stroll. I'm due to bleed today, and feel like crap warmed over. I've been a bit bitchy, yeah, but also just so tired but paradoxically unable to sleep. Yep. Sounds like a month in which one of my almost 47yo ovaries fired. That's rare lately, only about 25% of the time or less (and I root for less).
I've had the mood swing problem my whole menstruating life (and I am getting better at not blowing up like Vesuvius, even if I am still snarky), but not having been an athletic type I'd never had an issue with physical performance changing cyclically. Turns out, though, I'm not alone. Depending on what study you read, somewhere between 13% and 33% of athletic women (and one has to wonder how many of those polled even have periods) find significant drops in performance in the last week before and first few days of bleeding. One wonders whether they all throw in and take the Depo shots so they can be in whatever race they choose, rather than having to work around the calendar like I do.
This morning I was so peeved (although still not able to run far without a soaring heart rate, despite my ire) that I was thinking a full hysterectomy sounded like a great plan. But I doubt my insurance would cover it, and it'd probably backfire and cause me to lose some other hormone that's working for me.
Here's the best synopsis of research I found: http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/volk/planet-estrogen-03.htm
I also stumbled upon some really interesting stuff on digit ratio and predicted athletic performance, including some hard science. Google "digit ratio". Pretty cool: turns out your ring finger and index finger ratio is indicative of the amount of testosterone and other androgens you were exposed to in the womb. I appear to have been given the short shrift in my prenatal testosterone bath, which, I'm convinced, explains why I can't run a sub 20:00 5K.
So there. It's got nothing to do with training.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
But, c'mon. Is it really hurting anybody? I'm an adult. I can handle it. You see people all the time who do this kind of thing. They seem all right, they haven't gone over the edge. They're leading normal, functional lives.
Yep. I started looking at the half marathon training program today and thinking how I might be able to squeeze that in between work, school, and parenting. It doesn't look so bad, really.
Don't worry about me. I'm fine.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
What a MAN!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
But that did put some extra pressure on me to actually DO the intervals, which every fiber of my being cried out not to do. And I did have to walk the lap between the last four, but I did actually complete 8 400 meter laps at 8:00 pace. So I'm feeling good about that. Extremely sweaty, but good.
Ashley has got me embroidering again (and introduced me to Sublime Stitching, which has way way way cool stuff), and as the quilt top is almost done, I think I will embroider some of the white squares. This may turn out to be a wedding gift for some long-time friends getting married next month (better hurry up).
My grumpy boss gave me public kudos yesterday (well-deserved, if I do say so myself), but then announced to everyone on the phone conference that I am going to nursing school next month. No offense to nurses meant, none, but I yelped out loud, which was a little embarrassing. But of all the professions in all the world that I think I would suck at most, nursing ranks number 1. I hate needles, sick people and the vast majority of doctors. Not gonna work for me.
Tonight I must venture out again via car to purchase items for the Princess at a mall. A big mall, out in hot-ville. I will need some kind of motivation for this activity, and I'm thinking Coldstone Creamery is a reasonable compensation. Glad I put in the miles this morning.
[Add. I tried on bathing suits before we got food, and somehow ice cream was no longer at the top of my list at that point...can't think why! On a related tangent - I want to wear board shorts and a sunblock top at the beach, but apparently am too old to be allowed to wear this. The only things I could find that actually cover my still-scary-despite-running thighs were in the junior department and came with itty bitty bikini tops. For old ladies who want to cover thighs, we get...a ruffly skirt. The skirts are both unattractive and hopelessly uncool - a twofer!
I will be sticking with a plain ol' Speedo this summer.]
Monday, July 07, 2008
I did, as I thought, come in 8th in AG. Fastest age group time was 20:53, which? Not gonna happen for me, not if I lost another 20 and took steroids. I came in smack dab in the middle of the whole race, 91/175. These were some fast folks, on average. But I did beat a guy in Rex Kwon Do pants, which was all my family had asked of me at the starting line, and it looks like I beat everyone under 10 years of age, which was extremely gratifying after my last performance. Oh, and they recorded my time as 26:59, which I'll grudgingly take, even though it's more than the 26:56 I had, being that it's still on the right side of 27:00.
I took Saturday off, and ran light yesterday and today, but felt/feel like a large pile of cold congealed over-buttered mashed potatoes. Part is hormonal (bleah), part is an incoming heat wave, part is our *&$% neighbor's cat who appears to be in heat, but only lets us know from 4:00am to 8:00am every morning, but maybe a tiny part is the same thing that made me look like I do in this photo, so I'm thinking I need either another day off entirely or another extremely slow day before I start in on the speed work I'm supposed to be doing tomorrow.
*copyright, as you might imagine, Ed Jay, 2008.
** Upon reflection, I'm also more than a little pleased with how relaxed my hands and arms are, because I wasn't thinking about that in the push at the end. No wonder my shoulder felt fine after the race, unlike after most speed sessions.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
You have to picture the path to know that this was not an easy trick, and not something someone could do accidentally. Not only that, but the driver got to the end of the bike path and turned around to head back down. This was a deliberate, murderous action.
It's not that I think I'm so special that I'm exempt from the craziness of living, that this shouldn't happen in "my town". Working in one of the more challenging parts of Oakland reminds me daily that I'm mortal, and often less than safe in an unsafe world. But most crime has some, if bizarre, motive attached to it, something that allows us to vaguely understand.
What on EARTH was this nutjob contemplating as he did this?
I'm grateful, grateful, grateful (so!) that neither I nor my loved ones were involved - we could easily have been. I'm doing my best to let go of malice toward others.
But it's really hard for me to not be angry about this one.
Friday, July 04, 2008
26:56, for a pace of 8:40. Under 27:00 has been my fantasy time ever since I did my first 5K, so I guess I'm going to have to come up with a new fantasy. It was hard to tell by the way they were recording, and the age grouping was a 10 year one (40 to 49), but I think I placed 8th in a pretty hot field (I knew a few of the women running from watching them train at the gym...) No idea where I placed overall, but since every high school track and CC runner in the East Bay runs this race, prolly about a zillionth back.
I knew it was going well when I got to what I thought was about the 1 mile point (I'd plotted it on a map) and thought I must be wrong because the pace was too fast. But I was right, I was running at about 8:20 for the first mile, slowed down considerably for the next mile and a half and then put it all out for the rest. This was the first race in which I felt like I could do that - I had enough left to really push at the end. Got my HR to just shy of 190 at the finish, and felt like puking...that's good, right?
It didn't hurt that the parade route was lined with people, people who cheered loudly at the beginning and at the end. And iPods were allowed, which always helps my pace quite a bit.
The down side was that there was no transportation back to the start, where my family was watching the parade. I guess sane runners leave their family at the END of the race (doh!). Next year. But I did a nice 1 mile cool-down jog and then caught a bus for the rest. And then treated myself to some things I almost never allow: a bagel with (light) cream cheese and a Vitamin Water. Yum!
I am just so delighted, having reached an impossible goal, coming off only one rest day and no real speed training for a month. I'm all over the 10K in late August. Seven weeks of training starts Monday.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I don't know what came over me. But I'll let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The public transportation thing is making the Ann Taylor garb with heels much harder, and once I start school I will be walking miles back and forth across campus three days a week, if not biking (I haven't decided whether I'll be a biker or not...it's a big hill, UCB is). So it would seem that jeans or a nice Title Nine wardrobe would be in order, yes?
But I really need something more professional than that. I can't go to work in those clothes (we have a strict dress code), and some days I will be going in to the hospital after class. I also need to be presenting professionally in my school life, imo. I need the Big Job when this is over.
So I've cruised a few of the big chains, REI and the aforementioned Title Nine, but am just not seeing The Look. I see it ON women of a certain age walking around, especially in the City. I guess I could ask them. Until I do that, I'm open to suggestions. I am not a great shopper, so my aim is to find one or at most two stores that have what I need, and just dump all my business there.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
As a 1930s wife, I am
Other than trying not to be hateful, I really don't work at the whole marriage thing hard enough. But apparently I am nearly perfect for the 1930's. I expect I got extra points for cooking regularly, expressing pleasure at marital congress (ahem) and not liking to party without Spouse (but I don't like to party WITH him, either...)
I wonder how my grandmother (who was a 1930's wife) might have scored.