Monday, February 27, 2006

"The Windy City I Left My Heart In..."

Greetings from San Francisco (the heart part of the title) where it is unbelievably windy (the Chicago reference).

I was supposed to fly out of Minneapolis at 2:30 pm today but the flight was delayed by over 90 minutes. Bad weather here on the coast. Rain and wind, wind, wind. I finally left freezing Minneapolis and got here, safe and sound, although the flight was quite bumpy. I'll be here for a little over 24-hours and then back to Arctic Tundraland. I've got a couple of meetings and am also hoping to spend a little time with my brother, sister-in-law and niece.

The really nice thing about today was that I got to work from home before leaving for the airport. I sat in on a teleconference call and then took a run to the postoffice -- literally.

I ran there to mail my brother-in-law a birthday card. The weather was cold (20's) but sunny. Not too long of a run (a little over two miles). Just nice to get out and stretch my legs a bit.

Usually I pack running clothes when I travel, but I was clever enough to check online for the forecast before I left.

It is one thing to run in the rain in your home city, where you have your jacket, hat, quick access to towels and a warm shower. It is another thing to do it when you are traveling and having to pack wet running clothes in a suitcase....

My breathing is way off, which is bumming me out in a very big way. I'm hoping it is really just a winter thing and not an 'age' thing or an 'asthma' thing.

My eating was almost okay today. After getting to the hotel tonight, I ventured out in to the wind to find a store to buy some water. I found that and a crummy Chinese restaurant. Whaddya do?...?

At least I didn't pack any boxes of Girl Scout cookies. (Those are waiting for me at home!)

Sunday, February 26, 2006



"I got a cold in the head...." I've been fighting one for a couple of weeks. Hubby was sick before the indoor tri and I've been wrestling germs ever since. This one sprouted up on Friday. It isn't TERRIBLE terrible, just plugging up my nose a bit and rattling around in my lungs.

The cold did not hlep my motivation when I woke up on Saturday morning to run with my group. I was stuffed up and the temp was only about 4 degrees. I knew that the day was supposed to warm up a bit (reaching some where in the 20's), so I went back to bed and ultimately got some additional rest.

I did go out Saturday afternoon, when it was sunny and in the high 20's. I ran Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. My lung capacity was not great, but I did the miles. My body wasn't tired -- meaning my legs and arms were functioning just fine. It was my breathing and my mental side that were my enemies.

Still, all in all, it was beautiful out. The sun was warm (when I was out of the wind); lots of people out, so there was plenty to watch. I was glad I got out.

I bought a new pair of Asics Gel Kayano (sp?) Saturday afternoon. My old ones have no more arch support. I usually alternate a couple of pair (currently old Kayano and Saucony Hurricanes). My Hurricane's are holding up okay, although my guess is they will have to be replaced in about eight weeks.

The registration form for Grandma's 1/2 marathon came in the mail on Thursday and I got it back in the mail that afternoon. I should know this week whether or not my entry was drawn in the lottery. That event is about 17 weeks away -- my big tri is 20 weeks away. Most of my training efforts will be focused on the tri. I'm confident about the running side -- as long as I keep running with the club a few nights a week and get a long run in on Saturday, I should be able to cover the 13.1 miles pretty well.

I'm much more concerened about the 0.9 mile swim and the bike ride of the tri event. I found a couple good training plans and will figure out which one to follow. They range from 8 weeks to 10 weeks, so I have a little time to work out the details. Pretty exciting, though!

I go to San Francisco tomorrow for a two-day business trip. I'll bring my running stuff and get out Tuesday morning before my meetings. That is one of the great things about running -- you can do it pretty much anywhere. I've had great runs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York City, Las Vegas, Chicago, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Bismarck and Rapid City, North Dakota; Door County, Wisconsin, etc.

I hope to be able to post while I'm gone -- otherwise, I'll share my adventures when I get back home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Fat Lady Sings

I went in for a physical on Monday. (I developed asthma as an adult and use albuterol to control it. It isn't that bad -- although it generally is much worse in the winter than summer and this winter, I've been particularly wheezy). My prescription ran out, so the doc wanted to see me before he'd refill it.

I had also been thinking that it was time for a little "look/see". I'm getting older -- still running-- doing triathlons -- pretty active-- but older and worry about my little heart keeping up with me.

The doc says that I'm healthy -- everything looks just great ("stellar", he used to describe my cholestorol level). However, I am up about 8 lbs from two years ago.

He didn't chide me or give me "the lecture", which is great. I knew that my weight was up. Jeans are tighter, I feel "puffy" in my legs and arms. It is winter here. And I mean WINTER. The air temp on Saturday morning when I work up to go running was 17 BELOW zero. With the windchill, it was well in to the negative 20's. I did not go running.

I'm trying Weight Watchers
again and I know that with warmer weather, I'll be training more and more active, weight has always been an issue.

I was a fat kid, a fat adolescent and, at times, a fat adult. I'm prone to heaviness genetically, but also am an emotional eater. My eating issues have been vast and deep -- including decades (really) with a very bad eating disorder.

The only thing that actually turned the tide for me with my eating disorder was running. I was training for my very first 10K race. I was in Maryland on a business trip and had found an open track at a high school. I was running laps, looking very much forward to the delicious Chinese dinner I was going to have when it finally hit me that I was not going to be able to keep up the eating disorder if I was going to continue running. The two do not go hand in hand. I knew at some point that the stress would be too hard on my heart. I pretty much left my eating disorder on the track that night.

The good news is that my eating really is much much better, oh so many years later. I can't tell you the last time I ate fast food (outside of Subway), or consumed an entire large pizza by my self, or made a regular practice of visiting the bathroom every time I ate. My diet is pretty "clean" and yet I've put on weight. So what does that tell you?

My portions are too big and I still have big downfalls (M&Ms and cookies in particular).

You know that saying about "inside a fat person, there is a thin person waiting to get out"? You certainly could say the reverse is true for me. Left to my own devices, I really could get in to huge trouble.

I do love eating and sometimes it does really frustrate me that I still get wrapped up in the numbers.

The other really hard thing about dieting is that I am hungry -- a lot -- which is not much fun either. (I know, boo hoo).

Oh well... what else can I whine about today?

I had an okay run last night -- 1/2 marathon training started. I'm meeting a good friend tonight for coffee. My husband and I will be married six months tomorrow. Today I didn't have any M & Ms...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We TRIed our best

Last Sunday was the Tri-u-Mah indoor triathlon, held at the University of Minnesota. Hubby's first, my fifth. (My first was last year's event at the U).

The tri is held at the Recreational Sports complex at the U and we spend 30 minutes each swimming in a pool; riding on a stationary bike and then running on a treadmill. The winner is based on total distance covered.

My event went pretty well. I felt very comfortable in the pool. The U has a great swimming facility complete with several pools. The pool we were in is one depth -- 7 feet, with lenghts of 25 yards. It was divided in to 10 lanes and each participant had his or her own lane.

It is a whole different experience than a swim in a regular triathlon in a lake, where you really can't see the bottom; there are waves to contend with, weeds and -- oh yeah-- other swimmers all around you.

I ended up swimming further this year than last year, 0.61 miles, and I felt good about that.

The locker room was packed when went in to T1 (transition from swim to bike). We had 10 minutes, but I had some problems. Despite my packing and repacking of gear the night before, I did not have my running shorts with me. My friend Marcia, who was also competing in the event, had an extra pair so I borrowed hers. I still ended up losing 1 1/2 mintue on the bike because my transition went too long.

My bike portion and run portion went well -- although I covered less distance this year vs. last year. In total, I covered 9.25 miles -- nothing too stellar compared to other participants, but I had a great time.

Hubby really did great too. Truth be told, he hates to swim. I mean really HATES to swim. He is not comfortable in the water and it impacts his ability to make real headway. But he got through it and then really did well with the bike and run. I'm very proud of him.

His son and daughter were with us for the weekend and were at the event to cheer us on. His daughter has 'caught' the fever now and we are signing up to do a rely indoor tri in mid-March. Hubby will row this time; she will bike and I'll run.

I'm going to sign up for some swimming lessons. I am swimming better, but there has got to be other tips and tricks to make the process easier. The real thing that I need to do much more of before the LifeTime Fitness tri this July, where the swim will be .90, is do much more open water swims to really get comfortable in the lake.

I also signed up for the Wells Fargo 1/2 marathon scheduled for May. I've run the event twice in the past. Pretty - but hilly- course. Also quite fast -- I usually can keep up with the pack for the first few miles of an event, but with this one, I'm dusted in about the first 3/4 mile. Oh well.

Training started last Saturday and, in typical Minnesota style, the weather has turned ugly. Much colder than January and more snow expected to hit. This Saturday (the day of our Long Slow Distance run), the high temp for the day is expected to be 12, with wind chills well below zero. Nothing worse for me than running in that kind of cold.

Perhaps Saturday will be a cross-train day....

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

After a pretty mild December and early January we, living here in the winter-wonderland known as Minnesota, are back in the freezing zone.

Just in time to start Grandma's Marathon and 1/2 marathon training! Yee ha!

Our training starts on Saturday. The program will be 18-weeks for the marathoners. I'm going to attempt to get in to the 1/2 again this year, so I'm going to have to wait to see if my name is chosen in the lottery. I'll start running with the marathoners this week and then spin off in to the 1/2 marathon class when it starts.

This always seems to happen -- the first few weeks (or months) seem to be cold and snowy, but the days do get longer, the lakes do unfreeze and the temps do rise, so I shouldn't be so dismayed.

I guess I'm just getting sick of winter. It wouldn't be so bad if the temps would be in the 30s on a consistent basis. Much colder than that is pretty yucky and we can get VERY yucky.

I have been more diligent about some cross training since I got back from Las Vegas. I've been swimming; lifting weights again and last night ran the treadmill.

Hubby and I (along with a couple of friends) will be doing an indoor triathlon this Sunday. We swim, bike and run for 30 minutes each, with 10 minutes of transition between the events.

It will be hubby's first tri -- I'm very proud of him. I know that he is pretty much just doing this for me, which I appreciate.

I did this event as my first tri last year and loved it. It opened the door for me doing three others last year. I've got my eye on several for this year, including the Olympic distance event of the Lifetime Fitness tri this July.

I'm eating better too -- no pound bags of M & Ms hidden in any drawers -- but still am hungry most of the time. At lesat I'm making more reasonable choices.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Back from Sin City

Just got back from 10 days in Las Vegas. I was there attending two conferences, with a weekend inbetween where my husband, my sister and her husband came out for some fun.

I had a great time, but the trip got long.

The first conference was at Rio -- met some nice people and potentially good connections. Also got to spend some time with my (crazy) former boss. A lovely person, but crazy indeed. The second conference was at Caeser's and was with my work group.

For the most part, I really like the people I work with, but continually stuggle with my boss. Nice guy -- very different style from me and we really don't connect very well. I work in a very male dominated work group and the management structure is very sexist. (I'm sure someone must have told them that this is 2006...)

There are also a couple of women that are difficult to deal work. I just try to do my best, plug along and not be too much of a nightmare back.

The real fun was when my husband, sister and brother-in-law came out. We gambled (lost miserably); ate out at some wonderful restaurants and just generally had a blast.

Hubby and I rented a car, so the four of us went out to Lake Las Vegas to look at some property. The four of us have thought long and hard about buying something, but my problem is the "long distance" from Minnesota. I just don't see how only being there a few weeks out of the year is worth the expense. never know.

Hubby and I also went golfing. We had a terrific time playing a par-three course called Cloud Nine at Angel Park. The holes are designed to replicate some of the famous courses (like St. Andrews). I'm new to the sport but just loved it.

There was a four-some about two holes ahead of us that was slow and would not let people play through (rude, rude, rude). Because of them, we hooked up with a very interesting man and played the rest of the course with him. Great conversation, fun day.

I exercised very little (ran a couple of times) and ate way, way, way too much. I'm sure my weight is way up. This does not make me happy in the least, but I'm not very motivated right now to do much about it. Marathon training starts in about two weeks, so my exercise will go up.

I just wish my response to unhappiness wasn't putting food in my mouth...