Fast and furious business trip this week to San Francisco.
The trip was planned long before Gorby was diagnosed with cancer. I feel a little guilty for leaving, but work is work, and Gorby is doing remarkably well. And, I've got some ACE cat sitters taking care of the house and the critters.
THANK YOU GINNA AND SABRINA!
One really nice thing is that Hubby had to be here too for work so, although we traveled separately and arrived and will depart on different days, we do get to hang out a bit here.
My training plan is "suffering" a bit here, as I don't have a bike here. (Yes, I know I could rent one, but....)
My coach, Greg, did write out my training plan to accommodate my travels: yesterday called for hill work.
I did a nice warm up going from the hotel down to the Ferry Building, over past Fisherman's Wharf to the beach where other triathletes do their open water swims.
I continued past the beach and went out on the breakwater. Turned around and started hill repeats at the entrance of Fort Mason.
The entrance is open to pedestrians and bikers only, so I didn't have to worry about anyone trying to recreate the "Karl-Malden-Michael-Douglas ARE the Streets of San Francisco" thing.
WOW. Talk about a hill for repeats! Zowie!
Up and down; up and down; upanddown; upanddown; updown. You get the drill.
After my run, Hubby and I went Circa for dinner. The head chef is one of the folks that was on Top Chef - Chicago last season. Food was very good (salmon and brown rice for me; sea bass and garlic mashed potatoes for Hubby). We split a slice of really SUPER DELICIOUS key lime cheesecake for dessert.
Hubby is on his way back home now; I leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
I have a swim workout planned for later today. No, not in the bay (call me "Weenie"), but a nice pool at a health club near the hotel.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Fast and furious business trip this week to San Francisco.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
This was a big weekend for training activities. Pigman is only 20 days away...so it is PEAK training time.
My coach, Greg, scheduled a four-hour bike ride on both Nat's and my calendar for Saturday. We met at my house at 6:45 am yesterday and took off on the trails. We rode routes between Minneapolis and St. Paul for two-hours and then hooked up with our friends Marcia, Marty and Gary at Lake Nokomis.
They were also doing a ride, so we figured "the more, the merrier". We all rode together for about 50 minutes, and then Nat and I turned around to head back to my house.
The ride was actually not too bad. We both determined that we did not bring enough to eat, though. My two fat free Fig Newtons just didn't cut it.
We covered about 50 miles over the 4-hour ride. We stopped a couple of times for traffic lights; once because I fell. At a stoplight.... Not moving..... Just clipped in to my pedal on one side and did the classic BOOM and went over. Hurt my pride more than my hip, which landed squarely on the curb....
We both were hungry and tired after the ride, but it was a confidence builder. We both now think that 56 miles is attainable. Hurrah for us.
Greg, who is also Nat's coach for Pigman, is trying to work with both of us on the "nutrition during the event" thing. It is a delicate balance that we haven't quite mastered.
I also have been experimenting a little with hydration options. I really like Gatorade Endurance Formula. It has a little extra sodium and because I sweat so much when it is hot, I think this is helpful.
I used to be able to buy GEF in liquid form at a local grocery store. But, it must not have been a big seller, because it is no longer offered. Instead, there are shelves and shelves of the "new" Tiger formula. (Named for you-know-who, the Golfer...). That formula also has some extra sodium, but not the same as GEF.
I finally broke down and bought the giant TUB of GEF powder. I found it at a local running store. This works out well for me, because I can mix the formula's strength to my taste a little easier.
But why leave well enough alone?
I had read about Accelerade and found that Target carries it. I picked up a couple of bottles and have used it, but don't like it at all. It has a milky taste to it that I don't care for. Rule out Accelerade.
I had received two bottles of ABB Carbo Force at an event earlier this year. Finally tired those out and they were okay.
I think I'm going to just stick with GEF -- tired and true.
Today's plan called for a 2-hour run. It was very hot and very humid outside. Typical August weather for us, but since the summer has been so unusual, I'm not totally acclimated to the humidity.
Generally, I don't mind the humidity -- it does take a little bit of time (like, oh let's say, the month of June...) to get used to it.
I left the house and felt very good for about 75 minutes of the run. At 1:15, I started to lose steam. At 1:33, there was no gas in the tank (see "nutrition" comments above). At 1:53 of the run, I was D O N E.
It took every ting I had to just talk myself through running those last eight minutes.
Finally, they ticked away and I was done. Hurrah for me.
Friday, July 25, 2008
So I've been pretty good following Weight Watchers over the last several weeks. My company started a WW at Work series and I signed up for the 12-week series.
I've lost any where between 12 and 15 lbs, depending on which scale I use, when. (I'm sure many of you know and can relate to the drill: weigh yourself at home, nekked, in the morning after you pee and it is one number. Go to the meeting, which is held after you've had your first Venti Coffee from Starbucks, are wearing your work "uniform" and it is another number...)
Anyway, I'm glad that I dropped some lbs and am -- for the most part -- eating "cleaner".
Training has ramped up and I find that I'm hungry A LOT.
Yesterday, Hubby and I were driving to work and drove past Buca di Beppo -- home of the biggest, most deeelicious family-style platters of artery-cloggin', gut-bustin', Eye-talian food.
Someone else's voice came out of my head: "Man, I could really go for Buca!".
Hubby said "Yum".
We were going to meet Stepdaughter for dinner anyway, and it was way too hot to cook so, like lemmings drawn to the cliff, we made reservations for 7:30 pm and had a food fiesta.
Hubby was right: Yum.
Today's workout schedule called for a brick: bike for 1 hour; then run for 30 minutes.
I could not drag my pasta-laden carcass out of bed at 5:30 am today, so I had to wiggle the brick in during the middle of the day.
Oh -- Summer, which has been rarely seen here in Minneapolis this year, made an appearance today: It is in the high 80's and humid.
Perfect for heading out midday for a bike and run.
All I can say is I'm glad it's done. The bike was pretty good. The run was tough.
The only good thing is that I kept reminding myself that being out in the middle of the day is good practice for Pigman.
I figure that the swim/bike for the 1/2IM will take me about 5 hours (plus or minus many minutes). Race starts at 7:30 am, so that puts me starting the run sometime after 12:30 pm.
No reason to do training runs at 7:00 am when it is cool and comfortable, when I'll probably be out there in the middle of Iowa, plodding along in the afternoon.
Tomorrow, Nat and I will do a 4-hour training RIDE. Our plan is to do part of the ride with our friends Marcia, Marty and Gary.
I hope the humidity breaks!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I met Nat at 6:00 am today for a swim in Channhassen's lovely Lake Ann.
Nat's toe has mostly recovered -- she still has a scab where her nail used to be, but no pain and no scariness, so she is back in the training saddle.
It was a little tough to get up at 5:00 am since it was still dark out. Thank heavens for the timer on our coffee maker.
I can just about stumble out of bed, head in to the kitchen and have that sip of coffee to help convince me it is NOT time to get back under the covers.
We met in the parking lot near the beach just as the raindrops started to fall.
We tried to "convince" each other that we should alter our plans, but then the reality that Pigman 1/2 Iron is less than 30 days away.
There was not threat of thunder or lightening, so we trotted down to the beach, put on our wetsuits and went swimming.
It was a good workout for us. We took the same route I did with our coach -- Greg -- a few weeks back. It took us about 3/4 across the lake and back, for a total of about 40 - 45 mintues.
Then it was home, kiss the just-waking-up Hubby, shower, feed the cats, and zip to work.
I'm not sure that the workday will be as fun as the swim...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Just a quick update:
I had a very early conference call with folks on the east coast yesterday, which cut in to my regular morning training schedule.
I was able to still get a good bike workout in yesterday by riding to and from work. May not sound like the "best" bike workout, if you equate "best" to "intense", but when you are running short on time, you get in what you can get in.
I swam with my Tri Club's Masters group last night -- had a really great workout over the hour.
warm up 200 each: IM (I do breast and free); freestyle drill; free build
2 sets each: 100 all out, 50 easy, 10 second rest; 100 at mile pace, 5 seconds rest; 100 at mile pace less 5 seconds, 5 seconds rest; 100 mile pace, 50 easy, 30 seconds rest.
300 free, trying to take two less stokes for each 100. I could cut back by one, but not two...
I'm really starting to notice how much daylight has disappeared over the last few weeks. I'm up at 5:00 am and usually out the door for my first workout of the day by 5:30 or 5:45... and it is still dark now.
Last night, the sun was gone within 45 minutes of hitting the pool. We wrap up the outdoor workouts for the summer next week. Then it is back to the boring, 25 meter indoor pool.
Time really flies....
Monday, July 21, 2008
Gorby came home on Saturday -- one day after surgery.
He was doing so well postoperatively (vitals were good; he was eating and drinking) that they let him come home.
It is great to have him back in the house. He is moving slowly, but doing all the right cat stuff -- eating, drinking, using the box and, best of all, purring.
I'll have a full biopsy report in about a week. I am not expecting any miracles.
I will talk to the oncologist about what to expect. My current plans are to spoil that cat as best as I can.
Thanks to you all who posted thoughtful comments. I know he is just a cat, but he is my cat and he means a lot to me.
Back to training --
I did a brick workout on Saturday with my good friends Marcia and Gary. We swam at Lake Nokomis for about 25 minutes and then went on a 25 mile bike ride.
Gary is an avid cyclist and lead us on a great route that went through Minneapolis, St. Paul and some of the near by suburbs. We rode on beautiful trails, near the Mississippi River and through some great parks.
My training plan scheduled for Sunday was a 3-hour bike ride. I liked the route Gary showed us so much that I pretty much repeated it, adding some additional miles to get to 3-hours. According to mapmyrun.com, I went just about 35 miles.
My only problem yesterday was a crash that happened on one of the bridges over the river.
I went riding later in the day, when the weekend warriors were out. Many families were taking advantage of the nice day. I was on a bridge heading back in to Minneapolis from Mendota Heights and there was a dad riding with a daughter going the opposite way. Behind him was his son (about 8 years old), who's attention was on the river, not the path.
He was veering over to the middle of the path and I had no where to go. He didn't hear me call out to him, "Heads UP!"
His handlebars clipped my handlebars and we both went flying down.
Fortunately, neither of us was hurt (no blood), but his hand hurt and my hip is tender today.
The boy apologized profusely -- I did too. The dad was not mad (hurrah) and we all survived.
Made me very leery of bridges for the rest of my ride, though.
The next couple of weeks will be filled with lots of intense workouts. I'm okay with that. It will help me keep my mind off of other things.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Gorby is out of surgery.
Did "well" -- tumor is removed. He is still sleeping off the anethesia.
Doc said the tumor was large, but no evidence that it had invaded the bowel (good).
Lymph nodes are "huge" (not so good). Partly because they were near a blood source and partly because of the cancer.
If the sutures hold and he starts to heal quickly, he could be home by Sunday/Monday.
Then we take it one day at a time.
No clever title for my post today.
Just a couple quick updates:
Gorby is in surgery as I write this. The U found a donor cat to supply blood if needed. The blood thing is a big deal -- found a bunch of info on it via my friend "The Google".
Most interesting info was found here.
I should know his status in a couple of hours by the latest.
In the mix of all of this, my training has really taken a back seat. Too tired; too exhausted (which are two different things if you think about it...); too drained.
But, unfortunately, that countdown timer to the right of my blog doesn't stand still just because I have a sick cat and Pigman is coming up soon.
I actually got my tush out of bed this morning and went for a run.
I had a great run. Felt really good, felt like I was running at a good pace, didn't take any walk breaks between my house and all around Lake Calhoun.
I walked through a small parkway for about a block on the way home and then ran the rest of the way. Covered 4.29 miles in less than 45 minutes, putting my pace at slightly less than 10:29/mile.
I'm happy with this because my running has been very ragged this year. Today felt really good.
It has also been tough keeping my appetite under control. The good news is that I'm not raiding the candy jar. I'm just not being as diligent about points right now.
What can I say?
I'll post when I have more news about Gorby.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Quick update: Gorby is at the U waiting to have the tumor removed.
The procedure falls under the Palliative Care umbrella.
For those of you non-medicals (like me yesterday), Palliative Care is any form of medical are or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than halting of delaying progression of the disease or providing a cure.
In other words, we are taking the possibility of an intestine problem (perforation, constriction or obstruction) off the table by taking the tumor out, but are not getting rid of the cancer.
Apparently that is not an actual possibility.
Very hard news to take, especially since the cat "looks" so healthy.
The surgery was scheduled for this morning, but there is a shortage of cat blood in Minnesota! (Can you believe this????)
They have to try to shore up supplies before they can do the procedure, which will probably be tomorrow.
When the Vet called me to tell me this today, she said that the "donor cats" aren't due to donate, but that another Vet Tech had cats that were already screened, so they are going to try to use them today.
(I have have visions of cats reclining on chairs, donating blood and then eating liver pate cookies and drinking mouse juice afterwards to help get their strength back....)
Anyway, my current thought is that if the surgery doesn't happen tomorrow, it is a sign from God/Buddah/Allah/Jehovah/Mother Earth/Krishha or who ever that it shouldn't happen and we should just bag it.
At least that is my thought at 3:28 pm today.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I take Gorby back to the U today for a "surgical consult" with Team One to determine the course of action regarding his intestinal tumor.
I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place:
If I do nothing, the tumor will grow and cancer will spread OR the tumor will grow and either obstruct, perforate or constrict his intestine, which, along with the cancer, presents a whole new set of problems.
I've got a list of questions a mile long to ask and reask Team One about the procedures, the recovery process, the recovery success, etc.
Depending on all the answers, Gorby will either spend the night there and have surgery tomorrow or come home with me, untreated.
Gorby, during all of this, just keeps trucking. Eating like a horse; drinking; "eliminatining"; looking for attenting and getting lots of love.
I was going to post a picture, but the Blogger template is a little weird today, and I don't see the icon to upload photos.
I'll leave you with this: =^..^=
Sunday, July 13, 2008
There it is! My name in lights! First place in my category. Yee ha.
First things first:
This "stuff" with Gorby (see post from July 11th) is very wearing. I've talked with the vet at the U; my regular Vet; my sisters, Hubby, friends, etc. All "roads of advice" point to really the only option, which is a crappy one:
Get the cat in for surgery to remove the tumor as soon as possible. Won't cure him, but will (hopefully) stop the chance of a perforated bowel or obstruction or blockage, which may be even more horrible than just having cancer. Then, continue to make decisions as more info is revealed.
I'm trying to get an appointment for this week, as much as I dread it.
Thought I'd post a couple of pictures of him taken today as we sat out in the backyard enjoying the summer. He doesn't look sick does he?
Other photos to post today are some shots from LifeTime:
Jill Goodwin, another Goody Girl from Columbus, participated yesterday at LTF. We both were wearing our Goody uniforms, so we found each other. Hubby took a picture of us:
Here I am rocking out of T1.
Finally, my time on the Podium.... that was kind of fun, I have to admit.
Unlike other years, they didn't have the trophy at the event.
They said they would mail me my award.
Wonder if they could just award me a cancer-free cat?
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Short version of my results at today's LifeTime Fitness tri:
Friday, July 11, 2008
LifeTime Fitness tri is tomorrow. I'm excited and "ready" -- I think.
I have a larger issue occupying my brain today, though.
I'm a cat person. Hubby and I have four of them -- Lefty, Callie, Kirby and Gorby. We love those fur balls of wonderfulness.
Gorby and Callie were my cats; Kirby, Hubby's and Lefty is "ours". We adopted him after we were married.
When I adopted Gorby, he came to live with me and my first cat, Dinki.
Dinki came in to my life in 1977. I was going in to my sophomore year at Wisconsin and was moving in to my first "off campus" apartment. She was abandoned by her former owners and was hanging out near the porch of the apartment.
I took her in, we shared a lot of tuna (I was following the Weight Watchers program then as well...) and that was that. She stayed with me until she died, 22 years later.
Gorby came to live with Dinki and I during a very difficult stretch of time for me. My father had passed away and a very good friend of mine, Marlene, had been killed in an accident while we were on a trip to Chicago.
Yes, we. I was with her when she was hit by the car.
So it was a particularly bleak time in my life then when I went to the Humane Society and found Gorby. He was a very welcomed and loved addition to my life.
So I have a l o n g history with these animals. And, as any animal lover will tell you, they have a way of wiggling in to our hearts as true members of the family.
Gorby developed a mast cell tumor on the top of his head about a year ago. Typically, these tumors are not a big problem for felines.
I saw my vet and then took him to the University of Minnesota Veterniary Teaching Hospital -- an amazing place. Because of some additional issues with Gorby (a heart murmur and a bout of kidney disease), I opted to not have the tumor removed. It wasn't bothering him and there was no evidence of any other issues.
About two weeks ago, I took him back to the U for a recheck. The tumor had grown and I wanted to see what my options are. The doctor said the tumor was really not an issue, but went on to find a mass in his belly during the exam.
Gorby had an ultrasound on Wednesday and it revealed a large tumor, which is wrapping itself around his intestine. His lymph nodes were also enlarged. The Vet took some samples and I got the lab results yesterday.
The news is not good.
The cancer is "aggressive" and the prognosis is not positive.
At a minimum, he'll have to have the tumor removed. (If not, either the cancer will kill him, or the tumor will eventually get so large it will constrict his intestine or block it or rupture.)
The Vet said that surgery and chemo won't cure him -- but could give him 5 to 15 months. I am still waiting to find out more information from an oncologist about what treatment options are available, along with the risks, ramifications and issues treatment will bring.
I hate this part of owning a pet.
So what does this have to do with a "Master Spreadsheet"?
The year that my Dad was sick was obviously very stressful. It is hard to watch some one you love start to fail and everyone in the family was very worried about him.
I went to the bank one day to take money out of the ATM machine. I put my card in and when to punch my code in to the key pad and I could not remember my PIN. The same PIN I had had for many years.
No recollection. No hint. No clue. No nothing. That piece of data was permanently erased from my brain at that second, never to return again.
Yesterday, while waiting for the Vet to call me with results, I was composing an email to our Management group about reporting some information back to me for a project. I included an Excel spreadsheet that they could use to report their data.
I was trying to explain that they could use the spreadsheet I attached to the email for their data and then they could return it to me and I'd enter the info in to the......
"What do you call that again?"
The BIG spreadsheet? No..... The MAIN spreadsheet? No..... The one that is on the Web???? Noooo....
For the life of me, I could not remember what the dohicky was called.
I knew then that the same stress and preoccupation had returned.
At least my memory bank retrieved the word by the end of the afternoon.
The MASTER spreadsheet....
Doesn't really help with Gorby's health issue, nor does it help me understand the Master Plan...
Monday, July 7, 2008
The Forth of July has come and gone.
Kaboom. (ohh, ahh)
It was really a wonderful weekend, full of great activities. Hubby and I golfed, grilled and gardened.
We also got together with friends and went on a 39-mile bike ride along the Cannon Valley Trail
It was wonderful to ride with Hubby, Marcia, Marty, Kathy, Marc and Matt.
Nat and her boyfriend, Rich, were going to join us, but her toe is still on the mend. Hopefully she'll be back in the bike saddle soon.
Like every other "endurance event" I've participated in, we were all chatty and peppy on the way to Red Wing.
Once we got to Red Wing, we took a well deserved lunch break. Food and conversation were both great.
Note: less smiling faces, less enthusiasm, less pep.
It was hot and humid yesterday -- our first 90 degree day of the summer. The beach was packed and lots of recreational swimmers were splashing close to shore. Past the ropes, where the water runs deeper, were "my people" -- other triathletes getting ready for Saturday.
I got in the water, got past the ropes and swam for about 20 minutes. It went pretty well.
I'm hoping to have a better finish time than at Rochester, but I'll be happy to just participate and enjoy the day.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Lots of great things today:
1) I'm on PTO (taking a Paid Time Off day -- vacation; not at work; FREE!). I have a long stretch of days ahead of me, as I won't go back to the grind until Tuesday, July 8th. Hurray.
2) The weather is great. Although it is cool today (low 70s, which is highly unusual for Minnesota + July), it is not raining; birds are chirping, sun is shining.
The good weather is supposed to last throughout the weekend. Hurray!
3) I met Greg, one of my tri coaches, this morning at 6:30 am for an open water swim and bike practice. It rocked. HURRAY!
We met at Lake Ann Park in Channhassen -- a suburb close to Minneapolis. The lake is very pretty -- no motorized vehicles allowed, so it is pretty clean.
It was only in the 60's when I got to the park, so I was a little nervous about getting too cold doing the swim. Thank heavens for that wetsuit!
Greg is a young, very fit guy. Was a swimmer in high school and college. (He swam with my swim coach, Dave). Did all sorts of athletics pretty much his whole life: skiing; biking; swimming; boating, you name it.
The last tri he did, he placed 9th. In the whole event. I'm lucky to not be 9th from the bottom.
He works with Ben, the head coach of Endurance Athlete. Ben is a skier, biker, marathoner, ironman, etc. Again, built for power and speed.
I LOVE these coaches!
They have never been condescending or doubtful about my (aka "middle-aged, back-of-the- pack, Athena-weight-ranged") abilities. Always encouraging, always challenging, always great.
I highly, highly, highly recommend them.
Anyway: Greg's plan was to swim across the lake. He said we could get to the other side and then, if I wasn't feeling confident, we could walk the path back to our starting point.
My plan was to splash a little bit around the swim buoys.
Greg's plan prevailed.
We started out and (again or as per usual) my goggles leaked. I was nervous -- but this time, no buoy to swim up to to rest. Instead, I had to just tread water or sort of dog-paddle/breast stroke (dog stroke?) until I could move forward.
Greg would wait and rest with me. Or he'd float on his back. Or he'd otherwise occupy himself while I got my act together.
We paddled to the other side and then he says: "let's swim back".
Huh? What happened to "walk back"?
He said "You can do it".
And I did.
In fact, I swam all the way back without stopping once!
The goggles found their seal, my stroke felt good, I could site the beach end-point easily and I just did my thing.
Even Greg was impressed that I made it back with out stopping. (At least that is what he said).
After the swim, we went on a short bike (about 40 minutes). Did some hills, got some pointers and burned some calories.
All in all, it was a great workout and a great way to start my PTO.
I've got a couple of fun and challenging workouts on my training plan to complete this weekend, including a long bike ride that I'll be doing with Hubby and some friends.
Hopefully I'll have some photos of that one.
Hey, if you have a minute, give a shout out to Nat. She is still on the toe-mend. She has more really wonderful pictures on her blog.
Happy holiday weekend everyone!
Posted by Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) at 11:49 AM
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I am victorious!
I did send in an inquiry to the Timing Folks about my swim time at Rochester. The record had me taking 6 minutes longer than my watch recorded, which I thought was odd...
Here is their reply:
"You were listed as going off in the 4th wave. I have switched you to the 6th wave, which will show up in your results on the next upload."
Yippee! I took less than 40 minutes to complete the swim (39:53, NOT 45:39).
My finish time also gets dropped by six-minutes, putting me at 3:42:06 -- less than two minutes off from last years LiftTime Fitness tri.
On a second note: check out the really gross photo of Nat's toe! EWWWWW!
Posted by Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) at 3:08 PM