Saturday, December 3, 2011

First big snow...

Hubby and I are hunkered down at home tonight.

We are getting our first "significant" snow for the winter 2011/2012 season. Ultimately, we are supposed to get about 3 inches of the fluffy, all in all, not that much, but......just not really ready for it. Even if it is December 3rd and we do live in Minnesota.

Not a lot of changes to report.

Oscar is doing well. Tolerating his medicine, playing like a kitten and appearing to be totally healthy. Yea on that one.

STILL no word on what is happening with my job. We were supposed to know by the end of October ==,, November.... errrrr..... um, at this point, who knows when the final decision will be made. I have had a couple of interviews for the positions I've posted for, but no word for any of us on next steps since before Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Hubby and I took our annual trip to California to spend the holiday with my brother and his family. My younger sister and her husband came too.... our older sister wasn't able to travel this year, and I was sad about her not being able to join us.

We spent a lot of time at Stinson Beach -- walking the beach, watching the sunsets, running outside, hanging with family. It was great. I absolutely love that part of the country and if I could figure out a way to live there, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

My running continues to improve (yea), but I've been very lazy about doing much else. I "blame" travel, but what it really boils down to is the need for some time off.

But December 1st marked the ten-month countdown start to IMoo, so it is time to get my arse back in the pool and back in the saddle.

I am finalizing my race plans for next year -- have registered for a few events already and am looking forward to a healthy, injury free, happy 2012.

How about YOU?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Muy short and sweet

My last few posts have been pretty L O N G and involved.

This one should be pretty short and sweet....just a "catch up", really.

I just got back from spending some time in Naples, Florida. I was there for work, facilitating a workshop for about 25 sales people attending a 2012 Planning Offsite. (The offsite was held at a Ritz Carlton resort. Muy fancy. Muy nice. Muy expensive.....)

But the muy-est part of the trip was that I got a chance to see a very good friend of mine that moved to Naples five years ago -- Mary B.

Mary B and I met a long time ago, when we were both training to run Grandma's Marathon. We became fast, furious friends. Ran many a race together; did a lot of training together. She and her husband, Trevor, were two of a handful of friends that came to Las Vegas to attend Hubby's and my wedding....

Shortly after we were married, Trevor found a work opportunity too good to pass up that required them to move to Naples, so off they went.

Mary and I stayed in touch over the years, but we hadn't seen each other since they left Minneapolis, so it was wonderful to be able to see each other while I was in Naples.

We had dinner last night and then Mary and I got together for a run this morning. It was like old times, trotting together and sharing the details of our lives. It was muy great.


Oscar seems to be holding his own. The medicine is keeping any fluids build up at bay and he is playing, eating and sleeping just like a 'normal' cat. He goes back in for a check up next week and I'm hoping that the disease hasn't progressed much or, better yet, that the vet made a big fat mistake and that he is fine. "More will be revealed". Muy bien.


I had two interviews this week for jobs -- these were the standard, behavior-based questions that are routine for first interviews.

"Tell me about a time when you XXXX (successfully managed a project; had to build relationships with multiple business lines; had to deliver training to an audience that wasn't receptive, etc.). What did you to to YYYY (make it successful; ensure success; bridge gaps; identify opportunities, etc.".

Second interviews will be scheduled for after Thanksgiving, it looks like my job status will be a bit unsettled in to early December now. Still keeping my fingers muy crossed for the best.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I've been putting together a list of all the things I'm grateful for and am trying to review it -- and add to it -- every day.

On the top of my list is being grateful for having my health, because I know that without that, nothing else matters. Muy amen.


Finally, my birthday is coming up. I'll finally be my 2011 USA Triathlon age -- for a few weeks, anyway. I was supposed to go to North Dakota on a girl's road trip with some friends to visit Nat, but the weather is not supposed to cooperate. So now the birthday plan is to get in a workout or two, have some cake and be very, very low key.

Sounds muy perfect.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Faith and the "New Normal"

If you pick up a newspaper, watch the news or work for pretty much any corporation in the United States, you are familiar with the term "New Normal".

It seems to mostly be associated with the economy; with the ways and means we are supposed to be getting the economic engine revving again so that people can go back to work and companies can see profits and stock prices rise. (Or, as it really seems to mean, so that companies can see profits and stock prices rise and then people can go back to work...).

Yet, no one -- not the politicians, not the heads of corporations, not most individuals -- seem to be able to define with the term really means.

What is NORMAL these days?

I believe most of us are just trying to find some stable ground again. Ground that feels solid for longer than a day or two. So we find ourselves sort of waiting it out...applying approaches from total denial to those that are difficult (right sizing; closing doors; leaving jobs/houses).

The New Normal is hard enough to define this on a macro-level -- figuring out the world at large. It is equally as difficult to define this on a micro-level -- figuring out what it means within our little lives.

Which brings me to Oscar, our 11-month old kitten.

We adopted Oscar and his sister, Kishka, last March on Hubby's birthday. The kittens were one of six that had been born in January.

After losing Kirby, Hubby's cat, very suddenly a year earlier, we finally had healed enough and decided to bring two more cats in to our house to join us, Lefty and Callie.

Hubby's son's girlfriend had a friend with a cat that had delivered a litter and after we saw pictures of the fuzz balls, we decided it was time to add to our brood.

Kishka, named after the famed Polish polka song, "Who Stole the Kishka", got her name because she too is "round and firm and fully packed". She is the smaller of the two, black and white and adorable.

Oscar is grey and fluffy. He is as outgoing and as social as they come. Loves people, loves to be in the thick of things. Loves me (follows me every where; sleeps near my head).

We have loved having them in the house and, although it took a bit of time, Lefty and Callie seem to be happy to have them with us too.

Last Saturday, we started our then "normal" day. Woke up, ate breakfast and started our day. I took some time to watch some t.v. and have some coffee and Oscar joined me on the couch.

When I got up to really get going in my day, Oscar stayed put. Slightly unusual, but nothing alarming. As the day went on, though he really didn't budge. Slightly alarming. I ran an errand and after I got home, Hubby was sitting on the couch next to Oscar.

"Has he moved since you got home?", I asked.

"Not that I noticed", replied Hubby. Now more alarming.

I noticed that Oscar's breathing was a bit labored. We decided that he must have eaten something that didn't agree with him and that he was merely sleeping it off.

We ran one more errand and when we got home on hour later, Oscar's breathing was much worse and we knew it was time to take him in to the Vet.

We've had lots of experience taking our cats in to the University of Minnesota Vet Hospital. Ungodly expensive, but the best care in the region, as far as I'm concerned.

Oscar went in about 8:00 pm and they immediately put him in oxygen and started to try to diagnose.

He wasn't stable enough for them to do much that night, but they did take an x-ay which indicated fluid around his heart, which meant either pneumonia or heart failure.

What? Heart failure? The cat is only 11-months old! How can his heart be old enough to fail? With two older cats in the family, I knew it was only a matter of time before their time would come, but OSCAR?

The news stupefied us.

We left Oscar at the U -- they started a course of diuretics to reduce the fluid and we hoped for the best.

On Sunday morning, the Vet called and said that his condition had improved dramatically (!). They were able to run a few more tests and when the called with the results, the news was bad.

Oscar has a congenital form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy == a condition which causes the heart ventricles to become thick, which weakens the heart, which can cause heart failure.

Heart failure in cats is not curable, and we are now looking at a dramatically shortened lifespan for this tiny, loving cat. The worst case scenario gives Oscar about 3 months. The best, not much more than that, but as the Vet says, "Cats like to prove us wrong". I'm keeping my paws crossed....

What we can do, is to lessen the likelihood of fluid buildup by giving Oscar two small dosages of Lasix (a diuretic) and we can make him happy and comfortable for as long as we can.

A routine we have to build in to our "new normal" of daily life and activities.

For now, Oscar is "normal". He is eating, drinking, playing, purring and still as cuddly as ever. You wouldn't guess that there is any thing wrong with him at all. (My 'normal' reaction to this is, naturally: the diagnosis was wrong; he is fine. Some might call this denial....).

But I'm going to hold on to this for as long as I can because I can.

Before his diagnosis, I envisioned how Hubby and my lives would continue to progress as time moved us forward.

We'd continue to work (in my fantasy, I would retain my job -- a situation that is still up in the air); we'd continue to travel, to golf, I'd still do tris until I started to really look bad in spandex -- eventually we'd retire and we'd spend half the year some where warm.

In all of the scenarios that I envisioned, Oscar and Kishka were there with us, growing older with us, sharing experiences and life with us.

Now, even my future fantasy scenarios are impacted by the "new normal".

I am not happy about this -- not one bit.

What I do need to try to lean on, though, is the same thing I've been trying to lean on through all the other adjustments I've been trying to make to try to embrace the macro-New Normal -- faith.

Not the "religious" type of faith....that isn't my thing. Rather faith in that universe knows what it's doing. That there is a reason for every thing and that some how, some way it will all be okay. The outcomes may not be (and in this case definitely won't be) what I want them to be, but that there is a rhyme and reason for all things.

This belief is so easy when times are easy. Not so much when times are tough.

But I'm trying my best to believe and trying to embrace the New Normal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Euphemisms and Lessons Learned

While I am having a very hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it is OCTOBER, we happen to be having unseasonably warm weather this week -- temps are in the 80s, so the fact that the year has flown by so quickly is a little easier to take.

The leaves are also almost in full peak colors, so it is really, really beautiful outside.

Unfortunately, I've had to spend the bulk of every day working -- but I have been able to get on my bike and to walk outside a bit each day.

Tomorrow, I also get to spend the day on the golf course, playing a round as part of a Community Support event sponsored by the company I work for....I'm very, very much looking forward to this. I really need a little time to be outside and to breathe.

The stress level has ratcheted up in a big way since Ironman.

I work for a big company. I've worked for this big company for a lot of years. I've been happy, productive and successful.

I've been lucky.

I found out shortly before the race that, in an effort to "reduce redundancies and increase efficiencies", that my position was "mapped" to a new work team. And, although I've been "mapped", I haven't yet been "selected", meaning I may have a job; I may not.

I didn't have a choice. The group I worked for didn't have a choice. I just got the call one day from HR and that was that.

On the one hand, I am grateful that I'm still in the game, so to speak. I haven't been "displaced". It is "business as usual" for the time being, until the yet-unsubstantiated "selection" process is defined.

But nothing about this is usual. I don't know what criteria will be used to determine if I have a job or not (meaning do I interview? Do I have a choice about the job? The work?). I don't know, if I get "displaced", what terms will be presented to help keep me afloat.

I've been told that I shouldn't worry. That with my talent, my skills and my abilities, that I'll have a job and all will be well.

Yet, every day that goes by, I find out about other talented, skillful colleagues have been offered a "package" and are out the door. Lesson: there are no guarantees.

I'm resentful because I didn't ask for this. I'm resentful because I'm worried and there are less qualified people that remain with the business that aren't in this position at all. I'm resentful because the recession, which was supposed to be over a long time ago, isn't. I'm resentful because the politicians just keep playing politics, instead of getting real work done.

(I mean really: debate of gay marriage? Why aren't they creating jobs? Looking at alternative energy? Looking at education reform? Changing any thing of real importance? WHY IS BACHMANN GETTING ANY ATTENTION at ALL?).

I know that I'm not the only person that has gone through this over the last few years. I have been lucky to have a job through some very rough economic periods. I'm lucky that I have no debt (outside a mortgage payment) and that Hubby's job seems secure for now. The best luck I have on my side, though, is my health, for without that, I'd be really in trouble.

I should know by the end of October which direction Compass will point me...I'll either have a job or I won't. I just have to hold on and to try not to let the stress get too much of me.

In the midst of all of this, I decided to hire a new Coach --Actually, he is an "old" coach of mine. I used him when Nat and I trained for our first half ironman.

I've been lucky to work with a lot of really great coaches over the years. The coach that I used for the last two years is utterly awesome. Love him. But, I never felt that I was an athlete that was in his league. The most of his folks are podium finishers; die-hards; naturally talented.

I struggled this last year to get much attention from him and by the time Imoo rolled around, I was well trained, but felt incredibly detached from him, and honestly, that hurt a lot.

Right before I left for Madison, out of the blue, I received an email from my half-iron coach. He sent me good luck wishes for a great race.

When I was out on the run course, he was there, cheering with the crowds. He spotted me and came out to give me a great big hug. He knew, based on the clock, that I was cutting it close, but he gave me a little pep talk and sent me on my way.

When I got back to Minneapolis, after my DNF, I thought for a L O N G about what my plan for 2012 should be. I decided to go back to Greg. We started our training plan this week.

I guess what I've learned from this experience, that it is very hard to "fire" someone. I struggled for a long time about moving from one Coach to another.

When the time came, I just had to tell the truth, though. That it was better for me to work with someone that could provide me more attention; that worked more effectively with people of my ability and skills. That it was nothing personal.

Lesson learned: If I see HR show up at my office with "that look", I hope they can tell me the truth and not try to just cover the facts with a lot of pretty words.

Oh. And it's just business. It's nothing personal....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changes, Recovery and Refocus

It certainly didn't take long for the season to start changing from summer to fall. The temps have dropped dramatically; leaves are starting to change and it is dark by 7:30 pm now.

Recover week means doing very little but resting, eating, sleeping and resting some more. I have to say that, while I'm enjoying some longer snoozes in the morning, I am looking forward to getting back to some easy "maintenance" workouts.

I'll go to watch my friend Mary's son play in his high school homecoming football game on Friday night, I'll golf on Saturday and on Sunday I plan to join some friends for what is sure to be one of the last open water swims for this year.

I can start doing some short runs again soon; won't be long before I get back on the bike, but really only just for fun now, as the 2011 season draws to a close.

I will do a couple other races this year: The Monster 10 miler; maybe the Reindeer Run 5K and maybe one on or near New Year's Day....

I'll also be able to register for Tri U Mah 2012 on October 1st and can doing some 2012 event planning soon, as a number of races I want to do have already landed on dates and some have early registration open.

I'm giving some thought to training plans for 2012 -- where to do Masters swims; training program and coaching options; race ideas. No decisions yet. Just kicking around some ideas.

Changes abound right now. Professionally, personally, seasonally and athletically. Should be interesting to see how they all unfold.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DNF but okay with it....

Yes, it is true.

I pulled out of IM WI yesterday at mile 14 of the marathon, at about 9:05 pm.

Second year attempting to cross the line. Second DNF.

I made the decision to pull out after figuring that there would be no way I could run a negative split to get to the finish before the magic midnight hour. (Had "run" the first half in about 3 hours and 15 minutes or so.... and it was not pretty).

In making the decision, I had to be sure that I could live with it. That I wouldn't wake up today and regret it. As strange as this may sound, I don't and I can.


Because race day -- and the days leading up to it -- were not a total loss.

What went well:

  • I went in to this race incredibly calm. I felt more competent and prepared this year.

  • My swim was 4 minutes faster than last year.

  • My transition times tightened up.

  • My nutrition was fine. (Last year, I got was so nauseous by the time I got out to the run, I couldn't eat any thing. The only things that appealed to me were ice chips, coke (which they ran out of) and chicken broth (which was cold). This year, there was plenty of coke (which, as a non-soda drinker, I have a new found appreciation for its power to bring you back to life when you are running) AND the chicken broth was warm and salty. Perfect!)

  • Instead of hating the crowds (as I did last year), I had fun with them -- even during the run.

  • I had a GREAT first 58 miles on the bike (averaging over 15 mph, versus 13 last year). Also had a great ride back in to town after the hills (averaging 14.8 mph).

  • I had tons of support out on the course, which I really appreciated. Hubby, Nat, Lance, Angel, Rick, Mary, Jim, Gary, Marcia, Marty, Pam, Kurt, Eric, Greg, Patrick and Beverly just to name a few faces I was so very, very happy to see out on the course.

  • I remembered to be grateful.

  • I remembered to look up and to see the day.

  • I had fun in the days up to the race hanging out with Nat doing some pre race swims and stuff.

  • It was a nice weekend with my husband.

  • My other IM WI friends did GREAT! Congrats to: Ali, Debbie, Cindy, Mark, Alyssa, Kirk and MIKE WIMMER!!!!

What went wrong:

  • After that awesome first 58 miles, the second loop went south in a big way. Not sure if the day was too hot, or what, but I got very uncomfortable on the bike. My average pace dropped like a stone to just about 10 mph. Pitiful. Screwed up my plan to get back in to transition and out on the run course by 5:00 pm at the latest

  • Things that usually didn't bother me while riding. did. My shoes got terribly uncomfortable. (I may try some gel inserts to add some cushion). My "hoo ha", which never, every bothers me, really, really bothered me. (And I even had Hoo Ha Ride Glide packets, which I bought as a "joke" and didn't use. Dumb me.) My hands hurt (the tape on my handle bars came loose). Hubby had asked me if I was going to use gloves. "Why?", I replied. "My hands never bother me." Dumb me.

  • I stopped at the water stop in Cross Plains to stretch my back a little, where the following conversation with a happy volunteer occurred:
The happy volunteer to me: " ya doin'?"
My reply: "Fine...just stretching my back."
" have enough water?"
" ya feeling?"
(I thought I had answered that...) "Fine."
"You look a little hot."
"So, you want to sit in the shade a bit?"
(Not really, but are you hinting???) "So how are the riders handling the heat?"
"We are having lots of them sit in the shade for a few minutes.... wanna sit in the shade?"
(Okay, hint taken.) I got off my bike and joined a few people who were also cooling down.

I rolled in to transition waaaaaay later than I wanted to and knew that finishing the run on time would be stretch.

My running training had suffered this year, with early lack of mo-jo and then a late, nagging heel injury. My coach and I had been banking on me getting off the bike in enough time to mostly walk the marathon. My plan was to run a 3 minute/1 minute walk routine, which I started, but had some struggles keeping. I adjusted to a 2/1 routine, but my pace was off, off, off and it became apparent I was not going to be able to make midnight.

I had lots of friends out on the course who tried to get me to run more/faster, but it wasn't where my head was at. And where the head is at, the feet will, by about mile 7, I started to think that getting to the half, picking up my Special Needs bag (because I wanted the card that Hubby slipped in there), and then dropping out sounded like a good idea.

And that is what I did.

The really bad news: for as much as I prepared, the real struggle for me has always been (and continues to be, apparently), the ongoing argument with my mind.

As much as I've heard "the body can take 20 times more than the mind thinks it can", I have not been extremely successful at countering it when it woos me with it's crazy talk. Be it "you aren't good enough/young enough/thin enough/speedy enough/whatever enough" or, "just stop. It will feel soooooo good", I am not always prepared with a counter offer.

I have 360+ days to come up with a good one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's Heeerrreeee....

No, not the aliens or even that very strange blond little girl from the movie.....

Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow. It is here.

I can't believe how quickly the year flew by. I can't quite grasp that it is already September. Amazing.

Hubby and I have been in Madison since last Thursday.... got my packet Thursday; went to the dinner and official meeting on Friday; spend MOOla at the expo (MOO, of course, because it is IMOO...); Got a couple swims in; a quick bike and a quick run.

I'm feeling strangely calm about tomorrow. Probably because I made the trip down here several times and am less afraid of the bike course. Could be because I did the Madison Open Water Swim event as a 2.4 mile practice of the course. Maybe because I understand more of what I'm up against tomorrow. Who really cares why.... I'm just going with it.

Natalie and Lance got here yesterday. Angel, Rick, Patrick and Beverly are here now.....Marcia, Gary, Marty, Mary and Jim come later today and tomorrow.... It is really wonderful to have such supportive friends (and Spouse!) here to watch, volunteer and support. I have no way to appropriately repay them for this.

Other friends I've trained with are excited for their Ironman day too: Ali, Debbie, Cindy, Madonna, John, Mike W, Mark....AND friends like Eric, Helen, Steve, Ray, Kurt, Pam, Greg, Badgergirl and JWimm will be out there too - some volunteering; some just cheering, but I'm sure to "feel the love" (or at least hear the screams) while we are out there on the course.

One friend that won't be competing is Denny Johnson. He was in Boulder in August to watch some friends do IM Boulder 70.3 and went out for a training ride, when he had a very bad accident. Broke his helmet, bones and ended up with a severe brain injury. He was in a coma for almost a month and passed away a week ago. He was so excited to do IM is a rotten shame that he won't be here to compete -- won't be here any more, but his spirit certainly lives on, as many of us here knew him and will carry him with us tomorrow.

So, when I hit those dark spots -- when I've hit "the line" as the Endurance Nation folks call it, and I need to have that "one thing" to grab on to, I'll be grabbing on to gratitude. For being alive; for being able to be here; for my health; my sobriety; my husband; my family; my friends. And I'll pass a silent prayer on for Denny. Then I'll take that next step.

Friday, August 19, 2011


So the summer and Ironman training are quickly coming to an end.

I have my last "official" event of the season tomorrow morning. A 2.4 mile swim in Lake Monona, as part of the Madison Open Water Swim event.

The course will mimic Ironman's route, so I'm doing it as a practice event. After I'm done, I'll ride my bike for about 70 miles, doing the stick and one loop of hills and then it is back to Minneapolis.

I'm in Madison by myself. None of my friends that are doing Wisconsin signed up for this event. I do have one other swimming buddy down here, but we are really only pool and facebook friends. We don't spend a lot of time together outside of the water and cyberspace.

This whole training year has been a little lonely. Natalie moved to North Dakota to marry the love of her life; my other running friends did a couple of shorter tris; the folks that I met through training this year and I are "friendly" but not particularly tight. Plus, I traveled a lot for work this year, so connecting for training runs or rides was pretty tough.

So I did a lot of my training and my events by myself this year. Not terrible, but a little lonely.

In some ways, this was probably pretty good for me, since even though I'll be surrounded by 2,499 other Ironman participants, the race is really just about you. And your endurance. And your thoughts.

I finally got to stay at Memorial Union this time around. Every other time I came down to Madison this year, the Union was booked.

I like staying here as it brings back some very vivid memories of my college days. Some memories are wonderful; some not so wonderful. All in keeping with my trying to make amends to myself for the years I lived here as a young person.

I sat outside on the Terrace for a long time tonight and watched the sunset, the lake and the action. Kids are coming back for the school year and lots of them were enjoying the evening outside -- many with their parents.

I thought about how, when my Dad drove me up here to drop me off for the beginning of my freshman year, I felt like I was being banished from home, Milwaukee and all things familiar.

I really didn't want to come to Madison. All my friends from high school were going to the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee or just to work. I really wanted to stay in Milwaukee and to go to school there, but my Dad put his foot down and that was that.

I thought that the world would end if I couldn't see my friends every day; if I left the comfort of the house, even though my Dad and I were constantly fighting about every thing there was to fight about.

That fall, he drove me up, helped me unpack my stuff in to that tiny dorm room in Witte Hall, took me to dinner and then got in the car and zoomed off down I-94 back to Milwaukee.

And that was that.

It didn't take long before I met a couple girls on my dorm floor that I became friendly with, so I felt a little more comfortable.

I did make the mistake of going back to Milwaukee pretty much every weekend that first semester, trying desperately to catch up with my old friends, who were living their lives pretty well and easily without me.

By the time Winter break came, I had made a number of friends at school and when I went back to Milwaukee for the holiday, a lot of my old friends basically told me I had changed so much that they didn't know me any more -- and they didn't want to get to know the new me.

And that was that.

I came back to Madison that January knowing that my life in Milwaukee was pretty much done and I had to make it in Madison. I found a (non paying) job at a radio station, fell head over heels in love with a boy, got better connected with others and never went back to Milwaukee for longer than a weekend again.

I bring this up now for a number of reasons.

One, I'm here in the hot bed of Memoryland. The Union. For good or for ill, I spent countless hours here. Some -- okay, A LOT of them --when I should have been in class..... Some -- okay MOST of them -- under the influence of some substance or another. So the memories flood back, along with the immense gratitude for having survived those years (and all the ones following) until I finally got sober and started really living my life.

The other big reason for these feelings now is related more to current day. I just found out that I'm being transferred from my current job in to a new position.

I'm working for a company (like many others) that is going through the process of "reducing redundancies and increasing efficiencies". For those of you in Corporateland, you know what that means.

Apparently, what I do is redundant. So, I'm being moved under another umbrella withing the organization.

The good news is that I'm being moved and not eliminated.

The bad news is that I have no choice in this decision. Neither does my business line, my boss or my Executive Management Team.

I happen to really like my job and what I do. I like my boss; for the most part, I like the people I work with. I've been happy, productive and successful for almost six years with this group.

I'm sad to go; I'm uncertain of the future; I feel like I've been banished.

So, in addition to reliving memories from early college years, I've been trying to remind myself that, although the change from Milwaukee to Madison was a tough transition that I really didn't want, it, for the most part, turned out okay.

The new position may be very exciting. It could open up lots of doors. It could be the best thing that happened.

I'm just stuck in the shock of the change and am trying to struggle through it a little bit.

If I can reframe my thoughts a little bit, the transition should be just fine.

At least that is what I'm hoping.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I'm on a flight from Salt Lake City back to Minneapolis as I post this. GOGO Inflight internet access is free during the month of August on Delta flights, courtesy of Diet Coke.

We live in interesting times, being able to blog and Facebook and get stock quotes and do google searches from a widow seat located 35,000 feet above the air....

My trip to Salt Lake City was productive on a number of levels. Work went well (delivered an 8 hour training class); wandered the city a bit and got to swim in the Salt Lake City Sport Complex's 50 meter outdoor pool, where every time I came up for air, I could see mountains. Beautiful.

Also did a lot of mental walk throughs of the Ironman bike and run courses. Of course, I cover the 112 and 26.2 mile distances much more quickly in my mind than I will on race day, but I'm trying to really set myself up for knowing the course inside and out.

The one piece of bad new -- very bad news, actually -- was that a triathlon friend of mine died on Tuesday.

Terry Alexander was in his truck last Monday when another oncoming car crossed the center line and hit Terry's truck head on. The two people in the other vehicle died at the scene. Terry was taken to a hospital in St. Paul, where he passed away the following day.

Terry and I used the same training facility and went to a number of the same spin classes and functional strength training classes.

He was quirky in his own way. Always very welcoming, outgoing, talkative and encouraging. He was one of the first people from the training center to include me in breakfast invites (which I never accepted.... ) or to go with a bunch of them this year to New Orleans to do IM NOLA 70.3 with them (which I did not do).

I bumped in to him a few times around the city: once in the parking lot in front of a Panera/PetSmart and again, just recently in the parking lot outside a coffee house. He would chat with me, ask me how training was going, and then provide some advice or inspirational comment.

He wasn't just nice to me. He took time to talk with and encourage everyone in our classes.

He was "A VERY NICE GUY" in the truest sense of the concept.

I am one of those people that probably spends a little too much time worrying about life and death and the meaning of both.

I worry about life cycles and time lines and spend time every week reading obituaries, usually shaking my head at the unfairness of any one under the age of 52 passing away. (You should see me shake my head after reading the obits of people in their 20's or younger. What a gyp!)

I am pretty sure I am a little obsessed about this because my mom died when I was 10; because my dad died when I was 31; because I had a very good friend (my second mother) die when I was 32. Because I've lost a sister to cancer and friends to cancer and suicide. Because I've lost pets that I loved with all my heart and were closer to me emotionally than a lot of humans. Because I spent so much time in my youth in the haze of drugs and alcohol and DIDN'T die....

So Terry's dying in a car accident at age 54-- healthy, strong triathlete Terry -- seems so foolish and senseless to me.

Makes my little rant about "heel issues" seem silly, no?

But I'll carry Terry with me from here on out in my triathlon spirit and mind and hopefully will be able to pass some of his triathlon goodwill along to others for as long as I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Feeling like a big ol' mess

Time if F L Y I N G by.... Only six weeks until Ironman Wisconsin.

I feel like I could use another sixteen weeks to train!

For the most part, I feel stronger than last year, but am having the darndest time fighting small, nagging injuries.

None are big enough to take me out of the game, they impede my ability to really train as best and hard as I can.

The biggest issue has been with my right heel. I am not entirely sure what happened with it other than I ran with worn out shoes for too long. (Couldn't really "tell" they were worn out because I was using orthotics. They "masked" the feel of the shoe on my foot.)

The first real issue popped up when I was in Des Moines about eight weeks ago (or longer). I went out for a run -- had a great run and by the end, my heel was achy. The longer the evening went on, the less pressure I could put on my foot. The next day, walking was difficult for about half the day and then it got better.

I took a look at my shoes and saw that I had pretty much worn the outside edge off the shoe. So, I bought some new shoes....

Because I was wearing orthotics, I was told to get a neutral shoe. So I got Asics Nimbus. Felt great in the store; did okay at Fargo 1/2 marathon, but both my feet ached after the race. Ran in them for the Minneapolis 1/2 marathon. Ran worse at that event. My feet were really killing me by the end.

Turns out, the pair I bought was a half size too small.

Bought another pair the RIGHT size. Still had heel problems. Sometimes I would be fine; other times, I'd get that ache and would not be able to put much pressure on my foot.

In the meantime, I have been going to see my chiropractor that specializes in ART therapy. He works on the foot (which is P A I N F U L while he is doing it) and then I'd feel better. Until I wouldn't.

We thought it was Achilles Tendinitis; then we thought it might be a bruised heel bone; then we thought it was bruised heel tissue stemming from calf muscles.

So, basically, we don't know what is really causing this issue.

We DON'T think it is a stress fracture, but I'm giving it one more week before I go in to my regular physician to ask for an xray or an MRI just to make sure.

So now: I'm icing (a lot), running in the pool (super boring), went back to my old stabilizer shoes (Kayano) without the orthotics and am praying to the Tri Gods for some relief.

I'm also going to try to tape my heel tomorrow just to see if that helps.
The other piece of news is that I went back to Madison last weekend for a race preview with Endurance Nation.

Had a very good ride for the first portion (stick out and one loop of the hills). Then struggled with the second loop. It was incredibly hot and humid and I'm pretty sure I got dehydrated and over heated. Felt dizzy a number of times, hot then cold. I was just glad it wasn't race day.

Needless to say, I'm feeling a little worried at this point.

If I look at this logically, I have some confidence am confident that race day will go well -- I am stronger. I am biking better. I only missed the Mile 19 cut off last year by 2 minutes.... but, the run (and the other variables, like the weather) concern me.

I have six weeks to heal my heel and get my mental resolve up to snuff.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two halves don't really make a whole....but...

the races sure were fun!

I'm talking about finishing Fargo 1/2 and Minneapolis 1/2 marathons recently.

Fargo was May 21st. I drove up to Fargo with my friend, Gary. We spent the drive time catching up and solving the world's problems. That made the drive time pass pretty quickly.

Other friends doing Fargo events were Nat and Lance, Marcia and Heather -- the group has participated in this race for several years now and we always enjoy it.

The weather is always the "iffy" factor at Fargo. Typically, the weather is on the crummy side, with lots and lots of wind. The forecast for this year seemed ominous: rainy and cold, but we lucked out. The temps were cool (not cold) and we had a little drizzle, but nothing too drenching.

The best part was the LACK of wind this year. There definitely was a breeze, but not gale force winds or any thing that was too daunting.

I had really only done one long run in preparation -- a 10 mile run on April 3rd. Not an ideal situation, but after that run, my Achilles really started to hurt. On shorter training runs, I'd feel great running, but would barely be able to walk the next day.

Turns out my shoes were terribly worn out, and my coach had me doing lots of treadmill work with inclines. This, apparently, is a very bad combination.

So, lining up at the start, I was concerned about finishing, but finish I did.

I had a pretty good race considering. I ran pretty steadily for the first six miles and then did a walk/run to the end. My head got me in to a rough spot a couple times, but certainly not like the big dark spot that happened last September during IM WI.

I covered the miles -- didn't PR, but finished with a time that wasn't too shabby.

Now: Fast Forward a couple weeks -- after some background info.

Last December, I talked to my coach about doing a spring marathon. It had been a while since I did one and wanted to make sure (psychologically) that I can cover 26.2 miles without being pulled off the course at 10:32 pm at mile 19....

He thought that was a dandy idea and suggested Minneapolis Marathon, since it is challenging (aka: HILLY).

Then, a couple months ago, he decided that doing Fargo 1/2, a Marathon and then a 1/2 iron distance tri all within one month of each other might lead me to an injury, so he told me to skip the marathon.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my training schedule had me running the marathon last Sunday....! I emailed my coach to remind him of our earlier conversation and told him that I hadn't trained for a marathon.... Fortunately, he relented and said it was okay for me to drop down to the 1/2.

So I lined up last Sunday, in downtown Minneapolis, with several thousand other runners and ran the 1/2.

I really liked the course and it really was a challenge. Unlike Fargo, the weather was warmer, sunnier and more humid. Oh, and hillier. Much, much hillier.

I ran okay for several miles but felt I was off from my Fargo pace, which was disappointing to me. I chalked up the race as a "training event" and kept moving forward.

About a quarter mile from the finish, once past the last final yucky hill, I noticed a woman in front of me who was stumbling quite a bit. She finally took a big fall on to the pavement.

I went over to her and asked her if she was okay. She said "yes" but it was clear she was not. She had injured her knee before the race and then re injured it during the race and was in a lot of pain. But, this was her first 1/2 ever and she was not going to give up.

I told her that we were going to finish together. I helped her up and had her lean on me for support and we started walking to the finish.

I talked to her and asked her lots of questions so she would take her mind off her knee and focus on answering me. Soon enough, I could see the finish and I pointed it out to her.

"See, you are almost there. You are doing this".

She was ecstatic. She asked"Should we run in?" and I told her I'd follow her to make sure she got in.

She did a little hop/skip step; stopped and walked some more but got across that finish line with me right behind her.

She was thrilled. I was too. I was happy for her and really happy that my pace wasn't so off from Fargo after all. Although I didn't PR (again) I was only about 20 seconds slower than Fargo --even with more walking.

So: two halves down; two to go before the end of the month.

There is the 1/2 this weekend as part of Liberty 1/2 iron and then another 1/2 in Madison as part of a training run for Ironman.

My pace may be slow, but I'm getting the miles in!

Monday, May 23, 2011

This puts it back in to perspective:

After my silly whinefest yesterday, I had a chance to catch up with some other bloggie friends.

I got to Betsy' blog....

Reading about her brother put it all right back in to perspective for me.

I'm grateful; I'm lucky; I'm ever-hopeful.

I'm also a contributor to her Team In Training effort. And you should be too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Feeling sorry for myself....

I'm going to whine a little bit.

Not that I'm really in any position to whine at all.

I'm healthy. I have a great husband, friends and family. I have wonderful cats, a job I enjoy and am pretty good at and no financial stress.

We've had super bad weather here, including a tornado that took a life, and here I am....

So I'm probably going to just sound like a big whiny baby as I reveal the reason for my rant below:

I can't figure out why, after all these years of training and working out, I still as as slow as molasses, and I feel like stamping my little feet and just screaming about it!

Why whine/rant NOW??? Well, it was kind of a big weekend for races. Fargo events, Gear West Duathlon, Superior Trail races, something called the Triple T, etc.

I ran the Fargo 1/2 and got through it "okay".

"Okay" means that I finished, but didn't PR. To be honest, this was expected. I have been plagued by nagging injuries, -- one right after each other -- ever since last fall. I ran 10 miles on April 3rd and that was it for long training runs prepping for Fargo.

My Achilles flared up, taking me out of the running game for a couple of weeks and then limiting my miles when I started back up, so actually finishing 13 was in question.

But I did.... I ran the first 7.35 almost straight though and then had to stop for a potty break. The line was long and people were dawdling in the porta potties. My mile splits went from a pretty consistent pace to adding almost six minutes to mile 8. Then I really slowed down.... took more walk breaks; got in to that very dark spot again (Hello, IM WI memories.....), but was able to get out of that mindset pretty quickly -- which certainly is a good think.

So, the good news is that I finished and feel pretty good today.

The whine starts as I start to compare myself to other friends. I looked up the results from the Gear West Duathlon and most of every one I know is at the top of the list of finishers. Many took podium places in their age groups. No one is near the bottom. Not ever close to near to the bottom.

I train with a lot of these people. It is one thing to do strength training together, where we are all lunging together in the same room. Or, even doing spin training during the winter, where we are all sitting on our bikes, strapped on to stationary trainers and then running together on treadmills. That is all fun, and kum-by-ya, and we are all "equal" because we are all the same "pace", which means we are all in the same place....

Now, with warmer weather, during spin, we are still strapped to the trainers, but running is outside. Used to be running around the facility parking lot but now we head out on a 2.75 mile loop.

I don't mind the distance but I have to admit is it is very humbling and some what humiliating that I get dusted by the group before we even leave the PARKING LOT and head out on to the road!!!!

Okay, so most of these people are considerably younger than I am; Most of these folks are or seem to be naturally gifted from an athletic perspective. Yes, I can improve -- to a point. There is not really a chance in heck that I'll run an 9 minute pace as an easy does it pace. (And a 9-minute pace would still mean I get dusted in the parking lot).

Don't get me wrong: I am very proud of their accomplishments. I am in awe of their abilities. I am really glad I get to train with them and participate in lots of the same events, because they are really wonderful people to know and I'm thrilled to have them all as friends.

I just get angry at myself for not being up to the same level. Usually, this fact isn't such a big thing to me. I'm generally just happy to be participating in the event and challenging my body and doing it all just because I can.

For what ever reason, today, I just feel like whining.

So, here I sit, licking my ego, BUT still plugging along.

I'm going to Madison for a couple days next weekend to so my annual solo trip down memory lane. I'll also do one loop of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course and one loop of the run course. Maybe riding up those three torturous hills in Dane County will chase the whine right out of me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Achillies not Plantar

So the good news is that the heel pain is from Achilles Tendinitis, not the dreaded plantar fasciitis.

Good news because the recovery from AT can be much quicker than PF.

New shoes, ice, avoid hill work for a week or so, the Strassberg sock (thanks IronSnoopy!) and a few visits with my favorite torture artist, er, I mean chiropractor, Dr. Brendon O'Brien and I should be fine.

Dr. O is a cyclist, runner, skier who specialized in ART -- Active Release Technique. My Coach turned me on to Dr. O last year when I pulled a hamstring right before Ironman. Dr. O worked on my hammy a couple times before the race and that is what got me through the bike and on to the run course.

With ART, the Chiropractor will have you shorten the tissue, apply contact tension to the affected area, then lengthen the tissue or slide it to adjacent tissue.

So with the hamstring, this means I bend my knee, Dr. O apples big time pressure contact with the hamstring, I slowly unbend my knee and he continues to apply that pressure all the way up the hamstring to my glute. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

May not sound like much, but it can be incredibly painful (in a good way) while it is going on (and on and on and on).

With the AT, the same ART concepts apply, but this time he was working on my heel, ankle and calf.

YEEEEEOOOOOOCCCCCCH. But again, in a good way!

So -- if you are having overuse injuries, I recommend finding someone that practices ART. Will bet you back up and running (ha ha) in no time flat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If it isn't one thing....

It seems to be another.

Ever since right before last year's IMoo, I seem to be plagued with small, but nagging, injuries.

I pulled a hamstring about a week and a half before IMoo last year. Although I rehabbed pretty quickly, it definitely did impact my biking during the race.

Then, shortly after the race, I pulled a muscle in the other leg. That took some time to heal.

Then I developed this weird thing where my arms fall asleep from my elbows down when I'm sleeping. Apparently, it is a nerve that gets pinched. I have bouts where it is really bad and then other nights where it isn't so bad at all.

Now, I have heel pain. Big time heel pain. I'm refusing to believe that I may have actually have plantar fasciitis. I am hoping that I just need new shoes.

I have been icing and using Advil and running my foot over golf balls, tennis balls and soup cans. Still having pain.

I've heard horror stories of this lasting for months and months and months.

I only have 20 weeks of training (!) week before Ironman Wisconsin... so I don't really have weeks and weeks to heal.

Fortunately, it doesn't bug me when I swim and hasn't hurt when I bike.... so, I'm going to give my foot a bit of a rest this week, I'll find some new shoes and I'll hope for the best.

Any one have any other recommendations?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Well, well, well. Look who's back.

Yes, I'm actually blogging today. It has been a L O N G time since I've had the luxury of time to just lazily type more than a Facebook update.

Work has been crazy busy for both me and Hubby. We are both working long hours; traveling a lot and having a very hard time detaching from work and work issues. (The pressure is much higher on Hubby. His big project has been ramping up since December and won't deploy for one more month. He has been working 10 - 12 hours every day -- including weekends for 4 1/2 months. Toooooo much).

We are both very dedicated to our jobs and our projects, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Good because we have pride in what we do, we feel accountable for driving results and are willing to put in the time and effort to get things done (even when the task isn't really ours to do...). The bad thing is that, in these days and times, we just don't know what the next day will bring.

Even with better news about the economy, our company is working on plans to "reduce redundancies and increase efficiencies", which, in plain English means lay-offs. We just don't know when, where or who. So, every day, we get up, we suit up and we go to work and we get stuff done. And we wait.

Should one of us (or both of us) get laid off, we'll figure it out....and it hasn't happened yet... and may not happen at all. We are just going to keep moving forward, one project at a time.

So besides work, there I'm least I'm trying as best as my schedule and motivation can allow me. I have to say that I have had less mojo over the last few months. Part of it is work and part of it is that winter has just dragged on and on and on. (Tough to be highly motivated to get on the trainer for yet another 3 - 4 hour spin session...).

I know for sure I am definitely stronger physically than I was at this time last year (strength training and yoga have helped a ton) but I'm not entirely sure how this will translate in to race times.

My paces "feel slower" swimming and running, although my endurance is better. I seem to hold a better pace on the bike for longer periods, but what does this mean over the long haul of a race course?
My first outdoor tri is in 8 weeks, which means I have about seven weeks of good, solid training in front of me to get ready and then one week of easing off to taper.

So -- a lot of unknown right now....which means I spend a lot of time just trying to move forward....literally and figuratively.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Travelin' and Tri U Mah

I've been a traveling fool lately.

Des Moines last week; Tempe this week; Charlotte next week. Hubby is manning the house and cats here in Minneapolis as I'm racking up the frequent flyer miles.

I don't typically mind the travel. It is kind of nice to have a change of work scenery; I enjoy seeing my co-workers in the different cities; nice to have a little change of pace.

Des Moines in February, though: not so nice. Especially during a blizzard. Snow, winds, freezing temps. I could get that just staying at home. TEMPE in February, on the other hand: quite very nice. Sunny, dry pavements, temperatures above 32 degrees. The temps were "chilly" for Tempe -- only getting in to the 60s, but considering air temps were in the single digits during the day in Minneapolis (and below zero during the night), I was quite happy to be in Arizona this week. Charlotte should be nice too -- not hot, but not freezing.

When I travel, I always find a health club or a "Y" or a natatorium so I can get workouts in. And usually, I'm pretty diligent. The last couple of weeks were more difficult to squeeze every thing in. Blizzards make it tough for the tiny rental car to mow through snow piles to get to the gym; meetings, dinner invitations from the boss are hard to turn down. So, although I did get some workouts in, I didn't get all my training in.

Yes, I feel guilty about it....

But, one more trip and then I'm done for a while. I can get back in to my routine. (On a sad note, once I settle back in at home, Hubby starts his three-week travelfest, so I'll be home, but he'll be on the road. I think we'll be in the same city again some time in late March...)

One very positive thing: I placed 3rd in my age group at this year's Tri U Mah indoor triathlon. I covered 12.224 miles in 90 minutes. (My best personal distance for this event.)

The first place woman is some one I know. She used to be part of a running club that I belonged to. She is a very speedy runner. I went further than she did during the swim; she slightly beat me on the bike; and then she kicked my a$$ on the run.

I was faster in the water AND on the bike than the woman who came in second. Again, I got my running shoe handed to me during the run.

My training plan hasn't focused much on running time or pace lately (obviously), but all that swimming and spinning paid off.

My coach reminded me that I'm right where I should be for February.

And tonight, that means I'm happily at home with Hubby and the cats.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Scale

There is a great hot tub in the women's locker room at my health club.

I L O V E it.

I love having a good soak in very hot, deep water. I love the bubbles. I love the whole experience.

I even have a favorite sitting spot in the hot tub: the bottom left-hand corner closest to the showers. I like it because the water jets are positioned perfectly to hit all my achy spots. I can just lean back and let the bubbles and heat take my cares away.

This sitting spot is also positioned so I can see all the other women come and go through the locker room as they make their way to the sauna, the steam room and the change area.

Smack dab in the middle of all that action is THE SCALE.

As much as I love the hot tub, I hate the scale.

It has been my own personal nemesis for pretty much my whole life.

I was a fat kid; a fat teenager; a fat adult.

As a teen and young adult, I certainly had bouts of thinness. But, pretty much, I was fat.

Having an eating disorder for many, many years didn't help my relationship with food or the scale either.

I avoided the scale like the plague for years on end. If I had to get weighed, I'd turn my back to the numbers, so I wouldn't have to see the damage.

When I was on a diet, I was more open to the scale, because the number was generally going down. But still and all, the scale was something to be feared and avoided.

Anyway, from my vantage point in the hot tub, I watch, with continual amazement a vast number of women that just hop on that hulking piece of metal with nary a thought.

Yep, they just trot on over to the scale, get on it, look at the number , step off it and seem to go on about doing what every they had planned to do for the rest of the day.

Some women get on naked; many get on with their clothes on. A BUNCH get on with their shoes on. Doesn't matter if they are big women or little women or old women or young women. It's just "hop, read and move on".

Now, before you all think I'm a total scale voyeur, let me just say that the numbers are so small on the digital read out, I can't tell what their weight actually is. The number is really not the point.

The point is that I'm just so amazed at how little power the scale has over them BUT still seems to have over me.

It's ridiculous. Totally, incredibly ridiculous.

I'm sure that some of the women who confidently step on the scale dread the results as much as I do. I'm willing to bet that for some of those women , their own personal beratement tapes start going off in their head the second they get off of that scale.

I'm currently struggling with keeping a commitment to weigh myself once a week. My weight is reasonably under control (meaning, I weigh more now than I did right before Ironman last summer, but that is totally understandable. I weigh a lot less than I did a year ago and have seemed to avoid a gigantic winter weight gain).

So the number isn't as bad as I fear it is going to be, yet getting on the scale is really rough.

I need to keep up that commitment though, so the number doesn't creep up.

In reality, my goal is to really lean up between now and June so I can haul less ballast up the hills of Madison in September....

That is going to require a commitment to eating less and hopping on that box more.

I'm just not going to do it with my shoes on.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow... Snow.... and more Snow

Okay. I understand that it is January. I get that January = winter.

I also am fully aware that winter, in the upper midwest, = cold, dark and white fluffy stuff.

But, really. THIS much snow?

It all started in early December. Hubby and I went to Florida, where he got to golf in one more tournament for the year and I was hoping to enjoy a little warm weather, swim outside and eat an orange or two.

We left on a Thursday-- nothing on the weather map about a big, bad snow storm blowing in to Minneapolis until I got up on Friday. Then, the BIG BLIZZARD of 2010 was all over every channel.

Hubby golfed and I was riveted to the WeatherChannel, watching updates from Minneapolis that came ever 15 minutes....

Why wasn't I using those 15 minute intervals to swim in an outdoor pool or run in the sun? Because it was friggin' cold in Florida! Yes, they were in the middle of a cold snap. With wind chills and all things frosty.

So instead of warming my bones, I piled on tee shirts, watched the WeatherChannel and shopped at an outlet mall that was literally across the street from our hotel.

(ONLY good thing out of that experience was finding a Lululemon Athletica OUTLET store. Yep. I was walking through the mall, turned a corner and there it was: a big, beautiful store, bathed in a wash of dreamy light. I swear I heard the angels singing...)

Anyway. Hubby finished his tournament, we flew home and had to face the BIG DIG out of the BIG BLIZZARD of 2010, which dumped over 17" of snow over the city.

I will say, that well before the BIG BLIZZARD of 2010, my mother-in-law decided that this was the year that she and my father-in-law would buy Hubby and me a snow blower.

Now, we already had a little snow blower that worked perfectly well if the accumulated snow was less than 6 inches in height. AND we are perfectly capable of buying our own snow blower, had we wanted one. So, initially, I thought it was kind of a silly gift.

Nonetheless, Hubby and I looked at snow blowers before we left for Florida, but couldn't decide on which one to buy before we left for our trip. (We were soooo silly!).

Before we even got on the flight in Florida to come back to Nanook -- I mean, Minneapolis -- we called HomeDepot to have them hold one for us. Our plan was to pick it up from the store after we landed in Anchorage -- I mean, Minneapolis.

The store clerk at HomeDepot said. "You want to buy one NOW? After the BIG BLIZZARD of 2010? We are totally sold out and won't be restocked for at least a week".


By the time we got home, the snow plows had gone down our street. Twice.

So we had to shovel a huge frozen mountain of snow and ice out of the driveway. I kid you not, that mound of snow from the street to the sidewalk was 4 1/2 feet high and 3 or 4 feet wide.

I do not like shoveling. I had to do it when I was a kid -- and we lived in a corner house, so had to do sidewalks in front and on the side of the house. Plus the driveway. I should say the three car garage driveway...

When Hubby and I moved in to our house, I told him that I would happily mow any day, any time. I would rake leaves, any day, any time. I was not, however, going to shovel our stupid, forever-long driveway.

Most years, I've been able to live up to my word. I just couldn't let Hubby do all the work that night and we ended up spending over 2 hours digging out. BLECH.

So, naturally, I thought: "well, at least we got this over with early this year. We can't get much more than this....".

I hear the angels laughing now.

We've had more snow this winter than we have in a long, long time. Fact is, it is the third snowiest winter in Minneapolis' history.

Again, yippee.

Driving is a pain. Parking is a pain. Motivating myself to get out to run or to the gym (or even to get up for work) is a pain.

Shoveling? Is a ROYAL pain.

I have to admit that I DO think that snow is beautiful. (As long as I don't have to drive in it or shovel it). It does make the scenery look more peaceful and serene.

It also coaxes me to nappy-nap land pretty easily, which is really not want I want/need now. It is so much cozier to come home, slip on some fleece pjs, stretch out on the couch and snooze than it is to say, slip on eight layers of clothes and ice cleats to go out for a run.

Or to get up HOURS before the sun even gets up to go to the gym for strength training or to get in a freezing cold pool.

Yet, most of the time I do it. Why? Because Ironman Wisconsin is a mere 8 months away.

So it is snowing again tonight. We are supposed to get up to another 5 inches of fluffy white flakes. The good news is that Hubby is happily blowing out the driveway from hell with the snow blower from heaven. I only had to shovel the sidewalk (front of the house ONLY) and the walk up to the house. So...not so bad.

The question looming is whether I'll be able to face the snow and roads tomorrow morning (that is SATURDAY morning) at 6:30 am to get to a 4-hour spin class, or if I'll turn over, sleep in till 10:00 or so and then just spin on the trainer I have set up on our second floor.....hmmmmmm.

What ever the answer is for tomorrow, this girl, who loves the summer, open widows, warm breezes and open water swims, thinks that this winter has really been enough.

How many days till spring?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

Happy New Year to All!

Hubby and I had a fantastic whirlwind New Year's Eve. I'll post more details and pics soon.

Today is the day that I committed to my 2011 race I know it today.

Only about 5.5 weeks until the first event of the year: Tri U Mah Indoor Tri at the University of Minnesota on February 6th. Tri U Mah was my intro to triathlon, seven years ago. The format is a little different: it consists of a 30 minute swim in a wonderful pool (University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center), then 30 minutes on a stationary bike; then 30 minutes of treadmill running. Winners are determined by the total distance covered.

As usual, a bunch of my tri and running friends also signed up this year: Nat, Marcia, Gary, Cheryl and I will all be in the pool for the 9:10 am heat.

I love this event because it is very well run, a lot of fun and means that summer season is on its way!

New for me this year will be the Minneapolis Marathon (June 5th). I asked my Coach, JonnyJ, if I should consider an early marathon to help me prep for IM WI. (I had such a big breakdown during the IM marathon last year, I thought just getting through the distance and practicing a nutrition plan PRIOR to this years Ironman would be a good idea.). I suggested to JonnyJ that I do Fargo Marathon in May.

JonnyJ agreed that a marathon was a good idea but immediately nixed Fargo. "Too flat". He suggested Minneapolis because of the hills. Yippee.

So, I signed up for Minneapolis full and Fargo 1/2. Fargo will be just a training run for me.

Also new will be the YWCA Women's Triathlon on August 14th. I've heard great things about this event and wanted to do one shorter tri before IM WI. The event venue is very close to my house and is only a sprint distance (500 yd swim; 15 mile bike; 2.5 mile run). By then, I should be well trained, used to my new tri bike and will hopefully have a very good RACE. (Yes, I plan to actually RACE this event as opposed to my usual "participate". JonnyJ will be happy to hear that....)

There are a couple other events not listed yet: I'd like to do the Lake Harriet Open Water and Great Prairie swim events again (dates not posted yet); I'm putting my hat in the ring for New York Marathon (November) along with some other friends. If I get in great. If not, this will be the third year I've been declined, so it is an automatic "in" for 2012; I'll do some additional bike events, but none of the dates have been posted yet.

As busy as my schedule seems, it feels a little "light" to me. I have no duathons planned; a super busy June and then very little for the rest of the summer. JonnyJ wants me to concentrate more on training before IM WI than on racing, so I'm sure even though I won't be doing a lot of events, I'll still be busy!