Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for 2011 (NOT Resolutions!)

This last year has been wonderful.  I have worked like a dog, at times, and fallen short of what I hoped to do (more than once), but overall I'm not unhappy.  In 2011 I took on my dream job (teaching at the graduate level), and found my running mojo again (we ran two half marathons in 2010!), and lost 18 pounds (not lot of weight, I know, but please remember that I am very short! So it represented a change from a size 6-8 to a size 2-4 for me.  That's pretty significant!).

And it's time to set some goals for 2011 - I refuse to call them resolutions because I am never good at keeping resolutions.  I am goal oriented, though - I know, semantics, but whatever works, right? They have to be reasonable goals, because I start my doctoral coursework in January and I can't afford to compromise that at all.  But, I don't want this to be a repeat of anesthesia school, where I barely exercised and ate crap and gained weight.  So, sensible goals are in order.

Here goes:

1. Run 1200 miles in 2011.  I thought about trying to run 2011 miles in 2011, and then I calculated up the weekly mileage required, and looked at my schedule, and, well, nah! I think 100 miles a month is more sensible.

2. Do three destination races in 2011.  The first is Disney, in January.  The second is probably Louisville, Kentucky in April (I think Melissa has her heart set on that one) and the third is St. Jude, in Memphis in December.  If I find a cool summer/early fall destination run I'll certainly add that to the mix, but if not, three is good.

3. Complete a triathlon (or two!) - I have my eyes on a couple of local ones that are supposed to be noob-friendly.

4. Lose five or six more pounds.  I really think that dropping five more pounds will significantly impact my speed. I don't need to be a speed demon (as if!) or set any records. I'd really just like to (someday!) get back to my 8-9 minute/mile pace!

5. Get serious about the strength work.  It doesn't take a lot, nor a long time and there's really no excuse for not working in a couple of strength-training sessions a week. I want her back:


6. Find yoga again - I used to love, love, love it and I stopped practicing and my life is poorer without it.  

7. Complete one sewing project every two months.  I thought about one a month, but it is really tough to work full-time and study and train AND get a big sewing project done in just four weekends, particularly if (like my current project) it's a quilt. My creative side needs an outlet, though, and there's so much beautiful fabric in the world and so little time to play with it! So, a project every 8 weeks is probably manageable.

I feel like I'm cheating with these goals a little bit, because I was doing many of these things before the holiday and my bout of illness and injury.  But knowing that I am capable of them means (hopefully) that I'm likely to keep doing them, and 2011 is going to be a great year!

If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, please do so - there's still time! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lazy Randomness

I'm having a lazy morning.  Eating my favorite breakfast:

Oatmeal with berries (and sans butter) - thank you, Country Living!


 Snuggling with two of my favorite (hot) dogs:
They don't like outfits - they are being bribed with chicken!


And reading all of your responses to my giveaway and looking up the races you're entering.  I love the fact that there are so many cool races out there!  

Later today I'll work a little on my latest project:
Mine will have slightly different colors and dimensions, because I am physically incapable of following directions!
Thanks, Obsessive Crafting Disorder!

And the youngest child:

wants to go the gym with me later today!  Don't you love it when your children pick up healthy habits?  Particularly when this one has had his share of unhealthy habits in the past.


Have a wonderful day, everyone - I certainly will!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Resolution Giveaway!

I'm race-shopping this morning, since I have the day off.  I'm trying to plan next year's race schedule, culminating (I hope) with the St. Jude Marathon on December 3rd, 2011.  And I've noticed one common theme - race entry fees are expensive!

Outer Banks Half Marathon - note our cool skirts!
For me, planning the race schedule is my New Year's Resolution. It ensures that I will keep training, and keep eating a healthy diet, and avoid overindulging in soda or alcohol or fatty foods - all of which interfere substantially with my training.  I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful job and a reasonable income at the moment, but that hasn't always been the case.  And I know there are other folks in the blogosphere who may be struggling to make ends meet, or for whom a race entry fee takes away from some other family need.

So, after conferring with my wonderful husband (did I mention he never complains about my running/quilting/educational obsessions?), I've decided to hold a New Year's Resolution giveaway that might help one of you a little bit.  I wish I could afford to pay for a year of races for one of you, but since I can't do that, here's what I can do: my husband and I will pay up to $60 toward a race entry fee for one winner.  

That's right - up to sixty clams greenbacks bucks.  For you, and the race of your choice if you are the winner!  Hopefully, it will help you keep your own New Year's Resolution.  It can be used for any endurance activity you are interested in - cycling, running, swimming, triathlon, unicycling, distance juggling... whatever.  I'll choose a winner out of all the eligible entries on January 2nd and we'll make arrangements for the payment after that.

Do I have your interest?  Good!  Here's how to enter:

1. Comment and let me know in which race you'd use the entry fee.  You can change your mind if you win - I'm just race shopping and I want to see which races you're considering. I'm nosy like that!

2. Follow my blog, or let me know if you already do.

3. Share this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry so that I make sure you get credit for everything you do. I'll take entries until midnight on New Year's Day (January 1).  So, what are you waiting for?  Go to Runner's World or Active.com or Cool Running and do some race shopping of your own!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing Along

After reading Marathon Maiden's blog Wednesday, I decided to play along here. She asked seven questions, and here are my answers:

  1. Dishes: clean them up right away or leave them for later and do lots at once? Hmm - it depends! Usually get at least one load in the dishwasher right away, then we see about the rest.
  2. What is your favorite US president and why? George Washington - he was such a genuine public servant!
  3. Favorite song of 2010 and why? "I like big butts..." oh, wait... :)
  4. Seasons: Fall or Spring? Fall.  But spring is nice, too!
  5. Are you a brand loyalist all the time? Some of the time? None of the time? If so to what brand? Nope - no brand loyalty here.
  6. Sweets: Pastries or Ice Cream? Ice cream is a food group - 'nuff said!
  7. What would you say to a guy who said “So leave your keys on the kitchen counter / And gimme back that ruby ring with the big diamond”? I dunno - maybe, "Then don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out?"
Now, I guess I have to make up some questions - can I come up with seven?  Hmm, I don't know.  Let's see:

1. Cake or pie?

2. Dogs or cats?

3. Beef or chicken?

4. Truck or car?

5. Winter or summer?

6. Rolls or Biscuits?

7. Beach or mountains?

Play along if you'd like to - I'd love to see your answers!  I'll catch up with blogs and blogging here in a day or so - right now I'm enjoying a bit of a break with my crew!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nashville Flood Relief

Tennessee is my adopted home, and it is a beautiful state.  I don't live in Nashville, but like most folks in Tennessee we were horrified to see images of the flooding that occurred there in May. 


Imagine waking up to this:


or this:



 Nashville is recovering, but there are still people who are homeless and struggling due to the devastation.



Melissa and I ran the Women's Half Marathon in September, and we loved our visit to Nashville.  See how happy we look, with our Nashville Bling?


Nashville is the only town I've ever raced in where the amateur musicians on the side of the race course sounded like professionals.  The musical talent here is amazing - and it was a great distraction while we climbed Nashville's many hills!

Here I am, running in Nashville!  This photo was taken about mile 8 of the half-marathon.  Yes, I've lost some weight since then, but Nashville was the race that started us on our way back to fitness, and it holds a special place in my heart for that reason!

And, my wonderful husband (who puts up with all things running for my sake) has always wanted to see a certain country music legend in concert.  Not being a big country music fan, I did not really share that enthusiasm but fair is fair - he never complains about my running.

So, when that certain country music legend decided to do a series of flood relief concerts for Nashville, I knew we had to participate.  And we did - we took a truckload of people (8 total) on a road trip last night, to see this:



Those of you who are country music fans will recognize Garth Brooks! And, I have to admit, he puts on one heck of a show!


Nashville loves Garth - imagine 20,000 people in a stadium singing together and you can imagine what it was like.  My husband was in heaven, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it, too!  Even though country music isn't my favorite genre, I do enjoy being in a crowd of people who are all excited and happy to be there - this is why I love college football, too!

The folks around us were singing and dancing and crying - it was fabulous. 


I did not enjoy getting up early this morning to go to work, however!  It was a small price to pay, though, to thank my husband for putting up with so much from me.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to bed!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cold and Grey

And blah - I just want to snuggle under a blanket and hibernate.  I'm sure I was a small hibernating animal in a past life!
Look at this little guy - doesn't he look cozy?  And his snacks are right there beside him!


I have a little bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder - when the days get short I want to eat carbs and sleep.  That's one of the reasons we scheduled Disney. A January trip to Florida should be just the thing to pull me out of my slump a little.  I hope!

Are you all ready for Christmas?  I am not, but I will be!



Update: I had to share this.  I was reading this post at SUAR and getting all maudlin, and the dog (we have a hydrocephalic chihuahua and he isn't the brightest) peed on my foot.  Oh, well - now I'm going to be up doing laundry - might as well pop a load in the washing machine and go for a little run!



Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 19 (Disney!!!)



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Off Topic - Code Blue

Okay, this is very off-topic based on something I overheard at work this morning.  Two middle-aged women were waiting for the elevator as I walked by, and they were talking rather loudly.  And one says to the other, "Well, his heart stopped during surgery and they couldn't restart it, but he was old so they probably didn't try very hard." And the elevator doors opened and they got on and the doors closed and they were gone. And I didn't have time to say anything, but oh, how I wanted to!  This is not the first time I've heard something like this, and every time I hear it I feel the need to address it, so here goes:

I have been a nurse for more than ten years. I started as an Army nurse, where I specialized in trauma care. I worked in the intensive care unit and the emergency room.  Then I went to anesthesia school, which was three years of further education and clinical experience.  I have seen a LOT of cardiac arrests, in hospitals all over the country.  I have NEVER seen one respondent to a "Code Blue" who was not 100% serious about saving the life of the patient.  And I'm pretty sure that if I had, their colleagues would not have taken it lightly.

Seriously - some of the hardest work I have ever done in my life was during a Code Blue - and I've never been alone on one for any length of time.  Everybody with a free pair of hands comes immediately to your location to help.  You'll easily have half a dozen dedicated professionals working on the case, and we generally don't give up until it's absolutely clear that there's no hope left.  Now, there's significant controversy over that, to be sure - some people think we try too hard, especially in cases that perhaps shouldn't be "coded" at all.  Be that as it may, I think it's safe to say that nobody could accuse us of not trying hard enough.

Please, please, please - if you've ever lost a loved one in a hospital setting, accept my sincere condolences, and please don't think we didn't try to save them.  I can assure you that that is not the case.  Sometimes we work for hours on the patient and then one (or more) of us goes and cries with the family over the loss.  We feel each loss and we absolutely don't give up easily.

Okay, now I'll climb off this soapbox - I appreciate your indulgence during my rant.  I'll try to keep those to a minimum in the future.  And don't I look tall up here?  :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Plan of Attack for Disney

Well, Disney is just three weeks away - yikes!  And I am still having back pain, particularly toward the end of a long run.  Mile 16 seems to be my Achille's heel.

So, I talked it over with one of the physical therapists at work.  And, just let me put in a plug for physical therapy here - those folks really understand musculoskeletal injuries, and they love working with recreational athletes, because we will actually do the exercises they prescribe - sometimes too faithfully!  If you have a musculoskeletal injury and have the means to do so, please ask your doctor for a physical therapy consult.  But, I digress...

I have a facet joint injury at about T-8.  Facet joints are the little spots where the spinal vertebrae come together - they facilitate twisting and bending of the spine.  When I run long, I am hammering that little injured spot, and after awhile it starts to complain - loudly.  It slowly starts healing during the week, and then I do a long run on the weekend and re-injure the soft tissue and cartilage.  The physical therapist advised keeping my runs under 15 miles (since that seems to be the trigger point) until I have given myself time for a little more healing.  In fact, he advised canceling Disney.
This is a facet joint, between two vertebrae.  Doesn't look like it could cause much trouble, does it?

But Disney is PAID FOR! The whole trip! And they don't do refunds or transfers or any of that, so I can't switch to the half.  And I have wanted to run Disney for years. Years! I know that there will be other races, and I know that a major back injury would be devastating, personally and professionally.  Can you just see me in a back brace trying to move around in the operating room?  And back surgery would definitely put a damper on triathlon training and speedwork in the spring, don't you think?

But I have come up with what I think is a workable plan.  Since repetitive motion is the problem, what if I break the cycle periodically? Change things up a bit to give my back a break? What if I walk every second or third mile?  I know - it sounds ridiculous, and if I were one of you who could knock out 6-8 minute miles I might not even be able to contemplate that, but the truth is that at this point in my running I am not.  I run a 10-12 mile pace for my long runs - it is what it is.  And I can walk for hours - I could walk the whole marathon and I'd probably only have a few blisters to show for it.

As it currently stands, if I go to Disney and try to run the whole thing I'm probably going to be walking the last 5-6 miles due to back pain.  I know that, because at mile 16 or so of a long run I have to slow down dramatically or walk.  Walking in at the end of the race because you couldn't run any farther just feels like defeat to me. So why not sprinkle those six or eight miles throughout the race to try to prevent the inflammation and irritation that will occur if I run the whole thing? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic - if there's something I haven't considered, or some trick you've used to overcome an injury, I am all ears!
See?  All ears! Thanks, Google and Disney!

In the meantime, I think I'm going to talk to the physical therapist tomorrow and see what he thinks.  Because bargaining with his patients is probably his favorite activity!  Heh!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting to Know You Tag and A Winner!


"Getting to Know You" Tag

Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls tagged me and it looked like fun, so here goes:

1.  What is your favorite time of day to run?  Why?
I generally prefer to run in the morning.  Unfortunately, that means treadmill work during the week because hospitals have this ridiculous idea that surgery should start at 7 a.m., and since my room can't start without me you can see the problem!  I wish we had a safe, well-lit area to run at 5 in the morning, but we don't.  

2.  If you could have any job in the world what would it be?
I am pretty lucky in this respect - I love my job! Someday, when I retire, I'll continue to do this job on medical missions several times a year - but I've got quite a few years left before retirement!  

3.  Do you have a guilty food pleasure?  (i.e what is your favorite empty calorie food)
M&Ms in the freezer.  Or in ice cream (so they get all cold and solid).  My husband knows this, too, and if he thinks my weight is dropping too fast he stashes M&Ms in our freezer for me to find! 


4.  How and/or why did you start running?
I ran a little bit in high school, but didn't start running seriously until I joined the Army, at which point I went to Melissa (she was a career Marine) and asked her to help me.  This is how our running partnership developed.  When I started I would run for a minute or so and then walk, and Melissa was patient throughout the process!

5.  Do you have any special Christmas time traditions?
I love pulling out all the ornaments we've collected over the years and putting them on our tree.  I also love baking (and decorating!) cookies, although I think the rest of the family just goes along with decorating cookies to humor me!  Also, they don't mind the eating of the cookies that goes along with the decorating of the cookies!

6.  What race/event are you most looking forward to in 2011?
Disney! :)  I am going as Tinkerbell - although I will likely be the most overdressed Tinkerbell ever, because I am always cold!

Now, I am supposed to tag some other bloggers, but I am terrible at things like this - I worry about who to choose, and I worry about making people feel left out if I don't pick them, and so (with apologies to Kim!) I'll leave it at this: I'd love to read all of your responses to these questions, so if you feel like playing along, TAG!  You're it!

And now, the winner of my CSN stores giveaway: TMB at Racing With Babes!  TMB, I can't help you with the treadmill but they do have a nice selection of foam rollers!





Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 23 (Disney!!!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feeling Human Again

Okay, every time I am sick I promise myself that I'll never take wellness for granted again.  And then some time passes, and I get busy, and I forget about ever being sick at all.  But this time I mean it - I'll never take my wellness for granted again!

courtesy: http://bodyfitnesshealth.com/

I'm still not 100% over whatever it was, but I'm back at work and moving (somewhat) again. Going to try a short run this evening and see how that feels. I'm anxious to get back into the game!

We had freezing rain here last night - one of the snow plows actually slid and flipped over.  So I think I'm going to wait just a little bit to go in - I don't have to be particularly early this morning, and maybe discretion is the better part of valor.  

If you haven't entered my giveaway, please do so here: CSN Stores Giveaway

And don't forget to try to win an iPod shuffle here: 26.2 is my Cooldown


Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 26 (Disney!!!) 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CSN Stores Christmas Giveaway

Okay, because I have been sick forever for a couple of days now, and because I cannot stand wasted time, and lying around moaning and whining is most certainly a waste of time, I have been doing my Christmas shopping.  Did you know that you can surf around to different shops, find stuff you like, click your mouse and they will send the stuff to your house?  Or, better still, they will send it directly to the gift recipient?  Did I mention I have a son overseas? This is the bomb!

                Thank You, Google! And CSN!


Where have you been all my life, online shopping? How come I took so long to jump onto this bandwagon?  This really is a great way to pass the time when you're sick as a dog sidelined for a bit.  Of course, I can't talk about my online shopping without mentioning CSN stores.  There are more than 200 of them - they have everything from greenhouses to TV stands for flat screens.  Yes, I chase rabbits when I shop.  That's half the fun!

Speaking of which, CSN stores has generously offered one of my readers a $35 gift code to use on anything you like.  And, since I'm feeling like crap under the weather, let's make it easy, shall we? Here's how to enter:

1. Follow my blog, and leave a comment telling me you've done so.
2. Link to this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or twitter, and leave a comment stating that you've done so.
3. Just for fun, tell me what you'd buy from CSN if money were no object. You can get to CSN from the link above, where I was shopping for an entertainment center!

One entry for each of the above, and I'll choose a winner by random number on the morning of December 18.  I know that's just four days away, but I'd like to give the winner a chance to shop before Christmas!  Unfortunately, I can only open this giveaway to readers in the US and Canada - I promise I'll do a more inclusive one when I'm back on my feet!

Still Sick

Still sick - this is the longest respiratory virus I have EVER had to deal with, and I am sick of it. I haven't run in four days - that's an eternity in my world!

Don't forget to enter the: Something in Your Stocking - Ipod Giveaway - it's pretty awesome!  I'm going back to bed.  Ugh!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

I am still fighting off this bug - I actually took a sick day today (I almost NEVER take sick days!). But, between naps I am looking at blogs (and moaning and whining about my head and my nose and my throat - but that's another post!) and trying to get some Christmas shopping done.

Mike at 26.2 is My Cooldown (which is an awesome title, no?) has a great giveaway going. Check it out - Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest - he's giving away THREE ipod shuffles. That's right - three. And it's easy to enter the giveaway, too, so take a minute and check it out. Then you can download some cool (free!) running podcasts to help you stay motivated in this awful weather!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tink?


Since I have made up my mind that Disney is going to be a fun run, and since I am under five feet tall, I have decided to run Disney as Tinkerbell.  Hey, I'm short and small and I'm even shaped like Tink - look at all that junk in her trunk!

My hair is a bit darker, but that's an easy fix.  And I am not above a little hair dye if it adds to the fun!

Luckily, I found this great Tinkerbell Costume on Instructables.  Here's a link to the designer's website.  Now I just have to find a large green t-shirt.  This is going to be great!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sick - again!

Well, I have been fighting off a respiratory thing all week and last night it struck with a vengeance.  Hubs and I had date plans (The Melting Pot!) and I had to beg off.  Today I have spent the day on the couch in Tinkerbell jammies.  My head aches, I'm coughing my head off and my voice sounds like the honking of a goose.

Oh, well - I should be on the downhill slope of it now, since it's been stalking me all week.  We'll see.  If I can't do my long run this weekend I'll have to try to do it on the treadmill Monday or Tuesday, and heaven help me, because I am not sure I can face another long treadmill run.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today's Mama Holiday Wishlist


Today's Mama is hosting a great giveaway if you (or any one in your family) are into video games.  My boys are avid gamers, so of course I had to enter.  You can read my entry, below:
1. What is your holiday wish for your family? I wish we could all be together this Christmas.  Since that cannot happen, I just hope that everyone is safe and happy during the holiday season.
2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition? We get up early and open gifts in our pajamas, and then we sit around in our PJ's and drink coffee and play with the toys!
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be? Funding for the Big Fat Greek Marathon, of course!
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money? Baking, playing games together, taking walks together.
5. What games did you play with your family growing up? My siblings and I loved board games - we'd play for hours.  Life, Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, Scrabble, Risk... and the list goes on!
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood? Baking with my children, decorating Christmas cookies, playing games together.  Christmas was always a happy time for us, growing up, and I hope that I have continued that tradition with my own children.
7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip? One year we spent Christmas at a small ski resort - that was a lot of fun!  I'd like to do that again, someday!
8. Check out GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?  My crew would love some new games - Harry Potter, Dance Master - and I'd love a new fitness game, like Zumba fitness.
If you'd like to win a massive array of video games for your family, stop byToday's Mama and enter for yourself!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Barracuda Swim Goggles

When I was in middle school, I competed (briefly) on a swim team.  I was always a decent swimmer, but having, again, not a speck of athletic talent, I was never really competitive.  However, I enjoy swimming and I know that I can get ready for a shorter triathlon by swimming a few times a week over the winter.  The one thing I didn't like in school was chlorine in my eyes when I swam.

With that in mind, I bought some Barracuda swim goggles.  They are a simple pair of standard goggles.  Now, usually, goggles don't fit me well because I have a hobbit-sized face (to go with my hobbit-sized body).  There are enough people in the family, though, that I knew that if I couldn't wear them somebody could.

I didn't need to worry, though - they are great.  No water leaking in around the eyes, no discomfort - they worked really well.  I didn't even have the tell-tale red marks around the eyes like swim goggles used to cause. 

I did find that my vision was a little blurry in them during the swim.  Now, I am extremely near-sighted, and cannot really do anything without my glasses or contact lenses.  So, I took my glasses off in the locker room and opened my goggles in the pool room.  And, yes, my vision was a little blurry during the swim, but I also have an astigmatism, so I thought that that might be the problem.  The astigmatism, strangely enough, resembled letters.  This was a new one, but the lighting wasn't terribly bright in the pool room, so I thought perhaps it was an optical illusion.

The letter-astigmatism didn't bother me one bit during the swim - the goggles worked beautifully, and I finished my swim without any problems.  And then I got back into the locker room and put my glasses on to put the goggles away.  I'll be darned if there weren't letters on the eye-pieces of those goggles!  "Protective Film - Remove Before Use" - yup, I did the WHOLE SWIM with the protective film in place!  That's how blind I am, people - I couldn't even see those letters without my glasses on.  And I am very grateful that there was no one else in the pool room that morning!

So, I highly recommend Barracuda if you are in the market for swim goggles.  Just take the protective film off before you use them!

Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 34 (Disney!!!) 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trying a Tri


In the back of my mind, for probably ten years, has been the desire to complete a triathlon.  Melissa doesn't really share that desire, although she is a good training partner and puts up with my craziness.  And I think I may have really lost it this time.  I have decided, with a little urging from a few friends, including Mike (who is dropping hints about a spectacular giveaway, so keep an eye on his blog!), to try a tri in the spring.

What that means is that I have to incorporate biking and running into my training this winter.  Today was the first day of my triathlon training program. It was 27 degrees, dark and blowing snow outside when I got up at 4:45 this morning, so I headed for the gym.

I spent 25 minutes on the bike.  It was challenging, but not overly so - I think I attained a RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) of 5-6, so it was a moderate workout.  The hardest part of biking, though (other than the fact that I am a complete klutz at it) is not that my legs ache.  It's (and there's no delicate way to say this) that my butt hurts.  Yes, I think I'm going to have to toughen up the ol' posterior if this tri thing is going to work.  That, or wear extremely padded biking shorts!

After my short stint on the bike, I changed and headed for the pool.  Now, my gym has a pool, but it is not Olympic-sized.  In fact, it's about the size of the pools commonly found in back yards in Florida.  So, I am ashamed to tell you that I did just fifteen laps in the pool in twenty minutes, and that's all I had.  On the other hand, I managed fifteen laps in the pool and I haven't done anything other than recreational swimming for more than thirty years.  Oh, and I spent five minutes in the hot tub before I hit the showers - it felt so good on my aching back!

Total workout time - 45 minutes.  And it felt like a complete waste of time, because I didn't pound out any miles on the treadmill.  I know that it wasn't a waste of time, though, and I know that I have to get out of that "running is the only worthwhile exercise" mindset, because it simply isn't true.

Also, today would normally have been an off day because I ran long yesterday, so at least I was moving and burning calories on what would normally be a wasted day.  And the pool room at the gym was nice and warm - it really felt good to get in the water.  All in all, not a terrible first triathlon training workout.  I know I still have a long way to go!  

Those of you that bike - any hints about the posterior soreness thing?  I have a feeling that that might be the most challenging part of the triathlon for me!

Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 35 (Disney!!!) 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dairy

Recently, I became somewhat obsessed with the fear of a stress fracture.  It started when I met one or two patients at work who were suffering from stress fractures.  Then I got back into reading running blogs, and there were more stories of stress fractures.  Finally, Melissa started having symptoms of a stress fracture - and what did all of these people have in common?  They are all female recreational runners in their mid-40's.  Yikes!

I have never been good about including calcium in my diet.  Even when I was pregnant and nursing my children, calcium was just not a priority.  Then there's my (recently broken!) addiction to diet coke, which may or may not leach calcium from the bones.  I just know I am a walking time bomb with regard to a stress fracture.

So, I decided to do something about it.  Certainly, calcium supplements are easy enough to take, but I think it's better to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet than from a supplement.  And it's easy enough to get calcium in your diet - just eat more dairy and green, leafy vegetables!



With that in mind, I started aiming for three servings of dairy a day.  Researchers found that adding dairy to the diet helped with long-term weight loss. Now, I haven't noticed any huge weight loss since increasing my dairy intake, although my slow and steady loss continues.  What I have noticed, though, is that my appetite has changed.  I'm just not as hungry anymore.

Here's the thing: I think the dairy products I am eating are modulating my appetite swings.  Before I started the great Dairy Crusade (aka Operation Prevent Stress Fractures), I was always starving between meals AND I craved sugar like crazy.  Now I can still appreciate a nice dessert, but having one once a week is just fine.  Believe me, this is new ground for me.  

I freely admit that this could be simply a coincidence - the reduced appetite and lack of sugar cravings might be due to my overall increased level of fitness and the fact that I've been eating more real, healthy foods for the past year or so.  But on days that I miss my dairy mark, I'm often hungry and crabby.  For the moment, I'm going to continue eating yogurt and cheese and having chocolate milk after my workouts.  Hey, it works for me!

Disclaimer: One of the researchers linked to in this post is a professor at the University of Tennessee.  I teach at the university but am not affiliated with the researcher in any way, and I am not receiving any compensation from any source (including the Dairy Council!) for posting this.  I did steal the photo from the Dairy Council, though, via Google!






Big Fat Greek Marathon Fund: $62.50
Goal: Unknown (they send out information in February)
Days until next race: 37 (Disney!!!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Running to Music

Now, I know that many (perhaps most) of you run to music.  However, I have only done so sporadically in the past, mainly because my iPod was an older model, and kind of bulky.  I liked it well enough, but found that I didn't really use it that much because it was kind of a pain.  Until now.

Now I have this little guy:


Here it is, actual size:


It was a gift, and I am undoubtedly one of the luckiest people in Tennessee right now!  The iPod Nano comes in a variety of colors, and you can get the 8GB or 16GB size. It is impossibly tiny and cute, and holds a buttload of content, in either version!  The main worry is that it would be very easy to lose - it's that small.  I pinned it onto my clothes, briefly, and couldn't even tell it was there!

So, I went on iTunes and downloaded a couple of podcasts from Motion Traxx.  The Motion Traxx podcasts are set a certain speed in beats per minute.  I ran to Mean Streak - 165 BPM this morning.  It is touted to be slightly faster than a 10:00 minute per mile pace, and I found it easy to run almost the entire 6 miles at 6.2 - 6.3 miles per hour.  Honestly, although that is a fairly fast pace for me, it was one of the easier runs I have done.  The best part?  These podcasts are FREE.  How often do you find something that's effective and also FREE?

If you run with music, what's your favorite running song?