Friday, March 30, 2007

17 days to go...

It's been a rough couple of days. We are going to NYC tomorrow for the Memorial Tribute to Shelton, so yesterday, I spent the every moment I could between meetings, clearing my calendar and rearranging things. I moved up my 20-mile long run from tomorrow to this morning beause I know that there is no way that I will run a 20-miler tomorrow or Sunday.

This morning, I got up and felt good and rested. I got dressed and had breakfast - drat! no bread for my cheese bread! Darn. I usually have a slice of bread with cheese melted on top AND a serving of oatmeal right before my long runs - keeps me full and energized.

Since the car was in the shop (AGAIN - uh... 5th time but who's counting??? Not me, the Benz-girl that I am... nope.) so I had to take the Green Line into Boston to take the commuter rail OUT of Boston to get to Mile 3 of the Marathon course in Ashland. My math was a little off but I knew that by the time I hit 20 miles, I'd be at the Green Line and I could take it a couple miles home. I figured that today might be the day I am heroic and actually run 22 miles for a training run even though Joseph warned me against it.

While I was getting dressed, I had a weird feeling that the run wasn't going to be as good as I felt. Don't know why but the nagging feeling was there.

I went downstairs and Scotty the Contractor was downstairs.

Scotty says, "Going for a run?"
Yup. I'll see you in about 5 1/2 hours.
Scotty just looked at me, paused and let out a booming laugh. And he kept laughing. I thought to myself, "whatever... sheesh..." and just left.

I walked 10 minutes to the Green Line.
I took the Green Line a bout 30 minutes into Boston and got off at Copley.
I walked about 10 minutes to Back Bay Station.
I bought a ticket and waited around for 15 minutes.
I took the train about 45 minutes from Back Bay to Ashland.
So... let's see... that's about 1 hour 50 minutes of traveling out of Boston to START running.

Ashland is a new station and my first time there.
I got off the train and there were two municiple workers. I asked one where Rt. 135 was.
Worker 1 says, "Cross over the tracks and go up the driveway."
Ok. Thanks.
Worker 1 says, "It's a long driveway."
Ok. The other side?
Worker 1 says nodding, " Yup. It's a loooong driveway."
Ok. Thanks.
I start walking away, thinking to myself just how long is this driveway??

Worker 2 calls me over.
Worker 2 says, "You running the marathon?"
Yup. I'm doing a training run
Worker 2 says, "If you wanna wait, we are going to Hopkinton next, we'll give you a ride."
I tell him thanks, but I am starting at Mile 3 and running home. I just have to run 20 miles today.
Worker 2 says, "Ok. It's a loooooon driveway up to the road."

So, I cross over the tracks (3 flights up, a walk over the tracks, and three flights down) and I start walking UP the driveway. About 15 minutes of walking and I finally CREST the driveway. Driveway?? What the hell were they talking about? This isn't a driveway, it's a damn ROAD! ARG!!! I hit the crest and decide I have to start running... and so I start.

Things were going well until mile 10 when the wheels fell off. I got hungry. I mean, I got so hungry that all I could think about were FRENCH FRIES!!! The perfect food. Crispy... potatoes that are easy to digest carbs, salt, grease to fill my tummy and make me happy. Not a lot, a half a bag would do.

By this time I am in Wellesley. Every store I pass, I am looking for the Golden Arches. Nothing. I decide a Burger King or a Wendy's would do. NOTHING. And I decide a mom 'n pop fast food place is just as good. NOTHING! ARG!!! What the hell kinda town is this place??? I finally see a Whole Foods and I run over to the bread section. There I am in the middle of the Whole Foods in upscale Yuppie-ville, sweating puddles all over the floor, poking through the bread bin and finally settling on a beautiful croissant. Not exactly the same as french fries but it is bread and fatting and it will have to do.

Then as I walk to the register, I look over to the deli section and what do I see? FRENCH FRIES. And the sign says, "Canola oil, sea salt." YES! I run back to the bread bin and put the croissant back. Yes. Right back into the bin. And I grab about 4 french fries because these things are GIGANTICAL! Yikes. I pay. I leave. I chow.

GAH!!! What ARE THESE?? They are terrible. Leave it to stoopid Whole Foods in Stoopid Yuppieville to totally ruin something as simple and elegant as FRENCH FRIES! Do you think they were fatty? NO. Do you think they had salt? Of course NOT! ARG!!! I eat them anyway, I feel better.

After that the run was a battle between walking and running. I couldn't believe it. Even with all the oxygen in the world, I wasn't gonna make it any faster. At about 20.5 miles, I am finally at the Green Line. I hop on the train and ride 2 miles to Coolidge Corner. I get off and walk the rest of the way home.

I find out that I've had messages from
Cher and Joseph, both wondering where I am and why am I out on my long run for so long and did I just DIE out there? Even at my pace, it was exceptionally slow.

I called Cher and checked in and regaled her with stories of my saga. Then I called Joseph. I tell him my tale of woe. Woe is me!! Woe Woe Woe! Wah!!! I suck big time! I don't know what happened! I was so tired. The good news was that my pants worked so well that my hips on down felt great! No cramping or pain or sharp jabs in the usual places. The only issue I had was around my stomach beause the pants were so tight. More on that later... Anyway, Joseph asks me to tally up my runs for the week.

Joseph says, "How many miles have you run in the last week?"
Hmmm... 35 miles...
Joseph says, "No, not since Monday. In the last 7 days."
Oh. Hmm.....
Joseph says, ": Let me know when you get to 50..."
Wait... no sir! Not 50. I am counting...
Joseph is humming now... and says, "Okay. I'll wait.... let me know..."
Uh.... Hmmm... huh. Uh... 55.06?
Joseph says, "Yup. The problem is you ran almost 40 of the 55 in 2 days out of 7. "
Oh. Hunh. Well, strike me and blow me down... I was kinda speechless. Can you imagine? Jeez.

In light of all that... I've learned a few things.
  1. I can run 55 miles in a week and not break, get injured or die. This goes a long way mentally in my quest to do 50 mile weeks on average sometime this year
  2. Always make sure I have enough bread to have bread'n cheese for breakfast on Long Run day, because 2 servings of oatmeal ain't enough.
  3. And take a damn cab to the start of my run if Joseph can't drop me off via car. It's worth the $40 to get there without expending all my energy just getting myself to the beginning of the run!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rest in Peace, Shelton Kang

...a large void was created today......a large void was created today...
How will it ever be filled?

On of my most best friends in the world, lost her big brother to cardiac arrest today. He passed away this afternoon in her living room in Hartsdale, NY.

They were getting ready to go on vacation, and she heard him downstairs making unusual sounds. She went down and he was on the floor. She administered CPR and managed to call EMS while doing so. EMS worked on him for about 23 minutes, and pronounced him dead.

She plans to have him cremated and will take him to his home in Columbus and to his beloved wife, who passed away several years ago from ovarian cancer. I said I would be done this weekend and she said no. She'd rather I be there when we come together to celebrate his life and pay tribute to one of the happiest people we knew. One of her friends from NYC was going to be there soon and another friend from Maryland was driving up...she would be okay. But she might be on our doorstep... "if you look out your front door and see this poor sad bedraggled Chinese woman, it'll be me..." She can move in. I will tell her that.

Her brother Shelton was a happy person. He was probably the happiest person I knew. I guess I still know him... My fondest memories of him making me irritable with his long monologues about this and the other, knowing all the while I was getting more impatient, and laughing louder and louder about it. And then telling me that he loves to make me irritated.

He was also one of the kindest people I know. He had recently sent me complete recordings of the first and second season of 24, just because I had mentioned in passing a month ago that I would be renting it from Netflix.

He was the big brother I never had and I have to thank Harriet for introducing him to me. She is, after all, the big sister I never had.

Shelton would want us to be happy for him. Living with congestive heart failure, he once told me that he had far surpassed his time here on earth, and every additional second he stood breathing and living was a gift.

Harriet reminded me that Shelton would want us to be happy for him. To celebrate his life and his wonder - one of the smartest people I know who still maintained the innocence of wonder at things that happened over and over gain. He once told me that life always amazed him, that people always amazed him. That things changed so quickly but it was all so much the same. And that people never changed. :o)) Shelton would want us to laugh and be happy. And if we can do that when we think of him, he will live immortal in our smiles and our aughter.
I will miss you, Shelton Kang.
...As we wave farewell from our shore, your shadow grows fainter.
But on the other side, there will be shouts of joy from those who are watching for your approach...

Keep paradise warm for us. And when we meet we will laugh together once more.
Rest in peace, my friend, rest in peace.

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Random Thought: Ahead of myself

WHY, oh WHY does it feel like FRIDAY!?!?!?!?!



Random Thought: Shoe wear & tear

I am thinking that the Brooks Adrenalines are holding up pretty well.
One pair has almost 225 miles on them and they are still comfortable.
The new pair I am breaking in for the Marathon has about 50 miles on
them and they aren't as comfortable. I think these actually need to be
broken in for a time before they really feel good. I am thinking of
using the older pair in the Marathon but I don't want them blowing up at
mile 12 or wherever. That would really stink. What to do what to do
what to do...

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19 days to go...

Jeez. I hope I am not counting down wrong. In my state of denial on the approaching Marathon, I can totally see myself counting down 1 day for every two that passes.

Anyway, today was Hill Day. 5 Hill repeats up Summit Ave. The first time, I had to take a breather in the middle. For some reason, during the .8 mile run there, I had not been able to warm up enough to make it to the top on the first run. The next four was straight up without stopping. I was psyched!

My oxygen intake felt good since going back to the higher dose of Advair.
My AvgHR was 70 and my MaxHR was 82.
The interesting thing is that I've run at an 85-95% HR and done fine (if you can call gasping for breath "fine.") Anyway, in doing hills, the disparity between the fitness level of my cardiovascular system and the fitness of my legs are readily apparent. I could not have done those repeats faster. Not even if you lit a fire under me. Nay... not even if you took a blow torch to my butt! My calves were burning, my hamstrings got tight... this tells me that I have to do leg strengthening exercises - probably lunges - light weight, high reps. The key is to have everything be in synch. I have never experienced that.

I also wore my wonderful new CW-X jogbra and although it was soaked, it didn't weigh the usual 5 pounds. And my new CW-X long tights. My legs didn't cramp or hurt in any particular place. They felt tight at times but not pained. They even felt tired a few times but no single area felt like it was trying to keep up with the rest of the body. I will test them out on my 20 miler this Saturday. That will be the true test.

On another note... why is it that they put drawstrings in tight pants? The CW-X pants are like bandages. And it came with a drawstring around the waist. I was afraid of chafing so I pulled it out. And whaddayaknow? They didn't fall down! Wow.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Doctor, please cure me...

I had my doctor's appointment this afternoon about my oxygen intake since getting the lower dose of Advair. I told her my symptoms and how I felt like I wanted to rip my chest open to give my lungs enough room to be able to fill up with oxgen. I've been feeling it 2 days after taking the lower dose. I basically said that now that I know what it feels like to live with oxygen, I want it back and I can't live with anything less than 100%. I also told her about the marathon in 3 weeks.

So, she gave me a prescription for the higher original level of Advair. AND she also gave me an inhaler (ugh, one of those gray ugly things) of albuterol to take 15 minutes before I run long. Jeez. I guess she understands my point, huh? How can you not love a doctor who totally "gets it?"

I might be able to go on the low dose after the house is done, but for now, it's the medium dose for the next 12 months at least. Yahoo!

And on the way back to the office from appointment, I passed the Chacarero stand. So I stopped and got a small bbq chicken with extra avocado spread and extra hot sauce. She also added extra green beans and roasted red peppers for good measure. Yum! I had half and wrapped up the rest. I might have it later, I might have it tomorrow... not sure yet. But I am happy knowing I still have more Chacarero left when I want it! YUM YUM YUM!


Slow and steady keeps it off

I was telling Joseph this morning that I've only lost a little over 3 pounds since January. But then I looked at the big picture and if I lose a pound a month, in December! I'll have lost 12 pounds. Hmmm... I can live with that!

I also pointed out that eating dinner early at work is helping. He thought it was more about portion control than the time at which I eat. By taking dinner to work, I am eating a controlled portion. I can only eat what I've packed. I can't linger over the table noshing away mindlessly. Eating at work makes dinner a is a matter-of-fact business event to be done with. I also don't have a glass of wine every night that often turns to 2 and then, half the bottle. Hidden calories... And when I do want a glass, I can come home and have one. Just one. Which is what I did last night.

This morning I had lost the 3 pounds I had gained after my long run on Saturday. It's amazing how much your muscles swell after the stress of a long run. It's like clockwork. Right after the run, my weight is down around a pound or two. The next day it's up about a half pound. Then two days after, it's up 3-4 pounds. It can get pretty demoralizing at times. And then it gradually goes back to where it was before the long run. If I am diligent and don't lose sight of the larger goal by eating week regardless, I tend to get right back to where I was instead of it happening over a four-day period. And that leaves the rest of the week for me to lose weight.

This morning, I ran 2 miles. Nice and easy. 20 more days to go... I still cannot get a full lungful of air. I tried this morning and I felt like I was at 90-95%. I want to be back at 100% oxygen!! I am going to the doctor this afternoon. I hope she gives me the higher dose of Advair.

Tomorrow I have hills. 5 of them. It had better be WARM in the morning!!!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Managing life and time...

My good friend Cher and I are trying to manage the balance between our workout times and our work times. Basically, just managing life.

She is switching from evening workouts to mornings and has been consistent for a little over a week. I've been working out in the mornings for a while but it's still very difficult for me. I am a "night person." That means around 9:00 PM I get what is commonly referred to as "a second wind." I don't know where this wind comes from but it's a breath of life and I suddenly get busy doing stuff I should have done early - like reading emails, blogging, paying video games ;o), cleaning the house, stretching, putting things away, etc. You name it, I'm up for it. It lasts until about 3am and then I fall into bed, pooped. Since living with Joseph, I haven't stayed up til 3am until I had my asthmatic coughing spells. Then, I welcomed sleep!

Anyway, we are trying to get our mileage up. To do so, we need more time spent running. If we are busy now, where are we going to find that time? This is primarily the reason that my lofty goals of yoga, pilates, lifting, etc., never materialize; where am I going to find the time?

She suggested that by scheduling her days and planning ahead, she can squeeze more time out of her day. So she is planning her menus and her clothes for work and all manner of things. I've tried this before and failed. I can't be that regimented. What if I don't feel like eating that particular menu item that day? What if I don't feel like RED on another day and would rather wear purple. Some people would just go ahead and follow the prescribed routine and would get over it. Not me.

I believe that our bodies know what it needs through it's cravings. If we don't let it choose the foods it need, I will be denying certain nutrition it requires. I also believe that color has a lot to do with a person's "aura" if you will. Maybe I need to wear purple because there is something in my energy wavelength that requires strength from purple.

My clothes are easy. 99% of the time, I wear pants. I have many pairs of black pants, and one in brown and one in gray. In the summer, I have black plants, and various shades of tan and brown. My shirts are colors that go with everything. I just pull whatever I "feel like" out of the closet that morning.

My food is easy too. I pack lunch and dinner and usually just reach in and pull out a number of leftover from the past 3 days. Sometimes I stop by Ruth's Kitchen to buy take out bulk deli foods that can be used as "leftovers."

The issue of the what happens during the day is something else.
You can't pack every minute with something productive.
Last night, my Hunny Bunny called me a procrastinator. I know I am that - a procrastinator.
But if I have been going all day and need to play a video game or two for 30 minutes or an hour, I call it "down time".

I once read an article by a bunchapsychology people and they agreed that the level of play tends to be the balance of how one spends their day. In other words, the more cerebral or intellectual the work, the more child-like the play tends to be. That seems to justify why techno geeks and nerds find the stoopidest things funny and engage in play that is totally childish. And the article came out in the late 70's. My father's friend, who I will call J, told me about this when I was a teenager. It was very interesting.

Anyway, the debate is where does down time end and procrastination start? To me procrastination is not "NOT doing something". It's substituting something else for the thing that you need to do. But the thing you substituted is of equal or like value. In this case, playing a video game is not of "like value" to stretching and cleaning the house. Stretching and cleaning the house need to get done, but the video game is not important. If I were to substitute cleaning because I didn't want to face paying the bills - that's procrastinating. Both need to get done and are probably around the same or similar value. Got that?

Anyway, finding wasted time is going to be important. 99% of my days look like this:

6am: up, drink coffee, get the body loosened up.
7am: up and ready to run
8am: get ready, dress, pack lunch
Around 9am to 9:30am: Leave for work
Around 10am to 10:30am: arrive at work, put lunch in fridge, load up on water for the day, etc
10:30am until 6pm: work work work. Lunch is eaten at my desk while working. Sometimes I do small personal things like paying bills because I have not focused time at any other time to do this.
6pm: eat dinner while working
7pm: go home
8pm: arrive home, unload my stuff, wash my lunch and dinner tupperware, etc
8:30pm: sit on the couch like a stoopid potato and get totally vegetative. Start playing video games while watching a show that was recorded.
9pm: sometimes I will stretch, or we will watch another show, or I will continue to watch video games.
9:50-10:10: sometime in here, I will get up, and get ready for bed.
10:15: usually in bed
10:30: fall sleep to the weather.

It sounds like a pretty full day.
Even without blogging or reading personal email.
Sometimes weeks go by before I can do these activities.

It will also help when the sunrise starts a little after 5am. I will open the blinds at night and wake with the dawn. That will give me another hour in the morning. At that time, my mileage can increase somewhat.

I will track my days for a week and see where my time is wasted. I don't see a lot of time. What can you do at 8:30pm with a full 13 hours of living behind you already? Go to the grocery store? Run errands? Go to the bank? What am I missing?

Of course, I just spend 20 minutes blogging this whole thing.
But I did eat lunch while doing it!


21 days to go...

Oh yes. I failed to mention that there are 21 more days until Marathon Monday.
Yes. Three. Weeks.

Thought I would just remind myself.
Because, you know... I need to be reminded.


Week 12 Training Recap

Last weekend was the highest mileage week for the year. I am on my way to 50 mile weeks. It will be tougher but we'll see how it goes.
Monday: Run 30 minutes
Ran for 3o minutes. Good start to the week.

Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes
Nothing. I had to go into work early.

Wednesday: Run 75 minutes with a 2x1 mile speedwork

Yup. Did this. Felt pretty good even though my MaxHR went up to 96%. Yikes. I certainly did not want to find a new MaxHR!

Thursday: Bike 45 minutes
Nothing. I had to go into work early again

Friday: Rest Day
4 miles easy.

Saturday: 6 miles
Switched it out and ran my long run instead. This was going to be the better day of the weekend and on Sunday, I wanted to support the Dead Runners do their long run. Had a terrific 18.5 mile long run. There were so many runners out there that it felt like Marathon Monday!

Sunday: 20 miles.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right.
Actually, Joseph changed the distance to 18 miles and I did it on Saturday. He didn't want me going from long runs of 16 and 16 with a jump to 20. Next week I will do 20 miles. Instead, I ran 2 miles. It hurt really badly after the long run on Saturday and the pummeling by Arun afterwards. I am thinking that maybe it's not so good to have a massage on the same as your long run.

Total for the week: 33.63 miles

Next week's schedule:

Monday: Run 30 minutes

Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes. I am changing this to Run 20 minutes. I have to get my mileage up.

Wednesday: Run 75 minutes. 5 hill repeats.

Thursday: Bike 45 minutes. I am changing this to a rest day

Friday: Rest day. I am changing this to Run 6 miles

Saturday: Run 6 miles. I am changing this to Run 20 miles since I have a massage with Arun tomorrow.

Sunday: Run 2 miles. Then go to appointment with Arun. I will have to run early.


More Oxygen Please

This morning I ran.
It was better than the debaucle of a run yesterday.
That was mainly because my stomach was not full of chicken wings and beer like yesterday.
Regardless, my pace was up but I distinctly felt like I couldn't get 100% air into my lungs. I continue to breathe deeply to test it out but there isn't that sense of relief you get when your lungs are filled to 100% capacity and you are getting all the oxygen that you need. Today I am going to make an appt with the doctor and see if I can get back on the higher dose.

My weight is up by about 2 pounds this morning. It's to be expected since it's always up two days after my long run. Then it rapidly declines. Almost every week, my weight is lower than the previous week by about .2-.4 pounds. That's good news since the trend is a decline.

Last night, Joseph read me the quote from Scotty the Contractor. I am going to kill myself! ARG!!!! All I can say is... no more bottled water, no more but the bare minimum, always ask the question "do you really need it?" The only exemptions for me would be my hair and massages and my skincare, and even that might have to go by the way of the CVS store brand for a while. Of course that means I will look old and worn.... Might as well go ahead and kill myself. The good news is that I don't buy clothes and I don't go haunting the malls for sales on things I never knew I needed. I hate to shop. That's the good news.

Anyway...There is nothing wrong with tap water. Right?

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

End of the week

Most people's weeks from from Sunday through Saturday.
At least that is what all the calendar makers want you to believe.
My weeks start on Monday and end on Sunday.
Most runners' weeks go from Monday through Sunday.
Having the week end on two days that you don't work on (usually) allows you to choose the day of your long run. It depends on what you've got going on, whether the party is on Friday or Saturday, your obligations, the weather... most important is the wind predicted by the weather prognosticators.

Today was the annual Dead Runners Society Crewed Run. This year we had 4 drivers and a bout 16 runners. The group got bigger over night. But no matter. This is a fast group so we started at mile 3 and then hopscotched each other every two miles. Besides, there were other groups out and they had their own water stop support crew and we were all sort of helping all the runners out regardless of what group you belonged to. That's the beauty of living in a runner-filled area. And during marathon training season, all the non-runners who drive the route know it and give us all wide berth.

After the run, we went to Buff's pub for the annual Post Crewed Lunch. Wonderful. Honey Hot chicken wings, Buffalo chicken wings, BBQ chicken wings, baskets of french fries, a couple of beers all around, and then lunch - I had a steak tip greek roll up.

After lunch, we dropped off our friends Josh (Flash) and Steve (a tri-athlete who also runs) and we headed to MIT for the multi-sport expo. I ended up with a pair of long running tights that are supposed to support your various muscular areas - such as the abs, glutes, knees, hamstrings, IT band, calves, shins... I had seen these on people and had heard about them at a high level but didn't really know any of the details. At the expo, I had a nice conversation with the in the booth (not sure if he works for CW-X or for Marathon Sports) and I ended up buying a pair of pants and Joseph ended up with long shorts and a pair of tri shorts.

I gave the long pants a spin on the treadmill tonight before dinner. They were TOUGH to get on. It reminded me of the old days of pouring myself into my wet suit (those were the days when I sailed and raced catamarans - a story for another day). But when I got them on and started running, the compression feeling went away. I am not sure how they worked since I was HURTING from my long run yesterday and the pummeling... uh... massage I got from Arun 4 hours after my long run. But it wasn't bad. I also bought a jogbra because the ones I have are made by Champion and they weight about 5 or 10 pounds after a run because I sweat so much. I have actually wrung about 2 cups of sweat out of my jogbra on occassion. Anyway... The jogbra held up quite well. It got wet but it wasn't heavy! I was surprised at how well it worked.

I am going to wear the long pants next week for my 20 miler and see how it goes. If it goes well, I'll go to Marathon Sports and get myself a pair of shorts. These things aren't cheap. The pants were $98 and the shorts are $68! It kinda makes you think twice about "stocking up" on them.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

23 days to go...18.49 miles in the bag...

Okay. So I had 20 miles scheduled by Joseph changed it on me last week and I was re-scheduled for 18.

What happened to the 60 degree day?
It was around 55 degrees instead. Good enough.

Joseph drove me to the 6.5 mile mark of the Marathon Course. We came in from the side, off the Pike. There were a couple of lights before the corner and we could already see the streams of runners running by. It is always exciting and nerve-wracking for me right before I jump into a training run with massive amounts of people.

Saturdays are the days that the charity teams train on the course. And most of those runners are like me - at the back of the pack - since most, although not all, would never need to qualify or could never dream of qualifying.

Sundays are the days that the fast runners like the BAA train.

My decision to run today was based on the fact that tomorrow, the Dead Runners are holding their annual Crewed Run. We will all meet at the Newton City Hall at the Mile 19 mark, and drivers will drive the runners out to the starting line in Hopkinton. The runner will take off and the drivers will support, we will hopscotch one another and drive to the mile markers and wait with water, gatorade, peeps, m&m's, and all manner of food. We will do this until mile 20 or 22, and meet back at the Newton City Hall. Anyway, tomorrow I am driving and Joseph is running, which works out well since he is FAST and I am slow. I also think that today is going to be the better of the two days since it is supposed to snow overnight, with a wet snow accumulation of over 2" in the Boston area, up to 6 inches out west. And Hopkington is west-er than Boston. Ahem.

Anyway, there must have been hundreds of people out there. And I was right there with them. It truly felt awesome to be out, among the pack. I smiled almost the whole way until I had to keep going when they all stopped around Mile 19, 20 and 21. Team in Training, Stop SMA, First Giving, Dana Darber, Joins in Motion, Miles for Miracles... I can't tell you all the charities that were represented. Of course there was the one lone guy wearing a Ron Burton shirt, running against the crowd - meaning uphill to Hopkinton - who looked really think and really fast. I waved and hooted and cheered as he ran past. He put on a big smiled, looked at me and waved. I bet he was surprised I knew what Ron Burton Training Village was! It's the one I raised money for during a couple of Bostons and at our wedding, when I asked for donations instead of gifts. I mean, come on... how much "stuff" do we need?? Last thing we wanted was another toaster, and the money would be nice, but it the donations meant a whole lot more help for the underprivileged kids fighting the good fight to get their lives and futures on track. Ya know? And what a great way to start married life together? Letting our friends do "good" on the day of our marraige. It was wonderful. Anyhooooo...

The running was good. My HR was solid and at one point, it was at 94%. The average was 75%. There was a steady head breeze for a while until we turned onto Comm Ave, when it turned into a solid head wind. There is no escape from the wind and I am resigned... sigh...

The body was holding up and the muscles weren't aching too much. Around mille 17, Joseph pulled up on his bike. He had a backpack with fresh dry clothes. And guess what I did? Right in the middle Route 16, with runners streaming by and cars passing? Yup. I changed. I took off my two layers of shirt, I changed my jogbra - I am REALLY good at doing this without flashing too much, LOLOLOL - my gloves. Joseph had even brought tissues! It was so good to run in dry clothes! He also met me at around Mile 20, and I filled up on water. He took off and I ran home.

18.5 miles.
A decent training run.
I am grateful to be out there, and able enough to run.
I am grateful to always remember, at least til now, where I come from - humble athletic beginnings with only classical dance as an avenue for any regular physical activity - even with my seasonal tries at volleyball, track, and field hockey.
I am grateful that I can feel as much as I do, that I don't take the small things for granted, and even though I hurt, and complain, and whine, and moan, I am grateful that no matter what, I know I can.

Tomorrow, 2 miles recovery.
I think I'll hit the treadmill.


Friday, March 23, 2007

24 days to go...

So far, I've lost 3.8 pounds since January 1st.
That's a little more than a pound a month and March isn't over yet.
I've actually lost the weight in the last 3 weeks when I started eating dinner early - before I leave work around 6pm. I don't do this every night but between 3-4 nights a week. I knew this was the key for me and I had been saying it for almost two years. And now that I am finally doing it, it's working.

This morning, I had 6 miles scheduled. But Joseph went out for his run and came back to tell me that I should run 4 miles today and 18 miles tomorrow instead of the scheduled 20 miles tomorrow, followed by 2 miles on Sunday which I had already planned. That will bring me to a little over 33 miles, a slight jump up from last week. He thought that going to 6 and 20 miles this weekend was too aggressive from 4 and 16 miles last weekend. Boston is, after all, only a training run for me to prepare for VCM. Of course, he wasn't going to get any arguments from me!

So, I ran 4 miles on the treadmill - the thought of going out didn't do it for me even though it was warm this morning.

I am wondering what to have to dinner tonight. I'll look up a recipe for artichokes. And the produce delivery came with some recipes I'll try. Have to figure out the meat and potatoes.

Just met with Scotty the Contractor. Turns out the woman next door complained about the air conditioning units on the side of the house. The inspector came out to take a look. The good news is that Scotty did everything right and in fact, he was under the code - meaning he did better than the code. But he now needs to bring out an engineer to certify the beams he put up and the siding will have to be abated because they are asbestos siding. ARG! That is not only more money but a big ass pain! We have to add more time. But at least we are doing things right and the inspector isn't mad at us - and she looks like an idiot and a complainer. It's good to have the inspector on your side. The killer is that they are siding their house next door and I bet they never pulled a permit for it. They also have two junky cars, and a backyard full of crap, and their second floor back balcony has chairs and stuff strewn all over it. It's not like they are living in the Taj Mahal or anything! What a bonehead.

The other thing I talked with Scotty about is the bathroom window over the Uber-tub I want. He keeps shaking his head and moaning about the size. I finally had to tell him, "forget it Scotty. Make it work." Wait til his finds out about the big engine underneath that sucks out all of the jets and dries them 90 seconds after the tub drains. Wait til he reads about that!

We decided on a sideways oval window with the keys on four sides (very Victorian), greenish blue glass tiles for the steam shower (very refreshing; he will bring me some samples from showers he just did in green glass), an awning style piano window in the toilet room so that you can get light but no one can see you walking around naked! Too bad for the woman next door who is obviously snooping around now.

I haven't said anything to Scotty but...I wonder if we should put radiant heat under the floor tiles?

We also talked about the doors. I asked him to walk around the whole house and look at the doors, decide which ones need to be replaced and which we can salvage. Make a note of it so he has it in his records and during phase 121 or whenever, we can call him and say "order those doors, Scotty." and be done with it.

I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.

We had talked about landscaping around the air conditioning units outside, making it real pretty and hiding it so no one is wiser. But now? We are thinking of painting big neon yellow smiley faces on them. Do you think that might upset someone? Hmmm....

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A surprise delivery!

Came home last night, got settled, walked into the kitchen (if you can call it that), and on a chair, what do I see but a big green box. One of those plastic ones. The kind that delivery companies, grocery stores, etc., all use. And inside, fruit and veggies. ACK! Turns out that on the tails of ordering home delivery from Hills Home Market, Joseph decided to round things out with fresh fruit and produce deliveries on a bi-weekly basis from Boston Organics. I am so happy!!! I was looking at their website the other day and the flood of indecision made me do nothing. My wonderful Hunny Bunny made the decision for me and I am sooo relieved and happy!

We ended up with apples, pears, oranges, broccoli, lettuce, sugar snap peas, bagged spinach, artichokes, bananas, and a couple of other things.

We had heard about it from our friend Jetrocket, who said it forces her to eat her veggies and try things she never would have tried before. And I agree - love veggies but we never eat fruit unless they are in season.

You can create a Never Send List, One Time Add On List for things like potatoes and onions, and even give suggestions for substitutions. There are different prices for different sizes and you can get it weekly or bi-weekly. You can specify the amount of vegetables in relation to fruit.

Joseph had first ordered the $27 2/3 veg bi-weekly box. But after checking things out we decided to try the $37 2/3 veg weekly box. We'll see how it goes. I know that if we cook a lot, it won't be a problem. But my schedule being what is it and Joseph not cooking everything for himself if I am not home, it's going to be more of a matter of whether we have time to use everything. We can always adjust it back to bi-weekly at any time.

So, what this all means is that I save even more time (about 2 hours weekly) by not having to shop for produce (on top of not having to shop for everything that Hills Home Market delivers, which saves another 2-3 hours a week). And it also means that I can concentrate on the Korean Market - where I go once a month, and the Chinese grocery store for the odd produce item that no one else delivers, such as chinese eggplant, bunches of watercress, pea pod shoots, etc., which I can do on my way home from the Korean Market.

We are still down a couple hundred on our regular shopping bill. We might even eat out less since it's usually the absence of veggies that make me want to eat out, and I save time. What's my time worth? No idea. But I do know that I don't have nearly enough of it!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

26 days to go...

This morning, I got up and ran for 75 minutes on the treadmill.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to run outside but I saw Joseph getting all bundled up for his run, and I thought, "No way." So threw on my headphone, grabbed my gatorade, and hit the treadmill. I was totally immersed in my run. At one point, Joseph came up to see me and say good bye but I don't remember much more than that. Now that I can breathe, I have more confidence. I took the pace up to an 8:26 mile, and hit 96% MaxHr. I did a lot of resting in between the two mile repeats and for some people, it's not that much. But I don't do speedwork and the mile? I'm a 200 meter gal, donchaknow... Miles are HARD.

Anyway, by the time I was done running and showering and getting ready, it was already 10am. So, I just put my sweats on, sat on the couch and worked from home. I couldn't afford the 45 minutes commute into the office! And the banging from the construction guys wasn't too bad. They try hard not to disturb me.

Last night after the offsite, The Guy from Dallas, Adam and I went to Elephant and Castle for a drink. Joseph joined us after work. It was good time and I'm glad he could mee The Guy from Dallas, since I am always telling him funny Guy-From-Dallas stories. You wouldn't believe some of them. The overturned golf cart, the ink stain on his shirt, the string from the blinds tied around his finger, staple in his teeth and the eraser in his ear... It's amazing he made it this far in life! Anyway... those are stories for another day...

Speaking of oxygen... we were, weren't we? Speaking of oxygen, I have put in the refill prescription at the pharmacy. I am more than a little worried beause the refills are are lower does than the 14-day trial the doctor gave me. What if I can't breathe again? What if I go back to running slower than Harriet? GAH! Harriet told me that this is typical but she is much more conservative than I am. Drugs are good. My doctor agrees. And the ones that help you run faster is better than the rest. Of course, it's only making me run as fast as I was before I got the asthma and not any faster. But it's all relative.

Speaking of being ultra sensitive. Every time they do work that stirs up even a little dust, I start coughing when I get in bed. The bedclothes are filled with dust we can't see but my lungs sure know. So frustrating. I am still taking the stupid codeine to stay asleep through then ight. I hope I don't run out!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

28 days to go...

Ran 30 minutes recovery on the treadmill.
What else is there to say? Really?

It's freezing outside. Cold cold cold. I hate winter.

Anything else?
I was going to finish up the workout room - painting the trim and touching up, etc. But Scotty the Contractor and Mike the HVAC Guy have cut holes all over the place. Now granted, there is not a spec of dust, but still... there are HOLES and smudges. I am going to have to wait until after the HVAC is installed and done.

They have started to frame out the master bath. I should show pictures and post the other ones I took about a week ago. We'll see how lazy I stay... Oh, and this is the bathtub I mentioned we are building the bathroom around. It's the Ayoura freestanding model. I cannot wait to use it!

Work was dull. No news from the I Quit Guy. We'll see. He's been acting like nothing happened. And I am not acknowledging him. We'll see who blinks first. Of course it will him because quite frankly, I. Don't. Care.

Tomorrow, I have another offsite - all day. My Dallas guy is flying in again, and I won't have time to run. Blast.

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Week 11 Training Recap

So this week, the final figures are in:

Monday: Run 30 minutes
Nothing. Good God. I was exhausted from the wind yesterday!

Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes (I haven't been having much luck with

I ran my 30 minutes this morning. Very S-l-o-w-l-y. Which made me happy. Not the running, but the s-l-o-w-l-y part.

Wednesday: Run 75 minutes (4 HUSA's)
4 hills, two of them straight up without stopping. Very proud of myself!

Thursday: Bike 45 minutes
Rest day. Needed it after the HUSA's. I was exhausted and needed two days to recover!

Friday: Rest Day
6 miles of running. Felt good!

Saturday: Run 6 miles
Uh... No. 20 minutes of running - boring and dull.

I did get a 90 minute massage from Arun. I went back to him - the marathon is coming up and he works on all of the BU athletes. Katrina does, too, but it's too much of a hassle to get an appointment with her! Arun always has time for me. Joseph drove me in and picked me up. Happy happy! I made another appointment for next Saturday. I need regular massages. I cannot live without them!

Sunday: Run 16 miles
New Bedford Half Marathon. Read about it here.
A total of 15.64 miles in headwind. Yup. I call that 16 miles...

Total: 32.32 miles. This is the highest mileage week I've had in almost a year. Boston is 28 days away. I think I'm in trouble...

Next week, I have the following schedule.
Monday: Run 30 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes
Wednesday: Run 75 minutes with a 2x1 mile speedwork
Thursday: Bike 45 minutes
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: 20 miles

I must get rid of the the biking on the schedule. I don't do it. I'd rather treadmill... side by side, what do I choose? Treadmill, of course.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gotta quit counting down!

29 days to go...
I am freaking myself out with this countdown.
But I can't help myself.

Today we ran the New Bedford Half Marathon.
Against my better judgment, I agreed to run this. I had 16 miles for my long run today and the plan was I'd do a 1 mile warm up and a two mile cooldown with the 13.1 miles in the middle. And, they supposedly served chowder and fish sandwiches at the finish.

We picked up our friend Josh.
I had warned him he would have to wait.
Of course, being the social bug that he is, he could have waited for HOURS and had the time of his life chatting it up with all his runner friends that were going to be there. In fact, they don't have to be friends, perfect strangers will do! I also told him he had better be saving some chowder and sandwiches for me!

So, I knew we were in trouble when I got out of the car, stared two blocks UP HILL to get to the school to register, and had to deal with HEADWIND on the way there.

We registered, got t-shirts, and all that. I went back to the car, got all my gear together and put on my jacket and number and all manner of running accoutrements...and did a 1.93 mile warm up. I found the flattest out and back route I could find, through a residential section which was sheltered from the wind.

Then it was time. My first race since Big Sur in April 2006.
The course is a BIG LOOP and there is a span of a few miles in the middle that hugs the coastline - which is flat but usually windy.

Let me just say this.
3 miles of headwind.
2 miles of side wind.
2 miles of tail wind.
3 miles of side wind.
3.71 miles of headwind.

3.71 miles?
No idea where the extra miles came from but the measured course is 13.1 miles when you run the tangents. And since I don't run the tangents, I ran a total of 13.71 miles.

In the last 3 miles, this largish sort of woman in purple and I kept going back and forth. I knew I had to hang on and I could surge at the end. Joseph met me around .5 miles to go. I shouted, "Where's the damn finish?" and he mumbled something but I couldn't hear it because the woman I was passing (in gray) pointed ahead and shouted "Straight to the police car, turn right, and it's downhill." All I could think of was, "Lady, if you can shout that loud with enough mental acuity to give me directions, you didn't run this race hard enough."

And sure enough, the purple lady surged ahead. I thought to myself, "No way you are beating me into the finish, lady, I got a sprinter inside me..." And at the cop car, I took a right in an all out sprint for the final .3 miles to the finish. The purple lady was toast, to say the least.

So yes... there is competition at the back - not to be the first, but not to be the last!

The chowder was so so, the fish patties were excellent; I had two! And sure enough, there was Josh, planted on a bench inside the school, chatting it up with new found running friends, eating a fish sandwich, motioning for Joseph to get him another... he totally cracks me up!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I will never run this race again. Never.
Too much WIND!

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

30 days to go

Today is Scott Pike's funeral.

That was my first thought this morning.

My second thought was the run tomorrow. Joseph had the fat idea of signing up for the New Bedford Half Marathon tomorrow. Not too sure about this. It's on the coast, and it's hilly, and there's the issue of the wind, not to mention the long drive... But where he goes, I go... I did have him look up last years results before I committed. Just in case I am the slowest person there. In which case, I will be an observer... there is no way I want to be the last runner in.

Yesterday, I ran 6.07 miles. Again... oxygen is GOOD! My average HR was 72 and my max was 85.

This morning was an easy run of about 2 miles. Don't wanna kill myself today when I can kill myself tomorrow at New Bedford.

This morning, we also did something for the future. We met with the Hills Home Market guy. They are a home food delivery service - everything except for dairy and produce. They started out as butchers and expand their line to include household goods and frozen goods. They say that if it's in the local grocery store chain, then they will have it too. Of course, the guy wasn't too sure about my Kokohu Rose korean rice, I get at the local store. He will be looking into that one for us.

We did a quick analysis and turned out that I probably spend about 4 hours a week shopping - maybe more, and we spend between $700-800 a month on everything. By the time were were done with the food order including paper products and all that, we had cut that price by almost half. ALMOST HALF! They deliver 21 weeks of food - about 5 months. They bring everything in and store it away in the freezer and shelves for you. And if you don't have a freezer, you can buy your own or you can buy theirs. While we were talking, Joseph looked up the freezer and it's a commercial grade. It's about $500 more than the usual one at Sear or wherever, BUT... it's guaranteed and warranteed for LIFE as long as you shop with Hills Home Market, and you get a 20% discount on every order for LIFE as long as you shop with them! It's a terrific deal. And we had always talked about getting a freezer anyway.

They deliver the food upfront and you pay for it monthly.

It takes away from impulse buying and we ordered our water and gatorade and all the heavy liquids that we buy every single month. And the meat is a better quality than that in the grocery store. That is a topic for another post! In fact, the guys brought us two middle of the road club steaks - sirloin, nothing special - for us to try. We had it for dinner tonight. OMG. What can I say? It was UNBELIEVABLE! And it was a cheaper cut but tender, moist and the flavor was excellent! And there wasn't all this au jus all over the plate! Turns out that the meat is individually packaged and you can leave it thawed out in your fridge for 7-10 days! Wow.

About a month before we put in the new order, the guy comes back, inventories everything and sees what we used, didn't use, have too much of, had too little of, things to add, things to take away, etc., and refines the list. I already forgot to tell him about the bleach and the napkins. Dang.

Now we have to find a place who will deliver produce.

The Hills Home Market service will start in May - as soon as our Dust Bowl turns into a home.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Dear Scott

My friend Scott Pike died last weekend.

Our friends Cher and Milt were coming for the weekend and we were going to drive up the coast and have steemers and beer and lobster. But they knew Scott, too, and so they will attend the wake and funeral today and this weekend instead of coming to Boston. It's just as well... we're having a veritable blizzard!

Anyway, Scott wasn't a close friend or an "every day friend" that I conversed with regularly.
But he was friend enough that I thought of him regularly, even though I saw him only once a year, and only for the last few years at that. He would be there when we went to Muirfield for The Memorial, visiting our good friends Cher and Milt. He would bring his camera; I never really saw him using it, but it would always be there with him. He would sit quietly, watching everything, and every once in while he would speak. Quietly.

He and I hit it off right away. I guess I understand the "quietness" in people (even though some people think that I am not that quiet - not on the outside but on the inside there is a great "stillness" that I don't understand myself yet). And I guess he understood that there was that "stillness" somewhere inside of me. We would sit around, drinking beer, and talk about the camera and photographs and his travels and such.

He was 43 years old, and died (presumably) of a heart attack, after church, laying on the couch still in his church clothes. How ironic, I thought. He died already dressed for his funeral. Sometimes we are most prepared for something when we are the least aware of it.

The obit said that he was 43. He went to Wake Forest Law School. Huh? LAW SCHOOL? At Wake? I am from Winston-Salem and I got into Wake (my dad was a doctor, on the board, and taught at the medical school). And it turns out that his photography was more than a mere hobby. It was a passion. Hundred and hundreds of photos. More than you can go through. And there were lots of other things about him I wish I had known; we could have had so many discussions - about history, the books that he read and the places he traveled to.

The obit said he was loved and survived by parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and cousins galore. But it failed to mention that he also left behind a group of friends who loved him for who he was and, in particular, a wannabee photographer who was greated impacted by their quiet discussions about the camera and photograhy in general.

Dear, Scott.
I barely knew you.
But I can feel your presence and see your smile and feel your bear hugs goodbye...even now.
Keep Paradise warm for us.
And when we get there, we will talk about the years in between and the time we didn't have together, and then move on to history and travel and more about the camera...

I will miss you.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

If you wanna quit, then just QUIT!

So that idiot manager, turned around today, and did the same thing he did the other day, which I told him he shouldn't do.

Basically, if his routine is gets upset or if people can't do things according to his schedule, he gets upsets and calls people "unprofessional."

So, I had a chat with him today... Told him I never want to hear that he ever used that word again! If he is having problems dealing with his team, he needs to see things from their side and be flexible and have open discussions on differences in work style, etc. Sometimes, that's all it is if you have open-minded people (of course, that is the issue here - he is not that open-minded to begin with). And in the middle, he interrupted me and said he "didn't have time for all this" and that he felt "like quitting."

Boy, did that get my dander up. So I basically railed at him and said, "Oh, so you don't have time to learn how to be a better manager." I also told him all about what people think of him... and that people haven't bought into the illusion that he is a VP (even though his title says he is) because he didn't earn it. He got it by moving into a position with the VP title in a group that no one thought did any work or was good for anything and was staffed with incompetent people. Ahem. Yes. I told him that. And then I said, "if you wanna quit, don't tell me about it, just do it. Quit." Of course, the coward backed down. Ugh.

I gotta figure this one out. This is what happens when I don't follow my gut. I felt he would be good in the group when my boss offered him to me. But when he said he thought the guy should manage a senior group, I wasn't bought into it... but then I went against my better judgment and gave in to my boss. I will never learn!

We'll see how the drama unfolds.... as if I need any more in my life!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

33 days to go... or two straight up...

Okay. I am still freaking out but not as much.
Today was a 75 minute run with 4 HUSA's (Hills Up Summit Ave). When I get good enough, I will call the JUSH's (Jogging Up Summit Hill) and if I get REALLY good, I will call them RUSH's (Running Up Summit Hill).
Today I did HUSA's.
And the last two... I did straight up without stopping.
Do you know what an ACHIEVEMENT THAT IS?
Well, it is.

And I was so damn proud of myself! YES!!!

33 days to go and I just need a few days of feeling good like this.
Not to mention more oxygen!

Work Note: I am having an issue with a idiot manager who works for me - he is a new guy and has not be indoctrinated into the J-school of management theory and is too much of a "sensing" (as in Myers-Brigg), and is obstuse. Ugh. I might have to get rid of him... not sure. My gut says the sooner the better. Or at least shove him aside until he gets it. Which he won't. Because he is obtuse. I think it's time for another reorg...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

34 days to go...

...and I am starting to freak out...

Boston is around the corner and my highest weekly mileage has barely broken the 20's.

Freaking. Out.

This morning, I got on the treadmill for an easy recovery run for 30 minutes.
I love doing recoveries on the treadmill. I hit the target heart rate and I leave it on that speed, and I just run. I check my HRM once in a while and adjust the speed up or down by .1 of a mile to keep the HR within the zone. Other than that, it's a no-brainer.

34 more days!!! ACK!

On another note, the event at the Museum of Fine Arts was nice. First, there was a meeting (dullsville - practically fell asleep so I had to keep myself awake by playing Brickbreaker on my Blackberry), then there was a buffet dinner. It was really good. We spent most of the time with the wife of the President of the Bank (who Joseph works for). She is young, hip, nice, modern and hails from Brooklyn, NY. We also saw the Fashion Week exhibit. I have to say that I love Yves St. Laurent and Givenchy the best.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

35 days to go...

...and I didn't run this morning.

I had 30 minutes scheduled but I had to get into work early.

Tonight we have an event at the Museum of Fine Arts for Joseph's work.
Which means I have to leave work early.
Which means I had to go into work early.
Which means I couldn't run.

So, what else is new.

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Week 10 Training Recap

Demoralizing training recap for the week. With the little running I did last week, this will be easy. Thank goodness it was a step back week!
Monday: Run 30 minutes
I only ran for 25 minutes.

Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes

Nothing. I was in Dallas for work and early meetings due to my stupidity in doing the agenda.

Wednesday: Run 45 minutes

Nothing. See reason under "Tuesday."

Thursday: Bike 45 minutes

Nothing. I had to fly out and had to go to the airport, etc.

Friday: Rest Day

Of course I took this as a rest day. It was on the schedule! But I was seriously dragging from 8 days of no sleep due to coughing. It was all I could do to haul myself to the fridge to eat lunch!

Saturday: Run 2 miles

Great 4.18 mile run after a couple of hits of oxygen. The future is bright.

Sunday: Run 10 miles

I am BACK! Terrific 10.25 mile run. Oxygen is totally UNDER-rated! We need it. I love it. I want it. I am thinking of running with an oxygen tank strapped to my back and a tube stuck up my nose. Seriously though... I can't believe the differene the Advair is making! The future if more promising than ever.

Next week should be better. I am thinking of all the possibilities now that I have a steady oxygen producing catalyst. I am thinking of my VOMax of 39. Which might be low.

Next week's schedule looks like this:
Monday: Run 30 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes
(I haven't been having much luck with this)
Wednesday: Run 75 minutes (4 HUSA's)
Thursday: Bike 45 minutes
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Run 6 miles
Sunday: Run 16 miles


Sunday, March 11, 2007 need it...

...especially if you want to run...

Today was the long run day.
Around 10 miles on the schedule.
I ended up doing 10.25 in a pace that was 1:00 to 1:30 faster than I've been doing my long runs since starting back training. This means that I am back to the pace I was running last spring. That is January - April of 2006. Yes. A whole year ago!

I was loving the run. My MaxHR hit about 92% and at one point around mile 8, on a downhill, I hit a 7:22 pace. That is awesome! I like to test myself on the downhills, it helps my legs turn over and it gives me a morale boost! I even passed a couple of guys at one point!

I love Oxygen.
I cannot believe that I've been living without my fair share for so long!
I can't wait to keep my training up after
Boston and VCM. I am getting a long-needed burst of confidence in my abilities. This time, it really isn't my fault! Wow.

Boston is 5 weeks away.
I am not going to freak.
Not yet.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Breezing through the breeze

Okay. It could be the inhaler but I am not sure.
The doctor said it would take a couple of days to kick in but...

I went out for an easy 4 mile run. My MaxHR hit 150bpm, which is 80%. And there was a big headwind. But the downhills at least were easier and I took it up to an 8:50 pace! And it's only the first full day after getting the diskus. I wonder what will happen when the full effects of the inhaler kicks in. I am scared that nothing will happen and that I am really that slow for real!

Also, my overall pace was a minute faster than it's been since I started back up training at the beginning of December!!! A whole minute! FASTER!

We will see what happens going forward... but I am afraid to look!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Well, it all makes sense now...

...and who'd a thunk it???

I certainly didn't.

I went to the doctor. Luckily there was a slot this morning.
Turns out that I have...ASTHMA!



It all makes sense now, of course.
One of the things they asked me when I broke out in Eczema was, "do you have asthma?"
And of course, I responded, "of course not!" Of course.
And now that I think of it, the past few years, I would have these intermittent bouts where I would take deep breath after deep breath and feel like I wasn't getting enough oxygen. And it would go on for a few days and then stop, only to have it happen again a few months later.

It turns out the house construction has exacerbated the "breathing issue" that I didn't know I had.

The doctor ruled out Sinus, Bronchitis, head cold, flu, and on-set of pneumonia (!) even. And she listened and listened and just shook her head and looked up at me with an epiphany and said, "OMG! You have ASTHMA!"
I do?
How is that possible?
"What's changed in your life?"
Nothing. Same work, same life, same travel, same stress at work... okay, more stress at work...

Same dry winter, same nose bleeds (sigh), same everything.
Oh, wait... I've gained weight.
"Uh... no. That would not give you asthma."
Hmmm... we moved.
Yeah. We are living in construction and have recreated The Dust Bowl of yesteryear right in our house. Nothing like a little living history.
"Every time you come in here for something serious, it's related to the environment. You are super sensitive to DUST."
"And you are living in it. No telling what type of ORGANIC matter you are breathing in."
And I did have those bouts of not being able to get enough oxygen.
"Do you wonder why you have asthma?" -- blink blink blink -- "You probably always had it and now it's just sped things up and made things worse." -- blink blink blink --- "I need to give you an inhaler."
So, I sort of sat there thinking about all this, chewing on the inside of my left cheek, wiggling my nose (I do that when I am stumped or concentrating on something), and sort of basically just flummoxed over the whole darn situation. But an INHALER? Ugh. Ugly, gray or taupe... every hour... HOW INCONVENIENT!

The doctor walked in with a sinus spray and with a sample of Advair. Pretty - it's purple and round. I take it only twice a day - every 12 hours. Nice! And she had me do it right there before I left. Nothing noticeable. She said it would take a couple of days for the second ingredient to kick in. And I would see a noticeable change.

So I wanted out of there with a refill on my Zyrtec - for the hives, a prescription for my diskus (Advair), a prescription of a flonase (Nasal spray for my sinus inflammation), and a prescription of cough medicine with Codeine (so I can SLEEP).

I am a walking pharmacoepia!
We'll see how it all goes.


It's 1:00 AM

And all is NOT well.
I can't sleep because of the STOOPID COUGHING!

So, I got up, and called my good friend Harriet.
Normally she knows all my symptoms, how to diagnose me, and what to prescribe me.
She has spent that much time with me to know all this...
But this time, she said, "Go to your doctor."
But you are my doctor.
"No, YOUR LOCAL doctor. I am not comfortable with this one... it might be bronchitis... or not..."
It's not.
"Then it might be sinus."
It's NOT.
"Then you need to go to your doctor!"
"Call your doctor in the morning."
And then she hung up.

That was rude.

So, I'll call my doctor tomorrow.
In the meantime, I am on the couch trying not to cough so loudly that I wake up Joseph, who is sound asleep in the other room.

I guess I'll watch a show on the DVR and play a little video game.


It's 1:00 AM

And all is NOT well.
I can't sleep because of the STOOPID COUGHING!

So, I got up, and called my good friend Harriet.
Normally she knows all my symptoms, how to diagnose me, and what to prescribe me.
She has spent that much time with me to know all this...
But this time, she said, "Go to your doctor."
But you are my doctor.
"No, YOUR LOCAL doctor. I am not comfortable with this one... it might be bronchitis... or not..."
It's not.
"Then it might be sinus."
It's NOT.
"Then you need to go to your doctor!"
"Call your doctor in the morning."
And then she hung up.

That was rude.

So, I'll call my doctor tomorrow.
In the meantime, I am on the couch trying not to cough so loudly that I wake up Joseph, who is sound asleep in the other room.

I guess I'll watch a show on the DVR and play a little video game.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Can't Sleep!

Okay. Did I fail to mention that I am exhausted from the LACK OF SLEEP due to coughing?
I figure it's been a week and I have 3 more days of this stuff if it's in fact caused by some sort of stoopid disease! Last night I got about 4 hours sleep. Four. That is more than the 3 to 3 1/2 hours I've been getting for the last 6 nights. And I will say that it sucks.

Do you know that people DIE from lack of sleep?
They do.

And there is a disease that affects the brain and it causes you to NOT SLEEP.
And it takes about 3 years but you end up DEAD.

But after only a week, you become deranged, demented, and totally crazy.
And I am being NICE when I say that.
You have to be TIED DOWN.
And I love to sleep! WAH!

Anyway... I have to get some sleep.
I slept on the plane.
And I kept coughing.
And I am so tired I can't even think much less SLEEP.




Up in Smoke...

...bbq, ribs, a few laughs, and more than a few beers...

Not to mention HOT Sauce that will take the skin right off of you.

We went to Up N Smoke BBQ House last night with G, from the Dallas office.
It's his local watering hole and he knew everyone there. His wife even popped in for a "hello" and a drink, ended up staying until we left, and even one of his friends came by.

Lots of stories about G, who is about one of the funniest people I know.
And they are all true.
It's amazing that he made it this far in life given all the crazy stuff he's done and been through.

Anyway, the food was excellent and the company was even better.
It's in Keller, which is about 45minutes West of Dallas, off of a main thoroughfare.

I think we will be going back there when we travel to Dallas and we'll become "traveling regulars." Besides, I need to be kept up to date on all of G's shenanigans!

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Happiness is...

An upgrade to First Class on the flight back home. And it was only $180! Big seats, drinks, breakfast, first on and first off....

Happy happy happy!!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another day in Texas...

...spent indoors!

What can I say? Another full day of meetings today and yesterday... nothing much left to talk about.

Last night we went to Kirby's Steakhouse for dinner with the gang. The food was awesome. And the bill? Let me just say that it was probably one of the most expensive meals I've ever paid for for a small group of 6 people. Unbelievable!

Tonight, we are trying to get one of the guys here to take us to his local "watering hole." First of all, the guy is a HOOT and when you get a chance to meet his buddies and hear more of his stories, well, why would you pass that up? So I am working on him.

We were going to try and get to Dallas to go to Cafe Capris but the logistics just weren't going to get us there. We are about 1 hour and 45 minutes west of Dallas. How do I know that? Well... let's see. The hotel is about 45 minute away. And then the drive into Dallas is another 45 minutes. With the walk from the building, into the building, the slow driving trying to figure out where I am going, you get 1 hour and 45 minutes. And with the traffic during rush hour... well... you get the picture. Maybe next time when we take an afternoon off to go into the city.

And exercise? The schedule has not changed from yesterday.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Report from Texas...

...Got here safe and sound last night.
We went to dinner - Via Real - which is right next door to the Four Seasons.
Great Tex Mex gourmet style. This is one of my favorite restaurants.

Of course, I didn't run this morning.
The drive to the office is about 45 minutes.
With parking and the walk into the main building from the parking lot is another 15 minutes.
Total door-to-door commute is about a hour.
But it's worth it because I can get a workout in a the uber-facility at the hotel.

However, there is ONE CATCH.
The work day must start late enough to accommodate the 6am to 7am run, the 7am to 7:30am breakfast, the 7:30am to 8:30 am getting ready time, and the 8:30am to 9:30 am door-to-door travel time, then the 9:30am to 10:00am getting situated time.
Today, and tomorrow, the meeting started at 8:30am.


Okay. So we see the flaw in all this.
Well... at least I do. Now.


I am afraid it will be more of the same tomorrow.

Just as well since I am exhausted from a NIGHT OF COUGHING!!!
I would not be surprised if I kept up my next room neighbor and the walls at this hotel are pretty thick.

I have officially run out of gel caps for coughing.
I am half way done with the liquid cough syrup.

And they are supposed to work for 4-6 hours.
For me, the going rate is 2 hours.

Anyone have any morphine????

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Monday, March 05, 2007

What is going on with the COUGHING???

Ugh. NO sleep last night. I have resorted to taking some cough gels and cough syrup. NOTHING. GAH!!! Only 3 1/2 hours of sleep. This has to stop sometime. I can't imagine that I will go through life coughing through the night and only sleeping 3 1/2 hours a night. There will be an end in sight. I must tell myself this... convince myself of this... I am SO NOT HAPPY!!!

Working from home today. Boston Coach is coming to get me around noon or something. I suppose I should check my schedule....

Anyway, I ran a couple miles this morning because something tells me that I have "best laid plans..."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Week 9 Training Recap

Boston is 6 weeks away and I just don't feel like I am training for it.
Okay, maybe it's because this year's Boston is a training run for VCM.
Maybe it's because my training basically SUCKS lately.
Maybe it's because I don't know what exactly...
At any rate, Boston is looming and I am starting to get a little worried.

Last week's training looked like this:
Monday - Run 30 minutes
Nope. Nothing. I was tired...

Tuesday - Bike 40 minutes

Nope. Nothing. No excuses.

Wednesday - Run 60 minutes with 4 hills

Okay. I am smart enough to know that I cannot skip the hill workout. So I ran 4 HUSA's. Didn't quite make it all the way up the hills. Not quite.

Thursday - Bike 40 minutes

Nope. Lazy Butt.

Friday - Rest Day

Nothing. I worked from home because Joseph's parents were coming to town and I had a truckload of work to do and of course, I couldn't run because the paper piled overcame me!

Saturday - Run 2 miles

16 mile long run. I had to do it. Had to.

Sunday - Run 16 miles

Nothing. I did the long run yesterday.

Total miles for the week: 20.55
I gotta do better than this.

Next week isn't going to be better.
Tomorrow I am flying out to Dallas for team meetings. I am staying at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas because of their workout facilities. We'll see how we do since I have full days of meetings while I am there. Thank goodness it's a step-back week. Sigh...

The best-laid plans for next week:
Monday: Run 30 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 45 minutes
Wednesday: Run 45 minutes
Thursday: Bike 45 minutes
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Run 2 miles
Sunday: Run 10 miles

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