Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ok, I can't stand it any more

Doing only one workout a day is for the birds. Starting next week, I'm doing something in the morning on the days that I have Scary Trainer in the evening.

That means I need more sleep. Which means, I will come home from work and go to bed within the hour...


I wish there was a better word than "Friend"

As I mentioned before, I have a very small group of friends. Very special. Like sisters almost (at the risk of sounding like a sap). And most certainly family. And definitely much more than friends. I find that "Friend" is an almost unsatisfying word in this context.

Yesterday, I went to the NH office and had lunch with one of my "Four Friends on my Five Friends List." Another one of my friends were there too but she didn't have time due to a lunch meeting.

We are both on diets so we went to the cafeteria and got something healthy and sat outside on the terrace. It was sunny and warm but luckily there were a few tables left in the shade. This is the first time that we have made a conscious effort to get together in the almost-two years that she has been working with The Company. But last week, I thought how ridiculous it was that in all that time, we had not been able to find A MERE ONE HOUR to spend with each other.

So, yesterday we did. And it was nice. Very very nice. No one else to intrude on our space. She is a very good friend and I've known her a long time. We met through running and it's not like we clicked right away or that we talked all the time. On the contrary, the clicking was slow and as time went on, neither one of us did anything stupid that would piss the other off, so one click after another clicked all built up until we realized, yes, we're pretty good friends. And in fact, we hardly ever talked at all - just a lot of emailing. And we didn't see each other but once a year. Kinda like how all my friendships seem to start.

Some of us have a higher than usual sense of suspicion so to gain our trust takes a very long time. Sure, we can be friendly but that doesn't mean you're my friend. At least, not THIS kind of friend.

We agreed that there are so few people in the world that do NOT "get in your face." Most people always ask question after question. Okay. If not that, then one question is sometimes too many. Feeding THEIR need for information as opposed to respecting our need for privacy. Feeding their need for energy while sucking that same energy out of us. The statistical average is that 75% of the world is made up of people loosely classified as extraverts so we intraverts are barraged at every turn with people who intrude by believing that they are only being friendly and "want to help." Uh... whatever. Anyway, we agreed that it's good to know people who accept you as you are, don't pry, wait for YOU to start the conversation about yourself, who only ask out of genuine concern as opposed curiosity, can use deductive reasoning to get the answers without PRYING and ASKING US SPECIFICALLY!!! And who can take the "buzz off," "butt out," "you suck," and the occasional hairy eyeball and can laugh about it without getting offended. We don't worry that we offend each other. In fact, we have a great time being caustic and sarcastic trying to offend each other. LOL! For me all they have to do is talk about S-E-X or something unmentionable and I run away. Hahaha!

Anyway... one of my other friends on my "Four Friends on my Five Friends List" will be coming in tonight with her husband and her nephew. They are driving in from Ohio to take the newphew to a Red Sox game and we're going with them. Anyway... She unceremoniously announced last week that she was popping in. And so, Joseph and I redid our entire weekend to make sure that we were available for her. Pain? No way. I'd rather spend the time with her. And I know that I can pretty much do the same to her and expect the same response. Well, we can certainly use her house, and vice versa, at the very least.

On Saturday, Debbie will join us for Spa activities, courtesy of my Hunny Bunny who is treating me for my birthday. So it's a very special weekend. And it's all kinda converging because on Monday, I have a birthday. Yah. Another year older and not any wiser.

BUT... I am very rich in Friends.


A color a day... maybe a week...

My friend Paul was inspired by another website to take pictures of colors. I might do the same. It may actually help me to be a better picture-taker and make me use my camera more. I love taking pictures anyway.

I think it will help me see things I haven't really seen before.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Routine #1 for the next four weeks

Last night was day one. We are going HEAVY weights.

Started out with the usual warm up. Then...
7 sets of the following combination with a minute rest inbetween:
  • 2 deadlifts
  • 2 jumping chinups with control down
Then 7 sets of the following with a minute rest in between:
  • 2 reps clean squat and press
Then 2 sets of the following with a minute rest in between:
  • 12 reps of back press (can't remember the name - you lie facing down on machine, bend down and then raise up)
  • 10 pallof presses
Can't wait until Thursday to see what is in store!


Unpoopie Pants Scary Trainer

So, last night I talked to Scary Trainer. Joseph picked me up from work and on the way home we chatted about the 1600 calorie limit that Scary Trainer wanted to impose. And neither of us thought that 1600 calories was enough.

So we got home and Joseph did up a calorie schedule. In a nutshell, on recovery days, I get 1600 calories. On the days I do a hard work out running or biking or workout with Scary Trainer, I get 1800 calories, the 200 extra coming from the protein drink during the workout. On the long hard days where I am running or biking for two hours or more, I get 2000 calories. I am not sure about the 2000 but I think the rest is pretty reasonable.

So, I got to the workout and I expressed all my concerns. He said from his past experience that this type of plateau does not break without a caloric reduction.

So, I managed to talk him into 3 or 4 more weeks of trying it my way. In the last week, I did lose a whole pound. I told him that after that if it didn't work, then I would ratchet it back by 100 calories. And then another, etc., until we break this plateau.

And I still get my cheat day. Told him I had to have my cheat day or the incentive to stick with it the rest of the week just got taken away. It also sets me up for my long weekend workouts.

Scary Trainer asked me why I felt I had to do cardio and I said because I break out in hives if I do not control my natural adrenaline release, and all of the stress that I have from work and the excess energy I carry. It's something that started since college and it still happens to this day. The last time, it was about last October when I pretty much stopped running for whatever insame reason I can't even begin to remember now.

So, one more battle won. So far. I think.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poopie Pants Scary Trainer...

I have been unceremoniously told by my trainer that I cannot go over 1600 calories a day until I lost another 3-4 pounds. ARG!!!

Does he realize that it's my birthday weekend?
That one of my best friends from Ohio is coming in for the weekend?
That the other of my best friends is coming down from New Hampshire?
And that we have a Red Sox game (yes, two on one week) and I was planning on EATING BALL PARK FOOD???

He does.
And he said I can have 1600 calories of birthday cake if I wanted to. And wash it down with Protein drink.

I also have more stringent guidelines in other areas.
I must save about 20-30 carbs for the evening so my brain doesn't dry up. Yes. It needs glucose and the fastest sugars for the brain are carbs.
And 300 calories before a workout and 300 calories after a workout.

It's like one of those things... if you did what the beauty magazines tell you to do, you would never get out of the house! And in this case, if I do everything he tells me, then I might go over my daily caloric allotment unless I starve earlier in the day. Oh..that's right...I also have to have a big breakfast on some days!

I told him he was a poopie pants.
And that I didn't like him so much.
He said, I will love him when I break the next barrier!!

He is right of course. Ever since I started traveling in May, my weight hit a plateau and it has sort of derailed me.
So, even though my good friends thing that I should make an exception this weekend, when does it stop? There is always something. If it's not this, then a cookout, or a gala, or an overnight trip, or something. Always something.

I was doing fine on 1600 calories and then I slowly started creeping up. Don't know how that happened. And now I am solidly at around 1700-1800 calories a day. I can't figure it out at all. What happened??

So, I am going to try hard to adhere to 1600 calories.
I feel like I've been caught red handed with my fingers in the rice jar.
I have to get these next 4 pounds off fast!

I guess 4 pounds would be an awesome birthday gift to myself.

But I am still not happy about it. What to do what to do what to do...


Monday Night at the Ball Park

Last night we went to see the Red Sox play the Angels. We sat in Pavillion seats courtesy of a friend of mine and his wife. They were high up, near the top level of box seats, and they had waitress service. Sort of like the Club Seats at the Garden we used to sit in way long ago at Bruins hockey games. We were just past first base and well out of the range of the balls being hit. Thankfully.

Before the game, we met at Eastern Standard at the Hotel Commonwealth, just down the street and around the corner from Fenway Park. I would always run by the outdoor patio during long runs in the summer when we lived in the South End, and people would be out there eating, etc., and I always wondered what it was like. Well, it was really wonderful!

I started with a Chimay - the purple label. And then I had this unbelievably awesome salmon. It was steamed but so fresh. The best I've ever had that wasn't raw. And I don't like my fish to be cooked. But this was so delicate and so moist - absolutely perfect. And it had this whole grain mustard sauce all over the top. It was served on a bed of mashed potato what was awesome. Not your usual potatoes - it was yellow so it could have had mustard in it. And it was different than my usual fully fatted version. It's the best I've had that isn't mine and I'd say that it competes right up there with mine. Yes. Really. It came with fresh steamed green beans. For dessert, strawberry shortcake on biscuit. Of course I only had a taste.

And this morning, I had lost .4 of a pound. Just reward for moderation and not eating at the ball park through all nine innings! Just reward!


Week 30 Training Recap

This was the first week of the month incorporating recovery days. It's been really hard. I get up in the morning and I want to go at it hard hard hard! Scary Trainer said that starting this coming week, we will have new alternating routines. We are going back to pure strength since I am doing a lot of cardio on my own. It will be interesting. Next week, I hope to do longer on my recovery runs/bikes. I'll see what happens.
Monday: REST in the morning, STT in the evening. Thank goodness I took the morning off. GOOD GOD! STT tried to KILL ME tonight!!! I am going to need that recovery in the morning.
Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes of EASY recovery.Decided to run instead. 30 minutes recovery. Did not kill me. Imagine.
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes. A lousy 1.5 miles on the treadmill. At least I did something.
Thursday: REST in the morning STT in the evening.Tough workout. Next week starts a new workout series for four weeks. We will be going heavy/strength since I am back to doing cardio. Thank goodness!
Friday: Run 30 minutes EASY recovery, rest in the evening.Biked for 33 minutes on the trainer.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes or run. Nothing. We had to get to the Berkshires. I hate going places on the weekend. It messes up my workout schedule.
Sunday: Pedal and Plod duathlong. 4 mile run followed by 22 mile bike.Awesome effort, excellent event. I will be doing this again next year!

Total Running Miles: 8.3 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 30.0 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 3:40:19
This is what I am planning for the week.
Monday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening.
Tuesday: Rest in the morning, Scary Trainer in the evening.
Wednesday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening.
Thursday: REST in the morning STT in the evening.
Friday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening, rest in the evening.
Saturday: Bike 60 minutes in the morning, rest in the afternoon.
Sunday: Run 90-120 minutes - do two loops around the reservoir, rest in the afternoon.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Goal DONE: Duathlon

This one has been on my list for a long long time. So long that I can't even remember when it got put on my "List of Things to do Before I Die."

This weekend we went to the Berkshires to do the Pedal and Plod, which should actually be the Plod and Pedal since we ran and THEN biked. But Pedal and Plod seems to have an easier ring to it than Plod and Pedal. Anyway...

It was a small event and I wasn't sure that I wanted to do it. I needed a good workout for the weekend, and Joseph was going to do it so, I said, "Why not?" As the weekend approached, my initial excited waned. Then on Saturday, I got a bit anxious about the whole thing.

How small is this event?
What was the time of the last person on?
How many people will there be?
Joseph was very patient answering all the questions over and over again.
Same three.

Then there was the rain we've been getting almost daily for about a month. And the terrain would be unfamiliar. And hilly, most likely. And I have a new bike, new pedals, and no sure I can maneuver in the rain. Ugh. And how tight is the turnaround going to be??

I knew one thing, I could always run and not bike. And that was the plan if it were to rain. But it didn't. In fact, race day morning was near perfect - cool, not too humid, overcast.

There must have been about 150 people registered. Turned out that most people were doing the two-person relay and only a handful of us were doing the two events. We were called "Ironpeople." That just cracked me up. Anyway, parking, packet pickup, setting up... it was all a breeze. In fact, the transition area was along a fence on the town gazebo green and you sort of leaned your bike on the fence and all your gear right next to the bike. Totally cracked me up!

At the beginning of the race, there were general announcements about the dirt at the turnaround and the pot hole at the top of Harbor Hill... Whatever. No idea what he was talking about. And then he said, "okay... this telephone pole looks like a good starting line and we all sort of got behind it. I lined up at the back, as always, and chatted with a couple of people.

One of them was a smug local woman who said, "oh, don't tell her about the course... we will surprise her... ha ha ha ..." Whatever. I drove it, you moron. That's what runners do. Drive the course.
And then I said, "I live in Boston and train on the Marathon course."
To which she replied, "oh this is WORSE!"

Uh. WRONG! Obviously you have NEVER run Boston or trained on Summit Ave... with it's 100% grade of straight up hill running...The good news is that I ran all the way up that hill and passed a few people in the process. Ugh. I hate smug people.

The course wasn't bad... straight out, and then up that hill, and then straight down parallel to the road we had just run on, and then another right down a very LONG and steep decent, and then another turn and another turn and back to the finish line. Joseph's mother was at the last turn. And she started TALKING TO ME! GAH!!!! Blah blah blah... yadda yadda yadda.... UGH! Obviously Joseph hadn't told her that she can't talk to me while I am running. So, I waved my hands and I said, "you can't talk to me..."

And then it was down through the finish, and to the bike. Joseph's father was by the bike so I could find my bike easily. I did a complete sock change, had some trouble putting on the gloves, changed my hat for my helmet, and then the camel back and I was off.

ARG!!!! My legs didn't want to work. What the ...??? The first hill was tough and I thought, "I can see the top. Good." The descent was nice. The second hill was longer and tougher. My legs were tired. And they ached. WTF?? I relaxed into the descent. And then the third hill. GOOD GRIEF! It refused to end! I started standing in the pedals.

Let me just pay a little homage to my new bike. My wonderful new, very expensive, super light, specially fitted and picked out for me, Flying Machine!!! I know that there was NO WAY I could have done what I did on my old Purple Monster. No way! I did pass a few people on the bike but the run took me so long that most people were too far ahead for me to catch.

I was passing people on the uphills but the fatties were catching me on the downhills. ARG!!! And at the end, one girl caught up with me. Ugh. She must have had 30 pounds on me. The last hill back was a HUGELY LONG descent and I could never catch her. My high speed was almost 34 mph and it kind of freaked me out so I braked. I figured, it's a new bike and I am not sure how it will handle it at higher speeds so I erred on the side of caution.

I finally made it to the finish line.

So the run was about 4.4 miles (they lied about the distance) and I did that in 10:08 pace, 44:58 or something. Not bad considering I haven't done any speedwork and only recently started running outdoors.

The bike was about 1:22:and change... for 22 miles. Not the best but it's not bad for my second time out in a year.

Oh, it turned out that I also got 3rd in Age Group (40-50). HAH! I was shocked. I was sitting there enjoying myself and clapping when someone called out my name. It took a second for it to register because I was looking around for the person to get up. And then I thought, "OH! That's me!!! And the people around me were looking at me. I guess I was the only Korean there! LOL! And for my troubles, I got a black mug with the Pedal and Plod insignia and 3RD AGE GROUP on it. I think it's gonna rub off so we are not going to use it - it will sit on the window sill of the kitchen instead.

Next year, I am going to try for 2nd in Age Group. HAH!
Must. Get. Faster.


Friday, July 25, 2008

The Body Does Not Like Change

First, let me start by saying that I have said it time and time again. Every time someone complains about their workout, or an injury, or breaking a habit, I say it. "The body does not like change."

So, I've been on this plateau since the middle of May. For the first couple of months, it was due to all the travel (every 2 or 3 weeks), and the resulting unhealthy eating as a consequence. Add in the fact that my cardio workouts slowly declined until, well... I just didn't do them anymore. If it weren't for the weekends and my twice-a week enforced ST workouts, I wouldn't have worked out at all.

The past 3 weeks, I've been getting back to working out more. After the bomb of working out like a maniac for 18 days without a break, I had a literal physical breakdown during a ST session a week ago.

And since then, for the past week, I have been embracing Recovery. With a capital "R." And it's been hard. I feel like I am in a perpetual taper. As in, I am cranky. And for not evident reason. Poor Joseph.

The biggest thing I noticed is the constant hunger. I am so hungry that I get that deep-in-the-pit-of-my-gut PAIN that is really indescrible to anyone who is not hungry at that moment. It is not fleeting. It is long lived and remains with me until I eat something.

The other thing to note is that if I could go to bed at 7pm every night, I would.

So, I talked to ST about it on Thursday.

His initial reaction was, "The body doesn't like change." And so it's hanging onto every single pound it can even while the muscle is building and the metabolism is increasing. My next milestone is 4 more pounds and he seems as deperate for it to happen as I am! I have a feeling that one I break the next barrier in a couple of pounds, I will lose more readily. Notice that I didn't say, "more easily."

He also said that my metabolism is going wild. But it's not evident in weight loss because, well, "the body doesn't like change." Hmmm... And all the time I am on the plateau I am still building muscle so something is definitly happening. But the body, like a petulant child, is unwilling to acknowledge that in any way. Very frustrating.

Regarding the tiredness, he thinks I might need more sleep. More sleep?? I already get 7 1/2 hours. He thinks I may need 8. EIGHT?? That means I have to go to bed at 8:30pm in hopes of falling asleep by 9pm. He just blinked at me and said, "well, that's the problem... something's gotta give.

Regarding a diet alternative, he said that if I intend to work out very hard for most of the time, then he can give me a 2500 calorie diet and I would still lose weight. But that means I have to work out a lot. Like almost every single day. But the diet would support that kind of energy expenditure. It's sort of what we would do if I was training for a marathon, for example. Which I am not. Not this year. And this would also mean that I would need much more sleep. Maybe even 10 hours a night. TEN HOURS!!! That's not possible since I have to work to pay ST for my training and diet counseling. Ya know?

It's always something. Something's gotta give. Always does. The best I can do at this point is to keep moving forward and tweak the workouts in little increments so I don't crash and burn like I did before.

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Moments of "Wow."

I found this piece in the NY Times online from this past Tuesday. And I thought it was important to share. It's long.

It reminded me to slow down and cherish every moment of every day, which I do try to do. Even when I am being very impatient and hyperventilating all over the place with high blood pressure from interacting with ... shall I say it?... people!!! But more importantly, it reminded me how serious this business of "living" is. And how each of us can impact the quality of the life and the death of others. But it's about more than mere death... (I have to say that quickly before people hit the "next" button.)

People laugh at me because I think about death and talk about death a lot. Probably more than your average coroner or military chaplain, even. But I say that it makes it a better person. I try to live better so that I might experience a better death. The Buddhist belief is that the quality of death and passage to the next life reflects the quality of the life that you lead in this life. I don't mean the opulence of your high end funeral or the largeness of your monument to self reflecting the richness of your life. But the mindful, inward quality of the life that you lead, the life in your mind and in your heart, the personal demons you fight, the way you fight them and the way you exemplify all that is inside you by living life in public. It's not about going to church or synogogue or temple, but about the inner temple that Jesus and Buddha and other prophets spoke about.

The following article struck a chord with me. Not because it showed a "good person" but shows how ordinary, fallible people can perform small miracles day in and day out, that we can each have impact on the dignity of others (Asians call it "keeping face) in their weakest, most compromised moments; and the humility of the stronger. Everyone can be a hero or an angel or whatever to someone every single day...
"It’s Monday morning and I meet my new medical student, Nelson, on the hospice unit. I am there to sign a death certificate for a man who died the night before. Nelson is flipping through the patient’s chart, and he asks me, “What are we going to do for this patient today?”

I wonder if he’s kidding, and I say: “Nothing. He’s dead.” Later, recalling this conversation, I still cannot believe I said it so matter-of-factly.

Nelson is still holding the chart and I think I see his hands shake.

“Hey, are you O.K.?” I ask. “You do know what you signed up for, don’t you? It is a palliative-care and hospice elective. People are going to die every day.”

“I know, I know,” he says. “I’ve just never been near anyone who has died before.” Then he says, “Wow, it’s really a big deal.” And he sits down — because he needs to, I think; he needs to respect the moment.

In this moment I learn something from Nelson, a lesson I thought I already knew. I learn to slow down, to feel the gravity of the moment, the power of time and the depth of this important work. Nelson is right. It is a big deal.

Nelson’s “wow” makes me think back to my first death. I was a third-year medical student at Mount Sinai. It was a big day for me because my resident was going to let me do a paracentesis.

Patients with advanced liver disease can have something called ascites — too much fluid in the abdominal cavity, which can be uncomfortable and can make it hard to breathe. A paracentesis is a way to remove that extra fluid. You place a needle, and then a catheter, through the skin and muscle under the navel. Then you let it drain into bottles lined up on the floor.

As I was about to start, my patient became unconscious. Someone called a code and what seemed like a million doctors and nurses ran into the room. They did CPR, pushed meds, used the paddles. I had my sterile gloves on, but I was pushed to one side. I heard my patient’s ribs crack under the weight of the compressions. I watched residents bag his mouth until the anesthesiologist intubated him and hooked up the ventilator. Electrocardiogram strips littered the bedside; an intern tried to place a central line in his groin. After 20 minutes the lead resident said: “That’s it. Thank you all very much. Time of death 3:15.”

Everyone left just as quickly as they had arrived, and for a moment, my moment, I was alone with this dead man. Me with my sterile gloves, and him — naked with his mouth open. My eyes filled with tears, and I hoped nobody noticed. I had been so preoccupied by the opportunity to stick a needle into a belly that I overlooked the seriousness of his disease.

I covered him with a sheet crumpled at the foot of his bed. I learned that day that I needed to slow myself down, to appreciate the gravity of the moment, the power of time and the depth and proximity of my work. It was a very big deal.

Nelson comes and goes, and I have a new student. Again, I’m rushing to get everything done. This time I am on the hospice unit and I go in to see a patient I haven’t seen since before the weekend. She is sleeping, and her hair is brushed back from her face. I introduce myself to her son. He tells me he thinks she is comfortable, but had a rough night. I decide not to wake her, because I figure rest is more important than agitating her out of her sleep. I am on my way off the unit when her son calls after me: “Can you come back? My mom wants to tell you something.”

I am back at the bedside. This time her eyes are open. I touch her cool hands. “Do you want to tell me something?”

She holds my hand to her face and pulls me close. “I wanted to thank you for this. Thank you.”

There it is again — another moment, another near miss. I was rushing to get the day started. I would not have awakened her. I would have just moved on to the next thing I had to do. I would have missed the chance to feel the “wow.” It is a very big deal. How quickly we forget, and how lucky we are to be reminded, before it’s too late.

Jessica L. Israel is chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J."

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Desperately Seeking Clothes

I need new clothes. Badly. And fast.

Hmmm. Okay. Let me qualify this. I need new spring-summerish clothes bad. I don't know about fall-winterish because I haven't tried those clothes on since my weight loss.

Regardless of the weight loss, I needed clothes badly before. Mostly work clothes. My current work wardrobe has been in need of update for about the last 5 years. And now that I have lost some weight, I am thinking of dressing more business-y rather than the current business-casual-verging-on-smart-weekend look. "Smart weekend" because it's not shorts and t-shirts.

I hate shopping. I detest shopping for clothes. First, there is the whole "finding time" thing. Then it's the "driving there" part. And then finally the actual act of shopping itself - searching, trying on, rinse, repeat - only to walk out with only a few items and lots of sweat, back aches, and mussed up hair. And it never looks as good on as you envisioned yourself in it when you held it up and thought, "Oh! I bet that would look good on me..." Uh... I don't think so....

But now, I am sort of desperate, after folding away my favorite pair of shorts this past weekend, and throwing out another favorite linen cardigan sweater, and finally pulling on yet another favorite cardigan only to discover that the medium is Just. Too. Big. Sigh...

So, I am thinking of visiting the Wrentham Outlets. But you have to be careful. Some are seconds, some are off brands, while others are the real-deal-truly-firsts-at-discount-prices which is what I really want. Joseph's admin used to live near the area and she is purportedly an expert on when to shop, how to shop, where to shop and what not to bother with. So I asked if she would be interested. Turns out that she is busy busy busy until mid-September. Hmmm... certainly isn't suited to summer sales and what I need to where now.

So I fired her. HAHA! Before she even gets started! I can't wait. So, I said that maybe she should give me some shopping hints.

And wouldn't you know... Joseph offered to give her any weekday off. Boy. I must need some new clothes REALLY BADLY! I wonder if he'd consider paying for lunch and then taking us out to dinner, too.


Cream Cheese

Okay. No more commercially sold cream cheese for me.

I bought a tub of whipped Philadelphia Green Chives Cream Cheese. And it just isn't the same as the one from Kupel's, which is only two blocks down from the house. Sure, it's cheaper. By about 2 dollars. But where is the green chive flavor? Where is the full creamy flavor? Where did the solid but not too thick texture go?? Of course, I got the low fat variety. But I don't recall the full-fat one being so good it knocked my socks off in comparison to Kupels.

Why eat something that doesn't taste good just to save a few bucks?

On another note... Scary Trainer tonight.
And my weight is back down. It's as if my weight wants to break the next barrier and I'm not letting it. So, I am trying to be "good" to help it along. Of course, going to the Berkshire to the in-laws is sure to make things difficult.

And I think I am fully caught up on my sleep. I felt good this morning. Too bad I am on my month-long recovery mode. Sigh...

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Concerning Applefest



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I can't straighten my arms

My bicep muscles are so tight from the killer workout on Monday that I can't straighten my arms when they hang down. I have to force them to straighten and it causes a lot of muscle pain. Everything from right under my elbows all the way through the shoulders, down around the entire rotator cuff to the tiny lat muscles that attach under my arms, including the outer part of the pecs that attached to the shoulder and deltoid area, hurt! I hope I get better in time for tomorrow's workout!

This morning, I managed to eek out a namby pamby 1.5 miles on the treadmill. One reason is because my arms hurt (see above). The second reason is because I didn't go to bed until after 10:30 two nights ago and then I had to get up early (same time as every other day) yesterday morning and I am not caught up on sleep. I swear it takes me four days to catch up with even one hour's loss of sleep! I should have gone out for an hour based on my weight this morning! ARG!!!

And speaking of traveling... I may have to go to Toronto in September after all. No matter how I look at it, it is becoming painfully evident that I might have to go because of my enterprise role, and another group is going, and it's networking, and political, yadda yadda yadda. ARG!!!!!! Scary Trainer is NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY about that! Especially when I tell him it's the week I get back from 5 days in Maine due to a wedding!!!

And then someone walked in and wanted to know about our Ireland trip, which we haven't planned yet. Which is, in fact, the whole problem. We need to plan it and we can't wait too long for a number of reasons.

And all I want to do is lead a simple life, doing my diet, running, lifting, swimming, biking, practicing my Chinese and making my friends fat by cooking up a storm! The only way I can figure it is that I was meant to be born independently wealthy but someone's signals got mixed up.

Instead, I have to worry about getting fat in Toronto! Sheesh.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Binge is OVER!

Okay. I took the weekend off from eating according to regimen. Instead, I decided to just watch what I was eating. I didn't go over too high in caloric count but the carbs were higher than they should have been. Not an issue really but I gained 1.8 pounds since my low weight in about 3 days. I think it's mostly water due to the carb count.

I did confess everything to my STT tonight. He was okay with it. I think he agrees we all need to just give ourselves permission once in a while and now that it's over I am back on track! YAHOO!

Besides, I am thinking of going to my high school reunion. Mostly out of curiosity. But remember those days. I was a real geek, never fit in, didn't understand people too well, and kept to myself. It's hard to explain but I just wasn't a people person, even then.

It in October during Applefest weekend, and I am really thinking of just going to the reunion instead. Ya know? It's every 5 years but Applefest is every year. My good friend Cher is coming in to run it but there are lots of other people around. It's also a good chance to see my sister, who I miss so much I can't even describe it.

So, in the back of my mind I am thinking that I really want to get buff in case I go to this reunion. Hehe.

The other thing that I decided is that I will NOT be going to Toronto for a Vendor visit. It's been hanging over my head for about a month now. The date kept changing and they finally settled on the second week of September. Which is the week after we come back from a 5 day trip from Maine to go a wedding. I should be going on this vendor visit this year due to the other people from work who are going. but I was 50-50 on it from the beginning and it's been just nagging away at me. So, tonight, I decided that working out and being consistent is a priority for me. And after I decided it, I told STT and he seemed pleased with my commitment. Hmmm... I can't believe how responsible I'm being. Wow.

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Week 29 Training Recap

Last week, I finally bonked. I couldn't believe it! I have never felt that exhausted before! I guess going hard for 18 days straight is bound to take down the best of us, huh? So, this is what it looked like.
Monday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening. OF course no biking in the morning. We couldn't get our checkout time extended. But Scary Trainer in the evening as planned.
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, swim 28 laps. Ran 62 minutes in the morning. I have found a good loop and plan on timing myself to see if I get any better. No Swim. The prior owners of the house visited and there went the routine! Could not have dinner early enough (5pm) so that I could go swim (6:30pm). I am glad I had a good run, though.
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes. Hair cut in the evening. 64 minutes on the road today. It was a little slower. I had a side stitch that wouldn't go away. It would get worse as I had to breathe more deeply so there went the harder running! Had to take more breaks and run more slowly than yesterday.
Thursday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening.Done. Done done done. But I bonked big time with Scary Trainer. Big. Time. BONK! I need to rethink the whole workout thing. Damn! Just when I was on a roll!
Friday: Run 60 minutes, rest in the evening.Self-imposed rest day! Going forward, I will incorporate recovery days. Weight is down 2.6 pounds from YESTERDAY!!!
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes. Swim 32 laps. Nothing. I had a massage in the morning and then decided that it was OKAY to take a day off as a complete rest day. Even if it's the second one in a row! Besides, my weight is still down and now I am celebrating!
Sunday: Run 90 minutes. Swim at Walden Pond or at the pool or something.It was SO HOT! Ran for 90 minutes instead!

Total Running Miles: 19.1 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 13.4 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 4:44:33
Starting next week, I am implementing a new workout routine that actually includes recovery days. Yah. Recovery days. I am going to have to summon all my will power not to start running when I should be walking. I am giving myself a month. It's gonna be a very long month.
Monday: REST in the morning, STT in the evening.
Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes of EAST recovery, swim 28 laps.
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes.
Thursday: REST in the morning STT in the evening.
Friday: Run 60 minutes, rest in the evening.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes.
Sunday: Pedal and Plod duathlon. 4 mile run followed by 22 mile bike.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Retired Shorts

I think I had to retire another pair of favorite shorts yesterday. I had gotten them from LLBean about 3 years ago and they were snug. Yesterday, I went to the store and was reaching for things, and I was acutely aware of how it laid low on my hips and how my shirt hiked up and my long jog bra underneath hiked up and how my midriff was a bit exposed. All I needed was the bare the tops of a pair of thongs to complete the picture. Ugh! Never in my life... I keep pulling the shorts up and rolling it and that didn't work since it's made out of linen. Whatever.

At one point in mid-reach, some GUY (aka KID) asks me where the shredded cheese was.
Uh.... How the hell do I KNOW???
So, I just pointed and said, "dairy?"
He said thanks and said a few other things and then I just walked away.
He looked like he was 18! GAH!!!!

That's when I knew.
The shorts had to go.

What the hell do I look like? A 20 year old?

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It's UGLY out there

I went for a run this morning. Hmmm... Actually, first I laid in bed and pondered the lazy idea that I should just sort of WALK on the treadmill upstairs and watch a movie. Yeah. Pretty lame. It was already 80* so that fleeting thought did have some legitimacy.

Instead, I got out of bed, had a piece of toast with cream cheese, made my protein drink, changed, and headed out the door.

Whoa! What the hell was that?
Oh. It's the HUMIDITY!!!
And it's friend, HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I was resolved and off I went.

The first half of the run was HOT with the sun beating down on me. And all I could think about was, "GAWD! I hope my sunscreen works!!" And it was only 9am.

In about 5 minutes, I was sweating a river and all I could think about was, "GAH!!! I should have brought more sunscreen!!!"

Then I took a sip of my drink.
It didn't taste bad, but it didn't taste good either.
And the ice I had filled the bottle with melted in about 15 minutes. DAMN!

I definitely took all of my walk breaks. In fact, I took A LOT OF WALK BREAKS!!! I ended up doing one loop of the reservoir and then returning home on the regular course of my 6 mile loop. And wouldn't you know, after I finished the loops, the clouds rolled in and it looked like rain but of course, we are NOT that fortunate! Instead it was just as humid but at least no sun pounding on my head!

This was one of my slowest runs ever! On the way back I walked every hill and I took more walk breaks! It did not help that I was almost done with my drink and it was WARM and I still had another mile or two to go!

So, then I thought, "If I plan on doing stuff like this, I need to get out my running camel back waist pack." It holds 40 ounces instead of the 24 ounces in my water bottle. So I obsessed about this for a while.

Then I thought, "there is no way that I am going to get out on my back after I finish this run." Which was my original plan. And then, "Hmmm.... I should get out my biking camelback too." This one holds 70 ounces of liquid and I can put a TON of ice into it. So, I then obsessed about this for a while, too.

Obsessing during a wildly miserable run is the thing to do. Trust me. Try it.

On the way home, I passed by Rod Dee Thai Restaurant. It's about 3/4 of a mile from the house, so I stopped and got a menu. This is one of my favorite restaurants. They had a kiosk in the food court in Chinatown until it got closed down a few years ago. And now they have reopened in Brookline! And HOW HAPPY AM I? HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!

So the run wasn't all just sloshing through the humidity. Refound my old favorite restaurant. Discovered that obssession during miserable sporting experiences are good. Learned that protein powder without sweetener isn't all that good. And of course, leftover monkfish marsala afterwards is really a good way to protein up and if you accompany that with a tad bit of black pasta, you have a pretty good glycogen replenishing snackie!

I wonder if I can have that Italian pastry that's in the refrigerator?

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Great Balls of Meat

Last night, Joseph made dinner for two very special little girls, Emma and Rachel. They brought their Mommy with them, along with a basket of chives, bok choy, and gigantical cucumbers from their Mommy's garden along witha 50 home made Jiao zi (aka Chinese Dumplings).

Here they are... so cute cute cute!!!

Joseph made his world famous meetballs - 5 tiny little ones for Emma and regular sized ones for everyone else.

We also invited our Tri-Maniac friend Jenn and our Chinese class friend Hank (who also works with me) and his wife Lisa.

We had wine and pasta, along with Italian bread accompanied by a disk of balsamic and Dutch Henry olive oil (which is amazing) with a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper. We also had bufalo mozzarella and tomato salad with fresh basil and a drizzling of olive oil. Of course we forgot to put out the cheese board and the olives. But we had plenty of food so it's didn't matter.

I love having people over for dinner. It is so much fun. I'd rather people come to us and us to them - we don't have to drive afterwards!

Tonight for dinner, we will have the 50 dumplings that Emma and Rachel brought for us last night. We will steam them and then lightly pan fry the bottom. These are the real McCoy complete with homemade dough for the dumpling wrappers. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thank goodness I ran 7.5 miles this morning. I need the calorie burn to offset those 50 dumplings!!! Okay. Joseph will have 3/4 of them...

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

No more late nights!

We went to the ICA last night for a cocktail reception and a cooking demo by Barbara Lynch, uber chef. TShe showed us how to make tomato consomme and homemade ricotta cheeses, which is incredibly easy! Then she made some tomato disk which she filled with the cheese. They passed that around... 3 rows later, it came to me and I said to Joseph, "I might just eat this." And the woman next to me said, "she (pointing to her friend) just dared me to eat it." And so I passed it to her and said, "you eat half and I'll eat the other half." And so... we did. I left a little on the plate so the remaining 50 people after us could get a sense of what was actually on the plate. Ahem. Yes... take care what you pass to me, especially if it's food... Then Barbara Lynch made a tomato tartin with carmelized onions, which was excellent!

After the demo and testing (ahem), we walked over to the Federal Courthouse and to the Daily Catch on the terrace of the courthouse building. I had the most incredible monkfish marina along with a side of black pasta with spicy puttanesca sauce. The monkfish was fabulous! And the pasta was so excellent. I love that squid ink! Of course it was too much food so I ended up bring most of the pasta home, and at least 1/3 of the monkfish. It didn't help that we started with mussels (I had about 5), clams casino (I had one), and stuffed calamari in sauce (I had a half of one).

Good grief. We didn't get home until 10:30pm. Needless to say, I did not get up and ride by 7am. I was so tired this morning. Good news is that the weight was up on .2 pounds. So I managed to make it to my massage appointment where I proceeded to experience great pain!

Anyway, I hate late nights. Totally messes up my routine.

Joseph is busy in the kitchen making his world famous meatballs and sauce. We have two very special little girls coming to dinner - Emma and Rachel. Rachel is 8 and Emma is 3. Joseph will make meat flats for Emma so they do not roll off her plate.

Hmmm... I think I will go out and get some pasta bowls....


A shot in the arm

Quite literally. I got a shot in the arm yesterday.

I had my annual physical and I scheduled my bi-annual blood draw before my physical appointment. But PEDRO THE INFLEXIBLE had different ideas!!! He gets me from reception and takes down all my stats. I thought he'd then send me over to Wonderful Jordan (he who can get blood from my fine, thin vessels on the first try), he doesn't. So I remind him. And he says that he would rather wait until Dr. had a chance to see me because she might add something.

Huh??? I had done this to compress time because you see, this is a fasting blood test. And I haven't eaten. It is now 9:45am and my regular morning meal is around 7am. So I am hungry and getting crankier by the minute.

He takes my temperature and then I say I would like to get my blood drawn BEFORE I see Dr. He gives me the same ole same old. Would rather wait... blah blah blah... sometimes... more tests needed... blah blah blah. By now I am starting to fume. He takes my blood pressure. Doeesn't like it and says he will test it again "in the room."

Then he takes my pulse a SECOND TIME. 62 bpm. It's higher than I thought. The stress of it all...

Then we go to "the room" and he takes my blood pressure. I tell him again, I would like to get my blood drawn NOW. He says, wait blah blah blah wait...later... yadda yadda yadda... By now I am FUMING! He takes my blood pressure and it's 112/67. YAH! It's UP, YOU MORON! It's usually aro8und 90 05 95 over 50 or 60 or something like that. YOU HAVE MADE MY BLOOD PRESSURE GO UP!

So, Dr. comes in.

Dr: Did you get your blood drawn?
Me: Nope.
Dr: Why not? I left all the paperwork out there.
Me: Because PEDRO thought you should see me first.
Dr: What? WHY? I left everything out there for you.
Me: OBVIOUSLY, HE knows more about our relationship than I DO!
Dr. Well, that's nonsense. ... Hmmm... your blood pressure is up.
Dr: [blink blink smile] Yeah, he is a bit inflexible....

And to top it all over, she insisted that I must have a tentanus booster even though I had it 5 years ago! Why? Because this new one has Whooping Cough in it and insurance is now paying for it! Sigh. Okay. I guess I don't want whooping cough...

I didn't mind then.
But now??? My arm hurts so bad I can barely lift it shoulder high.
GAH!!! The INDIGNITY of it ALL!!!!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Something's happening with the weight

Big drop this morning - 2.6 pounds since yesterday. I guess working out a lot and changing up the food did something to my body and it decided to drop some weight. This is the second lowest by only 2/10 of a pound since I started this program. Amazing. My weight has been going up and down by about 1 or 2 pounds for the last 2 1/2 months! I had a business trip scheduled for Toronto in September but I might skip it if my weight starts creeping down again. Traveling has been a doozy on my system. I never how bad it was until I tracked my food, weight, and workouts this closely. No wonder the majority of road warriors are so out of shape and/or fat!

So based on this big boost, I am now more bound and determined to get things going again in the right direction, etc. So I am going to keep to the recovery schedule that Joseph and I planned out, which Scary Trainer is good.

As for the food, I will continue to mix it up. Basically the plan is to start with 1600 calories. Then add more protein/fat until it tops off at 1900 calories. My goal is not to reach that but to eat betwen 1600 and 1900 every day depending on how I feel and how much working out I do. Of course, the more I work out, the higher the carbs but Scary Trainer still wants to closely manage the carbs. My goal for the next week is to lower the carbs to around 100g and increase the fats to around 80g and protein to around 140g. Or something like that.

This morning I am on a starvation diet until I get my blood drawn for my bi-annual blood test. Make sure that I will be alive at the end of the year.

Tomorrow the plan is to RIDE around 90 minutes. We will see.
And then a massage!!! YAHOO!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008


Tonight I had Scary Trainer. I bonked. After the first exercise, every exercise was lowered in weight. And then he cut it short after 45 minutes.

I have NEVER bonked this badly before. I have always been really strong. It's a new experience. And ya know? I am really trying to embrace it. Really. Because if I don't then I won't learn anything from this and it will continue to happen. Which means that the whole point of working out will get lost.

Scary Trainer (and I) concluded that I have been working out too much, not eating enough, and not resting enough.

So what does that mean really?
He said it best, "you are working out and training like an athlete but you're not recovering, sleeping or eating enough to train like one."


So, to the first point, I haven't had a rest day in a few weeks. And on many days I worked out twice a day. And my runs and bikes have been taken outside which is harder workouts in general. Okay...

The second point... no rest days? No recovery. Not unless you have active recovery. But this week, the day after my Monday lifting session, I went out and ran the hills of the Marathon course for an hour. Same on Wednesday. And this morning? I went out for an hour bike ride. Through the HILLS OF NEWTON! Yah. Not your easy or recovery workout. And then tonight, I had Scary Trainer. Okay. So I can buy this. Not enough recovery.

The third point, I am trying to lose fat so that means I can't really eat more and build muscle. The two are at odds.

So, the first thing to correct:

  1. No cardio when I lift weights.
  2. EASY RECOVERY day the morning after lifting weights. No more than 30 minutes in the morning. If I want to swim that night, it's okay.
  3. The day before lifting (if it's not the day after lifting (eg, a Monday/Wednesday split), I can run or bike. If I want to swim that night, then fine.
  4. The weekends are a free for all. I can swim, bike, run. Twice a day, once a day, whatever.
So, the food seems okay. But some things to tweak:
  1. Try to eat smaller amounts more frequently, even if it means taking two bites of a sandwich and putting it away for later
  2. Cut back on carbs, bring up the fat. This is so hard!!!
So, this has been a truly learning experience for me today. Wow! I haven't had one of these revelatory moments in a long time.

Anyway, we will have to monitor things very carefully and see how it goes.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Heart of an Ironman

Inspirations come in many shapes and sizes. And from many different places.

One of things I love about races, going to races, and watching people at races is all the inpiration that can be found before, during and after the run is over.

These are some I found at the Rhode Island Half Ironman last weeked.

He has no legs. None. When we saw him coming, we all stood up, and moved in more closely. We watched in silence, mouths open, eyes wide, our hearts in our throats. He would push and stop, push and stop, and he'd sometimes give a deep sigh only to inhale deeply and start again. I put my hand to my mouth in utter disbelief because I knew there had been another hill, much steeper than this one. And I couldn't believe that he could have made it this far, beyond that hill, climbing it twice, to be finally challenged with this one, 100 meters from the finish line.

And in this moment, as he looked down, it could have been a prayer, or a focusing of all of the universe's power, but he made it. And we stepped back, gave him room, clapped, cheered, as if he were the winner. And indeed, in that moment, he was a champion to us all. And tears fell because it could be any one of us... but we may not be climbing the hills with our arms. We cheered for him and he redeemed any lack of courage we may have in our lives by showing us the heart of a champion, his heart.

Grandmother? Great grandmother? She said, "he is amazing, isn't he?" as I looked on. In her walker, she was carrying all three of his transition bags because he was tired and needed to carry his bike. She was so proud. And he was so proud, too. Of her.

As they walked on into the distance, I thought, "isn't it ironic? The barely walking carrying the bags of an ironman who is barely walking."

There was another person. No pictures. Everyone cheered her on into the bike transition from the swim. She stumbled every two steps as she was buffeted by the waves. At first I thought she had been hurt. But there was no alarm on the faces of the staff. Instead they paid close attention, never touching but offering words of encouragement. And when she got out of the water, I knew why. She had a palsy, barely able to stand, much less walk. And she made it through the transition chute, a smile on her face.

I wouldn't see her again until it was almost time for us to leave. And there she was, running up the hill to the finish. I saw her through the window of Joe's American Grill where we were finishing lunch. And I recognized her awkward, jerking movements.

True inspirations.
Abilities and desires beyond my understanding.

What is the heart of an athlete? What drives people onward to reach their highest potential regardless of the pain, regardless of their physical condition?

Only the heart of a true Ironman. All of them with a heart of a champion.


Things I hate #2: Running through Gnats

Can I just tell you how much I hate running through gnats? At least, that is what I think they are. They hover in clumps at about torso level and usually pick a location about the route you are directly in line to take.

When you come out the other side, you look like you are covered in mini poppy seeds. AGH!!!!!!!!!!!! And you dare not breathe because it means you are sucking those babies into your lungs. And you do not want to purposely swallow bugs. So you hold your breath or let it out. If the hovering mass is large, you run out of breath and you are bound to ingest them! BLECH!!!

This has happened on the last two morning runs. Which, by the way, have been pretty good. I found a great route and I am determined to set my improvements by how well I run this fixed course.

I ran for just over an hour on both mornings. I am very happy with my current progress. Tomorrow morning, I am going to be biking on my new Flying Machine. I hope to be out on the rode before 6am which means an early night for me.

Speaking of mornings, I think the sun is starting to rise later and later. I am totally bummed out thinking of the coming fall and the end of summer and the light in the morning. So bummed out. I have to make the most of the time that we have this year! I've been doing pretty week getting up early. It's been over a week and I haven't died yet. So at least I know that it's not lethal...

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Rhode Island Half Ironman

I'll say it before and I'll say it again. Ironman of any distance is tough. It's always hot. There is always a glitch in the course - all three of them. And there is that small thing that concerns massive amounts of water.

This past weekend, my Hunny Bunny did the Inaugural Rhode Island Half Ironman in Providence, RI. We stayed at the start in Narragansett, right on the water. The only time I've been to that area was about 8 years ago when I was racing Hobie Cats and we sailed out of Point Judith, which is just down the road. All I remembered about that time was that it was choppy and there was a lot of wind - perfect sailing conditions for multi-hulls.

We went down on Saturday Morning and headed to Providence to check in, gather packets, meet up with other crazies doing the race, drop off the run bag at the T2 transition area and sort of take a look around and see how things were laid out. I wasn't as exhausted as the time we went to Louisville, but this is half the distance, so half the running around. I would like to note that even though I live an hour away, I have never spent this much time in Providence. Never.

We ended up eating lunch at the Pizzeria Uno, since Carl, one of the people met up with had this thing about eating pizza. Joseph and I opted for flatbread pizza, while Jenn (another crazy) and Carl, opted for a deep dish. I am not a huge fan of deep dish - all that bread! And then we were joined by Doug (yet another crazy) and his wife Maureen and his son Cameron.

We went back to Narragansett and checked into The Village Inn. Narragansett is a cute little town. And the hotel was in a perfect location - right next to like a town shopping area with shops, grocery, restaurants, etc. Turned out that dinner on Saturday was right behind the hotel, at Trio.

The room was very small. But managed to get all of Joe's gear and my wonderful Flying Machine into it and out of the way. A small fridge was great for all the stuff in our cooler. They had a small sink. Looked like a kitchenette without the microwave. We faced a sun porch where they held a small wedding and a bridal shower, both of which we attended from our room. And an oblique view to the beach. It was actually very nice and cozy. There was also a small alcove next to the window that had a table and chair. Joseph was able to lay out all his gear on the floor of the alcove. So in the end it was perfect!

We took my bike to the T1 transition area to drop off Joe's bike. Before then, we went for a quick 30 minute ride. Have I mentioned just how much I love my wonderfly Flying Machine? My sitz bones were not as achey so I did okay.

Saturday morning arrived early. Off we went. We were so close to the start. We had a parking pass at the beach and we were one of the early ones so we got right up to the beach fence. Joseph took off and checked in, got marked, etc.

And then race started. The water looked pretty choppy to me. I took a lot of pictures of Joseph. And later, he met up with Jenn. And then Mike and Mary showed up. I took lots and lots of pictures!

Joseph made it out of the water in about 38 minutes. I was going to head right out to Providence so I could get an hour run in. But Mike caught me and we waited for Mary to come in. Sigh... so much for my run.

We headed out to Providence. The worst part of chasing someone who is fast is that you are exhausted keeping up. The best part is that you get to the next transition area and there is ALWAYS parking! I found a good one, right across from the Capital building and right up from the transition area.

More pictures. I managed a 35 minute run around and around this block because I didn't want to run too far away. After, I grabbed my camera and headed up to where the bikers were coming in. And since Joseph was wearing a new helment and I didn't really know what he looked like, do you THINK THAT I GOT HIS PICTURE?? Of course not. By the time I recognized him, he was GONE GONE GONE! Anyway, I ran down the hill to transition and he was TOO FAST! ARG!!! He was GONE AGAIN!!! Now I would just have to wait for him to come in for his second loop.

I saw Mary take off, and Ryan (another crazy) whose back I recognized. And the Derek (yet another crazy). I waited to Joseph to come in for the second loop and when he did, he gave me the thumbs up signal. Big sigh of relief.

It was HOT. I felt like I had an inch of sunscreen on my face! So sticky! ARG!!! At one point, I was standing with Jenn's Dad, Gerry (awesome awesome man) and we saw a guy from the Wheelworks team (same team as all the crazies), and his face was WHITE. Jenn's dad asked me who he was. I said I have no idea what his name is. Then he said, "oh, I know. His name is Zinc Oxide." Well that just cracked me up. Turns out that this guy is a DERMATOLOGIST! Egads! If that is how he runs then I am definitely not using enough sunscreen!

Eventually Joseph finally finished. Of the group of crazies we were with, I think he was either first or second one to come in. I can't remember right now. All the times are off since they start in different waves. So someone who started after you could have had better times than you. Anyway... I took lots of pictures after the race.

We waited for everyone else to come in. We cheered and clapped.

For lunch, we ended up at Joe's Grill. And for dinner we went to Amalfi to celebrate. The best part is that this restaurant is attached to The Village Inn. HAH! And they had a good single malt collection with a very generous pour!! I told Joseph that it felt like we were living in the South End when the restaurants were all within a block or two!

We stayed over another night and on the way back home, we stopped off in Providence to dirve to Federal Hill and find the Scialo Bakery. I was eyeing this bakery on a tourist map but it turned out that Mike had stopped in because he had always wondered about the name. His last name is also Scialo and he has never met anyone else with that name. So he stopped in and it turns out that he looks just like them, and their histories are similar, and their grandfather was one of 13 children and had stolen away on a boat from Italy... very very exciting!!! And we ended up with four pastries, all of them which I have never seen in Boston and one of which were highly recommended by Mike. Well... All I have to say is that I have now found my Italian Bakery. They are worth the hour's drive. AND I have my eye on that giant rum cake I saw in one of the cases!!!


This is my favorite sequence of photos. The rest of the pictures can be seen here.

I love you, Hunny Bunny.
I am so proud!

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Week 28 Training Recap

This was a bit of a disappointing week given that I have been able to work out more than I have in a long time but the weekend was sort of a wash since Joseph's Half Ironman in Rhode Island was the focus of the weekend. That's fine by me, of course, it still I can feel the hypertension from the anxiety of not being able to get my workouts in. What does that mean? That I am obsessive? Not really since it's not like I OD on exercise. But the worst part is the eating. I was on a roll for about 5 days and then the weekend and of course, I ate. Sigh... I have to talk to Scary Trainer about the food part of this regimen.
Monday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening. Done. I biked for only 45 minutes though. I am figuring out that if I want to do more exercise, I need to get up earlier. Dilemma dilemma dilemma... Tough workout with Scary Trainer.
Tuesday: Run 40 minutes, swim 20 laps. Ran for 31 minutes. Again. Need to get up earlier. Swam 24 laps. I am very happy. It got easier as I went. I have to figure out how to go faster.
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes. Pick up the bike in the evening. 60 minutes was too ambitious. Ran for 40 minutes instead. Had to run around the block because I negative split. Unbelievable.
Thursday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening.About 52 minutes in the morning on the new bike. I was testing and feeling it out. 11.85 miles. Scary Trainer in the evening.
Friday: Run 60 minutes, massage in the evening.50 minutes. 60 was too much after a tough Scary Trainer session the night before.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes, leave for Rhode Island in the afternoon. I managed to get some semblance of a decent work out in. 6.5 mile bike and 2.5 mile run. Not a lot but much more than I thought I'd be able to do.
Sunday: Run 60 minutes. Not sure about this one since we will be in RI for Joseph's half ironman. We'll see. Might need to take a rest day anyway.I managed a 36 minute run. GAH! Friends and such that didn't do the tri insisted on hanging out with me. GAH!!!

Total Running Miles: 15.78 miles (record: 26.9 miles). I am not unhappy with this at all. This is the highest weekly mileage I've had in a long time!
Total Biking Miles: 9.9 miles (record: 67.8) Very disappointing. But I couldn't get in my long bike ride because of Joe's half ironman events.
Total Swimming Yards: 1200 yards (record: 3300). Went to the pool only once. But it's more than the week before so I am not complaining too much.
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 5:45:17 - Not as much as I could have because of the weekend running around chasing Joseph and such. I will call it a rest week.
This coming week, I am back. I am calling it MY WEEK. No one is going to spoil it for me. I HAVE to get back into the workout groove and interruptions fora weekend here and there is really killing me. So these are the goals for next week.
Monday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening. OF course no biking in the morning. We couldn't get our checkout time extended. But Scary Trainer in the evening as planned.
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, swim 28 laps.
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes. Hair cut in the evening.
Thursday: Bike 60 minutes, STT in the evening.
Friday: Run 60 minutes, rest in the evening.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes. Swim 32 laps.
Sunday: Run 90 minutes. Swim at Walden Pond or at the pool or something.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Swimming across America

Here are a few pictures from the boat that Joseph was on when he did the Swim Across America. No action photos, though. Oh well...

To see more, you can go to this site and just click on the buoys.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Waking up on the RIGHT side

First, I'd like everyone to know that my Hunny Bunny is swimming in the Boston Harbor today with Swim Across America. He left the house at 6:00 this morning to catch the boat. After my debacle at The Deep Dark Lagoon, I can't imagine doing this. All Day. Multiple times. You'd fine claw marks on the deck. GAH! So, you can track him if you want to.

Today is a balloonious festoonious day! Low humidity. Sun softly shining instead of it poking its burning rays at you.

I've decided that I need more than 7 hours sleep. I need 8. Ugh. I think that my increased activity level is tiring me out more than ever and I need that extra hour of sleep. Which means that I will have to go to bed about 9pm instead of 10. Which means that I get home from work and my second workout, and I basically have to fall into bed! GAH! Maybe I will start with 7 1/2 hours instead...

Last night training session with Scary Trainer was really hard. Now that we have pretty much stabilized my core muscles (my entire trunk) and have worked on my entire back, he is now concentrating on my front. In other words, he is shredding my quads! GAH!!!! Afterwards, we used the stick. We have four at home and I never use them because I didn't really know how. Well Scary Trainer showed me how and afterwards my legs were bright red from the blood circulating and my knee pain from tight quad muscles went away. Almost immediately. Whoa! The blood flow really helped get the pain out.

He also told me that I am not eating enough in the morning not to mention that I cannot go out running first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Hmmm. So this morning, I had half a cup of gatorade before my 50 minute run. Yikes. Not enough. I had a water bottle with me that had a mixture of 8 ounces of Gatorade and my protein powder. Uh. Not enough. BLAST and DAMN! This means I have to crawl out of bed in the morning, all bleary eyed, and get a piece of toast and cream cheese before I go out to run! Carbos before activity. Protein afterwards. Rule of thumb. So this morning I added a piece of ham to my toast and cream cheese. It was quite yummy!

So, I started off to run and I passed the Devotion school about 3 blocks up from the house. We knew they'd be there because we saw it on TV. Anyway, there was Gene and VB, Kim, and CINDY FITZY!!! My favorite Weather Prognosticator! She is so cute and her kids are so cute. And ya know?? She looks the same. SO CUTE in person!! Gene was wearing shorts - white legs. VB is not as big as he is on TV but he is still a bit paunchy. And Kim is the same as she is on TV. Cindy Fitzy and Kim are my height. And really not that scrawny skinny you might think that they are. Anyway, I got Cindy Fitzy to sign my running hat. I think it might run. I might have to never use it again. GAH! Anyway, they offered to take my picture with her and put in their website. Uh... No. I don't think so. Hmmm.

So that is how my day started today. Cool. Clear. Celebrity Encounters. Toast and Cream Cheese. And a great run to top it all off.

I am taking a half day from work today. Hills Home Market is coming to review our freezer and put in another food order for us. And of course, that means I have to take the afternoon off, right?

Happy happy happy!!!

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Beautiful Flying Machine

Here it is...My beautiful Flying machine! I picked it up last night. The final fitting took no time because he had fit the bike to the numbers that represented my measurements. Really cools. Anyway, it's a beauty, isn't it? It is so light that I can pick it up with my pinky fingers! And that's with the cage, a pump, the saddle, and the clips all attached. I am thinking about a small gear bag. Just enough to hold a tube and a small toolkit. Very small.

After Husam fitted me, he picked this frame out. It's the one that he rides, too, along with a number of the people who work for him. In fact, it's the frame that Husam was racing (and winning in) in a race in Italy when he went head over onto a car that had stopped inside of a dark tunnel. Husam was okay, the bike didn't have a scratch, the car was a mess - all dented in the back. Anyway, it has a Look 595 carbon fiber frame, Shimano Dura Ace components, the lightest wheels on the market - 369 grams and hardly any friction; once it starts spinning, it just keeps going and going and going...

The requisite computer. Mavic. Wireless. Notice the definitive lack of aerobars. Yah. First argument I lost and Husam won.

Pulsion compact crankset - I have never seen anything as tight and compact as this. Absolutely gorgeous! And these are the lightest on the market! LIGHT IS GOOD!

And my Speedplay X/2 pedals. Okay, they are not my Frogs but they have a ton of rotation so I can play around with my hips and knees when they get tired on long rides. Not to mention being super duper light. Light is the key. Less weight, more speed. This was the second argument that Husam won and I lost. Hmmm.

A real "big dog" saddle - Selle Italia. You can bounce a quarter off the seat! Joseph went with Husam to pick out this saddle. Joseph pointed to one similar to the one I have now, Husam shook his head and said, "no way" and picked this one out. That was the third argument he won and I lost.

This morning I took it for a spin. All I have to say is... twice the speed on the hills. Yah. On a simple little ride, max speed of 27 mph. Yah. And riding was a ton of fun. That is after I kinda figured out how to clip in and out.

The wheels are unreal. At one point I was flying into an intersection at 20mph when the light turned red. Uh... where the hell was the yellow??? Anyway, I couldn't stop in time, so I slowed the best that I could and screamed at the two cars. Luckily they had their windows open and saw me coming and waiting. THANK THE LORD FOR THAT!!! Miracle. I think that is my 7th life. I have two more to spare.

And no more granny gear. The compact two gear set is enough to help me up the hills. I can honestly say that I have a baseline. I think I did some of the work, but the bike did a lot. I am bound and determined to ride with the big dogs sometime this summer. Seriously.

Now my old bike will sit up on the trainer, with it's hind end bolted securely to the roller clamps, ne'er to see the sunshine again. Unless it's some dire emergency!

I am so excited that I a numb. I can't feel a thing. All I know is that I can't wait to get out there and ride it again! YAHOO!!! Okay, I might have to wait for my saddle soreness to subside first. That saddle HURTS! YIKES! Anyway, this weekend, I might do a search on centuries and sign up for every single one!



Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I am tired and cranky

And the rain isn't making it better.
The traffic really sucks, too.

I'm sure my new Flying Machine will make me feel better.


Pool Note

So last night, we get to the pool and all the lanes are filled. Joseph had gotten to the pool ahead of me and was already sharing lane with someone. So I got into the next lane and started sharing with another guy.

Two laps into my workout, I'm noticing the guy sharing my lane has gotten a lot faster. A LOT! I mean, he was swimming LAPS around me and I was thinking WTF!!!

At one point I glanced up under the water and noticed an Ironman tattoo on the calf.

Good GRIEF!! The guy I had originally shared the lane with had gotten out and Joseph had moved over.

My Hunny Bunny likes to be close to me. :o)

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Litigiously radical

On the news this morning: someone died at a hospital in the emergency room and the family is suing.

Hmmm. People die all the time. And hospitals do not dole out miracles. Nor does everyone have a right to the one or two that may actually happen in the course of a year or two.

The news story continues and they show a picture.

Good grief!!!!! Of course they probably couldn't save her! She weighed like a thousand pounds!!!

Ok. Slight exaggeration but only slightly. She was a round butterball tub of LARD-O!!!

I am not saying that fat people do not have a right to miracles. HOWEVER. Do you KNOW how HARD it is to treat FAT OBESE PEOPLE? Have you tried to find their organs below the layers of undulating greasy subcutaneous fat? And what about all the diseases and issues related to it. And why is it that every time they show someone lamenting the unfairness of a doctor or a hospital or the medical system or insurance in general, they are always FAT! They never have thin people on the news. WHY? Because FAT people have all the issues. So, if all they show are fat people and the fat people are the ones sick, and they are the ones being highlighted for so called "bad medicine"or bad insurance, do you THINK that it's their FATNESS that is partly to blame? Maybe even WHOLLY to blame??? And another thing... no one has a right to live forever!!! ARG!!!

So, if people are that grossly overweight decide to sue for malpractice or whatever, the burden of proof should be on them to PROVE that their obesity did not in fact propel, prolong, cause etc their death or complicate things to such a degree that they got sicker or they died. After all, defendants are entitled to the "innocent before proven guilty" rule. Rapists, murderers, robbers, etc. are considered innocent and the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove otherwise. Why not doctors and hospitals??? BECAUSE OF THE MONEY!!! Which in part causes the insurance and health care costs to go up and the medical establishment to be wary which will in turn hurt ALL of us, not just the FAT PEOPLE, but the NON-FAT, HEALTHIER PEOPLE, TOO!!!

When I see a news story like this, I have no sympathy. We can do away with a lot of stupid lawsuits this way. And maybe we can get rid of all those damn scheister lawyers, too.

Now we just have to tackle the stupid people factor.

ARG! I hate people.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Sheesh.


Negative splits

Again. This morning. Which meant I had to go around the block to make sure I ran for 40 minutes. ARG! I hate making up the time like that.

The last couple of days, I've been running toward Boston. Today, after 20 minutes of running in one direction, I actually made it to the city line and I crossed over the I-90 Overpass. The one with the 40K marker in the middle for the Boston Marathon. My goal is to make it all the way down through the Comm Ave Mall and to the Public Gardens. My old stomping grounds.

It's relatively downhill. Which means that the way back is uphill. It's a bit gratifying to know that I can negative split going uphill. Interesting.

I am also just watching my pace instead of my HR. I think watching my HR tends to slow me down. Not good when you consider that my max may not be accurately set which means all my efforts will reflect lower than is actually true. Today, I hit 95% of max and I ran an average of 78%. I might have to joggle my MaxHR up a notch or two.

The good news is that my running portions were all 9:30 pace give or take 10 seconds. Not bad.

Very humid day.

Tonight, I pick up my Flying Machine. Happy happy happy!!
BTW, Joseph thinks that it is a Look 595. After all, I am getting the same model that the owner of ATA Cycles rides.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Five Friends redux

So... I've been thinking about my Five Friends lately. Not because I talk to them a lot, which is true... I DO talk to them a lot. Every day, sometimes all day. They are my best friends.

Anyway, the reason it's been on my mind lately is because, I am acutely aware of the fact that I have pretty much just three friends on my Five Friends List. I tried to fill it in the other day by using Joseph and H, but Joseph told emphatically, that he and H do not count. I am married to him. And H? Well... she who has impinged herself into my life is on a different list.

So, today I was talking to L, who works for me and I suppose has become a friend of sorts. And we talked about stuff as we always do, mostly not about work. And she mentioned how she doesn't have that many friends. Which then ensued with me telling her that I don't have many friends either. And we got to talking and chatting (via IM), and I finally blurted out that I am her friend.


How do I count a friend?
Someone who takes you as you come. With all your warts, faults, idiosyncrancies. Someone you can call in the middle of the night and they will come get you if you need to be gotten. Someone who will take you in during your darkest days and hold you and feed you and give you a couch to sleep on - for as long as you need it - and tell you how everything will be fine. That is what I count as a friend. There are not too many people of this ilk. And you have to want to do it for them, as much as you are confident they will do it for you. And I suddenly realized that, well... I'd do it for her, and I supposed there is an implicit expectation that she will do the same for me.

And so... with that simple statement, "You have me. I am your friend." I had a sudden realization that I really have Four Friends on my Five Friends List. And she comes with a bonus. She comes with two wonderful adorable cute sweet smart little girls!

It was a good day.
It is always a good day when you find out you have a good friend.

A friend that is good enough to make the top five list.
A very good day indeed.

Of course I told her that it was her fault we couldn't get together more. Of course.


The water is open...

Okay. Joseph found this blog about the Blue Seventy Wetsuit. All these winners of tri's have worn Blue Seventy.

I guess it's not about the wetsuit, huh?



Let me just say for the record that it is HARD to eat 1900 calories when you are being good. What I mean is not eating out. If you ate out, then you'd get it in a single meal.

I think the key is seaweed soup. I made a big pot the other night. It is low cal, low fat, and in order to increase the protein, I can add a lot of tofu. And it is very very filling. I think that seaweed soup will permanently be a part of my nutritional repertoire for a long time to come.

Anyway, tonight I actually got to the pool and swam. My goal was 20 laps but I ended up with 24. 1200 yards. Not too bad. My next goal is 28 laps. I just have to figure out when I can get to the pool again. Not until next week most likely. This weekend we are going to Rhode Island for Joseph's half ironman. Which means, my workouts take a back seat. But we discussed it today and I will take the bike, my running shoes and the wet suit. One never knows what opportunities will reveal themselves and I might as well be ready.

Tomorrow night, I am going to get my new bike. Can I just tell you how ABSOLUTELY FREEKIN' INCREDIBLY &^%$! EXCITED I AM???? Well, I AM ABSOLUTELY FREEKIN' INCREDIBLY &^%$! EXCITED!!! I think that if it takes a while to get fitted, the session will be my second workout tomorrow. I saw what happened to Joseph and it was a LOT OF WORK! Pedal pedal pedal... adjust adjust adjust... pedal pedal pedal... repeat... for about an HOUR! GAK! Definitely would qualify as a full second workout of the day!

Well going to bed early won't be too hard tonight. I am totally, utterly exhausted!

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Dawning of a new diet and routine

Last night was a killer workout with Scary Trainer. GOOD GRIEF!!! I haven't sweated that much at a training session in a while. He was testing out the ankle and finding that it could withstand all sorts of abuse, he was like a kid in a candy store. GAH!!!

He also gave me a new diet. Basically, it's like the last 2 days of the old diet before my blowout day. So it's only 1600 calories if I have 1 or no workout, and up to 1900 calories if I have 2 workouts. I have to make sure that I had a LOT of protein. On the double workout days, it's like the other days, but I just have to add another 300 calories of protein. I think I am going to buy stock in a tofu company... Seriously. He thinks that Phase 3 was not working any more because my body was just used to things. Also, I had been traveling and then the ankle sprain, blah blah blah. So he wanted to mix things up and make sure that my body did not become complacent and shut down it's metabolism. Of course, this means that I do not get any cheat day. WAH!!! But it also means that I can have a slice of pizza as long as it's in my overall calorie intake. Yahoo! But then ONE SLICE OF PIZZA? Seems like a useless waste of pizza to me. Sheesh.

I am down 2 pounds from the 5 pound gain. I guess my body needed it the rest. Not a bad loss for only 3 days into the weeek.

This morning is also the first time I ran outside for a mere training run. And much to my surprise, I did not die. Nope. Might do it again.

I am starting to embrace the realization that if I want to run or bike longer in the mornings, I am going to have to get up earlier. And that means, I am going to have to go to bed earlier. I don't mean hours ealier, just 15 minutes earlier for a while and see how that goes. This is going to be a hurdle since I am not a morning person. In fact,I am not a sleep-in-a-little-late person, as in 7 or 7:30 am. I am more of a get-my-beauty-sleep-and-get-up-late person. As in 8 or 8:30 am. Working puts a crimp on that kinda lifestyle unfortunately. So, I will try to start getting ready for bed around 9:30 instead of 9:45. Takes me a good 15 or 20 minutes before I am ready. Sigh...

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