Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Here Comes the Sun

More vacation pictures - do you detect a common thread? Things that bring sunlight:
  • Swim Repeats: In my masters swim class, we did 8 x 100 on 1:50, then on 1:45 the next time, and at Sunday lap swim, just one other woman and I threw our all into it and did 4 x 100 on 1:40. She's usually in a faster lane than me, but we decided that I have more stamina so I'm defecting to her lane starting tonight. Yahoo!
  • I'm running!!! Monday's run felt good - no ankle issues. I think I'm all healed up. I may do a 5-mile race this weekend. My Strong Sister won the women's race 2 years ago. I wouldn't be in the running for that, but shit, I'll take even 8-minute miles after the no-running I've been doing.
  • Halloween parties planned by 5th grade students.
Speaking of which, have a good one, everyone! I am personally avoiding candy; my pants are not quite fitting... perhaps due to the Ben & Jerry's ice cream covered with cooked chocolate pudding that I consumed last week. And that was only one night... I'm very thorough in all that I do. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Back

Hello! I'm fresh back from vacation. Thought I'd get a chance to blog before we left, but that never materialized. We had a great trip to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan. Beauty abounded. Pix explained:

Left: Chris and Piper by one of three waterfalls we saw on the Presque Isle River before it emptied into Lake Superior.

Right: My husband, the artist inspired by nature artist Andy Goldsworthy. It's really funny this new hobby of his. I walk on the trails that we tend to frequent and find little traces of Chris... my favorite one was a picnic-table sized serpent he made by sticking hundreds of burdocks together. I've always played detective with him (does anyone else do this??) by looking at the dishes in the sink when I get home or checking the fridge - hmm... what did he eat while I was gone?

Now I find evidence of him outside... leaves twined together into a cornucopia, sticks placed in a meaningful way, mossy rocks chipped into a boat shape and set on edge.

Then I think about our relationship. What's in a marriage? Sometimes I feel like our fire has fizzled - or more aptly put - like he's gone in one direction and I have gone another. I am sort of crazy about triathlons and he, to put it gently, isn't. And there are a million other examples of this drift, and quite frankly - lack of support on his part.

Yet, I'm still into him. For many reasons. Looking at these pictures, I know at least one of them - I love the artist in him that feeds the detective in me. I wasn't going to write about this, my marriage, yet it is a compelling subject that has absorbed me of late. In other words, it's one of the boxes I need to unpack. So bear with me, there's probably more to come on this topic.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Let It Snow!

Visions of snowflakes dance in my head...

Anticipation... Forecast of one inch of accumulation tonight and perhaps more tomorrow. I'm waxing my skis today!

So it might not look like this photo of my nephew and me last winter, but I'll be ready when it does.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Please Let This Be PMS

6:45 AM Not going to blog today. Way too depressed. Nobody wants to read that.

6:55 AM OK, maybe I will post. Just this.

Unsure of my husband.
Unsure of myself.
That about does it.

7:00 AM Gnashing of teeth. Battle plan: Silent treatment. Let him come to me for once. I'm always the one who has to tap my reservoir of happiness and buoy us both. NOT TODAY. And if that's the beginning of the end, so be it.

7:40 AM Happiness and smiles and yes, even some words.

Default position: Wish I could just crawl out of my skin for awhile. Put myself out there free-floating. Tried medicating with cookies and TV last night. (Cuz that has always worked so well in the past. Snort.)

I am prostrated before this beast. Bare naked, yet cringing and covering my face, wanting to preserve some dignity. Yes, I've done the Ironman, but I still have myself. Didn't outswim, outbike or outrun me. Yet, am I better than I used to be? Used to take days for this. To be able to laugh at myself and see the gross hyperbole.

Box, please.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fat and Happy

I feel as though I'm committing sacrilege here, but I'll feel better if I get this confession off my chest...

I'm happy to be in recovery season.

There, it's out. This little discovery dawned on me (literally) last Friday when I woke up at 5:30 AM and went for a fun run with Piper. Usually, that time would have been unacceptable for a workout. (Too late to do a long workout and get to school on time, and I never work out in the morning.) And, more critically, when I was training for IM, there was no room for variance from the schedule. Every workout was carefully spliced into my day, and walls caved in if I strayed from the plan. Last Friday morning though, I woke up, felt like running, and went for a run. Bing, bang, done.

That's not to say that I'm such a perfect person that I've caught myself feeling like working out at odd times every day. In fact... I didn't feel like working out last weekend, and I didn't. (Gasp.) I ate Combos and cookies and apple bars and felt only slightly guilty. :) I like this. It feels like I'm being easy on myself, and also like I'm trusting myself.

Hmmm... trusting myself. That's a new one. Usually, I worry to death that I'll start this spiral of sweet treats and no workouts and be 200 pounds before I can turn around. (Sorry to any 200 pounders out there; I'm not indicting you. It's just that 200 pounds is not a healthy weight for me.) Now, I just know that I won't do that. I just know that generally, my body feels better making healthier choices even without my big, compulsive brain getting involved. By god, I think I'm at peace!!!

Ha. Better savor this moment, cuz knowing me, how long can it last?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I have now officially forgiven myself for not qualifying for Boston at the 2003 Mad City Marathon. Thank you, September 10th, 2006.

It took not bonking in that IM marathon to make me appreciate that I just wasn't mature enough to run that marathon back in 2003.

I didn't know the first thing about nutrition. I drank water sparingly. I had not met GU or Clif. Even Gatorade & I didn't have a meaningful relationship.

I overtrained for it. I was anxious to get started and so started the 18-week program 27 weeks out. How did I do this? I did the first 9 weeks and then re-started the whole thing all over again. This had the unhappy result of a peak in late April/early May - which I was way too high to recognize.

Then race day came and I screwed up again. I wanted it so bad. I was sure I was going to have it too. I counted on it. I went out fast. I ran a lifetime best half-marathon and then bonked at mile 16.

This race report is being written 3 years after the fact, but it isn't late. This is the first time I can really see that event. My confidence as an athlete was shaken. I finished that race, but crossing that finish line, I felt as horrible as I've ever felt in my life. I was 12 minutes too late. And it was my fault.

I coached myself to be stoic, to take it in stride, to learn from it. Read: I boxed it up. I never allowed myself to admit that I was angry and hurt and downright defeated. But I was.

That 2003 ghost haunted me as I ran during Ironman. I kept waiting for the hammer to fall, for me to feel like shit and hate the day I'd signed up for this thing. For it to cost too much to just finish. But it never came. I got stronger instead of weaker.

I don't know what ever gave me the chutzpah to sign up for Ironman, but I'm so glad I did. Cuz it has given me yet another gift.

I did an Ironman. In Madison. And I didn't bonk during the marathon.

I am forgiven.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pandora's Boxes

I like boxes. I like to organize things and put them in them so that they're all neat and tidy and tucked away. Only thing is, sometimes a little piece will sneak out of the box and tug at my sleeve, singing, "You're not done with me yet!" Here are a few of the sneaky little petes:

1) Eating Disorder: Re-reading my own blog made me realize that I still have issues. I thought I'd packed away my eating disorder and the associated mess about 13 years ago. But I wonder sometimes. Why is weighing myself still a taboo? Why do I criticize pictures of myself? My ideal me would not do that. And, perhaps even sicker, I chastise myself when I do think a positive thought about my appearance. Like, "Wow, I can sorta see my abs" has to be balanced with, "But look at what's around them..."

2) This post-traumatic stress disorder we're all going through called Ironman withdrawal. Again, I've boxed it up and patched my new goals over the top of it.

3) I am not the lone "box"er: A colleague whose father-in-law died last week was back at school the day after the funeral. My heart broke looking at her puffed-up eyes and listening to her tell us, without a quaver, the brave version of events. One look at her was enough to know that the box wasn't containing all of her grief yet.

Sometimes I wonder if we're all in too much of a hurry to get on through the painful things in life by boxing them up. Would we be better off going the way of Zen and just feeling them/living through them? I have never been patient enough for this; I always jolly myself out of it... Am I an incurable optimist?

Maybe I should just box up this whole post and label it "The Quest for Perfectionism; So Last Year."