Monday, December 29, 2008


It's been a challenging 10 days to say the least, but I made it through--so far. Suffice to say that Christmas was as stressful as ever, but I tried to keep it all together.

I've managed to keep my workout hours to 17.5 and 16 hours the last two weeks. This last week I only ran once--my RA is in a major flare, and I'm really hurting, so more swimming, which is normal for me during the winter.

Like most people at this time of year, my "schedule" has been interrupted with the kids off school, and hubby (J) is on vacation this week from two of his three jobs. I'm getting ready to take Peanut to the gym--she has two full practices today and Wednesday. The team heads to Miami on January 8th for a meet that weekend, so they need to keep the schedule as normal as possibe. I'm planning to head to Lifetime for some kind of workout, and a swim.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday. Have a very happy new year! I'll be spending it home with the kids, as J has to work at his third job that night!

More later when I'm not feeling like the world is caving in on me!

Take care and until next time--God bless!

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Cold, Snow, "Snow Day" and "MADE" on MTV

It's Friday, which is usually a really good thing. But today, well, some extra challenges.

If you live in the Chicago area, you know we got walloped with a snow/ice storm overnight. The temperature rose and the snow turned to ice and now we have a big mess on our hands. Of course, the school district phoned at 5 a.m. to let us know that school was cancelled. My son was really sad--because he likes school, it keeps him busy, and today was "party day"--last day before Christmas break. At least he got to sleep in.

Peanut, being homeschooled, was "lucky" and got her work done. No parties at home, but there will be a party at the gym tomorrow for the team. She missed practice on Tuesday due to the first snow storm of the week. We tried to drive to the gym--made it about 2 miles in 45 minutes and nixed that idea. My poor husband left work at 3:45 from Hoffman Estates. He walked in the door at 10 p.m. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I would have died. They didn't stop once for a potty or food break. If I'd been in that van, you know we would have had to stop. I cannot go that long with out peeing or eating! He had about enough time to eat, shower, go to bed, and start over again.

This morning he was driving the van to work. They left a little early. It took them about an hour longer than normal, but at least they made it without too much trouble.

I slept in, and against my husbands advice, decided to shovel. I really just went out to get the paper, but decided I would give it a try. You know when the snow is really just packed ice, and when you walk on it you don't sink in? Yeah, that's what it was. It took me about 1:45, but with the help of the "ice pick" (it's not really a pick--its heavy, rectangular and you can chop and scoop into the ice with it) my driveway and sidewalk was clean. Add a little salt, what a job!

Now, I'll have you know that two of my neighbors (male, 20's) came out to shovel while I was working. They both lasted about 10 minutes. Gave up. Quit. Too Hard! HA! But here I am, a 53 year old woman with RA--NO PROBLEM! These young kids are way too soft!

After shoveling, I rode on my trainer for two hours. I will swim later on after I drop Peanut off at practice. Not including the two days of shoveling, I have "worked out" 12 hours, 18 minutes so far this week. I'm shooting for under 16 hours. I think I'll be close. After my swim tonight, I plan to run and do strength training tomorrow; Sunday will be an easy swim (rest day)!

When I came up from riding, my son had MTV on. It was a show called "Made". In this particular episode, a 19 year old man (but he really looked like a 12 year old boy!) wanted to be "made" into a triathlete and complete a sprint race. He weighed 271 lbs. and had type 2 diabetes and an under active thyroid. I had to watch the whole program to see how it ended.

He was training for a sprint distance tri in August. He started in June. He had a "made" coach; a woman named "Amanda" as a swim coach, who swam in the Sydney Olympics (it wasn't Amanda Beard); and a triathlete who coached him on the bike. This young man struggled every step of the way. He wasn't taking his thyroid medicine, so his doctor told him if he didn't get it under control, he wouldn't be able to race. This scared him silly, so he followed orders.

It was hard to watch him struggle. He barely knew how to swim, was scared to death of falling of the bike, and could only walk at first, and even that was a struggle. Of course, the show had a happy ending. He lost over 25 lbs, 5 percent body fat, and four inches off his waist. He struggled, but he finished the race in 3:22:05. I admit I cried when he crossed the finish line. Talk about inspiration! TOTALLY!

So many of us take what we do daily for granted. A sprint race, we laugh at. No big deal. ANYONE can do that. NOT TRUE! Yes, we've worked hard to get where we are, but when we really think about it, NOT everyone can do what we do--regardless of the reason. I feel I am extremely blessed. When I share my experience at Louisville, people are amazed that I was able to go as far as I did. I forget about the discipline, commitment, training, time, expense it cost just to get to the start line. Even though I didn't finish, I know I didn't "fail".

Christmas is less than a week away. I hope everyone is enjoying the season. Stay warm and stress-free (if possible)!

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just Another Bitter Cold, Windy, Icy December Monday

Yes, I'm complaining about the weather again. I usually try not to complain about things I can't change or have no control over, but the weather is a BIG exception.

Last week it was pretty cold, in the teens for a couple days. The weekend warmed up to a balmy 40 something yesterday, although it was not a nice day: lots of wind, clouds, and rain that later turned to snow. I had a hard time falling asleep because the sleet was so loud against my bedroom window. This morning, a wonderful 6.5 degrees, wind chill -11. What fun!

It's been a long, busy 10 days. Peanut had gymnastic meets the past two Sundays. I was able to attend yesterday, which means it was a really long day. She did very well at both meets. She moved up a level and is now a level 6 (this will only be meaningful for those of you who know the sport). Six is a really tough level as far as judging. She managed to do well, placing 4th and 3rd all around, and placed in every event the second meet. She had a great time, loves the sport, and is a fantastic competitor and team mate.

Mom, on the other hand, has a hard time with the subjectiveness of the sport. I like activities where time or points determine the outcome/winner. At yesterday's meet, they posted the scores from both the judges for each event. The final score is the average of the two. There where times when one judge would score an 8.8, the other a 9.2. What the heck? I THOUGHT they were supposed to be watching for the same things. I will never understand the sport. But, Peanut loves it, so I endure!

I have decided to turn over a new leaf in my training. I have been working out close to 20 hours per week the last couple months. I really need to cut back. So, I've decided to aim for 14-16 hours max. Today, I'm really tired from running around, not sleeping, and the crazy cold is really playing havoc on my body. Everything hurts or aches. Yesterday I only swam for 1500 meters. Good enough to get the old body moving, not enough to tax it. Today, nothing yet. I'm thinking of a short swim later, mostly so I can sit in the hot tub, steam and shower. I took my son to school early, and I'm not looking forward to going out again. I need to do shopping--too cold, it can wait until tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be a little better.

Christmas is almost here. We decided to have the family get together at our place this year. We will provide the main course, others will bring the sides. Since I really don't like to cook (total understatement!), we've decided to go the catering route. Nothing fancy or expensive, just your basic chicken/pasta menu.

Have I mentioned how much I LIKE my kids? As a parent, we always love them, but I really do have good kids, and I really do like them. Don't get me wrong, they are NOT perfect, but they never give us any problems. My son is doing great in school, his bowling team is undefeated, and he's pretty happy right now. He seems to be adjusting to high school life. He's really happy that several of his teachers have recommended him for honors courses next year. He had a difficult time in classes where his classmates are not interested in learning. The teachers do the best they can, but according to my son, some of the kids really just don't care. It will be nice for him to be more challenged and in an environment where he can concentrate and excel!

I hope and pray everyone is having a safe holiday season. Many of my tri friends are just kicking back, enjoying the off season, family time, holiday time, etc. Good for you! You all deserve it! I know I'll see more people when January comes around. The beginning of a new year and new goals.

Until next time--God bless!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Know It's Been A While....

...since my last post. What can I say? Remember that thing called WINTER that I HATE so much? OK, it's not that I really hate it, it's just that my body does horrible this time of year.

Listen, when I was younger and healthy (re: 30's, 40's, no RA), I really liked the cold. Running in below zero weather was not that big a deal for me--at 5:00 a.m., in the dark, with my faithful Husky dogs. Today, a totally different story. Older, not as healthy, older kids, different parental responsibilities all add to the fact that I don't do well in the cold.

Having said that, I'm also not a big fan of the "holidays". Long story that goes back about 20 years, but suffice to say I'm looking forward to January 2nd. I love Christmas, the real meaning of Christmas, but I hate all the stuff that goes with it. In fact, this year we've decided to buy one gift for each of our kids, and donate the money we would spend on ourselves and family members to our church for a really good cause--kids who are waiting to have heart surgery due to being born with heart problems. Soooo much better than another watch, video game, kitchen appliance, etc. Let's face it, we really have everything we NEED!

As far as training goes, with the exception of the week I was sick, I've been working out about 15 to 20 hours per week. I know, crazy, huh? But I really love it, it's what I do, and there's that weight thing that never goes away. Last week I rode 131 miles on my trainer--and loved every mile! I only ran 16 miles on the treadmill, swam 11,200 meters, and did three hours of strength training. Total of 19.5 hours of training. Sounds like a lot, but not really for me.

I'm still much fatter than I should be--I'm trying my best, but something's just not right. If I ever figure it out, it will definitely be an epiphany of major proportions! For now, just doing the best I can. In January, I'll probably try the "starving myself, hungry all the time" eating plan just to see if it works.

The other day I saw several friends I haven't seen in a while. They all asked about my plans for racing next summer. It's still really up in the air. A lot depends on finances, and if I can get to the weight I feel the best at. I'm definitely NOT DOING AN IRONMAN! I LOVE the training, but the race and expense, not for me. I'm going to concentrate on half and international distance races, and maybe a sprint or two, depending on how I feel. Too much racing means tapering all the time, and to me that's just not fun. One or two races a month, with my "A" race being the Halfmax half iron distance in Oklahoma City in September.

Congratulations to all who participated in Ironman Arizona: Iron Snoopy (who had the race of her life), Moose, Kara, Mike--you guys are all amazing. Can't wait to hear all the stories.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for, huh? Have a great week. Try to keep warm. As I sit here typing, it is 11 degrees outside. (Already drove my kid to school and went to the Jewel. Will run and strength train after Peanut finishes her school work today!)

Don't know when I'll post next. But until then, God bless!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On a Happier Note....

My cousin sent this link to me yesterday. If you need some uplifting of your spirit, check it out:

The Sky Angel Cowboy

Sick, Fat, Depressed, Blah, Blah, Blah....

This has probably been one of the worst weeks of the year--at least that I can remember. In a nutshell:

Started feeling a little sick last weekend, but instead of resting, pushed myself through too much--life and workout wise.

Instead of resting on Monday, which would have been the wise, smart thing to do, pushed myself through 2:15 on the trainer. Went to the pool but just couldn't get in. My head, sinuses and stomach were a mess. I was cold, the water was cold--it didn't happen!

Tuesday took the day off. Did stuff at home. The new bed arrived--YEAH! Felt MISERABLE all day. And fat. And depressed.

Wednesday again pushed myself through 2:20 on the trainer, thinking I felt better. Went to the pool in the afternoon--felt way too bad to swim--again.

Had a hard time sleeping all week due to the sinus infection. Decided NOT to go to the doctor because--wait for it--every time I go they insist on weighing me. I haven't weighed myself in weeks, and I know I've gained a bunch of weight. I've tried really hard to watch what I eat. I have no appetite now, which actually means no appetite for HEALTHY food. I'm not eating a lot, but what I am eating is not filling my nutritional needs, so I fell hungry all the time. When I'm hungry, I can't sleep. So the circle goes.

Took Thursday off--completely--only left the house to pick up my son from school--it was late, and cold and he had a bowling match that night. Another miserable night--no sleep, no healthy food, YUK!

Friday I had to take Peanut to her coop class--last one until February-YEAH! Decided I'd try to swim. It actually felt good, until the aerobic class started and the waves got too much for my head/stomach to take. Got out after 1500 meters. I had taken FOUR days off of swimming. I can't remember the last time I didn't swim for four days in a row!

Saturday I felt a little better. Did 2:20 on my trainer. Did some weight training for the first time in a week. Short 1000 meter swim. Drove all over the place. Up until late. Felt horrible again.

Sunday, decided to rest, go to church, follow my friends on-line in Arizona. Still feel tired, fat and depressed. I hate the cold, I'm not crazy about the holidays. I'm really not a food person. I don't really like to eat. Or cook. Decided not to do a whole turkey this year. Nobody in our house really likes it, but they do like the trimmings. Maybe a breast. Sweet potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Dressing. I think I can manage that.

The kids have school on Monday and Tuesday, then off until next Monday. Yeah! Hopefully I'll feel better, this rest will have done my body some good, I can start eating healthy again, and maybe, just maybe, I can lose some of this unwanted weight.

I didn't take any time off after Louisville. Didn't feel I deserved it since I did so horribly and didn't finish. Maybe not a good idea for my body. Maybe the rest will help. Maybe if I take it easy, the weight will come off. Lots of maybes.

It looks like Ironsnoopy, Moose, Kara and Mike are rocking in Arizona. May not be up to see everyone finish. Need to get some sleep.

Oh yeah, the new bed is great! Roomy, comfortable, sweet!

Even though I'm a little down, I'm not out. This too shall pass. I tend to get this way when the weather is cold, gloomy, dark, yukky! Nothing to train for, nothing to look forward to in the immediate future.

Peanut starts her gymnastic season soon. Unfortunately, I will probably miss a lot of her meets. You know that thing where two parents can't be in the same place at the same time deal!

Hope eveyone has a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tough Week, Pity Party, Strong Faith

It's been a tough week in almost every way. The weather is really wreaking havoc with my body--I think I'm having a full blown RA attack. Tired, nauseous, bad appetite, joint and muscle pain, depression....yeah, just about everything.

I really tried to back off my workouts this week. In fact, I actually took Thursday off. Well, it wasn't really a "rest" day as we prepared our bedroom for the new bed, which was supposed to arrive on Friday. Hubby took Thursday off work to dismantle the waterbed (no simple task--we haven't done it since we moved 10 years ago!) and clean the carpeting.

We were told by phone Thursday night that delivery would be between 9:30 and 11:30 on Friday. I needed to take Peanut to her coop class, so Hubby took the morning off work. Soooo....I get a voice message from him telling me that the company (who he WORKS FOR!!!) called to say that, uh, your mattresses aren't on the truck. Need to reschedule! WHAT!!!! Long story short, it's one of the ways they "save" money (but if you ask me, lose customers!). How absolutely stupid. Because he works for the company, he made several calls to let management know what happened. Turns out they're in the process of "changing the delivery process". Well, I should certainly hope so. It's a wonder the company is still in business!

So, delivery is now scheduled for Tuesday. We were thinking of painting the room since it's almost totally empty, but Hubby has a lot going this weekend, and I'm feeling really crummy, so it may have to wait after all.

Friday was a really stinky day! Rode on my trainer for 1.5 hours early, dropped Peanut off at her coop and headed over for a swim. It was a miserable swim. The water was cold, I never warmed up, and everything hurt--especially my stomach. You may know how difficult it is to swim when you're stomach is upset and you feel nauseous. I kept telling myself I should just stop--but NOOOOO! I finished the entire 2500 meters in spite of feeling awful.

After I showered, I realized I had one of those horrible headaches I've been getting. YUK! I felt like my head was going to explode. I had too much to do the rest of the day, so resting was out of the question. Turned out Hubby didn't have to work last night, so he was able to pick up Peanut from the gym.

In the meantime, I had a major meltdown at home. Sick, tired, sore, headache, fat, bloated, starving, don't feel like eating, blah, blah, blah! Went to bed feeling miserable with the whole family ready to throw me out the window!

After an OK sleep (I was so hungry it was hard to sleep much) I woke up early and decided I had to shake this depression. Dropped Peanut at the gym early (she had an 8:00 practice today--normally it's 11:00) and headed for an inside workout. The fitness center I visit on weekends was closed last week for remodeling. I was really looking forward to some new treadmills. turns out all the treadmills were replaced, but none with the kind that I like (they have a more forgiving belt). Rats! I felt lousy but somehow made it through the strength training session.

Got on the treadmill not knowing how far/long I would run--1-2 hours/5-10 miles. I decided to try a new nutrition again (Perpetuem--last time didn't go so well). Bad idea. After about an hour my stomach really started to bother me. I was sweating like crazy, but freezing cold from the air conditioning. Everything was hurting, including my feet (need to wear my new shoes) but again, I WAS NOT GOING TO QUIT! I finally stopped at 10.5 miles because I ran out of liquids. YEAH, MADE IT!

Well, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom after that run--at the gym and again at home! Yuk. I still feel kind of shaky now.

That pity party thing--has to do with the whole weight issue. We were supposed to go to a big banquet tomorrow night--found out yesterday it's "formal attire". I have nothing even resembling that, and what I do have I can't squeeze into, and I don't have the time, money or ambition to go out and buy something. So--it ain't happening, which is OK with both of us. My head/mind/body is a mess regarding my weight. Just don't know how to solve the whole issue. I keep saying I'll let it go--but I just can't. In fact, I decided this a.m. that if I can't get to a good racing weight next summer--there IS NOT going to be any racing. HA! Maybe that will help, but I'm not that optimistic.

So, I'm driving home, listening to some Christian rock on the radio and thinking how horrible my life would feel right now if I didn't have my faith. The world is a mess, and frankly, I'm not convinced that the "new administration" has the answers for our country. I feel like garbage and I really don't like the way I look. I do believe, however, that God is in control of all things. ALL THINGS! That includes this crazy world and its politics, and most importantly my life. I will continue to leave myself in His hands.

Hoping to feel better soon. A big shout out to my friends racing in Arizona next week. I hope you enjoy the warm weather and have great races! Have a safe trip and a fun time.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It Really is November

After a beautiful weekend and three really nice days, November has hit the Chicago area. It's cold (40's), windy, and dark. And with the change in time, it gets dark here by 5:00! YUK! This weekend will be inside for sure. They're talking SNOW for the Bears game on Sunday!

I've had a lot rolling around in my head this week. My main goal was to decrease my "training". Uh, OK, not too bad. Still haven't taken a day off, but have done less swimming for sure this week. Three good rides on the trainer, two good runs--one outside, one on the treadmill, three good strength sessions. Hope for one more of each this weekend, and maybe a good swim.

Of course the change in the weather has really affected me physically. Most of my joints and muscles are sore, but it's something my body will adjust to as the winter arrives. Good and bad days....good and bad nights.

I read two articles involving off season nutrition and weight loss for the triathlete. They seemed to contradict each other. They were in the SAME MAGAZINE! One article stressed not to worry so much about what you eat--within reason of course. Don't count calories, etc. because it will definitely back fire. The other article stressed the IMPORTANCE of eating less calories vs. more exercise. It SEEMS (although the data is not air tight) that eating less is the way to lose the weight. HA! Tell that to the trainers/contestants on the biggest loser. Seems like they really stress EXERCISE. You don't lose weight, must be due to slacking off in the gym!

(I have done both--still not working!) If I EVER get this figured out, it will definitely be a miracle.

I know several people who did AMAZING at Ironman Florida. Congratulations to all who participated! Saw a lady at the fitness center today who I met a couple weeks ago. She had a great race and enjoyed her first Ironman. According to her, she never got her heart rate above zone 1, did not race or ever push, and finished around 12:30! Oh my gosh, a time I could only ever dream of. It must be nice to have that much natural athletic ability. Oh, she also mentioned that the last month of training went really bad! And her training partner finished around 11:30.

So, that's all I got. I've spend a lot of time driving kids around this week. More to come this weekend. The new bed comes next Friday--yeah! We were thinking about painting before it came, but...maybe not. Too much work and not enough time right now.

Hope everyone had a good week--enjoy the weekend. Only two weeks until Ironman Arizona!

Take care and God bless!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rest vs. Addiction

Meriam-Webster defines rest: repose , sleep ; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities; a: freedom from activity or labor b: a state of motionlessness or inactivity c: the repose of death.

Definition of addiction: the quality or state of being addicted; 2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal ; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

It's been a tough week in many ways. Suffice to say, I'm struggling with what should be off-season rest. There are many reasons for this, but I'll just say that I definitely have a mental and physical addiction to exercise. A bad thing? Not necessarily. But in my case, something I really need to work on.

I've read several blogs/articles relating to what triathletes should do during the off-season. The number one thing on the list: rest; relax; some deconditioning is good. Spend time with the family, doing something else you really like. Do some other form of physical activity which doesn't involve swimming, biking or running. Yoga anyone? How about kickboxing or pilates?

In my head, I know all of this is true. The last two years I have taken almost no time off. Thank God I haven't really been injured, which is usually the only reason I slow down. I did taper for ironman, and I felt absolutely horrible. I can't even explain how bad my body felt. I really think this was a contributing factor to my belief that I couldn't finish an ironman race. (Story for another time.)

Having said this, I know it was not a good thing. Three years ago, before I did my first half iron distance race, I lost about 35 pounds in 5 months. Over the past two years, while training for half and full iron distance races, I have gained about 10 pounds. One of the reasons I don't like taking time off is that I'm very concerned about my weight. I'm so afraid of gaining weight that I am now having an impossible time losing. However, I need to do something different. After all, what I've done the last two years HAS NOT WORKED! Not sure why, but for me, training harder and eating less is not the answer to weight loss. Maybe my body needs a big change. Less training, more relaxation, a time to destress.

Sounds easy, huh? For most people, yeah, I guess it would be. But for me, not so much. I am a very disciplined person. If I could be as disciplined about rest as I am about training, I would probably be a much better triathlete.

So, with all this in mind, I decided I would back off on my training starting on Tuesday. Less mileage, alternate high and low intensity, concentrate on form, not worry so much about distance and time.

I REALLY TRIED! I did OK on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. My plan for Friday was to swim only. But I woke up, and really wanted to ride on my trainer, so I did. I swam a little less than normal, so not too bad. I wanted to ride outside on Saturday, but the weather was really yukky for me to ride. I decided on an outside run. I was even cold running. I gave myself three choices on the run: 7.5, 11 or 9.5 miles. I opted for the 9.5 because I was COLD! I felt really good, so if I wasn't cold, I might have gone for the 11. Glad I didn't.

I had a really bad day yesterday. Stayed up too late, couldn't get to sleep, just a mess. When I woke up this a.m., I felt miserable. I ended up doing some strength training and a 2500 meter swim. Which means I did not have a rest/recovery day. Oh well. I feel like an addict. Every day I try to start over. I'm hoping to have a better week this week. I'm going to work out a plan and try to stick with it.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the athletes who completed IMFL. Elizabeth, Leigh Ann, Adam--you guys all rocked! You all had great times, and it seems like the weather was GREAT! I envy each of you--all that hard training paid off.

That's all I got. Not a happy camper--for all the wrong reasons. Hope everyone had a great week and weekend.

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Definitely an Indoor Weekend

The weather turned out to be pretty much as predicted--cold, windy and wet, with just a touch of sun here and there. So I did pretty much as planned.

Saturday I slept in (7:30) and did stuff around the house before dropping my daughter off at gymnastic practice. I then had about 7 hours to kill. I headed for a long workout at Lifetime.

I was hoping to do a good strength workout and then hop on the treadmill for 2.5 hours. The weight workout went great, although my stomach wasn't feeling great. When the weather changes as it did this weekend, it can cause a flare in my RA. This results in joint pain, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. For me, it usually means my neck and shoulders get pretty sore, and I can feel pretty nauseous. I get used to it as the winter progresses, but it takes a while after feeling "normal" during the summer.

The first 5-7 miles of the run were good--I worked in some fast intervals and recovery time. I was trying a new "drink". It didn't go so well. I think it was a combination of already feeling yucky and maybe the new formula. In any case, I ended up in the bathroom several times. After 7 miles, I really felt bad. I was going to stop, but decided I would at least walk for a while. The next five miles were a combination of walking, jogging and slow running. Total time was 2:36 and about 12.25 miles.

I felt too tired to swim after, so I didn't. Sat in the hot tub and steam and took a relaxing shower. Felt much better after I ate. All in all, a good workout.

My husband has finally decided we need a new bed. We have a water bed (the kind that sits on top of a box spring) that is over 20 years old. I can't sleep on it anymore because it really hurts my back. He found a great sale through his work (Sears) and we are getting a new, KING SIZED bed in November. YEAH!

I was really tired Saturday night. I had originally planned to swim early and ride on my trainer in the afternoon. But I decided no ride on Sunday. I realized that I usually take two days between runs when I plan a long one. Since I had run hard on Thursday, I didn't have the normal amount of rest, and I felt it. Sunday would be a swim/recovery day.

Sunday I dropped my son off at church and headed to Lifetime in Burr Ridge. This is not my "home" gym, but I spent a lot of time there in the summer, and do now on the weekends. Usually when I swim it's later in the morning. Yesterday, I was there by 8:30. When I started there was only one other lady in the pool. I took the lane next to her, next to the wall. Bad idea!

I was tired and struggling with my swim. After 30 minutes, two guys and one girl got in the pool. The two guys were sharing a lane next to mine; the girl was in the lane next to them on the other side. I am not a fast swimmer. I consider myself to be pretty average speed-wise. I think I have OK technique--I've been swimming pretty regularly since I was 4 years old. I had my stroke analyzed several times and have seen videos. Of course there are things I can improve on--nobody's perfect--but I do OK. I will never be lightning fast, but I think I look like I know how to swim.

These guys next to me were big--not fat, but tall and fit. They looked like swimmers turned triathletes maybe. They FLEW through the water. Lots of muscle, splashing, body movement, head movement, and they both looked really ANGRY! It could just be that they were working hard and were really concentrating, but every time we made eye contact, I felt like they were going to yell or scream at me. They didn't look like they were having fun, but I'm sure they were.

Did I mention there was a lot of splashing and big wave-making? Since I was swimming against the wall, well, you know what that means. I was being bantered about in my lane. I am not a small person (OK, so I'm short, but not little, if you get my drift), and was flying around in the lane. It was like swimming in Lake Michigan on a really choppy day. OK, so maybe not that bad, but it was really wavy for an indoor pool. I wanted to quit early, but I stuck it out for the full one hour plus. Did my 2500 meters and got out of there ASAP. They were still swimming when I was in the hot tub.

I love watching people swim--their technique, what they do with their head and feet, how many strokes they take, etc. Since this is a 25 METER pool, I think 20 strokes is a good amount for most people. These guys were both taking 18 strokes--not bad, but for being as tall and as big as they were, could have been better. I usually average about 24-26 strokes, 22 if I REALLY concentrate, more if I get lazy. I've seen really good swimmers take 12-14 strokes in that size pool--I can tell who they are even before I start counting.

At the other end of the spectrum, there was a lady really struggling in the first lane. I counted her strokes for two lengths--58! Oh my, she was wasting so much energy, it hurt me to watch. I really feel bad for people who swim this way. Regardless of the reason they're in the pool, it would benefit them so much to have a couple lessons on technique. We all know that swimming is a sport that's all about technique. Yes, I see people at races (and pools) who are able to swim really fast by muscling their way through the water, but they are wasting so much energy and could be so much faster. They sure do kick my butt and a lot of others though, so maybe it doesn't really matter?! Off my swimming soap box for now!

Went to church after the swim, picked up my son, came home and crashed the rest of the day. I was really wiped. As I said, this weather is really tough on my body. It was actually hailing yesterday afternoon, and the wind was strong enough to push our grill around the patio. One of our chairs was on our lawn this morning. It's still windy, cold (the wind chill was in the 20's), and I'm so glad I rode on my trainer this a.m. I would never ride outside in this kind of weather at this point in my life.

When we had our Husky dogs, they LOVED this weather. The colder the better. They even liked the wind, and the snow was the BEST! I used to ride my bike with them in every kind of weather--even snow if the road wasn't too icy. They basically pulled me when they were young, but when our last one got older, I had to slow down for her. They both did lots of runs with me. I still miss them a lot in the winter, because it reminds me how much they would have liked the colder weather.

Well, all in all a good weekend; I can't really complain about too much. Read some very interesting blogs. Sometimes I think I shouldn't read those written by the "pro's" or "elite" triathletes. Makes me feel even slower and weaker than I already am. Oh well, I must remember that many things in life are relative. I'm just happy to be able to do what I can do.

Speaking of what I can do, here are my numbers for the week:

Swim: 5x for 10,100 meters
Bike: 3x for 97.5 miles (on trainer)
Run: 3x for 25 miles (on treadmill)
Strength: 3x for 233 minutes
Total time: 20 hours, 36 minutes
Total calories: 8,400

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Stay warm and dry!

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Indoor Weekend?

Continuing the "too cold" theme, looks like an indoor workout weekend. I know that many of you love this cold weather to run in--and good for you. I loved running outside when I was in my 30's and even up to my mid 40's. But now--just not fun. And when you get to be my age, you are supposed to be "older and wiser". So, because I don't like to run in the damp, cold, cloudy, wet weather, I will PROBABLY run inside tomorrow. If it's sunny and dry, count on me to be outside. I would love to run two plus hours, so outside is much more fun. But, if the weather man is right (ha ha), then I will be inside.

I have several kid responsibilities tomorrow, so my schedule will revolve around that. I plan to sleep in a little, and run later in the a.m. Get in a strength/weight/core workout and an easy swim. According to my HRM, I have exercised over 15 hours so far this week.

Sunday, the weather looks even worse, so a long ride on the trainer. I love riding in the afternoon, after church, especially when the Bears aren't playing. Put on some fun DVD's, maybe a short Spinerval workout, and enjoy the warmth of my basement and my trainer. I know, many of you think I'm crazy, but it sure beats bundling up and riding outside in wind, rain/snow, and cold! Glad to have the option. Although, my best option would be to live in a warm climate where I could run/ride outside all year. Now that, to me, would be heaven on earth!

Yesterday was October 23rd. If my parents had not divorced when I was 30, they would have celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. I always remember it, maybe because it's so close to my own (10/16). Divorce is tough, and while I always knew it was tough on young kids, it's no easier on adult children. Their divorce pretty much split up my brothers and sisters and me. It's really hard not to "take sides", and while we all did the best we could, we are, after all, human.

Met a woman at the pool today who is doing Ironman Florida next week. Her first ironman race. Spoke to my good friend today who is also doing Ironman Florida--her first ironman race. Saw another friend at the fitness center, also doing Florida and her first ironman race. All three are really nervous. Boy, can I relate. I tried to be as encouraging as possible to. I really envy them. They will all have great races. I told them what so many people told me before my race--HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE. They all know my story--at least the short version. It's getting much easier to share.

After reading a couple posts last night, I have a question: what kind of distances do you swim when training for an ironman? I did several 4000 meter swims. The race is about 3800 meters, so my long swims never called for more than 4000 meters. I have read where people swim multiple 5000, 6000, even 7000 meter/yard swims. What the.....? Why so much? I don't know many people whose longest bike ride is much longer than 100-112 miles, and the longest run is usually about 20 miles (or an equivalent time). So why so much more swimming? Because it's "easier" on our bodies and easier to recover from a long swim? Maybe a coach or more experienced ironman has a good answer for me!

Have a great weekend. And to those of you in warm climates--I AM SO JEALOUS!

Until next time--God bless!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Too Cold Already!

When I woke up this morning, my outdoor thermometer read 38 degrees. YIKES! I know it is the middle of October, but that is really cold considering the last time I biked outside (about 12 days ago) it was in the 80's. Oh well, that's what I get for growing up/always living in the Midwest. I keep telling my husband that I DO NOT want to die in this part of the country. Take me somewhere warmer, please!

Oh well, survived the plumbing disaster of Sunday. No more leaky faucets in the Moy household. YEAH! The last three days have been relatively uneventful. I woke up Monday a.m. feeling and looking every bit of my 53 years. Maybe because I "took the day off" on Sunday, but I don't really think so. The change of weather really effects me negatively--really tough on the RA. Did a 2.5 hour ride on my trainer and swam for a little over an hour. Still didn't feel great, but at least I had a good workout.

Been having trouble falling asleep off and on lately. Very unusual for me. I usually fall asleep quickly but wake up often. But once I get to sleep, I've been sleeping well, so that's the good news.

I decided on Monday that until I'm through with this whole menopause thing, I have very little control over my body--at least the parts that are controlled by hormones. I've struggled enormously with my weight the last two years. I've decided to just do the best I can and not beat myself up too much about those 10-15 pounds I really want to lose. I guess they'll disappear when they're ready! (Hopefully!)

So Tuesday I ran into a casual friend I know through the fitness center. I was excited to see him, because he ran a marathon on Sunday. He's a good age group triathlete (just a couple years younger than me). He's been to Kona several times. This was his first "marathon only" in 15 years. To say he was disappointed in his race/time is an understatement. He had trouble around mile 21 and had to walk/jog the last five miles or so. We talked a little bit, and I shared that nutrition may have been a factor. For such an accomplished athlete, he didn't seem to know much about nutrition for endurance. I recommended a book I like, hopefully he will learn some things he doesn't know that will help him in the future.

BTW, he mentioned that he was "old school"--once did an entire ironman on ONE BANANA! You're kidding me! Well, times and practices have surely changed in endurance racing. I remember when marathoners would barely even drink water in the hottest of conditions. It's a miracle more of them didn't collapse and suffer permanent injury.

I have decided that I'm going to change my off-season training a bit. Instead of lots of steady, long distance, I'm going to do a couple days of hard intervals on the bike and run. It's a lot easier for me to do this on my trainer and the treadmill. So yesterday after a long, hard weight session, I spend 1:18 on the treadmill with intervals. I like it--it breaks up the workout and makes the time go faster! I'm really hoping this will help make me fitter and faster (if anything at all can actually make me a faster runner)!

This a.m. I did a long ride on the trainer--almost three hours. It was nice to be warm and toasty in my basement--it's still quite chilly outside. Plan to go for an easy swim a little later.

I have a tentative race schedule for 2009: 2 local sprint races; a half iron distance race in WI in June; a nearby olympic race in July; Steelhead 70.3 in August; an olympic race in Niles, MI labor day weekend; and the Half Max Age Group Championship (half iron distance) at Redman Triathlon in OKC in September. Like I said, tentative. A lot depends on money and time!

Less than two weeks to IMFL; about 4 or so to IMAZ. I only wish I was going to one of those races because it will be warm there! Happy tapering, final training weeks to all participants.

Have a great week and stay warm if you're in the Midwest.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

After bashing my toe on Friday, Saturday went OK. I wasn't able to ride outside, but I did put in about 1:40 on the trainer. I slept in a little bit (it really felt good--I had a great sleep). I dropped Peanut off at the gym and headed to Lifetime. Spent about 1:20 on strength training, core and stretching. Then swam a good 2300 meters. Had a relaxing evening and a great sleep.

I had originally planned to get up early and swim before taking my son and daughter to church. But late last night, I decided to take the morning off and sleep in. I haven't had a day off since right after Louisville, and my body really could use the rest. Plus my toe is still pretty sore and ugly. I thought I might ride this afternoon on my trainer, and/or go for a short swim. hubby decided to try and fix our leaky shower before he had to head off to work after church. What he thought would be a 20 minute job......HA, HA, HA, LOL! He fixed the kid's tub last Sunday--it had been leaking for, oh maybe two or three YEARS!!!! Since that one went pretty well, he figured ours would be just as easy--NOT! Through no fault of his own, he ended up breaking the pipe. So now we have no water, he's late for work which he can't get out of, and I'm not a happy camper.

Thank God he has a good friend who is great at all kinds of stuff. He was able to come over, and right now is in the process of fixing it. Of course, it's been one problem after the other, so it may take a while. He had to run to Menard's just now to get some more "parts". So I sit here waiting, hubby's at work and I'm keeping him in the loop through the cell phones, my bathroom closet has a big hole in the wall, I'm miserable because my toe still hurts, and it looks like I will have a forced "rest" day after all. Oh, well, at least the Bears managed not to lose their game today! To tell you the truth, it would have been more rest to do a swim/bike and skip all this faucet-fixing stuff!

I must say though that things could have been much worse. If our friend couldn't have come, we would have had to pay a plumber to come and that would have cost a fortune since it would be considered an "emergency" after regular hours. PTL! And I guess one day off will do my body good. I'm even planning to eat some pizza later for dinner.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fast Friday

I know, lame title, but right now I can't think of anything at all clever.

It's been a fast week--can't believe it's Friday p.m. already. Stayed really busy every day. Between my daughter's homeschool and gymnastic practices, my son's bowling, and my workouts/housework/chores/shopping/paying bills, blah, blah, it's easy to be overwhelmed as a "stay-at-home".

Just read a post of a lady in my age group training for her second IM this year. She commented there will be no more "only 2 IM's per year". Too life consuming. Seems like the half distance will be enough for her also. Even with grown kids and retired, she still feels the effects. I've heard a lot of that lately. Also, read about a young man who just competed in Kona. According to someone close to him (wife), that will be the last time he EVER does an iron distance race. She noted that not everyone is cut out for that distance. Hmmmmm.....Well, I think I should at least finish ONE before I decide to NEVER try again. Although before Louisville, I told my husband that if I completed that race, it would be my ONE AND ONLY! We'll see....

Speaking of Kona, I was at the fitness center for a swim today, not my "regular" location. When I was finished swimming, there was an "older" gentleman waiting to get into the pool. I thought I knew him, and asked him if he was Bob Scott. Yes, I am. Ha! For those who live in the Chicagoland area, Bob is a triathlon legend. He just won his age division at Kona (he's 77 years young) again--I don't know how many times he's competed there--a lot! He is a class act, a very nice man, and very well known and loved. It was great to see him!

Have you ever had a "freak accident"? Today after I rode on my trainer, I was kind of in a hurry to get my daughter to her homeschool coop and head over for my swim. I was trying to stretch my quads standing in the kitchen. The dishwasher was open. A fun song came on the radio and I started to dance--bad idea. I dropped my leg and banged my foot on the corner of the stainless steel dishwasher. OUCH BIG TIME! My toe is a mess (I guess you would call it the "ring" toe--next to the baby toe.) I've been hobbling around all day. It hurt like crazy, but I still managed to do my 2600 meter swim. It's swollen, purple, red, blue and really ugly. AND IT STILL HURTS!

The good thing is it gives me a good reason not to ride outside tomorrow. It will probably still be sore, and it's going to be in the 40's and 50's when I usually ride. I have to ride early because I have kid obligations, so back to the trainer it will be. Hopefully, my toe will be able to take an indoor ride!

Has anyone out there been reading about how bad all this "cardio" work we do is, and how we would be much better off doing more "weight training"? I saw another article in a local running magazine that interviewed a local trainer who insists that cardio work doesn't do anymore for the cardiovascular system than weight training. Huh? I've read about five articles about this theory, and I don't think I buy it. Yes, we all agree that strength training is essential for what we do, actually, for any physical activity, but skip the cardio because it doesn't help? I don't think so

I've talked to several trainers about it, and they tend to agree with what I've learned over the past 40 plus years. What do you think/know? I'd love to hear if anyone else has read about this.

Enough rambling. Need to go pick up peanut at the gym. It's raining, dark, cold, and I hate driving in these conditions--plus MY TOE REALLY HURTS!

Hope everyone had a good week and have a great weekend!

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day....and other stuff

I did something last night that I knew I shouldn't do even before I did it: I had a Portillo's cheeseburger, fries and onion rings for dinner--at 9:00. I KNOW, what was I thinking? I really wanted a hamburger after the long ride on Saturday, but I didn't have the money or energy to go buy one. Since I only eat 3 or 4 per year, I don't have the ingredients at home. As a family, we eat very little red meat at home. Mostly turkey and chicken. When I make things that require ground beef, I always use ground turkey.

Anyway, my husband was going to pick up my son from a meeting about 8:30 last night, and none of us had eaten dinner, and my daughter wanted Portillos, so.....

VERY BAD IDEA! I knew when I was eating that I would pay the price. Couldn't fall asleep, and when I did, I had really weird dreams. Finally dragged myself out of bed about 7:30--that is really late for me.

I didn't want to eat, but knowing I was planning to run for two hours, I did eat a bowl of oatmeal. Drove to Waterfall Glen for the typical one loop plus run. It was a great day--the weather was perfect for running--about 70 degrees, cloudy, no wind to speak of. Perfect.

Other good things about the run: the outhouses had just been cleaned! WOW, was that nice. I guess Monday at 8:45 is a good time to go and use them when they are actually clean.

I think I saw four other runners the entire time. Maybe two dozen "recreational" (i.e. not riding as fast as they can taking up the whole path trying to run me over) bicyclists. Several people walking, a couple families with small kids. It was really nice!

Question: Why is it that horses can leave their 3 to 5 pounds of "stuff" on the path, and the riders/owners are not obligated to pick it up? But if a dog does a small little couple pieces on the path, holy cow that cannot happen? I'm not saying dogs should be allowed to go on the path where people are riding/biking, but why is it OK for the horses? Probably because the riders would have to carry a shovel and giant sack to pick it up and move it. Oh well, just one of the "unfair" things about life.

Question: Are you a tidy triathlete? Do you clean your bike, shoes, equipment on a regular basis? I must admit, I am crazy about keeping my stuff clean. If I don't clean my bike every time I ride it, my husband does. There's nothing that bugs him more than going to a race, seeing really expensive decked out bikes that are FILTHY! What the.......? He really doesn't understand that. I guess because I sweat so much, I almost ALWAYS clean off my bike each time I ride. Also, because I run mostly on paths, I always clean my running shoes when I'm done. Also, my helmet is usually covered with salt/white stuff, so that gets cleaned too. Am I nuts, or does anyone else out there identify?

Since my Louisville debacle, I've read several blogs about others who have completed ironman races. Seems like a lot of people had "coaches/family/friends" out there "encouraging" them during the race. For many, that meant being screamed at and told "you did not come all this way to not finish. Do you want to carry that with you for the rest of your life?" I'm sure that works for many of you, but I don't think I would want a coach that did a lot of screaming at me. My dad was like that when I was a kid, and believe me, it didn't motivate me AT ALL! What motivates you?

Question: Is it mandatory to complete an Ironman (copyright) race to be considered an iron man? In other words, if I completed an iron distance race that did not cost $525, did not require me to register a year in advance, did not allow me to withdraw or refund my money, but consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, would I still be an official iron finisher? I understand that the m-dot would not be an appropriate tattoo, but what is the difference, really? I'm having this "debate" with my husband. He is very against me doing a "smaller, less expensive" race because it is not officially "ironman". What do YOU think?

(You may have seen the argument in one of the triathlon publications that an official iron man is only someone who completes the Hawaii race. Personally, I think that's a bunch of hog wash. First of all, not everyone capable of competing at that race does, and while I understand that it is the "king" of all races, I believe there are other courses that are difficult in their own ways.)

BTW, Ironman Louisville is STILL "Accepting Applications" as of 8:00 this a.m. Any idea why this race doesn't sell out in five minutes like the rest of the U.S. "Ironman" races. I have several ideas!

Congratulations to all Chicago Marathon participants. It was another tough day for many--hotter than ideal for running a marathon. I heard on the news last night there were about 10,000 DNS--largest in the 30 years of the race. I think maybe people just didn't want to deal with the heat! Not sure how many DNF--probably quite a few.

Just a few things I thought about during my workout time today. Hope everyone who had the day off had a good one.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Too Much Time

I think that at times it is possible to have too much free time! Case in point: Yesterday, I had a free day--I didn't have home, husband or child responsibilities until after dinner. The weather was amazing, so I planned on a good bike ride. I would start out with several friends who are training for IM Arizona. See how I felt, how far I would ride.

The group we started with were planning on 30-35 miles. My friends were planning on a six hour ride. I thought maybe 3 to 4 hours. The group started faster than I was comfortable with. I knew that if I wanted to ride 60+ miles, I needed to take it easy. I trained hard during the week, and rode on my trainer hard Friday for 1.5 hours, and also did a hard 2500 meter swim. (Remember, I am not in training now, but I believe I am as fit as I've been all year!)

Iron Snoopy and I rode together for the whole ride. It was a beautiful day. A little windy, but it's always windy out in the corn fields, no matter which direction you're going. Actually, we did have a tail wind for a while on the way back, which really helped. Oh, did I mention that I decided to go the whole ride? It was such a beautiful day, and I knew I'd have great company with Iron Snoopy, and I did. Not many more weekends left like this, and I ride alone 98% of the time. Ended up riding 87 miles.

It was a good ride, but I learned several things about myself: I swim, bike and run because I really enjoy it. One of the group, as she sped past me, pointed out that I was crazy to be out here when I didn't have to be. Well, I WANTED to be. The last 15 miles or so were a little hard, but nothing I couldn't handle. I felt great when I finished. (Although I made the decision on the ride that I would postpone my Sunday long run until Monday. The kids are off school, so my schedule is very flexible. Did my Monday swim on Sunday instead!)

I also realized that I will probably never be able to ride a 6 hour iron distance bike course. I pretty much realized that in Louisville, but it was pretty much confirmed yesterday. My ride time for 87 miles yesterday was 5:28. True, I wasn't racing, but I was pushing a little harder than if I'd been riding myself. Seven hours or better is probably much more realistic. My average time for a half is about 2:45. One thing I learned, however: an ironman is much more than twice a half.

I also realized that I don't have to be as "fast" as people 15 to 20 years younger than me. Hey, they really SHOULD BE FASTER! I may have a little more experience, but they have age way in their favor. Not only that, but I don't HAVE TO BE AS GOOD AS ANYONE! I just need to be myself. I am so blessed to be able to do what I can, I have no reason to feel that I NEED to be better. Would I like to be faster, stronger, leaner? Of course, who wouldn't. But we all work with what we have. I am not a professional or elite triathlete and never plan to be. I repeat: I DO THIS BECAUSE I LIKE IT AND IT IS FUN. When it stops being fun, goodbye!

Another lesson: I still feel REALLY BAD about my DNF at Louisville. Kona was yesterday. I have several friends competing at Florida and Arizona. I'm so glad for all who had great races and who will have great races. I'm not going to be ashamed of my performance because I had a bad day. I did the best I could at the time. There will be other races, and my goal now is to complete an iron distance race in 2010, Lord willing. (I'll be 55 and in a new age group!) Next year will be the year of the half.

Today was the Chicago marathon. It was a little warm, but not dangerously so. Don't know how everyone did yet. Congratulations to all who raced!

Decided to post my weekly numbers. Not bad for "not training":

Swim: 7x for 12,000 meters
Bike: 2x on trainer: 51 miles; 1x outside: 87 miles
Run: 2x for 11 miles
Strength/Core/Stretch: 4 sessions for 176 minutes
Total time: 19 hours, 17 minutes
Total calories: 9,085

Hope everyone had a great weekend--have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cold Vs. Hot (Is there really a winner here?)

I rode outside on Saturday, and ran outside on Sunday. IT'S NOT SUMMER ANYMORE!

As you may know if you know me or have been following my blog, I DON'T LIKE THE COLD! And since cold and hot are relative terms, I will define them in terms of my biking and running.

Any temperature under 50 degrees, without sun, and with wind is cold for me on the bike. When I left home on Saturday, the temperature in my car was 46 degrees. The sun was out, and it didn't feel too windy, so I drove to Lifetime thinking a 50-60 mile ride would be really nice.

As soon as I started riding, I WAS COLD! I wanted to turn around and go back to the club and skip the ride, but I REALLY wanted to get a ride in. I only rode once during the week on my trainer, and planned to run outside on Sunday. I also knew that Saturday looked like the better day of the two days.

One of the MANY things I hate about riding/running in the cold is dressing in layers. I totally understand why we do this, but here is my big problem: by the time I warm up enough to take off the top layer(s), the next layers are wet from sweating (I really sweat a lot!). So when I try to take the outside layer off, I really can't because I get cold because my clothes are wet. This is really bad when I'm riding. I end up leaving everything on and getting a little overheated. Plus, you can only carry so much stuff when you're on the bike--food, drink, AND extra clothes?

Even with socks and gloves on, my feet usually stay cold. I should have put my toe covers on--I forgot--and I need to get a new pair of cycling gloves that cover the whole hand. I have a pair I bought for the Apple Cider Century in 1989. Yeah, they are really old!

In spite of all of the above, I had a pretty good ride. Although I was wondering why I didn't see anyone else riding. Usually I see at least 20-30 riders at this time on this route. That day--I saw 3. Actually, I saw several of my friends when I was about 10 miles from home. They were just starting out--they were smart because they were able to wait until it warmed up a little before starting. I had to be done by a certain time--had to pick up Peanut from practice.

I think the cold did make the ride harder though--I rode the same route, same distance (52 miles) as last Saturday, but I had to work a lot harder, and my speed was about 1 mph slower. My heart rate was in zones 4 and 5. I usually ride in zone 3.

The hot tub, steam and warm shower felt really good afterwards.

Sunday, I couldn't decide if I wanted to run in or out. I decided to go out to Waterfall Glen. Running in the cold is a lot easier for me than cycling in the cold. My feet stay warm, and the layer thing works better. I still felt cold, but had a really good 11 mile run. Good speed, good heart rate, and the drizzle didn't start until I was done and got in the car. Even though I was sweating and my core was warm, I felt really chilled by the time I got out of the car at the fitness center. I had planned to swim, but the lap pool just felt too cold. I played around in the leisure pool for a few minutes, but spent most of my time in the sauna and hot tub.

According to the weatherman (Tom Skilling), next weekend could be a major washout--lots of rain and cooler. I know if that's the case I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill. I hope it doesn't affect the Chicago Marathon. Personally, I'd rather not run in the rain, but I guess it's better than running in the heat. I don't mind the heat if it's not extreme--anything over 90 degrees I consider extreme.

If I have to make a choice between hot and cold, I will ALMOST always choose hot, especially on the bike. Running, a bit different. Although I DO NOT RUN in extreme cold. The cold is really hard on my joints, the hard ground is hard on my joints, the cold air is hard on my respiratory system, I hate wearing three layers of clothes, two hats, gloves, extra socks.......I mean, you have even more laundry to do than in the summer! I just find it much easier staying inside. Don't get me wrong--I WOULD MUCH RATHER BE OUTSIDE--but it sure beats being outside in the cold or just not riding or running at all. That would be the WORST!

One good thing about the cold is that fluid stays cold. It's nice drinking cold water or whatever. But have you noticed how hard it is to eat a cold Powerbar, or gel that's really cold? One year I trained for an April marathon. My gel actually froze when I was on one of my long runs!

When I was younger (up to my early 40's) I ran outside in almost any weather. I ran at 4:30 in the morning, in the dark, in the cold, snow, rain, 10 degrees and below wind chill, with my Siberian Husky dogs. They loved it, and I felt really safe with them. NO ONE bothered me when they were with me. Today, I wouldn't even THINK about doing such a thing! Thank God for fitness centers, bike trainers and treadmills!

So that's my story. All I could think about when I was riding on Saturday was how long it will be before April comes. Until then, I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill, watching movies, TV, Spinnerval DVD's, and listening to my IPOD. Oh, and swimming INSIDE.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 3, 2008

'Sup'? (aka 'What's Up?')

So it's been a few days since the last post. Lots of things happening, but nothing that seems that exciting to me.

1) My workouts have been OK. I'm still feeling tired at times, and not always sleeping well. The stupid headaches come and go. The night sweats and hot flashes really S***! Getting old(er) in general S****, but as my dad always says, it's better than the alternative.

2) People are still asking my if I'm recovered from Louisville. I have to tell you all something: because the race was such a disaster for me, I realized the other day that I didn't think I DESERVED a recovery period. I know that's crazy, because I did all the training, and was out on the course for over 14 hours that day. But because I didn't finish, somehow my warped sense of right and wrong tells me that I just didn't deserve a rest/recovery time. So basically, I've continued my workouts as if it was base training. Maybe even a little more than your average "normal" triathlete. Another reason I wish I could afford a coach.

3) Speaking of "affording"--things are really tight financially in our household. Normally I sign up ASAP for the races I want to do next year, but I'm going to have to hold off for now. I know this means I probably will miss the early bird sign up discounts, but, what can you do? No new bike toys for next year. I'll just have to get stronger and faster on my own!

4) Yesterday was my son's and husband's birthdays. Yeah I know, but we really didn't plan it that way, just how it worked out. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I was in the hospital with my first newborn, and in other ways it feels like the 15 years it has been. There are some things I would do different, but in general, it's all good!

5) Speaking of my son, last night was parent/teacher conferences at the high school. I knew exactly what to expect. To a teacher, this is what we heard: Ryan is a great kid and student. He's doing amazing. He participates, always has fun/interesting things to contribute to the class. He's polite, good with the other kids, and I wish I had 50-150 more kids just like him. It's a testament to your parenting that he is the way he is!

I shouldn't have been surprised--this is what we've heard about him since he was in kindergarten. I know he's a good kid. And at 15, I don't expect him to change a whole lot (Lord willing). He's going on an overnight with his church group tonight, and he is really excited.

6) When my son was about six months old, I stopped working outside the home. It was something we had always planned on doing. I was 38 when I had him, and had been working pretty much since I was 16. I spent one year in college, and even then I lived at home and worked part-time. Things were so different in the early 70's. It wasn't a given that everyone graduated from a four year college. Anyway, my point is that while it has been a HUGE FINANCIAL SACRIFICE for me to be home, and I know our lives would be very different if I had continued to work, I wouldn't trade the time I've had with my kids for anything. This was a choice we made, and for better or worse, we are living with the consequences. Last night at the conferences, I once again realized that we made the right choice. PTL!

7) Talk about a small world! There is a very talented local triathlete who teaches at the high school my son attends. We happened to walk by his classroom while we were at the school last night. This is a very large school--the chances of that happening? Not so good. So when we were finished with our conferences, we went back and introduced ourselves. He wasn't busy, so we chatted for a little bit. This guy was about 3 years old when I did my first tri. HA! He routinely goes under 10 hours in an ironman race (even Kona). He was at Louisville, and did amazing.

8) When we were at the very first high school meeting when we met the teachers, there was a PE teacher that looked really familiar to me. He was built like a triathlete, and I wondered if that's how I knew him. When we were talking to the ironman teacher, he mentioned that this guy completed the iron distance race I'm thinking about doing in southern Illinois. AHA! So he is a triathlete, and that's probably how I know him. I saw him at the conferences yesterday, and we were both kind of looking at each other, but I didn't talk to him. Unusual for me, and now I'm really wishing I had. Seems like everywhere I go, triathlon follows me in one way or another.

9) October 16th will be our 26th wedding anniversary! What more can I say?

Last night I was wiped when I went to bed. I had originally planned to ride for a couple hours on my trainer early and swim later, but I felt so lousy I decided to skip the ride. I did have a pretty good 2500 meter swim. I'm hoping to do a long(er) ride outside tomorrow. The weather is a little cooler than I like for biking (50's), but tomorrow is supposed to be the warmer of the two weekend days. Sunday should be a good day for an outside run.

Once October comes along, I know my outside workouts are winding down. I really hate the beginning of fall and winter. I keep telling my husband I don't want to die here--in other words, I want to move somewhere warm sometime before I die, and while I can still swim/bike/run. We'll see--doesn't look to good, but you never know!?

Hope everyone has a great weekend. One more week until the Chicago marathon. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.

And to those of you lucky enough to be heading to Kona--have a safe trip and good pre-race preparation. I envy the weather you will have.

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Good News on a Gloomy Monday

I had a good day Sunday. A good, long run (11miles and hills), a quiet Waterfall Glen (most runners tapering for Chicago Marathon--yeah!), and the bikers that were out were much more courteous than most. The weather was really nice--cool and a bit cloudy, but perfect for running.

After, I did some much needed stretching, core work and a short swim. Came home and did a bunch of cooking (if you really want to call it that). I made sloppy joes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and brownies. I finally got to sit down about 5:00--I was really tired and my right glute/hip/hamstring/quad was sore.

I was in a state of shock when I went to sleep--the Bears won! They DID NOT BLOW THE LEAD in the last couple of minutes. Although they did try really, really, hard. Now, if the White Sox can win today and tomorrow, sports fans in Chicago will be on cloud nine!

I woke up a little bit late--long story, forgot to set the alarm, although I usually wake up before it goes off. My butt was really sore/tight. Decided that today would be a swim only workout. Made it through 2200 meters and felt better after. May have to skip that run tomorrow--see how I feel.

So, when I got home and was helping my daughter with her school work, I decided to check my e-mail. This is what I received:

Endurance Sports, Ultramax Events and USA Triathlon would like to congratulate you on your qualifying efforts at the Spirit of Racing Triathlon on July 19, 2008. Your top placing finish has earned you the opportunity to race in the 2008 Las Vegas or 2009 Oklahoma City Championship (your choice). You will race against the nation's best long course age group athletes.

WOW! I had to read it several times, and called my husband and had him check it out to make sure I wasn't seeing things! (Yea, I know it's really not that big of a deal, but after my abysmal showing at Louisville, this was a real boost!). No way I can make the 2008 race, but I'm really hoping we can do the 2009 race in Oklahoma City. Like so many people, money is really tight for us right now, and I'm not sure how much I can spend on racing next year. My daughter and husband are going to a gymnastic meet in Miami in January. I need to stay home with my son. Boy, would I like to be in Miami in January--swimming and running outside--how awesome would that be?!

Now I have a goal for my 2009 season. My plan was to concentrate more on the half iron distance, and this fits in just perfect! Even if it turns out we can't go, I at least have a goal and a plan.

It seems so often that when things look really bad, all I have to do is wait about a day and things get better. Of course, it works the opposite also, but I'm trying to dwell on the positive here. So while I considered this triathlon season to be pretty much a bust, I guess it wasn't a total loss. The training I put in did count for something. Lord willing, next year at this time I'll be planning a trip to Oklahoma City for a really big race!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. This is running race season, so go, runners, go! The Chicago Marathon is less than two weeks away, and there are lots of other marathons in the next two months. Good luck to everyone out there racing.

Although I'm not training for anything, I still like to keep tract of my workouts. Week totals:

Swim: 5x for 8,500 meters

Bike: 2 trainer rides: 3.5 hours; 52 miles; 1 road ride: 52 miles; total 104 miles

Run: 2 treadmill runs: 11 miles; 1 road run: 11 miles; total: 22 miles

Strength/Core/Stretch: 4 sessions; 233 minutes (3.8 hours)

Total time: 18 hours, 32 minutes

Calories burned: 8,237

Until next time--God bless!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Week of Ups and Downs

Actually, mostly ups. It doesn't seem like almost a week since I last posted. Time really flies're crazy busy AND having fun (mostly)!

Had a good week training-wise. Although I can't really call it training, because this is supposed to be my off-season, should be cutting back, taking it easy, recovering, resting.....yeah, right! That's probably not going to happen.

I was speaking to a friend at the pool the other day. He's a long distance triathlete. He's surprised I've been able to keep up with the amount of training that I have. I told him that this is me--it's who I am and what I love to do. I don't have to be training for something to do the work. I love what I do. While it's a little harder during the school year, I'm still very motivated. See, this is why I should have a coach. I really don't know how much I should be doing now. As I said, my number one goal for the "off-season" is to lose some weight. I may not be going about it the right way. But I'm not really sure.

Yesterday I went for a late swim (4:00--way past my normal workout time). I rode on my trainer for 1.5 hours in the early a.m. Went to Lifetime after dropping off Peanut at practice.

I met a nice man named Frank in the pool. As he was leaving, he was asking me some questions about my workout. He is an ultra-marathoner. He's done 35 marathons, and now he's doing trail runs. He's almost 61, so we're pretty close in age. We chatted for a while, and he brought up some good points.

Lately I've been reading blogs of several local newly-professional triathletes. I'm so amazed at the times they are able to accomplish. Of course, I know I can't compare myself to them. As Frank pointed out, these "kids" in their 20's and 30's probably competed at a high level in high school and/or college. They have so much more going for them than we did when we were their age. Heck, I was in high school before Title IX! I swam on the YMCA swim team, but that's about all that was available for girls back then. I did take ice skating lessons--another sport acceptable for little girls in the 1960's.

Also, most people in their 50's and 60's, no matter how great shape we're in, can't do what a 28 or even 38 year old can. I know, there are exceptions to every rule. I can name several women and men in their 50's and older who can keep up with some of the best younger age groupers. But really, that IS the exception to the rule!

And we all know that recovery time is much different when you're over 40. I have friends who are just over 30 or 40, and boy is it fun to hear them talk about how hard it is to recover compared to just a few years ago. You think it's bad now, people, wait until you hit 50! YOW!

Frank also mentioned that long hours of intense training at this stage of his life doesn't really make him better. I can totally relate. I really have to listen to my body. That's why a "one size fits all" training plan is not really good for me. I always have to "tweak" them for myself. Again, a good reason to have a coach.

My husband and I were talking about coaching. Now, I'm sure there are some terrific coaches in their 20's and 30's out there. But I would feel much more comfortable with a woman who is closer to me in age. Late 40's at least, maybe with a couple kids whose been competing/coaching for a couple decades or so. If I can ever afford it, that's who I'll be looking for.

Staying at home and homeschooling my daughter makes life a little lonely during the week. And since I train alone, I spend a lot of time by myself. So please be patient with me if I see you and want to talk. I know, I can go on sometimes, so if you're in a hurry or short on time, I really won't be offended if you say so. I get it!

I went for a ride this morning. It was a beautiful day and I felt really good. Had a great ride and even met a friend on the way home. Got to ride together for about 11 miles. Did 52 miles. Was thinking about 60, but I did ride pretty hard yesterday and would like to run long tomorrow, so I settled on the 52. Did some core/strength/stretching after, and an easy 1000 meter swim.

That's enough rambling. When I'm not at the computer, I think of some great things to write about. Then when I have the time--poof--gone from my brain!

One more thing--I watched "Grey's Anatomy" while I rode on my trainer yesterday. (I recorded it the night before because I knew I needed something to entertain me on the ride.) There was a scene when a doctor was explaining to another that we learn through our failures and mistakes. Of course, I immediately applied that to my Louisville experience. Still can't get that "race" out of my head. It's true, I know, but still so hard to deal with....

Hope everyone had a great week and enjoys their weekend and upcoming week.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a Difference a Weekend Makes!

Wow, what a great weekend, in every possible way. The weather was fantastic here--felt like summer all over again. And after the torrential downpour of last weekend, it was a very welcome sight.

I already miss summer: Cycling, running and swimming outside, racing, no school for the kids, great weather, etc. Yeah, I really need to live somewhere warm. It would be great for my joints (and the rest of my body, too)!

I've been having really bad headaches for the last three weeks. Don't know if they're from the RA, allergies, hormones, stress, weather change, etc. Could be all combined. Friday night I went to bed late with a terrible headache. I stayed up until midnight reading a book my son is reading for school. One of those books that you can't put down and have to finish ASAP.

I slept in on Saturday until 7:30. My daughter wasn't feeling well, and skipped practice Friday night and Saturday afternoon, so I was pretty flexible with my workout schedule. When I put my bike in the car, I really wasn't sure what I was going to do. About 9:00 I decided to drive to Lifetime and ride from there. I ended up having a really good 50 mile ride. The roads weren't too crowded, the weather was perfect, and I ran into a couple rest stops for a ride being sponsored by a local church to raise money for a food pantry. If I had know about it, I would have participated. I was running out of water with 13 miles to go (I know, I DO make this a habit), and the lady at the stop was very nice and filled my bottle with cold water. There are really nice people in this world!

When I got back to the fitness center, I did some stretching and core work, and a very easy 1000 meter swim. As usual, I didn't bring enough food, and I was really hungry. By the time I got home, it was almost 3:00. Of course, by this time I wasn't hungry. But I did eat later, hopefully it was enough.

I've worked really hard the last 10 days on my eating. Writing everything down, tracking calories in and calories burned during my workouts. But, as usual, I still can't lose a pound. I have decided that my main goal over the off season is to get rid of the 10 pounds I've gained while training over the last two years. I've tried almost everything, and I don't have the money to pay anyone else for help. I've invested a lot of money and time and no one has been able to help.

So, today was a great day. I woke up feeling rested and relaxed. Decided to go to Waterfall Glen for a run, after dropping my son off at church. I had four hours to get everything done. When I started, I wasn't sure how far I would run. I found a new parking lot, and it was crowded but I did get a spot. The main lot is always packed on the weekends, and I always end up parking outside on the street somewhere.

After I started running, I decided I would do the full loop (9.5) miles. I felt really good, and added an extra half mile to make it an even ten. There were lots of people on the trail, many doing their long runs for the Chicago Marathon. I spoke to a man on a bike who was riding while his girlfriend was running. She was doing a 20 mile run, and her goal is to qualify for Boston. She looked really strong with only 2 miles to go. I complemented him on his support--he said he'll run the last seven miles of the race with her. What a guy!

I love running on the path, but now that I run on the weekend, there are soooo many more people, and some of them think that they own the path. I almost got run down by bikes on more than one occasion. The trail is pretty hilly, and when they're coming down a hill I'm running up--well, it gets pretty scary. They forget that they need to stay on the right side of the road. On more than one occasion I had to run off the path to avoid being hit. It also happens with runners. You know, those really young, really fast, really fit guys who only wear shorts, no tops, and are all young enough to be my kids. They run four or five abreast, and I guess they expect me to move because I'm going the other way, am slower, and older! Hey, wait a minute, shouldn't us older runners get some respect out here!

No worries. I didn't let that stuff bother me. The weather was perfect and I had a great run. Makes me think more about running a half marathon. If anyone knows of one close to home, please let me know. I can only find one in Mattoon, IL which is a three hour drive. Too far!

After my run I drove to Lifetime, did some stretching, strengh, core work and a short 500 meter swim. Was short on time! Four hourse goes so fast when you're doing something you really love!

One more thing I'd like to share: When I workout, I SWEAT. I mean, I really sweat, big time. Even when it's not hot, like today, I sweat ALOT! When I run on a treadmill, it is really gross. I have to clean the machines on either side of me because I manage to get them as wet as mine. My shoes AND socks are soaked if I run for more than an hour. I tell you this, because we all know that when we sweat, we chafe. Yes--big time, mega chafing going on here. I've used a lot of stuff--body glide, vaseline, aquaphor, chamois butt'r to name a few. They all work for a little while, but eventually my sweat wins and I get terrible chafing.

Well, I think I found a product that really works for me. It's called "Mission Anti-Friction Cream". It feels different from anything I've ever used. It's a bit pricey, but I think it's really worth it. I put it everywhere today, and I'm chafe free! If anyone's looking for an answer to the chafing problem, I would definitely recommend this! (I also used it in Louisville, and found I had very little chafing, even in that horrible heat and for such a long time!)

I sent my heart rate monitor to Polar after Louisville and got it back last week. They fixed it up really nice--new battery, I think they replaced the face (it was really scratched up and now it looks good as new), as well as the big red button. It was great having it back this week.

The weekly numbers look like this:

Swim: 6X = 10,000 meters

Bike: 1x trainer = 24 miles
1x road = 50 miles

Run: 3x = 22.5 miles

Strength/Core: 4x = 225 minutes

Total time: 17:22

Calories burned: 7,350

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Random Thoughts

After a very wet, nasty weekend, it's been a great week weather wise here in the Chicagoland area. Cool nights, warm(er), sunny days. Great for training outdoors, if you can do it. With my kids back in school, it's much harder to get outside during the week. This weekend looks great though and I hope to get outside to both bike and run! YEAH!

I find myself tired lately. Don't know it it's the RA kicking in--the change of weather can play havoc with my symptoms; could also be having the kids back in school; or could it be all the training I did over the last 10 months catching up with my body? Mmmmm. Don't know for sure, but I'm trying to get more rest, not work out as hard, and sleep more. I find the older I get, the more I do, the more sleep I actually need. It's good to listen to your body.

I love the internet, and I particularly like being able to watch TV shows that I missed over the past 15 or so years. Before kids, and when my kids were younger, I watched very little TV. Not much for going to the movies either. No time, and when I did have time, I would much rather read. Now that the kids are older and more independent, and my eyesight has made reading harder, I find I enjoy TV, movies and the computer very attractive.

I just finished watching all four seasons of "Lost" on the internet. It took a while because each episode has about 10 zillion commercials, but hey, it's "free" so you put up with that kind of stuff. I'm definitely hooked, and looking forward to season five starting in February.

I'm really not much for reality TV, although I must admit that for the first time my family got me hooked on "Dancing With the Stars", and I even watched most of the later part of "American Idol." Usually, I think "they" get the winners wrong, but I had no complaints this time around.

One show that I have promised myself I won't watch this season is "The Biggest Loser". There are so many ways this show is not realistic. Having battled with weight issues all my life, educated myself on nutrition and exercise, I believe this show is so wrong for the average obese person who really wants to change their lifestyle and lose weight and keep it off.

Just a couple points: not many people can (or want to) leave their homes and loved ones for such an extended period of time (how long they've never really told us); not many people can devote 8 hours (or so they say) to working out every day. And how many of us can live pretty much isolated from the real world with only the "right" foods at our fingertips? I know they do spend time being tempted by stuff, but let's be real, most of us live that way every day. Also, when you are as obese as these people are, how many doctors would recommend the running, jumping, pounding that the trainers make these people do? True, most of them are young, but many do get injured during the course of the show.

Also, and this is the thing that kills me--I don't understand how ANYONE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY WEIGH AND STARVE THEMSELVES AND EXERCISE NON-STOP FOR A WEEK, can lose over 20 lbs. in one week! If they are working as hard as they say, they really need to eat. When you don't eat, no matter how fat you are, you can really mess up your metabolism.

Also we have to remember that this is a contest to win a LOT OF MONEY! Games are played, people are used, friendships are made and broken, feelings are hurt, emotions are toyed with. That's a lot to go through for a prize. Plus, on national TV in front of millions of people? I don't think so!

OK, there are about a dozen other issues I have with this show, but I'll step off my soapbox now. I know many people think it's great and inspiring. I think it's great for the network and advertisers. They are the real "winners" on this show.

Also, I would like to see how well all the contestants have done in keeping the weight off. I know there are several who have struggled. Let's have a show tracking their process and their life when they go home and leave the "ranch". We see when they go home for the last whatever amount of time it is (again, they never really say) that most of them really struggle. All of a sudden they hit "plateaus" or gain or lose only a pound or two per week. HA! Now that is real life!

Hope everyone has had a good week. I've had a couple good treadmill runs, a couple trainer rides, good strength training and core work, and swimming almost daily. I was looking around for a half-marathon near home, but can't find any. I guess that's for the best, as my knee(s) are still gimpy (probably more RA and OA than anything else).

Have a great weekend--get outside and enjoy if you can.

Until next time--God bless!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Calm After the Very Wet Storm

All you who live in the Chicagoland area know that this was a very wet weekend. We set records for the amount of rain that fell from Friday through Monday. There are still people in Indiana without power, and many of the roads in and around our suburbs are flooded. One school district closed yesterday due to street flooding.

Thank goodness only a few flooded basements. Not us. Those of you who are flooded, I feel for you. Ours flooded in January when we had an unusual amount of rainfall for that time of year and our 10 year old sump pump decided to stop working.

Anyway...spent all weekend indoors training. I know I may be a little unusual, but I really don't mind running on the treadmill. I do it a lot in the winter for several reasons: I usually run pretty early, and it's dark outside. I'm limited by time, so it's quickest to do all my stuff in one place (at the fitness center). I need to run on a soft surface as often as possible. In the summer, the paths are great, but when it's cold, they're too hard. And did I say that in my old age I hate running in the cold? (Cold usually means under 40 degrees--I know, I'm a wimp!)

I did give in and put my bike on the trainer for a 2:20 ride on Sunday. It wasn't too bad. I was watching an interesting DVD that made the time fly by. I rode in the afternoon, so I didn't get to swim after. That always means I'm a little sore/stiff the next day. Had a good swim on Monday and two soaks in the hot tub--felt much better.

Today I ran on the treadmill again. Short on time, so no swim. Stiff again! Drat--need to make time for a short swim every day!

Went to see my rheumatologist today. Her arm was in a sling. She tore her biceps tendon--OUCH! After 4 months, she decided she needed to have it surgically repaired. She's miserable, and not sure the surgery was worth the pain. It's only been 2.5 weeks. She calls physical therapy "torture".

Needless to say, she really didn't feel very sorry for me when I told her my Louisville story. While she admires what I'm able to do, she thinks an ironman borders on true insanity. She made a point of telling me that she knows NO ONE who could even swim 2.4 miles in a river. And ride 112 miles on a bike--do people really do that? She thinks it's incredible that I do what I do with my disease and at my age. It was good to see her, and gave me an even better perspective of how blessed I am. She injured her knee pretty bad about two years ago, so in some ways she's worse off than I am. Again, thank you God!

Nothing else really exciting happening in my life. Except that I spoke with my friend who lives in Austin, TX--she's incredible! Her first ironman will be in Florida in November and I know she will ROCK! You go, girl! I LUV U!

The weather should be nice here the rest of the week. My knee is still a little sore, but for now I'm just going to deal with it. Maybe when my daughter is done with her P.T., I'll have it looked at. I'm hoping to ride and run outside this weekend. Probably one more inside run on the treadmill and bike on the trainer until then.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Until next time--God bless!