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!