Sunday, December 27, 2009

Status Update!

Woa! Hello there! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Saturnalia, Merry Solstice, Happy St. Stephen's Day, Happy Hanukkah, Greater Eid, Go Boxing Day!, Happy Festivus, Hooray for the Yule Tide, and Mele Kalikimaka!

Lots going on, many things happening...and I now find myself in Minnesota. Away from the Christmas Cookie Wreaths, but surrounded by Czech Vanocka instead. All these treats and holiday food is becoming a problem; and for the first time in many many many weeks, even Nathaniel is craving tofu stir fry. Another Festivus Miracle, I suppose.

But I am staying strong - eating whatever I want, but making sure to complete my daily workouts, and having fun in the process. Hey; after the "Year of Ironman" for me, its my gift to myself (not micromanaging every last bit that goes into my body). Time to kick back and relax, the best that I can. There will be plenty of time to get back to my typical nutritional intake; now I'm just having fun and relaxing with loved ones.

But back to my main point - Status Updates! There have been many (although I've been off FaceBook - too many people to see and too much to do!)... so here's a taste of what's been going on these past few days....

-Definition of EMBARRASSMENT: Mom invites old junior high/high school (jh/hs) crush into house with the guise that I have a "question" about a new camera. Girl finds herself sitting in living room with JH/HS crush + Mom + Current Husband. Girl learns new appreciation of awkward silence; especially after Mom and Current Husband leave said living room. Girl and former crush talk about getting old. Girl apologizes to crush for current situation.

-Yak Tracks are wonderful and will keep you upright 95% of the time. I'm speaking from experience.

-While my Mother-in-Law's coffee gets slightly weaker as the years go by, my Father's could power a nuclear sub.

-If I thought Nathaniel had a bit of a pyromaniac-streak back in California, its nothing compared to the live fire he built in my parent's fireplace. The fireplace tools only added to his enjoyment.

-Candied fruit slices: YUM!

-Forgetting to wear gloves during hill repeats: OUCH!

-If I feel like I'm being watched by my Mom's collection of miniature Santas, that pales in comparison to my Dad's new life sized toy owl, that hoots and moves its head just like its real counterpart. Right now the thing is glaring me down from atop its post on the mantle.

-My Mom has a new "Best Boyfriend" she won in a white elephant exchange at work. The toy-sized version (when prompted) exclaims things like
-"Let's just Cuddle tonight!"
-"Aaaw, can't your mother stay another week?"
-"You're going shopping by yourself? How about if I tag along and carry your bags!"
-"Actually I'm not sure which way to go. I'll turn in here and ask for directions"
-"Here you take the remote. As long as I'm with you, I don't care what we watch."
-" look so beautiful in the morning!"

And my personal favorite, "No! You don't look at all fat in that dress! How could anything make you look fat?"

Yes: Dad has certainly got some stiff competition.

-It is COLD. I don't care who you are or what you say: 20 degrees F with a windchill of 10 is NOT "warm". And I'm talking to YOU, Jennifer Harrison.

-I may or may not be reading "Twilight"; but I'll never admit to it. Not even when asked by some very befuddled Men shopping for their wives/daughters/female friends in Barnes & Noble which book is first and second, etc? I claimed I didn't know and then fled; after picking up book number 3, of course.

-My sister's boyfriend is awesome! But if I hear any inappropriate ruckus coming from her bedroom, I will be seriously upset. And disturbed. And someone may just be missing an important anatomical feature. Just sayin'.

-I've developed a Scottish accent after watching Billy Connolly's colonoscopy skit no less than twenty times. It is funny, it is hilarious, and I think you should watch it as well. ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Self Preservation.

For the sake of Self-Preservation, I've decided to skip my morning run. Nothing personal; just the thin layer of snow that fell over night will - to my demise - hide every patch of ice from here to the Fox River. Through some Festivus Miracle, I've been thus far able to remain upright while running, but I'm also a realist. I know the likelihood of slipping on ice increases with each run where that doesn't happen.

I'm not one to test fate, really.

So instead, Nathaniel and I made coffee and I am. Sitting at the breakfast table, watching him eat his Raisin Bran while snow lightly falls outside the kitchen window. It's quite pretty, actually (the snow, not him).

Later this morning the two of us are headed to Madison, the home to our Alma matter. Go Badgers! I guess the irony was lost on my subconscious as last night I dreamed that of the six Wisco classes I was taking, I was barely squeaking by with "D"s in three of them. Not exactly how I wanted my college career to go down, but hey - it didn't bother me too much in my dream, so why worry?

But still, I awoke slightly unsettled, as though I had done something really bad.

Perhaps it was my subconscious in relation to the two Christmas Wreaths that I ate last night. Throw in a pumpkin bar (and if you know me, I hate pumpkin), and you've got the general idea. I'm sort of doing my best to stay away from the vast array of Christmas Cookies and Treats; but let's not kid ourselves.

At this point, I'm running and working out more to keep the holiday weight off than anything else. I might as well be honest, but I can happily report that my jeans still fit. Sort of.

You never know, I could decided to go all tofu and stir fry on everyone and insist on eating healthy for the rest of my tenure up north.

What was that?

Did you hear the laughter??

No, actually that was the sound of a Snowball's chance in hell. There is none.

And finally, the Lauterbach Household is about to bust itself at the seams; today Bethany, Adelyn, and Any arrive from Hawaii and Nathaniel and I are picking Taylor up after her last final at UW-Madison. It seems very strange that a family would choose the Great Blustery North over Hawaii during Christmas.

Then again, Nathaniel and I left Southern California, so who knows.

In the meantime, I'll stare out the window and think up ways to stay upright during my run later today. Hopefully people will have shoveled or at least thrown salt down on the sidewalk; I've learned that giving those few houses that neglect to shovel their walks the finger does nothing for my balance. But it makes me feel slightly better to flip 'em the bird while I gingerly step over the frozen mass of snow and ice.

Here's hoping that wherever you are, you're happy, warm, safe, and enjoying your own Christmas Wreaths.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome to Wisconsin!

Oh my God.

It is cold.

Holy cow - I don't know how you people do it. Seriously. And the fact that I used to spend my fall/winter/early spring months frolicking outside in the snow and cold weather -

Oh my gosh.

Just wow.

Suffice to say, Nathaniel and I have arrived in Wisconsin. And yes, the snow is beautiful...and I love how warm and cheerful the house feels after spending any amount of time outside in said cold weather. And yes, I fully and freely admit that - compared to what my northern colleagues endure throughout the winter - the weather isn't all that bad.


It is still cold. (insert evil laugh).

And slippery.

In addition to loosing all ability to withstand frigid temperatures for any respectable amount of time, I've also lost the ability to run safely over slick surfaces. Not that I was great at it to begin with.


Today during my run through Waukesha's quaint streets and along the Fox Riverfront, I realized that maintaining one's balance and "uprightedness" while bounding over ice and other snow-covered surfaces is indeed a perishable skill set. As in, I used to be able to safely remain upright while skidding across the icy ground. Let's just say that today I barely saved myself - to the amusement of downtown traffic and several disgruntled ducks that were within my line of fire.

At some point I'm supposed to find a "hilly" course and run up and down said hills. Yeah, um...sure. Seeing as I can barely hold my balance on flat surfaces, somehow I don't think hills are exactly a great fit for my now-adept Southern California footing. Give me another few weeks and maybe...but still. No guarantees. I like my sacrum the way it is - I don't need to break it again.

But really, I couldn't be more excited to be here. It is WONDERFUL to be home in Wisconsin with Nathaniel and his family. And I'm SUPER EXCITED to be in St. Paul in a few short days... Until then, my main set of goals will involve 1) no slipping on ice while running 2) no slipping on ice while walking 3) no eating all the holiday cookies (especially the cornflake wreaths...but that's a different topic of conversation all together).

Now if you'll excuse me, dinner is ready. We're having lasagna and I'm throwing in another glass of wine for good measure. And maybe a holiday wreath or two. We'll see...but regardless, its safe to say that I shall remain housebound tonight. Ice + me aren't a great combination as I already found out. And I don't think adding red wine would help me in any way whatsoever.

So I'll cuddle up near the fire, watch the snow fall, read my new book "U is for Undertow" and avoid the wreaths as much as possible. But whatever happens, I can hardly wait.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Ugliest Christmas Sweaters. Ever.

In the end, we have the evidence, so that’s all that matters. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m willing to share. But beware: I can’t 100% guarantees that No Rabbits were harmed in the making of these sweaters:

The Ugly Christmas Party was a great success, and in the end I’m pretty sure that Nathaniel and I tied for the worst sweaters imaginable. (I even wore a backup Ugly Gold Snowflake Sweater under my Ugly Christmas Sweater lest I became overly embarassed at the ugliness of my original sweater. That...and the thing was bulky and hot!)The fact that our white, fuzzy snowmen matched only added to our semblance of style. The worst part of the night was NOT in fact entering our host’s house for the first time, but rather – walking through VONS with a 12-pack of beer and bags of chips.

Call me crazy: I have no problem wearing Compression Socks, spandex, or workout attire in public, but when it comes to Ugly Christmas Sweaters – then I’m embarrassed. Plus - my sweater was exceptionally bulky...I could have easily hidden an additional 20 pounds on my frame while wearing such a thing. Why oh why do Women's Christmas Sweaters need to be bulky? Is it a sweater-thing? Or merely the type-of-women-who-voluntarily-wear-such-sweaters-thing?

I don't know.

But seeing myself on camera in public, made me throw up a little in my mouth.

And the supermarket really wouldn’t have been so bad, except the checkout-lady – a wonderful woman in her late 40’s whose own set of Christmas-themed accessories were worn with style and conviction – told Nathaniel “how cute” his sweater was.

Then she looked at me and shrilled, “You match! Oh – how wonderful!”

Which made everyone within a 30-foot radius turn and stare. No: stare doesn’t begin to describe the looks we got. Openly gawk, with laughter thrown in for good measure, was more like it. At least when we were tearing through the store – our focus was 1) beer and 2) chips. Looks didn’t matter, as long as we could transition back to the car before anyone realized how Ugly our Sweaters really were (and Heaven forbid, think that we would purposely wear something like this because we thought we looked good.)

Then, and only then, did I feel the need to justify our Ugly Sweater existence. “We really don’t dress like this, honest! It’s just that we’re going to an Ugly Sweater Party and we thought these were hideous. I – WE – would never wear anything like this in real life. I swear to you!”

Unfortunately, our Checkout Lady took great offense and looked hurt at my crass comment, while the guy standing behind us in line shook with laughter. I couldn’t swear it, but I thought I saw someone pull out their camera phone and take a picture.

Clearly, we were destined to be the Ugly Christmas Sweater Winners.

The party was fun, in and of itself. Because nearly everyone sported Ugly Sweaters, we didn’t stand out. Ironically, it was those few who had decided to “play it safe” that were cajoled and made fun of. Sure, conformity can be a bitch: but when you look hideous, strength in numbers tends to play in your favor.

The first thing I did – after greeting our hosts and commenting on the states of everyone else's sweaters – was hit up the booze table. When I’m racing and training in earnest, I rarely have more than one drink at social situations. Hangovers and workouts just aren’t my style; and I’m happy to be the designated driver more often than not.

Gosh, I love the off season.

After the first or second Sangria, it hit me that – these parties really ARE much more fun with a bit of help from Jack Daniels and Sam Adams (not together, obviously). And suddenly our traumatic experience at VONS seemed less…traumatic.

More and more people arrived, and before too long, a lively game of charades began. Now for those who know me, I’m not exactly Ms. Extrovert. When there’s a crowd, I usually sit back, let others share the limelight, and more often than not – observe. But upon sporting the most Ugliest Christmas Sweater ever and knocking back a few Sangrias, I turned into a much ‘livelier’ version of myself.

My Tiger Woods impression was pretty good (if I do say so, myself – even though I am admittedly a bit biased), and I found myself blurting out answers that surprised even Nathaniel.

Let’s just say if Triathlon had a 4th leg of – oh, let’s say Drunk Charades while wearing Ugly Christmas Sweater – you would want me on your team.

I got ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ within seconds. I was that good.

But as with so many things in life, all good things must come to an end. Soon my Sangria buzz wore off and I – once again – realized how Ugly my Christmas Sweater really was. My Charades talent grew less and less and I wasn’t willing to accommodate a Sunday-hangover in order to score the most points. The hour grew late and Nathaniel volunteered to drive home, as he didn’t find his sweater nearly as offensive as I found mine.

In the end, I think we both found “a keeper” with our respective sweaters. After scouring several local thrift stores, the ONLY thing I’ll admit to – is cutting out shoulder pads (on both sweaters). I can’t really say what kind of animal was used to make the Snowmen Monstrosities, but whatever it was, I can’t believe the poor thing would want its fur to be used in such a manner. Both tags proclaimed “hand embroidered” and together Nathaniel and I were slightly disturbed that someone would take the time and effort to make sweaters such as these.

Nathaniel’s even had felt balls – white and red – carefully and lovingly sewed on, and perfectly placed.

I’m not really sure if we’ll bring these to Minnesota and Wisconsin with us. However, I am sure that we’ll be keeping these for future use. And it’s safe to assume we’ve got every future Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Contest in the bag from now on.

Because I seriously can’t imagine a worse set of sweaters. At least – for Christmas Sweaters all throughout the world – I certainly hope not.

Friday, December 11, 2009


We've continued to lose ornaments in record numbers. Not only is Anabelle a Fake-Christmas-Tree-Climber, but also an Ornament Killer. Last week I started collecting the downed ornaments in a bowl - just for kicks - and we've amassed quite a collection.

Some of them aren't broken, rather yanked unceremoniously off the tree. Not exactly the kind of Christmas they had in mind, I'm sure. Others have been cracked, and still one or two more are downright destroyed. A shattered butterfly and an angel that has lost its wings are the worst casualties. I don't have the heart to throw the angel away - it just seems like bad luck with Christmas just around the corner.

But we're all managing to cope just fine.

In other news...Nathaniel returned from 10 days in Yuma and its nice to have him home. Although his homecoming wasn't the glamorous one I had been imagining... rather than being all dolled up and waiting in my most elegant clothes (read: jeans and non-sports attired), I was taking a shower. I think I yelled at him 'DO NOT COME INTO THE BATHROOM', because really - there are just some things I don't want him to see.

I found him, twenty minutes later, drinking a beer and surfing the net. Some things never change.

What did surprise me, was his comment that he was, "really craving vegetables and healthy food."


"The healthiest thing I've eaten since being in Yuma - was Outback Steakhouse..."

I just stared.

He continued. "Yeah - and that was because I was trying to be healthy by ordering the 6 oz steak instead of the 10 oz or 14 oz."

"What else did you eat..." I asked, noting in amazement that the boy can consume whatever he wants and still not gain weight. Bastard. I swear that my stomach expands at the sight of milk chocolate and egg nog.

"We all split 4 or 5 appetizers between the 8 of us..." He went on to explain about the 2-pound burrito, the mid-flight snack of pop tarts and snickers, and the unusual mealtime hours.

"Wasn't there anything...good for you?" I interjected. This sounded like my own personal version of hell. Bad food and horrible hours; my GI system would rebel after two days, of that I was sure.

"Well, there was the 'Garden Burrito'...but that had spinach in it and I refuse to eat a burrito with spinach." was the only reply I got.

Oh my.

It knocked my socks off when he voluntarily chose to eat leftover Tofu Stir Fry. After enduring that particular meal for weeks during my Kona workups, I was sure he would never want to touch the stuff again. But he went after it with a vivacity that I rarely see.

Wow. It is nice to have him home.

On a different note: Is it wrong to admit that I actually like Russel from Survivor? The guy started out as a jerk - and still is in my opinion - but he's certainly making the game interesting. I actually cheered when he wasn't voted out last night. Brilliant strategist or classic asshole? You be the judge. All I know is that he's making the show more fun to watch.

And finally, we've got quite the busy weekend ahead; between Oscar's visit in support of his athlete racing the Footlocker National Cross Country Meet in Balboa Park, to the squadron Christmas Party (Nathaniel may be tasked to fly Santa in on the Huey - how exciting!), to rumors of an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party (think: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in 'Bridget Jone's Diary'), to our Wine Club Holiday Celebration, and my new book club on Sunday night, and Kim arriving for work on Monday (but we get to hang out for a few hours! YEA!)... I'm not really sure how we'll fit it in.

Thrown in the mix, I still need to complete my workouts, pick up a few Christmas Presents, READ the book club book (oops!), find an Ugly Sweater (because I've thrown all the old ones away...some things should just not be donated.), pack for Wisconsin and Minnesota (oh my god it will be cold cold cold), and keep the cat out of the tree.

I swear....

But hey - 'Tis the Season. And in spite the bustle and the chaoticness of it all, I love this time of year.

Now if you'll excuse me, I hear the telling chiming of ornaments. Time to prevent Anabelle from getting another one down. If she hasn't already.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Caught in the act!

Ladies and Gentlemen: We have found the culprit:

(Something here doesn't belong...)

At precisely 12:41 am, I was awakened by the sound of chiming Christmas Ornaments. In my haze of sleep, I realized we have no Christmas Chimes....

Through some Festivus Miracle, I managed to find - in a VERY dark living room - our camera on the ottoman. For some unknown reason, the flash worked on the first photo...the other two were too dark to discern any possible evidence.

But one photo was all it took.

I knew Mr. Cow was right the first time...

If I can tackle Ironman 2X, I can surely deal with Cat-in-Tree. Now...what exactly to do...?

Sunday, December 6, 2009 far

Well, the month is just trucking along, isn't it? We're practically one week into December, and its becoming serious crunch time for Christmas and end-of-year preparations. And I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that out tree is still upright.

(thank you thank you thank you)

We have, however, lost seven ornaments to date.

Which equals just over one per day. I'm sure the Mini Monster's average will go down now that she's swatted most of the lower placed ornaments. But if its one thing I've learned with that cat - you never can tell.
One of these days, I know she'll aim for the birds at the top. I've already seen her eying them from The Ugly Green Recliner, her favorite perch.

We shall see...

In other news, I attended my first Pilates class in years. It wasn't pretty and even though I knew the basic moves, I soon found myself lost at the teacher's confusing instructions. One moment I was executing decent "roll ups" when we suddenly fast forwarded six moves beyond my comprehension. I was left befuddled, shaking while holding the pose, and trying my best to not to fart from the exertion.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one. God Bless Old People; the pair of octogenarians directly in front of me were as befuddled as I was, only they were vocal about their confusion. And its not like the instructor could ignore their discontent...she quickly placed herself on the floor with the rest of us and demonstrated the moves for the class.

It was wonderful.

And even though once a long long time ago (and in a galaxy far far away) I used to teach aerobics classes and dealt with my own crowd of vocal octogenarians; during last Friday's class, I developed a new appreciation for the very same people that made my job more difficult.

In work out news, I'm continuing to truck along - easing my way through single workout days. Biking has been great, and I've enjoyed coastal views and exploring routes that I take but never actually see because I'm usually so focused on holding x watts or y heart rate. Running is a little more tricky; I don't ever remember being so slow. Even though I know - for a fact - that I have been.
I just feel slow.

Do I blame Ironman?

Perhaps...a little.

But more than racing in Hawaii, while reviewing my Training Peaks schedule, I realized that I really haven't trained much in the past two and a half months since starting my taper. And even then, my workouts were far from ideal as I was fighting off illness.'s almost as though I've done very little in the past three months, except for a random Ironman thrown in at the beginning for good measure.

Well, no wonder why I feel slow.

However, I'm not going to complain. No way. Not at all; I GET to run, I can enjoy the experience, the sights, the sounds - even if I'm left breathless in the process. So no complaining from me... At least not until after the New Year. And hopefully (fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that other good stuff) - by then I'll be feeling more like myself because I've had a solid month of training under my belt.
And finally, I'm trying to get creative with Christmas presents this year... But as my parents read the blog, I can say no more. Except that I spent the majority of Sunday looking at the computer screen trying to organize, um...certain a nice, presentable way.

But that's all I'm sayin'. I swear.

Tomorrow I've got my first swim in months on tap. Thankfully I'm not swimming Masters. That, my friends, would be really ugly. Nope - just technique, drills, and form focus...but it's a start. It's a great start.

Now...back to the computer screen...and...organizing....more stuff.

And that's all I'm saying....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ornament Down!

Last night we lost a few ornaments. Exactly 3.5 were somehow knocked off their "safe" and "high" perches on our tree, and neither Nathaniel or myself can claim responsibility. Part of the snowflake and its metal tree hook have yet to be found.

My morning stumble towards the kitchen to make coffee seemed initially uneventful; until I noticed the cats.

For some mysterious reason, both Anabelle and Tabbitha were lined up next to their respective food and water bowls, looking up at me with unblinking eyes. Their look cried, "We didn't do anything, we swear! We are good kitties!" But I knew different.

It was oddly reminiscent of one morning, five years ago when Tabbitha waddled into our North Carolina bedroom, happy, cheerful, and talkative...? Yes, Tabbitha was meowing away, purring when we rubbed her back, and doing her best to enter our good graces.

"What have you done this time?" my husband asked the cat.

While walking towards the kitchen and living room to start breakfast I called back over my shoulder, "Honestly Nathaniel, you are too hard on that cat. She's just happy to see us!"

And then I spotted the downed Christmas tree just as Nathaniel called back, "Let me guess... she knocked over the Christmas tree, right?"

Fast forward five Christmases, and he still doesn't let me forget that fateful day. In his eyes, Tabbitha will forever be the cat that singlehandedly took down our tree. And that was AFTER we had placed 70 pounds of weights over the base.


That is some cat.

And like it or not, she's still fascinated by the twinkling lights and shiny ornaments on our tree. Add in Anabelle, who is only celebrating her second Christmas, and we've got a recipe for disaster. Trust me.

So was I surprised to see the two kitties at their food bowls, behaving perfectly with nary a growl or hiss for the other?


I was shocked, however, to find our tree standing straight, tall, and happily - upright.

And then I saw the ornament.

Correction: ornaments.

Exhibit A. The snowflake-that's-still-missing-parts-and-one-gold-hook
Exhibit B. Shiny red ball with a bit of incriminating fur left over from the culprit
Exhibit C. Gold ball that somehow made its way all the way from one side of the tree to the other side of the Ugly Green Recliner
Exhibit D: Not-so-shiny red ball, found behind the Ugly Green Recliner.

I looked at my cats, trying my best to make the guilty one blink. And, in typical cat fashion, they both looked back. Unblinkingly.

I knew this was going to be a problem, so I pondered the issue.

On the one hand with Tabbitha, her past behavior would indicate a propensity towards the Christmas Tree. However, she's rarely gone for the ornaments themselves, instead preferring the entire tree. And besides, at a whopping 19.??? pounds, I doubt that she could A) jump high enough to knock down the ornaments B) jump high enough to knock down the ornaments without knocking down the tree or C) land so softly after jumping so high as to not wake Nathaniel or myself from our slumber.

I present to you Tabbitha, our House Monster, in relation to the tree.Let's face it: Had she decided to "go for it", neither the ornaments or the tree wouldn have survived. They all would have been goners.

And then there's the Mini Monster, Anabelle. Where to begin? We already know that she loves toy mice, fish, and birds - really anything the size of a tennis ball or smaller. And she's light and agile; weighing less than nine pounds, she's got the power-to-weight ratio that even Lance Armstrong would kill for. Nimble, quick, and not afraid to pounce, Christmas Tree ornaments could quickly become her new favorite toy.

Plus, she loves hanging out and investigating the tree. (And yes, that is a hippo ornament on the upper branches...Who doesn't have a hippo ornament?)
Meerkat or kitty? Or both?

And she even tries to "blend in" behind a branch or two...What cat? Does anyone see a cat?? Perhaps she thinks that if she doesn't move, no one will see her...

Eventually her curiosity was ornament clearly became two...and then three...and before she knew it, she couldn't stop herself.

But the worst evidence of all? Leaving the scene of the crime!Only the cow bore witness to her antics.

But in the end, nothing was broken (though I'm still looking for bits of the snowflake that remain mysteriously vanished). And I've realized that Tabbitha - in spite of her past behavior towards the tree - is not the culprit. The final clue came when little bits of glitter were found on Anabelle's paw. If that doesn't scream 'Snowflake destroyer!' I don't know what does.

But in spite of the downed ornaments and potential for broken tree, I wouldn't change anything. In the end I've got two great kitties - One House Monster and another Mini Monster with a Tree Ornament Addiction. And with the holidays just around the corner, having the tree up - ornaments, sparkling lights, and all - just adds to the festive atmosphere.

Plus, let's face it: each year we loose an ornament or two...or more. I am prepared.

Now, we'll just have to see how much longer until the entire tree comes down. I'd better keep Mr. Cow on the look out - just in case. He may be the only witness if he survives the ordeal.

Until then...I've got one House Monster staring menacingly at the tree, and another Mini Version looking intently at the ornaments.

I think its time to add another 25 pounds to the base.

At least.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Um... OUCH!

Firstly: It must be stated, that I am grateful for Ibuprofen. Say what you will about NSAIDs and how they affect/don't affect the body's recovery after sports performances; my mind is still made up. As far as I'm concerned, the inventor of the stuff should be given an award.


Well...let me tell you.

It would be ONE thing if I was just running or biking or swimming. Sure, the muscles would be sore and I would encounter the post-workout ache that we all acquire. Especially that I'm now - for the first time since Kona - beginning structured training. However, its no longer about just swim-bike-run.

Now, I have the distinct pleasure of adding... Functional Strength Training (cue: lightning flashes and scary music).

There have been only two other times in my life where I've been as sore then as I am now.

1: Inaugural weight room session of 2007. I spent the first week of the New Year barely able to walk, lift anything, or move efficiently after 2 gym-sessions in a 4-day period.

2: After Ironman Coeur d'Alene. Everything in my body hurt, even pressing my hands to my lower back and hips, to try and take strain off my shoulders and aching neck. Contact with anything made me cringe, but after 10+ hours of racing - that's just a fact of life.

And then there's today. It would be wonderful if I could blame the pain on 60-minutes worth of leg-intensive strength training and heavy lifting exercises. Or if I could replicate the feeling of seeing the magical Ironman finish line, stretching out half a mile before me.

But I can't.

Instead, it was the 30 lunges that did me in.

(and yes, I heard the snicker from California. Believe me, if I were reading this, I would be snickering too.)

Clearly, 120 seconds of lunges was about 110 seconds too much.

Because it is safe to say, that those lunges inflicted as much pain on my legs as Iornman. And I don't even get to eat sheet cake afterwards - clearly something is amiss.


At least after the race, I earned a finisher's medal (AND the cake!). Today, I was happy just to hobble out to the car with my dignity intact. Walking as though I've got something thrust up my backside, past a group of rowdy Marines at one of the Fitness Center's aboard Camp Pendleton is NOT a way of getting 'positive' attention.

I was too focused on not allowing my right hamstring to seize up to listen to their comments. And if you think I'm joking...I'm not. It took a lot of effort to make it down those four stairs without tripping.

Now before you laugh, know that they were 30 VERY DIFFICULT Lunges. I don't half ass my lunges! After the giant step forward, I make sure the opposite knee makes contact with the ground before lunging back up to my first foot. I knew I was screwed after five were completed, but I did the best I could with what I had.

Which is also why I'm most assuredly in so much pain right now. And yes, I realize that - for the amount of discomfort my legs, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, glutes, and quads are experiencing - 30 doesn't seem like that many.

But... Its 30 MORE lunges than I've done in the past 3 months combined.

So there.

We've all got to start somewhere, and for my 2010 triathlon season, this is it!

So I and my painfully sore legs, will keep moving forward (as best as we can). On a completely different not, the specialist that I saw yesterday confirmed that I've got something going on in my lungs and referred me to a Hematologist and ordered a CT Scan of my sinuses and upper respiratory system. He agreed that I could work out and do whatever I felt like doing EXCEPT I need to stay away from the pool until my sinuses are completely clear. I don't want to run the risk of another sinus infection...and if it means I stay out of the water for a few more weeks...well...

There are worse things.

He DID mention that salt water was probably okay - so that I would be allowed to swim in the ocean...

But I just laughed him off. With my overactive imagination and fear of sharks/not knowing what's under me/not being able to SEE what's swimming under me (but knowing the big buggers are there)/non-willingness to let myself be eaten by a fish, I told him I would wait until I could swim in the pool.

Yes, the waters off Kona were beautiful and I felt safe. Out here, however...well... I just can't enjoy it. I guess the fear of being eaten trumps any good vibes I'm getting.

So - for now, things are rolling along as best as they can. I'm not allowed in the pool (YET) and I can barely hobble around after my lunges. But I've got a bike ride on my schedule tomorrow and a day (thankfully!) that's lunge-free!

Now...if you'll excuse me, I need to go find the Tylenol. You know...they should also give the person who invented that an award as well......