Sunday, January 31, 2010

When you gotta go...

...You just gotta go. Period.

Even if you find yourself - to your horror - running on a desolate Humvee trail, in the middle of an OPEN PLAIN between GIANT CLIFFS with nothing to squat behind (save one inhospitable-looking cacti) somewhere on US Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton.

Yes, I believe that my body is (mostly) amazing. (At a very basic level, think about it. The ability to breath, to think, to evolve...absolutely incredible how the pieces came together for human beings. And the world in general. Sorry - a bit off topic, I suppose.) But alas, as much as I tried to ignore the need-bathroom-NOW signals emanating from my person, I could not.

In my effort to try new things and run in different places this year (yes, I'll admit that my traditional coastal route is bad. Not because I'm bored by it - but because the slanting pavement does little for my healing Peroneus muscles, the likely culprit to my early-season run discomfort.) - I'm exploring the vast network of trails aboard Camp Pendleton. And though the threat of the occasional Mountain Lion makes me look above and over my shoulder with more frequency, I really DO love the terrain and peaceful serenity (ironically) that the base provides.

Especially on a Sunday morning, when I figured my chances of coming across a random patrol of Marines or people wearing the creepy Ghillie suits are significantly decreased.

After parking near the flight line, I doubled back down the road towards one of the many Humvee or dirt trails that wind their way through the canyons, running at a comfortable clip. Not too fast, and not too fast. Did I just repeat myself? I said I wasn't running fast. My warm-up consisted of an easy 20 minute run, enough to get my legs and mind ready for the tough 3-minute intervals that lay ahead.

Aside from slightly tight calves (welcome to my world. They are always tight!), my legs felt surprisingly great. A tad heavy from the previous day's bike efforts; but overall nothing that would suggest my injury from a few weeks ago.

Eight or nine minutes into my run, I spotted the trail that I was aiming for, and I turned inland away from the road, cars, and any form of visible civilization.

In the past few weeks, I've noticed an increased presence of Marines - particularly in this area. And I wondered - while I ran along the hard-packed dirt Humvee trail - if I would see any today. Many Marines are getting prepared for upcoming deployments, and I know that field exercises (regardless of the day-of-the-week) are ongoing.

The trail was beautiful. It sloped ever-so-slightly upwards through the canyon, but not enough to be discernible until the return trip down. 300-foot cliffs, covered in green grass from the recent rains, rose up majestically on both sides. I could see a random cacti mixed in among the grasses, and a wide, muddy flat dotted with burnt shrubs from a previous-year's wildfire stretch between the cliffs. My path ran along the left side of the canyon, hugging the base of the cliff, and I could hear the wind whipping past boulders, making the long grass rustle and sway.

It was one of those times when I wish that I had been carrying a camera - but I knew that a photograph just wouldn't do it justice.

I kept my head up, looking every few minutes around - to make sure that I wasn't being stalked by a random Mountain Lion.

As I side note: I don't know what it is with me. I'm afraid of sharks...while hiking in Alaska I was very aware of bears...and now in Southern California, I'm terrified of Mountain Lions. I guess I just don't want to be eaten by something else. But it goes deeper that that, and I can't figure out why. Oh well. According to Nathaniel, the only known Mountain Lions on Camp Pendleton live up near Case Springs - a spring-fed lake nearly 3000 feet above sea level, and a good 10 or 20 miles away from where I was running.

Noticed that I said known. There's always that random one that escapes the radar. But that's just my imagination talking...I hope. And before you roll your eyes...statistically I KNOW that you are MORE likely to get struck by lightning while riding a lawnmower...than get eaten by a shark. I just KNOW that. there's lightning outside, I head indoors. And I most certainly don't ride a lawnmower. So, I'm just saying. I try not to invite disaster into my life - it already rears its ugly head enough, thank you very much. So yes - I AM aware of the statistics...

But the green valley really was beautiful, and I decided to enjoy it to the best of my ability.

Then - exactly 16:28 into my run, I could feel it. I swear to you - my intestinal tract moved, developed a mind of its own - and without a doubt I knew that before this run was over, I would have to avail myself of the facilities.

I looked hopefully around for a bright blue port-o-potty. Seriously - with all the Marines training in the local area, I figured they had to go somewhere.



Zip, zero, zilch.

Cue: bale of hay rolling across the Humvee tracks.

Shit! I thought to myself. And then the irony dawned on me - that's exactly what I needed to do.

There was just an empty expanse of canyon bordered by two very high cliffs. And a growing certainty that 1) I was not alone and 2) I had to go NOW.

But desperate times call for desperate measures - it has never stopped me before. I looked around, desperate for anything to squat - errr hide - behind. And just as I had resigned myself to squatting over the edge of the road into the muddy terrain 6-inches below, I spotted a lone figure running towards me.

Thank goodness for small miracles I gamely thought as I turned my watch back on and started easily running along. I had been less than ten seconds from dropping my drawers - I was grateful this guy was running at the speed he was running. Any slower and we would have had an embarrassing situation on hand.

Very embarrassing.

We exchanged brief hellos, and in spite of stomach upset - I WAS happy to see another person. It's just nice knowing that - in spite of how uncomfortable you may feel - you are not alone.

Before I knew it, my 20-minute warm-up had passed and I had to start my first 3-minute interval. Without a doubt, this piece would be the one that would break the proverbial camel's back. I knew, especially after running MAX EFFORT for 180-seconds, that my body would be unable to hold anything in or back. If its one thing I could safely predict, was that within the next 4-minutes I would have availed myself.

I won't go into detail about the interval. It was hard, my breathing sounded like something from an x-rated film, my strides felt quick (but not light like I prefer - Ironman killed my fast twitch fibers!), and with each passing second I scanned the horizon for something - anything - to squat behind.

And then it was over, my first 3-minute interval of my 2010 Triathlon Season in the bank. I could have slowed down - but instead I found myself running in desperation. I knew what my body was about to do, and I had less than 45 seconds to prepare myself - come hell or high water. an oasis in the desert....there it was. A spot where the trail I was running on converged with a second trail. Even better still...there was an 18-inch high dilapidated electrical circuit box and a large, prickly-looking shrub. The circuits had long-since been frayed and while the shrub looked completely inhospitable and the prime hiding spot for one of the many poisonous California snakes - I didn't care.

It would have to do.

And just as I was about to do my business...I got a very weird sensation. Like someone was there...that I wasn't alone.

Scratch what I said earlier about being happy that other people were around. In this instance, I wanted my privacy...and I wasn't entirely confident about that fact.

Additionally - as I looked upon my circuit box of choice - I noticed the "Government Property" stamp. Heck, I don't even like to speed on base because I don't want to get pulled over and in trouble. Somehow, I think taking a giant dump on Uncle Sam's equipment - no matter its current state - was far far worse.

I briefly pondered the penalties... could they jail me? Public nudity?? Destruction of Government Property... Gross felony charges (literally and figuratively). Wasn't there something in the Uniform Code of Military Justice...? Could I be committing a felony offense? I wondered briefly about the fine. I'm sure it would be huge. Ugh...

But I could feel my intestines, whining in protest. I tried to send positive vibes to my body - reassuring it that everything would be okay. But I really really really really really really really had to go.

I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't alone, though. There were no visible people within range. I had been scanning the cliffs on both sides of the valley for any signs of life or movement. There simply were none. But the valley floor...I just didn't know. I thought about the creepy sniper people who can blend seamlessly into their surroundings. And the last thing I wanted was some guy with a scope and way too much time on his hands staring at my pasty-white behind as I did my business.

Because no matter how much I wanted to convince myself that my little electrical circuit breaker and prickly brush were providing cover - sadly, they were not.

And I've only (to my knowledge) seen the creepy sniper people wearing their Ghillie suits once. It was during a bike ride on Camp Lejeune a few year's back... I was biking next to an open grassy field and suddenly - to my horror - there were six or seven figures rising from what should have been just a field, and walking out of the bordering woods. I nearly shat myself right there on the spot, and my riding partner just about fell off her bike.

At one moment nothing was there - the next... A cross between a Wookie and Swamp Figures were walking towards the road.

I knew if they were on Camp Lejeune, then they would most certainly be on Camp Pendleton. I just didn't know where.

But I also know that I really REALLY REALLY needed to go. In a very bad way. And that this spot - my broken-down circuit breaker and prickly bush - were my best possible option.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I started talking out-loud - just in case I wasn't alone.

I looked around, took a deep breath, and plead my case.

"Um...hello? My name is Marit, and there anyone there?"



Now if they were there, they were going to think I was crazy in addition to whatever else they were thinking. But I continued.

"You see... I'm doing this run, and um...there's no bathroom. And I really have to go. I know that if you people are out there in your funny suits, you're just doing your job...."

More silence. Super!

I kept talking, "But I really have to go. So - if you could please not look I would be grateful. If its worth anything, my husband is a Marine. And, um - okay, I don't know really if that makes a difference. I'm just, um, completely out of options. Well. Okay. Um - thanks."

I took another deep breath, while scanning the horizon for any signs of movement, life, or laughter in the bush. I concluded, "But if you ARE out here, you really shouldn't be out on a Sunday morning. Seriously. Okay - I'm going..."


With the record-breaking turd out of my system, I could finish my run in peace. My stomach felt better, my stride felt lighter, and I swear the grass was greener. And although I was mortified at what had happened - it was over and done with.

Next time, I'll need to plan accordingly. Or at least know that approximately 23 minutes into my run...there's a spot perfect for squatting. Other than that, all bets are off. Ghillie people or not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

10 Things that make me HAPPY!

Thanks Maria for tagging me - I hope everyone enjoys the list! Feel free to do one of your own (hint hint hint).

(In no particular order...)

1) Water - blue, gray, chlorinated, long as I'm not on the menu (read: JAWS), I'm happy to swim anywhere...but even walking/running along the ocean, near a lake - I've always been drawn towards it.Kona waters.

2a)Kindness - people doing nice things for other people. It restores my faith that there is goodness in the world. To add to that - Doing things for the right reason, not because anyone is watching - but because its the right thing to do. Don't really know if this is a category, but it suites me.

2b)Helping others - seeing people stopping the cars (or workouts) to help turtles. I mean - I'm sure the turtle doesn't want to be in the middle of the road in the first place. But getting an extra 'lift' is always nice. But people helping others counts in my book. I suppose this could go under kindness as well... Hhhmmmm......

Kitties count also! -
Me with Anabelle at the Santa Rosa Vet Clinic, before we officially adopted her. But I knew - even as I was driving with that injured kitten in our car after finding her during a long ride in rural Florida - that we would have to welcome her to our home. How could we not?

3) Being outdoors - especially with people that I love. Well, with friends in general. I won't discriminate... Hiking with Nathaniel tops the list - by far.Volcan Mountain, CA.

4)Reading a really Really REALLY can't-put-it-down-because-its-so-great book (even if it is hijacked by Tabbitha and too-much-laundry). My book club just finished "The Help" by Kathryn Sockett, and it was fantastic. And yes, I will loose sleep in order to read (and sometimes write. Yes - my blog posts can get a bit, errr, long).

5) Training - I love it...most of the time. Racing goes up there as well - which is why I'm SO HAPPY to be doing more short course and intense stuff this year.And YES, that IS a Camelbak that I'm wearing. But in my defense it was 93 degrees with something like 90% humidity. The wonders of the Gulf Coast in mid-May. Joy!

6) The House Monsters - especially when they get along so well with each other.

7) Nathaniel home from deployments. Well, Nathaniel home in general. Actually - NATHANIEL! I suppose this is good, because we are married - after all. But reuniting with him after a deployment is always special.North Carolina, 2004.

8) Cake. 'Nuff said. (Oh - but this was SERIOUSLY the best cake ever. My sister-in-law made it for me after was the first thing she showed me when Nathaniel and I walked into her home. Delicious - THANK YOU BETHANY!!!)

9) Spending time with family and friends that I don't get to see very often. I miss Minnesota and Wisconsin especially - and the friends and family who are scattered across the states (and overseas!)Nathaniel, myself, Mom, the Little Sister, and Dad. Enjoying a pint in Victoria, BC!

10) Being creative and using my mind. Both with the silly and serious stuff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A (tad bit) Hypersensitive

Psy-cho-so-mat-ic: adj. 1. Relating to or concerned with the influence of the mind on the body, and the body on the mind, esp. with respect to disease. 2. Of or relating to a disorder having physical manifestations but originating from mental or emotional causes. -noun One who experiences bodily symptoms because of mental conflict -psy'cho-so-mat'i-cal-ly adv.

-Webster's II New College Dictionary, third edition.

Just wanted to clear that up, in case you were wondering. The definition is important later on - so keep that little nugget of information tucked away but easily accessible.

Today I ran outside. WOO HOO!!!

It was my first run since pulling out of my early-season 5k due to anterior tibial pain and since developing my third sinus infection within 11 months. Yuck. Thankfully my sinuses are gradually clearing, and after plenty of 1) rest 2) ice 3) compression 4) elevation 5) awesome deep tissue massage therapy by Lisa 6) non-running activities that mimic running, including elliptical and 7) Aleve - my leg felt...


After nearly two weeks of not running and hearing about Nathaniel's mostly-good running exploits, I had had enough. I missed the feel - you know what I mean? That sensation of floating along, comfortable with yourself and your effort level, pushing through the tough bits and growing in the process...and when things get hard and uncomfortable, knowing that you can push back and get stronger.

Okay, okay - granted not every run has a Eutopian essence, but you get the idea. Heck, I even missed the sweaty-breath-heaving-legs-quivering-heart-rate-through-your-mouth-this-sucks!-feeling. I just missed running.

With a 45-minute run on my today's training schedule and some fun :45 second sprints and 5-minute builds thrown in for good measure, I knew that I at least had to try.

This workout was not made for the elliptical. No, my friends - this was made for dirt-packed, tree-laden, lakeside trails. And I knew just the spot. Lovely Lake O'Neil.

I figured that IF at the onset of ANY pain, ANY discomfort, ANY weird unnatural feeling AT ALL, I would: STOP, walk back to my car, and drive to the gym. The risk of further injury just wasn't worth it - and at least by completing the workout on the elliptical, I could get some sort of benefit (even if it wasn't exactly what I wanted).

After parking, fidgeting with my shoe, using the bathroom, fidgeting with my other shoe, I was off. I figured that every few minutes, I would assess how my leg felt, check the rest of my person, and most important of all - LISTEN to what my body was trying to tell me. Deep down I was afraid that because I wanted - so much - for everything to be okay, I wouldn't immediately recognize that anything was wrong.

So there I was...




I figured it was time for an assessment. Okay - legs - good! Ankles were a little tight to start, but are gradually unstiffening themselves. Posture feels good, stride is opening up, head is upright, shoulders are back... and legs feel - well, great!


I've got this thing beat!

And then I looked at my watch, startled to see that only :44 seconds had passed. Seriously. For real.

Oh well.

So I resigned myself to assess a little less often - but in spite of my best efforts, I kept thinking about my right lower leg, convinced that any slight niggle, any little feeling was an indicator of the catastrophe that would soon come to pass. In reality, I because hypersensitive to my leg.

2:30 into my run, I did another assessment... everything seemed fine. And then right around 4:04 - same thing, with the same result. Rounding the 7:00 mark was huge for me - because on January 11th, I couldn't run for seven minutes without having to stop and stretch. 9 minutes passed - all uneventful.

But still, I was wary - convinced that at ANY MOMENT, my leg would just suddenly seize up and the rest of my workout would be spent begrudgingly on the elliptical.

I was getting inside of my own head. Or my leg was getting inside of my head. Or my head was getting in the way of my leg and my leg was fine but my head didn't know that and my leg was happy to be running and was reacting the way a normal leg should when it engages in activity, but my head was so sensitive to any bit that my leg started feeling...funny.

Ever had that happen to you?

Then at 10 minutes, something interesting happened: the trail that I was running on was no longer accessible, as Lake O'Neil had flooded its banks. And sure - I could slog through the standing water and make my way to the other side (and for a while, I did balance precariously on the edge of the high grass and flooded trail). But the thought of sloshing through several inches of standing water and running with soaking wet feet for the final 35 minutes of my run - did NOT sound fun.

Trust me when I say - nothing about cold, wet, heavy-feeling feet is fun.

But the obstacle of navigating the flooded trail proved enough distraction that for several glorious moments, I was not thinking about or aware of anything dealing with my leg. I was just a runner, slightly perturbed by a flooded trail.

As building a raft wasn't feasible and we already know how I feel about wet feet, I decided to turn around and double back to the car. I started running, while my mind was abuzz with what to do and how to finish the run... I don't mind monotony and I figured I could repeat my loop a second time to make 40 minutes. I would have to run past the car a few minutes and then double back from a different direction to finish my cool down - but overall, it would work out.

And it would provide the surface that was ideal for my-

Then it hit me.

In the few minutes that I had taken away the focus from my leg and thought about something else - my leg had felt... fine.

No problems.

No twinges.

No weird pain.

Maybe a little swollen - but totally...normal.

And that made me happy.

So for the rest of my run, I thought about everything except my leg. Sure, I paid attention to it, but it wasn't the focus.

I admired the scenery - the wet leaves on the hard-packed sand...the way the wind skimmed the surface of the water... the sound of the ducks, quacking happily away in the reeds...the sound of my breathing during the FAST parts...the pat-pat-pat-pat of my foot strikes on the hard packed dirt...the feeling of the air over my skin and how the sweat trickled down the sides of my face...the taste of salt on my lips, and how it burned my eyes slightly during my 5-minute build...

I thought of everything but the pain in my leg.

And that made all the difference.

In the end it was not just a good run - but a GREAT one. And I realized that whatever happens with my body - be it sinus infections, coughs, colds, or unexplained muscle pains - will happen. But that doesn't mean I have to change how I view the world while I'm outside training in it. In the beginning I was so caught up with the 'what if' that I forgot to stop and just 'enjoy'.

I'll still be aware of my body, leg - and how everything is feeling - YES. But I won't loose sight of why I'm out there in the first place. And I can't wait to go back and do it again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday in Carlsbad

The sun has finally arrived in San Diego, after five days of constant rain. And though I love a great shower now and the third or fourth day of incessant pouring, I was relieved to finally see the sun. Sure, I know that it's always there...but in my cold/congestion/coughing state, feeling the rays make all the difference.

Today I put training on hold (again!), and spent the day enjoying the large surf, sun, and downtown Carlsbad sights with my Other Half. Yes, I'm definitely feeling the effects of no working out, and I can't wait to return to the activities that I love.

Tomorrow is looking super as well - if I feel up for it in the morning, I'll spin easy on the trainer for the first time in just over a week and later I'm hosting book club at my place. Thankfully the congestion is clearing and I'm coughing less and less (fingers crossed, knock on wood!)

Okay, okay - I never said my life was super exciting... But it is, what it is - and I'm looking forward to it.

Good times! Here's hoping to a cheery Sunday wherever you are.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10+ Reasons...

10+ reasons why the apocalypse could happen at any moment:

1) Thunder and Lightning in Carlsbad, CA. For real.

2) Today, I dissected my HR monitor strap and replaced the battery. It involved an exacto knife, RTV Silicone glue, and more patience than I thought possible. The instructions are here, and they weren't too bad. Then again, I'm still waiting to test my work. I'll keep you posted.

3) Sinusitis has gravitated towards my...chest? So I may actually be dealing with...the common cold. But I'm still not taking any chances, and neither is my doctor.

4)Nathaniel's flights have been canceled two days in a row due to...lightning and inclement weather. Not since flight school in Florida (way back in 2008) has this happened.

5)Anabelle is a lesbian kitty, based on the attention she is giving to Tabbitha. Frankly, I could care less - if that's what makes Anabelle happy, then great. Tabbitha, on the other hand, seems to be greatly offended by Anabelle's advances. We're still working that one out.

6) I am swapping out an early season Half marathon for a 5k, and switching a mid-season Half Ironman for a Sprint Triathlon. Shorter, faster = BETTER! Something I would have never done in the past...but...I sort it (whispered). And am REALLY excited to exchange long-distance for FAST. I'm just waiting...waiting....waiting.... Ugh.

(At least I WANT to train! And am excited about it too! YEA!)

7) I am sooo behind on my blog reading. Ugh. And I'm carrying the guilt associated with that. Usually I'm really good about reading - and trying to respond - but ever since the whirlwind that was The Holidays, I've been "off". Can I blame Wisconsin and Minnesota? Yes, that's just what I'll do. At least until I feel better.

8) I'm actually curious about what happens on the Housewives of Orange County (blaming my cold, blaming the meds, blaming my morbid curiosity - NO! Blaming my cold...blaming the nyquil...)

9) The Awful Beet Salad I made yesterday (while destroying three perfectly good apples in the process), actually tastes kind But I still hate beets. Just the salad - well - it wasn't so bad. Bright pink, yes. But not revolting.

10) I ordered 3 bathing suits from Splish - THANK YOU Grab-Bag-Sale! Usually I'll only splurge on one or two suits...but three...? Now I really DO need to get my butt back in the pool. And luckily I'll be sporting cute swim suites (hopefully - they are grab bag, after all) in the process!

(PS) - One more!

11) Nathaniel's ring tone sounds like something out of the X-files. Creepy. I've never not liked a ring tone, yet I find myself reacting every time the bleeding thing goes off. Suddenly I miss his old "Ride of the Valkyries" tone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Going with the flow.

Today I tried a few new things. And for your viewing pleasure, I've included a few pictures. Just to give you a better idea...

1) I ruined 3 of these....

by adding this...

Sure, the salad wasn't exactly how I envisioned it. And yes, everything turned alarmingly pink. didn't taste horrible. But. Um... As Nathaniel put it, "It was...edible."

Even the scallions and radishes didn't help. Sure the Apple-Beet salad sounded interesting, and I'm sure the salad creator had good intentions. But if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Enough said.

2) The flour substitute. Viola:

After (what felt like H.O.U.R.S - but was really less than 50 minutes of time-in-store) grocery shopping, then navigating the rain, dashing out for a forgotten ingredient (16 oz frozen corn - bastard!), unpacking everything, gathering more ingredients, cutting the pork tenderloin into pieces, turning on the stove...I realized that I had absolutely no flour.


Zip. Zero. Zilch.

And sure enough, the recipe called for flour.

Maybe I could...(whispered) skip the flour?

Yes, I'll improvise - to the best of my ability. But when it comes to meat and new recipes...I'll try to follow to the "T". I'm just too afraid of poisoning myself, my family, or my friends to deviate too much. And a third trip to the store just didn't sounds all that enticing.

So I coated the uncooked pork cubes in...Blueberry Pancake Mix.

I figured that there had to be flour in the recipe...along with a few other things. And even if a few random blueberries made their way into our Southwestern Pork Stew...well, all the healthier for us. Yeah...

And in the end, we didn't really even taste the blueberries. Although - I did catch a whiff of pancake-like-smell emanating from the skillet.

3) The Onion Goggles.

Last Christmas, I gleefully got the "Onion Goggles" in my Mom's famous 'Christmas Kitchen Draw."

What are Onion Goggles?

Glad you asked...

Chopping onions has never been my forte. Not because I'm not good at chopping things - I can assure you (even though I take my time), I am. However, when my eyes are tearing up and I've got snot quivering on the edge of my nose, I've always harbored a fear of chopping off my finger.


And that would just be bad.

So - the glasses. Yes. They DO work! There were no tears, plenty of diced onions...and all my digits remained intact! Success!!

You want proof that I wore them?

Not a chance, my friends. Not a chance.

But I will share the foam-enforced siding...wonderful.

4) The Neti Pot.

This has been in the making for a while...

Now that I'm dealing with my third sinus infection in 12 months, I think its time... I've avoided the thing for years, because the thought of pouring water through my sinus cavities sounds just, well, yucky.

I don't even like getting water up my nose while flip turning - and that's something that I can't help during Master's Swim Practice.

Pouring - what appears to be an evil teapot - into one nostril while the saline-solution water pours out the other...


But I did it, because I'm committed to getting better, getting rid of my sinus infection, and back on the road to recovery. And a Marit who is training is a Happy Marit. And a Happy Marit makes life a lot easier for those living in Marit's household.

Including this Monster -

Unfortunately, during my first endeavor with the Neti Pot, I had an audience. I told Nathaniel to LOOK AWAY! But - to my horror - he didn't, and instead commented, "Oh MY GOD! Is it supposed to look like that? I can't look away!"

Which didn't help me at all - because if its one thing I learned while using the Neti Pot... if you don't want the back of your throat to burn with the saline solution - don't laugh.

And when your Other Half is standing - appalled, but unable to turn away - mere feet from your person, while you flush your sinus cavity with lukewarm've got to find humor in the situation.

I did.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow? I DO have a meeting with my doctor, bright and early to address my sinusitis. Hopefully we can nip this thing in the bud and clear out my system. Otherwise, I may go back to chopping onions sans Onion Goggles, in an effort to kill the bacteria with onion fumes.

And when that happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Again...yes, again.

Well, if there's one thing that's good about the predicted record-setting rainfall here in (traditionally) Sunny San Diego - is that the weather matches my current state-of-health.

The good news: I'm not running and allowing my calf to heal.

The bad news: I'm not running and allowing my calf to heal because I'm acquired another sinus infection. Without a doubt, I am allergic to Ironman. "Ironmanitis"...seriously. That's me.

Last year I developed sinusitis around this I suppose it's par for the course that the same thing happens this year.

Oh well.

The good news, no GREAT news - is that come September and October I won't be burnt out or anything (please please please fingers crossed!!). When I reflect back to the shape I was in last year at this time...and that I felt my strongest right around late June's Ironman Coeur d'Alene, well, that makes me (somewhat) happy for my intended late-season schedule.

Getting sick is just a part of life. Could I have done thing differently last week? Absolutely. But dwelling on the past now, is futile. Sure, I'm upset - and I keep going back and forth between resolved to accept my being sick to ANGRY that this is happening, again.

But at the end of the day, it is what it is, and all I can do is focus on the positive and getting better as soon as possible. And it could be worse - much worse. At the end of the day, I'm (mostly) healthy, happy, am surrounded by love and support, and grateful for the many wonderful people and things in my life.

(Excuse me while I blow my nose).


So - no swimming for the next week, while I allow my sinus passages to clear out. I've been granted permission to spin easy on the trainer (because facing the rainy and windy onslaught outside does NOT sound fun) long as 1) I'm not feverish 2) my sinuses aren't throbbing and 3) I'm not blowing out the traditional, well...crap from my nose. (sorry for the graphic details).

So, that's about it. For real.

I'm just hanging in there, thinking healthy/healing vibes and trying to not panic. And for everyone "out there" going through their own bouts of cold/flu/sinus/yucky-unnamed illness, all I can say is hang in there, be patient, be kind to yourself, and if in doubt...skip the zone 8z workout.

Priorities my friends, priorities.

So with that, I'm off to watch a movie with Nathaniel. He's amicably agreed to watch "Julie and Julia" with me - but don't tell him I said anything. It was, after all, his idea.

Oops... I suppose I was supposed to keep that under wraps as well.

First, though - gotta find the Kleenex. The stuff with lotion...golden.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Insanity Workout.

*First of all - THANK YOU for all of the kind comments and wonderful support after the DNS 5k. It was greatly appreciated - especially to Julia. Just awesome!*

I was at the gym the other day.

(Yes, its okay to laugh).

No really, I was at the gym the other day. And today - just in case you were curious. But that's beside the point. In an effort to move from Ironman + Endurance + Long + Slower (compared to Short Course Fast) to Short Course Power + Speed + Strength + FAST, Jen has given me a new strength training routine.

I LOVE it!

And yes, I'm sore. Absolutely, my legs, arms, abs, butt and everything in between hurts today. And I'm pretty sure if I coughed, it would get ugly.

But the truth of the matter, is that Jen's workout was GREAT, it kicked my rear, and I'm excited to see my strength and power evolve. Between the plethora of squats, jumps, BOSU ball work, core, and strength machines involved - I put myself wholeheartedly into my training session.

That being said....

If you ever want to feel like a weak, pathetic slug - complete your training next to someone doing a workout called 'Insanity'.

Somewhere in the middle of my BOSU V-sit and Leg lifts, a Marine walked into the aerobics gym (rarely used because it holds medicine balls, Swedish Balls, free weights, mats, chords, and NO machines. It is hardly ever populated with others; which is why I love working in there. Hey - when you're as uncoordinated as I am, balancing precariously on the Swedish Ball with curious onlookers is a recipe for disaster. Trust me; I'm speaking from experience.) I can only assume he was a Marine because 1) I was working out on Camp Pendleton 2) He had extremely short hair 3) His green shirt proclaimed 'Marine!'.

Yes, I can be a Master when it comes to the Powers of Observation.

With a quick glance my way and the briefest of nods, he set his i-phone, towel, water bottle, and plastic bag next to the floor to ceiling mirrors and...put on a...headband?


I felt like saying, "Excuse me...? Do you mind of I interrupt my V-sit to stare? I think what you're wearing went out of fashion sometime in the 1980s. Although it is popular with Aerobics Instructors throughout the world..."

But I was a good girl, and I didn't.

But I still though it odd; this very hard-core and nearly bald (for all practical purposes) Marine - openly wearing a white, fuzzy headband.

I shook my head and went back to my V-sit.

And that's when it happened.

He pressed a button on his i-phone, and started moving very quickly. Not 'human' fast - but think 'Superman' fast. His cadence must have been in excess of 150 steps per minute, but he was also doing really weird things with his arms.

It was very difficult, actually - to focus on holding my V-Sit while Rambo next to me did his thing.

I peeked in the mirror, careful to not be too obvious, and watched him work. Before too long he was gasping for air, lifting his knees higher and higher while his arms moved first in circles, then from side to side. I tried to get an idea of how long he would spend doing one type of exercise, but he was moving so quickly from one to another - I soon lost count.

His arms became a blur, while his feet seemed to dance to a mad pattern that held no rhyme or reason. The panting grew to an alarming pitch, and I felt the need to look away. It was embarrassing, actually. He could have provided the sound effects for a sleazy porn flick - not that I know anything about that. I'm just assuming, you see?

Every 10 or 15 seconds he would quickly change to another pattern of exercise and work feverishly away...until the next change.

Up, down, left, right, jumps, skips, back on the ground, high knees, more jumps, higher jumps, groans, funny arm movements... he did it all, and at a superhuman pace!

And with a straight face, to boot. Actually, the guy looked like he was in agony. Sounded like it too.

My V-Sit, which had initially felt so hard core and challenging (hey! I got my legs off the ground and I'm supporting my own weight! Yea! AND I didn't roll over or laugh - we have a winner here!), suddenly felt like small potatoes compared to my energized neighbor.

I swear, the guy was wearing a battery pack; there's no other explanation.

After 15 or 20 minutes he stopped.

I was actually alarmed - morbidly curious about his heart rate. I didn't think it would be possible to sustain life much longer with that type of energy.

Sweat had pooled on the ground below him, and the mirror near his station was covered in droplets of the stuff. His white headband now had a saturated glow, and his rasping, ragged breath didn't decrease with the halt in performance. I was just about to comment when I noticed him taking his pulse and staring pointedly at the clock.

It was crazy...absolutely nuts. Certifiable, in fact. Which is why the name of the workout - which I learned to my great amusement later - fit perfectly.

I let him do is thing -

Until I could take it no longer. I had to open my big fat mouth.

"What WAS that? Are you okay? Really - that doesn't seem normal!" I blurted out just as he caught me starting.

"The workout is called 'Insanity'. I'm about 1/3 done, but I don't know if I can do any more," he admitted.

I just stared.


Wasn't that, like, Susan Powers back in the '80s? I KNEW that headband was there for a reason...

But no matter. I went on to complete my strength workout while he continued on his road to Insanity...

When I left the aerobics room a few minutes later, he was at it again - frenzied breathing and high tempo-steps and all.

But in the end, I had to hand it to him. There he was - doing HIS workout, pushing himself to new limits. He was active, he was in shape, and though his breathing resembled something out of an x-rated movie, he was putting himself out there and staying fit and healthy.

Isn't that what we all do? Yes, my breathing is ragged at times, and yes - some people think that what I do (with Ironman or even running in sub zero temperatures) is nuts. But it keeps me happy, healthy, and at the end of the day - it keeps me, me.

So I'll stick with the swim-bike-run, while this guy goes Insane. As long as we can meet in the middle and respect each others workouts, then the fitness world will be a better place. Because at least we're out there, pursuing our dreams and enriching our lives.

However insane the task may be.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The DNS 5k Experience

(Did Not Start, in case you were wondering).

Sometimes it’s the tough choices that are the most difficult to make. Fear, worry and even uncertainty will linger in our minds, long after the decision has been finalized. In the end though, we choose our own course of action, and must ultimately live with the consequences.

Okay, so I’ll admit: that’s a little deep, even for me.

But today I did something completely new and very unexpected: I withdrew from the 5k race less than ten minutes before its start time.

And trust me when I say, that a decision like that is not made lightly – especially after the early wake up, the drinking of Ensure (yuck!), 30-minute drive to the race site (with Nathaniel and my Dad – two great sports and supporters throughout the process), registration and then the disastrous warm up. Yes, there were a few tears…but they flowed freely out of frustration at my predicament.

My lower right leg doesn’t feel quite right.

It’s my own damn fault; immediately after Kona, I should have gotten a massage and worked out the post-Ironman kinks. But I didn’t…I was cheap and I got sick. I figured the time off would solve all ailments and though my legs were tight when I initially started training in December, it wasn’t anything that had me particularly worried.

The bike test kicked my ass, though.

I suppose that every little micro-muscular tear, every single bit of scar tissue, everything that had been painful post-Kona and ignored came screaming agonizingly to the surface during my 30-minute LT Bike Test. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments that haven’t been worked in a while were suddenly willed to perform at their max effort. While I powered through the test, painfully aware of my throbbing lower extremity, I was forced to come to a grinding halt during my attempted 30-minute transition run.

My leg looked swollen – a reverse cankle, if you may. I was oddly fascinated and disgusted at the same time.

Luckily my ART Therapist managed to see me both Wednesday and Friday (ouch ouch ouch), but even he noticed the swelling and was careful to manipulate around my outer calf muscles and tendons.

Which brings me to today.

I’ve never gone to a race, signed up, and THEN pulled out 10 minutes before the gun goes off. I just don’t do that. When I decide to do something, I do it. Period.

But…I’ve also done a lot of stupid things in my life (I’ll freely admit that). Belly button piercing at 17, biking without a helmet, and once setting fire to my down comforter while trying to put the moves on my future husband (candles should be outlawed if you are less than 21 and slightly inebriated).

However, while running my race warm-up I noticed the same burning and throbbing sensation in my leg that I felt during my previous few runs, I knew that running a max-effort 5k race would be the stupidest of them all. My pace felt great; but my leg just wasn’t right. And though it was a very bitter and tough pill for me to swallow – I knew that pulling out of the race was the RIGHT choice to make.

Because at the end of the day, I know myself and I know the kind of athlete I am: I KNOW there will be pain and discomfort during a race, but I always push it aside. Its one thing to arrive at a start line, fired up and READY to go. It’s completely different when you add those emotions to a body part that’s not working the way it should (or that you expect it to).

As disappointed as I was, I knew it was the right thing to do.

I ran for exactly 6:38 – until I could no longer stand the tightness – stretched for a few minutes, and then ran back to Nathaniel and Dad. I was gone for a whopping 14 minutes and five seconds. But my decision had already been made, in spite of the tears and indescribable pull towards racing regardless of my discomfort.

Oh well.

I would rather be smart and NOT race now, than damage myself further. And, after the fact, there is no doubt in my mind that running a max 5k for 20 or so minutes, would put me out of commission longer than I care to admit.


Even though it’s not the same – I totally respect any Mountaineer who can be within a matter of minutes from the Summit and turn around (for whatever reason…weather, mountain conditions, number of daylight hours left), thus forfeiting his or her chance of standing at the top. People loose lives climbing Everest, because they are SO fixated on reaching the summit… they forget that they have to come down as well.

In my 28 (almost 29!!) years of existence, I’m really proud of the choice I made today. It wasn’t easy, it certainly wasn’t fun…but it was the right thing to do. And I’m sure that – come late summer when I’m up to my ears in racing (knock on wood – YEA) – this will be a blip on the radar. A good experience for me to recall: where in spite of what I REALLY wanted to do, I listened to my body and, in the end, was better for having done it.

Yep, the right choices are sometimes the hardest to make. And though I feel a bit serious about the matter at hand, I’m really okay about the decision I made. Absolutely no regrets – none for today. I DO wish that I had gotten a massage post-Kona immediately after the race, and not waited for something to feel “off”. So I have only myself to blame.

In the mean time, me and my aggravated calf (along with the help of our good friend Motrin) will go back to the drawing board, sport the Compression Socks, and keep ourselves elevated and rested. Throw in a Mini or House Monster or two, and two doting guys (Nathaniel and Dad), and maybe demand fruity adult drinks be brought our way…today is looking all right…

Regardless, it will work out in the end. Of that I am sure.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sights and Sounds...

Currently, there is a plumber in my house, working feverishly to unclog the kitchen sink. Sure, the condo design flaw may have contributed to the drain’s demise – along with my propensity to throw too-many-vegetable-and-fruit-peelings into the garbage disposal (oh, sure, blame me for cooking healthy. I'd rather the carrot clog my kitchen sink than the Big Mac go after my heart)- but the events leading up to this exact moment are worth a thousand words. Hopefully it won’t take me that long to explain.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS I’ve encountered this past week….

SOUND: Mechanical snake whirring through my kitchen drains.
SIGHT: Plumber under the sink feeding said mechanical snake into the drains.

SOUND: Swearing.
SIGHT: Plumber’s white shirt no longer white.

SOUND: Mechanical snake coming to a grinding halt.
SIGHT: You don’t want to know.

Enough of that…

Other things I’ve encountered-

SOUND: Amtrak and Coaster Train horns blowing
SIGHT: My Dad jumping up and down to see said trains approach the station.

SOUND: Tabbitha’s snarl at Anabelle.
SIGHT: The Mini Monster chasing The House Monster out of the litter box, in (what I can only assume was) an attempt to watch the world’s largest kitty bm.

SOUND: The thud of the world’s largest kitty turd.
SIGHT: You don’t want to know.

SOUND: Jaws dropping in surprise.
SIGHT: My fellow Master’s swimmers gaping at the 10 X 200 mainset on x:xx interval the other day.

SOUND: The cracking of my ankle – the loudest one yet.
SIGHT: Me on my ART’s massage table, relieved because my ankle “cracked” for the first time since Kona. Seriously.

SOUND: Max Heart Rate – thud thud thud thud –
SIGHT: Me taking my 30 minute LT Bike test. My coach is evil and I gave her the mental middle finger at the end of my test.

SOUND: Me…gasping for air.
SIGHT: My reaction to discovering my max heart rate and average heart rate were separated by three beats on my test. Ouch. Double Ouch. Triple Ouch. You get the idea.

SOUND: Plumber sighing in exasperation at the contents of my drain pipes.
SIGHT: Plumber lecturing me about responsible garbage disposal usage.

SOUND: Screams of terror eminating from my person.
SIGHT: Me running away from (what seemed to be) a rabid gopher.

SOUND: Laughter of bystanders.
SIGHT: A befuddled me looking towards an overly large and extremely territorial squirrel.

SOUND: Comfortable shoes shuffling across marble floors.
SIGHT: Thousands of similarly-dressed historians at the AHA Conference in San Diego.

SOUND: Grinding halt of machinery. Exasperated sighs of the plumber. Something squishy sounding hitting the floor.
SIGHT: I’m too afraid to look.

SOUND: Many sighs, some gasps, and the sound of the mechanical snake being retracted.
SIGHT: (in the plumber’s words). Black gooey gunk, with a very lovely odor to it. For the record, I’m safely hidden from sight in the living room.

SOUND: the tinkling of Christmas Tree Ornaments.
SIGHT: Anabelle in the tree. Again. What else is new? I swear, that cat is a fake Christmas Tree Killer.

SOUND: More groans from the kitchen.
*Okay, now I feel downright sorry for the guy. If I had more of a heart, I would offer to help. But my stomach is the weak one of the pair…and I know that the overpriced sushi I ate for lunch will make a reappearance if I go anywhere NEAR the kitchen. But he’s really moaning and groaning… I hope he doesn’t pass out. Then that would be a REAL mess. At least its not crap, right..? (involuntary shudder).

SOUND: The Carlsbad Pool lifeguard asking if I was okay.
SIGHT: Me – gasping for air at the end of my swim test. For the record, I was okay. Just bareley.

SOUND: Tofu, sautéing in olive oil with a little bit of garlic.
SIGHT: Tofu Stir Fry…our household staple has returned.

SOUND: Gentlemen Jack (Whiskey) being poured into two Chrystal tumblers.
SIGHT: Dad and Nathaniel, enjoying a post-convention and post-work drink.

SOUND: The vacuum being used under the sink. Again.
SIGHT: The plumber trying to clean up the remnants….

Oy vay… this could be a long process. I can safely say – dear friends – that I’m happy you are NOT here to share my adventures. One annoyed plumber is enough for me, thank-you-very-much.

Tomorrow I’ve got a local 5k race to jump start my run “speed”. I laugh at that, mostly because Ironman killed any speed that I had, and I’ve done absolutely NO speedwork since, um…hhhmmmmm? Before Kona…? But no matter – I’m looking forward the race, and the opportunity to be FINISHED racing in less than 20 or 30 minutes. And it’s been a very long time since I could safely say that.

I think now I’ll go back to my plumber. He seems to be wrapping things up – at least I can hear pipes being screwed back into place, and the vacuum seems to have finally stopped. I’ll do my best to keep a straight face, but as I have a problem with laugher, I can make no guarantees. The other alternative is losing my lunch. And as I’m racing tomorrow morning, well – I would take laughter over the other any time. Regardless, it will be interesting…

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

If I never eat another Christmas Cookie, well, that’s okay.

However, I doubt that I’ll never swim another 200, let alone a Master’s swim workout comprised of 10 X 200. That would just be too much.

It WOULD just so happen (on my first day back at Masters Swimming since Ironman Hawaii back in October), that I would end up with a main set that would make even my former I’m-training-for-Ironman-and-therefore-just-bring-it-on fitness level pause for thought.

Repeats of 100s I can handle. They are hard, but they’re over relatively quickly. And anything above 300, I have the luxury of switching into my “cruise” mode: just hold tempo and swim like the fish you’re trying to emulate.

But 200s… Those are just, plain…awful.

I think I’m forgetting something, though. Oh yes…


Hello 2010! Greetings Friends! I hope the New Year (new decade – oh wow!) has greeted you well and with much happiness. And warmth! Can’t forget about that one…especially for all you snowy-cold-weather-type-people trapped in the doldrums of winter.


Can I just say that I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! (Statement, not a questions).


My last day in Minnesota, the temperature never went above Zero Degrees Fahrenheit. Zero degrees! And while running (outside) the previous day, it was One Degree. And no, that single degree didn’t even warrant an “s”. How depressing.

I tell you, after flying back to San Diego 59 degrees never felt so good.

But enough about that.

Did I mention Happy New Year?

2010 is looking to be an exciting one, with many adventures, good times, and changes-for-the-better on the horizon. I’m excited about racing, absolutely stoked that I’m not racing Ironman, and will do my best to keep things fun and in perspective. (Ahem. I can neither confirm nor deny if that was a New Year’s Resolution).

Today also marked my return to training in earnest – and by that I mean 1) following Jen’s schedule to the ‘T’ (even if it involves cruel and unusual forms of punishment dubbed “Triathlon Testing”) 2) updating my Training Peaks account (so Coach Jen can follow along while I rant and rave about the ghastliness of testing. Four-letter words are included at no extra charge) and 3) returning to “Normal (aka “Healthy”) Eating”.

Like I said before, I think I’ve developed an aversion to Christmas Cookies. And I know that its bad bad bad when Nathaniel complains that his thighs feel fat.

Knock me over with a feather: My husband just uttered four words that I NEVER thought I would hear. “My thighs feel fat.”

Welcome to my World.

But looking back, I have no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing. Time with my family over the holiday season was the best yet, and I’m grateful for the memories and moments. In the past, I’ve been intent on completing Every. Single. Workout. On. My. Schedule. (Even if it meant hopping on the trainer for a 3-hour ride at 4 am before Church and then running long in the afternoon. Yuck).

Instead this year, it was very laid back – I ran almost every day, let myself eat and drink whatever I wanted, and didn’t sweat the small stuff.



If it takes me nearly burning out from two Ironmans in one year to come to that conclusion, then sign me up again.

Just kidding.


No Ironman for 2010. Or 2011. After that…we’ll see. (But not likely).

But in all reality, I’m happy to be training again in earnest – even if it means suffering through a separate swim, bike, run assessment, and really looking forward to the 2010 season. I’m sure the decibel level in our condo will be on par to an airliner as I curse the end of my 30 minute bike test. But that’s tomorrow…. As for 2010 - It should be a good one, filled with short(er) races and good times. Who is excited?

Me, me, pick me!

Let's all come along!

Happy New Year to ALL!