The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Wall is NOT a Parking Lot

I was tired and I had a headache, but I went to Masters swim practice anyway. Usually, when I feel crappy, working out does wonders (if I can convince myself to go workout). So yesterday I got into the pool, hoping it would be a positive experience. Well, it wasn't. I had nothing. Zero. Nada. The coach reminded me that the wall is NOT a parking lot. I couldn't swim slow enough to get through 100 yards without hanging on the wall. Uggh. I finally got out and went home. Still had the headache. Oh well, I guess we are all entitled to "off" days. I will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

106 Miles, Mud Tracks and a Massage

(For starters, my friend Laurie is doing great. She is still in the hospital, but her surgery was very successful and she is starting to move around. Hopefully she will be coming home soon)

Today was the Harlem Valley Rail Ride, which has evolved into a getaway weekend for DH and me. I rode 106 miles over 2 days, which translates into almost 8 hours on a bike. During that time, I find my mind wandering and going in all directions. Much of the time, those thought are directed at life as a cyclist, past, present and future. But other random thoughts find their way into the mix:

Seems like I am going to have plenty of time to get to know the sweep. I'm faster than the lady in the yellow jersey...... damn, she's bailing, she's getting into the van. If Lance can climb for 6 miles up a mountain, then I can climb over this ridge. Where are those ladies going? Why do I do this? I could live in that house. Wish I knew more about flowers and birds. Who is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame tomorrow other than Ricky Henderson? I really need to pee. I really need to drink more water. I hope they have Fig Newtons at the rest stops. I like Blue Gatorade. Hmmmm, should I put on my rain vest? Glad I'm not riding 50 miles on a mountain bike. Wow, look at that, sheep! Woodstock was 40 years ago.

When it was all done, and we changed our clothes and packed up the bikes and the gear, I told DH I needed ice cream. We stopped in Amenia NY at a great little ice cream stand and I had a Mud Tracks cone (vanilla ice cream with chocolate pieces and tiny Reeses peanut butter cups. It was awesome. On the way home, DH mentioned that he was supposed to have a massage that evening and I knew that I wanted one too. Luckily Michele the massage therapist had time for 2 massages. After that, I was content to sit in front of the TV. I plan on getting into bed early. I could get used to this.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Prayer for Laurie

On Friday night we had a bookclub meeting. Laurie was a little late and she seemed a bit frazzled when she arrived. We asked her if she was OK and she proceeded to tell us that no, she is not okay. She has a benign brain tumor and is scheduled for neurosurgery on Wednesday morning. Her only symptom is a slight tremor in her left hand. She and her husband were "brought to their knees" after meeting with the surgeon, but have quickly gotten back up in order to deal with reality and all that needs to be done in a short amount of time. Although the doctor is optimistic, she understands the risks. She knows that the best outcome is that her life as she knows it is put on hold for 2 months; the worst is that she never wakes up. One of the remaining tasks for her is writing letters to her 2 sons, 19 and 16 years old, in case she doesn't wake up. We know she is in good hands and that in all likelihood, she will be fine. But I have thought of her often over the last few days, trying to picture her sitting down to write letters to her children because she might die on Wednesday. When we each went our own way on Friday evening, we all had our own thoughts but I am sure we all began we the same basic premise-- you never know, whether it's you or someone you love dearly. So make sure you cherish those people and the time you are together. Tell them how much you love them. And find beauty in everyday that you spend with them. I know Laurie lives her life this way. My prayer is that Laurie's lovelight will shine bright for many more years.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It Was HIS Idea

I got home late last night, starting the day in Syracuse, flying into LaGuardia Airport, driving to the gym, and running 4 miles. DH had already been home for a couple of hours. Our conversation went something like this:

DH: What do you want to do for dinner?
S: I don't know, is there anything in the frig?
DH: Not really....... want to go to Carvel?

We had hot fudge sundaes for dinner.
Yet another example of why I love the man.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Running Within

When I went to bike camp, we talked about "climbing within." You can't follow someone else up the hill, you have to do it yourself, find the gear and the pace that works for you. And sometimes you have to find your inner strength to take you to the top. Today I went running, and for whatever reason, I found the gear and the pace that worked for me and when I decided I was going to run another mile (to make it 4), I found the inner strength to get it done! I find running to be tough, mostly physically but also mentally. But today everything seemed to come together and I felt great. It was still tough, but I didn't seem to mind. I was running within instead of pounding the pavement and running around in circles (I was at the track). I wish I could figure out what came together to create this so I could potentially replicate it, but I think there was probably something that cannot be identified. But here are some of the parameters that did contribute to this experience-
It was about 7 pm, the sky was cloudy and it had cooled down into the 70s.
I was rested; hadn't worked out over the last 4 days.
I wasn't at all hungry (not sure why, I probably should have been).
The iPod-- I let the music take me and it kept me going.

Last week I had a conversation with Dave, someone I don't know very well (at last not yet). Dave loves music. He is single and he remarked that he finds it difficult to meet women who are "into music." I was astonished. I can't imagine not having music in my life. And I certainly can't imagine running without music. This evening the music and the running came together within me and carried me for 4 miles. I may be hurting tomorrow, but it will be worth it.

Monday, July 13, 2009


These are not GOBs in fancy dresses. These are my childhood friends. We grew up together in the Bronx. We're talking 40+ years of friendship. Three of us live fairly close to each other, but we still only manage to get together a few times a year, mostly on special occasions. Friday evening was one of those special occasions--Judy's daughter got married. We had the chance to catch up and eat and drink and dance and celebrate because life is good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Indoors and Outdoors

On Thursday I didn't feel like hanging around until 7:30 for Masters Swim, so I decided to do something I haven't done in months-- I took a spin class. During the Tour de France, all the spin classes at my gym "mimic" the tour. Thursday's wasn't a mountain stage but it was mostly uphill with sprints on the flats to break away from the peloton. It was fun for a change and I had the opportunity to make some observations.
1. Jacques-- the instructor-- ooh lala! how do you say eye candy in French?
2. I am much more comfortable on my road bike (sweet Dolce, you rock!)than on the spin bike.
3. Riding over 900 miles so far this season has payed off. I was working hard and my heart rate was relatively low. I really had to kick it up 2 or 3 notches to get my heart rate into the strength zone. And as soon as I laid off, my heart rate came down very quickly. Seems I am in good shape, aerobically (then why is swimming 25 yards a killer?).

On Friday I somehow managed to pull this off-- it took some real planning but I didn't forget anything or leave anything behind, so I got it right. I had to get my car inspected, so I threw my bike in the car, dropped off the car, rode to the gym, let my personal trainer beat me up, then I went for a nice ride. Even though I tried to keep it relatively flat, it seems like I did an awful lot of climbing. But if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. I stopped for a lovely lunch and took some photos along the way. When my car was ready, I made my way back, picked up my car, picked up whatever I had left at the gym, and drove my newly inspected car home. Then I ran a few errands and got ready to go to a wedding! More about that later.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Change

When I saw the gynecologist in March, I had not gotten my period in 3 months, and my symptoms of menopause had increased. She ordered blood work in order to ""see where you're at." She called me a week later to tell me that I was done. Well, she said, "it could happen, but I would be very surprised if you got your period." My symptoms subsided almost immediately after that, and I got my period a few weeks later. Aftr I had mentally gotten over the hurdle of being "old," I got slammed. Now my period won't go away, and my symptoms are escalating again. For a while it was one or the other, now it's both. I really wish my body would make up its mind! It's making me hot and sweaty and tired and grumpy. And I don't like being those things, especially tired and grumpy.But i guess I have to HTFU, because I don't really have a choice, do I?

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The theme for the 3 day weekend was go out for a bike ride, then go to a party. Each day featured a 30ish mile ride and hamburgers and hotdogs, but each event was also unique and had different footprints.

On Friday, I led a club ride named "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"in honor of the King of Pop. One of my GOBs, Jill, broke her foot 2 months ago and hasn't been able to ride. She's finally back on 2 wheels, but she doesn't have the endurance or the speed that the other GOBs and friends have at this point in the season. But she was determined not to stop until she got enough. She wore herself out but she made it! DH went on a different ride with a few friends, one of whom owns a million dollar home on Winged Foot Golf Club. This is a very exclusive club-- the US Open has been played there many times, most recently in 2006. They have fireworks every year so he had a big BBQ/party for his friends and family and his kids friends. So there was an interesting mix of young and old people wandering through the backyard onto the 10th tee. When it got dark, we walked onto the golf course and watched a great fireworks show. It was really awesome! On a scale of 1-10, 7 for the ride, 6 for the food, and 9 for the party/fireworks. Total of 22 points.

On Saturday I went out for the easy ride, but we were a small group and we were able to ride at a faster pace than advertised. It was a beautiful day, the first really beautiful day in a very long time. You could actually FEEL the sun. In the late afternoon we headed over to GOB Judy's lake house for a potluck BBQ. DH took advantage of the lake to do an open water swim, since he is scheduled for a triathlon next month. I am the designated paddler when he swims. I do NOT let him swim unless accompanied by a boat. He had a crappy swim but we had a lovely time at the party. Ride gets 8 points, 8 for the food, and 8 for the party (really nice people and awesome location) for 24 points.

Sunday was the club's July 4th shindig at the John Jay Heritage Center-- a perfect place to have an event celebrating the birth of our nation! GOB Jill wanted to do the 31 mile C ride but was concerned about not being able to keep up. So I told her it was time to HTFU (Harden the F*&k Up), but I would cut her a little slack by starting a little earlier to get a head start. This turned out to be a perfect strategy. A few other riders joined us on our slower paced journey and I enjoyed the smaller group and the easier pace. It was another beautiful day (that's 2 in a row!). After the rides we had a giant pot luck lunch and BBQ, and the food was fantastic! There were so many different and delicious salads and desserts, and so many people to spend time with-- old members, new members, fast riders, slow riders. The ride gets 8 points, the food gets 9 points (for diversity and deliciousness) and the party gets 9 (for getting over 100 club members in the same place to share a meal and the historic location). So 26 points! and the trophy for the best holiday weekend ride+party.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I HAD a fairly gnarly scab on my elbow from the road rash I incurred when I fell off my bike on my Hamilton ride. Over th last few days its been getting smaller as little fragments kinda chipped off around the edges. Last night when I got in the pool, the remaining scab got all soft and well, I'm pretty sure I left my scab in the hot tub. Eeeeeeew. I know, it kinda grosses me out too.

Pool Love

I went swimming last night! It's been about 2 months since an inflamed shoulder forced me out of the pool. The doctor told me to take it slow, so I only did about half of the workout, but you have to start somewhere. I really felt like I was starting from scratch. I had to think about everything and it was very difficult to put it together. Breathing, arms, rolling to the air, kicking, timing. And then there's just the sense of not having the ability to kick it up a notch and survive. Right now I have 2 speeds-- slow and really slow. But the good news is that I did not have even the slightest twinge in my shoulder (although I did sense that my right shoulder is not as strong as my left) and it just felt great to be moving through the water. I feel fine this morning. My shoulders and arms aren't sore but I do feel like I did something last night. My back is a little sore, all those little core muscles are waking up. More pool love scheduled for tomorrow.