The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Friday, December 31, 2010

Fav Fotos

I wasn't as committed to my camera this year as in years past. Instead of doing a photo a month, here are just a dozen of my favorites, in no particular order. Some are just really nice photos and some are relevant to my life in 2010.

Shout Out to the Huskies

The UConn Huskies Women's Basketball Team lost to Stanford last night, ending their winning streak at 90 games. The last game they lost was to Stanford in the NCAA Finals, on April 6, 2008. And so, Stanford has become the "bookends" of their record-breaking win streak.
Their 89th win broke the record for consecutive wins in Division I Basketball. For a few moments, the sports world focused on women's sports, largely because they broke the record that had been set by a men's team. Their amazing feat was the result of hard work, perseverance, great coaching, and of course, talent. And Title IX. The 1972 law forbids discrimination in funding of athletic programs in public schools. Since then, there has been a tenfold increase in the number of girls playing high school sports. The number of women athletes receiving college scholarships has increased dramatically. I love to see girls and women involved in sports, being athletic and strong. It wasn't that way when I was growing up, and I think women of my generation reflect that in their overall health and fitness and their attitudes.
Maya Moore and her teammates inspire me to work harder and do more, and not only at the gym. I hope they inspire many more girls and women to reach higher, in sports and in life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Search of Endorphins

I am looking forward to the end of 2010. I feel like I have been marching in place for the past 6 months, ever since my bike crash. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. I have really been struggling to get moving, and have had little motivation to do much of anything. I have come up with some wonderful excuses for why I can't do this or that. Enough. I have been thinking about it and trying to find "something" to get my engine into gear. Do I need another triathlon or other event on my calendar? What about getting rid of the extra 10 pounds The Change has brought? And yes, while I want these things to happen, the bottom line is I just need to be healthy. I know what I have to do and I know that if I do it, I will feel better, look better and be happier. I need those endorphins! That's my goal for 2011, to flood myself with endorphins by getting all the pieces to fall into place. I found this on this website: The journey is all. The destination is beside the point.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On My Mind

My boys are home from college. That means buying and preparing large quantities of food. Often their friends are in the house as well. I love having my children home and I love seeing their friends. My secret (its really not a secret) to keeping them and their friends coming through the house is to feed them well! So I have been spending more time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning up. The boys are pretty good about helping with the clean up part too. Today I made 2 large trays of ziti, tomorrow it will be ribs and a couple of chickens. I try to freeze portions, so I can send them back to school with good home-cooked meals.

Since they left for college, I appreciate the holidays more when we can spend time together. I love preparing a dinner so we can all sit down around the table and share that time together. It's the simple things that bring so much happiness.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Brought To My Knees

About a month ago, I went for a beautiful bike ride with some friends. We rode about 30 miles, then we had lunch at this very fancy garden/interior design center. Very funky. They set up a big table for us in the greenhouse. A few people couldn't ride but they met up with us for lunch. Lynne was one of them. We had a wonderful time, just talking and looking around at the beautiful plants and flowers and art. We were all sharing stories, laughing, and just enjoying the afternoon. I felt so alive, so connected to the world, after spending the morning rolling up and down the hills on my bike and then shmoozing with this wonderful family of friends.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lynne took her life, jumping off the Tappen Zee bridge. No one saw it coming, no one knew she was in this dark place, so dark that she couldn't see any light and chose to end all the pain. We have been brought to our knees, wondering how we could have missed it, why didn't she ask for help......... so many questions for which there are no answers.

I called my children and told them I loved them. I called my mom to tell her I love her. I gave my husband a big hug and a kiss. I love my life and the people that surround me. I am so grateful for everything.

Rest in peace, Lynne.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cupcakes and Bare Trees

On Saturday, a big group of my cycling friends helped Katie celebrate
her birthday. She always plans a bike ride and a party for her
birthday. This year she planned a ride from SUNY Purchase, followed
by a tailgate party. She brought cupcakes and a cooler filled with
beer. She invited others to post rides from the same location, trying
to coordinate the rides so they all got back at about the same time.
So on a breezy cool November day, small groups of cyclists rode off in
different directions, and when we returned, about 60 of us pulled an
assortment of food and beverages out of our cars, gathered around
Katie and danced around the parking lot drinking beer and eating
cupcakes and lots of other goodies. It was more than a birthday
celebration. It was a celebration of the beauty that can be found in
all the seasons; the joy of sharing the experience with good people.
We decided we need to celebrate more often. It's always somebody's

Whenever I lead rides for the club, I name them using song titles.
This ride was Bare Trees, the title song from the Fleetwood Mac album
released in 1972. We rode to Usonia, a community of about 40 homes in
Pleasantville NY designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed the
community, planned the roads and the building lots. He also designed
three of the homes; the rest were designed by his students. They are
all built into the hills and the ridges, blending into the landscape.
It is much easier to see them and appreciate them when the leaves have
fallen and the trees are bare. I had a group of 15 riders -- quite
unexpected on a November day. None of them had ever been to Usonia --
also unexpected. As we rode through, we stopped to have a chat with a
man who has lived there his entire life. The houses are very unique
and very different when compared to your typical Westchester
subdivision! Everyone enjoyed riding through there and having a
chance to consider the creative genius of Wright. Nobody seemed to
even notice some of the crappy rodes we had to navigate to get to and
from Usonia. Or maybe it was the promise of cupcakes and beer. If
you promise them cupcakes they will come.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Negative to Positive

Yesterday’s post is filled with negative words-- off, difficult, sad, tough, without, missed out. And it’s really not all bad. Yes, I fell down and that had a negative impact on my life. But I got up, I made a full recovery, I have a tiny scar to prove how brave I am, and I am back on my bike and enjoying moving through these beautiful autumnal days. Thinking about life in general, DH and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next month, we have 2 great kids, we have a beautiful home, we both have careers and jobs that challenge us and remind us to be good people, and next week we will be in Puerto Rico for a business meeting extended into a vacation. Life is GOOD. I want it to be a little better, but it’s easy to get caught in a downward spiral. It helps to focus on all the positives, all the bright moments on the journey.

On Saturday I went for a bike ride up in lower Dutchess County. The 5 of us rode down beautiful roads to Sprout Creek Farm, where they produce fabulous artisanal cheese. We were able to taste all the cheeses and they were deeeelicious! When we got back, the chicken and hotdogs were already on the barbeque. On Sunday DH and I both led rides that started at the middle school, about a mile from our home. Most of our cycling friends are not familiar with the beautiful roads in our northwest corner of the county, so we like to lead a few rides to share them. DH commented that Bob called and he was coming. It never crossed my mind to ask which Bob. What a great surprise when Bob showed up, an old friend that I haven’t seen in at least 10 years! We didn’t really have much time to get caught up, but we promised each other that we will get together soon. My ride flowed down to the reservoir, across the Croton Dam, and made a stop at Thompson’s Cider Mill. There we shared a quart of just-pressed cider and some yummy muffins and donuts. We continued on our journey up and down many hills, including a beautiful road along the Hudson River. What great bicycle adventures with friends old and new on these bright autumn days. Yes, life is good, very good.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Flip Flop Seasons

Although I may not have realized it at the time, my crash back in June initiated my off-season. I did nothing or almost nothing related to fitness for 5 weeks. Over the last 2 months I have been consistently inconsistent. That has made it very difficult to get anywhere other than where I am, which is fat and slow. I now understand why it is important to build that mileage base-- it becomes the fuel or a reserve tank that you can draw upon when you need to push yourself to go further or harder. Without that base, I am finding it difficult to keep up with my cycling friends on rides longer than 30 miles. Sad, considering last year I rode the RI Century in September.

Without a specific goal, I often find it difficult to motivate myself to stay with "the program." I'm also having a tough time on identifying a goal other than getting back to where I was and keep moving forward. I do know I have to turn it up a notch, and so my seasons have flip-flopped. October 1 marked the beginning of my off-season in-season. For the next 8 weeks, I am going to focus on getting back to those good basic habits. I also hope to stay outside as much as possible, stretching the cycling season, especially since I missed out on a big chunk of it. Its what I enjoy the most, even though I feel really slow. Somebody has to be last, and lately that is me.

Monday, August 23, 2010


My 2010 “racing season” is over. I am not sure that it really involved any “racing” or that I would call it a “season” anyway. The reason I enter these races is to have a goal to work towards, to push myself to stay in shape. If I have a “race” on my schedule, I then have a “training program,” and I am less likely to find excuses to go home and sit on the couch. I am incredibly slow in any athletic event I have ever undertaken, so I usually think about “participating” in these events and not racing or competing. With no competitive events on the horizon, I have been spending time doing what I love to do – riding my bike -- without regard to mileage or speed. I have been emancipated! This has me rethinking my whole "fitness" philosophy. Perhaps it is time to recalibrate. How can I keep myself motivated to maintain an athletic lifestyle? do I need an event to keep moving forward? what if training starts to feel more like medicine than fun? While I think this through, I will continue to spend time on my bike and smile! I might even take a few pictures along the way.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where were you in 1969?

On Friday, DH and I went up to Bethel NY to visit the "Woodstock" museum. We made sure to go on a day there was no show so we could spend time there without any crowds or difficulty getting in and out on the infamous Rt 17B. It was fabulous. The museum does a great job balancing the culture of the '60s that paved the way for Woodstock, the multiple story lines from those magical days in 1969, and the impact on the world. The photos and video are awesome. We drove up and back listening to the soundtrack and bought a copy of the original movie. Neither DH nor I were there, but we still both felt the energy when we walked across that field. Peace and music. What a great concept.
Staying true to the "where were you in 1969" theme, the next day I drove up to Sylvan Lake to a reunion of my childhood summer friends. We spent summers at the same bungalow colony complete with day camp, color wars, talent shows, musical theatre, boyfriends and girlfriends, little brothers and sisters, pinball machines, kickball, rowboats, etc. There were about 10 of us. Some of these people I have not seen for 35-40 years. There was alot of catching up to do! We sat under the same tree that shaded our mothers. We look like our mothers! It was strange-- we are becoming our mothers and yet we could see ourselves doing what we did as kids as if it was yesterday. But it was wonderful to reconnect and make new memories.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Drop Tail Bibs

A couple of months ago the bicycle club had a fashion show. One of the women modeled her Pearl Izumi drop-tail bibs. Folks who do wear bibs have told me that they are much more comfortable than plain shorts, especially on longer rides because you don't have a waistband cutting into your middle. I have never worn cycling bibs, because you have to get almost naked if you have to pee. But these "designed for women" cycling bibs feature a "trap door." The bib is hinged in the back, with a tail that tucks in to make sure you are covered while riding. I decided to purchase a pair and I wore them today. And I am going to wear them tomorrow. And I might have to buy another pair. They are super comfortable and my trips to the ladies room were accomplished as easily as advertised. The bib straps are super stretchy so I hardly noticed them on my shoulders or across my sports bra. Not having a waistband is more comfortable, and the elastic gripper legs have "just right" tension. They are a little pricey, but I'm very glad I bought them. My sisters (of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bike Shorts) are going to be jealous!

Today was a beautiful summer day and I enjoyed a beautiful bike ride. So glad to be back on my bike.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Let the Good Times Roll

DH and I are home after spending a long weekend in Lancaster County PA with a group of our cycling club friends. This is what we did: eat, ride, drink, eat some more, sleep, then repeat this sequence. It was gobs of fun. Flori's shirt says it all: let the good times roll indeed! This marked my return to the saddle and it was just about perfect. Lancaster County is the heart of Amish country, so we were riding on roads through beautiful farmlands and small towns. Yesterday DH offered to ride with me since most of the slower riders either had to head home or decided to find something else to do. Our hotel was in Paradise and we rode to Intercourse. So, you would think Amish dogs would be very mellow, kinda trot around bark at the chickens, take a nap. DH was riding ahead of me, and we pass this Amish farmhouse with 2 small dogs in the front yard. The dogs kinda watched DH ride by, and when I rode past them, they both start barking and coming for me at full speed! One of those Amish dogs wouldn't quit, and I kept thinking about sharp little teeth. The little fucker finally gave up. When were a safe distance away, I looked at DH, and asked him why they ignored him and came after me. "It's because they could tell you are weak." I reminded him that the plan was to return to Paradise from Intercourse. He quickly changed his mind and admitted that the dogs must have been attracted to my shiny new silver cycling shoes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

10 Miles

New helmet.... $55
Bike repairs and new handle bar tape...... $180
New bike gloves....... $25
New prescription protective eyewear..... $320 (and that's with my 42% discount since I'm in the business!)
Getting back on the bike, going for a ride with DH on a really beautiful summer evening..... PRICELESS !!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


My Road to Recovery has made a paradigm shift. Instead of thinking about what I cannot do, I am now focusing on what I can do. The shift started in the gym a few days ago, with 30 minutes on the elliptical to see what would happen when I raised my heart rate. Neither my heart nor my head exploded, I stayed upright, and I felt good if not great. The next day I took a spin class with similar results, except that I felt great! After 4 weeks of no exercise I did notice that my heart rate did not recover as quickly as I would like, but I am sure that will come back with a little effort. But I felt comfortable enough to contemplate getting back on my bike this week. Now about getting back on my bike, many people have asked me if I am afraid to get back on my bike, especially since it has been 4 weeks since my crash. The answer is I don’t think so, but the truth is I really haven’t had to answer that question truthfully because I cannot even consider getting back on my bike until all the dizziness is completely gone. In the last few days I seem to have turned that corner, and if the dizziness does not return, then I plan to get back on my bike this weekend. But here’s the shift part. Even if I cannot get back on my bike (whether it’s physical or mental), there is so much that I can do to get back in the game. I am going to start lifting again, and throwing in an assortment of cardio, etc. I have shifted out of couch potato into active lifestyle person of great worth. I have also discovered that once I made that shift, turned off the TV and packed my gym bag, I also started thinking more about good food. The good karma is cascading! It will take more time to get back to where I was, but I’m on my way.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thank you RecSpec

Cyclists love eyewear, whether or not they wear glasses and/or contact lenses. I don' t know if many of my cycling friends would describe their eyewear as "protective." Most of them wear them to keep bugs and dirt out of their eyes. I had been content to just wear my everyday glasses until about a year ago. For whatever reason, I decided to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses that would provide more protection and look good. I was wearing them when I crashed and I am sure glad I was. I was so thankful that I was wearing my helmet, that I wasn't really thinking about the glasses. A few days ago I took a good look at them and once again I realized that the outcome would have been far worse if I wasn't wearing them. The frame isn't even bent, but most of the paint has been scraped off the frame and the lenses are deeply gouged. Thank you Liberty Optical for the RecSpec! Today I ordered not 1 but 2 replacement pair; one pair has dark grey lenses, real sunglasses for the bright sunny days and the other has transition lenses that get darker in the sun, for all the other days when the sunglasses are too dark. Please consider whether you need protective eyewear! Your vision is worth the investment!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Whole Lotta Nuthin Going On

It's been 2.5 weeks since my crash, and I have spent most of my time doing..... not much. I did go back to work this past week, and while it was mostly okay, it did wear me down. I still get dizzy at times, nothing terrible, but enough to keep me in low gear. I am learning that brains need sleep, and given the opportunity, I sleep a little bit more than I would normally, and I have been sleeping well. I am trying to slowly decrease the degree of nothingness in my daily life without overdoing the amount of somethingness. This holiday weekend also gave me the chance to get out and about and interact with some friends and that made me happy!
I have not worked out at all since the crash. My goal for this week is to see what happens when I elevate my heart rate. Obviously I need to do that in a safe environment, where I won't hit the pavement or drown if I start to feel like I am doing cartwheels. Slowly but surely, I am on the road to recovery.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My NFL Career

The new NFL policy on concussions means I cannot return to active play until I am totally asymptomatic and cleared by an independent physician. I am being encouraged to be completely candid with my team medical staff and fully disclose any signs or symptoms that may be associated with a concussion. I have been honest and I have spent most of the past week sitting in a chair in front of a TV watching World Cup soccer, assorted reruns and The People's Court. But I am getting bored and impatient. And I am starting to worry. Nobody is irreplaceable. If I don't get back in the game, I may loser my spot on the team. I should be thankful that the new policy gave me this week off!

I have no doubt that this is really the way NFL players think about concussions, even with the new policy. And I don't know how those guys go back a week after suffering this type of injury. My concussion was probably less severe than anything suffered by an NFL player, and yesterday I needed a nap after sitting in a chair for 3 hours. Its no surprise that these men have so many issues later in life.

I had a good day yesterday. DH and I went out for breakfast and then to the local farmers market. Then he dropped me off at the nail salon for some manicure therapy. We watched the soccer game, which was really exciting even though the US team lost. In the evening we went to a graduation party for a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am going back to work. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Road to Recovery

The Road to Redemption has been replaced by the Road to Recovery. I am getting better, but I now realize that this is going to take time. I wouldn't be fair to myself if I didn't give myself a chance to heal. Now is not the time to push the envelope.
Today I went down to the dental clinic at the hospital to have my stitches removed (I was stitched up by an oral surgeon). This 10 minute procedure was accompanied by 2 hours 50 minutes of waiting. When I returned home after holding my head up for 3 hours without the support of a big comfy chair, I had to take a nap. I still get dizzy when changing from horizontal to vertical positions or moving too fast. It is becoming obvious, even to me, that I need to be more patient. And so for the next few weeks, its all about me, and healing. On the positive side, all the lacerations and road rash are healing, and my physical appearance has been upgraded from horrible to awful to terrible.
I took my bike in today for an evaluation and Dolce will be fine. Like me, she may have a few scars, but nothing is broken!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Bell Helmets,

Dear Bell Helmets,
Thank you! Today I crashed and my helmet cracked but my head did not. I'm not sure why I crashed. I remember some rough road and then the realization that I was going down. My friends got me off the road and called 911. Although my first thought was "I don't need to go to the hospital," I soon realized that not only was resistance futile (that's what friends are for), but I needed to go get checked out. I have bad road rash all along the left side of my body, multiple lacerations all over my face, 9 stitches along the right side of my nose, a goose egg on my forehead, a soreness along the left side of my head that corresponds with the part of my helmet that cracked, and a dull headache. I had a CT scan which was negative, but the ER doctor did use the word "concussion." I will heal. I may have some "battle scars," but I will be fine. I am resting comfortably, after popping a couple of Advils. During the whole event, I kept thinking about how grateful I am. I thanked everyone that helped me; my friends who were with me; the EMTs who immobilized my head and neck (because that is protocol); the nurse who very gently washed all the sand and grit off my road rash; the technician who did the CT scan; the ER doctor; the plastic surgeon; and my husband who stayed calm and kept me calm. And thank you, Bell Helmets. I am thankful that I was wearing your helmet. I am thankful that my friends from the Westchester Cycling Club are very safety-conscious and I always stress wearing your helmet appropriately tight. I don't like to think about what would have happened to me if I was not wearing a helmet. I just know it would have been much worse. I will be back on my bike. But not before I replace my Bell Helmet; with a blue and silver model to match my bike!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nosocomial Car Infection

A nosocomial infection is an infection that results from treatment in a hospital or other health care setting. Take a patient, free of infectious disease, stick him/her in the hospital for a couple of days, and the patient comes down with a bad bug which makes the patient sicker than when they entered the hospital. That's what happened to my Subaru. I took it to the dealer for a minor recall and an inspection. There was nothing wrong with the car. When I picked it up, the "check engine" light was flashing. Of course I picked it up after hours on Friday evening and I was not able to talk to anyone in the service department until Monday morning. I was told by the service agent, "OMG!! Do NOT drive the vehicle!! Go home immediately!! Where are you? How far away are you? Do you need a tow truck??!!" Translation: DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!
I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had been driving it all weekend because one of their nosocomial infecting technicians forgot to hit the reset button, or something equally ridiculous. I bet you didn't know that I am capable of providing automotive diagnoses and treatment plans for Japanese-born vehicles.
So this afternoon I have to bring the nosocomial infected Subaru back to the dealer for what I hope will be a very short visit so they can disinfect it. And of course, that is the time that I had planned to work out. I'm still on the merry-go-round of an ordinary life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bumps in the Road

I hit a couple of bumps on the Road to Redemption this week, but most of it was good bumps. On Saturday, I drove out to Newark airport to pick up son #2, who has been in Croatia for the last 4 weeks. Son #1 has been home for the past 2 weeks but left for his summer job in Pennsylvania last night, so for 24 hours, I had both of my kids home. DH returned home from the Bresnan Bike Ride for Special Olympics last night, and the 4 of us had dinner together! This only happens on holidays and special occasions, so it was nice to have the empty nest not be empty. Of course son #2 had many wonderful stories to tell us about his volunteer/service mission in Croatia followed by the adventure tour. It was a great big joyful bump in the road and I am so glad i embraced it instead of obsessing about getting ready for upcoming triathlon.

One of the adventures of son #2 was an opportunity to go hydrospeeding. Its white-water rafting on a kickboard instead of a raft. You wear a full wetsuit and fins (and a helmet) and navigate down a freezing cold river. This looks so fun! I would totally do this given the chance. Might even be worth a trip to Croatia!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Road to Redemption

July 11-- Tri N Du Putnam. Over the next 30 days, I am going to do my best to prepare for my second sprint triathlon. The Road to Redemption will be physical, mental and nutritional. There will be more mileage, more consistency, and less crappy food. I am bringing back Dab the Wussy. Dab the Wussy is an acronym for “Once A Week, Do What Sucks, At The Body Shop, Until Your Eyeballs Hurt.” So once a week, probably over the weekend, I will totally annihilate my body, empty the tank completely, doing what needs to be done. Sounds like bricks to me.

Yesterday was Day 2 on the Road to Redemption. I did a strength workout (something that I have not been doing consistently for several months) and then I got in the pool for Masters Swim (also something I have not been doing consistently for several months). The staff let us know that the coach would be late because he got on the wrong train, but he never made it. So we improvised with a “People’s Choice” workout. Each team member designed a 400 yard portion of the workout. It might have been a little choppy, but it got the job done and we all worked hard. We spent the last 10 minutes sitting in the hot tub. That was my favorite choice!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A Fight to the Finish--Pawling Traithlon

Today was the Pawling Triathlon, and I finished, but it was a tough one, from start to finish. I know I should be incredibly proud of what I did today, and I guess I am, but I must admit I am also a little disappointed. I know I could have been better prepared, but it just felt too hard, from beginning to end.
I really struggled with the swim. I couldn't get a rhythm going, I swallowed a bunch of water, and I found myself in a downward spiral of negative thinking..... and this is like 5 minutes into the race! I can't do this. I shouldn't be here. That buoy is so far away. I can barely breathe in this wetsuit. I realized that swimming real slow would be much better than whatever it was that I was doing (which was sucking up gobs of energy), so I forced myself into a very slow rhythm and I started to feel much better. The second half of the swim was much easier.
The bike ride was fine, except ridiculously slow.
The run was tough. I really struggled to keep moving. I couldn't slow down because then I would have been moving backwards. Somehow I got through it. I probably set a PR for my slowest 3 miles.
I made it to the finish line, and there was DH with the camera. Just to add insult to injury, he took a picture of me finishing FROM THE BACK. Just what I needed-- a picture of my ass crossing the finish line. You won't see that one on this blog.

After the race, I had 2 voices in my head. Voice #1: you suck! It's supposed to be a sprint--how can you be that slow? Voice #2: you are awesome! you just finished a triathlon. How many women your age can finish even 1 of the 3 events that you did today? why are you beating yourself up for being slow? But I soon realized its not the slow part that is bothering me-- its that it felt so hard!! Slow is supposed to be beautiful, and this one was kinda ugly.

Having fallen off my horse today, I decided I need to get back on. So I signed up for another sprint triathlon on July 11. What do I need to to do to get ready? I need to do a few open water swims, I need to ride harder, and I need to do a few more bricks. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I Want to Be Yoshimi

Her name is Yoshimi, she's a black belt in karate
working for the city she has to discipline her body
'Cause she knows that it's demanding
to defeat those evil machines
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me

Those evil-natured robots, they're programmed to destroy us
she's gotta be strong to fight them, so she's taking lots of vitamins
'Cause she knows that it'd be tragic
if those evil robots win
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me


Random Thoughts From West Palm Beach

  • Four nights on the pullout bed is more than enough.

  • Swimming in 80 degree water sucks all the energy out of you very quickly.

  • You can wear anything (or close to nothing) on a Sunday evening in South Beach.

  • On Sunday evening in South Beach, I had the most unusual Bat Mitzvah party diiner-- pizza, sushi and chicken wings.

  • Having a daughter that rides horses competitively is VERY expensive.

  • Having a mom that enjoys shopping and occasionally buys you clothes is a great treat!

  • Having a mom that lives far away when you sense that she is a little lonely is hard.

  • A good foreign film is like opening a present. You are not sure what is inside, but you’re confident you are going to like it.

  • Spending a few days with my mom renews my commitment to use the telephone to reach out to people I love and don’t speak to often enough.

  • Spending time with family members you don’t see very often is a gift to be treasured.

  • Southern Florida has a vibrant triathlon community, and the Wellington Mall has a great running/triathlon store. But I don’t know how they do anything in that unrelenting summer heat.

  • It might be time to think about having surgery on my foot to get rid of the bone spur. Besides the pain (which is not terrible), I am really having a shoe problem.

  • I really want an iPad. But that has nothing to do with West Palm Beach. Other than having extra time to think about it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Its All About Balance

After swimming a mile yesterday, I felt good. I found my own slow rhythm and it felt easy. I felt like I could have kept going, but that’s not too surprising since I usually swim further and harder during Masters workouts. But that got me thinking about balancing speed and distance during a triathlon. How much should I push the speed if I am only swimming 1/3 mile? But when I get out of the water, there’s still the bike ride and the run. I need to think about balancing effort for all 3 events. Then I thought about something Hagen said during our triathlon panel discussion. If you want to race fast, you have to train fast. How do you balance speed v. distance when training. Of course, its not only swimming, biking and running. At the very least there needs to be some strength work and stretching and yoga. So how do you blend all the pieces into a complete fitness program? Should I balance all the pieces differently during the off-season? All of this does take time, and I like to do other things, like reading, blogging, watching TV, photography. How do you balance all these pursuits into a day/week/month/year/lifetime? And food. That’s a big one. How do you balance all these other activities and still have time to shop, and cook and prepare meals. Because if you don’t, you are still going to get hungry and make bad food choices. Then there’s the job. And commuting. I can use some of the commuting time to work on some of my other favorite activities. But work is work and my job is fairly rigid so I have to balance all the other pieces outside of that box. I haven’t really mentioned interacting with other people like my family and friends when they can’t be combined in these other activities. Although I am my favorite person to be with, there has to be time for hanging with the people I love. Tomorrow DH and I are going to Florida to find balance. We will be attending a bat mitzvah and visiting with family. We will probably find the time to do some swimming and maybe some running. We will probably eat too much but it will be for a good reason. We won’t think about work for a few days, and we will spend time being with family we haven’t seen in a long time. I’m really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Sox

I usually have extra everything in my gym bag. So imagine my surprise when I got to the gym and realized I had no socks. Now, I know what my DH would do in that situation. He would work out without socks. But I hate not having socks. Faced with lemons, I made lemonade. I got in the pool and started swimming. I didn't do a swim workout. I just swam laps. The Pawling Triathlon has a 1/3 mile swim, so I swam 600, just trying to find my rhythm and keep it going. That went down easy so I did 2 more of those. Sweet.

It was one of those evenings when I fell asleep on the train on the way home and I briefly tried to talk myself out of going to the gym. But I knew there would be no free pass tonight. Then when I put my feet in the water, it was cold and tried to think of a reason why I shouldn't get in the pool, but I knew I was being utterly ridiculous. I'm glad I got it done because it really felt good. And how I have learned to love the lingering smell of chlorine.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cramming and Cooking

I feel like I am cramming for the Pawling Triathlon, which is less than 2 weeks away. For a variety of reasons, I did not prepare with the intensity or the consistency that would allow me to feel like I gave it my best shot. So I have been trying to make up for it with weekend bursts of high energy and weekday workouts whenever I can make it happen. But still, life gets in the way. On Saturday, DH and I attended a bar mitzvah, which kept us out of the house from 9 am until 5 pm. Somehow, I managed to avoid overeating. When I got home, I decided I had to do something, anything other than spend the evening sitting in a chair. Eight hours of that was more than enough. So I went to the track for a run. And it was a good run. It was only 2.5 miles, but it felt good and I knew I had overcome considerable inertia to get there.

On Sunday I did another brick. The ride was slow but uneventful. The run was also slow and uneventful. The fact that the run was uneventful is actually an event, because I was able to run 2 days in a row despite Cranky Knee Syndrome. Although you won’t find that diagnosis in the orthopedic Big Book of Medical Codes, you probably will find the treatment plan-- don’t overdue it, ice, Advil. Well, on Sunday evening my legs including my knees were tired, but they were fine the next day. I will fit in some workouts in the next 10 days but it will be hit or miss. DH and I are going to Florida over the holiday weekend to attend at Bat Mitzvah and visit family. I guess I will do some swimming.

When not cramming for the triathlon, I have been cooking. I work at a small college and every year the students hold an auction to raise money for the yearbook, etc. They ask for donations of “goods and services,” and every year I donate homemade lunch for 2 for 5 days. I make sure I feed my students well, which forces me to cook and DH and I also end up eating good nutritious meals. Last week I made grilled shrimp with mango salsa, lasagna, spinach salad, split pea soup, and berry bread pudding. This week I made roast pork with roasted red potatoes, ramen slaw, vegetable frittata, edamame succotash, and slightly spicy mashed sweet potatoes. All this good food has translated into not eating or craving processed food, and I feel more energetic. It really does make a difference. I needed this reminder that taking the time to prepare meals based on fresh foods and lots of vegetables is worth it. Now if I can just get out of cramming and work on consistency............

Finally a big SHOUT OUT to MissFits Kate and Flori. They both WON their age groups at the Harryman Triathlon on Saturday. And kudos to Jon who rocked it too, on his way to Mooseman.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Evening Recap

Wow, I'm tired! I have spent the last 4 days riding, swimming, running, lifting, and stretching. This was the last weekend before the Pawling Triathlon that I have "free."Extending it to 4 days gave me my best opportunity to beat myself up, trash my legs, and toast my arms. And best of all, I got to do a good part of it with friends!

On Saturday I led a 34 mile club ride. It felt like 31 of those miles were uphill. I only remember going downhill 3 times! When we got to the Croton Dam, we took out our cameras and asked this man (who also had a camera around his neck) to take some photos of our group. He was happy to oblige. He then took some photos of us with his (high quality SLR) camera and sent us the link to his Flickr account.

These photos courtesy of ballroompics.

What a beautiful day to be out and about on a bike. Here we are at mile 23.
You can feel the energy and the love (we were oblivious to the hills still to come in the last 11 miles).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beat Repeat

I had the day off on Thursday because I was supposed to be out of town, but when that changed, I decided to take the day off anyway. I usually work 4 days a week, and I am off on Fridays. Therefore, I have 4 days to get some work done in preparation for the Pawling triathlon, which is only 3 weeks away. The formula has been pick two, eat, sleep, repeat. Tomorrow is likely to be one of the most perfect being outside days of 2010. I am going to take advantage of that with a longer ride, with many hills. The ride alone may be enough to trash my legs. I'm actually looking forward to beating myself up! Makes me feel alive when I push and the road pushes back.
Here is an unexpected gift from Thursday's ride. I was heading down the bike path, just minding my own business, when 2 woment told me to slow down and look up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Discussion

Tonight the bike club sponsored a dinner meeting/panel discussion on training for a triathlon. We had several triathletes on the panel, covering all triathlon distances. I talked about one extreme-- the non-competitive sprint triathlete-- in contrast to Hagen, the 10.5 hour Ironman Extraordinary Athlete. In the middle were Jon, Kate and Eve who have done all distances from sprint up to 70.3.

There were 17 people there, many of them new to the sport but some wanting to step up to the next level. Since most of them are coming to triathlons from cycling, they were really worried about the swim. What if I freak out? Did any of you ever freak out? Should I swim from boat to boat to get through the swim? I told them about my experience-- I freaked out the first time I tried an open water swim in a wetsuit, 2 weeks before my first triathlon. I had to get out of the water. I then had 2 weeks to slay the"Open Water Demons," which I did. The motto of that story: you have to do an OWS before the race. Then you will be ready and you won't freak out and you won't be looking for a boat to get out of the water. I think we got that lesson across.

We talked about the different reasons we pursue this crazy sport; our different philosophies about preparing for a tri; and some good stories. There are always stories. Luckily Jon did not share his maddog story from last weekend!!! If that had been combined with Hagen's description of the mass start of the Ironman, the newbies would have fled the room never to be seen at the start of the OWS at a triathlon.

I enjoyed being on the panel and I also really enjoyed listening and sharing with everyone in the room. I have a better appreciation for getting more out of the time I spend "training" because the cross training doesn't wear you down physically as much as the pursuit of one sport. And if I didn't swim, I wouldn't have these fab shoulders! If nothing else, I certainly feel motivated to work harder at it just so I know I am giving it my best shot, no matter how slow I am. Slow is still beautiful.