The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


DNS, did not start on Sunday.
Sunday was the More Half Marathon, a big NYC women only event.
I was registered to walk this, my quest for 13Sixteens (which became 13Eighteens when the cutoff was extended to 4 hours). I found training for this much more difficult than I had anticipated, both physically and mentally, but I was prepared for it. Bring on the blisters! I planned to meet my nieces there as well as a few of my triathlete friends (they all ran it). But on Saturday the weather forecast could not have been much worse. Cold hard rain all morning. And I made the decision that I did not want to wake up at 5 am in order to be on the starting line at 8 am so I could spend 4 hours walking in that cold hard rain. As I explained to my friends, it just wasn't that important to me. It's probably a good thing that I didn't spend those 4 hours walking in the rain because by Sunday night I was sick. I am starting to feel a little better but still mostly crappy. Hopefully I will be back on my horse (bike) in another couple of days...... next up a sprint tri on June 5.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Cupcake

I have been trying to watch what I eat in order to lose a few extra pounds. I've been doing well, but the pounds are slow to come off. It's frustrating. I don't feel deprived, but today I gave in to the temptation of something sweet.

There is now a Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central Terminal in the food court. Magnolia Bakery is famous for their cupcakes. The cupcakes are small and the icing is big. The cupcakes are expensive. A "special" cupcake is $3.25. Maybe that's a good thing because it's ridiculous to buy these cupcakes more often than once a millenium.

So I ate this cupcake. It was only a few bites and it was delicious. But then it was this blob in my gut that made me feel crappy. This little cupcake defeated me. That's probably also a good thing because I won't be tempted to eat one of those beautiful little cupcakes again. At least not in this millenium.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Those Who Save Us is an historical fiction novel set in Germany during World War II. Anna is an eighteen year old girl who falls in love with a Jewish doctor and finds the courage to hide her lover in her own home. Her father, a Nazi sympathizer and ugly person, finds him and turns him over to the Gestapo. Anna, now pregnant, finds the courage to leave, and lives and works with a woman who works with the Resistance Movement. Anna is ultimately left with her own resources and determination to survive and protect her infant daughter. She does this by becoming the mistress of an SS officer. Despite a near complete loss of self-respect, she keeps her cherished daughter alive.

Divorced, lonely and adrift, Anna's daughter, Trudy, knows nothing about her past. A "conspiracy of silence, a wall that Trudy could neither penetrate or scale" prevents her from learning the truth of her mother's past. Trudy knows only her mother's repeated injunction: "The past is dead...and better it remain so." The only clue is a photograph of Anna, Trudy and a German military officer. She knows that her step father is not her "real" father, and she assumes her father was a Nazi.

The theme of “Those Who Save Us” is woven into the story. So man of the characters are lost and saved; the Aryan and the Jew; the resistance worker and a pregnant woman; the SS officer and his mistress; the American soldier and the German woman; the German American and her Jewish lover. This is a complicated story about the difficult and sometimes ugly choices a woman makes to survive, the shame she endures for her choices, and the black hole it creates for those close to her.

The book is set in Weimar, Germany, which was a few miles from Buchenwald. Anna often travels through the woods to the quarry where the prisoners are working and leaves them food in a hollowed out tree. Buchenwald was not an extermination camp, but still 55,000 people were either killed or died there. Many died of starvation; others simply worked to death. Political prisoners and Russian POWs were shot or hanged. Buchenwald was the first concentration camp liberated by the American troops. Elie Wiesel was among the survivors.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Heart My New Heart Rate Monitor

I was never happy with my heart rate monitor. I never trusted the readings I got. My heart rate would spike up to 200 or plummet to 54. When I used it in spinning class, it often combined my heart rate with the person next to me. I couldn't get it to work through more than 1 layer of clothing. I finally decided to invest $100 in what I hoped would be a reliable heart rate monitor that would give me valid readings. I bought the Polar F7 and I love it. I used it last week on a bike ride and it worked great. I especially loved seeing that I burned over 1100 calories.Then I wore it while running on the treadmill. This may be the first time that I got measurements that I believe are realistic. I wore it again on my bike ride yesterday, a very cold ride that required several layers of clothing. It worked great. Then today I wore it on my long walk and again I got numbers I believe are valid.

So my walk today. The half marathon is in two weeks. I will be so happy when it is over. I am not enjoying getting ready for this. It is really messing with my feet and walking for 3 hours is boring. Even with my iPod. I'd rather spend the time on my bike. Well, live and learn. At least I burned 824 calories!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Going Finless

'Tis the season to be tapering! I've been reading posts by many athletic bloggers getting ready for big events and races and they are all tapering their mileage to make sure they have "fresh legs" (and arms and minds) for race day. I have started a different type of tapering. I am weaning myself off of fins in the pool.

I had an inflamed shoulder and the doctor was concerned about my swimming because every stroke can cause an impingement of the tendons where they pass through a space in the bones. This can fuel the inflammation and you end up with a more chronic "swimmer's shoulder." Often it is worse for women because we usually take more strokes, so the doctor suggested I use fins to reduce the number of strokes. So I very quickly became a rock star in the pool! What an awesome feeling to move through the water fast enough to actually feel the water moving over you. But sadly I must admit, I am now addicted to my beautiful fins. Last night I began the process of going finless. I immediately noticed that without the fins, I don't have the same sensation of moving through a space in the water (it's hard to describe but swimming slow feels way different than swimming fast). Worse than being slow is that my stroke count has gone up! Today when I rolled out of bed, I noticed all the little muscles in my back were sore. So taking off the fins means engaging my core more to really stretch out the strokes and get more streamlined, to swim like a fish! . Once again I am back in lane 1 where I belong, rediscovering my beautiful slowness.