Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

From our family to yours...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Delinquent but pretty. And fun.

In a month and a half, SJV and I have our first race -- Grand Rapids 1/2 Iron Distance. And I'm soooo behind in the swim fitness it's not even funny. I'm horribly, horribly delinquent. *hang my head* Now, trying to look on the bright side of things, I'm doing great in the bike and the run. Honestly, I am. I'm pretty proud of the consistency, and the intensity. Bravo, self! But... when it comes to the swimming part, I have a tough time ... motivating.

I have a good gym, and it's walking distance. I should be there every other day to swim. Granted, it's a 20 yard pool, which means five laps is 100, which is somewhat annoying. But other than that, it's pretty great.

Still... when it comes right down to it, I'll opt for a trainer ride or a run. It's just ... more convenient, I suppose.

So, I shocked myself the other day when I got up the gumption -- after work, no less -- to go to the gym and get in a 1/2 hour of swimming before a 45 minute run. I thought I'd time myself and see the damage. After all, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of time to amp up distance, so speed will prolly suffer, and it's good to get some idea of where I am so that I can ... ahem ... "adjust" expectations (downward).

I slid into the pool, which was a delightful temperature, pushed off from the wall and thought "extend, slice, extend, slice..." (an old trick that keeps my form relatively good). I just continued on, and on, and on, sliding into the meditative long set mentality.

And I remembered that I actually like that.

I focused on my form; on my arm pulling, on my hand grabbing the water; on turning from the hips and pushing my chest down; on breathing properly... trying to glide through the water without forcing it. It was actually really ... pretty. (Thankfully, for me, "pretty" is *relatively* fast.)

Of course, then I realized that the woman next to me was 'lapping' me, and I got a bit competitive for a moment. But I am proud to say that I stopped myself from following her speed.

I actually ended up doing fairly consistent 200s, and they weren't that far off from where I would want to be on June 5. So, I'm kindof glad that I took that time off from the pool and waited to go back until my experience would be positive and a good reminder that it doesn't all have to be HARD and TOUGH and GUTWRENCHING.

Sometimes, it can be pretty. And fun. Whee!

Get out there and have a good time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lesson learned.

Well, it may not look like it from this photo, but spring has finally (FINALLY) sprung! SJV and I have a race (Grand Rapids 1/2 Iron Distance) in less than two months. *Gulp* So we've been trying to get in good, quality trainer workouts during the week, but have been anxiously awaiting a forecast that would let us get in some nice long miles outside.

As proof of what a dork I am (and how fantastic SJV is) I was ecstatic when SJV brought home booties for my bike shoes. Fantastic present, Sugar! So, armed with our booties, our footsies would be protected from the wind and we could go on rides in less than perfect weather. Game ON!

Last weekend the weather was supposed to get up to the mid-50s, so we waited to start out to the suburbs, hoping to get out on the road once it was a bit warmer. I had a bowl of cereal before we left, got all my gear together, and we headed out. This was the first ride of the season, so I was a bit out of practice - there's a lot to take, and a lot to remember, so we took our time. I was so excited! Our first outdoor ride of the season, as a married couple, with my new powermeter... I had ants in my pants and was literally jumping around as we got ready.

We got out to our starting point and began putting together nutrition, etc....

About that time, I began to feel ... hungry. Now, normally not a big deal. But I had my heart set on getting out on this ride, like, IMMEDIATELY -- so I dismissed it. I had already had some cereal (about two hours before) so that should be enough, I figured. I also didn't have a whole ton of nutrition with me. I had bottles and scoops of nutrition (EFS, in case anyone's wondering, because Belly *perspires* a lot and needs that extra sodium). But I had nothing solid. Anyhoo, I felt like this:

This, dear readers, is called foreshadowing. (Cue the dark music!)

We started out, and it was indeed cold. It was also amazingly windy. The wind seemed to come from one direction, and then swirl around and come from the other side.

I was glad to have a hood on, and dressed well, but ... my power wasn't even close to feeling *right.* I was also paying too much attention to my new powermeter. And I was Mrs. Cranky-Pants. For real. We planned on doing 30 miles, but about 10 in SJV looked at me and said ..."Maybe we should call it, Sugar." Although inside I was nodding my head, outside I had a bit of a temper tantrum. "No!" I said defiantly. "We can do this! And we said we were going to do 30..." But SJV -- as gently as he could -- suggested that riding in this wind was harder than a normal ride (which was true) and that we were beating ourselves up... and it was early in the season... this wasn't meant to be a "killer" workout...

Finally I relented, internally relieved that we were going back. But when we got back to the car (after 10 more miles of unrelenting wind) I got out my pity-pot and sat right down in it. I looked at my power data from the new powermeter and was totally, 100% dejected. "No!" I said, looking with disbelief. "I am so weak! What have I been doing? Oh my god!" My head started spinning...

SJV just sat, knowing by now what low blood sugar looks like and sounds like from little Belly. He said he wished I wouldn't be so hard on myself, and that we really did have a good ride. I listened in silence. So we went to Chipotle before heading back ot the city. After we had some Chipotle (which I said I "didn't deserve" before scarfing it down so fast I'm surprised I could even breathe between bites) I began to list off all of the good things from the ride. I felt better on the bike, my pedal stroke had improved, the hills felt much easier... I went off with a smile, and determination that this power meter reading couldn't have been a reflection of me at my best. In other words, I went through a TOTAL 180.

When, oh when, will I learn? Seriously. I know better than to go out on a ride hungry. (And yes, I know that knowledge is only part of it, but still. Sheesh!)

Fast forward to yesterday. Warmer day, and less wind. More importantly, I had a peanut butter sandwich before leaving the house. We got out on that ride, and I was Mrs. PermaSmile. I was smiling and waving at cars going by, pointing out cows and horses, laughing up hills, hooting and hollering down them. I was keeping up with SJV (mostly). And, even more tellingly, when we got to the turn where if we go right we do 30 and if we go left we do 40, we looked at each other and turned left. We felt great, and strong, the entire ride. (And, just in case anyone's wondering, 40 would actually have been the mileage for our "plan" and we are totally trained and ready for that distance.)

I got back to the car and stretched well, while laughing with SJV. And then I checked my power, which I thought would be better than last week.

My average was 25 watts higher. On a ride that was 1.5 hours longer. Average speed was just as high as the best ride last year.

Best of all, I had a great time.

Lesson learned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It's tough being a stepmom.

Being awoken two or three times per night with the cries of little ones... Dealing with the inevitable fights and territorial issues of blended families... Sometimes I feel like I can't even take a shower in peace anymore. With three little ones, we're pulled in three different directions sometimes. Plus, whenever I'm on the trainer I'm afraid one of them will get their tail stuck in my spokes...

Wait, a second, you say. Tails? Yes! Tails!

Idgy the Cat now has two 17-year od siamese brothers. Meet Romeo and Cosmo, the newest additions to our fuzzy version of the Brady Bunch.

We have Cosmo (aka Chocolate Coz, choco-taco, chocolate kitty, coco kitty) a gorgeous chocolate point baby who doesn't like being held but loves attention, and needs subcutaneous fluids three times per week. He has the cry of a newborn child, and doesn't hesitate to use it at about 3:00 a.m. if he's feeling lonely.

Romeo, (aka baby blue, peanut, blue point rome, rome, cricket, snaggle-tooth) is a blue-point baby with crazy flexibility,

only one incisor tooth (he lost the other in a tragic string toy incident), a constant stuffy nose (allergies?) and a perennial bit of breakfast or dinner stuck to his chin. Romeo takes blood pressure medicine and lists his favorite activities as walking underfoot, sneezing on your face, and nuzzling momma and pappa's chins as they sleep. He's what I would call a "starter cat" because he's just ... easy. He's a walking bit of love.

Who could resist that face?

And then we have Idgy the Cat (aka baby-girl, baby-baaaaby-girl, chub-chub, puffin, muffin, puff-n-stuff),
who is now on prozac to help her deal with the boys and the resultant decrease in her "personal space."
Gosh she's a cutie.

It's been hard on the babies.
(Having them all on the couch was such a momentous occasion that we had to document it. Note that Coz and Rome are watching Idgy with some trepidation here.)

Idgy grew up on the Mean Streets of Macon Georgia. She was a 6-month-old stray when I got her. She's got claws and she's not afraid to use them. Coz and Rome, on the other hand, grew up with a silver spoon and a constant supply of food and attention. They have no claws, and no need for them.

It's a clash of cultures. It's an adjustment. It takes time. We're trying to be patient.

But because it's been hard on the babies, it's been hard on us. Every day someone's coughed up a hairball, puked, had an "accident" or doesn't want to take their medicine... someone's fighting, or fussing, or crying. This week Cosmo has had issues sleeping, which means that SJV gets up in the middle of the night to soothe him; his training this week has suffered, as has mine. (Though his much more than mine.) I maintain that three cats should equate to one human newborn. Seriously. I'm left with befuddlement as to how new parents (of humans) can get anything -- let alone training -- done. Every day we have a different assessment of whether we want to have an actual baby of our own. The answer changes. Frequently.

So hats off to the training moms and dads of the world. You SO deserve it. Of course, even though these guys all try our patience daily, we wouldn't have it any other way. They're our babies, after all.

Off we go for a nice long ride... away from the kiddos for just a little bit. Everyone deserves a break, right?


Idgy the Cat

Idgy the Cat