Thursday, October 25, 2012

Notes to Self for Next October

I'm sick.  Have been for a couple weeks now.  I seem to have a pattern of getting sick in October, so I'm making some notes for myself.  I remember things better if I blog about them:

1) Humidifier.  Keep checking humidity in the house, and run a pot of water in the day and humidifier at night to adjust for humidity if it is too low.
2)  Don't go on a calorie or carb restricted diet right when Rory starts preschool, especially if you plan on doing workouts that are either intense of longer than an hour.
3)  Have a store of chicken soup frozen in the deep freezer before cold season starts.

That's all for now...  I hate being sick.  I was feeling better today mostly, but now I'm tired and my nose is still like a faucet.  I hope I don't relapse.  I'm trying to feed my cold, and sort of chicken soup the heck out of it.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Flip Flop Triathlon 2012

Did I mention I did the Flip Flop Triathlon about a week ago?

I kinda don't feel like writing a race report.  Here's how I did in case you are curious


Swim:  27:20
T1:  6:40
Bike:  1:35:08
T2:  1:32
Run: 1:03:37
Overal:  3:13:17

I've done the race a couple times.  My P.R. was set two years ago, when Rory was a little over 16 months old

Swim:  30:58
T1:  5:49
Bike: 1:28:04
T2:  1:56
Run:  56:37
Overall:  3:03:24

It's actually fine that I didn't do as well as last time.  I had trained on the bike for 5 or 6 months for the 2010 race.  I'd only trained for 6 weeks for this race.  My swim was faster at least, this time.  I think my only goal time-wise was to do better than 3:30, which is what I did when Rory was 4 months postpartum.  I mostly just wanted to do another triathlon, to sort of just get back in the game, I guess and see my old teammates and other friends.

I don't want to write a narrative exactly, so I'll just write some highlights, not necessarily in chronological order:

- The race started over an hour late.  There was some talk of the swim getting cancelled.  I'm glad it wasn't, of course, since I like swimming. It was kind of fun socializing a bit with other athletes before the race started, but since all I had for breakfast was a banana and some Vespa Junior I worried I'd be depleted before the race began.  I ended up only taking in a bottle of Skratch Labs Hydration Mix the whole race, so I didn't have a lot of fuel in me.

-  I wore a wetsuit. I even bought one, a sleeveless for $100, at the expo  It didn't feel uncomfortable, but I was one minute slower than when I did the swim around the wharf in late July.  It is possible that I was subconciously holding back a bit because I knew what lay ahead, or that I was just slower because I hadn't been swimming as much because I have to fit in cycling, but I kinda think a wetsuit might just make me slower in the open water.  It does make me faster in the pool, but maybe when you take away glides off the wall it changes the whole thing.

- I wore my T.S. tri top, kind of nervously, because I wasn't sure I belonged in it, not having worked out with the team or paying dues for a while.  But the coaches and team manager all were friendly and happy to see me, and Ultra-M told me I will always be part of the team, which is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to hear.

- The bike was fun until I reached the turnaround and realized I had a tailwind on the way out and a wind in  my face on the way back.  This is the opposite of what I've experienced on every ride I've done on the coast.  I almost thought I was going to P.R. while I did the first half, but slowed down when I turned around.

-  The run was painful, especially the first mile, which I think took me about 13 minutes, if the mile markers were correct.  Part of it was one of my contacts fell out of my eye, and I had to fix it.  Also, my knee locked up a little bit, but I jogged a bit, and it seemed to clear up.  I guess that means I averaged 9 minute 30 second miles for the rest of the race, which is not too shabby as far as I'm concerned.

- I had a few phrases going through my head that sustained me for the run.  One was one word: "Patience."  the other was "You are enough.  You have enough."

- I carried Rory over the finish line, the first time I think I've done this.  He loved it and kept saying "Thank you Mommy" and sometimes "Thank you for saving me from my life."  I could say the second thing to him.

- I  chatted with people a bit after the race, but needed to rush off to get showered and refueled in time for  Rory's soccer practice.  I realize now that this is the first time in Rory's whole life that I have been apart from him for his entire nap time.  Raybon just drove him around in the car until soccer camp started so he would stay asleep.  Rory was not a happy camper at soccer camp, so I was glad I was there for him.

I may do it next year, although it sounds like it won't be a event for my old team.  I think they are doing Ironman Lake Tahoe, which is the day before.  I won't be doing that because (a) it is sold out ,(b) I haven't completed a marathon that I was satisfied with, (c) marathon training alone almost seems like too much, (d) Rory doesn't have preschool in the summer leading up to the race, and (e) I don't want to.

Anyhow, I raced yesterday, too.  I did the Keller Cove Open Water swim in Richmond.   I did the 2-mile non wetsuit, just because I figured it would be a better workout than the 1 mile I was probably in better shape for.  It was a 5 year reunion I sort of helped organize for my Catalina Channel Relay team.  Three out of 6 us showed up, although 5 out of 6 planned on going.  It was really fun seeing Mike and Marianne at least, and good to know that friendships don't have to slip away over time.  I got first in my age group (out of 2) and had my choice between a ribbon and water bottle.  I chose the water bottle, just because it is more useful.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Like Riding a Bicycle

I got on my bike today and rode up and down my street a bunch of times, to equal 25 miles. Felt pretty good.  It was scary at first, but it felt natural as I went on.  So, do I sign up for the Flip Flop Tri?


I really, really want a cookie.

More on Food and Family

Ever since my birthday, I've fallen off the wagon, diet wise.  I've been eating too many sweets.  Mostly coconut sugar and honey sweetened, but still.  I just don't do well with them.  I've also been eating too many grains, I think.  The real problem is probably the sweets more than the grains, though.  

The "Whole 30" I did was a lot of work in some ways, and I was relieved to be done with it.  I think in some ways I felt like being health obsessed was a little self-indulgent, like I should be spending more time playing with Rory instead of cooking. I also felt kind of bad for Raybon that we had to go to the same restaurants over and over again because I couldn't eat much. I need to forget about that way of thinking, because if I eat well, I feel better and have more energy (and time) for everything.  I've fallen into some bad habits already.  I heard somewhere from some motivational speaker on PBS that we need to put a little catalyst into an effort, the payoff in terms of what you get back is life changing.  I think for me that catalyst needs to be time set aside for meal planning.  

The truth is, it is partially laziness and lack of focus on my part.  I don't feel like cooking all the time.  On Raybon's and my birthday last month, it was too hard to stay away from sweets.  I made myself a bunch of gluten free treats for my birthday, and they didn't all get eaten at my party, so I would eat them daily.  So I've  fallen off the wagon, and need to get back on.

At the very least, I am giving up sweets.  No more cookies.  No more homemade coconut milk ice cream.  No more gluten free toaster waffles.  Hopefully blogging about this will strengthen my commitment.  Maybe I need a paleo support group or something.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I've been pretty busy, I guess. Rory is in swimming lessons, which is only two days a week, but I also try to get him in the water a little more than that, too.  I also read somewhere that kids need to be outside 2 hours a day, so I've been trying to make that happen.  Rory is making good progress with his swimming lessons, although he isn't quite swimming yet.  He enjoys the water a lot, which makes me really happy.

I've been swimming more, trying to get in the water 3 days a week, which is challenging, because our local pool has been closed in the evenings for most of the last month.  I've snuck out at naptime for a swim a couple times, and drove down to Flip Flop for a swim in the evenings a couple times, too.  I've also been trying to do strength training that I used to do.  I hope it helps!

I've raced a couple times.  I wrote a couple race reports that I haven't published.  Not sure why.  My favorite race was the GnaR-S-R, which was a few weeks ago.  It is a race that goes from the Flip Flop Wharf to the Capitola Wharf, combining 5 miles of beach running with 1 mile of ocean swimming, starting at dawn. You run, then swim, then run, then swim, then run, then swim, then finally run.  Running on the beach early on the morning is something I've never done!    It is awesome.  It is not, like it says in The Runner's Rulebook by Mark Remy, overrated.  I think one of my favorite things about this race is how primal it seems.  Running barefoot.  Swimming through kelp, using it to pull you along in the water.  Making your wear through breakers to enter the water.  Landing on a rocky shore, and getting tangled in seaweed.  No roads, no shoes, and in my case, no wetsuit.  It was also fun seeing some people from T.S., hitching a ride with them back to the start, and feeling a little like I was part of the team again.  I went home and took Rory to a park playdate, where he did his own adventuring by walking along a 4 foot wall before Mommy got a chance to get him down...  I think next time I tire myself that way, we'll stay within the safe confines of home, or a playground that doesn't enable so much daredevilry.

I also did a Splash and Dash on Sunday.  I did a 1 mile swim and 3 mile run.  I got 3rd in the Women's Open (18-39) Division.  I won a mug and a water bottle.  The mug says "Podium Finisher."  I almost couldn't believe I won.  I walked up to get my prize, and had to tell them who I was so they would give it to me.  I'm sure there was some other reason for confusion, but it almost felt like they were as incredulous that little ol' me could place as I was.  Third out of 23.  That's about as high as I've ever placed in anything, percentile wise.  I also was 30 seconds faster on the swim than last time, and  1 minute faster in the run.  Anyhow, enough with the bragging.  Sorry.  Ok, I'm not really sorry.

I had a nice birthday the day before the race thanks to my lovely friends and family.  Thank you to those of you who either called, emailed, sent gifts, or celebrated with me.

What's next?  I don't know.  I am starting an online accounting class, trying to think ahead for a time when Rory is keeping me less busy.  I kind of want to do the Flip Flop Triathlon, but we'll see if I have time to train, since I'm taking on the class.  I'm afraid adding in cycling (which I've already been doing on the trainer a little a couple times a week) as well as school will throw my life out of balance.  The class starts next week, so I'll see how the workload feels, and then make a decision about whether or not do take on a tri.

I kind of feel like doing the GnaR-S-R has awoken something in me again that makes me want to do more fun adventurous things like that.  I feel like I've been telling myself that I am not the type of person who is brave or athletic.  It was fun doing the kind of thing that I had to be talked into doing, rather than just something I knew for sure I could do.  I wish there were more events like that..  Adventerous, but not requiring a life bogged down by stress or overtraining.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Roughwater Swim 2012

I did my 5th Roughwater Swim yesterday.  It is the one mile swim around the Flip Flop Wharf, one of my favorite races.  

I was a little nervous going into it.  I think it was more race nerves than anything else...  I was a bit apprehensive about swimming in 58 degree water without a wetsuit, having lost much of my insulating blubber and not having swam in water that cold for about a year.  

I had fun talking to some of my old teammates, especially Ultra-M, who gave me a warm greeting and hug when I saw her, and invited me to join the rest of the team on the beach.  It was a small group, which was nice for an introvert like me.  I was so busy chatting with her, I almost missed the start, only realizing the race was starting when the swimmers ran towards the water.  Luckily I was close to the start line anyways.

It felt good, for the most part. The water was nice and cold, but not painfully so.  The swim was super aggressive.  In particular there was a guy next to me who hit and kicked me hard more than once.  Whenever I looked at him, it looked like his head was out of the water.  He must have been pretty strong, swimming with his head up and keeping up with, well, me.  For what that's worth.  

What do I love about this?  I guess I don't blog much about what it is about this I enjoy.  The cold makes me feel alive.  Swimming in the ocean just makes me feel in touch with something alive and powerful.  I really think we are meant to live near water, it is a source of life for us.  And I always just enjoy the energy of my fellow swimmers, all there sharing that enjoyment I just described.

I swam it hard, and just tried to keep my arms and legs moving fast, although I felt sloppy, like my right arm kept slipping. n At the end I touched sandy bottom with my hand, then I got and ran up to the chute, and saw Rory and Raybon at the end of it.  Rory said to me, like he often does lately "It's me, Rory!"  So cute.  A sweet way of trying to get my attention.

Afterwards I did a run with some old teammates.  I made what might have been a bad choice and tried to keep up with Ultra-M and ended up with heart palpitations. :(  First time since my failed marathon.  She coached me through finishing up about 2.5 more miles left of running/walking/shuffling.  I think we still averaged about 10 minute miles, so I must have gone waaay too fast to begin with.  I say it "might" have been a bad choice, because maybe it wasn't, because at least I got to spend time with friends.  I guess the bad choice was not saying I needed to go slower sooner.  I was pretty tired this morning, but recovered after naptime.  Not sure it was the rest or the electrolytes I took before the nap, but I'm much better now.

After the run, I had to wait a while for Raybon to come pick me up, as he and Rory had left to get lunch.  They didn't have the results posted up, as they were still sorting through them.  I went and asked the race directors how I did and somehow it was figured out that I won my age group.*  Huh?  I went 26:09.  I've gone as fast as 23:41 (2006) in the past and not placed at all, so that was pretty surprising.  I am actually pleased with the 26:09. My second fastest time was 24:40 (2005), and I would have considered myself to be  in shape then.  I'm not as far off as I thought.  Last 3 times I've swam around the wharf post baby, I've gone around 30 minutes.  Ok, I'm not supposed to care about how fast I am or my medals, right, but it makes me happy, and I'm not going to fight that.  

I took the picture below and had it posted on Facebook for like 15 minutes.  Then I took it down, because I thought it was too much like bragging.  Hopefully anyone who cares enough about me to read this blog will be happy for me.  I think I used to tell people (brag) about my accomplishments and expect them to be happy for me.  If they thought it was annoying, I figured that was there problem.  I don't really think that way anymore.  I mean, people shouldn't be jerks about it, but there is no reason to judge people's feelings.  

I think there are a couple things that determine whether someone will be happy for your success or happiness.  One is the degree to which someone is happy with their own life.  It is hard to be happy for other people if you don't have happiness in your own life, or be proud of other people if you aren't happy with where you are at.

I think the other thing is the degree to which someone sees you as part of their circle.  If you are perceived  part of someone's team, family, clique, or circle of friends, people are more likely to be happy for your success and happiness.  I think there are some people who are more open and big hearted and more willing to be happy for someone that they don't know as well, and other people who have those feelings for people in tighter circles.  

I kind of try to remember these things when people aren't as friendly towards me, or if during a workout or race someone is a little petty.  Instead of dismissing them as jerks, I just think "I'm just not part of their team."  (Even if I literally am.)   It kind of helps me to not take things personally without labeling them either.  I do sort of think I have a harder time getting people on my side  than others do.  It bums me out on occasion, but it is just one of those things in life I'll have to deal with.  Mostly life is good, so I can't complain too much, especially when I do have plenty of great people in my life.

* I wrote this blog last night, and checked the results this morning.  It says I got 5th, not 1st, which sounds a bit more reasonable, but still is probably wrong, because at least one of the people above me wore a wetsuit and should have been in a different division.  Not bummed at all about not getting first, but I do admit I enjoyed the medal for a day or two.  Now, like the rest of my medals and ribbons, it is used for putting on Rory's stuffed animals for when we play "Pet Show."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


In general, I try not to use this blog and the internet to express negative thoughts and feelings about other people.  I think of it as being passive aggressive and cowardly.

A couple weeks ago I got an email from Rory's old preschool asking for positive reviews on Yelp.  I went and looked at the reviews and they were all glowing 5 star reviews that had been written over the course of a couple of days.

I didn't have a great experience at Rory's first preschool, which was a co-op school that parents participate in and receive parenting education.  I wrote a private blog about it after I quit, but never published it here.  I didn't like having my parenting criticized, and I felt like the coop obligations were overwhelming.  That's about as much as I can say without sounding more negative than neutral.

I imagined someone reading all the glowing reviews and signing up their child for the school without even doing more research or visiting the school.  That is actually what I did after reading testimonials on the website.  I did it because it was the only preschool around for toddlers that welcomed parents into the classroom, so I figured I didn't have any other options.  So I wrote a 2 star review, where I basically explained the problems I had with it.

All of my other Yelp reviews are 4 or 5 stars.  I never would have written a negative review about the school if it wasn't for all the 5 star reviews that balanced it out.  I really thought I was doing potential parents a favor by writing it.

Rory's teacher wrote me a nice email expressing her surprise at my feelings, saying she really thought I was great with Rory and the other kids at the school, and that she wished I would have felt like I could talk to her about my problems with the school.  I didn't feel comfortable because it was sort of my subjective judgement that she wouldn't have been capable of change.  

I went to look at the reviews, and found that all but one of the glowing reviews had been filtered out, leaving my negative review and one positive review.  I felt kind of bad.  I wouldn't have written it if I didn't think it would just be seen as one perspective among many.  The school is a non-profit, and many families depend on it, because it is much less expensive than other schools, and also many people have kids who don't want to be without their parents at preschool.  It allows for kids to have a preschool experience that includes their parents, which many children and parents need.

I also felt like the review represented me as a negative person.  I wondered what someone from another school would think if they read it.  Would they be afraid to accept Rory into their school because they thought I might write a bad review about them?  Would other friends who read it think I was a negative judgmental person?

So I took my review down, probably mostly for selfish reasons.  The guilt and worry were weighing on my heart.  I guess Yelp wouldn't be a useful website if people only wrote positive reviews, so I feel kind of lame about it.  I guess it is kind of funny, because I think of negativity on the internet as being cowardly and passive aggressive, but maybe I don't have the guts to stand up and say what I think sometimes because I'm afraid of the personal ramifications of being too negative.  This has all been really emotional for me, and it is hard for me to sort out my real motivations.  On the one hand, I feel like it would be a good thing to spare a parent some grief by recommending they research the school more carefully, and on the other hand I feel like I'm leaving my soul out there on the internet by writing a bad review.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food and Family

4 weeks ago, I started something called a "Whole 30."  Basically, you follow a strict Paleo diet for 30 days.  I've got 2 days to go after today.  The major rules are: no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no sweeteners, no white potatoes, and no MSG, carrageenan, or sulfites.

It was tougher than I thought.  At first I tried to restrict my intake of fruit and starchy vegetables, and was having insomnia pretty badly.  I also got sick:  dizzy and weak.  I decided trying to cut the carbs wasn't worth it, and now eat fruit and starch veggies as much as I want to.  

I do feel better now.  I am sleeping better, feel less hungry, and feel like I recover more quickly from workouts.  Part of the program is that you aren't supposed to weight yourself, but I've cheated...  I have lost a bit of weight, but only 3 or 4 pounds.*

This has been a bit of work, and putting so much effort  into my diet made me start feeling guilty that Rory doesn't eat as well as I'd like.  I got a book called "French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy", which Raybon had heard about it.   Raybon and I both read it.  I really enjoyed the book, as someone who is both a mom and sort of a foodie and health nut.  It's a memoir, a cookbook, and parenting self-help.  A Canadian mom and French dad, who lived in Vancouver with their two young daughters, relocate the entire family to France for a year.  I enjoyed the author's perspective.  She's a Rhodes Scholar and PhD from Oxford, but she doesn't come across as overly intellectual (is there such a thing.)   She's has a humorous take on her own parental shortcomings, and her life as a foreigner trying to fit in living in France.  

She includes a list of rules she discovered for getting kids to eat better.  I'm casually following some of them.  They are meant to be habits rather than rules, anyways, but I can't say I'm making all of them habits.  The one thing that has changed is my expectation of what Rory will like, and what I do when he doesn't like something.  I don't make assumptions that he won't like something, and ask him to try everything we are eating.  He doesn't have to eat anything, but he has to try it.  If he doesn't like it, we try again next time I make it.  I'm surprised how well this has worked, and wish I'd read this along time ago.    

One of my favorite things that has come out of reading this book (besides seeing Rory try and like new foods) is that I feel like the time I spend in the kitchen is more meaningful.  I think there is part of me that feels silly that I spend so much time thinking, talking, preparing, and eating food.  I think there is part of me that thought of it as being too, I don't know, basic or primal, as if that was a bad thing.  I sort of wanted to have more sophisticated interests, like creating art of reading novels, or just doing something more productive and educational with Rory.  Although I'm not French, and am pretty sure I would have an even harder time fitting in in France than the author Le Billon did, it makes me feel better to know that there are people out there who place such a high value on eating well, and consider educating your child's palate to be more important than teaching them how to do multiplication before kindergarten.  It has elevated my idea of the importance of food, which makes me feel better about loving something and spending so much time on it.  

*I'm actually kind of tired of trying to lose weight.  I am a healthy weight, and I think I look pretty good.  I don't look in the mirror and cringe like I sometimes used to.  I think the only time I want to lose weight is when I look at Runner's World and think I'm supposed to look like the women in the magazine.  Supposedly losing weight is supposed to make you faster, but that hasn't worked for me so far anyways.  And why should I care so much about being faster anyways?  I'm healthy,  and I exercise regularly because I enjoy it.  Why does I have to have this inner voice constantly telling me that I'm not enough?  I'm not thin enough, and I'm don't swim or run fast enough.  I'm tired of that.  I have a great life and such a tremendous opportunity to just relax and be happy, I'd rather just be through with all that.  I read somewhere recently (OK, it was a comment on FB) that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  I kind of think this whole idea of comparing myself to others (competing) and feeling like a I fall short just makes me less of a giving person.  I hope with God's help that I can rid myself of this way of being...  Pray for me, if  that is the kind of thing you do.  (Or even try it if it isn't?)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are Marathons Bad for Me?

I read a couple of things recently that worry me a bit.  One is an article from Runner's Wotld that shows that runners are generally healthier than non-runners, who run too many miles (more than 20 miles per week), too often (more than 2-5 days per week), or too fast (faster than 8:35) per mile had a higher rate of death than those who ran less.

Exercise: Is It Bad for Some? Is There an Upper Limit for Your Health? What’s Going On?

The other is about intestinal permeability and high intensity running.  It basically says that runners who run at 80% of their VO2 Max had levels of intestinal permeability similar to those with celiac disease or Crohn's Disease.

Effect of running intensity on intestinal permeability

These scare me a bit.  Since I've had problems with my heart and with my digestion during heavy training, I wonder if this is all part of my overtraining problems.

The people studied in the article on intestinal permeability were all healthy, active people around 30 years old.

I already knew, even before reading this article, that my body was telling me I need to take my training a little easier.  These articles make me worry a bit about pushing harder even once a week or so, or even just for the occasional race.  I wonder if it is just running that could potentially be dangerous if overdone, or if swimming or cycling could also be a problem, too.

I'm not getting a lot of comments on my blog, but I imagine at least that I have a few readers still.  Feel free to give me your opinion.  I'd love it if someone would convince me that I shouldn't worry about this stuff so much.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Splash and Dash - June 2012

I did a swim/run AKA aquathlon Thursday.  1500  meter swim in a reservoir, and 3 mile run .

I can't believe it has been 5 years since I first/last did this.  It is a series of three events, once per month in June, July and August.  When I did it back in 2007, it was the inaugural event.

It is funny reading that old blog I linked above. At the time I'd never done a triathlon.  I talked about how much I felt like I didn't fit in, being a little chubby amongst a bunch of muscular triathletes.  I'm about 20 pounds lighter now (though I still don't look like a serious athlete), but the event has changed, too.  There were plenty of other people there who weren't serious athletes with perfect bodies either.

I was excited about doing this race, and nervous in a good way.  I prayed on my way over to the race, thinking about a blog I read that day by a mother I know who is terminally ill with cancer.  After reading her blog, I thought about how precious life is, how fragile and vulnerable we all are, and that any strength that we are blessed with we should receive with gratitude for our Creator.  We all are terminal cases, really, just some of us are closer to realizing it than others.  Maybe those are strange thoughts to have before a race.  It sounds depressing maybe, but it wasn't.  It reminded me how we are all equally dependent upon our Creator, which somehow took some of that burdensome ego out of racing for me.

I really enjoyed the race.  Being a mother really has made me a happier person, but it did change my life completely, and there are bits of my old life I still miss.  Two of those things are open water swimming and being part of a team.  It was fun seeing my old teammates and Coach from T.S.  I didn't get to talk with them all that long or anything, but just a few words of encouragement and smiles made me happy.

As I mentioned in a post earlier, I haven't been swimming much, but I did have a good workout on Saturday, and I realized that I seem to maintain a certain of amount of swimming fitness even if I take a longish break from swimming.  In fact, it doesn't seem to make a difference at all, since I've never really gotten back into shape since I had Rory.  The open water felt like everything I once loved about it, though.  That indescribable feeling of flying, the coolness of the water that soothes my hot running system.  I was surprised I managed to navigate a pretty straight course, sighting every 21 strokes just like I used to.  It was a tight, aggressive swim, but just like I used to, I didn't really mind getting run over, elbowed and having my feet grabbed at.  When that happened I just turned up my legs and swam faster to get away from the offending people.  I told myself going into this that I wouldn't race, but I think I did.  I even negative split the swim, doing the first lap of two laps in 17 minutes and the second in about 16.

I ran the 3 mile trail run hard, but controlled enough that it wasn't torture.  There was a killer hill that I walked up, which was even with walking was the hardest part of the race for me.   I eased off every time I felt a twang of nauseau, breathlessness, or cramps, rather than pushing through.  I knew I'd have to drive myself over a curvy mountain road, which might be unsafe if I got too lightheaded from pushing too hard.  (I took a wrong turn going home as it was.)

I did the run in about 29:47, which includes however long it took me pull on shoes and sock and a race belt.  I don't know what my splits were from a while ago for sure, but I sort of remember doing about 10 minute miles way back in 2007.  My swim was a bit faster then.  If I cared about my times anymore, I guess it would be depressing that my run isn't much faster than I remember it being.  When I did it back in 2007, 3 miles was about as far as I'd run for years, and 6 miles was the most I'd ever run in my whole life.  Now I've put so much more time into running, and I don't seem to be faster.

I don't really care though.  I had fun anyways, and I am proud that I've built up my running distance, even if I've only gotten a tiny bit faster.  And I guess, since I've gotten older, staying the same speed counts for something.  I think I had in my mind that I would get gradually faster with more time spent in the sport, but it seems that most of my gains in speed happened in a short amount of time when I first started.  Not that I wouldn't be thrilled to get faster, but I'm OK with where I'm at.

This was a fun race with a lot of good energy, and not as intimidating as I remember it being. I'm really grateful that I didn't have heart palpitations.  One more example of how I race better when I don't really "train", but just get out and more around and have fun.  It'd be really nice if I could figure out a way to "train" for speed and actually get stronger not weaker, but I don't know how to do it.  I guess if I ever had the money I would find a coach.

I think I will probably do the rest of the series, and maybe do one of more of the three Dip and Dash Races (also swim runs) that are in Flip Flop this summer as well.  That might be it for a race schedule...  I've been invited to join a team of local women doing the Wharf to Wharf as well, but I haven't decided on that one.

I'm sort of inspired to put more time into swimming.  It doesn't seem like putting the energy into running is panning out all that well for me.    I don't want to put the time in expecting to get faster and be disappointed though.  It would involve spending a good deal of my precious free time driving down to Flip Flop to swim while Rory is at preschool.  Is it worth it?  I don't know.  Do I deserve it?  I don't know.  I feel like I get into trouble when I feel like I am entitled to something.

Anyway, this is my third attempt to blog about this race, and I'm going to just hit publish, even though it doesn't seem finished.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Blackened Tilapia - Nightshade Free

I've been a little lax about my diet lately, and am trying to get back on the wagon.  I think after a race (especially a bad one where I need a pity party), I tend to do that.  After watching Rory, Raybon, and lots of other people eat lots of cake, cake pops, and cupcakes at Rory's various birthday celebrations, I indulged in way too much of the gluten free chocolate cake I made.  I've also been eating more nightshade vegetables than I should.  I made some blackened tilapia that was really tasty, but it seems even a milder spice like paprika makes me feel a little inflamed.

So I decided to make some blackened tilapia with a similar recipe, only I substituted powdered ginger  for the nightshade spices. Turned out yummy. Here's the recipe:

Blackened Tilapia - Nightshade Free

2 fillets of tilapia
2 Tablespoons Ginger Rub (Recipe Below)
1 Tablespoon Ghee
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sprinkle and spread about 1 Tablespoon of the rub over the tilapia.  Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Heat ghee in a cast iron skillet.  Fry tilapia about 4 minutes per side on medium heat.  Squeeze lemon over tilapia and serve.

Ginger Rub:

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme

I said this rhyme to Rory as we ate dinner:

"Fishy, fishy in a brook,
Daddy caught him on a hook,
Mommy fried him in a pan,
Benji ate him like a man."

Rory got a kick out of it and even tasted a tiny bit of fish.  If it wasn't for bacon and sausage, he'd be a vegetarian.  He laughed at the rhyme and tried to make up his own funny saying about a Hungry Wolf eating Mommy.

Anyway, since I have cut back on my workouts I feel like I have more energy to cook, so hopefully my diet will be better from here on.

I did start training again last week.  I got into the pool for the first time since around February on Wednesday.  It was at that tiny little pool up here in the mountains I blogged about a while ago.  Just an  easy 45 minute swim with no clock or watch of anything, swimming alongside a handful of folks, none of whom seemed to be doing a recognizable stroke.  I then did an hour and a half Masters workout on Saturday in Flip Flop at the County's pool.  I was surprised I wasn't much slower than last time I swam there. I guess if you never were in shape to begin with, you can't really get out of it.  I ran on Sunday and today, which was more painful than expected for two really slow 40 minute runs.

I was grouchy after my runs.  I guess I was actually grouchy when I woke up on Sunday.  It might be the hard swim and soreness, but getting woren up at 5:30 in the morning by my angry little 3 year old doesn't help.  I think it might have more to do with hunger and carb withdrawals than working out.  I'm trying to be more Paleo again.  I mostly was still following it, but made an exception for rice, and even occasionally gluten free pizza and sandwiches.  I ate a lot of rice.  I kinda wonder if my body was getting not as good as burning fat for fuel, because for my 20 mile run and my marathon, I took Hammer Gels more often than I normally would, because I was fatigued and hungry.  Sigh.  Well, I don't know that I will do another marathon or very long event again, but if I do, that might be something to think about.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


What's next?  I don't know.  I want to keep my heart open to possibilities that don't have anything to do with another long endurance event.  I want to see what interests come up when I have more time and energy and nothing to obsess about.

I don't want to do the kind of training that makes me want to put a movie on for Rory instead of actively engaging with him, even if it is just once a week for 3 weeks out of a 16 week training schedule.  I want to come out of every session energized, not worn  down. 

I never want to overtrain, where it affects my sleep at all.  It should make my sleep better not worse.While I didn't suffer from terrible insomnia during my marathon training, if I didn't do yoga daily, it was getting to where I wouldn't be able to sleep well.

I don't want to take on any kind of event where I get nervous enough that my body takes on strange manifestations from stress:  stomach issues, muscle pains, heart palpitations, whatever.

Maybe someday I'll want to do the kind of event that gets me excited to the point that it stays in the back of my mind and motivates me to push my limits, but I don't want that right now.  

If I'm riding the edge between the kind of stress that results in improvement and the kind that results in ovetraining, when life throws a storm my way (as it tends to do), I fall over the edge and both my life and the event I'm training for don't go well.

I still want to stay healthy and stay in shape.  I'll experiment with what feels best to me, starting with some minimal amount of activity.

Any racing at all?  I don't know.  I think I want to do the kind of events that I can jump into using the type of workouts that feel good to me.  Let my training define my races, not my races define my training, I guess.

Will I ever get back into it?  I don't know.

Am I sad about it?  Not at the moment.

Do I feel like I have unfinished business, because I never became the type of runner I wanted to be?  There probably is a tiny bit, but not enough that I think this would be good motivation for changing mind about all I've written about.  At any rate, overtraining is certainly not getting me any closer to becoming the runner I want to be anyway.

Will I start swimming again?  I think that is likely, but I still live far from a pool.  The local pool is open more during the summer, but it isn't open during the time Rory is at preschool.  I don't know if I'll swing the minimum of 3 times a week to get closer to being in shape.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feeling More Normal

I'm finally starting to get over my cold.

Maybe I should be thankful for the heart palpitation at mile 15.  Just think what torture it would be if I was even sicker than I was the last couple days,  and have 26 miles in my legs to boot.

Maybe I should be thankful that my car broke down at a crucial moment in my taper.  Wouldn't it have been worse if it happened during a hard training week, when I would have had less energy and maybe backed down at the car dealership when they tried to cheat me on financing?

Maybe it is good that I got in a car accident on Monday.  It was really minor, and maybe having that one extra push to allow me to cry.  Maybe it gave me the push to deal with my emotions about the race.

Maybe it is good that I was sick and my back went out.  Maybe I would have ran harder to begin with, had the heart palpitations at mile 6, and ended up walking 6 miles back to the start/finish/midpoint, instead of just two.

These are all, of course, just maybes.  If there is a reason behind these things happening, I don't know exactly what it is.  If there will be a positive overall outcome from these things happening, it is probably not the kind of thing I could ever fully know either.

But I think "maybe" is enough.  It makes any bad perspective I might be tempted to take on all of it a "maybe", too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

At least I look good

I'm usually super critical of myself, and think I actually look pretty fit in this race photo.  So I DNF'd, but maybe I have something to show for my training.

Monday, May 21, 2012

More on luck

Tomorrow is my 13th wedding anniversary.  So that makes it even more funny that my race number was 13.  Gives me something else to ponder.  I hope this year is luckier than my race was!  Well, I guess this will actually be our 14th year of marriage, right?  So, no worries, right?

Today I got hit!  I was pulling out of a parking spot that I decided not to park in, had come to a stop, and the car across from me backed into my driver's side door.  This happened while I was going to pick Raybon up from Starbucks where he was waiting for our old car to get some standard maintenance done.  It feels like crap when something rotten happens to me when I'm trying to do something nice for someone, as if I'm stuck in some dark, ironic comedy or something.  And I threw my back out while helping someone with something the day before the race!  Where is the justice in that?

And of course, while we're working out the details of the accident, we get a call from the car dealership saying our car was ready early, and my whole trip was pointless to begin with.

In Summary:

1) Car broke down
2) Sick
3) Back went out
4) DNF'd a race
5) Got hit in my brand new car

It was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back.  Raybon was stressed out by the whole thing, and was perplexed that I pulled out of the parking spot and paused for a while instead of driving on like a normal person.  I took this as him blaming me, and I gave him Rory and walked away, and started crying.  I decided I would rather cry in my car, so I went over there, and for some weird reason, a guy smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee was standing right next to my car.  So I couldn't cry.  I was looking forward to a release of stress hormones, but I was denied that satisfaction.  I couldn't believe my further bad luck of having a guy standing by my car when I needed privacy, but maybe it was better that I didn't have a private pity party.

I went back to Raybon, who apologized without me asking him to and we went and had lunch as a family and then spent some time at a playground.

Sigh...  I don't know why I get thrown for a loop when bad things happen to me when I am doing something good.  Terrible things happen to good people.  Why am I surprised when so much worse happens to other people, yet I  think I am suffering the trials of Job because I have a bad few days.  The world isn't perfect, and really my life is full of blessings, even if I can't see the meaning when things go badly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's hard not to think that marathons just aren't meant to be my thing.

My training for this race went really, really well.  No heart palpitations, once I stopped trying to do 8 minute mile paced 0.6 mile intervals. Minimal stress to my family.  I came out of most of my training sessions still functional as a mom.  My training for my first marathon was plagued with sickness, heart palpitations, bonking, and exhaustion.  This went really well.  The only thing that didn't go well was the actual race.

My last marathon, my taper was stressful.  A stressful trip to Monterey for Raybon's Big Sur Half Marathon, the death of my grandmother, a stressful trip to Southern California for the funeral, and then traveling to Sac for the actual marathon.  Not ideal for recovery.

I hoped this would go better.  I got my training done early. Our trip to Monterey for Raybon's Big Sur Marathon was a little stressful, but it was 3 weeks before the marathon, and I figured I'd recover.  Then, the next weekend, our car died.  Stress. The next week and weekend were spent car shopping.  More stress.  Then Rory's birthday, which was fun, but tiring.  Trying to make chocolate treats while your 3 year old chocoholic son who even under normal circumstances is difficult to cook around was kinda hard.  Worth it, but hard.  Then, of course, I got sick.  Even before the cold, I've had cramps and nausea.  Maybe stress related, maybe diet related.  Maybe both.

As much as I don't like looking for signs, if I do another marathon and am beset by such bad luck, I will almost feel stupid for not seeing a trend and just giving up.  Is that a quitter's attitude? Is it really bad luck?  Or is it just life?

I'm open to other interpretations, but I guess I figure out what I want and what is best for me.  When I'm less tired.

Surfer's Path Marathon 2012

Do you believe in luck?

When I first heard of the Surfer's Path Marathon, it sounded almost too good to be true.  I heard about it 15 weeks before the race, almost perfect for doing a 16 week training program.  I really wanted to do another marathon, but I decided to only stick with local races until Rory was older.

Raybon's work has not been quite so busy, so he has been able to work from home.  This made it possible for me do my longest runs while Rory was at preschool, because Raybon was able to drop off Rory at preschool while I was out training, giving me enough time to finish my long runs.  Perfect, huh?

I saw a contest on a blog for a free entry.  I figured my chances of winning were pretty good.  Thinking about getting in for free made my 18 mile run somehow feel breezy, like I was destined to do this race.

I found out I didn't win the contest before my 20 mile run.  It bummed me out a little bit, but I still did the run, averaging 11 minute miles, 10:40 for the last 9 of them.  This was at the end of a 46 mile week, with a tough 10 mile Sunday workout which included 5 miles at 8:50 pace.  The 20 mile run was really tough, compared to the 18 miler.  I'm not sure why, but when I went to get lunch with Rory and Raybon later, I almost felt like fainting as I waited in line at the counter at the deli.

Two days after my 20 mile training run I signed up for the race.  I was going to wait until I entered my taper to sign up, figuring if I could finish the training, I could finish the race.

The day after signing up, I got am email with a coupon code for $10 off the race entry.  That made me upset.  How unlucky was that?  Why couldn't I have got the coupon before I entered?  Why couldn't I have waited until the next day.

2 weeks before the race, one of our cars broke down.  I stressed about finding a car that week, culminating in a horrible interaction at the dealership the Sunday before the race, that left me exhausted and stressed out.

Yesterday when I went to pick up my bib, I was the 13th marathon participant to pick one up.  So I was given #13.  13!!!  In our culture, widely thought to be an unlucky number.  I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found out that many famous, successful sports figures were number 13, so I felt a little bit better.

Am I really so superstitious?  I guess I really don't believe in unlucky numbers and black cats crossing your path and what not.  I decided a long time ago not to look for signs.

Anyway, lucky or unlucky or neutral 13, I had a bad race.  I threw my back out yesterday.  I am also suffering from a cold, and all that stress in the last couple weeks can't have been good for my race.  I kinda hoped I would loosen up and warm up, but I started slow and just got slower.  Finally, at mile 15, my heart rate suddenly jumped over 200 (the first time since that bad race at the beginning of March) and I walked 2 more miles back to the finish line (which you cross by at the half way mark) and turned in my bib.

I do believe in God, and I believe God loves us and blesses us.  I also believe that you're lucky to consider yourself lucky, and will see God's blessing more clearly if you have faith that he is always with you.  I also believe that is important to find a positive meaning in even seemingly bad events, in order to move on and have no regrets.  My takeaway from this I'll still ponder, but at the moment I'm inclined to figure out a way to reduce stress in my life, and maybe making running and racing a lesser priority.  I'm happy to think about the possible blessings that made come out of this for myself and my family.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What (Not) To Do When Tapering

I'm tapering.

Yes, I did sign up for that marathon in Flip Flop that is happening this Sunday.  Yes, the full.  I waited until I had finished all my training but the taper, then I signed up.

I just really wanted to do it, and realized I could.  Who knows if next year I will even have the same opportunity?  What it they don't do the race again?  What if Raybon is too busy with work?  Basically, I was able to do my training with little impact to my family, because all Raybon had to do was watch Rory for an hour in the morning, drop him off at preschool, and pick him up.  I even came with him to pick him up each of those times, too.  Raybon just worked from home.  He hasn't been super busy at work, so this was feasible, when it hasn't always been and might not always be.

I have a cold today. :(.  I hope I am better by Sunday, but unless I feel like a dead woman, I will probably race anyways.

I've been keeping myself busy, probably a little too busy.  One of our cars died a couple weeks ago.  Since I don't have a job, even though Raybon was driving that car most of the time, in a way it became my car once it died, since Raybon had to take the one I drove most of the time.  It was 13 years old, had 200,000 miles on it, and was just ready to go.  I thought that maybe I didn't need a car, since Raybon works from home 2 days a week, I'd only be without a car 3 days a week.  Obviously, I'm pretty good at getting around on my feet and pushing a stroller.  But since I do realize I can depressed at times when I am stuck at home and feel isolated, I decided we should get a car.

Car shopping became my "project."  I decided on a used Prius.  Raybon drives so much it just made good economic sense, and I feel better about buying a car with close to zero emissions.  I looked at and found one that seemed almost fairly priced, so we drove over to look at it.  I tried to talk them down to the Edmunds price, and got them to meet me half way, off by a couple hundred dollars on both our sides.  They lied and lied during negotiations, tried to intimidate me, and tried to cheat us on the financing.  My hands were shaking as I firmly stuck to my guns.  I think I may have a few more gray hairs I can blame on this whole process, so I wonder if the money was worth it, but I guess it is better than feeling taking advantage of?

This week was Rory's 3rd birthday.  Happy Birthday, my darling son.  I am incredibly proud of him, and was so excited about his birthday.  We looked at pictures of him from his past birthdays together.  I love him at each of the ages 0, 1, and 2 and miss the little person in each one of them, but love the person cuddling with me as we looked at them together the most.  He is in so many ways the person I wish I was:  honest, brave, loving, independent, friendly, curious, and big hearted.

Trying to create magic for Rory's birthday was tiring when I was already tired from car shopping.  I made bear cake pops for his preschool, and a pirate ship cake for his birthday.  I was good and didn't sample any of it this time, trying to be strict about my diet for my race on Sunday.  I hope I didn't work so hard that I won't have energy to race on Sunday, but I was too excited and couldn't help it.  Maybe find something to obsess over besides the race is actually a good thing.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Raybon's First Marathon

Congratulations, Raybon, on running your first marathon on Sunday.

Raybon ran the Big Sur Marathon on Sunday.  He's been training for it for a really long time now, since the beginning of winter if not longer.  He made up his own training plan, and came up with a race plan himself.  He made it through without injury, and finished strongly.  He was tired and sore the next day, but walking around like a normal person.  I'm really proud of him, and relieved for him too, that it is over.

I can't really write a race report for him  I've encouraged him to write one.  Maybe I'll publish it here if he does.   I do know it was windy, and that it was even hillier than he expected it to be, but the weather was pretty mild apart from the wind.  He felt good the whole way.

Rory and I went down with him, and we spent Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon in the Monterey area.   I  thought it might be a nice little mini-break, but it was very tiring.  Poor Rory really just wanted his "old house" back, and didn't like being cooped up in the hotel.  He was a cheerful trooper for the most part, but unfortunately he entertained himself by getting into things he shouldn't, and all that change resulted in more power struggles than usual.  How do people travel to Europe with more kids and younger ones than Rory?  But not everything is about Rory, and this weekend was about Raybon, so I'm glad we were there to support him.  We were there at the finish line as he crossed, where he breezed past us not seeing us, but I think he knew we were there, which was the important part.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I feel a lot better than I did yesterday, and may do the Half in May after all.  I'm always at my tiredest two days after a race, so that's probably why I wrote what I did yesterday.  Marathon... hmmm....  See, Raybon is training for a marathon at the end of this month, so it would just be hard...  That and Rory's birthday.  There will be other chances to do this, I promise myself.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

What's Next?

So I completed my half marathon.  That dream race of mine, the Surfer's Path Marathon is right around the corner.  Should I do it?

I'm thinking not.  I do sort of want to do it, but I don't think the timing is right.  It was only a month ago that I couldn't finish a 10K.  I am certain I could finish it, and I'm almost certain I could run the whole thing.  But I don't think I could run it like I want to, and the satisfaction at the end might not be worth all the time it would take to train for it.

Rory's birthday is coming up.  It is just 3 days before the marathon.  So I'd rather just focus on his birthday party rather than stressing about a marathon right now.

Also, I'm not sure what I would get out of it.  I think if I did it, it wouldn't get the marathon bug out of my system.  I know I'd still want to do a better one, and I think if I spent more time training in shorter races, my chances of having a better marathon once I finally did one would be greater.

There is a half marathon that day, too... Maybe I'll do it, maybe I won't.  Right now I feel inclined not to.  I want to focus on recovery right now, and not sign up for any longish races.  

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Flip Flop Half Marathon

After having two very bad 10K's in the last couple months, I was apprehensive about the Half Marathon I had today, which I signed up for at the end of December.  I wasn't sure if I should race at all.  I wasn't scared so much of the discomfort I sometimes get from palpitations (fatigue, nauseau), but more about the disappointment and sense of failure I got from DNF'ing my last race.  I mentioned to a friend of mine that if I DNF'd another race, I might not ever want to race again.

I decided I really wanted to do the race, and would just do my best to keep it under control.  I'd put in the mileage for it, and knew I could run the distance if I kept an easy pace.  Still, it was scary going into this race.  Last year I got heart palpitations at mile 5 in the race, and the rest of the race was hell.  I finished it in 2:35, walk/running the rest of it.  Also, in a training run I did in January on part of the course while I was still recovering from the stomach flu, I experienced heart palpitations while I ran what felt like a really easy pace to me.  Between having two bad 10K's recently, and bad experiences with this race and the course, I had a bit of a feeling of dread going into it.

I've cut way back on the intensity of the training, realizing that my best races recently have been ones where I didn't train for them at all.  I also had some acupuncture done to treat the heart palpitation problems.  The acupuncture has helped me to feel more relaxed, but I knew I couldn't be sure if it would help until I had a good hard run.

Raybon took Rory to the library for a few hours to allow me to relax yesterday.  I did some dishes, cooked dinner, did a bit of laundry, and watched part of "The Hangover."  "The Hangover" was really funny; it was the first time I'd seen it.  (I still haven't finished it because the boys got back before I could.)  It was good to take my mind off the race.  I'd been reading "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", but then I saw an article in a running magazine that said not to read books about running or watch movies about it right before a race.  So I really enjoyed "The Hangover" and I think I was reminded of why laughter is sometimes the best medicine.  It was nice of Raybon to take Rory to the library without me even asking him to.  I think Raybon felt bad that I had to watch Rory in the morning while he did a long run the day before my race.

Back in December when I signed up for the race, I thought three of my friends would be joining me.  But one of them has taken on foster care of 3 children unexpectedly, another decided to visit family this weekend instead, and another has been too busy with work to train.  I thought I'd be going it alone.  Last year one of my memories in the race was a feeling of jealousy looking at other women running with their friends in matching outfits.  I missed my triathlon team a bit, and felt really lonely.  So I was a little bummed not to have any friends in the race with me.

But last night I got a text from one of my friends, C., saying that she decided to do the race anyways, despite not having trained since the last time she saw me in January.  This made me really happy, and I felt better about racing.

I actually carbo-loaded for the two days prior to the race this time, getting about 70% of my calories from carbs.  I've never consciously counted my carbs before a race before, just eating carbohydrate rich foods.  I found it almost hard to eat so much.  I've been using a calorie tracking website at, which has helped me track my calories.  I usually eat a lot of fat, and not so many carbs.  Since fat has more calories per gram than carbs, my stomach felt really stuffed eating so many carbohydrates, having to take in so many more grams of food than I normally do. Mostly I ate rice and sweet potatoes.

For some reason, my feeling of dread went away in the evening before the race.  I prayed to God that my race would go well, and I think knowing C. would be there, too, made me feel better.  The weather predicted sunny but cool weather, perfect for a race.  

At home the morning of the race, I ate nothing.  I drank two cups of water, that's it.  I was afraid that eating something would unsettle my stomach, and I decided instead to rely on the carbs I ate for two days prior, to see if that went better.  I also drank less water than I often do before a race.  My last couple races, I could hear the water sloshing in my stomach, so I thought I might be drinking too much.

As we drove down to Flip Flop, about half an hour from our house, I realized I forgot my race number when we were halfway there.  Raybon noticed it.  I told him to just keep driving to the race, but he figured we had time, and turned around.  He was right, we did have enough time, and I got there about 15 minutes before the race start.  We saw C. as we were driving up.  I forgot to ask her why, but she was jogging back to her car, I think.  Raybon dropped me off close to the start.  I gave Raybon a quick kiss, got out of the car, and went to find C.  I heard Raybon call out to me "Aren't you going to kiss your son goodbye?"  I completely forgot, and felt bad.  I'm glad Rory is the type who gets over things quickly and doesn't take things too personally.  I gave him a kiss on my mouth, and had him kiss each of my cheeks for good luck.  I wasn't wearing my wedding rings, because they need to be resized and kept falling off.  I wanted to wear something  that reminded me of something happy but couldn't find anything in the rush to get out the door in the morning, so I was happy to wear Rory's kisses.

I found C. and after talking some, discovered that it might work out for us to run together.  C. is my training partner, but she is a bit faster than me when she is in shape.  Between me overtraining and her not training at all, we thought we should try running together.  

It really worked out for us to run together.  C said she was out of shape, but might have been tempted to run too hard if I wasn't there  to slow her down.  If she wasn't there running along with me, and bringing along her cheery chatter and sense of humor, I probably would have been so dismayed by my pace, I would have pushed harder than my heart rate monitor was telling me to.  She managed to stay with me, despite having to make a pit stop for a potty break, taking breaks to stretch, stopping to take someone's picture and picking up all the free unopened Hammer Gels she found along the course.  Her pockets were full with 20 or so Gels by the end of the race.

Near the start of the race, I saw a former swimming lane mate pf mine running in the opposite direction from me somewhere between miles 2 and 3.  She is a really fast runner, so I assumed she was finishing the race.  I realized shortly after I cheered for her that there was no way she could have run 10 miles in 30 minutes or so. I was so embarrassed I almost couldn't stop thinking about it for a few miles.

I really was a beautiful course, especially the cliffs along the ocean in Wilder Ranch.  C. pointed out the beautiful view of all the other runners making their way along the path against the backdrop of ocean.  I felt that sense of camaraderie with all my fellow racers that I get when I'm enjoying a race, something I haven't experienced in my last couple of races.

I had fun running, and felt a sense of liberation once I passed by the two places along the course that I'd experienced heart palpitations in last year's race and this year's training run.   We took it very easy and ran 11.5-12 minute miles for most of the miles of the race, and then decided to pick it up when passed the 10 mile marker.

During mile 12, we passed by an old woman, and C. told her "We want to be you in another 20 years."  She asked her how old she was and she said "78."  I had gotten a few yards passed her by that point, and I turned around and said "Oh my gosh, that's awesome."  The woman said something about running the Boston Marathon, and I asked her "Are you on our City Council?"  She said yes, and C. asked her if she was famous.  She told us her name was Katherine Beiers, and I said she was famous for being on our City Council and winning her age group in Boston.  Yes, I hope to be in her kind of shape even 20 years from now, when I'll be only 56, not 78.  

Another funny thing was that I got cut off by a big truck while running through a cross walk during mile 13.  I had to stop and break my stride so I yelled "Effing a-hole."  Yes, that's what I really yelled, not the cruder version that it represents.  Still, I was embarrassed at my temper.  It's not really a constructive thing to do.

My last 3 miles were my fastest, and they hurt like heck.  I ran a 9:15, then a 10:05, then a 8:35.  I saw Rory and Raybon cheer for me at the finish.  I finished in 2:25.

I hurt so badly afterwards as I walked back to my car.  I felt like my face was probably frozen in a grimace. But I was happy, despite being exhausted.  Totally satisfied, despite being hungry, dehydrated, and in pain.  I took me about 45 minutes and a scone, smoothie, and vanilla steamer to revive me.

It's kind of funny that I put so much effort in those final 3 miles, instead of coasting in, when my time was going to be bad no matter what.  But it made me realize that the hard effort and giving it all I've got is a lot of what I really love about racing.  I've been in a funk for a couple of months, and I think it was because I'd never get to have that feeling again.  Is that strange?  I guess it wasn't that I can't run as fast as I could that was getting me down, it was the thought that I'd never be able to push my limits.

I'm hoping that this race is a new beginning for me, and that I'll find a way to train that allows me to push my limits again.

I'm in a good mood today, not grouchy like I have been after past races.  Maybe it's the acupuncture.  Maybe it's because I've been taking it easier in training.  Maybe it's the recovery amino acids I've been taking.  Either way, hopefully this means I'm on the mend.


I finished.  I didn't walk.  I had a good time.

I'll blog more about it later.  It was one of my slower half marathon times, even though I avoided having heart palpitations, but considering I couldn't even finish the last two 10K's I did without my heart acting up, I feel good about the race.

It was fun, and I feel like it is worth a longer blog, but I'd like to sit down and write about it sometime when Rory isn't in my charge.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Racing on Sunday

Lately, I haven't been doing pre-race posting, just doing write-ups after.  Not sure why.  I think part of me is nervous that if I talk about the race beforehand, it will make me more nervous.

I'm racing on Sunday, doing the Flip Flop Half Marathon.  I haven't had any heart palpitations since my last race, have cut way back on the speed training, and have been taking the last couple of weeks very easy.  Hopefully that will all add up to a strong, recovered heart for Sunday's race.  I'm not going to try to P.R. or anything.  I will try my best to keep it under control, just going slightly harder than my normal long run effort.  If I go over my heart rate zone and I'm running 13 minute miles, then fine, that is my pace for that day.

1) I want to finish
2) I don't want to walk (which basically means I don't want heart palpitations, my only reason for walking
3) I want to enjoy myself

I'm reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, so I'm sort of paraphrasing his goals for the 2005 New York City Marathon.

I've never read any of Murakami's other books, and I'm not sure whether I ever will.  I think I must be a boring kind of person who runs as a hobby and lately is only interested in books about running.  He's a great writer, and I'm sure his novels are wonderful, but lately I'm sort of a two-note person:  mommy and runner.

There's a lot in the book that I'm enjoying, and quotes that I could bookmark, but the one paragraph that struck a chord with me the most is this one:

"I don't care about the time I run.  I can try all I want, but I doubt I'll ever be able to run the way I used to.  I'm ready to accept that.  It's not one of your happier realities, but that's what happens when you get older.  Just as I have my own role to play, so does time.  And time does it job faithfully, much more accurately, than I ever do.  Ever since time began (when was that, I wonder?), it's been moving ever forward without a moments rest.  And one of the privileges given to those who've avoided dying young is the blessed right to grow old.  The honor of physical decline is waiting, and you have to get used to that reality."

Friday, March 09, 2012

Fine, I'm Overtraining

I was kind of bummed to find that changing my diet yet again, avoiding high FODMAP foods didn't help me avoid heart palpitations.  (If you read up on FODMAPs, please know that I don't have IBS.  I just have stomach distress while exercising sometimes, and I thought I might have mild fructose intolerance.)   But you know, I'm kinda glad.  Not eating so many of my favorite foods on my already very restricted diet was too much of a bummer.  I'm an athlete (sorta), but I'm also a bit of a foodie.  I like to cook, and I love me my onions and garlic.  I've given up ice cream, but I don't think I could be happy and give up onions and garlic.  Take away my sweets, but don't take away my aromatic veggies.

I had some homemade pumpkin bolognese for dinner tonight. Yum..

If I had to choose between running marathons and eating high FODMAP fruits and veggies (onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, etc. etc.) I'd have to choose the fruits and veggies.  I don't have IBS or Crohn's disease, or any of the symptoms, so it's not like it is a huge deal.  I'd give them up if I thought it was seriously affecting my health, but I doubt it is.

Giving up those foods on top of everything else was a huge bummer.  I ended up cheating and eating sugar and french fries, which are allowed on a low FODMAP diet, but I know are bad for me.

At first I was bummed at the idea I was overtraining, rather than eating the wrong foods.  But I'm willing to accept that now, and look on the bright side of it.  Yay, onions and garlic!

It's kind of funny how long I've been avoiding what now seems like an obvious answer to my problem.  The first time I had heart palpitations, it was while doing a set of 800's.  The next time was under the same circumstances, and they then started creeping into less intense workouts.  I blamed it on Benadryl.

I rested up, seemed to get better.  Since I figured I was cured, and no longer took Benadryl, I started training again.  Problem started again.  I then figured it was my diet.  I rested up again, ate a little better, and thought I was cured.  Then the problem started again.  Rested again, changed my diet again, and thought I was cured.  Nope...

It was probably the rest that was helping me.  I would start training again, feel good, be able to do some intense workouts, and figure I was better.  Eventually the problem would always start again.

I think I have to just figure out how to workout in a way that doesn't cause palpitations.

Before I had Benji, I had shinsplints all through my Honu Half Ironman training.  Maybe those were a blessing in disguise, a constant reminder I shouldn't push too hard.  Since I haven't had any serious connective tissue problems lately, I've been able to train hard without my body screaming at me to slow down.

Should I try to run 9 minute mile pace instead of 8 during my interval work?  8:30?  Do I need to decrease my mileage temporarily, too?  Should I just do 10K's instead of Half Marathons or Marathons?  I don't know.  Err on the side of caution?  Let my tiredness after workouts be my guide?  Heart rate? Lots to think about.  

Monday, March 05, 2012

Feeling Better Today

I felt pretty beat up this morning (groggy, irritable), but I'm feeling better now.  I also feel more optimistic about racing in the future.

I still am not sure I will do the marathon in May, or the half marathon on April 1st.  I may do a 10K instead of the half in April.  I may do the half instead of the full in May.  I may not do either.  I'll see how recovery goes, and if I feel like it when the time comes.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Waah, waah, waah

So sometimes I get heart palpitations.  So maybe I can't run as fast as I want.  Maybe I'll have to give up racing...

I'm kind of embarrassed/ashamed of my problem.  I think it means I'm not tough.  My body is failing me.  I'm not a real athlete.

I had a palpitation in the pool for the first time last month.  :(.  Usually only happens when running.  I had moved up a couple lanes, and was keeping up pretty well, even leading on the kicking sets.  I was feeling good and even started leaving 10 seconds back to avoid catching up to the person in front of me.  Then it happened.  I said something about it to my lanemates, and one of them laughed.  I was appalled.  As I got out of the pool, one of my other lanemates suggested I was swimming too fast.

Sometimes I feel like people throw it in my face.  Maybe you were going too hard?  Well, you were going up hill, and you suck at hills.  Maybe they don't mean it that way, but comments like that are annoying, especially since it happens occasionally when I am going easy.

In my last race on Superbowl Sunday, people made a big deal when I told them about my palpitaitons.  This race, I decided just to say I wasn't feeling well.  I felt dumb, DNFing in a race simply because I didn't feel well, but I didn't want to be a drama queen about it.  Heart issues sound so serious.

It is bothering me a lot, but I feel like I don't deserve to whine about it.    It would seemingly be a small part of my life.  I work out far less than 10 hours a week now.  I'm not in the top tier of my events.  Why does it matter to me so much anyways?

I'm otherwise in good health.  (Knock on wood.)  Supposedly my palpitations are harmless.  Many people have life threatening problems or severe disabilities, and I'm whining because I can't race and train like I want to?  We're all getting older and are mortal anyways, right?  I may as well get used to it.

I'm tempted to make a list of all the things I'm glad are not wrong with me, but that would be just way too petty.  I'm in a weak, selfish, horrible person kind of mood.  That would be kind of a rotten way of counting my blessings.  Problems I don't have, that other people do.

I have a lot in my life to be happy about.  I hope I'm feeling more energetic, well rested, and less anxious tomorrow, and can refocus on all of that.

I get one day  to whine, right?  And this is my blog...  Feel lucky I didn't call you, I guess.

Drowning My Sorrows in Pizza and Chinese Food

I did the Jenny's Light 10K today.  I tried to go really easy (10:30 pace) and had heart palpitations before I reached mile 3.  I just turned around, rather than finishing.  I took off my bib, didn't cross the finish line, and tried to tell them I really DNF'd so they wouldn't wonder why someone started the race but didn't finish, but somehow my name ended in with the finishers anyhow.

I had a feeling this could happen.  I did a track workout last weekend where I did 5 x 800's at 8 min/mile pace,  interspersed with easy 800's, and had palpitations on my last 800.  I didn't want to race today, but figured, maybe if I just went easy enough and didn't get my heart rate too high, I would be OK, but that strategy didn't work out.

I have been trying really hard to watch my diet lately, although I haven't been strictly paleo, allowing some non-gluten grains.  I've been trying to follow a low "FODMAP" diet, which for me has been harder than being Paleo in some ways.  No onions?  No garlic? No broccoli? No kale?  Are you kidding?  I already didn't eat tomatoes and potatoes, wheat, sugar, chocolate.  The list goes on.

I made myself a gluten free pizza crust last night, intending to use a butternut squash sauce.  When I got home from the race, I topped it with some homemade marinara I made for Raybon (yum, onions and tomatoes), organic pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.  Raybon is out getting chinese food now.  It's gluten free, but screw the whole garlic, onion, nightshade avoidance nonsense.

I don't know...  Maybe diet is part of it.  The rice flour I've been indulging in lately does feel awfully heavy in my stomach, and I feel kinda sluggish after eating it.  But I really think it is too much stress and overtraining.  I am cheating by doing interval workouts where my marathon plan doesn't call for them.  I want to go faster, not just farther.  :(  Now I wonder if I should take a couple weeks or months off training altogether.

I don't want to think about this too hard right now.  Giving up on the marathon I wanted to do (but haven't signed up for) makes me sad.  Thinking about whether I need to give up racing long in general makes me sad.  I guess I'll find other ways to fill my time it it comes to that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Bike Shoes

I bought new bike shoes today.  They were on sale for only $85, because they were the last of last year's model.  The new ones are $180 or so.  They happened to have them in my size.  The fit isn't perfect, but it was hard to beat the price. (They are a little long, because I have wide feet.)  They are Specialized Trivents, my first pair of triathlon cycling shoes.

I am always a little surprised when I buy cycling gear.  I bought some shoe covers, too back in November.  They haven't gotten any use yet.  I remember after I did an 70 mile ride in 100 degree heat, where I got dropped by my partner, my tire blew out, and I got calf cramps, how I was kind of surprised when I went out and bought a new tire.

I can't say I love cycling, but I guess it is is still in the back of my head.  Is it because it feels like unfinished business, because I was never the cyclist I wanted to be?  Does part of me actually like it?

The shoes make sense.  I still ride my trainer to get exercise, not having a treadmill or any other kind of stationary machine.  My old shoes are too small because my feet got bigger, and were hurting my feet.  Still, I did buy triathlon shoes instead of the slightly cheaper regular road bike shoes they had on sale...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dream Come True Race

I have really wanted to do another marathon. I finished it, which was my main goal, but I didn't run it, which was my secondary one.

I haven't signed up for one, because: (A) I haven't had time to train and (B) I'm limiting myself to local races.  (A) was the main problem.  (B) was only sort of one.  There are  a couple local trail marathons, but I'm not really a trail runner.  There is a marathon an hour and half away that is partially on trails, but mainly on roads. Still an hour and a half is a long time to spend in the car before and after a marathon.  

Now (A) isn't the problem it was.  Rory is in preschool until the end of May, so I have the time to train at least until then.  (I'd like to find a school for him in the summer, too, but the school he is enrolled in doesn't have a summer program.)  Still, I haven't found a local race I'm excited about that I could train for through May.  Then, luckily, I read an email from a local running store and in the news section it mentioned the Surfer's Path Marathon.

I always wished they would have a marathon in Flip Flop.  It seemed easy enough to come up with a course, just by combining the Wharf to Wharf 6 mile race and the Santa Cruz Half Marathon.  The Wharf to Wharf is point to point, so just looping it back would get you 12 miles.  The W2W and the Santa Cruz Half both have the same start points, just in opposite directions, so adding them together gets you up to 25.1.  Just add some 1.1 mile loop in there, and you have a marathon.  They did just that!  And it is on May 20th, just perfect in terms of timing for Rory's preschool schedule.

Some people think doing local races are silly, since you could always just run the course any time.  But I actually like familiar courses for racing, and really like this run in particular.

I really, really hope training goes well.  With my disastrous 10K a week ago, it almost seems foolish to sign up for a marathon.  I hope that I can get my tummy problems straightened out, and manage my stress better.

Things I hope will help:

1) Yoga 3 days a week
2) Napping lots
3) No overtraining.  Using swimming and cycling for recovery only, not trying to build speed in either, or doing any racing.  This means laying off Masters swimming.
4) Eating a healthy diet, but NOT trying to lose weight.  Trying to follow a low FODMAP diet
5) Doing a beginner's marathon training plan, instead of an intermediate one, although I have lots of half marathons and one marathon under my belt

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Fructose Malabsoprtion

While browsing the web, I found an article that questioned the health benefits of coconut milk.  It is linked below:

It talks about something I've never even heard of before, fructose malabsorption.  Apparently, up to 40% of Westerners suffer from it.  Isn't it strange that I've never heard of it?  Everyone has heard of gluten intolerance, but only 6% of people suffer from it.     

I've given up wheat and felt much better.  I assumed it was the gluten in wheat, but apparently people who suffer from fructose malabsorption can't eat wheat in large amounts, because it is rich in fructans, which breaks down into fructose.  The symptoms of fructose malabsorption include brain fog and fatigue, which I attributed to gluten intolerance, and disappeared when I gave up wheat.

I've never tried to eliminate fruit my diet.  I have sometimes even used apple juice in a sports drink concoction. Lots of commercial sports drinks have fructose, too.  Cytomax is one I've used unsuccessfully, because it caused bloating, one of the signs of fructose malabsorption.  

I've always thought of fruit as all natural and healthy.  I've read you can eat to much of it, but I thought this was because it might make you fat.  I guess I have also heard that excess fructose taxes the liver, too, but I didn't know it caused brain fog, fatigue, and stomach bloating.  

Lots of vegetables are bad for people with fructose intolerance, too.  Onions, which I use in almost every recipe I make are no-no's.  So is kale, another of my favorites. 

Luckily some fruits are tolerable.  Bananas, berries, stone fruits, and citrus are OK because of their glucose to fructose ratio.  Glucose enables you to absorb fructose better, although you still can't go overboard even with these safe fruits.  

So I'm going to try this out for a while.  Maybe I'll find some relief from the problems I've been having, like stomach bloating and heart palpitations.  I was at a loss, but at least having one more thing to try gives me a bit of optimism.

I ran 10 miles today, at an easy long run pace, while B was at preschool. I ate a rice cake and banana for breakfast, and had Hammer Gel (supposedly safe for those with fructose malabsorption)  No palpitations, no stomach distress.   So Day 1 of the experiment was successful.  Hope it continues to be and I'll have a solution to my problem.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Super Bowl Run 2012

I did the Super Bowl Run in Flip Flop on Sunday morning.  I've been kind of stressed out lately, and my stomach still isn't 100% after recovering from the flu.  (I've been watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, and have learned you aren't supposed to tell people you have the stomach flu, because it is TMI.  Oh well.)  But I decided to do the race anyways, and try out a new pre-race breakfast and see how it went. I told myself I wouldn't push too hard, and just tell myself that I was doing Half Marathon pace instead of trying to P.R. a 10K.

I've been under some stress lately, and my workouts haven't been going well.  I had heart palpitations on an easy run 2 weeks ago. I think it is a combination of stress and stomach discomfort that is the cause.

The night before the race I had baked sole with olive oil, lemon and garlic powder, white rice, and some frozen mixed veggies.  I woke up 4 hours before the race and ate 2 gluten free waffles, a banana, and some yogurt with applesauce and a little sugar free strawberry jam.  A couple hours before the race I had a large glass of coconut water.  I had one Hammer Gel 10 minutes before I started my 20 minute pre-race warmup, and took sips of water every ten minutes before the race.

I did my first mile in about 9:15, not too fast.  My heart rate was already pretty high, though.  I had a heart palpitation during the second mile, and finished it in about 10 minutes.  I slowed down, walked a bit.  I didn't want to stop running or turn around and head back to the start/finish.  By the time I got to mile 4, I had averaged about 10 minutes per mile, but was getting more uncomfortable. My heart rate was still way too high, at 170 bpm just walking.  I decided to just walk back to the finish line.  Experiment in pre-race breakfast was over.

I wasn't too uncomfortable as long as I just walked.  Rory and Raybon were waiting for me at home, and I was a little anxious about them, but just decided I should relax and enjoy the walk along the coast as best I could.

I finished in about an hour and 20 minutes.  I think I may have gotten last place overall.  Towards the end of the race, some volunteers asked how I was doing, worried I'd pulled something.  I told them about my heart, and one of them walked with me to the finish, very concerned.  She found a nurse, and someone else working the race who came over and talked to me.  I told them about how this was a problem I've had for a while now, but that the cardiologist who had done a lot of testing on me said my heart was fine.  My heart rate was still around 160 just standing around and talking.  They offered to drive me home, or even just follow me home, but I said I felt OK, and that my heart rate would return to normal soon.  I stopped at a bakery and got a gluten free scone and then drove home.   My heart rate returned to normal before I got home.  I was a little tired and spacey the rest of the day, but had fun having friends over for the Super Bowl that day.

The nurse I talked to mentioned that it might be the Vagus Nerve that is causing the problems.  It is the 10th cranial nerve and involves your heart, lungs, and your entire digestive system.  Stress and digestive problems both cause problems with the Vagus Nerve which can lead to heart palpitaitons.  I'll have to research this a bit more.  I guess I'll have to try harder to figure out pre-race nutrition, and to manage stress in my life in general.  Rory being in preschool should help a little bit, although right now it is hard to leave him in a new place without me.

So I'm not sure what I am going to do now.  Just try to relax for a while.  Should I cut back on working out?  Nap more?  Stop eating dairy?  Run 10K's instead of Half Marathons?  Don't race at all?  Do one sport instead of two or three?  More Yoga?  More prayer?  I'm a little confused.  My life seems a little bit out of control sometimes, especially when I get sick or something stressful just lands in my life.  I'll take it day by day for a week or two, just working out as much as I feel like and putting a priority on rest.

If I do another 10K, I will try doing it on an empty stomach.  No breakfast.  Just a Hammer Gel and water.  Raybon suggested that I don't sign up for races, and just try to do runs on my own to test my nutrition.  I may do the Jenny's Light 10K in March.  Maybe I'll do the Flip Flop 10K instead of the Flip Flop Half Marathon.