Thursday, November 30, 2006


I used to do those quite often. Another rainy morning, and its getting colder. We are under a winter storm watch through tomorrow. I'm hoping it goes away the way it always does when the news people hype up the weather for days at a time, and the storm will pass without incident.

I know tomorrow is December 1, but I am still not ready for snow. I never am, really. I have never been a winter sports enthusiast, but I do remember as a kid playing outside every day regardless of how cold it was or how much snow we had, sledding and skating. Every day after school. All weekend long. The more snow, the better! I guess I see it as a major inconvenience now.

On the other hand, last night people were still out running in shorts. I could go for that all winter and would even deal with some rainy, dark days if necessary.

Last night, I did make it to the gym with my grandson and did my 1 mile swim. I'm pretty sure I kept better track of my laps (and I know Sharon, that I could make it easier by hitting the lap button on my watch if I knew how to use it and see it!), and when I hit the 1/2 mile mark, I was still under 20 min. That is faster than it has been lately, so figured I might have missed a lap or two, but by the 1 mile mark (by my count), I was at 42 min. That allowed for some stopping and readjusting the goggles too, so I was happy enough with that. I continued swimming until I hit 45 min. I wasn't necessarily tired, but it was getting late, and I had to get Kyle home. He is content playing in the water the whole time, and I am able to check on him every time I turn at the ends of the pool, so there is never more than 30-40 seconds with my eyes off from him. He is also starting to do some laps, but he can't keep up with me yet nor is he willing to do laps that long.

So this morning it was just a few weights and a short elliptical workout. I had an early morning appointment and decided it was still easier leaving from the gym in the morning rather than home, since I needed to get to the other side of town in the height of traffic time. I used to do hard run workouts in the evening and then get up and swim and then take the next day after off, something I will most likely do tomorrow! Surprisingly, though, I don't feel fatigued or too tired from the workouts, so that is also a turning point for me. Not that I don't get tired at all. Far from it. But my fatigue from workouts is getting less and less, and I know I am ready for something new.

I think it is time to switch tactics on my running, now that I have actually worked up to 45 min. at a time of walking and running. This weekend will be 3 months since the accident and 1 month since I started back running. I'm thinking along the lines of 3 one mile repeats, with a walk break between each. I really want to see if I can run a whole mile at a time, and what kind of pace I can keep. I figure if I can swim almost nonstop for 45 min., I should be able to run 1 mile nonstop. I think I will see more progress made if I can get over that hurdle. I'm pretty sure it will be on the treadmill though. so that will also be an exercise in mental toughness, my mantra for these rehab months.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


The last until who knows when, according to the weather forecast. Not that it isn't time, but unless you are into winter sports, no one would around these parts could possibly be anxious for the snow and cold.

It has been nice having at least some warm weather I could enjoy, since I was "robbed" of all the good fall weather (which we didn't get anyway). But, despite the nice morning, I chose to stay home from the gym today. I really wanted to get in another "practice" run. I still say practice because I haven't been able to run non stop for more than 10 min. at a time yet--but I'm progressing and working on it as much as I can tolerate. Unfortunately, the annual heel flareup is in full blowup mode. Its really hard to believe its from ramping up the running too much or too fast. I really wish I could figure this out. I do think it is somehow related to running on the track, because it seems like whenever it starts, its when I have been track running for a while. In my case, its only been twice, so it hardly makes sense, but I can definitely say it really started bothering me after Saturday's track run. With Chi Running, it shouldn't be happening, so I'm doing something wrong with my foot somehow.

So I stayed home and iced my foot and took care of all the things I didn't do Tuesday night because I was so tired. I actually went to bed at 9 pm, and had my alarm not gone off, I would have slept until who knows when. Tonight, I will go swimming and take the grandsons, so it worked best to just stay home for a chance.

But that also leads to a problem--morning traffic, something I can almost totally avoid when coming to work in the early hours. I live 5 miles from work, so tell me why it should take 20+ minutes to get there?? And that would be on a good day. This leads to stress for me. Lesson learned? Go to the gym early no matter what! Once this heel flareup is calmed down, I will make some sort of arrangement to bring my ice and do the icing at the gym or something. It sure starts my day out better not having that early morning stress.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


It was dark and raining when I headed up to the short track for a run. It started while I was getting dressed and once I had made my mind up about running outside, I decided not to change my plans. It was 55 degrees, almost like a late summer/early fall morning, and here it is almost December! Too good to pass up. But all good things must pass, as the saying goes, and I know within a few days the real weather will return, and reality will set in--cold, snow, ick.

One good thing about running on the track in the rain is no one else is usually there, and today that was the case. One bad thing about running on the track in the rain is the puddles. Since it is a track that is managed by the Community College, the maintenance budget is dependent on tax dollars, so I can't remember how long its been since it has been resurfaced. Its not pitted or full of potholes, just not entirely smooth. One good thing about running on the track in the dark is, for me, its hard to see my watch, so I run how I feel. One bad thing about running on the track in the dark is not being able to see my watch clearly, so I often stay out there longer than I have time to. Another good thing about running on the track in the dark any time is the relative safety of the area. Another bad thing about running on the track in the dark any time is the 1/2 mile uphill to get there. And its not just a hill that levels out at each block. No, its a straight up, no let-up hill.

I figured it was time to head to the track in the morning (its near my work), and being dark, it was also a smarter plan. My fear of running in the dark is one of not wanting to fall or trip (I can do that in the daylight as it is!) more than personal safety. That is a concern, however, since right now I'm not sure how fast I could outrun or even if I could outrun someone.

The track is a short track, 5 laps to the mile. I don't know why they built it this way, but I suspect it was due to the location--right across from the hospital and also in a residential area, sort of like a green space area, close to the Community College. Being directly across from the hospital and near the school, there is always activity going on and plenty of light to see, even though the track itself is not lit. The ironic thing about the location, however, is that all the hospital smokers sit on the wall surrounding the track to light up, so you always have the irritation of cigarette smoke to breathe in on an otherwise clear day. Today, no such problem, thanks to the rain.

After the killer hill, which I could only do half of without walking the rest, I started out immediately running and decided to do 2.5 laps and then walk 1/2 lap. That seemed to go okay, both in terms of my breathing and endurance and also mentally, since the whole workout seemed like it went by pretty fast. It also was an easy way for me to keep track of laps and distance, without the pressure of my watch. I decided 1/2 lap was enough walking, rather than a full 2 minutes. I recovered enough to do the next 2.5 laps with no problem, and the shorter walk not only made it go by quicker, but I was getting in a little more running without making it that much harder. As I expected, it rained almost the entire time I was out there, letting up close to my last lap.

The last 1/2 mile, of course, was downhill, and it is very steep, as I indicated before. My right heel has been bothering me for years actually, and while it didn't bother me on the track today, the downhill made me fully aware of the problem. Then I remembered the Chi Running downhill technique and once again the whole process became easier. So the hill served its purpose, to get more practice on the hills, both up and down.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another warm morning, so if the heel doesn't flare up too much today, I will take advantage once again of the nice weather and save my swimming for the cold, snowy days predicted to come.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Question: How do you make a complete Thanksgiving dinner with no oven?

Answer: Plan ahead.

Yes, it can be done. Had I not had this experience many years ago as well, I might have been daunted by the challenge. But this was close to a repeat of a year's past adventure, when the oven went bad and we were just too poor to get it fixed. Then, I had 4 small children, an ancient microwave, a crockpot, and a hot plate to get the job done. It took many hours to get the dinner completed, much like the pioneers of the past must have gone through.

This time? One advantage was a big electric roaster for the turkey. That took care of the turkey and stuffing. The juice was made into a gravy on the stove. The vegetables were frozen, so they went in the microwave. The potatoes instant, so they were cooked on the stove. The rolls, already baked and just needed rewarming. And the sweet potato casserole, already baked and just needed rewarming. All desserts had been made ahead. And only one "disaster": I bought the fancy whip cream in the cans and thought it would look really nice to decorate the refrigerated pies ahead of time, only to discover the stuff melts after a while and I found it dripping off the pies onto the other stuff in the refrigerator. A nice sticky mess. Fortunately, no one really noticed or cared. The secret of the day? Timing.

I was pretty much a drill sargeant the whole day. I started early to get the turkey into the roaster no later than 9 am, with the stuffing all prepared and into the bird. I accomplished this by 8:20 and then decided I had time to head to the gym for a swim. I decided to forego the Thanksgiving Day 5k, mainly to save my energy and not get stuck away from home too long. And timing, again, was the key.

The half mile swim worked well, and I was dressed and ready by 9:40 to leave to pick up my daughter from the airport, coming in from New Jersey, via Allentown, PA. The day was absolutely lovely: blue skies, sunny, and already around 45 degrees. A rare treat for us in the dark and cold winter region. The whole weekend was predicted to be warm and mostly sunny, again, a pleasant change from the last two years when we had either 10 inches of snow and/or blizzard conditions for Thanksgiving.

After picking up Renee and heading back home, it was stick to the task at hand. I already had a houseful of people, and rather than try to get everyone motivated to help on my schedule, I just did a lot by myself, but got them doing stuff not involved with the cooking. I really did not want them in the kitchen as I didn't have room for more than me!

My goal for the dinner of the day was to be done by 1 pm, since that's when my dad would be arriving, and he was always puntual. He also tends to want your undivided attention when he's around, so I knew I had to get everything done so as not to be sidetracked by chatter. That's when I am likely to forget something or overcook something.

The turkey was done about 45 minutes earlier than I expected: the roaster really is faster than an oven apparently. And thankfully there is the doneness indicator: the popup timer. In reality, with the turkey done a little earlier than I planned, that meant I would be getting the dinner ready on time. You always have to let the thing set for a while to cool enough to handle, so for once I was able to let this happen.

So the race was on, getting the stuffing out of the bird and in a warmer, beginning preparing the gravy, making the potatoes, warming the sweet potatoes, and readying the vegetables for popping in the microwave at the appropriate time--nearly last.

True to my prediction, my dad arrived at 1 pm and the dinner was just about ready. I had already prepared the table ahead while having "in between time" from other cooking tasks, and was cutting up the turkey to put on a platter. The gravy was simmering, and all that needed finishing was the vegetables and warming the rolls.

I think he was surprised by the fact that when I said we would eat by 1:30, that we actually would eat by 1:30. We are all used to dinners when my mom was alive where if we were lucky, dinner would be served while it was still light out. And anything at my sister's pretty much is following the same pattern, so it is hard for my dad to wait all day to eat and then have to race against darkness to get home.

It was such a beautiful, warm sunny day that we were able to open up the 3 season porch and some of the kids ate out there. There was enough food to go around and then some for leftovers. After a leisurely meal, I quickly cleared away the food and we just sat around and chatted, waiting for my sister to arrive for dessert. Both girls were dozing in the sun on the porch. It was just such a lazy type feeling, I'm sure. My dad was chattier than usual, and I was glad to see that so far he wasn't showing any ill effects of the chemo treatment from the week before. The Lions were losing like usual, so the boys were outside playing ball. I wish we could have more days like this!

It was also my dad's birthday earlier in the week, so once my sister arrived and we had our dessert, we gave him his gifts, something he wasn't expecting. This year I "hit the lottery" on getting something he not only needed but wanted: flannel pjs and new slippers. He said his slippers had just ripped out, and he had been looking for flannels all over the place (so had I!). So that was a lucky and good guess.

The afternoon rolled along, and dessert was eaten and some polished off. I really could have used twice as many desserts, but this way there wouldn't be many leftover temptations. Once the company left, I quicky got the kitchen cleaned up while the girls readied themselves to go see Annie, something we hadn't seen since they were young children. Austin would be going as well.

The tickets were a special price for Thanksgiving evening, and I knew there would be many children in attendance, so pretty much expected some chaos from that. It wasn't exactly chaos, and it wasn't just the children that were a problem, but young adults and adults as well. Our seats were close to an aisle, which presents a problem usually because people entering the theater don't necessarily know where their seats are until they get there, only their rows. So its understandable that we could expect people climbing over us to get to their seats before the play. What wasn't acceptable was the constant back-and-forth during the play, the intermission, and after that took place--all by adults and teens. After all, there are two aisles for every row, so you would think if you sat closest to the opposite aisle that you would enter from that side. Way too much to expect apparently, because almost everyone used our aisle to come and go--all through the production. And if it wasn't the people in our row that were a problem, it was the rows in front of us that were just as annoying. The same problem was occurring, but while I refused to constantly stand up and let people pass, the people in the rows ahead did do that, so not only were we disturbed by our row, but by theirs as well. So we were constantly twisting and turning in our seats to watch the play around the heads of those standing in front of us. I was REALLY annoyed by the end of the play, and finally took it out on a young (late teens--old enough to know better) girl leaving yet again about 10 minutes before the end. I told her she was not coming back through this late in the play and to go around or stay in the aisle until it was over--I was tired of everyone cutting in front of us. I got no response, but I'm sure she got the message. After the play, it was just as bad. We had 4 flights of stairs to descend and there were 4 women in front of us talking and laughing and basically blocking the stairs yet not moving along. I finally broke free of their pack and got around them, since I had to go to the bathroom and had waited until after the show to go. Just plain rudeness.

So I guess I was crabby by then. It was 10:30 at night, and I had had a long day. And yet, I have to say that I have never been that annoyed when attending a play before. It just irritates me to no end the rudeness of people, and the parents who do not give their children behavior instructions before they arrive, if that's what they need. And it really wasn't the young children, it was the teens! They must have come with an adult, so I still would expect they should be given some clue on protocal. Running in and out every 15-20 minutes is just not acceptable. If you can't hold it until the intermission, you probably should not be attending or make sure you have an aisle seat. I really think it is inability to pay attention for that long of a time, but for the parents to allow it is what is maddening. Get your kids under control!

Enough rant about that. I know I made my girls a little uncomfortable with my remarks, but so be it. They can just chalk it up to me being a crabby old lady!

I awoke Friday fairly early and decided to get a workout in before the others were up and about. We had a few loose plans for the day, but I would have time to go and get in another swim. I decided again that a swim was better for me, so I could pace myself throughout the day again. Things are always so unpredictable when I have the kids or grandkids around all weekend.

I decided too that I was going to attempt to swim a mile. I had done 3/4 a mile the other day, so figured I could up it some. I had felt surprisingly good from that longer swim, and really wanted to test whether I could go farther without any or too much discomfort.

I might have lost track of laps, because when I finished what I thought was a mile, I was over 48 minutes, about 8 minutes off from my past slower time. I told myself I might have slowed down a lot in the second half mile, but it still seemed like too much of a slowdown. Still, it was what it was, and I felt good, although glad to be done.

Went to my sister's later, after a leftover turkey lunch, and decided to get a haircut--a short do from my longer do of so many years. What a change!

Saturday, I went to the track to time myself on a definite 5k distance, not to run fast. It was still cold out, but sunny again, so I double layered. There was no wind, so it was quite comfortable despite the cold morning. I really can't do the math so am not sure I did a 5k, but I figured 13 laps around would be a 5k. Comparing it to my run the weekend before, though, I went over 38 minutes and still had my ending walk to finish the last lap, and finished in 41 minutes. Maybe I miscounted again? I hope so. I decided to walk another lap and finished just over 45 minutes.

Back home then and hustle and bustle to get the house straightened, breakfast made for 4, and get a shower in before heading out to a movie (Happy Feet), which we just barely made at 1:30. Immediately after the movie, I dropped all the kids off at my daughter's so they could attend a birthday dinner with their dad, and I was free for a while!

So I was surprised when the phone rang and it was an old friend I hadn't seen in 5 years! I had run into her sister a few weeks before and gave her my number, but it had totally slipped my mind in the busy weeks that followed. As any time in the past when we tried to catch up, you couldn't talk fast enough to get in all the details and decided to meet Sunday for breakfast to continue with our reminiscing.

Sunday, while warm, was cloudy, gray, and damp. I was really surprised at how warm it was when I took my daughter to the airport at 5:30 am! I thought I might go back to sleep for a while when I got back, but after laying there for over an hour, I decided to just get up. I had some housework to attend to from the weekend crush, and planned to go out and run a shorter run again, after doing some of my arm weights. I'm up to 5 lb. now! Naturally, while I am out running, I get all these calls, and one was my friend. I called her back and we planned to meet later that day.

By the time we did meet, it was actually lunch time, but I had already been to Wal-Mart to return something, done some other shopping, and had washed my curtains at home and ran and showered, so it was a relief to be finally sitting down.

As was expected, we spent the next 2+ hours talking and catching up. I certainly hope we can continue with our relationship, after so many gaps in the past. We both share the exact same birthday, and while we have a lot of similarities, we do have some differences, making it easy to appreciate the other for what they are.

So back at work today, and another 1 mile swim this morning, this time in a more realistic 41 minutes. It worked well, since it was raining this morning, and darker than usual. The bad weather is expected to return later this week, so it was nice to enjoy it while it lasted!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Yes, be thankful today. I am.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I have cooked a turkey almost every year for the past 15, whether I have had company or not. I LOVE turkey and can find a dozen leftover recipes, if necessary, as well, anything from turkey rice soup to turkey with gravy to put over potatoes or leftover dressing. If I have company I can trust not to break anything, I will get out my grandmother's china and use that, something I have only done 4 or 5 times in the 26 years since she died and I "inherited" the dishes. They are very unique, and were bought in 1925 when my grandparents were married, so they are also fragile. They also need to be hand washed because of their age and the 25k gold trim on the rims.

This year, I was still planning on cooking a turkey but not necessarily having company. I had hoped to not have to make it a day of cooking, cleaning up, and being on my feet endlessly. I was hoping to pace myself through the weekend. Not to be. And it definitely won't be a day for the good china.

First, my daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving this year. I can't even remember the last time she was around for Thanksgiving. Second, my ex isn't doing anything for Thanksgiving this year, so that means all the kids and grandkids will be available, meaning they expect me to cook. And last, my sister just isn't up to having Thanksgiving at her house because she just got back from 3 weeks away at a hospital in Detroit with her daughter who is ill, and her son is having knee surgery the day before. That was leaving my dad with no place to go unless I had him over. The last two years have been bad weather, so he hasn't gone out anyway, but this year the weather is expected to be in the 50s, so he is willing to get out, and surprisingly, still feels okay even after his chemo treatment.

To complicate the whole thing, my oven decided to die this past week and my dining room light with a ceiling fan attached has the fan stuck in the on position, on high no less, and the mechanism to shut it off is broken. Neither of these projects are something I care to tackle myself at this point, and I can't afford to pay someone. If I wait for the handymen of the family to fix things, it might be next spring before they get around to it.

To solve the dilemma, I am fortunate enough to have a big electric roaster which I have used for turkeys before. It works great, and can handle up to a 20 pound bird. I also have a nifty little toaster/convection oven I will have to resort to for the pies, and will only resort to the microwave for anything last minute or to reheat.

Fortunately, I am able to plan for a large crowd and really like to cook, but I also need to pace myself out here. The house cleaning isn't that far behind, and I have gotten the kids to help over the past couple of weeks to do some vacuuming and Don has done the mopping, something I can't do. I just need to do the table clearing that gets to be a chore, because I tend to let paperwork and bills pile up for a while until I got through things and sort them out. I dusted some this week and reorganized pictures and things this weekend. Other than that, I'm not going to bother!

So the menu will be, of course, turkey, stuffing (homemade), potatoes (instant--the kids don't care and I'm not going to deal with all that pealing and mashing), gravy, vegetables, rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and desserts: pumpkin pies (homemade except for the crust this year--again, no rolling), blueberry pie, chocolate pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake dessert. Do you think that's enough??

I figure I'll make the pies tonight and the desserts tomorrow, and the turkey Thursday morning with the stuffing, and while that's wrapping up cooking, the rest of the stuff can be done. I have this miniscule kitchen, so that always presents a problem getting things made ahead and a place to keep them warm, and without a warm oven, I'll have to come up with something. A heating pad, maybe?

I just hope the temperature is over 50 degrees outside because then I can open up the 3 season porch and we can get more light in the dining room and people can sit out there, away from the TV if they want. In general, we keep things fairly simple, so its not that big of a deal to pull this off.

I'll be running around like a headless chicken for the next few days though. I hope to get some sort of workouts in, but we'll see how it goes. I did run yesterday morning, on the treadmill and probably should have gone outside, and today did 32 min. in the pool--I'm up to 3/4 of a mile now and so far no ill effects. Not as fast, but I'll take whatever I can get right now. I wish everything else was as simple as that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


My daughter who lives in New Jersey was given "Black Friday" off (as she calls it after spending 10 years in retail) at the last minute, meaning she wants to come home for Thanksgiving. Originally I had talked about going out to visit her that weekend, but then she moved to a smaller place in the last month and there really isn't any extra room for a houseguest, and with my dad and sister's situation, and my own discomfort level, really didn't feel up to the travel. It would have to be by air, even though its only a 12 hr. drive, mainly because of the uncertainty of the weather that weekend. The last two years have brought blizzard conditions, and I am a real chicken on the roads in that kind of weather.

So we go about trying to get flights. I "offered" to pay for her flight just to keep me from feeling obligated to visit, but being as cheap as I am, searched and searched and searched for flights. Tuesday the flight prices from Philadelphia were about $273; Wednesday they were $373. From Newark, it was higher yet. The prices continued to climb Thursday and Friday until I finally got fed up and searched for "nearby" airports. To my surprise, a small airport in Allentown, PA (about a 2 hr. drive for her) had a flight for $278 direct, getting her here on Thanksgiving morning. She agreed to drive there and stay overnight to get the early flight, all so I could get the low air fare.

So I decided to take a look at a flight for next spring, since it will be two years that I had been out there last. So her flight on Thanksgiving morning is $278 but a flight in April on an arbitrary date is $478. WTF?? Cheaper to fly into Newark or Philadelphia. Airlines. I just don't get the price fluctuations.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I had said earlier this week that I wanted to get outside on Saturday to do a "long" run, reminiscent of all the past Saturdays when Saturday was a day for meeting up with running buddies to run anywhere from 1-2 hours. For me, long at this point, if I'm lucky, is 3 miles. My plan, then, was to head out to do my 3.2 mile route, figuring it might take me 40-45 minutes, based on my last treadmill workout of 2.8 miles in 36 minutes.

I still am not running the whole time, but am gradually building on running increments. When I started on November 3, I was doing 1.5 minute run intervals with 1.5 minute walk intervals. In a 30 minute time span, that meant 12 minutes of nonconsecutive running. But I got it done.

Today, after seeing the weather was cooperative, I started dressing while it was still dark and headed out down the street at 7:40. It was gradually getting lighter. It was pretty cold, in the low 30s, but there was no wind, so it felt pleasant enough.

As I started out with a 5 minute warmup walk, I noticed my steps were quicker than when I first started walking after the accident, when there was a marked clump to my steps as I limped along. Today, I was moving briskly.

I was surprised at how many houses still had remnants of Halloween decorations adorning their steps or yards: rotting pumpkins with gaping holes where the faces used to be; plastic witches, ghosts, and pumpkins hanging from trees or porch railings; and several pumpkin-faced leaf bags still smiling at you from their yards. I wasn't sure which was worse, this or the houses that already sported Christmas lights and decorations, which showed up the weekend after Halloween.

I also noted all the "for sale" signs on the lawns. Most of these houses had been for sale for months, with no signs of a new buyer any time soon. My area is a rather unique area, about a 5-mile square area, in which is contained any imaginable service you might need to get along in life--grocery stores, pharmacies, churches, schools, a library, small businesses, restaurants, pizza places, video stores, farmer's market, etc., and all within 3-5 miles from major shopping centers, movie complexes, and sporting arenas. We have everything. Its an old neighborhood with a "new" concept they keep trying to adapt around here in newer developments, and it has been this way for years.

With the realty signs, there blows in a new wind of change, and the typical "white flight" is becoming more apparent. The area is a diverse mixture of all colors, religions, and political affiliations, and the white flight is due to aging, and not fear. Its a nice area, and people stay a long time before leaving. (Disclaimer: every neighborhood has its share of jackasses, and unfortunately one of those lives next to me.)

With my walk warmup over, I started running. I have no idea of pace when not on a treadmill, but just went by my watch. I decided to try for a 4/2 ratio today, up from the 3/2 the other day, and see what would happen. The cold air bit into my lungs, and I was quite winded by the end of the 4 minutes, but it felt good too. I seemed to be timing it perfectly, since I approached a small hill on my walk interval as well as a busy street, so never had to break from my running.

The second run interval took me down another neighborhood street with houses flying the flags of their favorite teams, with a reminder of the Michigan/Ohio State game playing later today (GO BLUE! Rest in peace Bo Schembechler.) The Michigan flags outnumbered any Ohio State flags, naturally.

It was a very peaceful morning. Instead of the rain/show mixture they predicted, there was no wind, and the clouds were breaking here and there to show telltale signs of that big orb in the sky which we always forget about in November. I was cold during my second walk interval, and I noticed my fingertips were numb, as much a sign of the cold as probably lack of oxygen. It really is a test to run outside as compared with the treadmill. The terrain and temperature put your body through motions you can't on the treadmill. But, sometimes convenience is better than doing nothing.

I was reminded last night by Donald about a race he was running today, One Hill of a Run, and I told him I would stop by and watch some of the race. He said I could go along and walk, but I knew the route and knew I didn't want to run or walk on that hilly course!

As I was approaching the halfway point in my old familiar course, which really hasn't been that familiar to me lately, I took another look at my watch to see how I was doing. In the past, I would reach the halfway point anywhere from 14-17 minutes. I was under 20 still, and that included the first 5 minutes of walking, so I really didn't think I was doing that bad. The rest of the course was up and down short, not very steep, hills or flats.

By the time I reached 30 minutes, I was really feeling the effort. I wasn't worn out, but was getting tired, and I could tell I was getting a little stiff on my walking intervals, since my pace didn't feel quite as brisk as when I first started. I looked down at my tights and could see a layer of frost where sweat had escaped, since frost forms after the sun comes up but before the sun burns off the cold air. It was that time of the day all right. My hands were warm enough now, but my toes were also a little numb, again from the cold and the cold pavement. I have to wear some thicker socks from now on, that's for sure.

I was glad to be getting done. I surprised myself at not taking 40+ minutes to do this route, and even though I only ran 1.5 minutes in my last run interval, I still finished in: 37:30. Woo hoo! I might actually be able to do a 5k soon in 35 or less.

I got home just in time to take my broccoli quiche out of the oven. Perfect timing! And the afterglow of a run is always nice to see in the mirror.

I quickly got showered and dressed so I could go watch Don finish his race, not knowing until I got there (after not eating breakfast OR brushing my teeth to get there on time!) that there was a 5k and a 10k, not run simultaneously, but one hour apart, so runners could potentially do both races, which is what he opted to do. He had already finished the 5k in 24 something and was waiting around for the 10k to start. It was a small crowd for the 10k, mostly seasoned, die-hard runners (meaning old guys!), so I waited until they started and then headed on my way. This route, as I mentioned, is VERY hilly. All hills, in fact. The only "flat" part is still somewhat downhill and then that's the end of the easy part. I've done this in the past, and I can tell you, in the winter you can barely get up some of these things without slipping and sliding. They got pretty lucky to have such a nice day. (Note: he just called to tell me he ran 53 something. Not bad for an old guy running 15k in 77 min. and getting 3 medals out of the deal too--huge ones at that: one for the 5k, one for the 10k, and one for both. And he probably placed in both races.)

I don't know what's in store for me the rest of the weekend, other than working and making up time from earlier this week. (I foresee having to do that for the next 6-8 months, until my dad is off the chemo. Its either that or use up all my vacation time, which I don't want to do.) I really want to get in the pool and try to get a decent swim in, but mentally its becoming harder and harder to do, because I always have a day or two of major discomfort in my shoulder, neck, and back. On the other hand, maybe if I just swim, I will be okay.

In the meantime, I need to get some work done and get home to watch the game!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I wasn't sure how this week would go, with all the other stuff going on in my life. Not that I don't get up in the morning and plan to go to the gym and workout, just that I wasn't sure how my body was going to react after all the discomfort I was in earlier this week. I re-examined all the things I had done in the days leading up to Tuesday, when I was the most miserable, and while I still am not sure if it was one thing or another, I am going with the fact that I overdid it again.

I have been steadily increasing workout time and intensity to test my capabilities and tolerance. I am okay on the longer workouts at a steady pace or heart rate. I seem to have trouble with those workouts where I have pushed the limit, apparently too much it seems at this point in recovery.

I still have to consider myself in recovery. It has been about 10 weeks, and while the average is 3-6 months, I still have a way to go. I have to assume, also, that the 3-6 months is the average for someone who is average--average in age, average in fitness, average in tolerating pain, willingness to work through the recovery process. I consider myself above average in all those categories, but I do not consider myself exceptional.

I have to think that even the "average" person would want to recover as quickly as possible. I know I feel the same, but after suffering many injuries, although much less serious in nature, over the years with running, I know when to be patient and when to push myself harder.

Well, I have tried, and the body just isn't ready yet. Here's what I'm doing though:

Monday, 35 min. treadmill run: 5 min. walk warmup and then 2 min. run, 2 min. walk, ending in 1 min. walk. Average pace for walking: 3.6 mph. Average pace for running: 10:54. I was sore and tight in the neck and shoulder most of the day, most likely because of arm swing--I can feel the pain radiate across the shoulder and collar bone area to the middle of the chest. Almost like a heart attack might feel if it were on the left side.

Tuesday: 25 min. on spin bike, pedaling as if in a spin class, following music that is playing in gym: fast spin, slow climb, standing climb, jumps. Also some leg weights (to increase strength in left hip). Half mile swim. Really uncomfortable all day: neck, shoulder, upper back, lower back. Pretty much came home and didn't want to move the rest of the night.

Wednesday: 35 min. treadmill run: same as Monday but I did increase speed on the last three 2 min. run sets to 10:45. I actually felt really good by the end of the day, all things considered. But I did only work half a day (hmm, could that be what I need??) and had a lot more energy than usual all evening.

Thursday: 36 min. treadmill run. This time I decided to do 3 min. intervals and bump the pace up one notch to 10:45 for the whole workout, with 2 min. interval walks, this time at 3.7 mph. Normally, I haven't been running two days in a row, but I felt so good on Wednesday that I decided to give it another try and also try to go a little longer between walk breaks. End result: pretty much the same as Wednesday: I felt good all day, just a little shoulder discomfort in the evening, but that is normal for any day. I did have to limit my arm motion on the right side to avoid overuse flareups, so hopefully that won't make me "lopsided" at some point in the future. Its not like I do this huge arm swing or anything, but part of Chi Running is the arm movement, and even a little bothers my shoulder.

Friday: Just a few rehabe-type arm and shoulder weights (up to a whopping 5 lb. already!).

I am really itching to get outside and do a longer run. I have been sticking with the treadmill for convenience, but at some point I know I need to go outside. Snow showers (meaning mostly cold, sloppy rain) are predicted for Saturday morning, so I will have to wait and see. I'm not sure I want to go outside bad enough to get cold and soaked. I am thinking I should be able to attempt 45 min., with 3-4 min. run intervals.

Apparently, too much upper body stuff is what is holding me back. While I can swim 1/2 mile in a little over 20 min., it is not my best time, and it doesn't look like that will improve for a while. I figured the run would take longer to build back up, but I might be surprised about how that will go.

I am also wondering how much time I can realistically put in on the spin bike without too much back discomfort. If it were just lower back, I could deal with it. But with the shoulder and neck thing going on, its a little more pain than I want to deal with on a frequent basis. I could just sit and spin, with nothing else, just a steady, within-heart-rate pace. That probably is best for now.

And another thing I started doing again, which I had slipped up on, was going back to taking my 800 mg. ibuprofen twice a day and liberally applying a topical analgesic to the upper middle back and shoulder. My new fragrance now is eau d'mint. (I have actually been asked by people, "Mmm, what's that fragrance you're wearing?" if you can believe!) My grandsons love the smell. LOL! But it does help, and I am just going to have to be a little more diligent with the things I didn't think would matter.

I also have to avoid the attitude that some people take towards my injuries: that because I don't look like injured, I must be okay. Much as I wish that were true, what you don't see is what hurts. I just don't whine or complain or carry on. And surprisingly, this week I have stopped limping, and I have to wonder again whether it is from adding a little more running to my routine which is building up my strength.

I hope everyone has good weekends planned leading up to the Thanksgiving week. I'm sure life will get hectic for everyone after that with all the holiday plans or just life in general. Its a good thing the race season winds down by this time of the year!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Cancer & Hematology Center of West Michigan. That's where I'll be spending a lot of time over the next 6-8 months. My dad's lymphoma has progressed to the point where he now needs chemotherapy.

Yesterday was his first treatment. The treatment consists of therapy "every 3-4 weeks." So you're thinking, once a month, that's not so bad. Once you get there, you find out how things will really be.

To start, he had a 9:45 appointment so he could get blood drawn before the procedure. That meant picking him up at 9 am, since he lives about 35 miles away from the treatment center. The treatment center is the only one of its kind in West Michigan. Since Grand Rapids is known for its "premiere" medical facilities in the Midwest, people come from all over to get chemo treatment here. That is obvious by the number of patients each time we have been there.

We arrive at 9:30 am, a little early, but you never know with the traffic or weather how long it will take. We register and go sit and wait. Ten o'clock comes and goes and we are still waiting. At 10:15, I went to the reception desk where the treatment is actually conducted and wondered what the holdup was. "Oh, you mean he hasn't had his blood drawn yet?" Of course not! Okay, I'll tell Matt (his treatment nurse) you're here."

At 10:40 I was about to go look for "Matt" when my dad finally got called for his labs. From the regular waiting area, we were sent to the treatment waiting area. It was now 10:45. I was getting steamed. I had my own appointment to go to and still expected to get to work by noon. The treatment waiting area was overfull, meaning no place to sit. My grumbling got a few responses from people about how you wait and wait--each time. Visions of things to come.

We finally decide to sit in treatment chairs (recliners) and wait, since there was no where else to sit. At 11:00, Matt finally stops by and indicates "as soon as I get a room, we'll get you started." A room? Yes, some people like to be in rooms so they can lay down, rather than out in the general area. At this point, I'm thinking, for God's sake, just get this thing started! My dad is getting concerned about being there all day and into the night, especially when told the procedure will take 5-6 hours.

I was very annoyed with everything by now. I have kept my cool about things up until now, but not only had we been sitting around waiting for things to happen for almost 2 hours, but we had questions to ask and not one person could take a minute to answer these questions! Everything is pretty much routine: before your first visit, you are given a schedule. There is no discussion as to preference of appointment time. Everyone follows a procedural schedule--the hidden agenda.

The treatment schedule goes like this: treatment one day, wait 2+ hours, and then treatment for 5-6 hours; come back the next day for a shot of Neulasta (for white blood cell count). The next two weeks, come in for blood test. The third week, labs, doctor visit, treatment, and the whole thing starts all over again. Not once were we informed of any of this other than the amount of time the treatment would take. And when I questioned them having him come so early in the day only to wait for over 2 hours to get started, I was given a blank stare.

While waiting, a guy from my office came in. His wife was in for treatment again (as she has been on and off for the past 7 years). I am surprised she is still alive with the aggressive form of breast cancer she has had, plus the recurrence of the disease after being in remission for only a couple of years. He was quite familiar with the place, my dad's oncology doctor, and his nurse, indicating both were the best available. He filled us in on the normal routine of treatment and what to expect, answering far more basic questions than anyone else had done.

Looking at the people there for treatment, I knew I shouldn't be complaining about my schedule, but it could have made the whole process much more tolerable for both of us by telling us these things up front. Were they thinking they might scare us off the treatment plan by telling us about the slowness of the procedure?

I have no idea how things will progress for my dad, but with any cancer, I suspect things will get worse before they get better. They sent him home with three prescriptions: a steroid drug (can't remember what that's for), something for nausea, and one other, and again I can't remember what it was for!

I haven't even totaled up the countless hours and appointments I have been taking him to over the past several months leading up to yesterday. I don't have much other help I can depend on, since my only dependable sibling has a medical crisis of her own with her daughter right now. My brother who lives right next door to my dad! can't be bothered with anything, and he doesn't want his wife, who is an LPN, to be bothered either. Its hard to even explain the absolute selfishness of these people, but it is the way it is. My other siblings? One of my sisters "doesn't have a reliable car," even though her husband is a mechanic. (Do ya think its an excuse??) My other sister has a "disease" (self-imposed, most likely in her head) so she is unable to leave her house or be a part of the world, which also is a convenient excuse. And my other brother has been suffering from depression for so many years, and never attends any family functions, that none of us even remember about him half the time. A nice bunch, wouldn't you say?

Everyone always says I need to make them step up and take some responsibility, but believe me, its more stressful just trying to reach any one of them--since they NEVER answer their phones and rarely return messages if you leave them. By the time they might return a call, the situation has passed and then all I get to hear is all their excuses.

Anyway, enough venting. It is what it is, and I can only hope for good weather all winter, no blizzards, no icy roads, etc. Not too much to ask, do you think??

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I work in a law firm where there is an ongoing effort to recruit new, young people to come into the firm. So yearly they come and go. Its been interesting to note what sports these young people are involved in when they come to the firm and what they get involved in once they are established. Oddly enough, over the last 10 years, not one runner and certainly no triathlete, not even as a hobby or one-time-only thing. I was under the impression triathlon was the up and coming sport.

So then they find out I, one of the firm's relics, do triathlons, they are wide-eyed impressed, equating it to like skydiving or something else equally as exotic. I tell them, I just swim, bike, and run, and if I'm lucky, I find a race I can do. I never think of it as anything unusual.

When the mention of Ironman comes up, no one has a clue what that's all about, except a few younger guys who say, "isn't that where you go to Hawaii and do a triathlon?" Yeah, that's right (I wish!).

So what sports are these "kids" involved in? Soccer. Volleyball. Basketball. All team sports. Nothing they do by themselves. Weight lifting is how they "keep in shape" when not participating in their other sport or sports.

It makes me realize once again how truly small the triathlon community is, even if worldwide. We need each other for support and motivation. That's one reason I read the blogs I do, but I also find that after reading and communicating for a while with people, you feel closer to being part of their world, and keeping motivated from that as well. I am obviously partial to the "older" women, because we didn't have all the other options to choose from that they do now, and for the fact that if not for triathlon, who knows what or if we would be doing anything but running.

Triathlon was a new challenge to take on, and it was an easy transition to make once I even knew about it, since I already swam as well.

That got me thinking that if I were independently wealthy, one of the things I would like to do would be to establish a scholarship for girls i(and boys) n high school who were interested in triathlon. I know some of the colleges have triathlon teams, so its not an impossible thought.

Yeah, I'll keep dreaming.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


by Gordon Lightfoot
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind.
When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish BayI
f they'd fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.
November 10, the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Its a yearly rememberance in my state, and something that happened in the not too distant past. If the date itself wasn't a reminder, certainly the weather was.
Last night the weather was one of those November "gales." The wind blew so hard it howled. It poured almost nonstop for 5 hours. Then you can add to that freezing rain and snow up north. I love to see the big lake when it is like this, although its not a safe venture to take. A good night instead to be in under a blanket or by a fire.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The weather here in River City has been very pleasant for early November, some of the nicest weather we can expect--warm (55-65), partly sunny (gotta have those clouds for warmth), calm, and dry. In fact, it was so nice yesterday I decided to take my "beginner" running program outside. At least one good thing about daylight savings is that it is somewhat light around 6:30-7:00 am (dark when I get out of work (: though).

I had been thinking of just staying on the dreadmill for a while, but I know the problems I have with running on the machine--sore feet and/or ankles, all the time. Some I know is from not running, but I just didn't think I could stand to have it get worse, so out the door I went.

Running from the gym, I am running in the downtown area first, watching all the comings and goings of the early and overnight shifts as they head to or out from work. Only moderate traffic, but enough so you do have to wait to cross streets. Only semi-light as I plod down the street, keeping track on my watch of my walk and shift to running. I forgot at the 5 min. mark, so went to 6 walking, and by then I was on the path along the river. We have one on each side, so its possible to run for quite a while, cross a bridge, and head back on the other side. When its completely light, I don't mind so much or worry too much. In the semi light, I tended to be a little hesitant, knowing full well I might not be able to outrun anyone who tried to grab me(!). Got to be careful no matter where you are or what time it is, though.

Running outside helps me achieve a more natural arm swing and hold my Chi Running form easier. But with the arm swing, I noticed some shoulder discomfort. I would have to modify it some to prevent overuse of the area. I am still noticing some muscle weakness on the left side, the side of the body that sustained some impact with the car, while the breaks were mostly on the right side. (I think I was hit on the right side first and then flew onto the car which is where the impact injury on the left side arose, but I'll never know for sure). If I look in the mirror, my left upper thigh area, from a distance, looks like it has cellulite, but it is still mild bruising that you see. This and cross the left "cheek" is where the impact was, as well as across the lower back, and down the left leg by the calf, to the ankle, and foot. So I am aware of these areas in most things I do. The weakness is what bothers me, and I noticed my left foot scuff a few times.

Anyway, back to the run. My first two runs had been on the treadmill: walk 5 min., run 1.5, walk 1.5, up to 30 min. This time, I started with a 6 min. walk (I like to be even), and decided, what the heck, I''m going to try 2 min. runs, and 2 min. walks. After my first run interval and during my second walk interval, another runner came over the bridge, almost behind me, but went to the lower path right along the river. I wondered who "he" was (looked like a man), and by the time I got to the end of the upper path where the two meet, he was heading under the bridge (under the road) and on down to the dam and the next bridge. I made the decision to go across the bridge and head back to the other side of the river instead. Remember, it is still semi dark and I did not feel 100% safe running away from the heart of the city by myself.

(Note: I do notice a little trepidation in doing some things now, which is an after effect of the accident. Maybe this is good, or not. I don't know, but for now I am playing it safe.)

When I did this run last summer, I was able to run almost 2 miles before turning back, but today I was going by my watch. I was only at 16 min. when I crossed back to the other side so decided to cross over again and run down two more bridges before turning back. This would give me some small hills--up and down--to really get a feel for the road.

The path takes a change of direction once you cross back over the river and then recross the road. From here you run a short path along the museum (trying to upload pictures and it isn't working), around the carousel, back along the backside of the museum, and back along the river. At this point, you are also running on campus of Grand Valley State University, through campus, and on out to another bridge, another main street through town, the dividing line between north and south in the city.

So there are a lot of places to bail out, but you still have an enjoyable run. It finally factored out to 14 min. of running, ending on a 4 min. walk back to the building, for a total of 34:39, more than 4 min. longer than the last two runs, and 2 extra minutes of running. I am working up to 20 and then on to 30, and then on to 30 continuous. I am still figuring this may take me the couple of months I am allowing myself, but it sure is more enjoyable being outside--at least for now. Weather is supposed to be 65 and partly sunny today, and this weekend? Snow. Doesn't that just figure??

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Or something to that effect. I remember Don said that to me back in the summer when I did my epic 170 mile bike week. It was a form of advice that initially I took as criticism (he has a way of giving (unwanted) advice that usually comes across as criticism. But after I thought about it, and a little time passed, I got what he meant. What he meant, to be more specific, was I needed to do some longer bike rides to make the short stuff (bikes, runs, swims) then seem easy. I rarely biked with him and his Iron friends group because I was always dropped, no mattr what. And I got touchy if anyone wanted to stop and wait, because I didn't want to hold anyone back. So I most of the time went by myself.

The thing then that happened was after my 170 mile week, everything did seem easy. A 15 mile ride seemed easy. A 5 mile run, even while I was building mileage, seemed easy. A hard as hell Olympic triathlon seemed do-able at least, if not easy! And now, recovering and trying to come back, is not as hard as I thought it might be.

A turning point came when I decided to do some longer workouts over the weekend, that 45 min. easy spin and 45 easy elliptical. I really hadn't been doing much over 30 min. and most in the 20 min. range. Some of it was necessary (swimming) to not over tax the specific muscle groups, but the rest was really from not knowing how much I could do without trying.

Today was another easy day, meaning 20 min. spin bike and half mile swim. While a half mile swim for me is easy, its also about all I can do with that right now. I never swim any faster whether I do a short swim or long, but right now I am a little slower than 2.5 months ago.

By easy, I remembered what Don said, and yes, it did seem easy. It was easy doing 20 min. after doing 45 the other day. Not that I did a particularly easy workout, just that 20 min. seemed easy. Its a mental thing most of the time, as we all know.

Just another mind over matter training to get tough-minded (a goal I am working on!) (that and keeping a bowl of candy at my desk for others and never eating any!)

Monday, November 06, 2006


That's the name of the new triathlon DVD, featuring a year in the life of 4 pro triathletes (Peter Reid, Heather Fuhr, Lori Bowden, and Luke Bell) and what they go through to get where they are. Watched that the other night with Don (he bought it). While I had either heard of all four or knew something about them, I realized I really didn't know much about them. I love triathlon, but my life is so far removed from any of the pros that I don't keep up with who is doing what or when. And the IM races I've been at have been so busy watching my athletes, I don't even think of the pros and rarely find out who wins until days later.

All in all, a pretty good watch. It did help personalize each of them for me. It showed me that they are living, breathing, real people who just happen to be really talented in the triathlon world, but they still have their struggles to stay on top of their game all the time.

But then, don't we all? Not that we make our living from the sport, but don't we all work hard at doing what it takes to try to get better at the sport, or to master one aspect that is dragging us down (or all three??).

For me, even after the accident, getting back on top of my game has been foremost in my mind. While it may seem as if my progress is small, it is all with a purpose of overcoming any long-lasting effects and hopefully coming out on the better side of all this, despite the setback.

And my game, if you can call it that, was just starting over again this year. Sometimes I worry that something in my psyche is holding me back. Something every year prevents me from going forward. Its generally the mind that controls, right? so I have to figure that out, and I really think I was on the brink when the accident happened.

But enough of self-analyzing. I do that all the time, and sooner or later the answers will present themselves.

I did read an interesting article in Runner's World that got me moving in a somewhat new direction. (As usual, I don't have it in front of me to name the article or author.) It was about cross-training as a way to increase fitness.

That's a subject we all know something about. But the difference this time was that it broke down the amont of time and effort needed to get results. It seemed to be just what I needed to figure out my rehab.

The article states that intense cross-training of up to an hour at a time at a 70% max effort will increase your fitness level and can enhance your running miles. Cross-training mentioned was elliptical and stationary biking. Seventy percent heart rate should make you sweat.

So I figured out my 70% maximum heart rate (220-age) and went from there. I don't have a working heart rate monitor right now but went by the old-fashioned way of checking after 10 min.

I still thought I needed to work up to an hour so decided on starting at 45 min. 45 min. on a spin bike, going by effort. It seems like whenever I'm on a trainer or the treadmill or any machine, I bargain with myself constantly as to how much time I will stay on the thing until I get my mind in a zone and just keep at it. The most I've been on the spin bikes lately has been 20 minutes, so once I struggled past the 30 min. barrier, it seemed only right to keep going. I was sweating and my heart rate was high enough, probably too high, according to the charts.

Sunday I did the same on the elliptical, 45 min., but the hear rate showed on that. I never could hold to 70% (117), but did hover mainly at 125-135. I tried slowing down but only managed to then hover at 125-127, so I settled for that. I know heart rate training is supposed to be the best way to train--going slower allows you to go longer and eventually faster. I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles to keep the heart rate where it is supposed to be all the time.

I expcted to be exhausted after these workouts, but the opposite was true. I felt really good. I didn't want to do any more than 45 min., but it is a start. I hope to then work on running 3 days a week, swim 2 days, and do the longer bike/elliptical workouts on the weekend and see where I'm at in 2 months.

Congrats also to all the IMFL finishers and participants. Watching an IM and being at them is a life altering experiences. Its like the Superbowl of triathlon. The difference from other pro sports though is that it is something most anyone can do if they put their minds to it and believe in their abilities (and train their butts off!). Its something you can participate in, not just sit on the sidelines and watch. I feel very lucky to have found this sport.

And the NYC marathon this weekend too! Lance did better than I expected, not that I didn't think he should have been able, I just didn't know how much he had trained. Too bad he won't consider an IM. He says, "no way!" And a local kid was 12th overall, so he's now made his marathon debut (he was in the 2004 Olympic 10k too). And to think, I was his relay partner in an inside tri about 12 years ago!

Looking ahead to this week....

Friday, November 03, 2006


I'm pretty excited about this. Its been 2 months today, almost 9 weeks since the accident, and I promised myself a couple of weeks ago I would attempt to do some running at the 2 month mark. Once I knew the bones were healed and most of my discomfort was under control, I figured I might as well start.

Last week I was pretty ambitious to start doing something besides walking and ended the week feeling miserable. But this week, after now going back to regular chiropractic appointments, and actually being seen a few extra times, some of the muscle tightness I had been experiencing is easing, making it a better week. Basically, I have done something every day this week, walking Monday and Tuesday, ellipitical and swimming Wednesday, spin bike and swimming Thursday, and today I started my Chi Running beginner running again.

Let me say I am not going full out running. The program I found and am incorporating with beginner Chi Running is: walk 5 min. and then alternate 1.5 minutes running/walking up to 30 min. and then cool down walking--a whole 12 minutes of running! And this right now is only on a treadmill. I need to see how I feel and what I can do before I hit the outside, and that will only be if it isn't icy. I really don't want to have a fall!

I went for 30 min. and covered a little over 2 miles (I don't remember the exact distance but need to start keeping track!). My pace was easy: 10:54 running, 17 min. walking. It was almost easier running than walking after I hit the halfway point--its like I really wanted to keep running but made myself ease up. And I realize this by no means qualifies me as really running yet--I am just looking at all of this as rehab.

Also, yesterday was my last physical therapy appointment. I received a plan from the therapist for continued rehab on my own, and also discussed my hip soreness and what expectation I can have for getting that recovered as well. A surprising element to this whole recovery process was that once the ribs, shoulder bones, etc. were healed, I was faced with a new dilemma--soft tissue damage--something I didn't realize. As I mentioned before, 3 months recovery on that is to be expected, and fortunately since no major joints were affected, anything over 3 months should be investigated again. Its like dealing with a new injury all over again.

The hip and calf soreness is deep tissue bruising, not muscular, so its just a matter of time before that works itself out. What it feels like, if you can imagine, is to think about your worst stiffness after a race or hard workout and how it feels to sit and then get up and move around. That's pretty much the best way to describe it. It certainly makes me feel old trying to get up and do something quick!

So my new plan for building up on my running is to build on the 30 min. and also to build on the 1.5 min. increments of running but keep the 1.5 min. of alternate walking, and continue with my ChiRunning exercises (hip looseners, ankle looseners, back stretches). I can tell you that if not for ChiRunning, I doubt I would be able to get too far even with rehab running, after many past experiences of starting over after an injury. As I pointed out before, proper ChiRunning uses proper form, not just your muscles, for running, lessening the impact on joints and muscles. I can honestly say that after my workout today, I do not have any muscle soreness or sore feet (like in the past) or knees or anything. I just have that feeling of having had a good workout.

As for starting over--again--I am the master at that in practically every aspect of my life, so hopefully this will be easy to do. Progress is what I want to see, but you have to start somewhere.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Always a dreary month it seems. Yesterday, the first day of the month, while it was cold, was an exception, with a full day of moderate sunshine. Can't expect much else around here at this time of year.

Much as I love the big lakes and our close proximity to what seems like a freshwater oceans, our weather is affected entirely by them. We live in the third cloudiest county in the US. Lake effect snow is a term not used many other areas (Buffalo and Cleveland are exceptions). What causes that, you might wonder? Where defines that term? "When the cold air blows over the warm water of the lakes" is the best description I can give. Then anything goes. More snow, more clouds, more humidity, more smog (not that we really have too much of that fortunately), etc. And then you have this situation: the colder the water in Lake Michigan (or other Great Lakes), the less snow we will have. Go figure. You get a cold summer and then a mild winter. Or, you have a great summer and a snowier than usual winter. You can never win here, it seems.

One day of clear skies and sunshine and you usually pay for it with clouds, rain, and/or snow. Today our payback is snow. Right now, it is very lovely looking out there, big fluffy flakes, reminding you of a snow globe effect. But I am not fooled by this seemingly harmless white stuff. Our temperture is 32 degrees. It is wet and damp. The sky is gray. And then you can add all the idiot drivers out there who forget how to drive from year to year and it proves my point: winter is not to be taken lightly.

Anyone can love the blue skies and sunshine of warmer climates, even overlooking the fact that you may have hurricanes or wild fires, eqrthquakes, or intense heat. You have a better disposition with all that sunshine, if nothing else. But to go through the days of November through March and deal with the dampness, cold, gray skies, and anything else Mother Nature decides to send our way and you really have to be disciplined and tough minded to get out there to either work out in the outdoors or just get to your workout destination. Its no wonder there are so many depressed people in these climates!

So what am I getting at? I think my point is, no matter the weather, I always feel better working out. Sunshine is an added bonus, but just getting out there, sweating, breathing hard, getting the blood flowing, all help you feel better about yourself and feel better generally.

I am going to try hard to keep this perspective this winter. I HATE WINTER. But it seems the least I can do. I may be limited in physical things right now, but I do control my mind, and one of my goals for next year is to get tough minded in all areas of my life. Learn to deal with what is yet do what I have to to change what I can.