Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We're not talking Mellencamp
It's not so safe right now. A 90 to 100 pound cougar was spotted along a creek right by where we normally run. That's one big old predator! Partially eaten remains of two possums were found and believed to have been victims of the lion. I'm hoping that the next story doesn't involve small pets or children or killing the big guy. He's out of his element but I have a feeling that the buffet table in that area has some good pickins so he'll probably stick around until he gets into trouble.
So what've you been knitting recently, you ask me? You did ask me, right? I'm not just imagining it? I'm still working on the Keep it Simple Scarf/Shawl. I'd put a link there but it's nowhere to be found online; it's a Valley Yarns pattern for an outdated Valley Yarn and Webs has apparently discontinued the pattern. Anyhoo, it's a very simple (thus the name) lacy scarf/shawl pattern with a 10 row repeat. Easy enough to take with me to Nashville and knit while on the flight. I'm using that delicious Tess superwash merino in the pink/gray that I bought at the last Stitches. The colors are beautiful in this pattern and the yarn is a joy to knit. I'm having just a bit of remorse that I didn't make it wider or narrower. Not knowing the gauge for the mysterious yarn in the pattern, I guessed and didn't guess too well. When I finish (someday) it'll be a very wide scarf. I think I have enough yarn that I could have made it wider, shawl width, but I didn't want to wind up with a fat square. And now I don't want to rip out what I have because, well, I have little enough time to knit without ripping weeks worth just to get a better size. I can't wait to finish and block it and wear it. I should be done just in time for the temperature to hit triple digits.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
There are a bazillion full boxes of all sizes in her new house. Lots of boxes have been emptied and their contents either put away or left on counters, tables and floors. When I unpacked the boxes labeled for the kitchen I realized that nothing was left behind. Bottles containing one drop, canned goods that expired years ago, used toothpicks; everything carefully wrapped in layers of paper and placed carefully in the boxes. Labeling hasn't been too good; food in boxes marked "glass" and silver in boxes marked "paper." But the best box got opened tonight.
After work tonight I dropped by to open a couple of boxes and then take my mom out for sushi. There were still a couple of boxes marked "plates" or "kitchen glass" so we unpacked those and found carefully wrapped bottles of hot sauce, baggies of peanuts, antique mugs, pens and pencils in layers of wrapping paper, a coffee maker, bone china, can goods and other non-glass or non-plate items that didn't belong in a kitchen.
My mom really wanted one last small box opened. It was marked "lamp shade" and she thought it was probably an antique hurricane lamp from her living room. While she was on a phone call I carefully sliced through the sealing tape. I lifted off and carefully checked the several pieces of wrapping paper scrunched on top of the lamp shade. Piece by piece I slowly I worked my way down to the shade. Finally I removed the very last piece of paper and found ...
... a very sad, wilted house plant. No lamp shade at all.
Uh oh, it's official now
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is still my favorite nonprofit organization and worthy of all my time and efforts at fundraising. It won't be easy this time, I've committed to raising $3,500 for the cause. I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone -- as much "comfort" as a marathon can be -- and I'm alternately thrilled and terrified of both the training and the fundraising.
Now I just need a healthy left knee and a gazillion generous donors and I'll be all set! Country Music Half Marathon report coming soon!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Of course, my knee's so sore that I'm probably not going to be running again for a while. Full Nashville and race report coming soon!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I think it still hasn't sunk in that I'm actually going to be able to run a half marathon in 3 days. And that it just might possibly be a race in the middle of a thunderstorm. What do they do if that happens? They can't just cancel it, can they? But I don't suppose Elite Racing wants the performing bands or the tallest runners to become lightning rods, that's bad for business. I've run once in a t-storm and it's a little freaky. I don't mind getting wet (well, I do, but just go with me here) but I don't need to get fried. I think I'll have to sweat check more clothes than usual because for once I'll be waiting for Sandy, rather than the other way around. Right, I've gotten so fast that I'll have to wait for her. No no no, it's because she's running the full and I'm running (walking? wading through puddles? crawling?) the half. I don't think I'll want to sit around for a couple of hours in dripping wet clothes. Even if I'm sitting that whole time in the beer tent.
I'm thinking I'll probably end up with a brand new PW and I don't care in the least. If I can have a good 6 mile run, or a good 8 mile run, or even a good 10 mile run, I'll be thrilled to just be out there. Running again, doing what I love. I'm going to have to keep reminding myself of that when the weather sucks and my knee hurts. Running again. That's all that matters!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
My therapist this morning gave me the go-ahead to do the race on Saturday. Yippee! I was very honest about the pain I'm still having but he thinks that since I did 8 miles on Saturday I'll be able to do the half without causing any damage. He still thinks I'll be able to build up the muscles so that the imbalance, and pain, will go away. I'm not as certain. It's been 10 weeks on physical therapy with me doing the exercises daily, and although there's some improvement there is still significant pain when I run and afterward.
But who cares; I can run (or walk) the half! Just don't tell Coach.
Monday, April 21, 2008
A little running, a little cycling
Instead of the nap I so richly deserved after my longest run of the year (and isn't that pitiful, late April and my longest run is only 8 miles) I took my mom shopping. She needs window coverings because there are none in her new house and her bedroom faces east. Bad enough that the sun wakes her every morning at dawn, but this weekend the full moon shone like a spotlight in the evening. She found some blinds she liked and we waited while a quote was written from our guesses about the size of the windows. We wandered around the store and looked at light fixtures too. There's a big ornate chandelier in her dining room that she hates and wants to replace and she saw a simple fixture she really liked. The store was out of stock but we were told the Emeryville store had a couple in stock.
It was getting late so instead of heading from Concord to Emeryvville we went out to dinner. We stopped at a local Chinese restaurant and had a pretty good meal. Then back to her house where I helped her with some paperwork. I finally got home about 9pm-ish.
Sunday morning I went for a bike ride with Bree. Too bad that Saturday's wind storm trailed over to Sunday. According to the paper, the second half of our route should have a tailwind, or possibly just a cross wind the whole time. Getting ready I managed to jam the little strap thingie on my new shoe (cycling shoes can get ridiculously complicated in their closures) but it was wearable so it was ok. We set off and headed north along San Ramon Valley Road.
SRV Road, under different names, goes from way down in Pleasanton to Walnut Creek. Our plan was to ride 20 miles, give or take. It was sunny and very windy and pretty cold. We were bundled up and it was funny to see so many cyclists riding with just shorts and jerseys. I made a mistake of wearing cycling shorts under running tights. Whereas the shorts have a gusset, the tights have a seam down the middle and ouch on the girly bits. I'm planning on a warm riding season so I don't really want to have to buy cycling specific tights, but I may do it just to spare myself the discomfort.
So we rode north through San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and reached Walnut Creek. At the turnaround our bike computers had a difference but we each had at least 10. We'd been zooming along and weren't surprised when the wind was in our faces for the start of the ride back. I think my body would have been pretty happy with 15 miles but 20 was pushing it. We finally got back to my house with 20 miles (21.1 on my computer). Why didn't I use my Garmin? Simply because Mr. Garmin was unable, for the entire ride, to find a satellite. How annoying was that? I'd hoped for a cute little map showing speed and elevation but got nada. All it did was show the elapsed time which thanks, a watch could do that nicely. Technology - sheesh.
And speaking of technology, I could not unlatch my shoe. I had to force it off my foot, then later take it to the bike shop to see if it was salvageable (and since I'd only worn in on 2 rides I was pretty ticked that it already didn't work). When I took it in they fiddled around with it, then ordered a new strap. I didn't know they were replaceable but apparently they break down even without stupid wearer errors.
Bree and I celebrated our ride with some lardy Mexican food. Although it tasted great at the time, it weighed me down the rest of the day. I took a short nap then took my mom shopping for her light fixture. When we got to the store and saw it again, she decided she really didn't like it after all. Oh well, better than returning it. We made another stop trying to find her a file cabinet but that trip was fruitless too.
So I produced 29 miles this weekend. It's a good start for tri training, even though I left out swimming. I don't think I'll be able to swim this week, there just aren't enough non-working days. I'll have to stop at my mom's house, have to pack, and I want to run at least once before I leave. Strangely enough my knee felt better after cycling than it did before cycling, so I think the cross training is working. I guess that means I have to keep it up!
Friday, April 18, 2008
We now (don't) resume our regularly scheduled runs
When I experienced my knee issues I was very concerned that Pam would lose her running partner but Olivia stepped up and they started running together. I'd experience great envy reading Olivia's running reports and started getting worried when I read the latest ones about how fast they were running. I know from my weekend runs with the rest of my running buds that once they start running faster, I try to keep up and I just end up not having a good run.
That was the case last night. I met up with Pam, Olivia and Sandy at the usual time and place. We set off and immediately I could tell that the pollen in the air wasn't going to be reacting well in my lungs. I huffed and puffed as we went along to the place we stretch and caught my breath when we stopped. After the stretch I took off in the lead for a bit but then I let the rest of them go ahead of me. I tried to keep up, pushing my pace. I've lost all of my aerobic conditioning in the last few months on top of trying to be very careful of my knee.
At our turnaround point I told them to go ahead so I could walk, but really I wanted them to go ahead so I could slow down. If they're right there I'd try to keep up but if they were even a few steps ahead I could go my own pace. I was able to slow down until we met back up at the stop light, then we ran the rest of the way together. I know they were running slower than they could, so that I could stay with them, but it was still too fast for me and I had to push too much.
My knee was aching when I finished. I didn't enjoy the run and think I may just go back to the treadmill until I think I can keep up a little better. It ruins the joy of the run when I'm breathing so hard I not only can't talk, I can't hear what anyone else is talking about. I may as well just be by myself. And if I'm by myself, I may as well stay home. Maybe by the summer I'll be able to run with them again.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The day improved
But the day was saved by my friends. Somehow I have an incredible circle of friends who actually like me. They are all warm and comforting and sympathetic and nurturing. Also lively, and funny, and sparkling; full of laughter and joy. Some of them are young enough to be my
Many thanks to Jeanette, Claudia, Raji and her sister-in-law, Olivia, Pam, Anita, Bree, Sandy, Ann, Cynthia for celebrating my middle age with me. Thank you for letting me vent when I needed to and changing the subject when it got to be too much. Thank you for all the good food, all the wine, and for not burning down my house with too many candles on the cake. Thank you for all the great gifts, showing how well you know me. Thank you the most for just being my friends. I love you all.
This was the brightest spot of 2008.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Winter Lap Swim Hours and Fees:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Monday-Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Monday - Thursday: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
What they don't bother to mention is if for some reason their small pool is closed, or lots of kids show up for lessons, there won't be any room in the Olympic pool. And lessons are held at the same time as lap swim. Tonight Claudia, Phil and I arrived for our 6:30 pm swim. The pool had exactly 5 free lanes and about 30 kids were about to jump in there for their class. We were told that uh maybe there'd be room at 7:00 pm. Claudia and I left. Hmmph. False advertising San Ramon!
Spring arrives, spring goes away
I had an active weekend, a productive time. I took a vacation day Friday so I could unpack my mom's kitchen. In a 9 hour day I managed to unpack and put away the contents of all but 2 (huge) boxes so her kitchen is usable, if she so wishes. Since right now she's varying between going out to eat and not eating at all, I probably should have just unpacked another room. But the kitchen is the only place with cabinets and shelves to unload everything onto so that's what I did. I think I cleared out a bazillion boxes but I may have miscounted by a few.
Friday evening I met up with my friend Ellen for a dinner we'd scheduled four months earlier. Since she's so busy with training her dogs and I'm so busy training for marathons (in theory) we have to plan way in advance. We went to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Casa Orozco in Dublin, and found ourselves being very restrained with only one margarita each. I also had their great shrimp fajitas and one or two (or a hundred) chips. It was good nourishment for my body and my brain. We chatted on for hours and caught up on all the news.
Saturday morning's plan was to meet Bree and Sandy in Lafayette for a run along the Lafayette-Moraga Trail. I wanted to run 6 miles, mostly to see if I could. I planned to walk whatever I couldn't run. They were going 10 miles so at the Senior Center I turned around and they continued on. Despite the forecast for later, it was coolish and great weather. A beautiful morning to be out and running and I was thrilled beyond words to be able to be out there. I try never to forget how fortunate I am to live in such a spectacular area, and to have the capabilities to be out and about to enjoy it. Running was a struggle; my endurance is shot from 3 months off, the air had a lot of pollen, and my knee was sore. No shooting pains, just a steady dull ache that didn't seem to get worse during the run. The trail in that direction is fun since the last mile is a downgrade for almost the entire thing and it feels like you're flying when you're (I'm) really just creeping along.
I had planned to go for an afternoon bike ride with Bree but she canceled because for some reason she didn't feel like riding in 90 degree sunshine this early in the season. Go figure. So that, along with an increasingly sore knee, lots of work around the house to do, a very comfortable couch for napping and dinner plans made me decide that skipping the ride was a good idea for me too.
For dinner on Saturday I had told my mom I was taking her out. As I was driving over to pick her up I was thinking that some place quick and easy would be best; I was beat. When I got to her house she was ready to go. All dressed up and looking lovely. I was in jeans and a tee shirt. She wanted festive. So I took her to a place that had been recommended to me, the Patio in Lafayette. Very good choice. We started the right way, with Mojitos. Then an order of Yuca y Maduros (deep-fried yucca and plantain with an incredible sauce) and an order of Ceviche made with sole. We were incredibly impressed with the tastes and even more so when our main dish, Paella de Mariscos, arrived. Paella is one of my favorite dishes and this was an excellent example of a very good one. Everything tasted fresh and perfect. We had no room for dessert but almost changed our minds when we saw the choices on the dessert menu. I was glad afterward that my mom had dressed up and we had decided to treat ourselves. We'll be returning to sample the rest of the menu!
Sunday morning was the Brenda Donato Rainbow Run 5k in Walnut Creek. It was like old home week to me. I think everyone there was related in some fashion to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Team in Training, or to a person who had done TnT. I saw lots of people I hadn't seen for months. It was well done, not just for a small event or a new event, but for any local 5k. The volunteers all had personal connections to Brenda and were that much more intent on making the event special for everyone. I walked the entire thing, a 55 minute 5k. That may be a record for me. It was another gorgeous morning, warmer than Saturday, very crowded out on the trails.
I had a chance to catch up with Coach Al and spin him a tale of my knee aggravations. I told him that although running still hurt, I was building my mileage back up. I also told him that I thought I could do the half marathon in two weeks. He told me not to do it. But Coach, said I, my therapist said that maybe I could! He replied I'm your coach and I told you that you can't! Hmmm. That's a dilemma! I'd hate to go against what Coach says. But we all know that at this point my intent is to try the race, right?? We may just have to keep this our secret.
After the great meals all weekend I had a much less exciting dinner Sunday night. I was tired, didn't feel like cooking or even nuking. I had a bag of baked Cheetos. Yumm, neon orange nutrition. With a glass of wine.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
What she said
In fact, tomorrow I'll be taking a vacation day to help my mom unpack. It doesn't seem like she's making any headway on her own, although she says she's emptied several boxes. I'm hoping to get all the boxes out of her kitchen, with their contents in cabinets and drawers, and have at least one room completely done.
I have high athletic hopes for the weekend. Saturday I've planned both a run and a ride and Sunday I've planned a run. I anticipate much (careful) icing, much heat and sun, and every other spare minute spent with my mother.
It took long enough, but it appears spring is finally here. I'm excited to get out and experience some of the glory before it goes away again!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Better news on the PT front
I haven't had much chance to do my legsercises, let alone any other real activity, since my mom arrived. I managed many hours of dancing in heels on Saturday night but I don't think that's a good substitute (although hecka more fun). I've stayed up late the past 2 nights legsercising so that I wouldn't have to lie to my therapist. Heh. I didn't want to get yelled at. I've still been having constant dull aching in my knee but I haven't had shooting pains, so that's an improvement.
My therapist pared down my legsercises, deleting some and adding others. When I said that my race was in 2-1/2 weeks and I didn't know if I'd be able to do it, he shook his head. I said I was thinking of running 6 miles and walking the last 7 and he didn't seem to think that was a bad idea. I'm not positive he thought it would be a good idea but since he didn't say no I'm assuming I can proceed.
I'm going to try to run 5-6 miles on Saturday, taking my time and not hurting myself. After that I'm planning on a 20-ish mile bike ride. Just because I'm trying to catch up for all the time off. On Sunday if my knee is still cooperating I'll run or walk Brenda Donato's Rainbow 5k Fun Run or Walk. This is in memory of a woman I wish I had known and is benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, via Brian Kinion's Man of the Year Campaign. A good cause and a good reason to get out there.
Since they seem to be effective I'll continue the legsercises, even if it means staying up late or getting up early. I really would like to run distances again. Soon. And even more I'd like to stop getting up so early! I am NOT a morning person.
Except for those 3:45 am wake-ups for marathons. Those I'll tolerate.
Monday, April 7, 2008
After the party
Then I got home where my mother impatiently awaited me. I don't know when I'm going to have another bit a free time. Maybe after six months or so when she's used to the area. Maybe not ...
Friday, April 4, 2008
Off to Napa
My mom is here, permanently this time. She's staying with me while she awaits the moving van which is scheduled for Monday. I'm thinking she'll probably be with me a couple of days after than while she gets things unpacked. I'm also thinking that she'd really just like to spend a quite day at home doing nothing. Unfortunately she'd like that day to be at her old home in La Jolla. She's not terribly happy with the whole move situation right now. I hope she adjusts. I'll have to admit that she's really doing much better than I'd anticipated; an 80-year-old single not very healthy woman moving to an entirely new area, leaving her friends, doctors and favorite restaurants behind. It's going to be a big adjustment for both of us.
In honor of the Napa get-away I present the Gratuitous Bear of the Week (which is almost getting to be the Gratuitous Bear of the month; it's not that I'm running out of bears, I just haven't photographed them all). I was given this bear as a (semi-joke) birthday present some time when I was in my mid-30's. He's not one of my favorites (don't tell him I said so) because he's so -- so -- fussy looking. But I've kept him around and gotten more fond of him as the years have gone by. Meet Wino!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
(Too much) Ice Ice Baby
After it thawed out (yes, my skin was actually white and frozen and ew I don't want to go into any more detail or even think about it and I didn't even tell anyone else about that part) it looked like a bad sunburn. All red, hot, raised. I thought possibly that it would blister and drip but so far the skin isn't broken at all. It's just all ugly and sore. I didn't just manage to get a small area either, it's about a 4 inch circle.
So I tried to find out how to treat an ice burn. I did a web search and discovered it's very easy to burn yourself with ice. Duh. You shouldn't leave it on too long. Double duh. You can hurt yourself badly. Well, why do you think I'm looking for a remedy!?! The one place that actually looked like it might have good advice instead just said something to the effect of "you're pretty damn dumb to burn yourself with an ice pack so don't do it again." Yeaaaaah, very helpful. I'm just going to have to live with the burn. It's not like I can cool it off with ice, right?
The reason I was icing in the first place is that I got up early yesterday and treadmilled. I ran:walked 9:1 with a bit of elevation on the 'mill. I made it through my 3 repeats with no shooting pain, but my knee was sore afterward. Swimming the night before with Sandy also added some aches and pains.
So it looks like I'm continuing with my twice daily workouts on some days, even though I'm losing sleep. I'm only doing legsercises once daily, if that. I'm very enthusiastic about doing activities I enjoy like running, cycling, swimming. I'm not feeling the love for rehab that isn't making my knee feel any better.
Three weeks until the half. Will I be able to run or walk it? Good question. At least the burn should be gone by then!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Not an April Fool
me: Uh, there are deer in our parking spaces.
me: There are two -- no three -- deer in our parking spaces.
Jeanette: I know, April Fools, right?
me: Huh? There are three deer in our parking spaces!
Jeanette: Happy April Fools Day?
me: Just look out our windows!
Three little Bambi's, looking terrified (and hungry) just hanging out and trying to find the nearest Starbucks, I guess. I watched them for a couple of minutes and then they trotted away toward the school. Good thing that it's spring break at the high school or else they would have quite a bit of trouble with the crowds. I don't have much hope for the poor dears (deers), there's a freeway close by and lots of busy roads.
We did not have venison for breakfast here.