Saturday, March 31, 2007

The forecast for tomorrow. Shit.


High - 62
Low - 54
Precip: 60%

Showers early then thundershowers developing later in the day. High 62F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Finish Line

I dug out my reflector vest and ran OUTSIDE this morning! On the trails! It was downright warm, which was sooo nice. It was 80 degrees here yesterday! That means the dog days of summer are fast approaching, when I will wilt for three months in the oppressive humidity. But for now? We have The Spring! I hadn't run outside in the a.m. in... gosh, months, I think. It felt good.

I wish I had another week to train for this race, just so I would feel more prepared. I wish I had the Europe week back! Not that I think I'd be faster or anything, but that I wouldn't feel like I'm just trying to squeeze out ten miles. I'm not really bothered that much by it... it's more my physical state and recovery!

I will just be proud of myself when I cross that finish line. I'm really glad I decided to go ahead and run the race despite not being physically ready for endurance training. It's like a milestone in my cancer journey - a symbol of survival and a gateway to the next big thing. The cherry blossoms will be erupting around the tidal basin, spring will be rolling around us in all its splendid newness, and I will finish the run on Sunday knowing that I am crossing more Finishing Lines than one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Apparently running 10 miles is exhausting....

Oh boy am I feeling it. On Saturday after my ten mile run I felt weird and fuzzy all day. I was so tired, like bone tired, that I even had a hard time falling asleep. I was definitely not recovered on Sunday. I went over to the gym thinking I would do some upper body lifts, but I left after a few sets because I was THAT wasted. Even this morning I was still not feeling it and subbed out my 20 minute high-intensity cardio session with a low-intensity incline treadmill walk. I must be getting old :) (should I stop blaming this stuff on my cancer/thyroid now?)!! I have got to get a couple of runs in this week so my body is not so shocked and peevish after the race on Sunday! That's what you get for not running for a couple weeks and then jumping right in with a long one! Oh well. Not like I could have said no to the Europe trip...

My tendinitis turned out to be just a day-long irritation, it's feeling all better today. I actually injured my peroneal right before my surgery in November (I was SO sad I could not run before my surgery!) and it totally SUCKED because I literally could not walk on my foot. I thought I might have fractured something. It turned out to be a lucky time for that injury because I was forced to lay around recovering from surgery, so could not continue to exercise stubbornly like I probably would have done otherwise. And the peroneal injury prevented me from doing something retarded like trying to do cardio a few days after the surgery like I probably would have done otherwise! See, things happen for a reason.

That bout of tendinitis turned out to be not so bad, but I was off that same leg for a few months with illiotibial band syndrome a couple years ago. It was so hard to not run for months! That was when I swam - in the nice olympic size lap pool at the Texas A&M gym (gawd, we were so spoiled at that gym, and I knew it too: it was bittersweet to work out there knowing I would have to leave it all behind.... huge pool, spa, quarter-mile indoor track, full weight room, plenty of cardio equipment, a huge rock climbing wall, indoor basketball courts, etc, etc, etc. FOR FREE. -- let's not get technical about mandatory student fees --. I weep when I think about it.) Aaanyway, after some physical therapy (only $10 per session with a collegiate sports PT... maybe I should go back to college?!) my ITB finally subsided, although it still flares up every once in a while if I do not stretch diligently. Something must be off with my right side because I now have tendinitis problems up the whole leg!

Metro tires me deeply and tries my patience. I therefore avoid using it on the weekends when I don't have to (I would probably go downtown a lot more if I didn't have to ride metro!). But yesterday I just wanted to be outside in the glorious sunny springtime. So I decided to metro to Rosslyn and walk across the Key Bridge to Georgetown to go to church. I walked up the Exorcist Staircase, which I thought was appropriate, being that I was on my way to church. Yes, that's the real actual staircase from the movie - they filmed it in Georgetown! Freaky stuff.

This afternoon I got to go hear the Moscow Chamber Orchestra play a lunchtime concert at the State Department. Apparently it's the bicentennial anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow. Who knew?!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Random bits

I can't believe I've been so productive today! It's only 3 and so far I've been to get groceries, done three loads of laundry, including my sheets, re-made the bed, folded all the clothes, paid bills, mailed in checks to the bank, run ten miles...

Yeah, I'm wiped out from the ten mile run. The fact that I did it is nothing short of astounding. I have not run in two weeks! I brought all my running gear to Europe with me, but... um, yeah. It's impossible to get a cup of coffee before 7 in Europe, I discovered, and as for post-run recovery breakfast... a brioche just wouldn't have cut it. They don't scramble up eggs at the cafe. Plus I wanted to sightsee as much as possible!

It's really foggy and drizzly here today. The National Marathon happened this morning, and I watched some of the press coverage and got all inspired. I didn't want to put it off till tomorrow, so I just went. It was harrrrd. I wasn't sure I was going to run 10 miles until it was over. The first 7 were not so bad, but ouch. The tendinitis in my right leg is irritating me - both my ITB and my peroneal tendon. I put some HPQR on it when I got home - that horse stuff Adam's veterinarian dad gave me when I first injured my peroneal.

I had two Netflix of Gray's Anatomy that were sitting on my counter for weeks. I finally just mailed them back - unwatched. I should have done it earlier. I just can't bring myself to watch that show anymore. It brings back memories of the surgery and laying in the OR and being isolated in the hospital - I prefer not to have that all dredged up watching a tv show!

They are painting the hallways in my apartment. When I walk down the hall I swear I can feel the capillaries in my lungs dying, the fumes are so toxic! They are going to paint our doors on Tuesday, which requires leaving the door open for several hours. This deeply irritates me.

Earlier I had the biggest runner's high, but now my head feels all cloudy and thick. I'm not sure what to do with myself for the rest of the afternoon?! Maybe I will go across the street and watch a movie (yes, I live across the street from a movie theater!) - 300 is playing there, but I know Adam will want to see it and he'll be disappointed if I see it without him :(. Maybe a nap... zzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Had to Share

I loved this and totally related to it, so I just had to share:

Excerpt from Grace (Eventually)
By Anne Lamott


There is not much truth being told in the world. There never was. This has proven to be a major disappointment to some of us. When I was a child, I thought grown-ups and teachers knew the truth, because they told me they did. It took years for me to discover that the first step in finding out the truth is to begin unlearning almost everything adults had taught me, and to start doing all the things they'd told me not to do. Their main pitch was that achievement equaled happiness, when all you had to do was study rock stars, or movie stars, or them, to see that they were mostly miserable. They were all running around in mazes like everyone else.
On the other hand, sometimes you encountered people who'd stopped playing everyone else's game, who seemed to be semi-happy, and with it, who said, in so many words, I saw the cheese, I lived on it for years, and it wasn't worth it. It was plain old Safeway Swiss.
At twenty-one, I still believed that if you could only get to see sunrise at Stonehenge, or full moon at the Taj Mahal, you would be nabbed by truth. And then you would be well, and able to relax and feel fully alive. But I actually knew a few true things: I had figured out that truth and freedom were pretty much the same. And that almost everyone was struggling to wake up, to be loved, and not feel so afraid all the time. That's what the cars, degrees, booze, and drugs were about.

By the time I had dropped out of college at nineteen, I'd acquired a basic and wildly ecumenical faith cobbled together from shards I'd gathered in reading various wisdom traditions—Native American, Hindu, feminist, Buddhist, even Christian, in a heart-stopping, kick-starting encounter with Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. My best teachers were mess, failure, death, mistakes, and the people I hated, including myself.

Drugs often helped. I knew that if you had the eyes to see, there was beauty everywhere, even when nature was barren or sloppy, and not just when God had tarted things up for the spring. Often the people with the deepest insight looked as ordinary as any old alcoholic or serial killer. They might look like Siddhartha or Ananda Mai Ma, but odds were they resembled your bipolar cousin Ruth, or Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Also, they could be extremely annoying. I already understood that on this side of eternity, we were not going to get over much or see very clearly, and that often what we saw was happening only in our minds: "Things are not as they seem. Nor are they otherwise." Who said this? Rumi? Or Illya Kuryakin? No idea.
Thirty years ago, I was living in Bolinas, California, an exquisite enclave of hippies, artists, and organic farmers on the coast. I had a wonderful poet boyfriend named Ty. We were crazy about each other, even though we were not exclusive—which is to say that I loved him more than he loved me. But he was gentle and funny, and had great stories about his years in India, Tibet, Taos, and Salt Lake City. It had never occurred to me before Ty that you might wake up spiritually as easily in Utah as in Sri Lanka. He was the first to give me books from which I learned that God was an equal opportunity employer—that it was possible to experience the divine anywhere you were, anywhere you could see the sun and moon rise or set, or burn through the fog.

Bolinas was a great place for ritual and celebrations—it was nearly as exotic as India, if you thought about it, but without all those dying animals in the streets and people defecating in the holy waters, which doesn't really work for me at all. We had perfectly good bodily mess right here where I lived. We had burnouts in the streets, nudes on the beach, our own drunken sex lives. Feral cats, three-legged dogs, and horses stood side by side. During our countless festivals and parades, people in cowboy boots and homemade holiday garlands and leis drank beer, and vivid chalk murals decorated the walls downtown—an exuberant aesthetic that celebrated both ordinary community life and tribal-stomp mysticism, but on the Pacific Coast instead of the Ganges. There were altars and candles and veils, people in costume and exotic clothing redolent of human spirit and dreams—not to mention foods cooking in the heat, all that delicious joy, with rot waiting in the wings.

And then Ty fell head over heels in love with another woman, who had so many unfair advantages over me. For instance, she was not a falling-down drunk. She was womanly and celestial. She had money and perfect earth-mother clothes of flowing silk, batiked and embroidered, and soft blond hair, whereas I was poor and looked like a Gypsy wagon with fuzzy curls. She was a gifted artist, soft-spoken and gentle, with an elegant house on the beach, all candles, altars, incense. She even had a beautiful name: Romy.

She did not love Ty as much as he loved her, or as much as I loved him, which stacked the deck in her favor. In the competition between us, she won for caring less. After Ty and I had been sleeping together for six months or so, he left me for her.

I had already come through three heartbreaks, which caused long physical withdrawals, as bad as trying to get off cigarettes, and through two bad acid trips, and everyone convinced me that I would come through this bad patch, too. Luckily I was still drinking. And I had a perfect best friend, whom I saw every day and who drank the way I did.

I learned mostly from drugs and great books: I was a lifelong reading girl.
I already believed that there was something in me that could not be touched or destroyed that you could call the soul. And I was part of two wings of the community—the smartest, funniest alcoholics, and the seekers, who had designed lives based on spiritual values and tried to live up to them. I loved equally reading the great literature of the world and getting wasted. I thought we were here to have spiritual awakenings. When it came to books or drugs, I'd take anything that was offered, and I considered the next day's drug hangover worth the expanded sense of reality. I was sick many mornings, but curious, like Dorothy opening her eyes in Oz: Is there still gravity? Can we breathe the air? Yes. Then might as well go look around.
I was crushed for a while after Ty dumped me, but it ¬really is easier to experience spiritual connection when your life is in the process of coming apart. When things break up and fences fall over, desperation and powerlessness slink in, which turns out to be good: humility and sweetness often arrive in your garden not long after. And I had a pharmacist friend in San Francisco who gave me Valium. The tears were finally helpful, for what they washed away and revealed, which is to say my deep longing for a kind partner, and my bad judgment. Seeds sank into the ground, and who could even guess what might grow? Hey! We all like surprises, don't we?

My best friend and my father and younger brother saw me through; they helped keep the patient as comfortable as could be expected. I finally figured out that I had a choice: I could suffer a great deal, or not, or for a long time. Or I could have the combo platter: suffer, breathe, pray, play, cry, and try to help people. There was meaning in pain; it taught you how to survive with a modicum of grace when you did not get what you wanted. In addition, I got a couple of office-temp boyfriends, and best of all, lost a lot of weight.

By June 1975, life had gotten easier. We were in the delicious bland limbo of Gerald Ford. Our generation had changed the world: the worst U.S. president in history had been forced to resign, the war in Vietnam had at last ended, and the women's movement was here to stay. On one particular day, I was bird-watching at the Bolinas lagoon with my father, and at a certain hour he left to make my younger brother dinner down the road. Not long after he left, Ty stepped through the willows and alders onto the bank where I sat.

We hugged and kissed, and I buried myself in his smells. We smoked a joint and huddled in the chill of dusk. He gave me his sweater. We marveled at the ducks and egrets on the calm waters, white pelicans flying overhead. He told me that Romy and he were still together, but she wanted to sleep with other men. Although he loved her, he spent only a couple of nights a week at her house. I thought this over. "Oh," I said. "Which nights?" He laughed.
He was so handsome, sweet, and so much fun. He asked if I wanted to come to his house for enchiladas. Of course I did. We ate them with a lot of hot sauce and cold Tecate, and went to bed. We could not get enough of each other. Eventually he fell asleep, and I turned on the reading light. The book beside his bed was The Only Dance There Is, which was based in part on lectures on spirituality that Ram Dass had given at the Menninger Foundation. A few people had told me how brilliant and funny it was, and I dove in with cheerful anticipation.
I got to the title page, where there was a calligraphed inscription from Romy, with curlicue hearts, lotuses, and—I am not making this up—a drawing of Krishna.
Hmph, I thought, and put it aside. I found Trout Fishing in America and reread parts. In the morning when I awoke, Ty was at the foot of his bed, in cutoff blue jeans, tying his running shoes. "Where are you going?" I asked.

He said he was going for a long run on the ridge. But then? He paused. It was a bad pause. He was going to an outdoor luncheon at Romy's. I tried to act nonchalant, and did not start crying until he left. Then I lay on my side, naked, and sobbed for so long that I was heaving for breath, for every man who hadn't loved me enough. I showered, brushed my teeth, took some aspirin, found some Visine in his medicine chest, dressed in my tie-dyed tank top and underpants, and crawled back into bed. When Ty returned, he was clearly worried to see me still there. I said I had been throwing up and had a fever.

He looked as if he might be about to burp up a newborn chick.

He got me a cup of tea with honey, toast with honey, yogurt with honey, like I was John the Baptist with the flu. He said he had to take a shower and then head over to Romy's. I said it was totally okay, but I was just too sick to get up. He felt my forehead with the back of his hand, like a father. I was hot from crying and grief and mental illness. He went to shower.
When he came back, I clutched my stomach as if I was about to heave, and he got me a pot to vomit in. This is my kind of date. I lay back in bed, barely able to keep my eyes open.
I pretended to sleep while he got dressed.

"Annie?" he said gently. I opened my eyes, waiting for the boot. "You can stay here as long as you need. But I won't be back until tomorrow."

"Okay," I said in a tiny voice. I tried to look as sick as I could, in the most touching possible way, like the little match girl in tie-dye. He made me more tea and sat with me. I cried when I heard his car drive off, but I knew he would be back later in the day. How could you leave skinny, touching, sick, adorable me? I'll show you, I thought: I won't leave.
Then, because I didn't know what else to do, I started to read the book Romy had given him. This was part maso¬chism, part revenge, and part curiosity. And I was soon mesmerized. There was nothing particularly new about consciousness and God and love in the book, but it was the first time I'd heard this information given in such a hilarious, wise, human, neurotic voice. Ram Dass was a vulnerable mess—just like me. I felt the way I had felt reading A Wrinkle in Time at eight, The Catcher in the Rye, Catch-22, Virginia Woolf, Vonnegut later on, whenever a book had offered me a box with treasure inside. It was what flooded out in the quiet, intimate relationship between me and the writer; the treasure of me.

The physical excitement in me was profound. People say about experiences like this that "the veil lifted," but for me, for the whole day, it was as if an itchy burlap sack had come off my head. Molecules shifted, as in the shimmer before a migraine, the ocular shift at the edges, where I felt as if I might be having a stroke. Ram Dass's book was about his stuckness, his sick ego, his life, his heart, the Buddha, Krishna, his guru—even Jesus, which was truly radical. I felt as though I were snorkeling one concentric circle outside where I had been before.
I read all afternoon in bed, peaceful as a cat. There was only me, the book, the space I was reading in; hands, and the whisper of pages, eyes, and a place to sprawl. The wrinkly flower of my heart was opening in slow motion. I felt one with everybody. Well, except Romy. I felt about one and a half with her, even as I knew deep inside that she was part of the reason that I would never be the same. And I wasn't.

This was the day I pecked a hole out of the cocoon and saw the sky of ingredients that would constitute my spiritual path. This was the day I knew the ingredients of the spiritual that would serve me—love, poetry, prayer, meditation, community. I knew that sex could be as sacred as taking care of the poor. I knew that no one comes holier than anyone else, that nowhere is better than anywhere else. I knew that the resurrection of the mind was possible. I knew that no matter how absurd and ironic it was, acknowledging death and the finite was what gave you life and presence. You might as well make it good. Nature, family, children, cadavers, birth, rivers in which we pee and bathe, splash and flirt and float memorial candles—in these you would find holiness.

I started praying, not the usual old prayer of "God, I am such a loser," but new ones—"Hi" and "Thank you." I viscerally got that God was everywhere; poor old God, just waiting for you to notice, and enter your life like a track coach for slow people. Kathleen Norris said, many years later, "Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine," and I got the message that day. People were going to come into my life. Many of them would leave. Most of the people in my family would roll their eyes and hope that soon I'd go back to the manic and tranquilizing mall of American life.

Ty still hadn't come back by the time I finished reading the book at seven, so I went to the main road in Bolinas to hitchhike home. I ended up at the bar. It would be ten more years before I stopped drinking, twenty years ago ¬today. But I remember standing there at dusk with my thumb out, euphoric and exhausted as if I'd been at the beach all day, then taken a long, hot shower to wash off all the sand.

Excerpted from Grace (Eventually). Copyright © 2007 by Anne Lamott. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I've been hearing about this movie everywhere! I guess I'm going to have to see it, especially to check out how ripped those guys got! Here's the "300 workout":

Total of 300 reps, no rest in between sets:

Pullups - 25
Deadlifts with 135lbs - 50
Pushups - 50
24-inch Box jumps - 50
Floor wipers - 50
1-arm 36lbs Kettlebell Clean n Press - 50 reps
Pullups - 25

Holy cow!! Did you check out the floor wipers? I think if I tried those in my gym people would stop what they were doing and stare!! LOL! I wonder if I could even do those? Hmmmm....

Craig Ballantyne had this posted at Turbulence Training.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fitness and Intelligence

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague at work this evening. I was chatting with two male co-workers, giving advice to one about where to buy supplements. (I like and The other came back later and asked me how I got into all this "stuff" - meaning fitness, nutrition, etc. He was surprised to learn that the deadlift is actually in my repertoire of exercises. He was doing most of the talking, telling me about the gym he works out in and his routine and it seemed like he really enjoyed lifting weights - he seems reasonably fit, I might add. But he said he "doesn't want to get too big" so he tries not to lift too much.

I'm like, huh? First of all, he's probably a little misinformed if he thinks he's going to get huge without investing some significant energy into his weight training and diet. But even if he is a fast-gainer (which he told me he's not), why would he not want to "get too big"?

His explanation was something to the effect of not wanting to give people the impression that he was some muscle-head (I'm paraphrasing). He mentioned another colleague of ours, J, who he thought was "too big" (which I think is crazy, he's not that big). He says when he sees J, his first impression is "that guy's a big bodybuilder", not "that guy is smart, capable, competent, a hard worker..." He wants others' first impression of him to be more along the lines of "nerdy but brilliant", which is not served by having big muscles.

At first I was feeling confused, but as he kept talking, I realized he's right... (But not that he's right to bend to such pressures...) Most of the people in my line of work with fall well and solidly into the nerd category. They dress very conservatively and not necessarily well. Only a small handful could be considered reasonably fit and even the ambiguous ones are more euro-fit than athletic-fit (by that I mean trim from walking a lot around the city, or eating well, and/or due to a genetic propensity towards being an ectomorph). In other words most don't invest a lot of time in their appearances - it's as if they are somehow "above" caring about that because they are so busy focusing on some worthier cause.

I grew up in the military where the values are quite different from the average population. Being fit is important to military-folk and it's even looked down upon to be too out of shape, especially if you're male. In the military world, you can be muscular and fit and still be considered intelligent, capable and competent. But in the world I work in, and I think the general population, there is a perception that if you're really fit, really athletic, or care too much about your appearance/body, then you're less intelligent. I remember seeing an article in the Economist not too long ago about how many of the members of the Bush Administration are dedicated to some kind of exercise on a weekly basis - Bush's mile time was a decent 8-something, if I remember correctly, and Condi gets up at 5:00 every morning to do the elliptical, even when she's on the road. In the ironic British humor that I love the Economist for, the article was suggesting that they were too busy messing around in leg-warmers to worry about real foreign policy concerns.

I think this is a load of hogshit. Study after study confirms the benefits of exercise to mental performance, energy, and alertness. And I could get into a huge tangent here about what exactly intelligence is and how our concept of that is shaped by society. I'll save that for another time - I'm on my way to lift some heavy shit in the gym!!! Just kidding, I lifted this morning. I just think it's sad that not only is fitness not valued by the general population, but the fit among us get stereotyped as less intelligent or less competent. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive! There are really "smart" fit people, and fit people who are not so "smart", just like there are really "smart" un-fit people and also people who are neither smart nor fit. Sigh.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pictures of Europe!!

Ok, here are the pics. Most of them are at night, since that's the only time I had for sightseeing. I don't know what all the buildings are either.

These are Vienna:

St. Stephen's Cathedral. Nice church but definitely not the coolest cathedral I've seen. We became pretty jaded when we discovered most of it was destroyed in WWII and what exists now is a reconstruction. Boo. Still quite pretty!

The giant organ inside St. Stephens (also a reconstruction of the original).

Looking toward the altar of St. Stephens - mass was going on when we got there. 90% of Austria is Roman Catholic.

The organ and stained glass window.

From the top of St. Stephens. There is an enormous bell up there, too dark to take a picture. We paid 4 Euros to ride this elevator up and look out at the view! From my first trip to Vienna years ago, I remember the catacombs in the basement of the church being pretty cool, but we couldn't go in as they were closed at the time.

Random charming courtyard.

Part of the palace, which goes on forever! All the architecture in Vienna is so grand.

This is actually the Rathaus - a central government building.

The Kunsthistoriche Museum - we spent quite a while in there, it was packed full of cool art. There were ancient Egyptian crypts and statues, Greek and Roman sculptures and paintings from the early to late Renaissance. One of my favorites were these portraits by Arcimboldo who is credited as being, like, the first surrealist. He lived in the 1500s, well before Dali started painting dripping clocks! This one's called Summer:

Below is the Natural History Museum.

Statue of Maria Theresa in the Museums Quarter.

This is the square our hotel was located on:

Ahhh, Paris! Here's a view of La Seine and you can see La Tour Eiffel on the right in the background. I was sooo exhausted and it was about 9:30 pm but I had to go over and see Notre Dame. That was pretty much the only sightseeing I had time for in Paris.

Notre Dame all lit up. It looks totally different than the first time I saw it in the early 90s, before they cleaned it. It was all grey and dirty and now it's white and glowing!

Frieze on the facade of Notre Dame, above the main door.

Some government building:

La Louvre:

No, this is not the rabbit hole to Wonderland, it's an entrance to the Metro!

Oh, I already told you how nice our hotel was... They even had some magic mirror in the bathroom that defogged itself in the middle - no kidding!! It's kinda hard to tell here, but you can see the clear outline of a perfectly defogged square in the center:

And this, believe it or not, is inside the Bank of France! It's called the Golden Room, built in the 1700s:

C'est tout!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


That blue and gold medallion there is where our hotel was. And the American Embassy is on the corner of the Place de la Concorde. Gorgeous city! Sigh.

The French still allow smoking INSIDE government buildings. There are ashtrays everywhere. Including in meetings/conference rooms. Everyone. Smokes. That, my friends, is the secret of "Why French women don't get fat" not because they somehow enjoy their food/wine/baguettes/brioches more than we do. They just smoke like chimneys. The deadliest appetite suppressant there is.

It's both really disgusting and really made me want to smoke again!! Something about being in Europe, sitting in a little cafe, drinking wine, discussing something lofty and looking chic with a cigarette perched between your fingers, punctuating deep remarks with a pensive puff ..... Don't get me wrong, I would never ever light up again and I think smoking is the FOULEST. I'm just sayin'.......

I'm back!

I'm back! I survived... barely! I think I slept about 8 hours the entire week, but I had a good time and now I'm thoroughly exhausted. I'm currently installed on the couch eating bon-bons (no kidding) and watching TLC. I did manage to unpack just now and I need to work up the inspiration to go get some groceries so I can eat something other than Mozart Kugeln. I have pictures and I'll post them soon!! Sooooo happy to be home!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stop the Madness!

This week has been crazy! My boss came to me on Wednesday and said, "are you available to go on a trip next week?" Um... "It's to Vienna and Paris." Hell yeah! So I leave on Monday for Vienna! This is my first time traveling internationally for work and I'm a little nervous, but I'm traveling with someone important so we will be staying in the NICEST hotels in the cities and get chauffeured around everywhere! The schedule is also pretty greuling - all day meetings - but I'm going to just hope my energy holds and go for it. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the week scrambling to get everything ready to go on a trip - let me just say that the bureaucracy of the federal government rears its ugly head in no uncertain terms when you are traveling on Uncle Sam's dime! I think there were forms I had to sign just to get to sign other forms!

Speaking of my energy, I had my first appointment with my endocrinologist since my RAI yesterday. Waiting all week for it was so hard, I just wanted the time to come so I could find out what my hormone levels are and get some more medicine!! He is upping my meds, as I suspected. I think that is going to be good and I hope I will feel 100% after a few weeks on a higher dose. My hormone levels are well within the "normal" range, but I still don't feel fantastic, I still get hypo symptoms. Some days I feel really great, but some days are just ick. I know from the Yahoo Thyroid Cancer Support Group that little changes can make a big difference in how someone feels. It's so hard sometimes because I just want to put this all behind me, but I'm constantly reminded in small or larger ways that this is my life now.

That happens a lot when I'm training - it's just not the same as it used to be right now. But I had a revelation that, you know, it's been just two months since I finished up treatment for CANCER. I've been so determined that I wasn't going to let that slow me down, but I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I need to stop dwelling on how things used to be and be realistic about where I am right now. I'm working under different parameters now and my challenges are going to be different than they were before. I can still do the best that I can do, it might just be a different best than before, at least temporarily. I must be moving through the stages of grief! Maybe I'm getting closer to the acceptance stage. But seriously, I need to give myself some time to fully recover. I just had surgery a few months ago for pete's sake, and they removed a VITAL organ, and then I ate poison, and now I have to learn to live with chemicals making up for what my body can no longer do on its own (metabolize... how freaky is that).

And probably, looking back, signing up for a 10 mile race at this time was not the brightest idea. I don't want to be a quitter, so I'm going to run the race anyway, and I don't think I'm doing any major harm (least I hope not) - but I really should probably have given myself at least 3-4 months to recover all the way before I started endurance training. Luckily I've been able to sneak by on only about 10-12 miles a week somehow. There's no way I could be running 30 miles a week like I was doing before the surgery. If I hadn't had that base built up before, I could never be doing this now. No way. I felt like crap when my mileage started to go up a few weeks ago.

Anyway. I ran 9 miles this morning. I really really did not want to, but I made myself. I felt like shit because I woke up with the WORST food hang-over I think I've ever had. I think that's part of this new chemical metabolism I have going on - I feel like utter poo-poo if I eat a lot at once, especially if it's sweets or carb-heavy. My body just doesn't seem to handle the excess anymore. I totally regretted eating so much at dinner last night, but do I feel bad about it? Heck no!! It was my BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION!!! And I had a great time while I was involved with P.F. Chang's and one ginormous piece of cheesecake, plus a chocolate bar afterward. I only regretted it because I woke up with such a terrible headache that persists still as I sit here typing. :(

Obviously I did not want to run, but with the extra carbs, my legs actually felt GREAT and I did not bonk like I did last week. I even ran the hard course!! My time was 1:35:43 - about a 10:30 min mile. Not bad, eh? My HR average was 160 - higher than it's normally been at 155, but to be expected since I ran the more difficult route. It was a strategic choice on which route to run, and I went with the way that is much hillier but has several pit stops with running water, and I availed myself of every one! I've been so parched on the easier route!

So, this week will be a rest week, since I don't think I will get to work out at all while I'm traveling. It will probably do me good!

Oh, and get this madness - y'all are not going to believe this... I work out at a Gold's where the weight room is in the basement. Normally the two sets of doors on either end of the room are left wide open, but lately they started closing them up tight, and they posted a sign that says "By order of the fire marshal, these doors must remain closed at all times when not in use." Finding this confusing, I asked the guy at the desk about it.

Me: Why do the doors have to be shut now?

Guy: In case there's a fire, so they can contain it.

Me: (blink. blink.) Wait. If there's a fire downstairs, won't we want the doors to be wide open so all the people can escape??

Guy: Uh, I don't know, that's just what the fire marshal says...

WTH?? Am I alone in my confusion here or does someone else out there think this is craziness? The only explanation I can come up with is that maybe someone mis-interpreted the meaning of "when not in use" - like maybe it really means when no people are downstairs in the basement, working out.

Every time the doors swing shut behind me now all I can think of is that if there's a fire in there, we will all die in a blazing inferno!!! But the fire? Will be contained.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Big Week Ahead

This is going to be a big week. First, spring will sort of "officially" be sprung upon us with the early arrival of daylight savings time on the 11th. Frankly, I find this ridiculous... they are making DST come early so as to save on energy consumption. I think it's supposed to save 10,000 barrels of oil per day or something like that. I'm no economic genius, but I don't really understand how it's supposed to save us on oil by making the daylight hours shift. Someone please feel free to enlighten me. Even if it does, in fact, somehow save oil (even though there are the same number of hours in the day, and we will all continue to sleep/work/whatever for the same amount of time), it strikes me that this is a band-aid solution to the larger problem of our over-dependence on unsustainable sources of energy (including foreign oil). Instead of trying to actually fix the problem, they fiddle with time! I try to keep the political commentary out of this blog, mainly because I do work for the government and feel it would be inappropriate, but I had to say something about DST!!

This is also the week I get my blood work done to find out where my thyroid hormone levels are. I *know* I'm not on a high enough dose, but I still feel a bit nervous, like maybe the numbers will say that I am or something. There are a whole host of reasons that I think I'm still hypo - but they all boil down to the general feeling that I'm out of whack & my hormones are jacked up. Like having PMS all the freaking time (and that includes the MAJOR bloating and weight gain). I only regret that I agreed to wait a whole 8 weeks before having my first blood draw (as opposed to the normal 6... sometimes I think my endo is wacko... he likes to overdo the waiting thing - like how he wanted me to wait a WEEK before restarting my thyroid hormone after the RAI because it might make it absorb less, even though all the RAI is absorbed after only about 24 hours... sometimes more is not better, it's just more). He wanted me to wait TEN weeks for my first blood draw, and I was like, huh? No.

So, you know, I just keep wondering if I'm ever going to feel like myself again. Between the mood swings and the malaise/depression and the fatigue and the weight gain and the grieving process, I have become pretty withdrawn. I guess it's a coping mechanism and I'm not sure if it's healthy or not to want to isolate myself. Maybe it's what I personally need to deal or maybe I would be better if I would let people in more (I do realize the irony that I'm telling this to the entire internet... I'm mainly talking about real human interaction).

Finally, it will be my birthday. I'm going to turn 27, which puts me solidly in the late-twenties crowd. I can't believe it. I always thought by this age, I'd have it all together, but I still feel like I haven't arrived yet, if that makes sense. Like I'm still waiting for my "real life" to begin... it's hard to articulate. Like you know when you were in college and you knew it wasn't the real thing, it was temporary - a stepping stone to your "real" life? I can't understand why I feel this way, but I think it has to do with feeling like I'm not totally committed to anything in my current circumstances. Sure, I love my job, but the other areas of my life seem to fall short of ideal. I look back on times when other areas of my life (living situation, social life, city) were great, but my job was detestable. I am SO glad to be doing what I'm doing now instead of still floundering around professionally. But is it always going to be a trade-off? Will there ever be a time when I feel like everything in my life is great? When am I going to feel at home in my life?

I'm so happy the weather is finally looking up. I heard on the news that we may have a cooler than average spring/summer and that would be just perfectly fine in my book. I get really bothered by extreme temperatures. I took advantage of the beautiful sunny day and ran yesterday. When I got back, I mapped my run on Gmaps (love it!) and it turns out that last week I actually ran almost 7 miles and yesterday I did 8!! I've been running on a new, easier route than I used to and I was estimating the mileage. That gives me confidence to do the race and I think I'll definitely run it even though I won't be setting any personal records. Yesterday's average pace was just above a 10 minute mile - I probably started off closer to a 9 minute pace and by the end was doing 11 min/mile. Again, I was super thirsty! Wonder if that's something to do with the thyroid thing? The groundwater is still frozen so none of the fountains work. I also noticed that I smell a really strong chemical odor after I sweat a lot. I guess this is because of the medication?

I was completely and totally wiped after that. My body just doesn't know how to recover like it used to with insufficient thyroid function. It wasn't a bad run overall. I felt great for the first 4 miles or so. The last few were really hard. By the end, everything felt like mush and I had to focus on swinging my arms to keep my legs moving! I was a bit surprised that I was able to complete the distance (even though I thought I was running a mile less!) because that brings my weekly total to 10 miles. And last week I only ran 9 total. Huh. I'm not going to argue, though! If I'm going to be able to run 10 miles on just a long run once a week and two 20 minute HIIT cross-training sessions in between, that will be just fine thank-you-very-much!! I was definitely feeling over-trained when I was running more weekly mileage a few weeks ago. It was too much. I hope there are cherry blossoms on race day!

My workouts went like this:

Sat - 7 mile run
Sun - Lift Legs
Mon - 20 min HIIT on the stepper, plus 10 min easy jog
Tues - Upper body weights
Wed - 20 min HIIT on the stepper, 10 min easy jog
Thurs - total body weights
Friday- REST!
Sat - 8 mile run

I really like this split but I'm debating switching things up this week since my legs are pretty sore... I think I might switch legs and upper body weights out. Thursday's workout was really fun - it went like this (all supersets, all 3x12):

Snatch (Wide)-grip deadlift - 55# bar
T push-up - bodyweight

Bulgarian Split squat
with overhead press (12 on each leg, 24 shoulder presses!) - 8# db's
Assisted chin up - # 11 on the machine

Straight-leg deadlift with bent over row - 55# bar
Swiss ball crunch - bodyweight

My arms were trashed after that! I like doing the compound upper/lower supersets, they make you feel like you're really working hard!! I have to credit Alwyn Cosgrove with this workout!