Sunday, March 28, 2010

T is for Terminator

After a long wait, my Insanity Workout DVDs arrived yesterday.  I was so excited that I almost popped one in immediately.  If we wouldn't have had a family dinner planned, there would have been no stopping me.

I like workout videos - really tough ones.  In a perfect world, I'd have time to go to the gym every day.  In the real world, I have enough time to workout but I don't have that extra hour that a gym workout requires. (Pack the gym bag, driving there after work, locker room...)  The DVD workout solves the problem. 

Since I like the workouts to be tough, I've been cautiously looking forward to Insanity.  I don't always like a new instructor and I've never done any of Shaun T's workouts. The workout is billed as lots of plyo, lots of drills, lots and lots of sweat.  In the past, I've conquered P90X and 10 weeks of Chalean. (Yeah, I trimmed off 2 weeks off Chalean, sue me.)  If you've done P90X, then you probably felt like the instructor Tony Horton was your buddy.  If you met him in an airport, you'd buy him a drink. You're buds, you and Tony.

Shaun T is not your friend.  If you met Shaun T in an airport, he'd command you pull the airplane to your destination.  When you got there, he'd give you 30 seconds to get a sip of water and then want you to do jump squats.  Shaun T is only happy when a sweat puddle forms on the floor.  Shaun T wants you to do burpees until your dead.

Of course, this makes me love Shaun T with my rapidly beating heart.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Here is a photo of my two nieces.  The "Little Sister" is the one who had open heart surgery just a few days after she was born.  We are so blessed that she had excellent doctors and nurses at a world class children's cardiac care facility. She's also got an older sister who adores her.

Bonus photo: Here's a photo of all of my little nieces and nephews.  This one was taken a few months ago.

It's so wonderful how close the kids are.  So many kids today grow up without an extended family.  These kids have cousins, aunts and grandparents who they see almost every day.  These are some lucky, healthy, beautiful kids.

Friday, March 26, 2010

March Marched On Without Me

March 2010 will always be known as that month I had a cold.

This was the single yuckiest cold I've ever had.  It wandered around my body on some sort of grand tour of malaise.  First, it was a sore throat, then a chest cold, then a sinus infection, then an ear ache, then a chest cold again, then swollen glands, then back to the ears.  That cold was everything but a UTI and athlete's foot.  Plus, I was tired all the time.  Run?  I needed a nap after a quick walk.

So yeah, the cold sucked but it wasn't worth a doctor visit since I was 95% sure it was a virus.  If it's a virus and it's past the first 36 hours, there's nothing the doctor can give you but sympathy.  Antibiotics won't work and I was past the window of efficacy of an antiviral medication.  I'm not someone who begs for antibiotics when they'll do no good. 

Finally, the cold continued it's grand tour and manifested as pink eye.  PINK EYE. That got me to the doctor, because pink eye is some ugly, ouchy and contagious stuff.  The doctor said, "Yup, viral, but take the antibiotic eye drops just in case." 

The antibiotics drops wiped out the pink eye is 2 doses.  I'm not a doctor, but antibiotics work on bacteria.  If the drops work, then this isn't viral.  This is one of those times it's awesome to live so close to the Mexican border.  Whenever I go over to Mexico, I pick up a stockpile of meds - Retin-A, antibiotics.  If you took a peak in the average San Diegian's medicine chest it would look like a farmacia.

I dug into my handy stockpile of Mexican antibiotics and in two days I was healed completely.  Whee!  I'm so happy to be healthy again.  I can't wait to run this weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dallas - The Slipper Doesn't Fit

The trip to Dallas was wonderful in many ways.  I got to see lots of old friends.  Usually, I show up and I'm with 10 or 15 people for dinner each night.  That's fun and awesome, but even for an extrovert like me it's overwhelming. It also means that I don't get to really talk with people.  This trip, I met up with friends in small groups which meant I got to hear about their lives.  I also didn't guilt myself into going to lunch with people that I knew well, but are ultimately toxic to me.

Dallas was my home for 10 years and I was happy there.  I never wanted to leave.  Being back there absolutely confirmed that I made the right decision to move to the West Coast.  I'm at home with the laid back people in San Diego, the Pacific ocean, and the unrelentingly perfect weather.  I miss my friends from Dallas, but the city doesn't feel like home any longer.  I have the same feeling when I visit my family on the East Coast - love the people dearly and everything is familiar.  It's just not where I'm supposed to be.

Another good thing is that I was basically on plan with eating for the entire trip.  This trip could have been the perfect storm of bad food choices - lots of restaurant meals, "souvenir foods" and post-race calorie-fest entitlement.  I was basically able to stick to the plan.  Go me!

Got home to San Diego to find poor Steve sick with whatever croupy mess I had last week.  Poor guy, he hasn't even started the coughing phase yet.  He might have been able to skip this cold, but his race this weekend really beat down his immune system. (Not-so-Fun fact: endurance activities put you at higher risk for respiratory infections.) The one thing I didn't like about the trip was that I missed Steve's race.  Last night,  I put all of his events on my race calendar. Why didn't that occur to me sooner?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Race Notes: Rock N Roll Dallas Half Marathon

Today was the change to daylight savings time which added just a bit of worry to getting to the start on time.  I'm staying at the Hyatt.  Yesterday, there was a note on the bed that said the room had a smart clock which would update automatically for daylight savings.  Dear Guest, Don't touch the clock.  The note also said that the clock wasn't reliable.  If you had to be somewhere on time you should set a wake-up call.  So the clock is smart, but lazy.  Or maybe the clock just doesn't like you.  Either way, don't trust that smarty-pants clock.  (BTW, it didn't work, but my cell phone alarm did the job flawlessly.)

Steve isn't with me this trip since he's a road coach on the TNT cycle team.  His team had their event, the Solvang Century, yesterday.  (Go TEAM!  You guys rocked it!)  Normally, I'd never schedule an event during his race weekend.  I screwed up the dates and accidentally double booked us.  On most race mornings, I dress in the dark so Steve can snooze.  This morning, I had the lights on and actually looked at myself in the mirror.  I've lost a lot of weight recently - certainly a few pants sizes.   When I ran in New Orleans, I had to retie the drawstring on my running pants because they were sort of falling down.  I didn't want to buy race clothes right before the race since I wouldn't have time for a long test-run.  This morning I looked in the mirror and these pants are ridiculously huge.  Why didn't anyone tell me I was looking like MC Hammer? 

The race itself was good.  I lived in Dallas for a decade and it was nice to see the city.  The course showed some of the nicer spots - downtown, the new money mansions in Turtle Creek and the old money mansions on Swiss Avenue, finally into Fair Park to the finish line at the Cotton Bowl.  The finish line was annoying in that you couldn't see it until mile 13.05.  I hate a hidden finish line.  I want to see it because it gives me a little boost for that last half mile.  Also since we ended at Fair Park, I was really hungry for a Fletcher's corn dog.

I'm still a tad sick, but luckily I didn't have a coughing fit for the entire race.  I was congested, but I can deal with that.  A coughing fit would have been a real problem mid-race.  I got across the finish line and immediately started on a coughing spasm that lasted for several minutes.  Of course, this happened directly in front of the medical tent.  No Doctor, I'm not having an asthma attack; I'm just clearing out 13.1 miles of phlegm.

All in all a good race - LISA, how did you do?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Time for Our Annual Performance Review

I got sick again. Luckily I'm on the mend in time to run in Dallas, but for the last few days my chest has been a raspy cavern of sticky phlegm. These repeated bouts of colds annoy me greatly, because I’ve always been a wonderfully healthy person.  Immune system, why hast thou forsaken me?

At work, I’ve spent the last few weeks writing and delivering performance reviews. It’s a necessary part of my job, but after awhile you start writing everything as though it was going to be reviewed by HR. If I had to write a review for my immune system, this would be it.

Immune System, while you’ve continued to stave off big diseases, your attention to day-to-day details has been poor.

This year, you’ve allowed a lot of germs to sneak past your defenses. There was a sinus infection in September, a cold for New Years Eve and the current illness. Also, the duration of illnesses is unacceptable. In the past you were motivated to knock out an problems in a day or two. Now things linger for days and weeks despite the support of antibiotics, Mucinex and hours of rest on the couch reading trashy novels. As an example, the latest cold has lingered long enough for me to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Of course, any performance improvement discussion should include behavior changes for both you and me. I commit to continuing to provide support in the form of annual flu shots, fastidious hand washing and sound nutrition. I’ll further commit to getting a reasonable number of hours of sleep and trying to reduce my stress level.

Immune system, you need to step up your game. In prior years, you were a stellar performer; therefore, I know the high level of quality that you’re capable of delivering. Lets target having the remainder of 2010 be free of flu, infection and colds.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Race Notes: Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon

I knew this was going to be an awesome race as soon as hit play on my Ipod.  When I crossed the starting line on Tchoupitoulas Street, the first song on the shuffle was perfect for the day.  Out of thousands of songs in my running mix, the Ipod picked, Dr. John's Back to New Orleans.  That had to be a good omen.

I loved this race.  Probably the most consistently beautiful course I've ever run.  It's everything good you hear about New Orleans - the Mississippi, the Garden District, creepy Lafayette Cemetary,  the French Quarter and the glorious homes up Esplanade Avenue.  Every street was lovely and the people were wonderful.  (It was the first time I had someone smoking a cigarette hand me a cup of water at an aid station.)

I ran slowly, but comfortably for the entire race.  I was a bit worried since my training has really suffered since January.  Between my swollen ankle and moving houses, I lost a lot of training time.  The weight loss more than made up for the reduced training time.  It's a lot easier to run if you drop 15% of your tonnage.

One more thing I have to cheer - the pre-race potty situation.  If you've ever raced you know the worst thing is that there are never enough port-o-lets at the starting line.  A marathon start is 20,000 over-hydrated people showing up at one time; there are always huge lines to get to a port-o-lets.  I've stood in bladder-busting lines that were 20-30 people deep. This race had the best bathroom innovation ever.  Each starting corral had 5 port-o-lets inside the corral itself.  No need to leave your corral to stand in long bathroom lines and hope you can make it back in time to cross the start line.  Brilliant.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Things We Loved About New Orleans

  • The residential architecture. As much as I love Southern California’s craftsman cottages and casitas, my eye craves older homes of the East Coast. I love New Orleans homes – the shotgun houses, Creole houses, grand double gallery mansions. I could spend hours on the streetcar or walking in the Garden District just looking at the houses.
  • All the beads that decorated fences and trees. Since it was so soon after Mardi Gras there was beads clinging all along the parade routes. Laissez les bon temps rouler.
  • Our really sweet B&B iin the garden district, the McKendrick-Breaux House.  If you ever do this race, then you should stay with Brett and Rachel at the McKendrick-Breaux. They're wonderful people and they share their grand old home with visitors.  Bonus - the inn was 4 blocks from the start  (The photo is of their two ambassador-kitties resting on the chairs in the inn's courtyard.)
  • Dinner at the Upperline Restaurant. Steve and I agreed that we’d try to eat healthy this trip, but we’d have one luxurious dinner. I had the 7 course menu and it was fantastic - turtle soup, duck etouffĂ©e, fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade . In truth, for most of this trip we struggled a bit finding restaurants. We’d decide we were hungry and suddenly every restaurant in the city would evaporate and we couldn’t find a spot to eat. A city full of fantastic restaurants and we were starving. That would be amusing except I’m ornery when I’m hungry. The only person who meaner than I am when I’m hungry is Steve when he’s hungry. This is why I always have a nutrition bar in my purse. Eventually, I’m going to be forced to stuff it into his mouth or mine.  
  • Sleeping late. We’ve been overly stressed for weeks and it was awesome to go to bed and not set the alarm. It was a thrill to wake up and look at the clock to see it was already 9 AM. Sure, we picked up 2 hours on the time zones and it was really 7am, but it was still a luxury to sleep late.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Watch Out for the Gator Baby

A funny little nugget from the New Orleans trip.

On Friday, Steve and I were at the art museum and stopped at the museum cafe for lunch.  Since it was a Lent Friday, we were looking for seafood options. It was a very small menu and Alligator Sausage & Seafood Gumbo looked good.  Hey, is gator seafood or meat?

Steve posted the question on his facebook page and sparked some debate.  Gator is cold blooded, not a mammal, but it has lungs. Also, it seems that sausage is meaty. Can Alligator be on the allowable list?  Since my niece was in the middle of her heart surgery, I wasn't in the mood for Flexi-Lent.  Finally, we got it confirmed that gator is okay.

And delicious.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Who Dat? (New Orleans Style)

Let's take care of important matters first. Who dat healthy baby? 
I'm incredibly happy to tell you that the baby is doing great.  We are blessed that many wonderful things happened in a difficult situation.  Thankfully, we she was born in close proximity to a world class neonatal cardiac hospital.  She's still in the hospital, but she's doing great.  Thanks for the comments, emails, kind thoughts and prayers.
On to the trivial. Who dat half marathon finisher? 
Me.  And I had my most fun run in ages. More on that later.