Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm backkkkkkkkk....................

I had quite a week+ with my family in sunny Orlando. We visited the Animal Kingdom on Sunday, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park on Monday, Universal Studios on Tuesday, Epcot on Wednesday,  the Magic Kingdom on Thursday, and Typhoon Lagoon again on Friday. My favorite parks were Epcot and Typhoon Lagoon. They were less crowded and at the Lagoon I was able to lie in the sun for a bit and read. Reading while sitting the that is MY idea of the ideal vacation activity.

Lara (our youngest) was sick was a really super bad stomach virus on our first Saturday, Sunday, and Monday--which was really and truly a bummer. On Monday she was so sick that she opted to stay at the condo with my mom (my parents were with us). My mom is basically a goddess for staying home with her. (Thanks Mom!) My mom also bought her little treats like a stuffed Yedi from Animal Kingdom and a stuffed Crookshanks from Harry Potter World to make her feel better. (She was pretty upset when she puked on the Yedi, though...) At any rate, both my mom and Lara were troopers throughout the whole thing. Lara kept a fairly good attitude even after barfing on the plane, in the car, at Denny's, at the Animal Kingdom, and numerous times into her blankie as she sat comatose on the coach in the condo. She willingly downed the Pedialyte, too, which is saying something b/c that stuff in nasty.

I know Pedialyte is nasty b/c I used it as fueling for a run later in the week. It's like grape KoolAid--only somehow worse.  Blek. But I had nothing, and I needed SOMETHING for my longish run. The ingredients on the Pedialyte container looked very similar to the ones on the PowerBar Endurance container. So there you go. Speaking of running, my runs in Orlando were awesssssommmmeeeeee. This is for three reasons: one, it is flat there. That was dreamy. Two, it is warm there. I ran in a tank and shorts every day. That was bliss. And three, I was unable to bike or swim in Orlando, so it was ALL about the run. It made me realize how much I love to run every single day... and how much MORE I love running than the other two disciplines. But I also know that my body doesn't do exceedingly well when I keep running every day indefinitely. It starts to rebel by way of injury. And I like racing triathlon better than road racing. The landscape of central Florida is pretty ugly, It think, but it sure is great to run there at this time of year. As I write it is snowing here. I have a run planned for later today. Can't wait to deal with the slush. Sigh.

This is Lara being a trooper on our first night there, at the Magic Kingdom. She felt like ass.
We had perfect weather the whole trip. How lucky is that? Somewhat unlucky were the unbelievable crowds. I think going in January or May might make the trip more enjoyable in terms of lines and crowds. The worst crowds were at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday night and at Harry Potter World in Universal.
Check out the crowds in this snapshot as we entered Harry Potter World:

We waited 90 minutes  to get on the Harry Potter Hogwarts ride. It was a great ride... I admit. But it wasn't worth 90 minutes! Andy captured our sentiments with a video. This was shot 70 minutes into our 90 minute wait.

Looks fun, huh?
We DID have fun though... on rides like One Fish Two Fish:

And the roller coasters were pretty cool at Universal. Jordan is a roller coaster junkie and she forced me to go on the Dragon roller coaster in Harry Potter World. That was a doozy. I was messed up for the rest of the day. She wasn't, of course, and went on the Hulk, by herself I will add, because she was so determined to ride every scary coaster she could find.

Luckily for us, Lara felt much better by Tuesday. She was psyched for Universal:

I liked Epcot best, except for the simulation rides, which made me want to barf. Here are my parents with Jordan and Noah:

 And here are the kids in front of a Lady and the Tramp topiary. It would be cool to be a gardener at Disney. (Okay, I might be the only one to think that...)
By the end of the day at Epcot we were spent, and had dinner in Mexico. At this point we were all a little punchy:

The Magic Kingdom is not nearly as great as I remembered it (as a kid), but my kids did love it. The best ride is Space Mountain, by far. Here we entering the park. 

Typhoon Lagoon was awesome, as I previously mentioned. After this picture was shot Andy took the kids to the slides and I took a reading break on a beach chair.

This is Lara on one of the kiddie slides. She was psyched:

This is the wave pool at Typhoon which we all thought was pretty darn cool:

The pool at our condo was also pretty sweet.
Check out that slide!

So there you have it. Our Disney vacation in pictures and videos.

And now back to our previously scheduled program.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The More I Know the Less I Know and Other Thoughts

The heat has stopped working in this house.
A tech from the oil company is on his way, but in the mean time I can barely focus I am so cold. I'm sure there is simply a reset button on the furnace or something, and I am too dense to know where to find it.

Despite that my fingers are icy, I will try to write anyway. I should be getting on the bike, but I fear stripping to my shorts and top when it is so frigid in this house, and also I fear appearing half naked at the door and dripping with sweat when the tech person shows up. I have never come in contact with a female heating technician. Why is that?

In real time:
He arrived. The furnace has not been cleaned since 2007 and the boiler is all "clogged up". Oops.
I think it is in my wifely duties to schedule those cleanings? Oh dear...

Onward. I have been mired in "think" land for the last few weeks. I lack a sense of humor and I am generally a drudge to be around when I get especially thinky. I am repeatedly told by those close to me that I over-think anyway.
Recently even I see it. Sigh.
Here is what I have bee thinking about:
  •  Evolution and whether free will is a myth
  •  How our childhoods shape us in so many ways--expected and unexpected. I believe this, and yet I am also so taken with the idea that we are genetically predisposed to behave in certain ways (see bullet one)--that our being shaped is also a myth and we are simply a product of our genes. 
  • How I take intellectual short-cuts--always. How I can't help but take short-cuts, and I wonder if this is an attentional problem? For example, I rarely finish non-fiction texts. I begin something, became enamored by it, I gather the central premise of the book, and then I tire of it. I do not force myself to read and understand beyond the big picture, and so I never really understand things in depth. This makes me an excellent generalist, but not much of an expert on anything. 
  • How my running has been getting better, and why is that? What am I doing differently  now? There are two things, I think: I am running more frequently (although my runs are usually not longer than 45 minutes) and also I have been adding bursts to every run. The bursts are only about 20 seconds each, and only a few in each run. Could they really be making such a difference? Is this purely a muscle memory thing? By running more frequently and by adding frequent bursts of speed my body rarely forgets what it is to run quickly ? Why does that translate into faster speed overall, though? Or is it simply that I have shed a couple pounds? (honestly, not more than 2.) 
  • I have an FTP test scheduled for Wednesday, and I am uneasy about it. I have been hitting the required watts for the intervals I have been assigned. They are not easy, but not so hard. I can manage. But I fear the 20 minute all out test. What if I can't muster the umph to push as hard as I can? What if I don't push as hard as last time and my watts are lower and it appears I am going backward?
On Friday we leave for Orlando.
We've never taken the family to Disney. I am excited.
If you have been with children between the ages of 5 and 9, and you have advice for me, I'm game.

I am quite sure I will snap out of think-ville and become vivacious and full of vim and humor soon. At least I hope so. Of course, to my credit, it is hard to be full of vim and humor when it is 52 degrees in your  house and dropping.

Happy Training!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mean People Suck

I just got back from a run in which a woman in a big ass SUV almost took me out. I was running across an intersection of a major road and a small neighborhood street. She came crashing down the neighborhood street--like out of nowhere--and as she approached (going FAST) her head was turned to look for oncoming cars so she could dart out onto the main street if at all possible. No need to stop at a stop sign if there are no cars, coming, right?
She saw me at the last second and skidded to stop. I was like a deer in headlights.. I froze...I think I may have hopped forward. I don't know. I knew she was going to hit me.

She didn't.
Instead she gave me the dirtiest look imaginable. My heart was racing. I had just escaped being flattened by an SUV.
and then I was mad.
I flipped her off and shouted Fuck You! at the top of my lungs.

That is all this woman needed. She rolled down her window and started screaming at me.
It's not worth repeating what she said. I'm not sure it was even very intelligible. Lots of swearing.

I really don't think this type of thing happens as much in other parts of the country. Am I wrong? Boston suburbanites can be so freaking MEAN and aggressive when they drive. It's like everyone here is one step away from losing their minds because they are so stressed out. It's the family men and women in their super large and fancy-schmancy family cars who are the worst. More often than not a beater of a car or a rusty pick-up will slow and wave me on when they see me running. It seems the nice and bigger the car is, the more likely it is that an asshole is driving it.

All I know is that it makes me long to move out of here. People in Maine, where I am from, can be mean, of course. But it is so rare that this type of thing happens there.... or at least it has rarely (actually never) happened to me when running there. Here I have had people cut me off, run me off the road, people come close to hitting me with their cars who then lash out at me as if it was my fault they nearly took me out. I've even had a man drive up to me, seemingly to ask for directions, who rolled down his window and asked if I would get in his car and suck him off. And yes, he was in a nice, big SUV type car--and was a professional/father type looking man.

I've lived in Boston for nearly all of my adult life. But I will never consider myself a Bostonian. And today I just want to go home.
In workout news:
My running is going quite well right now. I feel stronger and faster than I have in a really, really long time. This is not to say I am running fast... I am just running faster. My running was in the shitter for so long; it feels good to be running somewhat normally again.

My swim and bike workouts are getting done, although without much feeling or analysis on my part. I look at what is assigned and I do it. My bike assignments are straight forward and uncomplicated, and I like this. Usually there is a small stretch of time in which I must work very hard (just at or below FTP). I like these little stretches. They make me work, but they don't leave me totally shattered because they never add up to more than like a 1/2 hour of total hard work time. I'm sure this will change eventually, but for now it is really nice.

When doing a long interval just below FTP the other day, I was listening to a cover by Mary Blige of U2's song "One." I love the song anyway, but this cover of it I find just chillingly awesome.  I blasted it as I rode hard, and I sang at the top of my lungs closing my eyes and using my thumb as a microphone. Even my dogs got into it:--barking and crooning with me. The way the song builds is just incredible... orgasmic, even.

That was a high point of my workout week-- no doubt.

And now I'm off to walk my dogs in the freezing cold and icy woods.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Just get me through winter, God. Just get me through.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Snow Go Away

and don't come back another day! Just stop! No more! I surrender!

I admit that snow is prettier than frozen dirt. But this snow is cramping my ... running. It is NOT a good winter to train for Boston, that is for sure. Most people simply resort to the treadmill when snow and ice threaten the possibility of a scheduled run. Not me. Why?

Because I don't have access to a treadmill.

How is this possible? Me... a person who relies so heavily on running to keep me sane has no way to run unless she has childcare and can go outside. I used to belong to the YMCA so that I could have BOTH childcare and a treadmill. But I found I wasn't using the membership much, and I didn't like spending money on something I didn't use. I will go outside to run barring the most extreme circumstances.  This was my reasoning when I canceled my membership last fall. I am a bad ass. I run in all weather. Me strong like bull and no need treadmill.

Alas...little did I know that, in fact, when the going gets tough I can only stand so much. I have been beeped at, covered in slush showers repeatedly, I have risked my life running around corners with snow banks so high there is no way I will be seen. I have run on ice, I have run on snow, I have run during snowstorms...
But this week. This week I caved.

On Tuesday there was a steady snow and when I started my run there was only a thin line of black pavement clear on the road. I wanted that pavement. There was no sidewalk, no curb, no break down lane--not even two tracks in the road for car wheels. Just one thin sliver, dead center in the middle of the road. But it wasn't mine.

I ran on the side of the road, slipping and sliding. And I tried to stay clear of cars... but they couldn't (or wouldn't) go around me. They would just stay behind me, going about 1 mph. They beeped. I kept running. They beeped. I wanted to cry.

And I went home.

The next day the roads were covered in ice. The snow had changed to freezing rain. Everything was a thick sheet of slick. School was called off. Everything was called off. I put on my running shoes, and walked outside. Then I slipped in the driveway and fell straight onto my ass.

And then I went back inside. Defeat.

Finally yesterday I made it outside. Sure, I got dirty looks. Sure, I got totally slathered in icy slush sprayed from cars. Sure, my pace was not rocking fast as I tried to navigate cars and snow, ice and slush. But I did it. I will survive this winter. I will.

Either that or I will move south. One or the other.