Monday, May 10, 2021

In Between and The End 06/6/17

 Hello out there! Long time since I've written...

Lately, the lion's share of my days have been spent in the garden. My public life centers around my kids, my coaching and my training.  But my heart is divided. Okay, it's not divided on my family... :) Ha! They are still number one. But training and racing no longer rank as my top obsessions outside of my family.  Training has fallen to a distance second and racing, once my number one obsession, doesn't even make the list.

How did this happen?

Before I discuss THAT, here are some pictures from my garden:

I will label these pictures "Small Successes"--.
I've had a lot of fails this spring, but some things have gone well!  My garden is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, so no one see it. This is tragic, in my opinion, so I am going to victimize you (my invisible reader--there must be at least one of you out there? maybe not) with pictures.

Looking onto the vegetable garden. Not much up yet except the peas.

 Lupine and Bearded Iris by our little pond

 A tulip called "Parrot"

 Earlier this spring, main perennial bed

 Entryway garden

 The dogwood in bloom (pink, top) and Chica photobombing my pictures, as usual.

 Pansy grown from seed.

A messy bed by a dogwood--but I love the cheerful Johnny Jump-Ups.

 Purple iris and peony

Yellow flag by the pond.

 A new bed in the front of the  house

 Beets coming up in the vegetable garden


 More peas

 Tomatoes look a little scraggly right now, but they will get stronger

 Green pole beans just sprouting

Catmint and foxglove by the trampoline
 New stones for a path (and a downed chair by the trampoline. Very classy.) :)

Okay... back to writing. Thanks for indulging my need to post pictures of my work.

Here's what's going on with training and racing:

I went to Tucson with Andy about in early March. We had fun, rode bikes. On a trail run I was attacked by a vicious jumping cholla. (That's a kind of cactus.) I brushed against it, and it hurled little cactus balls at me that lodged in my bare skin up and down my legs and arms! Actually, it was kind of horrible.

In April I ran the Boston Marathon. I hadn't trained well for it. I've had problems with anemia this winter, and also a big problem with my right knee, which is arthritic. I arrived at the starting line unsure and underprepared and with the hope of simply re-qualifying for next year. This is not to say I planned to sandbag. I never plan to sandbag. It's not in my nature.

Anyway. It was a warm day. I didn't feel good right from the start. Still, I gutted it out right until the end. I've years of practice gutting races out. That is basically what Ironman is--one big gutting it out session. So I got through the race. I didn't smile until I finished, though. It was no "Chrissie smiles" type of race for me.

And I've thought about that a lot.
I didn't smile until the end.

I enjoyed hanging with my running buddies before the race.
I enjoyed getting beers with Andy and my running buddies after the race.
But I did not enjoy the race itself.

And that fact supplies sad, true, real information for me.
Things have shifted. The hunger is no longer hunger. I've proved myself so many times now that there is nothing left I care to prove.

I started training and racing triathlon in 2007. I had such a great time those first few years. I was deeply entrenched in the tri community in New England and I reached my tentacles all over the world with my blog. I couldn't get enough! Over the years many of the people I trained with in triathlon have left the scene and moved onto other things. Ironman racing seems to be like that: most people become obsessed for a few years, but then become tired. Ironman training and racing requires all of you.  When you are mired in it--so deeply focused on it that nothing exists outside of it--it's hard to imagine ever wanting to give it up. But eventually, most people do. Even greats like age grouper Sonja Wieck (just read her retirement post), or Bree Wee (doing ultra running now), or Chrissy Wellington (cutest little daughter!) eventually move on.  I still know some people who train and race and still love it. But most of the people I know have shifted--some completely out of sport--some to a different sport.

Anyway, it's been ten years, and I understand no that I no longer want to give all of me over to triathlon. All this spring this thought made me feel profoundly sad. But I think I'm feeling okay about it now. Luckily I still really do love training. I just don't want to spend every waking moment doing it. The dots on my Strava account have become smaller and smaller this spring, but I still have a dot each day! I had a great Ironman at Maryland last fall, and I think that's all I had left on the IM racing front.  I signed up to race Kona this year, but I'm not going to compete. It may be that my love for training that much and racing that distance will come back in time. Or not. I just don't know. I am hoping to travel with my family to Hawaii in December instead. I still really really want to hang out with the sea turtles.

I've been reading the blog of man named Brian. He writes about hybridizing daylilies from his farm near London, Kentucky.  I'm not positive, but I believe Brian is about my age. I don't know anything about him other than that, and the fact that he grows and hybridizes daylilies and raises and studies rare chickens. He's either private about his personal life, or, more likely, he doesn't see the point in wasting blog space on it. He wants to reach people like me--people interested in hybridizing daylilies, and he believes we are out there. 

And... I am out there. But where are the other people he's writing for?  I don't know where or how to look for them. I'm not sure they care about being found. Or, maybe, they all know each other and have big daylily parties. Probably the latter.

I have over 400 cultivars of daylily in my garden. I made a few crosses last year and this summer I plan to make many, many more. I love hybridizing the way I loved IM training. Anyway... I need to find these people like Brian.  I need to take a trip to Kentucky or Florida so I can talk shop. It's harder to find people who hybridize daylilies than it is to find triathletes. Imagine that!

So, my blog, once funny and alive and the IronMatron, is now .... Ultra Gardening. So you might not want to read it anymore. That's okay. No one has to read it. Like Brian, I might just keep writing anyway! But if you are reading, I thank you for stopping by.

Let me ask you this: Do you know anyone other than me who collects and hybridizes daylilies? Probably not. But if you do, let me know. 

Uterine Alzheimer's is a Real Thing 01/27/17

 For the last few years I've only been writing after major races. Those posts are easy to write: I came, I experienced, I conquered. I am the IronMatron. Hear me roar!


Lately there hasn't been a lot of roaring. Lots of resting. Not so much roaring.

You know how when you think about things like placing in your age group or qualifying for Boston or for Kona or whatever... you think... Man, I am going to just kick ass when I get to the ______ age group. Those times are so slow! I just have to outlast everyone!

But then you get to said age group and you think... Well, hello younger age groups! You think you're so awesome right now? Try to compete with Uterine Alzheimer's (or whatever aging ailment you have started to encounter)! That's right! You try that, you stinking young people! 

You might wonder: Uterine Alzheimer's? Never heard of it! That would be because I coined that term. It should be a true medical term, though. Those people who are on that downhill skid into menopause, or those who have already arrived there, will know what I'm talking about.  What happened, at least in my case, is that my uterus has begun to suffer from dementia. Or maybe it's my hormones? or both. For the last few months my uterus has woken each day and said, Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining! and the next day... Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining.  and the next day... Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining. Like Groundhog Day. My uterus just can't move beyond the no baby thing. I talk to it: Right! There's no baby! and now.... you start the cycle all over again! Remember? Remember little uterus? But no matter how much I try to reason with it, it still just says, Humph! No baby... Let's shed this lining! It befuddles me that there is anymore lining to shed... but apparently, there is a limitless amount. So, in short, I've been bleeding a lot. For many moons. For many, many, many moons. My uterus can't remember how it's supposed to respond after the realization that there is no baby.  It's stuck.

This is not uncommon I'm told.  My body made three babies and now my uterus is tired and ready for retirement. Unfortunately, it's not going gently into this good night. It's lost its uterine mind.
For you men reading this, you lucky f-ckers.
Excuse my language. I'm sure you have other ailments that befuddle you as you age--like hair loss. or or low T, or a big Joe. Maybe those problems are worse than Uterine Alzheimer's. I don't know.

I went to the doctor about a month ago because I just wasn't feeling myself. I was tired. I couldn't run longer than a few miles without stopping to walk. I thought it might be Lyme Disease, or a thyroid problem. I didn't connect the dots. My blood work came back and drum rolllllll, it was that I was iron deficient.  Not just a little bit deficient. Like a lot deficient. I've actually always had Ferritin numbers around 9 or 10--so very low. But low iron itself isn't a true problem until it starts to affect your RBC count. In my case, the low iron become super super low, and my RBC count dropped into the anemic range.

My PC doctor told me to start taking iron tablets.
But, I told her, you told me that like 500 years ago! I already take three a day. THREE.

So she sent me to a hematologist. And to my gynecologist. And now I'm on the road to be all fixed up! Hopefully. (Except I'm still on that road to the BIG M, of course.)

On Monday and Friday next week I'm getting iron infusions. This isn't the same as blood transfusions. I'm receiving no blood. I asked if I could maybe get a transfusion--maybe get some really good, RBC rich blood with a little EPO in it? That would be sweet! But they said no. Jerks. My blood has to make its very own red blood cells, and it will do that, supposedly, if fed Ferumoxytol intravenously.

My next post, I hope, will be on how I am now Super Iron Matron with Super Iron-Filled Blood. I'll keep you posted.
If you have experienced any of this, I'd love to hear from you. It's been an interesting experience. I've learned that one can swim and bike using not so much O2, but that running is very, very hard when you are anemic. It's like running at altitude--or trying to run through a huge bonk.

I'm so privileged. I'm able to be concerned with whether or not I have enough iron in my blood to train for big endurance events that mean nothing and make no difference in this frightening, unstable, confusing time in our country. 
I don't want to talk politics. So that's all I will say about that. I'm so blessed in my privilege.

Big Hugs to all of you out there. I just made a group on Strava for those training for the IMWC, so if you are doing so, will you join it? If you are on Strava, but not training for the IMWC, will you join it anyway? :)