Tuesday, January 31, 2012

[insert crank joke here]

I got the call yesterday that my fabulous new crank had arrived, so I dropped everything and headed out to Bonzai.  Bike components are so beautiful.  
Apparently replacing a crank isn't a 5-minute job, so I had plenty of time to kill.
But pretty soon, I was instructed to stop harassing the staff go eat dinner and drink beer.  Which I did.  By the time I had giggled my way back to the shop, it was ready to go.
Isn't it beautiful?
These somehow jumped in the car and came home with me as well.  I've only been lusting after them for two months now.  Please ignore the permanent compression-sock-imprints.
As an added bonus, the weather here in DC is ridiculous today, so I get to take my fabulous new crank out for a spin before the sun goes down.  How are you enjoying our mild winter that is certain to guarantee a horrendous summer?

Monday, January 30, 2012

the newwwwwtons

I spent a lot of time back in the fall searching for the perfect pair of pink shoes.  As my gait was changing, so were my shoe choices.  The Adrenalines went in the trash forever, and at the MCM expo I tried on a pair of these:
I wasn't quite ready to make the purchase.  Those darn shoes are expensive, and I really didn't want to invest in a $150 experiment.  Unrelated, I really don't like my hair that short.

Through the fall, my shoe rotation was a pair of Asics 2160s that I couldn't wear on long runs because they chewed up my feet, a pair of Saucony Guides that I didn't really have a problem with except that they felt a bit clunky in the heel, and a pair of Brooks Ravennas.  But every time I went into a running shoe store, I was sneaking a peek at those Newtons.  When I ran the 10K at the beginning on December, I declared to the poet that if I PR'd, I was going to just buy them already.  When I missed my PR by 20-or-so seconds, I decided that I was going to just buy them anyway (this is logic rising to the top).  I fought an hour or so of traffic out to Road Runner Sports only to discover that they were out of every single shoe in the store in my size.  Hrrmph.  I later found out that the poet put them up to this so I could unwrap these on Christmas morning.
But as much as they were my dream neon shoe, I reluctantly decided that this particular pair probably shouldn't be my first pair because they are "advanced" Newtons and I'm only a beginner.  So I ordered the "beginner" Newtons (Lady Isaac) online but convinced myself the poet that I'd be running in the pink ones eventually so I could keep them.  I knew that the smart thing to do would be to ease into them, to wear them for very short distances and work them into the rotation.  Which is what I did the first day.  I had a MAF test at the track, so I wore my Ravennas for the test and the hot pink ones for the cool down.  And they felt...kind of fine.  But then these showed up the day before the NYE race... 
I wore them to the race, intending to just warm-up and cool-down in them, but ended up racing in them.  They felt amazing.  And my legs felt better post-run then they had in a while.  My knees were noticeably less banged-up then they would be after that kind of effort, and my IT bands weren't twanging at all.  Hmmm.
Since then, I've been rotating them with a fresh pair of Ravennas (thanks, Adam!)  At first, I wore the Newtons only for shorter runs and the Ravennas for longer runs, but for at least 2-3 weeks now I've been just wearing every other shoe every other run, no matter what is on the schedule.  I've run at least four double-digit runs in them.  The biggest thing I am noticing is that my lower legs seem to be feeling just much more used than I am accustomed to - and honestly, this could be either from the shoes or from the simple fact that my gait is still changing in small ways.  My calves and shins are crabbing, but only a little, and it hasn't gotten worse as my mileage and intensity has increased.  The shoes themselves feel very different from all my other running shoes.  They are a lot softer inside and feel much kinder on my feet.  The toe box is larger and I feel like my toes have room to spread out.  I also haven't gotten a single blister or purple second toe from them, and this was a fairly common occurrence in the Asics and the Ravennas.  I do wonder if rotating them with the Ravennas is a mistake that is making my lower legs extra-cranky, because the two pairs of shoes are so different, but I'm just not ready to leave the Ravennas behind yet.
As far as the hot pink ones, I've been using them as my walk-around-everywhere play-with-the-puppies shoe, but I'll probably start breaking them in as running shoes in the next month or so.  And as much as I like them - and I really, really do like them - I think it's important to say that I don't think they are changing my life.  I've been working on fixing my form for a good ten months now, and I think I introduced them at the right time in this process.  They help me hold good form when I'm tired and may otherwise fall apart, but I don't think the shoes are actually changing my form.  I've seen a lot of pictures of people heel-striking in these suckers.  However, I think that if you are working on your form in a concentrated fashion, these shoes will help reinforce those good ideas.  It's still a lot of work to run right now, and I still spend almost every single run going over and over my body.  Are my shoulders back?  Is my core firm?  Am I straight up-and-down at the hips?  Not crunching?  Butt under me?  Landing with my knee bent and under my hips?  I'm also still working on strengthening my muscle imbalances and tightness-es and everything else that is wrong with me.  But I do love them, and once I wear through the Ravennas and rotate the hot pink ones in, I might just be a Newton girl for good.
What are your thoughts on the neon shoes?  Do you wear a single kind of running shoe or rotate through a pile like I do?

Friday, January 27, 2012

random friday facts

1. Molly went on a massive dinosaur-killing bender while we slept last night.
It's all right, Molly, get a cheeseburger and some Advil in you and you'll be feeling better pretty soon.
2. Every morning when I finish whatever workout I'm doing, I make a smoothie and a cup of hot tea (winter only) and refill my water bottle.  No wonder I pee 4329 times a day.
3. There are four dogs in this picture.  Can you find them?
4. It's really hard to find a photo of the poet and I in my photo library where one of us is not in exercise clothes or being ridiculous.
5. This is the first race picture ever taken of me (second race ever).  Check out my sweet form.
6. However, I was clearly a cyclist from a very young age, even if I didn't learn where the brakes were until 25 years later.
7. 95% of the pictures on my phone are of puppies.  I'm sure this is a huge surprise.
8. Most of the rest are of food.  I'm so ashamed.
9. This is a drink I had with Heather right after she moved back to DC.  One made me feel pretty drunk.  I had two.
10. This is the last race I ran before I started my blog.  I took lots of pictures, clearly anticipating that I would be starting a blog and someday get around to doing throwback race reports.  It could happen.
11. I have no idea.  But I'm sure I won.
12. This still cracks me up.
13. None of the pictures in my phone are of my ass.  Better check the poet's when he gets home.
14. I freaked out, just a little.
Happy Friday, friends!  Let me know if you RFF'd today!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

three things thursday

1. The weather man is fired.  At 6am this morning, my little phone weather bot told me it was "feels like 31º" outside, so I dressed appropriately.  I opened the front door and immediately took off my ear warmers and gloves and stuffed them in the mailbox.  A mile from home, I turned around and came back and did a Superman-phone-booth-quick-change into shorts and a tee-shirt.  31º, my ass.  The rest of my run was just about as disjointed - I didn't want to head out on the trail for the time I had left, so I did the out part of my usual 4-mile out-and-back, and then took a long "back," and then some idiot on a bicycle started chasing me so I went straight at a stoplight where I would usually turn and ended up doing circles around my house just to finish out the time.  Today gets a gold star.  Good thing I'd already scheduled a dentist appointment for after work today.

2. We've been doing a "clean out the pantry" meal week here in an attempt to spend as little money as possible for the rest of the month (that new crank isn't going to buy itself).  Whenever we do this, our meals get a little strange, but last night wins.  Cauliflower mash (that I put too much milk in so it was nice and watery and weird), brussels sprouts and grilled cheese with turkey bacon.  Yes, I am occasionally eating meat again and I REFUSE TO BE ASHAMED.  And yes, our dinner spread did make for a very noisy evening in the intestinal region.  Tonight I think that delicata squash that I bought over the weekend is going on a pizza and then we've got a few days of cleaning out the whole-wheat pasta stash.  We've had to hit the grocery store for ice cream a couple of produce items here and there but otherwise have spent very little on food all week. 
3. Speaking of my enormous crank, the universe did me a solid (I hate it when people say that) and I've got one on order that I hope gets here by this weekend so I can check that off my incredibly-needy-bike list.  I've also decided that I'm going to spend the money (I'm cringing here) to actually do one of those computer-electrode-video-bike-fits that I've read about, now that I've had a few months to start getting used to my sick fast.  I've found a few shops in and around DC that do this but I'd love recommendations from local folks about any good experiences you've had with fit anywhere.  I've been really reluctant to do this because I'm a frugal miser that likes to sit at home counting my dollar bills over and over, but based on my injury-ridden past and the few niggles that I have going on right now that I just can't shake, I think it's absolutely worth it to get a real fit done.  Sigh.   

Happy Thursday, everyone!  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

mostly puppy wordless wednesday

Dear Mamas,
I'm sorry that I pooped on the floor and tried to rip Graham's throat out and won't stop jumping up with muddy paws when you are wearing your only clean pair of dress pants and keep trying to steal Molly's food while she's eating.  I promise to try really hard to stop rolling in the mud three minutes before you have to leave for work and jumping off the back side of the couch and escaping out the front door.

Dear Mamas,
Why is she still here?  She smells and takes my raccoon and is stealing all the really good cuddling.  I never wanted a sister!

Dear Mamas,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the latest in mindless blogger memes

I don't generally like mindless blogger memes, but I suppose if I force everyone to participate in the one I created, I have to play along every once in a while, and there's nothing else to talk about in January.  I got tagged by a dozen people in the latest one, which looks pretty complicated and has a lot of rules.  

First, 11 random things rants about from me.  

1. I can't believe I have to come up with random crap twice this week.
2. I really hate the comment-on-every-blog-post game that a lot of bloggers play.  Commenting on my post every day to say "great job today!" just so I'll come and visit your blog and leave you the same meaningless comment every day is worse than the way I had to comb my hair in 6th grade so the cool kids would talk to me.  Comment when you have something worthwhile to say.  Comment if you just started reading so I can come and check out your blog and see if you are someone I'd like to read.  Comment if you want to tell me something interesting about yourself, even if it has nothing to do with what I wrote about.  Otherwise, go do your meaningless social climbing elsewhere.  
3. I'm really uncomfortable around children ages 2-13, and I don't like it when social situations force me to try and interact with kids of these ages.  
4. I am holding a grudge right now against Garmin because I completely lost my mind trying to install the quick release on my bike and head unit.  I ended up shipping the kit back and now will defiantly only wear my Garmin on my wrist for the rest of eternity.
5. I've lived in plenty of states, but Virginia is the first state where I've come across a consistent army of drivers who will make a left turn from the right lane across 5 lanes of traffic without using a turn signal.
6. I hate it when people always tweet crap like, "someone make me go run" or "ugh I hate my bike and don't want to go ride."  No one is FORCING you to do any of this, and your whining is making me want to punch you.  I get feeling like that every once in a while but some people do it every damn day.
7. When I get really pissed off I start crying, and that enrages me, which makes me cry more.  WTF body.
8. If you attempt to get me to do something by being passive aggressive, I will respond with pure aggression.  That is not how to make a friendship last.
9. In a previous job, I managed with the DYFJ mantra.  Do Your Fucking Job.  That's it.  That's all you need to be successful while working for me, and most people can't do it.  I don't understand.
10. Losing a significant amount of weight and completing some races does not make you an expert.  You didn't discover how to lose weight or run, I'm sorry to tell you.  It does, however, make your life better, so sit back and enjoy that and just quit it already with the unsolicited advice.
11. Having a lot of money also does not make you an expert.  Congratulations, your bike costs twice what mine does, you still don't know dick about how to ride it.

Since I got tagged in so many of these posts and most of the questions sucked, I asked twitter to come up with some questions instead.  They are:
1. How is your crotch this morning?  Just fine, thanks for asking.  Sit bones are a little sore from the saddle I am still adjusting to.
2. What's your biggest secret that you couldn't imagine revealing in your blog?  Ohh, you guys are so tricky!  That would probably be that I've only played the monkey game with two men in my life.  Wait, that's not a secret at all....gotcha!
3. If you had to set up a cage fight, who would you put in it and why? All the DC bloggers that annoy the piss out of me, in hopes that they would all knock each other out.
4. Macallan or Glenlivet?  Macallan, I'm not a heathen.
5. How tall are you in bare feet?  What are your measurements?  5'6".  I weigh between 137-144 (usually around the 142 mark) and have an extremely large rear derailleur.  I bulge in a B cup and droop in a C.
6. If you could create your own Gu flavor, what would it be?  A year ago I would have said Mint Chocolate or Raspberry Chocolate, so I don't know.  Maybe Root Beer.
7. When did you first realize that your ass was worth of a blog full of ass shots?  I still feel as if my ass is not worthy, but the people want what they want.
8. Is your snark hereditary?  Or did you spend years honing the amazing talent?  I believe my snark initially developed as a defensive mechanism and I've been refining it ever since.
9. What is your most indiscreet pit stop on a ride or run?  Sadly, I've bared my ass to empty my bladder all over the DC metro area, so I don't have a "most."  Emily, to her chagrin, can confirm this.
10. Pirates or ninjas?  Obviously ninjas.
11. What made you decide to start your blog?  I was cooped up in bed after shoulder surgery.  I had no idea how much it would change my life.  And as much as I take cranky to a ridiculous level, I'm still glad I've done it and met the people I'm met through it.

If you are unfortunate enough to be reading this and haven't done it yet, consider yourself tagged, but if mindless blogger memes also make you crazy, just tell me something about yourself that I should know.  You can also go read the last time I participated in one of these memes if you are short on productivity and long on unstructured free time.  I'll wrap this up with a picture of my ass you've all seen a dozen times.

Happy Cranky Tuesday, all!

Monday, January 23, 2012

wordless monday

I know, I'm a mess, but right now this is happening in our house and my office has been torn apart and all I can hear is ripping and tearing and cursing in Spanish and 70s music being blasted from every corner.

I'll be back tomorrow with an actual post, hopefully I won't have any holes in the walls and Graham won't have permanently picked up any very interesting new vocab words.

Friday, January 20, 2012

random friday facts

1. The thermostat in my house is kept at 58º during the day and 60-62º at night.  The heat doesn't work all that well and after the first winter here of $300-$400 gas bills, I'd just rather be cold.

2. We live about 300 yards from a Target.  After 3 years, I'm not sure I could ever live further away from one.

3. I have at least three sets of plane tickets to buy and I'm not looking forward to spending the money.

4. My SI joint still pops out of alignment all the time.

5. I still haven't figured out how to consistently move forward while doing breaststroke.

6. Sweet potatoes are my new lunch go-to.

7. I really want to learn how to give my bike a tune-up and take it apart.  I used to fix computers, how different can it really be?

8. I use my ATM PIN on my gym locker.

9. I'm finally down to only one shelf of beer in the fridge.

10. I think I need to start swimming with my goggles under my cap because one of the straps flips over all the time when I flip-turn and it drives me absolutely crazy.

11. I've woken up three mornings in a row pinned to the bed by snoring puppies.

12. I didn't really like beer until about 2 years ago.

13. I always wake up in the middle of the night and have to pee, and I always spend time trying to convince myself that I don't instead of just getting up and going.

14. I've never met a nut I don't like.

15. I can't deal with soup.  Stew and chili is okay, but soup, ugh.

16. I need white noise while I sleep.

17. The fact that a lot of my RFF's are about sleep tells me I've been sleeping a lot.

18. I haven't been to a physical therapist in almost a month.  This might be a record.

19. I'm officially addicted to Powerade Zero.

20. I think I'm going to pay someone to do my taxes this year.

21. I'm hoping to get at least some things on my bike straightened out this weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Let me know if you RFF'd and I'll try to not forget to link you!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

on coaching and training and other gibberish

You'll remember, dear friends, because I just won't let you forget, that back in July I signed up for an ironman. One of the first decisions I made was deciding that I wanted to work with a coach.  I went through the highly scientific process of harassing the crap out of everyone I know, including the internet, for recommendations, and then spent a bunch of time asking the same questions to people over and over again on the phone before I settled on someone who I thought was the best match.  He set fire to my entire life, my race schedule included, told me to trust in the process, and we hit the ground, erm, well... running.  

August is a pretty tough month to begin HR training, and I get that.  I started out with my coach by doing a max HR test, and he created zones and numbers and training from there.  I trained using those numbers for a few weeks and something just wasn't right.  So he adjusted my numbers, and adjusted them again, and again and again.  And instead of seeing progress, I was seeing that I was getting slower and less efficient across the HR board.  When I asked questions about what was happening, I was presented with a complicated series of baffling graphs that were supposed to "prove" that I was getting faster even though my watch plus the earth were saying otherwise and in the end, I was essentially told to just do my workouts and not try and understand ("Hush, silly girl, let the big people talk.").

Fast forward to Waterman's, where I didn't have a great day for a lot of reasons, almost none of them related to my level of fitness at the time.  In an attempt to salvage value from the day, I pulled together some questions I had about events that occurred on race day (other than crashing my bike) and sent them off to my coach.  This led to a series of interactions that solidified the decision I had been considering making for the last several weeks: to search for a new coach, one with whom I was a better match.  I was hesitant to do so only because I've seen others bounce around among coaches, never sticking with one long enough to actually see any progress, and I'm not a quitter, I don't give up on things.  But it suddenly became very clear what the right answer was.

In my original search, I only looked for local folks because I believed that it was important to be working with someone nearby, just in case I needed to bang on their front door at 4am with a burning question about EFS or lock laces.  In the three months I spent with my first coach, I learned that location was really not all that important, especially in a city like DC where there is a glut of triathlon resources, and certainly not as important as finding someone that I could have a good relationship with and not be too terrified of to ask questions.  So I carefully crafted an email and sent it off to one of my super duper triathlon girl superstar crushes who I had been stalking through twitter and the blog world for quite some time.  I squealed with delight when I got a response (I still do this sometimes, sorry, Sonja) and after lots of discussion with the mafia and the poet and the rest of my support system, I was in.

We decided that I'd take November off from being coached entirely to see just how much of a mess I could make in four weeks and I'd start at the beginning of December.  I gleefully went back to my old ways of running lots of miles all the time as hard as I could without much recovery and ran myself through a half marathon PR and right into a fatigue hole.  I essentially collapsed on her doorstep on December 1 puking and raving.  Try and make this pile of slobbering Katie into an ironman, aaaand good luck with that.  And I'm now about halfway through month two and I can say, without a doubt, that this was absolutely the right decision for me.

I felt back in August, and I still feel, that one of the best parts of being coached is that it removes so much stress from my training life.  I'm a hamster on a wheel.  I wake up, check Training Peaks, do what I'm supposed to do and that's pretty much that.  Someone else is making the giant spreadsheets and figuring out when to push and pull based on my races and my recovery and the schedule of my life, and I'm so relieved that it's not me.  I'm a young athlete - I can swim without drowning, ride mostly without crashing, and run without falling down - and I'm training for my first IM, so all I have to do is what I'm told and I'll probably get there all right.  That part isn't really rocket science - although getting anal-retentitve type-A athletes to do it (and nothing more!) probably is.  I'm not sure that I've ever had someone in any facet of my life tell me, "you're not working hard enough."  And while I love being a TP-robot, I also like understanding why I'm doing the things I'm doing.  My coach is awesome for about a billion reasons and I will sit you down and make you listen to all of them, but I think that one of the best things about our relationship is that I feel like I'm being heard - which is all people really ever want.  I send her somewhere between two and forty-seven emails a day asking all kinds of bizarre questions, and she always finds or has the answers without making me feeling like I'm a babbling idiot.  I've followed her for a long time as an athlete, but what I'm learning is that she invests just as much of herself into coaching, at no apparent loss to either. 

One of the other parts of working with her that is so fabulous is that she takes a very holistic approach to training (as in, you can't compartmentalize; not as in, go live in the woods and drink dirt), and that is meshing really well with how my outlook has been changing over the past several months.  I can't remember the last time I felt this at peace with my training.  I used to be obsessed by numbers, I used to post weekly recaps of my training that showed everything I did all week, and in the late spring, for a number of reasons, I stopped doing it.  I think that by posting my weekly dallies, I was focusing on what I was doing compared to everyone else instead of focusing on what my own progress looked like.  That's a really hard mental game to play.  I was also constantly comparing my training load to the load of those around me and wow, does that get tired and old REAL fast.  I don't need to prove that I'm the biggest bitch in this playground, that I can go harder or longer or faster than anyone else.  Because I'll never win that one, and even if I did, who cares who wins on a training day?

There is a place in training for checking in with numbers, to make sure that progress is moving in the right direction.  That's a MAF test on the track, or a TT in the pool, and once it's not 30º out it will probably be a TT outside on the bike.  In seven weeks I've been surprised by the progress that I've seen at these checkpoints, but I'm not going to lay it all out so you guys can tell me how awesome I am, because that doesn't matter either.  I'm not running at a 4 minute/mile pace or swimming hundreds on :45 seconds in the pool, I'm not cycling at 25mph while playing the banjo and not breaking a sweat, I'm not changing the world, I'm just training for an ironman.

So I'm going to sit back and just keep on keeping on.  I've been trying to quiet my mind and my training and draw it all inwards to hang onto this peace that I've found.  I'm working so hard on letting go of all the noise that surrounds me, and there is a lot of it here in DC, as there probably is everywhere.  Lots of noise telling me that I'm not training hard enough or fast enough or that I need to be spending piles of money on fancy equipment, and boy oh boy is THAT one of my soapbox topics right now, wealthy assholes throwing their wallets around instead of looking in the mirror and facing the work that needs to be done.  So letting go is a process in itself, but I'm trying.  Trusting in the fact that I am on a good path that is straight and true and will lead me to have the best possible day on June 24th.  But I'm even learning that while race day is special and magical, it's still just one day.  Sure, I'm darn proud of the PRs I've set and I'll be excited to set more, but what matters more is when I have the days like I did on New Year's Eve - where I've done the work that will let me go out and just explode with joy because I'm moving and sweating and breathing and I'm surrounded by friends and love.  I'm going to cross a lot of finish lines in my life and if I can cross every single one as happy as I was that night, as happy as I was at Philadelphia last fall, then that is really all I need.  That's why I'm here.  I got a good strong reminder of what really matters, and I just dare you to try and convince me that it's numbers on a clock.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

three things thursday on tuesday

1. I can't remember the last time that I was physically so in need of a rest day and a recovery week.  I can remember feeling mentally burnt out quite a few times in the past and taking rest/recovery for those reasons, but I can't remember ever feeling this physically drained.  It's a different kind of tired, too - post-race soreness is more sharp from a hard effort, post-long workout soreness is more of a hungry kind of wiped out.  Last week I built up to a pretty big weekend, and when I finished my Sunday workouts, it was all I could do to get food down before climbing in bed.  This is a deep-in-my-muscles kind of exhaustion which makes me not even a little bit antsy (so far) to go swim, bike, and run.  Instead, I want to be nice to my body with warm clothes and water and sleep and cooking real meals again.  I'm pretty sure this is the desired result of a proper block of training.  Let's not examine why I haven't experienced this before any more closely.

2. All the puppies got haircuts this weekend, but Molly is the only one that looks like she did it herself.  Mohawks are in.
3. I'm not going to say that my shins have stopped hurting because if I do, they will start hurting again - that is, if they have even stopped.  So what I am not saying is, my shins have stopped hurting.  But I'm currently in a 2-shoe rotation where every other run gets every other shoe (Newton Lady Isaac and Brooks Ravenna) and my body seems to be pretty happy about it.  I'm spending a lot of time these days doing things to try and make my body happy, including experimenting with my diet as I'm learning that food is not just calories in and out but can actually affect things like inflammation, recovery, and sleep.  Ridiculous, I know, but my investigation so far indicates that it's true.  I'll keep you guys updated to what I find out.

Happy Tuesday!  If you had a long weekend, how was it?  

Friday, January 13, 2012

random friday facts

1. We have two roommates and live on the main floor of our house, but I still almost always pee with the door wide open.

2. I have never been inside a lululemon.

3. One of my college roommates had a killer Chicago accent.  I managed to pick up pieces of it, and it still pops out sometimes.

4. I have finally figured out how to get the air out of my stomach in the pool before it kills me (bend over, push on stomach, burp).  Now if only I could stop sucking it in.

5. Through a lucky twist of fate, I have never had severe saddle problems.  The saddle that comes on the bike has always worked out just fine.

6. I probably should have been a finance major.

7. I know you're supposed to put spinach in the smoothie but I just can't.  It smells and gets stuck in my teeth.

8. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't let the poet do the "manly" chores while I do the "womanly" chores.  I want to be like, "No, you go clean the bathroom, I'll pick up the dog poop!"  But then I remember that I don't like picking up poop.  

9. I wish I could grow a long curly mustache.

10. Yes, we do have a Dyson.

11. I still struggle with body image.  Logically, I appreciate what my body can do and know not to fuss about the numbers.  But then I look in the mirror at my thighs - especially when I'm in a bathing suit and can see the wobbly cellulite - and feel like a fat cow.

12. I'm trying to decide if the amount of greens I'm eating right now is making me feel better, or if I just feel better because I'm being haughty about the amount of greens I'm eating.  Either is fine.

13. I have a lucky number.

14. I work alone in my house most days, but I never listen to music.

15. I have never thrown an egg.

16. Except for Harry Potter, I haven't seen a movie in the theaters in years, and the poet and I have a movie date on Monday.  Suggestions?

17. I eat gluten-free pancakes because the mix is delicious and awesomely fluffy.

18. I have no desire to own expensive shoes that are not running or cycling shoes.  But now that my running-shoe-lust has been (temporarily) fulfilled, I'm dying to bring home some sexy snakeskin cycling shoes.

Not randomly, but since a few have asked: Sofie is settling in pretty well.  She's learning the law of the land a lot more quickly than the first two did as puppies, and has already graduated to couch-snuggling.  All is well.

Happy Friday, all!  What's on tap for this weekend?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

three things thursday

1. Every time I post on the blog that my shins hurt, they stop hurting.  So: MY SHINS HURT, Y'ALL.  I'm not sure if it's still because of my bike shoes (I don't think so), because I ran three miles in the Newtons two days ago (probably not) or because I ran for an hour in my Ravennas this morning (also unlikely).  Or maybe it's just that my lower legs are still getting used to the way my gait has changed over the past nine months.  Let's hope it's that, although I prefer to freak out about ghost injuries rather than consult science and/or logic.  Meanwhile, there is no better feeling in my life right now than when I snap those compression socks on post-shower.  MY SHINS HURT.

2. For some reason, I imagined in my own head that last week was the last "build" week in my training and this week would be rest.  I have no idea where I came up with it, I have a lot of theories and it's hard to keep track of them all and where they come from.  But I was firmly convinced last Friday that I would get through my not-all-that tough weekend and then whhhheeee into easy week!  I discovered in a pow-wow with my coach on Monday afternoon that THIS week is actually the final "build" week in my training block.  WAA WAA WAAAAA.  Getting my schedule Monday evening was a pretty rude awakening.  About half of my workouts say "ouch" in them somewhere and I'm going to be spending an unfortunate amount of time on the trainer this weekend.  Combine that with an extremely busy and stressful work week and I'm just hanging on.  I almost fell asleep at the dinner table on Tuesday night and I'm seriously considering drinking something caffeinated.  I could put in a picture of me asleep at the table but instead I'll leave you this gem from last weekend, mid-bike-ride car-transfer-with-sandwiches-to-HP.
Safety first, bitches.  Yes, I was driving with my bike shoes and helmet on; no, I don't know why my bicep looks like it's about to explode.  This would be more funny if I hadn't gotten up Tuesday morning for a trainer ride and realized ten minutes in that I had automatically put my helmet on.  SAFETY FIRST.

3. ANYWAY (what was I talking about?).... This morning I did my commute before my workout, which meant I got to do the monument loop while the sun was coming up.  I've lived in/outside/around DC for over ten years and I will still never get tired of this run.  Here are some pictures that look exactly like every single picture runners take while running around the city, you can skip them and proceed directly to judging me for wearing my bike shoes (and my seat belt!) in the car if you'd like.

Oh, and I made brussels sprouts for dinner last night which made everyone on twitter lose their damn minds, I had no idea these weird things were so popular.  I don't know if they are a SUPER FOOD but they were delicious, but so is beer and nobody freaks out when I talk about that.
No one has pooped on the floor in our house in four days.  I'm out, bitches.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

wordless wednesday

I know it's been puppy-overload here this week, but I've got just two more.

Molly: "But I don't WANT a sister!!!"
Ultimate concentration.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

three puppy tuesday

So, we really did it.  We brought her home.
She came home on Sunday.  Graham and Molly met her briefly a few weeks ago, but we decided that it would be best to have a longer "getting to know you" period before we brought her into the house, so we spent a great deal of the afternoon in the backyard.
Her personality is different than our other two - she's very sweet, but has tons of energy and just kind of explodes with joy.  She's only lived here two days and she will stand at the bottom of the patio steps and coo at me if I don't come into the backyard with them.  You can't not love her.
Graham is thrilled to pieces to have someone else to play with, especially since Molly's been lethargic the past few weeks as she has gone through treatment.  He'll bring Sofie a toy, she'll steal it from him and then growl and bark at him if he tries to take it back.  Lots of tails wagging.  Molly is taking a little more time to warm up to her, but I think that's in part to how she is feeling on her medicine.  I'm hoping that she will become more playful as we wean her off of it.
Sofie's got a little bit of the "raised by wolves" that Molly had in her when she came home - mostly because she's spent most of her life around dogs, not people.  So we're already working on teaching her how to live in a house - like not climbing up on the dining room chair (and then table) to get the extra-delicious-smelling sandwich that someone just left there.  We learned very quickly that "housebroken" just meant that she is used to going to the bathroom outside, probably because she mainly lived outside.  And since she isn't used to living in a house, she doesn't really know the difference between things like "carpet" and "grass."  But I think the learning curve for her will be steep - just like our other two, she obviously wants to listen and please us.  Sometimes the crazy comes out and overtakes that, but it's an adjustment for her too, and she's trying.
For some reason, I'm much calmer about it this time around.  Maybe it's because she's not a puppy so we don't have to let her out every 2 hours on the button or her bladder will explode.  Maybe it's because we've been through the bringing-a-dog-home thing twice, and I know that it will be stressful for about 2-3 weeks and then it will be fine.  Or maybe it's just because I know how much it's worth it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

actually, yes, I do have an enormous crank

In case you live in DC and also in a cave, the weather was gorgeous here this weekend.  After a Saturday morning of GF pancakes (SO FLUFFY!) and dithering, I ended up doing a big pile of hills in Maryland with some friends.  I've spent lots of time on the trainer on my QR, and I've done a few short workouts at Hains Point (flat and windy and no cars to kill you), but I've never done any more climbing than the teeny tiny bumps on the MV trail near the airport.  So I decided Saturday morning, I'd ride the QR.  I have to get outside at some point...
The first part of the ride was pretty flat, but once we hit even the smallest hill, my ass got dropped.  I spent most of the first few climbs cursing my serious lack of bike fitness, but as the ride went on and I got warmed up, I started to realize that it wasn't all fitness, but that I was running out of gears a lot sooner than I was used to on my roadie (so maybe 98% I have no fitness, 2% WTF bike).  When we stopped for calories and self-portaits that look like every other picture posted on this blog, I checked out the road bikes my buddies were riding and realized that they had a lot more easy gears than I did.  
I figured out pretty quickly that they would notice if I tried to steal their big plates mid-ride and voted for the "least hilly" option to finish out the day.  When I got home and whined to my coach about it, she made me go count all the teeth on my crazy bike and report back.  
As it turns out, my road bike has "compact" gearing (not as many teeth) and a medium-length crank, and my QR has "really huge and bad for climbing" gearing (lots of teeth) and an extra-large crank.  If you know anything about cycling, which I apparently do not, my roadie has 11-28 on the back, a 50/39 on the front and a 170.  My QR has 11-23 on the back, a 53/47 (?) on the front and a 172.5.  And it all needs to go, because I'm a short & squat hill-climbing madwoman that needs to get through an ironman (did you forget?).  I have no idea how to go about changing all of the crap around but I'm going to be in the bike shop flirting this weekend trying to figure it all out.

All that aside, I had a really brilliant day riding my TT other than mashing the crap out of my knees.  It was sunny and breezy and I was riding outside with friends, which always makes the top ten list.  I managed to drink from my water bottle without swerving too far into oncoming traffic, and I spent a significant amount of time in aero with very little side effects, other than my super-duper extra-crabby shoulder.  And the bike is so much sex.  I can tell how much lighter it is than my roadie and when I drop into aero, everything just gets fast and easy and smooth.   Which makes me feel better about getting dropped by this wench on her TT all summer long.

How was your weekend?  Did you get out and enjoy the sunshine?  How many times have you posted on twitter that it's snowing right now?