Tuesday, November 29, 2011


"I choose to live by choice not by chance,
to make changes not excuses,
to be motivated not manipulated,
to be useful not be used,  
to excel not compete.
I choose self-esteem not self-pity,
I choose to listen to my inner voice not the random opinion of others."

April P. via Oprah on Facebook

Everyone, Meet Otis!

Been meaning to post this!  Everyone, this is Otis.  Otis Toler!  The big "O", Oti-oh!  We got word  the adoption was "approved" on Tuesday, last week and we brought him home on Wednesday.

He's been amazing and we are quite surprised with how well he seems to be adjusting.  He's just a big, sweet boy who needs some love.  No surprises in the house, and no strange behaviors. :)

We brought him home on Wednesday and had about 15 friends over on Thursday morning and he was perfectly fine!  Just laid back and taking all the attention he could get. 

We brought him to the vet on Saturday for a check-up and a desperately needed "spa" day (Man!  Did he stink!!).  He's got some allergy issues, eye irritation of some sort, and some bronzing from licking his paws, but outside of that he's in good health.  We'll get him taken care of!

He's doing amazing with Cassie.  Cassie is doing well with him too, though she gets easily disappointed when he doesn't follow her around the way she'd like.  He does tend to follow me or Hubs more closely.  He rarely barks and doesn't scare her with jumping... she's getting to be more comfortable with him, so that's great!

He did have a HORRIBLE flatulence problem the first few days.  Holy cow!  I never knew dogs tooted like people do.  This boy knows how to clear a room, that's for sure!  We changed his food and had "good" night last night.  Hopefully that's the end of that, and he just needed something more easily digestible. 

We've had 3 escape incidents though, which kind of freaks me out and has me considering renaming him "Houdini" after the last one, where he managed to get out of an easy-walk harness!  If he gets out and you chase him, he thinks you are playing and just runs crazy!  This last time though I had Cassie with me, so I had to keep calm (she was getting upset too!) and I couldn't leave her there to run after him.  It was dark out already and we were taking him for a walk in our subdivision.  I just knelt down on my knees (prayed no cars would hit him) and called him calmly.  After a couple of huge laps on the main road, he came running back to me.  All this just reinforces the need for further obedience training. 

Otherwise he's been a joy to have.  He's so happy to be here (I guess!) and we're happy to have him!

We just brought him home here.

After his spa day... all nice and clean :)

Race Report: Turkey Day 10K

First, without delay, I want to share I PR'd this race!  I am so thrilled.

I had not been feeling all that great the week leading up to the race... I had a string of nights where I just completely crashed and felt fatigued and lethargic -- similar to how I felt before I started the new Thyroid meds.

Really my plan was to just practice my half marathon plan for this race.  Instead, things worked out differently after I started.  Go figure.

First, I couldn't get my heart rate down.  It wasn't for not trying -- it just wasn't happening.  I gave up before mile 1 was done, went with it and ran by feel.  I decided I was going to try to run sub 13 minutes.  I would run mile-to-mile, and take a short walk break each mile.  So, if I finished mile 1 in 12:45, then I walked 15 seconds or less.  If I finished in 12:20, then I'd walk just under 40 seconds.

By the time I got to the 5K mark I was pretty much beside myself, realizing all my miles were well under 13, even with the short walks.  My 5K PR is something like 39 minutes and I knew I was at about 38 -- surely I would tank!  My heart rate was just too high; I was pretty much just waiting to bonk.

Mile 4.  Still waiting...  no bonk yet.

Mile 5.  Just like having (2) 1 mile repeats left.  "I got this."  Feeling good because I'm actually passing some folks at the end. Really?  Yes!

I finished in 1:16 for a 12:18 pace. Needless to say I was thrilled. :)

I crushed 13 minute miles AND got faster at the end!

Mile 1: 12:11
Mile 2: 12:41
Mile 3: 12:33
Mile 4: 12:32
Mile 5: 12:20
Mile 6: 12:03
.19 Mile  12:01

Monday, November 21, 2011

What up... Dog!

I signed up for the TX3 triathlon series this weekend.  It was a good deal to register for 3 races.  Kemah (Olympic), Bridgeland (Sprint) and Houston (Olympic).  Those three races, plus Hyvee Nationals, will probably be my season, since I decided to take things down a notch and get the medical stuff straightened out.  Oooh, and I also won a $50 gift card to the cycling shop where the registration was held.  Sah-weeet!

I made it through my on-ramp training sessions for Crossfit.  Man, I will say that it's a ton harder than I anticipated, and I did NOT think it was going to be easy to start.  It's a great kind of hurt though, so it's all good. I can tell I won't be setting any records for a while.  The daily WOD (workout of the day) is timed, and the goal is to do the WOD in the least amount of time. Heck!  I get frustrated in a group X class at 24 when the instructors don't give you proper time to do a technically correct crunch or dumbbell press.  On Fridays there is an Olympic weightlifting class.  I really, REALLY, enjoyed this -- which isn't much of a surprise to me.  I've always liked to lift!  Once Darren heals up, Coach Thea said to bring him -- that will something great for us to do together.  Incidentally, Coach Thea is also my amazing Chiropractor

In other news, I went back for a follow-up with the Hem/Oc.  Seems my Iron is still dropping (sh*t), but... my Hemoglobin was perfect!  (Yay!)

After my follow-up with the OB/Gyn post-op, she asked my why when my Iron stores were down to "7" that the Hem/Oc didn't order GI work.   It put a little scare in me to hear the word Cancer again, for the third time this year, this time  in the form of Stomach Cancer.

He said there were several reasons:
1)  My history -- I'm an RNY post-op.  There are issues with Absorbtion.
2)  My Age
3)  No bloody stool
4)  Very High Menstrual flow
5)  Tested negative for Celiacs (evidently a potential indicator)

Now he did say that because I'm still dropping, we're going to wait 4 more months (because I've had the ablation -- need to give it time).  If levels drop again, it will mean another Iron infusion and we'll probably go and run the GI stuff.

Ugh... another 4 months of waiting. I am starting to feel tired and lethargic again... had one of those nights where I pretty much passed out on the couch at 8pm.  Hubs commented he hadn't seen me like that in a while.  I went to bed and slept until after 6:30 the next morning, which I never do; I rise and shine at 4:30am!  Saturday night I forced myself to stay awake, but slept hard and felt awful on Sunday morning.  No long run for me, I felt that bad. :(

A new addition to our family?  Possibly! Not by birth though, but by pet adoption!  We've been mulling over for a long while getting a dog.  It would be really good for Cassie, and since we know we're not having any more kiddos, it's probably an even better idea.  Cassie and I visited the SPCA on Saturday, just to see how she'd do visiting with a couple dogs, and we fell for "Otis". We brought Hubs back to meet Otis on Sunday, and we put in adoption papers!  We hope to hear something by Tuesday. 

We're not sure if Otis is a Lab/Great Dane mix (that's what his crate papers say) or if he's a Lab/Mastiff mix (that's what the website says).  He does have some behaviors that lead towards the Dane side, but when you look at pictures of the breeds it's hard to tell -- because he gets those little expressive wrinkles above his eyes that say Mastiff.  Anyway, he's gentle and Cassie loves him.  He's not a barker or jumper (so the neighbors will love him too!).  They did say that he has "domination" issues, and that if challenged by another dog (where he gets jumped on), Otis will retaliate.  Dogs are dogs, right?  I'm hopeful with some learned handling we can calm the behavior.  It's truly hard to believe though, since he's sooooo laid back.  Even when the other dogs in the kennels were going nuts, he just walks past them like nothing is happening.  No barking.  No challenging them.  Nothing.  So wish us luck -- we'd love to give Otis a family and a home.  

Family Dinners Can Build Teen Confidence and Reduce Obesity...

Family Dinners Can Build Teen Confidence and Reduce Obesity
Toronto Sun, 11/19/11, Source

Meals heal. Dinnertime doesn’t simply fuel bodies – it nourishes hearts and emotional health.
Studies show that sitting down to family dinner several nights a week not only boosts grades, confidence and motivation, but teens are also less likely to drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs. Frequent family meals also reduce stress and the incidence of childhood obesity, as well as depression and suicidal behaviour.

According to psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini, one of the leading causes of teens committing suicide is feeling lonely, and disengaged.

“A family that sits down and enjoys the community of one another at dinnertime bridges that sense of loneliness and assures the child they are part of a greater ‘family community’ that loves and accepts them,” Rapini says.

A strong family bond may be an antidote to teen suicide. Dr. Wendy Walsh, a human behaviour expert for CNN, says family support, not peer support, provides protection against teen suicidal behaviour.
“A new study out of the University of Washington shows that a strong family bond reduces depression and suicidal thoughts in teens who had at least one suicide attempt in the past,” Walsh says.
Non-judgmental attitudes of family often provide the much-needed psychological support for teens who suffer from depression. “Teen peers, on the other hand, use judgments and teasing to create group conformity,” Walsh says.

“Strong bonds can reduce depression in spouses, kids and teens – relationships heal,” says Walsh, of Wendywalsh.com.

Adolescence is a tumultuous time and communication is essential to thriving and surviving.
The dinner table is a great place to grow relationships. Problem is, according to Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child educational psychologist, families are on overdrive with dual careers and highly scheduled children – the mealtime connection is dissolved, replaced by junk food on the go.
But it’s crucial to family health to come up with a workable solution, even if it’s one night set aside for family connection.

“No matter how crazy busy your lives are, find a mealtime ritual that works for your family,” says Reznick, author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success.

There’s nothing like a laughter-filled table to release the stress of the day with people whom you love and who love you, says Reznick.

“It’s a great time to hear about everyone’s experience – highs, lows, funny moments, silly seconds,” Reznick says. “Plus, the understanding that comes from knowing someone really listens to you, that a family member is on your team, is exhilarating, cathartic and healing.”

Food symbolizes love. “When our family honours meal time enough to join together -- eating and sharing the day’s events -- it is an expression of love and caring. Your child feels it, and knows they are loved,” adds Rapini, of Maryjorapini.com.

Meanwhile, when it comes to technology at the table, practise what you preach. This is the time parents really have to pay attention to what their behaviour is teaching their kids, says Reznick, of Imageryforkids.com.

“If you don’t want your kids on their cellphones or playing video games on their iPad, if it’s important to keep that family time sacred, then it’s an easy answer,” Reznick says. “Zero technology at the table. No excuses, rare exceptions.”

Bon appetite! Find a meal solution that works.
According to Dr. Charlotte Reznick, some families work their kids’ schedules so there is only one after-school activity a day so everyone is home for dinner.

“Other folks choose a couple of nights a week as treasured; no one makes plans Wednesday and Sunday evenings,” says Reznick, associate clinical professor at UCLA.

She knows of another family that accepts the chaos of everyone’s schedules during the week, but keeps Friday nights as a sacred ritual. “They pull out their very best china and the kids drink juice from wine glasses. They light candles and bring the spirit of love into their home and hearts as they welcome the weekend. Everyone feels like a ‘special guest’ at the table. And everyone looks forward to this weekly loving connection.”

Feast on these tips to better connect at the dinner table:
• Start dinnertime during set-up time and involve everyone – preparing the meal, setting the table, placing food -- even the youngest can help.
• Try to talk one at a time and ask follow-up questions after someone speaks. Play simple sharing games such as “high/low” or “success” of the day.
• So no one person hogs the conversation, everyone gets to speak once before the free-for-all of anyone speaks begins.
• Express gratitude before or after every meal holding hands.
• No one gets up from the table until the last eater is done; parents may want to linger to chat after the kids are excused.
- Courtesy of Dr. Charlotte Reznick, Imageryforkids.com

For some, family dinners may not be possible on a daily basis. Dr. Charlotte Reznick suggests other everyday activities:
• Breakfast together; pack lunches together.
• Drive or walk to school together in the morning with no technology in the car.
• Shoot each other a text during the day to say you are thinking of them. Or leave notes in lunch boxes.
• Keep story time a long time – read to your kids no matter their age as a nightly ritual; it can create lifetime loving memories.
• Sit on the edge of your child’s bed and snuggle and chat before they doze off.
• Go to the farmer’s market together on weekends – include everyone on decisions about what to buy for dinners and why.

Take Dr. Wendy Walsh’s strong bonds prescription:
• Bond over words. Spend 20 minutes a day with each family member, giving them your undivided attention, and doing more listening than talking.
• Practise non-judgment. Celebrate your kids in all their weird and wonderful glory. “If they are into vampires, catch up on Twilight yourself. If they love rap music, stop slamming the lyrics and get them to help you understand the art form. Your kids will turn off and tune out if most of your words are critical,” says Walsh, of Wendywalsh.com.
• Turn off tech. Have tech-free family dinners at least four times a week. Make a technology curfew in your home where all screens go off at a certain time. Children and teens need to give their brains some downtime from tech before falling asleep.
• Give them responsibility. Help them find a part-time job. Give them an allowance that teaches them financial literacy. Insist they do community service. “Encouraging teens to grow up means giving them a healthy balance of autonomy and boundaries,” adds the relationship expert.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Poem

8 years ago, yesterday a friend lost her Daughter.  She posted this poem to Facebook in remembrance to her today.  I had to save it. 

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what she would want:
smile, open your eyes,
love and go on.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Revised Schedule

So back to that whole thing about doing things that are good for me, and not letting my self get swept up in mine or someone else's, planning/post-race euphoria and signing up for some race I have no business doing... yet.  :)

I've been contemplating (again) my 2012 race schedule and I have decided to skip a 70.3 distance this year.

I knew I didn't want to do Galveston again, so I was leaning towards doing NOLA 70.3, as the location and point-to-point run sounded kinda cool and different.  Then I thought a little more seriously about it -- and you know, another 70.3 is just not right for me... this year.

I have got to get the medical stuff under control.  I think the constant stress of training for long distance, isn't helping my efforts.  As it is, I'm a late-in-life-fluffy-triathlete who's now done three 70.3 distances in a row, with little downtime (if there is such a thing) between each.  Doing this distance is hard enough on the body, but add to that carrying so much extra weight takes it's toll and I realize that.

Don't get me wrong.  I want to do one -- I ALWAYS want to do one.  But I know the smarter choice, the choice that will help achieve my ultimate goal, is to forgo this year and work on my medical challenges that are making dropping the pounds so stinkin' difficult. 

It's all good and I'm feeling confident in my decision.  So here's the plan:

So here's the list!

Run Season:
Turkey Day 10K
RunGirl 13.1
Texas Half Marathon (Woodlands)
Houston Aramco Half Marathon

HITS Corpus - Olympic (February)
Kemah - Olympic (April)
Sylvan Beach - Longer than a sprint, shorter than Olympic (June)
Bridgeland - Sprint (August)
Hy-Vee 5150 Nationals (definitely an "A" Race) (September)
Houston - Olympic (September)

With a stroke of luck (and all the fast 40+ Athenas staying home in bed or racing relay), I qualified for the 5150 Nationals.  I know in the real world, this doesn't happen all the time.  Truly.  I mean this is a stroke of being at the right place at the right time and being able to start and finish a race. 

There's like 3 races in one at Hy-Vee, including a pro race.  I think it could be a great, fun weekend to watch and race.  So what that it's in Des Moines Iowa!  It will definitely be Fall there September 2nd, so I'm up for it.

My biggest goal for next year is to kill my Galveston 5150 time of 3:38 by 15 minutes or more.

I want to swim 1.5 K in 35 minutes or better
I want to bike 24.8 miles under 1:23 or better
I want to run my 10K in 1:19 or better

So that's that.  I've got my work cut out for me.

I'm hopeful that with the half marathon training this winter, my running will continue to improve.  This Saturday was my first long run where I actually ran long, slow, easy AND kept my heart rate down.  That's a major deal for me.  I'm taking it as a definite sign that my sweltering summer of training paid off somewhere! 

Next year will also include some spectating at Galveston 70.3, Ironman Texas and Redman (where my training buddy is finally going to get to do his first 140.6 race!).  It's gonna be a good year.

Oh!  I also started Crossfit.  Just to get some strength training back to my routine during the off season, in hopes that the good hormones from the strength training will counteract some of that bad hormonal stuff happening inside me.  I went for my first on ramp session after my long run on Saturday and I am still sore.  It's just crazy!

That's it for now... sure seems like enough.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Race Report: Oil Man Texas; When You Just Can't

Looking for my Oil Man Texas race report?  Ummm, not gonna be one.  Sorry!

Oil Man Texas was back on the first weekend of November.  I was looking forward to the race, not so much as a race, but as a good long training day.  The ride is on the back-end of the Ironman Texas course, so I wanted to take the opportunity to check it out.

Since my "A" race (Redman 70.3), my training was pretty inconsistent.  Life happens:  2 hectic work schedules + just completing your "A" race = low motivation to fight for time to fit workouts in like you I was before.   The plain truth:   Before my 'A' race, I would have found some way, any way, to get something in on a crazy day where available time is seemingly negative.

Long story, short, during the week I had been sick. I was on the upswing Thursday and most of Friday, but Friday night I got slammed with some kind of allergy/sinus thing.  I felt a little better on Saturday and figured it would pass, "It's just an allergy thing." I headed up to Conroe and checked in to our "villa" and rested.  I realized I had forgotten my allergy meds {cr@p!}.  I picked some up at the store, but completely tanked Saturday night.  I woke up on Sunday to a head full of snot, a stomach full of drainage after a night worth of horrible rest.

I'm sharing this, not as an excuse, but as an example of when we have to make tough decisions.  Decisions for the larger picture.  It killed me to do so, and I'm sure it's not easy for anyone who has had to do it themselves.  Even though I had logical reason, I just felt like a quitter.  I had decided not to start a race. Sending that text to my coach, who was also racing, just felt awful, but I knew it was the right thing.

In my bigger picture there's an "A" race in January; the Houston Aramco Half Marathon -- plus I have 2 other races, the Texas Half Marathon on New Years Day, and RunGirl 13.1 in December.  I knew I had to  get on the ball with my training, with running being my weakness.  I had already lost a week of training being sick, and I did not want to risk losing a second week.  So there.  Decision made. 

If I'm keeping it completely real though, part of my disappointment stemmed from the realization of how little training I had done between the end of September and November.  And maybe if my training had been more consistent, it would have been hard, I would have surely felt like crap, but I would have been more confident and could have quite possibly survived without the worry of losing a subsequent week of training. 


Ah well.. I just move on from here.  :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I haven't been much about blogging lately.  Things are just busy with work and it's kind of affecting my motivation with everything in general.  I hate funks... the plus is, there's usually an upswing coming. 

As for today, well I'm home sick and feeling like warm kah-kah. I'm just hanging out getting caught up on blogs and club stuff, between waves of stomach sickness.  Boo.

Moving on...

So I'm seriously thinking about going to the Hy-Vee 5150 Nationals.  The Nationals are in Des Moines, Iowa... where it will truly be Fall weather.  Nice! 

I know.  Crazy?  Right??

I mean, I know I'll get slaughtered by the Athenas who truly represent what the weight class is for, but heck, when will I ever qualify for something like that again?  And face it... training for an Olympic over the Summer will be a bit easier than another 70.3.  I've trained for 3 70.3 distance races in a row... that a lot of training with very little downtime between and I need to recoup some time back to focus on some things that will make me stronger in the future. 

So I'm thinking.  THINKING.

Next, you gotta go over to visit Mere at Swm Bike Mom. She just finished her first 70.3 in Miami.  Go ahead... tell her how great she is.  I'll wait.  :)

Since I'm home, I'm getting caught up, reading a lot of blogs.  Everyone is setting goals for their off-season training. I know there are things I need to focus on.  Everyone wants to shed some poundage, or at least maintain through the holidays.  To me, those are pretty much a given.

If there is one thing I do this Winter, it will be to get weight training back into my routine, once and for all, and forever.  I started reading the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women.  It's the first time I've come across a book for women that is not, for lack of a better way to put it, pansy-like.  The authors of this book are not bullsh*tters either.  They're accomplished industry professionals with proven results.  I like that the program is based on training 2 days a week. Something that's pretty doable; I could fit it into my schedule with my triathlon training.

I had thought briefly about taking advantage of a local Crossfit special for November and December, but that takes away some flexibility.  Again, pondering.  Pondering which way to go.  The class atmosphere definitely gives a little extra nudge to get-up and go, in the way that Masters does for me for swimming.  In any case, I need to make a choice.

Strength training is important and I feel awesome when I'm lifting.  I'm not training for anything longer than an Olympic distance this next year, so I should recoup a bit of time that I can dedicate to this effort.

On the family front, Hubs is training for his first half marathon in March.  He'll be sidelined for a few weeks, having some surgi-stuff done, but then he'll be ready to tear it up!  I can't wait to see him achieve this goal.  I know how good it felt for me a couple years ago.  It was amazing.

The kiddo is doing great.  Growing like a weed and is standing taller than the corn in a fully grown field.  She's good and healthy, and that's the way we like it.  :)  She's recently started Girl Scouts... which also means Mom is doing Girl Scouts, since it's all completely led by volunteers, which I guess I didn't really know. In any case, another good reason to not be training for a half!

The other thing I need to do is work through some stuff in my Head.  I need to go for a consult to for a panniculectomy, but the bottom line is, I'm chicken.  I'm actually afraid the doc will tell me that I"m still too fat.  My primary care physician has already told me that's a ridiculous and that I'm a good candidate for the procedure, provided we get my Anemia under control.  I feel some level of excitement, wondering how it will feel to bike, run, or heck, walk up the stairs and not feel my lower stomach against the top of my thighs.