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Showing posts from 2008

I'm ready, how about you?

Sure feels like a good day to turn over a new leaf, start a new page, wipe the slate clean, yadda, yadda, yadda. Yeah, I know it’s the last day of 2008, not January One, but heck. We’ll get a head start on the rest of the pack.

I’m already regretting my decision not to run any races next year. PQ posted a photo of her Indy medal and I want one! It’s tentatively on the schedule for 2010. I was listening to music in the car last night mentally figuring out which tunes were the right beat for my running pace. She’s Having a Baby by Dave Wakeling was one surprising fit.

I informed my husband that I was definitely planning to run a full marathon in 2011, for my 60th birthday. I think he turned three shades of white. He was hoping my taking a year off would quell the urge to run more long-distance races. Hah! This is working just like depriving me of food: if sugar’s on the forbidden list, I want it even more.

He and I have walked outside the past three days during some unseasonably balmy weat…

A day at a time

If I thought about all the things I need to do in the next few days I’d probably just go back to bed. The only way to manage is to do what needs to be done in the next half an hour, and then the next and then the next.

I’ll be going back to Indiana on Friday, this time for my friend’s funeral. She lost the fight Saturday night, but we who are left comfort ourselves knowing she wouldn’t have wanted to live as she had the past few months.

Nancy and I “met” online 10 years ago, through a weight-loss list for followers of the Atkins plan. A series of conversations revealed we had much more in common than extra body weight, and our friendship was forged over our knitting needles.

Her diagnosis (cancer of the pancreas) came last January, a week after her husband retired from his pediatric practice. She did everything she and her doctors could think of. In September she was declared free of cancer. I still remember taking that joyful phone call.

A month later, she called to say the cancer had re…

Clean for a day

It’s over.

The food orgy that typically accompanies Christmas is, finally, over. And since my husband and I didn’t decorate our home or exchange gifts this year, the food orgy was Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we went to church and then to an open house with, um, lots of food. I spent the better part of Christmas Eve day and Christmas morning preparing and cooking, um, lots of food. My husband’s mother joined us for our Christmas meal at 2 p.m., where we ate, um, lots of food.

After the last crumb of pecan torte had been whisked away at about 3:30 p.m., I declared a day of fasting. I didn’t want to look at, think about or, God forbid, eat food for 24 hours.

I went 26 – and actually felt hungry as I was preparing a simple stir-fry of leftover pork and vegetables with rice.

I now feel normal – not stuffed, as I have for the past, oh, who knows how many days? I’m ready for normal all the time. And since we don’t party on New Year’s Eve, I think I’m well on my way.

Merry Christmas!

New Rule: Never leave home without your knitting

The meeting I help facilitate at the prison ran a little late last night. We had a gratitude meeting, in which everyone in the room got to say who she was and what she was thankful for. Last year the group was smaller and everyone’s gratitude fit into an hour. This year? Well, I’m thankful that more inmates have found our meeting, and I hope we volunteers help them as much as they help us.
At any rate, I left the compound at about 8:15 – five minutes after the local authorities closed the only bridge to the main road I need to take to get home. Four cars had skidded into the guardrail, a testament to the dangerous road conditions, and a salt truck was “on the way.”
I finally started for home at 10:05. That, my friends, is one hour and 50 minutes of knitting time. If one had had one’s knitting. Triplet Sweater #3, however, was sitting beside the computer at home, where I’d been working on the ribbing while reading e-mail earlier yesterday afternoon. What to do, what to do? I’d just come f…

12,000 miles

My out-of-state and/or unplanned trips in 2008 took me 12,000 miles out of my way. Give or take a mile or two.

Good thing gas didn’t cost $4/gallon for too many weeks.

(I bet you thought that title was how many miles I ran this year, right? Heh.)

Really, though, all of those miles were necessary, and I would have paid the price of fuel no matter how high it went.

My husband retired a year ago. We had a couple good months with one pleasure trip we’d planned while he was still working. After that, between his mother, my father and, more recently, my good friend in Indiana, we’ve been praying hard for someone to recover from illness and injury.

Now we know what people mean when they say ‘retirement wasn’t what we expected.’

When you flub a shot in a friendly game of golf, you can take a mulligan – a do-over. I think I want to take a mulligan for 2008.

It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming

Christmas, that is.

Christians around the world are hurrying and scurrying this week to finish shopping, wrapping and mailing Christmas gifts and cards. As the old saying goes, Christmas comes but once a year. And it’s always the same date.

I’m “behinder” this year than I’ve ever been, I think. I made my Christmas cards this year, and they’re still not assembled. Our families are scattered over four states; half the gifts had to be mailed. I finally made it to the post office yesterday. Let’s hope everyone else was more efficient than I.

We’re heading north today to visit the triplets (and their parents; once grandchildren come, children are suddenly less important. Good thing they know that!). I’m repeating the knitting performance I did for their baby shower – I mailed their blankets a couple weeks after the party. Only one of their sweaters is complete. One is nearly so. One has only two sleeves.

Sigh.

In my defense, I’ve been on the road a lot this year, especially lately. You can’t – …

Riddle me this, Batman

When I applied for health insurance last spring, I was quoted Price X for the monthly premium. I completed the application, was approved and got the first statement – for X+$75. When I called to find out why the premium was so much higher than they’d originally quoted, they said it was because I was taking Wellbutrin, an antidepressant.

They said after I’d been off the drug for six months, they would reduce the premium. So I called my doctor, asked him to make a note that I was taking myself off it and now, six months later, it’s time to file for a rate review.

I have no problem jumping through their hoops to get a $75/month raise. What I question is this:

Why is it more cost-efficient for the insurance company for the patient to not take a beneficial (and cheap) drug? Seems to me if the doctor and the patient agree that the drug could be helpful (in my case, Wellbutrin also suppresses appetite), there would be more risk to the insurer by not taking it. Surely obesity and depression are …

I could have told them that

Princeton University’s Bart Hoebel, Ph.D., has been studying sugar addiction, concluding that sugar works on the brains of rats as morphine and heroin do.

I’ve previously been sugar-free, once for as long as five years. Each successive time I’ve tried to cut it out completely, I’ve not been able to. That alone leads me to believe in the addictive qualities of C12H22O11.

When I quit using sugar before, I quickly and easily dropped 30 pounds. I haven’t duplicated that success on any successive attempt. I think if I saw some pounds vanish, I might be able to continue eating a sugar-free diet. Since I don’t, I figure ‘what’s the use?’ and continue on my merry – and sweet – way.

My sugar consumption is limited to candy and cookies. When I eat pie or drink soda, it’s always the sugar-free variety. My Coffee-Mate Hazelnut Creamer has no added sugar. Sugar-free candy has a laxative effect on me, so my candy bars are the Real Stuff.

It’s not like I’m chowing down on Milky Ways all day long, either…

An inspiring holiday activity

For the past four or five years, I’ve been invited to judge a Christmas decorating contest at Alderson Federal Prison Camp. Each of the eight 125-bed housing units is issued a small budget for supplies, which the inmates supplement with cardboard, poster paint, natural materials and found objects to transform their living spaces into a winter wonderland. The winning unit gets a pizza party.

Today’s the day.

In addition to decorating, they write and perform a skit based on each year’s theme (provided by the warden). Guaranteed tears.

In spite of the many challenges I’ve dealt with this year, I have much for which to be thankful. These women remind me every Tuesday night (when I go there to volunteer), and at Christmas – an especially difficult time for them – they manage to pull out all the stops and express extreme gratitude for their lives. Most of them are grateful to be locked up, instead of on the streets, as they recognize this “time out” as an opportunity to work on themselves and …

Where I'm supposed to be

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, really I do. But I must admit I'm looking forward to the time when I'm supposed to be home, because then all my family members and friends will be well!

I got a phone call as I was driving to Indiana and learned that my friend had been evaluated by hospice and they determined that her level of care was greater than an unskilled caregiver could safely and comfortably provide. My husband is a doctor, but all that means is that I can ask intelligent questions when I'm talking to a health-care professional.

So my friend has been in respite care all week and my responsibilities are taking care of her sweet little Bishon and visiting her as much as I want. I think I've been useful in at least one feeding tube situation at hospice.

It's been a good visit, with equal parts laughter and tears.

And plenty of food, unfortunately. What I've learned about myself this year is that when stress levels are as high as they can get, I don&…

Heading out again

I’m heading out for another short road trip, this time going north to Indiana to visit a dear friend who is quite seriously ill. Not sure if I’ll have the time or inclination to blog while I’m with her. Right now I plan to be home next weekend; that plan is subject to change, depending on her condition and if I’m still needed there.

I hope all your holiday preparations are going smoothly, that you’re finding bargain prices on the perfect gifts, that the parties are fun and you don’t worry too much about the food.

Life is short. Enjoy it while you can.

Good luck and have fun

Wendy, Jess and Adam are running half-marathons this weekend. I hope they all have a great time, stay safe and meet their goals.

While I’m at it, I’ll wish myself good luck and a good time for today, as I’ll be spending this afternoon going over the river (and the mountains) and through the woods to visit part of my family for Christmas.

Sometimes it does take a bit of luck to make the drive. Frequently there are solar-powered signs warning drivers of HIGH WINDS AHEAD, or DANGEROUS FOG.

If you’re traveling this weekend, be sure to buckle your seat belt, drive within the speed limit, watch out for the other guy and NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING!

Don’t I sound like a public service announcement? Heh.

Three squares

In prison they call it three hots, but since my breakfast is usually cold cereal, three squares is more descriptive.

Yes, I’ve finally reverted to my youth and picked up the three-meals-a-day habit again. Before my dad got sick, I usually ate one real meal daily – dinner – and grazed my way through the pantry from about 11 a.m. until bedtime. Dinner was served because my husband likes it; I certainly wasn’t hungry for it.

The grazing material was pretty healthful, but obviously wasn’t what my body needed. Yogurt, trail mix, low-fat cheese, fruit – all part of a balanced diet, but I never felt satisfied and was always looking for something else.

My dad (who is going home today – hooray!) got three calorie-controlled, sugar-free, low-sodium meals a day in the hospital, and he lost weight the whole time he was there. He’s so convinced that this is the right thing to do that he’s going to request menu plans before he leaves today, so he and his wife can continue doing the same thing at home.…

Mystery solved

Thank you, Greenmama, for identifying the friendly sea bird I met last week. Or was it the week before last? Time flies when you spend most of it in a hospital. The beach is at Indiatlantic, Florida, across the intercoastal from Melbourne and south of Cape Canaveral. I was astonished to see people sunbathing and surfing, as if it were the middle of summer. I assumed they were on vacation and were determined to show off a tan when they returned home, no matter how cold it was in the sunny south.

Thank you, too, to those of you who have left good wishes for me and my dad. I love comments – who among us doesn’t? – and feel I need to do some ’splainin’ about why I comment so seldom on your blogs.

Commenting, for me, is a s-l-o-w process. As a member of the dial-up-to-log-on set, nothing happens in a hurry on the internet, and getting a comment window to pop up is an agonizingly tedious process. Please assume that every time you publish a post, Debbi has left a supportive and enlightening co…

Where to begin?

Last time I posted I was on the Space Coast of Florida, shuttling between the hospital and my dad’s house. “Felix” – aka John – was improving but we still couldn’t figure out the low blood pressure. In addition to the low BP, his heart rate was mostly in the mid-40s.

I’ve talked to more health care professionals in the past week than I have in all my previous years, I think. After several conversations, I learned that in addition to digoxin, Dad had been taking another heart drug called Cordarone, and he had practically every side effect listed in the product information sheet for that drug. Once they took him off both those drugs, improvement was swift and dramatic.

Cordarone is long-acting and will stay in his system for about 10 more weeks, but already his heart rate has made it to the 60s. He was released from ICU to a regular room last Tuesday and was released to a rehabilitation hospital Wednesday. Dad, his wife and I had turkey and trimmings together at the rehab dining room (Dad…

Bloggers, meet Felix

I'm posting from my dad's home computer, which has spotty internet service. When it connects, though, it's fast! Fast and unreliable works for me, at least this week when I haven't had much time to park my ass in front of a monitor.

Dad's still in ICU, but - as the title of this post implies - making a pretty good recovery. Turns out he has pneumonia. In someone with compromised health, pneumonia is life-threatening. The first system that shut down was the renal. His kidneys no longer produced or filtered urine, and all the normal medications he was taking started building up in and poisoning his system.

So, pneumonia followed by medication toxicity on top of heart problems and you've got the geriatric trifecta. The health care team figured it out pretty quickly, got his kidneys working again (three rounds of dialysis) and started him on three different antibiotics.

The lingering problem is low blood pressure. He's on an IV medicine to keep it in the normal ra…

Made it ...

to Florida. My dad isn't doing well at all. It's hard to fight everything at once, and it seems that his heart, lungs and kidneys have all given up at the same time. He woke up for a little bit last night, but he's confused and very sick. The doctors say everything is reversible, but we need more time. More time ...

Thanks for your comments about the half. Finishing IS better than not finishing or not starting - thanks for that reminder, Marla. And seeing my dad and all his preventable health problems makes me more determined to do the right stuff to protect myself and defy my genetics.

Better with age?

Not so much.

I’d really, really hoped to PR the Richmond race. Didn’t happen, not by a long shot. Total time was 2:51:40 – more than a minute/mile slower than my first (and best) half-marathon in April, 2007.

I weigh 20 pounds more than I did a year and a half ago. I’m sure that’s the – um – bulk of the reason for the less-than-optimal performance. Training didn’t go as well as it could have either.

Here are the splits (sorry for the crappy screenshot):

I forgot to turn the Garmin off at the finish line, so that purple-shaded last lap isn’t correct.

I recommend the race, if you’re in the Richmond, VA, area next fall. The course is lovely, winding through some beautiful old neighborhoods and the biggest hill is the long one going down as you approach the finish line. The promised music-every-mile didn’t happen, but the weather forecast might have had something to do with that.

The forecast was much worse than the actual weather. I’d taken arm warmers and a hat (I never run in a hat), and I b…

Rain, rain, go away

Damn.
The forecast for Richmond Saturday morning looks pretty bad. Eighty percent chance of rain, slight chance of thunderstorms, 99 percent humidity … earlier this week it looked much better, all sunshine and roses. Can we turn back time?

Whatever. We’re leaving at noon to wend our way east and won’t be back until Sunday night. No blogging during the interim.

I dreamed I ran the race in two parts. I did 10 miles on Saturday, then came back and finished the final 5K on Sunday. Total time was 2:10. Which is IMPOSSIBLE, people, for a middle-aged slowpoke like me. There was some kind of hospital triage unit I had to go through in order to run on Sunday, and I was really proud of myself for figuring out what I needed to say in order to get through the proper channels and back out on the course. Weird dream.

I’m running with my husband’s cousin’s wife, who averages 13-minute miles. Since that was the dismal pace I ran last Sunday, we should have a good time. I’m just glad the election is over;…

One more training run

A five-mile speed drill today marks the end – let me say that again: THE END – of race training. The half marathon is Saturday morning. I have previously been psyched beyond belief to run a race. This time? Not so much.

(You can track results at that link; my last name is McNeer. Unbelievably, there is another Debbi(e) McNeer running that day, but she’s doing the 8K.)

Right now when I say “THE END” I think I mean it. I may be all out of races. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind. I’ve already told my husband I want to run a full marathon when I’m 60.

Believe me, I won’t spend the next two and a half years training for it.

Today is my miracle birthday. My bio-birthday is May 25 (and don’t you forget it!), but I really started living 18 years ago today. The backstory is here; it’s so much easier to send you to that link than to rewrite the details.

It’s just wacky to think I haven’t had a drink or a drug in 18 years. Most of the time I don’t even think about it, but it’s good to …

Rethinking my goals

The Richmond Half-Marathon is this coming Saturday, and I’d hoped to finish in 2:30.

Somehow – especially after yesterday’s abysmal 11-miler – I don’t think that’s happening. In fact, I’ll be glad to cross the finish line Saturday. Period. I might be limping along with the middle-of-the-pack marathoners, actually.

Perhaps a bad long run the week before a race is a Good Thing. When I learned to fly, I wasn’t allowed to solo until I’d recovered from a bad landing. I didn’t know that when I was taking lessons – my flight instructor only revealed it to me when I hopped out of the plane after executing three perfect solo touch-and-go landings.

So 11 slow, painful, crappy miles on Sunday might be just the thing I needed to get out of my system before next Saturday.

Someone tell me I’m right. Please?

Obnoxious-ness

As a formerly obsessed knitter (production has fallen significantly in the last couple of years), I know what it’s like to be obnoxious to a fault about one’s hobbies or interests. Running falls into the same category. That must be why I blog about it – I’ve worn out my face-to-face welcome and am reduced to assaulting the few strangers on the internets who happen to stop by.

Indulge me in one last comment on the political season, please, and I will return to the knitting and the running next week. I promise.

I’m a reformed Republican who voted for W twice although, in my defense, I only voted for him the second time because it was his mess and I thought he should clean it up. Since he didn’t, since he – incredibly – made an even bigger mess, I felt compelled to turn my back on him and his ilk. (I’m truly sorry for my transgressions, and grateful for the many campaign workers I met who have forgiven me.)

There are other reasons why I feel the Republican philosophy is no longer a good fit…

One more button …

Today’s the day: VOTE!

Democracy is …
the conviction that there are
extraordinary possibilities
in ordinary people.
~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

My daughter is worried about me. Today being election day here in the U.S., she’s wondering what I’m going to do with myself tomorrow. And for the rest of my life.

I’ve been busy since the most recent blog break began: busy with family illnesses (my dad is being released from the hospital again today, my mother-in-law continues to improve), with family fun (spent Halloween with my youngest granddaughter) and with many new friends working hard to elect a President.

I’ve helped make hundreds of campaign buttons, posters and signs; worked in our local Democratic headquarters; knocked on doors and made phone calls; put myself in situations that were uncomfortble because, for the first time in my life, it really matters to me who gets elected. And I believe my vote counts.

By uncomfortable, I mean I’ve been asking strangers if they’ve registered to vote. If they’re undecided, I ask …

Taking a break ...

Life around here is kinda crazy, and I need to take a blog break for a while. I can’t keep up with reading all of yours, let alone update mine and sometimes backing away is saner than trying to do it all.

Did I say that? I must be growing up. Heh.

Many, many thanks

To all of you who sent your good wishes and kept my dad in your thoughts and prayers last week – thank you so much. He has a lot of strength and will and heart, but I know prayer works and yours meant (and mean) so much to me. He’s happy to be home now, and I hope to visit him next month when he’s not in the hospital.

My mother-in-law is going home from her extended hospitalization this morning. My husband and I aren’t quite sure what we’ll do with the extra time we’ll have not worrying about a sick parent. His mother will continue to receive physical therapy for her fractured arm on an outpatient basis.

Yesterday my husband reached a major life milestone – he got old. (That’s what he says; he is sooooo not old.) He’s now 65, but is the youngest 65 I’ve ever known. And healthiest. His weight is normal, he walks six miles every day (6.2, actually) and the only factor limiting his reach for perfection is that he smokes cigarettes. He has smoked since he was 16; I doubt if he’ll ever quit.…

He is, perhaps, a cat

I’m thrilled to report that my dad has been improving rapidly and steadily since Tuesday afternoon. Monday was touch-and-go, but the doctors decided Tuesday to stop sedating him, remove the breathing machine and see what happened. What happened was miraculous, if you ask me. He went from total sedation to complete consciousness in less than half an hour, and by the end of the day he was flirting with his nurses – a sure sign that he was on the mend.

This is the second time this year he’s come back from the brink. The earlier situation, in June, was due to septicemic shock, and I think everyone thought that’s what this was, as well. Turns out he was drowning due to pulmonary edema – he released 14 liters of fluid in two days.

The list of Things Wrong With Dad continues to grow. In addition to diabetes and the attendant leg problems, bad knees, sleep apnea and obesity (he’s lost almost 70 pounds since June), he now has heart problems and COPD. (If you smoke, please stop. He stopped smokin…

Does it ever cool off in Florida?

Well, I said I was going to keep up with the laundry in case I had to make a quick trip south, but I neglected to do that and will have to use my dad's facilities while I'm here.

He's been having pretty good days, but very uncomfortable nights. Sunday night they moved him from a regular medical floor into Intensive Care. His wife called yestserday at 7:30 a.m., I left West Virginia at 9:20 and I saw him about 12 hours later.

I may have violated the speed limit getting here. And I certainly wasn't conserving fuel.

When I stepped out of the car at the hospital, I was immediately struck by the thought that my blue jeans were probably too heavy to wear in this climate. How long does it take you southerners to adapt? We can see our breath when we walk outside in the early morning in WV; about all I can see here are palm fronds waving in the sea breeze.

We don't know what's wrong with my dad. It's not the systemic infection we first feared; it appears to be heart-rel…

Too busy for words

Being a daughter, wife, runner and political activist takes up a lot of time, lemme tell ya. (That “lemme tell ya” phrase was typed in my best Sarah Palin voice.)

My dad remains hospitalized and he says the doctors aren’t sure what they’re going to do. He’s not critical, as he was in June, and I don’t need to be there. Yet. They’ve done exhaustive testing and discovered both infection and atrial fibrillation. The knee replacement may need to come out after all, but they have to address the cardiac issue first. And through it all, Dad says whatever they do they’d better be finished by November 4 because he has to vote. In case they aren’t, he’s applying for an absentee ballot.

Obama’s Campaign for Change at first decided not to spend much money in West Virginia, then upgraded us to a battleground state and we are scrambling for campaign materials. Shipment of materials is expected ‘soon.’ A surprising number of people visit our county Democratic headquarters every day begging for bumper …

So, so close

This morning’s “easy” run was to have been two miles at a 12:32 pace. Since my goal pace is considerably faster than that, I thought I’d try to step up both speed and distance, and do three miles in 36 minutes. In the end, I did neither.

Total distance: 2.5 miles. Total time: 30:42.

Before I’d gotten a quarter of a mile down the road it started raining. So my first decision was to only do two miles. But since that first quarter of a mile was a walking one, I decided I had to end with a quarter-mile walk, as well. Symmetry, I guess.

And once I’d finished 2.25 miles, I realized I was so, so close to making my 12-minute-mile goal that I just went ahead and tried. Didn’t miss it by much. I’ll blame it on the rain. Heh.

My dad’s back in the hospital again, and it might be the same system-wide infection he fought off in May. Some of the symptoms his wife described were eerily similar. I’m not, so far, making plans to go to Florida, but I think I’ll make sure the laundry is caught up and the hou…

Home for a rest

What an activity-packed weekend we had! I’m tired, tired, tired. The only thing on my agenda for today is laundry. Thank goodness for modern technology; the washer and dryer really do all the work. (Don’t tell my husband that; he always seems impressed when I report that I did three loads of laundry. Clearly, he never does it.)

The babies are adorable! So sunny and sweet. We heard one or two of them cry once or twice, but mostly they just look at you and smile. I have a no-baby-picture rule on the blog, or I’d show you just how darned cute they are. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Grandpa is totally smitten.

We walked with them late Saturday afternoon. They have a triple jogging stroller that turns heads wherever it goes. One little boy saw us approaching – Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and three babies – and said, “Oh. My. God.” He couldn’t have been more than four, and we lost all composure as we walked past him.

(At a very fast clip, I might add, and Mom says she slowed the pace…

Plan B

It’s always good to have a back-up plan, when you wake up late and it’s pouring down rain and the morning is overscheduled and a nine-mile run just ain’t gonna happen.

Everything we do at home today has to happen before 10:30 a.m., when we have to leave the house to do everything else we’re doing today. I woke up at 7:30, and a nine-mile run takes two hours when you include driving time to get to the flat road and back. That leaves only an hour to shower and pack for a weekend trip. That may be enough for you, but it’s not enough for me.

Besides, cramming a week’s worth of running into four days is an invitation to injury. Ask my knees. I iced the left one Monday night; last night I switched the ice pack to the right one. A day off will be good.

I checked MapMyRun for likely routes near Worthington, Ohio, and found plenty from which to choose. So my Garmin and my running gear will get packed after all, and I’ll take a little time away from the triplets to sweat.

Their dad is the one who i…

How cool is this?

No, literally, I mean how cool is this:

The next three days are going to be downright chilly here in the Middle of Nowhere. And we may even get some rain, which we can really use. Yesterday we saw places where you could walk across the river and not get your feet wet.

I’m cramming all of this week’s training runs into four days so I won’t have to worry about getting any of them in this weekend. We’ll be visiting the triplets (and their parents), and I doubt there will be time for a nine-mile run Sunday morning.

Today is an easy two-miler, which I will stretch to three because I just think two miles is hardly worth it. I have to drive two miles to get to a flat road that’s long enough to run two miles on. Might as well make it worth the gas it takes to get there, right?

I weighed 177 – again – this morning. Nice to know that eating pasta and rice and cereal, oh my, this week hasn’t made me balloon up to 200. Is it wishful thinking, though, to have hoped I might lose a couple, considering I…

Zoom … ka-boom!

Imagine my suprise as I set out on my seven-mile tempo run this morning to find this, at about the end of the first mile:

At the tippy top of the photo is a train moving along the tracks. The two empty coal cars (and an additional one not pictured) you can see braced against those trees were, until last night, moving along those tracks. The entire hillside is covered with coal.

It didn’t slow me down, though.

My goal was to jog a 15-minute warm-up and a 15-minute cooldown, on either side of five 11-minute miles. That would have been 85 minutes. While it didn’t work out the way I planned – still haven’t learned to pace myself – I actually beat my target time. Woo hoo! Or, rather, zoom-zoom!

Splits, anyone? 12:24, 11:05, 11:35, 11:56, 11:51, 11:55 and 12:52 – for a total of 1:23:41.

This has, so far, been my best week of training. I feel confident, strong, capable and running is fun. For all of those things to be true at the same time is pretty cool.

Now, though, it’s back to politics. (Big p…

Zoooooom!

Okay, y’all know I’m not the speediest of runners. I blame it on my short stature, advanced age and extra weight. But the combination of two months of training and muchcooler weather seems to have helped my pace tremendously. I used to struggle to run a 12:40 mile. Today? Not so much:





I did a total of 6.8 miles, most of it walking, but I was supposed to run two miles today at a 12:32 pace.

I think I smoked it. Heh.

If I can keep that up for 13.1 miles (BIG heh), I’ll not only PR in Richmond, but I’ll also make my goal of finishing in 2:30. In order to PR, I have to run in less than 2:38:24.

Eating a more normal diet is very helpful, and it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s psychological or physical. If I think I can run more efficiently if I have rice with dinner and a banana with my morning coffee, then that’s good enough for me.

The halfway point

Yesterday’s four-mile run (supposed to be at a 12:39 pace; I did it in 47:15 – an 11:49 pace) marked the end of eight weeks of race training. Eight down, eight to go. (My left ankle is fine; I thought I tweaked something in my left calf, but that appears to have been Something to Make Me Worry Unnecessarily.)

The next two months are quickly filling up with trips and activities. Good thing I’m not training for a tri – it’s harder to find places to swim than it is to find places to run.

I felt great yesterday, and can probably credit my change in diet. Having a banana about an hour before I headed out was a Good Thing. Do South Beach dieters ever get to eat bananas? (Apparently they do.)

My husband came home from a short trip yesterday, meaning I had to cook dinner. I find when he’s gone that I don’t cook much, if at all. I think the only time I used the microwave last week was to heat a cup of coffee, and the only time I used the stove was to make popcorn. Other than that, it was cereal, …

For your listening pleasure

I haven’t seen anyone mention iTunes’ new Genius feature yet. This is not to be confused with the genius tech people who will transfer all your files when you switch from Windows to Apple. No, no, no, this is something I’ve been wishing for since I got my very first Shuffle.

I should preface my remarks by saying I rarely listen to music when I run any more. I stopped when I had about six weeks left in training for my first half-marathon. The rules said you weren’t allowed to wear headphones, so I thought I should be prepared for silent runs. Turns out I prefer running sans music – one less gadget to deal with, I suppose. Also turns out that lots of runners break that rule. Who knew?

But I do pop the iPod into its little adapter thingy when I drive. To me, driving is boring and tedious and tiring. I do not love hitting the road. And living where I do (the Middle of Nowhere) means I have to hit the road to do anything – even my running routes are located near rivers that I have to drive t…

Ruh Roh

I never was a Scooby Doo fan. I’m from the Bugs Bunny/Chip ’n’ Dale/Tweety Bird (“I think I saw a puddy tat”) generation. But when I experience an “uh-oh” moment, I immediately think – and sometimes say – it in my best Scooby Doo voice.

If you’d tagged along on my walk/run Tuesday morning, you would have heard me. I can’t remember the exact moment, but somewhere along the 7.25 mile-route, I twisted my left ankle. It’s still a little twingy – is that a word? – so I’m postponing today’s four-miler until tomorrow.

Thank goodness for easy weeks, eh?

I wrapped it in an Ace bandage and hobbled around yesterday doing what I normally do. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) was called for, but Compression and about an hour of Elevation was the best I could do.

It’s definitely not a sprain, and is much better today. The swelling is gone, as is most of the pain. If I weren’t in training I’d probably test it. But I sure don’t want a major setback with just eight weeks until race day.

My South Bea…

A little knitting update

I’ve finally decided that, yes, I will make sweaters for the triplets for Christmas. My other three grandchildren live in warm climates and rarely need sweaters, but the littlest guys live in Ohio, where it gets c-c-c-cold in the winter. I’m using the Trellis pattern; that little shawl collar looks so manly to me.

The yarn is good old machine-washable and -dryable Lion Brand Wool-Ease. Any mother of triplets would appreciate an easy-care fabric. I’ve amassed quite a large quantity of the wheat color, so that’s what I’m using.

Unfortunately, I sliced a fingertip on a razor the other day and the bandage is getting in the way of my knitting. I’m hoping to remove it today and really get to work on Sweater #1 today.

This week is another easy one for running. I love how the training program throws a couple easy weeks – low mileage, no speed drills, just go out and run for the fun of it – into the mix. Each of this week’s three runs is just four miles, at a slow – 12:39 – pace. I know I’ll run …

Hot, hot, hot

The weekend weather, that is.

We went to the hills of Kentucky for a retreat, something we’ve done for the last nine years, and I don’t ever remember it being so hot, humid and uncomfortable. The park where we stay has hiking trails and a lake and a lovely front porch with big rocking chairs and I think the only time I was outside was when I absolutely had to be.

Oh, and Saturday morning for my long run of the week.

It was supposed to be eight miles. I did seven, letting the hills and humidity make up one mile, since the most logical route was an out-and-back from the lodge to the main entrance. Besides, I stretched my two-miler the previous day to four, so I knew my weekly mileage was covered.

My pace was supposed to be slow, and it was – 13:12 – much slower than I was supposed to go. The killer hills were brutal, and I ended up walking a lot. There were two very good miles, though, where I felt great and ran fast (11:17 and 11:55). I was dripping wet, soaked with sweat and gasping for …

Stay safe

Wishing everyone who lives in Ike’s path traveling mercies as they get out of his way, and a safe return home when the time is right.

I need to get a short run in this morning and then I’m heading for the hills for a little getaway. Looks like it’ll be raining all weekend – if it were race day, I’d be running in it, so I guess my long run will be a little soggy this week.

I did a total of six yesterday; the initial walking mile was pretty quickly done (for me), then four fast-ish ones (11:07) and then a final cooldown mile. After 4.5 miles I started feeling sick, and had to walk the rest of the way. My final time wasn’t pretty, not pretty at all.

During the fast part, I find myself glancing at the Garmin to see that I’ve been running a steady 10-minute mile for what seems like quite a while. It seems improbable to me that I can run that fast, and my mind takes over, shooting negative messages at me. My breathing becomes more labored (if that’s possible), my legs start aching, my feet fee…

’Tis the season

I’m in the midst of a political debate with a Republican friend who lives in Texas. I realize I’m not going to sway his thinking, and yet I get sucked in, defending my beliefs and – sometimes – attacking his. So it was a delight to see this quote from SparkPeople this morning:

It’s not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the ones most responsive to change.
~ Charles Darwin

(Disclaimer: I’m not using SparkPeople for journaling my food, but I still get their daily quote and recipe e-mails. Further disclaimer: I’m not using anything for journaling my food. Sigh.)

I happen to think that because the McPalin machine doesn’t have good solutions for what ails the country, they have stolen taken over the Obama “change” message as their own, assuming we the people will believe whatever they say.

Not me. And since this isn’t really a political blog, I’ll wrap this segment up by saying I’ll be glad when the political season is over. Because then the knitting season…

Ahem.

My dad, a longtime Democrat, says:

“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
And you can put McCain in the White House, but it’s still a Bush.”

Thanks, Dad!

Not feeling very inspired this morning

I need to run two easy miles today – two measly miles! – and I Just. Don’t. Wanna. Do. It.

Wonder how Nike would like that for a slogan? Heh.

I walked yesterday (a rest day) but at the .9 mile mark I started feeling sick. Again. I had tossed my morning eggs about an hour before I started walking; don’t know why. I had to turn around and get home. In addition to feeling nauseous, I was sweating profusely – far more than a less-than-one-mile walk would warrant.

Have any of you noticed that I’m not writing about weight training any more? Could be because I’m not doing any weight training any more. And it’s not that I don’t have time, or that running interferes with weight training, or that I injured a bicep. Oh, no, not at all. See the last six words of the first paragraph.

Wah, wah, wah.

The weather outside is frightful – rain and thunder – so my measly two miles will have to get done in between showers, I think.

I’m off to spend some time on iTunes. Shauna has a great post about fight songs …

No. Really. I am still here.

It appears that when life gets stressful, I clam up. That’s probably a Good Thing, as I tend to be impulsive and might write something I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for at a later time. The better part of valor is discretion, a tenet it’s taken me many, many years to adopt.

First things first: Happy birthday to Wendy! I’ve been trusting her running advice (and more) for way more than a year now. Just because she’s flipped over into that “don’t trust anyone over mumble-mumble decade” doesn’t mean I’m going to stop now. Click over and give her your good wishes. I’ll wait.

So. It appears that, for me at least, the Penguin is right: It’s difficult to lose weight during race training. He doesn’t say it’s impossible, but he does point out that losing weight is one thing and race training is another. Different goals demand different strategies. I’ve found it verrrrry difficult to stick with a South Beach eating plan while following my training schedule. Doesn’t matter if it’s physical…

Still here, just barely

Consider this a placeholder. Life is far too busy these days to post properly. In fact, if it weren’t so foggy and wet out this morning, I’d be trying to mow the lawn before we go to the hospital. Pretty soon I’ll have to bale it.

At any rate, my mother-in-law is still in the hospital with a broken arm, and my husband and I are spending several hours per day visiting her (and driving to and from the hospital). There have been some complications, nothing life-threatening but definitely worrisome.

I’m keeping up with the essentials: a daily shower, coffee in the morning, food and water for the dogs, laundry (although it doesn’t get folded), and running on the days I’m supposed to. I miss just hanging out at the computer for hours on end every morning. Heh.

The best-laid plans …

Just about all I’ve talked about for the past couple weeks is party, party, party. Then the morning after the party, you all get … nothing! Well, there’s a reason for that.

Yes, we had the party, and yes, it was a big success. Our family room is the perfect size for a dozen people (we could have squeezed a few more in), and the guest list included the cream of the Democratic crop in our little county.

We failed to include the elusive Unknown Factor as we planned the event. Sometime very early Thursday morning, my husband’s mother fell in her bedroom and severely fractured her right humerus. Her housekeeper didn’t find her until noon.

My husband, of course, spent the day and most of the evening at two hospitals, and my mind was definitely not on the party. My mother-in-law was initially taken by ambulance to our local emergency department and then transferred to a larger facility for the surgical repair of her arm yesterday afternoon.

She did very well with the surgery, spent last night in…

Upping my average

Today being Thursday, I stepped on the scale for the official weekly weigh-in. All those other days don’t count – it’s just information. Heh. Thursdays are for real.

175. Down another pound. When my body is cooperative, my typical weight loss is about half a pound a week. Metabolisms slow down as the years go by, so any of you youngsters out there reading this, take heed. Figure out what works for you now, get-r-done and avoid the lifetime struggle.

Easier said than done, I know.

Anyhoo … my average weight loss at this very moment is .533333 pounds per week.

The party is tonight! I am – amazingly – on schedule with the cooking and cleaning and Martha-Stewarting. Still have to figure out the photo shoot. Someone who shall remain nameless suggested having five people (I assume she meant guys) paint their chests, á la football fans, with the letters O-B-A-M-A. I reminded her that these guys were, um, old. One is on oxygen. I seriously doubt any of them would be willing to display – well, you…

What speech were they watching?

Sorry this is turning into a quasi-political blog lately.

My husband and I care very much about the outcome of the coming Presidential election, and since the Democratic convention is going on, that’s what’s on our minds. We flip back and forth between MSNBC and Fox, figuring we’ll get the partisan viewpoint from each side of the broadcast aisle.

I was at my prison volunteer gig for much of last night. When I got home, my husband urged me to stay up to watch Hillary. Based on the commentators’ build-up, he predicted I would be happy with what she was going to say.

(I’m not a Hillary fan, I don’t care for her stage presence – that head-bob bothers the heck out of me – and it’s difficult for me to listen to her strident voice. Thus, my husband knew I would need some convincing.)

So, I stayed up to listen. The way our family room is arranged, I can sit at the computer and not have to look at the TV. I was not swayed by crowd reaction or by her facial expressions. And I thought she said all t…

It's all about the food

The dieting portion of this blog is temporarily suspended. Continue reading at your own risk.

If you’re going to throw a party, be sure to have good food and plenty of it. That’s my daughter’s philosophy, and I think it’s pretty good advice.

The members of the group who will be here Thursday night are middle-aged and older, so I think mostly traditional appetizers are in order. We’ll have Swedish meatballs and those little sausages cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, along with artichoke dip, hummus with vegetables and crackers, a bowl of cinnamon-spiced nuts and a fruit pizza.

Cupcakes are on the menu. Cupcakes sure seem to be popular these days – Google Blogsearch came up with 1,181,447 hits and amazon.com is selling a boatload of cupcake cookbooks.

Mine are plain old chocolate, and will be decorated with the words “Yes We Can” on top. I think some will be iced in blue and some in white, with red lettering.

I’m also making pig candy. I first had this at one of my daughter’s Oscar parties s…

Almost party time

Have I mentioned that my husband and I are having a party to watch Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night? I’ve lived here 11 years, and other than our wedding party (held at his mother’s home) and our annual 4th of July family reunion, I can think of only one other “party” we’ve held, and that was for a group of knitting friends.

My husband really wasn’t part of that equation.

Anyway … we’re excited and I spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on our office/family room. After much trial and error, I think I found the solution to hanging 12 photos, all the same size, so that they a. don’t fall and b. are equidistant apart. Sticky-back Velcro works like a charm. Of course, the frames (simple, black, wooden, ordered online a couple weeks ago) are very lightweight. During the initial stages of trying to use actual picture frame hangers, three frames fell, resulting in broken glass. I bought cheap Dollar Store document frames to replace the glass. It’s been two days now and every…