Thursday, March 29, 2012

For Long You Live and High You Fly

My hyacinth - complete with garden bugs on it.

When Coadster was very young, she used to get upset and I'd work with her on her breathing to help calm her down. "Okay. Let's try it. Take long, deep breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth."

Because Coadster is about the most stubborn person I've ever met, she eventually told me, "No! I won't breathe and you can't make me!" I would try really hard not to laugh, while in my head thinking,

"Okay, then. You stop breathing and let me know how that works out for you..."

I'm sure you like looking at photos of my bleeding heart(s).

No one ever learns how to breathe, they just get a slap on the ass, and on they go...Breathing. But like everything, there are ways to screw it up...And if there's a way to screw something up, chances are, I'm really, really good at it.

When I was a patient advocate at the clinic, I helped people breathe their way through uncomfortable procedures. The correct technique can calm a person down and help them manage their pain. The wrong kind of breathing can do just the opposite.

I'm fine if I'm doing moderate exercise at a decent speed, but when I try to keep up with the faster kids and start to push my limits, my breaths become faster and more shallow to match my leg speed. What that does, is keep me from getting the good red blood cells from the bottom of my lungs to my muscles, my legs start to fatigue, I don't get enough carbon dioxide out, it makes me panicky and eventually will cause me to cry and slow WAY down. Once, when Coadster and I were in an accident and I had a severe concussion, I hyperventilated so badly, that it seemed as though I was having a seizure, and the nurse literally made me breathe into a paper bag.

Now that I'm taking myself completely out of my comfort zone for speed in running and biking, I've become all too aware of how badly I breathe during a hard effort. So, now I'm trying to teach myself to breathe better. I am working on taking long, slow breaths that come from the diaphragm and are exhaled completely. I am finally following my own advice. I have no idea how well I'll do during races, when I'm exhausted and not thinking straight and can't remember my own name, let alone how to practice "low" breathing, but I'm going to try. A long, deep breath. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. It seems like such a simple thing...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.

I'm not quite sure if Archie is hung-over here, or if he just has a lot on his mind right now...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

I'm pressed for time...Again.

We had a bike race on Sunday and this is what if looked like.

The Guy got third in his category.

I was 5th from last...Which is much better than last year when I was always the very last. I'm much stronger now, but still not able to keep up with the pack. There was a crazy big hill that did me in. I'm going to start going on group rides with the women racers in town and see if that helps me at all. So many things to work on, so little time...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It Keeps You Runnin'. Yeah, It Keeps You Runnin'

Here's me trudging through the Spillway on my 25K

So, last Saturday The Guy and I ran our 25K part trail race. It was interesting...

The race started off well. I felt strong, I was keeping up with some of the faster people and it was warm out...A little too warm.

I handled the first trail section and then we hit the road toward Solon. There was one guy who kept trying to run with women and since we were going at a similar pace, I got to hear him creeping on every woman he could, with the same stories and lines, "Yeah. I've been in the air force for over twenty years, so I'm used to do this with a full pack on my back..." After the third or fourth woman, I wanted to head him off at the pass and just say his line for him. Who ever thought of an endurance race as a place to pick-up women?

The Guy finishing up his race on the last trail.

After the 8th or ninth mile, I realized I had been going way too fast, and I was weak and hot. I tried to slow down and I had a belt with bottles of Heet I was drinking throughout the race, but it was too late. I was suddenly so weak and tired, I could barely walk, let alone run. I kept plugging along and even puked at one point, until I got to about the 13th mile mark, where we went through the finish line and were supposed to continue on, but I just couldn't. I felt like I was going to pass-out.

I went back to the car where The Guy was. He had just finished the race a five minutes or so before, and he was changing and was planning to wait for me. I felt so horrible. I was exhausted and weak and embarrassed and pretty much broke down and cried the minute I saw him.

The Guy was wonderfully supportive, as usual. We sat on the grass for a while and he made me drink water. He wanted me to eat, but I was afraid I'd just puke it back up. After we got in the car and started driving home, I got even worse. I was super hot and my vision was all wonky and I realized that I was passing out. I crawled in the back of The Guys car and fainted back there. I came to at some point and kept drinking water and took a shower and then a nap and then drank more.

So, lesson learned? The next time I do an endurance race, don't try and keep up with marathoners and train by running longer distances, so I can get a better feel for how fast I should go. I did love the race and I plan on doing it again next year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clean. I Don't Wanna Be

Archie trying to be incognito.

The Guy: Churlita! Why is Stinky vacuuming? Is it the apocalypse?

Me: I don't know. Do you need me to hold you?

The Guy: Maybe...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going Cafe to Cabaret

So, Coadster has been in Europe for a little over a week now. She seems to really love London. She told me that if I ever got out of the US, she thinks I would really love visiting Cambridge.

The Guy joked that when Coadster went to France, she'd fit right in with her surly attitude, but judging from the pic she had taken of herself in front of the Louvre, she might just be a little too dorky for Parisians.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stand, You've Been Sitting Much Too Long. There's a Permanent Crease In Your Right and Wrong

Stinky and some of her friends at a basketball game.

Last Friday I started reading By the Iowa Sea, by Joe Blair. I was talking to Stinky about it when I got home from work and told her it was about a man who had a son who was profoundly autistic and how hard and wonderful all at the same time it was and how it affected their family.

She said, "Hmm. That reminds me of something that happened at lunch today..." She went on to tell me that a girl with Down Syndrome came over to the end of their table, where some freshman girls were sitting. The girl asked them if she could sit with them, and the freshmen told her there was no room - even though there obviously was. Stinky and her friend were horrified and followed the girl to a table where she sat alone and started crying. They asked her if she would like to sit with them and she told them, "Yes. That she was too scared to even ask the seniors..." Stinky said she was a very sweet girl, who told them all about her life and the things she loved.

Then, Stinky and her friend asked one of the very large and imposing football player guys to go over and have a talk with the freshman girls, because they thought it would be more effective than if they said something. The football player went over and told the freshmen girls that what they did wasn't cool and that they should be ashamed of themselves. I suppose if peer pressure can be used for evil, it's nice to at least see kids trying to use it for good too...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Love Is All Around, No Need to Waste It.

Here's me after my first bike race of the season.

So, I road raced for the first time in a long time. I only did 3 last year and each one I was either last or second to last and I'm pretty sure I got dropped from the pack first almost every race. Since I've been trying to actually train this season, my goal was to stay with the pack for the entire race. I didn't reach my goal, but I was the last person to get dropped from the pack and I had them in my sights until the very end. I was 10th out of 15. Not bad for me, and I think I can build on it.

Here is The Guy up close and personal after the race.

The Guy was recovering from a cold, so he didn't do as well as he wanted, but it's the first race of the year for most of us, so no one took it all that seriously.

The race was held out in the country by Hills, Ia. It was part VERY hilly gravel and part pavement, with 30 mile per hour winds. My ass was officially kicked by the end of it.

After the race, we went out for Mexican food and came home and took a nap. Even after the nap, I was pretty wrecked. We watched some Mary Tyler Moore episodes. The Guy has the firs two seasons. The Guy and I were talking about for people our age, MTM has to be one of the ultimate nostalgia shows...Along with The Carol Burnett Show and M*A*S*H*.

Here's our dorky after-race self-portrait.

On Sunday, we took our time getting going and then drove to the trails we will be racing on next week. We did about 10 miles of the course. The Guy felt pretty good, but my legs were still dead from the bike race the day before.

In the evening, The Guy went to play pool with his friend Bry and Stinky and I were finally going to watch the movie, Tangled together. Of course, 20 minutes into it, one of Stinky's friends showed up and off she went. I went ahead and finished watching the movie by myself. I thought it was pretty damn cute.

Friday, March 09, 2012

I Used to Hurry a Lot. I Used to Worry a Lot.

Here's me "pretending" to look cold. It was actually windy and freezing that day.

Here is a quick overview blog post. Coadster is now in London. She is afraid to fly, so I was worried for her, but it sounds like she did just fine.

Here is a picture of me pointing to a bald eagle flying overhead.

Last weekend, The Guy and I ran the full 25K course of the race we're doing on St Patrick's Day. At least the last 5 miles of it are very technical trail running. After I was really tired, it was a big challenge to lift my legs enough to get over all of the roots and rocks on the trail. I did run the whole thing, but it REALLY kicked my ass.

The Guy showing off his new drink holster. I think he's ready for his spaghetti western now.

Saturday night we went out for dinner to a new place in town called Moon Raker's. Our friend E. met us, and we had good food, a great talk and a few drinks. I was pretty migrainey all weekend, so we went home early.

Me all splattered with road muck.

On Sunday we rode out on a gravel road course outside of Hills, Ia. It was cold and snowy and muddy, but it was a nice short ride.

That night, I made tilapia reubens for the first time. I don't think the tilapia had a strong enough taste to compete with everything else in the sandwich, but it was still good and it was worth a shot...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Hey Baby, We Like Your Pants

Here are some turkey tracks in the snow.

I've been a baaad blogger so far this week. I took yesterday off work, because it was in the 60's here and I wanted to bask in it. It was lovely.

Today we have sexual harassment training. I think they should really call it anti-sexual harassment training, because I doubt they will teach us to tell our male bosses to wear tighter pants, so we can throw pens down in front of them and watch them bend down and pick them up. If I'm wrong on that, I'll be sure to report back.

Friday, March 02, 2012

And Feed Them On Your Dreams

Archie is a cranky old cat, when he first wakes up.

Last night I went on a lovely run with my friend E. after work. When I got home, Stinky was working on her financial aid form. Since it was her first time, she had used a .com address, instead of a .gov. She was on some page that looked like the FAFSA, but turned out to be something that you were supposed to pay for in the end. She had almost finished filling it out, before we figured out what was wrong. So, then she had to fill out the real form. Poor thing.

Heidi is such a pretty girl.

Luckily, Coadster called right when we needed her, and she helped Stinky get it all done. Coadster seemed pretty happy to help. She always likes to think that Stinky and I are helpless without her, even though it isn't true...For the most part.

Archie checking out the tea tray The Guy brought in for me on Sunday morning. Don't worry, he didn't fall in.

Tonight The Guy and I are taking Stinky out for her birthday dinner almost 6 months late. She went to a football game on her actual birthday, and then when Coadster and her boyfriend came home that weekend, Stinky forgot to ask for the time off of work. So, we went to dinner without her and then let her know later how nice her birthday meal had been. We're really sweet like that.

Anyway, we're finally making up for it tonight. She wants to go to a place called Blackstone and asked if she could order the appetizer of cheese they set on fire and everyone has to yell, "opa!" before they put it out. She likes to live on the edge, that one.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Every Day Is Dreamlike. It Seems Like

The Guy pointing to one of my favorite pieces in the show.

Sooo, The Guy's ex had her BFA art show and it just happened to be located in the building where I work.

The Guy's ex making her braids look like Medusa snakes, next to her self-portrait.

Since my building is only open during business hours, and those just happen to be the same hours both The Guy and our friend, G. work, I asked my boss if I could borrow a key and last night, The Guy, his ex and our friend G. and I all snuck into the building to check out the show.

G. was supposed to be making jazz hands but it looks more like she's getting ready to grapple.

Both G. and The Guy were very happy to be able to see the show.

The Guy's ex playing with one of my co-worker's ruler/magnifying tool.

When we finished looking at art, The Guy said he wanted to see where I worked, so we creeped around the cubicles and The Guy's ex bemoaned the fact that there were candy dishes, but they were all empty.