March 2006 Archives

Ebb and Flow

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A very wise woman once told me that everything in the universe ebbs and flows, like the tides. It is a normal, natural process that everyone and everything goes through. It's part of the cycle of life.

I'm ebbing right now, ebbing hard. I am fighting overwhelming emotions tooth and nail. My body is coiled tightly, ready to explode at the slightest touch. My stomach hurts, my head hurts.

I haven't been reading any blogs. I've been ignoring the general world, as much as possible, concentrating on making it through each day without simultaneously imploding and exploding all at once.

Surprisingly, I've managed to get out for two runs this week. One was a sunrise run with my "summer-morning" running partner, Paki, for about 2.5 easy miles. One was a by-myself sunset run at Sabino Canyon, focusing on feeling my body move, for about four miles. I have been so rigid, I needed to move. I stopped about 1.5 miles in to sit down on a rock in the middle of the creek, absorbing the water flowing, the wind breezing through my hair, the clouds floating in the sky.

I need patience to get through this, patience I don't have right now. I am too scared to be patient.

I decided last night that I need to be running. Above all else right now, I need to be running. Running is, as Nancy Toby would say, money in the bank. It's money in the bank of my self-esteem. Running reminds me that I am alive, that I can move, that I have choices. Running releases endorphins, giving me a desperately needed positive boost. Running reminds me that I am capable, confident. Running reminds me of how far I've come, emotionally and phsyically. Running is my meditation. I need to run.

Woo hoo! What a blast. We went on a spur-of-the-moment skiing trip to Arizona Snowbowl, in northern Arizona. Turns out Johnny was right: the ski area's last day of operation for the season was today. We got up there just in time!

Ash has been skiing before - sort of. When he was one, Johnny finagled him into ski boots and helped him slide down the hill behind our house. Last season, when Ash was two, we went to Snowbowl, and once again Johnny helped him ski a little. But this was the first real time Ash has been skiing. He spent most of the time crying and whimpering, yet laughing at the same time. On our last run together as a family, Ash started sliding about 10 feet at a time, from Johnny to me, then back to Johnny - and he loved it. It was stressful for me, though, because Ash spent most of the time seemingly upset, and I had to spend most of my time stopped on the slope in a wedge - and that really hurt my knees. So it was tough, but ultimately fun.

Then Johnny took Ash back down to our hotel in Flagstaff, where Johnny's mom was waiting (she came along on the trip). Ash and Nana hung out for the afternoon, while Johnny and I skiied our hearts out. While waiting for Johnny, I got in a few runs. It was so warm and sunny, great spring conditions. The snow was perfect. I found that it was actually harder to ski weighing 65 pounds less than the last time I went - the shaped skis did not bounce around as easily. I am really really sore! I was a little worried about my healing hip (from last week's fall), but I didn't fall on the slopes, and my hip is healing well. So that's good.

We all headed down to the outdoor hot tub after, which felt so good on my aching body. Then we had a great dinner at Chili's - and I sure enjoyed the Presidente Margarita!!! Once we got back to the hotel, I totally crashed - I fell asleep on the bed with the lights and TV on, and everyone awake and talking!

This morning, we headed to Late for the Train, our favorite coffee shop and then to Thorpe Park before heading home. It sure does feel good to back in Tucson. "Super Ash" decides to help feed Beautiful, our hungry cat.

So it's been an entire week without running - too long! I need to get back out there. I bailed on Kiera this weekend to go skiing (Johnny missed freshly baked scones!), so I owe her one. The sun is setting later, which gives me more time in the evening. I want to get back into a fitness state of mind; I feel lazy and un-fit. I don't like feeling that way. But right now I am too exhausted to think about it :)


Here are the rest of our vacation pictures!

Skiing, Baby!

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Woo hoo!!! Tax refund came in, and Johnny has decided that we need to ski this weekend before all the snow in Northern Arizona melts! Nothing like spur-of-the-moment trips...

Hope to have lots of picture come Monday!

Embracing the Fear

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Beautiful Post on the idea of operating from a "scarcity" viewpoint vs. an "abundance" viewpoint. I'm sure most of you have read it already (as I'm behind on blog-reading), but I wanted to link to it.

Because I am a curious person, I want to take a leap of faith and attempt to change my worldview, at least for a trial period, to see what it's like to look at things from an abundance viewpoint. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to do that, but it will be soon.

Do you remember that part in one of the Indiana Jones movies where he has to cross a giant ravine? He and the girl think there is no way across. But he looks at it critically, and - strangely - throws some gravel across the ravine. And the stones reveal a bridge! It's painted to blend in with the cliffs of the ravine, so it looks as though there is no bridge. He reaches his leg out...and hesitates...before dropping it down - on to a solid bridge.

I have spent this last year doing just that - stepping out on to bridges that appear to not exist. I have thrown the gravel across the bridge, and know it's there, but that first step - that first leap of faith - is the scariest. I've come to almost enjoy it. Johnny calls it "embracing the fear."

she sits there
the breeze across her face
holding the hand of fear

she looks to the sky
knowing, knowing
it will turn out alright

escaping sometimes
when she knows it's safe
even though it's not easy

perserverance is her choice
faith in life and her breath
reassuring the fear

it's hard to embrace
the fear we have
she knows she can

she can
she will
she does

If there is nothing else in my life I can model for my son, it is how to love, and how to embrace fear - and move with it, beyond it.

Thank you

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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful words in regard to my last post. They are much appreciated.

Life is extremely busy this week - I have not had a chance to catch up on anyone's blogs - I want you all to know that I'm still here - I'm thinking of everyone as I get through this crazy week.

Running side note: none - this road burn hurts like hell (am I just a wimp?). I am planning on running Saturday morning with Kiera...

Greedy Follow-Up

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I posted that link to the "Greedy" article for a reason.

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating an emotion I had felt for most of my life, but had been unable to name. Finally, I realized it was "greedy." Then I came across that article, and it really hit home.

I am greedy with almost everthing, but most especially: food, running, reading and loved ones' attention. I shovel food into my mouth, barely taking time to breathe. I can't share my food. I am more than happy to go into the kitchen and make food for Ash, but share what's on my plate? Not likely. Running: I shovel running into my life, barely taking time for anything else (as I can, with the exception of being injured). My time for my running cannot be used for anyone else. Johnny wants a run? Tough. This is my time. If I'm reading a book? This is my escape, and I need more. Don't talk to me. Around my close ones? Don't you dare pay attention to anyone else. Unless I am reading. You are not allowed to have anyone else. (Ash is sole exclusion - when he is around, I am okay with not being the center of attention.) But mostly? Me, me, me. Mine, mine, mine. It's ugly, but it's the truth.

Emotions closely related to this: jealousy and panic.

It's a discomfiting to think about. I am very uncomfortable with recognizing this emotion. I wasn't going to share it on my blog, because it's not "nice." It's a yucky emotion. It's something I don't want to admit to dealing with. But then that "greedy" article came out, and I had to share.

I'm not sure yet just how to get rid of this. I think being aware is the first step. Next, I think I need to find the sanity in it. What does being greedy, jealous and/or panicked bring to me? Why is it beneficial? I believe that there is sanity in everything humans do - even the "bad" or "ugly" things. If I can find the sanity, then I can find how I can meet that need with good emotions, or better actions, anyway.

This is a sticky thing for me. This is hard and tough and I don't know quite how to proceed. I think I just need to think of integrity with every action I take. I need to think even before I sit down to eat. Before I lace up my shoes for a run. Before I pick up a book to read. I need analyze the why - the sanity - and work on my thought processes in regard to that.

Bloody Hell

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What a fantastic run.


Johnny wakes me up at 6:15, "Don't you want to go running this morning, honey?" I mumble and roll over, so he closes the door. Two minutes later, my eyes pop open. Johnny forgot to put the heavy blanket over the window, so it's bright and sunny in the room. I grumble and curse female hormones that make me extra tired and cranky as I pull myself out of bed. I stumble into the bathroom, and Johnny quickly takes the warm spot in bed I just vacated. Ash is happily munching away at breakfast while watching Toy Story. I prep for the run, slowly. Brush teeth, eat a zbar, get water and gel, put on clothes (make sure they are clothes I would be really cold in), put on NEW SHOES. I prep for going to the fitness center after, to soak in the hot tub - pack my swimsuit, towel, change of clothes, etc.

The drive to Sabino Canyon is uneventful. Clouds are beginning to gather around the mountains, drawn to the summits like magnets. I dressed appropriately (for once!), as I am freezing to begin with. I strap on my little fanny pack, attach my pepper spray to my waist and slip my hand into the water bottle strap. I decide that since I ate a zbar within the last hour, I will wait to take my gel until I hit the Phoneline Trail.

I plan on doing the Phoneline Cutoff/Rattlesnake Canyon loop - the last time I did this was a few weeks ago with Lisa and Kiera. It hurt my itb, and Olga suggested I avoid hills while healing (thank you, Olga!). So today will be a test of both my new shoes, and my itb.

I head out the dirt road on the east side of the parking lot. The trail is strangely quiet. Again, I am struck by how bouncy and springy and sprightly I feel in my new shoes. The wind whips my hair out of my visor, and my nose begins running almost immediately. I warm up quickly though, and before I know it, I am at the creek crossing right before Phoneline. The creek is flowing! Beautiful, clear, snowmelt, making it's rapid way down to the thirsty desert. I run over the bridge, marveling at the sunlight glinting off the water. I hit Phoneline, and immediately begin walking, while I eat my gel.

I hike my way up, up, up till I hit the ridge where Blackett's Trail takes off. My heart and breathing seem to be just right - I am getting a great workout, but not overdoing it. I pass Blackett's and enter Sabino Canyon proper - I can hear the water raging below! Wait, I can hear the water raging below. Yikes! In order to cross the canyon and access Rattlesnake, I have to cross Sabino creek - and there is no bridge. I am used to have no water in the creek, so crossing consists of walking across sand. But not today! I wrestle with what to do: make my workout three times as big as I was planning, by going all the way to the stop of the tram road, an additional five-ish miles and lots more vertical, or risk getting my feet and shoes soaking wet in snowmelt. Darn it! I forgot to pack my sandals, which means if I get my shoes wet, I'll have to drive with cold, wet feet, then hit the hot tub, then put on my cold, wet shoes to get home. Oh, man.

I reach the junction with the cutoff trail, and see some people below. Well, somehow, someone made it across the creek! It couldn't be too bad. I launch off Phoneline, down the cutoff. Whee!!! I keep trying to tell myself to hold back, be careful so I don't hurt my itb. The trail is steep and rocky, and I am having a blast. I reach the hikers, and they inform me that they crossed at Sabino Dam. This is not good news: the dam is a half-mile in the opposite direction of where I am headed, which will add an additional mile - half of which I usually refuse to do, because it's a "scary" riparian area - but oh, well. If it keeps my feet dry, I'll do it.

I make it down to the creek - I can either try to cross here, or add that extra mile. I decide to give it a try. What an adrenaline rush! I am usually a horrible creek crosser. It's one of Johnny's skills, but me - no way. The water is deep, and I have to jump across six or seven boulders to hop across. I get on the first one, bounce to the next. Good job. Then s t r e t c h ... there's the next the one! Hop to the top, and almost slide right off. My shoes grip well, and I take a deep breath and contemplate where to make my next move. I hesitate here, I am scared, but I reach out and secure my right foot on a partially submerged boulder. When I am convinced I am safe, I swing my left foot out and quickly jump to the other side. Whew, I made it!!!

Drained from the heart-pumping creek crossing, I jog across the road and over to Rattlesnake. I love this trail - although I refused to take it for years because it seemed isolated and like mountain lion habitat. But it is just such a great, fun trail. Easy elevation changes, it meanders through a small side canyon, then up and over a small ridge back down to the tram road. Just a blast.

I take off. My itb isn't even twinging - by this point with Lisa and Kiera, I was really pushing through the pain. I am so happy to be running again. I run and run and run and run. At points, I can tell I am reaching 10-minute-miles again, finally. I am gliding through the air, galloping up the canyon, breathing deeply, feeling the air through my hair, feeling alive. It is spectacular. This is why I hike, this is why I run, this is why I live.

I make it out to the road, and head down the hill, on the dirt shoulder. I notice rain in the valley below - rain! In Tucson! Again, within a week! Oh, how beaut...

*Oof*

I am airborne, my entire body horizontal, flying. I try to figure out what the best way to land would be, and I manage to throw my right arm and leg out and down to break the fall. I skid for a good six inches and just lie there. My body stings. I sit up slowly and breathe. I feel tears gathering in my eyes. What an incredible run, and I fell! I fell! A man asks if I am okay. I say I'm fine. He wants to know if I want help up, but I decline. I want to wallow in my misery for a few more minutes.

I get up gingerly and begin limping down the road. There is a little more than a half-mile to the finish (a half-mile, that's it! and I fell! on the road!) I am sad - no hot tub for me this morning. A woman coming up the road calls out to the man, asking if I am okay. He tells her I'm fine. She says she wasn't sure if I fell, or if I was just sitting there. She reaches me, notices the blood running down my leg and offers me an unused tissue. She tells me she's a physician, and makes sure I just tripped and that I wasn't dizzy or anything. She says I should keep pressure on my knee, and I wonder how I am going to do that while walking down the road. I want to keep going, but she keeps talking. She is nice, but I want to go. Finally, she gives me well wishes and continues on her way.

The break with her was good enough, that I am ready to run again. I want to run. Running felt so good. So I do. I start with a jog. Then I speed up. I am running again, and it feels great. When I am almost to the visitor center, I see a woman starting her run - she looks just like Paula Morrison, an amazing Tucson runner. She smiles, then looks down and sees my knee. She looks back up at my face in horror, then continues on her run. I laugh, and go in search of a first aid kit.

No first aid kit to be found, so I head home. Johnny and Ash are surprised to see me so early, and Ash gasps at my boo-boos. Johnny makes sure I don't have any broken bones, then wants to know what I think of my shoes, since I fell in them and all. I tell him they are so incredibly awesome, my run was so incredibly awesome, I had no itb pain - NONE - and I love them.

Then I ask him for first aid help. He tells me to shower off first, so I do. Then we take stock of our first aid kit. It is sorely lacking. Johnny goes to Walgreens, and gets an industrial-size tube of neosporin, some gauze pads and ace bandages to hold it all in place. He also gets fun toys for Ash.

He bandages me up, then takes off for his run - a gorgeous run hike through desert snow.The link above has the rest of the awesome photos.

I adore my new shoes. My itb issues seem to be at bay. I will stretch and keep taking care of myself, so the itb pain stays away. I ran today - I didn't just jog. I ran.

I'm back!

(Albeit extremely cranky and grumpy this afternoon. I am still cursing those female hormones. I just want to crawl into bed to hide and cry. Even though I had an awesome run. I hate PMS. At least I got to have some fresh-baked, fat-free brownies this afternoon.)

(This picture is linked to a site with some great info on gallbladder stones, gallbladder disease, etc.)

Goodness gracious, me oh my.

Well, too many low-fat brownie sundaes over the past two weeks led to a god-awful gallbladder attack yesterday afternoon. I ended up going home from work early, and just curled up in bed, willing it to pass quickly. I took some Tylenol, and by the time we were due at Johnny's uncle's house for St. Pattie's Day dinner, I was okay enough to attend. I spent most of the evening curled up in a chair, playing with a new-born cousin from New York. Thankfully, Johnny's nana saved some boiled potatoes for me, so I was able to eat some (completely fat-free) dinner.

This was a good reminder that too much food, even low-fat food, is not healthy for me. I had been eating too much food these last two weeks, and most of it was borderline low-fat. I will be paying much closer attention these next few months, making sure that I eat mostly fat-free, with the occasional low-fat treat thrown in.

This weekend is our local outdoor recreation store's annual Spring Parking Lot Sale. It's gigantic. You have to drive blocks away to find a parking spot. The prices this year seemed higher than in years past, but I still found a good deal on...NEW RUNNING SHOES!!!!Montrail Hardrocks - I liked my Montrail Masais, but they didn't have enough support for my over-pronating feet (yet another word pre-fixed with over- to describe me...).

Of course, I had to take them out pronto. So I went for a 4.2 mile run (my longest in about a month, woo hoo!) to test them out. Here's how the run went:

Boy, it sure is cold in this wind! Whew, turned the corner, much better. Boy, it sure is hot with a tailwind! I feel springy, bouncy. This is fun! I can run! Whew, my heart rate seems to be skyrocketing in this heat. I want it to be cold again. Can't wait to turn around and hit the head wind. My feet are hot. But, wow, I am running! The front of my knees hurt. I need to run more. I want a Garmin, I want to keep track of my heart rate. Boy, I sure am pushing it, I should back off. My lower back feels funny. Oh! The pedestrian bridge. Wait, what's that sign? I'll catch my breath while I read it. They are closing another section of the river path for "improvements?" But I like running on dirt! Okay, let's keep going. Over the pedestrian bridge, and back west on the river path. Oohh, a head wind. Oh, I'm finally drying and cooling off. I wonder how the shoes will do on this gravel path? Man, that wind is strong. Wait, there's gravel under my feet? These shoes are so stable! But my left leg and lower back feel funny. Ooohhhh, because the shoe is pushing my body into alignment. Wow. Cool. Keep breathing, in two three four, out two three four. Good job. Why are there horses on the river path? Grr. They have the entire river bed to themselves! Great, this one's antsy. It better not run me over. Damn that head wind. I'm tired, I want to go home. No, Angie, you need to get used to running again. Plus, these shoes are too cool. Don't turn around early. Good job! Keep it up, honey, doesn't this feel great? Mmmm, shade from trees. Stretch it out. This is only four miles, you can do it. Oh, the horses finally made it into the wash. I want to gallop like that! Okay, let's do it! Whheee!!!! The zone. I am in the zone. Mmmmmm. In two three four, out two three four. Stand up straight, suck in your abs. I wonder what good form is? I wonder how bad my form is? Hey, my knee isn't hurting and I've gone longer than three miles! Okay, almost home. I know you are tired, you can have a cool-down once you hit the front of the apt complex. Yeah, that's it! Pick up your speed up this last hill, woo hoo!!! Hey, what a great adrenaline rush! Keep it up, whoo-eee! Nah, skip the cool down, go faster, faster, run all the way to the back, you can trust these shoes, yay! Whew. Made it home. Good job. Take a walk. Okay, now stretch.

I cannot wait to get these suckers out onto an actual trail. The stability was incredible. I felt like these shoes were actually holding my feet, keeping them where they needed to be. I felt like they were supporting my body, and that it was okay to run - I wasn't pounding my body into the pavement. I ran for 4.2 miles in 47:41 - 11:21-minute-miles, woo hoo!!! Okay, I know that's slow to most of you RBFers, but I've been running really slow this last month, so this was an awesome pace! I was running about a minute per mile faster during my training for Pemberton, and I want to get back to that. Today, I was still recovering from the gallbladder attack, and am so happy that I got out to run.

Tomorrow morning, I will either be doing a spinning class or taking these suckers out on the trail. I mean, really, is there a choice there?! I had been planning on the spinning class all week, but I have got to hit the trail. Then maybe I'll hit up the hot tub at the community center...mmm...hot tub....

Oh! Speaking of the community center, on Thursday night, Johnny took me to show me their fitness facilities. I'm not one for working on machines (although I do like the workout spinning gave me, it was a little disconcerting to be a hamster in a wheel). But they have these cool machines to specifically work your hip ab/adductors!!! They were awesome! And so much easier than what I was doing at home. I didn't have to worry about being coordinated :p. I also ran about 15 minutes on a treadmill. It was fine for about the first 5 minutes. Then it sucked. I'll probably use the recumbant bike machines and/or the ellipticals in the future. What a great resource for cross-training, I am so excited. Plus, they have Pilates classes that I can attend...

Johnny spent last night sitting on the couch laughing as I attempted to strength train while watching American Idol.

Yeah, it didn't work.

"No wonder you got injured doing an ultra," he snickers. Mandisa warbles in the background.

I roll over to do leg lifts on the other side. I slowly count to 10, breathing hard while I work my hip abductors (I think) and trying to hear Simon verbally smack another contestant upside the head.

"Huh. I guess you must have had some good cardio fitness. Just not muscular," the peanut gallery pipes up.

I try to work on my hip adductors (I think). I lie on my left side and prop my right foot on the edge of Ash's toy box. I groove with Taylor singing something about the city as I try to raise my left leg up to my right. ...8...9...10.

I groan as I roll on to my back. This time, I tackle my abs. Bring my legs up, thighs perpendicular to the ground, and slowly lower one leg at a time. My entire body shakes with the intensity of performing this, and each exhale is a loud grunt.

After three reps of each exercise, I slowly come to standing, and reach for my yoga mat. Must. Stretch. Body.

More groans. I'm off-balance. I slip on the copy of Runner's World magazine that had the exercises in it. I see a commercial with women standing on one leg and pulling the other one up behind their head, and decide I can do that. I enlist the peanut gallery's help, and hurt my knee as I topple to the ground, almost waking Ash.

I collapse into Ash's toddler-size couch in time to watch Chris Daughtry (my hero) put everyone else to shame with his cover of the Chili Pepper's cover of a Stevie Wonder song. (Why didn't anyone else get strobe lights and fog?)

Angie's plan for this year: STRENGTH TRAIN

Goal for 2006, pre-Pemberton:
strength train

Goal for 2006, post-Pemberton:
log big mileage, do more ultras soon

Goal for 2006, post-Pemberton, post-oh-my-god-that-nagging-pain-is-an-injury, post-turning-point-conversation-with-Kiera, post-strength-training-session-that-was-not:
create six-pack

(Um, no. Not even gonna try to uncover it. Just create it. I don't care if there's too much fat covering it. Right now, the only thing that matters is creating it.)

Greedy

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Read this post.

Go. Now.

What are you waiting for?!

I wake up Saturday morning

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I wake up Saturday morning with Ash. It is 6 a.m., and I am ready to tackle Sabino Canyon. Since running Pemberton, every run at Sabino has hurt my itb; there is so much up-and-down running throughout the canyon. I have a little trepidation, but feel confident after the preceding few days of pain-free exercise. I quickly swallow a bowl of oatmeal, make my handheld of gatorade and throw on shorts, a t-shirt and my jacket. It is 42 degrees out, and I hope I am dressed warm enough. I am the queen of over-dressing (Over-doing, over-dressing, any other words I can prefix with over- to describe my actions???), so I hope that by feeling cold, I'll actually be just right.

I pull into the parking lot a few mintues early, and Kiera comes out to meet me, looking cold with no hat or mittens, wearing only shorts and a long-sleeve shirt. I still feel over-dressed with my mittens and winter cap on!

We take off down the dirt road off the east end of the parking log, marveling at the dark, stormy clouds dancing about the desert spires surrounding the canyon. It is windy, and the cold whips around us. I warm up, though, and take off my hat and mittens. Good thing my jacket has lots of pockets!

Kiera is not feeling well; she is sick, as are her children, which means no sleep in their house the night before. Even still, we have good conversation. I am having fun, feeling my body move through the cold air. We talk about running, about spinning, about kids. I work through my conflicting feelings about running the Sugar & Spice ultra - I want to run it so bad, I am such a sucker for adventure, it's so exciting, yet it's so soon. Here I was thinking October's Soul/Sole run was sort of soon...I had these plans prior to Pemberton about building up my strength before upping my mileage again. And I just spent the last month nursing an injury! I want to be wise, do the wise thing, but when have I ever been known to be wise? Be patient? Listening to the siren song of the ultra will cause me to crash and burn...Kiera listens patiently, and then says quietly, gently, "This could be a turning point for you."

Her words echo in my head as we finish the run. We wind up and over the ridge separating Rattlesnake Canyon from the tram road, and this week, there is no pain in my itb. Yay! I feel great, still fresh, and ready to continue. We walk the last few tenths of a mile as a cool-down, and I feel what I've been waiting to feel: like I could go on for 10 more miles. Yes!

I give Kiera a ride home, and head back to my boys. I enter the house as the end of a giant temper tantrum bursts through the rooms, like a bolt of lightning crashing to the earth. Ash is angry, and Johnny informs me that Ash has been in a foul mood all morning. It takes every ounce of energy I have to keep the good run feelings slipping away. I get down on the floor and talk to Ash. I listen, he sees that I am listening and calms down. Eventually, life moves on and everyone feels better...I am happy that I could step in and calm the raging storm...usually that is Johnny's role.

We decide to go grocery shopping, and by the time we draft our list and get out of the house, Ash is exhausted. I am bummed; generally, he does not nap and instead, chooses to spend the rest of the day in a pissy mood. He requests KT Tunstall, and within 10 minutes, is fast asleep. No shopping happening for awhile! We must take advantage of his sleeping. Johnny pulls in to his mom's place, and she volunteers to watch him while we shop. Amazingly, Ash stays asleep in the transition from the car to her bed - poor guy must have been wiped out.

We head home after shopping to get the frozen stuff taken care of before we pick up Ash. On the way, Johnny's mom calls with the good news that we are not only getting a tax refund this year, but it is a good-sized one. We are dancing in the car! After stuffing the freezer, we head back out to pick up Ash, only to receive a call when we are half-way there. "Nana wants me to spend the night," Ash tells us, his mouth full of chocolate candy. Well, then. WOO HOO!!!!

Two episodes of great news within an hour. We whip the car around to head home, but have no clue what to do with ourselves. So we stop by Mike's gallery. Then we head home and discuss the evening. We settle on dinner at C.I. Chu's Mongolian BBQ, and Brokeback Mountain. (What?! A movie in the theatre?! Big screen!? Oohh, ahhh...)

I wake up this morning at 7 to a child-free home, and stretch my well-rested limbs. I roll over and smile at the sight of my fuzzy-haired husband curled up beside me. I close my eyes for a few more minutes of peace, then decide to get out of bed. I pad into the living room to open the blinds covering the glass sliding door onto our balcony, and grin at the sight of snow clouds lifting above the desert sky islands to show off the sight of pristine white snow blanketing the mountains. I quickly grab the camera to grab a few shots before the sun can melt it all away.

I decide to let Johnny sleep in; it is a rare luxury to have the morning to ourselves. I reach for the Mercedes Lackey novel on the table; it is the first of hers I am reading. I lose myself in a fantasy land of fairy godmothers, unicorns and magic for an hour or so, then wake Johnny up. I'm hungry; I want some coffee. We get dressed, brush our teeth, and head out the door to delight in the beauty of a snwoy day in Tucson.

Later, Johnny heads out to work on a research paper for school, and Ash and I decide to make cookies. Yummy!

FW: Winter Storm Warning

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------ Forwarded Message
From:
Date:
Fri, 10 Mar 2006 15:21:06 -0700
To:
Subject:
FW: Winter Storm Warning



Live, Local, Late Breaking weather from the News 13 Storm Trackers.
==================
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TUCSON AZ

301 PM MST FRI MAR 10 2006


..FIRST MAJOR WINTER STORM OF THE SEASON HEADING FOR SOUTHEAST

ARIZONA SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING...

A STRONG AND COLD PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM WILL AFFECT THE AREA

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY...BRINGING WITH IT THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT

MOUNTAIN SNOW OF THE SEASON. THE SNOW WILL ALSO BE ACCOMPANIED BY

GUSTY WINDS...WHICH WILL PRODUCE SOME BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW.


TUCSON METRO/MARANA/GREEN VALLEY-

301 PM MST FRI MAR 10 2006


..HEAVY SNOW WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM SATURDAY TO 4 AM MST

SUNDAY ABOVE 7000 FEET...

..SNOW ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM SATURDAY TO 4 AM MST

SUNDAY FROM 5000 TO 7000 FEET...


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TUCSON HAS ISSUED A HEAVY SNOW

WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM SATURDAY TO 4 AM MST

SUNDAY FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 7000 FEET. A SNOW ADVISORY HAS ALSO

BEEN ISSUED. THIS SNOW ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM SATURDAY TO

4 AM MST SUNDAY FOR ELEVATIONS BETWEEN 5000 AND 7000 FEET. THE

WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.



A STRONG AND COLD PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM WILL AFFECT THE AREA

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY....PRODUCING THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT SNOW OF

THE SEASON. THE SNOW LEVEL WILL LOWER TO 4500 FEET BY SATURDAY

MORNING. TOTAL STORM ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 14 INCHES ARE EXPECTED

ABOVE 7000 FEET...WITH 3 TO 8 INCHES ABOVE 5000 FEET. GUSTY WINDS

WILL ALSO PRODUCE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW AT TIMES.



A HEAVY SNOW WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE

EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST

THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF

YOU MUST...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR

VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.



A SNOW ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY

TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND

LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.


TUNE IN TO NEWS 13 with the Storm Trackers, Chief Meteorologist Chuck
George, Erin Christiansen and Meteorologist Bill Harris for more details on
this Live, Local & Late Breaking Weather Warn.

REMOVAL:
To remove yourself from the Weather Warn mailing list, please return to
www.kold.com and follow the instructions there.




------ End of Forwarded Message


Snow in Tucson

| 10 Comments
Okay, so it's not technically in Tucson Proper, but Johnny swears he sees some on Mt. Kimball!

It's a breezy, stormy day in Tucson. (What?! Water falls from the sky? No! Only from faucets!) Beautiful out.

I jump awake from a deep sleep when the alarm - not Ash, surprisingly - wakes me up at 5 a.m. I crawl out of bed and prep for my early morning run with Barbara. It has been at least two months since she and I have gone out for a run - too long! I prepared well the night before, so I am ready and out the door at 5:20, on time. I wind my way up through the apartment complex, instead of through the back lot (which has been sold off to developers of luxury condos who promptly closed off all access), and down to the river path. Barbara catches sight of me and joins me - no stopping to take a breath, just synchronized footfalls as we head down the path. We have a lot to catch up on, and the run to the mid-point goes quickly. We cross a bridge to the south side of the path, and head back to our starting point. I like the south side path, it is mostly dirt and softer on my knees. We jog along, and I notice the sky is getting noticeably brighter. Yay! We part ways, with her running down the street, and me running up the street. I make it home, where my boys are out in the living room, watching Blue's Clues and hanging out. Approximately four miles in 52 minutes - I didn't break any land speed records with that run! I stretch and cool down, smiling softly as I feel my body move. I am happy; I have no itb pain or tightness. I notice the fronts of both of my knees are sore, and I wonder if that is because I am finally using my legs again on a regular basis. I hop in the shower to rinse off, and know that I am prepared to handle whatever comes today.

Hamster in the Wheel

| 10 Comments
My first spinning class

So we get out of work on time, and carpool to Bally's, where Paki has a lifetime membership. We manage to get two bikes side-by-side, and she explains exactly how it works: how to adjust the resistance, how to adjust the bike to your body (I had to lower the seat, in addition to moving it forward, I'm so short!), how to fit your feet into the pedals, etc.

The instructor comes charging into class, all business. I admire her lean, sleek body; I can tell has been an athlete for years! The class is full; I see big bodies, little bodies, men, women, serious athletes, slacker college dudes.

The music starts thumping. Wow, I've never exercised with music before! I don't run with an iPod, and I've never done aerobics. I enjoy pedaling to the beat. I can't really hear the insturctor, so I watch to see what happens next.

We start out sitting down on the bike, and I am quickly reminded of why I haven't gotten on a bicycle for years...it is literally a pain in the ass. She quickly gets us moving into "sprints" - stand up for a five-count, sit for five, up for five, sit for five. Whew. But I make sure to keep the resistence low so I don't over do it. (I'm notorious for over-doing things.) After 10 minutes, I realize that everyone around me is sweating profusely. I am not. I must be under-doing it, so I crank up the resistance.

Much better. I begin to break a sweat, and suddenly, my favorite feeling in the whole world surges through my body...it's the endorphins. I am smiling more than I have smiled since my ultramarathon. I am relaxed, I am confident, I am comfortable, I am moving, I am.

As we pedal standing up for minutes upon minutes, cranking up the resistance, I finally begin to feel my legs tiring. I am getting a workout, and I love it. The instructor keeps calling us "challengers" and telling us to "crank it up." I don't crank it up nearly as much as she tells us to, but I like the encouragement to do so.

I can feel the excess skin and flab on my thighs jiggling and shaking as I move my legs as fast as I can, around and around and around and around. I feel the burn in my muscles. I realize I have so much more shape to get into! I wonder just how much of the "flab" on my legs is just stretched-out, excess skin from having weighed 65 pounds more a year ago?

I decide it's much harder to work out inside, with people around. I can't exactly hawk a snot rocket over onto Paki. I laugh to myself, thinking about how if I have excess body fluid when I run (especially on trails), I can just get rid of it! Spit, snot rockets, loogies (sp???), etc. Not so in the gym!

We start the sprints again, and my poor tushie! I am in pain. I have cranked up the resistance, and my legs are finally tiring. I can't do the sprints; I yank myself up, then crash back down onto the seat (ouch).

Finally, I hear her say, "Thirty more seconds!" Whew.

We begin the cool-down, and then she had us s-t-r-e-t-c-h. O-o-o-h-h-h-h-h...that felt so good. My legs are shaking, and I am smiling. It feels good.

---
I wake up this morning, and I am surprisingly not in pain. So I pack my running gear, intending to run at lunch. I convince Paki to go home and get her running gear, so I have someone to go with. We head out into the cold, cold wind, and run three fast miles. I focus on my breathing, letting Paki talk, just listening. I feel strong, fast. My knee is not hurting me.

We get back, and I feel great. I stretch, change back into my work clothes and plop down into my desk chair. 30 minutes later, I attempt to get up from my chair. Key word: attempt. A groan escapes, and I barely can rise to standing. Go figure, spinning didn't hurt until I ran three miles on top of it. Ha!

I spend the rest of the day moaning and groaning, laughing and enjoying feeling my body recover from two awesome workouts.

Needless to say, I'm taking tomorrow off.

Friday: hooking up with Barbara for the first time since December to take a four-mile run before work.

Saturday: Sabino Canyon, here I come!

---
I'd like to address Mike's comment re: June 10 is close...I responded in the comments, but wanted to get it out here...

I know June 10 is close, but I never said I CAN run the thing, I just said I CAN sign up for it! :D It gives me hope, something to aim for (but not something to stress over). The cut-off time is 12 hours - I can practically hike 32 miles in that amount of time! (Okay, so I might be over-estimating myself there...)

I can

| 15 Comments
So I was re-reading my history, and mulling over the comments. So many people wrote that it was inspirational, and for the life of me, I couldn't find the inspiration. I could only find the failure in getting injured. I only saw frustration and agony. Then my eyes lit upon on Rob's comment about my attitude - that it was an "I Can" attitude, instead of an "I Can't" attitude.

Then a light bulb went off in my head (well, it was more like one of those dimmer bulbs, slowly getting brighter and brighter). I'm so frustrated and so down on myself, because I am choosing to only look at the negative, and choosing to only focus on what I Can't do.


Aha!

Well, then, what Can I do? I need to let go of what I Can't do - major ultra training - and focus on what I Can do:

I Can let go of my fear
I Can let go of my ultra-training expectations

I Can cross-train
I Can do yoga
I Can run three, flat miles
I Can hey, I just said, I Can run - how awesome is that?!
I Can run!
I Can stretch

I Can try spinning for the first time ever tomorrow night (yeah, wish me luck!)
I Can run two miles pushing Ash in the jogging stroller (whew! we did it on Saturday to go to the playground.)
I Can watch what I eat
I Can sign up for the Sugar & Spice 32 mile trail ultra in Kentucky on June 10 (Johnny's dad wants us to come and visit him, so he's buying us plane tickets for whenever we want...why not have it coincide with a race! Now, if only I can convince him to bring us out again, on November 11, for the Kentucky Arches run...)

I Can be crew for Olga at Zane Grey (woo hoo!!!!)
I Can
I Can
I Can

What Can you do?

Johnny's Race Report

| 4 Comments
You can read his report of the 2006 Old Pueblo 50 mile Race here.

Ash and I had a blast on Saturday, just the two of us. We went to the playground to play with friends (Mike's family), and hung out at home doing art (gluing stuff), dancing to a new cd (courtesy of Haiden - thank you Haiden, the CD rocks!!! I especially like the "do housework with someone" peice :)) and generally playing. It seemed to be exactly what he needed - his mama all to himself for an entire day. Since he's started school, my normally independent son has become much more clingy - I'm glad I was able to give him reassurance.

I have another post rolling around inside my head, about the "I Can" attitude and the choices I can make re: training and goals. I'll probably be able to get it out this evening (we'll see). Happy Running!

Johnny made it!

| 2 Comments
(To get Olga off her pins and needles :) )

Hurt calf and all, he made it in 11:22 (and that's with starting 15 minutes late). Full details to come on his blog.

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good Luck Daddy!

| 1 Comment

Mercury in Retrograde

| 6 Comments
Mercury went retrograde yesterday afternoon at 1:30 local time. I work at an advertising/public relations firm - which is, of course, all about communication (just like Mercury!). It's fun to watch and participate in the havoc wreaked by retrograde Mercury. Makes things interesting.

I ran today at lunch with Paki. It felt great. It was a good, therapeutic run. I got to talk about some of the emotional things going on in my life, while keeping my body moving - this is important for me, because PTSD causes me to immobilize when I get scared. In other words, I freeze. You've heard of fight or flight, right? Well, the more accurate phrase should be fight, flight or freeze - the three reactions every animal has to fear. So, when I deal with emotional stress, I want to freeze. Immobilize. Stop all movement. Abort, abort! So today, instead of stopping, I kept running. This drained me. My legs got shaky. I had to walk for parts to regain enough strength to keep running. But I kept running. Thank you, Paki, for listening. (Yes, she reads this blog. Even though she doesn't comment. Hint, hint. ;))

Ash did better this week at school. He is enjoying it more, and did not cry for us this week, although he does tell his teachers at lunchtime that he is sad and misses his daddy. His teachers are impressed with his grasp and expression of emotions. He tells them he is nervous, and that he bites his fingernails when he's nervous. He tells them when he is sad and why, or when he is scared and why (such as circle time - he says it scares him because he doesn't know it or understand it). I'm so proud of him! But he is also very strong-willed. He won't participate in certain activities, and I like how his teachers handle it: give him a choice. He chooses which thing to do (often opting for an activity the class is not doing, such as drawing during circle time). Ash told us that he doesn't listen to his teachers (no surprise there - he doesn't listen to us!). But he's also said that he has fun, too. I think he just needs to get used to it. Once he knows and understands what to expect, he'll love it.

I'm still getting used to it. I have difficulty letting him go, letting someone other than family watch him. I'm scared. But I just keep running.


Johnny is pretty sure he's going to do the Old Pueblo 50 mile racetomorrow. It's about an hour south of town. Ash and I are going to stay home. We'll have fun just chillin. Go to the playground. Relax. Maybe watch Shark Tales and bake cookies. Do art.

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angie's essence...as explored by trail running (and mixed-media art)

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