Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A week of milestones

Last week was crazy and looking back on it I realized it was full of milestones for every facet of my life.  I should have something quirky to say right here to peak your interest and hope you'll take time out of your life to read about mine but I'm too tired to try that hard right now. Oh, and I turned forty.  FOUR. OH.  Like oh shit you're old now.  So forgive me?

Is it me or were those who told me that everything changes overnight when you hit forty right?  

We had already celebrated officially since Hubby also hit this milestone last month so we picked a day in the middle and had our good friend cater a fabulous meal for us and our closest friends.  It was amazing - both the company and the evening.  And so when the official day of my birth arrived, it seemed kind of anti climactic.  I got to do exactly what I wanted to do all day which included a whole lot of sitting around without guilt and getting caught up on movies.  Oh, and a trip to the running store WITHOUT KIDS.  It was a decadent hour of my life that I will cherish since it happens rarely. A couple of days later I was at the doctor's for my annual checkup and since it's the first of the year I had to fill out yet another new page of demographic and insurance information "for their files" and paused just slightly when it came to that blank next to "Age:"  How brutal to have to write that number before I'd even had time to process it let alone embrace it.

I quickly got over this insane milestone that, when I was young, I heralded as the beginning of old age.  After all, I don't look forty and I sure as hell don't act forty.  Plus I'm in better shape physically and mentally than I ever was at thirty.  Besides, I didn't have time to wallow since Baby Sister turned two under a week later.  

Apparently I suspected subconsciously that "they" were right about the mind being the first to go.  Because I had individually told everyone on the guest list in my head to save the date for the birthday party for Baby Sister in the weeks before my birthday.  Lucky for me since I remembered to send out an actual invite (via email) with details three days before the party and stressed that no one would show up because I didn't remember having invited everyone already.  Seriously, totally off my game!

Lucky for us, too, we learned the right lessons with Big Sister.  Like the one that says "until your kid is old enough to remember the birthday party you shouldn't go overboard on it".  We kept it low key with dinner for our immediate family.  The three or four people Baby Sister sees on a regular basis and who comprise her world came later for ice cream and cake.  It was perfect - well, except for that page I got at the end of the evening since I couldn't get out of my on-call shift.  The next day on her official birthday she got her ears pierced.  She's officially a big girl and I'm sad to lose my baby forever.

Another milestone in the last week involved work.  I'm busier than I've been in years.  Literally.  The entire week I didn't leave the office until after 5:30.  I've been thrown on a new project - which I love - but not only do I have to come up to speed in the middle they are in the throws of major conversions so there's not a lot of leeway for me to learn everything before I am required to perform new duties.  Gives new meaning to "sink or swim" that I hear all the time but never experienced before.  Plus, I've been assigned as the primary trainer for two new hires which carves out two hours of every day devoted to sitting in a conference room talking theory and principles and not doing any real work of my own.  Oh, and did I mention the slacker on my team who is supposed to take my pager shifts and hasn't been?  It all has turned into a perfect storm of high-stress and no time to run at work which makes Terra a very bitchy woman.  

And then Friday - on top of everything else - my laptop decided to die.  It may or may not have been a result of someone trying to help fix the issues I was having and making it worse.  Now I could connect to the network in the conference room for training but not anywhere else in the building.  Makes it really hard to work that way.  In all fairness the hunk of outdated hardware had been on its last leg for months but this timing sucked.  I ended up losing a full day and a half of productivity.  Friday ended with me skipping my planned trip to the gym and coming home to yell at the kids, pour a very large adult beverage and plop on the couch for the evening to drink it and decompress.  I needed it so much I didn't feel more than a twinge of guilt for not running.  I was emotionally and physically drained and it would have been a shitty run anyway.

I am still struggling to get back to running shape for proper Ragnar training which started officially today.  I did three miles but the last two thirds were all walk/run fartleks where I pushed myself harder than I normally would have for a training run.  Hoping it pays off next time I go out and my heart and lungs are in better shape.

Last week also marked a milestone in my writing.  I submitted the first three chapters of my rough draft from NaNoWriMo to my writer's group for critique.  It's been years since I had any work I thought worthy of being seen by others.  Two NaNos had come and gone and my beloved writer's group hadn't gotten to see the fruits of my labors or their encouragement.  I was so stressed between hitting send on the email and getting feedback at our meeting.  But it turns out they liked what I'd written and wanted more.  Plus they gave me some great feedback on ways to tighten things up.  Considering it was a true rough draft from NaNo land of "write first, ask questions later" I was happy and encouraged.  They make me feel like a real writer.

So here's to life which marches on and delivers milestones in the weirdest places sometimes.  Do you ever have weeks where everything happens all at once in every area of your life or is it just me? 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to the beginning

This past week felt like the beginning of more than another year.  I did my first run without pain in more time than I can remember and I started editing what I wrote in NaNoWriMo.

While my body has healed from my injury and I'm finished kicking myself for waiting so long to address it as the injury it was for a year, that doesn't mean I just pick up where I left off.  I thought I could but I was wrong.  I have to start all over again.  I've lost so much ground with my cardio that I couldn't keep my heart rate down in the aerobic zone if I ran more than a few minutes at a time at my comfortable pace.  After a frustrating mile of running with some irritating walking interspersed (accompanied by curses mumbled under my breath which I'm sure still offended the girl walking next to me) I climbed off the treadmill and opted instead for a spin bike.  It was my first time on one and I loved it.  Well, once I got it adjusted appropriately for my short legs anyway.  It was easy to lose myself in my audio book and make easy adjustments to keep my heart rate in zone 2.  I came away from it feeling as refreshed as if I'd run the whole forty minutes.  I guess I'll be doing a bunch of walk/run and spinning for a few weeks until I can get my heart and lungs back in shape.  It's a road I've traveled before and I've heard it comes back fairly quickly.  Let's hope so!  I'm looking back and regretting skipping the gym entirely just because I was dejected about not being able to run.  If only I had kept up with my cardio... *sigh*

Editing my writing is a road I have not traveled too much - unless you count that first attempt at NaNoWriMo where I wrote a chapter and then obsessively edited it over and over again losing sight of the whole point.  This is different editing altogether.  NaNo is all about writing first and asking questions later which I embraced wholeheartedly.  The drawback of this is that you get to the end and your characters and even their motivations have changed since you've gotten to know them better.  Plus, the story itself evolves.  I'm at a place where I can't finish the ending unless I fix the beginning to keep things consistent.  I started doing that this week and while it is cool I find it takes a lot more time to see progress than just banging out a first draft with abandon.  I've got my first two chapters pretty well polished and ready for my writer's group.  They refuse to be patient enough for me to finish what I started during NaNoWriMo to read something and I really can't blame them.  After all, they were with me every step of the way and should be rewarded accordingly.

So far 2012 is promising to be a great year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let the madness continue

We got into the sold out Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back!!!  Our number came up on the waiting list this week and I literally was jumping up and down when I got the phone call.  I wanted to scream but kept at least my voice composed for the angel on the other side of the line with the news I'd been waiting ever so patiently for months for.

And so it is official - training starts the first of February.  Race day mid June with a semi-new crop of fellow crazies.  I've already substituted two runners from the original twelve who committed and paid back in July when we got on the waiting list.  Luckily I had two people waiting in the wings for a shot at joining the party. This year Hubby and I will be in "the other" van so we can experience the entire race route.  Since Hubby is back to tip top shape and is officially one of the strong runners, we have to be in the van with the ubber-hard "Ragnar Hill".  And this year I'm taking a leg with shorter total mileage.  I learned my lesson last year.  Hard means hard when it's labeled as such regardless of how innocuous the elevation map makes it look.

I use Nike+ to track my running - it's the coolest app on my iPhone - and every year they give you a rundown of the previous year.  I ran a total of five hundred miles in 2011 averaging three runs and ten miles a week.  Pretty impressive considering I haven't run more than a couple of miles since Thanksgiving.  Compared to 2010 when I *only* ran three hundred seventeen miles I'm pretty happy with myself.

I'm slowly easing myself back into training mode.  I ran twice this week and it still amazes me to wake up in the morning without pain in my foot.  All the physical therapy and massage therapy has worked wonders and I'm so grateful it was so easily solved.  It's insane how much you get out of practice when you stop doing cardio regularly and I'm trying not to get frustrated that I can't just head out and easily do three to five miles at a time.  I have January to get back to where I was before I have to start hard core training.  Twenty three weeks until Ragnar.  I hope it is enough time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Race Archive 2011

Another list for my OCD.  Although this one seems tiny compared to 2010.  But it represents double the training effort so I'm recording it anyway.  Officially 2011 was the year of Ragnar.  The best part: doing both of them with my Hubby.

Ragnar 2011 - Wasatch Back Relay
June 17-18, 2011
(192 miles, Logan to Park City, UT)
Personal mileage: 21 miles
Team time: 38 hours 05 minutes

Ragnar 2011 - Las Vegas Relay
October 21-22, 2011
(195 miles, Lake Mead to Red Rock, NV)
Personal mileage: 14.2 miles
Team time: 33 hours 31 minutes

I also trained for a half marathon in October which I got two weeks away from and had to cancel because of my injury.  The injury I could no longer ignore...  sometimes reality really bites.

Book List Archive 2011

Time once again to file away all the things from last year and clean up the sidebar for the new year ahead.  This year I successfully read more - thank you, Audible!  I doubled the amount of reading for my own pleasure this year by combining reading and running.  Still one of my most brilliant ideas!

  • Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton
  • The Wave, Todd Strausser (book club)
  • The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, Elizabeth Stuckey-French (book club)
  • Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay (book club)
  • Dream Chaser (Dark Hunter #14), Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett (book club)
  • State of Wonder, Ann Patchett (my pick for book club)
  • Icy Sparks, Gwyn Hyman Rubio (book club)
  • Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris (book club)
  • Pride (Shifters #3), Rachel Vincent
  • I Don't Want To Kill You, Dan Wells
  • The Whistling Season, Ivan Doig (book club)
  • The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time #12), Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  • My Name is Memory, Ann Brashares
  • The Aquariums of Pyongyang, Kang Chol-Hwan (book club)
  • American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi (book club)
  • Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson (book club)