Category Archives: My life

business trip

H went out of town last week, for four days.  A year ago, that would have sent me into a paroxysm.  In fairness, things used to be a lot harder.  For example, it used to be so hard to get the kids to bed because L would freak out if I left her alone to get B to bed, and she made too much noise if I took her in with me.  Nowadays, I put them to bed at the same time, in the same room, and everything typically goes very smoothly.  It’s so much easier!  My new TV after dinner when Daddy is out of town policy also makes things a heck of a lot easier.  B loves Masha the Bear and L loves the movie First Position.  In combination, I easily get 45 minutes of almost complete peace.  In any event, I was basically not stressed or anxious on this trip at all.  I feel like I’m 80 or 90% back to my normal self.  I also feel like things could go south at any time, but i mostly feel like I’m getting my life back.  Why this all happened to me, I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll struggle with on some level for the rest of my life.  Life is good right now, though, and I’m not really thinking beyond that.

Sarah and her family visited last weekend.  As she put it on FB, “Thank you universe for putting my sister and one of my best college friends only minutes apart.”  Yes, thank you very much universe.  I really appreciate it.  It was great seeing Sarah and her whole family, and it was so cute watching the kids play together.  Now all I have to do is get my act together and develop the pictures.

I went cycling with a co-worker this weekend, a guy I’ve known for longer than a decade.  Ironically, I used to give him a hard time about cycling in the rain.  How times change.  We seemed to be quite well-matched in speed and general ride preferences, so it went quite well.  It was great, actually.  He hasn’t been cycling much, and I suspect if he were to cycle frequently, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him, but for now, we’re in a similar place.  I had to push to keep up with him on the flats, and he had to push to keep up with me on the hills.  Overall, we went a good bit faster than I would have alone (though still slow by any reasonable standard.)

The STP was this weekend.  It’s a 200+ mile from Seattle to Portland.  A colleague of mine at work did it . . . in one day.  It took him 11 hours.  Crazy!  Part of me is thinking maybe I could do it next year.  Right now I can cycle 40 miles, and I figure I could do 60 if I had to.  I need to get to a place where I could cycle 100 – and then do it again the next day.  Honestly, my legs are usually in pretty good shape after 40 miles, but I’m still dealing with, ahem, chafing issues.   We’ll see.  I guess I should focus on getting through a triathlon this summer and then worry about next summer.

racing plans

At the end of last year, I laid out the following events tentatively for the year:

1.) 1/29 FFV 5K – Done, New PR!

2.) 2/26 FFV 5K #2 (Didn’t do – on vacation)

3.) 3/18 Magnuson Duathlon – Done, brutal!

4.) 4/30 Mt. Rainier Duathlon – Done

5.) 6/3 Lake Wilderness Triathlon – Decided to skip due to cold water temperatures

6.) 7/9 See Jane Run women’s 5K – Now planning to skip due to $75 registration fee

7.) 8/12 Lake Meridian Triathlon – Still planned

Now that the year is half over, it’s time to re-visit the plan for the rest of the year.  Here are my thoughts right now:

7/23: Seafair Duathlon

8/12: Lake Meridian Triathlon

9/10: Lake Stevens Triathlon (a big maybe – if Lake Meridian is fun)

9/24: Kitsap Color Classic cycle

10/7: Fall City 10K

10/26: Snohomish River Run 10K/Half Marathon

11/4: Lake Washington Half Marathon

11/26: Seattle Half Marathon

~12/18: 12Ks of Christmas

I’m sure I won’t end up doing all of these; I certainly won’t do two half marathons, but I am thinking maybe I’ll do one.  It’s not that hard to run 13 miles, right?

summer exercise clothes

I ended up staying home sick today.  I’m feeling much better now, but earlier my cold had turned into one of those colds that make you feel like you’re drowning.

I didn’t run today, so here’s my latest on running – and now general exercise – attire.

Tops

Nike Run Fast Short-Sleeve Shirt

I try to avoid sleeveless running tops if I can just because it’s that much more sun exposure.  The ideal running shirt, in my opinion, goes just to the waist, so that it’s just long enough to not expose skin at rest.  It’s loose-ish, not so loose that it’s flapping around, but loose enough for plenty of airflow.  Tops of this description are surprisingly rare – the Nike top above checks all the boxes.

Lululemon Long DIstance Short Sleeve Shirt

I splurged on this one as a reward for meeting some kind of athletic milestone or other.  It works best when the weather is a bit cooler.  I usually run in the morning, so it’s often in the low to mid 50s, and this top is a good option.

Sugoi Climber’s Jersey

I only own the one jersey, and I like it.  it’s comfy and flattering and basically a win.

Cycling shorts.  Any ideas, anyone?  i can’t find a pair of shorts that doesn’t start to seriously chafe after about 20 miles.  Actually I don’t know if it’s the shorts or the seat or what, but something is not working for me.

Running shorts

Adidas Performance Women’s Grete Shorts.  They don’t appear to sell them anymore, though perhaps these are similar.

Zoot Sports Ultra Run Icefil 3-Inch Short

I still like my Champion sports bras and my Balega socks.

These days, I’m running in Asics Kayano shoes.  They’re Asics most cushiony supportive shoe, and so far, they seems to be helping my feet a little bit.

this and that

I went cycling again on Sunday, this time with a co-worker.  I’m on the hunt for a cycling buddy, preferably another woman, but really, a guy would be fine, too.  We had a nice ride at what I think was a good pace for both of us.  However, when I got back, I found my front window smashed and my purse stolen from my car.  I’d put it under the front seat, but clearly I hadn’t concealed it carefully enough.  Also, clearly, I should have left it at home.  Oh well.  Lesson learned the hard way I guess.  The thief spent $1000 on my credit card before I could cancel it, but fortunately, Chase Visa offers excellent fraud protection.  Thank goodness for that!

Monday was a quiet day at the office, and then today, I woke up with a cold.  So did L and H.  B was already sick.  We are all kind of miserable today.  I was up with L last night, and H is out with the kids now.  I’m not really looking forward to this evening all that much at this point.  We’ve been lucky.  We’ve had a super long stretch of everyone being mostly healthy, so I guess it was bound to end.

I signed up for the cycling subscription on NBC Sports Gold (online), and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying watching the Tour de France.  Obviously, it’s much to long to watch all of it, but they have a nice interface that makes it possible to skip through to the more interesting bits.  There are very few Americans in the race, but there are a couple young ones that are interesting.

I’d been planning to run a 5K this Sunday, but I guess we’ll see.  At this point, I don’t feel like doing much of anything.

traveling East

We’re back at home safe home, and boy is it great to be back.  Nevertheless, I am extremely glad we went.  This anxiety problem I’ve been dealing with for the last year and a half has made me reluctant to travel.  Last year, my trip to Houston really did not go well from an anxiety standpoint, and it’s made me hesitant to travel.  It wasn’t long ago when I felt completely incapable of living my life, so I’ve obviously come a long way since then.  Nevertheless, there’s a difference between living everyday life and traveling.  And I’ve found traveling with the kids very stressful.  They are getting older, though, and it’s been getting a lot easier.  We had a wonderful and easy vacation to Oregon recently (four hour drive) and that made me believe it was time to go to home.   Going home is not what you’d call an easy trip, even when things go well, it’s about 12 hours from door to door.

Things did go well.  The kids were little angels.  Of course, we bribed them with lots of new little toys.  But still.  No crying.  Almost no whining.   Just stellar behavior from end to end.  The only little problem was that I couldn’t get through it without a panic attack.  If you’re counting, I haven’t had one since last
August – that’s ten months.  I’d really wanted to make it to a year.  On the plus side, my panic attack lasted less than an hour.  I was able to control it through breathing, took a Clonazapam, and quickly felt better.  I’m extremely frustrated that I can’t seem to leave this behind, but on the flip side, I’m trying to be patient and  realize that overall, life is good.  I do feel this is holding me back from doing everything I want to do, but I can do MOST things that I want to do, and overall, our life is very good, and our family’s life is good.

The highlights of the trip were spending time with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and Daniel and his family.  I did take some photos, so I’ll hopefully get those processed soon.  It was also nice to be in lush, green, beautiful Roan.oke.  For the record, it’s much greener than Seattle.  However, that humidity.  Oh my God!  Running was torture.  I was just not used to it, and I seriously thought I would expire hoofing it up the mountain at the end of my runs.

My plan is to return to the Virginia in October, and I’m looking forward to it.  Can’t wait to see that squishy little baby!

le tour

My brother and my parents went to see the Tour de France a few years ago.  I was talking to him about this this morning, and it made me think about my life bucket list.  I’ve made bucket lists before, and the problem is that they always change.  But still.  I do think there is value in creating a new bucket list even if it’s obsolete sooner than I’d like.

1.) See a stage of the Tour de France.  According to Kevin, it’s amazing.

2.) Go to the Hebrides.  Or maybe the Shetlands.  One or the other.

3.) Do a triathlon.  May do an olympic triathlon.  I hope to check off the former this summer.  I’m nervous, but excited.

4.) Take a vacation in upstate New York.  The Adirondacks.  Or the finger lakes.  See Schroon Lake again.

5.) Do the STP (cycle to Portland).  Or RSVP (cycle to Vancouver).  Or RAMROD (ride around mt. rainier in one day).  Maybe I’ll try to do one of these next summer.  My husband thinks I’m bonkers for considering any of the above.

I’ve been getting such pleasure and happiness from exercising lately.  It’s surprising.  Running and exercising have been a chore for so long, but as has been proven in my life over and over, things are more fun and more satisfying when you don’t do them half-assed.

You might note a lack of career objectives on the above list.  After a year or two of bliss at work, my happiness has taken a sharp decline of late.  This is related to a change in projects, but perhaps also it’s related to a lack of flights lately.

At home, I’m reading Heidi to Isla at the moment and loving it.  We are both loving it, in fact.  Such a good book!  We have the Usborne edition which includes beautiful full-color illustrations.  Heidi was a pivotal book for me.  My Mom read it to me, the summer before first grade I think, or maybe during first grade.  I would have been about five, just like Isla is now.  It really cemented my love of books.  I remember my Mom reading many books to me – Stuart Little, Puff the Magic Dragon, There Are No Bears On Hemlock Mountain, The Borrowers, and so on, but none of these made the impression on me that Heidi did.  I’ve read a lot of books to Isla that I loved as a child and have been a bit disappointing as an adult, but so far, Heidi is as great as I remember.

cycling this weekend

I had two good cycles this weekend, a long one and a short one.  I’m very pleased because the weather forecast was not looking good as of Friday evening, but we ended up with mostly overcast rather than rain.  I did get poured on for the last couple miles of today’s ride, but it was 50 degrees, and I was close to home, so I didn’t really mind.

Saturday, I took a spin around the southern half of Lake Washington.  I’ve done this ride before, but last time, I parked near the route.  This time, I cycled from home, which adds about 5 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain to a ride with 1000+ feet of elevation gain to start with, bringing it to 30 miles.  A friend of mine from work who lives very close to me had agreed to meet me for the ride, which was a nice change from my usual habit of riding alone.  We met up at 8 am at the neighborhood park and set out.

5-14-2017 2-05-48 PM

The first half of the ride went very well.  My friend mentioned to me that he was finding the hills hard, and I think I wasn’t really taking him seriously, because I thought he was in better shape than me, but as we neared the I90 bridge, I realized that he really was struggling a bit.  We took it nice and slow up the hills to the bridge and headed across.  About a mile short of Mercer Island (which sits about 3/4 of the way across the bridge), my rear tire went flat.  Really, there isn’t much worse of a place for that to happen than the bridge.  I kept going, though I probably should have stopped and walked.  Changing it in situ was completely impossible.  My friend has done even less cycling than me, so he didn’t know any more about changing bike tires than I did.  However, some how we managed to muddle through and get a new tube on.  I don’t think either of us could have done it on our own, but between the two of us, we figured it out.  I was pretty proud of that, but I also hope I don’t have to change another tire anytime soon.  It is definitely not easy.

By the time we got all the way across the bridge, my friend was really starting to struggle.  We slowed down to a Sunday afternoon stroll sort of pace, but hills were just killing him, and unfortunately, you can see from the elevation profile that the end of the route features a lot of uphill.  Nevertheless, we continued and got back to the park.  I’m hoping my friend is not too discouraged and willing to go out cycling with me again.  I think he’s more of a natural athlete than me, and could probably get in shape enough to keep up without that much trouble.

I had been planning to run a 5K today (Sunday).  Then I decided my legs were too tired from the cycling, so I thought I might try yesterday’s route again instead (at an easy pace).  Then I got discouraged by predictions of rain, and it did in fact rain this morning, so I thought I go for a swim.  In the end, the weather prediction improved a bit, and I went for a shorter, 10 mile ride.  This is a 10 mile loop I’ve cycled many times, so it’s a good barometer for progress.

5-14-2017 2-15-04 PM

I feel like I’m finally starting to see some returns on my cycling efforts.  I hit my highest average pace yet for this ride (11.3 mph).  That is pretty slow, but this route features some pretty brutal hills, so I’m trying not to worry about the absolute speed.  I love, love Strava segments for bicycling.  I’m getting faster on downhills, flats and uphills.  Not much faster in most cases – but little by little, I’m making progress.  Now that summer is coming, I’m hoping to continue to gain cycling fitness in nicer weather, though I suppose the heat could be a problem.   I’m not sure what my goals are, really.  I know that I want to be able to cycle farther – how much farther, I’m not sure.  I want to be more competitive in duathlon / triathlon events.