Monday, December 28, 2009

Running for Water

I have many ambitions. Some of them are silly - like my endless and impossible quest for a perfect butt. Some are improbable - like my deep and elusive desire to be a professional writer. But behind most of them is the underlying wish that my life have a purpose, that it make the world better somehow (the "perfect butt" quest does not qualify).

Up to now, my athletic pursuits have been for the singular purpose of enriching my own life - and, really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. A stronger, fitter person is better in every other aspect of their lives and that, in itself, accomplishes a "higher purpose." But, now, I find I want my sweat to mean more than that. It began with Team Phoenix - an endeavor I hope I inspired but one that does better without me in the picture. I know that's vague, I'll get into the details another day. Suffice it to say that I was not the best Beast for the job. Now, I feel pulled to train for the marathon and I want that to have meaning too.

Last month, Hubby and I watched CNN Heroes and were struck by Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, and his passion for what he was doing. Neither of us were aware that the "water problem" was this urgent or this far reaching: 1 billion people do not have access to clean water. 5 million die every year because of it. Lack of water kills more children that HIV/AIDS, war, you name it. Every 15 seconds a child dies from thirst or from water-related illness. The numbers are so astronomical your brain wants to reject them. But you cannot allow yourself to go numb because, both best and worst of all, this problem can be solved. Wells and water filters. Simple. Not even very costly. One organization suggests that 10 billion dollars would solve the world's water crises. That seems like a lot until you consider the cost of the Wall Street Bailout. Or how much Americans spend on Christmas, reportedly 45 billion dollars, every year. My goal here is not to induce guilt but to incite action. $500.00 drills a well. $100.00 provides a long lasting bio filter. These are numbers we can handle, if not individually, certainly collectively.

So, I'm running for water. If you're out there and so inclined, you can donate by clicking on the icon in my sidebar or by going directly to Wine to Water. If you do go there to donate, I would appreciate it if you let me know what you gave so that I can add it to my tally. My goal is to raise $5,000.00 - 100 wells or 500 filters. That's a lot of thirsty people saved. Whatever you can manage is appreciated - if you've only got a buck, know that it all adds up. If you can't spare anything, I would be grateful if you'd pass the message along.

Or . . . if you're so inspired that you want to do something too - join me! Create a page of your own (click on the "My Fundraising Page" icon in the sidebar, Firstgiving walks you through the process and it costs you nothing and takes very little time) and raise some funds with your next event.

No matter what you do, please keep these people in your prayers. If enough of us step up, they will know they haven't been forgotten.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Now I've Gone and Did It

Well. I'm officially registered for the Go! St. Louis Marathon. I'm excited. Its exciting. I'm really, really, pumped and excited.

Okay, I'm terrified. Petrified. Holy sh!t, I've gone and did it. I'm in for an a$$ whoopin' for sure. I'm seriously going to attempt to run a distance that up and killed the first guy who tried it. Very frickin' smart.

Oh well. No going back now. I can always switch to the half if my training proves grossly inadequate. I've got a feeling though. Under the terror. Its a good one. The beast is growling - in a happy way. She wants to come out and play.

She's been a happy beastie the last couple of weeks. My runs up to now have been the slow, plodding, base building variety. Not enough to bring Phoenix out of hibernation. She might have opened an eye to look around, groggily mumbling, "Whaa.... we running? mmmm, no. Not really. Night." She made one appearance during a pitiful little 5k I ran a month or so ago. I was pushing it as hard as I could on the last mile and sure I couldn't hold on. In my mind, I searched for the beast... "You there, beastie?" "yeah. i'm here." "I don't think I can do this. I'm too out of shape. I'm going to slow down." "no. hold on. you can do this. look, you're almost there." "Okay." .... "You still there?" "i'm here. hold on." "Okay". On and on for a mile. It sucked to be moving so slow and huffing and puffing like I was hauling it. But I did hang on. So it was good.

Last Sunday though, my long run. That rocked. I went to Phoenix's old hunting ground to do an hour. As soon as I found myself on that trail, I had to start pulling on the bit to keep myself from taking off. After ten minutes warm up, I let it loose - trying to keep my heart rate in a somewhat reasonable range - and, friends, it felt fine. Not fine as in "no, really, I'm fine" but fine as in "that dude is FINE". It was FINE. I actually felt like I was moving. My legs had that old sproingy feeling. Beastie was out and awake and loving it. Every turn and hill of the trail felt like home.

It used to take me 45 min. to complete a loop of the trail at my long run pace. I figured it would take me at least the whole hour to get through it this time. I made it in 50 min. So, five min. slower - but, seriously, that's not bad for two years away. As I rounded the turn for the last mile, my legs were getting that "long run" feeling and I knew I'd be stopping for ice on the way home. Ice baths in winter suck. But it helped, so what am I complaining for.

My Tues. tempo run was more of the same, Beastie growling happily, me feeling like my old self. Its good to be on the way back.

Next post: Running for Water. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh Yeah. Then, there's these guys.

The Marathon Experiment

Whew. Time to clear some cobwebs and do some writing, people. All my people. Well, me. And Hubby. And the robot spammers.

Its been a rough 18 mos as far as training goes. Twenty-five extra pounds that have been slooooowwwww in getting the hell out of dodge (10 lbs to go, as of this writing. come ON already.) Two stress fractures (one in the knee last March and one in my foot this summer). The swine flu. Countless nights of interrupted sleep. A thousand other excuses/good-enough-reasons. I worked it in where I could, whined a lot. Cried some. But, mostly. . . mostly, I've been enjoying life. Noah is a joy. Devin is a miracle of a big brother. Hubby is The Best Daddy Ever. Even when Noah runs to me as soon as Hubby comes home because he just loves Mommy best right now. Its all about the boobs and there's nothing Hubby can do about it. Still, he hangs in there and shows his patient love. The tables will turn before we know it, of this I'm sure.

Now, finally. Finally, finally, FINALLY - Noah is sleeping through the night. Through the night. THROUGH it. As in down at 8:30pm up at 6:45am. If you don't have children, you cannot appreciate the utter miracle that entails. And this means that I am sleeping through the night. Which further, and most importantly, means that it is no longer impossible to get out of bed at 4:30 am and . . . TRAIN. Yes, yes, yes . . . TRAIN, my people (me, hubby and robot spammers, but hey, they're my people and I love them). It some slow, silly, painfully non-athletic training just now. But it is what it is. Its running and swimming and spinning. I LOVE IT!!!

So, what have I done, one might ask (if one were a robot spammer or my husband - I don't ask, I just do)? I have, of course, gone and made a rash and bold and probably exceedingly stupid decision to train for The Big One. That Big Thing that I was supposed to be in training for when my little surprise came along and shook things up a little (a lot) - because life, people, is what happens when you're busy making other plans. At least that's what Lennon said. So, yeah. I'm going to try to run the St. Louis Marathon. I say "try" with all deliberateness because, though I have four and half (five if you count the two weeks I'm into it already) months to train, I'm really behind. My mileage is laughable and my speed - well, lets just say that there are some walkers that would absolutely smear me if I went out at my current "speed".

I'm going to try. Experiment, if you will. I've developed a plan that's a sort of hybrid of a plan I found based on time rather than mileage (for beginning marathoners - me) and the FIRST training plan that suggests running only three days a week with cross training on at least two other days. I like the FIRST method because it allows me to at least maintain the fitness I've worked on in the pool and in spin class (I have yet to get on the bike - that's a post for another, later day) and also allows me to try to avoid the dreaded stress fracture thingamabob that's cost me so much time this last year. I'm doing a tempo run, a speed workout and a long run (on dirt) every week with at least one swim, one spin and Crossfit.

So, we'll see. St. Louis allows me to switch to the half-marathon if I need to and I think that by March, I'll know if that is what needs to happen. In the meantime, I'm setting my sights on The Big One and waiting with baited breath to see if I can actually do it. I'm not sure if I can. That's what makes the Experiment interesting.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stress. Fracture.


So, my knee has been hurting for awhile. For the most part, I was able to ignore it and just get on with it but it started getting worse so I heeded Hubby's insistence and went to see the Doc.

After describing my irritation (I refused to call it "pain" at that point), Doc uttered some scary stuff about it sounding like a torn meniscus and words like "surgery" "6-12 week recovery" and so on and so forth and then she ordered an MRI. The good news was, my meniscus looks great! The not so good is that my femur and tibia don't look so good. Its a stress fracture. Shucky darn.

On to the Orthopedist who gave me a hefty brace that makes me look like a cyborg and sentenced me to a month on the couch - interspersed with time in the pool and on the bike - no hills, no running, no walking. The June race is right out. I'm trying to be hopeful that I'll be able to get my run on in time for the Ballwin Tri - that's the race I did as my initiation into triathlon and it would be kind of poetic to make it my first race back.

In the meantime, my knee is broke. I swear it hurts more since they told me it was a fracture. Every time it twinges, I imagine my poor bones, grinding together, splintering. Not a very helpful visualization, I'm sure.

Feeling sorry for myself seems to be what I'm best at just now. Ah,well.

To celebrate, I spent some time in the pool this morning doing Tabata intervals. The pool feels good. No pain, no limp. I guess I'll get my swim on but good in the next few weeks. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tiny Miracles

If any of you from my "past life" (i.e. Before Noah) are still out there, you may remember my Idea, namely a team to train, empower, and raise money for survivors of domestic violence. Its never left me.

Ironically, when I started back to work at the children's theatre in October, another woman who used to act with me "back in the day" started back again as well. Her "day job" is as a counselor for a local organization that helps women extricate themselves and heal from violent relationships. I told her my idea and she liked it so much she told her supervisor. Her supervisor was enthusiastic about the possibilities and sent me her contact information. I have a meeting with her at the end of this month.

Tri-Hubby is in telecommunications sales and met a woman across the river in Illinois who runs a similar organization. He told her about my idea. She was also intrigued and I have her contact info - I'm waiting until TH gets back to her about her telecommunications before I call her - I don't want my call to remind her that TH hasn't called her back yet ;)

How strange that two years after this Idea "came to me", the Universe seems to be aligning to make it happen.

In the meantime, I am still fighting the good fight and trying to get back in shape. I'm swimming, spinning, running, doing Yoga and Crossfit. It feels awesome! The June tri looms in the near future but I'm confident I can do it.

Its all good, friends, its all very very good.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Case You Didn't Know . . .


The 2009 Ironman Lottery Program officially opened Wednesday, October 1 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Athletes interested in earning a slot through the Ironman Lottery must apply by Saturday, February 28, 2009, with all winning entries being announced on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.

A vision of Ironman founder, John Collins, the Ironman Lottery began in 1983 as a way to provide athletes of all abilities the opportunity to qualify for the world’s most challenging endurance event. The Ironman Lottery awards 150 domestic, 50 international and 5 physically challenged slots that are chosen randomly from more than 7,000 lottery entries.
Athletes who are part of Ironman’s Passport Club receive member benefits such as an increased chance to win a lottery slot. The club, beginning domestically in 1990, is now open to athletes from around the globe.
Participants gain entry into the Ford Ironman World Championship one of three ways: by qualifying for a slot at one of more than twenty events held worldwide, by winning a slot through Ironman’s charitable eBay Auction or by being selected in the Ironman Lottery. Recognized as one of the most in-demand athletic events in the world, nearly 60,000 athletes vie for one of 1,800 coveted slots to the Ford Ironman World Championship, taking place in Kailua-Kona , Hawaii , each year.
For more information visit or the Lottery Registration page

All athlete-related inquiries can be directed to

There will be 150 lottery slots available to the U.S. applicants. ONLY U.S. CITIZENS MAY APPLY. 100 names will be drawn from the Passport Club. 50 names will be drawn from the U.S applicants and any unselected Passport Club members. Lottery selections will be available on April 15, 2009 at 12:00pm EST on

There are 50 lottery slots available to International applicants. CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT BE ENTERED. 25 names will be drawn from the Passport Club. 25 names will be drawn from the International Applicants and any unselected Passport Club members. Lottery selections will be available on April 15, 2009 at 12:00pm EST on

Athletes who are SELECTED through the Ironman Lottery must have completed an Ironman 70.3 or other long-distance event (1.2 Mile, 56 Mile + 13.1 Mile) or longer within one year of the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship to validate his/her lottery slot. Lottery winners must complete a validating race before August 31, 2009 and all validating information should be E-mailed to by August 31, 2009. Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of the lottery slot.

Five names will be drawn for the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship from the total applicants applying in the following Physically Challenged categories.
The following defines the physically challenged divisions for the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship Lottery.

DIVISIONSLower Extremity - This includes single below-the-knee amputees, in which a standard bicycle is used, and run with a prosthesis or crutches.
Wheelchair One - This division consists of single above-the-knee amputees who ride a standard bicycle, but use a racing chair on the run.
Wheelchair Two - This division consists of athletes who have double below-the-knee or a double above-the-knee amputation. These athletes ride a standard bicycle and use a racing chair on the run.
Upper Extremity - This is an athlete who has one arm amputated above or below the elbow, in which they will use a prosthesis on the bike.
Blind - This is for athletes who are legally blind, 20/200 with best corrected vision, requiring a handler throughout the race. They will use a tandem bike and will be tethered during the swim and the run.

Athletes are required to submit:
• Medical description of physical disability from primary care physician.
• A letter from his/her physician validating athlete’s fitness and ability to meet the physical demands of an Ironman event.
Upon review of information received all eligible athletes will be registered for the physically challenged lottery. Any application received with incomplete information will not be processed for the lottery draw. Any decision on whether or not an athlete meets the criteria for a specific division is at WTC’s sole discretion. All athletes chosen will need to complete an event that is 70.3 (1.2 mile, 56 mile, 13.1 mile) distance or greater within one year of the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship.
For more information please E-mail

Physically challenged athletes who are paraplegic, quadriplegic or double above-the-knee amputees, and race using a handcranked cycle on the bike segment, and a racing chair for the run segment, will be able to compete for two male slots and one female slot at the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake and two male slots and one female slot at Ironman 70.3 Antwerp. These slot winners will then compete in the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship on October 10. Please contact Ironman at (727) 942-4767 or E-mail, for further information.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smelling Like Pool and Other Training Pleasures

I can't even tell you how great it feels to get in the pool again. It always feels like so much effort, but its always sooo worth it. I was surprised to find that I could swim 500 straight the third time I swam - so I'm in a better place than when I first started training to tri and could only swim 25 yards. At least in the swimming department, I'm in a better place. Running is a whole different story. My knees hate me, my lungs hate me . . . oh well. It feels good to be sore again.

I even got to get outside on my mountain bike a couple of weeks ago. They just finished a trail by the river near our house and I went exploring on it. Most of it is pothole riddled pavement but I think I can maneuver Pyro around the worst stuff. When the weather warms up, I suspect it will be a favorite ride for me.

Oh yeah, and I lost five pounds. Cool. Only twenty to go. . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Starting Over . . .

Its like 5 degrees outside. And I was out there. Training. Its the very start - the training of a newbie triathlete who, not so very long ago, was doing well to waddle her hugely pregnant body from one side of the neighborhood to the other. The training of a newbie triathlete who, until very very recently, hadn't slept for longer than two hours at a time for months and months. The training, in other words, of a person who, until a week and a half ago, was only slightly more active than a houseplant. That's my long, drawn out way of saying that I'm starting very very small. Today's "run" was only 15 minutes - with walking breaks every 2 1/2 min. My "long run" is only 20 min. Long swim also only 20. But I'm training.

There's a sprint triathlon near me on June 13th. I'm doing it. So is my sister. And Tri Hubby. Its going to be awesome.

And so, it begins. Again. I've got a long long way to go. But that's nothing new.

It was 5 degrees out there. And I ran. Because Thats. How. I. Roll.