Now I lay me down to sleep…

 Short blog about my training progress and then off to bed. I am incredibly exhausted and plan to try to sleep a little later tomorrow morning as it is a training rest day. 

My big accomplishment this morning at swim practice was completing eight full lengths (or 1/2 lap, 200 yds) of the pool face down in my free form breast stroke. They were not consecutive. Every length down I did non-stop face down but the lengths back were riddled with pauses and pretty much backstroke or dog paddle. My weakness, fear and  rudimentary skill awaken my impatience today more than my doubt. 

I am digging my progress. Five weeks ago I couldn’t make a full face in water length with the kickboard. As of this morning I have accomplished the lengths I need to complete the October race. I just need to complete them without lunch breaks. LOL.

Progress, progress. Oh, I also think I found a bike I want for my starter bike. Its a hybrid and about 200$ at Target, and I found the training wheels on Amazon. Though if I can start doing the gym regularly maybe I can skip the training wheel phase as my strength and balance improve.

Noien, my dear canine friend and subject of my last blog, is also doing better today. She is still very low energy and coughing her CHF chuff at any excitement or exertion but she ate a scrambled egg and a Milk-Bone. I am very much concentrating on living in the now with her, and I stand corrected by my youngest son that she is actually 12.5 years old. As a pup, her life span was predicted at 8 to 10 years max due to puppy mill health issues;  I think I started mentally making her younger and younger hoping to stop time’s progress.

Speaking of time progressing quickly, I can’t believe 28 years ago I was giving birth to Richard. I did make the Jello for the birthday party, and ate it and the steak my son cooked. He is an awesome cook. It was nice to share his birthday and I am glad I went. 
Also pretty much sure it will be the last meat I ever eat. My conscience is bothering me and so is my used to tofu tummy. Just like it takes all kinds of beliefs to make up the world, it takes all kinds of diets. Mine needs to be meat,  milk and wheat free. Sometimes I am a slow learner. I don’t need anyone else to eat that way, but my whole body and soul tonight are reminding me that I do, now it is up to me to take care of me and learn to just say no.
 Still the tummy tussle is a small price to pay for a great meal and to hang with them all and make Rick smile. I hope they all finally went swimming. I went home cause I knew I was gonna throw up and well, somethings are better done at home, alone, and I am such an early riser/bed goer no one thought a thing of it.
And now once again this Slow, Old, Fat Triathlete is off to dreamland and star catching, if the tennis match in my tummy will just finish.

What I did for love, and more importantly what I am about to do for love…

     Love is a BIG UMBRELLA. of a word; it’s a noun, a verb, sometimes an entire story.  

     My current trip into triathlon land is motivated by love. I love a challenge, I love my friends and family and I really do love my life. Participating in an event that is comprised of swimming, biking and running in precisely another 110 days is a challenge to say the least especially since I still can’t ride a bike.  Getting healthier through exercise and its concurrent weight loss extends the time I can be around to hug the people I love and improves the quality of the life I live. So the first thing I am doing for love is swimming, swimming swimming. This morning I did four lengths of the pool in my poor form breast stroke, not consecutively mind you, spread out throughout Phil’s (our trainer from Inspire Fitness) homework assignment, which incidentally my daughter-in-law and I both finished.

     Tomorrow evening I will be attending a party whose main food feature is gourmet steak and I am making and bringing red jello with pineapple in it as a side dish. Why am I doing this? Love, of course. It is my sons 28th birthday and that is what he wanted me to bring.

     Those who know me personally, should get the humor of this without explanation, but for the rest of you I will add a few salient facts.  My cupboards are well stocked with twelve different kinds of organic flours. I make aspics from scratch. My baking, including gluten-free, is renown for its moistness and flavor. I spend hours researching and perfecting old recipes, tweaking new recipes and sometimes just making things up on the spot because I love to bake and cook. I am also vegetarian. But when I asked Rick what he wanted to eat on his birthday, he wants red jello with pineapple. I bought some. I will make it in the morning and place it in a glass bowl with a plastic lid and pick up a big tub of Cool Whip, because tomorrow is about my son and what he likes and not about me.

The third and hardest is that my little Noiene is in congestive heart failure. She is 11.5 years old and has been quite perky up until this past year. She is coughing and tired and yesterday I came home from work to find her lying in her own mess whimpering. I gave her a bath and her symptoms are under control for the moment but I know that it is time for me to do the loving thing and help her cross the rainbow bridge. I wish I could get the medicine and just give it to her here, at home with me and then bury her at my friend Regina’s property so she can chase (and not catch) the spirit bunnies to her hearts content. She always loved visiting Regina’s. Just don’t know if that’s even legal. Better than that, I wish the Goddess would take the decision out of my hands and take her home tonight while we are both sleeping. If not I will do the loving thing.
I will bathe and groom her again tomorrow (she likes it as long as I leave the paws, butt and tail alone) and my sons will come visit her and take some pictures Wednesday. I hope its a good day for her. I am still a bit in denial because I keep expecting to wake up and have her bouncing around me again, I believe in miracles. But I also believe her being in my life for 11.5 years was really more miracle than anyone can ask for and so what I will do for love is very soon, I will let her go.

A train, a train….would you, could you on a train.

 My days do revolve around "train"ing, and my mantra these days is certainly about increased locomotion, but actual steam engines are kind of off track, as are Green Eggs and especially Ham, green or any another color. However, the first fifty years of my life, my response to any form of on-going non-theater related physical exercise received a response very like Sam-I-Am’s response to a green breakfast. As of right now, with a little help from my friends, this triathlon train is still the one on which I am booked.

Yesterday, three of the four women showed up for class at the pool, even though we knew Phil (trainer) would be absent. I managed for the second time to complete the full homework in length, if not with its requested continuity.

Here is my current swim training schedule (again), with actual how it happened commentary.

2 Lap Kick Board warm up, focus on breathing and consistently moving. (I get this part done and keep my face in the water, at the end of one lap I am already breathing like I am exercising; during second lap I feel it in my legs; by the end I am kicking more efficiently.)

4 Laps free style with no, or minimal (30 seconds or less) break ( I get all 4 laps done but the breaks are more like 30 seconds between halves, and 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 90 second, 2 minutes between the laps. I swim all four  75 percent breast stroke-like style. My heart at this point is racing to get out of my ribcage and I thankfully need a potty break)
1 Lap Kick-board (Still able to keep face in water at least half the time, legs are feeling energized rather than earlier sore, can emptying your bladder reduce lactic acid?)
3 Laps free style (These are my WTF do I think I am doing even trying to be an athlete laps. It was also here that I managed this week to do a half a lap in my poor form breast stroke without flipping or stopping and it was at this point I started bargaining with myself about how if I could just do a full lap without stopping I would allow myself to quit early. This pushes me to really focus on trying to swim face down, but can’t do the full lap without a half-way 90 second pause.)
1 Lap Kick-board.( I just do it. Slow but steady, goggles off. Just locomotion)
2 Laps free style.( I really try to do these well but I am physically tired and so the "can’t breath" voice gets quite a bit louder. I Did manage one more half lap in breast stroke without stopping or flipping to back stroke.)

1 lap Kick-board. (By this time I am constantly telling myself, "OK, just do another half-lap. Just another half-lap, then if you really need to you can stop. My desire to finish means taking no break at the turn is a lot easier)

1 Lap free style (I try to make this my best lap, it isn’t but that approach at least gets me through it.)

Cool down
2 laps with kickboard focusing on breathing. It will be little extra hard here because you will be tired. Thats ok, try to push through it. (I pushed through, barely. Actually crying inside as I make myself breath out under water while my little voice has a full on fit. Cheered as I finished and was cheered by Dawns support!)

Then Rick and Dawn took me to breakfast at the Coffee Shop. I am borrowing Dawns Ipod since mine burst into flames. The funny part of the fire in my car story was that I was listening to an audio book by James Owen and the heroes had just arrived on an island representing Dante’s sixth hell. I would expect Apple will attribute it to the realistic prose. I put it out by pulling the FM broadcast/charger out of my lighter socket and using my swim towel to smother. Car still smells a bit of smoky plastic and wire solder, but nothing worse than the loss of my Ipod to show for it. 
So much more to tell about this week, but it is time to get ready for work. I will work today, go swim tonight, work on my Twenty Wishes (Ladies book club thing) and my outline for next months camp nanowrimo novel. Probably no new entries till Monday unless I achieve some unforeseen amazing breakthrough.
P.S. I did not go swim tonight but will tomorrow. I was starving when I got home and decided to cook dinner instead and then it is early to bed. I was yawning all day at work. As important as training is to me. Job comes first.
Namaste, fellow star catchers.

Writer’s Block: Peace of mind

My favorite is Nothing, just Focusing on my outward breath, necessary daily in the AM and PM. (For how to’s I recommend Pema Chodron and Jon Kabat-Zinn)

I also do a Druid Prayer Bead meditation 3 times a week.

And when my mind is too busy for even that, I put on my Meditation Podcasts on my Ipod and lay down.

That is just what works for me. 

A brief note on starting where I am

So I am really feeling the neglected scar tissue break down this week, most likely from the new stretches and increased exercise. So I decided to finally read up a bit on the grey area that was my first ten years of living with the big C. I was a much changed woman, but not yet really taking full responsibility for my own health. Not that I would have done anything different, the doctors I trusted were obviously trustworthy as I am writing this without the use of a medium. It is just that I allowed myself to be as ignorant as possible, and used denial instead of self-empowerment to get through that decade. Anyway here is a link to how I got my breasts back (bi-lateral with radiation) and helps me understand some of my current challenges with swimming.

This dovetails on last nights entry because of the fact that this son who is swimming and supporting my training knows well what it is like to come back from a life altering health crisis. He walks that 5K and swims, etc on a leg whose lower portion is supported on steel.  

I am also including this note to remind myself I do need to work harder to get where I want to go, and yup, pain is part of the process.  A clear picture of the obstacles is not an excuse to quit making the journey, it is just a map of the best way around for my travels.

Anyone CAN do anything, if they are willing to make the choices, take the actions and make the sacrifices necessary to arrive there. 
Sometimes the approach to a goal does need to be abandoned. Running away from a charging bull is smart not cowardice. Also, if I am required to sacrifice my integrity, or if I find the goal cannot be achieved while respecting my belief in ahimsa and satyagraha, then I must find a new aspiration or a new game plan. This, however, is definitely not one of those times, I can do this, and I will finish my first Sprint Tri in October.
All 200+, financially challenged, athletically talent-free pounds of me….(though hopefully by race time its 200- lbs of me 😉

Progress achieved…slowly

 My day started right with meditation. I forget sometimes how much of a difference that makes in my day. Still, even after meditation, I was a bit bluish.

Then I cancelled all my appointments for the week, including Chiropractic and massage (boo hoo, means I better do all my stretches everyday or buy more Tylenol). I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen (it needed it), and did my laundry.  
Meanwhile, I began my next very important task. I am reluctant to say I am returning to my old way of making money as a backup to my nursing career. I came to this decision because I really need more money, I love the job I have as a nurse but an extra 500$ to 1000$ a month would allow me to get out of debt completely, set aside enough to finish my B.S. and I don’t see a way to continue where I am and achieve my financial goals. I definitely want to stay where I am so I need something in addition to it. My now somewhat rusty verbal skills always came through while i was raising my children, can be done on my own schedule and anyway, the universe keeps pushing me in that direction. And that is all the information on that I am giving here, let’s just say I began and if nothing else I am going to have fun trying. 
So that’s how I spent my day, working to keep a clean and solvent roof over my and my roommate’s head. All this had me headed well towards Indigo, and then I got a text from my Daughter-in-law. She was out of work for the day and did I want to go do our swim practice.
Want was a strong term to apply to doing my triath training, as my inability to complete the assigned workout was demoralizing me. I went a little further each time I practiced through the week-end, but still had not completed the new homework. It was more than twice as long as our previous workouts. I did not want to go fail again, I did however, need to go practice. 
So before I could formulate a stalling technique, I went.
The evening went splendidly. With Dawn and Rick’s encouragement, I actually completed the training outline set by Phil for the first time. I am still pausing more between laps than recommended but it was my first time to complete ALL laps, and I am keeping my face in the water with the kick-board consistently. I still really struggle with the breathing portion of the breast stroke and can’t yet make a full half-lap without flipping to back stroke for a breathing break. Almost no panic tonight when blowing out under water, even make it a couple strokes past my first accidental mouthful of water but then I flip like a dead fish. Progress…. 
Anyway, practice complete, they took me to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (do NOT try the sugar free Key Lime Mousse, it tastes like it should be used in someone’s hair, the pineapple upside-down cake on the other hand is VERY nommable….)Then sat out the giant dust storm with my son and daughter-in-law in their rec room and watched a sweet, funny movie on their awesome HD TV. 

Yes, it is true. My son and daughter-in-law have all the coolest techy stuff. In fact most of my way cool-to-me tech stuff is their hand-me-downs.  I am really proud of them both. My son only turns 28 this week and due to initiative and drive and doing the hard work he is a success professionally and personally. His wife is in graduate school. Their wedding anniversary is this week and they still obviously love and like each other. In fact they kind of remind me of  Lily and Marshall. Yup, it’s true. My son turned out awesome, in spite of me.

It really is about doing the work, not just talking the dream, believing the dream, and visualizing the dream; it is about getting your hands dirty, taking the risks and doing the work. It’s about being embarrassed and plowing through anyway. 

I said it before and will say it again, there are two kinds of people; those who make their dreams come true and those who make excuses.

That is why they make such good supporters right now. Rick and Dawn’s ability to set and meet goals is phenomenal.
Anyway, I will stop going on and on about how cool they are, but just had to express my gratitude publicly to them and to the universe for making them so awesome and all.  
Maybe a triathlon is not a goal anyone looking at me would suspect or suggest, but that is what makes it a goal, and not just showing off.
I shall finish tonight with a poem I wrote in grade school.
                         Star Catching  
I crouch, spring and grasp at the sky
Only to fall back down
And all the children point and laugh
At the way I jump around
It’s true, as yet, I’ve never caught a star
But at least my feet have left the ground.
                                                                          jm de biasi

 Good night star catchers!

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Originally published at Coppervale International. You can comment here or there.