Monday, April 28, 2008

Girls on the Run

My best friend Heidi volunteers for a great organization called Girls on the Run, which promotes healthy habits and builds self-esteem for pre-teen girls through running. Heidi has seen some girls conquer their self-doubt, weight issues, and bad eating habits through their coached running sessions. She helps a group of about 20 girls between the ages of 9 and 12 up in Northern Virginia, some of whom have never truly exercised in their life outside of PE class if even then. Last year their big race was a 5k, run on a COLD (below 20 with the windchill) February day.

Joe and I are trying to help Maddy find some kind of athletic endeavor that she enjoys--two years ago we tried swim team and softball to no avail, and she's been dancing ballet for over 3 years too but not really enjoying it. So now we're trying running. Today after getting home from school, Maddy asked if we could go for a mile run since she's signed up to run the Komen 5k with us in two weeks. (I know, we're a little late getting started on her training...) She and I suited up, and headed out with Sophie in tow. I guess I should say Sophie headed out with us in tow, that dog loves to run! The first 3/4 mile went so well, I changed our route to my regular 3 mile loop.

Maddy did great! We only walked 3 times, and she made it around the University of Richmond lake--a total of 7/10ths of a mile--without stopping in about 9 minutes. The 3 mile route includes some small hills, and is not the easiest for a purely beginning runner, but she almost ran the entire thing! I'm so proud of her. We talked about the 5k, and how she can walk through the water stops to catch her breath and drink some water or gatorade. She was glad to know she's not expected to run each and every step, and I'm glad she's realized she could cover the distance already. I asked if she would help me during IMFL, by running a bit with me to take my mind off things, and she promised she would. Now if I could only get her to stop being afraid of her bike, I'd have a new TriGirl for Grandison to coach!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And now the exhaustion sets in

Tonight I made it back to Sunday evening TriGirl swim, and during our set of 10 x 100s I was feeling sluggish and very, very tired. I almost demoted myself to the slower lane, but stuck it out, knowing that it wasn't a high-milage (meter-age?) workout. We totalled just 1600 meters, but it felt like I had been swimming, or treading water, or drowning for weeks. I think it's the past few weeks catching up with me.

After my last post, I took a much needed breather and headed up to Northern VA to see friends and meet my friend's possible in-laws. Yet while the bulk of my project was finished, there still was so much to do: trying to print my boards was tedious and with every test print, something that needed fixing popped up. My thesis instructor asked me to tweak my watercolors, which I did on a couple of them, then I ran out of steam. Tuesday was my day to tackle my model, and for some stupid reason I decided to rebuild it from scratch--I was in the studio that night until 4:30 in the morning. Wednesday and Thursday were days devoted to printing my final boards, putting everything up at the gallery, and helping my classmates with their stuff (making models, redoing boards, hanging stuff, etc). I had hoped to take Friday as a day to pamper myself before the openning show with a pedicure or massage, but that didn't happen. I was able to start the partying a bit on Thursday since my training buddies were headed out for drinks. I met them at 3 Monkeys and promptly ordered two mojitos! Classmate Ginny met me there. See below. I guess I had martini's on the brain, thus the neon over my head.

Below is a picture at the gallery opening with husband Joe, and another with fellow TriGirl Maryjo:

Later that night, dancing till 2am (in 3" heels with NO knee issues, surprise surprise) with fellow grad students Veronica, Molly, and Vanessa. Don't ask about that guy on the right in the shot w/ Vanessa.
Tomorrow I will start working on my thesis book, which ideally I'd like to have finished by Wednesday when I defend. It isn't due until May 8th, but it would be nice to have this whole MFA thing ALL truly wrapped up this week. Lots of people have asked, "What next?" After catching up on sleep, putting my house back in working order, and maybe getting that massage, it's training, baby!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The end is in sight!

Just a few minutes ago, I finished up my presentation boards, meaning all I have left to do this week is to tackle my model. That will still be a few days' work, but I feel I can breathe a little easier. Tomorrow will be a break, and tonight I'll go to bed at about 9pm (last night I was in the studio till 3:30am.) Maybe I'll even try to go for a run... Yey!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Four down, two to go...

TriGirl40 wanted to see some of my designs, so I figured since I have no training news to report (other than a 3 mi run today w/ no pain afterwards--making progress on that PT!) I'd post the watercolors I've finished to date for my thesis project presentation due April 25th. They still have some finessing, I just started working w/ this medium a couple of weeks ago...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sigh...of Relief

Yesterday's MRI showed a much thicker than normal ITB, and no meniscal issues. Yey! So, now let the healing begin. Yoga, PT, biking, swimming--all these are ok. Running, no. But maybe I can convince Kent and Michelle to let me "run" on the elliptical, even if it is boring as all get out.

Speaking of running, my friend Sarah ran today's Monument Ave 10k in my stead, and posted a new PR for me! My goal was to beat last years time, which she did by a whole minute, and I didn't even have to break a sweat. Thank you Sarah, and I'm so glad you had fun.

The remainder of the weekend will be spent hammering out my thesis project floor plan, and getting my Sketch-up model in good shape so next week I can start my renderings. I'll need to have 6-10 good drawings to include on my presentation boards, which go to the printer by the 16th or 17th at the very latest. I'll have a bit of a respite tonight: date night with Joe. The venue tonight is a black tie fundraiser to raise money for MMD (myotonic muscular dsytrophy) research. One of Joey's best friends and classmates lives with MMD, and like Joey's diabetes, it is an everyday, all day disease.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not a pretty picture

This is my IT band. Nice, huh?

Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?

My husband told me about this lecture last night, and today I watched the condensed version Randy Pausch gave on Oprah. It's long (11 mins), but very worthwhile.
I hope to live my life as a T-I-double G-er!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The view from the sidelines

I've spent a lot of my life watching from the sidelines. In middle school, I was always one of the last girls asked to dance, and that was only because in the Mexican version of cotillion everyone (even the unpopular kids) had to dance. (For those that don't know, my family was living in Mexico at the time.) I've watched most sports from the bleachers and was usually picked last for a team in PE, never mind the fact that I didn't want to play much since I was deathly afraid of any sport requiring a ball. It wasn't until much later in life that I discovered that sports can be fun, and I can play/do some of them decently. I didn't start running until 2004, and I still have a hate/love relationship with it. (Read on.) But there's no denying that the view from the sidelines is never as good as it is from the floor or field.

Fast forward from middle school to this week. I have been diligent in my phyiscal therapy for IT band issues, putting up with various forms of torture that Kent and Michelle dispense with great enthusiasm. Among these: ice baths, foam rollers, the stick of pain (see photo), Kent's thumbs, various rubber bands, monster walking, and "saddling up" to drag 90lbs on a sled sidestepping down a long hallway. I figured I was doing well, and I had followed their orders not to run for a while. I was a little nervous on the no running front, considering this weekend is the Monument Ave 10k. Last year I PR'd, with a 52:36. At the beginning of this year I was confident I could shave time off that--and was aiming to beat 50mins. So I decided on a trial run. Miles 1-3 felt great. Mile 4 and 4.5 not so good. Then I had to get to school. The four flights of stairs down from the parking garage were downright agony. Uh oh.

This morning I 'fessed up. Kent and Michelle scolded me. Dr. Cutter scolded me, then checked me out. My good knee had more swelling than the bad one, which was clicking in a certain place. He has since ordered an MRI, to make sure it's nothing worse. So now I wait. Luckily I'll have my answer on Friday--do I have worse meniscal issues, or just severe ITB issues? In the meantime, I'll try to be good company for Cyndi and Marit, two serious triathletes who are dealing with their own injury demons, and go cheer on the other TriGirls running this Saturday.

I found a great quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, who wrote Wherever You Go, There You Are. "No one can listen to your body for you....To grow and heal, you have to take responsibility for listening to it yourself." Hear hear!