I Make Stuff Up

This weekend I really needed some Katy time. Freedom to sleep in, to spend money on myself, to skip a workout if I felt like it, to cook, to eat, to paint nails, do laundry, mow grass, and catch up with my own Honey Do lists.

Wow, did I have a great weekend. It’s not a three-day weekend, and that’s OK for now. Someday I’ll have a job that honors federal holidays. For now I suppose I should just be happy I have a job.

Anyway.

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Andi had to go back to the vet and this time they started her on prednisone for her flea bites which have yet to clear up. She is apparently highly allergic. So far the prednisone has not made a difference. Poor baby.

I took myself out for sushi, I bought a new bra from Victoria’s Secret, I shopped at Old Mill District and I just let go of stress and worry and enjoyed myself. I didn’t count every calorie I ate and I didn’t count every dollar I spent. And it was good.

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I got my handlebar tape changed over from zebra print to purple. I love the purple.

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I painted my nails a pretty pink with one sparkle on each hand. I love having pretty nails and so glad I can do it myself.

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I made a big pot of minestrone soup and it’s delicious. It tasted so good after my 27-mile bike ride. My bike ride was supposed to be 90 minutes with 25 of those minutes just above race pace. I did the hard push in the first half so it took me 15 minutes longer to get home, and I was (still am) pooped out. But the soup was a great recovery meal (x2).

I got my sewing area organized again and ready to start on my next quilting project. I found these orphan blocks which will need to be fostered out!

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On the agenda still remains.. A batch of pumpkin muffins. But since this is a weekend for myself, it might wait till tomorrow.. But boy, do I want one for breakfast tomorrow..

This was my weekend.

How was yours? I hope you get a 3-day weekend and that it’s full of good as well.

The Dork who swims with Wetsuit @ Local Pool

Yup, that was me. I had to. And I will do it again. After Sunday’s fiasco at the Swim Across Suttle, I knew it was time to figure out the wetsuit issue. The best way I knew how to do that was to eliminate all other factors that come with open water swimming. Sighting, other people, deep water, etc. I just needed the opportunity to swim a lap, make an adjustment, swim a few laps, make a few more adjustments. And so I swam like this for a half hour. I took a lot of breaks to make adjustments and in the end I swam 750m and really made progress with the suit.

Wetsuits are tricky. Each brand kind of has its own set of fit criteria. The brand I bought (Zoot) has a wide weight range for each size. Size, as I would learn, is much more dependent upon height than it is on weight in a Zoot wetsuit. The weight determines how much and where the buoyancy goes. So as soon as the Zoot rep assured me that my suit did in fact fit, I went into motion to figure out what went wrong on Sunday.

I woke up with hives that started at my hip and went down both legs to the knuckle on my big toe. It was itchy and uncomfortable. I did not take time to cinch up the wet suit the way I should have. And that’s where I went wrong.

Yesterday I decided that I definitely need some type of lubrication before pulling on the suit. Either BodyGlide or something else. I’ve read in books that some triathletes use Pam – yes, the cooking spray.

I have another 30-min swim scheduled for Friday. Not sure if I will use the pool or the river, but I do know that I need to swim with the wetsuit more often as I prepare these last few weeks before Portland Tri. It just has to happen.

It’s a smoky one out today. Ash is collecting on my chair in the backyard. A new fire must have broken out last night. The Central Oregon life.. Not sure how or if it will affect my ride tonight but I have a 60-min bike scheduled and I am really looking forward to getting out on my wheels. It may have to be on the trainer though.. Better than not at all.

I Love Running

My friend Sandra over at
Organic Runner Mom
posed a question recently about why we run, or when we started running.. I honestly don’t remember what she asked exactly, but I remember that it made me start thinking about the journey I’ve been on and why and how running has been such a central part of my life for more than half of the time I’ve been on this planet.

I started running when I was 15. I was a sophomore in high school when I joined the XC team. Our school had a new coach and I was the only one who showed up to the first day of practice. We spent the next few weeks recruiting runners and soon enough we had a handful of great kids on the team. By default, I became captain and from then on my coach referred to me as Captain Kate – or now simply ‘Capt.

My first few years as a runner I didn’t understand the value or need really to run year round. So each summer it became crunch time. In high school everything was new to me. Every long run set a new distance PR. Every XC meet held the potential for a new 5k PR.

And then I graduated, having earned Most Dedicated Runner all three years and often receiving the “True Grit” award at meets. My coach highly valued recognition and I suppose I really needed it.

In the fall, I went to Lyndon State College and ran XC for my new coach, a whole new set of friends and teammates. Running has always garnished the best of friends. The best and easiest conversations occurred on a long run. There is something to be said for working side by side for the same goals; competing against and pushing each other to run faster and farther. I could easily name some of my favorite people on this earth, and I can thank running for brining us together and developing such meaningful friendships: Juli (Gadoury) Morse, Rennae (McLane) Walsh, Jen (Quirion) Davis, Haley Cronin, Kate Dana, Jess (Maple) Parker, (high school coach Tom Walton and college coach Chris Ummer), and so many, many more.

My freshman year of college I qualified with my team for Nationals. We did this by winning our regional meet. It was the first time any women’s team of any sport at my college had ever made it to Nationals, and it was a big deal. A huge deal. A race and a week I will never forget. I ran a PR at that race – 21:08 for the 5k – and I haven’t been able to touch it since. It was magical.

I have run a handful of half marathons, and won the women’s division of a hilly fall Vermont half back in Oct 2003. I ran a 50k summer 2006 and Disney Marathon 2009 marked my second marathon.

My interest in triathlons was always there but it became possible in 2009 when I bought my bike.

This is where things started to go downhill for my running. There was just something about that bike.. It made running suddenly feel SO s l o w …

Tonight I went out for a 40-min run. The plan included 2×4-min hard effort with 2 min rest. My ankle has been bothering me since Sunday’s swim but I did the workout anyway. Pushed through the pain. Maintained good form. Luckily for me, it doesn’t take much effort to be running at a hard effort now.. But there was a noticeable difference in my speed when there was supposed to be.

My favorite runs are the hard ones. Not hard in that I could barely breathe because I’m so fat and out of shape (the past year) but hard as in speed work, hill repeats, progressions, tempo, what have you. So tonight a little voice was in my head saying, “Weeeeeee!!!”

It was so good to hear that voice again.

I’ve been a runner for 18 years. My runner self is graduating high school.. I remember the transition between my high school years and my college years and how far I went with my running. I’m excited to see where my runner self takes us as we head into college.

Throw the Negative Self-Talk Away

I’m not naturally a negative person, but sometimes life grabs you and holds you down in a headlock. A few minutes there and you can still laugh, but too much time will cause even the sunniest person to cave.

Negative self-talk has really gotten in my way this year. I have an enormous amount of pressure, which I somehow created myself.

Find a new job, one that is fulfilling and sustaining. Meantime, keep a positive attitude about the job that has drained you of energy, enthusiasm, and filled you with stress & negativity. Find time to train for a triathlon while also volunteering twice a week so you can branch out and make an impression elsewhere, and tutoring twice a week so you can earn a few extra bucks. Oh, and water the garden and mow the lawn and take care of your puppy who needs a medicated bath 2-4 times a week for the next 4 weeks. Oh and one more thing. Lose the 25 pounds that have found their way onto your midsection during the past 23 months if discontent at your job. And when the weight comes off, beat yourself over the head with the scale… Count every calorie, stay within the range, exercise and still see no results. Pay all your bills not just on time, but early, even though your paycheck is never enough to cover them all. And then feel bad about how you got where you are and make up reasons why you can’t get out of it.

I’m in over my head.

And so I need to make some changes. Some changes are obviously out of my control. Can’t force a job to appear. Can’t seem to lose a pound. I enjoy volunteering and tutoring and I know both are contributing to occupational wellness and will hopefully boost my morale at the next interview.

So I have decided to pack away the scale. I’m even taking the batteries out of it before I do so, so I can’t just weigh myself in the closet. I am piggybacking the last four weeks of a training program in one of the books I have on triathlons. I’m not overthinking it. I’m not going to change anything. Even though today is a rest day, and I hate starting on a rest day, I am starting today. With rest.

The negative self talk has to go. I might have to go as far as writing mantras to repeat to myself in the morning and before bed.

I haven’t decided if I should keep tracking my food or not. I know it works for many people, but I don’t know that counting every calorie I put in my mouth works for me. MyFitnessPal keeps telling me that if every day were like today, I’d be anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds lighter in 5 weeks. Yet the scale doesn’t budge. So I may be done with the whole counting thing for a while.

Stress causes a release if cortisol, which is a toxic hormone in our bodies. Too much cortisol can cause all sorts of ailments. IBS, weight gain, acne, headaches, fatigue… etc.

So I would really like to treat the cause and not just mask the symptoms. I need a different job. Two years of something miserable is two years wasted. I want my life back. My health. My smile. My deep, internal, lasting smile. My body. My fitness.

A positive mental attitude goes a long way so that is where I am going to focus my energy. Starting now.

There is something waiting just around the corner for me. And I don’t want to miss it. I have a lot to offer and it’s just a matter of time before someone sees that and grabs me up. I’ve made great strides this year building my fitness back up. I have raced my first Olympic tri, a half marathon, my first open-water swim race and I’m still training for another Olympic tri and a half marathon this fall. I am resilient and innovative, creative and headstrong. I am proud of myself for what I have endured this year and last and I look forward to where life takes me today, tomorrow and the next day.

The DFL Experience

This morning I woke up on the banks of the Metolius River, camped out under a banner of heavenly stars, my sweet little puppy dog still curled up by my feet. It was the morning of my first open-water swim (unattached to a triathlon), and even though I wanted to keep sleeping, I was quickly up and moving about.

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I’m not a strong swimmer right now and my only goal was to focus on myself and work on good form. As I would learn quickly into the swim, even that goal was too far fetched. But it’s ok. I had other things to work on, and still do.

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Andi wished me luck and we were off.. And within a few minutes I realized I was going to finish DFL. That’s okay, for now.

I’ve never finished last. In anything. Ever. Even on horrible race days, there’s always someone struggling a bit more than I am. But not today.

My wetsuit was choking me like I couldn’t believe. If I unzipped the back a little, it filled with water and created too much drag. I couldn’t breathe deeply. I had the option to pull off and remove the wetsuit but I knew if I did that I wouldn’t get back in the lake.

A vocal meltdown later, one that was heard for quite some distance, I started to feel better. I needed to get the negativity out of my head. And the words sunk to the bottom of the lake.

The wetsuit was uncomfortable. My fitness and lack of swimming endurance, however, was the real culprit. So I had to change goals right then and there. After beating myself up because I “wasn’t really swimming,” I finally declared out loud that I was in fact swimming. The rescue kayak who was stuck with me agreed.

In fact, the rescue kayaker is the reason I finished the race with a smile. He talked to me. He offered suggestions but ultimately decided that I wasn’t a quitter and he just had to keep moving along with me. At this point, I was determined to finish. I could get over DFL – how vain not to – but I needed an extreme reason to bail on a race. I was in fact swimming. My body somehow crossed a 1.3 mile lake that was too deep to touch 10 feet from shore. Obviously I was swimming. It just wasn’t the stroke I intended on using.

The great thing about this race is that the finish is on the other side of the lake from the start. A shuttle service waited for the very last swimmer to cross before leaving. So all 56 other swimmers and all the volunteers, race crew, and family were there to cheer me in. Even I had two friends and my dog at the finish line! (Actually all along the course! They walked the trail, cheering me and then getting scared away when I started berating myself. Fortunately one was still there to see me bounce back. The other, afraid I was actually going to drown, went to get my car to shuttle it to the finish).

Finally within range of the finish, my sense of humor returned. A friend I had met and have run into several times in the past month (who finished just before me, but long enough ahead to get his phone, grabbed these photos of my finish.

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Face in the water for the final push but by this point I was too tired to sustain it. The wetsuit was just too much.

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As I was saying about the wetsuit..

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It was strangely an honor to be dead last. I’ve never experienced it before and now I am no longer concerned about experiencing it again. I just know that to finish a race with as much struggle as I experienced, is something to be happy about.

I need to make my wetsuit more comfortable and less restricting around the neck. I need to swim more. And oh, really need to work on positive self talk.

All in all, my first open water swim race was really great! 1.3 miles down on a beautiful day!

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Where is Waldo, anyway?

It’s no joke that my last triathlon was far from fun. It was a combination of many things, mostly within my control for prevention, but by the time I realized they were compounding on top of one another, I was already buried under a heap of despair.

I cried as I extreme-slogged through the 10k run course.

For my next triathlon, I have to make changes in order to keep it fun. I need more cheers from the crowd to keep me smiling. And I need to knock the pressure down so “fun” stays in the perimeters of my race throughout.

I thought about this. Fortunately for me, I never have to dig deep to access creativity. Creative is my middle name. Or at least it should be.

I have decided to race Portland Tri in a Where’s Waldo theme. Hopefully it will garnish more cheers from the crowd. Smiles, waves, who knows.. Maybe it won’t make a difference. It will at least be fun to try.

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Found this top at Old Navy for $4. Not tech material and not meant for racing, but who cares? I won’t swim in it anyway – the swim will be the only non-Waldo-esque leg. Wetsuit and race-issued cap are limiting.

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Found the UV Half Buff in King of the Mountain print which will serve perfectly as my Waldo “hat” on the run without causing me to overheat.

Next up is tri shorts that are blue.. Or have more blue than my pink & black ones.

I am already having more fun with this than I anticipated! Love being creative and this was the perfect solution to keeping my race day light and carefree.

Would you cheer louder if you saw Where’s Waldo: Triathlete Edition go by?

And Here Goes

A quick update on several fronts:

Andi had a vet appointment on Sunday and sure enough fleas, but what’s worse – she had a staph infection from the bites. Yesterday Oscar also came home from a two-month vacation and both he and Bella were treated for fleas & ticks tonight, and Andi was released from solitary confinement. Her belly is still sore buy she is on yet again another new food which she gobbled right up and followed it with her antibiotic like a champ. We are on our way to recovery.

I am feeling much better following a new NetiPot and a nasal spray from Natural Grocers. I am on my bike trainer in the backyard as I type this, working up a sweat.

I’m even locked inside a dog crate to keep them away from me!

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And yes, it is necessary.

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The bike trainer seems dumb when the weather is nice but I need to get in mileage and I feel bad leaving Andi alone all day and then again at night. So at least she knows I haven’t abandoned her.

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Or something like that.

My sunflower is huge. I just noticed it today. I mean, the size.

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My garden is just okay. Here are a couple shots from my place on the bike. Sorry if they are a little shaky. Not used to taking pictures while biking. I kind of like this!

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I have sweet potato fries cooking on the grill and a chicken breast ready to heat up. Back to some good eats.

Portland Tri is around the corner. But first is the Swim Accross Suttle which I haven’t prepared for. Must do that.

I need a coach if for nothing else – the swim. I have no direction.

Well, that’s all for now. Still pedaling..

enjoy!