Input and Output

Sometimes a week just sucks. Not the entire week, but parts. And I guess it’s true that all weeks can suck if you want to look at them that way. I don’t want to, but I have to acknowledge the suck in order to move on… Prepare for the rant…

So every workout this week sucked. Why? No idea. In what capacity? Well, let me tell you: Monday – scheduled ride. It was f-f-f-f-freezing and I don’t have the appropriate cycling gear to keep myself warm. Had to cut it short. Tuesday – scheduled swim. Coach thought it would be a good idea to challenge my swimming abilities. And I failed. And ended up frustrated. Wednesday- scheduled run. Also sucked. Why? Who the eff knows?? Thursday – scheduled ride. It was cold and I was underdressed, though dressed more warmly than Monday, but still…I guess it was fine. Friday – scheduled swim. Show up to get in the pool only to be told that it was time for Aqua Zumba. Are you freaking kidding me???? I was not happy.

Rant over.

It’s my 4th week with the coach. Maybe I’m getting tired. Maybe this is the part of the training where it gets hard so I want to quit. Maybe I don’t want to do this anymore. Maybe I’m wondering who the hell I think I am? I’m a couch potato who’s been ripped from her couch to ride her bike in the freezing cold, and to drive to the pool to have it occupied by a bunch of dancing grandmas. Is this what I want to spend my time doing? No. I want to do my workouts and get on with my day. I want things to run smoothly. Nothing was smooth about this week.

Ok, this is also the part of the training where I start to overthink everything. Best to just keep moving and think on the run. Or ride. Or swim. Truth be told I do enjoy it still. I can see that this was just a craptastic week and put it in the rearview. It doesn’t help that my nutrition has been less than stellar and I’ve had a few cocktails over this holiday week. Good input equals good output. If I feed and care for myself better then my workouts will be better. As my mother always told me, “keep it in perspective, Karen”. She’s right. This is just all for fun. So time to lace up and get back out on the road. Although my couch and my quilt and episodes of Gilmore Girls sound quite appealing right now, no progress will be made there today.

What have I learned this week? Sometimes things just suck and you have to keep going anyway. It’s hard to keep a positive attitude when it’s a struggle. It’s ok to be frustrated but don’t quit. I mean I could quit if I wanted to, but I don’t want to. I think it’s important to know what you really want. Things aren’t always easy or smooth, but deal and move on smartly. Good input equals good output: Nutrition, hydration, organization, preparation, and  attitude.

To Do:

  • make a list of cycling gear for Santa to bring me
  • watch more swimming videos
  • relax



High Low High

Hello Friends!

This week I thought I’d recap by illustrating different parts: a high point, low point, and then finishing positively with another high. So here goes…


I finished 3 full weeks of training with my coach! 6 workouts/week – 2 swims, 2 runs, and 2 bike rides. I’ve been getting up early, or getting in a run or a ride after school. I have to say even though I am busier because of this my mood has been pretty good. Except when Cobra Strike, who now has a cold, mistakenly uses my new toothbrush. Again. I love the man, but really?! Sigh…Anyway, I don’t think I’ve lost any weight yet, which is ok. I’m not doing this for the weight loss. Mostly these three weeks have been set up (masterminded you might say) just to get me back in the habit of daily exercise. The exercises themselves haven’t been super specific, except the swim because I am going back to the beginning to work on my freestyle form. They’ve been half-hour bike rides or half-hour runs or walk/runs. I really like that my coach has gone pretty easy on me so far. I know that will change, but for now the whole thing has worked really well.

{Just as an aside this coaching thing has been fantastic. Absolutely no complaints. I think I lucked out with this guy because he really seems to understand who I am and what I am capable of right now.}

Coach had me double up workouts on Thursday: swim before work then ride my bike after work. It made for a long day, but I was able to get the whole weekend off – no workouts! Friday morning I had a half hour run scheduled before I was supposed to get in the car and go to Boston for a 2-day work conference. Which leads me to…


On Wednesday’s half-hour run I noticed a little soreness on the inside of my right shin. It went away after a few minutes, but I still mentioned it to Coach. Friday I went out again and I felt that soreness again and it then started in my left ankle too. Hmmm… so my entire run went something like this:

Me (in my head): Ow. This isn’t right. Is the pain in my ankle? I’m scuffing my shoe against my leg again. That’s hip weakness. He’s going to make me do some strength exercises now. Crap! How do you strengthen ankles? Why am I braking going down this hill? Does this car see me? Hi, puppy dog! Ow! My damn shin hurts now…

Needless to say after I reported my self-diagnosis I will be getting strength exercises next week. I knew he was just getting me in the habit and didn’t want to overwhelm me with too much to do. But it’s time to get some good lunges, push ups and pistol squats back in my life. Sigh…

After my run I went into work for a meeting, and was supposed to leave for Boston right afterwards. As our new President Elect would say: WRONG! Major drama with a group of students. I ended up staying at school to counsel these kids. Missed my whole workshop. Probably won’t get my money back either. I was so disappointed that I missed it, but really quite glad to be able to provide some help to what was a pretty tense situation in the classroom. Teenagers. Sigh… Despite this disappointment I was able to turn my frown upside down, which leads me to…


I got the whole weekend off, baby! Here I was thinking I’d be traveling back and forth to Boston all weekend, but no. I got to go home at my usual time, have dinner with Cobra Strike, relax and get to bed early (as is my way these days). Then I had all day Saturday – no plans! What to do? Fun fact about triathletes: 9/10 of them have dirty houses (the 10th probably has a housekeeper). I just made that up. But it’s just not possible to work a job, get all your workouts done and keep on top of the dusting and vacuuming. Not for me with 2 messy but loveable dogs and an equally messy but loveable husband. So I spent the morning cleaning. I washed my floors! I cleaned my closet! I did laundry! Shopping! Organizing! And demanded that Cobra Strike not walk into my house with his dirty work boots (and he listened). I am so grateful to have this weekend. It really feels like a gift.

It does feel strange to have 2 days off of the exercise though. I will turn on a yoga video and just get some good stretching done today. I have more cleaning and organizing to do too, as in, I want to take our old desktop computer off of our desk and turn that into a crafting area. I have my knitting projects as well as some art journaling and card making that I want to have ready for me when inspiration strikes. Ya know, because I need one more thing to keep me distracted from all the fur and nose prints around the house!

As for next week… I imagine lots of burpees in my future. Sigh…

I’ll also be baking and Christmas shopping, and enjoying my new crafting table, I hope.

Until next time…




What I Learned This Week

Here it is, the end of another week and time for me to reflect on my training. And I will get to that, but what is on my mind is a race of a different kind: the presidential race. I’ve spent this past week trying to wrap my head around how we are where we are today. My mood swings from sadness and despair to anger and frustration, not finding much hope in between. What I do hope for is the strength to stand up against tyranny and bullying and injustice. I won’t stand by and watch my rights as a woman, or the rights of people of color, or immigrants, or people with disabilities, or LGBTQ, or Muslims, or any marginalized group be taken away.

The day after the election I had to go to work as most of us did. I didn’t want to. But I did. And the very first question from a student (who is deaf) was:

Donald Trump called deaf people “retarded” and made fun of people with disabilities. What is going to happen to me?

The only answer I could think of was to say that we don’t honestly know. But we have to do what we can. We all must pay attention. Get involved. Don’t stand by while someone is being mistreated. It’s what we teach children in order to stop bullying. And yet, here we have just elected the biggest bully we have seen in a long time. These students of mine are the future. What is this next 4 years going to teach them? How will this administration shape their world view? Will they become more tolerant of diversity or less? Will men become more respectful of women or less?

There are lots of articles out there in the interwebs about how to be safe as a woman when we are out on a run. There are all kinds of new products women can use to ward off an attacker. I saw one this morning that looked like a Wonder Woman bracelet with Wolverine-like claws that shoot out of it. This doesn’t make me feel empowered. It makes me so sad. That said, I must accept the reality that a misogynist was just awarded the highest office in the land so I will admit that I am planning to get a can of pepper spray (despite the fact that I do love bracelets). And I do carry a billy club in my car. Have been for years, thanks to my husband, code name: Cobra Strike. I never thought I’d need it. It seemed unnesessary. Not anymore.

The world feels like a very different place than it did just one week ago. My safety is not assured. And I suppose I knew that it never really was. I really believed that we as a nation would value respect and tolerance and diversity. I feel so naïve.  But I am a hopeless optimist and I work with high school students so I do have to believe that everything will be ok. I’m pretty sure it’s in my job description.


I said I would get to the workouts this week, so here they are as promised. Probably the best thing I did last week was work out everyday. I did not want to, especially Wednesday, but that run really helped me exorcise (word play, ha!) some of my negative thoughts and frustration. It helped me figure out that we have to do what we can to make our small part of the world a better place. Sometimes that means just working on our own heads. I am a role model for my students whether I want to be or not. They are looking to me and their teachers for guidance. I can’t give them the answers but I can help them figure out how to think for themselves.

My coach had me cycling twice, swimming twice, and running twice. That’s 6 workouts in 6 days, people. And that is 2 solid weeks of following the training plan to. the. letter. I am telling you having someone I must be accountable to makes all the difference. That, and I paid him real money. I highly recommend this if you struggle to stay on track as I do. I will let anything and everything derail me if I’m doing this on my own. I’m not proud of that but I don’t think it’s terribly unusual either. It is hard to get out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to put on a bathing suit and go for a swim. It’s cold and dark outside and my bed is toasty and warm. But I can’t blow it off and then try to explain that to my coach. I’m not gonna be that gal. Plus the upside to forcing myself up and out in the dark is that: a) I get my exercise done before 6:30 am, and b) I feel fantastic for the rest of the day. Plus it’s only a half hour earlier than my normal wake up time, so it isn’t as awful as it seems. Honestly. And if you’re committed you do what it takes, right? Right.

So what is the moral of this week? That I can be angry and sad and scared and anxious, but that just means I have to work harder. I can’t give up and I won’t give up. I’m accountable to my students, my coach, and myself. And having backup – someone who is checking on me and making sure I am ok – means that I am not alone in this. And neither are you. I have your back. We are in this together and we are strong. Getting stronger.


So get out there and be a force for good in whatever way you can. Go for a walk. Talk to your neighbors. Read the news from actual journalists. Pay attention. Help other people. Get involved. Find a way to be positive and bring some light to the rest of us. We need it now more than ever.




Real Life Heroes

Yes, today is the day after Election Day. This is not the place for arguments or fights of any kind. I need a breather from Facebook and the news and TV. I don’t want to bring that kind of vibe to my happy little blog. So…breathe…


Let’s talk about heroes. Inspiration. Who inspires you? Who’s someone you look up to?

Have you heard of 80 year old Ernestine Shepherd? Or 83 year old Iron Nun ? I mean, how can anyone not feel inspired by this? They are powerhouses and role models for all that we can do if we really want to. I mean an 83 year old Iron Man Triathlete? C’mon…


As I said in my last post, I went through a mid-life crisis of sorts. I stopped exercising and really wondered if it was worth it to continue. Why keep going? I’m not getting anywhere. It felt like a waste of time. I was bored and spent a lot of time wondering what to do with myself instead of exercise. I forgot about Ms. Ernestine and Sister Iron Nun. They both started working out later in life and really committed to the righteous path of health and wellness (not to mention just completely kicking a mess of ass). I admired them both back when I first read about each of them and I admire them today. Just as I admire all the people lined up at the Y parking lot at 5:25 am waiting for the doors to open. We’re all cold and sleepy and totally committed to getting our endorphins on before we get on with the business of the day. It’s really cool.

I started working with my new coach last week. He was another brave soul who showed up at 0 dark thirty to give me swim lessons. We met Tuesday morning at 5:30 and again on Thursday. On Tuesday there were 2 people in the lap pool and 3 in the warm pool. On Thursday the same 5 people were there again. My peeps! My crew! The devoted. I was proud to be one of them. I count myself among them even though I’ve only gone 3 times because I am committed.

I guess in all honesty who knows what the future will bring?? I just want to do a good job at whatever I set my mind to. I am going to be brave and thankful for this life and this body and these awesome role models. And I’m going to hope for the best. Now is the time to spread love rather than succumb to the dark side. Well actually it’s always the time to spread love, not just now. But especially now. No matter your politics we all want to be healthy and strong in both mind and body. I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that, right?

And I’m off to hit the (running, not campaign) trail…