About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Area Between Pleasure and Pain

Happy November!! Yikes! This means one month left of my "no real fitness plan" plan. And, at this moment, I have no idea what my Oceanside 70.3 training schedule will look like, or if there will even be a training schedule at all. I take each day as it comes and just kinda do whatever it is I want to do. Some days I hop on the Computrainer for an hour or so. Other days I start my morning with yoga downloaded from iTunes from Yogamazing. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to hit the 9am T3 Swim workouts. Still other days, I lace up the shoes and go for a tolerable run. Just last week, I rejoined the land of the gym rats and signed up for a membership to Lifetime Fitness. I like the idea of taking different classes, utilizing the pool, weights, and other services. Plus, it allows me to hit the gym when we visit the parents in San Antonio and Columbus. Some people have said I'm overdoing it. I feel like I'm letting the spirit move me.

On December 1st, I have planned to start training for the March 27, 2010 Oceanside 70.3. Everything is so up in the air right now and I literally take my hip labral tear day by day. On Saturday, I was able to run a slow, but comfortable 14 miles. This morning, I got up and joined the Jack and Adams shop ride for the first time. I hadn't ridden outdoors in months and frankly was scared to attempt it (read: intimidated). I was going to join the 20 mile "no-drop" ride, but a few friends talked me into the 35 mile ride with the promise they wouldn't drop me. Impossible to believe I completed an Ironman just a couple of months ago...True to their word, I rode a decent 2 hours and friends Rich, Kevin and Phil didn't let me fall behind. My hip/groin area felt it during hills (as did my heart rate), but overall I was exhilarated to be riding outside on such a beautiful morning in Austin. This afternoon, I went to the gym joined a pilates class and hopped on the foam roller to work on the quads and glutes.

It was one of those encouraging weekends where I felt hopeful that surgery might not be imminent. Inevitable? Probably. But, not necessarily urgent. And yet, there's a part of me that knows I'm also probably kidding myself. I don't know what the deal is, but I now know at least 8-10 people in Austin who have been diagnosed with a hip labral tear. Many of them have either had a hip scope or are in the planning stages. After my run on Saturday, I had brunch with Erin, new pal Amy and Leslie. Leslie just had her hip scoped two weeks ago and showed up in good spirits and crutches! Today, I ran into former Gazelle Rich who has had not one, but TWO surgeries on his hip for labral tears. His road to recovery has been a little more than bumpy. T3 friend Jeremiah just had his hip scoped last week. Muna was scheduled, but switched surgeons and is now booked for a hip scope by one of the high-profile surgeons in Vail in February. There's also Julie (MFJ) and Austin Fit friend Tom who are fighting the same injury. Seriously, what is the deal?! Part of me has the "misery loves company" feeling, but it certainly leaves me wondering why this has suddenly become the new diagnosis. Is it because technology and MRIs are better? Is it because hip scopes are becoming easier and more commonplace to perform? Is it because we are all pushing ourselves too hard? Probably a combination of all three.

So here I remain in this random gray area of trying to work within my pain/comfort limits. I, too, have started the surgeon interview process and will be receiving several opinions from both local and out of town docs. Even patients have differing opinions on what to do. So, while I have Oceanside 70.3 on the calendar at the end of March and Ironman St. George on the calendar in May 2010, I have no idea if I'll be able to race in both or either of them. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, because it's becoming obviously clear that longevity and my future health is more important than any 2010 race.

With all that said, it's time for my evening stretches!

Me, Amy and Leslie after Saturday Brunch! Good times!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank You Computrainer!

Many thanks to Kevin at Computrainer USA for recently sending me some new goodies just for being an avid CT user and promoter. If you are looking to improve your cycling both on and off the road this winter, consider a Computrainer. It has saved me much-needed time and allows me to get a safe and ultra-effective workout in a short amount of time...(15 second plug over).

Seriously, I plan on using it for both Oceanside 70.3 training as well as Ironman St. George! In fact, I heard a rumor that the St. George Real Course Video is just about to be released!! If you're doing this first-ever Ironman, you know what an invaluable tool the Real Course Video is going to be!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random Images of Germany and Austria

Dancing in front of the famous gazebo from "The Sound of Music"

Devo called and they want their outfits back!! Actually, these were our uniforms for the Salt Mine Tour in Salzburg. Made going down the slide much easier!

At the 1972 Olympic Swin Center in Munich. We actually got to swim there for a few hours!

At the famous Hoffbrau House on our final night!

Shawn's pre-run carb loading meal :-)

Neuschwanstein Castle under a Winter Wonderland

We climbed the tallest church steeple in the world! Holy cow were we dizzy!

Note--Shawn's GIGANTIC German Schnitzel with fries and my salad!
Bike riding in Heidelburg. Our bikes definitely weren't made for time trialing!

Running near the Rhine along the endless bike and running pathways. They were everywhere.

One of my lovely vegan meals at the Castle
Visiting Burg Eltz. It required a lovely 1 hour hike!
View of The The Rhine from our castle room

Riding in Rothenburg

Jetlagged and weary, we still made it to Oktoberfest as soon as we arrived!

...so many more memories were made on this wonderful trip!

We're Back!

Where oh where has the last month gone?? Our trip to Germany was nothing short of spectacular. We joke that Germany is a lovely country with a major PR problem. A couple of our friends were like, "Why would you go there?" Well...the trip started with one word: OKTOBERFEST. Any questions? Seriously, I truly had no idea what was in store or what my eyes would behold as I am by no means the resident trip planner. Hubster spent some adolescent years there while his Dad was stationed in Germany. I too had essentially two images of Germany in my mind--Beer and Hitler. Those two don't necessarily coincide to create a happy-go-lucky combination. Lo and behold, we witnessed a bit of each.

In the 2 1/2 weeks we were there, we witnessed drunken men in Lederhosen at Oktoberfest, we took a Night Watchmen Tour in Rothenburg, stayed at a castle for three nights on The Rhine, sampled German wine and beer, hiked several forest-covered miles to Burg Eltz, toured and visited King Ludwig's castles, climbed up almost 800 steps to the top of the world's tallest church steeple, rode bikes in Heidelburg and Rothenburg, took a tour into the Salt Mines of Austria where we got to slide down into the caves, swam in the swim center of the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, hung out at clothing-optional German Spa in Baden-Baden, and even took the "Sound of Music" Movie Tour in Salzburg, Austria where Shawn and I danced at the infamous Gazebo! To try to recap the trip would be impossible. Even now as I type this, I know I'm forgetting some amazing moments. We spent a day in Shawn's childhood city of Landstuhl and also spent a day at Dachau Concentration Camp where 30,000 people lost their lives courtesy of Hitler. Of all of the fun and relaxing moments we had, the day at the Concentration Camp left the most profound impression. How could it not? Regardless of religion or ethnicity, it is incomprehensible to think that humans were (and are) capable of such acts. Needless to say, every day was filled with something more fascinating and interesting than the next.

Aside from missing the kitties, I was still not ready to come home. I embrace the European simplistic way of life--and the fact that they don't have speed limits on their Autobahn. I swear we were driving 100 mph and would be passed by a car going 140 like we were standing still. The roads were in impeccable shape. And the bike/walking trails...Oh the trails were EVERYWHERE because people actually walk and ride their bikes to get from one place to another. One morning I went for a run and the bike/running trail had more "rush hour" traffic than the actual street. It was lovely to experience. Even the crosswalks had images of bikes on them. The weather did turn and we witnessed our and Germany/Austria's first major snow of the season. Even that didn't stop us from walking and hiking to our destinations. It put the kabosh on a couple of small bike rides, but we still got up and walked/ran as much as possible. Actually, even one night we didn't stair repeats in the stairwell of our hotel because it was raining so much outside. I'm sure they thought we were crazy, but we both needed and wanted to do SOMETHING. Why not climb and descend some stairs for 45 minutes??!! Crazy stupid Americans.

I'm happy to say that I also had some pretty decent runs/hikes while there leaving me with a renewed sense of encouragement with my hip. Shawn ran 19 miles one morning while I ran 13 (most since my June Ironman). I also did a couple of other shorter runs with relatively NO pain. Could it be a turning point? Have I found my limits? Seriously, I was very hopeful (up until some runs this weekend that have left it sore and irritated again).

Food was an interested challenge to say the least, especially when the culture of Germany pretty much centers on pork and dairy. The major cities had some AMAZING vegetarian/vegan restaurant options. We ate at two restaurants inspired by Guru Sri Chinmoy. One was called Waves in Heidelburg and the other was called Heart of Joy in Salzburg. We ate at a vegan Indian restaurant called Spicy Spices (interesting name) and two others in Munich called Prinz Myshkin and Kopfeck. Even the castle we stayed in on the Rhine provided me with my own "special" printed vegan menu every night that included eggplant steaks one night and zucchini/squash served over pasta on another night. Talk about feeling like a princess!! I got used to looking for and asking for Gemuse, which is German for "vegetable." However, most of their vegetarian dishes featured kasespatzel (German Mac and Cheese). There was a cool restaurant that had spatzel and lentils. Yum... Most hotels served some form of breakfast so I would fill up on cereals and fruit. I did have some milk as most places don't even have soy as an option. I did carry around soy milk for a couple of days, but grew weary of looking like a dork.

Another awesome trip has come to an end and I actually spent this weekend entertaining some friends who were in town from Ohio. We took the Haunted Austin Ghost Tour downtown (hokey and fun at the same time) and even took a Bat Cruise on Town Lake. We hit up some Tex Mex, BBQ and visited Austin classic dive bars Donn's Depot and the Broken Spoke. Needless to say, after a month of traveling and entertaining, I'm happy to be home and catching up with friends and life. Even if it is only for a couple of weeks. After all, Shawn is running the California International Marathon in December and then it's time to start training again for Oceanside 70.3 and IM St. George.

Until then, I'm still in vacation/slacker mode!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friends from Ohio coming this wknd! What to do? Maybe we'll go to the Oasis to watch the lake level rise or play in the Zilker Park mud pit!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sent a couple of emails after taking an Ambien last night! Hilarious!!
Was planning on joining hubster for a portion of his long run, but woke up to several inches of snow! Maybe later...not winterized yet!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Hills Are Alive...

Off to Germany and Austria for a few weeks! The Oktoberfest festival better brace itself because here we come :-) Actually, I'm not much of a beer drinker, but apparently they also have a wine tent. Oh Lord. Look out...Looking forward to this getaway that will include places like Heidelburg, Rothenburg, Baden Baden, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, The Rhine and Bavaria. We're hiking, taking bike tours, drinking, and visiting some baths in Baden Baden where most Germans hang out completely nude. (On second thought, pass me a pint. I may need it) Let's also see how this vegan thing goes in a country that prides itself on the length and taste of their sausage (that's what she said). Hell, I live in America where we pride ourselves on the length and taste of our hot dogs and trans fats. I should be ok, right? If I can find vegan options in the land of fast food, I'll be able to find vegan in a country that isn't afraid to say, "wiener schnitzel."

In my mind, this trip has a fantasy-like quality that kinda resembles this:

In reality, it will probably look more like this:

"Bring it." Or, as they say in the land of Normann Stadler, Faris Al-Sultan, Nina Kraft and other triathlon gods, "Bringen Sie."