Monday, October 30, 2006

Picture Pretty

Last week I had to go to the doctors to order some exams for my (bad) back. I had gotten up at about 6.30 am, taken Olly to school and then Evan to nursery school and thus off to the doctor to sit it out in his office. We have socialized medicine over here, but you choose your family doctor and he works with you in getting other specialist appointments. Every time I go to my doctor's office it is absolutely filled with elderly people waiting to see him. I guess as you get older you probably DO need the doctor more, but it always looks like a bunch of people that just aren't really taking good care of themselves! So while I sat in the waiting room with a dozen elderlys over 65, in walked a pharmaceutical representative. She was female and about...40? Give or take a few years. It was a beautiful day out and she was in a white airy skirt, a white blouse with three quarter sleeves, a pair of gold sandles with low heels and perfectly manicured feet. She had on light make-up, a nice haircut that was easy to manage. She also had a nice briefcase with a matching purse. She sat and chit chatted with us all in a pleasant way, asking about the weather, light politics...And while she talked I looked down at myself. I had on some khaki pants but I had spilled tea on them in the morning so there was a little stain, a N1ke t-shirt, a pair of white socks (clean!), and a pair of really comfortable but really really unattractive N1ke clogs (white with orange trim). Hey, they were free! I hadn't put any makeup on. I think I had run a brush through my hair but I can't be sure, I had brushed my teeth. My purse (N1ke again, free again) was the same one I use every single day, no matter what the situation. I suddenly felt like a slob.
See the picture up here? It was taken at a wedding during the summer and it took me three damn days to get ready for it. A leg wax, a manicure, a pedicure, a haircut and blow dry (I have wild hair!) and a new outfit that took me two days to pick out. Once upon a time it was not like this. I used to have a job in fashion where I had to look nice every day. I would get up in the morning and put my make-up on before I got dressed. On weekends I would go clothes shopping for nice outfits to wear at work. Now I am self-employed and spend a lot of my time in my office space at home where I can wear my pajamas all day if I want. Since I go and do some sort of form of exercise every day I usually just throw on a workout clothes in the morning so that I'm already ready to go when I decide it's time to run or bike or swim. Not that I have to put make up on every single day, but maybe I should start having a little more pride in what I wear if I have to leave the house to do errands or shop? I know that I'll always having to force myself to do it, it'll never come as natural to me as the pharmaceutical lady. On the other hand, I DO like feel better about myself when I take some time in the morning to get dressed, even if my three year old is the only one to see me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The photo on the left is four guys that are part of a group I've trained this year for the Venicemarathon. There were 94 people signed up to the program. They do their longest run (two hours) two weeks before the event and I always invite them to come to my house and do a group run and pot luck lunch. This year twenty people showed up! That's not a lot for a run, but it is for my little house. Good thing the weather was nice and I could seat half of them outdoors. It was fun to have them over, I love the energy of new runners. They're all so excited about getting ready for their first marathon. I get pretty emotional watching them take off and then of course I'll be at the finish line. Their big day is this next Sunday, I can't wait!

The month of september and october have been filled with lots of busy stuff...

- Getting the kids back in school. Evan is now in nursery school full time and it's been a dramatic change for him. We had him ease into it by staying first just an hour with me, then an hour without me, then half a day, and now a full day until four o'clock. He takes a little nap there (I had to make a sleeping bag) which is nice 'cause that way he doesn't come home cranky.

- My work. I'm back logged with projects and plans and it seems like I don't make any headway with anything. I'm really really frustrated here...sometimes it's almost like I have to put my work in last place. Piero is gone a LOT and so I have the children responsability all day, every day. But we do need my income SO I better find a way for this to all work out really fast.

- My sports... I have a bad back. I had x-rays. It doesn't look good. Scoliosis, hyper-lordosis, a slipped disc (L-5) and a bunch of other stuff that I'm too lazy to translate right now. Oh THAT'S why it takes me ten minutes to get out of bed in the morning! I'll write more about this on my next post.

- Five in Five? Need to start over again if you get my drift ...sigh...

Monday, October 02, 2006

I only walked for about two minutes when I decided I'd try and run. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I COULD run. No muscular pain, no heavy legs, just a little fatigued which I'm thinking is normal. The best thing was that I was in really good spirits. I was smiling and talking to people passing me that were on their second loop (of the two 10km loops). It was a beautiful route that went along the lake. I ran from km mark to km mark and then I would walk for about a minute with my arms above my head to stretch out my back. The first loop went fine and when we headed into town and up some stone steps through a small pathway Giorgio and Linda were waiting for me while sitting at a patio restaurant. They had instructed all the patrons in the restaurant to yell my name as I went by - that gave me a real boost! Up a hill and down a dirt road, I drank some coke at the turn around and then went passed the finish area and straight on for my last 10km loop. Now I was really really all alone. Then the strangest thing happened. The 10km loop/route was roped off but people were just milling around. I dodged people and asked others to move out of the way so I could get through but then I got to a wall. There were six (SIX) triathletes that had finished the race that were walking back to their car. They were walking side by side with their bikes and big bags thrown over their shoulders. They were talking and laughing and walking slow and there wasn't any room to get around them. "Excuse me..." but they didn't turn or move. "Sorry, can I get by..." didn't work either. I had to sort of yell "let me through!!!! I'm the last one anyway!", meaning no one else should be wanting to get past and they can hog the entire road up after I passed. The girl, about 26 years old said "Oh Ho! The last one! Well, let me just bow down to you! I didn't realize there were people that slow!". This last comment won her friends approval and they all started laughing. So now they're six years old and I'm four and the best I could do was show them a couple middle fingers as I ran off. Now I was really excited about running those last 10km all alone...NOT! I did have a small breakdown moment but I just talked myself out of it (I swear between the bike and the run I must have looked like some crazy lady!) and started the countdown to the end. I did a lot of walking. I think if there had been somebody else out there with me I might have run some more. One of the volunteers ran with me for a kilometre and then I headed back to town. I couldn't really see my watch without my glasses but then when I realised that I could break six hours I ran the last kilometre without stopping. When I turned the corner and went down the shute there must have been at least a hundred people at the finish line. They all cheered...actually they were all waiting for the winners ceremony to begin, but I got the benefit from it.

Final time: 5:57:03

The next day I was up and about and feeling fantastic when I got a call from the President and organizer from the Mergozzo race. He called to apologize about the bike turn around snafu and let me know they were taking 25 minutes off my final time. He justified ten minutes for the lost time and another fifteen for the "demotivation" that occured in being so far behind. I told him it didn't really matter to me. I don't race, I participate. Besides, I'm already thinking about what improvements I can make for next year.
This last photo is me and Giorgio's daughter - she's so sweet! She watched the whole race too.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I started the swim out okay though I did get a little panicky every once in awhile. I couldn't tell you why, but whenever it happened I'd just flip over and backstroke. Two women passed by me and I looked back and could see that I STILL wasn't the last - which made me feel better. The course was a rectangle and it was marked by white buoys. The women's caps were also white, so when I looked up or back I couldn't tell if I was looking at a buoy or a cap. Breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle...I would have thrown in the butterfly but it's the only one I don't know how to do. I just kept going and going and switching and doing whatever I could do to go forward. I finally made it to the shore and thought to myself "I survived the swim!!".

2km = 55:00

Just as I stepped out of the water and up the stone stairs I got this MEGA huge cramp in my left calf. There were two volunteers helping me out of the water but I was paralyzed and couldn't move from the pain. It had just completely seized up. Another woman ran over and started to massage it and after what seemed to be about a minute (with two more swimmers coming out of the water and passing me) it finally relaxed and I limped my way towards transition. The rain had stopped by now but water had seeped into my bags. I had a hard time taking my wetsuit off and even more difficulty putting on the biking clothes. Six full minutes later I was out of there and on my way on the bike.

That morning they had announced that they had cut a steep hill out of the bike course because of the rain. They'd already accidents on it last year when it was dry and they didn't want to risk it this year on wet pavement. I knew that the course would be shorter, probably 80km instead of 90km, but nobody would confirm exactly how many kilometres they had cut out. The course was two loops out and back. While going out on the first loop I was passed by the last stragglers from the swim and then by the pros who were on the second loop. The road went up and down and curved around here and there but I never felt it was difficult. The only thing I had to be really careful about were these huge speed bumps that were placed in the town of Vogogno. There were about four of them and they were pretty high and wide. I had to slow down so that my tires wouldn't blow and then try and speed up to make up for the time lost in slowing down. When I started to get back to the turnaround I looked at my odometer and couldn't believe that there were only 37kms. I passed by some official that yelled "first loop!" and then heard Giorgio yell my name and saw Linda standing on the side of the road. I went past all of this and it didn't seem right so I slowed down and asked one of the officials where the turn around was. He pointed me down towards the lake so I went straight ahead but it still didn't feel right. When I finally got down to the lake and asked another official where the turn around was he said "It's not here! It was at the top of the hill!" I whispered "vaffanculo" under my breathe and headed back up the hill. Giorgio and Linda had all my special stuff so I stopped and got my peanut butter and jelly sandwich (thanks Nancy Toby!) and refilled my water and took off. Now I was definately last. I talked out loud to myself for a few minutes, I don't think anybody was listening which is why I did it. I just said that I was there to enjoy my day and who cared if I had ****ed up on the bike course, I was still going fine and I felt good and I was going to make the bike cutoff...I came to the turnaround and then started on the final 18km stretch of the bike. At one point I heard the sound of a truck following me. I knew what that was. It was the ambulance that follows the last person on the course. I motioned for them to come closer to me and even though I knew the answer I asked "am I last?". They confirmed it and told me to take my time, that I was doing great and that I was almost there. A half hour later I rolled into transition and had a little difficulty getting off the bike.

75km = 2:44:22

The weird thing about being last on the course is that people act as if the whole race is over. There were some people mulling around the trasition area and BLOCKING my way.
I did the best I could to quickly change out of my clothes. The transition guy made sure that I went the right way and I was off and...walking...