Monday, July 30, 2012

Is it Safe to Cycle anymore?

While the weather outside may beckon for us to lace up our running shoes or get in the saddle (with helmet, of course), sometimes the dark side of our sport takes over.
Today is one of those days in Rochester.
One of our local MIMs (Moms in Motion) was killed by a hit and run driver yesterday morning at 7:45 am.
The driver was drunk.
On a Sunday morning.
Less than a quarter mile from where I grew up, and have ridden several times.
Playing a dangerous game of tag with her boyfriend on a motorcycle, the motorcycle passed the car on the right, hitting the local triathlete from behind.  The car then ran her over when she hit the road.
Tribute to our local loss, photo by Laura Knights
Both fled the scene.
Sadly, the triathlete did not survive, leaving behind two children and leaving our world one less bright, smiling face.
I didn't know her personally, but competed with her last month in my half ironman.  She enjoyed it so much (her first!) that she posted on facebook to the race organizers about how she loved it and couldn't wait to do another.  When I saw that, I cried.
What is wrong with people??
This is the third bike/car accident this summer in which the cyclist was hit from behind-doing nothing but following the rules of the road.  Two have died, one lost his leg.  And this weekend, a mother of two, training early in the morning (when it should be "safer", right?) lost her life by getting out and being active, doing something she loved. 
It's a sad, sad situation. 
And becoming way too common place.  These are extreme examples, of course, but there are very few cyclists that I know that have not at least had a brush with a car.  I got hit by a car back in 2008. (Thankfully, my brain bucket saved me, and I escaped with only a separated shoulder).  The hubster has ended up in a ditch by bailing out of the road to avoid being hit by a car.  And I know we aren't the only ones.
What can we do about it?  Try to enforce stricter laws?  One of the drivers (the motorcycle driver)  has been convicted twice for reckless driving/endangering others.  And he's only 22.  Something tells me that this won't be the last time he endangers someone if it's happened 3 times in 6 years.  Is this a case for 3 strikes and you're out?  I don't know.
Should we look into altering the way cyclists ride?  These were all accidents that occurred from being hit from behind.  I know that I personally have had several brushes with oncoming cars while riding, and because I can see them, I have the ability to bail and jump in a ditch.  But what can you do to prevent getting hit when someone is coming at you from behind?  Nothing.  (Of course, I would be nervous going against traffic at 20mph as well, but at least you would be able to see the car.  Hmm).
What about dedicated bike lanes?  We have a few in Rochester.  One happens to be on a busy four lane road....which always makes me shake my head and laugh.  Who would ride there??  (441).  We also have a canal system.  Unfortunately, 80% is unpaved, which means that road cyclists can't train.
What is the answer?
I don't know.  I do know that situations such as this make me realize even more why 90% of my rides are done on my computrainer.  Say what you will about being stuck in the basement and have it be "boring".  It's safe.  I can train with any terrain in the world and not be at risk.  Ask Andy Potts and Jordan Rapp.  They'll tell you the same.  (And in no way am I in their league, but I like to think we have some small thing in common :-))
As for now, I'll stick with running outdoors.  At least I can see reckless drivers coming.
And send all my prayers to Heather's family, and hope that somehow, some way, something good will come from a community united in the wake of this tragedy.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Matter of Perspective

Welcome to Sunny Sunday!  Sunny, HOT Sunday.  After a very late night of cocktails, dancing and celebration of the huz's childhood friend Rob's wedding, we slept in this morning and enjoyed a nice leisurely brunch.  (Bad blogger slap on the wrist...I brought my camera to the wedding ...but forgot to reload the memory camera.  Rookie mistake.  So no pics.  But it was a gorgeous wedding right on the lake, full of wonderful friends, a beautiful bride, yummy eats, and lots of dancing.  The hubster MAY have been wasted...of course, he maintains he was only "tipsy".  hey, I was the DD, I know :-P  Fun times!
Bride and Groom (stolen from FB)
No, he's not drunk at all (Seriously, DUCK FACE? :-P)
Ahem.  Onto today.  Today was THE day.  I had pans to go out and conquer 10-15 miles to decide whether or not the marathon was happening in September.  I listened to all your feedback via messages, comments and FB comments (um, which the overwhelming majority suggested the half :-P) and decided to see what my body told me.
Except I didn't.  While I was on my ride yesterday, I thought about it.  If I ran 10 miles today and it felt good, should I really go for it?  You all know if there's a "half" of something, I want to do the longer race.  It's a sickness.  And I was a million percent cool with not PRing.
I know me.  If I signed up for the full, I would obsess.  I would run too much.  I would either hurt myself or burn myself out in a year that is SUPPOSED to be an off year.
I love to run.  And am so happy I can do it again.
But with a half marathon, I don't really have to train a ton.  I can do what I'm doing.  One to two runs during the week and a 6-12 mile run on the weekends.  No problem.
I also can enjoy the vacation with my husband with minimal hobbling with a half marathon.  And there's something to be said for that.
But if I did the full.....well, okay.  There's a smattering of reasons I want to do the full, all ego based.
So I checked it.  And asked the huz for a birthday present.
A half marathon entry.
And then went out for my 7ish mile run :-)  Not a fast run, but a nice run.  And felt good knowing that I will enjoy running 13.1 rather than obsessing over 26.2
Cause this an off year.  My body knows it.
I wan to stay active....I just don't want to train :-P
Nothin' wrong with that!
So there ya go.  And thanks to everyone that tried to talk sense into me.  Hey, it works sometimes!
With that, enjoy the rest of your Sunday!  It's a perfect hammock day...and that's where I'm headed, with a frozen lemonade and the latest Runner's World.  Nice.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Do Good Girls Go All The Way?

Gotcha with that one, didn't I?  Well, no worries,  I promise to keep it PG.  After all, tomorrows booze day (one of the Huz's besties is getting married at an out of town wedding = lots of partying.  Nice).  Today...I wanna talk about going all the way.
Or just half way?
See, a few months ago I discussed my BUCKET LIST.  On it was the lofty goal of running a marathon in all 50 states.  I'm not fast.  But I love the distance and it's a cool way to see the country.
But...if I run one marathon a year, that's 50 years.
Or...what if I skip a year?
Double yikes!
Runner's World recently did a spread on 13.1-dedicated to (wow, you guessed it) the half marathon distance.  How it is fast becoming the most popular "distance race" (there's even a group our there called "Team Pikermi" that is trying to get it renamed, as they feel 13.1 isn't "half" of anything.  Okay, fine, then, what do we name the Half Ironman?  Don't tell me.  I don't want to know).
Anyways.  The feature had some awesome twists on the whole "50 marathons in 50 states" goal, with, of course, the half distance:
1.  A husband and wife team trying to do "50 in 100"....that is, 50 half marathons  in 50 states in less than 100 hours.  Very cool.
2.  The half in 25 team, who is trying to do 13.1 (half) in 25 (half of the US) states.  Otherwise known as Team "We don't go all the Way".  Lolz.
After reading the articles, coupled with my foot woes of 2012, I decided to alter my goal to do AT LEAST a half marathon in each state.  Then, I reasoned, I could at least have run a long distance race in each state, and could come back around and do the full in each if I don't get to it in the first sweep.  Much more do-able.  After all, if you have a decent cardio and running base, you don't terribly need to train for a half (evidence to my 2:20 in Musselman with no running for 8 weeks prior.  Not something I would recommend, but doable).
Ahhhh, awesome Maine race scenery
So I set my sights on the Portland (Maine) Half, 9 weeks from Sunday.  A nice birthday weekend race, then a vacation afterwards.  Perfect.
The registration is due this weekend for the discounted rate.
The Huz is giving it to me for my birthday (hey, it's what I want.  No judging).
There's just one eensy problem.
I really want to run the full.
Can I?  Should I?
I have 9 weeks.  I think I could reasonably pull off a 10-11 minute mile pace for this one.  (My typical marathon pace is 9:10-9:15). But do I really want to train?  No.  I don't mind running, but I have no desire to pull 50 mile weeks to prep.
Can I do it on 20-25 mile weeks?  2 easy runs during the week and one longer run 10-15 miles with maybe one 20?  Hmmm.  That sounds doable.
What about my foot?
Decisions, decisions. 
Then there's the time aspect.  NO, before you go there, I wouldn't think about questing for my sub 4 this year at all.  I would, however, like to keep it under 5 hours....every marathon I've run has been under 5 hours and I would like to keep it that way :-P  A bit ridiculous?  Ehh, maybe.  But hey, them's my standards.
And now how bout that half?  Smarter?  Yes, very much so.  I really wouldn't have to train to hard for that type of race, and I know I can run 13.1 without issue.  Maybe not fast, but I can do it.  Which is another issue.  I really don't want to run a half in over 2 hours.  All my stand alone halves are under 2 hours. 
Man, I'm brat :-P
But I still have no answers.
So here's what we're gonna do.  We're gonna do a long run this weekend.  5' run, 1' walk. many times as I want to.  And see how I feel two hours later.  If I can run 13 or 14 miles comfortably right now in roughly 10ish minute miles on a training run, the full is a possibility.  If not, it's halves-ville for me.
I think.
I'll get back to ya on that one.
Dare I ask, what do you guys think?
Should I go all the way?  Or play it safe and go halvsies?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Frosting on the (non existant) Cake

Hello, friends!  Hows your day going?  After hours of manual labor, my patootie was surely glad to be desk side today.  Man, I'm a wimp.  In between interviewing and phone calls, I managed to get in a 5 mile run on the treadmill (love the proximity of my gym to work!).  My foot is slowly getting better (yes, I did have a small set back from 2 weeks ago.  I'm not the brightest human in the world, but I'm also not sorry I did it.  So there :-P Right now I'm trying to work back up to being comfortable with the longer distances and not worrying so much about speed.  I bit the bullet and signed up for the Portland (Maine) Half Marathon on September 30th, so along with a few shorter tri's, there my season!
But enough of that active stuff (psshhhh).  After a long day at work and a decent run, I was looking for a sweet ending to the day....without breaking the (calorie) bank.  I love chocolate to bits, but have an eensy problem with portion control.  ( C'mon, I know I;m not the only one). I also had no desire to cook anything in this heat.  So I sorted through my flagged blog recipes and came upon this gem that I altered somewhat...and fell instantly in love (Well, okay.  30 minutes later in love with, cause I froze it).  No excuses.  You need to make this baby TONIGHT.  Check it out!

Need a Lil Somethin' Somethin' Frosting (adapted from STUFT Mama)
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar free syrup
1 packet Equal

In a shallow bowl, add in cocoa powder and equal. Pour in milk and sugar free syrup, stir lightly until all powder and liquids are combined. 
Option 1: Eat immediately at room temperature.
Option 2:  Stick in the freezer for 15 minutes, and the frosting will take on the consistency of fudge.  Break off bits with a spoon....yum yum yum.

Guilt free nutrition stats: (serves 1)
40 calories (using skim milk, sugar free syrup and dark cocoa) 
Not bad for a chocolate snack attack!

And that, my friends, made my day.  Nah, I don't need to win the lottery.  Just give me chocolate.  And my skinny jeans (capris, I guess right now).
Nighty night!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weedy Wednesday!



 Days off mid week are a beautiful thing...especially when it's 85 degrees ans sunny.  Perfect deck staining, wedding, mulching, and bike riding weather.  oh you bet I took out the bike for a nice 2 hour ride...I've got gears now!
And after a nice day of manual labor, I've got two new kindle books (Jodi Picoult's Mercy and John Grisham's Calico Joe), a nice crockpot dinner (chicken and dumplings!) and So You Think You Can Dance action!
Not bad for a Wednesday :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I can't hear you la la la la la

Hey hey hey! (said to the tune of Fat Albert, of course).  Hows life going with ya?  I've had one of those days where I run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I'm a tired girl, but the bonus is that the day just few by.
The workouts:  A recovery bike and an interval swim.  My bike's been out of commission since Musselman-just got it working again, so I took her for a ride to test out the gears.  There are a few tweaks needed, but the new (pink!) cable housing is awesome and I can't wait to see how she rocks out in my next race (Sodus Sprint Tri in August).  I also had a red letter day with my lunchtime swim- a set of descending intervals 800-600-400-200 with 50 kick interspersements.  When I got to the pool, my mp3 player was dead (bummer), so I was a bit apprehensive...I tend to go faster with music to distract!  However, my arms came through and made my worries baseless...I sailed through them strongly and was pretty darn fast (for me, at least!:-P)
Which brings me to my thought of the day.  Music.  It's a beautiful thing.  Especially when you're an endurance athlete.  A ton of my friends use it for long runs, tempo runs, and speed sets.  A well chosen song can really boost your speed or keep you going!  I also adore it for pool swims-it makes the black line at the bottom of the pool so much less boring!!
Nice helmet and headphones, killer.
But what about outside of training?  Do you wear your headphones when you enter a race?  Up until a few years ago, headphones were banned for running races, but the ban was rarely enforced, and rarely do you see a local 5k, 10k, half marathon or full starting line without people that have buds in their ears and Ipods on their arms.  USATF has amended their policy for several races to state that you can wear headphones, but cannot win cash money at a race when you do.  So unless you're looking at a sub 3 marathon or a sub 1:20 half, you're probably good to go.
But what about triathlons?  Until a few weeks ago, I assumed it was a non issue.  USAT (the governing body of triathlon), flat out forbids the use of headphones during a triathlon.  Now, I've seen people wearing headphones sporadically on the run (which, incidentally, pisses me off), but it wasn't really prevalent until this year.
Between Musselman and Shoreline, I saw at least a dozen people wearing headphones while racing.  Now, the refs caught some people during Musselman, and gave them a penalty (2 minutes-big whoop).  But I passed 8, count em, 8! people on the 4 MILE RUN of Shoreline wearing headphones.  Seriously?  I don't know if any got penalties, but it momentarily made my blood boil to see it. Granted, I passed them.  But I do feel that music makes the perceived exertion less on the run...aka "easier" if you will.
The kicker?  As I was waiting for my relay leg to start, I saw a guy mount his bike, slip his hand into his picked, pull out his earbuds, and pop them in.  WOW.  Where to start with this?
First of all, it's against the rules.  I would DQ you.
Second of all, I am super nervous for the people around you on the bike.  On your left!  What?  What!  Yeah, forget that one.  As someone who has been the victim of crashing due to bikers not paying attention, this really grinds my gears.
Lastly....can we talk about the fact that the course IS NOT CLOSED TO TRAFFIC?  And while you're listening to Lil John, that big John Q Trucker is blazing by in his semi.  Hopefully he won't hit you.
Is anyone else noticing more and more headphones popping up?  I know Roth ( a full Ironman in Europe) allows them on the run, and that's cool.  If everyone is allowed to do it on a closed run course, I have no issue (hell, I'd love to have my music for 26.2 on an Ironman run!  Well, except for Placid.  No tunes needed :-P) but otherwise, I think it's unfair, especially if there's no penalty involved.  Or a little 2 minute penalty.
Am I overheated on this one?  Or does anyone else feel the same way? I hypocrite, because I wear my headphones during a race (running race, but still)?
Call it my hot button issue of the week.  I know, I'm a wild woman. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birthday Eats Treats

Good Morning!  Hows Monday treating you?  Yeah.  me either.  I'm dragging bottom today for some reason...might be the long day yesterday (which rocked, but was...well, long.  Thank you Captain obvious!)  Might be the new project I got slammed with today at work.  Yikes.  I need to reintroduce caffeine into my diet, stat.

Easy Pad Thai
1 package noodles (any kind)
6 oz chicken breast, diced
2 eggs
1 small onion
assorted veggies (your choice, about 2 cups)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. ketchup

Cook noodles until al dente, set aside.  Saute the chicken and onion in vegetable oil, add in assorted veggies (I used broccoli, zucchini, and a cup of mixed veggies) until chicken is done and onion is soft.  Set aside.  Spray your pan with some non stick spray, scramble egg.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, add peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and pepper.  Microwave for 30 seconds to soften peanut butter, whisk sauce until smooth.  Back in the pot with the noodles, chicken, eggs, and veggies.  Add in the sauce, stir thoroughly.  Adjust heat to low until warmed through.  Makes 4 servings.

And takes 30 minutes...start to finish.  So, since dinner was gotta make dessert.  Especially in a birthday situation.  And since it's a special day, a special dessert is in

Birthday Banana Pudding
Pudding base:
1/4 cup splenda
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks

3 bananas, thinly sliced
(roughly) 50 nilla wafers

2 egg whites
1/4 cup splenda

Measure out the milk into a sauce pot, simmer on low heat.  Add the splenda, flour, vanilla and salt gradually, whisking constantly until mixture bubbles.  Whisk in egg yolks, continue to stir until Mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.  Slice up your bananas and wafers.  In a a loaf pan (or any other pan you have on hand!)  layer half your wafers, half your bananas, and half your pudding.  Repeat, ending with pudding layer.
In a power mixer, beat the egg whites on high until stiff.  Add in 1/4 cup splenda, beat until stiff peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).  layer the fluff on top of the top pudding layer, bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes.  Let cool for at least an hour (I stuck it in the fridge).  Makes 4-5 servings
Add candles.
(Optional :-)...but why not??)
Clearly, you see why I'm stuffed today.  Tons o good food.  But hey, they only come once a year, so it's all good :-)  Have a great day!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Team Pants Dance

Ahh, what a great day.  First of all, the huz, Dad in Law, and I did a tri relay this morning in Hamlin Beach (yes, you read the title right, we were team "pants dance"...its some sort of Glaser sweatpants dance...hey, they kinda grow on ya :-P)  Greg braved the 55 degree water temps for a swim, Dad hopped on the bike for the 15.7 mile ride, and I tackled the 4 mile run.
Our swimmer....yeah, the relays get to wear pink.  Manly.

Our biker....rockin the course in his first tri!

Runner grrrrl.
Aside from the fact that it was 86 out by the time I finished the was pretty sweet!!  Dad was a rockstar for his first race ever, Greg's knee allowed him to swim, and my foot kept the hurts somewhat at bay (though it was less than thrilled with the trail parts!)
Team time:  1:50.  Goin' for 1:45 next year!
It was awesome to get the family together this morning (my family, along with Lois, my FIL's other half, were our cheering sections) to celebrate our multi sport foray and also the hubs 34th birthday!  Yay!  We did a mini birthday after the race, complete with candles in a cupcake and prezzies.  Sweet.
And now...I see a "boy" movie in my future, a sweet home cooked meal and dessert (watch out for a recipe tomorrow) and some snuggles time with the birthday boy!

And even though it seems strange to not be in Lake Placid today (best of luck to all the athletes!)  I'll take being at the good ole home front with my birthday boy any day :-)

Shoreline Race report:  It was hot.  Two loops.  Speedy first loop (2 miles - 16:24, sore foot and root issue loop 2: 18:30)  Total run time:  34:54, 8:44 pace.  Not bad for how the foot feels :-P

Short n sweet.  Happy Sunday!  And I leave you with....the team dance (oh you knew this was coming).

And...thats why I love the men in my life.  Who else would allow this in the Internets? :-P

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Links

Friday.  Huzzah!  Or....time to drop.  For some reason, this week has really got me through the wringer.  Not sure if it's the residual of the race, or my insane start of the work week, but I am dyin'.  So, I apologize for the lameness of this post (my 500th post, yay!), but once again, it's time for link love Friday!

1.  The busy trap:
 How are you doing?  I'M SO BUSY!  We seem to wear this as a badge in America-the more we can prove we have "omg so many things to do", the better we think it looks.  But are all these "things" necessary? The activities, the social plug ins, etc. etc. (Is that ironic to unfold that here?  Probably).

2.  Children or Races?
This article takes a look at the impact of your outside life on your job, specifically as a woman, and specifically in relation to two aspects:  racing and children.  The author argues that people that participate in endurance events, such as marathons, are looked upon more favorably by bosses as people that "work harder" and that the 15-20 hours a week of training for tris or running races is seen as "effective time management" whereas having children and dealing with their schedules, childcare, and running a household are not.  The author argues that both are "choices", so why hold one over the other?  What do you guys think?  In my experience, the opposite is boss is very supportive of my training and thinks it's awesome, but having kids is the ultimate get out of work early/free to take the kids to the doc, call in sick, or pick them up from the bus at 2pm.  (No offense to those who have kids, I just wish the playing field was level.)  Thoughts?

3, $35 a week challenge:

The challenge issued to 10 fit fluential bloggers: Live like those on food stamps for a week...$35 for each grown adult in the familym $20 for each child.  No previous pantry staples or any groceries in your fridge allowed.  Can yu do it?  (Works out to $5 a day, or $1.66 a meal).
Ehh.  Draw your own conclusions, but I think the concept of "living like the other half" is a bit ridiculous here.  If they called it a budget challenge to trim your budget, fine.  If a single blogger can live off $35, fine (I think it becomes much less impressive when you have two adults for $70....the huz and I almost never spend more than $60 a week on groceries, and no, we don't go out to eat typically), but the idea that this in any way mimics those on food stamps is silly.  Eh, to each their own.  But to me, the whole thing smacks of "look how I can eat healthy on pennies, why can't you".  Take it as you will.  I'm way too opinionated for my own good :-P

4.  Batman Begins Shooting:

Not much to say here.  i';m sure if you don't live under a rock, you've heard this sad story.  My heart goes out to the families of those killed and injured in a sad, senseless act of violence.

No fifth link today...blame the tired :-)  Catch ya tomorrow!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh, the places you'll go!

Well, hello there! We're now working on 4 days post Half Ironman, and dare I say..I'm starting to feel a bit normal?  (relatively).  I stewed a bit for Monday and Tuesday, feeling pretty darn wrung out and hurting all over.  I may have even thrown a mini tantrum on facebook when my friend Solveig reminded me...Dude.  You just did a freakin' HALF IRONMAN.  NORMAL. 
Oh, right.  I suppose when you've spent the last 2 years focusing on 140.6, you forget that the beast that is 70.3 has it's own challenges and recovery.  I guess I'm an impatient guy :-P
But, hands down, the #1 question I've heard this week is..."Hows the foot"?
This means 1 of 2 things:
1.  You're an idiot for running 13.1....can you still walk?
2. You're crazy but I love you.  How is your foot doing?  (Or some other term of endearment.  Stubborn mule was my favorite).
Sooo....let's start from the beginning.
Initially after the race, I felt like hell, but my feet were fine.  Blistered and sore, but fine.  I babied the heck out of them on Sunday night and Monday...elevating, icing, resting.  I did a few light swims, no impact at all.  Wednesday I hopped on the elliptical to test it out-the left foot (injured foot) is most definitely weaker than the right foot, but it doesn't hurt.  Today I did some water running and a short recovery bike after work.
To put it in foot is not 100%, but my legs hurt a heckofa lot more :-P  I'll take it.
This weekend I am part of a tri relay for a local sprint race-the hubs will be doing the swim, my father in law the bike, and I'll tackle the 4 mile run.  We planned this out and I have full doctor approval to do it.  (No, for those of you who asked, I didn't have his blessing to do the run on Sunday.  But I was told if I threw caution to the wind to take it slow.  And I did.)  But I do have his approval for this race-he told me not to expect to be 100%, which I am fully aware that I'm not.  I'm also not running at all again this week in order to be as good to go as I can be.
I expect that will be my theme in the next month-alot of elliptical and water runs, supplemented with a slow increase in mileage.
Should I be racing?  Ehh, probably not.  But I am firmly in the camp that I would rather "complete" a race instead of "competing" and be able to do it, while scaling back on my weekly mileage.  I love the hell out of this sport and don't want to jeopardize any future races.  But I can tone down my competitive nature in order to be able to actually *DO* the race.
Do I recommend what I did this past weekend?  Nah.  I'm a crazy person, and I walked a fine line. I know that.  I had long talks with both my doc and other half, and the full support of the latter, which, in my opinion, was the most important thing.  Knowing you're doing something that's just a little bit nuts is easier when, if you eff up, there won't be someone behind you yelling "I told you so" as you're doubled over in pain.  But then again, there's reason #476 that I married him.  Yes, there are 475 before that.  But you have a life.  You don't need me to list them :-P
And on that note, I would say that....I followed my ortho doc's advice 90% of the time.  The rest...I followed another good doc:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

Yeah :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Seven Year Itch

Well, the good news is...I'm starting to walk around like a 29 year old woman and not an 86 year old man.  I probably need to sign up for another race :-)  Taking it easy this week, no runs (resting the foot, which is doing well!) and no bikes...cause....the bike's getting new cable housing installed. (My goal for Sodus in 3 weeks is to *not* want to pitch her overboard!).  So I've been swimming, doing yoga/pilates....and....swimming....this week.  Hey, we all need a down week.  I'm a bit at loose ends of what to do next for training, but you know me.  I've got some ideas floating around (surrounding half marathons and marathons, of course) and I'll get back to ya with that.
The bad news is....there is no bad news.  Other than the fact that it's Wednesday and I would rather it be Friday (of course) it's a good day!  The heat wave broke a bit, work was (a bit) less stressful, there's an awesome weekend of stress free racing ahead, and....I've got the seven year itch.
Well, i touched on it before, but the hubster and I believe in celebrations.  Not over the top expensive celebrations, but recognizing our pivotal days together.  And even though we're old married farts now, we still recognize our "dating anniversary" (which, for all intents and purposes, was randomly picked.  We met in February, went on our first date in March, and did our first race together in August....but we're pretty sure our first "fancy date" was in July, when we ditched the other people we were "kinda seeing" and decided to do the whole label thing.
That was 7 years ago today :-) 
Nothing big on the agenda today....we have a small limit for gift exchange just to remember the day-I got him a small stuffed cow (inside thing) and a magazine subscription, and he bought me pink cable housing for my bike (which is an awesome gift, in case there was question:-P) and we might go out for ice cream to celebrate....or maybe just watch some So You Think You Can Dance :-)  We live it up that way.
Even though we don't have a party planned, I think it's still important to acknowledge the day, and my best friend.  To smile about the fact that we "get" each other.  We can be silly guys...acting like 5 year olds.  We tell dirty jokes like we're in middle school.  We still smooch like we're in high school.  And we tell each other "I love you" every day, regardless of whatever crap comes our way from the outside.
I couldn't have picked someone better to go through life with.
Plus, he supports my crazy endurance lifestyle.
Even though he's about a million times more rationale with training and racing than me.
Hell, he's the one that introduced it.
Sucka :-)
Happy (dating) Anniversary, babe!  here's to 77 more years together! (But after that, I think we need to break up.  Heck, enough's enough, right? :-P)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musselman Race Report 2012: Be a Hero

Okay, enough of the bike woes.  Let's talk about the race, shall we?  Yes!  Time for the good ole report....

Musselman Race Report 2012

So....when we last left off, I had decided (maybe slightly fool heartedly, I will admit) to do the whole 70.3  This decision changed alot of things.  I knew, right off the bat, I was not going to PR.  Wasn't even going to try to and blow my foot up.  (This ended up being a wise decision-I do make them sometimes!)  I set a loose goal for myself:  6:45.  A 50 minute swim (I have been slow for me this year, usually I can do a 40ish), a 3:15-3:20 bike (not wanting to blow up and lack of gearing) and a 2:30 half marathon (11:30 pace).  I figured my transitions would be horrible, as I had done a grand total of one brick going into the race.
But....we don't just go willy nilly into a race.  I firmly believe in setting PW's once in awhile :-P
Race Morning
Woke up at 4am, as ready as I'll ever be.  It's already 77 degrees out.  Awesome.  Breakfast of pb toast and applesauce, and my first cup of caffeinated coffee in over a month.  Love that jolt!  Into Geneva by 5:30am....body marked and to the bike shop tent by 5:35.  ...skipping over the bike curses....i set up transition (which felt so strange, I swear I was forgetting something), loaded nutrition on my bike, and then remembered to check out my "mantra".  One of the awesome things about this race (there are so many!)  is when you enter, the RD asks you a question.  Months down the line, when you've totally forgotten the "question", it shows up on your bike space in the form of a go get 'em race mantra.  One year, it was to go represent Fairport (where I lived at the time).  One year, it was "make Summer proud" (my cat).  This year, the question must have been "Who's your hero?"  because when I took a look at my bike rack, I saw this:
and immediately teared up.  Race nerves?  Maybe so. But it gave me resolve for a race I was floundering on on so many levels.  It wasn't about me right now.  It was about being my hero's hero.  Challenge accepted.

Hangin out with me hero :-P

With a new lease on the race, I finished prep, downed a powerbar, and headed toward the swim start to warm up.  The weather had been so warm lately that the lake was coming in over 78 degrees...which presented another dilemma.  The swim was officially non wetsuit legal.  You could still wear a wetsuit, but would not be eligible for awards.  hmmm.  Tough choice.  Nah, just kidding.  I thought about going sans in order to not overheat (my wetsuit is sleeved) but decided to wear it simply because I've never done an OWS without one (need to fix that).  No sense trying something else new on race day(more on that later on).  Donned the wetsuit, did a 5 minute warmup, then waited for my wave to be called with some of my favorite guys (hubster not pictured, he's taking the picture :-P)

SWIM:  42:38 (plus the extra bit to get to T1)
The swim for this race is deceiving.  You look out in the lake, and it looks...flat.  Once you get out there, it's a different story!  We end up doing a 3 sided rectangle for the first 3/4 a mile, and then the last half mile is in a canal.  So the first 25 minutes or so tend to be choppy, but then it evens out with some nice calm.  I'm not afraid of the scrum, so I set myself right in the middle...which is about consistent with my ability.  It seemed to be a bit more congested than normal (new age group= more people?) and the only downside of the non wetsuit legal swim was that more people should have opted to wear wetsuits....they had no clue what they were doing.  Ehh, such is life.  I got kicked a few times, swallowed some lake, but it was pretty uneventful.  Peed in my wetsuit a few times (I know you wanted to know that).  Pretty much easy constant effort.  I did get a bit warm toward the end, but I wasn't sorry I donned the suit.  Out of the water and onto the bike!

BIKE:  3:25 (16.2 mph)
Ugh, was this a shitstorm from go.  You saw my rant yesterday about bike issues....well, my roo did not disappoint (as in, the problems were delivered).  I mounted at the bike line only to have some dude unclip and plant about a foot in front of me...I swerved to avoid him and did a face plant on the grass...5 seconds out of T1.  Nutrition and water from my aero sipper fell on the ground...and  I got a hot grease stain to show for it.  Eff.  Not the way to start the bike.  I climbed back in, adjusted my bottle and grabbed my stuff, and off I went.  About a mile in, I looked down and saw my Aqua cell slipping off its mount and my bike zero.  As in, not working.  Aww.  I clipped out, spent a few minutes dicking around with it, shoved my Aqua cell back in it's holder, and was off.  Half my water out, no bike computer, and already 10 minutes into the bike bike and less than 2 miles into the course.  Perfect.  My hydration continued to plague me for the rest of the ride, which meant every 10 minutes I would shove it back as far as it would go.  I took a deep breath and got ready to tackle the first 20 miles of false flat/uphill with no feedback on my speed....which does not help me.  I was determined to ride smart, so I flipped the bike into an easy mode on the big chain ring....nothing.  WHAT?  I played for a bit, finally realizing that instead of possessing 8 gears on the big ring...I had 3.  The hardest gear, the easiest, and one of the middle ones.  Every time I tried to flip it to another gear, it would grind off and on and refuse to turn over.  FFFF....  So, I decided to test out the small chain ring.  Nah, the bike wasn't going for that.'re telling me I have to ride in 3 gears for the next 50 miles??  I tussled with this, threw a mini tantrum, then decided to just throw up my arms (figuratively) and go for it.  After all, this was an adventure, right?
The first 15 miles were...slow. I had no clue how far I was, how fast I was going, or what was up.  Then, about mile 15, it started pouring.  Hard.  With thunder and lightning.  Seriously??  I kept leap frogging with one guy and we joked about just calling it a day and pulling off onto one of the wineries on the course...I think we were only half joking.  I was a little bit annoyed as this was the "fast" part of the course...but with the wind, rain, and oh yes, thunder and lightning....this was not fast.  I think.  I had no data, remember? :-P
I hit the descent at mile 26 and, of course, once we were done with downhills, the rain ceased.  Hit mile 30 at  1:55 and change and knew I was not making my 3:15 goal.  Ehh, whatcha gonna do.  Then something magical happened.  I hit a bump and my computer started to work!  Awesome!  I'm all for racing based on exertion, but sometimes I get lazy if i can't tell how fast I'm going on a regular interval.  Armed with this knowledge, I pushed it a bit.  My one problem/  I had to decide whether I was going to mash and go faster or spin and go slower.  Ahh hell, I thought.  I can't run fast anyways with my foot.  Let's mash!
This worked pretty well until the one steep hill on the course.  Which, yes, I climbed in the big chain ring.  I got yelled at a few times (Hey, you should shift!) and I just laughed it off.  (Several people commented on both my shifting hell and the prettiness of my bike.  Think the two cancel each other out? :-P)  After the last climb at mile 40, I ramped it up through the next big descent, through the park, and hit the last 10 miles at about 19 mph.  Sweet.  Pulled into T2 at 3:25, 10 minutes slower than I wanted, but without any data for half the ride, 3 gears, and at least 5 minutes spent on the side of the road, I was happy.  No, scratch that.  Ecstatic.  Just get the damned bike away from me.

Run: 2:23 (10:48/pace)
Now, this was gonna be the hard part.  The run.  I was very cognisant, going into it, that I hadn't run more than 30 minutes in almost 2 months.  I glanced at my watch and saw that I had 2:30 to cover the distance in order to meet my "time goal".  I decided to do a 4:1 run/walk right off the bat and see how that went.  I realized one major mistake right off the bat-don't wear clothes to a 70.3 that you haven't trained in for each leg.  Duh.  I wore my bike skirt for the extra comfort (I love it on rides over 50 miles) but it got drenched on the bike and was akin to running in a diaper for 13 miles.  Fail.  Eh, I wasn't gonna set any land speed records, so I just had to deal with the swish swish and some not so pleasant chafing (good thing I realized that much later!)  The run walk strategy saved me. This race has aid stations every mile, so I would run for half a mile, walk a minute, then run to the aid station.  The first 7 miles are either flat or uphill, with a huge, rocky uphill at mile 7, so I knew my time would be slower at first.  I hit mile 7 at 1:5 and knew if I stayed smart I could get my 2:30.  I walked the whole ascent at mile 7 (the ground is pretty crappy, think trail like...and I didn't want to hurt my foot) so I played it safe.  Re upped with either water or heed at the aid stations (and a few chomps, but solid food was meh) and lovely ice and sponges, and just took it bit by bit.  My foot felt a bit weak, but not hurt....moreso just letting me know "Hey!, you haven't used me in forever, ya know!"  Yes foot, I know.  I knew running wasn't probably the best thing for me, but I just took it easy, did my own thing, and enjoyed being out there.  Was it hot?  Yup.  And humid as $hit.  But it's amazing what came over me at mile 3 on the bike and stayed with me for the remainder of the race.....I was out there to just do it. And be happy that I could.  No earth shattering PR's, no glory.  Just being thankful that my feet allowed me to do 70.3 when I didnt think it was possible 6 weeks ago.
Reminding myself of that and why I love this sport is what got me through.  A few low spots, a few high spots, and I was through the tape at 6:39....and a 2:23 half marathon.

My body started to shut down a bit post race, but I tried to walk around.  Found the hubster and my Uncle and Lois, my FIL's other half, who came out to support me.  Thank you so much guys!!  We chatted for awhile and I was also able to catch up with a bunch of my tri Friends.  Some PR'ed, some had crappy races...some flatted, some biked the bike of their life....some did the double mussel... but everyone had a story.  And as we ate fruit, pulled pork, ice cream and yogurt (okay, tried to, my tummy rebelled a bit) we all remembered why we travel to this corner of heaven in New York every July.  It might not be the fastest course...or the coolest course....or the easiest course...but it's home.  It's run by a group of people who really care about the sport and their athletes, and its a mecca for western New Yorkers to get together for the weekend and tri!  And I freaking love it.
Am I happy with my race?  You betcha.  It's not a PR at all (need to find that sweet spot with this distance, I know I have yet to tap my true potential....I think I should maybe attempt a different race for that!) but I am super happy I was able to get through the whole thing and come out in one piece.  I had awesome support (including my mom, who was a rockstar on the run, hitting up 4 checkpoints to cheer me on!), saw a bunch of people I love to hang out with, and came home with a medal at the end of the day.  Oh yeah, and it was free.  Cause I'm a poet.  Well, at least Mussel thinks so :-P
See ya next year, Musselman!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mussel Musings: Anyone want a QR?

I'm bruised, chafed, sore, and I have permanent marker signs on my body.  Guess I must have raced yesterday!
Well, race isn't the word.  I participated.  Was it my best time?  No way.  Did I have a blast every step of the way?  (For 90% if it) you bet I did!
Before I delve into the good ole "race report" (coming tomorrow) I have a confession to make (that some of you have totally caught me on!) 
I did not Aquabike.
I probably should have.
But after I got clearance to run last week, I started wondering...was 70.3 possible?
I did a tester 4 miler last week.  Had to run/walk and pay attention to the foot (no uneven ground, etc.) but I did it.  So I decided that I would base how I felt on Saturday....dod I want to race an aqua bike or complete a 70.3?
I wanted the 70.3!  Knowing that I would have to ease off the bike and would have a slow (for me) half marathon was worth it to do the whole thing.
I was in.
And bike happened.  We changed out the training wheels for the race wheels on Wednesday, thinking that it would be enough time to test 'em out.  Took it for a ride on Thursday....and noticed half my gears were missing.  Eff.
Friday, the hubster took out his tools and worked through the shifters.  Stripped a derailleur screw.
In a panic, we took it to the bike shop, who got me in at the last minute and recabled my bike, put in a new screw, and a new chain (apparently I needed it).  They also advised a new cable for the other shifter, but said I was good to go.  Ran through the gears...a-okay.
Took her out for a test run Saturday morning.  Still missing half my gears, and now, had no small chain ring.
The hubster and I worked on it Saturday, admitted defeat, and got to the race early on Sunday to have Geneva Bike shop check it out.

56 miles of....not fun :-P  Of course I did it!
They told me my other cable was useless, re cabled the other side, and spent 20 minutes working on the 'roo. 
 At the end of which they told me that my housing was too short and anytime I turned the handlebars (you know, to, um, turn) that the shifting would eff up.  Lovely.  Did I mention this was not a point to point bike?  They told me I needed to get the cable housing redone because it was too short for the setup.  WTF!  The hubster reminded me that we reinstalled the aero bars a few weeks ago, which might have messed up the cable housing.
Well, there wasn't much I could do with that knowledge and a race 45 minutes away, so I put on my big skirt...and off I went.
Race details tomorrow, of course, but suffice to say, the bike was not pleasant.  I did a face plant 2 seconds out of transition (not the bikes fault, the mount line was crowded and some dude stopped dead in front of me as I clipped in) and ended up on the grass with my bike.  It knocked my computer off the sensor, busted my aero hydration, and annoyed the $hit out of me, but such is life.  Spent a good 5 minutes at mile 1 trying to get everything back in order, but I had no data for half the bike and a tippy hydration system.  Awesome.
Get this effing bike away from me!
And the shifters?  Nope, Geneva wasn't lying.  I operated that ride with 3 gears:  The hardest gear in the big chain ring (for busting down hills), one medium gear in the big chain ring (for mashing flats) and the granny gear in the big chain ring.  Nothing else would catch, and.../no small chain ring.  It made a few of the hills interesting, to say the least?
Now, with that said, once my computer kicked in at mile 30 and we got off the last hill at mile 32, I kicked in.  I decided what the eff, I can't run too well anyways, and mashed the heck out of that course, passing tons of people in the last hour.  Wahoo!! 
Pretty torked off at the bike.  I'm taking her to reform school (the bike shop) today and need a fix, pronto!
With that said, I did NOT race the bike.  5 minutes slower than last year (when it was 98) and alot of cursing to show for it.  Oh, and a Thunderstorm and driving rain for 45 minutes.  Yikes!
With that said, I had a great time anyways.  I think there's a fine line between knowing when it's a race and when its time to appreciate the fact that you can even be out there doing the distance.  And as soon as I realized my gear dilemma at mile 2 of the bike...I embraced it.  And had a great time :-) 
INCLUDING the 13.1 run (run walk)
 Race report's time for some couch and Bachelorette.  I fully support a day off after yesterday! 
Mussel this race for everyone you get to see, it's one big tri party!

So....anyone want a Quintana Roo?  We're not on speaking terms....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let's get this party started!

Mussel Love: (yep, that's my poem-got my 15 seconds of fame today!)
Mussel Swag:  Natural PB, shampoo/conditioner, bumper sticker,  race eats, tee, and my own mini mussel!  (Best race swag ever....Musselman gets it right!)

Let's go Mussel, let's go!  Mussel guy is READY TO RIDE....and hopefully working his magic on my bike, which isn't sure :-P
T minus 13 hours.....bags are packed, race meeting gone to, packet picked up, breakfast prepped, hydrated (or so I hope)....
Praying to the weather gods that they don't really mean 90 tomorrow.
Praying to the bike gods that my bike remembers all it's gears.
Praying to the foot gods that my feets work.
It's almost go time....Musselman 2012 here I come!
Race report online tracking for this race (we're not Ironman, yo).  Hoping to just have fun tomorrow...I'd tell you about my time goals but....they don't exist :-P
Let's go Mussel!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't burn down the Barn

T minus 36 hours till liftoff.
Musselman time!!!
Even though I have mixed feeling about this race, I can't help but love the weekend as a whole.  Am I ready?  Meh.  I'm not as fast as I was last year.  I'm not as muscled (musseled?  Eh, I made up the word anyways).  I was sidelined for 7 weeks with a busted foot.  So I'm not sure about the whole 70.3 (57.2?  Is that what you call an aquabike?)
I hate tapering.
Like most athletes, I take the week (or several, in the case of 140.6) to rest and try to recharge before racing.  To drink copious amounts of fluids (last year it was 96-97 degrees and humid for the race.  Gotta get in that edge where you can).  To put my legs up.  To stretch out.
I know it's necessary, but I have decided that the taper only serves to do 3 things:
1.  Make you feel bloated/heavy (no, I don't carb load.  (Well, okay, I carb load all year long).)  But with the reduced activity, lower fiber foods and ample liquids, you end up gaining a few pounds (water weight).  I already have about 10 extra post Ironman "water weight (heh)" pounds.  I don't want 2-3 more.
2.  Make you feel out of shape.  I had the worst bike of my life last night.  Granted, it was hot and humid.  I had my race wheels on, which I haven't rocked all year (how is this my first race?) and the indexing seems off.  The chain fell off a few times, and the flow (for lack of a better word) felt strange.  I had issues holding 16....on the downhills.  WTF?  I know this is an equipment issue still freaks me out. Which leads me to #3...
3.  Makes you second guess everything you've done.  Okay, granted, I know I am not in Ironman shape.  Not in PR shape.  But I have put in several 2-3 hour rides, 3000 yard swims, and even a few 3:30 rides (in lieu of bricks, which were not happening because of my foot).  I know I can ride 56 miles after a 1.2 mile swim.  But I feel right now like a half hour ride would be a struggle.  Not really how I want to go into the race.  And that, of course perpetuates the mind f^%k that is taper....
Am I ready?
Did I train well enough?
I should have lost those last 5 pounds!
Can I really do this?
Maybe I shouldn't race.
Maybe I should "sneak" in one last session.....
And that last one is hands down the most dangerous!  I need to trust in the fact that I CAN do this.  Will it be my fastest ever?  Nah.  Not expecting that.  But I've done the training to the best of my ability.
I can't do anymore.
But I can undo it.
One of my fellow athletes put the art of tapering eloquently, and I find myself repeating the mantra every time I feel swollen, tired, or doubtful.
The hay is in the barn (I have put my training "hay" into my body "barn")
Now all I have to do is not burn down the barn. (Cram in an extra bike, try to fit in one last run, not get enough sleep, water, rest etc.)
Deep breaths.
Today is a rest day.  Have some light yoga/stretching planned, and that's it.  Getting the bike ready (bike, please cooperate).  Getting my stuff together.
And then feet up.  Couch time.
Welcome, Mussel weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

That Great Street Carnival

I've walked these streets
In a carnival
Of sights to see
All the cheap thrill seekers
The vendors & the dealers
They crowded around me .....
It's that time again...for my hometown's annual fireman's carnival.  Held in the second/third week of July a mere mile away from the house I grew up in, it's a fun way to spend (part) of an evening and take a stroll down memory lane.  Last night, the hubster and I hit up the main drag to see what kind of fun we could stir up. gotta try to win a goldfish.
Then, we checked out the basketball games...and debated spending a zillion bucks to win a Jamaican banana.  Nahh.
 Then we hit up "I got it"-a bingo type game where you throw balls in a cage to see if you can get 5 in a row for a bingo style win.  We ran into a few familiar faces at the tent....
 And even won a game!  Loved the sign we picked accurate :-P
 And our other buddy managed to secure a pond full of fish! 
 Not too shabby for an hours worth of work (an $30 later, but hey, it goes to a good cause, right?)

Ahh such summer fun.  The hubster and I took a turn around the carnival after my parents left, and as we strolled by the sights hand in hand, laughing at the little kids, teenagers, and senior citizen's costumed band (yep, you heard that right)  I smiled and remembered my past with this carnival.
When I was 8 and dressed up for the kiddie parade as the Ace of hearts (and won $20, thankyouverymuch).
When I was 12 and visited the dunking booth to hang out with my crush (ahh, men in speedos.  Still...not hot, but I seem to find my way to them!)
Watching the fireworks as a tween with my new boyfriend, feeling like I was the luckiest girl.
Trolling the grounds as a teenager with my friends.
Returning each year with the hubster, sometimes for the carnival, sometimes for the fireworks, and enjoying a slice of my childhood that I now share with him.
Priceless :-)
Is there a town carnival in your hometown?  Does it pull you to "way back when" too?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Hey there kiddos!  Hows Wednesday treating you?
I'm just dandy.  A bit tired, but that seems to be par for the course this week.
Speaking of courses....I'd like to talk about one of my favorite ones.
Yep, we're back to running.
Remember last year when I pulled a crazy and trained for a marathon through a snowy winter?  Yeah....I'm not bright.  Anywhos, I got through the training by running loops for 90% of my long runs.  See, in the single digit weather, it made sense to be somewhat close to home in case I needed to warm up or bail if the weather got bad.  A bit monotonous, but it worked. 
And I used it again when training for Chesman...made it a 4 mile loop to get used to running the same damn boring loop for an Ironman marathon (which....did not work.  Evidence of my marathon meltdown.  Hey, you can only stare at grass for so long).
So when I head out for a run....I decide, based on how I am I want adventure?  Do I want predictable?  Do I want hills?  Do I want flat?  (ha.  Just kidding on that last one.  Where I live, there is no such thing as flat.)
Yesterday, I wanted adventure.  I wanted to run.
Photo courtesy of the hus-guy
But I also NEEDED predictable.  The ability to cut it short if I needed to.  The knowledge that I know people who live along the route-just in case.
So, I headed out.
Just for 20 minutes, I said.
4.06 miles later, I stopped.
I ran!  A real run!
Was I supposed to?  Eh, probably not.  The doc said take it slow.  I did, but I'm not sure that's what he meant.  Anyways, I did a 9/1 run/walk ratio for 4 miles in 36 minutes....I'll take it.  Was it hard?  Yes.  But I don't know if it was the heat (85 degrees) the fact that I haven't really run in almost 7 weeks, or if my foot was weak.  The foot didn't hurt.  It felt less strong than the other one.  It stumbled a bit on even ground.  And when I got home, I applied an ice pack, stretched the snot out of it, and prayed I could walk well the next day.
It's the next day.
I'm dancin' along fine.
Do I have a ways to go?  You betcha.  But I'm still doin' the happy dance.  Shoreline run relay leg, I am IN!
And if that don't do ya for a Wednesday, your standards are too high :-)
How is everyone else's mid-week shaping up?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Fine Art of Timing

Hmmm.  It's taper week.  So.....not too much going on in the world of training....means...I can talk about other things.
Yes, there are other things in life besides triathlon.
I think.
Or so they tell me, anyways.
Oh, wait-I know one!  I married him!  Okay, fine, technically he's a triathlete, too, but sometimes we talk about other things.  Like vacations.  To do races.
And presents. bike jerseys.
Damn.  I am so not helping my cause.
I'm just kidding, of course.  Kinda.
But while we're on the whole vacations presents sctick, let's stay there.  Sound good?
There are times in life when you can save some money.
And then....there's a 3 week stretch in July/August.
See, the hubster and I weren't the most brilliant grapes in the bunch when we got together.  Our first date was July 18th (well, when we "officially" started dating.  Our first date was in March, but our anniversary is in July.  Long Story). 
The hubster's birthday is July 22.
Our wedding Anniversary is August 8th.
(Le me mention that in that 3 week spread we also have the birthdays of two parents.  At least I had the good sense to be born in October, right?  Heh). do we do these important dates without breaking the bank?  A few thoughts.
Our anniversary of dating is pretty important, but can be celebrated with small, funny gifts.  We don't ever want to forget it, but we usually do a $5 limit and try to get something to make the other person laugh.  Last year, I got a stuffed Monkey.  The hubster got Beast temporary tattoos.  Of course, there's a story line to those!  We usually celebrate with a small date night-maybe a favorite dinner in and ice cream out.  $20 all around and a happy, special day celebrated.  Awesome.
The Birthday.  Well.  I want to tell you SO BADLY what I got the hubster for his big ole silly boy reads the blog (awww) so we have to wait a few more weeks.  Suffice to say, I think he'll be happy (I hope!) but also know that I paid about 25% of the retail price for the gift.  No, I didn't cut corners.  I stalked sales for a month to get him what i wanted, and pulled out all my tricks to save some cash.  Sweet.
The anniversary, though....what to do, what to do?  See, for this one, we follow tradition (cause you know that tradition is oh so important :-P)  Next month is 3 years.  Wow, has it been that long?  And 3 years, according to the traditional gift list is...leather.
Year 1 = paper (a framed canvas of our favorite wedding shot and "paper" plane tix to San Francisco)
Year 2 = cotton ( a hammock and a cotton bathrobe with a gift certificate for a couples massage in the pocket).
Leather?  What does one do with leather? 
No, not a leather DADDY.  I'm not looking for something that says "Dad likes Leather" or even husband likes leather :-P
What should I get?
We don't need luggage.
No wallets.  Or belts.  Or shoes.  Or assless chaps.
Hmm.  Hmmmm.   Something to occupy my taper :-P
Have you celebrated 3 yet?  What did you do for "leather"?  Or don't I wanna know?