Sunday, June 28, 2009

17 Years

First things first...I promised that there'd be a drawing on Saturday for a fabulous set of Exercise Anywhere cards...and since there were several of you who said you didn't want to be included in the drawing, I thought that I'd use a random sequence generator and the first number that came up that also belonged to someone who said he/she wanted the cards, would get them...'s the sequence list

And the first number is 10.

And the 10th comment was from Lisa Slow & Steady from Chasin' CONGRATS Lisa, you win the cards! Send me an email with your mailing address and I'll send 'em out to you.

So...onto other stuff.

This weekend was pretty busy (which is why I didn't get to the drawing until Sunday night). Saturday was my and Walter's 17th wedding anniversary.

First, a few words about my Walter, who puts up with me and my kind of crazy. He has been my rock and support system for almost 20 years now, including the 17 that we've been married. Whenever I get some nutty idea about what I want to do next, he's supportive and almost never looks at me like I'm insane (he might be thinking it, but he has enough sense to wait and roll his eyes when I'm NOT looking).

Seriously, with no conversation, or no plan, or  forewarning, one day about 8 years ago, I came home from work one day and announced that I'd applied to a doctoral program..."Guess what honey, I'm going back to school! You don't mind taking care of lots of extra stuff where childcare and running the household is concerned while I earn this degree, do you?"

My decision to start running wasn't made so suddenly. It was more of a gradual lifestyle change, but similarly, one day I came home and announced that I was going to start training to run a marathon. "Hey honey, you don't mind if I take off for a few hours every Saturday morning to run for a few hours do you?"

Now I'm thinking triathlon. He never bats an eye, or complains (really...not much) about when I take off to do my long runs, or rides, or weekend trips to races with the herd.

In fact, he loves my friends. They entertain him as much as they do me.

I'm just plain lucky to have married such a patient, loving guy*. Since I've been biatching and moaning for the last couple of weeks about my various aches and pains, I thought I'd stop for a moment and remark on the remarkable guy I married 17 years ago, and the blessed life I get to live with the person who is, in fact, my very best friend.

So, on Saturday, Walter and I "did the town" and by that I mean that we went to several places to eat and drink.

First, we went to the Hotel Del Coronado, and had some Mojitos on an outdoor deck and listened to a Jimmy Buffett cover band. I was one of the only people on the deck yelling "Salt! Salt! Salt!" (all of the Parrotheads know what I'm talking about, the rest of you are probably going "huh?")

Then we went for a walk on the beach

Next we went to have Sushi (which again, is just a gift to me because Walter doesn't really like Sushi all that much, so he endures it for my sake because I LOVE it!)

He does look pretty thrilled about the sushi, doesn't he?

They also had a Happy Hour special on Sake...which we had to have (buy one, get one for $1.00? how can you go wrong?...geez, I'm a cheap date.

Then, we went to a place called Extraordinary Desserts...(seriously, if you want a cheap thrill...follow the link...I'll wait).

Yeah...extraordinary. We had some kind of fresh fruit tart with peach custard in a meringue bowl. YUM!

Finally, we went to Hospitality Point (where I've spent a considerable amount of time in the early morning because this is where the track club tends to meet for the Rock and Roll Training) to watch the sun set.

17 years...Wow. Just. Wow!
Then we went home...and that's all I'll say about that...

Except for Happy Anniversary Sweetie. I love you!
* To illustrate the saintliness of Walter...On Sunday morning, I got up at the butt-crack of dawn to go for a bike ride... Yep, that's love. But I'll write more about that later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before...

Isn't everyone getting just a little bit tired of me bitching and moaning about being hurt and not running?

Stay tuned...cuz there's more comin' your way...

After doing just a kick-ass job of doing SQUAT this week, no running, no biking, no anything (yes, this was due to having a cold, but still), I went and hurt myself again today doing, of all things...


Yes, you read right.


And no, I don't surf. An no...there are no pictures of Betty or I surfing.

I took Turbo and a nephew to the beach this morning and met up with Betty. The high school where Betty works (and where I used to teach) started an after school surf club this year, and through some grant money, put together a week long surf camp. Very cool. Take some kids from east county San Diego (which may as well be Nebraska for all some east county kids actually see the ocean, even though it's only 10 miles away...geez), and teach 'em how to surf.

So of course I had to try.

In all honesty, I've pretended to surf before (it's much more difficult than it looks), but the last time was probably about four or five years ago...well before I started running. I felt pretty confident that I was stronger and would do better than my last outing...

And for the most part, that would be true, but on the third wave I tried to catch, I was too far forward on the board, didn't get to my knees fast enough, and went over the front end...which again, isn't such a bad thing. That happens all the time when you're in the surf. Unfortunately, this time we were in some pretty shallow water, so when my left foot hit the ocean floor.


I felt the tendon in the bottom of my foot just pop (like three times).

As the surf receded, I tried to put weight on my left foot and almost fell over.

I think I scared Betty to death. She took one look at me and said, "We are soooo done now."

She may have been wondering how she was going to carry me back to my beach chair, but I managed to walk back up, even though I was swearing like a sailor, and almost in tears the whole way.

So...the foot? It hurts like a mother. When I got home, I stuck it in a bucket of ice water for about 20 minutes. Swam 30 minutes in the home pool (which is a lot of effing laps by the way in a 40 ft pool), iced it again. Now it's taped and I think I'll ice it before I go to bed, but it hurts to stand on it.

Damn, I'm tired of being hurt.

With that...I'll leave you with some lovely beach photos...other than maiming my sorry foot, it really was a fun day.

Betty knitting at the beach...

Turbo, on the surf board. We saw loads of dolphins today.

Turbo and my nephew, who decided that boogie boarding was waaaaaaaay easier than surfing and switched

Scary beach-dude, who was playing horseshoes and had a totem pole with him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Way to Rest - Do Product Reviews and Giveaways Instead...

Well...all of the running books, magazines, websites, doctors, physical therapists have been suggesting insisting that the best way to fix the plantar fasciitis issue in my left foot is to REST.

But have I listened to any of THAT?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I've continued to run, bike, swim, exercise (am LOVING the Wii Personal Trainer BTW), and the heel has not healed. Not really. Not one bit.

Saturday's run with the track club was a testament to that. I ran 5 miles. At 4 miles I had to stop and walk my heel hurt so bad (thanks to Irene for hangin' in there with me and my super-slow pace for the first 4 miles).

So, what's finally gotten me to not run, bike, swim, lift, or do any other effing thing for the last two days?

A nasty cold.

Or at least I hope it's a cold, and not the swine flu (although, unlike Diana, I don't work in a place that'll hose me down at the first sign of illness). Symptoms include: stuffy nose, tired, congestion, no fever...all in all, good signs that's it's not the flu, but I still feel like crap.

And, since I have no running, biking, tire changing, bike-store-dude conversation stories to share with ya'all today, I thought I'd do my FIRST PRODUCT REVIEW!

Yes, the Hefferblog does it's first product review! I like to try out free stuff as much as the next blogger does!

Here goes...about three months ago, contacted me and asked me if I'd review their Exercise Anywhere cards.

"Why the heck not?" I thought.

They arrived in the mail about mid April or so (yes, I've had them that long...I've been REAAAAAALLLLLYYYYY BUSY!) and they've pretty much been sitting in the mail pile since then.

Knowing that I had little else to write about, and that I hadn't even had the courtesy of writing anything over the weekend, I located them this morning and took a look. Basically, Exercise Anywhere is a deck of cards; each card describes a single strength exercise. The cards are organized into sections. Each section targets a major muscle group including: the chest, back, lower body, shoulders, arms, abs. There is also a section of cards that describes exercises called the "cardio lab."

The cards are advertised as a way to get a full body workout when you cant (or don't want to) go to a gym. Here's a sample (from their website)...I suspect they won't mind since I've linked it again here.

I'll be honest, I took one look at these cards and at first thought, can't I get the same thing from Self magazine every month? And in color...with a real (skinny...OK...that's depressing) model? But I'm open minded, and gave them a closer look...So here's my opinion...

Good things about the cards:
  • They are compact. I could keep them in my pocket, and anyone who has ridden or run with me knows that I have some storage issues, and I tend to carry way too much stuff with me.
  • The directions for each exercise are well written and simple to follow. If I didn't know how to do a plank (or if I'd been doing it wrong) the card explains it pretty darn well...
Get in pushup position, but rest your weight on your forearms. Keep your face looking toward the floor (my comment: this is a good point as I've seen plenty of people doing planks on Tuesday nights looking up and around and not at the grass...maybe they're looking strength, or for inspiration, or to see if someone else (Stoney for example) has given up on his plank, but in all cases, looking up and around while doing a plank is bad is sticking your butt in the air, but that's another rant...anyway the card continues) Stay firm: no drooping or bending. Hold for 15 seconds. Work your way up to 30, 60, and 120 seconds.
  • The cards seem comprehensive and seem to target all the muscle groups as advertised.
  • The cards give a sample weekly routine to follow (I would need this. I tend to do all major body groups all at once, on one day, then get sore, and stop...which is probably why I've never gotten into strength training.)
  • There are modifications for typical weight training exercises that you can do if you don't have hand weights...that is, you can use "cans" instead of "weights" for the arm exercises.
  • It has a glossary. For the uninitiated, it tells what a "set" is or what a "superset" is. In all honesty, I know at one point of my life, I didn't know these things.
  • It includes random bits of information about the muscle groups that made me giggle...for example did you know that "the word "triceps" comes from the Latin tri (three) = capit (head) which literally means "three-headed" (for the three muscles that compose it)." So you can get your anatomy lesson in as well as some exercise. Or you can giggle whenever you see the word "head" like I do.
Some criticisms
  • The type is really small. When I exercise I wear contact lenses and to see these, I'd need to put on some reading glasses to read the small print. So these are best for people who don't need reading glasses.
  • Basically, each card has the same layout and the same color scheme, and even though each muscle group has a tab, the tabs aren't really offset all that much AND they're all the same color, so the tabs are not particularly useful in quickly finding exercises. (If that were a goal). I think it'd be easier to find the "chest" exercises if they were color-coded in a different color than the "arm" exercises.
This would be sooooo much better if the tabs, or even the card headings were color coded
  • The black and white drawings, which illustrate each exercise, while straightforward, are a bit boring...On the other hand, maybe that's a good thing. I always wonder whether or not those models in Self magazine actually DO the exercises they're modeling, or if they're just standing lying there faking it....
As luck would have it, my Self magazine arrived yesterday (why do I even get this magazine...I think I got three free issues from when I signed up for a race one time and never cancelled...GAH!). Anyway, here's one of this month's tear out exercise cards

A similar exercise featured on the Exercise Anywhere card...why does this card not make me feel like someone should at least be buyin' me dinner?

So, the final review? Exercise Anywhere cards...they aren't sexy, but they're functional, and for $9.95 with free shipping, relatively affordable. They're probably best for the beginner who wants to start a strength program exercise, but doesn't really know where to start, or for those who've been at it awhile and who need a tangible reminder of what to do next.

And, also for someone who doesn't need glasses :-).

The Giveaway!

Just leave me comment that says you'd like to be included in a drawing for a free set of Exercise Anywhere cards before this Saturday, June 27. If you don't have a blog you should also email me at hefferblog [at] gmail [dot] com, to let me know you'd like to be in the drawing, so that I know how to get a hold of you. This is a really important thing to do if you don't have a blog. If you do have a blog, I can track you down.

OK...that was exhausting. I need a nap now. (evidence of how sick I am? I started this blog at about 9:00 this morning and it's almost 3:00 now...a full days work for me).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Really? It's Friday? Are you sure?

Some weeks I wonder how it got to be Friday and WTF did this week even GO????

This was one of those weeks. Next week looks to be about the same.

Some highlights...
  • Started teaching summer school this week...Monday and Wednesday nights are now booked for the next 7 weeks.
  • Turbo's final little league game was Tuesday night. They lost, which while being a little sad, just meant that I wouldn't be missing the final game of the season, which if they'd won, they'd have played on Wednesday night (see first bullet point).
  • DramaGirl started Junior Lifeguard Camp on Wednesday morning, which means I'm driving to the beach every morning at 7:00 am.
  • Turbo "promoted" from elementary school Thursday morning. I am now the mother of two middle school students. Lord help me.
  • Bought a new camera to replace the one that inexplicably died during the last Flat Tire Incident.
  • Took bike to bike store. Bike dude tells me that the flat tires are probably due to under-inflation and not the bike.
  • After looking at the tire-valve hole, bike-store dude also tells me "your hole is pretty big." To which I respond "yeah, that was part of the problem on Sunday, but my friends and I learned that if you hold the shaft at the base and pump carefully, it helps."
  • Bike store dude just looks at me and says, "uh, yeah."
  • Went to the Alex Smith Foundation Fundraiser Thursday night (nice event). Watched Wilma win a ski vacation in Utah and am soooooooo jealous.
  • Have two "Thank God The School Year is Over" parties to attend this afternoon-evening. One with parents of Turbo's friends, the second with The Herd. I imagine I'll laugh more at the second one (yes, I'm going to try to get to both).
Workout highlights for the week (yes, I did get some workouts in):
  • Monday - Started new Wii Active Personal Trainer - Quite the workout! Swam 30 minutes (This was at the pool in my backyard, which isn't a lap pool, so I try to log time rather than laps...)
  • Tuesday - Wii Personal Trainer - 35 minutes
  • Wednesday - Ran 4 miles
  • Thursday - Swam 45 minutes
  • Friday - Bike - 12 miles (50 for me!)
OK...that's it, just thought I'd let ya'all know that I'm not lost to the universe or anything...just amazingly busy for a summer month in which I thought I'd have PLENTY of time on my life just doesn't seem to work out that way. I do have photos to accompany many of these bullet points, but they'll just have to wait. I gotta go get ready for PARTIES!!!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend and good luck to all the racers....and especially to RBR who is doing the Ironman Coeur d'Alene this weekend. You go girl!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Takes Two People to Hold the Shaft...

Things I learned while changing yet ANOTHER EFFING TIRE today.
  1. You can successfully remove a tire tube, and replace it, and have it almost fully blown up, and still fail at changing a tire.
  2. This can happen twice.
  3. It takes two people to change a tire. One person to hold the shaft (at the base works best) and one person to carefully pump, making sure that the head doesn't fall off.
  4. Two people can fail at doing this...TWICE.
  5. Patches can work, but only for so long.
  6. If you're going to have to wait for a friend to pick you up, you may as well be here...

So...the day started off quite well. Clarence, Mik, and I met at Betty's at 6:45, loaded bikes and gear and headed toward Pacific Beach. Our goal was to start at the Rose Creek Canyon trail, ride up into UCSD, then head toward Torrey Pines State Beach, onto Del Mar, Solana Beach and back. We'd hoped to get in about 30 miles and some hill work since Betty and Mik are going to bike around Tahoe this summer.*

Betty and Mik got there first - Clarence and I wondered why Betty was dressed as a homeless person.

We stopped to stretch when we got to UCSD - about 5 miles into the ride and after going up one hill.

The roads on the UCSD campus, especially on the back side are a mess. They're pretty torn up, patched, and filled with divots. After the tire-changing episode two weekends ago, I've been pretty careful riding my bike on bad roads, but 2ithin two miles of our stretch stop, I hit a divot in the street pretty hard, and just like the last time I could feel the back tire, and then I could hear the air...hsssssssssssss.

Clarence was behind me (again...thanks so much). So we stopped, swore, and got to changing the tire.

This time, I had all the tools and two (not one...but TWO...spare tubes).

Back tire, off. Yellow tube-removing tool-thingies - check

The dude at the bike store suggested that I store the tubes in a plastic bag in talc, so I've got baby powder effing EVERYWHERE now.

We had some troubles pumping the tire at first, but that's probably because I don't really understand how these newfangled tire-valve thingy's work. But we start pumping...
Then the valve breaks..
It's a really blurry picture...but there's a broken valve here...

Clarence and I swear a few more times, then decided to use the SECOND TUBE and to be careful this time.

So I remove the broken-valve tube (in record time, I might add)...and by this time, Betty and Mik return to the scene to help with the pumping...because they're really good at that...and by now my hand was tired.

Mik helps out by holding the base of the shaft and Betty pumps...

Sometimes it helps to change position...

Mik said this position was really uncomfortable

So as we almost have the second tire pumped up...what happens?

If you are a non-biker, this means nothing to you, but bikers might recognize this as a bike valve without the little screw-on/off top thingy...which means that any air pumped in comes right the EFF out after the pump is removed...WTF?

So, undaunted by two broken valves, we opt to patch the blown out tube.

I use this (which I don't recommend BTW)

VERY CAREFULLY... We pumped the tire full of air. Managed to do this without breaking off a third valve, and SUCCESS!

Hooray for us.

At this point, we'd been riding about 7 and a half miles (that's all), so we decided to rid up onto Torrey Pines to see how the tire holds. And it seems to for about another 2 miles or so.

Then as we descend down toward the state beach, I start to really feel the road. About 3/4 of the way down the hill, I look down. Tire. is. totally. flat. GAH!

One flat tire

I love Clarence for many reasons. She is a great friend, but this morning, I loved her because she then tried to put enough air in my tire to get me the rest of the way down the hill to the state beach (which is where we were meeting Betty and Mik) and when that didn't work, she walked her bike down the hill with with me (about 1/4 mile), and reminded me to walk with my bike toward the road and to not get hit by one of the cars racing up PCH at about 65 mph.

Mik and Betty - Getting ready for the ride back UP Torrey Pines Betty and Mik plenty of encouragement to pee

Elsie to the rescue - she came to pick up Clarence and I - I guess it's a good thing she DIDN'T ride with us this morning.

So...Clarence and I got a lift from Elsie, and met Betty and Mik at the high dive for some breakfast (by then lunch)

Guinness and Pancakes... (That was for you Al)

Mik does a celebration drink from the champagne bottle...reward for riding back up North Torrey Pines.

Clarence and the bikes on the ride home - yes, I need a bike rack

So...lessons learned.
  1. I need a bike rack
  2. I now know how to change a tire
  3. WTF is up with the tire valves that I was using? Am I an idiot and don't know how to pump up a tire? or was it faulty valves?
  4. WTF is up with me and the flat tires? I'm thinking it's time to get a real road bike. Maybe the road tires on a mountain bike is just not such a good idea... some how the weight or the ratios of weight to tire load capacity is off.
  5. Or maybe I just have really bad luck (I also broke my camera today...completely random...can't figure out how. We just looked at it and the lens was stuck and it's broken now).

My stats for the weekend

Friday - Ride 12 miles
Saturday - Run 4.5 miles
Sunday - Ride 9.7 miles

*I'll write later about why I'm not going, but I'm expecting guest blogs about their adventures from both of them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Light Boredom

I'm bored.

I'm waiting for an electrician to show up to fix a hanging fan-light (because neither Walter or I are capable of this).

He was supposed to be here between 8am and 10am. It's now noon.


So, since it was my intention to go swim or bike this morning after the electrician left, and since I haven't been able to do that YET, I thought I'd post a few random photos for NikeMom's Foto Friday of things that I've been taking care of this morning while waiting for the DAMN ELECTRICIAN...

(BTW...the dispatcher just called. Electrician is on his way...yeah...we'll see)

I hung up all of DramaGirls clothes. I've been after her for at least a week to do this, but she stalled, complained, whined...all of which I should have just stood up to, but I got tired of hearing it, so I finally just did it for her. Day-um the girls got a lot of clothes.

They used to be all stacked thrown on this chair. This is the last time I'm hanging them up and putting them away for her (I swear it), but I thought I'd give her a clean start. Doesn't it look like that monkey is messin' with me?

Somehow our scale broke (how does a scale like this break anyway? Maybe Turbo was jumping up and down on it...yeah, I'm sure that was it). So I threw it away.

This is the drawer I keep all my running shorts, capris, skirts, bike shorts in...I'm thinkin' I need a bigger drawer, or DramaGirl's chair.

This came in the mail today (it's a waterproof iPod Shuffle holder! How cool is THAT?) I saw this on Mel's blog a few weeks back...which is part of the reason why I'm so damn irritated that the electrician is not here...YET...because I want to try out the new headphones.

Electrician Update: 12:45 pm Electrician arrived and left. Hanging Fan/Lamp works just fine. Costs $19.50 to screw in lightbulbs correctly...GAH!

I'm going for a ride now...