Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With The Old, In With The New

2009 was an odd year.

Not all good, not all bad. Just.....odd.

We had a lot of fun in 2009. Found a great new spot for our boat, on which we spent hours of family fun. Saw my oldest daughter get her learners permit. My youngest daughter sing her first solo in the church choir. Our oldest son became a teenager. While our youngest son made leaps and bounds in his speech and language.

It was the year that saw me take on the challenge of competing in a triathalon. I joined a gym, re-awakened my passion for swimming, remembered how much I hate to run, lost 14 pounds and am feeling great.

The year had it's major challenges as well--we are headed in a new direction, on a new adventure, and looking forward to all that 2010 has to bring.

I hope your New Year is filled with joy, happiness and lots of laughter. And I hope you continue to follow along.

Next up on the exercise front--a 5K in February in Maine (file that one under "what was I thinking").

See you next year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We have been members of one YMCA or another for a good long while.  Going on 7 years.  I relate to their mission, love their family friendly policies and their variety of offerings.   And they have always been convenient to where we lived.

Just one thing. Our local YMCA is lacking in… shall I say?  Cleanliness?

Yep, that’s the word.

Now I don’t gross out easily.  Sixteen years of raising 4 kids, a total of 5 dogs, 3 hamsters, 4 fish and 2 geckos—I have seen my share of bodily fluids and cleaned up more nasty messes than I could ever fathom counting.   Including a beta fish stuck to the wall like a huge booger.   I share this only to illustrate that it takes  a  LOT to give me the heebie jeebies.

The locker room at the Y gives me just that.  I shudder just thinking about it.  And I  have never considered myself high maintenance.  I don’t require spotless facilities or perpetually shining floors.  Before I was a lifeguard I was the cleaning girl at the local pool on Governors Island.   My job was to scrub toilets and hose out the concrete in the bathroom.

Nuf said.

But even I am given pause when entering the Family Locker room.  There was a hairball in the drain last week that rivaled Cousin It.  I think I even saw it move.

So, at my neat-freak daughter’s behest, I called another local gym.  I had assumed they didn’t have a pool.  Apparently I assumed wrong.  It is called Latitudes, and it’s website is heavenly.  Spotless floors.  Vacuumed rugs.  Amazing workout machines. Hairball-free drains. 

A juice bar.

Okay, I probably won’t ever spend the money to have someone make me a tofu-bran-mango-probiotic smoothie.   But it would be nice to not throw up in my mouth every time I go to take a shower.

The  locker room might be worth it all on it’s own. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

Just wanting to wish all my cyberfriends a Merry Christmas! Hope Santa was good to you, your stocking was overflowing with something other than coal and you spent the day with those that you love!!

Off to watch It's A Wonderful Life for the kabillionth time and plan out a week full of exercise (to counteract the effects of the 7 Peanut Butter Christmas Trees I ate for breakfast).


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swimming in the Bathtub

A few weeks ago my brother John got married. Woohoo! It was an awesome weekend, filled with a lot of laughs.

And a little bit of competition. I mean, when you get siblings together, there is always competition, no?

There was that weekend, no doubt.

My sister and her family stayed at a nearby hotel with a pool. Saturday morning we headed over for a little swim with the kids.

Or so we said.

The pool was slightly larger than a large bathtub, slightly smaller than....a small pool. Probably about 20 yards long. And filled with kids.

And adults who still act like them. Present company included.

I don't remember who's idea it was first. I believe it was Brendan's, but I can't be sure. I looked up at one point from taking a nice, relaxing dip to see Brendan and Leigh Mai churning up the entirely tiny pool in crazy wavy fashion to see who could beat whom to the other end.

I think it was a tie. Then it was game on.

Jeff took up the challenge and made it to the other end of the pool before his wife and my brother without using his arms. I think he might be part fish.

Mind you, we were not the only swimmers in the pool. There were other families there with their children, trying to enjoy nice, calm family time.

But we continued to get carried away.

I finally decided to give it a try. I lost to my brother. Nearly tied my sister. Then lost to my son, who I am told got a full body length head start. He doesn't like to lose, and is not above cheating apparently.

Next time, we are going to Google the nearest Olympic distance swimming pool, bring goggles and, of course, a stop watch.

I guess we just bring it out in each other. Which is not the worst thing in the world.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have been remiss

Howdy blogland. Long time no talk.

I apologize for my absence. I am sure (wink, wink) that you have been hanging out there, waiting with baited breath for an update.


Things are.....nuts. Exercise is going well. Spin, elliptical, swim, run.

Blah, blah, blah.

I went UA for a week after I bent over to unload the dishwasher and popped a disc in my lower back. I walked around like a 90-year old woman for about 4 days then slowly got back to upright. Now I am just takin' it easy with the elliptiswim thing. No running until that thing feels like it is totally back to normal. Or biking. If I bend over the bike too long I kinda get molded like that. Then it takes an hour to stand up straight again. A tad awkward.

I figured the back thingie was as good a reason as any to take a break from exercise. Besides I was waaaaay behind on my Christmas shopping.

But now I'm not :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

5K: Take Two

Today I ran in the Jolly Jaunt, a 5K here in Massachusetts that benefits the Special Olympics. Great cause. Fun race.

Or so I thought……

Last year, I grabbed a hot chocolate after seeing Adrienne take off at the starting line, waited in the heated tent for awhile, then watched her finish.

This year, I was right there with her. Well, not right there. Right behind her. A kind of long ways behind her. Like about 15 minutes.

And holy C**P that was a hilly race! You have no idea when you see the last 40 yard of a race what the course really looks like. I should have probably taken that into account, no?

The course started out very deceiving. Nice and flat. Downhill even.

Then it just went up, and up, and up. For a good long while. And I thought it might never stop climbing.

And it was cold. Blustery, windy, cold and slushy. Just like I like it.


I did a run/walk for most of the way. MOST of the way. I did stop briefly to determine the cause of my iPod malfunction. Nothing exciting, just a dead battery. Which left me to the thoughts in my head. It was kinda quiet.

And I stopped more than once because some tendon or muscle or something or other next to my knee that I never knew I had, started hurting like mad. I thought it might give out on my 40-something body, causing me to take a header into the slush puddles all around me.

But, regardless, I did finish. But how did I do?

Hmmmmm. I will say that I did about the same as the Feaster Five. A tiny bit slower even. But not much slower. So I can’t blame it on the sea of strollers and the walkers that I had to dart around during the Thanksgiving Day Race.

I guess I just run that slow. And that’s okay.

I can sum it up by saying that I finished behind a 50-something lady dressed as a Christmas present.

Yep. That's about it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First 5K : Check

So it is written.  The first 5K is out of the way.

Hey, that rhymes. 

I had hoped to run it in under 40 minutes.  I mean, some people can walk faster than that, right?

But I blame it on the sea of strollers and dogs in the back-of-the-pack place where I was hiding  waiting.  My final time? 40:43.

Here I am before the race:IMG_0270

(Note to self: jogging bra shows VERY much through those sweat-wicking shirts.  Good lesson for next time)

And here I am afterwards with my daughter.  Who by the way ran 5 miles in almost as much time as I ran 3.1.  But whatever.


I actually had way more fun than I thought I would.  The first mile was  a killer. All uphill.  But after that I started to enjoy myself.  When I rounded the last corner and this  song came on my iPod, I was sure I could conquer the world. 

Or at least finish the race.  Upright. 

Next up, a 5K in under 39 minutes.  What are the chances?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Nice Little Run

Saturday I went for a nice little run. I say "little" because for most people it would be a little run. For me, however, it was a nice LONG run. Nearly 3.5 miles.

I went with my neighbor who just ran a marathon. I thought she would be bored out of her mind. But she apparently wasn't. She said I had some speed in me.

I am quite sure she was actually looking at someone else when she said that. Go figure.

It was a nice pace, a 3 minute run, 45 second walk. And I looked forward to that 45 second walk dontcha know. It was all fun and games until we got to.......Hell's Hill.

When I was in high school, my parents had a Volvo 240 station wagon. I'll never forget it. Red with vinyl seats.

And a stick shift.

Anyone who has ever learned to drive a stick remembers their first incline. The one where you stop, the rear of the car pointing down at a whatever-degree-angle behind you and pray to God that you don't stall. Then you slowly take your foot off the brake, press on the clutch and start bucking like a bronco having seizures.

For my brother Brendan and me, it was the slight incline at the end of my parents street. We called it Hell's Hill. In reality it was probably no more than 10 degrees upward. But it felt like we were on a 90 degree angle. We would come to a stop, say a little prayer and send that Volvo into convulsions, giving ourselves a massive headache in the process.

This hill on our run was probably like that. To me it seemed ginormous. In reality it wasn't all that bad. I am pretty sure I stopped talking 1/3 of the way up. I think I almost stopped talking because I am pretty sure I nearly stopped breathing. But then we were at the top, Hell's Hill was conquered and we were running on our merry way.

Truth be told, it was actually kind of fun :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Smoking or Non?

There is a fine line between enjoying the humor in situations and making fun of people.  I can cross that line on occasion.

I think I am about to.  You be the judge.

A few weeks ago I ventured to the Y for my 6am spinning class.  I am certainly no blooming flower at that hour of the morning.    Like most people about to exercise, I have not showered.  Deodorant, yes.  Shower, no.  I am also  quite cranky and can be rather unpleasant B.C. 

Before Coffee, that is.

This particular morning I was running late.  Big surprise.  So I kind of broke into a run half way through the parking lot to make sure I had not made my trip in vain.  If you get there too late, you risk not getting a bike.  Which means you got up early and wasted a drive to the gym for nothing.  Makes for a very unhappy me.  Or anyone for that matter. 

Just before I hit the membership desk I passed a woman walking v-e-r-y slowly.  Think tortoise slow.  She was fully clothed—sweater, sweatpants, coat.  When I passed her on my way to the stairs I got a whiff of something.  A really big something.


Not have-a-cigarette-during-break-time smoke. This was smoke-a-pack-in-your-car-with-the-windows-up smoke.   Then go sit in a cigar bar just for good measure.  Just in case the smoke hadn’t permeated your being quite enough. 

I thanked my luck stars that there was no WAY she could be heading to spin class wearing all those clothes.  I mean, who spins in long pants and a sweater, right?  And at the pace she was moving I just didn’t figure her for heavy-duty exercise. 

I was wrong.

Apparently spinning was exactly where she was headed.  As I was situating myself on my hiding-in-the-back-of-the-room bike, she walked on by.   Bringing that smell right along with her. 

Oh. My. Gawd.  I thought I was going to pass out.

Thankfully making sure you sit in the back of the class so that no one can see you turn the color of a beet has it’s advantages.   She apparently prefers the front of the room and waltzed right on up in front of the instructor.  It was pretty amusing to watch the heads turn in the opposite direction of her as other exercisers tried to inhale clean air. 

I tried not to get to complacent about my distance from her smokey-ambiance. 

Next time she might be next to me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Luck Be A Lady

I thought I was looking for a spinning prince.

Turns out, I was looking for a spinning princess.  And I **heart** her in all her spinning goddess loveliness.

Now spinning in the morning is kinda tough.  Spin class is from 6-7.  Two kids leave for the bus at 6:35.  One leaves at 7:30.  I have to make sure kiddo #4 is ready to go so I can leave for work at 8:05.  Like many families, we cut things pretty close in the morning.  One false move, 10 minutes oversleeping or one forgotten trumpet can turn a smooth morning into a burgeoning disaster.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So last Wednesday morning I set out my work clothes for when I returned, packed lunches, woke children and left the house at 5:45 to try out a new spin instructor. 

The first thing I liked about her was her voice.  Not too loud, not too quiet.  Just right.  She described the layout of the class, asked if anyone needed help, and that was it.  No idle chit chat.  No persistent yapping.   Perfect balance of talking and not talking so that people who have not yet had their morning coffee didn’t want to strangle her.  

Then there was the music.  Loved it.  A little Peter Gabriel, some Talking Heads, some Sarah McLachlan.  And when Irene Cara started singing “What a Feeling”  I knew I was in love.  A true 80’s woman after my own heart.  I could practically see Jennifer Beals at the end of Flashdance, dancing her heart out at that audition.  It was an awesome hour, a completely enjoyable workout with lots of sweat and motivation.

Unfortunately, Cameron missed the bus, forgot his lunch check and I came home to my 10-year-old watching her 4-year-old brother while my husband drove Cam to school.   But like anything else, practice makes perfect.

And there’s always next time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Turkey Trot Revisited

When I was a kid on Governors Island in New York, the annual Thanksgiving morning run was called the Turkey Trot. There was a kids run, and an adult run that I assume was around a 5K. It was a fun way to start the day off right.

I ran the kids race a few times. Feeling like Rocky at the beginning. Feeling more like the recipient of one of his beatings by the end.

Last year on Thanksgiving Day, Adrienne wanted to run in the Andover’s version of the Turkey Trot—the Feaster Five. I took her, paid the entrance fee and watched her take off at the sound of the gun.

Then I grabbed a donut and made my way to the finish line.

This year might be a tiny bit different. In addition to Adrienne, I also registered myself for the 5K part of the Feaster Five. She is running the 5 miler. I am running the 5K which is just over 3 miles. I feel mostly prepared. The swimming and biking in addition to the running have hopefully built up my stamina to the point where I can run three miles without stopping. Too much. I have never actually run three miles outside without stopping. Or inside without stopping for that matter.

But what the heck. You never know unless you try, right?

She WILL finish her race before me. Probably quite a bit before me, truth be told. But I don’t mind.

She doesn’t drive yet so she can’t leave without me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bad Blogger, Bad

“I have been too busy living to blog about it”.  I read that somewhere  and I hope my friend doesn’t mind me using it here.  I have been remiss in my journal-this-journey commitment this week.   Mea Culpa.

Things have been a bit…..busy here.  Last Wednesday night Adrienne informed me that the two girls who sit on either side of her in Global Thought were out with what was rumored to be H1N1.

Thursday morning, as if having jinxed herself, she woke up with a 101 fever, sore throat and a cough.   She was still down for the count  on Saturday morning when Cameron woke up with a fever and sore throat.  Then later on in the day, Lucas started to run a temp.

Fun times at the Michaud house.  Half down.  Half still standing.  For now, anyway.   It is a tad sad that the only thing my children share well are germs, no?  But anything worth doing is worth doing well.  When they share, they share in spades.

For now, the other three of us are using hand sanitizer by the gallon, following the three above-mentioned sickos around with Lysol wipes, and trying to dodge those coughs that don’t end up in the now-correct elbow crook. 

In any case, I have swam a bit, ellipticalled a bit and found an awesome new spin instructor who I will blog about at a later date (or whom I will blog about- I am not quite sure which is right).

Hope all is well with you and yours.  Catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

That’s the Plan, Stan

My fabulous neighbor of bee-sting-while-marathoning fame is a certified track coach, Red Cross swim instructor, former spin instructor and inspirational mama extraordinaire. 

She might even be the tooth fairy.  Still looking into that one.

In any case, we got to chatting the other day and she told me that she is starting to do individualized training plans for triathletes and other recreational athletes with specific goals.    Ta-da.  I could use that.  So yesterday we met to discuss a little nitty and a little gritty.  And have coffee, of course.  And I decided to be one of her first victims clients.

We went straight from Panera to the YMCA for a little mid-morning swim.  I swear  I did not eat a cinnamon crunch bagel with cream cheese.  I did consider it  for a while.  I half ordered it in my head, and then decided that it would be very unattractive to hurl in the pool at our first workout together, so I changed my mind. 

Never swim on a full stomach.  I learned that the hard way.

Anyhoo, off to the Y we went for a “little” swim.   I can tell she is going to be good for me.   Like when you are running with someone, and they keep going so you want to keep going because you don't want them to see you stop and think that you can’t do it?   Yep, that was it.

We swam over 1500 yards.  Just shy of a mile.  Which is twice as far as I normally swim.  Yikes.

I mean, the thing is that I could probably have swam that far all along.  But I didn’t have a specific goal in mind.  And it is good to have accountability to someone other than yourself.  Not everyone needs that.

Apparently, though, I do.

She will set the bar higher than I would set it for myself.  Which I think is a very good thing.

I think this is the start of something good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lucky 13

I have very exciting news.

When I got on the scale this morning it said:

“Congratulations Kelly. You have now lost 13 pounds and are now considered just moderately overweight”.

Okay, so it didn’t talk to me in reality. But it did talk to me in numbers. Numbers that are going down. Me likey.

When I went for my physical a few months back, I talked to my doctor about exercise and weight loss. She referred me to the awesome Nutrition Factory, where I have become a devoted stalker client.

The referral note said: “Consultation re: obesity”.


I mean, it’s one thing to know it sort of. It’s entirely another thing to see it in black and white.

Which is why I was very glad to know that I am now only considered moderately overweight. Which I will apparently be for the next multitude of pounds. Maybe forever.

And I have made my peace with that. I can live with it.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

But someone at my office yesterday told me my pants looked baggy. I nearly kissed her.

Woot Woot!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Before, During and After

I have a great before picture.

Well, I say it's great. It's only great because it will show the "before-the-committment" shape I was in.

It's not a pretty sight.

One weekend in August, about 3 week after I accepted the you-do-a-triathalon-with-me, I'll-go-to-a-scrapbooking-weekend-with-you challenge, the kids and I visited my parents in New Jersey. My brother was visiting at the same time with his wife and kids. Brendan and I took a swim in the lake. The one where I looked at the back of his head for 1/2 an hour. Still pisses me off.

Moving on.

For documentation purposes, I asked my sister-in-law to take a picture of Brendan and me on the dock, right after we got out of the water.

Now I have no delusions of looking "hot", or even good in the speedo that vaguely resembles a fishing lure. But I really had no idea how bad I actually looked.

You can hide your bulges under sweaters, big t-shirts, and oversized turtlenecks. You can convince yourself that the dryer shrunk your jeans, and that the scale must need to be re-calibrated.

But when it comes right down to it, Speedos......and cameras do not lie. When I uploaded the picture she took into iPhoto, I gasped. Then I nearly croaked. Picture a pasty white, wet linebacker wearing a huge bruise. I had no idea my thighs were that big. How the hell did that happen? And my shoulders? When did they get that enormous? And.....plump??

So now I have a great "before" picture. Relatively speaking. And in a few more weeks, after some more bike/swim/run calorie burning and trimming down, I am going to take the "during" picture.

I hope to have a fan-tab-u-lous picture to post at the end of this adventure, but that remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. I am not going to post that horrid "Before" picture until I can post one helluva picture next to it that is titled "After".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Regional Factor

**Disclaimer**  This  post has absolutely nothing to do with exercise, training or triathalons***

Just in case you don’t want to read further, ya know?

It has come to my attention that one of my blog posts referencing my favorite calorically disastrous food caused some confusion.

Apparently the whoopie pie is not a nationally known food.  Who knew?    I just figured cause I love them so much, they must be everywhere.  But apparently they are not all over the great US of A, just in certain special places that are blessed with their sugary goodness.

For my dear friend from Florida, then New York, then Florida again, then Missouri,  here it is.  The ever so lovely, terrific, yet horrible-for-the-hips whoopie pie.


You always remember your first.  Mine was in Pennsylvania Dutch country, at the roadside stand of an Amish farmer and his family.  I remember it like it was yesterday……..aaaah. 

Okay, back now.

I found a site dedicated to this lovely delicacy.  It highlights the history of said dessert, along with recipes to make some if you dare.  I say if you dare because I cannot have these in my house.   They are like crack for the chocoholic.  The site is here.

This got me thinking about all of the places I have lived, and certain things that are commonplace in one area, but unheard of in another.

Case in point:  the bubbler. 

Going to elementary and middle school in Bridgewater, MA, the bubbler was an integral part of my day.  I passed it in the hallway, stopped for occasional refreshment, squirted water up my nose by accident more than once.

However in the rest of the country, these are referred to as water fountains.  I found this out when, upon moving to NYC, I stopped a boy in the hallway of JHS 104 (on the corner of 21st Street and 1st Ave)  and asked him where the bubbler was.  He looked at me like I was from Mars.  Then he walked away. 

Example #2.  Hotdish.

Never heard of it?  I hadn’t either, until we moved to North Dakota.  We invited some new neighbors and their kids over for dinner.  My neighbor asked what she could bring.  I said “Bring whatever you’d like”.  To which she replied, “I’ll bring hotdish”.

Now  being the polite person I am, I said “Sounds great”.   But in my head I was thinking  “#$?@##???   No idea whatsoever.

Turns out this is hotdish


It is a casserole, usually involving hamburger, some sort of creamed soup, and topped with tater tots.   This one is aptly named…that’s right, tater-tot hotdish.   It sounds kind of gross, but it is actually quite good.  We made a lot of it when we were living just a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle.   Which has the nicest people on the planet, just so’s you know.  

What have you eaten, that once you moved somewhere else you realized no one else had ever even heard of?   Did you move somewhere only to find out that you couldn’t get your favorite junk food?  Did you go to desperate measures to get what you were missing? 

Care to share?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All She Could Say Was “Wow”

It has been a week for inspiration.  Not me necessarily doing the inspiring, but being inspired. 

My sister finished the Marine Corp marathon in Washington, D.C.  in a personal best time.  She was amazed and inspired by the people running who had lost loved ones to war, and cancer.  People who were physically challenged, running the race of their lives.   I am amazed and inspired by her.

My incredible neighbor ran the Cape Cod marathon.  I hope she doesn’t mind me referencing her here.  (I guess if she does I’ll hear about it, no?)  Besides I won’t name names.  Deanna. 

I may have a rival in the accident-prone, weird-luck category.  Knocking my tooth out with a car door and hitting myself in the head with a can of ham almost doesn’t come close to breaking one’s arm the day before a triathalon, and then swallowing a bee during your first marathon. 

No joke.

But in spite of getting stung by a bee (on her tongue no less), she persevered and finished the race. 

Wow.  All I can say is “wow”. 

I am inspired.  I was so motivated by their incredible feats that I went to the Y last night at 8:30 and swam 1000 yards at a time when I am normally snoring on the couch.

Let’s see how long that lasts.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Squeezing It In

So this training thing has fallen into somewhat of a routine. It works. Some days better than others.

I have new found respect for people who are training for major athletic events and train for hours at a time. I can barely squeeze in 45 minutes a day without a problem. And sometimes it kind of is a problem.

Sunday mornings have become a designated swimming morning. I get up at about 5, feed my addiction to Facebook, throw in a load of laundry or two, unload the dishwasher, straighten up whatever disaster catches my eye first, catch up on the TV show I fell asleep in front of the night before on DVR, and then get ready to go swim.

The pool opens at 8am. I try to be there right when they open so I can get my 800 or so yards in and call it a morning.

You see, I try to squeeze this in before church, where at 9:45 on Sunday morning 10 or so pre-adolescent kid/tweens are waiting to be enlightened by my biblical knowledge and incredible wit.

Alright, that’s not what they are waiting for. Sometimes I think they are just waiting for the snack. But in any event I have to leave my house by 9:30 to get there on time, so I am pushing it just a tad if I get to the Y any later than 8:00.

Last weekend I arrived a tiny bit on the late side. Just a few minutes. I shoved all my stuff in a locker and headed to the pool. Unfortunately the door between the locker room and the pool was locked. So I had to walk, in my lovely Speedo, barefoot (eeeww) through the Y to the front desk. I told them the door between the women’s locker room and the pool was locked.

“No it’s not,” was the reply.

“Ummm, I believe it is,” I said.

So they walked me to the pool where the lifeguard informed me that the door I pointed to as locked actually led to the family locker room, not the women's locker room. The women’s locker room door truly was unlocked.

How sad is that that I have never actually been to the Y without kids enough to know that women have their own locker room? I just assumed that the locker room with all the moms and children was the women’s locker room. I will have to remember that for the next time I want to get dressed without screaming, yelling children whose moms are bargaining with them to just get dressed and stop whining already. Not that my kids ever did that. You know, me having perfect children and all.

Moving on.

So I traipsed myself into the pool, found an empty lane and got to the business at hand. I actually had a grand old time. I think I might have even had a “swimmers high”. I think that’s what it was. Either that or I was getting hypoglycemic from not having had breakfast. But it was a great swim. I could have actually kept going except that the clock was beckoning me.

And the thought of being late for church makes me break out in hives. I think it borders on a pathological fear. Growing up, we were always late for church. And we were not the “slink into the back of church when you are late” kind of family. Oh no. We had to find a seat, which after church has already begun is almost always in the FRONT of the church. Where you have to walk by the entire rest of the congregation to find a pew big enough to seat 6 people. By the time we were at our appointed nearly always-the-very-first-row seats, I was sweating profusely, wanting to just disappear.

As you can see, I do not like to be late for church. So I jumped out of the pool and ran to get ready.

We did make it to church on time. Our Sunday school class was fun, and I managed to bang the water out of my right ear half way through the recessional hymn.

For now, that’s how I’m squeezing it all in on Sunday. The rest of the week –- well, I don’t want to bore you all at once. I’ll save that for another day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If I Can Do It, Anyone Can

That is a phrase I have heard repeated over and over again.  Many times in conversation, when the topic turns to “What have you been up to”, I fess up to training for a triathalon.

I say “fess up” because I am sure the idea of a moderately overweight, middle-aged mom preparing for an athletic event is not an intuitive leap--could even make some people laugh.

Sometimes it even makes me laugh. 

So when the subject comes up, I am surprised by the number of people who have said that they did one X-number of years ago.  The conversation usually  ends with “If I can do it, anyone can do it”.  

That does make me feel a little bit better.  Although it’s usually someone in a jogging suit, fit as a fiddle and on their way to the gym.   But even so.

Just last week I was at a high school cross-country meet when one of the other moms told me that she had participated in a triathalon about 2 years ago and was surprised by how much fun it was.  She admitted she was most worried about the swim, and once the swim was over she felt much better.

I think that is my problem.  I am not worried at all about the swim.  That seems like a piece of cake to me.   Theoretically speaking, that is.  Speaking in concrete terms, cake would be much better.    And preferable.

Just sayin’.

I almost wish the run was first so I could just get it out of the way.  

Let’s put it this way—if I look like a half-drunk spasm-ing wingnut when I run now, what will I look like after I have swam (swum?) 21 lengths of the pool and then biked 12 miles?  I am almost afraid to picture it.   

But it will probably make for a good blog post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It’s A Family Affair

Apparently my family finds exercise addicting.

Kind of like potato chips.  Without the fat.  And the salt.  And the taste. 

Monkey-see, monkey-do. 

My sister and her husband have been active exercisers for years.  Running, swimming, biking.  Marathons even. 

My brother started biking this summer, lost more than 50 pounds  and has now completed a few  triathalons.   He’s also completed a century ride.  That’s 100 miles.  Yikes.

My daughter was bit by the bug after doing a relay triathalon with my brother in Virginia.  He swam and biked, she ran the 5K.   She is signed up to do the Polar Bear Triathalon in May.

My younger brother John has not yet been coerced  recruited to join us in our exercise escapades.   But he is about to be a dad for the first time so we are cutting him some slack.  For now.

So the Polar Bear Tri next May will be a real family affair.  My daughter, my brother, my sister, her husband, his sister and her husband.

Oh.  And me.  Almost forgot :) 

Can’t blame a girl for trying, can you?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Say What?

Don’t you just love when you hear someone singing a song you love, and it all of a sudden occurs to you that the words you thought were the words, really aren’t?

I started thinking about this this morning while I was running.  The Killers song “Are We Human” came on the iPod.  There is a line in the song that goes ,“Are we human, or are we dancer”.


Never mind that it is grammatically incorrect. It also makes absolutely no sense.   Dancer could be pluralized to make a tiny bit of sense.   But not a whole lot.   Or maybe I was hearing the words wrong altogether? 

There is plenty of precedent for that.  Me hearing a song and screwing up the word beyond belief, that is.   My husband almost ran off the road when we were dating when he heard me sing the Peter Gabriel  song “Jeux Sans Frontiers” as “She’s so salty love”.    I seriously had no idea they were singing in French.   Those words didn’t make any sense to me, but it kind of sounds like that’s what they are singing.  Kind of. 

And when you don’t understand the words, sometimes you just make up something so you can sing to it.  Know what I mean?

When my brother was in elementary school, he had an assignment to write down the words to his favorite song.  He was in love with the Kinks at the time.  We used to listen to their album on the record player until one of his friends sat on the needle and scratched the record beyond repair. 

Aaah, the record player.  If we had kept half the crap we had no idea would be “quaint” today, we would be raking it in on eBay right now.

In any case, my brother listened to his favorite song off that album, wrote down all the words and handed them in to his teacher.

That’s when my mother got a phone call from school.  His teacher was  “concerned” about the music Brendan was listening to and told my mother it was rather inappropriate for a 12-year-old.  My mother asked her to send the paper home so that she could talk to my brother about it.

He had picked the song “Art Lover”.   One of the lines is  “like a Degas ballerina”.  Except that he had heard, and written “like a naked ballerina”.

Hence the phone call.

That cracks me up almost as much as the time I looked over in church and heard Madeline belt out the Hosanna at the top of her lungs.  She was shouting “lasagna in the highest”.   I am quite sure God has a sense of humor about those kinds of things.  Her heart was truly in it,  and she was only 5 after all.

Do you have a favorite “misheard” song? Have you ever sung really loud, only to realize after the fact that you had absolutely no idea what the actual words to the song were?

Come on, share it with us.  Pretty please?? It will make us all feel better!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin

(But I would kill for a whoopie pie right about now)


Nothing tastes as good as thin.

That was the mantra of my last Weight Watchers leader.   I say my last because there have been many.  I lost count after a while.

But she used to say it as a means of motivating people to stay focused on their goal.  So that when you were reaching for the Kit Kat, you could think of what it would be like to have it attached to your hips.   And then theoretically not eat it. 

Sometimes it works.  It depends on the day.

Now that I have lost 11 pounds, I am starting to notice differences in my clothing.  Which is great.  I put on a pair of pants to go to work yesterday and they were loose around the waist.   Made my day.

That is motivating, which makes it easier to believe that nothing really does taste as good as thin. 

But this morning when I was leaving the convenience store with my yummiest Dunkin Donuts coffee (with skim milk and Splenda thank you very much), I passed the case with all their delicious baked goods.  And the most scrumptious  looking whoopie pie practically jumped out and landed in my bag.

I do so love whoopie pies. 

Not even sure why.  They have no redeeming nutritional value, they are full of sugar and butter, and are terrible for your heart and arteries.

But…..I still love them.  Because they taste soooo good.

Except that I have a hard time eating them..….small portions at a time.  

Once I get started it’s hard to stop.  It also doesn’t help that most of the whoopie pies sold at bakeries are practically the size of a frisbee.  So you have to have a lot of self control.  Portion sizes being important and all.

When it comes to whoopie pies, I have very little.  Self control, that is.

I can buy one, thinking that I’ll cut it in half and save the rest for another day.  Then, after I eat that half, the other half just looks so forlorn there all by itself I just have to eat it, too. 

Because I just do, that’s why. 

Which is why I did not buy it.  But I did eye it longingly for more than a few seconds.  Or a minute or two.

Maybe after I complete and entire triathalon I will feel like I have burned enough calories to justify eating one.  

But after burning that many calories, will I really want to waste them all on a whoopie pie?

I think I know the answer to that:  YES

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Die is Cast

I am officially registered for my first triathalon.

There is no turning back now.

The Polar Bear Tri is being held May 8th in Maine.  Today I registered for the Polar Bear 5K in February, which allowed me the “privilege” of registering early for the Polar Bear Tri in May.

I am running a race in Maine.  In February.  It is now official.  I have lost my mind. 

The name is a little scary.  “Polar Bear” anything conjures up images of half dressed people jumping into the frigid ocean in January.   Apparently that is not what this triathalon is all about.  It is hosted by the Polar Bear club, hence the name.  There is no freezing-cold ocean swim associated with this race.  In fact, the swim is in a pool, which I think is a good way to test the waters.  No pun intended.

The Polar Bear Tri was the first triathalon my sister did last year.   She rocked.  My brother-in-law’s sister Angela was the women’s winner. 

I just hope I don’t come in last. 

Actually, scratch that last comment. I just want to finish.

Never mind that my sister and Angela will be showered and having a cup of coffee when I cross the finish line.    When (not if) I cross the finish line, I will have the great joy in knowing that I will have my sister all to myself for a lovely scrapping weekend here with the nice ladies from  Scrappers Dream Vacation.

A dream for me.  Not so much for her.   But regardless, I  am sure it will be a weekend to remember.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Art of the Flip Turn

Swimmers spend a lot of time perfecting their flip turn. In an out-and-out race, you can gain a lot of time with a good one. You can also lose a lot of time with a lousy one. When I swam in junior high and high school, we would spend entire swim practices working on our flip turns. Hanging out in the shallow end, flip after flip after flip.

If you’ve ever seen Olympic swimmers, you’ve probably marveled at the way they do them. Legs literally snap over their head, as they effortlessly turn and head back down the pool.

I could never do them like that. Even though I liked to pretend that I could. They were passable, possibly halfway decent. I never worried when I got to the end of the pool if I could do it or not. It was automatic. Flip and turn.

This past July—at the weekend gathering where the gauntlet was thrown down and the triathalon challenge taken up—I could barely swim across the narrow channel at my parents lake without gasping for air.

Totally. Out. Of. Shape.

With our newly minted YMCA membership and my lovely sort-of-new Speedo, I have made what I consider decent progress. I am up to 650-800 yards at a clip without stopping. Mostly freestyle with some breaststroke thrown in when I need a small breather. Definitely enough distance to feel comfortable doing a sprint triathalon.

So last week I decided it was time to brush up on the flip turn again.

When I reached the end of the pool I said a little prayer, did my half-somersault and tried to kick off the wall. Except it wasn’t there. Apparently I had started too soon and ended up too far away from the wall to actually touch it.

So I immediately stood up and pretended that I meant to do that. Like when you are walking and trip and try to make it look like you meant to start running?

Just like that.

The next time I approached the shallow-end wall, I geared up to try it again. Little prayer. This time, the timing was better and I could actually use the wall to kick off.

Except I am not sure I would call it a flip turn. It was more like a roll turn. My roly poly self s-l-o-w-l-y getting around in the form of a somersault and trying hard to right myself and start swimming again.

It definitely needs a lot of work to get the rust off. I guess the good thing is that they can only get better from here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Drugs and Colds and Kleenex, Oh My

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

This cold has knocked me on my *ss. And I am not just milking it because I am out of the habit of exercise. And trying to justify doing precious little that involves sweat in the last 10 days.

I swear.

This cold has gone from icky-leaky sieve nose phase, to can’t breathe through the concrete-in-my-head phase, to brain-in-a-vice phase over the course of a week and a half.

The elliptical has been my occasional morning friend, but other than that? Nada. Zip. Zilch.

It makes me wonder about athletes who compete in the face of extreme odds. Remember that Japanese gymnast who competed with two broken legs in the 1976 Olympics? Makes me look like such a woos.

I had to make a return trip to CVS this week for another box of decongestant. Not the watered-down over the counter stuff. I went for the sign-your-life-away and show your ID stuff they keep behind the counter. It makes me laugh every time I stand there with my watery eyes, coughing with a bright red nose, looking like death warmed over and they ask to scan my license to buy Sudafed. I can barely breathe for crying out loud. Do I really look like I’m about to go cook the Sudafed in my meth lab?

So anyway……

I hope to have something more interesting, fun and actually readable to report next week. Until then, enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rhys Was Ryght

Not everyone can say that their education paid off. And that they are working in their chosen field. Remember that kid in your dorm who majored in history and ended up waiting tables? Or your friend the political science major that had dreams of conquering Washington and ended up adjusting claims at an insurance company?

My major was psychology. Which, when I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA, qualified me to do: exactly nothing. Turns out you truly need a Masters to use the psychology part of the BA for any course-related purpose. Other than that, the BA part comes in handy. It did land me a job shortly out of college as a glorified file clerk. Not too challenging, but it paid the rent and the loan on my lovely Hyundai.

The year I bought that car, a Hyundai was seen as somewhat equivalent to a Yugo. Thankfully Hyundai has made great strides in their quality. That year, however, a Hyundai Excel went from 0 to 60 in about 2 minutes. If you were lucky.

Think Fred Flinstone speed. Minus the feet.

Which gave me a migraine every time I drove to work and tried to merge into fast-moving traffic during morning rush hour. Polite Boston drivers being what they are and all. Cough, cough.

But I digress.

I have previously blogged about my great experience at the nutritionist, Rhys Anderson. Implementing his ideas and following his meal plan has not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I kissed the Skinny Cows, Special-K bars and the 100 Calorie Little Debbie cakes goodbye, and became friendly with cheese sticks, 100 calorie almond packs and fruit. Lots and lots of fruit.

I have to say, he’s a pretty smart guy. And using his nutrition degree well. Not that I would judge his entire “awesomeness” on my success. That would be pretty self-centered of me, no?

However in two weeks since I visited Rhys, I have lost an additional 4 pounds, bringing my grand total to……drum roll please……9 pounds.

Nearly 2 bags of sugar. One huge bag of potatoes.

So he was right after all. Despite my desire to believe that eating a 100 calorie Little Debbie cake was the same as eating a 100 calorie banana, I kept an open mind. Turns out all calories and WW points are not created equal. Making the changes he suggested were a fabulous idea.

And they worked. He is good at what he does. Giving sound eating advice to people who don’t necessarily want to hear it.

And for that I am very glad.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Closet of Denial

**Disclaimer*** You will never find me on an episode of hoarders. Promise. And I do clean out my closet on occasion to donate things I truly can’t or won’t wear.

Just had to get that off my chest.

All better.


Many of us have them.

Clothes that haven’t fit in a while. Or in a decade.

Or longer.

Things that we can sort-of-almost squeeze into but just can’t part with. Or things that have long since fit but we just can’t admit that we might never squish into them again. Ever.

“It was on sale, I really should keep it”

“Are you kidding? I paid a lot for that skirt and I’m not getting rid of it”

“It might fit someday”

“Wait, wait, I can almost button them” (Followed by inhaling belly button to spine and praying the button doesn’t explode across the room)

All things we say to ourselves that keep these items living in the “Closet of Denial”.

Some people have a small section of denial in their closet. Some have an entire wall devoted to what could be.

I guess I would fall somewhere in between.

In the 20 years since college, I have been up and down the size aisle so many times I have lost count. Up a size, down 2, up 3, down 1. Each weight range with it’s own size; each size with it’s own part of the closet. And from each size I have kept my favorites, holding on to the hope that they will someday fit. Suffice it to say I have a few cute things I could outfit myself in. Every size from 10 to never-you-mind a few times over. And then some.

There they sit. The too-small, in-denial sizes. I eye them longingly, dreaming of the day they will see the light of day once again. Wondering what it would be like to have the need of a belt for other than decorative purposes.

Caution: Rationalization ahead. Here it comes.

The problem with getting rid of the faves from the in-denial section is that I am always striving to get there again. And when I get there, wherever there happens to ultimately be, I don’t want to say “Gee, I should never have gotten rid of those jeans I loved”. And so they sit, patiently waiting. Gathering dust. Maybe even going out of style.

Okay, rationalization over. Thanks for indulging me.

So it will be interesting to see what the end result of this whole triathalon-challenge journey will be. Will I turn into an exercise fiend, maintaining a weight not seen since college? Will I end up a casual exerciser, enjoying an easy, mellow daily jog?

Regardless of the outcome, I am quite sure there will be something in my closet that fits.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nothing Too New or Exciting

It has been a slow exercise week here.  I have a miserable cold.  Which coincided nicely with the pump breaking at the YMCA pool so I wouldn’t have been able to swim anyway.   So unless you count the up and down motion of the hand to the Kleenex box, to the nose and back down again, I haven’t exercised since Monday.

Of course I could have run, or biked if I really wanted to be a masochist.  But I am choosing to look at the pump breaking at the same time as getting a cold as a fortuitous event.  Rationalization being what it is and all.  Work with me here.  The stretch is not all that far, really.

I will admit it actually felt weird not exercise for a few days.  Perhaps  it has become a habit after all?  I am promising myself that Friday morning I will go to the 6am spin class and get back on the wagon.  I don’t dare get back in the pool until I can breath out of my nose again.  That could get really gross.

There was some exciting news this week in the battle with the scale.  Between making some changes to my daily diet make-up and the fact that I can’t taste anything I eat so why bother, I have lost 2 pounds in the last week.   And I’ll take it.

Now I am off to infect some more people in my office, sneeze on the lady at Dunkin Donuts and have an otherwise lovely day.

Hope you can do the same.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So That’s How It’s Done

Apparently there is a trick to running with a jogging stroller. The first time I ran with Bob, I held on to the handle with both hands. Holding on for dear life, squeezing the handle like nothing else.

That’s not how you do it. Who knew?

No wonder my neck felt like it had been squished in a vice. And I wondered how people could possibly run pushing one of these things and actually enjoy it? I got my answer- not like that, they can’t.

You are supposed to hold on and push with one hand, alternating the other arm in a pumping, natural running-like motion.

That makes it SOOO much easier. I actually enjoyed myself. Sort of.

Except that I got a late start.

I have been trying to run in the period of time between picking Lucas up at school and getting Madeline off the bus. It’s a very small window. Yesterday, it shut on me.

I got halfway around the neighborhood when I spotted moms congregating on the corner, waiting for the arrival of mayhem children.

Oh.My.Gawd. An audience. Just what every out-of-breath, beet red, overweight jogger wants.

I contemplated my options. Ignore them all together, pretending to be so wrapped up in my iPod music that I barely noticed anyone. Start walking so I would have time to catch my breath and look halfway normal by the time I got to the corner. Or keep running, do a little head nod and keep on plugging.

The decision to keep on plugging had been made when I had a little accident. Thing One and Thing Two popped right out the top, sprung loose from their Nike activewear home.

I did my best to bend over, running at an almost 90 degree angle to hide the carnage, ignoring the people congregated at the bus stop. I am quite sure I looked like I was either searching for a lost contact or about to vomit. But never mind, there was NO way I was stopping at that point to “fix” myself. No way at all.

I do have some pride.

Thinking it is time for new… Stat.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Early Days of Exercise

I found a picture the other day that brought me right back to high school. Many, many moons ago. It was a picture of a good friend of mine, Terri and me at my parents house on Governors Island, where our dads were both stationed in the early 80’s. (Terri is on the right).


If you look in the background you can see an antique. A rotary phone. Mounted on the wall. You know the one you tried to pull as far as you could to get some privacy and ended up with a practically straight 10 foot long phone cord that rewound itself in the oddest manner after your father yelled at you to “Get off the phone!”

That’s the one. The one kids would look at now and wonder how to dial. But one that your siblings could pick up the extension on and eavesdrop to get blackmail material.

That period of my life was my first real exposure to exercise. Aerobics specifically. VCR taped aerobics to be precise.

Terri and I used to go to the “Big Gym” on Governors Island to work out. There was a tape check-out area where you could pick a VCR tape of your choice and then use the “aerobics” room for an hour. I am pretty there was a cute guy in a Coast Guard uniform working at the desk. Not positive, but I am pretty sure there was some flirting involved.

We alternated between two favorites that I can recall. The first was Jane Fonda. All decked out in her big-80’s hair, surrounded by skinny women with bigger hair clad in Flashdance style leg warmers. She had a good thing going. Very encouraging, kind of mellow.

And then there was our other favorite. Jane Fonda’s polar opposite. Richard Simmons. Remember him? He had a very pleading, encouraging, moderately whiny manner with a very annoying voice. But he had boundless energy. And a fabulous story. Plus a big heart. And he was surrounded by real people. Big people, small people, men, women. And he had great music.

I think maybe his video was a tad shorter, too. Not that we were slackers, mind you.

But when you looked at the women surrounding Jane Fonda you thought “Maybe someday”. And when you looked at the people surrounding Richard Simmons you thought “Real people!”.

Very refreshing, even for a teen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It Happened How?

I would wager a bet that no one wakes up finding themselves 40 pounds heavier one day and says, “Wow, how’d that happen?”. For most people, it is a process; a gradual up and down process. I, for one, can account for practically every pound I have gained and lost over the last 20 years. And they are numerous. Quite numerous.

When Greg and I got married 19 years ago I was at what I was then calling post-college pudge weight.

Of course, looking back, I only wish that was the pudge I was carrying on me right now. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that.

For the sake of argument, we will call this weight “A”.

When we decided to get married, I went to Weight Watchers, lost about 2o pounds. Now at A-15. Skinniest point of my life.


After the wedding I went into “happy to be married and not needing to fit into my wedding dress” mode.

Now back to just plain “A”.

Decide we are ready to start a family. 9 months later, A+40.

Two years later, after a gradual 20 pound loss, decide to add our family again. End up the whole affair at A+55 Ouch.

One Weight Watchers membership and 1o months later, down to A+30. Find out we are indeed expanding in the kiddo arena yet again. All said and done: A +55 once again.

And again, OUCH.

A few years later we moved to North Dakota. I was at home full-time. My neighbor started going to Weight Watchers and I decided I would try yet again. Religiously tracked points. Did aerobics nearly every day. Started weight training. By the time Madeline started kindergarten I was at A+15 and feeling pretty darn good.

That is when I moved to stress city. We have all lived there at one time or another. Crazy place, that stress city.

We adopted Lucas, Greg took a new job, we moved 1/2 way across the country, bought a house, had the sale of our other house fall through, unpacked, finally sold our other house, and re-acclimated our clan to a new place.

Whew. Had there been, God-forbid, an untimely death in the family we would have experienced all of life’s major stressors in a 2 month period. Now that would have been fun. Or not.

When all was said and done- A+45.

And that is how it happened. Or how I let it happen, me being in charge of what goes in my mouth and all. I am sure many of you can relate to the up and down y0-yo.

Time to turn over a new leaf. For good. For real.

Again. For the LAST time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I have recovered from the snarkiness of my last post. It was written shortly after returning from the Y, where I was swimming at 5:30 in-the-dark-AM. I had not yet had my morning coffee. 'Nuf said.

Last night I went here for my "how come I am exercising so freakin' much and not losing weight" consultation. Very interesting. Quite informative.

I met with a man named Rhys who is a registered dietitian and happens to be a triathlete. Great guy. Quite funny. Think "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy".

He gave me that analogy himself, by the way. Cracked me up.

I was quite glad, when reviewing my food logs, that he did not immediately cringe at the nightly wine. I do so enjoy my 6-ounce allotment. And I appreciate someone who understands that it could possibly have medicinal purposes. Or be an integral part of sanity maintenance. Or both.

I loved him already.

He gave me a thumbs up for my breakfast--egg beaters with a Fiber One english muffin.

Thumbs down for my snack choices at work. Apparently an apple would be preferable to a Little Debbie 100 calorie snack cake. Something about them being nutritionally void. Go figure.

That's a shame, 'cause I love those little suckers.

He also suggested more protein snacks, less carbs. So I am scratching the pretzels. Adding a cheese stick. Nixing the Special-K bars. Adding 100 calorie almond packs. Other than that he said keep up the good work.

Rhys thought that my weight loss to this point---5 pounds--was perfectly fine and gradual.

I am channeling the hare. He channels the tortoise.

Slow and steady wins the race? We shall see.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Open Letter to The Running Man

Dear Running Man,

First of all good morning. I hope you had a nice run after I saw you on Dale Street at 5:30am. You remember--Ford Expedition, headlights, you in the road. Yep, that was me.

Normally when I meet someone I like to say hello and shake their hand. Apparently, you prefer the finger. Never been partial to that form of greeting myself, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Now first, you may want to remember next time you go for a run in the dark that black clothing is not a good idea. Apparently you were absent the day Officer Friendly visited your school to talk about safety. Reflective clothing. Light colors. You know, common sense?

Next, the headlights you were so dramatically shrinking from probably saved your life. You see, when you are running against traffic, in the road dressed in black, it is very hard for drivers to see you. The fact that the headlights were “annoying” you probably also meant that I could see you in time to move over and not hit your cranky, bony little body.

You’re welcome.

And lastly, you maybe are not familiar with these really cool inventions. They are called sidewalks. Repeat after me---sidewalks. If you had glanced 2 feet to your left, you would have seen one, all lovely in the moonlight. Designed to be walked on. Or run on. You may want to remember that for next time. Much safer for you.

Hope you have a most fantastic, birdless day, and that perhaps we can meet again under better circumstances. Or not.


Lady who flipped you right back

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top O’ the Morning To Ya

I love mornings.

Morning is my favorite time of the day. I wake up at 5am every day. On my own. Without an alarm clock. Weird, right? It has been that way for as long as I can remember.

When I was in elementary school I would go to my friend Michelle Dorr’s house for sleepovers. We were CHiPs junkies. I had the hots for Jon. She had the hots for Ponch. We used to squeal with delight when the theme music would start playing. Of course we were watching it at it’s regularly scheduled time.

Life before the DVR. How did we do it?

On the nights I would sleep at her house, morning came much too fast. I would wake up at some ungodly early hour when the rest of the house was still asleep. Michelle would be snoozing in the next bed. And I would just lay there waiting for her to wake up.

I usually lasted about a half an hour before I started making “oops” noises.

Kicking the wall. Oops. Dropping a book on the floor. Oops. Going to the bathroom and shutting the door exceptionally loudly. Oops.

Trying like hell to wake her up so I’d have someone to talk to.

How funny now that it is just the opposite. I wake up early and sneak downstairs so that I can have an hour of quiet time before the chaos begins. There is a little part of me that does an internal groan when I hear little feet on the stairs. Quiet over. Darn it all.

Lately I have realized that this hour or so of early morning quiet is going to have to be used for-----I can barely stand to type it------exercise . With homework and mood swings and hormones and sibling rivalry and lessons and life, there is absolutely no way that I can count on getting in any good exercise time after work. The referee shirt goes on and the whistle comes out at 3pm. The same time all sense and sensibility goes out the window.

Which is how, by the way, I now know that my mother is a saint. And I am not buttering her up for anything . Pinky swear. She never yelled. Ever.

That trait most definitely skipped a generation.

But I digress.

Tomorrow it begins. The crack-of-dawn exercise regime. 5:30 am swim.

Quiet morning time, I will miss you. RIP.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Keeps Me Goin’

Repeat after me:

Exercise is fun.

Exercise is fun.

Exercise is fun.

Did it work for you?

Yeah, me neither.

But I will admit that it is getting to be much more fun than it was 6 weeks ago.  I rarely swear while running.  I can now swim 22 lengths of the pool without stopping or hanging onto the lane line looking like a drowned dog.  And I look forward to spinning class with a kind of odd pleasure.  I  love knowing that at the end I will have sweated off hundreds of calories. 

It probably helps that I have also decided to sit where I can’t see the clock.  Just like a watched pot never boils, a watched clock never moves.   Makes for a long class.

What is so fun about working toward this goal?

Aside from platitudes about self-improvement, fulfilling dreams, smaller jeans size and all that jazz,  it comes down to this:

Knowing that soon I will see my sister in a sweatshirt that looks like this:


And we’ll be hanging out, for an entire. Long. Sedentary. Weekend.

Sitting.  Scrapping.  Chatting.  Eating.  Drinking.  Vegging.  Laughing.

It will be something that sounds just like run, but without the sweat.

F-U-N.  For me, anyway.  Apparently fun is subjective.

And I can’t wait.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Now I know why so many of the ads I read for jogging strollers said:

“Barely Used”

“Used Rarely”

“Ran with Twice”

Running while pushing a jogging stroller is nothing like running by yourself. And considering that I am not even that good at running by myself yet, this was….interesting. Yes, interesting.

Many, many more adjectives leap to mind, but I will leave it at that. My mother might be reading this.

One of the things prospective lifeguards used to have to do as part of the YMCA certification was to tread water holding a brick. Not that you would ever need to actually tread water while holding a brick, say, in the town pool. Or try to save a brick from drowning.

It was a stamina exercise, designed to make sure you really had the ability to swim and hold a stationary weight at the same time. Hard work. Exhausting even.

But wow, once you let go of that weight, you felt like you had lost 100 pounds and could swim forever.

Yesterday I took the Bob stroller for a maiden voyage. Armed with snacks for Lucas and a fully charged iPod, we headed down the driveway.

Stretched. Gave Lucas the “Mommy can’t hear you with her headphones on so please don’t talk to me” speech. I’m nice that way.

And away we went.

Normally I can make it almost all the way around the block without having to stop. Except for the cruddy bra incident, I have done pretty well keeping the pace up. I do try to work in little challenges for myself. “Make it to the next mailbox by the end of this song and you can buy yourself that paper you wanted at the scrapbook store”, “Get up that hill without stopping and you can have some ice cream for dessert”.

Now normally I try to keep the bargain-with-myself internal conversations junk food-less. I mean, it does kind of defeat the purpose of running if I make these bargains all about things I am trying hard not to eat. And I am certainly not going to be motivated by “Make it to the end of this street and you can have an extra banana with breakfast”. Not. Gonna. Work.

But the first day with Bob? Can you say "bargain city"?

I had practically promised myself the entire freezer section at Market Basket by the time I made it home.

It brought me back to the pool, treading water with a brick. It was hard work. By the time the end of the first street came into view, I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Pouring down sweat. Wanting badly to turn around and go home.

But I figured if nothing else, it would be a good stamina builder. I guessed I was pushing 40 pounds, between the stroller and Lucas. Maybe even 45. So if I can push 45 pounds for 2 miles, by the time I get to a 3 mile race, it should be a piece of cake.

I am a glass half-full kinda gal. So I am choosing to look at it as a double workout---upper body strength building, coupled with a cardio workout.

But man, I can’t wait to drop that brick.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I got a message from my doctors office the other night to call about the results of my blood work. Nothing urgent, just call.

Could it be? Could my dream of shrinking my exceedingly large backside be aided by a higher dosage of thyroid medication?

I called today and waited with baited breath.

Vitamin D. I need more Vitamin D.

Dang it.


I am teaching Adrienne how to swim. She knows “how” to swim—keeping herself upright.

But I am trying to help her with the mechanics of it all--- alternating freestyle stroke, face-in-the-water kind of things.

I have assured her that since the Tri For A Cure swim is in the ocean, I will enter the partner swimming heat with her so that I can swim right along side her and make sure she exits the water the same way she came in. On her feet.

Which I am happy to do. I really must do, truth be told. Because as much as I would like to compete in the fastest time possible, I would much rather go home from this event accompanied by everyone I arrived with.

I find it ironic however that once we get out of the water--the one event where I could probably turn in a decent time--she will absolutely smoke me on the bike and in the run.

Parenting instinct trumps competitive drive.

As it should.


Do you have a favorite workout song? Is there a song that, once you hear it, you just want to get up and move?

Pass it on, leave me a comment so I can check it out. I am always looking for new songs to get me motivated and keep me going.

The current playlist on my iPod screams late ‘80’s. Talking Heads. The Cure. Depeche Mode. The Smiths. REM. With a sprinkling of some more recent hits—Seether, The Black-Eyed Peas, Eminem. I think of it as eclectic.

My kids think it’s weird.

I remember when I thought Peter, Paul & Mary was kind of weird. And when I could not understand why my dad loved listening to Simon and Garfunkel. I mean, why couldn’t he just listen to Shawn Cassidy like everybody else? Or the Partridge Family? Now that was music.

Um, right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love Me Some Bob

Never fear, my darling husband. Bob is not a man. Bob is a thing. A three-wheeled lovely thing. Looks like so:


I was first introduced to the greatness of Bob at REI. And since then I have spotted him everywhere. All over town. Everywhere at Tanglewood. At the mall. At the park.

And they are really the nicest jogging strollers I have ever seen.

Since I am trying to run more outside, I realized that I needed a jogging stroller for times when the littlest Michaud must join in the pain fun. Plus Adrienne loves to take him with her when she goes for her runs in the neighborhood.

Since he is 4, and I know he won’t be fitting in a stroller for too much longer, I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on a new one. Plus our jogging stroller was stolen on our April vacation. Which you can read about here if you are so inclined. I’m still kind of pissed off about that.……go.

Inhale. Exhale.

Okay, all better.

Seeing as I am of the yard-sale persuasion, it was killing me to view the in-excess-of $300 price tag on the Bob I coveted. In natural cheapskate fashion, I began to search for “Bargain Bob”.

Adrienne scoured Ebay and Craig’s List for a Bob we liked. We were outbid. Beaten to the punch quite a few times. But it was not for lack of trying. I would get up at 5am and find my daughter downstairs, checking Ebay for new listings. Searching Craig’s List for Bob’s listed in nearby towns.

She was determined to find one. And God help the person that stands in her way when she sets her mind to something. Picture Sally Field holding the UNION sign up at the end of Norma Rae.

That determined.

After 3 weeks of ceaseless looking, we found our lovely. And drove to pick him up last night.

Used 5 times, and for less than half the price of a new one.

I feel a run coming on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You Eat What?

My appointment with the nutritionist is coming up soon, and I have to keep a log of everything I eat for 3 days. Truly and honestly. No fibbing.

Day 1.


Poptart Organic Granola with soymilk and flaxseed.


Huge bowl of whatever is left over from the night before Sandwich on whole wheat bread with alfalfa sprouts. Minus any possible flavor. With added fiber. And Beano.


A few chips and a bottle of wine Healthy assortment of vegetables, whole grains and steamed tree bark. I did not eat Ben & Jerry’s for dessert. Pinky swear.


In all seriousness, I have been keeping track—and eating very healthy. But not as healthy as my organic kinda-vegetarian health nut 15-year old. Or my mother. Or my sister.

But much better than, say, my 12-year old son, a.k.a. the human vacuum. Not that it would take much. Throw in one carrot stick and you’ve got him beat.

But regardless, I am trying. Hard.

I am still waiting on the results of the blood-work from my physical. I am holding out hope that I can blame my lack of weight loss on my sometimes under-active thyroid, but that would probably be too easy. It would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.

Although the weight-loss department is coming along slowly, I did notice something really awesome last week.

Friday is jeans day at work. My favoritest day of the whole week. Mostly because it’s Friday. But also because it is a don’t-worry-about-ironed-pants-and-outfit day.

Last Friday when I put on my jeans, I noticed something I have not felt in a long time.


A tiny bit of space.

In the…..caboose!

Now it was not “go-down-a-size” room. But it was “don’t need to do the just-out-of-the-dryer-jiggle-dance” kind of room. And at this point, I will take anything.

Woot Woot!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Multi-tasking 101

Do you multi-task?

Most of us try.

Some of us actually succeed.

I believe I fall somewhere in the middle. Trying hard and moderately succeeding.


Come to think of it, I am not really sure if it is a desire to multi-task or adult ADD. But for whatever reason I am almost constantly thinking about, if not doing, more than one thing at a time.

The older I get, the more I realize that this is at the heart of what my friends like to call “Ready, Fire, Aim” syndrome. Early in my life, it is how the nickname “Grace” came to be.

Think about something, start to do it---and THEN think about how it should be done. In that order.

It’s how I lost my front tooth. In college.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college, I waitressed at a little coffee shop in Summit NJ called The Peppercorn. I realized while working one morning that I had left the iron on at my parents house.

Because apparently, taking orders for egg omelets, coffee and muffins makes multi-taskers think about irons. Go figure.

On my break I decided to jump on my bike and ride home to make sure the house wasn’t burning down. This was before it was destroyed in this incident.

“Grace” you say?

While I was unlocking my bike, a friend of mine drove by and asked if I needed a ride. Fantastic, I would be home and back to work in less than half the time. And I wouldn’t be sweaty to boot.

I was thinking about how long it would take to get home, how fast I could run upstairs and turn off the iron, if I would have time to re-apply my make-up----all while opening the car door.

Right into my mouth.

I felt a clunk and then a rather large piece of something solid floating around. I put my hand to my mouth. No blood.

Good sign.

Big open floaty space where my front tooth used to be.

Bad sign.

I had knocked out my own front tooth. All while thinking of three other things I needed to be doing. You would think that would teach me to let my mind wander.

Sadly, it did not.

Perhaps participating in an event with so many different “legs” is not a good idea for someone with a not-so-hot track record?

It makes me wonder if while I am swimming I will gag on yummy ocean water while thinking about how I am going to get out of the wet suit and onto my bike.

And while I am biking, will I ride into a tree while thinking about where the transition area is to get ready to run?

And during the run, will I go ass-over-teakettle while wondering if I can main-line coffee at the finish line?

All things I will be thinking about incessantly for the next 6 months while I should be doing other things.

At least I am sure that all triathalons come complete with a first aid station.

Good thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to School

Right now I look a little like this.


This time of year is alternately wonderful and nuts.

Wonderful because the kids are back in school and on a schedule. Nuts because the kids are back in school and on a schedule.

You know the drill.

Homework, mountains of permission slips, medical release forms, room parent information, volunteer sign-up sheets and c-r-a-n-k-y kids. Blah, blah, blah.

So I was kind of glad it was my night to run.

I snuck out of the looney bin house a few minutes early so I could stop and get a bottle of wine on the way to the track. Not for the running clinic. For after.

Always planning ahead.

And I am really liking the running clinic more and more. Probably because each time I go and run I feel like throwing up less and less. Funny how that works.

Last night was 300 meter sprints. Sprint 300 meters, walk 100—repeat six times. I was kind of getting into it. One of the coaches told me that I should run so hard that when I got to the end of 300 meters I should be saying “Oh thank God that is over”.

However the other coach told me that when I was finished I should be able to carry on a conversation. Conflicting information. What to do?

So I combined the two pieces of advice and had conversations with God the entire time I was sprinting, and then thanked Him when I was done. I’m pretty sure that was not what they had in mind, but hey, get on the same page for cryin’ out loud.

I am assured that following my outlined workout schedule, I will be adequately prepared to run a 5K by late-November.

Which is good since I am running my first 5K ever on Thanksgiving Day.

I am mostly only doing it so I don’t feel guilty eating whatever I darn-well-please for the entire rest of the day. And I figure it might be the last time this fair-weather jogger will make myself run outside until the snow melts.

Which given the way last winter went, could very well be April.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kinda Like A Movie Title

I am the little engine that could in a train yard full of the Acela Express.

My sister runs marathons and just did her first Olympic distance triathalon. Her husband runs marathons, does tons of road races, and is most recently training for an Iron Man event.

I know, nuts. Amazing, but nuts.

My brother Brendan has always been a great athlete. But kind of not-too-motivated to exercise up until about 6 months ago. Then he started biking, getting ready to do one leg of a cross-country bike-a-thon with a good friend of his.

And he never looked back.

Now he is on the Acela train with my sister and her husband. I am waving to them from the train yard. “See ya later, have fun!”.

Truth be told, I am at a stage more like that movie title “He’s Just Not that Into You”. Because I am just not that into this. I’m still at the “I think I can, I think I can” stage. Slowly chugging out of the train yard, heading up the hill.

Don’t get me wrong- I am motivated, committed, excited to meet this challenge head on. But we are definitely on different train tracks.

I can get nuts about things. I mean, anything worth doing is worth doing compulsively, right? I am that way about scrapbooking and crafts. I started out with enough material to fill a large shoulder tote. Within a year I could have started my own store.

Very into it. Crazy about it even.

Swimming, biking, running—in that order—not so much.

My brother called me the other night with a handful of triathalons he thought we might be able to do next summer. One in Lowell, MA. Another one called the Black Fly. At the Black Fly there are time trials, an Olympic distance tri and a sprint tri, all in the same weekend.

He thought he might try to do all three.

Oh. My. Gawd.

He is already looking ahead to scheduling things around races. Which I think is fantastic. I am very proud of him.

But it is just not for me.

I cannot ever see myself at the point where I am planning my entire summer and free time around training. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe one day I will wake up and switch will go off in my head an I’ll feel differently about this.

But for now I am content to take the slow track, chugging along.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gone Runnin'

I am getting the hang of this running thing. A few more weeks and I might even be a pro.

But at this point, running is not completely second nature. Case in point:

Sunday afternoon my little darlin’ Adrienne coaxed me off the couch to go for a run with her. It was a beautiful day, a really perfect day for a run.

Being a tad behind on laundry during our vacation week, I decided to forgo the awesome sweat-wicking shirt I bought last week in favor of a regular old t-shirt. Adrienne lent me her iPod, we put on our sneakers and we were on our way.

I jogged about 20 feet before I realized something was bothering me. Then another 10 feet and it hit me.

I forgot to change into this:


Not sure how that happened, but I didn’t notice until it was too late. Rather than climb back up the mountain that is my driveway, I decided to just run with what I had on. I had great music, and thought I could just deal with this crappy bra for one run. Right?


Another 3 minutes into the run and the iPod died. “Connect to Power Source”. Bummer.

Now, I promise not to be too graphic. Suffice it to say, in the “handing out line” of God, I went through the well-endowed line more than once. Maybe even more than twice.

So running without the proper attire is really quite awkward. And with no iPod I was left to my thoughts.

Jiggle Jiggle, Boom Boom. Jiggle Jiggle, Boom Boom. Quite rhythmic, although it did get a tad boring.

I ran mailbox to mailbox, making sure I was walking in front of peoples homes that I knew, lest I become the brunt of a PTO meeting joke. “Guess who I saw all boob-floppin’ in front of my house the other day? OMG it was Kelly!”.

I am quite sure that is one mistake I will not make again.

Swim Etiquette

Generally speaking I am a polite person. I say please, thank you, try not to interrupt when people are talking. Wait my turn. You know, the usual.

My husband thinks Massachusetts might be the rudest state in the union. That is up for debate. However, having lived in NY and NJ, I know of at least two states that could give MA a run for it’s money.

Just sayin’.

The last time I swam at the Y, I swam in the same lane as a very rude man. And kind of gross. But definitely rude.

How could he be rude if he was swimming and not speaking, you say?

Like this.

There are certain things implied when you swim. Certain unwritten rules. He violated my two biggest personal rules in a 20-minute period.

No Touchy, No Bumpy

It is common swim etiquette to try and swim in the same lane as people with whom you are evenly matched. I, for instance, would not swim laps in the same lane as, say, Michael Phelps.

I am not a fast swimmer, and I embrace it. I accept it.

At my last Y swim, I arrived and squished myself into my most attractive bathing suit. After grabbing my towel and goggles, I headed out to the pool trying not to step on any wet hair balls along the way. They could seriously use a new cleaning person in the ladies locker room. But in the meantime, I watch where I walk. Eeew, I know.

Out to the pool to pick a lane I headed. I surveyed my options. The high school girls doing the butterfly effortlessly. Scratch. The 90-year old woman doing the side stroke. Scratch. Even I swim faster than that. I finally settled on a lane with one other person in it—a middle-aged man swimming at a leisurely pace. I hopped in and started to swim.

There are two sides to the lane. Up and back. Sometimes when there are only two people in the lane you each choose a side rather than swim in a circular motion. Plenty of room. Spacious even. I mean, if you swim on your own side of the lane, there is NO reason at all to come into contact with any other swimmers.

But at one point, after taking a wall break, he caught up to me. And swam right up the back of my legs.

Hello? Goggles? Open your eyes? Move over for crying out loud!!! If I looked like Pamela Anderson in a bathing suit I might have thought he was trying to find an excuse to chat.

Yep, that was not the reason he bumped into me.

It happened again 10 minutes later. He either needed prescription goggles, or he was a dirty old man.

To add insult to injury, at one point he swam by me doing a mean freestyle. Arms flailing, going all-out. And smacked me in the head with his hand. And kept going. No stopping. No sorry. Harumph. I thought about changing lanes but I was more than 1/2 way done.

Keep Your Water To Yourself. Please.

We all take water into our mouths when we swim. And then spit it back out. Gross when you think about the fact that the entire pool has been in someone else’s mouth at one time or another, but it’s a fact nonetheless. Thank gawd for chlorine.

In spite of the fact that it is common knowledge that everyone spits out water when they swim, most people try not to spit in the face of other swimmers. When I say most people, I exclude this idiot swimming in my lane. He apparently had never heard of the don’t-spit-on-your-lane-partner rule. Or maybe it’s just my rule. Or perhaps it’s just common courtesy talking.

In any case, at one point while meeting up at the wall, he adjusted his goggles, ducked his head under water and came up blowing water like a whale. Now whether or not he meant it to land in my face is up for discussion. I choose to think that it was an accident. That could just be the polite person in me talking. But either way, regurgitating water in someone else’s face requires an acknowledgement, if not an apology. I got neither.

So when he was halfway back to the other end of the pool, I thought about peeing on his side and then getting out.

But I didn’t. That wouldn’t be polite.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Great Motivator

I have found someone someone more irritating persistent than my sister.

It is this person below.


Do not let her sweet exterior fool you. Underneath she is all pit bull. Which will serve her well later in life. And probably me, too.

But right now it is like having that little angelic voice of reason on your shoulder. Living in your house. Who just won’t go away.

Three times she asked me today if I was going to run.

“Later”, I said.

Later came and went. She saw me on Facebook. Doing laundry. On the phone.

Then came the great idea.

“Hey mom, how about if I run with you?”

Now, if you know my daughter you know how hysterically funny that is. She runs every day. She runs on the cross country team for North Andover High School, does multiple 5K’s each year. And she even enjoys them. She’s weird like that.

Kind of like drag racing a Yugo and a Porsche. I think you know who the Yugo would be.

But she would not relent. And when she gets an idea in her head she will not let it go. I knew that if I did not get out the door on a run she would not leave me alone all night. And I so wanted to enjoy my glass of wine watching the Red Sox without her giving me that I-can’t-believe-you-didn’t-run-mom look.

So I decided I would get off my duff and run through the neighborhood with her. To level the playing field she decided to take Lucas in the jogging stroller. I was pretty sure she could walk as fast as I could run.

She lent me this:


I had tried to run with my iPhone but all the jiggling and arm movement is read as shuffle so it was changing the music every 2 seconds. This one was much better and came complete with beat-infused, raunchy music that I should probably not let my children listen to.

But never mind, it was great to run to. Very "get-it-in-gear".

So out the door I went, down the driveway and around the neighborhood. I did pretty well until I hit a hill.

Okay, it was a slight incline, but it felt like a hill to me.

That’s when I spotted the bats. And that motivated me more than the music. Creepy, flying, winged blind things flying from tree-top to tree-top. I had visions of them dive bombing my head.

I sprinted all the way home. When I got home, I looked like this:


I think I was a rather unnatural color red. Regardless, I made it home with no creepy crawly flying things in my hair, only a few swallowed bugs and two mosquito bites.

Next time I am running in the morning. Bats sleep during the day, right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the Road Again

This is for my sister. Here is a picture of her at her first Olympic triathalon.


I did not realize you were supposed to run along side your bike. I have a lot to learn.

Ode to My Running Shoes and My Darling Nagging Sister

I will not lie

I hate to run

I’d rather sit at Cinnabon

But lazy is as lazy does

So now I’m on the run because

The goal of tri is in my eye

(I thought it was a piece of pie)

But I had fun

On last nights run

I ran a mile

And managed to smile

But not to talk

(Until I walked)

And I am taking it on the road again tomorrow night. I will attempt to run a mile in my neighborhood without being spotted by anyone I know. I don’t want to be that “Oh bless her heart” person.

You know who that is. We’ve all seen her.

You drive by someone struggling to jog, looking like they are just barely moving themselves forward, propelling themselves by sheer will, while looking like they are in excruciating pain. And in your head (or maybe even out loud) you say, “Poor thing, bless her heart”.

I do NOT want to be her.

PS- Photos will most definitely not follow.