Wednesday, August 5, 2009

laying low

let's see if i can remember how blogger works. let's hope i don't inadvertently post this before i'm done.

a lot has happened since my last blog post, heck it's been since mid-june ... how could it not!? yet at the same time, i've been uninspired to blog. i've guess i've been laying low.

at the end of june i was laid off from my job. i had worked there for the past six years and didn't really see it coming. i suppose in the abstract i did (it's a non-profit with a budget heavily reliant on state contracts) since our state/nation's economy is in the crapper ... but it was still a shock. i was leaving that evening for a trip with j.'s family to lake tahoe so ... we left a little earlier.

the trip was beautiful. i wasn't able to train at the level i would have liked since we were at altitude and as i discovered earlier this year ... me and altitude ... not so much. but we kayaked and took a few wonderful, peaceful, meditative swims in the lake. it was super cold, but so worth it! it was fun to be in the water with j. and his sister (we're all doing s.o.s. together in just a little over a month).

after the trip to tahoe we came home for the 4th and we ran one of our favorite 10k's. it's a super hilly course in a nice small town.

all the neighbors come out and cheer and the whole town is done up in red, white and blue. i went 57 seconds faster than last year and i was psyched because i went into it not feeling all that fit. bonus too was that my sister ran it! she and i trained for and ran the l.a. marathon together 9 years ago and it was fun to know she was out on the course as well.

for the month since i've been trying to find a balance between deciding what i want to be when i grow up, job searching and enjoying a little "down time". the best thing about not working is how much the level of chronic pain i have been living in for the past 8 years has been reduced. the hardest thing for me has always been sitting at a computer all day long. it makes my body feel so beat up that by the end of the day i feel like a pretzel. i still have some of the issues, but WOW, so much less.

speaking of which, i finally had an MRI on my hip and back. i have two compressed vertebrae, one with a bulging disk. the doctor said they weren't awful but he also said that the combination of the bulging disk and some thickening of bones in the same place has left little room for the nerves that run through that section of my back. hmmmm ... that sounds like a culprit! as for the hip, he saw a slight labral tear. based on what he said, that may be a bit of an overstatement ... it's more like the labrum is peeling up a bit (blech!). he prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy, which due to a glitch in the switch over from regular insurance to COBRA, i haven't been able to start yet, but i am hoping soon!

training has been going well. i wish i was using this time off to do more of it, but liz didn't think that was a good idea. :( she said that i have "durability issues". that's tough for me to hear. i suppose it's true, to some extent, but i also know that now that i am not working i have a lot more time to put toward maintenance and recovery.

on the "racing" front, i swam the pier-to-pier 2 mile ocean swim this past sunday. it's one of those races i've heard about forever, but have feared. the thought of two miles without a wetsuit as a security blanket freaked me out, but this year i wanted to do it. a) s.o.s. is all non-wetsuit swimming and b) it was on my birthday and i love to try to do a race or some physical adventure on my birthday.

i wasn't feeling very well leading up to the race so i was playing it by ear on race day morning (but who was i kidding, barring a MAJOR freak out, i was swimming!) j. and josh and i went together. i wished my friend chris was swimming, but he's been having some physical stuff going on that's keeping him from training right now. chris is an awesome swimmer and has always been really encouraging to me about getting out there.

for the most part the swim was great. i never really felt like i found a rhythm and i certainly wasn't "racing", but i was just fine without the wetsuit. it's amazing how much more of a feel for the water you get without it. i was giddy to be enjoying myself as much as i was. and then it started to get a little old. the people tapping my feet, the swimming waaaay off course, the final pier not getting ANY closer despite the fact that it appeared to be right in front of me. i kept reminding myself that i had been really enjoying it and to just hold on to that, it actually worked for the most part. in the end it turns out there must have been a current as everyone's times were longer than usual (last year the winner swam it in :39, this year :45). it was a good mental boost to know i could do 2 miles straight without a wetsuit, but hysterical to me to see that i swam longer at IMUSA in less time (god bless mirror lake and neoprene).

i haven't decided yet about the shoes i am going to wear for s.o.s. i thought i was going with the teva x-1 racer trail shoe, but after a two hour run a week or so ago i had a mean blister, imagine running longer than that and with wet socks and shoes. i'm not sure they'll work.

i liked them because of the mesh on the sides and the drain holes on the bottom. hopefully i'm going to head out to a lake this weekend where i can actually try swimming with them in my shorts and then running with wet shoes like i will in the race. that'll give me a better sense if they are the right shoe or not. if anyone has any ideas, let me know ... just keep in mind it's 19 miles of trail running and i need some amount of support and cushion.

i'm a bit nervous about the bike for the race. i've been cycling only twice a week and that just never feels like enough to me. twice a week on the bike results in just holding on to my bike fitness, if not losing a little. while the bike portion is only 30 miles, part of it is quite demanding and i'd like to give away as little of my energy on it as possible. the only way i know to do that and still keep a decent pace and remain competitive is time in the saddle and getting used to some hard efforts.

in non-training news ... i am the proud new owner of an iphone! oh lord help me. it's been 3 days now and it's all just a big blur of photos, apps and IMing j. while he's sitting next to me.

f-u-n n-e-w t-o-y!!

okay, i felt like i had to get this one "catch up" post done (sorry it's so dry). i think that's it. now that i've gotten y'all caught up hopefully my intentions of regular blogging on life as it actually happens will pan out.



Molly said...

YAY! She surfaces! Wonderful post :)

I'm so sorry again about the job thing, but I'm glad you are getting some time to yourself to figure out what to do. And more time put into recovery and rest is never a bad thing either.

I can't believe SOS isn't that far off anymore and glad to hear training is coming along well. Hope you get that whole transition thing figured out and see what works!

Enjoy the new toy!!!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

First - CONGRATULATIONS on your swim - just incredible! Absolutely amazing!! BIG round of applause :)

Okay - I'm so sorry about the job thing...that's really tough, especially as it was unexpected. And I think you're doing the RIGHT thing, keeping things simple with training and spending time for yourself dealing with the back and hip pain. Living with pain is NOT good, and I hope that the PT works for you!

Can't believe SOS is just around the corner - I'm super excited for you! I really can't comment on the shoes, except that maybe you could carry a spare pair of running socks in a plastic baggie and stuff it in your bra while you swim - so at least your socks wouldn't be soaked. And body glide the HECK out of your feet...But yes, I agree: shoes with good support will be key!

Thinking of you - hugs and good vibes your way!!

Mama Simmons said...

Welcome back to blogging. I swear, if you would have let me update this for you I would have told a funny story about how you were dancing on the tables and hanging from the rafters at the bar the other night... lol. ;)

Seriously, I'm sorry you have to deal with COBRA. That might possibly be the worst thing about losing your job!! Ugh. Hope your search is going well.

ADC said...

Ha ha I've been waiting for you to blog. I didn't even rely on my "tracker" but kept checking your blog.
Nice swim by the way.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Interesting about your back - I mean w/ all the sitting all day - I think a lot of people have the same issues you do.

Hope you are enjoying some R&R while you are looking for a job.

And, yes, I remember the SOS stuff....this summer is flying by!


Beth said...

YAYYYY!!! Cat is back! :) Great post and great catching up. Keeping my fingers crossed that you find that perfect job that you've always been looking for... and in the mean time enjoy that iPhone! SOS IS COMING UP!! Can't wait. ;)

Stef said...

Glad to see you back! Didn't think the post was dry at all.

MAJOR CONGRATS on that swim girl! I swam 2.1 miles ONCE in Lake Mead with a wetsuit. Hard to picture swimming that distance without one. You killed it!!

Best of luck on the career front too. I know how it feels to be trying to decide what you want to be when you grow up. I started that journey a couple of years ago myself.

Take care!

Charisa said...

iPhone - fun!!! Good luck with the job hunt - glad you are taking some down time to enjoy not sitting in front of the computer for hours on end!