Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What is up with the Tired?

Last night I wanted to go lift. And in my perfect-world head I'd ride about 30 minutes on their nice non-recumbant bike first to get the HR up. And it would be sweet.

What happened? I rode 30 minutes at home and crapped out on the lifting because I was so tired. Went to bed early, hoping that I'd wake up this morning and it would have been a blip on the radar.

Not so much. Today I'm not tired. Today I'm freaking exhausted. Can hardly keep my eyes open, even as my mind whirs along.

I'm still planning and hoping to pull off a perfect OHR Week 6 (but in a slightly funny order) this week. 38 minutes yesterday, 33 minutes tomorrow, 41 minutes Friday, and 30 minutes including some hills out at the 'rents' on Sunday. If I'm awake.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Zodiac Run

Never *ever* watch a really creepy movie where a guy murders people in the night for no reason whatsoever and doesn't ever get caught the night before an in-the-dark morning run. Otherwise every bloody tree leaf is suddenly rustling because someone is hiding behind it, every car seems to be going too slowly by you, and you're running from stuff instead of just running.

Never *ever* think you can have a good run after eating Chinese food and drinking Coke the night before.

3.something pitiful miles this morning in 38 minutes. You know, the "long" run distance that I should have done yesterday.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Flu-like Symptoms

Seriously, what the fuck is up with this phrase?

It should be called roasting-in-your-own-flesh-wanting-to-die-like symptoms.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hungry Hungry Amber

Last night when I got home we went up to the pool to do laps. 36 laps in 30 minutes - I continue to improve, so I was pleased. My fastest lap time improved as well, to 31 sec. My concern still resides in the fact that I'm not stringing laps together like I would want. I still hang on the wall desperate for oxygen after every second freestlye lap. Am I doing something wrong? I'm not swimming every lap all out... in fact I only swim the timed laps all out. The remainder I spend constantly telling myself to keep my head low and not to rush as I focus on form. Yet still I end up clutching the wall. I'm breathing every 3rd stroke (bilateral breather here), which should be totally reasonable. In fact, I can go longer without breathing, though I choose not to because of the wall-hanging. Should I be swimming even slower?? Exhaling less or more? Trying to take longer to breathe? Blarg. I still looooove to swim. When I got in, my hamstring was still grumpy from baseball on Sunday and I was really feeling it on the breast stroke laps, but by the time I got out? Healed. Love swimming.

This morning I woke up incredible hungry. Swimming usually makes me hungry, so I ate a rather large pasta dinner last night, but apparently even that wasn't enough. I felt like there was a black hole where my stomach should be! But I ignored it because I was going for a run.

So, the run this morning? Actually went pretty real well. I went ahead and tacked 2 more minutes of running onto my 30 minute run for OHRW5D2 this morning in case it rains Friday or I'm feeling crappy or whatever. So this morning 3 miles in 32 minutes. This was one of the first neighborhood runs I've done where I was able to tune out the crud and just let my mind wander and not get caught up in what I was doing to my body. This is a good sign.

But when I got home, I could stifle the hunger beast no longer. I just had to get something into my stomach. I ate a Kashi granola bar (6 g protein, 4 g fiber), and Preston kept making fun of how he had never seen anyone take so long to eat a granola bar. Turns out that I lost a pound while running (hot outside, anyone?), and so I think I was taking so long because my mouth was totally dry and chewing works better with saliva. No worries, I was drinking water, and I continue to. But I'm still hungry!!! This better mean some weight loss *shakes finger at belly*.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Am I a Negative Nellie?

Soo... a co-worker asked me if he could have my blog addy after I let it slip that I have a blog. The reasons that I'd give it to him are the same reasons why I let it slip: we have a repoire, we e-mail back and forth like friends who enjoy it, not co-workers who have to, etc.

But before I revealed this electronic slice of me, I thought I might read back over what I've written here and make absolutely sure that there wasn't anything that I wanted unseen. There isn't, but I left my blog archives with an impression: I could be viewed as a very negative person if you were basing your opinion by reading. (I would consider myself neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but rather a realist. Unfortunately in this world, realism does indicate a rather larger slice of "negativity" than perhaps an optimist would think appropriate, but there it is.)

That's ironic, because I tend to think of this blog as being mostly about training, a lot about funny shit, and a little about stuff that pisses me off, and very occasionally about other stuff. But when I write about stuff that pisses me off, I'm *usually* trying to make it funny. And when I'm writing about a shitty training experience, I'm doing it mostly for the record. When you look back over the record you can see someone who started at the beginning of this year 10 pounds overweight and unable to run a minute at a time who in 7 months time lost 16 pounds and can now run 35 minutes in a go, and that's really a positive story, isn't it?

So there it is. If I ever gain a reader, know that when my voice is in your head, make it ironic. Make it sarcastic. But don't make it pissed off.

(Tae Bo this morning. Hopefully swimming and/or lifting tonight.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

Friday it rained and rained, and I didn't run.

Saturday I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Wow. I can't believe that series is over. I didn't like the Epilogue, but the rest was awesome. I'm going to re-read and then re-read the entire series.

Sunday? Ran 35 minutes at Memorial Park. Yay, me!! Then batted a little with Preston, got bitten by some mosquitos and stung by some ants, and went home to do some serious cleaning on our humble abode.

This morning I Tae Boed. And that's all she wrote.

Pretty sure I'll make another blog entry later about Harry Potter, but for the moment I still seem to be reeling from the fact that it is over. I always feel a sense of loss when I complete a book - well, try completing an entire series that was years in the making!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Big Bend Pictures, Funnies

I can reach the top!!

Ummm, Preston, be very still. Why? There's a butterfly on your ass.

I can hold it up!! No, really!

Big Bend Pictures, Part Tres

In this land, the signs that people have left behind stand as testament to the harsh reality of life in the Big Bend.

Petroglyphs at the Chimneys.
Terlingua Cemetary.

Ruins at Mariscal Mine.

Pico del Carmen and ruins at Mariscal Mine.

Ruins below Mariscal Mine.

Big Bend Pictures, Part Deux

When my parents arrived at Big Bend, they were stunned by the beauty of the land and sky.

Sunset in the desert.

Summer storm.

Santa Elena Canyon.

Rock bridge at the Chimneys.

Big Bend Pictures

Ok, I've been tooling around with the photos we took in Big Bend, and I wanted to post some of them. This'll be the last BBNP. I promise. Well... I promise I'll try to make it the last post!!

These are the two coolest signs we saw on the drive from Houston to Big Bend.

I like to take pictures of flowers. And plants. And bugs on flowers and plants.

Fallen agave, Chisos Basin.

Purple prickly pear with fruit and bug, Grapevine Hills.
Red flower, Emory Peak Trail.This is a tiny cactus flower in Alpine, Texas.
This prickly pear was blooming on the Lost Mine Trail.

About to bloom in Alpine.
Pink fuzzies on Dagger Flat.

Stinkbugs seem to like agave...

This is getting a bit long and is turning into a formatting nightmare, so I'll post and make a second post with the rest. (Good thing I didn't promise!!)

Quarterlife Crisis??

All this Harry Potter reading I've been doing in preparation for the release of HP7 tonight has got me thinking...

Does everyone reach a point in their life where they start wondering what happened to those people that they went to high school with?? Or is it just me?

I can't believe I've been out of high school for 8 years now. I reckon I was fairly typical: a fairly tight group of friends during those years. Where I was atypical was the fact that they were almost all boys.

I think what was also typical was the inevitable (as I see it) parting of ways that slowly eroded contact between that group of friends post-high school to the point that now I only have contact remaining with 2 of them 8 years out.

You know, 'cause if you think about it, it is obvious why HP is ending with the end of high school, isn't it? Harry, Ron, and Hermione, if they live, will all become adults and get jobs and stuff and they will slowly grow apart, just as we all do.

Is that just the way it is? Is it sad? Are you curious about the people you knew in HS? Do you harbor any feelings, good or ill, about any of them? Is that why people go to reunions? Is that why reunions start at about 10 years, because that is when people start really wondering?

Ah, Preston's home, gotta run.

No run this morning because of rain. Rain, rain, please go away!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Preston Poo - Part Doo

Last night Preston was reading my blog (my only known reader so far - and he even reads without me asking him to!). He mentioned to me that he especially likes the parts that are about him. In fact, he has admitted to opening the blog and ctrl-fing his name. Apparently he even has no objections to the Preston Poo post (evidenced by his lack of freaking out about it), and that is saying something.

So, babe, this post's for you!

I had forgotten in the Big Bend antics about this follow-up to that particular post.

When we were down in Del Rio we downloaded these really cool pics of the jail in Gonzales to my laptop so we could play with them in Picasa and see how awesome the D-40X was. What came with those awesome pics? Oh yeah. Pics of Preston's Poo. I shit you not.

Preston was so excited about the new Nikon that I checked a book on digital photography out from the library (after all, I work in one) for him. Preston only reads when he is on the poo pot. So I gather that he had just read about some really cool setting that he wanted to try out with the camera (which of course had gone into the bathroom with him so he could play with it while reading about it). For lack of a better subject, he then photographed his poo. Now I can vaguely understand the occurances up to this point. Sort of. I still think I'd have photographed the books on the back of the toilet, or the soap dish on the sink, or the sink faucet, or something other than poo, but I can vaguely see how if you are a boy it might go the way of poo. What I can't understand is that *He didn't delete the photo*. I'm pretty sure that if I ever ever photographed my own shit, I'd delete the photo. You know, 'cause someone might see it.

So, I've now seen Preston's poo. I've now seen human poo that isn't mine. Not in person, and while I'm sure the picture didn't do the smell justice, we'll try to keep it that way.

And I still married him.

Hope I'm still married to him after this post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We Now Resume Our Regularly Scheduled Posting

Now that I've got the Big Bend blogging out of the way (except the plan to go back and edit in some pics) and the lost cat fiasco out of the way, I can get back to my normal blogging.

Last Saturday, I *finally* convinced Preston to go to the gym to lift with me. I've always enjoyed lifting. I actually did it quite regularly when I was in college. (I think the enjoyment is directly related to the lack of aerobic-ness of lifting that coexists with it being good for me.) Anyways, my husband (*ahem* - first use of that word on this blog) works a hard job and I understand why he hasn't wanted to go with me, but I really wanted him to go with me for the first time to make sure I didn't get all nervous and flake and that I knew how to use all of the machines (yes, I know they are easy to use, but I'm a spaz about new stuff). Anyways, it was awesome! I only intend on lifting twice a week, so I'm going to do full body each time (though the concentration will always be heavier on the arms and abs since the rest of my working out is leg-heavy). I know this isn't ideal, but it is the plan for now. I was really surprised that it didn't seem harder, and pleased at the variety of machines available, and pleased at some of the weight I was lifting at 3 sets of 10 reps.

Perhaps I need to invest in a new *warning - system overload* light for my brain, because it is now 4 days later and I am still killer-sore. Well, really my only my biceps are still killer-sore. But still!! 4 days!! As soon as the soreness wears off, though, I'm going in to do it again. Since that doesn't appear to be today, I'd like to swim tonight. Couldn't swim last night because of a thunderstorm.

So on Monday and Tuesday I did Tae Bo, and then this morning: my first run in 3 weeks. Not proud that it has been that long (although there is *no way* I could have run while I was in BBNP: I'd have keeled over or injured myself on the trails), but totally psyched that I got through the whole 30 minutes for 2.8 miles this morning!!!!

I started out telling myself to just get through the first mile and then I could quit if I wanted. But I was listening to Ullrey's podcast for the C25KW3, and I knew that he had a 15 minute marker, so then I convinced myself that I could go at least that far. Then at that point I thought that I might as well make it to 2 miles. And by the 2 mile marker I was actually feeling good, so I ran it out. Whodathunkit??

Now the question is should I pick up OHR at Week 1, or Week 4? I had originally planned Week 4, as I've been running 30 minutes (before the wedding) regularly. But then with the hiatus I thought perhaps I should just start back with Week 1. The first 3 weeks are just 30 minute runs 3x per week to solidify ability at that distance/time. Because I've been at 30 minutes for some time now, and after this morning's success, I'm leaning towards going ahead with Week 4. It is 30 min., 29 min., and then 35 min. I could always repeat it if Sunday's "long" run kicks my butt. But I don't think it will. How's that for confidence!?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Mystery of the Missing Sugar - Solved

Preston found Sugar on Sunday. Under some bushes at the end of the cul-de-sac. We had already been by there 3 or 4 times in our looking, but apparently you had to be going to these people's door (which Preston was - to give them a flyer for our lost cat) in order to see her.

Thank goodness. She went straight for the food and is allowing people to pick her up, but otherwise seems to be fine.

I Summited (From 7/10)

Preston took this picture of me summiting Tit Mountain. But this post is about a far bigger mountain...

We've decided to leave the park early - tomorrow.

Before we left, I wanted to do a trail that I've never done before. A "strenuous" trail. I wanted to hike to the summit of the 3rd highest mountain in Texas. 9 miles round trip. 7 total hours. Emory Peak.

Let me just say that that "25 foot rock scramble" that the guide advertises for the end of the trail isn't so much a scramble as it is a climb up giant boulders. But it is soooo worth it. The view was just amazing. I can see how people get addicted to rock climbing/summiting mountains. Wow.

Let me also say that my quads/calves/knees are *seriously* pissed off about this one. Seriously.

Coolest Undiscovered Trail Ever (From 7/9)

I remember going to this waterfall the last time we were in Big Bend. Preston didn't. Until I whipped out the pics on the laptop. Anyways, we couldn't find the trail we followed on the map of the park, but we could find an area with the same name.

I also remember someone telling me about this way to enter from outside the park to find an area of pictographs/petroglyphs. Preston also didn't remember this.

We went to a park ranger to ask about that today. Turns out that there are a few areas of the park that aren't "advertised" due to environmental sensitivity or a desire to protect cultural resources, but if you know the name or some of the information about them and you ask a park ranger, they'll tell you how to get there. I'll not say the names on this blog for that reason, but if anyone ever goes to BBNP and wants to know, e-mail me.

So, we visited said pictographs/petroglyphs after dinner at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua tonight. Awesome. Sweet. Probably didn't even see all of them because it was getting dark, but wow, will we ever be going back!!

The Aftermath (From 7/8)

Well, everyone left BBNP today. Thank goodness!! It isn't like we didn't like having them here, but it is just so much more relaxing to have them gone.

Last night really went off perfectly, considering the extreme lack of planning that we were trying to get away with. (Or maybe the lack of planning made everything perfect since there was no plan to contradict.) The only mar on the day was JaMIL, who spent here entire time here just barely avoiding having me lunge at her throat. I'll make a blog entry later recounting her many infractions, but let's just say today that I'm glad her presence here has lifted. Very glad.

Preston and I have been goofy all day calling each other husband and wife and admiring our new rings.

We tooled around the park today with no plan: our favorite sort of day here. I think tomorrow we'll do the Chimneys, because I want to photograph the petroglyphs with the Nikon. I'm trying to convince Preston to make a go of Emory Peak on Tuesday. Neither of us has ever been up there, but with the long days in summer, I don't see a reason why we shouldn't be able to make it. And if we do make it... South Rim??? Heh. That one might have to wait for later due to a lack of water-carrying capability.

Oh, Preston's back. Gotta run.

Preston's Wife (From 7/7)

Something old? Check. The necklace Mom wore when she married Dad. It was Granny's.

Something new? Sure. My dress, my shoes, my extremely constrictive bra, take your pick.

Something borrowed? Forgot to bring earrings, so borrowed Mom's diamond studs.

Something blue? My friend Justina imprompteau crocheted a little blue heart when she realized I didn't have anything. That was the first time I teared up today.

JP? Check.

Beautiful location? Window View Overlook.

Rain is lucky on your wedding day - Rain? Check.

A mild freak-out hoping the rain will stop by 7? Yepper.

Rain stopped by 7pm? Check.

License? Rings? Everything? Check.

Mrs. G?? That's me. Wow.

JaMIL (From 7/6)

I have decided to call my future mother-in-law JaMIL. Ja are the first two letters of her cursed name, and MIL for mother-in-law.

JaMIL's presence descended on Big Bend National Park today. What have Preston and I done, inflicting her on this beautiful oasis?

Her first words to me: "Preston's father and *that other family* are here."

Hmmm... not too shocking since we invited them.

I feel a loooooong few days coming on.

I Never Trust Anything That Bleeds for 5 Days and Doesn't Die (From 7/4)

Convenience store clerk girl to Preston when checking out a box of feminine hygiene products: "Are these for you?"

It's Gettin' Hot In Here (From 7/3)

In Santa Elena Canyon.

Two cut tan sweaty dudes walk by in their boxer briefs. *Only* their boxer briefs. And sneakers.

"They must be German."

Bird Hair (From 7/2)

On the Lost Mine Trail.

"Preston, look! There's bird hair on that prickly pear!!"

"You mean that feather?"

You Can't See No Stinkin' Pictographs (From 7/1)

This morning we got up early to head out of Del Rio for Big Bend. I wanted to stop by Amistad Recreation Area and/or Seminole Canyon State Park because I had heard that they both had some outstanding pictographs there, and with our beloved new D-40X, I wanted to photograph them. We got to Amistad around 10:30am only to be told that theirs were only accessible by boat currently due to high water levels (I think the whole friggin state is going back into the bay, personally.) and that Seminole's had to be seen by tour only. And the only tour today left at 10am. Perfect.

So then we drove the rest of the way to BBNP with only a few imprompteau stops for photos of cool shit.

Once we got here we hiked the Window View Overlook Trail where we'll be married in less than a week (holy shit) and ate and checked into the hotel. Then we decided to hike the Chisos Basin Loop Trail because we only had a few hours til dark and we were sure we could finish it in time. Let me tell you: the altitude adjustment needs to happen fast. I had thought that running would help me with stuff like that, but not so much. Although maybe it has and there is no telling how incapacitated I would be if I hadn't been running.

That's us on the Basin Loop trail. Casa Grande in the background.

Anyhoo, got done with that: 1.8 miles in 70 minutes. Then we decided to do the Overlook again for some sunset photography. It was a regular mess of people at the "preferred" spot, so Preston and I wandered a bit farther up the trail where I remembered that we could get a shot of the Window. Turns out that the orientation of the sun actually gave us a better shot. I win!!! Take that, sheepies.

Now Preston is outside trying to get exposure shots on stars. I came in because I got cold.
It is different - not staying in a tent this time. I mean, there was no way we could, since we need to be clean to get married and all. And it is a treat to be able to have a shower daily. And a warm room. And a bed. And a toilet that isn't half a mile up the campsite. But somehow I just feel that I'm missing out on part of the park. You know, the cold, the sounds of the wind and animals. Going to bed at dark and getting up with the sunrise. There is still a technological disconnect, which is great: no tv, no cell phone, no phone. But I miss the real and utter back-to-basics that a tent demands.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mystery of the Missing Sugar

Well I'm back. And Sugar is missing.

Why can nothing go without a hitch??

Apparently she disappeared between 9pmish when the cat/house-sitter was over and 11pm when we arrived home on Wednesday. Seriously. Cat is here the whole time I'm gone. Then she disappears just as I'm arriving.

And I couldn't get hold of the house-sitter. So I thought maybe she had died. (I was actually looking for graves in the backyard.) Maybe they had taken her to their house because she got worse. Maybe she was at the vet. (I actually called them.) When I *finally* get hold of the house-sitter on FRIDAY, TWO DAYS after I got home it was just that she was there when they were here Weds. And now she's not. And I lost two days searching because of those fuckheads.

They say they're sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I left my babies with idiots. They say they feel guilty. I'll literally live with the guilt forever if I never see the old sick cat that I've had since I was nine because I left her with fucking morons.

And it hasn't stopped raining since we got home.

Anyways, I'm married now. The cat-searching expeditions are my extended honeymoon. Not that I'm bitter. Big Bend Blogs to follow.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Things that Go Bump in the Night

So yesterday as we were driving through Gonzales, which, btw, has the most photogenic jail ever, I see a Golden Chick.

"Preston, there is a fucking Golden fucking Chick."

For those who don't know, Golden Chick has the Best.Chicken.EVER.

"That is a fucking Golden Chick!! Do you wanna eat there?"

For those who don't know, there are no Golden Chicks in H-town.


So we ate at Golden Chick.

Did you know that when you've been eating heathily for 6 months in an attempt to lose weight for your wedding that fast food doesn't taste as good any more? I did, but I conveniently forgot it for the Golden Chick. Did you know that sometimes said fast food will actually be rejected by your body due to its yummy nastiness? I did. Also conveniently forgotten. Until last night. When the vomititis arrived.

Combined with the fact that our room had two doors: one to enter and a connecting door (thus disabling my normal plan of positioning Preston as monster bait), my sleep was fitful.

We Interrupt Your Irregularly Scheduled Blog For a Public Service Announcement

Last night's scenario:

I'm laying in bed wondering if I can expell this whole chicken from my stomach. The two doors kept distracting me. The bed was huge, so Preston was on the other side of a protective wall he had erected of pillows between us. But I had finally managed to fall into a sort of fitful frequently waking crappy-ass sleep.

Bi-boom, buh-boom, bi-boom, buh-boom...


Then the moaning started.

Seriously. The people in the room above us were doing It. Loudly. In the room above us. At 1:36am.

Some background: This hotel in BFE, Texas was so empty that we were allowed to pick whether we wanted an upstairs room or a downstairs room.

This is your public service announcement: If you are planning on banging, if you regularly get laid, or if you even have the remotest fancy of fucking, please select the DOWNSTAIRS option. Please. Oh, and teach the bitch to scream into a pillow. These walls and floors are paper thin.


Shittiest sleep EVER.

Now I'm gone for two weeks. For real.