10.22.2013

Huh...?

So I spent the last 4ish days feeling really...off.  Vertigo, nausea, lethargic, sinus stupidity, "general malaise."  Several people in my circle of local friends have been battling colds, so I had suspected that maybe I was coming down with something, but never really did.  I had that sore throat that generally precedes a cold, but then never got truly sick.  A few days ago I did a bike ride with a bunch of dudes on a semi-hilly route.  The sort of terrain that doesn't typically faze me too badly...but I felt just really horribly out-of-shape and lacking any ability to attack hills in the least.  Everything pointed to impending viral attack, but nothing really materialized fully.

I suspect it's simply been my body's way of saying "WTF is all this new shit you're throwing at me?!"  I'm guessing that the vertigo and nausea were common side effects of Prometrium.  Fortunately I feel pretty "normal" today.

I also just started Symbicort for my asthma.  My allergist wasn't all that impressed with the effectiveness of even high doses of Qvar (similar drug, but lacking long-acting bronchodilator--simply an inhaled steroid), so is having me switch.  I must say that I'm very suspicious that my recent cold-like symptoms could be due to this med.  I was on a similar medication, Advair, for maybe 8-9 months several years ago.  And was sick all the friggin' time!!  The worst effect of that was chronic oral thrush.  Fortunately I can use a spacer device with Symbicort, which should help with that.  I hope it doesn't beat my immune system up as badly as Advair did, though.  It really sucks when the "cure" is worse than the illness.

Today I'm generally feeling a lot more like myself, so hopefully any negative effects from the Prometrium are behind me.  It can take a cycle or two for a woman's body and natural hormone levels to settle-down with this stuff.  In the short term it can actually cause a woman's system to pump out even higher levels of estrogen.  This peri-menopause business is not for the weak!  I have my fingers-crossed that the next cycle will be a little easier to bear.  But even if I have 3-4 "off" days/28 I can deal with that.  It still beats the alternative.

And I never did hear back re: the ovarian cancer screen blood work I had done, so I am assuming that no news is good news.  I'm still pretty weirded-out by the thought of a kiwi-sized cyst in my belly, though.  I hope that sucker just shrinks on its own.  At this point if it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere or if it appears to grow I will have it and its defective ovarian buddy removed sometime in the coming month or two.

I've lost 3-4#s since this was taken...still need less ME, over
Now I need to feel solid this weekend -- I have races both Saturday (gravel road on the back of our tandem with my hubby) and a cyclocross race on Sunday.  The Halloween race.  This year I hopefully don't have a jacked-up back.  I'll be wearing the "costume" I bought for that race last year and never ended up wearing.

I have lost some weight in recent weeks (like maybe 4ish #s, or so).  Running and biking on calorie deficit are also likely to blame for my craptacular workouts.  I have to keep reminding myself that the end result will be a faster runner and cyclist, even if it means sacrificing many months to less-than-stellar training.  I've got about 16#s left to lose.  On my shorty frame that will make a big difference and likely have me dropping 2 sizes.  Now to behave myself over the holidays...

10.17.2013

The Honeymoon is Over

While our trees are about at peak Fall color, we're also getting a taste of true Autumn weather -- not "Indian Summer," but Fall slop.  Last night our weekly Weds. Night Gravel Ride was semi rained-out. We managed >20 miles, but it was hard-fought, slow, cold, and wet.  There were a lot of UNfun moments on the back of the tandem with bald tires, too.  Downhills through loose, gravely mud are scary.  Uphills on the same terrain are extra hard as the wet sand-slop sucks at our tires.  Add to that the fact that it's dark and spitting in our faces.  Running in the rain is mostly pretty fabulous.  Biking in it...not horrible if it's Summer, but in the low-50s it's challenging to not become horribly chilled.

Monday night was also a gravel road ride from the impending bike shop.  Most of us ended up underdressed, so we were actually colder by the finish of that ride than we were last night.  One of the difficulties of dressing for the weather in the Spring and Fall is that the temperature swing from the beginning of a ride to the finish can be pretty drastic.  It's easy to be over or under-dressed, depending upon whether one is riding in the early AM or just prior to dusk.

Me, MC, Heather, Kaat
Sunday was another fun Kisscross cyclocross race and redeemed a course that I really loathed last year (and was the straw that "broke" this camel's back for about 3 weeks, last season).  It was also the first race for our 3rd Coast Racing team with legitimate kits!  We only had 5 gals in the C race (which has me pretty bummed.  I think we had about a dozen women in the first race of the season, but it seems like 4-5 is the number of C women competing most weeks.  I think that's about half the # of competitors we were seeing for most of last season.  I can't help but wonder if the relative difficulty of the course for the first race has a lot to do with this.  There were several individuals on brand new bikes who have never been back.  Even as a semi-experienced CX racer I was not thrilled to see courses that so heavily favored mountain bikes), but we placed 1, 2, 4 (that was me in 4).

Scott's first B race...my hubby in hot pursuit!
I believe we still have 3 races left, including the Halloween race in about a week-and-a-half.  My goal is to simply not be the last C woman for any remaining races.

I had a lot of fun shooting our team members during the B race.  I think I'll be bringing my big ol' DSLR to all of the races in the future.  Contemplating a new lens, too.  My 50mm is too short and doesn't yield the sort of depth-of-field results that I like, even shooting at f/1.8.  My 100mm does a nice job, but I have to stand WAY back...and then people invariably end up standing in front of me, not realizing the chick with the camera a mile from the action is actually shooting.  My short Tokina zoom is nice for portraiture, but too slow-focusing for sports.  A fast Canon zoom would cost as much as a new bike.  So I'm eyeballing a fast 85mm Canon prime lens.  Christmas is coming!

Still no word on the ovarian cancer blood test I had last week, so I'm assuming no-news-is-good-news. Were my results positive for a cancer marker I'm certain they would have called me, already.  I have an appt. in a couple of weeks with an OB/gyn surgeon.  I really hope they recommend simply taking that ovary and its big cyst buddy out as soon as cyclocross season is over.  I'd probably even be fine with leaving the uterus in place if there was no evidence of anything too amiss, at this point.  Removing the ovary would be a no-big-deal recovery.  Even laparoscopic or vaginal removal of my uterus would likely have me down for a month, minimum.  And right now we're planning on an epic New Year's Eve bash at Casa Bikestra™ with our 3rd Coast Racing teammates.

And a lot will probably rest on how well the Prometrium (bio-identical progesterone) works to eliminate/minimize a lot of miserable peri-menopause and endometriosis symptoms.  I'm hoping this stuff is like a miracle drug.  So far I'm 3 doses in and have 0 side-effects.

Speaking of miracle drugs, I visited the allergist yesterday.  They want to do further deep-skin testing to screen for mold, trees, and grass.  I have a feeling I would trigger at least 2 of the 3.  My mom has mold allergies.  And Spring is generally Hell on my sinuses.

The allergist is also starting me on Symbicort, since even crazy high doses of inhaled steroid (Qvar 80mg, 2 puffs 2x/day) aren't putting my lung function where it should be and I have "obstructed" lungs.    Symbicort is steroid + long-acting bronchodilator.  The steroid brings down airway swelling and the bronchodilator further opens airways (like a rescue inhaler, but for more than a couple of hours).  The funny part of this is when they ask me how my breathing feels to me I always find it to be pretty decent, but the spirometer tests tell a different story.  My lung function has been so awful for so long that I don't even have any concept of what it would be like to have acceptable air intake.  I have to wonder what I'd be capable of with normal lungs...

I also wonder what I'd be capable of with a leaner bod.  I'm working on that.  I'm down 5#s in about the past month or so and about 4#s over my lowest recent weight -- back when I was newly out of my long-arm cast.  I'm currently about 16#s from where I'd like to be (130#s).  I think I'm going to start doing photos at 5# intervals -- in the same sports bra/shorts -- to see just how transformative those pounds lost are.  I'm at that point where every few pounds can be pretty apparent on a relatively small frame.  Even with the 5-6#s I've lost in the last couple of months I'm seeing my midsection flatten and my face looks slimmer (bat-wings are still stubborn as hell).  Keeping motivation in the face of tasty eats is crucial!!

10.11.2013

Kiwis (the fruit, not people from NZ) are dumb.

2 days ago I had a message on my voicemail to call my OB/gyn's office back re: recent pelvic ultrasound (aka "dildo-cam") results.  The ultrasound had been ordered by the PA I recently saw to get a look at some small fibroid(s); to help determine whether or not I need a hysterectomy or if simply adding 200mg of Prometrium™/bio-identical progesterone will combat annoying-as-hell peri-menopause symptoms.  First thing yesterday AM I talked to one of the nurses at the office and she said I have "a 'kiwi-sized' 'cystic mass'" on my right ovary.  Oh joy.

The term "cystic mass" is horribly ambiguous.  Anything cystic in nature falls under this umbrella.  By definition ovulation creates a cyst.  But cysts can be benign or they can be cancerous.  At my age and given my history of endometriosis it's highly unlikely that it's "the big C," but still...until I know for certain, yeah, my brain keeps going to worst-case scenarios. And since the blood test they do to try to narrow things down can throw false positives when a woman has endo, there's some probability that I won't know anything for sure without removal and biopsy.  I had lab work done yesterday, but have yet to hear anything.  The waiting is gonna suck. I have an appt. with an OB/gyn on 11/4...I'm guessing if the blood work comes back sketchy that we'll be scheduling surgery. That may be the case either way (I may just opt to have this ovary and my uterus out now. I'm 40 and done with baby makin'). Looks like I might be missing the last cyclocross race (or two) of the season for the 2nd year running if the doctor determines that surgery needs to happen ASAP. If it doesn't appear to be cancerous or in any other way risky I'll likely schedule surgery as soon as CX season is done.

This finding does explain some various symptoms I've had over the past few months, the bulk of which I chalked-up to the stress of moving.  I'm guessing this cyst developed right around the time we moved, so 6-7 months ago.  At this point I'm guessing the doc is going to recommend surgery or waiting a month or two to see if there is any change, assuming it's a straightforward cyst.  If it's a cyst caused by endometriosis (an endometrioma, which is my suspicion), then it will almost certainly require surgery.

I've even lost close to 5ish pounds in the past month or two without huge effort...I should be overjoyed by this, but it makes me sorta nervous, as I've never ever had an easy time losing weight -- certainly not without obsessively logging every morsel that passes my lips.  Unexplained weight loss is a symptom of ovarian cancer (but so is exhaustion and I've not had that in any noticeable way, which is greatly reassuring.  In fact, some of my strongest runs all year have been in the past week or so, thanks in part to blissful and cooler Fall weather).  Fuck me to tears if the only way I can drop pounds is to have a potentially deadly tumor on-board.  Seriously...just fuck that!

Bikestras™ on our bicycle built for 2!
I hope whatever is going on that it's not something that will require going under the knife ASAP (assuming that it's not cancer.  In the event of cancer I, of course, want that evil out of me yesterday!).  DH and I are registered for a gravel road race on our tandem...this would be my first ever gravel race AND race on a tandem.  It's only about 2 weeks away.  This would be my last shot at a big race in 2013.  The long-course duathlon I had recently been registered for was cancelled due to lack of registrations and volunteers.  Bummer.  I was really looking forward to it and feel pretty strong (for me) on uphills after our JDRF century ride in the hills on the Natchez Trace near Nashville.  I was looking forward to representing 3rd Coast Racing (in our swaggy new kit, seen at right) with at least an age group podium spot.

We've been taking out the tandem most Weds nights with many from our 3rd Coast Racing team (we rode this past Monday night, too, so lately I've been logging most of my bike miles on the back of the tandem in the dark...it's a surreal experience much of the time, for sure).  I'm over the worst of my earlier abject terror.  Super-fast steep downhills with loose gravel/sand still have me feeling about to shit myself, though.  I don't know if it's helpful that I can't see where we're going or not.

10.04.2013

Falling into...Fall!

We're into October and about halfway through Kisscross cyclocross season (3 races down, 4 to go).  It's sorta surreal, since it's a little unseasonably warm.  Hopefully we get some cooler, wetter races.  This girl loves her some mud...on her legs, back, helmet, and grit in the teeth!

I'm also eager to rock my new 3rd Coast Racing kit (which perfectly matches my road bike...and my blog!).  We received them a couple of nights ago, before a team gravel road ride.  I'm loving the short and long-sleeved (fleece-lined...ahhh...I want to sleep in it!) jerseys.  Not fond of the shorts.  They have compressive leg bands (size L...yet they are like boa-constrictors on my ample quads).  Losing even 5 more #s should help, but they have other issues, like poorly-placed seams.  Next time we place an order I'll be snagging a pair of bib shorts (which I'm generally not fond of, due to an icky wet-1-piece-bathing-suit effect and the PITA of having to strip down just to pee).  DH has a pair of the bibs and they have super comfortable and flattering leg bands without elastic.  Also no inner-thigh seam to rub between saddle and adductor.
Stupid sausage thighs, but check out that matchy-matchy bike/kit action!
I actually tried his bibshorts on yesterday (same model, but part of his local JDRF team kit).  They are a hair small on him and were big on me, but gave me a good overall idea of what to expect and fit surprisingly well, aside from being far too long through the torso/straps.  Also the chamois placement was weird...because boys have different parts than girls, duh!  :p

I gotta have more tattoo!!!
I've managed to drop a few pounds in the past month...not doing anything super structured, but mostly avoiding eating/drinking crap and restraining myself from eating out of boredom.  Didn't really make any progress with that this weekend, because I had a bunch of running girlfriends in town for a friend's wedding and a half-marathon.  Yeah, there was much eating and drinking to be had!  Wouldn't have let a diet put a damper on that fun, though.  I still have nearly 20#s to lose to be to my goal of 130#s  When I get there I'll be rewarding myself with a new tattoo -- on my outer, lower right thigh.  Instead of Cow Bell it will say Run Bike.

I'm also planning to schedule a pin-up girl photo shoot with Sweet Wink Photography.  That's as much for the hubby as for me.  At 40 it's only a matter of time before photos are gonna require a shit-ton more airbrushing, heh.

Bonus photo of me all prettied-up for my friends' wedding
At 40 I'm also solidly into peri-menopause, as was confirmed with a doctor (PA, to be precise) visit this past week.  She's putting me on 200mg progesterone for 10 days of every cycle.  This should hopefully help with a lot of random, stupid symptoms I've been battling for at least the past 5 years (easy bruising, difficulty losing weight, insomnia, low libido, short cycles + bleeding for an excessive amount of time, etc.).  Actually, the low progesterone could go back as far as puberty for me.  It can be the factor that causes "estrogen dominance," which often triggers endometriosis and fibroid tumors (both conditions I suffer from and have for decades).  I also had bleeding issues while pregnant.  A lot of women who miscarry do so because their bodies don't produce enough progesterone to support pregnancy.

I'm pretty happy that the PA suggested this course of action, as I was prepared to be told that it's time for a hysterectomy (removing my uterus and potentially one endo-scarred ovary).  I wasn't looking forward to the 4-8 weeks of surgical recovery time.  I've got too much I want to do this Winter, including training for a friend's new 55 mile gravel road race in the works for April!  I ain't got time to go under the knife!!

9.25.2013

>5 Months...

Where were we...?  Oh, yes, last time I found time to pen an entry we had just moved into our new house.  We've now been here nearly 6 months and it's really been such a treat.  We have space to have friends over, which has been wonderful.  By the 2nd half of Summer we were having friends over after weekly local criterium races -- Wine Wednesdays!  This weekend we're having 5 of my running friends stay here while they're in the area for the wedding of 2 of our friends.  We're also running a local half-marathon on the morning of the nuptials!  Having 2 guest rooms makes this possible...we had NO guest space at the old place (which we still have yet to put on the market, but as Fall quiets down we'll be in a better place to get that in the works).

My helmet's not crooked, it's jaunty!
3 days ago we arrived home from our JDRF Ride to Cure weekend in Nashville.  What a fabulous time with >500 friends and fellow cyclists.  And this single event raised a record-setting $1.5 million to fund scientific research towards curing a deadly autoimmune disease!!  I managed to roll some of the miles of that 104 mile day with some Nashvegas-area friends, too, which was a major bonus!

Each JDRF destination ride has been an amazing experience -- this year's ride was no exception.  The sheer size of it was particularly awe-inspiring.  This new Nashville ride was the largest in Ride to Cure history.  Our team head coach received a special award honoring his years of selfless service to the program.  That was the cherry on the top of the weekend's warm-fuzzies.

Earlier this Summer DH and I joined a newly forming local cycling race team, 3rd Coast Racing.  We've got a really great group of teammates...and all different disciplines and strengths, but universally fun people with a common love of 2 wheels. Some of us excel at criteriums, many of us participate in cyclocross (yeah, it's that time of year, again, so I will be covered in bruises until about Thanksgiving!), mountain biking, time trials, gravel road epics, and a few of us love us some dus and tris.  My 3rd duathlon of the year is coming up in about 10 days.  For all intents and purposes it's an olympic distance race.  I did my first longer-course duathlon in July, so I'm really looking forward to this, especially after my strong century in Nashville.  The 26 "hilly" local miles of this bike leg should be a piece of cake!  In a recent sprint race I placed 5/32 overall women and 2nd/9 in my age group.

The view does sorta lack, I must admit...
DH and I are also going to do our first race on the tandem (it's only recently that I'm a fan of it -- saddle and fit issues made it a very miserable experience for me in the past) in Nov.  A gravel road race...OK, I feel sorta queasy just typing that, for realz!!  We should have our team "kit," by then.  It will be fun to represent 3rd Coast Racing as a married couple!

Speaking of 3rd Coast -- it's not just a race team.  3rd Coast is also a "coming soon" bike shop -- 3rd Coast Cycles.  DH and I are are co-owners with 3 friends.  Any time you're in West MI come check us out (our shop will be located next to the Family Fare grocery store in Hudsonville, MI).  Our shop motto is "For cyclists, bicyclists."  We hope to be open on or around 12/1.

This is a pretty quick-and-dirty update.  We keep waiting for life to settle-down, but it seems like every week leaves us feeling like we're chasing our tails and out-of-breath.  It used to be once the snow fell that cycling season would ease-up, but now there are fat bike races and indoor cyclocross events and The Sufferfest indoor trainer workouts in basements with friends.  So much for an off season!!

In the "slower" months (ie months without any specific "goal" races) my aim is to get back on track with the weight-loss.  Now that I'm part of a race team I don't want to be recognized as the slow, chubby chick on the team.  Dropping 20#s should take care of both.  No one really needs more than one chin...

4.14.2013

2 wild and crazy weeks ago...

(+1 day)...we officially moved into our new home.  Life is finally settling down and our 3 cats are no longer jumping at every little noise or fast movement.  Well, except for our youngest, Chase, but he's always been twitchy.

Cats love awesome wool rugs!
The move went quite well, though I think I'm still recovering (doing 2 half marathons in the past week had nothing to do with my exhaustion, I'm certain...heh).  Our cats tolerated the move as well as could be expected, though Ikky apparently had to go #2 when we put him in his carrier.  About halfway to the new place (50 minutes from the old place) he crapped and stunk the heck out of my car.

We still have a lot of projects that need completing here -- window coverings downstairs, more bookshelf assembly, and another trip to Ikea for a few more items that would be useful, like a dresser to put in our closet JUST for my running/biking clothes and gear...as well as another storage system of some sort to put in the mudroom closet for bike shoes and gloves and helmets.  I also really like the glass-topped desk we got for DS and have been using it in the short-term.  I plan to get a larger version of his desk and DH will take the desk we had ordered for me from his company.

Speaking of Ikea, thus far we are WAY impressed with all of the items we purchased there -- totally worth the 3.5 hour drive each way to our nearest store.  We are FAR less impressed with the solid wood bedroom set that we spent a fortune on from a local furniture store.  For something "hand made in MI" it's pretty much crap and we've had thoughts about returning the entire set, were it not for the hassles that that would entail to have everything dragged back downstairs, then another set hauled back up.  The bed itself seems to be of good construction, but the dressers have drawers that are not uniform and the slides are not placed evenly, so they don't sit well and rub against the frame in spots -- enough to have already chipped a few small bits of wood in places.  There are areas where the finish was poorly applied, too.  Fortunately our living room furniture is awesome, since that's the stuff the world sees.

TV that is over and inch taller diagonally than I am...and our zombie-looking kid
We also now have a massive 65" TV in the living room and Blu-ray player to go with it.  We're movie buffs and are happy to have a really nice theater experience that can be enjoyed from anywhere on the main living floor.  Our old "tiny" 46" TV is now our "pain cave" set for doing workout videos on nowhere bikes or while doing weight workouts.

In running/biking news (well, running news, anyhow.  Biking is mostly not happening, thanks to the freaking never ending antics of Mother Nature and Old Man Winter): today I became an official member of the Half Fanatics (#3965) after qualifying yesterday upon finishing the Gazelle Girls Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI.  I ran 2 13.1 races in 7 days, which qualified me as the lowest-level Fanatic, Neptune (each level is named after a planet or moon in our solar system).  The first race that qualified me was the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon a week ago.  The race went well, aside from some fairly warm conditions that none of us have any acclimation for.

I'm the one in the red dress with EXTRA pasty legs!
The night after the race we (the group of online running friends who had met-up in St. Louis for our annual social race gatherings) had a bachelorette party -- complete with penis-themed party favors, of course -- for our dear friend, Heather.  Heather and I live near one-another and met through running and our favorite running log/forum site.  Her fiance ran his first marathon that morning and he and several other spouses/significant-others met up with us at the Schlafly Brewery later that evening.

Our evening at Schlafly was a great time and we really "entertained" the shuttle driver who returned us from the brew-pub to our hotel...a bunch of sodden 30-50-somethings.  A few of us weren't ready to call it a night and headed to a bar just down the street from our hotel.  After a few drinks at the nearby bar we returned to the hotel lobby to share a growler Heather had purchased at Schlafly.

What's so funny?!  Hell if we know!
We were more than just inebriated on alcohol, at this point.  The miles we'd put on our legs made our after-party of 6 pretty punch-drunk, as is evidenced in this photo of my friend Erica and I...I was wiping tears from my eyes from uncontrollable laughter.  I couldn't even tell anyone the next morning what was so funny...EVERYTHING was funny at that hour!  Erica and I were hotel roommates, along with our friend Jill.  It was shades of college dorm life.  I'd forgotten just how fun that could be.

Now that my half marathon weekends are over and we're mostly settled into the new place I can concentrate on re-losing the weight I'd lost and half re-gained.  Derp.  I am now shooting for my first olympic distance duathlon in early July, so I have 12 weeks to get in shape and get my bike mileage into some more respectable numbers.  That dress I wore for the bachelorette party fit me nicely a couple of months ago...by a week ago it was like a friggin' sausage casing!

3.12.2013

Holding Pattern

I don't do well with gray areas. While I am not really a Type-A, inflexible person, at the same time I find that unknowns have a way of causing me undue stress. I've never been able to just "wing it" when it comes to training for races, since a lack of a reasonably concrete plan will invariably lead to me completely half-assing things and go into a major race undertrained.  I may not be the fastest person on any race course, but I generally complete goal races with the knowledge that I put in the best training that I could, given life circumstances.

In less than 4 weeks I will be running the Go St. Louis Half Marathon with a bunch of friends from all over the US -- and even one friend from Canada -- and I feel like my training is going reasonably well.  Reasonably well considering the stress and uncertainty of being in home-related Limbo (everyone keeps asking when we *move* and I can't give a date, even though we closed on our home more than 2 weeks ago.  We can't change our mailing address, yet, either).  6 days after that race I'm running the inaugural Gazelle Girls Half Marathon, which will qualify me for the Half Fanatics.

Weight loss -- that's perhaps the biggest victim of recent events.  Stress-eating and convenience-food-eating (while running back-and-forth between 2 homes 45 minutes apart, driving to-and-from Girls On Track practices 30 minutes away, and driving around doing furniture research) has been at an all-time high.  I've regained ~5 of the 15#s I recently lost while rehabbing my busted wrist.  Fuckity.  One of the things I am most looking forward is having a fully functional kitchen and the time to plan and prepare healthy stuff, again.  So many nights recently we've gotten home after 6 and scrounged-around for random, carb-laden crap.  Not nearly enough fruits/veggies/salads.

All this...plus a tall dresser, 2nd nightstand,
and underbed storage drawers
We have a bunch of stuff already moved into the new house (keepsakes, photos, art, books, small appliances), but not us or our furniture.  Much of our current worn and 2nd-hand furnishings will be going into the basement "Pain Cave," so in some ways we're starting from scratch with this move -- because at 40 and 41 we're grown-ups...sorta.

In fact, we sort of jumped-the-gun and had scheduled to have our new bedroom furniture delivered in a week.  The basement drywall & electrical will hopefully be finished, but not the flooring on the main floor.  Unfortunately the builder/seller won't do final walk-through (to identify spots that need repainting, repair, tweaks) and clean-up until after those things are done, which will not be for a couple of weeks.  We'd really hoped to have the major move done by April 1, but the official occupancy date now looks like it will be a week later (and the builder can't/won't clean and touch-up rooms with furniture). *sigh*

Which means we can't move before my St. Louis trip...and my first day back from the trip will involve sitting at the empty new house waiting for the bedroom furniture to be delivered, lugging mattresses and clothes over, and placing orders for other furnishings.

On that note, I think we've settled on this sofa and loveseat to the right (not the chair...a white-ish chair with a tween boy and 3 cats would be insanity).  It's not the exact sofa we had originally had our eyes on, but that one is a funky super-modern clearance center sofa that none of the stores actually stock for seeing in tangible form.  Their policy on clearance center stuff is that all sales are final, so ordering it sight-unseen is not a risk we're willing to take on a $1300 sofa and giant ottoman.  That orange leather sofa was really comfy and we're hoping the furniture store has that rug for sale, too (they don't show it on their website, unfortunately, but did have it in the store in the display).  We're also looking at a Herman Miller (DH's employer...that employee discount is hella sweet and we both love mid-century modern decor/furniture) Noguchi table.

That sofa is a much brighter orange than the photo would suggest...though not quite as bright as our new barstools.

Note the carpeting at left in both the rooms to the right and left of the kitchen/dining area -- we're having that removed and replaced with more of the laminate.  This is pretty much the main thing keeping us from moving right away.  I know it will be worth it to have everything exactly to our specs when we physically move, but it's hard to be patient when we just want to be settled in the new place.  DS's teachers have said that the uncertainty has had an effect on him, too.  He's stressed about things at school, and had one rough day when he was paranoid that someone was going to buy the house out from under us (I don't think he understood what it means to have "closed" on a house, which we explained to him in better detail, once we learned of his nervousness).  In the big picture this move is going to be a major benefit to him, since he'll be able to take the bus to high school (in a really fabulous district) in 2 years.

We just have to be patient and look forward to when we can sit down to RELAXED family dinner at our new sleek (and cat/kid-proof -- this is why we are buying nothing with fabric upholstery or wood.  Glass and leather are much more resilient) Herman Miller "Baguette" dining table that we would pair with modern chrome-legged chairs of some sort (perhaps molded plywood/melamine from Ikea)...quite an upgrade from the hideous family cast-off colonial-style laminate monstrosity that we currently have with only 3/4 functional chairs.  The question now is 60" or 80".  80" is almost certainly overkill...we don't really need seating for 8 + a 4-person bar.  The only time we'd need that much seating would be during the holidays when my 'rents, siblings, SOs, and kids visit or during JDRF parties, but then we can supplement with a card table.

That "green room" off of the kitchen will be a general office/library space and will eventually be home to a green HMI Sayl chair (and a new desk, bookshelves, cat tower -- yeah, the cats will be getting new furniture to keep them occupied and less tempted to bother our nice grown-up furniture stuffs) and a lime green comfy leather reading chair found on Overstock.com.  Chris Knight (aka Peter Brady) has some really cool and highly-rated furniture available on Overstock.

We'll be doing an Ikea trip in the near future, too, for storage items, window-coverings, and furniture for the rugrat's room.

Hopefully we can be fully furnished and settled-in before our planned Cinco de Mayo party.  April's gonna go fast with 2 half marathons and the big move.

2.26.2013

Shit just got real!!!

STOP means SOLD!
Well, shit got real YESTERDAY, but I was too tired/overwhelmed to sit and write anything coherent.  Eh, who am I kidding, I am still tired...still not sleeping well and ran 9 miles, today.  I did have coffee a few hours ago (it was that or go to bed for the night at 5pm), so I can expect a window of artificial alertness for a bit.

Around 3:30pm yesterday we left our (awesome -- if you need to buy/sell a home on the West MI lakeshore, this is your guy) realtor's office with a set of keys to our new home.  Just one set, since these are not the permanent keys.  The builder will have contractors do some finishing projects (drywalling/electrical on exterior basement walls, removing main floor carpeting and replacing with laminate, installing garage door opener and washer/dryer) before we officially move in...so it will probably be at least 3-4 weeks before we REALLY move.  In the meantime we are taking carloads of stuff and stashing upstairs.  Once we are ready for the big move we'll find friends who are willing to work for beer and pizza to help with the heavy lifting.

It's been good to get rid of so much crap.  One would think that living in a small home with minimal storage would mean collecting less junk over the years, but the opposite would be true -- since we don't have a reasonable amount of space (this house has ONE closet and an old school cellar/basement) stuff doesn't get stored with any degree of logic and things get crammed into corners and lost.  In nearly 13 years we've had a lot of things we no longer need/want get buried.  And our kid is a damned pack-rat (he gets that from his maternal grandma...who's a borderline hoarder).  Getting him to pare down his toys has been a challenge...dude, you don't need baby toys and we're not letting you keep every fast food kids' meal made-in-China doo-dad languishing at the bottom of toy boxes for a decade.

I celebrated the signing of our land contract with a 9 mile run, today.  To be honest, I wasn't so much celebrating as dodging an Old Man Winter bullet.  Within a couple hours of finishing some slick snow started really dumping.  We're supposed to get a few inches tonight and another inch or so tomorrow.  I am DONE running in that junk!

I also wanted to get that run in while I have a day with nothing major on the agenda.  Tomorrow I have my final physical therapy session for my right wrist in the AM and then a Girls On The Run/Girls On Track coaches meeting in the evening.  Thursday I get to drive an hour each way with my POS car to have them investigate several things and do an oil change.  If previous trips to have work done are any indication, this could easily take 3-4 hours. *rolling eyes*  Friday at noon registration for the Iceman Cometh mountain bike race opens (no guarantee that my wrist will be up for that, but the race is not until Nov. and I can always transfer my registration, if need be).  Last year it filled in about 5 hours, but those 5 hours were also fraught with ridiculous server issues, so many people attempted registration for hours before successfully completing the process.  So I'm pretty much planning for that day to be mostly wasted.  I'll also try to squeeze in a 5 mile run, perhaps before registering.

Lessee...oh, yeah, I did have a major milestone birthday in there.  40 was a pretty big deal, coinciding with Mardi Gras and having our offer accepted on our house.  We met up with one of my closest friends, Heather, for dinner and drinks at a favorite local bar.  I'll actually miss that bar and our little local grocery store (with an AMAZING beer and wine selection -- it's sort of what they specialize in)...but I'll especially miss my friend.  We met through running and are such kindred spirits -- we even broke our right wrists while mountain-biking within months of one-another.  We will definitely be encouraging her and her soon-to-be hubby to come stay with us after nights of beer and wine on our new deck.

We'll miss enjoying the new brew-pub (Fetch Brewing Company, in Whitehall, MI) that is opening this Summer in our current community, too, but we'll be close to some really fabulous eateries in the Grand Haven/Spring Lake area, and a great brew-pub in Spring Lake.  Old Boys' is about 8 miles from our front door, so perhaps Heather and I need to plan a run to the brewery, then have one of our sober guys pick our stinkin' (literally) drunk asses up.

For fun I just ordered these barstools (4) -- since it may be a while before we spring for a full dining set and our living room will mostly be moved immediately down to the basement (making room for better stuff to be ordered and delivered and installed in place upstairs):
To go in this kitchen:
The paint above is sort of a dark terracotta/burnt sienna.  The orange stools will really bring that out.  We may through some LED tube lights up above the cabinets, too.

Decorating is such a hoot!  Even our upstairs has some ideas that I will post when it's not way past my bedtime...

2.12.2013

Go Big AND Go Home!

So recently we began the search for a new home. Like less than 2 weeks ago, recently. We figured it could take a while, since there really aren't all that many properties on the market where we are looking to move.  The fall of the local real estate market has had a LOT of folks simply give up trying to sell or gunshy to put their homes on the market in the first place.  5 days ago in the middle of a snowstorm we went through a home that was a bit above our budget and a few hundred sq. ft. larger (1972 sq. ft...same year DH was born!) than what we really feel we need, mostly for shits-n-giggles.  But it pretty much nailed ALL of our must-have criteria (3 stall garage or some other space for bikes, central air, basement, good insulation, 3 bdrm, 2+ bath, laundry near bedrooms, minimal work needed).

Needless to say we spent the weekend completely paranoid and petrified that someone would put an offer on it before we'd have the chance to (even though it has literally been on the market for a year to the day--not sure how this is possible). DH even went to an open house there on Sat. to stalk the house some more and was told that they'd had 4 showings in as many days. Neither of us has had a good night's sleep ever since seeing this place.

.39 acre and a simply stunning and private piece of property in a small family-friendly subdivision with only 23 lots, including a few that will likely not sell because of small size (the one to the right of ours is maybe .25 acre) or vicinity to busy road.  There are tentative plans for a 2nd phase of about the same # of lots, from the look of things.

Can you blame us for being so tense? And the interior is just as beautiful. It's a brand new model home for a small development not far from DH's work. Asking price was only about $10k above several smaller 10 year old homes in need of updating or with floor plans and features that we didn't care for.

Our realtor in the background chillin'.  Wish we could keep the giraffe...
Yesterday we put in an offer for $10k below asking price AND requested that the carpet on the main living floor be removed and more of the high-end laminate be subbed in its place, to make the downstairs almost entirely uniform flooring (nice with cats and messy kid to not have to deal with too much carpeting). We also asked that the exterior basement walls be drywalled, washer/dryer upstairs, and garage door opener for main large door.

Today (my 40th birthday and Mardi Gras, incidentally!) they agreed to our requests ($6k+) and $5k off of asking price. What a steal!!!

A window for each cat.
As a model home this place has nearly every structural upgrade...extra garage stall, decorative windows, flooring, etc. We couldn't build this house for what we will be paying. It would likely cost at least $10-20k more!

Because we are doing a land contract (short-term financing through the seller, rather than a bank), closing is in less than 2 weeks, rather than the usual 4 weeks. None of the projects we're having done will start until after closing, though, so we likely won't do an official move until closer to April--which is fine, since it's too much of an icy/snowy/slushy mess now to try to drag everything from one household into a new one.

Once we are out of this fixer-upper we'll have the space to do some basic renovations before selling it to someone who really will make good on vows to fix it up.

2.03.2013

Changes are a-foot

Last week was a week of exciting developments!

4-eyes!
On Tuesday I had my eyes examined and was fitted with new glasses, which I picked-up on Friday. My new script is quite clearly stronger than my script from 2 years ago (OMG, I had no idea how mediocre my unaided vision was!) and my new frames actually fit my face, so I shouldn't have to deal with headaches from the temple pieces pressing into my skull or have them sliding down my nose, constantly.  My newer pair also has larger lenses, so I have a much larger field of vision unobstructed by the frames.

And I think they're kinda stylin'.  Again I went with a modified cat-eye style.  I think I did a pretty good job choosing frames, considering my eyes were dilated and I really couldn't see details.  These have 2 tiny rhinestones where the temples attach, as well as very subtle etched "flame" details.  One thing I couldn't see when choosing frames was the brand -- my chosen frames are Harley-Davidson brand, of all things!  I think they're sorta funky and sophisticated, at the same time.  And the back side of the frames are a zebra pattern, which is only visible from certain angles.  A fun little surprise.

I don't yet need bi-focals, which is good...look at the grays/platinum creeping in!  And the lines between my brows (recently started using some anti-wrinkle creams...*sigh*

On Weds. I had my first physical therapy appointment for my wrist.  It went quite well.  The therapist did an assessment and found that I have pretty limited flexibility and my overall strength is still quite weak.  She gave me some stretching and strengthening exercises and therapy putty to work with.  On Friday I was back for a 2nd session that included 20 minutes with my arm in a whirlpool.  I am slowly making progress, but I think it will still be at least 3 weeks before I can consider riding a bike.  My fat bike may be the only bike I can ride outdoors for a while, since it has grip shifters and good brakes.  I think my road bike will not be ridable for me for a while, since I still cannot downshift well AT ALL with my right hand.  On the trainer I am really struggling to do that.  And braking would likely be very poor.  Granted, we won't really have roads that are very ridable for probably 6 weeks, so perhaps by then I will have the necessary strength and dexterity to ride with drop bars and stiff SRAM shifters and brakes.

I still can't rotate my palm up much beyond perpendicular to the horizon, either.  That really frustrates me.  It's as if there's a limiter in my arm.

Running is going quite well, at least.  I feel like I'm pretty much back to the fitness level I had pre-crash.  Aside from some heavy snow and intense cold I am really enjoying my miles on-foot.

In really BIG news, we are starting the new home search!  We want to relocate closer to DH's job, our biking friends, and a district we'd like DS to attend for HS.  It's actually a district I substitute taught for for 2 years before we moved up here, almost 13 years ago.  Word on the street is that they are desperate for subs, so next Fall I'd plan to be available for subbing 4 days/week.  Subbing is nice, since it's flexible, full of variety, pay is decent relative to the level of responsibility, and the hours are great--no nights/weekends/holidays/Summers.  I could always be home when DS is home.

Panorama from DH's phone
DH and I have both ridden by the house we like and are pretty much smitten.  On paper it looks perfect.  It's 15 years old, 2 stories + partially-finished basement (1700+ sq. ft. above grade and another ~400sq. ft finished in the daylight basement) has a 3-stall garage (generally not something found on homes under 2k sq. ft. in this area) for cars AND BIKES, over 1.25 acres, some hardwood floors, 3 full baths (1 for each of us!) and is on a short private road with only 4 other homes.  All those woods means low-maintenance yard without need for lots of mowing.  We are turned-off by sprawling subdivisions by the massive lawns and lack of privacy (and knowing that a lot of these homes were tossed-up in a matter of months by quantity-over-quality developers during the housing boom 10-15 years ago).

There are some things we would update over time (replacing all carpeting with bamboo and/or ceramic tile, kitchen update, paint), but otherwise is in really nice move-in condition.  I especially love that the entire upstairs is a master suite with a glass block shower and a library/office/den where DH would work from home more undisturbed than he is when he attempts to do that in our current cramped house.

We hope that it's just as nice in-person as it is "on paper."  It's so different from all the other "McMansions" in the area.  We have another home we're planning to look at (we're hoping to check both homes out in 3 days), but it's in a subdivision.  It has a lot of wood flooring, which is its main appeal.  Other than these 2 homes there aren't a lot of offerings that aren't on treeless lots with minimal privacy, lacking in our must-have features, or way over our size/budget or in great need of work.

It would be perfect for family to visit, too.  With the 3 full bathrooms we could easily have my 'rents, 2 siblings and their SOs and 2 kids visit for Christmas and not feel too overcrowded.  Right now no one in the family has a home with enough space and toilets to do this.  Christmas in hotels isn't terrible, but it would be more relaxed in a home.

If all goes well we could potentially be in a new house well before Summer...it's such an exciting proposition after nearly 13 years in a fixer-upper that I loathe.  We would finish a few projects here and put it on the market once we're out.  We're more likely to unload it when it's not full of our clutter (tiny house with only 1 closet = our crap all over the place).

1.27.2013

I'm a loser, baby...

Please excuse the lack of bra
and abundance of  clutter...
Yesterday the dresses I'd ordered for my friend's bachelorette party in April arrived (we're all wearing $17-25 "bridesmaid" dresses from Target).  Since I was unsure of size and the reviews were that the dress fits pretty off, particularly through the chest, I ordered a 4 and a 6.  I tried the 6 on and it fits reasonably well...though the fit through the ribcage is really snug and I have a tiny ribcage (a 32-34 band size in most bras).  If I gain so much as a pound I think I will split the seams or be suffocated--good incentive to keep losing!

It's a big win for me to squeeze into a 6.  This Summer I was in a similarly-cut size 8 Target dress with plenty of give.  2 months ago I was pushing a size 10.  16#s of fat loss make a world of difference on a shorty.  The remaining 12#s I have to lose should easily have me fitting a size 4, which is right where I want to be.

On a bit of a downside, since making the switch to a ketogenic diet I have been battling nausea during pretty much all of my runs. For a while I thought it was side-effects from the pain meds I was on for my wrist, but I'm only taking those meds at bedtime, now, at most...so just 1 low dose/day. I'm not bonking at all, just feeling borderline pukey, especially if I try to push the pace/effort at all (which is tough to avoid when running in snow--it's hard work!). I'm not noticing this so much while on the nowhere bike, but that could be because I'm still riding relatively gently...hard to push with much intensity when I still can't put full weight on my right wrist.  And my sit bones have not re-adapted to the bike, so more than an hour in the saddle is not yet comfortable

I asked the other keto endurance athletes I know online (and one I know IRL) about this and no one has had this experience with nausea. It's starting to harsh my running buzz, though. One suggested that it could be "keto-flu," but I am not experiencing this at any other time and have always been one of those fortunate souls who can go from a higher-carb diet to ketogenic carb levels without any ill effects during the transition, when most people would get Atkins/Keto-flu. Quite the opposite. Making the transition always made me feel like a million bucks.

One guy said it took him a solid 6 weeks before he felt fully "keto-adapted," so I'm going to give it another 2 weeks to see if the nausea relents. But in that time my mileage is increasing and I have a 6 miler and 7 miler in that period. I know I can't continue to run further than that if I'm queasy (and raw ginger and diet ginger ale aren't really helping).  My 40th birthday is ON Mardi Gras, so that seems like an ideal time to revert back to a carbier diet, for a while...I don't want to entirely forgo a pączki or 3 on the big day. Or beer.

If the workout nausea continues for the next couple of weeks, then I'm probably going to do something on the order of the South Beach diet, but not as low-fat. Simply avoiding sugar, white flour, potatoes, and white rice...crap carbs, and emphasizing whole foods and lower glycemic carbohydrate sources. Maybe trying to stick with 100-200 carbs/day, instead of under 50.

1.21.2013

A Weighty Matter

OR "how realistic is your target weight?"

This is something I've been mulling over in recent weeks. I'd sort of loosely set my target weight at 125 (I am just under 5'4"...mesomorph with some endomorph tendencies, medium-boned, nearly 40), as years ago (pre-running/cycling) I got down to 124 for about a week. I looked great and wouldn't have wanted to be slimmer, but was not particularly fit/muscular. I'm thinking my body fat was probably in the 22% range.

The photo at right was me about 11#s above my smallest weight.  I was 135#s and had lost 50#s from my heaviest non-pregnant weight.

I found some useful resources recently that have me rethinking my goal weight...and have me believing my goal weight is not so far away. Our scale has me at 25.5%...and even though body fat scales are notorious for being way off, I think ours is probably not that inaccurate, based upon these graphics:


25ish% looks about spot-on.  Granted, the people photographed appear to have better skin-tone and I don't see a lot of evidence of pregnancy/stretch-marks/c-section scars -- It would be interesting to see illustrations that use models in their 30s and 40s with a rugrat or two to illustrate the visual effect of skin sag with age and "abuse."  But the relative amount of padding looks like what I see in the mirror.

So I plugged my #s into this calculator and it spits out 20% body fat at 132#s and 18% at 129#s. This assumes I lose no muscle mass. I'd have to get down to 15.5% body fat to weigh 125#s! So totally not gonna happen, nor would I want to be that lean. 18% sounds far better for my bones and overall body type.  I'm clearly hauling around a lot more muscle now than I was in that top photo.  I'm expecting to be about 5#s heavier at that same clothing size.  5#s of muscle is so full of WIN!

In reality I will likely lose *some* muscle mass if I continue to eat enough of a deficit to lose weight and don't increase my current activity, BUT I will also be ramping my workouts back up in coming months as my wrist heals and I can log more miles on the bike (including outdoors), so come Summer the muscle mass will be increasing.  Especially if I pause the weight loss for the competitive running and cycling months.

I also put together a photographic journal page to visually document my progress.

1.13.2013

Ack!!!

Due to a miscalculation on my part when I was setting up my training plan for my upcoming half marathon in early April, THIS is the week I should start training, not NEXT week.  I highlighted race day as the last day of the plan, not realizing that a Sunday race counts as the entirety of week 12...this had me starting training next Sunday.  When I changed the plan to reflect the day before race day--a Saturday--as the end of the plan, then it moved everything back a week.  So today is technically day 1 (but it's a planned rest day, anyhow).

No biggie.  I had already planned to run the week 1 mileage this week, then repeat the mileage the following week.  I'm also able to take my wrist brace off tomorrow (yippee!!), so I'm going to carefully and gradually re-incorporate indoor bike rides back into the schedule (hopefully).

I'm more-or-less following Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan.  I think this is the same plan I used for my very first half marathon, though I wasn't riding at the time and had only 6 months or so of running under my belt when I started training.  After not running or biking or doing anything for 5.5 weeks I've lost some fitness, so it would be unwise to train any more aggressively than this plan details.  As is, it starts at the same sort of mileage I was doing all Summer and Fall, before my wrist fracture.

I ran 3x this week, for a total of just over 10 miles.  It felt pretty good.  I've definitely lost fitness, but I think the charts I've seen suggesting loss of ~10%/5 weeks of complete inactivity are pretty spot-on.  I'm thinking that in a month I should be catching a whiff of my previous running fitness.  Bike fitness I don't expect to see until closer to Summer.  Even though I have plans of getting 2-3 indoor rides in every week until I can actually manage steering or braking, 40-50 miles/week pale in comparison to 50-100 that I was covering all Fall.  Plus it's really tough to push myself hard indoors.

Dane and Mongo -- skinny boy & fat bike
I really hope I will have the opportunity to get out on the Mukluk before Winter's end, but, like last year, we've not had much of a Winter.  Today DS noodled-around in the yard for a while.  Fat bikes just aren't as interesting or useful without snow and/or sand.  Yesterday DH competed in a 3 hour fat bike relay race that was mostly on muddy terrain.  The only snow to be found was created snow on the edges of ski runs.  A week ago he and 3 friends went out on fat bikes and found decent snow along snowmobile trails, but it was short-lived with several days in the 40s.

My wrist and hand strength and flexibility are slowly, but surely, returning -- though a half-full 16oz. coffee mug is about the extent of what I can hold and cutting with a scissors is still difficult.  I'm hoping that by this time next month I might be able to manage some outdoor rides on my road bike or cyclocross bike--assuming road conditions are favorable.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were, after the trend of the past 2 Winters.  The only real limiting factors will be my ability to shift and brake (good incentive to upgrade my low-rent brake pads on the CX bike, for certain).  Very important measures of whether I can ride outdoors or need to stay indoors.

1.06.2013

And I ran, I ran so far away...

OK, it was just 3.1 miles, but my plan was to go out and attempt to do my best with 2ish and be happy.  My legs felt so good at the point where I would have turned home to run 2, so I kept going.

Free from my fiberglass shackle!
This was yesterday and my first run--first workout of any kind--since I busted my wrist in 2 places 5.5 weeks ago.  The day before yesterday I had my long arm cast removed and replaced with a removable splint.  I wear the splint for 10 days, aside from showering and range-of-motion and stretching exercises.

The run felt really good.  Not fast, but I also took it VERY easy.  My arm felt a little tender with the movement of running and actually hurts a good deal more with the cast off than it did with the cast still on.  My orthopod. warned me of this and instructed me to take the prescribed narcotic pain med in half-to-whole doses.  There have been moments where my wrist hurt as much or more than it did when the injury was fresh.  This is in large part due to severely atrophied muscles and tendons and ligaments that are essentially sprained (wrist fractures with bone displacement rarely don't have significant soft-tissue damage).  I also still have a good deal of swelling in the wrist joint and hand that prevent flexibility.

Today I had some relatively mild delayed onset muscle soreness (hammies, quads, abs), but I was expecting that.  5+ weeks of 0 activity do not come without a price.  I'm just so thankful that I felt so strong and comfortable actually running.  The only obvious effect was, perhaps, a decrease in aerobic performance.  But as an asthmatic that's the sort of thing I deal with randomly even under the best of training circumstances.

And I am already finding that my wrist range of movement is better today than it was yesterday--I'm 2-handed typing, again!!!--so I expect that my recovery will go well.  I have a follow-up appt. with the doc in just under 3 weeks.  I'm guessing that by that point I will have minimal pain and some functional use of my hand and wrist.  Perhaps I'll be able to manage some "nowhere bike" rides in the coming week or so.  Well...I don't think I should attempt that until the splint is off, so not for another week+.

For now I am focusing on easing back into running.  Given how well my 5k run went yesterday, I think I'll do another 3 tomorrow and continue with 3-4 milers on alternating days for the next couple of weeks.  I have 2 weeks to carefully rebuild some fitness before I start training for my early April half-marathon(s).  I'm planning to more-or-less follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 training plan, which starts with a week of 3 3-milers and a 4 miler.

Nike Free Run+ 3 Shield
To celebrate I ordered a new pair of running shoes (and also because I am due to add a new pair into rotation)!  I ordered the sort of "weatherized" version of my favorite shoe.  Seems fitting as we are in the middle of Winter...or "Winter."  I'm not minding that we've had little snow.  I'd not be venturing out for runs with this wrist business were there measurable snow on the roads.  Our roads are essentially bone-dry--phew!  The Nike Free Run+ 3 Shields should be nice once we get into Spring sloppies, too.

I also purchased another necessary evil: wrist guards for both arms.  It's quite clear that I should be encased in Nerf™ or bubble wrap for off-road riding astride 2 wheels, but since that would be rather uncomfortable and not particularly sweat-wicking, wrist protection of the sort that downhill mountain bikers wear is the next best solution.  I wear a helmet to protect my fragile head, so it only seems wise to protect wrists, given how common wrist injuries are in the mtb community.

Troy Lee Designs 5205 - they even match my mtn bike!
I did a little research and found that other mountain bikers who have suffered similar injuries have found the Troy Lee Designs 5205 wrist supports work well as a means to prevent wrists from mangling (or at least lessen the degree of damage) during mtb falls.

I purchased one for each wrist.  At $35/each they seemed like a small price to pay for a bit of insurance against ever being handicapped like this in the future.  AND ever having to take such an extended break from activities I love.

I'm guessing it may be another 2 months before I'm able to ride any bike outdoors.  I would likely wear these on the road bike for a while, too--until I have full strength to support my upper body well.  The more I baby myself now and don't overdo things, the faster I'm likely to be able to get back to riding and running strong.  Better to be a bit conservative and have a down year now than to go out too aggressively and risk never again having a strong one.  Managing injury recovery well is in really just as important as training well when not broken.  Though I will say that I'll be bummed if I don't get a chance to ride my new fat bike in the snow this season.

Slightly changing my focus/goals for the year may be necessary, too.  I wanted to really tackle some mountain bike races closer to Fall.  That may end up being an unwise plan, so my alternate plan would be to concentrate on duathlons, again.  This would be far from the end of the world.  I did several dus 2 years ago and really love that event.  I love that it makes equal use of both of my sports and the strategy involved...and leap-frogging other racers in each leg, depending upon our individual strengths.  I wouldn't mind doing that again this year, if need be.  I don't think I was ever as fit as I was when I was training hard for those events.  It would be interesting to see how much stronger/faster I could be with continued weight loss, too.

This broken bones cloud could certainly have a silver lining.  And my mountain bike will still be there for racing in 2014 if I have to wait until then to do more than casual rides.