Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is it Petra? Or just some crazy woman chasing her tail?

No it's me.  Absolutely me.  I know!  You thought I'd disappeared into nothingness / blissful domesticity / fallen off a train / was now giving that irritating Tracy Anderson a run for her money.  All of the above, in good time, my people.  Well, maybe not the blissful domesticity.  But let's just summarise:

  • I have finished - FINISHED - my Advanced PT course at the YMCA in London which was wonderful and intense and challenging.  
  • I have stopped commuting up and down to London and landing myself on beloved friends for bed / food / general physical and emotional sustenance.  I think they are still my friends.  
  • I have unpacked my MOTHER of all bags which I dragged up and down to London every other week for the last time, inevitable without at least 3 essential items.  
Oh and I'm not giving up on blogging.  I'm not quite sure whether I should somehow chase a bigger readership (views?) and not quite sure how so we'll park that thought for a while.  I'm not quite sure how much to separate my future professional online presence from my blog (in your view, would it detract from your view of your personal trainer if she put her fears, worries and insecurities out there or would you relate to that?) But strangely enough, without blogging there was no blogworld accountability and without blogworld accountability my running dries up, as does my running mojo.  So for the few of you who are still reading this - I'm back.  

For the longest time it felt like my course was all-consuming.  When I was not in London, away from the family and my home, and studying etc, I was at home trying to pick up at least a few of my dropped balls and revising for all the various exams.  (In the past 3 months it has become apparent to me that I paid NO attention at all - EVER - in biology and science.  ALL the anatomy and physiology was ENTIRELY new to me).  There were some highlights - at the end of November long-time blog buddy and friend Susan honoured me with a visit all the way from Memphis: 

Us about to set out on a run that was YEARS in the making

And by 2 weeks ago, I was feeling sufficiently on top of things (or able to ignore sufficient pressing demands on me) to think about London.  April 2012, I've got a place, I've got to get my stuff together.  All this cross-training malarkey (on my course I found myself doing aerobics / plyometrics / bootcamp workouts etc) is good and well but to train for a marathon you have to go out and run.  And so 2 weeks ago I started on my 18 week up to 55M Pfitzinger plan.  Yes, tried and tested.  By me.  It seems to work, seems to push me.  And while I would like to think that one day I'll upgrade to higher mileage, given the sporadic nature of my running so far this season that would not be realistic.  So week 1 went great - much better than expected.  

Yep - I even went out in the dark, headlight and reflective gear on.  
Week 2, repeat of week 1 but now in London so on top of a full courseload and "social" commitments went not quite so well.  I slugged out an 8 miler with 4M at sub 8min/mile pace, stopping and starting, and I contemplated giving it up altogether, but didn't.  My 9 miler was uneventful, but slow.  And now, in week 2, I've lost my copy of Advanced Marathoning (doh) and I'm googling the schedule until I find it again.   Slick moves eh? 

And in further developments, I decided in November that I needed to broaden my sporting horizon.  Yes - triathlon.  And not just any triathlon - a goal is not a goal unless it is a great big hairy-assed one - I signed up for a half ironman.  I am well aware that this year's training attempts ended in tears (bronchitis) but am hoping that next summer things will be better.  One step I am putting in place now is high quality swim training.  Tadah - last night I had my first swim outing with the Lincoln Tri club.  Nice, welcoming people (much nicer than my local running group, remember that?) and as I totally accepted that I was going to be a beginner, it was good.  Great coach, very structured training that I think will work for me.  Lots of progressive drills - this appeals to my methodical germanic side.  So watch this space.  There may NEVER be a photo of me in a swimsuit (I am not Mary Ironmatron after all) but if I can just make it through the 1900m open water swim (holy cr*p!) and through that 52 mile bikeride (my bottom half aches just thinking of this) then the half marathon should be cinch.  

So I'm feeling guardedly optimistic about the future - there's just the small matter of me finding the cojones to actually start up my own PT business, is all.  I've got 28 runmiles, 30 bike miles and 45 minutes in the pool to look for them before Christmas.  

In the meantime, I'm going to be catching up with you all.  Talk soon!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'll march my band out.

I have spent a long time agonising over this evening.  I'm 40 tomorrow and I know I should be freaked out about this.

But you've all been reading this blog for some time now.  Midlife crisis?  I think I've covered it.  The past 2 years have been rough in so many ways (though, thankfully, good in so many other ways) that life lessons have been learned at a fast pace.  I've been as close to rock bottom mentally as I've ever been, but I've also emerged, and - you'll all be relieved to hear - I've emerged stronger and more in alignment with the person I really am.

I haven't posted in a month for a number of reasons.  Firstly because between commuting to London every other week, doing full days at my course, revising for exams inbetween and then dealing with all the family life stuff that had been left undone while I was in London there was little time for anything else...  Secondly because I haven't really been training.  My ambition of training for a fast marathon (primarily to beat Sarah Palin's 1:45 recent half marathon time) has disappeared - doing a full-blown plan on top of a course that involves daily workouts which cover the range between finding your 1 rep max on resistance machines, learning how to teach "proper pushups" (I can't even do them myself), and experimenting with different methods of interval training, has just proved impossible.  Instead, I've reduced my almost daily runs to 5 miles of mostly easy work and have allowed myself a weekly 25 miles until halfway through November, when I'm going to have to nudge that up a bit... And thirdly because I've been wondering whether there is still any point in blogging.  I've been blogging for years - do I still have anything to add to this medium?  Am I offering anything others aren't offering, better and with more sponsorship, readers and support?  I don't really know the answer to the latter question.  I'm not sure how much it matters.  All I know is that when I think of stopping blogging, it makes me sad.  I have made many "real friends" and learned everything I know about running through it.  There is a huge community out there that I feel a part of.  So for now - I haven't given up on it, however sporadic my forays might be...

But onwards people.  I'm 40 tomorrow and I'm excited.  It's all good.  There's been some rain on my parade in the past but tomorrow I'm marching my band out.  And for you - younger readers - don't worry about it.  It's all good.  Yes - it takes my face a good hour to lose the impression of my pillow on my face in the morning.  But who cares.  Life truly, truly is juicy - and it gets juicier! - and I'm really having my bite.  Doing this course is the most energising, right thing for me to do - and it's good for me even if it is tough to be away from the kids and Adam and home.  I'm passionate about pursuing this career and can't wait to get started on it.

So once again - I'm going to catch up on everything in due course - and on you.  I promise.  Life won't be this crazy forever.  I'll be checking in - and then I'll truly be back.  40 - and loving it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Oh my friends.  It has once again been two weeks and I am feeling somewhat stuck.  And overwhelmed.  There is SO much going on and I'm just not quite sure where to start, and how to start it. A list will help, right?

  • I started my course at the YMCA in Tottenham Court Road, Central London.  It is wonderful.  It is interesting, amazing to do physical exercise as part of your learning, fun new people to meet.  But challenging on every level.  It has been a long time since I had this much to learn (last time I took classes there was no internet.  Or mobile phones, really).  So I'm struggling to get my revision in.  The opportunities for procrastination are bigger, much bigger. 
  • The kids have both started new schools.  They're both doing great - so far - but I've been hanging onto my anxieties about them both.  A friend told me once that you're only as happy as your unhappiest child.  As they're happy right now this thankfully is not an issue, but still. I like to worry in preparation. 
  • admin.  Sheesh.  I put all my admin and correspondence to one side the last week of the holidays so I could get all the kids' stuff together for school.  In this country everything has to be labelled.  With sew-on labels.  I don't really sew.  Well, I didn't.  I worked out how to use a sewing machine (practise makes perfect) and can even label socks.  Which is good, because there were lots.  But while labelling socks the post pile just grew and I'm only just emerging from underneath.  And then there's all the stuff I want to do - move my blog to WordPress yadda yadda yadda.  
  • running.  Hrmm.  My running has been on and off all summer.  Off first, because I was recovering from bronchitis.  Then there weeks of 40 miles, and weeks of 10 miles.  Days where I thought what I needed was a target marathon in November and days where I thought I needed that like a hole in the head.  My course has not helped - the first module we are working on is gym instructor (hmm.  Let's say that is not my dream) and so due to the fact that I don't really do anything in a gym other than run I am having to familiarise myself with all the machines, how to safely use it, how to safely train others to use it, and then there's all the weights exercises.  I need to know what they are all called - suffice it to say that I've been in the gym most days slightly panicked at the practical stuff I need to learn (the theory is meaty too but I addressed that worry in my first bullet point).  This takes up a LOT of time and also, the gym I use in London limits the use of treadmills to 25 minutes.  Sheesh.  
  • food.  Hmm.  I am not on the healthy food wagon and need to get back on it.  'Nuff said.  
  • sleep.  All this messiness is wreaking havoc with my sleep.  Which doesn't help me sort out the messiness. 
Basically, I need to do what I need to do on a regular basis. Stop where I am.  Stop regretting what I have not done, angsting over things done wrong or not achieved and get a grip.  Move on.  Start. 

So here I am, starting.  Planning the way ahead. 
  • to organise my revision and admin time, I'm using focus booster.  25 minutes revision, 5 minutes downtime, then 25 minutes more revision or admin, 5 minutes downtime.  Worked with it today and it's good.  I can envisage 25 minutes of revision.  
  • Running.  I'm going to train for a half-marathon in December.  At the moment my schedule, 5 days 9-5 at the YMCA in London, then 9 days back home, with a 3 hour drive at each end, will mean I can not put the work I want into marathon training.  The weekends are busy with the kids and lots of driving (did I mention this?  The mileage on my car is shocking - when I get it serviced they think I travel for work.  Nope.  Just fun...). So, half marathon training.  Shockingly, I haven't trained for one for years, I've just run them as part of marathon training.  As I am keen to beat my PR (1:45) and Sarah Palin's recent win I want to get sub 1:45.  My runnersworld schedule is hard, but hopefully not undoable.  Following it will mean I will not be able to get to the gym at the YMCA in the mornings before my course begins (which is a shame, because one of my new friends on the course is really working me) but will instead use the lunchtimes or the evenings to get in a short cardio workout to warmup and then use the weights machines so I can get used to them.  And buff up.  Obviously.  
  • And with food - well I'm just going to have to do this aren't I? Not focus on past failures, but focus on future success.  
And generally, this is something I need to do.  A friend of mine who I really respect recommended The Secret to me.  I balked initially - I had heard about it and had, frankly, dismissed it.  She told me to suspend my cynicism, ignore the stuff about quantum physics (honestly?) and about "the universe delivering" and just take on board the basic message that visualisation works, that focusing on what you want rather than what you are afraid of is a really positive step.  So I'm working my way through it and she's right - I do focus on the negative, my fears, more than on the positive.  So I'm working on this.  Because actually - there is nothing wrong.  My kids are happy, my husband is happy, I'm happy and doing a course I enjoy and that is challenging me - the 3am stomach cramps are not necessary, right?  

It tastes better than it looks. 
Any tips / tricks / links you can offer to help me along this path would be most welcome.  I'm off now to eat a bowl of the vegetable minestrone I tend to make to get me back on the wagon.  Namaste my friends! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

this girl's back in town.

6 weeks! Oh, I know. I have been a crappy blogger.  And I could think of a whole realm of excuses (and I do, actually, have them lined up) but actually - that's ridiculous. I haven't blogged all summer because for a great number of reasons my attention has been elsewhere, with other people.  It's been good to take a break - I've consciously spent less time on FaceBook and I've even sold my beloved iPhone 4 because I felt I was just spending too much time fiddling about with it (I don't care how BlackBerry tries to sell itself, those phones aren't nearly as sexy as iPhones.  Just what I need).

And while it's been really good to spend the time away from my screen and with lots of good real people, I have also missed the real friends I have out there in the blog and FB world, and I have missed the contact and accountability that comes from keeping my blog and reading yours.  So within the next week or so (give me a chance, both kids are starting new schools so there is an ocean of labelling to be done) I will be back with you all, finding out what you've been doing.

And so - if I wasn't on FaceBook or messing about with my iPhone, what did I do this summer?  The highlight has to be my trip to Oregon.  Way back in January, I asked on this blog what you would suggest I do to celebrate this year where I turn 40 and Jen immediately emailed me and invited me to run the Cascade Lakes Relay with herself and her husband and their team.  My immediate reaction to this invitation was "yes" and so, on August 3rd I set off for Portland.  The trip was wonderful from the first day to the last.  My first hosts, Zach and Jen, went out of their way to welcome me into their home and show me the sights of Portland before we set off for Bend on the Thursday evening.  There I met the whole team (Left, Right, Repeat) before hitting my bunkbed.  Our van was the first to start, and so by 8:30 we were in Diamond Lake in the cold morning, waiting for our first runner to start.  And then the whole event just - happened.  It was an intense, fun, funny, tiring, emotional roller coaster - there was such a relentless pace to the whole thing and yet there was so much down-time.  The physical proximity of us all in the van meant we had in-jokes from 5 minutes in, the support we all showed each other during the legs was incredible.  There were so many highlights but things I will never forget:

Deana and I at the start
Van 1 - ready to go! (Sean, Kevin, me, Jen, Zach and Deana) 
Look at that heel strike! 
Waiting to finish our first leg (me, Jen and Deana)
Oh coffee - you're almost better than sleep..
Thank you Jen...
I'm out on that dock - this was how we waited for Van 2 to finish.. 
  • starting on my first leg (unsupported by our van as it was off-road) and being warned there were rattlesnakes but they apparently "are more scared of us than we are of them".  This is the kind of stuff I tell my kids and even they don't believe it...  It put a spring in my step for sure.
  • running the night-time leg in the cold under the enormous starlit skies of central Oregon, with the marshalls following us on horseback;
  • having a shower and a flushing toilet at the high-school gym where we could sleep for 2 hours;
  • having an egg mcmuffin and a coffee on our way out to start our last legs - never has junkfood tasted SO good;
  • Jen jumping out of the van and keeping me company on the tough last leg.  Only 4 miles but it was so hilly and so hot and so high - it took everything I had not to stop and walk.  
But really - the thing I will never forget is my team and the way we were together.  I wanted to have an unforgettable experience this summer and I got one. Thank you Zach and Jen and everyone else on Team Left Right Repeat.

And on the tail of this amazing experience, I got to spend 3 days with another blogging / FaceBook friend, Emily - another great intense experience of friendship and connectedness.
Emily and I 
People sometimes say that you should do the things that you fear: while I wouldn't say I feared going to Oregon at times I did think it was kind of insane to make such a huge trip, away from my kids during the summer vacation, to spend time with people who I had only met once or twice and whom I knew mostly from their blogs.  But it was an incredibly memorably, warm and life-enhancing experience - the kind of thing that proves that it is right to do things that you are afraid to do, to take risks, because the rewards can be so incredibly wonderful.

Which leads me neatly into the next thing I'm doing that frightens me - I've taken the plunge, I've paid my fees - I am taking my advanced diploma in personal training and it starts next week.  Now if I had the occasional twinge about my Oregon trip, this enterprise completely frightens me.  I wake up some nights feeling there's an ice-cold fist around my heart..  I am afraid of so many different things - I have never done anything practical professionally (I did a BA and MA in English and have footled around for years with various other things), I am afraid I'll not have any clients, I'm afraid I won't be a good enough trainer ...  the list is fairly extensive.  But fundamentally it really comes down to a fear of failure.  I'm not sure how to get over that (advice would be really welcome) but I've decided to park that fear, for the time being, and carry on regardless.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Jump.

So watch this space - next week I'll tell you what happened. And in the meantime, I'm going to catch up on your blogs.  A bumper sticker I read recently said "It's only one-six billionth about you".  I'll take it to heart.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The phoenix rises!

I am, finally, well.  I am, finally, back on the road.  I listened to everyone who told me to wait until the doctor said "go!", to go slow, to take it easy.  I did ALL that.  And man, was it hard! Not at the beginning, when I felt so wiped out that taking it slow was fine.  But after a while I was desperate to get out there.  Desperate! 

But while my time off has made me less fit, has added some pounds and made me overall a little softer, a little rounder, I didn't entirely let this time go to waste.  One of my lurking friends emailed me immediately after my last post and suggested I retrain as a personal trainer.  I have been thinking about training as a running or tri coach for a while, had googled personal training courses but nothing had really stuck with me.  I think the personal trainers at my gym (= muppets) really put me off.  They are mostly quite sweet but so young, so annoyingly one-dimensional, so incredibly unable to get anything that does not take place within the gym.  (Marathon training?  Uh - you need to go outside for that?).  Yes I know - a snap judgment.  But this friend referred me straight to a credible course and qualification (YMCA) and pointed out that I could so easily run bootcamps and training camps and all sorts of things out here on the farm where I live.  I have space in my house to convert a room into a gym - I'm all set!  So I have spent the past 3 weeks researching this option, working out a business plan, talking to another personal trainer who lives nearby and who has been incredibly helpful and supportive and generally laying the foundations for this plan.  I am hoping that I can start the program in September - there are still some glitches to work out timing-wise and logistically with my family but things are looking positive..

And in the meantime my chest x-ray came back clear, my bloodwork came back fine except for my old friend anemia, and so with iron pills in my hand I am making my way back.  15 miles last week and I'm hoping to get a good 25 in this week.  Our summer holidays are finally beginning (11 year old is home, 8 year old has another 10 days to go) and life is a flurry of activity for them but I'm used to this - I can get my workouts in.  Only 2 weeks to go till I head out to Portland for the Cascade Lakes Relay so I'm intending to get some twofers in this week (5 in the am, 3 in the pm) and then keep them up next week.  My speed is not great at the moment and I am concentrating on the endurance rather than the speed for this race - with so little time to go I think I just need to ensure I can cover the distances rather than try to cover them fast.  Right Jen? 

So all is good.  I am WEEKS behind on all of your blogs but about to head over there now to see what has been going on.  The future is bright!

Oh - and in an attempt to stop me running (as if) one of my friends managed to convince me to go riding for the first time in my life....  It's fine but I don't think you sweat enough. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Since my last post, my health has improved a bit, but not enough.  I have been back to the doctor's and am waiting for results from a chest x-ray and bloodtests.  I won't bore you with the details or the symptoms but as much as I hope to wake up every morning feeling ready for the world and fully recovered, it has not happened yet.  Whatever is going on, I clearly have to take it easy for the time being.

Which means my tri training did not start yesterday. I tried 10 minutes of yoga on Sunday and collapsed in a coughing fit, so I know that getting out on the bike / run / in the pool would be madness.  Which leaves me - well - reassessing?

I'm not making any major decisions yet re the tri in July - I either will or I won't be able to train for it, so I either will or won't do it.  I am definitely heading out to Oregon for the relay in August, however - I've swallowed my pride and Jen and Zach are allocating me some of the shorter legs.  No PRs but plenty of fun - I am ready for that. As for longer term - a few weeks ago I was batting around the idea of a November marathon.  But I've pulled out of my London-Paris bikeride, I've pulled out of a 100K bikeride I was due to do in 10 days, I may be pulling out of my tri - right now I'm not committing to anything until I actually feel better.

Prudence (a voice I seldom listen to but she has a way of being right) tells me that when I do eventually feel better - and I'm officially off exercise for another 2 weeks - I will have lost a lot of fitness and need to build things back up slowly.  My osteopath has advised me to find some shorter races to run - perhaps to run 2 or 3 half marathons in October and November and to use those to get my speed and endurance back before starting London marathon training again in December.  I will have to see.

What this episode has made me realise, more than anything else though, is just how much I take my health for granted. I have been sidelined from training through injury before, but never this long due to illness.  Cross-training is not an option - there is no form of physical exercise I can take part in right now, other than walking - and as you might expect, I am struggling with this. I know in my head that running has been a big part of how I identify myself and feel good about myself - now I can feel it in my heart, because I don't feel the same.  This is no earth-shattering insight - I imagine that two good runinng blogging buddies of mine, Miss Zippy and Jill, who have both been sidelined from running for a long time, can relate to this. 

What it's also allowed me to see, and this is a somewhat more disturbing insight, is that I have for some time being using running and training as a way not to focus on much else.  I have been a stay-at-home mother on and off now for years - there was a 2 year period where I worked out of the home and I've taken on various freelance jobs when they've come along - but all in all I have not taken my career - such as it is - very seriously in the last 11 years.  And while that was fine for a while, and running was enough of a focus for me to be able to handle being a stay-at-home mother, my situation is changing now and I want to find a fulfilling and flexible career for myself.  It's a scary situation to face up to but I'm trying to muster the confidence and courage that running has given me and apply it to the rest of my life.

All of this will, I'm sure, be easier once I'm able to run again to take the pressure off...  In the meantime, I'm going to be brave and face the future and my fear of failure.  Stay with me, my friends!
In the absence of a decent current photo - who wants to see me looking pale and pasty?  This is me with my Big 5 marathon medals - London, Boston, New York, Chicago (x2) and Berlin.  No, I did not get the prize money as well...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bring back the balance - when can I start training again?

Okay, so I've got this )(*(&*^*%^& chest infection and I've cancelled my London to Paris bikeride.   Of course my doctor told me not to cycle London to Paris when I saw her on Monday.  Given that I was running a temperature and had creaky lungs there was no surprise there but honestly, in my madness, I was still thinking "maybe?".  But don't worry people, if the doctor hadn't put the kibbosh on my racing plans, friends and family made sure to do so very quickly.  Of course - 5 days after starting my antibiotics I am perking up.  Out of bed, halfway human again.  Still partly thinking that maybe I could have done?  But given that I pant when I climb up the stairs I know, I know.  So I am being prudent (SO boring) and taking 2 weeks off - a whole other 10 days to go! - and getting a proper examination before I slowly go back to exercise (I hope). 

Anyway - that's by the by.  I'm not the only person who's ever had to sit out an event, and it's happened to me before - I'll get over it. But here's what gets my goat.  Many people have said to me, when they found out I was ill, that I was ill because "I do so much exercise".  In their eyes, I think, I wear myself out and "overdo" it.  My initial reaction at these comments is intense irritation and anger and I throw it back at them - I like exercising, I like training and anyway - I know a large amount of people (most of you) who train harder than I do and dedicate more of your lives to your sport than I do.  But reflecting on my reaction I realise that it's not really what people say to me that matters as much as what I feel they're attacking.  I realise that I get so angry because I feel like they are asking me to cut back on something, often the main thing, that I do in life for my own self-fulfillment and enjoyment.  Like many of you, I have a family and friends and a home and personal issues and occasionally a job that put demands on me.  All of these are good things and I am lucky to have them, lucky to be wanted and needed in so many different ways.  But sometimes I feel pulled in too many different directions.  When I'm asked to be somewhere for someone I go, almost without questioning.  And the more demands that are placed on me, the less I tend to question whether I should always accede to them, the more I just tend to flip from one to the other.  Yes - I find it hard to say no.  As far as this chest infection goes - who knows what caused it?  Maybe running Boston was tougher than I thought, I was tired afterwards and flew home on a germy plane,  I didn't take enough time off before starting up running again.  All true.  But I can tell you that in the last few weeks I was feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the rest of my life and how tiring that was.  I spent very little time exercising precisely because I was doing so much other stuff.  And I was beginning to long for a training schedule because I know how dedicated I am to following a schedule and how, when I'm training, I make smarter decisions on which of the demands from the rest of my life I should be responding to.  When I'm in training, I know I have limited time for the rest of stuff and so I am focused and directed.  So - in contrast to what people say to me - I think that training actually forces me to balance my life.  And makes me happy.  So as soon as I can, I will get my training head back on.
can you see one of the sweet things in the rest of my life?
Which means that 10 more of days of sitting things out is not something I'm relishing. Watching from the sidelines in any aspect of something in life is not something I enjoy.  I've never even spectated a race - and that shames me, because I have drawn on the support of crowds on many an occasion (never more so than when I had to do so, literally, in the 2009 London marathon).  And to thwart any intention I might have to become a better spectator, the ridiculous lottery system that the London Olympics has instigated for UK residents meant that most of us who applied got NO tickets at all while residents of the rest of the EU were able to apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for whatever event they liked.  Bitter, me?  But if anyone you know wants to rent a lovely apartment near the Olympics site during the summer Olympics, let me know because I'm cashing in, I'm going to spectate this thing like the rest of you - on TV. 

Where does that leave my summer plans?  Well - I'm not sure.  I am - so far - committed to two events - the Virgin London triathlon (July 31st) and the Cascade Lakes Relay (August 5-6).  I was hoping to start a "proper" 6 week triathlon schedule on Jun 20th.  I'm going to have to see how that works out with my health and whether I'm able to do so.  I have various triathlon books but was going to follow a combination beginner / intermediate program from - beginner for swimming, intermediate for cycling and running, but if I really need to start up slowly (do I? do I have to?) I will do the beginner program for everything.  I mean, let's face it, this race is not going to be impressive in terms of time, given the base I'll be coming from.  But I really would like, one way or the other, to do this thing.  I was considering doing a sprint triathlon in the run-up to it but I am abandoning that plan so I don't overcommit myself.  As for the relay - Jen and Zach who have so sweetly invited me onto their team have also reassured me that the point of the relay is the fun, not the time - so no-one is expecting anything lightning-fast from me in Oregon either.  The pressure is off. 

So bear with me as I grumble my way through my convalescence - do you think I could at least do a 30 minute yoga video? - and soon, I hope, I will be joining you out on the road again.