Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sprint finish

Saw this on Slowtwitch today and had to post for anyone who missed it, this is awesome! I'm going to recall this the next time I'm in a sprint finish since I keep getting the beat down in the shoot.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Weekend

I overdid it just a bit this weekend, just a bit though. Saturday I took the dog on a hike with a friend and the weather was so spectacular that I decided to get on my neglected triathlon bike and set out on a ride with Bill. He was headed up Mary's Peak so I rode about 15 miles out with him and then came home by myself. By the time I got home I had spent about 3.5 hours exercising.

I have missed riding and the familiar sites I love like Christmas tree farms...

and fields of green grass...

and the trails and trees of the coastal mountain range...

It's easy to overdo it on a lovely fall day. On Sunday we took the dog to the local forest and spectated a 15k trail run. Typically Bill races this event but his ankle injury has prevented him from trail running recently. After the race we dropped the dog off and went to Costco for much need nourishment and then did a mini marathon house cleaning session and I made some hats for tribabe.com

This is what I looked like by Sunday night...

Friday, October 26, 2007

A legacy

Last night we went to a dinner to celebrate our swim coach and his 50 years of service to OSU. 50 years is an amazing amount of time to spend doing anything and our coach took the faculty staff fitness program from nothing to over 800 participants and 40 classes. He was also the men's swim coach back in the days when they had separate gym's for men and women and the men swam in the nude. There was lots of joking last night about coach wearing shorts no matter what the weather and how could his legs be pasty white despite the exposure but most of the evening was spent appreciating his influence on so many people and their fitness.

When the Dean of Health and Human Sciences started at OSU coach asked her to describe her exercise routine and she said, "Well I used to run!" and coach said, "But what do you do now?" and within the week he emailed her to let her know that she could meet him to walk at 5:30 am everyday. Bravely she met him for the first walk and stuck with it for the past several years.

The Dean described at the dinner that coach had led a frugal life and had saved up $20,000 and started the Bill and Judy Winkler fund to help with research projects on healthy aging. I don't know too many underpaid people that save up their money and then donate it back to their place of business. He is quite an inspiration and will leave a lasting legacy at OSU. I'm very proud to have met him and I am inspired by his generosity.

Here is a link to a brief summary of his story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Falafal Mess

I went to the pool this evening to do my first swim test in quite a while. The goal was to do 5 x 100 all out and see what kind of times I could put down with minimal training. I made the unfortunate decision earlier in the day to dine at the local Mediterranean style restaurant near campus and indulged in hummus and falafel. Later in the day I stopped in at an open house in the bldg where I work and had a piece of pepperoni pizza and some chocolate treats so by the end of the day there was quite a chum of food mixing in my stomach.

Given my "no excuses" frame of mind I drug myself to the pool and got in even though Bill had to bail on me to do a mock interview with his career counselor. As I warmed up I felt my quads and calves burning from the previous day's run, I believe that yesterday I was all happy with that feeling but today it just hurt. It took about 1000 yards to shake off the soreness so before I bonked I started in on the 100s. The goal was to swim the last 100 faster than the first so I took it out at a moderate pace. Coming back to the wall I was disappointed to see 1:32 had passed. That was kind of slow. I decided to focus on body rotation for the next 100 and came in at 1:34 and realized I wasn't getting any faster. After the 3rd 100 my stomach started barking and I just finished the next 100 at the same pace since there would be no afterburners today. I did force myself to kick harder (imagining my feet as flippers) on the last 100 and came in again at 1:32 so victory was not mine.

The swim is my nemesis but I still love it. Next week... I'm laying down some faster times and there will be no falafel on the menu. I forgot how I used to eat bland oatmeal all the time when training hard. I want to improve my 500 free time and this is where I'm starting.

I had a great work day, we toured a facility where they are doing a bunch of collaborative research with nanotechnology and microreactors. The research is done with faculty from various Oregon universities and local businesses and is funded by state lottery money. Smart people are cool, most of what they said was over my head but it was incredibly inspiring to see the amazing things they are doing. One Oregon business is using the technology to make portable kidney dialysis units and they are really close to launching. This is great news for Bill's mom who spends a lot of time in dialysis facilities now. I hope this works for people like her soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watch it wiggle

We had a great walk/run tonight, typically I pressure myself so much to run farther and faster, it's nice to take it slow. I'm starting to feel that great tired feeling you get when you TRAIN! Tomorrow I'm skipping swim class and doing a workout with Bill, I'm swimming 5 x 100 for time with the goal to make the last 100 the fastest and he'll swim 1.2 miles for time. I've never negative split 100s before, we'll see how that goes, I will post my times here to keep myself motivated. Bill wants to get in peak swim shape for next season so I'm scheduling swims for myself to get him to the pool.

We've got some fun things coming up, the university is having a special dinner on Thursday for our swim coach who has been at the university for 50 years! I think we'll even dress up a bit for the dinner. Friday we'll be attending a party for friends to say good luck at Ironman Florida.

Wonderful thing today: the weather was in the 60s and I got to run after work in shorts. The leaves on the trees have all turned and I'm wore shorts! I kind of missed my tights though, they tend to keep the jiggle under control better.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Never In a Hurry

I'm always in a hurry, always busy, always planning. We had an event on Sunday so I decided to slow down and take my time on Saturday. I spent almost all day working but at a slow pace and without pressuring myself. I took about 60 photos of tribabe.com items and prepared inventory for the Beaver Fever on Sunday. Saturday I spent most of the day in the living room working and alternated between watching the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader reality show and football. I actually learned something from the cheerleader show, the first thing: those ladies are very focused on being a cheerleader. They aren't joking around. Most of them said it was a goal since they were a child. I think where some of them fall short is they set their goal to be a cheerleader but they don't think beyond that. Example, they have them run 2 miles for fitness and one of the girl's was upset because she's used to running 1 mile. Given that this woman had probably made so many sacrifices to get where she was why would she let 1 extra mile of running get in the way of her goal? Why not aim for 3 miles of running or even 6 miles of running? She probably hasn't eat bread in 6 years and I know she got up at the crack of dawn to primp herself to workout, why not throw down the hammer and leave the other chicks in the dust!

I guess there's a reason why I'm not trying to be a DC cheerleader (other than my bra size!) Seriously though, if you're going to set goals, set some of them beyond what you think you are capable of and see how you do. Tribabe.com challenges me and I have to be careful to not let that get in the way of focusing on my husband or my day job. There is such a thing as being too challenged and I like to walk that razor's edge for too long sometimes. I need to slow it down a bit.

After working most of the day on Saturday I talked Bill into another walk/run, we went out in the rain for close to an hour. We're doing good though, we warm up by walking 10 minutes, then run 1 minute and walk 4 minutes, repeat 1 & 4 a few times and then do 2 minutes running with 3 minutes walking and then 3 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. It feels good to run for the short bouts. Hopefully Bill's ankle will get strong and I will get back into shape in the next few weeks and we'll be doing 10 minutes of running and 2 minutes walking. But we won't rush into that. We're not in a hurry here, just taking it slow. Yeah right... After our workout I hit the wall and passed out on the couch. We had to get up at 5am on Sunday to go the the race and Bill was whining about getting up early so I tried to inspire him by telling him that if he wanted to be a DC cheerleader then he was going to have to get up early and plan his outfit. I don't think he was inspired by my speech.

We had a great time at the race, you should do this race if you bike and run, it's well done and lots of fun! Plus you can say you did the Beaver Fever duathlon, that's pretty cool.

Friday, October 19, 2007

That's Just Weak

I'm on a fitness kick right now after taking a year off to try to start a family. We decided to hold off on the baby goal until 2008 so I'm giving myself some space to pursue the things I love. Throughout the fitness time-out I continued to swim, although I only participated in about 1/2 of the class. I still have a bulging disc in my neck and problems with arthritis so I took it easy in the pool for quite a while to see if it helped. It didn't. When I don't swim my upper body gets tense and I'm genuinely uncomfortable.

Despite all of the excuses the fact is that I was just wimping out in swim class. If the sets were too hard, I shortened them. If there was too much fly, I swam free. I got used to taking the easy road so I decided that now is the time to stop being a wimp. I'm staying at class until the end and doing as many yards as possible and the strokes the coach calls out. I'm going to swim in the next meet and hopefully I will PR (shouldn't be too hard considering how slow I swim). Time is not the goal though, being mentally stronger is. When I got out of the pool today, I was exhausted and I felt awesome. I love that feeling!

Happy thought for today: I requested a raise and it looks like I'm going to get it. I've worked for 6 years at the university and had only small raises, this could be a bigger one. I'm so happy I stayed at my job through some rough times, I think it's going to work out.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Think I Love My Husband

Last night we watched the movie "I Think I Love My Wife" starring Chris Rock. It's an OK movie, I think it's a remake, but it's worth watching as a couple just to get you thinking about how we take the things we have for granted. In the movie a female friend tries to seduce Chris Rock away from his wife and family. He was bored with marriage and tempted by the fantasy of being with another woman.

I won't give away the rest of the story in case you want to see the movie but it reminded me of some discussions I had recently with friends. I think most women at some point have questioned whether another woman has pure intentions with their partner. I've seen women flirt with my husband and seriously, he is so clueless about these things, he really has no idea when it is happening.

Recently there was a woman who I felt was trying to initiate an inappropriate relationship with my husband. Now don't get any hot ideas, she was a former classmate and wanted help studying, alone, with my husband. It could have been completely on the up and up and her intentions could have been pure but as far as I'm concerned she can go take a hike. It's nothing personal towards her, but there's a difference between hanging out with a guy from class and hanging out with a married guy from class. So bye bye co-ed!

I know Bill thought she was harmless and that I was overacting but that's my right and he honored that. We don't want to be in situations where things get misinterpreted or could compromise our relationship. I think there is societal pressure to not over-react and to allow "harmless" flirting. I know I have gotten myself in awkward situations in the past by allowing harmless flirting and it really sucks to find out that your best friend was only hanging out with you because he thought something else could happen. That sucks.

I'm blabbering like always. Something that made me happy today: it was really windy all day today and the branches and leaves were roaring from the wind. That is such an amazing sound, it reminded me of being out hiking on a ridge. Something that made me happy yesterday: our swim coach came back after being gone with a bad back for several weeks and yelled, "Erika! Your fly has improved but you're bending your knees too much on the 2nd kick!" Yes!!!! I'm going to start saying one thing that makes me happy per day. Aren't you happy about that! ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh Mother

We had a great weekend on the Oregon Coast, stopping off first at the top of Mary's Peak on our way out of town. After a trip through the coastal mountain range we stopped off for lunch and clam chowder and garlic bread and then went to Yachats (pronounced YAH-hots) on the coast. Marshall did enough surfing in the ocean and running playing soccer on the beach to wear himself out so we were able to leash him up to go to the tide pools at Cape Perpetua. This is where Bill proposed marriage to me last year only then it was low tide. Sunday was high tide and the waves were coming in with genuine ferocity. We sat in awe of a blow hole and watched the ocean rage from a distance.

Next we drove south to the Oregon Sand Dunes Recreation area and this is where I found renewed inspiration. I looked down this beautiful flat stretch of beach that was virtually deserted and felt deep in my soul the urge to run. Look at this area on a map, the stretch of beach is so long, I just imagined running along for hours with the wind to accompany me. I was moved and I totally didn't expect it. My impression of sand dunes are places where red necks wreck havoc with their dune buggies. So this area caught me off guard, I can't wait to go back. That's not to say that I'm going back to running completely again. I have to keep body fat so I can get pregnant but I'm going to concede to run/walking and eating lots of healthy food.

Anyway, the weekend with my mom and sister was great. Both of them needed to relax and get out of their routines and I'm oh so happy to push them along to new experiences. My mom makes me laugh, she commits to whatever she's doing with lots of zest. If it's running from Bill up a sand dune and falling on her face, she'll do that with everything she's got. She cracks me up. My sister is always surprising me as she grows up, she's 9 years younger than me so I literally remember the day she was born and have tortured her ever since. Not really, the nice thing about my relationship with her is that we have lived separate lives with the same parents, I was gone by the time she was getting in trouble and she was too young to see the trouble I got in (mostly). We do respect each other and have lots of love, it's special but not in the "lets cuddle and talk about our inner most thoughts" kind of sister way. Yuck! Actually, I don't know anyone like that, what am I talking about?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The funniest photo I've ever seen

OMG! Click to zoom in on this photo! We were at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area with my mom and sister this weekend playing around near the beach when Bill picked up a long piece of seaweed or kelp (?) and started swinging it around like he was going to lasso the dog. I knew he would start coming after us girls next so I told my mom and sister "Run!" and quickly I was atop a sand dune and turned around because my mom was screaming so I whipped out my camera to capture this dear moment. Don't worry, it ended well, he tossed the kelp aside and my mom hobbled up the hill unharmed and Bill said, "You're like those people that get killed first in horror movies! You freeze when you're being attacked!" I don't know who is stranger, her or him. Either way, they keep me laughing. What a bunch of weirdos! Soon after this my sister said, "This has been great but I want to go home and eat pizza and watch football, there are some great games on today." Bill was all happy to hear that. grrrr.

Sorry for the delay in blog postings! We had company all weekend and I'm particularly busy with work and trying to get back into shape so not a lot of free time but I vow to blog more. You can hold me to it. I have some more great photos that I will post tomorrow (Wednesday) but for today, I need to go eat and spend some time with my book. I did 50 minutes of walk/run today and 50 minutes of yoga, I'm finally feeling better and I'm ready to get back into shape a bit. But I promise to blog too! Cheers!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Identity crisis

We finally got started on the process to change my name, one year after our marriage. What a pain in the butt this is! We had to go to the county court house (open only M-F 8-5) during my office hours 4 times to fill out paperwork. First they give you about 10 pages of legal documents to fill out and charge you $99 to file. Then they post your name change request on a board for two weeks and you have to go back and sign more papers and then they post again for another two weeks. Finally you go back to pick them up and then you are done, with them. I also had to go to the social security office and next will be the dept of licensing for a new driver's license. I will also have to change my name at work (email, HR, retirement, and union) and my banking (business, personal, and mortgage) and my passport will have to be updated. My credit cards, accounts, and business license will have to be updated. I'm sure there are other loose ends I haven't figured out yet but all of this and I get to have a new name that no one knows!

If we weren't planning to have a family I would not have done this. It's too much. I have a professional reputation (small but it's mine!) and people from my past will not be able to find me. When future employers call references for "Erika Fleck" my old workplaces will not know who that is. Someone asked me, "Why are you changing your name?" Well folks, it isn't for me I'll tell you that much! I did it for my husband. I think more women will choose not to change their names, especially with people getting married later in life. I know this causes issues for some couples and the bottom line is this: either the woman changes her name or she is that woman who won't change her name. Good grief!

Well I'm feeling somewhat better but still have an upset stomach and fatigue. I got an energy surge last night and started prepping Tribabe.com for the upcoming Beaver Fever Duathlon. I think I was inspired by the arrival of six boxes of beach towels that arrived yesterday (that was painful to pay for) but I have an assortment of colors on hand now. Building inventory is expensive but you can't sell what you don't have. I'll put up some pics of new stuff next week. My mom and sister are coming for a visit this weekend so I'm looking forward to having lots of fun! I'll post pics if we have time!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

wah wah wah

I have the flu and Bill does too! I'll write again when I feel better.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Girl's Weekend in Hood River

I'm back and refreshed after a fun weekend with the girl's in Hood River, Oregon. I met these ladies through the slowtwitch triathlon training camp and we decided to bring together the NW gals for a fun weekend. Two of us were from Oregon and one from Idaho and one from Washington. Hood River was a perfect meeting point and a great town. The town was revived by windsurfers in the 80s so there are plenty of cool restaurants and shops to explore. We stayed at the Hood River B&B which is just a few blocks from the main street downtown.

Our first order of business was a short bike ride on the historic Columbia River highway (it's closed to traffic now) which was splendid on a crisp fall day. Soon enough we were off to the pub for martinis and appetizers to wait for our new friend from Idaho. Once Sheri got there we walked around the booming downtown area and realized that it was First Friday and there were lots of people out and about. It was quite a scene but we found a great place to eat and the girl talk began in earnest.

Our b&b made us a great breakfast Saturday morning (the owner is a swimmer and we swapped stories over breakfast) and went off for a brisk morning hike with views of the Columbia gorge. Afterward we had coffee, showered and hit the town for the microbrew festival. There was live music and vendors and we really enjoyed a local troupe of Brazilian style drummers that entertained in between live music sets. It was a fun atmosphere and really enjoyable although the brewers all seemed to represent with an IPA so it was hop city there. IPA is my favorite type of beer but dang! Hoppy!

Later we had more cocktails and went out for a late sushi dinner. Actually, I didn't have any cocktails because my stomach was revolting on me but I'm not going to whine about it here. Let's just say I'm taking a few months off from fertility drugs (completely off) so I can feel normal again. Anyway, the crowd was a bit boozy so we didn't linger too long (one woman was showing her newly purchased breasts to her dining companions) and walked back through town and back to the B&B for more girl talk and bed. Sunday we enjoyed another fabulous breakfast and went SHOPPING at the great shops there. I bought doggy stuff at Gorge Dog and I believe some hats and other fun items were purchased for kitties and doggies (not me this time!). After a quick lunch we all headed out and I made it home at a reasonable time today. It was a great weekend and the only question that remains: when can we do it again?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Meow! It's time for girl's weekend

I have the day off tomorrow and I'm headed to Hood River for a girl's weekend! Wooo ho! I'm meeting up with some ladies I met at triathlon camp last year and we're staying at a B&B and planning to hike and bike this weekend. There is also some whispering about a microbrew festival (cheers!) so it should be quite fun! Hood River is a quirky little town nestled in the Columbia Gorge and is home to the windsurfing type of crowd. There are plenty of fun shops and restaurants so we'll have plenty of fun. I'll have lots of pics from the weekend adventure on Monday.

I will be offline through Sunday so have a great weekend! Here are some kitty pics since it's been all about the dogs lately.

Baby Cassie

Big Cassie

Nothing to See Here Folks

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm not on drugs or am I?

My embroiderer is drying onions in her house so everything I take to her comes back smelling like, well, onions. So I've been laundering everything which is an extra step in the process for me and makes me want to buy an embroidery machine asap (which I won't but I like to pretend I will take out a loan and get one). That isn't even the strangest thing that's going on, I walked into the bathroom today at work and there was a lizard in there with a message "I'm here to save you" now what strange person puts that in the bathroom, hanging out over the toilet paper dispenser and furthermore, what other strange person takes a photo of it and posts it on their blog? That would be me. But I didn't put it there!

Oh man sooooo I was supposed to take a break from fertility drugs which I did but lo and behold my body ovulated on its own so I had to call the Dr and she put me back on drugs in case I got pregnant. I'm pretty sure I'm not, like 95% sure, but I can't stop taking them until we're 100% sure. Not quite the break I was looking for, I woke up last night with hot flashes and the sleep I was getting is starting to slip away again.

The good news in all this is I made it to open enrollment for insurance at my work and now I get to sign up for short term disability insurance which I didn't have before. For those who might be unaware, the United States of America is one of a small hand full of countries in the world that provides ZERO benefits to families for maternity leave (unless you count FMLA which gives you time off but it's unpaid). I am lucky in that I can get short term disability insurance from my job that will cover 60% of my salary for 13 weeks but the coverage doesn't kick in until I've exhausted all of my vacation and sick leave and then I have to wait an additional week (with no pay) before the coverage kicks in. (sarcasm on) It makes a lot of sense to force a working mom to exhaust all of her leave after she gives birth to a baby. Because babies don't need special care or have to go to appointments if their moms work. (sarcasm off)

Presently, I am the sole provider of income for my family so if do get pregnant it will be our loss financially if I take time off. This is another reason to delay starting a family, Bill is looking for a job in a competitive field and we have no idea when his career will resume. If I were to have a difficult pregnancy we would be in trouble before the baby even got here. It upsets me that I have a stable job with good benefits and I feel like I'm left out in the cold when it comes to this subject.

Here are some stats on parental leave world wide:
  • From the top of the list: Algeria has 14 weeks at 100% paid maternity leave with 3 days paid paternity leave
  • At the bottom of the list: Zimbabwe has 90 days maternity leave at 60%/75% pay
  • To be clear: the USA has 0 paid days paternity and 0 paid days maternity
  • The majority of American women are working moms (personal note: all of my local friends who are new moms work and most of them work full time)
  • Compare our country to this, "In the UK, all female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, 39 weeks of which is paid, with the first six weeks paid at 90% of full pay and the remainder at a fixed rate."
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave and http://www.momsrising.org/

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

South Town Homies

Here are some of the photos from the South Town Homies shoot on Saturday. I'm working on loading them to my site for ordering the dog t-shirts. Great pics! Great dogs!