the healing process

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I suppose I am healing. It's been slow progress, but I think it's finally happening. It's no longer excruciating to pull myself out of bed into a standing position in the morning. And I'm no longer limping. And I am starting to run again.

Case in point: A little more than a week ago, I ran the Petaluma Moo Cow 5K with my dad.


Aren't we cute?

The 5K was not my original plan; I was supposed to run the half marathon and get a cowbell medal at the finish line, but there was absolutely no way I could've completed 13.1 extremely hilly miles in the shape I was in. So 3.1 it was.

Despite the fact that I didn't get a cowbell medal, I was pretty glad I wasn't running any farther. I started out much too fast on an uphill course, realized immediately that my cardio is just not what it was two months ago and basically just held on as best as I could until the turn-around. And then I held on again on the downhill and prayed my hip wouldn't punish me later.

Mile 1: 9:17
Mile 2: 9:02
Mile 3: 8:18 (Hooray for downhill speed!)
.11 mile at 7:37 pace


I ended up setting a new 5K PR at 27:24 with an 8:50 average pace. (This isn't actually my best 5K time -- I've run the distance faster, just not in a race.) I also came in seventh in my age group, which is the best I've ever done as far as age group ranking goes. (By the way, if you want to laugh, look up my Ukiah results. I ended up next-to-last in my age group! Wow. I knew I was slow, but man, talk about humbling. I really need more open water practice. But I digress.)

Since Moo Cow, I've run only one other time -- did a 5-miler this past Sunday. It started off ugly (seriously, my cardio is completely off -- I thought I was going to die during that first mile), but then I found my legs again and ended up averaging a 9:41 pace, which I'm happy with considering I've been out of the game so long. And there was no pain -- some awkwardness as my muscles tried to remember how to function, but otherwise OK. And I wasn't too sore afterward.

So things look promising. My physical therapist released me from treatment, and my chiropractor appointments are less frequent. And I'm back to doing full hour-long Pilates workouts again instead of 30-minute rehab sessions.

I'm hoping the healing process continues because I have two races coming up next month -- the Healdsburg Half Marathon on Oct. 16 and the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon on Oct. 29. (Seriously, could the organizers have picked more confusing names?)

Oh, and because I really am certifiably crazy, I'm also doing the GranFondo on Saturday. Don't worry -- I'm not doing the full course, just the baby Piccolo route of 32 miles. Um, and in typical Michaela fashion, I haven't ridden my bike since Ukiah. I have, however, taken two spin classes. And I bought a cute pair of bike shorts. (I can't believe such a thing actually exists -- can spandex diapers really be "cute"?) Does that count?

pizza party

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My latest project at work: A wine education weekend for 13 food bloggers. The event started tonight with a formal food-and-wine pairing seminar, followed by a casual dinner with pizzas from the wood-fired oven.

I got to make my very own pie from scratch. (OK, so our chef made the dough. But I still got to stretch it and shape it, and I'm proud to say that I didn't tear it.) I topped my pizza with red sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, button mushrooms, maitakes, a little garlic, dried oregano and fresh basil.


Let me take this moment to brag about the fact that I successfully placed my pizza in the oven and didn't lose any cheese or a single topping. I also turned the pizza without incident. (OK, well maybe my left wrist hurts now. But other than that, I rock at pizza-positioning.)


The finished pie cooled for a bit.


(Note the guy in the background. You can always pinpoint a blogger by the fact that he or she finds it next to impossible to stop taking photos. I am just as guilty.)

And then I added the basil, which was the final touch.


I know you wish I delivered!

ragnar

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's Saturday night, and I'm typing this from bed. For some reason, I'm exhausted.

Maybe it's because last night was a late one -- a five-hour Ragnar Relay volunteer shift that ended after 10:30 p.m. (Funny how this all turned out -- I went from almost captaining a team to volunteering on behalf of Derrick's team, a.k.a. Team I Need More Cowbell. I guess if I can't run, helping someone else is the next best thing, right?)

I worked Exchange 11, which was at Petaluma Junior High.


Somehow I roped Emily into giving up her Friday night to keep me company.


As each runner approached the exchange, I made sure their teammate was waiting in the chute for the hand-off. This was especially exciting when the teams were in costume.


But it was sad when the teams were unprepared -- there were a few runners who made it to the exchange before the rest of their team, so they had to wait around and lost time. (In the photo above, that's what the guy in the background sitting on the rock is doing. Poor guy.)

Meanwhile, Emily tracked the time that each runner came in and passed off the baton (or in this case, the official Ragnar slap bracelet) to a teammate. The timing sheet looked like this:


As you can see, it involved the extremely high-tech tools of pen, paper and watch.

Our exchange was fairly busy until about 7:30 or so, and then things slowed down. And the sun set. And it got cold. I went to the end of the street (wrapped in a Mexican blanket and three layers of clothing, plus a reflective vest) to direct any runners coming in, and for awhile, on the dark corner, it was just me, this sign ...


... and a creepy rustling sound that turned out to be a baby possum.

I tried hard not to think of serial killers, zombies and hitch-hiking ghosts.

I'm a triathlete

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sad panda has been replaced by ...


Triathlon panda!

Swim: .5 mile

I'll admit it: I was really worried I was going to be the dumbass who'd ruin this sign.


The fears didn't get any better this morning. (Look at all those people! And the wetsuits!)


As per usual, I totally freaked out in the water. All of the splashing and the flailing limbs and not being able to see the bottom of the lake and just feeling incredibly small in what seemed like a gigantic body of water really got to me. For a second, I thought about dropping out. And then I remembered that glorious thing called the backstroke: Yes, folks -- I backstroked half of that swim. And then I started thinking about the fact that I was backstroking a triathlon. And then I couldn't stop laughing. And then I was totally fine and ended up swimming the rest of the distance like a normal person. My swim time was absolutely horrible, and I'm almost certain I was the very last person from my wave out of the water, but whatever. It was comedy and I didn't drown and that's all that matters.

Bike: 21.7 miles

The swim-to-bike transition was pretty easy -- just threw on my shoes and socks (since I have lame paddle pedals, I was wearing running shoes) and strapped on my helmet and off I went. I think I was just so grateful to leave the swim behind me (what I love about the triathlon: there's no dwelling on the previous leg because you have to focus on the task at hand) that I didn't worry too much about the fact that my longest training ride was only 11.6 miles. (Seriously, I was not exaggerating when I said I was ridiculously unprepared for this event.)

My strategy? Enjoy the ride. And I did. I feel like my bike and I are in this new, young relationship -- the getting-to-know-you stage, if you will. So today's ride was another date -- deeper conversation this time, maybe covering more serious topics perhaps, but still a flirty little date as we rode past vineyards and funky mailboxes. (Apparently, the residents of Ukiah really enjoy decorating their mailboxes.) And it was fun. I found myself smiling the whole time. And I did get to pass a few people, too, which was nice. (By the way, I have a feeling my bike and I will have a long-term relationship. This is definitely more than just a crush -- she's hot and smart and athletic. Swoon.)

Run: 3.1 miles

Because my swim was so ridiculously slow, almost everyone was already running by the time I got to T2. As I was riding up, I thought to myself: Why are they all running funny? What the hell is wrong with them?

I soon found out. After an insanely fast transition (hooray for not having to change shoes), I started running. (Keep in mind that I did zero brick workouts prior to this. And I also hadn't run in more than a month due to my stupid tendonitis.) Talk about awkward: My legs felt like lead, my feet felt pigeon-toed, my ass felt like it had something stuck up it and my strides were so short it was like I was shuffling. I told myself just to put one foot in front of the other and reminded myself that this was my sport, this was what I loved -- and most importantly, this was the one thing I had been looking forward to doing all day.

The course started off on trails and wound down a hillside. After about a mile, I started feeling like myself again. I began to pass people. And not a single person passed me. I finished strong and really, really happy.

My overall time was pretty slow -- I think it was 2:36 or something like that. (It's not posted online yet, so I can't double-check.) But I don't really care -- I had a blast. And I think I'm hooked -- I definitely want to do this again.

Only next time, maybe with more swim practice.

pandas do not run or swim

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


I think this pretty much describes it.

Today I officially deferred my New York entry and cancelled my trip. I guess Momofuku and Ippudo are going to have to wait until 2012.

I know it's for the best, but I still can't help feeling down.


In other uplifting news, apparently I totally suck at open water swimming. Sunday's swim at Lake Sonoma went something like this:

I waded into the lake. My friend said: "It feels like we're standing in diarrhea." I freaked out. There were boats, hence wakes. I freaked out. There were plants that wrapped around my arms. I freaked out. My friend said: "So. Are you planning to swim?" I said: "I think maybe I'll just tread water right here for awhile."

I tried again tonight at Johnson's Beach -- joined another friend for a swim clinic led by Echelon. Spent the first half of the swim freaking out while the coach yelled: "Are you OK?" over and over again. Finally I calmed down and was able to do some drills and practice starting the triathlon and then making the transition out of the water with the rest of the group.

And then when I got home and took my bathing suit off, my boobs were covered in green algae.

Dear god, Sunday is going to be pure comedy. I have no idea how on earth I'm going to pull off a tri.
 
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