Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Meditation Milk

I bought a yoga video off Ebay and it arrived this weekend. I wasn't feeling well, so I decided to try it out. I'm trying to do more stretching. I had a massage last week and I got scolded for not stretching enough. Yoga just isn't for me, I have a hard time being that still. Clearing my mind "meditating" while doing yoga just doesn't happen. I'm too busy watching the T.V. to make sure I'm doing it right. I started to think about my mind. Is it ever just blank and not having internal chatter?

Milking the goats is a type of meditation for me. It's a simple chore I do daily that is imprinted in my mind. I only milk two goats everyday, Happy and Maple. I choose to only milk the goats that lose their kids. Most dairies will take the kids away so they can collect all the milk. I did this my first year, it was awful. The Mamas cried for their kids for about a week- long, sad moaning. If they ever saw the kids it was worse. Plus, it's a ton of extra work for me to bottle feed.

Happy and Maple lost their kids earlier this year. They both froze when they were born on a cold night. You develop a special bond when you milk an animal by hand on a daily basis. The goats are very specific about milking. I am the only one that they will allow to milk. It is horrible if I have to go away while I am milking a goat. They will play games with the animal sitter. They'll refuse to get into their milking stand. They have to be chased down and forced to put their head in the stand. They will refuse to eat and kick their feet trying to knock the bucket over.

We have our routine, Happy is always milked first. I don't know how they came to that conclusion but that's the way it is. Happy likes sweet feed w/sunflower seeds more than pellets. She's a chow hound that always finishes her food and will start kicking in protest when she's finished. Happy doesn't have the best udders. They are shaped like torpedoes(not everyone can be Pamela Anderson) and can be difficult to milk, especially for new animal sitters. Happy likes for me to give her a hug and let her kiss my face after I am done milking her. Getting my nose nibbled on is a fair trade off for having your boobs milked everyday.

Maple likes pellets more than sweet feed and doesn't like sunflower seeds. Maple is very ladylike, stands perfectly still and never kicks. She eats very slowly and will pick out the sunflower seeds if given to her. Maple has very nice udders, she would probably place well if I took her to a show. She is easy to milk because her udders are well proportioned. She doesn't produce as much milk as Happy.

When I milk them, I get into a zone. I can be still and appreciate nature. I slow down enough notice the little things. I can hear birds singing, smell spring coming, see magnolia blossoms blooming, feel the warm sun on my face. It's the time of day I feel just content to be alive and breathing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

She Hurts More than I Do

I figured out why I have been so ass dragging tired lately. A few days ago, my throat really started to hurt so I went to the doctor's office yesterday. I have strep throat. I got an antibiotic shot in the butt and a prescription for a 10 day dose. I'm not supposed to train for two days or until I don't have a fever. I think my fever broke last night because I was sweating so bad while sleeping, I had to change my clothes because they were soaked! I'm just frustrated to be sick because it's so nice outside today and I want to be riding my new bike. I can't complain too much, at least I didn't give birth today!

Since the weather was so nice outside today, I decided to sit in the warm pasture with the goats. One of the pregnant Mamas(Fire) decided to have her baby today too, so I ran inside to get a camera. Warning- The following pictures are of birth, so they are graphic.
One of the first clues a goat is going to kid is tail postion. Fire's tail is raised high and her back is arched. Her sister(eating hay) had her kid two months ago, her tail and back are relaxed.
The first signs of labor is the udder swelling with milk(bagging up),
discharge and pawing at the ground to make a nest.
She is getting serious now, she will lay down and push then stand up. She starts to be very uncomfortable and will cry and grind her teeth. Her sister stands by for moral support.

45 min. into labor and she's making great progress. In healthy goat births, the kids are born front feet first. You can see in the right picture the baby goat's little white hoof. It looks like I won't have to help.

This is the hardest part for Fire. They are in the most pain when the head and shoulders come out. Fire actually started to run out of the barn during this last stage of labor. Like she thought she could run away from the pain. This was her first kid so she didn't really understand what was happening to her body.

Here's her baby boy, his name is Milkman!! He's strong and healthy, stood up in 5 min. and was nursing soon after that. Fire's doing great and she's a good Mom. She got two heads of lettuce, two apples and a carrot after that ordeal! Guess I can't be a whiner about strep throat. A day at the farm puts everything into perspective.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Good Mistake

I was looking at the times for the Half Ironman last year at White Lake a few days ago. I started figuring out how fast the top women were running a mile and mph on the bike. The bike course is very flat for this race. When I calculated the bike time of 31 mph I about fainted. Then I felt depressed, even with my new Litespeed, I could never ride that fast....maybe down a hill! I started imagining these Speed Racer's whizzing past me. Then I felt bad my husband bought me the new bike because I'd probably come in last.

I went into the bike shop today to get an odometer and a swim cap. I talked to Charlie about the top women's bike times last year. How do you get good enough to ride at 31 mph for 56 miles? He looked at me like I was nuts, 31 mph? So he pulled up the website. I said "See!!She finished the bike in one hour and forty-five minutes!" Charlie replied"You are looking at the run time.." I felt like a dumbass but I was also happy inside. Their average mph was actually 19.5 mph. I doesn't seem as scary as 31 mph, some mistakes aren't always bad.

I have never timed myself when I run. My swim friends and I have started timing ourselves swimming. I think I am afraid of the time because it's the "in your face facts". I decided today was the day to time one mile. I set up the stopwatch on my mp3 player after I ran 3 miles. The end of "Teenage Wasteland" was playing, it was nice and fast. At the half mile mark "Back In the High Life Again" came on and it sounded too slow. Next time I sprint a mile, I will cue up good tunes. I had 3/4 of the mile completed when my husband jumped out of the bushes, started running behind me and was grabbing my ass. I got all pissy "Cut that shit out, I'm timing myself" and swatted him away. I ran really hard then because I felt I lost a few precious seconds because of his surprise. I finished the mile in 6:59 and I was happy. So I turned around expecting him to be there to share my good news but he was gone. I ran to the parking lot at the park and he was getting into his truck. My happiness about the timed mile didn't matter anymore. Sometimes, I take my training too seriously. I felt bad I had hurt his feelings. What if he'd left and got into a car accident? My last words to him would have been mean. He came to the park to surprise me and show me he cared, I should have shown him the same love and respect. There is always another mile to run, lap to swim, hill to climb. Would any of it matter if I didn't have anyone to share my victories and failures with? I think that was my lesson today.

After discussing my crunchy pool hair with other soapmakers, I decided the swim cap and wetting my hair with tap water/applying conditioner before the swim is the best way to prevent damage. I'm going to work on making a deep conditioner and a sprayable leave into conditioner today. Before I do that, I have to clean up pots and pans from my last batch of goat's milk lotion in the soap shack. I love creating but hate the follow through of clean up. By the way, the protein/energy bars I made yesterday rock! If anybody wants, I'll post the recipe. And I did clean up the kitchen after making them! :) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recipe for the protein bars
KG's Energy Bars
2 c Grape Nuts
2 c quick oats (uncooked)
1/2 c honey roasted peanuts
1/2 c sunflower seeds (with shells removed)
1/2 c soy nuts, chopped
1/2 c slivered almonds(toasted)
3 tbsp wheat germ
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
1.5 c brown rice syrup or dark corn syrup
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c M&M (optional)
1/2 c raisins
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13" X 9" pan with cooking spray.Mix the first 7 ingredients (Grape Nuts thru wheat germ) in a large bowl. Put the syrup, peanut butter and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on stovetop on medium until peanut butter is melted. Pour warm mixture over dry ingredients.Use a large spoon to beat the ingredients until thoroughly mixed.Add the M&M's and raisins. Wait just a couple of minutes before doing this so that the syrup does not melt the M&Ms.Pour into 13" X 9" pan and spread out evenly over the pan. Bake for about 8 minutes and them allow to cool for an hour or two before attempting to cut squares.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend of Doubts

I did no training this weekend, nada, zipola. I honestly felt like crap. I was so tired but I couldn't sleep, I didn't have an appetite, it was a struggle to communicate with people, even milking the goats was a challenge. I started thinking negative thoughts, like I'll never be able to finish the Half Ironman. I just think I over did it last week between the cardio and weight training, I'm PMSing too. Do other women feel like their training suffers when pmsing?

My husband was great this weekend, helping me with the farm chores and fixing meals. I must have looked tired. I did feel better this morning and went for my 6am swim then weight trained my bi's, tri's and abs. I realized this weekend more training isn't always better. I have a 12 week training schedule that Charlie Storm http://www.fittobetriedbikes.com/ made for the Half Ironman race. Have I been following it? Well, sort of... but I like to add on more. I realized after my break down this weekend that if I don't follow a schedule, I may break down during the race and not finish. I would be devastated if I didn't finish. My reason for doing this Half is because I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma when I was 18-19 . After 16 chemo treatments, the doctors said I wouldn't be able to do endurance events due to heart and lung damage. Well, I am going to prove them wrong. I've got to stop being my own worst enemy though and swallow my pride so I can listen to others. " Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it. "

The weather has changed drastically from warm and windy Friday. It's gray and dreary outside. I'm going to experiment on making homemade energy bars and green pea soup. My stepson is home for the long weekend from the Marines, I enjoy cooking for the family. He rented a movie called Saw 2 last night. I was trying to have a recovery weekend and that movie was making my heart race, I could feel it. I lasted only a few min. then I decided I'd rather be calm and try to sleep. Glad I didn't have any nightmares!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Warm and Windy Friday

Because it was so nice outside yesterday, I went a little overboard. I ran five miles, biked 17 miles in the afternoon and did a spin class for an hour. My quads were on fire during some of the drills. This morning I swam a mile, did weight training for my legs and I'll bike again this afternoon for two hours with friends. It's very windy here today, my friends that I'm riding with today better be willing to pull me up some hills after doing squats this morning!
Tomorrow I should probably rest, I haven't had a day off this week. I have the hardest time taking a day off, it makes me feel so lazy and grumpy. The days that I am supposed to take off, my husband will tell me to go run because I'll come home in a better mood. Maybe if I could find a good yoga or stretching video I would at least feel like I did something on my days off. My hair is getting pretty crunchy from swimming 4 times a week. I think I need to invest in a swim cap. Even when I wash and condition my hair right after swimming, it still feels dry. Doesn't water get into the swim cap though? Any helpful hints about saving your hair when training in a pool?
I just feel pretty crabby today. When I swam this morning, my swimming friend was able to keep up with me on some of the drills. I am happy that she is getting faster, I really am. I can be a competitive little wench though, why was I slower? I want to get faster too. I feel like I'm stuck. My 50 yard sprints are stuck at 37 seconds, 100 sprints are 1:20. Then, I made the mistake of getting on the scale after swimming. I know I shouldn't do it. I should be looking at my body fat instead. So, I have gained 4 pounds in a month. I'm not going to tell my weight because then you'll think "skinny little bitch stop complaining!" I don't feel like my clothes are tighter. I have been swimming and weight lifting more lately, I think running keeps my weight down more. Guess I better back off the goat's milk ice cream. I'm hungry a lot though.
I think I'll treat myself to a new bathing suit today, I saw some really cute ones at Splish. I bought a red, white and blue Saucony suit last week and unfortunately you can see my nips when the suit gets moved to the white area. I'm always trying to adjust it, it annoys and embarrasses me. So, my friends sometimes call me "milk" because I make goats milk soap. (usually I'm called goat girl) I was wearing my new Saucony suit and they called out "hey milk" then looked at my see through suit. I wish I had mammaries that looked like I was lactating, I guess I only produce skim.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Week of New "Firsts"

Well, this a my "first" blogging experience. I have loved reading other triathletes blogs, they encourage and inspire me. The first blog that got me hooked was Iron Will at http://www.throughth3wall.com/

Another first, I got a brand new bike this week! For Valentine's Day my husband bought me a Lightspeed Vela road bike, it's fire engine red. I couldn't have asked for a better present from my number one supporter! I used to think people that paid over $100.00 for a bike were crazy. I guess I'm certifiable now.

Since I was dying to try out my new bike, I went on my first bike ride alone. Call me a wussy but since I started riding a road bike in November of 2005, I have always gone on group rides. I felt there was safety in numbers. I was just learning to ride wearing clips too. See, we live in the country and people don't contain their dogs. The worst are the herding dogs that want to get in front of the bike. Last year, a guy in the group broke his shoulder when a dog knocked him off the bike. This has been my biggest fear, a dog causing me to break a limb. Yesterday, I overcame my fears and rode for 1:30 alone. I'm still alive and have no broken bones. I love my new bike too, the ride is so much smoother.

I made my first batch of goat's milk ice cream this week. I'm getting over two gallons of milk from "Happy" and "Maple" everyday. I don't need that much for making soap so I have been cooking a lot. Quiche(from the chicken eggs), goat's milk tapioca pudding, goat's milk potato soup but the ice cream is killer! I swear, I could make a million bucks selling this stuff, people will pay for food. My first batch was plain vanilla, the second was coconut(goat's milk, coconut milk, toasted coconut and shaved chocolate) It tastes like a Mounds bar. Yes, I actually shaved Hershey's chocolate bars with a cheese grater and almost gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome. Every night I eat that ice cream it's all worth it!

The first signs of spring are appearing at the farm. The hens are starting to lay lots of eggs(the first batch of hatching eggs are going into the incubator tonight), I see the first blooms on the trees, the goats are kidding and the songbirds are singing. Peabo is starting to fan his beautiful train for the peahen. It is truly an impressive sight. Every time he displays his tail feathers, I am humbled and in awe. Nature is truly amazing, I am thankful to be alive and witness the beauty.

Today is a beautiful day, it's going to be in the upper 60's. I'm going to throw on some shorts and run 5 miles. This afternoon I will ride my bike for 90 min. (I don't know how to make a training log yet)