Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good morning, Sunshine

So. SO. Here I am at early:30am. What to do. . .what to do.


So that's done. Take a shower to wake up? Oh yeah, I'm already awake for no damn reason at all. For the last hour, I've been turning on my left side, my eyes fluttering in a useless attempt to remain closed. Repeat on right. Now do this for awhile. Finally throw in the towel and get up.

Here's my agenda thus far:

1. Wake up dogs and throw their sorry, sleepy asses outside.
2. Gargle.
3. Make/drink coffee.
4. Check email.
5. Bother Facebook friends. (Although no one can hear me, this kind of feels like calling somebody at a ridiculous hour in the morning and waking them up.)
6. Contemplate getting in the shower despite having to shower later on after I've been swimming. (Yes. This conflict is currently taking up brain cells. Really.)

Future plans:

1. Get a second cup of coffee.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

That's supposed to be a muscle?

So I'm sure the question on everybody's mind this Christmas is, "How's Tamirra's training going?"

Had some really beautiful hikes n' runs here in CA. Looking forward to some more. I've been able to wear in my hiking boots and even dared to *gasp* walk through mud. Which makes them look like real hiking boots. But you know how it is, getting that first bit of mud/dirt/dog sh*t on new running shoes. . .

I've also been under the tutelage of the Pilates Nazi here in L.A. There's no messing around on Carrie's watch, no siree.

I've found myself with my feet up in stirrups on the medival wood gyrotonics machine, making circles with my legs while Carrie tells me to "think about my tummy." Translation? "Suck it in, champ."

She's also been making use of some area of my shoulders that actually has a muscle underneath it. My Gyro in Austin Susan calls this the "bra fat" muscle. Only it's not a muscle. It's a layer of flubber that stubbornly exposes itself under a bra (known only to me) or my swimsuit (known to the entire masters swim team.)

Anyway, Carrie and I had a 45-minute Bra Fato'rama yesterday. She and my right shoulder were having it out, which by the way, is no excuse for discontinuing usage of the bar I'm trying to single-handedly tug down using said bra fat.

Carrie's studio Web site looks so friendly and painless. It's written with curly-Q script like a wedding invitation inspiring thoughts of laughing good times while getting in shape. Reality? Not so much. Oh, the friendliness is there but only when thinking about my tummy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


My lord but I'm bad at updating this thing lately. I guess I can't tell whether I want to write somberly or full of vim and vigor. None of my personalities can make up their minds.

Anyway, I'm in California right now, which leans in the vim direction. I brought my camera with me and I've been snapping away. I've been sniffing away like a bloodhound because the outdoors smells like the beach, eucalyptus or sage. All of the smells I grew up with and miss horribly.

I will never stop being a Californian and, really, I won't rest or put down roots until I can make my way back. I've spent most of my life trying to deny what should be obvious and try to force my way into someplace I shouldn't have been in the first place.

The good side of this is that because I've lived in different places long enough to be considered a resident, I've intimately discovered areas that I would have missed had I just stuck in out in California. And I don't think my wandering soul would have settled, either.

But there's nothing like not appreciating something until it's been taken away and you want it back so bad you could burst. I can't help but look at the cliffs in the canyons with longing and regret that I didn't come to see them more when I lived here. I never saw Joshua Tree or Yosemite. I've missed miles of hiking and cycling and open water swimming, despite the problem of seaweed as big as your head that you tend to bump into if you're not careful.

Maybe I'm just getting older but I've been away too long and I think it's time to come home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Form of a straight jacket - DEACTIVATE!

Just an update on that last entry - I wasn't exaggerating. I showered my coach with emails and phone calls and got my first workout plan so I can get my training back on track.

This has been an obnoxious six months or years or whatever it's been. It began as, "I'm being so good because I just want my back to recuperate" blah blah blah. Lately, as things have felt better I've been like a person who hasn't eaten in, well, six months.

So at last this can actually turn more into the blog I wanted it to be. More about training and achieving goals and that sort of thing.

It will continue to be riddled with snark and immaturity, however.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Excuse me, I need a moment. . .


Thank you.

It's gotta happen. SIX MONTHS. Imagine you're a racehorse and you've been kept behind your gate for six months. No one's opened it. You've just watched the other horses let free to run.

My heartrate is going up just thinking about it.

No injury justifies this kind of inactivity. Yeah. A little run. A little bike. But there's no way to build things up if I'm not building them up!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Raisin Hope for traumatic brain injuries

I met an extraordinary person the other day. I wanted to write about this sooner but it's so special that I didn't want to just go from brain to hand without any forethought like I usually do.

Ever heard of Saul Raisin? Those of you who are cyclists I'm fairly sure you have. Regardless, he's an amazing individual. Here's his whole story but in a nutshell he won the Best Young Rider in the 2006 Tour de France. During the last leg of the 2006 Giro de Italia, he was involved in a crash that changed his life. He received a traumatic brain injury.

Now, this is a familiar story - He had to walk, talk, read, etc. all over again. It's familiar because I had to do the same thing. It goes without saying, however, that I was far from the last leg of the Giro! But we are both on a very similar path to recovery.

Another article about him appears in this month's Triathlete magazine. Previously, I was aware vaguely of what happened to him but this was the first time I truly understood how similar our lives are.

Like any good stalker, I looked him up on Facebook and found his account. I sent him a message and he promptly emailed me right back. What a brave individual!

He also started a Foundation for brain injuries called Raisin Hope.

Now, I make fun of my brain injury and the epilepsy thereof because, frankly, at times it's downright funny. But this is now.

Then was a different story. I've had to clear a lot of mental obstacles to reach seeing any humor in it. Certainly, people, not just the injured but their families too, will not see any humor in it at all. But most people outside the Inner Circle will not understand or comprehend. The survivor must learn to get past this and prepare to explain again and again why they do certain things and can't do others. This Foundation is all about understanding.

This sort of injury involves a part of the body that's so darn unpredictable. Sometimes stuff doesn't appear for years. Some happens right away. Sometimes a combo of the two. It's very confusing and we never know what the next day will bring.

For the non-brain injured, this is a difficult concept to wrap yourself around. Sometimes, we don't know what you're saying and you must understand this and not make us feel like we're freaks. We feel like that enough as it is.

We need people on our side and we need to be on each other's sides. Please look at the Website and educate yourself about a completely different world. I've also got some other TBI related sites listed too. At least read about Saul Raisin. I'm so happy to have met you, Saul!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


This blog is great for warming up the area of brain where the writing takes place. Like an opera singer belting out, "Me me me me," or a pianist practicing scales, this is where the magic begins. (And if you don't crack up whenever you hear "pianist," you are way too mature for this blog.)

And you, my loyal reader(s), get to listen to me tuning up the drastically-approaching-my-deadline-and-I-haven't-got-crap-to-show-for-it guitar.

But sometimes, even when the highest note on the scales is attained, the fat lady never even begins to sing.

My theory is this. I've been spending a lot of time taking a lot of pictures lately. My brain is simply not a multitasker. Not only can it not perform two activities at the same time, it also needs to take a couple days vacation between each.

Back injury wise - my core is being twisted in gnarly ways by my physical therapists/Pilates instructors. Don't get me wrong, these guys rock.

An example - Susan, my Pilates instructor, goes to these machines that look like something from medieval Ikea and shows me to do next. She breathes in, exhales, engages all of her 587 core muscles and then tells me to do it.

Breathe in. . .OH. MY. GOD. "Are my exhales supposed to sound like mating seals?"

"No. Engage your core."

"ARrrrrooooooo pfffttp!!!!. Sh&*(&!" *flump* (Not sure how to write the sound of me rolling off the machine.)

Now I can't so much as sit on my lazy ass reading a book without thinking of "finding my diamond" (insert comment here) and "thinking of tightening my abs like I'm trying to zip up a pair of jeans."

Oh. And this is classic. Part of my "home exercise routine" is to find the most painful spot on my body (left shoulder blade where Satan's back muscle is located or anywhere on my left butt cheek), put a tennis ball under it and rest all of my weight on it. Point? "To loosen my supracalifragilistic muscle. This will really help on your bike."

BUT I did run twice this week for 2.5 miles each. Tomorrow I go the gym where I can pay $60 per month to let other people watch me cry like a little girl while rolling around on a pink tennis ball.