Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Recap

Crazy crazy weekend!  Phew. 

I'm not sure that my kids have enough activities.  Maybe I should sign them up for more.....  Holy crap, between dance recitals, basketball and sleepover camp I was running around all weekend!

Friday I had off because my eldest was at a Leadership Development Camp held at a really rich boys summer camp in the area.   Camp Kieve.  Not Camp key-ev, but pronounced key-ayve with a long a.  Well, then.  Pardon me. 

Anyhoo, going to Camp Kieve is a pretty big deal around here because 1. it is an expensive as all get out summer camp that most locals cannot even dream of attending (10 day camp is $2750!) and 2. it is a sleepover camp.  During the off season, they hold the Leadership Development Camp for the area schools to send their 6th, 7th and/or 8th graders for the week.  Some schools have it in their budget to send their kids.  The kids learn how to work together to solve problems and get to try some pretty awesome things like ropes courses, rock wall climbing, and partner climbs on the high ropes. 

Friday was the last day of 5 days of overnight camp for Big Sissy.  She had never really slept overnight anywhere before so this was a huge deal for her.  I had left her in tears at the school on Monday and there were to be no phones allowed at the camp so there would be no communication until pick up day.  So needless to say, I was very excited to get there and see her.  I knew she was ok because she had sent me a couple of secret text messages on her contraband phone.  But it was great to see her and see that she had overcome her fears of being away and she had a great time!  Thank you Kieve for the great experience!

After getting one tired 12 year old and her 13 bags of stuff home, I had to turn around and head north for Princess' dance dress rehearsal which was an hour away.  Gah.  Why is everything we do an hour away???  Why?  Thankfully, that was short and sweet and we were back home by 7.  Completely unheard of at this studio to be done that quickly.  And since I was home by 7, I was able to get on my bike trainer and crank out an hour while watching the most stupid Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill.  Seriously, so dumb.  AND crank out 4 loads of laundry, clean the kitchen and the living room!  While everyone was sleeping!  ha!

What is it about a clean house that is so satisfying?

Saturday I got my 5 mile run in the morning and then needed to head north again for the recital at 1 and 6:30.  The family came to the show at 1 and then headed south for Big Sissy's basketball games, while Princess and I stayed north for the second show.
Halloween puppet doll!

Beautiful monsters!  Princess refuses to pose for me so I have to shoot photos in stealth mode like a Ninja.  which clearly, I am bad at.

I love this recital.  It's so fun!  I mean, really, what other dance studio does a Halloween show?  The dances are all spooky, monster, Halloween-themed and the costumes are made up a week before.  Often they use stuff from previous years and it's built around their level's leotard color.  Princess is a purple level.  Duh. 

Now it's hurry up and get ready for the tap Nutcracker!  Only 6 weeks away....

Sunday was grocery shopping and swim day.  I'm so happy the YMCA is open again on Sundays.  It is so much easier to get my swim in on Sunday than trying to rush after work on Friday.  Plus, I can bring the kids and they get some exercise and time to play with their friends.  Not to mention everyone gets to take a hot shower for as long as they want and we are all set for school the next day!  Winning! I did my usual 2000 yds and then headed home to eat.

And now Sandy is on her way to wreak havoc on the East Coast.  So far Maine is just on tap to receive wind and rain but a bunch of stuff has been cancelled already so we'll see how that goes.  We have a generator at home that runs the whole house so no-power for us is not a big deal.  Work is another thing.  It's a little hard to do eye exams without power.... 

I hope everyone stays safe!

On a sad note, the HMS Bounty has sank off the coast of North Carolina.  The HMS Bounty is a 3 masted ship that was in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie and has spent a lot of time in Boothbay Harbor over the past few years getting restored at a local shipyard.  I drove by that shipyard so many times watching as they made progess on her.  Of the 16 member crew, 2 are still missing.  Coast Guard is working to find the other two.  I am so sad for everyone involved and I hope that despite Sandy, the CG will be able to find the remaining crew.  Here is a link to the story. 

Here is the crew:

Please let everyone be found alive.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Head Colds Blow

I swear to god I must be turning into a big fat wimp.  I just came down with a cold 2 days ago and you'd think I was a man or something by the way I'm moping around complaining about how bad I feel. 

As a result of this mega-snot producing virus I am playing host to, I have become great friends with the neti pot.  What?  You've never heard of the neti pot, you say?  Well, my fine bloggy friends, you are missing out.  The neti pot is a wonderous invention that cleans out your sinuses. 

So now you are wondering how that cute little tea pot thing cleans out your sinuses, right?  You take warm water and mix it with the salt packets that come with the pot.  They even give you a cute little spoon to mix it all up.
The moldy salt packet is my own special addition to the package.  Apparently, one should dry the neti pot and utensils before storing them in a plastic bag for a year.  Who knew?

Anyway, it's just salt.  I mean sodium chloride is sodium chloride, right?  So once the salt and warm water are all mixed together you take the spout of the pot, put in into a nostril, and lean sideways over the sink (very important!), and pour the saline mixture into your sinuses. 

This is a picture I did not take.  Use your imagination.

The saline mixture goes in one nostril and out the other.  Really.  Once it makes it's way through your congested sinuses, it comes dripping out the other side.  Which is what you want.  Because it takes all that crap stuck in your nose with it.  A douche for your nose, so to speak.

And magically, you can breathe again.  For about an hour. 

I don't suffer from seasonal allergies that often but I hear it can be a real help that way when used to rinse the allergens from your sinuses. 

Unfortunately, it does nothing for the balloon that is blown up in my ears.  A hole in my eardrum may help that, but I'm not going there.  That is an actual medical procedure offered to me once to relieve the fluid that built up in my eustachian tubes.  But it's not that bad yet so I'll hold off on that for now.

Have you ever tried the neti pot?

Do you feel like a big ol' man-baby when you have a cold?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Then and Now

One of my pals from high school has a page on Facebook where we help each other stay motivated with exercise and eating right.  It's a place, kinda like blogging, where we can share our fitness journey with those who care to hear about it and provide support for others who have the same goals as you do. 

One of our friends posted a before and after picture and then other did.  It got me thinking.  Did I have any photos of myself before I started all this triathlon business?  Photos in my 30's are pretty few and far between.  I think partly because I was the one taking the pictures and partly because I didn't really like what I looked like post baby, nursing, whatever.  Somehow we moms are good at removing ourselves from photos like that. 

Anyhoo.  Here's some photos from before:

2006 still nursing because there are boobs there
around 2004?  and clearly, I am in desperate need of a decent bra
2009 not nursing and still in need of a good bra and a smaller ass

Not overly fat, but definitely not fit either.  You will be glad to hear that I have since discovered the wonders of a padded lift bra.  It is like magic to the 40+ year-old-post-nursing boobs.  Since I am happily married and he knows what he's getting, it's not false advertising. 

Now fast forward to more recent post-tri training photos:
this summer
and my favorite pic of all racing photos--except for my finish photo with the kids

I love this last photo so much.  I would have my picture taken all the time if they came out like this.  It's not just about being thinner or a lower number on the scale, it's about looking fit and strong.  That is always my goal.

I have come further than I thought I had.  And these photos are just enough motivation to head to the Y for self-taught spin class today even though I feel like crap from a head cold.

Got to keep chasing away the chins.

Do you have any photos that keep you going back to the gym?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TTT: Mizunos, Mayhem and Mustaches

1.  First and foremost, I will spill the most exciting news ever!  I was chosen for the Mezamashii  Project hosted by Mizuno!  Woo!  Due to the abundant kindness of my much cooler running friend Jen, from Running With the Girls, I received an invitation to try a free pair of their running sneakers.  You heard that right, FREE!  I had signed up a month or so ago but never heard a word until the other day when Jen sent me an invitation.  I'm pretty sure I didn't get chosen on any merit of my own, but apparently Jen has some connections somewhere!  I kinda felt like the dorky kid who has a cool friend and gets to sit at the popular kid's lunch table.  Thanks, Jen!

So I went to the website and took the 'which shoe is right for you survey' and ended up with a few choices.  I ended up choosing the Mizuno Wave Enigma 2.  It had one color, so blue it was.

They arrived within 2 days of ordering them!  Talk about fast delivery!  I was really excited to try these sneakers because, as you might know, I have been dealing with heel pain from plantar fasciitis and was wanting to try a bit more substantial sneaker.  These are still somewhat minimal but there is more to them than my Saucony Kinvaras. 

So far they have been brilliant!  I maybe wish they were a 1/2 size larger but my toes aren't jammed and it hasn't bothered on either of my 4 mile runs.  I've used them twice for 4 milers at lunch time and my feet have been very comfortable in them.  I can't say they are any better for my heel problems than the Sauconys but they certainly haven't aggravated it either. 

I'm so happy to have a different type of shoe to add to the running rotation and hopefully keep my feet happy.  Oh!  And they match my Runningskirts capris just perfectly!
A girls gotta match!

2.   I had originally posted here about a runner friend getting shot but after posting I learned that that wasn't the correct story so I put the post back into draft until I could get the truth.  Small town and news (albeit incorrect) travels quickly.  There was a someone accidentally shot, but it wasn't my runner friend.  We still don't know all the details and I hope everyone involved is ok.  However, it does bring up the issue of running during hunting season in this rural area and taking care to protect ourselves.  What can we runners do?

--wear hunter orange
--limit running on wooded trails during hunting season or do it on Sunday when hunting is prohibited
--run in a group
--stick to the road where there is plenty of car traffic

Let's be safe out there!

3.  Ok, so help me out here.  What's the deal with all the mustaches?  Is there a mustache craze that I am missing?  Did some Disney Channel kid star put on a mustache and now it's all the rage?  Clue me in, cause I'm feeling a little left out.  Again, like the dorky kid wanting to sit at the cool lunch table but I don't have my mustache so I can't....
both photos taken from
This one here is a little creepy.

So what's the deal with the mustaches?  Anyone?  Enlighten me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Same but Different

Once again I'm jumping on with Stasha to take part in her Listicles.  Thank God she does this once a week so I have a topic to blog about if I'm having a bit of writers block.   This week it is Ten Ways That You Are the Same or Different From Your Younger Self. 

1.  SAME: I am still that same girl who is afraid to ever speak her mind against the popular opinion.  Either good or bad, I was never that girl that spoke up.  For the most part, I am still that way.  If there is a chance that speaking up will evolve into an argument, then forget it.  I will just remain quiet.  However, I have become more vocal with things I disagree with when it comes to my kids.  Although it is difficult for me to be the 'squeaky wheel', I have gotten to the point where I can 'man-up' and speak my mind when necessary. 

2. SAME AND DIFFERENT:  I am more fit now than I was when I was in my late 20's and all of my 30's.  That is the different part.  Strangely enough, I am about the same weight.  That has not fluctuated more than 10-12 lbs over the years.  Except for being pregnant.  But that doesn't count.  Cause there was a kid in there.

3.  DIFFERENT:  I am different in that I have less friends then when I was younger.  What I mean by that is, I still have the same friends as I did in college and some from high school but my time with them is minimal and this makes me sad.  I know it is mostly my fault--it is so hard to keep up with friends with all the stresses of life: work, kids, kid's activities etc and all of my good friends from school live at least an hour away or even in another state.   I have acquaintance friends that are parents of my kid's friends, but they are not the same as the friends that you make in school/college.  They just aren't.  And so I dearly miss that daily interaction with girlfriends that you share everything with.

4.  SAME:  I still pick at the skin around my fingers.  Always have, probably always will.

5.  DIFFERENT:  I never cry anymore.  I used to cry often and at almost anything when I was a teenager and even in college.  I guess I just figured out it really doesn't do any good to cry.  So I don't.  Plus, I don't like to be upset like that in front of the kids.  I actually can't remember the last time I cried.  Feelings: shut off.  Maybe not so healthy, but meh, oh well.

6.  DIFFERENT:  I don't drink alcohol.  Not because I'm a drunk or anything like that.  I just don't.  I don't really care for the taste of it except for milk and kahlua and that is a caloric nightmare.  I can't justify the calories for what doesn't really taste that good to me in the first place.  I'd rather have a brownie sundae.  Also, since having kids, I just can't deal with being hungover and kids in the morning.  I really don't know how other people do it.

7.  SAME:  I love chocolate.  Always have.  It is a little less intense than it used to be.  For example, a sundae choice of my 14 year old self would have been:  hot fudge brownie sundae with chocolate ice cream and chocolate jimmies.  That particular concoction would have me shitting like ten dogs these days.  Nowadays, I would choose a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream or oreo ice cream.

8.  DIFFERENT:  I don't care if I buy brand name products anymore.  Shaw's brand pasta is just as good as Prince pasta.   Pantene shampoo is fine, I don't need Paul Mitchell or Aveda anymore.  White label chicken noodle soup is fine, Campbells only if I have a coupon and it's on sale.  Call me cheap but I just don't care about spending money on stuff like that. 

9.  SAME:  I am most efficient when I have something to do every. single. minute.  I can multi-task with the best of them.  If I have something to do every single night, then guess what?  Shit gets done.  When I have a whole week of nothing planned, very little gets done.  This is the same as when I was in college and high school.  Can you say Type A?

10.  SAME:  I am a happy person.  As a general rule, I wake up happy and unless something comes along to ruin that happiness, then I remain happy.  I used to have more mood swings when I was younger (see #5), but still would always 95% of the time, be happy.  I don't hold grudges, I don't stay angry for long and always think that people want to do the right thing and want to be good.  (translation:  I don't think bad about people unless they give me a reason to.)  I would be a terrible judge, police officer or parole officer.  What?  You say you weren't drinking?  But I smell it.  Oh, it's what you spilled the other night?  Oh, right.  Well, ok, if you say so. 

How are you the same or different from when you were younger?  Have things changed much?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Big Brother Health Care?

So I'm chatting away with one of my patients this morning and she had some questions about how her health insurance would work with us when they make some changes starting in January.  We discussed it and I could go into the detail of medical plans vs. vison plans and why we don't accept vison plans, but that is not really the point of this post.  What she brought up next is what got my ethical side all in a quandry. 

A large employer in our area has for the past three years required a physical, pee test and blood work in order to determine your cost for the health insurance.  Everyone apparently starts at a certain cost level, then based on the results of your physical the cost can go down.  If you are at an acceptable BMI, you get a credit on your cost of the health insurance.  If your pee test shows that you are not a smoker, you get another credit.  (She also mentioned that there was an actual penalty for smokers, and you were assessed a fee outright.)  If your cholesterol was below an acceptable level, you received another credit. 

Now I'm not exactly sure how I feel about all this.  On one hand, the smokers, the overweight and generally unhealthy people DO drive up the cost of health care for all of us.  Maybe they should be penalized for their choice of bad habits that cost everyone else more money.  Maybe we need to hit those people where it counts (their wallet!) to get them to try to quit smoking or go get some exercise.

On the other side of the debate, how is your employer entitled to have access to your private medical information??  Where does the Health Information Privacy Act come in to play?  Cripes, I can't even discuss an eye exam with a husband unless his wife gives me permission to speak to him and here we are letting employers have information such as our BMI?  Our weight?  Cholesterol level??  Some people genetically have higher cholesterol levels, through no fault of their own.  Even with diet and exercise their levels stay high.  Should they be penalized for something that they have no control over?

This is really quite the ethical dilemma.  It would make for a really interesting topic in an ethics class for sure.  I'm not sure what they are doing would hold up legally if someone were to call them on it and file a law suit.  I'm not a lawyer, but it really does seem like it's bordering on an invasion of privacy. 

What do you think?  Invasion of privacy or a good way to force the unhealthy to be healthy?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Things I Can't Say

Words in the Running World I Can't Say

Saucony-- do you say it saw-coh-nee or saw-cuh-nee?  Either way they are my running shoe.

Athleta-- is it ath-let-a or ath-lee-ta? 

Mezamashii-- no idea.  I guess it doesn't really matter if I can say it or not since they wouldn't let me into their running clique.  Who wants a brilliant run anyway?  Me, me, me!  If you still are sending folks the sneakers!  No, I'm not bitter.

Lululemon--ok this one is just my stupidness.  I always thought it was Lulu-mon.  Not lulu-lemon.  That just sounds like a jacked up citrus.  I like my name better. 

EMZ--us bloggy folks know who this is but I always called her E.M.Z, by saying each letter.  Until I learned it was short for Emily, like Ems.  Gah.  Whatever.  I still say E.M.Z.  I want it to be an acronym for something really cool like Emily, Master of Zen or Emily, Master of Zee treadmill (said in best French accent).

Aspaeris-- The only way I can think of to say it is ass-pear-is.  No idea if that is correct.

Quinoa--I know now that it's keen-wah, but I always want to say kin-oh-ah. 

Chia--I only know how to say that because of the Chia Pet.  Thank you bad 80's gag gifts that won't go away. 

Nothing at all to do with running, but both of my daughters cannot say ambulance.  They both say am-blee-ance.  Freakin' hysterical. 

Are there any words you cannot/do not know how to pronounce?
Isn't Lulumon so much better than Lululemon??  Really?  lulu Lemon??

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Foot Update and the Moose

So how'd you like that 4 day weekend?  Say what?  You didn't have a four day weekend?  Oh, well, I'm so sorry for you.  I enjoyed the shit out of mine.

Friday I had taken the day off to go to the doctor about my heel.  Yes, here in Maine sometimes you have to take a day off to get to the doctor.  There aren't that many doctors in Wal-Marts around here (although I hear it's coming), they aren't open on weekends and many specialists are an hour away.  So taking the day off to see the doctor is a valid excuse and accepted at many places of employment. 

Not that it mattered for me because I work for myself so I'll take any damn day off that I want to. 

So back to my foot. 

I arrived at the chiropractor's office just about on time--yay me--and spent the next 20 minutes filling out the shitload of paperwork they gave me.  After the paperwork was filled out I was put in a room to wait for the doctor.  He arrived promptly and we discussed my foot and what was going on.  Of course, right at that moment, my foot didn't hurt at all, but after examining me he could tell that the area was tight and my hip area was more tight on the left side as well.  He agreed that I likely had plantar fasciitis and had some things that he thought would help.

He did a few adjustments (who knew you could 'adjust' your foot??), which involved messing with my toes, pushing on areas of my foot and yanking my leg like he was pulling it out of my hip socket.  It didn't hurt at all but that was the only way I could think of to describe it. 

He then sent me out to the other doctor (who I also presumed was his wife) to have ultrasound treatment, massage and re-rock tape my foot.  The ultrasound felt just like the same ultrasound that you got when you were pregnant--cool gel on my foot and this instrument going back and forth over the bottom.  I have no idea what it was supposed to do so I wished he had explained that part.

According to my google search, ultrasound is a widely accepted treatment for soft-tissue injuries which removes the damaged tissue and reduces scar tissue and inflammation.  Yes, please.  That is just what I need.

Next she did a massage of my foot and calf area.  I wish I had had the foresight to complain about every part of my body so that I could have that massage all over.  Even though parts of it were painful, it was the most awesome part of the whole visit.  I would drive an hour again every single week to get that massage. 

I wonder if somehow, I can get the doctor to 'prescribe' massages for me so that I can use my health savings account to pay for them...... hmmm. 

Anyhoo, after about an hour or so of all my treatment, I was re-rock taped and sent on my way.  The recommendation was to come 2-3 x's a week for 4-6 weeks.  However, that is really not possible given my distance from their office so we set up a week appointment and hopefully, I can make it. 

My foot felt sore later that day, I think from the deep tissue massage, but overall feels better than 3 weeks ago.  I ran on Sunday so it was sore again later that day but I am having less and less issue with getting up at night and being so stiff I can't walk.   I think the only thing that is missing now is rest and stretching.  He did ask me to fill a bottle with water and freeze it and use it to roll my foot against.  I haven't done that yet, but plan to tonight. 

I cannot believe that I had two kids there and never thought to take one picture.  What kind of blogger am I?  Jeeesh. 

What I did manage to get a picture of is the moose my husband got last week.  He and Manimal went hunting last week and managed to shoot this:

That, my friends, is what you call organic meat.  No chemicals, no pesticides, no fillers, no added products.  Leaner and healthier than beef.  Right now we have moose meat everywhere.  I have 40 lbs of sausage in my upstairs fridge.  There are legs and hindquarters in the down stairs fridge and other parts in large coolers on ice.  Hubby will be busy the next few days/weeks cutting and packaging all this meat.  Lucky us!  Enough moose for 2 years at least!

Have you ever tried moose meat or any other game meat?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September Review

September was looking to be a stellar month for running, but then something happened along the way.  Heel pain, kids sports and rain.  Such is life.  Here are my unimpressive totals.

Miles Run--39.8  Seriously?  .8?  Somewhere I couldn't have snuck in another .2 to make an even 40?  gah.  And if I'd run that 1/2 Marathon, I totally would have broken 50. 

Bike Minutes--185   My goodness!  Did I even get on the spin bike this month?  Wow.  Quite a bit less than in August.  I should be able to keep that number pretty high now that I can train at home.  I am so looking forward to using that trainer as it gets darker and colder. 

Weight Training--95 minutes. 

Tennis--4 hours

Swim--3500 yards

Wow.  Overall September was a pretty crappy exercise month.  Hard to believe I'm not 10 lbs heavier. 

Races--signed up for one:  The Maine 1/2 Marathon.  Completed:  none.  I just could not bear the thought of getting out of bed to run 2 hours in cold rain.  Again.  I did that last year.  I signed up only so I could run it again in better weather.  I hate the fact that I was lame enough to skip the race for weather reasons, but when it was POURING at 9 a.m. and bone-chilling raw outside, I was so happy I was at home with the kids.  As a friend had said to me before the race, "Races should be something you enjoy, not something you dread."  True.

Unfortunately, my new favorite race shirt is the one from this race.  It is the perfect cut and fit for me.  Now I'll have to explain each time I wear it why I didn't actully run the race.  Boo. 

Update on heel pain aka plantar fasciitis--since applying the Rock Tape, my foot has been feeling better.
Expertly applied.
I'm still planning on seeing the doctor on Friday because even though it's better, it's not perfect.  I also had not been running for 8 days either so I'm sure that helped.  I don't really get how it works, but the tape seems to hold everything in place and feels good on my foot.  I ran 5 miles easily last night and I could see a difference in that I was running regular--not changing my stride or gait because of my foot pain and it didn't hurt at all while running.  BUT, last night my heel was quite sore again when I got up in the night to use the bathroom.  So there's that.  It's not fixed just yet. 
Current Books--I just finished two books that I really enjoyed.  The Lower River by Paul Theroux and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  Two completely different books but I liked both of them.  I'm now on the search for a new book to read.  Help!
Current Tunes--I just downloaded Scream by Usher (pretty suggestive lyrics, but great tune if you get past that), One More Night by Maroon 5, Beautiful Monster by Ne-Yo (daughter's song for Halloween dance recital) and Blow Me (one last kiss) by Pink. 
Last month I did promise you some rafting photos and I finally have some!
Omg, is this not the best?  That's my little guy right in the front!  So freakin' cute!  Click on the photo and you can see his face in more detail.
This is where I got elbowed in the face!  Evidence! I don't even know where Princess is in this photo!
And my girls! 
How was your September?  Better than mine?


Monday, October 1, 2012

My New Training Buddy

Last post I mentioned that a friend had a Cycleops Bike Trainer that she was willing to sell to me.  So I finally got over to her house this weekend to pick it up.  It is exactly the one that I decided I wanted from reading all the reviews about trainers.  But at half the price!  Winning!

She had all the stuff that came with it: the trainer, the block to put your front wheel on and a training DVD.  All I had to do was set it up.  Yah.  After about 10 minutes of messing with it trying to get my bike attached, the kids yelled for dad to come help me.  I swear, it was a mere 90 seconds and he had it hooked in and ready to go.  Thank God for husbands and their mechanical minds, right?  I would probably still be there trying to make the damn thing fit.
There's Manimal wishing he could get on and ride.

I took it for a test drive yesterday during the miserable cold and rain, but of course, I was nice and dry inside!  I had to do something since I opted not to race the Maine 1/2 Marathon like a loser.  I woke up at 5 and looked out and it was raining and cold.  Back to bed I went.  I just was not in for another rainy, wet, cold 13.1.  I just didn't care.  Thank goodness, I was able to use the trainer. 

I popped in the DVD and off I went.  15:00 of warm-up, 40:00 of  'racing' and 5:00 cool down.  My son kept peeking in and asking me if I was winning.  Yes, of course I was.  It had the video that simulated you being in the middle of a race and at the bottom it was telling you what intensity you should be pedaling at.  All the while you can switch gears to make it harder or easier, depending on your ability and how tired you are. 

I really liked the trainer.   It wasn't very loud and I could hear the DVD over the noise it made so if you wanted to watch a movie, you certainly could.  I am keeping it in our 'formal' living room (which we never use or even have furniture in), so I'm just keeping it set up there.  But if you had a husband (or you were mechanically inclined...) you could easily remove the bike and hide the equipment away in a closet when you weren't using it. 
me wearing the shirt for the race I didn't race in...
I haven't quite figured out how to use the front block yet.  I think you can put the front wheel on in different ways to make an incline and make it harder.  Honestly, the first ride was hard enough so I think I'll leave it just how it is for now. 
I'm pretty sure I'll be using this trainer quite a bit this winter.  It will be so easy to just hop on for a little ride when it's snowing or when I just don't feel like leaving the house.  There are some accessories that I'm planning on purchasing--extra dvd's, a mat for the floor and a thing to catch your sweat (kinda gross but it comes with the kit so I'll take it).  How convenient that I have an anniversary coming up this month!  Winning again!
So my unofficial review of the Cycleops Fluid2 Trainer is:  it's awesome!  I would recommend it to anyone newbies or seasoned bikers.  It was set up in mere minutes, and I was training right away.  I didn't have to put it together since I bought it used, but with a husband (see above), I'm sure it wouldn't take too long. 
I believe this model retails for $349.  I bought mine for $175 and I think it was a good deal. 
Next will be some new bike shoes.  :)
Do you have a bike trainer?  Do you love it?
Any thoughts on bike shoes?  Mine are so ugly.