Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rockstar Run

This week I started the half marathon training. Monday morning I weighed in (160.8- ugh!) and hit the treadmill for a 3-mile run. That sucked. The first mile I eeked out a 10 minute mile and then had to dial the speed back to 10:20 for the next two. I finished, but it felt like crap.

Tuesday morning, Ben (my trainer) set me up with a strength program that’s upper body and core focused. A good hard workout that I was definitely feeling yesterday and today.

Yesterday was 35 minutes on the ARC trainer, hill intervals and a good workout.

Then today was the annual holiday fun run at work. The run’s supposed to be 3.0 miles, I was hoping to be done under 33 minutes. I haven’t run outdoors since my triathlon in September and after Monday’s run I had very low expectations. Wow, was I pleasantly surprised. The run starts with a half mile or so incline and I was feeling good at the top, so I pushed a bit harder from there. I felt about as good on the run as I ever have. It was truly perfect. I could not have gone any faster, or any farther, but I felt strong. Really, I felt like a rockstar. I came in at 29:30 and was happy with that. Then I got back to my desk and mapped the route, it’s really 3.2 miles- I busted 9:13 miles! Woohoo! Now there’s some positive reinforcement and motivation for the beginning of a training program, I am pumped.

Tomorrow morning’s the second strength training session and then Saturday morning I’m running at home. Because of the fun run being on Thursday I had to modify my intended schedule of Mon/Wed/Fri runs and Tues/Thurs strength sessions. I want a third run this week, so I’ll get it done on Saturday. Really, I will.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Motivation!!

So yesterday I was asked whether I'm pregnant. Yes, my children are currently 5,3 and 1 (15 months to be exact). So, if I were to be having another, I might be pregnant about this time. However, we are done. I've gained about seven pounds since September and apparently to someone that I don't even know that well, it looked as though they were strategically placed pounds. No, I've just been eating too much. A second comment recently came from my three-year old. Believe me, I am well aware that three year olds have no clue what they're saying, so when he told me that my name should be "Chubby Mommy", I mostly blew it off. However, part of me could not ignore it. I'm creeping back towards a "6" in the middle of my weight and I swore to myself I would never see that weight again. Time to get serious.


So, here's the plan. Sunday. May 3, 2009. I've got a date with the Providence, RI half marathon! I contacted one of the trainers at the gym today and he's agreed to be my coach. His words were that he would "guide me to greatness", but my goals are considerably less lofty. I'd like to finish the half marathon in under 2:30. To me, achieving greatness would be 2:11, or 10 minute miles. However, at this point in my fitness I could manage three 10-minute miles and that's it. Whole workout, done. Not sure that in the less than five months between now and the race I could add 10 more 10-minute miles. Besides, there are the holidays coming up, so training in earnest won't start until January 5th. It will be 17 weeks of training. I asked this specific trainer at the gym because he's no cheerleader. He's not the one that will blow sunshine up my butt and accept some lame-ass excuse for why something wasn't done as he outlined. He's a no-nonsense guy and I honestly find him a bit intimidating. Perfect for a coach. He's not supposed to be my friend, he's my coach. Ideally, I'd like to be down about 15 pounds by the time the marathon comes. However, I've not been that weight since I got married and after having three kids, will I even be able to get there? Who knows, I'm going to give it my best shot to find out. (Hmm, haven't I read those words before? Oh yes, I wrote them back in September before I fell off the wagon and was then run over by the back tires.)


After the half marathon I'd love to consider an Olympic distance triathlon, but we'll have to see what life says about that. I've applied to nursing school and I should find out some time in February whether I'm accepted into the program. If I am, I might be looking for part time work at the local hospital which would all but eliminate workout time. I'm just taking things as they come for now. But there's the goal. May 3rd, 2009. Big day.


Tomorrow I'm volunteering to help at a home building for Ex*treme H*ome Make*over. I'm looking forward to the experience, although I've read I'll likely be rained on. Oh well.


Of course, I can't leave without sharing the latest and great picture of my kids. It will be the family Christmas card, or course. Too bad with three kids we can only ever get two out of three smiling in the same shot.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Knowing isn't quite half the battle

I remember being the person that I want to be. As recently as two months ago I had myself thinking that I really had this all figured out. I was living the life that I only could have dreamed of; things were really going along great. I had this feeling of calm about me all the time, and the joy in my life was so overwhelming that it truly amazed me that I could deserve all of it. I had managed to lose the 15 pounds I had wanted to (the last 10 were a reach anyway), I had the perfect balance that included triathlon training, getting up at 4:30am, working my job, hanging with the family, all of it. I really thought that it was something I had managed to achieve myself. I have since come to realize, sure, I've got things all figured out. I am that person that I want to be, when everything in my life is going exactly according to the plan in my head. As soon as that gets derailed, I become someone else. It's someone I'm familiar with, having lived like that for years and I've got my good days when I'm almost who I want to be, but there's less patience, less tolerance, more moodiness, less joy. I find myself getting short with the kids, a tone has crept back into my voice that I thought was gone, one that I sometimes hear coming back at me now, and then I have to discipline them even though I know they're only repeating back what they've heard from me. I find myself getting hung up on small issues with my husband and at work, things that shouldn't be ruining my day now linger for not only that day, but a few more. I've got a feeling in the pit of my stomach that just sits there, and there's an underlying anger that I thought was gone. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that brought about this change, and I can't predict what will resolve it. But I truly hope I can get back there because that year of my life was by far the best I've ever had and my family deserves to live with me as I was at my best. Until I get there, I'm going through the motions as best as I can and waiting.

On a training note, I've gained back five of the seven pounds I lost at the beginning of the TTW challenge. I'm too embarrassed to update those numbers, and I still hold out a little hope that I'll get back there, and a little below, before the end of it. I've got a 5K in two weeks and I'll be happy if I can finish in under 30 minutes. My asthma has been bugging me in the cold, so I might have trouble with the 5K, I'll just give it my best shot.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A sad good-bye

I haven't had such an emotionally draining week in a long time. I've applied for the nursing program, now have to figure out how we'll afford a year of potentially no income, finding health insurance, plus a school schedule that will be brutal. And that's if I get accepted. No way to know whether I'm making the right decision, but if I make the wrong one it would be much tougher years down the road.

Yesterday morning we said good-bye to our sweet Ozzy. Fortunately we were all able to go outside to play for about an hour and a half first. By the end he was too exhausted to play much and we knew that we were making the right decision about when it was time to say good-bye. Still didn't make it much easier, I cried most of the morning and I was holding his head as he passed. We hope he had a good life, he was certainly a wonderful dog and we'll all miss him. It's going to be a tough adjustment for Kodi, he was Ozzy's littermate and alpha dog. This morning we took him out for a walk and we let him run a few houses before returning to our house. In the past he's always grabbed Ozzy's leash and "walked" him home as they ran together. When my husband dropped his leash this morning, he circled around as if looking for Ozzy, and then just stayed with us. We hope to have years ahead of us with him. Here's a last picture of the two of them together, he's the shorter one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Holdout

A completely non-training related post, but I feel like that's my life lately. I've got so much on my mind. I keep trying to remind myself that I have got a great life and these things on my mind are really all good. One thing I thought I was set with was the fact that we'll have three kids and that's it. They're wonderful, I'm truly blessed, I keep telling myself that should be good enough. Then a good friend of mine said she's pregnant with her fourth. Before the words "I'm so happy for you" had even finished leaving my mouth, "I'm so jealous!" was screaming through my head. I keep thinking I'm convinced that I'm okay with our family decision and then my heart decides it doesn't agree. What can you do when your heart holds out against all the practical, rational reasoning your mind can muster? I'm trying to convince myself to go the just "suck it up" route- I hope my heart comes around soon. Of course probably not as much as my husband hopes that, I can be miserable when I'm obsessing.

There's still the whole school-change-of-career thing in my life, too. I should have more answers this week after attending an open house about the nursing program.

I feel like I spend most of my time making excuses for why I'm not getting in the exercise and training that I should be. I'm not working towards the weight loss like I wanted to, and I'm just sort of floundering a bit. I may just take a break for a while until I've got my head, and maybe my life, a little more in order. Thanks to those that often leave me comments of support, I'll still be checking in. And who knows, maybe three days from now I'll be back to rant, rave or even post that I did something productive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things will always work out fine

Because I have this in my life.



Friday, October 10, 2008

A Rut

So I had an excellent first three weeks with the weight loss challenge, down seven pounds in that time and then.... not so much. I think I gained back three last week (although I'm cheating a little and not updating my weight until I'm back on track) because I ate like crap. Then this week I caught and cold and only made it to the gym on Monday. I was feeling better this morning but I still slept in.

I feel like I'm in a life rut. There are many uncertainties with my job future and I'm looking into other options. There are days when I really want to make this change. Then there are days when I realize I've got it really good here and going back to school and changing jobs, well, that would be hard. But is it worth it to stick with something just because it's easy? I could easily say no if it were only my life involved. But, I've got a family to support, so is it fair if I take away what makes life easiest for all of us, just so I can pursue something I think I am more passionate about? Then I start getting a little resentful that I've got all the responsibility for supporting a family and I feel a little tied into things that I can't control. But, if I stay where I am and I lose my job five, ten years down the road, the changes would be harder to make for all of us. I guess this is just one of those situations where I'll never know whether the decision I make is truly the best one, but it will end up being the right one. At least it will have to be.

Oh, and next week I'm getting back to the gym. Those 13 pounds won't lose themselves. These days I feel certain I won't lose them either, but I'll get working at it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A first for me

This weekend for the first time, I did a weekend workout. Yes, last night after the kids were tucked in bed and nearly asleep. I escaped to the basement and did a two mile run. Okay, two miles is a pretty pathetic little workout, 22 minutes with cool-down, but it felt great. After my Friday night run-induced insomnia, I wasn't sure whether another crack at the night time run was worth it, but I was surprised at how good I felt running at night. I'm not exactly sure how it was different from a morning run, but it felt good. I wonder whether maybe I'm ready to add real weekend workouts to my schedule. It might just be a consistent three mile run night, since I won't often be starting until 9pm and I'm not willing to give up the whole night- or be up until 3am on a regular basis. Or maybe it was a random night that I wanted to run. Either way, it felt good.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm not a night exerciser

Yesterday morning I didn't get to the gym before work because I had a busy morning in the lab. I had intended to get there later in the day, but didn't make it. So, the boys were asleep at 8:45pm and I grabbed my sneakers and headed for the basement treadmill. I had a little stomach distress, so I was able to run only 2 miles and then I walked another 25 minutes. I ended up burning 450 calories- according to the treadmill- and I felt like I had worked pretty hard. Here's the real problem with an evening workout- at 2am I was still awake, and knowing we'd have a relatively full day today, I wasn't very happy about that side effect. It was better than no workout at all, and when I got on the scale this morning I was 0.5 pound lower than last Saturday, so it's all good. I'm actually leading the Through the Wall weight loss challenge. I can't remember winning much of anything before, and I know it's not likely that I will maintain this weight loss rate much longer so I won't likely win, but it's nice to have an early lead. I'm taking the day off today, and likely tomorrow as well because of family plans. But cardio intervals will come bright and early Monday morning again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feeling it

The past three weeks have been some butt kicking workouts! I am feeling it most days. I was happy to have a weight loss initially, but I'm stuck right now. I'll get past it. Sunday I was splitting wood for about an hour and a half. My husband would be quick to point out that I was not using the maul the whole time. I often use the maul a few times and when I get a good dent, I use the splitting wedge and a smaller hammer to finish the split. I can't seem to coordinate the sledge hammer and the splitting wedge, although my aim with the maul is pretty good. Anyway, I was sore after that.

Monday morning was cardio intervals, and this class was high intensity. There were six steps set up ranging from 0-6 risers on each step. The class consisted of jumping on, over and running around these steps. That was tiring. Then Monday night I decided to swim while the boys were in their lessons. Of course by the time I get them dropped off and settled, the 30 minutes was down to about 25. I planned to do 10x100 on two minutes. I got through the first 100 and had to stop because the instructor wanted to talk to me about Superman. Then I got through the next 2 x100 on time. After the third set I had to fix Hot Wheels' goggles because they had come undone. Then another set followed by a break because Superman "had" to tell me something. Not even sure what he said, but he had to tell me. There were a few distractions, so I ended up doing only 800 yards. The repeats, however, were pretty consistently 1:45. Not great, but not bad.

Yesterday I hit the ARC trainer. This is not your garden variety elliptical trainer. This thing kicks my butt. I used the interval program and did 60 minutes, it said I burned 726 calories. I was drenched.

This morning was another high impact aerobic intervals class. Lots of jumping jacks, squat jumps, mountain climbers and burpees- the last two are my least favorite. My legs feel like jelly. But, I was complimented this morning at the gym for having taken off some weight recently. I'm glad the results are noticeable on the outside as well as the inside. I will get back to real running at some point, I'm just enjoying the change of pace with the interval classes. Tomorrow morning's strength training class, another good one. In addition to the mental adjustment to the end of nursing Cutie, the physical adjustment is a little uncomfortable, but I think it should only be a couple more days at most. That might also account for a little of the weight plateau.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The next life phase

Since June of 2002 I have been pregnant with and/or nursing someone for all but five months. That's almost six years of my life spent sharing my body with someone else, either the space in it or nutrition from it. Cutie turned 13 months yesterday and I'm pretty sure she decided to give up nursing. We were down to once before bed anyway, I think it was just sort of her way to unwind and relax a little before bed. If she truly has given it up at least I know it was on her schedule, she's just grown past it. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that's now a bit sad knowing that the phase of my life where one of my jobs in life was in part to sustain another life, is over. A part of me is happy to have my body back to myself, and I know that my most important contributions to my children's lives is not really the pregnancy, or the nursing. It's helping them grow into the best people they can be. It's showing them how to love people, care for those around them, and to always do their best at whatever it is they choose to do. I look forward to this next phase of life, the kids growing into these really interesting and unique people, and I know it's what has to happen. But that little part of me that found a new purpose in life when I first got pregnant with Hot Wheels, feels a little loss of usefulness, and the part that really loved the possibilities and love that a baby brings will need some time to adjust.


Here she is, all "grown up".

Friday, September 19, 2008

11.6%

That's my weight loss goal for now through the end of the year. I started the Through the Wall Challenge on Sept. 4th, when my vacation ended. I weighed in at 158.5 and I intend to get down to 140. I think the first 8.5 should go pretty easily, and I'm actually 7 pounds down already, but once I hit the 150 mark it's going to take more work than I've been willing to commit to up to this point. I've got some hard core cardio intervals classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and then yesterday I put in 50 minutes on the ARC trainer for another 600 calories. However, my husband and I are enjoying a rare date night tonight, and we have a gift certificate for dinner at a good restaurant with some great food- although larger portions than I should probably consume. Anyway, this is really more about long term life, not what I weight tomorrow morning. I'm going to live my life, enjoy my dinner, just try for moderation. We're riding at lunch today, anyway, maybe a few bike sprints to up the calorie burn will help.

Tomorrow's the Corn Maze and apple picking for the family. I love fall!

I'm going to check out some new layouts, too. I'm tech challenged so I just go with the options available, I might give it a few tries to see what I like best. Any opinions are always welcome.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I hit the ceiling

Not the glass ceiling, the asbestos kind. This morning in the gym we had cardio intervals again. For one of the intervals we were to "high skip" and try to hit the ceiling. Instructors have told us to try to hit the ceiling in the past and I laughed because this girl has a vertical leap of zero. Apparently, though, I've improved because I was able to hit the ceiling numerous times. I really enjoyed the thunk sound of the tile lifting up and then coming back to rest on the ceiling structure. I was pretty proud of myself. I guess sometimes the improvements we're making aren't really noticeable, but they're there. Also, I grabbed the wrong jeans when I was packing for work yesterday. They were the ones I've got on my shelf and told myself I'd wear when I lost about 10 more pounds. They're a bit more fitted than I would normally like, but I received three compliments on them. Guess they look okay. The size said 6, but we all know it's just vanity sizing these days anyway. But, I was glad to wear them and hear they weren't obscene at least. It's the little stuff that makes my day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Always a good time for pictures

Here's Hot Wheels from his first day of school:


This was a family hike the last week of summer vacation:

Here are the boys at a friend's birthday party:

And Cutie using the freezer door handle as a ballet bar:


This morning was total body strength conditioning at the gym. After the triathlon Sunday, the cardio intervals class yesterday and then lifting today I'm feeling a bit trashed. Tomorrow morning's another cardio intervals class and then I'm thinking Thursday if we don't bike at lunch I'll take the day off. At some point I've got to run, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A fond farewell

Yesterday was my second and last tri of this season. It was also my fourth tri ever, and my last as an Athena. I'm at 152 pounds now and I've decided that this off season I will kiss Athena status good-bye forever as I work towards my goal weight. I haven't exactly decided my goal weight yet, I think it will be 140, that's what I weighed when I got married almost nine years ago. That's 12 pounds to go and I think I should get there. However, if I don't get all the way there but reach a point where I'm happy, so be it.

Here's my report from the women's triathlon.
The weather was crappy on the way up, driving through drizzle alternating with downpours, so we knew we were headed for a wet morning. There were 418 racers, we were broken up into four waves. I went off in the first wave. It was an in-water start, I lined up in front but over to the left of the right side buoys course to avoid the pack. I knew that the buoys were approximately 45 degrees to my right for the triangular course and yet, when the race started, I swam straight. I had two friends in waves behind me and they said a few people mentioned the "poor woman that swam so far out she'd have to swim way farther to get back on course". Yes, I was that swimmer. I'm guessing I swam an extra 150 meters or so, really stupid. The part that was annoying was that when I joined the pack again after the turn buoy, I was now with the slower swimmers in my wave and I was trying to swim through them. Ugh. I also took my first real hard kick to the ribs in a swim, it knocked me off for a minute. I don't begrudge people that can't swim freestyle the whole way, but do you have to kick so hard with the breaststroke kick? It takes up much more space and it's very hard to swim around a breaststroke kicker, because you don't always see it before you get hit. A few pink caps flew past me from the wave three minutes behind and I was able to get through behind them.
Anyway- swim time: 16:02 145/418 should have been at least two- three minutes faster, grr.

Transition was uneventful, but a long way to run with the bike on wet pavement. I'm a bit awkward in the bike shoes anyway. 2:49

The bike was 12 miles, some small hills but nothing too difficult. However, it was wet. We were drenched and it was almost like a constant enema as the water just streamed up from the back tire. I'm a nervous biker in the rain, but it did a little to increase my confidence, I was able to maintain an okay pace, just had to slow down a lot more than usual for the turns and downhills. I had no computer, no idea on top speed or anything. I averaged approximately 16.5 mph, which is pretty fast for me really. Total- 43:45, 213/418

T2- more awkward running in bike shoes back to the rack. I skipped the hat since there was no sun to shield and headed off. 1:13

The run was a trail 5K, more hilly than advertised and muddy. It wasn't raining as hard by that time, but I was already soaked so it didn't much matter. I didn't cramp up this time, which was nice, I just couldn't move as fast as I would have liked. Total- 33:41 278/418

Overall: 1:37:28, 201/418 and 15/53 Athenas, and I had a great time. Had I raced age grouper this year I would have placed 43/75. I'd like to finish top half of my age group next year. I'd also like to shave at least 3:45 off my bike time- 18mph average, and 5 minutes off my run time- 9:00 pace. Someone 9 minutes faster than me this year was 23/75 age group. I'd be thrilled to get there.

That's it for the tri-season. Back to the gym for cardio intervals class twice a week for conditioning and more running! I'm also adding some more weight training and we're going to keep up at least a once weekly lunch bike ride at work, weather permitting.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Ripped off

It was a Saturday in early March, 2001. My husband and I were volunteers with a local animal rescue organization and I had some of our foster cats at a local Pet-A-Thon. We would bring foster pets to a local pet store where potential adopters could meet and greet the rescued animals. In walked one of my fellow volunteers with the most adorable five-week old lab mix puppy. He was blonde and squirmy and I had to have him. We went out to the foster home the next day to visit the whole litter. The mother had been unable to nurse the pups and they had been hand fed since five days of age. Ours was the runt of the litter and he was particularly close with one of the largest of the litter that had some strength issues in his hind legs. When he couldn't get over to the food, the little one would roll him over small pieces. Well, we couldn't split up the pair, so on April 8, 2001- Ozzy and Kodi (Kodiak for long) came to live with us. They had the life. A fenced yard, a couple with no kids that took them for plenty of walks, runs and swims. The dogs trained for my marathon with me, coming with me for training walks up to 14 miles. We told ourselves that when our son was born we would still love our dogs, and give them as much attention as before. And I do believe that we tried our best. But here we are five years later and they just don't get as much attention as I would like, or them, I'm sure. Kodi enjoyed spending time with the kids and family but Ozzy has always been a little nervous around the kids and he spends most of his time up in our bedroom. I've been telling myself that once the kids are bigger they will be great with the dogs. Hot Wheels enjoys playing fetch with them and I envisioned all of us hanging out in the yard, everyone having a great time together. I found out today that Ozzy has lymphosarcoma and his prognosis is anywhere from two weeks to three months until he's no longer with us. The lymph nodes in his neck are already extremely inflamed and that will likely cause him to stop eating and have difficulty breathing in the weeks ahead. We hope he will be kept comfortable with the steroids and associated medication, but we won't be going the route of chemotherapy and radiation. He's not even eight years old and I understand that it's not an abnormally short life span for a medium sized dog, but I still feel ripped off.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'm just so NOT hard core

I was at one of my favorite stores, a gigantic used book store, last Thursday and I picked up a like-new copy of the Triathletes Training Bible for only $4. Seemed like a good investment to me. I started the introduction and quickly realized that I am not in the target audience for this book. The author refers to the athletes using the book as people that would be concerned about losing fitness by skipping a day or two of workouts, or at least that's my understanding of the target audience. I just did nothing related to training for the past eleven days and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single moment. I have had the best vacation, not termed a staycation I guess, hanging out with my family and keeping busy. I may not have done any specific training but we were on the go! Here's a snapshot of the past week and a half:
8/22- Cutie turns one. We had a family dinner, she got her present and then when she went to bed the boys and I headed to a friend's beach to watch the stars and look for constellations.
8/23- Cutie's party with my husband's family.
8/24- Great morning hike at a local park and then off to local fair for some rides, animals and tasty ice-cream sundaes.
8/25- Chuck E. Cheese's for some play time on a rainy day, then for Cutie's one-year old pictures, including a family shot, then dinner with friends.
8/26- Cutie's one-year old dr. appt- including 5 shots- yuck. The afternoon with friends celebrating two birthdays, then to pre-school open house for Superman.
8/27- Kindergarten open house for Hot Wheels then a picnic at the local splash pad park.
8/28- Trip to the Children's Museum with grandma where the boys saw their first planetarium show.
8/29- Hike in a local park with a really cool waterfall, with the kids' cousins and aunt.
8/30- Off to grandma and grandpa's house so mom and dad could help grandpa cut down trees while grandma watched nervously from the porch.
8/31- Grandma and grandpa watched the kids while we were at our annual Fantasy Football draft.
9/1- Trip to the beach with some friends for picnic lunch and fun in the sun!
9/2- Hot Wheels first day of kindergarten and the last day of my vacation.

It can't possibly get any better than this. So, no training. No excuses, no regrets. I think I've managed to gain about eight pounds. Yes, eight. Ridiculous but true. So now it's back to work. I've got a book on my shelf to live up to.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Now THAT'S fast

A whole year has gone by since Cutie joined the family, I swear it's been the fastest year of my life. At 2:03pm she burst onto the scene and has been an absolute joy since then. She's so happy and laid back and at the same time very determined and independent. She sure keeps us on our toes with her running around (yes, running at 1-year old), attraction to the stairs, dog water bowl and toilet, love of climbing and all toys choke-able. She's a trip. We love you, sweetie!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Correction and confession

Some of the people on the work running team are very competitive runners and noticed that their times for the 5k on Tuesday seemed slower than they should. A few people also had Garmins that determined the distance was actually 3.18-3.2 miles. Based on that correction, my time for the race was 11:43 miles. Again, a stroller aided time, and I'm even happier with the new one, but my participation wasn't about the time. Incidentally, the correction gave the overall winner a mind-blowing 4:51 pace.

Now for my confession. I'm lazy and I hate the treadmill. I have always professed to enjoy running on the treadmill, but it was a cover for my laziness. The treadmill is convenient, there's no weather or terrain to deal with and I can stop any time and still be at the end. There's also a restroom about 100 feet away, which I needed after only one mile this morning. But, it's time for me to move up in my running world and take it outside. I'm going to scope out some routes near work and start going either before work or at lunch. The two main reasons I need to do this are: I think I have psyched myself out about needing the bathroom more often than I actually do, and it's too easy for me to cut it short at the gym- like today for instance. I need to run a route so that when I'm tired, I've still got to get back. It's time. I've got the 5.5 miler in November and I'm toying with the idea of a half marathon in the spring. That's only just popped into my head in the last couple days and will need to be discussed with my ever-patient, wonderful husband before any plan is enacted. End of confession.

In cool news, for being the first place Athena in the tri two weeks ago, not only did I receive a very nice medal, but also an obnoxiously loud but very useful cycling jacket. I ordered the men's medium thinking that would be plenty big and it does fit, but there's not much extra room in there. Those darn slim cyclists.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Asterisk

(subtitles for this post are also: "Two in Twelve" and "Riding on Empty")
I know that when there is a wind-aided time recorded for some races they are given an asterisk. So, I'm reporting my 122 lb double-stroller "aided" time for the 5K last night was 37:13. That's 12:00 miles even, I'm not too disappointed considering I was pushing the boys the whole way. Well, they each ran about a total of 0.2 miles at different times which only meant I had to stop and start as they climbed out and back in. I wanted to encourage them to run, though, so I didn't really mind. Hot Wheels really had trouble understanding why we were doing a race that we weren't going to win. We finished 243rd out of 251- it's a fast race. He kept asking me how many people were behind us until I told him I didn't want to hear another word about where we were going to finish. The boys kept up a pretty constant chatter the whole time, including "are we almost done?" every two minutes or so. I was a nice change of pace from a normal race, and I was given much support and many compliments from spectators who seemed unnecessarily impressed that I was running with the stroller.

The race last night started at 6:15pm and this morning we left for a 13-mile bike ride at 6:15am. I think it was actually 6:17am by the time we got going, but close enough. That covers the two in twelve. As for the riding on empty- I only ate half a banana after the 5k last night and then I didn't eat before the ride this morning. I also brought my water bottle in to work to fill it and then left it at my desk, so I was really riding on empty. I bonked. I think we were somewhere between 14-15 mph, but my legs were wasted by the time we finished. Even now, I'm feeling it.

I went to donate blood last week and was told that my iron levels were low enough that they wouldn't take my blood and they said I should call my doctor. Being a still nursing mother, I've been way too lax about my vitamins, that would probably explain part of the reason I've been so blasted tired for a while now. I try to remember to take my iron and multivitamin, I make it about every other day, so my energy level should bounce back up soon, I hope. I'll try to give blood again next month, if it's still low, I'll call a doctor.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Change

My plan to run a 10k in October has been changed, because Cutie's baptism will take place at the same time as the race. That's the priority so no 10k this fall, but there will be a 5.5 miler in November. I've also added another triathlon on September 14th, going with a few friends from work, so that will be fun. Tonight's a 5k and kids run. The boys are going to run the kids run and then we'll all do the 5k. It's a no-pressure one so the boys will run when they want to and I'll push them in the jogging stroller when they need a break. No time goal, no expectations, just some fun family exercise.


Here are some pictures from the recent triathlon. Be forewarned, the image of me in a trisuit is not exactly flattering. Oh yeah, and I'm smiling in the run picture because my kids were cheering like crazy and I'm almost finished, not because that run felt good.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The next phase

Now that my one and only triathlon for the year has passed, I'm on to my next goals. First, there are 8 weeks until my first ever 10k and I'm a little intimidated by working up to the distance in time. And, this morning I started the 100 push-ups challenge. I was pleased to complete day 1 level 1 without too much difficulty. Considering I started at 2 push-ups, it can only get better from here. This morning was a cross-training day, 40 minutes of step aerobics. I don't really enjoy the group classes at the gym as much as I once did. And the gym workouts in general just don't make me as happy as they once did. For safety I'll stick with the treadmill runs- and they're a good way to keep track of my progress as well, and I'll keep up my group bike rides until it's too dark in the morning to ride before work. Here's a recent pic of Cutie, my favorite so far.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Left it all...

Quick results: Swim- awesome, Bike- good, Run- not so much. First place Athena division- out of one. Total time: 1:35:12. There ended up being 53 individuals and 32 teams competing.

Here's the detailed story- might be longer than the sprint itself.
Overall it was the most perfect weather I could ever have for a triathlon. I think it was in the mid 70's and it was cloudy. Even the humidity that had rolled in during the day seemed to clear out. There was a threat of some big thunderstorms, but all was clear.

The swim: The swim course ended up being a 2 loop 0.4 mile total course with a short beach run between the loops. I'm not a fan of a run in my swim, but it went well. And for me it was the best I have ever felt in a swim. I even got right in the pack and was part of the kicking/ pushing/ shoving, but it didn't throw me off much. Until I saw the results this morning I thought I had done a bit better statistically in the swim, I was 47/85 with a 13:25. But I felt really good and enjoyed it.

T1- This is where I lost tons of time last time I competed because I had a wetsuit on that time and sort of fumbled around. This time I didn't even wipe my feet off, just threw on a t-shirt, my socks, shoes, gloves and helmet and headed off. Time- 1:26, 48/85. (Time in 2006- 2:16)

Bike- The bike course is 6 loops of a 2.1 mile route. It's a bit boring, to understate it a little. I leapfrogged back and forth with one of the female team competitors that I know from the gym. She would pass me on the uphill and then I would catch her on the downhill. It was a good motivation, especially when mostly I was just getting passed, as I knew I would. I was really working, though, I had told myself I was going to push as hard as I could in the race and I really felt strong on the bike. The only negatives were that I have a hard time drinking on my bike and oh yeah, I threw up. I didn't even have any warning on it, all of a sudden my mouth was just full and I was spitting it off my bike. Somehow I menaged to miss both me and bike, but it was gross. Total time: 45:58, 66/85. (Time in 2006 for the same course- 46:20)

T2- Felt a bit shaky getting off the bike. I'd been telling myself to drink some water in transition and I promptly forgot after changing my shoes, grabbing my hat and running off. Time- 1:14 74/85 (2006 time- 1:30)

The run- I started off okay. Then about a quarter mile in I felt cramps like I have never felt before. It was my calves and my stomach/side stitch. My calf muscles were just a ball of knots, I was trying to pick up my toes as much as possible between steps to stretch them a little. There a short but steep hill just before the mile mark and I was hurting at that point. At the water stop at the top I grabbed a drink of water and I'm not sure whether it was the water or the stretching from running up hill but my calves eased up. I was passed by about half a dozen people on the run, I think. My first mile must have been some horrendous split, but the second two were more comfortable. Running into the finish, though, my husband, my parents and the kids were sitting on the curb cheering for me and I was just so happy. Run time- 33:09 81/85. (2006 time- 31:07)

So I met most of my goals, the only one I really blew was the run goal. I wanted to finish under 1:40:00 and I was almost five minutes under that, although the swim was 0.4 miles and not 0.5. Next year I want five minutes off that bike time and at least that on the run. I'm going 1:25:00!

Right after I finished the thunderstorms rolled in so we didn't stay for food or awards. I think I've got a medal to pick up at the gym. I was pretty beat by the time we got home, showered, got the kids to bed and then fell into my own. I'm still a little sore this morning, but not as bad as I had anticipated. Next up- October's 10K.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm all tapered

Because you taper for a sprint, right? It was an unintentional taper, but that's how it goes. I went for a group open water swim last Saturday morning and then nothing since then. Oh well. The OWS was awesome. The distance is supposedly 0.46 miles and I was done in just over 15 minutes, with a probably two minutes stopping for sighting problems, then some goggles adjustments and then looking around for the rest of the swimmers because somehow I got out pretty far ahead. The people I was swimming with, though, admit that their goal on the swim is to just not drown. So I look pretty fast next to them, but then they can drop me on the bike and run pretty quickly. Again, oh well.

So, tomorrow's the day. The weather looks awesome. Low 80's (maybe even 78 by the shore) with moderate humidity and possibly some cloud cover. I've heard the field this year is really big- 30 teams and 125 individuals. That's the twice the size of when I participated two years ago. I've got some goals, I should put them out there.
1. Have fun.
2. Work hard enough that I don't get to the end and say "I could have gone faster on the...." My husband remarked the other day that I've said that at the end of almost every race. I'm so worried about hitting the wall that I'm saving something, for what, I don't know.
3. Swim- 1/2 mile- 18:00
4. Bike- 12.6 miles- 47:00
5. Run- 3.1 miles- 29:00
6. Total- under 1:40:00
7. Place in Athenas, not sure how big that field is.

Oh yeah, and I'm still legally an Athena. My weight this morning was 150.5, so I gained back some of my stomach bug weight loss. I feel better knowing that I'm not cheating in any way, although I hope to be solidly under Athena weight for next season. I've decided I'm going to wear my tri suit. I used it in the OWS and it was surprisingly comfortable. I still feel a little like stuffed sausage wearing it, but I've been looking through pictures of past events and there are other people about my size wearing similar things, so I think it will be fine. I also realize that no one else is there to look at me and if they are, too bad.

After tomorrow, it's time to train for my October 10K. I've slacked on the running recently, I'm looking forward to getting back to it. And I'll get a better idea of what the end of an Olympic will feel like. I've got a few more people lined up for an '09 Olympic, it will be fun.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Had 'em. Didn't use 'em.

Excuses that is. I woke up this morning, before 4 am thanks to Hot Wheels, and one of my first thoughts was "Why did I commit to a Monday 6am ride?" I decided before I was even out of bed that I had numerous reasons (or excuses) for why the ride would suck. I'm tired. I'm still sore from splitting wood on Saturday. It's too wet (I'm still afraid of riding with wet tires, I've slipped on the road in the past when it's rained), it's too humid. I met up with my friend, whom I will just call Biker Chik from now on. She took me through the time trial workout again. I didn't have time to give her my excuses for why the ride would suck and you know what? I actually didn't suck. I gained 10 seconds on one leg, but lost it on the second sprint leg. I didn't time the third one again, I'm just too tired by that time. I think it went maybe a little better than last time, although since the triathlon's next week I'm not going to improve much at this point. But, I couldn't just bag it, she was there and she kept me pushed. When I got back to my car, there was a fire alarm sounding in the building, so I did a 5 minute run around the parking lots. Not much of a brick, but better than nothing. Good start to the week anyway.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Realization

My triathlon coming up in a week and a half will be useful to me as a baseline for my fitness in this sport. The realization I came to this week is that I have never done any real training. If I'm swimming, I just swim. Maybe a few drills or speed sets here and there but mainly I just swim, back and forth, back and forth and then get out. My time trial workout on the bike last Wednesday is the first time I have ever done anything on the bike other than just ride straight out for whatever distance or time we're riding. And except for 6 hill workouts I did with the running club back in April and May, my running workouts have just been a run, for time or distance maybe, but just a run. I've got some work to do! I'm going to look into some training plans and figure out what I'll be doing. For a while I'll still do just base work, to build up to the Olympic distance events, I guess. I've got a 10K I hope to complete in October, that's my only event after the August 7th tri.

On a side note, I've found a new strength training routine- wood chopping. I love it. I'm a little sore today from about an hour and an half of chopping yesterday, and I did drop the splitting wedge on the top of my foot, so that still hurts. But it's useful for the family, and it's a good workout in addition. I'm also going to try the 100 push-up challenge after my triathlon, so I've got plenty to keep me busy!

I'll attach a couple pictures from my sister's wedding. She purchased the CD, so I don't think it's copyright infringement to post them. Aren't my boys so handsome? Even if I am a little biased, I thought they looked so adorable. I like the one of me and the boys on the steps. It was taken before the ceremony started and to keep them amused, we were playing the silly stories game. I just like the memory of the moment as well as the pictures itself. And my wonderful husband even requested our wedding song for a dance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That's what 22mph feels like- breathe!

This morning I went out for a 12 mile ride with a friend who is an Iron-cyclist, if only she swam she'd kick butt in triathlons. She's an awesome biker and in addition has very good information and pointers. And, she doesn't mind taking an easy day and going out with me. We did a loop with three time trial sections. Well, I time-trialed and she cruised along behind me, I don't think she even broke a sweat. My bike computer needs new batteries, so the speed is the average over the course of the section with my watch time. First time trial section- 7:10 for 2.01 miles, or 16.8 mph- over all a +50 foot elevation. Second time trial section- 6:50 for 2.55 miles, or 22mph (woohoo!), however, there's also a -100 foot elevation, so I was basically going down hill most of the way. I don't have a time for the third time trial section, it felt somewhere in between but it was also after the shorter recovery period. Overall we were just above 15 mph and after the 48 minute ride, I was beat. I did a brick of two laps around the parking lot- probably a quarter mile total and that was all I had. I didn't have the energy in me for a three mile run, which I will have to do two weeks from tomorrow in the triathlon. I was sucking wind pretty good in those time trial sections, that's tough. Good practice, though, I'm hoping to get in one or two more workouts like that before the tri.

I've also decided that since I've failed in my attempts to convince my wonderful husband that one more kid would be great (crazy guy doesn't want to be home alone with four kids six and under), I'm making a plan for an Olympic tri in '09. I realize that many of them are still over a year away, but I like to plan and have long term goals. I think that an Olympic is reasonable given my time constraints, and I'll plan to add weekend workouts to the regime. Or that's the plan anyway.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Hot Wheels is thinking of being a goalie.

Superman has got his backfloating just about mastered.

It's not a pretty stroke, but Hot Wheels and get around the pool.

A rare moment of Cutie sitting. We've changed her name around the house to Little Miss Daredevil. She's walking, she's into everything, and she's FAST.

Our new strength training workout will be splitting this wood. I should have arms and shoulders of steel. Or maybe titanium.
My new training partner. The trail-a-bike is a bit tippier than I was expecting at first, but we've done a couple rides of neighborhood loops. It's fun.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Worthy? Technical bike confusion

Yesterday I went to the local bike shop to buy some clips for my new bike shoes. They had a "ladies night" sale a few weeks ago and I got new shoes. Since having the kids my feet have grown too large for my old bike shoes and I've been wearing my husband's. I decided to treat myself to shoes and ended up spending only $68 for shoes that were originally $120. They're very fancy for me- Louis Garneau, blue and silver, I like them. However, I don't really feel serious enough for them.

Anyway, I had my bike on the back of my car and I asked about switching out the gears from down tube shifters to the front handlebar (STI) shifters. (I know so little about bikes I don't even know what they're called) So I wheeled my Trek 420 into the shop and the two guys working back there got all excited about it. They both said they love that bike- and one seemed surprised that I'm thinking of changing the down tube shifting- and they would recommend I keep it and upgrade rather than buying a new bike down the road. Refreshing to hear from people that want to sell things that I should keep what I have rather than buy something new. However, there's a whole can of worms opened when thinking about upgrading my bike. To upgrade the shifters would run about $200. He said the front derailer will have to be replaced also. The recommends changing out my brakes in the future because I don't have quick release- another $70 or so. Then there's the shifting cassette. My bike has seven gears on the back and apparently that's out of date, and there's a larger chain ring for the front now that would give me more speed because there are more teeth on it. I could also get lighter wheels to decrease my rotational drag or something like that. It sounds like for $400 or so I could have a really nice bike. My question is- do I need a really nice bike. I'm nowhere near top fitness level and before I would even think about buying lighter bike parts I'd need to know that I'm as light as I'll get. What's a couple ounces with heavier wheels when I've got 10-15 pounds extra on me? I'm thinking of just upgrading the shifters and stopping there for now.

Yesterday I rode with a woman that's a pretty serious biker and I got my butt thoroughly kicked for 49 minutes. I think we averaged about 15mph, which was clearly nothing for her, but I was sucking wind big time. Right there was a big clue that three weeks from now, I'm going to get smoked on the bike. Oh well. I also went for a swim last night while the boys were in lessons. I had only 27 minutes to swim but I did get in a set of 4 x 100yd fast repeats. I was quite pleased that going on 2:00, I was able to do all 4 repeats under 1:40. The first was actually 1:28, but I was really pushing it. Unfortunately for me there aren't any walls to push off in open water swims, so I know those numbers don't mean much. An older gentleman in the lane next to mine complimented my form and I was flattered, but he was off on his next lap before I could ask if he had any pointers for me. Lunch time bike/swim/bike today and I'll get in either a run or ride tomorrow morning. Three weeks to go, gulp.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Been awhile

Been quite busy this summer. Swimming lessons for the boys- both are doing awesome. Soccer for Hot Wheels with a local chapter for disabled children, he gets to play on a team with my best friend's son, also a 5-year old, with some developmental delays. We always talked about our kids growing up and playing together and it's so cute to see them in their soccer uniforms together. Watching the other parents that deal with such major health issues in their children on a daily basis is a great reminder at how blessed I am with three healthy, happy children. Cutie is walking all over the place, started at just 10 months, I wasn't quite ready for that. She's still the happiest girl, just very active. And it's wonderful to watch the boys interact with her, they all love each other already. She's very amused by them, and they love to have an audience for their crazy antics.

My sister's wedding and the associated trip to Baltimore both went very well. The boys were on their best behavior and Cutie even got to join us at the reception for a while, which was nice. I'll share pictures when I've got some. Unfortunately I was hit with a major stomach bug just before the wedding- I did manage to lose the 5 pounds I had hoped to lose- but it was all in two miserable days. Fortunately everyone was recovered in time for the trip, but I lost almost a week and a half of training. Even yesterday, I only managed a mile and a half on the treadmill before I was queasy and dizzy again. It's quite a lingering bug. I'm going to be way behind in training for my triathlon August 7th. I'll be lucky to get a total of 10 rides in before the event. But, it's all for fun, I wasn't going to be competitive anyway. I'll just enjoy as best as I can. The other drawback to the bug was that my milk supply for nursing Cutie just tanked. I had to give in and give her a bottle of formula last week. I made it to ten and a half months, but I still feel like I failed a little- her brothers never had formula and I pumped for a year for them. I'm not getting much pumping, so she'll likely get more formula before we switch to milk next month. She's fine and healthy, just a little personal disappointment.

Other than that, not much going on here. I'll be around and I'm checking in on other people's training even if I'm not doing as much of my own as I should.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sports amnesia, and a start

After one year and nine months, I went out for a bike ride this morning. I have this affliction, the opposite of childbirth amnesia- where you forget the pain because of the wonderful outcome. With sports like biking and swimming, I remember the pain or inconvenience and forget how much I enjoy them. Once we started I remembered how much I enjoy being on my bike- although being on it for over an hour did make me a bit uncomfortable- I've got to investigate seat options. It was not a speedy ride, 13.3 miles at 11.8 mph. I was with a couple people on mountain bikes and I wasn't really interested in pushing too hard anyway. I nice warm up. I've got seven weeks left, I'm hoping to get in at least two rides a week. We'll see how that goes. If nothing else, it's a start.

Next week. The pool.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I must have been dehydrated

For some reason this morning I stepped on the scale again, back to 152.5. At least I don't have to feel guilty about signing up as an Athena anymore, right? Ha,ha. In all seriousness, I'd love to get back to 140 pounds, but I don't have the motivation right now. I had forgotten about a work obligation that meant I needed to be at my desk by 6am this morning, so the swim did not happen. I can get ready for a sprint tri in only seven weeks, right? Oh, that bike is gonna kill me. And, maybe I should run again soon. Whatever.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Laziness Reward?

I've been quite uninspired for the past few weeks. After the ugly 5-miler, and then the ugly swim last weekend, last week it was all I could do to drag to the gym and slog through some half-hearted workouts. I've also just been so, so tired again, this morning I was up from 3-4:25 and then when I looked at the clock and thought "I'll get up in five minutes", I fell asleep until 6am- the start of my class at the gym. Oh well. I'm planning a pool swim tomorrow at 5am, I've got my fingers crossed that it happens.

Anyway, Saturday morning I stepped on the scale for the weekly home weigh-in, expecting about 152. I looked down and saw 149.5. I stepped off, stepped back on- 149.5. I picked up the scale and moved it, stepped on again- 149.5. Really? Finally, for the first time since probably 2000, I'm below the 150 mark?! Woohoo. Maybe that's the motivation I needed to get me back on track. Maybe not, given that I slept through this morning's planned workout, but maybe it will work.

Last week I signed up for my August triathlon, though, in the Athena category. I'm only 0.5 pound under now, and I just figured maybe I wasn't going to lose any more weight. I guess if I do, I'll contact the race director and switch to the open category.

I've organized a group ride for this Thursday morning, it will be interesting to get back on my bike. I'm looking forward to it, except for the obvious drawback of seeing how very far out of biking shape I have fallen.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I'll take the whole pie

Humble pie, that is. I got up this morning and experienced the most unpleasant swim of my entire life. There were a few contributing factors, though:
- Yesterday I was busy most of the day with my sister's wedding shower.
- Last night I attended her bachelorette party at a local casino and didn't get to bed until 1:15am.
- I was up at 5:45am with Cutie running a fever of 101 degrees, bringing the grand total of sleep to four and a half hours.
- The tide at the race was so low that for almost the first 200 meters and then again for the last 100 meters or so, it was impossible to swim. The water was not even as deep as my knees for much of that distance.
- Finally, and the part that was the most disturbing, I experienced my first swim panic.

Literally, I got into the water to start swimming, took a giant swallow of water and thought- "I've forgotten how to swim". I felt pretty sure I was going to have to swim with my head completely straight up out of the water at first. Then we stopped swimming to walk again, I was able to catch my breath and I calmed down a little. I started swimming again, was still very much out of rhythm, I could put my head in the water, but I had to breath every right arm stroke. After I rounded the first buoy I calmed down and was able to swim the longer leg, still only every third stroke breathing, before walking in from the final buoy along with everyone else. It was ugly and it was a wake-up call.

Time to swim, run and bike- the race will be here in less than two months. There's a smack from reality.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Swimming's like childbirth

I've been wondering all week whether I should try to find my wetsuit before Sunday's triathlon swim. I'm hoping that even though I haven't been swimming, at all, I should be able to cover the half mile in under 20 minutes. That's about the pace I was at when I started training for my '06 triathlon, and that was after about 15 years off from swimming. I was talking with another woman in the locker room and she equated the question to the whole natural vs. drug-assisted childbirth. Did having a child without drugs earn me some sort of reward? No, not other than having a baby, which would have happened even with drugs. It didn't really make me tougher than anyone else, it was just what I wanted to do. Would swimming with no wetsuit mean I'm tougher? Not really, maybe just stupid. The water temp is in the mid 50s, and I haven't immersed myself in mid fifty degree water for 20 minutes and tried to maintain a swim. I think I'll look for that wetsuit this afternoon, the epidural of swimming.

Last night Hot Wheels moved up to Level 2 for the last night of swim lessons. Not sure why they moved him for only the last day, but now at least we know what to work on over the summer. He was so proud that he completed Level 1, and he's really taken to the swimming. Superman will likely be a level 1 for a few more sessions. He'll have to float on his back, float on his stomach and demonstrate a seated dive before he moves to level 2. Even then, he can't move up from level 2 until he's 5 years old, still a year and a half away. So there's no rush. I'm just glad to see them enjoying the swimming lessons. Some day soon I'll get Cutie in the pool, too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Another reminder

I am aware on a daily basis how lucky I am to be living my life. A very good friend of mine gave birth to her son back in March, 12 weeks premature. He's been such a fighter since then and things were looking good and then this week he took a turn for the worse. He's likely not going to make it more than a few more days, his little lungs just haven't grown to support a growing baby. The staff at the hospital are at a loss because they haven't had a child with this condition live more than a few days. I've heard that they are just waiting at this point and hold very little hope that he could ever recover. But, miracles happen, so if you've got a prayer to offer up for Fletcher, he could use it. His family could use some prayers, too, he's the youngest of four children, the oldest being only 5, so it's a tough time for all of them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Who needs practice?

I was determined that this week I would start my swim workouts again. Then, yesterday, I was talked into swimming the 0.5 mile leg of a triathlon- this Sunday. My sister's bachelorette party is Saturday night and the last actual swim workout I did was in November. Of 2006. Should be fun. I've decided I'm not going to do any workouts before then, I'll just swim it cold. We're a very relaxed team, so my team mates are fine with that, they're just happy to have a swimmer. I'm shooting for under 20 minutes, under 18 would make me happier, though.

The boys went to "buddy night" with some friends that take karate. Hot Wheels was so excited to be there and he really took to the whole class. Then I found out how much they want to sign up- $189- a month. He was so disappointed when I told him it just wasn't going to happen. That's more than I pay for his preschool class. I told him he's got swimming for now, and he seemed okay with that. I was so sad to see his disappointment, though. I would love to sign up for karate again myself and I've thought about getting a family membership somewhere when the kids are older. At that place the bill would rival my mortgage. Oh well, we've got other luxuries, the kids will learn they can't have, or do, everything.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Backtrack

I just realized I never posted any follow-up on Saturday's event. The boys had their kids race after my 5-miler. It's a 1/3 mile race around a residential block, most of the kids are accompanied by a parent because you can't see the whole course from a single spot. Also, because many of these kids couldn't make the whole race alone. It was so cute, there must have been about 20 kids, ranging from probably eight years old down to two or three. I was running with Superman, husband had Hot Wheels. I was so proud of Hot Wheels, he kept up a single pace almost the entire way. He's not really built for speed, but he's determined and steady. He was quite excited to beat his cousin who is a year and a half older than he is. We tried to downplay the competition aspect of it, because we didn't want his cousin to feel bad, but he was very proud of himself for it. Superman was a little trooper, too. He's got more bursts of speed, started out a bit too fast and then wanted me to hold him. I told him I could hold his hand, and he was okay with that. He finished the whole way on his own, and he stopped for a couple quick walk breaks but ran for the most part. He's so tall for his age, he didn't really look like one of the younger ones, even though he was. I know his time was 5:52 for the third mile. I asked husband to check Hot Wheels' time when he finished, but he forgot, it was likely between 4:30 and 5:00. I know the times aren't really important, I'm just weird like that in wanting to know. Here are the pictures. A little far out, but the first is Hot Wheels and Dad, the second is Superman holding my hand.
Tonight is swimming lessons. Hot Wheels is really hoping that he'll get the front float down well enough that he'll be moved to Level 2. We'll see. Superman just likes to "disappear"- their terminology for dunking themselves. Anything that gets them excited about swimming is good in my book!

Starting again

Now that I've had some time to think about it, if I had thought back in January that I would run a 5-mile race at a sub 10-minute pace at any time this year, I would have been psyched. So, to run a 9:28 average pace for 5 miles is a great accomplishment for me. I also learned the important lesson that I need to eat before a race of that distance and so it's all good. Moving on to: actual triathlon training.

Ten weeks from today is the sprint triathlon at work. It's a 0.5 mile swim, 12.6 mile bike and 3.0 mile run. The swim until this year has always been a very generous 0.3 miles, I think probably a bit shorter than that in reality. The bike course is 6 loops of a 2.1 mile course, boring but not too difficult. There is a small hill, so six small hills and then there's one short but steep hill on the run. Next week I get back to the pool before work and there's a group riding a 15 mile loop at lunch every now and then. I'm planning to recruit a few people for some 5:30 or 6 am rides as well. I know going in that the bike is my weakest event, and at least before my first triathlons I had spin class- they haven't offered them at the gym recently, so my biking is really cold. I mean really. But, it's time to start!

This morning was an excellent strength class at the gym, before that I decided I'd try to do a faster warm-up. I intended to start at 7.6 mph, a 7:53 pace, and see if I could hold it for a mile. I accidentally entered 8.6 mph, a 6:58 pace, and was able to keep up for 0.5 miles before I nearly fell off the treadmill, gasping for air. Actually I backed off a bit after that half mile, but still managed to hit the 1.0 mile mark at 7:54. I was happy about that. I can't attend the group track workouts for the work running club because they're evening events- but I've got the workout schedule, I think I see some treadmill intervals, or even a family trip to the track in my future.

I took most of the day off this morning to take Hot Wheels to his kindergarten orientation day. I sat next to a mom I know from his preschool class, she was there with her youngest of four (and only girl), and him being my oldest, it was a different experience for both of us. I'm so excited to see him growing up, gaining some independence and really becoming a cool person. She's having a tough time with her "baby" heading off to school. Less than five years from now I'll be sitting in her shoes. Time just flies.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ug.Ly.

I meant to post my pre-race goals but never got around to it. They were
1. Finish the 5 mile race.
2. Have fun.
3. Keep up 9:00 mile pace.

As it turned out I managed 1 out of 3. I finished, but I did not enjoy myself at all and my pace wasn't exactly what I would have hoped for. The only good thing is that I think the lesson learned was that I cannot run a 5-mile race on no food or water pre-race. I had intended to eat breakfast but I was running around a bit crazy pre-race trying to get the kids ready for their races and wrapping an anniversary gift for my parents.

Short story would be that my splits were as follows:
Mile 1- 8:40
Mile 2- 9:00
Mile 3- 9:20
Mile 4- 10:20
Mile 5- 11:01
Total time- 47:21, a 9:28 per mile overall pace. If I had finished with that time and felt like I did my first two races I don't think I would be as upset about the time. But since I really felt awful, I'm a bit disappointed with the race. Oh well. There will be others.

The boys did great in the kids race, I'll have details and pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

120 equals 2. Or eleven and a half.

First, the important stuff. Here's Cutie, drool and all. And here are the boys do a semi-regular pre-bedtime yoga session. The two poses shown are Tree and Bow. Maybe not perfect, but good enough and I hardly want to squash their enthusiasm by correcting them.








Today was the final hill workout of the season for the work running team. They switch to track workouts next week and those are, unfortunately, during the evening hours when it's just not possible that I can attend. Today was two sets of 45, 90 and 120 seconds. For the faster people in the group the exact wording was "twice all the way to the top, 120 seconds". For me, however, 120 seconds is not all the way to the top. The first 120 I made it around the bend in the road, a personal record, and was happy with that. For the second 120 I decided I was going all the way to the top, rather than the 120. So, at 120 seconds, everyone else in the group stopped running, many of them at the top, but I kept going. I actually reached the top somewhere around 4 minutes and by that time everyone was already running back to campus, so I just kept running. It's a little ways down hill, but then there's another very large hill on the way back. At one point I thought I really had stopped moving forward up that hill but eventually it ended. I looked down at my watch and I had been running since the interval started somewhere around eleven and a half minutes earlier. I walked the half mile back from the top of the hill to work, showered and then collapsed into my desk chair. And here I am.


I've decided that my new effort into going green (and really only one so far other than recycling) is going to be to start composting. I've been mulling over whether to go worm composting or not and I think at least for my initial effort, I'm going to go wormless and just try a bin in the yard. Or a wooden frame from scraps. I'm hoping to have something up and running by next month, and maybe when I plant my garden next spring I'll have some wonderful home grown compost for fertilizer. And we'll also reduce our family's contribution to the landfill somewhat. Every lit bit helps, I hope.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gulp

Only five days until the five miler. I won't be getting in a 5-mile practice run, especially since I've had some calf troubles on my last couple runs. I'll just hope that the 4-mile practice runs will get me through the first 80% and the desire to not fall over in front of my family will get me through the last mile. Husband has decided he won't be running, so a small portion of my motivation to try and stick with him will be gone. But I'm looking foward to it. Then, the tri-training has to start in earnest, because there's only 11 weeks until the triathlon. I haven't swam a stroke in a year, and my bike has been untouched since September of 2006. Yes, that's year and a half and it could be ugly. I'm happy to hear that the swim of the this sprint has been increased to a half mile swim, however back when this course was supposed to have a one-third mile swim, it was never even close to that distance- probably less than a quarter mile, so I'm not holding out too much hope that the swim will really be a half mile. I'm looking foward to the race, there are a lot of people in my department that will be doing it and it's always fun to race with friends.

This morning was a fun time at the gym. Our normal instructor's on vacation so we had a new instructor that chose step aerobics for class. He was enthusiastic, flambouyant and had some funky moves. I laughed, I tripped, I moved and sweated. It's all good at 6am. Last night was a tough one, though, with all the kids up at some point; 11:30pm, 1am, 3am and then the alarm at 4:30am. I'm glad I made it to class, but I'm hoping that by some miracle I might be able to sneak in a few minutes of nap this afternoon. Maybe the babysitter, I mean TV, will occupy them for a few minutes and I'll catch some zzz's on the couch. Really, a 15-minute power nap would do wonders!

On the home front, Superman announced yesterday that he's wearing underpants from now on. Remember the trying times I had with Hot Wheels and the issue, I had decided not to push him until the end of summer because he'll need to be potty trained before nursery school. We'll be traveling in July for my sister's wedding and I decided I just didn't need something else to cause stress then, either. Yesterday he soaked the underpants twice and didn't actually make it to the potty successfully, but he actually sat on the potty multiple times, which is more than he had done until then. So, wish us luck. I've got the M&Ms all ready for potty successes and I've told him that if I can return the unopened box of diapers to the store, I'll buy him something with that money. Bribes, I mean, incentives, can be good.

Tomorrow's the final hill workout for the running team. I'm determined to make it to the top of the hill. The front-of-the-packers are up on the 120 second repeats. However, at 120 seconds I'm still only about half way. Depending on how my calf feels, that's the goals. And on Wednesday, the Wii Fit comes out. Good times.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm not fat

I still can't say that out loud, but I'm trying. Yes, I could still stand to lose some weight, but at 152 pounds I'm within the range of normal and my BMI at 5'7" is under 24. (I've still got the bat wings, my inner thighs still touch a little and I've got some muffin-top if my pants are too small, but I digress) To say I'm not fat, though, sounds vain to me and I feel like an impostor. I still identify with myself at 194 pounds, really fat, and out of shape. Recently one of the women at work asked me why I'm always referring to myself as the "big girl" or as being overweight. I realized that my current coworkers never knew me as my 194 pound self, so they don't identify me as fat, or even formerly fat. I feel comfortable making fun of myself as the big girl, but that's something it's time for me to change. Especially with the kids getting older and really paying attention to everything we say and do, even my unintentional comments about my weight could lead to misperceptions for them that everything's about weight instead of health. And I certainly don't want to raise Cutie to think anything negative or her body, adorable fudgy thighs and all. I've got to learn to think of my weight and size as a non-issue. Most people seem to make it through days without ever referring to their own size, why is it something that I've always brought up more- just to put myself down for being fat? I'm never going to be waif-like or even skinny, but if I can be fit and healthy, that's what's most important.

Along the same lines, I've always referred to myself as slow. Yesterday I went to the group hill workout and the first four and a half repeats out of six went pretty well. I was actually only a couple steps behind a woman that I always considered pretty fast. I referred to myself as a slow runner and then realized that she could misinterpret my comment and think I was saying she's slow- since we were almost the same pace. I always told myself if I ever ran under a 10 minute mile, that would be fast. Well, two races now have been under 9 minute mile pace (okay, just barely) and I still don't feel fast. But I guess it's time for me to stop saying out loud that I'm slow. It used to drive me nuts on the cross-country team when the fast girls that were blowing by me would talk about how slow they were. I thought that speed was totally wasted on the fast because they didn't appreciate it at all. Maybe some day I'll get there, physically and mentally.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Doesn't get any better than this


Happy mothers day to all moms, grandmas, moms-to-be, and anyone else I may have forgotten.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Two weeks to go a mile

This morning I decided I would run 4.5 miles. I got to the gym and found that all of the treadmills near a TV were taken, so I ended up on the odd back row treadmill off by itself. I have lost my wonderful clip on iPod shuffle and favorite headphones, but I brought my older iPod with me and some headphones. I set the treadmill at 6 mph and off I went. Within five steps my earphones had fallen out so now I had no TV and no music for an intended 4.5 mile run. Crap. I've also decided after running my two outdoor races and the outdoor hill workouts, that I prefer running outside. Too bad for me because for safety and daylight reasons, the treadmill is the only viable option at 5:30am. In a couple weeks I might get a month of two of outdoor runs, we'll see. Anyway, I started off and the first two miles felt great, they actually just flew by. Mile three was definitely sweating and working but still I decided that 4.5 was reasonable for today.


All of a sudden I felt as though I had really hit a wall. I checked out the distance- 3.1 miles. Apparently my body feels well-trained for a 5K, anything more than that, not so much. I made it 4.0 miles and I just quit. I was beat, my heartrate was up to about 177+ (it read 177 a minute after I stopped) and my feet and legs hurt. Not a good omen for a 5-mile race in two weeks. I tried to hang in there, but with no TV, music or other distractions, and the fact that I had to get to work, I just stopped. Two weeks, can I do another mile?


Here's a picture of the boys from the local comic book store. They are Darth Vader and Boba Fett in the middle. The date says last year, but it was last weekend.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No title

Well, I'm still tired. Between Superman and Cutie I had a good hour and a half of awake time from 1-2:30am. Enough so that I didn't even hear my alarm this morning which resulted in my getting up almost an hour late, missing the gym. I'm hoping to fit in a workout before lunch, we'll see how that goes.



Yesterday was the sixth hill workout, unfortunately I had been unable to attend last week because of work commitments. It was 3x60, 2x75 and 1x120. That 120 second climb was rough! Also, I had slowed way down because at the 60 second mark I was still about 20-30 feet short of my normal 60 second mark. But I did it, and also ran the whole route back. Definite signs of improvement.



Hot Wheels was funny the other day, husband told me the story. They arrived at school and there were already a few kids there. Hot Wheels looked around and said "Look, there's three friends and a girl here". We tried telling him that girls can be friends but he wasn't buying it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

THAT tired

I'm tired. I know, whine, whine, whine. I'm not sure what it is about this tired that's so different, but I actually took a left-over pre-Cutie pregnancy test just because I feel that tired. (Thankfully, negative on the pee-on-a-stick.) The tired where I feel like my bones are heavier and I could easily nap at any given moment, if the opportunity ever came up, which it doesn't. This morning I fell asleep again while pumping milk for Cutie.

And today is hill workout day. I've also just sent in my registration for the 5-mile race that is two weeks from Saturday. Holy cow that snuck up quickly. Five whole miles. I know the course and it's pancake flat, but it's right along the water and there will likely be a strong headwind in one direction. I hope it's a tailwind on the way back.

Oh well, what's the saying- I'll get plenty of sleep when I'm dead? I sure wouldn't mind some now.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A great start

Yesterday was a 3.5 mile road race that was a work-sponsored entry race. There were actually 64 runners from work, 470 total in the race. It's a walker friendly race as well, so at the start I had no idea where to place myself so I wasn't too slow for those behind me or stuck behind other people. I couldn't find my iPod before the race and I decided that since I was going alone- originally we were going to push the kids in strollers, but my husband decided to stay home with the kids because it was chilly and rainy- I was really going to try and push myself the whole way. I placed myself a bit too far back as it turned out and I spent the first couple minutes trying to find openings to get around other people. I didn't enjoy listening to my breathing as much as I had enjoyed running with my iPod, and I felt like I was working harder than I did at the 5k last.
Mile 1- time check- 8:35, not bad! I was feeling pretty good still and passed a guy from work that finished 2 places ahead of me last week. I wanted to keep him in sight for pacing but felt strong enough to get ahead for now.
Mile 2- time check- 17:00- whoa, that's an 8:25 mile, Nice! We turned a corner and hit a slight head wind for a few minutes which felt good because I had over-dressed myself for the race with a long sleeved t-shirt and my running pants.
Mile 3- time check- 25:45- still 8:45 but I was feeling quite warm.
Finish time- 31:27, which made my pace for the last half mile almost 6 minutes! I was very surprised and disappointed because I did not feel like I was running a 12 minute mile over the last stretch. I thought I was still moving quite well, so there must have been something wrong with my timing on my watch. My final pace came out to 8:59/mile. I was a little disappointed since the first three miles really seemed faster, however, in the big scheme of things, under 9 minute miles again for my second race is pretty decent. I was 14/56 in my age group, exactly the cut-off for top 25%. I finished 190 out of 470. That did include many walkers, though, in a running field only I'd be happy with 50%.

One thing I was happy with, although I'm not proud of the character trait, is that I came in ahead of some people from work that I really thought would be faster than I was. There were a few people that really seem like "runners" and they were behind me.

Only three weeks until the 5-miler, that's going to be a struggle. I certainly didn't feel like I had another mile and a half in me yesterday. I'm planning to switch up my Thursday 5k this week for a Thursday long run. I'll try 4.5 miles- keeping it to 6 mph. Even if I have to pace myself for that at the race, a 50 minute race would be a success in my book.

After the race, we took the kids to Free Comic Book Day at a local comic book store. There are some people that come out in costumes, including some local Star Wars fans that have professional grade costumes and make appearances at different events. We didn't tell the boys where we going and as we drove by the store to find a parking spot the boys yelled "Look! Stormtroopers!" Then we saw Boba Fett- a big favorite of theirs from the movies, a Tuscan Raider as well as some other non Star Wars characters like Superman, Indiana Jones and some called Sailor Moon I think. I told the boys I happened to have their costumes in the van, so they also dressed up- Boba Fett and Darth Vader. They had their pictures taken for the paper with some of the characters and of course we also took a bunch of pictures. They had a great time. Then we headed off to a playground before calling it a day. A great day for everyone in the family.

Friday, May 02, 2008

New world

Last night we joined the realm of kids activities and the boys started swimming lessons. Hot Wheels was signed up for the lessons already and an hour before we were going to go, Superman decided he wanted to take them to. I took him along with me and by a great stroke of luck there was an opening in pre-school level 1, so they both started lessons. I think Hot Wheels was a little disappointed because he felt like it was his "big kid" thing to take the lessons and I debated just leaving Superman home. However, I think that swimming is really important for them, so I decided to take Superman because he's always trying to keep up with Hot Wheels, at least he'll learn a little more comfort and safety.

I recently read something by a parenting "expert" that said you shouldn't spectate all your kids events. They should learn to be proud of their accomplishments independently of your praise or involvement. So, I thought, maybe after the first night I'd use the half hour to do my own swimming rather than sit and watch. Well, scrap that idea. I loved watching them and I don't care if that makes me too involved. It's also a nightmare trying to get them both changed to leave so if I tried to get in a swim and had to change myself, that would just be crazy.

The boys were both so excited when they got out of the water and couldn't wait to go back for another lesson today. They were both really disappointed when I told them the next lesson isn't until next week. At least when the weather gets warmer we can go swim at the beach between lessons.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Automatic PR

This morning was my first ever stand-alone 5K. Going in I had three main goals:
-Pace myself so I could run the distance the whole way.
-Try to make it in under 29 minutes.
-Beat my husband- as a stretch goal.
Most importantly I wanted to enjoy myself.

Short story is that I had a great run, came in #98 out of 176 participants and my time was....
27.38, an 8:56/mile pace. WOOHOO!!! I think I actually ran a little more conservative than I should have, I recovered much too quickly. I didn't beat my husband, he came in at 26:26, but I enjoyed myself so much that I didn't really care about that goal after the race started. I was very nervous before the run because I hadn't gone to the bathroom this morning and I was afraid I'd have intestinal distress but things turned out fine.

I can't even really explain how good that felt. I've never felt like that in a run before and I actually enjoyed myself.

Unfortunately Hot Wheels has got something nasty fighting him, he had a fever for the past two days and has barely eaten anything. He woke up this morning looking better and said he wanted to run his kids race. The boys were the last two finishers in the under five category and walked a good bit of the lap with me. But they did it and they are so proud of their medals, they've worn them all afternoon. A great morning overall and after the race Outback provided chicken and salad (and steak and salmon for those that were interested) with cheesecake for dessert. I don't even care that I ate more calories than I burned, that was some good cheesecake.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Take that, b!tch

Here are the kids again...
Tuesday was hill workout #4 with the work running team. The repeats were 45, 60, 75, 90, 75, 60 and 45 seconds. That was tough. I'm not sure I've ever just run up hill for 90 seconds before. It gave me some insight into how the kids feel when I tell them they have to wait one minute before I'll get them a snack or drink or do something they want. One minute can be a l-l-l-o-n-n-n-g-g time. Then, on the way home we have to run up a hill known as The Bitch. I had yet to make it to the top of The Bitch without stopping and I finally made it on Tuesday. I'm not quite sure how much I've improved because of the hill workouts but I know I'm getting just a little farther on some of the repeats than I did just four weeks ago.
Yesterday was also my retest for the 12 week "New You" program at the gym that started in January. I was on the strength track- weight loss and flexibility were also available. At my first test I was able to do 11 pushups (yes, on my knees) and 4 pull-ups with 80 pounds of assistance. Yesterday I was able to so 12 pull-ups and 22 pushups (yes, still on my knees). Had I not done the pull-ups first I'm sure I could have done 25 push-ups. I'm moving up to toe push-ups now. Also, initially I weighed in at 168.8 and yesterday I was at 153.2- a 10.1% weight loss. Overall I'm pleased with how things are going, despite some days of low motivation and frustration I know I'm headed in the right direction.
I've managed to put some miles on the bikes in the past few weeks. Most recently, this morning on the recumbent bike. I used to think the exercise bikes were just for lazy days, but I was concentrating on keeping my RPM above 80 and on the hill program that was a workout with some tough spots. I ended up somewhere in the 20mph range, but that doesn't count on the exercise bike. I did forego the Thursday 5k today because I'm hoping for fresh legs for Saturday's big race. Unfortunately, Super Dad isn't feeling so great lately, so if by some miracle I'm able to beat him, it will be a tainted win, with him at less than 100%. I'll do my best and see how it goes. I think I'll leave my watch at home and just go by feel. Can't hurt and it will be interesting to see what my training has produced.


I'm closer to back on track with my nutrition, got back into tracking at sparkpeople.com and I'm under 154, finally. The three week plateau was frustrating, but it was my own doing.


The weather is just spectacular lately and we're enjoying evening bike rides with the boys. Superman made the whole loop last night- just over half a mile, without a single push from me. Just a couple weeks ago it seemed I was pushing him the entire way, which was tough with Cutie in the carrier in front of me. She's moved up to the stroller and really seems to enjoy sitting there and watching what's going on. She's so amused by her brothers lately and of course they are very encouraged by her laughing to just get sillier and sillier. Not good while on a bike, but we haven't had any major spills yet. I know they're coming, though.


Not much from here, really. Just daily reminders that as the t-shirts say "Life Is Good".

Friday, April 18, 2008

Growing Up


Here's Hot Wheels from his five-year-old pictures. I'm a department store pictures fanatic, we go for all the kids birthdays and then some random times as well. I'm struck by how old he looks at times, no more baby faced boy. He's such a sweet kid and the first four and three quarters years with him were so easy. Just recently he's started feeling out his boundaries, a little talking back here and some testing the limits there. He's easily corrected and responds well, although he sometimes can be very sensitive when he's done something wrong. At times the testing drives us nuts because it's not his usual good behavior but I know that it's his way of growing up and learning that he can be independent, so I try not to be too harsh about a little attitude from him here and there. He's very gentle and caring, and he has a silly streak that can crack us up. He's really interested in so many things around him and is very aware of other people and their actions and feelings. I worry sometimes that he's so easy, he might get passed over in the shuffle, even in our house where Superman demands more attention and Cutie still needs more because she's a baby. But Hot Wheels takes it all in stride and smiles. He's a Star Wars fanatic, he can build for hours with his Legos and TinkerToys, and he's really into riding his new Spiderman bike. There's a kids' triathlon in June, allowing ages five and up. He can use a floatation suit for the 25 yard swim and then it's a 1-mile bike and 0.6 mile run. He says he wants to do it, but I need to have him try the bike and run distance back-to-back before I sign him up. The last thing I'd want to do is sign him up if it's too hard for him, that would just leave him frustrated at his first experience, not something I want to do. He's adamant he wants to do it, but after the practice run this weekend on the bike and run we'll see what he says. There's always next year.


It's amazing to me that each of the kids is so unique and I love them all so much, but so differently at the same time. To my first baby, the one that gave me the best name I'll ever have- Mom, your smile lights up our lives and you're a joy to all of us. We love you, Hot Wheels.