Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Way Things Are

There are things I love about biking and there are things that I dislike, but the things that I love much outweigh those that I do not, which is saying a bit after my 4 mile run last night and a 15 mile bike this morning. My legs are tired now, to say the least.

The things that I love:
1. The exhilaration of going fast powered by your own pumping legs.
2. The sound of the wind on a calm day... with the knowledge that you're creating the wind.
3. Enjoying the beauty of nature as you ride by (especially if it's a little blurry - that means speed).
4. The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a long ride.
5. Becoming one with your bike - you move one way, the bike does to.
6. Getting better each week and realizing it.
7. The will power you find on a day when your body's a little tired and it's a feat just to finish.
8. The feeling of being in touch with all of your senses to keep yourself not only biking but also alive and accident free. (But the actual need to defend your life from cars is a dislike.)
9. Down hills when your legs are getting tired. Up hills when your legs are fresh.
10. The gear.
The things that I dislike:
1. People driving cars who have no clue about cyclists and the rules of the road. Case in point, two incidents today: #1. I'm stopped at my stop sign with one leg unclipped waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. Woman in on coming traffic sees me & stops (with 5 cars behind her also having to stop) and tries to flag me on even though traffic is on coming in the other lane. I wave her on and shake my head no. She blasts her horn at me, which causes the other lane of traffic to also stop. I am forced to go because now there is a traffic jam and I am embarrassed - all because I am properly stopped at a stop sign. #2. I yield to on coming traffic and am about to go with plenty of time when a car sees me and instead of continuing to go so that I may continue after he passes, he stops in the middle of the road and then yells at me when I stop too.
2. School zones. Parents do not pay attention to you on a bike at all. Evidently being taller than an elementary school child renders you invisible.
3. Training on a hybrid. Oh I long for a road bike (or maybe a tri bike). A more aero position and better efficiency would be heavenly.
4. Down shifting only to discover that I've down shifted too much and the power of my pedaling causes my feet to unclip and fly off the pedals. (I may need to 1) learn not to downshift like this, and 2) tighten the bindings on my clip ins.)
5. Being courteous to pedestrians by shouting "I'm on your left" only for them to walk or jump right in front of you causing you to veer to the right again (to save both them and you from an accident) and still having to thank them.
6. Having to stop at stop signs. I understand the need for safety, which is why I adhere to the stop at stop signs rule... but I have a need for speed! Oh, and last night's run was good... and my coach also helped me with my form. Turns out I don't know how to run properly! I was positioning my arms the wrong way and too far out, I was not leaning forward correctly, and I was breathing wrong. Running the last mile with her and working on it made the last mile easier on my body. So now I just have to keep working on it and who knows, maybe just maybe a list like the above might arise... we'll just have to see!

And if any one has tips on how to get your kids to wear underpants on a regular basis. Please let me know. Megan was a champ yesterday and had no accidents, then this morning refused to wear underpants. Amanda on the other hand decided she wanted to wear underpants and did a little dance with one leg crossed over her knee while hopping so she didn't pee until she was sitting on the potty. But, most likely she'll return home in underpants because despite going in the potty, she tends to ask for pullups at school! I think in 3 weeks we're going cold turkey to underpants... which will mean even more laundry, but it may be worth it!
Things overheard in the car yesterday....
Amanda: we going to get Daddy from he work, but we not go in his building. We sit in parking lot and go beep beep, honk honk, Daddy!
Megan: We no have horn! The light is green. That light red. I like red and green, and purple. I like purple. Purple is good.
Amanda: I like purple too. Purple and Green. You like purple Mommy? (Mommy responded that she likes blue and green.)
Megan: Green means go, Yellow mean slow, Red mean stop. Purple mean pretty. Mommy like blue and green. I like blue and green. You like it, Amanda?
Amanda: I like blue and green too. I love Mommy too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A lovely few days...

This weekend was quite lovely. Saturday started early with a 15 mile bike and 1 mile run (I did not walk for one second), followed by a nutrition talk about fueling while training and doing the triathlon. Then I rushed home to go to Disney, only to discover that everyone else in the house was in the need of a nap... which I secretly was happy about because I too really wanted a nap. Evidently, we all needed our sleep because the liliputians, their parents and their Grammie all ended up taking a nice 3 hour nap... completely unheard of for around these parts! Then Grammie was very sweet and let Mr. Darcy and I go on a date. We had a wonderful time talking without interruptions over sushi and a glass of Bonzai (plum wine with a shot of warm sake - very yummy!), and then attempted to go see Slumdog Millionaire. But, we were too late to see the movie, couldn't find anything else that looked appealing enough to spend the $20 on, and wandered over to a bike shop and the Best Buy... leaving without purchases. So we headed to the rental store and rented "Righteous Kill" (which was rather good, but I was able to guess the ending - but worth it because I really like Al Pacino and Robert DiNero) and a western that I keep forgetting the nameof. When we got home around 9 pm, Grammie was still singing the girls to sleep. Spoiled rotten they were! Just like Grammie's are supposed to do.
Sunday started with a visit to the ER - Ladybug's loop is officially removed and she is almost 100% healed up. Then we hit Disney. Not sure who was more excited - Grammie or the girls. But a good time was had by all! Afterwards, I went to a friend's house to watch the Oscars and had a lovely time... although I forgot how late they last and was half asleep by the time I got home.
Monday I spent in my pajamas while getting munchkins ready (with Mr. Darcy) for school, working, and saying goodbye to my MIL (aka Grammie) before she left to go back home. Grammie was a god-send for us this past week and we are forever indebted to her for her kindness not only to our dear Ladybug while she was at home, but also to us for helping around the house (the straightening every night was heavenly, as was the dishwashing and laundry) and for letting us spend a little bit of alone time together (which is not something we get to do on a regular basis). The pajamas must have been the key to my day yesterday because I only changed out of them when Mr. Darcy arrived home with the girls and I realized I needed to put on my swim suit for practice. After some fun with the little ladybugs, I was out the door and ready to swim. And swim I did! Our practice was a little longer than 1 mile, and I loved getting into the rhythm of it all and just swimming and swimming... which was good because I had to do the week's grocery shopping afterwards, but was regaled by a friend's stories about his police beat as of late. If only we could get our dear Bryan to move to Florida - the girls miss their buddy!
This evening, we run at Lake Eola, and it is Mardi Gras. Thus, I've added some thin mints to my diet for the day (the fuel for true triathlon training), along with some diet coke, and I'll be sure to have an alcoholic beverage at the end of the day. I'm giving up sweets, diet coke and alcohol for the next 40 days of lent. Always a reminder that these little things are so difficult to give up... so I'm taking a little stock of them today so I will not be missing them so terribly, which I guess is not the way it is supposed to work, but it is my plan.
(The Food of Champions.... the Thin Mint!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Me & My Shin Splints...

strolling down the ah-ven-oo. Just like the old song. Yes, my old friends the shin splints are back for a visit. I have decided to embrace them as they are a testament to my hard work and my attempt to reach new distances while running. In fact, now that I have been running as much as I am, I have found that walking doesn't suit me as exercise anymore... which is saying something for a woman who started out not only hating to run but who found running for 3 minutes straight to be a bit of a difficulty. Today I was supposed to do an easy 30 minute run, but I had planned in deference to my visitors (who are in both legs this time around, although much worse in my left leg - as usual) to walk it. I couldn't do it. I walked for 5 minutes and I couldn't walk anymore. I had the incredible, undeniable urge to run. I didn't run very fast, but I actually, amazingly had a burning desire to run. I almost asked myself "Who are you and what did you do with the real Kate?" To which I now answer, I'm a new and improved version. I'm not quite at the point where I can say that I run for fun, but I definitely can say I run for sport. I gave in, and (to borrow from Forrest Gump) I was running! I did take it a little easy. For the rest of the time, I alternated running 6 minutes and walking 2 or 3 minutes.

I had a nice chat with a neighbor at the end of my run. She likes to off road bike, but trains around town so that she can have the energy for the offroading. I hope she meant it when she said to let her know and we could go for a ride sometime because I plan to take her up on it. And then I returned to the house... to discover a story about how writing in cursive is on its way out in American society and in California is no longer a required (but encouraged) part of the curriculum. This world is turning to true insanity. People are shocked when you use please and thank you (which is already being drilled into our lovely little ladies - in fact, they are now so aware of it that if they make a declaration of a want, they often take Please on the end because they know I will make them restate the request with it incorporated). No one ever really gets together for an impromptu visit, and barely do we have interaction with one another unless it is planned and scheduled. And now the beginning of the end for cursive. As one newscaster pointed out, how will you sign your name? How will you send that thank you note or a personal note (oh yeah, I forgot, people aren't doing that these days either... except for me and a handful of ladies that I know)? A computer thank you note is not acceptable, and for some things neither is printing. Cursive is a staple of a more gentile society. It is a little slower, and allows you to thoughtfully express yourself by keeping you from rushing through just like everything else we do these days. We must band together, my friends!

On to another topic before my head explodes. Ladybug is doing much better and I am hopeful that her loop will be removed Sunday morning. In fact, Ladybug and Grammie are out shopping or at the park (I'm not sure which won out) and will return for lunch (which I hope will be soon because I'm super hungry!). We plan to visit Disney tomorrow after I return from my morning workout. I'm sure I will be falling asleep on our way back! : ) But it will be much fun! I cannot decide who is more excited at the moment - Angelfish, Ladybug or Grammie!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

There's something about a good swim...

There is something about a good swim that is completely cleansing and cathartic. Others may have a different way for mental cleansing - whatever that activity is, it is such a blessing when it arrives.

I did not want to get out of bed this morning to schlep my self and my stuff down to the gym. I wanted sleep. It was to the point that I stayed in bed without eating my breakfast because my brain (working on its own dark purposes) remembered that Joe Friel says that if you can't make it up for breakfast for an early morning workout you can either drink a bottle of your favorite sports drink or eat 2 gel packs and 12 oz. of water 10 minutes before warming up. (He prefers you eat breakfast, but says its better than hitting a workout without some sort of fuel for it.) Of course, his definition of early morning was more around 5 am but for my purposes this morning it was 7:15 am when I hit the pool. My Gatorade was ingested on my commute when 10 minutes from the gym. I couldn't fall asleep last night until midnight despite being completely exhausted, and this was my "reward."

But somehow I found the way to get myself in gear and hit the pool. And I am all the better for it. (For some reason that just reminded me of Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. " Anyhow.)

I think I mentioned that I didn't make it to Monday night's group swim but that I had done the workout for today on Tuesday. So, I didn't really feel like doing the same swim workout again and devised my own. I did a 400 warm up that was really 4x100 but with only a break long enough to switch out gear. It was a 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim consecutively. Then I did a nice 800 (32 lengths of the 25 yd pool), a cool 1/2 mile. Then a 100, 200, 100, and a 100 cool down. The 800 was truly cathartic . Focusing on my stroke, the sound of my breathing in and the continuous exhale into the water before I breathed again, the sound of the water as it changed with the stroke change each time I breathed, the counting of laps... which I do in sets of 8 (I counted to 8, 4 separate times but without stopping). I have no idea where counting in 8's came from but it's my number of choice while swimming laps. The idea of being lost in my swim... counting to 8 in sets lets me know when to stop, but otherwise it is as though I'm adrift and apart from all else that is in this world. Poetry in movement. An interpretive dance where arms and legs move and torso sways and somehow the stress and grime of daily life floats away... if only for the length of the swim.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Wild Ride...

My absence from my postings can only be explained, dear readers, as one big wild ride taking the form of life. It has been such a ride that I barely can remember where I left off. So, do forgive if I repeat or leave off anything. Friday morning I went for a 30 minute run and when I returned I called the doctor's office to make an appointment for Ladybug because she had something on her bottom that started out looking like a bug bite and had swollen to the size of an extra large egg, and both Thursday evening and Friday morning I had squeezed out a large amount of pus... due to past experience with Angelfish, I was pretty sure she had a staph infection. I got a 10:30 am appointment for our darling, worked until 9:45 am, and then left thinking we'd be visiting the doctor and getting a prescription for an antibiotic. But, life had other plans.

When I picked Ladybug up from daycare (the area was covered and not oozing, and these things are not contagious unless you get pus in an open wound and don't bother to wash and your body doesn't get rid of it first) she was limping because she was in pain. She was a trooper and waited for 1/2 an hour to see the Nurse Practitioner who after talking to me and taking a look at the area told me that we needed to go to the ER at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital to have it surgically drained. At this point, Ladybug was in pain so much that the Nurse Practitioner told me they would probably need to sedate her as well. After pulling myself together, getting directions to the hospital, and calling Mr. Darcy we were off to the hospital. The staff at Arnold Palmer was awesome. They were kind and gentle with Ladybug, answered all of our questions and even took care of us a little bit... which was a good thing.

The doctor took a look at Ladybug and said she needed a consult from another doctor because the location and size was border line on needing surgery versus just a draining. Luckily, the other doctor determined that it just needed the draining. We had to wait a little while for them to drain it because Ladybug had a cookie and juice at her Valentine's Day party that she finished when I picked her up. But that was ok because Ladybug needed a nap and I got to hold her in the hospital bed (she wouldn't lay on her back because it hurt) and nap with her for a few hours while Mr. Darcy worked via his blackberry. The doctors explained the twilight drugs they were going to use, how the procedure would be performed, who all would be in the room (2 doctors, a respitory therapist, a nurse, and a tech), everything she would be hooked up to, etc. We signed all the releases and were allowed to stay in the room (after promising not to freak out and to remain seated throughout the procedure) during the procedure. It was a little bit of an out of body experience in watching it - I think my brain made me distance myself from the fact that they were cutting into my baby and pulling a tube through the abscess while draining junk out of her. But I couldn't leave the room and leave her alone in there with people she didn't know (even if she didn't know what was going on and wouldn't remember anything because of the drugs).

She came out of the medicine just fine and the procedure with no problems. They were able to drain enough stuff out that the abscess was now 1/2 the size from when they started. We were given care instructions and stayed several more hours to make sure her vitals stayed where they needed to be, her heart rate decreased (the medicine caused it to speed up - it does that with everyone), and we made sure she could not only keep Gatorade (or "alligator juice" as our girls call it) down but whole food too. We left around 6:30 pm and she was her happy, normal self and didn't limp anymore. More stuff has drained and warm compresses and warm baths have been used - along with that prescription for antibiotics that I initially expected. She is left with a blue plastic loop in her leg that leaves it open for draining, and is not able to go to daycare because we have to do those compresses and baths throughout the day to ensure the infection goes away.

Turns out that it is true that the medicine didn't let her remember anything - I had my doubts. But, Monday morning she and Angelfish were playing and decided to take off their pullups. When Ladybug took hers off, she saw the blue loop for the first time and completely freaked out. She was holding her legs and body strange, crying and looking panicked. Explaining why it was there, that it would not stay there forever, etc. calmed her down but was a little traumatic for Mommy to see her little one so panicked. I had the day off from work, so bringing supplies with me, Ladybug & I headed to Disney for a few hours... I figured she needed to be spoiled a bit after all that and it might help Mommy to relax a bit too. We had a lovely time - I let Ladybug do whatever she wanted (activity wise)... so we watched a show with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and the Princesses and some dancers; went to story time with Belle; met Princess Aurora, Cinderella, and Belle; met and hugged Minnie & Mickey Mouse; loved on Goofy; ate lunch; and rode Cinderella's carousel before heading home. She was so tired that she fell asleep on my shoulder while waiting in line for the monorail... and she LOVES riding the monorail. When we got home and she woke up she had play time in a warm bath.

Despite all this, I still made Saturday morning's team workout (no, we didn't go out of town for that romantic weekend while the girls stayed with Mr. Darcy's parents as originally planned ... I had a hard enough time going to my team workout, let alone sticking with the idea of an overnight trip away). A 15 mile bike and a 3 mile run. It was good to work some of the stress and concern out.... even if I did check my cellphone 3 times to make sure no one called telling me to come home or meet them at the hospital. Afterwards was a bike clinic, which was good - I learned a little about bike maintenance and talked with a woman who is an accomplished cyclist about bikes, etc. (And saw yet more bikes to lust after.)

Monday night's swim workout didn't happen because Mr. Darcy had a meeting run long at work, but my shin splints are back (although not as bad as the last time) so instead of doing the 4 mile run Tuesday, I did the swim workout to give my body a chance to try to repair itself. My mother-in-law has been wonderful to come and stay with us this week, which has also helped. She is spending the days with Ladybug while I work and stays with her in the morning after Mr. Darcy leaves and I train for the triathlon. She is amazingly patient and kind, even when Ladybug is grumpy.

This morning I did a 15 mile bike ride (note to self don't forget the 3 sets of pushups you need to do!), and part way through the ride it dawned on me.... today is February 18th.

(Rebecca & Angela - taken by Liz Owen)
My dearest friend Angela, the one I've written about and who died from sarcoma and inspired me to do Team in Training, would have been 34 today. Normally, I would have sent a card, an e-card and perhaps even called to at least leave a badly sung rendition of "Happy Birthday" on her voice mail. And now, I don't even know what to do. I miss her and am contemplating having birthday cake after dinner in her honor, but that just seems like such an empty gesture... I just have no idea what else to do. I know she is happy and pain free where she is now, but I miss her so. Her sister Anna wrote an ode to her sister on her blog today... and it brought tears to my eyes because I know how much I miss Angela, but I cannot even imagine what pain her sister, her husband, her mother, and her father are feeling today and feel so helpless in that there is nothing I can do for any of them. And then at the same time, I feel like Angela would be touched but would tell me to stop being so sorry for myself... so, I think I will have that birthday cake for her and celebrate the life that I have because I know that Angela would want that for me. Happy Birthday, Angela. I love you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tired Swimmer

Note to self: it is not beneficial for training to stay up until 11 pm when your swim workout is around 7 am... aka you need to be up and eating breakfast around 5:30 am. I didn't quite make the 5:30 am wake up. I was, however, up and eating by 5:50 am. And it is now that I am questioning my sanity. Why ever did I think it would be ok if I kept reading?

The swim itself was good, but now I am tuckered out and am only on my lunch break before my conference call starts. A nap would be in order, but I'm all out of luck on that one. Not to mention that tomorrow is Valentine's Party Day at daycare and we have to bring cookies, valentines and pullups into school (pullups just for our munchkins), which means I can't sneak a short nap in before picking up the girls at daycare either because, well, I forgot to buy the cookies and pullups when I was at the grocery yesterday. As Angelfish said yesterday "You crazy Mommy Kate!" (I was being rather silly at the time.)

Swimming was good. One of the drills was to breathe every 5 strokes... evidently, I need more lung capacity because it was hard. The irony is that occasionally I will swim part of a lap breathing every 5 just because I feel like it, but when I had to do it the breathing was a bit painful. But then I could return to breathing every 3 or 4 like usual and I was a happy little fish. Better lung capacity would be awesome. I actually have wished I had gills before because then I'd never have to worry about running into the wall when I lose track of how fast I'm going and when I am almost at the wall. It doesn't happen often, but I do sometime breathe a little too close to the wall and then think I have room for a few more strokes and bam my arm smacks the side of the pool. Not the brightest, but so it is. But the sound of the water and the pattern of breathing was definitely peacefully intoxicating this morning. Stress, what stress? At least until I get back to the house to start my work day (I work from home) and I see all the laundry I failed to fold!

Oh and yes, the hunger continues as does the eating. Although I will say that I did not wake up ravenous this morning like I have in mornings past. Perhaps it was all that food I ate yesterday! But like clockwork, after my "2nd breakfast" as I like to call it, 3 hours later I was hungry again. And now, creeping up on 2 1/2 hours later, I can feel the hunger coming on again. I guess that's why I'm supposed to eat all this stuff! Luckily it's all pretty healthy, although if anyone has ideas on how to get the right number of calories while eating eggs without as much fat in them, please let me know! The egg beaters would be great, but there's hardly any calories in them and I'm not quite in the mood for eating 2 cartons to make up for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Run, A Bike and What the Heck Do I Eat?

Ok. So I've been trying to figure out this nutrition stuff and the more I read, the more I become confused. Perhaps I should just stop reading and just eat a bunch of stuff. The problem is, I am scared to death of getting heavier than I already am. I cringe at the thought that eating that Cliff Bar really is what I am supposed to do. 45 g of carbohydrate in one little bar. I can almost feel my thighs and hips expanding just thinking about it... yet, sources say I should be eating 2500 calories on average while training to maintain my current weight. My brain shouts "it's a cold day in hell when I'll eat 2500 calories on purpose (that doesn't consist of pizza, ice cream or sweets!" To lose about 1 pound per week, this would mean that I should eat 2,000 calories instead. On a good day I eat 1200 and tend to float more around the 1,000 - 1100 mark. Yes, I know. That is supposed to be too little for a person to eat. But I eat healthy foods like fruits, veggies, etc. which evidently do not have many calories in them... I have to admit it was a bit of a surprise to me too. Of course, the occasional pizza or burrito from Chipotle is mixed in as well... or ice cream from Cold Stone. These are not on an overly regular basis (except maybe the pizza... that's about weekly), but they do occur. What my coach tells me is that my body thinks it's starving so it's saving everything I eat, including the occasional pizza or ice cream. Which does make sense, but 2,000 calories? It's hard to eat that much food. And it doesn't help that I have my husband (who is probably also not wanting me to gain weight) telling me to just eat when I feel like it and not to try to eat so much. The problem? I'm hungry all the time... or at least I was until today. Today I'm still getting hungry regularly, but I think the fact that I've already consumed 1,260 calories so far today has kept me from being completely ravenous. But, I have to say that it's been almost 2 hours since I last ate and I'm starting to get hungry again. I know there are much bigger problems on this planet (no pun intended) at the moment, but I do not want my butt to get any larger than it already is! And when will my body know to stop hoarding everything anyway. How do I know it's not going to just hang on to the 2,000 calories I'm eating? I will be eating 7 times today. This troubles me. I've even forgotten the market is in the tank and my worries that continuing to invest my children's 529 accounts and our IRA's in the market may be lunacy!

Hopefully yesterday's run and today's biking will help with this food anxiety. Yesterday we ran 3 miles... 1 mile warm up, 1 mile as fast as we could, and 1 mile cool down. It actually was less terrifying than I thought it would be. The 1st mile wasn't so bad. THe 2nd mile was a bit harder especially since my pace was much faster than usual, and the fact that my bladder decided part way through (at the 1/2 way point to be exact) it was full from all the water I'm now drinking to keep myself hydrated and that it wanted to empty... right then. So, I did all in my power (including slowing my pace) not to pee in my pants. I was 96% successful. Right at the end that 4% got me and I ended up running past the finish line to the bathrooms. Even with slowing my pace, I ran a 9 minute mile. For most runners, this is abysmal. For me, I am stoked! The fastest I knew I could do prior to this was an 11 minute mile . I had an idea that I could do a 10 minute mile, and fully expected this to be what was yelled out. I just wonder how I could have done if I didn't have to pee! The last mile was fine although now I understand how my children feel when they forget to go to the bathroom. yuck.

This morning's bike ride was without incident. A lovely 15 mile bike through my neighborhood that took me more than an hour to complete, but that I enjoyed every minute of not being stuck in the gym staring ahead of me at the monitor or at some inane tv show that is on that early in the morning. My legs are a bit stiff from yesterday's run, though, so I had to lower my gear in mile 10... but my cadence was around 75 throughout (except for stopping at stop signs, etc.) So, I feel pretty good about it.

Tomorrow is a swim day, and I love the time I have in the pool... and luckily, there is a bathroom just outside the pool. : ) And, darn it, if I'm not hungry again... off to get an apple and some PB... and probably the grocery store too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who Knew Eating Could be Soooo Confusing?

Eating, yes, eating has me in a quandry. I have been eating healthily, but it turns out I am not eating enough. Some days I evidently haven't even been hitting the 1200 calorie mark, which is the base line for just what you need to keep your body in motion. Of course the days we've eaten out or had pizza, I well exceed the mark. Based on some calculations that our coach gave us and due to the amount of exercise we're doing per week, it looks like I should be eating (even with subtracting out 500 calories for a weight loss of 1 pound per week) 2,000 calories a day. That is a whole lot of eating when you primarily eat fruit and veggies like I do. To give you an idea of what a quandry I'm in, yesterday I ate 1 cup of kashi, 1/4 cup of skim milk, a v-8, an orange, green tea with honey, 2 smart dogs, 1 fat free activia with 1/4 cup of mixed berries mixed in, an apple with 1 tbsp of peanut butter, turkey sloppy joes, and added a package of power bar energy gels, and I still only hit 1,206 calories (maybe 1300 because I ate a little extra bread with my sloppy joes). To me, that's a good bit of food. But evidently not enough. Of course, I was rather hungry this morning for breakfast...

Luckily I purchased Joe Friel's newest edition of The Triathlete's Training Bible because it has a section on nutrition and it gave me some helpful information, like eat 20% of your calories as fat calories and eat low to medium glycemic index foods during most of your day (which I do already) but increase your glycemic index foods around and during exercise (but still avoiding the sugary stuff). BUT, those fat calories need to be "good fats," ie. monounsaturated and omega-3s to the best of your ability... so getting them from unprocessed foods like nuts, seeds and lean meats. How I wish someone would just hand me a menu already put together with a grocery list so I could purchase and cook! So, today, I'm using a handy spreadsheet to see if I can get this ball rolling in the right direction. I still can't figure how I'm going to lose weight if I start eating more than I'm already eating, but we shall see.

Last night was our swim workout. It went well, but trying to learn the new version of the stroke is a little difficult. I will perservere of course, but until I can train myself to stick my arms into the water straight in front of my ears I may be swimming a bit crooked. And crooked is not good because that means I'm adding distance to the length of my swim and we don't want to swim farther in a triathlon than we need to. I'm going to give it a go for a week or two, but there's only 11 more weeks until the Miami Tri, so if by week 9 I'm not swimming straight, I may do as my coach suggested and just stick with what I already do well. But, I'd like to be as efficient (and hopefully as fast) as possible since swimming is the sport that I am the best at. Too bad it's only about 1 mile out of the total 32 miles we'll be doing. Of course, most people on the Team in Training team with me are happy about it. I, on the other hand, would rather swim than run! Most kids ran in sports as little kids, me, I swam!

Tonight is a 3 mile run at Lake Eola followed by a running clinic at Track Shack. Our coach said something about a 1 mile warm up, a timed 1 mile, and then a 1 mile cool down. I'm not looking forward to officially hearing how "fast" I do a mile after already running one. But, as always, I will do my best! Running has grown on me, especially now that I make myself pick my head up and look around (instead of straight ahead of me), but I still would rather be in the pool or on the bike. I'm hoping to like it even more as time progresses. Before that we'll be playing on the playground with the girls in the hopes of making the car and parent transition a little more fun for the ladybugs, plus I get to spend more time with them (and feel a little less guilty about not being home with them in the evening).

It's funny because last night in reading some of my new book, he asks the question why do you want to do triathlons? And to be prefectly honest, I'm not 100% sure why but I know that I am driven to do it. At first it was because I was bored with my workout and wanted something to get in better cardio shape and to have a goal, but then the more I trained it became something more. It was a sort of mental therapy because I have endured a good bit in what I consider to be a relatively short life thus far (yes, I do know I'm in my 30's but even with cardiovascular disease running rampant my Dad's side of the family tends to live until around 90, so imagine the possibilities!) and it was somehow proof to myself that I'm still here, I'm still alive and I'm still kicking and I refuse to just exist. And then it is a way to raise money for cancer research in memory of Angela, whose death has really changed the way I look at life (mine and everyone else's too). And not only is that the case now, but it is all of these things and yet something more that I can't quite figure out. It is fun for me, it is something I do for myself in a time when I work for others, take care of others, and try to run a household, but yet there is more to it. I am not delusional... I am aware that I was never a fast runner as a child and most likely will never be what others consider "fast" so I can never be a truly "great" triathlete. But, I somehow don't care as to whether I'm "great" at this in someone else's eyes, I just want to be happy with my progress and what I'm doing. When I finished my 1st sprint triathlon, my Mom said to me,"well, now you know what to do to be better next time." And for me, yes, there were lessons that I can use to improve, but it wasn't about being better. It was living in that moment that I did something that I considered amazing. Every time I get a little faster, I amaze myself that I did that. Perhaps this triathlon stuff just gives me a different perspective on myself from where I was before, and it drives me to do and be even more than I already am. Not to mention it is good therapy for working out whatever is going on in my brain or in my life as well. So BRING IT ON!

News in from the potty training front. After a war of refusing to wear underpants Sunday and Monday (despite using the potty all day at school yesterday), Ladybug has returned to the allied front, is proud of wearing her underpants again and has vowed to keep her pretty pants clean and dry today. Angelfish's teacher at daycare yesterday also informed me that Angelfish has been doing very well using the potty. In fact over the past week or so, she has been keeping her pullup dry. This morning she too is in underpants (although extras were sent with her to school). Is the end of pullup land in sight? Stay tuned...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Saturday workout, a day of rest(?), and Monday night

Ahhh yes, the 1st Saturday workout. Saturday was quite the day. First, I overslept and then had to exceed the speedlimit to get to the practice. The practice itself was a good one. 15 miles on the bike (with a break at the 1/2 way point for us all to catch up and try our chosen power fuel) and then a 2 mile run. The bike left me bruised... not from the ride but from my over reacting to a car at a stop sign that appeared to first be rolling through the stopsign and then stomping on the breaks upon seeing me (which probably was more in my head than reality) and my slamming on only one of my brakes to stop (yes, folks, you need to slam on both. If you don't stop the back wheel too, you go over the front of the bike, like I did.). But both I and my bike are ok... I have a few bruises here and there but all in all am just fine (other than a bit of embarrassment). And I have to admit, I didn't run the entire 2 miles at the end. I was a little sore from the fall and my one leg was clamping down a bit so I walked a little but ran most of the 2 miles. I will get there, though.

Sunday was my rest day, which was good because Saturday night I couldn't keep my eyes open past 7:30 pm to save my life. I had to be woken up to help put the girls to bed after the end of their movie! And as soon as they were down for bed, I was too! Sunday we played a little around the house, the girls rode their bikes and we "played" frisbee golf in the park across the street. Then we got the bright idea to go to Sea World. So we loaded up in the car, tried to start it and funny sounds came from the car but it didn't start. So, we tried to jump start it. Nothing doing. So Mr. Darcy took a movie of what the engine was doing and we looked up the number for a Toyota dealership that had a maintenance department not too far in case we had to tow the car there. On our way to lunch in the mini-van, Mr. Darcy called the service department at the dealership and the person told him that it sounded like a dead battery and to call this other number to have it towed over. Instead, I convinced Mr. Darcy that if it was just a dead battery, we could buy one and replace it ourselves which would be much less expensive than towing the car just to replace a battery. So, we had lunch, got a battery from Advanced Auto Parts, Mr. Darcy replaced the battery, the car turned on (and did so again this morning since Mr. Darcy was able to leave for work), did a couple errands (in the mini-van just in case) including getting Joe Friel's The Triathelete's Training Bible (the 3rd edition that just came out at the beginning of the month), got some ice cream, and headed home. Ladybug(who has a memory like an elephant) though remembered that we were supposed to get to see Shamu... crying ensued despite promises to see Shamu another day until Mommy pulled out the trump card... "Beauty and the Beast" (Ladybug's favorite movie at the moment). Shamu was forgotten and the day was saved! Go SuperMOM (with help from Super Dad of course)!

It is always strange to wake up on a Monday morning and not hit the gym, but now that Team in Training group swims are Monday evening, it is something I'm having to adjust to. So, Mr. Darcy was in a bit of a crabby mood brought on by not getting up early enough to deal with 2 grumpy girls that didn't want to get out of bed, eat breakfast, or get dressed. I managed to get the girls dressed, kick him out of the house, get the girls to eat (and have fun while doing it), and take them to school while chatting up a storm, shower and dress, eat breakfast myself, pack my bag for my group swim workout this evening and do this blog! I still missed the gym though.

Before practice, and hopefully during lunch today, I plan to get a few things from Target, buy a kickboard from Sports Authority and hit California Pizza Kitchen up to set up a day where 20% of the sales for the day will go toward my fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I also plan to ask Publix if I can set up a table one weekend so that I can try to get donations as well. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bike Shop Temptation, New Shoes & a Head Cold

Last night our TNT team had a flat tire clinic at a bike shop (wonderful owners and staff - Advanced Cycles down by the airport - they didn't even tease me too much about my kickstand and removed it for free), and the temptation was overwhelming. Gorgeous, fast, aerodynamic bikes calling my name and begging me to buy them. I am now completely in love with a Fuji Aloha 1.0 (although I'd be happy with the 2.0, it's less expensive sister, too). It screams RIDE ME, YOU COULD BE FAST ON ME!

See what I mean? There's just no competition between these and my Trek 7000 Hybrid that I've fixed up with handles so I can curl a little in an attempt to be aerodynamic, and pedals that work with shoe clips, and a different seat that is more comfortable to me, etc.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my bike with all its faults, but I would REALLY love one of those Fuji's. But much like the Pigeon in Angelfish & Ladybug's book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, I will have to love the bikes from a far. The $2,400 and $1,600 MSRP is a little outside of my price range at the moment. Plus, Mr. Darcy wants to make sure that I'm going to stick with all this triathlon stuff... and I can understand his reservations, but mainly because I can't expect him to feel the same way I do about the training and the way the triathlon seems to stretch the self... how you can power yourself to do things that you don't think you can do or that sound really far until you do it. I love that it rearranges the way I see myself. I used to view myself as a moderately out of shape wife and mother of 2. Now just with one triathlon under my belt, I see myself as a wife and mother of 2 who not only loves the joy she gets out of the triathlon competition and the training, but is a good example for her children and hopes that they will want to do something like this too as they get older (2 1/2 is a little early for hardcore training).

I did get a computer for my bike and some leg warmers (not like the 80s) though. I wanted to get slicks, but they didn't have the size that would work with my rims. I can't wait to use the computer... but I need to read the manual before tomorrow morning's bike ride. We almost bought a $10,000 (yes, 10K) bike too because I brought the girls with me thinking that Mr. Darcy could meet us and it wouldn't take super long and we'd be able to spend some time together. Well, Angelfish obviously has some of her mother's genetics because she went to the sleekest, fastest looking (and also the most expensive) bike in the store and started circling the pedals around and said "what this? make it go fast!" I, of course, told her no, took her away from the bike and swallowed my stomach back down to where it belonged. The girls loved the bike shop but had good time with Daddy at Chipotle next store before it became apparent that the clinic was going to take a good while and they headed home. But, I learned to change a flat tire! Luckily there are 2 more flat tire clinics also, so I can hopefully get that ingrained into my brain before race day and/or before I get my 1st flat tire.

Last night I did not sleep well, and it was not due to the vision of bikes in my head... it was the head cold that was attacking. Nothing like waking up because you can't breathe through your nose and you have to force yucky stuff out so you can try again. Turns out my Mom came down with this same cold the day after my triathlon... so that's probably where I got it! But, undeterred I hit the gym to try out my new kicks! (It was in the low 30s at best so no running in the neighborhood for me, especially with my head as stuff as it is!) Mr. Darcy tried to convince me not to go but I remembered my old personal trainer Dee (who I miss!) telling me that if you don't have a fever it's good to sweat out a cold. So, I put on my new Brooks Glycerin 7's with their superfeet orthotics (in hopes of ending my chronic battle with shin splints) and headed to the gym (after playing with and feeding the girls... Ladybug stole half of my bowl of oatmeal!) for a 45 minute run. 45 minutes seemed daunting, and since this was supposed to be an "easy" run, I alternated 3 minutes running with 2 minutes walking for the entire time to try to take some pity on my body while it's fighting this head cold, in hopes of preventing a new set of shin splints, and to help break in my new orthotics. (I'm still trying to figure out how 45 minutes can be defined as easy... but I'm sure it is something I'll wrap my mind around eventually!) And I sweat like mad! So, let's hope that the combo of the sweating, my multivitamin, and my orange this morning that this head cold will leave as swiftly as it arrived!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Swim and Teaching a Moderately Youngish Dog New Tricks

Today was a swim day. I love swim days... and today's workout was a good one. Not necessarily the hardest I've done, but still good. While I was swimming though, this thought kept popping in my head... am I doing my stroke right? You see, on Monday at our first swim practice the coach told someone that you reach out like you're reaching for something inside a mailbox and as you pull back and bend your arm you go straight down the side of your body. It didn't hit me at first, but it did when I was in the water... that's not how I do it. That's not how my swim coach taught me as a kid either. But, then they also allow flip turns for back stroke and do flip turns differently now too. So, it was nagging me. I had a great swim, but yet, this thing was sitting out there staring at me.

I emailed the coach. Yes, times have changed after all. It has been discovered it is more efficient NOT to come in under your chest but to go straight down the side of the body. And for open water swimming, this will keep you swimming straighter (which is extra important because you want to swim the required distance not wander all over the place adding distance and time and making you more tired). So this Moderately Youngish Dog will have to learn a new trick. I've tried it sitting here in my office, and it feels wierd. I'm sure it will be even stranger when I try it in the pool. But, I will do it.... it might just take awhile, but I will do it! I want to be fast and I definitely want to be efficient!

And the word of the day is cookies. The girls are having Valentines' Day parties at school and we are signed up to bring cookies. Unfortunately, they heard me say to Holland's Mom that we were bringing cookies. They wanted cookies for dinner, and Angelfish wanted cookies for breakfast. Explaining that we do not have any cookies in the house and that the party is not until next Friday did not exactly go well, but finally a bit of distraction in the form of their kitchen and helping Mommy cook dinner last night worked. The mention of pullups since Angelfish was not wanting to go potty this morning was enough to win out this morning. The problem is that now I'm thinking about cookies and could really go for some. But, I don't quite think that's the idea behind "carb loading" and with my current workouts I don't really need to "carb load" just yet anyway. But, cookies especially the thought of warm chocolate chip or even a sugar cookie in the shape of a heart with red sugar sprinkles on it really is sitting on my mind today. Yogurt with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries mixed in didn't make the thoughts any further from my mind, either. (Who makes up these silly suggestions anyway... eat something healthy but sweet like berries to cut your cravings? Or an orange instead of chocolate? They must have more willpower or brain control than I...)

On the potty training front, Ladybug had only 1 sort of accident at school yesterday and went through the night with a dry pullup (she woke up around 10:30 pm and went potty too), and was a super potty user this morning! I say that she had a sort of accident because she started to go and stopped herself and went the rest of the way in the potty... but underpants needed to be changed without requiring a change of wardrobe all together. Of course, she did refuse to go to the bathroom yesterday evening and then peed on me while we were working on cooking dinner, but I think that was a product of her stubborness last night not her inability. All in all, it is progress and that is what matters most!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My First Tri Time and New Shoes

I found out this morning that I met my goals for my 1st triathlon this past Sunday! We already knew that I met the goal of completing the triathlon and the goal of running all the run. But, I still did not know if I did not finish last. The race results were posted when I checked this morning, and out of the women I finished 50th out of 87, with a time of 1:37:27! I was 30 minutes and 10 seconds slower than the 1st place women's finisher, which believe it or not I think is pretty good for a 1st time and for the fact that she is 8 years younger than I am (of course the person who finished before me was 22 years older than me which was a little disconcerting, but she was only ahead of me by 17 seconds and that can be explained by poor transitioning on my part as well as the fact that it was my 1st time)! All in all, I am very pleased.

I'm also happy that I survived my workouts for both yesterday and today! Amazingly, they were a lot easier than I thought they were going to be, which I too take as a good sign. Last night was a 2 mile run and 25 push-ups. I survived both and was actually feeling like I could have gone farther on the run and I did not do "girlie" pushups either (good core strengthening, as my favorite personal trainer Dee would say).

Then for the shoe clinic. I really learned a ton about running shoes and running gear, and got to have my stride filmed. I have a neutral gait with a small (like 1%) shift toward my big toe which may be associated with my lower back issues. And since my shoes had a good bit of mileage (about 270 miles) in the past 5 months, it was time for new ones... I learned that your running shoes are really only good for about 300 miles and that 300 miles is past due for replacement. The other thing I learned was that I was in a shoe with a little too much stability which may have been a contributing factor to my shin splints and that they have orthotics that help with shock absorption, etc. that helps with shin splints (and lower back issues). Fleet Feet sports is hands down the best running shoe shop I've ever been to, and it is worth the trip out the Altamonte Springs for the shoes and the amazing customer service. I learned a lot and they let me run around the parking lot to see how my shoes felt, even at different points with different shoes from different pairs on each foot. I also learned that you should not wear cotton when you run - at all, including socks (think moisture retention and bacteria). So, new socks were also in order. As were sports bras. Turns out that you need to replace those everytime you replace your shoes too because they get worn out... and the similar model at Target vs. the running shop by the same company is quite the difference. Who knew? So I'm all geared up and ready to run!

Of course, today was not a run day for the workout though. It was a 15 mile bike. But, since it was in the 30's and with the wind chill felt in the 20's I opted for the stationary bike (grr) at the gym. I did a hill program and actually did 16 miles in 45 minutes. That seems a bit fast, but I've noticed that the hill program gets you to a longer distance in a faster time... not sure why that is, but that's why I added the extra mile - just in case. Next time, if I have to bike in the gym, I may do a flat program to compare. I know it will take longer, but I think I'll know the difference in how my legs felt. Anyway, it was a good ride (despite having to be inside).

Tomorrow morning is a swim workout... I love the pool, so I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our 1st Team in Training workout...

Monday was my 1st official Team in Training workout... and it was a swim. It was a rainy blustery evening, but as we were told the only way any of our practices will be called is if (and this is a direct quote) "they make us get out of the pool because of lightening and then we'll wait 15 minutes and get back in the pool" or "cows are flying by your house."

Luckily, the pool was heated although it definitely was not the 82 degrees they claimed it would be... but still better than the air temperature! It was a pretty easy swim practice... I may have done about 1/2 a mile at most, but it was probably good for me since I did my triathlon the day before and my legs are a little sore today from the tri (they felt really good while swimming though). I think they were just trying to see where we were with our swimming abilities and that they'll ratchet things up from there. The people on the Team with me seem nice and we're all a bit quiet at this point because we don't know each other, but I have a feeling that may change with time. I know I tend to be quieter at first (yes, those of you who know me probably can't remember those days) and then I come out of my shell once I get to know you just a little.

Tonight we have a group run - a 3 mile run. Which, I have to say I probably can do because well, I was able to run 2.3 miles and feel like I could go farther after I had swum 1/4 of a mile and bike 12 miles before that, but it still frightens me a little. I need to work on my mental issues about running... why is it that I don't think I can run? I ran cross-country as a high schooler and track, but I was never very good. But amazingly, I think I can run farther now than I could back then. Not sure why... but I will conquer this too. We also have a shoe clinic afterwards at a shop that supposedly will tape you some while you run to analyze your running style and then suggest a shoe for you... I'm interested in hearing what they have to say because my shoes have about 1 month left in them before I have to replace them and if I'm in the wrong type then I need to make sure that I get good ones - I want the shin splints to end! (Which, amazingly I haven't noticed them even after the triathlon Sunday. YAY!)

On the potty training front, mysterious things are at work. Ladybug has been doing pretty well, even sometimes letting us know that she has to go and then going in the potty. But Angelfish has been the surprise. Lately she has been telling us she needs to go potty and actually goes in the potty. In fact she woke me up in the middle of the night - along with her sister - because she needed to go potty, went a little in the pullup first because Ladybug beat her to the potty but then went the rest of the way in the potty, kept the pullup dry the rest of the night and went in the potty this morning. This weekend she even started to go pee in her underpants (just a tiny bit to the point that she only needed an underpants change), stopped herself, announced that she had to go potty right now, and went to the bathroom and used the potty! Miracles never cease! So, perhaps the pottying will become quiet in fashion for them both.... they are particular about which pair of underpants they wear each day, so maybe that will be the incentive!

I'll let you know how the run goes tonight. I won't even go into how intense the training schedule is because well, some of those later workouts are scary to look at right now but I'm hoping that I will be able to do them when we get to them!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's official! I'm a triathlete!! WHOO HOO!

Yes, it's official folks... I completed my 1st triathlon and can officially say I am a triathlete! WHOO HOO! I don't know my time yet because they were a little disorganized and this was supposed to be a more "laid back" triathlon for people new to the sport. We are supposedly going to be able to find out our time once they post them on their website... hopefully that will be soon because I'm curious to know how long it took me. They don't have split times because they didn't use chips, and I forgot to push the buttons on my watch (despite remembering to put the watch on) to do my own splits. I have to say I am proud of myself and that I need to learn how to use the gears on my bike because I'm not sure I was in the right gear for getting the most speed out for the amount of pedaling I was doing. 1st: I'm proud of myself! I finished the entire thing doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing the entire time. I swam great (and passed a good number of people in the pool - including people who were younger than me and a few on swim teams... the old dog still has some tricks) although it was not one of my "tear up the pool" days, it was still a good one. I biked well and even passed a few people (and admittedly was passed as well), but like I said I need to learn about the gears on my bike because I think if I was in the right gears I may have been able to be more efficient - I had lowered the gears to make it "easier" for pedaling during the race, but I'm not sure that really translated as much as I had hoped to my speed. And I ran the entire 2.3 miles at the end... sometimes a rather slow pace, but I ran it all. But, I know I also ran slower than I should have because at the end I felt like I could have run a good bit longer... and I need to learn how to visually judge distances because when they said that I only had 100 feet left I should have picked up the pace right away but decided to wait and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line without getting to get my final sprint/digging it out in. And, I need to stretch more at the end because my quads are a little stiff and I think it's because I didn't stretch enough because I was too caught up in not having people wait on me and seeing my little girls, my hubby and my parents. I also need to work on my transitions, but I learned a few things that will help with that too.But, all in all I am very happy with my first triathlon experience although I wish I had been at a normal triathlon that was more organized, etc. That said, there is something about the sheer joy of realizing that you just completed a swim, bike, run in a competition! It feels great!
Before leaving for Sarasota on Saturday to celebrate my Dad's birthday (as well as being in town for the triathlon), I went to the Team in Training kickoff. Talk about an inspirational experience! In the past 40 years, TNT has raised almost 1 BILLION dollars for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and $600 Million of that has gone to cancer research. So many advances have occurred, but the cure has not yet been found... we need to find a cure for cancer. A young woman (24 years old) got up and spoke about discovering she had the most deadly form of Leukemia at 1 week before her 16th birthday and how if they hadn't gone for the test that day the doctors said she would have been dead in 2 weeks, and she talked about how LLS affected her life and has allowed her not only to survive but to thrive in the life she now has. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house!

My TNT training starts tomorrow with our first swim practice, and I am looking forward to it... and I'm happy to say that my race number (175) most likely won't be worn off by then. It's my badge of honor from this race. And Jack (the nice man who set up his stuff next to me and was very encouraging as a seasoned triathlete), thanks for the tips and the encouragement! I hope to see you out there again sometime!

And you never know, Angelfish & Ladybug might be little triathletes themselves one day! They were very excited about Mommy "doing triathlon" and had fun routing for me. They even pretended to swim, bike and run... unfortunately for their shirts they decided to pretend to swim on the ground in the transition area (which was a roped off parking lot), then ride invisible bicycles, and then run like crazy things. I love it!

Now, for a good night's rest!